This is a picture of last years Christmas tree. Do you see that little German Shepherd angel dog ornament? And also ..the second Christmas picture down ...on the sidebar ...you can play a "Where's Waldo and try to find it. :) Well that was a most thoughtful and sweet gift from the urology staff in the office I go to. It was actually from one of the women there I had spoken to ...no sobbed into the phone at ..in January 2010. I was to have had a stent removal that week and had a pre-op appt to see urodoc that afternoon ...neither of which I felt I could follow through with because I was so devastated. Our wonderful GSD ..had basically stroked out in front of us about a half hour prior to my calling them. And at the point I called them ...younger son had just gotten him into a quilt so he could carry him out to the car for an emergency run to the vets. He was so strong and healthy ...a young and very fit Shepherd for his almost 10 years. It was a devastating shock that morning. I would've cried at the appointment and cried all the way into the OR that week and figured it was not the way to go in an OR and so needed to cancel everything. Anyway ...the compassionate and supportive woman I was speaking with ...had gotten this for me and signed it from the whole office. I was so touched, moved and comforted by her gesture. This little dog has had a prominent place on our Christmas tree for 2 years now and always will. And when I see it ...it still warms my heart because I think of the kindness behind that gift and also how wonderfully everyone I've encountered in that office has treated me. Is it any wonder I have thought so highly of this group of people since having been a patient there? And not because of the gift. Anyone who has followed my uro posts knows how highly I think of them and without hesitation ...confidently recommend anyone needing urological care to go to this urology group. Professional, compassionate, upbeat, organized - on top of things, skilled medical expertise, dedicated and I could go on ...but am so glad that with everything I have been through (urologically speaking), that these are the people I entrusted with my health care. I was/am in good hands for sure. Btw, I am still healed and doing very well. I will miss them and be eternally grateful for all urodoc, partners and staff have done to facilitate healing and make it as positive experience as possible under the circumstances. Believe me ...there are some doctors and med staff out there that would benefit by looking to them as a role model. And they have stood the test of time. I had been a frequent flier at one time and have had multiple occasions to see them all in action. I am very grateful that if I had to go through what I did ...that it was with them. And that is all I have to say about that. Well ...maybe one day I will give the names out and website. The only reason I haven't is because I have written some things in here that might identify me and not sure I want to do that as yet. I have been blessed with other good doctors and nice offices too, but because of my uro history ...I've spent the most time at their office. I am most grateful for all the good docs and medical offices over the years that I have dealt with either for myself or my family. To the medical people that come in to read my posts ...you do make a difference to your patients. I know I have said these things in the past ...but not for a while now and so I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the excellent physicians, nurses, M/A s, front desk staff, billers, technicians and all the other people that interact with patients on a daily basis. Your positive attitude, respect, patience, empathy, compassion, kindness,understanding, warmth, smiles, hugs, HUMOR, consistency, reliability, interest, listening, treating patients with dignity, support, and medical expertise- goes without saying ...are all so important and you DO make a difference in the lives of your patients. May your patients be blessed as you work with them and may you be blessed by them too. You and the work you do really matters - Thank you. (And really - we all make a difference in how we interact with people. It matters. Our kindness goes out like a ripple of good ...going forward.
Back to the Christmas tree. Just as that little GSD ornament has a story ...many of the Christmas tree ornaments I have ...have a story connected to them. And I LOVE to tell my friends and family - every year about the different ornaments and why they are special. It's tradition. maybe someday ...when the kids inherit them ...they will remember some of what I've said and it will warm their hearts. Plus it is a way of keeping the memory of those no longer with us alive. And seriously ...if someone didn't know what to give this SeaSpray for Christmas ...they can always give a Christmas tree ornament. And then I will tell the story about it. :) I'm just saying.
I actually thought ... I was going to get away with not obsessing about Christmas lites. I almost had to pinch me to see if it was still ME in my body because any other year ...the snafus would've had me organizing the troupes ..okay ..just me ..but I would not rest until everything was as perfect as could be. Even when it means I am alone ...no matter how long it takes ...how cold it is ...outside in the dark with a big bear around at 1 am. Well the bear year was a balmy one. I didn't know there was a bear until I saw him walk by the sliding door under the spotlight ...just AFTER I finally came in from finishing the lights. But my spidey senses were all weird and for first time ever ...I felt uneasy outside alone.
This year, I couldn't believe that more than half of our clear outdoor Christmas lights didn't work. Fortunately ...this year I decided to buy 8 boxes of cheap Christmas lights - strings of 100 each. And one of those didn't work either. And I really, really hate that those "cheap" light sets have receptacles that do NOT accommodate the plugs. Isn't it a standard now ...that all prongs in them have one large sized one and one small one ...thus needing to be plugged into something that can receive the larger sized one? I can tell you that the cheap sets from China to Walmart - do NOT.
Sooo ...I couldn't run the long extension cord down to hook up the blue lights on the evergreen tree. Now any other year, i would've been trying to figure out a way. Well okay ..I did, but not before saying ..."I don't care, I'll just put blue lights all over this lilac bush." and then seeing it didn't look good, removed all 200 lights and put them on the flowering tree that son and d-i-l gave us ...didn't look good and so removed them. Now after midnight and alone in the dark in the neighborhood ...I bring the 200 blue lights to a maple tree we have. All of these things are out front. Oh and Mr SeaSpray had mowed the lawn and I ruined my sneakers - green stains and all ...due to traipsing all over the loose grass in the dark.
Anyway ...I remembered how years ago when the tree was much smaller, I had put blue lights on it and it was very pretty. The thing is it is a lot taller, with much longer branches now. I could barely reach up to the lowest branches. I looked wistfully over at the small pine tree ...nope ..no way was the extension gonna fit into the end of those lights. And I didn't want to overload the receptacle I was using elsewhere.
Okay then ...I began running the lights along the branches ..didn't look right and tried a different way. Did I say it was well after midnight now??? Then I did it differently incorporating 4 branches out and back to the tree ...and did this 4 times ...so that while standing underneath ...the lights ran out in 4 directions and looked pretty. Until ...I stood back. Then they just looked pretty AWFUL ...like carnival lights! *sigh!*
And then I gave up. Although, I was tempted to just run the extension with other lights out to the pine tree anyway ...but thought better of it. I still had to tape the plastic Ziplock bags over all the connections. I don't know if other people do that ...but I figure it is extra insurance for keeping the water out and blowing the lights.
Our neighbors across the street seem to have an unusually dark house when I put the Christmas lights up. nary a light on anywhere. Sometimes I wonder if I am providing a night of entertainment. Ha ha ...the yearly Christmas light comedy. Seriously ...for all I know ...they are sitting in their living room with drinks and popcorn watching the light show. Maybe betting on how long it takes ...how many times I walk out to the road or in the house or slam the non working lights to the ground. The blue light debacle must've been particularly entertaining.
Normally ...the next morning ...I would've figured it out and gotten it done somehow, but I let it go. Oh and took the blue lights off the tree the next day. Then about a week later ...the bottom string of NEW lights burned out on one of the bushes. Even tho I had extra lights ...I let it go. I still have not replaced them. Okay ...I'm writing about it and so the burned out lights bother me ...but letting it g-o-o-o-o. :) So this is why I think I didn't obsess ...because I let it g-o-o-o-o and then I pondered why I did. I mean it just does not happen. I ALWAYS make sure it all works. I concluded that maybe this was just a year ...where other things seemed so much more important. Which is true.
And so 2 weeks later we put the lights on the Christmas tree ...only to discover that half of those lights had burned out as well.
WHAT happened in our attic this past year that caused most lights to malfunction???
So ...I didn't stress ...even tho the Christmas tree is my favorite thing. I left to buy lights.
But ...there were NO white lights to be found ...not anywhere locally. That is exactly why I do try to stock up on white lights. You can always get colors ...but the white lights vanish off the shelves. And yet ...to me ...it seems that more people decorate with colored lights than white. Perhaps the stores order less? All I could find was 2 small strings of 35 lights. Really?! 70 lights to cover the upper 4 1/2 feet of the tree?! I figured I'd have to fight Friday Christmas traffic and head down to the Christmas shops by the malls. However, I made a last ditch effort to try Shoprite, our local grocery store. They had 2 boxes of white lights left! The only thing is they were strings of 300 and I never use that many lights on one string because if they go out ...you have light loss over a larger area. I bought both boxes for insurance. We put the 300 lights on the upper part of the tree. Okay ...all was well now. We'd begin decorating the tree the next day.
But, it wasn't well. Something just didn't look right. I didn't know why. I stared at the tree from different angles ...checking it out ...up and down and all around. Normally ...I'd be real happy with the lites. What's not to like about a Christmas tree with lights on it? It was darker ...or not as bright. Then I remembered the guy dancing the tree around for us in the lot said it was a "dense" tree and so I figured maybe the lights weren't shining through the tree like they normally would. But, this year ...for the first time ...we even wrapped the lights all the way around the tree. It sits in a corner and so don't really have to do the back corner.
Two days. For two days ..or I should say 3 nights actually ...I stared at that tree and afraid to decorate it because the lights weren't right. Even the ceiling didn't look right. Something was just off. I asked everyone and they didn't know either. They also didn't care as much. Lights are lights are lights as far as they are concerned. Just lights.
And then it hit me ...I was obsessing after all. :) And I realized ...the string of 300 lights was duller than the better quality of lights on the bottom. The new lights were about half as bright as the older ones. Great ...now the bottom is brighter than the top and they are staying that way. But ..then the next night ...I did find an old working set of lights and indeed ...they were brighter. So, I wove them up through the upper part of the tree. And problem solved. They brought a better quality of light to the upper half of the tree. Yay!
Knowing myself ...I did think it was odd that I wasn't determined to make things work or fix them outside. Whenever I think of taking shortcuts or quitting on something I hear my Aunt Janet's voice in my head telling me, "Patricia ...if your not going to do the job right then you might as well not do it at all." There was more to that ...but suffice it to know her words have been the catalyst motivating me to do a job 100% any time I think of doing less than my best. (If only that worked for maintaining weight loss - I'm just saying :) And yes ...to quote my mother, "Patty's precise!" and couple that with my Aunt being a significant role model in my life and I can be overboard on the perfectionist side. Not hard on other people ...just my own personal expectations. Sometimes a good thing and sometimes not. This year was an off year and as I stated in a previous post ...felt like some things were just off for me this year.
Anyway ...Chevy Chase and I would make a good Christmas decorating team. I loved him in "Christmas Vacation"...a guy after my own heart ...with all his Christmas enthusiasm and decorating. I wouldn't be as gaudy ...but can relate to his Christmas decorating perfectionism.
I'm just saying. :)
And now ...I don't want it to end.
And here it is New Year's eve already.
And on that note ...I hope everyone has a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and most Blessed New Year - 2012.