My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Baby Peanut Revealed AND Photo Dump

I can now tell you the exciting news that Baby Peanut Espericueta Sauls is a BOY!!

I am over the moon at the thought of another little Cody in the world because he was the cutest, sweetest, most adorable little kid. I'm imagining a little one with Cody's Precious Moments eyes and Marquee's dark hair... I just know he's going to be a doll!

The name is maybe going to be different from what we had originally thought. They're leaning toward Oliver which would make Cody's gay dad (Purple Michael) very proud. Two grandbabies with names that reflect musicals - Cosette and Oliver - makes me think we did something right!

I think - based on the alien looking eye sockets - that he's going to have Cody's big eyes. So he *might* be called Oliver Joel Espericueta Sauls. I think Baby Peanut might also stick. He currently weighs nine ounces, about two pounds less than his cousin Cosette.

We had heavy snowfall for several hours last night and woke to a beautiful blanket of snow! It's breathtaking beautiful outside and now I am ready for Spring.

Little Kitty slipped past me last night as I was coming inside from taking photos - something he has NEVER done - and I spent about ten minutes chasing him around the shed and back porch. The result is a new fresh hell of pain above and beyond anything I have experienced before. In addition to that, I have chest congestion that makes me feel like my lungs are stuffed with cotton. I can't take daytime cold meds because it makes my heart beat too fast (I can't drink coffee any more either) so I either have to just rely on vaporub or sleep the day away.


Photos taken by other folks in our area....

And that's it for now. I think, if you want to enlarge the photos, you can just click on them.Hope you're all safe and warm. Love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mid-Week Randoms and Baby Peanut

Remember back when I predicted this was going to be a Winter of No Snow? It happens here sometimes. I love a good snowstorm as long as it's well planned and none of my loved ones are inconvenienced. Having a Winter of No Snow is a tiny disappointment so I thought that declaring a Winter of No Snow was a way to make it a win/win situation. If we had a Winter of No Snow my prediction skills would be validated. If I was wrong and we had snow, I would get to enjoy a little wintry precip. Yesterday morning we woke up to this amazing snow globe of a day and today we're expecting 4 to 8 inches of snow. Color me content.

That's not to say that the big event is without complications. I had two visits scheduled at the clinic today, one for repeat labs and one for my re-eligibility for services. These were originally scheduled for three weeks ago and I just couldn't that day. I got up this morning, got glammed and put on "wear in public" clothes AND shoes and headed out into the post-yesterday-storm whiteness and pre-today's-storm clear roads. We don't expect our additional precip until afternoon so I thought I was good. Then I stepped on the porch and slid. Not as in... fell down.. just as in my sneakers were sliding across the porch. Pop went and walked up the driveway and said it didn't seem slick, just the porch but my anxiety kicked in and I realized that there would be many opportunities for surfaces to be slicker than snail snot on my adventure. I called and spoke with the head of the clinic and she concurred that it was ok to postpone these two appointments.

Once I thought hard about it I remembered that we were retesting my cholesterol to see if the change in medication had brought it down and... I haven't been able to get the cholesterol meds because there was a problem between the clinic and the pharmacy in getting the prescription filled. Part of the problem is that the clinic is only open two days a week so if I try to refill a prescription with no refills on a day other than the days the clinic is open the pharmacy will determine they are unable to confirm the refill and set aside the request. It's an inconvenience but not tragic. I had extras of my main blood pressure meds so I'm ok.

Tomorrow we're heading to Gainesville so Pop can see an oral surgeon and I'm afraid that appointment will be fraught will peril but we shall see. Tasha has an appointment at the OB tomorrow for an ultrasound and Friday to see the midwife. Not sure if those appointments will be possible but we are supposed to have temperatures above freezing after the snow so I think the roads will clear quickly. I think I would have done better today if I could have had appointments scheduled after the temperatures have risen above freezing for a few hours but you can't do that with fasting bloodwork.

Anyways... baby Cosette is now at 30 weeks gestation! I can't believe how close we are to cuddling that sweet girl! Yesterday Marquee and Cody went to an ultrasound to find the gender of Baby Peanut Espericueta Sauls... It's a........................................

Secret. I am not allowed to share yet because there are family members that Marquee hasn't been able to contact yet and they don't want anyone to find out via internet. I understand. I respect it but keeping secrets has never been one of my best traits. I just about had to stay off Facebook yesterday and may or may not have driven my daughter-in-law crazy texting to see if I could tell YET. Cody called last night and said, "nope. not yet." I'm respecting their wishes because I believe first and foremost that parents have the right to do things the way they feel is best for their child and this is my first opportunity to honor that. I promise that as soon as I can tell, I'll tell.

We were able to gather a few details yesterday regarding the death of my mom's brother. He had been in bad shape for awhile and had not wanted anyone to know. I remember when my granddaddy (his father) was dying of brain cancer and was in the hospital for those last few days. It was decided that the younger grandchildren would not see him in that condition. I can't tell you for sure who made that decision but I'm glad of it. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when granddaddy was being treated for cancer, before he went in the hospital that final time. He would sit on the back porch and I would do cartwheels across the back yard to entertain him (and myself). He would smile and make a loop in the air with his finger to confirm that he had seen what I was doing. I don't remember a lot of what he said but I do remember his presence. Now with grandma... she died when I was thirty so I remember a lot of conversations with her, too many probably! But my memories of granddaddy are the scents of cigarette smoke, soil and sweat - and not in a stinky, gross way, just that combination being uniquely him. Of course we want to be there for family members as they are suffering but end of life dignity trumps all other needs for closure or anything else.

So that's it for now. I'll have more snow photos and hopefully news about Baby Peanut Espericueta Sauls to share later this week. Stay safe and warm! Love and hugs!

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Loss In The Family

Being somewhat less mobile than I once was... and being a devoted amateur genealogist... I feel like sometimes I spend more time with dead relatives than with the living ones. It's not that I don't LIKE the living ones. I just don't get out much. I don't like to talk on the phone. Pain takes me out of the social game in a lot of ways.

Modern media has connected me with family members that I might not have known well or seen often in my younger years and it's been a lot of fun building new bonds within the family. There are still those relatives with whom you just don't have much of a relationship due to geography or... whatever. It's not that you don't want to know these people, at least in my case, it's just that sometimes it doesn't work out that way. My dad is one of three children and my mom is one of seven. The number of aunts, uncles and cousins in my family tree is mind blowing. Maybe the abundance of family makes it feel a bit impossible to know everyone as well as I might like. And in a way, I think that makes me cherish the close bonds even more.

Two of my mom's brothers came up to visit in the past year... and my dad's brother did too. My mom's sister and her family came up for Thanksgiving. Those times are important because we're all getting older (even me!) and I'm not physically able to just jump in the car and take a road trip over the river and through the woods as much as I might like. So these mini-reunions mean the world to me.

Yesterday my mom's brother passed away. The family has asked for privacy so I won't name him here. He was number 3 of the seven children in my mom's family. My mom is number 6. Grandma had four boys in a row and then three girls in a row between the years of 1935 and 1950. This brother has five children, four boys and a girl - just like my family. Other than some family gatherings early in my childhood, I don't have many memories of this particular uncle. At our last family reunion in 2011 he came and his oldest son, came. Neither of them are on social media much. His wife has been rather reclusive for some time and I don't think I've seen her in probably twenty years. It doesn't mean that his life and death don't matter - they do. He's joined my favorite group of relatives, after all... the dead ones! (Please don't take that as anything other than a genealogy joke.) My parents reminded me that it was this uncle's dog that bit me when I was a little girl - the first step in my transition to Cat Lady. I'm sure that's not why we lost touch but I have seen that families grow distant for many random and different reasons.

My uncle's death does make me think about the relatives that seem to remain out of touch. Obviously, the biggest in our life is my brother, who has the same name as this uncle, and how he has completely removed himself from our family over the past few years. I always pray that there will come a day when one of his children get curious and start digging around the roots of their family tree and find me and my blog or my tree on We can never fill in the blanks of the things that we have missed but I want them to know that they are loved and cherished and missed. Our hearts are never so full that we forget the parts left empty by those broken branches of our family tree.

I'm also so very grateful for the family members that I might not have known as well growing up but who are a precious addition to my life now. I feel honored to have walked, even a short part of life's journey with them. I went to work for my dad's brother and have a much better appreciation for who he is... and I know his wife better than I would have just from weddings and funerals and reunions. I have a few cousins with whom I have much in common - parallel medical problems, parallel life challenges. And some who are fascinating in how they are different from me. I am always thrilled to see pictures of the babies and grandbabies of my cousins. I'm happy to see what my uncles and aunts are doing. I respect all of them and appreciate whatever role they play in my life, whether large or small. I love my family.

There won't be a memorial service or funeral but I think over the next few days we'll all reflect about family. I'll pray for God's comfort for my cousins. I'll thank God for the family members who are actively in my life. I'll also thank Him for the ones who have gone a different way and pray that He lights their path.

Sorry for rambling. Grief is an odd thing and it takes many different forms. Please keep our family in your prayers. Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

More Ice and Testing, Two, Three, Four....

Let me just go ahead and get this out of my system even though I know we're all really tired of hearing about the weather but... my word IT IS SO COLD outside today! I think our high for the day was supposed to be 23. We woke up to another thin layer of snow covering everything and when we left the house this morning it was something like 8 degrees. Too dang cold.

So you know how I have been talking about this crazy gut pain for a year and a half? Trust me, as a person who lives with pain every day from my whacked out spine, for the gut pain to be worthy of mentioning just about every time I blog, you know that has to be some intense pain. Since I'm in this purgatory of not being able to work and not being approved yet for disability I've been without health insurance for almost three years now. That means that not only the crazy gut pain has gone undiagnosed (is that a word?) but also we have not been able to do the necessary follow ups on my back pain. My pain doctor would have preferred to do more diagnostic testing on my back and hip pain but I couldn't afford anything more than just basic maintenance appointments. It is so very unsettling to have pain, significant, continuous pain and not be able to find out what's causing the pain. It's stressful. It keeps you from feeling connected with the rest of the world because of being so distracted from pain. It has been a time of so much insecurity for me.

And then... finally the doctor at the clinic said that there was a way for me to get an ultrasound through a charity program at the local hospital. Alright. So I thought I'd get the ultrasound and at least be able to rule out some possibilities, even if I couldn't get an outright diagnosis. Then I found out that the charity program would cover the full amount of the ultrasound AND any care I receive through that hospital from now until the end of August and then, if I'm still in limbo about health insurance, I can reapply to continue on the charity program. There's a lot I don't know about the program but I am so very thankful to have the opportunity to have health care without worrying about owing for the rest of my life.

AND THEN.... yesterday I went to the pain doctor and let him know that I had been approved for the charity care and that the clinic had scheduled me for an ultrasound to hopefully diagnose the crazy gut pain. My pain doctor said, "um... why drag this out longer than it's already been?" So he sent over orders for me to have an MRI and x-rays to get not only a better idea of what's causing the crazy gut pain but also see what changes there are, if any, in my spine since the last time - four years ago  - I had been able to have scans done. I haven't confirmed this but my pain doctor thinks that the charity coverage extends to the doctors that are affiliated with the hospital which means that I could actually see doctors who specialize in whatever my problem is, not just depend on the free clinic. My pain doctor isn't affiliated with the hospital- they are sort of a different animal as most pain clinics are - but they do know a lot about what goes on at the hospital.

Side note: I wish someone had told me about this program sooner but I have to believe that the timing is exactly perfect.

So anyways... the sweet girls at the pain clinic got on the phone yesterday and made arrangements for me to have all this diagnostic testing done at the same time to prevent me from having to make the trip to Gainesville (about 45 minutes away) more than once, especially since I am having so much trouble with dizziness and try not to drive long distances alone. All of that was scheduled for today. When it's the coldest day we've seen here in decades. Cold. Cold day. And as anyone knows on cold days you dress in layers. Did you also know that the Imaging Center keeps things nice and toasty warm in their exam rooms since people are normally wearing less clothing than normal during medical testing? Except for when there are tests that you don't have to have clothes off to do and in that case I was wearing a thick sweatshirt and warm fuzzy pants. In all three tests at least some part of me was warmer than comfortable. Then we left the Imaging Center and I was so sweaty that I didn't put my jacket on and whoooosh... out in the frigid weather ... freezing! Then the car was warm and the sun was bright so I was again feeling uncomfortable.

I've been absolutely exhausted and drained ever since I got home from the tests but I have to state once more how grateful I am to have access to the kind of care I have needed for a long time. I didn't get any information today and that's super frustrating. The ultrasound results go to the clinic which is only open two days a week so I'm not confident I'll hear anything soon. The xray and MRI results go to the pain clinic but since they're not affiliated with the hospital they tell me that they don't get results in a "timely manner" so who knows when I'll hear anything. I requested to have results sent directly to me and apparently that's just not done. Ever. Since I am so grateful to have charity care I didn't want to be a demanding medical consumer but yeah, would like to know what they saw.

When they were doing my x-rays I told them that I have an extra vertebrae in my lumbar spine. The techs told me I saved them a lot of time in positioning and repositioning and having to retake multiple xrays when things were off center. Come to think of it, seems like every time I've had x-rays it's involved a lot of re-doing the same shot. I guess that's the way to speed things along - make sure the techs know about the skeletons in your closet, at least that the skeleton in your closet is abnormal. If any of you have any weird anatomy you might want to let the friendly medical folks know.

Anyways. That's it for today. It was cold and I have been nuked until I glow. We are expecting more wintry precipitation tomorrow and then it will be climbing back up to more moderate temperatures. It will probably be 80 degrees here within the next month and we'll be laughing about the very unscary benign reason for my gut pain just have to wait it all out.

Hope you're warm and cozy! Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lots of Ice

Happy Fat Tuesday, y'all! Finally a holiday that means something to me after suffering through all the mush and romance last week! To celebrate I had homemade waffles for breakfast and dinner... mashed potatoes and meatloaf for lunch. I have what's left of a bag of butterfingers and my luigi's mango italian ice for this evening. Yes, I still eat italian ice every night even though there's ice all around us. And the butterfingers... I can explain... our satellite kept flickering on and off during The Bachelor last night and I was burying my frustration in a bag of butterfingers. I mean, some people drink.

I have felt horrible today... dizzy, nauseous, sleepy and just generally icky. I took a long nap this afternoon and could still go back to sleep right now even though it's only 6pm. I have to drive into civilization tomorrow to see the pain doctor and I hope I have a break from the dizziness. Schools are going to be closed here again tomorrow because there is still a good bit of ice out there. Most of our backyard is cleared because we get direct sunlight but a lot of places still have a thick layer of ice/snow. Thursday I have to drive back down to civilization again for my ultrasound and it's supposed to be the coldest day of the year. Just. my. luck.

I've been sleeping in the recliner for the past few months because laying down is really uncomfortable both on my spine and on the crazy gut pain. I gave the old horizontal thing a try this afternoon thinking that would cure the dizziness. Little OCD Kitty sat right beside me and every time my eyes would close he would gently tap me on the face. He can't stand for anything to be out of place. He wouldn't tap me until both eyes closed.... if one eye was open he would get his paw in position to tap but wouldn't actually tap until both eyes closed.

Anyways. I mainly just wanted to show you the pictures I took of the ice. I had a lot of pain this morning and then the dizziness, etc kicked in so I would notice the light changing and think, "I really want to capture a photo of this" and would take about three pictures before I had to lay back down. It truly was beautiful. Hope you enjoy them!

Hope wherever you are it's safe and warm! Love and hugs, y'all!

First light

mostly crunchy ice, very little snow

Not climbing those stairs!







Sunday, February 15, 2015

Random Weekend / Week Beginning Stuff

Eddie, Lily, Oscar and Lady
My Little Kitty has a bad habit of sticking his paw in my mug of tea. Whatever diseases you can pick up via cat paws, I probably have. I try to stop him but he's pretty sneaky, especially if he thinks it's mealtime and I haven't fed him.

Lily the old dog has gone out to pasture. My dad and Austin took her to the vet on Friday and had her put down. She had been sick for so long that she had lost over half her body weight and was just skin and bones. It was time but still so sad not to see her sweet, trusting face. Or have to have the gate up to keep her from wandering downstairs looking for water... or to step in wet spots she left behind.

Eddie the cat misses Lily the most. She was his best friend. Last night he climbed up in my lap like he needed comfort. I gave it to him for a few minutes but then my leg went numb. That is one FAT cat!

Lily and Eddie last week
Little Kitty came to live with us on July 5, 2011. My friend Tami that I have known since middle school was living part time in Riverdale (where Little Kitty was) and Cleveland (where I was) and she agreed to bring him to us. He was only with us a few hours before the house was struck by lightning and caught fire. Ironically on Friday night Tami's house caught fire and sustained significant damage. They have good friends and good insurance and I know that in the end it will all be ok. I also know that the time span between catastrophe and recovery is way longer than anyone wants it to be. Keep her and her husband in your prayers.

On Thursday I went with Tasha to her appointment with the regular OB. The ultrasound showed that Cosette is only a couple of days behind - down from a few weeks last month. In a month she caught back up and gained up to 2 and a half pounds. On Friday we went to the special OB just to make sure that scan was accurate and they confirmed - Cosette is no longer considered small for gestational age. She went from being breech to being head down and Tasha has done a great job of keeping her blood pressure down and her weight where it should be. Tasha is still considered high risk due to some of her health factors and will be having twice weekly ultrasounds from 30 weeks on. Fortunately the ultrasounds can be done at the regular OB instead of having to drive an hour to the specialist. My dad was a good sport and drove us on Friday because my pain was pretty intense and I was afraid to assume the responsibility of getting us all there and back safely.

Eddie and Lily
I'm scheduled for an ultrasound tomorrow to try to determine what's causing the Crazy Gut Pain but we're expecting wintry precipitation here - snow, sleet, freezing rain of undetermined proportions. Because the Imaging Center is about 45 minutes South of us, I'm not really comfortable making the trip. I wouldn't be able to determine if the weather is getting bad at home and... well, you know, we live on a steep slope and all that. I don't ever believe the weather forecasts from the local Atlanta news stations because they have a tendency to lean toward dramatization to increase ratings. I go to and Although I suppose it's not a great idea to trust the government either these days. At any rate I've been steadily monitoring the weather reports since yesterday and they have ranged from "the sky is falling" to "cold rain". I may postpone that appointment for no reason at all and that aggravates me because I would have loved to have those results before I go to the pain doctor on Wednesday but... I'm not going to risk it. I'm just not up for the excitement. I just wish it would stop - the pain. I mean, yeah, the weather too because I'm not up for the drama but... whatever will be will be.

Eddie, Stubby and Little Kitty 
I spent yesterday transcribing an interview that my brother had done for his doctorate work. I've never done that kind of thing before but I do type fast so it should have been quick work. It took me about six hours to transcribe half an hour of talking. I don't think it was supposed to take that long. I think about doing things like that for a living but the truth is that I really don't see how I would make much money that way. It was my brother's voice - that I've heard all my life - and a guy from Texas who did have a bit of a twang but it wasn't radically different from most people around here. And of course I realized how woefully inadequate my punctuation and capitalization skills are (as most of you are well aware!).

What else can I tell you about life around here lately? It seems like time flies by so quickly! I spent today watching a mini-marathon of Mad Men and Book TV while cross-stitching and then dress shopping online. We have to find dresses for me and mom for the wedding and wedding activities. I probably have suitable clothes but we're shopping anyways, blessed with a little gift from a family member who didn't want us to look like kuntry done come to town up there with the classy folks. It's fun window shopping. Tonight I'm watching The Bachelor not because it's worth watching but out of that whole "train wreck" curiosity.

Yesterday I managed to avoid all "Singles Awareness Day" references. I just so very much don't even care about romance and all of that. I figure I've had more adventures than most people have in three lifetimes so I can't complain. Being single means watching The Bachelor without apology, going an extra day without washing my hair, not shaving my legs and going to sleep at 7:30 at night if I want. I mean, I'm sure Happily Ever After is wonderful for those it happens for but it hasn't happened to me and I don't see any reason it would at this point since I'm not even trying.

And thus ends my random rambling for now. Stay safe, warm and content as much as you can. Love and hugs.