A robber, a bad man, or maybe…..

Tonight around 10 pm I was standing at my kitchen sink washing dishes and out the corner of my eye I could have sworn I saw a dark figure go past the little window in front of me.  I shook it off, telling myself, “Oh I’m sure it’s nothing.” And went back to washing.  But I couldn’t help but keep glancing up and out the window.  And a few minutes later there it was again!  This time I was SURE it was a tall dark figure of a man who went quickly past my window.  I yelled for my husband who was in the next room to come, as I crossed the room to try to look out the next window.

I see the tall figure of a man rushing down our sidewalk.  Then he stops for a second, and what’s that?

What’s that he’s doing?

Did he just sweep something off my sidewalk?

That’s when I saw just enough of the jacket to know it was my DAD.

I flipped the porch lights on and off.  And I waved and he waved back.  I waited a few minutes for him to walk home, then I called my parents and told my Mom to tell my Dad that the next time someone asks him what his hobbies are he’s going to have to include, “SCARING THE CRAP OUT OF DEB !”     🙂

Now that my dad is retired, you just never know where he’s going to be.  Or when.

Now I wouldn’t want anyone to mistake anything I say.  I mean how many people love you enough to walk to your house in 19 degree weather to sweep your sidewalk because another 2 inches of snow came down since he last took a leaf blower to it earlier in the evening?  Seriously?  How many people do you know?  Exactly.

My parents are great.  And I love that my Daddy loves me enough to do sweet stuff like that.  But seriously… he needs to call and give me a heads-up first or something.  Or I’m going to have a heart attack one of these days!

See the thing about those moments is that you don’t think logically.  Had I used that pesky little thing called logic, I would know that if anybody else had even stepped foot around here, the dogs would have went completely and totally BAT SHIT CRAZY. The likelihood of anyone setting foot within 200 yards of my house without everyone knowing about it is about…. zilch.  So the chances that someone could walk down the sidewalk without so much as a peep from my family’s army of furred guards ranging from 10 lbs to nearly 200 lbs… well ….  it aint’ happenin.  And anyone stupid enough to try it well, I feel sorry for them, because if the dogs don’t get them, one of the many well-armed Veterans around here just might.  But the problem is, in the moment of standing there washing the dishes, None of that LOGICAL crap runs through my mind.  All that runs through my mind is,
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH  SOMEONE JUST RAN BY THE WINDOW!!!”

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Random bits of this and that, and a free song

As I write this, it’s well after midnight and I’m more awake now than I’ve felt all day.  I have always been a night owl by nature but the past couple of years the shift off of day light savings time change, has left me worse than usual.  I find myself wanting to be completely opposite (asleep during the day, up all night).  Which obviously isn’t a workable solution, for a wide variety of reasons.  I don’t mind being a night owl, but I can’t go completely opposite of “normal”.  I find myself needing sunshine this time of year badly anyway, and it doesn’t help if you sleep through what little of it there is. But with my health issues missing out on too much sleep is very bad also.  So I try to strike some sort of balance.

Today has been a bit of a bust.  Nothing horrible.  Just a general blah, non-productive sort of day for me.  I hate those. I just haven’t had the energy or stamina to get much of anything accomplished today.  That’s the sort of day that I find extremely frustrating.

I thought I would share, if you are looking for Christmas songs, Amazon has lots of free mp3’s posted this time of year.   If you just look around.  This is not a sponsored post, nor is this any sort of affiliate link.  I just thought I’d share this with you.  I got quite a few neat little Christmas mp3s for free last year from Amazon.  And while you do have to sort through some crap to find good freebies, there are good ones on there.

I liked this version of Silent Night, by SixPence None the Richer.  That one song I linked directly to, off that album, is free right now.  I’m not sure how long that will last, but it is free at the moment.  And free is good right?  😉

Right now it’s 19 degrees outside, snowy and windy.  I can’t help but think about the two veterans I spoke of in my earlier post.  My husband went out to check on them again today.  He said the road to where they are camping out is rough and it didn’t look like anyone had been up it today.  But someone had brought them a load of firewood since he was last there.  And they weren’t out of the bottled water or canned food yet.  My husband took them some more meat for their fire today.

We wanted to make sure they weren’t out of propane yet, since those little canisters they are using to heat their tent don’t last long.  But they were doing ok.  Their spirits seem good, in spite of their circumstances.  I’m not going to share too many of their personal details here, because I haven’t asked permission to do so and it just wouldn’t feel right.  But they talked about how much they appreciate the people in this area and how much the local community has done to help them.  They are on a list for housing, but the waiting list is long.  They said some members of a local church chipped in and got them a cell phone with a few pre-paid minutes, that way they could call out if they have an emergency, and keep in contact with the VA.  My husband talked to them for a little while, but he didn’t want to keep them out of the tent for long since it is so cold out.

There Just Aren’t Words

How do you write about something when you just can’t find the words?  That is what I am struggling with at this moment.  I want to write about this, but I don’t know how.  So pardon me as I stumble along to even attempt to say what I feel right now.

See this camp:

We recently found out about this camp.  Two men who risked their lives and served our country are living in this camp. One is an Air Force veteran, the other a Navy veteran.  One is on crutches.  As I write these words in my warm home, it is 30 degrees outside.  I don’t know what the wind chill is.  And it’s going to get a lot colder before winter is over.

I realize that there are a lot of different reasons that people end up this way.  Some choose it.  Some can’t live by society’s rules.  Some have made big mistakes.  Some have addictions, mental illness, etc.  And some are just honest, good, hard-working people who end up with no where to go.  In our current economy the homeless that fit into that last category are growing.  And I choose to give people the benefit of the doubt, unless I see reason to do otherwise. I am disabled.  I once worked 65 hours a week or more and I am now no longer able to provide for myself.  I live by the grace of others in my life.  It is an issue that frustrates me to no end.  I don’t like it when people judge me incorrectly, so I won’t judge others.

These two men are purposely trying to avoid town and the crime-ridden shelter areas.  I discussed this issue amongst some friends and some of them couldn’t understand this mentality.  Personally I can.  I know if I were able, I’d much rather rough it in a tent than be around some of the things that go on in the worst parts of town.

We don’t want to pry or step on any toes.  So we haven’t prodded them for much information.  They seem to be handling their camp very well.  It is clean, well kept.  And what appears in the photo above to look like “stuff” piled on the sides of their tent, is actually what they are using to hold down the tarps that make their tent.  We have had some very severe wind recently, so this is a crucial part of there set up and smart.  They have a floor of wood pilots. Someone gave them two cots and some blankets, so they are off the ground.  They are using propane for heat. Kerosene for the little lanterns they have.  A wood campfire to cook on.

We don’t have much in the way of money these days, but we are going to help however we can.  We put together some things for them.  Baby wipes, canned food, paper towels, toilet paper, some empty unused Kroger bags so they’d have something to haul their nonburnable trash out in, some candy, and a big case of bottled water.  We weren’t really sure exactly what they needed most.

My husband took it to them and they were kind and very appreciative.  They seemed particularly grateful for the toilet paper.  Sometimes the smallest things, can mean so much.

I know there are a lot of homeless people in the world, and we can’t help everyone.  But we can do something.

When my husband asked them today what they needed and what else he could bring them, they didn’t ask for money, they asked for some meat for their fire.

The whole thing has really brought some things into clear perspective for me.  Recently I’ve been kind of bummed about how much smaller the pile of gifts under our tree was going to be this year.  We have never been the type to spoil our kids with tons of stuff.  But I do like for them to have a big Christmas and birthdays.  Even though (judging by what I’ve seen) I don’t think my definition of “big” is anywhere near a lot of people’s definition of big.  Still, things are leaner this year for sure.  But now all of that just seems so silly.

My kids are warm.

There is food in their bellies.

We are blessed.

How I spent my Thanksgiving – Part 2

This is the second part to yesterday’s post.

While they were gone I experienced a rare event in my life.

Quiet.

That’s right it was totally and completely quiet.  I was in the house alone for the first time in…  I have no idea how long.  The quiet was kinda nice actually.  Not at all something I would want to experience on a daily basis, but as it was – a rare and fleeting moment of only a few hours – it was pretty nice.

Now what to do with myself?

I honestly had no idea.  Sure I could have used the time wisely to write something on my blog without the typical 5,001 interruptions.  But what’s the fun in that?  LOL  Plus I just wasn’t in the mood to write, nor did I feel like typing. I finally decided that since I didn’t feel very well, and was still running a bit of a fever from the lovely little bug I seem to have picked up at the wonderful doctor’s appointment I spoke of in my previous post, that I would go back upstairs.  As I headed up the steps I tripped on my own pants.  Yep, I’m oh so very graceful.  But I managed to catch myself before breaking any more bones, so I get bonus points for that.  😉

I flipped on the TV again, knowing I would be disappointed.  I’m just not really a fan of watching television.  But… my hands hurt too bad to hold something to read, and I didn’t really feel like doing anything else.  Dr. Oz was on.  I think I’ve seen his show maybe twice before. This show was about the Top 5 something or other, the gist of which was the Top 5 important numbers to know to avoid serious health problems.  Or something like that.  I wasn’t really interested but…  didn’t want to push the buttons on the remote either.  So I was stuck watching it.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Despite the doctor I saw earlier in the week (see previous post) that seemed to be trying to make me accept a doom and gloom future, I only had ONE problematic issue of all 5.  That’s right folks.  ONE.   I was pleasantly surprised.

I forget the order he had them in, but they were having your blood sugar under a certain level, weight under a certain level, blood pressure below a certain number, waist measurement below 35 inches, and cholesterol.  And cholesterol was the only one of the five that I couldn’t say I didn’t have a problem with.  So I thought that was pretty good.  Even though my cholesterol is still high, it’s less than half what it was before my 101 lb weight loss.  And I suspect it will always run high without medication.  My father is super fit, slender, athletic, eats great, gets tons of physical exercise and has high cholesterol.  His mother was the same way.  So I think I’m probably genetically predisposed to have problems with it, to a certain extent.

So riding on my high from watching the last 20 minutes of Dr. Oz, I left the TV on for Ellen.  Ellen was funny as usual.  And she had a segment that made me laugh out loud.  A segment (modeled after the popular book and now TV show, Shit My Dad Says)  called “Sh&! my Mama says”.  And it was clips of Ellen’s real mom saying funny things. The one that had me laughing out loud was when she said she wanted to congratulate the new judges on American Idol.  “So Congratulations to Jennifer Lopez and that skinny pirate.”

(For those of you that are slow, or not keeping up on your useless entertainment news, that skinny pirate = Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.    LOL!!!)

BTW did anyone from my generation ever foresee a future where Dee Snider’s songs hocked products on advertisements, and Steven Tyler was a judge on a non-cable TV show?

But back to the topic of my super exciting day…  after the skit with her Mama ended I decided I couldn’t sit still any longer and wandered back downstairs.

I ended up doing some dishes, then going to do a light load of laundry that I could move by myself.   At that point was when I saw THE CRACK.

That’s right folks, the inside drum of my BRAND NEW dryer is cracked in two places.  The only upside to this is that it’s under warranty – or it darn well better be.  But what a pain in the butt to have to deal with!  Yet, annoyances like this seem to be the norm in my life.  So put that down on the list of hateful chores I need to attend to:  Call about dryer warranty.

After all that excitement my kids played outside in the sun, in t-shirts and pants.  On THANKSGIVING.  Awesome.  It was in the 70’s.  It sure isn’t warm now as I write this.  A cold front blowed its way in here.  But Thanksgiving was nice and warm.  Had I realized it was in the 70’s earlier in the day I would have attempted to spend more time outside.  I did get a little bit of time outside though.  Then my husband and I started to drag the kids in one by one for baths.

After bath time, we all settled onto my bed for a while to talk before everyone went off to their own beds.  That was when I realized that with the day being a little different than usual, we had almost forgotten our Thanksgiving family tradition.  Typically we do this around the table.  But this year we did it at the end of the day, piled in the bed.

I get some paper and we all take turns saying things that we are thankful for one at a time.  And we go around and around until each person has at least 10 things or more on their list.  Then I keep the lists as keepsakes.  Can I just say how much I LOVE this!!  It’s great for all of us to stop and do this.  It is so fun to look back on older lists.  And it is great to hear what the kids come up with.

Here’s a sample from my 6-year-old daughter’s list:

#5. I am thankful for having a mom and dad and not being in a kid’s shop.

When we all started laughing, she said, “YOU KNOW, where they adopt babies!”

Then we laughed some more.

Oh and just so you know, you all made my list too:

# 14.  I am thankful for the people who visit my blogs.

🙂

How I spent my Thanksgiving – Part 1

This post ran long, so I turned it into two posts.  Part Two will be posted tomorrow.

My Thanksgiving didn’t go exactly like I might have planned.  Of course things typically don’t.  LOL   I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Here’s how mine went….

I was supposed to be spending the day wearing a heart monitor.  The scheduling for that fell through, so that ended up not happening.

At the start of the day I woke up, everyone else was still sleeping peacefully and I was tired.  So I thought, what the heck, I’m going back to bed.  🙂

The next time I woke up I could barely move.  I was stiff all over and extremely so, in my hands and feet.  It was clearly going to be a slow-to-rise sort of day.  How I managed to get that stiff in the short period of time since I was up before (maybe an hour?), I have no idea.

My husband gave me the TV remote and said, “Here sit tight for a while till you can move around better.”  We don’t have cable, but we do watch DVDs and get a small handful of free channels.  When my husband tossed me the remote the channel had landed on a big famous dog show.  I doubted there was anything else on I wanted to see, so I didn’t bother to go through the pain of picking it up and trying to push buttons.  Which would have been hard at that moment.

I love dogs, but I’m not particularly a fan of dog shows.  I am most happy when the dogs do something totally unpredictable and lovably dog-like.  My personal favorite event of such a type, was when a dog stopped mid-rounds and took a big poop during it’s showing at Westminster.

So I watched, hoping for another big poop.  Or something fun of the sort.  (Yes this is the life of excitement that I lead.)

While waiting, hopeful for another big poop, I played my favorite TV dog show game.  A silly little game that I created.  “What?” you ask.  You created a game to be played during dog shows?  Why yes.  Yes I did.  It’s called, Name That Dog Breed.

In Name That Dog Breed, the purpose of the game is to look at each dog and guess what the animal shelter would write on its tag, were it to end up there.  I know, that might sound a little morbid, but trust me I don’t mean it in a morbid way at all.  I just get a kick out of the ridiculous way that animal shelters guess breeds.  I think they only know about 5 to 10 breeds and everything they see is either one of those or a mix of some of those.

Here’s how it works.  You, and whomever you are watching with, guess what the animal shelter would name each breed as the breed’s chosen representative makes its rounds.  Whomever comes up with the best guess, wins.

I’ll give you an example:

The Icelandic Sheepdog

=

husky/shepherd mix.

🙂

What can I say, I’m easily amused.  So I did that for a while.  And around the time my joints and muscles started to loosen up a bit, I started getting fidgety and got up.  Later I saw the kids and my husband off to go have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents.  I wasn’t able to go.  But I hear that they all had a lovely time and stuffed themselves on my mother’s delicious cooking.  And from what I hear, our baby (now 16 months old) had a great time after her meal, filling her tummy on my Mother’s homemade blueberry pie.  Which was a first for her.
Apparently she thought it was THE greatest food ever.  🙂

While they were gone I experienced a rare event in my life…..

Tomorrow I will post Part 2 of this riveting post. 😉

On Giving Up

This past week has been typical in my life, in that there were lots of ups and downs.  Health wise, I’ve seen some minor improvements, some set backs, and a lot more physical pain.  I don’t really care to get into great detail. I’m not really in the mood to talk about the details with anyone.

But I just want to say that if you are facing difficult times, you shouldn’t let anyone drag you down.  Especially not a doctor, who is supposed to be there to help you.  If you have no other medical options, then you may have to tolerate the person to the best of your ability. But try your best not to let them stress you out or make you feel defeated.

This past week I said to a doctor, “I just want to get better.”   To which she replied…

by LAUGHING IN MY FACE.

That’s right.  She laughed in my face as if the idea of me thinking I might possibly get better, was so stupid as to be amusing.

After this lovely and oh-so-enjoyable appointment, I got into the car with my husband kinda shell-shocked, and came home.  I bitched a little, I had a bit of a cry, and then I moved on.

Because I have three little people who count on me.  And parents that don’t deserve to have to bury another child. Those are the things that keep me going on my darkest days.  And I am not going down without a fight – no matter what some doctor says.

I am not in denial.  It would be really hard to be in denial, given my symptoms and the things that I face every single day.  But that doesn’t mean I should pretend there is no hope.  Even if everything they are saying is 100% true, it is not totally hopeless.

The idea of my children growing up without me, terrifies me.  I pray every day that does not happen.  But if it ever does, I want them to be able to say, “My mother loved us enough to fight every single day.  My mother never gave up on being with us for as long as possible.

I don’t have control over as many things as I would like these days.  But I do have control over that.

The way I see things, God made me hard-headed and stubborn for good reasons. It’s gotten me through many things in life, and it continues to aid me to this day.

I will not accept defeat.  And if I do loose, I will go down swinging.

Thankful Journal

Since it is the time of year that we often spend thinking about the issue of thankfulness, I thought this might be a good time to write an article I’ve had in my head for a while.  It is just something that I do, that I thought others might like to do as well.

For years I have kept what I call my “Thankful Journal”.  I get a small, narrow journal and in the front of it I write…

Today I am Thankful for…

Then on the rest of the pages I place the date, then I finish the rest of that sentence.  Skip a space, then repeat on the next day.  So the journal lasts for a very long time.  Here’s an example from my own Thankful Journal:

11-14-10
a fun telephone conversation with an old friend.

See how simple that is? I try to pick it up every day and write at least one thing every day.  It is not a “journal” in the long drawn out form.  It is literally just the last half of a sentence every day.  It doesn’t have to be something big, it can be any thing.  And sometimes I forget for a day or two.  I try not to, but it happens.  And I don’t stress about it. It’s not a chore, it’s a Thankful Journal.   😉

If your budget allows, I recommend getting a pretty little journal that looks like the keepsake that it is.  If your budget does not allow, you can use anything, a notebook, anything.  Just keep it separate from other journaling, etc. so that the focus remains clear.

In the past I used some lovely journals by Paperblanks.  But my latex sensitivity will no longer tolerate the odor of the adhesive in their binding.  I then went on the search for something affordable, and latex-free, that was slightly nicer than a plain wire notebook.  I found these:  (I apologize in advance for the not-so-great image quality.)

M brand by Staples Journals

They are a Staples brand. I have never seen them on their website, only in stores. They are currently $3.99 for a 3 pack.  Which works out to $1.33 each. Which isn’t bad at all for how long they last, when writing just a short half of a sentence each day.

Each 6 x 4 inch mini journal has 80 narrow ruled pages. Several days worth typically fits on each page, so one 3 pack could easily last you 3 years.

3 cover styles per pack

While not quite as fancy or durable as my former, hard-bound Paperblanks journals, these are nice and are bound in a way that does not give me asthma attacks – which is a necessity for me.

My point is, even with limitations physical or financial, most can find some nice little book in which to keep a Thankful Journal.

Another option would be to keep a private blog.  But for something like this, I prefer a journal, something physical I can hold and look at, and have with me anywhere at any time.

I find it to be a simple, yet worthwhile activity.  It makes me consciously stop and make an effort to be thankful each and every day.  And on low days (and we all have those), you can not only find one simple thing to be thankful for, but you can open up your Thankful Journal and read back over it.  And you will be reminded of all of the wonderful blessings in your life.