Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hummingbirds on the Ice Age Trail (Chippewa)

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


I am almost positive I have never talked about the Ice Age Trail we have in Wisconsin but it really is impressive.

Over 12,00 years ago, mountainous flows of glacial ice sculpted a unique and remarkably beautiful landscape across Wisconsin.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a thousand-mile footpath — entirely within Wisconsin — that celebrates the legacy of the Ice Age. Diverse geological features along the Trail rank among the finest examples of continental glaciation anywhere in the world. Beyond any textbook, the Ice Age Trail lets us see and touch glacial history.

Quoted from Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation


Even if you add all of our hiking up, we have only hiked a small portion of the trail over the years. One day we set out to hike a 4.5 mile loop in the Chippewa Moraine Ice Area because we heard there had been several bear there the day before. We weren’t lucky enough to see one but we enjoyed our hike, saw some nesting Great Blue Herons and explored the Interpretive Center.


While we missed seeing the bears we did enjoy watching all the hummingbirds coming to feed at the feeders near the interpretive center. So the day was not a total loss.













I am in the process of updating the blogroll so please be a little patient with me. I haven't updated since March and it's a little time consuming. :) Hopefully you'll see your name up there soon, but if you don't please let me know. :)

I also have the Newdae Photography linked up over there if you're curious what we've been up to. And my old site is linked there as well if you need a little extra reading. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cancer Recheck - new oncologist

Last Friday, while I was in Rapids (Wisconsin Rapids) meeting the new oncologist, my daughter was in Point (Stevens Point) having an ultrasound.  Since her story is shorter I’ll tell it first.  There are 10 fingers and 10 toes and what appears to be a healthy baby girl.  It has been at least 17 years since this family has had a baby girl so we’re all very excited!  And they changed the due date from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day.  I’m thinking, why bother with a one day change, the baby will come when she’s ready.


Now, as for my appointment, it went great!  The nurses were nice, the doctor was nice (with a sense of humor even).  I must say I walked in exhausted, feeling like I was spinning my wheels and wasting my time and theirs.  But as I answered their questions and listened to the oncologist’s advice I knew I was in the right place.

He had already reviewed my chart by the time I got there.  He told me his game plan - PET/CT at least once a year, maybe every 6 months, depends on what’s needed.  He gave me plenty of time to talk about my concerns and feelings.  He gave me ample opportunity for questions and his game plan was exactly what I had in mind, without having to be the first to say it.

He set my PET/CT scan (I wrote about what a PET scan is when I had my last one and have copied it below so you don’t have to click a link to the old blog) up for this Tuesday, that’s why I waited a bit to tell you all about the visit.   The three people involved with the scan were all very nice (where have these people been hiding?!)  I found out from the lady who stuck my arm (one stick -yay) that the syringe in made out of tungsten which is even stronger than lead.  He will call with the results.

As much as I hate it, he has also set me up for a sigmoidoscopy - this is less than a colonoscopy, but a small scope, part of the way.  I have had a couple of episodes of bleeding in the last couple of months.  He did say it could still be the anastomosis (the area that was resected - uh sorry, where the ends of the colon were put back together minus the missing 5 inches) getting irritated but he wants to make sure we don’t miss anything.  So while I hate these type of tests I know he’s right.  I met with that doctor on Tuesday as well, actually his nurse, who was very pleasant and reassuring and only annoyed me a little by using my name as every third word of every sentence.  They did change the scope to the full blown colonoscopy but since the prep is the same for either test I can live with that.  I get this fun experience on Friday, yes tomorrow, Friday.  BTW, I hate the prep, I'm already a nervous wreak and will continue to get worse up until it's over.

Regarding my port-a-cath, he wants to leave it in.  He says that the most critical time is the first three years, counting from my last chemo, so he would like it to stay until June 2009.  I’m cool with that because it really doesn’t bother me.  A part of me wants it out, to signify the end of dealing with cancer but a part of me wants it to stay, just in case.  It makes drawing blood, getting Ivs, chemo, etc, so much easier!

lily of the valley

I know I’m jumping around a bit here but I was really not happy with the oncologist I saw a few weeks ago.  The day after I met with him they were already calling and scheduling the port removal.  They had it set up for the 18th and even though I canceled the scan I had let them schedule, they still thought they were taking it out - uh, no.

So, I was really happy to find an oncologist who, I feel, still sees me as important.  Some of them make me feel like since I am done with chemo, in remission, their job is done. But this guy rocks!

They were able to access my port in one stick and were able to draw blood and flush it without any issue at all.  It loves me!  It’s still totally functional, even though it hadn’t been accessed in so long.  To be honest, I was a little nervous after the way the other place acted but I calmed my fears by reminding myself I was in a hospital if a clot was there.  And the oncologist and nurse were informed on how long it had been since it had been used.  They weren’t nervous at all, although they expected it to give some trouble.  I do have to go back every 6-8 weeks to keep it flushed and ready for duty.

Now we wait.


July 3, 2007
I went for my PET scan this morning.  And no that is not the procedure where they place kittens, puppies, hamsters and parakeets all over you and let them run amuck.  A PET scan is used to stage cancer, verify chemo is working (tumors shrinking) or see metastasis (new cancer) in cancer survivors.  I know there are other uses for PET scans but that is their purpose in cancer patients.

I really don't mind the PET scans and they help put my mind to rest, at least for awhile.  This will be the last one I will have for a year {except that changed when they found something and I went on to biopsies, it should have been done March 2008} and was my 5th one in the last year and a half.

A PET scan is different from a CT scan as they inject you with radiated glucose solution, have you rest quietly for a period of time and then look for areas of your body that are "eating" the sugar.  Cancer cells are hungry little guys and are eager to eat the sugar so the areas with the most sugar concentration will glow on the scan and the doctors will know you have a new tumor, potentially.

The worst part about the PET scan is the IV, so see, it's really a painless procedure.  This is one time that my port-a-cath cannot be used.  The sugar would cling to the tubing and make that area glow a lot.  So, I had to have an IV, like a normal person.  This whole mess almost has made me decide to keep my port.  The tech went straight for the tender area of the inside of my wrist, ignoring the crook of the elbow completely.

After that vein blew, became unusable, she got an RN to try.  The RN went directly to the back of the hand - also a very painful area.  That vein blew too and she went to the back of the other hand.  Finally a vein that would work for the short time it was needed.  I now have bruises all over both hands and wrists.

It's kinda funny that I never really paid attention to the solution that got injected into me until today.  I think that speaks for how crappy I felt during the others.  Today I saw the tech wheel a cart to my door holding a lead box.  The lead box was a little bigger than an ammo box and I only know that because I geocache and many caches are ammo boxes.  She opened the lid and pulled up on a handle, again made of lead, attached to a smaller box.  This box was locked and after she unlocked it she withdrew a metal syringe.

I find it odd that I never noticed the syringe before today but I figure I must have just forgotten.  After my 45 minute resting time, in which I have to lay there, unmoving with my eyes closed to allow the sugar to travel on its own, I entered the scan.  The scan is much like the big doughnut of a CT scan but it takes 20 minutes, instead of just in and out.

lily of the valley

Monday, July 28, 2008

Flying bandits and Federation Squirrels


One of the rest stops we stopped at in Iowa, on our way home from vacation, had about 20 Cedar Waxwings. Of course, I ran and got my camera and made the guys wait while I admired them. They were a little shy, but still so beautiful! This was the second time in month I got to admire the Waxwings, even though I had never seen them before.


I think they like the berries.


In fact, they get their name from their red wax-like wing tips and because they eat small blueberry-like cones of the cedar.


They’re mostly seen in flocks and will eat insects when berries can’t be found.


I love the splash of yellow on the tips of their tails amongst all their earth toned feathers. And their bandit-like black masks; they’re like tiny flying raccoons.


They are so majestic!



Another little treat at another Iowa rest stop - - - wait, no, I don’t “go” that much, but we were caching and while the guys ran to find the caches I looked for critters. I spotted this curious Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel.


Sometimes people call them striped gophers but they aren’t a gopher.  They're also called Federation Squirrels because the spots and stripes resemble the stars and stripes of the American flag.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ruler for a day

Mommy Wizdom would like to know what I would do if I were ruler for a day/week/month/year, whenever.


If I were ruler for a day/week/month I would give everyone the day/week/month off of work (housewives, that means no housework) and encourage everyone to go to my previous post and guess what’s in my jewelry box for a chance to win $100.

But a month is just not enough time, if I were ruler for a year I would nix the stupid inheritance tax. I think it’s stupid that a person inheriting something from a deceased loved on has to pay money on that gain when the original owner has already paid.

Also, for every person who sent me a photo of a bird, any bird, I would give them a month of free milk then each month I would pick my favorite photo and give them a year of free gas. And not just that 12,000 miles worth of free gas either, all they gas they used during that month would be free.

So how about it, will you vote me in?

PS  - If you are curious as to what we did all weekend hubby has a post up.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cathy's Ice Cream Social (AOMS)


Every year in June there’s another fundraising event up in St Germaine, Wisconsin for Angel on My Shoulder. You don’t have to be an expert at golf for this one, all you need to know how to do is eat ice cream.


Technically you can give the ice cream to someone else.


All you have to do is go to Cathy’s Ice Cream N Candy Shoppe during a certain time frame and buy some ice cream. It’s that simple.


Although, you might like to get your arm or face painted.


Or maybe you want to race minnows.


You might make a hole in one.


Or just hang out and listen to the music for a while.


And enjoy some ice cream.


Lolly and Cathy will be there to welcome you. And I probably will be too. If you think you’ll be in the area next year, you can check the calendar to see when it’s all going on.

Giving away $100 (guess once each day)

What's in my drawers?
Please ignore the dust.

A few weeks ago, I was peeking in the drawers of my jewelry box wondering what was in them. I don’t really wear a lot of jewelry, so I don’t peek it in often. But for some reason, this day I was just wondering if they were empty. Have I mentioned how forgetful I am?

After I saw what was there I just knew I would have to have a little contest. I wanted to time it with my new look and you should see a prettier place within the next week. Leanne is hard at work and I bet it’ll look fabulous when she‘s done. Didn't she do a GREAT job!!  You have her to thank totally for my all new home.  So, while Leanne is busy breathing a sigh of relief that she's done, let’s play a game (of course she can play too if she wants).

drawer size
Measures: 4 ½”x3 ¾”x1 ½”

What’s in my drawers?

I would like you to tell me what is in the drawer. You can guess once each day so be sure and come back. If you want to post about it on your blog, you can guess a second time on that day. For each person who says that you sent them, you get another guess.

I am going to run this contest starting now (July 26th) until noon (Central time), August 1st. scratch that, until 5 pm August 1st due to my annoying little test interfering with my fun, scratch that, the contest has been extended until August 11th, 5pm Central.  That evening every correct guess will go into a drawing for a $100 Visa card to spend wherever the winner chooses. If by some fluke no one guesses correctly, we’ll extend the game.

Details, I will give periodic hints and may chose some of the hints based on comments so feel free to leave a question with your guess. I’m not worried if you guess singular or plural (example: lake or lakes) - both will count if it’s right. It does need to be somewhat specific (example: animal, bear or grizzly bear) - animal would be too general, bear is still a little too general but you don’t need to be so specific that you say purple painted grizzly bear with pink toenails. I guess I get to determine if you were specific enough, although I may consult with my husband (if he's around).

Remember, one guess each day and if someone sent you, share some love by leaving their name in your comment.


07/28 - First hint, my daughter gave me this cute jewelry box for Christmas a few years ago but she did not give me what's in the drawer.  It is NOT a piece of jewelry. {There are two hints here}

07/30 - Now hubby doesn't think this is much of a hint, or he didn't until I explained it, so I will explain to you too.  I have been eagerly reading everyone's ideas and based on the many guesses there have been, I think it's a pretty good hint to tell you that the item has no sentimental value.  In fact, I will happily send you the item along with the Visa card.

07/31 - last hints of the week, it looks like I may have to extend this another week because not one person has guessed it yet.   If it gets extended, I will be giving daily hints next week AND It's NOT metal.
CONTEST EXTENDED: reason - no one has guessed what the object is.  I would be happy to run out and spend the money but that wouldn't really be fair now would it?  So let's go another week.  I have a feeling you guys will get it.  I will give a new hint every day to try to help out.

08/01 - It's NOT man made.  If you scroll through the comments, anything that has been guessed up until now is wrong, so don't guess one of those.  I love the lint guesses, but nope, it's not lint, or a dustbunny.   My mom had my baby teeth in her jewelry box too, but it's not teeth.  That would be a great place to hide a key, but it's not a key.

08/02 - There is something in the drawer, the answer isn't "nothing".   It's getting just as hard to give hints as I think it is to guess.  Ask some questions if you like, help me out.  So far the closest guess there has been was on August 1st, so you might want to take a look there.  There has been a close guess, but not quite.

08/03 - Three of them fits in a drawer and I have five of them.  No more than three could fit in the drawer, without breaking them.

08/04 - It's not paper or wood or any kind.  One way or another this ends on the 11th, even if I have to start giving dead giveaways.  There have been some answers so very close, but not quite there yet.
QUESTION:  Do you think this should continue until the date mentioned above or if there's a correct answer just give to the first correct answer and stop it?  I mean it's already went longer than a week?  Ideas?  Help a girl out. :)

08/05 - OK, I'm turning comments off and am notifying the correct guesser.  In the event they do not want to give me their mailing address we will continue.  If they accept the "winnings"  I will post about it as soon as I hear from them. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Beginning traditions with the next generation

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


I guess you could call it a tradition to teach kids to blow dandelions puff balls. I hope it’s just the first of many traditions I get to teach my grandson. Don’t you love his snort face? You’ll see a lot of that scrunchy face in this post.


Maybe shaking them would work?



Maybe plucking them works better?



The perfect combination to get those fuzzies off is a mixture of slobbery blowing and finger picking.


Ok, I guess he still needs lessons on which ones to pick. I think he really likes yellow.

PS - I'll be posting a giveaway tomorrow.