Tuesday, December 29, 2009

50 things

HA!  You didn't really think I would be chatty today did you?


Nope, instead I am just posting a link to an article I discovered on MSN this morning that I love (if only I would have thought of some of this stuff!)


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

My Christmas wish for you is that you all receive the love and joy of family and friends without want! 

My Christmas wish for me (and anyone in the Midwest for that matter) is that all radio/television/news people C.A.L.M. down.  Quit guessing at how much snow we are going to get.  Changing it every 2-3 hours does not make the god's of winter and Mother Nature change their wiley ways.  It will fall.  It will stop.  When, where and how it will end no one knows.  So quit telling us what you "think" will happen. 

If I hear one more time we are getting AN ADDITIONAL 18-23" on top of the 7 we got yesterday and the 4 we got on Sunday I may really cry.  They *may* be tears of joy, they may not! 


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It could really look a lot like Christmas (in my house and YOURS!)

My friend Jennifer does a lot of great give aways - many of which do not fit my 12 year old daughter, or 7 year old son.  But the one she is hosting RIGHT NOW that YOU can win a chance at is something WE ALL could use!

Co-Sponsored by HP and BlogHer, Jennifer is hosting an awesome giveaway for an HP SmartTouch computer!!!

Check it out!  There are several ways you can enter to win!

Good Luck!  And wish me luck too!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Broken fingers, Broken relationships, Broken hearts

On Sunday morning Jim and I attempted a new line of work - chimney cleaning. My pinky didnt survive it.  Jim on the roof, me in the family room. He was pulling the rope from up top, I was pulling it from below. I had to wrap the rope around my hand and pull because the brush got stuck. He started pulling before I unwrapped. At first I thought he just had the end of the glove. Broke it just above the top knuckle. Snapped it back in wrong and pinched off a vein - got it all aligned at the Doctor on Monday but also severed the finger nail under the skin so it will eventually fall out. 4 days later it still hurts just a TINY (very large!) bit! Guess I will stick to my day job!  

This weekend my husbands side will be at our house for our annual Christmas gathering. I am struggling with an issue with my mother in law that I don't know how to rectify.  I feel like if I share my thoughts I will cause more friction.  The issue shouldn't even exist.  Its minute.  But it is causing her a lot of dispair.  I want to take the high road and tell her she is right so the issue is dropped, but the fact of the matter is, she is not.  I heard from others in the family that she may not enjoy the weekend because of it, and she won't talk to my husband because she thinks we are trying to rile her up - which if she would give us 5 minutes to explain she would find we are not...  Ugh!

There is are issues that have been ongoing on with one of my friends that is makes me want to go all postal - because I KNOW she does not deserve it!  I have expressed my feelings to her and to the people who are brow beating her, but it truly breaks my heart that so many people can find joy in bringing her down publicly.  She is a much better person than I because she is taking it in stride.  Interestingly, the group that is making it their mission to make her their punching bag is now hiding from public view themselves.  I find that interesting.

BUT ITS SNOWING and that makes it all better!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Giant Chickens, crossed fingers, public speaking and am I blind?

This morning when Jadon made his annual morning trek to daddy's side of the bed to "just rest my head one more minute", I shared with him the ca-ra-zy dream I had just awoken from.

I was dreaming about our home (even though it looked more like this amazing place I keep dreaming about - is that a sign that some day it will be mine?).  We had just tucked Jadon in for the night.  He came trodding out of his bed to tell us there was a strange scratching noise on his ceiling - he was sure it was mice, rats, or squirrels (if only he knew that none of those would be allowed in this amazing place I keep dreaming about).  After searching the attic (because that is what we do), we went outside.  By now the entire neighborhood has joined us on the street, looking back at my home (of my dreams) to find a giant chicken on the roof.  When I say giant I mean GIANT.

When we reached the street, just to the north of us a giant black creature with a bushy black tail ran past us - upright in an unnatural state, accosting our neighbors roof. 

Suddenly as if the skies parted, there were white balls of something appearingly falling from the heavens.  But the large chunks of hail were really eggs.  The chicken was throwing EGGS at us!  When it ran out of eggs, it started throwing the bricks from our chimney.  Its black hairy friend next door was doing the same.

In his defense, I know this is not how my husband would have reacted, but it was my dream remember, and therefore I must tell it as it was...  My husband darted across the drive to be at my side - me thinking he had Jadon in his arms.  I was so very wrong.  Jadon was still out in the street playing dodgeball with bricks and other flying foreign objects - Jim was scared and didn't want to get hit. 

Then out of nowhere, like a knight in shining armor, my mothers brother Ed appeared.  He swooped down and grabbed Jadon from his hovering spot in the street and dropped him gently next to me before crashing to the ground...

and then my alarm went off....

So tonight as I was driving home I realized that we don't have a sitter for Satruday night...  So I sent a text to my adorable cousin Sarah Belle (who is more like a little sister - kind of like her twin, and my cousin Chrissy - I just adore them all!) and said exactly this:  "come over and babysit for me on Saturday, k?"  - only she lives like 140 miles away in a 4th floor dorm (with no elevators yo - it was not fun moving her in I tell ya - my old lazy butt does not do 4 flights of stairs).  She still said "yes" - if she can catch a ride from someone who lives close.  I hope she can come - we have so much fun with Sarah!

Here is to hoping! (oooohhhh my nails look nasty....)

I mean really - who wouldn't want to spend a few days with these two clowns?

Yesterday afternoon I received a call from our former American Cancer Society Relay For Life Rep.  She was very kindly, and in a round a bout way, asking me to speak at the Regional Roundtable Conference on Saturday. 

Being the ever people pleaser that I try to be I conceded.  This afternoon I received a call from her counterpart to go over the emailed materials they want me to share with not one, but two break out sessions - each an hour long, on Saturday morning and afternoon.  I have so much prep work to do, but until an hour ago my laptop was receiving a much needed lobotomy.  Thank goodness the school tech person is a genius!

If I have many spelling errors in this (or any future) post, I would like to point the finger at the culprit - unless I am blind, it appears that the last time Blogger upgraded they removed Spell Check.  Am I blind?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What makes a mother do something like that?

Every story of child abduction and murder makes me ill. 

But the story of Shayina Davis brings me to tears - literally.

Maybe its the pictures of her in the arms of the man who allegedly kidnapped her.

Maybe its the allegations that her (pregnant) mother sold her to sex slavery (just typing that makes me want to vomit).

Maybe its the sweet innocence lost once again to adults who were supposed to be there to protect her.

Watching her father and aunt yesterday on CBS Morning News, the only question I had in my mind is "why did you give her back to her mother?".  But that isn't my question to ask.  How could they have known.  You always hope you have a childs best interest when you leave them with someone you trust.

I normally would not focus on a story like this because there are so many, and that is the job of the news, but something makes me want to scoop up all of these little lost souls and let them know someone cares.  It also makes me want to form a posse of "what goes around comes around" and open a rather large can of kick ass on these people (no, I am not normally a violent person).

It just makes me so sad.  So sickened.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Outstanding! A+

That is what the note said on the report that Mantha brought home today from school.

This is why...

The project called for a "diorama" of one of the stops of the Ojibwe on their way to Minnesota.  Mantha chose Niagra Falls.  Instantly ideas were pumping through my brain - what we could use, how it could look.  But I was forgetting this was her project.  So I let her creativity take hold.  I spawned some ideas of course by providing the tools/supplies, and together, we built Niagra Falls with Mod Podge colored with blue food coloring covering baby fleece yarn as water, and Floral Moss covering the tops of twigs and sticks as tree's.  Luckily we have a friend who owns a gift store and has a plethora of styrofoam.

So our her project got not only an "A", but an Outstanding "A+".

To those kids who brought blueberry muffins (a state symbol?) I chuckle.  How you got an "A" I will never understand, as you and your mothers did not have much time to bond on a beautiful Sunday now did you?

Bad mom, I know!  I will repent by guiding my daughter to another "A+" with the cover of her autobiography...

I only helped a little... I promise!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

REPOSTING: Memorial to my Step Father Bruce Leonard Snyder

Two years ago today I lost my step father Bruce.  He was the light of my mothers life, and he was an amazing man.  Sometimes his zest for life drove me crazy - because he spent a lot of time flying by the seat of his pants - no schedules, living life as it came to him.  But I also respected that, and was envious of that ability.  It has taken two years, but I think I have finally accepted that he has left us.

Today is the day that we honor and remember all of our Veterans.  The best Veteran I know went to be with his beloved wife, my mother, on this day.  What a victory for him!

REPOSTING November 11, 2007

As I try and wrap myself around the news I have received of my step fathers passing, I must remember the joy...

Bruce was his name, and life was his game. Bruce was a hard working, even harder playing man who found his way into our hearts more than 15 years ago... boy has time flown!

"The Set Up"
In May of 1992 after a little planning, and a little scheming, Bruce's friend Donny, and I planned the perfect "set up". But Donny neglected to tell me what Bruce looked like! As we walked into the Legion on May 12, 1992, there sat two men. Good friends they were, but very different.

One wore tatoo's from hither to yawn, drank beer, and swore like a sailor. The other wore a flight suit and a glass of scotch, but was so shy that all he did was giggle! I remember as if it were yesterday, like two school girls, mom and I rushing into the bathroom, both a little giddy (and slightly intoxicated) laughing so hard that we feared peeing our pants, because we had NO IDEA who the guy was I was supposedly setting her up with... Was it the Harley dude or the Army Brat? Note to self, next time ask the co-conspirator the guys NAME!

What we didnt know at the time was that the co-conspirator had already told the smitten gent all about the set up, and the guys were playing us for all we were worth. See, the man cannot be caught off guard, he must always be in control. And they played the game well.

And the best man won...

Bruce, what can I say about him? I loved him, I hated him, I adored him, I respected him, I was amazed by him. I will never forget him.

I loved him... for loving my mom unconditionally. He was there in her spirit, in her smile, in her laughter, and sometimes in her tears.

I hated him... for sometimes taking life not serious enough. Is that his fault? Not at all. Did it harm anyone? Only him. "In the moment" was Bruces style, and sometimes "in the moment" meant missing something that was coming at him like a runaway freight train. He lived his life like he wanted, and sometimes that meant not seeing the big picture. But it was his life to live, and he lived to its best!

I adored him... Bruce loved and lived with all his heart. When Bruce married mom, he married so much more. He instantly became "dad" to two adult children who would not allow him to forget his place in their hearts. He also became "brother" to 7 of moms siblings, their spouses and children, and we cannot forget, "son" to Margaret, and "son" to Olga, whose life he was only able to touch for a very short time. Bruce soon became "grandpa" to three adorable children who loved him dearly, and he them.

I respected him... How could you not respect a man who put his life in his own hands and lived, and lived and lived... He knew what he wanted, and he made sure he got it. He knew who he was, and he never let anyone tell him different. How can you not respect a man who knew how to live life to its fullest?

I was amazed by him... How can you not be?

I will miss him... Anytime you lose someone you love, you miss them, that is obvious, that is part of loving. His laugh... devious and obnoxious, and at sometimes came at moments when you knew he would rather cry. His smile... usually was followed by the above noted laugh! His eyes... you could see his soul in his eyes. He may have presented with a tough guy image, but you saw the soul that screamed love and devotion when you looked into those beautiful frosty blues!

What I will miss the most... what I saw present everytime I looked into his eyes was the love of his life. She was there always. He never left her behind. He carried her with him. He was her vessel to the living. He carried his father in those eyes too. Leonard, I have decided over the years, was the devious side of Bruce, and Mom was the devotion in him. I will miss all of him. His quirks, his love and his laughter. Bruce was the best step father I could have ever asked for.

So as I share in the sadness, the "life" of his life, I also share the "joy". The joy that Bruce brought to my life, and to my family's life, and to all those who knew him.

Bruce we all love you and will miss you, but we are all so happy that you are back in the arms of the one you lived for.

Thank you for gracing my life - love, your bratty kid.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Today has been emotional to say the least.  This morning my dear friend Jennifer stood by her baby Stellan's side as his heart stopped beating.  Blood pressure gone, heart silent.

If you don't believe in Miracles, then you have never read my blog, nor have you read Jennifer's blog.  Because if you have, you would know a miracle by name. 


Life returned to Stellan's heart.  Life returned to Jennifer's hope. 

The day was not easy once that life was reborn into him.  In fact to say the least, it continued to teeter on the edge.  Surgery was started, but there were complications.  Well laid plans were halted by stubborn pathways and arteries.  Once underway things were still not under control.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lots of leaves and even more Jen(ny)(ies)

Yesterday was very productive...  Up at the crack of early, for the first time in 7 years, we all participated in the much dreaded fall clean up - back yard style.

Our works in pictures...


This is actually the leaves on our neighbors yard - but ours looked just like it...


Another year of failed grass growing under our belts!

The jumping pile after it was all jumped out...

Wagons for everyone...

The Crew Supervisor

The Waitress (aka slept in and came out in time to serve beverages - meaning all the work was done)

That smile?  It was relief that she didn't have to rake!

The Leaf Mover

The Digger

(that really his is nickname, so this picture was too perfect!  Who would think those little legs could make such big holes!)

Let me out!

Daschel was exiled to the deck because he thought the piles were for play!

I will admit there was a little bribery involved in the crew's willingness to help us.  This under recognized iconic locale known as McDonalds.  It kept them going until pre-wilting due to starvation.  Post bribery naps were had by all!

After naps and laziness concluded I had a date with some of my good friends for a birthday!  A small girls night out turned into a rompin', bar hoppin' (lots of drivin' to other small towns) and tons of jukebox playin', dancin', laughin', not just for girls night out.  Unfortunately some of us did not know boys were allowed until we were already piling into cars like clowns, so the Crew Supervisor was stuck with daddy duty.

Lots and lots of Jen(ny)(ies) were out to play last night.  Jen, Jenny and Jennie were in prime form.  Susie and Nicole wore out the dance floor.  Lee and Troy were embarrassed by the whole lot, Dave and Rod tried to keep up, Steve and Michelle caught up to us at our last resort, and Ben, well he showed up late for the party too but was already 12 sheets to the wind.

It was fun, I am amazed I am not hurting right now.  When I arrived home at 2 am, my husband was still awake.  It has been said that I was very chatty upon arrival.  Could it be that my last two beverages included passion fruit rum and Red Bull?

Happy Birthday Susie!

To ensure that Jennie does not double book, I wrote down our next two dates for her on a bar napkin - now I have witnesses lest she forgets!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bag of Bones

Mantha is with her dad tonight, so I hope to get a picture of her in costume - I don't even know what she decided to go as...

But, my little bag of bones was here to trick or treat

Please don't mind the messy mail basket next to us, or my dissheveled "Saturday" look, nor the fact that we tried to catpure the glow on Jadon's face, and the fact that Jim has not yet mastered taking pictures with is BlackBerry...

Hope you all had a SPOOKtacular Halloween!  I also hope we don't have a repeat of last year...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

White House Pink Ribbon

Photo courtesy of AP

Read more about this photo and the following line here!

"CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports that the ribbon couldn't be hoisted last week because the driveway was being repaved."

That cracks me just a little.  Priorities.  Maybe next year it can go up all month!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A lunar mission

We have found ourselves in great need of a new dishwasher. Our old (not so old - only 3 year old) dishwasher has laid out its plans to launch to the moon with each press of "start" on its controls.

It gets so loud and hisses so that I get headaches listening!!! I love to wash dishes by hand, but with fibromyalgia, I cannot stand over the sink for more than a few minutes.

Its looking as though my new sofa is now going to be a new dishwasher.

Unless of course, I would happen to win one of the lovely $200 Best Buy gift certificates that my good friend Jennifer is giving away on her blog!

Are you in need of a new Samsung appliance from Best Buy?  Then swing on over to Jennifers blog, and leave her a comment!  If you REALLY need a new Samsung appliance, then read the other ways you can win!  There are many!!!

If you happen to have a desire to donate a fine sofa to my cause, please note that I like comfy, slightly overstuffed but not too tall, or deep, because of my verticle challenge and all.  Oh, and the color?  Well as long as it goes with my red antique persian rug, red and green walls and has a little exposed wood (it is a family room after all!) I will be ever so happy with it! 

If not, well, don't complain when you come to visit and sink too deeply into my worn out cushions, and don't make fun of my attempt to wrap the seat cushions in new covers, I did that only for your safety - I have no idea if those marker, and crayon stains will attack your rear end or not (it is a family room after all!)!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Its been a while old "Not Me! Monday" friend.  But know you have never strayed from my thoughts.  It could be the lack of Cheeto eating breakfasts and the missing morning dates with my laptop that have caused me to stray, but today my dear "Not Me! Monday" friend, I honor you!

Because it has been a while, I will share with you once again the origins of Not Me! Monday.  My good friend Jennifer designed this blog carnival of sorts to relieve the burdon of holding on to things she just needed to let loose!  She was so kind to pass on the cost savings to her friends and fellow readers, and it is now an international success!

Last week I did not stay in bed nearly every morning until literally the moment before I needed to load the kids in the car because shocker I stayed awake too late.  I did not also beg my darling 12 year old to help her adorable 7 year old brother get cereal so I could lavish myself in said luxury.

I did not forget to bring my Abstract to the Attorney, I also did not forget to email my Board their minutes on Thursday afternoon for the Board Meeting we have tomorrow at noon.  I am not forgetful.

Now where was I?

I did not wear out 2 pens, use up 4 Sheraton Hotel note pads, and go through countless pages of note paper at this weekends Midwest Division Relay For Life Leadership Summit!  I also did not take notes on every cotton pickin' piece of paper I was given in my breakout sessions.  I do not have so many new ideas for next years event that I am going to have to put them in an interest survey and bribe my committee with copius amounts of chocolate to get them to agree to add a few things!

Gross alert!  Gross alert!

I most certainly did not accidentally grab the bottle of stool softeners (they stay with me after the narcotic induced obstruction I had last year!) in my purse instead of the Advil I thought was in my purse, and take 3 before noticing my mistake during the opening ceremony on Friday.  They did not kick in this afternoon when I was at a meeting with two of my local committee members.  I did not make up an excuse for having to leave because I was "suddenly not feeling well", when really, I did not want to use the bathroom of the restaurant we were at.

Gross alert over...

I did not literally chew my tongue raw on Thursday afternoon when following a meeting with the schools about a new program we are trying to do together, Mantha's Social Worker pulled me aside to tell me the results of her case study.

I did not want to throw up when she told me that the Autism Specialist not only confirmed her initial diagnosis of Aspergers, but actually has placed her a little higher on the Autism Scale. 

I did not choke back tears when she told me that while there are signs that her brain IQ is well over 125 (she is testing in the next few weeks), they believe her social IQ is more that of a 5 year old (also testing in the next few weeks). 

I did not try to hide all of that in a Not Me! post because it is easier to sound like you are not in denial when you are in denial of doing those very things.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Energized, Excited... oh, and Exhausted!

If you know me at all, or have read my side bar, you know that I am a passionate Cancer Research Fundraising Advocate. 

I am going into my 3rd year as Chair of my counties Relay For Life.  A Relay I am extremely proud of.

I just got back from a very powerful, very energized, very exciting Midwest Relay For Life Leadership Summit.  A Summit I have attended for 5 years now.  A Summit that I have often times walked away from upset because I was missing that one little thing that I just could not put my finger on.  This year, I can honestly say....

I have so many new ideas in my book of ideas that I will have to stay on the committee for at least 300 more years just to do them all!  I am so energized that all I can think about is what we can do, and how can we get it done, and where am I going to find people to help.

I also made a decision to share my story.  Because this year the American Cancer Society is the proud sponsor of more Birthdays, and....

I also decided that this year I was going to go about my own personal fundraising differently, starting with my goal.  I have always set it at the standard $100.  This year I am celebrating 5 YEARS CANCER FREE so why not go all out, and raise the bar a little... or in the case of what I decided to raise, a lot...

This year I am starting early, and I am GOING to raise:

Because I am exhausted from being so energized and excited, I am not going to go into great detail tonight, but I am excited to share with you that our little county ranked:

In case you were wondering (because I now have YOU all excited)...  in 2010 my little tiny county is going to break:

And because I don't want to end this post tooting my own horn, the MIDWEST DIVISION (Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa) ranked overall:

... and kicked the reigning champions out of the coveted spot they have held for more years that I have been Relaying (this will be my 6th year).

Doesn't that just give you goose bumps???

All that excitement has made me exhausted!

Monday, October 12, 2009

It deserves its own post!

This is just so cute that I have to give it its own post!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friends, family and another Birthday!

On Friday night I had the pleasure of joining a group of friends and fellow bloggers at this amazing place.  Of course my good friend Jennifer aka MckMama was behind the arrangements of the wonderful evening:

I finally got to meet some of the people that I have gotten to know so well over this past year, and some new friends that I have met again!  Tina, Heidi (one of the first ever blogs I read), Christy, Kami, and Kerry. 

I spent more than a half hour chit chatting about my old "hood" with the husband of someone I didn't recognize.  Chatting with both of them for quite a bit longer, Janelle (who came all the way from Iowa to see us, and ) came over and joined in the laughs. After a short time she said, I have been looking for one person, and tried to get online to look at her blog so I could see her picture again -  "has anyone met Justlori2day yet?"

She and Shannon apparently were both looking for this illusive person!  It was quite funny because Shannon and I have been commenting back and forth through email and blog comments, but we didn't realize we were who we were!

Thanks again Janelle - I hope you made it home safely (and thanks again for the song)!!!

There was one lady I was dying to meet - she has sent me some inspirational emails over the past few weeks, especially while I was reminscing my mothers last days.  So I looked for her - and found her many times - but kept getting caught up in other conversations and missed her all together.  But in true Mela fashion, she has already emailed me, she is going to mail me one of her CD's, just because that is the kind of person she is!  I cannot wait!

So many ladies (and brave husbands and adorable baby's) yet, so little time!  I know I missed many of them in my comments here, but I hope you all know how much fun it was to meet you all!  If you were there on Friday and donated a hat to Jen's Pediatric Cancer Hat Drive and did not receive one of these

Please contact me!

After leaving Mudd Lake, I drove to one of my most favorite places on this earth - to my aunt and uncles cabin on the same lake that we summer at every year.  My family joined me the next morning, including my brother, sister in law, and niece Lainey:

Twice a year we (in which I mean Jim) find ourselves (again, Jim) wading through icy waters to tend to the dock.  This time it happened to be on a weekend when we had SNOW on the ground and temps in the 30's.

Our brave men (Jim and my brother), or suckers (as you will see in a moment), donned leaky mice nibbled on waders (with footies) and wandered into the friggid cold lake.

Like that hat?  Um yeah, we don't know who that guy was - he just sort of snuck into the frigidly cold lake, took my husbands nibbled on leaky footed waders, and helped my brother remove the dock from the lake.  Where was Jim during this?  We think a rabbit ate him.

Last but not least, we have another birthday in our house.

Can you guess who it belongs to? 

I will give you a hint.... 

If you guessed it was this little fella, you were right!

Happy 7th Birthday big boy!!!  I love you!


It was so much fun!  Watch for the post on Sunday night!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tormenting (me) Tuesday

Its still raining.







Makes me laugh!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Is it possible to have rain brain?

It has rained here for 3,672 (or 6) days straight! No kidding! We are like a big ol wet squishy mess here in sunny cloudy Minnesota!

Now I love me fall and winter. Summer, not so much. However, I do not love being wet. All. The. Time. Cold is one thing, cold and wet is a whole other beast, and let me tell you, it is COLD and WET! My bones asked for a towel earlier - and a warm blanket. You would think I was some teensy skinny little thing for how chilled I am, but apparently the inherent value of my fat storage is not up to code any longer.

The gloom is making me tired. The cold is making me shiver. The rain is hypnotizing me. When people "stop by" and ask me technical questions (like what is my name) I just stare at them blankly and say "huh?".

Kind of like this day....

So I ask friends, can I use the excuse I have rain brain today?

(BTW, I have reinstated my Disqus Comments because it is easier to respond to questions on - I got rid of it because all two of you who read my blog hated it, but lately I have new friends, and they are using it too so well, three trumps two (bwahahahahaha!) smooches!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sermons, Widows and Strangers

We went to church this morning for the first time since June. We haven't been to our church since quite possibly in March when Lawrence died. We just can't remember.

Just as our younger than me - more traditional than the Pope - Priest ended his first sentence with "Chapter 1", I looked at Jim and he mouthed to me... "every time"!

What he means is this. We are regular "seasonal" church goers. Our seats are vacant all summer, and while most often it takes a few weeks to get in the groove, we are fairly regular in fall and winter.

We always seem to "go back" the first Sunday in October. Of course we never put two and two together until we are in the pew. October is "childrens rights month" in our small town Catholic Church, and our Priest has a humdinger of a "program" (as he calls it) for each Sunday of the month.

Of course that means that we will hear all about our role as Catholics to avoid the evils of contraception and abortion, not to mention the evils of artificial ways of conception and non medically emergent surgeries to alter our abilities to bear children.

Today's sermon, Jim and I decided, was adlibbed when Father saw us enter his holy house, because it included the evil of preventing our children their privilege to "come to Jesus".

We felt the heat of the spotlight over our little corner of the pew. Father started off the discussion by thanking all of the GOOD parents for bringing their children to church every Sunday. Even when they are whiny, crabby or downright unruly (which BTW, he has no patience for unruly children). Then he proceeded to gently in not so much as so much a damnation with pointed finger and spooky wheredidthatcomefrom voice from the Heavens remind those of us who are not bringing our offspring to Jesus every weekend that we are denying our children the privilege of knowing Him.

I felt as though I was his only audience member.

Of course when it was time to take the Eucharist, it was as though the seas parted and I ended up right smack dab in front of the very man who just told me I was sinning and calling me practically by name. Why oh why couldn't that little old couple in front of me go straight instead of turn? I was so close to being off the hook!

Seriously, I am sure that Father did not intend to make me feel such a spectical. But he sure knew how to lay that Catholic guilt on thick this morning.

In order to avoid eye contact with our young, uber traditional Priest, I found myself perusing the perishoners ahead of me. Taking note of how small todays crowd was I was particualarly aware of the large number of blue haired women sans their partners. It is not surprising. The widows out number widowers, and vastly out number the couples of advanced age in our community. It goes without saying that rows six and seven on either side are mostly considered "widows row". Many are friends by circumstance - traditionally not friends before their loss.

When we went to brunch at my friend Jeanne's coffee house, many of them were dining at the large table next to us. Two of them very new to their new way of life.

It was sad and comforting all the same. I am glad they have each other. I am sad they have suffered such great pain. I hope when I am their age, I will be one of the few that out rank those who have lost their spouse. If I am not that lucky, I hope I have the same network of support.

So how does spooky strangers tie into all of this? It doesn't. But I beg you to heed this warning...

If you are home alone. If your spouse is away for the night and you are easily frightened by the slightest of sounds (or not), DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT! Watch."The Strangers". ALONE. AT ALL. DO NOT DO IT. Step away from the TV, find something on Disney to watch and believe me when I say, DO NOT DO IT!

If you decide I am over exaggerating, if you think I spook easily, or if you are tempted by my threats to see what I am talking about, well, remember this...

DO NOT DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reposting: 12:57 am, October 3rd, 2001

Picture cir. 1978
You woke up in pain.

Your nurse came into your room, leaving only to get you pain meds.

She returned at 12:55 am.

She sat next to you for the next two minutes. Watching your breathing labor more and more.

At 12:57 am, while she held your hand, you let go and took His hand.

You were gone.

The phone rang at 1:06 am. I had only just gotten into bed not an hour before. I was spent. Jim, who could sleep through a freight train jolted awake and handed me the phone without answering. He knew. I didn't. It took me totally by surprise.

I thought I had prepared. I had spent months knowing the final outcome. I said good bye to you - asked you to put your sword down - just 27 hours before. But then I had this wonderful evening with you.

And now you were gone.

I had phone calls to make.

No time for tears.

I needed to call Bruce and gram. I had dropped her off at your house just 2 hours before. I didn't want to wake her. I wasn't sure I should. But I did.

I called Ted. He was mad at himself for not spending your last night with you. We thought we had more time.

I called your sister Chris - who lived 6 blocks away and asked her to call your siblings... Dan, Cath, Mitz and Ed. I wanted to be the one that told Mary and Nick. She understood. Then she made the most selfless offer - rather than coming with us to say good bye to you, she came to the house and stayed with Mantha.

Then Jim and I drove, what felt like the longest drive ever. It felt like a normal visit - only at 2 am - and then it hit me - just as we turned on Snelling. It hit so hard that I wanted him to take me home. I wanted to not go where we were going. I want it to not be true.

But he trudged onward knowing I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bruce and gram were there waiting. Ted and Theresa arrived just after we did. We gathered at the end of the hall. Waiting so we could all go in together. But then strangely, they told me to go in first. I think they wanted someone to break the barrier, to make it more real - to make it acceptable.
Because no one wanted to accept it.
I took on this role while you were sick. I became the informer and the enforcer.

I went to all the doctors appointments, asked the hard questions, pushed for more results and made everyone in your charge rue the day they came to work in less than fully submissive to kindness and gentle care.

I pulled the non challant Radiologist out of that first appointment and asked him flat out if you were dying. He tried to stay neutral, he tried to be overly technical - but he didn't know who he was dealing with. I remember the look on his face when I, barely 5'1", knocked his over 6'3" down to size - telling him I didn't to subtle, I didn't do sugar coated. I wanted the truth, and while he thought it was best for you not to know, it wasn't his decision to make.

I verbally chastised your Oncologist for arrogantly admitting he made a mistake when he didn't do a bone scan in February. And then I made him tell you your prognosis, and when he would begin to sugar coat it, I would glare him back into the truth. (He still doesnt like me by the way, but I dont care, I dont like him either - I refuse to see him when my I make my annual trip to the Cancer Center).

I took notes, kept a journal, emailed everyone, and made countless phone calls throughout your illness. I took advice I didn't want to, was yelled at for looking at the illness straight in the eye, and not pretending it wasn't really happening. I told it like it was, and called the naysayers out. I made sure that no one, and I mean no one, talked about you in third person - over your bed - like you weren't able to hear or understand what they were saying. I didn't allow myself to get upset or breakdown.

So it was natural to me to cross that threshold first, and report back that it was safe.

I took my time.

It was my turn to grieve.

My turn to be selfish.

I will never forget thinking you looked as though you were sleeping, mouth agape, expecting to hear sounds escape. But there were none. I wanted to crawl in bed with you and never leave. But I didnt. Instead I told you how much I loved you, and I prepared you for what was to come. I promised that no one and no thing could ever hurt you again.

Slowly the rest started filtering in. They didn't stay long. It wasn't easy for anyone.

As we sat together, in that room that people gather in, we all realized at once that this was it.

All I wanted to do was sleep. But I couldn't turn the phone off, I didn't think it was fair to those awaiting the news. I didn't sleep until that next day.

And then came the morning after - a full day after you were gone. I decided I would take Mantha to daycare and work on putting memory boards together. I dont remember the motions, I just remember that after visits to the local Target, Pier 1, Fabric Store and grocery someone finally got brave enough to ask me if I was ok. The night before I had gone to bed in sweats and a shirt that read "bite me". Apparently when I woke up that morning, I did nothing more than grab my purse and my daughter and leave the house. I didn't comb my hair, I didn't check the smudged make up. I didn't change clothes.
In my semi-upscale suburban town I went out shopping with a bang.

My cares were with you, not with me.

It was all for you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Reposting: Seven Eight years ago today... October 2nd, 2001

In a SNAP!

Who would have known. You spent so many days non responsive. Not to touch, not to sound, not to anything.

I wasn't going to come see you today. I had a church gathering to go to, and I was one of the hosts, so I did not want to deviate from my plans. And then Jim called me. He said that he felt I really needed to go see you today. He had a "feeling" that things were changing, and I shouldn't put it off. I never told him that I had already said good bye to you. But something told him I needed to be with you today.

So I made other arrangements for the party. I called the person I was sponsoring and explained the need to be with you, and I even left work early.

And so much happened. All at once, but in slow motion. I remember almost every conversation. I remember every watchful eye. I remember the entire meal. All of it.

One thing at a time...

When I got to the Home, gram met me in the hall with a little more pip in her step. A little more excitement. And a SMILE.

What a welcome. You were sitting up in your bed. You were smiling, and you were muttering a few very quiet words. This was only the second time I heard your voice since August. And it was such sweet music to my ears.

And hungry. You hadn't eaten solid food in a month. You hadn't even sat up in bed, or opened your eyes in at least three weeks. And here you were, wanting me to order your dinner.

Your favorites. Like magic, not more than an hour after we asked for them, they were delivered to your room. Maybe they went to get them because they wanted your last meal to be special. Maybe they knew something we should have known. We read the book they gave us. We knew that it was possible you would come back to us - if only for a short time - before you left us for good. We will never know - but amazingly, they had it all. Even the butterscotch pudding.

You ate it all.

Soon after dinner, you received some special visitors. They had come to visit when you were still in the hospital. But it was really hard on them to see you that way. They weren't sure they could handle seeing you get any worse. But they came. And they were so happy to have made that decision. Because they got the best part of you. We reminisced. We remembered every memory there was to remember. And there were a lot. They were our best family friends. We lived next door to them for 25 years.

As the night wore on, you started to get tired, and a little more obtuse. Now just watching and taking it all in. I remember walking back and forth in the room, and you watching me closely. Because I am who I am, I said "what, do I have boogers on my face?". You just nodded and giggled - sort of silently - and kept watching.

It was fastly approaching late, and gram was having a hard time keeping awake. Your visitors had long since left. And you were getting more and more distant. We knew it was time to let you rest. So we said our goodbyes. Several times. And as you drifted off to sleep, we just sat and stared, in awe of all we witnessed tonight. And finally, we left your room.

And we felt really good about the evening. What an amazing time we had with you. It gave us a new found hope. We spent the entire ride home revelling in all that had transpired.

You were amazing.

What a special night.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reposting: Seven Eight years ago today.... October 1st, 2001

Today, October 1st, 2001, I whispered to you... it was ok.

I thought they would be my last.

You proved me wrong.

But that story is for tomorrow.

Whispers of love...

I love you more than you know. I want you to put down your sword, your battle is over. Go to Him, and be at peace. Run in fields of flowers, and be free. Gaga and Leonard are waiting for you. Its ok to go now, we will be ok. We have each other. And we will see you very soon.

And then I held on for dear life.

And I wept on your shoulder.

And I looked back several times before I walked out your door.

You were so beautiful.

So peaceful.

So loved.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reposting: Seven Eight years ago today - September 30, 2001...

Summer 1984 - you will find I am willing to post embarrassing pictures of myself when it comes to the memory of my mother. The shroud of vanity is lifted in her honor.

Today was a quiet day for you.

Not so much for Gram and I. The culimination of the 4 months prior were wearing on both of us. Things were said that have since been forgiven, but at the time were necessary for both of us.

She was losing her child - something a parent should never have to do.

I was losing my mother - something I was only allowed to have for 30 short years.

I wanted more.

I wanted you with me at my wedding.

I wanted you to hold my hand as I gave birth for the third time - because that is what you did.

I wanted you to know your grandchildren.

I wanted you to grow old - not die at 54.

I became very protective of my daughter role, and felt it necessary to remind people that their loss was important, but that they would never understand the magnitude of my loss. None of them had lost their mother.

I still protect that. It is sacred to me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reposting: Seven Eight years ago today

Seven Eight years ago today SciCom sent you 30 yellow roses (I bet if they knew pink was your favorite rose they would have sent it instead) to celebrate your 30th Anniversary at the company; no matter that you hadn't been able to work since May.

Seven Eight years ago today Mantha, Jim, Bruce Gram and I had birthday cake in your room. We opened gifts - including a Pooh Bear blanket that she still sleeps with - celebrating Mantha's 4th birthday. You slept through the whole party, we tried to wake you, but you were too tired.

Seven Eight years ago today you reached two milestones you promised yourself you would. Your "to do" list was as short as your time left with us.
The last item you never knew came true 1 year and 9 days later. He was due to come on your D day, but he waited until the time was right.

Seven Eight years ago today we knew your time was short. So we savored every moment like it was your last.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday one day early!

I know that tomorrow's post is already in cue - it is an annual post - and its a sad one. But it also commemorates an important day!

The day that this young Chicky turned 4

Tomorrow she will turn 12, and while I don't want to over shadow her day with sadness, it was also a poignant day in her life - and we talk about it every year on that same day - it was the last birthday she got to spend with her beloved grandma - the other pea to her pod - the Peter Pan to her Tinker Bell (grandma's nickname for her).

So while I do not want to take that memory from her, I also do not want it to slip by that she is celebrating a very large milestone (in her words):

  • The last year she can order from the kids menu (poor thing! ha!)
  • The last year she will be called a "kid" (I hate to remind her that "kid" is her nickname!)
  • The last year she is not considered a "teen" which means she is grown up (um, I'm not ready for this...)
  • The last year she is in middle school (very true - as long as she keeps up the homework!)
  • The last year she has to shop in the kids section at the clothing store (that actually ended last year, but don't ruin it for her k?)
  • The last year she has to wear glasses (she thinks when she turns 13 she gets contacts...)

(and no, this is NOT the last year you will be called that!)

We have quite the birthday planned for her - with one big secret! My pally is going to come down and surprise her! She is hostessing a girls overnight at the local Motel. They will have their own room, a pool party, pizza, movies, and a girly spa! I know the GM at the Motel and she assured me that the only other room they will allow occupancy nearby is mine and pally's! Because we are positive that there will be giggles, squeals and loudness protruding from that room all night long!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My very scary dream (as told by Jadon)

Mom, I had a very scary dream last night.
It was about unwrapped mummys [twisting his pj top]. And my friend, I mean cousin Lainie, accidentally woke one up and I didn't.
When the one in the bed woke up then the other 5 woke up [showing me how many by waving 5 fingers at me]!
When the first mummy woke up we had to run outside.
It was very scary!!!


[wait for it....]

[still waiting?]

[the suspense is killing you right?]

[it nearly killed me. thank goodness it didn't or you wouldn't know the whole story!]

[and my sudden death would remain a mystery]

[you may want to sit down for this!]

[here it comes!]

We got out the Spider Man Fruit Snacks.

That. Is. It.

(the end)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Riding in cars with boys THE boy

Every other week I make a 70 mile trip to a slightly larger than where I live town where Mantha and I meet her father for his weekend visit. Most of those trips Jadon is forced to ride along as we often leave before Jim gets home. Many of the times that he is with we pass Jim on the highway, which often is a highlight of the trip.

Today Jadon called his dad when we were on our way home. It was the 14th 3rd call he had made since we left the house.

When he disconnected the call, Jadon asked if he could take a picture. One led to three, three led to a lot of blurry images. I let him pick three of those pictures for me to place here for your enjoyment...

Sunset on the prairie (with telephone wires - see we are still civilized out here!)

Dinner on the car seat - with dessert on top (Jim eats one whole pizza BTW... A large all meat. Jadon and I split a pizza - his half cheese, mine chicken, spinach and sun dried tomatoes - we of course only eat two pieces so we have lunch tomorrow - too bad for daddy!)

Einstein along for the ride!

He may not be a world class photographer (he was using my Blackberry so maybe that has something to do with it), but he had his subjects in mind, and they were mighty fine at that!

I saw dead people

Did you see them?

I caught glimpses of "Flash Forward" during commercials on Survivor. And I saw dead people!

Lost is now all making sense to me... Charlie didn't explode in a submarine! Penny didn't fall down a hole! They flashed forward and became different people - she is now Olivia and he is now Simon (or Theo Procopides...)

If you don't believe my theory, fastforward the episode to about 6 minutes (and 20 seconds if you really do try it!) - look at the billboard! See the "Oceanic Airlines" advertisement?

Now who's Lost?



I do admit, its all a coincidence, just wishful thinking, but since Lost is my favorite show and I still have months (months! I say) before which I will watch its demise [last season], I need to start talking about it now to make the grieving a little easier!