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 st 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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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!!!

 

 

 

 

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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36a1b10e6abe5e1316c5ae9eb3a4d713--thunderstorm-quotes-lightning-storms

 

 

umbrella

Finding A Happy Disposition In A Sea Of Disparate Negativity.

 

didposition one

 

Your disposition, your attitude, your demeanor precede you throughout your life. It is true…people can sense a poor disposition by the scowl on a person’s face. There was a time when I thought that a sad and discordant disposition was an inherited trait. I believed that there was nothing that a person could do if they were born with a negative personality. They were stuck with it. They just had to figure out how to live with negativity, how to simply give in to negativity, how to accept that they were the inevitable complainers. I changed my mind in the years after college when I was working at newspapers. I really changed my mind after I began teaching elementary school.

 

Nature vs Nurture…the debate that has continued through generations.

 

Blaming nature may be the easy way to explain away your far from positive attitude and lack of motivation. A coworker at a newspaper where I worked was a prime example…temperamental to the point of throwing things off of his desk; curt and rude answers; never thought that he was at fault for anything; blamed the general population of the city for any complaints about his articles; argued and yelled during staff meetings; stomped out of multiple meetings. His overall negative disposition and blatant behavior caused havoc for the entire staff. What a downer of a person. He was lusting for control of every situation.

 

One comment that he always made was… “I act just like my grandfather. I am proud of it!”…followed by “I could easily act a lot better, but I like the attention!”

 

He eventually lost his job. He never went back into the newspaper business. His disposition preceded him at every location where he applied. What talent he had! What a very fine writer! What research he completed for each assignment! And yet…he could not succeed in a competitive environment. The fault was completely his own.

 

I wonder how his upbringing came into play. Was he nurtured by his family? Was he taught to accept responsibility for his own actions? Was he taught to seek happiness even if it took a huge amount of effort? Was he taught the critical importance of behavior restraint? Was he taught about kindness?

 

Craig Jarrow wrote an interesting article on his site, Time Management Ninja…”21 Ways to Define a Positive Attitude”. Jarrow states that productivity in a job setting is contagious and your attitude is also very contagious. A positive and happy disposition can be contagious, but a negative and poor disposition can seem like a virus. In other words…a poor disposition can be a corrupting influence in any setting.

A positive attitude works in tandem with  a positive disposition.

 

disposition

 

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“21 Ways to Define a Positive Attitude”

By: Craig Jarrow

 

  1. It is looking adversity in the eye…and laughing.

  2. Getting what you get, and not pitching a fit.

  3. Enjoying the unexpected, even when it’s not what you originally wanted.

  4. Motivating those around you with a positive word.

  5. Using the power of a smile to reverse the tone of a situation.

  6. Being friendly to those you don’t know.

  7. It’s getting beck up when you fall down. (No matter how many times you fall down.)

  8. Being a source of energy that lifts those around you.

  9. Understanding that relationships are more important than material things.

  10. Being happy even when you have little.

  11. Having a good time even when you are losing.

  12. Being happy for the success of someone else.

  13. Having a positive future vision, no matter how bad your current circumstances.

  14. Smiling.

  15. Paying a compliment, even to a total stranger.

  16. Tell someone you know that they did a great job. (And mean it.)

  17. Making someone’s day. (Not just a child’s…adults like to have their day to be special too.)

  18. It’s not complaining no matter how unfair things appear to be. (It is a waste of time…instead do something.)

  19. Not letting the negativity of other people bring you down.

  20. Giving more that you expect to get in return.

  21. Being true to yourself…always.

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Your choice…adjust your disposition and have a positive attitude!

 

Choose to be the type of person that everyone wants to work with, to talk to, to collaborate with…a positive and happy disposition is a cohesive force!

 

 

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

 

A cup of tea. A group of friends. Surely happiness is brewing!

 

teapot six

 

When I read that the prompt for today is tea, I thought about the above quote and all of the wonderful friends who have come my way through blogging. From Iowa, South Carolina, Texas, California, New York and all across the United States, England, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Cameroon, India, Dubai, Nigeria, Norway, Japan, China, Iceland, Switzerland, Ireland, Vietnam, Russia, Italy, Canada, Estonia, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Singapore, Albania, Argentina, Sweden, Hungary, Indonesia, Belgium, Finland, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Paraguay, Czech Republic, Thailand, Mexico, Croatia …and on and on and on.

I thank all of you for your kindness, your thoughtfulness, your proud voices, your talent, your differences, your likenesses, your strong opinions, your faith, your humor, your ability to reach out across the world.

 

We are indeed involved in a particularly important venture…writing for the sake of the pure spirit of communicating. We are building a world for ourselves that is wider and larger that ever we expected. I do think that we are reaching for a glimmer of understanding…a glimmer of peace…a glimmer of sharing.

Thank you for your friendships. I tell my friends and family about you and they are amazed at how fortunate we are that you are in our world!

 

teapot four

A true statement…for sure!!

 

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A poem by Kate Greenaway…a children’s book author and illustrator in the latter half of the 19th century…

 

In the pleasant green garden
  We sat down to tea;
“Do you take sugar?” and
  “Do you take milk?”
She’d got a new gown on–
  A smart one of silk.
We all were so happy
  As happy could be,
On that bright Summer’s day
  When she asked us to tea.

 

 

teapot three

Whatever belief we hold…whatever faith we hold, I believe that we do share in the journey of helping those in need…for we already understand friendship.

 

 

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

 

Definitely not a traditional home life. By any stretch of the imagination.

 

flowers

Someone might ask…just what is a traditional home life? What is traditional in Texas might be different from a traditional home life in California. What is traditional in Japan might be different from a traditional home life in Brazil. Differences are understandable and expected. Everyone can define a traditional home life in their own way.

However…I would hope that traditional in any part of the world would (or could) involve the basic levels of need for sustainable life. Abraham Maslow, a noted American psychologist, wrote “A Theory of Human Motivation” in 1943. His findings stated that the basic needs are arranged in a Hierarchy of Needs. A pyramid is often presented as the foundation for a person’s basic needs. Lower needs must be met before a person can reach the top level called self-actualization. When this level is completed, a person reaches their full potential, according to Maslow

Those lower needs on the pyramid include the very basic needs of water, food, sleep and shelter. When I was in graduate school for Educational Administration, the presentations on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs made a serious impression on me. To me, it represents the eventual motivation that is especially needed for a young child to successfully progress through school with a sense of joy in learning, pride in accomplishment and a feeling of creative thinking.

 

 

Maslow

 

 

In my own classroom, I have sadly seen the effects of the absence of these basic needs. When I was thinking of the word “traditional”…I thought immediately of the small child who was in my classroom more than ten years ago. I cannot help but think about currently young children who are in the same situation. Is there someone there to hear their voice? I only hope that someone at their school listens like a group of educators at my school listened. I wrote the following post in the second month of my blog…

 

 

 

Listen: A Small and Quiet Voice is Talking.

 

chairs

The child walked quietly into my elementary school classroom.

 

His eyes were cast downward. His smile was absent. His walk was slow and hesitant. His smile was absent. Other children walked in laughing and talking and skipping. Most everyone had something to say…”Good Morning, Good Morning”, “Want to hear something funny?”, “Hey teacher…look at my new backpack! I found it at a garage sale! Do you love it?”, “Today is pizza day in the cafeteria. Is it lunchtime yet?” and on and on.

 

Yes…most everyone had something to say and all of the children greeted me with a smile. All smiled except for one small, fragile boy. He sat down at his table and put his head down on his folded arms. He was asleep in less than 30 seconds. I tried to wake him up for circle time, for the main lesson of the day, for the teacher read-aloud. Clearly exhausted.

 

He evidently came to school to get some peace and quiet. I never consider my classroom to be particularly quiet and sometimes I don’t consider it particularly peaceful. I do know that my classroom is filled with love and care…love from me to the children, from the children to me…love and care is always my goal.

I rarely know right away about a child’s life away from school. I listen, learn and discern information in bits and pieces for a few weeks. I would eventually know what type of home life they bring to school. With this sad little boy, I knew that things were certainly not right. Something was missing. Please, please…help me find the missing part to the puzzle.

I asked the mother and step-father to come in for a meeting. I sent a note home in his daily folder. I called repeatedly. I left messages. The number was quickly disconnected. A relative picked him up in the afternoon. She would barely talk to me. She muttered a quick greeting with the same look of despair as the child.

 

Everyday, I spent extra time with the child while his classmates were busy with projects. Little by little, he started talking quietly to me.

He was hungry. He usually did not eat at night. The breakfast and lunch provided at our school were mostly his only means of sustenance. He did not have a bed. He slept on a couple of blankets on the floor. Sometimes a sibling would take the blankets away from him.

His mother had two jobs. I was glad that she was working, but worried about the care he was receiving or obviously not receiving. I doubted that she had time to talk with me. I began trying to get the step-father to talk with me. No luck. Collaboration? Not from these parents.

A few days after the child began talking to me, he said his leg hurt, his tummy hurt. The story came out in a blur of words. I immediately talked with all of the appropriate people at my elementary school and beyond my school. The counselor talked with the child. The sad truth was indeed the really sad truth. Things were very wrong at his house.

 

Action was taken very quickly by the appropriate agency. He was sent to foster care in another school district that very day. I hope he found love and support. I hope he found a warm and comfortable bed. I hope he found a good dinner waiting for him every evening.

I do not know what happened to him after his placement. I hope that he learned to smile. I hope that his mother learned that she needs to collaborate with the teacher and the school and anyone else who would help her. Fear keeps so many parents from seeking assistance. If only she really knew how much effort we put into finding a bit of a future for her child.

 

I certainly did not find a chance at a better life for him all by myself. It took a group of people working together. And it all started because a group of educators listened to his quiet voice. That is why I believe that it takes a truly committed village to raise a child.

YEARS AND YEARS HAVE PASSED. I STILL REMEMBER THAT SMALL VOICE.

 

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beyond the fog

Summer of 2017...the child who was in my class is now grown up. My prayer is that he made it…that he became the happy child that he deserved to be. I hope that his basic needs plus more were met.

 

LET US NOT FORGET TO LISTEN TO THE QUIET VOICES FROM THE CHILDREN. 

 

 

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