Our Vacation Interruption. A Stroke. Surely Not Me.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado…photo by kindergartenknowledge.com

At least the scenery was spectacular when I had a stroke last week…no warning! One moment fine. One moment not at all fine!

 

Driving through the winding mountain roads near Winter Park in Colorado, the views were beautiful. Hairpin curves were prevalent…way too prevalent for the speeds of some of the other drivers! I’ve been to Colorado many times…on much more curvy roads at much higher elevations, but this drive through the mountains was particularly nerve-racking!

I had no idea how nerve-racking the drive would get. I suddenly realized that I could not bend my pointer finger when I tried to pick up my cell phone after I dropped it on the floor of our car. Within a minute or two, the entirety of my right hand was numb. Strange feeling. Odd feeling. Frightening feeling. My husband and I had no idea what was causing the problem, but we knew that it occurred just as we were entering the higher elevation.

 

Pat

Before we received the stroke news…I was just enjoying the wonders of the Rocky Mountains! Evidently, I needed a hat to cover up my windblown hair!

 

We thought that surely the elevation was the culprit. Or was it? What had been unfurled upon us? I could not grip anything with my right hand. My cell phone felt like I was picking up a heavily weighted dumbbell. I would immediately drop my phone onto the floor of the car.

 

Mike

My husband appears much closer to the edge than me…no way would I stand that close! He had the sense to wear a hat in the windy weather!

 

I could not pick up my purse at all. I could not pick up a small bottle of water. I could not open the glove compartment with my right hand. I could not even begin to retrieve a single sheet of folded paper from a side pocket of my purse. My entire right hand had unfortunately been rendered virtually useless in a matter of less than four minutes. I had no warning at all.

After we finally arrived at our condo, I found that I could not walk without help from my husband. As we walked into the building, I could not seem to lift my right foot and found myself sliding my right foot the entire way inside. So scared. This was real. This was an event that came about like a quiet wind that turns into a hurricane overnight.

 

I most definitely had a stroke. Thank goodness…I had a mild stroke. The result could have been so much more complicated. It has been one week and I still have difficulty with my right hand.

 

Currently, there is no way that I can write or even begin to hold a pen. I can type with one hand, but working the mouse is almost impossible. My hand gets very tired and it does not even seem like a real hand. I look at my hand and I am certain that it belongs to someone else.

 

My walking seems to be getting worse, but should improve quickly after I begin physical therapy. I will have occupational therapy for my hand. In May, I completed a six month stint of physical therapy as a result of my back injury from a car accident.

 

If I am sent to the same physical therapy facility, I might as well be given a public relations position! For sure… I should get a parking place with my name on it!!

 

The good news is that we are back in Texas and had a wonderful time in Colorado despite the stroke! After we returned home, I spent one night in the hospital for a litany of tests. The MRI showed a very small blood clot on the left side of my brain which can most likely be resolved without surgery. All of the other tests turned out very normal!

 

So…that is our vacation story for this year! I am so sorry for my absence from writing my blog…I will try to catch up. I have stories to tell and lots of pictures to share! Besides…I miss everyone of you…my special friends from around the world!!

 

rainbow

A double rainbow that happened to appear on our way back through West Texas…a happy and promising sign in the midst of our worry!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unfurl/

 

 

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Relax? Maybe Not At This Roadside Park!

 

Canyon-Falls-Roadside-Park

 

The sign on the side of the highway announces the much anticipated Roadside Park. Ten miles. Five miles. Finally. A little peace and quiet. Walk around a bit. Hey! There’s a playground at this one. Plus a visitor center. We hit the jackpot at this Rest Stop!

 

FAMILY VACATION! GOTTA’ LOVE THEM!

 

***So many hours driving through the relentless summertime traffic. Not to mention the construction. And that is before you even leave the city.

***So many hours listening to the chatter of little voices in the back seat. The metal toy car hitting your neck. Don’t worry. It’s ok.

***So many hours eating Cheetos and chocolate chips cookies from a Ziploc baggie. The M&M bag. Finished off that one.

***So many hours thinking about the so many hours that it will take to exercise away the quick fix energy treats. Just trying to stay awake and congenial at the same time.

***So many hours listening to music that you did not choose and would not ever, ever choose.  I know, I know…you can sing just like Bruno Mars. I heard you. Twelve long songs. And sure…you can shimmer and shake just like him. Really.

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No matter what…family vacations are fun. And crazy. And busy. And tiring. And exciting. Twenty years from now…you will look at the pictures and remember only the best of the best moments. I think. I hope. 

 

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AND THEN YOU SEE THE SIGN! YOUR’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! EVERYBODY! GET IN THE CAR! QUICK!

 

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AND THEN…THE OTHER SIGN. JUST TOO MUCH INFORMATION FOR ONE DAY!

 

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/shimmer/

 

 

Dinner from Thomas Jefferson’s Fish Pond…Fish with Lemon Cream Sauce. Served with Sweet Potato Biscuits!

 

Monticello two

 

 

A particularly special place to me at Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia is…

 

“THE FISH POND”

 

The pond is very near Monticello…the main house of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. In fact, the pond is a very short walk from the house and a handy place for the cooks to obtain the fish that might be needed for dinner. After we toured Monticello, I sat on a bench beside the pond for about thirty minutes. My imagination ran wild as I envisioned the comings and goings to the pond. Jefferson had several ponds across his property, but surely this pond was the most interesting. Right?

 

Our daughter along with my very best friend from college toured the immense gardens and heard stories about the vegetables that Jefferson introduced from his time in Europe. Interesting, but nothing to compare with that “Fish Pond”. Our daughter thought that I had lost my mind. Actually, I was lost in thought about the residence that I had hoped to visit for a long time. 

 

Monticello one

 

LOST IN THOUGHT ABOUT HISTORY AND HOW MUCH OUR DAILY LIVES HAVE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER. WE SHOULD BE SO VERY THANKFUL.

 

As it turned out, I learned something that they missed on the garden tour… the Fish Pond near the house was a holding place for fish. The pond is not just another decorative addition to the amazing architectural wonders at Monticello…the pond serves a very important use. Fish that are caught in the Rivanna River and other convenient streams are kept in the pond until a meal calls for them. 

 

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Dining with Mr. Jefferson…

MENU

 

Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

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Mixed Garden Stuff with Monticello Dressing

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A Pie Called Macaroni

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Eggplant Napoleon with Herbed Ricotta in Tomato Cream Sauce

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Monticello Apple Cake

***Sample Menu from Dishing Up Virginia***

 

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Two Other Favorite Possibilities for Mr. Jefferson’s Dinner Menu…

 

tj fish recipe

 

 

***Pan-Seared Fish with Lemon and Butter Cream Sauce***

 

Ingredients:

 

Sauce…

1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup cold firm butter, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

 

Fish…

4 skinless medium-firm fish fillets (6 ounce each)…type of fish–your choice 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped and toasted hazelnuts

 

Directions:

  1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat wine, lemon juice and shallots to boiling over medium-high heat. boil uncovered for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half.

  2. Add whipping cream to pan and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil uncovered 6 minutes until sauce is thickened and reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and add lemon peal. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, with wire whisk, adding the next piece only after the first has been completely beaten in and melted. When all of the butter has been beaten in, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and the white pepper. Cover to keep warm.

  3. Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside.

  4. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering and hot. Add fish and cook 3 minutes. Flip and cook 3 minutes longer or until edges begin to brown and fish flakes easily with fork.

  5. To serve, spoon sauce over fish and sprinkle with nuts.

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nutty-sweet-potato-biscuits

 

 

***Thomas Jefferson’sSweet Potato Biscuits from 1774***

 

This recipe is from the National Constitution Center (NCC), Philadelphia PA. According to the NCC, Thomas Jefferson’s biscuits were served at the first meeting of the First Continental Congress in 1774 and are served today at the famous City Tavern (built in 1773) located in Philadelphia’s historic district at 2nd and Walnut Streets.

 

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup butter, cut in small pieces

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup sweet potato, mashed (about 1 large Virginia Sweet Potato)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

***Preheat oven to 450°F.***

 

Directions:

Combine the dry ingredients. Add butter with fork, food processor or pastry cutter until the texture is small crumbs.

Combine milk and sweet potatoes. Add to flour mixture. Add pecans.

Knead dough with your hands until it is a smooth mass. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/2″ thickness and cut with a 2″ biscuit cutter.

Place on a greased baking sheet 2″ apart.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

ENJOY!!!

 

 

 

 

Fog in Shenandoah…peaceful.

 

fog one

Photo by kindergartenknowledge.com at Shenandoah National Park.

 

I became mesmerized by the peaceful grace of the Blue Ridge Mountains when I was just a child. I will never forget the winding roads of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the hiking trails that seemed so mysterious to me. The almost constant fog…or so it seemed…was indeed a vision of mystery to me. 

 

I feel the same way today…even after visiting other mountain areas…much taller mountains…even more stunning and more magnificent vistas. The Blue Ridge Mountains, Smoky Mountain National Park and the Shenandoah National Park hold a special place in my heart. When I visit Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia…I remember my relatives who most likely walked in some of these same beautiful places. Places that offer an envelope of calm feelings for me.

 

A stopping point along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park became the location for the  photograph at the top of this post. Closing my eyes, I can still feel the quiet atmosphere, the peace of the lightly blowing wind and the past intertwined with the present. 

 

The foggy weather will eventually disappear, but the memories remain intact. I remember the laughter of visiting Shenandoah with our daughter and close friends…hardly anything better on a summer day!

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/foggy/

 

 

Teeth As Bright As A Light. Necessary!

 

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toothbrush three

 

Reasons why some children

REALLY DO NOT LIKE

to brush their teeth…

 

1. They think that it takes too much time!

2. Oh dear! They think that it’s boring!

3. They think that it is difficult!

4. They simply don’t understand it!

5. They don’t want help…too much pride!

 

Children…like many adults…are busy these days. They play sports, take dance lessons, piano lessons, go to baseball camp, basketball camp, gymnastics. Kids need to be taught why it is important to brush their teeth and exactly what will happen if they neglect their teeth.

With all of the electronic gadgets that children have available today, that little toothbrush might seem like a boring companion. Figure out a way to make brushing fun for your child! 

Teach them how to brush their teeth and have a dentist show them the ins and outs of brushing. It is frustrating to brush when your hands are small and you don’t know how to reach the back of your teeth.

Some elementary schools have a dental program for the students once or twice a year. A dentist and perhaps a dental hygienist checks their teeth, talks to the children about why they brush, helps them understand the importance of brushing. The best part…they get a little baggie with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Check with your school to see if they are planning for a dentist to visit the school.

Young children have huge amounts of pride when trying something new or sticking to a schedule. Brushing does need to involve a schedule. Sometimes children think that they don’t need help, but they do certainly need your help! Explain to them that every person needs help at some time or another.

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For a little extra brushing support, find a group of children’s books on brushing teeth to read together! Some book choices that children enjoy…

1. Brush, Brush, Brush by Alicia Padron

2. Open Wide, Tooth School Inside by Laurie Keller

3. Melvin the Magnificent Molar! by Julia Cook & Laura Jana, M.D.

4. Pony Brushes His Teeth by Michael Dahl

5. Clarabella’s Teeth by An Vrombaut

 

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A funny poem helps most situations!!!

 

brushing teeth poem

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/toothbrush/

And the thunder rolls again in Texas.

 

storm clouds

Photo by kindergartenknowledge.com…Dallas, Texas…Summer, 2017

 

The thunder, the lightning, the clouds, the howling dogs, the cats hiding under the bushes, the rush of the wind, the bending trees, the falling limb on the roof… plus the brightest sunset…just another evening thunderstorm in Texas. Like the people we meet each day…every storm is different. Some loud. Some quiet. Some needed. Some not needed. And yet…amid the noise from the sky…we know tomorrow will be brighter because we surely learned something from the storm we encountered.

 

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umbrella

Schools might need to be playful.

With the school year arriving very quickly, I decided to reblog one of my posts from June, 2016. I honestly feel that playful classrooms combined with strategic learning should be more prevalent. Children cannot be serious all the time!

kindergartenknowledge.com

walt-disney-quote

In the eighteen years that I spent in public schools, the word “playful” so often was an absent commodity. More absent every year. Playful? No time for such folly in 2017. Not in some schools.

music tree

Preparation and practice for the state test takes precedence over most everything. That is how it appears to me. I have not been teaching in a testing grade level for several years. Thank goodness. However, I do feel pressure to prepare the children for what lies ahead. The pressure felt by teachers and children in grades three, four, and five (and beyond) must be intense. I see it in their eyes. Or is this my imagination? I doubt it.

farm two

Or is it in my imagination that I don’t hear as much laughter? I doubt it. I wonder what happened to fun assemblies? When I taught in another large city district, we regularly had a fascinating magician, Folklorico…

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