My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Thunderbolts and lightning very very frightening. (name that tune...) That's the weather we have now. We have had rain almost every day since last Wednesday. I've got a morning routine that includes sucking up water off the concrete slab around the perimeter of my Whine Cellar with the carpet shampooer. This morning it was not as bad as it has been but it's raining hard now so it will be. I could go stay upstairs in the computer room but I'm fiercely territorial and just want to be in my space. Once the construction starts I may just find me a little cabin in the woods. Or move to the computer room. But really, I just love my nest, even when it's damp.

Cosette has her first notable illness - an upper respiratory infection. Doctor thinks it's viral so no antibiotics. When my babies were babies they gave you antibiotics regardless. I'm glad they've stopped that practice because developing a resistance to antibiotics is no fun, especially if you're allergic to one strain of antibiotics and another doesn't work. They told Tasha to watch for fever or shortness of breath but she's ok, just irritated by people wiping her nose.

Cosette has gained a few ounces and is up to 14lbs, 13oz. It was fun on Christmas to watch people go from holding Cosy to holding Ollie or vice versa - you can definitely tell a difference! Cosy is all long legs and arms, like a little spider monkey. Ollie is a little butterball, very solid and compact! My guess is that Ollie weighs about a pound more than Cosy at this point. I can't wait to see them as toddlers because the older they get, the three months separating them will become less and less noticeable, especially if he continues to outweigh her.  They both have a habit of bouncing or taking a dive right out of your lap so you have to be careful.

Then when we add Baby Boy Gant to the mix... he's due in February but that ten months and seven months between him and his first cousins, once removed will not be noticeable as they get older. We could never have guessed that we'd get three babies in the space of a year! Four, if you count my brother David's baby who was born in June - but we don't count on ever seeing him as we never see/hear from David or any of his kids. 


I figured out it's cheaper (and lighter) to buy powdered gatorade instead of liquid. I still have the problem of having migraines if I skip a day of drinking gatorade. My doctor says it must be an electrolyte issue but we haven't figured it out to the extent of being able to replace those electrolytes without gatorade. I panic whenever I'm out of gatorade or advil, my migraine weapons. Lately I've been sort of cycling through fibromyalgia symptoms with the headache, fatigue, sore throat, feeling fluey, body aches, muscle spasms... and I know it's fibro and not flu because I can feel miserable one minute and ten feet tall and bullet proof the next.

That big bundle of bows I bought for Cosy finally came this week. It was a deal on Amazon back in November where I got a whole mess of bows for $3.92. They have a pretty sturdy metal clip on them that would cut into her little head if we put them on her stretchy (not really elastic) headbands. We decided that Nana and Mama could use them. So if you are in White County and you see a curvy girl with a little bow in her hair - it's probably either me or Tasha. Pictures above are comparison of Marquee holding Cosy and then holding Ollie. Below are the two of them playing on the couch. They can both sit up to some degree or another. Cosy slid down and just kind of stayed there. Ollie was mesmerized by Cosy's toy and then by her tutu. I was about six inches away from them... they're not quite ready for us to just turn them loose on each other.

I finally decided to splurge on the DNA test and ordered a kit in November. I got it for 30% off so I decided it was the time to go ahead with it. I realized last week that it had never arrived so I called Ancestry. It turns out that the mailing address they had for me ended up being half of my Cleveland address and half of my old Riverdale address so it was returned to UPS but not to Ancestry's customer service is based in Utah and I got the perfect stereotypical Morman fellow with the "Oh gee, I'm sorry that happened. Let's see what we can do to turn your frown upside down" right out of the Book of Mormon (the musical). It was almost worth the delay to have that little exchange. The kit came the other day. You have to collect what they say is a 1/4 teaspoon of spit after not eating or drinking for thirty minutes. I have terrible dry mouth because of my meds so it took quite an effort to come up with enough spit without drinking. There is a branch of my family tree that only goes back to a great-great-grandfather when all my other branches go back for hundreds of years. I'm hoping the DNA test will give us some clues on that branch. Otherwise I'm just interested to see if we have any unusual ethnicities in the mix.

Yesterday was my 11th anniversary of blogging. I know this because I began blogging on the day my niece Jamie was born and she turned 11 yesterday. Some of you who know me in real life didn't know I was blogging back then and since it was in the time before heavy Facebook usage, we were probably out of touch a bit then unless you were at the ball field or theatre or my office since that's what consumed my time then. Those of you who I met through blogging probably know more about my life in that time period than even my real life friends as we would read each other's blogs and were deeply invested in each others' lives. I have probably two dozen friends that I met through AOL Journals that I remain (cyber) friends with today. We have watched each others' children grow up - and watched each others' weight go up (and down, hopefully, for some of us) for eleven years. These are the "bonus" friendships in life that I never could have imagined having but that have sustained me through the rough times.

Anyways... I guess that's all for today. Hope you're all safe and warm and dry! This may be my last blog entry for 2015 unless I feel chatty tomorrow. Either way... praying for lots of joy, peace and love to fill your life in the year to come! Love and hugs!

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Cat Peed On My Needlepoint and Other Tales From The Past Ten Days

... and then the cat peed on my needlepoint. The End.

How has Christmas come and gone already? Here's the recap:

There was much rain.

Many UPS, USPS and Fed Ex deliveries and the only thing late was my Yankee Candle from my parents but I got another (yay for taking my blatant Facebook hints!) so it was ok.

Much wrapping paper and empty boxes afterwards.

I posted about a hundred pictures on Facebook - link for those who aren't active on Facebook.

We had another basement flood that exhausted me right when I needed to not be exhausted but I survived. (And we're hiring a contractor to waterproof the basement once and for all because we just can't...keep this up).

Mom made it through Christmas without having to go back to the hospital (despite insisting on helping with the wet basement). She goes tomorrow for a scan with her surgeon so he will know exactly where to cut... or whatever... to get Pat out. (reminder, PAT is the pancreatic tumor).

Check out the legs on this baby girl! 
We had all the happiness you would expect with two new babies and the kind of happiness you don't expect (or, at least I didn't) with a new puppy (my son Ryan's, Luke, who was good except for chewing on my Ikea stepstool and the bathroom vanity). I didn't manage to get a picture of Luke but I loved his sweet, goofy enthusiasm.

We had a lot of rain or have I already mentioned that?

I got lots of stuff that says, "Nana" as one enjoys receiving when they are a Nana.

I got lots of stuff period but I had as much, if not more fun watching everyone else open their gifts.

I gave my niece Jamie an early birthday gift of the Wicked Snowglobe that a blog reader gave me a few years back. Jamie has loved that snowglobe and would disappear into my room to retrieve it often when she was hanging out here afterschool. I promised it to her in my will but decided I'd rather see her receive it from here, rather than from the beyond. Plus, I don't have a will. So there's that.

Jamie also got an amazing book called Wicked: The Grimmerie. It's basically a Wicked encyclopedia. I had seen it in Barnes and Noble back in 2003 and at the time it was priced way beyond my budget. I found it on Amazon for a fraction of the price while looking for a snowglobe. I loved the book so much when it came that I could hardly stand to wrap it. So Jamie basically had a Wicked Christmas. (It's not worn on the edges, it's made to have that weathered look).

I think the other favorite gift I gave was the makeup brushes for my daughter-in-law Marquee. She's always gotten Disney stuff from me because, well, she loves Disney stuff. Earlier this year I made note of the fact that she enjoys makeup and makeup brushes. Sometime this fall I asked her advice for, "really good makeup brushes" to buy for myself. She told me which ones were the best and so I bought them. For her. They were pricey enough that I had my parents go in with me on the gift but I knew she could get good use out of them.

The Bearded Uncle, Baby Ollie and Aunt Sara
Tasha had the great idea to get scrubs for Ryan's girlfriend, Sara, who is hard for me to buy for because I don't really get to spend much time with her. She's a Vet Tech and she loved the scrubs.

I guess, for me, a great gift is one that you know the person will get a lot of use out of ... or a lot of pleasure out of from a limited use. There were a lot of those things this year.

More stuff about the past ten days:

Austin and Tasha got engaged! I helped him pick out the ring while shopping for other gifts. He gave it to her on Christmas morning. Not sure when they'll get married....

My hip is majorly screwed up. I think moving furniture at 2am on Christmas Eve to get everything out of the water may have done it in. That, plus the evil gut pain had me curled up in a ball early yesterday morning, trying to find a comfortable position. It's discouraging and it's made me a little grumpy over the past few days.

I bought Cosette these two light up Frozen dolls... when you move their left arm up, they sing. Cosy has figured out how to "hold their hands" to make them sing. She has developed such an attachment to "Bobos" or "Oh-bos" that I've put together a big box of them for her to play with. She's 8 months old tomorrow.

Ollie and I both chewing on our fingers
Ollie likes to bounce and has the most beautiful eyelashes and is just the sweetest little bundle of joy, in the full sense of the word. He turned 5 months old last week.

Ollie and Cosy are still completely fascinated with each other. Neither has *quite* mastered the concept of "gentle" yet so we haven't turned them loose to play together unsupervised yet but soon...

I thought I had figured out how to dog sit with minimal pain... and brought Lady down to stay with me while my parents are down South overnight to go to mom's scan in Atlanta first thing in the morning. Ten minutes after they left, Lady went upstairs. It never occurred to me that she wouldn't want to stay down here with me, duh!

One side effect of my pain issues is that I have become introverted to the extent that it's very draining on me to have constant light, sound, conversation or any kind of continual stimulation. I'm learning to say, lovingly I hope, "I need to introvert". Just being quiet and still helps more than you would think. I only mention that because some of you have chronic pain... or love someone with chronic pain... and I think it helps to see that someone else is like your crazy aunt... or your grumpy mom... or, whomever. You have no idea how much energy it takes to just keep breathing sometimes. It makes me feel guilty, to enjoy introverting so much but it's more of a need than a want.

I'm sick of this mild, wet weather. I am also sick of major weather fronts coming through because those are no friend to folks with arthritis. I want a little cold... maybe one good snow event as long as it happens when Austin has a day off so he doesn't have to try to get to work... and I want things to dry out.

My tree is already put away. Didn't make it into a Valentines Day / Easter tree this year. We had a contractor coming out to give us a quote on waterproofing the basement and I thought it would be good to get it out of the way. My mom also really has wanted projects to keep her busy so we knocked it out together this morning.

Anyways... I didn't want the year to end without getting you caught up on things. Not sure when I'll have more to share but... heck, it could be tomorrow, who knows? The cat really did pee on my needlework today. He was mad that I hadn't fed him lunch yet. Not my sweet Little Kitty... it was Edison the Kangaroo Cat. He's a tyrant. I guess that's about it.

Hope you're all warm and dry and hope you all have a really happy 2016! Love and hugs!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Casual Friday

My mom came home from the hospital yesterday. She has to be careful what she eats but she's feeling good, at least based on the things she insists she can do like laundry and vacuuming and... yeah. If you know her that will make perfect sense.

I'm happy to be a cat person for a little while instead of a dog person. Oscar is sweet and cuddly... except when he isn't. He can be quite ferocious when he chooses. And that whole... must take him outdoors to pee thing... so different from cats. But there is more Mawmaw hospitalization in the future so I will catch my breath and try to make it up to my cats between now and then and be ready for my next dog-sitting stint.

Stubby the 3 legged Wonder Cat finds the flocking on my artificial tree to be quite tasty. I find the frequent piles of flock tinged vomit less appetizing.

When I'm not experiencing sympathetic vomiting from cleaning up behind the cat, right now I'm loving Chung Egg Rolls (in the frozen section of the grocery store) and Russell Stover chocolates. I've always been leery of frozen egg rolls but these are really good. I've gone through a Whitman's Sampler or two this "season" but am finding that I much prefer the Russell Stover chocolate.

Eating is challenging because of the last round of dental drama but less of a challenge than Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. I went back in to the dentist yesterday and had the packing in my "dry socket" pulled out and stuffed back in. The worst part of it is the shots to numb me so the dentist can properly do what he needs to do.

The drama from the other day with the pharmacist... dentist says it was all pharmacist freaking out that I was taking two kinds of pain medicine. Dentist says he knew all along what meds I'm on and backed off because the pharmacist indicated it was too much. I know that the pharmacist knows what I've been on for the past 7 years since I moved here and I know that the pain meds the pain doctor gives me are stronger than what the dentist gives me. Bottom line: it's not all adding up. Dentist gave me another prescription for pain meds yesterday and I basically just stuck it in my purse and didn't bother. I don't have the emotional energy to sort it out.

Cosette has picked up a new word: Bobo. I say that it's the word she says for "baby" because I have a Raggedy Ann doll that I keep on the day bed in the living room. Whenever I hand it to Cosy I say, "ooooh... love the baby" and she pokes at her eyes and eats her hand and kicks her. A day or two ago she started saying "bobo" in the same tone that I say "baby" whenever I gave her Raggedy Ann. Last night at dinner she kept hollering "BOBO! BOBO! BOBO!" I could hear her from down here with the door closed! They thought she was saying "oboe". Austin brought her down here to show me how she was walking while he held her hands and I handed her Raggedy Ann. She got all crazy excited and started screaming, "BOBO!" And hugged her tight. Austin let her carry it upstairs with her and she kept saying "BOBO!" all the way. Babies are funny!

She also says "dada" and "mama" and I swear she says "nana". The other day it sounded like she said "cat" and she mumbles something that sounds like "have it" when she signs "want". She's very vocal and can be very loud! It cracks me up to hear her.

I finally started a new needlepoint project. I'm doing something like this... but the white part is pale lavender and the blue diamonds are a pale gold. I haven't worked out all the other colors yet but I'm trying to use DMC satin floss even though I have tons of other thread I could use. I just like things to be consistent. Sometime in the future I need to do a project that takes up all my old bits and pieces of thread but this project will not be it.

Pop bought the stuff for sausage balls this morning. I tried to get it yesterday after I got done at the dentist. I left the dentist and went next door to the post office to mail presents to my brother in New York. Despite it being this close to Christmas the line at the post office wasn't bad. The postal employees were all working hard to move the line quickly. I waited less than ten minutes. I headed across the street to the grocery store and as I was walking in I started feeling kind of woozy, most likely from the anesthesia. I decided to abbreviate my visit and just grabbed my Luigi's Italian Ice (I currently have 8 boxes in the freezer but ... you never know when I might go through a bad stretch and not be able to make it to the store... or when they might jack the price up again...) and I bought more of the Chung's Frozen Egg Rolls mentioned earlier. And went straight home.

The past week has been stressful and we definitely won't rest easy until Pat is taken out and Mawmaw is back to her normal self but it's less stressful now that she's home. I have a few things to do between now and our Christmas Eve brunch but not so many things to do that I can't afford a rest day today... so that's what I'm doing. There's a cat curled up in my lap and I'm avoiding stairs and it's a good day. Hope it is for you too! Love and hugs!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Whiny Wednesday

Trying on a new little dress  - I think it's adorable! 
Yesterday was waaaay more stressful than it had to be but... that's just par for the course, I guess when thinks are out of sorts. I have a little update on my mom from yesterday afternoon but I haven't talked to her yet today and I haven't talked to Pop other than exchanging necessary info regarding doggie bowel movements when he brought me down some breakfast.

Pop talked to a girl from the surgeon's office yesterday afternoon and she had no idea that mom was in the hospital. They had scheduled her appointment with the surgeon for January 8th (I'm eye-rolling violently with this), like I said, not realizing that mom has been hospitalized since Friday and diagnosed with ulcers on Saturday. I was eavesdropping (not being nosy, it's just easier than Pop having to repeat things over and over again) from the Whine Cellar and Pop was upstairs but the girl told Pop that once mom gets out of the hospital if/when she has another pain episode to just take her to Emory in Midtown and have her go through their ER, listing the surgeon as her treating physician. This was a huge relief because we've all had sort of a "what next?" stress about it all. Mom did eat yesterday, soft foods, and they found that her potassium and magnesium were low, not surprising. Like I said, I have no new info from this morning. The girl from the surgeon's office was going to check in with him to see if plans needed to change since mom is in the hospital and having other complications from Pat (the pancreatic tumor).

Now about me... I had a rough day yesterday and a rough night last night. Austin worked really hard at tidying up the house since he was off work yesterday. Part of the idea behind he and Tasha living here was that me, Mawmaw and Pop need a hand with things. There's a lot I can't do and a lot that Mawmaw and Pop shouldn't do. Of course we had no idea that within the first week of them living here Mawmaw would end up in the hospital so there was a lot more that we needed everyone to help with than we expected. There are things that are uncomfortable for me to do that I just go ahead and do (like cleaning the litter boxes) because it hurts but I CAN do it. Then there are things that I absolutely can't do because it would drop me in my tracks to do so - like vacuuming or lifting heavy things. Some of the things I CAN do (like emptying the dishwasher or even, for that matter, climbing stairs), I can do but I can't do repetitively. It can be very frustrating and overwhelming for me when there are things to be done that I can't do - or that I can't do well - or that I can't do consistently. Mom being in the hospital feels very much like a glimpse of my future. I have a lot of anxiety about what happens to me when I'm older and less able and my parents aren't around any more. For the most part I don't allow myself to dwell on those things but it's been impossible not to think about those things lately. Austin did a lot to help yesterday but it did put strain on him because he had other things besides helping out around here that he needed to tend to. I hate for him to be overwhelmed like that. Seriously, he works hard and he never misses work and he needs to be able to rest some on his days off. Just as my parents hate for me to be overwhelmed like I was on Monday, I hate for Austin to be overwhelmed. You hear a cancer diagnosis and you think about the medical implications and impact on your family but there are so many things that you aren't / can't be prepared for. This week has been like that.

Anyways. Oscar and Pop spent the afternoon and evening together which was nice. Pop took him to Lowe's with him and they worked in the yard some and I had a little break from his needy little self (Oscar's needy little self, not Pop's, in case that wasn't clear). By bedtime I was missing my little buddy (Oscar, not Pop, although I do miss Pop too sometimes). I fell asleep early and around 11pm Oscar came down and let me know he needed to go potty so I turned on the big flood lights outside and took him out. It's very, very dark here at night and there are lots of creatures that roam around that might see Oscar as a nice little snack. Fortunately he was quick about his business and went back upstairs to Pop for awhile. I went back to sleep and then Oscar came back down to be with me around 1:30am. I woke up and realized that lots of parts of me were hurting... it happens... it was the jaw (where the packing in my dry socket had come out) and my knees and shoulders were aching and my lower back and I just couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep. Then Little Kitty (who is having his own issues since all my attention is going to the dog and not to him) kept picking fights with the other cats. Honestly, I think he is just a little rascal and isn't being aggressive. He's like an annoying little brother. I got up several times and fussed at him. Then he somehow figured out how to open Oscar's container of food that I have downstairs so I don't have to go upstairs to feed him. So my achy breaky self was up at dark-thirty picking up Oscar's high dollar dog food one little smelly piece of kibble at a time. Fortunately Oscar slept through that because he is very possessive of his food and would have had himself a snack of a Little Kitty if he had known! I couldn't get back to sleep after that so I played a couple dozen games of sudoku on my phone and watched an old movie - An Apartment For Peggy - that I had recorded last week and finally got back to sleep around 6am.

Today I'm hoping to get some laundry done. I need to carry my dirty dishes upstairs and deal with whatever stage the dishwasher is in. I need to have something substantial to eat because the last decent meal I had was the leftover Chinese food on Monday. Yesterday I mostly snacked. I also need to get some Christmas wrapping taken care of and get a box ready to ship to my brother. Mom brought stuff down the day before she got sick with the intention of wrapping and boxing it up but she never got the chance to do it.  There are a few errands I need to run but I'll do those tomorrow when I go back to the dentist.

And... I guess that's all I have to share for now. For friends/family who are checking in for updates on Mawmaw, I'll try to update if anything changes with her. Hope you all have a non-whiny Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Reasons To Love Monday

Reasons to love Monday: It's over. That's it. Only reason.

The Dental Drama Part Deux that I had done on the seventh was due for a recheck yesterday. So when the jaw pain got really bothersome Saturday/Sunday and when my ear started hurting overnight Sunday night, I thought... I'll go to the dentist, he'll wave his majic wand suction thing and take out the stitches and I'd feel better. By Monday morning my breath smelled like something had died in my mouth and I was feverish and in so much stinkin' pain... so when I was telling the assistant (I can't remember the proper name for her job) while we walked back to the exam room she said, "ooooh. You probably have a dry socket".

I had heard the term dry socket before but never really understood. It's basically where the healing tissue doesn't completely cover the bone so the bone is exposed to air and food and whatever else goes in your mouth. It was quickly determined that this evil dry socket was what was causing my pain and I was given some options for treatment. The recommended one was to numb me up again, open up my tender tissues and repack with this god-awful smelling stuff. Better than the death breath but not by much. I took the advice of my dentist and went the needles and smelly route. Every dental procedure I've had to this point I've had anxiety meds before. I have some legit dental phobias. But yesterday, since I was driving, I had to just tough it out. Fortunately he got me number (is that a word?) than he did when he pulled the tooth last week.

Armed with another prescription for pain meds I headed to the local pharmacy. It's a small town, I get a lot of prescriptions, I've been going there for seven years... they know me. So when my prescription med plan declined paying for the meds because I've had too many pain meds over the past month, the pharmacist called the dentist. She said he acted shocked that I was on other pain meds... and then she rolled her eyes because she has been filling my prescriptions for seven years and she knows I'm over the top about doing things correctly where my drugs are concerned. I told her... "I have a narcotic agreement with my Pain Dr... the Dentist had to consult the pain doctor before he started working on me"... The dentist told me the pain doctor was fine with me taking pain meds after dental work... my pain doctor CONFIRMED that he had discussed my meds with the dentist when I saw the pain dr after Dental Drama Part One. So they adjusted my prescription down to just a few pills to get me through "the acute phase".

I was irritated because as a chronic pain patient I'm very sensitive about anyone thinking I'm doing anything illegal or unethical regarding pain med use and also because I had a prescription for pain meds because I NEEDED pain meds. But there's just so much more serious stuff going on in our lives so I just tabled those frustrations until I see the dentist again on Thursday to change my packing. I bought myself a new eyeliner... some of those butter cookies in a tin... a box of chocolates (because the best thing to do after Dental Drama is to eat a bunch of sugary stuff, right?) I bought Oscar TWO new toys - I usually buy him one whenever I go to the pharmacy because they have dog toys on the dollar aisle and I get an automatic 20% discount because I'm a frequent flier at the pharmacy. I tried to just enjoy the residual numbness and lack of jaw pain for a bit and let the drug drama bother me.

I got home and Oscar was hoarse from howling for me. Lady had pooped on the porch and peed in the hall. The dishwasher needed to be emptied - a chore that is way more painful than you would imagine because of the bending and stretching involved. It wasn't a terrible lot of things to deal with but it was just a reminder that my mom isn't here to take care of me and the animals and the house and all of the things she does to keep our house a home. I grabbed Chinese leftovers from dinner Sunday night out of the fridge and made sure Lady had food and clean water and pouted my way down to the Whine Cellar. I cleaned out the litter boxes and made sure everything was settled for me to sit for a bit. I heated up leftovers... I couldn't taste and my lips were numb so I was drooling food all over me but I wanted to get food in my body before it hurt to do so. I was just a hot mess. I asked Tasha to see if her dad would pick Austin up from work because I knew I wouldn't be able to take pain meds if he couldn't because - driving. Honestly, I just sat down and had a much overdue meltdown.

My parents called while I was in full on meltdown and sort of talked me back from feeling so overwhelmed. Later when my brother texted me for an update on mom I realized that I had been so wrapped up in my own mini-drama that I didn't even know how mom was doing!

And she is doing some better, I think. She's graduating to soft foods today and the doctors are consulting to see if she should be transferred to Emory or if she can come home for a bit. She's swelling a little bit and aching from being in bed for so long. Pop had a sleep study last night so he stayed in Gainesville all afternoon and evening and then spent the night at the sleep study place.

Can you believe Christmas is next week? I'm so grateful that we shopped ahead because it would have been so hard to do now. I've given up figuring out if I've gotten the same amount for all my kids/grandkids. I'll just pass out twenty dollar bills for wherever I come up short. I have most things wrapped, maybe five or six more presents and there are a few things still on the way. We have to make up some sausage balls. I'm going to enlist Tasha's help with that! We still don't know if we're having Christmas here or at Jim and Angie's and it mostly depends on how mom is feeling and if Ollie can come here.

Speaking of Ollie... Marquee's grandpa passed away on Sunday. I'm so sad for her family. They're all so very close and his loss will be greatly felt. Marquee's grandma does Christmas in a big, big way - trees in every room, a big feast on Christmas Eve. It's just so much harder that they lost him at this time of year. Marquee and Cody got home from California on the 6th and grandpa had gone in the hospital the day before so they went straight from the busy-ness of traveling to the busy-ness of having a loved one  in the hospital to the busy-ness of having just lost a loved one. It's been a crazy month for them. I would have loved to be able to be with them to help with Ollie but Cody said he was helping everyone feel better. That's the kind of kid Cody was... just having him around made everyone happier.

And I'm needed here. Oscar will not leave my side. The few times I've had to leave the house since Mawmaw went into the hospital, Oscar has been completely inconsolable, howling like he's lost his best friend. He doesn't want anyone but me, not even Pop. Not even Tasha who is way more of a dog person than I am. He has slept with me every night. He spends the day curled up beside me in my bigger nest (the couch). I smell like a dog. Little Kitty may never speak to me again.

Of course, just like Ollie is bringing joy to Marquee's family, Cosette brings joy to us here. She came down here yesterday afternoon (her mama brought her here, I should say) and I sat on the floor and played with her for awhile. She laughs out loud at all the animals. She's cuddly and funny and just literally a bundle of joy.

But it's Tuesday now. I made it through Monday. The sun is shining. My rationed pain meds are helping but the jaw and ear are still hurting more than I feel like they should. I'm spending today in the Whine Cellar, in the nest, as comfy as I can be, as quiet as I can be. Austin is off work today and can maintain the rest of the house. This week, the best reason to love Monday is Tuesday.

Love and hugs, y'all.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mawmaw's In The Hospital - Five Generation Photo

These girls! Aren't they  gorgeous? 
I could have sworn I blogged this before... but I guess I just put it on Facebook. My mom went into the ER early Friday morning in horrible pain. They admitted her for pain management around midday Friday. They did some tests and determined that in addition to the pancreatic tumor (which we have named Pat, I'll explain more about that later) she has several stomach ulcers. They have her NPO (nothing per oral) and are trying to get the inflammation of her pancreas under control and keep her comfortable before they start trying to let her drink and eat. It's Sunday as I'm typing this and she is still NPO... they increased her pain meds again today... and it will be a few days before she is able to come home. The surgery to remove Pat has still not been scheduled as they have to get the inflammation under control first, I think, if I understood correctly.

In my last post I posted some information from and shared my suspicion that Pat is a gastrinoma - a tumor in the cells that make gastrin. The discovery of stomach ulcers increases my suspicion. Gastrinomas make the stomach produce too much acid.... too much acid causes ulcers so... I may not have more than a Google degree but it helps me when I can sort out a logical reason why these things are happening from a scientific standpoint. From a spiritual standpoint I am completely confident that God is in control. His timing is perfect, his power is infinite, his love is unconditional and I completely trust Him to put mom where she needs to be to work out His will in her life and ours.

Cosette is fascinated with Sarabeth and Jamie
I always blog from the standpoint of sharing my life experiences because it helps me connect with others who have gone through or will go through the same thing at some point so please don't think me selfish when I blog about how Pat (mom's tumor) affects my life. The main thing... I miss my mom so much! She's the one I confide in... the one who understands my illnesses and disabilities... the one who makes sure I'm ok. She is where she needs to be because she has suffered so much since this illness started. I want her to be where she can be comfortable from a pain management standpoint but I miss having her here and lucid. Nobody else in my life understands what it's like to live with chronic pain. Nobody else loves my kids and grandkids as much as I do. My dad is awesome, compassionate, caring, generous and all of that but he handles pain in a different way (bulldozes past it). There are other people in my life who love me and keep in touch with me but it's just different from mom.

Cheesing with Jamie after school last week
Another way life is out of whack right now is like my bolognas first name... O-S-C-A-R. He is the neediest little dog on Earth and he has designated me his Mawmaw substitute and has been glued to me from the minute mom left for the ER Friday morning. I don't mind... not one bit... I mean, we all have certain talents and abilities and cuddling up with an animal is something I'm perfectly equipped to do. I've graduated from my usual nest of my pepto bismol pink recliner to my sofa and big comfy ottoman so that there's room for Oscar to be beside me and not on top of me. Pop's been splitting his time between the hospital and church - this weekend they're doing their Christmas musical performance - but even when Pop's home Oscar has preferred to be with me. He slept with Pop some Friday night but I had left the door to the Whine Cellar open in case he wanted to go back and forth between us and he did. Any time Pop got up for anything Oscar came racing down to me. I think last night Oscar stayed with me the entire night.

Yesterday my Aunt Clair brought my little Grandma up to see the musical program. My cousin Michelle and her daughter Mackenzie came along and stopped by the house to visit a little while before the show. Oscar acted like a depraved beast, barking and growling and acting like he was going to chew them up and spit them out.  Not easy to handle him when he's like that! Austin worked until five so I picked him up and we went to the church to have a Five Generation photo with Grandma right before the musical started. I didn't attempt to go to the musical because last year I went and I was miserable for days afterwards. Plus the whole "not leaving Oscar" thing. We made it to North Georgia BBQ right before they closed and got ribs and fries for a mini-feast. Driving home in the dark was like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I've got to get to the eye doctor!

(I think I'm going to have to invest in a new camera. Things seem a bit smudgy.)

My recovery from Dental Trauma Part Two has been better than the first go-round but the past day or two the pain has gotten worse and chewing is pure misery. I have no idea why I thought ribs would be good under the circumstances but I just suffered through because... ribs. I have a dentist appointment tomorrow to get the stitches out. Mom drove me last time so I wasn't trying to drive while dealing with pain but this time I'm gonna have to tough it out. I think I can handle it ok. It's fewer stitches this time.

Anyways... I'm getting pretty dizzy so I'm going to wrap up this update. Please keep Mawmaw in your thoughts and prayers. We need her healthy and happy! And pray that we get rid of Pat very, very soon! Oh, about that... Austin has a friend named Pat that gets on my nerves. Every time we talk about getting rid of Pat it makes me snicker. You just gotta find those little nuggets of fun in times like these! Hope you're all having a lovely weekend. I'll update again whenever anything changes. Thanks for your love and encouragement! Love and hugs!

Notice how Cosette keeps her tiny hand on Grandma's shoulder? It was so sweet!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Update On Mawmaw

This morning at Starbucks.... 
Ever since Ryan was little everyone has called my mom "Mawmaw" instead of Norma... or mom... or whatever. Just like most people call me "Aunt Heather" or "Nana" or "Mom", my dad is Pop and my brother is "Uncle Bubba". We're Southern that way.

Yesterday a little before two, Mawmaw's doctors' office called and said they had what they needed - the results - and asked if she could come down to the office. It's about 45 minutes away so I had time to contact my kids and my brother and my sister-in-law to let them know that results were in and we were just waiting to hear back from Mawmaw. You know that the tell you good news over the phone and ask you to come in when it's bad news. I tried not to think of it that way but it's true. I used the time to make Russian Tea Mix - it's a mixture of ice tea mix with lemon and tang and cloves, cinnamon and allspice. I would give you the exact amounts but I don't measure, I just do it by taste and ... I'm not sure I got the balance right this time but it was a good distraction.

Mom has a neuroendocrine tumor in her pancreas. It's in the same carcinoid family as the tumor she had in her colon a few years back.... maybe 2010? It's a hormone driven cancer that is rare - only about 5% of pancreatic cancer is this type of cancer. It has to come out but the surgery has to be done at Emory (in Atlanta) so they're scheduling it as soon as they can. Once the tumor comes out I think they can grade/stage or whatever they do. If I understood correctly the doctor said this is the better cancer to have.

From what I've found online (Dr. Google to the rescue!) the pancreas has two types of cells: endocrine and exocrine. The endocrine cells make hormones such as insulin. The exocrine cells make digestive enzymes. Pancreatic endocrine tumors can be benign or malignant, they are rarer than exocrine tumors and have a much better prognosis. (according to )  Neuroendocrine tumors are either functional or non-functional. The functional ones create extra hormones that cause symptoms like fluctuating blood sugars, etc. The non-functional ones do not make extra hormones and their symptoms occur as they spread and grow. Non-functional ones are usually malignant.

I'm going to cut and paste this next bit from the website listed above because I don't want to summarize it and get any of the information confused. It details the typical hormonal responses that can be caused by functional neuroendocrine tumors.

Pancreatic NETs make different kinds of hormones such as gastrin, insulin, and glucagon. Functional pancreatic NETs include the following:
  • Gastrinoma: A tumor that forms in cells that make gastrin. Gastrin is a hormone that causes the stomach to release an acid that helps digest food. Both gastrin and stomach acid are increased by gastrinomas. When increased stomach acid, stomachulcers, and diarrhea are caused by a tumor that makes gastrin, it is called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. A gastrinoma usually forms in the head of the pancreas and sometimes forms in the small intestine. Most gastrinomas are malignant (cancer).
  • Insulinoma: A tumor that forms in cells that make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It moves glucose into the cells, where it can be used by the body for energy. Insulinomas are usually slow-growing tumors that rarely spread. An insulinoma forms in the head, body, or tail of the pancreas. Insulinomas are usually benign (not cancer).
  • Glucagonoma: A tumor that forms in cells that make glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that increases the amount of glucose in the blood. It causes the liver to break down glycogen. Too much glucagon causes hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). A glucagonoma usually forms in the tail of the pancreas. Most glucagonomas are malignant (cancer).
  • Other types of tumors: There are other rare types of functional pancreatic NETs that make hormones, including hormones that control the balance of sugar, salt, and water in the body. These tumors include:
    • VIPomas, which make vasoactive intestinal peptide. VIPoma may also be called Verner-Morrison syndrome.
    • Somatostatinomas, which make somatostatin.
    These other types of tumors are grouped together because they are treated in much the same way.

I feel like my mom has had some of these symptoms, specifically the gastrinoma. Of course, all that will be sorted out by an oncologist who has more than a Google education. Just wanted to put this information here for family members, like my kids, who want to know as much as they can about Mawmaw's condition. I hope that my grandkids will love me even half as much as my kids love their Mawmaw.

The website goes into much more additional detail and if you're curious, I would encourage you to check it out. The bottom line is that she is in a good bit of pain and feels pretty crappy. Unfortunately the way chronic pain works is that you don't feel better just because someone else feels worse. I'm doing some things that my mom would normally do and struggling a bit in the process. I'm not able to take on many of her chores and I am nowhere near her attention to detail in keeping house. I took Austin to work this morning and Tasha and I did a little food shopping. When I got home from the store mom reminded me that we would need to pick Austin up from work this afternoon and I just about cried. I was hoping that my day would be over after grocery shopping. Tasha's going to see if her parents can pick him up.

So that's the long and short of it. Mawmaw will have surgery at a undetermined time in the near future. We'll know more when that happens and in the meantime we're just all keeping our spirits as high as we can!

Cody gave me the ok to show the Jolly Ollie picture I mentioned yesterday. I never had chubby babies and I am just crazy about Ollie's chubbiness! You can't look at that belly without wanting to blow raspberries on it! And those dark eyes and fuzzy little head! I know I'm prejudice but honestly, I have the prettiest grandchildren!

I'll end on that happy note. Thanks for your concern and love and prayers for Mawmaw. I know she appreciates it as well. Love and hugs back to you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Reasons To Love Wednesday

I had dental work done on Monday and it's been waaaaaay less painful than the last round. This morning it's a bit tender and the familiar aching in the jaw has kicked in... The Evil Gut Pain decided to visit today as well so it's sort of a Perfect Storm for a Pity Party. Mom doesn't have her results yet. Still. And we are so weary of waiting. I'm nauseated and congested and just generally dealing with the Yucks today which means.... it's time to find Reasons To Love Wednesday!

1. I no longer have "Mondays"... no reason to gear up to face a long week. I just have these occasional days where I need a little morale boost. It's so much easier to handle a raging case of the Yucks when you don't have to shower... dress for work... drive to work... face customers all day... I'm so grateful that my disability was approved because days like today make working impossible. I don't have to make that guilt filled call of shame to call in sick. I just curl up in my nest!

2. Austin, Tasha and Cosette have moved in with us. It's been so much fun having a baby in the house full time. They're on the top floor so I can't climb up to see her just whenever but everyone is good to bring her down to visit a couple of times a day. Even when she's not down here in my nest I can hear her little giggles and I can hear the joy in my parents' voices when they talk to her. She is exactly what we needed in this season of life. Having Austin and Tasha around to help with things is also a bonus. My mom and Tasha are the people I confide in the most... having them both close by helps.

3. My tree is up and sort of decorated. I just do a couple of ornaments and rest. I can't do anything while standing for more than a few minutes at a time because the muscle spasms kick in so it's an ornament or two... next time I get up to go to the bathroom or whatever it's another ornament or two...

4. We have a massive pile of presents already wrapped. I have been Christmas shopping since September and although there are a few things I still want to get, if I had Christmas today no one would leave empty handed. I wrap a couple of presents a day. Mom wrapped several last week. Some (the ones from my brother and sister-in-law in New York) come already wrapped. We've put them on the stone hearth instead of under the tree just in case we have another flood. You never know. I started out giving everyone a specific type of paper but we have so many gifts that some people have run out of their original paper! It's the first Christmas in my adult life that I haven't had to decide between eating or giving gifts. I like it this way SO much BETTER!

5. Balsam scented candles. I'm addicted to the woodsy/green scent. I bought two Yankee Candles and a bunch of cheaper ones from Walmart. I especially love the way it smells when you leave the room and then come back in and are greeted with the scent of candles burning!

6. I've been watching a lot of old episodes of What's My Line and To Tell The Truth. It's nice to go back to simpler times. A lot of the vloggers I watch are doing "Vlogmas" where they do special Christmas themed videos or just do more videos than usual. It's fun watching people from all over the world preparing for Christmas.

7. My grandma is going to be up here this weekend so we're finally going to get to take a five generation photo with grandma, Pop, me, Austin and Cosette. My dad is in a music program and my sweet aunt is bringing grandma up to see it.

8. I'm almost through stitching the names on our stockings - 15 this year. And then I can start on a new project! I get so excited when I'm picking out a new project! I've been combing through Pinterest for the past week trying to decide what to do.

Maybe some variation of this? 
Or this?
9. I'm loving Wednesday because even though I started off in a lot of pain, I've got proper medication to help it go away and I've learned a lot of tricks to make things better... things like warm heat, deep breathing, prayer... In the two hours since I woke up the pain is better. Not gone but better.

Sleeping in a shopping cart - shopped til she dropped!
10. Cody and Marquee (and Ollie) made it home safely from California. Her granddad is really sick in the hospital, though, so keep them in your prayers. Cody sent me the cutest picture of him yesterday with his little jelly belly poking out but won't let me post it because his little belly is hanging out. LOL!

We still don't have the results from mom's biopsy of the mass in her pancreas. She was feeling pretty good last week but in the past several days I can tell she's uncomfortable again. The doctor told her yesterday that it may be as late as Friday before we have the results in. I don't know if I mentioned it here... but her biopsy was sent to Emory for scrutiny. Still trying to determine if it's the return of the carcinoid type cancer she had a few years ago or if it's a different type of pancreatic cancer. I think they have eliminated the possibility that it's a harmless little nothing so please keep her in your prayers. We are so ready to know... and still hoping for good news somehow.

So that's about it for today. Hoping that you find lots of your own reasons to love Wednesday! Love and hugs!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Counting Our Blessings - Lots of Pictures!

Side note before I begin: my grandbabies are - in my not-so-humble opinion - the most adorable babies on Earth and I really hoped to capture the essence of their fabulousness by taking a couple hundred pictures of them hoping to get one or two framers and a Christmas card photo. And then ultimately, in the end my favorite pictures are the ones where they're both confused or overwhelmed or when Nana has crazy eyes from trying to be animated enough for the babies to smile because those are how life really is with two babies. Such a crazy kind of wonderful! All of these pictures have already been shared on Facebook.

I'll start with the part I know several of you are concerned with... we don't have results back from my mom's biopsy last week. I thought we were going to hear something yesterday but it turned out that yesterday was the earliest we would have heard and... they're not in yet. Other than that... and a migraine that is making itself a bit too much at home in my head... we had a lovely Thanksgiving.

We did our traditional Thanksgiving dinner at home and Austin/Tasha/Cosette, Jim/Angie/Sarabeth/Jamie and Aunt Ginger/Uncle Carl joined us. We had 8 pies for 12 people. I did my dead level best to not let them go to waste. Instead they went to waist... mine. Cosette wore an adorable little outfit and I took about a hundred pictures of her in it because she was so durn cute. Hardly any pictures of anyone else there... no food pictures... just pictures of Cosy in her outfit.

And here is where she started tiring of posing for hundreds of pictures...

 Her pacifier and Nana's phone made everything better, as per usual. 

Cheesing with Nana right before the blessing.

I promise other people were there. Here's a picture of my mom and her two sisters:

Since we're trying not to expose Ollie to cats until he's old enough to be able to take benadryl if he has a reaction we gathered for another family get together on Saturday at Jim and Angie's house. The only pet they have is a bird since my niece Jamie has pet allergies. We did a brunch spread with cinnamon rolls from the Country Bake Shoppe, fruit, leftover pie and I bought a huge nugget tray from ChickFilA. I ate one single nugget. That's it. Not that I was dieting.. I was just obsessed with my babies and taking pictures of them. I wanted to get a picture of me with them to use for a Christmas card and to be honest... by the time we got around to trying to take Christmas card pictures I was a sweaty mess and my makeup was all smudged and my hair was a bird's nest. I got some great photos that I'm going to treasure forever because of who is in them but I'm not sure I got any I'd put in the mail. (Doesn't mean I won't share them will all dozen of my blog readers!)

My favorite pictures are the ones where the babies notice each other. Neither one has spent much time around other kids, especially babies, so they both are completely baffled with each other. Cosette wants to hug every baby doll or stuffed animal that crosses her path. I think she thinks Ollie is just a big - well, life-sized - doll. She signs "want" by sort of waving back at herself. You'll notice in a few of these pictures that she's signing that she wants to hold baby Ollie.... who weighs as much as she does. Also... about baby clothing sizes... she is solidly in six months clothes as is Ollie. The Christmas outfits I bought them - his is by Carter's and is six months size and fits perfectly. Her's is from Baby Elephant (I think) and was a six-nine months because I figured being 7-8 months during Christmas season that would work. Her's is huge on her. I think I'm going to take a few stitches on the shoulders to make it fit better. Anyways... how cute are they when they look at each other? 

 This one really cracked me up because she was fascinated with his socks (she won't wear socks, just like her dad) and he is really confused by the big bow she's wearing. 

There are more pictures on my Facebook page if you'd like to look.

This week I am preparing for Dental Drama Part Deux which I'm assured is not going to be nearly as traumatic or painful. I hope not. One tooth that the dentist thought he could save isn't going to work so that one has to come out. It's in the same part of my jaw where he had a hard time getting two others out last time (which is why I was in so much stinking pain). He's got a game plan for there to be less trauma this time but the anxiety is definitely higher for me this go around. Then in January he'll pull the ones that have to come out on the other side and THEN he'll start building up the ones we can save. I'll say it again... I love my dentist. He's really put a lot of time and thought into this. The girls in his office are really sweet and they work hard to keep me comfortable.

I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday and was supposed to have a lab appointment this morning but I didn't feel up to driving with the headache and had a couple of swigs of gatorade this morning before I remembered/realized that I was having lab work done. We'll do lab and doctor on Thursday.

And I guess that's about it for now. I'll update with more news on my mom whenever we get it and I've got some Christmas decorations going up this week. Austin and Tasha and Cosette are moving in with us this week... more about that next time! Love and hugs, y'all!