My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Monday, February 28, 2011

reasons to love Monday

There's a weather front heading our way and I'm feeling it... apparently the Lord saw fit to make me a human barometer... not just by giving me naturally curly (frizzy) hair... but also with a tendency for barometric migraines (which I have now) and the arthritis in my back. I can barely move this morning... and it's Monday... but despite my potential for a bad hair day, I'm going to try to find reasons to love Monday again this week...

1. With gas prices rising by the minute... gas is cheaper today than it will be next week.

2. I had a much, MUCH more peaceful weekend this weekend than the last.

3. Church was great yesterday, I'm so glad I went. The crying room was the perfect hangout for me. I found that the most comfortable position is leaning over the back of a chair... and that's what I did through most of the service. I got to visit with a sweet young mom who just had her third boy.. and shared with her what a blessing it was in my life to be the mommy of boys. I feel restored and refreshed from having been there...

4. I went to pick up Sarabeth and Jamie from Childrens Church yesterday and felt two sets of arms hugging me while I was signing the girls out... I looked up and it was SB and Jorjann... and JJ said, "Aunt Heather, I've missed you soooo much!"... made my heart melt! I'm starting my week KNOWING that I'm loved.

5. Angie asked me to listen to Jamie's breathing yesterday. Having raised a child with pretty significant asthma and allergy issues (Ryan)... I learned when he absolutely HAD to see a doctor. We spent a lot of time in urgent care... I hated it... but sometimes you just have to. Angie has a lot going on with her job yesterday and today... they're going thru their accreditation process at the college and it's a huge deal. She had to be at the college at 3pm yesterday... but was worried about baby girl. I listened... and looked her over... she had a ring of white around her lips, her chest was crackling... she needed to see a doctor. I told Angie not to listen and pulled Jim aside and said, "she needs to see a doctor today" "can't wait?" "nope... she needs steriods" He took her. She has a touch of pneumonia, oxygen level at 94%... and was prescribed... wait for it... steroids. Jim said, "I'm glad you were there to diagnose her"... yep. Just one of the many services I provide. I'm glad I was there too... and glad she's already one day closer to being better. Poor girl.

6. It's the last day of February. Payday tomorrow. Another month checked off in 2011. My weight has stayed within the same 3 pound window since the end of November... 3 whole months. I could be discouraged that I'm not losing.... but instead... I'm going to just appreciate my maintenance skills. Maybe March will hold some weight loss for me... I'm not giving up, that's for sure. I still track everything I eat.

7. The worst of the weather is supposed to be in our area at exactly 5pm today. It's a fast moving storm so... by the time we leave work at 5:30, we should be ok. I hope. I guess I'm glad that we work later than 5??? Today... maybe...

8. Tomorrow is Austin's 17th birthday. He got a card in the mail this weekend from his grandparents. My dad said it didn't matter what card they bought, he was going to be more interested in what was IN the card. Austin actually DID enjoy the card. He also got a letter in the mail from his other grandmother. She tries... I mean... about once a year or so, he'll get something in the mail from her. The problem... she's a stranger to him. I can't even remember the last time he saw her. Austin, typical of teenagers everywhere, is very into the moment... if you're not IN his life, he doesn't think about you. I hate it for her... but... these are choices she made. I'm glad Austin knows his other grandparents and has a good relationship with them. (although I doubt he bothered to call to thank them for his card & cash)

9. Made a quick grocery run yesterday... didn't get EVERYTHING I needed but I did get some fresh produce and fish so I can eat healthy for the next few days. I'm almost out of coffee filters... so I've got to make another run quickly... but at least we're set for Monday. I have my lunch already ready.

10. I had such a great weekend... dinner with my friend Cyndi on Friday night... a completely restful Saturday... a good time at church... lots of great tv... no stress from Austin. In a way, I feel ten feet tall and bullet proof.... like... I'm ready to take on this week and whatever it has to offer.

Hope you have a wonderful Monday... love and hugs~

Sunday, February 27, 2011

With our attention focused on the Oscars today... I thought it was time for me to institute a new tradition on my blog... the Heather Awards...


SO ... put on your best loungewear... grab a big mug of coffee, tea or whatever beverage you enjoy... and enjoy the show.

The first award this year is for BEST SURPRISE... and it goes to ... Purple Michael for showing up at Cody's wedding even though he told me he couldn't come. It was the most emotional moment of the day for me... and I love him for making that happen.



The next award is for BEST EMAIL BUDDY... and it goes to .... my sister-out-law Candice who helps the day pass more quickly... gives the best nutrition advice... lets me live vicariously through her with her fabulous life in New York City. She's been busy lately and hasn't been emailing as much and I miss her!


Next up... the award for BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER... and it goes to my sister-in-law Angie and lifelong friend Mary Brown for giving me my awesome laptop which has been my connection to the outside world, game machine, tv... and has made it possible for me to blog. Runner up for best birthday present EVER goes to Jim and Angie for initial sponsorship of my Weight Watchers membership. It started me back on the road to good health and I am eternally grateful.


The award for MR TOAD'S WILD RIDE... goes to Crunch & Munch for our last lunch date... he drove on the wrong side of the road, shushed me when I tried to give directions and ignored my suggestions for the best place to park at the restaurant where we were going. It will be a long time (aka cold day in hell) before I get in the car with him again. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, I had a good time.

My award for BEST LOCAL FOOD SOURCE goes to Loganberry Heritage Farm. Sunny Saturday mornings spent gnoshing on Nadine's yummy creations... hugs from Rose and Philip... loving the little farm kitty.... lessons from the Herb Lady... great, fresh, organic, wholesome, tasty veggies... all in an absolutely gorgeous setting... it just doesn't get any better than that, folks. http://www.loganberryheritagefarm.com/ <--- check 'em out.

The award for BEST SUPPORT GROUP goes to my Hen Party Chicks from my Wednesday night bible study. They cleaned my house, they have brought me food, furniture, new bedding, new shower curtain, new bath mats... they kept me honest, prayed for me, loved me, befriended me... My life here in the mountains would be very empty without them.

While I'm on that subject... I have to honor Helen First Baptist with the award for MOST CARING CHURCH... not only have they loved my baby girls and my brother and sister-in-law (who are on staff)... but they have loved me and my Austin far beyond what we deserve. We would never get good attendance awards... we're mostly Wednesday night attendees... but they still love us, help us out of jams, check on us, pray for us... Austin has an awesome youth pastor who is mentoring him... I have my Wednesday night Hen Party Chicks... my deacon always asks how we are and offers to help in any way he can. It's more than a church... it's a community, a family.

My next award goes to two precious little girls in my life... the award for BEST MALL BUDDIES goes to Jamie and Sarabeth Gant. These girls love to go to town... they love the escalators... they love shopping for trinkets and treasures... they love Starbucks... the merry go round... I can't imagine a trip to the mall without them.

I would be remiss if I didn't offer up an award for BEST ADOPTED NIECE... this is a tie between Stasha and Jorjann... they both never fail to light up when I come into the room... they always give me hugs... they are as much family to me as the two girls in the picture above. I'm blessed to know them, blessed to have them in my life.

The award for BEST CO-PARENT is also a tie... it goes to Charlie, who has sheltered my oldest son, guided him, helped him learn a trade, taught him to cook and eased my mind about Ryan's transition to adulthood. Charlie has done good and I love him for it. The other winner is the City of Cleveland Police Department... who, on two separate occasions have stepped in and counseled my child when he was gone astray. They've given him a reality check... forced him to surrender his cellphone when he was misusing it and generally just helped set boundaries for a child who doesn't recognize them on his own.



The BEST DAUGHTER-IN-LAW award was an easy choice this year... I know as the years go by and our family grows, I'll have more candidates for this award... however... I still have to acknowledge Marquee for her devotion to my parents, her love for her husband - my sweet son, Cody- for being a great pet parent to my grandfurbabies Sammy and Tommy, for keeping a beautiful home and for sharing her wonderful, loving family with us. We are a better family for having her in our lives and I love her dearly.



Another tie coming up... the award for MOST INSPIRATIONAL SNAIL MAIL goes to My Steel Magnolias - Grandma Leta and her sister, my Great Aunt Bette - and the Great before the word Aunt has a double meaning. Their sweet letters and cards remind me of a time when you had to be more intentional in your communication... when you didn't have the luxury of instant messages and text messages and email. They remind me of the delayed gratification of sending something... knowing your thoughts and encouragement might take awhile to arrive at its destination but with God's grace, it will arrive just in time. I love them. I also have to give the same award to my dear Mr. Drake for his sweet postcards. I love him for thinking of me and taking the time to tell me. I love him for loving a Republican/Libertarian like me despite his Democratic leanings. He is a treasure to me.


The award for BEST PHONE CALLS goes to my friend Greg - the one who prefers not to have a nickname although my temptation is to refer to him as "the Phone Guy" for our marathon phone conversations. He's brash and harsh and to the point but he's a precious soul and I appreciate the fact that he holds a mirror up before me and forces me to look at life with more honesty. He also is a treasure to me.


Holidays are always difficult for me but after this year, I have changed my perspective on Christmas. The award for BEST SCROOGE ERASER goes to my sister-in-law Angie for including me in their family Christmas celebration... and making me more than just a guest... she made me a part of things. For the first time in as long as I can remember... I looked forward to Christmas morning... i had presents to open, a stocking hung for me, I got to witness the excitement of children anticipating a visit from Santa... and I got to play Santa for the first time in many years. I realized that Christmas doesn't have to be a lonely time for single - almost empty nesters. It was a huge blessing to me.


The award for BEST EXTENDED FAMILY member goes to my Cousin Melissa. She's a bit eccentric but she's sweet, loving, devoted, funny... she helps me know more about my family and she writes the BEST emails.

My BEST MOTHER HEN award goes to Linda, a blog reader from Virginia who has adopted me. She gives advice in a kind but loving way. She really cares... and I appreciate her more than she knows.

BEST REASON TO BLOG goes to Patty in California who shared her story of meeting her soulmate and love of her life... after being encouraged and inspired by ME, of all people! Can you imagine? Someone like me... who can't seem to get a relationship right... encourages someone to go forward in a relationship that she might otherwise have missed. I love Patty, I appreciate her story and I'm so grateful that she has made me - and my blog - a part of her life.

BEST THELMA to my LOUISE goes to my friend Jen in California. She has stood up for herself this past year... made difficult, heart breaking changes in her life and has had courage that few women are able to find. She has drawn closer to the Lord and found strength through her local church. I'm so proud of her that I could just BURST!

MOST COURAGE IN THE FACE OF FEAR goes to Linda... she's battling breast cancer... http://adirondackcountrygal.blogspot.com/ <--- this is her main blog and she has another about her battle with breast cancer - I can't find the link to it. But she has been SOOOO strong and so upbeat about a very scary diagnosis. Linda, I'm praying... and I know that God has a plan for you. I can't wait to watch it.

BEST MINISTRY goes to the Catalyst Christian Learning Center ... where Austin goes for one class period a day... off campus... for bible based instruction, encouragement and fellowship. It is changing his life and therefore changing mine. I'm so proud of my friend Natalie and her leadership of this amazing ministry. Here's a link to an article in the Christian Index from a few years ago... http://www.christianindex.org/4111.article about the learning center.

BEST FITNESS INSPIRATION goes to my friend Melissa at http://melissahuray.blogspot.com/ ... she is an amazing lady who battled her way back from alcoholism... met and married her soulmate... lost a lot of weight in a very healthy way... and has maintained a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. She is a beautiful lady and I'm so proud to call her my friend.

BEST DISAPPEARING ACT goes to The Next Guy... who went from "you'll never be alone again" to ... nothing... in a very, very short time. I guess I'll never know what happened with him... and I guess, in the big picture, it doesn't really matter... but he was the first in a series of guys who made me realize that I'm not ready for the dating game.... and not long after him came... a guy who I don't think even got a nickname, he was here and gone so quickly... he gets an honorable mention for his "there was no magic for me" text after one brief encounter. He sealed the deal for me... no more online dating for this girl. EVER. It made me realize how true the statement "I'm single by choice... they're single for a reason"... really is.

The award for BEST AUNT EVER (besides me) goes to sweet Mandy Cody... "Aunt Mimi".. my sister in law Angie's little sister... who is as much as sister to ME, that I forget that we're not really related... and the only person on earth who understands my deep love and devotion to Sarabeth and Jamie. We are forever bonded by our mutual love for these girls... and I take great comfort in knowing that whatever shortcomings I may have as an aunt are compensated for by their wonderful Aunt Mimi. Also winning this award is my Aunt Ginger who taught me what an aunt should be... she always had dolls for me to play with... let me spend the night with her... gave me so much quality time and was a very present part of my life growing up. I grieve for the nieces and nephews that I'm not able to see because I know that I could enrich their lives in the same way Aunt Ginger did mine... but I'm grateful for the opportunity to love Sarabeth and Jamie (and Stasha and Jorjann) and be a part of their lives.

Well... time is fleeting... there are another dozen awards I could give... and I might just come back later and do so... but now I have to shower and get ready for church. I was glad when they said unto me... let us go into the house of the Lord. I'm gonna sneak into the crying room after the service starts... but I'll still get to see everyone after church, especially my baby girls. Thanks for reading my blog, y'all... I love you all, even the mean ones... because you give me an outlet for the things I rarely get to say in real life... have a great Sunday!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

saturday confessions...

True Confessions... I made an apple cobbler today with 3/4 a stick of butter, white flour, a cup of sugar, whole milk, caramel apple pie filling... it was good... but it was SOOOO bad!

Here's the recipe, in case you want to be bad too:

preheat oven to 400 degrees

put butter in a casserole dish and slip it in the oven while it's heating

when the butter is melted... add a can of pie filling or canned fruit (peaches work great)...

mix one cup of flour, one cup of sugar and one cup of milk...

pour this over the fruit/butter

cook for 30 minutes or until browned...

To balance the bad... I made an awesome pasta primavera for dinner (and for lunches next week)...

I used two zucchini, diced... one red bell pepper... about two cups of shredded cabbage... fresh garlic... and a can of spaghetti sauce... over whole wheat rotini. I added my favorite large shred parmesan... really good stuff.


I moved more today than I meant to. I cleaned out the fridge and (without thinking) pulled the trash bag out of the trash can. This pinched something in my upper back and my right shoulder and right arm are *jacked up*... all that cooking didn't help but I needed to do it. Well, I needed to do the pasta. The cobbler was a brief moment of rebellion.


I also danced a little today. I couldn't help myself. I watched the Michael Jackson documentary, "This Is It" and I had to dance along. In a way... it felt good to move... and then... it didn't feel good.

I just watched the latest episode of Heavy. My friend Stacia (that I know from theatre) is on one of the upcoming episodes - I think it's week after next. I like this show SOOOO much better than The Biggest Loser. I was invited to a preview of her episode last fall and didn't go. I wish I had... anyways... woulda/coulda/shoulda...

I also watched the movie, "Why Did I Get Married" by Tyler Perry today. I really enjoyed it. It was a compelling story... and my friend Jamie had a bit part (the gay guy on the train with the little dog)... so that was fun, seeing him. He is also on the show "House of Payne" from time to time as the Richard Simmons-esque fitness instructor. Jamie grew up with Purple Michael - they went to High School together. Every time I see Jamie playing something NOT straight... I wonder if he's drawing on his time with Michael. It was Jamie's apartment where I welcomed in 2005 with Purple Michael - we were housesitting while Jamie and his wife Amy were on vacation. New Year's Eve PM and I munched until we burst... and the next day I started the initial weight loss process... that was so successful for me. I'll never forget that late night out by the fire on the patio with PM... just enjoying my time with him and finding my inspiration. My niece Jamie had been born two days prior and it was ironic ... celebrating Jamie at Jamie's apartment.

Now I'm watching reruns of Sex and the City. I have the entire series on DVD but I can't find it. I'm watching the PG version on E!. There are so many great quotes in that show... they really make you think... at least, it makes me think. I also saw Sarah Jessica Parker in the movie, "Did You Hear About The Morgans" last week. We have a year long preview of the Starz channels on our satellite so, for once in my life, I'm watching movies that are newer than 40 years old. I still prefer the older ones, though.

I'm so excited about the Oscars tomorrow! Not the show itself... I don't think I've seen ANY of the nominated films... but I love the red carpet. It's like living fashion history... just think... 40 years from now I'll be able to tell my grandchildren... "I remember when Natalie Portman wore the most fabulous maternity gown on the red carpet". Of course... my grandchildren will probably all be boys and not care. The best red carpet EVER in my life was one year when I watched with Purple Michael and Barry together... I got the best fashion review possible short of hanging out with Joan Rivers... and I got the manly man's views of babes in ballgowns from Bear. It was an awesome time for me.

I'd love to put together a Royal Wedding Watching party on my birthday... I've already scheduled the day off... I mean, how often do you have the opportunity to watch a royal wedding ON your birthday? It's the only time ever in my life... like a full lunar eclipse or something... but... my house isn't really set up for a tv watching party since the tvs are in the bedrooms and there's not one in the living room. I'll have to work on that a bit... two months to go. I'll be 68 on Will and Kate's 25th anniversary!

My parents are about to celebrate their 45th anniversary. I started dating Michael right after their 40th... which was also the last time that our family was all together. Sad, isn't it? My brother David has mostly disowned us all. He didn't come around for Thanksgiving, Christmas... or during the times my mom was in the hospital last year. I'm used to it... but it still hurts. I guess it always will... it's hard when you grieve someone who is still alive. I used to have a brother that was also my good friend. I miss him. I still have Bubba... and he makes up for a lot... and Bryan from time to time... but Michael and David are really not a part of my life. (My brother Michael, I mean). Anyways... I guess you can look at it as the blessing of having a big family is that you always have spares when some of them isolate themselves from you... and... the blessing of having friends who are closer than family is that you always know you're loved. And I do.

I absolutely HAVE to go to church tomorrow, so that i can retrieve Austin. I'll have to sit/stand in the back... but I'm glad to go. I miss it. We have a great church family. And they are... family.

So I absolutely HAVE to get a good night's sleep tonight which means I have to get this new pinching pain under control so that I can sleep. Vicious cycle. Although... there are many who live with much worse pain and they make it. I can too. I'm tough like that...

My friend Greg (some of y'all have checked out his blog)... always says that he's rough around the edges but soft inside... and I say that I'm soft on the outside but inside I'm tough as nails. Like a Steel Magnolia in training. This thing scored a blow to my tender outer core but now it's lasted long enough that it's boring into my core... and once it reaches the heart of who I am, it won't win... I can do this.

So that's the haps here on a quiet Saturday night. Love and hugs, y'all.

Friday, February 25, 2011

it's a good day to be me

Sometimes I think it's obvious that we're undergoing spiritual warfare. I mean... I definitely believe there are forces we can't see that impact our world. I believe in God... and I believe in an "anti-God"... and... there are times that I am overwhelmed by the realization that Satan really does act as a prowling lion seeking whom he may destroy.

Austin really needed this Disciple Now weekend. It's something he looks forward to doing every year. It's a great time of Christian teaching and fellowship. He can be influenced by some really awesome people in our church and the other churches in our community. He wants to go... therefore... I do everything in my power to get him there.

Yesterday that meant leaving work early... so that I could get him packed, pick up his snacks to take, feed him and get him to the host church.

Sooooo... I pack things up at the office and get ready to go home... head to my car and... drop half the mail that I was taking to the post office... it blows under my car... I'm doing all these (painful) yoga positions to retrieve the mail.

I get in the car and realize that I've somehow broken my sunglasses. Nice. I usually can keep the same pair of sunglasses for a year or more... but this pair didn't make it that long.

I put the key in the ignition and turn the key and... nothing. I try again. Nothing. Ugh. I jiggle it. Pick up the phone and begin to contemplate the logistics of getting my car situation taken care of while simultaneously working out the logistics of getting Austin to his retreat. I took a deep breath and thought... "no... this cannot be happening NOW"... and I turn the key again... and it works.

Something happened with the battery because the radio stations are no longer programmed and the clock has restarted. That's ok... I'm thinking "I'll deal with that later"...

I run my post work errands... bank, post office... and I head home. I was praying out loud... thanking God that the car started and asking for his protection as I was driving... there's a sharp curve on the road I was taking out of Demorest... a ninety degree turn, I was driving into the sun so I was driving slower than usual... and it was a good thing because in an instant... there was a car coming straight at me, on my side of the road... there was an embankment beside me, nowhere for me to go... I pulled as far to the right as I could and stopped quickly but I knew it wasn't far enough and I braced myself for impact... the other car (it was a Ford Ranger truck, I think) felt like it came right through me. I can't tell you how we didn't hit... I felt him brush by me on the drivers side and it seemed impossible that he didn't hit me. I could have sworn that a split second earlier the grill of his truck was at the front of my hood. He stopped... pulled over... looked back at me. I think he thought he hit me... but somehow... he didn't. I waved. Not the middle finger wave... just a quick acknowledgement that I was ok. I pulled away... sobbing... scared to death but also VERY aware of the forces that were trying to prevent me from getting home and from getting Austin to his retreat. I cried the whole way home.

Austin wasn't terribly impressed. He was angry because he wasn't getting his cellphone back yesterday. I considered it. I might have. But Jim has the phone and he wasn't going to be there. And... ultimately... I think it's better that Austin focus this weekend and not be distracted by the phone. I acknowledged that... other than the two nights he was out late and I had to track him down... he had done a good job of keeping up his chores over the past week.

He was excited about Disciple Now, though... and delighted to get to spend the weekend with Logan. I was excited because I got to see some of my chicks that I've been missing and my buddy Cyndi came over and gnoshed with me for a little while... while my friend Angie watched the only one of Cyndi's kids that wasn't at D-Now.... so I was un-hermited for a little while.

Today, however, I plan to hole up in my nest and be a complete, unapologetic slug. I don't have to worry about where Austin is or what he's doing. I don't have to worry about trying to sit for 8 hours in agony. I don't have to worry about cleaning the kitchen since Austin took care of that yesterday. The pile of clean laundry can wait. I've got plenty to eat... I can relax. I'm going to live the life of Stubby today.

I am still on my weigh in embargo. I still weigh every day and I am exactly the same. No gain. I'm still tracking everything I eat... so basically, you could say that I'm doing the Weight Watchers Online program right now and not doing the meetings. I can't sit in those uncomfortable metal folding chairs ... my weight isn't going to go down as long as I'm on these meds... so there's no point in going. I'm not giving up... I'm still hunkered down, I'm still fighting... I'm not going to get lazy about it... if anything, I've got to work harder. BUT... I'm not going to set myself up for disappointment and discouragement either. There are times that just holding on to where you are is success. I'm embracing that success.

It's a good day to be me. I'm blessed. I'm grateful for the instruction, fellowship and guidance that Austin is getting this weekend. I'm grateful for the life we have here. I am relieved that I'm getting the MRI done next week. Part of the stress of the back pain is in the unknown... not really knowing how far to push myself, whether or not I'm doing more harm than good. In the absence of information, I have a bad habit of making stuff up... allowing myself to believe the worst. If I can have all the facts... whatever it is... I'll be able to deal with it.

It's gonna be a beautiful weekend here in the mountains... some of you Suburb Sallys need to come up here and enjoy it.

You'll find me here... in my nest... loving life. Have a good one, y'all!~

friday... friday... friday... friday...

UPDATE: Just heard from the doctors office... they have me scheduled for an MRI next Friday.
----------------

I was slow to get up this morning... meaning... instead of being wide awake at 5am... it took until 5:30 until I was awake and I didn't make coffee until 6am. Then there were a lot of "chores" to do on my farmville farm. It's ok, though... it gives me time to gather my thoughts.

That's what I like about thrift store shopping too, by the way... I love the slow process of sorting through racks and racks of clothes looking for the right sizes, looks, brands and price. I get lost in thought while I'm doing it.

I guess you could say... for the most part... I enjoy tasks that keep my hands busy while giving my mind time to wander. I have always said that I dislike talking on the phone because it's a uni-task... I have to devote myself to JUST that and it's too monotonous to me. It's a rare person who can hold my attention that completely.

I just noticed that when I stopped to pet Stubby the 3legged WonderCat, he locked eyes with me... he stared into my eyes. You would think that the animal instinct would be to look at the part of the body that is petting them... to focus on that... but he looked into my eyes... how do animals know to do that? How do they know that my eyes are what I use to see? How could they be that evolved? Have you ever thought about it?

One of the side effects of the medication they have me on is that I will sometimes get "gooseflesh"... and cold chills. The first time it happened I thought it was an adrenaline type response... but then it kept happening at odd times. It's bizarre.

Yesterday, again, was a painful day. I made it the whole day at work... it was an act of sheer will. Good thing I'm stubborn. My tolerance for BS decreases as the pain increases... I've got to work on that. It's not enough to be there... I have to be there at the same level I would be minus the pain. It's a process. I'm learning to live with it.

I called my doctor yesterday morning at 8:30 to discuss my concern about the after effects of physical therapy. I didn't get a call back. I plan to call this morning and pitch a fit. The last time I saw her, I explained my frustration at not being able to receive any feedback or care unless I make an appointment and pay for an office visit. Some of this follow up, stuff that we've discussed, should be handled by a phone call. They've gotten plenty of money out of me/my insurance company this year. I was TOLD to just call and let her know if the physical therapy caused more pain or any problems. I did... and I got no response. That's unacceptable. I wouldn't have minded a phone call at the end of the day... it wasn't life or death... but the same day, at least.

Austin is spending the weekend at the annual Discipleship Now retreat that they have in this area... it combines the youth groups from several local churches for a weekend of worship services, small group bible study and service projects. He really enjoys it and I think it's good for him to connect with his youth group, with Godly kids and with his community. I'm glad for a break from having to worry about him...

By the time I work all week... my back pain accumulates to the point that it takes all weekend to recover. It feels like my vertebrae are collapsing on each other... and if I can just raise my shoulders high enough and extend my back far enough, I could relieve the pressure. Once the pressure builds... the pain spreads, first to muscles on the lower left side of my back, then down into my left hip, up into my arms - to the point that any movement of my arms at all is painful, and gradually it wraps around to my thighs, down into my feet... then muscle spasms... it's crazy how well I've learned the pattern. The lidoderm patch will lessen the feeling of the pressure for a few hours but it doesn't eliminate the secondary effects, like the muscle pain... ibuprofen will take the edge off the pain when it spreads... but once I get to the point of muscle spasms, nothing helps except heat and being in my "recliner" position. That's what happens when I sit. When I lay down... the pain seems to collect in my left hip, regardless of what side I sleep on.

(and I wrote the last paragraph as much for myself, to be able to remember the progression of this thing... as to whine and complain as I KNOW you must surely be tired of hearing about it!)

Like I told my dad yesterday... there goes my lifelong goal of performing with the Cirque du Soleil. Ha!

So... anyways... that's the story for today... in just 12 short hours from now, I will have completed a full day of work, successfully deposited my child into the custody of wonderful, Godly people and I will be back in my nest, and can let my back start to recover... in order to do it all over again next week. It's a vicious cycle... but it's what I've got for now.

Love and hugs, y'all...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

a bonus entry ...

A little bonus philosphy on a curly haired Thursday. Yep. I've given in to the curls today... easy glam routine... got time to share a few extra thoughts with you...

There's no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit.

If you really want to do something, there's nothing that can stop you. If you really DON'T want to do something, there's nothing that can make you.

You can never get enough of the things you don't really need.

If someone doesn't return your calls, it means they don't want to talk to you.

You can't know someone well enough to marry them in two or three months. Trust me on this.

I chopped an apple to go in with my oatmeal this morning and it hurt. A person should be able to do those type chores without pain. I'm just sayin'...

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Don't drive on the wrong side of the road. Ever.

Space heaters are too risky. Use an extra blanket instead.

My cat starts crying when I put on stockings. He knows it means I'm leaving.

My lounge wear is ready for this evening... time for me to put on a little war paint and head into the office.

Happy day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

yep. it's thursday.

Physical Therapy is the bane of my existance. I mean... really... I wasn't optimistic to start with and maybe that's part of the problem... but three times I've been and all three times I've left with numbness in my left foot. That ... to my Google Trained Medical Mind... spells nerve damage. Something is NOT quite right. Pain is a bad sign but I'm used to pain. Numbness is a whole new world. It just makes me leery of continuing until we know exactly what's going on.

Austin is trying, bless his heart. And if you're not from the South... I should tell you that "bless your heart" is southern for "why are you so stupid?" He just doesn't get it. I mean... he's going thru the motions. I can tell that he listened to some of what I have been harping about over the past week. But... still... thinks that his minimal and relatively new efforts should be rewarded with a total pardon for prior indiscretions. Oh, son, I wish life were that simple.

The cat just smelled up the whole house with a trip to the litter box. The litter box is on the farthest side of the house from where I am and it smells like he did it right here beside me.

How do you spell the name of the Libyan dictator? And - is there anyone else out there who gets so distracted by his unnaturally jet black hair and cartoon like appearance that you can't pay attention to anything they're saying about him? Does he dye his hair? I mean... let that visual sink in... this 70-something dictator with his head over the sink and jet black hair dye smudging his temples with a towel slung around him... if you wanted to oust him, seems like you just need to get in through his colorist.

If gay men ruled the world they would think of things like that.

It's Thankful Thursday and so far, all I have for you today is that I'm thankful that it's Thursday. I'm in a good mood... peaceful... content... I've got the feeling back in my foot, so that's nice... I'm on heat so the back pain is mitigated... but I'm not in a list making kind of mood.

My coffee was good this morning. There's that. Last night I went ahead and put the grounds and the water in the coffee maker so this morning I just had to flip a switch... I was thankful for that, for sure. I don't know why I don't do that more often. It's almost as if... by not preparing things for the next morning... I'm pretending that I don't have to do anything the next day. But you can be certain that before I leave for work every day, I lay out my pjs so I can slip right into them when I get home...

I'm still tracking my food every day on Weight Watchers online. I'm still eating on plan. I've used more of my extra points this week than usual... a little hersheys kiss indiscretion... and my weight is the same that it's been for the past three months. I'm not sure if I should be frustrated at the plateau or excited about maintaining. It depends on my mood.

At physical therapy yesterday I saw a different therapist - Paige instead of Pam. Pam came over and asked how my pain had been this week... I told her how miserable I was all day Tuesday and she was trying to help me figure out if I had done anything different that would have increased the pain. I love Pam, I really do... she's a precious soul... but... honestly, the only thing I did differently was Physical Therapy. THAT'S what made me stinking hurt so bad. She said, "you're not walking are you?"... and I know she means, as in, for exercise, because I'm not cleared to do that. Yet. But it struck me funny... because ... my smart alec gut response was, "No, I've been flying, just like you told me"...

Of course I'm walking. *eyeroll* And everyone wants to focus on my posture at my office and whether there is lumbar support in my chair. I have a cadillac of a desk chair. It's awesome, comfy, cozy, nice... but... because I'm 5'2 and have short legs, I do what I have done all my life, I sit on the edge of the chair. Lumbar support makes no nevermind in my world. So then the next question is "how is your posture?" And the answer is... great until my back starts hurting and then I'm laid over like a corpse.

I guess the frustrating thing for me is the mentality that I'm somehow to blame for this pain... and if I would just "straighten up and fly right"... pun not intended but... impossible to avoid... that my pain would disappear. I take responsibility for my pain in that I know I've been overweight/obese most of my adult life and I know that I've worn my back down by asking it to do more than it was designed to do. I mean... pick up something that weighs 100 pounds and carry it around with you everywhere you go for 25 years and let me know how you feel. BUT... whatever we're doing in PT that leaves me with no feeling in my left foot for hours afterwards and leaves me in agony the next day is NOT fixing the problem, in my opinion... and trying to blame my office chair just isn't realistic. I've had a desk job all my life... I've had back pain for six weeks. It makes no sense.

I love Stuart Varney. I'm sorry... I know a lot of you hate Fox News but me... I love Fox and Friends. They make me happy. Especially when all of the first string is in together.

My cat is fat.

Austin saw Bitty roaming the neighborhood yesterday. He wouldn't come to Austin when he called him and he was too fast for Austin to catch. But he's still alive and he's apparently enjoying his new lifestyle. Durn Tomcat.

I hate the commercials for "the Villages".

Funny story... some of our clients have "cabins" here in the mountains but maintain primary residences elsewhere. I was discussing a deductible on one of those "cabins" with a client the other day... a $365,000 cabin... and when I suggested a one percent deductible (the best price point, btw)... they readily agreed, commenting that they carry a 20,000 deductible on their home in Florida. That was my first clue. They mentioned that they were buying new home in Jacksonville and asked if I could recommend a State Farm agent there... well, of course I could... I told them all about my awesome Whitney-gurl... got the address for the house they're purchasing and emailed Whitney to get the ball rolling. When I gave her the address, she told me it was a "really nice neighborhood"... that was my second clue. Whitney called, got the specifics and then emailed me back and told me to look for the house on the internet. Um... yeah... just a little 1.8 million dollar home.

The real irony here is that I may have a conversation with one person with that sort of outrageous wealth one minute... and in the next conversation I may be talking with someone who is having trouble keeping up a monthly account on a twenty year old vehicle. I always say that my job requires a lot of improv. I have to switch gears often... and honestly... I have to change my accent from time to time... sometimes you'll hear me speaking very proper, sometimes I sound absolutely hick. I think if I ever change jobs, I'm going to list my dialects on my resume. I also do a really good Jewish mother accent.

I had a conversation yesterday with a client who is originally from South Jersey... we talked about the history of Georgia and how the original settlers were a boat load of rejects from the debtors prisons. I laughed and told her that's why I tell people that my family came over on the SECOND boat... not the first. Ironically... my ancestors on the Gant side were in New Jersey. Many of them are buried there. I only pull that info out when necessary.

Anyways... not much of a traditional Thankful Thursday post but I am thankful. and it is Thursday. Have a good one.

it's a wonderful Wednesday

This morning I'm just sick.
Physically sick... with what I hope is just a little upset stomach that will right itself in time for me to leave for work in two hours.
Sick from worry... about Austin, about a friend who is carrying a burden that is far heavier than she deserves...
Sick and tired. Tired of this back pain... tired of talking about it, tired of feeling it, tired of it curtailing my activities and running my life.
Yesterday I hurt all day. I started the day in pain and by the end of the work day I could barely walk.
Austin missed the bus yesterday morning so I didn't have a smooth morning. It wasn't TRAGIC... it was just frustrating.
After work when I came home he had worked really hard. His room looked better than it has in ... ever... and he had done several loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen. He was trying.
He asked if he could borrow my phone to text a friend. I agreed.
He even grilled a piece of chicken for me to eat for dinner.
I ate. I took the muscle relaxers that I *try* not to take often. They lose their efficacy if you use them too much and there are times that my back is in spasms and they're the only thing that helps. I knew I needed them yesterday.
I took the neurontin that helps by stopping the nerve transmissions to the brain, it eases the pain but isn't as strong as a narcotic pain reliever. The goal is to not use narcotics because of the risk of dependency.
BUT ... that combination of drugs makes me sleepy. And, having not slept much Monday night, I was already exhausted.
I was alseep before 9pm.
I woke up at 11pm thinking I had just had a full night's sleep... it was actually a few minutes before 11... I went to check my cellphone to see if I had missed any texts.
It was missing. Did Austin still have it? I went to check with him. He was missing.
No phone in the house. No way to call him. I posted a facebook status for someone who had my phone number to try to reach him. Purple Michael and Crunch & Munch were the two to respond.
PM found him at Tasha's. She was crying, Austin had allegedly gone to check on her.
She's a drama queen and she controls him by telling him she's upset.
I'm over her.
At this point I found out that a friend I've considered a kindred spirit is going thru a very Darby like situation with some extra, very tragic circumstances.
My heart broke for her... my rebellious child and back pain seemed like such a small thing in comparison.
She was one I had sort of stopped praying for... I mean... her dreams had come true, she had found her happily ever after... she was ok now.
Except... like me... her happily ever after turned out to be really, just a fairy tale. It wasn't real. He broke her heart. He nearly broke her.
God, however, is faithful. He protects those of us who follow the wrong path and find ourselves abandoned within the ruins of our dreams. She will be ok... but I am so, so sad that she has to go thru this.
Yesterday Austin met with his life coach. See... this Christian Learning Center that he's participating in... where they are transported off the high school campus for one class period a day for Christian instruction... one of the services they provide is a life coach. Austin's youth pastor, Jamie, is his.
So many wonderful people in our community who don't just talk a big talk... they walk with you. Austin respects Jamie. Jamie will be an awesome influence in Austin's life. We are blessed and I don't take that for granted.
And I don't take for granted the fact that I can send up an SOS at 11pm and have two people answer the call in less than a minute... from near and far to find my child... and I can have comfort and counsel of others in a few brief moments... from Georgia, Louisiana, California... this global community is a blessing for me.
People like me who might otherwise feel alone in the world... notsomuch... I'm held fast within the grasp of a love I can't explain... from a God who I can't see but know is there... by people who care beyond what I deserve who support me beyond what I can repay... and it gets me through a lot of stuff that I might not otherwise survive.
I don't take it for granted. I know I'm blessed.
So... if you read this and you think "wow, she's going thru a lot"... know that I wouldn't trade this bullet riddled, potholed, bumpy ride of a life for smooth sailing... because then I would never know what I know.
And I would never wish troubles on anyone... but I will always wish that you know this peace, this comfort...
Have a Wonderful Wednesday.
love and hugs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

newsday tuesday - the one where I talk about unions

If this was a Friends episode, we could call this, "The One Where I Come Out as Anti-Union"...

Maybe it's because I live in the south... I never really understood the need for unions in modern day America. Yes, I understand their past importance...

One of the stories in history that fascinates me most is the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that happened almost exactly one hundred years ago. (google it...it's a tragedy on par with the Titanic). At that time... there was a desperate need for labor laws, labor unions, protection for workers.

I'm sorry. I think those days are past. If you disagree, convince me otherwise. I just know that *from what I've seen* union demands negatively impact the economy. I watched the unions effectively shut down Eastern Airlines in the 80's. Unions have forced companies to send business overseas. Unions are keeping the students of Wisconsin from receiving an education.

That's just my opinion. I've never belonged to a union and I have always been just as employed as I wanted and deserved to be. I've always contributed to my own health insurance premiums. I've always contributed to my own retirement... or lack thereof. My job is not guaranteed... it is performance based. I believe every job should be.

WHAT IF... the teachers in Wisconsin contributed their union dues to their retirement instead of to the bloated, unnecessary union? Maybe... just maybe... that state could balance their budget. I don't know enough about Wisconsin economics to know how much waste there is in that budget. I imagine it's typical of any state budget... lots of room to trim waste... maybe there are some cheese and beer benefits that ought to be cut. I don't know. I just know that states, unlike the US Government, can't print their own money... when they run out, they run out. Everyone has to tighten their belts and stop expecting a free ride. Not that teachers aren't deserving of compensation... but... compensation like any other worker... so that they can continue to be employed.

I mean... maybe I oversimplify things... but isn't it better for 100 people to be employed where they all contribute a little bit toward their benefits and maybe make a few concessions toward "management"... rather than 50 people being employed with the Cadillac employment benefits? Am I missing something?

I just think back to when I worked for Kathy in Jacksonville. There was a downturn in the industry... her agency income decreased... she had to make some tough decisions... and rather than fire a person... she had me and another person basically do a job share. I still kept my benefits and my regular salary... I just worked fewer hours per paycheck. (and still made more than I make now but that's beside the point).

Something, somewhere has got to give. We want lower taxes. We want people to have jobs. We want to allow people to be contributing members of society. We have built an economy that can no longer sustain the promises that were made by previous members of the legislature (in Wisconsin, many other states and the federal government). DO we blame the current legislatures that are working to correct the problem or do we blame the people who made promises they couldn't keep?

Anyways... that's just what I think.
I did my second round of Physical Therapy yesterday and it stunk. It just stinking hurts. I had muscle spasms in my back all night. I didn't take the meds last night - just on a whim - and woke up shortly before midnight and realized my little heathen wasn't at home. He doesn't have his phone so he's trying to make it difficult on me... I texted Zach (the one who didn't have a wedding night) and Tasha the Troublemaker/Drama Queen to see who was harboring the fugitive. She was forthright enough to admit he was there but sleeping peacefully... could he just stay? I said nope... have him meet me in the driveway in two minutes. She said, "he rode his bike, can he just ride it home?" At midnight? No ma'am!

I rode over there in pain but thanking God that I didn't take the meds and therefore could drive... but cursing the kid who puts me in a position where I have to be out driving at midnight. It's ridiculous.

This morning... searing pain in my lower back... spreading across the back... and yes, Mary, I will call my doctor today and ask what we can do about steroids. It makes me cringe... the thought of steroid driven weight gain... but if it will help, I will do it. She may defer to the neurosurgeon. I mean... I'm not giving up on Physical Therapy but I just don't think it should hurt the way it does. I kept saying, "this really hurts... " "should this hurt here?" "I am having a lot of numbness in my left leg"... and I love Pam... she's a precious lady... but she wanted me to keep going. I'm just not sure that's the best course of action.

It's sixty degrees here this morning. Crazy weather.

It's gonna be a long day... I'm cranky... I'm in pain... I'm aggravated with my kid... but I'm alive, awake, have a job to go to, have a car to get me there, have food in the pantry and money in the bank. It could be worse, right?

Have a good one, y'all. Love and hugs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

reasons to love Monday

I love my weekends so much... partly because I'm such a free spirit that punching a time clock is counterintuitive to me... (although we don't have an ACTUAL time clock, but you get the point)... and partly because I am physically uncomfortable at work. BUT... as long as I'm gainfully employed, I can provide a better life for myself and Austin. I don't take that for granted... and although I love my weekends... I can always find reasons to love Monday!

1. The weather here has been beautiful lately... it improves your mood, makes you smile at strangers, allows you to be in the great outdoors, makes lunch break so much more pleasant. I love the weather we're having... even on Monday.

2. There are no teenagers at my office. The occasional teen that comes through is either paying a bill or just starting to drive. They come to me sort of meek and mild and awed by this great responsibility/priviledge before them. I don't have to put up with any teens texting me with profane language... none of the teens that comes to my office calls me ugly names. It's a rebellious teen free zone.

3. Got child support yesterday evening... nine days late... but it came... and it came with a promise of more this coming weekend. Piecing my budget together bit by bit... but it does come together. God is good.

4. I was finally able to get the lidoderm pain patches that my doctor prescribed. Their cost before insurance? $289 for 30. Because I've hit my deductible now... they cost $21. The HOPE is that they will relieve the pain in my back without altering me... they're a topical anesthetic... I gave them a test run on Saturday night and... eh... I'm not sure they take away a lot of the pain but even if they take the edge off. Ibuprofen also helps take the edge off so maybe the combo will work for me.

5. Wow for the encouragement I got last night. Truly, what satan means for my harm, God uses for my good. Between the drama with Austin and the ugly comment that was left... I had some serious warfare against me... but God's people are stronger... they are faithful... they are consistent... and the voices speaking encouragement were louder than the whispers of discouragement. I can face Monday knowing that a lot of good people have my back.

6. I will never forget the prayer that I prayed on the day this back trouble started... I said, "Lord, show me your power in a mighty way... " and He has. Be careful what you pray for. WOULD I have prayed that if I had known what would happen in my life immediately after? The truth of the matter is that this was coming no matter what the attitude of my heart. Allowing God to show me His power through it just gives ME the power to deal with things in the right way. Having that power is reason enough to love Monday. Or any day.

7. I went to the grocery store on Saturday morning and have great picnic supplies on hand for my sunny car picnic today. I've got a few great books that I'm enjoying... I've got a spring in my step... it's all good.

8. Physical therapy attempt number two is scheduled for today. Again... having met my deductible, the cost for this is affordable for me. I'll have to take a short lunch since I'm leaving early... but I'll get to have that electrical stimulation and warm moist heat that feels. so. good. Less time sitting, less stress on my back today.

It's gonna be a great Monday, y'all. I've got a lot of people who love me and support me. I'm not defined by the things people say about me... be it a disgruntled teenageer or a disgruntled blog reader. I write this blog and I write my own life story - hopefully with a little guidance from above. God is good. Monday, like any other day, is in His hands... as is my life and my kids' lives.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sometimes I just don't understand...

Here's one of the comments I got after my emotional blog earlier today about the problems I was having with Austin:

sheri said...
Maybe you need to spend less time in your nest and more time making Austin do what he is supposed to do.My son has aspergers syndrome also. I know exactly what it's like having a special needs child. That does not give them the right to be disrespectful. Being a single mom is not an excuse either. I've raised my son alone most of his life. And if he doesn't know anything else, he knows he can not be disrespectful.He is now 24, has graduated and held a job for 3 years until the business closed.I'm sure you will block me after this post and that's okay..I have been reading your blog since you were engaged. I've found most of your entries interesting.Although,I do have to say that you should have been able to help yourself a bit more financially.(pre-back problems). There is such a thing as taking on a part time job. Been there done that.On your blog you've asked why you get the visitors but only a few comments..well, could it be that you don't take the time to acknowledge some of the people that do comment? I would be one of those people. I was interested in your life until I finally realized that you are a writing snob. If someone doesn't interest you, you disregard them. I'll consider myself disregarded and stay off your blog..Maybe that's something you should consider. Staying off your blog and out of your nest and helping your son become a respectful young man.. Keep in mind that how a man treats his mother is a sign of how he will treat his wife.Sheri
February 20, 2011 7:35 PM

I always love it when people think they know me just by reading my blog... when they think that what I write about in the blog is every single second of every day... when they think that the little sliver of recap I give each day tells them everything they need to know to be able to judge me. As if I have written every single interaction I've had with my children... every single activity I ever do... enough to assume that if I don't talk about it here, it didn't happen. I write about the things that are remarkable... therefore I wouldn't write about the time that Austin and I spend together every day... because it happens EVERY DAY. It's always been interesting to me when other parents try to evaluate my success or failure as a parent based on one child with Asperger's... especially coming from another parent of an Aspie kid... they are as different as night and day. My kid has certain things that he fixates on, certain abilities and capabilities... but respect toward authority isn't one of them. I'm certain that her child has strengths thatmy child doesn't... and vice versa. But... I never entered parenting as a competitive sport. And I certainly would never dream of attacking a parent of a differently abled child because they have failed to do something as well as their child does.

Ditto for finances... yes, you would think it would have been different but you haven't walked the path I've walked. In one breath you lambast me for not spending enough time with my child... and in the other you say I should have worked a part time job in addition to the 50 hours a week I'm already away from home. Well... I understand your confusion because it's mine as well. there are definite benefits to having extra income but at what cost to my child? When we lived closer to the city there were several things I could - and did - do as a second and third source of income. I've always worked hard. One thing my near death experience taught me was that I have to have physical and mental rest to be able to keep going. Perhaps you've never dealt with recovery from an attempted suicide. Perhaps you don't understand the depths of depression you have to pull yourself out of. I knew that for me to be healthy spiritually and emotionally, I couldn't allow myself to be run down physically. That was the choice I made for my child and myself... and of course... you can sit back and read a five minute recap of my life every day and think you know every struggle I've ever been through... but you don't.

Apparently... this lady has an ax to grind because she commented at some point without getting the proper acknowledgement from me. I certainly wouldn't have intentionally ignored her... and although I can at times be what I refer to as an "extroverted hermit" - meaning that I'm outgoing but don't like to be OUT going - I work really hard to be friendly and kind in real life. Sometimes I don't have time to put as much thought and effort into responding to everything that is ever said on my blog (again... she can't decide if she wants me to spend more time with my child or spend more time working or spend more time responding to comments)... but sometimes, truthfully, I don't have a RESPONSE to every comment...

People like this make me want to climb into my nest and never come out again. I hope she felt better after unloading on me. For me... it was just a rotten cherry on what was already a really rotten Sunday.

a fun afternoon with my teenager (not)

I guess you could say that I drew a line in the sand.
Austin stayed gone all weekend after he got mad at me Friday night.
I didn't try to make him come home. I figured... what's the point? He'll come home and be surly and disagreeable and ... I definitely carry stress in my back... whenever I get stressed, I must tense up or something because I really feel it.
But today... he needed to come home and make sure he is ready for school next week... he needs to do his laundry... he had dirty dishes that he left in the sink Friday night that I was tired of smelling.
Etc. etc. etc.
I started trying to get him to come home at noon.
By 3pm I was highly aggravated.
He was refusing.
I told him that Zach is worthless and that when he hangs out with Zach, he gets worthless too.
I mean... Zach, despite getting married... (with no wedding night)... the only work he's ever done is Community Service. He dropped out of school after 9th grade. He doesn't work. He sits at his mom's or his wife's mom's and he plays games.
That's not the life I want my child to aspire to.
Austin's texts to me were pretty ugly. I mean... he used rather abusive language.
I finally just said, "whatever. I'm done".
I was. I was tired of begging him to do the right thing.
He came home in a fury. I sensed it and closed my bedroom door to avoid a confrontation.
Honestly... I can't handle it.
He slammed the dishes around... (keep in mind, the only ones he had to do were HIS... i had loaded the dishes i used directly into the dishwasher)... then went into his room and screamed...
"your dishes are done, BITCH!"...
I told him he couldn't talk to me like that.
An argument escalated.
I finally said... "enough"... and called the police.
I've never done that before on any of my kids and there were times... oh boy... there were times... but Ryan and Cody have always had a measure of rationalization... and... honestly... they never treated me the way Austin does.
I also called my brother.
The police came. Two of them. They took my statement. I gave them permission to take a statement from Austin. He showed out a little bit while they were there...
They took me outside and discussed my options. I could file a complaint in juvenile court but that would require him to appear in court and yada yada... or... we could just file a police report and they would keep it in case of any future problems.
Then I showed them the text messages he had sent me.

See... what he did... he left me with proof of how he talks to me.

The cops gave him a stern talking to. They told him he had no right to talk to me the way he did. ... he told Austin that the messages I sent to him in no way deserved the kind of response he gave me.
And Jim said, "I'm not going to let you talk to MY SISTER that way"...
I think that shook him up more than the cops.
The cops asked me if I wanted to take his phone away. In the past when I have tried, he has gotten physically combative. I said... yes. I wanted his phone taken away. The cop took it (and gave it to me... and I gave it to Jim)...
After they left we talked about what Austin had to do to get his phone back.
They talked about Austin getting a job and school attendance and so on and so forth.
Then Jim left... and now Austin is in his room. He hasn't spoken. I imagine he's angry... but if anything... he now knows that there are boundaries... that I'm not going to allow him to talk to me the way he does... that there ARE consequences for his actions... and maybe, just maybe, that will change his course of action.
I'm exhausted... but I think I did the right thing.
I don't ask a lot. I really just ask him to clean up behind himself. And as Jim reminded him... I don't really have a lot of rules, I'm very liberal, open minded, I don't set a lot of boundaries... but...
I didn't go thru everything I went thru to stop Michael Darby from abusing me only to allow my own child to do the same thing.
Tough love. There ya go.

If I was born in a different time.. would I have colored outside the lines

It's odd how much can happen even though the scenery doesn't change much....

I'm so grateful for facebook. It has given me a second chance to build better relationships with people I took for granted when they were in my life the first time. It has given me a chance to meet people who are going thru things that are different... different geography, different weather, different politics, different beliefs... it makes me feel so connected with the world.

I have been watching movies all weekend. I love old movies... I love the clothes, the decor, the habits, mannerisms, speech patterns. It's amazing to see how much we have evolved.

I watched a movie this morning that talked about Women's suffrage. Who would I have been 100 years ago? Would I have colored inside the lines? Would I have allowed my husband to have full reign over me. Gosh. I really doubt it. Although my fundamental foundation of faith, stubborness, independence would have likely been a part of me whenever and wherever I had lived... I also really hate conflict and confrontation. I probably would have been a secret suffragee. (spelling?)

Who would I have been in the face of segregation? Would I have dared in that time to love a man with a different skin color? A friend recently described his coffee preference by saying, "I like my coffee like I like my women- blonde and sweet"... I couldn't let it go... I said, "and I like my coffee like i like my men - strong and black"... teehee. I'm ashamed that when I first got to know Bear better as a single girl, I commented to a friend, "he would be perfect for me if he was white" and she said, "then he's perfect for you"... I have never forgotten that admonition... and I know that my heart grew much larger by realizing that friends come in all colors, shapes and sizes.

Of course... in the end... there were (and still are) too many obstacles... color being only one of them. Not because MY family wouldn't accept him. I have a sister in law who is black... and I have a niece, two nephews and a grand nephew who are of mixed race. We love them all the same as we do the ones who are pale white and freckled. What kind of family would we have been fifty years ago?

His family, however, would have a harder time accepting me. And I don't blame them. His father is well into his nineties... what kind of world did he see? I wonder what kind of injustice he faced... and his father before him? I imagine there were things that happened that were hard to forget. Even now, as his memory is fading and his mind isn't as sharp, I bet those old memories, that old intuition and suspicion lingers.

What would the world have thought of me a hundred years ago as a twice divorced woman? Or would I have been divorced? Would I be stuck in a loveless, frightening place with either one who had no capacity for sobriety? Or would I be held captive with an abusive situation until I finally did succeed in taking what I saw as the only way out?

Medically... where would we be? I know that my brother would be raising two little girls by himself because without medical intervention - drastic, life saving surgery wouldn't have been available to save Angie's life after Jamie was born. Where would I be without the kind of intervention that discovered and diagnosed my back problems? Would my dad have survived cancer? Would my mother have lost her sight? Would I have become obese if my life were physically harder? Would we have eaten better? Would there have been a kidney infection or pneumonia that would have killed me without antibiotics?

And I wonder... should the Lord leave me here... leave us all here for another 40 years or so... what will this world become? Will democracy be completely set aside for socialism or communism? It certainly feels like we're headed in that direction. More and more is taken from those who have... and given to those who don't. Would it be a better world if those who don't have had to work harder to get... and those who do have could be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to help their neighbor? Would people be more responsible if they faced a debtors prison or a work house? Would employers be more willing to hire if they didn't face such huge taxes and labor laws and union agreements? Did the pendulum swing too far?

Will there come a day where you can buy alcohol on Sunday in Georgia? Will there come a day when same sex marraige holds no stigma in the same way that mixed race marriages are no longer such a big deal? Will Christianity continue to be so strongly disdained... or worse? Will we lose our right to believe what we believe? Will the genteel manners of my grandmother and her sister - the Steel Magnolias - will they become as old fashioned as a horse and buggy? Will we respect the past so as not to repeat it? Will we honor our roots? Or will we forget where we come from.

I love the show "Who Do You Think You Are" that comes on Friday nights. This past Friday they showed Rosie O'Donnell... and it was amazing to see that in just a matter of three or four generations her family went from poor Irish who lived in a workhouse and then immigrated to America to the amazing success and prosperity that Rosie has found. My great-grandfather was a doctor in Atlanta but I don't know that you could have considered him wealthy. I know my grandmother had a decent childhood without want... yet struggled as a single mother, just like me. Her life is comfortable now... her second marriage left her more financially stable. Her sweetheart who just passed away also included her in his will. But she carried a great heartbreak and disappointment over the years... her first husband turned out not to be who she thought he was. She rebounded...

I know that God doesn't make mistakes. I know that who we are and when and how we live is by divine design, not by chance or happenstance. At least... that's what I believe.

That's why today... instead of lacing up my corset... or piling on the crinolines... I'm sitting here in comfort and ease, watching old movies, playing on the internet and thanking God for putting me here in this time and place.

Hope you are having a great weekend! Love and hugs!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

finding the good things about the past week

You know... there was a lot of aggravation in my week last week. There were a lot of times I felt frustrated and limited and compromised. But there were a lot of times that I knew I was walking in grace, giving a great effort, doing my best.

There's this thing that I do... unintentionally... where the more frustrated and discouraged I am, the harder I work to SOUND cheerful. I heard that cheerfulness in my voice yesterday with clients several times. It's like... I used to say about my kids... generally they were absolute angels for other people but they were little heathens at home. I was always glad - on the bright side - that at least they knew how to act in public. I realized yesterday that I know how to act in public.

I worked three full days last week and two days I left early (once for the doctor, once for physical therapy). I have physical therapy scheduled twice for next week. I am allowed 50 visits per calendar year. I'm not one hundred percent sold on it... I think it will help the osteoarthritis that is impacting my mid back... but I think it hurts the disc compression in the lower back. I still would feel better if I had an MRI to determine the extent of damage there. This is a "jumping thru hoops" sort of thing... if the back pain doesn't totally go away with physical therapy, we go to the next step. I'm proud of myself for the days that I stayed at work despite the pain.

The good news... I've met my deductible for the year. Everything I have done will be covered at 90% for the rest of the year.

I got up this morning and went to the grocery store before 8am. It was soooo much easier shopping when I was pretty much the only person in the store. Less walking, I accomplished things more quickly and easily... I wanted to wait until Austin could go with me but by that time, things would be crowded. I pushed myself ... lifted things that were too heavy but... I got it done. I bought a lot of healthy stuff but I changed my focus a little bit to buy stuff that is healthy and easier to prepare for the times after work (or in the morning before work, even) when I'm in too much pain to cook. I was proud of my choices... and my resourcefulness. There are some sacrifices I'm having to make... it hurts to move my arms to chop veggies... so I bought some things that were already chopped. You pay a little more but you pay less than you would if you ate out. I bought more frozen vegetable than normal. They're easier to prepare.

I bought stuff for Austin to make the cobbler that he had a tantrum over last night. Wonder if he'll notice and/or if he'll thank me? Not holding my breath.

I've been told that child support is coming but that he "hasn't had time to take care of it". Things like that really set me off... his whole relationship with his children has been based on his comfort and convenience. Mine has been about THEIR needs, their comfort, their convenience. Never marry an only child... I'm telling you... there is no end to the selfishness. So what if we didn't have money to buy groceries last weekend?... he couldn't be inconvenienced to pay his child support. I'm proud of myself for not going off on him when he told me that... I just reminded him that I've been accepting less than he owes for the past ten years and if I have to go to court to get child support, I'm going to court to get it all.

I'm proud of myself for holding my tongue in another situation where someone was behaving in a way that was just... ignorant. I'm proud of myself for having consideration for their feelings, even though they didn't have consideration for mine. Sometimes... it's easier to bite your tongue than to try to negotiate with a fool. I will, however, make my exposure to that person less frequent.

I'm glad that I've survived another Singles Awareness Day.
I'm glad that I went ahead and bought Easter cards and can't wait to send them. When is Easter this year?
I'm glad that I took the time to write to my Steel Magnolias. That made me happy...
I'm enjoying TCM and a free preview that we have of Fox Movie Channel right now.
I'm so in love with my living room... it's gorgeous. Now I just need to get a tv in there...
I made the effort to completely make my bed and get it looking all showroom perfect. It's up against the wall and it's a full bed so it required a little stretching beyond my comfort level but it was worth the effort. Although... I have to admit... I've gotten back in the habit of sleeping on top of the covers again.
I'm so glad for my electric blanket... makes the best heating pad ever... since my pain is in two separate areas of my back, it would be hard to get a heating pad at just the right angle. This works great.
I worried that heat wasn't the right treatment... but the Physical Therapist said, "if heat feels good, use heat"... it does.
Now that I've hit my deductible, I'm going to try to get a tens unit (the electrical stimulation thing)...
I'm glad that I abandoned the dating game. Friend dates are more fun... less obligation, no stress, I don't have to worry about where it's going... it's not going anywhere...I'm not trying to sell myself or impress. I can just be me.
I'm glad that none of the guys I "interviewed" for the position of Mr. Right were "hired". This would have been a heckuva bad thing to go thru so early in a relationship.
I'm glad it's the weekend and I can rest. I still plan to go to church tomorrow... hang out in the cry room during the service...
I'm glad that Bitty found another place to be. I loved him... I was crazy about him... but he was a wild cat... he needed to be able to roam. It's nice to not have to worry about him and Stubby fighting... to have less cat food and cat litter to buy... to not have to deal with his "issues".
I'm glad that the weather is warming up... it feels great outside... it smells fresh and clean (except for the fields where they've put out manure)... it's 71 degrees here today. We may have another cold spell or two but for the most part, we survived another winter.

I'm planning to make some potstickers... I've been craving them so I thought it would be a good idea to make a lower calorie version. I've got to research some recipes but I think I can do it. How hard can it be?

I guess in everything, there's always good... if you choose to look for it.
Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, February 18, 2011

finding a teachable moment

My aggravation with Austin has been really building over the past two weeks.
I mean... the school attendance has become an issue again... He HAS been sick but he feels well enough to do what he wants to do.
I asked him on Saturday to do HIS laundry. Not done yet.
I asked him on Monday to change the litter box... not hard - you carry one of the disposable litter boxes to the dumpster and open a new one. I can't lift it. But that... has not been done yet.
I asked him on Tuesday to do the dishes. Not done yet.
The trash got taken out... there's that.
He cooked and left a trail of ramen noodles all over the counter... I asked him at 6pm last night to clean it up.
Still there.
I asked him to pick up his pajama pants from the middle of the living room floor at some time this week. Still there.
School book bag - still in the middle of the floor.
Dishes still in his room.
Room still not clean.
I ask. I cajole. I beg. I plead. I rationalize. I speak to him like a child. I speak to him like an adult.
He does exactly what he wants, exactly when it benefits him. No exceptions.

I left for work this morning in tears after he refused to go to school...
This afternoon he called with his grocery order... listing the things that HE WANTS that we didn't have in the house.
Don't get me wrong... there is food in the house. Just not what he was craving at the moment.
And I said... sure... we'll go... not feeling like it... wearing the weight of a long week on my back... wanting only to get home, get on the heating pad... rest...
And as I was driving home... talking to God... and thanking Him for allowing me a full day of work... and asking him for another hour of strength since I had to take Austin to the store... and as clear as day, I heard Him say:
Make him wait.
That's right.
Teachable moment.
He makes me wait for everything I ask him to do.
Makes me beg. Get mad. Be inconvenienced. Not get what I want, what is necessary for the orderly upkeep of our home...
He refuses to work on my schedule. Why should I be a slave to his?
And so I came home and you know what I did?
I made him wait.
My plan was to make him wait until I could explain my disappointment at his lack of cooperation.
I wanted to tell him how much I need him to work with me.
I wanted to demonstrate how there is give and take in every relationship.
But he cursed me. He slammed doors. He screamed at me. He left the room. He acused me of depriving him.
And so... I will make him wait until he is ready to listen.
Sometimes God is a really awesome co-parent.

living within a new normal

I'm absolutely befuddled by the situation in Wisconsin. It's a microcosm of what's wrong in this country... states have made deals with unions and obligated themselves to pension plans that the budget just can't support. When the state goes in and says, "unlike the U.S. Government, we can't just print more money when we run out... we've got to renegotiate"... teachers walk off the job, legistlators walk off the job and refuse to make the tough decisions. I mean... I think it's time we face facts... this economy is the new normal. People are taxed to death. You can't work from a deficit forever. (trust me on this, I've lived it) I predict that what has happened in Wisconsin is just the beginning. All but 3 states are working from a deficit... something has got to give.

Yesterday I started off feeling pretty good. It only took my normal glam routine for the pain to set back in with a vengeance. There are two places in my spine that are causing problems... the osteoarthritis is affecting my upper back... the spondylolisthesis is impacting my lower back and it's the lower back where there is an inpingement of the nerves... yesterday my hip hurt worse than it has yet. The pain is not limited to one place... I can have one part completely fine... and then have numbness in my foot... or pain in my hip... or muscle spasms in my back. The longer the week drags on, the more time I work, the more the pain accumulates (for lack of a better word). It is so discouraging.

I had a conversation (via text) with someone yesterday about potential future relationships... I just feel (right now) like I could never enter into a relationship with someone knowing that I have this chronic condition and that I am going to always be restricted to some degree by pain. It's early in the process but I'm already seeing friends get frustrated with me because I don't feel like going anywhere. I have been isolated from family members... if I can't go to them, they don't come to me. And... at this point... I can't imagine driving any distance. I realized yesterday that RIDING with someone else driving is even more painful because I can't control the speed... the sharpness of turns... the abruptness of stops. When my upper back hurts, it's painful to steer the car but at least then I can control things.

Not trying to be Debbie Downer... just speaking with my usual candor about what I'm living with at the moment. I know that *eventually* we will figure out a treatment for these different issues that will help with the pain. But the realization that ... it's not like a broken bone that will heal... it's not a pulled muscle that will heal... it's not a kidney stone that will pass or an infection that will heal... my spine is not as good as new any more. And as I start thinking about things like... how will I manage to continue to work a desk job for the next 25 years with a spine that can't handle sitting for 8 hours a day? How long until things progress to the point that I CAN'T work? What happens then? It worries me.

I do know that God has a plan. I know that He saw what was happening to my back long before an xray did. I know that it's just a matter of getting from this time of "not knowing" over the bridge of faith to the life He has ordained for me. I'm gonna get there. I just can't help but wonder how, you know?

I've been trying to explain to Austin that his responsibilities are changing. I can't pick up the things that he lets fall to the ground any more. I can't clean up behind him. I can't wash and rewash the clean clothes that he doesn't put away that end up getting trampled on the floor. It's not fair to him... that he was born last and he has to put up with an older (but still young!) mom than what his brothers had. But... he's old enough to at least clean up behind himself. I don't need him to be my maid.... but I can't be his either. I really need one of those steam mop things to help ME be independent. Maybe for my birthday... I keep trying to tell him that things are different for now. Maybe for always. I need his help.

Have any of you faced a diagnosis that was life changing? What did you do? How did you handle the "what happens next" and "what if" questions? How did you retrain the people in your life to accept the difference? What do you do when life ends up taking a turn you didn't expect? When your baggage grows and your marketability declines and you know that you're getting older, getting weaker, not able to do what you once used to do? Is this all part of growing old gracefully? Is this just part of the process?

I'm just wondering...

I've been studying up on what foods can decrease inflammation and I'm going to try to build the next week's menu around those foods and see if it helps. I'm going to keep doing the exercises I learned in physical therapy... and do what I can and hang tough when it gets rough and just keep moving forward.

I'm not depressed. I'm just facing facts. My life story never has followed the path I thought it would take. So far, it's always worked out JUST FINE in spite of myself. God has been good to me, there is no reason to believe that this situation won't be a blessing in disguise... the rest, as they say, is still unwritten...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

thankful for therapy thursday

Ok... I'll go ahead and say it... Physical Therapy helped. I doubted it. My doctor doubted it... but it definitely made a difference. It hurt right afterwards... but this morning I have less pain than I've had in a long time. I have appointments to go twice next week... and we'll see how it goes. The objective is to build my core muscles (i.e. abdominals) to take some of the strain off of my spine. The problems I have are chronic... meaning they'll always be there... so the goal is to do whatever I can to alleviate stress on my back. I'm on board with that! The good news is that I'm still young enough to be able to workout... still flexible enough to do things like pull my knees up to my chest - which, surprisingly, actually feels good. I have been so sore and so afraid to move that I haven't done things that, surprisingly, are beneficial. The Physical Therapist (Pam) taught me a few exercises that I can do on my own to build my stomach muscles without putting any stress on my back... I mean... obviously, I can't do things like sit ups and that's what you would think of as the best exercise to build stomach muscles... so she showed me other things that work. I'm relieved... it feels like a light at the end of the tunnel.

I was hoping for a little cha-ching in the mail this week so I've been checking the mailbox every morning before work. No cha-ching yet... *sadface*... but both Tuesday morning and yesterday morning I had some fun things in my mailbox. On Tuesday I got a letter and photo from my grandmother... and yesterday I got a valentine from her sister, my great-aunt Bette - the two of them are my Steel Magnolias... beautiful, strong, delicate... and I really took that as a sign that God was sending me encouragement from two women who I KNOW have endured great hardships in life with beauty, grace and great faith. I made sure to write them both back yesterday and let them know just how precious it is to me to hear from them.

I also had a postcard from Mr. Drake and that always makes my day! I love snail mail!

I have really struggled with my limitations over the past few weeks... I'm frustrated that it hurts to take wet laundry out of the washer... it hurts to move my arms at all so even driving hurts... it hurts to take out the trash... it hurts to bend to empty the dishwasher. It hurts to sit at my desk at work. It hurts to walk. It hurts to stand for any length of time. I've whined a lot on here about the fact that I'm IN PAIN... but I don't think I've really talked about what those limitations mean to me. There is no significant other in my life... there's no one to take up the slack. There is only Austin and he is really. really. really. no help. If anything, he increases my burden. BUT ... I say all of that to say this: Yesterday there were two situations... no, three... brought to my attention where there are big, hairy, scary, major, life changing and potentially life ENDING circumstances going on... and it gave me a little perspective.

Yes... my worst thing is overwhelming to me... but I thank God that what I'm facing is manageable, treatable, liveable, not fatal, not devastating... and I stopped whining about my own problems long enough to spend a little time in prayer for someone other than myself. It was a great blessing to me... to be able to use that platform... to ask for grace, mercy, providence, protection, peace... in the lives of others... and an even greater blessing to have confidence that there IS a God and He DOES hear my prayers and He DOES answer them and that no matter how powerless I may feel at times... there is always hope, as long as I have faith to hold on to.

The darker the night, the brighter the light. You notice the light at the end of the tunnel because the tunnel is so dark. If the tunnel were brightly lit... you wouldn't be as acutely aware of the end approaching... you might not see that resolution on the way. Five weeks ago, the day this all started, I prayed that God would show me His power in a mighty way. Be careful what you ask for, right? However... I believe that this was going to happen, regardless, and that prayer was for me, the Holy Spirit preparing my heart and spirit for this new journey. I have, without a doubt, seen His power and I continue to see it each and every day... in every act of kindness, in every prayer lifted up for me, in every word of encouragement, every card that comes in the mail, every email, text, phone call... He is there. And His power is evident. Maybe... just maybe... because I choose to focus on the light, instead of the tunnel.

I'll say it again for those who don't share my faith... if I get to the end of this life and I discover that the end is really the end and there is no after life, there is no Heaven and there is no hell... or perhaps I find that the path I chose wasn't the right one... then I will have STILL lived a much better life by having had something to believe in, somewhere to place my faith, by having hope and belonging to a community of people who also have that hope.

That's what I'm thankful for today. Love and hugs!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Well Do You Know ME?

UPDATE: the statements that are BOLD are false! The pattern was that every 4th statement was false... here goes! Roberta was the only one who answered ... so she wins by default. Y'all are NO FUN! Berta... wish I could send you some New York related items... instead, I'll send you some goodies from Helen, GA. Message me your address, ok?

I'm going to list a series of statements. Your job is to pick which of these are NOT true. List those numbers in comments... the one who calls me out on the most false statements wins...



(incidentally... my friend Mary usually is the best at Heather Trivia... she's most likely to win)



Here goes:



1. My first address was 1001 Oakdale Rd.

2. My first best friend was named Tonya.

3. My first plane ride was to West Palm Beach, Florida.

4. My first dog was named Spot. His name was SOLID because he was a SOLID color.

5. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.

6. I can still do a split.

7. The mascot for my junior high school was the Spartans.

8. I once got in trouble for not knowing how to spell Spartans. there was a girl who cheered the year before me who couldn't spell Spartans so she had to practice it over and over.

9. I am left handed.

10. I am missing my big left toenail.

11. I always hated my thighs, even when I weighed 105 pounds.

12. My first car was red... that's false... My first car was burgundy. A 1986 Ford Escort.

13. The first movie I ever watched on video tape was Urban Cowboy.

14. My first time outside of the state of Georgia was when I was 11.

15. My astrological sign is Taurus.

16. I read my horoscope every day. .. not true. While I do believe that God ordained the sun, moon and stars and there are connections/patterns to be discerned by the heavens... I don't hold much store in horoscopes.

17. When I was a little girl we had two cats named Patches and Calico.

18. My grandfather used to have a worm farm.

19. My mother is one of seven children.

20. My father is one of four children. False. My father is the middle child in a family of 3 - he has an older brother and a younger sister.

21. I'm an alto but I'm too tone deaf to hear the harmony so I usually sing soprano.

22. I wore a size 5 or 7 in high school.

23. My first rock concert was Madonna.

24. I love horror movies. - nope. Hate them.

25. I was in the Science Club in Jr High.

26. I wasn't in any clubs in High School.

27. I once tore my size 5 Gloria Vanderbilts trying to climb a fence at a local high school.

28. I once had a pet rat named Ralph. Nope. That's false.

29. One of my children used to love to sleep in my queen sized pantyhose.

30. If my children had been girls their names would have been Ashley, Alyssa and Caylen.

31. I can't go to sleep at night until I pre-program the tv to all the shows I would watch if I were awake.

32. I preferred New Coke and was disappointed when they brought back Classic Coke in 1985. - Sorry... I'm a purist. When I drink coke... and it's extremely rare... possibly two a year... at most... I like it in a tall glass over ice.

33. I secretly adore Flo from Progressive.

34. I cannot stand to hear the Family Guy theme song.

35. Austin and I randomly sing tv theme songs.

36. I still wear a retainer at night. Never had one... never wore one.

37. I currently have both a bottle of honey and a container of red pepper flakes in my purse.

38. My favorite lip gloss is Avon's Glazewear. I buy at least a dozen tubes at a time.

39. I love The Nanny but never watched a single episode until it was in syndication.

40. I wish I had a dog. Oh... not me. We are gone too long during the day.

41. My closet is organized in color order according to the rainbow.

42. I never hang my toilet paper on the holder because it's on the "wrong side".

43. I bite my fingernails.

44. I am superstitious. Not really.

45. I have had my Christmas tree up since October and have no intention of taking it down.

46. I love to walk in the woods.

47. I am memorizing Psalms 139 this year.

48. I have a brother who lives in Pittsburgh. WRONG... my brothers live in Clarkesville, GA, Chattanooga, TN, New York City and Acworth, GA.

49. Mr. Drake has tried on several occasions to teach me to swing dance and I'm lousy at it.

50. I find Yiddish phrases amusing.

51. I drink hot tea all day at work, reusing the same tea bags all day.

52. I was a late bloomer. - not true. I wish, but not true.

53. I have five nieces and four nephews and one great-nephew.

54. I am a licensed insurance agent.

55. I love Florida Gators football and Kentucky Wildcats basketball.

56. I live on a dirt road. - wrong... I live "in town" the roads are all paved.

57. My favorite thing that I did in New York was tour the Tenement Museum.

58. The funniest thing in San Francisco (to me) were the suicide prevention signs on the Golden Gate bridge.

59. I once got violently seasick on a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan in Chicago.

60. I got in trouble for picking tulips in Boston. False. I took pictures of tulips in Boston but I didn't pick any and I didn't get in trouble.

61. I hated Miami Beach because I had to use the bathroom and we were stuck in traffic and couldn't find a place to park.

62. I always cry at airports when I see happy reunions.

63. I listen to part of the Rush Limbaugh show every day.

64. I am allergic to dogs. - No. Not allergic.

My alarm just went off so that means that Cyndi is waiting with her coffee to read today's blog so I'm going to wrap this up.

What do you think guys? Out of these statements... which numbers are false? I'll give you a hint... there's a pattern to it... whoever wins will get a special surprise in the mail from me!

I have my first physical therapy visit today... yesterday at work I was in a lot of pain and was under an enormous amount of (unnecessary) stress which made things worse... I was really tearful and struggled all day. I spent a lot of time in prayer... please keep me in prayer today. I would dearly love to go to bible study tonight and I'm afraid that I'm going to be in too much pain after PT.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday! Love and hugs!