My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Random Things


I finished off a Starbucks gift card yesterday that brought me MUCH holiday cheer: a pumpkin spice latte, a venti caramel macchiato, an eggnog latte, a morning bun, a greek yogurt with honey and granola, a fruit and cheese platter and a venti iced green tea (not all at the same time). I knew the gifter would appreciate knowing what the gift provided!

Austin and Pop are heading home from the Mountain House today. They have been enjoying a retreat with the young people from Pop's church. Austin has been at the Mountain House for two weeks, one of them unsupervised. He has already built a hoard there in his basement bomb shelter bedroom. I hope he cleaned it out.

My next scheduled trip to the mountains is January 17th - 22nd. We must all pray for snow during that time period... that clears up in time for me to go back home and back to work on the 23rd.

I love my job but I also love my long weekends in the mountains and I can't wait to see it with a white blanket of snow. Hopefully this Winter!

Our plan for today was to see Les Miserables but my brother Bryan is not feeling well. I think he has overdosed on southern suburban culture. It's an overcast sort of gloomy day and I'm beyond content to rest here in my nest with my new heating pad and a warm cozy blanket all day.

Today is also my niece Jamie's birthday. Amanda James Gant was born on this day in 2004. It seems like a minute ago... and yet, I can't imagine our lives without Jamie. She adds so much spark and sparkle!


My blogging was interrupted yesterday with Austin and Pop's return from the mountains. Austin wanted a chickfila and I needed to pick up a prescription so I put the computer aside and spent some quality-ish time with my youngest.

My Christmas present from Ryan made it home to me - he had it sent to the mountain house since that was where we were going to be when it was supposed to be delivered - but it didn't make it until Thursday. He sent me an electric blanket - it's the size of a "throw" which is what I always use. I have this thing about the size of my blankets - and the material - and he got it JUST RIGHT. The room where I stay in Riverdale is a converted garage and doesn't have a heat vent. With the door to the kitchen open it stays fairly warm and I very much hate to breathe warm air so this space is perfect for me. I spend most of my time away from work on a heating pad because it's the only thing that comforts my back... and having a warm blanket on top, I should be set for even the coldest days. My room at the mountain house is in the basement - the "whine cellar" - and it's colder there than the rest of the house, although it IS heated. Again - perfect for me because I very much hate to breathe warm air.

Anyways.... I really had a very merry Christmas and was blessed beyond what I deserve! It was wonderful to get a late gift. I should be Jewish, I love getting my presents spread out, a little at a time!

This morning I woke up with a "don't open more than one eye at a time" migraine. I'm sure it's the weather. Thank heavens I now have meds to deal with those kind of painful situations and I am now comfortably numb, between the heating pad and the electric throw, a dog under the blanket on my right, a cat on top of the blanket on my left. Life is good.

My brother Bryan has been feeling pretty rotten so he and mama went to Urgent Care today to have him checked out. He is due to go back to New York tomorrow. We will miss him. All of my brothers are witty, intelligent, well-spoken and enjoyable fellas. I wish we could be together as a family more often. Just like with my sons... I'm proud of them and feel so blessed that they have all found their way in life... stable relationships, good jobs, friends, etc. I'm happy for them and feel at peace about letting them go... but the mother hen in me wants to gather all my little chicks around me and hold them close. Even with my brothers, because with Jim - he and I were best buddies all through our childhood - I cried for days when he left for college - and with Michael, Bryan and David, they were born when I was 7, 10 and 14, so they were my "first babies". I cared for them and mothered them until I had my own babies... starting when David was just 4... anyways... but the little chickies have all flown from the nest and any time they're back, it's a blessing and when they leave, it's bittersweet ... you're happy for their success and yet you're sad that you're not able to be a part of their everyday lives.

I have nothing on the agenda today. We were planning to have lunch out but neither Bryan or myself are feeling well enough to brave the local dining establishments once the church-goers get out and que up. There's a Falcons game at 1pm and I'm a fair-weather fan so since they're doing well this year, better than ever, I'm enjoying watching them. I've got a few documentaries I'd like to watch today and I'm sure there is a nap in my future because of the "migraine banishing" meds. Resting up for my little day of work tomorrow... then, of course, a day off for New Year's and three days of work next week.

Anyways... so that's what's happening here.... peace on Earth, good will to men. Life is good. Love and hugs, y'all!

Friday, December 28, 2012


I'm still feeling the after effects of pushing the limits of my current abilities.... but I slept well last night and that makes all the difference in the world. I have learned to get through my abbreviated workday, even with pain, but adding in the extra distraction of being exhausted was just too much for me. I am glad I was able to go home, even though I didn't nap I was able to use my "rescue meds" to take the edge off of the pain without posing risk to my customers fiduciary well-being.

I missed a family gathering last night. It wasn't the first and it won't be the last, I'm sure. I missed the Christmas Eve church service too. I wish I was someone who could just "soldier on"... actually, I really do, a lot of times... most work days, any time I have to run errands like going to the pharmacy or picking up something to eat, etc... any time that I have to be in a position that moves my spine and compresses the discs or the nerves that are being squished... which is pretty much any time I'm in any position other than reclined/medicated/on a heating pad. My life has become a series of "soldiering on" day after day after day but I still miss out on a lot.

This morning I started thinking about the things I missed this Christmas season. This is sort of a "whiny Wednesday" post since I haven't done that yet this week... although I'm not really complaining, we had a wonderful Christmas, the best in a long time, I just thought it would be interesting to note the things that were missing from our merry making.

1. Catching up on the blog that my childhood next-door neighbor writes, I realized that there were no "spirits" in our holiday festivities. Not like "the ghost of Jacob Marley" spirits... adult beverage type spirits. Not that I indulge often. I'm about a "glass of wine once a quarter" type girl. However, I do enjoy a rum ball here or there and/or a splash of something in my eggnog. Our Christmas was dry.

2. Speaking of rum balls... we didn't have any. Nor did we have any oreo balls or fudge or divinity or chocolate covered pretzels or other indulgent treats baked with love. I had a few at work... and one of my co-workers made these TO DIE FOR truffles that disappeared far too quickly. So... for those of you who are starting your New Year off with a weight loss resolution, feel free to mail me your leftover treats. I'll handle their disposal in a way that honors their intended service.

3. We also did not have banana nut bread. I guess this could fit under #2, "absence of treats baked with love" but it seemed like it deserved to be in a category of it's own. Refer to point number two for safe treat disposal service for your extra loaves of banana nut bread.

4. Wassail. You know... that spiced warm juice drink with the orange painfully studded with cloves floating around in it... it used to be a staple in our family and we haven't had it in several years. I just haven't had the patience to painfully stud an orange with cloves and without it, it's just warm juice. I also haven't made my Russian tea mix over the past two years. It's this awesome blend of powdered iced tea mix, tang and spices that I used to put in gift bags and give away back when I was more of a Pinterest girl - before Pinterest ever came to be.

5. Mistletoe. Not that there was/is/ever will be anyone that I would like to be caught under it with... it's a nice decoration. We used to shoot some down every Thanksgiving but we didn't this year. We could have. We were out in the country and I'm pretty sure there was a hunting rifle somewhere nearby. I don't remember seeing any in the trees at Cousin Christie's house but then again, my eyesight isn't what it once was.

6. Fresh greenery. When I was growing up we had a fake tree. I hated it. While my friends had pine needles crackling in the fireplace... we had plastic needles melting in the heat vent. Then, for a number of years, probably the better part of two decades, we would go as a family to Worthington's Tree Farm and take a hayride out to the field and cut down our own tree. It was a family outing... several generations together... we have lots of great photos and memories from that era and I miss it. I don't, however, miss having to keep animals from drinking the tree water, needles clogging the vacuum cleaner, having to figure out a way to dispose of the tree, etc. One of my brothers and his family still go to Worthington's every year. It would be nice to tag along but.... that's one of those things that we just have to let go.

7. Little Kitty. I loved being at the mountain house for Christmas but I missed my little buddy. We're going to work on getting him acclimated to traveling back and forth so that he can go with us on those long weekends in the mountains. He has separation anxiety now. When I left for work yesterday morning he was in my bedroom window crying out... putting his little paws against the window trying to get to me. He will love watching the lake from the windows at the mountain house. I just worry that we'll have a hard time finding him with all those great places for a kitty to hide. And his last car trip was kind of miserable for him, although he had not been in a car since the day my friend Tami brought him to me... which was the same day our house got struck by lightning and my parents had to come up and get him and Stubby until we were able to find somewhere to live... except for the day we moved down to Riverdale. So basically, car rides have been traumatic for him and I can't blame him for being scared, but I really want him to be able to travel with me, it's part of my "Crazy Cat Lady" transformation.

8. Stuffed stockings. We didn't hang them, other than two decorative ones that we didn't fill and my brother Bryan's that I filled about three days before Christmas with the last green tictacs and andies candies in all of White County. I made three stops looking for them. I would have tucked a cigar or two in there but the cigar shop was closed, since they are one of those small town businesses that tend to be open only every other Tuesday when the sun is shining in months with an "r". Anyways... his stocking was stuffed... and I mailed my son Ryan a stuffed stocking, the stocking I stitched by hand, including his little name embroidered in red thread, his very first Christmas when he was a newborn and I was on maternity leave and bored. to. death. He was one of those pinterest projects that you do with the first born and never manage to get done with subsequent children. I think we ended up using old pantyhose for Austin's stocking. Just kidding. I also gave Cody and Marquee matching Mickey and Minnie stockings for Christmas. And I gave Austin the stuff that went in the stocking but I didn't both to hang or stuff a stocking for him. Again, youngest child syndrome.

9. Two of my brothers and their families. One is a Jehovah's Witness, one isn't. When you're growing up in a house full of kids, you always imagine that all of you will always be together every holiday. Then people grow up and get married and move away and distance and circumstances and sometimes religious beliefs come in between you and your family on Christmas and you still enjoy the holidays but you always know that there is someone missing. In our case, fifteen members of our little family tree... out of twenty-six... were missing. It makes you especially grateful for those who are there, and that you are able to be there with them.

10. My oldest. He is included in the previous counts but like banana nut bread, deserves his own category. He lives in Pennsylvania and has carved himself a happy little chosen family with roommates and a girlfriend and their families. Time, money, distance stand between us and I miss him muchly when he can't be with us but I am so grateful that he does have a support system where he is and that he is not alone. He carries out our family tradition of making sausage balls and russian tea mix. He decorates and makes merry and has a beautiful Christmas. We miss him but know that he's in the place where he was destined to be.

I'm really excited for New Year's Day. Usually I get kinda bummed because it signals the end of the Christmas season, however, I'm so excited about the Rose Parade and a day of watching HGTV and I'm excited about NOT making resolutions this year because, even though there's room for improvement in my life, I've learned to be grateful for what I have and what I can do and not grieve the things that are missing. Much.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reasons to love... Wednesday/ Thankful Thursday

I know I've been away from the blogosphere over the long Christmas weekend... I've been busy making merry and having a holly jolly and all those things that the songs tell you to do. I've been interacting with the 3 dimensional people and I haven't stopped long enough to blog. Gosh. It's been so good to be with my family. I love them all so much more than I can even begin to tell you.

Now it's Monday   Wednesday (ok, now it's Thursday) and the last thing I want to do is go back to work. I love my job. I'm just tired and feel like I need a four day weekend to rebound from the one I just had. So... in the ten minutes I have left to blog... I'm going to try to find a few reasons to love Wednesday.

1. Amazon gift cards are amazing! I have "Killing Kennedy" and a book about one of my Mayflower ancestors on the way and still have a little money left.

2. Snagged from my sister-in-law... could there be any more authentic re-enactment of the "Reason for the Season?" Jamie, Jorjann and Sarabeth in their own Christmas pageant as the Angel of the Lord, Mary and Joseph. TOO CUTE!

3. Love. These. Girls. I got to spend a really sweet time with them on Christmas Eve where we laughed and ate and played games and just enjoyed being together. I love that I'm not that creepy aunt that they never get to see and are scared to be around and give forced hugs. You know what I'm talking about. Everyone has one of those. From the moment I knew Sarabeth was the long awaited "next girl born into our family" after me, I knew that I would love her with all of my heart... and I do. Getting a little mini-me in Jamie was the kind of over-flow blessing that God seems to do for us. For me.

4. Fashion. I wore this shirt on Thanksgiving (pictured here with Jamie) so I could get a little more wear out of it... and Jamie remembered when she saw me on Christmas Eve... "that's the shirt that you wore on Thanksgiving". Now... I know that I would probably notice a wardrobe repeat a month apart. I don't know that I would have at 8. She's amazing. She has such great fashion sense!

5. Like me... she loves taking pictures... she will grow up to be something fabulous and creative, I'm sure. She showed up on Christmas Eve with her sketch pad and spent the day drawing pictures... I helped. We had a great time. And then Cousin Tobye gave her a gift of colored pencils and she was so excited to go back and color in the Christmas tree we drew. LOVE her sweet spirit and the fact that she's turning 8 on Saturday. She's having a spend the night party with a few of her besties... so no birthday party pictures. *sigh* I knew it was bound to happen eventually... too old for the big birthday party... and Jamie is so sociable that it makes sense that she would be ready for that kind of party first. Gonna pick her out something fabulous on and get it on the way to her. Soon. Yesterday.

6. And this girl... who is thisclose to being taller than me, which is not saying a lot since I'm barely 5'2 but is saying a lot since she's ten. She got new earrings for Christmas - breakfast foods - now that she has pierced ears which was the reward for her overcoming her shyness. I also really love this next photo of her playing Scrabble with Pop. How many ten year olds do you know that have a vocabulary that is evolved to the point of being able to  beat an adult, mostly on her own?

She called in reinforcements when Pop played "inquire" but up to that point, she was flying solo.

Now that it's Thursday... I never managed to finish my entry yesterday... I'll switch gears and give you a few "thankful Thursday" points to ponder.

I didn't sleep at all last night. None. I got home from work yesterday around 2:30 and realized that the "Herbie Curbie" (our trash can) had not been pushed to the curb and it was overflowing with holiday trash that I had hauled back from the mountain house and therefore absolutely, positively HAD to be picked up when the trash guys came by. They normally come around 5pm so I knew we had time but I was the only one home and I had no idea when my mom and brother Bryan and Cody, etc, would be home to be able to push it to the curb so I bit the bullet and did it myself. And reminded myself why I don't normally do things like that. I think that I deal with pretty constant pain but when it gets worse, I remember that it could always be worse. I was up all night completely unable to find a comfortable spot.

I would mention that Cody brought me a cup of coffee at 8pm last night that I HAD to drink because even if your baby is 22, you still always enjoy their offerings, especially if they bring them from next door in the bitter cold and wind. He got a keurig machine for Christmas and wanted me to enjoy a cup of coffee. Which I did. At 8pm. And therefore did not sleep.

Which I'm sure had more to do with taking out the trash than drinking coffee or the fact that the dogs kept trying to eat poop out of the cats' litter box because for some reason our dogs love cat poop. It's disgusting but it does stretch out the time we can go in between cleaning out the litter box and I crack myself up by going all Soup Nazi on them and saying, "No POOP for you!". But I do try to be a responsible dog owner, which is a new role for me, whenever I catch them in the litter box, even if it's at late-thirty.

It's so bizarre. Tuesday night I wanted to watch "Joyful Noise" on HBO because there is a lovely lady who was in the movie that I know from a decade ago when we did Fiddler on the Roof and I barely made it through the first half hour of the movie before I fell asleep... and then last night I'm watching the hours tick by all night.

All of that leads me to the "thankful" part. I got up this morning, a miserable, sleep deprived mess and dragged myself to work. I contemplated calling in sick but I had several loose ends that I needed to wrap up today and I just very much didn't want to not be at work. I went in with the thought process that if I could just make it until midday, I could finish up the things I needed to finish and be of some assistance to my colleagues. I let my office manager know what my situation was (sleep deprivation, etc) and she encouraged me to go home. She was understanding, compassionate and... well, she said she'd need me more tomorrow than she did today, staffing-wise. Here's the thing: there was no guilt, no shame... I wasn't made to feel bad about feeling bad. I will never take that for granted. I really do love my job.

Nor will I ever take this....

for granted. At the end of the day, we all just need someone to cuddle up with to watch tv. Hope your holiday was/is wonderful too... and that you found Reasons to Love Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday... and that you are thankful this Thursday for all the good stuff in your life.

Love and hugs!

Friday, December 21, 2012


Another week has zipped by and I am happily anticipating another Yabba Dabba some time around 4:30 this afternoon.
"Around" because this being the last day I work before Christmas... experience has taught me that the days before a holiday tend to either be feast or famine.
Yesterday was feast.
But even in the madness I was so happy to be there.
I've spent so long apologizing for who I am and how I am.
Being in a place that not only accepts but appreciates me... makes me glad for every day at work. Are you tired of hearing how grateful I am?
Yesterday a cold rain fell most of the day... and I STILL had to go to the post office to mail my son's gift... there were no handicapped spaces available.... I thought to myself, "what are all these disabled people doing out in the rain?"... I parked farther away than I wanted and  was soaked to the skin by the time I made it into the post office, wetter still by the time I made it back to my car fifteen minutes later.
I thought about the warm Spring rain that frizzed my hair and matched my dark mood that day earlier this year when it seemed like so much was going wrong. Through my tears God whispered into my heart, "no weapon formed against you will prosper". I doubted those words. It's true. I doubted Him as time went by and doors kept being shut in my face and my self-confidence dwindled and it became clear that I wouldn't get to be where I wanted and how I wanted.
And yet, in this moment, it all seems right. It all makes sense.
What man brings against us, God uses for our good and His glory. Instead of letting a crushing blow be the final blow, it became a catalyst to what God had already worked out for me.
This has been a year of disappointments, heartaches, changes, frustrations...
And yet it has also been a year seasoned with so much Grace. Capital G.
My parents grew out of this little house in Riverdale about a week after moving in. Kids were added. Kids moved out. Grandkids moved in. Grandkids moved out. About twenty years ago we realized there was no longer room to have a big gathering here because there just wasn't enough space.
Small houses grow close families, they say. I just know that this year I was grateful to have a place to go home to... I spent all of my adolescence trying to punch my ticket out.... and all of my adulthood trying to prove that I could do it on my own... and yet, when the time came to come home it was a relief. All those burdens I carried for all of those years, trying to make a dollar out of fifty cents and trying to stretch myself far enough to be both parents... to finally be relieved of that obligation... to finally not have to worry about those things any more... to be able to come home... what a blessing.
But God always gives so much more than what we ask for or even deserve... to go from homeless to having two places to call home... to have my little nest down south and to have a huge gathering place as well... beyond anything I could have imagined.
I started this year recovering from horribly painful surgery. I didn't realize how traumatic that was until the anniversary of it rolled around... and I started seeing some of the same Christmas sets on Fox and Friends that were on when I was bed-bound and unable to do anything except stare at the tv in a pain-filled haze... just like when I hear the song, "Just another manic Monday"... which was popular when I was pregnant with Ryan and in the miserable throws of morning sickness (which, if I've never told you, is a lie... it lasts far beyond morning!)... to this day if I hear that song, I get nauseated. Seeing those same scenes from last Christmas season brought back the pain and isolation and gnawing fear that came with that recovery... and yet, here I am... I lived to tell about it, not that anyone really wants to hear those kind of details.
This year my sister-in-law lost her father. My son lost a friend. Twenty sets of parents lost a child. My grandmother lost her independence. My son gained his. Sorta.
There has been pain, deep, raw, emotional pain. Much has been lost, much has been gained.
I worry about our nation. I worry about the next generation.
The Mayans were wrong.
I won $100 by wearing an ugly Christmas sweater to my office Christmas party.
I opened a Christmas card that had a $25 Starbucks gift card in it.
I made less this year but have had more than I can remember having in any other year.
My family has loved and supported me this year, more than any other I can remember and yet, this year, I have had far less of myself to give.
I love my nest more and more as time goes by. So does Oscar, much to the consternation of Trouble.
I spent too much time in sitting doctors office waiting rooms and not enough time in sitting in church pews.
I have lost and gained weight so often that I never know from one week to the next which outfits will work and which won't.
This morning I am feeling sleepy and fatigued and nauseated and dizzy and having some crazy new pain in my right hip... but I still managed to get a load of laundry done before 9am and will, by the grace of God, make it through another work day this week and will love Yabba Dabba so much more because of it.
This year was nothing like I thought it would be.
It was so much better.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Random Thoughts about Social Media

I am so grateful for Facebook. 

People like me who are anti-social extroverts need a means of connecting with people without having to be out and about. 
People like me who are sometimes more articulate in the editing than they are in the unfiltered thoughts that go stumbling out of their mouth need the opportunity to say it better. 
People like me who can't do a lot of walking, sitting, standing or basically anything other than being at *just the right* angle to not compress anything in my back that isn't aligned correctly are able to have a window on the world.
I watch my friend Beth and her fabulous adventures, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. 
I see my friend Christy who suffered through a miserable first marriage enjoying life with a second husband who dotes on her.
The friends we had when our babies were babies... I am able to see those babies growing up and having their own babies. 
I see the struggles of others... 
A fellow from high school whose sister-in-law was killed in a home invasion robbery.
A girl from high school whose daughter was tragically murdered while mom was undergoing heart surgery. 
Too many folks suffering from various forms of cancer, folks my age and sadly, sometimes folks who are younger.
I can share in joy... and sorrow... 
It is a blessing. I can't imagine my life without social media. I would be very, very lonely.
For many, many years my mom operated an in home day care. 
I keep up with some of those babies through Facebook, too.
One sweet girl... who was such a beautiful little girl... I used to french braid her long hair... had a baby yesterday. This baby is sick. There were some unexpected health problems. 
And although it's been probably twenty years since I saw the baby's mother... and I've seen pictures of her as a lovely, grown up lady... in my heart she's still that sweet little girl in braids... and in my mind... I see her holding a baby doll, carrying it around, loving it with all the maternal instincts a toddler possesses. 
And I know that God is sovereign. I know that he has grown this sweet girl up with all the grace she will need to handle whatever comes her way. 
Her entire life has been preparation for such a time as this.
There's so much sadness, anger, bitterness, etc out there in cyberspace. 
It's uncanny how diverse and differently people are handling the slaughter of innocents.
I agree with many. There are so many things that could have and should have been different.
I get frustrated and overwhelmed with the arguments.
I grieve with those who grieve, strangers and friends... strangers who I only know from the screen of my laptop and not from real life... friends I haven't seen in years... people I wish I had taken the time to know better while our paths were joined, people I'm glad to have a second chance to get to know better now. 
I celebrate with those who are happy... for the friend whose daughter got engaged last night... for the group of friends I know from high school who had a HUH-larious redneck Christmas party and have posted pictures and videos that have had me in stitches... new cars, new homes... and new babies.
Even babies who came into this world a little differently than their parents expected. 
What you expect when you're expecting is a perfect baby.
But God knew. She is precious in His sight. 
We all are. 
That little baby in Bethlehem, by His wounds we are healed. 
Hope this makes sense. 
I love you guys. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reasons to Love Monday - Another Mountain Edition

I had a rough night. Pain got the best of me when it was too late to take the "good stuff" and so I tossed and turned and had dreams of Crunch-n-munch and the Mayan-end-of-the-world/zombie-apocalypse. I slept until 7:30 then I tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the kitchen and brewed myself a cup of ambition and ... then I spilled that stupid cup of ambition and wondered if the washing machine back at the Riverdale House that the repairman said would cost too much to fix, "that will be $79.99 ma'am... will that be by check or credit card?" that Cody fixed for free was still working or if  that was a temporary fix. The kitchen sink is stopped up and dripping from pipes that Pop has paid a King's Ransom to have fixed. My eyes are doing that blurry, unable to focus thing and... oh yeah, I have a doctor's appointment at some time this morning but forgot what time it is...

SOOOOO.... even though it's a day off, believe me friends, it's still Monday! But, you know how it goes in my world, we always have to find Reasons to Love Monday!

1. One week from today is Christmas Eve which is when my family gathers for Christmas brunch. I can't wait to be together and I hope everyone likes what I got 'em for Christmas. I tried to do a theme... I figured it would be easier to do the same thing for everybody and then I found a few things that I liked instead for a few people and then I couldn't find *exactly* the same thing for everybody, which is what I wanted... and then I remembered what my mom had asked for and then I couldn't remember what my oldest son's girlfriend's preferences are (I think it's "no pink" but I could be wrong on that)... and then I ran out of money... but, I'm the crazy old maid cat lady Aunt so I can just be that person in the family who everyone cringes at their gifts and talks about them afterwards in the way that we joke about Grandma Pennington giving us rolled up dollar bills tied with a ribbon... what I wouldn't give to get another dollar from her today... so the point of this point is... we will make merry in just a week and people will either love my gifts or ask for a gift receipt and either way, it's ok because we'll be together, some of us... and we'll have fond memories and happy wishes for the rest of us.

2. It has been a brief but peaceful weekend here in the hills. Austin spent the night with his friend Fat Pat last night. I'm sure they are up to no good but there's nothing I can do to stop that and if they're going to be up to some shenanigans, then I prefer they do it under somebody else's roof, other than my daddy's... so it was quiet here last night and I ate the whole crockpot full of roast and potatoes all by myself. (Not really. I had a small bowl and put the rest away for Austin to eat this week.) Funny story about Fat Pat: Austin's friends all have nicknames like Fluffy and FatPat and so forth... Austin was working Pop really hard to have permission to stay up here this week without supervision. That kid was in major suck-up mode. He did everything (well, most everything) asked of him in the past two weeks. My mom's kitchen has never been so clean. And while in that mode, Austin was trying to tell Pop about something involving Fat Pat but instead of calling him "FatPat" he called him "my friend Patrick" which was sooooo Eddie Haskell that I cracked up. Every time Fat Pat came past the nest this weekend I made sure to call him, "Patrick" and it cracked me up all over again!

3. I have an appointment with the pain doctor today and by the grace of God and the power of pharmaceuticals, I am finally able to go in and say, "yes, this is working". Am I symptom free? No. Will I ever be? No. The reason they referred me to a pain specialist almost two years ago was because my diagnosis' (plural) meant that I will always have pain and will always need help dealing with that pain. Yesterday I got to have a great (facebook) conversation with a friend who is also dealing with chronic pain and she inspired me to get back on track with holistic treatments for pain. There is so much power in food... I've got to do better about avoiding things that cause inflammation and using things that are chemical and preservative free in order to be kind to my spine. I'm encouraged and inspired by that conversation... and I pray that all goes well in her doctor's appointment today.

4. Geez. I'm running out of time and still have to shower and go through the modified day off but still being seen in public glam routine. As much as I would love to stay here in the mountain house, there are still things to look forward to back home such as Mama and Pop and Cody and Marquee and my sweet little kitty and Stubby and Eddy and Lily and Lady and Oscar and Sammy. (I named the people before this animals this time, did y'all catch that?)

5. Office Christmas Party just two days away! Woohoo! Instead of being at night, on my own time, where I have to go somewhere after dark and drive home in the dark (which I hate), it's during work hours! My office ROCKS!

6. I did a car loan last week... and I have another set to close before the end of the year! This is big money in the bonus world and my next bonus check should be happy and fat and healthy. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're in an environment where you're encouraged and appreciated! I love my job, I love my co-workers, I love my supervisory/boss type folks! Have I mentioned that my office ROCKS!?

7. Ryan and Sara's presents are ready to mail. I have confidence that I will find my way to a pack and ship kind of place today. I'm determined. Son, please text me your address.

8. Christmas is one short week away and I am NOT tired of Christmas music yet. However, I have yet to hear "Santa Baby" which is my all time favorite Christmas song. I mean, after some sweet, Holy type of song that honors our Lord and Savior, that is.

9. My brother Bryan will be here in four, short days! Bryan is ten years younger than me, super smart and sophisticated in a New York City high falluetin lawyer kind of way. He is the only person in the world (besides me) to have been at all (both) of my weddings and although he is not a warm and fuzzy kind of hug recipient, I can't wait to hug the stuffin' out of him! (by the way, there is not an option for "falleutin" in spellcheck so I did the best I could).

10. Picture of the day for me. Y'all know I'm no fan of Obama and most of the time I think he's full of b.s. and works times like this tragedy in Connecticut for photo ops. I don't think his tears on Friday were for realz. I think on the teleprompter it read, "mournful pause. wipe tear." and he's just practiced enough to follow those directions. However... in the first (and likely the only) official Obama positive comment on my blog ever, this smile, in this photo, snagged from the Daily Mail who snagged it from somebody's facebook page (they didn't give credit so I can't) he looks genuine and natural. THIS is the man I WISH was really running our country instead of the Constitution busting Socialist. God bless the children.

11. One last... must run.... I will, Lord willing and the creek don't rise, be back in the land of cable tv in time to watch The Five today. If you don't watch it, for my Christmas gift, please take the time to watch it and let me know what you think. I love it. I think Greg Gutfeld is hilarious, Dana Perino is precious and brilliant, Eric Bolling is honest and articulate to the core and I admire how he overcame poverty as a child to really make something of himself, Bob Beckel is the goofy Liberal that everyone needs a chance to make fun of and Kimberly Guilfoyle/Andrea Tantaros both need to start wearing flats and quit showing so much leg. They're too smart to be objectified in that way. Watch the show. Learn. Laugh. Expand your mind.

Ok. That's all folks. Make it a good one!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Love The Weirdos

So much has been said about the tragedy in Connecticut on Friday. Too much, if you want my opinion (and you came here, so obviously you do!). But there is one piece of this puzzle that hasn't been discussed... this killer had Aspergers Syndrome, the same form of autism that my youngest son has. My heart breaks for this mother who, like me, appears to have been left alone to deal with her son. His own brother had not seen him in two years!

There have been people in our life, even members of my immediate family who have questioned Austin's diagnosis, accused me of being too permissive with him,  and ultimately just come to avoid Austin and myself because of who and how he is. And he is... a wonderful, loving, caring, funny, smart, articulate, cultured, amazing young man... except when he isn't. And when he isn't... sometimes he isn't pleasant to be around.

He has quirks. He wore pajama pants and flipflops to school every day of his senior year... but he graduated. He has hoarding tendencies. He breaks things. Sometimes things that you think should be common sense, don't occur to him - such as last night when he was making sloppy joes and forgot to use a potholder when moving the pan. Once he gets an idea in his head, it's durn near impossible to change his mind. His hurts are deeper but so is his loyalty and love.

Would I have had a gun in the house with an autistic adult? No, but I wouldn't have a gun in the house anyways because I'm just not comfortable around them. My life is all about risk management, in the office and at home. I have spent Austin's lifetime trying to prevent him from being in situations where he might lose control or do something that would hurt him, other people or property. The older he gets, the harder it is and for a large part, I leave a lot to God and fate. This summer while he was living an hour and a half away from me, I couldn't help guide him or protect him in any way and he managed... for the most part. Other than personal hygiene and work attendance, he did ok. Yet, he was also in a situation where there were few boundaries so there were few things to upset him.

I could never imagine Austin hurting anyone else intentionally but yet.. his responses to frustrating situations are not always predictable OR logical. He has done things that have caused permanent damage to relationships in our life and I grieve for those losses yet... I know that he has a good heart.  I have a tendency to blame others for not understanding as much as I blame him for the things he does. I don't mean that we should excuse inappropriate behavior and I definitely don't mean that we give that kid in Connecticut a pass for killing 26 people... I just mean that as a society we really need to go the extra mile with people like Austin... and this gunman... and try to be understanding, forgiving, accepting... which will help prevent conflagrations of this magnitude in the future. These people are powder kegs and rejection helps light the fuse.

If there's a person with Aspergers in your life, give them a little latitude, a little understanding, a little love - but not a hug! Austin hates hugs! For that matter, anyone in your life who is a little different needs to be loved for who they are and not be cast aside or ignored. There are so many blessings that come from being around someone who is different. My life has been enriched by having an often unfiltered peek into his thoughts.

Be a rock for someone who may be feeling rejected by the world. No matter what goes wrong in his life, Austin knows that he always has Mom and Mawmaw and Pop to turn to. He has the security of unconditional love and I believe that makes him stronger. Giving folks who are a little different a safety net goes a long way in helping them be contributing members of society.

Every place he goes where he is loved and accepted becomes a place where he wants to be.  The times that Austin has gotten off track have been largely because the kids who could potentially be a good influence on him haven't really accepted him. It's too much work for him to find a place in their world. He finds himself among other outcasts who may not have habits that, as a mom, I want him to adopt, yet, those are the people who welcome him and let him be himself.

I'm not placing blame or excusing anything that happened at that school on Friday. I just can't help but wonder if things could have been different.... if there was a point in that young man's life when someone had the potential to completely change the course of his life and missed the opportunity. Love the weirdos! Embrace the special folks! (figuratively, because again, Austin hates hugs!) Make the world a better place for them to be.

Time for me to run a few errands before I run out of steam. I never could quite get my energy level up yesterday and didn't do the things I needed to do so today I've got to push harder and go further. Wish me luck! Love and hugs, y'all!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Photo Finish Friday / Yabba Dabba Doooo Day!

This is Friday, isn't it? I've been in such a fog this week. During my brief few hours of clarity I've been at work so... yeah... I actually had to check to make sure it's really Friday.

Grandma came down last night and spent the night. She and Pop have some errands to run today. Pop is off getting the oil changed in his car. Mom is at work. Austin is asleep and I'm tucked into my nest relaxing and cuddling the fur babies until time to get ready for work... and Grandma is on a cleaning spree. I figure I'll just let her do her thing. I'm sure she misses keeping house and I've had such a difficult week pain wise that I don't dare spend the morning running around cleaning house (which is already clean, mom worked hard on that yesterday). I have to make sure that I'm still clear-headed and able to function until Yabba Dabba Do time.

Yesterday was one of those days that the pain takes over and puts me in a fog. I was nervous driving home. The last half hour at work I did more delegating than I have ever done. I've been fortunate that I've been able to keep it together these four months that I've been working part-time... and I've been able to stay on top of the pain. But there's a point... and anyone who has chronic pain can relate, I'll bet... that you can't think clearly, you have no patience, you no longer care about anything or anyone or polite or decent behavior... all you know is pain. That's what happened yesterday. So today I'm a bit anxious.

I have a few kitty photos to share... those of you who are in the "anti-cat" movement, feel free to skip these...

This is Trouble and Stubby snuggled up together. Trouble is using Stubby's head for a pillow.

They are laying on my clean clothes, by the way... so not only am I a crazy cat lady... I'm a crazy cat lady with cat fur all over my clothes. Gotta love it!

And these pictures are Trouble the cat being "King of the Castle"... whenever he sleeps like this he reminds me of a old guy laying around in his boxer shorts... like all he needs is a cigar and the remote control....

Austin is constantly aggravating this cat and he has the scars to prove it. They box. Austin pulls his tail. Trouble swats at Austin. Then when Cody comes around it takes a few minutes for Trouble to realize that it's the cuddle boy not the fighting boy.

Time for me to start the glam routine... hope you have a great Friday!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Rip Van Week...

What I can tell you about the last three days? I worked. I slept. I watched tv. And that's about it.

Fatigue is a major symptom/side effect of my various diagnosis'/medications. I pulled an extra hour and a half (yes, that's all, an hour and a half) at work on Tuesday and slept almost continuously between Tuesday at 5pm when I got home from work... and this morning. I had a few waking hours in between naps but relatively no productivity. My greatest contribution to the household in the past few days has been serving as human heating pad for our bald little wiener dog who will die without body heat... and showing the service man where the washing machine is located.

Tuesday I was too tired to eat, even though the food was prepared and it was just a matter of walking into the kitchen to put it on a plate... I couldn't do it. My little elf of a daughter-in-law made rice krispy treats and I had one for dinner on Tuesday and one for breakfast on Wednesday, both times they were delivered to my nest. I was better last night and actually performed the task of feeding myself... but that demonstrates the extreme level of exhaustion I've felt when the fat girl doesn't even want to eat. Cody brought some leftovers to us last night and I couldn't eat a bite.

Fortunately I have an amazing work environment and things are arranged for me to have these long weekends or mid week breaks. I have an amazing home environment that allows me to be glued to the nest when needed. And, surprisingly, Austin has just been an awesome "housewife" and has taken on so many housekeeping tasks around here... he washes the dishes, he helps with the fur babies, he just jumps in and takes care of anything and everything.

Today I'm working from 10 to 3. Tomorrow I'm working from 11:30-4:30 and then I have a three day weekend in the mountains. We're leaving Austin in the mountains which makes me incredibly nervous for many, many reasons but he has been proving to be responsible so we'll just believe that he will continue to do that...

This weekend in the mountains is my scheduled "elf time"... I have a trunk full of Christmas presents that I need to wrap. My wrapping supplies are (I think) at the mountain house and I've been trying to keep things as fur free as possible for my little Jamie girl who is allergic. I've got a couple of pinterest projects that I would LOVE to complete this weekend if my energy level allows. If not, it's going to just be a quick, 48 hour trip to the mountains to do whatever I can, a doctor visit on Monday morning and then back to the grindstone on Tuesday.

I think I've come to the decision that it's not the presents that I enjoy so much about Christmas as it is the food and family and that sort of thing. The past few Christmases have been lonely for me. It won't be this year. I don't care so much about "the stuff". I have everything I need. Everyone in my life has everything they need (although, Santa, if you wouldn't mind bringing Austin a job... ). Except a washing machine. The one here in Riverdale bit the dust this week. It costs more to fix than it would cost to buy a new one. So Santa... a washing machine would be nice... but to the best of my knowledge, no one in our family is in need of the basics of food, shelter, transportation.. so the people, the food... that's what I'm looking forward to the most.

Anyways... the clock is zipping by this morning, faster than my fingers on the keyboard (and that's rocket fast, trust me, I'm an insanely fast typer)... I have to run brush the toothies and head off to work. Hoping my car loan closed yesterday so I can put a little "cha-ching" down on my bonus list for next time.

Happy Thursday, y'all! Love and hugs!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Have Yourself a Few Corny Little Musical Reasons to Love Monday

You would THINK that after a three day weekend, I'd be ten feet tall and bulletproof, ready to head to work.


I love my job. I'm always glad to be there. Other than the fact that it hurts, it's a wonderful opportunity and I never take it for granted. I'm grateful that I get to go to work and so, even though *I wish it were a four day weekend and I was still in my pjs* here are a few musical Reasons to Love Monday! (bonus points to anyone who can figure out what songs these reference...)

1. The weather outside is not frightful. The ceiling fan is so delightful. Since we have no chance of snow... I can go, I can go, I can go.

2. I'm dreaming of a four-day weekend... with every Christmas card I send (which hasn't been many. ok, none.) where I wear pajamas... and hang out with mama... and play castleville all day...

3. I wish you a Merry Monday, I wish you a Merry Monday, I wish you a Merry Monday and a rocket fast week!

4. Santa Baby... just slip some new hot rollers under the tree, for me... I've been an awful frizzy girl... Santa Baby... so hurry down the chimney at the Mountain house in 15 days...

5. Away in my office, no room for a bed... I can't risk getting caught laying down my old head...

6. Telephones we have heard on high, sweetly ringing through the office, answer with a smile, do I, so I earn my decent wage.

7. All I want for Monday is my two tramadol, my two tramadol, yes my two tramadol. All I want for Monday is my two tramadol... then I could wish you Merry MONDAY!

8. Cody decked his house with colored lights, falalalala... la la la la... I don't see them because I don't go out at night... falalalala... la la la la...

9. Feliz Lunes...Feliz Lunes... Feliz Lunez... prospero ano y felicidad.

10. It came upon a Monday clear, that glorious time to glam... from bending down to put on stockings to painting on my face...

Ok. You've suffered enough. It's time for me to finish up and get the caffeine level adjusted... still have to put on the aforementioned stockings and brush my teeth and a meet a few other basic hygienic requirements. This week will be even more unusual than usual for me... I work my "early" shift today... tomorrow I go in at ten and stay as long as I can possibly stand it as we are going to be very short staffed... in return, if I want to be off Wednesday, I can, or I can work a few hours, it's up to me. I'm off Thursday, work Friday and then I'm off for the next three days, in the mountains to wrap presents (which are in my trunk to protect them from dog/cat fur so they don't set off Jamie's allergies)... the week ahead is going to be interesting.

Hope you all have an awesome week... Have yourself a Merry little Monday... let your heart be light...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Here's Why I'm Single...

In case you've ever wondered - this is why I'm single. Ok. Only part of the reason. The other reason has more to do with baggage, my own and the baggage any one else in my demographic is carrying. And then there's the whole degenerative disabling back thing that I've chosen not to allow to be a burden on anyone (other than my family, God bless 'em). I guess the most important reason is that I just don't wanna bother.

So go ahead and call me the Crazy Old Cat Lady... I like my cats better than I like most people...

Little Kitty aka Trouble sleeps like a person... the other night he slept with his head on my pillow beside me. 

Eddie Cat aka Ginger Cat aka Edison
No oranges were harmed in the taking of these photos... there are two boxes and the top one is empty 

side view....

Trouble and Eddie were sworn enemies at first but they've entered into a tentative peace treaty. 

Oscar was getting jealous so I had a take a picture of him in my nest, on the heating pad with his blanket covering him up 

Waiting for it to be dinner time... just for the record, we don't eat on this table. 

We have to feed them on the table so that the dogs don't eat their food. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Presence, not presents.

Usually around this time every year, I write a wish list, of sorts. I usually include both the practical and impossible... everything from fuzzy socks (I got a bunch last year and LOVE them!) to a new coffee pot (thank you, Tracey!) to things like world peace...  find their way to my wish list.

This year, I've got to tell you, it's more about presence than presents. It's about the souls that have touched my life, past, present and future in a Scrooge sort of way that matter to me most.

When I think back to Christmases past, I remember the gifts... the GPS that Ryan got me one year... the rice cooker from Jim and Angie.... the interesting coffee table book that Bryan and Candice got me... and so on... but the most vivid memories are not of the presents. Like I said, what matters most is the presence.

I remember the people, not the stuff.

All those Christmases growing up when Aunt Ginger and Uncle Carl would spend Christmas Eve at our house so they could be there when we woke up on Christmas morning.

Staying up late helping Santa put together gifts for my little brothers and then for my own little boys and then for my nieces.

The time we sang "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" to Grandma Pennington. She laughed.

Kneeling by Jamie's little toddler sized bed on Christmas Eve as she prayed to ask Jesus into her heart.

The Christmas Eve we met Purple Michael at Waffle House for dinner.

Driving around looking at Christmas lights with my boys... it got harder after their dad left because I don't see well to drive at night but it got easier in other ways.

Last Christmas when I was recovering from that awful surgery, having my family come over and celebrate Christmas in my nest with me. I was in a narcotic, pain-filled haze but I know they were there.

Many beautiful, magical Christmas Eve services where we sing Silent Night by candlelight... and I always remember that my kids' "other grandfather", Grandpa Ned, who died in Vietnam in 1969, loved Silent Night. That's what their "other grandmother" told me and I always remind my boys so that they have that little bit of his presence at Christmas.

My boys and I would make ornaments each year for the people in our lives who passed away... so that every year when we hung their ornament on the tree, we would remember that person.

Ever since I became a "Satisfied Single" person, there have been lonely Christmases. I'm always happy to be in my nest. I never, ever, ever, ever try to guilt my kids (or my brothers, or friends, etc) to be with me on holidays. For me, I've never wanted anyone to spend time with me out of obligation... and I've always wanted the people I love to do what they love and what is easiest and brings them the most joy - or the most peace - at Christmas, even if that doesn't include me. I felt their presence, even when they weren't with me.

I've never been a traditionalist. Don't get me wrong, I love traditions - like sausage balls for Christmas brunch and eggnog for decorating the tree - but I don't cling to them so tightly that if they don't happen, Christmas is "ruined". Each year brings it's own happiness and it's own unique qualities and those help us remember those years.

My oldest son is somewhere between Missouri and Texas. He's on a long road trip right now for his job. (If you see him, be sure to give him a hug from his mommy.) He won't be back to his home in Pennsylvania until a week before Christmas and he (more than likely) won't make it home to Georgia for Christmas. It's ok. He knows how to make sausage balls and he has a sweet girlfriend and a lot of love up there.

Two of my brothers won't be with us this year. The same two that are never with us and... that's ok. I wish we could make memories with their families over the holidays but it's ok. It really is. My brother Bryan will be with us this year and I'm so excited to see him! I've never had a Christmas away from my brother Jim. Mama, Pop and Bubba... have shared every single Christmas of my life with me and they will this year too, Lord willing.

There is so much sadness, hunger, hurt and despair in our world. I won't be spending a lot on gifts. I work part time, you know. Yet, I know that everyone in my life, all the people that I love, have a full belly a couple of times a day and a warm bed to sleep in at night. We all have everything we need. We don't need presents. We need presence.

We need to think about the people in our lives that don't need another book or sweater or knick-knack... who just need to know that they are loved, cherished, treasured... give them your presence instead of presents.

We need the presence of a Savior and the freedom to acknowledge this season as being more about him than maxing out our credit cards. We need to remember the gift He gave, instead of worrying about what gifts we are able to give.

We need to give of our gifts and talents, instead of rushing from store to store. God didn't make me a wealthy woman but He gave me a few valuable gifts and I hope they make a difference in this world. You are gifted, too, in your own way. I hope you share that with your world.

More than any Christmas lights, any candles burning, any fireplace crackling with warmth, we need the warmth that comes from loving and being loved.

There is so much turmoil in the world. We won't have peace on Earth for Christmas but we can have peace in our hearts. Be content. Celebrate what has come before, what exists for you now and have the courage to dream about the future... new lives that will touch yours in the years ahead... Find joy in whatever presence you get this year. Presence. Not presents.

Love and hugs, y'all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stuff From The Last 24 Hours (in no particular order)

Cody, Marquee and myself went to the airport and picked up Austin yesterday. We got a good parking place, just two rows past the handicapped parking. We had taken my mom's car instead of my own so we didn't have the Princess Parking tag. She had one but it expired. At any rate... it wouldn't have mattered... it's a long walk to the "welcome area" and it hurt like the dickens but I wanted to see that goofy kid come up the escalator. Totally worth it. I missed him so much.

Austin had a good time in Pennsylvania. With his dad's lack of involvement in his life, it's good for him to have a solid bond with other male family members. His brother is buying him a hookah for Christmas. They used one there and Austin liked it. I joked that it was totally inappropriate for his brother to get him a "hooker". Ha. It's probably also inappropriate for him to buy him a hookah but I don't think it's illegal. Is it?

He had three Thanksgiving dinners: one that his brother cooked, one with his brother's girlfriends grandmother and another with the girlfriend's other grandma. He said the food was good... and it was mostly traditional but it wasn't "southern". My boy was raised on casseroles and congealed salads. And they didn't have sweet tea.

He wondered why it is that you have to pay to go into Pennsylvania but you don't have to pay when you go into New Jersey. This has something to do with tolls. Maybe one of you can explain that to me.

They had snow while he was there. He was impressed with the way they cleared the roads.

Charlie took care of getting Austin back and forth from Newark. Charlie is this guy we met when he was living with my friends Ethan and Josh many years ago. At that time Charlie was operating a small organ company, repairing and selling organs and setting them up. Ryan worked with him for years... and moved to Pennsylvania when Charlie's career path took him up there... and they have been roommates ever since. Charlie is my age-ish (maybe a few years older?) and has been a wonderful co-parent of my kids.

Anyways... so the boy is back with us. Now we just have to convince him that he has to get a job here on the south side of town so that he can get a car and start driving so that he can have some independence.

My work is happy busy - which is better than crazy busy, like life used to be for me. December is traditionally our slowest month so the staffing changes won't be as big of a deal as they might be at another time of the year. I've offered to put in extra hours as needed and to be available on my days off if someone calls in sick. I can really pull it together and be at the office in an hour or so. I have the opportunity to work full time but unfortunately, I really just can't. Part-time is a struggle for me and my ability to walk/move/sit/be pain free has declined over the past few months. It makes me sad... but I'm pragmatic about this stuff. But I do want to help out as much as I can at the office.

Other than the weekend of the 15th and 22nd when we'll be in the mountains, that is. We aren't going this weekend. I really need to focus on Christmas shopping and figuring out what I'm going to buy and what I'm going to make.

I've also decided to start using hot rollers again. That look is somewhat back in style, I believe. It's easier to set my hair on rollers than to straighten it. I have to do something to tame my hair after I blow it dry ... I think I've told this story before... when my niece Tiffany was about ten she was watching me dry my hair and when I got through she said, "you need to put a relaxer on that head". It's still funny! And still true but I try not to use any chemicals on my hair.

I went to sleep at about 8pm last night, completely worn out. I woke up at 11pm thinking it must be close to morning. I saw every hour on the clock after that but kept falling back to sleep. I finally had to give up around 4am and got on the heating pad. Every morning I have to get on the heating pad to "unkink" my spine.

Instead of watching the news this morning, I watched the movie, "Same Time Next Year" with Alan Alda and Ellen Burnstyn (I think that's her name). It was nice to be wrapped up in a love story instead of worrying about the Financial Cliff.

By the way, I need to give you guys a disclaimer and warn you that I plan to toss out occasional obnoxious "told ya' so's" over the next four years when stupid things in the "Affordable Health Care  Act" (or whatever the official name of that monstrosity is) come to light.

Anyways... I'm running out of time but I wanted to warn you that it's coming. Color me red.

Time to get a shower and trade the comfy pjs for work appropriate clothing. Have a Wonderful Wednesday, y'all. Love and hugs.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writing a Prescription for Good Medicine

Remember Monday, when I was having a hard time finding reasons to love it? And remember that last line about how if you look for good, you'll find it... but if you look for bad, you'll find that too? (paraphrasing myself). All day long that kept ringing true.

I went to put on my favorite shoes to leave for work... and the dog had peed on them.... so I used a backup pair and they were actually MORE comfortable, which I desperately needed.

There were some changes at work that increased the workload for everyone and it was an intense, fast paced day but it was a happy busy... like little elves in Santa's workshop... and I just felt so grateful to be there and to have the opportunity to do what I love.

Last week, I very randomly wrote down three bible verses and gave them to an acquaintance. Yesterday I found out why they needed those verses. I don't know for sure that they made a difference for the other person, but they made a difference for me, just knowing that God works through this broken vessel, knowing that the Holy Spirit whispers into my heart, gave me great encouragement.

I had a lot, a lot of pain yesterday. Like, crying on my way home from work pain. Fortunately I have my "rescue" pain meds that I can take when the pain is unbearable. I took them and THEY WORKED! For almost two years I've hurt and hurt and hurt and on top of dealing with pain, I dealt with hopelessness, feeling like there was no way to ever get a break from the pain, other than when I'm sleeping, except a lot of time the pain wakes me up (and Lily wakes me up and Trouble wakes me up and so forth). There are some side effects with the meds and I wouldn't want to take them every day.... dizziness and nausea and so forth...  but for the times that the pain is at the worst, I'll gladly trade pain for a little ickiness.

I had starbucks on the way to work yesterday.
I had lots of great cuddle time with the creatures yesterday afternoon.
I talked to Austin on the phone... he called to ask if I remembered that I need to pick him up tomorrow at the airport... *laugh*... like I would forget?
I had corn chex for dinner.
There was a new episode of "How I Met Your Mother" on tv last night.
I slept fairly well last night... until about 3:30 when the drugs wore off and the bladder got full and the old incontinent dog needed out... and when she came in the other old dog went out... and then Little Kitty decided it was time for treats and kept tapping me on the shoulder and rubbing his little head against my face... and then the second dog needed in... but then I fell back to sleep and slept really well for another three hours.

On the way home from work yesterday I heard this verse, "A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" Proverbs 17:22. It was great validation for me that attitude changes everything. There were a lot of reasons for it to be a bad day but I WANTED it to be a good day and so it was.

Today started out with me tripping over the end of my recliner to keep the cup of water on my bedside table from falling on my computer ... twisting and turning like that is never good. I tripped again letting Lily out... and ten seconds later, I tripped again trying to let her in. I'm slightly anxious about picking Austin up from the airport as it's been a while since I've been out there and it can be very confusing but hopefully Cody will still be able to go with me... and at the end of the day... my little bird will be back in our nest.

It's going to be a good day.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Finding Good in Monday

I slept a lot this weekend and I am still tired. When I stood up this morning and realized how bad EVERYTHING hurts, I had to admit that this is not a typical tired... this is a honest to dog full on fibro flare. My limbs feel like they are made of lead. I could really go back to bed and sleep all day. Cody came over last night to get me to go next door and see their Christmas tree. I didn't have the energy.

So... with that long whine of an opening... we have to face that today is Monday and most of us have to kick start our engines and get this week going. Instead of starting out gloomy and blue, let's see if we can find a few Reasons to Love Monday.

1. *crickets* *thinking....* *shooting blanks* Oh... here's one... I have a new skirt to wear today. It's brown, long and flowing... it's matches perfectly to this turquoise and brown top that I love to wear.

2. More about that skirt (since I have NOTHING today) it's long enough that it will hide that No-Shave November has become Don't Shave December. Don't judge. It's not like anyone is going to know the difference.

3. I have a new (to me) heating pad that was a hand-me-down from Cody. Nothing helps my back more than heat and I am loving this new (to me) source of heat.

4. Oscar the dog and Trouble the cat also appreciate the warmth.

5. Eddie, the Ginger Cat, is a bit of a feral/house cat. He goes out in the backyard and for some reason never climbs the fence to leave the backyard. He normally sleeps in the bathroom sink or in Pop's room but lately he's been curling up with my kitties on my bed. It took six months but it's nice to know all the kitties are friendly.

6. My Austin is coming home tomorrow! I've missed him sooo much (and not just because he does the dishes). I sent him a text yesterday and asked if he was ready to come home and he texted back, "kinda". Silence. Oh, how I've missed those single word answers from him! His flight arrives at 5pm and Cody is going with me to pick him up. We live fairly close to the Atlanta Airport. It's about a twenty minute drive. I know how to get there. I usually can navigate around the airport safely, however, once it gets dark it's hard for me to read signs and they are forever changing things at the airport so I'm afraid that if he is delayed in any way, that I'll have a hard time getting us out of there. Whenever I fly (which I haven't lately) I park my car at one of the nearby parking lots that shuttle you to the airport. I can ALWAYS find my way to the Parking Spot and back. It's the "kiss and fly" that I have trouble with.

7. Today is an early day for me. Tomorrow is also an early day. I don't remember past that. I can't decide if I like the early schedule or the late schedule better but I'm glad today is an early day.

8. My off day this week is Friday so I have a three day weekend coming. I mentioned that yesterday, I know. Even after working at my new job for four months now, I still am amazed at how accommodating they have been about my diminished abilities. I would love to work more. They would give me more hours if I wanted but they're still very ok with me working part time. Even with part-time, I struggle and days like today when I feel so incredibly awful and really don't want to do anything but sleep, it's comforting to know that I just have to get to two pm plus drive home and I'm done for the day.

9. It's going to be a mild week. No weather extremes here. I hope it's also a mild week as far as anything and everything else in my life.

10. I've discussed clothes, my schedule, the animals and the weather. Apparently I'm out of Reasons to Love Monday. Please help fill in the blanks.

Make it a good one, y'all. Attitude is everything. If we *believe* this will be a good day, we will look for good in it. If we believe it will be a bad day, we will look for bad. I'm looking for good. I hope you will too! Love and hugs!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Kitty and the Collards

On Friday at work the question was asked, "does anybody want any collard greens? They're two bunches for $5." 

"Sure." I said. I had $5. Pop loves collards. We had a ham bone left from Thanksgiving that needed to be put to use. I'll take some collards.

A few hours later they were delivered. 
Two bunches of collards. So heavy that I was unable to carry them and had to have the guy put them in my car. I tipped him a dollars. Six dollars total... still cheaper than what we pay for fresh collards in the store. 

I had Cody carry them in from my car that evening. Pop sang to the tune of "O, Christmas Tree".... "O, Collard Greens, O collard greens"... we could have strung lights and hung ornaments from them if we were willing to suffer the collard smell instead of fresh pine. 

Yesterday I felt icky all day and slept most of the day so this morning I KNEW I had to get busy on the greens. As usual, I had help...

Trouble was fascinated by the greens. He was fascinated by the fact that they were in a bag. He was fascinated that we put them on the kitty table (this is where we keep the cat food so that the dogs don't eat it. we don't actually eat at this table.)

He nibbled on them a bit while I was chopping. I filled a large crockpot with them and only used about half of one of the bunches. I don't know what we'll do with the rest. I don't know how long they stay good. I'm no expert on fresh "real" food, you can tell. Typically I buy the bags of greens that are already cut and washed. Yes, you pay a little more for them but I'm much more likely to put them to use if I don't have to invest a lot of prep time.

 I used some of the picasa photo editing features on these photos.

While I was chopping greens, all of a sudden a large bug ran past my hand. I'm not a girly girl... I love sports... I am not into frilly things. I rarely do my nails and so forth. But I am a total GIRL when it comes to bugs! Fortunately I have a cat who is an excellent exterminator. He chased the bug into the sink and tried to make a meal out of him.

Here you can see part of the bug. I'm not lying... he was HUGE! Little Kitty chased him into the other part of the sink and got him stunned long enough for me to wash up. I'm not sure if he's dead yet. I'll be avoiding the sink until I'm certain. 

I'm not sure what was wrong with me yesterday. I was absolutely exhausted. I went to the thrift store to find a tacky Christmas sweater for myself and for some of my co-workers for our office Christmas party. There's a cash prize so it's worth the potential humiliation. I found one for myself that I may embellish a bit if I can find the materials and the motivation. I also found myself six new skirts, a gorgeous soft grey wool sweater, two casual "weekend" tops... all for about $30. I love thrift store shopping! However... by the time I left I could barely hold my eyes open. I had hoped to get a little Christmas shopping done but I just didn't have the energy. I went home and napped. And napped. And napped some more. There's a nasty flu going around, I was afraid this was a precursor of that... but I don't have any other flu-like symptoms, just fatigue. Of course, that's all part and parcel of the f-work (fibromyalgia) although I always like to pretend I don't really have that and couldn't *possibly* have symptoms from that. The new "daily" pain meds that I'm supposed to/allowed to take also make me sleepy (although they aren't supposed to) but I didn't take them yesterday at all so... who knows? I was tired and I slept and the world kept spinning so I guess it's no big deal. 

Mom and Pop spent hours at the church decorating for Christmas. The dogs and cats cuddled with me. I watched a lot of sports and c-span3 and... I will probably do a lot of that today as well. Exciting weekend. 

This week I am scheduled to work Monday through Thursday and then have a three day weekend. I haven't decided yet if it's going to be a mountain weekend. I have a three day weekend the following week and HAVE to be in the mountains because I have a doctors appointment on Monday, the 17th. We're in the mountains for the next weekend for Christmas so I may just stay close to the nest next weekend. Three weekends in a row away from tv and traveling, etc, may just be too much, especially if my energy level is as low as it has been this weekend. 

Austin comes home on Tuesday. The only thing I've heard from him is this one text picture of snow... so he's at least had snow. I hope he's had a good time. I've missed him. I'm ready for him to be home! 

So that's what's happening here... kitty cats, collard greens, bugs and naps... hope you're having a good weekend!

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Quickie....

I've got to recheck my December work calendar. It looks like I have three long weekends in a row. I hope that's the case. What an awesome thing to be able to work on my little projects at the mountain house. There's not a lot of room here and... it's hard to drag myself out of the nest here. But in the mountains... with all that space and peace and quiet and ... *sigh*... I may still only accomplish a fraction of what I'd *like* to do for Christmas... but I'm excited about that possibility
of making happy things in my happy place for our first Christmas in the new family homestead.

It hardly seems possible that we're at the end of another week or another month or... for that matter... another year, almost! We just keep yabba-dabba-ing ourselves on through this life, don't we?

My project for this weekend is to go to the thrift store to find tacky Christmas sweaters for myself and a few co-workers who asked me to look for them. I LOVE thrift store shopping so that makes me incredibly happy!

I'm typing on the side of bed, sitting on the little stool that Oscar uses to climb up on the bed... because Oscar is sleeping so peacefully in my recliner that I didn't want to disturb him. If you see weird letters in the middle of words, that's why. Hard to type on the bed.

Lily the Incontinent Old Dog got me up three times last night to let her out. I am so. tired. I also woke up a few times due to my back spasms... and a few times to take myself to the potty... and once when Cody and Marquee got home from seeing Beauty and the Beast at the Fox and came to pick Sammy up. It was a rough night.

Today I work from 9am to 2pm. We have a luncheon in the middle of that time so it's work a little socialize a little work a little and then go home. The pjs are already laid out on my bed and once I get them on... I may not change out of them again all weekend.

Anyways... I'm getting aggravated at trying to type this way... gonna head out and pick up a Starbucks before work. I've earned it.

Love and hugs to all y'all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh What a Whiny Wednesday! (sung to the tune of "Oh, what a beautiful morning" from Oklahoma)

I'm in love.

Entemannns bakery has a chocolate covered devils food donut that is uh-mazing!

Someone brought them into the office last week and I had one and fell head over heels for them. I sent Cody out to find some over the weekend and he came back with the regular chocolate covered donuts and ... they're good but they're not *the one I love*.

I stopped by Publix yesterday morning on my way into work and found them.... simply the best. Cody tried one yesterday afternoon and agreed... best. donuts. ever. And we have a Krispy Kreme shop within walking distance. These are moist and the chocolate coating is just the right thickness. Love, I tell you.

Other than that... it's a Whiny Wednesday here in the hood.

My back has been in major rebellion over the past two weeks, ever since I went to that marketing class. I've tried the daily pain meds that were prescribed. Twice I've taken the heavy duty drugs. I feel high... I get nauseous... I fall asleep... and when I wake up, same deal.

A couple of times over the past few days I've lost the ability to pee. I forgot the TMI warning  that. Sorry. It's the truth, though. You want to add misery to misery... try having a full bladder when you have interstitial cystitis (which makes a full bladder more painful than a normal full bladder) and add that discomfort to regular/excessive back pain. It makes one quite unhappy, I'm afraid.

Ultimately... that would be the only reason that they would attempt surgery on my back... if the "elimination processes" stop working. When I saw the neurologist (and dropped a chunk of change on that co-pay, thank you very much) he didn't detect any nerve damage in that area. I don't know how he would know that because he didn't do the same tests there that he did on my legs (not that I'd want him doing the same agonizing tests THERE that he did on my legs) but what do I know? I'm not a neurologist. I'm just the girl who can't PEE! TMI or not!

And then... this morning... I slipped getting out of the tub.

Part of this particular flare up has included a loss of feeling in my left leg. Actually... I don't know how to explain it... every time I step with my left leg, there's a shock of pain that hits in the small of my back... and my left foot feels sort of tingly and numb... and when I take a step, I don't really feel like the foot is planted right, I don't have the normal sensation.

So when I stepped out on my left foot this morning and tried to lift my right foot out of the tub, it didn't work right. I can't quite explain it other than to say I pitched forward and caught myself before I did a face plant into the toilet, which, fortunately, was closed. Added a whole new spectrum of pain to the picture.

Oh the joy of getting old before my time!

So today... the hair is not so cute because I didn't have time or energy for the usual glam routine but I wore a cute dress to compensate.

Early schedule today so I'm heading out the door to work.

I love my job. Makes it easy to go in, even when I feel like doping up and going back to bed.

Happy Wednesday, y'all. Make it a good one!