Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

My head is throbbing today, but my plan is to just keep on plugging away. I know that it's sinus pressure, but I'm already taking so many different medications right now, that I hate to throw anything else into the mix. So I suffer.

I've ventured out of the safe confines of the bedroom, and can post a couple of pictures of Alex in his costume Saturday night.

Yep, he went as Jim Tressel, head coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Fortunately everything we had to purchase to pull this costume off can be worn in the future, although knowing Alex, he'll try to get away with not wearing the athletic shoes again. He said they look like nursing shoes and they make his size 14 feet look even bigger than they are! You know what Alex??? GET OVER IT!

The sweater vest was hard to find, but we finally were able to locate it online. It's the "official" vest that Jim Tressel wears on the sidelines.

Alex borrowed the tie from The Collection of Harold. Harold is my dad and has enough ties to open his own tie shop. I'm serious. He had this big quilt rack that he kept all his ties on and one day my mom moved it to run the sweeper underneath it. BIG MISTAKE. It fell apart and for kicks, she counted the ties as she put them back on. There were over 400 (yes, that's FOUR HUNDRED)! Anyway, we knew that dad would have a tie that Alex could wear.

Alex had a great time at the party and people really enjoyed his costume, so that's all that matters.

At our old house, I would carve 3-4 pumpkins every year. I just loved carving pumpkins, no matter how messy the whole procedure was. I even cut out magazine pictures of pumpkin faces that I like, and save them in a file. Here at our new house, we don't get any trick or treaters, and our house sits about 75 feet back from the road, so it's hard to see the the carved pumpkins. Therefore, I don't carve them now, but here are a few that I did a couple of years ago. One year, back in the late 90s, I even carved "Chief Wahoo" of Cleveland Indians fame. Yes, I took pictures, but they are the old fashioned kind, real hard copies, and I never scanned them into the computer.

Have a great Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I'm slowly but surely returning to the land of the living. I've been home from school since last Thursday morning, and will be going back this coming Friday, if I continue to slowly, but surely, improve.

Every single year (except the year I was off with the cancer) I get really sick in October. I suffer for a few days, even up to a week, then realize that it's not going away on its own, give in and see the doctor, then end up being "scolded" by him because I went to work and I shouldn't have, and then have to take a few days off to recover.

Well I vowed that this year would be different. As soon as "something" started, I was going to call the doctor's office and get in to see him. Yeah right...well you know how the "best laid plans" usually go.

I started feeling really crappy last Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon a teacher wanted me to read a book out loud to his class for 45 minutes. I told him I had a sore throat and was losing my voice, so we were going to have to go to Plan B. They read silently and I worked on math intervention with a few students. By the time I got home I was feeling pretty bad, so I immediately called the doctor. I got their emergency service because they were OUT OF THE OFFICE FOR THE DAY! Heck, it was only 3:15!

I was in bed by 3:45, and except to take a shower and go to the bathroom, I STAYED in bed (or the recliner) until 6:00 the next morning. I felt so miserable, but thought if I could tough it out at school on Thursday, and get in to the doctor, things would be okay. Well, things didn't go too well and I was back home by a little after 8:30 am. I was able to get an appointment with the "other" doctor in my doctor's practice for later on in the morning and even had to call Ted to come home to take me. I was really going off the deep end.

Unfortunately I rarely run a fever. And to top it off, my normal body temperature is in the low to mid 96s. When I hit 98.6, I'm actually running a fever. When we got to the dr's office, my temp was right around 97, so I didn't even have a real fever to show for all the pain. The dr I saw (whom I absolutely fell in love with...she's wonderful!) was really worried about my wheezing. I also have a lot of scar tissue in one lung from having pneumonia while I was in the hospital recovering from my colostomy take-down surgery a year ago last February, and that was also contributing to my being unable to breathe well.

Those things were having a terrible affect on my breathing and making it difficult to even suck in air. So besides the wheezing, it seems that I have bronchitis (gee, there's a shock) and a nasty lung infection. Yeah, well, let the treatment begin!

I'm on an antibiotic (that's making me pretty sick to my stomach so I spend half my day in the bathroom, if you know what I mean), an inhaler (that may or may not be helping, but it sure isn't hurting), and prednisone (which has been absolutely FABULOUS for the arthritis in my knees!).

The rest of Thursday and Friday are pretty much a blur, but I do remember that on Saturday I started the fever thing. Two hours after taking ibuprofen, it was "down" to 99.7 and I was feeling awful. That night, however, I had to help Alex with his costume for a Halloween party. He took care of getting dressed by himself, but I had to do his hair (which is WAY too long for my tastes right now, but he's a teenager and I'm picking my long as it's cut by Christmas I think I can handle it.)

*NOTE* I'll post a couple of pictures of him in his costume soon. They are downloaded onto the desktop computer in the den and I'm on the laptop in my bedroom. And by the way....thanks Christa, for the idea! I "borrowed" it from Zach's costume last year. If Zack hadn't looked so darn cute I wouldn't have even thought of it.

Anyway, I had a follow up appointment with my regular doctor today and he said he was concerned about how much I'm still wheezing when I breathe, so he extended the prednisone and increased the use of the inhaler. I'm feeling a tad better, but far from great. I'm supposed to let him know next week how I'm feeling. I told the dr that I absolutely HAD to go back to work on Friday to get my plans done for next week (not to mention that yet once again, I'll be down to about 5 sick days, UGH) and he reluctantly agreed.

Okay, enough about all of this. I just want to get better and maybe even sleep in the bed for a change. I like the recliner, and just love having the space in our bedroom for it, but I miss my all cotton, 450 thread count sheets, and just want to sleep in my own bed with my pillows. I tried to take a nap in bed today and it lasted about 20 minutes because I wasn't able to breathe. THIS IS GETTING OLD AND I'M ALLOWED TO WHINE.

Please everyone....STAY WELL!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'll be back soon

I've been coming down with something and it hit full force yesterday. I went to school this morning and was back home by 8:30 am. I went to the doctor and Ted had to come home to take me. I've never been that sick before. I'm on an inhaler, an antibiotic and prednisone, so hopefully I'll be feeling better soon.

Til then...take care everyone

Monday, October 22, 2007

Making Choices

Okay, this has been grating on me for a while now.

I follow several blogs on a daily basis. On one of the blogs there is a woman who has struggled with infertility for several years. After one miscarriage and a couple cycles of injections and constant monitoring, she is now about 16 weeks pregnant.

This is wonderful news and I'm very happy for her and her husband.

In early to mid August they discovered that she was carrying triplets.

Shortly thereafter she began to discuss a possible reduction in her blog. She mentioned it on and off for a few weeks and then mentioned her fears in regards to carrying triplets. She was concerned about premature birth, possible future health issues, and the financial impact.

She kept up with the talk about reduction until she finally made up her mind. Apparently reductions should be done around the 12th week. She posted on her blog that they decided to reduce the pregnancy.

This really upset me for some reason. I stopped commenting on her blog when she made this decision. I just had too many questions. How do you decide to reduce? How do you decide how many to reduce to? How is a choice made as to which one is going to be destroyed?

Now before any of you go off on me, I've had no problems getting pregnant. However, I had four miscarriages and that was extremely traumatic for both of us. It was probably a little more traumatic for me, because I not only dealt with the emotional aspect, but the physical aspect as well, and it was definitely NOT FUN.

Anyway, this woman shared that they decided to reduce the pregnancy to twins and went ahead and had the reduction done. The fetus that they chose to destroy was the one that was the easiest to get to.

Okay, she's made her decision and has done it. I was still upset, BUT, I've not walked a mile in her shoes, so I should really just let it go....right?

Well, you know me....sometimes I just can't let things go. It's been bothering me like crazy for a while.

Last week she had another ultrasound. They found out that one of the babies is a girl, and they think that the other one is also a girl.

(This is when I really got irritated.)

She was COMPLAINING that they were both girls! She wanted one of each! Of course they have no idea what gender the fetus was that they chose to get rid of.

I think she has a lot of nerve to complain about the sex of the babies when she got rid of one.

I also follow a couple other blogs where women are or were pregnant with triplets. Everything has been absolutely fine with the babies. The one who is still pregnant is having NO problems at all and she is almost 6 and a half months pregnant now. So it's very possible to have triplets (or more) and for everything to go fine.

If we worry about the "possibilities" of what "could" happen all the time with everything in our lives, we would be worrying constantly, and never enjoy anything.

I just found it frustrating that a woman chose to eliminate one of her fetuses then has the guts to complain about the sex of what she has left.

It could just be me and my sensitivity to some issues.

If I've offended anyone with this, I apologize, but this is my blog and I like to write about my thoughts and feelings.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Ted is the one who came up with that name for him. And somehow I don't think that he meant it in a loving fashion...hmmmmmm....

I had a friend whose mother is a HUGE Barry Manilow fan. I mean HUGE to the point of traveling around the country to see him. Like in spending 5 days in Las Vegas to see all 5 of his shows. Like in going to Los Angeles for a couple days to catch all his shows. And in going to New York to see him on "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" (which is what it still was when they went).

Because my friend's mother belonged to the Official Barry Manilow Fan Club she was able to get preferred seating at his concerts. She knew that I liked Barry and she asked if I wanted to go along to a concert at Blossom Music Center. She could get up to 4 tickets per event and her husband and daughter (my friend) were going, and they had an extra ticket. Well, I jumped at the chance because I knew that we would have pretty good seats.

Pretty good does third row sound?? We were off on the left side a little, but we were CLOSE. You could count the guy's nose hairs. It was July and hot and humid, but we didn't mind. He sang for an hour and a half, took a short break, then did another hour and 15 minutes. What a show! He is a fabulous entertainer.

Well, that did it for me. I ended up joining the fan club and found out about some of his upcoming concerts in Ohio. That fall, Ted and I, along with my friend and her husband, went to Miami University near Cincinnati to see Barry, who happened to be performing for Parents' Weekend. This time we were in the 5th row, right on the center aisle. Somewhere in all of my stacks and piles of pictures, I have a shot of Ted sitting in a chair on the aisle, holding up a Barry Manilow program. He told me that if that picture ever went public he would go into hiding for the rest of his life, hahaha!

That was the night that he began to refer to Barry as the Big B.M. A.P. and U.T. (Aunt Patty and Uncle Tim) were keeping Joey and Alex overnight, so it was a nice little weekend getaway for us. It was obvious that Ted wasn't really too crazy about being there, but I thought it was so sweet of him to come along and spend the evening doing something that I really enjoyed. Of course he made no secret of the fact that his whole goal was to "get lucky" that night, if you know what I mean. In his words, "Putting up with the Big B.M. all evening long (another very long show!), we're away without the kids, and the wife would be in a good mood. Of course 'getting lucky' is my goal!"

Ted actually went with me to another B.M. concert the following summer, but then he sort of put his foot down and said he had seen all that he could handle in one lifetime. That's okay, because I went to a few more concerts with different people and had a great time.

Back then, he had two fabulous female and one wonderful male back-up singers. One of the women was Deborah Byrd and she's originally from the Cleveland area. The guy was Billy Kidd and not only was he a terrific singer, but he was also extremely easy on the eyes. Billy opened up for Barry and was very VERY good. After he left Barry for a solo career, I lost track of him and don't know what happened. Deborah is one of the singers who helps the contestants on American Idol. As far as the other female singer, I can't even remember her name, but she was also very good. Barry was absolutely excellent at showcasing his band's vocal and musical talent.

All I can say is that he is the ultimate performer, and I would absolutely LOVE to be one of his back-up singers!

Friday, October 19, 2007

My Dream Job

My secret dream job will soon no longer be a secret. I'm going to lay it out here for all to see. It's something that I've wanted to do for years and years.

It's important to note that I am NOT saying that I'm any good at this, but it's just something that I've always wanted to do.

Even though I've never EVER been a "girly" girl, I would have the opportunity to wear things that are glittery. I would even go so far as to wear jewelry and make-up. Heck, I would even work on my hair for this job.

Yep, it would be so awesome! It would even involve some traveling. I could handle that. The only thing that I probably wouldn't like would be the heat. It would be pretty warm under the lights, but I bet I would be able to deal with it, as long as I was doing my dream job.

I want to be....

a back-up singer...

for the big B.M.

(stay tuned for the big reveal of who the Big B.M. is!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Lost Art

When I watch my mom iron a shirt, a pair of pants, or anything else, I'm just in awe. I don't know HOW she does it so effortlessly. When she's finished, she has a totally and completely wrinkle-free garment.

Ironing is not something I do well.

Please note that I didn't say that it is not something I do, because I have been known on occasion to pull out the ironing board and the iron.

I've actually timed myself while ironing a dress shirt. I am PROUD to say that I can now iron a dress shirt in LESS THAN 45 minutes! It's not necessarily wrinkle-free, but it's passable.

My mom has tried to teach me so many times how to do this the right way. Remember, this is the same woman who is a perfectionist about bed-making and towel-folding , so you can imagine what those "lessons" are like! Heck, she even keeps her ironing board up ALL THE TIME!

When I went through all my clothes over Labor Day weekend, I tried to look at things with an objective eye. There were things that I know needed ironed and I thought to myself, "Self, if you would get up half an hour earlier each morning, you could iron those things and they would be wearable for school."

That lasted about all of a day. Not too long after I had ironed some shirts for Ted this past summer, my mom called and asked me what I was doing. I casually mentioned that I had just finished ironing Ted's shirts. She asked me how long it took and I told her...I ironed 3 shirts in about 2 hours and 55 minutes. She said, "Why didn't you just bring them here so I could iron them?"

Well, I can be a little independent at times, and I know that someday the time will come when I can't depend on my mom for things like this. Besides, I've tried not to ask her to do anything like that for me since she had open heart surgery this past January. Although she's completely recovered, I still don't want to give her more to do than she already has.

Now I just basically look at things and hope they aren't too wrinkled. If they are, I put them in the dryer with a damp towel or washcloth and hope for the best. I can spend hours ironing and what we wear will end up looking like it never saw a hot, flat surface.

I'm not the only one who doesn't iron. My nieces don't iron. My sisters-in-law don't iron. I seriously doubt if my aunts iron, and I don't think my cousins iron either. Some of the people I work with don't iron. Of course I haven't asked them all, so that's why I'm saying SOME.

Those few people that do iron, either can do it extremely well, or struggle with it big time, like me.

And that's why it's becoming a lost art.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Cousin Lynne

I have a cousin who is seven years older than me. When I was younger I absolutely ADORED her! Whenever we were together, I would follow her everywhere and do everything she did, or at least I would try to.

We lived about an hour and a half away from each other, and her mom and my dad are brother and sister. There wasn't a thing about Lynne that I didn't love.

She spelled her name with an "e" at the end. Wow, when I was a child, that was a special thing. It set her apart from everyone else and gave her a little more class in my book.

She was an only child, and that was great in my opinion. She had no younger brother (like I did) who would constantly bother her and get in the way.

Lynne took piano lessons, so whenever we went to visit them, I had her show me how to play something on the piano. I can read music, but trying to get both of those hands going at the same time...well, that's not quite something I've mastered yet! HOWEVER...when I was in kindergarten my teacher asked if anyone knew how to play the piano and I raised my hand. I figured that Lynne had taught me well enough that I could get by. My teacher asked me to play something for the class and I just pounded the crap out of those keys, hahaha! She told me to go back to my seat then...I guess she wasn't impressed.

Lynne was also a majorette. Now THAT was really cool! When I would stay there for a few weeks every summer, she would have to go outside and practice baton for about an hour before she even ate breakfast. Of course, I would be right outside with her. She could twirl 2 batons at one time and that was so cool to watch. I started trying to do her routines with her.


Okay, those of you who know me personally can now QUIT laughing like crazy.

All things considered, I really wasn't that bad. At the time. When I was young. Way back when. Way WAY back when. In a previous life. When I weighed a LOT less, and I do mean A LOT LESS.

I even went so far as to tell my high school band director that I might consider trying out for majorette. (I told you people to stop laughing!) But she told me that I wouldn't make it because I played trumpet and I was pretty good at it and she needed me there. Did I believe her? Of course I did, hahaha!

Lynne had contacts. So naturally I wanted glasses so I could get contacts too. Lynne had braces for a while. I wanted them least until the time came to get my impressions taken and then I changed my mind and talked my parents out of me getting them. Besides, they would have interfered with my trumpet playing.

I felt bad for Lynne though. Whenever I would stay there, she had to take me everywhere. Not only did I really want to go, but my aunt (her mom) MADE her take me. She would take me to the park swimming pool. Of course she would stand around and talk to the guys (who ALWAYS seemed to be hovering nearby!). If she and her current boyfriend were going to go out riding around, there I was, in the backseat. Oh man, those guys must have HATED me for that!

I would just love to watch her get ready to go somewhere. She had to get out her clothes, which were absolutely perfect and gorgeous on her. Then she would start her whole make-up routine. That would take about an hour to get it absolutely perfect. Then she would do her hair. She wore her hair so many different ways that it constantly amazed me. It would be nothing for her to take over 2 hours to get ready to go anyplace, and I loved watching her get ready each step of the way.

So anyway, Lynne was like my idol. She was beautiful. She had these gorgeous high cheekbones and long, thick dark hair. Her smile was absolutely beautiful too. She wore a size 2, so she was thin. She reminded me a little bit of Cher, of Sonny and Cher, only Lynne was much prettier.

Lynne decided to become a teacher and went away to college. Fortunately she stayed her in Ohio, but a couple hours from home. She was a majorette in college too. Oh, how I idolized her.

Her boyfriend that she met in college would come to my aunt's house and stay for a few days at a time (in another room, of course) and I'm sure that he got real tired of me really quick. But he never let on. He was a pretty nice guy back then. Once he and Lynne got engaged, it was REALLY great, because he had "connections" with the Cincinnati Reds and our Grandma was a big Reds fan. The boyfriend's dad had an executive position with the Reds and back when the "Big Red Machine" was in existence in the 1970s it really paid off. Lynne and Grandma went to several World Series games and sat right behind home plate. Lynne got to meet many of the Reds players and even got a baseball autographed by all the team members for my younger brother. That would include players like Johnny Bench, Pete Rose (yeah, I know), Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Ken Griffey, Cesar Geronimo, and others.

She graduated from college and got a teaching job immediately. She was teaching 4th grade, living away from home, engaged to a great guy.

Lynne also had some bad luck.

When she was in high school she had to have her wisdom teeth removed. They were so impacted that they had to be removed in the hospital. She ended up in ICU for a couple of days because things just didn't go smoothly.

Her freshman year in college, she caught mono. She had it really bad. She had to come home and she missed an entire quarter. It took her a couple of summers to get those classes made up. Then she found out that her boyfriend/fiance just wasn't quite the man she thought he was, and she broke up with him. She eventually met another man and fell in love and got married. He turned out to be gay, so she divorced him. She met yet another guy, fell in love again, and got married. After a few years she became pregnant. When she was 4 months pregnant, she had appendicitis and had to have her appendix removed and was on morphine. Of course it wasn't an easy procedure, because nothing with her ever is. Fortunately her daughter was born 4 months later (a month premature) and everything was fine.

It gets worse. She and her husband were walking out of a restaurant with their daughter and Lynne had on those Dr. Scholl's wooden foot sandals. (Yes, I had several pair too...just because Lynne did!). She fell as she was walking out and broke her ankle. Of course it wasn't just a normal break, it was all messed up. The doctor that set it and put a cast on it did a terrible job. About 4 months or so later she had to have surgery on the ankle and have it re-broken and cast again. That didn't work either. She had to have some other kind of surgery on it and they had to put the lower half of her leg in a halo type contraption. She had three titanium rods through her leg, holding the halo in place. Then a week before the surgery to remove it, she felt a snap and one of the titanium rods snapped inside of her leg. Her surgery was moved up to IMMEDIATELY. Not too long after all that got sort of straightened out she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Of course she has the worst case that her team of doctors have ever seen. She has osteoarthritis in her back and was in severe back pain for a long time....months and months. This was going on during her flare ups with fibro. She finally had back surgery to fuse certain vertebrae, and is now in even worse pain.

At this time she is practically bed-ridden.

If it weren't for bad luck, Lynne wouldn't have any.

It's hard to see the person that I so badly wanted to be like slowly turn into the person that I would least want to be. I feel so bad for her.

I guess we never really appreciate what all we have, even if it's not what we thought we wanted.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Old Shows

I have a theory on why so many of us watch and thoroughly enjoy old television shows. When we watch them, they remind us of the times that we originally watched them, and take us back to an earlier time in our lives.

Last weekend we stumbled across "The Lawrence Welk Show" on PBS. Ted and I sat there watching it, with smiles on our faces. Joey and Alex thought we were crazy, but Alex ended up enjoying it and was looking forward to this weekend when he could watch it again.

Ted said that as a child he had seen it with his parents. I can recall spending an occasional Saturday night at my grandparents' house and watching "Lawrence Welk" and "Leave it to Beaver."

Yes, I even remember hearing Lawrence talk about how wonderful Geritol was. I loved seeing the Lennon Sisters, Bobby and Sissy (the dancers), the tap dancing guy, and JoAnn Castle, the woman who played the piano while looking out at the audience with this HUGE grin on her face. I also knew the closing song by memory and loved watching them sing it, with the women on one side and the men on the other. And their long, pretty

I recall my Grandpa laughing at that darn Eddie Haskell and his antics. He thought Eddie was quite a character. Of course I wanted to grow up and be Wally's girlfriend.

Oh yes, the times of our youth...when we had no problems or cares.

There are other shows that bring back memories too. When "Gilligan's Island" was on (Monday evenings), it was my bathtime, and I remember trying to get away from my mom, and sitting on the back of the couch. All I wanted to do was watch Gilligan and see Ginger's pretty dresses.

On Tuesday nights, the "Red Skelton Show" was on and I could only watch part of it because my bedtime was 8:30 SHARP.

One Friday evening during the summer I was watching "The Flintstones" and my brother fell and cracked his head open on a small rocking chair. We had to take him to the ER to get stitched up and I was MAD! How dare he interrupt me while watching my favorite cartoon!

Ted likes to watch Nick at Night occasionally and I really do think that it's because it reminds him of his youth. He also absolutely ADORES M*A*S*H. I still get a kick out of the Brady Bunch. It was always interesting to see what kind of predicaments those Brady kids got into.

Yep, life was a lot simpler back then.

Oh yeah, one more thing.

(This post sure is showing my age!)

I can remember the first time I saw "The Wizard of Oz" in color. It was only on once a year, in the spring. My grandparents had just purchased one of those new fangled COLOR televisions! My mom took my best friend at the time, Mary, and me into town to watch the show at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We had already had our baths, and were in our pajamas, and my brother had to stay home with my dad, so we could watch it UNINTERRUPTED. It was absolutely WONDERFUL! I never knew that color TV could be so great!

Yep, life sure was simpler then...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Social Events

When I was in high school (way back when) homecoming consisted of a night of football designed to bring back the alumni, a reason to conduct yet another popularity contest by selecting a queen, and a very casual dance in the gym after the game.

Times have changed a little.

Last night was our local high school homecoming football game. It is pretty much irrelevant that we lost 22-6.

The important things were that the alumni were honored and a queen was chosen. Our high school has a regular choir and several select groups. Back in the day, we only had the choir and one select group, the Chorale. I was fortunate enough to be in the Chorale.

(This is where I really made out...I took a lot of classes my freshman, sophomore, and junior years and basically had no study halls, all with the intent of goofing off my senior year. It worked, hahaha! I had FOUR classes in the music department that year: Chorale, Choir, Stage Band, and regular band. Of course I also had government and a couple other electives, but it was basically a pretty easy year. Intentionally.)

One of the retired music directors directed the alumni Chorale, mixed in with current Chorale members, in the alma mater before the start of last night's game. About a decade or so ago I participated in this for a few years. It was fun. I picked up the music ahead of time, learned my part, showed up for rehearsal an hour before game time, sang at the game, went to my seat, and that was it. And for the record, I was NOT the oldest alumni in the Chorale!

Last night I chose not to participate. In fact, I was at school working until the middle of the second quarter, but that's another story.

At halftime homecoming attendants were recognized, then senior attendants were selected as the king and queen of the event. I've always considered this a personality contest, but that's my opinion.

(I'm making a few assumptions here, based on the last few years' events, since I was NOT at last night's game and didn't listen to all of it on the radio. If I'm wrong on anything, I'm sure Christa will straighten me out!)

Tonight....ah yes, tonight is the Homecoming DANCE. Over the years this has become much more of a formal event and it's on the night following the game. Girls wear formal dresses, and the guys wear suits (they don't usually get tuxes for this event, thank goodness).

From the first day of school in August (I didn't realize this until I spent a little time with a few high schoolers that I had NOT given birth to) dates for Homecoming are arranged. Because dating has changed over the years, many kids go to Homecoming in groups, and/or as friends, with no "romantic" interest at all.

Alex is a high school junior. Alex is stubborn. Alex is bull-headed. Alex will not listen to reason.

How bad is it to want your son to go to Homecoming?? I just want him to experience a semi-formal social event that doesn't include dancing with your aunts, cousins, mother, or grandmother (like a family wedding). He has his own car, so he wouldn't need to be chauffeured to the dance. He has a suit. He has ME to help him select a corsage for the girl he would take.

But noooooooooooooooooooooo, we can't go to Homecoming.

Why, you might ask?

Because Alex doesn't want to.

He continually says that he's just not interested. Personally, I think he's afraid of being rejected by a female. However, we know people who have daughters who are in high school (our high school and others in the area) and I'm sure that he would have a date....a friend date....but he's just not interested.

Joey never went to Homecoming or Prom. I didn't push the issue too much with him because he is just not a social person. I didn't want to shove him out of his "comfort zone." And besides, I knew that I had "Mr. Personality" waiting in the wings.

However, "Mr. Personality" has disappointed me.

Okay, so maybe I'm trying to relive my youth a little, but is that so wrong? I know that once he got there he would have a great time. That's just the way he is.

I'd been asking him about one of his friends, Tim. "Is Tim going to Homecoming?"

"I don't know MOTHER."

"Come have to know if he's going or not."

"I said, 'I don't know.' "

It went on from there, but really isn't worth repeating.

The other day, when I got home from school, Tim was here.

"Hey Tim...are you going to Homecoming?"

This is where Alex said, "Come on Tim, we have to go....NOW."

"Hold on a minute....Tim? Are you going?" I asked.

Tim said, "Yes I am...with ****, a girl I'm friends with."

"Did you hear that Alex???? TIM IS GOING TO HOMECOMING."

Tim said, "Alex already knows I'm going."

Let's just say that I shot Alex a look that said it all.

After Tim left, Alex said that he purposely didn't tell me because he knew I'd flip out.




So tonight, while most area teens are at the Homecoming Dance, my teenage son will be sitting here at home with us.

Hmmmmm.....maybe that's not so bad, after all.

But he's definitely going to Prom.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fan Mail and Funeral Homes

Okay, I know it's been a little while since I've updated. It was called to my attention last evening in fan mail!!

Yes folks, you read that right...I got FAN MAIL!! (via email)

Terre made me feel SO good when she wrote and told me that she "couldn't take it anymore" and had to find out what was going on.

Thank you Terre....for being a writer yourself, and then complimenting me on my writing....well, WOW! You made my night!!

If you are offended by funeral home stories, feel free to stop reading here.

Ted and I have some friends that we've known forever. Ted and Mark knew each other BEFORE they started kindergarten! I first met Mark when I was a sophomore in high school. He was in band with me, as was his wife Debbie. I've known Debbie since I was a junior in high school. So it's safe to say that the four of us go WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY back.

Mark was an only child who was born when his parents were in their 40s. Although that's not too big of a deal now, way back when it was definitely NOT the norm.

Oh yeah. Mark has red hair. And the temper that goes with it. Enough said.

I played trumpet in band and Mark and Debbie did too. Mark was an excellent trumpet player. He was always capable of hitting those really high notes. I'd get a little worried about him when he hit a really high note and his hair would turn redder and his face would turn purple, but he always made it through okay.

Mark also took drafting classes in high school and went to Cleveland one evening in March of his junior year for a competition. His parents went with him, as did the parents of the other students involved. Unfortunately his dad had a heart attack and died in an elevator in Cleveland that night. What a sad time that was. After that it was just Mark and his mom Elda.

After graduation Mark went off to the University of Cincinnati and became an engineer. Elda was so proud of him. Every time I would see her in the grocery store or somewhere else she would always talk about Mark and his latest accomplishments. After college graduation Mark came back to the area and was working for ODOT, the Ohio Department of Transportation. I know that Elda was so relieved to have him nearby.

Mark and his wife Debbie began dating (they never dated in high school...funny, isn't it?) and got married, and had their first son. Elda would always stop me and tell me how things were going with them and how much she relied on Mark to help her with things. After Mark and Debbie had their second son, they eventually went through Elda's house for her, to get her ready to move. Elda was known as a pack rat and it was a rough job, going through everything, but they did it. They got her moved and kept a close eye on things.

Elda loved saving things. She would save styrofoam meat trays. She would save paper bags. She saved plastic bags. She would buy Cool Whip just to save the containers. She had enough foil pie pans to bake pies for everyone in the county. She collected rubber bands. She hoarded clothing, and only wore a few of the same pieces all the time. Before they knew it, Mark and Debbie had to go to Elda's new house and "reduce" her collection again.

Elda had her share of health issues over the years. She had three strokes over a 12 year period or so. She had high blood pressure. She had some other ailments too. But the thing about Elda was that she always bounced back, better than ever.

We said that Elda would outlive us all.

A couple of years ago she had to go the nursing home, but was still coherent at the beginning of her stay. She started going downhill several months ago.

Mark has had a rough year. He was diagnosed with diabetes a few years back and this past spring had to have a big toe amputated due to some complications related to the diabetes. After a week long stay in the hospital for that, he came home for a few days before being admitted again with a staph infection. He was only in for several days that time. When we saw him in late July he was still hooking himself to IV antibiotics twice a day. He said he only had a week to go with that though.

A few weeks later, Ted ran into Debbie and she told him that Mark had had a stroke. At that time he was at a hospital about half an hour away and would soon be heading to the Cleveland Clinic for treatment. After his release from the clinic he went to a nursing home for some rehab. This was definitely NOT the Mark that we had known.

Life takes some wild turns occasionally. Sigh.

Mark got released from the nursing home about a week ago. Two days ago they got the call from Elda's nursing home telling them that they needed to get there fast. She passed away late Tuesday afternoon, at the age of 90.

I guess she didn't outlive us all.

We were at the funeral home tonight, and although it was sad, it was nice to see Mark sitting there able to talk and walk. He gave us the "Cliff Notes" version of what he had gone through and it's amazing that he's come as far as he has. He said that he's going back to work as a construction engineer at ODOT on November 10. I sure hope it goes well for him.

We saw quite a few people there that we knew from high school. Ironically the woman that had been the secretary at the high school works at the funeral home as a greeter. She is SO awesome! She always gives all of us a hug when she sees us and is just the greatest woman!

There were people there that we had seen at Ted's high school reunion, and others who either didn't make it to the reunion or didn't graduate with Ted. For being a sad occasion, it was kind of nice. Do you know what I mean?

Is that a bad thing to say? It was almost fun. (I'm looking up, hoping that I'm not going to be struck by lightning for saying that.)

A lot of us got caught up on each other's lives and we saw Mark and Debbie's oldest son, who is in the Coast Guard. He was in his dress blues and looked SO sharp!

Ted was rolling his eyes at me because I asked a few people I know if they've had their colonoscopies yet, hahaha. I try not to ever miss an opportunity to push the scope issue.

Our local funeral home now serves COOKIES AND LEMONADE during the viewing!! I've read a series of books (Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books) in which they have cookies at the funeral home and laughed hysterically, but to see it in real life?? Ted said that he just has a hard time having cookies with the deceased watching over him. I know, that's a shock for Ted, because I don't ever remember him passing up a chance to have a couple of cookies, but that's his thought on the subject.

For those of you who are offended by my take on the funeral home bit, I apologize. For those of you who are not offended, time you visit the funeral home, ask if they have snickerdoodles.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


For the past couple of years I've purchased a hand-painted cookie jar, filled with biscotti from Sam's Club. They have them in the fall and they're pretty, in my opinion.

Last year, my wonderful husband made this comment, "Why did you get another one? We already have one."

Me, "They're DIFFERENT and I like them. Is that a problem?"

End of subject.

A few weeks ago we were working on cleaning the kitchen, and he accidentally dropped the lid to one of the cookie jars. I didn't say a word. I know he didn't do it on purpose, and as the ceramic lid broke, it cut his hand. He apologized and I've never brought it up since. (Which is hard for me, because I tend to dwell on things.)

Well today we went to Sam's Club for some things. It's a little over 25 miles away, so we don't go very often, but it was time to go because we needed several items that we normally get there.

The cookie jars were out.


HOWEVER....there was a problem.

They had at least FIVE different styles. Come on! In the past they have just had a single version. Period. Having so many choices? That's just not fair. Why would they do that? Couldn't they just stick with ONE?? They were even different colors. Whose brilliant idea was it to turn a simple Saturday afternoon excursion into a decision making nightmare?

I looked at Ted and asked him which one we should get, but NOT the one with the handle. He actually looked at them instead of saying, "I don't care" or "We don't need another one."

He picked one up and said he liked the unique shape, and put it in the cart. Thank goodness.

I hate decisons like that.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


At some point in my youth (around the age of 10 or 11) I survived a life-changing event. It was wicked for a short while, but I quickly adjusted and have gotten by just fine in the subsequent years.

I used to spend a couple of weeks with my aunt and grandma every summer, right after school was out. This isn't my italian grandmother, but my other one. She and my aunt (my dad's sister) lived together, along with my aunt's daughter, my cousin Lynne. Three women of three different generations, all living together. It really was fun when I'd go to visit. My aunt had a beauty shop in her house and I just LOVED going there and seeing her customers. I liked them and they liked me.

My aunt's customers would always bring things for could be fresh tomatoes from their garden, strawberries right from the local patch, various baked goods, and things like that. My aunt was very appreciative of those gifts. Her customers were great people, for the most part. There were always a few that could never be pleased, yet they continued to return to the shop, week after week, year after year.

This particular "vacation" that I spent there was pretty much uneventful UNTIL a customer brought my aunt and grandma a box of penny candy. It was a big box and it was FULL! My aunt always encouraged me to do whatever I wanted while I was there, so it was no big surprise when my aunt told me to have as much of the candy as I wanted, and besides, she and my grandma didn't care for candy all that much.

For some reason I was drawn to the grape bubblegum. was SOOOOOOOOOOO good!

I chewed a piece of it, and within about 10 minutes, it had lost its flavor. So I did what any normal kid would do. I put in another piece. And another. And another. After about 20 pieces of grape gum, I realized that I didn't feel very well. My stomach began churning....a LOT. I thought it would probably be best if I hung out in the bathroom for a while. I'll never forget just sitting on the tile floor in the bathroom, waiting for the inevitable.

Prior to this event, I had probably thrown up about 3 or 4 times in my entire life. Throwing up is not something I do very often. However, I was soon to make up for lost time.

I began to heave violently. Over and over. I was absolutely miserable. As soon as I finished and caught my breath, it would start again. I spent about an hour throwing up the taste of grape gum.

It doesn't taste good coming back up.

That was the LAST time I ate anything grape flavored. I don't eat grape lifesavors. I don't eat grape jelly beans. I don't eat grape Smarties. I definitely don't chew grape bubblegum.

However, the weird thing is that I will eat green grapes. I won't eat purple grapes though. And the thought of drinking grape juice makes me cringe.

And that, my friends, is why I avoid grape anything.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Let the Games Begin!

I'm really trying to get a start on this Christmas thing. It's no secret to many people that I do not like Christmas. I don't like the pressures associated with the perfect card, the perfect gift, the perfect wrapping paper, the perfect cookies, the perfect meals, etc.

Every year I try to get a step up on things. I start out with the best of intentions, but they quickly go by the wayside. About a week and a half ago, I did some shopping online, which is the ONLY way to do it in my opinion! This past Saturday and Sunday, I did some more shopping. Now not all of it is for Christmas, but some of it is.

Today I called Alex when I was on my way home from school and running errands and he said, "Mom, a whole BUNCH of boxes came in the mail today!"

When I got home, they were all piled in the foyer, and that's where they'll stay until I'm ready to deal with them too. My goal is to have all my holiday shopping done by the first week in November. Another goal is to start baking this weekend. We have a huge freezer, so I'll put it to good use.

These are my GOALS...and we all know that GOALS occasionally need to be revisited and revised!

All I want to do is enjoy the holiday season....just once.