Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chemo Angel Cancer Support

Originally posted August 24, 2007
I know many of my readers have been touched by cancer and I would like to take a minute to tell you about a neat little program. If you are currently undergoing chemotherapy you can sign up to have a Chemo Angel. I had one for the last two months of chemo and really enjoyed it.

If you are healthy, never been touched by cancer, or a survivor you can be a Chemo Angel or a Card Angel. What’s the difference you ask? A Chemo Angel sends little gifts and notes to their chemo patient - words of encouragement. It will cost you slightly more than being a Card Angel. A Card Angel, does just that, sends cards and maybe an occasional little goody.

How often do I send these things? Once a week.

How long do I send them? As long as the person is undergoing treatment.

Why do I send them? To give encouragement to the person struggling with chemotherapy.

How do I know the person I am sending things to actually is undergoing chemo? Chemo Angels gets information from the person regarding who their oncologist is, what kind of cancer they have and how long treatment is predicted to continue. They verify things before assigning an Angel to the person. Chemo Angels will also contact both of you via email once a month to make sure everything is going ok. You will be notified when the person is no longer undergoing chemotherapy.

Will I hear from the person I am writing? You may, but you may not. The cancer patient may not have the energy to write you back. But they will appreciate the time you are giving them.

As a little side note, Chemo Angels also sponsors a program for Seniors to let them know they are not forgotten about. So you could do that if you prefer.

If you’re interested in any part of this please go to Chemo Angels Cancer Support Organization and check it out, maybe even sign up. It’ll make your heart feel good.


Diagnosis- Cancer

Originally posted March 21, 2006
I started my blog in March 2005 because we began building a house. By building, I mean my husband and I did all the physical labor we were allowed to do by state codes. I had stomach issues for years prior to this although I really didn’t share them unless I needed to explain to why I was acting weird.

During the whole house building process my stomach problems got steadily worse and Oct 18th, 2005 I went in for a colonoscopy. I was terrified of the procedure and had actually put it off and cancelled and rescheduled it several times. But things were to a point I knew I had no choice. I had had every other test with no answer other than Irritable Bowel but the bleeding was getting worse, as was the pain. Even in the waiting room I was ready to flee but managed to get in there and the last thing I told the doc prior to the exam was, “Well we know it’s not cancer or I’d already be dead”.

Boy was I wrong. The doc said, “We found cancer”.

My husband and I went home in denial, thinking that the doctor couldn’t know before the biopsies were back so I just told my family that the doctor said it could be cancer, and we waited for the biopsies. Even when the biopsies came back that it was cancer, I thought they could be wrong. Even when I met with the surgeon I expected him to say, “Oops, we made a mistake, you don’t have cancer”. Even when I had surgery I expected him to come into my hospital room and say that now that the mass was out they examined further and I didn’t have cancer. So I guess you could say I was in a form of denial for quite a while but I still did the treatments needed.

I was diagnosed at 38 yrs old, with no family history of any cancer and honestly never expected cancer to be the diagnosis. Back then (prior to diagnosis) I actually didn’t really talk about my issues with anyone. I mentioned in passing to my mom that I sometimes had blood in my stool and it worried me. I told my husband my tummy bothered me often, I had no choice on that one. But I really told as little as possible. This was partly because of embarrassment and partly because I figured it was something minor. I was afraid the doctor would come back with a verdict of hemorrhoids or something equally embarrassing and I didn’t want everyone to know that.

So I kept my family in the dark as much as possible about my issues. Getting the diagnosis I did has made me come out of the closet and I feel a need to be open and honest about what I went through because I want to help other people. I don’t want other people to live in fear and embarrassment, making themselves sicker. If I had allowed a doctor to do a colonoscopy years ago I probably wouldn’t be in the boat I am now.

Never was I so floored, as the day I was told, I had cancer. I had stomach pain, diarrhea and blood off and on for about 6 years and each time I did see a doctor they never found anything and just labeled me Irritable Bowel. So this added to my thoughts that it was nothing but an embarrassing condition. I had every test they could perform except the colonoscopy. I always chickened out for that test and no other test found the cancer so the colonoscopy is a vital test in finding the cancer.

Update March 2007:
It’s time for you to get your colon checked. No, your dog’s nose doesn’t count. It’s so important that you get screened. A colonoscopy can find cancer when it’s still itty bitty and is easily removed. A colonoscopy can find a small polyp that could turn into cancer before it is cancer and that polyp can be removed right then without major surgery. And, if you do this few moments of discomfort, you can save yourself all the pain I’ve been through.

I have no family history of any type of cancer yet I was diagnosed with Stage IIIC colon cancer or more specifically T3N2M0 (for more information on diagnosing and staging) at age 38. The average person doesn’t get their first colonoscopy until they are 50 but I know that I am not alone in having it this young. I don’t care what age you are, if you are having any bowel problems I suggest a colonoscopy. If you have a family history of cancer you should also be checked earlier.

I had every test imaginable and cancer was never found. Even my blood did not show a higher CEA level to indicate cancer. Only the colonoscopy found it. The only foolproof test for colon cancer is the colonoscopy. The colonoscopy is vital and you must make yourself do it. Don’t assume your cancer would show up on a CT scan as I did. Don’t assume that all the other tests would be good enough. Don’t chicken out, for fear or embarrassment, like I did. If I had went for the first one I had scheduled maybe I wouldn’t be in the boat I am now.

Call today to schedule your colonoscopy. If you are over 50 and your doctor neglected to schedule one then you request it. Today, right now, don’t put it off. This is your life and it’s too important to lose when you can prevent it so easily. I’ll even come hold your hand. I don’t want to share my boat with you, you belong on the shore.

Feel free to email me (or comment) anytime, I’m happy to lend an ear of support. I can be reached at lisa at Lisa chaos dot com or lisaschaos at yahoo dot com. Also, I love to hear good results, so after you’ve had your test please let me know that you’re ok.

Introducing my Kids

Originally posted September 5, 2007
We tried our annual photo shoot of the kids a little differently this year in that we just told them to “go over there and be yourselves”. This meant that in order to get a shot like this:

We had to first go through a lot of this:
Crazy Kids

It had been a few years since we were able to get all four of my kids out at the same time to take photos so I was really happy to see this:

Dennis managed to capture my youngest son’s spirit perfectly and this one will go on the wall.
Classic Haden

Haden is 15 and has always loved the outdoors. In the photo he has a crawdad (crayfish) in his hand. He’s had stitches seven times and broken a couple of fingers. He loves to hike, bike, camp and anything that involves outside and bugs or snakes. I once almost lost him because he stopped to watch some ants. He’s all boy all the time!

Shockingly enough, we managed to pry my middle son away from his computer long enough to spend a couple of hours at the park.

Khristiaan as he likes to be called now - it is his first name I just spent the first 15 years of his life calling him by his middle name, Gage. He’ll always be Gator to me. Khris will be 18 this month and is looking for a job, anyone need a hacker? All of his life he has woken up with a smile and when he’s not annoying the crap out of you he’s pretty funny. He was everywhere!

Krazy Khris

The main reason we went out was to get some photos for Mikal and Amy (We’ll be doing it again in a couple of weeks for Britney and Nick). Hopefully, they like theirs.

Mikal and Amy

Mikal is my oldest son, he’ll be 20 in December. He and Amy have been dating for 3 years and I think they look really cute together. Mikal loves playing with photoshop and loves his Scion TC. He was always my hyper one and maybe a little clumsy. He’ll talk your ear, especially if it has anything to do with computers or Scions.

I keep wondering what Mikal asked for to cause such a look on Amy’s face.

Britney is my oldest, 21, and her little one is now 6 months old. You’ll be seeing more of her in a couple of weeks when we do her family photos. She’s my only girl, my firstborn and the source of every grey hair on my head. Ok, not really. She’s a very protective mama of little Tristan. I thought she was going to give birth to a cow when I suggested we put him in the baby swing, “Does it have germs on it?” I wonder what she’ll do when he takes that first mouthful of dirt, and you know he will.

Most important of all, Tristan had fun at the park.

Tristan - 6 months
If you click on any photo in the mosaics you can see the full photo. They got cropped a little weird but I had so many I wanted to share it seemed the best way.

My Camera Equipment


Cameras have always been in my life a little more than in most people's.  But I really wasn't interested in them, at all, until recently.  I think the first time I confessed my love was February 2007. I had no idea how much my world of photography would change when we brought home that first digital SLR in September 2007.  And, as I imagine, you can see by the list below we have jumped in with both feet.

You may be asking yourself why Canon, why not Nikon?  My only answer would be that it was neck and neck for a long time; we knew that whichever way we went would predict our entire future choices.  We would be buying a second camera body at some point and sharing all the lenses.  Nikon and Canon lenses mount differently so both camera bodies had to be one or the other.  Then we were told that Canon has slightly better glass (lenses) and we took the leap into a Rebel XTi.

It is my hope to compile a list of our various cameras and lenses, along with full reviews, to make it easier for people to answer those questions, "What camera are you using?" or "What lens are you using?"  The first one is coming soon and you should start seeing the words below turn into links to keep all of the reviews in one easy to find location.

Cameras (all of our cameras are digital SLRs)
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Canon EOS 40D
Canon EOS 20D
Canon EOS 5D

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (standard zoom)
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM (telephoto zoom)
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM (macro)
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM (telephoto zoom)
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM (standard zoom)
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM (standard zoom)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (standard)
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye (Wide-angle)

Other Stuff
2 - Speedlite 430EX flashes and diffusers
2 remote triggers
modeling lights/flashes
Bogen Manfrotto tripods with ballheads
Crumpler camera bag for one camera
2- hardcases for all equipment
Lenses we've used
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III (telephoto zoom)
Sigma 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 DG Macro (standard zoom)
Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L USM, Canon EF 24-70 F2.8L USM, Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM, Canon EF 50mm F1.2L USM - We borrowed these from borrowlenses

my new lens

Skunk Cabbage and Owl

skunk cabbage bloomswho's watching me?

I shared these photos with you on Monday and while searching through my flickr for them I discovered that I had taken them on April 28th, 2007. So, one year plus one day later I decided to go back over.

Hubby had barely walked in the door from work when I asked him to come to the park with me. I grabbed my macro lens and tossed the honkin’ lens to him. The honkin’ lens gets very heavy. Imagine carrying your laptop on the trails, yeah it’s 3-5 lbs, at least. So, I really call it my honkin’ lens, or sometimes huge honkin’, you might know it better as the 100-400mm, my birding lens. And since my left arm is aching, I assume from carrying it too much, I was happy to give it to him in case we saw the owl again.


On the way to the area I needed I saw this cute little snowman left over from our snow a couple of days ago. He looks pretty out of place now.


What I found was that I was a little late for the skunk cabbage; it looks very sad now. That center bulb thing starts out kind of a creamy white.


There was plenty around but it’s past its prime.


Do you recognize this? It will be prettier soon.


Who do I see?


Who sees me?

Those were taken with my macro lens (100mm). But Dennis managed to make his arm ache and get a crick in his neck while taking the following, with the camera pointed nearly straight up. And he says he’s not a birder, ha!







Pooping owl.



Shake, shake. . .











So, the whole trip wasn’t a bust. I really enjoyed watching him and I think he enjoyed seeing us again. We weren’t totally surprised to see him because we own a cache (GC12FTW) nearby and often people say they have seen him. I’m just amazed that he stays in this area. I guess he must find plenty to eat or he wouldn’t stay. Maybe he helps keep the nearby golf course clean.

Which lens is right for you?

originally posted Monday, 11 February 2008

Have you wondered what the difference is between the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens, besides the $400-500 price difference? Well, I’m here to help.

How much will you be using the lens? What types of things will you be shooting? Will you be using a tripod? How much do you want to spend?



The above photos were taken with the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III, you can generally find this lens for under $200 and as I think you can see from the photos it is a very good lens. It uses a DC motor instead of a USM to drive the AF. It’s fairly lightweight at 16.8oz/480g. Chances are you will need to use a tripod when using the lens at 300mm. I did use a tripod for those two photos.




The two photos above were taken with the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens, this lens can generally be found for under $800. It offers an ultrasonic motor helping to make auto focusing almost noiseless and fast, precise and practical. It has two stabilization modes, and you are able to turn the Image Stabilization off when you are using a tripod. The lens can be locked at 70mm, making transport easier; it weighs in at 22.2 oz/630g . But my favorite thing about this lens is that I don’t need a tripod at 300mm.

All photos were taken with the respective lens on a Canon Rebel XTi, EOS Digital SLR Camera.

Please note: The above links are for your convenience in comparing the two lenses, I get no credit for you clicking them. Canon offers many different lenses and I am trying to assure that you know precisely which two lenses are covered in this review.

Making of a tripod bag, or two (how-to)

When you put two tripods together they clank. I’m talking about during the transport time, not during use. Although, I suppose if we get too close to each other we could make them clank. Anyway, I decided to use a couple of pair of pants to make some tripod bags.


First I cut, well I cut the crotch seam, to separate the legs.


Then I cut the inside seam from the ankle to the crotch. I laid the tripod on it to check of length and on the beige pair I took the hem out. I was starting to get concerned that the area where the pocket had been might get in the way. But it worked out great. I’ll show you here in a sec.


I used an overlock stitch to make the seam for the bottom and side of the bag.


After I used the overlock stitch to make sure the top doesn’t fray, I folded the top down, stitched and made the pocket for the cording. Now this is where the old pocket came in handy, it was finished really neat and I used it for my opening for the cording.


Voila! Tripod bag almost complete.


Now, I did things only slightly different on the brown bag. I left the pants hemmed, that hem made a pocket and I was able to slide the cording through it. Two bags almost done.


Tape quickly solved any issue of getting the cording through the cord stop. And a few seconds later I have two completed bags. Sure, they are not fancy and beautiful, but they are extremely easy to make, serve their purpose and gave a doomed pair of pants a new life. What I liked most about it was that if I messed up I still had another leg I could try again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chaotic Colorful C


You probably thought I’d show you some Crayola Crayons,


Or Colorful Candy or Confections,

cracker barrel sign

Or even a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

church CD

Maybe you thought I’d show a Church or a CD,

colorado catalog

Or a Colorado Catalog,


Or even a Casino. (If I had waited a couple of seconds the lower portions said “Craps”.)

corn rows

But instead I wanted to share with you Charlie the Constipated Cow and his Cornrows.

corn rows

Charlie used the Crème de la Crème to make Cream style Corn.

letter C

Charlie’s Captive friends, Callie the Communicative Collie, Carina the Conscience Cat, Charlotte the Complex Chicken and Capri the Cranky Cub lived as a Commune in a Crumbling Cracker Castle.


Capri was Constantly Complaining.

letter C

So Charlie Crushed a Column so they could escape.


As they Cavorted a Cross-eyed Cobra Crept into the Clearing.

critter conga

Soon, they were doing the Complicated Conga. But poor Charlotte was so Creeped out that she Crapped.


The Cobra Casually Consumed each Chunk.

cow crossing

Caution: Cattle Crossing!

Letter C

Carl the Creative Cockatoo was busy using Cookie Cutters to make Costly Cookies on a Coaster. Cautiously, Colton the Catapulting Colt, came out of his Collapsible Coach Container Cave. He wanted some Chocolate Coffee, Combined with Coke, in a Cup.

Cockatoo cell coach canon

Carl Called a Crazy Creature Celebrity on the Cell phone. (all photos taken with a Canon Camera and loaded onto a Computer)

C cactus croc crock cheese

Clarence the Crocodile was happy his Chemo was over and he could leave his Crock and enjoy his Cheese by the Crowned Cactus.


Chubby Cows Craving Cranberries.

Old photos for “C”

red car

Christmas Ornament


Child in a Cemetery

tristan FTF

Caching (and Compass and wooden Coin)


Chicago or City

As you can see, I had a lot of fun with "C", if you are interested in joining in our A-Z photo challenge pop over and say, "Hey!" to Martha.