Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Heart Disease and How to Escaping the Widow Maker

I am examining where I am today compared to six months ago when I had a coronary angiogram procedure. One morning in August, while combing my hair, I suddenly became very short of breath with a tightness in my chest, soon after I had a pain in my back and started sweating. I immediately thought it was an angina attack and reached for a couple of aspirin and headed to lay down. The spell passed but I called the clinic and made an appointment to see my family doctor the next day.

About six months prior, I started taking my blood pressure on both arms and noticed a 10 to 20 point difference on the systolic blood pressure. After requesting that my blood pressure be taken on both arms the next time I went to the doctor and it was different, I was told this was not uncommon. I thought, there must be a reason though and did some research. According a  Harvard Health Blog  it could be a sign of circulatory problems that may lead to stroke, peripheral artery disease, or other cardiovascular problems. I started to watch for signs of heart trouble. I did have shortness of breath and had for quite a long time, definitely a sign. According to the American Heart Association I had the classic signs.

Because I have acid reflex and a hiatal hernia; my doctor thought that was my problem. After I told him the signs I was experiencing, he decided to do an EKG and did a special blood test that determines if a person could have heart disease. Both tested positive so the next Monday I was giving a stress test, with a THR and TKR running on a treadmill would not be the best so I was given a chemical stress test. . On Wednesday, I received a resting scan. I had been told that I looked like I had had a heart attack by the nurse who conducted the first stress test so I wanted the results as soon as possible.

I called on Thursday and was told it was ischemia, which indicated I had a blockage. I was scheduled to see a cardiac doctor on the following Monday at 9 am. That was quick! I received an echocardiogram and was scheduled for a Wednesday angiogram. One of the things I was told was that I did not have a heart attack and there was no damage to my heart. I do have a Left Bundle Branch Block.

During the angiogram, I had a 90% blockage in the left descending artery and the branch off the left descending artery was 99.1% closed. While the procedure was being done, they both occluded, at which time I had much pain. My doctor was able to open them both, he installed a stent in one and did angioplasty on the other one. When he came back to check on me afterward, he told me I was a miracle and had to be very careful. I have wondered what he meant by careful as he didn’t expand on that.

Now at six months out, I am extremely happy to say things look very good. The first thing I did was to go on the Esselstyne and Ornish vegan diets. I say both, as I do eat whites. Both of these diets are suppose to reduce and prevent heart disease. When I first went to the doctor a Lipid test  was taken to determine in cholesterol count. Although it looked like I wasn’t too bad, my total count was 199, my HDL 45, my LDL 134, and my Triglycerides was 139. After being on the diet for a two and half months, my cholesterol was at 111, HDL was 40, LDL was 42, and Triglycerides was 85. My doctor was concerned that it was too low but this is not uncommon when you are on this diet. I will see what my new cardiologist says this coming Thursday in Grand Forks; my former cardiologist retired the end of 2013.


Periodically I will post how I am doing with the heart disease, on the diet, and what the Lipid test results continue to be are. I will also post vegan and vegetarian recipes I have put together and from other web sites.
Right now, I am going out to take a walk and check what effect the 18" of snow has on our farm.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reading for pleasure and learning

When I was six or seven my mother purchased a set of Childcraft books for me. These books offered me a picture of people places, and things, as that was what they were about. My set sits on the shelf in our basement, minus volume one, which I had lent to someone to show their husband when she wanted to buy a set for her children. At the time I was selling, World Book and Childcraft. My favorites memories of reading during my childhood are of the Christmas stories, the A A Milne poem, Christopher Robin is saying his prayers, The Raggedy Man and oh so many more.

As an adult my tastes cover every genre from historical fiction to novels, improvement books to recipe books. Today, it is seldom that I hold a book though, it is my iPad that carries me away with a story or something new.

Favorite books include classics like Gone with the Wind, fiction from authors like Joanne Fluke who includes recipes in her stories, Christen Hannah who often brings family problems and situations into her books that bring sadness and tears, and happiness and joy, and then there is Stephanie Plume, Jeffrey Archer, and the list goes on!

What is your favorite book and what are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite genre? A book is a magical place to carry you into a place you have never been or to experience something you have never experienced.

In closing, think of the best thing that happened to you today, meditate about it, and put it in your memory bank. Have a great day!
Charleen

Friday, September 27, 2013

Freezing Tomatoes

Spent a little time preparing tomatoes for the freezer this morning. Who doesn't like garden tomatoes on a salad in the winter, in chili or spaghetti? Freezing is so convenient, quick and easy.
Each day this summer I spent time in the garden pruning, weeding and watering. My Uncle Bryce gave me a wonderful suggestion two years ago when I was visiting him in Grand Rapids. I had a real problem with blossom end rot until he gave me his secret. We all like secret tricks, right? Well this works! When you mow your grass next spring, save your clippings and when they are dry, use them as a mulch under and all around the tomato plants. It preserves the water, whether you water or it rains, keeps the weeds down and prevents blossom end rot beautifully. The tomatoes this year were the largest we have ever had, meaty and delicious, also abundant.

I do not like to can! When we had the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street exhibit, Key Ingredients at the museum in Roseau, we used my canning supplies in a canning exhibit. Well they are still there; I am not sure if they are a loan or a donation. I would rather freeze anyway!
Every day this week, I have prepared tomatoes, placed them in ziplock bags, then in a bigger freezer bag and froze them.

Often I bring in tomatoes that are not quite ripe, wash and dry them then place them on newspapers and cover them with more newspapers. They ripen in about two to three days and each day there are a few to freeze.









So get out a serrated knife and a paring knife, your cutting mat, a four-cup Pyrex measuring cup, a scoop, and the plastic Ziploc bags, sandwich size and gallon size freezer bags..

Step 1: remove the stems and any area you don't want in your tomatoes.



Step 2: Slice the tomatoes, then dice them.









Step 3: Cut up the tomatoes until you fill the measuring cup. Fill your plastic bags with two (2) cups of tomatoes.






Step 4: Place in a Ziploc freezer bag and they are ready to freeze. If you would like to add salt and other seasoning you may, I prefer to do that when I cook. When ready to use, just remove from freezer, let thaw or place in a bowl and thaw in microwave. Excellent to use in place of canned tomatoes. Wonderful in soup, spaghetti, hot dishes, salsa, or pizza sauce.

Here's hoping you have an abundant harvest and remember to thank our Heavenly Father for that harvest! Have a great day!

Think of the best thing that happened to you today, meditate about it, and put it in your memory bank. Have a great day!

Charleen

Location :Roseau, MN


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summertime activities

Company gone, quiet has come, busy doing summer activities.

Today, I spent most of the time sitting on the riding lawn mower. Our yard is about six to seven acres so it tends to be an all day job. I mowed the front yard yesterday which helped for today.

With the lack of family here, during my breaks I tend to check things online. Facebook is one of those areas where I like to check out family and friends. This past week, someone in the Lee family purchased a children's pool for grandchildren. Ashley's sister and Helen put some very cut photos of Lance Bjorn and Kilee in the pool.




I don't know if Bjorn understands what he is doing when he is hosing Keile but it looks like a boy thing to do! They, both, loved the way the water squirted out the holes along the edge and were pretty occupied with the slide and everything going on.

Bjorn loves his little cousin as these photos will show. It seems they are inseperable when Bjorn goes to grandma and grandpa Lee's in Taiwan.



They really now how to entertain each other as the following photos show!




They apparently enjoy imitating each other and the simplest things
make them happy!

I was called as a Family History Consultant a while ago and am in the process of figuring out how to expand the Conner family tree on Family Search. I feel very fortunate to have found the Allen County Library census records online. This evening I was in the Rawlins County Kansas 1910 census and found my grandfather on my mother's side. She was a Conner. I am back to the 1700s after about three days of searching for about 4 hours a day. I need to figure out how to merge the families though. There is lots to learn and I have the tools right here at my finger tips. Amazing!

I went to Winnipeg a couple of months ago for a day in the city. Spent time at a movie and then headed for Bulk Barn to pick up nuts, spices, and lots of other goodies. One of the items I purchased this time was a powdered chicken soup stock. Yesterday I made a 2-quart pot of chicken soup. I was going to put rice in it but changed my mind and used potatoes instead. Such an easy recipe to make and the stock was so yummy!

Chicken Soup
Place the following six ingredients into a stock pot or large kettle.
3 stalks of celery chopped fine
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp dehydrated garlic from Bulk Barn
1 chicken breast and bones from the last chicken. I often will freeze the bones 
and any left over chicken from a meal. 
add two heaping tablespoons of Bulk Barn chicken soup stock and 2 tsp fennel seeds
Bring to this to a boil, turn way down to a simmer and let simmer for about 40 minutes, 50 minutes if you use raw chicken. 
Remove the chicken and bones, take all the meat off of the bones and cut the chicken into 1/2 inches pieces and dump back into the pot.

While it was cooking you had cut 5 regular carrots into small chunks then dump them into the chicken soup. Peel and cut two large potatoes into small chunks and throw these into the pot. Let this all cook until the potatoes are done. 
Serve in your favorite bowl to you hubby and you are bound to make points. We had only about 3 cups left for today after he was done sampling it throughout the day. 
You can add dumpling if you like or rice or noodles. Make it your own and enjoy!
Yum!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Minnesota Rainy Day

With only a little over half of our crop in due to three inches of rain two weeks ago, we are set back again, it is raining. These fuzzy photos offer a glimpse of our yard through the rainy patio doors.



Something tells me we sill have a very hard time getting the rest of the seeding completed. When James, Ashley, and Bjorn arrived we were able to get about a quarter of our fields seeded. Brian arrived last Thursday, James and family left on Friday. Brian and Ardmore were able to get another quarter of what we planned to seed, the wheat, completed, but no soybeans! Such is spring time in Minnesota, sometimes dry, often wet. Ardmore said this was the year that would separate the men from the boys. I think, that would depend on how much rain each area received.

Having them all home was wonderful and we had a marvelous time with our family home. Bjorn is now old enough to be able to converse with, even though he doesn't talk yet. His energy was boundless and even though he was cutting his molars, two came in while they were here, he was not crabby. They flew into Grand Forks this time.

Bjorn definitely loves strawberries!

Ashley and Bjorn before the car ride to the farm.
I purchased a cute pop gun at a Lewis and Clark museum once and he took to that like a regular deer hunter. His dexterity is isn't so smooth yet so if he removed the tube he was only able to get it back on one out of 5 times, but his shooting skills were great!


 


We happen to love this little man! He was the Entertainer!




James and Ashley were able to enjoy a peaceful time here 
while grandpa and grandma watched Bjorn once in a while.




And a little six-wheeler fun!



Bjorn wanted to drive, of course. The key was a fascination!



We had to take that as he would have lost it or started the six-wheeler!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Late Spring

This will go down as the latest spring we have had in years. We have about 8 inches of snow all over still and the weather report is for snow tomorrow and Monday. In fact, the possibility of 6 to 10 inches! 

James had requested a month off in May. They planned to come home and he would help with the seeding. His request for time off was denied. Probably a good thing, with all the snow we still have, who knows when or if we will get the crop seeded.
These were taken yesterday!




I have been working on a quilt for our granddaughter, Breanne. I am about 3/4 completed with it now. This past week I completed the strips and have sewn them together. Yeah! I started this quilt about three years ago. Sometimes one gets tired of working on something and that was the case with this quilt. In the mean time, I had made a quilt for Bjorn, a couple of table runners and several potholders. It is time to complete this one.


 Reading has been a favorite past-time this winter. With the kindle app and the Overdrive app on my iPad, the selections are wonderful. Right now, I just started reading Firefly Lane for book club.  The site Ereaderiq offer the option of finding a variety of genres and thousands of free Kindle books or purchasing books at a very reasonable price from Amazon. This month's selection is Firefly Lane, it was available on the Kindle for only $2.99. I read it in three days, excellent, worthy of a 4.5. One needs lots of Kleenex when you read it though.

The iPad or Kindle Fire are wonderful for reading. I am awake often in the middle of the night. Being able to dim the screen to read is so beneficial. Sometime,  now that I am retired, it isn't uncommon to read from 2:30 am to 5:30 am. What else is,there to do at that time? If you wake up then too, share what you do. Share what you are reading right now too.

March was my fifth year since my total hip replacement. I am so please with the results.  I could not have enjoyed the many things I enjoy now do without having had the hip replaced. There would definitely not had been a trip to Hong Kong!

We had a church general conference the first weekend of April and I asked some of my church friends to share a favorite thought from one of the speakers. Thank you Judith for shared the following:


"So many great message to choose from this April 2013 weekend. I am selecting the talk from  Dieter F. Uchtdorf about how Jesus shows us the way out of darkness.  There are three steps.  First, start where you are even if you feel unqualified.  Second, turn your heart toward The Lord and plead for support. Third, walk in the Light. He knows you will make mistakes. There are always stumbling blocks. The Light of the Gospel will pave the way. Darkness cannot prevail." 

I was impressed with the President Boyd K. Packer's talk on the family:  "

All are born with the Light of Christ, a guiding influence which permits each person to recognize right from wrong. What we do with that light and how we respond to those promptings to live righteously is part of the test of mortality.
“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.”8
Each of us must stay in condition to respond to inspiration and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The Lord has a way of pouring pure intelligence into our minds to prompt us, to guide us, to teach us, and to warn us. Each son or daughter of God can know the things they need to know instantly. Learn to receive and act on inspiration and revelation."


Well it is time to complete my Gospel Doctrine lesson for tomorrow.

Thought for the day: 
Every day may have a challenge, physical or mental, how you handle that challenge will make you or break you. Strive to let it make you stronger.