Sunday, May 31, 2009

A New Heart For Daddy

Well, sorta...three new bypassed blood vessels to the heart.

For the last few years I have been living in fear. Every time my phone would ring and I would see that it was my parents calling, I would be afraid to answer. I was afraid that the other end would be bad news about my dad's health or my brother's health. It just is what it is.

This past Wednesday, early morning, I got that call.

My dad had chest pains early Wednesday morning and it wasn't the first time this had happened. My wonderful and rock of a mom followed her instincts and took him to the E.R. despite my father's resistance although he now admits that he always had a feeling that something wasn't right with his heart.

At first I didn't think it was anything too major since it was not a heart attack. Don't let the stigma of the words "heart attack" trick you into believing nothing is wrong if there isn't an actual "heart attack". After a full day Wednesday of waiting in the E.R. because the hospital didn't have any rooms, and a full day of waiting for a very disappointing doctor which I will not get into because it is ridiculously irritating and not important right now, we finally got to see the amazing cardiologist that is Dr. Wong. Yes, of course he is Asian. Our family just attracts the Asians somehow. :)

Anyway, Dr. Wong had his amazing Asian doctor instincts in tact and sensed something was not quite right based off my dad's symptoms, his health history, and that my dad was still having chest "twinges" and small pains while just laying in the E.R. makeshift-room all day. I honestly can't say I know why or what Dr. Wong saw and knew, but I'm glad he did. After battles with the VA Hospital and insurance, the decision was made to have dad transferred to another hospital on Thursday morning where he would have an angiogram.

At this point I thought things would be fine. I went back to work on Thursday morning and planned to go the the afternoon angiogram and back to work afterward. My awesome Aunt recently had a heart scare too and an angiogram. Her angiogram results went well and I assumed that my dad's angiogram results would show similar findings. I was uber wrong.

After about a little over an hour of waiting for Dr. Wong to come out and let us know what was going on inside my dad's heart, Dr. Wong gave us some surprising news. My dad had 70%-80% blockage in three vessels. He would not be allowed to go home and he needed to have open heart surgery pretty quick. I have a feeling that Dr. Wong's great bed side manner skills didn't let on that it was as serious as it was because I and the rest of my family have not seen a surgery planned so quickly.

The angiogram results were discovered around 3:30 in the afternoon and blood was being drawn around 4:30 in the afternoon in prep for the surgery that would occur the following morning. At first his surgery was tentative for either Friday afternoon or Saturday. My mother called me around 7:15 Friday morning to let me know that the surgeon, Dr. Kinally (I have no idea if I spelled that correctly) had just been in to see dad and told them that he would be prepped for surgery and taken down around 8:30 am for his triple bypass heart surgery at 10:00 am.

Well, daddy did great in surgery! We were told it would be at least 3 hours and his surgery was actually only about 2 hours. Dr. Kinally said daddy did great and there were no complications.

So, it's Sunday and daddy is recovering incredibly well. Obviously his chest hurts and the pain pills and Sir Koffs A Lot are his best friends...other than my mother of course. He will be in the hospital for a couple more days and he can't lift anything over about 5 lbs for at least 6 weeks.

Hopefully daddy will take his new bypassed blood vessels and feed them healthy foods and work them out with some walking a few times a week when he's finally able to get around. I might have to become a bit of a nag.

But for now, I'm so happy he's recovering well and so happy that so many people have been concerned about his recovery. Thanks to everyone.

Obviously I have pictures to share!!! The entire time daddy has been joking about whether or not he was going to make it onto my blog. He should know that I can't resist a good open heart surgery patient to exploit.

Daddy and Sir Koffs A Lot

Me kissing my daddy.

Mom feeding dad pudding

My sister It's Because I'm the Mom kissing dad. She had to fly in last minute from Oregon.

My niece and nephew who also came in from Oregon.

Enjoy and cherish your family despite your differences. Love one another, cherish one another, accept one another, enjoy one another.

Keep on Keepin on.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Attack of the Snails

Our home has been infiltrated by snails. They are everywhere...well, they're everywhere on the outside of our house. We seriously counted about 10 snails (that we could see) on one outside wall and then accumulated a few more out of just a small section of our front yard.


...and then there was this one little loner on our back porch. My little Ruby just sat and watched it without bothering it all. She's so sweet.

I'd say that he's not so bad lookin when you get close up.

I don't know much about snails, what they eat, what they do, or whatever their purpose in life is (if they have one)...but I am definitely going to google it.

Keep on Keepin on.

Friday, May 22, 2009

When Are You Going to Get Married?

That seems to be the popular question to ask me lately. I’m beginning to believe that everyone got together and decided to ask me this question all at the same time thinking it might get me in some kind of hurry. So, I’m setting the record straight.

If you know me really well, you know that I am kind of the exception to most girl rules. I don’t like the color pink, I don’t like scrapbooking, I don’t care for crafts, I don’t enjoy shopping, I’m not a fan of heels or owning lots of shoes, and I don’t like to wear make-up. I'm sure I could come up with more dislike, but I'll leave it at that. I like comfy jeans especially if they have holes, tight comfy t-shirts, flip flops or any form of sandal or cool athletic shoes. I like having messy natural hair with no hair products in it and I don’t brush my hair either. I got a haircut last week and it was the first haircut I had gotten in a year and 4 months. I enjoy being outdoors and doing adventurous activities or reading a book. The one girlie thing that I can really admit to is that I love wearing dresses in the summer.

I definitely have never been in a rush to get married or have kids. Final.

Sadly and to much of everyone’s disappointment and dismay, this is probably not going to change…at least for now. Go ahead and curse and scoff at me…I’m used to it and immune to it by now.

I explained to an inquiring mind the other day that I just don’t feel the need to rush into getting married. I want it to be right and when I know it is right it will happen. This inquiring mind pleaded that they just wanted to see me settled and happy; and to that I say: I am happy. I don’t need to be married to someone to be happy. And for this thought process I am grateful.

I don’t know how I came to be so unconventional, non conservative, stubborn, or just plain different from most people around me; I just am. If it makes you feel any better, I do want to get married…eventually, but I’m still only 26 years old (almost 27 years old in July, cough cough) and it will happen when it is supposed to happen. And to disappoint you probably even more, I don’t even know if I want kids. I might, but I just don’t know right now. I might want to adopt a little Asian baby.

So, if you’re curious when I’m going to get married, you know just as much as I do. I don’t know. I’m sure when I do know something, you will know shortly after.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that most of this inquiry is due to love and care and worry. But, trying to scare me into getting married soon by saying, “Your dad is not getting any younger” just won’t fly with me in my book. I’m very aware of what is going on around me, but I’m still not putting myself into a situation if I’m not prepared for it.

Plus, if I were to begin thinking about getting married, it still probably wouldn’t happen for a while because I’ve never seriously thought about what kind of wedding would suit me well. And I’m sure I’d be totally indecisive about it and it would take me a very long time to figure it out. So, don’t get your hopes up anytime soon, people. I’m not.

Love you. Wish you well. I hope everything is beautiful and happy in your life. Let’s just enjoy today and wish for an even better tomorrow.

Keep on Keepin on.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Twilight: New Moon

The obsession continues. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Keep on Keepin on.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Some Picture Love

I've noticed that I hadn't posted pics in awhile so I decided to post some pics of a couple of cycling race trips. Sparky and I have been crazy busy between work, moving, 4 dogs, and his out of town cycling races. I have to say that I am quite relieved that we are home this weekend and next weekend. But, our small weekend trips are definitely fun.

That's the biggest pancake I ever did see.

Here come the Pros. This was last weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the Joe Martin Stage Race.

I'll just take pictures of my feet.

Should someone tell him he has to race in a couple of hours??

Someone is not a morning person.

No Swine Flu for us!

After Sparky's crit at Velo Tek in Kansas.

Kara and Jerry watching Sparky's crit at Velo Tek in Kansas.

Before the time trial at Velo Tek in Kansas.

Isn't that the goofiest outfit? You must be secure in your manhood to wear this.

Sparky and me at Jerry's birthday dinner.

Keep on Keepin on.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Triatheltes in OKC...and My Home

This weekend in OKC is quite unique and exciting. The Boathouse International Triathlon is featuring the 2009 Pan-American Triathlon Confederation Championship for Juniors and Elites. The races take place on Saturday, May 16th and Sunday May 17th at what most of us know as the Chesapeake Boathouse or Regatta Park in Downtown OKC near the Oklahoma River.

This event is great for OKC. There are many Junior and Elite athletes in town, some in OKC for the first time ever. Many of these atheletes are on track to make the 2012 Olympic Team and we should show our support. I have been somewhat disappointed with the lack of advertisement for this event. Many people I have spoken to about this triathlon haven't heard anything about this big event going on this weekend and I know I would never have known it was going on if Sparky and I hadn't been asked to host one of the athletes by a friend who is also a local triathlete... and I believe on some triathlete committee (don't quote me.)

So, Sparky and I got our spare room finally kind of put together at the last minute in hopes to provide a somewhat decent place for our athlete to stay. Sparky picked her up from the airport yesterday and she will be staying with us through Sunday. It's definitely interesting hosting someone for a weekend, or at least it's interesting to me since I've never let a stranger stay in the bedroom next to me. But, from my one evening of hosting so far, it wasn't bad at all. We may be lucky in that we are hosting someone who seems nice and appreciative. Plus, we know her focus is on her competition this weekend so I don't think she will require much attention or entertainment. I did offer up some dinner last night since Sparky and I were obviously going to need to eat as well and it was obviously the least I could do. Except for the fact that I really only know how to cook rice and salmon and I got lucky that she likes rice and seemed totally stoked that I had my own real rice cooker. Just sayin.

For the most part, we talked a little and then she kind of did her own thing. I don't ask people a lot of questions about their personal lives for some reason...I guess I don't feel the need to pry too much in people's lives. I figure if they want to tell me, they will. I'm probably wrong but I'm ok with that. I did gather that our athlete is intelligent, well educated, and has trained and lived in Australia for the last 6 or 7 months. I am also under the assumption that she is pretty good at what she does. It's definitely exciting to have her in our home and we might try to take her out to dinner tonight if her schedule permits...since all she's really seen of OKC is the airport, our home, and I think the race location...including the OKC river.

Don't get me started on the OKC river. Let's just say that it's pretty murky anyway (in my opinion) and there was a big storm the night before last. Our athlete swam in the river yesterday and I am going to go with the idea that she might be a pretty tough chick. I hope she doesn't mind that I just refered to her as being a pretty tough chick.

So, if you're looking for something unique and interesting to do this weekend in OKC, check out the triathlon. Here is a blurb about it pulled from the USA Triathlon website:

Elite athletes from the Americas and Caribbean nations will gather in the heartland of the United States for the 2009 ITU Pan American Triathlon Confederation Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., on May 16.

The elite draft-legal Olympic distance championship races are part of the weekend of activities at the Boathouse International Triathlon. Sprint distance junior and age group races are also on the schedule. A total prize purse of $30,000 will be awarded in the elite division.

The race also kicks off the five-race 2009 USA Triathlon Twenty-12 Elite Series, the first year in a build up to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The race begins off the docks of Chesapeake Boathouse with a one lap, 1.5k swim in the Oklahoma Rivers. Athletes will then bike 40k, four laps north and south up Lincoln Boulevard circling the Oklahoma State Capitol. The race ends with a 10k, four lap run along the River Trails west of the Boathouse.

Oh, and the athlete we're hosting is Jenna Shoemaker. She also has her own blog.

Keep on Keepin on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Never Know When It Could Happen To You

Yesterday was layoff day at my work. Many of us did not know it was coming and didn’t think it would happen at our place of work. But it did. About 50 people/co-workers/friends are out of work as of yesterday and many of them have worked at the company for a long time.

I think I heard that one of the unfortunate individuals laid off yesterday had worked for the company for around 20 or 30 years. Two friends in my department were laid off and one of them had worked there for 7 years. We didn’t see it coming and we didn’t suspect the day to be any different a day until we noticed the rent-a-cop standing rent-a-guard in the downstairs lobby. And we only thought maybe one person might be getting let go.

It’s definitely eye opening. It’s definitely surreal. It’s definitely frightening. It’s definitely heartbreaking. It’s definitely a situation you never want to experience. It’s definitely not an experience you would ever wish upon anyone else.

I am fortunate enough to have made it through this layoff round and hoping that there will be no further layoffs for my sake and for the sake of all my fellow co-workers and friends and their families. There is so much guilt in my heart right now for still having a job and for feeling so relieved that it wasn’t me…or at least it wasn’t me this time. My one year anniversary of working for this company and loving every minute of it despite the normal and expected ups-and-downs is a reminder of how vulnerable I am and how vulnerable I probably was during the selection process of who to “let go.” I am forever grateful for whoever fought for my employment and I think I know who they are.

I am also grateful that Sparky still has a job (we work for the same company) and his job still seems a lot more secure than mine. Although I am beginning to feel like “you never know”…a feeling that I know many people have felt for awhile now and I never could truly relate to; I could just be as truly empathetic as possible.

And that’s the least we can all do. Always be supportive of one another. Always appreciate those around you. Be empathetic. Be sympathetic. Be understanding. Listen. Appreciate what you have because there is always someone who has less than you. And you never know when it could happen to you.

Keep on Keepin on.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Make Your Body A Priority

Last week I sent out a mass e-mail to close family and friends asking for their support in my commitment to ride 18 miles in the Tour de Cure. I sent everyone my personal page where they can make an online donation and read why I have committed to this cause.

My original cause was to support Sparky's brother who lives with Type I diabetes. You can also view his Tour de Cure personal page here.

My cause as of last night is slightly different. I found out last night that my dad has pre-diabetes which can turn into Type II Diabetes. I don't know much about how serious his situation is except that his doctor is starting him on medication for it and has instructed my dad to meet with a dietitian...which my dad missed his first meeting with yesterday.

Awareness about Diabetes is crucial. The simple explanation of the differences between Type I and Type II diabetes is that most people who develop Type II diabetes have done so due to poor dieting and lifestyle choices. In most cases (not all), it can be prevented.

From National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)

Can insulin resistance and pre-diabetes be reversed?
Yes. Physical activity and weight loss help the body respond better to insulin. By losing weight and being more physically active, people with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes may avoid developing type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and other large studies have shown that people with pre-diabetes can often prevent or delay diabetes if they lose a modest amount of weight by cutting fat and calorie intake and increasing physical activity—for example, walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. Losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight prevents or delays diabetes by nearly 60 percent. In the DPP, people aged 60 or older who made lifestyle changes lowered their chances of developing diabetes by 70 percent. Many participants in the lifestyle intervention group returned to normal blood glucose levels and lowered their risk for developing heart disease and other problems associated with diabetes. The DPP also showed that the diabetes drug metformin reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 31 percent.

People with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes can help their body use insulin normally by being physically active, making wise food choices, and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Physical activity helps muscle cells use blood glucose for energy by making the cells more sensitive to insulin.

It is always important to be aware and conscious about what you are putting into your body and what you are doing to it. We all have the choice to live a happy and healthy life, we just need to arm ourselves with the facts. We need to teach ourselves that a sedentary and fast food lifestyle just do not mix together.

The last few years, I have been more conscious about what I eat and even more so that last few months since Sparky is a vegetarian. Now, I don't think I could ever technically become a vegetarian, but I naturally dislike beef and pork and normally just don't eat them. I regularly eat fish. I do throw in chicken every once in awhile... but not too often since Sparky normally eats the rest of my food. Food portioning is another very important factor in what you are feeding your body! Just because a restaurant gives you enough food for 2-3 people to be well fed, it doesn't mean you need to or should eat it all in one sitting...unless you ride a bicycle everyday for 2 hours or do some other form of workout that makes your body burn 3000 calories.

Another food choice of mine that I have been committed to the last few years is that I just stay away from FAST FOOD establishments. I do allow myself an Egg McMuffin from McDonalds once a week...if that, normally on Fridays, since I regularly eat oatmeal for breakfast. If fast food is my only resort, I will order grilled chicken and never ever get the sauce such as mayo. I never order the meals because I rarely drink soda and rarely eat french fries. In fact, I rarely eat any food that is fried.

And of course...I eat a lot of rice. :)

I know some of you are probably thinking I am crazy and obsessive and don't know how to enjoy some food, but you are wrong. I used to drink Dr. Pepper, Mt. Dew, and sweet tea like it was water; but it's not. Now, I actually drink water except for my coffee in the morning. I love chocolate, but I normally try to eat dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. I absolutely love chocolate milk, but thanks to Jenny-Poo's suggestion, I have switched to soy chocolate milk and it is delicious. I LOVE ice cream and think about it everyday, but I might let myself have some ice cream every two weeks. It takes time to teach and train your mind that certain foods and drinks that are easily available just are not good for your body. But it is a choice and it is very possible. You can have your favorite foods, just not every day and not in large portions.

I eat something small about every 2-3 hours which comes up to about 5 meals a day rather than 3 meals day because your metabolism slows down after about 3 hours and the next thing you eat, your body will latch on to...causing weight gain (obviously a very simple explanation).

Here are some other smart tactics if shopping for food: the fewer ingredients the better; and if you can't read or pronounce the ingredients, you probably shouldn't consume it. Try looking for versions of your favorite and regular food purchases that have the official USDA ORGANIC circular white and green certification on it; just because the product has "organic" scribbled really pretty on the label doesn't mean it is organic. It has to have the USDA certification.

Fruits and vegetables and beans...especially black beans (not pork n beans) are normally always good choices, especially if they are locally grown. The fewer the pesticides the better!

And I have also learned if you cut out buying so much meat, you can still afford the healthier choices that I hear most people complain are too expensive.

Now, I'm not claiming to be perfect, but I try to make smart food choices everyday and balance out food for pleasure and food as a necessity. Balance is always a great rule of thumb in any situation in life. I have emphasized that these are lifestyle choices and everyday choices that I make for myself because I have found that they work for me. Find out what works for you as long as you are truly being honest with yourself and listening to your body.

We all need to be smart and think about what we feed our bodies. We need to take care of our bodies and our minds and appreciate them every day. Is your Body a priority?

Keep on Keepin on.

Friday, May 08, 2009


Life is full of surprises.

A couple of weeks ago, my family celebrated my dad’s 65th birthday with a surprise Birthday Luau. First off, I am not, never have been and never will be much of a host. I prefer to take a very backseat and observatory role in social gatherings. I guess I’m just a little odd like that but I have come to accept this little quirk of mine. I love to watch and listen to others interactions and conversations.

So, we surprised my dad by telling him I wanted to cook dinner for him, my mother, and my brother at Sparky’s house. The suggestion that I wanted to cook dinner should have given something away in his head…he should know better than to think that I would do something like that. Anyway, one of the reasons for having it at Sparky’s house was that I knew my dad wouldn’t expect the entire family to be over there. And I was right!

He did not suspect a thing until he saw the little Hawaiian girl sign swaying in the wind in the front yard that said something like “Luau Here” or “Party Here”. He was super surprised and it was fun to do that for him.

This is a pic of myself, my mother, the birthday boy, and my awesome bro.

A few days following the party, a few girls from work and I were sitting and while we were discussing very serious work related matter...somehow my dad's birthday party came up in the discussion. Anyway, the girls I work with wanted to see some pictures from the birthday party, so I sent them a few. One of the girls, who is a good friend of mine at work and out of work became very curious about a couple of people in one of my pics. This co-worker of mine and I have worked together for almost a year now. The pics I sent had small captions explaining "who" and "what" and there was one particular picture that caused a HUGE surprise...below is the pic.

Meet my dad and my cousins. Also meet my dad AND my CO-WORKER's cousins!

That's right. We have the same cousins...through marriage. Now my co-worker and I aren't related by blood, but we still joke that we are related and she never thought she would have an Asian cousin. SURPRISE! You kinda do now! And if you want to meet my kind-of cousin, she has a blog too!!!

FYI: She's white too. Just sayin. I'm surrounded.

Don't you just love all of life's surprises? I do.

Keep on Keepin On.