Sunday, September 7, 2008

Whose daughter is this?

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Holy Goats!

Living on the edge of American Fork Canyon does provide its benefits and well also some surprises; the most amazing view of Mt Timpanogos, a beautiful drive over to Sundance, and on the other hand wicked winds in the spring, helicopters flying above as they are looking for stranded hikers, and perhaps news crews reporting of the bear attack. Yesterday we found another added surprise to living at the base of the canyon. As the kids and I were walking home from school yesterday we saw something running in the backyard of one of our neighbors. We stared closely and to our surprise we saw mountain goats. We ran home trying to beat them to our house and what do you know as we headed to the back porch their the were! They stood in a pack of seven panting heavily and looking a tad confused. I think both us and them wondered where they were heading. If the went much farther they would end up running down the mountain side into a neighborhood! As they pondered their decision they took full advantage of a fresh salt water drink. (Ben had just drained the pool pump and let the water accumulate on the other side of our fence). I believe that the goats have been endangered here in Utah so they have tagged them and even collared some to monitor their where abouts. What a shock it will be when they see them down on Healey Blvd!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brooke's Baptism

We had the honor of baptizing Brooke on July 12th! She is now officially a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. It was a beautiful and tender day spent with family and friends with a dinner party at Ben's parents house. Congratulations Brookie! We certainly are proud of you and the kind, amazing 8 year old you are!

Benici's pizza debut!

The kids favorite is good old traditional Pepperoni
Can you believe how hot this wood burning oven can get!

What do you call a good ol' German /Danish boy who loves to make pizza like an Italian? We call him Benici! Once again the obsessions of Ben have paid off! We are on to the next adventure of woodfire oven pizza making, just like New Havens Pepe's and the rest of the best do it! Call to make a reservation, I promise you the yummiest home made pizza ever and a dip in the pool!
Any bets on what promises to be the next OCD adventure?

Back Adventures

As most of you know I have been walking around like a troll since mid-March of this year. The troll walk attracted a lot of attention from onlookers. Bent over at the waist trying to lift my head up to see just in front of me I gimped around, dragging my right leg. Some just tried to stare at my feet and legs as if not to make eye contact with such a crippled person, others had eyes that just bled compassion, others just came right out and said"what is wrong with you?" The highlight of the troll adventure was riding around in motorized scooters throughout Costco, Target and Harmon's Grocery Stores. My shopping adventures have been limited to those 3 places since they are the only ones who offer scooters for the disadvantaged like me! I had a few misadventures like when I ran over Brooke's foot and she declared "mom drives like a maniac!" Or when I knocked over a whole shelf of juice boxes. The best reactions would come when I would stand up out of the scooter to pick the cereal off the shelf some looked at me as if if they had just witnessed a miracle!

I knew the adventures had to come to end some time. Physical therapy failed, decompression was the most miserable experience, 3 epidurals were just temporary band aids. Surgery seemed imminent. Last week I finally relented and dropped off my MRI report to the neurosurgeons office I had so diligently researched. I figured word of mouth from those not paralyzed spoke the best for the surgeon. So the Office of Dr's Reichmann and Gaufain were it. They said it would take a week to contact me about an appointment I heard the next day they were ready to see me. Hmm, I was noticing a trend amongst all the Dr's who had seen my scans. I heard reactions like: "champion herniation" "you only see ones like this once a year" "Wow that is BIG" If you notice in the picture above there should be a clear white nerve canal but right at the bottom is black glob pushing into the canal. That would be the herniation.

Unfortunately my back couldn't wait till my appointment. Late Sunday night I gave birth to the most excruciating herniation recorded by man. ha. Well, I haven't spoke to too many others who have encountered this but my analogy goes something like this" it felt like giving birth to an elephant through my nostril." With the pain shifting to the other leg and foot it became totally numb. I couldn't sit, stand , or crawl without screaming or crying. I think I ripped skin on Ben every time he tried to help me move. I writhed for hours. Finally the tears drained out and at 6:30 a.m. with the help of a percocet I managed to fall asleep leaning on a pile of pillows on top of a chair. During the night I had screamed to the Lord for mercy, promised to be a better everything if he would just offer some relief. I am not so sure he heard those pleas but I know percocet did! In the morning, with the advice of the Dr's to get to the ER immediately Ben and I headed off to our favorite haunt as of late, Utah Valley Hospital. As I left the MRI it was immediately reported to us that the radiologist had never seen a disc herniation bigger then mine. By the time I got back to ER room the neurosurgeon Dr Gaufain was there waiting. Ben swears he was salivating. He broke the news that surgery was needed immediately. Unfortunately I had eaten some oreoes with the pain meds they gave me so that delayed my surgery till the next day. I offered to go home and get ready but I was admitted immediately with the warning that paralysis was too much of a risk.
The next day the surgery went off with out a hitch. The Anesthesiologist even greeted me in recovery saying "that herniation was like pulling meat out of a king crab claw, one piece after another!" I was beginning to get the feeling that I had broken some sort of record here. Within an hour of being back in my room I was busy taking 2 laps around the floor. Pain free but still dragging a totally numb leg an foot. The textbooks predict that nerve damage doesn't heal but Dr Gaufain promises that 50% of his patients see some sort of relief. I am for sure pleading that I am in that 50% this time. I think I have taken 100% of my due this year. It is great to be home gimping around. They released me at 10 a.m. yesterday and it has been a pleasure to limp around in my own home again.
This is the end of the medical adventures for 2008 and we are on to some more exciting times soon enough! I am grateful this back adventure waited till after my parents 50th Anniversary extravaganza, Brooke's baptism and an awesome visit with my two sisters and their families. I guess there is always the bright side of just getting it over with rather then waiting around. Out of the advice I have gotten I wish I had dismissed 99% of it. This is what I have learned: listen to your gut. Everyone has an opinion, don't be bogged down with the guilt of disappointing others expectations or forgoing the promises of miracle treatments. Do what is best for you and what you are prompted to do, there is Truth in your internal compass listen to it!

Oh PS The procedure was a laminectomy discectomy

Friday, June 27, 2008

This boy can dance

Many eons ago I worked doing accounts receivable in Greenwich & Wilton CT for a video game distributor. Soon after I joined them they ventured into the video game magazine business, the first of its kind at the time. I was some how suckered into writing articles, primarily about impending game releases or industry pr and news. Let's just say I was not a natural fit for the video gamer crowd. It was all men and quite frankly they were all a little nerdy. These were guys who played video games all day and waited with baited breath for the release of the next big Mortal Combat or Halo. Because they worked for the magazine they were the Gods of the industry...testing out games and reviewing them with the design teams at Nintendo, Activision etc. I managed to survive and even became friends with the gamers. One of my most favorite co-workers was Matt Harding. He started working at 15 and quickly became one of our best writers and reviews. His career did so well he put off college to keep on working in the field. Matt was quirky, innocent, game obsessed, brilliant and had the best dry sense of humor in the office. He had joie de vivre that clearly became more apparent as he grew older. I have followed him on utube for the past few years. Here is his latest video...I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I am green with envy.

Blackwelder Luck

I am convinced this is a story only a Blackwelder can tell. It contains some of the worst of luck mixed with the triumph of incredible luck.

It begins like this: We decide to celebrate my birthday (37! eek) with a relaxing ride on the chair lift up Sundance Mountain. Our best friends the Kelly's join us on the chair behind us (they are immune to such Blackwelder luck and instead have just plain old good luck).

It is a beautiful day, the mountains are as green and lush as we've ever seen them. The girls are loving the adventure and we are all feeling a tad inspired by all the beauty around us.

As we approach the final ascent there is a pretty steep part that bounces the chair just a tad. As we bounce we hear the familar sound " clinkty-clink" Then SPLAT...hmmm we thought, "Was that really our car keys?" Sure enough there they were a good hundred feet down or so lost in the bushes of Sundance Mountain. The keys had managed to slip out of Ben's pocket and into the bush. Suddenly our plans to enjoy the ride then meet up with the Kelly's at the Foundry Grill at 6:00 for dinner were changing quickly. BUT (and this is where the Blackwelder luck comes in) then we remembered that riding just two or three chairs ahead of us was the engineer that Ben had worked with on our pool and some houses. He had plans to enjoy one last bike ride down the mountain. Man did we have plans to change that! As we approached the top of the mountain we immediately began to scream "ADAM!" Luckily he heard us and stopped to hear our pleas. We told him that Ben had dropped his car keys at pole 16 and they were somewhere near a "horizontal log!" About 5 minutes later as we began our descent down the mountain there was Adam climbing up the through the bushes in search of our keys! Between the Kelly's & Ben's directions they were able to tell him where to look in that vast field of chaos.

And wouldn't you know it he found them! Just like that our luck had changed. So there it is Blackwelder luck...Nothing comes easy but with a little luck everything turns out all right.