Monday, July 27, 2009

Why didn't I do this before? I wish YOU were here with me today.

I did something wonderful today, quite by accident actually. And I need to stop and do it more often.

We stayed the night at Jer's after our ByrdDay celebration. Nicole let me take some baby plant starts and seeds from her garden. So I was out planting them. It was a pretty nice July day but I was getting a little hot. I had driven to the backside of our pond on our Hog (like a John Deere Gator).

I sat down on the grass under an elm tree we had planted. After 10 years, it has gotten big enough for a little bit of shade. I was just messing with the seed and throwing the seeds out.

Suddenly, my eyes really opened to what I was looking at, where I was, and what the Lord had blessed me with. You can look at something like this in your life every day, but yet never SEE it.

Growing up as a Desert Rat in the Imperial Valley, CA, this would have been a dream, a piece of heaven, and yet there it was in front of me. Although I am retired, I just am always working trying to keep up with my babies (my pets) and the house and the yard. Work, work, work, clean, clean, clean, poop patrol, poop patrol.

But you never take time to smell the roses, as it is said.

We built our pond 11 summers ago and have 9 lb (average) catfish, bass, hybrid blue gills bigger than your whole hand, and Indiana crappies. We had fed our fish from the dock before I drove to the other side. The catfish and bass were eating and splashing the water. Dragonflies were darting everywhere.

I was sitting in the middle of my flowers and a large amount of 'Queen Anne's Lace'. It's a weed in Indiana but it's a beautiful flower to me. My Mom had told me about Queen Anne's Lace and it always reminds me of her. I could see Dane's Rocket, a pink wildflower here and a precious little plant called 'Butter & Eggs' that is blooming in one of the pictures.

A cool breeze was blowing as I was beginning to cool off. Then my big dogs were swimming in the pond and had come up to sit by me. What a great moment the Lord had made me stop and SEE.

I took pictures to share with you. I hope you take a minute to look around at what you have around you today. I was surprised and so blessed by what I experienced. You will be, too.
Trix through the 'lace'

Our pond. Bloomfield, IN

Roxanne our GSD, and Liana. Liana is a lab/golden mix (an official LGX) bred by CCI and born in Santa Rosa, CA.

Queen Anne's Lace

The dogs and the 'Hog'

Pink coneflowers on the left, Dusty Miller is the white stuff, The small yellow flower is Butter & Eggs, and Dane's Rocket on the right.

Trixie by the dock.

My Liana

Byrd Day Celebration

Larry, me, our oldest James & Tonya, youngest Jeremy & Nicole

Us at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. We did a decent job of surprising Larry. He said one time that he's like his boys to take him there for his 60th. Luckily, he forgot and we all met at Indy. The food was the best I've ever tasted and the service was elegant. It was something we won't forget. Thanks kids! Wed he will be 60 and I will be 58. We were 21 and 19 when we met in San Diego!!! All due to Dicky!

Monday, July 20, 2009

To my Cousins, Stevensons, Thomas, and Ogan

Dad's sister Iris' family in Yuma around 1955

Dad's sister Ina Mae's family around 1955 or so. Dad got his movie camera at Christmas 1955. There are Roy & Ina with toddler Theresa and baby Bruce in Banning. I am playing with Theresa & Bruce and Uncle Roy is goofing around in our yard and you see Mom. Older Thomas family.

Uncle Jim, Aunt Juanita, baby Linda Lee (named for Dad), David & Debbie at Grandma's house. Uncle Jim hitting a baseball, Geneva Mae on last of video.

For my Family and cousins

Here are some views of our family from my Dad's 8mm movie camera. Here are Grandpa Charles Edwin Stevenson and Grandma Geneva Jane (Wait) Stevenson. My parents had just come in and we surprised them with a 25th anniversary party. You will see Geneva & Jimmy and Grandma and Grandpa in it.

Baby Beki and shots of Geneva & Richard at their home on 'D' St.

Becky and the Brownie camera, Mom

Jimmy in uniform before going to Viet Nam. Becky adored him but she didn't want anything to do with him in his uniform. Good shot of Mom holding Becky.

Jimmy boarding the Bonanza for Viet Nam. The day I saw my Daddy cry.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

For Nancy, Jamie and the 57, Gail Fowlkes Garcia, Pete and Johnny

Yeh, Nancy, my folks were real nice, yet very strict. I was raised strict and had real solid rules and unbendable curfews.

Jamie and his 57 Chevy.

I made this for Gail.

Dad & Jimmy.```````````````````````````rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Geneva & Richard, friend Mary Kennerson, Pete & Gail (Fowlkes) Garcia and baby Johnny.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Video Memories of my Folks

July, 20th, Happy 68th Anniversary Mom & Dad. In memory. Lee & Flossie were married July 20th, 1941. They passed away before their 45th anniversary and have been gone now since 1986.

On their 28th anniversary (and a month and a half after I graduated from Imperial High School) there was the moon landing. I went outside with Mom. I don't know what I expected to see. Honestly, did I think I'd see them on the surface up there? No idea. There was a heavy haze ring around the moon. We didn't see that much in the desert and it seemed so strange. Just a special moment with them in the front yard on Imperial Ave.

Mom's Mother was only a couple of years older than my Dad. The Warners had come to the Imperial Valley as dust bowl Okies escaping the dust bowl of Oklahoma. Mom was a toddler then and My grandma told my Dad, "Lee, I'm saving this one for you". And Dad waited and when Mom was about 15 or so began a penpal long distance relationship with her. When she was 16, Dad went to Oklahoma and they got married.

I think it was the first time they had met face to face as adults. A story is the wedding party threw them in a creek in celebration. My Mom's sister, Maxine, said she was 'so mad at ol' Lee Stevenson' for taking her sister away. Mom was the oldest of 6 at the time. Eventually there were 10 living kids for the Warners (a son before Mom had died from whooping cough vaccination according to Grandma Iva Mae). A cousin of Mom's, Carlene Tilson, told me that they considered Mom a movie star in their eyes for marrying and going off to California.

Another story is that they were given a mattress for a wedding present and put it on top of the car. What a sight that must have been!

Give your Mom and Dad a hug or a call today if you still have them here.

My familytree history has 3000 members listed and is on

These films are 3rd generation copies, from 8 mm to VHS tape to just shooting them off the tv screen with a digital camera. The quality is not good but I am thankful to have them and to share.
25th Surprise Anniversary Party. They had never had a real wedding cake
Jimmy home on leave. I think this was right before he left for Viet Nam. It shows all of us, Richard & Geneva and Becky was a toddler.

This one is my favorite of Mom. She hated this little clip of film. But I love it because it shows her sweet personality and funny side. It also shows Geneva in her Easter dress, bratty me, and Jimmy carrying a box. The peacocks had escaped from the Fairgrounds and we were trying to catch them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So you think you want Bariatric Surgery? My journey

Day before surgery. My faith coat I bought on sale. It was a small. I could not get both arms in it.
Aug 08 4 months post op with Roxanne. If I learn more about this thing, I'll put these in order.

Aug 22 08, my first wild pair of pants with no elastic. Size 16.

Christmas 08 You are supposed to lose weight for 12-18 months, then you are on your own with diet and exercise. I only lost for 7 months and it quit. But my body and fat keep shrinking. This is size 10.

Nov 08 with the apron Charlotte made me.

November 08

Me and my friend, Beth Clark, around Sept 08. I think I looked my healthiest about this time.

One year picture. Size 8/10 for jeans, but draw backs like wrinkled skin and no hair.

I got my faith coat on in one year. It was snug but I got it zipped.

Day before surgery. I am built like my Dad and sister, Geneva. Bigger on top, no butt, no legs. My stomach was like a very hard, huge basketball, for years.

Oct 08, 7 months post op by our pond

Christmas 07. I had not thought yet to check into surgery. I had my information seminar 1/27/08 and was scheduled for surgery and cleared with insurance for 4/2/08. They zoomed all the paperwork through due to my diabetes.
On 7/17 I added a note about the expense of it that I had not talked about before.

I had a Bariatric Reux n Y procedure on 4/2/08. I weighed about 220. My highest weight ever has been 238. I had a severe case Type II Diabetes. I was taking 112 U of Lantux and various amounts of Novalog with each meal, meaning 5-7 shots a day. Still my sugar was running 250-300. My HA1c was 11.5 which is nearly as high as it rates.
Would I recommend Bariatric surgery for losing weight? Never. It is too dangerous.
Would I recommend it if you had Type II Diabetes or other health problems? Don't give it another thought, get it done. I wish I had done it years ago. I never considered it.

A Reux n Y procedure bypasses 2 ft of colon and something about it cures diabetes in almost every person. Most by the time they stay in the hospital overnight. I was taken off insulin at 7 weeks post op. At one year I was released by my Diabetic Dr because he had no reason to see me anymore. My sugar is normal, no meds, and my HA1c is 6.1.

Good points? It feels priceless to purchase and wear a pair of pants with no elastic for the first time in decades. It feels priceless to buy and wear a belt for the first time since having your first child who is now 36.

Depressing points? If you have it done in your 20's, 30's, or even 40's, you look years younger immediately. But in your 50's you have such issues with crinkling, crepe-y skin (as you have seen on tv) that is makes you very depressed. If you think you are embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit when you feel fat??? It's nothing compared to not wanting people to see your skin that looks like a 90 year old. Last summer I was starting to feel good about being in a suit, thinking, Wow, next year I have to buy a new one in a smaller size? But then, you have upper arms that flap in the wind, a mid section (your 'apron') that you can pull out about a foot in front of you, and your knees need a 'knee lift'. You no longer wear sleeveless things because it's disgusting to show your arms.

They tell you at surgery that no amount of exercise or creams or anything but plastic surgery will do anything to this excess skin. They weren't kidding.

I am at 151 and stable. I looked healthier around 167. But after that my friends started getting on to me about being too thin, etc. But you aren't in control of this until your body tells you it quits. About 6 mo ago I started shrinking in my face and it got crepe-y too. I feel like I have aged 20 years in the last 6 months.
Oh, also, everyone's hair falls out at 6 months. Some people get it all back but most have much thinner hair, even if it was thick before surgery. Mine was thin like my sister's and my Mom's so it is still real thin.

It is hard work. You get very hungry and then you eat one bite and are full. You cannot have soda before surgery or until at least 3 months post op. Or caffeine or smoke. Caffeine or cheating with sugar make you sick to your stomach forever. So it's not an easy solution. But if you are sick and going to die if you don't have some changes, it is worth it.

When a beautful young overweight woman says, Oh, I'd like to have that done to lose weight! I just say, Then first take a look at my butt with sagging skin, then you decide. It's not a pretty sight.

Yes, there is good and bad. But I don't think I would be here today if I had not gotten it done. And I thank Dr. Gupta at St. Vincent's at Carmel in Indianapolis for doing a great job. Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. The Cost : The average cost is $25K for the surgery. You must be prepared to need an entire new wardrobe about 4 months out, from coats to shoes. There are some ways online to trade off your clothes with other weight loss surgery patients. I do that but gave my clothes away and tried buying new ones on sale.
They tell you that you must commit to taking a multiple vitamin a day for the rest of your life. I thought, Oh goody, no problem. I'll just take a Gummy every day. Well, that does not count. Only 3 Flintstone's Complete or generic equivalent. Or bariatric chewable vitamins which are very expensive. Plus you need Vitamin D every day.
Your stomach opening is the size of an aspirin so you must take chewables, liquids, or powders. also much take B12 sublingual weekly or a monthly shot. Plus B1 every week at least.
The hardest thing is calcium. It must be a certain kind, 1500 mg a day and you can't take pills because they are huge. Bariatric has chewables but they make you gag, or at least it did me. There are bariatric powders to put in drinks but they are very bitter. It says tasteless and orderless but they are bitter.
Your tastes are in a constant state of change. I went through periods where fruit Jello tasted wonderful. For a long time, a cookie with fiber I made. Right now I want a berry, and blueberry, strawberry or any kind of berry each day. So you might do good with a certain vitamin at one time, then cannot endure the smell or taste of it later. So it's really hard to get the vitamins and calcium down.
Just a note.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We went to see Walking with Dinosaurs at Conseco Field, Indy

It was well worth seeing the life size dinos. Huge roars. The narration and effects were somewhat boring though. Sorry I look so very old in the pics, but I do.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Zoo

My Zoo. They keep me going. They are my loves. Flossie is named for my Mom.

Mignon and beloved, goofy Sanjaya. He flew away due to accidental handling by me. I miss him. They are blue Quaker parrots, female and male, and I hoped so much to raise some.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Badlands

Our 2 boy's families, plus Darrell's (who we call the third son) and us went 4 wheeling this weekend at the Badlands in Attica, In. What a place! An old rock quarry area turned into a total 4 wheel place for SUV's ATV's and dirt bikes. The dunes were awesome, very tall, and made with pea gravel, not sand like at home. Without the trees, it looked just like the Imperial Valley. Then, as all desert dwellers would love, we had a creek we could drive in full length. So beautiful, like heaven, only a rougher drive I'm sure. Beautiful flowers in bloom. It was just full of people and reminded you of a weekend at Glamis. Highly recommended. It's about 30 min from Purdue.