Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Nothing I like better than a PUZZLE to solve, especially one that involves mental exercise, sort of like my experiences with Odyssey of the Mind, of which I have written earlier [See STOP THIS BUS NOW!, A SCENIC NOCTURNAL DRIVE ON HIGHWAY 7, and THE GREAT BISCUIT AIR FRESHENER.]

As those who surf by my blog know, I am a 'now and then dieter', largely unsuccessful. However, two years ago I lost 30 pounds and only gained 5 pounds back which has nearly all been lost again. The weight loss diet I followed was Weight Watchers.

Today my favorite diet program, Weight Watchers (WW), has introduced a thoroughly renovated diet program-- I mean top to bottom, even though they have retained their infamous Point program, renamed PointsPlus (P+). 

The Points+  are now defined by fat, protein, fiber and carbohydrates, no calories. All fruits and vegetables, minus starches (mainly potatoes), have zero P+.

This is a very limited description because there is far more to any diet than the food, like exercise and habit changing.

I became a life WW member in late '70s. Each time I circle through the program, I usually wipe out one bad habit. My first small step in the '70s was switched permanently to sugar free beverages. I shuddered when told an average size regular carbonated drink had 1 full cup of sugar in it!

My next circle through the program I eliminated carbonated beverages altogether, partially because by then I had kidney cancer surgery. In this time I also restricted salt at the table, but was allowed to used it in cooking; these were my physcian's instructions. I also learned to eat less starches unless they were a part of a  high fiber product.

My next circle through did not last very long as I had to drive at night.  I now subscribe to WW on-line as I would otherwise have to still drive 30 miles round trip to a meeting. I prefer meetings because of the lecture and group therapy.

As you may guess from the above paragraphs I have NOT conquered sweets. Sometimes I have fair to good control, sometimes absolutely no control. Maybe this time. As of this moment (who knows what tomorrow will bring) I am not diabetic, or even close.

 But I am really concentrating on more salt elimination, trying to keep it in the neighborhood of 1200 mg, very low.

If there is anything outside of swallowing pills and surgery, that will help my atrial fibrillation, it is losing weight. The exercise is a problem because my Silver Sneakers class was canceled and the other class is an inconvenient time.

I say all this to say I will need time to convert my personal choice foods and recipes (a very long list due to my long-time partipation} to the new system so may not be writing any humorous stories for a bit.

But I will read and comment. Maybe a shorter post--who knows?

Sunday Luckie stole and ate another loaf of bread off the table which we forgot to put on a high shelf. Not only did I have to watch her for 'bloat.' I withdrew water, and food for 24 hours.

 She had numerous trips outside all night, I hope eliminating, both regurgitating and defecating. Believe me, I did not go out to check. I simply kept feeling her belly to see if it seemed hard. She did not eat the plastic wrapper and quite generously left us 4 slices!

I think Santa may pass her by this year.

Tonight I have to wear a new gizmo (I love gizmos) that is like a pulse oximeter used in exercise and by physicians in conjunction with blood pressure and oxygen. However, this gizmo is connected to a recording device to see what my heart and breathing are doing while I sleep. It surely will beat a sleep study! Most of my A-Fib attacks have occurred between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m.

I had a sleep study once--slept 4 hours--which resulted in messy goo in my hair from a multitude of electrode leads and too few incidences; therefore the proverbial non-diagnostic result.

Believe it or not, our so-called Christmas routine we adopted last year is nearly completed. The rest will be a breeze. And Christmas dinner may be the same as last year which was  "to-go" containers from  local VFW.

Part of the Christmas spending we provide through our Life Group is a complete Christmas dinner packaged by area local grocery chain named Harps Food Market. It is precooked and frozen with full directions for heating and serving. We always buy one more box than we think is needed, because a need usually comes up at the last minute.

If one box is left, I'll attempt not to burn it [see previous post-Burnt to a Crisp-Think Black] and share with friends and neighbors. It supposedly serves 6-10.

Our Life Group adopted three families with children (one happened to be a member of our group and wrote a letter to Christmas Wish sponsored by the Baxter Bulletin). This family wanted a bicycle which was outside the funds we had. Since we adopted the family we hoped to provide everything requested.

Sometimes it pays to know the right person. We knew a local man who renovated bikes all year and gave them to Christmas Wish. My husband (H) paid him a visit and he sold us a bike awaiting his attention for the humble sum of $10. H replaced a tire, seat and brake; I think he had more fun with that bike than he has had in a long time.

Despite the 6% increase in crowds on Black Friday, I was not among the throngs. Many moons ago Best Friend and I was in 4 a.m. lines at WalMart. I cannot speak for BF, but years later I realized at least half, if not all, of what I bought was selfishly for ourselves, not even gifts.

 If you can find a little book entitled The First Church's Christmas Barrel by Caroline Abbot Stanley (1912), you will be blessed with the spirit of Christmas and a little sardonic humor toward the end. It may be in some libraries. I found it listed at Alibris (about $8) in used condition.

I found this 71-page jewel among my Mother's books; it was given to her by one of the aunts who raised her. The theme is age-old, both morally and scripturally. It took me a long time to completely adopt  the theme, but I have, although I slip now and then.

I have 3 personal Christmas traditions (1) read the passage of Holy Scripture concerning the birth of Jesus; (2) Read the abovementioned book; (3) watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation staring Chevy Chase. I guess this reading is from sublime to ridicuous, but thus is life.

I will take this opportunity to encourage all who pass my way to relax and enjoy this Season, whether it is religious to you, or whether it is simply a joyous occasion to enjoy and express good-will to friends, family and the less fortunate, of which we can find many this year.

And if you feel BAH! HUMBUG!, Take a deep breath, sit back, relax and observe life for awhile; then you may become creative and try something different. You might just catch the SPIRIT!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


More than once in my posts I have enunciated my lack of culinary skills and less desire to become the second Paula Deen than I want to spend my days dusting.

Somehow I missed the domestication of a housewife, despite being the last half of that word - wife.

In short summary of the above two paragraphs - I hate to cook and I hate to dust. I have the dust solved with a housekeeper.

Solving my deficiencies in the culinary department is a tad more difficult- to date I have found no one who wishes to cook two different meals 3x a day: (1) one meal in South Carolina cuisine for an underweight husband, and (2)  another meal in Tex-Mex for an overweight wife.

Therefore I try, but despite my efforts I fail, miserably fail and sometimes disastrously fail. I cannot enumerate the meals that have been burnt to a crisp. Believe it or not I even burnt fudge, and I was fairly adept at candy making in my family. Of course-candy is right up my alley-sweet.

I remember scorching rice, burning canned green beans, boiling eggs dry (that is really stinky), many loaves of toast and I am sure I have forgotten some lesser foods.

Twice I have nearly burnt the house down cooking beans--the kind you hydrate, like pinto beans.

Broderbund ClickArt
Turkey  Smoking?

I put the beans on to cook,  bring to a boil....and I  forget to lower the heat, and leave the house. We came home to a smoke-filled house with all the smoke alarms on. Once the beans were so burnt, they were glowing like embers in the heavy aluminum ware which was melting on the stove, dripping liquid aluminum into the drip pan under the coils.

The smoke was so bad we filed on our insurance to for smoke damage. They had to dry clean all our clothes and pay for a ceiling to floor cleaning of the entire house. My asthma certainly did not appreciate the intrusion of burnt bean smoke in my lungs.

But then all the dust disappeared with the smoke damage cleaning. Believe me there are better ways to get your house cleaned.
The German Shepherd we owned at the time was inside the house but had outside access. She met us at the front door. I certainly hope she did not stay inside because we were gone over three hours. She since has passed on to Rainbow Bridge.

In 2000, the year I met my biological family, my half-brother blessed me with a surprise early Christmas gift of a Ron Popiel Showtime rotisserie oven, featured on late night infomercials for several years.

Internet Photo
Showtime Rotessire Oven
 The infomercial certainly made your mouth water, so I decided to invite about  6 guests and treat them turkey cooked in the miraculous "set it and forget it" oven! After all the "forget it" part seemed to fit into my cooking disasters.

I am thinking this was a Christmas affair, but may have been Thanksgiving.

I bought the suggested size bird and carefully followed preparation instructions including basting, etc. I set the oven, but did not forget it, as basting periodically was required.

 The skin became darker and darker, but the thermometer indicated longer cooking was needed. I kept cooking; it became a totally black unidentifiable bird by the time the meat thermometer indicated it was ready to be served.

I was devastated as I had so carefully followed directions!

The invited guests were bringing the rest of the dinner, which seemed likely to become vegan, since the turkey appeared to be a total disaster.

Broderbund ClickArt
Turkey Buzzard
 As usually was the case, my Best Friend, the cooking editor for our area newspaper, arrived early (probably sensing disaster), and walked in my kitchen to be greeted by this roasted buzzard. She was appalled, even knowing my previous cooking failures.

I told her I had  carefully followed the directions. We decided to discard the skin and see if any part was edible. Once the skin was removed we tentatively tasted the dark and light meat.

To our surprise it was one of the best tasting roasted turkeys we had ever tasted. [Both of us prefer the decidedly less healthy whole fried turkeys, popular these days.]

The dinner was a success, more for the story of the black buzzard (as we named it) than the food.

The moral of the story is you can't believe everything you see on TV. I still wonder how all those infomercials missed having a black turkey...or was it really turkeys they were cooking!!! Only the Shadow Knows!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Best Friend (BF) and I have made many trips in the earlier years of our near 30-year friendship. A number were associated with our Odyssey of the Mind coaching experiences, and others were shopping trips outside our immediate area.

For some reason our husbands did not enjoy these trips, although my husband (H) did enjoy taking us Christmas shopping in Springfield MO. Something funny seemed to always happen, especially when we met friends at Golden Corral one year. We were wearing reindeer antlers with twinkling lights.

(H) was behind us in line when an amused customer asked him if he was with these "dears." He said, "Nope, never saw them before." We replied, he could pay for his own dinner, which he did and ours. We always enticed him to drive with a promise to pay for his dinner at his choice of restaurant. Being cavalier, he always paid, anyway.

Our friends remarked we were very easy to spot.

Our husbands repeatedly admonished us when we left together on some of our agendas, to not call them if we landed in jail.

But this post is about another Odyssey of the Mind trip. As I remember we had traveled east to Springdale or Bentonville area for training as OM judges. This area of Arkansas is home of WalMart and also Tyson Foods, Inc., two giants in the corporate world. Tyson was known at that time primarily for chicken and turkey products. 

Tyson as a part of its business, partners with farmers to raise its products, which at this time were largely chickens and turkeys. Large barns for breeding and growing chicken and turkey "crops" for Tyson dot the countryside, particularly in northern Arkansas, where other agricultural endeavors are less successful.

We spent the night before the training session,  dutifully attended the session, then ate at Red Lobster, taking our leftovers home in the proverbial Styrofoam containers, which always included one or more of their luscious garlic butter flavored biscuits. Our husbands or pets usually consumed the leftovers.

The trip there in the late 80s, early 90s was another winding narrow road out of Harrison with virtually no passing lanes and very few towns or hamlets. I remember one town [Berryville, I believe] where we were routed around its courthouse square on scenic tour.

 It was also getting dark. Somewhere along this dark two lane -no passing highway, the vehicle began to emanate a gaseous odor, not gasoline or exhaust fumes. It was somewhat as if one or both of us had developed intestinal gas from our scrumptious Red Lobster meal, which was escaping our bodies. Having some decorum, we neither one said anything. There were no thunderous farts, etc.

Finally, it was so bad I finally said, " what is that awful odor?

Broderbund ClickArt
Turkey Manure
 BF said, "I don't know but I think it is coming from the truck ahead," which we had been following almost from the start of our journey home.

Being the driver, she pulled up close to the truck as was safe. YUCKO! we were following a truck with an open truck-bed of turkey manure. Since there was nowhere to pass, we continued to be gassed by the foul odor, almost to the point of nausea.

We began to search for relief. Opening the window certainly was not an option. Suddenly, one or both of us had one of those spontaneous creative Odyssey of the Mind moments!

Broderbund ClickArt

Before this truck appeared in our path, we had complained the Red Lobster biscuits were stinking up the car. All of a sudden they became the sweetest air freshener in all the world!

We took one or two  biscuits out of our containers and held them under our noses most of the way into Harrison, which was no short distance.

There was a passing lane outside Harrison where we finally passed the odorous truck.
 Ah! We put away the biscuits and enjoy nearly pure oxygen air the rest of the way home. I have loved the smell of garlic since this experience.

Footnote: Tyson entered the greening of America by creating a division of its company for recycling manure, chicken fat and other byproducts of its industry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Non-Arkansans grab a map of Arkansas and locate AR State Highway 7 or connect to this link. It has been named among the 10 most beautiful drives in the nation and in 1994 was dedicated as Arkansas's first National Scenic Byway. 

Besides it natural scenic beauty there are numerous historic sites and winds through two mountain ranges, the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains. The highway runs 290 miles north and south, virtually state line of AR/MO and AR/LA.

However, to me, the most scenic section is Harrison to Russellville, perhaps Hot Springs, AR. This section is central to this blog. It is noted for every kind of curve, switchback, and winding a road could possible have.

In my younger years in Arkansas I have driven the sections of the route twice, and it is, indeed, filled with vistas of great beauty.  Our Nation's first national river, the Buffalo River, meanders through this region.

When looking for autumn touring, this is the road to take. Be sure you have lots and lots of time. This is the autumn bus tour in Arkansas. It is also a favorite of motorcycle tourism.

About every 10 years, AR 7's beauty is beyond description. These are the years the slowly cooling temperatures, sun and rain cooperate in the right proportions.

However, it is not the drive for anyone wanting to make time to anywhere. Herein lies my tale.

Again, my best friend (BF) and I were coaching an Odyssey of the Mind Team with a district destination somewhere south, like Clarksville (maybe). This trip was later in our coaching careers from the previous post.

Since the basketball team was having a less than spectacular season, a bus and driver were available. The driver always determines the course, and decided Hwy. 7 was the shortest distance between two points, despite admonishing wisdom from several experienced drivers, teachers and coaches.

Obviously, the driver was suffering from some delusion by taking a bus loaded with restless students on such difficult drive. Or perhaps he had some goal he wished to be able to tell in his retirement. (He does now!)

The bus reached to our destination,  despite some of us noticing the bus did not seem to be churning along correctly. There were funny sounds, but then we were not mechanics and attributed it to the bus struggling with the extreme inclines and declines of the mountains.

Most of the students' parents approved the motion sickness medications. The few who did not, were provided "barf bags" similar to airline provisions with strict instructions  for use.

We had one female student who could "barf" on command; it seemed to be some neurological or psychological response. She is now grown and married with children. I shudder to think what morning sickness was like for her.

After competition ended, we allow students to eat wherever they wished. We usually stopped the bus where there were clusters of fast food restaurants. BF and I wisely picked the facility where the least number of students chose. We later learned above-mentioned student had one of her episodes in the land of Golden Arches.

Then we proceeded to return the route whence we came. Gone was the hope the driver realized the error of his decision. In the winter months this is a dark, lonely and sometimes very dangerous,road.

About one-third of the way home in pitch dark of the night, with a chug, wheeze and burp the bus quit, in the middle of nowhere. No amount of driver inspection could find the problem.

There was stunned silence. Then a few adults and driver disembarked the bus and stood waiting for a vehicle to pass. It was not very late but dark with no sight of any homes.

Meanwhile, the restless occupants first cry is? "I gotta go to the bathroom," or less polite indication of the same need. Actually, the murmur arose from both adults and children.

A few flashlights were found among the occupants and the bus. We organized ourselves in two's and three's same sex.

First, a group of adult women, holding hands, like a chain, went down the rather steep mountain out of view of the bus. They found a relative level ledge where we could relieve ourselves without rolling down the mountain, along with all the "whatever relief" which I assumed did continue downhill.

Then each student(s) group had one adult who had already made the journey down and up to the nearly designated outdoor outhouse---really really OUTDOORS. There were more students than adults, so some adults, really got a '"in the dark of the night" cardiac workout.

Obviously, this became something of a game with the kids. Otherwise, they had to sit in their seats and talk or sing. We did not care which as long as they stayed in their seats.

A car stopped which happened to have a student on the bus. The bus driver explained our dilemma. The car went to the nearest place where a phone call could be made to the superintendent to send another bus and call every one's relatives, including the adult's contact, like my husband, that it would be nearly 6 hours or more before we would be home.

Before you wonder why we didn't use cell phones, this is in the late 80s and early 90s. Few persons owned cell phones. Further the towers to connect the phones were few and far between. Where we were located telephones might have been a luxury and population was sparse.

Also, the parents in the car following us stayed with us, until the substitute bus arrived. Also one female coach's son on the bus had a very high fever.  So we had a backup he needed to be evacuated faster.

Finally, some 3-4 or more hours later, a substitute bus finally arrived. I lost count of the "pee" trips up and down the mountainside but I bet there is a dead vegetation spot there should we ever find it again.

We finally arrived at the school around 5 a.m.

At this point BF and I decided we would no longer ride the bus, but use one of our personal vehicles. We were coaches, no chaperones. We coaches had our own "problem solving" experiences, not dictated by Odyssey of the Mind.

We figured we could handle our own barfing (I took Meclizine) and peeing. We knew how to find restrooms, not open air, that handled one or two persons at a time.

As for nocturnal scenic drives, forget it; as I remember it was the dark of the moon....and cold. I could not find the spot today if my life depended on it.

NOTE: Best friend said the previous post was to state finals, not Russellville. I have corrected the previous post.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


In the late 1980s and early '90s I embarked on a new adventure with my Best Friend (BF) in a school program called Odyssey of the Mind. Please keep in mind as you read this, my husband and I never had, nor raised children.

Our local school district co0rdinator believed in volunteer leaders rather than teachers as leaders. The larger schools in our district often had more, or  only, teachers, as leaders.

I personally thought competing against teacher-led teams , whose daily job and professional training basically was problem solving, put volunteers at a disadvantage. However, our little school district regularly won some accolades against the big guys.

Students, wishing to participate,  were separated by age and by the problem they wished to solve. As I remember there were usually 6-10 problems varying from building various equipment from a specified limit of materials, creating weight bearing structures, or interpreting classic reading materials or events.

Each problem had two parts: the preparation and/or construction of the assigned project, and an extemporaneous problem solving. The topic of the extemporaneous problem was only known to the group when they arrived at the competition.

As leaders you could only guess and prepare your group by creating you own extemporaneous problems. We did not seem to have teams as proficient in this, for which we as leaders, take some blame. But our teams excelled in creating the classics, which is the type of problem we always chose.

What led me to this volunteer job was I believed in creative thinking in any area of scholastic endeavor. Further I believed in emphasis on programs which encourage student creativity over sports.

Our local school system in my and many other persons' opinions had too much emphasis on sport activities, especially basketball (no football program) to the extent one year they requested a millage increase to build a larger gymnasium than sorely needed middle school classrooms.

Even though the millage vote defeated the request, imagine our surprise they found the money to build the gym!!!

Although not the crux of this blog, one year the basketball team excelled to several levels of playoffs. We needed a bus to transport our teams to STATE Finals (we placed second). No school bus or driver was available, so they found an extra large van and told us to find our own driver.

We quit coaching after that debacle and were judges one year, before retiring from this activity.

We had as many adventures as our students. First of all each team was like moving to a new neighborhood. We generally had teams in the lower elementary levels. We loved every minute of these teams.

Once we got stuck with the level where the girls had begun forming their special friendships and excluded others from their circles for various reasons.  We found we could not deal this age group. It reminded me of a Sunday Morning Bible study group I accepted composed of the ages 11-13/14. I never taught Sunday School again.

In Arkansas with few Interstate highways, the idea there is a straight road of any length should be eliminated from your driving memory bank. We were scheduled to compete in state finals (we went twice) at Little Rock, if I remember correctly for the story I am about to tell. This is about 150 mi. south of us. We and our school system are located about as far north in the state where we can live on dry land.

Our bus driver took US 65, a major N-S highway, but like most of our state's roads, basically 2-lane, a few passing lanes, winding, and definitely up and down hills or mountains. There is even a run-away sand ramp on this highway. I tried not to think about the bus using that ramp. The very sudden stop from higher speed to zero would problem give everyone a whiplash--minimum.

There were several adults and the teacher program coordinator on the bus, all teams, and our props, costumes, and other paraphernalia associated with our particular projects.

Our competitions were in the autumn/winter months so there were extra coats and blankets, etc. to keep warm, coming home which was usually in the evening, arriving back at the our school anywhere from 9 p.m. -midnight.

This particular trip, as I vaguely remember was somewhere near Russellville and our bus was packed to the gills.

This highway becomes very scenic when you leave Clinton, AR north. One of the most beautiful vistas on US 65 is the approach to Marshall, AR where the highway runs the steep edge of a mountain where you look down into the valley where the town is located. There is even an overlook park there.

By the time we approached this scenic vista around 8 p.m. returning home, most of the students were asleep and a few adults,  but not BF and me, although I was dozing.

I was seated by the window with BF and we had a comforter for warmth.

All of a sudden BF leaped up and shouted, 'stop the bus. This child (across the aisle from us) has regurgitated in her sleep.' [I doubt that is the exact word she used, but I am getting queasy writing this!) 

Then she wisely instructed me to stick my head out the window. BF knew I never raised a child, rarely was sick in that manner, and if confronted with the situation, did the same. I wisely did as told, as did a mother behind me.

But then the comedy began.

The bus driver would not stop the bus...period. In fact, he said, "No, I am not stopping this bus." 

As we were going down this very steep ordinarily beautiful vista, the regurgitated meal  was rolling down the aisle with the bus, like small rapids in the narrows of a stream.

And the teacher-co-ordinator was standing at the front, wringing her hands, saying,"Oh my, this has never happened before!" This was a long-time teacher. Come on!!! Don't tell me a child has never been sick on a bus in her entire lifetime of teaching!!

The bus driver kept driving. The coordinator kept wringing her hands. I and the mother continued to hang our heads out the window.

BF saw things were chaotic so she, being nearly 6' with the longest legs and arms ( she has very hard time finding clothes to fit) began walking across our bus row of seats until she reached the front of the bus.  After all, who would walk down the aisle at this point?

Not me, my head is still out the window.

By the time she reached the front of the bus, we were in Marshall. BF told the bus driver,  "stop this bus right now at this convenience store." Fortuitously, there was an open convenience store which appeared out of heaven (just my hyperbole). It was around 9 p.m. and could have been closed.

I cannot believe the bus driver was so obstinate when there was a sick child. But you have not heard nor seen my BF in her best disaster management form. The government should hire her and maybe our Presidents would not be so slow to respond to national disasters.

The driver stopped the bus!!!....immediately. It was like God had spoken.

BF and others ran in and bought kitty litter, lots of kitty litter bags, and spread it on the floor up and down the aisle. Some how BF's comforter was also complete unfit for further use and was trashed in the dumpster outside the store. That store probably has a sign now that says "no school buses welcome" after this chaotic debacle.

I and the mother continued to hang our heads out the windows.

After the aisles were saturated with kitty litter, we proceeded the remaining  hour or so home. The little girl blissfully went back to sleep.

Yes, I and the mother held our heads out the window the entire distance home.

After this debacle, we sent notes home with students, requesting permission to administer motion sickness pills. Yep, we decided doping the students was a good idea.

The end result of the trip for me was the last case of severe pneumonia I've had to date.  I've had a couple of light cases.

I always take two Meclizine when I ride the highways of this state.

Although commonly know as " Marshall mountain or hill" all of us on this one trip still refer to it as "Barf Mountain."

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Tuesday it had been a busy day in Little Rock, further aggravated by a dismal day of steady rain combined with some fog.

My husband (H) had an appointment for his yearly hearing test at the VA facility in North Little Rock. Formerly known as Fort Roots, this facility was renamed Eugene J. Towbin Health Care Center.

If I did not have COPD and other health problems which prevent a walking tour, Fort Roots would be a great walking photo opportunity. Built in the 1890s as a 1,100 acre military facility it is known for 15 large ward buildings and 76 other structures with many Romanesque Revival and Greek Revival architectural features.

Since 9/11 there is so much security, I suspect a person with a camera might be detained. The architecture is impressive, well-maintained and many buildings have National Historic Registry plaques.

We left our motel about 10 a.m. to eat in the food court in the main hospital building . Then we had to move on to another building for the auditory testing. This involved a lot of driving and walking up and down grades which taxes my less than normal physical abilities. Handicapped Parking spots were taken everywhere we went, which, of course is to be expected--after all it is a medical facility.

This appointment turned out to evoke one of my husband's infamous short statements. He is a man of few words. After he finished and we were leaving, I inquired what they did. He said, "Put my hearing aids in." I really chuckled over it. How brief a statement can you make!

Then we went to Sam's for shopping for items create courtesy baskets our Life Group puts together and places in waiting and lounging areas of the Baxter Regional Hospital in Mountain Home, AR.

Since I am more familiar with Sam's general store layout, I had to find the items which, generally, known as vending machine items.  It was relatively short insofar as my shopping trips go.

We picked up a few personal items and returned to La Quinta Motel about 4 p.m.

H went to nearby convenience store for two sandwiches. I ate mine sat in recliner to continue my current Kindle reading selection.

AND THE OLD HEART STARTING THUMPING.....I grabbed my oximeter. The heart rate was spiking to 155 b.p.m. I grabbed the lowly straw and managed two really good manipulations of the VALSALVA MANEUVER for supraventricular tachycardia, or as I commonly call it, atrial fibrillation.

Yes, I found it really was not a trick at all, but an emergency attempt to force the heart into rhythm before other techniques are used or help arrives. The maneuver is based on vagal nerve response. I'm not going into the technical details. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

There is a left and right vagus nerve; as I remember vagus means wandering. If you read the link provided you will understand the reason!

In this particular occurrence, it worked. Supposedly for each spike you only do the maneuver twice.

However, I have to admit I was not as panicked, because this particular La Quinta Inn  has an ambulance stationed there. It was two units down from ours!

Also the medication seems to be taking hold, plus I am finding limitations to my stamina, but these attacks are becoming less intense and much shorter.

I am just glad to know there is some sanity and reason involving the straw technique, besides some hokey pokey witchcraft.

AGAIN, I URGE YOU TO CALL 911 while trying the maneuver. As stated before, it doesn't always work and precious time may be lost if you continue along this path with no results.

It is off to Little Rock again Monday for one day; my Best Friend (BF) and I have annual appointments with our asthma/COPD physician. Shelly and BF will split driving.

Luckie is going with us. Should be interesting! She is a great rider--sleeps for the most part. While we are in for our appointments, Shelly can walk her around. I think there is some green grass, she can mark. Everytime she leaves the car she squats and pees. She is the pee-inest (how about that word!) dog I have ever had.