Wednesday, November 28, 2007

one red paperclip

Kyle Macdonald traded one red paperclip for something better and then traded that item, etc, etc until he had traded up to a house. His great story is in the new book One Red Paperclip which I read in three days. Kyle's story is inspiring and his writing is fresh and funny. Each chapter is about a trade - only 14 to get from paperclip to house! And then the great finale which I won't ruin for you, but let's say it's bigger and better than the house

Saturday, November 17, 2007

There's Nothing Wrong with Napping

I KNEW it!! I take a long nap every day that I can.
I found this on Gizmundo where there's
Good News and Positive Stories ... Served Daily
and don't we all need more of that?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Goonies

I love The Goonies. Also the Princess Bride - both have "Where are they now" articles on this link. Another Goonies movie would be great! These two have made it to my DVD collection which I am very particular about. It is a very small collection.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

My doctor was in a rock band last week

Last Monday, my son and I went to the doctor with sinus infections. The doctor commented on my son's punk rock t-shirt saying, 'their drummer is sick.' Turns out he is a drummer. In a rock band. AND had CD's at the checkout desk and said we could have one. The group is called altered and CD title is Dreaming Awake. Of course, as soon as I listen to the CD (it's good) and check out their MySpace, I read this bulletin:

After almost four years and one amazing & crazy ride, ALTERED is
stepping away from the music scene.

Nice. I'm a few days late. But hey, they have free downloads so check it out!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Brought to your attention by Mocove

Two of my favorite blogs each had a great post. girlfriday refers to our fear of talking about sex in her post You Might Feel Dirty Reading this Post . And on BookLust for Silly Poetry Friday, there's this gem by Dorothy Parker:

General Review Of The Sex Situation
Woman wants monogamy;
Man delights in novelty.
Love is woman's moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun.
Woman lives but in her lord;
Count to ten, and man is bored.
With this the gist and sum of it,
What earthly good can come of it?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


It's the Little One (Rae) and the Big One (Avah). The cousins. The Camo Cousins. Sometimes referred to as twins by extremely confused strangers. They are cute, cuddly and drool a lot. I love them so much, it's amazing!

Friday, June 29, 2007

My crazy mother is driving me crazy

Mom is having a tough time at the nursing home - mostly from narcotic withdrawal. She calls a dozen times a day to complain about the staff - the nurses don't give her meds on time; they took all her over-the-counter meds; they aren't helping with her incontinence; someone stole money from her room; she doesn't sleep; she needs money; she's mad at my sister; she wants to review her will; she wants a new doctor. She may be able to get into independent living when the facility is medicaid approved, but that could be a while. She has bipolar and schizo affective disorders, Parkinson's, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid imbalance, arthritis and a wide variety of aches, pains and complaints. I do not doubt that she doesn't feel good but she has been like this for over 30 years. If I run there (a 45 min. drive) to bring her stuff, money and meet with the staff, have lunch with her and spend 3-4 hours, she'll need the whole routine repeated. If I try to avoid her by not returning her calls, she gets desperate, angry, crying, leaving the same detailed message over and over. My psychologist says she's a manipulator. I need to set boundaries because it's spiralling out of control.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What Kind of Sandwich are You?

We've all heard about the 'sandwich generation' - those of us who have elderly parents who need care and children who are needing us for various reasons. I can relate to that - so if they are the outside - are they bread? Whole grain? Kaiser roll? Do they suck us dry with their absorbancy? Or hold onto us by having us in their pocket? If we are the inside, what kind of stuff are we? lunch meat? pb&j? Are we supplying valuable nutrients? Do we compliment our outside layers without overpowering? Or do we get too wrapped up trying to control how everything goes together? Are we stuck like cement or can we move about freely?

Living in a sandwich situation is stressful. There may be no escape, so coping adequately is important. Recently, I had to neglect my mom to take care of my daughter. Today I went to the nursing home and met with the social worker, the director of nursing, the business office and physical therapy to touch base, iron out problems, ask questions, placate mom mostly. She was having great difficulty with pain medication - wanting more and more narcotics. I thought we had cleared it up for her, but she's called 3 times tonight to say nothing had changed. She's just not going to be happy and I'm going to have to hear about it. She says all kinds of stuff that's not happening, but when I confront her she doesn't back down. This is part of her bipolar/schizo affective disorder. Her side of the sandwich is a crusty, moldy, nasty piece that makes me sick. I don't like to be around, but I deal with what I have to and not let her know how I really feel. Sounds like time for a trip to the psychologist for me!

My daughter's side is high maintenance, but not irritating. She needs support and help right now while recovering and her husband being gone for National Guard training until October. She is doing her best, trying hard and pulling her weight in the situation. She takes care of the baby - they are still nursing after all this.

Of course, what I'd like to be is an Oreo sandwich cookie, but you can't have everything you want - at least not all the time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Missing Dad

The thing about the first Father's Day without dad is that this time last year we were all at the Outer Banks here. We had a hat and jacket made for dad that said 'Ernie' as a joke from the fishing charter trip the year before where the captain kept calling out to dad 'God damn it Ernie - get your bait in the water!' We put the hat in his casket. My brothers and I went to the cemetery yesterday. That's the first time I've been to a cemetery to visit - not attending a funeral. There's no headstone yet and there's grass starting to grow there. It's really not a place that I would 'visit' dad. It makes me think about the casket, the funeral home, and dad being sick. One of my step-brothers and his family went to the Outer Banks for vacation this year - now there's a place to be visiting and reminiscing. Hopefully, we'll be able to go next year. It will be different, but life is different now with dad gone and grand babies here. Life is changing all the time. Sometimes it takes me a while to rest in order catch up to the changes.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Catching Up

Since the last post, it's been crisis mode. My daughter had a hard time with her labor and delivery. She pushed for 4 hours after her epidural wore off and ended up having to get a c-section. A week after she came home, we took her back to the hospital(not the same one she delivered at). She had clotting, an infection and a ruptured uterus. She had to have surgery to remove the infection and clotting and repair her uterus. She had to get 4 units of blood during the surgery. They put a couple drains in and she had wounds on each side of the incision to heal from the inside out. She had 21 staples in her incision. Her temperature kept spiking and an infectious disease specialist came to take care of her antibiotics. A hematologist was called to evaluate her low platelet count. The hospital stay was 13 long days and nights since we had the baby there. She continued to nurse as much as possible and the baby stayed overnight. Someone had to be there round the clock, so I was the day shift and her hubby spent the nights with them. She is home now and I change her dressings and give her 2 IV antibiotics through her PIC line. The ob/gyn will see her Friday and the infectious disease doc will see her a week from Monday.

Poor kid - 20 years old and any future pregnancies will have to be closely monitored. She is not feeling well at all and I'm afraid this isn't over. It was agony to see her in so much pain during labor. We are all very unhappy with how her labor and delivery was handled and that she was sent home having had a temperature that day and a low blood count. Her husband leaves for National Guard training a week from tomorrow (as if she doesn't have enough going on).

Meanwhile, mom is freaking at the nursing home. I didn't return calls until yesterday. The doc is weaning her off pain pills (Oxycontin) and she is frantic. She still gets vicodin and all her psych meds. Based on prior experience, she is having a manic episode. The more my daughter and brother were ill, the more things she needed.

My brother ended up in the hospital the last few weeks of his cancer treatment. He had so much pain and was home alone for the most part, so being at the hospital kept him hydrated and gave him resources for pain management. He is home now and his treatments are over, but I haven't talked to him because of being busy with my daughter. It will take a while for him to start feeling better and being able to eat again.

I cut my hours at the library from 14 to 4/wk. My boss suggested just working Monday evenings instead of quitting altogether, so I took her up on it. I haven't been to work for a couple weeks anyhow. School is out which means I don't have to drop off/pick up my son every day. I've been really missing dad - it's hard to be going through this without being able to talk to him. Thank God for my husband who is so understanding and often asks what he can do to help me - he's given back rubs, done laundry, cleaned house, whatever I've needed. And this whole time I'm away from home. Yesterday I finally made it to the grocery store. Right before everyone starved, too!

And one bright spot - my son got a pet rat since his room has been clean for a few weeks (my husband cleaned it using the rake) so we are watching them bond. Hopefully, it won't get loose in the house - the cat and dog would have fun, but I would not like it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Raelynn Alexandra

Here she is!!!

She was born 3:13 am Monday morning May 7, 2007. She weighed 6 lbs 10.8oz and is 20 inches long. There's more to the story, but it will have to wait for later. We love her!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chemotherapy with my Brother

Yesterday I went to chemo with my brother. He's being treated for throat cancer which started with surgery to remove a growth on his throat, tonsil on that side plus lymph nodes in the area. The following week he had a feeding tube put in and since his stomach is under his ribs, needed to go to the hospital for the procedure. That was the night Dad died. My little brother and my sister-in-law had to go to the hospital and tell him the following morning. So he was to start treatment the following week, but we had calling hours and the funeral. He didn't take his meds before the first treatment and was pretty sick but got squared away on that now. He's getting 6 weeks of radiation 5 times/week and chemo on Fridays. Last Friday his wife was off for spring break and was there. The Friday before he went by himself. First he goes for radiation treatment which doesn't take too long and then to the cancer treatment center. They have small partitioned booths with an easy chair, a visitor chair, a TV and a small hospital type night stand. He already had his IV in his hand. They gave him 4 bags of stuff - the chemo (2 bags), anti-nausea med and saline. It takes 3-1/2 hours for all that to drip, one bag at a time.

He was glad I was there to help pass the time. I can be pretty chatty. OK, I can chat up a storm. We watch some funny sitcoms and fishing and Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. I went to the cafeteria and got him some pudding and oatmeal. He says his throat is stiff, it's hard to chew stuff, he's lost his appetite and is nauseous a lot. So far, his main side effect is being tired. They were going to deliver his feeding tube food so he could start on that since he's lost weight. Hopefully, that will give him a little energy. I could tell he was scared and depressed. I'll be there next Friday.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Patent # 6551086

Years ago, when I worked as a tire engineer at Goodyear, I got a patent. Well, along with a bunch of other engineers. But still - pretty cool, huh?

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Swiss Alps

My favorite part of our trip to Europe. The clean, crisp air cleared my head. Remote, snow-covered and not reachable by vehicles, the mountains were everywhere - all-consuming.

Here I sit on a terrace in the village of Murren enjoying some hot ovaltine - YUM!

Honduras Scuba Diving

Hubby with the resort bird.

Hubby & stepson under the sea.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Luke 23:34
And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Kind of like my Easter. We're starting to work on mom's apartment - cleaning out clutter, dividing up her stuff. It's tedious, nostalgic, bittersweet and a chore. My little brother swooped in to grab a couple things he wanted and take off without actually helping. On the other hand, dad's stuff is being auctioned off. He had cool stuff - dirt bikes, fishing stuff, model airplane stuff, a garage full of stuff, a basement full of stuff. He had lots of hobbies he loved and stuff he did with my brothers like bmx. Today a list came out with how much some things went for - a tire, a mini-bike. It wasn't very nostalgic-like. Apparently, you had to show up with the vultures while things were being cleaned out to get anything you wanted. I am not that assertive so I'll just sit back and be resentful. Shame on me. I miss my dad.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The National Guard

My new son-in-law has joined the National Guard. He goes to training from June-October. There are great benefits - especially the education and bonus! A big concern:

According to the Pentagon, about 270,000 of America's over 347,000 Army Guard soldiers have served in either Afghanistan, Iraq, or both.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bye Dad

Goodbye, Dad. I miss you so much. It's been really hard since your stroke. I'm sorry you were so sick. Thank you for trying so hard for so long. Thank you for our vacations at the Outer Banks. Thank you for always having good advice. Thanks for showing us how to enjoy life.

Last night were calling hours and the funeral is today.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Stuck in Newark

After a wonderful 2 week vacation in Europe, our flight back to the states was delayed 5 hours and we arrived in Newark airport to find that flights had been cancelled and delayed due to weather. So not only did we wait 5 hours in Milan to catch our 9 hour flight - now we're stuck in Newark! The airline got us a hotel and meal vouchers and we should be home later tonight. We are tired and grouchy and achy. I want to blog about our adventures in Europe! Hopefully I will get to that soon. While we were gone, mom got home from the nursing home but ended up back in the hospital - I guess they are waiting for me to get back to 'deal with' that situation. My dad was back in the hospital where they found he had a bleeding ulcer. So I will check on the two of them before we take off to Florida for my husband's family reunion on Saturday. My son and I are going to Universal Studios for a couple days and my husband is taking his son to Honduras scuba diving for his 21st birthday present. We are looking forward to having some fun!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Look at that beautiful smile!! The doctor said soon (which means early) I keep nagging her to take it easy.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Working hard or hardly working

The road to easy parenting is lined with little thought. This goes both ways - overdone praise or automatic discipline. My answer to 'that kid needs a spanking' is that I've always given myself enough credit to outsmart my kid with appropriate consequences. Kids need to learn to be responsible for themselves. We have to teach them self encouragement, motivation and discipline. It is not an easy task.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lunar Eclipse in Paris

How romantic!! The one night we'll be in Paris and there's a lunar eclipse best seen from Europe.

And we missed it by going to bed around 9 - international travel will bust yer butt!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Paris Libraries

I'll let you know which of these Paris libraries I manage to get into after I return from my trip. (We're leaving Friday!)

Bibliothèque Forney, Hôtel de Sens, 1, rue du Figuier, Fourth Arrondissement; phone Open Tuesday to Saturday 1:30 to 7 p.m.

Bibliothèque Mazarine, 23, Quai de Conti, Sixth Arrondissement;; Reading room open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed holidays and July 29 to Aug. 15. A pass for two consecutive days is free; a provisional pass, for 10 working days, is 7.50 euros, $9.10 at 1.21 to the euro.

Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, 1, rue Sully, Fourth Arrondissement;; Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m to 5 p.m.; closed Sundays, holidays and April 10 to 21.

Bibliothèque Ste.-Genevieve, 10, Place du Panthéon, Fifth Arrondissement;; Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m to 10 p.m.

Bibliothèque Nationale, 58, rue de Richelieu, Second Arrondissement;; Reading room open Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 7 p.m.

Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Quai François-Mauriac, 13th Arrondissement; Exhibitions and reading rooms open Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 1 to 7 p.m. Entry: 3.30 euros.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Valentine's Day Wedding

Despite the blizzard, my daughter's wedding was wonderful. She looked beautiful!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Throat Cancer

Those phone calls that start "I have some bad news.." just make the heart sink right down to the stomach. My brother called last night to say he has a tumor in his throat. He will need surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy to treat it; also an MRI will be done to check for cancer in other places. My stupid reply was "You're kidding me!" Really - I thought (hoped) it was a joke - a little prank. Not so. And he comforted me saying he'll be alright. This just sucks.

As a teen taking care of my bipolar mom, I would lay in bed with her crying in pain from arthritis praying to God to just let me have her pain instead. It's silly to think that my prayers were answered and for years I was able to avoid it, but finally the doctor diagnosed bipolar disorder. My emotional pain and distress dwarfed hers - it's hard to believe she has lived through that.

That makes me wonder if my brother had those same types of thoughts when dad had his stroke. Parents would gladly take their children's suffering. We hope and pray we could relieve our parent's suffering. Unfortunately, that isn't possible and now we experience our own illness using our parents as an example of bravery, perseverance and hope.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The new Blogger and Blog

Well, I switched to the new Blogger, lost some items, deleted links and blogs that I no longer had interest in. Then I notice - I haven't posted since the 1st of January!! Well, let me tell you - since then I have quit smoking - so there!! Other than that, we've been enjoying the new grand baby, planning a Valentine's Day wedding and trying to keep track of our parents. My dad - new nursing home, things going OK. My mom - still in nursing home, was sick, but now on the mend. My mother-in-law in MI - another trip to the hospital for irregular heartbeat, dehydration - she's supposed to come home Monday. So that's the latest quick news. Oh - and we're planning a trip to Europe around my husband's business trip. We'll go to Amsterdam, Paris, Luxembourg and we're talking about Italy. Now that is exciting!