Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Complete Lack of Self-Control

I shouldn't go to Target by myself, especially this time of year. There are too many fun things so I always over spend. It would be better if I gave a more responsible person my list and let them shop for me. At the very least, I should take a buddy with me. Left on my own, I always come home with something extra.

Today, I purchased these:

I had to. They were completely necessary.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Final Word

Wow...November is almost over! One final post and I'll be done blogging! Whew!

As I was playing Farkle with Andy tonight, I was trying to think about what to write today.

One idea was to write about pepper and how none of use it. I used a pinch of it tonight, that's what brought it to mind. Really though, I only cook with it on the bluest of moons. I buy a new container of it every now and then because I feel like I should, but I'm certain that in almost seventeen years of marriage, we haven't used the accumulated total of one container. We're just not black pepper people.

Another thought was to write about how The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite LOTR movie. The Two Towers was on tonight and it really is a fairly close second; I do like the Battle of Helm's Deep. Helm's? Or Helms? Is Helm a person who has a deep? Or is the deep made of Helms? Don't know, never read the book. At any rate, nothing compares to Fellowship.

I considered writing about the Rock 'n' Roll Head Bob. You've seen it, I'm sure you have. Andy had his iPod on shuffle for a while this evening and Sad But True (Metallica) came on. I looked up and realized that Andy, Matt, and I were all bobbing. Not head banging, but bobbing. It was kind of funny. Love Metallica's sound.

I could have written about any number of things, but instead I think I'll offer a simple thank you. You, my few but faithful readers, have followed, commented, and supported me as I made my 2011 NaBloPoMo journey. While I'm not the best of writers, I do look forward to the challenge each year and I thoroughly enjoy trying to be creative.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for hanging with me. You're the best!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Since this is the last Tuesday of the month and my time with NaBloPoMo is almost over, I thought that I would end this series with a note of thankfulness. I've listed five people and five things (totaling ten, see how I did that?) for which I am very, very thankful.

The People:

1. Andy. He's been my everything for almost eighteen years now; I simply can't imagine life without him.

2. My kiddos. They're keepers. They probably think I nag them too much; I hope that one day they realize that I really have their best interest at heart and that I am incredibly proud of the young men they're becoming. I couldn't ask for better sons.

3. Parents. Mine and Andy's. Both of us have such amazing, loving, and supportive parents. I guess in all fairness, I should have called this one "family," because I am equally thankful for all of the brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews that I inherited when I married Andy. Especially the sisters. They fill a void that I never really knew existed. What a blessing.

4. Wives. Specifically, Wives Club. This is a very small and select group of friends that I have been close to for many years. We used to meet once a month for iced tea and french fries; we'd share how our lives, marriages, jobs, and families were going. There was no subject off limits, and nothing that was said ever left the table. It's the best group of ladies ever. While we don't all live in the same city anymore and are unable to meet regularly, thanks to this lovely invention called the Internet, we can still share things and "get together" at the drop of a hat. I don't know what I'd do without these ladies. Seriously.

5. Old Friends. The last few years have given me the opportunity to reconnect with some old friends, much of it is aided by Facebook. These friends are amazing. They encourage me, challenge me, they make me laugh, we can pray for each other, it's wonderful. I'm glad to be a part of their lives again.

The Things:

6. God's Provision. We always have a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food on the table. He continues to supply our needs. I am continually humbled and grateful.

7. Cell Phones. They really are fabulous. Especially when they sit on a pillow next to an amazing woman so that I can "be there" as she brings a wonderful new little guy into the world. It meant the world to me.

8. My Kitchen-Aid Mixer. I made 425 cookies yesterday...you bet I am thankful for my mixer!

9. Cold/Rainy/Cool Weather. I know, I know...I live in the wrong state. I'm sure I'm one of the only people in San Diego who doesn't like the weather. I am quite thankful that this is the time of year when "my weather" starts. It gets cold, it stays overcast and cloudy, and if we're lucky enough...it rains! You wouldn't know it today, sunny and blech. But I'm glad that my time is coming.

10. The sounds and smells of Christmas. I love how everywhere you go this time of year, you hear Christmas songs and things smell like cinnamon and/or pine trees. I kind of didn't want to leave Ralph's this morning - it was great!

Monday, November 28, 2011


I have tried very hard not to blog too much about my kids this year; while I love them to death, I really don't want to be a "mommy blogger." I think I've done a pretty good job. I gave a shout out to each of them at the end of their respective seasons, and I really thought that would be it for the rest of the month. However, something happened tonight that I felt must be mentioned. We spend the evening at Matt's football banquet.
Several things struck me as blog worthy....

1. The defense this year was outstanding. Matt was a starting defensive lineman all year, and I knew that they had done quite well. Tonight I heard the numbers. They allowed 224 passing yards on the season and they allowed -129 rushing yards. Yes, that's a "negative". That means that the net yards allowed on the season was 95. That's an average of 9.5 yards per game. That's phenomenal. It's practically unheard of in high school, at any level.
Matt was part of something great.

2. My kid is really smart. Matt was one of three players to win the Einstein Award. It is given to players who maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout the season. Totally awesome.

3. I'm going to call him Rudy for a while. Tonight, much to my surprise and delight, Matt was given the 2011 Nighthawk Award. It is the freshman equivalent to the Rudy Award, which John won last year as a JV player. This is the award that is the all-around award. They take in to account all aspects of the player: play on the field, work ethic at practice/off the field, academics, character, leadership, the whole nine yards.
It's really quite an honor.
We are so proud of Matthew!

Man, I love him. Well done, son.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Timely Reminder

Before you read on, please take four minutes and watch the video below. It's not the original music video, but it's the one with the best audio and they really do a great job with the photos. Even if you know the song, please watch it, think about the words, and then come back to me...

So, what did you think?

If you're at all like me, it struck a chord and caused you to consider your typical Christmas season. It seems that we spend much of the year waiting for Christmastime to arrive and then it rushes by in a flurry of parties, shopping, presents and responsibilities. It's over before we realize it and it was all one big blur. My head started to spin when I realized that I have to bake around 400 cookies tomorrow; I thought to myself, "It's already started and it's not even December yet!"

Maybe I'm just more reflective these days since my kids are getting older. I seem to notice every second that ticks by, and it's one second less that they'll be here and life will exist as I know it. Adulthood is knocking at the door for them and I'm trying to make the most of all of the time that we have together.

Whatever stage of life you find yourself in, I encourage you to think about the coming month. What are the important things? What really matters? I challenge you to make an effort to slow down this year, to remember what Christmas is really about.

Make this Christmas special, not by attending as many parties as possible or by giving the most expensive gifts, but by remembering the true reason that we celebrate Christmas and by spending time with those you love.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Ringy Dingy...

There are a few things that I get geeked out about and take very seriously; high on that list is my ring tones.

I love having different ring tones on my cell phone. It's quite fun to have a variety of songs play throughout the day and I like to be able to tell who is calling. Perhaps I'm a bit of a control freak. At any rate, on my previous phone, I could download songs but I was at the mercy of the clip that they published. No more! My newest phone, being of the smart persuasion, is able to not only play any song imaginable (either by download or by importing from iTunes), but I can "trim" the song so that the portion selected is exactly what I hear when someone calls. I know. It's awesome.

Today, since Christmas season is clearly and officially upon us, I spent some time loading my Christmas ring tones. I have one song that is my default tone, and I assigned separate songs to the six people who call me the most.

The songs that I choose vary from year to year; I suppose it depends on my mood when I'm doing it. This year, I have quite a mix of selections: Glee, George Straight, The Drifters, White Heart, The Muppets, Stan Boreson, and a Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire duet. I love it!

I'm ready.
Now all I need is a phone call; it's been a very quiet afternoon.

Friday, November 25, 2011


John fell asleep like this quite often; he loved to read!

Crazy Hair Day at Preschool

Matt getting to hold his newest cousin, Gabe.
Big sister, Kali, is going to make sure that he does it right!

This is the first time that they performed together at church.

Hooray! No training wheels!

John wanted to go and get his own sombrero for his fifth birthday.
I promise you, that is Matt's happy grimace.
Apparently it's okay to wear someone else's sombrero...

Bumper Cars are the best!

John's first camping trip!
My Dad taught him how to fish.

Story time! That was their "reading corner" at my Mom and Dad's house.
They sat there for hours!


The little pool and the big pool.

New trains for Matt's fourth birthday!

John was ready to conquer his first day of Kindergarten...

...Matt didn't want to let him go.

Showing his work to Grandma at his preschool Open House.

Hooray! Coffmans!
This is most of the gang (sans grandkids) at my brother-in-law's wedding.
Only my sister- and brother-in-law who live in Germany weren't there.
(Ignore the date stamp on the photo, it's a bit off. )
I married into one fantastic family! Love these people!
If you took picture of all of us now, you'd have to add in said Germans, one more brother-in-law, and twenty-one grandchildren! We're quite a group!

Baking soda submarines!

My cowboy and Buzz Lightyear.


Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Fun

Today was great; I hope that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as we enjoyed ours! We had a great meal with my in-laws, popped in on my uncle and his crew, and then topped off the night with a visit to our amazing aunt's house. It was a fabulous day.

If you want to add a few minutes of good ol' fun to your next gathering, you should consider playing "Who, What, When, Where, Why."

This is a fun little party game that was introduced to us by my sister-in-law. Unfortunately she couldn't join us today (she lives in Nova Scotia), but she will definitely be receiving an email detailing all of the hilarity. You write the five "W" words on a piece of paper and then you fill in the first one, "Who." Then you fold it over so that no one can see what you wrote and you pass it to the person on your right. They do the same for "What" and then pass it on. This keeps going until all of the W's are filled in. When you get to the end, you have some funny papers, because no one knows what the person before them wrote.

After lunch, I played with my sister-in-law (not the Canadian one), my niece, my mother-in-law, and two friends. We played quite a few rounds; I had Andy pick out a few to share with you. Remember, "Who, What, When, Where, Why."

Started a large eclair bakery on the upper side of Manhattan
On my fifty-second birthday
In the kitchen
In order to placate his disapproving Aunt Edna.

The poor forlorn orphan
Made a stick
On the third Thursday of each month
Where the sky meets the horizon by the old bog
Because he ran out of floss.

A one-legged grasshopper
Had a baby
During the exceedingly boring lecture
In the cookie jar
Because it peed on mom's favorite carpet.

See? Just a goofy little game that anyone can play, young and old alike. The winner of the day came just a bit ago at Aunt Lissa's house. It was written by my mother-in-law, myself, my hubby, my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law. (I should warn you...this is what happens when you let boys play.) It's actually kind of uncanny how this one flows together, given that we didn't know what each other were writing.

My sister's mother's grandson
Ran through the snow in his underwear
After a satisfying bowel movement
In the men's room at Balboa Park
Because the milk man turned out to be his father.

Happy Turkey Day, everyone! Enjoy the left-overs and let Christmastime begin!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

No, I'm not talking about a mullet. (Although there is one picture of me that Andy has hidden away somewhere; it had better not ever see the light of day!) I'm speaking about the weird collision of decorations that can be seen at my house right now. I should be used to it; it happens every year on the day before Thanksgiving. It's just always a bit strange.

The front patio and all of the indoor decorations are still fully fall. Granted, they're short-timers now, but they're there. Lots of pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, leaves, orange lights...it's lovely. However, if you're sitting in my recliner and looking out onto the back patio - it's Christmas!

I have this weird thing: no Christmas lights can go on until after Thanksgiving. But since I'm always so anxious to see the lights, I like to come home to them on Thanksgiving night. Each year on Thanksgiving morning, before the turkey and stuffing and general, wonderful piggy-ness, we put up the Christmas lights out front. And the flowers and the garland. It's great! Then we go celebrate Thanksgiving with family and when we come home, bam!, it's Christmas.

I wanted the same to be true of my back patio too. Knowing that I won't have time to decorate tomorrow morning, I did it today. Don't worry...I won't turn the lights on tonight; that would be cheating. In fact, I'll probably close the blinds so that I won't even be tempted.

By noon tomorrow, all of the outside decorations will be up; by Saturday, the tree and everything inside will be done. But for right now, it's just a little odd to see different holidays, depending on which window you look out from!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Today, I submit the Top 10 Signs (as if you needed any) That the Holidays Are Here!

1. Fires in fireplaces. I love opening the windows at night and smelling all of the fires that people in the neighborhood have going. I get to enjoy it without the mess of having my own fireplace.

2. Ringy, Ringy. The Salvation Army people are out with their red buckets and little bells.

3. Lights are up. Not my lights, mine will go up on Thursday as per tradition; but there is a house a few blocks over that has their lights up. I really do love Christmas lights.

4. Time is passing too quickly. I think I spend all year impatiently waiting for the holidays to arrive, and then they fly buy. I wish the season was longer.

5. Slippers. No longer do I walk around the house barefoot; the tile is just way too cold. I always have my slippers on.

6. Auto Repairs. This may sound silly, but as I was sitting at the Toyota dealer today having my Sequoia worked on, I realized that every year around the holidays I have to have some work done. It's like it knows and is trying to annoy me.

7. Candy Stripes. All of the light poles at the shopping center are covered with candy cane stripes. It makes me happy.

8. Crowded aisles. I'm not talking about people at the grocery store; I'm talking about walking though the aisles at a department store. You can't! This time of year, they fill the aisles with knickknacks, wallets, table-top Foosball games...all kinds of stuff. I really don't like the clutter.

9. Baking Goods. Not baked goods; baking goods. I just spent well over $100 at Vons for ingredients to make candies, cookies, and pies. I don't know what I'm going to cook for dinner tonight, but I'll be armed with all of the appropriate sweets on Thursday and Friday!

10. Kid Noise. Currently, my kids are downstairs, in the middle of the day, playing Guitar Hero. Back when I home schooled both of them and they could play Guitar Hero every day, I got quite tired of listening to it. Now, I cherish it. So thankful that they're home for a week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just What the Doctor Ordered...Or Not

As I was making dinner tonight, I had to chuckle...

Both of the boys had their annual physicals today. Matt went in this morning; John went in late this afternoon. Both of them can see and hear; neither one of them cried when they got a shot.

We had to answer all of the typical questions: Do they watch too much TV? Are they getting enough exercise? How are they doing in school? Do they sleep well? You know, pretty standard. Having been a mom for over fifteen years now, I was ready for all of the questions. For the most part, everything was answered to the doctor's satisfaction.

Everything but one: Are they eating enough fruits and vegetables? Yeah, we always stink at that one. I don't really like fruits and vegetables, so I'm terrible at serving them. They eat bananas every now and again; perhaps the occasional applesauce cup. As for veggies...we eat corn a lot. That's about the extent of it. As always, I said that I'd try to do better; that I'd cook healthier, more balanced meals.

So why did I chuckle while I was fixing dinner? Because I was making mashed potatoes. Good mashed potatoes. With cream and butter. Lots of butter. And what is the best thing to have with mashed potatoes? Fried chicken and gravy, of course!

Sorry, Doc. What can I say? My grandma taught me to cook...and tonight's dinner was delicious!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Approximately eight years ago, I planted a camellia in my front patio. According to the average growth rate of the plant, it should be about eight feet tall by now. You know, like the one the neighbors have on the other side of the fence. Mine is about two feet tall.

I'm telling you, it doesn't grow. I've fed it, I've watered it, I've neglected it, I've given it the stink eye...all to (seemingly) no avail. Many times I've almost given up and pulled it out. I figured it was hopeless. Well, actually, I figured that the one on the other side of the fence (along with the fence itself) is hogging the sunlight. While I haven't pulled it yet, I admit that I'd pretty much considered it a lost cause.

Then on Friday, I went out and saw this! It bloomed!

For the first time ever, my poor little camellia produced a flower!


You might be thinking, "So what's the big deal? It's a flower." And you're right, it is just a flower. But it's a flower that reminds me (us) of a very important lesson:

Some things just take time. And patience. And perseverance. And continued care during the waiting period.

I don't like any of that...I want things to be completed on my time table. I want things to be produced when I want them. Whether it's a goal I'm trying to attain, a prayer that I'm waiting on an answer for or a relationship that needs work...anything really...I tend to want quick answers and an immediate fix. I want things to be logical, orderly and predictable. Unfortunately, that isn't real life.

Will my camellia survive forever? Likely not. But this weekend, I am thankful for the reminder to be patient, to wait, and to persevere. Sometimes, just when you least expect it...you'll get a nice surprise.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Very Very Ve-e-eeee-ry End

The bus rolled into the school parking lot at 1am this morning; I was up until after 2am finishing John's laundry. In the wee hours of the morning, after a heart-breaking, playoff loss in El Centro, John's first Varsity season came to an end.

I could dazzle you with stats, stories, and coaches' comments about how wonderful John is; they would all be true. I could list all of the various injuries that he sustained this year; thankfully none of them were serious.

Instead, I want to share with you something that was given to John by his offensive line coach after his freshman season. It was written twenty years ago by a coach in New Jersey. I may have shared this before, but it's beautiful and it's absolutely true, so I want to share it today. There is no tribute more fitting:

Some come from the game with no scars, no pain -
We emerge with bloodied hands, and bones so sore that it takes a few hours the next morning before we can walk upright.

Some come from the game with pants still shiny, shirt barely dirty -

We are only faintly recognizable, as the mud and grass of trench warfare takes all the newness and shine from our uniforms and souls.

Some come from the game with impressive stats of yards rushing and passing -
We measure our progress in shorts bursts that no paper will ever keep track of, that no record book will ever immortalize.

Some come from the game with parents loudly bragging and fans cheering as names come over the P.A. system -
We deal in a world of brutal anonymity, silent except for the grunts of collision and the quick praise of our coaches.

Some come from the game with egos blazing, claps on the back, the sounds of the crowd in their head -

We measure our worth by the holes we open for players with smaller numbers; their brief nod is our only applause.

Some come from the game as prima donnas, barely working in the off season, giving lip service to the idea of self improvement -
We spend our time in the weight room, iron plates and shiny steel our friend, our enemy, our taskmaster.

Some come from the game with thoughts of I did this, or I did that -

We recognize that the parts build the greater good, that teamwork is not an outmoded concept in today's world.

Some come from the game thinking of us as swamp things in uniform, they joke about our speed, our hands, our seeming lack of grace -
We take the brunt of the jokes, even laugh along, as we take the brunt of the physical force aimed that them.

In our little world we stand. Our boundaries are the sleds and chutes. Our teachers are men who dwell in the dual world of detail and violence, who teach by a voice that can either wake the dead or gently ease two hours of pain.

This is our world.
It starts with us.
We are the line.

Today, I proudly honor my son and his brothers in the trenches. They fight together; they bleed together.
I honor two coaches who have daily given of their time to turn this ragged band of brothers into a group of men, working as one.
Rest well and heal; you've earned it.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I sure do love Flashback Fridays.

It's John's 4th birthday.
Clearly Matt thinks that he should be helping with the presents.

John had a party with his friends at McDonald's.
Looks like his helper is still with him!

We visited the flower fields in Carlsbad with my mom and my grandma.

I love this one!

Sigh. It was a good day.

Jammie time!

John's first baseball game. Go Padres!

John's first time on stage!
If I recall correctly, the VBS kids were singing some of their songs.

Pool Party!

"Life is like a box of chocolates..." At Bubba Gumps in Monterey.

Summer fun!
The two hats used to belong to my granddad;
my dad keeps them hanging in the garage
and the boys asked if they could wear them.

Someone wanted to go to Chevy's and get his own sombrero for his birthday.
When it came time to actually receive the sombrero,
he decided that the singing was way too loud
and that he didn't really want everyone looking at him.

He spent there rest of the evening sitting with my mom.
Someone had to wear the hat.

Back at Nate's!
Look at our arms in the top picture...
that's what happens when you let the kids
be in charge of the stamps in the straw maze.

The fireman and Thomas the Tank Engine are ready to Trick or Treat!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brought To You By...

In case you were wondering, today has been sponsored by the word "LaGuardia."

I was emptying the dishwasher this morning while the kids were watching Fox News. (They watch every morning before school.) There was some story about LaGuardia, you know, the airport. I found myself giggling every time they said the word. It really is silly and fun. If you don't believe me, say it out loud right now. Go ahead. I'll wait.

See? Such a delightful word.

A few hours later, I was enjoying my Thursday morning treat: a vanilla latte (okay, that's not exclusive to Thursdays) and Law & Order SVU from Wednesday night. Imagine my surprise when one of the victims from this week's episode was a patient at LaGuardia Hospital in Queens! As it sipped my latte and knitted & purled my way through SVU (I'm working on a scarf), I smiled every time they said the name of the facility.

This brought me to a problem. Being reasonably new to knitting, I should probably know better than to try to knit and watch TV at the same time; especially a show that I'm trying to pay attention to. I didn't screw up the scarf, but by the end of the show, my ball of yarn had turned into a giant tangled mess. There was only one thing to be done: I had to sit there and painstakingly untangle everything. I flipped through some channels looking for something to keep me company while I finished and Presumed Innocent came on. Having never seen it, and generally loving all things Harrison Ford, I decided to give it a try. Seriously, I cracked up when they said one of the character's names: Nico Della Guardia.

Therefore, I submit that today was truly brought to you by the word "LaGuardia."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Music To A Mother's Ears

The boys begin finals today; Trimester 1 ends on Friday.

I was talking to the boys about their grades the other day, just to make sure that everything is on track. I admit that I don't check Learning Point all that often since both of the boys generally do very well. Still, I thought I'd ask them. I didn't want to get any big surprises on their report cards.

John said that things are fine. One of his A's is a low A, but he thinks he'll be able to keep it there.

Matt said, "Hey Mom, I checked the grades in all of my classes today and my lowest grade is in 1st period; my average there is 100.66%."

Man, my kids sure do make parenting easy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

I've been sitting here working at the computer all day so I've had Pandora on. My absolute favorite play list is my Bon Jovi play list. The reason being, well, Bon Jovi is hands down my all-time favorite band. So today you get a list of my top thirteen Bon Jovi songs. Sorry, limiting it to ten wasn't possible. Some of them you'll recognize; greatest hits become so for a reason. One or two may surprise you...

(listed not in order of ranking, but chronologically as they were released)

1. Wanted Dead or Alive. The quintessential Bon Jovi song; the one that everybody knows. It's a classic. I get to hear it all the time as it's one of Matt's favorite songs to play on the guitar. There's also a hysterical SNL sketch that refers to this song (and song #4).

2. Bad Medicine. This one was my favorite in high school and it's still near the top of the list. It's also the best song in concert.

3. I'll Be There For You. The first big ballad that I fell in love with. My favorite. Ever. Snuggling with my mister during the concert and singing it to him...priceless.

4. Blaze of Glory. Bon Jovi and Young Guns (II) combined? Nice.

5. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Pure fun.

6. Bed of Roses. I was newly married when I first got into this song, so it brings back lots of good memories.

7. Always. Another fabulous ballad. Jon and Richie really do turn out some good ones.

8. It's My Life. Love this...reminds me to live life on my terms, not someone else's.

9. Have a Nice Day. This one, like the previous song, also is a reminder to live my own life. If you listen to the lyrics, it's not actually wishing anyone a truly nice day. I love it. This has been my ring tone on more than one occasion.

10. Who Says You Can't Go Home. I love that he (they) put out some country-ish stuff. Makes me think of my roots.

11. Make a Memory. Simply beautiful. I've made a memory or two to this song. Enough said.

12. When We Were Beautiful. As a grown-up, I love the perspective of this song.

13. We Weren't Born to Follow. A great anthem. We first heard this at Qualcomm Stadium and the kids were as excited as I was to learn that a new album was coming out. Good times!

I thoroughly enjoyed reliving all of these songs; music is so unbelievably powerful. Music moves me much more deeply than the spoken word, or anything really. I can't imagine life without it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Talk Dirty To Me

I got you, didn't I? You probably clicked today just to see what the heck I was referring to. Get your mind of the gutter...it's not what you think. (I apologize to my mother-in-law.)

My blog tonight is about Poison and Talk Dirty To Me was one of my favorite songs when it was released back in 1987. However, even THAT isn't the Poison that I'm referring to; I just couldn't resist the pun. I'm talking about perfume, people!

Back in the day (probably in or about 1987, actually), super smelly perfume was all the rage. Giorgio, Obsession, White Diamonds, and yes, Poison. Add hair spray and deodorant to the mix and at any given time there were at least three layers of vapors hovering in my room.

Tonight, I was in a pub with some friends and I had to use the little girls' room. I excused myself from the table, dodged the pool cues that threatened to impale me, and headed past the kegs and into the bathroom. I opened the door and whoosh! I was greeted by a rush of Poison! Seriously, it was like stepping back in time to my seventh grade bedroom.

Someone must have taken a bath in it. (Which is probably what my mom thought I used to do.) I totally had to hold my breath while I was in there or my asthma would have kicked in. But as I was walking out, I stopped and inhaled just for a second or two. It's amazing how something as simple as a smell can completely take you back in time. For a few wonderful moments, I felt like the weight of life was lifted and I was a kid again. It made me smile.

The sense of smell is a powerful thing. Thank you, overly-perfumed woman at the pub...you made my night.

And I may or may not have been humming a few bars of Every Rose Has It's Thorn as I made my way back to the table...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Every Story Needs A Memorable Detail."

Tonight's title is a quote from my Sunday night treat.

Several weeks ago, ABC premiered a new show on Sunday nights called Once Upon A Time. We happened upon it by accident while spending the evening with my parents and Curt & Kathy; we were at the Lawrence Welk Resort, Sunday Night Football was over, and we needed something to watch while ate pie.

It's the greatest little show to premiere in a long time! There's this town in Maine called Storybrook and all (most) of the people who live there are actually people from fairy tales but they were cursed to live in a new time and they don't know their real identities (fairy tale characters). You spend part of the show in Storybrook, where a little boy knows the truth is trying to get people to remember who they really are and break the curse. The rest of the time is spent back in fairy tale land, learning everyone's histories and what happened to them before the curse.

It truly is great! Even the boys like it! We all sit down together every Sunday night and tune in. I think it's the first time we've ever watched a (non-kid) prime time show together. Sunday nights are my new favorite.

Tonight's story brought me to a realization: I think that glass slippers are dumb. It's one thing to see them in a cartoon, but it just doesn't work when real people are involved. Shoes are cute; feet aren't. And face it, if your slippers are made of glass, all you see is feet. Who wants to look at feet that much? Wouldn't a super adorable pair of shoes compliment the outfit much better?

I think so. Cinderella doesn't seem to agree with me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Long Goodbye

Some of you may recall that my grandma died a few years back after a long battle with Vascular Dementia. For those of you not familiar with it, the disease presents itself much the same as Alzheimer's. It's pretty much the worst thing ever; it's heart-wrenching, it's cruel and it's unfair. I lost both of my grandfathers to cancer and while that was awful, diseases of the mind are infinitely worse.

No one can prepare you for the first time that your loved one looks at you, after spending a lifetime together, and you can see that they have no recollection of who you are. Every holiday, every birthday, every memory shared...gone. There aren't words to accurately describe the pain. In the book that she wrote about losing her father, Patti Davis describes it this way: "Alzheimer’s snips away at the threads, a slow unraveling, a steady retreat; as a witness all you can do is watch, cry, and whisper a soft stream of goodbyes."

As we healed and recovered from the loss of Grandma, I prayed. I prayed a lot. I had long conversations with God and I pleaded that when it was time for the rest of us to be taken, both on my side of the family as well as Andy's, that it wouldn't have to happen that way. I asked that somehow, our loved ones would be mercifully taken home quickly and without pain.

My world was rocked on May 12th of this year. Exactly six months ago today, words that I had no idea were coming, and that I never expected to hear, were delivered in my living room. I'll never forget the sound of my dad's voice as he said, "You mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's."

"Why?" "How can this be?" "She is so young!" "She is only 62 years old!" "Are they sure?" "It can't be right!" "I (we) can't do this again!" All of these things, and many, many more, came out of my mouth that night. The days and weeks that followed were a blur of feelings: disbelief, anger, bitterness, fear...you name it, I felt it. I was angry at God. I kept asking, "Why this? Wasn't this the one thing that I asked not to have happen?" "Weren't you listening?!?" I was very, very angry.

I'm over the anger now; I've settled into acceptance. I thought about writing my feelings down as I was processing over the last few months, but I honestly couldn't put things into words; it wasn't the right time. I've been reflecting on it for a while now, I've been thinking that I'm ready. Realizing that today is the six month mark solidified that today was the day.

As for my mom, thankfully she is doing well. She seems to have a good team of doctors working with her, she's started a medication that will hopefully slow down the progression of the disease, and at last visit they were pleased with the (lack of) progression. All we can do is wait. We could have one good year left with her, we could have fifteen. I'm praying for the latter.

Gandalf said it best, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

I choose family time, creating memories, and making the most out of every time that we're together. And I pray daily that this goodbye won't come for a long, long time.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Pictures galore from 1999.

Our fourth anniversary

Someone is turning three and has a Bob the Tomato shirt!

Thomas Track! The boys absolutely loved making Thomas layouts and my parents were great sports. All of the track stayed at their house and sometimes my folks let the kids leave layouts out for weeks at a time. Even the dogs learned to walk around/over them!

They saved every Thomas catalog and John would spend hours looking at them and picking out what he wanted.

One of my all-time favorites. The picture, I mean.
The person IS my all-time favorite.

The Del Mar Fair

All dressed up for Aunt Anna's wedding! Unfortunately, by the time the wedding started it was nap time and a certain almost-two-year-old had a meltdown and wouldn't walk down the aisle. Andy had to carry him and he's crying in all of the pictures. Oh well. Kids!

This has always looked very Rockwell-esque to me.

Luau time!

The two year old is in birthday heaven...
Thomas track AND a Little People Garage!

The big boys enjoying the party.

My buddy and I made a few cakes for a baby shower....

...see how awesome they were!

We also made a cake of our friend!

Desitin is insanely hard to get off of faces, in case you were wondering.

Lamp shades make fabulous hats!

Trick or Treat! Its' Captain Hook and Peter Pan!

"Hurry up, Mommy! It's our turn!"