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I'm here, just another bug....

Monday, January 25, 2010
Sorry that I've been gone again. I've been fighting a bug off and on this week. It's nothing major, just enough to make me drag my butt and leave me completely unmotivated.

I just thought I'd let you know.

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Thanks for reading.


My house has been invaded!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, someone from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association in Maryland called to see if I would be willing to fly to San Francisco at the end of January to talk about living with pulmonary hypertension to a group from one of the big drug companies. We discussed how flying has become a somewhat difficult endeavor for me. But, if it was really an important thing to do that would end up helping these people understand this disease and what it was like living with it day to day, I would certainly consider. Well, I never heard anything else about it and assumed that PHA either found someone else to speak, or just scrapped the project all together. Then, I get a phone call on Saturday night. It was decided that instead of having PH patients fly around the country, it would make more sense to fly a film crew to the PH patient. So, if I was still interested in helping, would I be willing to have a film crew come to my house on Tuesday morning....(Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday...)My first thought was, "Crap! That's 4 days away! I can't possibly lose 20 pounds in 4 days!" My second thought was, "Crap! Film adds like 5-10 pounds! If I agree to do this, it's going to look like they interviewed the Pillsbury Dough Girl for the piece!" Finally, my third thought was, "If it will help the drug companies put a face to the disease and to the drugs that they are distributing and developing then I should probably do it."

So, here we are. They are actually videotaping me right now as I'm typing this. Wow...this is really strange. So, there are like 5 grown men in my house with all kinds of lights, cameras, etc. They just asked, "Can I hear typing now please?"
Now they just asked me to laugh a little while I'm typing. I'm not so sure that's a good idea...is that suppose to mean that I get a kick out of own writing, or am I so pathetic I laugh to myself when I'm by myself?

We had to stop filming early because of "interference from background noises." The problem was, Haver was sleeping and began snoring so loudly that the equipment was picking it up!

OK, they're finished, I've taken a nap and now I figured I'd finish this post. So, yes, I must say the highlight of the experience was when we had to sop filming because my fat dog has sleep apnea! Probably the second favorite, or maybe most memorable part of the day was when the director decided he would like to finish with me sitting on the couch, calling for Asa and Haver and them running to me. I told him that it wasn't such a good idea. I reminded him that they were on Prozac and I had kept them locked i different bedrooms for a reason. I also reminded him that they were not really petite and that there was a lot of expensive equipment in the room. But, the producer guy said it would be OK. So, I got the boys and the producer held them both by their collars. I sat down on the couch...so far...so good. He said, "Action!" I call, "Asa, Haver, come and see me!" Haver comes running (OK, more like lumbering, or maybe waddling) over and sits right down in front of me! I was so proud! Asa, on the other hand, took one look at Haver sitting next to me, started his "possessed dog" growling and runs to the front door! ARG!! We spent several minutes trying to get Asa to come in and sit down without much luck. Eventually one of the camera guys grabbed Asa by the collar and drug him over by me. He did actually sit for a second, then turned his head and saw Haver and...you guessed it! He growled like the nutball that he is and took off for the door.

"And, cut! I think we're good for the day!"

It was really a very positive experience and I hope that it helps the drug reps understand how important it is to keep working on improving PH drugs.

OK, I'm really pooped! I need to go mix and switch and go to bed.

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Thanks for reading.


Sorry about being gone for a couple of days....I got bit by a bug!

Saturday, January 16, 2010
Not a "bad bug," but enough of a bug to give me a low-grade fever, headache and give me an excuse to be even lazier than normal! (And, yes, Jen and Lisa, I did have a Reece's Peanut Buttercup Blizzard to celebrate when I was deemed "bug-free!") I also had my blood checked on Thursday and it went from being "too thin" to being "too thick" (yes, I realize that the blood now matches my brain...too thick! Ha...ha...ha...). It was 6.5 and on Thursday it was 1.4. We'll get it figured out. At least I don't have to run away from Haver's toenails!

Along with all of you, I've been following the horrendous situation unravel in Haiti. There are no words to convey the sadness and heartache that comes with seeing the pictures and hearing the cries... I have no idea what I can write about this tragedy that would be helpful, insightful or meaningful. The only thing I know that I can do is pray and to look for reminders that God is with the Haitian people just like he is always with us. I found reminders of His presence outside this morning.

I certainly found it when I looked at the pictures I took of my friend's baby, Savannah, wearing the hat that I knitted for her...

And, yes, I could even see God's presence and His love while I watched Asa protect Rod's boot and Haver "relax."

As a matter of fact, after looking at Haver's picture again, I would have to say that God also has a very good sense of humor!

The last few years while I was teaching first grade at Black Elk Elementary, our principal would write a newsletter that he sent to all of the families. At the end of every newsletter he would remind parents to "Hug your children." I think those are excellent words of wisdom when you go to bed tonight and realize how lucky we are to live in the United States.

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The temperature is finally going up, unfortunately so is my INR level! CRAP!

Monday, January 11, 2010
Finally, for the first time in weeks, the temperature has risen to the double digits ABOVE zero!! Yahoo!! So, I took advantage of Mother Nature's kindness and left the house to do exciting things! I #1.went to the post office to mail (FINALLY mail) our Christmas letters,#2. stopped at the bank (no, I didn't go back to the branch where "The Female Dog Teller" works, #3. stopped to get my blood drawn to check my INR ( a blood test to check on how well my blood is clotting), #4. stopped at a different post office to pick up the mail that they have been holding for us because the snow plows took out our mailbox during the last storm, #5. stopped at the bookstore just because I LOVE the bookstore, #6. stopped at the pharmacy to pick up a refill on a prescription AND #7. stopped at Hobby Lobby to get some better yarn to use in making this latest prayer shawl I'm working on. (The yarn I was working on was really cheap crap and was completely sucking all of the moisture out of my fingertips.)

The only downer to all of this was the phone call I received from the doctor's office. People that have pulmonary hypertension have a tendency to develop blood clots. Plus, having a central line increases those chances. So, I've been on a blood thinner since I was diagnosed. The doctor likes to have the levels somewhere between 2.7 and 3.2. Today, my levels came back at 6.5! That explains why I have so many bruises. You should see my leg where Haver accidentally scratched it. I actually have a bruise, from one claw, that covers the entire front of my thigh! It's actually kind of pretty. Rod says it looks like a super nova! (Yes, he's a geek and I love him.) Anyway, I've been "ordered" to eat lots and lots of green vegetables, to stop taking my blood thinner and to be incredibly careful not to fall or get scratched. I'll get it checked again on Thursday. I don't mean to whine, but, this is just another one of the "little things" that people with pulmonary hypertension have to deal with.

Well, that's about it for today. I've got to get some reading done and I'm pretty sure I hear the walls talking to me saying, "Take a nap, take a nap, take a nap!

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Thanks for reading.

Two seconds is all it took to remind me why I don't look in mirrors...

Sunday, January 10, 2010
I made a huge mistake today. It was a very sunny (but still cold) day. It was nice to actually see that bright guy! We've missed him here in the plains! Anyway, I walked into the little bathroom by our family room that has a nice window which really allows the afternoon sun to stream in. I don't know why I did it...I usually have much more self control...maybe I was tired...maybe I was temporarily "stupified" due to the sun bouncing off all of the snow...but...I actually looked at my reflection in the mirror. I know! You're all probably yelling at your computer now saying, "Annette! What were you thinking!?! You're 53 years old, you're on lots of drugs, you're overweight, you're tired, you haven't been out of the house for days...why would you look at yourself! But, I did. I stared at the OLD woman with thinning hair, red blotchy "Flolan skin," bags that you'd be charged extra for if you were flying in an airplane, chins that can no longer be zoned for just "double-wide" and a lovely plastic (but, Latex-free) cannula sticking up my nose, wrapped around my face and draped behind my ears. And, by the way...have my ears always stuck out that much or is it just a change that's occurred from years of oxygen use?!?!

After the shock wore off I wondered what a person would have to do to become a vampire so that you'd never have to look at your reflection again.

I was so traumatized by the experience I had to ask Rod to go up to Dairy Queen and get me a Blizzard.

How was YOUR day?

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That's It! I'm becoming a HERMIT!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
So, much of the U.S. is experiencing the same "lovely" weather (sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm) this January. Since New Year's day, I've only been out of the house once, due to the extreme cold and snow amounts. Monday night I took the plunge and went to my Monday night bible study. Our group meets at my friend Tammy's house. She called and offered to pull her car out of the garage so that I could drive from my garage to her garage. It seemed like a good idea. The temperatures were in the single digits and the wind chills were way below zero. But, the garages are usually in the upper teens. So, I did it. Even though it took me about 30 minutes to recover (the group was thrilled that I couldn't really talk for 30 minutes! It was the quietest they've ever seen me!), I was really glad that I got out to see friends and to discuss God's word.

Well, we are being hit with our 3rd snowstorm since Christmas and this one is bringing temperatures in the -30 degrees range...that's without the wind chill. Winds are suppose to be picking up causing "colder than crap" conditions. (That was my interpretation of the weather report, not the meteorologists.) So, imagine my surprise when I saw that there was a little bit of a "warm" front coming through ahead of this latest storm. This afternoon around 2:30 I noticed that it was actually 21 degrees! That's like a HEAT WAVE! So, I decided that I better grab the opportunity and go do some errand and maybe even sneak in a chick flick. Well...I should have stayed home and taken a nap.

Stop #1. The bank. Rod asked me if I would stop and get some cash since he's been working such long hours, he hadn't been able to get to the bank. Being the loving wife, I said, "Sure, no problem!" I went to the drive-through, handing my check and driver's license to the teller (Who will now and forever be called, "The Female Dog Teller."). After 10 minutes of her working on her computer with her back to me, I pushed the "Attention Please" buzzer. Now, you need to get a visual here, so I'm going to try to help you....close your eyes...wait a minute..you can't read when your eyes are close..just use your imagination...I'm sitting in the car with my heavy winter coat on, my seat belt on, my oxygen on and I can't reach the stupid "Attention Please" button. So, I have to roll down the window, unhook my seat belt, take off the cannula, open my car door and then push the stupid button. Do you know what "The Female Dog Teller" did? NOTHING!!!! She acted like I was invisible and that she was immune to hearing the "Attention Please" button. Knowing that dogs, male or female, can hear all levels of sounds, I was sure she heard the buzzing. But, just to be fair, I buzzed again. This time she put up a finger as if telling me, "One minute, I'm busy!" So, I pushed the "Attention Please" buzzer again! This time she did absolutely nothing! But, a coworker did come to the window to see what I needed. I asked her if there was a problem with my check or my account and she said she didn't know, but she would ask. Now I've been sitting at the stupid drive-through for 15 minutes! AND, now the coworker is standing at the computer with HER back to me! I undo everything roll down the window, open the door and SMASH the "Attention Please" button. The coworker came over and said she wasn't sure what the problem was. I said, in a not very nice voice, "I've been waiting for 20 minutes! I'd like my *^&% check back!" So, she went over, got the check, my license and brought it to me. No apology, no explanation and still "The Female Dog Teller" was on the STUPID phone!! I called Rod, told him what happened. He called our banker who promptly called me with his tail between his legs. He had no idea what happened, yada, yada, yade. He asked me if I was close to the bank. I informed him that I was in another part of town and had no interest in ever going back to that branch. He promised to call the branch that was close to where I was driving and make sure they took care of me. So, after chewing him out for having employees who did no understand what "customer service" meant and suggesting what he might do with "The Female Dog Teller" I take the short drive to the closer branch. I've got my blinker on to turn into the side street for the bank and there is a car stuck in the middle of the side street. So, I continued on to the next corner to get to the bank from the other side. While I was trying NOT to smack into the stuck car and figure out how to get into the bank, I hear this "HOOOOOOOONK!" Looking in the rear-view mirrow I see this GIANT pickup truck with these two 20 something boys honking at me and giving me the finger!! As I continued up the street and turned to get to the bank, they continued to drive right next to me, honking the horn and flipping me off!! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

Thankfully, the teller (who was actually a teller and not any form of a dog) at the 2nd branch took care of me very quickly (in fact, I think I saw her feet smoking as she ran around to take care of the woman that caused "The Boss" to call her)

By now I was in no mood to go to a movie, chick flick or not. So, I drove home. Plus, the weather had turned, the wind was gearing up and the snowflakes were falling. After THREE attempts to get up our snowy driveway I came in the house, grabbed a bag of chips (quietly yelling at myself for not stopping at Dairy Queen) and fired up the computer. What you are reading is a result of me getting rid of my bad mood. So, I (as does Rod, Asa and Haver) need to thank you, dear readers, for letting me vent.

By the way, my friend Dean emailed me an explanation of the cartoon that I didn't put in the last posting. Now that I know what it means, it seems like the perfect way to finish this posting. Let me know if you are as dense as I am and need an explanation.

Thank you for checking in.
Thank you for reading.

Can someone tell me what happened to "Global Warming?"

Monday, January 4, 2010
We have about two feet of snow on the ground, the actual temperature right now is 2 degrees with a windchill of -13 degrees I'm trying to figure out what happened to "Global Warming?"
My friend Dean sent out these cartoons today in an email:

He actually sent me one more, but I didn't understand it...my poor old lady brain.

So, other than the stupid ridiculous cold weather, it's been a nice, quiet, calm day. Both of the "boys" are snoring away. Playing outside and even just having to go outside to do their "business" wears them out! So, there really is a plus side to this weather!

I thought since it was such a nice quiet afternoon, I'd share some pictures from Nick and Kara's wedding that was on August 14, 2009. The temperature was in the 90's with a balmy humidity level in the 60's!

This is a picture of Kara and her Dad walking down the "aisle."

The wedding took place at Lauritzen's Gardens. It is such a beautiful place!

I love this picture of Nick and Chris!

Here is Kara's Mom, Jeane, putting on the necklace that Nick gave to Kara to celebrate the day!

Kara and her sister are so adorable!

Kara's Dad and brother are handsome guys also!

The two Moms.

Such a beautiful shot!

We had the best seats in the house!!

Proud parents!

The rings!!

Kara is so pretty! Her Mom made her veil. Look at her earrings!!

I was told once to "Always leave them wanting more!" So, I think I'll stop for now. I've got to start throwing something together for dinner and I'm still trying to figure out if I can get to my bible study tonight.

So, that's all for now folks!

Thanks for checking in.
Thanks for reading.
Stay warm!


Doing the "HAPPY DANCE!"

Saturday, January 2, 2010
I have FINALLY finished our Christmas letter! For someone who loves to talk, I sometimes get really, really stuck when I HAVE to write something. There's so much pressure when writing this yearly piece. First, we send out more than 250 of them, to friends and family all over the country and even a couple out of the country. Second, I know that some of the people who will be reading "the update" are English professors and professional writers! I'm always worrying if I've put in too many commas or have ended a sentence with a preposition! The phrase my dad taught me, "Never use a preposition to end a sentence with." keeps rolling around in my brain, along with the constant question, "What are the prepositions???" Third, by now, since I'm so stinkin' late, we've already received so many fabulous cards and letters. So, I keep asking myself "Is my letter is going to look pitiful compared to their letter?" Then the last reason I get a little knotted up when I write our Christmas letter is the worry that I won't give equal billing to all family members! Yes, you read that correctly! One year, Nick and Chris actually told me they were disappointed because the dogs got more space in the Christmas letter than both of them together. Now, granted, I think they were like 12 and 14 at the time. But still...I did have a witty retort when they complained that year, but it didn't stop their comments. I told them that if they would start doing more funny and cute things then I would have more stories about them to share with everyone. After actually saying that sentence out loud I realized how much trouble I was inviting to the sanity and safety of our home. So, instead, I grabbed the computer and cut out some dog stories and wrote more about the wonderful young Markin men!

So, now that I'm finished with my part of the yearly letter (Rod does the editing and the printing) I now have time to get caught up in other things. I have several thank you notes to write for various things from donations to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, Christmas presents and just to some friends for being friends. I also have about a two foot high pile of papers that I need to file in the 20+ 3-ring notebooks I've organized in anticipation of income tax time. I really need to take down Christmas decorations. I should take down the tree, but, I just finished getting the decorations on it on December 26th!

This is my "Peggy Karr" tree.

I also have to ornaments on it that my phriend Cindy tatted for me a couple of years ago.

But, here I am, sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace, happy that I'm not a horse. We are in the middle of a cold front and right now the temperature is -1.6 degrees! It got down to -15 degrees last night with a wind chill of -25! Now, we have a barn with very nice horse stalls that Doc and Dude could go into. But, they are perfectly happy standing outside in the bitter cold, wearing their snappy blue coats and eating they bale of hay!

Before I leave this post, I thought you might like to see a picture of Deoje in is Rudolph costume!

OK, I've enjoyed myself long enough. It's time to get back to work!
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Thanks for reading.