Health

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My grandnephew, Lucas Iverson, like the rest of the American school children, has had a very unusual school year…one that ended long before it was scheduled to. For most kids, while the missed ending of the school year was not good, for Lucas, it was really more detrimental than the normal student. Down Syndrome means that Lucas needs structure, and for him, that is school. Nevertheless, I think his parents, Cassie and Chris Iverson, did an excellent job of teaching their two children. Because of Lucas’ condition, Cassie and Chris have had to be very “hands on” in his education. Lucas is thriving in his mixed schooling situation, and that is largely to the credit of his parents, who have been teaching their son from his birth, Lucas had some challenges that made early training essential.

I love looking at pictures of the Iverson family. Zoey has been her brother’s champion for the time she was old enough to know her brother was there. She always makes sure that he is included in the activities. It’s not like her parents would leave him out of things, but she has decided that it is her responsibility, so she does her thing. She encourages him to always try harder. She was instrumental in his learning to walk, but more importantly, Zoey has been instrumental in letting people know that her brother can do more than he or anyone else ever thought. Zoey sees an open book where Lucas is concerned. She has no doubt that he can do anything he wants to do. She makes sure he knows that she has confidence in him. She loves him very much.

With schools closed, Lucas and Zoey have been having a sort-of camp/school in their neighborhood. Their mom calls it “Sidewalk School.” It is when the teacher or other volunteer comes to the home of the children, and holds class, outside. These sessions are such a good idea, because so many kids need a measure of student/teacher one-on-one time, and this is a way to do it safely, and effectively. Normally, one-on-one time is a part of the normal class time, but since the school’s are closed, one-on-one time has been thrown out along with the regular class time. I’m just glad that Lucas has so many people in his life, who have picked up the pieces to help him stay on point. Today is Lucas’ birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

New babies are always so much fun for a family to receive. They bring so much joy to the family. Recently, our family was blessed with a new addition when my grand niece, Katy Balcerzak and her partner, Dylan Herr had an adorable baby boy named Max Robert Herr. Max was born on June 14, 2020, at 5:41pm after a 17 hour labor that ended in a rather dangerous and terrifying delivery proceeded by 3½ hours of pushing. During the delivery, Katy spiked a high temperature, and little Max’s heart rate slowed, but the Lord took care of them, and they came through with flying colors. We are very thankful for the happy ending of that labor that brought them their sweet Max, who weighed in at 8 pounds 14 0.ounces, and was 21¼ inches long.

While Max made a dramatic entrance into the world, his life since then has been much more relaxed. He is a sweet, easy going baby, who is very mellow and loves to be held…preferably all the time. Right now, he loves to sleep…so much so, that his parents have to wake him up to eat most of the time. Max loves his daddy very much, but at this point, he is a mama’s boy who calms right down when Katy picks him up. He loves his mommy’s voice, and their bond is one that comes from spending nine months connecting to each other. Such a sweet bond, between mother and son.

Max is been receiving visitors from time to time. Dylan’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law have come by to meet him and get a few cuddles. And Katy’s mom is visiting right now, and Katy says she is the “Baby Whisperer.” Grandma’s do have a knack when it comes to their grandbabies. Most of Katy’s family live in Casper Wyoming, so many of us have not had a chance to meet little Max yet, but we are all looking forward to meeting him very soon. They are planning a visit to Casper over the 4th of July. In the meantime, we are very much enjoying all the pictures that Katy and Dylan are sharing with us. Max, for his part, is taking everything in stride. He had decided that he is a happy, social baby, dazzling his visitors with cuddles and smiles, and everyone loves it. Welcome to the world Max Robert Herr!! We love you already!!

Just under seven months ago, my Aunt Virginia Beadle left us to go to Heaven. Whenever I think of her, I picture her sweet face, always smiling gently at me. She never said a harsh word to me or anyone else I know of either. Oh I suppose she did get angry or speak harshly at some point in her life, but not in her latter years…not that I know of. Aunt Virginia just always had a sweet disposition.

Aunt Virginia’s heart was with her family. She loved each of them dearly. Aunt Virginia had 5 children, one of whom, Christy passed away shortly after her birth in 1967; and one, Forrest, born in 1956, whom she adopted as a baby. Forrest passed away in 2005. Her other children were Stephen, born in 1962; Betsy, born in 1965; and Billy, born in 1969. She was very proud of all of her children, and loved them very much. Of course, with children, come the blessings of grandchildren and later, great grandchildren, and Aunt Virginia was very blessed in both of those areas too. She was also very blessed with some wonderful children-in-law, who took great care of her in her latter years. I am very proud of all of her family for the care they gave her. As a caregiver in the past, I know that while they never feel like a burden, taking care of a parent can be a very taxing task. You would never change a thing, but you find yourself very tired while you are working to care for a parent. Aunt Virginia was able to live mostly at the homes of her children in her latter years, and with the exception of a few short nursing home stays after an illness, she did not have to move into a nursing home permanently. As most of us know, that is something many people worry might happen to them when they get older.

Aunt Virginia was always a tiny little woman, very petite, and at least in her latter years, rather short. I don’t know what her height was when she was younger, but the last times I saw her, I remember thinking that she was the size of a 10 or 12 year old child. Nevertheless, don’t let her size fool you. She could handle her own, at least before time took away her strength. Still, she was able to walk and take care of her own needs for the most part right up until her passing. I know that I will always have great love and respect for my dear Aunt Virginia. Today is Aunt Virginia’s 90th birthday and her first one in Heaven. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Virginia. We love and miss you very much.

It’s a strange thing to have something you have expected to last for a certain period of time, come to an abrupt end. You find yourself hanging in limbo, and it can become depressing, or I suppose it could become exhilarating, if it was something you didn’t really like anyway. Such has been the case with the 2020 school year, and the Covid-19 Pandemic that changed everything. Yes, the students are still in class, at least virtual class, but it really isn’t the same. I understand about homeschooling, but for parents who did not expect to make that commitment, it can be a daunting task. There is more to it than just the classwork too. Kids need structure, and having summer begin at Spring Break threw everyone into a tailspin. At first it just seemed like a really long Spring Break, then when the virtual classes started, they really started to miss the time spent with their friends and their teachers…even the tough ones. It seems that being in class with a teacher who makes you work for your grade, is preferable to being at home with your parents acting as your teacher, and you are in detention, even if you did nothing wrong.

At first, when it was just the extended Spring Break, and people were staying at home, no one really noticed that he kids were out of school. Then, as the weather got warmer, people got out on the trails and on the playgrounds, still “social distancing,” but getting a little bit of fresh air and removing themselves from the “cabin fever” that was quickly threatening their sanity. Suddenly, we became very aware that these kids should be in school. While the weather was warmer, it wasn’t summer yet. The school year of 2020 had only officially run for seven of the nine months it was supposed to. In fact, truth be told, school should still be in session…even now. And yet, while summer vacation is not here yet, the schools are closed. The 2020 school year hasn’t officially ended, and it isn’t officially in progress either. Parents are worried about the education their kids got this last quarter. Virtual classes were shorter that normal, and so the kids spent far less time in virtual class too. Nothing about the last quarter of school was normal. The kids didn’t always get to class, but did the homework, thinking it was enough, and for some of them, maybe it was, but what of the rest of them…the ones who needed that class time. Were they left hanging…time will tell, I guess.

The next school year is still up in the air too. There are schools who have said that they will open, and others who will continue the virtual program. That has parents up in arms too, because they are preparing to go back to work, and they will need someone to be home with their children while they work. A virtual teacher doesn’t really replace the safety of being in the classroom with a teacher in charge. All the “experts” have said that life is going to take on a “new normal,” and they may be right, but I think that if school doesn’t start back up next school year, there will be a lot of parents who might need to start taking Prozac or something similar. Most parents find themselves impatiently awaiting the end of summer so the kids can go back to school, but this year was like the summer that never ended. The kids are just as bored, and there was no place to send them. The pools aren’t going to open, the rec centers either, and there is only so much a kid can do at the school playground. The walking paths are frequented by kids on bicycles and longboards, and even kids walking their dogs, but the reality is, these kids need to go back to school. They are designed to be social beings, not socially distanced.

My niece, Cassie Iverson is a wife and mother of two children. She is also an activist for the causes she believes in. Most of them are causes for the protection of family and children. Cassie and her husband, Chris lived in a rented house while she was pregnant with their first child, their son, Lucas, who was born with Down Syndrome. They found out that the house had black mold, but the landlord wouldn’t do anything about it. Of course, there are no known ties between black mold and Down Syndrome, but there are many health problems that are associated with black mold. At that time, there seemed no way to get the satisfaction she sought from her landlord, so in the end, they move to a better home.

Cassie and Chris have fought through a number of health issued with Lucas, and they are very careful about his treatments. While many people would not agree with them, they are against vaccinations, because they feel that the ingredients in them are more dangerous than the disease the vaccination is trying to prevent. I don’t know which side of the coin my readers are on, and in this case, I have now desire to debate the vaccination issue, but rather I just want to say that it is my belief that each set of parents have the right to make that choice for their children, and that they should feel safe in doing so. I don’t think that anyone should be subject to verbal attacks because they have differing opinions on this or really, any other of the hot button issues. The best thing about our liberties, is that we have the right to chose what is best for our family. The worst thing about our liberties, is that we risk making other people mad.

Whether you agree or not, we need people who will bring to light the other side of the coin, and that is what Cassie does. That takes courage in the current hostile climate in our nation. We face the same issues concerning the current Covid-19 Pandemic. There are so many views that no one knows what to think. That is why, we all have to make our own choices. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! I hope you got to do something fun. Have a great day!! We love you!!

In 2013, my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg’s life turned completely around when she lost over 300 pounds, after a near-death, but in her case reversible set of conditions. It was going to be a long road ad would take almost unheard-of willpower to get Brenda to a place of health. She wasn’t sure she could do it, but she knew she must. So began Brenda’s long journey to health. Brenda had never really exercised, at least not for very long, but she knew that had to change, if she was going to survive for very long.

Most people who find themselves in such a grave position, try for a short time, and then give up, thinking that the process is simply beyond their ability. It is just too hard to do, too much to stick to, and too depressing for many people to stick to it. I have watched so many people over the years, who have given up the fight, and ended up losing the battle with weight, and the ensuing health issues. When Brenda began her journey, there were no guarantees. She was going to have to do this, because no one could make her do it. She was really scared. She told me that she had no idea how she was ever going to get where she needed to be. I told her that she was going to do it one step at a time. I think it was at that point, during that talk, that Brenda saw her life in front of her, and the two directions it could go; and she made a choice.

Unlike many other people, Brenda never looked back. She followed Weight Watchers, and she started walking. Sometimes it was all she could do to walk a short distance…with her walker. Brenda persevered, before long, she was walking further, and dreaming of riding a bicycle again. Before long her dream of riding a bicycle came true and now she rides 20 miles or more a day, sometimes even in rain or snow, if it’s not too icy. These days many people would call Brenda an exercise fanatic, and they would be right, but if you ask her, she will say that she would rather be an exercise fanatic, than some of the other harmful things she used to be. I agree with her there, but the thing that I am most proud of is the fact that Brenda has never gained the weight back. That is an almost unheard of feat. All the weight loss programs tell you they are going to teach you to keep it off, but if you aren’t willing to fight for this new you, by living an active lifestyle, no amount of dieting will keep that weight off. Exercise is a must…no matter what they tell you. Brenda got that part figured out right away, and that made all the difference. She is now 7 years into her healthy life journey, and the trip is far from over. Today is Brenda’s birthday. Happy birthday Brenda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

With the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent shut down of much of our country, including the schools and many businesses, Americans have faced many challenges…among them, the loss of many sports, at least temporarily. Now, as the country begins the reopening process, sports of all kinds have taken on a different look. Slowly, the summer sports are getting started again. The stands are empty, because social distancing doesn’t permit people to sit so close as they would sit in the stands. The coaches, and reluctantly, the parents decided that it was more important to let the kids play, than to wait until the parents could watch. It has been a similar story in all areas of sports.

For the professional sports, many changes had to be made. A new kind of baseball, Nascar, football, and many other types of sports. Sports had to be reinvented…or a lease the spectator part of sports had to be reinvented. Some sports have missed their opportunity for this year, and they are holding out hope for a real season next year. Even the news was different, because normally after the news and weather, came sports. The sports was still there, but there were no games to recap. We heard instead, about future plans, college draft choices, and the fact that there would be no sports for the time being.

It wasn’t just the professional sports either. Bowling alleys closed weeks before the end of the leagues’ schedules were finished. League officers waited, hoping to get back in time to finish the season, but it was not to be, so reluctantly, they divided the prize money based on the standings at the point when the bowling alleys closed. most prize money was mailed out, but a few waited until this past week so they could meet for the purpose of distributing the funds.

As Memorial Day approaches, it seems that the annual car shows have also fallen victim to the Covid-19 shutdown. That is a sad thing for many people, my husband, Bob being one of them. He practically spends the whole weekend looking at the cars. This time, like so many events this year, will be different. No car shows, little travel, no graduation ceremonies (at least not in the normal sense); just the official end to the school year, since it unofficially ended at spring break…the longest spring break in history. No one failed, and we have no idea how far behind they will be next year, or what returning to school will look like for sure. All we know is that like sports, life reinvented…will go on.

My nephew, Rob Masterson has had what his wife, Dustie recalls as a “not very interesting” year, but as I talked to her, I determined that maybe that analogy wasn’t quite accurate after all. Rob, who is a supervisor in the auto shop and tire sales area of Sam’s Club, has done something that no other employee of that area of Sam’s Club has done so far. Rob became the first Sam’s Club employee, at this location, to complete all of his out of state tire trainings. At his trainings, Rob learned everything anyone could possibility ever want or need to know about tires, and probably more than most of us ever cared to know. Nevertheless, Rob found it quite interesting. He told Dustie that he drove cars with new tires on the front and then another one with them on the back to feel the difference. He got to drive all kinds of tracks on many different vehicles and wheels.

Dustie is sure, and I would agree, that Rob’s favorite training trip was to Las Vegas. The Vegas trip was the final training trip, so Dustie told me that the training was a little more relaxed. I would say so!! According to Dustie, “He got to drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini, and an Alfa Romeo on the last Vegas speedway. He got some video of it. He was driving like a madman!” Not many of us, who are not racing drivers, get the chance to feel what it is like to race on an actual speedway…much less to drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or an Alfa Romeo in the manner of a driver in a real race. Rob got that opportunity, and he relished it. I’m sure many men would have.

Work, for Rob, might not have seemed interesting to Dustie either, but for most of us, this year has been quite interesting, indeed. How many years have most workplaces adopted the practice of wearing medical masks. Not many who are not medical workplaces, I would wager. Nevertheless, while at work, and especially while helping customers, masks have become mandatory in many businesses. The jury is still out as to how effective the wearing of masks is, in disease prevention, but for now, this is the situation in which we find ourselves.

Because they have worked so much this year, Rob and Dustie and decided that they owe it to themselves and their children, Raelynn, Matt, and Anna to take some trips this summer. They decided that even though travel is necessarily somewhat limited right now, Wyoming has enough historic and beautiful places to allow them to spend all summer traveling and learning the history right here in their home state. They are planning trips to Devil’s Tower, and Thermopolis for sure, and are looking are several other places too. I’m sure they will have a wonderful summer, for sure. Today is Rob’s birthday. Happy birthday Rob!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My sister, Caryl Reed is a retired Respiratory Therapist. With everything going on, I’m surprised she was not asked to come back for a time, but the hospital where she worked was a smaller hospital, and maybe that made the difference. Still, she did go back to work part-time at Professional Home Oxygen, where she works about 12 hours a week as a tank fill technician. Caryl’s road to respiratory therapy was not an easy one, and at one point got completely railroaded. Caryl was living in Oak Harbor, Washington at the time, and had walked to the school to pick up her daughter, Andrea Spicer. On the way, it began to rain, and she slipped on the wet grass and badly broke her leg. The break required surgery to place pins and screws in her leg. Needless to say the recovery time caused her to completely lose all the time she had put in. If she wanted to be a respiratory therapist, she would have to start all over. It was a devastating blow, but Caryl would not be deterred. She persevered and began again.

During the time that she was trying get things restarted, her life changed in many ways…not the least of which was a move to Rawlins, Wyoming with her new husband, Mike. The Carbon County Memorial Hospital made the decision to put Caryl on in their Respiratory Therapy Department, contingent upon her finishing and passing the necessary tests to receiver her degree and license. It was a good risk for them, as Caryl did finish and pass the tests. She soon became one of their head Respiratory Therapists, and when she retired, they truly hated to see her go, but shift work and long hours on her feet convinced Caryl that it was time. She and her husband, Mike were preparing to go another direction…their eventual move to Casper, after Mike retires. They have been paving the way for that move by buying a beautiful and large piece of land west of the city, and proceeded to build their home there. Caryl hasn’t lived in Casper, for most of her adult life, and we have missed her. We ar all looking forward to having her and Mike living in Casper, where we can all spend more time together again. Of course, she is already enjoying her retirement, and being able to do the things she wants to do, and previously didn’t have the time to do. She had a wonderful career, and it is something she will always be glad she chose to do. Her perseverance just goes to show that even in the face of adversity, we can be victorious if we push forward, and never give up. Today is Caryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Caryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Andrea Spicer is a single mom, who is very dedicated to her son Topher. He is her world and she wants the very best for him. During the current, Covid-19 Pandemic, Andrea and Topher have been “sheltering in place” like most of the rest of the United States. Andrea is a chef at The Turnbuckle restaurant at the Best Western Hotel in Rawlins, Wyoming. Because she worked in a restaurant, and they have been closed down in the quarantine, she has been laid off and spending most of her time at home. My first thought about that was the question, “How is Andrea adjusting to being a homeschool teacher?” The answer was that she didn’t have to. Topher is in high school, and so the online classes set up by the schools were handled on his own. He is a good student, so there has been very little help needed by Andrea.

That fact could have left Andrea with nothing to do but sit at home. Nevertheless, she has decided to try her hand at a few new things instead. Andrea is a chef at work, but that is a different thing than being a baker. Now Andrea has discovered that she has a real talent for baking, and from what her mom, my sister, Caryl Reed, tells me, Andrea is a very successful baker too. Caryl sent me a couple of pictures of Andrea’s baked goods, and told me that they were absolutely yummy. I especially like the Apple Crumble Pie. The pictures she sent told me that they were also very pleasing to the eye. Both details important when it comes to food. It looks like her baked goods have passed the test in both of these areas. She might be the new baker at the Turnbuckle.

Andrea has also decided to try her hand at painting. I can tell you this, my own painting is best seen covering a wall, rather than hanging on one. I think my talents are best expressed elsewhere. Andrea likes abstracts, and she has put her interest on the canvas. I think they are great. They are very bright and they draw your imagination into the painting. Abstracts become different paintings to different people. That’s what makes them so special. If a painting can only be one thing, then that’s what it is, but an abstract can be many things. Sheltering in place can be boring and hard, but Andrea has found new ways to stay busy and engaged, and the time with her son has just added to her blessings. Today is Andrea’s birthday. Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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