Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Son's Broken Peeper

This is an old one, but I was reminded last night that it was too funny not to share....

When my son was about 4 years old, I was working at the computer, my then baby daughter was napping.  Skip came up to me with a VERY serious expression...

"Mom, I need a hammer and some nails," he asked.

"What do you need a hammer and nails for?" I asked back.

"It's an emergency.   My peeper is broken," he replied.

"Your peeper is broken?"  I asked with some concern.  All things peeper related are generally redirected to my husband because well, he has one.  "What is wrong with your peeper?"

"It keeps sticking up.  I need a hammer and nails to keep it down, " he explained .

"It's sticking up?"I asked quietly.

"Yes.  And the more I try to push it down, the more it stands up and gets bigger.  That's why I need the hammer and the nails," he said earnestly.  I should point out that Skip is quite serious and very task oriented.  He saw a problem, had a solution, and asked for my help.

As I was trying not to laugh, and trust me, this was nearly impossible, I told him he should probably talk to his dad about it.  I really didn't think it was broken and he probably should leave the hammer and nails out of it.

I immediately explained the situation to my husband, trying to keep a straight face.  He asked what I said.  I told him I referred the kid to him. 

I'm not exactly sure what was discussed between father and son.  Honestly, I don't want to know. 

Two nights later, Skip was playing in the tub.

"MOOOM!" he yelled out.

I rushed in to see him floating happily on his back with his, um, "sail" at full mast.  He had the biggest smile on his face.

"Look, Mom!  My peeper is fine.  Daddy said it wasn't broken!  It feels good!"

I'm not exactly sure what I said, but I do know that that image is burned into my brain forever.  When he is graduating from college with his probable engineering degree, I will most certainly flash back to this exact moment.

I told my husband he could relax, his son's peeper was good to go and he was enjoying all that it offered.

My husband just laughed, smiled and was happy to help.  After my being the primary caregiver, I could feel him slowly encroaching on my territory.

And I have to say, I was more than happy to pass this one on!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  And not just because of the food.  Don't get me wrong, I love to cook and even more I love to cook for other people.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I get to give thanks.

I get to take a moment from my busy life, to stop, look around and be grateful.  Truly grateful.

I have been very fortunate to have a good life surrounded by friends and family.  I am healthy.  I have healthy children.  I have a strong marriage to someone that I respect and adore.  I have a career that I am passionate about and get to work with clients that I would gladly invite into my home. 

I am very, very fortunate. 

It hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows.  I always joke about my "homeless period"- the three months that I couch surfed- but it's always made me appreciate having a roof over my head and more importantly, the value of my friends.  And I've had other things happen that might surprise you, but they always have made me a better person, more appreciative of all that I have.  The bad things are as interwoven into my soul as the many, many good things.

With all the negativity in the world, I may seem a Pollyanna, and that's okay with me.  

As I sat at the table on Thanksgiving, surrounded by family, I was overwhelmed as I am every year-- even during the couch surfing days- to be surrounded by so much love and so much good fortune.

And I gave thanks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Power of Friends

So this week the scale stuck, but I ate before weighed in which I normally don't do.  Not to make excuses, but with tiny movements on the scale week to week, every little bit matters.

Anyhow, this week was all about Thanksgiving (I'm anticipating a 62 point meal- 29 points a day is my norm.  If I stay within the my points all week, I should be good).  Our meeting leader also discussed how to deal with food pushers-- the people who are constantly telling you to take another bite, have another drink, etc, etc.

As he spoke, I immediately thought of people I had known over the years that clearly fit the bill.  My favorite was a former colleague who was drop dead gorgeous.  I had lost 30 pounds in between the kids and her response (in a whiny tone) "If you lose weight then you'll be smart AND pretty and that's not fair!"

Great.  Way to have my back, sister.

But now, it's very different.  My mother-in-law has recently lost a large amount of weight (I don't know if she wants me to share how much!).  My husband has lost 125 pounds and is still going strong.  Three of my best girlfriends- Shelley, Ellen and Lisa are going to Weight Watcher's meetings now with me.  At work, my assistant with the evil supercharged metabolism is supportive.  My office mate is supportive- she is a stick, but her husband has lost about 50 pounds this past year.  In my book group, quite a few women are WW devotees and have lost a lot of weight and kept it off.

In fact, I cannot think of anyone who doesn't support me.

I think I know more people who have gotten fit, lost weight or are in the process in the past 2 years than I ever have in my life.

I know Americans are supposedly getting fatter, but around me everyone is shrinking. Even better, these friends are being incredibly supportive.

A good friend I saw last week tried to get me to have a glass of wine last week when we went out, then stopped herself and said "I'm sorry.  I know you're being good.  Good for you!"

Much better than my former colleague.

My husband and I have had issues when one of us is committed and the other isn't - we now joke about it.  One of us will say "Want some ice cream?"  The other responds "No..."  The non-dieter says "C'mon..." and the other eventually caves.  Not any longer.  No dieting, just changing habits.  Together.

I have no intention of scaling back on Thanksgiving.  I added up the points already.  It's a lot.  If this is truly NOT a diet, then Thanksgiving is not going to scare me.  I am going to eat more than I normally would.  Period.  I love this holiday.  I love all the food.  It is one day.  I will have wine.  I will have pie.  I will love every bite.

What I won't do is have seconds. Or thirds.  I won't continue to eat like every day is a holiday all weekend. 

What's even better is that I can count on my friends and family to back me up on my choices.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Legend of Ishy the Bear

As told to Mama Bean....

My name is Ishy.  It wasn't always Ishy.  I didn't always look like this. But here is my tale....

About 6 years ago a kind, older woman with salt and pepper hair purchased me at a gift shop.  I was excited.  It was close to Christmas time and I envisioned myself as part of her household decor for the holidays.  A prized spot upon the mantel, perhaps.  My name at the time was Lovey Bear.

Alas, it was not to be.

I was stuffed into a box and spent nearly 2 weeks traveling alone, in the dark, via what I can only imagine must have been the Pony Express.

I arrived and was first touched by a woman whose name I later learned was "MOOOOOMMMM!"  She saw me, smiled briefly and then said:

"Great another stuffed animal.  Just what we need, " and then tossed me onto a bed where I was surround by other furry friends.

They all assured me that so far, so good.  There primary job was to simply lie on the bed.  From time to time they are moved, dusted, and put back into place.  Sometimes the woman known as Mooooooommmm will even smile and talk to them discreetly.  They seemed to imply that this was top secret information.  The big guy known as Daaaaaaadddd, was a little rougher with them.

About 5 months after I arrived, Mooooooommmm was on the phone and irritatingly said "She is a baby, I don't think she really has taken notice of any stuffed animals yet.  She is more into playing with the sunbeam.  Okay, fine, I will give her the bear....the really soft one, right?"

And this is where the tale of horror begins...

"You're right, it really is soft..."

I was then tossed into what I can only refer to as the Cage of Despair.  This small person, who I later would learn is named Potato Cakes, Sweetie Pea and other veggie laden names, latched onto to me with a piercing grip.

"Hmmm... she does seem to like him... Sweetie Pea, do you like the Squishy Bear?"

Did she ever.... or so you would think.
That's me on the right-- all fluffy and clean.  She looks innocent.  Don't be fooled.

For the next 18 months this kid would not sleep or leave the house without me.  Yes, I am adorable and fluffy and normally I wouldn't have minded except for one thing...

It looks like a Teddy Bear picnic, but please note her death drip around my neck.  I had done NOTHING wrong.
She liked to suck on my tail or my head and carry me around hanging out of her mouth.

It was mortifying.

My head is not a straw.  And again with the Death Grip.
I would simply be hanging there, like a leftover piece of lunch while everyone laughed.

And my name.... because the kid couldn't talk yet, when she finally did, I became Ishy.

Every night she fell asleep with me jammed up against her little face while she sucked on my tail.  Sometimes, Mooooooommmm would come in and try to save me-- bless her soul-- but alas, the little one would hang on for dear life.  I was stuck in the jaws of death.

Then one day a little dog licked my tail and the kid stopped sucking on it.

But the torture did not stop...

The poor doll is getting the abuse while the kid throws back another bottle.
Suddenly, she began hiding me in places.  Dark, scary places.  The pantry.  The toy box.  A box inside the toy box.  A box inside a box inside the toy box.  In her brother's room.  In her brother's room inside a box inside a toy box.  In closets.  In night stands.  In end tables.  In kitchen cupboards.  In the bushes outside.

And I would hear her cry out my name at night "ISSSSHHHHYYY!"  I could hear Mooooooommmm and sometimes even Daaaadddd (although more often he would say "She'll be fine... she lost it... let her learn") shuffling about looking for me.  When they would find me, it was with a look of exasperation. I felt the same.  Part of me happy to be out of the box, part of me scared at what more lie ahead.
I was scared to death.  I had no idea what her plans were. 

She started to dress me up.  I have to say, this part was fun.  I like to look good.  The barrettes were often too tight and I didn't particularly care for the ponytail holders around my neck, however.

She reads to me now.  It's really fun, but personally, I prefer historical non-fiction, not Barbie.

I got to go to school on Wednesday for Show-and-Tell.  I saw more terrorists- hundreds of them.  I was really scared.

But I survived.

The worst part-- by far the worst part-- is the vomit.

Whenever this kid gets sick- blech- all over me.

She says she loves me, yet when she starts to feel sick, I am the one who pays the price.

Sweet, little old me.

Last night was one of the worst.  Apparently she had had spaghetti.

Why she felt the urge to hold me all night, after she puked in the sheets, I have no idea.  I wondered where Mooooooommmm was?  She normally would clean this up.  Apparently the kid did not want to wake her up.  I can appreciate that.  If you think I'm a bear, this Mooooooommmm person puts me to shame if you wake her up.

But alas, finally Mooooooommmm came, wiped me up, cleaned the sheets and I am drying out now, telling her my tale.

As for the kid, she was fine.  Didn't even apologize.  Just told Mooooooommmm that I smelled awful.

No kidding.  She didn't smell like roses, either.

I have no idea what tomorrow holds for me. I would try to run but honestly, I've thinned out quite a bit these past few years.  My paws are worn.  My ribbon is merely a thread.

The other animals are jealous.  They feel discarded.  If only they knew what the price of this "love" truly was, they might not be so jealous.

But I trudge on.  My duty is to the Teddy Bear code- to be loved to death.  And I assure you, I get more love than you can imagine.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shopping and me

I hate to shop.

There.  I've said it.  I've outed myself.

I should state there are 3 exceptions to this-- farmer's markets, Williams-Sonoma and book stores. 

If you're a good friend you already know this about me.  If you're a good friend and don't know this about me, well, I was just being polite when you drug me around shop after shop after shop.


Passionately.  Vehemently.

Malls make me want to run screaming.

And it's not because I got fat and hate to shop for clothes.  I hated shopping for clothes when I was a size 8.  I loved when I found that I could order everything from catalogues in college.  And then Amazon... oh, sweet Amazon.  What a great service.

But holy cow, mindless wandering makes me nuts.

I am a buyer.  I make lists.  I buy the things on the list.  I then leave the store.

This really came into play this weekend.

My husband and I spent a romantic weekend in Santa Fe, NM.  I had a business trip and we dove tailed it into a long weekend to celebrate our 10th anniversary.  I'd been there once, on a quick trip.  Everyone said how great it was.

It is a very cool city.  Tons of history.  Lots of restaurants.

And an insane amount of shops.

Specifically jewelry shops.

Which would be a great thing if you liked to shop and liked jewelry.

Two things I don't understand.

When we asked the concierge what to do, "Oh shopping!  You'll love it."

No, no, I will not.

I tried.  Honestly.  I did.  But I couldn't keep a straight face.  I tend to mock people who shop.

After a half day of faking it, I 'fessed up to my husband.  I was having a miserable time shopping.  He said he thought I was shaming my X chromosome.  The good news, he's not really a shopper either.

I just don't get it-- wondering around looking at stuff that I don't want or need?  Why?  I'm not a knickknacky gal. Why on earth would I buy a dreamcatcher?  Ever?

So I guess this means I am an embarrassment to not only my gender, but my country as well.  If you really want to see my freak out, take me to a Super Wal-Mart.  I nearly get hives.

The good news, if I ever doubted that my husband was my soul mate, I have no doubt whatsoever now.  Today, sensing that I couldn't look at another piece of turquoise or chotchky, he found something I would really love-- The Museum of Nuclear Science and History.  And yes, he loved it, too.

Rather than try to be normal and get all excited about a designer geode on a mirrored display  (I prefer to find geodes in the desert, not a gift shop), we got our geek on and went to the museum.

Ahhhh.... now that was fun.

In fact, I even bought a t-shirt that said "Talk Nerdy to Me"-- a secret clearly my husband already knows.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

I've been struggling...

I haven't written anything too heartfelt lately, aside from my adoration of my dog, because with all the anger in the world right now, I have too much to say.  Since I'm also VERY limited on discussing anything financial or economic on the web, I can't really say what I think.  Or defend what I think with actual data.  It's a new concept to many people who have lots to say but no actual facts to back up anything they are saying.

So I will keep it short, so I can get it out and get over my writer's block.

#1- The Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street people bother me both equally.  You both are saying very loudly "Where's my piece of the pie?"  You both feel screwed somehow.  You both feel that others have something that you don't.  I find it ironic.  I do want to emphasize, I am very glad that people are motivated to FINALLY get involved after years of being apathetic.  For the record, I've been complaining about PAC's, the wealth gap, excessive government spending, the growing dependency on government benefits for years- both movements' issues.  Truly.  To a point I've killed a few dinner party conversations.  The answers lie in the middle.  And now I must not speak any longer.

#2- The government is not a business.  Please stop trying to compare it to one.  The government provides services that are needed (or that's what they are supposed to do).  They are not supposed to be profitable.  And when you do bitch about taxes or spending being too much, you can no longer bitch about how long it takes to get anything done with our new, leaner government.  Yep, you're gonna be on hold and waiting in line  a lot longer.  You asked for it, you got it. Now shut up.

#3- Education is a good thing.  Learning more is always positive.  Being intelligent is a good thing.  Getting a diploma is not necessarily the same thing as getting an education- especially if it was based on multiple choice tests online.  Reading, asking questions, being able to communicate-- these are good things.  Having an educated public is essential for economic growth.  Having an uneducated public gets us to where we are today.  When did being smart become a negative?

#4- Some day something bad will happen to you.  It might be you who loses your job, has a sick family member, has a special needs child.  Just because you've been lucky doesn't necessarily mean you've done anything to "earn" it.  When these bad things happen to you, I can assure you, you will be reaching out for help. 

#5- With that said, my success does not impede yours.  When you were riding the gravy train of success, I didn't tell you to buy a house you can't afford, take trips that you can't pay for and not save a dime.  For crying out loud, live within your means.

#6- Without quelching everyone's new motivation to be involved, here's the scoop-- is it really that bad?  Is your biggest cut back that you had to drop HBO?  Cut coupons?  Not eat out every night?  Seriously?  People all over the world live in the fear of their own military, they don't have water, they have to decide which child lives or dies....  and I don't mean shut up and be grateful.  Be loud with your concerns, but be grateful.

The world is a wonderful place.  I've just been frustrated with all of the misdirected anger.  Our political system is clearly broken, but our hatred of each other needs to stop.  I know people who have read my blog, realized I'm a Democrat and stopped-- suddenly my insights aren't so insightful.  I find that sad.  Very sad.  I'm quite moderate actually. 

In the end, I believe that we all agree more than we disagree.  And I think we all need to turn off the TV and think about what we, in our hearts, truly want for ourselves and for our nation.  It is not anger.  It is not hatred. 

Thank you for letting me get that out.  I hope my crazy, middle of the road opinions haven't ostracized everyone.

Now, I will go back to my usual blogs on important issues like fundraisers, laundry and wacky people I meet.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Things We Do For Dogs

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know that I have 2 dogs- Dixie, a lovely Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix (Golden Aussie is this hip term) that we adopted last year about this time and Charlie the Bear, my soon to be 14 year old bionic bichon. Charlie almost died 2 years ago and has fought back valiantly and let us know that, no, he is not ready for the next life. He's quite fine in this one.

In the past few months, he's had a few bad days back to back.  The vet, who has been a big advocate of his (a great mix of helping me keep him comfortable without doing ridiculous procedures) had said it's time to start tracking the good day/bad day ratio.  Then she changed his meds a bit and honestly, the dog is running about 20% bad days to 80% good days-- better than my ratio last year!

He is, however, still having difficulty walking and some bowel trouble.  For awhile he had given up on the stairs, but has had a recent uptick and now conquers them every night.  It takes 20 minutes or so, but darn it, don't even THINK about trying to help him.

The dog is stubborn.  The dog is feisty.

So at the dog park last weekend (with Dixie), I met a vet.  She went to Purdue. Nice lady.  She is also a homeopathic vet.  She does acupuncture on dogs.

Okay, go ahead, laugh.

But here's the scoop, Charlie spent a year in complete discomfort because no one believed me that his issues started after he ran into our sliding glass door after being chased by the neighborhood cat.  After testing the dog for everything, it appears that well, his ambulatory issues are, in fact, neurological.

He's 14.

I'm not having spinal surgery on a 14 year dog.

I'm not THAT nuts.

I will however, give acupuncture a shot.  Pun intended.

Chiropractic did wonders for me.  I think there is much more that we don't know about the human body, than we do know.  I think somewhere between Eastern and Western medicine lies the best treatment.  If I have an infection, I want an antibiotic.  If I have something pain oriented, I'm willing to try something other than painkillers.

In other words, if I had this issue, I would give acupuncture a chance.

So I called and and Dr. Caroline came to the house.

And here's why I liked her--

Charlie has had a weird thing on his eye this week.  The earliest I could get in to see the vet I prefer was Tuesday.  I noticed that his eye had started to bulge a bit but I wasn't concerned.

She was.  She said to call the the other vet and insist they see him today.  She was concerned it was an ulcer or that he had high pressure in his eye.  She didn't want to do anything until that issue was addressed.  She also was open to the fact that I was most definitely going to keep him on his prescription food and current painkillers.  She didn't promise me magic. 

She did say she was really impressed with how Charlie had adapted.  She told me that most dogs in his situation would not have been able to muddle through for the past 2 years.  They would be dragging their legs, have more atrophy.  Not Charlie.  He just trudges through like it's a slight inconvenience.

We went to the regular vet and Charlie, who gets really nervous, made me walk him around for the half hour we waited.

They tested him for glaucoma, he was fine.  No doggie bongs in his future.  I think he was disappointed.

It wasn't an ulcer.  So no fear of any tearing.

Worst case, it might be a tumor behind his eye.

Once again, my dog has evaded medical diagnosis.

So the least I can do is acupuncture.

I made my friend Shelley promise me to not let me become the crazy lady with the dog in the wagon.

I never said anything about not letting me become the crazy lady with the needles in the dog.

Once I had kids, I really paid significantly less attention to my dogs.  The crazy part about the last few years with Charlie is that I'm growing more attached than I've ever been.  I find him inspiring.  He's loyal.  He's fiesty.  He never gives up.  He has taken every bizarre twist that's been thrown at him and kept pushing.

For all the stress that he's adding to my life, I have to say, it's not been nearly as big as a deal as you might think.  He's like having my own little motivational speaker.

He still wants to play.

The least I can do is give him the chance.

But no wagons....maybe a stroller?????