Pawprints on my heart

 

My fur girls are my oxygen.

We finished Christmas shopping and went to walk the girls on Cape May Beach. It was right at the cusp where high tide switches over to low: there were a ton of shells left at the shore line, and between the baby, Kasia, running like a lunatic, and my Zosia staying by Mom while I scavenged for shells, it was the best head clearing time I have had in a long time. Although I have never given birth to kids, these fur babies give me so much love. It is hysterical to watch them run all about, and then, later, tell them to run to their Daddy(Jim), and there they went, speeding like lunatics.

It has been a wonderful birthday weekend so far, much in part to the girls and to Jim.

Love them all to pieces!

On the way to “Undisclosed Location”…

 

As my birthday falls on a Thursday this year, we decided to make an Undisclosed Location celebration this weekend. Fortunately for me, my brother Bob is taking my normal night with Mom this weekend so I get to go down and relax. With the way things have been going, the weekend of relaxation is a gift in itself. To be able to walk along the water and take deep breaths of the salt air is my idea of heaven.To have the girls and Jim with me? Also my idea of heaven.I’ll be able to see a few of my friends and neighbors while down there, kick back at our new Friday night spot, the Moose lodge and just take it easy….take it easy…something that has been a foreign concept to me for the past 4 years.

Below is a picture of one of the many Christmas trees in Congress Hall, which is in Cape May New Jersey.

Here’s hoping your weekend is just as bright, wherever you are…

Early new year’s resolution

I figured I’d beat the rush.

My godson,Greg, has been awesome sending me clips on how to knock calories off here and there without really noticing it. Well, the one thing I did decide to adapt to I am noticing, but I figure it’s time….

I am pulling the plug on ANY form of creamer in my coffee.

Call me silly, call me foolish, but I figure my heart and waistline will be co-beneficiaries of this move. The last time that I was into drinking black coffee, I was, maybe, a junior in college. So here we are, almost 22 years later, and I am going to give it a second shot.

I’ll keep you post.

Bittersweet moments…

It’s quiet.

I have just spent 25 minutes singing Polish Christmas carols& hymns to the Blessed Mother, but now Mom has settled down.

As her condition has been deteriorating ,I have had her in hospice care at home. I listen to the phlegm rattle in her throat as I sing.This is new to me.. No, not Mom making a vocal comment to my singing, but watching and waiting. I sit and wonder what will be.Will she be granted a gift to see her 89th birthday this Sunday?Will she see Christmas?New Years? I sat with her wondering if the woman who brought me into the world will be here for my birthday-Not that she would know the day, but will she be here? My chest is tight as I think of that. I’d like to think almost four years of caregiving has toughened me up,but obviously not.The book has been almost 52 years in the making,and all I can do is wait.

This is not quite as hard as having to tell my folks I had cancer, but it is a close second.

All I can do is pray.Any you can say for us would be deeply appreciated.

Thanks, my friends.

No pretense here.

The picture you see is a neighbor’s house at the Undisclosed location. It is only part of his light display he puts up yearly, and the picture, I will be the first to admit, does it no justice. But it is probably the biggest piece of Christmas you will get from me.

My Mom’s mental state is down to a 4- when she first got sick she was iand 8 and THAT was severe. The best you can have is 30. I got off the phone with my brother, and we were talking about Christmas. I really don’t care, knowing the chance of actually getting a caregiver who will work is slim and none.Some things are expected, at this point of the game. Mom’s birthday will be Sunday, and 89 will be the magic number. Will she know it’s her birthday? No. Will she recognize me? No. I went to get her a birthday card and looked at the verse: would she understand it? No. So I got her a bunch( 9 pair) of fuzzy socks, as that is what keeps her feet the warmest while she lays in bed. She’ll think it’s just socks-no clue it’s a gift and that’s fine.

My godson Greg has a birthday the nest day and mine is three days after that. Once again, there is no spirit. I am just plain washed out. I will celebrate Greg’s birthday with him on Monday, but mine will just be another day, spent waiting, and praying.

So in lieu of a Christmas greeting, here is the picture of the Undisclosed Location neighbor’s lights.

Merry Christmas.

I am not Alec Baldwin ….

…nor do I play him on tv.

It is because he caused trouble on his flight that I found out about Words with Friends.

Loved scrabble and I have played almost every variety of the game. Now, thanks to Alec,I am on my phone, when I need sleep, and am addicted to the game! I love it, because it makes me use my brain !!

Excuse me…gotta go-it’s my turn times three…now where’s my X?

Next Iron Chef..not…

..at least when it comes to working with chocolate.

For the Undisclosed location neighbors, last year I made chocolate bark in different varieties, and it went over pretty well. From watching the Food network, I tried to learn about melting chocolate. I found out about chocolate seizing, and how to loosen it up. So this year, I decided to something different- chocolate covered pretzels. I made a few different varieties, such as white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate, and topped then with jammies, brickle pieces,mint chocolate and non pariels. A few have made it out to neighbors so far-three more neighbors to go and then they are out of the house. It’ll be a good thing, because we both thought they tasted pretty good!

Three cup morning..

..or at least it feels that way. Not a good start to the day when you are looking on your desk for your coffee mug and it’s not there..so where could it be? I retraced my steps from yesterday before I left and found it right where I left it- at the sink, where I had washed it out. Says a lot for my senior moment in that I couldn’t marry the function of TAKING the clean mug, carrying it in my hand, and walking it back to my desk. Oh yeah, it was close to quitting time, so I guess that explains it. Now if I could just remember to back track for one or two other things, hey, I might be good.

So despite a wonderful Denim and Company polar fleece I have on today, pardon me while I dive head first into this first cup of coffee. May you enjoy your and have a good weekend!

P.S. Did I mention,” Thanks for reading.” ?

Christmas Pins

 

I have my Mom’s Christmas pins.

It was a big thing for us, because Mom’s birthday is December 18 and I follow her by 4 days. When I was a kid, the obvious was always to get her a Christmas pin. When people would give one to me, however, I would thank them, as I was younger, and promptly put it away in a jewelry box. Mom and I would always kid about who had the most Christmas pins.

Last night I was going through Mom’s and found this pin you see in the picture. It’s got to be 45 years old: the enamel is wearing off and it isn’t quite as new looking as the rest.This pin originally was my Mom’s, but I remember that I had no poinsettia pin, so she let me have this one, and I wore it to death through my early grammar school years. I eventually got tired of wearing it, somewhere around fifth grade and it went back to Mom. I guess she figured I’d like it again someday and what do you know-I found it in a box waiting for me to reclaim it.

Thanks, Mom.

Waiting, part deux…

If you loved me waiting for IT on Monday, well, you’ll love this entry-it’s like I never left.

There are many different facets to my job, as I am sure there are to everyone elses.

After my entry the other day on waiting, well, eventually, IT got to me to assist me with my PC problems. Yesterday, I worked on a different report that needed to be done. My error for this morning is that I returned to what was fouling me up on Monday morning figuring that I can get it out-of-the-way.

Fat Chance.

Don’t I go to start the sub-division and get yet the same error message that allegedly was fixed on Monday? I remember I had the fore-sight to have the guy attach me to a second printer, where the sheets eventually came out from. HOWEVER, the menu for completing this job is on a different program. The mistake I made? I tried to access it only to find that my PC conveniently can not access the alleged drive that is on.**grabbing my head while reaching for Excederin bottle**. I am determined to get the bulk of this project done today, but , without prompt assistance from the IT guys, I guess quill pen, parchment, and carrier pigeon may be the way to go.

Losing my mind…

..or so it feels.

They all say care-giving is a stressful job. Well…duh…! Lately, however, it seems as though my normal overload is pushing the limit.

I am normally someone who puts something somewhere and can remember where I put it. Yes, I am also a graduate of putting things in a safe place**insert snicker here**, until I put plane tickets in such a safe place that I didn’t find them until a day before the trip. But, hey, the plane ticket scenario was seven years ago. I have to admit it is quite annoying having to split my time through 3 houses and when I think I left something in house C and then I find it in house B. Suffice it to say Saint Anthony gets a lot of work from me, and one sister-in-law has me seeking the finding power of St. Theresa the little Flower.

On a serious note, I follow dementia and Alzheimer’s studies religiously and try to make corresponding changes so I lower my chance of following in Mom’s footsteps. I really do believe what I am experiencing right now is caregiver overload. I mean, half the time I amaze myself on the things I juggle for Mom and manage to keep track of. So I am not really that concerned, at least, not right now.

If you do have a spare minute and you’re not busy, send Saint Anthony back to me, ok? Got a few items I need to ask him about.

Hurry up and wait..

….for an over-whelmed IT department to show up so I can actually do my work. The picture in this post is a plot plan for a proposed sub-division of an area which I am responsible for. I am trying to actually accomplish work and have oh-so-politely submitted a request for assistance. Unfortunately IT is everywhere but where I need them, which is here. Never mind that things are just doing a Hodge podge through the office, with management’s priorities being everywhere and on everything but where it needs to be…gee, detect a trend?

There are folks who actually want to buy these two houses. It’ll be interesting to see if I can get the accounts set up sometime before I retire or the properties go back up for sale.**sitting here NOT holding my breath**….

Close to a pin drop

Yes,it’s that quiet, with the exception of the heater in the background.

I am a morning person-always was, always will be, I assume. Any class I had before noon, I was great in.**mental note to my Mother-yes I do remember that self praise stinks**.Correspondingly, my job hours are early. Yet, when I hit the weekend, I tend to ,pardon the expression, lollygag in bed. Then, when I wake up,the morning is usually shot and thus, the weekend follows suit.

This morning, I am up.It is 6:15 am as I type this. Got up, took daily med,put dogs out in the side yard, paid homage to my Keurig for a wonderful cup of pumpkin spice coffee, the husband sleeps, the heater sizzles, and it is so-o-o-o quiet.I love it. I do admit I toyed with the idea of putting a book on tape on to put myself to sleep and then decided that I would get up and seize my day. God knows, there is enough stuff to do during it, so why not get it started. The best thing about this is the quiet.

I really don’t consider myself Chatty Cathy, although there are times that I know my buds are reading this and saying, uh, sure…Silhouettes of the trees as dawn breaks behind them and I hear the corresponding quiet that accompanies them. Even the heater has decided to quiet down to get on my good side.

“This is the day that the Lord has made-let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

You bet I am.

Poinsettia

My birthday is this month. Most of my friends have daisies,rose,or mums for their birth month flower. Me? I get a pointsetta.

It is funny that a plant I abhorred as a kid I now respect as an adult. It is like me: lose your coloring but hang in there, and with proper care, you can have a nice houseplant.They say if you cover the plant with a brown bag at night,from October on, you can get the colored leaves back. I have done this many times and like life, it’s not easy. Some years it works and others it doesn’t .

I have come to appreciate pointsettas.
They hang in there,just like me!

20111202-150754.jpg

One in the hand…NOT

 

To continue with the saga from yesterday, you’ll remember, dear friend, about my leaving of my cell phone at home.

Thus, the empty hand.

I can honestly say that I remember a time that I would say what a pain in the butt my cell phone was. My husband was always like,” where did you leave it now?..”

Not since my iPhone. OMG! I can now relate to why people make references to “crackberry’ because my iPhone has many uses. It is the time clock for the girls who take care of my mom, and in the same vein, their line for if they can’t make it in, or, God forbid, something is wrong with Mom. It also is my internet connection for checking on or renewing prescriptions, entertaining myself on the train, the obvious phone use, my alarm clock…I can go on and on.

Yesterday I went through withdrawal symptoms. I mean, sitting, waiting in a doctor’s office, with only my thoughts for company don’t even mention the five-year old issues of O. Coming home on the train without benefit of the quiet car and sitting in front of Chatty Cathy.

Welcome back into my hand, Iphone…how I missed you!

Laying low

The girls and I are laying low.

It was a long day for me,unraveling lifestyle tweaks with the doctor. A lot of time spent on and waiting for trains. Nothing like being out in the cold to wear you out.

Being out seeing folks going through various stages of illness makes me appreciate the fact that I am not in a hospital and am home watching Grace Kelly while the girls veg out and I am waiting for the dryer to finish.

Life is good.

20111130-200902.jpg

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!

20111123-075927.jpg

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?

Ghosts of Halloween Past

Halloween was a big thing for me as a kid.

My best friend, Karen and I, would walk around the neighbor a Saturday morning before and we would plot our route. One year we actually wrote in a little book who gave out what, because people gave the same thing out every year.

One house gave out Charms lolly pops( for those of you who remember, it was the big one you’d pay a nickel for.My parents gave out Hershey bars-the plain ones. One house gave out apple taffies-this was before the time of razor blades in candy. another house gave out bags of popcorn..and so on.Back then you were actually held accountable, and needed to know a joke in the event a neighbor wanted to know your trick. Now, I shudder when I see bigger folks out with no costume, no effort, but a big pillowcase.

For the past ten years, we have been on a street that has a lot of Victorian type homes, and with our arbor vitae and cedars, our house has often been made reference to as the ” Adams Family House”. I always tried to make Halloween as good for the kids today as I had it. We used to have parties at our house outside, as we were a corner property with plenty of room for neighbors who didn’t have a lot of kids visit or were in apartments. We stopped it over the past two years, just being quiet and giving candy out for the kids. It’s kind of hard, too, because I used to try to make something special up for the kids I knew, but they are all growing up in their own way, and I just can’t figure out what I could give across the board, so candy it shall be.

It is kind of bittersweet for me, as I get old and with no children of my own. I have been thinking the last year or two of stopping giving out candy, but don’t have the heart to. As the kids I know get older, well, let’s just say I think the decision will be easier. In the meantime, I will enjoy the children as they come, with the assistance of my godson, Greg and Jim and Zush. Kasia will probably be barking in the house because she is scared of children. We’ll go through it again, one more time………

What a week…

This week has been awfully long for me.

It could be because I knew I would have no chance to sneak out to the Undisclosed location. The fact that my escape hatch was bolted shut, so to say, seemed to magnify the drama dancing around in my life.

But that was this week.

It’s Friday. I’m home tonite. It’s getting colder out so I have to bring the rest of the plants in. A little baking to make the house smell good is also on my agenda. Walking both the girls to keep us in shape. Turning clocks back equals an extra hour sleep Sunday. Most importantly, I’ve got my love to keep me warm.

Pretty lucky girl and I know it.

Have a good weekend.

At least it isn’t snow…

Whenever it gets to be a little rainy, I always am amused at the folks who come back at me with,” At least it isn’t snow.”

OK, sure, when you are out in the work force, you don’t want to have to get up early and have to shovel before you get to work. And for my best efforts, I never had sure traction in snowy,icy weather until I got ice shoes that enabled me to walk a little bit more confidently on an icy street.

Rain is no fun when you are working and you almost fall asleep on public transportation coming in because of the sound of rain on the roof. All you want to be is home under a blanket, wearing sweats, and taking a nap. Rain is good for the trees and such, but I think I enjoy the rain because it is part of nature’s transition. Helps get ready for either growth,or cleaning up for the next season. You can take a moment and salute the past seasons of your life, but now,the season is getting ready for Nature ,taking a nap and waking up all green and blooming in the spring. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy living in the mid-Atlantic states. Seasons are a great barometer of life.

I’m ready-bring it on.

Emotionally exhausted

If you ever talk to a caregiver and they tell you they are not emotionally exhausted, they are stretching the truth.

I have been taking care of my Mom with the help of my brother here in the city for what will be 4 years this coming January.It’s a long haul so far. Within the past month, two friends of mine( in their 50’s-60’s) have had their Moms pass away. Both had dementia, as my Mom does, but one had cancer as an underlying condition, and wasn’t bed-ridden as my Mom is, and the other had dementia for about 5 years but passed away at 98 years of age.

When these folks lost their Moms, I hugged them and gave them my deepest sympathy and then , about a half beat later, said you lucky S.O.B.They both exchanged the look with me and knew.Their lives can resume again.One friend has two dogs and a teaching job he loves, and my other pal is a Grandmom who has a gorgeous house and a lifestyle I secretly covet.

I often say my Mom died in January of 2008 and we are taking care of my Mother. I pray for her every day- I do.

There’s a line in the movie Rudy, between Robert Prosky as a Priest, talking to Sean Astin as the main character. The main character asks the priest has he done all he can do? He has lit candles, prayed, went to Mass, and the Priest answers by saying to him,. “God answers in God’s time.”

**sigh**

The whole wheeze and nothing but the wheeze…

I am tired of wheezing.

No, I am not an asthmatic, thank God, but between mold spores from two months of kick butt rain and post-nasal drip, I have been hacking and wheezing for the past month. I have been taking my generic mucinex, forcing fluids, all the good stuff. This past weekend I woke upon on Saturday and had no coughing for one WHOLE day!

Sunday morning? Dry tickle when I woke up, and within 3 hours, the hack was back. Dressing weather appropriate, trying to stay away from other hackers, you know, all that good stuff. Hell, I even got a flu shot…

Give me a good forty degree cold snap and let’s get the crap out of the air and all will be as close to good as it can be.**here’s hoping**

Since when is 11.2 ounces equal to 12?

Eleven and two tenths doesn’t equal twelve ounces.

My Jim realized, when ordering a Stella Artois beer Friday night, that the bottle was not 12 ounces. After buying a half case today, he brought the bottle out and had a bottle of Yuengling beer, which had a full 12 ounces.

Where has he been?

I remember a few years back when buying a can of Maxwell house: all of a sudden, the can was a few ounces short. The same through the years on orange juice, ketchup bottles, among other grocery items. Sure, items were going to be on sale, but whoo-hoo , they were shorting me a few ounces. So now Jim has caught up to the fact that things just aren’t what they used to be.

I stopped at a candy store today to buy some candy for a buddy of mine and I also bought some fudge. Sure, now here is a situation that you got a full pound, but in addition, your order might be ” a little over”. So, of course, what you are paying is slightly higher. .. but at least it’s the full pound.

Now the key is just to keep a full pound off my belly…lol

Laughing just a little…

Can’t help but laugh for as I sit here at my desk, George Harrison’s “Taxman” is playing on my iTunes. Coincidentally, that is the government agency I work for- it deals with taxes. The lyrics are rather clever, IMHO….

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman
Yeah, I’m the taxman

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the taxman
Yeah, I’m the taxman

(If you drive a car )
I’ll tax the street
(If you try to sit )
I’ll tax your seat
(If you get too cold )
I’ll tax the heat
(If you take a walk)
I’ll tax your feet……

…actually knowing that the situation has been around since the beginning of time doesn’t make me feel any better, and knowing how disgruntled Harrison was with the UK tax system( yeah, he banked in Switzerland)..well, I just think he was clever as all get out. I mean there are protest songs, my husbands favorite being Phil Ochs from the 60’s and the Guthries, Woody and Arlo, and lots by Bob Dylan, but I am sorry, Harrison knocks it out of the box for me on this.

Have a good weekend.

My day is better than yours..NOT

Should know that when the day starts and mercifully I am at home with Jim, and running late, and need a ride to the train-not a good sign.

Make it to the fore-mentioned train by the skin of my teeth. Situated, comfortable, until 2.5 stops later…the lights on the train flicker…Hmm…don’t subway cars do that? Not trains?Well, then the fireworks started as the train lost its’ pantograph and the power that went with it.**thanking education from two nephews on trains 101 as they grew up**

Joined the huddled masses out to North Broad Street in hopes of catching a bus. Got to City Hall and caught a second bus. Got off at Inepta headquarters to get a note to excuse the lateness**read sarcasm here, as employer probably won’t accept it**, and then kicked in with eighty thousand worth of titanium to clock in by 7:223am,sweating oh so gracefully as I strode down to the office.

Hopefully, my coffee will settle me down and things, well, I am shuddering to wonder what the REST of the day will bring.

Hope yours is less stressful.

Wednesday is cancelled for lack of interest..

..boy do I wish!

Didn’t watch the weather last night**mental note to self-watching the weather may NOT be hazardous to your health** so had to pinch a rain coat/jacket from my Mom’s closet to make sure I got into the office relatively undrenched..lol. There is something bittersweet about having to raid my mother’s closet for a jacket that I know she will no longer have to wear. Plus, add the fact that I am 5’6″ and my mother is a whopping 5 foot, and yet amazingly, the arms fit me. Figure that one out. So I trenched off to start the day in not the most light-hearted of moods.

Then, to come into this government agency where I call home for 8 hours a day where it is dreary as all get out, most of us just are thisclose to going completely off the track and payday is the only saving grace…no, wait, ..I had a hot K cup of coconut coffee to push my mind’s button to ON.

Well….Thursday is around the corner….

Let’s get this party started!

..or actually, I did back on Saturday. This time six months ago, I was in the bullpen of Pennsylvania Hospital, waiting to get wheeled in and have the medicine kick in for my double knee replacement surgery. My twins, Right and Left, were born that day and they have been such good kids. Sure there were initial swelling issues but, at six months, they had been so good I treated them to a one hundred eight step climb of the Cape May light house this past Saturday…

But seriously, as lousy as my job can be at times, I am so thankful for the benefit that allowed me to go to a qualified surgeon who knew his stuff and the knees that now live in my body.God blessed me a lot so far through this life and this is just one of his latest blessings.I even went this morning to get a gift that keeps on giving for the twins: a flu shot! The emphasis is now even more important that now infection gets in the body to play havoc on the knees.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you guys who have supported me through my trials with the knees. If you saw me every morning and asked how I was, met me at the train and walked me home,emailed me, or called. Thanks for being there. It is much appreciated and will never be forgotten.

So since I’m here…

…as I am at ” the Undisclosed Location”,this is “Lighthouse Challenge” weekend, a yearly event in New Jersey. I haven’t had a chance to participate the past few years due to my old knees. Hell, I was lucky that I was walking, let alone climbing stairs with bad knees.

Guess what? Because I am here this weekend, I went over to the Cape May lighthouse and climbed it with Jim.Don’t ask me how many steps there were-there were many. However, the knees feel ok, and that’s good. I thought since they are almost 6 months old( as of this coming Tuesday),what a better coming out party? Nice to know I lived to tell the tale.The wind was so gusty-the weather channel said we had 25-35 knot winds and the ocean was truly alive. It was an awesome experience.

It was kind of weird today,as we did a lot of different things and as of 9:55pm tonite( now), we are just getting settled in for the night, as it were. It’s kind of odd, as we are a pretty sedate couple. Yet today? We ran around like 30 year olds…lol.

On the way from the lighthouse, we stopped at a NJ Audubon Society trail and ran across an old farm, complete with pumpkins that probably had been forgotten. Long story short-we ended up with 4 small pumpkins to come home with us. The girls had their share of walks so they too are beat. I had managed to score some “real” authentic dog bones from the Amish in Reading terminal, so both of them had been working on it furiously. It was funny, because Kasia never had a real bone before. She kind of laid back until she saw how Zush was handling the bone. It was cute to watch.

Here’s hoping for a good Sunday and a peaceful week for everybody.

Calling all Keurig-holics

If you remember my past posts about my Keurig and my Kcups, I was wondering if there was some way we could compile a way of tracking who is getting the best deal on Kcups, with your own Folgers in the metal kcup notwithstanding.

To the best of my knowledge, Bed, bath and Beyond are offering free shipping but it has to be on selected varieties. Other companies offer free shipping with a forty-five dollar order.If you get on FB, you’ll see sporadic ads from companies like Big Kat, but usually they have a high purchase amount needed for free shipping.

I’m tired of hitting Wal-Mart on a hit or miss. Let me know if you know of any good deals on Kcups and I promise I’ll share them here.

 

 

Sucked in to Extreme Couponing…

I know.

You would think anyone who gets sucked into the Kardashians on E!, well , you aren’t surprised that I watch TLC. Well, I do. For one show…

EXTREME COUPONING.

I was channel surfing when I first happened upon this show and I was intrigued. I mean, if I could save ,not $10,$20 OR $25,000 as some of the people on the show claim, but it was with an eye toward retirement, I figured, hey, why not?

Evidently the coin of the realm here is printable coupons. You need to do homework as to what your grocery store’s coupon policy is as to if they would double the coupons**listening to Dad turning over in his grave at the statement of me doing ANY homework over the age of 21..lol**,and the coupons you find on line ,in the Sunday paper and in circulars, and you’re off.

I save $25.00 last week in Walmart, home of, “What us? Double Coupon? LOL”. Can’t wait to try it in Shop Rite.

Giddy-up!

Stressing out of the wazoo

Leaving work yesterday, I was walking up a handicapped curb at 11th and Market Streets and went ,twisting my right ankle, and FALLING on the right side of my knee, not the actual knee front on, as it were.Gee, you would wonder where my mind is at, huh?

Could have been due to the fact that I have to talk to my Mom’s case worker with the state, after dealing with her PCA caseworker.Then, all of the other Mom related paperwork is up front and center this week. I am there tonite for my turn, and she officially has joined me in the hacking cha-cha, but she is on medication for it.

People wonder why I am so enamored on the ” Undisclosed location”.

At any rate-it’s either that or Ativan.

Prayers needed this week and greatly appreciated.

Food Network…C’mon Already…

I am a frustrated Iron Chef America viewer.

My addiction started after first finding the Iron Chef show on the Fine Living network, back in the day. The show originated in Japan, and was really kitschy, because the show was translated into English, so it was like you were watching a Godzilla themed cooking show.

I have always been playing catch up, since the show has been on forever, but the Food Network has decided to run reruns of diners, Drive-Ins & Dives..over, and over and over**ad nauseum**..This morning I have the station on and they are showing the promos for the Next Iron Chef. I am chomping at the bit at this, because they have some kick-ass chefs that are going to compete. All are professional chefs, and probably most have shows that are currently on the Food Network. One that I know of has made news for having the IRS go over his books, and this chef, whose initials are G.Z., is probably the most pompous ass of a chef shown on the station, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.

**rubbing my hands in anticipation**

Let the games begin.

All things must pass..

..and no, this isn’t about the passing of Steve Jobs,although R.I.P. to him, but this is about the music of George Harrison, which I’ve got on my Iphone, adding to Steve Jobs’ estate..

I grew up post-Beatles, or should I say, the Beatles grew up with me. I was a toddler when “She loves You” came out, in fourth grade when Sgt.Pepper came out, and so on.

Fast forward forty years and on my Iphone the Concert for George is playing. After George Harrison died of cancer, his friends, such as Tom Petty and Eric Clapton got together and did a concert as a tribute. There is some good stuff on it, IMHO.

Two nights ago, Jim and I were watching the HBO documentary on George Harrison and it was pretty darn good, and as well it should have been, as it was done by Martin Scorsese. The one thing that struck me, in it, was when George was apprehensive about writing songs, “after all, John and Paul did that: could I do it?”

I am glad you did George. I have gotten into YOUR music and YOUR lyrics, and think you did a helluva job…now if I could only get them out of my head….lol.

People watching

While going out to the more scenic area where my work is sometimes located, I had to go through the major train station in order to get there.

I had been a little early, so I took advantage of the time, grabbed a hot coffee to loosen up the wreck of a cough I am currently nursing, and sat..and watched, albeit for a little while. As I was drinking coffee, I looked at the people walking past me who were also carrying coffee cups. I kind of came to this equation; coffee is the universal solvent. It seemed that regardless of sex, race,age,blue-collar, white-collar, working or retired.There was a cup in 11 out of 20 hands. Granted, some of them might have been tea or cocoa. Evidently, recession or not, folks need their cup of joe.

Personally, my Phillies had me up last night, along with my cough, and I figured I’d need a little jolt so I can hopefully see my Fightin’ Phillies bury the Cardinals tonite..**fingers crossed**..Here’s hoping!

Fool me once…

So if you have followed me from Blogger.com, you’ll remember that I have a fondness for all things vanilla.

As disappointed as I was with Folger’s Vanilla Biscotti kcups, over this past weekend I went out and bought them again. I know, how stupid is she?, but at the same time, I am armed with a fresh bottle of vanilla syrup( 35 calories a tbsp), and am going to give it another shot. I mean, when things are supposed to be vanilla, well, everything else was good.I know, the rule of thumb is anything “vanilla” is bland, but I always say vanilla is a pure flavor.I am giving the Kcup a chance to redeem itself. Besides my sinus ravaged throat can use something hot…lol

**fingers crossed**

 

How many K’s are too many?

For lack of anything better to do, I had the E! Channel on and Jim and I were watching the Kardashians, or, more appropriately, “Keeping up with the Kardashians”.

OMG!

After a little while, Jim was intrigued and still wonders do people actually live like this? Sure, I said, if you’re in Calabasas California, are married to a former gold medal Olympian, Bruce Jenner. I really can’t fathom the bit that their husband/friend/father, the late Robert Kardashian, was OJ’s lawyer. I mean, until Kim got herself caught in a sex tape scandal, that was the family’s claim to fame. Now look at them. Even as I type this, I have E! on for white noise and Mr. and Mrs. Jenner are celebrating their twentieth anniversary in Bora-Bora. Really…

I can just see the Kardashian girls living my life, dealing with my Mom’s illness, working my job,cooking my dinners. In the old days, before dementia, Mom used to say ” Must be nice..”( meaning to have money. They have a new line of clothes designed, allegedly, by the Kardashian girls…sure, and they’ll fit up to what, size 10? Funny they never seem to prepare a meal on the show. Beds are always magically made, and one episode actually had one of the younger daughters farming out a dog walking job to a local Mexican worker for half what Bruce Jenner was going to pay her.

Talk about Fantasyland….

Fall into…

…changing weather too.

Those of you who had been reading know I loathe the oppressive humidity of summer. Ok, so now it’s cooler and “ta-dah!” my sinuses have rebelled. I think it really is the mold around from all the rain we had. Add in a touch of ragweed, and what a disaster. Last year I was kind of lucky with my sinuses…obviously not so this fall. Think I will take the girls out for a walk and hopefully, the salt air will work it’s magic. It’ll will surely be a job to stay awake to watch my Phillies tonite, and not let the sinus medication knock me out.

**fingers crossed**