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Saturday, June 26, 2010
Movie Review!

Rod and I enjoyed our regular Friday night date night by watching the new Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz movie called, "Night and Day."

This was a great movie and a real surprise! It's full of car chases, gun fights... a real action-packed movie! But, it's also really, really funny! Tom Cruise is a James Bond kind of guy and Cameron Diaz was a midwest tom boy who liked to restore cars, who was trying to get to Boston for her sister's wedding.

I'm so impressed with Tom Cruise's comedic side! Cameron Diaz was also very, very funny! I would highly recommend "Knight and Day!'

I give it 8 puppy paws up!

Book Review!

I just finished a great book called, "Walking in Circles Before Lying Down" by Merrill Markoe.

This is the perfect summer read! It funny, entertaining, easy to follow (code for "You don't have to think or pay a lot attention to the story!) and includes my favorite topic...TALKING DOGS!!

At only 270 pages, you can easily get through this book and still have time for lots of other books on your summer read list!

And, you guessed it....

OK, that's it for tonight! I hope you're having a nice weekend.

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Thanks for reading.

It's nearly 10:30 p.m. and I need to get to bed, but...

Thursday, June 24, 2010
I wanted to post something positive for a change, since I feel like I'm always whining about how crappy I feel.

I feel good tonight! We had a pantyhose dinner at a country club place for Rod's work tonight. I had to put on nice clothes (including pantyhose), use all of the correct silverware while dining, say nice comments using only appropriate words and be nice to everyone! I know!! What an exhausting experience! But, I came home tonight and realized that I actually FELT GOOD! I wasn't feeling very well today. But, tonight I feel good! I don't know why, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!
I'm not going to repeat the mistake that I've done before when I've "FELT GOOD" by thinking this is a sign that I've turned a corner. I'm taking it for what it is... a special little gift from God so I won't give up and will keep "fighting the good fight" with the mentality of a warrior!

So, thanks for letting me share something positive for a change!

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I'm Back. Sorry it took so long to get my keister in gear!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
When I PROMISED that I would be back here blogging away by Friday, June 18th, I thought I was giving myself plenty of time to kick-start my rear end. Unfortunately, it took a bit longer.

Chris did make it home on Wednesday. He stayed until yesterday morning (the 21st). He rode his motorcycle here from Chicago and was going to ride it back yesterday. But Mother Nature had other plans for him. So, he left his bike in our garage and took one of the inexpensive Southwest Airlines flights back to Chicago yesterday. He's planning on driving his truck home for several days over the 4th of July. So, he'll load his bike up in the back of the pick-up and take it back to Chicago when he heads back in July.

I did make it to my new bible study with my friend Martha. We are doing a study on The Psalms in a program put together by Beth Moore. She is known for her fabulous bible studies for women. I'm trying to get my reading done for class again tomorrow night.

On Thursday, June 17th, Rod and I celebrated 32 years of marriage! The evening was perfect since we had dinner at the Flat Iron with Chris, Nick and Kara!

On Saturday I went to our Pulmonary Hypertension support group meeting. We had a pretty good turnout with 7 phriends and numerous other friends and relatives. This is a picture of our support group leader Carol (in the back) and phriend Frances.

We celebrated Father's Day with Chris, Nick and Kara with having breakfast at one of our most favorite restaurants, Wheatfields! Yes, the Markins pretty much celebrate EVERYTHING with food!!
Can you see a family resemblance?

Well, I know this hasn't been very exciting. But, to tell you the truth, I'm still not feeling up to par.

I want to thank all of you that send emails and post comments on this blog. It is very hard to get motivated to sit down and figure out what to write about when I'm not feeling well. But, knowing that there are actually people out there in cyber-land who seem to enjoy the exciting life of The Markins, I feel honored to pull it together and share stories from our lives with you.

Thanks for checking in.
Thanks for reading.

Dear Faithful Readers..

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I've been "dragging my keister" for the last few days. I don't know if it's the PH, the Addison's, the fact that I'm an old woman and it's hot outside...but..whatever it is, I've not been able to get anything done.

Tonight I'm going to attend a new bible study with my friend Martha. Also, Chris is driving home on his motorcycle today and will be home for a couple of days.

So, I'm going to take a little break. But, I promise I'll be back on Friday, June 18th.
Thanks for your understanding.

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Thanks for reading.

A Polo Match in Nebraska?

Sunday, June 13, 2010
It was another busy weekend in the Markin household! We had a couple of "pantyhose" dinners, a 50th wedding anniversary celebration, a surprise breakfast with Nick and Kara after church on Sunday morning, and a polo match.

Yes, you read that correctly, we went to a POLO MATCH in Omaha, Nebraska! On Saturday, the University of Nebraska Medical Center held "Polo for Patients," a fundraiser for UNMC's patient assistance fun. The money raised helps patients and their families with basic needs, such as clothing, lodging and food.

This was the second year for this event and was quite an experience! Rod and I had never watched a polo match before and were very intrigued with the event when it was held in 2008. This year we had a better idea of what to expect. It was so much fun! The horses were beautiful!

The horses work so hard that a "polo guy" uses 4 different horses for each match so that the horses don't overheat or get sick.

Speaking of "beautiful" and speaking of "polo guys" there was a very special "polo guy" who played on Saturday. His name is, Nacho Figueras.

Let me show you a better picture...

or this really, really nice picture...

Nacho is not only a "polo guy," but he is also a model for Ralph Lauren. Big, big shock...huh??

I'm sorry to say that I can't report who won the match. It was incredibly hot and humid on Saturday. Those two words are kind of like Kryptonite to someone with pulmonary hypertension. So, we needed to come home early. But, if you go to this site, you can read all about the fundraiser and even watch a fantastic video of Nacho visiting kids at the hospital.

No weekend would be complete without a little "dog action."

Asa LOVED his new toy. It's a "gutless" stuffed fox. It actually comes without any filler so when the dogs destroy the toy they don't make such big mess! Brilliant idea!
Here is Asa bringing "the kill" into the kitchen.

And, here he is trying to hurl said "gutless fox" across the room to where his brother, Haver,

was playing hide and seek with himself and his favorite blanket. "Peek-a-boo, Haver...

we see you!!

Never a dull moment at the Markin household!

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Rainy Day...

Thursday, June 10, 2010
It's funny how differently we look at rainy, overcast days, depending on our age, location, experiences or frame of mind...

It was a very, very rainy day here in Omaha until around 2:00 p.m. We had some thunder and lightning (which caused my dark blue sweats to instantly be decorated with yellow lab hair....big chickens!) along with some really heavy downpours.

When I was a little girl going to school, I LOVED rainy days! The rain would make us have inside recess! In the primary grades inside recess meant getting to play in the gym. We would have free time with the balls, jump-ropes, basketball hoops AND there was a stage in the gym, where we could pretend we were putting on shows!

In the junior high grades, inside recess meant we could visit with our friends, read books, write notes...all the things we wanted to do during class but would normally get in trouble for doing!

Of course, by high school, the rainy days started to loose their appeal. Now, instead of having inside recess, we just still had classes. Plus, the rain played havoc with our hair and our clothes as we waited for buses, or ran from the cars in the parking lot. Something that we LOVED a few years ago, became something we dreaded, as high school divas!

While in college, learning to become a teacher, I would imagine just how my classes would be, how well-behaved the students would be, how much fun we would have together AND all the great things we would do when we had inside recess!!

During my first year of teaching (5th graders!) I soon learned that while I was in college, I had a really, inventive imagination! Those 5th graders had no intention of "behaving" and "enjoying" board games and other inside recess activities I slaved over creating in my teacher education classes! The students seemed to think that inside recess was the perfect time to push the teachers' buttons and see just how many rules they could break in a short time-span!

The longer I taught, the better I learned how to create a more productive and enjoyable inside recess experience. But, it never lived up to the picture I created in my head back in college, with the kids all sitting around, quietly visiting, reading books and coloring. It certainly wasn't the way I remembered it when I was a student. I'm thinking those nuns must have been way tougher on us than I was with my students!

As I was teaching, I had another vision of what I'd like to be doing on a rainy day. While I was trying to "redirect and contain" what was happening in my classroom during inside recess, I would always daydream about what I would be doing if I wasn't working. I always figured that when I retired, I would embrace rainy days as the perfect break to a busy life as a retired teacher. In my imagination, I was always cuddled up on the couch with a cup of tea, a lap blanket and a great book! The more it rained, the more I read! Quite honestly, that vision kept me going on many of those rainy days during my 27 years of teaching!

Now that I'm not teaching, and didn't really "retire," rainy days have become a bit of a "downer day." I'm home because I got sick 6 years ago and was no longer able to teach, I really didn't retire, or "burn out" of the profession. I had planned on teaching at least another 15 years when I had to "hang it up." Now, every day can be sitting on the couch reading with a cup of tea, if I want it to. The thrill of "doing what I wanted to do during class, but would get in trouble for" is gone. Now, when it rains, that means that the humidity levels will be higher, so when I walk down to the street to get the mail and/or the newspaper, I'll be more short of breath than normal, and get tired a bit quicker. It also means that I'll probably stay home and not try to run an errand or go see a "chick flick" because my oxygen concentrator can't get wet and it's hard to drag it out of the car into a building without hitting puddles or getting hit with raindrops.

Even though my "inside recess days" are not quite what I planned for, I do still find joy in them. I already mentioned the addition of a significant amount of dog hair on my clothes. It is a real hoot to watch these 125 and 140 pound "yellow beasts" get scared with a little clap of thunder and see them running for safety on the couch right next to me.

I also enjoy the notion that I no longer have to monitor inside recess. There were too many times where I had to "pick my battles" during that inside 20 minute period in order to save any hope of keeping my sanity and not get in trouble for saying OR DOING something to the "little darlings!"

And, even though I can sit on the couch and read a good book any day of the week, a really good rainy day is the perfect time for a long and enjoyable nap...of which I've taken two today!!

So, here's to rainy days and inside recesses. I hope you've had many joyous ones in your life.

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Thanks for reading.

2 Brushes with Fame, 1 smash against the Wall and 1 Smashing Good Book About a Famous Person!

Monday, June 7, 2010
Yes, I know, that title is quite of mouthful! Well, let's see if I can clear things up!

Several weeks ago, Rod and I went to a Med Center dinner. I don't usually get excited about these events. In fact, I not so lovingly call them, "Pantyhose dinners!" You see, "Pantyhose Dinners" usually involve putting on nice clothes (hence the "Pantyhose" title) sitting with people I may or may not know, making small-talk, watching out that I don't tell any "good" jokes...basically, spending the evening working very hard at behaving myself! That is a tough job!!

Well, it was time to get ready for this dinner and I couldn't get there fast enough! You see, we got to sit at the table with the special guest speaker of the evening!! Are you ready?!?! The one and only....MARG HELGENBERGER from my very favorite show, CSI!!! She is originally from Nebraska and was asked to come to Omaha and speak about surviving cancer. Her mother, who now lives in Omaha, is a breast cancer survivor! Marg's mom (yes, we are now on a first name basis) was at the dinner, but didn't sit at our table. I made Rod sit next to Marg because I was so nervous that I would say or do something stupid. I couldn't come up with a single "good" question, so I...are you ready for this?...I just sat there and ate my dinner! I DIDN'T SAY ONE WORD THE WHOLE EVENING! Well, that's not entirely true. My dear, sweet, beloved husband asked if I could have my picture taken with her. As I was standing there, panicking about what I could/should say, I blurted out the only thing I could think of...."Wow! I can't believe I'm standing here next to you! I love your show! I'm so excited, I hope I don't pass out!"

Yes, me, the "Word Wizard" said those lovely, lovely words! Marg kindly responded, "Well, I'm glad that you are such a fan!" Oh LORD!! WHY ME!! After the photo op, I sat back down in my seat, still in awe of my luck, not realizing my lovely word choice. I dreamily smooth out my skirt and discover a BIG BLOB OF DESSERT ON MY SKIRT...SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF MY BELLY!!! ARG!!! God was looking out for me though, the photographer only took head shots. Plus, I'm pretty sure Marg didn't notice my meal on my stomach, since she was still trying to figure out how "her people" let this crazy woman get so close to her!

My second brush with fame just happened this weekend. Rod and I attended "The Cattlemen's Ball" in Kearney, Nebraska.

This is the 12th year that this group of people have held these amazing fundraisers where they have raised millions of dollars for the Eppley Cancer Center and cancer research in Omaha.

We drove to Kearney Saturday morning (about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Omaha) and found the ranch where all of the festivities were being held. There were all kinds of things to do, look at cattle, farm equipment, eat, drink, shop and bid on silent auction items. After dinner was when the excitement happened! Our evening entertainment was the one and only RANDY TRAVIS!!

We were so close! Rod thought that we were maybe 50 feet from the stage! He sang for nearly 2 hours.

The real treat happened after the concert! There was a small reception for Randy that Rod and I were invited to attend! He autographed a couple of CD's for us and we got our picture taken with him!

He was very kind. He even asked about my oxygen. I told him about Pulmonary Hypertension, although I was a bit tongue-tied (yes, shocker!) and am not sure I was really making any sense! But, it was still a fantastic experience!

Now, for the "Smash Against the Wall." Our evening went quite late, with Rod and I getting back to the hotel around 11:30 p.m. You realize, I've usually mixed and switched my Flolan and am in bed by 9:30 or 10:00! Rod was kind enough to mix for me. But, by the time I switched and cleaned up, it was almost 12:30 a.m. before I got to sleep. During the evening, I got up to use the restroom. I was not very "with it" and managed to trip over the suitcase! Somehow when I fell, my arm hit the corner of the wall!

Lovely isn't it? That's what being on blood thinners will do for you!!

Now, for the final part of this post...the "Smashing Good Book About a Famous Person!"

I just finished this incredible book called, "Boxes The Secret Life of Howard Hughes."
It is written by Douglas Wellman and tells about the secret life of Howard Hughes when he was married to Eva McLelland and was living under the assumed identity of Verner Nicely. Although, he went by the nickname of "Nik." It is an amazing story that includes photos, documentation and professional research that shows there were two "Howard Hughes" with the "stand-in" passing away in 1976 and the real Howard Hughes living until 2001! Eva promised "Nik" that she would not tell his story while he was alive. In 2002, she contacted Mark Miller to tell the "whole story" before she passed away. It is an amazing story! If you are interested in this book, you can go to Amazon.com, or a much easier way would be to go to the top of this pages and click on the "writelife" icon.

OK, this is the 2nd novel I have written! I've got to shorten these babies, or no one is going to want to read them!

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Thanks for reading.


3 Interactions, 3 Outcomes, 3 Final scores

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday was a very hot and humid day here in Nebraska. Haver, being a bit more chubby than Asa, does not tolerate the heat very well. His cranky levels increase dramatically and his ability to be patient pretty much melts away. Asa, on the other hand, seems to never have a "bad day." In fact, when his brother is hot and tired, Asa seems to think that Haver is an easier mark. You see, Asa's goal in life seems to be to steal everything that is near and dear to Haver's heart. Then, Asa takes his new "catch" up to the landing on the stairs in the entryway of the house. He considers this his "safe
zone" because:

#1. He has the vantage point of being able to see anyone coming or going.
#2. To get to his "safe spot" someone has to walk up a flight of stairs. As mentioned before, Haver is a bit chubby and tends to avoid any unnecessary movement or exertion. So, Asa's "stash" is pretty safe.

I had to run a couple of errands, leaving Haver and Asa outside in the elements for about an hour. (Now, before someone decides they need to call the Humane Society, please understand that Asa and Haver have the complete run of the property which includes lots of shade and a big container or water.) Whenever we leave the dogs while we go run errands (or attempt to have some kind of a social life) Rod or I will give each of the them a large-sized Milk Bone for them to enjoy while we're gone. (It also doubles as an attempt to not feel so guilty when we see their little faces look so sad as we drive away...yes...we are SUCKERS!)

Generally, what happens with these treats is, Asa eats his in record time. Haver acts very nonchalant, like he doesn't want his, until, Asa comes around and tries to steal it! Then Haver goes into WILD DOG/MICHAEL VICK DOG mode! These little "games" drive me insane!! Asa never, ever learns and Haver never ever changes his reaction. So...

Tuesday, June 2, 2010 1:30 pm...

I return home from running errands. Haver waddles out from the cool bushes to tell me hello. Asa notices that Haver has left his Milk Bone unattended. As Haver gets closer to me, Asa goes in for the grab...One little problem...Asa has miscalculated the level of grumpiness in hot and chubby Haver. When Haver sees Asa going for his beloved Milk Bone, Mr. Big Boy pivots on his back feet and goes after Asa! Unfortunately, Asa has not positioned his body well... and he is now literally backed into a corner...a corner of bushes! The "interaction" doesn't last long, but the outcome is obvious...

Haver: 1 Asa: 0



Wednesday, June 2, 2010 9:00 p.m...

It was around 9:00 Wednesday night, which means it's time for nightly chores. Nightly chores include:
1. feeding the fish
2. giving Asa and Haver their Prozac (real big shocker...huh???)
3. feed the horses and check their water tanks.

When Rod asks Asa and Haver if they "want to go feed the horses?" they respond as if they've just won lottery! (Of course, for a dog, I think "winning the lottery" would most likely be lots of dog treats and the opportunity to sniff 100 dog rear ends!) The three of them head over to the barn. Usually Asa and Haver will hear or smell something and have to make a couple of side trips before they actually get over to the barn.

On this night, Haver pretty much stayed by Rod on their walk to the barn. Asa however, took off like a shot as soon as they left the house! While Rod and Haver were checking out the horses, Asa comes into the barn, pleased as punch!! He managed to catch a baby bunny! The bunny was fine, very much alive, and something that Haver thought should be his! He starts barking at Asa. Asa (not the smartest one of the two) drops the bunny so he can bark back at Haver. They continue their "He's mine!" "No, he's mine!" conversation while the bunny quickly and quietly hops out of the barn and into the neighbor's yard. Suddenly, Asa and Haver notice "the great find" is gone! They smash their noses to the ground to follow the scent, only to discover that the bunny outsmarted both of them by hopping into the neighbor's yard, where Asa and Haver can't get access!!

Asa: 0 Haver: 0 Bunny:1


Thursday, June 3, 2010 2:30 p.m....

I just returned home from a busy day! In the morning I went out to a friend's house for our PEO book club where we enjoyed discussing, "The Help."

After that, I met my friend Dean for lunch at "The Cheesecake Factory." It's so very hard to believe that his wife, my friend, Cindy, passed away a year ago...

Anyway, when I got home, I was pooped! That's one of the things about Pulmonary Hypertension that I don't understand. Socializing, talking and laughing are exhausting! It's kind of a cruel side effect, getting worn out from having fun. A couple of phriends (friends that also have Pulmonary Hypertension) thought it might be from using up so much oxygen while laughing and talking. Whatever the reason, I usually need to rest after having a good time, especially having fun like I did with my PEO friends and my friend Dean!

When I drove into the driveway, Asa and Haver did their usual Happy Dance!! They run around the car, wagging their tails, picking up whatever they can find...just generally letting us know that whoever is in the car is the most important person in the world! Unfortunately, their excitement doesn't slow down once I get out of the car. Then, when we get into the house, they pick up the pace! They each find something to carry, usually a shoe, or a blanket, then they carry it around and around the house like they are in a parade! It's really pretty cute...unless you're really, really tired! There is no calming them down until they finish their "parade" which may last for 3-5 minutes!

Usually, after the "parade" is over, they'll go find a quiet spot to lay down and take a nap. But, not this day! This day Asa spies a bone that he wants! Unfortunately, Haver also sees it! Asa, being lighter on his feet grabs the bone first. While he's trying to sneak it up to his "perch" Haver realizes what's going on. So, Haver goes all CRAZY DOG and, I, being a really tired and crabby old woman, slides into first grade teacher mode! I clap my hands and tell them to "Knock it off!" I grab the bone out of Asa's mouth, open up the front door and throw the bone out into the yard! They look at me, look out the door and they both turn around and go lay down to take a nap! Hah! I still have it!!

Asa: 0 Haver:0 Annette: 1

Life is never dull with the Markins!

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Sorry, I lied...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I didn't mean to lie...I really WAS going to write a very interesting blog today...but..I had a headache most of the day. But, it did finally go away and I was able to go to a PARTY tonight and I just got home...
so...sorry I lied...I'll write something exciting tomorrow...or at least download a picture or two...

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I hope you all had a great holiday weekend! Rod and I did our 10 hour Memorial Day marathon tour of a variety of cemeteries in the state of Nebraska yesterday. Today, I'm pooped! I keep falling asleep sitting up. I will be back tomorrow.

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