Thursday, November 29, 2012

Calendar Schmalander

'Tis the season of the "Advent Calendar".  If you aren't familiar with them they come in several different styles  and forms and are used to count down the days 'til Christmas Day. Probably most familiar are the cardboard boxy type where a little door opens for the corresponding day and you are treated to a small piece of suspect chocolate. You can see an example here: Advent Calendar.

As a child I always wanted an advent calendar. Homemade, store bought - anything that I could use that would help me count down the days until Christmas.  Alas, by the time my parents had children everything was "as it always was" - holiday traditions included, so we never made any new traditions for anything, including having an advent calendar anywhere in our home.

When I had my own children I decided that I would do the advent calendar in an extra special way, making it our tradition and hopefully something my kids would remember and enjoy for years to come.

I decided to do the "Advent Stocking".  I have posted about it before [here] but basically it is a small stocking, hung on their bedroom doors that their Dad and I put small tokens/gifts in each night.  They are numbered and in this way they can count down the days until Christmas with a little treat each morning. [It also ensures they are in a happy mood in the morning :)]  It has always been such fun and from what I can tell a pretty unique idea because I have never met anyone else who is as crazy as me does it too.

With the oldest kids living on their own, a younger daughter in college and only one child at home I decided this year I would put one last twist on the count down to Christmas.  We now have. . . [drumroll]. . .

The "Advent Christmas Tree"!

This is the one in our home for Wallene and a similar tree and wrapped presents is wending it's way to college for Squirrel.  As the pile dwindles the closer to Christmas we'll be. YAY!

There are so many things I love about this. First - it's an Advent Tree! Who doesn't like to be a kid and count down the days until Christmas? [Or in the case of us parents - days left to shop, eek!] Second - the kids get such a kick out of it and the cost is minimal.  I keep a box in my closet and while I am out through the year I pick up free samples of things like make up, creams, toothpaste and hit the $1.00 and below aisle at places like Target and Michaels.  I even find stuff for free online - notepads, stickers, frames - that is the fun part for me. And I usually throw in a sweet or two. All this stuff is collected and hidden in the box to be wrapped at the end of November [And I LOVE to wrap!].  Third - it's better than the stockings because it is an added decoration in our dining room and I don't have to worry about stuff fitting in the itty bitty stockings. :) And finally - it sits right next to our Advent Wreath, which is truly the meaning for the season and [I think] they complement eachother nicely.  Because, let's face it, we have always put Jesus' birth and the celebration of the season first in our hearts, but we do have the fun and excitement of the "Santa Claus" aspect of it all.  It would be silly to pretend we didn't.

The gang just [now!] came in from the outside and the lights are on the house! ::skippyhappydance::

So far I have wrapped and set up/mailed the advent trees, made one batch of cookies to be mailed and ALL the decorating is done [thank you Wallene especially and Pooldad].

And it isn't even December 1st!  Now who wants to finish my Christmas shopping? giggle

See ya' on the flipside Tadpoles. xoxo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Okay. . .So [Bad] Poetry Isn't Your Thing. . .

[The title is a reference to the previous post.]

I realize to sustain blog readership a blogger has to post on a consistent basis.  Since I have never been a big numbers gal, doing this blog more for a journal for my family and friends, I don't sweat posting on a daily [weekly, monthly] basis.  Still, I do think of y'all everyday.

Although it has been a pretty successful year, we have had our ups and downs with my health. That I am here to celebrate another holiday season is actually a miracle.  And I don't mean that in a throw away, your every day, "can't believe I passed the geometry test" kind of miracle. I truly believed that as sick as I was when I entered the hospital in February that I was not coming out alive.  If you read the last post before I was admitted I wrote about ordering groceries to be delivered, paying all the bills and finishing our taxes. What I didn't mention was that I had also written my will and planned my funeral. Basically, I put all my ducks in a row for my death. Not an easy thing to do when you are only 45 years old. Pooldad and I thought we knew how sick I was, but when we got to the emergency room we were surprised to find it was even worse.

Okay - with ALL that said - TA DA! I am still here and better for it.  I am not only healthier than I was earlier this year, but I have changed as a person.  I truly believe that I was given the gift of life through a miracle. A miracle that I prayed for, my family prayed for and my friends prayed for.  I know I owe a lot to the doctors for their knowledge and hard work in saving me, but even they couldn't tell us [and still can't] how I came to be so close to death.  They know the reason, just not the cause. They threw everything they had at me, took every test they could, even going as far as to treat ailments they thought I "might" have because they simply couldn't explain everything.  I continue with treatment, but I know there is something else which sustains me.

I have always felt when I survived my first hospitalization back in 2010 that I was kept here for a purpose. There was a reason I didn't die that time either.  Even the doctors used the word miracle for the fact that I hadn't died at home knowing how long and how ill I was.  Now here it is 2 1/2 years later and God has done it again.  The doctors still don't know everything that is wrong with me, but they are treating the maladies they know they can and have thankfully cured me of one.

I have never been an overtly religious person, but I have always believed in a higher power. My higher power just happens to be [the Christian] God. Those that have read my blog for any amount of time ::HI Tadpoles!:: know I don't talk religion [or politics] and that I respect everyone's beliefs.  I just hope that anyone that reads this or stumbles across my blog can afford me the same courtesy. :)

I didn't start out this post to write about God, nor do I think once I got started on the subject have I done it a bit of justice.  I guess this has been on my mind a lot lately and when I sat down at the computer this is the stream of consciousness that came out of head.  Or you can blame the meds - your choice ::wink::

Just know that every morning I am on my knees, praying and during my prayers I thank God for each and everyone of you. 'Tis true.  I know how lucky I am to be here, but I especially know how lucky I am to have been graced with friends such as all of you.

Thank you Tadpoles.  xo Skippy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to Y'all

Skippy's Thanksgiving Poem

Twas' the great day of Thanks and all through the land
most turkeys were in hiding, with some on the lamb.

Still, we had our own Tom, trussed up for the basting.
Just a few hours more it would be perfect for tasting.

The crispy brown skin, the juicy white meat,
send that drumstick to the kiddie table,
Young Billy called dibs on what he would eat.

The cranberries have cooked and are ready to go.
Get the dish, not the mold, as we don't "do" Jell-O.

The potatoes await their milk and their butter.
Their cholesterol count makes our hearts all a flutter.

"No worries," Mom says as she rolls out a pie,
"It's just once a year, I'm sure we won't die."

There's sugar and cinnamon, nuts and pumpkin galore!
Oh look! There's the gravy of which we will pour.

Yeast rolls, warm and golden, sit alongside the corn.
[Uncle Bob! Get off the internet! It's no time for porn!]
Take a place at our table as I toot my own horn.

Another year has come, a glorious feast I have set.
The very best part? I haven't killed anyone.

[I kid, I kid.]

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from all of us in the pond.

When I say my blessings tomorrow please know I am forever grateful for all of my Tadpoles. Hope y'all have a wonderful day.

[And if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving hope your day is as wonderful as I know you are :)]

xoxo Skippy

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Little Presumptuous Perhaps?

Just a quick side story from yesterday's doctor's appointment. :) Think of it as a BONUS! Woot! heehee

You know when you go to a new doctor and you have to fill out a "New Patient"  questionnaire?  Name, age, family and personal health history, lifestyle, etc?

Under lifestyle they always ask about smoking and drinking.  Everywhere I have been, always, these are yes/no questions.  As in "Do you smoke?  _____yes _____no" and "Do you drink? _____yes _____no" with appropriate blanks to fill with the amount you smoke or drink if you check "yes".

The questionnaire I filled out yesterday was like that for smoking - yes or no.  But for drinking?  It said "How often do you drink [beer/wine/liquor]?"  No "DO you drink yes or no". Just straight up "HOW OFTEN" which  I thought was odd because it assumes that everyone drinks.  I don't.  I know other people who don't drink either.  I don't even occasionally drink [holidays, parties, weddings] and could not tell you the last time I had a drink, honestly, so I wrote 0 and "I don't drink".  I just found it weird that for smoking you were given an option but drinking you weren't.  It was as if you had to admit to drinking some kind of alcohol recently or on a weekly basis. heehee

For what it is worth I have drank [drunk? drinked? giggle what is it?] alcohol before and I like to talk about it with people who drink - it's fun, but I honestly don't like the taste of any of it and it's expensive besides.

Anyhoodle - Have you guys ever seen a question posed like that?  And don't you guys know other adults that don't drink?  And not just people that are in AA* - aren't there some adults out there like us that just don't drink?  Or do I live in a cave?  giggle

Whatever, I just thought it was weird. Then again.....

*A very close friend [who is a member of AA] told me there were only two types of adults in the world "Those who drink and those in AA."  When I asked him "What about me?" He just shrugged and told me I was unique.  In more ways than one I'm sure. ::wink::

Have a good one Tadpoles.  There's a "twofer" for ya'.

So no one thinks I am "bristling" about this [Thanks for the giggle Rudee :D] the CAPS in this post are used as emphasis, not yelling.  Sorry if anyone thought this upset me or that I am too stupid to know why they have to ask about a patients drinking history.  For the record - it isn't WHAT [emphasis] they asked, it was HOW [emphasis] they asked it that I thought was weird.  WEIRD, not wrong or intrusive, just WEIRD like I said when I wrote the post yesterday. Besides, if I let something like this bug me I would have a pretty short [and pathetic] life expectancy, now wouldn't I?

Again, have a great weekend and we'll see ya on the flipside.  Enjoy the gorgeous weather :D

Something About Me

There must be something about me that draws complete strangers to me.

In the past week I have had two similar experiences that have left me scratching my head.  :/

I attend Mass every morning.  I usually go to the 6:45 am Mass, but sometimes go later at 8:30.  Our church is enormous.  The floor plan is almost in the shape of a cross with three "spokes" of the cross being seating with the top of the cross the alter and stage, etc.  The sides and main pews are clearly divisible and during morning Mass the few people that do attend sit in the main "spoke" facing the alter.  At best there are 30 parishoners in a church that seats 1,000.  We are a sparse group during the week.

With so few people we have our choice of seating and unless you attend with someone no one sits in the same row as, let alone next to, a fellow worshipper.  We spread out.  I like it because I don't have to worry about bumping anyone and I can get up and down as slow as I need to due to the pain.

This past week I attended 8:30 Mass and took a seat about half way up the pews directly in front of the alter.  As I was kneeling and praying I felt some one sit down near me.  My first thought, since my eyes were closed, was that Pooldad had joined me. YAY! [He had late shift and I had left him at home sleeping]  But no. When I glanced over I saw it was an older gentleman [60ish?] and in this huge, empty church he chose to sit right next to me. Like Pooldad would've sat right next to me.  He didn't look at me or acknowledge me. He just chose to sit down next to me.  I know it's church, but really?  It sort of creeped me out.

After that I took to sitting to the right of the alter in the pews that are off to the side. No one sits there and it would be too obvious if the gentleman followed me.

Another thing I should point out is that when I go out in public I wear a blue mask over my nose and mouth.  I do this in an effort to minimize catching a cold or the flu from strangers.  I can't be sick when they call for my surgery and if I was to get sick [with any kind of infection] before that I will be hospitalized immediately.  I have had my flu shot, use my own pen when signing for things in stores, wear gloves and use tissues to open doors, wash my hands all the time, etc. I take every precaution I can think of not to get sick.  Everyone is used the mask [even strangers] and understand the reasons why I am wearing it. I simply do not want to get sick. Okay? Okay. :)

So you would think that if you had a hacking cough, runny, sniffly nose and were sneezing continually without benefit of a tissue you would not pick the one seat in a near empty church that is right next to the WOMAN WEARING THE MASK. Would you?  Sigh.

I am still shaking my head over this woman.  I can understand if people have particular seats/pews that they sit in everyday, seats that they are used to - you know, like in class you have "your seat" even if it isn't assigned - but this is not the case with this woman.  I go everyday and she has never made an effort to sit anywhere on that side of the church and it wasn't as tho' she was late to mass and the seat was conveniently located near the doors so she seated herself quickly.  You have to walk the length of the church to get to where we were sitting and no one would interrupt Mass to do that.  Although I feel really bad that she is so sick and obviously miserable, she has to know that she could infect anyone instantly with what she had coming out of her mouth and nose. But she sits next to me? The one person, out of 20, with 980 other empty seats, who is obviously making a concentrated effort to not get sick?

What is it about me?  To be honest I don't feel very good pointing these people out, like I am being overly critical or a big cry baby and maybe they needed a friend and the girl in the blue mask looks friendly?  I don't know. . .I know Church is about friendship and brotherhood - but the seat directly next to me?  When the church is empty?  Had better [only] be occupied by someone with the same last name as mine.  Heck. I didn't go near Pooldad, literally go near him, for a week when he had a cold.  I certainly don't want a stranger's germs. :)  And I like friendly, older men - but I can like you from over there [------> pointing to the end of the pew] just fine tyvm.

I am getting better in regards to my organ functions [each test is a little more promising than the last!] and we are hoping for the day that the doctors stop telling me a transplant is my only option. [Hey, it could happen. :)]  We're saying our prayers and God has already given us a couple of miracles. We figure it doesn't hurt to ask for one more.  I do appreciate, so much more than you know, your good thoughts and prayers that y'all send me.  I tell Pooldad all the time that you guys had a lot to do with helping me survive my last two hospitalizations and I am so thankful for you ALL. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  I could never say it enough, but I hope you know I carry you all in my heart and thank God every morning and night, in my prayers, for my Tadpoles.

One last thing before I have to go and finish up my "chores" [read: nap! heehee] I finally went to see the rheumatologist [2 months later] and she is convinced that there is something wrong with me [y'think?] that is causing the excurtiating joint pain.  She has scheduled a lot of tests and x-rays in the next two weeks to help narrow it down.  I hope it is something that can be treated without opiates.  All my doctors are pleased with my diet and exercise and have said that what I am doing can be key in helping lessen the pain, but neither seems to be working.  I was so hoping they would because I already take enough pills I hate to take more, but. . .as I said, all we can do is wait and see what the tests and the x-rays tell us.  The only good thing to come out of this is now I don't feel like a drug seeking addict when I call in to get my morphine or dilaudid refilled.  I take them as sparingly as I can because I hate the side effects, but the doctors are fine with trying anything they can to help me with the pain.  I know there are some people out there who are told it is "all in their head" and I feel for them. I thought so too at one point, but when I was off the meds I couldn't move, let alone stand up or grip a cup.  For so long the doctors had me diagnosed with something else, but now that they have retracted that diagnosis they have to find out what else it might be.  I think now it is a matter of what it is NOT and not really finding out what it IS. Make sense?

Okay - that was my monthly health update.  Hope I didn't bore you into oblivion, but there isn't much else going on here at Chez' Skippy.  Pooldad is over his cold, the kids are doing awesome [and band is over YAY!] Spot says "hey" and I guess we are just gearing up for the holidays in between doctors' appointments  and therapy. :) I can't believe Thanksgiving is in two weeks!  What I really can't believe is that I am going to be here to enjoy it. WOW.  If you only knew. . .

Thank you Tadpoles. Thank you so much. For everything.

We'll see ya' on the flipside. :)