A little apprehension…

..because my day did not start off too well. The highlight of the morning is that my cell phone is exactly where it shouldn’t be, that is, at home.Trust me, my friend, you do NOT want to hear what the low-light was. Now I have a Kcup of vanilla biscotti Folgers and a scone and I am feeling a little better..lol.

I have been suffering the past three weeks with some gastrointestinal issues. A good friend of mine who subscribes to this blog is in the hospital with gall bladder issues. Argh! Not the curse of anticipating retirement!!! Is it the fact that I am patiently biding my time to retire so now I am going to enter the wild wonderful world of GI issues? God, I hope not. With my cancer history, I have a wonderful gastroenterologist who practices at the Fox Chase Medical Center, so I get to make the trip all the way out to God’s country( that’s how it feels for me, who has to travel by train) and hopefully, the physician and I will begin to unravel what’s going on. I understand my buddy, Duch, has come out from her surgery well, and although I have been around the block once or twice, I hope that this “whatever” I am perking doesn’t involve that route.

It’s the end of November.

Here’s hoping December holds no surprises.

Ah, the joy of almond toast.

Long before the days of biscotti, Stella Doro cookie company made anise toast, anise sponge, and almond toast, which would all now qualify as biscotti.

I have been long fortunate to work with folks who are excellent bakers and biscotti are a strong part of their repertoire. I happened to be in a Wal-Mart this past weekend and saw the almond toast and figured, why not? Someone else does the baking, and I get to enjoy it. I could never figure out why biscotti were so expensive, especially as I figure I paid around three dollars for a pack of the toast from Stella Doro.This morning I am having a few, complete with some Keurig coffee and I am in heaven.

Nothing like being addicted to carbs this time of the year.

Devil Dog not made by Drake’s

Kasia

 

Here is my “devil dog”, and I don’t mean the one from Drake’s cakes…this is my Kasia.

Kasia is a golden retriever/collie/chow mix. She’s a little over two years old and has been a member of our family since February 2010. It has been incredible to see her as she matures. Somehow, still the puppy in her remains, but she is accompanying her sister Zosia as one of our two humans in fur suits. When she wants your attention, she stands on her back two legs and taps you on the shoulder with her paw. Yet, for such a sweet girl, she still is pretty skittish around little children-they scare her a little yet. She has the job, or, rather, the chow in her has the job of being our alarm dog.We never had a barking girl-Zush was pretty much a devil-may-care type of gal. Once her sister came around, now we have barking in stereo.She will bark to keep you away from the house, but if you come up to her, she’ll wrap all around whoever has her leash, trying to get away from strangers. I get angry with her because she definitely wants to be the “a” dog, but that is the Zush girl’s title.When I try to get her out to go for a walk, she gets so excited that she’ll literally jump over Zush and try to push her quicker to the gate.

She has her own mind, our Kasia girl. She definitely takes her time to get comfortable with you.Once she does, though, she’s definitely yours for keeps. we are so glad she’d part of the family.

 

 

 

Skeleton Crew

It has always been my pleasure, to come to work after a holiday. Not the actual commute, mind you, but to come into the office.

People who have had a ton of vacation time are out using it. Me, I used up all my vacation time this year getting two replacements. Not to fear though, because I am in a quiet office today.There is something to be said regarding the lack of noise and the ability to concentrate on what needs to be done.If, for some reason, I have any outstanding projects, give me the day after a holiday to clean up my desk. After twenty-seven years in a work area, you are used to background noise, but when you have the quiet of today, you sometimes wonder how you get any work done at all. For instance, I have a little quiet Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background and it’s basically me and my thoughts rattling around in my head.

Do people realize the amount of noise their person, i.e., voice, generates? Probably no clue is my guess. It’s not that I am campaigning for a quiet work environment, because there is none. I am just writing this today, I guess, as a bridge to yesterday mornings’ post. I am here at the office but I have peace.

Peace is highly under-rated.

Zush & her Dad

This morning,I am waiting to catch a train to go do field work for my job. I am sitting in our living room, as are Bush & Kasia, who are waiting for me to take them out one more time before I have to leave for work.

Jim walks in from the kitchen, looks at Zush and says he has to take care of her. I am wondering what is going on here. He comes in with a hand of her dog food , leaves it front of her, and I see her look up with love to her Dad, and start to nibble. Her sister, Kasia, is curled up and can’t be bothered.

It seems the nine year old Zush stays mellow in the morning, and Daddy appreciates the fact.

I am lucky,as a former cat woman, to have a guy who loves our fur children , to which they return it unconditionally. I am every so thankful for these gifts every day!

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Getting ready to retire and….

 

…This is what I got today in the office, complete with a 23″ inch screen. I had laughed when I opened up one of the items that gets used on a daily basis by this government agency and the type had to be in 36 Font. I told the IT guy that this truly must be the computer for the old on the way out heads, because you never saw the font that large anytime or anywhere else.

I have been thinking the fast few days about this being my last Thanksgiving on the job. The last of 27 Thanksgivings and 27 Black Fridays. Will I miss it? Fighting shoppers on Black Friday morning in order to try to swipe in on time? No. I will miss my friends, though, and on this Thanksgiving week, not only am I thankful for them and my friends outside of the office, but for all of my friends and family. As twisted and dysfunctional we may all be at times, you all have a special place in my heart, and for that I am truly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mar

Good tidings….

..have started …early…..AGAIN.

I took marketing classes along the way but can only wonder if anyone ever taught what OVERSATURATION would cause.

Radio stations doing all Christmas music all the time..since October? End result for me? Spare me the Christmas carols until Christmas day. Christmas decorations up at Halloween? They’ll be lucky if they get me buying a string of lights. I don’t want the hassle of going TO a store and dealing with a crowd. O.K., yes, there is cyber-shopping, but believe it or not, retailers, I do like to feel the quality of the material of what you are charging me 5 arms and three legs .

So I will buy,albeit with gritted teeth, what presents I NEED to buy, but more importantly, I will work on giving what I WANT to give to those I want to give to. I will not be following the commercial list of giving gifts to anyone who crosses my path daily.

Please, Ad men,…let me do Christmas MY way this year.

Holiday Malaise

My nephew Greg and my Mom,.circa 3 years ago
My nephew Greg and my Mom,.circa 3 years ago

It’s that time of year.

I hate it.

Yup… ABHOR IT!

At least I have for the past three and a half years.

For all intensive purposes, it’s me and my brother, Bob. We spoke this morning and he wanted me to ask the gals who work for us if they are working on Thanksgiving.

Yeah. Right.

They are women, I wanted to tell him, and remind him that we are not that lucky. Both Bob and I have split the holidays with mom for the past almost 4 years. He has two boys, or should I say men of 24 and almost 22. He wants a family holiday. It’s me and Jim and the fur girls. I also have in-laws, to which we are invited.

Is it too much to hope that we much luck out one year and have a holiday? No-it’s a fat chance with a capital F. It’s bad enough that you wonder how much longer, you wonder, will you have to deal with care-giving. You WANT to be with Mom. It’s to the point where Mom doesn’t even know that its us. We don’t even mention the holidays for fear of triggering her sun-downing.You don’t even DREAM of envisioning what a holiday will be without the existence of Mom: I sat in Church trying to wrap my mind around the concept of not having a parent and, quite frankly, I didn’t like that. I KNOW that life goes on and look forward to it, but I still don’t like the reality of Mom being gone. Then I remember that she isn’t really here. I look at her care as taking care of my Mother, for my Mom has been gone for almost four years.

I miss her.

Not cold enough for them yet…

For my girls, Zosia and Kasia, I need it a wee bit colder…to kill the bugs!

A lot of dogs have been suffering because of the rainy August and September and the bugs that just won’t die. We have gone through courses of flea poison( i.e.,Frontline, advantage,etc) courses of steroid for itching, topical sprays to try to make them more comfortable. I even started them both this past week on Benadryl. Zush, as rule, turns puppy in the cooler weather. She is like me,in that we both hate to sweat. Kasia, at two, is still a puppy so it does tickle me to see them both enjoying the cooler weather. Now only if mother nature would cooperate and freeze the damn bugs out, we’d be a happy family!

the Girls- always together!

18 Years ago…..

Eighteen years ago, I was thirty-three years old. I had moved out on my own. And three months into my independence, I had a really bad lower back ache. You know how when you are hurting eventually you can get yourself into a position to fall asleep? Well, that November, I had my first 48 hours of NO sleep-the pain was that intense.

A visit to my gynecologist, who was an old guy in his late 70’s and on staff at Jefferson, revealed a cervical tumor the size of a grapefruit. Funny how as I never had any issues before in my life and here you go: what do I get butmy first one comes out of the gate like gangbusters. I was on the doorstep of stage three cancer.

Welcome to the world of cancer.

Fortunately, I had the luck of being sent down to a oncologic gynecological surgeon, Charles Dunton, who was working on a protocol for cervical cancer. I had daily radiation, chemotherapy, a radiation implant, and two weeks prior to my scheduled total hysterectomy, my pre-operative exam found NO tumor! The surgeon said he would have never know what was there, if he hadn’t been in on my case from the beginning. They had to do my surgery, because there was no guarantee the cancer hadn’t gone into my lymph nodes.One of my BFF’s, Kate, would come down from Pittsburgh on the weekends when I was in Jeff and there is no better buddy in the world…**Note to Kate-how I remember those 7th floor Gibbon visits-you ALWAYS were my rock!**

Fast forward through later cancers and health issues, loss of family members, finding my Jim, gaining two girls named Zush and Kasia, and my mother’s dementia.

God has me here for a reason, although when friends are suddenly gone due to cancer, I will be the first to admit the survivor’s guilt is great. I no longer wonder why I am still here. I just accept it, give thanks for it and realize a greater statement was never made than….” If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.’

I can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time…

I can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time…and juggling life issues is something I really can hope to stop doing someday.

Looking at people 5 times my size on the bus this morning and wondering what can I do to move far away from my current size, outside of sewing my mouth shut… I am writing down and counting calories, but looking at fellow passengers on a bus at 5:40 am, well, makes you question metabolism, sleep and a “hurry up and eat or you’ll be late” mechanism.

Just got off the phone with my brother Bob talking about Mom and family issues.

**sigh**

Trying to keep my life at home going at an even keel.

Trying to recover from Saturday’s fall.

“The job”.**sigh**

Zush and Kasia on Benadryl.

I guess you just keeping juggling until you drop something, right?Guess I just have to go out and get some fresh velcro for my hands to keep things going.

Here’s hoping things are going better for us all.

OUCH…..

Yes, OUCH!

I was walking the dogs on Saturday morning, and twisted my right ankle on a horse-chestnut or whatever from a tree, and the end result sucked I fell on my right side and my shoulder hit the ground first.

You know how you “know” you are going to fall? Well, I tried to brace myself for it and as my shoulder hit the ground, I heard a “pop” and thought, uh , “Holy Chicago”….

Long story short, I am hurting big time, yes, even three days later. It was frustrating because when I fell, I couldn’t get up. Really. I COULD NOT GET UP! I was thinking that I was going to have to shimmy my butt over to a tree and try to pull myself up. Fortunately I had my cell and called Jim and he was over in a split second. I told him don’t pull me up .I didn’t want to have him get hurt. I told him just to stand there so I could pull myself up on him. Tears were in my eyes-I was so frustrated. The dogs were so good-they stayed with me and were licking my face when I first fell. It just was so scary.

So if you see me walking around kind of twisted, now you know….

Send Stolyichnaya-so if I fall I have good reason….lol

Change..

No matter what happens in life, change always has a hand to play. I would guess that if there was no movement, our lives would be a stagnant pool of the same thing on a daily level.

Some change may be for the good: we may not initially like it but it is for the good. Some change we might absolutely abhor, but our hands might be tied and we have to take it. Some change we look forward to-if not immediately, then eventually.

I consider myself to be one of those who laments changes, one who looks back and wistfully wants change to go away. I acknowledge that I dolefully accept change, with all the crankiness an almost 52-year-old can muster, I just never realized that at this age is a little young to say ” I remember when…” and I am not necessarily in a nursing home.

So please pardon me if I am a little cranky now, as sometimes, change is like cold oatmeal-lumpy and rough to get down.

So in the meanwhile…

…thanks to my bud Kate, an inhaler, and some benzonate pearls, the cough is a little less choking. It is a pleasure to only sporadically be choking and perhaps just saving a stayfree for another day…

…and on another day that is coming up,…My oldest nephew, Matt, will be celebrating his 24th birthday on Friday. Matt has turned into a helluva guy who I am so proud to say he is my nephew.He literally has gotten himself together and is ready to take it on the road. It was a joy watching Matt through the years, and I know he will be at peace in his life. He is the best guy I know, and I love him very much. He knows the door is always open to him where ever I am.

Happy Valley is not so happy right now…

…thanks to the indictments against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, and the stepping down of the Athletic Director and others whose sin seems to be the sin of covering it up.

…Joe Paterno has had an illustrious career until now. What a shame that when he decides to retire, this will tarnish the career.But Joe? How can you close your eyes to this?

Count me in with those who are sad and disappointed. I hope it doesn’t turn into a witch hunt to push JoePa out. What kind of society do we have when people so abuse younger children and get away with it? Even worse, what about those who KNEW what happened and failed to run with it.I have known people who have been affected by the priest scandal and their lives were ruined.Where are those people who were guardians/parents/protectors of the children?

I can only shake my head in sorrow and say a prayer for those affected by this horror.

 

Joe Paterno on Campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greatly needed Friday..

..because the last two weeks were too long, today is a day I am looking forward to.

It’s always been amazing to me to see the amount of things we cram into a weekend. Hell, sometimes I think I do more mandatory activities on a weekend then I do during the week. There’s stuff with mom, obviously, then food shopping, wash, dog walking, cooking, …you get the point.

This weekend, I intend to do NOTHING…outside of the basics, naturally. Any down time I get I will be in a reclined position. Anything taxing on my mind will be swept out, albeit temporarily.As they always say, take time to stop and smell the flowers…well, this weekend? I’ll be taking tons of bouquets in.

Here’s hoping you get a chance to do the same.

So when does the hacking go away?

If you have read my prior post, you know that this time of year for me usually brings a hell of a hack. I have saline solutioned my head out, but the sinuses keep dripping and this hack of a cough, well, it feels like it wants to turn my lungs into a Marriott Residence Suite Inn.

Calorie counting figured in, I have knocked dairy out of the box for now**choking on black coffee** but I had to leave a voice mail for a co-worker this morning and you know what? Cough/choking on a voice mail is not too attractive..lol. good thing Jon is a buddy of mine so I just know I’ll get my stones busted for a while.

Another good buddy of mine would say sip some rock and rye. My Dad was an advocate of blackberry brandy with honey mixed together.Both have been known to work for me in the past, but when you get to the golden, reflux years, well, forget it. My bud Kate,who is a Physicians Assistant, says I needed to add my allergy pill to try to get rid of this choking hack. Currently, that is my plan, but, this cough makes me wonder why some people fake coughs. Why would you? It’s not fun.

Going to give it the best effort a 51 year old can.

Who is going to benefit from my effort? Hopefully ,my health.

I lost 45 pounds 5 years ago, and things were going good.

Then Mom got sick, my knees started hurting, care-giving was wearing me away, and suffice it to say, although I didn’t gain all of it back, I do feel that I’d probably feel better . I belonged to the Trevose behavioral health system , whose premise is calorie counting, period. You start with a set amount, say 2000 calories, for a few weeks. As the new weight falls off, then you start to wean off, and say move down to 1900, or then 1800.

The mountains of Halloween candy are all given out, and baking is, right now on a hold. Still trying to keep Mom’s ship afloat and that’s taking a little out of me.Unfortunately, due to past cancers and antidepressants, I feel like I am taking Pez in the morning as I try to swoop needed meds into me. To me, that is proof this body is getting older. Maybe it is time to pull up my big girl pants and respect this body.

The time feels right,

A new month to get through

It’s November and edging closer to the winter, and I barely made it out of October.

We had issues with Mom’s electric and gas heater last month which got straightened out, and all is good, as she is hanging in there. The issue, as the holiday gets closer, is who watches Mom for holidays. My brother has two sons. I have my husband and in-laws.As many times as we would have tried, it was always difficult oto work a holiday with Mom.My brother tried bringing his family up to Mom’s one year, but she really wasn’t cognizant of anything, so that was the end of that. You acknowledge that things will no longer be how they used to be,and it does make you sad, but basically,it just becomes an issue of sitting there taking care of Mom when it’s a holiday.For the past three years, people are wishing you Merry Christmas and you are anything but merry.

As a caregiver, it’s awfully hard to be upbeat on a daily basis. So be forewarned. I’ll have a rough couple of months until after New Years.

Bear with me,ok?