Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thank you God and modern technology and dedicated doctors

This week has one of those marathon weeks. We have had grandkids in and out of here all week for various reasons. The most important reason that this week has been hectic and stressful is that this was the week that Austin had surgery to close the hole in his heart.
He had the surgery done at St. Louis Mercy Hospital. Austin had grown enough that they were able to make an incision in his groin, rather than do open heart surgery. The Doctors said the hole was much bigger than they originally thought, but they were able to fix it. When Austin woke up from the surgery, all he said was "I went to sleep". He remembered nothing about the ordeal. He is already home and if you didn't know better, you'd never imagine he had just gone through any kind of surgery.
I have worried about this child for over two years and am so relieved that the surgery is done and he is doing good. God is good.
I've had no time to read blogs this week, which has been really strange for me. Even if I don't comment on the blogs, rest assured that I will read all the backblogs! I have a lot more to blog about this week but right now I think I'd better get some sleep. I have four sleeping kids here who will be up at the break of dawn. God is good.

Monday, July 28, 2008

This week...

I won't be around the blogs much this week. We have Emily and Cara (two of the older gradkids) with us all week. Their yonger brother and sister (James and Anna) will be joining them here Thursday and Friday. I figure with two to four kids and mom & dad here every other day, plus trying to work... I just don't think I'm going to have much blog time!!!!
Hope everyone is doing good and will peek at the blogs whenever time allows :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reply to my concerns...

Amazingly I did hear back from the politician who I felt misrepresented himself in a letter to his constituents. The email was incredibly long. I have taken the liberty of pasting portions of it in this blog.
He wrote, "I apologize for any confusion, but I had to limit the letter to a minimal size. Our family is like many that was told that physical parish territories do not mean much for mandatory membership." "...our family is one of over 150 families that belong to St. Peters Church and live in Callaway County."
"I believe I have the education, experience, common sense, and true calling to achieve more for the citizens of Callaway County than any of my opponents. In the short time left before the election, I wish I knew how to let people know me as well as my friends do.
I appreciate any help in my campaign and regret my inability to communicate my sincerity to the citizens on my limited budget. I hope people realize I am running for office on my own merits instead of marketing ideas taught by campaign advisors.
I, seriously, would like to resolve any impressions or misunderstandings because I believe in honesty. If you would want to meet with me or talk to me on the phone, please call me at (cell phone number provided here)."
Here is the amazing thing. After Mass this morning he was waiting in the gatherieng area to meet me. He wanted me to know that he really does care about our parish even though his family attends another one. He felt he really did help in building our church by putting cash in the collection basket and attending our functions. I told him that didn't quite cut it and that I thought his letter was an exageration. I didn't have time to talk to him very long, but my final impression was that here is a guy who really does want to do good. He has no budget and no poliical experience and doesn't have a ghost of a chance of winning. However, I think he will actually get my vote. I have never known a politician to go out of his way to resolve a problem the way he did. Am I being too easy on him? Probably so, but then I tend to see the good in people.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Irritated as hell

I received in the mail today a political ad from a "gentleman" who is running for State Representative for the County I live in. I've been more closely associated with politics over the years than the average bear, having worked for an elected official for 14 years. We all understand how it is done... say what you think the people want to hear and stretch the truth and, unfortunately, in some cases lie.
The purpose of this dude's campaign letter was to get the conservative (more specifically, Catholic) vote. Ok, I can't fault him for that. However, I did sit up and take notice when his letter stated that "he helped contribute to the building of the new church at St. Andrew..." Oh, really. The Church I have attended for 29 years, have been mighty active in, and just happen to be the parish secretary. I've never heard of this guy before! I sent him an email asking for an explanation. It will be interesting to see if he replies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Junk Yard Dog

We call our Chihuahua, Whiskey, our Junk Yard Dog. He thinks he is an 80 lb. monster rather than the 8 lb. weakling that he really is. He can be oh so sweet and then out of the blue turns into a demon. We really have to be careful when the grandkids are here. He is great with them one minute and the boom! he is snapping and barking at them something frightful!

Last week our six year old grandson, Dakota, stayed with us a few days. He and the dog got along fine until one morning he was petting him and the dog turned demondog on us. Dakota backed away and walked over to me, put his hands on his hips and said, "Did you really pay money for that dog, Grandma?"

I had to laugh and admit that, yep we paid good money for the right to be terrorized by a rat. LOL have a great day y'all!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Party Animal X2

Thursday night I went out with the girls. We had a really good time just kicking back visiting and drinking a few margaritas. We played PoKeNo 3 or 4 times (and I LOST 3 or 4 times lol). We each pay in $5 at the beginning of the game and keep track of the number of chips at the end of each game. When we finally decide we are tired of playing, the pot is divided between the two three chip holders with the first place winner getting the top prize, 2nd place gets $15 and last place takes their $5 back hom with them. We've played this game many times and I believe the best I've ever done is take my $5 back home. Did I mention that I had fun? lol

Friday afternoon my friend, Patti and I headed to the Lake of the Ozarks. We went early to get their cabin opened up and ready for the weekend. Jim and her husband, Gerard, came down when Gerard got off work. Once Patti and I got everything unloaded and set up we headed down to the water. Patti is a sun worshiper. I told her the other day that she is going to kill herself. Her reply? "Oh well, I'll look good in my casket!" I, on the other hand, have Lupus and cannot tolerate the sun. So, we both headed for the water, Patti in the sun, me under a tree closer to the cove (watching for snakes of course lol). It was cool and refreshing. Once the guys got there we gave them time to relax with a couple of beers and then headed off in the boat to find a Lakeside restaurant.

Our destination was DockNockers. What a busy place! They are known for their crab legs, so of course that is what we got. Somehow we got lucky enough to get a table right on the lake where we could watch the boats coming in. The crab legs were some of the best I've ever had, even counting those I had while in Boston (and I thought those were the best ever!).
This picture is their boat parking. They also have a land parking lot. This restaurant is not one to go to if you are in a hurry. They offer NO service and don't apologize for it. You place your order, wait forever, and pick it up when your name is called. If you want a drink, you go get it. There are no bar maids hopping around taking orders, that's for sure. But somehow they make it work. The laid back, I don't care attitude is perfect for lake life. I found the following quote on their web site. It kind of sums up the kind of place it is (although I didn't see any nudity or even any scantily clad anyone for that matter! lol)
Our Request List
We would like all women to please donate any lingerie
or bathing suits, bras, panties and unused toys to the establishment. All men
must hit the wallet checkpoint before entering. If it's too short to meet our
girth's standards, we have an ATM. Please don't steal from this creative crap makes us pissed and sexually frustrated...besides all items in this
dump are for sale...including the employees! All unatended children and ladies
with clothing will be forced to walk the plank and some sold as
Answers to Any Critics!
1) Yes, we are tasteless, rude, perverted,
and at times immature.
2) Yes, we are in a low rent district.
3) Yes, our
morals send the wrong message to kids, and big breasted women.
4) Yes, we are
the lakes original "Crab Shack"
5) Yes, we painted the bar this year...and
that's all!

After we got our bellies full, we tooled around the Lake for awhile, marveling at the number of huge corporate homes, condos, and more modest family homes that dotted the shoreline. The other amazing thing was how few of the large boats there were dominating the water space. The past few years we had pretty much stayed out of the main channel because of all the big cigar boats (that's what we call them anyway). The effects of the cost of gas was very evident on the Lake. We mostly saw pontoon boats and moderate size boats. Apparently the big monsters were in dry dock, waitiing for better days. It was nice to be able to cruise around the Lake safely for a change.
Once we got back to the cabin, we sat on the deck for a bit and then called it a night. I think we were in bed (and asleep, for those who are wondering) by 11:00 lol. (we need to work on our party animal techniques I guess). Saturday morning we had a late breakfast, a swim in the Lake, and then it was time for Jim and me to head home and back to reality.
I got home in time to sit with my mom so dad could go to church. I'll have to admit, though, having gotten away for a few days made it much easier to do.
My baby turned 28 last week! so tonight we are having Julie and her family over for BBQ. It should be fun having just them rather than the whole bunch.
I hope everyone had as good of a weekend as I have had so far. And of course hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blog Links

Well, I've finally gotten around to adding some Blog Links to my blog. If I've added someone, and you would prefer not to be linked, just bop me on the head and tell me not to do that! AK, I have tried, and tried, and TRIED to link your blog. For some reason it won't work. :-( Any suggestions? If anyone would like to be linked who I have not already linked, let me know and I'll fix that.
I am "going out" with the girls tonight. All that means is that we are all meeting at one of the houses and eat and drink and play cards. It has been a long time since we have gotten together. Should be fun. I hope everyone is having a great day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A good deed indeed

Hubby Jim works for a funeral home. The owner has a reputation for helping young people who have had a rough life.

Jim got a call yesterday asking him to do a Limo run to the St. Louis Airport. He said, "Sure" and thought to himself "that's going to be easy money". What they didn't tell him was that he was picking up 10 young men who were from the Watts Ghetto in Los Angeles. These young men are former gang members who had made a commitment to turn their lives around. Jim's boss had invited them to his farm in Missouri. As part of the selection process, the young men had to write essays of why they wanted this opportunity. Jim had tears in his eyes as he told me they had written about how they wanted a chance to get out of the ghetto and be the dad they never had for their children. Jim drove the limo with the kids. The other limo had the two chaperones and the luggage.

These two pictures are an example of the area where the boys are from.

Jim was head of our local High School Art Department and taught high school for over 30 years. So he is incredibly comfortable with teens. He was a little uneasy about transporting 10 gang members - at least until he met them. He said he felt like he was back in the classroom watching kids being kids. These teens had never been been out of the ghetto. And here they are having just experienced their first plane ride, been picked up in a limo, and now have a good ol' boy from Missouri teasing them about snakes and all of the other hazards they might experience where they were heading. Lol, he said their eyes were big as saucers.

They stopped at Golden Coral for lunch. As Jim describes it, these were BIG boys and he couldn't get over how high they piled their plates. I suspect Golden Coral took a loss on these guests lol. After they had gone down the road a bit Jim opened the privacy window to say something to the kids - but he quickly closed it again. Apparently there had been just enough time for the food to do its thing and the boys were having a farting contest. It stunk to high heaven!

The place they are staying is like a country club. They have a teenis court, basketball court, swimming pool, a lake for fishing or swimming, a club house, wide screen TV - you name it, they have it. They have all sorts of outings planned. I cannot imagine what the cost is of sponsoring an event like this - plane tickets, food, transportation... I'm just glad there are people in this world who are willing to reach out to those who need a helping hand. I wish I was more that way, but I guess there is only one person who can make that happen, huh *looks in the mirror* - yep me.

Have a great day all and let's all try to do just one nice thing for somebody else today - something as little as a smile or hello to someone who looks like they need a smile can make all the difference in the world!

How do I know...

I received the following email when I got to work today. I am still scratching my head and laughing... I'm just glad someone other than me sent it lol.

"Please make sure your pastor or pastoral administrator receives the
attached letter. If you do not receive this e-mail, please call

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The pride of Missouri...

We were driving around Jefferson City this afternoon and happened around the State Capitol Building. The lighting was just right to highlight the sight we often see on the top of our Capitol Building. Hmmmmmmmm
The statue on the top of the Capitol is Ceres, the Roman Goddess of Agriculture. I believe she is supposed to be holding wheat in her hand. I often wonder if the architect/artist had a good laugh when he was designing the statue. But I sincerely doubt anyone could have foreseen the fact that from the right angle on a clear day that the statue would look like anything but the goddess of agriculture. Ok, maybe I just have a dirty mind.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Friday, July 11, 2008

How To Dance In The Rain

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb.

He said he was in a hurry, as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch, and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.

I inquired as to her health; he told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.

He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are'?

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, 'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'

I had to hold back tears as he left. I had goose bumps on my arms and thought, 'That is the kind of love I want in my life'.

True love is neither physical nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

My friend sent this to me in an email. Thank you Iggy. I have seen it before and it touches my heart every time I see it again.
There are times when I sigh and think, "what's the point" as I spend each day with my mother. My mind always goes to the most important words anyone who is dealing with a loved one with Alzheimers needs to remember: "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jim's Big Ol' Fish

Now, I want to preface this with an acknowledgement that this fish isn't going to look all that big to you folks who live on the coast and pull enormous fish out of the ocean. You are just going to have to keep in mind that we "pond" fish. We spent Sunday at our son's just enjoying the day. The kids rode the 4-wheelers, swam, jumped on the trampoline, and just did whatever else they felt like doing. I enjoyed watching them and visiting with my daughter, Tessa, and Greg's wife, Alicia. The guys gave 4-wheeler rides to the kids and fished. Jim was pretty proud of the Bass that he caught in Greg's little pond. It was 20 inches long. The biggest Bass Jim had ever caught previously was 27 inches long. I used to enjoy fishing, but not so much anymore. It was always an inexpensive way to spend an afternoon with the kids. We'd pack a picnic lunch and go to one of the Lakes. Better yet, we'd go creek fishing. Creek fishing isn't for sissies. The water is usually shallow but sometimes you run into deep holes that you have to wade through. Then there are the water snakes to watch out for. Oh, and how about the trees hanging overhead! We were creek fishing once and a snake fell right in front of me from the tree above. Bout scared me to death! Hmmmmmm maybe that explains why I am the way I am - got the bejebeze scared out of me! LOL.
Anyway, I have another busy week ahead of me. Am going to take my dad to a couple of the homes that I've selected for him to look at later on this week. Not really looking forward to that...
Take care all and don't let any pesty ol' snakes slime out of a tree and getcha!

Friday, July 4, 2008

New Day

Thanks for the encouraging words in response to my dump of words two days ago.
Just a little update. Luke has hired an attorney and is going to try to get Travis. We have also talked to an attorney. We have a lot going for our side. The biggest is that at age 12, what Travis wants will weigh heavily on the judge's decision. He emphatically says he does not want to see Luke more than once a month and absolutely does not want to change his last name. Now I'm just hoping that Luke doesn't start playing the bribing game with him. The past history is the other thing we have going for us. Julie has been the stable person in Travis' life for 12 years. Luke has seen him once a month, if it was convenient for him.
I'm feeling much better about the whole thing. I'm usually not one to panic like I did. I think I just hit overload.
I slept most of yesterday morning. Was back in bed by 10:00 last night and didn't wake back up until 8:30 this morning. I only do that when things get to be more than I can handle. But today is a new day and I am once again ready for it.
I hope everyone has a safe 4th of July. We are going to just stay home today. We'll have mom and dad out for supper and call it an early night again.
I've never much been into the whole fire works stuff. We used to shoot them off some when the kids were little but even then we'd only do the small stuff and sparklers. Speaking of sparklers. Those things are soooo dangerous! Greg (he's 32 now) still has a burn scar on the bottom of his foot. He was doing a sparkler and had sandals on. You can figure out how that went... That poor child was in so much pain. His own children will never get within ten feet of a sparkler! Tomorrow we are having a big family get together at our son's house. Combination 4th of July, Jim's Birthday, and his wife's birthday celebration. It should be fun. Three of Julie's boys (Travis, Cody, and Austin) are staying with us Saturday night. So, all in all it will be a full weekend.
Take care all and keep on keeping on!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Did I think today was over???? Think again...

Same day as yesterday's blog. Kinda emotional to say the least.
We got hay for the sheep. Square bales (which are hard to come by these days).
Jim got them when he got off work.. he had brought work clothes along so he could get them.. they got sprinkled on but were ok.
He brings them home and stacks them in the barn so that they will dry out.. good job Jim!
Mom and dad go home. Jim and I are sitting on the porch talking. Rain? Oh yea. Not rain.. thundersotrms!!!! Jim runs out to the barn. Damn! It is a pond inside the barn.. Hay is ruined other than feeding it to the sheep now.. Oh well. In the scheme of things it is just not important. Bring it on!

Emotional Day

I don't even know where to start. And quite honestly, I will be crying through most of my typing.

Today was the day I chose to start looking at nursing homes for my mom. I spent all morning yesterday calling and talking to administrators. Today was the day to go visit. I was going to do it alone since Jim had to work. At the last minute I realized I just couldn't. I called my mom's "baby" sister. Aunt Yvonne is over 20 years younger than mom and my mom was like a second mother to her. She said yep she'd be glad to go with me. She admitted later that as soon as she hung up the phone she sat down and bawled like a baby.
So, off we go.
The first home we visited was AMAZING. The administrator was a character right out of a story book. She had this long graying hair flying everywhere. Her office was chaotic (and that is being nice). The reason? The "family" has access. The patients love her. She was like, "oh they come in and take things and that is fine... I know it will always turn up somewhere". They were decorating for 4th of July and the patients were doing the decorating. I was just amazed. They were smiling and taking care of each other. People at my mother's stage of the disease were being walked by others who were not so bad off. My aunt and I broke down and cried several times because we felt such an emotional bond between these people. You would think we would have stopped there, but we couldn't. We had to check out all of the possibilities.
I need to note here that my mom and dad are very "structured" people. They don't like hubub and noise. This is where I want her, but I'm not sure it is where dad will want her. So we moved on to the next home.
This home was like an institution. Do you have the code? No? Ok, hang on and I'll get someone who does. It was clean but I honestly never saw a smile. A big X and let's move on.
The next home was a cross between the first and second. The administrator was very personable. As we toured, she knew each patient and called them by name. But I didn't feel the connection of everyone to each other that I felt at the first home. But I can't think of ME. How I would feel. I have to think of mom and how she would feel. So, maybe this is the right place. Definitely not a no.
On to the next one. This one wasn't expecting us. It is a very new facility and more snobbish. I honestly think it is the one dad has in mind, so I will take him back there. We weren't able to get a full tour (which bothered me). I will just take dad back with me next week and have taken a wait and see attitude about this one.
I felt pretty good all in all, though. My aunt and I cried together. Hugged and cried some more when I took her home. Putting a mom/dad/aunt/uncle/brother/sister - anyone you love into a nursing home is just not an easy thing to do. But I know it is time.
So, after an emotional day, I have mom and dad out for supper tonight. Mom is crying and crying. I can't figure out why. I finally get her to make enough sense that I realize she thinks she is pregnant! Oh my GOD! I'd cry too! I FINALLY convince her that this is not possible. Dad just rolls his eyes. LOL she kept saying, "but I didn't get that close to him!" Oh, what a dreadful disease Alzheimers is.
The day should be done, right? Nope.
Phone rings. Our yougest daught is on the other end. She is hysterical. Now, I have to back up 12 years.
Twelve years ago Julie got pregnant when she was 15 years old. The father of the baby was a friend. By a friend what I mean is that our families regularly get together (yea it is present tense, we are (that may soon change) still friends. She and Luke experimented when we had a New Year's Eve party. Adults were upstairs, kids were downstairs. We don't make that mistake anymore. Anyway, Julie got pregnant. Luke wanted nothing to do with her or the baby. Ok. Jim and I do. So, we took guardianship until Julie was able to get on her feet. We treated Travis as our own child for four years. I still feel like he is mine (and now I pause to cry again). Let's just say we are very close.
More history. Once Luke graduated from college without having to pay a dime of child support, Julie went after him for support. He refused to pay anything. His parents got him one weekend a month and if it was convenient for Luke he would drop by and say hi to the kid. He often said he "just wanted to be a favorite Uncle". Nice. To bad he didn't think of that before he fathered a child... but I digress. So that is how things went for years. Luke would see Travis once a month (maybe), didn't pay a dime, and never called to ask about him and never made an effort to see or call him on his birthday. Yep, daddy really cares.
After Luke graduated from College, Julie asked for child support. By this time she is already married with a step son and another child of her own. Luke says refuses. She goes to child support and they start garnishing his wages to the tune of $150 a month. Yea, that supports a kid. But that is what he is paying and Julie let's it go. He still is making no effort to see Travis more than once a month, and that only because his mom and dad are still getting him. This goes on this way until this year.
Fast forward. Travis is twelve. Luke is now in a relationship (no married) with a woman with two kids. They are both still married to someone else but have filed for a divorce. Ok, that is the way some do it these days. I'm not going to judge (well, at least I'm not going to admit to judge...) Now all of a sudden Luke is interested in Travis. Huh? Yea. He starts calling him. He starts asking for him. Hmmmm. The other two kids are yonger... is he wanting a babysitter? Who knows. Anyway, Julie gives in whenever possible. For one thing she doesn't want him taking her to court. I think it is not right but try to keep my mouth shut. Until tonight.
Back to the hysterical call from Julie. Luke has called. He calmly tells Julie that he's decided he wants joint custody of Travis. And, oh by the way, he wants him to change his last name to his (he currently has our last name). WTF?????? Julie said she yelled and screamed and Luke and then hung up. Then called me sobbing. "What do I do, mom? I can't afford an attorney".
Now I go to the Harry Potter series in my mind. Ladystyx's blog just asked what charachter we would be if we were a Harry Potter charachter. I chose Lilly. Styxy said, maybe Professor Dumbledore or Neville or Mrs. Weasley. Well tonight I became all of the above. I told Julie that Luke was going to get Travis over my dead body. She was to take the gloves off and fight like the mother lion she is. That son of a bitch will NOT get Travis without a fight. I don't care what it costs. I counseled her like Dumbledorf would have Harry. I told her to anticipate what Luke would counter with and write down what she would answer back. I told her to not back down. I told her to tell him he cannot have him this weekend (his normal weekend to have him). That his grandmother wants him and she comes first. That she needs a cooling off period to think through what rights she will allow him to have moving forward. I would mortgage my home if I have to to keep that SOB from getting Travis.
Here is the sad part. Luke's mom and dad are our best friends. They are the ones we travel with. Patti is my soul sister. We call ourselves the evil twins because we think so much alike. We had to agree early on that we cannot talk about Luke and Julie. The mother lion comes out in both of us and we have fought fiercely about it. I have no idea what this is going to do with our friendship. I can remain her friend as long as we continue to not make Luke and Julie's problems our problems. But it is becoming difficult to do that. Losing her as a friend would be a huge blow to me. But if that is what it comes to, then so be it.
I know this has been a marathon blog, but ever since I was a child if something bothered me, I would write. I literally have a cedar chest full of journals dating back from when I was six years old. So I am writing. I understand if you pull this mess up... say OMG and move on. I just had to get this off my chest. Please God, let tomorrow be better.
(by the way.. I have typed and not looked back. All spelling, grammar and repeat sentence errors are a result of hysteria lol... well at least a result of I don't care).