Saturday, August 15, 2009


Please don't hate me for agreeing with everything she said today, and for busting a gusset when I read the UK spoof about our healthcare debacle.


Having a bad day? Need a little pick-me-up? I have two words for you. Choco. Taco.

Warmed tortillas, melted butter, cinnamon sugar, sliced bananas, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows. Griddled gooey goodness.

Friday, August 14, 2009


When we went all the way into Austin at the crack of dawn the other day, for John's root canal, only to have the endodontist refuse to treat him so soon after his bypass surgery, we were a little PO'd. You just don't waste a trip into Austin! So, we came up with Plan B - which included copious amounts of time strolling Half-Price for books, Whole Foods for olive oil and of course, just hangin' at the Trailer Park. The only disappointment was that the Treats trailer was completely out of both cupcakes and fried pies, and the temps were creeping up towards 105 that day (thank heavens for shade!). I think we'll wait for a cool fall evening to go back again - when everything is lit up with twinkle lights, and you can sit around Treat's fire pit eating S'mores!

LATE BREAKING NEWS! If you will look closely at the photo of Treat's little tear-drop trailer, you will see an old fashioned pull-down movie screen attached to its side, just under the window. I wondered what it was for, and now I know! Here's the low-down, straight from today's Austin American Statesman: "Celebrate John Cusack at the Austin Trailer Park and Eatery. Treat and Vulcan Video present a best of John Cusack series during their Movies Under the Stars at the Trailer Park program. Movies start at 8:30 p.m. and are projected onto a 1959 Teardrop trailer at the Austin Trailer Park and Eatery (1311 South First St.).

How fun is that?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


(click on photos to enlarge)

Wanna take a walk with me? Thought maybe it was time to introduce you to our secret treasure. Hope you have a good imagination!

When we first saw our house, the realtor told us that the property ended in the middle of a creek, hidden in those trees that run along the edge of the road. We could hear it, we just couldn't see it - or figure out how to get down that steep drop-off just beyond the road. It's that triple cascade in the first photo, from our neighbor's property down to ours, that we can hear all the way up on our porch - and in our bedroom, if we sleep with the windows open.

After we bought the place, we went exploring, and found that little deer path. It's at the far edge of the property, just before the road curves around to cross the creek. I had to scoot down on my rear in a couple of places, but it was so worth it, when I saw what awaited us!

The path brought us out onto this wide, flat ledge - the perfect place for a picnic, don't you think? Be careful, it's slippery! Austin fell on his butt, not once but twice, the first time we brought him down here - despite our warnings. Even though it was mid-winter when we discovered it, we couldn't resist stripping off our shoes and socks to dangle our feet in the water that was rushing down that little side chute, in it's haste to join the main creek. We decided it would be the perfect spot to plop down in a tube and launch yourself into the creek, come summer. Little did we know, that summer would be the start of our never-ending drought. Don't you just love the way that gorgeous Maidenhair Fern covers the underside of the ledge? Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? But wait - here comes the best part!

We have a swimmin' hole! See, there in the last photo? That's where the chute dumps you out. The water's deep, cool, crystal clear, and in constant motion, so, hopefully, the water moccasins will stay further down the creek, where it's still and murky. If not, at least we'll be able to see them coming. Might be a bit of a problem if we had to get out in a hurry though. As you can see, those walls sure are steep and tall.

Oh, I know it doesn't look like much now. I'm not completely crazy. But I can still see it, if I set my mind to it, just the way it looked that very first time we stumbled down the hill. And at night, when everything is still? I can hear it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Stop me if you've heard this one. What do you call the person who graduated dead last in their medical school class?.............Doctor!

I've had several people mention lately, how important it is to do our own medical research, and not just assume that our doctors are always going to do what's best for us. They are not the gods that most of us were brought up to believe them to be. They are fallible humans, just like the rest of us, capable of having a bad day or slipping up. One person also commented on the fact that my kids were "miracle babies." Yes, they most certainly were, but the true miracle was that I never gave up, and never assumed that my doctors must know what was best for me, since they had medical degrees and I didn't.

I had two different OBs run tests after I had several miscarriages. They both said "There's nothing wrong with you. It's just bad luck," and "Just keep trying. That was God's way of telling you those babies just weren't meant to be." Hogwash! I'd been reading about miscarriages, and they almost always occur within the first six weeks. My pregnancies always lasted three months. In fact, I could predict almost to the day when the spotting would begin. How could that just be "bad luck"?

So, I kept looking, and reading, and talking, and asking, and my friends kept asking too, until finally one of them told me "My cousin knows someone who had the same problem, and there's this doctor at Texas Women's hospital..." This doctor did the exact same test as the other two, but when he looked at the pictures, he immediately noticed my "room divider" - an almost invisible membrane separating my uterus into two compartments which, of course, was causing my babies to run out of room... right at three months.

How did that membrane get there? Well, no one knows for sure, but my mother did have one miscarriage just before she had me. That was right about the time when doctors were handing out D.E.S. willy nilly to anyone who'd ever had a miscarriage, because the pharmaceutical companies had them convinced that it could prevent them. Only, woops! Turns out it really didn't make that much difference as far as miscarriages went. Instead, it just totally screwed around with the reproductive organs of any female offspring who had been exposed to it in the womb.

So, yeah, it's way easier to just place ourselves in the hands of the professionals, and trust in them to know and do what's best, but at what cost?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Earlier this spring, Dear Hubby decided to try a new dentist near our townhouse in Houston. He was not impressed. A few weeks after his bypass surgery, he lost a big chunk of the tooth that dentist had worked on. He decided not to go back.

This time he scouted around for someone in the Hill Country, and found one in the next town over. I made sure he told them about his recent heart surgery, and they said "No problem!" They couldn't get him in for a few weeks, but fortunately, the tooth wasn't really bothering him. Yet.

The day before his appointment they called to say they had a flight conflict, and needed to postpone his appointment. He said fine. It's not hurting all that much. But then he had a work conflict, and had to postpone again. And then it was hurting - like a son-of-a-bitch! Like a worse-than-having-your-chest-sawed-in-two-bitch. He begged for an earlier appointment. They gave him a prescription for antibiotics, and promised to call if they had any openings. They did not. Luckily, he hadn't used all his pain pills from the heart surgery. Finally I told him, "Quit being so damn nice! I've never known a dentist that didn't leave some wiggle-room in their schedule for emergencies. Go park yourself in their waiting room and moan non-stop. They'll work you in!" But of course, he didn't.

Finally, they saw him yesterday. They ground the tooth down. They cleaned it all out. They fitted him with a temporary crown. They even cleaned his teeth while he was there. Then they set him up with an endodontist in Austin for having a root canal done today. Only when we got there, she took one look at his paperwork, and said "Uh, excuse me! Do you mean to tell me you just had bypass surgery a little over two months ago? I can't do a root canal on you!"

Turns out standard protocol is "no dental work for six months" - not even teeth cleaning! The grafted veins need that much time to become fully integrated, otherwise they could act as a magnet that attracts any bacteria loosened during the procedure, and cause all kinds of problems. She tried calling John's doctors, to see how they felt about it, but couldn't get ahold of anyone. Then she called Austin Heart, and they agreed, wait six months. So, they popped his temporary crown back on, and said come back at Thanksgiving. He felt sorry for the endodontist, who was very apologetic, and told her "Oh, don't worry. It's not hurting that much." Yet.

Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to block out images of little bacteria people with snorkels and flippers, loosened by the work the dentist did yesterday, happily making their way down to their favorite swimmin' hole, his heart!

P.S. Many thanks to for the above image.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


To tell you the truth, I never really got Julia Child growing up. She was just this big, strange lady on TV, with a voice like nails on a chalkboard. Of course, I might have changed my tune had anyone ever cooked one of her recipes for me. Alas, my mother was never one of her converts, and remained completely loyal to her canned and frozen dinners. There was one thing, though, that I really appreciated Julia for: providing fodder for Dan Akroyd's pants-wetting skits on SNL.

It wasn't until I began to learn more about Julia as a person - through the book Julie & Julia, Child's own memoirs, and a recent documentary on TV - that I learned to love her for who she was, and like Julie Powell, I began to identify with her. When my college sweetheart, who was four years older than I, went off to work in Asia the summer before my senior year, he had never once spoken of us having a future together. Within a few months of his departure, however, he was on the phone asking me to marry him and come to Indonesia. Why? Because nothing about his big adventure was as fun or as exciting as he had expected it to be. He needed my eyes, my sense of wonder and my exuberance in order to appreciate things more fully - just as Paul had needed Julia's. I think that's what Paul Childs fell in love with, Julia's joie de vivre - her passion for life.

I was forced to stifle sobs at one point in the movie, when Julia pretended to be thrilled at the news of her sister's pregnancy, though Paul knew she was dying inside. John was my rock - the only thing that kept me going - through four or five years of miscarriages, tedious tests and procedures, major surgery, trying to keep a stiff upper lip each time someone I knew got pregnant without even wanting to, and feeling my heart tear a little further, each time the OB failed to find a heartbeat at the end of my first trimester.

I think John identified with both husbands in the movie: with Paul for the above reasons, and with Eric because, well, he knows exactly what it means to be a Blog Hubby. John has always been a very private person, and when I first began blogging, he had a hard time dealing with his starring role in many of my stories. One day I told him that I was going to give up the blog. It just wasn't worth it to me, if it was going to make him unhappy. Later that night, he was awakened by a vibrating bed, to find me sobbing into my pillow. He pulled me into his arms and asked what on earth was the matter. "You j-just d-don't know how w-wonderful it was," I gulped out, "to f-finally have a voice, for the f-first time in my life!"

Fortunately, he managed to "convince" me the next day, that there was nothing in the world he wanted more, than for me to continue blogging. He may have been lying through his teeth at the time, but I think he has grown into his role admirably. He gave me a good nudge with his elbow at one point in the movie, when Julie was waxing rhapsodically about her blog readers, then he leaned over with a grin and a twinkle, and said "I guess she found her voice!"

P.S. Many thanks to for the movie-version image of Paul and Julia, and to for the one of Eric and Julie.