My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Whiny/Wonderful Wednesday

If misery loves company, does happiness prefer to be alone?

I've always wondered.

I've got two bloggy friends that I've met in real life and love like they were my sisters who are both going through a real time of crisis as single moms... and both are without the amazing support network that I am so blessed to have. I want to take them both in. I'm sure Pop wouldn't mind two more women, four more kids and a half dozen more animals living with us, right? We love strays, don't we?

It is so easy to be discouraged on days like today. There's a major front coming through which makes the parts of me that already hurt from this nasty old dirty word - arthritis - and the f word - fibromyalgia - weather fronts make it so much worse. 

But I have to keep perspective and know that even though I'm hurting, we (and by "we" I mean "me" but I'm just not used to being an empty nested single person and forget that I'm no longer the head of a group of people... I'm just me.) we/me won't go hungry. In fact, it's much more likely now that my kids will feed me... since Cody lives next door and is an excellent cook and often brings over his leftovers... or my co-workers will feed me since they are such a loving and generous bunch of ladies... or my dad, who always makes sure that me, mom, grandma and a half dozen fur babies are fed and happy. 

It's infinitely easier to survive/thrive when your basic needs of food/shelter are taken care of.
I just wish I could do this for my friends who are hurting/stressed/worried/alone. Nobody should ever have to feel that way. I'm praying that God will put people in their paths who will make a way for them. I'm praying that they never fear for their safety and well-being and for that of their kids/furbabies.

I mentioned the other day about a cashier who was unkind to me because of my race. I neglected to mention the sweet girl at the Krispy Kreme store who smiled and wished me a good day. Or the girls at the drug store who used to be sort of discriminatory but have learned that I always smile and thank them for their hard work and acknowledge the fact that they have a very short lunch hour and work long hours and in return have come to be kind and welcoming to me. Overall, there is much more kindness in my world than meanness. I hope that people see me as a source of kindness. 

Out of the many, many lives I cross path with over the course of a day... between home and work and cyberspace and the travels in between... the large majority of them are blessed, divine appointments. When you are already distracted and distressed by disability... (which I have decided to rename my "less ability" and not disability in my case because I am partly abled... I'm not completely unplugged from life)... when it takes all of your energy to push on... it's important that every encounter be otherwise unencumbered by unpleasantness. That's always my goal... that I don't make anything harder by having a nasty attitude.

That means that once I get through with my pouting and feeling sorry for myself here, in the blogosphere, I make myself presentable, put on my happy face with the help of cosmetics, and go forth and conquer. I was teary and prayerful on the way to work yesterday, certain that I should just turn around and go home and get back in my nest... but I knew that we were already short-handed and several others were not feeling well... so I was determined to hold up my end of the bargain and keep going. 

So I wiped my tears and walked in the door and was greeted with a "we are so glad to see you... how are you today?" and that cheerful greeting gave me the courage to do what I needed to do. I answered with "just peachy!" even though I wasn't ... but saying it made me want to live it... and so I worked my very intense five hours and went home and melted into the nest where I stayed for the rest of the day until I went to bed... and enjoyed breakfast for dinner, courtesy of Pop... and shared my bacon with Little Kitty... which made him happy and in return made ME happy.

I know it's not always that easy. I know that there are a lot of people who aren't greeted cheerfully, who don't have breakfast for dinner in the nest, who don't have a short little five hour work day... because not so very long ago, that was my life, too. And although the pain has become gradually worse over the past two years... and although on days like today it really, really sucks to be me... I am still way, very much better off than I was. And even though today will be hard - my hands are swollen and stiff - my back has a searing, hot pain - walking is an unpleasant chore - the more I hurt, the more I will try to be cheerful, with the prayer that everyone I encounter will mirror my attitude and that my attitude will be worthy of mirroring.

Which leads me to the point of all of this which is... in all the divine appointments in your life today... you may not know what burdens the other person may be dragging along with them on their journey... and although you probably can't take those burdens from them, you can definitely not ADD to their burdens by making your encounter with them unpleasant. A little kindness is a balm that with soothe an aching soul. 

I'm so grateful that I worked yesterday. I needed the hours on my paycheck... I needed the sales numbers... I had some really good leads... I helped a few people... I participated in the 3 dimensional world... I enjoyed a laugh or two with my wonderful co-workers. It was worth the pain, it really way. And since I worked yesterday, instead of facing three days of work and two days of weekend ahead of me... I'm facing TWO days of work and three days of weekend! 

It's a Wonderful Wednesday. It really is!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Truth Day, Tuesday - My Personal Profanity

It's time to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
Arthritis is a curse word. I try not to curse so I think the next time I need an expletive, I'll just shout, "ARTHRITIS".
I recommend this for you, as well. That thing that is your "worst thing"... make it your personal profanity.
Mama had a tooth pulled yesterday mid-day and by the time I got home, a couple of hours later, she was still bleeding excessively.
I drove her back to the Dentist's office and there we sat for the next two hours.
They took her back right away but it took that long for the clotting to start.
It looked for a little while like they were going to have to stitch her up (when I had a tooth pulled a year ago, my dentist put the stitch in to start with, I highly recommend this.)
Sitting is not something I do well, especially after sitting at work for my five hour shift.
I was and am in a lot of pain. Didn't sleep well last night.
Mama feels guilty but she shouldn't. It's the dentist's fault, not hers.
I wasn't gonna let her just suffer. Sometimes you just have to buck up, buttercup and do the right thing.
I sat for two hours. Daddy missed his golf game, took care of the furbabies and washed the dishes.
We all pitch in, that's what families do.
The weather is bad, too. High humidity makes my joints hurt, my back, my hands, my feet.

Frizzy hair = pain.
Gray skies = pain.
Rain = pain.
That's just my truth.
I finally gave up on using the duvet cover on my bed. Too many animals, especially little dogs who lift a leg on anything hanging down, like a comforter.
Instead, I just tucked my fuzzy blankets in where they don't hang... and I left the white comforter uncovered and fold it up and put it on top of the bed during the day. I need a fitted sheet in a matching color to go over the box spring since I can't do a dust ruffle or anything hanging down. Those little boy dachshunds are little puddle makers.

My curtains are crooked. A cat tried to climb them and I haven't climbed up to fix them yet. I will, eventually, get sick of them being off kilter and fix them. If type A is high maintenance and needs everything perfect, I'm probably type Q. I'm like... "eh... whatever."  I used my last bi-weekly burst of energy to hang up the clothes that pile up during the week. The curtains will have to wait until the next power surge.

Here you see the fuzzy blanket. I also put the electric throw on the bed and turn it on before I leave in the morning so the cats can enjoy the warmth. It's not really unattended because my mom gets home not long after I leave, if I work in the morning, and she is there for several hours after I leave if I work in the afternoon.

Today I'm working from 10-3, just to be different. I wasn't scheduled to work today but we have some sickness going around the office and our office manager asked me to trade being off today for being off on Friday, just in case we're not at full staff today.  "A 3 day weekend? Don't mind if I do!" I texted Austin to see if he needs me to come up this weekend and get him. One word answer, "no". I wonder and worry about where he is and what he's doing but he's going through another prodigal season so I just have to patiently wait it out.
This is Stubby the 3-legged wondercat enjoying his folded up comforter.  He has a really sweet face, you just can't see it well because he's so dark that he doesn't photograph well. I took this photo in the dark so the flash caught him. He makes me think of Grizzabella, the old cat in the musical Cats who sings the song, "Memory". He's not as cuddly/dependent on human contact as Trouble but he crows like a rooster when he gets the slightest bit of affection. He starts his crazy little cackle if Cody sits on the bed because he knows he'll get some attention. Cody comes over to love on the cats whenever I'm out of town. I can tell when he's been there because my tv is always set on ESPN.
This is how you know Monday is gonna really suck... my mom's poptart on the ground. She eats breakfast on her way to her crossing guard post - you know, the one she retired from at the end of last year. They still haven't trained a replacement for her so she's still working. Yesterday morning when she was feeling so bad with her broken tooth... and running late... she dropped her dang poptart. I had to take a picture of it... it seemed symbolic... even more so after the day played out with her bleeding too bad to eat, take her pain meds or just in general get comfortable. It was much, much later in the day before we got back home and Pop heated up some potato soup for her. I had cereal.

Since this is Truth Day Tuesday, I'll confess that I had cereal for breakfast, a bratwurst that my co-worker brought for lunch and cereal for dinner. Cuz that's just how I roll. Nary a veggie or piece of fruit in the bunch. It's little wonder that my cholesterol is off the charts and my strength is waning and my arthritis is flaring. I need to do a better job of eating nutritious food. I know better.

T-minus two hours until I need to start getting ready for work... 8 hours plus until I'm back in the nest, Lord willing.

So ... that's my truths for the day. Anybody have anything they want to share? Comments welcome. Love and hugs, y'all.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Poop on the Floor and Other Reasons to Love Monday

I woke up with a steaming pile of poop right in the middle of my bedroom floor this morning.
Our big dog, Lily, is arthritic and hates going outside sometimes.
Sometimes she goes 3 or 4 times a night.
When Austin is here, he usually takes her out since he's a vampire (meaning that he's up all night, not that he sucks blood).
Otherwise she usually picks a victim and that person gets very little sleep.
It was me Saturday night.
Thankfully. A weekend. Except...
I've had a headache ever since.
One night of sleep interruption does me in for a few days.
I slept great last night... slept all night... and woke up with an uncomfortably full bladder...
And a steaming pile of poop in the middle of the floor.
And mom in the bathroom.
Have I mentioned there's just one bathroom here?
We are all on different schedules so it usually doesn't matter.
Except... this morning.
Poop in the bedroom and there was about to be a puddle on the floor.
Mom's having a tooth pulled today.
My head is still killing me from yesterday.
I mentioned that already.
Her breakfast hit the ground.
She didn't have time to call and cancel her appointment with the glass people to fix her cracked windshield.
So that has to work into my glam time today.
Once I get to work, especially on a Monday, there's no time for anything.
It's a sprint, this job, compared the the marathons of previous employment.
Those long, slow days full of pain where time stands still are behind me.
Now I have short, fast days that fly by.
She's going to the dentist this morning and planning for a day of feeling icky.
It's so hard to deal with things when you don't feel well.
It's like... when you live with pain all the time... you become accustomed to it.
Then when something else happens - like dental pain - it's more than you can take.
Trust me, I know.
You've already used up all your tolerance on the stuff that already exists.
And Oscar, the dog, has had an attitude lately with the cats.
Usually they're ebony and ivory living together in perfect harmony.
This morning he set off against poor Stubby the three legged wonder cat...
Snarling... barking... chasing that poor handicapped cat back from his perch.
I had to yell at Oscar.
I like quiet mornings.
I have to slip into the day.
Give it a little time on the heating pad while my spine unwinds and the muscle un-spasm.
I know that's not a word.
I left what I thought was a cute comment on a friend's facebook the other day...
Where I intentionally misspelled a word for dramatic effect...
And someone snarked behind me with the correct spelling.
As if I don't know.
I wrote back... "it was supposed to be funny".
Another sweet girl who has been loud and proud about her faith in Christ...
had someone come behind her with a profanity laden comment, telling her to "get over it".
I came behind her and encouraged her to stand strong.
The meanie said she was too smart for all that "Christianity stuff" (paraphrased)
I wrote back that some of the smartest people I know are Christians.
Like my sister-in-law, Dr. Gant.
At the Dollar General yesterday, picking up a few necessities, not feeling up to driving to the Publix...
Al Sharpton playing on the radio throughout the store, spreading hate against white folks.
The cashier didn't speak to me at all.
Greeted others as they came in. Others that looked like him. I didn't.
I was friendly anyways. Answered the questions he was too racist to ask.
"Yes. I did find everything ok. Thanks for asking"
"I'll be paying by debit card"
"You have a nice day, too"
All those people who died in the nightclub fire in Brazil...
the bouncers blocked the door to keep people from running out on their bar tabs.
They all really get to me.
I want to find Reasons to Love Monday but I'd rather just pout, whine and complain.
And cry.
I'm so tired of pain.
It's going to be a long day.
Which means, more than ever, I need to find Reasons to Love.
Here goes:
1. I am not defined by what people do to me, I am defined by how I respond.
2. Time does pass. Filled with pain or not. The day will eventually end.
3. Even if I don't feel like doing the whole glam routine, even if I don't have time, I can pull it together in twenty minutes or less.
4. There was creamer for the coffee this morning and it is good.
5. Jim Parsons was adorable on the Red Carpet last night. I love Jim Parsons. He's my latest gay crush.
6. Little Kitty is in his nest. He learned that from me. From East to West, the Nest is best.
7. I'll be back in mine in 7 hours plus a few minutes.
8. I'm leaving my warm fuzzy pjs out so I can be back in 'em by 3 today.
9. The dogs have gone back to sleep.
10. God is still good.

Gotta run. Love and hugs, y'all.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Make Your Mess Your Message

Make your mess your message. - Robin Roberts as mentioned by Sharon Osborne on Good Morning America.

That's my marching orders for the day.
Few people can say that their life turned out just as they had planned.
Everybody has something that is their "worst thing".
In this life you will have trouble... God promised us this... He also said to take heart because He had overcome the world.
Their were two people in my orbit who I prayed for daily... they wanted with all of their hearts to find a somebody special.
Valentine's Day 2008 I had a conversation with one of them... their heart broken that they were alone and so desperately lonely. I'll never forget the hurt in their voice.
The next Valentine's Day the other taught me the phrase I still use, "Singles Awareness Day". Humor but truly, again a longing to be one with someone.
I understood their desire to find a significant other because at that time, I wanted the same thing.
Just to be significant somewhere, to someone.
I prayed faithfully and both have recently become engaged.
God is good that way.
I also prayed this prayer, "Lord, either bring that someone special into my life or CHANGE my heart and remove that longing".
He answered that prayer, too. My answer was different.

If you don't believe in a Higher Power. I understand. It's hard to see beyond the beyond.
I wish for you to believe otherwise...
but the point here is that you truly do just have to take a little time every day to cast your cares upon the Universe, to gather your thoughts and review your hopes and dreams.
The thing is... I've spent a lifetime chasing a dream that wasn't in God's plan for my life.
At least not now.
I've been down more back alleys and dark, dirty paths... I've even followed the yellow brick road... believing things with my head that my heart knew weren't true.
The older I get, the more time that passes, the more of my story that is revealed, the more I understand and embrace this beautiful journey.
Life is just that. Beautiful.
Like that air freshener commercial where people are put in horrid and disgusting places with a blindfold on and they don't realize the true circumstances because the smell is wonderful.
Sometimes you do have to put on a blindfold and just smell the roses.
Faith is believing what you can't see.
More than that. Sometimes faith is believing beyond what you currently see.
Maybe your life just needs a little air freshener.
That's my message for today.
Little Kitty has become attached to a gift basket. It came with fruit and it still has the packing in it. It's his little nest, bless his furry little heart.

Photo finish Friday. Hope you enjoy!

sitting on the nest

 Helping Mawmaw fill the cat food bin.

 electric blanket heaven!

 chewing a straw in the nest

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Got Anything To Be Thankful For? It's Thankful Thursday, Y'all.

I'm back on the late schedule for work today and tomorrow - I work from 11:30-4:30.
They always ask which schedule I prefer and I (honestly) answer that both have their benefits and drawbacks.
Late means a slow morning so I can sort of ease into the day. That's helpful on cold mornings when my joints don't want to cooperate.
Late means there's no scraping of frost off the windshield.
Late means seeing most of Fox and Friends (I was still asleep when it began today!) and watching Live with Kelly and Michael if they have someone on who is interesting.
Early, though, means less traffic on the way home.
Early means being able to take my pain meds earlier, if needed, which results in less suffering.
Late means running errands before work.
Early means running errands after.
Late means longer to glam in the morning, if I so desire.
Early means a ponytail usually.
Either way... there's usually a stop off at Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks or Atlanta Bread Company for a beverage and a snack/meal.
Yesterday it was Dunkin' Donuts since they have a drive-thru, it was too cold to get out of the car.
Our local Dunkin' Donuts is such a well-organized and friendly place. They always optimistically say, "see you tomorrow". I love that.
We also have the option of Krispy Kreme, if you desire a breakfast of hot sugar and grease that dissolves in your mouth without chewing. Occasionally, I do.
The doctor's office called yesterday and said that my cholesterol was up, they're increasing my cholesterol meds.
Guess I should keep Krispy Kreme off the rotation for awhile.
I need to research anti-inflammatory foods, cholesterol busting foods, etc and I need to put them on the shopping list or go shopping myself.
Pop loves (or doesn't mind) shopping and it's usually painful for me.
I do it when I have to but don't mind missing it.
They're expecting ice in the mountains tomorrow and I would love to see it and take fabulous photos.
I would hate to slip and hurt myself, it could be devastating.
I worry about my goofy, unsupervised adult child up there.
I haven't mentioned...  I was five hours out of town when he had his first "financial emergency" and needed to get the cash I left at the house for him. For emergencies.
He said it was to pay for gas for his friend to take him job hunting.
I believe it went to more nefarious things.
I demanded receipts of how the money was spent or there would be no more donations to his carefree lifestyle.
Hand up. No hand outs.
I got reprimanded at work yesterday by my boss (who I love, I really do, best boss I've ever had. He's such a great guy that none of the employees grumble about him behind his back and that's never, ever, ever happened for me. I've always been in work environments that involved lots of complaints and mocking and so on, except in Florida. Everyone loved Kathy.) *end suckup*
Anyways... corporate audits our social media presence and I had posted something that violated their rules so I had to delete it. Boss thought what I put was a great idea from a marketing standpoint.
It creeps me out in a very small way that there is such supervision.
However... my blogging style is bold and honest and sometimes I share more than I would share in person and sometimes that's not the best way to be and sometimes that is a great thing as it opens the door for conversations that I wouldn't organically initiate in real life. It provides a pathway into relationships that would not otherwise exist or be nurtured.
It takes courage and humility to be transparent and it's hard at times but the rewards far exceed the drawbacks.
Yesterday at work was difficult from a pain standpoint. More than usual. Still a little weak from the illness of the past week. I kept thinking that I would have to leave early but I just kept working and the time passed quickly.
I love my job and I love my co-workers. There are a lot of different personalities but this is a much more mature work place and you can really tell a difference. It also makes it easier to do my job because everyone  works toward the same goal, the same end - it's not competitive, it's an encouraging, supportive work environment.
It was hard to leave the mountains this time because I left my heart up there.
When I was running errands on Tuesday morning, it felt very comfortable, just like when I lived there. Going up on the weekends you get the tourist experience and that's fine, except for traffic.
Being there during the week reminds you that you're living in a community that cares.
People use blinkers, hold doors, say good morning and wave, even if they don't know you.
They assume that you're a friend because there's only about a degree and a half of separation. If they don't know you, they know your mama'n'em.
They post on the community facebook page that somebody saw a stray dog north of town and someone posts that it's their cousin's dog and goes to get it.
I love that place.
I think it's a great, awesome work of God that He put me in a workplace that I would enjoy enough to push past the pain. In a place that was such a good fit that I wouldn't run away when I need to chase my heart and make sure he's safe and settled.
It was a great work of God to put me in a place where I had great relationships here, much support and human interaction- and animal interaction.
Because this is what He ordained for this season of my life and I am grateful.
Tuesday I saw this fella at the mountain house:

Any idea what kind of bird this is? He was big and completely not intimidated by me.
Yesterday I had to stop at the pharmacy. I have to go there again today. They're nice there but slow.
Seven prescriptions filled in two days. Pharmaceutical companies love me.
It's Thursday.
You got anything to be thankful for?
I do.
Love and hugs, y'all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Truth Day Tuesday

It's back again! Our day to really 'fess up to our deepest, darkest secrets. A chance to bring those old skeletons right out of the closet. Time to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothin' but the truth so help us God.

Mine will be few because I'm eager to get on the road but I'm making myself wait until ten am to hopefully avoid any traffic snarls.

I went to the doctor today. He was not pleased. My blood pressure was up. My weight was about the same but still way too much. I haven't been taking all the meds he prescribed... honestly... some of them I completely forgot about in the move. I had to confess that I hadn't had a "woman doctor visit" since Dr. Parker left, which was more than a year ago. I had to confess that I wasn't comfortable with my cutie-patootie doctor handling that for me. He understood. He thinks I definitely had the flu. He was not happy that I never got a flu shot this year. He thinks I have a kidney infection. Did labs for that. He thinks I have gastritis from the different meds I'm on and.... added two more for my blood pressure. He asked if I was having vision changes. I am. So. All in all... I got an F at the doctors office.

And to make it worse... when it came time to do the urinalysis I. could. not. pee. Me, the girl with a one hour bladder capacity, the girl who restricts liquids when I am traveling... not a drop. I was so embarrassed. Not too embarrassed to share it with you all, apparently. They took my blood and I finished off the water bottle I was drinking and was successful in my second attempt. And, wouldn't you know? My bladder was about to BUST by the time I finished my errands and got back home.

I found a pair of glasses in the parking lot of the doctors office - bifocals - and took them in to the receptionist. It was a lot of extra steps but it seemed like the right thing to do.

I did the drawing for the gift card that I told y'all I was going to do last Tuesday. Yes, it took me a week. And I have to confess that I didn't actually draw names. Don't shoot me or report me to the Blog Police. I looked at all the people who responded and I picked someone who I knew really needed a little pick me up. I looked at all the potential winners and I knew - for most of you anyways - that you would have WANTED me to do it that way because you are all a loving, generous, awesome bunch of ladies and you know that has to be the way I really feel because it's Truth Day.

I celebrated my (not) awesome visit to the doctor by having pizza for breakfast. I may not live long but I'll dang sure enjoy myself along the way.

I've worried all night about remembering to lower the thermostat and turn off the hot water heater. I must do this before I leave the mountain house.

I slept magnificently last night and did not want to get up.

I forgot to eat dinner last night.

I went and secured my post office box in Cleveland today. If you want to mail me stuff there, knowing that I won't get it for a little bit of time, until I'm back in town, the address is P. O. Box 986, Cleveland, GA, 30528. Having a P. O. Box makes me feel all mysterious and mature.

Ok. Folks. That's all I've got for now. Maybe more later.

I'm not offering a prize this week because I am obviously LOUSY at following through on it but I hope you'll still take advantage of the opportunity to bare your soul on Truth Day and I might just get inspired to send you something ANYWAY.

Love and hugs, y'all.

(Oscar the dog coveting my pancakes the other day.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Reasons to Love Monday - With A Lot of Pairs-of-C's

I'm in the last 24 hours of my January Mountain House Trip... and I am feeling immensely better than I did over the weekend and am welcoming this lazy day off with open arms!

I slept a little later than I meant to and rolled out of bed (off of couch, I should say) and pulled on my jeans, aka my "outside the house" clothes and headed into civilization for a visit to the pain doctor. I didn't have time to put on makeup so I just tossed the essentials into my purse (which is really an insulated lunch bag with my name embroidered on it but since I never take a lunch anywhere, I have repurposed it as a purse, which highly offends Austin, who hypocritically thinks that pajama pants are acceptable for anything and everything, so who is he to judge, right?) anyways... I tossed the essentials into my purse to apply at stoplights, forgetting that stoplights are few and far between, even when you go all the way into Gainesville, so I ended up applying my makeup in the doctors parking lot.

Should I have been offended when the doctor asked how I was doing and I answered with, "I think I've had the flu" and he replied, "you don't look well." Should I be grateful for the validation or offended at the judgment on my parking lot makeup skills?

Anyways... it was an uneventful visit... apparently my pee passed the drug screening test last month because they didn't require me to take that $400 worth of lab work this time. (Seriously, FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS. You can buy a drug screen test at the drug store for $30. For four hundred dollars they should have been able to tell me what medications my 4x great grandmother, Tabitha Pennington was taking in Kentucky two hundred years ago!)  They are pleased with the dosage I'm using of the pain meds and we are going to try dialing back the nerve block meds that we used for the past two years to delay the start of pain meds. But not until I'm feeling (and looking, apparently) better because they don't want me to confuse need for a particular medication with symptoms of the Whine Cellar Flu. They ordered a blood screen of my vitamin D levels, since I'm having a check up with my General Practitioner tomorrow morning with all those fasting blood tests anyways (there goes another month's salary). 

I don't have to go back to this doctor until March 19th at 3:15pm. I'm mentioning that time because I always forget the appointment time and end up calling on the morning of my appointment and finding out that I'm supposed to be there in ten minutes. Now we all know. Of course, since that's a Tuesday afternoon which does NOT fit in with my usual practice of scheduling appointments on my way TO the mountain house or FROM the mountains house and the last thing I want to do is head home at 4pm on a random Tuesday and then work the next day. So I'll end up changing the appointment and forgetting the time again, I'm sure.

ANYWAYS... I left the doctors office and since I was still feeling TONS better than I have over the past week (or more), I stopped off to get gas (so I don't have to on my way home tomorrow) and ran into the dollar store to get a birthday card to go with Jamie's present which has been rattling around in my trunk for the past three weeks. I stopped off at McDonalds to get breakfast and a to do a little snooping (more on that later) and they parked me for an egg mcmuffin (seriously? probably the most often ordered breakfast item on the menu and you park me like I ordered some random off menu item?) and then I went to drop off Jamie's birthday present, three weeks past her birthday.

I called ahead and told Angie I was stopping by but I was NOT coming in... and NOT hugging anyone just in case this Mountain-Strepto-Monia is still contagious. So my sweet girls came out to the back deck to meet and greet me....

 Check out this snaggle-toothed little red-head! The reason I titled this entry "with a lot of pair of c's" is because of a story that Angie told us about Jamie's birthday cookie. Jamie has some pet name that she's given herself  (I think it's Bob but I could be wrong) and when she was telling her mom what she wanted her birthday cookie to say, she said, "Happy Birthday Jamie... and then in those PAIR OF C's... I want it to say Bob"  "Pair of C's?" her mother asked. And Jamie drew in the air what she meant... parenthesis.( At least that's how I think the story went. I've slept a few times and had a fever or two since then so I might not be retelling the story completely accurately but you get the idea. I hope.) 

I should mention that ironically, my dad used to call me and Jim, "Fred and Ralph" (I was Fred) and I used to call Sarabeth "Max" so... apparently we all must have old man names for nicknames.

I bought Jamie a set of magnetic paper dolls for her birthday (three weeks ago) which I think are called something other than paper dolls since there's no paper involved. My Aunt Ginger makes these amazing paper dolls to give out at the food pantry at her church. They are incredibly elaborate with adorable outfits and she spends a lot of time and money making them. I was a paper doll fanatic and my Jamie gurl is such a fashionista that I knew she would love this set. She did. She even said, "I love fashion!" (Although, she may have just parroted me saying, "I knew you love fashion" now that I think about it, but, either way, it's a true statement that our little Bob DOES love fashion.)

I did NOT catch a good shot of her adorable little smile as she admired her goods but this is the shot I DID take while I was standing a healthy six feet or more away from my loved ones. I blurred the photo for my sister-in-law who was in the process of getting ready to go and didn't yet have her makeup on because I don't want any of you to think she has the flu or anything, (because apparently a lack of skillfully applied makeup means you MUST be sick. )

In case you were wondering what my Reasons to Love Monday are today, here's a picture of the lake. Because it's been at least 48 hours since I posted a picture of the lake. And it IS still there, in case you were wondering. And I AM still here for another twenty four hours or so, give or take. I miss my Trouble kitty like crazy but having the other fur-babies here all weekend helped. We (and by "we" I mean my parents) fixed up a little Poop Pen for the dogs in between the front porch and the bank in front of the house so that we didn't have to walk the dogs on leashes (and again, by "we" I mean my parents) every time they had to do their business (and by "they" I mean the dogs, not my parents) and I realize as I'm typing this that I've already told you about the new Poop Pen, which is really sad, considering that's sort of been the highlight of my weekend.

That. And a lovely conversation I had last night with a lovely fella. (Although he would highly object to being described as "lovely" since he is quite the rugged, manly man of a guy.) This in no way changes my "Significant Other Embargo" because frankly, I can't think of a single reason to not be single at this stage of my life. My kids don't need me to supply a male role model any more (not that I ever managed to provide that in the scope of a long term relationship, ever)  I don't need someone to supplement my income. (thank you, daddy!) I'm terribly, TERRIBLY unsociable and I honestly don't care if I never ever, ever again shave my legs. I just don't. But after a weekend of quarantining myself... which came after a disappointment in not seeing someone I dearly love and desperately needed some bonding time with over the holidays... on a weekend where my youngest birdie, once again flew the coop (more on that later) in a season of life where I feel less alone but more lonely, if that makes sense... while still adjusting to the limitations in my life that make it hard for me to get out there and be with the three dimensional people, it was nice to have a lovely conversation like that. That is all. It made me feel a little less like a hermit.

Here's the thing about the youngest birdie. He wanted to stay up here between this visit and whenever the next one is (which he apparently thought was next weekend, as in, four days from today, three days after I leave, um. no!) and reconnect with his people (you know, like Fat Pat and Fluffy and Married Friend and the only one of his friends that I ever really approved of, Logan) and try to gain gainful employment so that he can stay up here with his people all the time and be independent and not sleep on an air mattress in his grandparents' computer room. I wholeheartedly endorse the prospect of him being gainfully employed. I'm semi-supportive of the idea of him being self-supporting. I am less than convinced that the job interview that he supposedly had on Saturday actually happened and I am furthermore less than convinced that any of his friends are in the position to take him in as a homeless, unemployed creature for any length of time, including the time between this visit and whenever the next one is (which, based on my work schedule, won't be for several weeks yet to come). I am delighted that he put roots down here. THIS was exactly what I wanted for him, a small town where he could find his place in the world. I love that he loves it here. I am not interested in raising adult children nor am I financially able to do so.

But here's the thing: supposedly he is supposed to call in to the McDonalds tomorrow to find out if he has a job and if he does he will supposedly require a haircut and a tie for his uniform. "A tie?" said I? "A tie." Said he. So when I was driving back from the doctor this morning feeling better than I had in days, I called young son and said, "hey... let's go ahead and get your hair cut and buy you a tie so that if you get hired, you're ready to go" and... if, thought I, you don't get hired, you will look more employable. "No." said he, "I just want to go back to sleep". Which, thought I, was out of context for someone who was super excited about potential employment which would lead to potential permanent residency where he wants to be. And then... as I drove through McDonalds for my egg-mcmuffin (for which I was PARKED) I noticed that every single employee was wearing a polo shirt. Minus tie. Which made me think that unless my kid is in contention for Chairman of the Board of McDonalds, he might just not be telling the truth about this whole McDonalds thing. Just a hunch.

The Falcons lost. A President I do not care for has been sworn in for another four, possibly/probably destructive years. My Uncle Carl is in the hospital. The precious baby of a precious girl that I have known since she was a baby is having heart surgery tomorrow. I'm a tiny bit feverish and I believe I wore myself out with my errands this morning. I'm going to return to the state of vegetative hibernation that I've enjoyed for the past three and a half days. Despite all of this,  I found a few Reasons to Love Monday and I hope you will too.

Love and hugs.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Saturday

Fever. Chills. Aches. Exhaustion. Horrible stomach pain but I'm not nauseated.... I'm no MD but I can tell that there's more than the usual misery going on here. Is it the dreaded flu? Not sure. I have a doctors appointment scheduled for Monday with the pain dr and Tuesday with the regular dr and I imagine in between the two of them, we'll give this thing a name. Right now, we'll just ride it out. It's perfect timing that I'm seeing my "regular" doctor on Tuesday, though, as it's important for me to have a chest xray any time I have anything upper respiratory going on, since I have a tendency to segue into pneumonia fairly quickly. I'm a tad bit short of breath but not coughing. Honestly, it's more fever/chills/exhaustion than anything.

I'm settled in the basement aka "the Whine Cellar" grateful that it's Winter and that it's about ten degrees colder on this level than on the main level of the house. I've set myself up a little nest on the couch... which isn't necessarily blogworthy, except for the fact that my nests are usually recliners so it's taken a  gajillion pillows to prop myself up in a way that is comfortable and I keep getting these atomic wedgies that require me to reposition. This was the view this morning... apparently we need to do some major windex-ing of the sliding doors.... but not today. I considered it a huge accomplishment that I was able to go upstairs and watch the fur-babies while the old folks were creating a little dog pen so that mama doesn't have to take them all out on a leash every time they have business to take care of. The dogs, I mean. The folks use the indoor plumbing.

Here's a better picture of the view from the Whine Cellar. If I don't feel like moving, at least the scenery is pleasant. Pop made a run to the store this morning and loaded up on juice and hot cider mix (my fave!) and a few treats since I don't feel like eating much. Pop also bought a space heater for the bathroom down here because it is ridiculously cold. As a rule, the risk manager in me is opposed to space heaters but I'm making an exception in this case. It's funny... we've had this house since August and it seems like every time we're here, Pop spends half his time buying stuff. Cody asked me what we all do while we're here, since there isn't cable/satellite tv... and the answer is: I do the exact same thing I do at home, stay on the internet. Austin does the exact same thing as at home, plays xbox 360, although he also has friends come over to play xbox and/or goes to friends houses to play xbox 360. My mom walks the dogs and fishes and listens to her kindle. Pop goes shopping and goes to church. This house was bought out of foreclosure but it was in good shape... it just takes a lot to keep up two different homes and Pop is always out shopping for something.

Remember when I shared this photo with a compliment about Obama and how genuine he looked with these kids? Seriously. First picture of him that I ever really thought, "this is a genuine, caring person, not someone taking advantage of a photo op". Something is troubling me about this, though, and it's not just the fever. The little girl in the black and red dress looks exactly like Emilie Parker, who was killed two days prior. I was here at the mountain house (away from broadcast tv) the weekend after the shooting and therefore didn't have my usual overdose of post-tragedy tv viewing. I am not one to believe in conspiracy theories (frankly, because I believe it would take too much to prevent these things from leaking out). Elvis is dead. 9-11 was caused by terrorists. There was only one gunman in the JFK assassination. I promise. I'm not one of those - as a friend put it the other day - a "right wing nutjob". I just can't figure out how the little girl in the photo above is NOT the same little girl in this Christmas photo of her family. You know, the one they kept showing the weekend after the tragedy. She was, I believe, one of the first victims named.
One other thing. When I started researching this whole Emilie Parker conspiracy thing (because you know me, I have to google the heck out of anything that interests me)... I ran across information showing that the memorial page for the teacher, Victoria Soto, was set up on December 10th. Four days before the shooting. I don't have a clue what any of this means or if it's all just some big cosmic coincidence. I hope this doesn't get me on the no-fly list (not that I ever go anywhere) for bringing it up. It's just weird. There's a lot of other stuff that doesn't add up when you start looking into it. I don't think it's a gun control conspiracy. I don't care anything at all about having guns but there are reasons to have them, legitimate reasons, and I would support the  rights of law abiding citizens to have them, because ultimately if it's illegal to have guns, only criminals will have them. I'm not comfortable around them myself. A co-worker at a previous place of employment kept one close by and it made me feel less safe. I don't think the newspaper that printed the names and address of people who own guns in their area was right to do so. If my son's dentist can't tell me what time my son's dentist appointment is due to privacy laws, people shouldn't know whether or not I have a license to have a gun for the same, even better reasons.

Anyways... that's what I'm doing today... staring at the lake through handprints and trying to make sense of this issue and just wishing I felt better. Not that I'd be doing much different, I'd just like to have the option.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Yabba Dabbin' from the Northern Nest

I will be drawing for the Amazon gift certificate for those of you who participated in my first ever Truthful Tuesday entry as soon as I come up with the energy to find a writing utensil and someone to help me draw so that it is fair. I appreciate those of you who weighed in with your confessions! Apparently there are a lot of nailbiters among us!

Austin and I made it up here to the mountain house by about 4pm yesterday. It was a dreary, rainy, windy and cold drive up and I was fighting sleep something fierce. For the first time ever, I nodded off while driving.  I'm telling you... I have been so exhausted lately that I can barely keep my eyes open. Fortunately... we were in the fast lane next to the Peach Pass lane with a double lane and lots of reflectors in between so when I started veering toward the concrete median, the noise of crossing that lane jolted me awake. Scared us both to death. Austin spent the rest of the drive chatting nonstop to keep me awake.

About sixty seconds after our arrival, Austin took off to spend the night with Fat Pat and Company. I wasn't particularly thrilled but... the poor kid has been sleeping on an air mattress in the computer room in a place he doesn't want to be... and he's been mostly helpful, even with helping out with this latest outbreak of dogs pooping in the house... he helps with the chores around the house and for the most part is cooperative and pleasant. I can't blame him for wanting to be with his friends. I don't expect to see him until some time Sunday or until he runs out of money. He has a job interview Saturday and I think he's more motivated than usual because not working is the only thing keeping him in Riverdale instead of in the mountains. His plan is to stay with his friends up here until our next trip up. I'm not excited about this sort of open-ended, ill thought out plan but it's his life. I can't live it for him.

At any rate... I must confess that having a peaceful evening to myself was faaaaabulous! I was contemplating what to fix for dinner and dozed off... the next thing I knew it was 8:17pm. My first thought - no kidding - was that it was past time for me to take my sleeping pill and other assorted night time meds. How ironic is it to have to wake up to take a sleeping pill? I decided to have pretzels and gatorade for dinner. I went back to sleep around 11:30... woke up from a nightmare at 2:30... went back to sleep... and woke up again at 6am.... having slept for the better part of the last twelve hours... and by 8am was ready for a nap. This fatigue is no exaggeration. I'm really, completely worn out.

I'll also toss in, since I've declared myself to have the flu at least a dozen times in the past month, that I have been sweating and having cold chills which... could very well be flu but also, is also indicative of a big old ugly fibromyalgia flare, which is more likely the case. I just feel miserably exhausted. And the exhaustion is so overwhelming that, although I could mention another dozen issues that I'm having from head to toe, the exhaustion is the first and foremost thing that comes to mind and, after having fully described the extent of the exhaustion, I'm too tired to discuss anything else. No joke.

Mom, Pop and the three dogs will be up later today, which means that I really don't have to make a run into town and, since I really don't have the energy to come up with a grocery list, walk through a store, carry bags into the house by myself and actually go through the process of cooking, I'll just make do with what we have here for the time being. And besides. I really like pretzels. No, seriously, there were still some sausage balls in the freezer from Christmas (despite having served gajillion dozen of them during our Christmas Eve brunch and despite Pop serving a group of hungry teenagers that were here for a retreat after Christmas) so I had sausage balls for breakfast. There are a few cans of soup in the pantry and some decent stuff in the freezer, so I could made do if I had to.

I already miss my little Trouble kitty. I wanted to bring him this trip but wasn't sure about the road/weather conditions and didn't want to get stuck in traffic with a kitty who panics and pants like he's running beside the car instead of tucked safely in his carrier. I also wasn't sure how well he would do alone with me in the car on the way home on Tuesday. Cody and Marquee take good care of him when I'm gone. I just miss his furry little self.

This is him crashed out on his back, using Stubby as a foot rest. He is so blooming obnoxious! There is a little stuffed penguin here at the mountain house that, at a glance, looks like Little Kitty. I've done quite a few double takes thinking that was my baby... but it isn't. Oscar was not happy that Austin and I packed up the car and left yesterday. He has come to recognize that bags mean that people are leaving .... although, honestly, that dog is never alone for more than an hour at a time, he goes everywhere my parents go and if they can't take him, usually either me or Austin are with him so it's not like he's going to be abandoned or anything... but yet... he worries.

Because... if the hoooomans are gone... who will turn on the electric blanket so that he can be Abdul the Electric Arab?

Anyways... we didn't get the snow that had been forecast for this area last night. It was only going to be an inch or so and it would have quickly melted once the sun came up but still... I am just aching to get four seasons worth of photos from the back porch looking out on the lake. All I managed to get yesterday was this big ole rainy pond full of red clay...

I don't know when my next extended weekend will be but I would say that the odds of having a weather event coincide with a non-working event would be slim to none. By this time next Winter, mom and Pop will be living up here full time, so we may just have to wait until next year to get a good wintry photo.

Anyways... the weekend plans are to just chill and rest. I need to get the keys to my P.O. Box that I reserved online last week and I have a doctors appointment in Gainesville on Monday and here in Cleveland on Tuesday... and then I'll head back to reality... If you're in the old neighborhood and you see this...

Stop and say hello to my lonely little kitty.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Whiny Wednesday -

It's still raining. I'm still hurting. I'm feeling icky/sicky. Came home yesterday and took a nap (or tried to, too much traffic through my room, both canine, feline and human). I'm waking up feeling exhausted. I'm having a relapse of the situation that I had surgery for 13 months ago and having gone down that road before, I have no intention of going there again. I'm miserable. Like... I could bust out in tears at any moment. I won't though.

We had salmon croquettes for dinner. It ranks up there with my favorite meals....right behind country fried steak and gravy. They were awesome. I think tonight mama and daddy have a church dinner thing. Austin and I have a "pack for the mountains" thing so I'll probably grab us something quick and easy that won't mess up the kitchen.

I jokingly looked at the calendar with our payroll lady and pointed out my long mountain weekend this month and said, "if it could snow very pretty on the 18th, and clear up by the 21st and 22nd so I have no trouble coming home, that would be awesome."  The forecast is calling for something along the way of wintry precipitation night, overnight, so I want to be absolutely sure that we're ready to hit the road when I get off work tomorrow - which, Lord willing and traffic ain't bad - would put us there by 4:30, maybe 5pm if I include a grocery grab along the way. I have no idea what what left behind after Pop's youth group left at the end of December.

Mom and dad are planning some major landscaping at the mountain house this spring to make the best use of the property and to make it easier to get to the lake. Right now the path is steep and slippery (for me, at least). We need to put a dog run, too, so we don't always have to walk the dogs when they have to go... although... this week has been "poop in the house" week among our furry friends. I think we've all had at least one mess to clean up every day... and for me... bending over to clean the poop... not easy.

The landscaping will include a vegetable garden, which will be great fun... and a fire pit... I can't wait until it's all set up.

Austin's plan this time is to stay in the mountains at Fat Pat's house until our next visit up... which... sounds like a really weak plan, if you ask me. But he didn't. Ask me.  He has a job interview at the McDonalds in Cleveland on Saturday morning which is great... except when he's up there and I'm not... he's going to have to either walk or hitch a ride with a friend. I would love to micromanage this situation and insert some pragmatism in it but I won't. He sometimes has to just find his way, in his own way, and my job is to stay out of the way, until he needs me again. And I will always, always, be there to help him when he needs me.

I'm getting a P.O. Box in the mountains... since we need to have the mountains as my primary residence for several reasons that I won't get into here because ... well, they're too complicated. Anyways... I'll put my P O box address on my blog so you guys can send me mail because I LOVE MAIL!

I'm going to draw for the winner of the Amazon gift certificate tomorrow... it's not to late to leave your "truth" on either my facebook post or as a blog comment.

And now it's time to head out into the rain and deal with the pain for the next six + hours, until I'm able to get back in my warm fuzzies again.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Truth Day Tuesday

Last week I hit upon an idea for a weekly blog feature where dishonesty is banned... transparency reigns supreme... where spin is unspun and every single statement that day either discloses some previously unknown or under-shared part of my life or exposes - to the best of my knowledge - some deep dark secret. It will be my attempt to promote truth, justice and the American way. We'll call it Truth Day Tuesday unless I figure out a better name. Suggestions welcome, as always.

I'm eager to feature a topic or person each week and some weeks, time permitting, I'll actually do a little research and seek to inform and enlighten us all. This will be our Pinocchio of the week. This week our featured Pinocchio is Lance Armstrong. Lance has finally admitted to using "performance enhancing drugs" to be able to be the fastest fella on two wheels. I'm a little sad for him... sad for the sport.... for all sports that have reached the level that it's not enough to just be the best based on the capacity of human achievement... I'm sad that someone who battled cancer would allow anything synthetic, chemical or unnatural into his body, accepting the risks to himself and the side effects on others. I'd rather be mediocre based on my own ability than be a fake superstar.

The next section of my Truth Day Tuesday will focus on my life, to the extent that I can share without embarrassing my friends and family. I hope this will be fun... and funny... and not make you think that I'm a complete freak... maybe just a little eccentric, in the way that Southern Ladies tend to become as they age.
Here are a few Truths about me...

1. I bite my fingernails. It's gross. It's unhealthy. It's ugly. It's unsanitary. Yet I do it, especially if I'm reading a book.

2. I prefer baths to showers. I always think about Joan Crawford and how she thought it was disgusting to brew in a stew of your own filth... and I can see her point. The problem is... I have a really hard time standing on one leg and there's a lot of that bending over, standing on one leg, yoga type stuff involved in showering. I (sadly) need one of those shower chairs but I'm resisting. At least until I can become a member of AARP or I become a grandma, which ever comes first.

3. I bought two books that came over a week ago and I have barely read barely a few pages in either one. I used to be a bookworm. Now I'm a cyberworm. Although I think that term is already taken for something else. I like to read in the bathtub when I soak in the tub but since we're in a house with one bathroom, I can't hog the tub like I used to. Maybe this weekend while we're at the mountain house.

4. I'm going to apply for Medicaid. I'm embarrassed that I have to. I'm not even sure I qualify. However... about 50% of my take-home pay goes to doctor bills and medication. It's insane. And with Obamacare still a big ole fairytale, unlikely to be implemented any time soon... and with health insurance costs skyrocketing... I'm one of the working poor who will be forced to ask for a hand out. Don't hate me for it, please.

5. In the past twelve hours, Lily the dog has pooped on my floor... Oscar the dog has pooped on my floor... Oscar the dog has peed on my floor... and of course, the litter boxes (two - no waiting-  the humans in this house have one potty - the kitties have two, what does that tell ya?) apparently my room has become one big ole patch of grass in the poop park. Send air fresheners and a carpet cleaner, please.

6. For several years there have been two lovely, incredible, talented, spirit-filled, amazing, Godly young people that were in their thirties and seeking a mate. I have prayed faithfully for them, just about every day, for the past four years and they are both now engaged to be married!!!- not to each other, mind you. My prayers might not have done it, but I like to think they played a part in things. Now I need a new couple of daily prayer projects to work on, so if you have anything, let me know.

YOUR TURN!  I'm running out of time... but I really want to make this Truth Day thing fun for everyone. I would love, love LOVE it if you guys would participate in this with me by sharing one truth about yourself. It doesn't have to be about a skeleton in your closet or anything that would lead you to be investigated by the FBI or anything... just one sweet little peek into your lives. You can comment here, on the blog, or you can comment on the facebook link. Tell me your secrets, folks!


AND for the first time ever .... I'm going to bribe you to talk to me! For all the folks that comment either here, or on my facebook page under the link about this blog entry, I will enter your name into a drawing for a
$20 Amazon gift certificate!!!! Talk to me people! Tell me your secrets, I'll tell you no lies... 

Time to get the glam routine going. I had a super crazy busy day at work yesterday and it's going to be a super crazy busy day today catching up and my super amazing co-worker, Pam is off today, which always makes things super crazy busier. (Notice I left out the "crazy" in my description of Pam?) So I've got to increase the caffeine level in my blood and get things in gear. Happy Truth Day, y'all!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Reasons to Love Monday - Buck Up Buttercup!

Three days off.
Lots of sleep.
Still worn out.
Not just sleepy... exhausted.
In the way that only folks with the "f-word" (fibromyalgia) truly understand.
My eyelashes are heavy.
If I had the flu
I'd never know the difference.
Matter of fact, I've claimed the flu about thirty eleven times in the past week.
That's not it.
It's chronic pain.
Inexplicable even for articulate folks like me.
Today it's shoulder pain...
And a searing pain in the discs of my lower back...
And a headache in the right side of my head...
And a teenager who has been up all night and keeps drifting in and out.
"Why can't two Asians have a Caucasian baby? Because two Wongs don't make a white."
That kind of stuff.
Pain in the tukas.
Not allowing for much in the way of deep thought or meditation or quiet preparation for the day.
My mom is out doing her crossing guard duty in the rain.
She quit again on Friday. She's been trying to retire for six months.
But her boss/friend keeps convincing her to stay "just a little longer."
Mama worries about the kids who will have to cross a busy road without help if she isn't there.
There isn't anyone to replace her.
It takes a long time to get people approved and trained.
There's been a hiring freeze.
So she's been in limbo.
Oscar is asleep under my right leg.
Lily is asleep on the linoleum beside the laundry room.
Trouble is asleep on my bed.
Stubby is asleep on the kitchen table.
Lady is asleep beside the front door.
Eddie is asleep in the bathroom sink.
Had a lot of bathroom trouble yesterday.
Unable to go.
Either way.
Sorry for TMI, although you always know it can pop up at any time with me.
It kept reminding me of this little diddy written on a bathroom stall,
"Here I sit all broken hearted, came to poop* but only farted".
*poop is censored.
It gets scary for me when I start having trouble.
I start visualizing the creepy guy with the mustache in the Liberator Medical catheter commercial.
I don't want to be that girl toting a catheter in her purse next to the lipgloss.
I'm going to have an old lady purse: dentucreme, catheters, depends, ibuprofen.
Losing muscle function *there* makes me realize how likely it is that I will lose muscle function in other places or ways, also, eventually.
This is supposed to be a reasons to love Monday post.
I have a sore throat.
SEE! It's the FLU!
And a little cough. A little phlegmy.
Not particularly unusual for me.
It's raining hard.
Rain + arthritis = pain.
BUT. I am so grateful to be able to work.
I will "buck up buttercup" and go do my thang.
Back in the nest in seven hours or so.
My reason to love Monday this week:

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
It's all I have and it's all I need.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Don't Change the Channel!

It's hard to be a fan of professional sports in Atlanta.
I don't know if you've noticed... we tend to have a lot, a lot of losing seasons and even when we have a good season, we don't seem to make it to the big games often.
So... even though this year, the Falcons have had their best season ever, I didn't have high hopes for them in the playoffs.
Today, I watched the game but my dad didn't watch much of it. Despite being a very even-tempered and calm person (most of the time) Pop has a tendency to get a bit worked up over the Falcons.
Myself... I get a little loud with the good things... touchdowns, first downs, big plays and such... but I just change the channel when things aren't going well.
It's just like my preference of watching shows or movies that end "happily ever after".
Life is just too stressful to allow myself to be stressed by entertainment.
After halftime, since things were going really well, Pop started watching the game.
And things just started on a downward spiral.
The worse things got, the less of the game I watched.
A few minutes of HGTV... a glance at the football game.
Fox News... a little football.
And so... by the time that Seattle went ahead at the very end of the game, I stopped watching.
There were thirty seconds left in the game and the score was Seattle 28, Atlanta 27.
It was over. I couldn't handle the truth.
Pop also stopped watching.
He expressed his disappointment to my mom.
I made a bowl of chocolate ice cream.
Pop left for choir practice.
And then... while I was drowning my sorrows in Chocolate Trinity ice cream (dark chocolate with big chunks of chocolate)... Cody came over.
He said, "can you believe that ending of the Falcons game?"
I said, "I know. So sad."
He said, "THEY WON!!! Pop didn't get to see the ending???"
So Cody called to tell him.
Life lesson ahead here.
We missed out on the excitement of seeing the first Falcon's playoff victory in 8 years because we gave up on them.
Because if it wasn't going to end the way we wanted, we just didn't want to see it at all.
How many times in life, have we missed out on something good because we were afraid to see something bad?
How many times have we failed to suffer through to the bitter end?
What if... last year, in the midst of discouragement and rejection, I had stopped looking for a job and missed working in a great agency with some awesome people?
What if I had stopped trying to get Austin up for school everyday because it didn't seem like he was going to graduate?
What if I had become estranged from Austin because he moved in with a friend that I didn't like?
What if... I had been too proud to ask for help when I needed it?
What if all those stinking obstacles and seemingly impossible situations made me change the channel instead of watching to see how things turned out?
So even if it seems like the story has an ending that you don't want to see....
Even if your team is losing...
Even if the fat lady is starting to sing...
Don't change the channel!
And now... to balance things out... I'm watching the Golden Globes' Red Carpet broadcasts and plan on an early bedtime.
It's been a rough weekend for me. I can't get ahead of the pain. I missed work on Friday and I don't want to miss any this week.
Life isn't easy... but it's still full of lots of great surprises... it's worth watching!
Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Real Thing

Steroid use in athletes.
Plastic surgery.
Tanning beds.
Artificial sweeteners.
Genetically modified food.
"We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it"

Do you ever feel like we're suffering from a lack of authenticity in this world?
I get myself in trouble sometimes by being the Queen of TMI (too much information) but I'd rather put it all out there in hopes that the relationships in my life are based on truth.
It's part of my daily prayer each morning, "please God, let truth rise to the surface, let there be no dishonesty in our lives".

Living with a child with Aspergers (now an adult with Aspergers) has brought a lot of honesty into my life. He's missing the filter that tells you "you shouldn't/wouldn't/couldn't/might not oughta say that". I'm glad, in a way. He doesn't hold back. There are times that I grimace at the inappropriateness (is that a word?) of the context or content of what he says. But I still love his honesty.

Southerners have a tendency to wrap their words up in caro syrup sweetness and you have to have a special decoder chip in your brain to dissect what they're really saying. "Bless her heart... " comes to mind... or as my friend Kelli used to say when someone was completely pathetic, "God love him...".

I've raised my children that there's no reason to state the obvious - thus to avoid those instances of juvenile onset tourette's where they bust out with a "mommy, why is she so fat?" that could really hurt someone's feelings. I would always say, "fat people know they're fat, ugly people know they're ugly, dirty people know they're dirty, black people know they're black"... and so forth. There's no need to point it out.

I've always offered them the caveat that we can discuss anything they want - away from the situation - so that they don't blurt out, "why is that lady missing a leg?" in front of an amputee and ...similar situations. It's happened. I taught the kids that the car, when it's just us in it, is our place to discuss any questions that pop up. I think the last one was when my friend Misti adopted a baby close enough after the birth of her biological son that she was able to nurse the adopted baby. Austin got in the car after church with a load of questions, "how can you breastfeed an adopted baby".... and I had to explain a LOT more about breastfeeding than I ever wanted to share...

We have to straddle the fence between the worlds of being candid and being blunt. I try to remember when I'm blogging that it's ok to share things that are *my truth* and *my reality* and *my experience* but I need to be careful when describing things that impact others so as not to pull up the curtains on their life if they aren't ready or willing to share. And I need to avoid any subjects that might result in a cease and desist letter being sent to me. (It's happened.)

I just want to keep it real. If I'm hurting... I don't want to be a broken record but I want to be truthful. My (wonderful, amazing) office manager said that I have to let her know when I'm struggling with my working hours... they can't know that I'm in pain unless I tell them. The problem is... I come from a long line of folks who suffer in stoic silence. We (as a tribe) have a tendency to be completely compassionate and deeply concerned about others but avoid discussing the elephant in our own room. It's inbred in Southern women to not make a big fuss about things. I often wonder if all Southern women have Jewish ancestors. We have the martyr syndrome down to an art form.

Sometimes I just want to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So. Help. Me. God.

Except I fear that for many people... they can't HANDLE the truth.

We could start having "Truthful Tuesday" since I've been looking for a blog starter to use for that day... I have "Reasons to Love Monday" and "Whiny Wednesday" (although I try to avoid that) and "Thankful Thursday".... I think I'll give that a try.

One of my co-workers gave me a really precious compliment the other day. I can't quote her word for word but she basically said that I bring a lot of positive energy into the office when I come in every day. I do try. The secret about me is that the more pain I'm in, the more I try to overcompensate with being cheerful and friendly and outgoing. It's my mask. If I took it off, you would see a lot of pouting, whining and that bit from HeeHaw where they sang, "gloom, despair and agony on me... " It's not that I want to be dishonest, I just don't want to be *that girl* who always talks about her aches and pains and medical issues... to the extent that people avoid me.

I save that kind of stuff for y'all. *wink*

Time for me to put on my stockings to hide my hairy legs... my super duper support underwire bra to defy gravity and give the girls a lift.... time to pull out an outfit that makes me look more professional than I really am.... wear shoes that are deceptively dress - but have non slip rubber soles for folks like me who are accident prone... time to cover my puffy eyes with makeup.... curl my hair and hope it stays put today... time to paint on a smile and forget my troubles and fake like nothing hurts for the next five hours...

Until I can come back home, put on the soft/and fuzzy clothes... turn on the heating pad and take the pain medicine that helps me cope with my reality... dope that helps me cope... turn on Fox News and get back to reality.

That's what I'm thankful for today: the real things. Love and hugs, y'all.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Restful Tuesday

It's a day off for me! My schedule this month is all 9-2, which is good... I only work one Tuesday... and I have a big five day weekend in the middle of the month. Good times!

On Christmas, my parents gave me a Walmart gift certificate.
I've decided I want to try hot rolling my hair again. It's an easier set for me than straightening my hair and it's too cold to leave it wet in the morning.
I can't just blow dry and go... because in the words of my niece Tiffany, when she was around ten years old, "you need to put a straightener on that mess!". LOL!
So on Saturday I decided to buy hot rollers with my gift certificate.
When I got home and surveyed my Glam Station... I knew I would need to rearrange my room.
It's a converted garage and the electrical outlets are few and far between.
For maximum electrical availability, I would have to make some changes.
I was alone. Mom and Pop were at the mountain house... Austin was with his dad... Cody and Marquee were shopping.
I needed to move a rubbermaid shelf with my storage containers (that I use instead of a dresser since I don't have a dresser or a closet here).
I also needed to move my dressing table that I've had since I was 7... and it was old THEN... so it's real wood and heavy... but not so heavy when the drawers are out... and it slides well on carpet.
I got everything out and started on my project. Have I mentioned that I was alone in the house?
Halfway through I stopped and decided that the wise thing to do would be to wait until I had help.
About thirty seconds later I had a burst of energy and decided to do it THEN.
About twenty minutes later, the job was done and so was my spine.
I have said to myself about thirty-eleven times since then that I hate my spine.
And then I imagine myself without a spine and laugh... jellyfish me -probably pink - flopping around on the sidewalk.
Anyways.... I am one with my heating pad.
Pretty much a human jellyfish anyways... moving as little as possible.
I went to work yesterday - determined to not let anyone know.
It's a pride thing for me. I can do this. I don't want people to feel sorry for me.
It's hard enough that people in my life have drifted away... I can't be that whiny co-worker that people avoid because they don't want to hear about all my aches and pains.
I'm already that annoying person that can't walk long distances or make definite plans because everything depends on the status of my spine.
I don't need a spine, right?
I really loved being at work yesterday. The last hour was hard. I did a lot of deep breathing.
But I made it.
I'm so grateful for having a day off.
But I was grateful yesterday to go to work, too.
It will probably hurt again tomorrow but I'll be proud to be there, too.
It really IS a pride thing... being able to act perfectly normal when I'm in so much pain that I'm biting my bottom lip hard to keep from crying.

Despite my ill-advised stint as an interior decorator... I love the new arrangement to my room. I haven't mastered the art of hot rolling yet but it's fun to try.
I want to get one of those ceiling mounted curtain rods to hang a little curtain over the closet area of my room, which is just a corner but it works.
I love my room and I'm glad to be back here where I am loved and rarely alone.
Austin spent the weekend with his dad, the first time in a really long time.
They need to bond.
I'm grateful that the father and his lady opened their home to my boy. He had a good time.
I'm not one of those divorced parents who play tug-of-war. I've always wanted my kids to have a healthy relationship with their father because kids should have two parents.
They're good kids and I believe they are a blessing to anyone who allows themself to believe they are.
It would seem that Austin felt welcome this weekend and it touches my heart. Whatever people do to my kids, they do to me.
Marquee started a new semester at school. She has a grueling class schedule. She's a smart girl and very determined. I believe this is her next-to-the-last semester.
Although she intends to get her doctorate eventually and be a college professor.
We support that kind of thing... my sister-in-law took a similar educational path and she is highly successful.
The men in my family tend to marry well.
The women, with the exception of my mama, not so much.
Mama picked a good one.
I've got two strikes on me so I'm mostly just avoiding the batters box.
In other news... I bought two new bras and a new pair of tights (I wear tights instead of pantyhose because the last longer and make you look thinner).
I also bought pumpkin pie poptarts, thus the need for slimming tights.
I also bought Jamie's birthday present, although it is late. I'm hoping to score some Jamie time on my next trip to the mountains... maybe take her to Waffle House, which she loves...
As does her Uncle Bryan.
My friend Whitney in Jacksonville is 8 weeks away from having her first baby. A girl who will be named Scarlett. Whitney sent me a picture of her bump... which is smaller than mine... and much cuter.
I adore Whitney. She has the distinction of being in a small group of people who love me enough to visit me in the looney bin. I will always love her for that. And for being my only friend in Jacksonville.
I'm addicted to I never buy, I just window shop. Or in my case, "windows 8 shop".
My mom is going back to work today. She's trying to retire but they keep putting off hiring a replacement for her. It's time, though. She can't see as well as she once could.
Grandma, my sweet Steel Magnolia, was in the hospital last week. There's a problem with her heart. They are seeing a cardiologist, this week, I think.
My parents got to see three of their grandchildren last weekend... Caleb, Madeleine and Joshua. It was good for their hearts... and it warmed my heart to see their pictures. I love those babies and pray every day that God will bring them into our lives more often.
So that's it. Happy Restful Tuesday, y'all.

(Kids were not as bored as they look... they were watching a movie)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm Thankful This Thursday

It's Thursday and I'm exhausted. It feels like this week has lasted a month.
I'm tired but I'm grateful for a cozy nest and a place to work and having 2/3 of my kids + all of my daughter-in-laws nearby. (There's only one).
Yesterday at work my grandmother's first cousin came in... I knew he was one of our customers but hadn't seen him in - probably never - but I heard someone say his name so I went and introduced myself and we had a lovely family reunion.
His wife mentioned my great-grandmother, who passed when I was seven. She said that Grandma was like a mother to her, the kindest women she ever met.
Having worked so hard on genealogy in the past year (although not as much in the past month) having those anecdotal connections with my ancestors is precious to me.
Everyone loves my Grandma and her sister, Aunt Bette. It stands to reason that they were raised by a special woman.
I'm so proud to descend from these ladies and I try to keep that in mind when I'm dealing with the frustrations in my way:

  • pain (off the chain yesterday)
  • customers who don't use consonants 
  • customers who are trying to give you serial numbers for their car and instead of using the alpha-bravo alphabet so that you can understand what they're saying, they use words that could start with any letter: "a as in at, b as in bat, c as in cat". Ugh.
  • when my favorite football team loses a big game
  • and so on

BUT... when I look back in time by a year, the biggest frustrations I had then were so much bigger than anything I'm dealing with now. It's hard to complain, so I won't.
And when I look around me, there are so many dealing with so much worse... my friend Beth who is traveling from London to the States for her grandmother's funeral. Praying for traveling mercies and comfort for her.
Another friend being taken back to court by her demented, evil ex-husband who is determined to see her crumble. I can't even begin to imagine that kind of fear and frustration. I was fortunate in that my ex-husband never really interjected himself in our lives past divorce.
So... I play the "guess the consonants" game and most of the time I'm right and when I'm wrong, I apologize sweetly and blame our phone connection, not the other person's diction.
I've seen some beautifully answered prayers in our lives lately.
My friend Natalie, whose husband tragically ended his life by suicide seven years ago this month, has been in my prayers for the past several years, that God would send her a husband.... and God is faithful. Natalie got engaged over the holiday weekend.
It gives me hope. Not for a romantic "happily ever after" for me... but just that God is faithful to give us the desires of our heart, in His way and in His time.
In my life, I prayed that God would either bring into my life a partner for life or that He would change my mind about wanting one. He changed my mind. It's awesome to be in a place of peace.
I work the early schedule today which means I need to pull my hair back into a semi-professional looking ponytail and put on some war paint and find something decent to wear and get myself into gear.... maybe visit my good friends at Starbucks.... and find the energy to be good at what I do for five hours or so today... and then I can be back in the nest to rest.
I've ordered two books from Amazon and I'm hopeful they will come today.
I still haven't seen Les Miserables, maybe we'll  see it this weekend.
Even in the life of a single crazy cat lady, there are always things to look forward to.
I'm thankful this Thursday. Are you?
Love you all dearly and pray for you by name a lot of the time.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Don't Stop Lovin' Yourself

Everybody seems to be blogging and twittering and facebooking about their resolutions.
I don't have any.
My goal this year is to stay strong and keep overcoming the obstacles that would knock most people to the ground.
My back is killing me this morning but I'm going to go to work and work as hard as I can and then come home and crash and that... to me... is an accomplishment.
To do that which you shouldn't be able to do... that is true courage.
Others may look in and see me as a part timer who lives with her parents and spends 18 hours a day curled up in a recliner on a heating pad.
I see myself as a brave, strong, overcomer who does the hard stuff.
So. Instead of looking back over the past year and mourning the loss of my independence, grieving over grievances, wishing things were different....
I look back over the last year and see someone who kept on going when it would have been ok to quit. I see someone who kept it together mentally and emotionally in really trying circumstances. I see someone who has accepted the unacceptable and found her way through the darkness.
I see how beautifully God has woven the tapestry of my life and I feel ten feet tall and bulletproof.
If I made it through LAST YEAR with a smile on my face, I can survive anything.
For that matter... this month marks the second anniversary of when this battle with chronic pain started and I am still going.
For that matter... I survived a nightmare of a marriage... after another "happily ever after" that didn't pan out like the fairy tales said it would... and I raised three kids without any of them getting arrested or knocking anybody up... and they're all really incredible, amazing, loving and kind young men.
Most of the people, things and activities that I enjoyed for most of my adult life have faded away... I've watched the seasons of my life change... and just like we hate for summer to fade into fall, we soon remember how much we appreciate the beauty of the changing leaves... I've also found out that even though the scenery has changed, I love this season too.
I'm overweight and I'm ok with it. I have learned to embrace who I am.
I want you to be ok with who you are.
The thing is... if you love yourself, if you believe in yourself, you learn to get past the things that this world tells us should matter.
I'm single and I'm ok with it. I would rather live the rest of my life as a satisfied single than spend my life pining over "the one(s) that got away". I don't like the process of struggling to market myself in the dating scene. I don't like being rejected and/or rejecting others. There's too much physical pain in my life to battle with emotional pain any more. I'd rather not wait for him to call back or wonder if he really likes me or spend another second of my life trying to impress anyone else.
I'm not saying I'm perfect or that my way is the best way, I'm just saying that it's ok to be ok with who you already are. We all have room for improvement yet, you can't stop loving yourself in the process.
All those years that I was battling to be thin enough for someone to love me... I got thin(ner) and look what it caused! Heartbreak and discouragement and ... no. I don't want to ever go back there. If I had loved who I was I wouldn't have accepted anyone who only wanted to love me if I would change.
The bottom line is that I love my cats and my chocolate more than I love any man and more than I want to be a size 8.
I learned last year to stop apologizing for who I am.
Resolutions make us start every stinkin' year feeling like we are not ok.
Let me share a secret with you: if you woke up this morning, you're ok. If you have the courage to get out of bed, go to a job or stay home taking care of a family, if you have the strength to do the things you must do to survive, you're ok.
If you want to improve yourself, that's ok. Just don't stop loving who you already are.
Happy New Year.