Thursday, December 28, 2006

Are You Hurting?

I realize that this is a long post but please read through to the end.

Around the holidays some people may become depressed for various reasons. This sometimes passes but can linger. Others may suffer from depression all the time but it can worsen around this time. I write about this today because depression is a horrible illness. How do I know this you may wonder. I have first hand experience with is as it has been a part of my life for years.
Surprised? I have recovered from it but it took hard work.

Years ago while pregnant with number 2 I was sick all the time. Morning sickness all day for all but 3 weeks of the entire nine months. Every routine test I had done while pregnant came back abnormal. If you've ever been pregnant or the significant other of a pregnant woman, you know they do many tests. I had one blood test for some sort of protein that came back high and they had me do it again. Still high, meaning there was a decent chance of a baby with spinabifida. (Too low and possible down syndrome.) We were offered genetic counceling but refused. We wouldn't abort the baby but would love what came.

A long story short, in the end both number 2 and I almost died during delivery. Happily all turned out well. He weighed 5lbs. 4 oz. but grew up to be a fine young man. He just got his PSAT scores back and he is in the 95 percentile; meaning he scored higher than 95% of the students in the nation that took the test. I'm sorry, I had to brag just a little.

After he was born my hormones were beyond messed up. I felt like I had an extreme case of PMS 24/7. I was on edge and angry all the time. I didn't understand why when I had a husband that loved me, 2 great children, a house and a comfortable life I wasn't happy. For a few years I buried those feelings, no one knew I felt that way. I was a great actress but it was killing me inside. Over time I felt my heart turning to stone. Nothing mattered anymore, if I died the next day, so be it. I didn't care about much of anything. I felt that no one cared about me, I didn't deserve to be loved or even liked. Why and how could anyone care about me? My self esteem was in the toilet to put it bluntly. My life sucked.

What finally put me over the edge and made me realize that I needed help to get better was one day I thought, "what have I done bringing these two children in to such a miserable world? They should never have been born." That scared the shit out of me. The next day I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with clinical depression and started treatment. With counceling and zoloft I got better. It turns out I may have been mildly depressed for years and didn't realize it and the high risk pregnancy tipped the scale.

With clinical depression you have low levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that controls a wide range of functions such as balance (at my worst I would stumble a lot), sleep/wake cycles, mood, appetite and hormonal balance. I had lost all interest in my life. If I could, I would have stayed in bed all the time. I only wanted to sleep. I couldn't smile, my face actually felt unable to do so. I sometimes slurred my words. I just felt so hopeless and empty and worthless and sad. I couldn't make a decision to save my life. Just going to the grocery store to get food for dinner, I couldn't do it. I didn't have any hope for the future. It not only affected me but my husband and children. It's no fun living with a depressed person. Nothing made me happy. I suffered with this for 4 years. I remember the first time I knew I was getting better. I was sitting outside and heard a bird singing. OMG, I had not heard the birds singing in years. I began noticing the colors and textures of life again. Today I still take meds and will never stop taking them. I never want to feel that way again. Sometimes I have nightmares that I'm going through that and wake up terrified. My motto: Better living through chemistry. It saved my life.

For many years I didn't tell anyone I suffered from this. It has a stigma attached to it and I didn't want anyone to think I was crazy. I understand now that it is an illness, you can't control it or "snap" out of it. I'm just happy that I'm a success story.

Today I am happy with myself and my life. I live each day to the fullest. I love my family, friends, job and myself. I have the "glass half full" outlook in life. My heart breaks for those that suffer with it as I've been there.

I tell you all of this because if you or anyone you know is suffering from depression; get help. It's not a personal weakness, you didn't bring it on yourself and people that love you want the old "you" back. No one should have to go through this.

Signs of Depression
*Persistant sad, anxious or "empty" mood
*Changes in sleep patterns (wanting to sleep all the time or can't sleep)
*Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain
*Loss of pleasure and interest in once enjoyable activities including sex
*Restlessness, irritablility
*Persistant physical symtoms that do not respond to treatment such as chronic pain or
digestive disorders
*Difficulty concentrating at work or school, or difficulty remembering things or making decisions
*Fatigue or loss of energy
*Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
*Thoughts of suicide or death

Less than half of the people that have depression seek treatment.
Females suffer from depression more than males.
Men seek medical attention for depression less than women.
Untreated depression costs about $44 billion a year in lost workdays, decreased productivity, sick days and other costs.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable Chirstmas Day. My family and I had a good one but somewhat unusual. It started at 8:00 when we went over to my sister's family's house for opening gifts. We all received many nice ones and it made me happy that I gave generously to the Toys For Tots campaign. I would have felt even more guilty for receiving so many nice things.
I made my egg and sausage casserole for breakfast and baked it in my sister's gas oven. No problem. Later when she turns it on to get it ready for the turkey; it won't light. The menfolk played around with it, took it apart; nothing. It was either go out for Chinese or cook the turkey elsewhere. Sean and I packed up Tom and left for home. Fours hours later we returned with a pefectly roasted turkey. We missed Chirstmas afternoon when we all play games that were received from Santa but it could have been worse.

Don't you love it when the gift you give to someone turns out to be the favorite gift they receive? We got my niece and nephew each an i Dog. You plug an MP3 player into it and its a speaker. Plus the dog's face does a little light show to the music, moves his head to the beat and wiggles its ears. They LOVE it.

Number one son loved the North Face gloves and Timberland boots he got since it's cold and wet walking around on campus.

Number two bought himself a Wii last month and got a new game for it yesterday from his aunts. It was a hit. Then he opened a Playstation 2 game we got him, Guitar Hero, and has been playing that since. I'm rather tired of hearing it but he loves it.

Sean couldn't decide on a favorite but then said that by just a millimeter he picked the flash drive that he got from Number 2

My favorite gift came from Number One. He got me this sweatshirt blanket at school. He knows I love hanging around with a blanket in the winter and this is very snuggly. I think what I love the best about it is that it's really a perfect thing for me, he picked it out himself without any ideas from anyone. He bought it with his own money and wrapped it himsef.

The evening ended on a downer though. My sister's dog bit my father on the knuckle. We took him to the firehouse to have the medic look at it and they said he needed to have stitches. Sean, me, number 1 & 2 along with my mother went to emergency to have it done. Dad is fine after 3 stitches but the dog...well grandpa is the 3rd person she has bitten. Their dog has been seen by a "dog whisperer" and that hasn't helped with her temprement. She has become more aggressive as time goes by. She is just 2 years old. They called the vet today who is awhere of the history and she said that she needs to be put down. My dad feels bad because this bite was the last straw and while he is glad that she bit him and not one of the kids, it because of this the dog has to go.

My last thought for today is that I am very blessed to have the children, husband, family and friends that I do. I couldn't ask for anything else.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

I held out hope for a white Christmas but it will be green. That's okay, it's the spirit of the day that is important. It seems like when I was a child we would get more snow and the holiday was always white. I did some research and in my city over the past 50 years we had snow for Christmas 60% of the time. At least the sky is blue and the sun is shining.

To me, Christmas is always associated with snow. If you watch holiday TV shows, most of the time, snow. Many Christmas cards feature snow and holiday songs sing about snow. So I wonder what Christmas is like for people who live in down South or in tropical places where snow flurries never fly. Christmas lights on palm trees? Very foreign to me. Warm balmy weather? Very unchristmas to me.

Twenty four years ago we went to Bermuda on December 12 for our honeymoon. It was in the 60's and sunny. We walked around in shorts and sometimes sweatshirts but the locals all were in fur coats, leather boots, gloves. For us that was warm. The island was all decorated for the holidays with colored lights but it made me homesick for the Christmas season that I know and love back home. Sean, why did we pick December to be married in? Yes, I know, I picked that date. What was I thinking?

But in the whole scheme of things, it doesn't matter where you are for Christmas, it's what's in your heart and the people you love.Many people for different reasons can't be with the ones they love for Christmas so I will say a prayer for them. To all of my wonderful friends that I met, no matter what you celebrate, I wish you peace and health for the holidays and in 2007.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas; NOT

It looks like we will have a green Christmas up here. It will be in the 40's this week, too warm for snow. This snow was about 2 weeks ago, it melted and haven't seen a flake since. I'm not a snow lover but don't hate it. It can snow all it wants until Dec. 25 then I want it to melt until next December. Somehow that never happens. One Christmas Eve it started snowing that beautiful fluffy snow and when we awoke on Christmas morn we were greeted with 2 feet of the white stuff. Speaking of snow, I haven't had a snow day off from school in 3 years. There is nothing like getting that phone call at 5:30 am telling you that school is canceled. Although that means there's a lot of snow out there.

I love a Christmas cactus in bloom, too bad it looks so unlovable the other 11 months of the year. Maybe I'm jealous because I can't seem to keep one alive until the following year. I don't have any luck with piontettias either. They start to drop their leaves about 10 minutes after I bring it home. So I must confess, this plant is not in my home but in Sean's work location. There it is ignored and neglected but still rewards them. I do however have great luck with African violets.

I am finished with my holiday shopping. I actually like Christmas shopping. We save for it all year and I can't wait to get out there and spend that money. I love to buy presents for people, I have always been a "giver". The secret to being a good "Santa" is to keep your eyes and ears open all year long. You might notice someone could use something in the summer. File that info away. They might say something that will give you an idea. People love when you take the time to really think about them and what they would like. Not just buy anything to say you did. Put some effort into it and you will be rewarded with the look on their face on Christmas morning. This picture was taken at the mall last weekend. It was a lovely sunny day and warm too, in the 50's.

After a busy day of shopping I enjoyed a vivid sunset from our backyard.

Sean and I went out for breakfast before work today. While we were at our little place I noticed two men in their 60's each sitting alone waiting for their breakfast. They started chatting and were having a nice conversation. The first one got up to leave but first went to the waitress and asked for the other gentleman's check. He then paid it. I told Sean we can't leave yet, I have to see this guy find out he was treated. When the waitress told him that his breakfast had already been paid for he looked so surprised then very happy. He left the restaurant with a huge smile on his face just knowing someone thought he was important enough to do that for him. We go to this restaurant every Saturday and I decided next time I see an older person eating alone I'm going to buy their breakfast without them knowing. Let them wonder who did it while making them happy. What a small price to pay.

By the way, I always order the same thing, 2 scrambled eggs, bacon, white toast and ice tea. Our waitress just asks me if I want the usual. Sometimes when they see us coming in from the parking lot the coffee and ice tea are waiting for us at a table. FYI, I couldn't find any good looking pics of scrambled eggs and I loathe any kind of egg with yolk not scrambled. Sean orders his eggs over medium and then mops up the yolk with his toast. It's just gross. UGH!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What's the first memory you can remember? As I get older my memory seems to be going. It seems like I don't remember a lot from my childhood. Usually when I do, something has sparked it. If I sit quietly and think, things will come back to me. My sisters are two and five years younger than I but I don't remember either as babies. I do remember that my youngest sister threw up all the time. I'm sure she'd love that I just told you that.

One memory I have is when I was in 5th grade, a boy named Matt would call me on the phone all the time. I would never talk to him, after all he was in 4th grade. But the real reason was that his last name was Knight. I didn't want to be teased and called Summer Knight. Several years later I had a crush on a boy named Tommy Day. I would have loved it if he had called me. I wanted to be Summer Day. Yes, something sparked this memory.

Some memories I wonder if they are mine or someone else's. Like when your mom tells you a story about yourself when you were younger. After you've heard it once or twice or more is it her memory that has now turned into yours? You hear about false memory so I guess it can happen.

Pictures bring back memories. This is one of me when I was maybe about 2 years old. I swear I remember being in this crib. It was at my grandparent's house and when visiting, my 3 week younger cousin and I would share it at nap time. Do I really remember being in this crib or is it just because I see the picture? How's that for a case of bedhead! The second picture is just a bonus, I don't remember a thing about it. :)

I think my first uninfluenced memory was when I was 3 years old. We were moving from Ohio into a newly built house 7 hours away. Several years ago I mentioned to my mother that I remember going to see it while it was under construction. Mom was amazed, she didn't think I would remember that. She had never told me I had been there before we moved in and I described the event perfectly as she remembered.

I had an elderly neighbor that I became friendly with and over time her memory started to fail. I eventually became her caregiver. As she aged she lost her short term memory but regained some of her long term memory. Sometimes she lived in the past and was a happy young woman. Other times she was in the present and somewhat cranky. When I get older, if I loose my faculties, I hope I live in the happiest time of my life. Not as a crotchety old lady with artificial knees!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Tomorrow I will have watched "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" for the 42nd time. I've watched it every Chirstmas since it premered in 1964. Of course for many of those years you could only see it once a year, before the likes of VHS and DVD. I make it a point to only watch once a year at the time it is on. No taping. I know, weird eh? There is something special about seeing it only once and at air time. Sort of like the "olden" days. After all if you could see it anytime you wanted it sort of loses its magic.

Since number 1 son was born in 1986 we've watched it together. When number 2 joined us in 1990 he continued the tradition of watching. They got to stay up past their bedtime to watch. Over the years as they've gotten older things have interfeared. Rudolph was always aired on the first Wednesday in December. Trust me, I know this because that is Boy Scout night.
(Both are now Eagle Scouts) They would either not go or leave early from scouts. Rather silly but they did it for mom.

Fast forward to 2004 when number 1 son went away to college. I was still trying to get used to him being away from home and feeling somewhat melancholy. Our little tradition of watching Rudolph together had come to an end after 17 years. Lo and behold at 8:00 that night the phone rings, it's our oldest. I asked him if he knew what was on tv at that moment and he said, "of course, that's why I'm calling." We watched it together albeit over the phone. The next year, no phone call. Oh well, they grow up.

We still had number 2 with us though.

Fast forward again to 2006; tomorrow is Rudolph night and number 2 son is not going to be watching with us. He has to scoop ice cream at Ben & Jerry's. The end of an era. It will just be me and Sean. Someday there will be little ones to watch it with again but hopefully not for several years or so.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holiday Thoughts

I'm taking advantage of the solitary moment I have at home to do a post. I'm home sick from school today. So much for sleeping in though. The snowplow started its rounds at 5:00 putting down salt. We use salt on our roads here. It makes a mess on your car, garage floor, boots and dog's feet. You have to wipe them off or else they will lick it off. Next was the garbage truck. Then a bit later the recycle truck. Don't they realize I was trying to sleep. Oh well, life goes on for the healthy. I was sick all weekend but went to school yesterday. Mistake. I've had a very sore throat, a headache, sore, swollen glands that make my neck hard to turn and a rather deep and sexy voice. Now today I sound like Marge Simpson, nothing sexy about that. But then again...maybe. I never saw Marge like that! Those that know me, know I hate to miss school so I must be sick.

We are getting ready for the holidays at our house. The tree is up as well as the outside lights. When it comes to the Christmas tree, I like it up early, after Thanksgiving but as soon as Christmas is over, it's out of here. I've taken it down as early as Dec. 26. I need to have my house back in order. As far as the outside lights, I could keep them up and on all winter. I wish people did that. Nothing worse than a cold February night with the snow and wind blowing. It would look so pretty to still have everyone's outdoor lights on. I hated in the 1970's when President Nixon suggested that the nation forego outdoor Christmas lights to save power and ease the energy crisis. I was a kid but knew then he was a bum.

On another holiday note, one of our radio stations has been playing non-stop Christmas music since before Thanksgiving. I just started listening to it. Don't want to get overdosed. I only listen to the old classic songs with Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Burl Ives etc. I don't care for the newer songs. While I'm not a very religious person I love religious Christmas songs the best. (Maybe there's hope for me yet) A beautiful one is "Silent Night" done by a group called Mannheim Steamroller. Strange name but great music. They do an instrumental version of that song that has wind in the background and is lovely. If I knew how to put music on this blog I'd download it for you but alas...

My most favorite song is "O Holy Night" This song gives me the chills when I hear it. It sometimes can bring tears to my eyes (yes, I can be very sappy). Whitney Houston and Celene Dion both have wonderful versions of it. It takes a powerful voice to sing it right and they've got it. Mostly for me I like it the best when sung by a male singer. Don't know why. Josh Groban has a heart stopping version that Sean downloaded for me on my desktop. What a voice he has. When our number one son graduated from high school in 2004 the chorus dedicated and sang "You lift Me Up" to the parents. Needless to say I needed kleenex.

Our number two son has hair exactly like Groban's, well except for the color, #2 has lighter hair.

I hope you are all having a great holiday season. For me, it is all about the anticipation. I love this time leading up to the holiday. People seem nicer, more polite. Remember as you are shopping for your loved ones there are many children that will receive nothing from Santa. If you would, please think about donating to the U.S. Marine funds, "Toys For Tots" at many mall and store locations and "Toys For Teens" at Best Buy stores. For more information go to

Thanks from Summer

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I am Thankful

I'm sending all happy Thanksgiving wishes and thought I would mention what I am thankful for.

My family, we just returned from picking up number 1 son from college. I love when he is home with us. I'm happiest when we are all together.

I have a husband who loves me dearly and shows me that everyday.

We are all healthy. Well, my knee and I are not getting along. It has made it very clear that it doesn't want to be out in the cold. It talked me into cancelling our trip to New York City next month. If you have never seen NYC at Christmas time, it is beautiful. But I don't do stairs well and those double decker bus narrow and circular stairs are killers. Plus it doesn't like to walk fast and NYC is a hustle and bustle kind of city. As much as I love it there, my knee just wouldn't let me enjoy it to the fullest.

We have a nice house to live in and while we could use more money we are fortunate with what we have. I have a job that I absolutly love. Somedays I can't believe that they pay me to do it, other days I earn every penny and more. Sean's job is stable and we don't have to worry about downsizing like other business in our city.

I am thankful for my friends. They are always at the ready to celebrate with me or to pick me up when I'm down. A chat with a friend is always uplifting and enjoyable. A friend that loves you unconditionally is a treasure.

What I am most thankful for at this Thanksgiving is that our young friend has had her heart transplant several days ago and so far is doing well. After all the tears I have cried over this, I finally had tears of joy. At age 16 she has her whole life ahead of her and has been given a second chance at life. I am grateful to the family that gave her this second chance by donating their loved one's heart. It was truly the gift of life.

I have many blessings in my life and I hope you count me as one of yours.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

To comment or not to comment

I enjoy reading people's blogs for the most part. Do I agree with everything they say? No. I'm not judgemental. People do things in their lives for their own personal reasons. I don't have to like it. Do I comment on them? Once in a while I do comment but for the most part, I tend to be more of a lurker. I don't know why because I wish more commented on my two blogs.

I've been following one for a while now entitled In a nutshell, he is unhappily married with an online girlfriend, has had an affair, plans on leaving his wife etc. In short, his life is a mess.

He has received many anonymous comments about his exploits, many telling him their own personal story, offering a glimpse from someone that has been there and done that. I can see from those comments that most times the online cheating leads no where, they are still unhappy in the long run. Some offer suggestions in a kind way, some in a rude way. He also has his fans that urge him on to live his life, have the online gf and leave his wife. DH can do what ever he wants to of course. It's his life, he has to live it and live with his desicions. When you bring another person into the mix such as he has, your ability to make decisions becomes distorted.

By putting your life out in a blog you have to expect that you will get good comments and bad ones. I know that first hand. I get both although my comments are different than his, being that the subject matter is very different.

He has certainly struck a nerve out in blogland. Do I agree with what he is doing? No. I don't think it helps when people bash him for what he's doing or when people tell him he's doing the right thing. I do have my own ideas of what I think about him but everyone has their own private reasons for doing what they do. I will say this; when you put it all out there in a blog, you better have a thick skin.

What prompted me to write this post is that there are some bloggers out there attacking the anonymous posters. I feel that many, not all, of the anonymous ones have left well written comments, they make sense but most happen to disagree with DH and how he is handling his situation. It may be helpful if DH opens his mind but alas it does sound like his mind is made up. No matter what is said he only listens to the ones that agree with him. They have taken up his cause and bash what the anonymous commenters have to say. People have different reasons for commenting anonymously, I can't fault them for that. But I want to make this clear. Are we all not anonymous out here in the cyber world? Sure you can leave your blogger name but unless you are willing to put your real name out there as well as your email address, I've got news for you; YOU ARE ANONYMOUS TOO.

I did this post on my blog because it is way to long to post in his comments.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just Desserts

The holidays are fast approaching and my services will be in demand for desserts. Whenever there's an occasion that requires a dessert, I'm the one inlisted for the duty. I'm famous for desserts. One reputation I don't mind having. I'm not crazy about cooking but I enjoy baking. I think that goes back to the day when I just had to have an Easy Bake Oven. I begged my parents and Santa (just in case) for it. That was all I wanted I said, buy me nothing else. I must have been a good girl because there was one under the tree for me. The only problem was I used up all of the mixes in 2 days. Off to the store to buy more. I gave that lightbulb a workout.

For Thanksgiving I will make dessert for 14 people at the In-laws. I love pumpkin pie, not just any pumpking pie but pumpkin chiffon pie. My grandmother always made that. It's light and fluffy, not baked in the oven and take my word for it, it is delicious. You will never want the other kind again. To go along with the pie I will make a chocolate pecan torte. If you'd like the recipes just ask me, I'm not one of those cooks that won't share. I've got a great one for Oreo cookie cake that uses whipped cream and liquor, you freeze it and it is like ice cream cake. mmmmmmm

For Christmas I will again make the dessert, only for 11 people (my fam). I'll make grandma's traditional pumpkin pie and since my brother-in-law doesn't like pie (I know, strange eh?) I will make him chocolate chip cookie cheesecake. I just made one for my father-in-laws birthday. It is a dessert so easy to make plus people think you spent a lot of time on it. (My secret) So if you want to impress someone with a dessert, this is the one for you. Guys, it's easy and surprise someone!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

You will need:

2 rolls of chocolate chip cookie mix

3 packages of softened cream cheese
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
splash of vanilla

Blend cream cheese mixture until creamy.

In a greased 9 x 13 pan, slice and press one roll of cookie dough in to bottom of pan. This is the crust.A helpful hint is to keep the dough chilled until ready to use. It won't be as sticky.

Spread cream cheese mixture over this.

Using the second roll of cookie dough, slice or crumble over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 - 40 minutes

Chill for several hours before serving.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What's in a Name?

Did you ever think about your name and wonder if it has anything to do with the kind of person you turned out to be? Does your name define who you are? If you could change your name would you?

I have an unusual name. Not many people have it. At one time I never heard of anyone with my name although I do now and they're mostly younger than myself. When I was little I didn't like my name because no one had it. It wasn't something that people named their child. I always had to explain my name, yes it's my real name, it's not short for anything etc. I was teased about it because it was different than the Susans' or Debbies' or Pattys' that were out there and I wanted a more mainstream name.

As I grew up I came to love my name. I liked being the only person with that name. I never had to wonder if someone was calling me, no one else had that name, unlike today while these are beautiful names, there are many Sarahs, Jessicas, Emilys, Nicoles and Jennifers. Not only that but I think , it has defined who I am today. Growing up I never wanted to be just like someone else. I didn't want to wear the same clothes or have the same things as others. One of my friends would buy the same things I would. The first time it happened we were maybe 12 and I had gotten a new bathing suit. I loved it. A few days later she got the same one. I was mad and no longer liked mine. Sometimes you would show up at school and someone would have the same shirt as you, I understand that happens, I just didn't like it.

I would like to think that I am as unique a person as my name is. I don't have to have what fashion gurus say is popular. I like one of a kind things. My home is decorated in my style. It's not traditional but not modern. Just a mix of what I like, there is not a theme. I'm not afraid of not being trendy.

Going back to the name thing. What I don't care for are names that are totally made up, that are so off the wall or that you can't pronounce and working in the school system I've seen many. I'm not being judgemental here, parents can certainly name their child anything they like, this is my opinion. Dont' saddle your children with a name like that. One past student that comes to mind was named Elmer. Now I realized that it was a family name but no young child should be called Elmer. Just my opinion. I think of celebraties that name their babies names like Apple (Gwenith Paltrow) or Pilot Inspector (Jason Lee) or Rumor (Demi Moore). Do they think of what their child's life will be like with those goofy names. I know that there have been studies of people and their names and how they have done in life.

When naming our two boys we took all of that into consideration. I wanted a name that was not "out there" but not the traditional Michael or Steven or James. I also wanted a name that couldn't be turned into an "ie" name such as Billy or Stevie or Scottie. Nope, not me. Before Kevin was born my father- in- law always refered to him as Kevie. I told him countless times that we were not going to call him that. For 3 weeks after he was born he called him that. Now after a woman has a baby, her hormones are going crazy. I told my husband to take care of that issue NOW or I will and it won't be pretty. He did and our son was never called Kevie again. My other son, Cameron, if you shorten it you get Cammie and that's a pretty girly name. One person did it once and realized that, eewwww, can't call him that. Although my mother did ask why I was naming him a "last" name. He was actually named after Cam Neely of the Boston Bruins.

I think choosing a name is important with many things to consider such as; does it go with your last name, can the child be teased because of it. Remember Elmer? Back to the subject, it should be a name that people can pronounce somewhat. Ethinic names are fine, I'm talking about made up names. That child will be explaining that name for the rest of their life.

If I had to choose any other name for myself it would be Abigail. I love that name. Abby is a cute name or if you wanted to be more professional, Abigail is perfect. Plus there aren't many of them around.

What do you think of your name? Let me know. :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Honor a Veteran

We had a wonderful Veteran's Day assembly at school last week for all the students. We started off with some patriotic songs. They all know them as they learn them in first grade. We then had two special guests. Father and son, veterans of WWII and Vietnam. Dad was quite elderly as you can imagine and his son spoke for him and told us all his story.

His father was a bomber pilot and while on a mission his plane developed engine trouble. The plane fell back from formation because they couldn't keep up. They didn't have an escort to protect them and German planes found them. They were shooting at the plane and killed the gunner in the back of the plane, things were looking dire. The decision was made to jump from the plane as it was going down. While helping his fellow soldiers get ready his parachutte opened inside the plane. He then had to jump without knowing if the 'chutte would open. Well it did and as the others will floating down with him the German's were shooting them. He played dead and landed safely but not before seeing his plane crash and burn. He was the only one to survive that day. Some French living in Germany hid him in their home for several months and helped him escape to Spain where he then came home. In the meantime his parents had received a missing in action letter from the Air Force/Army (the were combined at the time). He brought this letter with him to our assembly as well as a piece of his plane that he managed to salvage.

I was very moved by all this and almost in tears (if you knew me that wouldn't surprise you, I can be tough but have a very soft heart, especially for children, elderly and dogs). Anyway, I have never had seen 450 children so quiet and listening. Even they understood what a powerful story he had. I just had to go and meet them afterwards to tell them thank you .

So thank you to all of our veterans. My father who was in the Army during peace time, my father-in-law during the Korean War/Conflict and our nephew who served in the Army for 7 years finishing his service as a Sargeant in the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell,Kentucky after a tour of Iraq.

If you're looking for a good movie for Veteran's Day viewing I recomend "Memphis Belle"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Out of Order

I seem to be extra technologically challenged the last week. Everything I touch I somehow end up breaking. I took our 300.00 camera to school on halloween and then a few days later tried to take a picture of our beautiful Japanese maple treee and it wouldn't power up. I changed the batteries, still didn't work. Tried regular batteries thinking maybe something is wrong with the charger. Nope, still didn't work. Turns out we have to send it to Canon in New Jersey for repairs. At least it's still under warrenty.

Next I needed to make some copies at school. I go to the copy room and the Copy Queen is not there. No problem, I can figure out how to make two sided, collated and stapled copies. Wrong. We have this big copier with all the bells and whistles that you have to have an ID number plus an account number. I don't know what I did but I pissed it off and it wouldn't work. I couldn't just leave it like that so I had to 'fess up to the Queen and suffer her wrath.

Today I had to take number 2 son to work and was listening to a CD in the truck. I wanted to change it so I push eject and I get no CD sliding out at me. Now there's a disc stuck in the player. Luckily the explorer is also still under warrenty.

I shouldn't be on the computer, who knows what will happen to it. Too bad, I'm staying on it. I am hooked on this website that is a live streaming camera at a watering hole in Africa. Last night when the sun came up there I saw monkeys, a giraffe, 5 zebras, and some animal with long curly horns. I suppose I can just watch Animal Planet and see the same thing with a better picture but it must be because this is live I can't stop watching. Except for now because Emmit Smith is getting ready to dance and you know how I feel about him. :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Catch 22

I recently found out that our young friend does indeed need a heart transplant. As of now she only has 10% of her heart left working. The other 90% is worthless now. She has had some sort of pump installed that is keeping the remaining heart muscle beating. She is fighting for her life. She is at the top of the waiting list for a heart as she cannot live without one. My heart is hurting for her. While I'm praying for a new heart to become available soon I am very saddened because that means someone else's child will have died. I can only imagine the stress and helplessness both sets of parents are going through. I can't pretend to know what it would be like to see my child so desperatly ill. Sometimes life slaps you in the face and makes your own trials and tribulations seem so inconsequential. Please include Emily and her potential donor in your prayers.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I used to wish that I had a hairdresser that did house calls. A few months ago mine quit doing hair. I had been going to her for some time, since my kids were little.
As a long time customer she said that she would come to our house to do our hair. WOW! My dream came true. But I have decided that it's not a good dream. After a few visits to my house I realized that while it is nice that she comes to me, I miss the salon experience. There is something to be said for laying back in the chair to have your hair washed by someone. That's very relaxing to me. Then sitting there in front of the mirror watching, talking and listening to all the conversations. Now I have to have my hair washed in the kitchen sink and sweep up my own hair plus the dog walks in it. This week she came to naturally enhance my hair (cover the gray, yes, I have some gray hair). My mother's hair was silver by the time she was 40. I don't have much but what I have I don't like. The most exciting thing about that night was that my long haired son got 6 inches cut off. I was slightly sorry to see it go. I loved those big, fat curls but he still looks good.There are some curls left. Why can't my hair do that??

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We have abundance of squirrels in our neighborhood. With the woods next to our house we get all kinds of woodland creatures in the yard. Rabbits, skunks, raccoons, white tail deer, fox, wild turkey and the evil squirrel. They torment our dog from up in the trees, they eat at our bird feeder and dig holes to bury nuts in the garden. I sort of have a love - hate relationship with them.

Today I was driving to school and was going slowly down the road, about 20 mph. While I am normally a fast driver this particular road is a route that many kids use to walk to school. So while I was driving I see on the side of the road a squirrel. This squirrel was sitting up on his hind legs waiting for me to go by. I'm getting closer and I swear it made eye contact with me. Ok, it has me in it's sights and it will stay put. Well no, it didn't. At the last minute right as I got up to it the silly thing ran out in front of me and I hit it. I'm thinking that this squirrel had a death wish and committed suicide with me as the accomplice.

On this same road I once had a cat run out and go under my truck. There were some kids that were chasing after the poor thing. Since you never know what a child will do I am almost at a stop while they are running near the street. Next thing I know the cat has run under my truck and won't come out. I have to get out and coax it out. After 3 or 4 minutes I get it to come out so I can continue on my way.

I think I need to find a different route to work.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I love many types of music. Mostly music from the 60's, 70's and 80's. From Andy William's "Moon River" to Aerosmith to Led Zepplin and who can resist KC and the Sunshine Band or Freddie Mercury of Queen. While I like a smooth vice I enjoy a raspy voice a la Janice Joplin, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, I really love southern rock and roll. I find that when I am upset, mad or sad I need to have that type LOUD. I wish I could download songs on the blog but I'm not computer friendly.

What inspired this post is that today I feel like "I've been tied to the whipping post" which is a great Allman Brothers tune. I just feel like life is kicking me in the ass. I am dealing with the emotional news of 3 people in my life dealing with life threatening illness. One is terminal. This all has happened within weeks of each other. I feel overwhelmed. What is making this so hard is that I'm usually a strong person. I'm not feeling strong now. I'm on the edge, ready to cry at a moments notice. I'm working on getting my shit together so I can help my friends. I feel guilty that I'm feeling sorry for myself when they are the ones suffering. My heart is hurting for them and there is nothing I can do for them. My young friend with the heart trouble has been flown to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and I'm not able to support our friends at this time because of location. We did shop for her tonight and will mail her a care package. It's been a long time since I was a 16 year old girl, I don't know what she would enjoy. We ended up getting her a journal, colored pens, drawing paper, colored pencils, an electronic game called 20 Questions, some notecards and stamps. We got her parents a gift card to Olive Garden so they can eat something besides hospital cafeteria food. Well I'm a mess right now but will be strong soon.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just Rambling Today

I know I've mentioned it before but I don't understand what the fuss is about autumn. People love it. I dislike it. I don't like having to wear a coat (so I don't, sometimes not in winter either). You have to fire up the furnace and that dries out your skin. I don't like the dreary sky, the rain and the wind blowing wet leaves around. Your dog tracks in mud and leaves into the house. Right now we're past peek leaf color so things are turning brown and dying.I find it depressing. Plus our house is next to the woods so we get a lot of leaves which = lots of raking.

I'm not a total whiner, there are a few things I do like about fall. I can wear black tights again. They make my legs look shaplier and thinner. It gets dark earlier and I can get in my jammies sooner and not feel lazy. Dark outside = jammies on. Sometimes I put them on when I get home from school in the late afternoon. Why not if I'm in for the rest of the day and evening. I also like the smell of fall.

Speaking of smells...Your sense of smell is the most powerful sense you have. It brings back memories more than any other sense. I did some reseach on that several years ago. Sean and I were on a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a picturesque town in Canada and we were walking by a small restaurant. Suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks. The aroma eminating from this restaurant smelled exactly like my grandparent's house when we would go over for Sunday dinner and she would make a roast. I hadn't smelled that smell in over 30 years. I have cooked that same meal over the years as has my mother but it never smelled like my grandma's for some reason. I couldn't move from that spot and was almost in tears at the memory. Sean thought something was wrong. I have never smelled that smell again since then.

I found out that smell memories are stored in the hippocampus area of the brain and can be strongly triggered. I also discovered that smells can linger in your nose once the smell is gone. That explains why when my kids were in diapers I would swear I could smell stinky diapers when I was at work or away from them. The smell was stuck in my nose. The things you remember...

A nice fall day. Did you ever notice that the sky on a sunny fall
day seems to be much bluer than in the spring and summer?
I don't know why. Maybe because its cooler and not hot, humid
and hazy.

Bittersweet at a farm market

These photo's are from a fossil hunting field trip that our class
took on a fine fall day. It poured the entire time, the site was
flooded and the mud...By the end of the trip my jeans were
wet up past the knees and I had picked up countless kids that
slipped. It was an adventure. I don't know if this student had
any fossils in those rocks but I made him put the dead snake
back. Told him maybe in a million years another student will
find it fossilized here. He didn't fall for that.

My last ramble for the day is that I hate blogger. Have the time it eats my post and I can't retype it just the way I had it or it won't download photos or publishes the post any way it wants regardless of how you had it on the page. I guess that is what you get for free!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Today was a rotten day. I found out a friend of almost 15 years is again fighting cancer. This time it looks like she will not win. It's not curable but is treatable. What does that mean? Will treat you until it kills you? I am mad. She is a gentle and kind woman, a perfect first grade teacher. She has kicked cancer's ass three previous times but...

I also found out today that some friends of the family's daughter may need a heart transplant. We've gone on vacation together and taken care of each other's children. A virus has attacked her heart, if this last treatment does not work, she will need a heart transplant. She is 16 years old. Until grade 5 she and my number 2 son would have sleep overs at each other's house. That has since stopped but they see each other everyday. They met each other in the above teacher's first grade class.

I found out today when I had my nails done that Holly, the Vietnamese woman that I go to has had a curse put on her by the nanny she fired. I know this sounds funny but who am I to judge what she believes in. She is not sleeping and has lost 10 pounds on her size zero frame. This is serious enough for her to be travelling to Vietnam next week to try and have it removed.

As Monday's go, this one sucked. I will ask you to say a prayer for these friends of mine. They all need them.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My nest is half empty. Number one son is away, a junior in college. His career choice requires 6 years of college. Number two son is a junior in high school. Soon we will begin the college search again. Some parents enjoy that part. I do not. I find it stressful. Mostly because I know we can't afford their dream schools. #1 son's first choice was a 40,000 per year university with stiff competition. He applied and was accepted. We couldn't send him. He's happy with his second choice and likes the university he attends. It has a well known and successful nursing program. In less than two years our baby will be away at school, then the nest will empty of chicks but mom, dad and the dog will still be feathering it. I've been told not to fret over it, they always seem to come home to roost for a while after college. The rub is that by then you like having your house to yourself with your own schedule. We'll see.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I can't dance. Now you might think it would be because of my bad knees but no, I've never really been able to dance. I have no rythm. I'm rythmically challenged. I can slow dance but always want to lead.

I do enjoy seeing others dance so I've been in my glory watching "So You Think You Can dance" and "Dancing with the Stars". I will even watch professional ballroom dancing competitions on PBS.

That being said, what has prompted this post is Emmitt Smith. Emmitt exudes cool. He is sauve, competititve, dedicated, light on his feet and charming. So very charming.
Not to mention, nice to look at.

I did some research on him and found he is the NFL's all time leading rusher, holds 4 rushing titles and is a three time Superbowl winner. I'm sure he had some great moves on the football field but I'm loving his moves on the dance floor.

Sexy? You bet! But wait, there's more. Emmitt attended the University of Florida for 3 years before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1990. He made a promise to his mother that he would graduate from college and during the NFL off seasons he went back to University of Florida and graduated in 1996 with a degree in Public Relations.

One thing I really love is that he is a dedicated family man. While his practice time for Dancing with the Stars is in LA, he flies home several times during the week to spend time with his wife Pat and their 4 children.

He is involved in charity work also, being one of the founding members of "Open Door Foundation" helping to change the lives of young people.

A man's smile is the first thing I check out and Emmitt does indeed have a nice one but the rest of him ain't bad either.

Sean says he has washboard abs too, they're just under a few loads of laundry.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I have a thing for rocks. There is something about them that makes me want to look at them, collect them and find something to do with them. This rock is one I found that I call the happy rock. Doesn't it look like it's smiling? Sean and the boys think it looks like Jabba the Hut from Star Wars. It has a nice spot in my garden where I can see it. We have many larger versions of this type of rock lining the backyard and down the side next to the woods. They're interesting shapes with holes and crators in them. I don't really know if they're igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary but I call them dinosaur rocks because they look like they came from the cretateous era.

On the beaches of Cape Cod I spend hours walking and looking at the beautiful stones that wash up on the beach. When the kids were little they would carry their backpacks with their towels in them. They wondered why when we left the beach the packs were so much heavier than when they arrived. Finally they figured out that I had put the stones I'd collected in them. I know, what kind of mother loads up the kids. Well, I did. I had to carry chairs, umbrella, beach toys and the cooler. Well, not really, Sean carried most of the stuff. :)

When anyone I know is going out of the country I ask them to bring me back a pretty rock. My nephew told me there are no pretty rocks in Iraq so I didn't get one from there. That's okay, I'd rather he kept his head up.

When we first moved into our house 23 years ago an older lady came down and introduced herself to me. Mrs. R as I came to call her, was a widow with no children of her own. Turns out she loved rocks too. She was originally from Nova Scotia and told me that everytime she went home she would bring back rocks with her. The custom agents would tease her about smuggling pieces of Canada out of the country. Mrs. R had one special rock that she loved. Eventually she had to go into a nursing home but she wanted me to keep that rock. She knew I understood. She passed away several years ago and I couldn't keep that rock. I took it to the funeral home and asked would they please put that rock in with her. I wanted her to have a piece of her homeland with her forever. I loved her and sometime will tell you about her.

So do I have rocks in my head? I don't know. I don't really know what it is about them that I like.