Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010

Good-bye 2009. I'm kind of glad to be done with it. It wasn't a horrible year. There were some good things (halloween cruise), and some bad times (spending frantic hours in the ER when Bruce got sick). But mostly it was just mundane, uneventful things that I have already forgotten. In fact, I can barely remember what all happened this past year it was so average.

But 2010? I hope you are fabulous. I hope I can sit down here on this same day next year and blog about how wonderful it all was. But until then, I suppose I have to do the obligatory setting of intentions for the year ahead. So here it goes:

Intentions for 2010:

1. First and foremost, if I don't follow through with one other thing on this list, I want to make good on my promise to see things less negatively. I am a lucky woman with a wonderful family, good friends, a job, a is impossible to list all of the things that I have been blessed with. Instead of freaking out, or stressing out, I am going to work on just going with the flow....with grace and gratitude.

2. I need to work a little harder to be healthy. You know, I don't really worry all that much about weight or numbers on a scale anymore (well, a little but nothing like I used to). But the fact is that my blood pressure is way up and my time at the gym is way down. I'm having to go to the doc every couple of weeks, trying one med and then another just to see if we can get my blood pressure down to anything even close to normal. The med switching has left me feeling worse than the high blood pressure (although not nearly as dangerous). I keep feeling that if I just made more of an effort to eat healthy and exercise more, I could get more control of the situation.

3. Get organized. I'm not the worst person that I know in this department, but I could definitely use improvement. I am a genius at the "getting organized" part. Its the "staying organized" thing that always gets me. If I get busy, and slack off just a little, like say not sorting through the mail right away, not cleaning out closets frequently enough, or letting things sit in the fridge for too long...everything just builds up and starts to feel daunting. I intend to stay on top of all that just a little better.

4. More play, Less work. 'Nuff said.

5. Make a serious effort to learn at least one thing (well) this year. My #1 choice is to learn Spanish. I've been working with the Rosetta Stone computer program for a while now, but its going to take a whole lot more than that. I need to check out my resources and see whats available. Simple reading, like children's books would help. CD's in the car would probably be good too. Maybe a class at our community college? I need to make the time to check all of these things out.

6. Be greener! We recycle, and use eco-friendly light bulbs. I have reusable shopping bags, and try to make informed decisions when it comes to shopping. But is that really enough? I am sure there are many more things that we could do, I just need to research it and figure out how to make that happen.

And while I really do have a million other things I would like to work on, and make some progress with, these are my most important ones. And since I probably won't talk to most of you until "next year", I am going to leave you with a little prayer of intention that my yoga instructor, Diana, sends us off with after class:

"May we be safe.
May we be healthy.
May we be joyous.
May we be free."

Seriously, what more could we ask for?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Belated Christmas Present

I got the phone pictured above today as sort of a belated Christmas present. I have wanted/needed a new phone for a while now. This one is the HTC Touch Pro 2, or...the Windows version of the Iphone. I THINK I am going to like it. If I ever figure it out. I THINK I can make/receive calls on it at this point. But the rest? All of the fancified gadgets and browsers and apps and functions? Um, yeah...not so much. I will figure it out eventually. But it may take a while. Still...its pretty, and I like to play with it, LOL.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Upside Down

Well, it was the most upside down Christmas I have EVER had. We missed the trip to Jamaica because Bruce got really sick with an infection called "C Diff". It's caused by antibiotics that can cause the bad bacteria in your intestines to produce toxins which then attack the intestinal lining. He was taking amoxicillin to clear up a sinus/ear infection. We drove down to Raleigh on Tuesday afternoon, preparing for an early morning flight out of RDU on Wed. But he got so sick and was in so much pain later that evening that we drove him to the nearest ER at Wake Med. We SHOULD have gone to Duke, but we were scared and not thinking clearly and the hotel directed us to Wake Med because it was the closest. We sat there in that ER for hours and hours, in the midst of people who sounded like they had swine flu. It felt a little dirty, and I kept going up to the front desk to plead, beg, and beseech them to do something for Bruce. Anything. At least find him a place to lie down or something. He was in so much pain we thought he was going to pass out. We even sat through a change of personnel at the front desk.
All that either one of them could say was, "I can't help you." Somehow not sounding the least bit apologetic. Remember that hospital in NY that made the news because this poor woman died on the floor and laid there for something like 12 hours before anybody noticed her? That could have been this place. Do NOT go to Wake Med if you can help it.We finally left because Bruce just got so exhausted from having to sit there. We went back to the hotel and let him have a few hours of sleep.

Wednesday morning he woke up feeling a little better and decided to try to go ahead with our flight. We started packing up to go, but within a few minutes of having a sip of coffee he had another attack that left him writhing on the bed in pain. So the kids stayed behind to check out of the hotel, try to figure out how to cancel our flights, etc....and I drove Bruce straight back to Greenville and to Pitt Memorial. He just wanted to be on familiar ground. We tried to get the kids to go ahead and take the trip without us.They are adults, after all, but no one was comfortable going on without knowing what was wrong with Bruce. At this point, we were all kind of thinking it was possibly appendicitis and that he might require surgery. ?

Pitt Memorial took us right back, ran numerous tests, including a ct scan....and they were friendly and helpful. They diagnosed him but the whole event took forever. We were there from about 8am until well after 6 that evening. Whew...we were both exhausted, and our nerves were wracked, and we felt extreme disappointment that our Christmas trip was ruined. Still...we were grateful that none of this happened in a foreign country. The doctor stressed how lucky we were that we hadn't left for Jamaica already because C Diff can be life-threatening, cause internal bleeding, and intestinal ruptures and sometimes requires emergency surgery. We came home feeling blessed that he was going to be ok and we tried to figure out how to salvage Christmas as best we could.

Erica did a huge holiday food shopping trip while we were in the ER. She cooked 2 big on Christmas Eve (pork bbq, homemade mac n cheese, etc). Hannia made a delicious pinto soup, and Stephen baked chocolate chip cookies. The Chocolate chip cookies are a Christmas tradition with this family. And then on Christmas Day Erica cooked the whole turkey dinner that we generally have. Well, I actually cooked the turkey, but she took care of the rest. I managed to snag a couple of Nintendo Wii's at the very last minute on a frantic Christmas Eve shopping trip so there was at least something under the tree for the kids. That was a big bonus to me. Huge, really. I wanted to give them something, and they had talked about wanting a Wii just the night before.

And after dinner we took off to go see Sherlock Holmes. Erica had been waiting for it to be released for a long time. She really loves Robert Downey, Jr. And in case you didn't know, our favorite tv show "House, MD" is loosely based on the Sherlock Holmes stories. Holmes - House. House lives at 221B. Wilson is House's Watson....and the whole tv series is about solving mysteries (only medical instead of criminal). Anyway, the movie was good and we enjoyed it. We spent the rest of the night playing a scrabble-based board game called Banana-gram. (I think). Erica had given it to Stephen for his birthday. Its addictive, and a lot of fun. We played until the wee hours of the morning.

Erica and I braved the crowds to do a little shopping yesterday. We didn't find all that much, not that we really needed anything. But we snagged a few things on really good sale, so it made the crowds almost worth it.

And then we ended our holiday weekend today. With another upside-down twist. I went out to get something out of the trunk of Erica's car, as she was inside packing to leave. And....wait for it.....I LOCKED her only set of keys IN THE TRUNK!!! I was so upset with myself. It made me shed a few tears in frustration. It made me want to say that this was the worst Christmas ever. But it really wasn't that awful. There were a lot of things that didn't go as planned. But in the end, it all worked out OK. Bruce survived and we are all healthy. I was really touched at the concern that our children had for him. And for the selfless way that they wanted to stick together as a family instead of taking off on the trip. And the keys? Thank God for AAA. I called and they had a locksmith out in about 30 minutes.
It took him less than 2 minutes to resolve the whole disaster, and it didn't cost us a penny.

I think the whole holiday has given me food for thought. Why do I instinctively focus on what went wrong (ie the missed trip, the illness, the hours in the ER, the lack of gifts, the unfortunate key incident), instead of giving credit to all the things that went RIGHT!! Like Bruce recovering, good insurance and health care, the love of our children and the family being together. The laughs, the good food, the Wii's that were miraculously in stock. The man who unlocked the car for us with such a short waiting time!! It could have all been so much worse.
And this coming year, after really contemplating my reactions, I am going to work on my perception of things and try to see more of the good and less of the bad. I think its a healthy, worthy goal to achieve.

But still, with a grateful heart for how much this family has been blessed, I am going to do Christmas up in a major way next year. We have decided that holiday travel is OUT! Too stressful, too crowded, too much potential for weather delays, cancelled flights, and winter illness. We are going to stay home next year. And decorate like nobody's business because that makes me happy. And have mountains of gifts. And bake cookies and make candy and hang stockings. (I would say that we might even congregate and sing carols by the tree, but that would probably be taking things just a wee bit too far. My family is NOT the singing type.) We can vacation in spring, summer and fall when things are less crazy. In fact, we are tentatively planning a spring vacation with the kids to make up for this one that was lost. My family rocks, ya'll. Seriously. They were so supportive and understanding and helpful. I love you guys.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas

In case I don't get another chance before we leave for Jamaica I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas, and a safe, happy and prosperous New Year ahead.

Much Love,

p.s. It is a balmy 85 degrees here:

Don't hate. LOL.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Fruit

We received some beautiful citrus fruit from Dad and Barb this week. Thank you. It made me feel nostalgic as I reminisced about some fond childhood memories. Every year there was a Christmas party at my Grandparents house on Christmas Eve. My father's parents. We called them Mammy and Papa....and I don't know why. Its just what we (my sister and I) called them for as long as I can remember.

The Christmas Eve party was almost as big a deal as Christmas Day. We always had special Christmas party dresses. There was a huge potluck supper (Mammy and Papa always had breakfast, dinner and supper. Lunch was not a word they ever used). And a large pan of Mammy's cornbread dressing, which is etched forever in my memory as the most perfect food in the whole world. I never learned to make it. After everyone ate like pigs, we would all gather around the tree (which actually had the old-fashioned bubble lights) and my Uncle Fred, the fun uncle that we all loved best, would play Santa and hand out the mountains of gifts from Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins. It was obscene how many gifts we opened on that night every single year.

After the party started to wind down, my sister and I would curl up with Papa and beg him to tell us about how Christmas was when he was a young boy. Papa was a natural storyteller. He had a gift. And he never failed to tell us a story whenever we requested one. We would sit around the Christmas tree and see all of these baskets of fruit. Every year people from their church, and from the community would bestow fruit baskets upon Mammy and Papa. It was a tradition. There would be sometimes upwards of a dozen baskets or more, some huge and grand and tied up with beautiful ribbon. And some more modest with one of those little premade bows stuck on top. But they were all displayed proudly around the room like natural parts of the holiday decorations.

And then Papa would begin to tell us how Santa, back in his day, put only 1 gift under the tree for each child. It was usually a toy. And then Santa filled their stockinga. It was the stocking that Papa liked to tell us about the most. He couldn't remember the details of exactly what toys he got, but he could recall that every single year Santa left him, and his brothers 1 banana and 1 orange a piece. There were also some nuts and candies, but the fruit was their favorite part.
Back then, which would have been the very early 1900's, transportation was slow enough that getting perishable things like fruit from one place to another was hard work. Especially out in the rural area that Papa grew up in. You didn't just walk down to the corner market and pick up oranges and bananas. Fruit was limited to what grew locally, and there was nothing tropical about upstate South Carolina.

He told us how he would rip open that banana and have it for Christmas breakfast. That sweet exotic flavor, so rare and unlike anything he ate during the rest of the year defined Christmas to him. And the orange would be peeled just a little at a time and eaten in small sections slowly to try and make it last for the entire day. And that was it. 1 banana and 1 orange for an entire year. I remember how my sister and I would be stunned by that revelation every single time that he told the tale. Can you even imagine? And then he would laugh and remark to us how everything changes with time. He would look around at all those fruit baskets on display and say that now he had more fruit than he could even begin to eat. But you know, I think that it was still special to him. As far as I can recall, Mammy and Papa never opened a single one of those baskets until Christmas morning, like it was unthinkable not to wait and savor it on that special day.

And opening our boxes of fruit, and smelling the fresh clean scent of citrus brought all of that back to me. Happy memories of Christmas past. I hope Papa is somewhere smiling as I take my first bite of a juicy Christmas orange. And no, I didn't wait for Christmas day.....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kitty Updates

We put up our Christmas tree on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I can't remember if I blogged about it or not. I do know I posted it on Facebook, only because our cats could NOT leave it alone. Bruce got the lights on it and then we just left it without ornaments because the cats were attacking it and climbing on all the branches from the inside. The thing would shake and sway so violently that I can't even imagine what the view of it was like from the road (its in our front window). It must have looked like a possessed Christmas tree.

But I got tired of not having anything on the tree. I mean, seriously, I USED to consider myself an expert Tree decorator. I have an attic filled to the brim with gorgeous glass ornaments that we have collected from all over the place. My tree was my pride and my joy every single year. So this is unchartered territory for me. It feels so strange. So I ran out and picked up a few boxes of "shatterproof" ornaments.
They look like glass, but feel like plastic. Whatever....they are shiny and the tree looks a little more finished. Nothing like it ought to look, but its better.

And you know, its gotten better. After the first week or so, the cats are no longer climbing it. They do sleep on the tree skirt a whole lot (which is fine by me). And they do occasionally take an ornament off of the bottom and bat it around for fun. I find them scattered here and there, but they won't break so its no big deal.
We have come to the conclusion that by next year we might be able to have a decent tree again. IF we put it up early and give them a week or so to get used to it. And IF I use these unbreakable things around the bottom part. I think it might work out. I am tired of defending myself and my pathetic tree by making it a point to tell anyone who comes in the house how I USED to have fabulous trees....trying to justify the sadness that my tree is this year. LOL.

Also? Yesterday morning I was sitting here on my couch, with my coffee and my computer, reading the news online like I do most every morning. And Vixen (the black kitty) came out of the kitchen, walking toward me like she was going to jump up here on the couch with me. Its not unusual for her to do that as the blanket that she loves was right beside me. I just happened to look up and see........a MOUSE hanging out of her mouth. And not one of her fake play mice. A REAL LIVE MOUSE. In her mouth!! And she was bringing it to ME!!!

I started screaming, which woke Bruce up in a blind panic. He thought the house was on fire or something. But anyway, it took him a while to get that mouse away from Vixen. Everytime he tried to take it, she would growl and get all possessive. By the time he got her to drop it, the poor thing was dead. I felt kind of bad for it.
It probably just came in to get out of the cold, and then it got killed. I don't hate mice. I just don't want dead ones dropped on my lap. Yuck. What a way to start my day.

Also? This makes me smile:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

So Happy

Yesterday, despite the fact that it was cold, Bruce and I got outside and cleaned out the shed where the goats had been living. And that led to cleaning out all 3 storage rooms AND the garage, so it was a very productive day. The outside storage is clean, neat and organized. But it also made me a little sad, as I was missing the goats. Last night I wrote a quick email to the family that took them, because they told me that I was welcome to contact them anytime. They wrote back immediately. This is what they said:

"HI this is Lane , They are fine and my daughers think the story about them is the best thing ever , we had a small pond dug today so we wouldnt have to worry about water for all the livestock and they have been playing king of the hill on the dirt mounds all day. THE only problem we have had is the kids spoil them so bad with attention and treats that they yell or blet every time we go outside or when they see a human!!!! I am sure youwill hear from the girls in the future they are asleep right now, so thanks again and God Bless You and your family this X-mas and throughout your lives!!

Ps I forgot to tell you Bailey my youngest is training them to ride on the Fourwheeler!! "

My goats are happy, and that makes me absolutely thrilled. I knew one woman who taught her goat to ride in a golf cart with her. But a 4-wheeler? LOL. The goats are having way more fun than they did here. It makes my heart a whole lot less heavy.

Also? The "story" that they refer to is a children's book that Stephen still wants to write (when he has the time) about "Chaucer, the Magic Goat" (and his non-magical sidekick Poe). If it ever does get written, Hannia would be doing the illustrations for it. I told the family that if it ever does come to pass, I will make sure they get a copy as they own the original inspiration for the book. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009


The family came to pick up our goats today. I really do feel like they are going to enjoy this home. Their daughters are planning to take them to some special animal show and tell at school. And train them to walk on a leash, and even possibly show them off at the county fair this coming fall. I know Chaucer and Poe will love all of that attention. Because seriously, other than running out to feed them twice a day, we didn't ever seen to be able to find much time to hang out and play with them. And they are playful, so...I feel good about this situation.

They went willingly enough into the truck. We sent them off with their food, a bag of their favorite timothy grass/molasses hay (goats LOVE that stuff), and their deworming medication. The guy seemed really knowledgeable about the dewormer, and general goat care. Well, he said he raises Bora goats (full-size), but he sells those. His girls wanted a couple of goats to keep, and play with and get attached to that wouldn't be sold off. They also raise their own hay, so I know my goats will be well fed.

I am ok with this. I feel like its a good thing. But still, when that truck first pulled off with my goats on the back of it, I came inside and cried for a little bit.
I couldn't help it. But its all going to work out fine. We have their email and phone number. The girls are going to send us pictures occasionally. They invited us to stop in anytime we come through Fayetteville to see them. If I started missing them too terribly, it would be feasible to go visit them. And I just might...

On a happier note, Shep and Scooter seemed really happy to have full run of the backyard again. I don't think they will miss the goats at all.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

To Barb

Barb wrote:

"I am sad, very sad, because each time we come and visit you it is really to see the goats, now there no reason to come see you now. Barb"

Bruce replies:

"The only reason we come to visit you is to get the pickles, and now you just gave us some, so there is no reason to come see you now, either".

LOL! Also, just for the record, (and yes my husband is an egomaniac), he has determined that the upcoming holiday should now be called "Brucemas"

Um, yeah, so A Very Merry Brucemas to all of you. Too crazy.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Goats might be gone....

Bruce and I have been contemplating our goats for a while now. It makes things complicated that our backyard has been taken over by barnyard animals. Don't get me wrong, its been a fun experience. A learning experience. And I am glad that I had this time with them that I have. But we made the decision that things would just be easier if the goats went to a home more suited to livestock. The dogs would be happier to have free run of the backyard again.

We attempted to contact a local farm that has a petting zoo, but they are closed for the season, and although Bruce left a message, nobody ever called us back. Several months ago, while I was still trying to make up my mind if I could actually part with my goats, Bruce ran by the farm where he bought them from originally. That guy said it was no problem, he would take them back. But...a couple of months have passed and when Bruce contacted him this past week, this man was selling off all his goats, and was no longer interested in taking them back. Yikes! We were beginning to get a little bit worried that we were stuck with goats for life. And goats live a good 10-15 years.

So, in a last ditch effort, I put an ad on Craig's list this evening. That was around 7pm. A dozen emails, and half a dozen phone calls later (who knew goats would generate so much interest??? Maybe it was the FREE part?) I think we have found them a good home. Bruce has interviewed and asked questions while we tried to match them with a good family. Under NO circumstances would I let my goats go to someone who planned to eat them. That was my major concern. But the people that we decided to grace with our precious goats have a farm with horses, other full-sized goats, plenty of pasture/farm land and 2 daughters (ages 10 and 14). These little pygmy goats were going to be for the girls. We got other offers of people who wanted to use them to clear lots, mainly because goats eat almost everything. But it was the family with children who made me feel the happiest about this whole situation. So, we will see. They have confirmed that they definitely want them and want to come on Monday to pick the goats up. If they don't show, then...I will go back down the list of emails and see if we can figure out someone else that might be a good match. A few of the others seemed Ok. One lady assured me that she was a vegetarian, so my goats were not in danger of being eaten. But how can I be sure that she wasn't lying? haha

Actually, I am surprisingly not sad about it. I think our goats get somewhat bored out there in our backyard. Its spacious, but not for grazing and foraging. I think they will enjoy being on a farm with horses and other goats. And I KNOW they will love the attention of kids to play with them. I think its a much better situation for them, and so....I am ready to let them go, and be happy that I think they will have a good home.

Which leaves us with only 2 dogs, and 2 cats now. That is almost like a normal amount of pets....isn't it? LOL.

Friday, December 4, 2009


We lost Scarlet today. She would have been 17 years old this coming spring. And that is old for a dog. We have had her since she was just about 2 months old. Jeanne gave her to us. To Erica, actually, for her 10th birthday. She had a long full life, and lots of love from her family. Its been difficult watching her suffer from really bad arthritis, and a loss of appetite.

We have been trying to postpone the inevitable as long as possible, carrying her in and out, and to the water dish. But it was becoming painfully clear that she was not happy, and her quality of life was not good. At 17, we couldn't expect things to improve. So...with the help of our vet, Dr. Kuhn, who has been so wonderful and supportive with all of the geriatric dog care that we need, we scheduled euthanasia here at home. And that....hurts. Its hard. Its right, and its compassionate, and its humane. But still, it leaves a hole in your heart. We will miss her.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Stephen

My beloved son, my youngest child, is 25 today. I can hardly believe it. Hannia and I have been working for weeks on pulling off a surprise party for him. Between coordinating all the food, decorations, guests, etc....there has been a whole LOT of lying, sneaking, sending coded texts and emails. LOL. I feel a huge relief that its over and done with just because of that. But it was a success. Erica got him here under some guise of running errands with her today. I don't know exactly what she said, but her job was to pick up the cupcakes at the bakery, and to get Stephen here at our house at 12, without him suspecting anything.

I think he really was surprised. He walked in, thinking they were just stopping by the house for something quick on the way out to eat lunch before Erica had to leave to drive back to Va. And as he came through the door, we were all standing around shooting off these confetti-loaded poppers that made a huge bang. So funny. I still have confetti all over the floor.

The food was good. Hannia made chorizo quesadillas (and onion and pepper ones for people who don't eat meat). I made these mediterranean pinwheels that had prosciutto, feta and fresh basil. We had sneaked out a couple of weeks ago to order cupcakes from the Perfect Cake bakery that said "Happy Birthday Stephen" in IPA. IPA is an international phonetic script that dates back to the 1840's (I think. I could be wrong). The people at the bakery really seemed so confused by our request. Even though I had a print out of how it should be spelled. But they got it right, so Yay!

Anyway, it was fun and he was surprised. Everyone has just left. Jack, who came all the way from Richmond is spending the rest of the weekend at Stephen's. Hannia knew about it, and was secretly trying to clean up around the apartment, like anyone would naturally do if they were having houseguests. But she had to do it nonchalantly as if nothing was going on. LOL. Erica is on her way back to Charlottesville, too. I will miss her, but she will be going to Jamaica with us for Christmas, so its only a few weeks before I get to see her again.

And one last update: I went to Rite-Aid yesterday and FINALLY got the stupid prescription filled. All of it. Maybe now that its in the system, it won't be so crazy-hard to refill next month....? Who knows....

Here's a pic of the cupcakes. I am not sure how well the IPA script shows up. Hannia probably got much better pictures than I did. And halfway through the party our camera died and we didn't find the charger until after everyone had left. I had inadvertently packed it up with the Halloween decorations that we took on the cruise....and believe me, looking through that stuff was an absolute last resort since I had it all boxed up and packed away. But we found it, and everything is fine. Hannia had her camera so I don't think we missed anything.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Rite-Aid Rx Saga

We have been getting our prescriptions filled at Eckerds for years. At least ten years, but maybe as many as 15...? Our Eckerds turned into Rite-Aid a couple of years ago. And I am not so sure how I feel about it now.

Day 1: I have a Dr. visit. He changes one of my prescriptions to twice a day (up from once a day). Same mg, just a different dosage. I run my Rx by Rite-aid on my way home. The pharmacist said they were out of this particular drug, but would have a shipment in the morning. Come back tomorrow. Ok, fine. Its on my way home from work so not really a big deal.

Day 2: I go by Rite-Aid on my way home from work. I ask for my Rx, and the Pharmacy assistant goes off to look for it. 15 minutes later, after slowly checking every filled script in the place, she comes back and looks at me blankly. I explained that I turned in the Rx yesterday, it wasn't in stock, so I was told I could pick it up today. She sighed as if I was inconveniencing her and went to a computer. They must still be using a dial up connection. It took another eternity. She couldn't find it, even after asking me to spell my last name 3 times in a row...everybody who might know anything was on break...(?), and maybe I should try back tomorrow.

Day 3: Different assistant, so I felt hopeful. This man couldn't find it but only needed me to spell my last name twice, and finally found it on the computer. He told me that since I had had the prescription filled only 2 weeks ago, the insurance company wouldn't let them refill it again so soon. With a heavy sigh of my soul, I explained to him as patiently as my rage would allow that this was a DIFFERENT Rx. A DIFFERENT dosage. He looked uneasy, but told me he would have to call and get it straight with the insurance company, and would I please come back tomorrow.....

Day 4: Once again, I go to Rite-Aid. I get the same assistant as the day before. The one who promised me he would get it all straightened out with the insurance company. I asked to pick up my meds. He seemed to remember me, but somehow had gotten my situation all confused. He said something about the insurance company again, I reiterated that it was a DIFFERENT dosage this time. He got on the dial-up connection computer AGAIN. And then has the audacity to come back and inform me that to get a different dosage, I would need a prescription. Like I had just decided that I wanted to up the dosage all on my own..!?!? I was sooooo NOT amused.
I told him that I had turned in the script FROM MY DR. a couple of days ago, and was still waiting for them to get it straight. He told me he would need to verify this with my Dr.'s office. He would make the phone calls, and then I could pick it up....get this...TOMORROW!!!

Day 5: I go back to Rite-Aid AGAIN! The girl was the one I dealt with first. The one who clearly couldn't find her way out of a paper bag, even if she had a flashlight and a map. She looked at me blankly. She slowly pawed through all of the ready Rx bags. She came back to tell me she couldn't find it. I leaned over the counter, got as much in her face as I could, and I told her in my best imitation of Satan that she better find it. I had been through hell and back for 5 days and I wasn't leaving until I got my damned meds! She looked scared and if she thought I was a woman on the verge of homicidal rage, she would be right. She left and a few minutes later the male assistant came back, with a BAG in his hand. But....they were almost out of stock, and he could only give me a partial refill. I could come back to pick up the rest....tomorrow!

Day 6 (also known as Today!): I run by Rite-Aid on my way home from work. The girl sees me, gets all nervous and walks to the back. The man comes up to talk to me. Yes, he realized that I only got a partial refill yesterday, the process of trying to finish up the refill today (after that truck dropped off a shipment), that whole error message from the insurance company came up AGAIN. He is going to have to call them AGAIN. And then...who knows....I will probably go back on Friday only to find out they are out of stock AGAIN....I swear, I am ready to move all of our prescriptions to Walgreens. Or CVS.
Both of them are equally convenient to get to. At the very least....I got my partial refill and have enough of this medication to last me through the weekend. Assuming that I won't be able to get my refill on Friday. I am so frustrated right now!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Twas the Nite of Thanksgiving

Twas the Nite of Thanksgiving
But I just couldn't sleep
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned -
The dark meat and white
But I fought the temptation
With all of my might

Tossing and turning
With anticipation
The thought of a snack
Became infatuation.

So, I raced to the kitchen,
Flung open the door
And gazed at the fridge,
Full of goodies galore.

Gobbled up turkey
And buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots,
Beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling
So plump and so round,
'Til all of a sudden,
I rose off the ground.

I crashed through the ceiling,
Floating into the sky
With a mouthful of pudding
And a handful of pie.

But, I managed to yell
As i soared past the trees....
Happy eating to all -
Pass the cranberries, please.

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes 'n gravy
Have nary a lump,

May your yams be delicious
May your pies take the prize,
May your thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs.

Happy Turkey Day

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Things are crazy busy around here. I want to blog, really I do. But having the time to actually sit down and put together a few thoughts is hard to do lately. Everything is fine. Its dandy, even. We've got a really nice Thanksgiving weekend planned. And then a most excellent trip to Jamaica for Christmas. I have always wanted to go to Jamaica, so this is one of those places on my "list". This trip is the kids' gift, too, so...the bulk of my Christmas shopping is DONE! How cool is that?

Anyway, I feel like I have neglected my blog, but I am here. Alive and well. I will try to do better, I swear.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

OCD Thanksgiving

Alright, so Hannia sent this to me several months ago. I was just sending her (and Stephen) a request of what they might bring to Thanksgiving (it did include a plea for pink pie...Stephen has been perfecting his recipe for it). And I had a sudden recollection of this letter taken (stolen...LOL) from a blog "Back to San Diego". Apparently this is for real. And honestly? I would just stay home and eat take out before I would attend this family's celebration. Geesh!

The blog:

I'm not one to gossip, but I received this letter from a friend. She got it from her coworker, whose sister wrote it! (Seriously)

Apparently, it takes a village to build a Thanksgiving feast...and as we know, every village needs a village leader (or village idiot, as the case may be).

I changed none of the wording except for the names (so they can't sue me when they read this).

The Letter:

Happy Thanksgiving!


From: Marney

As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.

Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.

All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.

HJB—Dinner wine

The Mike Byron Family
1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don't feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don't care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.

The Bob Byron Family
1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).

The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family
1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).

The Michelle Bobble Family
1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Proscuitto pin wheel - please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife

The June Davis Family
1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay

The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)
1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.

Looking forward to the 28th!!



This makes me look SO normal.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have a day off tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have a Dr. appointment and a long list of errands. Its supposed to rain like crazy for most of the day, so IF I can get everything done early, then it seems like a perfect afternoon for a movie. I want to see "Men who Stare at Goats"....I wonder if its any good?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

As if

As if in answer to my previous post, one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho just posted this on his Facebook page:

"Cloning Confucius: if you let bad things stop you, you won’t be there for the good things"

I think that answers my question about how to live your life in the face of so many atrocities happening all around us. Sometimes, I think Mr. Coelho has magical powers.
LOL. Maybe he is just psychic. If you have never read "The Alchemist"....OMG. Please do.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Fear, the concept of it, has been foremost in my mind these past several weeks. The murder of Buddy's Aunt and Uncle, the missing girl in Charlottesville, the heinous shootings at Fort Hood...the list goes on and on. Its insane. Its scary. Its enough to make anybody want to lock their doors and hide under their beds for the rest of their lives. What's the point of reasonable risk and throwing caution to the wind? I think that's more my question.

I am well acquainted with fear. I grew up with fear. Not that my childhood was fraught with danger or anything. But my mother, bless her soul, was phobic about almost everything. Her message to me was that danger lurks around every corner.
Flying was a death sentence. Traveling outside the country was an invitation to maiming, torture and unspeakable horrors. Also making the list: being out and about alone at night, bars and nightclubs, strangers, heights, bridges, thrill rides at amusement parks, swimming in the ocean, driving in unfamiliar territory, rest stops...honestly, there is not enough space on this blog to list it all.

Its a wonder I have been able to lead a halfway normal life. My daughter gets annoyed by my nervous "checking up" on her. When the poor girl went missing in her town, I had to call and check up on Erica about once a day, just to say, "I hope you haven't been abducted today". My mom was horrified about abductions. When my children were really little, she would call me, and send newspaper clippings (this is before the internetz) of every case that made the news to make damn sure that I was aware of the potential dangers and was staying on my toes to watch over and protect my babies.

My mother let fear limit her life. I guess she weighed her options and decided that being safe was worth more to her than being sorry. I can't live my life that way.
The limitations are too strict. I wouldn't be able to go out and enjoy my "Girl's Night Out" if I followed those rules. I wouldn't be able to take a cruise, fly to a vacation spot, or drive up to visit my daughter. I would alienate my children with my incessant phobias. I can't do it. A part of me WANTS to do it. I still hear Mom's voice disapproving everything that I do that might be a potential risk. The news constantly tries to reinforce that danger really DOES lurk everywhere, no matter what you do. Its something that I still struggle with. But, I am determined to keep living my life, somehow. I believe that if we give in to fear, if we stop enjoying the good things, then the bad guys win. I don't know. How do you deal with it? Are you able to put thoughts of the bad things that are plastered all over the news aside? Do you make concessions and compromises to hopefully stay safer?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I want to write a long post about how much fun we had on our trip (Lots). Maybe pass on a few of the highlights (like Barb winning the slots tournament). But its really hard for me to do that right now. While we were gone, my brother-in-law (Buddy) lost his Aunt and Uncle in a brutal robbery/murder in my hometown area in SC. There was a double funeral on Halloween afternoon.

I knew his Aunt, although the press calls her Jo Ann and I only ever knew her as Aunt Ducky. Its funny how I don't think I ever heard her by any name other than Ducky. I'm sure I met Buddy's Uncle as well, at some point or another, but I don't remember.
What I do know is that this couple was retired and they liked to travel and socialize.
They enjoyed life. Its a sad situation that nobody should have to go through. My thoughts and prayers go out to Buddy's family. They have been through a whole lot over the past couple of years.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Good times....Serious fun. I will write some more about all the fun as soon as I get a chance. There was a whole lot of unpacking, laundry, and putting stuff away to do.
But as soon as I get myself all caught up, I will be back to blog about the trip. It was most excellent though.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bahama Mama

I am going to be a Bahama Mama this week. We are on our way. See ya in a week. Don't be hatin'.....LOL.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Haunted Cornfield

We (meaning Bruce, Erica, Stephen, Hannia, and myself) all headed out to
Briley's Haunted Farm last night .
It really is a lot of fun, and oh my Lord the number of people there. There was a line for the haunted cornfield that was a mile long. Well, I don't know if it was actually a FULL mile, but it was really, really, really LONG!!!! We bought a combo ticket, meaning we went through both the haunted cornfield AND the un-haunted corn maze, so we got to avoid the lines AND the wait. A word of advice...its is so worth the combo ticket. Our waiting was minimal. And that made it way more fun, because seriously? I imagine those people waiting in line for just the haunted cornfield probably had to wait for several hours. Maybe more. This attraction has become very popular around here, apparently.

Anyway, this year the haunted cornfield was LOOONNNGGG. It felt like we hiked a couple of miles through the corn. Various creatures, monsters and goblins jumped out at us, waved screaming chain saws at us, chased us, and even mocked us. Well, one monster mocked ME! I giggle like a girly school kid when I get nervous, and I just couldn't help it. He followed me around and every time that I giggled, he giggled in a mocking way right back at me. How dare that little creepy guy!!!! LOL.

The scariest parts, though, played on my own personal claustrophobia. There is this one little building that you have to go through where the walls are a parachute type fabric (like those blow up decorations that people put out in their front yards). The walls are being blown in from both sides with a heavy-duty fan/blower, and you literally have to squeeze your body through it in pitch black darkness, with no clue as to how long it is before you reach the end. I got about halfway through it and felt a tremor of panic deep in my soul.....but I managed to hold it together and make it through without freaking out (too badly), wetting myself, or dying.

And the second scariest thing was the maze at the very end. Its a building with walls that form narrow corridors that twist and turn, and it goes on FOREVER. I thought we would be lost in there forever. Its completely dark, you have to feel your way through it, finding the right turns or left turns by touch. I ended up at the very end of our group, and I heard something shuffling along behind me several times. Which made me want to push forward to get away from the shuffle monster, but the rest of my group was slowly trying to feel their way through the darkness, and there was no hurrying about any of it. Also? Its hot and airless in there, so claustrophobia sets in early on.

But we emerged intact, and laughing, so then we set off to the corn maze. That one is not haunted, or scary, but it IS large and elaborate. Luckily, we brought flashlights and we able to read the map that they give you....(ok, not me, I wasn't able to read the map, but I was a good follower...its a talent). You have to find 12 different check points to punch the numbers on your card, and it takes quite a while. Its dark, and the paths through the corn are really twisty and confusing. The whole thing has a creepy "we might get lost forever" kind of vibe, but it is fun. And while you don't win a prize for completing the whole maze, and finding all 12 check points, there is a sense of accomplishment. We had an excellent night out there.

And for the faint of heart, there is also a petting zoo, and a large pumpkin patch market area....they had gourds of every imaginable kind, including some of those strange albino white pumpkins. You should go out there. It ends on Halloween night, so its only open for 1 more week!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Children and Responsibility

Do you "help" your kids with their homework? Do you take charge of their assignments and monitor every move to make sure it gets done? I know parents who agonize over homework every single night, and I just don't get it. Maybe our family was the odd duck, I really don't know. But I do know that from about 2nd grade onward, my children were solely responsible for keeping track of their assignments, doing the work, and turning it in. I provided the tools, the workspace, and the atmosphere to study. But I did NOT do the work, I didn't nag them to get it done, and other than helping call out questions or vocabulary words before a test or a quiz, I didn't have a big part in it. I finished school. It wasn't my responsibility.

Luckily my kids were smart, responsible, and wouldn't have wanted to get behind or suffer the shame of not turning in an assignment. They did it because they wanted to. They did it for themselves. For the most part that strategy of making them responsible worked perfectly. The only time we had a glitch was once when Stephen was in 7th grade. I did monitor grades, and progress reports closely so that I could intervene if a problem surfaced. That one time, I saw that his vocabulary test grades were really slipping. I investigated. It turns out that he was copying the words down wrong from the board, so even though he was studying, he was studying them WRONG. Poor kid. I started going over his list as soon as he brought it home every Monday afternoon so we could make corrections before he started studying. And we also got an eye exam right away. He needed glasses. It fixed the problem completely.

I know both of my kids were very self-motivated. But I think it also helped them to have faith in their own abilities, to know that I trusted them with something as important as their schoolwork. I really do believe that kids become (or CAN become, but honestly some kids really do overcome even the worst parenting) what your expectations are. If you are a hovering, double-checking, over-protective parent who believes your child is incapable of dealing with things on their own, that is exactly what they become. But what happens when they grow up? Will they have enough confidence to succeed in life if they are used to Mommy taking care of everything? I don't know. I know all kids are different, and I guess some children really do need higher levels of monitoring. But some kids really could learn a valuable lesson if they were given a chance to take care of their own schoolwork. Yes, its true that they might actually fail an assignment or two. But eventually, once they realize that Mom or Dad will not pick up the slack, wouldn't that kid finally, out of some feeling of self-respect, or desire to learn or succeed figure out how to take care of these things on their own?

I don't have the answers to those questions. I know what worked for us. And I never ran around exhausted and complaining about "ALL THE HOMEWORK", because it wasn't MY homework. I did all of mine like 30 plus years ago. I guess what I'm saying is that you have to allow a child to suffer consequences sometimes. If not now, then its just a delayed reaction later. Fail an assignment now, or fail at a career (or a relationship, or at life) later. I know which one I would choose.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween is on its way!!!!

I love Halloween. And fall. It might be my favorite time of the year. The weather is nice, the decorations are everywhere. Its just a nice time to relax with a cup of hot cider, and a bowl of trick or treat candy and just take a moment to catch your breath before the whole Christmas hoopla begins. A break between the scorching heat of summer, and the cold of winter.

Anyway, I am getting so excited to go on this cruise. We leave a week from this Monday. I am so ready to get away for a little while. In the meantime, let's celebrate the season with some pictures that I "borrowed" from around the internets.

3 ways to decorate with Pumpkins:

1. Cute Pumpkin

2. Scary Pumpkin

3. Elegant Filigree Pumpkin

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finally, I feel human again

Well, it took almost 2 weeks, but I am finally feeling well again. I don't know what that bug was, if it was a cold or a flu or what, but it really did kick me in the rear end. I was beginning to think I would never be able to shake it off. But it seems to be over. I am grateful, because being sick is never easy.

I got well just in time to have some fun this weekend. Bruce went down to Chris and Jessica's place at the river for a whole weekend of male bonding. Their friend Jeff came in from Washington (state), and there was a whole group of guys having a weekend long party. To escape the craziness, Jessica came up and spent Saturday night with me. There was eating out, a bit of shopping, and a night of sitting around, talking and playing cards. Stephen and Hannia came over to keep us company, and I had a really good time. I like Jessica a lot. We have a lot in common and we always have fun when we see each other. The problem is that its not all that often. She only lives an hour away, but we both have hordes of animals that make leaving home for long periods of time really difficult. Apparently the solution is to get the guys to stay in one place and babysit one set of animals, while we hang out in the other place with the other set of animals....LOL.

Anyway, I haven't written much, but I have just been too sick and too exhausted lately. Nothing has been going on other than work and trying to get myself well.
We head out on our cruise in 2 weeks, so I am just biding my time, and looking forward to getting away for a week. Erica is coming down to spend time with her brother, and to house sit/babysit the cats, dogs, and goats. I am so happy about that, because although it makes me a little jealous that she will be home and I won't be here to see her, I will feel so much more relaxed on the cruise knowing that someone is here in the house with the pets. It gives me a real peace of mind, and while I know she can't do it every time we go away, for now its a real blessing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Listen to me!!!

I have almost completely lost my voice. And that sucks. I can't talk!!! At least I don't have to sing an opera this weekend or something. Jeez. I started getting sick on Tuesday. Its been the weirdest thing. I kept having tightness in my chest, and I had stop and think through all the information I know about having a heart attack. You case I was having one. But it wasn't that...after a while it progressed to feeling like an asthma attack. I guess. I have never had asthma so I can't actually KNOW what it feels like, but I was having trouble breathing. I was at work, and just plowing through trying to act like nothing was wrong, but in the back of my mind all I could think was "What the Holy Hell IS this?"

By Tuesday evening, I had my answer. I had a really nasty cough that felt like it was ripping my chest apart, and made my throat feel like I had swallowed a bunch of razor blades. That continued right on until today. I had today off for a Dr. appointment. That didn't happen. Is it possible to be too sick to go to the Dr.? LOL. My appointment was for a thyroid blood test. I didn't feel like giving blood today. All of the congestion has moved from my chest into my head. I can't breathe still, but now its out of my nose. Damn it....I just want to be able to draw a normal breath for a change of pace.

Ok, just a whine because I can't actually whine out loud. Its just a really nasty cold and will be over soon. I am off until Monday, so hopefully I will mend up nicely before then. I wanted to spend my weekend decking the halls with Halloween decorations, but.....that might not happen. Whatever. If I can just get better I will consider that a victory.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where have I been? Ask the Liger....

I know its silly, but I have been totally tied up with a couple of Facebook games. It will pass, eventually. The novelty will wear off. But right now, its a whole lot of fun. I am really into Mafia Wars. Part of the fun is that its one of the first games that my husband (who is much more of a gamer than I will ever be) is playing too. What? You can't picture me as a ruthless mobster? LOL. It really is a lot of fun though. I just made it to Moscow where I get to be a KGB agent turned crime lord.

This weekend was "Tiger Loot" weekend for the Mafia. Jobs and fights are randomly dropping special "loot" like tiger assault rifles, tiger tanks...etc. There are 8 items. I have 7. I am obsessively playing just trying to get that 8th item, the "Liger". Did you know there really is such an animal? Its a cross between a male lion and a female tiger. The offspring tend to be sterile, but it makes for a lion-looking animal with muted tiger stripes that likes to swim. Did you know that tigers swim, but lions hate water? Google is an amazing tool. If only I would use it for more than trivial curiosity. Oh well. I still have until Monday at midnight to try and get my freaking Liger. Oh yeah....Bruce already got one, so the pressure is ON!

The second game that is taking up all my spare time is this:

That's right, in my time off from the mob, I farm. Quite successfully, too, if I do say so myself. Farmville is my son's favorite, so he is way ahead of me. But I have goals, and I keep growing my crops, harvesting my fruit trees, and taking care of the animals. Whew....I tell you...if things keep on like this, I am going to have to quit my day job just to keep up with my other activities. Haha. Whatever, mock me if you must, but it is fun.

Lapse of a couple of hours......

I finally got him! I got a Liger! My life can resume some sense of normalcy now.
Well, not that I am ever actually "normal", but....relatively speaking.
Isn't he awesome????

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Birthday in pictures

My birthday went on for days and days, which is particularly wonderful, and yet very bad for your diet. Jeanne, and her friend Malia, Delaney, and Casey came up on Friday.
Dad and Barb also came down. We had Parker's for dinner and Barb brought a birthday cake:

I wish I had pictures of the girls, and Malia, but somehow all of those pictures must have ended up on Barbara's camera. Notice the message on the cake!!! LOL!

Then on Saturday night, Bruce and I, Dad and Barb, and Hannia and Stephen had a wonderful dinner at Chef's 505. This is my birthday kiss: (also note the haircut...I got all my hair cut off just for something new and different to start my new year)

I don't know if you can see it very well, but that is crab stuffed tilapia on my plate and it was delicious.

Afterwards, we had yet another cake. Stephen and Hannia had this one made at a specialty bakery here in town called "A Perfect Cake". The cute animals are edible, and the cake is chocolate with raspberry filling. I can't even begin to describe how yummy it is. And there is still a lot of it left. Stop by and have a slice, cuz we are all gaining alarming amounts of weight with all of this birthday eating. LOL.

And just for the pet lovers, although this has nothing to do with my birthday, here is Vixen in her "devil" halloween costume:

And Omen in her "witch" halloween costume:

And just for Erica, because Shep looks like he is smiling:

He is probably smiling because the cats were forced to wear those goofy costumes, and he didn't have to. LOL.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On turning 47

I will be 47 tomorrow. And seriously? I have no hang ups about age, so I don't mind saying it. It is what it is. I never got the whole lying about your age thing. My mother was the queen of that. I find it both amusing and somewhat sad that I never knew how old she was until she died. She never would tell. Not even her own flesh and blood. Is that weird?

I took tomorrow off work. I wish I could say that it was to celebrate but the reality is that it is going to be round 2 of the root canal (insert scary music here...LOL). Oh well. I am reserving this weekend for celebrations and cake, so a silly ol' root canal is NOT going to spoil my fun.

I wish I had words of wisdom to share from my 47 years of life experience. The only thing I can say with certainty is this: try to go for MORE fun and LESS worry. Things happen exactly the way that they were meant to, and wasting time worrying about it doesn't change a thing. It just makes you miserable. There is more than enough misery in the world without any of us adding to it, so....yeah. There you have it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Job Description

A friend sent this in an email today. Good for a smile.

PARENT - Job Description

This is hysterical. If it had been presented this way,
I don't believe any of us would have done it!!!!

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop


Long term, team players needed, for challenging,
permanent work in an
often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication
and organizational skills and be willing to work
variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends
and frequent 24 hour shifts on call..
Some overnight travel required, including trips to
primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments
in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.


The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily,
until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a
pack mule
and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat
in case, this time, the screams from
the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges,
such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets
and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and
coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings
for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be a willing to be indispensable one minute,
an embarrassment the next.
Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a
half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for
the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and
janitorial work throughout the facility.


Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without
complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills,
so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because
of the assumption that college will help them
become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that
you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


While no health or dental insurance, no pension,
no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and
no stock options are offered;
this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth,
unconditional love,
and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

Forward this on to all the PARENTS you know, in appreciation for
everything they do on a daily basis,
letting them know they are appreciated
for the fabulous job they do...
or forward with love
to anyone thinking of applying for the job.


~Jen Kline~

Saturday, September 5, 2009

One Day at a Time

Right now, everything is good. Scooter is seemingly fine...again. Do I dare start to think we are out of the woods yet? I don't know, but he seems completely normal now.
He eats normally, he runs around normally (well, as much as a 14 year old dog "runs". But he is up and around and interested in stuff again). He watched me make his dinner tonight with gleeful anticipation, tail wagging all the time, and I felt almost guilty that less than a week ago we were ready to put him down. Well, the vet was too. He was so sick and so miserable. Who knows what the future holds. We are just taking it one day at a time.

Bruce and I decided to take a little break from the mayhem around here last night. We went out to dinner (we had the endless shrimp at Red Lobster...the coconut shrimp is still the best). Then we hit all the Halloween shops in town hunting down a costume for our cruise in October. There is going to be a dinner and costume party on Halloween night, and we want costumes. Dad and Barb have already bought theirs, but they are being highly secretive as to what they are going to be. We can't have them outdo us now, can we? We saw a few things, got a few ideas, but we still have to contemplate this for a while before we commit. Do we do a couples thing? Or be individually creative? We haven't gotten all of that figured out. But I do know that there WILL be pictures, so stay tuned.

Speaking of pictures, Bruce bought us a new camera this past week. Its another one of the small digitals that I love so much. I LOVED my little Sony that was hardly bigger than a pack of cigarettes. This is an Olympus, still very small, but waterproof. We decided after our river tubing trip that we needed a waterproof camera, so....there you go. Its good up to 33 feet, and virtually indestructible.
You can drop it up to 6 feet and supposedly drive a car over it. Yeah, well, I hope to not test that one out, but it says it will withstand some serious abuse. So far the pictures have been good. But I haven't had any time to actually sit down and figure it out. Maybe I will do that tonight. In our shopping last night, we bought the cutest little Halloween costumes for the cats. Yeah, we really did...LOL. Omen is a witch, and Vixen is a little devil. They hate them passionately, of course. But I intend to get at least a couple of cute pictures out of this deal whether they like it or not. I may be sporting some deep scratches all over my body, but I need cute kitty costume pictures to ring in the fall season!!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Is it fall yet? We've had some cooler weather, so maybe? Soon? But anyway, things are still semi-crazy around here. Stephen is still recovering from having his wisdom teeth out. He just isn't bouncing back as quickly as he hoped. I think he misses being able to eat real food most of all. But hopefully he will be able to eat soon....Soon seems to be a reoccurring theme lately.

My tooth is finally feeling normal again with all the antibiotics. Of course, now my stomach hurts. Those meds always make me feel like crap, but what can you do? I have the root canal scheduled for Tuesday, so again....soon....things will be better. LOL.

But the thing that has driven my the most crazy lately is Scooter. It was the dog flu. Tests and xrays and trips to the vet that showed nothing. Then he mysteriously got better. Then this past weekend, he got sick again. Just stopped eating, and was lying around feeling feverish and miserable. We got him to the vet again. More tests, more xrays....and she admitted that she had exhausted her arsenal of diagnostic tools. There was a chance that he was just having a really bad time with this flu, or....he might have liver disease or possibly liver cancer. The tests were all inconclusive. The only things that showed up were a slightly enlarged liver on the xrays, and slightly elevated liver enzymes in his blood tests. Could be disease, but not totally abnormal for a dog of this age. She gave us 3 options:

1. A trip to the Vet school in Raleigh for a full CT scan. Just the diagnostic estimate was $2,000-5,000.
2. Hit him up with a whole range of meds just to see if something might work. That would only be if it was just a bad case of flu.
3. Euthanasia. Because seriously, he was miserable.

We opted for the meds. And there are a ton of them. None of them are ultra-expensive, but we pretty much shove pills into this dog most of the day. On the upside, he is doing great, acting normal and eating again. The thing is that if he has a relapse, thats pretty much the end of the line. We will have to schedule euthanasia....because it pretty much means its something untreatable (or even unfindable). So, I haven't been able to relax and just be happy that he is better.
I keep feeling anxious that he is going to stop eating again. But...he is 14 years old, and if it comes to that, then I will deal with it.

Soon....its all going to be better. I am sure of it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rough Couple of Weeks....

We've had a rough couple of weeks. It started with several days of the dog flu. Then Scooter had a hard time recovering. We really weren't sure he was going to make it, but he's much better now. And now I have an abscessed tooth...yay! I haven't had any sleep in 2 nights. I am so hungry but it hurts to eat. I've called in sick 3 times in 2 weeks and will probably face a reprimanding when I go back to work next week. Its all so totally awesome.

But on the upside, its bound to get better. Right? Feel free to insert words of encouragement here:

LOL. Seriously though, its been rough but I am still hanging in there.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A million errands, and some happy thoughts....

I had a million errands to run this morning. I had meds to pick up at the vet, needed stuff from Target, needed stuff from Petsmart, had stuff to drop off at Goodwill, groceries to buy...etc. It was so hot that I wanted to die everytime I got out of my car, or walked out of a store. Geez, is this ever going to break? Actually, its cooling off as I write this because we have a huge line of thunderstorms bearing down on us right now. Its growing darker by the minute, and the wind is picking up. If it makes it cooler, than bring it on. We have nowhere else that we have to go this afternoon/evening, so we can just hang out and enjoy the rain.

So, I am really happy for Erica. She has decided to volunteer at the SPCA (humane society) up there in her town. She attended a training session this morning, and is now an official dog walker. Yay! She sounded like she really enjoyed it, and this makes her mother especially happy. The humane society is my charity of choice, so yeah. I am proud of her. She goes in 2 hours a week to walk dogs who need some attention. She also has the option to be a cat socializer, and spend some quality time playing with the cats, but she loves dogs more. Don't tell that to Vixen and Omen. Shep already knows that little secret though. Erica has wanted a dog since she moved away from home. The problem is that she stays so busy, and has very little time at home. So...maybe this will solve her dog-yearning for now. On the other hand, she is at risk of falling in love and adopting, too....LOL. I will let you know if I suddenly have a furry "grandchild" anytime soon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Finally clean

So, I took the day off to try and get the house in order after our week of dog flu hell. I have cleaned, scrubbed, disinfected and sanitized every inch of everything that the dogs have access to. I finally feel like I can walk across my floors again without being grossed out with memories of what I just cleaned up from them. It feels good. It smells good. I am exhausted, the carpet steam cleaner is begging for mercy, but it was worth it.

Sometimes I envy all the non-pet people. People who can wear clothes without having to choose things less prone to showing pet hair (black is almost impossible for us to wear here no matter how much cleaning goes on). People who have never awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of a dog retching (and then that inevitable splatter ...shudder!). People who don't know what its like to step in a puddle of cold urine in their bare feet (or worse, socks. I don't know why socks make it worse, but they do). But then, I look down at the big dog (with the worst case of bedhead on the planet) lying here at my feet. And I feel the soft, warm body of this furry little kitty snuggled here by my side, and I know beyond any doubt that its all worth it. This is where my heart is, and if I have to deal with a little inconvenience occasionally, so be it. Pets rule!

Shep, our bedhead dog:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Nightmare that has been my week....

I have been to hell and back this week. All of our dogs have had some really ugly stomach virus. Bruce and I have cleaned up more poop and puke than I can even begin to describe. Trust me, you wouldn't want to know the gory details. First it was Scooter. He got sick on Monday. Tuesday we left him locked in the kitchen while we were at work only because it has linoleum floors. Better than cleaning up the carpet. Lucky for me, Bruce got home first that day. Apparently, he cleaned, mopped and disinfected every inch of the kitchen because Scooter managed to "decorate" the whole entire floor. How wonderful.

Today...? Just a couple of minutes before I left for work this morning, Scarlet managed to puke up her entire breakfast all over the study. I was late for work because of all the mess I had to clean up. So, I locked BOTH of those dogs in the kitchen, just to be safe, because I didn't trust them to roam the house with all of the festivities going on. So...I was the winner of the lottery this afternoon. I got home first. The unmistakable odor assaulted me as soon as I opened our door. I immediately went to the kitchen to see what horror awaited me. But both of those dogs were sitting peacefully (and clean) there on the floor. Which left only 1 other culprit. Shep! Our HUGE dog! He hadn't shown any signs of the virus, so I left him out of the kitchen lock up. Half the time he stays outside when we are at work. Sometimes he wants to stay in. Today was an "in" day. And he NEVER has accidents in the house. Seriously, like never. But he made up for it today. I cleaned up the most horrific mess all over the floor of Stephen's room. Its been one trauma after another all week long. Tomorrow, the steam cleaner is coming out and all the carpet in the den, study and now Stephen's room will get a really deep cleaning. I mean, we cleaned up the mess, but I can't be happy until its clean enough to obliterate these events from my memory.

On the up side, the dogs seem to be recovering. Scooter still doesn't have any appetite, but he seemed to have it the worst. He is drinking plenty, and I have gotten some pedialyte, and chicken broth in him, which is finally staying down. Maybe he will get his appetite back tomorrow. We think...and we may be wrong...but we think they must have caught something when the vet came for a house call on Friday. Our vet makes house calls, and we scheduled one for all the routine shots and check ups. She brought one of her assistants, and got everything taken care of here at the house. A few days later everybody starts getting sick....? I don't know if somehow some germs got transferred, or what. But I do know that its been just awful. Hopefully the dogs will get well enough that the weekend won't involve so much poop and puke......Or....I may end up running away from home.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I am getting really bad at blogging lately. There is no particular reason, I just haven't had anything to say. Everything is fine around here. Good even, better than just fine. I have no idea why I keep procrastinating about sitting down here and writing a blog....

One thing I did want to say confusing is it to try to have a healthy diet? We tried going vegetarian for about 2 years, thinking that would help keep us healthy (Bruce has genetically high cholesterol). We ended up cutting so much fat from our diet that we both got dry skin, dry hair, and achy joints. Apparently, the body needs fat. Also, our addiction to soy most likely caused my thyroid to give up the ghost and stop working. Oh joy. Rhymes with soy. And the crappy part of that (besides the plethora of problems I have had with thyroid disease) is that I actually like soy. I love soy milk, and veggie burgers. I was happy eating soy, but not anymore. It not only suppresses thyroid function, it also blocks thyroid meds from doing their thing. I have to be really careful because soy is added to almost everything that is "low-fat". Just check out the ingredients listed on a whole string of things like bread, low-fat mayo. Soy is listed on so many products, its really hard to avoid.

After the vegetarian diet wreaked havoc with our health, we gave up and started following what our doctor recommends "everything in moderation". Well, ok, we don't follow it precisely. There are lot of things that I don't eat in moderation (like chocolate). But we still try to avoid eating high fat, high cholesterol foods. Like red meat. And eggs. Which is another one of those completely confusing diet dilemmas. We have avoided real eggs for years, using those egg beater egg white substitutes. Well, its real eggs, just without the yolks. I have never developed a taste for them, although some people claim not to be able to taste a difference. I don't mind them in baking, but scrambled? I will just eat something else, thank you.

And now....there was just an article in the new issue of Reader's Digest claiming that eggs are healthy. That eggs can raise your HDL's (the good cholesterol) more than almost any other food. That an egg a day is good for you....What the hell? Soy is good but it almost killed me. Eggs are bad, but now they are good....???????
How the heck can you know what to do with all of the conflicting information out there? I am about to throw in the towel and just assume that we are all going to die of something anyway, so I am going to eat what I like. In fact, it was late and I was tired when dinnertime came around, so I celebrated the article we had just read and made a quick, easy (and pretty yummy) dinner of scrambled eggs and toast.
With REAL eggs. And it was delicious, too. We both enjoyed it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Its so hot here that I swear the soles of shoes would melt on the asphalt. I hate it, but you probably already know that. Will summer ever end??? Seriously, will it?

So, a couple of weeks ago we got new credit cards and a letter from our bank saying that our account had been compromised and we had to change account numbers. Well, not our account specifically, but some place that we had shopped at. We've had it happen before, so it wasn't all that big of a deal to us. But I had to go to our gym to have our billing information changed because they only bill to cards. No checks, paper bills...that kind of thing. Well, turns out that they have been charging us for only one membership for an entire year. And they only discovered it because of the credit card incident. We have had 2 memberships for the price of 1 for a whole year. It makes us feel not quite as guilty about these past few months when we haven't been to the gym as much as we should have. Ha ha. We have gotten that all straightened out, though, so maybe we ought to get over this heat-induced laziness and get back in action.

I wish I had something more exciting to talk about, but right now its just not happening......

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


A friend asked if I had any idea how I came to have such a snake phobia. The actual word is "Ophidiophobia" or a fear of all kinds of snakes. Besides the fact that the fear of snakes is fairly common, probably due to the fact that some snakes are highly venomous, I think I do know why I am scared to death of these scaly, slithering critters.

When I was about 4 years old (I know that only because we moved from that house when I was 4 and 1/2, so that has to be fairly accurate) I walked up on a huge black snake lying in the grass in our backyard. I reached down to pick it up out of curiosity (I guess it was my first encounter...?) and it moved. I thought it was a piece of wire or something NOT alive, so when it moved it scared the crap out of me, and I ran up our back steps screaming at the top of my lungs. Scary enough, but what happened next was probably what set the fear in my brain for all eternity.

My Mom looked out to see why I was so upset, and she? She flipped out. Like totally, completely lost her mind. She grabbed me up and pressed me into her chest. She was screaming for my Dad, and sobbing hysterically as if the absolute worst thing in the world had befallen me.

My father went out and apparently killed it. And there was a lot of commotion as neighbors from all over our street came to check out this thing. They told me (years later) that it was HUGE. But as big as it was, it was still a harmless black snake. I remember being smothered in my Mom's arms as she rocked me in a rocking chair. She was still sobbing and checking me out to make sure I hadn't been bitten.
I wanted to go look out the window and see what everybody was doing out there. We could hear them....lots of people hanging around for the excitement. But I was held captive as my mother had an all-out conniption. She wouldn't let me look at the awful thing going on out in the yard. And I ...I could only assume that it must be something monsterous. Something so heinous and frightening and vile that I had come close to dying by even being near it. And the fear has stuck to me like glue.

I am not just afraid of snakes. I have this reaction that is completely out of my control. I lose my ability to think straight. Its more like a "react first, think about it later" kind of thing. Would I have jumped off of that steep slope if I had happened on a rattlesnake on Sunday? I hate to say it because it sounds so stupid, but honestly? I may have with no thought other than to get away from the thing. Get away first, worry about falling off a mountain second. Its completely illogical seeing as how someone would most likely survive a snakebite more than a tumble off of a cliff, but...? My brain doesn't work right when I see a snake. Oh well, it didn't happen, thankfully...mercifully. I still have a creepy crawly kind of feeling just knowing that snakes hang out there where I was climbing around. I have actually considered going through some therapy to try to get rid of the phobia. But for the most part, it doesn't affect my life all that much. I avoid snake places, and that generally works....