Category Archives: family

Teach Family History to the kids

I stumbled upon this site.  It looks cool, and I hope to try out the workbooks soon.



BadBird’s Bad Back

BadBird’s Bad Back

I have 16 days left before my new hip arrives and is installed.  Five more shifts in two weeks.  At least that’s what my calendar says.  

My husband has had a bad back for the last week and a half.  He has a history of back pain which is sometimes debilitating.  He misused his back when he was in high school and played football.  Then he damaged his back when he worked in the wrecking yard lifting small engines single handedly.  

When he tested with a local police department 25 years ago, they told him then that he had the back of a 65 year old and they couldn’t hire him.  Now that he’s 65, it is worse.

Typical back pain means two weeks of ice, muscle spasm meds and pain meds.  Mostly ice.  This time it is different, with pain radiating down the front of his thigh and weakness to the point of falling to the ground.  The ice and The meds don’t work.  He walks hunched over with a hiking stick or walker.  Three visits to the Emergency Department later, we finally got his MRI.  Normally, insurance won’t authorize an MRI until the patient has been on nsaids and six weeks of physical therapy.  For us, PT would start six weeks down the road.  Not very helpful for someone who is in agony right now.

After the imaging and a rest at home, we visited the PCP.  “It’s a good thing we pursued the MRI,” he said.  One disk bulges into the spinal column impinging on the nerve and on the nerve root where the nerves branch out of the spine to provide the electrical power to the leg.  The pressure from the misplaced disc slows down the electricity.  Think of a garden hose going full blast.  That is your healthy nerve bundle with electricity flowing like gangbusters.  Now, park your Ford F150 on the hose and see how much flows.  The truck represents the disc blocking some of the nerve’s power, making the leg weak.

What makes this an emergent problem is that a part of the disc broke off and has traveled UP the spinal column.  It must be removed by surgery.  Soon.  Maybe next week.

This is not the best timing, since my own surgery is two weeks away.  I briefly thought to postpone it, but I don’t have much more to work with.  Just walking through Wal-Mart too fast caused me so much pain.  I’m still able to work, thank you, Father.  

So, both of us will be laid up.  Momma asked if he would be well enough to drive me to the hospital, and I couldn’t say.  I didn’t have enough information.  Our original plan was to rent a hotel room the night before, and he would stay there during my stay, driving me back home upon discharge.  Now I don’t know.  I told Momma what she told me so many times as I grew up: We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it.  It is wonderful how my mother’s words have become so much wiser as I have grown older.

My oldest daughter and her husband arranged the downstairs to make it more manageable for me post surgery.  Now, it appears it is not for me after all, but for my husband.

Ok.  I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t know how laid up we will both be at the same time.  I do know that God has a plan and that I trust Him.  I have a calm faith, the same as I did when he was in ICU on a ventilator because of a massive PE, a blood clot in both lungs.

A nice non-scale victory is that as I was At work to tell My boss in person, one co-worker came by and told me I was a Skinny Minnie.  Of course she was joking.  My daughter also told me that I must have lost more weight.  No, I know I didn’t.  But I checked the scale, and it still says “more than 20 pounds” off. My BMI shows me still obese, but not morbidly so.

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Posted by on 29 July 2016 in family, healthy, surgery


Gramma Nettie goes Camping

Due to an unfortunate turn of events, Gramma Nettie will go camping the way I used to.  What is that phrase in vogue now-a-days?  Oh, yes.  Old Gangsta style.  With a tent.

I used to have a camper on the back of our Ford F150.  We had to use a three-step ladder to climb in, moving it out of the way to close the door.  This was tricky, had to make sure not to topple over out the door.  Once inside, I could cook up a small meal for the two of us, BadBird slept in the overhead while I slept on the pull-out bed.  As big as I am, it was actually quite comfortable.  Then we sold it.


We sold it to make the downpayment for an old boat.  Not just any old boat, mind you, but more of a yacht.  It is HUGE, a Cuddy Cabin cruiser!  Our three-step ladder is no longer appropriate to get into the boat when it is on the trailer.  No, we had to get a long LONG step ladder and I still struggled to get in.  It is great once it is on the water, but we haven’t seen the water but twice since we bought it in August of last year.  It just is not that simple to drag it around, it takes a long time to get it into the water.  I really enjoy the speed, the views, the wind in my hair.  I enjoy going below decks to try to use the alcohol stove to heat up some soup or coffee and tea.  There is a bathroom next to the galley, but I certainly don’t want to add the time and trouble to clean it out.  The logistics of getting the dogs out of the boat (did I mention they are skittish with anything new?) is terrible.  Imagine, two scared dogs weighing about 60# each who need to go pee.  Put out the anchor, and hope it sticks.  Pull out the inflatable raft, throw the dogs into it and hope they don’t ruin it with their nails.  row out to the shore, put the dogs out (on a leash) then reverse that process. 


Instead of doing that for our reunion, we are going to go camping in a tent.  BadBird bought two elevated full-size inflatable mattresses.  We set up the tent in the back yard, blew up one mattress, and I gingerly laid down upon it.  It actually wasn’t that bad, at least for the short time I was on it.  I had the chance to sleep overnight in my own yard, but I declined.  I’ll do it when I have to, but I can’t see as I’ll enjoy it. 

My daughter has a tent-camper she and her husband use for their three boys.  They will reserve a spot at an RV resort, one with pools and play areas for the kids.  We are going to set up shop on the grass right next to them, and pay a little extra.  We camp for three days, have the reunion on Saturday, then head back home.

Go tent camping, he says.  It’ll be fun, he says.  I hope my gimpy hip will allow me to agree.

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Posted by on 10 June 2016 in camping, family, fat, frustration


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This is a call to Grandmothers out there.  Encourage your daughters and other girls in your life who are of child-bearing age to avoid all forms of alcohol.  Even the small amount of social drinking can cause mental and physical disorder called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Remember when we young women were advised to take folate to prevent Spina Difida?  This is just as preventable as that!  Why take any chances?  Grammas of the world, we have our work cut out for us.

Dr. Carl Bell, a psychiatrist in Chicago, began sounding the alarm about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder four years ago.

Source: This Chicago doctor stumbled on a hidden epidemic of fetal brain damage | PBS NewsHour

This Chicago doctor stumbled on a hidden epidemic of fetal brain damage | PBS NewsHour


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Gramma Nettie seeks the treasure!

Children need to explore their surroundings.  Gramma Nettie needs a way to do this.  Here are a couple of free activities for families to get into some outside activities.  By using some free apps on my smartphone, I can take the grandkids out to explore their environment.



The first one I got involved in was GeoCaching.  According to the website,

“Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt ….”

Players hide containers in hidden locations, and upload GPS coordinates to the website.  Finders use the website ( to search the map for nearby caches. You can use the coordinates on any GPS device or smartphone to get near the location.

But eventually, the player has to stop looking at the device and start looking at his surroundings.  He has to start thinking about where the cache might be.  He has to look high.  She has to look low.  This video explains how it is done:

Be sure to take some sort of small item to trade.  It could be a coin, or a bracelet or those rubber bands in the shape of an animal.  But don’t put food in, for obvious reasons.  Also, take a pen to sign the log book.

This is a very VERY popular sport with about 2.5 million caches worldwide and over 6 million players.  Yes, worldwide.  I have yet to be in an area without a cache.  And to think they’ve been hiding around you all this time!

As an example, check out the Argo Gold cache hidden by one of the counselors.  I haven’t found it yet, but I intend to try again soon.

You can take GeoTours in several continents.  A few that caught my eye was the Bigfoots Search in Bonneville Washington, the Santa Fe National Historic Trail GeoTour, the Schatzheuterin GeoTour in Germany, the Washington State Parks Centennial GeoTour, Thingsites GeoTour, Dinosaur Train GeoTour,  I won’t get to all of them, but they caught my eye none-the-less.

One GeoCacher suggested we adopt a secret hand signal to indicate we are fellow cachers.  Read what he has to say here:


Another growing sport is called Munzee.  I know, it is an awkward name.  It is a variation of the German word for coin, but with an extra “e” added at the end.

This is also a treasure hunt, but without the treasure.  Instead, the player uses a free app on her smartphone to find a hidden QR code.  She then scans it, which gives the distinctive — and satisfying — “ding” and voila! you have just earned five points.

There are not as many Munzees deployed.  In fact, in my own county I have pioneered all but three of the deployments.  It is a lonely job, but somebody has to do it.

An interesting Munzee is the Galerie Trinitas near the campus of Great Falls University.

As a player, you can generate QR codes on the website, print them out and laminate them to deploy.  Or you could purchase some generic sticker munzees to place out and about.  It is a cheap hobby, and I have some of each.

When I deploy munzees, I try to choose a site of interest, or has fascinating history involved.  In my city, there is an old hotel, an old bank and other historic buildings.  There are also lots of old mining campsites in the mountains.

I have placed munzees at the top of mountain passes, and at some photography sites at the wildlife refuge.  All of these are great places to deploy munzees, and then add the historical description on the webpage for everyone to learn.  Again, great activity to get the grandkids out and about.

Choose one or choose both, and get out there for new adventures! — Gramma Nettie



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