Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bye Burger

I have to say that this morning dragged and dragged. The anticipation is a killer but we made it through. Nathan did a lot of his good-byes Christopher and lots of his friends. He said good-bye to Maddox Sunday. Isn't that a cute picture of them? This morning it was lots of hugs to Jaron and Emily. Emily was kinda teary but she is so close to him........Vienna buddies.

So here is the good-bye pics........don't they look sad? Some things never change!!!

Even Steve and I got pictures with Nathan. I know by the time we actually left he was very sick of the camera!!

Nathan wanted to go to Chili's for his pre-MTC arrival. I didn't complain.....I love Chili's. And it was yummy.
One last hug before he left.
I am going to miss him so much!!!
And there he goes. He will do great!! Watch out comes one awesome missionary!!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Let the shows begin!!

As you can tell I'm not the photographer in the family. Part of it though is our horrible camera....not me. I am so glad that Melanie is coming out to take pictures of the production Emily is in. She may be horrified at these pictures :) In this very fuzzy picture is Emily. She is to the very right.

They started doing their small tour of "Life in a Labyrinth" to elementary schools and libraries. Their actual performances start a week from Thursday with some dress rehearsals before. So basically......all of Emily's spring break will be dancing every day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The final hurrah

Steve gives his talk, "The Implications of Evolution and Consciousness for Key LDS Doctrines" to a packed house at The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology.
Yep...that's Steve giving his talk Friday afternoon. This has been a killer 6-8 weeks with my foot surgery, then Steve off to Bali, then off to Africa and then this presentation at the conference. I didn't get to go and hear it but from what I heard he did great. We're all glad he's finally done with all of this.... so now back to normal life.........

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Getting ready

Nathan is almost packed. Can you tell?

Friday, March 26, 2010


This is the performance that Emily is going to be in April 8-10. Not only are there dancers but also actors, singers and more. It's going to be an incredible show. Emily has been putting in 12+ hours a week dancing and getting ready for this. What's going to be fun too is that Melanie (dear, sweet sister) is coming out for it and she is going to be the photographer for the performances......and dress rehearsals. If you can't come she will have TONS of pics to look at to see what you missed :)
Emily's next recital is the 2nd week of June and they're doing Alice in Wonderland. It will be great!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Foot Update

I went back into the foot doctors yesterday. When I went in 2 weeks ago the doctor gave me this spacer to put between my toes. I have to keep it there day and night....wearing a sock to bed so it doesn't fall out. It is very, very uncomfortable and I was looking forward to the doctor saying I don't have to wear it anymore. But nope, he wants me to wear it for at least another month. So the really cute sandals I just bought will have to stay in the closet for at least a month.
But on a positive note......I can start using the elliptical climber :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nathan's Farewell

This is kinda more of a picture blog but I first want to thank everyone who came to Nathan's farewell. It was so nice to have all the support....... whether you were here or thinking about him. I know he really appreciates it a ton!!! Nathan's talk went great and I think everyone loved how he threw the movie the "Matrix" into it. Afterwards, the house was full of family and friends and we all did tons of eating, talking and laughing.

Nathan goes into the MTC March 31st and will be there for 12 weeks learning Finnish. Man....I'm sure gonna miss him!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don't eat blowfish

There are many ways to get into trouble visiting foreign ports of call. I seem to find them. For instance millions of people go to Vietnam a year and do not come down with killer bacterial brain infections. I am unlucky I fear. I tried to come out of the womb backwards and have been doing the same (metaphorically speaking) ever since.

Here is the tale. It is a story about fear actually, but I’ll get to that. Thursday we drove to Sally. A small costal city where there was a company that flew mini-helicopters that we were thinking of using to drop sterile male tsetse flies over wide areas (you know—to make it hard for a female tsetse to find a good man).

Anyway, on the way back we stopped at a game reserve that had a rather posh outdoor restaurant. I’d eaten there during my last trip, and they served a zabu cattle steak that is the best this side of Kilimanjaro. You eat above a large watering hole in which cape buffalo rested and crocodiles float in the turbid water. You could throw a big roll down into the water and the crocs would slide their noses beside it and wait until large fish were nibbling at the bread and then in a sudden snap and blinding thrash they would grab bread and fish and then splashing wildly choke them down.

Anyway, when we got there, everyone ordered the fish. And actually since it was lunch and I wasn’t sure I wanted something as heavy as beef and, besides, maybe they knew something about the beef I didn’t. I’d been hypervigilant about only eating cooked food and such, but decided that the in-country people must know what they are about, and since none of them got the beef, neither would I. I ordered the fish.

You will no doubt remember the Simpson Episode in which Homer orders Fugu, the famous Japanese blowfish

After eating he is told he as 24 hours to live.

The episode follows how Homer would spend his last hours if it did kill him. It didn't. Happy ending.

Yes we had been fed blowfish. Jeremy an animal disease epidemiologist went down first. He started feeling really tired and fatigued. Marc and I were leaving for Dakar that afternoon and I could not tell extreme sleep deprivation and jet-lag from blowfish toxin onset so nothing seemed surprising or out of the ordinary. We drove two hours to Dakar and checked into the hotel. I ate dinner with my Belgian associate in the hotel and then went back to my room. Explosive diarrhea followed. I knew instantly the fish was bad, but I thought it was bacterial and took some bacteria pills (which work better than anything in flooding your system with good bugs that outcompete the bad) and went to bed. That night I woke up with my brain shocking me with bursts of electric zapping. Hard to explain, but not pleasant. Later again that night my stomach emptied into my esophagus causing extreme acid burning all the way to my nose. Bad bacteria I thought.

The next day Jeremy said that we had been poisoned by the fish itself. Not bacteria. We’d eaten puffer fish well known for their deadliness when not prepared properly. Ours had not been. Crap. We had been dosed with a Tetrodotoxin. Here’s the Wiki entry on it:

Tetrodotoxin is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. Tetrodotoxin is 100 times more poisonous than potassium cyanide. Fish poisoning by consumption of members of the order Tetraodontiformes is extremely serious.

Then there was a slight miscommunication, which is mostly worth talking about because of what I did next.

Jeremy started talking about how he thought this fish species was not as poisonous as other puffers, so we probably had seen the worse of it already. Then he started talking about Ciguatera poisoning from fish and I thought he was still talking about Tetrodotoxin posoning this is what he was talking (there are always language problems of course). So he and Marc went out to look at some things I googeled Ciguatera. This what it said.

Neurologic symptoms tend to occur later (up to 72 h) and may persist for months. These are predominantly paresthesias, but a myriad of other sometimes bizarre neurologic symptoms may also be observed

Now I was scared. Not hallucinations! No! Not fair. I’ve don’t that already. I though I might not make it home if things tanked. I was very angry and depressed. I could hear everyone saying things, “He escaped death many times, but it was pufferfish that finally got him. It was inevitable really.”

I made up my mind about some things: 1) There was no cure; nothing could be done but supportive treatment anyway so I was not going to get hospitalized in Senegal. I’d have no family or anything in the way of support. So as long as I was conscious, no matter how much pain I was in, I was going to make it at least to Paris. Tough it out to Europe. Booyah. Recognizing that I might be incoherent when I arrived I wrote this on my leg hoping they'd see it when they put on my hospital gown (again I was very tired, toxified, and jet-lagged):

Of course, you know me. I misspelled ‘poisoning’ so the doctors would have said, “Wait . . . Wait look at this! It says he may have Ciguatera, we should check it out . . . No wait . . . never mind, it says ‘poising.’

Shades of this Farside:

Anyway, Jeremy cleared it up when we got back that, no, we had pufferfish toxin not the dinoflagilate poisoning (I did not show him what I’d written on my leg). But still the next 36 hours would tell the tale as the symptoms will either get better or not in that time period. My stomach hurt, but it was a dull pain, and I had occasional face and tongue twitching.

So given that the hospital’s only treatment was with activated charcoal, we stopped on the way to the airport at the local pharmacy to get some charcoal pills (Marc and Jeremy were both already taking them (thanks for not mentioning that earlier guys). I downed the briquettes gel-caps and prepared to either get better or get worse. Crap. This was not the way I wanted to go. I wanted to go peacefully in my sleep at age 106, not pufferfish toxin. I was really mad. The pills did seem to help. I wrote Lori and said I had a stomach ache caused by fish poisoning and all was fine. I added a sentimental note just in case this was it, but didn’t really say I wasn’t sure I’d make there. No sense causing any extra worry.

Anyway, the next 36 hours were spent in much contemplation about life. I thought about my family. How arbitrary things are and how you can be as careful as you can and still things get you. I was so worried about getting food poisoning and had been hyper-vigilant the whole trip. Now that seemed so . . . pffit. Big deal. That’s at least curable. Well the time ticked on as I made my way to Paris without anything but stomach pain and twitches, but no advancing progression. I got on the plane and waited, with each hour bring hope that I might make it. Then, viola, 36 hours passed and I was still here. I’d made it.

I laugh now. But being in Homer Simpson’s place was not fun. So please next time you eat fish in certain places in the world ask the species. If they say Tetraodon lineatus, have the beef.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Much need R&R

Can you guess where this is at? I'll give you a clue.......Homestead. Yep, it's the homestead and it's where Steve and I are going to spend our anniversary next month (2 nights!). With everything going on and things to's a much needed time-out and time for fun!!!!!
Now if I can make it 5 more weeks!!

BTW...Steve in boarding in Dakar heading to Paris where he'll have a 3 hour layover and then home.....finally!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kingston....we'll be there soon!

Here are some fun pics. of Kingston that Jess has sent me over the last couple of weeks. I honestly can't have too many pictures of my grandsons. I appreciate every picture I get cuz we don't get to see him much and I do miss him a lot!!! He is such a cutie!! We are planning on going out to California the third week of June to see Timothy, Jess and Kingston.......and of course Maureen, Jerry and family :) Can't wait!!!!
Steve is hanging in there in Africa. He is totally exhausted but surviving. Where he's at, just like Europe, when they have a's usually last 4-5 hours. Lots and lots of talking!!! So he gets back from dinner around 11 or 12 at night and it starts at 6pm. Pretty crazy but he will be home Saturday afternoon. Hurry Saturday!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Project #1 of billions

I took on a project that needed to be done months ago. And since I had nothing better to do (except for planning a farewell, dance costumes, buying mission stuff) and Steve is out of town....why not paint the front room. Timothy and Nathan repaired the wall back in December and I still hadn't painted yet. I took everything down, moved furniture and painted. Don't love Doc in the picture? She's not sure what to make of it......her world has been disrupted.
I got it done and I have to say......I should have done this earlier cuz I think it looks pretty good. I think Steve will be happily surprised.
BTW....he's doing good. He went out into the field for most of the day today. He enjoys the field work so much more than the office stuff. But he's doing great.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Almost done

Steve made it to Dakar. I got an email from him this afternoon. He's very, very tired cuz he doesn't sleep on the plane but he should be sleeping now.
So why the picture of the cookie dough? It's cuz I'm really burned out and I have a huge week.....uuhhh...month ahead of me. So cookie dough is THE comfort food today :)
Nathan's farewell is this coming Sunday and I will be getting the food ready for that. I will also be getting one of Emily's dance costumes ready for Saturday too. She has to have it ready by then for her Labyrinth performance. But this is Steve's last big trip for a little while and I am so glad!! I think he is more thrilled than I am cuz he's burned out from travelling too. I will keep everyone updated on how he's doing and if he sends me pictures I will post them on here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Gone Again

Well......Steve left this afternoon for Africa. He just barely got back from Bali but it's just one of those crazy months. He will be back next saturday, just in time for Nathan's farewell. This week I will be working on his farewell (the food) and hopefully Nathan will be working on a talk. Before Steve left though Christopher, Lesa and Maddox came over to say good-bye. I honestly can't get enough of my grandsons. When Maddox came over he reached his arms out to me and gave me a huge hug. It felt so good!!! Jess sends me pictures of Kingston. I can't get too many pictures of him. I cannot wait to see him again. I am one lucky grandma!!!
So here goes another week with Steve travelling. As he sends me pictures I will put them up and keep everyone updated on how he's doing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

9 Years

Can you believe it? It's been nine years since I've seen my sister, Melanie. She lives in Virginia and with both of us having big families and the distance......time escaped us. She is coming April 5th for a little over a week to hang out with all of us and to take pictures of the "Labyrinth". The dance company Emily is in is performing at the Scera shell in a few of weeks. Everyone is so excited to see her!! The sad thing is that Nathan will already be in the MTC but I told him that we'll take tons of pictures to send him.
This picture was taken Dec. 88. It was just a few months after I had Jaron. Jaron and I flew out to Seattle to see family. Brad, Melanie, Jaron and I then drove down to Eugene to visit grandparents too. A great trip but Wow!!!....that was a long time ago!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting Closer

Today Nathan and I went to the distribution center and bought him lots of garments, white pants, white tie and white socks. Tomorrow night Nathan is going through the Mt. Timp. temple at 7pm. It seems like it is coming so fast.....faster than I want. I think he is pretty well ready to go. He even has his suit cases laid out on the floor with some stuff already in them. I do wonder if I will fit in one of them :)
Last week I joined a group called LDS mission moms (and dad's). I'm in the European mission mom group and we talk through email about our sons who are out or who will be out. I've received tons of emails about Finland and what the missionaries are experiencing out there. If I have questions I can ask them and I usually get 7 or 8 responses. I read all the emails to Nathan and it gets him just that much more excited to go. It is so cool. I wish I would have known about this when the other boys were out.
No pictures today......just trying to get use to the fact that Nathan will be leaving in 2 1/2 weeks. I know it's going to be hard. But he's so excited and ready to go.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Poor, poor boot. It's been abandoned in the corner of the room without a owner. No one to use it and feeling worthless.

But it's off!! No running yet but I've taken up biking. The pins come out in 2 months!!!