Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Please Pray for this Lady

You probably don't recognize her face and will probably never meet her, but please pray for her. Her name is Dr. Faustman and she is researching a cure for type 1 diabetes. Her work sounds really promising and couldn't come at better time. Please pray that her research and treatment will prove successful and be a safe and lasting cure for this horrible disease. I so long for the day when I can look back and say, "Wow, remember when Allie had diabetes and we had to worry about her all the time and she couldn't just eat without the whole rigmarole of glucose monitors, needles, insulin, pain, frustration...."

Allie got bad news at the endocrinologist's yesterday. I won't go into specifics, because I'm trying (oh so very hard) to keep a more positive alignment on this blog, but if you want to read more about Allie's struggles with type 1 diabetes, you can read my type 1 blog here:

To read more about Dr. Faustman's research, go here:

...and please remember to pray!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Allie Publishes Book

As some of you know, Allie is an incredibly gifted writer. A couple years ago or so, she wrote her first book, The Secret of Bathroom Three. We looked into sending it a publisher, but found out that publishers don't accept manuscripts for childrens' have to have an agent. So, we wrote to agent after agent, each of who said they either weren't taking on new clients or they dealt with a different genre.

So, Allie has decided to go through a self-publishing site,, to get her book out there. Here's the link where you can buy your very own copy!

Allie gets a small amount of money for each paperback ordered (and a slightly larger amount for downloaded copies).

Be sure to tell all your family, friends, and friends' friends! This could get Allie the attention her writing needs to get into the publishing houses! :o)

Thanks for your support!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Creature in Our Backyard

Last night around 10 the dog started barking like crazy (he was supposed to be inside, asleep, but Allie hadn't put him to bed, so he was still outside in the backyard). Allie went to call him in, but Wuzzle just kept barking and scurrying around some mysterious dark form. Finally, a creature of some sort kind of spread itself out in the corner, clinging to the block fence. It's so dark in that corner even with the back light on, we couldn't tell what it was. Todd was in bed and kept saying it was just a cat. This was definitely not a cat. It looked like a little trollish, weird creature, dark and oddly shaped, the way it was pressed against the wall that way.

Finally, Todd gets up to take a look and he still insists it's a cat. No no, I say, a cat would've been over the wall by now. Allie and Zane were peeking out the family room door, Todd was just outside our bedroom door on the patio, and I was leaning out our bedroom door.

So then the creature moved away from the wall and we all got a good look at it and moved back into the house quickly, the kids shrieking. Okay, so was I.

It was a SKUNK!

And OF COURSE Wuzzle got sprayed. Allie finally got him inside and washed him. I don't know if he still stinks as of this morning, and I don't intend to find out. I just hope we don't get any more night visitors.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Playing with Layouts

. . .

Okay, I've been tinkering with layouts and backgrounds and such. I'm waaay out of practice, having designed only one commercial website since moving to AZ 5 years ago and giving up my web design business in VA. This blog is way too fun to play with, and a great stress relief. Hopefully it won't become an addiction, hehe.

Oh, just a note on the first song that plays on my music list. It's by Devon Sproule, a friend of mine back in Virginia.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Zane's Dance of the Rainforest

I've often compared having Zane in the house with living with a young Jim Carrey. He dislikes that comparison (Zane, that is; I'm sure Jim would take it as a compliment). I don't know why Zane feels that way. They both crack me up. Shrug.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Allie's New Hair!

Allie asked me to dye her hair black last week...well, it turned out more of a really dark brown-ish black, but she likes it (so do I). Then today she got it cut. I think it's so cute! She's alternating between having fun playing with it and getting frustrated when it doesn't do what she wants it to. :o)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pix of Red Mountain & Usery Areas

For my friends who live anywhere other than The Dirt, here are a few pix of an area north of us (we rented near Red Mountain while our house was being built). Again, forgive me for the crappy camera. Good news, though: I found a respectable camera with a Leica lens for only $450. Maybe I can talk Todd into getting it for my birthday...teehee.

The first picture has the Superstition Mountains in the background. The light had an eerie quality that day thanks to the impending storm. My favorite time to shoot is right before/during/or after a storm.

Same area, near Usery Park in northeast Mesa. I just pulled to the side of the road and shot out the window while Bryce kicked it in the carseat.

This is Red Mountain; if you live near Red Mountain, you live with scorpions. I don't miss them. The best thing about living out here in The Dirt that's farther in the middle of the desert is that we haven't seen a scorp in the year we've been out here. We saw a wind scorpion--Todd caught it in our backyard--but those are nothing to worry about.

This is a wind scorpion (I didn't take this picture), just so you can see how not intimidating they are:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Vareniki (Ukrainian dumplings)

These are close to the version my two older kids' Ukrainian grandfather makes and are SUPER YUM!


1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 egg

Stir egg and oil together. Add in flour & salt and stir to combine. Add water a bit at a time 'til mixture forms a rough dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic (takes about 2 minutes). Or, just throw all ingredients into a food processor and whizz 'til soft and pliable.


3 med. potatoes, boiled
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. cream cheese
salt to taste

Mash all ingredients together. I don't actually measure when I'm making the filling, so I'm guessing on how much butter and cream cheese I use; adjust to your own taste.

Roll out dough on lightly floured (or oiled) surface 'til nice and thin. Then, use a biscuit or perogi cutter to make flat rounds of dough. Fill with approx. 1 tbsp. of filling, fold over and seal by squeezing edges together.

Drop several at a time into a pot of boiling water and simmer for a few minutes. They should float a bit when done.

This is the sauce that I always had on them:


1 med. onion, diced
enough olive oil to cover onions in pan

Put diced onions in pan, cover with olive oil. Fry on med. heat until onions begin to brown and carmelize. Stir occasionally, not constantly. Drizzle over cooked vareniki.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Borscht recipe

This is an Americanized version, and oooooh so yummy! Don't be alarmed if things come out red the next day! ;o-)


1 lg. onion, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 T. olive oil
3-4 potatoes, cubed
3-4 carrots, sliced
4-6 c. chicken stock (or veggie stock, or even beef stock for a more trad. version)
3-4 lg. beets, shredded (food processor makes it much easier)
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. salt, plus an extra pinch
dash of pepper
sour cream

Saute onion and celery in oil in 5-qt. saucepan until soft. Add potatoes, carrots and stock to cover. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or 'til veggies are tender. Add beets. Cook for 15 minutes longer. Add vinegar and seasonings. Cook for 1 minute longer. Garnish with sour cream.

Carb count is 31 g. minus 5 g. fiber for all the peeps with diabetes, type 1 or 2 or beyond. Enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mmmmm chocolate

our friends April and Jason come over last night for dinner (we made vareniki and borscht--mmmm) and April showered us with yummy organic chocolate of the most yummilicious flavours: lavendar & blueberry, chai, lime, milk, dark, extra dark, current and hazelnut, mayan spice, and more! and the winner (for April & me) was...Dagoba chai!

thanks, you guys! you cheered me up after my ER incident. i love it when you come to visit!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are you ready to die?

Gerard Way (MCR) asked that question before singing their song, Dead!, at their show in Tempe on March 28.

yesterday i asked myself the same question. i had been having interesting chest pain since 11 the previous night. i'm no stranger to chest pain, having an ectopic pacemaker (my natural one, not an artificial one) that causes me sharp, shooting pains now and then. this pain was different. and i was nauseated. and i was really really inexplicably tired. so of course i go look up all those symptoms online and it says this is how a woman's heart attack usually starts. great. so, i take a baby aspirin and go back to bed.

And if your heart stops beating
I'll be here wondering
Did you get what you deserve?
The ending of your life
so the next morning (yesterday) i wake up and the chest pain starts again. i try all sorts of things to get it to stop. it won't. i take another aspirin and make waffles for the kids, all the while wondering if i'm about to have a heart attack and contemplating whether i'm up for that or not.

And if you get to heaven
I'll be here waiting, babe
Did you get what you deserve?
The end

so the kids leave for school and the pain is still persisting and my body just feels "weird all over." i keep getting nauseated and dizzy and am unbearably tired. so i call Tanya, our Ward's compassionate service coordinator and see if she knows anyone i can ask about this because i don't want to go to the hospital and rack up more bills on top of the ones i'm still paying for the miscarriage in December. no one Tanya calls is home, so Tanya comes over to hang out and tell me about the numerous heart attacks her mom has had (all her symptoms matched mine!).

And if your life won't wait
Then your heart can't take this

so i'm trying to figure out if Todd gets sick days or not to see if we can afford for him to come home to take me to the hospital. he comes home and we head out to Urgent Care (trying to save the hospital bill). Urgent Care doc comes out and asks me a few questions about my symptoms and sends me straight to the hospital. great. all i can think about is the bill and i contemplate just sitting in the car in the hospital parking lot until i actually have the heart attack (if it ever comes) or just going back home.

Have you heard the news that you're dead?

so the overall weird feeling intensifies and i decide with much prodding from Todd to go into the E.R. by that time the pain was radiating to my jaw and down the left arm. sadly, at that point, i didn't really care if i was about to die. Todd would get insurance money and we wouldn't have to struggle with finances anymore, which i am SICK of (apparently, nearly sick to death of).
No one ever had much nice to say
I think they never liked you anyway

i have to say that the staff at Mercy Gilbert are the kindest, sweetest people ever. after my initial EKG showed i was indeed not having a heart attack, i was placed in a chair in an ER room for less severe patients and hooked up to a heart monitor and pulse ox. a chest x-ray was taken, my labs were drawn and an i.v. inserted (so not fun). then my heart started doing all sorts of wacky beats and set the alarm off on the monitor. that's when they moved me into the "ballroom" where more serious patients go. it had a bed, not too cozy, but better than the chair.

Oh take me from the hospital bed
Wouldn't it be grand?
It ain't exactly what you planned.
And wouldn't it be great If we were dead?
Ohh dead.

so at that point i actually got a little scared and wondered if this was how i wanted to go or if i was ready to go. still wasn't sure. the lab folk came back to draw a "hold pink top," in case i had to go into surgery. not a comforting thought. if you know me, you know i would really rather not have surgery, or any kind of procedure at all. it freaks me out.

And in my honest observation
During this operation
Found a complication in your heart

after a few more hours of monitoring and crazy heart patterns, my lab results came back. everything looked good, except for the test for blood clots. it should've been below 1.3, but mine was 2.17--on the higher side of the "indeterminate" range. the doc recommended a CAT scan but i really didn't want to do it. he said i could wait as long as i understood that if it were a blood clot it could be fatal. he made me promise to come back if i had more pain and to take aspirin every day until i could see a cardiologist. sure, no problem.

So long,
'Cause now you've got (now you've got)
Maybe just two weeks to live
Is that the most the both of you can give?
One, two, one two three four!
Well come on,

so, yes, i had a little chest uneasiness this morning but took my aspirin and feel better. why is that? don't answer, i don't really want to know. i'm just left here with the biggest struggle of my i feel about death. i feel guilty for sometimes wanting it to come, but sometimes life is just too much. i am just too tired and worn out from worrying about money and whether we'll join the herds and lose our house. i don't think i could survive that, so why not just go ahead and die so Todd can have the insurance money and refi the house and not have to work 70 hours/week just to survive. wouldn't life just be easier for the people i love? then the guilt comes and i do want to stick around--for them. because even though i know i'm high maintenance and royal pain in the arse, i know Todd loves me and i love him so much i would do anything for him, even live with myself. and i know that i'm not a perfect mom, but i think the kids still need me. i know Bryce still needs me. he sang for the first time yesterday on the way to the hospital. it was the sweetest most precious thing and it made my heart happy for a little while. maybe i'll just hold onto that.

do you ever feel like the devil just has you on strings? i know i need to go to the Temple; i know i need to read my scriptures. i know i need to fast and pray. i know, i know, i know. i just hope i can get there before it's too late.

Oh #$%^&,
If life ain't just a joke (LA LA LA LA LA!)
Then why are we laughing? (LA LA LA LA LA LA!)
If life ain't just a joke (LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!)
Then why are we laughing?
If life ain't just a joke (LA LA LA LA LA!)
Then why are we laughing? (LA LA LA LA LA LA!)
If life ain't just a joke (LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!)
Then why am I dead?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Irish Water Jig Performed by Zane

This speaks for itself...unstoppable except when hosed by Todd!

Goofing off on "D"-Day

Allie's having a D-Day today. In other words, we're having a bit of a challenge getting her blood glucose in range. We haven't been able to get it below 200 for about five days (and she's spent a lot of time in the 300's and 400's and even a 571! It should be around 120, by the way) and have been sending readings to the hospital for advice on adjusting. I get nervous when we have to increase her insulin by such extreme numbers. So, here we are, stuck at home with high blood sugar and multiple injections of insulin. Instead of taking a D-Day in my typical fashion (hiding in my closet and crying), Allie & I decided to just hang out and...ROCK OUT and just be goofy. Allie sends a shout out and says, "MIKEY FLIPPIN' WAY!" to all her peeps! Enjoy the clips of our D Day!

NOTE: The video and soundtracks are off, so it looks like she's "string synching" but that's really Allie playing!

Allie drops her pick in this one...teehee

My goofball....

Never trust grapes in a bowl....