Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve and a quiet evening in

Today was Rob's last day on his job. The one he worked at since he first came to New Jersey nearly nine years ago. So sad that at the holidays your focus turns to this. The company who took over his former company ran this site into the ground. Today there was no HR person there to even give him papers. He will FED EXed this stuff on Friday when I am at work. I would have liked to be here for that. It is my hope and prayer that he will find a better job with a company who is better run and shows respect to their employees. For the time being we are fortunate that I could put Rob on my health benefits.

I am trying to think optomistically. I know that Rob and I have been through a lot together and we will get through this. I hope that 2009 will see our country in a much better place, not just for us but for all the people hurting.
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Need to be Reset

My body clock has reset itself. I am ready to sleep by nine p.m. and then ready to get up around 5. This is a problem for me. I work from 9 a.m. until 5:30 and I am petering out in the afternoon and tired in the morning. I used to sleep until 7 a.m. which was so much better. I can take something to sleep but that leaves me feeling hungover. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to set our body clocks to sleep when it was convenient for us?

I have agreed to work two hours extra on New Years Eve to cover for a coworker on another shift. He is closing on his house that day, at least he hopes to. It's a short sale and he is having a lot of issues recently learning there is a lean on the property for unpaid taxes. I warned him about short sales but he is an eager first time home buyer with a fiancee' who wants to be in their home before their wedding. Can we say stress? This guy is wound tighter than a top. Sometimes I am so glad to be older and have some emotional maturity. I know that there are so many more important things in life than a closing date. I know that if one deal falls through, there are others out there waiting to be found.

My husband has just two more days left at his job. He is looking forward to some time off. I am looking forward to coming home to some nice meals during the winter. He is going to take some time and go to visit family and friends in Rhode Island where he is from. Unfortuantely I cannot get the time off of work to join him, but that works because this way he can just go have a few beers with his friends there like the old days. I will stay home with the pets and perhaps catch up on a few visits with friends I haven't seen lately. I wish I could get more time off of work but in this economy I am just happy to have a job and a steady paycheck and most importantly, medical benefits.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

SUNDAY THOUGHTS

Today is Sunday and that means tomorrow I return to work. This has been a holiday season in which I have struggled emotionally. Wednesday will be the last day of my husband's job. He worked there eight years and they still have not disclosed his severence. They have not treated him very well and it disturbs me.
He gave a lot, building himself up and they have offered to move him to the site near Boston but are not willing to give him enough money to make the move feasible. The medical benefits are not nearly as good as mine and I might not be able to find a job there. This company seems to be run very poorly and it's so unfortunate that the previous owner sold it to these people who ran it into the ground. It's hard to be worried about finances while trying to buy presents and enjoy the holiday spirit.

I am having some problems and not feeling well at all. My sleeping pattern is confused. I wake up at 4 a.m. ready for the day and when I could go back to sleep around 6 a.m. it is nearly time to get ready for work. I am constantly tired. Also having a few health issues my doctor is working on but she tells me they won't be resolved over night.

Two blogging friends have my concern. Connie has seemingly vanished. Calls to her home found her landline disconnected and the emails go unanswered. I certainly hope things are okay with her. My other blogging friend, Ronni, has had a relapse with her leukemia. She has had a long, difficult journey thus far and is back in the hospital. My thoughts are frequently with her and wanting the best for her.

I am going to run to the mall and see if I can find a few bargains when I try to exchange my shoes for a slightly larger size. Same brand but a different style that seems tighter. I am hoping and praying that 2009 will be a better year for us. I want to have the burdens of worry lifted. I want others to be free from worry. Maybe I am not being realistic. I want someone to hire my husband who knows how lucky they are to have him and to treat him with respect. I want to wake up just one day and feel rested. I do know that the world feels like a better place because our new President was elected despite all he had to overcome. I just pray he can fix the economy and turn things around.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Not All Christmases Are Created Equal

Not all Christmases are some that are so wonderful we will never forget them. I found myself feeling very emotional at times this year. Looking around at my grandmother and wondering who would be with us next year. That is not normally the kind of thought that I have on a holiday. My son developed a sore throat last night. He came over today to pick up his gifts and drop off gifts for us. (He continues to give me Vegetarian cookbooks which amuses me.) We got to spend an hour or more with him before he wanted to go home and crawl into his own bed. We went to my mother's and had a turkey dinner. There was a lot of activity with gift opening and consumption of way too much food. I felt disappointed this year with gifts I received from my sister-in-laws. Normally they give me things I love and htis year one gave me a leopard vest which was too small by a long shot and the other gave me a necklace that struck me as the type of chain Mr T might wear, should he wear costumer jewelery as opposed to real gold. It is silver color and just something I would NEVER wear being it is heavy and very long. This woman usually buys me something for my house or an ornament that I love. At this point in my life I have enough costume jewelery to open a consignment shop. I find I only wear my Brighton things and I have a large assortment to choose from. I simply hate returning things and without receipts you get so little for them because you get the lowest possible price it sold for and with sales and coupons, that's pretty low. Once again charity will benefit from these donations. I like making donations to charities but just once in awhile I would like to receive something and feel that the person showed they really knew me by their choice. My brave friend Melinda stopped all gift giving with family and friends. She said it was too much and a part of me applauds her for that. I love giving but I do put a lot of thought into what I give, or at least I try to. Time to crawl into bed and get ready for tomorrow, Friday. Then another weekend. Sweet.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas or Happy Chanuka


It is Christmas Even and I am exhausted. I never feel rested anymore. My doctor did blood work and called to tell me I had a high white count. We will discuss this further she said. Hmm. My thyroid was okay and I hoped that was the problem.


Today they allowed some people to leave work early, unpaid of course. Last year our company provided a holiday party in a restaurant with a bar and dancing. This year finger foods in our building and fruit punch. I didn't attend. Last year we got Christmas Eve off, paid. This year we had to use some of our precious time and request it months in advance or take it as unpaid once they determined we would not be needed today. I am happy to have a job but we are not well paid and the perks made our job seem a lot more desirable. My husband's job ends next week and he will join the long lines of people unemployed. He has some contacts and we are hoping this will only be for a short time.


There was a little controversy at work over helping a coworker. A single mother of three recently purchased a home. She announced to everyone there that she would not have money for gifts for her children. One coworker began a collection which I gave to. Shortly after some others became upset pointing out this woman had taken a lot of unpaid time off. There are many people hurting and they felt that just because she made everyone there aware of her situation, she should not be the recepient of help. If you had no money for gifts, why take unpaid time? I understand this logic and to a point I agree. Thing is, if someone's a child and their parents use questionable judgement should they be deprived? I can't make that decision and I felt the little bit I gave would cause me any form of deprivation. I actually gave twice as much for my bosses gift as the others to cover someone who never gave their portion. I would rather not hear the fuss made. I have always been the kind of person who hid my needs. When I got divorced and was going in the hole financially, I ate cereal for dinner. Didn't discuss this with others, feeling that was the path I had chosen. People have changed so much and it seems to me that a lot of younger people feel entitled to help. Even if they have created the situation for themselves they feel others should bail them out.


I am going to try to lay down and rest a bit. We go to my brother's later for a gift exchange and some wonderful food to eat. My brother's family has all the holidays with his wife's family and this is our one time of the year to be with them so it's very special. His kids were the youngest of the grandchildren and they are now in college. We are now having GREAT nieces and nephews joining the family. A fourth is on the way.

I want to wish you and yours a beautiful time with those who mean the most of you. Most of all, I wish you peace.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Almost Friday

Nothing makes me happy like knowing my work week is coming to an end. I have been struggling trying to take some new medicines and work full time, at a sometimes stressful job. On Wednesday I had what seemed to be an asthma attack but the inhaler brought no relief. I was at the doctor's tonight who tells me that I have fluid in my lungs and legs from my heart not pumping as it should. This means lasix which I sometimes take needs to be taken daily. It also indicates that my heart is not functioning as well as it should be. As usual, I am taking this news in stride. Not going to allow fear or disappointment to rob me of the holiday spirit. Sometimes it's easier than others to apply that decision.
We are expecting several inches of snowfall tonight. I am committed to getting into work tomorrow. Looking forward to the weekend and the one or two things I still need to purchase. I also need to get some cookies baked. It looks like my sister will be spending at least one night here. My mother is getting too many guests at once and there will be an overflow. On Christmas Eve we go to my middle brother's house for a gift exchange and a lovely feast but not a formal meal. Christmas Day we go to my mother's (unless it's a year where I offer my home which happened a lot more before I went back to work). We all help out with a turkey dinner and more gift opening. Then anyone over fifty finds a spot for a nap while the younger ones scramble for something to occupy themselves with. It is different now that my son and nieces spend part of the day with their fathers. I love that my son gets the exact same gift for his father and my husband. He has his quirks but sometimes I am so very proud of him. Let me tell you what I am most proud of. One Christmas (a few years after his treatment stopped for leukemia) he announced that he wanted to take several bags of sandwiches to where he knew a lot of homeless people were. I made the sandwiches and he proudly put on his new down coat I had given him. He was gone a couple hours when he came home shivering. I asked where his coat was. He looked at me with concern and said he hoped I would not be angry but there was a homeless man with no coat who had been shaking and he gave it to him. I told him I was very proud of him and the following week I replaced the coat. He is very kind and generous. These are the things I hoped for in my child. He can be trying at times when he feels I am not taking good enough care of myself. He lectures me on my diet (he's a vegan) and the fact that I am overweight. He has brought me numerous books on diet, including one about your blood type and diet. I know he means well so I have to supress the comments about being nagged. As with my parents, I think there comes a time where the child tries to be the caregiver. The circle of life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow and Slippery Roads

Today we had a beautiful snowfall. It was so warm here yesterday that most of it melted as it hit the ground. By now the ground is frozen and icey. I made it home from work just as the roads were getting slippery. What a wonderful thing to come into a warm house, with the glow of the Christmas tree lights and be greeting by my beloved dog and the pesky cat. LOL The cat adores me despite the fact that he knows I am a dog person. So I tolerate him. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Today I was afraid there might be an incident at work. One coworker wanted to argue about the Bible with another coworker who is of a different faith. I tried to tell them both I do not think religion is a work topic. Oh the wars and friendships ended in the name of religion. Why cannot people just let others believe as they wish? What made this especially ridiculous was the one coworker who wanted to quote scripture chooses to violate some of the ten commandments he so likes to quote to others. Sheesh. I wanted to grab them both and force them to sing "We Are the World". I took great pains to decorate our team with both red and green and silver and blue decorations. There are stars and candles.

It made me sad to hear the news tonight. Toys for Tots got so many less toys this year. Kaylee Anthony's body was found, or possibly found. Now the grandparents are asking for immunity. The value of homes in the entire country fell so drastically. We are in the worst recession since the depression. No good news to be heard tonight.

As I sit here in my warm home, with a full belly, safe from the elements outside I feel I have much to be grateful for. Right now my health is stable and I am grateful for that. This is a magical time of year. People all seem a bit happier.
I just want to feel carefree and happy for a few days of the year. Perhaps that means ignoring the news for a few days. Is ignorance truly bliss?

Good night to all.......peace be with you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On The Road to Healing


I had my minor surgery yesterday and am happy to report that the surgeon believes she got all the skin cancer. There is a 90% cure rate and I accept that with joy. I am sore. It was rather wide and she didn't stitch it, because in order to do so she would have had to go much deeper. We discussed the pros and cons and went with letting it heal unstitched. It currenly has some gel foam in it until tomorrow. For the next month I must be careful to avoid any infection as it heals. No problem because I am always germ conscious. MOHs surgery is a great thing. They remove layer by layer to make sure they have everything that can be seen under a microscope. Once they have a clean layer they are done. While tedious it provides a much better cure rate. There were many people having them removed from their noses, ears and faces. People wear sunblock!

In my case, mine are caused by the radiation I had so many years ago. This one was on my back and the previous one was on my chest. I have to keep an eye out for them. I go back for three weeks to be checked. I am relieved it is over with.

Now I can get my focus back on my blood pressure and other health concerns.

I was able to go to work today, despite soreness and a rather restless night. Tomorrow is Friday and then another weekend to rest up.


During this season I am disappointed in the ads on television. With so many people out of work, losing jobs and dealing with the financial loses brought on by the stock market fiasco, how can companies be implying we should be receiving cars and diamond jewelery? EXPENSIVE cars that few can afford in good times no less. Would someone be sitting around watching television and suddenly say "Oh yes, I will buy my spouse a car instead of a new sweater!"

The materialism has gone over the edge in my opinion. Wake up advertisers and understand we are in a recession and the only people who can afford these things are the top executives of the companies whose greed landed their end.

I am concerned about some of the young single moms I work with having gifts for their children. These kids are hoping for game boxes and ipods instead of dolls and building blocks. Sometimes I am relieved I am not a young mother in this materialistic society. My grown son will get some books and clothes and other such items. No matter what I give him, he will tell me I shouldn't have spent so much on him. I want the gift of people's time and friendship. A gift of a song I can put on my IPOD to make me think of a loved one is the kind of gift that makes me happy. What are you wishing for?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Music Lifts Me

Today I got up feeling a bit better. I think it is the antibiotics. I have stopped coughing for the most part and my chest has stopped hurting.
I woke up today and put on music. I simply cannot say enough about how music lifts my spirits. There are certain fun songs like Little Red Corvette that just take me to another place in time. So many songs evoke memories and some are just fun to sing along with. When I was younger and thought the world would be my oyster I wanted to be a musical therapist. I did go to college for psychology and completed three years when my son fell ill and I stopped. Afterwards I just didn't have it in me to return and later I wasn't in a financial position to do it and needed full time income. I always thought it would be great to help cancer patients discover the ways music could help them. When my sister-in-law Jennifer was in the hospital they brought in a harpist for her. For some reason I am blocking the name of the hospital but it was affiliated with the Leahy clinic. Although she lived in Rhode Island there was not a surgeon there who would operate on her. She lost so many months finding a surgeon who would remove three tumors which every doctor told her were benign. The nerve over her voicebox was cancerous. It's so easy to get off on tangents........
Today I want to focus on the good things like music and like my wonderful husband (not my favorite word) I actually prefer life partner or significant other. He has been through the mill with me. He never complains. I think I'll keep him.
If you haven't seen the movie P.S. I Love You I saw it for the first time on Saturday night and have rewatched it twice since then. I also loved the movie Once and if you liked that one I suspect you will like this as well.
Irish guys truly are the best...at least the most fun. I just love the character of Jerry. I once had a therapist tell me it's not how you feel about the person it's how they make YOU feel. We all deserve to have someone who makes us feel loved.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Meeting a New Doctor

The last internist I had been using went to another practice in an area an hour and a half south of here. I have been trying out new doctors trying to find one who can/will address all of my issues. I think I may have found her today, although she might be a tad younger than what I had hoped for. She was very kind although some might have thought a bit of an alarmist. I allowed my husband to be in the room and a part of me thinks maybe it was a bit much for him. I am so used to negative reports and such. My blood pressure was high, very high and she took it several times, each time with the same look on her face. I had been put on medicine which made me feel so dopey I could not function. I had told my cardiologist I was stopping it. He agreed that I should not have to go through life feeling so medicated I could not function on a daily basis. This doctor also said I have not addressed my blood test which says I am slightly over the line, meaning that I am diabetic. Sorry, still in denial about that one. She started asking me questions as though I wasn't grasping the possible consequences of taking care of these things. I had to tell her that for thirty years I have dealt with cancer and all the complications of it. In two more days I will be having another surgery to remove a skin cancer caused by the radiation. I took my scripts, had them filled like a good patient and agreed to try a time released capsule for the blood pressure, with a lesser dosage. I am also going to resume the lasix. Ever since my heart surgery I have a terrible predisposition to retaining fluid. My legs get as hard as rocks and sometimes my feet go numb. There are people who might freak out over things like this but hey, I have learned to roll with the punches. I am not saying I won't take care of these issues but I won't panic either. I go back in about a week for a follow up.
Perhaps this new doctor will help me to feel better and still get the meds I need.
I have to work. It's not an option. I also have to be conscious at work and capable of making judgment calls. I cannot do this if on medicine that makes me groggy. Fortunately I am going to be able to take tomorrow off as well.
Hoping by Thursday I will be able to return to work feeling much better and with my blood pressure under control.
I got in a few extra hours of sleep today. We got the tree decorated and my husband got the lit garland around our front door. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I hope I have one or two more good days so there will be presents under the tree for my Leprechaun. I know it's hard on him with all that I have been through but he tries so hard to take good care of me, sometimes with me giving him a hard time. I was on my own for so long, sometimes it's hard to accept the help.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Snow Covered Sunday

I am still sick but now most of the problem has moved into my chest. Argghhh.
Last night as I tried to sleep I was gripped by coughing spasms. I finally got up and watched a movie I had DVRed earlier and you simply must see it! P.S. I Love You. Wow. I am so impressed at what the husband had planned for her it is a true story of love and I am all about that. Today I finally washed my hair. I have taken baths but my hair needed a good shampooing desperately. It feels so much better.
Yesterday ended up being a real trial in many ways. My poor Rob has been working very hard for his company who are closing their doors in New Jersey soon. They hired a company to come take down very high warehouse shelving and he has had to help load this stuff onto trucks. He was not hired to do this kind of work and with two steel rods in his back he is hurting. He was promised a severance package and glowing recommendations so he is trying hard to go with the flow. Apparently Friday one of the men from this other company injured himself and could not work. That meant only one guy was there and Rob had to be there in case anything happened to him. Eight hours of Saturday. He does get paid overtime but I would have loved to have him home with me and frankly he needed the break. Today he is back there again. Yesterday I was in desperate need of some items from the market as well as pet food. My son called and asked me to help him get his Dad a mouse for his laptop for his birthday tomorrow. I told my son I was sick but if he drove I would assist him. An hour later my son calls back and he has been delayed. It will be several more hours before he gets here. I throw on my coat and run the errands, including picking up the mouse. I was so overwhelmed at the market, Mary Higgins Clark was there doing a book signing, and grabbed only what I needed. I rush home
leaving the heavy stuff in my car and put the other items away. I am beat. My son calls again telling me it will be another hour. Now I am getting angry. I tell him so. Shortly later he arrives and brings in the heavy items. I show him the mouse, he reimburses me and I wrap it for him. He is a vegan and each visit he likes to lecture me on my eating habits. I was just not in the mood yesterday. He had a pizza, took a shower that was over half an hour and left. Several minutes later I see the wrapped mouse on my kitchen table. When I am feeling well I usually check to see he leaves with everything he is supposed to but I was too tired yesterday and I wanted to kick myself. Rob came home with a pizza for supper at which time the phone rang and my darling son began to lecture me for eating pizza with all the sodium in it. I told him I was not in the mood to hear it and that I really went out yesterday to help him and in the end the gift was here. Here is about twenty-five miles from there.
His Dad's gift will no doubt be late. His Dad never shows any real enthusiasm for gifts so I shouldn't let it bother me. Perhaps because I had previously called my mother and told her I needed pet food etc. and she told me that I should have my husband pick that up because she was on her way to her favorite flea market and had no time, I was feeling very put out yesterday. Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to have a nurturing mother. When I called my mother my Dad answered the phone. He is failing terribly and in a weak voice when he heard I was till sick he softly said "I will pray for you." That was the bright spot of my day.
I think I will make a nice pot of tea and rewatch P.S. I Love You again. It gives me a lot of ideas.

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Nose Runneth Over

I am sick. Thank you coworker. :::insert sarcastic smirk:::
Yesterday, Thursday, I hung in there until my scheduled time. I actually half jokingly asked a coworker Tim to roll me in my chair to my car. He laughed and said while we were friends, we weren't that good of friends. Ouch Tim. My other coworker was kind enough to call and see if I made it home. He called again today.
I am a human mucus producing machine. Unless it's the alternative time where my head is completely stopped up and I cannot breathe at all. It seems to be cyclical. I had to call out today. I haven't even gotten dressed and I rarely do that. I fell asleep but had crazy dreams and woke up feeling very confused. I hate when that happens. Why you may be asking yourself, don't I take a decongestant? The heart that I have reacts to certain medicines with tachycardia. This is so unpleasant. Then my neurotic self must decide if I can take something for that symptom while on a decongestant. I hate mixing medicines. If this seems silly you were not there to witness the Nyquil fiasco before I had my heart surgery. I was passing out every fifteen minutes or so. There was nothing they could do but let it work itself out of my system. Needless to say Nyquil is on my list of never take drugs.
I am longing for some very good chicken soup and matzoh balls that a nearby kosher deli has. My husband is working late tonight so it will probably wait until tomorrow. I find chicken soup works wonders for me.
My bathtub should be filled by now. Here I come Loveshack bath oil from the Gap. Time for a little pampering.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Can I get a Christmas Break? lol

Yesterday the force of our team at work insisted we get some Christmas decorations going. Many of the women I work with are single Moms who live on a tight budget. While I don't have a lot of extra money, I can afford to do some things they cannot. So yesterday I went by a dollar store and bought a lot of nice decorations. It came to about forty dollars. I walked in this morning and gave each lady her ornament for her cube and they put up the garlands and wreaths.
There is a team that sits next to us and immediately they asked if I had bought things for them as well. I am used to this and I replied that I did buy them their own wreath and gave it to them to hang. There was a lot of complaining amongst them and one asked the other why SHE didn't buy the decorations for their team. The woman responded that she didn't have the money. The other woman looked at me and said I must be CRAZY to do something like that. I hesitated before speaking when the lady she was in a conversation with said
NELLE IS NOT CRAZY. SHE IS A NICE AND GENEROUS LADY!
For two days I have been fighting a cold that a coworker came in with. The guy was SHAKING on Monday from a fever, put his head on his desk and slept much of the day. Luckily for him, he was having computer issues and couldn't really get into the system needed. We don't get much time off. About fifteen days a year for everything; illness and vacation and personal emergencies. Each year mine are used up for medical reasons and then I end up not getting paid for other days I need. I hate that people come to work sick, but I understand the financial burden of staying home.
Despite that fact that my husband's job is ending late December and that I am having my surgery Dec. 10th I am in Christmas spirits. Each year I feel so grateful and fortunate to be alive for another Christmas. I am going to run down now and watch the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center. I so wish I could be there tonight. Maybe sometime this season I can get there to see if.
Stay warm and don't let anyone steal your holiday joy. :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 4 of the Mini vacation

Today is day 4 and it has gone by much too fast. It is raining today and dreary. It makes me sleepy. I got up at 7 this morning, mainly to check on the cat. The cat has pardon me for saying this word: diarrhea. I called the vet to see if he needed to be brought in. I was told that I should just give him boiled rice and cooked chicken or beef only. If he's not better in three days to bring him in. At least I know the vet isn't one to see a patient needlessly for the money. I am a bit concerned for the cat. If he's not better by Tuesday then I think he will be paying Dr. Scot a visit.

I have seen a lot of my parents this weekend. My father was so cranky on Friday night. We kind of snuck into the apartment (their home is a mother-daughter currently without either of their mothers in residence.) He realized and joined us. It's hard to be patient with him at times. He has hearing aids which he doesn't always want to wear but he wants to hear everything that's going on. He wants to interrogate us like when we were teens. My sister brought my mother's artifical tree up and decorated it. We laughed so hard because she has every decoration anyone has ever given her. She is 76. She could easily decorate five large trees with all the ornaments. She has downsized to a thin tree so there are more left over than ever. Some are really in bad shape. My mother kept pulling things out from the basement; wreathes, towels, etc. . She changes so many things it will take her days and days to do it all. So far I have replaced my kitchen centerpiece of a wooden bowl with mini pumpkins and the sunflower placemats over to a paperwhites with red berries centerpiece and NOEL placemats. I am not exactly a bundle of energy these days. I have enjoyed having some time to balance my checkbook, make and execute a grocery list and clean out the refrigerator. You can see I am a ball of fire. I took a long, hot shower this morning and enjoyed that I could lounge afterwards.
Tomorrow I will be back to the hectic grind. I will have to work a full forty hour week. I'm sure we will have lots of stories to tell each other about the holiday.
Time to go full speed ahead for the one yet to come. I'm dreaming of things that money cannot buy. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward our fellow men and women. Equality for all. Let it be.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday non participant

Today while others are busily grabbing bargains and bumping shoulders with strangers, I am at home. Relaxing. Yesterday I was up at 5:30 a.m. in order to bake pies and make my pecan topped sweet potato dish which is so yummy. I never got a few minutes in for a nap and by the time we had helped my mother get her dinner on the table I was pooped. I had taken the twenty pound turkey over with the stuffing earlier. I begged my mother not to alter the stuffing from the bag recipe as I hate celery. I have post traumatic celery stress disorder which results from a night of illness as a child. My grandfather who was with me that night told me it took him months before he could eat celery again. If dressing has celery in it I won't eat it. Mom agreed but my sister was there and against Mom's request, added it anyway. To the stuffing I bought. I mashed the potatoes and allowed my sister to make the gravy. She never drained off any of the fat and I realize that I should have made the gravy. My mother is still recovering from a bad cold/flu like illness and now my Dad has it. Since he has already been hospitalized six times this year and had pneumoia at least four of them, I am concerned. Mom had put out china and I insisted that we change to the other dishes which could go in the dishwasher. After our dinner Mom cleared the table then napped on a sofa while Dad napped in his recliner in another room. My sister and I put all the leftovers into containers. I had carved the turkey and half of it was left. After that we had about an hour to chat while my husband ran home and took care of the pets. It was a rare opportunity for us to visit alone and in person. We had pie and coffee and were home by 6:30. I kind of collapsed into a chair. Earlier in the day while searching for a recipe I could not find in time to use, I decided my organization of recipes was sorely lacking. I took out all the loose recipes and organized them into folders or into the recipe album which holds cards and is one of my favorite gifts I have every received. Now when I want a recipe I know where to look. I also found some I had forgotten about which I plan to make soon. Short ribs in the crock pot. Great for winter.

Yesterday got me thinking. Not sure how many more Thanksgivings or holidays I will have with my parents. They are getting older and really failing. Dad is not permitted to drive anymore since he had three seizures that day in June. He still sees an oncologist but they are using a wait and see attitude about the cancer they found around Easter. I honestly do not think he could tolerate chemo at all. When his father was diagnosed with lung cancer my Dad opted not to tell him. He knew his father could not tolerate the treatments and his cancer was already stage 4. One day while alone with "Pops" as I called him, he told me that he knew he had lung cancer but because my Dad couldn't handle discussing it with him, he would pretend not to know. He told me not to say anything in response because he didn't want my father upset with me.


I took today off from work. I was supposed to work today but I am exhausted and have been. I put my name in a pool and was one of eight names drawn to take the day off without pay. I have the upcoming surgery and I want to be in decent condition for the healing process. So, for the first time since I don't know when, I will have 4 consecutive days off of work. It's like a mini vacation for me. I plan to do things that will help me relax. I have my holiday cards all ready written and stamped. Some will get mailed this weekend and others next week. I have most of the gifts purchased. I want to have this all done before December 10th. I do not want to be in the mall where seas of germs are when my back will be healing. I try to avoid them at holiday time anyway. My plan is to stay relatively healthy this winter. You know about the best laid plans...........guess who's coming to town soon???

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday Was Terrifying

Yesterday, Tuesday, was a day from a horror movie. Seriously. It all began when I jumped out of bed about 5:30 a.m. to run downstairs and start making my candied yams for work. We were having a Thanksgiving buffet. These can be quite frustrating as many people claim they cannot cook. They furnish things like potato chips or Doritos (sorry but how is this part of a Thanksgiving buffet)? You always have those who forgot and seem to eat four plates per person. But I digress....as my knee was pounding down each step I became aware that the tendonitis is back in full swing. I get into the kitchen and began to put together all the items I will need while the cat lets out noises that sound like he needs to be spared from death. Sorry, but he had to wait until I got this dish together. I was so proud of how nicely it came out. Epicurious always has the best recipes. I got ready for work, putting on a pretty brand new purple sweater. I had on black UGGS with black pants. I carefully placed the large hot dish on some trivets and towels on the floor behind the drivers seat. Kind of held it in place with some umbrellas. I pull about two miles up the road when some unobservant man blows throw a stop sign, never even slowed , and I had to swerve into the other lane (which was thankfully empty) to avoid him. I began to breath again normally after about ten minutes and drove to work. When I arrived I carefully picked up the towel, trivets and dish and made my way through the revolving door while managing to swipe my ID. Oh I was feeling like I pulled this off so well. (Remember pride goeth before a fall). Rode up the elevator and as I began to walk into the large area where our desks are I realized my pants were wet. Looking down I can see that my raincoat is covered with what looks like orange juice. YIKES. I suddenly realize that the sudden stop made the juice leak down and it was now on one of my UGGS. When purchasing them the salesman said not to worry about getting anything but grease on them. I began to wonder, would melted butter be considered grease? I think so. Now as I am walking in and starting to complain this guy makes some very insensitve comment. I put the dish down and run to the ladies room. I am able to throw my raincoat into the sink and sort of wipe off all the stuff. My pants are soaked. I pull of the shoe and began to gently pat it. In desperation I use a dampened paper towel to swat at it. I return to my desk and this guy is carrying on about what I am I so upset about? I try to ignore him but throughout the day he feels free to go on and on. I feel like a child who has a sibling taunting them and at some point I advise him he really needs to stop. By now I have had two very irate customers I have dealt with. One had me on the phone for over an hour. He wants lines added to his account, then because he doesn't like the numbers, he wants them removed. I am starting to wonder if I am going to get through the day. Somehow I manage to and now I have the dish washed out (I have tossed the towel and trivet in the garbage). I am heading home telling myself that I need to check the back of the car mat. I vow to never cook for work again. I don't know when I have had a more frustrating day. I get home and run upstairs tossing my pants in the washing machine. At least they don't need dry cleaning like the raincoat (which by the way is $18!). I run downstairs have a salad and run back up to toss them in the dryer. What do I see at the bottom of my washing machine but my cell phone! The Razor aka most expensive phone I have ever had. Needless to say it doesn't work anymore. I decide to dry it out with the blow dryer and let it sit overnight with the battery and SIM card outside of it. This morning for my Thanksgiving miracle, it DOES work! I then remember my car and run out to check the mat. What a syrupy mess is on the carpeted mat and on part of the seat. Thank goodness I purchased good upholstery spray from the dealer and it cleans it right up. I also notice that there is blue paint from some other vehicle on my drivers side mirror. Later today my brother was able to buff that off for me. So all in all, with the mirror being fixable and the cell phone still working it turned out okay.
Today when I walked into work the guy who had bugged me yesterday said he was going to leave me alone today. I looked at him and said "Wise choice." I would really hate to have to get a coworker in a headlock so close to Thanksgiving. :) My zen returned. I usually get along so well with this guy too...guess something bad happened to him too but he just doesn't want to talk about it.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sumptious Sunday

Sunday is by far my favorite day of the week. I can sleep in (in theory only of course because my body gets used to being up by 7 a.m. everyday) and the day is mine. I try to let the better half sleep in. Lately he has been working Saturdays. His company's New Jersey site will be closing end of December. I figure he will get to really rest up then. We have put him on my health insurance for the coming year and I am certain sometime during this year he will find another job. The economy is so bad but there are several companies in our area which do the same thing this one did. It's just sad that so many people who worked there lost their jobs. One friend in particular who suffers from bouts of depression was there nearly twenty years. He felt he was secure. In this world at this time I am starting to wonder if there is any job security anywhere. The world has changed and for us middle aged people who grew up with pensions it's a harsh change.




It is cold this morning. The cat cried and cried to go out and was back at the door within five minutes looking at me as if to say "You sent me out in that?"


The dog with his rich fur coat loves the cold weather. He is in his glory in the snow. I hope to post a short video this winter since we have the FLIP. If you do not have anyway to take and display a video online you simply must get a FLIP. Put it on your Christmas wish list. For less than a hundred dollars, it takes amazing video. I love technology. Several of my coworkers have splurged for I phones or something similar. I just love them but too much pressure for me to spend so much on a phone and then worry if something happens to it. I still have my Razor from two years ago. Not a good phone for texting which I do a lot. On the other hand I have my IPod and don't need a phone that stores music.


I did treat myself to three new sweaters for work yesterday. Of course when you work you can rationalize buying clothes. Like the shoes and winter boots I bought last month. My weight is up again and much of what I have no longer fits me. Problem is I sit most of the day and when I get home I am too tired to excercise. I am an office chair potato (the working version of the couch potato).


We are doing a secret santa at work. This is a great time of year to be working. Mostly because nothing makes me happier than a paid holiday!


Once again this time of year I keep taking check of what I am thankful for and I am thankful for the friends I have met online. Some I am in touch with daily.


Yesterday was my sixth anniversary (we have two, yesterday was our religious ceremony or "church" anniversary) with Rob, the most wonderful husband one could hope for. Not perfect, just like me, but always there for me in every way.


I got a free turkey yesterday for spending $300 at my favorite grocery store.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Almost Friday

Today was the easiest day at work. I was on a project for several hours and then we had our team meeting and then I left an hour and a half early. The best part of working is time off. My mother had a crisis, or thought she did, and I went over to help her with her AOL software. When I arrived it was miraculously working. I still made it home a bit earlier today and managed to get some laundry done and run some much needed computer scans.

There is a craft show on Saturday a few hours from here. Would love to go but my chaffeur aka significant other will be working. While I am adventurous I hate driving to unknown places so not sure I will make the trip unless I get someone to come along. Our friend Tim makes beautiful jewelery. I wore earrings he had made to work today and received compliments on them. My husband's group of work friends will be disbanded soon. Imagine working in the same place for almost twenty years and then suddenly you lose your job, your friends and your bread and butter. Times are so hard right now. I work with a single mother of three and all she does is complain about how we are underpaid and wants a raise. We received a two dollar an hour raise about six months ago and I was thrilled. I told her today in this economy she should be so happy to have a job. She gets her medical free for herself and her children. Most of us pay for our insurance. She is living at her mother's and doesn't have a mortgage or utilites either. I guess some people have no idea how good they have it.

I am always feeling extra grateful around Thanksgiving. I have so very much to be thankful for. My wonderful husband, I still have my beloved grandmother at 96, my son, my animals, my friends, my faith the list goes on and on. I am so very grateful that I am still here on this planet. At times it has not been easy but I am still here and going strong. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!
I know not everyone shares my religious beliefs, I respect that, but in my heart not a day goes by that I don't look up and say "Thank you" because my strength often comes from above.
What are you most thankful for?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Quick Note

Yesterday I left work a bit early to go get my blood test. I take blood thinners and am required to get them at least once a month, sometimes twice a month as I have been lately. I battled the traffic and got to the hospital rejoiced to see there was only one person ahead of me at the lab.
I had called my doctor on the earlier and he had called in a script for me at the pharmacy. I was so happy as I left the hospital thinking I would get home early. I pulled into the long line at Walgreen's and sat for twenty minutes before reaching the window. The young man told me there was no script called in for me. I told him that I had a voicemail confirmation from the office and he suggested I pull off to the side and call them again. I did and a very annoyed office nurse told me the script had been called in five hours earlier. She had noted on the chart the time and asked that I give my cell phone to the pharmacist. I went inside the store and walked to the back. They refused to take my cell saying it could be anyone on the phone. They needed the nurse to call them again. She did and then she called me back on my cell after speaking with them. She said this was a different pharmacist than who had taken the call earlier but they changed shifts at 3p.m. Of course this meant waiting for the script to be filled and about another twenty minutes later I was on my way home again. By now I was frustrated, tired after work and hungry. I was thinking about the high cost of even getting generic drugs when I realized the light was about to change. It was one of those moments where it might be more dangerous to hit your brakes than go and I went. A few minutes later I saw flashing lights in my rearview mirror. Stopped by a very nice police officer. He asked me for my documents and I produced them. He then asked about my driving record and I told him it was perfect. I also volunteered about my frustrating experience at Walgreens and told him that I am usually a cautious driver. When he had obtained my information he cautioned me but let me go after admonishing me to drive safely. I was relieved and very surprised. I guess if you have a perfect record they know you are safe most of the time at least.
Tonight my husband went to a mediator with my neighbor. She got rid of the rooster which was waking us at daybreak since August about a week ago. She did that when he signed the complaint. He explained that I need my rest. So all in all the past two days have been okay. Now it's time for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow is hump day. The weeks go by so quickly. I wish I had more energy to do things after work and enjoy them. This morning we did have our first snow flurries and they were lovely. It is COLD out there! Stay warm....oh and drive safely. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rainy Weekend

It was supposed to rain the entire weekend. We got a small reprieve this afternoon and my chaffeur drove me to Target. Or as the French call it TarJay.
Found just the accent pillows I had been looking for to make our new sofa a bit cozier. I had purchased others that weren't right and when I got home was happy to see they were a great fit color wise.

I have been having some issues I have been struggling with regarding health insurance. Of course each year my employer has made some small changes. One I hadn't realized was that we have a five hundred dollar IN network deductible that is applied to either hospitalization, diagnostic testing or outpatient surgery. The rub of that is that I will be paying that in December and then in January it starts again for the new year. I have considered delaying my surgery for a month. Family members at first said nothing then several days later they all went into hyper mode saying it was not a good idea. I have agreed to have the surgery December 10th and just not agonize over the deductible and coinsurance which won't count towards next years. My husband will also be going on my insurance for the first time so those changes had to be made. If he finds another job, which I'm sure he will, I will have to keep him on my insurance all year. Actually, that might be a good thing because this plan is better than what he has had. So much hinges on insurance and it is my deepest hope that President elect Obama will fulfill his promise and do something about this. My portion I pay is high and many of the single mothers I work with cannot afford it and have their children on state insurance. I tried to comfort myself yesterday by rejoicing over the drop in gas prices. I filled my tank for under $30 for the first time in so very long. My parents have offered to help me with the expense of this surgery. That is a big change for them.

I plan to go enjoy a cup of tea and open a magazine and do something I rarely do but need to be doing a whole lot more : RELAX. I hope you have a relaxing weekend too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sorting Feelings

I've been on a downer lately. Partly because of the family structure of my spouse and myself. In my family it has always been that the sons were the recipients of money in one form or another. In my husband's it's been the daughters. Last year my mother-in-law lost her one daughter, who I believe was her favorite. Her other daughter quickly moved to a southern state, partially because she felt her mother was withholding to her. Since that has happened her mother is now showering her with boxes for herself and her two sons. At the same time, her mother has stopped giving us even an anniversary card. The other night her daughter called going on and on about the box she had received. I wish I were something enough (mature, although I am mature, not sure what word would suit this) to just let this go but I am human and it bothers me. Although I am the only one in my family who ever had cancer, or a heart problem (which I inherited from my father) I have never received any assistance of any kind from my parents. I have never asked for any. I pride myself on being independent. I have worked hard, even when physically drained, to take care of my own needs. I am proud of that. Still, I am a human, with an inner child, who gets hurt that so much is done for others while I sit on the sidelines, sometimes with needs of my own that are not addressed.
I discovered that if I had a surgery in December my insurance copay was going to be very high as I would have to meet a surgical deductible I was unaware of. Come January it would start over so I decided to postpone my surgery until January. No one seemed concerned until after I cancelled and my mother then called and said she would have helped me. I didn't want her help but why wait until after I cancelled to do that?
With all these things going on...as they have for years....I feel uncared about.
The adult is struggling hard to meet the needs of the inner child.
The husband is not understanding me on this as he accepts that his mother is this way. The fact that she hurts me doesn't seem to bother him and that hurts me. Perhaps this is too personal of an entry and some things are better left unsaid. I feel the need TO say them though. I feel very alone and at times scared.

My father always said the opposite of love is not hate, it's apathy.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Scrapbook Wishes

I have seen some of the beautiful new blogs where people use scrapbook looking papers and put pictures in flowers and I have envy. There is a person who will custom make one for you. Sorry I don't have that kind of money to splurge on myself with Christmas coming especially but they are lovely.

My husband is working again this Saturday as he did last Saturday and it's raining again. Made a quick trip to the Hallmark Open House this morning and bought some nice Christmas ornaments I will be giving as gifts. I have a bed to make, a kitchen to clean and then I will allow myself the luxury of laying on my new sofa and enjoying the flat screen tv. Oh yes, even the small luxuries remind me that life is good.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

WE HAVE A DREAM

WE HAVE A DREAM
Americans have a dream. As we struggle with our concerns for our finances right now and our life investments which seem to be slipping away, we have united and elected a President, who I hope and pray and believe ,will lead us slowly back. Pray for him. I only wish that all those who fought so hard for Dr. King's dream to come true could have seen this day. Dr. King your dream, to a large degree at least, came true last night. I am so proud to be an American today. I am also proud of the dignity shown by John McCain. Although I did not feel he was the right person to lead our country, I do feel we should honor him as a war hero who served our country with such bravery. He showed real class last night. I respect him more now than ever before.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank You Uncle Dick

Today was a very emotional day for me. It made me think many times of my beloved Uncle Dick who died very young.......
Many years ago my Uncle Dick took myself (who he called Nelson) and my cousin Sharon (who he called Sherman) to a Highs Ice Cream store. It was in a place in Maryland not far outside of Washington, D.C. Uncle Dick lived down by the Chesapeake Bay a good two hours away and when he came to visit we were given all kinds of wonderful treats. A few years later he moved to Florida and when he rolled into town then with his wife, we felt as though Mr. and Mrs. Claus had arrived. Many of my happiest childhood memories involve them. This one very hot day as we were picking out our ice cream flavors a young black mother and her little girl came in. To be honest, I cannot remember what they were doing in the store but the little girl asked her Mommy for an ice cream cone. The mommy leaned down and took her baby girl's hand and whispered something about not having money for one. My Uncle Dick (God love him) walked over with his big smile that would melt anyone's heart and said "Madam would you allow me to buy your little girl an ice cream cone because she is wearing the prettiest dress I ever saw." The lady's eyes said it all and she quietly thanked him and said that would be fine. My cousin and I got our cones and climbed into the beautiful convertible for the ride home. Uncle Dick told us on that ride never to judge people by their skin, their clothes or their ability to pay for things. He told us what a lovely woman the mother was and how sweet she was for thanking him. That day I learned a valuable lesson. I only wish every child could learn the same lesson. It is a lesson I have never forgotten and I taught my child. People are the same and like books, what's important is what's on the inside. (Uncle Dick worked for Johns Hopkins and was in an experimental lab when a dish containing brusolosis was dropped and broken. He cleaned up the mess and became infected with the disease that slowly destroyed his heart and ended his life in his early fifties. He never regretted infecting himself because others were spared by his heroic deed.)

Today as I had the opportunity to go into the booth and vote for an African American president my eyes swelled with tears. I was so proud of our country and how far we have come from the days of the segregation. We are still on the journey for equality but all I could think about would be how happy my uncle would have been to have seen this day. How happy he would have been to know that the enlightenment he shared with two young girls would be passed on to their children and grandchildren. Although his only child died in infancy, he touched the life of another child and that's something to be proud of.
GO VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thinking about God..........

My groom with his youngest sister, Jen and her daughter, Cassie. There is a bagpiper in the bar as well..and friends.

Today was Sunday and I so rarely go to church anymore. My faith is the same as it was but I just find I have so much to do that I just can't seem to fit it in. Lately I have not been feeling well either. I had an email conversation with a friend who once thought of being a minister but now defines himself as an atheist. That threw me a bit but I fully understood where he is coming from. He has had a lot of pain and perhaps some of that came from his religious experiences. Most of us who were raised in a religion have baggage. Often we find another religion that seems better. Probably because that religion was of our choosing and we didn't feel forced into it. I do know that there were times I stepped back from religion but then in my own time I was drawn back to it. Several months ago a priest who was so supportive of me passed away. I have not been back to church since then. Partly because I am in denial about his passing. He lived a full and good life and then had his body shipped back to his native Ireland. He once laughed that he had been Americanized when he began to drink coffee daily in place of tea. He listened to me as I poured out my heart during a painful divorce. He gave me my sacraments. I miss him.

I also miss my sister-in-law Jennifer. The baby of my husband's family of four children. She lost her battle with cancer in June of 2007. This cancer is hereditary and we lost her Dad to it in 2000. I hate knowing all the things she is missing with her ten year old daughter. Today we bought her daughter some earrings as she recently had her ears pierced. She wanted pink sparkly ones and that is what I got her. The box had a dragonfly on it, reminding me of how Jen loved butterflies and dragonflies and fairies. She was all about the magic of life.
She is the only one in my husband's family who ever told me they loved me, aside from him. Well her daughter has told me that now. Her daughter came up to me as I knelt gazing at her mother's body and this eight year old child told me that her mother loved me. She was comforting me. Of all the things in my life I know that I will never forget, that is one of them. Jen was only thirty-four with so much life ahead of her. What she might have done we'll never know. We do know that we miss her and I don't think that will ever stop, but certainly not in the near future.

Note: if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will see the picture of Jen on her way to attend our wedding...it's one of my favorites of her but she was very photogenic, and a good photographer.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why are the days flying by?

If I stop and think about how fast the days/weeks are flying by I want to hit pause. It seems that the work days are flying by and then before I know it, the weekend is here again. I took off this Wednesday and that makes it go by even faster. My husband's company is supposed to be closing it's doors late December. They have offered him a job in the Boston area which we turned down. They offered him a raise and some moving costs but frankly, it's not nearly enough to make it worth our while to sell this home and purchase another. There is also the consideration that I might not be able to find a job there where I am making as much as I currently do. When I weigh all the options one thing seems to make it impossible for me to consider leaving: my doctors. I am certain that there are excellent doctors in the Boston area but they don't know me or my history. Leaving them behind and being five hours away would invoke tremendous anxiety. So while I don't think at this time, this is a consideration for us, it's nice to know that they love him and should we decide to move to the land of the Red Sox they told him they would always have a place for him. (Since he is from Rhode Island this would be returning to his native land.) In the meantime, they are having him work long hours trying to empty out their site here. They are finding they underestimated what it would take to do this. Who knows...maybe the powers that be will rethink this. In the meantime I hate to see him so worn out when he drags himself through the door after putting in ten hours. Today is Saturday and he is working again. This means I will single handedly take my wonder pup for his rabies shot. He does not play well with others. He is so very fearful of other dogs and some people. If only I could get the Dog Whisperer to make a house call. I think he would tell me he would have to move in for at least a week. I love my Sheltie and the breed. They are bred to warn of impending danger. Apparently my dog feels that too many leaves blowing across the yard could be dangerous. He barks at people walking other dogs. I have tried a squirt bottle and shaking a can of coins. These don't work with him.

I am watching the clock now and see that I have just enough time to throw on a jacket....the Fall has arrived here. I had to clean ice off my car two mornings ago. Yesterday it warmed up a bit for the lucky trick or treaters. I had a mere 75 or so yesterday. Previous years were always over a hundred. It gets less and less every year.

Have I mentioned that Autumn is my favorite season? How I love all things pumpkin scented and tasting. We had a pot luck luncheon at work. I took corn pudding and we had fried chicken and a wonderful spread. I have gone through the closet and found my scarves and purchased two new ones. I have misplaced my ice scraper though and that will be one of the things I simply must pick up today. Right after Autumn comes the snow which I love but the winter cold which I do not. My dog is lucky to have that beautiful coat which keeps him so warm. Wish me luck. Here I go..........

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Deep in Thought

Something happened recently at work where my mind began to go into overdrive about why certain people do things. I found myself trying to figure out a motive for such childish behavior in a work environment and this began a spiral of thoughts about why people are the way they are. I believe most people are the way they are because of their life experiences. Obviously the type of home you grow up in plays a large part in that. Still when we become adults we become redefined as we make a home and family of OUR choosing. So many of us raised to feel that who we were was reflected by the home we had or the family we presented to others, were set up to feel like failures. I was raised to think that when you married someone if that was a nightmare, it was of your choosing and you had no choice but to endure it. In my forties I broke free of those chains of thought and began to search for the me who had been lost living with someone who was not right for me. It was a long and difficult journey to get where I am today. Still, I do not feel that defines me as much as being a cancer survivor. I have lived with the rollercoaster of anxiety and fear, and yes, hope for thirty years. During that time I also went through leukemia with my only child, who also, thankfully, is a long term survivor.


Perhaps because the treatment, that I had back then, was so intense and the physical results life changing, my life never was the same. I had my spleen removed which left me immune compromised. I have had skin cancer and now am dealing with another. I have had heart surgery and that opened another set of issues and medications. This is my life and I am grateful for it.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a normal person, although I strive to live my life as normally as I can. I never allow myself to think what my life might have been like because my son was only three when I was diagnosed. My thoughts were for him and wanting him to be taken care of by his mother. I have often wondered if taking him to the radiation clinic predisposed him to leukemia.


Life goes on. Each day I get up and go to work and I do all the things that a normal person does. However, not a day goes by that I don't find myself having this thought "Thank you God for another day." I don't think many people ever have those thoughts. I think the passing of days goes unnoticed. It's expected. With me, over the years, I have learned not to be so anxious. I have come to accept that whatever will be will be. I have learned to appreciate nature and people and acts of kindness to a degree that many people never will.
For that I am grateful. Life is good. Smell the flowers!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Friday Off..... can I get a woohoooo

Today I am so happy because I took the day off....with pay. These are the days that make working so very sweet. I have an appointment with a skin surgeon and will find out today just when she will remove this undesirable thing on my back and how much time will be involved. I am not scared but I am concerned about discomfort while working. I just filled out the six long pages of information and consent, which deal primarily with my insurance. She accepts my primary but not secondary insurance. That should simplify things a bit unless my company changes providers which could happen.

I made an appointment and got my hair cut today. She cut it shorter than she had eight weeks ago. The back is fine but my "bangs" are too straight across, I like them whispier but by the time I could see them they were too short to change. I will go back in a few weeks when they have grown out and have her fix them then. My hair grows very quickly. Having shorter hair makes it so much easier to get ready for work in the morning. I find as I am aging I am wearing more make up. To be honest, if I were not neurotic and financially impaired, I would be having botox. Ironic that my weight gain over the years has not concerned me as much as wrinkles and other facial imperfections. I guess when I stare into the mirror I focus on those things.

Looking at the time I need to get a move on. I will be relieved when I close the chapter on this and know that, at least for awhile, I will be safe again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Has Arrived

The past few days have been very warm but it's cool and breezy at night. Ideal for sleeping conditions if it weren't for the rooster living next door. This rooster is waking up the entire neighborhood. The neighbor is a problem neighbor and a complaint has been signed by us and another neighbor with a few others considering doing the same thing. I really hate it when people drive you to have to do these things. I would much rather have a congenial relationship with neighbors. Since we have lived here for six years she has woken us up at five thirty one morning when she decided to mow her grass, put four ducks in her yard which fight and wake us up, had her then eleven year old son back her car out of her driveway which he lost control of and hit my car. She was furious when I called the police after she pulled the car back in her driveway and ran in her house. Her mailbox which was run over lay on the ground to provide evidence. The police told her she was lucky we didn't press charges but she seemed annoyed that we made her pay for the repairs rather than allow her friend to fix our car. Said friend fixed her car after an accident and the paint does not match. She went to court and got a variance to erect a six foot fence. I opposed this but she testified she had a handicapped child who needed to be confined for his safety. The fence she erected is more like eight feet tall and was never closed while her child who seems perfectly normal plays in the street with the other kids. This fence is also on a conservation easement which the variance stated could not have the fence on. It goes on and on. My husband has videotaped the activity of this rooster, who is annoying as can be each morning and the tapes are viewed by other neighbors and some township officials I believe.


I go to the skin surgeon next week. Not for the surgery, just to get things set up. The bills from the procedure and biopsy are rolling in. Oh please Mr. Obama, some national health care help. We need it. Two people in our home working, I am covered by two policies and still what I must pay out of pocket prohibits me from getting all the procedures I should be.


I am tired and going to make a soothing cup of herbal tea, watch Grey's Anatomy and get into my weekend mode. One more workday. Work was great today. We had a baby shower/luncheon for a lovely couple who both work with us. One of our coworkers, Lemont has a catering business and his fried chicken is mouth watering. He made a pork shoulder too. Instead of a cake we have banana pudding for dessert. Enjoyed by all. I work with quite a cast of characters and we have a lot of laughs. Life is good. Happy Halloween from the Shelties

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Final Goodbye to AOL Journals........

A long time ago AOL screwed over their journalers. Beautiful, lovingly maintained blogs that were a joy to read were defaced by the company when they ran ad banners across the top. Since AOL was never able to offer broadband, only dial up, one had to pay for broadband AND for AOL. To slap ads on top of journals that were being paid for was adding insult to injury. There was a wonderful community of bloggers. People who were a huge crossmix of the country. I loved it. I made friends with these bloggers. Many of them got angry when some of us made an exodus to blog spot. Some of them tried to change over to blog spot but it was difficult and they gave up and went back. Now, after all this time, AOL finally tells them NO MORE BLOGS. Sorry but your journals will no longer be supported here. More blogs for blog spot who hosts them for free. How can that be you have to ask yourself. Maybe now, finally, I can just cancel AOL altogether. Why should I give them any money when I am paying for broadband? I will tell you why I have done it. There were a few chat rooms over the years that I went to.
Most of these chat rooms have become so full of verbally abusive people that there is no pleasure in trying to converse in one. AOL has failed miserably in controlling them.
I remember when no one considered being online without AOL. How they have fallen.
What gets me is all the victims they left behind. All the blogging community that supported Pam, our friend, through her cancer ordeal. Her daughter kept her blog online and her screen name. Sorry for her that unless she can figure out how, that blog will be lost. By the way AOL gave NO Instructions on how to save the blogs just a link that contained no information. Another AOL faux paus. I am sorry for all the people who derived so much joy from the AOL journals, myself included. We paid for something and we suffered for having used it.
Life goes on and I helped a fellow AOL journaler get set up with a new home here on blog spot.
Another thing in life that will be gone, something that at one time meant so much.
AOL I think you have put the last nail in your coffin.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Circle Of Life

I was thinking today about how some thirty years ago I knew everything. I know now that I will never live long enough to know even a portion of what I would like to. As a cocky nineteen year old I had a job at McGraw-Hill. Within a few months I went to the head of our department (bypassing the two supervisors over me) and told him my talents were being wasted. I would finish processing my orders and then help the other women do theirs. They begged me to slow down and I would become irritated wondering why they were so lazy. I could stay up half the night and still work faster than them. Life has taken me down a few pegs now. When I was at McGraw-Hill (publishing part of the company) I was the baby of the department. I was already married and had owned and sold a business with my then husband. Let's just refer to him as "the former significant other". I had just purchased a home and my how the world was mine. My department head put me up for a promotion and before you could say "I'm outta here" I was in my new job as the assistant to a customer service representative who was a one person department running their education /development customer service orders and keeping the salesmen under control. Shortly into that job I learned I was pregnant. Trust me, no one was more surprised than me and I even argued with the doctor. When I heard the baby's heartbeat I tried to question if it might be an echo of my own. NO. I was delighted but it took a long time before I realized that I would not be able to work again for a long time. There were no day care centers at that time and if there were other mothers who babysat in their homes I didn't know of any. I began to get ready for a stay at home job which at the time became my joy. I became a Tupperware demonstrator to make some money. That could be done in the evenings when my baby was safely in his own crib. Sometimes I feel that the modern working moms are missing some precious moments that they shouldn't have to. In this day and age you would have to be independently wealthy to surive with children on one income, at least in the Northeast. Anna Quindlen said it best when she said that we could have it all BUT not at the same time.


This picture drawn by my friend, Diana, so precious


Years later I found myself back in the work force. How the tides of turned. Life who I once ruled, kicked my butt. I am now one of the oldest women in my department. I laugh as they tell me about their struggles to find Mr. Right, give them support through the bad break ups and check out their MySpace pages. I even succumbed to pressure and made one. It pales in comparison to theirs. I am no longer the sexy young thing of my youth. In place of that though, I have learned so much from the knocks of life. I am more compassionate. I am still friends with my dearest friend of that first career job, Monica. She left soon after I did and had a career in a local government. She turned 70 in the spring and let me tell you she is still one sexy mama. She laughs when I ask her how she put up with me. The nineteen year old know it all who gave her (mother of four) marital advice? She laughs and winks. Life is so interesting and I hope I always find it so. Even if I do need more than eight hours sleep.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wanting to make it easier

I have a coworker who has only been with us about a month. He is originally from Atlanta. When he came to New Jersey it was with the hope that he could find some medical treatment for his father who had the worst form of leukemia. In New Jersey there is a Cancer Institute and it is wonderful. For reasons I do not understand this young man's Dad ended up in a place I have never heard of. I guess it is possible they were doing some kind of experimental drug trial. He was urged by many people to move his father but that did not happen. Three months ago his brother went into New York and was killed in a motor vehicle accident. Two weeks ago he lost his father and the last person left in his nuclear family.

This is a nice young man. There is discussion and the men in our group feel it is best left alone. The women feel a card needs to be passed and a collection taken. The young man who knows him best says that he would be embarassed by the attention. Last week we had our meeting and my heart ached as he broke down and had to leave when he began to talk about what he had gone through. He is in pain. I want to help him but it's a fine line. He told me they did some genetic testing as his grandmother died from the same disease his father had. His tests came back that he doesn't carry this gene. I was relieved for him. I try to say hello, offer him friendship in a way that will be acceptable to him but I hope he knows that others do care.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Running Without Scissors




Today found us up before 7 a.m. thanks to crazy lady next door who has the rooster. Our township has no ordinance against having barn yard animals. This lady had the rooster and her ducks roaming onto my yard but the board of health ordered her to confine them to her yard. She has done that. She was also requested not to let the rooster crow before at least 8 a.m. So far she has told the town that she purchased a special cage that prevents the rooster from seeing daylight and she lets him out at 9 a.m. :::Insert eyeroll.::: The township official told me he had no knowledge of any such cage. I assured him that my husband is out videotaping the rooster's activity in the morning. I could post the clip here but I keep my blog free of certain language. He has actually started a blog about said rooster under the guise of looking for rooster recipes. The colorful character is downstairs right now making his French pot roast that melts my heart. If that weren't enough he will be preparing creme brulee'. Be still my heart.


But I digress....once we were up this morning we decided to go to the grocery store and do a few other things. My mother's computer was a mess before we straightened that out last week but her printer was out of colored ink. I mentioned that and he agreed we could go there first and find out exactly what cartridge was needed and take care of that. We got her old cartridge information and headed to Staples. En route I remembered I hadn't eaten breakfast. We stopped at Eli's Bagels. If you have never been in the North you cannot appreciate what a great bagel is like. These bagels were still warm and I had low fat vegetable cream cheese on mine (a sesame seed my favorite.) Rob had a cinnamon raisin and his was so warm the butter was dripping down. After we consumed these, and I composed myself after having a foodgasm in public, we proceeded to Staples. How I long for office supplies. Don't ask cause I really can't explain but I find them very exciting. My darling, ever observant, spotted them first: heart shaped paper clips. They are wonderful. I have such a thing for hearts. It was a mix and match display with paper clips that were stars, hearts and even feet. Also push pins and the other kinds of paper clips. You could fill a container divided into four parts for $5.99. I got some very colorful pushpins for work in our work color of orange and my favorite chartreuse green. I got a big package of paper for my printer and we got the ink cartridge. I whipped out my Staples Rewards card and the coupon we had received for our last ink cartridges we had turned in. "Does it get any better than this?" I thought as I clutched my new office supplies.


We headed to the grocery store where we got some food and then headed home to put it all away. After we did that, we decided to go back to my mother's with the new ink cartridge. I remembered that her speakers haven't worked in a long time so I unplugged mine to see if they would work there. Yes, they did, and I just gave them to her. Later today or tomorrow I will get another pair. They are not expensive and this way she can HEAR the music along with the power point presentations she receives.


Rob invited my parents over for dinner tonight. They have had his pot roast provencial before and loved it. You know Rob is a wonderful husband, step-father,son,brother, brother-in-law, son-in-law,uncle, cousin and friend. There's nothing he wouldn't do for anyone. (I confess there are times when I wish he would say "NO.") Sometimes when people are like that, it's easy to take that quality for granted. Today I thanked him on the way back from my parents. When you work hard all week it really matters when you give up your leisure time to do nice things for others. I know he will be blessed for all he does but I just want him to know how much it means to me also. I'm going to have to keep him. :)
* Picture top right is of our new sofa and you can look through the opening into the kitchen and see ze little chef at work. Notice Duffy also snuck into the pic.:)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Not so Hot so


Went to work this morning and once there I began to feel a tad green around the gills. First came the headache, then the stomach ache and when the chills began I threw in the towel and my compassionate boss allowed me to leave. I was actually having a productive wave before the plague hit me. Three people fell ill ,to whatever this is, this week. Strong burly young men and I was afraid it was going to catch up with me and then boom!


Being an intelligent woman you would think that I might come home and have a nice bowl of soup. Sounds logical right? With my intestines causing me pain and concern I opened a new bag of chips and had a handful with some onion dip. While this may seem strange I have to tell you about my grandmother. My grandmother would have prescribed french fries. She swears they cure stomach ailments. If they fail then she will make her homemade potato soup. Yes, I am serious. Her daughter ,my aunt, eats tunafish sandwiches or leftovers for breakfast. My mother will keep a cake until it is gone and when it gets dry and hard she will pour milk over it and have it in a bowl. I come from a long line of untraditional eaters. I might go for weeks where I have cereal or eggs for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a traditional dinner....however when I begin to feel ill or the stress overwhelms it's time to do some junkfood binge eating. In the words of grandma Birdie (that WAS her real name I swear) "I just can't help it." If we are what we eat I must be the sweetest person on the Earth.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Better Monday than Usual

My father came home from the hospital yesterday. My sister came into town and we had a good time visiting. We had a nice homecoming dinner for him yesterday where we all pitched in and cooked something. Makes it so much easier. We had turkey and smashed potatoes (the good red ones with the skins) and some teriyaki green beans. I made a chocolate cake with homemade vanilla frosting for dessert and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We played games after the clean up and some overhauling of my parents computer. Mom knows how to download and view but then the files remain there until one of us goes over and purges them. There were hundreds, many power point presentations! Her computer is running a lot better now.

The rain is finally gone here and I see some sunshine. Even though I am getting ready for work, the day is not as dismal as most Mondays. The weekend flew by but I know just five days away another one waits around the corner.

I found a really good skin surgeon and am on her "wait list" if not I will need to wait until November to see her. Thank God for health insurance. Cannot imagine having to deal with something like this without it.

Time to take a walk into the closet and see what I can come up with for work. Many things I want to wear no longer fit me as I have packed on some pounds which I can't seem to unload. The work cafeteria is my enemy with smells that call me. They have some great meals. I must find something though......better get to it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Updated Photo



Finally a photo with my shorter hair. So much easier to keep under control. The front is a few inches longer than the sides and the back is shorter still. Nice and quick to blow dry in the mornings.

My father is still in the hospital but expected to come home tomorrow. Today is the first day he has not had a fever since Wednesday. My sister arrived in New Jersey but has a friend with her. I was disappointed as I had hoped to spend some time with her. It has been years since she and I have set down alone to talk.

I made an appointment with a surgeon that is going to see me Nov. 14th unless the report I send them makes them bump up the appointment. I feel like concerns are weighing heavily upon my shoulders. I know that most people have no clue what it's like to have many of my life experiences. It's still disappointing because even when I don't know what someone is going through I can always drop a note or make a call and say I care.

Time to get my mind on other things. I have been up since 5 a.m. and am exhausted. Started doing laundry early, showered and got dressed, went for lunch, visited my father in the hospital, grocery shopped, put things away, had dinner and now I am ready to collapse.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Overwhelmed

Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. My Dad who has COPD and congestive heart failure was taken by ambulance once again to the hospital. This about his fifth stay in 2008. At least he is not in ICU like the last two visits. He has pneumonia and a urinary infection again. He was bright red last night. They will fix him up once more and hopefully Oct. 27 be celebrating his 85th birthday. He has had a long life and a good life but it is hard to see him struggling, especially when at times his dignity is taken from him and he's not even aware enough to know.

I am going back to the dermatologist tonight. I had a skin cancer removed three weeks ago. This is a secondary cancer caused by all the radiation that I had so many years ago. He will discuss the biopsy results in detail and what needs to be done.
I have lived so long after the initial diagnosis and yet it is something that is always a part of who you are once you join that club. I need to rally my spirits but for some reason it doesn't get easier because the rest of life's problems don't go on hold. I am not looking forward to having more surgery no matter how small. I went through this a few years ago and it was fine then and my logical side tells me that I probably have the best kind to have. The irrational and neurotic side is screaming that there is NO good cancer of any kind and that this lion may be at bay but he can pounce any time he chooses to. Time to think of anything else that can distract me from that thought because that thought can take me somewhere I do not want to go.
At times like this my comfort is in my belief that God dwells within me, that I am one with His universe and that no matter what else happens, that cannot change.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sumptious Sunday

Today was a much needed kick back and relax kind of day with a short shopping trip in the middle. Oh my kind of day. I needed it with yesterday's sofa delivery. We were responsible for getting the old sofa out and it was no small task. Fortunately, midway through task, a neighbor came over and offered a hand. Without his help not sure what we would have done. Old sofa is on the sidewalk with a sign "free" (no takers yet) and it's a queen size sleeper sofa with no tears in the fabric although the cushions were flattened with wear. I usually get attached to furniture but this sofa was never comfy for me so I was glad to see it go. Now trying to get adjusted to a new sofa with lots of support and it's taking time.

I have a lot on my mind these days. Many changes at work with a new CEO and many new top people who make decisions which govern how my work is critiqued. It will all be changes for the better I believe. With all changes come adjustments. I am not as adaptable as I was in my younger days. It is hard to change a "call flow" once one has become ingrained and my job has me constantly making as many as three or four new changes in each call. Since I take about thirty a day you can imagine how much concentration this takes. All the while coworkers are talking on their calls, to themselves, each other and me. There is constant discussion on just what good customer service is. They want our customers to have a "wow" experience. I get that. There are customers however who subscribe to a service that for reasons out of their control, they cannot use. When they call to disconnect their service they are disappointed. Often they are given misinformation from a competitor trying to blame us for something that they failed to do. While you gently try to explain this, you must be very careful what you say and you do not want to anger the customer or argue with them. Some customers want nothing but to argue with you and vent all their frustration at you. Often once you have assisted them, they apologize before hanging up and thank you for your help. Mondays are the days we receive the most calls. After a weekend of build up they are often heated. It takes extra patience on Mondays. I am paid to do this job but sometimes I wish I could opt out on Mondays.

In a very real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself. ~ Alfred Kozin

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Random Thoughts

Today is Sunday and I have to wonder why these weekend days pass so quickly. This week I have doctor appointments on Monday and Thursday so I will only be working half days on those days. It just seems that there is always so much to do on weekends. To be honest, I don't accomplish half of what I have planned because I so enjoy relaxing. When I was younger I could never relax unless my house was perfect and my laundry done and all of the other type A stuff that governed my actions. When I think back to having come home from the hospital at age 23 and upon discovering the horrible condition of my home (while I was having surgery) I nearly had a melt down. I got down on my knees and scrubbed my kitchen floor. That was after washing every utensil and plate in our home. This was a few days after having stitches removed from my abdomen. How sad is that? Very....I know that now. Being older and smarter I now know that this was the ONE thing I could control at the time. I certainly had no control over anything else then. Now I know that I have no control but if I am tired I lay down and take a nap. I also indulge in take out something I could not afford to do back then.
I accomplish enough and I do like order but when my head hits my pillow at night I conk out.

I recently learned that an elderly man got TOSd from AOL. This for sending emails out to a mass list (who he every few months emailed and said "let me know if you want to be removed from my list.") Apparently someone found his emails a tad risque'. I feel so badly for this poor man who lost his beloved wife last year. Although he has a daughter and grandchildren during the day he went into a chat room of what he thought were friends and who he loved to email.
It never fails to sadden me at the delight some people take in causing pain for others. I have never understood that kind of reaction. When someone hurts me just get me as far away from them as I can possibly be. There was a time in my life where it was hard to let go of people like that. A part of me felt that I would be able to enlighten them. Usually this did not happen and often when they grew tired of the game they simply moved on. Now that I am older and oh so wiser I make new friends a bit slower. I take them into my trust only after they have showed some actual integrity and it will take them years before they earn my trust and respect. One of my friends summed it up this way "In life we make many acquaintances but few actual friends. Most people do not learn this distinction until they have mistaken acquaintances for friends and learned the hard way."

"I will not play tug o war, I'd rather play hug o war where everyone hugs instead of tugs, where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug, where everyone kisses and everyone grins and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins." Shel Silverstein

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wishing Our Niece a Happy Birthday


Today is our dear niece Cassie's tenth birthday. It is her second birthday without her Mom who passed away from cancer on June 8, 2007 at just 34. We were there for her birthday last year and I gave her Kit, her American girl doll along with some things for Kit. It was a big day and we were happy to be there to share in it. This year we simply cannot be with her for a multitude of reasons. Her grandmother was on vacation last week and we had hoped she would take a few days and bring her for a visit but she didn't. It is so hard to not be a daily part of her life, in reality we are not much of a part of her life. Her Dad honored her Mom's request to let her continue to be raised by her grandmother. I worry at times that her grandmother who has a pacemaker and who is a breast cancer survivor perhaps bit off more than she can chew. She would never admit it of course. She doesn't understand the problems we have in getting away. I have a very neurotic dog and only my parents or one neighbor can handle him in our absence. The neighbor gets paid and my parents are away this week. In addition to that I am taking care of a minor health issue of my own. More on that at another time. Sometimes when we are sick and get better people forget that we are never the same. My stamina lately is troublesome.

I think stress pays a role in that. It is hard for me to work full time in a stressful situation. My every minute literally is accounted for when I am working. That alone can be stressful. In this recession I am happy to have a job.


I worry that my niece sounded sad tonight. It is so hard not to be able to hug her when her voice sounds like she needs a hug. The sad truth is that we are too far away to have any real input in her life. We have accepted that but it is not easy. I just have to hope and pray that the frequent letters and cards we send let her know that she is loved. I believe knowing you are loved can make a huge difference in someone's life.