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October 2007
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December 2007

Well, we went....ugh....

    After some discussion between myself and hubby, and myself and Melinda, we decided to go on and head to Mom's for Thanksgiving weekend.  It was a decision we had reason to regret almost immediately.  Wednesday morning I woke up with a migraine, we couldn't find the puppy's shot records (which we had to have for the kennel), and it was pouring rain.  Yuck.  I took my miracle pill and went back to bed for a little bit, Jon finally found the puppy's records (where we'd already looked three times, of course) and we loaded up the van and headed out.  Of course, in the process of dropping off Clover, she managed to thoroughly cover me with the muddy paw-shaped evidence of her love for me, necessitating a quick stop to change my shirt.  Once we really got moving, though, things....didn't get better.  At 10:00 in the morning it was as dark as 5:00 p.m. , and the rain didn't slack up one bit until we were almost to Cleveland.  My migraine receded to somewhat manageable proportions, but I still had the definite sense that if I did the wrong thing it would come back and knock me flat.  There was construction work on US-23 and it took us almost 45 minutes to go 5 miles.  Yep, 5 miles.  By that time I was starting to get a little bitter. 
    Anyway, we finally made it to Mom's, but she was still not feeling well.  Not well at all.  Melinda and I tried repeatedly to get her to go to the doctor or the ER, but she refused.  Melinda did almost all the Thanksgiving cooking (which is a sign of just how crummy Mom was feeling - she never gives up Thanksgiving dinner) and we all tried to get her to rest, etc.  Finally Thanksgiving evening she gave in; she was feeling weird enough that she let us take her to the ER.  They admitted her for 24 hours and did a few tests while running an IV and giving her the once-over.  We still don't have definite answers as to why she keeps having these episodes of weakness and sickness, but she's seeing a specialist in a couple weeks.  And for now, she seems to be back to normal.  (Well, normal for our family!)
    I have to tell you, though, that this was one of the strangest Thanksgivings I've ever experienced.   We had a good visit in spite of all the negatives, but it was just strange.  I was actually really relieved to get home Sunday afternoon.  Of course, when I looked around the house and realized that everything we'd had in the van was now in the middle of the living room floor, I wanted to leave again!  Funny how that works, isn't it?   Sigh...and now I have to start Christmas shopping.   I think I need to start counting my blessings again!

A hitch in the holiday getalong

    I was sitting on the couch happily absorbed in "Dancing With The Stars" last night when the phone rang.  It was my sister calling to tell me that Mom was sick.  She's had several episodes over the last few years that seem to indicate food poisoning, but the doctors say that's not the cause.  Of course, they can't tell us what is the cause, which is obviously a problem! Anyway, apparently Mom had one of these "episodes" last night.  She seems to be doing better today, but I'm still concerned.  I'm not so sure all of us showing up on her doorstep is the smartest thing for her right now.  See, when you look up the word "stubborn" in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of my mother.  If we're there, she will cook and bake and etc. etc. etc., whether she's really in any shape to do it or not.  Thus my concern.  It will be disappointing for all of us if we don't go, but that would be better than Mom making herself worse because we're there.  I hate these dilemmas! 

Math can be fun

    I have to tell you that for most of my life, "math" has definitely been in the category of a four-letter word.  I don't like math. In fact, I downright loathe and despise math.  Math is an evil thing and to be fervently avoided whenever  possible, and I have maintained this position for lo, these many years.  Math bad, no do math.  However, this time of year brings the one exception to my math-bad rule.  I love counting during the holidays!
    See, here's the way it works: financial considerations aside (as much as possible), Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about counting!  How is that, you ask?  Like so; at Thanksgiving, we spend time counting our blessings.  Now, I don't know about you, but it's pretty easy for me to get down in the dumps about __________ (fill in the blank) and forget all the good things in my life.  A negative, narrow focus is definitely the downhill path, and all too often I start strolling that way.  But at Thanksgiving, something happens.  I sit back and take a good, hard look at my life and the good things in it.  I start counting.   And I'm always - always! - amazed at all the blessings I have.  The kids may drive me crazy, but they're normal, healthy kids.  Heating is expensive, but hey, we've got a house to heat.  My husband may sit and yell at the Sunday afternoon football game on the tv, but he never yells at me.  See how that works?  That's good math. 
    As for Christmas - the counting there gets even better!  Let's just do a little run-down on what we count at Christmastime.   We have our nieces and nephews (13 of 'em); brothers- and sisters-in-law (seven all together); parents (Jon's and mine); kids we love dearly, even when they drive us insane; friends all over the country, and even a couple in other countries; and one awesome marriage.  That's not even mentioning the fun times,  great meals, and thoughtful gifts that we add up this time of year.   
    So now do you see why holiday math is a good thing?  The rest of the year, numbers are evil, but right now a little counting makes for a mighty good time. 

Getting ready

    As I pointed out in my last post, the holidays are upon us, and that means things start getting kind of squirrelly around here.  Trying to maintain our normal routine (such as it is) while adding in all the things that you just have to add in for the holidays makes life a wee bit hectic.  However, this year we've started early, in hopes of still being sane by New Year's.  This week the kids and I have been dragging out the Christmas decorations and deciding where everything will look best.  It's been an interesting time, because the decorations that filled up our little house in Indiana are looking a bit - well - skimpy is the word that comes to mind!  I don't want to get crazy buying new stuff, but at the same time, I love decorating for Christmas, and right now I'm just not satisfied.  I want MORE.  That's going to take some thought.
    Now, obviously, Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, and I haven't forgotten that.  I enjoy Thanksgiving too, and it's always been a wonderful family time for us.  The thing is, there's not much for me to do as far as preparation; my mom is the original Queen of the Kitchen, and she always does all the cooking (which is delicious, by the way!).  Melinda and I take care of clean-up, but Mom rules over the oven, and we're happy to leave it that way.  One of the things I'm always most grateful for is the fact that I don't have to cook! 
    However, over the  years Thanksgiving has come with its own set of responsibilities for Melinda and I, beyond just kitchen clean-up.  For a long time now Thanksgiving weekend has been the time when we decorate Mom's house for Christmas, and let me tell you, Mom's decorations are not skimpy!
Melinda and I come by our love of all things Christmas honestly; Mom has more ornaments and decorations than some stores I've been in, and every year there's more.  She has some sort of radar for holiday items at garage sales and thrift shops, not to mention the fact that she has 20+ years' worth of Christmas gifts from her students.  So at Mom's house, it's not a question of how to stretch the decorations, it's more a question of  how to stretch the house!  But again, it's a lot of fun, and it's something we look forward to every year. 
    So this is the beginning of the season for us; my favorite time of year, for a lot of reasons.  I hope you're all looking forward to the holidays as well. 


    This week has been business as usual for the most part - school, cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. etc. ad nauseum - with the exception of Friday.  Friday our poor little girl dog was - ah - altered, if you catch my meaning, and she was just as happy about it as you'd expect.  The surgery actually went very well, but unfortunately Clover had some trouble with the anaesthesia and painkillers upsetting her little puppy tummy.  I now need to get a carpet cleaner.  'Nuff said.  She's much better today, thankfully.  While I admit that a lower-energy-level Clover was kind of nice, seeing her so miserable was not.  So today I don't even mind the bouncing.  (I've wondered if we should've named her Tigger.)  And now, hallelujah, no worries about finding ourselves with a whole mess of little Clovers that we weren't expecting! 
    All that aside, the month of November totally snuck up on me.  It's only a week and a half until Thanksgiving, for pete's sake!  How did that happen?  (rhetorical question, no answer required...)  Of course you know what this means, right?  It's time for the annual Juggling of the Budget, otherwise known as making yourself crazy trying to turn one dollar into five. Talk about holiday miracles!  I'm already wracking my brain, trying to come up with creative gift ideas that don't scream "desperate last resort".  I'd love to do more knitted gifts, but unless I suddenly get struck by lightning and develop super-knitting-speed, that's not going to happen.  Beadwork is okay for some folks, but completely unsuitable for others.  This is going to be a crazy time, but you know what?  I love it.  LOVE IT!!  So stay tuned for lots of holiday-related rambling and ranting in the weeks to come.  I'm just gettin' started!

Sister time

    This weekend I got to run away and go play with my sister.  Yay!!  It was so much fun to just get away for a little bit.  We shopped and ate and watched mindless television and even (oh my!) put up her Christmas tree!  Yes, it's early, but our family tends to be that way about Christmas; the earlier you start, the more you get to enjoy all the trappings of the holiday.   Heck, yesterday I got out some of my Christmas music - and today we're seeing the very first snowflakes of the season.   Coincidence?  I think not! 
    While I was down south Melinda introduced me to her newest find - the Coldwater Creek  outlet store.  I love their clothes but most of the time I just can't bring myself to pay their prices....but the outlet store, now, that's a different story!  There was sooooooooo much to look at it was almost overwhelming.  I managed to restrain myself (with great difficulty, mind you) and not run screaming with joy through the aisles, although I did dance a couple times.  Just couldn't help myself.  Besides, they were playing some great oldies music, they must have wanted people to dance!   Anyway, once I was able to get my eyes to focus, I settled down to some serious shopping and finally walked away with two killer jackets.  One is a lipstick-red suede, very tailored, zip front, that will look equally good with jeans or dressed up; the other is a jean-style jacket in Tencel (which is so smooth I just want to sit and pet it) in a luscious smoky plum color.  There was so much more I could have gone for, but I was trying really hard to be good (it hurts, it burns...) so I contained myself.  It was a mighty fine time, though, and I'm looking forward to a return trip.
    One of the many things that made us chuckle this weekend was the two of us whining about how short my visit was: I didn't want to come home, and she didn't want me to either!  When we were kids we fought like wild things and Mom and Dad always told us that someday we'd grow up and miss each other.  At the time, of course, our response was "I don't THINK so!"  But now?  Well, let's just say Mom and Dad were right.  It gives me hope for my kids.