My favorite folks ! :)

30 September 2009

Can you believe . . .

. . . it is the last day of September?

More pics of Sugarbear in the fall. I'm sure most of the le
aves from the aspen will be gone when we get home Thursday.

Last week i went to a clinic called Whitaker Wellness. I think i'd
heard about it before, but had forgotten. I was reading Mike Adams at Natural News & he mentioned the clinic. (Disclaimer: I read Natural News as well as Mercola. Don't comment much at either one. However, i will on occasion refer folks to Mercola, with minor disclaimer possibly. I all but NEVER refer folks to Natural News. I believe it has good info, but it has a paranoid/conspiracy flavor that makes natural health folks sound crazy - especially some of the comments - & i can't in good conscience send folks there, especially without warning of some of the content.) (Ok, having said that, this article at Natural news is worth reading. Just remember that the site itself is heavily biased with weird conspiracy theories.)

Anyway, i looked up Whitaker & it seemed to fit the criteria i was looking for. They happened to have a cancellation the day i called & so i got in quickly. I wasn't that enamoured of the doc i saw. But, the last 2 docs i saw i liked in that i saw them as "very nice people" & felt guilty that i didn't seem to like them as doctors. But this one grew on me as the time passed. And she was much more thorough in 1 hour than the last one was in over 2 hours. And she gave me a long list of treatments & things i can do & i do them at my own pace. (As opposed to "Well, let's run these labs & i'll see you back in 6 weeks. Good luck.") The list was rather overwhelming & some items expensive, but i received no pressure to do any of them. And some are very reasonable in price. Again, take charge & at my own pace.

So, i'm scheduled for a sleep study next week. Several docs & others have mentioned the possibility of sleep apnea. I've been aware of the possibility for a while. Honestly, i don't think i have it, but let's rule it out! Also, i chose a facility that does NOT sell the equipment for this. Don't want them to have any added incentive to diagnose this issue. I'll also be trying a very low dose of a med that has been found to be helpful. And i'll run labs later in the month. So over all i feel like i can be proactive in this process & maybe make some progress.

Then, coming down the hill yesterday Duane & i discussed in depth the possibility of adoption. There just are so many obstacles in the way. However,
i'm afraid that if we don't at least explore options all options will soon be closed to us. I don't want 20 years to go by & us later say, "We should have . . . " So the long & the short of it is that we are going to be very open with everyone that we are researching adoption. So that should any friend, family member, or acquaintance know of someone looking to place a child we might be remembered. Or, we may consider adoption overseas, with a strong leaning toward India. We may find that in this process we feel we are not called to go forward. Adoption can be heartbreaking & much of the process is to protect the children, but often i'm told it tends to be very political as well. And, i may not even pass what they require for a health/physical. But, at least we are not passing something by. We will check into it.

Duane made an interesting comment during that discussion. I told him of that article i read & the ugly comments made by a number of folks over the statement "adoption is not for me." When i told him of the folks who protested "I love my adopted kids! Our family is not second class because we adopted!" Duane's response was that the folks must feel that way to protest with such passion & fury. We both agree that families are created in a number of ways & while we would like a "traditional" way of having a family, we don't see adoption as second best, or an unwanted option. He also said that in his mind, the folks who are "second class families" are those who unthinkingly have children they can't care for & then abuse those kids. The ones who are able to have children easily but without much thought of what goes into raising them.

One final thought on this idea of adopting: We don't want
to run ahead of God. We are deciding to explore options with the faith that God will open doors for us if it the right choice for us. We expect to find that out along the way. Duane said it is like the lady who kept praying to win the lottery. Finally God spoke to her & said, "Help me out here. At least buy a ticket." I know that we could win the "lottery" without buying a ticket, but it might be that that is not how God proceeds for us.

These things are hard to say without becoming very verbose &
even then i might be obtuse.

I have read a lot of blogs in the past 9 months. Three in particular stick in my mind. One was a lovely young lady who was determined to have a baby. I followed her for one cycle of IVF (it didn't take). But her statement, "I would go to Hell & back in order to have my baby & create my family" stuck like a burr in my mind. I'm not trying
to be judgmental here, but i could not say the same thing. I want children very much. It may not be the best thing for me or for us. We are willing to sacrifice quite a lot to have a child, but i would not go to Hell & back. To me that is saying to God, "Give me what i want or i'm going to go take it!" Ok, been there, done that. Essentially my first marriage was me saying, "This is what i want, God, NOW BLESS IT!" That is not how things work. God is God thru out & sometimes we receive a great deal of mercy in our choices (as i have received) but telling God to bless something we've decided we want is never the best choice.

Another blog was a lady who had been thru several IVF cycles & now was 7 months pregnant. One of her comments/worries was, "How are we going to pay for all these medical bills & have the money to raise our child?"

And, yet another who had been thru IVF & had 2 or 3 children (i don't remember). And she said, "I love my kids, but sometimes i wonder what i have done?"

Now, i know of lots of others who don't have these reactions. Who are delighted with their families (& i get to see lovely pics of their little ones). So, our great concern here is that we don't get ourselves in such a situation. We don't want to
tell God that we have to have this deep desire of our hearts. We desire to be led.

Yesterday, coming down the hill i was feeling pretty good. "I can do this," i thought. But by late afternoon i was really dragging & wondering how to keep going. By then i had much more doubt.

I was reminded this week that happiness is not our goal here. And it is not promised to us. When we seek to follow God & live for his glory i do believe we are given a deep sense of peace & his joy. But it does not follow that we will be given everything we think we need to create our own happiness.

So, if you are a praying person, please remember us & that we will know the right choices.


28 September 2009

More Fall

The question occurred, should i stop at 200 or keep going? I don't think i've a choice. I have to write. Why not here?

I wanted to comment, i'm a phantom on a lot of blogs. I read quite a number (& am "anonymous follower" on most) but i don't often comment as i don't usually feel i've anything significant to share/add.

These are pics of our peach harvest. Since i like the peaches fresh i'll be eating quite a number & giving them to friends & family. I'm cutting back on sugar-sweetened things & don't want to make a peach preserve or anything that would require sugar. Besides, while i love peaches fresh, i'm much less enthusiastic about peaches in other form.

I might try making a peach shrub, tho. Wish i could remember the instructions i saw recently on a blog that told how. I need to create a list of what i see where. I might not need the info right now, but i tuck it into my head for later. The problem is, later i think, "I know i saw that recently. Now i wonder where . . . ?" I miss my brain.

The other pics are mostly squirrels. I sat on the front porch swing for a while after picking peaches & took pics of the squirrels.

Our apples, (the first pic at the top) which my mother said are McIntosh, seem to be ripe. Friend David was here today for a massage, & he said that they can be left on the tree for some time yet, that they only get sweeter. The problem is, however, the longer they are on the tree the more the birds get. From what i can tell, the birds have been at about 50% of them already. So maybe next weekend we'll pic the rest.

I get a massage tonight & i'm quite excited. I did a "trade" with another therapist, Daniel. I worked on him a couple of weeks ago, so now it is my turn. I am so looking forward to it.

I had the fiasco with the Splenda last week
. And, of course because i used meds i had those poisons in me, too. The hosp staff told me that having the meds IM would make them stay in my system "four times longer!" than having them IV. They made it sound like a good thing! Problem is, of course, that i don't clear things very well at all, & four times longer is not good at all for me.

Because i want to keep a record for myself, i'm posting what i wrote to some friends last May about Splenda.
Almost a week ago we bought some homemade cookies from some neighborhood kids at their lemonade stand. The cookies were for Duane . . . but Kathryn snagged one. Yep, i know.

Within a short time my lips started feeling tingly & swollen. I waited a bit to see if i was having a severe allergic reaction, but it seemed to be only my lips. It felt like when i've had thrush before, but it hasn't developed, & was only my lips not the rest of my mouth, & seemed to be rapid onset. ???

I have tried every home remedy i can find for chapped lips & nothing has helped. They've peeled twice. I've also used some lip balms i have at home, high quality stuff, but they almost seem to make it worse. I have lanolin too. Nothing is helping.
Yesterday i was snacking on a pear & some junk food (but good stuff! no chemicals in it). My lips got hugely swollen. I checked the label on the Trader Joe's cheese puffs & there is nothing in them i
haven't had before & again, no chemicals. The swelling subsided quite a bit within an hour. But last night i had a salad with organic dressing & my lips swelled with that as well, & stayed swollen until bedtime. I mean really puffy so that my front teeth were forming impressions. I've decided they are just raw & reacting to everything - food, lip balms, etc.

I remember this clearly as i wondered, as we were walking away, if the lemonade was made with Splenda for it had an "off" taste to me. I don't think i'd ever had Splenda before (i don't trust artifical sweeteners) but i thought, at the time, that having it once wouldn't hurt me. I think i was wrong.

Anyway, no more Splenda for me, or any other chemical "food"/food additive that i can avoid.

But, a couple of days ago i also had some very tart black berries. I decided to sugar sweeten them, & i rather over-did the sugar. It was "good stuff" - meaning organic & minimally processed. I recognize that sugar is never very healthy. But within a short time i didn't feel very well. And i've been achy ever since. I know that dear friend Cindy has said that she can't do sugar any more. I think i'm going to have to be very careful about any type of added sugar.

Health Begins with Mom recently posted 76 Reasons to Avoid Sugar. I don't know about the veracity of these, having not researched it myself, but if even 1/4 of it is true, sugar is something to avoid most of the time.

(I just love this last pic of the squirrel, looking down at me sitting on the swing, wondering what the human was up to.)


25 September 2009

Winter Sheets - post 200

I think i should be embarrassed to have written 200 times in 6 months. I wasn't called "Chatty Cathy" as a child for nothing!

Duane went down hill to do the live scan fingerprinting to get him into the sheriff's department. (Volunteer, as Search & Rescue, part of the sheriff's dept.)

He'll be pleased when i get home to find winter sheets on the bed. I'm less than pleased to find the boxes i stored them in have left them musty smelling. I'll put in a container of baking soda & essential oil to store the summer sheets.

He would love to have flannel sheets. I love flannel, when they're new, too. But flannel pills & i hate pills. I'm like princess & the pea. Heavy flannel doesn't pill as much. But we compromised & our winter sheets are denim. Even these did pill some, but once they were brushed it didn't happen again.

Part of the problem is that nights in BB are so cold that he doesn't want summer sheets on until mid-June. And he's been teasing me to have them back since mid-August. So, i think he'll be pleased. I may break down & buy one set of heavy flannel, if i can find them, because these may get worn soon as much as we use them. I won't put the mattress warmer on until much later, however, probably in November.

What a mundane post for number 200! But, much of this blog is mundane, day to day things.

The sheets are really bugging me tho, i think i'm going to have to wash them.

Our aspen tree is beginning to go gold. The cottonwood too. It won't be long before our whole yard is bright golden colored. I miss having crimson & orange turning trees. The nights have been down near 32F & it won't be long before we will be waking to frost.

Then i'll post pics of golden sugarbear! :)


Title? Who needs a title?

Coming home up the mountain yesterday we saw a bear on the hillside. It was a very steep, rocky place & the bear (not too large, probably a yearling) was descending very rapidly. I was a little afraid he was going to slide right down in front of us, but then he saw us ("big grey bear traveling fast" Duane said) & began to scramble back up the hill. We didn't get any pics. Didn't have a camera handy & it was only a few seconds before we were past him.

It was a black bear. The brown bears, grizzly bears, have long been eradicated. Big Bear Valley was named for all the grizzly bears, but they were hunted & killed many moons ago.

A blog i follow called Keeper of the Home has a post (re-post) today called I Choose Hope. I mostly agree with her. It is her perspective that many of the things we do here are not our ultimate goal. As Christians our ultimate goal is to prepare for heaven. To long for Jesus. On that i do not disagree.

However, i know too many people who use this as an excuse. Because we will have a new heaven & new earth & this one is to be destroyed, some folks think that we don't have to take care of this one. I may have said before, our church has "fellowship" every Sunday. It is beyond coffee & donuts, more like a mini-brunch. And we throw away many, many, many trash bags of paper plates, styrofoam cups, & plastic utensils. Not to mention plastic containers food was in & a lot of food as well. This disturbs me deeply.

We also throw away single serving communion
cups every week. I know when i was growing up the church used similar communion cups that were glass - meant to be reused. I suggested doing that here - even said i would be willing to wash them all myself each week i was there, but the idea was shot down. I was told too many people are afraid of "germs" to allow things to be reused. Of course i also suggested we find alternatives for paper plates & plastic utensils & styrofoam cups, but that was shot down as well.

So, the only option i have is for Duane & i not to contribute. We keep washable plates there. On the rare occasion i have tea or cocoa (we don't drink coffee) i go in the kitchen & get a mug to use. I do use the plastic utensils, but i wash & re-use them weekly. At least until they break. It honestly feels like i'm not doing much at all. Two less plates out of 60 or more, but it is all that i can do.

I also am a big believer that many of the health issues effecting our country are related directly to the things "we" eat. So many things are processed & fortified with chemicals & synethetics. Then more chemicals are added to fool our bodies into believing these things taste good.
Many of these faux-foods are also served at our church. I read the label on one such item & nearly fainted. But when i commented on it, the response was, "Oh labels! You can't read labels or you'd never eat anything again." In other words, it is so common & normal that you just have to ignore such things. And so people get sicker & sicker & are puzzled about why.

I mention these things, because while i agree with the sentiment that my focus is to be longing for Jesus & the world to come, i still am part of this world & my choices do effect it. Now, the writer is not saying we should not be striving for better choices. I've been following her some time (she's one of the first health blogs i found). But she is saying that being healthy, taking care of the earth, eating good foods, cooking at home, etc. are not the ultimate end goal. And on that i 100% agree.

Another blog i follow, The Good Human posted today on a number of things, climate change among them. Now, i 100% agree that we need to reduce the load we are placing on our earth. We have become a throw away society &
to produce many of our goods we are putting nasty chemicals & things in the atmosphere & environment. (Going down to OC weekly makes me rather nauseous to see all the nasty stuff in the air.) This needs to change in order to protect the earth on which we reside. We are not being good stewards.

However, protecting our earth is not my end goal. What is more, while i agree we are doing truly horrific things to our environment & the climate is changing, i don't necessarily equate the two as cause & effect. Studies have shown that the climate goes thru changes naturally over the centuries. It seems to me rather egocentric to believe that this is only occuring because of humans. And, if we are not causing it, it is especially egocentric to think we can stop it.

Trying to stop climate change is not my ultimate goal. Nor, as much as i long to be healthy, is my search for health. It is a goal, so that i can be more productive, but it is not my ultimate goal. My ultimate goal won't happen here on earth. It is simply to be with Jesus.

On a side note, do you think that when the Bible says there will be a new heaven & new earth it is talking about HEAVEN, where God is? That had never occurred to me before. Someone else, i don't remember who, pointed out this wording recently. I'd always assumed it to mean heaven as in "the heavens" they sky that we can see. If i was still into Greek research i'd probably look this up to see what the original meant.

Stuff Christians Like posted a guest post today on Evangelizing on trivial things. They were talking about product. Like telling others how superior Starbucks coffee is over others, or how this ball point pen is the best, etc., etc. Nothing they mentioned hit a chord with me at all, but in thinking it over, i think i am similar in other areas. For me it would be about pharmaceutical companies, or vaccines, or the limitations of doctors. It would be about pesticides, & chemicals, & processed "food."

(Another aside, my MIL bought Zatarain's Dirty Rice mix,
thinking i could eat it because it "doesn't contain wheat." While i sincerely appreciate her effort, this had so many chemicals in it that i wouldn't touch including MSG & soy sauce - that usually contains wheat - that i would never eat this stuff. I thanked her, but had to tell her that many of these things were ways to "hide" that they had wheat or MSG & i wouldn't be able to eat them, either.)

I feel badly, i really do, that i can't consume things that others are providing. It just has become too much the norm to see these items as safe when they are not. I'm an example of someone who has extreme reactions, but i would imagine that for every one like me, there are 10 others who are being negatively effected, they just don't know it. In that respect, i'm one of the lucky ones because i know to look for & avoid it.

And so, i have become a preacher of sorts. I have to watch what i say to not become too overwhelming.

I was visiting with my MIL yesterday while i was waiting for Duane to come. I had been on my laptop, but then she came & we chatted about various things. But she has a hard time sitting for long & she went & got a dust cloth & her spray bottle of Swiffer Dust & Shine. I debated whether to say anything. The truth is she always sees me as so limited in food & things - i hate to look even more limited in her eyes. This is my husband's mother & i don't want her to think poorly of me. So i didn't say anything. Which was a mistake.
Because she didn't do a little light dusting. She went at the whole room. At times she was nearly spraying the stuff in my face. I made an excuse & went in the kitchen, but because we were visiting, she followed me with her heavily laden dust cloth.

By then i knew i SHOULD say something (should have said it sooner) 'cause i was choking on the fumes, but the fact that i hadn't earlier stopped me. I went outside (HOT! 90F in the shade) & tried to breathe fresh air. Also called Duane to speed him up.

I can't say i don't use chemicals in our house ('cause as my father pointed out, vinegar & baking soda & hydrogen peroxide are all chemicals) but i don't use commercially produced cleaning solutions with warning labels. (I do keep some bleach on had for rare use, but it is indeed rare.) Just walking down the cleaning isle at the store these days is a challenge;
the smells overwhelm me.

So, suggestions - what should i have said? There were limited places in the house for me to "hang out." Something like, "I hate to mention it, but that cleaner bothers me a lot. I think i'll wait for Duane in the kitchen." ???

More of Duane's wonderful pics of Yellowstone & Montana. :)


23 September 2009

Frequently used title

This 'n that, of course.

I'm doing better, thank you. My neck was stiff & painful. Whether from the Splenda or drugs i don't know. I don't like ingesting chemicals! But today is better. It seems to be working out of my system. I spent all day Monday sleeping, it seemed, but am better now.

Had a lovely time with Dear Cindy, having her teach me chords on the guitar. I can tell it will take some time for my finger tips to toughen up. Funny. I've very strong hands because of the work i do, but my finger tips not so much. It kind of reminds me of when i've quilted. Finger tips have to toughen then too, because they get poked, over & over.

We woke to a rather heavy fog today. What was interesting was that about 1 PM i was traveling a road close to the beach. On my left side was white sky - marine layer haze - & the palm trees were dim/obscured in the haze. On my right the sky was blue & the palm trees plainly visible & clear. The demarcation line for the marine layer was directly over my head. Very odd. I've never seen it that way before.

I'm sure i've more to say, but i can't think of it. I made a decision, currently anyway, about a doctor. But it is long & involved & i'll get into it another time.

21 September 2009

Quick note

I had Duane take me to the ER yesterday. I hated to do it, but my head felt like it was going to explode. Duane had had such a stressful couple of days, i didn't want to, but i knew nothing else was going to help.

And he know that if i feel badly enough to go to ER i feel very badly indeed. And even more, to let them give me IM shots (which i despise & am very phobic of) i feel indeed horrible.

They gave me 2 mg of Dilaudid & ? mg of Phenergan. It took a long time for the meds to kick in. The nausea was worse, at first. But it did eventually relieve the headache. It was an atypical headache for me. It was more bi-lateral & in an area, largely the frontal bone in my forehead, that i don't usually have.

But i also started itching. Not as in a reaction that is dangerous. I didn't get red or welts, but i itched all over. I lost track of time, too. We got home & i went to bed & then woke up, feeling like it was hours later, but only 45 minutes had passed. For several hours it was that way. I'd sleep some but then the itching would wake me up. That finally wore off about 2 AM.

Today the headache has worn off, but i'm having trouble concentrating. I have read a few blogs & wanted to post comments, but drift off to sleep before i can gather my thoughts.

I know that last spring i had problems with what i thought might be Splenda, but i can't find the entries & am too worn out to search for them.

Anyway, in a nutshell, i'm better but kind of out of it for a little while.


20 September 2009

More pics

Today was the church picnic. I debated going as i had a bit of a migraine, but then decided to go anyway. I mostly took my own food 'cause many of the things there i can't eat. I made a Three Bean Salad & took some freshly baked cho. chip cookies. I also took a salad for myself.

When i got there, as expected, there was not much for me to eat. Lots of pasta salads & stuff. But i was happy with my salad. A few other folks brought salad as well & so i augmented with that. Also a lovely fruit salad with kiwi & blackberries among other fruits. (My 3-bean was too sweet. The recipe i used called for 3/4 C sugar, but i only used about 1/4 & it was still far too much.)

The migraine kept getting worse & worse. (It is really raging now.) As we were packing up i told the lady with the fruit salad how lovely it

"Thank you," she replied. "It is sugar-free!"

!!!! (My thought was, of course it is, who puts sugar on a fresh fruit salad?)

"I used Splenda," she informed me. She must have seen the look on my face because she said, "I have to. My husband is a diabetic & i can't use sugar."

We talked a little bit about Stevia as an
alternative. But the mystery is solved. The migraine previously was about a 3 or 4 - just barely there & probably would have resolved. It is now raging at an 8 to 9 & probably won't resolve until the stuff has cleared my system.

Ok, i don't eat meat including poultry. (I've learned that some folks consider eating poultry "vegetarian.") I don't eat anything with flour, barley, rye including breads, pastas, things that might be thickened with flour, & of course no pies, cakes or cookies. Now i have to include fruit salad & anything else sweet because folks think it is ok to use artificial sweeteners.

Duane is happily on his way home. He'll probably get here in about an hour. I'm sure he is relieved. He was so stressed about this weekend & wanting to be sure everything went well. (It was a karate tournament his Dojo hosts annually & he had new computer programs/screens to help run it. He's been worried it wouldn't work.)

I've mentioned before the blog Stuff Christians Like. There is a new post on things you wouldn't feel comfortable confessing at church. I guess someone is writing a book on it or something, so commenters have to know that their words might be used. And, over all, these many comments are a sad inditement of some of the churches. It has long been said that the church is the only army that shoots its own wounded. In places this is very clear.

I know that at times i've been quite critical of our church, but mostly our pastor in this blog. However, there is so much about our church & our pastor that i appreciate. And, after reading all those comments, i'm so much more thankful than ever.

While i'm sure everyone has things they wouldn't like to confess in front of their church, i don't get the feeling of being criticized a lot from our church. I don't feel that folks are looking down at me. And, while there are occasional disagreements between folks & some discontent with how certain things are run, it does not degrade into petty, bickering, back-biting arguments or gossip.

And, largely i do give credit for that to our pastor. I do believe he has been a good shepherd & tries to lead this church in a positive direction. And, for that i am very thankful.

I know i had other things to say, but my brain isn't functioning very well. I'm fairly sure the headache will be gone by tomorrow.

In the mean time, these pics are of Bozeman, Montana (except the teepees, which are in Eastern Montana) & surrounding areas, especially Bridger Canyon. The building is the B&B where we stayed. We did stay in the tower room on the top floor, tho that meant we had to go downstairs to a bathroom. It was lovely. (The pic of the mountain & the rail fence was part of the view from my bedroom window when i was growing up.)


19 September 2009

Two focal points

I've two things on my mind today. Gonna try to cover both. And throw in some unrelated pics because i've not done pics for a while & i miss them.

Oh, i know. I'll do pics from our honeymoon. I meant to do some & forgot. We honeymooned for about 5 days in Yellowstone Park. Then we spent 4 days in my hometown,
Bozeman, Montana. We stayed at a wonderful B&B in Bridger Canyon & i fell in love with Montana all over again. Then we spent a couple of nights with my Montana Mom in Eastern Montana. I didn't get many pics of that.

One thing on my mind was that i did read some of the comments from the article i mentioned last post on life after infertility. There are 15 pages of comments & i think i read about 4 or 5. And what really astounded me, & some other folks as well, were the number of cruel comments saying "if you don't have children that your choice for you can always adopt." Many variations on this theme. Including, "if you don't adopt after you can't have your own kids then you are childless by choice." This isn't beginning to touch on how unkind some of these people were in their comments. The author of the article had merely said, "Adoption isn't for me," without giving her reasons & some folks really ripped her apart because of that.

Some comments didn't state their own choices, but some were from mamas who had adopted & saw that statement as some kind of indictment that their own families were "second best."

The honest truth is that any choice made
has a number of pitfalls. And people pointed that out. Adoption can be a long, hard, painful, expensive, heartbreaking road. (As can infertility treatments.) Some folks know up front that they cannot do this. And, often folks tend to say (i know this personally) "You can always just adopt" or "Why don't you just adopt?" Someone said that "just" isn't usually used but in my experience this statement has had the word "just" 100% of the time. And the implication of that is that it is an easy path to choose. As one commenter said, "There isn't a baby store out there where you just go & pick one up."

I know i'm possibly setting myself up here, but i want to write about my views on this for my family personally. I want to record this for future reference. And hope that it will help me clarify my thinking, too.

I've never been "anti-adoption" for me, nor "anti-foster parents," either. When i was a young teen i traveled one summer with the church youth choir. We sang in various churches all over Montana & Idaho. And the church members opened their homes to us & housed us when we needed it. I remember staying with one such family that had a number of foster children. The love in that home was palpable & i wanted to have such a home myself when i grew up. They had a couple of their own children, but opened their home to children who needed it as well, & i wanted to be just like that.

Also, i had my own "unofficial foster mom" when i was 17 on. She was a lady in the church i went to (not my parents' church; i left that when i was 17) & she "adopted strays." She was so very warm & loving & open that a number of us flocked to her. She mostly was "mom" to girls - she had two boys of her own. I loved being with her & sharing & cooking & baking. I have mentioned it before, but my own mother taught me nothing in the kitchen & i so loved being with mom & learning & doing things together. I always imagined that when i had a family i would be mentor/friend to the friends of my children & have a warm, open home where many kids would love to be.

I have been present in the lives of some of my friends kids' lives, but then various things have happened (moves, broken relationships) that made it not consistent. Part of the pain i feel in seeing the doc's daughter M is not that i will see her grow up but that my relationship with them is not such that i can be included much at all. I'd love to be able to babysit for her & actively involved in watching her grow.

It goes almost without saying that of course Duane & i would like to have our own children. When i considered other options before it was with the idea that we would have some bio children & gain experience first. But in the absence of that, i've looked at other options as well.

So, i have not said "i won't adopt." In fact, last Christmas in our "newsletter" we let all our friends & family know that we are "open to adoption" & if they knew anyone who might have a child to adopt to please keep us in mind. And we've made some beginning steps that direction. I'm not going to talk too much about that, except to say that the road to adoption can be very hard, very expensive, & quite heartbreaking. There is not "just" about it. There are a number of stories that reiterate the above, but i am not going to focus on them now.

One problem with adoption is the very rare likelihood of being able to adopt a baby. Most agencies would consider us too old (& almost certainly a bio mother would).

Taking a child under the age of 5 but not an infant means taking a special needs child. Unless you are taking a family group where one child is under 5. Taking a family group with school age children is going from "0 to 60" in 2.5 seconds! We are not "experienced parents" & so we not only don't feel the confidence to do this, but we would also have to change our lives immediately. Currently we are away from home 3 school days a week. So, one of us would have to stay home (me) & be a single parent for those days. I've recently come to realize i think i'd like to homeschool, but with a young child you can work into it & prepare. To suddenly have 2 school age children who have attended day school is no place to start homeschooling.

Another issue, of course, i my health (not to mention my past history of depression). My health alone might knock us out of the running with an adoption agency, but even if it didn't i have to be aware that taking older children is going to be an immediate drain on me. Taking a baby would be an immediate drain, too, but babies don't move around a lot at first. I think i would be able to adjust, some, as the baby grows. Taking older children doesn't give me any adjustment period.

There are lots of folks who also encourage us to foster kids, but some of them don't realize how difficult that can be. Someone told me recently that our county is desperate to find new foster homes because they are short. I know that this is true. However, what a lot of folks don't know is that part of the reason they are so short on foster homes is that people who have done foster care for years are leaving the program because new rules have made it so difficult & problematic.

Also, we would be limited to young ones in the foster care system because i would not be able to stay home with the school aged ones. Also my ILs house would have to be certified, & i simply can't see that happening. She has a garage full of chemicals & a house stuffed with furniture. And no room, from the foster agency's perspective, to put a child.

Of course, many of the same issues that were there for adopting an older child or family group are also in play with the foster system. And, fostering is considered temporary. The goal is usually to reunite the children with their parent(s). I did contact an agency up here. They have mostly school aged children & were frank that their goal is not adoption but reuniting. (I was trying to check in a "foster to adopt" program.)

Of course Duane & i want to be parents. We would like that to occur naturally, but if not, then however. And if we don't become parents, we still would like to be involved in the lives of children. I've looked into a number of options on this issue. Generally the easiest way is thru family - nieces & nephews or children of close friends. However, the fact is that the folks we know with children are not all that close to us - physically or spiritually/emotionally - & so we will only be peripheral in the lives of these children.

But there are a number of other ways. One is thru church. Except our church is mostly retired folks & there are very few children who attend. Other is thru groups in the area. I've checked into that some, & there isn't one thing that stands out. Besides, groups might work well for Duane, but i don't do so well with them. I looked into "mentoring" like Big Brother/Big Sister programs. There are none in BB, but it might be possible in OC, the problem is we are never in OC on weekends when most kids have time. I have called a couple of agencies & usually received little help. They all have encouraged me to do the "official thing" - foster care. Some have told me that a mentoring program will set me up to be taken advantage, not so much by the children as by their parents. There are a couple of other things i want to check into, however.

My point is that i've given this a lot of thought. Saying "adoption doesn't work for us" (at least right now) is not a statement lightly said. Honestly, i believe most people who make this statement go thru a lot of soul searching to reach this place. It doesn't have any indication that i think it is "second rate" or inferior in creating a family. Families are created in a lot of ways. Honestly, Amrita of Yesu Garden spoke of a man in India who has an orphanage in India & feeds many cast off children. It made me think, why don't we adopt from there? I've always been fascinated by India. Now i have no clue of the repercussions of such a thing. I've never seen India on a list of places where folks adopt children. A lot of folks support children there thru religious organizations.

But again, we are not ready to make that step right now.

And one of the big reasons is that of my health. Which leads to the second point, how on earth do i find a doctor who is capable of guiding me?

I found the acupuncturist, Kathy, with whom i work thru an internet search. I love her & she is terrific. I also found Kim, the physical therapist who does CranioSacral work thru an internet search. And i adore Kim. But some of my other searches have not worked so well. I tried finding a Naturopathic Doctor online. There were so many & their websites so involved that i got bogged in information overload. I finally chose this one. I think she is very nice, but i didn't feel very comfortable with her at all. Still, i ventured on & spent probably around $900 seeing her. She did diagnose a couple of different issues, but in terms of helping me improve we made no progress.

So i waited about a year. During that time i did a number of online searches & frequently hit info overload. Or as Trent at Simple Dollar said in a recent post: "analysis paralysis." In fact his quote, on another matter (giving as in supporti
ng a charity), seems quite apropos here:

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming – there are so many things out there that deserve a gift that it’s easier to fall into “analysis paralysis.” You can’t decide, so you choose to do nothing at all.

I've found that there are so many docs out there that it is difficult to narrow it down. Do i go with a Rheumatologist or Endocrinologist? I found a website where folks were sharing doc info, but most of them were looking for docs to give them opioid for pain. And i'm not being critical here, for some folks are in a lot of pain, but i want a doc who uses meds as an absolute last resort. I want to find someone who will work with me to discover what the problem is & how we can correct it, if possible. If it can't be corrected then fine, i will adapt. But the way current conventional medicine works will never take me to where i want to go. I need someone who sees outside the box.

I was hoping the newest doc would be that person.
But i don't believe so. I was uncomfortable with his approach, too. But rather than spend $900 or more & several months deciding that, i've decided to walk away. His push for the flu vaccine was what pushed me over. If you believe the flu vaccine will build your immune system or help you in any way, i've got a great bridge to sell you, except, wait, your doc has already sold that one to you. If this doc is promoting the flu vaccine, which is of no use at all, then he is thoroughly enmeshed in conventional medicine.

The problem is, where do i go from here? As someone said to me recently, "This is very expensive shopping." Oh boy, & don't i know it! I've a couple of leads. A nurse practioner in San Diego County, or an Endocrinologist in OC who has been recommended. The NP is reasonably priced & into alternative meds but i don't know if she can help me. The Endocrinologist is recommended by someone i trust, but she is VERY expensive. The insurance i do have will not be a help. There is someone else, a psychiatrist actually, in San Diego County who is said to be the "foremost specialist" in fluoride poisoning from meds (Cipro & Prozac, among many others, are fluoride based). I could consult with this guy, but he will not be able to oversee all that i need. And while he is alternative in many ways, he still prescribes meds routinely. Or, there is a doc my sis loves quite a lot who is a MD but does alternative practice. But she also is very, very expensive. And looking over her website i am aware that she won't be holistic in that she wants the person to have another doc for a primary care person.

I'm like, excuse me? You want me to spend upward of $1,000 to see you AND have another doc i pay for primary care????

This last week the acupuncture doc recommended a kelp supplement. She doesn't sell one. So i was at the health food store considering it, & decided against it. I have a HUGE number of supplements currently. I have 3 baskets 12 inches x 12 x12 filled with supplements. If i were taking all that i feel i need on a daily basis, i would be taking about 40 pills a day. I can't do it. I need someone to help me look at the big picture & help me decide where to put my money, which supplements are the ones i really require, & how to put this all together.

I'm a big advocate of alternative or complementary care, but i have to say, this isn't easy, it isn't easy at all. Working with an insurance, i wouldn't have to outlay a minimum of $250 to change & interview a new doc. It wouldn't be such a pain to change docs or try to find a new one. I'm definitely hitting "analysis paralysis" & am having a hard time going forward.

So, that is the second issue. Even if you're bored by this, the pics are lovely.

BTW, all pics here were taken by Duane. Many of the pics i've posted recently of Sugarbear have been taken by yours truly, but our older pics were all done by Duane. All of these are from Yellowstone. I'll save the ones from Bozeman for another day. We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn (in the oldest part, our room was the dormer in the middle in one of the above pics, & our bathroom was shared, down the hall!) It was the 100 year anniversary of when the old inn was built.

We didn't get many pics of the hot pools for it was too cold & windy so that the steam & ripples obscured their depths. That was a disappointment for they are utterly breathtaking. We also didn't get to see the Tetons. Duane had never been there before & the day we were there was cloudy & over cast (& it snowed) so that the mountains were never visible.