Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One Mystery Is Solved. Another Remains a Mystery. Probably Forever.

I am not only a dreamer of bright ideas (okay...maybe not so bright) but I am ALSO a solver of mysteries.

A couple months ago I solved part of a puzzle that I had pondered for the past 50 years. It happened like this.

My siblings and I grew up on an Iowa farm within a mile of where the earliest settlers in our township lived in the 1850s. Ours was a bottomland farm. Across the Little Sioux River is a long ridge of hills that extends all the way down into Missouri. They're known as the Loess Hills of Western Iowa and are a wonderful geographical feature of the area. Hopefully, it is okay that I've borrowed a photo from this website. The photographer is Gary Hightshoe, ISU.

As children we spent many summer afternoons playing in the sandy shallows or diving in the murky deeps of the river. It's a wonder we didn't drown...our main mode of swimming was the "dog paddle" which we learned by sheer instinct for survival.

In the winter, when freezing temps had put a thick layer of ice on the river, we would cross the river with our dog, Rusty, trotting out ahead of us, snuffling his nose through the snow, finding hidden paths for us to follow.

We would climb to the topmost point of the hills and then follow the ridgeline southward. We were on an Adventure! Eventually we would wander back, cross the river towards home, and head to supper.

During one of those "Adventures" we came down a long slope towards a point that held a view of the river bottomlands to the west. One can stand on that point and see the hills of Nebraska some 20 miles westward. It's a wonderful vista and it was thrilling to us, even as children, to contemplate the history of this place.

It was at this spot that we discovered a white marble tombstone lying flat on the ground. We could read the words "Lydia E. Bullock, age 42". The "4" was so eroded that initially I thought Lydia had died at age 12. But upon closer inspection I read "42".

That was fifty years ago. This past year Lydia had been on my mind, nudging me to dig for information. I knew there was an 1890 history of Monona County available at the library but on a whim I checked online. Sure enough, it is available there to read.

Here are a few words from that history...

Elkanah T. Bullock came to Kennebec Township in the winter of 1855-56, and put up a cabin on the northeast quarter of section 18, into which he removed with bis family early in the following spring. Here be resided for several years but finally emigrated to Kansas, settling on Solomon's Fork. His sons, Lyman, William and Charles, entered the United States army during the late war, and finally located in Kansas.

I do some family genealogy at ancestry.com and began looking at the census data for this location during 1855 (Iowa) and 1860 (federal). Sure enough, Lydia was Elkanah's wife. Their home was very near the site where she is buried. She died probably in 1861 and the family buried her before their move southward, first to Council Bluffs, eventually to Kansas.

Coincidentally, less than a week after entering the Bullock family information at ancestry.com, her great-grandson found my data and emailed me with questions. The sum of it all is that I was able to provide him with aerial maps showing the location of his great-grandmother's gravesite. It is possible a great-great-granddaughter may be able to visit the site this summer. I, too, hope to visit the site one more time while I am still able to do a bit of "hill-climbing".

To my mind, a mystery has been solved. Lydia has been "reunited" with her family.

And the photo? I'll never solve the mystery of this one...the "celt" is a Native American artifact I picked up out of the sandy bed of the Little Sioux River in about 1957. We had been searching for fresh water clam shells which we thought very pretty due to their mother-of-pearl interior. On that day I had simply reached down into the water thinking I would come up with a clam shell and instead came up with the celt. As children we called it a tomahawk but I believe the proper name is "celt". I haven't a clue as to age. But I often wonder about the fellow who made it. And wonder. And wonder.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Am the Thinker of Bright Ideas! Read Herein!

I am the dreamer of dreams. I am the inventor of things. Just click here if you don't believe so! (You will need to scroll downward for this post itself will be the first on the page...just scroll downward to see all the rest of my inventions...none of which are patented...you are free to do so and make zillions of $$$).

This week I dreamed up a movie scenario for Hollywood! Some Hollywood writer needs to take this idea and run with it!

Scenario...an apocalyptic movie (as if we need more of those!) in which the entire human race except for a handful of people is destroyed...and in their frantic desire to keep humanity from becoming extinct they realize that there are 396,526 frozen embryos still safe within facilities (whose power has not shut down).

Think about it.

And remember that I said it first.

Oh! And another! Why don't they design wood decks with floor boards that can be flipped over like a venetian blind? After 6 inches of snow has accumulated, a self-monitor just flips the boards and dumps the snow underneath! If another 6 inches arrives, they flip again! Go ahead, patent it! But I want 10 percent on this one!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Deadly Advice From a Deluded Young Woman

A couple years ago I joined a members-only online forum with hundreds of other ovarian cancer patients (and a few caretakers or family members).

This past week I got really angry. Really, really angry. (I don't think it is grammatically correct to use two "really" words, but you get the picture.)

A young woman posted on our board as well as eight other forums (eight other diseases) that food is the "only" remedy for our health problems. She insisted that if we all ate raw fruits and raw vegetables only (organic, of course) that we could be "cured" of our ailments.

She insisted that to remove the cancerous tumors was to remove our body's defense against the cancer...that the body had deposited the cancer into our ovaries instead of into the heart for instance. The "logic" behind this was that the heart is more vital to the life of the body and hence, the body had taken toxins that might damage the heart, so to speak, and deposited them in the ovaries without which the body can still survive.

As I mentioned already, she advocated this "raw fruit, raw veggie" diet as a "cure-all".

Regardless of the numerous replies disputing her "unscientific" or even "unsensible" idea, she is still insistent today, some two weeks after her original posting.

Generally, I limit my responses to the topic at hand...ovarian cancer...and all the subtopics involved...side-effects, surgeries, personal experiences, new ovca drugs, new trial drugs, etc. Those are the things we ovarians discuss. We sometimes digress to humor or personal anecdotes of life itself. While we mention faith (of whatever kind), we do not use the forum as a "preaching platform".

But this particular discussion was so false and had such a false concept of how we can be "cured". This deluded young woman is .... well...she's deluded. What more can I say. Today she accused us of "fearing death". And I could not let that pass.

Today I responded thusly:

She wrote this:
"May not the 'FEAR' of death guide you into short-sighted decisions to remove your organs or take dangerous drugs under the 'myth' that you will be cured and live 'happily ever after '."

I responded with the following: (I changed the name to protect the "not-so-innocent".)

First of all, SallyAnn, there is NO MYTH that we ovarian cancer patients are believing. Those of us diagnosed at stage III and IV are under NO ILLUSION that we will live, as you say, "HAPPILY EVER AFTER" if we faithfully do our chemo or any other regimen other than YOUR "food only" policy.

And, personally, SallyAnn, I do not FEAR DEATH.

You see, as a Christian, a follower of Christ, a believer of the Bible, I believe that Jesus was telling the truth when he promised eternal life to those who hear and believe. John 5:24. Here are his words....“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."

The verb tense of "has" is present tense. Our eternal life begins "right now". And the verb tense of "has passed" is past tense. We have already passed out of death. Into eternal life. It begins right now, here and now, not at some "point of death" when our souls leave our bodies.

He also said such words as "I go to prepare a place for you" and "I will come again". And in the last two chapters of the Bible, in the book of Revelation, we hear his promise, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

And again in verse 6 Jesus told John, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost."

I do not live in fear. Yes, I love this life here on earth. Life here is (can be) very, very good. We love our families, we love the beauty of nature, we love the goodness of common blessings with which God blesses the earth. But we also hate death. Death is the common enemy of all mankind. Thanks be to God, He has provided life beyond our physical death.

I seldom discuss my faith here on this forum. But I figure it is fair to do so, considering how you have shared your "non-medical advice" to those of us ovarian cancer patients who will die soon if we follow your "food only" advice.

Bottom line? We are born. We live. We die. But in Christ we have eternal life. He promises that in John 5:24. No ifs, ands, or buts. No special diet necessary. Simply believe that God is who He says He is, and that He has done what He says He has done, and that He WILL do what He says He will do. And then live what you believe.

If you want to eat raw fruits/veggies only, go for it.
If I want to, or anyone else here wants to do the same, go for it.
But don't believe the LIE that we ovarians can discontinue all medical care and that raw foods will CURE you.
It won't happen.

But eternity? Yeah. It's there. And I am not afraid to die.

End of discussion.

Disclaimer: This is not a denial on my part that a healthy diet is a good diet.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

When There Are Only Two for Dinner

When there are only two of you for dinner...

And when appetites are non-existent in regards to tomorrow's leftovers...

One must think "small".

Today's culinary experience is this poor tiny creature. Small enough to sit in my hand. Not much larger than a baked potato.

It's been a long time since I cooked a Cornish game hen, but it seemed it would be much easier than roasting a turkey. Smaller, ya know. It was a simple procedure to rinse it in a stainless steel bowl instead of wrestling a turkey in the kitchen sink...a sink which must be cleaned properly before and after.

When I first unwrapped this little hen I almost had second thoughts. I mean, look at the size of this poor little fowl. Surely when it still proudly wore feathers it must have been the cutest little thing! And here it was, simply a carcass, and a tiny one at that, ready to be placed in the oven.

I grew up on the farm. I know how to catch a chicken, stretch its neck over the chopping block, chop off the head, dip the fowl in boiling water (loosens the feathers), pluck, singe the pin feathers, gut, cut, soak, dip, and fry.

But looking at this poor little critter I thought once again how once upon a time I enjoyed eating vegetarian. Those days are long past. And even if we decided to go back to being vegetarians, it's simply not possible. Hubby has renal failure and one of his dietary necessities is lots and lots of protein. Meat protein.

So little Miss Cornish Game Hen was stuffed with a piece of lemon and onion, glazed with a pineapple, butter and maple syrup, and roasted to perfection.

I can tell you it took much, much less time in the kitchen than any turkey you'll ever cook.

And twice as delicious. So next time you're cooking small? Try this simple dish. Recipes abound online, so find one you like and enjoy a treat.