Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wait and see... and a little bit of Christmas

Yup, that's what me and my doc decided to do about my flare ~ wait and see. She offered me a steroid shot, but I declined. I have noticed a wee bit of improvement and she thinks in another month the biologic will be in full force and I will feel much better. She did say that if I change my mind to call and I can get the shot. For now, ibuprofen and rest are working.

We had a small, quiet Christmas this year. Moth's (Man of the house) brother usually comes up, but not this year. He has a new home, so we went down to Texas a few days after Christmas.

The house was cozy and quiet and "santa" really spoiled us.

He spoiled Mr. Dumbles too!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and please have a safe and happy new year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas past ~ A photo album of sorts

It is Christmas Eve and I am lounging lazily in bed, wondering if it's possible to navigate painlessly trough this day. Nope, not going to happen, but I'll take some pain meds, and promise my liver I'll be nicer to it tomorrow. 

I was going through my photos and decided to post some shot from the past. My girls have grown so much! We have had wonderful Christmases! 

Christmas a looooooong time ago! I'm holding the dark haired doll and I did not like her at all. My brother still has that teddy bear.
Older daughter when we lived in North Carolina. Sweet, sweet days!
Noodle's first Christmas!
Gingerbread house!
Older daughter was Mary in the Christmas play. She was singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem".

Christmas Eve jammies has always been our tradition!
A rare Christmas with Bryan at home.
Another Christmas play!
Cookies for Santa!
Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

RA Flare

When the inflammation arrives I feel swollen and hot. The flare of Rheumatoid Arthritis is relentless. My joints feel like glass, everything hurts, I wince more often than smile. The pain brings with it a gloom that settles around me like a lazy cat, curls itself around my body and posits its weight on my soul.

My illness (virus) last month meant a delay in injection, and that meant a chance of reactivating the disease. It woke with a vengeance. Because the disease is so fickle, there's a chance the injection I take won't work again. I (repeat I!!!) gave myself my shot last week. I know relief is never immediate, its often snail-like, so I am patiently waiting.

Meanwhile, I weigh carefully my activities. Will Christmas shopping put me in my recliner for the day? Can my hands handle the baking of cookies, making of candy? Each day is more difficult than the last. Today I find that this typing is a chore.  

I see my RA doctor next week. I know that alternatives to "wait and see" are limited. My liver gets unhappy with some of the drugs, my tummy, with others. It's been two years since I had a steroid shot, so maybe that is an option.

I've been contemplating what changes to make in my life to ease my efforts, and increase my quality. I need minimal choices, help from my family, and less stress. I'm grateful I have this wonderful, long holiday break to work on those things. Hopefully I will return to work with a bit less pain and better attitude.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another trip to the doctor, or how RA makes illness even more fun!

Thanks for all the wonderful comments. I really appreciated every single one. 

I'm on a biologic for my rheumatoid arthritis and the purpose of it is to drastically lower my immune system so it does not attack me and my joints. 

Side effects mean I can easily get sick and if I get sick that means I could get complications.

So, Monday I went back to work. I eased on in and rested a lot. All went well. Tuesday I felt even better, except for a slight feeling I might be getting a UTI. Wednesday was fine, and then Thursday the pain, burning, and backache started. The doctor could get me in Friday morning and my test was positive. Antibiotic = one week. 

Today I feel better than I have in a few weeks. Before I got that monster virus, I was feeling tired and run down. I was so achy that I thought my RA symptoms were coming back. 

I'm on a biologic-holiday for a few weeks to rebound. I hope the symptoms don't return. I hope I'm one of those lucky few that experience full remission without medication. I know it's a long shot, but I'll bet on it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Back among the living...

Tuesday I felt tired and I'd been achy. I wrote it off to lack of sleep and low-level worry about the earthquakes and aftershocks.

Tuesday evening I made dinner and about halfway through decided I needed to go to bed. I gathered my water, phone, and grabbed the thermometer. My normal temp is between 96.7 and 97.4. My temp was 99 something, and I thought no wonder I didn't feel well. By 9:00 p.m. I knew I was really sick as my temp creeped to 101. Over night it hit 101.9 and I felt horrible. 

Wednesday morning I called in because my absence hadn't been filled at school, but our awesome admin assistance assured me she'd get it done and I knew she would. When I got up that morning I felt ok, but not well. I gathered all my grading I'd brought home Tuesday and some Christmas cookbooks, thinking I'd get a few things accomplished. It didn't happen. At this point I was sure it was a 24 hour thing and I'd be fine on Thursday.

I spent Wednesday shaking and moaning under two goose down comforters. Tylenol would bring the fever to just under 100 and I'd feel a bit better; enough to get in the shower or grab some food. Then it was back to bed to shake, moan, and fitfully sleep. I also called my RA doctor, because my first concern was infection and should I be seen. They just said don't take my biologic until I'm symptom free.

Over night Wednesday was the worst. Moth was sleeping in the living room so he would not disturb me. I took my temp, 102.8, and crawled out of bed for water and Tylenol. I could barely get down the hall and Moth found me. He got me water and I felt like I was going to throw up. In the bathroom I could not move. I can't explain how I felt. I mean there was nausea, but you know it wasn't like stomach virus, and I did not have a cough, sinus issues, sore throat...nothing. I just felt unbelievably bad. Moth made me get in the shower to bring down my temp. I felt like he was trying to torture me. I really did. I just wanted to curl up in a ball on the floor.

The shower helped because by morning(Thursday) the fever broke for the first time. I started a cycle of fever, breaking, fever, breaking... I switched to Advil and it worked much better. Moth took me to the doctor and she ruled out flu, but was most concerned about the compromised immune system. She looked me over thoroughly and gave me a doctor's note for Friday and Monday (If I was not fever free x 24 hours by then.)

So Friday was more of the same and I could not tell if I was getting better or not. I woke this morning and realized I had slept all night through. That never happens, even when I am well. My temp was 100 and I took Advil. It's early afternoon and my temp has remained normal and I am blogging, working on my grade book, reading, helping Moth with laundry, and I made a pan of mac and cheese. I think I am finally getting better. 

I have to say, I don't remember ever feeling so sick, for so long. Fever for me is very rare and I wasn't prepared for how debilitating it would be for me. Moth was amazing! He took the girls to school, delivered lesson plans, took the girls to the dentist, made meals, catered to my needs, and was generally wonderful. Well, all except for the part about the torture. 

If you've read this far, I commend you. I think I just needed to get this all down in one place. Thank you for "listening".

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Rock and roll...

In the past 36 hours, Oklahoma has been experiencing an earthquake swarm. Very early Saturday morning a 4.7 woke up Moth (man of the house) and older daughter. I had just woken up when suddenly Moth came running into the bedroom all excited about what he had just experienced. I think the earthquake woke me, but I don't remember feeling it.

Last night, at 10:57, the 5.8 hit and that I felt! I was in bed, on the computer when it started. I jumped out of bed and Moth and I got the girls in the hallway and under a door frame. I have learned since that we need to be under a table. Hopefully I won't have to get under anything because I have experienced enough of the ground undulating under my feet!

In the past two years we have had flooding, blizzards, an ice storm, record tornadoes, serious drought, and record high temperatures. I think we are pretty safe from tsunamis, but there is an extinct volcano in New Mexico and a caldera in Colorado. So, what's next?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Teaching isn't for wimps: Blogging from the mountains...

Teaching isn't for wimps: Blogging from the mountains...: For those who don't know, I spend four days in the fall each year studying at Quartz Mountain. I attend the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute and...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lest I forget...


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.


As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.


Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.


Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.


But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.


Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.


Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. (this is my favorite part)


And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.


With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, 

it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Chloe and Zoe want to welcome Tootie to the blogasphere! Visit her here. She's really cute!

Sunday, October 02, 2011


When I look in the mirror and know I have another day...

When I hear the laughter of two daughters who define my grace...

When I hold my husband's hand and feel the deeper vibration of commitment...

When the Oklahoma autumn wind blows my hair, stirs the high grasses on our land, and carries the dragon flies over the garden...

When the fear of turning fifty weighs my heart...

I understand, I feel it deeply, that I am a lucky woman, living in an incredible place, loved by complicated people, blessed by  the ground of all being. 

Thank you...

(Thank you Beth because I know you won't mind if I steal the "when")

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ABCs of me... (I may have done this before)

Ok, lazy blogger that I am, I will fill you in on all the things you've been dying to know about me. ;)

A. Age: for now, I'm still in my forties. ;)
B. Bed size: King, but since we got it I have regretted it simply because it's so far to travel to smack moth when he's snoring!
C. Chore that you hate: Floors
D. Dogs: Chloe and Zoe (Mr. Dumbles is offended there was not an interest in cats on this.
E. Essential start to your day: Coffee, and during the week a Route 44 Sonic Diet Coke.

F. Favorite color: Blue
G. Gold or Silver: Silver
H. Height: 5' 5"

I. Instruments you play: none
J. Job title: Teacher
K. Kids: 1 son. 2 daughters.
L. Live: Oklahoma
M. Make of car: Chevy Equinox
N. Nicknames: Mom, Joanie
O. Overnight hospital stays: Three babies, that's all.
P. Pet peeves: Grammar errors in published materials.

Q. Quote from a movie:Damn, I hate being a foregone conclusion.
Catherine Banning, The Thomas Crown Affair
R. Right or left handed: Left.
S. Siblings: 2 sisters, 2 brothers.
U. Underwear: cotton, always cotton

V. Vegetable you hate: brussel sprouts
W. What makes you run late: daughters
X. X-Rays you’ve had: too many, RA ya know
Y. Yummy food that you make: Spaghetti and meat sauce, enchiladas, pot roast (though I am the only one who eats it!), coq au vin, green pork chile, broccoli cheese and rice, au gratin potatoes.
Z. Zoo animal: Elephants, my favorite, always.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet 16

Another birthday for older daughter... I feel her slipping away. But it is good, and bittersweet at the same time. 

At 16, she is her own person.

She is an Artist and an writer. I never doubted those were the paths she would pursue. As a small, small girl, she went through reams of paper on her easel.  She filled them with drawings and amazing visual stories. At five she taught herself to write. I can't begin to explain how she did it, but she did. 

At 16 she is beginning to think about her adult life. She might want to teach. She says she will adopt from Asia to create her family. 

At 16 she is so very normal and incredibly unique. I am so proud to be her mom. 

Happy birthday my daughter!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Like candy...

Tenth grade is so exciting. Older daughter comes to my classroom after school and doesn't stop talking. There is so much tell. There is animation in art class, explosions in chemistry, a financial literacy teacher who has found his teacher's pet. Algebra II is soooo cool, and honors Spanish, and English II, and getting to ride to the junior high with a friend and stopping for frozen lattes. 

Today she bubbled and blabbered and rarely took a breath. I had to ask her to stop talking when we got to the eye doctor so I could talk to his assistant. I asked her if she had had caffeine and she said no. She said, "This is what I do. I tell you everything after school and I like it. Talking to you feels good in my mouth, like candy." Brilliant...

Talking to you feels good in my mouth... 

What you may not know is this girl did not begin talking until she was three. We were scared there was something seriously wrong with her. We had a specialist. We had a therapist. And finally she spoke.

Talking to you feels good in my mouth... 

Don't stop baby girl.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Closing in on normal...

Rheumatoid Arthritis update...

I've been on the Cimzia/Celebrex cocktail for about six months now and it is still working. But, (there's always one isn't there?) I have side effects from the Celebrex that I do not like. My eyes and mouth are dry all the time. The eyes are the worst. I have drops and $90 more a month to deal with it. That $90 is just the copays. 

Yesterday I stopped the Celebrex. I see my doctor on Thursday and I'll let her know then. But I just don't like it. Oh, also it can cause irregular heart rhythm and I have a daily "Thu-thump", you know, like my heart has skipped a beat. 

So, two days and no "thu-thumps", eyes are slightly better, and no pain. That is the big deal - no pain. I have my regular stiffness and minor aches, but no pain. Yesterday I took 200mgs of Advil to replace the Celebrex, but nothing today.  

I'm closing in on normal...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

I confess...

Thanks for the great questions! Deb's question made me think the most, Cheeseboy (as always) made me laugh, and Teachinfourth made me hungry. Here are my answers!

The Castro Family said...
I can't think of a question, but I WAS curious what part of OK you are in...still, if you teach, you may not want to give that!
I'm in Guthrie.
Cheeseboy said...
I would like to know what you like most about me? Kidding.  You caught me! This entire thing was a trap to lure you here so I could fawn over you! Sly boy... ;)  Like everyone else, I simply want to know how you got to be so awesome?
deb aka murphthesurf said...
What would be the first three things on your Bucket List? Did you see my bucket list up top? :)  It isn't in order though. If I had to order them, then the top three would be:
1. Take my older daughter to Italy.
2. Write a letter to each of my children telling them what I want them to know about my life and the lessons I’ve learned.
3. Hold my mother's hand and tell her I love her.
Melinda said...
1.Why did you say my blog was *Over good ground* when its *Life on Peebly*?..tee hee
Because I am a dork and forgot to double check. But it still doesn't come up as *Peebly* on my reader, but as *Mickey and Me* 
2.How did you become such an amazing photographer? I dispute *amazing*, but I will say that I read a lot about how to improve my skills. I also take tons of pics when I am shooting and then narrow my shots down to the best. I love to edit too. 3. Do you like to cook? Yes! 4. How did you meet your husband? MOTH and I met in college. I actually sort of liked his friend, but MOTH captured my heart and the rest was history.
Intense Guysaid...
Can you sing any or all of the songs from the Broadway musical "Oklahoma"? 
 Like every good Okie, I can sing the first few lines of "Oklahoma!", but that is it.
Teachinfourth said...
You're going to die in fifteen minutes. You are given the option to eat three things before you do. What are they?
1. Pizza (from Olde Town Pizza in Portland)
2. Lobster
3. An apple fresh from the tree
That corgi :) said...
now that you have two corgis, would you still do it all over again?


Yes, because when we are gone at school or work, the dogs have each other. Plus, I love watching them interact and play with each other.
China said...
Hello, Joan, is it possible to keep a dog and a cat together, the problem is that I have only a small department. Thanks, greetings from China, have a nice day. 
Absolutely possible. Get them as young as possible and let them grow up together.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ask me anything...

Well, ask anything, but that doesn't mean I'll answer everything. ;)

Melinda, whose blog is "Mickey and Me" posted this and I'm shamelessly stealing.


I've seen it from time to time on other blogs.  Their readers may have questions about the blogger. Do you have any questions for me?

Is there something you've been wanting to ask me? Anything you'd like to know about the dogs, cats, MOTH, daughters?

Well, we're all ears....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I baked...

If you know me well, you know I don't often bake. I'm a good cook, but not a stellar baker. Man of the house's (MOTH) birthday was Sunday and I bought a cake that really wasn't very good. I woke up Monday and felt he deserved better. 

MOTH has always raved about his grandma's Maple Pecan Chiffon cake and I decided that was the cake I would bake. I've never baked a chiffon cake but it really wasn't hard. It turned out pretty decent and tasted, well, just this short of amazing! MOTH loved it. Gave me the thumbs up and that was worth the dishes that filled my sink. 

Want to bake your own? Google "Maple Pecan Chiffon cake" and you will get dozens of recipes and they are all basically the same.

*** I sort of like MOTH as a name for that guy. Might just keep it. ;)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good news and bad news...

The good news is that is is only 77 degrees at 10:00 a.m. I get out to the pool by 10:00 because it's been around 90 degrees by then. 77 feels downright chilly.

The bad news is that forecast. It's been the same forecast for weeks on end. To my family and friends on the west coast... "I wanna come home!!!!"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hiking in Colorado...

We thought we took a wrong turn and stopped to turn around. 

What we found was a trail, and a creek,

Crossing... "Be careful! Don't slip!"
"Ha! Ha! We made it!!!"
Crossing back... "Don't fall!!!
Oops! "Now you have a story to tell, Noodle."

a cave, 

 and some amazing views.


We later found Seven Falls and hiked a little more.


There were chipmunks everywhere! 

They knew those silly humans were suckers for a cute face!