Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday - Wednesday Alphabet...

My camera decided I needed to start another photo challenge. It knows that I need the practice and without an actual challenge to make me pick it up, I will find other things to do (it knows me so well). So, I noticed some people were photographing the alphabet and I figured that sounded like a super idea.
Kira has agreed to play along, (I think our cameras had their own Skype date, made their own plans, then put the idea in my head!) They're tricky like that.
This is what we/they came up with: Starting Sunday, which just happens to be today, we take a picture/pictures of the first letter in the alphabet and post it, then on Wednesday, we will post the next letter and so on until we come to Zzzz.
They decided this set-up would keep them happy and maybe we would get better..snicker!

Here is what I decided on for the letter A - Architecture

Be prepared for picture overload...I thought she might like to see Minneapolis's been awhile.


P.S. This is open to anyone else that would like to play along, just let me know and I will add your link.

Wednesday...the letter B

Friday, April 27, 2012

Linked 52 - Trees

I'm thinking that there are going to be some fabulous photos of beautiful trees from all the other ladies.

I've realized I am not a photographer, I just take photos for fun, which is okay with me. For this weeks word, I was looking around my yard and noticed that we have some sorry looking trees, oddly shaped, tilted, dead branches, so I decided to go with the odd, strange, non-perfect trees and find some damage to photograph.
Almost a year ago, we had a pretty nasty tornado rip though the area near me and even though some of the trees have been down, cut up in chunks, split and chipped, there are still a bunch of trees that are down, leaning, broken, and split that have been left to Mother Nature.
I took a little drive and photographed some of this left over damage. These are near Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden.

These following few are from shortly after the tornado, further north along the Mississippi River.
(I love this artwork someone left on one of the huge stumps)

You can just make out an island below, that used to be a Heron Rookery. The island was full of trees that were full of huge Heron nests that were full of baby Herons and their moms. Dads could be seen flying around looking for their families that were no longer there. It was so sad.

Click on the Linked 52 button above to check out everyone else's take on the word Trees!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gluten free...

About six weeks ago, I decided to stop eating anything with wheat for awhile, to see if the Fibromyalgia pain I have would be lessened. I've read a lot of articles and Googled Fibromyalgia with wheat, parvovirus, etc. to see what other people have to say about it and what works for them.
I don't take any drugs for it, but I do take a lot of supplements that really do work. I've thought many times that  they weren't working, so I stopped taking them, only to be in more pain until I started taking them again. It took me awhile to realize that I was feeling better because the supplements were working, not because I just didn't need them anymore.
I've read articles stating that gluten can cause muscle pain in some people, so I figured I would give it a try for awhile, because what do I have to lose, pain? that would be great!
I had already given up all artificial sweeteners, I don't drink soda, I rarely eat cookies, if I had any cake, it was without the frosting, any large amount of sugar makes me cranky and I simply can not eat chocolate! I turn into a raving bi__h...honestly, ask my family...they WILL tell you. Going gluten free was actually very easy. I don't miss it at all, and I haven't substituted gluten free breads, cookies, or pasta yet. I wanted to get the urge to eat bread and crackers out of my system before I started substituting with gluten free kinds.
I did buy a gluten free pizza crust a couple of weeks ago that was tasty, and I had this evening to myself, so I though I would try another one.

I found this in the freezer section of Cub Foods and it is very good. All pizza crusts are different, in taste, texture, thickness, some are good and some are not so good. I really like this one, and I can not tell that there is no gluten in it. It tastes like a homemade pizza crust.
I used a light Alfredo sauce, some shredded chicken from last nights dinner, torn, fresh spinach leaves, bacon bits and lots of mozzarella was so good. (sorry, my photo makes it look a little questionable)

Then, I made the mistake of buying a bag of cookies...that was stupid, I was doing just fine Not eating any.
I love spicy ginger cookies and these are scrumptious, crispy, spicy, sweet. 
Warning...donotbuythem, they are addicting!

I found several gluten free blogs and I think I may be brave enough now to try some of the recipes,
thank goodness I have a husband that will eat anything. The thing is though, without gluten, I have lost
five pounds, I don't have tummy bloat (well, not as bad) and I don't retain as much fluid anymore, and
I really do have more energy. Who would have thought, huh?
Oh, pain?? I still have pain, but at least now someone can touch me without causing me more pain, I can poke my thighs and there is no pain, I can squeeze my arms and there is just a little pain and my cat can stand on my legs and I don't wince.
This week was National Laboratory Week, and of course there was a lot of food. I was so good! 
I am happy :-)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Linked 52 - Growth

I had a difficult time thinking of something to write about for this word. I read the other blogs trying to get some inspiration.
My kids aren't little anymore,
I'm not going through any big personal growth,
I'm not in need of His help at the moment, even though I know He is with me at all times,
I have a yard full of things growing...ack!
I'm in a good place right now, life is going smoothly, peacefully, with no real ups or downs. All three of my children are now living away from home, two in different states. A little less than two years ago, my husband and I drove a U-Haul full of our son and his girlfriend's possessions to Cincinnati Ohio, got them settled, then took the Amtrak back home, packed up our daughter's car, then she and I drove to Phoenix Arizona where she had a zookeeper job at the Phoenix Zoo waiting for her. I got her settled then flew home. This all took place within nine days. Whew!

Less than one year later, our youngest son moved in with some friends for several months, then this past January, he and his girlfriend moved into a house they are renting.

I have accepted all of these changes with barely a tear...why no tears?! Cell phones and Skype. I text a lot with my daughter and have regular Skype dates with my son, and the youngest son we see often.
My husband's siblings are spread out all over the country and I remember telling him that I feared having my children move to a different state when they grew up. I really did not want that to happen, I want them close to me, I want to have them over for dinner, get togethers and bonfires, but what happened anyway?!?
Arizona is a Long way from Minnesota. Missouri (they moved again) is closer than Ohio, but still too far to just bop on up for a weekend.
I'm praying that they will both be able to move back sometime soon, or at least just one state away. I miss my babies!
So, after writing all this, I guess maybe there is some growth going on here, I've grown into an "Empty Nester", and it's okay, I'm okay.

They are all doing fine, fairly happy, Kira hates Arizona (too damn Hot), but the zoo is great, Andy doesn't care for Springfield, he's a chef and there aren't any high end restaurants there (he's not learning anything new at the one he's at), but he's there more for his girlfriend right now, Ethan is doing just fine.
So, I guess until something happens with one of them, I will just continue to grow into my job of wife...hmmm!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Linked 52-Work

We are in the process of getting a new LIS (laboratory information system) in the hospital lab where I work, so the excuse I have for not getting this done on Friday is...I have been really busy. I've been ordering lab tests on fake people, then entering low normal, normal, and high normal results into our new LIS to make sure the correct reference ranges are in and that they cross into EPIC correctly. The normal reference range for some tests are the same for everyone (males and females from birth on up), while other tests have a different reference range for different ages and sex, and each component of each test needs to have a result entered and verified, then entered onto a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is then our proof that the LIS has been tested and verified. Working as a Medical Laboratory Technician for the last 35 years, I know that we perform a great number of tests per day, and we take the LIS for granted as we all do with technology, so on the occasions that it is scheduled for maintenance or a squirrel chews through a major power cord (and dies a very quick death) or EPIC is down for one of the same reasons, we find out the hard way just how many tests we perform. (we have to call or fax every test to the units, which then slows down the turn around time and we get yelled at - literally yelled at).
Not all techs work in all departments, I am a two year tech and am not allowed to work in Blood Bank or Microbiology (even though I am able, my lack of a higher degree won't allow me). The departments I do work in are Hematology, Coagulation, and Urinalysis, and I am Lead Tech in the Sendout Department. This is the area in which I am doing the testing for our new LIS, and it is slow and tedious work, spent sitting in front of a computer, getting a headache.

This is dated March 29, because I used it for another post...I was blessed to get a second monitor, which
has made my work 100% easier. Now I can toggle between 2-3 pages/programs per monitor and not have to try and do it all on just one. hoo for me, that's my 'I'm sorry teacher, but my dog ate my homework' excuse. Not convincing?! about this...

I'm also trying to finish tiling the bathroom in my basement, I have all the tile in, and Monday I'm going to grout. Then I'll install the trim and bead board, paint it and the walls, then my hubby will put in the sink,
toilet, medicine chest and lights. It all sounds so simple, but it takes forever when we only get time to
work on it after dinner.

Then, there are my gardens that are going to take a TON of work to clean up. I don't clean my gardens
in the fall, I leave them until spring (the plants have a little extra cover for the winter this way). I was taking a break Sunday from all the work I have to do, (and a whopper of a headache that kept me home from church), I wandered around my yard and took some pictures...this kind of work was a lot more fun.

Click on Linked 52 above and check out everyone else's take on Work.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Linked 52 - Excitement

This may seem like an odd thing to be excited for, or you may think and feel the way I do...let's just see.

We used to have a great big Box Elder tree that gave shade to a good chunk of our back yard. Over the years, we've watched it slowly die, rotting from the inside out. My husband and youngest son attempted to cut it down, but they only had partial luck, (neither of them wanted to climb inside the tree and try to drop those huge limbs) so we ended up paying someone to take down just the branches, leaving us with a large, dead, tree trunk.

Now, we're very 'Green' around here, re-using as much as we can for some other project. I just knew we would be able to do something with this trunk. After much thinking, planning and talking, we decided to leave it alone, let the bark fall off and make it the starting point of a pond.
This has worked out very well and has led to more thinking, planning and talking, so we have added some chicken wire up one side for a Clematis to grow on, and plant hangers for bird feeders.

But the most exciting thing that has happened to this poor, dead, tree trunk, is the squirrels.

Last year, a squirrel (maybe two) decided to make a nest for her babies in our hollowed out tree.
I love watching squirrels interact with my collie, I love watching adolescent squirrels chase each other up and down and around and around, but OMG, baby squirrels are the cutest little things and are just a hoot to watch. We would stand at an upstairs window (about the same height as the branch they were on) and watch them play and fight and bat at each other. The poor exhausted mom squirrel would run out on the branch, put her paws on the a naughty one until he was settled down, then run back to the nest to rest.
I am really, really excited to see them again, and although we aren't positive one has made a nest, we have seen them in and out of the holes, and heard strange noises coming from the tree.

I'm crossing my fingers that pretty soon there will be all sorts of activity out on the limbs once again.

Click on Linked 52 above and see all the other talent and their take on the word Excitement!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Linked 52 - Planning

I have been extra busy at work lately and we are trying to get our basement done before another year goes by.

David finished sanding the sheetrock, then we rolled on a coat of primer.
I've had the bathroom wall tile for months and was able to start putting it up on Saturday. I had hoped to either finish or get a lot done on Sunday, but we ended up spending a couple hours going from Menard's to The Home Depot, then back to Menard's to pick out the flooring we wanted. It's like linoleum, but needs no adhesive, just cut it to fit and install the molding. I don't have a sample of the one we ordered, but it is a light tan/grey oak (looks like hardwood flooring). We wanted something that wasn't horribly expensive (it's a basement - an OLD basement), something that could withstand a possible cat accident, something that wouldn't mold or mildew and something that was NOT carpet. I think this will work out very nicely.
I got ceramic tile for the bathroom floor in shades of cream/tan/brown/grey, which goes nicely with the flooring for the main room.
Cream subway tiles in a vertical design will be in the tub surround.
Obviously, the tub, sink and toilet are 1950's blue. Yes, we actually hunted these down. Most people get rid of these as soon as they can, but I march to a different drummer, and thank goodness I have a husband that trusts my tastes.
I found material for the shower curtain in a blue/brown/cream batik design.
I'm going to put bead board on the walls about 2/3 of the way up and paint it cream.
The walls about the bead board will be a darker color in the brownish tones.
We also found an old medicine chest and wall sconces that keep with the era.
I'm very excited to get it finished...hopefully by the end of the week, (well, at least the tiling will be done by then).