Thursday, July 31, 2008

Please pray for Jill & Greg

This is a relative of one of my "online friends". Here is the initial request for prayer back in January:

I am asking for prayers, positive thoughts, good vibes and cards of encourgement, hope and comfort.

My Sister In Laws SIL was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer while she was pregnant. Following a C-Section in late September where she delivered a beautiful (and thankfully, healthy) baby girl (her second) she had surgery to remove her kidney. Everything seemed to be fine but one week ago she was back in the doctor's office not feeling well ... days later she was in surgery where they opened her abdomen again- this time vertically and horizontally. They discovered and removed 6 tumors within her abdomen and one tumor on her ovary ... all cancerous. It was also discovered that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. The most devastating news is this particular kind of cancer is very aggressive and fast growing and does NOT respond to traditional chemo and radiation.

Jill and Greg are a young couple with two baby girls ... 2 1/2 and 3 months old. They are both sweet and loving people ... I am personally shattered at this news. It seems incredibly unfair. Jill has such grace about her ... she continues to hold onto hope and all she asks for are prayers and positive thougths.

Please will you lift them up in prayer? If you are not the praying kind will you send out positive thoughts and positive vibes?

And, here is today's update:
Jill was rushed to the ER tonight. Her hemoglobin dropped dangerously low apparently and she became terribly weak and sick. She will be taken to another hospital tomorrow by ambulance once she is stablilzed and I don't know what's going to happen after that.

Continued prayers are appreciated....

Thanks for joining in the prayers for this family.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


People have asked me how Phil is doing, so thought I should do an update. He is still hurting, but he is not groaning & moaning every time he takes a step or sits down. It mainly hurts really badly when he coughs or sneezes. He only took the one day off and has been able to get up & go to work each day, which is good. Since he now works with friends, they know him well and are quick to tease. Yesterday one of them was talking about not forgetting how to do something and used the old phrase, "It's like riding a bike. You never forget how to do it." Then added, tongue in cheek, "Except for you, Phil. You fall off the bike & break a few ribs."

I am finishing some paperwork for our new insurance that I somehow missed sending in last week. After that we should be covered by Well-Med completely.

Saturday is Bethany's Nancy Drew Birthday Party. We have a lot to do to get ready. Today we need to run some errands and work on cleaning our dining room table, which also serves as Bethany's art studio, Natalie's collection area, a cupboard for things that no one else in my family seems to know how to put away, the mail room, and anything else that comes along. In my NEXT house I want a table JUST for eating! In this house there is only one place for a table, so we work at this one as well as eat.

In my weird dream world, last night I dreamed that I was going into 6th grade. I was going to be home schooled but in this area, you had to go to school the first day for testing or something. I kept asking my parents to call & find out why I had to go to school, but they never did, so I just walked to the school to find out. I never could find anyone to ask & ended up riding a school bus back home. I was an ADULT in the dream! LOL!

Off to run errands & get busy for the day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bethany's Birthday Art!

It is officially Bethany's 12th birthday. I will post later about the birthday, but want to share some artwork with you. Bethany has been drawing since I can remember. She has held her pens & pencils in a fairly normal way from preschool. It just comes naturally to her. Her printing, however, is nothing to write home about. She has told me, "I can write better, I just don't want to." THAT is why we are still working on cursive because it's much better than her printing! Anyway, her art has always been fun for me to see. She's developed a very cartoonish style of art. We have a friend about her age who also has a gift for art, but draws very realistic pictures. It's just fun to watch their styles even at this young age.

Without further adieu, here are 4 pages of pictures she doodled tonight. She did ask me how to spell embarrassing but I can never remember if it's 2 r's & 2 s's (which I know it is now thanks to spell check!), so I didn't tell her. Thus, her creative version. I love the baby fish saying, "Hewo!" and the horse realizing he's in the wrong place. She has a cute sense of humor. I honestly am not sure who or what all the drawings are, or why there is a hamster in a picture with Sponge Bob characters. The autistic mind is something I can't quite grasp! Nor the ARtistic mind!

Oh, wait, I said without further adieu. I lied. Here you go!

Editing this to say I totally missed the turtle daydreaming about being in a hammock! That cracked me up!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tarzan the Monkey Man

Anyone remember that line? Well, my 51 year old husband, 2 days prior to trying to be Evil Kinevil, thought he would be Tarzan. This picture isn't the best as it's been cropped so you could see him. This is at a place called Krause Springs outside of Dripping Springs which is outside of Austin! It's a natural spring fed pool. Natalie tried it, too, but I don't think there's a picture of her doing this. Bethany & I were swimming around, so Grandma (Ruth, Phil's mom) was trying to figure out how to use the camera. I think she did a pretty good job for never having touched this crazy contraption we have!

We saw these huge trees that we assume are Cypress trees. For US they seem huge. Maybe not so much for those of you who have real trees. We don't have real trees here, we have tall shrubs. San Antonio is not big tree friendly, I guess. Anyway, we found this one that was hollowed out. You can see the girls standing in it. I can just hear Giselle from Enchanted, after being asked if she needed a place to sleep, saying, "I don't know. Maybe a nearby meadow or a hollow tree." Robert then asks, "A hollow tree?" Giselle's reply, "Or a house full of dwarves. I hear they're very hospitable."

We must resemble the famous dwarves from Snow White, as Natalie has referred to us as Bashful (Bethany), Sleepy (Mommy), Grumpy (Daddy) and Sneezy (Natalie). Daddy says she is the 8th dwarf, Clumsy.

Good night!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Would you like some BBQ sauce with those ribs?

Last night when I was trying to find info about "Severed Ribs" all I got were articles on how to butcher a cow or pig! I think we might need to have some BBQ ribs in honor of Phil. I'll be sure the ones he gets are cracked.

Joking aside, he did NOT go to the hospital after all. I took him to the imaging center where they did some ct scans higher in the rib cage. In addition to the severed rib, he has 2 more that are "just" cracked. The doctor said that even with the one that is severed, there is nothing they can do for it. He said it will realign itself in time. Phil did get a "rib band" to try to hold it in and keep the pain down some. He coughed tonight & scared us as he yelled, "I HATE COUGHING!" When he was through, he said, "I'm not mad at you. It just hurts to cough." Poor guy.

He & my dad drove out to Boerne to retrieve the motorcycle. Wish we'd had a "Get out of jail free" card, but no such luck. They brought it home and Phil fixed the chain so they could roll it down the ramp. With the chain off the tires wouldn't turn, so it had to be lifted into the trailer. THEN, I found out that Phil had the nerve to RIDE it down the street & back. I told him it's a good thing we signed a hefty life insurance policy on him if he's going to keep this up. Alas, I knew I married a "high risk" husband when he took me up in small planes on our second date. I do believe I felt safer in a small plane than on the back of a motorcycle, though.

As for the rest of us, we are just tired & cranky. This is Bethany's birthday week. I don't have the energy to get excited about doing something fun on her b-day & haven't even sent out invites for her party, which we plan to have on the 2nd. I'm still trying to figure this all out. I do know they are going to be before midnight tonight!

Thanks for continued prayers as he heals up. And for a 2 x 4 to knock him "upside the head" with a bucket full of sense! LOL!

And for those who wondered, the Taco Bell manager called & they have a dollar for Phil. tee-hee.

Update on Phil

Tonight Phil went to Tex. Med clinic. They sent him for CT scan, which showed some fluid around lung, which just meant he bruised the lung. Couldn't tell if anything was broken. So, back to the clinic for x-rays. His 4th rib is severed & separated. The dr. told him to go to the ER & admit himself, but then called & said wait til morning. The dr. had called the hospital & they were so busy it was a 6 hr. wait. So, Phil is to call the dr. or the dr. will call him in the morning. The dr. said he couldn't believe Phil was walking around like this. He's being sent to N. Central Baptist, where they should know us by name in the ER. I don't think we've ever been admitted there other than through the ER. This might be a first.
I told my Mother in law she'd love this next part. He had not eaten supper. The girls went with me to a PC meeting at a restaurant & we were going to bring home supper for him. Well, he wasn't even home when we left, so we didn't do that. I talked to him a few times & the last time he was at Taco Bell arguing with the manager b/c they short changed him by a dollar! They've messed up our orders so many times that he was just ticked about it. She wouldn't give him the lousy dollar! He's a good German boy! LOL!
So, for now, we'll just wait for morning. He's eating & has good pain meds. I will likely take him to the hospital.
Oh, he filed a Geico claim tonight, and gave them the United insurance info. I TOLD him to check on Well-med insurance today at work & he didn't. GRRRR! I'm pretty sure this injury isn't going to be done by July 31st, AND we have a $2K deductible with United, then 80/20. Geico will pay up to $2k I think, but it's reimbursement. I will call the employee benefits person tomorrow. He is SUPPOSED to be covered from Day 1, but of course we aren't actually enrolled. The accident was pre-employment, but the doctor visit was during employment. I'm too tired to figure it all out right now. I was at 3 different outdoor things today & I stink. I'm going to take a shower. I'm sure you all are glad I shared that with you!
Will update when we know more.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What Happened???

This evening the girls & I got home about 5:30 or so. Not long after we got here, Phil called. He asked, "What are you doing?" That was an odd thing to ask, as he was out riding his motorcycle today coming home from his mom's. I told him, then asked, knowing this was not a normal call, "What happened?" I can't even remember his exact words, but it was something like, "I laid the bike down." I had learned that "laying down the bike" doesn't mean you just lay it down for the fun of it. It means you wrecked. I asked if he was okay & he said, "Yes, but can you bring some large bandages?" Um, being "okay" doesn't normally mean "Bring large bandages." We figured out where he was (yea for mapquest) & left to go find him. Here's the story.

He was riding in the country & took a right turn, but turned way too wide & ended up in the "shoulder" or the oncoming lane. First, that in itself could have been a catastrophe. The "shoulder" was gravel (it was in the country). His rear tire "gripped" and he hit the accelerator (I don't think he meant to do that as hard as he did). The bike shot out---he went off to the right & the bike went off to the left & fell over. He tumbled head over heels for me. Oh, sorry, that was a long time ago. He just tumbled head over heels. He had on his expensive riding jacket and his full face helmet. By the grace of God those protected him. He scraped his elbow just below where the jacket shielded his elbow. If he'd had on just a t-shirt, we think he'd be in the hospital waiting for reconstructive surgery. If he'd not had on a helmet, well, he'd probably be dead or in very serious condition. Also, by God's grace, there was a truck driver right there in a delivery truck. It's Sunday. It was in the country. There were NO drivers anywhere near there when I drove by to see where it happened. The truck driver sat there for some time, as if he needed to decide which way to go. He saw Phil fall & helped him get the bike standing upright again. The sheriff then came out after Phil called, and he called a tow truck. The sheriff stayed with him til the tow truck arrived. I asked if they sat in the car where it was cool. No. Oh, I guess he wanted to save gas money. No, he left the car running! Probably some law about people being in the car. Who knows!

Phil has pretty good scrapes on his knee & below his elbow, but the worst part is that he is VERY sore on his left side. I wonder if he bruised something inside. No cuts or anything on the back (his jacket didn't fare so well). I'll put some Pain-a-trate on it tonight (melaleuca's stuff like ben gay) if he'll let me.

Now, I don't know if you've made the connection, but tomorrow is his first day on the new job. Yep, it is. He will be hobbling into work, I suspect. Egads---if he'd been really hurt, our insurance would have ended on the 31st this month & he wouldn't have started his new job, so no new insurance. Wow, another praise.

On the way home, there was a bicycle rider at the top of a hill we were approaching. I slowed down b/c Natalie, the backseat driver, told let me know there was a bike rider there. Phil said, "He's on the other side. You can speed up." I just said, "I don't think you have room to talk. You are in no position to tell ME how to drive!" and he laughed.

He is very sore. He doesn't think he's broken anything, but is definitely bruised somewhere inside. I might have to help him get dressed for work.

It's not how I planned to spend my Sunday evening, nor is it how he planned to spend the night before starting a new job. I think the worst of it is that one of his co-workers (since he knows them already) told him a few weeks ago that his wife wouldn't "let him get a motorcycle." I told Phil I never realized I could have had that much sway! This guy will surely remind Phil that is WHY he doesn't ride them!

Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you that both the sheriff and the tow truck driver, both motorcycle riders, regaled Phil with stories of their accidents.

Off to iron some slacks. Pray for Phil to feel better!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Daddy's little girl

I think these pictures will speak for themselves. Real men let their daughters do things they never would admit! Yes, this guy rides a sport motorcycle that can go, well, too fast for me to actually post. Natalie was the culprit here. 'Nuff said.

Trust me, his toenails look better painted. You won't see any other foot pics of him!

Blast from the Past

Phil just found an old picture of when he & some friends went on a BSF retreat. I think it was actually just friends from BSF who went camping. Hmmm, he stopped doing that (camping) once we were married. Anyway, this is from the days of being skinny. I cropped it so it's just him.

Wanna see a picture of him now? Let me go find one. You have to realize, we are much older and heavier. Okay, are you ready?

Are you sure?

Here you go:

LOL! Sorry, that's just his political affiliation! This is a real picture. This was on Mother's Day & it's about the only picture we have of him this year. There will be another shot of him but it's not a head shot, so this will have to do.

Good night!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A big change for us

That should say a big change for Phil, but it will affect us as well. He is starting a new job Monday at Well-Med, which is a doctor owned HMO/Health Insurance plan. When he got the job at United Health Group/United Health Care, it was a job he had been in previously, but worked for IBM and the company was then called Pacificare. One of his former co-workers told him about the job before it was ever listed anywhere, and Phil was able to interview & get that job. That co-worker, along with one other, decided to go work for Well-Med. A third co-worker stayed at UHG until early this year when he went to Well-Med. For nearly as long as Phil has been at UHG, the co-workers now at Well-Med have been telling him to come work with them. Recently they told him again to apply with them for an opening. He did, and his "interview" consisted of, "I trust Ray's (former co-worker) opinion. When do you want to start?" When we looked at the premiums for insurance coverage, we knew we couldn't make it on what they were offering to pay, so Phil asked for more & they said yes. In the long run, we'll have more money because our healthcare costs will be less. United has been a good company to work for, but the insurance has not been that great financially.

I asked Phil what his boss said when he told him. Phil said that he wanted to counter offer with more money! He really wanted Phil to stay. Phil sent him a thank you note (the boss lives in a different state) and got a very kind reply saying they'd really miss him. Today the boss sent out a note to several employees & I want to share this with you:

"It's with a heavy heart that I'm writing to let all of you know that Phillip Garrison has decided to take another position outside of UHG. Today is his last day. Phillip's been with UnitedHealth Group for almost exactly 2 years, but I've only had the good fortune of knowing him for the past 6 months, since the R7 team formed. Phillip's work ethic and great attitude will definitely be missed as he moves on to work at another company with a group of friends. Good luck in the future Phillip!"

I was really impressed with that! Phil is the last person in the world to boast about any talents he has. He's a perfectionist, which means he's not content often because no one is perfect! He's also not a "go-getter." He is an analyzer. He is a thinker. But when he has his mind set to something, he knows what he is going to do and does it. It's just the "getting there" that takes him a while. There have been times when people have seen him as lazy because he doesn't get up & go. And there have been times when he NEEDED to get up & go and didn't, but what people don't often see is that getting things done when they need to be done, and doing them WELL. There's never a "just get it done & be finished" mentality. When things get done, they get done very well. I think the words "work ethic" and "great attitude" speak volumes of what kind of worker he is.

He had a tiny bit of Paid Time Off left over, so his last day was today, but he will get paid through tomorrow, then take Thursday & Friday off. We'll go up to his mom's house on Thursday (the girls are at her house for Vacation Bible School this week). The closing program is on Friday & he's never been able to go to that. It will be a nice little break before starting on a new job.

Next comes the big part for me to deal with----all the changes in doctors! I've had to get a new primary care doctor recently, so I'm not set on having her as my PC dr. I AM concerned with the girls not being able to go to our pediatric office. Hopefully I'll find out more soon. We still have coverage with United through the end of July, so if they need to be seen we can still go to the pedi clinic til then.

I'll let you know next week how it goes!

Monday, July 7, 2008

All I have to do is dream, dream, dream......

Okay, fess up here. How many of you remember the song "All I have to do is dream...."? I'm pretty sure it was out in the 50's then maybe a Donny Osmond remake in the 70's. That song just came to mind as I have had more of my wacky dreams.

A few nights ago I had a rather short but interesting dream. I was walking along a road somewhere, and I know others were with me, but not sure who they were. I was kind of waving good-bye to a car after talking to the person inside of it. The passenger? George Bush! I don't know WHICH GB it was, but it was one. Next, a well-dressed (suit & tie) man came walking along the road with a group of other well-dressed people & possibly some bodyguards or something. The man was Obama. I walked up to him & shook his hand (obviously the guards weren't doing their job! LOL!). He smiled and said, "You must be one of my supporters." I smiled back & said, "No, I'm a Bush supporter. But it's still very nice to meet you." When I woke up I remember wondering why I had said Bush supporter & no current candidate. Oh, maybe b/c I don't care for any of the current candidates! But, I would still shake their hands!

At MIL's house one night I guess I was dreaming that Bethany was standing by our bed, on Phil's side, and tossed something towards the closet, which was by my side of the bed. I sat up & thought Bethany was in bed next to me. I asked, "Bethany are you okay?" At some point I woke up, not sure if it was before or after I said that, and Phil was there. I think I actually asked that question outloud to Phil, but he was asleep. WEIRD!

Last night was the doozy. It was a long run-on dream (like a run-on sentence, but in picture form!). The first part I recall was Becky (my niece---I think she was jealous that I mentioned her brother, so she jumped into my dreams---hee-hee) and either her husband or some random guy, were in a room. I asked, "Are you still doing Pampered Chef?" They both said yes. Then, we decided we would all go to the PC conference (which is happening, in real life, next week). I kept trying to get on a train or plane or something to get to Chicago, but never could get there that way. In the next part I was in Chicago "magically" and kept kind of showing up at random spots. This was nothing like Chicago at all, but it was supposed to be. That whole part of the dream was so strange.

The next part was also with Becky. She was wearing an outfit, like a swimsuit, made entirely out of pony tail holders all joined together. They were pastel (in case you wondered). She was going to watch the girls for me. For some reason, she was on one side of a glass showcase & I was on the other. Part of it was broken, so glass was in the middle. I was trying to crawl through it to get to her side without getting cut. There was a DOOR or hallway or something right next to this showcase, so I have no idea why I was trying to go through it.

The rest is really vague, but I remember trying to have Christmas at my parents' old house at Canyon Lake. My brother at one point was in his fancy Methodist Preacher garb & when I asked him about something, he got really mad & yelled at me. It was so unlike him that it scared me in the dream & made me really sad & want to cry.

Some people dream about really cool stuff. I dream about my family yelling at me, wearing weird clothing & crawling through glass cases! Maybe tonight I'll just sleep with no dreams. That would be nice!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

MIL's, Hills, Pills, Thrills, Nils

Happy 5th of July! Hope all of you had a spectacular Independence Day!

MIL's: We came to MIL's (that's cyber talk for Mother In Law's---in case you wondered!) on Thursday night. Thankfully it was not as eventful as the last time we came here (no fires!).

Hills: If you've never been to this part of Texas, the "Hill Country" is a really pretty area. I often wonder what people think of when they hear "Texas" and they live somewhere far, far away from here. Do they picture all of us on horses with flatlands everywhere? Or oil wells just waiting to be used again? Or....or....or....WHAT??? THIS part of Texas has rolling hills surrounding rivers and lakes. It's a summer vacationer's paradise. Phil's folks bought this property many years ago before they ever were close to building on it. It's on Lake LBJ (yes, named after the president). This is a constant level lake so there's never fear of flooding. Also, it means that in the driest of summers there will be water in this lake! Around the lakes are hillsides dotted with homes, wildflowers, and deer. LOTS and LOTS of deer! The roads are a motorcycle rider's dream come true (and his wife's worst nightmare---LOL!). Phil did ride up on his motorcycle, but hasn't gone out riding yet. I imagine tomorrow he will take a LONG ride home!

Pills: Last week on June 26th, in honor of my brother's birthday (oops, I STILL haven't told him Happy Birthday!), Natalie & I went to the doctor and discovered we had throat infections. We seemed to improve, then this past Tuesday night I felt like I had the flu. My throat has been sore, I had body aches & fever, and really wanted to be knocked out & lying in a hospital bed so I could rest. I was SO sick. I called the doctor and he really believes that this is a virus on top of the bacterial infection. He said with the strong antibiotic that I am on there couldn't be a secondary infection. But, he said if I'm not better by Monday to call. I can tell I'm getting better. My throat still hurts some, but not like it did before. One of our little neighbor girls has strep throat. Strep always scares me because my mom's dad died of rheumatic fever that started as a strep infection. Apparently her fear of strep has been passed down to me! Hopefully by Monday I'll be feeling quite chipper.

Thrills: We got to see fireworks last night, but not as thrilling as we'd hoped. You see, MIL was sure that one place was going to have them, and that we could see them from her area clubhouse. So, we drove down there, even moved the benches around so we could watch. Then waited, and waited, and waited. We heard the fireworks in Marble Falls going off, but still nothing where we were. Natalie & I walked out to see if we could see the ones that WERE going off, and the others finally joined us so we could drive & really see them. We missed about half of them, thus it was not as exciting as it could have been. Still, it is fun to watch. It's hard to believe that as beautiful as they are, they represent the bombs that were used to fight for this country's freedom, and those who gave their lives so we could live in the Land of Liberty.

Nils: Okay, Nils has absolutely nothing to do with the 4th of July. He is, however, my nephew...hmmm, in Yankee Doodle Dandy it mentions a nephew...will that do? Actually, when I started thinking about us coming up here, I was driving through the hills to get to MIL's. It made me think of what we used to say to people to get them to pronounce Nils' name correctly. He's named after my Swedish great-grandfather Nils August Berggren. His name is actually Steven Nils, after my brother Steven who died at 17. He was born not that long after Steve's death, so his parents decided to call him Nils. Yes, Nils. Like hills, thrills, pills---NILS! It isn't Neil, Niles, Nile, Nels or Nil. It isn't pronounced kneels. It's Nils. Hills, thrills, pills, NILS!

Um, I think I've been sick so long my brain is just searching for things to say, thus you got the commentary on how to pronounce my nephew's name!

Whether you live in the hills, are at your MIL's, or are taking pills, I hope you have a wonderful weekend remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and praising the Lord for this country we are blessed to call home.