Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Mysteries of Me, Two Thousand One Three

I know me better than anyone else on God's green earth! I wonder about some of the things I keep doing over and over.  Do you wonder about some things you do also?  As we approach "two thousand one three",

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I said I'd Never Do It!

I've found it's true what they say "You change as you get older"! Until a couple of years ago, I had never had a dog live in my house.  Our family had a couple of outside dogs which we loved.  But I had always said "No dogs in the house!"  Steve coaxed a dog my Mom had been given into our home one day.  Immediately, he became our dog.  You've heard me talk about Hermy before, our stolen long-haired Dachshund.  It didn't take me long to fall in love with this adorable pet that lets me hold him whenever I want, sleeps right next to me and takes almost every step I do.

Last Christmas

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Your Dog's Wearing What?

Our family did Thanksgiving today.  How did your family celebrate? We haven't missed a 4th Thursday gathering in the last 28 years so this was new for us!  It was necessary to reschedule due to different work schedules.  I gladly made the unusual arrangements though because I'm just glad some body's working! lol

My Mom cooked a big spread.  I made desserts.  The food was delicious and as usual my Dad wouldn't

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why should you read this? Top 10 Reasons...

I browse a lot of websites during the day and I get tired of them, do you?  Sometimes I'd like to find a website where I can enjoy myself.  I'd like to find a place where I'm not exhausted or feel like a failure when I leave.  I believe my blog is the place.  I've designed the stories to give you

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I am the next Deen Team Blogger because...

I have a heart full of love! I blog about family antics. I love my family and I love fun.  A close knit family can “laugh and look over” life.   The purpose of The Happy Handicap is to inspire families to simply love on each other. I am handicapped but I'm not crying in my cornflakes.  Everyone is struggling to overcome something. Sharing and connecting with others is the best release from the pressures of life.  If you can’t laugh with your family, please have fun with mine!  Here's an example of what you'll get with me on the Deen Team.

I learn from my husband.   Steve loves tools.  He’s been buying tools for 27 blissful years.  We built a special place for them.  We call it the ...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Does this ever happen to you?

Sloane invited a new beau to dinner the other night.  I emailed her 5 menus for Ben to choose from. A meal just turns out better when you cook something people like!  He picked chicken and rice, broccoli and cream corn.  I've got good cookware, plenty of time and I don't need a recipe for these dishes.  I got this!  Dinner was set for 7 pm and somewhere between noon and 3...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, it's my 49th birthday and I'm a-liking it!  I thought I would write a blog and THANK all my new followers!!!  My birthday gift to you...not having to fish this blog out of face book.  I also want to insure you that I won't fill your email up with junk.  I write when I am inspired and genuinely have something to say.  I hope you find reading this entertaining and fun!

Reasons why I like my 49th birthday:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'm a Baker, Faker and Prosthetic Foot Maker

I'm a baker, a faker and a prosthetic foot maker. I'm not a joker, nor a smoker or a midnight toker.  Don't you hear that Steve Miller Band song when you read the title of this blog?  I've been singing "The Joker" since the title popped into my head!  Ooee baby I'll sure show you a good time.  Ooooooo, Ooooooo, and then the guitar solo..............can you hear it?  If not, click here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My aluminum cans had to say "Cheese"!

I need to read the paper more!  We get two local newspapers, one daily and one weekly, but I never pick them up except to get the coupons on Sunday.  Boy, was I surprised when I went to my nearest recycler and they had closed their doors....something about new laws.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Been there, surgically done that!

I've been thinking a lot in Sanibel and it seems writing a lot.  Creative energy is akin to exercise.  The more you exercise the more energized you get and the more you let your creativity spill out, it keeps flowing.  So, here' another blog post, mostly for women, I hope you enjoy it! Everywhere I go it seems like women are talking about menopause.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Untypical Tammy

Untypical Tammy is my new name, cause things around me have been a bit strange.  I didn't mean for this to come out in verse, but I guess it could have been worse?

It was like the night before vacation and all through the garage, we were packing the car with enough stuff to fill a barge.  Steve had everything neatly packed with shoes crammed into holes and beach towels folded in rolls.  I noticed the trunk of my car had been up for a while but I didn't question him for fear of his reply.  Men know what they're doing, even when they don't, I wish I had followed my intuition because the trunk light came back to haunt.  The next morning when we started to leave, the car didn't want to go, turning the ignition the battery said "Oh no, no, no"!  Steve searched for the battery and it could not be found, the owner's manual showed him the spot and the look on his face was profound!  Unpacking and repacking, the battery is in the trunk, Steve could have kicked himself and I wondered why I kept my mouth shut. It's so Untypical Tammy.

Sloane and I were walking the dunes, on our way to the beach, we couldn't get there too soon.  Our day was planned, sunbathers we'd be, but the path was exhausting and sweat started to bead.  We would lay on our towels and be happy with that until Sloane spotted a chair and umbrella stashed on the dune, we discussed borrowing it for our afternoon. "It'll be okay" was Sloane's tune!  She continued to bribe me with her bravery, "If the owner's come after us, leave everything to me.  I'll do the talking, wait and see".  Steve couldn't believe the audacity of our actions, I looked at Sloane for help and she acted like I was the one who snatched it.  The next thing I knew a lady was approaching and I begged Sloane to get out of the water and  explain our poaching.  "You've got our stuff" shockingly she exclaimed, "We carried them down for you" sweetly I explained.  I'm still marveling why I agreed to take them, embarrassed and shamed.  I learned a lesson and Sloane is to blame.  It's so Untypical Tammy.

I feel Bewitched speaking in rhymes, Dr. Bombay could cure me and wouldn't charge a dime.   Sloane suffered a kidney stone and Hermy's been puking, Steve meet an ex-CIA agent and I'm worried about enemy nuking.  The days seem long with the sun always high, but Florida is nice and I'm looking to buy.  I'll need some privacy for my tanning though because everyone doesn't understand my silicone toes.  It's so Untypical Tammy.

Writing lines and killing time,
The Happy Handicap


Thursday, July 12, 2012

florida fried Steve

Do you remember the old commercial, I think it was for Solarcaine to stop sunburn pain?  There was a little girl in the commercial that was sunburned and extremely red.  She said "I got a sunburn and I feel like a french fry"!  Some commercials just never purge from your memory.  Steve and I stayed on the beach for 3 hours yesterday.  I was the smart one and put on sunscreen and Steve was the one who said "Nah, I'll be OK".  Guess what?  Better still, I'll just show you.  Take a look at his red feet.
Needless to say, it has been an indoors day for both of us.  I didn't get too red but I got enough sun to enjoy one day inside.  Hermy stayed with us at the beach yesterday, barking at birds and digging in the sand.  He is also lounging around today and even though he had a fur coat on, I'm wondering if his skin isn't a bit touchy.  I love to pick him up and hold him in my lap like a baby.  This morning when I did that, Steve said "Tammy, when the dog keeps shrinking down like that every time you touch him, I think it means he'd rather not be held".  I pondered that for a minute and then thought, "He's not snapping at me or giving me his friendly disgusted low growl, so I'm thinking he stills wants his mommy to hold him".  Check Hermy out at the beach with us yesterday.

The events in Sanibel the few days have been rather normal.  It was kinda sad when the kids and my Mom left, leaving Steve and I all alone in this big house.  It's funny how you get used to the kids being gone but you never really get used to them being back. lol  I didn't want to see them leave but I did want to get this house back in order which I did immediately after they left!  When Sloane comes home from college for the summer, I just put my cleaning duties to the back of the burner because I know that when I remove the dishes from the den, they'll be right back before the end of the day or if I take her clothes to her room upstairs so I can see the top of my dryer, it will be invisible again by the end of the day.  I'm sure you have the same turmoil.  I would take a messy house full of my kids and their love any day over a clean house lifeless and loveless!

Steve did see an egret bird swallowing a snake on his morning stroll with Hermy.  We also saw one other unusual thing.  Take a look at the pic below.  We hope we don't end up like this guy.  It may be a little hard to see but it's a frog that may have been challenged by his friends to "step on the cracks break your mommas back".  I'm not sure if the air from the heat pump froze him stiff or if he panicked himself frozen stiff.  It's puzzling exactly how he got here and how he stays!
I'd appreciate it if you would leave me a comment and/or follow my blog especially if you like it!  Thanks!

Taking cover,
The Happy Handicap

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Am who I Am

Last week while shopping in Ingles, I was greeted by the manager of the store, Ken McCoin.  Ken is always so kind and polite.  He makes me enjoy shopping at Ingles and he makes Sloane happy to work for Ingles.  I hope Ken doesn't mind me retelling his story.

Ken broke a tooth, right in front!  He shared with me how hard it was to go around the store and talk to people trying to hide a broken tooth.  Then, he remembered reading my book, Labeled by Humanity, Loved by God and he said it gave him inspiration to smile openly and not be ashamed of his broken tooth.  He said to me "I am who I am".   His tooth story made me smile inwardly for the next few days.

We arrived at Sanibel Island on Saturday, June 30th.  Now...I don't like the beach for several reasons:
  1. I hate sand (it never lets go)
  2. The ocean scares me (it goes on forever)
  3. It's difficult to walk in sand (it tires my feet)
  4. People stare at me (I have to wear my prosthetics)
  5. I am not a sunbather.
As I was sitting on the beach, I looked down at my shoes and socks and thought of the pics that women post on facebook of their feet at the beach.  I decided to take my own. 

Cool pair of shoes, huh?  As I was taking this picture, Ken's story inspired me!  I am who I and socks on the beach and all! This made me smile outwardly.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July!  Happy Independence Day!  I'm going to look at my independence in a different way this year.  Independent of everyone else, God made me uniquely me.

Shoed, Socked and Beached,
The Happy Handicap


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Steve's Story

Steve's immune system is getting stronger every day.  It is miraculous how God has and is working all this out,  figuring out Steve has mold poisoning and putting all the pieces together.  If you have a minute, I'll tell you our story:

It started with what we thought was eczema on Steve's hands back in late 2008.  About the same time, he started recycling computer equipment for Mohawk in addition to his usual computer-related job.  This required him to go into the plant out of his normal office environment.  We tried everything for his hands without improvement and he was growing so fatigued he immediately went to sleep when he came home from work.  He also had body aches and muscle soreness 24x7.  I was just focused on his hands, trying to find help without looking at the whole body picture.  He started having slight shortness of breath about a year ago but we thought it was from COPD because he did smoke for several years but has been quit for 19 years.

A friend of mine sent me an email about asperigillus, a fungus that almost killed her Dad many years ago.  I disregarded the email for a while but God just kept bringing it to my memory and I took a look at it.  The more I researched, the more it sounded like mold/fungus might be the root of Steve's problems.  I found  doctors in Atlanta, Dr. Susan Tanner and Dr. Donald Dennis that are environmental specialist that perform mold testing and voila, he is allergic to mold and his immune system was so weak it couldn't fight it so it started to attack his lungs.  The lung specialist in Rome that did his biopsy couldn't tell us what caused the fibrosis, only that his immune system was attacking healthy lung tissue.  If you read on the internet though, the medical community, Harvard Medical School, New England Journal of Medicine and Johns Hopkins agrees that "environmental pollutants" are the cause for pulmonary fibrosis.

Long story short, God is amazing if we will seek him, listen and then do!  Now, why is Steve's immune system weak?  The environmental department at Mohawk tested the area where Steve did his computer recycling in the plant, mold everywhere from a roof leak.  They are having the area isolated, repaired and cleaned while Steve is in Florida.  Also, our house had a leak that we were not aware of.  We are having it repaired and cleaned while we are in Florida.  Steve was also exposed to mold in two other Mohawk facilities, one has been condemned and the other is full of people.  We haven't found the mold that his body is fighting hardest to clear out of his system, we believe it would be identified in one of those two locations.

Steve had lost his sense of smell and is regaining it so much that he can tell now when he comes in contact with mold and begins to sneeze, which is good but his throat also closes up, which isn't so good.  He can also smell chicken manure and skunks now! lol The beautiful thing is he is taking supplements (vitamins, minerals, probiotics, etc) to repair his immune system.  He is taking an anti-fungal drug and a very tiny, tiny dose of Prednisone to kick start his adrenal gland.  His body was so depleted! Oh, and we also identified he is allergic to gluten and many other foods he regularly ate.  I didn't realize either until this that 90% of your immune system is in your stomach.  That's why diet is SO IMPORTANT!

Anyways, shew!  It seems like a long road but the two doctors he is seeing in Atlanta thinks he can be well or much improved in six months if he eats correctly, takes the supplements and rids his environments of mold and pollutants!  He needs pure, clean air to breathe. We saw a new doctor Monday, June 25th, an endocrinologist.  Steve may need growth hormone to aid his recovery and Dr. Black will administer it if he does.  The stay in Florida has been encouraged by all doctors we've seen.  The salt air and good ozone will aid the healing process and when we return, his environments should be pretty pristine! I always thought people retire to Florida for the warm weather but that's only part of the benefit!

One more thing that confirmed it all for Steve and me.....the 2nd doctor we saw was pretty intense and he overwhelmed even me, with mold information the first time we saw him. He was very stern and a no-nonsense type of guy.  Our insurance is not paying for much of this treatment making Steve and I both skeptical, this is totally not mainstream doctoring.  However, on our 2nd visit to this guy (he's about 60 and looks about 35), I decided to quiet my fears and asked him how he knew so much about mold when he is an ear, nose and throat doctor.  He looked at me and said, Well, it's a God thing!  I didn't want to do this but it's what God wants me to do or called me to do, he said.  He continued to tell us about some of his practice successes and papers he's written on the subject. The fears just melted away for both of us!

Folks like you that have continued praying for us has certainly helped our spirits and encouraged me to keep digging.  Your prayers, God's amazing wisdom and knowledge has surfaced the improvement Steve is enjoying in only 1.5 months!  Thanks so much!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blown Away

I'm feeling a bit like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz today...Blown Away!  I don't own a blue gingham dress, have long enough hair to make nice pigtails but I do have a dog named Hermie.  This year has felt like five months in Oz with the Bad Witch and flying monkeys creating a scary scene that I'd like to wake up from.  Yes, the winds have been a-howling but, thank God, our house is built on the Rock. And if it weren't for the precious characters in my life, I might want to click my heels and go somewhere different than home.

Steve, my brave lion, far from cowardly.  Put em up, Put em up!  Which one of yous first?  I'll fight you both again if you want.  I'll fight you with one paw tied behind my back.  I'll fight you standing on one foot.  I'll fight you with my eyes closed.  Yes, he's everything a woman could ask for in a man.  He's brave, a fighter, protector and covered in hair all over.  If you've seen Steve lately, you know that's an exaggeration!  I love him and he'll fight for me, witch or no witch, guards or no guard.  He's going in and I can't talk him out of it. 

Sydnee, my scarecrow, the happiest one in the crowd!  She's full of funny faces and humor even in the toughest situations.  No, Oz never did give nothing to the scarecrow that she didn't already have.  Brains running out her ears, she has to keep poking them back in and I think a few may have spilled out.  She's always fashionable with the latest hats and scarves.  She's teaches Math and I can't even pass college algebra.  "The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining sides." - Scarecrow

Sloane, my tin man, a bit uptight and a little rusty around the edges with a heart of gold.  "And I was standing over there rusting for the longest time.  Now, I know I've got a heart 'cause it's breaking...".  Scary time of life for Sloane, about to graduate college and the future is uncertain but isn't the future always uncertain? Her heart will lead her and that ax that she carries will do the rest!  Keep your heart dripping with love and you might want to get some fashion advice from the scarecrow.  That hat looks like you bought it at Auto Zone.  Just sayin.....

 Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, my Dad and Mom.  This picture looks just like them.  My Mom always pointing and showing us how to do things and my Dad looking at her like he's heard it all before but I think I'll do it my way anyhow!  The support and love of Dorothy's precious family just like my Mom and Dad brought her back to Kansas which she called home.  I have never forgotten there's no place like home and there's nobody else like Mom and Dad. 

Trey, Sydnee's husband, is my Professor Marvel.  Trying to figure it all out.  He doesn't have a crystal ball or taro cards but he might try to use a poker deck.  He's an entertainer, thinks he's artsy and all.  I can tell Sydnee has been dressing him again!  In the end, although he's a philosopher wanna be, he doesn't have many of the answers but he is a great friend to all.  Everybody loves Trey, including me.  He's kind of a misfit but he likes it that way.  It keeps him mysterious and out there.  Just look at the picture of him.  It was turned a different way from all the others and I'm having to make up more and more writing about him to fill this space.  What the crap? 

Now that's what I'm talking about.....Ruby Red Slippers!  It would be nice if a Good Witch would give me a pair of ruby red slippers that I could make a wish and click my heels and presto, it's done!  But the facts are:  I couldn't wear the dang things if I had them.  The heels are too high and my prosthetics would make the sides bulge out!  I wouldn't even have enough toe action to click my heels together.   Big sigh.....
                                                     Over the rainbow and still I'm,
                                                                                                            The Happy Handicap

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sloane has a "friend" coming over....

So....Sloane has a new "friend" coming over!  "Not a boyfriend" she says, although he is a boy, rather a man.  When my kids were young, I'd never let them invite friends over because I didn't feel like I had time to clean the house properly.  They didn't like it but those were my rules.  Before Sydnee was married, she would help me clean to have a "friend" over and Sloane helped me clean today.  I might need a rule against "friends" coming over now but it did help me get Sydnee out of the house so I'm thinking these visits will do the same for Sloane!

About these visits...I do want my house to be exceptionally clean but I can never get EVERYTHING just right.  I'm gonna give you a few examples of what I mean.  First of all, we concentrated on these rooms (dining room, kitchen, den, living room and half bath).  The rest of the house did not get touched.  I don't know if you ever "specific room" clean like this but you should try it. 

Here's the living room.  At first glance, one might think all is OK.  BUT NOT SO upon closer inspection.  See those windows in the pic below, I have hired a carpenter to take those out and replace them with smaller, high efficiency ones because the sunlight is fading my wood flooring.  He hasn't gotten to it yet and I gave my Mom my curtain rods from that window.  So, in a pinch, I hung the curtains with some string rope that I had (notice the droop)!  Sloane can explain it to her "friend" if he notices.  Who cares anyway, especially with that big Christmas piece still on the mantel and it's March!  I think it's so pretty and Christmas is every day to me that sometimes I leave it there all year long!

Secondly, I always worry about my baseboards not being clean enough.  I wonder how many people actually check baseboards when they go to visit people?  Anyway, I'm hoping that the spit shine I put on the foyer tile will blind him enough that he won't notice the baseboards.  See below!

One of my greatest fears when having visitors, especially "friends" of my daughters, is they might need to use the bathroom.  I know this is a natural occurrence and I don't want them to "hold it" but my fear is a natural one too.  I am scared to death he will lift the toilet lift and a curly hair will stare him right in the face!  This wasn't Sloane's fear though, she just wanted me to get the dust off of my topiary roses.  See picture below.
We have steam cleaned the kitchen, dusted all the rooms and I'm going to sweep the porch now.  I wish that I would learn that my daughter's "friends" are not coming over to grade me on my cleaning skills.  I secretly already know that whatever shine I might manage to put on my house isn't the reason they come - because the beauty of either of my daughter's would outshine my clean house any day.  The thing I enjoy most about a "friend" coming over is getting help with the work!

Friday, February 24, 2012

my crooked view of cleaning!

It's cleaning day! I write that as I am blowing all the air out of my lungs from desperation and exhaustion!  I have been cleaning the entire day.  I don't call myself a housewife because I'm not married to this house!  This house hasn't courted me, proposed to me or kissed me, so, I'm not really a housewife rather a housekeeper or maybe even a house slave!  I enjoy a clean house but I despise getting it to that state.  I've made myself a few rules to live by and wanted to share them with you.

1.  Don't sweep or vacuum everyday.  I take pride in my work and like to see results!  I get bigger and grander results if I only sweep or vacuum once a week.

2.  Don't dust everyday.  I have environmental allergies and it is my healthy theory that keeping a house too clean prevents my immune system from building antibodies.

3.  Only use dishwasher safe cookware.  I've come to the conclusion if it's not safe to put in the dishwasher, it must not be safe to cook in!

4.  Don't mop everyday.  I know hard surfaces are resilient but I'm not taking any chances on wearing mine out prematurely.  Besides, if you can't see the dirt, it's probably not dirty, right?

5.  Don't do laundry on rainy days.  If you do, you can't hang it out on the clothesline to dry which increases the electricity bill.  This rule has worked out pretty well for me in 2012, it's been extremely wet and my laundry days have been scarce.

6.  Don't clean the shower everyday.  Keeping a tight budget this year and looking for ways to make money, I came across a research project that pays 15 cents a pound for mold and mildew (that's more than tin cans).  It takes several days for it to grow so even though I'm allergic, me, mold and mildew are the 3 amigos!

7.  Don't clean the refrigerator everyday.  I'm hoping my experiments will get me a guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory.  Sheldon is my hero!

8.  Recycle only on Thursdays.  I go around 2 pm every Thursday and there's no one else there!  It's easier for me to pick up items out of the "Free Stuff" pile without being seen.

9.  Don't ever move your husband's belongings anytime.  Ladies, this needs no explanation!

10.  Don't ever clean the upstairs.  Since me and Steve are practically empty-nesters, nobody goes up there anyway.

Now.....I have to clean more than it seems because I don't want Steve to think I'm just sitting at home all day doing nothing....that, would make me a house sitter!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Steve's Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my best friend and husband, Steve!  He's 55 today! We've been married (26.5 years)almost half as long as he's been alive.  I wonder if he's calculated that up or looked at that in such a way?  On the other hand, I've been married to him longer than half my life at 48.  It's a happy day, let's talk about something else. lol

Steve and I have shared many good times together, bad times together and everything in between.  With the help of God, we have two beautiful daughters, Sydnee and Sloane and a beautiful home.  I bet your mind went to the house we live in made of white vinyl siding and brick.  But, I'm talking about the home you see in the picture below.

This home is a shared bond of love that keeps us warm when the cold winds blow, makes us feel safe to sleep at night, welcomes us with outstretched arms, is always waiting for our return and keeps a light on in the window of our hearts for each other to find our way.  Yep, I definitely love my husband and as one commenter said on Facebook, this picture represents "Total Happiness". 

I'm not a sentimental person or a hopeless romantic, must've slipped off there for a moment.  I made Steve some pretzel Rolo bites for his birthday to share with his co-workers.  I also put on my makeup today, on a Tuesday, so he wouldn't have to strain his aging eyes to see my beauty!

Truly yours,
The Happy Handicap

p.s.  If you haven't watched the video at the top lefthand of the screen, please do!