Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye to 2007

Goodbye to 2007

All in all, 2007 has been a good year.

My mom went through open heart surgery in late January, having her aortic valve replaced. Although she had a little trouble coming out of the anesthesia, she has completely recovered! A lot of prayers were said for her, and they were all answered just how we hoped they would be. My dad got through that 2 week hospital stay better than I thought he would too. My parents never cease to amaze me!

Our family welcomed a new member in March. Our great nephew Michael was born 2 months premature, but is doing just fine! He's a strong, healthy, adorable little guy, but I'm not in the least bit prejudiced!

We expanded our immediate family again in May by adopting another kitten from the local cat shelter. Pepina did NOT care for Marina too much at first, but adjusted. Now Marina is almost as big as Pepina and they get along just fine. They've both been fabulous additions to our family!

Ted made it through arthroscopic knee surgery in mid April (a torn meniscus in the right knee) and recovered pretty well. He went back to work just as I was finishing up the school year, so our time off didn't overlap. At first I thought that it might not go well if we were off at the same time, but now I think it would have been just fine.

In late May, more or less on a whim, I clicked on "Create Blog" at the top of a blog I follow. Who would have known that I would stick with it?!?! I enjoy it tremendously, and view it as a way to talk without being interrupted, hahaha!

We opted NOT to go on vacation this year as we had an inground pool put in instead. I probably got more use out of it than anyone else, but we all enjoyed it this past summer.

It was also a year of friends. Ironically the tragedy at Virginia Tech was the key to being able to get back in touch with a friend from the past...and Terre, it's been wonderful to find out that you have become the strong, confident, loving, caring, fantastic woman that I knew you'd become! We also got to spend some time with Ron and Nora, our good friends from Texas (I just love those accents! Ron, no matter what you say, you've definitely picked up the twang!)

Alex got his driver's license and has made our lives immensely easier! He loves going out to run errands or pick up a pizza. He was also able to drive to school, and that solved a major problem as our school district eliminated bussing for high school students this year. His grades have stayed good, so we're thrilled with that too. And he worked again all summer long...can you ask for more???

Joey made the Dean's List yet again and is doing well in college. He also worked again this past summer, and continued to prove to us that he has a strong work ethic. We're so proud of both of our sons for their accomplishments.

We celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas with both of our extended families and that was very nice. The older I get, the more I realize how important family is to all of us.

I'm sure I'm missing some highlights of the year, but for the most part, it was a very good year.

It's my sincerest hope that you enjoyed 2007, and that 2008 will be a great year for you!

Welcome 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm SO Freaking Unorganized

In an hour and 45 minutes, we will go to Ted's brother and sister-in-law's home to celebrate Christmas. I knew that this was coming up. I also knew that it was AFTER Christmas Day. And Christmas Day happened to be our nephew's birthday, niece Kelly's husband. Therefore, I sort of let things slide.

So here I sit, writing a post about my total procrastination. I'm not ready AT ALL. In fact, I'm sitting on the edge of the bed, still in my nightshirt. The bed isn't made. I'm obviously not dressed. (For those of you following my personal hygiene, I took a shower last night before I went to bed.) We always give money to the nieces and nephew, but the cards aren't ready yet. Hey, at least I have the proper denomination of bills! Since Neal's birthday was Christmas Day, I need to dig into my card box and find an appropriate card and slide money into that too. Then there's Michael, our adorable 9 month old nephew. He gets real gifts to open! Of course they are still scattered about the bedroom. In fact, I had a few of them stashed away in my closet, and just sent out the "search and rescue team" to find them. Fortunately the "team" was successful and I let out a huge appreciative sigh. However, I still need to either wrap them or put them into gift bags.

So why am I sitting here, typing away? BECAUSE I WANT TO, THAT'S WHY. Heck, it's Christmas Break and I'm trying to do what I want to do, as much as possible.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my husband? He does the grocery shopping and he was there bright and early this morning. That man is wonderful! If I had to face shopping on top of getting ready for Tim and Patty's, I'd probably go over the edge.

I guess I've procrastinated long enough...time to get my act together!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

My New Camera

Paulie left a comment and asked what kind of a camera I got. Before I tell you, let me say that I do NOT put a fortune into digital cameras. Since I don't make my living from photography, I don't feel as though it's necessary for me to get the top of the line camera.

My first digital camera was an HP. Before I got it, I had decided that I would get an HP because I have an HP desktop computer and an HP printer/scanner/copier and I wanted everything to definitely be compatible.

I just happened to be in Sam's Club the day I bought it and as I turned a corner, an employee was arranging a display of HP digital cameras. I looked at the camera, and saw that a memory card came with it, along with a case. This was in mid June and we were getting ready to leave on vacation in a few days, so I was thinking that it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and get it now. It was a little less than a hundred dollars (I can't recall exactly) and the employee commented that it had been $199 at Easter and they wanted to get rid of what they had left to make room for the new models. Okay, so I'm a sucker...I bought it. I wish I could remember what year that was, but I can't.

I used it a LOT, especially why we were building the house. I took over 500 pictures of the building process, and we still look at those pictures quite often. A week and a half before we moved in, I had major surgery to have my colostomy reversed. It didn't go as smoothly as expected and I ended up spending 4 days in ICU. However, after I got home, I still had to work on packing and only had a few days. I wasn't feeling great and had a belly full of staples (62 to be exact). Our new furniture was delivered, as were our appliances. I constantly had the camera with me, and was looking at some pictures on it while I was doing some laundry in the new laundry room with my new washer.

We had gotten one of those big front loading washers that was powerful when it spun out. So powerful in fact...that my HP digital camera that I had placed on top of the washer while I left the room momentarily, scooted right across the top of the washer and hit the tile floor and broke. THAT WAS TOTALLY MY FAULT. AND I ADMIT IT.

But we certainly couldn't move into our new home without pictures of the actual process! So off I went to get a new camera. I didn't want to spend much money because this was just going to be a "transition" camera until I got a new digital. I decided to go with a Canon 35 mm. I was totally influenced by the price, and that was about it.

The day we actually moved in, I was so sick and miserable from having done way too much for the previous few days, that I spent most of the day curled up on a chair, covered with blankets and coats. I ended up taking very few pictures. Several days later, I threw caution to the wind, and bought another HP digital. It used the same USB cable as the one that went sailing off the washer, so that was a plus. And I still had the same HP desktop and printer, so that also made things easy.

After Pepina's little trick the other day, I really did look at other cameras online. There are only about a gazillion brands, each with a hundred models. I was NOT going to research all of them, so narrowed it down by just sticking with what I know....HP. I looked at a few different models, all under $200. I decided on 2 or 3, then went off to the store because I didn't want to buy one online. I needed it quickly. Immediately, in fact. Just because.

Unfortunately they were out of the two models I was interested in, so I just said, "Okay, what DO you have in HP?" She showed me one, and I said I'd take it. Pretty simple. It took all of about 5 minutes for the entire episode.

So I have a simple HP mz67v and it's working out just fine for me. Heck, I didn't even research that one online, but I'm happy with it so far, and that's all that counts.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pepina Marie

My precious Pepina...what a sweetheart. She'll be 2 years old in March. She's affectionate, and likes to jump up on me, curl up against my shoulder and snooze for a while.

She can be sooooooooo deceiving too.

On Christmas Eve day, "P" (as we affectionately call her sometimes) was on the kitchen counter, directly underneath the cupboard where the kitty treats are kept. Ted has her trained. If she wants a treat, she has to give him a kiss on the cheek first. Now, if we ask her, she'll give any of us a kiss if she wants a treat. Of course, we need to ask for it first.

She sat on the counter very patiently, but finally let out a little "meow" attempting to attract attention to herself. I saw her, and said, "No treats 'P' just had some a little while ago."

She continued to sit there for a moment, then took a step, put a paw back by the cookie jar, and with a determined push, knocked my digital camera off the counter, onto the tile floor. She then sat up straight and looked at the cupboard, again waiting for her treat. I, on the other hand, just looked at her with my mouth open.

Now before you begin to laugh and tell me that it's all my fault for having the camera on the counter, let me tell YOU that the camera was way back, almost to the back wall, between the cookie jar and the toaster. It had been left there in a hurry, and she's definitely seen the camera before, so it was nothing new to her.

She was mad. She had decided that if she wasn't going to get a treat, she was going to do something that would irritate me.

And she was successful.

Naturally I checked the camera to see if it worked. Not really. If you hold it just right, with the right amount of pressure on two different parts, then it will come on. However, if you attempt to take a picture, it turns off right away. I tried new batteries. Same thing.

Christmas Eve and no working digital camera. Sigh.

Christmas morning, I dug around and found the old 35 mm camera. Fortunately there was still a roll of film in it and a few extra rolls in the case.

That night Joey and I were talking about gifts and different things and he commented that he was sure I'd have a new camera by next Christmas. Then he laughed and said I'd probably have one by my birthday (July). Then I laughed and said that I planned on getting a new one the next day.

And I did.

Thanks Pepina...but you're still not getting a treat!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 25

Most of us can recall Christmases past, especially the most recent one. Last Christmas was our first Christmas in our new home and it was filled with people, gifts, food, and fun. Unfortunately not everyone had the wonderful Christmas that we did last year.

If you read yesterday's post, then you know who Christa is. I’d like to share a story about her son, with her permission, of course.

Zack was born in February 1998, with cerebral palsy and had a history of seizures. Zack was also nonverbal, however that does NOT mean that he couldn't communicate. Oh my, could Zack get his point across when he wanted to! He definitely knew how to manipulate those around him with that smile and those gorgeous eyes. Zack was also never a complainer. He could tolerate so much discomfort and pain with no indication that he was in distress.

Last year, Zack was admitted to Akron Children’s Hospital on December 15. He had a rash on his right cheek that quickly spread over his body, and then turned to blisters. The hospital’s burn unit took care of him and Zack was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a very serious hypersensitivity complex. I’m not going to get into the medical aspect of this disease here, because I’m sure that I won’t do it justice, just know that he was basically burning from the inside out.

The medical staff at Akron Children’s Hospital did everything they possibly could for Zack, but on Christmas evening, this is the entry his mom posted on his Caring Bridge site:

“At approximately 9:45 this evening, Zack skipped into the gates of heaven to live with Jesus.”

Although things were challenging at times, don’t you dare feel sorry for Zack. If he could write a letter to everyone, I think it would go something like this:

Hi Everyone,

It’s me, Zack. I’m here in Heaven and things have been hectic! You know this is our busy season, getting ready for Jesus’ birthday. We’re having this big party and it’s going to last the entire day. When I got here last year, I just caught the end of the party, but this year I get to celebrate all day long! And here’s the best part…all of us who arrived in Heaven on December 25 get to sit at the head table with Jesus! It’s going to be so much fun!

I miss everyone, especially Meghan, mom, and dad, but I can keep track of what’s going on with all of you. I have these special tricks that they taught me when I got here, so I know everything that’s happening there. I’ve been able to watch Meghan cheer at the football games, and dance in “The Nutcracker” and I’ve also watched Mom stay up and work on papers for her classes. (By the way Mom, I’m really proud of you for doing that. It’s not easy to go back to school, but you’re doing it!) I’ve also seen how Mom and Dad worked really hard on Dad’s school board campaign and now he’s going to help all the kids in our district. I also know about the trip to Vegas last summer (Mom, don’t worry, it will be our little secret that you gambled away $100 in 10 minutes! Shhhh….)

When I first got here, they told me that no one here has any of the issues that they were born with. The time I spent with the football team came in handy, because now I’m the running back for the Pearly Gates Gophers. I’m also in the Right Hand Choir. There are two choirs in Heaven: the Right Hand Choir and the Left Hand Choir. I was selected for the Right Hand Choir because I smile all the time. Isn’t that cool? The director thinks I look ornery. Mom, what’s that mean?

When they found out that I like the Ohio State Buckeyes, they made sure that I got to spend some time with this old guy. They warned me that he had kind of a bad temper once in a while, but he was really nice to me. He told me that he used to work with the Buckeyes. I told him that I got to meet Jim Tressel, the head coach. He was really impressed. His name was Woody….Woody….hmmm….Woody Hayes, that’s it!

We get to go swimming whenever we want as long as there’s a lifeguard on duty. I like going off the high dive. It’s a lot of fun. Don't worry Mom, I'm careful.

And get this! Next year I’m going to be in the Heavenly Soap Box Derby! They told me that they knew how good I was at racing, so they’re expecting me to do really well. We’re going to start working on my car in a few weeks.

I saw Uncle Jerry when he got here, but we’ve both been so busy that we haven’t had too much time to just hang out. I’ll see him at the big party later today. He’s doing just fine though.

I wanted to tell everyone that I’m sorry that I had to leave there when I did, but they needed me here. After I got here, I found out that December 25 is THE best day to arrive in Heaven. You know how you get a lei when you arrive in Hawaii? Well when you arrive here on Christmas Day, you get these special “angel” bells to wear around your neck. When you see someone with bells on, you know that they’re really special. We’re all angels now and I just love flapping my wings. Sometimes I do it when I’m not supposed to, but I just can’t help it.

Will you give George a big hug and kiss for me? We have lots of pets here in Heaven, but they just aren’t George, if you know what I mean.

Well, they’re calling me for Choir practice, so I need to get going for now. I already know that everybody down there is doing pretty good, and I know that you all miss me. I miss you too, but I’m really doing fine, so don’t worry about me.

I love you all!


This Christmas Day will be a difficult one for sure, for Zack’s family. They will be remembering where they were a year ago, and how difficult it has been since Zack passed away. Although I’ve never been in their shoes (and pray to God that I never will be) I’m also hoping that they will be able to smile at the good times, laugh at the funny times, and take pride in the fact that they taught so much to all of us. Zack did more in his short life than many people do in 50 years! His parents continue to share their story, hoping that others can see that having a handicapped child can truly be a blessing.

Some of us just don’t quite know what to say to a person who has lost a child, and therefore tend to not mention the child. Christa loves talking about Zack. Just because he’s gone, doesn’t mean that he didn’t exist. Her face lights up when she shares his stories, and I love hearing about him.

Christa has a caringbridge site, and usually when she posts, she includes a story about Zack. Sometimes I laugh so hard it brings tears to my eyes. If you want to know anymore about Zack, his older sister Meghan, his mom, or his dad, go to

Merry Christmas everyone…especially to Christa and her family.

Monday, December 24, 2007

What a Wonderful Surprise!

A little while ago I was just sitting here in the den, at the computer, looking at some different things, and the doorbell rang. Of course Pepina immediately ran into the den, jumped up on the chair to look out the window to see who it could possibly be.

I, on the other hand, actually went to the door and answered it. She followed. Sure, let me do all the work.

What a surprise! Christa was standing there with a plate of Christmas cookies! She read last night's posting and said that we couldn't not have Christmas cookies, so she brought over a wonderful assortment that she made herself!

You may have seen Christa's name before. She comments here occasionally. We work together, but more importantly, we've become friends.

Her thoughtful gesture made me, and especially the three males in this household very happy!

Thank you Christa!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I've complained about Christmas for a long time, how there is so much pressure on us (especially women). We've got to find the perfect holiday card, decorate the tree perfectly, have the house look perfect, find the perfect gift for those hard-to-buy-for relatives, wrap them up perfectly, and have the perfect cookies, along with creating the perfect meal for Christmas dinner.

Well...with encouragement from Ted, I'm feeling sort of peaceful right now, even content. There were some changes this year.

Joey and Alex put the tree up under my direction. They decorated the tree when I wasn't even around. I decided that for this year, I would not fill the house with all the beautiful Christmas decorations that I have. Life will go if I don't go all out, I'm sure of it. Then the other day (and this was a total shock) Ted said that I didn't even need to make cookies. He said this as we were going to bed, and I thought that he would forget that he said it by morning, but he didn't. In the morning, he said, "Now remember, you're NOT making cookies this year! It's just too much for you to do."

I love that man.

I finished wrapping gifts yesterday.

Today I did laundry and cleaned the kitchen, including cleaning out the refrigerator. Then this evening we made meatballs for wedding soup. Right now I've got a chicken cooking for the broth. But this is going to be just for us.

We are NOT hosting any holiday gathering this year. For my side of the family we're going to spend Christmas day at my cousin's home, about an hour and 15 minutes away. For Ted's family, I just didn't make a move to invite everyone here. I knew someone else would have to step up to the plate, and today they did. U.T. called and invited us all over to their house next Sunday to exchange gifts. Although he DID mention New Year's Eve... we're going out to dinner with A.P. and U.T., Ted's sister and her husband, niece Kelly and her husband and young son. I made the reservation back in mid November, thank goodness. Tim mentioned on the phone that he didn't know what we'd be doing after dinner...maybe go to someone's house. I did NOT offer our house, but when I think about it, I'd rather be here than anywhere else.

Anyway, I just feel peaceful about this holiday right now. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and spending the day with my family. Ted took the day off and that's nice that he can be here too.

Now this is what it's supposed to be about.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Wizard of Oz

When I was a young girl, we lived out in the country. Mary, my best friend, lived across the road.

We were a family of routine. Dinner was the same time every evening. My mom went grocery shopping at the same time every weekend. Laundry and cleaning were done on the same day. Everything was just a matter of routine. There was a strictly adhered to bathtime and bedtime.

I had seen "The Wizard of Oz" before and just loved it. I watched it with my mom and dad in our living room, on a black and white TV set.

This particular year, my mom had a real surprise...after my bath, we drove over to Mary's house and picked her up. She was in her pajamas too. We had no idea what was going on, and like typical kids, asked a bunch of questions. Of course we got no answers.

Mom took us to my grandparents' house and Mary and I sat in the TV room and they turned on "The Wizard of Oz." Okay, that's really nice. I was glad I could see it again. Everything was just as I remembered it....


Dorothy's house landed and she began to walk outside!



My grandparents lived in town, and they had recently purchased one of those new fangled color television sets. Mary and I were ecstatic! We were mesmerized for the rest of the show!

I remember being so excited about this and I can't even begin to describe how seeing it in color changed everything!

We were just flipping through the channels and came across "The Wizard of Oz" and it brought back that memory.

We watched a little of it, then changed the channel. I guess it's just not the same when it's on TV 10 times a year AND we have the video tape.

I wish some things had never changed.

A Profound Statement

Yesterday morning, around 5:45 am, I was getting up to get ready for school. I had two gift bags next to me, ready to take with me. I had spent part of Thursday evening getting the tissue paper to look right, and getting the gifts in the bags the way I wanted them in. The card table is set up in our bedroom and there is "stuff" all over it: tape, ribbon, scissors, receipts, wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, tags, lists, you name it. All around the floor are boxes, more tissue paper, more wrapping paper, gifts yet to be wrapped, Christmas cards, plastic bags, etc.

Ted was also getting up for the day and as he sat on the edge of the bed, he looked at me and said, "You don't really get to enjoy Christmas, do you?"

Wow....I think he gets it now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And the Verdict is in

I saw my surgeon today, for the results of my recent CT scan from H*LL. He gave me some good news and he gave me some not so good news.

The not so good news is that I have gallstones. Okay, as long as I don't start having some nasty symptoms that would require it to come out immediately, then I'm alright with this. When I was first feeling sick almost two and a half years ago, after an x-ray I was told that I had gallstones and my regular doctor thought that they were what was causing me pain. After going to the ER and having a CT scan among other things, it was discovered that I had a tumor instead. The gallstones haven't bothered me since then, and still aren't, but if they do, then we'll need to get the gall bladder removed. I can deal with this.

The good news is that there is no sign of cancer in my colon, liver, or lungs. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My surgeon (whom I absolutely adore!) said that if there is a recurrence of colon cancer it would most likely happen in the first two years, so I've passed that critical mark! I will, however, need to have a CT scan once a year until I hit the 5 year mark. That will be August 2010.

What a relief!

Of course I can't dare get through the month of December without getting sick, yuck. Right now I'm coughing a lot and have a splitting sinus headache. Guess I'll be calling the doctor tomorrow. Hopefully he can get me in. Ted isn't feeling great either, but he's not quite as bad as I am.

I'm just really thankful that the prayers have been answered, and in the way that I wanted them to be!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wedding Soup

My Grandma would make Wedding Soup for every holiday on which she wasn't serving pasta. Okay, that wasn't too many, but we still all looked forward to Wedding Soup. I was an adult before I realized that it wasn't called Meatball Soup!

Grandma would buy a good stewing chicken. As I've said before, I don't know how she could tell a good stewing chicken from a bad stewing chicken, but apparently she could. She would put water in a big pot, along with the chicken, some spices and carrots, celery, and onions. She would cook this until it was done. I have no clue how to determine doneness, but when I can wiggle the bone of part of the chicken and it just falls off, then I know it's done. This is the time to strain the whole pot, and SAVE THE BROTH. I didn't do that once. Hey, it was late at night and I was tired, and when I was finished I just stood there and cried. I had stayed up late to make chick broth and then dumped it all down the drain. Anyway, after all that, you can do what you want with the vegetables and the chicken. I usually toss the vegetables and pick apart the chicken to use later.

(Again, don't ask me how long it would take, because I can't be sure. I also don't know how much of the spices and vegetables to put in. She never gave me "amounts" just told "you'll know when it's enough." I let it go for about an hour and a half on simmer.)

In the meantime, she would take the meat from the butcher shop (3 parts ground chuck and 1 part ground pork), mix it with 1 egg per total pound of meat, then add some seasoning salt, parsley, along with some salt and and pepper. I have NO CLUE as to how much of the seasonings to add...I just add them until it looks good.

After that's all mixed up, it's time to roll the meatballs. Oh man, this is a challenge. One time my Aunt D (my mom's sister) flew in from California for the holidays. She was helping Grandma make the soup. For an HOUR she continually asked Grandma if the meatballs were small enough and Grandma always told her they were. Aunt D left the kitchen for a minute, and when she came back, Grandma was putting ALL THOSE MEATBALLS TOGETHER into the bowl. When Aunt D asked her WHY, Grandma said that they were too big!!

So the key to the right size meatball is this: they should be NO bigger than the pink part of the fingernail of your pinkie finger. And sometimes even THAT is too big!

When I make the meatballs for the soup, I enlist the assistance of those who will also be eating it. All four of us sit down at the kitchen table with a little bowl of oil. You need just a dab of oil on your hands so that the meatballs don't stick and get icky when you're rolling them. Of course you need to dab your fingers in the oil about every minute or so. Once we get a nice size bowl of meatballs rolled, I take them over to the the stove, heat up water and parboil them for about 3-4 minutes. After draining them, I put them out on paper towels so all the water and any little bits of oil can drain. By this time, there are more meatballs ready to be boiled, and it becomes a repetitive process. I occasionally need to go back over to the meatball forming process and toss some back into the mix because they''ve got it...TOO BIG.

Once all the meatballs are finished and have been parboiled, you can refrigerate them for later or continue on. I usually refrigerate them until I'm going to actually make and serve the soup.

To make the soup, I start with a couple of cans of College Inn chicken broth (okay, so it's cheating...but just a little...give me a break). Then I add the chicken broth that I made from the turkey and if I think it needs a little more chicken flavor, I'll toss in a few cubes of chicken bouillon. Then I add chopped carrots and celery. All I do is put them in the food processor and do a quick pulse a few times. That's it. Grandma used to chop them all up by hand. Wow...I would cut off a finger or two.

After the vegetables have been in the broth for 2o minutes or so, I put in the meatballs. When the meatballs are heated through, then it's done. Except for the toast pieces. We make toast and cut it into cubes to add to the soup after it's been dished out.

Meatball soup is all in how you were raised. Some people put an egg in it at the end. I don't. Every once in a while, we'll add some pastina to it at the end, but not very often. Pastina is tiny little pasta, about the size of rice. Some people like escarole or endive or spinach in their wedding soup. We don't. And then some people like to put chicken in their soup, along with the meatballs. We don't. I usually like to add some parmesan cheese to mine, and the heat makes the cheese all stringy. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

My Grandma fixed the soup just how my Grandpa liked it and that's what I'm used to.

I've had some good Wedding Soup at restaurants. I've also had some LOUSY Wedding Soup at restaurants. I'm usually willing to give it a try, but if the meatballs are big, forget it. The best restaurant Wedding Soup I've had is from Bravo.

So that's it for Wedding Soup...I think I might have to make some this weekend.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Thank goodness the CT scan is over for another year. It was a terrible experience. The nutshell version is that two CT techs tried to get an IV started at the same time. Neither one of them took what I said into account, other than the fact that I have bad veins. Neither one of them looked me in the eye. One of them got a little upset with me when I moved my arm a little. Well, there wasn't any table or anything for my arm to lie on; it was just hanging in mid-air, and sometimes it's hard to keep it still when it's like that.

They made it sound like it was all my fault that the veins are bad and that they were being put out because of it. Oh yeah ladies, when my parents placed the order for me they put a checkmark in the box next to "bad veins."

Give me a freaking break.

After the first attempt at wiggling that puppy all around once it was in, I said "no more hand attempts" and then when they mentioned looking at my foot, I simply said, "NO." After three attempts they went to the radiologist and asked him if the IV contrast was really necessary and he said it was. Oh gee, what fun. An ER nurse finally came in and got into a vein after a few minutes, but then the vein blew. She finally got into a surface vein on the inside of my upper right arm.

What a mess.

The tech that actually did the CT scan is the same man who has done it all the other times and he's just wonderful. He's kind, compassionate, sympathetic, and looks me right in the eye. He knows I have a reaction to the IV contrast, so I had taken pills earlier, and he put the contrast into my IV really slow. That helped tremendously. He's fantastic...but the CT techs weren't. They need a little sensitivity training.

Since I know that colon cancers usually grow very slowly and my colonoscopy in June came back clear, common sense would say that everything will be fine with my CT results. HOWEVER, until I hear it from my surgeon, I'll feel like I'm just living my life in limbo.

I hate this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not a Day Goes By...

Not a single day goes by in which I don't think about having cancer. You'd think that by now, almost two and a half years after my diagnosis, it would be taking a back seat in my life, but it's not. Just when I think I can get through a day, it rears its ugly head in one form or another. I try not to talk about it with my friends and family all the time, but sometimes I just can't help it. Hopefully if they get tired of hearing about it, they'll just tell me to "get over it!"

Believe me, I've tried to get over it, but it's not that simple.

When I turned the calendar over to December, there it was, staring me in the face. FOUR appointments (2 procedures and 2 doctor visits) coming up this month. All of them were set up by the different doctors' offices and I was sent a notice as to when they were. I spent almost an entire lunch period one day making calls, trying to get these things rescheduled for either after school or during break. Unfortunately, I was able to get 2 out of the 4 rescheduled, but the other 2 have to be during school hours.

The "fun" starts tomorrow. I have a CT scan scheduled for 4:00 pm. It was originally scheduled for today at 1:00 pm. I'm just so excited about this. Because I have a reaction to whatever it is they inject during the procedure, I have to take pills beforehand. I have EIGHT pills to take at 4:00 AM! I have 8 more pills to take at 2:00 pm. Of course I also need to start drinking the yummy contrast in the early afternoon too. Oh yes, and the highlight will be trying to get an IV started on my deep, roaming, tiny (with poor blood return) veins. I wonder how big my bruise will be THIS time.

Oh yeah, I'm really excited about this. And I just hope and pray that nothing shows up.

(I promise...happier posts are coming soon.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Talk About UNGRATEFUL People

Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that my last few posts have been a little "less than upbeat" and by golly, I'm going to continue on in the same fashion!

Earlier today, when I was listening to some children tell me what they thought a book we're about to start will be about, I went through that thing when your mind picks up on something and then it makes you think of something else, then that thought brings something else to mind, and you think about that, and then....well, you know what I mean.

Anyway, all these thoughts went back to a time when I taught at a different school, probably around the 1994-1995 time range. I wish I could remember exactly when, but sometimes the mind just doesn't want to cooperate, if you know what I mean.

One of the teachers was about to get married. Attending the wedding and/or reception was pretty much a necessity. Since I had to work with this woman, and she was in a position to make at least part of my day difficult, I knew that I better come up with a nice gift and show up, even though it was a summer wedding. Off I went to a local store that had a registry service and checked to see if she had registered there.

YES!! This was going to be easier than I thought! Until I looked at the things she'd registered for. Oh man, everything was so expensive. There had been just a few things that were reasonably priced, but they had already been purchased. At least 90% of the things on her list were high dollar items. I ended up getting her something that she wanted (but I didn't care for at all, but that doesn't even enter into the equation because it was a gift!) , and even had it gift wrapped while I was there. Of course I had spent WAY more than what I had planned on spending.

As it turned out, we had THREE things going on that hot summer Saturday, and the wedding/reception was the middle event. We ended up not making it to the wedding, but attended the reception. That was fine with me, because I wasn't too happy about going anyway, so cutting my time being involved was going to work out great. There were a BUNCH of people at the reception, and many gifts there too. I added mine to the pile, and off we went to enjoy ourselves. Yeah, right.

She and her husband and their families were friends with people that I didn't know, or didn't know well. We didn't sit with other people from the school, because they were all at some tables that had no empty seats, so we were sitting by ourselves until some other people came in that had no where else to sit. After "playing nice" for two hours or so, we'd definitely had ENOUGH, so we decided to leave. Besides, we had another much more casual event to attend, and needed to go home and change clothes. However, before leaving, I made sure to go up and talk to the bride, so there would be NO doubt in her mind that I was there.

About 5 weeks went by, and I was notified that I was being transferred to another school in the district. That was fine with me. Although I really liked the principal at that school, I wasn't too crazy about most of the staff members there. There were a couple that I really liked, and stayed in contact with after I left, but most of them I didn't miss in the least.

I knew that the bride and groom were going on a long honeymoon, so I didn't think too much about not getting a thank you note in that first month after the wedding. Then I was transferred, then school started, then things started to get crazy as usual. In October I had lunch with one of the teachers that I was close to from that school. I asked if she'd gotten a thank you note from the "bride" teacher and she said that she did. I told her that I didn't.

In December we had lunch again and she asked me if I'd ever gotten a thank you note. I told her I hadn't.


I bought a gift that was more expensive than I wanted it to be.

Then I felt forced to go to a wedding reception that I didn't want to go to. (Which included wearing HOSE and a DRESS and HEELS and doing the HAIR thing, the MAKEUP thing, and the JEWELRY thing.)

Then she REFUSED to acknowledge the freaking gift that I bought for her.

She probably didn't even realize that she was not only making herself look bad, but also made her parents look bad. Surely she was raised better than that. HOW RUDE.

Did she decide that since she wouldn't need to see me again, she didn't need to waste her time, and postage on sending me a thank you note??

I don't know, but I still think it was LOUSY of her to do.

Am I really that old fashioned, thinking that wedding gifts (along with other major events) should be acknowledged with a thank you note????

Just how long does it take to write out a simple note???

What's the deal with the lack of manners these days?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Email Issues

Since I had no school on Friday, I decided it was time to wrap up the holiday shopping and try to figure out what was wrong with my email account with my ISP. We have Time Warner as our ISP, and our email is

I had been having trouble getting into our account because our password wouldn't work. We had it set so that the password wasn't needed, but it kept coming up. I put it in, but nothing worked. I called Time Warner. Gotta love this big corporations that are SO customer friendly.

"Your wait will be between 54 minutes and an hour and 20 minutes."

And if you think I'm going to sit here on "hold" all that time, you've got another thing coming!

Then they said that I could give a call back number and they would call me when I was next in line, so I did, and....IT WORKED!

How's that for a shock!?!?

Well they were able to give me a new password, then I had to go back in and change it to my original password, so that Ted wouldn't forget it. Okay, that was great....worked out just fine.

I continued to shop online, and checked my email periodically, but never received any. Hmmm, how weird is that? First of all, not to get any email, and secondly, not to even get an email "receipt" from the orders I was placing.

And I hadn't received a single email for over 48 hours...interesting.

So I called Time Warner. Again. And left a call back number. Again. And they called me back. Again.

The first woman really did try to help me. She even had some guy come over to try. She said that there wasn't any new email there. I told her that there should be. She decided that this was beyond their realm of expertise and was going to transfer my call to "Tier 2" whatever that meant.

I was connected with a pretty email knowledgeable guy who was finally able to help me. This is what he told me to do:

(Didn't think you were going to get an email lesson today, did you? hahaha)

He had me go in through webmail on's website.

Then he had me click on "Settings" and then click on "Preferences."

He asked me what was in the box next to "From Name" and I told was some goofy name that I didn't know of.

He had me delete that name and leave it blank.

Then he had me click "ok" and then click on "Signature" and wow, did I have a shock!

In the box for "Signature" was some long name/address thing that started off with "Toyota" and ended with "U.K."

He had me delete all that.

Then I had to click "ok" and then click on "Forwarding" and there was another shock!

There was an email address in there that said something about investing. Apparently ALL the email I was SUPPOSED to be getting was being forwarded to that email address!

This is when I got really concerned because I'd been ordering all this stuff and using credit cards and I wasn't sure if the credit card numbers would show up on the receipts that would have been emailed to me.

The T.W. guy told me to check my credit card accounts online and I've been doing that since this happened, but nothing out of the ordinary has shown up. Yet.

The guy said that our email account had been hacked into! I was LIVID! I started asking questions then. Apparently this happens pretty often. He told me to continue to watch the email account and check on it in the "Settings" occasionally.

He was extremely helpful, and that was a shock in and of itself.

Since Friday evening, I've checked it 9 times, and it was hacked into again 3 or 4 times. As of right now, it's been almost 24 hours since they've done anymore "hacking" so we may be onto something.

I feel like we've been violated and it makes me really mad. Now I have to check not only my email account, but I have to keep tabs on my credit card accounts too.

Those freaking idiots.

I really want to say something else about them, but I vowed that I would try to keep this blog void of really nasty language, and so far I have.

But I'm ticked off about this.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

I've Had it

All this Christmas crap is for the birds. All I really want to do is enjoy the season and that hasn't happened for years.

It's already a well-known fact that I don't like to shop. I love to look at decorations. I have a bunch of Christmas trees here, all in their boxes or bags in the basement, except one. The music is absolutely wonderful. Many of the television shows and movies are fantastic. But there is a severe lack of TIME to do all that I want to do during the holiday season.

I made a decision yesterday and I'm going to stick by it, at least for this year. It will make my life so much simpler.

The ONLY decorations that will be put up in our house this year will be our tree. And it's been up for a week. At least this one has. Our other tree, that we only used for a couple of years, looked like CRAP, so last Saturday I bought a new one. The old one is back in the box and the new one is up. However, there are no decorations on it, except the lights that came with it. Oh yeah, and an ornament that I purchased when I was out doing some shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I have four really cute "kitchen" Santas, but they're not going up this year. I have a darling "kitchen" themed little tree, but it's not going up this year either. I have a beautiful white tree that is not going up. I have a tall, skinny tree that's not going up. I have more trees and tons of decorations, but NOTHING else is going up...except for the ornaments on the tree that's already standing...and who knows when that will happen??

Have I mentioned yet that I really don't like the hoopla surrounding Christmas??

Fortunately we're hosting NO holiday least none that I know of at this time. That alleviates a lot of the pressure.

I would like to do some baking, but haven't gotten to it yet. It was supposed to be yesterday, but that just didn't quite happen. It won't happen today either, because I have laundry to do. Having Friday off really was a big help...I was able to more or less wrap up the shopping. I still have a few things to take care of, but they can't be done until closer to the actual day.

I would love to take time out to go see our local production of the Nutcracker. I've never done that and I've always wanted to. They're doing it several times, so I should be able to fit one of those show times into my schedule, but I'm sure I won't get to it.

Enough complaining on my part...I'm off to the laundry room to get started on that lovely weekly task.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Ted and Alex are both "into" guitars, as I've said before. When you think about it, all the music that we hear comes from THIRTEEN simple notes. Isn't that amazing??

Since I'm a visual person, it's much easier to think about a keyboard. If you start at "C" and play each note to "B" you've played thirteen notes, including all the sharps and flats.

All the music that you have on your ipod, or on a CD, or on an old album, or on a cassette, or even on an 8-track tape, consists of only thirteen different notes.


Of course, the octave can be different. As can the rhythm, and the tempo. But everything from the latest rap stuff to the most classical piece, has that one thing in common...the same notes.

I suppose that's why there will never be a shortage of music writers.

Just felt the need to get in touch with my philosophical side today.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Another Snow Day, Sigh

Okay, ONE snow day in early December is almost acceptable. However, a SECOND snow day in early December sends out a red flag. We only get FIVE per year that are forgiven and we don't want to use them too early. We almost always have to use at least one in March, and of course there's the January/February unpredictability.

I really shouldn't complain. I know that our new superintendent really only has our best interest at heart. He wants not only us, but all of our district's children to be safe. Since our district covers a fairly rural area, that also enters the mix. Additionally many of our high school students drive to school, and we all know that 16, 17, and 18 year olds just aren't as experienced with driving in the snow as the adults.

Since I totally wasted Wednesday's snow day and did pretty much nothing, I really need to take advantage of today. My head is full of plans for the day and I intend to follow through on all of them. Maybe. Unless a better offer comes along. Going back to sleep is always an option too. Oh man, this is going to be a tough day.

Hey, just remember, YOU too could have chosen to be a teacher!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snow Day Musings

Last night, as we had just gotten into bed, this conversation took place:

Me: I need to make sure that I have my call list available, JUST IN CASE.

Ted: Why? Is it supposed to snow?

Me: You're kidding, right?

Ted: What do you mean, I'm kidding? Is it supposed to snow or not?

Me: Didn't we have the 6:00 news on earlier this evening? And did they NOT talk about the snow that's coming??

Ted: I don't know. I wasn't paying any attention.


Ted: Well, I have a little problem then.

Me (starting to wonder what the problem could possibly be): And what's that?

Ted: I haven't put the snow blade on the lawn mower yet.

Me: Then I guess you'll be pulling an all-nighter, won't you?

Ted: Real funny.

Me: How long will it take to do that?

Ted: Maybe around 3 hours or so. (Of course last year it took a couple weekends because that was the first time he'd done it. I sort of thought that it might only take a half hour or so, but I don't do anything with the mower, so I really wouldn't know.)

Me: Well if you get started right away you may be back in bed by 2 a.m.

Ted: Good night.

Now how in the world he had NO CLUE that snow was on its way is beyond me. Not only did he and I discuss it, but Joey and Alex and I discussed it too, and right in front of Ted.

So at 5:24 a.m. I was in the recliner, sleeping when the phone rang to deliver the news of NO SCHOOL today and Ted jumped up out of bed to look outside. That was all he needed. At that time there was just a little bit of snow, and you could still see the grass, but the little tiny flakes were coming down pretty fast. He was, of course, whimpering around about schools calling off when they really don't need to. You know, that sort of jealous chit chat that someone who is married to a teacher feels obligated to do whenever there's a snow day, hahaha!

I was trying to make the morning smooth, so I went ahead and got up and came out to the den to turn on the TV and check on other local school districts. Once I found out that Alex didn't have school either, I told him about that and was glad he could turn off his alarm. Around 6:50 a.m. I went back into the bedroom and settled into the recliner with my blankets heard Ted leave for work.

As all of these ambitious thoughts ran through my head, I quickly dozed off, and slept until after 10! In fact, Ted came home to change his pants because his had gotten all wet at the job he was at, and before he could even say a word, I said, "Yes, I'm still lying here in the chair, not dressed yet, and I just woke up." He quickly changed and left.

Shortly after that, Alex decided that he wanted a big breakfast and offered to make breakfast for me too. I turned on the TV, and by this time it was almost 11, and time for "The View," one of my favorite daytime shows. A little while later, Alex came in with a plate of scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast! He brought in a napkin and a fork too! I already had a bottle of water, so I was set. What a kid!

After the wonderful breakfast that he fixed, we just sort of laid around and talked and I didn't get dressed until after 1:00. Then we went to the local meat market, and then to Wal*Mart. I really don't like Wal*Mart at all, so Alex went in for me, bless his heart. We just got home and basically, all is right with the world.

However...since I'm off today, I sort of feel obligated to cook tonight, sigh. I was thinking about making chili, but I don't have any green peppers and I'm not going back out, so we might end up having pork chops.

Yep, gotta love those snow days.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Countdown, Bah Humbug

Christmas shopping - about 80% complete (have I mentioned that I absolutely LOVE online shopping???)

Christmas cards - purchased and still in the boxes; I have the stamps though!

Christmas tree - up, but not decorated

Christmas decorations - still in boxes in the basement

Christmas wrapping - are you really supposed to WRAP gifts??? Hey, at least I have wrapping paper in the house. That's a start...isn't it?

Christmas cookie baking - I have a list of the cookies that they all want me to bake, but haven't checked on the status of the ingredients yet

And people wonder why I don't like Christmas.