Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Making of a Christmas Tree


"The Art of Quitting"

This was the title of an article I saw yesterday while sipping Godiva Hot Chocolate in an abandoned corner of Barnes and Noble, stealing a few glances in my favorite magazines that I can not remotely afford.  (Have you ever stolen anything?  I mean, besides glances?  I have!  That post coming up...)

I didn't read the whole article but I found the title to be very interesting since this is precisely what I have done this year, or tried to do this year.

While at first glance, it may not seem like I quit much this year.  I did.  I learned to say 'no' when I would have normally said, 'yes'.  I learned that the whole problem with saying NO is trying to come up with a reason to justify the NO.  When I discovered that people don't need to know my every reason and whim...No became really easy to do.

I've spent less time trying to save the world and more time just trying to save the moment.  Save the little moment that is so fleeting yet carries a million joys and sorrows; yes, in one little moment!  Little moments I don't want to miss, I decided.

Have I felt bad about quitting?  Maybe.  A little.

Today, I played the organ for a close to two hours at the Temple.  The chapel was packed but sitting on the front row was my dear, dear friend Bernie and his son Mike.

Bernie and Carol were the two people who kept me sane when I first moved her a couple of decades ago.  Carol is actually a second cousin to my dad- or something like that.  I spent so much time at their house.  They really welcomed me into their family.  Every Christmas, I would spend as much time as I could decorating the house with them, making candy, chocolates and just soaking in their warmth and kindness.  Christmas was what Carol lived for!  She would start the day after Halloween because the house had to be perfect by Thanksgiving.  She had probably 18 trees and that many wreaths that she had made.  It was magical!

Carol passed away a few years ago.  That first Christmas without her, Bernie kept up every single tradition of decorating and candy making!  He still called me every year to help him decorate and it was a task I loved!   He always told me that Carol would only trust me to decorate the main tree in the living room, I could do it just the way she could.  That always made me feel special.

On our way to Seattle in October, I was thinking about how I would be getting that call from Bernie to decorate that big tree.  He always called the first week in November.  When I saw him sitting in the temple, I realized, I had not gotten a call this year and I sort of felt sad.

I looked closer at him and our eyes met but there was something missing.  A spark that Bernie always had in his eyes!  I don't think he even recognized me!  I saw him a couple of months ago and we visited in the hall at the temple but something has happened.  He did not look well.  He looked pale and thin.  He seemed disoriented at times and his son would have to explain things to him.

As soon as I was done, I rushed out to my car and drove straight to their home.  Christmas was not there.  I could see the tree standing in the front window but it was unlit and un-decorated.  It was the only tree in the house. There were no wreaths, no sign of magic that everyone in this town has grown accustomed to.  Their house was on everyone's Sunday night, see the Christmas lights car ride.

I can't let this happen.  I have to save Christmas for Bernie!  I can't wait to go over and see him and find out what has happened.  It will sure be sad if he is sick.  I never thought I would see the day that Bernie would be 'old'.  But I guess he must be well over 80 by now.

Maybe I haven't quit altogether.  Somethings...I just can't quit.  Not yet!


Friday, November 28, 2014


I had big plans for Thanksgiving!  Big...BIG plans!

Just kidding.  I had no plans!  I planned to work since the kids have been at the Wasband's.

But then, I started getting sick.  I fought it and fought it with my little bags of tricks but by Wednesday, I just decided to surrender.

Wednesday night, I ran a fever and had some pretty terrific body aches.  I slept all of 3 hours!

Thursday, I laid in bed and watched a stack of movies, slept and ate Cottage Cheese Pancakes.  Well, one Cottage Cheese Pancake.  They are really good despite how they sound.  It was not quite a turkey with all the trimmings but it filled the void.

I'm not a champ when it comes to sleeping.  I haven't really slept in about 25 years so I thought I might give it try.  You know, see how the other side lives.  I figured, being sick was as good a reason as any to be lazy and sleep.  When else do you get to do that?  Well, some people do it daily but not me.  Even when I'm sick, sleeping just seems so mundane! 

Just as I thought, it was painful to sleep more than 3 or 4 hours.  It was extremely unproductive and boring and entirely over-rated!  I could have been getting so much done! 


 Shelbie challenged me to watch these two movies to see if I would cry through them.  She doesn't think I have a soul.  I actually think she may be right sometimes.   We went to Les Miserable together when it came out in the theater and everyone was packing Kleenex, except for us.  We saw a friend there who asked where our Kleenex was and I replied, "I don't cry.  I don't have a soul."

You know what...I didn't cry at any point in that movie.  Even the college boys sitting beside us were crying but not me.  I may have actually laughed inappropriately.

Back to the challenge...Both Shelbie and her Dad cried through these movies!  Sobbed like babies.  They both figured these would be the movies where I would find my soul.  So, I watched them both back to back...Fault in our stars and If I Stay.

Hmmm...nope.  Didn't cry.  Well, one line about 10 minutes into The Fault in Our Stars got my lip quivering but that was it.  The quote was, "Depression isn't a side effect of cancer.  Depression is a side effect of dying."  That may have hit a little too close to home.

Oh well, I'm not going to get too worried about the state of my soul.  Maybe it's because I was sick and I have too much congestion around my heart and my head.

So, Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you had a great one with family and all that!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Affordable my foot

Blogs all over the country are writing sweet, touching, thoughtful posts on gratitude.  I am grateful, don't get me wrong.  I am grateful every day but today...I'm frustrated!  Still grateful, but frustrated.

2015 is the year everyone has to be on the Affordable Care Act.  So, I've been working on that for the past week.

I got a letter from Health and Welfare and the Exchange saying that two of my three kids aren't eligible for the Exchange and the government has deemed them suitable candidates for Medicaid.  That sounds all well and good but they are each on a different Medicaid plan.  Neither one of those plans offer enough coverage for a kid with Dyskeratosis Congenita.  For example, they only cover three ER visits a calendar year!  That's a joke!  We've been there 15 times already and it's not the end of the year!

Remaining calm, I called my agent and he got all important players on a conference call so we could hash this out.  I just wanted to be able to add the two kids to my family plan with my one kid and me and have Medicaid as secondary.  Apparently, that is not going to be that easy.

Since the government has already decided on the coverage the two kids are going to have, I can't change that.  Because they will be on Medicaid, I get no tax benefits or breaks, I can't write off any out of pocket expenses  in their care and believe me, there will be plenty of out of pocket expenses that Medicaid isn't going to cover and so many of the things will need will have to be fought for.  I don't have one ounce of energy left for fighting the government.

If I go against the government and put them on my family plan, they will each have to have their own premium, their own deductible, basically their own plan and there will be no tax benefit or breaks AND I will be fined and taxed!!!  Why?  Because the government sucks!

So, as it stands tonight, I will have to have three completely different policies for my family!  How does any of that make any sense whatsoever!

I have another meeting set up with some Specialist in Obamacare to figure things out Friday or Monday.  I said to the guy tonight, "So whatever happens, I am going to be dealt a huge financial burden in 2015?"

His reply?  "Well, yes, I'm afraid so.  I sure hope you have a great Thanksgiving though."

Really?  He has no clue!!  I'm so annoyed!

I couldn't just let him have the last word, "Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to take care of these kids and now to worry about insurance coverage and going broke from medical bills?  I can't expend one ounce of energy fighting insurance companies for every claim!"

Oh my gosh...I need some serious meditation tonight!  I just don't get it. I try not to say that life isn't fair.  It's more fair than we realize but this is not fair.  The government is not fair! It's not fair that I have to worry about astronomical medical expenses and take care of three children with an orphan, fatal disease.  That's not fair.

Despite my anger and frustration, I will put this in God's hands and let him work it out.  Doing anything more than that will just make me crazy and sick.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy to report

I am happy to report that I received some very good news yesterday!

My friend's baby is going to be okay!  Hooray!  They will have a very happy Thanksgiving with much to be grateful for.

My friend who has spots on her liver is still not out of the woods but they didn't find any melanoma which is amazing.  They aren't sure what is going on they have more testing to do and things to watch but for now, it feels a little bit better.

I was relieved on both counts.

We are doing alright...getting a little behind on my work for the week since I got sick yesterday and spent hours...seriously hours trying to get Spencer's book finished and his other presents wrapped. I will be sending it all out today!  I love the way the book turned out...and, I love the quote I found for the front cover!  Thanks to my family and friends for sending pictures and quotes.

 Got his presents wrapped up.  Just curious, do you buy matching wrapping paper at Christmas time or just wrap the gifts in whatever?  I'm a little thrifty and a touch obsessives...maybe.  I buy a massive roll of generic wrapping paper so I can use for other occasions all year long.  Once I add the tags, it will be just the right amount of festive!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Broken Hearted

I need to toughen my skin or something because my heart has been broken in so many pieces this week!  I can't stand to see people struggle.  I can't stand to see other people with broken hearts.

When I say I can't stand it, I mean, I really can't stand it!  It is so overwhelming to me!

Maybe it's because of the life I have been given.  The hard things I have faced have been...well...


I don't want other people to have to go through hard things.  I don't want them to have to stare down their own mortality or that of a loved one!  I would take on everyone's problems if I knew they could be spared their own heartache.

It's really a big deal for me.  I don't like feeling helpless, powerless.

Three big things this week...

1.   My friend who had a liver transplant earlier this year is really, really sick!   Ugh! I was upset to hear that he is back in the hospital and struggling with what they think is acute liver rejection yet the jury is still out on what exactly the sum total of his problems are.   I emailed his mom to tell her I was thinking of them and I was sorry that he is so far away now and she can't be with him.

I love her response to me!  "He may be farther from me but he is the same distance from God!"  What a beautiful sentiment!  I learned so much from her in that one simple sentence.

2.   I have another close friend who is expecting baby number 5.  They are a beautiful and loving family.  She found out recently that there are some heart abnormalities with her baby.  She has more testing to do before they can determine the extent of the problems and what complications that will mean for him, if any.  Again, I found myself crying for this news she had to hear!  I prayed and prayed and scoured the Ensign for a message of peace and hope I could share with her.  I think it was mostly to make myself feel better!

3.   I have a friend who is also my doctor.  I love her to pieces.  She could teach a thing or two about caring for patients to just about any other doctor.  She's actually a Nurse Practitioner.  Last night, I saw her at the clinic, not for an appointment, I just ran into her.  We talked for a minute but then she confided in me that she had surgery last week to get her gallbladder removed.  While the surgeon was in there, he noticed something not right with her liver.  They suspect she has cancer.  Not just any cancer but Melanoma!!!  What is it with that crappy cancer?  I don't have Melanoma but I have three friends who do and I hate it!!  This friend had melanoma 12 years ago and went into remission.  She finds out Monday for sure if that is what it is.  While we talked, she said she wanted more than the statistical 5-7 months.  She has a son on a mission.  He left just before Spencer.
       Because I have been following my other friend's blog, who has melanoma, I was able to share some things I have learned from this other girl.  I told her of all the experimental treatments she has done and how they have worked.  This other friend has done some amazing and thorough research which I also shared.  I think it gave her hope.  She wasn't really aware of the other options out there besides your standard chemotherapy treatments that are basically useless.

     Again, my poor heart!

          Last night, as I laid in bed, I thought that as much as I want to step in and save them from these hard things, I can't.  It's all part of their plan of suffering.  We will all suffer at least once in our lifetime, some more than others I guess.  I reminded myself that more often than not, once the initial shock subsides, the trial becomes one of the most holy places!  A quiet place of reflection.  A peaceful respite a midst looming chaos. It becomes a time to really come to know the Saviour; an opportunity that seems to only present itself in circumstances such as these.  It is those times when everything happening around you and to you is simply out of your control so you reach for God's hand and discover the reach really isn't that far!

        Like my friend said, the distance to God is the same no matter where we are.  I'm excited for my friend who is growing her eternal family, to reach for new depths of love with the children she has and the child yet to be born. For her to see that she is in a partnership with a loving Heavenly Father and together, they will guide him and support him as he fulfills the measure of his purpose. She will care for him and carry him as he embarks in his mortal journey, however long that is, minutes, months or years.  What an amazing responsibility.

      To my third friend, she has such strong faith.  She uses her spiritual eyes to see the good, to see the blessings and already I can see that she is looking for God and he is there, in so many tender mercies.  If she hadn't of had the gallbladder problem, they never would have found the liver problem so soon!

     I guess, at the end of the day, it all comes down to trusting in God.  Trusting he has a plan for our happiness!   Though I truly believe heart still struggles to settle down.  Sometimes, I just don't think I'm cut out for the hurt in this world.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

12 Weeks of Holiday Giving

I was thinking today, as we drove to yet another hospital for more testing...This has been a long 12 weeks of hospitals and doctors.  Then, as I thought about all the bills we are racking up, they must be glad we are around; we are their job security!  Ha ha...not literally, but it sure feels like we are 'giving' a lot to our local docs, hospitals, and the car repair shop!  I would estimate our medical expenses over the past  12 weeks are somewhere to the tune of $75,000.  No joke!

So, I call it our '12 weeks of holiday giving'.  Hopefully, we are giving something as we trip through these visits besides money.

Last week, for Sam's procedure, the doc said, "We haven't seen you guys in awhile!"
"That's right, I decided to give you a break from us!" I said.
"Thank you! You guys are really hard." he replied.

I wasn't expecting that answer, but since we like to joke about everything...

I said, "Did you just thank me for giving you a break?"
"Yes, but I didn't mean it like that.  I mean you guys are really hard because nothing is normal and we don't know what to do but we have missed you.  You are always so pleasant and happy and we have missed that!"  

I hope he meant that.  We try to be pleasant even when things aren't looking so great and even when they don't know what to do.  So, I hope as we frequent emergency rooms, MRI rooms, hospital rooms, they don't completely roll their eyes and run the other way!

Today was Sam's big day at the hospital.  He had some specialized testing done on his lungs since Pulmonary Fibrosis is a big problem for DC kids.  It involved a series of different kinds of tests.
They let me sit in the control room for his CT Scan.  I was shocked when his skeleton showed up on the screen!  Take a look!

Look at that crooked spine!  Oh my gosh!  I knew he had scoliosis but this is not good.  No one ever mentioned that it was this bad!  You can even see how it is affecting his hip on the right side and the ribs.   I said to the radiology tech, "Does that spine look normal to you?"

"Wow! That's quite a curve."

Yes, it is.  Nothing like having your initial monogrammed on your spine!  I'm hoping it is the angle or something but I will definitely be following up with this one.  I know Spencer also has scoliosis and I've seen his curve since he has broken his back twice, but it's nothing compared to this!  So, that was a surprise.

 More testing.  This lady was so nice!!  She asked Sam why he was having such extreme lung testing done.  He shrugged his shoulders and laughed.  I explained the whole DC diagnosis and when I said, 'Pulmonary Fibrosis', she winced!  Ya, it's a scary thing!  If we can keep their lungs healthy then that's half the battle.  No one survives pulmonary fibrosis for too many years.   She asked how rare the disease was and I told her there are only three people with our mutation known in the world and less than 75 in North America with the actual, non mutated disease.  She stood up and asked if she could shake Sam's hand!  It was tender!

She said it was a joy and privilege to be working with him!

We came home to a sick Shelbie!  The IVIG headache had set in early this morning and now it was raging!  I had just enough time to make dinner, which we ate in the dark because she couldn't stand any light.  I ran to work really fast while Sam stayed with her and then I ran home and took her to the ER.

There we sat the rest of the night.  They put us in the pediatric was really such a cute little room and the seating was a park bench!

So, it's been a very long day but we had great nurses and radiologists to work with today.  Everyone was so kind and helpful.  We tried to be pleasant on our holiday giving tour, and funny.  You gotta laugh cause once the tears start...they don't stop very soon!

I will end with something that moved me today in the waiting room at the hospital for Sam's testing.  A woman came in, clearly not well.  She looked to be about my age but she had had an 'event' in her life, maybe a stroke or something.  She dragged her foot behind her, her speech was slurred and her hands jerked around.

She checked in and they told her to have a seat.  She sat down a couple of chairs away from me.  I could tell she was feeling uneasy.  After a minute, she got back up and asked the nurse if she could call someone to go into the testing with her.  She said, "I'm just so scared!  I can't do this alone."

I almost started crying.  I wanted to just put my arm around her and tell her I would go with her.  She went down the hall and made a phone call.  I sure hope they got their in time to be with her.  We were whisked off to our room.

I felt so blessed that I can always be with my kids when they need me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So Far

So far, the hard week I was anticipating has been pretty manageable.

I was able to get my car fixed and Sam's car fixed.

Today Shelbie had her transfusion and it went off without a hitch.   It was a plenty long day but no side effects and she slept all day long!  Tonight, she isn't feeling so hot, the headache is starting up a bit and she feels nauseated but maybe with a good night's sleep, she will be okay by morning.

Sam met us up at the hospital after school and he was in really good spirits which was so nice for a change.

All in all, it's been okay.  Thank goodness for little tender mercies!

Next up...get signed up for Obamacare and get Sam through his hospital tour and that will wrap up another really crazy, busy week!   Well, almost wrap up the week!

Sunday night, I was blessed with a gift from my friends who paid for most of the cost of the battery for Sam's car!  I was so amazed and surprised!  I can't tell you what a relief it was this morning to not have to be out there trying to jump his car in negative temperatures so he could get to school.  I did that 5 times last week and that was more fun than I could stand in one week!

So, as usual, God continues to carry us through these frustrating days.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Counting on Sundays

I usually count on Sundays to be the one day that I am able to refocus and regroup for the coming week.  I know this week is going to be a doosy so I was really hoping for a comforting Sunday.  A quiet Sunday.

I went to bed not feeling so great and had a lousy sleep.

I woke up to a text message from my boss, chewing me out and giving me a project to that he needs by Monday morning.  It's not a simple project either.  It's an entire set of floor plans which is about a 15 hour task, minimum.  In the past, when he gives me ridiculous deadlines, I am very accommodating but today, I'm feeling a little less than that. It's Sunday for crying out loud!

During church, I thought about three friends I have, two live in the cyber world and are fighting late stage Melanoma and one is a good friend fighting some mystery problem that has her bedridden.  I thought about these three women and how they are submitting to God's will.  They are all patient in their afflictions.  They all have positive attitudes even though what they are going through is beyond words or comprehension.  One of the ladies is actually just waiting to die.  The doctors have said there is nothing more they can do. She has been moved from Huntsman's Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake,  to a nursing facility but basically, they are only taking measures to keep her comfortable.  She has 5 very young children.  It's so very sad to me but when I read her posts, she is in such a peaceful place.  It's inspiring.  All of them are inspiring.

At church, I thought about how I want to be more like them, patiently submitting to God's will.  I sort of rededicated myself to that idea.

Came out of problems!! AGAIN!  Really God?  Is this your idea of a funny joke?

I take that back about submitting to God's will. I want to be that kind of girl but I sure don't do it very gracefully!  God wastes no time whatsoever teaching us lessons does he?  Me and my big dreams of being a better person!

I couldn't shift into reverse, 1st or 2nd gear!  I just spent over a thousand dollars two weeks ago to fix it!  Now what? Nothing is more frustrating to me.

This week, both kids will be in the hospital.

This week, I have to switch to the healthcare exchange!  It's one of those things that I pray is worse in my head than in reality.  It's in the same realm as getting divorced, losing my job...It really is when it comes to the amount of stress it is producing for me.  Preliminary peek into my options is not proving to be very hopeful.  I currently pay over $800 a month with a $12,000 deductible.  Looks like I may save $50 on my premium but the deductible is going to skyrocket to $16,000!  That number alone is just under half of my yearly income!  Now factor in the monthly cost, dental coverage, mortgage payment and other insurance...I'm screwed!

Opened my mail that has been sitting on my desk for three days and low and behold, my property tax bill came...another $1000!  I don't get that, I live in a town home with a backyard that takes me literally 5 minutes to mow!

Finally, my computer crashed with all my work on it!

So, not the kind of Sunday I had in mind and I am mostly just trying to remain hopeful that all of this will resolve and I won't be completely broke.  I'd really like to buy my kids Christmas presents this year that don't look like car parts!


I think I will start writing in my journal 500 times...I will be submissive, full of long suffering and patience!  I will be submissive....


Saturday, November 15, 2014

I couldn't help myself

My parenting fiasco earlier in the week ended too soon!  I actually wanted to talk to Sam about the great desire and temptation to spin cookies in empty parking lots with the first snowfall.  I didn't dare just come out and start another lecture, I had to be creative and thoughtful about it!

Thursday night, it was snowing.  As we drove home from the gym, I casually started the conversation just to get a feel for where he was at.

"Hey Sam, I was going to mention something about spinning cookies, you know, because I'm thinking the desire to do that might come up one of these days, if it hasn't already and since this is your first winter driving, we should probably talk about it. What do you think?"

"We can...if you want.  It may have already come up though." he said with a smirk!'s not like I wasn't expecting that.  Shelbie did it and wrecked her bumper on a light post.  Spencer did it and broke his bumper and smashed up his rims and wrecked the alignment...I can only imagine Sam needed to make his mark on the car that has been totaled not once, but twice by the siblings!

So, this morning before I went to work, I ran to get Sam's favorite blueberry donuts.  I put them neatly on a plate with a little message!

I thought I was being so clever with my play on words!!  I took them to his room and woke him up for school and handed him his treat!  He looked at the note and without missing a beat said, "Thanks mom! No cookies, just donuts! Cool!!"

Arghhhh, backfired!   I think he got the message though!  I hope so!  At the rate we are going, I'm gonna need Santa to bring me a sled full of car parts!

Friday, November 14, 2014

A little crazy tastes...

For about the past 3 months or so, I've been consumed with good health.  Not that I haven't always been somewhat conscientious but it's built up a little more momentum.  More on the momentum later..

So, I'm on an alkaline diet.  Horrible things like cancer, autoimmune disease, inflammation, fungus, yeast, can not exist in an alkaline state.  The American diet is all acidic, including mine!   Basically I eat only fresh fruits and vegetables, as close to their raw state as possible.  I also drink some pretty crazy elixirs that taste nothing but nasty!

Like, apple cider vinegar!  After that shot, I do another one of baking soda and a little water then, I add a handful of vitamins as a chaser.  I finish up the morning with a cup and a half of lemon juice in 24 ounces of water and a tsp of Stevia.  I actually really like the lemon juice which I am surprised at!  It's freshly squeezed at home, pulp and all!  I'm surprised how it fills me up.

I also made this soup that is filled with tons of vegetables and garlic all in a tomato base.  Once the veggies are soft, I blend it all up in the blender.  It's not awesome but it fills the void.

Tonight I got home from work and no one was home, being that it's the weekend and all.  I heated up some of that soup.  While it was warming up, this horrible smell of vomit wafted into the kitchen.  I looked all over for the source of the stench.  It just kept getting stronger and stronger!  It was sickening!

Then I realized, it was my soup!  I could hardly eat it after that experience!  It didn't taste like vomit, I don't know why it smelled like that.  Weird.

It's all in the name of good health!  Crazy, I admit but I'm motivated to change my PH levels.

The other thing I make daily, sometimes twice a day is my pineapple smoothie.  Sometimes, I add some berries or mango, even mandarin oranges- not just the juice, the whole fruit.  It's so good and totally alkaline, no sugar, no dairy, no preservative...all fresh fruit!  Well, fresh, that I froze myself.

It looks creamy but there is no dairy in it.  Just straight up frozen fruit and a touch of water to keep things moving in the blender!  It's really the best part of this diet.

So, it's not all bad.  I've been at this, seriously, for a week and at the beginning, my PH level was as acidic as you could be.  Tonight, I've bumped up two points so I'm on my way to alkaline!  Yay!  It's kind of turning into an obsession.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Impromptu Procedure

Sam has been doing so well for three days...until I blew it today!  I've been making great strides in screwing things up lately!  I'm so awesome I can hardly contain myself!

Here's how it all went down.  Shelbie needed all her scripts refilled and her thyroid medication had run out of refills.  That means one thing..a big pain the neck.  I never find out she is out until she is out.  The pharmacy never puts calling the doctor at the top of their priority list and for me to call the doctor includes a grand game of phone tag, SO...I decided after school to run Shelbie down to the clinic for a blood test and get the refill script myself.  They never refill it unless we do the token blood work to check her thyroid levels.  Fair enough.

Monday, Sam showed me this strange mole that showed up just a week ago from out of the blue.  It was waxy looking and was starting to fill up with blood.  Since Dyskeratosis Congenita carries a 95% chance of getting cancer, including skin cancer, I wanted to be proactive. Since we were going to the clinic anyways, I made Sam come to get the mole checked out.

Long story short...I'm glad we did.  The doctor thought it was suspect and so he had to have it removed!  He has another one that is suspect and will need removed but Sam was only up for one being taken off.  The other one will be a little more involved because of where it is on his back so we will go back for that.
Cool picture right?  I took this on my phone.  He was actually on a procedure table and the room was super bright with the big surgical light shining over him.  I'm not sure how it ended up looking so dramatic!  That's the growth in question.  We will wait now for pathology. 
The procedure was easy and the numbing part was the hardest but now...he is back to being upset and won't talk to me.  To make matters worse, we went to the gym tonight after work, and he pulled a muscle in his shoulder and back within the first 20 minutes so we had to leave and come home to ice it and nurse it.

Ahhh....oh what fun!  I tried to explain to him that prevention is the key to him living a happy life.  I'm not trying to make his life miserable.  I do understand that having to go through procedures, even minor ones, just stirs up all the anxiety of living with a chronic and fatal disease.

I'm not too sure how to help him cope better.  I can't just let things go so he isn't reminded of his reality but it sure is rough to go through this so often.

Can't wait for next week...both kids in the hospital AGAIN!

Shelbie on Tuesday for her transfusion and Sam on Thursday for all his pulmonary all day event at the hospital.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Parenting Tip #367

I'm really happy to be able to share with you another one of my greatest moments in parenting.

I've finally decided that my purpose here on earth is to teach.  To set a fine example of parenting skills that reflect the vast depth of experience I have in this area.

So, pay attention...

  • When approaching our child, son/and or daughter about their poor driving habits, always do it at the dinner table or around a board game, while folding laundry, feeding the dog, handing them allowance... 
  • Never breach the subject in the car...
  • On a Monday night...
  • When you have exactly 5 minutes to get to the 6:45 showing of their favorite movie, on the other side of town.
  • Never take a short cut through the residential streets, while you're in a hurry, while discussing their lead foot. 
  • Never assume that they don't listen to you.  They do.  They also watch what you do. They are also very good at noticing the speedometer.
  • When you are done rambling on about how they need to be more attentive and less aggressive behind the wheel because any minute a little kid could run out between the parked cars, chasing their ball and BAM, it only takes a split second to change a life, two lives, a whole family and that isn't really something you want to live with your whole life right?Right so just slow down, there is nothing so important you need to fly through town for. I read a book once about a boy who hit a girl on her bike and he has never forgiven himself, he says he only has half a life, no one wants just half a life, you want a whole life....
  • And, when you finally break for air from this awesome connection and teaching moment...
Be prepared for the rebuttal and rebuke!

Yes...At this point, there is nothing you can do to save face.  It's best to just keep your mouth shut and take what comes like the winner you are!  

This might also be a good time to remember that this offspring of yours, is way smarter than you give them credit for.   While you are keeping your mouth shut and listening to their thoughtful words, consider the next time you feel the need to lecture the children.  Take into account the topic you will be addressing and plan the location and timing accordingly so that you don't make the same mistake twice.  That's what savvy parents me! 

Yes, I certainly discovered my true purpose here.  The world needs bad examples just as much as they need good ones you know.  I'm sure it's one lecture my kids won't soon forget.  In fact, I'm pretty sure this will be one of those teaching moments that will go down in history, to be brought up at all the family gatherings for the next generation or so...and that my another great parenting moment by Your's Truly! 

Enough Said. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Ups and Downs

Man, it seems I get one child stable and the next one is on the way down.  There never seems to be a time when we are just even steven.

Shelbie is finally in a really good place.  She has good spiritual and emotional energy.  Physically...she is doing lousy but her attitude is very much in a good place.  It's so true, that sometimes, all it takes is someone else besides me, paying a little attention to her and being willing to 'rescue' her.  Just the thought that someone else cares has made all the difference this week.  I am so grateful for a Bishop that is putting her on his radar and quite literally, rescuing her.  It's been a long, hard year for that girl!

Spencer is on the mend and I was so glad to receive a good picture of him today!  Way better than the last picture he sent me!

His energy is coming back, snow is falling in Vail, where he is headed in the morning, and life is good for him. Whew...

Then there's Sam.  Man...this poor kid has been through a lot this year.  I did some bartering with his dad and he was able to hang out with me on Sunday.  We had a good talk.  He's been really sad since his bone marrow biopsy and whenever I ask him what is wrong, he just says he's tired.  He comes home from school and crashes til dinner so I believe he is tired but I also believe there is more going on.

He finally spilled the beans after practically dragging information from him...(the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!)  I don't want to disclose everything on his mind but suffice it to say, Dyskeratosis Congenita stinks!  I hate that we even have to acknowledge the terrible disease!

More than that, he has been feeling lonely.  He misses Spencer terribly!  He misses me too!  That was the kicker.  Since I have gotten more jobs this summer, I haven't had the time I have had in the past to spend with the kids.  Being unemployed was Heavenly, other than the fact we didn't have money, I could be the mom they had grown accustomed to before I got divorced.

Lately, it's been hard to find time.  I still stop what I'm doing when they need me but I spend a lot of time working.  Even though I'm working at home, it makes no difference.  Money is still in short supply and so is my energy.  I must be getting old because I am just plain worn out!

After Sam and I talked, I realized I need to step up my mom game.  I need to be here for him regardless of the cost. He needs me, not a minute or two here and there and but he needs me.

So, today was day one of my new work schedule and play schedule.

Up at 5:45am.  Showered, dressed, scriptures
6:45am- at my desk working
8:00am- leave for house cleaning
11:30am- return home.  Eat lunch with Shelbie, run errands with her
12:45pm- at my desk working
4:45pm- work ends.  Start dinner
5:45pm- FHE begins
7:30pm- head to my night job
9:00pm- Sam and I go to the gym
10:00pm- Home.  Shelbie comes home from her FHE, we eat snacks
10:30pm- 45 more minutes of work, hit the shower
12:00am- go to bed...

Tomorrow, it will be much the same.  I will have to start getting up extra early to start work and go to bed extra late so there will be plenty of time to spend the evening with the kids and whatever time is needed during the day for Shelbie.  It was actually nice.  Sam was much happier today. I am clearly much happier being a mom than I am trying to be the breadwinner!  But...such is life.

The other thing I will be working on this week is coming up with a new weekly tradition.  We use to have Paradise Fridays when we would stop at the donut shop and get a treat on the way to school.  He loved that!  Then we went to Happy Hour at Applebees on Friday's after school before he went to his dad's.  That was cheap and a fun way to end the week. We also had our Thirsty Thursdays and we would go to the gas station and get a redneck drink after school.

I didn't realize how much my kids love these little traditions...and eating!! (I'll save that for another blog post!)  I didn't realize how happy it made them to be spending time together even if it was such a small thing.

Even though things have been up and down, the down time helps us re-establish the things that matter most.  This crazy disease process can really make life tricky and being a single mom only adds to the fun we have around here sometimes!  Ahhh...


Sunday, November 9, 2014

We receive no ordinary blessings

November is the month of gratitude, and shopping but mostly gratitude!  ha ha...

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October.  I wanted it to be extra special this time so I made a paper table runner and five different paper place mats.

Today, I am sharing a free download of the place mats and table runner. I printed them at a local copy shop on card stock.  At our Thanksgiving, while I finished up the trimmings, the kids and our guests wrote on the table runner all the things they were thankful for.  It turned out so great!  It's definitely going to be a new tradition for us.

I chose my favorite quotes on gratitude!  I absolutely love the table runner quote: We receive no ordinary blessings!  It's so true!

So, in honor of this month of gratitude, feel free to download these PDF's and print them for your own Thanksgiving Celebration!

Table Runner
 Download the table runner HERE

Be Grateful, can be downloaded HERE

 We can choose is downloaded HERE

Thankful People can be downloaded HERE

Never let the things, can be downloaded HERE

What If, can be downloaded HERE

While we ate dinner, each person talked about the quote on their place mat.  It really helped us focus on the purpose of Thanksgiving and provided some awesome conversation!  I hope you enjoy them!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Homeless no more

If you've been hanging out here for any length of time, you might have heard me talk about my homeless friend May.  I wrote a Christmas story about her a couple of years ago.  We have known her for probably 16 years.
May about 3 years ago

We found her one cool, fall afternoon, washing her clothes in the river and trying to find a patch of sunlight to dry them in.  The Thanksgiving shortly after, she roasted a small turkey breast over an open fire. 

For the entire 16 years I've known her, she has been homeless, living in her car that contains every single thing she owns.  She slept in her car through most of the bitter winters we have here, surviving by driving around through the night to keep the heater going and then sleeping when the sun was high in the sky, just catching minutes of sleep here and there.

She doesn't own a phone and so staying in touch with her has been difficult.  She would spend some time during the late winter and spring in Arizona but always drift back to town.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about May and watch for her.

A few weeks ago, one of the kids said they saw a lady that looked a lot like May riding a bike.

Last Monday, Sam and I saw her at the grocery store.  I stopped to say hi and it was so great to see her again!  She has been in Arizona since January and just got back to town.  Earlier in the year, someone smashed in her side window and tried to yank her out of the car.  They broke both her shoulders and beat her up pretty good. I think she said they stole her dogs too.

When she was recovered, she bought a bus ticket and came back.

Thankfully, some very kind people here, who I actually know very well, found her and gave her a tricycle so she could get around town.  They also had a double wide trailer that was vacant that they are selling.  They told her she could stay there until she found a place to live.

I'm so happy!! I am so happy that these amazing people were able to rescue her.   Since she has a safe place to stay, I can take care of her better.

Last night, we went to visit her and take her some pizza.  She was thrilled to have us visit!  We had a wonderful conversation and I just can't wait to see more of her.  I am guessing she is in her late 60's early 70's.  Her hands are twisted up with arthritis, she is missing most of her teeth but her spirit is strong and kind.

She was telling me that she rides her bike out to a neighboring town where her P.O box is.  By car, it's a 15 minute drive from her double wide but she rides her tricycle.  It takes her two hours to ride one way!!  She bought some little children's purses made of fabric at the dollar store and stuffs them in the front of her shirt to keep warm.  She wears layers and layers of socks and duct tapes her broken and torn boots to her feet.

As we walked in her double wide, there is a pull out sofa in the middle of the room, not very far from the front door.  It's the only piece of furniture in the 4 bedroom trailer. All around the bed are stacks and stacks of stuff she has collected and begun to hoard.  Even being inside, there was a noticeable chill in the air.  I'm sure after sleeping in your car for decades, turning on the furnace would not be something you were accustomed to doing.  I'm sure even being in such a big place comes with some foreign feelings.

Being with May last night was a humbling experience.  We take so much for granted.  We even take the very people we live with for granted. She is so alone.  Just sits all alone, day in and day out alone. We have so much!! Even my worst day looks pretty spectacular next to her very best day!

I hope I never forget the way her eyes smiled last night with a couple slices of pizza, some garlic bread and someone to share a story with.  When I asked her what her favorite food was so I could bring her another treat, she said, "Oh...I'm embarrassed to say!  This is plenty!  I'm so happy!"
I had to keep asking her before she finally said, "I would love to taste a brownie!"
"Just a brownie? I can do that! What about a main course?"
Again, she hesitated and said, "Well, I'm really trying to build my blood up.  I think I'm anemic, I am just so tired all the time so I really need some protein, maybe a small steak?  I don't want to ask for much."
May last night in her new home! 

How could she ever ask for too much?  Really...We are planning to take her out to get some steak this week.  We all love May so much!  We are so blessed to have found her.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The bathroom

Yesterday, on our way home from Sam's appointment, I stopped in the city to pick something up for an Open House I am helping a client with.   Before I started shopping, I ran into the bathroom.

There was no lock on the cubicle door but there was no one in the bathroom either so I wasn't too concerned.  But then, I heard the door open and in walks another woman.  Public bathrooms are just awkward places on a good day, when everyone just ignores each other and goes about their business.

Well, I can tell this woman is going to try to get into the stall I'm in, so I reach my arm out to keep the door closed.  Sure enough, she proceeds to push on it and I'm trying to keep it closed.

After her third attempt, I said, "Someone is in here!"  That sentence alone is so awkward...what do you say?  "I'm in here."?  There's hardly time to start assessing good grammar when some stranger is trying to break down your cubicle door!

She finally stops pushing and says, "Well, I need to put something in there!!"


Again...there are no words to respond with so I just sat there...awkward silence ensued. What was I suppose to say..."I'm putting something in here right now?"  I don't know...what in the world did she need to put in my toilet stall!!

I actually panicked for a second and wondered if I had inadvertently walked into the storage closet or something by mistake to pee. I took a quick inventory of the cubicle just to be sure...toilet paper, toilet...yep, I believe I am in the right place.  I even made sure the toilet was actually hooked up.  Yes, I really did.  You may be laughing but I remembered hearing a true story that happened to Mr. Bean.  He was a dinner party and ended up with some gastric issues...if you know what I mean.  He asked where the restroom was in this mansion where the dinner was.  They directed him down the hall.  He ran in, in distress, sat down and relieved himself.  As he was feeling better, he looked around the room and was horrified to discover he was in the Owner's home office!!!  They had been remodeling the bathroom and sat the old toilet in the den until they could get it moved out to the dumpster!  Here he was, sitting on a toilet, in an office, in a mansion and toilet paper! I have never forgotten that story!! I would have died...a million times over!

So, anyways.  It was one of the most awkward bathroom moments ever!  I was really hoping she would leave but she was just parked outside my door.  There were two other stalls!  Wide open and free to accept deliveries!  But there she stood...outside my door!  I had to stare her in the eyes when I walked out!  Most uncomfortable!

When I finally got up the courage to leave, she said, "Sorry.  I just needed to get in there!"

"hahaha" nervous laughter...


Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Hen With Teeth

Today was filled with something from another dimension...

Sam had Pulmonology stuff to do today in another town.  A very small town, even smaller than the town we live in and it was about an hour drive from here.

I was a little miffed starting out this morning because last night, they called to remind me that his 9:00am appointment was actually 11 am.  They totally messed up the schedule so I had to juggle around a bunch of work stuff in order to make it happen.  I didn't dare cancel because this guy is in high demand.

We find the tiny place and walk in to a room filled with stale smoke, and an assortment of portable oxygen tanks all puffing away in unison.  It was a bit odd.  We sat down and waited for 45 minutes beyond our designated time to get back to a room.

After the nurse takes Sam's vitals, she asked why we were there.  I explained that Sam had recently been diagnosed with Dyskeratosis Congenita and needed to get baseline lung function testing done.

"Well," she says in a somewhat snarky way, "Do you cough?"
"Nope" Sam says
"Do you wheeze?"
"Do you have any breathing problems?"
"I don't understand why you have to be here then, there's nothing wrong with you."
"Ya see, he has this bone marrow failure syndrome that causes pulmonary fibrosis.  We need to get a baseline study done so as the disease progresses, we can track his lung function."
"So, then you've obviously had CT scans, X-rays, etc done to diagnose this?"
"No, it wasn't diagnosed..."  Then she cut me off.
"You just expect a doctor to believe that he has some weird disease.  I need some facts.  I need the name of other doctors you see so that we can make sure he really has this!"
"Well, I was about to say that it was diagnosed genetically and here are the genetic reports."
"I'm still going to need the name of a doctor to confirm this."
"Okay..."  Good about some red tape.  I have never been questioned like this.  It felt very intimidating.  Thank goodness I brought the genetic report. Who in their right mind just meanders into a doctor's office just for kicks and giggles?  Seriously!  Like we had nothing better to do than hang out with people dying of lung disease!

When she left the room, Sam and I rolled our eyes in was really awesome!

The doctor came in and pretended to remember me from when he diagnosed Shelbie and Spencer with Asthma about 15 years ago.   He is a funny guy.  The first thing he says is, "Well aren't you stranger than a hen with teeth!"


He admitted he had no clue what DC was and would need to hit the research books.  He completed his exam and we scheduled Sam to do some extensive testing in two weeks at a hospital even farther than where his office is!  Oh well.

As we left, he suggested we get Shelbie in because she is definitely having lung problems!  I told the secretary we needed a second appointment.

"What is your daughter's name?"
"Shelbie, with an I-E."
"Okay.  So do you spell Shelbie with an S-H?"

Really?  I didn't say Chelbie, or Felbie, or Selbie...I said SHelbie! How do you not know it's S-H?  It was pretty funny!  I don't think Sam and I have laughed so hard inside our heads as we did today.

I was so glad to get out of there...Stranger than a Hen with teeth!!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This just in

Well, remember a while back, two months ago, I submitted a sample of my novel for critique from Gelfman Schneider in New York?

I heard back from them today!  It's way better than I thought it was going to be.  I had visions of her ripping my book apart and flat out telling me my writing was hideous and I should go hide in a closet and never come out!  I was just as dramatic in my head!

She didn't say that at all!

She said I had promise as a writer and had a strong sentence level.  I'm not sure what that means exactly but it sounds good!  Just kidding, that was the part I was worried about!  They made some great suggestions which I already knew I needed to fix like finding a stronger Memoir voice.  For an Essay or Report, she said it was great but she wanted me to own my story with more narrative.  Owning my words has always been a problem.  I spend too much time keeping a distance from my own life and hesitate to really make it mine.  I look at life from a distance usually and that comes out clearly in my book.

Now, I have to decide if I move forward as a writer or just chill here with my blog that 3 people read.

I'm pretty relieved.  I'm pretty happy with myself for even submitting it.  It was a scary thing to do.  I had nightmares for days after submitting it. It leaves one pretty vulnerable.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Being Prepared

Today was the day!

The day I have been dreading for 15 months.

The day Spencer wrote home to tell me that he had been in the hospital.  I cried all the way through his letter.  I was just so sad that I couldn't have been there to take care of him but it was a testimony builder to know that even though I couldn't be there for him, he was taken care of by good doctors, nurses and Mission leaders.  Even through the tears and my shaking hands, I knew without a doubt that God has been watching over him.

Even Spencer said that he knows he was being watched over.  He has never been that sick and had it resolve in just a couple of days.  In the past when he had similar symptoms, he was sick for weeks!  He said he is getting better each day and I hope that continues to be the case.

I couldn't help but think about two words today...Being Prepared.

Before Spencer left, we spent an entire afternoon going over health things.  I taught him about fever protocol and treatment, nausea and other GI problems, asthma, cuts, bruises...the whole nine yards!  I told him what he could treat on his own and when to go to the hospital or when a doctor visit would do.

I also purchased the C.A.R.E medical USB bracelet and a USB Zipper pull and loaded all his medical information in there before he left.  It is a wonderful resource.  He can just hand the USB to a doctor or nurse, they plug it in to their computer and up comes a very detailed medical spreadsheet describing his illness, medications, drug allergies, contact numbers, our team of doctors and their contact numbers and even pertinent blood tests and other reports.  The doctor at that end can upload tests to the USB so we have a history of any testing done while we are gone. Each doctor along the way can see what has been done, when it was done and at what facility.  

This is the second time he has needed medical care, the first time he wasn't sick, our doc in Seattle just needed some blood work done.  Each doctor that has used the USB was really impressed with how easy it was to navigate and how much it helped them in treating Spencer.

Without a doubt, there is a peace that comes knowing you are prepared for things like this.  Not only was Spencer prepared physically, but he was prepared spiritually.  He had listened to the spirit and knew that this illness was different from most and that he needed help. I am glad that he had prepared himself appropriately.

I guess for an average guy, this wouldn't have been a big deal but for Spencer and his lousy bone marrow function, his immune system that is hanging by a thread, it's a big scary deal... for me at least.  He had a really high fever, continual vomiting, extreme pain in his joints and his stomach.  Vomiting is really scary because Spencer doesn't have a gag reflex so his airway is basically unprotected and aspiration of the vomit is a real, serious threat. So, without a doubt, he was being protected and cared for by Angels and his Father in Heaven.

I also can't help but look at the latest turn of events in Spencer's mission as a tender mercy and a way to prepare him for this illness.  He was recently transferred from the small towns to the city of Littleton where there is a bigger, more accessible hospital. For the first time in his mission, he is living with a retired couple, rather than alone with his companion in an apartment.  I think all of that was a real blessing.

I am so grateful to have the faith I need, to have him gone for two years!  I think I've done really well and I haven't become one of 'THOSE' missionary moms who continually bug the Mission President.

So, all is well that ends well.

Here's something funny to end on... Spencer learned how to crochet!  Now, I'm not sure who taught him or why he did it, but he crocheted a scripture case for himself.  He makes me laugh...


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Valuable Lessons

I have not been very fond of the month of October and I'm pretty glad to see that month in the rear view mirror.  I can't say that I loved any month before that either but I'll spare you my complaining.

Despite the ups and downs of the past few weeks, I learned a valuable lesson in October.  I learned about Business.  That's right- business.

I learned all about my business, your business and God's business from a woman name Byron Katie.  She had a podcast that I stumbled upon and her words struck a chord within me.

As she stated, there are only three businesses; yours, other's and God's.  When we try to be in charge of anybody's business but our own, we end up with conflict, frustration, judgement and anxiety.

When I worry about my kids' future, I dwell on how things are going to progress and I get anxious and crazy in my head.  I worry about the fact that they won't live to any ripe old age.  I have even been known to strike a deal or two with God, at least attempt a deal.  Turns out I'm not the best Salesman and He wins ...every time.  Telling God how to run his business is not my business.  He is God after all, and knows exactly what he is doing.

Getting involved in someone else's business is not a successful venture either.  And, I've learned that I really don't want people in my business.  Facebook is the worst for getting involved in everyone's business.  How often do we get wrapped up cryptic posts, conflicts, their perfect kids, their perfect mothering skills, their sugar sweet unwavering love for their spouse, their soapbox, their opinions and to voice yours is only met with more contention?  How often have I posted something that was only meant to be funny but someone felt the need to correct me, oppose me, argue with me when really I wasn't interested in what they had to say anyways!

It's so easy to let the musings of others distract you from what is really important.

I have spent most of my life trying to please people around me.  Trying to 'Keep my chin up', have a positive attitude, not complain, express a hundred days of joy, a hundred days of gratitude, a 100 days of happiness; whatever the 100 day trend was, only to have it all fizzle out because maybe, I'm not in a place of joy or happiness, but leading people to think that is very important.  Heaven forbid they caught you being real.

Some people don't like to see you real.  Some people can think of a hundred different ways you should be raising your kids and share many of their thoughts with you. There's always a critic out there, shallow thinkers, someone trying to get in your business.  I even had one person tell me that the only reason my kids were sick was because I had never taught them to wash their hands!  At first I was hurt.  I wanted to defend myself by reminding her that my kids are hardly ever sick with viruses and bacterial infections despite their very, extremely poor functioning immune systems and bone marrow function, yet, her kid, who gets bathed in anti-bacterial lotion at the top of each hour is always sick with one thing or another. I didn't.  I let it slide and walked away feeling sad and resentful.  That's just what happens when we get into business we have no business being in.

Now that I understand business better, it's easier to handle the critics.  It's easier to make decisions regarding my business because I'm not worried about how my choices will look to others.  I'm not worried about people understanding and I'm not consumed with trying to make them understand.  It's not their job to understand my business.

The other effect this has had on my life has been my ability to stop trying to control the Universe. Life can be more simple when we realize what we have power over and what we don't.  It's easier to submit to God's plan for us.  There are fewer distractions and more time for important, eternal things. And, I can look at things now and this my business, someone else's business or God's business.  It's a great thought! So, I guess October was good for something!


Saturday, November 1, 2014


Ohhh, it was a stormy Halloween night.  The fallen leaves, rustled past the gate that creaked and moaned against the wind, on their way to winter.  The pumpkin candles flickered as a black stretched its way across the yard...

Actually, it wasn't a stormy Halloween night!  I just felt like getting off to a good start to report my Halloween events!!  It was actually a lovely Halloween night and I actually went out!  Yes, I did!  I know that is hard to believe.  I hate Halloween.  I pretty much think everything about Halloween is pointless and ridiculous.

I use to be the mom who offered my kids a trip to the store to buy two of their very favorite bags of candy just to spare me the effort of making a costume and taking them out in typically, cold weather that resembled weather more suitable for winter, than fall.  They never once took me up on that offer so I always, begrudgingly, I might add, fixed up a costume for them to wear.

I started out being creative and would go to great lengths to create the coolest costume ever!  Then, when the novelty of that wore off...for me anyways, I convinced them that just painting their face was all that we needed to do since no one would see a costume anyways under their winter coats and pants.  From there, I pretty much just ignored the holiday.

Thursday night, at dinner, I confirmed what Shelbie and Sam were doing and said, "Okay, just wanted to make sure I didn't leave before you guys."
"Leave?" they asked, "Leave for where?"
"A party."
"A party."  They didn't even pose it as a question, just a sarcastic statement!
"Yep.  A costume party.  At a house.  That makes it a house party!  On Halloween!"
"Riiiigggghhhhttttt!!" Then they both started laughing!

It was true, I had been invited to a party by my friend L.  We only see each other 3 or 4 times a year and though I really didn't want to go out, especially to a costume party, I did want to see L, so I went.
We had a great time!
My Costume...I was an identity thief!  Get it?  It was awesome I thought..

Cute buffet

The Hostess was pretty amazing.  She built this table and the chair! 

Scary Place Settings

Gallery of Bugs

L lives way, way out in the country.  I met her at her house and we drove into the city in her truck.  When we got back to her house, it was after midnight.  We sat in her truck for a bit talking.  She was telling me that her house was haunted!  It's a well known tale among the neighbors who have lived there forever!  She believes it's haunted too.  She told me of an incident just two months ago when her dad had come over to mow her lawn.  He saw the blinds go up and down in her bedroom.  He went in to see who was in there.  He couldn't find anyone!  He heard voices in the basement and went down one was there!  I was getting creeped out!

As she was finishing her story, we heard footsteps in the bed of the truck and noises on the roof of the truck.  We both looked at each other with giant sized eyes!! "What. Was. That?"

Just then, a CAT flopped its paws down onto the windshield, it's head looking down at us! We jumped and burst out into nervous fits of laughter but I really wanted to scream and run away!  

A few minutes later, a black car pulled up in front of her yard and just parked there for a minute.  Then a man got out...again...we sat frozen, working ourselves into a frenzy, at least I was, on the inside.  It's important when you are my age and out with a friend that you hardly see, to remain calm and  very cool, unshakable!

We finally said goodbye and I got in my car to leave.  I waited to make sure she got in the house safely.  She couldn't get the door open!  A baby gate had somehow become wedged between the door and wall.  She figured the dogs and knocked it over.  I however, figured the Ghosts didn't want her coming home!!  Really!

Her keys wouldn't open the front door.  Finally, we found a window we could pry open but it was smallish and a few feet from the ground.  I did what any friend would do and dropped to all fours so she could climb on my back and crawl through the window!!

It was the freakiest Halloween night I've ever had!  It really did become a windy, Halloween night.  The leaves scraped across the metal roof on the old shed at the dark end of the yard.  A black cat seemed to appear from nowhere.  The light on the lonely electrical pole flickered off and on!


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

29 gifts!  My traditional way to start the new year...give away 29 acts of service in 29 days is back in my life and week one is done! Eve...