kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Monday, June 29, 2009

Backyard Hummingbirds

I love hummingbirds. I have a feeder on my backporch and I could watch them for hours, if I had that kind of time. Here's a little poem I wrote about them. Photos compliments of MDH.

Hummingbird Dance

Buzz by
Flutter, flit
Squeak, peep, sip.

Seek, spy
Chatter, chase
Dive, dash, dip.

Dart, fly
Hover, hum
Zoom, vroom, zip.

We had planned to attend the Lake Charles Community Band's weekly outdoor concert this evening. Eric and maybe Andrew too had planned on participating. But it rained this evening. After weeks of no rain (until last evening) it decides to rain tonight. Can't complain though. We certainly need rain. And the showers cooled it off to a pleasant 77 degrees.

Some of you may have noticed that I didn't post a blog last night. There's a reason for that. I had nothing to say!! Which is a good thing. With Eric improving, and we've settled into a summer routine, there's just not a lot to talk about. From here on out, I'm planning on posting only when I have something even remotely interesting to say. So don't worry. No news is good news.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eric on a Saturday

Reading: Battlefield Earth and To Kill a Mockingbird
Playing: Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii and Spore on the computer
Listening to: The Beatles and Led Zepplin
Last night's movie entertainment: Inkheart
Drinking: Sonic Powerade Slush and Enlive apple juice
Eating: not much but, as of breakfast and lunch, 1/3 of an egg, 1/4 of an everything bagel, 2 slices bacon, a few strawberries, an apricot, yogurt, and three oreos.
Working out: at the gym, on the elliptical trainer and weight machines
Weight this AM: 115.6 (up 1.4 pounds from yesterday, woo hoo!)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Comments on Comments

Eric rode his bike last night for the first time since his his illness. He rode 2.25 miles, 18 minutes.
Here are a couple photo links to Eric with his pierogies in occupational therapy.
To . . . m, sadly, no rain or cooler temps in the forecast.
To Jennifer, did you know LC has been building a new airport? Supposed to open end of July and it looks beautiful. But I'm going to miss waiting for passengers in that nice breezy outdoor area. (To my out of town readers, the Lake Charles airport was destroyed in the 2005 Hurricane Rita and they've been operating out of a glorified tent since then.)
To leafmonster, hey what's one egg. I was curious myself. I don't know what adjectives our weatherpersons have been using, but "blistering" has been coming to my mind frequently. It was 102 again today. At the peak of afternoon, around 3:00, I cracked an egg on the driveway. We don't have sidewalks in our neighborhood. Here is the initial before photo. And one taken 30 minutes later. It would seem egg will evaporate on a hot surface, but not cook. Urban legend.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Trips, Tests, and Temperatures

We greeted Bob at the airport this morning, home from a short business trip to Mexico. Then Eric spent the afternoon taking the LEAP test. Not exactly sure what that stands for, but it's a required standardized test in Louisiana for 8th graders to take and pass in order to graduate to 9th grade. That's the only thing the school district is having Eric make up.
Geesh, it's hot here. Even native Louisianians are complaining about it. The weathercasters talk of near record-breaking highs (ie 102 degrees), which might not sound all that high even to Pittsburgers, but when you consider the "humidity factor," it's HOT! It rained a little in Lake Charles yesterday, but it hasn't rained here in Moss Bluff for weeks.
Keep cool!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Getting Better Every Day

Just a quick update on my sister-in-law, Sue. She had surgery this past Monday on both her hip and wrist. As far as I know, she's doing okay. Don't know too many details.

In occupational therapy today, Eric and Mika cooked pierogies. So funny . . . no one down here has ever heard of pierogies! I can't believe they even sell them down here. (Only at WalMart, as far as I know). I must be almost the only person who buys them. Anyway, everyone loved them.

Eric's physical therapist, Kim, is thinking of discharging Eric. Already! I imagined we'd be going to PT throughout the summer. But she says there's not much more she can do for him that we can't do at home or our gym. Wow. Wasn't expecting that. But he's doing so well. Her goal for Eric for the summer was to have him walk a mile. And he walked 1.5 miles last evening in our neighborhood. It might not be immediately. We might cut back from three times a week to one or two at first. Here's a photo of Eric at PT. http://www.hopetherapycenter.net/gallery/category/1-physical-therapy.html

Post PT snack . . . another Auntie Anne's pretzel and a Sonic orange cherry Dr. Pepper.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Kindness of Friends and Strangers

People, generally, are kind, wouldn't you say? My family certainly has been on the receiving end of kindness a lot these past many months. Last night, the boys and I went to see the Lake Charles Community Band play at the Civic Center outdoor amphitheater. Eric knows the conductor, Mr. Lauderdale, from last summer at GPGC. So afterwards, we went to the stage to say Hi. Mr. Lauderdale encouraged Eric to come early next week and rehearse with them, said he'd give Eric an easy percussion part to play. Kindness. On our way home, naturally, we stopped at Sonic. They really messed up our order. Not at all the carhop's fault, but nevertheless, she didn't charge us for a drink. Kindness. When we tried to leave Sonic, we discovered our car battery was dead (Only hours after Bob left the country for Mexico. Figures.) I called a nearby friend who was there within minutes to give me a jumpstart. Kindness. I had a writers' group conference team meeting/luncheon at my house today, and a fellow planner brought a pineapple upside-down cake for dessert. Kindness. The boys and I planned to get a new battery today after Eric's piano lesson. The car started no problem here at home, but wouldn't start at the piano studio. The instructor's brother was there, don't even know his name, but he hooked up the jumper cables with a smile. Kindness.

The list goes on and on. Every day, we don't have to look far to find good-natured people with generous acts of kindness. Causes me to ask myself, 'What can I do to make someone else's day easier or more pleasant?'

Monday, June 22, 2009

For the Birds

How do we deal with disappointment? When life doesn't go the way we planned due to circumstances out of our control? From the time Eric left McNeese University late last July, he couldn't wait to get back to the Governor's Program again this summer. Andrew and I would have been in Pennsylvania this week. Andrew looked forward to spending a week at Camp Crestfield and visiting with family and friends around Pittsburgh. And I had planned to attend St. David's Christian Writers' Conference. This annual conference at Grove City College starts this afternoon. I can imagine the conferees spilling into Mary Anderson Pew South Hall, finding the registration table, greeting old friends with hi's and hugs, lugging bags up the winding staircase, and settling into their dorm rooms. They're anticipating a week of honing craft, networking, and enjoying the camraderie of fellow writers.

And we're not there.

So we're making other plans. I've been trying to make this summer as fun, interesting, and exciting as I can, to compensate the change in original plans. We're attending free concerts in the park, watching movies, taking a few classes, checking out art galleries, visiting with friends. Of course, we go to PT/OT. And eat at Sonic. We have two vacations planned. One, to a multicultural conference at Mo Ranch in the Texas hill country with our church, First Presbyterian of Lake Charles. And two, a trip to a beautiful cabin in the woods in Alabama near DeSoto State Park for a family reunion. We've never been to Alabama. Why Alabama? My sister Sue figured out it's pretty much exactly halfway between us, approximately a ten-hour drive from both directions.

Speaking of disappointing, this morning I awoke to the sound of Momma Mockingbird fussing like a madwoman about something, like maybe she was protectively trying to scare something away. Did a predator lurk nearby. I looked out the windows and didn't see any prowling cats or circling birds of prey. Though he still slept, I tiptoed into Eric's room to peek out his window at the nest. The babies were gone! Where did they go? Did a falcon, hawk, or owl swoop in and snatch them away when Momma wasn't looking? Did a raccoon or feline climb the tree, balancing on the thin branch out to the nest and knock the birds out, knowing they'd be easy targets on the ground? So I carried a ladder to the side of the house, climbed the rungs and peered into the nest. Abandoned. But I did find one baby bird quaking beside the house foundation. Was he a lone survivor? Or by chance, was it simply time for the birds to leave the nest and the other three flew away? I wouldn't think so, as it had only been two days since they hatched. But what do I know about nesting birds? I put gloves on and tried to pick the baby up. When he scurried out of my reach, it did appear one wing was possibly broken. I finally caught him, carried him up the ladder, and placed him back in the nest. Momma has been squawking at me all day. Is she thanking me, or scolding me because she thought they'd all left the nest, and now one is back?

Anyway, Eric's post-PT snack . . . an Auntie Ann's cinnamon sugar pretzel and a Sonic watermelon grape slush.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the "dads" in my life. To my own dad, who taught me how to fish and hopefully will be able to fish with me when he comes to visit next month. To Tom, who's been a super grandpa to Eric and Andrew. To Colonel, who's been both a caring grandpa and father-in-law. And to Bob, who's the best dad our sons could ever have.

Eric's been pretty bummed today because Bob won't be back from Dallas till later this evening. To make matters worse, Bob leaves on business to Mexico tomorrow till Thursday. Hopefully, PPG won't make a habit of sending him out of town. Bob traveled so much with his job in Pittsburgh. One of the primary reasons he took this job here in Lake Charles was because he wouldn't have to travel. Anyway, we'll miss him.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baby Birds

A momma mockingbird built a nest on a tree branch just outside Eric's bedroom window. She'd been sitting in the nest for weeks, singing her maternal repertoire. Sometime betweeen yesterday and this morning, four hatchlings emerged. Now momma's busy with countless trips back and forth from yard to nest, scouting and pecking for worms to pulse down the throats of her insatiable brood, their downy gray heads bobbing for attention, yellow-orange mouths ever open wide in anticipation.

I wanted to take a photo of the new family, but Bob took my camera to Dallas.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just the Two of Us

Bob and Andrew went to Dallas this afternoon to see his sister Sue in the hospital. I don't know how she's doing, except that they postponed her hip surgery till Monday and they may operate on her wrist at that time, as well.

So it's just me and Eric (and half the kids in the neighborhood. I think there are at least 4-6 kids in his room right now) here for the weekend. Tonight, we plan to eat pizza, play Scrabble, and watch Independence Day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ryan's Restaurant

After mythology class, we swung by Collette Hall, picked up Eric's friend Quentin and went to dinner at Ryan's. Eric might have eaten more than he usually does, but not a fraction of what the rest of us ate. Yikes, those buffets can be dangerous.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Prayers, Pulse Oximetry, and Periactin

Please pray for my sister-in-law Sue, who lives in Sherman, TX. She was in a terrible car accident today, and was taken to a trauma center in Dallas. Supposedly, she has a broken wrist and a dislocated hip. Nothing life threatening, hopefully. But her housemate of approx. 25 years, Linda, was killed in the accident.

Eric passed the pulse oximetry test last night. His oxygen saturation on room air stayed in the 90s, mostly 95-97. So he's happy he doesn't have to use O2 at night anymore. He's also stopped using O2 for short room to room walks through the house. Now he only uses O2 for longer walks, PT/OT, and any other hard exertion. Right now, he and Andrew are over at a neighbor friend's house. He's getting closer to "normal" everyday.

We took a break from Sonic today and ate at Cane's after PT. Three chicken fingers, fries, toast, and a lemonade. He ate about a third of it. We started him on Periactin, an appetite stimulant, yesterday. We're hoping it works. His weight was up a teeny bit yesterday, to 114.2, and was exactly the same today. But he still has a long way to go to get back to his "normal" weight of around 130.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

O2 at Night?

Eric is getting sneaky. He slept without his O2 last night and didn't tell Bob and me. When Bob checked on him this morning, he found Eric with the O2 off. Bob checked Eric's pulse ox and it was 97%, which is great, but Eric was already awake then. We don't know what it does when he sleeps. He had it on getting ready for bed, and we heard the concentrator running all night, so we assumed it was in his nose. Eric said he deliberately took it off. I don't blame him for not wanting it on at night. But, admittedly, he didn't sleep well last night, and we don't know if that's an O2 issue or a coincidence. We'll leave it off again tonight, but with the pulse oximeter on, so we'll know if his saturation drops below 92%.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mythology, McNeese, and Music

Eric and Andrew started a week-long afternoon mythology class at MSU today. They both think they'll like it, kind of a small discussion group-type class. The class ends at the perfect time for us to go over to Collette Hall, the dorm used by the Governor's Program, and see Eric's friends from last summer stroll in from dinner and a long day of gifted classes. Eric really enjoyed this and all the kids at GPGC were happy to see Eric, too. Someone interviewed him for the program newspaper. Then we went downtown and heard the Lake Charles Community Band play at the outdoor amphitheater by the lake. Such a pleasant evening.

Whoever left the Ensure on the front porch, Thanks! We need it. The pound he had gained yesterday morning was gone and then some today. We're picking up a new appetite stimulant at the pharmacy tomorrow. And we sure hope it works. We really don't want to put that NG tube back in. But he hasn't truly gained any weight in the past two weeks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kangaroo Crew Revisited

Our neighbor Gary recently sent me this and several other photos. He just happened to be in the area of the airport and took pictures with his cell phone when the Kangaroo Crew whisked Eric to Houston on March 15th. I'll never forget that day, or the tense days leading up to the transfer. Eric was so critical post-surgery and getting worse by the minute. Praise God those "angels" were able to come a day early. Heroes, really, all four of them. Gary's wife Leslie and our friend Susan were at the hospital and they alerted Gary when Eric was on his way to the airport. Bob flew with Eric. Leslie and Susan drove me to Houston. They were angels, too. It poured rain that day, but God and the pilot saw us all safely to Texas Children's. I especially want to thank my sister, Lisa, for getting the Kangaroo Crew ball rolling. She did all the research, spoke to the director on the phone, and gave us all the information at a time when we weren't able to do it ourselves.

Once at TCH, the Kangaroo Crew frequently checked in on Eric, even Crew members who weren't on Eric's flight. Maybe this was their normal routine, I was never quite sure. But Eric seemed to have a reputation at TCH as being a pretty amazing kid. Indeed, it was amazing how quickly he started getting better. And he continues to amaze us with his recovery. Already, no vent, no trach, no O2 at rest.

And slowly gaining weight. Yes, the steak house worked last night. That, and Joe D.'s BBQ chicken on Friday. His weight was up almost a pound this morning.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Working on Weight Gain

People in general, even strangers, continue to be so generous. Today, the mother and aunt of a neighbor, two people we have never met, sold items at a garage sale and donated their proceeds to Eric, in order to "fatten him up." Thank you so much! We went to Eric's choice of restaurant, Fuji Japanese Steak House, and had an excellent meal. I'll let you know tomorrow after he steps on the scale if it worked. His weight was actually down a tad this morning.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Busy Friday

Busy day for Eric today. We went to our church, First Presbyterian of Lake Charles, for a fantastic BBQ chicken lunch. Joe D. sure knows how to barbeque. Then to physical therapy (Mika was away today, so no OT). Then we passed some time in the one and only bookstore in Lake Charles, Books A Million. And then met friends at the cinema and saw "Up." (Good movie, Kim, but I don't think I'd watch it twice in one weekend.) Eric is wore out, but otherwise he's doing well.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Major Milestone

When Eric was in ICU at Lake Charles Memorial, his math teacher, Ms. DeFelice, brought him a teddy bear that quickly became one of Eric's favorites. He named this bear Mohan, after one of his favorite band songs.

When Eric was in Texas Children's ICU, preparing to get a tracheostomy, his favorite nurse, Randy, sympathetically fashioned a trach for Mohan.

I discovered it's not a bad to thing to be overly optimistic. Our dear Dr. Thompson fit Eric into his busy day this morning and took Eric's trach out and did a quick bronchoscopy. He also said, "Get him off the O2," because, really, Eric's oxygen level while at rest on room air is consistently in the mid-high 90s. Though I'm sure he'll continue to require O2 with exertion for awhile. Just last evening, Eric lamented, "I just want to feel normal again." Getting the trach out and being off O2 more will certainly help reach that goal. And speaking of reaching goals, Eric's weight was up 0.8 pounds this AM.

After Eric got his trach out, he symbolically took Mohan's trach out as well.

Post-bronchoscopy/decannulation Sonic snack . . . Breakfast toaster with bacon and a grape limeade.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Decannulation Delay

Eric and I are tired today. We left the trach plugged overnight for the first time last night. We monitored Eric's oxygen saturation and heart rate with a continuous pulse oximeter, on advice from Dr. Vickie the ENT doctor in Houston. She would have had us go to Houston for two nights observation in the hospital, so I guess we got off easy. But the crazy alarm alarmed all night! Mostly because his heart rate fluctuated more than I would have guessed, depending on if he was asleep or awake, still or stirring, quiet or coughing. Once I put the low and high heart rate alarms quite low and quite high, the monitor was much less noisy. Once, his nasal cannula (where he gets his oxygen) came out of his nose and was blowing on his cheek and his O2 saturation dropped slightly, yet enough to sound the alarm. I lowered that limit as well. Anyway, we'll do it all again tonight, but now that we know where we need to set the alarms, we should sleep better.

Speaking of Dr. Vickie, she called this AM and said that she and her attending aren't comfortable after all with Eric's trach coming out in Dr. Thompson's office without Eric first having a full-blown bronchoscopy. I understand the reasoning. They just want to make sure everything is okay. But Wednesday is Dr. Thompson's day off, so we couldn't schedule this test yet. I'm hoping it can be done either tomorrow (I'm too optimistic) or Friday (still quite optimistic) so Eric doesn't have to wait till early next week.

Yesterday, on Eric's evening walk, he impressed us all by doubling his distance, twice around Gabriel Sq., 1.68 miles, 49 minutes. He increased his pace as well. And he had another great day at PT/OT today.

This morning, Eric's weight was exactly 112.8 for the third straight day. GRRRR! And it seemed like he ate more yesterday. I was so hopeful. We don't mind if he gains slooooowly, but that number has to go up.

Post-PT Sonic snack . . . A supersonic cheeseburger and a watermelon cream slush.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Piano Lessons

Eric started piano lessons today. His teacher, Ms. Ashworth, said he did very well for his first lesson, and Eric said he enjoyed it. He does have a gift for music and he's determined to use it in any way he can. The boys took piano lessons when they were five but didn't stick with it long. I'm so glad we hung on to the piano all these years.

Post-piano lesson Sonic snack . . . a vanilla cone and a lime cream slush.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Date is Set

I spoke with Dr. Thompson today, and we'll go to his office this Thursday morning to have the trach taken out. What a milestone day that will be! Certainly, it will be a major step in Eric feeling "normal" again.

Everything is looking up right now. Eric had a super, fun workout at PT/OT today. His blood pressure has been lower for four days now and all his other vital signs are excellent.

If anything at all is an issue, it's his lack of appetite and inability to eat much at a time. He's rarely hungry, and when he does eat, he gets full very quickly. Not good when you're trying to gain weight! It's amazing to me that he hasn't lost weight since his NG tube came out last Tuesday. But so far, he's managed to gain almost one pound since then. That's a big drop compared to the 0.5 pounds a day he was gaining with the NG feeds. But if he can continue to gain 1 pound a week, we'd be okay with that.

Post-PT Sonic snack . . . sausage biscuit dippers, tots, and a lemon slush.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Our church, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles, does communion on the first Sunday of every month. Eric took communion today for the first time since January. I don't know how meaningful this was to Eric, but to Pastor Fred and me, it was incredibly poignant. Just to be able to take Eric to church, I'm so emotional. Just talking to people at church about how well he's doing, I get choked up. Music in church has always affected me emotionally, but lately even moreso. I've got so much to praise God for.

Eric has a unique way of holding his hands during prayers. Instead of folding them or pressing his palms together, or doing nothing at all with his hands, he holds them open and together, forming a cup facing heavenward. Then at the end of the prayer, he tips his hands toward himself, as if he's saying, "Fill me with more of You, Lord. I want to drink you in." I'm not sure where he picked this up or when he started doing it, whether before or after his illness, but it is special.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Keeping On

Eric seems to be doing well with his new trach and the button, which plugs the tracheostomy, in place. He says he's somewhat more short of breath at times. The tube in his trachea surely creates resistance to his natural air flow, if you can imagine a straw in your throat 24/7. I hope he does well this week and can get the trach out soon. The other good news is that his blood pressure is lower for the second day in a row.

That's all that's new. Thank you for your prayers for continued healing. Even after Eric no longer needs the trach, we have no idea how long he'll continue to need extra oxygen.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Return to Houston

9:00 AM Packed up and left for Houston. It was Eric's one-month follow-up visit day.

9:15 Stopped at Dino’s Donuts. No trip west on I-10 is complete without donuts from Dino’s for the road.

12:00 PM Arrived at Texas Children’s Clinical Care Center. Went straight to Pulmonary Medicine.

12:05 Sent to radiology for a chest X-ray.

12:10 Sent back to pulmonology without x-ray. No order was written yet.

12:15 Back in pulmonary, but the doctor won’t be there till 1:00. So we went to the food court for lunch.

1:00 Back in pulmonology.

1:30 A nurse came in and typed info into computer.

1:45 Finally saw Dr. Sockrider.

2:00 Went to ENT (ear, nose, throat).

2:30 Saw a resident, who changed Eric’s trach to a size smaller uncuffed tube with a “button.” Which means the trach will be plugged during the day and he’ll breath normally through his mouth or nose, to see how he tolerates normal breathing, and we’ll unplug it at night. This is the first step in getting his trach out altogether. So the plan is to do this for a week, and if he tolerates it, we’ll go see Dr. Thompson here in Lake Charles and he’ll take the trach out in his office. One more week.

3:10 Off to x-ray waiting room again.

3:20 Got x-ray taken.

3:35 Returned to pulmonology to await x-ray report.

4:10 Dr. Sockrider came in and looked at the x-ray with us. It’s better in many ways. Somewhat clearer, less consolidation, better aeration, and the blebs (large air pockets) appear to be significantly smaller in only one month. All good news.

4:45 Left pulmonology and went to physical rehabilitation to visit socially with Becky and Julie (Eric’s OT/PT gals) Julie was in Guatamala, but it was fun to see Becky and her sidekick OT-in-training Jessica.

6:00 Met my sister-in-law Cathy and brother-in-law Steve, and Lacy and Darlene Sellars for dinner. Eric chose to eat at Luby’s. He’d heard us talk about Luby’s when he was in the hospital, but had never eaten there himself and wanted to try it.

7:10 On the road home.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Eric's blood pressure first thing this morning was promisingly lower, 127/91, though by mid-day, it was back to 141/99, which is where it's been hovering for about a week now. We go to Houston tomorrow for doctor appointments. We'll see how his chest X-ray looks, find out when he can get his trach out, and hopefully figure out the BP thing.

Eric's weight was the same today as yesterday, which is okay, because I expected it to drop initially after losing the NG tube. Hopefully, it will climb from here. In attempt to get calories in him, Eric and I made chocolate chip cookies today. The down side is, Bob and I eat ten times more cookies than Eric.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Eating All On His Own

Yesterday afternoon, Eric requested filet mignon and mashed potatoes for dinner. Great! Bob and I got right on it. Well, he hardly ate any. "Guess I filled up on grapes," he said, after eating maybe ten. Then a bit too much drama last evening. After dinner and soon after his evening NG feeding, Eric's blood pressure climbed to 160/110. And not long after that, he started vomiting. Alot. We called Houston and the on-call pulmonologist said not to worry if Eric wasn't having any symptoms such as dizziness, persistent headache, or blurred vision, which he wasn't. As if vomiting wasn't bad enough, he threw up his NG tube. On the very day the home care company delivered nine cases of Pulmocare! (That's the stuff we drip down his NG tube) So, we'll give him a trial and see if he can eat enough on his own to maintain weight gain, but if not, he'll have to have the NG put back in, which he dreads. Of course, this morning, after all that vomiting and without the three cans of Pulmocare overnight, his weight was down two pounds. No problems though overnight, and he seemed to feel fine this morning. His blood pressure was still somewhat high, 143/99, but nothing like last night. No more nausea or vomiting. He did fine at PT, though they're taking it relatively easy on him. And he's eating fairly well today. We'll see.

Post-PT Sonic snack . . . corn dog, fries, and a watermelon cream slush.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Banana Pudding

A friend of mine from Pittsburgh recently blogged about looking for a recipe for banana pudding. She had briefly lived in Kentucky, and surely this is the only way she knew of it. Pittsburghers don't do banana pudding. At least not that I'm aware of. I had never even heard of it, let alone eaten it, prior to moving to Louisiana.

Banana pudding is HUGE down here. No respectable pot luck, picnic, or party lacks a big bowl of banana pudding on the dessert table. We discovered this dixie dessert staple soon after moving. We went out to eat at a nearby restaurant, the Cadillac Ranch. Andrew, who loves bananas, saw banana pudding on the menu and had to try it. I expected "pudding," you know, the kind that restaurants slop out of giant cans or you can make from at box a home. But no, we discovered banana pudding is a bit more interesting in the south. What a treat! And it's so easy to make.

Sadly for Eric, he doesn't like bananas. Not at all. He's feeling somewhat better today. Our biggest concern the past several days has been his high blood pressure, as high as 150/110, and consistently in the 140s/90s. We've spoken to the doctor, and she's not sure why it's so high.

A friend of mine gave me this recipe.

Banana Pudding


4-5 bananas
2 pkgs instant vanilla pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 container Cool Whip
lemon juice
1 box vanilla wafers

Thinly slice bananas into a bowl and lightly sprinkle with a little lemon juice.

In another bowl, mix pudding as directed on box.

Add 1 cup each of sour cream and Cool Whip to the pudding.

Break 3/4 box of vanilla wafers in half.

Layer ingredients into pudding dish in this order:

broken vanilla wafers
pudding mixture
remaining Cool Whip

Arrrange remaining vanilla wafers on top.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Psalm 71:14 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

This photo was taken a week or so ago here at home. I've always loved rainbows, the quintessential symbol of hope. I get excited every time I see one. I run and tell the family, "Come outside and see the rainbow!" I don't know how we'd have made it through those anxious days and endless sleepless nights in ICU during February and March without hope. And it is hope that sustains us still. Hope that Eric will soon get the trach out, hope that his physical ability will continue to improve, that he'll not always have shortness of breath with exertion, that he won't always need oxygen. And when we really let ourselves get hopeful, we hope that someday he'll be able to play his trumpet, that he'll run and play with his brother and friends. We hope that someday, years from now, this whole ordeal will be but a blip on the radar screen of his life.

Post-Pt Sonic snack . . . country fried steak toaster and a mango cool breeze.