Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Because my family's medical history has changed significantly in the past year or less, I decided that it would be good to share that with my PCP. So, today I went to see her. It's been a while since I've seen her...

DRAT!!!!! Should I say it again? DRAT!!!! I gained weight... as if I didn't know that. My blood pressure is borderline high... thus the recent headaches. She is running a bunch of tests to check my cholesterol (among other things), genetic testing, and I can't remember what else.

There is something about the authority of a doctor. When the doctor says... then that is the push I need. Then after a while, I just need reminded. I expected her to say "Here is a diet. Follow it and exercise." That is NOT what she said. Imagine that. Here is her simple, yet profound advice:

"Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Consume lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and whole grain breads." No diet. No special formula to follow. I LOVE IT! Duh - this is so sensible! Oh and she also said that I should exercise more... I never realized that all the processed, fat-filled, cholestorol busting, high calorie, high carb foods were mostly in the middle of the grocery store. Interesting... we learn something new every day. Just think how much faster it will be to shop too!!!

See what working at home for a year did to me?! I sat on my butt a little too much. Just when my pony arrived, I skipped town. At least when she was around I had the motivation to get out and about every evening. So... I guess I will be watching my intake and taking a few more walks. Rene'e and I are also going to step up the riding program for the fall. I figure... why pay for a gym membership when I can work-out at the farm for free. (or the price of gas to/from) The Hospital is also putting an especially hightened emphasis on personal wellness lately... and our church has a 2x/wk fitness program (with a trainer) that is inexpensive... I may look into that too.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

No Garden Is Complete Without....


Products Of A Former Rainy Day

These photos were taken mid-August at the Blair homestead. Uncle Charlie is "The Gardner." He tends to fruits, vegetables, and an array of gorgeous flowers all summer long and shares them with all of us. What a blessing he is to our family. THANKS UNCLE CHARLIE!

Psalm 147

1 Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.

4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.

5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
6 The Lord sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.

9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of a man;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion,
13 for he strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord.

Today is a rainy day and that is why I am reminded of this Psalm. Verse 8 states: "He covers the sky with clouds;he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills." We sometimes forget how much we need the rain in order for the crops to grow. We get caught up in our day to day activities of enjoyment under the sunny summer skies and forget that we so badly need the rain. Thank God for the rain today.

I also might add -- Have you ever heard those commercials where you can pay a fee and have a star named after your loved one? How bogus is that anyway?! Verse 4 explains that God has already named all of the stars.

Sabbath Day

Despite the fact that I rested yesterday... today is the Sabbath. I look forward to this day all week long. We go to church... We see some people... We sing praises... We gain some wisdom... and we grab Starbucks on the way home... and then just veg-out the rest of the day. (Except sometimes Keith has to work)

I put on a pork roast with sauerkraut this morning. YUM! This recipe calls for brown sugar and 12 ounces of beer. Yes, we do have some beer in our fridge. Funny thing though - it has been in there so long without being touched that the box was actually FROZEN to the back of the fridge! Oops... maybe that is contributing to our recent refrigerator problems? Anyway, the roast needs to simmer for a few more hours before it will be finished. Drat! Keith has to go to work this afternoon. Oh well... I suppose he'll have a midnight snack waiting for him when he gets home.

Church was swell. A pastor from Costa Rica spoke expressing his gratitude for the money and labor that our church has shared with them. Our pastor followed with a sermon reminding us that God is our authority. He makes the rules. We often find ourselves allowing other entities to rule our lives. I found myself contemplating the area where God's authority and our free will might cross paths. Hmmm... Now there is some room for theological discussion.

After church we almost always stop at Starbucks. It's a weekly ritual that Keith and I have adopted as a way to set aside some "Us Time" to reflect on the prior week and plan for the next. Although we consume plenty of coffee every other day of the week, we splurge together on this day and we usually get a sweet treat too. Today's drink of choice is the
Caramel Machiatto. Mmmm.... Espresso and vanilla topped with foamy milk... and caramel!!!!! YUM! Anyway, we have concluded that this past week was fantastic. Plans for the upcoming week include... getting back to the grind! Hopefully we will be getting a new refrigerator on Wednesday or Thursday night. YIPPIE!

So the day rolls on... Keith is getting ready for work. I'm computing...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Visiting My Baby

I used to walk this trail to see Penny.

This is where she lives... behind the old plantation mansion.

They call it "Rose Hill." It's beautiful!

Shhhh... She hasn't seen me yet!

I whistled, just like I always have and she immediately ran to me!

(No this is not a magazine ad!)

She was so excited to see me!

Hard to leave...

What a beauty!


Moving on, we headed back for the cave tour. This is not something that I would normally think of as exciting. I don't care to be "enclosed" and even more so with other people! Ugh! Upon entry, the tour guide informed us that there would be animals in the cave... bats, rats, and spiders. I was ready to call it quits right there, but sucked it up and pretended to be brave.

See the hole in this picture... a pack rat lives in it, but we couldn't get her into the picture. When the guide shined his light in the hole, we could see her whiskers. Neat! And not scary! The guide affectionately referred to it as a "she" so we went along with it.

The formations were pretty neat. They say that at one time water flowed through the caves and that since then "formations" have occurred. As water seeps in at various times, mineral deposites form and that is how they are formed. It's neat. At one point we had stopped to be educated... while standing in a line Keith asked me to please step forward. Despite my reluctance to get any closer to the others in the cave... it was worth it. There was a brown recluse spider on the rock over his head. He was smart enough to NOT tell me until we were on our way home. OH HORRORS!!! I HATE SPIDERS!!!!

We only saw one bat. Here it is. There is another cave called "Bat Cave" that they say is filled with bats in the fall. That's where they go to mate and to hibernate. Hmmm... I wonder why they mostly go to that cave? I don't know, but I'm not going to find out any time soon. Honestly, I'm not the least bit afraid of bats. They are always in the barns. As long as you don't try to touch them, we can live in harmony. The tour guide told us that bats eat an estimated 40,000 pounds of bugs EVERY NIGHT in the park. That's a lot of bugs!!! I hate bugs. Thank God for bats!

Highlight #2: Carter Caves

We visited Carter Caves State Resort Park located not far from Morehead, KY. It was a short drive. We set out with the purpose of sight-seeing at Cave Run Lake, when we found ourselves headed the opposite direction on the highway. Oh well... we figured we'd just check out the caves instead.

There are several caves at this park and they have regular tours for those who wish to encounter them. Some of them require hiking/caving gear and others are less invasive - just about anyone can handle them. We signed up for a leisurely tour of "X-cave," but found that there was about a 2 hour wait. We considered going horse-back riding and stopped to check out the stable. I took one whiff and said "It smells like a cow barn." It was nasty and the horses were pretty much a bunch of hags. It was sad. So - we opted to skip that idea.

Moving on, we found miniature golf. This would not be my idea of excitement, but killed some time. We were the only min-golfers there, so we weren't rushed. Keith kept score and cheated - he didn't give me as many strokes as I deserved on some of the holes. The longer we golfed, the lazier I got about even trying. Keith should be credited for TWO "Hole in Ones" though.

Vacation Highlights

Why does it always have to be so short?

We left on Tuesday for Morehead, KY. We drove down through West Virginia. It's windy but beautiful. Morehead is in Eastern Kentucky. Keith's sister Denise teaches at the State University there. She and her family have a really cute little home in town. It's quaint...

Denise wowed us with some fabulous meals. Spicy Thai noodles with chicken, Sesame pork ribs, and homemade bread pudding... YUM. She's all about crock pot cooking these days and makes full use of her cook books. Many thanks to Denise and Randy for their fabulous hospitality!

Highlight #1: HAYDEN

Denise mentioned that everyone visits to see Hayden now... Keith insisted that he was there to see her and Randy too, but she said "You're the only one that's tried to lie about it." Ha ha

He's such a cutie! We love him so much! This was definitely worth the trip! He's such a happy fellow.

Other highlights from Morehead include:



Coffee time at "The Fuzzy Duck." There is no Starbucks in town. This tiny coffee shop brews a yummy cup of coffee and has many delectable treats. I brought home a sample of Kentucky Bourbon flavored coffee to share with my co-workers. They always bring home salt water taffy from the beach... hmmm... none of that in KY. But Kentucky is known for it's Bourbon, so this will suffice.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

All Tuckered Out

Crystal spend all of her energy trying to HIDE from Joyce today. She's so shy!

Well, Wizzy spent all his energy today playing with Joycie.

Today it has been officially one week since I fell and skinned my knee. Honestly, I cannot remember ever having such a scrape take so long to heal! Being that it is located right under my knee cap, it is subject to constant movement. It hurt to bend it, it hurt to keep it straight. It hurt to look at it and it hurt to not! It hurts to keep a bandage on it and it hurts to leave it air out!!! UGH!!!! It is interrupting my sleep and keeping me from cuddling with my hubby! I have been really wimpy about this wound. It has been exceptionally painful. I'm sure that Keith is ready to choke me or drug me or something!!!! The odd thing is that it has been burning constantly... as if I had poured acid on it or something???!!! Odd. I've been doctoring it up with Neosporin with Pain Relief, but it hasn't been relieving any pain. I've been taking Tylenol too. Yesterday I started treating it with Solarcaine. It is full of aloe vera and I think that is actually soothing it somewhat! Aloe is great for burns. I guess this is a sidewalk burn?
I used to do transcription for an infectious disease doctor. He would often treat wounds. I suppose they were probably more severe than this... Usually diabetic patient's whose wounds would not heal. Let's hope that's not becoming my scenario!!! Anyway, in his dictation, he would describe how the wound was healing... the color, the texture, etc. IF he were describing my wound, I think he would mention the bruising around it, then the surrounding redness, and then the white-ish new tissue that appears to be moist. I think I'm gonna live... but boy has this been a real bugger of a bang-up to deal with.

The Pie


Today's Tid-bits

Today started with a trip to Butler to pick up Joyce for a "Girls Day." Mom - just so you know... her first comment was "Tomorrow I'm going to Grandma's and staying over night. I already have my bags packed!" So your little sleep-over plans are right up there on the To Do List of the Blair kiddos.

Anyway, we dropped by the bank... Deposited some money... Withdrew some money... (gotta have some spending money for Girls Day)... Then we cruised on over to the Blair/Zombeck household to pick up some laundry. We met Keith at Starbucks and enjoyed a fancy drink. Then we motored over to Eat n' Park where we all ordered the salad bar. Mmmm... with yummy broccoli soup! When we got back, Joyce and I started the laundry. She's quite the helper! I folded the dry laundry while Joyce sorted all of the incoming laundry into whites, darks, reds, etc. We washed ALL OF IT today!!! I'm so proud of us. In between we decided that it was a good day to make a pie. Being that it was too hot to fire up the oven, we settled on a chocolate pudding pie! Joyce found a recipe online. We went to Sorgels Market... checked out the tea party stuff and bee display. We bought some candy and an avocado (because I've been craving it). She carefuly picked out a chicken with gumballs for herself and a gummy snake for each of her brothers. From there we hit Giant Eagle for the pie ingredients. Joyce had carefully prepared a list of items that we needed and made sure that we got each of them. Once we were home, we did some more laundry. Eventually we made the pie - Actually... JOYCE made the pie. We even topped it with whipped topping and shaved chocolate! It was scrumptious! Mmmm... Don't worry, we had dinner first. We made macaroni. We made our own red sauce and cheese sauce and mixed them together. YUM. At the close of our evening, I french braided Joyce's hair at her request. Then I took her home. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... long day! But delightful.

Longevity's Loot

As I turned a year older earlier this week, I was showered with gifts from near and far. I don't feel any older than I did a week ago, but I do feel a whole lot richer after gaining all of these thoughtful gifts. Rene'e bought me dinner at The Runway. Aunt Jane made me fancy cards, which I have not taken pictures of. If you read her blog, you might recognize some of the photos on the cards. She is very crafty - in a good way of course. These are beauties.... and you readers will be blessed if you are one of the lucky ones to get snail mail from me on these!

Many many thanks are in order for all of the lovely things. It is so wonderful to have family and friends surrounding us. I'm so grateful for all of you! Thank you for making my birthday special.

Surprises From My Hubby

I've had Betta fish over the past several years. One named Marvin at work. He didn't last long. I'm wondering if too many of us were tapping on the glass too much. The next one was Oscar and he lived for about 2 years, but recently died. The third was actually Keith's and we took it to Kentucky when we moved. He died after we were away for a weekend. Anyway, all those trips back and forth in the airplane I used to read the in-flight magazines and catalog. This fish bowl was always something that I saw and thought "I want that!" Keith was obviously listening when I saw it in a store the other day and said "WOW - I want that!" Needless to say, Keith said that we can go pick out my new Betta as soon as we get back from vacation!

Something else I've been wanting... Thanks Keith... Your gifts were ever so thoughtful. You're the greatest!!!

My New Sandals

I wanted new sandals for so long... but was too cheap to buy them for myself. Mom & Jim took care of it... YIPPIE!!!! Thanks so much! I love them!

The Southern Vulhops... Dad n' Rach

Sneaky cat!

Somebody knows what gets right to my heart.... My favorite flower! Thank you so much... they are PERFECT!!! I couldn't stop taking pictures of them!

A little pampering...

Two GIANT fluffy towels... I LOVE them!!! I love BIG SOFT towels. You can never have enough of these. Great gift. Thank you Blairs!

Mom - I love this! I'm totally switching from Skinlogics to Skin Equations! Thank you!

Thank you Zombecks

I always wanted one of these!