Life is Great!

Life isn't just good ... it's great!

I've had a great weekend. Today I feel like I'm on top of things. I'm actually going to get some makeup on in a minute (my husband will be thankful for that), get dressed and work on fixing dinner for this evening. The only minor complaint that I have is my lower back is really sore. I had back surgery years ago and it's kinda flaired up. I used an ice pack last night and that really helped take the inflammation down. I think it's because I've been sitting and laying down more that it hurts.

One of you asked about the smells of food and if they make my hungry. It's really hard to explain but I'll try. While I was in the hospital I wasn't around anyone who was eating or cooking so I didn't smell or see food. When I got home I saw visual images of food everywhere! I was shocked at how many food commercials there on on TV in just an hour segment. Count them next time and you'll be surprised. Every food commercial I would see would trigger a memory of those foods and I could taste and smell them in my brain. Then I would groan and say, "Oh ... I can't have that anymore!" It's really a feeling of loss and a little bit of depression as you are going through this. I also had stomach pains due to the surgery and I couldn't tell if the pains were hunger pains, surgery pains, or drinking too much water pains. So, I don't think I was hungry. The food was just triggering emotions and sensations in my brain.

The next day was a lot easier being around and seeing food. And yesterday was a piece of cake. Well, not literally ... I didn't have any cake. But I was introduced to my first solid food. I think that helped the brain a lot! I now get to have 2 ounces of cottage cheese and yogurt. It was absolutely divine and tasted so heavenly. I made it last for 20 minutes! I'll be able to introduce string cheese, deli meats and pureed soups next Wednesday. Still only 2 ounce portions total.

The hard part is remembering to drink my water throughout the day. I'm supposed to be drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water a day. I keep a measured water bottle by me and sip on it when I remember. Just for fun I got on the scale yesterday and weighed just in my nightgown and I had dropped 11 pounds. It was almost frightening. That has NEVER happened to me before. My stomach is still a little bloated. I'll weigh myself tomorrow night and take a picture of me in the same clothes I was wearing last week and report my loss then.

O.K. ... enough about me! How are you enjoying the new in-color bundle? I received all of the ribbons too. They are delightful and I've had fun playing with the new stuff. I recorded two new videos which will be appearing on UStamp with Dawn and Friends. I had a good friend do the recording and editing for me. You will enjoy them. And it was sooo much fun talking to you via video once again!

Well ... enjoy your day and have a Happy Monday! I've got to prepare a talk for Sunday's lesson.

Day Three!

O.K... so I got to go home last night. Horray! But before they let me go I had to have the drain pump removed and several staples. Yikes! I didn't even know I had staples in me. I had six incisions, about 1 1/2 " each and around 4-5 staples in each incision. Then I had this bulb and tube hanging from an incision which had a small stitch holding it in place. I hope I'm not grossing anyone out! The nurse was so gentle and so caring. She asked which I wanted out first, the bulb or the staples. I remembered getting the drain out when I had my gall bladder out and it killed. I'd had it in for a few days and I heal so fast that the skin had grown around the tubing and when they pulled it out I nearly hit the ceiling. So, I was preparing for the worst. She told me to take a big breath and while I was breathing in she tugged it out. Wasn't bad at all. And as for the staples, it was piece of cake! She put steri strips on all of the incisions and I can shower and keep them on until they fall off on their own.

Since I'm not a narcotic gal, there isn't much than I can take that will help relieve the pain. I picked up my prescription, which has codeine in it, which I'm allergic to, but only took about 1/8 of a teaspoon and that's just enough to take the edge off and not make me too dizzy or nauseated.

Oh ... I forgot to tell you one more thing about my lovely CNA. I handed her my glasses to carry for me and she DROPPED them! She said, "I hope there wasn't anything too important in that case." I said, "Oh ... only my glasses." Luckily she only broke the glass case. She felt bad about it and I kept telling her that it was an accident and to not feel bad.

Addy and Laurel came over last night to visit shortly after I got home. I rested in bed and felt pretty good. Had a really good night. Only had to get up once in the night to use the WC.

Lynn left me alone today and I had a really good day. I just stayed in bed, walked when I should, savored my one ounce portions of chicken broth and sugar free jello. Man, I never thought broth could taste soooo good. I did think that when I got home and smelled food it wouldn't smell the same or I wouldn't want it. Oh contrar! I looked at a stem from some grapes on the shelf that Lynn had been eating and my mouth started drooling. I was putting away his chips and they smelled sooo good. And then I thought, "Wow ... I would be one sick puppy if I ate that. And then I had no desire!"

I can't have carbohydrates for one year. No breads, sweets, potatoes, or rice. If I do ... I'll get the dumping syndrome. Rapid heartbeat, sweats, nausea and vomiting, and you'll love this one ... explosive diahrea! No thanks ... not for me!

I'm still really bloated. My stomach was so bloated I couldn't even button up my pants to go home. I think they filled me up with gas. For reals! If I could just give a good burp or a burp out the other end, I'd feel wonderful!

Our son, Reese called from Boot Camp. He was given special permission to call home to see how his Mom had fared with her surgery. Isn't that sweet. He's been out in the field for three days and loving it! He loves to camp and he said they had so much fun firing mortar shells at each other. He said it reminded him of his army days when he was a boy firing things at Kenneth in his front yard. He said it is very hot and miserable trying to sleep at night. He has heat rash and they weren't allowed to shower for three days. They used baby wipes to clean them selves up. He said that they gave him some good Gold Bond powder which is really helping! He says he likes it and he's positive and happy. I'm proud of him!

Some of you are wondering if I've lost any weight yet. Only a couple of pounds. I'm still really bloated. You'd think I would have lost 20 pounds by now with the amount of food I've been allowed to eat. But there's really no difference just yet. I'm sure time will tell!

Thanks again for keeping in touch with me. Love to you all! I'm here for any of you who decide to go on this incredible journey too.

I Survived!

I'm a little dizzy so if I have some typos and grammar problems, we can blame it on that!

I cried when I read all of your lovely comments. I felt your prayers and well wishes in my behalf. The Lord has blessed me with wonderful friends and a fantastic family! I certainly am loved. With wonderful friends like you, who could fail?

Let see if I can remember everything yesterday! We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. and they began the lab work. Lot of blood drawn. The little gal couldn't find a good vein and was having a hard time getting it to stick and I got a little dizzy so had to lay down. Finally she found a good vein in my wrist. Geez Louise ... that hurt! It felt like she was shoving a rusty nail in my wrist. I met with my assistant surgeon and reminded him that he took out my gall bladder 30 years ago and we had a good laugh. The anethesiologist whisked me into the operating room singing Cat Stevens to me. The next thing he said was night night and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room. That's the wierdest feeling trying to come out of that great, deep sleep! I was surprised that I didn't hurt. I guess I was sedated really well.

Then they whisked me to my spacious room. They call it a suite. It's nice. Wooden floors, big chairs, big couches, and big gowns. They gave me an intravenious pump ... a Hybrid Morphine. I kept telling them I was allergic to morphine and codeine but they said this was different and it should be fine. I had a pretty rough day yesterday. A lot of pain and mega dizziness. I would get the dry heaves when I would try to lift my head from side to side. They gave me something for that and it helped, but everytime I would press the pump for more pain medication I would get sick again. Finally at 3:00 this morning I stopped all pain meds and just toughed it out. I spoke with my surgeon at 4:00 this morning.. He was making rounds at that time of the morning. Amazing! He was surprised that the medication was making me sick. He ordered some liquid Lortab which takes the edge off the pain but still makes me dizzy. I'm sure I'll be feeling much better tomorrow.

I'm going home around 6:00 p.m. I can't wait. Last night was comical. Between the CNA and the Nurse they were coming into my room every hour. The nurse was very nice and very caring. The CNA needs a little bit of growing up. I told her that I was really dizzy and weak and needed some help to the bathroom. She proceeded to pick up myIV tubes and walk into the bathroom without helping me.. I told her that she better catch me if I faint. she told me that she doesn't catch anyone or even try breaking their fall. Then she proceeded to leave me and go sit down on my couch because she said she had eaten too much and she was full! Oh, it gets better. Another time I unhooked all of my cords because she wouldn't come to help me to the bathroom, took myself and was sitting on the john. She said that she would come back to help me and hook me up. I finally got tired of waiting so took myself back to bed and left everything unhooked. She returned in an hour!

I got to have my first real food since Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Chicken broth and sugar free jello. One ounce of each. I don't think anything has ever tasted so good!

Well, it's time for some more pain meds and I need to lay my bed back. I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow.

Love to you all!

Family Reunion and Pre-Surgery Photos

We had a marvelous time at our family reunion. Here's a few photos that make me laugh every time I look at them! Our cute, little Reese ... Ginger's girl ... looking out of that one eye!

All the wee ones splashing in the kiddie pool. What you don't see is that the adults were in it too!

Here's our June birthday boys ... all starting with "B's". Bomps, Boyd, Bryant, and Ben. Bomps, Ben, and Bryant all share the same birthday, the 21st of June. If you look closely at Ben and Bryant they both have drawn-on moustaches and Bryant has a uni-brow. (Thanks to Angie and Laurel!) All of the little kids wanted moustaches too, including the girls, so Angie and Laurel obliged.

Ben looking at his new $10 birthday bill. I told the September birthdays that if Granny doesn't get a job by then, they won't be getting 'diddly squat' for their birthday! I think he ate part of his moustache!

Hannah sporting her new face! She has a partial beard too.

I'm chuckling over this picture of Addison. Look at her faint moustache!

O.K. ... this looks just like something that Jaron would do. Laurel and Boyd sporting their chocolate cake on their teeth!

Look at this place! It was amazing. Isn't this a beautiful valley!

Camie and Ryan's bedroom. It even had a kitchenette in it with a fireplace! This place was nicer than my home!

A view from the deck.

Our bedroom! Not too shabby.

Tonight I got to pick up our granddaughter Sarah from the airport. She's 11 years old and looks like she's about 18! She's almost as tall as me and she's gorgeous. She's going to stay with Laurel and Ginger for three weeks. They're going to Yellowstone Park, Lagoon, swimming, and just hanging out with family.
So this is really it ... D-day. I guess I could still change my mind about the surgery, but I won't. I've been fairly calm today thinking about how I'll feel tomorrow. I guess the hard part is realizing that I feel so good now and know that I'm going to feel not so hotsy totsy tomorrow after the surgery. I had Sarah take a picture of me just a few minutes ago. I'll wear the same clothes each time I take a picture and post my weight and progress with the diet and exercise. Normally when I pose for pictures I stand behind someone or turn half-way to the side so you can't see all of me. Here I am in all my glory ... all 250 pounds of me. It will be fun taking you on my weight loss journey as you help support me with your words of encouragement. By the way, thanks to everyone who has e-mailed, commented, and called, wishing me well wishes and keeping me in their prayers. I love you all!

If I feel well enough I'll have Lynn bring me the laptop so I can post how I'm feeling tomorrow and tell you all about the surgery.

Oh ... the cleansing part. It didn't dawn on me until after I drank the bottle of 'stuff' at 6:00 p.m. that I had to pick up Sarah from the airport at 9:00. Luckily, I didn't have to do the 'rocky mountain quick-step' while picking her up at the gate. Doing fine in that department. The 'stuff' wasn't bad to drink and kinda tasted good ... lemony and fizzy.

Thanks again family and friends. Off to a new start tomorrow! Hope I'm as chipper tomorrow as I am tonight!

Yikes ... I'm Getting Scared!

So ... I'm in the process of trying this video posting again. I took advice from Holly from Ft. Eustis, VA and imported the video into Windows Movie Maker and changed it to a compressed file. It's still taking a long time to download, so we'll see what happens.

The weekend was spectacular. We spent three days at the most beautiful condo you can imagine, in the most beautiful valley, with the most wonderful family ... mine! A few months ago my daughter found a rental property that was big enough for our entire family. This place was incredible. It had three levels and we all had our own bedrooms with bathrooms. It had a huge media room which held everyone and included surround sound with a huge big screen TV. The property had a swimming pool which we made good use of on Friday. Saturday it rained so we spent our time watching movies, reading, and napping and visiting. We were each assigned a meal to prepare. Everything worked out wonderful and we all had a great time! We celebrated 4 June birthdays ... three of them being on the same day, yesterday, along with Father's Day. (I'll post some pictures as soon as I download them from my camera.)

This morning I attended my pre-surgery class and met with a dietitian, nurse, and psychiatrist. I was the only one in the class so had a great one-on-one. I think I got all of my questions answered. I have the surgery on Wednesday and I may be able to go home on Thursday. That's amazing! For the first little while I will have a diet which consists of clear liquids, jello and broth ... only 2 ounces. They showed me the little cups that were an ounce. Holy Cow ... I can consume an ounce in one gulp! the psychiatrist had the same surgery 4 years ago. He weighed 365 pounds prior to his surgery and now he's slim. He was so heavy, prior to his weight loss, that he was breaking the bones in his feet just by walking. He said that on the Today show this morning they were talking about the surgery and how it's the 'easy way out' to losing weight. He said that really makes him mad when he hears that remark. It's not the 'easy way out.' It's a hard, life changing way of eating and it's not easy. It's very hard. You need to commit to exercise and staying away from carbs and sugar forever!

Tomorrow night I get to do a cleansing. You know what I mean if you've ever had to have a colonoscopy or stomach surgery. Basically it's a super, duper enema and I was told not to plan anything away from home tomorrow night ... if you know what I mean.

I just noticed that the video showed up, so it just may work. (Thanks Holly!) Keep in mind I was running the camera myself. Geez, how I miss my Pitt and my Tom who used to do all of my video work for me. Oh well ... those were the good ole days!

One quick update on my son, Reese, who is at Boot Camp in South Carolina. He called to wish his Dad a happy birthday and father's day yesterday. He said it's hot! He also said that he's doing very well. He's the third biggest guy in his platoon but hasn't quit or given up on any task assigned to him. He's carried 75 pounds of gear on his back and walked for miles. He said that men that are in much better shape than him have fainted and gotten sick from the physical exertion but he's endured. I know that God is carrying him through. He has a great attitude and says that he never gets in trouble because he knows how to obey the rules! He's thankful for his testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and has had the opportunity of sharing it with others as well as bringing a few to church services with him.

I've got to run to do a video shoot that will be posting on UStamp with Dawn and Friends. You won't want to miss it!

Gotta run!

Wonderful Wednesday!

Have you ever had one of those days when everything seemed to just go right? Everything you touched worked out? Today was one of those days and it felt great!

My computer got a virus in it and my husband was able to delete it. He decided to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 and then I no longer had internet access. He couldn't figure out what to do. Well, perhaps he could have, but he doesn't have the patience that I do. He told me to call Geek Squad, which I did, and made an appointment for tomorrow morning. The minimum house call is $129.99! I casually asked the agent if I could uninstall Internet Explorer 8 and restore my original settings. He said I could try that and then install Firefox, which I did, and it totally worked! I think my hubby was surprised at my persistence and patience. When I canceled the appt. with Geek Squad the gal asked me why I was canceling. I said, "Because I fixed it myself. Not too bad for a 60 year old lady, don't you think?" She laughed and commended me for fixing it. (I'm not 60 yet ...)

We've been putting off getting Dieter dogs nails clipped. I went up to Pet Smart and bought a tool to do it myself. They explained what to do and it worked wonderful and I saved myself more money. (And, I didn't even draw blood!)

Then I had a vinyl fence guy come out to give me a bid for my back yard. Ouch ... I'm going to have to get a job soon to pay for that.

I've also been trying to figure out how to convert video AVI files to a format that will download faster and easier in my blog. I'm going to try it now to see if it works. If it works I'll feel like Midas with the golden touch! If not ... I'll keep trying until I get it figured out.

We're having a family reunion in Eden tomorrow through Saturday. I'm looking forward to being with the kids and grandkids. We've got a lot of activities planned and a beautiful house that we've rented so we can all stay together. I'm trying out some recipes that you've submitted for our cookbook. Can't wait to share them with you.

Hmmm ... should a compressed video that's only 6 minutes take so long to download? Not sure if this is going to work. I'll wait a little longer before I cancel the task. Cancelled the task. Guess my Midas touch ran out around 10:00 p.m. Time for bed!

True story ... I ordered a Subway for dinner tonight ... all the veggies, grilled chicken breast, and NO green peppers. I told the clerk that I would like a foot long. He asked, "Will that be a 6 inch or a 12 inch?" Duh ...!

Terrific Tuesday!

Good Morning!

Today I tried something new. I'm trying out my video camera so I can start posting neat things to my blog as well as taking you on a visual reality show of my upcoming gastric bypass surgery. I tried to take a video of myself through the mirror to show you what my body looks like now, but I need another body taking the picture for me. I'll have to work on that.

So ... enjoy the project video and have a fabulous Tuesday! (I'm having trouble uploading it. I'll try again later.)

Oh ... more wonderful news! I promised Lindsey I wouldn't tell anyone until she told me that I could announce to the world, but since I just found her announcement on her blog to the world, I assume I can shout it to the world too. I'm going to have another grandbaby. He/she is due in February. I'm sooo excited for them. They've wanted another baby for the past year. So, that makes two more grandbabies for the Hansen clan. Isn't that wonderful? Hmmm ... I had another baby dream night before last. Wonder who's pregnant and hasn't told me yet?

Speaking of grandbabies ... Laurel's little two year old has been spending her days with her cousins while her Mom works. Last Thursday evening Laurel was wiping Addison's nose and she hollered that her nose hurt and that she had a razor up it. Laurel just thought that she had some sharp boogies that were hurting her nose. Well, over the course of a few days Addison became stuffier and stuffier. Laurel thought she was coming down with a cold. Finally last night Laurel checked the inside of her nose and Addison told her that it was an eraser up her nose! To make a long story short, she had a trip to Insta Care with several nurses trying to hold her down while trying to remove the eraser. No success. They had to take her to Primary Children's Hospital and wait until midnight until they could be seen. They had a heck of a time getting the erasure out, but finally removed it with the help of some sort of a catheter. Oh ... the story gets better. So the cousins that she has been staying with in the daytime got wind of what happened to Addison so Ginny decided to see what little Addison was going through and stuffed a bead up her nose! Thankfully, Gin and DJ were able to remove the bead by holding one of her nostrils closed and having her blow really hard. Oh grandkids ... you gotta love them!

Hooray for Monday!

Saturday I was in Costco and overheard two young gals talking to each other. The one said, "Oh, I wish I didn't have to go back to work on Monday!" I had to stop myself from turning around and saying, "Be thankful for your job. Some day your wish may come true!" I remember saying the exact same thing, on more than one occasion. Now I feel guilty for saying and feeling that way. Be thankful for your jobs!

I had the opportunity of getting up early this morning, getting dressed in my finery, and heading off to the LDS Employment Center in downtown Salt Lake. Now ... an employment specialist in my ward told me to go to the center and they have fantastic seminars and networking opportunities for employment. In my womanly ways I asked him where the center was. He replied, "Oh, it's just uptown in the Triad center. Go to the such and such center and you'll find the classes." Mind you ... no address ... no directions ... a typical man thing. I've been to the Triad Center numerous times when appearing on Channel 5 for TV appearances, but the campus is huge and there's three different buildings with massive underground parking. I pulled into my usual underground parking place and asked the attendant where the BYU Center was. She pointed to the far North West corner. I parked, found the building and even found a person to ask directions to the seminar. I was in the wrong building! She pointed me to the LDS Business Center where I found the class. Can I say ... it was daunting and overwhelming. There were over 200 people, mostly men in business suits who were all looking for work. I kind of felt like a little lost sheep among the wolves. We heard from an HR specialist from a construction company. She was talking about writing resumes and the do's and don'ts. One of her bullet points was grammer and no typos. On her hand-out she had a typo! BOOOOO! Anyway, her information was good and she delivered it well. Then all 200 plus people in the room had the opportunity to go to the podium and tell their 'me' story in 30 seconds or less. When the 30 seconds are up, they get gonged! My oh my ... there was a lot of talent and degrees in the room. People were saying how they had saved their companies millions of money. Ee Gads ... it's almost my turn. I'm more scared than standing in front of 10,000 demonstrators! I start on my 'me' story talking about the crafting industry and it was like talking to a blank wall! I really don't think anyone got what in the world I was talking about. Hmmmm ... I think I'll have to revise my 'me' story for next week.

After the 'me' stories, there were several employers looking for new hires. They came up to the pulpit, told about their company, and then listed several people they had heard tell their 'me' story and wanted to talk to them after the meeting. No bites for me. But I didn't expect it on my first day.

I went upstairs to another seminar and learned how to write a resume. The gal actually sat with me and looked through my current resume and offered some suggestions. She was really excited with my skill sets, so I felt better after talking with her.

So, I came home from a long day at the seminar, feeling great that I had actually felt like I had spent a day at the office. It was a wonderful feeling, getting up in the morning, getting dressed for the day and having a purpose. Ladies and gents, be thankful for your jobs and don't forget to give HIM thanks for the blessings you have in your lives. There are a LOT of unemployed people out there. It was really brought to home when I saw so many talented and wonderful people this morning who had been laid off looking for employment.

The diet is going well. I may have eaten a few more calories than I should have yesterday. I'm not a Salsa lover but Lynn bought some fresh Salsa from Costco called Jack's Special Salsa. It's in the cooler section. Shanny, you've got to try it. It's divine. I could, and did, eat it with a spoon. The salsa doesn't have many calories ... two tablespoons for only 10 calories. It's the chips that I ate with the Salsa that have the calories. No chips and salsa for me today, though. I'm being a good girl!

Oh ... you're going to die when I tell you this. So, here I am at the seminar and the staff are showing us ways to tell our 'me' story. One of the gentlemen gets up and says his name and that he's a surgeon. I about screamed out loud, "Yeah ... and you're assisting in my gastric bypass surgery next Wednesday! And 30 years ago you removed my gall bladder!" But I didn't. Instead I looked for him after class but couldn't find him. Oh well ... I'll see him next Wednesday.

My little MaMa has had a tough few days. Her ankles are really swollen today because her heart isn't pumping like it should. Doctor's order is to remain in her chair with her legs elevated. So I've had a good chance to visit with her and Dad several times today and take them in dinner this evening. We've had her for 3 1/2 years longer than we expected, so we've certainly been blessed.

Remember ... be thankful for your jobs! See you tomorrow.

Another Saturday!

Where does the week go? Geez, when you're un-employed it's hard to remember what day of the week it is! I wake up in the morning and have to think really hard, what day it is.

I'm being lazy this morning. I still haven't showered and have been on the phone with my number 6th child, Lindsey. Is that right, kids? Did I get it right this time? Gettin' old ain't for sissys! I've also been working on an invention that I hopefully can market. Can't talk about it just yet. It's in the design stages and I'm having a ball creating it. Who knows ... it may not fly ... but it's sure fun dreaming and designing and seeing it come to life!

Day 3 of the 1,000 calorie diet. Is Day 3 of the diet supposed to be the hardest day? I think so! Breakfast was white, cheddar popcorn .... 1 3/4 cups for only 160 calories. Not too bad, but not a very healthy breakfast. I just happened to find the popcorn in the TV room that had been there for the past week while we were in England. What a find! I greedily began cosuming it, hoping that I wasn't eating more than my alloted measurement. I swished it down with a Berry Fresca soda ... no calories and definitely no nutrition. Why oh why am I starving at 11:30 a.m.? Hmmm ... I spy some shrimp in the fridge that I thawed the night before. Ooooh ... that will be good. Just shrimp ... not fried or breaded ... just the nice big Costco frozen shrimp. Yum, that tasted good. Then I finished the meal up with a slice of bread. Nothing on it ... just a slice of bread. Remember ... I haven't gone grocery shopping since being back from my vacation. I have next to nothing in the fridge ... no fresh veggies or fruit. I'm starving by dinner time. It's date night, always on Friday. What am I going to eat when we go out? Decisions, decisions. We ended up at Applebees and I ordered the most delicious Weight Watchers Lime Chicken Chili Salad. It was only 5 points. Not sure how many calories that is, but I wasn't worried, it looked healthy. It had a bed of spinach, mushrooms, fresh purple onions, red peppers, just a smattering of low-fat cheese, a few pieces of grilled chicken and then the most divine dressing that had quite a 'kick' to it. It left a hot sensation in my mouth. It was wonderful! And I was completely satisfied after eating it.

Today is Day 4 of the diet. I think I can do this! I'll go grocery shopping today and load up on fruits and veggies and rice crackers and I should do just fine. Thanks for all of your tips and suggestions and encouragement to keep me going on this pre-surgery diet. You're the best!

Better be hopping in the shower. Well, I won't actually hop. I think I'll just stand there and shower.

Happy Saturday!

"Lay Off ... I'm STARVING!"

O.K. ... Isn't that a line from Chris Farley? I remember my kids saying that line and then laughing. Kind of like, "I live in a van down by the river." O.K. ... what's some more? Something about not brushing his teeth and sweating. I can hear Reese in my mind imitating Chris and using the air quotes as he's swinging his arms like a monkey!

Day Three ... of the 1,000 calorie diet. Woke up at 4:00 a.m. I'm hungry!But I've never, never, never gotten up at night to eat. And I didn't ... just thought about my hunger. I did get up and weigh myself, thinking that perhaps I had lost at least 5 pounds after starving myself for the past two days. But lo and behold ... I weigh exactly the same weight! BOOOOO! Can't wait for the surgery!

A good friend called last night and gave me some emotional support. She had the surgery some years ago and has been very successful with it. In fact, she was only in the hospital for two days and was back to work that weekend. She said that it wasn't hard on her at all, and she had a 12" cut on her abdomen. At least I get the laproscopy incisions, so that shouldn't be nearly as bad ... hopefully.

Back to waking up so early... I start thinking about all of the projects I'm working on and try and design and figure out things in my mind and then I can't sleep. I put a notebook and pen by my bed and this has helped immensely. When I think of things I just jot them down on paper and then it seems to clear my mind. It's amazing when I read the paper later to find that I was actually being inspired by Him. It's not something that I brilliantly came up with. It's inspiration from above and I need to stay in tune to receive it.

Hmmm... what am I going to do today? I received my packet of In Color paper, inks, ribbons, and refills yesterday. It was like Christmas. Even though I had been using them at the home office the past few months, there's something more magical when they're your own! I think I'll be creative today and come up with some amazing creations. I'll be posting them on U2 Stamp with Dawn and Friends, along with video support of the projects, and a PDF file that you can download for instructions. You'll want to quickly sign up for the next session of U2 Stamp. Just click on the icon at the side of my blog to sign up.

Oh ... if you're in the Toronto area, make sure to sign up for the Stampin' Palooza event. There are only a few seats available and tickets are flying out the window. Caroline Le Bel just announced the new stamp set that you will be receiving at the event. She has an amazing show planned for you. You won't want to miss it!

And, one more item of business. I have a great friend in Florida who created an amazing site for you to sell your paper crafts, E Willow. com.For a small registration fee you can post and sell your projects on this site and they do all of the advertising for you. It's a beautiful site, professional and eye appealing which will draw many customers. Click on the E Willow icon at the top of my page for more information.

And the biggest news of all .... drum roll please ... I'm going to have a new grandson in November! Laurel, my 6th child and her husband Brian just found out yesterday that they are having a boy. They make the most beautiful babies and I can't wait to hold this one in my arms. I had a 'girl' baby blanket already made for the next child to give me a girl. Guess I'd best be sewing up a blankie for a boy.

One more thing ... Congratulations to Diana Gibbs who received the Artisan Award ... one of the top 10. She will receive $500, plus a $500 shopping spree from the catalog, recognized at Convention, and attend dinner with Shelli and the 9 other award winners. Isn't that amazing? I'm so proud of her! See people, it pays to submit your artwork to Stampin' Up!

Happy Friday!

Home Again, Home Again ... Jiggedy Jigg!

We had a fabulous trip home and arrived safely with luggage in hand!

I developed a raging ear infection the morning of our return and had left my ear medicine at home. So ... even though the flight was wonderful, I was in a LOT of pain. The flight attendant finally brought me some hot water in a bottle that I could hold against my ear. That felt better. Our first leg was 10 hours from London to Houston. I only lost one thing on this flight ... my rain jacket that I had just bought for the trip. I think I lost it in Customs. Oh well ... in a few months it would have been too big for me anyway!

Our second leg from Houston to Salt Lake was in a little, tiny Skywest plane. Lynn and I were stuffed in our seats like pigs in a blanket. We kept fighting each other for arm space. My ear was killing me at the higher altitudes and I was praying that we would soon touch down in Salt Lake. Before we landed, the pilot came over the loud speaker and told us that because of thunderstorms we were in a holding pattern and would probably be circling for the next hour! I was dying! Before too long we landed and headed for home. I grabbed the peroxide as soon as I stepped into the door and my ear medicine. Immediately it started feeling better. Then we jumped in the car and drove out to Angie's to pick up the dog. He was excited to see us. But I think he's been bored with just me at home and misses the boys and Sarge.

We left at 5:00 a.m. , Utah time, and arrived home just after 10:00 p.m. It was a long day, but Continental airlines is lovely and they have the best personal entertainment system. I watched a ton of movies. That's the way to travel!

Well ... I started my pre-surgery diet yesterday. For two weeks, prior to my Gastric Bypass surgery I have to eat 1,000 calories a day. Wow ... the calories add up fast! I had a breakfast bar in the morning for 140 calories. Then for lunch it was a toss-up between a cheese sandwich or a peanut butter sandwich. Since a 1" cube of cheese is 140 calories, or something like that, I thought I would be able to have more peanut butter on my bread than cheese because of the calories. Holy Cow ... a peanut butter sandwich with two tablespoons of peanut butter is 390 calories ... and that's with NO jam or honey! (I haven't gone grocery shopping yet, so that's why I don't have many choices for food just yet.) Then I only had about 400 calories left for dinner so I had a broiled piece of chicken and some corn. Then I went to bed early so I wouldn't be tempted to eat more!

The reason for the pre-surgery diet is to get your liver to shrink prior to the surgery. The surgeon has to fold back your liver to get to your stomache and if you shrink your liver some, it makes the surgery easier to do.

These next two weeks will be hard. We have a family reunion next week in Eden. I'm going to have to be very careful what I eat. The waiting makes me anxious. I just wish I could have it done now and then get on with my life. I have sooo much to do. Cookbook to publish, talks to prepare, stamping presentations to prep for. Hmmmm ... perhaps I should be doing those before my surgery??

Guess I'd best be stopping and get myself busy. Have a marvelous Thursday!

Last Day ... Best of All!

We've had an amazing time with two of our good friends who went with us to London, Dennis and Elaine Owen. We've known them for years! Dennis and Lynn have worked together for years at various engineering firms. They do a little side business together and that's how we're paying for this marvelous trip. They have been wonderful traveling companions. We make a great team! Dennis and Lynn look like they could be brothers. I have to be careful when we travel with them because sometimes I almost put my arms around Dennis because I mistake him for Lynn!I would have to say that today has been the best day of all. We took the underground to Waterloo Station and bought train tickets to Hampton Court. It was without a doubt, the most amazing experience. When we first got off the train and walked across the Thames River we got our first glimpse of the castle. It was by far larger than I had ever imagined!

We first toured the king's kitchens. The inside of the castle was stone walls and floors with extremely high ceilings and fireplaces that were larger than several people put together. It took 200 kitchen staff to cook for 600 people, twice a day!

Just a typical room in Mary's quarters. Hampton Court is where Anne Boleyn and Katherine Parr lived as well as Mary and I think Elizabeth lived. And of course Henry the 8th lived here some of the time. His other wives may have lived here too. William the third had quarters here too. The living accomodations for the elite were beyond words!

Queen Mary's bed chamber.

I acutally took this picture through a glass windowpane from the King's quarters. Aren't the gardens amazing!

Here's the four of us in front of the palace.

I was REALLY scared when I saw Henry the Eighth roaming the halls of the palace. I ran to get in front of him to take his picture. He said, "Have a very good day, Ma'am." I did a little dipsy do and couldn't even eak out a hello. I was afraid he would say, "Off with your head ... for taking my picture!" He actually looks a lot more handsome than the pictures painted of the real Henry the Eighth!

This is the back of the palace which faces the most amazing grounds I've ever seen!

There's that word I HATE ... only I can't figure out why in the heck I'd want to use a disabled toilet???

It was a beautiful sunny day and towards late afternoon the clouds started rolling in. But we never got rain. This is walking along the Thames to catch the train. What a beautiful ending to a beautiful day!

We have a long day tomorrow. Catch our ride to the airport at 8:00 a.m. and then our flight leaves for Houston and it's over 10 hours! Horrors ... and then another 3 1/2 to home. We're gonna' be tired, but happy from the most amazing trip we've ever had!

Hope we can come back again to see all of the amazing things we didn't get to see. Thanks for all of your suggestions for our site seeing. They really helped us decide what to see and do.

A Glorius Two Days!

I was too tired to post last night so now I have two days worth of activities to tell you about.

We left for Bath Spa on the train Friday morning. It took us just a little under two hours to get there. It was a smooth and wonderful ride traveling through the country side of England. It was just what I have always imagined ... rolling, green hills, grazing sheep and cattle, lucious green grass and trees everywhere. It reminded us a lot of Oregon, except for the cottage homes with the thatched roofs. Yes ... we saw a few of them.

Here are the Roman baths that have been excavated ... very interesting. Look at the green mineral water which is unsafe for consumption or even placing your hands into it. (I did! It was nice and warm.)

The Bath Abbey is behind us. We were allowed to tour the abbey which was built in the 900's. I still can't believe there are building still standing that are that old!

We were just in time to see a wonderful procession marching from the abbey. This was a memoriam to the soldiers who gave their lives on "D" Day, which was yesterday!

For all of you Jane Austin fans, this is the building she lived in while living in Bath. She mentions Bath in a couple of her novels. She loved living in the country more than in Bath. She lived in number 4. The bus was going too fast for me to be able to get a picture of her door, but it looks just like this and is in the same building ... close enough!

A view of the River Avon in Bath. Isn't this gorgeous?

This is where we're staying ... right across the street from the Queen's Royal Mews ...where her horses, carriages, and cars are kept. We toured this this morning. We really enjoyed it! We tried to figure out how to get to a chapel for our church services in Hyde Park, but the web said all of the meetings started at 9:00 a.m. and we were too late, so we toured the Queen's stables, instead. :)
This is for you, Sarah. There were only four horses that we saw. Most of the Queen's horses are kept at Windsor Castle where there is land for them to run and play. The horses were beautiful and were kept in gorgeous, titled stables. The queen loves her horses and dogs and has quite a few.

The glass carriage ... the one that carried Princess Diana and Prince Charles when they got married! The queen has several state carriages and we were able to view all of them. She even had air conditioning installed in one of them and lights. They're very elegant, but look quite small and uncomfortable to ride in.

The gold carriage which was made for Queen Victoria .... amazing!

This is for you ... D.J. ... a 1951 Bentley. It was absolutely beautiful which white leather interior. The Queen still uses it. It's painted the royal color, purple.
After the Royal Mews we rode the underground tube all over the 'flippin' place. We had a blast, but if I have to walk down or up one more flight of stairs, I'm going to be crawling on my hands and knees. By the way ... what's with no benches anywhere ... at least hardly any. And trash cans are few and far between. I can say though ... that the subways are much cleaner here than in New York City!
We ate at the first Hard Rock cafe, which is here in London. They even have a vault in the downstairs of their store where we saw scads of memorabilia ... guitars, records, costumes, and etc. of famous rock stars. Sorry, Jaron ... I never saw a bear to buy in their store!

This is for you, Nat ...John Bonham's drum set ... drummer for Led Zepplin.

O.K. another thing ... bathrooms are few and far between and there's no signage pointing to them. At least we couldn't figure it out. The guys would make me ask where the restrooms were because you don't say bathroom or restrooms. It's toilet or W.C., or lavatories. Of course they told me to say 'toilet' and didn't tell me that I could use those other two words. I was so embarrased to ask where the 'toilet' was. I HATE saying that word. I would almost whisper the word 'toilet' when asking where it was and always the person I was asking would say, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" I would have to repeat the word 'toilet' again. However, the last time I had to ask where they were, the cutest artist said that he would show me the way, and he did! Isn't that the sweetest thing?
While viewing the Royal Mews, which is part of Buckingham Palace, we had the opportunity of sitting on the Royal Throne. Here we are ... in all our glory! Here's our friend Elayne pointing the way.

Aaahh ... sweet mystery of life!

Well, it was a long wonderful two days. We're planning on going to visit Windsor Castle out in the country tomorrow. We'll ride the train out there. I wanted to go to Bosham to visit my ancestor's home, but it wouldn't be very fun for the rest of the group, and nothing to do when we got there. Oh well... maybe next time. I can't wait to come back. This is an amazing place. However, London city has tons and tons of people, lots of traffic, and lots of tourists like me!
See you tomorrow!