Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jenna's Prom

Beautiful in Blue!
Whoever said you can't go to your prom with a bunch of your friends, without a date, and have fun----didn't have very good friends.  
Jenna and Jeremy (her boyfriend), being ever practical, decided that him  coming in from college for prom would be silly. 
 Lots of money for a 2 day stay.

Rachel, Jenna, Morgane
April 27, 2012
All the girls got ready together at Jordan's house (in the turquoise dress, below).  
Hair, makeup, nails, the works.  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall.
Then they gathered at a local park for pictures.  All the moms showed up with camera and made them pose and smile.  
Good sports, all!

Ladies: Mica, Morgane, Jordan, Mikayla, Jenna, Rachel.
Gentlemen: Jacob, Marcus, Parker

They all rode together to PF Chang's for dinner, wandered around downtown Austin a bit for many, many silly pictures.  
What did we ever do before great cameras in phones?  The kids have posted many a dorky picture on Facebook.  

Three Amigas, being silly (as usual)
I honestly didn't hear much about the actual prom.  I think it was okay.  
Lots of fun and dancing in large groups.

Mica, Jenna, Jordan, Mikayla, Morgane, Rachel
After prom, they went for breakfast at Kerbey Lane.  Jenna wandered in to wake me up at 2am.
I'm so very, very glad she went and made great memories with her friends.
I can't believe that the school year is almost over and we'll be sending out graduation announcements this week.
"And that's all I'm going to say about that." ~Forrest Gump

Katie and Preston
April 17, 2010
Speaking of prom----
I did something that I'm ashamed of, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I had several posts regarding Preston's dating years with Katie.  
When they broke up the last time, I thought it was for good.
It was painful for all of us.
I deleted all those posts. :(
They're gone forever---I've looked.
Katie and Preston patched up the broken places in their relationship and are now engaged.
We've all healed are are looking forward to their wedding in January.

Friday, April 19, 2013

How Big are the Babies?

First, I need to give a shout out to my cousins-in-love (FIL's nieces)
Hi Gloria!!      Hi Karen!!

The babies are between 11 and 12 weeks old now.
If they'd grown up in the wild, mom squirrel would have weaned them by now.

These babies are now getting apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, leaves, twigs and a special rodent food that has all the nutrients they need to grow properly.

I fully weaned these four off their formula, last week.
In the wild, they would still be living with their mom and sharing the same nest.

They would be scurrying about in their tree and venturing further and further from the nest each day.
In the wild, this is when they would be most vulnerable to predators.
As with youngsters of any species, they get busy playing and forget to watch out for themselves.
Hawks, cats and tree climbing snakes are their main worry.
Once they venture onto the ground, their predator list jumps dramatically.

photo credit: http://cabinetcuriosities.deviantart.com/

This is also the age when their teeth really begin growing quickly.
If you've ever had a squirrel in your attic, you'll know about their constant chewing.
Squirrel teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime.
Chewing is the only way to keep their teeth the proper length.

Deer antlers are great for chewing on, plus they provide a valuable source of calcium.
  You can certainly tell how sharp and tough their teeth are by looking at this bit of antler in their cage.
I've been bitten by an adult squirrel one time.
Right through a fingernail.
Not fun.

Just within the last week, they've gotten very frightened of me and Jenna.
The constant handling during bottle feedings has given way to running and hiding when one of us enters the room.

People ask me if it makes me sad that they are afraid of me now.
Quite the opposite.
I'm thrilled!
It means I've done my job properly.
Next week when I get back from a quick trip to see family, I'll begin the process of release.  
It'll take another month, but it's time for them to move to a bigger and outdoor cage.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Blog Housekeeping and Update on My Father-In-Love

Great news!  My father-in-love got out of the hospital on Saturday!
They aren't sure exactly what caused his TIA, but he's on the mend and home.
In addition to several things I learned about how hospitals/doctors/tests work (thanks Sarah!!!!), I learned that being on Coumadin and an aspirin regimin do not guarantee that you will not form blood clots.
If a person has a condition called Atrial Fibrillation, it means one of the chambers of your heart doesn't fully empty with every heartbeat. Then the person has a condition where that chamber acts very much like a storm cloud that is making hail.  A bit of blood is left behind after a heartbeat.  That blood might then connect and make a clot with the bit of blood leftover from the previous beat.  Coumadin and aspirin address this, but not 100%.  

The best news of all is that for all the tests Dad had, he's gotten a lot of information regarding his carotid arteries and the vessels in his brain as well.  He's very healthy.  
It was an unusual occurrence, but one we now know a great deal about.

On the topic of Blog Housekeeping:
Instead of reinstating the "Word Verification" to keep out spam, I have made it so I have to "moderate" comments before they are published on my blog.
I am certainly not getting a lot of traffic, just a tiny bit really.
However, I am getting legitimate bloggers that leave a cryptic note and then finish their comment with,
"Oh, and take a look at the townhome I own and would like you to rent".
What this means is, your comment, should you leave one will not be immediately published.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What Do TIA and FAST Stand For?

They are both acronyms
TIA means Transient Ischemic Attack, also known as a mini-stroke.
My father-in-love had one yesterday.
As of this morning, we still don't know where it occurred in his body.
It could have been in his brain or in his carotid artery.
He had 3 CT scans (another acronym--Computed Tomography--medicine is just full of them), 
with and without contrast.
As of 10pm last night, when he finally got into a room, we still didn't know a lot.
The only thing we know is that the use of his left arm, or lack thereof, was his one and only symptom.

What Dad did do was follow the advice of our other acronym.
To act FAST
(Face, Arm, Speech, Time)
The American Heart Association was nice enough to put together a little sign to demonstrate the meaning of FAST.
Dad had arm weakness.
He called us first and then called 911.

What I have learned in the last 12 hours:

1. You can leave a basket full of groceries at the grocery store and explain to the manager that your FIL is having a stroke and they'll send you on your way with a, "I'll be praying for him."

2. If you're racing somewhere in your car, someone can and will be going far below the speed limit---in front of you.

3. While my kids have always been wonderful and reliable, they will step up to the plate and take care of each other, the pets and the house when there is a crisis.  

4.  If you are taking coumadin for a previous heart surgery, you aren't a candidate for the "clot buster" they would normally give after any signs of a stroke.  Coumadin is a pretty darn fine clot buster, all on its own.  However, this makes treating a stroke terribly difficult.

5. If the hospital you're at does not have a neurologist on site, they might have a cool technology for video conferencing/video examination with a neurologist in Baltimore.
(High five to Eric's employer, Cisco, for inventing it!)

6. No matter how nice the hospital is and how nice the people are, there is a lot of "hurry up and wait". Unless you're bleeding out your eyeballs or something.  I'm guessing there's less waiting with that.

7. Different family members react differently to crisis.  Some ask too many questions.  Some whistle and tap fingers. Some ask no questions. Some watch and wait.  Some think about what we need to get done today.  Some think about what this could mean a week or month down the road.  Some spend a lot of time on the internet researching. Some don't care to know.  No judgement on my part, just an observation.

8. If you are taking more than one or two medications and have more than one or two doctors, it will make a visit to the ER much more productive if you have it all written down in your wallet.  
(High five to Mom and Dad!!)

9. Crisis causes deep, exhausted sleep or restless, worried sleep.
Again, no judgement.  The body takes care of itself.  Sometimes the mind chooses not to listen.

10.  The internet and cell phones/texting are wonderful inventions.  A prayer request went out to our church family within moments of Dad's call to me saying his left arm wasn't working.

Hopefully, today there will be more light shed on what has happened to Dad and what is next.
We do know there'll be rehab.  As the internist put it yesterday, "Intense physical and occupational therapy."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ninja Squirrels-Magic Feet

Every single person I know has feelings about squirrels.
Either they like them just fine, or they hate them with a purple passion.

Usually, those in the "hate" camp have good reason.
Squirrels like to nest indoors.
In your attic or in a hollow tree--makes no difference to a squirrel.
They do make large leaf nests if necessary, but hawks and owls tend to make quick meals of babies in those nests.

Back to your attic.
Not only do they make nests, but they make noise.
Particularly chewing noises.  
All day.
Their teeth grow all their lives and they need to keep them ground down.
They'll chew on wood, but they'll also chew on wires.
Before you know it, you have an electrocuted squirrel and a fire in your attic.
I can see why folks tend to dislike the little invaders.

photo credit: http://www.strangecosmos.com
But that's not why I'm here.
I'm in the "likes them just fine"camp.
I have no way for them to enter my attic (no trees nearby or downspouts), so I don't suffer from them taking up residence in my house.
Well, unless you count the fact that I bring them in on purpose.

I used to feed the birds----until my cat began using the feeder station as his own birdy buffet.
I loved the birds, but the squirrels were the ones that made me smile.
Some birders are driven to distraction by squirrels eating the bird food.
The market is full of Squirrel Proof Birdfeeders.
I found one that was $184!
I'm of the belief that all animals need to eat---why not squirrels?

Besides, with the ninja ability to hang upside down by their ankles, I don't think there really is any feeder that can keep them out.


Here, you can see the ginormous feet and toes on my oldest rehab baby.
One day, he'll be hanging from his toes eating something.  
He'll defy gravity and swallow his food--upside down.
But just how do squirrels manage their Tom Cruise-Mission Impossible moves?

They have magic feet.  
More particularly, they have magic ankles.
They can rotate their feet 180*.
It's like you turning your feet toward the back and walking the other way.
It's the thing that makes them able to climb down a tree as ably as they climb up.
They share this ability with raccoons, coatis and ringtails.

Whichever camp you fall in regarding squirrels, you have to admit it's a pretty cool trait to have.
Hanging by your toes, upside down and eating.
A whole new restaurant genre' could emerge.
It could save the economy.
It could create jobs.

I'll stop now.