Wednesday, December 21, 2011

KMac AKA McKenna's area!

What’s it like to be ten?  Well, it’s been an interesting time!  This year McKenna has been continuing with the Distance Learning School….like homeschooling with a real teacher to answer to.  However, she is seriously considering transferring to the local school just up the street for the next semester.  She thinks it’s time to be around some other kids.  We shall see how this goes since her anxiety sometimes gets in the way of her wants…..but we’re excited to try it out!
Kenna is completing her first novel with a yearly competition to promote creative writing.  She challenged herself to write over the 5,000 word goal that most fifth grader’s strive for….and it closing in on 10k as I write this.  It’s due in a few days.  The tiny excerpts we’ve been allowed to read have us yearning for more!
McKenna still enjoys blogging and photography and is beginning to like make up and has had blue and pink hair this year so far.  She’s very much her own individual and is very politically involved!  She has decided to become a full time vegetarian and is trying to get us to come along on the journey. ( See picture with black bean burger!)

Shining and twinkling
It’s cold outside but my joy is keeping me warm inside
Tonight I’m an insomniac
 Joy shining bright inside me, I  run down the stairs
My ear to ear smile will never fade
I’ve got a note from you
Tonight my brain might explode
I miss the ghost of believing in you
I smile as I rip open the box
Everyone’s alive with cheer
Tonight my dreams will be colored white
and they’ll taste like peppermint
and when this cheer fades away
I’ll think of the golden dream months  I'll see in a few years
As days turn to weeks I know it’s coming to an end
But I’ll just look forward to   the  next lovely wonder that I’ll see.

Who knew old dogs could learn new tricks!

About a year and a half ago I gave up soda.  Dennis was close behind me and McKenna joined in afterwards.  We started changing our eating to be healthier as each of us was diagnosed pre-diabetic and finally Dennis had to start taking medication for it. 

This year I found out that I have Celiac Disease and cannot have anything containing Gluten.  This means no wheat, barley, Rye and so forth …. I’ve had to learn eating all over again!  It’s been an interesting journey but one which has been good for me.  The good news is that I feel much better after years of having all sorts of symptoms which kept me from leading a regular life. 

We have completely revamped our eating patterns and have embraced things like salads, veggies and fruits.  I’ve learned to live without a lot of bread products and it’s so difficult to explain but
gluten is in so many things that it’s difficult to trust other’s to prepare your food.  Dennis was awesome and made me gluten free stuffing and gravy for Thanksgiving! I even had my own peanut butter brownie!  (Made with rice flour!)

Den and I have both lost a lot of weight with many more pounds to go.  We have burgers (mine with a gluten free bun, Mac’s a veggie burger!) at our favorite restaurant every Monday night and then I try to eat no more red meat for the rest of the week. 

I continue to be the companion and household manager.  We are really looking forward to the coming year and enjoying new adventures!  We have a few doozies in store for the coming year so you’ll have to stay tuned for our journey!  Happy New Year!

Christmas Newsletter Online! A Year of Big Changes...

2011 has turned out to be a pivotal year for our family.  On January 18th, Wes died after a long journey through dialysis and diabetes.  He got a blood infection and due to complications decided to quit dialysis and go to Hospice of the Valley.  He died two weeks after being admitted there.  During this time we were able to be with him and offer support.
We decided to have a Memorial Service in May and held it in Lincoln, NE.  It was a week filled with memories for both Dennis and Barb.  Dennis was able to meet up with a bunch of his high school and college friends and I got a chance to meet many of the people I’d only heard about!
It was nice to be able to be with family from both the Dripps and Standiford sides.  McKenna enjoyed getting to know her cousins better and we all enjoyed the gorgeous spring weather!  We even took in the smell of lilacs for the first time in several years!

Den’s ankle injury from his long-ago parachuting accident caught up with him and he was told he will eventually need to have his ankle joint fused to his foot.  He’s had a special prosthetic boot made for the time being and is
learning to deal with it.

Arizona State University followed through with the privatization of the bookstore and in July, Dennis became an employee of Follett’s.  The transition has been anything but smooth and he was transferred to the West Campus and just recently was moved to the Downtown Campus (which he likes better!)  It’s been an extremely difficult transition but Dennis is fairing better than those whom have worked in the University setting alone and have never tasted “Retail”!

Due to many factors including the second story issue with Den’s ankle and the location of our home we decided to move to a single story home.  We found a beautiful house centrally located to all the things we love!

It was completely remodeled and had a very open floor plan.  We have 2,500 sq. ft and a finished backyard!  (much nicer than the dust lot we formerly occupied!)  This area of Phoenix is grassier and greener than where we were previously.  We were told we had an orange tree, but after observing this week the size and color of the fruit, we’ve determined that it is grapefruit instead!  This made Barb’s day!

We’ve been slowly selling and acquiring furniture that better suits the new home.  It’s been a fun project to keep people from falling into melancholy moods. 

Wes’s passing has been very rough on everyone.  We miss his dry sense of humor and his wry wit.  Barb has been learning to be on her own for the first time in over 50 years.  She’s working hard at learning this new life.  We’ve even got her trying Cuban and other foods which she’s never tried!

The house has a large family/dining room and then a big room all along the back, which is “Barb’s room”.  She’s got her chairs and television out there as well as her desk and a twin day bed.  We also have an additional counter/sink area like a second kitchen as well as a breakfast table. 

She also has a pretty new bed and we found a mid century chair for her bedroom!  It’s a beautiful room of blue and chocolate brown with hints of silver!

Besides the daybed we have a very nice guest bedroom available for anyone who wants to travel this way.  We’ve got some great cooks ready to entertain!