Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year and Blessings to All!

Isabella Tayler Cunningham and James Lawson MacDonald (my grandparents) on their wedding day.

I chose this Auld Lang Syne song by Charles C Stanley because it sounds just like the 78 rpm records that my grandparents played when I was little. Maybe it was even this artist because he was from that era.

My grandparents were both born in Scotland and met after they came here. I don't know what year they were married, but I do know it was Valentines day.

I always meant to ask mom these things.

I love this song... Auld Lang Syne... but it ALWAYS makes me feel very sentimental and sad and missing the people I have loved and don't see anymore or the people I care about... but our paths have changed and so never see them either.

Even though I really do adore the song...the feelings it evokes are so strong...causing me to miss the special people in my life, both past and present... so much...that it almost hurts.

I was actually all weepy and sentimental listening to all the different artists playing this song... until I listened to Jimmy Hendrix playing it. That perked me up and I began to listen to the rest of his music and didn't feel sentimental anymore. :)

But... for the next couple of days... I guess I will be sentimental. :)

Tomorrow night we will be having a quiet evening at home. We will have a late dinner and are renting a couple of movies. One all macho for my husband and a comedy for me. I am open to suggestions if anyone has any recommendations. :)

And I just want to add...that I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting your blogs and appreciate your visiting me here. I wish everyone a healthy, prosperous and blessedly Happy New Year! :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

3 Hugs and a Thank You!

Okay...this pic may not be the warmest looking hug... but it is the SEAspray blog. ;)

I am a firm believer in being kind to people whenever we have an opportunity to do so.

We can never really know what is going on in the heart of another. It could be our smile or kind action that turns a person's negative thoughts around... maybe even saves a life. And maybe that momentary gesture causes ones thoughts to go in such a direction...that ripples of good emanate forward thus affecting others for the better. We just never know how our words or actions will affect another and possibly others as a result.

But just to uplift one struggling or despairing soul... well that is special in itself.

I know that I am someone who can usually pull off lots of smiles and be upbeat...even when things are going wrong or my heart is just breaking. I will say that this past fall and now Christmas season has been a little more difficult for me to pull it off.

Christmas hasn't even felt like Christmas. It has felt hollow for many reasons... but I tried. And my family has been patient with me. I feel guilty about it. Then again...I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am missing people that are no longer with us. And I am grieving what feels like a loss of my mother and even though she is still with us...It hurts to see the decline and the pain is exacerbated by my regrets for things... I could've done better... and let her down. Now I know...it takes two and I didn't wake up one day and decide to distance and avoid.

But when someone's life seems to be hanging in the balance or is snuffed out.... clarity of what is most important seems to light up like a neon sign. Maybe it is part of the human condition...I don't know. Like maybe we go on about our day to day lives...taking things for granted and never fully processing the long range implications of our behaviors... we are just busy running on that hamster wheel of life.

Those of you that have been reading this blog recently know about the things that are causing me to feel sad.

On top of all that...there are things that have me worried, concerned and frustrated... more than what would be the norm for me. Some things I haven't and won't discuss here. But mix it all together and it has been a heavy load... for sure.

Last week...I somehow managed to put together what has now become a traditional Christmas basket for my urodoc's office. They don't expect it, but it gives me joy to bake and put the goodies together for them. And of course... I use the Longaberger baskets for them because I know they appreciate them. And the women (lot of staff) get excited over the food and get all bubbly and appreciative and their enthusiasm warms my heart. My doctor is always appreciative and comments but I don't think he knew I brought it... and I was thinking about what I had to say and didn't think to tell him and just assumed he would see it or they would tell him.

I am glad they liked it because it didn't go exactly as planned.

This year ...I have worried that I lightly burned the cookies (BOTH times!) but the women I spoke with assured me they were good. The first batch of pumpkin cookies came out slightly burned on top and the 2nd batch.. I put on a lower rack and came out slightly burned on the bottom. Sigh! (My oven really is too hot sometimes and I don't know why) Then the brownies had been cooling for 2 hours, but were still warm when I cut them... and s-o-o they were crumbling. Nothing was going right!! The cookies were crumbling too.

I realized I wasn't going to make my appointment on time and called, but fortunately for me (not doctor) someone was a no show and so I could still come in. So I used my big snowflake Christmas basket. I had washed out the plastic liner but didn't have time to line with foil or plastic and so I hope they know it was clean. Of course it would be. Then I took a big Longaberger Christmas plate that I had filled with brownies and placed that over the cookies and covered them. Then I added hot chocolate, popcorn, a really good vegan trail mix, 70% and less little chocolate bars and chocolate liqueur bottles. But I had intended to add candy canes for a prettier presentation and I left their card on the kitchen table. I didn't fill it out and so I can use it next year for them or another group of people. (Card for a group) I wanted to add some nice words to the gift. The basket was quite heavy with food and I got to enjoy their enthusiasm and so I shouldn't obsess over the little things. And I wanted to use this very pretty Snowman Ribbon I have (my favorite) and goes best with the basket. But ...I didn't have time to get it and measure and cut and so I used the next best ribbon.

Now...I KNOW...they don't know what I didn't do and I still brought a lot.. but I know and so it bugs me. Hmmm...I guess that is just me lamenting over not being PRECISE with following my plans. :) Okay...so Mom was right with that one. :) mental note made...the next time I use that basket for anything Christmassy for them or anyone... tie a pretty christmas tag on it. Iyt just looks nice and I am a believer in writing an encouraging word or two. :) And of course they know what I think of them...I am just being me.

I did manage to write a nice thank you note for the doc and staff I saw the next day and used a gift tag for the cookies and ... I tied their box of cookies (Costco Belgium Chocolate) with the pretty snowman ribbon. I don't know them as well and it is a small office and so I just did the one thing. My thank you to the doctor was long over due though. I hope he appreciated it. I wrote from my heart. :) One of the women immediately opened the window into the waiting room and said she CLAIMED the ribbon. LOL! I do love doing things like that. And I always appreciate gifts from people too. Just knowing they think enough of you to do something... well it warms a girl's heart. :)

But I digress and so back to urodoc's office appointment. It was only 3 days til Christmas and the traffic was horrendous...even the back way I go and so I was stressing greatly about going in late... and offered to reschedule when I got there . As always...they were gracious!

Btw... for anyone new reading this... I have been a frequent flier to this urology office on and off for 3 years or it will be 3 years this coming January. I have been through some
difficult times... both emotionally and physically with the urological issues, procedures, etc... among other things as a result of this urological medical history. I can not imagine enduring these appointments as happily as I have if it weren't for this
stellar urology practice, i.e., the doctors and the staff on both the clinic and office side.

Anyone who has ever been a urology patient that has had to have multiple stents, procedures, hospital stays, tests, etc... knows exactly what I am talking about. My doctor is an excellent physician and has taken very good care of me. His partners are terrific and the staff is delightful and all are professionals who obviously work hard, but always with a positive attitude.

How can one ever say thank you enough when people have helped you in your time of need? Words never seem adequate enough. I know they know I am grateful... but still...I enjoy doing this for them.

So, with the traffic I missed the 4:30 appointment too and was hoping he was running later or had other work he could do.

The women were delighted to receive the basket and when I handed it to the one receptionist (who I adore) she said "Come here!" and with a big smile and open arms she pulled me into her and gave me the warmest hug and I reciprocated with the same.

When she did that... a lot of my stress just melted away. She is one of my favorite receptionists that I have ever met and when she did that... well the feeling is mutual for sure. :)

Hugs are healing. I really believe that.

Then it was time to go in with the doctor. I apologized for being late and as usual he was gracious... but it was bothering me the whole time. I KNOW how busy they are there! He also had time constraints and so unfortunately... I didn't ask all that I really wanted to and I was beating myself up for being late.

But when we got out to the front office... he also gave me a Christmas hug and when he did that... I wasn't worried about him being mad anymore and was relieved and he warmed my heart by being so sweet. :)

After the doctor appointment, I headed over to see my mother in the nursing home. It was a nice enough visit...as far as having to see someone in that situation... but I always leave feeling sad. (Will I ever get used to it and it won't bother me anymore? maybe I never should.)

But thanks to the warmth and well wishes of my doctor and his receptionist... I wasn't as sad as I normally would've been but rather was experiencing the afterglow of their kindness.

As I was getting on the elevator to go up...one of my former coworkers, an ED nurse was getting off. We both have the same name and so we both exclaimed "P-A-T!" to each other. Then embraced with another really warm hug. :)

We caught up with why we were there and what was going on in our lives, she was encouraging about finding work and we wished each other a Merry Christmas. I have to say...it felt really good to see her and make the old connections and I also felt encouraged because she has moved on into another profession. Still a nurse, but she went in a very interesting direction with her career. That encouraged me to see how change can be good and how things work out (even if you can't see it in the beginning) for the better in the end and for various reasons.

They say things come in threes.

I certainly got my three hugs.

And of course I am hugged by friends and family... but there was just something special this day... being hugged by three people I don't usually see.. that I care about... that would take the time to initiate a warm hug. And none of them knew how much I have been hurting...what exactly is going on in my life right now... just how sad I have been of late. Well, the receptionist knows a little.

So... I left feeling upbeat. And I am not some weakling in constant need of hugs and reaffirmation. I am usually a strong person and encourage and hug others... reassuring them in various situations... letting them know they are appreciated.

But that night...I guess God knew I needed a hug or two or..three. ;)

Then... on the way home... it hit me that my doctor never said anything about the cookies. I began to fret a little because he has always been enthusiastic with appreciation anytime I have done anything for them and I figured that he didn't know. And then I became concerned that he might not know if the basket wasn't in an obvious place and maybe he wouldn't see it before Christmas if he wasn't back in the office. So I became a little bummed because while it is most definitely for that entire office... my doctor is the one who has done most of the work... and put up with me...graciously.. and been with me through thick and thin. I was disappointed at the thought that he might not see it.

However, when I played my messages after getting in the door... he was one of them. He wished both my husband and me a Merry Christmas and then went on to thank me for the goodies.

What a thoughtful doctor! :)

Needless to say...I was instantly relieved. Also...did I say he is very busy? I do not ever expect any of them to go out of their way to say thank you. The gift is for THEM and I am saying thank you to THEM. Last Christmas they even sent a thank you note and one summer they sent a thank you note that a lot of them had signed. (No office has ever done that. ) They are quite thoughtful and are exceptional in their ability to help a patient feel comfortable.

Trust me...in a urology office...with the nature of some of their exams and procedures... (all the work in the nether regions of Bajingoland!) ... tis a good thing they help a patient to feel comfortable! :)

And I am posting about this... because that late afternoon-evening... really stands out as a ray of sunshine in what has felt like doom and gloom... and they will never know how much I appreciated their kindness and well wishes.

Sometimes... I think we say these things... as courtesies and sometimes more from our hearts... but what we can't always know... is that what seems like a routine or gracious gesture by us... can be like a healing balm to the soul of another.

I pray that each of them and all the people they love and care about will be healthy, prosperous and be blessed in amazing and special ways... now, in the coming new year and always. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

And I think it takes a long time to decorate OUR tree! :)

My uncle Hector had sometimes talked about a Christmas tree that had been beautifully covered with a lot tinsel. I recently came across this picture in his personal things.

I imagined a tree with a lot of tinsel... but not this much. :) He said that you are supposed to put tinsel on carefully, draping it with only one end catching on the branches and that the tinsel should not have any creases in it.

He was wowed by the tree and I can see why. I don't recall who he said owned the tree, but since that is my aunt Janet in the picture on the wall (his 2nd wife)... I assume it must be her parent's Christmas tree.

I love silver and I think it must've been stunning in person, particularly if the tinsel moved.

I don't know what year that was taken... but it looks like quite an old picture. I also like the wooden architecture in the room and in homes from that era. Sometimes I think if the walls could talk...what kind of stories would they tell?

I only use 1 box of tinsel for a large tree. I do put it on the way he told me to... but I drape and pull it through until it just comes to the end of the tinsel. I have even ironed it if crimped from the packaging... not always though. We still have to finish decorating..or I do. I have a lot of glass balls to put on and glass icicles but they might be too heavy for the branches of this Douglas Fir tree.

But I have to give a lot of credit to younger son, because he did more decorating of the tree than I did. My heart just wasn't in it this year. But now that things are winding down, getting caught up... I will enjoy the ambiance of the tree for at least 2 more weeks.. maybe a little longer because it is quite fresh and holding up well... and we are so late with it this year. Well it will definitely be up for two more weeks. :)

All the white lights and decorations look so pretty... inside and out. This is the BEST time of year... so beautiful and cozy! And we had a lot of snow around, but the rain has been melting it. Hopefully it will still be a white Christmas in the morning. :)

The Tradition of the Pink Mouse (Revised)

This is the real pink Christmas mouse I've saved since Christmas, 1992 and place on our tree every year as a reminder of all the acts of kindness toward us during that time.

I put the following post up in 2008 and 2009, although added a bit more. Dr WhiteCoat's sweet post (a couple of years ago) was the inspiration ... demonstrating the importance of caring and showing compassion to others. I was greatly moved by his thoughtfulness. Just imagine if we all did one extra act of kindness everyday.

I contacted WC about his post, "What Life is All About" because the link is inaccessible at this time, in his previous blog. He graciously e-mailed it for me to share and so I have included it further down in this post, which is then followed by my comment that I had written in response to his post.

The following is a true account of some of what happened to us at that time.

Those of you that know us, know what was going on at the time and it was a l-o-o-o-o-n-g 20 months. This post is about something that actually happened toward the end of the ordeal but there were other acts of kindness done from the beginning..right on through to the end.

Every note, card, letter, word of encouragement, all food, gifts and anonymous gifts were greatly appreciated and are still remembered even today. For as many words as you see me put down in these blogs...sometimes there are people that have moved me so deeply with the things they have done... that I feel anything I do, say or write can never truly convey the heartfelt gratitude I have felt and feel even now. This is true of things in my past and it is true with things that have been going on in the present. My entire life has been filled with people that have been blessings in various ways.

During this particular time...a judge befriended me. He had nothing to do with anything, nor did he have any future influence on the case. He was a complete stranger that overheard a conversation in a public place that I was having with someone. After introducing himself he gave me his number that I could reach him anytime anywhere in the country and this was before cell phones were readily available. I called him and we'd have long conversations and I'd sob and sometimes he'd even get me laughing and he was so kind and he gave me hope. One night he said to me, "You know...I don't know what it is about you but you make someone want to help you." I don't know why either. I am just me ...no one special and oh so flawed.

Some people said that encounter was a coincidence, a chance encounter... but I believe it it was a "divine coincidence" because his support was one of the things that gave me the strength to follow through and keep going. It helped to know he was in the background. There were other key people too. And above all... I know it was God working through these people to help sustain us in various ways through the difficult times.

The reason "It's a Wonderful Life" is my favorite movie and is also why I named my blog the same is because I love and thoroughly believe the main message of the movie, which is that we all are important. Each and everyone of us can and do make a difference in this life, affecting the present AND the future. It is an awesome thought when you take the time to really ponder it. And ...it is a responsibility... because we never know when even the simplest things to us may mean the world to someone else... or crush them like the proverbial final straw that breaks the camel's back. We don't know what is really going on in someone's heart...what burdens they carry. Are they lonely, grieving a loss or maybe they are stressed, hurt and angry ... afraid ...but they live in their worlds of quiet desperation behind masques of smiles or stoicism? I am sure WhiteCoat shoveling that driveway warmed someone's heart and who knows who else that random act of kindness will ripple outward toward?


Here is Dr WhiteCoat's post:

A couple of days ago I shoveled snow off of a neighbor’s walk for no good reason. I knew the neighbor wasn’t home so I wouldn’t get “caught.” I didn’t say a thing about it to anyone. Just did it to let the neighbors know that someone was thinking about them.

I usually don’t propagate chain e-mails, but a link was sent to me yesterday that just made me think about shoveling the snow and how dumb little acts of kindness can create a huge ripple outward like a drop in a pond.

Make a sad person smile
Make a lonely person feel less alone
Give without expecting something in return
Perform some random act of kindness

I may get cranky and fed up with people at times and complain to the world about it, but it’s still neat to think about what kindness can do.

This kid’s little acts of thoughtfulness changed the attitude of a whole community."


This is the comment I left To his post (I added a little more):

Our family received an anonymous act of kindness and it made me crazy wondering who had done it. It was back in the early 90s when we were going through that legal case I already mentioned a while back and we were definitely strained financially.

It was New Years eve and we had some friends and family over for dinner. My husband took a call from a man who said Santa Clause left a package in our driveway. UPS wouldn’t have been delivering at that time of night. Anyway, my husband brought in this huge box that was wrapped and addressed from Santa.

There were two other children there aside from our two boys. Well the kids tore into that box and it was the box that kept on giving. (HUGE box) It was FILLED UP with stuffed animals, games and also a cool toy gun that older son loved. The glee on the children's faces was priceless. :)

It took a couple of years for me to figure out and then our neighbor down the road was discussing something else and I put two and two together and so I asked him directly if they were the ones who did that. He tried to maneuver his way out of it, but he evidently couldn’t get past my gazing right into his eyes ...searching his spirit to see if his eyes were in agreement with his words. It was futile for him to deny the generosity of him and his family and he owned up to it. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, but I just wanted to know. How sweet tho that they preferred to be anonymous.

One of the stuffed animals in the box was a small pink mouse. I immediately took the little mouse for a decoration on our Christmas tree ... a reminder of that wonderful act of kindness, which was symbolic on many levels. To this day, I still put it on our Christmas tree to remember how God brought us through a difficult time and to remind us that he sometimes works through people and that we should remember to do the same for others in need. That night after the kids opened the box I said “This is God saying…"Hold on…I'm working on this.”, and he did…he fixed it. Everything worked out in the end ...even better than we thought. :)

That was New Years Eve 1992. I shall always remember that act of kindness and others and have reminded our sons that just as we were helped in our time of need, to remember how good that felt and to do the same to help others when they see a need. Younger son was a baby, 2 years old when it started and he was 4 on this New Year's night... but I've told him this story often to teach him about giving. And every year, I still point out the little pink mouse, reminding our family why it is on our Christmas tree. :)


I LOVE that video WC linked to ...talk about INSPIRATION!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Meme (includes Santa vs the NPCOGWPRS)

Last year's pecan pie didn't turn out so well. Only one of the reasons I don't do pies. :) I never burned a pecan pie before and so I blame this one on the new oven. Of course..I never burned anything else in there before but that night the oven controls MUST HAVE gone whacky. ;)

Thank you to Medblog Addict over at Addicted to Medblogs for tagging me with this Christmas meme. I do love memes! I like to read everyone's memes and you get to know them a little better... sometimes. :)

1. Hot Chocolate or Egg Nog?
At Christmas... Always the eggnog with a little something special in it and ground nutmeg on top. No one in my immediate family or husband's family likes it... but it is nostalgic for me because my family liked it when I was growing up.

Funny thing and I haven't died from it yet, but perhaps someone can tell me if this is a bad thing to do. We never drink hard liquor in this house. I gave a way hundreds of dollars worth to my uncle one summer (he looked like it was Christmas in July!) that my husband had accumulated as gifts from his job. I use this bottle of scotch whiskey that I maybe opened in the early 90's (I hope and not the 80's) and I put a shot of it in my eggnog. It tastes good and it does have a kick to it. But I only have a couple of shots during Christmas and that's it and is why it lasts so long. So... do I not know what I am missing by opening a fresh bottle? Is it harmful or is it just disgusting to someone with a taste for good liquor? You don't miss what you've never had. ;)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Everyone KNOWS that the reindeer wrap the presents and Santa puts them under the tree.

Once upon a time...Santa used to wrap the presents until the last few years, due to the fact that the North Pole Commission of Operations for Gift Wrapping Procedures, Regulations and Safety (NPCOGWPRS) made it mandatory to work reduced hours. The NPCOGWPRS determined there would be less chance of a Christmas Sled Collision (CSC) if Santa was not sleep deprived.

Santa protested said ruling, stating that for centuries.. with the help of Rudolph's red nose... the stats demonstrate that he has not had one CSC... nary a one..CSC. Santa further stated that with the additional paperwork resulting from the NPCOGWPRS' requirement that all forms be completed and submitted to the NPCOGWPRS no later than 12 noon on December 23rd, that he now gets less sleep and is at more risk of a CSC occurence.

Unfortunately, the NPCOGWPRS took said Santa revelation under advisement and further determined that Santa must take a Yearly Mandatory Christmas Sled Flight Maneuvers and Landing Certification Course (YMCSFMLCC) to demonstrate that he is capable of performing his Christmas deliveries as safely as he has every year... for centuries.

Santa's filling out the NPCOGWPRS forms to protect against liability from a CSC, attending the YMCSFMLCC and yet somehow and miraculously working his allowable gift wrapping hours... has further compromised his ability to add his personal touch with each package, thus creating the need to be out sourced to the reindeer.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White lights here, white lights there...white lights everywhere! White lights on the bushes in front of the house and around the main door, which shine through the glass to the inside.... and white lights on our little pine tree. Often with little red bows on them, but didn't get to it this year. Then I still turn the lights on during the winter on dreary or snowy days... even during February.

I also put the white lights on that are on the small artificial trees in the windows. I continue a snowman, pine tree winter theme after the holidays. I take the red bows off of everything outside and leave the wreaths up as greens for the winter. (I love colored lights too but went all white so I can leave them up. Plus they remind me of snow...when we don't have snow. I like snow. :) The tree is always white lights and white lights are scalloped on one of the family room beams and in the garland covering 2 kitchen doorways. Son puts colored lights on his tree. And there are white lights on smaller decorative things. It looks like a winter wonderland.. inside and out and as I said reminds me of snow..even when there isn't any. :)

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
When someone cute walks but..I grab it out of my purse and dangle it over my head! ;) Okay -KIDDING! Yes..sometimes.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
The day after Thanksgiving or as soon as possible. This year is the exception.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Traditional turkey, stuffing, gravy and all the things we cook to accompany said turkey, etc... but basically everything that has the effect on arteries like what Scalpel put up in this post... is my favorite. I wouldn't want to slurp gravy..well ? ..no I really wouldn't but if we could put it with cheese sauces and cheese cake that might work. KIDDING! Stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and this decadent broccoli casserole. :)

7. Favorite Holiday memory?
That's a tough one because there are so many.

Christmas 1991 - We were going through an awful legal situation (wrongfully so and my husband won) but we were in a dire situation and not sure of the outcome at that time. Family, friends and co-workers rallied around us and did all kinds of charitable things. It was humbling to be on the needy side of things and it was moving, reassuring and heartwarming beyond words to experience the thoughtfulness and generosity of others...particularly during such a trying time.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I was 5. I woke up around 4:30 in the morning and ran out to the tree. My mother was just walking back down the hall to bed. I looked at her, then the presents and then back at her and I exclaimed, "There's no Santa Clause!" She turned around and said there was and I said "No there's not! YOU put these presents here!" From that point on I knew and I remember I was proud that I figured it out... but then I started telling my friends and my mother started getting a few phone calls. :) I did have one friend... Caribbean Blue who believed when she was nine and she didn't want to believe me either.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We let the boys each open one of the small gifts.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Joyfully obsessive and with love!

Christmas music, popcorn and hot chocolate when others help. My husband or sons help with the Angel on top, the lights, decorations, beads and tinsel at the top. I have done all that but after knee injury...it strains going up and down on the ladder.

I am particular with how some ornaments go. I love to put glassy ornaments so that the white lights illuminate them from behind or to position an ornament so that the white light shines on it. Hundreds of ornaments! Several ornaments on one branch and cluster the glass ornaments where I can. And always put the most special ornaments in the prime locations to be viewed AND away from potential harm. We follow that up with gold beads scalloped around the tree, followed by 1 box of tinsel hanging just so on the branches. There is a thick red, green and cream velvet Christmas skirt on the bottom, around the base of the tree.

We are still decorating it!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Why else have winter? I LOVE snow! Hopefully we will have a white Christmas. :)

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes... but haven't for years. My favorite thing was to skate by myself on the pond out back in the moonlight. That might not have been the wisest thing to do but it was fun and soooo beautiful outside and on the ice. :)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
When I was a little girl...my Aunt Janet and Uncle Hector always gave me the best presents. One year Chatty Cathy, another Thumbelina or a blue 2 wheeler bike, or a red Flyer sled. Those were my most memorable gifts as a child and some cardboard bricks my mother gave me. I thought they were so neat! . (That's why she went to bed so late that morning -she was folding and putting together all those bricks!) :) As an adult ...too many to pick one.

Again... it would be the kindness extended to us when we were going through a difficult time. (See#7)

14. What’s the most important thing?
That the real meaning of Christmas is about the birth of Christ...God's gift to the world because he loves us so much and that we get to celebrate with family and friends.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Everything ...providing it does NOT contain coconut. I have to think about that. Pecan pie... yes... my pecan pie... when I don't burn it. But I really don't make pies and so I cheat with a store crust, although I do make a great filling. :) and the Pumpkin cookies I make (because I use extra cinnamon). My m-i-l's heaven pie and d-i-l's Christmas cookies.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
The person that plays Santa Clause distributing the gifts wears the Santa hat.

Watching "It's a Wonderful Life".

Talking about the tree decorations who gave them, the story behind the ornament...while decorating. It's a nice way to remember special people and events and to know that some people went out of their way to give me an ornament because they know how much I love decorating the tree and that I cherish ornaments. :)

My aunt and uncle had a tradition that I LOVED... but it has never been possible with my family because my husband's family does it differently and that is how we have done it.

We didn't have holiday dinner until around 4 and I like that because all the lights look so pretty and no one could open any gifts until after dinner. I LOVED the anticipation of waiting all day to open the gifts!! And then... we opened them one by one and we all got to see what everyone got.

The anticipation and excitement was exquisitely drawn out!!!!!! :)

17. What tops your tree?
Always an angel. Silver Dress with moving wings and arms holding a white light in her hands.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Definitely giving... but it is always fun to rip a package open! :)

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
The Christmas Canon by the Siberian Orchestra! They are all so beautiful. Santa Baby is fun and Carol of the Bells, Silent night, Joy to the World... they're all good. :)

20. Candy canes, Yuck or Yum?
Mmmmm...love peppermint... but don't usually eat them.

So here is where I am supposed to tag someone... hmmm... I wonder-r-r... as I wander-r-r-r... in the blogasphere.... Medblog Addict, WhiteCoat (I know..), Throckmorton, The Happy Hospitalist, MottsA and Dr Rob :)

*It's a few days before Christmas and we're all busy but I just couldn't resist memming ..um tagging you... although please don't feel oblicated. :)

**This is also an open tag (for anyone) and so let me know if you do one so I can come over to read yours. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why Thank you Dr Rob!!! :)

Dr Rob has graciously awarded me (and others more deserving) the much coveted Golden Lama Award and basically made my day today. :) I didn't exactly earn it, but am more than happy to take advantage of his "generosity". ;) When I have a chance... I shall proudly display it on my side bar.

The following is my comment of appreciation to Dr Rob: "Dr Rob - so begging and nice qualified me? If I knew THAT … I would’ve begged and been nice a lot sooner! I can grovel with the best of em! I find it is particularly effective when I cling to one ankle and allow myself to be dragged while simultaneously begging with tears streaming down my face. I was close Rob..real close to doing that. ;)

So does this mean I can actually put said award on my sidebar?

Thanks for your kind words Rob. :) And your benevolence with the coveted llama. :)

I left you a comment in my blog before I saw this.

Oh…and I think I have already told you that I can not even think of a llama without thinking of you and chuckling. Oh… and that for most of my life… I never thought of llamas… except for the zoo incident. I didn’t even know how to spell llama correctly…with TWO L’s and now thanks to your llama attraction…I am sensitive to the existence of llamas. I also find that I enjoy typing a word that begins with TWO L’s.

Hopefully now that I have received this prestigious award… my husband will be able to get a full nights rest because night…after…night he was woken up to the sound of me yelling out “I WANT THE GOLDEN LLAMA!” I think he was getting jealous. He just doesn’t understand. ;)

Thanks for the Golden Llama Award Rob! :)

Just one more thing … I am still striving for the pinnacle of funny. I don’t know what or when it will be… but I am striving. I mean…after all… can one ever have too many Golden Llama Awards?"

I am not saying this because Dr Rob has paid me off with the Golden Llama Award... honest I tell you... but check out his blog because he's got something for everyone. His blog is educational, heartwarming, humorous and inane. I think we are kindred spirits when it comes to the inane.

I mean Llamas? LOL!!! :)

P.S. Thanks for the MUCH needed laugh... oh and the Golden Llama Award! :)

Thanks to Dr Rob's giving me a Golden Llama award, I discovered another great medical blog, by Dr Bruce Campbell,"Reflections in a Head Mirror" and this interesting post, "Surgery as a Form of Dance", which of course... interested a surgical groupie like me. :)

I LOVE This Gift Idea!!!

Women's Sleepwear and Pajamas - Classic Favorites

Pajamagrams! What a fantastic idea!

I would love for Santa to send me a pajamagram! ;)

I just saw the commercial the other night and really liked it. It was cute, sexy and sweet and had the Santa Baby music playing in the background.

You can have a a pajamagram sent to anyone. Check out the site here.

I LOVE pajamas! Not to sleep in because I like silky nightgowns to sleep in or au naturel.

But for relaxing... I just love a nice cozy, soft pair of pajamas or a pretty, yet cozy night gown.

They have so many great things to choose from. Something for everyone!

There are so many things I like!

You can also give a pajamagram gift certificate if you don't know exactly what to pick out.

There is something for the whole family. I liked the men's things too. My husband won't wear pajamas but I think they're neat. And I like the family set with the penguins...so cute. They'd never wear it, but I like them.

Actually... the image of all of us walking around in penguin pajamas makes me laugh. That would be funny! :)

I can tell you... I would be thrilled to get that as a present. What an easy and fun gift to give!

Check the site out.

Happy shopping! :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowstorm + Happy Mom = Christmas Spirit and Thoughts)

I always liked this picture. My guys were shoveling their Aunt Margie's driveway. It was taken about 11 years ago. The quality of the pic is somewhat compromised, thus younger son's face is blurry.. but I still think it is a great winter picture. :) And my husband has a beard. I LOVE short beards or especially scruffy 5 O'clock shadows...perfect for nuzzling into. ;)

It is snowing in these here hills of northern NJ...YIPEEEEE! My nesting instinct is strong today and I am simmering a chicken with onion on the stove for a nice homemade chicken soup tonight with biscuits. One of our favorites and perfect for a wintry day like this.

I think homemade soups have a lot of nutrition because all the vitamins are cooked into the soup. I use whatever vegetables...fresh and frozen that are handy and I like to add a lot. With the turkey soup last week, I added an extra amount of celery and onions and I will do that today. I am craving that for some reason. I always like to add spinach and a bunch of other ones. And fresh spices along with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. last winter, I made a soup with 13 vegetables added to it. My favorite noodles to use are the bow ties. And a good hearty soup stretches the budget and tastes even better left over.

We may get 8-12 inches of snow and so barring a warm streak...should have a white Christmas. :)

I put the white candles and small decorative trees in the windows on early today but then decided to turn the Christmas lights on early too. I also put the pointsettias in the windows with the white candles. Some windows have the pointsettias and a couple of others have pine trees with white lights and all but one window has a single candle in each section of the window. One of my favorite things is to see Christmas lights on when there is snow. Everyone's lights are so beautiful!! :)

The falling snow covering everything with nature's blanket is muffling the usual outdoor sounds and it is quite the winter wonderland.

Our local hospitals near the ski areas will probably be getting slammed with skier and snowboarder accidents on top of all the typical winter ED visits. The seasonal ED visits in this weather usually = broken bones, sprains, head injuries from accidents, snow thrower accidents, chest pain from shoveling and MVC's. And then the flu and all the other ED visits.

In weather like this... the ED can be very quiet (I know the "Q" word) and then just turn crazy busy... or it's non stop busy. One thing I have learned is that people who drive SUV's think they can drive faster than they should...because if they hit ice...they are sliding out of control just like anyone in a regular vehicle will.

EVERYONE should drive more cautiously in the snow.

When I woke up this morning, I told myself that I am doing the best I can with Mom. I know I have to separate my emotions from some of her behavior. The problem is...I couldn't do it for most of my life..why would I think I could do it now? It's the same play, different act. But I have to. I just liked it better when she was feisty when she was healthy... not in this pathetic state.

And I guess... like they tell you when dealing with someone with an addiction... detach with love. When it's good... be there..enjoy the moments...when it's not detach with love, Not the same thing and I can't exactly detach because I need to be there for her... but rather...try to keep the right perspective and obviously... she is NOT doing anything intentionally.

In the past...when she was healthy...I would've been angry or frustrated... but now I just take it to heart and grieve.

The perspective I need to keep is that while I can't help my feelings when they arise...and there is no way around this because we HAVE to go through it just like people everywhere since creation have had to. Things could have and could be worse. I need to look for and embrace the good moments through this...learn through the difficult ones and be her advocate where ever and when ever possible. That is the best that I can do.

I decided to call my mother this afternoon and was relieved to hear her in a better mood although she kept stating how tired she is. That concerns me. I managed to get her engaged in some nice conversation and also told her of our Christmas plans for getting her, what we were having and how I can imagine her cat will nestle right into her lap all cozy and happy to see her.

The thing striking about our conversations is that I have to keep the conversation going or there isn't much of any. And I noticed today...she had the same intonations in her voice that my uncle Hector (her brother) had in his latter years.

I spoke with the aide after mom and inquired as to why she was so tired. Was it the meds or just her body? She said "Her body" I asked about her being able to walk with her walker and how is PT going. She said that my mother refuses to do PT and that last month she could stand and use her walker and now it takes two of them to get her up...and she is getting weaker.

We experienced that with her on Thanksgiving. I am determined to bring her back here on Christmas. Maybe... just for a few hours at least. I am praying we can.

I appreciated the conversation I had with my mother's aid. She told me she usually is the one that works with her and I liked what I heard in her voice and her responses. She also told me the wound is healing up nicely

And now I am going to take a shower, finish the soup and later son and I will decorate the tree (he has to do the top) with Christmas music, hot chocolate and popcorn. :) And hang the garland in the kitchen doorways (also has white lights) and finish with the last of the decorations.

Boy is that Douglas fir drinking water! I can't wait to see it decorated!!! :)

I am planning on doing a lot of baking Sunday and early Monday because I am following what is now tradition and bringing a big Longerberger basket filled with treats for urodoc, partners and staff. I know they don't expect me to do it but it feels good to do something nice for them because they have all been so good to me. And he especially has worked hard on my behalf, listens and takes good care of this patient. :) I am also bringing some cookies to my PCP I am seeing Tuesday and the nurse's station at the nursing home. I would like to bake a little something for a few friends too. There are more medical people I want to say thank you too but it will have to be during the winter.

Anyway...our house is gonna smell some kind of good on Sunday and Monday! :)

And I would do well to remember the following: "Even when people disappoint us or we disappoint them, we need to realize that sometimes in life, all we can do is our best and it's not always going to be someone else's best, but it is our best at the time and so we need to be forgiving of ourselves and others when necessary." ~SeaSpray ~

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end" ~ author unknown ~

Trying to Get Into The Spirit

My mother and me when we lived up in Massachusetts.

This is the 1st Christmas ever that I am having a difficult time with getting in the spirit...which is ever so fleeting. But I am experiencing a great sense of loss and regrets and finances are tight...which is the least of it.

2 people I loved died this year. One... our aunt who has been with us every Christmas for the 33 years we have been married and a lifetime of Christmases for my husband. My dear friend my mentor died in the spring. I know they are both not suffering anymore. And my former neighbor died last month although we weren't close...we were neighbors for almost 30 years.

And Mom recently transitioned to a nursing home and experiencing significant physical/mental decline and mixing things up badly.

Last night when I arrived on her floor, she was sitting alone in the wheel chair by the nurse's station. They were not attending to her need for the commode and she was experiencing pain. I requested help for her THREE times over about a 45 minute period of time. What chance in hell does she or any other resident have of getting help when they may not be able to clearly communicate their needs? Or even if they can... will the staff listen? I am sure they are very busy and it is difficult work in a difficult environment. I also know that not everyone is diligent about their job. It is very difficult to leave my mother there. I find myself saying what seems like a thousand good byes before I disappear into the elevator.

And I'm also concerned with the yelling I hear or people with disturbed mental states and confusion wondering into her room. And my mother doesn't always differentiate that they have an altered mental status and so sometimes yells at them and other times is compassionate. I try to tell her they have Alzheimers and aren't able to process what she is saying and try not to be too upset. I left on a good note last night.

I didn't go tonight, but called instead. I am so disappointed and saddened that she is unable to use her phone in her room. She either can't get to it or doesn't remember. She doesn't use her TV remote and instead had it tucked away in her eye glass case and she can't turn the radio on and off. Also, she does not seem to have the drive to go for her puzzle books or read her books that are there. All this decline in 2 months.

I am not a medical person and so I honestly am shocked at this decline. The doc mentioned maybe she had some mini strokes, but he didn't say that was definite. I feel we are on borrowed time.

Tonight...she was extremely upset and yelled at me when I wasn't understanding her. She was not responding appropriately to anything I was talking about or asking her. She wanted to know when we were picking her up for Christmas and I explained it wasn't until next week. She yelled at me 3 times to get her out of there!!!!

Just rip my heart out and stomp on it!

My mother could be testy with me but this was different. She was angry - mean. It felt like she blamed me for her circumstances. Or maybe...all these years she has been very angry with me and it is coming out unrestrained. ? Or maybe it is just the altered mental status...or all of the above?

When I told her I was so sorry she was going through all this she snarled back, "I'll BET you are!" When I told her I loved her, she didn't believe me.

With all my heart... I am hoping she can come here for Christmas with the family and to see her cat Peachy. I will be so happy to see her unite with her cat. I think that will make her happy. And seeing our other animals.

I am very concerned with how I will assist her into the bathroom if she needs to because the guys can't help with that and my d-i-l is pregnant and I wouldn't ask the others either. Usually we come up from behind, each taking a side under her arm and lift simultaneously. But I watched an aide last night stand directly in front of her, grasp her under the arms, rock her and on the count of 3 rock her upward but then to a quick transition onto the bed. I don't know if that will work with the toilet. I am hoping to get her to use the walker briefly and so I will call PT about her and get her status with therapy.

You know... I'd be very happy to be a person who flits in and out of rooms checking to see if the residents need a channel changed, read to them, turn a radio on... or whatever they would need. I am concerned that nursing is so consumed with the more difficult stuff...that these little things are not always attended to.

And let me tell you...the guilt I feel about her being there is huge... but I do KNOW I could not do all that needs to be done 24/7.

And last week...they were wheeling her down the hall, when a resident suddenly turned their wheel chair and gashed her leg. I have not seen the injury.

But last night...I noticed that the dressing seemed to have blood and what looked like greenish puss... but ever so faintly. I was thinking...it had to be from the inside because what would be causing that from the outside.

So twice... I inquired about the status of her wound and mentioned the dressing and also wanted to know how often the dressing is changed. The one aide stated they are supposed to be changed every day.

I said because she is diabetic, on coumadin and has vascular problems. Her legs are very, very scary dark... almost black... maybe black...almost all the way up to her knees. They have been discolored for years but NOT that dark. She does not have edema anymore though.

I informed the aide that her legs were ICE cold. She felt them.

So after her needs were taken care of...they put a blanket over her lap.

Now if I was not there last night...how long would she have suffered with an impending bowel movement and how long would her legs be cold?

And tonight when I called...she mentioned really having to go to the bathroom. I asked to speak to the desk person, who did call someone over to assist her. But what if I hadn't called? I can't be there all the time.

I also asked her what was wrong with my mother tonight and she stated that she seems fine. She didn't seem particularly interested in what my concerns were and I know she doesn't usually work at that desk. My mother was not fine. Unless maybe her anger at me was genuine and she let me have it both barrels.

With all my heart and intellect... I believe patients that are either in a hospital or nursing home setting need an advocate to intercede for them if they are incapable of communicating their needs or even if they can...to be there to back them up and see that things are done.

And as I say these things... I am ever mindful of the fact that medical facilities are usually short staffed and over worked... and I do... I really do appreciate their efforts.

So... last night I came home feeling sad and disturbed about it all and after tonight... I feel so powerless about all of this... and it hurts. And then I feel guilty for saying it hurts me...because look at all she is going through. THAT hurts!

Compound that with witnessing that she is not always attended to quickly enough and wonder what happens when I am not there.

And compound all that with the fact that we have had a difficult relationship but have always loved each other and having regrets hurts like heck.

I guess I would not be normal if I was not affected by these things.

I know what the true meaning of Christmas is... but somehow everything feels hollow this year. I have not even finished decorating and I always have it done right after Thanksgiving.

And I found myself questioning the point in our existence this week. I know there is one... but going through all of her things, finding my uncles handwritten thoughts (didn't know he did that)...it all caused me to think how we accumulate things, we have lives, we work, love, create life and we die. Why? What does it all mean in the end?

I actually am a person who has had a strong faith in God and so beyond all of this...believe there is a purpose to everything.

But these events...well they just stir up some profound feelings that I can't articulate very well.

All I know...is this Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas... but I am trying.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Patty Precise!

Caribbean Blue -7 yrs old and SeaSpray - 6yrs old

The following is my mother's unusual introduction, which was followed by my obsessing...which maybe proves her description. I obsessed like on a Seinfeld episode... and even came home and looked the word up! :)

This past Sunday...we brought my mother's large TV over to her at the nursing home. We met the maintenance man at a back door. The guys placed the TV on a cart and we all proceeded to my mother's room.

The maintenance man went in first with the TV.

My mother immediately sees him, looks at me and then back to him and said, "Have you met my daughter Patty? She's precise!"

The man didn't acknowledge her, but I jumped in and said that we had just met and then with my next breath I exclaimed, "PRECISE?!??" I laughed a little but then again said, "Precise Mom?"

Then... she kind of got annoyed and started with her typical frustrated gyrations when she describes something annoying... and went on about me being exact about everything. But it wasn't exactly clear what she was talking about. But I was getting a negative inference...which would not be unusual from her. She tends to see things from the negative whereas I am the polar opposite. To quote her...we are oil and water.

So we were having a nice enough visit. Well..the guys were watching football but I was talking and attending to her. They interacted a little.

But then I couldn't stand it and so again said, "Precise? I can't believe you introduced me as precise. I mean it's okay... but was I precise when I was growing up?" "

"Yes, you were! It had to be your way or it wasn't right! Do it this way. This way is better."

"Well isn't precise good Mom?"

"Everything is detail with you. You're just like your aunt! She said Patricia is so precise about everything and I said well look who she is living with. Your the same way!"

Now I don't know if my mother really had that conversation with my aunt because she mixes things up.

I am detail oriented.

I do believe in doing things right.

I don't think my way is the only way, nor am I inflexible.

My aunt was the MOST organized person I have ever known in my life and I admired that and aspired to be that efficient.. but I am not. She was amazing! I picked up some things I suppose. And my aunt wasn't crazy, obsessed organized..make YOUR life miserable organized. She was just good at it.

It was my aunt Janet who said to me when I was taking a shortcut vacuuming one day... "Patricia, if you're not going to do the job right then you might as well not do it at all because no one will know you did anything."

She was right and that has stayed with me my entire life. I even said that to our sons as they were growing up.

It's true!

When I was 32, I flew down to Mobile to be with her. She was was just back in her room post-op when I commented to my uncle..."One thing I always hear aunt Janet saying is "Patricia, if you're not going to do the job right... then you might as well not do it at all because no one will know you did anything." With that... my aunt who was just waking up from a brain biopsy chuckled and said "Well...I'm glad I'm going to be remembered for something!" She had just had a brain biopsy and we thought she was out of it and so she shocked us with her comment. She actually was mixing a lot of things up but she was right on target with that comment. :)

But she was right and whenever I was/am tempted to do something halfway ...I hear her telling me that and so every time...I just do the right thing. It is ingrained in me and I would never intentionally ever do sloppy or inaccurate work... except penmanship.

My writing is so bad I could pose as a doctor! ;)

If someone is describing an encounter with someone, I want to know every detail from expressions, intonation in voice and the whole story. My husband would basically say 2 words and I want the War and Peace description. I just thought that was the difference between the sexes. :)

Now I find out it is because I am PRECISE!

It was just funny to hear mom say that...although I do feel bad if my "preciseness" (not sure what) aggravated her so much. I am proud of being precise and having an eye for detail. I am proud of doing something correctly.

I know I am not rigid or a hard task master. Except for myself. I can be hard on myself. Maybe I was with mom..I don't know..well..probably. ?? Or even in recent years...I would want to go over safety issues, etc., and she said I was harping on her. Or don't lecture her. The relationship with my mother was difficult and she often evoked what she referred to as "lecturing" from my uncles and me.

But to quote her...we were oil and water and so I guess I made things difficult for her... not intentionally, but inevitably.

And I was actually both amused and intrigued at her describing me as precise.

Precise is good ...right?

I like precise.

I appreciate precise.

I'm just sayin. ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Medical Humor

Here is a little funny work momento I came across while going through pictures. (All I had handy to cover private info was electrical tape) A prescription from 1990. I don't know why... but I just could not find this drug anywhere. ?? ;)

Obviously the ED was slow one nite and as usual this very funny doc was making me laugh! :)

Also... it seems that Dr Wes has come across an interesting drug that you can check out here at his site. I'll give you a hint.

The new drug is called "Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin" Say THAT 3 times real fast...I DARE you! ;)

Very funny! LOL!! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

7 Seconds


Ever feel like you are living in an active pinball machine? Yikes! One day up..scoring high..pinging all around and the next day or moment even... gutter ball right through the middle,

I think this transitional time with mom has caused me to feel this way and because it is now mixed in with the wonderful Christmas season and having lost other people I love that there are highs and lows. And I know...that is life and I have been fortunate that life has been good with only a few skirmishes here and there. I do know to be grateful and appreciative of all that is good. Then again..sometimes...some things just suck! I am sorry and don't mean to be rude.

Yesterday was one of those days until I rallied back.

We had to have the cat killed.

Okay...yes...I am being dramatic... but that is what it felt like and I am not sure it is not a death sentence... or tortuous for her at best and perhaps an injection where she is sleeping in 7 seconds would be a mercy killing for her and she will be out of her misery. I honestly don't know.

Some of you may remember that I was concerned with what to do with my mothers cats. I didn't think we could take one because of our German shepherd and cat. i was wrong. It turns out my mother's cat rules them. Too funny! And go figure. I will post about him another time.

Then my neighbor agreed to take her but after 2 weeks...she called me Sunday to say...it wasn't working out with her. She is profoundly timid and hides...ALL the time. So she would find a place and stay in it all day. Like behind the freezer in her basement, in a closet, under the sofa, And they were okay with that until the cat peed in her husband's closet when she knew where the box was. She only came out for my mother and the last month for my son when he was in the apartment.

So yesterday... my husband and I surrendered her to the local pound. She is beautiful, spayed and 8 years old. But she has this fear of people and so even if she isn't put to sleep... I am sure she is stressed beyond her limits.

My husband carried her in in the carrier and I walked behind him...reluctant to go in, but thought i should. And so tears streaming down my face... I went inside.

No one was out front but the dogs were barking and the cats were crying and our cat was cowering in the back of the carrier. Then this Bubbly lady came out with a big smile and I cried even more.

She was sympathetic and reassuring but it didn't help at all. But my husband knew her from his childhood. She was the younger sister of one of his friends and I had met her a couple of times. So they hit it off immediately and I was glad for my husband because I know he felt badly about the cat too.

A woman with 2 kids and came in holding an orange cat and kitten. The tears just kept falling and I really didn't care about anything but the fact that I was giving up on this cat, was worried about her and felt like I was betraying my mother who thinks (when she remembers) that my friend has her.

So the shelter lady asked me to keep filling out the form and told my husband to bring the cat back. I finished the form real quick and went right back there.

My heart broke even more ...because I saw all these cats, mostly adult... in cages... meowing loudly. And... even more disturbing... yet simultaneously sweet... most of these cats were poling their paws through the cages to get our attention and when I moved closer they were trying to touch me.

I cried even more.

The woman said..."Look at that big old orange Tom (he was HUGE). We just keep him. We don't have them all put down." But the man I had spoken too said "I'm not gonna lie to you. If they don't get adopted out, they do get put down." I just smiled faintly at her. I know she was trying to help me feel better.

One young cat who's fur looked like the silver lining of a cloud...so beautiful was putting it's paws through his cage and doing flips up against the cage for me.

These poor kitties were STARVED for attention and DESPERATE for rescue! I went up to each of the cages and met all their paws with my fingers and let them try to nuzzle their noses on them.

The woman and my husband were being most patient with me and I was still crying through all of this. But then I had to take Dolly out of the carrier and I scooped her up, held her close and then sobbed. I could feel her little heart pounding and she nestled in close to me. I think if she could of vanished through osmosis into my body she surely would have.

I told her if I were a teacher... I would bring the class on a field trip there. She said some schools do and that the one of the high schools has a mandatory 20 hours of community service that the seniors have to put in at the shelter. What a terrific idea!

I just could not let Dolly go. I saw the look on my husband's face and knew he wanted me... but I could not.

So, holding her close and still crying...I walked around to all the cats again and laughed and cried. laughed at their antics. Cried at their plight.

In retrospect...walking to these cats with Dolly in my arms must've been even more distressing to her.

And then I put her in her cage.... a bottom cage on the end of the far left and J shut the door.

I cried even more and said some things to Dolly. Then I realized... all any of them had to sleep on was a thin layer of newspaper over the steel cage. So I asked the woman if we could leave this soft blanket for her to sleep on.

She said no, but that she had a blanket over there she could use. I didn't believe her and so I offered again but she said she would put one in there. I still didn't believe her and maybe they feel it isn't sanitary, etc. I let it go.

Still crying... I turned to say good bye to Dolly. My husband already went out the front door. I stopped at the door into the cat area, grabbed it, leaned on it and just cried as I stared only ay her. I just couldn't leave... but I did.

I thanked the woman and cried all the way to the minivan. I cried almost all the way home.

My husband tried to help me feel better by saying well maybe because she knows us, she will look out for Dolly. I would like to believe that... but I just don't.

As soon as we got home...I just fell on to our bed and cried until I fell asleep.

I got it out of my system... although I will never forget her little face looking back at me from her cage. :(

She had a good life with my mother who gave her wonderful and loving care.

I have to tell myself... 7 seconds ... 7 seconds and she is asleep.
I had never been in a pound before.

After that experience...I will not be so quick to adopt a little kitten or puppy without first checking out the local pound.

It's too bad all the no kill shelters were full.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


This star ornament was made by our 1st born son when he was 4 and in nursery school. (24 years ago..believe me parents of young children...time FLIES BY!) A friend saw it, thought it was beautiful and said I should wrap it in tissue paper to protect when storing it. So all these years I have done just that and don't even put it in the attic. I have done the same for 2nd born son's homemade ornaments too. I keep them in a special box sown here. :)

We got our Christmas tree today!!! :)

Thanks to Passionstamper and another neighbor we got a large (10 1/2 foot tree), a Douglas Fir at a local place. For any locals that may meander through here...I have to plug this Christmas tree sale because not only are they BEAUTIFUL trees at a VERY REASONABLE PRICE...but it is for a GOOD CAUSE!!!

ALL the proceeds go to the Immaculate Conception School in Franklin NJ. They are selling them on weekends in the parking lot of the old Kulsar auto place building in route 23 south in Franklin.

The people selling it were warm, friendly and helpful. When we pulled up they were huddled around a barrel of fire... it must get pretty cold out for them. They came right over and the man helping us was so gracious and eager to help.

He said that our tree will last until February because they were only cut down 2 weeks ago. My favorite tree is a Frazier because the branches are firm to hold all the ornaments and they hold their needles and don't prick you kike a spruce will. But they were all sold out. The only thing left now are the Douglas Firs.

He didn't mind my request to bring it out and dance it around. Twirl it around this way and that. You have to see all sides... although in the end they all have their own personalities and looks. I had him do it several times and every time he was so friendly about it. He went from one side to the other for me and even carried one around... and all with a smile.

He was so nice, chatting about his friends that own the tree farms and chatting about local farms. I love Christmas trees so much I was wishing I could stand there and sell the trees with them! I LOVE the Christmas atmosphere and greatly contrasts my mood going through Mom's things, etc. :)

We ended up taking the FIRST tree he picked out. I always have to compare... hence the dancing and twirling. He did a nice job cutting the bottom and clearing the bottom branches too. The price was terrific! $65.00 for a 10 1/2 foot tree! Easily $100.00 at some of the local retailers that sell pre-cut trees... or more. I thought we'd have to get a smaller one this year.

Anyway...it was such an easy and pleasant experience that I said we'd come back next year. I asked if we came early...could we pick out a tree but then could they hold it and he said he'd be happy to. What GREAT SERVICE...with a personal touch...and for a GOOD CAUSE too!!!

We can't take it too early or it will dry out and I want a fresh slice to the bottom just before we put it in the stand. We also put screw driver holes in the bottom to aid in the drinking. Boy is it drinking tonight! And the fragrant pine aroma hits you as soon as you walk in the door. So does the tree because it is right there!

The only concern is the branches are softer than a Frazier and so we will let the tree sit a bit a day or too before decorating. LOL! one year we put a balsam up, decorated that night and the next morning...many of the ornaments were hidden because the branches warmed up and cascaded down over the ornaments.

More about the tree in another post.

We brought Mom's large TV over to her and I feel real good about that, but I am not sure she will be adept at using the remote. 2 months ago she could! She seems to be recovering nicely from the pneumonia but seriously mixes things up and it just feels so different. I have some ideas, some projects to do with her there that she might enjoy.

I have to keep organizing and setting up for Christmas and her things and it has been a process and is why I am so late getting things done. I haven't baked one thing yet either, nor have I decorated indoors, shopped or done cards. I know these things are secondary and we have been through a lot lately, but it just feels so good to do them.

The good news is I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, the transition is mostly complete...even for me emotionally as I have accepted it and I suppose am even relieved a bit. I think the worst is over... Thank God!

It is not easy to see her looking seemingly more frail by the visit and I sometimes wonder how much time we have. ? But only God knows that. I am going to make the most of it with her in any way I can. She introduced me in a very funny way...describing a character trait to the maintenance guy... but I will post on that later.

All I am gonna say about that...think about Seinfeld episodes where they obsess... and suffice it to know...that I may be obsessing just a bit over her description and even came home and looked the word up. On the one hand... I take it as a compliment and am proud of it and on the other hand I wonder. ? One of those ...you could go either way and just depends in what context. LOL! :)

P.S. I can not get over the fullness and size of this tree for the price and it is like a fresh cut. What a GREAT deal!! There is no way I will be able to decorate the top parts and older son and husband will have to help with that. My husband will do the lights but after that...he is done and so son will help with the rest of the top.

I am hoping newly adopted cat does not climb the tree or bang the glass ornaments around because this is all new to him and he is quite frisky!

Friday, December 12, 2008

No Labs For YOU!


I don't know why, but I just thought of the Soup Nazi episode in Seinfeld, but it has nothing to do with me getting lab work... other than I can't!

Why can't I? Because I blew it..that's why!

I was embarrassed a little and really mad at myself but by the time I got home (just now) I was and am laughing about it..with some annoyance. !!!

So what..what did I do or not do?

The most stupid thing is what I DID!

After not eating anything since around 6:30 last night and still fasting this morning..into the afternoon (I kept doing just one more thing before leaving)... no coffee, not a morsel... nothing at all except water, I arrived at the lab after 19 hours of fasting. I can actually go without the food (I am hungry though) but I was missing the coffee. As long as I have water and things to drink I really am okay about not eating for long periods of time. But have me prep for the OR and be NPO and I am miserable because I can not stand to be thirsty.

Oh yeah..so what happened?

After 19 hours of fasting, as I walked into the place...I realized I was chewing gum!

Creature of habit that I am... I unconsciously threw a piece of sugarless gum in my mouth just before I left! Oh no-o-o!

So I told the tech what I did and she said no problem since it's sugarless.

I said are you sure? Because I am being tested for everything (I really am ;) , it's going to be expensive and I don't want to blow it. She said "Nah..you'll be alright." I said I know it's going to be a lot of vials of blood. (It's my annual vampire session and why I try to tan in the summer...to counter the pale bloodless look after they take all my blood out. ;) So, I asked if I could call my doctor just to be sure. Feeling very stupid, I explained what I did to the sweet receptionist and she thought the same thing that if sugarless...no problem. But I still requested she ask the Dr. just in case because I didn't want to go through all that, blow the results, have to repeat it and I highly doubted that insurance would pay for a second round because the patient chews a piece of gum.

As I was on hold while she checked with the doctor...who seems very precise in all he does (tis a good thing) the other lab tech comes out, inquires what the problem is and then said "Oh you'll be alright... it's sugarless."

And with everyone... I stressed the fact that I had been fasting since 6:30 last night...as if that fact alone would void out any potential compromise of my lab results from said piece of gum. It should count for something...I'm just sayin.

The receptionist came back and said "He said no...you can't do it. I'm sorry." (Not as sorry as I was) I thanked her and whined that I couldn't to the 2 techs. The one tech said I shouldn't fast more than 10-12 hours. But one of our lab techs where I worked used to say 12-16 hours for a lipid profile. So... I am someone who will always go the extra and then some. I don't know why but I do. If only I could apply that to losing weight! (Now that is a good idea for another post. Use the energy I eagerly put into other things that I just want over with and channel it into losing weight.)

The tech at this lab said you should not fast this long because we've had patients faint because they did that and drink a lot of water. Um .. no problem there. I drink. (I recently put out 2200cc during a recent Lasix renal scan but that will be another post :)

So... by the time I got home I was beginning to be amused by it all but I was also perplexed. Why the differing answers? Of course I am going to listen to my doctor.. but I was wondering.

So I called the lab in the hospital I worked at and the tech said "No you can't" I didn't tell her what anyone said... just that I had just done that. Then she said."Well wait...let me go check." She came back and said you definitely can't.

That was a close one!

This definitely goes into the "one of the dumbest things I ever did" category. Sigh! :)

I am curious.. to know what the truth is about fasting time for lipids to get the most accurate results?

This is the BEST version of the Soup Nazi I have seen. If you like this episode you will LOVE this Youtube because it has all the great scenes only pertaining to the Soup Nazi :)

Christmas Sperm!

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Okay...I know this isn't the most Christmassy post I could put up...but I am picturing them all with little Santa hats and white beards or maybe antlers and sleigh bells. :)

Their individual expressions are great!