Thursday, May 31, 2012

Good-Bye Talking

Yesterday Maria and Cordelia and I drove to the town where my Mom lives.  After picking her up we met my aunt and one of my cousins at the cemetery.  You see, they are the designated family grave decorators for Memorial Day and we had been invited to go help pick up the flowers with them.  I was happy to go as I didn't really know where all the family grave sites were.

It's a sad thing, to go to a cemetery and see names of people you love and miss.  I know my people are not really there but sometimes I think it is good to have a place to visit, a place to remember.   There is something kind of peaceful about feeling that connection to the generations over time.  I don't really know how to put it into words but I think it gives a sweet perspective.

Even among the living, we had a generations thing going on.  We were blessed to have my Grandma Rose for the first year of Cordelia's life and we had a five generations of women photo then.  We are down to just four generations now but I realize we are still truly blessed.  This photo shows Cordelia surrounded by her Great-Grandma Grace, Grandma Sue (me) and her mother, Maria.

OK, as long as I am showing you a photo of my Mom, I should clear something up.  Yesterday I showed a photo of her laughing.  Behind her are lots of alcohol bottles.  For the record, I took that photo at a Mother's Day Brunch and the bottles were not her's.  She was just drinking water.  There.  I straightened that out.  Happy, Mom?  

 When we were finished we were all standing around by the cars, visiting before we went our separate ways.  It was then that Cordelia said something that showed unusual perception for a child of just 2 1/2.  She said, "Mommy, are we good-bye talking?"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Genetic Laughter Seizure Syndrome

We have a serious disorder that runs in our family.  I simply can't conceal it any longer.  I am thinking of organizing some kind of fundraiser or applying for a grant to support research as little is known about this disorder.  Maybe our daughter-in-law, Sara, will head up the research.  Of course, I will have to ask her to stop her present research looking for genes associated with liver cancer and such.  I'm sure she won't mind as she realizes the severity of our condition.

You see, there is little known of this syndrome that runs in our family.  It seems to affect the females more than the males.  I am guessing it is caused by some as yet unknown mutation.  Perhaps it began with my mother as she is the first one I've known to suffer extensively from this.

She passed it on to me.  

I passed it on to Maria.

I am sorry to report that Cordelia even shows early signs of it.

This dreadful Genetic Laughter Syndrome causes out-of-control attacks of laughter.  You might even say we have laughter seizures.  These attacks often begin with little or no warning.  We don't usually even get an aura as some do before a migraine attack.  We might even be in a formal or serious situation when it occurs.  It can be completely distressing and socially unacceptable.

Occasionally we cause quite a scene as people around us may think we are sobbing.

Physically these attacks can be gravely dangerous.  It becomes difficult to breathe!  Drooling is a serious risk.  Because of that risk, it is advisable to cover our mouths with our hands.

As people begin to stare it seems to increase the intensity of the seizure.    

Even as the laughter seizure begins to resolve, there is an extended period of recovery before we reach full functionality again.   Often there are tears to be wiped.

It takes time to regain composure.  A period of total and complete exhaustion sets in.  It really is utterly dreadful but we do not seek your pity, only your understanding.

Please watch for future fundraising events to help find the cure for this Genetic Laughter Seizure Syndrome (GLSS).  We simply must seek the cause so that a cure can be found.  If you are interested in organizing your own events on our behalf, such as a walk-a-thon or a bake sale, please contact me.  I thank you in advance for your care and concern.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Peanut Butter and Banana Paninis for Dinner

Well, hello there.  I did get a bit of sleep yesterday morning but I am simply not a good day sleeper.  I am grateful that I don't usually have to work 2 nights in a row as it takes a bit of recovery time for me.

Our daughter, Maria, came over late in the day.  Our son-in-law, Eric, as well as sweet Cordelia and their dog Bumblebee completed the party.

I made a strange meal.  The roasted ears of corn, fresh pineapple and other side dishes weren't that weird but I grilled paninis made with peanut butter, bananas and bacon bits (vegan).

This was not my own idea.  When we were in North Carolina last week, eating at Otis and Parker (or was it Parker and Otis?) I saw this on the menu.  In fact, Sara ordered it without the bacon.  I realized many bacon bits are vegan so I just went with that idea for serving to my vegan loved ones.

It probably won't go on my list of favorite foods but it was unusual and tasty so I wasn't disappointed.

After our meal we played a couple of games of Farkle.  Do any of you play Farkle?  We enjoy it, even though it gets crazy silly playing with Mike and Eric.  While we played, Cordelia and her new Dora Doll watched Dora the Explorer on Netflix.  Cordelia was VERY focused.

I was calling her name but she wasn't hearing me.

She settled in for more comfortable viewing.

As the Farkleing carried on, Sam entertained Cordy with some bubbles.

Bode was helpful.

Bumblebee chose to relax on the deck.

It was a nice evening, after which I went to bed and slept for 10 hours!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Something to Ponder

Last night I had to work for 12+ hours.  I really don't enjoy staying up all night but it has it's good points  For one thing, it is often a bit quieter.   For another, when I work nights I feel like a martyr and when I come home our bed is like my delightful reward.    

However, working nights leaves me rather dull, though.  So, today I am sharing some words that I find a bit inspiring.  They are placed above one of the windows in the Hospice House where I work and I really like them.  Do you?

Have a happy day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Explaining Your Neighbor's Actions in the Kindest Way Possible

 I want to talk about Martin Luther for a minute.  Nope, I don't mean Martin Luther King, Jr.  I mean Martin Luther who was a theologian and reformer in the 1500's.  

Actually, this post is not so much about him but it is about one of the things I learned from his teaching.  He was an interesting guy and an important historical figure.  He certainly was not perfect but he was passionate about making the gospel available to everyone.  During a time in history when the average person didn't have access to a Bible, Martin Luther helped by producing crib notes.  OK, not really but Luther's Small Catechism is kind of like that.  

On to what's on my mind...

In Luther's Small Catechism there is a part that comes to my mind often, sometimes really often.  The part I am referring to is his explanation of the 8th Commandment, the one that tells us we aren't supposed to lie (bear false witness) about our neighbors.  Biblically, a neighbor is pretty much anyone around you.  I think we all know that lying isn't right.  Luther, however, goes on to say we should not just refrain from lies but we should also explain our neighbor's actions in the kindest way possible.  What?  That's asking a lot!

Explaining your neighbor's actions in the kindest way possible is very difficult and perhaps goes against my very nature.  My first instinct might be to point out my neighbor's flaws, maybe hoping it will make me look better by comparison.  Of course that doesn't really work but still, it is a human tendency.  

I have noticed, though, that when I start making myself at least try to explain someone's bad behavior in the kindest way possible, I become less judgmental.  I start to understand them just a bit.  For example, I might notice that the young woman who was just a bit pushy has 4 little kids tugging on her.  Or perhaps the gentleman that scowled at me had a tummy ache.  Maybe the teenager who was rude had just broken up with her boyfriend.  See?  It's not that hard when you give it a go.  Be creative!

Probably you all do this all the time anyway, and the problem is mine alone.  In a world where we are made to believe we should fight for our rights, push our way to the top, teach them a lesson, stand strong against opposition, etc.  I am glad for a reminder from the 1500's of a different way to go through this life.  I want to try to be better at explaining my neighbor's actions in the kindest way possible.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

North Carolina - Day 4

Monday was to be our last full day in North Carolina.  Ben and Sara had to work so we asked Sara to drop us off at her Park 'N Ride.  She sweetly stayed with us until we were securely on our bus heading for downtown Raleigh.  Mike and I both enjoy visiting historical parts of cities so we decided to make a day of it.

The first place we toured was the State Capital.  It turns out that most of the business of the state is now done in a nearby legislative building but the governor's office is still in the capital.  The rest of the building is kind of like a museum.  It was smaller than any capital I've toured but it certainly had a lot more history than capitals in the West.

You won't see a monument like this one in Wyoming!

From there we went to tour the legislative building.

It was a big, open building with a crisp, clean feel to it.  It was pretty and much more functional.

The Capital and Legislative Building are the top and bottom anchors to a big open square.  The sides of the square are the North Carolina Natural History Museum and the North Carolina Museum of History.  We also watched a movie, "Space Junk".  It was about all the garbage, such as old satellites, floating around in space.  It was quite interesting but it was dark and we were sitting still with 3-D glasses on.  There may or may not have been some napping.

We enjoyed the time together being tourists.

 Ben and Sara took us to downtown Durham where we enjoyed a nice dinner, followed by a stroll through an old tobacco plant now converted into offices, shops and restaurants. 

This last photo was taken not far from where we parked.  
It's kind of cool, huh?

So, we found North Carolina to be a really pretty state with a lot of history and character.  
It was a nice trip and we were so very glad to get to spend time with Ben and Sara.

Friday, May 25, 2012

North Carolina - Day 3

Sunday was our third day in North Carolina.  I guess you all realize that I don't post about our trips until after our return.  I hope you don't mind.

So, after going to church in Raleigh we enjoyed a lovely afternoon with Ben and Sara.  They took us to downtown Durham where we enjoyed a lovely meal at a place I think was called Otis and Parker's.  It was a charming little store and restaurant built in an old tobacco plant.  Do you call it a plant?  Factory maybe?  It was lovely and again we ate outside.  I love that!

After our lunch we walked around a bit then went to Sara Duke Gardens?  Oh my!  That was a gorgeous place.  Feast your eyes!

It totally cemented my love for magnolia trees.  Why can't we have those in Wyoming?  I'd read about them in books but I did not understand the magnitude of their beauty!  They are huge and the magnolia flowers are the size of dinner plates!  The best part is the branches grow in such a way as to form a big, open area hidden underneath.  I took many, many photos of one of the magnolia trees.  I'll try to hold back and not post them all.

Yes, I love Magnolia Trees!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

North Carolina Adventure - Day 2

On Saturday we left the city and headed to the coast.  I am drawn to the ocean.  I don't know why as I certainly did not grow up near one.  The power of the water there just thrills me, though.  It was a couple hours to get there but sooooo worth the drive!  We ate lunch along the way then headed to the beach.  Here, let me show you...

 Sara and Ben


Mike and I... I just love eating outside!  

 I loved the dog!

Cowboys at the beach.  I wonder if they took the hats off to swim.

 Ben was determined to teach Sara to body surf.  I tried it but you won't be seeing those photos!

The beach was absolutely littered with shells.  It was so pretty.

That's me (bottom right) waiting for the waves.  We didn't know it but there was a tropical storm, Alberto, off the coast.  The waves looked a LOT bigger close up.  It was fun but rough.  Nevertheless, I was just so happy to be there.

From the beach we drove to Wilmington, a town full of American History.  I really enjoyed looking at old houses.  Many had little historical signs telling about the original occupants... so cool!

Such a fun day!

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