Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Many of Me? One's enough, right?
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I thought this one was interesting... Lots of people share my first name, and a pretty fair number share my last name... but only 2 of us share the same combination.
Ok, here's the weird part: I know her, we're not related, and my son actually dated her in high school for a couple of months!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lunch Dates and Beta Fish

Today was nice... went to weigh in and had lost 3 pounds this week. Yay me! I got a few house chores done just in time for one of the ER girls to pick me up for a periodic sanity-replenishing-girls-get-together. Today's was at M's house, which although is about 30 mins away is a really pretty drive, which makes the drive time kinda worthwhile. M's daughter is going to be a pampered chef rep, and wanted to try out some recipes on someone who wouldn't be too tough on her before she used them on unsuspecting paying customers... Gotta love being a guinea pig!

She chose a recipe called Jamaican Jerk chicken. Not one I would have tried on my own and I was astounded by how good it was! She also (get this!) made a strawberry devils food cake in a pampered chef bundt pan....IN the microwave! Again, not something I would have ever been likely to try, and it turned out just great. I think I'd probably edit the recipe and use seedless raspberry jam, but it was pretty impressive. Good thing I went to weigh in this morning.

We stopped at Pet Smart on the way home so that J could get some filters for her fish tank and a replacement beta for her daughter. Somehow, I came home with a beta and a new 1.5 gallon tank. I had never seen a truly orange beta... lots of reds, blues, greens and purples, but never orange with black... reminded me of my koi, so... I have an inside fish. No name for him yet, will need to work on that.


We also stopped at the hospital so that we could get our new badges made. We've gone to some sort of uber security system and had to replace our old badges. My new picture is an improvement on the old one. I never like those pictures anyhow... it's like DMV. I'm not sure a police officer would believe it's me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I am a Snapdragon

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

I found this little quiz at Becky's blog today...took the test, and turns out we're both (supposedly) snapdragons. Interestingly enough, they're among my favorite flowers. I can remember my mom picking a single bloom from a stem and teaching me how to hold the blossom just right so that I could make the dragon's "jaws" open and shut.

I almost always tuck a few snaps in my gardens... I know they're not perennial, but they're tough little guys and sometimes live over, or reseed. They're not so fussy about water as some plants, and they're unfailingly cheerful. The taller varieties are so regal looking, too. Last summer I taught a friend's daughter how to make the dragons snap...

This is usually the time of year I start yearning for spring. I'm much more likely to buy a bouquet at the store, and I catch myself peeking hopefully into my mailbox, looking for the spring catalogs. Hmmmm....maybe I should go look. Just in case.

I'm baaaaaack

Ok, so I probably should admit what a ditz I am... I haven't posted anything in a while, not because I didn't have anything to say, cos heaven knows talking is never an issue, but because...

I had no clue how to fix it, tried for a while initially with no luck, and finally got so frustrated I just gave it up... sleep deprivation might've been part of the problem, but I left it alone for a couple of weeks. This morning, after a really scary number of hours of sleep I felt like trying again, and whew, finally SUCCESS!

I'm dealing with furnace problems... not a massive problem, because I do have space heaters that will "do" until I can get things fixed... I'm glad I have the microfleece sheets on my bed... those things are worth MY weight in gold. I never have that initial OMG THESE SHEETS ARE COLD sensation anymore... I crawl in and it's instant snuggliness. Regular sheets are terrific in the summer... I actually like that blessed instant of cool...but this time of year, I'll just pass on the holycheeetthat'scoldddddd dance, no matter how much it amuses the dog.

Speaking of Sage, I started wondering if dogs have midlife events like people... I say this because she's 9 (do the and all of a sudden she's started waking up in the middle of the night, barking a few minutes so that I can share the joy, then she does the circle dance and plunks right back down on her cushion and goes back to sleep. No clue why... I figure it's either dog-opause or maybe we're on the night time prowl path of a skunk or something.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Island of Misfit Dishes?

I woke up at 3:30 this morning. That's what I get for falling asleep yesterday instead of trying to stay up on a workoff day... lol.

I've accomplished a bit. I got some laundry done, tossed out some boxes, and am meeting my cousin Lisa at Gran's house to start cleaning out closets in the hopes that we can get her home from the rehab by the first of next month. My uncles have begun the process of choosing an in-home caregiver. We'll all pitch in, too. I guess we're pretty lucky that a decent number of us are within an easy commute of Gran's house.

Yesterday was a very nice dish day... My Secret Santa gift arrived from JimmieJames and I was sooooooo pleased. He'd taken the time to find me a vintage cloth, and chose a cobalt square baker, turquoise individual baker, and a sweet pair of dancers christmas ornament to go with it all. I've already started plotting which dishes to use with the cloth... Primary colors are red and blue, but theres enough green that I'm tempted to just use Medium Green dinnerware on it.

The mailman also brought a vintage demitasse pot with a repaired handle that I had purchased on ebay to use as a vase. The seller was wonderfully thorough in describing the damage.

I wonder if it's weird that I don't mind some damage? I kinda think it's like battle scars, and shows that someone used the piece. Seems like a lot of collectors want only mint condition pieces, and while I'm delighted to find those... I like the other pieces, too. The image that comes to mind is like that Island of Misfit Toys from the movie Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer .

Denise and I have been trying to meet for the last six weeks to exchange some Fiesta we've acquired for the other... the weather has NOT been cooperative. I think the dish gods are amused that I'm nervous about taking care of the vintage vases I bought at that auction for her, so they're tossing roadblocks in the path, so that I have to keep the vases longer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Oh what a beautiful morning...or Talking Trash.

What an amazing morning. When I left work this morning the temperature outside was 52 degrees. In January. In the mountains. Who'd ever have thought??? The sky was this glowing apricot-raspberry color, and the clouds ranged from amethyst to violet to soft, misty gray. Off in the distance were inky black mountains with wispy swirly clouds. (wow, I sound foo-foo this morning, and I only had 2 cups of coffee with caffeine...I forgot to ask for decaf at breakfast!)

Mondays are my workoff day, and I've gotten to be a bit of a creature of habit. I have breakfast with my cousin after work, come home and take care of Sage, and get my trash out to the curb. I forgot to put out the trash until I heard the garbage truck last week, and decided to just wait til this week rather than do the flight of the bumblebee to catch the garbage truck. Granted, it was mostly to avoid causing serious harm to the garbage dudes... I mean, I'm not a small girl...and running madly after the truck dragging my cans could've caused all sorts of problems. Can't have the garbage dudes falling off the truck, or having the driver get inspiration pneumonia from sucking some of his coffee or soda or whatever down his windpipe.... In this case, laughter would NOT be the best medicine. And that doesnt even begin to factor in the potential whiplash danger for my neighbors. You know. The ones that always "just happen to be looking out the window". I think everyone has one. And if you don''s only because you haven't caught them yet.

So anyway... I had a small mountain of stuff to put out today. I'm thinking I probably need to make a batch of Chex Mix or cookies or something... might need to bribe the garbage dudes before the next pick up.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Loss and Life Lessons

A comment here from my friend Kelly sent my thoughts whirling backwards... It made me rethink some difficult times, and it reminds me of how blessed I've been.

There is a balance in all things.

Death. Life. Grief. Joy. Turbulence. Tranquility.

My husband's death brought a number of "expected" emotions to my world... upheaval, self-doubt, anger, loss. It brought a writhing tumbling mass of tasks to be completed. I was overwhelmed. It also brought some unexpected reactions. I became immensely focused... so many decisions to be made, and my son to be guided/aided through his own maze of loss. I decided, very much against the wishes of nearly all my family and friends to hold two for the law enforcement community early in the day, and another more traditional "viewing" later that same day. I was told that it would drain me. Instead, I was given a wonderful gift. People came, shared their stories and told me about how my husband had touched their lives. Funny stories, poignant ones, from every possible time in his life...and from some of the most unlikely sources, including a couple from people he had arrested at one time or other. All of these people shared my loss. With each person, I gained a bit of strength, and a bit of resolve. Several times, well-meaning friends tried to get me to sit, or leave for a while... They didn't understand that this was something tangible I could do for Hank. It felt like Something I could give back to those people who had taken time from their lives to reach out to me. At that point, I'm not sure I understood my motivations... all I knew was that it was helping. Now, I realize that we were celebrating his life, not surrendering to his loss.

Over time, a number of good things happened... I went back to school, and changed careers. I had talked about it for years, but because I made good money at the bank, we had put off my return to school. As a direct result of Hank's death, I began to understand how valuable "today" is. I try very hard not to leave things unsaid, and work to change the things in my life that I don't like. We have to be catalysts in our own lives...not make excuses and wait for that nebulous "someday". Now... works just fine.

My son is grown now... a man we can be proud of. He's independant and caring. He volunteers in the community, has a good job, and still makes time for his family. I used to tease him, telling him he got the worst of his parents "bad" traits (his dad's stubbornness, and my mouth). Now, that tenacity and honesty are tempered for the most part by plain old common sense. The loss of his dad taught him a level of compassion that wasn't there before. The way Hank lived set a standard for John...and nothing pleases John more than to be compared to his dad. Another blessing.

I learned that the only things I can control are my own actions, and my reactions to others. Worry simply robs me of my own time. Anger makes *me* feel bad, not someone else. It's far, far better to spend time looking for the joys in life and spend time seeking out those people and things that make you happy, or feel more fulfilled.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Past December, finally.

December is always my worst month. Didn't use to be. For most of my life, I looked forward to the holiday season. I was one of those annoying people who started shopping just after one Christmas for the NEXT one. Generally, my shopping was done by September, and everything was wrapped in October so that I could enjoy doing all the baking and just kick back and watch while everyone else scurried around from Black Friday forward. I was chomping at the bit to get my Christmas tree up (although my husband insisted that I wait at LEAST until December.)

All of that changed after December of 2000. My son was 13. I had been married for sixteen and a half years. We celebrated my husband's 45th birthday on the 13th. Good times. Went to several Christmas parties, insulted the 13 y/o by having Grandma come stay with him while we had dinner out and attended one particularly late party the weekend after my husband's birthday. Excellent times...and there are pictures to prove it.

Three days later, everything fell apart. Hank woke me up at 3 am to tell me he wasn't feeling so well and thought he needed to see a doctor. Smart ass that I am... my sleepy reply was, "So, if I make an appointment, are you actually going to GO?" He said, "uhm...I think maybe we need to go to the ER." I promise, those words make you instantly awake. In retrospect, it's weird how organized I was... I managed to call and get someone to cover his call (he volunteered with a rescue squad), called my mom to come stay with our son, got my clothes on and hair brushed, before he finished getting dressed. Weird fact: rescue volunteers never call EMS... It wasn't til we were almost in the hospital parking lot that Hank started describing symptoms. I pulled up to the ambulance bay doors, he went in, and by the time I got parked and came in to registration, he was in a room, hooked up to a zillion beeping things... and they knew he'd already had one MI. (heart attack).

It's odd. so much of the next month is a blur, yet that one day I can give you almost a minute-by-minute rundown of what happened...who was there, what was said... all of it. I won't, cos that's not the point of this.

The cliff notes version is that he had me call Mom to bring our son to the hospital that morning before he was sent to IC. Things never stablilized, so finally we had him transferred to another hospital, and Hank died within 18 hours of waking me up that morning. The cardiothoracic surgeon said that even if he'd been standing next to my husband when the big attack happened, he wouldnt have been able to change the outcome. Most people would have died on the spot. Hank was in such excellent physical condition that he survived, pretty much by will... for nearly a day.

I have been blessed many times over in my life... those hours are one of God's greatest gifts to my son and me. We both know it. We both dread Decembers anyhow.

Friday night..oops Saturday morning

My friend's hubby had to have some fairly serious surgery this week. It was intricate enough that they had to go to a major medical center a couple of hours from here to have the procedure done. Logistical nightmare for them. Her mom came to stay with the kidlet, and since I was off work, I drove down to the hospital to hang out with my friend during the operation. I was counting on a long day, and it was. I was mostly ready for it. I had brought my kindle and downloaded the new James Patterson novel. I had my little green OCD fiesta bible, and I was planning to do some updating (since god-bless-my-brother got me chocolate fiesta for christmas!) I wasn't counting on having entertainment provided. Well, not that the people providing it were *aware* that they were entertaining...but man, oh man... they were.

I was pretty impressed with the level of organization at the hospital. Everyone had to wear a sticker... It was almost like way back in first grade when you wore a big red construction paper apple with your bus number on it for a couple of days, except well, it wasn't red, nor construction paper...but it did have which waiting room you were supposed to be in on it. Some folks even had some sort of code that showed what wing/floor etc they were visiting. When we got to the waiting room, there was a sweet little volunteer lady there who answered the phone, kept track of who was coming and going, and mangled most peoples names. (that should've been my first clue that entertainment was close at hand). Granted, some names invite mangling... but Jones should be straightforward, right?
"Jo wuhnnnns" Three syllables. wow. They didn't recognize their own names.

We'd just plunked down in the reasonably comfy chairs when a little old man wandered by...passing gas with each step! No kidding. There are probably 20 people scattered around the room...every last one of us trying not to chuckle. Maybe I should have factored in whether I was in the direct flight path to the restrooms before I chose my seat?

After a bit of chitchatting with my friend, it seemed like a good time to pull out the kindle to read. The book was good... you'd think I'd be oblivious to the rest of the world..? Nope. For some reason I managed to look up JUST as a new fella approached the volunteer desk... He leaned forward.... AUGHHHHHHHHHHHH. Six miles of crack appeared. Why is it that it's humanly impossible to look away from something like that? Thankfully he wasn't there long. (Evidently his sticker said he was supposed to be elsewhere?) Back to the Kindle and Alex Cross. Murder, mayhem... now, I should know not to look up. Too late. If you've ever wondered what happened to the model for Wonder Woman in the 40's... I found her. I didn't see a golden lasso or anything, but I'm pretty sure it was her...or at least her bra. I wondered idly if maybe there were fiesta saucers under there to get that level of shelfage...? or maybe enough layers of duck tape will give you the same effect. hm.

Time flew by. There was always something new to look at, or some new accent (or trying to guess what name the volunteer lady was attempting to pronounce.)

oh, and my friend's hubby did really well, too.