Monday, December 28, 2009

Birthday Revenge - Part I

This is one of 3 pics that will go up at the end of this little birthday revenge saga. :)

"Vengeance is mine" ..thus sayeth the Lord.

I can appreciate the wisdom behind God saying that and he's right.. but sometimes..just sometimes vengeance is oh so sweet least for birthday retaliations. ;)

I am dedicating this post to my friend Debbie ..AKA Pstamper , since her birthday was in November.


I may have told this story on this blog.. at least in part. I'm not sure...although I know I did in some other blog comment sections. Either way..I'm telling it again! ;)


Birthday Revenge - Part I

It all started about 4 1/2 years earlier than Debbie's 40th birthday. Well actually even earlier if you consider my being influenced with practical jokes by my often times hilarious/impish emergency room co-workers. I definitely went through a practical joke faze during the 90s especially ...because of them. Anyone who has ever worked in the emergency environment knows what I'm talking about. Actually..I should say medical environment because other departments play their jokes too. :)

*I think it is a healthy outlet to release the stress/tension that comes with the work. There is nothing like a hearty, nearly gut busting laugh to clear the tension and then forge as usual.

Anyway thing the hospital staff was notorious for was decorating with black balloons, etc when someone was turning 40. Over the hill decorations would be strung up everywhere. :)

So I decided that for Mr SeaSpray's 40th birthday ..I would decorate the house with black balloons, streamers and over the hill stuff. I giggled every time I thought about it. :)

This one morning.. I decided to call my friend Donna who is absolutely one of the funniest people I have ever met in my entire life. Her guidance counselor seriously told her she should go into comedy. Even during the worst challenges of her life..she'd have you laughing.

I thought she'd love my over the hill 40th birthday decorating idea.

Um ..noooo ..she did not. I actually thought she was kidding when she raised her voice and said how awful it was, it wasn't funny and for my birthday..she'd be putting tombstones in front of my house. I was laughing and she was mad ..and then I eventually caught on that she was serious and so I let it drop. But..I was really surprised.

Well turned out that she was very sensitive about her age..which was the same as my husband and so she was turning 40 that same year. And it It turned out that she and her 2 sisters all lied about their age by about 5 years. She told me that even her sisters had her confused. I'm actually not 100% sure she is Mr SeaSpray's age..she may be a year younger ..or IS she???

So.. I forgot all about that and as planned ...gleefully decorated the house in black decorations... chuckling in thorough amusement as I pondered the surprise. :)

Well ... let me tell you fell very, very flat.

No one appreciated the humor and so it ended up being a downer. Mr SeaSpray's family is very quiet and reserved and they just looked around without even a smile and seemed perplexed. Mr SeaSpray said he didn't care..but he didn't laugh either.

You'd think I decorated for a funeral ..well in a way..I guess I did ..with the black and all.

Usually ... after a party bask in the afterglow of a fun event and I like to leave the decorations up a couple of days because they're fun, festive and a reminder of a good time.

I remember sitting on the sofa after my family went to bed... looking up at the black balloons and streamers running across the beams ... and thinking it all looked so depressing and ugly. I took everything down IMMEDIATELY!

Maybe it was all the florescent lights at the hospital that countered the dreary effect of the black ..or maybe because everyone there were kindred spirits with their teasing senses of humor, always ready to crack up at good joke ... but that was the last time I ever decorated with black in our home!

However ..the saga continues .. because my friend decided to make good on her threats ..and so not to be outdone ... of course there just had to be subsequent birthday retaliations. :)

To be continued ...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Up ..Up and Away! :)

Last week I got a really funny Christmas card from a friend who works in a photo studio. Every year I look forward to her Christmas cards because they are usually these gorgeous pictures of her two now adult girls on beautiful sets and sometimes she is in the picture too.. also a pretty lady. :)

The photographer is excellent and quite creative. People come up from Manhattan to her studio for pictures of their children/family. One of my favorite pictures of my granddaughter was taken by this photographer during Easter with a live bunny and a beautiful set.

Anyway.. I opened this Christmas card as I was walking back toward our house. When I saw it I just busted out laughing because it was so apropos knowing my friend's fabulous sense of humor. And the set was quite creative.

My friend's two adult daughters are driving the sled ..holding on to the reigns. You can see the back end of the reindeer. They are lifting off and are contrasted by the beautiful night sky, mountains and the house with Christmas lights and decorated tree below.

What makes this picture hilarious is my friend holding on to the sled, with her mouth wide open (side view) and legs dragging behind as she is lifting up into the night sky with them. My friend has the best sense of humor and is like "Lucy". :)

I wish I could show you!

So..even though I knew she was working, I decided to leave her a message right then because I knew she'd enjoy hearing it when she got home. I was laughing about her card and telling her how much I loved it and kudos to her boss for her creativity, etc. .. although it turns out D. (my friend) had the idea, called it "Up...Up and Away" and the graphic artist enhanced it.

But then in the same breath I said.. "I know this is your busy time of year with the studio ..but when things settle down..we need to get together and talk about our dead mothers." And then I got a little weepy and then laughed at the absurdity of the call... which made me laugh harder... which I know would've caused her to laugh. I think they have medication for that? ;)

Gee talk about a cheerful little earful!

I knew that the instant she heard the invite to get together so we could talk about our dead mothers ...she would crack up. Ha ha! And she did. Then she told me she "penciled that right into her agenda! Only YOU!" :)

So ..we will get together after the holidays to catch up on our lives with each other, play scrabble and to talk about our mothers. :)

I hope this didn't seem disrespectful because obviously I loved my mother.

She was always so good to my mother and with her usual zany humor.. would cause my mom to laugh heartily.

We are good friends that never get to see each other anymore. She used to live next door but now is a few towns away and works in another area. But..when we connect.. we pick up just like we saw each other 5 minutes ago. And let me tell you..we have shared some good laughs even during some of our more challenging times in life. We both have personalities that can see humor in most things and sometimes life is just so absurd have to laugh.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

" Merry CHRISTMAS!! GRRR!! " :) (revised)

I mentioned in the previous post that I cheerily delivered a Christmas food basket to my doctor's office the other day. I LOVE Christmas so much! People said Merry Christmas in the Lobby and in the elevator and of course we all said it in the doctor's office.

*One of my favorite parts (there are many) in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" is where at the end Jimmy Stewart is both gleefully and gratefully running around Bedford Falls in the falling snow shouting "Merry Christmas!" all the way to his home. (I wanted to live in Bedford Falls :)

I wonder if I have Christmas genes coursing through my veins? Anytime I have labs drawn in December and the techs tell me they see miniature reindeer in my blood and that the're especially easy to detect because the of the festive red glow in the vials. Rudolph? Hmmm ...I wonder if there is an ICD-9 code for that? What is the diagnosis?

But I digress ... my point is that it's a wonderful spiritual holiday (original meaning) and fun to to participate in the festivities of the season. Anger is the last thing that would ever run through my 'visions of sugar-plums dancing through my head" brain. It is a foreign concept at Christmas... well except for thoughts of an enforced PC Christmas where the original meaning of the Christmas Holiday is sanitized or you are met with silence if you dare to say Merry Christmas because people don't know how to respond. Or politics can put a damper on it and so it's important to flip to the Christmas music instead. And even those things would not cause me to lash out at another person ..SQUAWKING in a shrill voice. YIKES!

So ...after leaving the office ...I headed down to Costco to pick up some things for Christmas dinner and some presents. The parking lot was packed, but I held out hope there might be an open spot close to the store and sure enough I found one.

Luckily a woman was just walking up to her car (parked in a great spot) to unload her items. I lowered my window, said "Hi!" and said that I would take her carriage and could she please put it behind the car right next to her. She smiled back and said "Sure!" (Saved her the trouble of bringing it back and ensured that I would have a carriage because when it's packed like that..carriages can be scarce.)

She got in her car and was getting ready to leave..when this other woman and young girl come walking up ..and wouldn't you know it...the carriage was behind HER car. "No big deal, the woman is leaving.", I erroneously think.

Not exACTly. This woman walking up began SQUAWKING...I kid you not SQUAWKING "Who the h*** would leave a shopping carriage behind someone's car?!! You DON"T leave a carriage there!" She was SQUAWKING ..and if she was a real bird..her wings would be flapping and her body would be lifting off and landing repeatedly. She really morphed (in my mind's eye) ...into a little black bird flapping her wings while rising up and down on the pavement. ;)

Okay.. I understand.. it would seem to be a rude thing to do or thoughtless. I was just about to explain, when the woman backing out ... lowered her car window and said she put it there.

(For the first time I am chuckling about this as I type because I can just imagine how apoplectic SQUAWKING woman's brain was becoming in those seconds ... (LOL!) as her mind was attempting to compute the fact that not only did this woman admit to leaving it there ..behind HER car, but is cheerily admitting it and backing out to LEAVE!!!)

SQUAWKING woman's back was to me now and I couldn't hear everything she was yelling (She was really yelling but sounded like squawking because of the pitch), but it wasn't fair for her to be yelling at this other nice woman when she had responded to MY request to leave the carriage there. Btw ..what are the odds ..that in that whole parking lot of PACKED cars...this would be the car that the owner comes out to at that moment? Maybe I should've gone out and bought a lottery ticket.? I'm just sayin.

Anyway ... Quickly(cheerily) came to the aid of nice woman and in a friendly voice said "Excuse me? I'm sorry ... she was helping me." "I DON"T CARE!" "No you don't understand, *I* ASKED her to put it there." "She could've put it over there!" (She gestured toward in between the two vehicles. I had initially thought of that but then thought that I might not be able to pull in easily. I didn't know how much space was between the two cars) Admittedly in a now frustrated tone I said "I didn't know if it would fit for me to get around. She's leaving right now!"

SQUAWKING woman SQUAWKED some more but I zoned out because the other woman backed out and then with a big smile she said a purposeful directed at me with a smile "Merry Christmas!" I said "Merry Christmas to you too and THANK you!" She drove away.

Then I only had eyes to pull into that spot. Oh and there was a carriage in between our two vehicles and so putting a second carriage there would've gotten in the way of pulling in.

I opened the car door without getting my purse because I just wanted to get the carriage away from the back of her car and she was still SQUAWKING about us "Making a BIG deal about it!" (REALLY? WE were making a BIG deal? I didn't say that though.) "Well you were mad.?", I said.

And then as I go to get the carriage which she had pushed behind the car on the other side of me (I guess using her logic THAT was logical?), She SQUAWKED "I WAS NOT MAD!"

Then seeing the carriage was alright behind the other car I went back to get my purse (my back was to her), I reached in to pick it up and in the most SHRILL voice she angrily SQUAWKED "Merry CHRISTMAS! MERRY CHRISTMAS!", as she stomped (okay stomped is an assumption on my part but I bet she did), to her side of the car.

I ignored her.. didn't even look at her. I did notice the daughter sitting with a poker face in the front seat staring straight ahead and I felt sorry for her. I would've smiled sweetly at her if she had looked my way.

I was so glad to just get away from that woman though. And she didn't come out with stuff to unload into her car. I guess she just wanted to zip right out of there ..understandably ..but her tirade slowed us all down. I honestly didn't think I did anything wrong by asking the other woman to place the carriage there. If that were me coming up to my car..I might be a bit irked at the insensitivity to leave a carriage there but not mad. And certainly ..the second the lady explained.. I'd smile and say "No problem I'll put it right here for you." :)

No wonder we don't have world peace! If even these little things set us off. ???

Maybe she was PMS-ing. Or Peri-menopausal... having some hormonal assault on her brain.

Or maybe a loved one died, she didn't have money for Christmas or some other sad event in her life. Maybe she was struggling ..seriously struggling with something important and that carriage was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

I remember a time when I was the young girl quietly sitting on the passenger's side of my mother's car. I remember her coming back to the car and breaking down and sobbing because the check from our aunt from Florida wouldn't clear for 3 days.. and we didn't have any food.

So..we never know what is really going on with people.

I am an eye contact person and I never wear my glasses or contacts except for driving. So..unless I am up close to you..I can't really see your eyes. I can see you have eyes and maybe the color, but I mean your pupils and what feelings are going on with you ..unless I am right there... I can't read your eyes.

Maybe if I had been closer to her..I would've seen something besides the anger. ?

Hindsight being 20-20 ... I wish I had walked over to her and looked right into her eyes and just said a heart felt "I am sorry and we didn't intend to cause a problem for you", and then wished her well.

And if I am really honest about this... I do think the nice woman and I did mean to wish each other "Merry Christmas" .... b-u-t ..there was a hint of sarcasm in our voices as we united in in our effort to make the point "It's CHRISTMAS lady - lighten up!" And no doubt that exacerbated the woman's temper and perhaps caused her to try to save face and the only way she knew to do it was to yell more. Of course..she also could've said .."Hey ladies..I'm sorry ..rough day."

I am not proud that I used Christmas as the conduit for the sarcasm pointed at her either. And emotions can run high for many of us during the holiday season.

On a lighter note... the last thing I had to pick up was the cat litter which I think weighed forty ponds. I am not supposed to pick up more than 20 or 25lbs with this ureteral stent in. So I did hang out by the cat litter until a man came by.

I stopped him and asked if he could please lift the big cat litter container into the cart for me because I wasn't supposed to lift more than 20lbs right now. He graciously hoisted it into my cart. (Gotta just love men and their muscles ;) He asked "What are you gonna do when you get to your car?" I said "Oh ..I'll wait for another nice man to come by." :) We both laughed and I thanked him. :)

Then ..when I got out to my car ..there were no men ..anywhere to be seen. But next to me there was another girl and her mother older girl. She walked their carriage back and I stopped her and asked if she could please help me lift this into the back. She graciously agreed and I said "1,2,3" and together we lifted it in. I thanked her, we wished each other a Merry Christmas and I left after they did.

*Even though I was annoyed at this woman and thought she acted ridiculously .. we just don't know what is really going on under the surface of what we are able to see. Maybe that was the real her... a shrill squawker. But I missed an opportunity... when I could've walked over to her and kindly wish her well. It might've helped her in some way.. or not. But apparently my self preservation mode took over and I really just wanted to get away.

Regardless ..I really do hope she is alright and that she really does have a good Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PMS Platter or Death by Chocolate, and Attitudes :)

I love to add these little chocolate liqueurs to baskets and plates of cookies. I buy them at Costco during the Christmas season and since I first bought them..the box is half the size it used to be... for about the same price. I wish they had a Gin and tonic flavor. ;)

Merry Christmas!! :)

I LOVE to say that with sincere enthusiasm and did at the medical office yesterday. It's such a beautiful and festive holiday!

Yesterday, I dropped off (what has now become an annual tradition) ... a Christmas basket and plate of chocolate goodies for the urology office. I know I always say this, but they are such a wonderful group of people and my urodoc is excellent and he has always taken good care of this patient.

I took pictures this time because I really like what I did with this big Christmas plate. I definitely added more this year and had to make two trips to go back out to get the basket too. I wanted to do something really different this year ..but have had some personal distractions and my creative juices just weren't flowing. And so the baked goodies were just basic ..pumpkin cookies, Toll house cookies and mint brownies. And gourmet candies (chocolate liqueurs and these really decadent chocolate squares filled with mint, caramel, etc., as well as cheese, crackers, healthy wholegrain chips, ranch dip, hot cocoa and popcorn.

Last minute I got the idea to put the mint brownies sprinkled with powdered sugar in cupcake holders and then I sprinkled them with little red, white and green Christmas decorations. The Christmas plate curves upward on the outer part and so I fanned (alternated by foil color) the little square chocolate candy just underneath the brownies all the way around. Then with them curving upward, I placed the various little chocolate liqueur bottles fanned out on top of those all the way around. It looked really pretty. After that I placed a few brownies on top in the middle with a few liqueur bottles standing upright in the middle. Then wrapped with clear wrap. (Had I thought ahead..I would've gotten the pink or green plastic wrap and I forgot I bought foil Christmas cupcake holders) After that I tied a festive wire bow around the whole thing. The ribbon has snow men, snowflakes, sparkles, and is very pretty. Then the last thing ..I placed two gold, oval Merry Christmas stickers on each side on one side of the plate.

I have never done up such a pretty plate before and just really got into it. Now I am going to do plates like that for others too..just not as big. (They have a lot of staff :) It was fun to do. The plate itself is a heavy decorative glass plate and so this alone was heavy to carry inside. There was no way I could've placed it on the basket and carried both because that was one heavy plate of chocolate.

One of the women said it was a lot of work ..but it was fun work. And the house smells so good with all the baking. I heard we are supposed to get snow this weekend and so those are perfect baking days. :)

I don't know why ..but I definitely created a PMS Platter or Death By Chocolate ... all a matter of perspective. :) I am more of a cinnamon girl myself... or mint.

It was definitely the go to plate if you're pms.. ing. ;)

Then I put the pumpkin cookies in the Silver Bells Christmas basket and covered them with the pretty Silver Bells wooden lid, Put toll house cookies in a Christmas tin, the ranch dip and Boursin cheese in a small Christmas Longaberger with ice, crackers, bag of healthy wholegrain chips, cocoa packets and popcorn bags dispersed and all in a big Christmas Longaberger basket with leather handles. And then tied another pretty snowman ribbon around the entire basket. ( I love that ribbon btw :)

They are always so enthusiastically appreciative which warmed my heart. It is so much fun to use the Longaberger baskets because I am a collector of Longaberger baskets, pottery and wrought iron. Not that I would part with them..but they do go up in value because they periodically discontinue certain pieces.

I love these baskets and some of the women there collect them as well and so it is just fun to be able to use these and show them to people who appreciate them and I trust leaving the baskets and pottery with them. Ha Ha! You'd think I was talking about leaving my kids or something! :)

One of the women commented that I really use my baskets and I really do..they are functional. I told her that just like playing house with dolls..when I bring the baskets of food there..I get to play Longaberger. :)

(You would have to be into the product to understand.)

I know I've said this before too, but for any new readers ...I bring them food at Christmas to say "Thank you." It's a thank you to urodoc for his professionalism ...all the time, energy, hard work, patience with this patient, compassion and dedication he has consistently demonstrated throughout his care. It is a thank you to him because despite the fear I have sometimes felt depending on what was going on.. I have felt safe and well taken care of under his care the OR, hospital and in the office. That is saying a lot with the uncertainty of this. Every patient should be able to have this implicit trust in their doctor. I am a grateful patient.

It is a thank you to his partners because even tho I have had minimal interactions with them..I like them too. They have always been helpful, courteous and pleasant.

I know what I am talking about when I praise these doctors because I have experienced ... um...less than stellar care from a couple of docs and I know of personal experiences other people have had with physician encounters.

And it is a thank you to the clinic and front office staff because they have always been so supportive, comforting, compassionate and every bit the professionals they are. And ... while urological procedures and conditions aren't fun and can be embarrassing ..that south of the border stuff ... they are a sweet, fun group of people and have made this experience bearable.

I really could not imagine having to do all this stuff with the ease that I have .... if it weren't for this amazing group of professionals. I am sure anyone who has had any medical condition that has required them to repeatedly go to the office and other places understands exactly what I am talking about.

Staff can make a visit pleasant or dreadful or even if what will be done in that visit is dreadful ...staff can still soften the negative experience with their attitudes with and around the patients.

There is medical staff ... and then there is ...medical staff... the latter group being the really good ones that care. safety and well being comes from God... but I believe he works through physicians, nurses and other medical professionals along the way.

*Thank you Pstamper for picking up the chips and popcorn and thank you for waiting for that plate of Pumpkin cookies. Now you see.. I have the platter down pat (no pun intended) and will have a nice one for you in time for Mike coming home if not sooner. :)

** One thing though ..I may have screwed up a bit in that last night as older son was sampling the baked goods I kept out for them ..he said that not everyone likes nuts and I didn't think to ommit the nuts from a portion of the baked goodies. I am nuts for nuts and just added them right into the batters. I hope they all like nuts. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Tradition of the Pink Mouse

This is the real Christmas mouse I saved and put on our tree every Christmas as a reminder.

I think this is the 3rd year I am putting this post (true story) up ..except now it means even more to me because I need a reminder that things will work out ...that difficult situations do get better and to never give up.

And also because after all these years... I have never forgotten the many kindnesses that were extended to us. Love, Hope and Faith .. I am praying these things will prevail..regardless of circumstances.

Faith is believing in things not yet seen.

I put the following post up last year and there is also a link to Dr WhiteCoat's sweet post, both of which I think demonstrate the importance of caring and showing compassion to others. :)

Per Dr. Whitecoat's suggestion...I am posting what was a comment in his post "What Life is All About" over here in my SeaSpray blog. But before I get to the comment I just want to add a few things.

Those of you that know us, know what was going on at the time and it was a l-o-o-o-o-n-g 20 months. This post is about something that actually happened toward the end of the ordeal but there were other acts of kindness done from the beginning..right on through to the end. (I will talk about those sometime too)

Every note, card, letter, word of encouragement, all food, gifts and anonymous gifts were greatly appreciated and are still remembered even today. For as many words as you see me put down in these blogs...sometimes there are people or things that they have done that move me so deeply... that I feel anything I do, say or write can never truly convey the heartfelt gratitude I have felt and feel even now. This is true of things in my past and it is true with things that have been going on in the present. My entire life has been filled with people that have been blessings in various ways.

During this particular time...a judge befriended me. He had nothing to do with anything nor did he have any future influence on the case. He was a complete stranger that overheard a conversation in a public place that I was having with someone. After introducing himself he gave me his number that I could reach him anytime anywhere in the country and this was before cell phones were readily available. Believe me I called him and we'd have long conversations and I'd sob and sometimes he'd even get me laughing and he was so kind and he gave me hope. One night he said to me, "You know...I don't know what it is about you but you make someone want to help you." I don't know why either. I am just me and no one special and oh so flawed too.

Some people said that encounter was a coincidence, a chance encounter... but I believe it it was a "divine coincidence" because his support was one of the things that gave me the strength to follow through and keep going. It helped to know he was in the background. There were other key people too. And above all... I know it was God working through these people to help sustain us in various ways through the difficult times.

The reason "It's a Wonderful Life" is my favorite movie and is also why I named my blog the same is because I love and thoroughly believe the main message of the movie which is that we all are important. Each and everyone of us can and do make a difference in this life, affecting the present AND the future. It is an awesome thought when you take the time to really ponder it. And is a responsibility... because we never know when even the simplest things to us may mean the world to someone else... or crush them like the proverbial final straw that breaks the camel's back. We don't know what is really going on in someone's heart...what burdens they carry. Are they lonely, grieving a loss or maybe they are stressed, hurt and angry or afraid but they live in their worlds of quiet desperation behind masques of smiles or stoicism. I am sure Whitecoat shoveling that driveway warmed someone's heart and who knows who else that random act of kindness will ripple outward toward?


Comment I left on the Whitecoat Rant blog:

Our family received an anonymous act of kindness and it made me crazy wondering who had done it. It was back in the early 90s when we were going through that legal case I already mentioned a while back and we were definitely strained financially.

It was New Years eve and we had some friends and family over for dinner. My husband took a call from a man who said UPS left a package in our driveway. UPS wouldn’t have been delivering then. Anyway, my husband brought in this huge box that was wrapped and addressed from Santa.

There were two other children there aside from our two boys. Well the kids tore into that box and it was the box that kept on giving. It was FILLED UP with stuffed animals, games and also a cool toy gun that older son loved.

It took a couple of years for me to figure out and then our neighbor down the road was discussing something else and I put two and two together and so I asked him directly if they were the ones who did that. He tried to maneuver his way out of it but he evidently couldn’t get past my gazing right into his eyes searching his spirit to see if it matched his words. It didn’t and he owned up to it. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that but I just wanted to know.

One of the stuffed animals in the box was a small pink mouse. I took that for a decoration on our Christmas tree as a reminder of that wonderful act of kindness which was symbolic on many levels. To this day I still put it on our Christmas tree to remember how God brought us through a difficult time and to remind us that he sometimes works through people and that we should remember to do the same for others in need. That night after the kids opened the box I said “This is God saying…"Hold on…I am working on this.” and he did…he fixed it. :) That was New Years Eve 1992. I still remember that act of kindness and others and have reminded our sons that just as we were helped in our time of need, to remember how good that felt and to do the same to help others when they see a need. Younger son was a baby, 2 years old when it started and he was 4 on this New Year's night... but I have told him often to teach him about giving. :)

Another Dr Cox Rant :)

I was just watching Scrubs and thought Dr Cox' rant on McSurgeons was really funny. :)

*PAUSE the Christmas music on sidebar first.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Think of It As GRILLED! :)

See ..the really IS grilled cabbage!

The other night I had this craving for cooked cabbage. So I decided to make that as the vegetable to go along with the rest of our dinner.

I was sauteing it in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and added some water to steam as well. then I came in here to blog write the last post.

The next thing I knew... Mr SeaSpray asked me if the cabbage was burning. Now my senses told me that might be the case but I said "'s not burning."

I jumped up from the computer, hurried into the kitchen... feeling really bummed that this cabbage I so very much craved ..might very well be burning and even though only on bottom would affect the overall taste. So I quickly added some cold water to loosen everything and I didn't stir it, but placed the lesser well done cabbage directly into a bowl. Added some smart balance and mixed it into the cabbage.

In reality ..the cabbage was dark brown at bottom of pan and then there were some charred pieces here and there... but not bad.

So when Mr SeaSpray and son came in ..I enthusiastically said the cabbage isn't burned ..just grilled! Think of it as grilled cabbage. :)

Charred in some places ..that is like grilled right?

They didn't complain and I let them have the best and took what grilled cabbage was left in the bottom of the pot. It really did have a kind of grilled taste.

I told them I was surprised the water cooked down so fast..but a more accurate statement would've been to say.. I didn't realize I was blogging so long... like go into another world blogging so long ..long. :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Tree - Lipstick Connection :)

I can't believe we got the tree already and so easily and uneventfully.

We got it and put it up on Sunday ..which amazes me ..because I have never put a live tree up so early (December 6th) because I leave it up 2 weeks after Christmas and always figured it would look like the Peanuts -Snoopy and Woodstock Christmas tree ... bare ..with all needles on the floor from being so dry. That happened one year.

But the guy at the lot said it was just cut in PA on Friday and would be good to the end of January. It looked very full and fresh.

But ..first I will backtrack to my boeuf du jour plan... the plan that was supposed to lull Mr SeaSpray into total Christmas bliss and compliance .. meaning no testiness in going out to get the Christmas Tree.

First off ... I didn't think we were going out for the tree on Sunday ..but younger son called me in the morning to say that the lot we wanted to buy a tree at ..looked like it only had 3 big trees left
and for me to be ready when they came home so we could go get one.

I was going to say ..well tell Dad to buy one ... but then remembered the tree the *one* Christmas I let him do that. It was a small tree if you were the size of one of Snow White's Dwarf friends. Need I say more? (I did go along and act happy about it though) It was a short... short... cute little tree. :)

Then I was going to say.."Well tell Dad to come back and we will get a tree now", but thought better of that because they had plans.

I just said "O.K."

Well I didn't have time to get a pot roast all succulent looking and get ready. So ..I settled on chicken..chicken breasts. They were frozen (the pot roast would've been too) and so I began simmering them in the pan with sage and a big onion and some water.

*If you haven't had time to cook, but want the house to have the aroma of something good being cooked... simmer an onion... add some spices. With the onion, sage and chicken was beginning to smell good and so I took my shower, etc.

About 15 minutes before they'd be back, I decided to brown the breasts and turned up the heat a bit...but then I got side tracked and so the next thing I know the fire alarm is going off because I was now burning the darn breasts instead of browning. That smoke went everywhere and did NOT smell very good. I quickly put water in the pan and fortunately ..that was good enough to loosen any burned particles and the chicken just ended up being a dark brown. I quick put the ceiling fan on and cracked the sliding door open and cranked open the bow windows in the kitchen. The alarm stopped and even though frigid air was coming in..the smoke was clearing. I threw a fresh onion in the pan with more fresh sage and simmered again, closed the windows and door... just in time. Mr SeaSpray and son came in ..just as everything was smelling better.

As soon as he walked in ..I did a Vanna White and lifted the pan lid to show him the chicken and commented on how juicy it will be later to have with the football game. He agreed and seemed pleased. (Ha! he also could've been humoring me because I was obviously trying to please him! :)

Ho ho..hi ho to get the tree we go! Oh WAIT! Wrong song! Fa la la la la la la! :)

It snowed the day before and the scenery was beautiful. It was so cold that the snow was staying on the branches. We weren't even out of the driveway yet when I exclaimed... "Oh! LOOK at those cottons of puff!" Mr SeaSpray cracked up at my obvious mix-up of words. This was good ..we're all leaving laughing. :)

Well my gosh! Buying the tree couldn't possibly have been more pleasant. They didn't have any big Frasiers (my favorite..strong non-pricking branches, pretty color and last) ...but they did have a big Douglas fir ..about 8 1/2 feet and for only $68.00 dollars! At another place we frequented ..that tree would've easily been over $100.00 dollars. At first I hesitated ..because I really wanted more firm branches ..but Mr SeaSpray had pulled this one out and it is a beauty. He and son liked it and so that is the one we got. It is a bit wider then I usually get ..but doable.

Mr SeaSpray ... liked the people selling the trees so much that he said we should bring them a pizza and soda. He has never done that! I don't know if he was just downright giddy because we got the 1st tree *he* picked out, in a lot not even 5 minutes away, it was a pretty tree and cheap ... and the people were very nice and the money goes to a good cause... a local Catholic school... or if the gently simmering almost burned .. but not burned - just dark brown ... chicken, back home had sedated him ..arresting the Annual Resist Buying the Christmas Tree Disorder (ARBCTD), that I spoke of in the previous post. (ARBCTD). I'm gonna go with because the people were so nice and because it was all done so quickly and easily. That chicken was no succulent pot roast. :)

So ..we got the fresh cut on the bottom and upon arriving home placed the tree, unwrapped in the stand filled with water outside. We couldn't bring it in because I still had to clean out the closets the tree would be blocking for the next month or so.

When we got inside ... feeling extremely happy about this ... I enthusiastically kissed Mr SeaSpray on the lips and I knew he'd wipe it off cause he doesn't like the sticky feeling and I am guessing he also doesn't like wearing cranberry lipstick ..but ...I also kissed each side of his neck and so my lip prints were left there. I was secretly chuckling because I knew he'd wipe that off too... but he was engrossed in football and so he wouldn't see the lip prints in the mirror until later at some point. But ..he and son were watching football then.

Not only were my cranberry lip prints on each side of his neck.. but they sparkled! Ha ha ..because I topped the lipstick with this pretty gloss that has colored sparkles in it.

Festive ...although I'd wear it anytime.

I knew he will be slightly annoyed ..but chuckle when he saw that I did that. :)

Fa la la la la la! :)

Chris will help me put the angel and lights on tonight. I want to hold off on the decorating until the weekend ..when Devan comes over. Hopefully she won't get snowed in like last Saturday. But I want to let her help put the stockings up and with some of the other decorating too. Christmas music, popcorn , hot chocolate and a Christmas movie too. It is so much fun to see Christmas through a child's eyes. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Operation "Le Boeuf du Jour" :)
A girl's gotta do...what a girl's gotta do!

In a previous post I mentioned that Mr SeaSpray is not Mr Christmas. He's not. But he always helps me with cooking, cleaning and errands when I need it because company is coming. And he's great about getting things down from the attic and putting them up there.

That being said ...he is perfectly content to let me do the shopping for presents and wrapping, write out the cards, baking and do all the decorating ..inside and out ..which I enjoy doing. I enjoy all of it. Well I do ...providing I find the right presents, am not up until 3 am on Christmas eve wrapping the presents, cards get done and I don't burn anything and the lights work... then I enjoy it. :) However... he does one very important thing that I am perfectly content to let him do and that is put the Christmas tree in the stand...NOT a fun thing to do.

I am already reminding him when we will go buy the tree. Why... I must be mentioning it 3 times a day now. Still ..when the moment comes.. he will exclaim "WHAT?!! We're getting the tree NOW?!!!"

I think they call that selective hearing and/or selective amnesia. It hits Mr SeaSpray during the Christmas holiday. He suffers from Annual Resist Buying the Christmas Tree Disorder. (ARBCTD)

It's actually become a Christmas tradition with us after 34 years of marriage... his acting as if he heard we were getting the tree that day ..for the 1st I blindsided him or something. He either deserves an Academy Award for his performance of shock, or he has ARBCTD ... caused by an annual malfunction in his brain which is triggered when he hears those two little words ... Christmas Tree... and I think it's the latter. :)

I wrote about this previously ..but I am again going to attempt to sedate Mr SeaSpray ..hopefully rendering him totally compliant regarding going out to get the tree. I will do this by cooking up the most succulent pot roast I can make. Tilt the lid a bit just before he comes in the door and let the beefy aroma assault his senses into total compliance. Then as he walks by ...I will lift said tilted lid so that his eyes can take in the carnivorous pleasure that awaits him ...after he has the tree up in the stand.

You have no idea what a carnivore this man is. They say a the way to man's heart is good cooking ..and I will just add that in Mr SeaSpray's case .. to his brain. You should see his expression when he takes in the appearance of the almost done to perfection boef du jour ..along with the tantalizing aroma wafting through the house. I'm really serious.

So ... that's the game plan anyway... assault Mr SeaSpray's carnivorous senses... sedating the the ARBCTD trigger..thus enabling the SeaSpray's to leave the house gleefully on their quest for the perfect Christmas tree.

Obviously the aroma will fade but I have a plan for that. I am going to sprinkle a bit of le boeuf du jour pan drippings onto my shoulders and behind my ears and make sure I am up wind of Mr SeaSpray. I hope it's breezy! And I hope there aren't any loose dogs arounf ..or bears. But to seal the deal to speak... I am cooking the roast with a cheese cloth over the pot, kept in place by the lid. Before he sees the roast..I will remove said cloth and place it in a sealed Ziploc bag. Then at the first sign of lack of Christmas spirit as he dances each of the 40 ten foot trees in the lot around for me to compare... I will remove the beef scented cheesecloth and wave it into the air behind his head. I'll have to play that by ear... ha ha or wave it by ear. ;) Also..I will remind him of just how tender that succulent roast is going to be. "Honey ..I know this is the tenth tree we've looked at and theres oh ..maybe 30 more, but BOY that ROAST is sure gonna taste gooooood... and s-o-o-o tender too. Mmm... That's it ..take that out too ..your so strong the way you twirl it around... did you see how good the pan drippings looked ..gonna make a delicious brown gravy."

Okay all know I'm teasing about the cheesecloth ..right? Oh and the drippings behind my ears too..of course.

But admittedly ... I'm not above reminding Mr SeaSpray about the succulent le boeuf du jour that awaits him at home ...once we (he) gets the Christmas tree set up. ;)

T'is the season to be jolly ... fa la la la la la la la la!

*If curious are a some posts that explain why I have concocted such an elaborate plan...Operation "Le Boeuf du Jour" ... to facilitate a cheery Filled with Christmas Spirit Mr SeaSpray while searching for the perfect Christmas tree. :)

Timing is everything. ;)

O Tannenbaum - Post 1

Post In Between The Tannebaums (SHOCKED?)

O Tannenbaum Post 2

O Tannenbaum Post 3

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'd RATHER be NAKED and getting a PAP TEST

Steve Martin & John Candy "going the wrong way" highway scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. (The highway scene is one of my favorite scenes in movie. Steve Martin having to pry his fingers out of the dash board after having gripped it so hard while experiencing dire fear connects to this post. :)

I was a whirlwind heading out the door this morning, but on my way out the door I stopped and blurted out to Mr SeaSpray who was home today for an early lunch... "I'd RATHER be NAKED and getting a PAP TEST then doing this!! I'd RATHER be doing any thing than this.. well not a stent removal..but definitely NAKED and a PAP TEST!!! I HATE going to the dentist!!!"

Then out I went.

I didn't give him a chance to respond. Not that there is any response.. but I wonder what he thought? Well he knows how much I hate going to see the dentist.

And it wasn't even the dentist. I was only having my check-up and cleaning with the hygienist.

But ..they use those instruments of torture that they probe with and scrape and then the pasty cleaning stuff -procedure tickles. I feel like a Mrs Jeckyl/Hyde in the chair. The perk is the room is decorated for children (Disney always makes me happy :) and there is a big window and so I like being able to see outside, although the windows in the other rooms are much better because you can see pretty fields, birds and the weather.

The entire day of the appointment I have this abject fear building in me until I am at the check out desk.

The worst pain I ever had there was when the dentist while working on a root canal ..hit a nerve. Instant tears and I cried out... and I was really mad at him but didn't let on ..other then maybe the scowl that would've been irrepressible.

I did the exact same thing with my first two ureteral stent removals. Tears an instant reflexive action while simultaneously crying out. I would categorize both the ureteral stent removal and hitting a nerve in a molar at the same pain level... a TEN on the pain scale chart.

The only thing worse .. but would still be a 10 pain..would be to pull the ureteral stent out through the exposed nerve in the tooth. Fortunately ..that won't happen ..I'm just sayin.

My fingers were pressing so hard into the chair arms and she was only taking the x-rays! I'm kidding. :)

But they were pressing really hard into the chair arms when she was probing ..because that's how I handle the mounting fear. I gouge the chair arms. It's like being in a game of Russian Roulette. You never know which probe with that probing instrument of torture thingy.. is going to cause you to want to eject up and out of the seat, right on through the ceiling and through the roof like some cartoon character. Gripping the chair keeps you grounded and yet somehow helps brace against the pain...along with barely breathing as you wait in dreaded anticipation.

I've heard tensing your body makes it worse but I can't exactly do breathing exercises to try to relax and override any uncomfortable sensations. I'd be hyperventilating before she finished and I don't think it will work anyway with that water tool in my mouth ..could get pretty ..WET.

Breathing rhythmically would help though.

As I reclined almost upside down (stent felt good) ..with my eyes closed .. I was thinking that I wished they just gave me that happy gas or whatever they do. Just knock me out completely and they could do whatever they want. heck ..they could hang me upside down from the ceiling and let raccoons lick my face for a prep and I wouldn't care... but this being awake for these dental procedures is just not fun. Novocains don't bother me. It is that awful, really intense tooth stuff they do that is so unnerving pun intended. only hit one sensitive spot... although the water in the cleaning tool was really hot at one point. But then I still had to make it past the dentist who comes in and does his own probing and for some reason is more adept at evoking the extreme responses from me. However he didn't do any of that... maybe because he knew I was coming back. :)

I told him I'd rather be getting a pap and he laughed and said "Not today..we have to schedule that in." LOL!

Unfortunately..I have to go back Tuesday for TWO fillings. How can that be? I use an electronic tooth brush, floss and mouth wash ... oh and never drink soda. I am good about brushing. My cousin says we have soft teeth. I don't know if that is a real dental condition though.

I told him that next week ..I don't care if I have a lot of stuff in my mouth and can't talk ..I want him to give me his opinion about all the politics going on right now. ( We've had some interesting political discussions when time allowed and his political monologue will get my mind of the dental work. :)

Ha! Once I told him "You're LUCKY I didn't BITE you!" He said "That's okay ..I'd bite you back." :)

So..I survived the cleaning appointment .. but Mr SeaSpray actually had to go in and have a tooth pulled tonight. I should say ..Mr SeaSpray ..aka Mr stoic .. who puts me to shame. I enjoyed listening to him talk after coming home. Too funny when all numbed up! :)

I asked how the appointment went..feeling really bad for him. He said "It was nothing. I didn't even know he pulled the tooth out! I told him I didn't know he pulled the tooth out and he (the dentist) said "I didn't know I pulled it out either."

That's funny! :)

* * * I very much appreciate dentists and all the work they do so that we can maintain good dental health, for fixing dental emergencies and so we can have nice teeth. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Ureterally Stented, Peri-menopausal, Obsessive-Compulsive With Outdoor Christmas Lights Decorating SeaSpray .....

Suffice it to know that a ureterally stented, peri-menopausal, obsessive-compulsive with outdoor Christmas lights decorating SeaSpray... is NOT the most festive person to be with when helping her with the placement of said light decorations. Fa la la la la la LA! :)

Christmas lights are my favorite thing. I enjoy putting them up and looking at ours and everyone else's all throughout the season. (even in February - Because they're all white, I turn them on during rainy or snowy weather. :) What a fantastic way to celebrate such a wonderful holiday!

Younger son was the one who helped me last night. Actually..we both trimmed the bushes the day before, but I had some sort of virus and had to stop and so we did the lights last night..Sunday night. They had to get done because I knew we'd have bad weather today.

This kid ..of 21 years ..has the patience of a saint. He'd HAVE to... to have put up with me last night. I was all kinds of snappy and whiny. Had to be the hormones and the stent cause I really am not that way... okay..maybe just a bit whiny on occasion... and okay ..maybe a bit hormonal every so often now that the cotton pony is preparing to leave town. But it wasn't fun bending up and down and wrestling with the lights with this stent. :)

First off..and WHY does this happen? ... Six sets ..SIX I tell you ..sets of 100 lights per set did NOT work!!! These were new last year! Changed the fuse ..nothing. All the lights were in the sockets and not burned out. so why does that happen?

Mr SeaSpray saved the day by buying up all the cheap sets of a hundred white lights Walmart had..which was 10 boxes. I was concerned because they were so cheap and not GE ..but he pointed out that I spent more last year and they don't work this year. So I figure he is right..UNLESS ..these go out mid season or something.

Btw ..Mr SeaSpray is NOT Mr Christmas and so that was the extent of his helping with the Christmas lights. LOL! He told me he is a morning person and he'd help me in the morning ..but he knows that ever since 1977 ..I ALWAYS put the lights up at night ..because I am a night person ..and I like to check the progress in the dark.

His saying that is akin to me saying "Oh know I'm a night owl, but if you weed the garden at night...I'll help you." Not gonna happen that way. :)

It is just as well, because he would not have been as patient with me. Younger son is Mr Christmas and so does get into it..although ..he did get a little testy with me too which tells you .. I was being every bit the ureterally stented, peri-menopausal, obsessive-compulsive with outdoor Christmas lights decorating SeaSpray mother. (Oh ..and I mean mother as in Mom ;)

Mercifully.. it was somewhat balmy and there was even a full moon. The moonlight helps when trying to plug things in in the dark and you just don't feel like going inside to get a flash light. We could hear coyotes howling in the distance. The howling coyotes didn't affect the decorating ..just an observation.

Anyway... The crazy making part is when you've decorated a whole section of bushes and realize you don't have enough lights to decorate the largest bush of all at the end. Or when you come just short of connecting to the last strand around the door and the only way to do that is to add another set of 100 lights ..which will then put you over the 500 light limit per the instructions on said lights. Eh..what could going 1 set over do anyway? Just move on to the next section.

A little into the middle section you envision all the lights burning out on the first section. Wait..let's go back. We have to undo them all and start over.

Back to the middle section. Too good to be true. This is going well. "Do you want some hot chocolate honey?" I ask son feeling pleased and in the Christmas spirit.

Wait ..what the heck? Aren't these the same sets from last year? Yes they are. Well why won't this plug go into the receiving plug?? doesn't. Fine do it. See DOESN'T go in! I HATE that! Okay ..take this back off ..yes that one too. I hope we have another one. Oh good. We then redo the last two bushes..but not enough for the largest bush. Okay..rearrange and rearrange and rearrange.. we did it! Still need more but will have to suffice.

By the way .. how is it that 6 strands of last years lights that were completely untangled inside ... became all tangled up during the short walk outside. How did that happen??

We completed the 40 thousandth walk to the road to asses the lights. If you look at the lights with your eyes can see the gaps and rearrange accordingly. The bushes have gotten so big ..that 500 lights a section is nothing. The other set we used last year let you have 600 lights. *sigh*

I put black electrical tape firmly on every open exposed plug opening as we went along and showed son how I take little sandwich bags and enclose each connection in the bag...sealed with duct tape to prevent moisture from possibly getting in. He went back and did all that for me.

Now we usually do the walkway..but had to pull those bushes and never replaced them and so we did the pine tree at the end of the yard. I miss seeing those lights.

Son and I had a" Who's on first and What's on second" conversation about the connecting of the extension cords that went around about 4 times before we resolved it... and it turns out he was right. :) We didn't do it, but now that I found a new box we didn't use.. I may just add them to the big bush. Although I was right about needing 3 heavy duty cords to get to the tree.

Then ..after we just finished wrapping the first string around the pine tree, we noticed a defective light. He removed it and no matter what either of us did ..we could not get any replacement bulbs back into the little socket. Fine! Remove that set off the tree and I will go in and get another one. This tree is halfway to being Woodstock's Christmas tree. It is sparse in sections and I saw it had a problem after I got it home, but thought it would grow out of it. It did not.

So..does anyone know if it's okay to have little white Christmas lights on the dead parts of a tree. Maybe it's not dead .. but just doesn't have any needles in places... what you would call sparce ??

So then I noticed that the way I wrapped the lights around the angel didn't look so good from a distance and younger son said he'd do it tomorrow and went in. I stared at it, walked over and just yanked it up, removed the lights and dispersed them on the bushes. Done!

I have to felt good to finish everything with son by 9pm ..then doing it by myself until 1am or so. I just have to put the bows on the fresh wreaths and hang them and then the outside is done. I may put little red bows on the bushes ..I'll see.

Oh and younger son and I have been having discussions about the validity of global warming and in frustration I blurted out.."Well they better NEVER mess with the Christmas lights! Al Gore will RUE the day he did THAT! I know no one has suggested it ..but they better never even think about it!" Younger son(Chris) just got this big grin and walked away. :)

So ..this ureterally stented, peri-menopausal, obsessive-compulsive with outdoor Christmas lights decorating SeaSpray Mom wants to say ...I really appreciated our son's help last night. Thank you Chris!

P.S. I just had a perplexing thought. The math doesn't add up with the lights.

10 new boxes - 1 with defective light - 1 we forgot to use = 8 new boxes.

5 boxes used in 1st section + 2 boxes on tree = 7 new boxes used.

7 used boxes + 2 unused boxes = 9 new boxes.

10 new boxes - 9 new boxes = 1 missing new box of lights.

The middle section used all lights left from last year.

I can't account for the 10th box.

Sinking feeling ...


What would really happen if we did use 100 more lights then recommended in the instructions? We must've gone over by one set in the 1st section.

Fa la la la la la! :)

***I know I get a little obsessive about this part of Christmas... the Lights... and the Christmas tree .. the size and decorating it.. but that's it. I do know the real meaning of Christmas... the birth of Christ ..God's perfect gift to our world and all of us. It's a time to embrace the message and appreciate your loved ones well as helping others. I love that Christmas inspires people to want to be with the special people in their lives and brings about the spirit of giving. Christmas is a message of God's love for mankind.

Previous Christmas light post written as a newbie blogger :

2006 - PLEASE God - Let There Be Light :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

I'm Thankful For My Good Friend and Her Vanilla :)

This is an on line thank you to my dear friend
Pstamper who I just know forgives me BECAUSE she understands that desperate people do desperate things in their hour of DESPERATION!

I was supposed to have baked the Pumpkin cookies much earlier but then something else came up and I had to put the batter aside and could't finish even though I was all set to bake. Then around 11:30 on Thanksgiving eve ..I finally got the first batch of pumpkin cookies in the oven!

I then proceeded to make the icing. I melted the butter, milk and brown sugar in the pan. I got the confectionery sugar out and then went for the vanilla.

"WHAT???!!! NO VANILLA???!!", I screamed in my brain. I desperately rummaged through the closet and then remembered the last time I used it and emptied the bottle.

I called Pstamper... telling myself if she doesn't answer by 3 rings ..5 rings...or so..I'm hanging up because then she's sleeping and they are going to the church to help with the Thanksgiving meal. She is often up late and has called me late.. but if she didn't answer..then she must be sleeping.

What to do? What to do? I quickly ruled out the possibility of pumpkin cookies without the icing. Mulled over the fact that the icing would still be sweet and who needs vanilla anyway.. but traditionalist that I am .. I decided I had to have the vanilla. I called her cell and the house phone. Then I went to look out my back window because another neighbor I know stays up late but I couldn't see anything through the fog. But just then Pstamper called.

I told her of my plight and then begged her to please go downstairs and get the vanilla and said younger son would be over to get it. I could here she was tired and envisioned her with eyes barely open shuffling down the stairs, through the house and into the kitchen to get the vanilla for me. I hope she got back to sleep.

I am thankful for her efforts. So..not only did she volunteer her time to help feed the alone and or hungry people for Thanksgiving yesterday.. but she saved the day for the traditional (since Thanksgiving 1977) SeaSpray Thanksgiving Pumpkin cookies. I know that pales in comparison to feeding the hungry ..but she did help this friend out and I do appreciate her sacrifice. :)

Oh..and if my thanks isn't enough..I am also attempting to absolve myself of guilt by giving you a plate of cookies this weekend... oh and so you can't have YOUR vanilla back until I finish baking. ;)

Family and Thoughts

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. :)

We had an enjoyable day over at my m-i-l's house.

We were blessed with lot's of good company and good food. We missed the relatives that aren't with us anymore and enjoyed having our newest granddaughter, Wrenna with us for her first Thanksgiving.

Can you imagine that? Being so fresh from God and living on this planet for only 6 months? Her first Thanksgiving and her first Christmas and all the firsts to come. What a joy it is to see through a child's eyes. :)

And it was a joy sharing Thanksgiving with our other granddaughter, Devan, our sons and d-i-l and everyone else. We are all so busy these days.. that it seems we only see the extended family at holidays or special occasions.

For most of my married life all of our celebrations have been mostly with my husband's family because my family doesn't live in the area and for whatever reason.. our parents didn't get together on a regular basis and so we cousins are probably even more distant.

I don't know why my family wasn't as bonded. I KNOW they loved each other and I do LOVE my cousins .. but no one ever gets together. We have very separate lives. I too have been remiss in keeping up contact.

I know much more about my husband's family than my own cousin's lives. I only have 4 cousins. Lee (her husband John), Nancy, Sandy and her son Joshua. That's it for blood relatives on my side. There are no older relatives now.

Actually .. I know I do have a large family on my maternal side ..but as I said.. the older generations let relationships slide and so I don't know any of them. And when my mother left my father and broke all communication with his side of the family..I missed out on getting to know all of them.. and there are a lot of cousins.

But.. it is my husband's family that has taken me in as their own. I have often joked that marrying into his family was like marrying into he Walton's because they were a large, loving family. I have learned a lot from them and believe that their influence has been one of the major influences inspiring me to be a better parent than I otherwise would have been.

My cousins because of unplanned circumstances..weren't able to be at my mother's memorial.. but my husband's family was there. While I understood why they couldn't be there.. and even though we don't see each other for years sometimes...I missed them greatly. I can't even explain why. Maybe sometime I will try.

But in the end.. I think that no matter how much time and distance separates us from our families .. no one can fill the void of their absence. Family is important.

I found myself really looking and listening to our relatives yesterday. I was trying to take in everything about them and I was so appreciative of who they have been in my past and what they mean to me now. I know we don't have forever and I just wanted to savor every moment with all of them. I felt very blessed. :)

On the way home.. still feeling the warm glow of the Thanksgiving day just celebrated... I asked my husband "Do you ever think about .. in a sentimental way.. how blessed you are to have all of your family around you... do you think of it in a home and hearth does your heart fill up with appreciation for family and how enriched your life has been because of it?

He said "No."

"NO? Okay..maybe I am thinking like a girl and being all sentimental ..but seriously.. you don't get thoughts like that when you look around?"

"No..I don't get sentimental."

"Well must feel something? I'll bet you appreciated everyone when you were in Vietnam? You must think something?"

"No ..I don't and don't judge me."

"I'm NOT judging you! I was just wondering if you get the same warm feelings I do... but maybe I am just being girly. I just think you must have warm feelings for more than just the turkey!"

"Yeah.. I love everybody..but I don't THINK about it!"

"Okay so I am just thinking like a female ..but I'll bet other men like writers, poets and some blogging doctors think with feelings."

We pulled into the driveway and that was the end of that ... what must've felt like an inquisition to him. In his mind..he was probably expecting the flood light to shine in his face at any second. :)

Mr SeaSpray hates when I get into these kinds of conversations. I am the *feeling*(yet analytical) personality and so perfectly logical to me.. but not his cup of tea. LOL!

Actually.. he reacts just like men do when you ask them their opinion of how you look. They have that freeze.. deer in the headlights moment while they process how to answer and try to answer with an evasive noncommittal one. :)

Mr SeaSpray has always been very committed to family .. but is not one to speak about feelings. That's okay.. because in the end ..actions speak louder than words. That little conversation was a good demonstration between the male vs female brain. I still think we have the same feelings..they just come out differently.

So.. it was a very nice Thanksgiving day and I loved being with everyone, but I also am missing my maternal side of my family. As I said.. I too have been remiss in keeping up communications and so I am going to make a better effort to get together with my cousins too.

Another Recommendation

I thoroughly enjoyed *this* post written by storytellERdoc! reading his words seemed like he had somehow gotten in my brain regarding these thoughts and put them on paper ..except much more eloquently than I ever could.

I can see I am going to have to try to restrain myself from long comments there ..and we all know that short commentary isn't exactly my strong suit. :)

I have a feeling this doc is going to frequently write posts that are going to move me profoundly in all directions and then I am going to come back here and link and recommend you all go check out the post...and so I definitely recommend this wonderful blog as something to be added to your sidebar or bookmarked. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

New ER Blog

There is a new ER blog in the med blogosphere - "StorytellERdoc".

The author also goes by the name StorytellERdoc and he had me reeled in with just his profile. I like his writing style and I am certain it's going to be a most interesting blog. He already had me crying with his second post as he recounted for his 13 yr old daughter one of his saddest patients.

Just reading his first couple of posts ...I can see he's going to have some good stuff for us to read.

This doc can write! :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Wednesday night I went to Walmart to have pictures put on CD's and printed out. I have a couple of favorite places I prefer to park and one of them is directly on the side of the building..which usually isn't available. Then I saw someone getting ready to back out and I waited... but then they stopped and so I moved on and pulled in in front of the store in one of the regular aisles.

Just as I pulled in again looked like the car was ever so slowly backing out and so I ever so slowly began backing out ..eying that spot thinking I'd make a dash for it.

Never mind the fact that I already could've been in the store and I'd now have to make a mad dash out of my aisle, past 2 more and hang a fast right to claim the coveted spot. It's kind of like trying to find a way to get that last dish fit in the dishwasher so you don't have to hand wash it.. but by the time you do could've washed it 5 times. Okay it's different ..but sort of like that. :)

So with my eyes focused on the target I backed out ..slowly...slowly ..slowly "are they backing out or what?" slowly...BAM! One "*%*#" expletive loudly uttered! I'm not proud of that. I did that in Cape May too when I was backing out of the motel parking lot and backed right into a telephone pole which should NOT have been there. I wasn't proud of uttering that same expletive either. And my then young son was in the back seat. Expletives are not the norm for me at all ..but evidently ..flare up at a moment of extreme distress and alarm for something stupid.

Son of a gun! Images of seriously dented back of vehicles ran through my brain ...and money ..lots of expense. *sigh* I pulled forward. The other car I had been watching backed out and left. (Were they TOYING with me? ;)

I got out and was instantly relieved to see it was a truck. I figured it would be alright. Sure enough it was fine except for a little bit of white paint on the bumper that the owner could probably buff off. Then with fear and trepidation..I turned to look at my vehicle. It seemed okay until I got closer and saw that I broke the back tail light at the base and the pieces fell off in my hand. *sigh* I put them in my pocket.

I pulled a pad out of my purse and wrote the make and license number of the truck down so I could have the owner paged to the desk. I probably didn't have to but I wanted to let them decide how they felt about it.

So I walked toward the store and when I got to the door, this real tall man was walking out and I don't know what made me do it but I stopped him and said, " you own a truck?"


"It wouldn't happen to be gray..would it?"

Now looking concerned he answered with a cautionary "Y-e-s-s-s."

I quickly stated "Don't worry..It's fine! I just backed into it..BUT there is only a little paint on the bumper. I was just gonna have you paged so you could look at it. I broke my tail light though and hope I can't get a ticket for it. Why don't you look at your truck. I'm sure it's okay and if you think so just wave back at me."

He was very nice. He got over to his truck and hollered back "It's fine and we don't have to call insurance."

(I knew that but just being courteous. I had someone back into and dent the rear end of my T-Bird and it was an ER doc who pointed it out to me when he saw it in the parking lot. I hadn't even noticed because it was dark blue (only a few years old) and must've recently happened. It was fairly significant and I was bummed and thought it was so wrong to do that and take off.)

But then he hollered, "I'm going over to check the damage on yours. It's not bad. All you have to do is go to the auto store and pick up some red tape and it will be fine."

I thanked him and we went our separate ways.

It could've been worse. What if a person was walking behind me? All for a stupid parking space!

I am not strong with parking .. like I can't parallel park. Well .. I can.. but it looks really bad when I get out of the car and see how crooked and away from the curb I am ..and so I guess I can't parallel park. Apparently backing out is debatable too. :)

Anyway.. this one afternoon I pulled into a parking space at the grocery store. the parking lot was packed because it was during the holidays, but this was a good spot. I pulled in too close to the car on my right.. like they would've had to enter their car from the passenger side too close to get in and drive away if I left it like that. (Had someone do that to me TWICE!).

So..I backed out..and I backed out a distance so I could pull in more evenly and this woman who saw me waiting for the other driver to leave and saw me pull in and had to see I needed to straighten out just pulled right in, got out and walked into the store. I couldn't believe it.

I had my elderly mother with me and so I couldn't park too far for her to walk in and out of the store. I saw the woman in the store and told her she took my parking spot and she just commented she thought I was leaving. She lied. She swooped in like an eagle on a marmot!

Now with Black Friday almost here and the busy holiday shopping season over the next month ..we would all do well to exercise more caution while driving AND parking. People do get a bit crazy this time of year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Mug, the Coat and ..the Pillowcase

It was the pillowcase that just broke me.

Last week ...earlier in the week .. I went to get a Longaberger mug out of the closet to use for my morning coffee. I've had these mugs for years now and have become an avid collector of Longaberger products ..the baskets, the wrought iron and the pottery.

When I see the pottery... I feel happy every time. I love the weight and feel of the coffee mugs, the thick rounded lip at the top and the solid rounded bottom in my hand. The mugs feel so good to hold ..warm, cozy and pleasing. I always look forward to using them.

The Mug:

But as I reached up to grab a mug eyes fell on another mug... one that doesn't belong to any set. It's also pottery and arty looking with the pretty design. My heart felt so sad .. in an instant. No tears.. just very sad and I chose to ignore it and closed the cabinet door.

Last summer, we were all at my m-i-l's ..sitting in the kitchen and about to have some coffee, when my mother blurted out.. harshly that she had asked me for another mug because the Longerberger mugs I gave her were to heavy, but I never got it for her. I reacted..snappily and said she did not ask for a mug or I would've gotten her one and she said "Oh YES I did!" I let it drop ... but I was annoyed.

I was clueless at the time that she was experiencing some dementia and that she was getting weaker so that even a mug was too heavy. I didn't know. She did tell me at one point that the mug was heavy and maybe that was her way of "asking" for another mug and it just went past me. If that was a request..then it was a miscommunication between both of us..which was par for the coarse with our oil and water personalities. We Loved each other though. And I am beginning to understand how non-communicative she was about things...even simple things.

I am a firm believer that anything can be resolved ..if only people will say what they are really thinking or mean..and if they will listen. Listen and communicate your thoughts/feelings. And forgive. But we never got to that point because everything was glossed over and or misunderstood... and usually ..i just distanced.

But..with hindsight being 20-20... oh my gosh.. there are so many things.. I would've let roll off me and I would ask important questions and just be there. My husband reminds me that it was not her personality to do that and it wasn't easy.

So aunt heard the conversation and gave me a mug to give to Mom .. and this is the mug.

Then when she was in the nursing home... this was the mug I would take to the staff break room and fill with a hot cup of fresh coffee and happily bring it back to her. It felt so good to see how much she loved getting that fresh coffee... even though she could hardly do anything for herself and was no longer independent in any sense of the word. She had lost all ability to read, use a remote or even prop herself up if she fell over. Her eyes would light up, she'd smile and always have an appreciative comment. She loved her coffee.

That is a bittersweet memory.

It pains me to look at the mug. I don't want it in my closet. I tried to give it away and I can't throw it out. I guess I have to pack it ..or I could try harder to give it away.

The Coat:

Friday afternoon ..younger son and I were going through bags that had been in the attic and I was deciding what to keep. I unexpectedly opened a big black bag of her winter clothes.

Seeing them was instantly heart crushing.. much worse than the mug. But then I saw it ...the teal green winter coat that she wore all the time ..even though we had gotten her a nicer winter coat one year for Christmas. When I am in the grocery store ..I can almost see her at the other end of the aisle ... in her teal green coat I round the corner. I still avoid the local grocery stores when I can.. because she is supposed to be there .. shopping ..filling her cart with her usual things... but of course ..she is not. But really.. it's like I can just almost see if I looked a little harder..she would really be there and my eyes just can't see her yet. Seeing that coat was like a searing hot poker to my heart and I said... "Oh NO..Mom's coat!" I put my face into the bag of clothes. The inside of the bag smelled just like her. I wanted to immerse myself into it or go lie down and hug the clothes, but company was coming soon. I picked the coat up and held it close to my chest and tears fell softly down onto the coat.. staining it with my tear drops. I put it back into the bag, tied the bag and tossed it and said to put it out in the shed... but don't throw it out. I couldn't say throw it out because that would be like throwing Mom out.. but they really can ... I just can't say it yet. Today, I did have the idea to let her cat nestle into her clothes and wondered if he'd remember and be happy, sad ..or confused. I think he'd know it was her things though. But I didn't bring it in.

The Pillowcase:

Then just a little while ago as I was changing the sheets ..I picked up a pillowcase and remembered Mom gave that set to us for a Christmas present one year. It's not even one of my favorite sets... although it is pretty. I then proceeded to fit the case onto the pillow and stopped mid way. I froze for a couple of seconds, pulled it back off ..hugged it and sobbed.

The thing is ..the mug has emotional memories... the coat absolutely has emotional memories ... but the pillow case ..nothing. All I remember is that she gave it to us and I couldn't even tell you what Christmas.. and it was the pillowcase that broke me.

Obviously it hurts when you lose a parent. It hurts even more (says me) if the relationship was complicated. She's only been gone 7 months... but after the memorial that was finally held in September.. I managed to keep most thoughts of Mom at bay.

Oh they come in .. but mostly they float around nearby..almost feeling them physically for a few seconds, but I quickly dismiss them before they land and grip my heart all over again. Just last week I was going on about how happy I was with it getting dark early, fall and the holidays coming if she never existed ..I didn't even think about her when I was saying these things.

But while holding the pillowcase (I know it sounds dumb), my thoughts of her came flooding in like a dam had burst and then I remembered Christmas is coming...

No more pillowcases, sheets and presents exchanged, no more ornaments... that I shall cherish more than ever, someone else will sit in her place at the table and no more warnings to stop at the corner because the cars come up fast (She said that for twenty yrs), warnings of snow delivered like every storm would be a blizzard or to wear something on my head or I'll catch a cold and no more warm hugs with that little tickling of my side she always snuck in that would always make me laugh and jump back.
All this because of an inconsequential pillowcase!

I miss my Mom.