Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh, what a night....into day.....

4:30 p.m. Friday night....Dave leaves Birmingham via Southwest airlines heading to Tampa.

6:45 p.m. Dave lands in Tampa awaiting his flight to West Palm Beach where we were all awaitng his arrival.

8:00 p.m. Dave calls. His flight in Tampa is originating in Nashville. Ice storms there are slowing air traffic down. He will be in around 10 instead of the scheduled 9:00 p.m.

9:00 p.m. Dave calls. The flight in Nashville is still not off of the ground. Planes are backed up and are having to be de-iced before taking off. It is looking like it might be 11:00 p.m. before he gets to WPB.

10:30 p.m. Dave calls again. The flight is still sitting in Nashville. They are trying to locate another plane to take these folks (including Dave) to WPB.

11:00 p.m. Another call. He is beginning to sound tired and a bit frustrated. They cannot get a crew to man another plane. They are back to waiting for the Nashville flight to get off the ground. ETA is now about 1:00 a.m.

12 midnight.... An exhausted Dave lets me know that they now have absolutely no idea if and when the plane will make it to Tampa. He encourages me to go to sleep.

3:00 a.m. Saturday morning....My sister's dog begins to bark loudly! I am excited thinking that maybe Dave got in. But, I was wrong. He is still in Tampa.

4:20 a.m. I am up and call Dave's cell phone. He has finally arrived and is trying to hail a cab to get to my sister's house.

4:30 a.m. The guard at the gate will not let Dave and the cabdriver in. They call over at my sister's and permission is granted for him to pass through the gate.

5:00 a.m. A very weary Dave finally goes to sleep.

7:00 a.m. I gently try to get him up so that he can get ready to go downtown for the Race for the Cure. After a few growls...he ambles out of bed and heads for the shower.

7:30 a.m. We head to the area where the Susan Komen Walk for the Cure is being held.

And so, a new day begins here in South Florida..........

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure

I couldn't resist posting this picture of sweet Celia proudly wearing a t-shirt for the South Florida Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure.

The walk is this Saturday and I will be flying down to S. Florida tomorrow morning to join my sisters as we celebrate my youngest sister's 10th year of breast cancer survival!!! What a wonderful landmark!

When I made my donation to breast cancer research, I thought about my dear friends who are battling cancer right now. As I participate in the Walk for the Cure, I will be thinking about these friends and their individual journeys to wellness.

I also realize the importance of my participation as it relates to my grandchildren...I am hopeful that they can grow up in a world where there are cures for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

So, as I begin my three mile walk on Saturday.... I will not only be walking to honor my incredible sister, I will be praying that my dear and courageous friends will soon be cancer-free , and, I will also be walking for my dear Celia, Audrey and Owen........ filled with love, hope, and great promise for their futures.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Audrey's first sled ride

As the snow stays on the ground in frigid Minneapolis, Owen and Audrey go down a little slope on the side of the house together. I can't tell if she is enjoying it or not....mainly, she is so bundled up with clothing that she really can't, she just falls over! Brrrrrr.....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Buddy, Ritchie, and the Big Bopper

Last night we were back in the late 50's reliving our youth rockin' and a'rollin' to the oldies!

Dave surprised me and purchased tickets for a local theater performance of The Buddy Holly Story...and it was great! The lead was played by a young high school student who was fabulous and kept the whole room moving to the beat of songs like Peggy Sue, That'll Be The Day, Think It Over, etc. etc.!

For those of you who are way too young may not know the story of Buddy Holly.... he was an amazing singer/composer who was supposed to follow the country music track early in his career...but, instead opted to sing rock and roll...his real passion. He, along with his group, the Crickets, became extremely popular with many number one hits...before he was tragically killed in a plane accident along with Richie Valens (La Bamba) and the Big Bopper (Chantilly Lace).

The theater's sold-out crowd was mostly (about 90%) composed of old people those of us in our 60's and beyond...In fact, we saw a huge bus loading up many of the crowd after the show was over to take them back to their nursing homes...

I kept asking Dave, "Are we as old as they are?" And, of course, he brilliantly answered, "Of course not!".

(....not this year, anyway.) : O

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Microwave Blues

My microwave is dead.

It was an accident.

I'm not going to mention any names, but a certain someone DAVE tried to use the microwave timer on Sunday while cooking something in the toaster oven. Without realizing it, he inadvertently hit the start button causing the microwave to go on without anything inside of it.

Not a good idea. The microwave burned itself out.

So, while I am awaiting my new microwave to get delivered to Sears late tomorrow, I am singing the "Microwave Blues". Ohhhhhh..... : (

I admit it. I just didn't appreciate it while I had it. And, I never realized how much I relied on it! Whether it was heating water in my mug for tea, warming up a bowl of soup, defrosting something that I forgot to pull out of the freezer, heating up leftovers right out of the refrigerator, melting butter, etc. etc. etc. I miss it terribly!

What I miss the most is being able to make my microwave popcorn!!!!! Today I even cut open a bag of microwave popcorn, poured out the contents, and tried to make it in a pot on top of the stove. This was called "desperation"....and, I do not recommend that you ever try this. The result was half popped and mostly burnt popcorn.

And, yes, I ate it anyway.

It was awful...but, desperate times call for desperate measures...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." Harper Lee

Last week I went to my girlfriend's ovarian cancer support group with her. It was her first time, and I decided to go as a support for her.

Walking into the small room at the local American Cancer Society, I began to scan the faces of the women who were slowly arriving. "What were the stories that these women held deep inside?" I began to wonder.

I would soon learn.

After devouring lunch, we settled into our seats and began to visit with the other cancer survivors. I watched as my friend began discussing her chemotherapy, the doctors, the nurses, wigs, and the side effects of the treatment, etc. Things that connected these women in a way that was not of their choosing...but, it was a connection nonetheless.

Serious talk was mixed with laughter as commonalities of being a cancer patient began to surface.

After some announcements, the head of the group asked that each woman there introduce themselves and tell a little about their journey.

The stories were as varied as the women themselves. Some had finished their rounds of treatment and were cancer free....others weren't as lucky. One woman in particular found out the day before the group met that her cancer had returned and she would be starting chemo once again. Everyone in the room understood her emotions. I was listening...and, learning...

When it was my friend's turn, she continued to amaze me. As she sat there looking beautiful in her wig and her teal shawl... she began to hand out her teal (ovarian cancer color) bracelets for the women in the group. She went on to talk about what she was personally doing to survive...including her scrapbooking, her alternative treatments, her email updates that now go out to way over 200 people, her bike team that she had organized to raise money for ovarian cancer...and, raise money she has: $16,000!

I was so proud of her...I just sat there and smiled at this incredible and courageous friend of mine.

The women's faces told so much about their much could be felt by looking in their eyes. Some were full of strength....some were filled with fear....some had big smiles of accomplishment on their faces....and some just looked weary from treatments that were taking away some of their energy and vitality.

At one point I began to feel some guilt at being there...a person who, thankfully, hadn't faced the challenges that they had. But, the guilt was quickly replaced by this incredible feeling of getting a little closer to a real understanding of what cancer looks like, what cancer does, and what cancer can feel like.

As we left the meeting, I looked at my friend and felt my heart fill with love, awe, and respect for how she has taken on this horrible disease.

I left there a different person than the one who entered the room an hour before....and, for that, I was very grateful.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A day to remember a great man....

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

On January 12, a series of earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 6.5 to 7.3 devastated Haiti. The American Red Cross is working with its partners in the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network, including the Haitian Red Cross, and other partners to assist those affected by this disaster.Your gift to the American Red Cross will support emergency relief and recovery efforts to help those people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Assistance provided by the American Red Cross may include deploying personnel, sending relief supplies, and providing financial resources.

Each of us can make a difference.... matter how large or small...a donation to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund is of utmost importance right now.

Just go to American Red Cross and you can easily make your contribution online. It is a safe and secure site to go to.

Please don't ever feel that one person can't make a difference...You can, I promise.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Watching through the eyes of an 8 year old girl....

For two and a half hours last night I was transformed into an 8 year girl!

Dave and I went to see the Broadway production of 101 Dalmations.

In all honesty, the "grown-up" me wasn't that enthused about this seemingly childish story...but, I had the tickets and pushed myself to go.

I'm so glad that I did.

For those of you who might not know the is basically about a loving family in London, England, during the 1950's, who own two grown Dalmations and a large litter of puppies. The villianess of the story is Cruella De Vil who only wants the Dalmations for their fur to make coats, hats, gloves, etc. (It was brought out in the show that De Vil put together spells "devil"...and, she certainly was!) Thus the tale (or tail, ha ha) begins as Cruella tries to kidnap the puppies (played by adorable and talented children)...

The adult characters in the show were precariously perched on some type of stilted device that allowed them to stand much taller than the humans who were playing the dogs. It was a bit awkward at first to watch them make their way around the stage on these contraptions....but, it did make the dogs seem more realistic.

There were also real live Dalmations used during the production and I found myself squealing with delight when they were out on the stage performing some of their tricks.

The quality of the voices was superb, and even though I wasn't familiar with any of the songs, I found them all extremely enjoyable. (He probably wouldn't ever admit it, but on the way out of the theater, I heard Dave quietly humming one of the final tunes!)

The stage sets were very clever and certainly enhanced the production.

Afterwards, I realized that I found the show to be so enjoyable mostly because I viewed it as a younger (much younger!) version of myself. I had to step out of my adult mode and become a little girl again.

And, I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed being 8 years old again.

Too bad that I had to wake up this morning and find that I was still a 61 year old woman!

: )

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hurry up and slow down...

Craziness seems to abound in my life proven by the fact that this is the first day that I have posted since last Friday!

The strange thing is that I can't even tell you what is keeping me so busy these days....All I know is that by the end of the day I still feel like I have so much unfinished business to take care of.

It is almost like I am on a treadmill moving fast...but, not really getting anywhere.


Well, tomorrow is another day..hopefully I will be able to post a little more then. Dave and I are off to the Broadway Series tonight to see "101 Dalmations".

More tomorrow....

Friday, January 08, 2010

Challah and Ham

Last night I surprised Dave by cooking a honey-glazed ham that I knew that he would enjoy. He mentioned that it would taste so good to make a sandwich with it the next night, so, that gave me an idea. I would make a homemade challah (braided bread usually eaten on the Jewish Sabbath) that he could use for his sandwich. I saw it as a kind of uniting of two religions....ham and challah. : )

So, I got out a new recipe that I had gotten from Judy, Janet's mom, during my recent visit there. She is such a wonderful cook, I knew that it had to be good.

And, so, the adventure began as I carefully read over the typed two-page recipe.

First step, mixing the yeast with hot water and honey.

...the recipe called for putting the dry ingredients into a large Cuisinart...., I got mine out....foolishly thinking that it was going to be big enough for the six cups of flour and other ingredients that needed to be blended.

I was wrong..... the dough mixture became a thick, gloppy mess that stopped the blade from turning. At this point, I was afraid that the Cuisinart was going to burn out.

What to do next?

(To add insult to injury....

...the recipe called for three egg whites and two yolks....saving one yolk for later when it would be brushed onto the crust of the unbaked challah.

I put the yolk in the half shells of the egg and placed it carefully between some tomatoes in a nearby bowl.


..the yolk ended up swimming around the tomatoes...)

Since the Cuisinart wasn't working out....

I decided to get my mixer out and use the bread blade to mix the mushy dough in the big bowl.

The mixer brought the dough together into one big LUMP..!

Now, it was time to put the lump back into the Cuisinart that it would blend the dough into a smoother lump.

Time for the dough to rise in the oven....

..for an hour and a half. I put a pan underneath and filled it with warm water so that the yeast would do its thing...and make the lump double in size.

An hour and a half later....

...and the dough did not rise or double its size.


At this point, I called Judy up in New Jersey to see what I had done wrong.

The only thing that we could figure out was that the yeast that I used (Rapid Rise yeast) worked differently in this recipe than when she made it with regular yeast.

So, back in the oven it hopes that it would eventually RISE!

Another hour and a half later.....and....

....the dough DID finally rise!

I punched it down, made three long pieces and began to braid.

Then it was back in the warm oven to rise again!

...and,slowly rise, it did.


After a long ordeal of challah finally came out of the oven looking beautifully browned, with a golden crust glistening from the egg wash...

This long-awaited bread....

...was cut while still warm...


Perfect for Dave's delicious HAM sandwich!

The end of a long, baking day...but, a big bowl of vegetable soup and this warm, crusty bread, made it all worthwhile.

Now, if I could just get someone to clean up this mess!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

So, where's the snow?

Looking out my window for the (over)predicted white stuff....but nary a flake in sight.

We Southerners live for these little moments in nature.... : )

After all, I have stocked up on groceries that will last me for weeks and made enough soup for the neighborhood...!



I am still a bit achy and feverish this morning....but, can tell that the side effects are making their way out of my system from my Reclast reaction. I feel much better than yesterday and was able to catch up on my lost sleep last night!

It is a great excuse to catch up on my taped television programs...especially as I wait for the great snow of 2010!! ha ha


Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Aaack.

This dreaded time of year is when I must figure out what I have earned this year....and what I owe in sales taxes to the county, city and state. Luckily, some of the tax assessors have now started to allow one to do this online....thus cutting out some of the paper...but it is still a real pain.

After that comes income taxes.

...and the fun just continues a'comin'!


UPDATES 10:42 a.m. Hot off of the presses....I just spotted a snowflake fall from the sky! Can a blizzard be far behind?? : )

11:35 a.m. Flurries have ended. : (

2:30 p.m. A very light dusting is starting to form on some of my outdoor lawn chairs. woo hoo

3:00 p.m. The local weatherman is on reporting that the precipitation has moved out of our area. End of story.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tomorrow's weather prediction....


Tomorrow-January 7th

Rain and Snow

High 38

Low 19

Rain and Snow

Cloudy with rain and snow in the morning, becoming all snow in the afternoon. High 38F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.

Chance of precip 70%. Snowfall around one inch.

Watch out....we go crazy here in the deep South!

134 beats per minute?

That was how fast my heart was beating this morning! Normal is around 60-90....

I should explain. I went and had the Reclast infusion done yesterday....nothing to it...the whole thing took about a half and hour and I was out of there.

I had heard about all of the possible side effects...flu like symptoms, fever, achiness, headache, etc. Well, I got them all...and, then some.

I tossed and turned all night with chills and fever but knew that I would be fine by morning.

Well, when I woke up this morning, I felt like I was "speeding". My heart was racing unbelievably. Of course, I quickly looked up Reclast online to see if that was one of the side effects. It wasn't listed under "common side effects" but I did find "rapid and erratic pulse" listed under the more serious side effects..

At that point, I took my pulse and it was averaging around 126 bpm. (yikes) I put a call in to the Reclast people and they seemed very interested in what was occurring with they gathered lots of info from me...and, then suggested that I call my local physician.

My doctor was a bit concerned about the pulse that had now gone up to 134 bpm....she told me to go lie down for about 15 minutes and call her if it stayed high. It did...and, I did.

They worked me in to an already busy morning at their office so that the dr. could do an EKG on my heart to see what was going on.

Two and a half hours later (!!), I saw the doc. She assured me that the EKG was normal...but, the rapid heartbeat was not.

After a pretty thorough exam, she was still a bit baffled, but decided that it was either from A) the Reclast or B) the flu. She even tested me for the Swine flu...but, it came out negative.

The good news is that these symptoms should slowly disappear in the next few days...and, luckily, I only have to do this infusion once a year!

And, hopefully, my bone density will improve throughout the coming year! Statistically, it seems to be a wonderful new way to counteract osteoporosis.

I'm counting on that.......making all of this moaning and groaning worth it.... : O

Monday, January 04, 2010


So, I went to the grocery store late this afternoon and it looked like they were giving away free food...the parking lot was full and the place was packed! The only thing that I could figure was that people had heard about the possibility of snow in our area in a few days and were stocking up. It was crazy...and I got totally caught up in it all. I found myself buying things like I was going to be on a deserted island for a month! What was I thinking?

Anyway, as I was checking out, I watched the bag boy putting my groceries in my ecologically friendly green Publix bags. As I watched him place several items in the bag, including my can imagine what I thought when I then saw him place several heavy things, including a 3 pound spaghetti squash right on top of them!

"Oh no...the tomatoes!" I said.

"Tomatoes? What tomatoes?" he answered seemingly puzzled. "You didn't buy any tomatoes."

"Oh, yes, I did, I said, and you just dropped a heavy squash on top of them."

Still insisting that I didn't purchase tomatoes, he began to go through the bag.

"Oops. I guess that you did," he finally said.



Tomorrow morning I go for my first annual Reclast infusion. Since I tried taking Boniva for my osteoporosis but had uncomfortable side effects, the dr. suggested that I try once-a-year Reclast instead. Reclast is a type of medicine called a bisphosphonate that works to increase bone density as well as protecting and strengthening your bones.

I'm a little concerned about the possibility of having some of the same side effects afterwards....but, hopefully it won't be too bad.

Wish me luck!


Everyone is all a-buzz about the upcoming college football championship game between Texas and Alabama. Many of the local folk are dishing out big bucks to head out to Pasadena where the game will be played.

Dave and I will be watching it in the comfort of my big bucks paid for that experience.


While we are having exceptionally frigid temperatures here in the Deep South, my sympathies are really with my Minneapolis kids. They haven't had temperatures above 0 for a week now and my son said that the lows have been close to minus 20. He said that their driveway was like a sheet of ice as it has been so unbelievably cold there.

To add insult to injury, they are just getting back from a trip to Miami where the temps hovered around the high 70's and the kids went swimming and played on the beach.



Off to bed to rest up for my Reclast tomorrow....

G'night all.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Get out your popcorn....

Avatar... Up in the Air....Invictus.....and It's Complicated!

Dave has to be gently persuaded forced to go to the movies.

I, on the other hand, LOVE sitting in the darkened theatre, munching on the healthy popcorn that I sneak in (Ssh!), and watching the big screen.

Somehow, this holiday season, I was able to convince push him into going to four of them.

He probably won't admit it to too many people....but, I do believe that he enjoyed them all. I know that I did. : )

So, here's my unsolicited take on the four of them:

Actually, Avatar was one that he chose to go to. The 3D effects were pretty amazing....the movie was fascinating...the acting great....but, I could have done without some of the violence such as the battle scenes. I'm not big into that kind of action....but, I was glad to have experienced this science fiction fantasy. Grade: B-

Up in the Air was my hands-down favorite. Just looking at George Clooney for two hours was worth the price of admission! (*swoon*) The underlying theme of this movie, to me, was the importance of the relationships in our lives, commitment, and family. I also found it quite poignant listening to the testimonies of people who had just been laid off of their jobs. Unfortunately, a pretty timely topic for these days. Grade: A+

Invictus. Wow. Nelson Mandela. Enough said....It shows a small segment of his Presidency when he uses the country's rugby team to unite a people who had been torn apart by apartheid. The movie was touching....the rugby hard to watch....such a brutal sport (how do the players live through all of that rough-housing??)...but, it didn't detract too much for this great movie about a great leader. Grade: A-

And, finally, It's Complicated. This delightful movie affected me on so many levels. Since it was about a divorced couple, of course I could identify with some of the emotions involved. The many complications of life after divorce were so true and really resonated with me even after 9 years. I was sensitive to the kid's reactions to their parents as I thought about my own boys. But, beyond those sensitivities, it was a lot of fun. Meryl Streep is one of my are Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Without spoiling it for those of you who haven't seen it...the "pot" scene is absolutely hilarious! Grade: A.

When all is said and done, I think that the title pretty much sums up LIFE for most of us: "It's complicated..............but, oh, so good. : )

Saturday, January 02, 2010 this!

My thoughts exactly...

Friday, January 01, 2010

Reflections on a year gone by......way too quickly


How can 2009 be over? I hardly got to know ya...

Is it my age, or is time passing ever so quickly these days?

Wasn't I just filling out last year's tax forms? Weren't my grandkids just little babies 'yesterday'? Can it really be 9 years since my divorce? Were the multitude of new gray hairs on my head well-earned? Can I really be a mother of a 35 1/2 year old? When did all of my doctors get younger than me? When did all of my doctors get younger than my children?

....and on and on...

2009 has been an interesting year...even as it zipped by me.

It has been a year filled with a variety of emotions. It has been a year filled with many challenges:

I continue to miss my father. I am watching dear friends struggle with their newly diagnosed cancers. My economic situation has taken a downhill has everyone's. I am beginning to feel like a 61 year old with all of the moans and groans that accompany that age. I miss having my kids and grandkids around more than ever. I struggle to find answers to so many questions. My memory is much less sharp than a year ago. The chance for seeing world peace in my lifetime seems less and less possible.

However, more importantly, the past year has been filled with many joys:

My Mom is doing very well as she continues to make a life for herself on her own. She even flew here to spend Thanksgiving with me, my son, his wife, and adorable Celia. My friendships have flourished as we have tightened our bonds of love. I have learned how to play Mah Jongg which is a constant mind challenge that gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I still have a tremendous passion for my pottery and continue to grow with each new creation. I embrace my morning walks with great vigor and enthusiasm....even at this ripe old age of 61. I realize that my financial situation will continue to improve....and, I continue to have an appreciation for the simple things that money can't buy. I revel at watching my two sons and their wives grow their families and fill their lives with all good things. I am grateful to be able to make so many trips to visit them all.

....and on and on....

A dear old friend of mine teases me mercilessly for what he calls my being a "Hallmark" kind of person. I respond by telling him that I like seeing the world through my rose- colored glasses...however, I have begun to find a balance between that outlook and facing reality. I have realized that there are still so many things that I don't understand...about people....about life....about the world that I inhabit. However, I have come to accept that I don't need to understand everything...and, that I probably never will. But, that is okay.

The last email that I got from this friend ended by saying: "Don't ever lose those rose-colored glasses....just clean them now and then.

That statement made me smile as I realized that one of my greatest accomplishments in 2009 was finding acceptance in things that I couldn't understand...and, certainly couldn't change. I still keep those rose-colored glasses handy, but I do stop and clear the view on occasion...

...and on and on....

Here's to another wonderful year of challenges and joys. Happy 2010 all....keep those rose-colored glasses handy just in case....