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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Emancipation of Helen

   Thought I would write about the day I realized I was self-sufficient and could do anything I put my mind to, or rather, anything to which I put my mind.  It was 1979 and it was the day I fixed the vacuum cleaner.  Seriously, this was a life-changing event for me.
   I know this sounds like no big deal, but to someone who had been told all their life they were stupid, it was a revelation.  The proverbial lightbulb went off in my head and illuminated like a blinking neon sign screaming, You are woman, hear you roar!!  Then, I beat my ex at chess.  Life was never going to be the same again.  I beat 'The Intimidator' at chess.  I'm struggling to find the words to describe all the emotions.  Suprise, glee, cocky, sailing, floating, flying....well, you get the idea. 
   I had always felt diminished by the people closest to me so something as simple as fixing the sweeper made me realize, "Hell, if I can fix the sweeper and beat meany-butt at chess, I can do anything!!  Living with confidence was a whole new and lovely experience.  So, don't underestimate or dismiss the little stuff.  It can actually be HUGE and life-changing if you're paying attention. 
   The moral is, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let someone else define who you are.  You decide and then be it.  One of my daughter's favorite sayings is, Whatever you are, be a good one, Abraham Lincoln.  The other one she has that I love is: 
"You are always already happy. The reason you don't experience it is that it's covered up by layers of suppressed emotions and negative thoughts. Shift your attention and your inherent happiness flashes forth." -Steve Ross
   Be yourself.  And enjoy everything that entails. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Memories -

I was reading my daughter's blog this morning.  She was telling about helping her 5 year old write his first letter to Santa.  It made me start thinking about some of my Christmas memories. 
When I had kids, I resolved to make Christmas a big deal because my parents put a miniscule amount of energy into Christmas.  Thanksgiving was another story.  Since my dad was a chef and baker by trade he went all out for that.  One time he even closed his restaurant and had the whole extended family come to dinner.  There were enough people to fill the restaurant.  But Christmas was another story.  We had a tree, but I remember being 5 or 6 and my brother and I decorating it.  This always included burning my fingers on the old-fashioned lights that got so hot they would melt the icicles....and skin!  I think this was the exercise that taught me to swear.  But I still love those lights even though they're dangerous as hell.  I also remember putting up a string of snowball lights across the fireplace mantle.  I loved those lights and have looked for some like it ever since.  I hope to find them in an antique store someday.

These days, Christmas stockings are a huge deal.  It's all a huge deal actually.  From making the cookies, to looking at Christmas lights, to wrapping presents, to watching White Christmas while decorating the tree, to hiding the Christmas Pickle (do a Google search) and on and on.  More time often goes into stuffing the stockings than buying the regular presents.  There always has to be; a slinky, silly putty, a back-scratcher, candy, Swenson's gold coins, a various other fun stuff to reach in and find.  When I was a kid, our stockings held a 50 cent piece and an orange......every year. 

I do remember gifts like the huge (at least it seemed so) Mickey Mouse cardboard clubhouse that my brother Mike and I sat in to watch the Mickey Mouse Club show on TV until it finally disintegrated.
I also remember a baby doll one year that accompanied me to Canada and was in my hands practically the whole trip.  That was the only time I played with a doll.  I usually wanted my brother's bb gun and army men instead. 
I think my fondest memory though was one Christmas morning when Mike came into my room and woke me up very early and we sneaked downstairs together to check out the Santa stash.   It was one of those few moments spent with a sibling that stays with you.  I know my kids have a similar memory of running a string from one room to the other and putting a bell at the end so Jen could tug on the string and wake Mark up so they could sneak downstairs to check out the presents.  But Jen evidently tugged a little too hard and the bell fell on Mark's head. 

I also remember one Christmas when I was about 12, my parents were working at the restaurant and hadn't even bothered to go buy a tree.  So Mike and I walked to the nearest tree sales lot, picked out a tree, dragged it home and put it up and decorated it all by ourselves.  We were incredibly proud of that tree.  There were several years when my brother and I were at odds and it has occurred to me that my fondest memories of my brother are mostly centered around Christmas, probably because we were pretty much on our own. 

The best part of Christmas every year was going to my grandmothers on Christmas Eve.  This is what Christmas should look like; lots of family, lots of kids, lots of food, lots of laughter, and my grandmother holding court instructing who should open which present next and the kids (20 grandchildren in all) not-so-patiently waiting for their turn.  It was always awesome and more than made up for the stark reality at our house.

So, to say my folks weren't the best parents when it came to holidays is an understatement, but the holidays were always special nonetheless. 
I guess it's like anything else.  If you wait for someone else to create your joy, you will often wait a very long time....sometimes forever.  Moral of the story....make it what you want.

I hope I've made up for their indifference with my family.  I'm pretty sure I did because Jen is already counting the days until next Christmas!!!   

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting old can be sucky or sweet. Your choice.

Ok, I've avoided the subject long enough.  I'm going to be 61 in another few weeks so thought I would dwell a little on the pros and cons of getting 
Here are what I believe to be the top 10 reasons why it sucks to get old and the top 10 reasons why it is AWESOME!!
Always wanting to leave here on a positive note, I will start with the reasons why it sucks.

10.  Every freakin part of me hurts.  Yeah, yeah, I know, need to exercise more and lose weight.  Not so easy when the arthritis has kicked in and you feel blessed if you can get out of bed in the morning and not limp to the John.  (hasn't happened for at least a year now)  Unlike when I was younger, I can eat less, a LOT less actually and still not lose a pound.  Eventually, you just say, 'To hell with it.  I'm old now.  I can do what I want!'
9.  Memory is not what it used to be.  In the past, on very rare occasions, I would walk into a room and forget what I went in there for.  Now, it's pretty common.  After researching how the brain works and finding out it slowly deteriorates over time, you get to the point where you say, 'To hell with it.  I'm old now.  What's so damned important anyway??'
8. The medical procedures.  Good grief, there are colonoscopies, egd's, cat scans, mri's, heart caths, stress tests, skin biopsies, mammograms, surgeries and on and on and on.  If there was a cure for old age, I'm sure it's been buried with the Q (lost biblical scripture) so doctors will never have to worry about going out of business.     
7.  The cost of medications!  I literally take 7 pills a day!  Five in the morning and two at night.  I'm told they're keeping me alive, but you can't convince me by how I feel when I get out of bed!
6.  Reflexes aren't what they used to be.  Response time when driving has been altered.  I think I'm still a pretty good driver, but it scares the hell out of me when I see someone use a walker like Tim Conway's bit to get into their car and drive away.  If they can't pick up their feet without a walker, how are they going to lift it to put their foot on the brake in a hurry?  And then I realize that's going to be me someday. YES!!  I SAID SOMEDAY!!  SHUT UP!
5.  Your hair gets thinner and your belly gets bigger.  I used to have the thickest hair of all my friends and the smallest stomach.  (I have pictures to prove it)  Now, I could knit a sweater with the hair that's left in the shower.    
4.  Old age spots.  They're just gross.  And why the hell do they always have to be on your hands where EVERYONE can see them? 
3.  Old people always talk about their bowel movements.  I'm not sure what the fascination is with feces when you get old and forturnately I'm not THAT old yet, but I've already told my daughter, if I EVER start that crap (pun intended) to put me out of everyone's misery.  I was a little unnerved when she replied, "No problem."
2.  More life at the end of the money.  Budgeting takes on a whole new meaning when you get older.
And the number one reason it sucks to get older.
1.  You become invisible.  There was a time when I could turn a head or two.  Not beautiful, but not offensive to look at.  But when women get older, people seem to look right through you and you wonder when you became invisible.  So those are the reasons it sucks. 

NOW let me tell you why it's WONDERFUL to get older.
10.  You can say whatever the hell you want.  People expect old people to become eccentric and say stupid stuff.  This comes in handy when you want to give your doctor shit about all the medications you're taking.
9.  You can eat ice cream every day if you want to.  (Remember number 10 from the other list?) And now they have those neat individual serving sizes to reduce the quilt levels even more!  Than you, Edys!!  I love you!!
8.  You can go to bed early.  Thank God for our DVR or we wouldn't have anything to watch while we're having our morning coffee!
7.  You don't have to shop if you don't want to.  When you get older, people don't expect presents.....they expect  money in those cool money envelopes you get from the bank.  
6.  You can feign deafness.  At least Bob does.....all the time.....especially when I'm the one talking!
5.  Being a grandparent is loads more fun than being a parent.  We always threatened our kids that when we became grandparents, we would teach their children to put their feet up on the coffee table, stuff candy wrappers in the couch, play practical jokes, and load them up with sugar right before mom and dad get home.  I think we're keeping up our end of this bargain nicely.
4.  Rocking your grandchild to sleep.  There are no words to describe it. 
3.  Turning over the holiday responsibilities to the younger generation.  No one expects old people to do all that work, right?  My daughter still makes me cook some stuff, but we go to her house now so she's the one who has to clean! 
2.  People respect my opinions and experience. (At least they humor me and let me think so)  
1.  The prospect of retiring.   After working for nearly 50 years, retiring and doing exactly what I want every day is a delicious future goal.  If you've been reading along on my blog, all I can say is, if I die before I get to retire and before my house remodeling is fininshed, I'm going to be TOTALLY PISSED!!! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

I love a good coincidence, don't you?

Oddly enough, my previous post was about The Thankless Deed and my discovery of great music and then this afternoon, I saw the blog titled, The Kid Should See This.  I'm a fan now.  It has this video of Thelonius Monk playing Round Midnight: 
(I love a good coincidence) When I became a professional singer, I was working with some fantastic jazz musicians and I remember the first time I heard them play Round Midnight and I was blown away.  It became my all-time favorite song, but I never sang it.  It seemed too difficult to tackle vocally, but I was so drawn into the melody I almost didn't want to spoil it with words.  It was probably 10 years later before I discovered it even had words.  The last recording I made, (about 20 years ago) I sang that song.  I was in a commercial studio and the lights were dimmed and I was standing in front of a mic and I couldn't see the musicians but I could hear them through my headphones.  The guitar player was Bob (The Fras) Fraser of Cleveland and the bass player was Ray (Baby Noodle) Parker from New York.     Ray said, "Why don't you sing Round Midnight?".  I had never tried it before but decided to go for it.   As I expected, it's a bitch to sing but I was pretty happy with the outcome.  Thanks for the revisit of another wonderful memory.  I still have the recording and will go home tonight and find it and dim the lights and let it take me back there again.
   Also, if you'd like to hear something from the piano player in my previous post, do a google search for Herman Chittison.  Fabulous stuff.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Thankless Deed

In honor of November, the Thanksgiving month, I'm thinking of  THE THANKLESS DEED.  That phrase has been sticking in my head lately.  I heard it the first time years ago by my first life mentor.  "Helen, don't forget, the most important deed you can do is the Thankless Deed".  (Thanks, Bill)
   When I say, THE THANKLESS DEED, what's the first thing that comes into your head?  One of my co-workers responded, "...when I bring flowers home to my wife for no reason, but my wife's response is usually, "Ok, what did you do??". 
   My daughter instantly responded with, "That's easy!  Being a mom.  It's the million little things you do that nobody notices, but if you didn't do them, they'd notice".  (You can see lots more of her wisdom at her blog,     
   My favorite thankless deed memory was a Christmas Eve night when I was just a kid; parking a block down the street from someone's house; (strangers to us) sneaking in the dark up onto their porch with my folks and placing a sack full of food and presents on their porch.  We knocked on the door and then ran for all we were worth before the people inside answered the door.  That's one of the few really fond memories I have of my parents.
   So, the thankless deed is something you do, expecting nothing in return.  Right?  But do we really get nothing in return?  My daughter is getting some great kids and the love of her family. 
   I was a recipient of a profound thankless deed when I was 5 years old.  I come from a musical background.  Both of my parents were talented musicians and back in the 50's, they used to have jam sessions at our house.  Professional musicians would come from all over town.  We lived in an upper middle class, all white neighborhood so the African American musicians had to be smuggled in.  (How sad is that??)  Anyway, you'd think you were in a concert hall.  There would be a drum set, a bass fiddle, a piano, several horns and even once there was a vibraphone.
   The wonderful music that came out of those nights is what made me fall in love with music and eventually become a professional singer.  One night, one of the older (black) musicians noticed my interest and let me sit next to him on the piano bench and watch him play.  I was enthralled.  The next day, he came back to the house and spent a couple hours with me, teaching me scales and chords and worked with me until I had a whole song memorized.  He didn't have to do that, but his love of music led him to the thankless deed which, in turn, led me to a career path and a love of music I've carried all my life.  Thankless???  Well, here it is 55 years later and I'm still talking about him. (Thank you, Herman)  
   Make no mistake.  The thankless deed is an event that starts in motion, all the right energy.  We are all made up of energy...cosmic stuff, and what we do affects everything else and everyONE else....everywhere.  NEVER think your actions don't have an impact because they ALWAYS do.    
   Have you ever been involved in a thankless deed that made a difference in your life, either on the giving or receiving end?  I would love to hear about it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Another "Life With Bob" story

As a continuation of the Life With Bob series, before Bob and I got married, I was living in a cute little bungalow in West Akron that I had purchased after my divorce.  It was a great little house for me and the kids, but it was really drafty and cold in the winter so, Bob enters my life and offers to help me insulate it.
   He went to great lengths to explain the best kind of insulation to use was the kind you blow into the walls and what the insulation was made of and what the procedure was and of course, all I heard was, "blah, blah, blah" and I'm thinking, 'don't care, just make it so.  BIG mistake.  I  should have paid more attention. 
   The first issue was, we foolishly decided to do this in the dead of winter when the temperature was in the teens.  So we go to the Army/Navy store and buy bright orange survival suits that will withstand below-freezing temperatures for days.  We also bought big huge black boots called Mickey Mouse boots, evidently because they look like Mickey Mouse feet.  Then we bought the insulation which came in 40 big bags each shaped about the size of a bale of hay and weighed about 30 pounds apiece.  The store then lets you use the machine to blow the insulation in.  It was a hopper about as tall as me.
   So, a couple days before the big event, Bob went around the house and drilled a bunch of 1/2 dollar sized holes all over the house in which to blow the insulation.  And on the big day, we suited up in bright orange and black (so the neighbors couldn't miss how stupid I am!) and gloves and ear muffs.  Bob set up the hopper just inside the garage ("to keep you out of the wind so you won't get too cold") uh-huh.  Then he attached the 5,000 foot ( yes, an exaggeration) hose. 
   My job was to open the bags and dump them in the hopper.  This entailed slicing open the bags, hoisting them up on my shoulder and slowly dumping them in.  The first 10 or so weren't too bad, but after that each one started to feel substantially heavier.  I couldn't see Bob because he started on the other side of the house. (The sly fox)
   Half way through the bags, I had to take a break to get the feeling back in my shoulder so I decided to walk around the house to see how Bob was doing.  And there he was...............just standing there...................whistling...................eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich..................with a hose sticking in a hole.
   Of course, he did a deer-in-the-headlight when he saw me or more likely felt my laser beam stare burning into the back of his head.  He stood there frozen for just a second.....and then started laughing his ass off and comments sailed out of me like, "YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH!!!!"
   He tried to weasle his way out by telling me that you had to know just how to blow the insulation in and how to be alert to when it was time to change holes and blah, blah, blah.
   The only redeeming part of the whole day was when we went back in the kitchen and I opened one of the cupboards only to have insulation pour out and cover the kitchen floor.  Three guesses who cleaned THAT up! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My life with Bob

Decided to start a new category, "MY LIFE WITH BOB" and share a few stories and experiences.  The first one that comes to mind is the year we were the youth leaders at our church and for a fund-raising project, the kids decided to have a 'Kiss the Pig' Contest.  They took pictures of several leaders of the church and put each one on a glass jar.  The congregation would then vote for who they wanted to have to kiss the pig.
   The one thing the kids forgot to consider was, "where are we going to find a pig to kiss?".  So of course, Bob, who can do anything (if you'll remember a prior post...."You're not Bob") told them he would find them a cute little Pot Belly Pig.
   After contacting some Pot Belly Pig associations, (who knew?)  he found a local farmer who said we could use his.  So he goes somewhere in southern Ohio and comes back with a pig in a cage in the back of his SUV.  Now comes the fun part.  The farmer said the pig had to be bathed before we could take him to church and trust me, the pig NEEDED a bath!  Dang!  Those things stink!  Problem was, I had assumed a pot belly pig was a little pig.  This pig was well over 100 pounds!
   Well, the big oink, oink goes to me!  Guess who got stuck bathing the pig?!?!?!?!  Yep, me!!!!  But first, we had to get it out of the cage and put a harness on it.  I was told I was just going out to help take the cage out of the truck.  So it's 6:30 sunday morning, and I'm out in our drive way, in my night shirt, bent over, showing the neighborhood my business,  holding the 100 pound pig's hind legs so it won't run away while Bob puts a hog harness on it.  It's squealing for all it's worth and it was so loud, I'm sure it woke the whole neighborhood.  The damned thing is kicking like crazy trying to get away and it's all I can do to hold on to its feet.  It kicked the shit out of my arm so I had to go get a tetanus shot :o(    But wait, the injustice is just beginning.  Then I have to haul a bucket of warm soapy water out while Bob holds it's leash and I scrub the ugly beast with a scrub brush,  ( a process they don't particularly like) then haul a bucket of clean water out to rinse it and then, (you're not going to believe this) the farmer said we had to rub it down with skin so soft!  Our two dogs daisy and chelsea look like they're thinking, "That's the ugliest damned dog I've ever seen!".  Then I had to hose out the cage, get it's food and water.  All the time, Bob's standing there holding the pig because, "I better hold the pig honey.  You're not strong enough to hang onto him."  All the time, Bob's laughing his ass off!     I GOT TOTALLY SCREWED!!!!!! 
   There are several stories like this where I was duped by my loving husband.  Maybe next time I'll tell you how I got screwed insulating our house.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Heart Cath Update

The heart cath went well, and they were able to get me squared away without putting stents in my veins.  They tried a new procedure of putting the catheter through my wrist instead of my groin, but that didn't work so I have two wounds to watch.  Seriously folks, this procedure is not bad at all so please don't hesitate to have it done if your doctor wants you to.  It only takes a few minutes, only slightly uncomfortable and can save your life.
   I've had all kinds of medical tests during my life and literally every time I dreaded having something done, I came away afterward saying, "That wasn't bad at all".  Seriously, having Bob dig a splinter out of my foot is worse than a thyroid biopsy.
   So, do what you're told, get all the tests your doctor wants you to get and stay healthy.  You still have LOTS to see and do.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Can't they just run vinegar through your veins??

That was a suggestion at dinner last night by a friend of ours while discussing my upcoming heart cath today.  Why can't they just run vinegar or lime-away or something through the veins to clean them out like I do with my Mr. Coffee?  Ok, we've put it out there so go ahead universe, make it so! 
   Leaving in a few minutes to get the heart cath done and hope they can fix me.  I'll report back with the details.  In the meantime,  take care of yourselves!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Living in Swiss Cheese

   As promised, here is a picture of my "living room". 

Obviously there is no living taking place in here except maybe for the neighbor's cat, David, who sneaks in through the doggie door at night and sleeps on the couch.  Sure, HE gets to sit on my couch!!
   I'm told the new sink and cooktop is going in this week and two more cabinets will be finished in a few days so I will be able to start moving things out of the living room.  Sofa, here I come!! 
   And on a really cool note, we figured granite on our kitchen island was not going to be an option because of the price.  BUT!!! We saw an article in our little local paper talking about this family owned business (Chippewa Stone in Medina, Ohio - and they are AWESOME!!) that sells granite and loves helping people achieve their decorating and remodeling goals.  So, we decided to go check em out and these folks couldn't have been nicer.  We walked in and my first words were, "Hi, we would like granite for our kitchen, but we're poor."  And instead of them tossing us out on our ears, they took us through their warehouse and we looked at probably 200 huge pieces of granite. 
   When I reiterated that money was a big issue, she helped us find a remnant piece that is a perfect match for what we want.  So on a whim, I asked her to price it for us, not holding my breath since all the other places quoted between $1400.00 and $1800.00 which is NOT in our budget range.  Well, it ended up being less than half of what we expected.  And, they would even install it! Not even sex has ever excited me this much!!  (Ok, that's an over-statement)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Boob pancakes day!!

So, as a continuation of my last post on the merits of staying in touch with your health, today is that wonderful day we (older) women look forward to each year.  You know, the one where you voluntarily walk into a room that emits radiation and passively stand there while some woman (with a sadistic look in her eye and an evil grin) sweetly tells you to bare it all and walk up and lay your boob on a cold plate.  She then applies pressure to a footplate, (still grinning) and lowers another cold plate on top of your boob and begins to, for lack of a better term, smoosh your breast until it resembles a pancake.  At the same time, Cruella tells you to "stand a little sideways, put your arm up here, bend back a little and don't move".  Uh huh. 
   She then leaves the room so you are the only one who gets to reap the benefits of radiation exposure and leaves you standing there while you hear the machine you are hopelessly pinned to humming happily along.  If you are the least bit claustrophobic like me, trust me, this experience is delightful.
And the best part is, you get to do it on the other side too!!  Woo-hoo!! 
   Ok, I'm just funnin with ya.  Seriously, while only slightly uncomfortable, it takes less than 5 minutes and it's the absolute best way (along with feeling yourself up) to protect yourself against breast cancer.  So DON'T PUT IT OFF!!  Make the damned appointment, get it done and take care of yourself!! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

I have nitro glycerin and know how to use it!!

   I'm carrying nitro glycerin tablets in my purse now.  Evidently, my family history and lifestyle has finally caught up with me and now I have a heart blockage.  It started several months ago when I realized I was putting off taking a shower in our new shower (remember, we're remodeling) because just wiping it down afterward was wearing me out and making me short of breath.  (Good thing we have a bathtub too!!)  Also noticed other minor activities like pulling weeds or carrying a bag out to the trash just about did me in. 
   Finally ended up going to the doc who of course ordered a stress test which I proceeded to flunk with my usual flare.  I was bragging when I made it through the whole 6 minutes like they wanted and got the heart rate up to 160 like they wanted and then scared the hell out of them when the heart rate and blood pressure wouldn't come back down.....for a very long time.   
   So now I have nitro in my purse (just in case) and I'm going to a cardiologist this week and I"m told a heart cath is in my near future.  I actually had one of those about 4 years ago (my first clue that I wasn't paying attention) so I know the test is not bad.  I'm just hoping they can fix whatever's wrong while they're in there lookin around so I don't have to have something more involved.
   The worst part of all this is feeling fragile and breakable.  I'm used to just plowing through problems and this one just doesn't work that way.  So consider this a piece of advice from This Ole Broad; If you don't feel right, there's a reason for it and you need to go get it fixed before it's beyond fixing.  Ignoring the problem is the WORST thing you can do.  I'll report back later.  Have a fabulous week!!   

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"I'm living in swiss cheese with a door"....

So, about 15 years ago, Bob and I started talking about remodeling our house.  It's a 60 year-old farm house that is probably the worst floor-plan ever designed.  No, scratch that.  It IS the worst floor-plan ever designed.  I'm not exaggerating.  I don't even have a front door.  (Pause to let that fact sink in)  I have a door off the screened-in side porch that goes directly into the kitchen.  THAT's my front door. 
   The kitchen is a room with no wall space.  One wall has the stairs to the upstairs; one wall has a big opening into the livingroom; one wall has a door to the basement; and one wall had a tiny (and our only) bathroom.  By tiny, I mean 3x5.  (Pause again so you can get a mental picture)  This is what we had been living with for years. 
   We talked and talked about how to change this place into a liveable environment and Bob is a handy man extraordinaire, so much so that our friends say there should be a reality show called, "You're not Bob" because if he was on survivor, he'd have solar heat and running water in the first 24 hours.  People would get voted off because, well, "You're not Bob".
   But then he got the big C.  Yep, Non-hodgkins Lymphoma.  (That ongoing ordeal, I'll save for other posts)  For now, suffice to say this nasty cancer has been coming back about every two years, each time requiring another 6 month long round of treatment and laying my hubby flat for several months.
   So here we are, 15 years and 9 rounds of chemotherapy later and my energizer bunny is still going.  Albeit slower and not quite as strong, but still going.  Thank goodness.  But naturally, this stalled the remodeling job....Big Time! 
   The other roadblock was and still is money.  Once we decided what needed to be done, it occurred to us that we couldn't afford it.  At least  not all at once.  So I got the brilliant idea (yes, I'm being facetious) to do it as time and health allowed.  A little at a time.  "Piece-meal it." I said.  How bad could that be?  In hindsight, hahahahahahahahahahaha.
   So the project began two years ago and to date, the only place I have to sit down (literally) is my side of the bed or in the bathtub.  I watch TV in bed, I eat my meals in bed, I read my mail in bed, and now that the weather is changing toward winter, I won't even have my patio as an escape.  What was only supposed to be a minor re-do of the kitchen has exploded into a re-do of the entire house.  Granted, the entire house is basically only 4 rooms on the first floor but when all four rooms are non-functional, it's beyond description.   In order to make the kitchen bigger, we had to remove the bathroom.  In order to create a new bathroom, we had to remove a walk-in closet and move a wall which made the bedroom smaller which meant we had to get rid of our king-sized bed.  In order to work on the kitchen, everything in the kitchen had to be moved into the living room.  I will post some pictures soon.  You have to see it to believe it.  Whenever one of us trips over a tool or stubs their toe on a pile of wood, we repeat our mantra.....IT'S GONNA BE GREAT!
   I'm being told the project will be done by Christmas, but I'm not holding my breath.  I'm barely holding on to my sanity!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My daughter says she's an atheist!.....continued

   Decided I have more to say on this topic.  That is, the topic of God, no God.  I said earlier that I call myself a Christian because I try to follow the teachings of Jesus, which is true, but it goes much farther than that. 
   Last week, I had a really fun and interesting conversation over dinner with friends on this very subject.  One of these friends is an ordained minister who I consider my spiritual guide and her husband is also one of the most gentle and deeply spiritual people I know.  I was asking how they logically (or rather scientifically) approach the subject of atheism with people since they are coming from a faith-based perspective.  The whole conversation was great, but the sentence that struck me most was, "Scientifically, you can't come to an objective conclusion on an experiment when you're a PART of the experiment".  To me, that's kind of like can't see beyond our cosmic horizon but you know something else is out there.  (Check out
   Anyway, where I guess I'm going with all this is, I can't put a face or a name or a personality to my God, but in MY cosmic universe, there IS a creator who is interactive and still creating to this day and we are creating our universe along with that creator and that's the piece of the puzzle that parts ways, I think, with conventional or traditional Christianity.  My Christianity is not based on pain and suffering or judgement or guilt or fear.  Mine is based on the message of Jesus who I believe was the most highly evolved being.....EVER and His message was 'love one another'.  We are not living for "some day".  We are living and creating now and we need to be In The Moment and creating a world of love and acceptance by our actions and by the words we say.  I am not a bystander of my beliefs.  I am a part of the experiment.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My daughter says she's an atheist!

   So, I'm talking to my daughter this morning and she gets on my case about not posting on my blog more often.  I tell her I don't have too much on my mind lately and she says, "Why don't you post something about your crushing disappointment that I'm an athiest?"  Without feeling the least bit compelled to discuss the theological or philosophical ramifications of her beliefs, I laugh because I'm perfectly ok with her being an athiest, for a few reasons.   
   First, I know that between the time I was her age and the age I am now, (and trust me, I have reached old fart status), I changed my mind on my beliefs at least a dozen times. 
   Then, I think it doesn't really matter what you believe or don't believe because what's going to happen is going to happen regardless.  Jen and I have talked dozens of times on our disdain for those who profess to KNOW the answers when really, the only honest answer is "I DON'T KNOW".  And we're ok with that answer because it's truth. 
   And then finally, I know that Jen is one of the best people I've ever known and is making the universe a better place every day.  I can only believe that powerful energy will continue through the universe forever and I often enjoy meditating on who will be touched by that positive energy and how it will impact the universe.
   So, Jen and I disagree on the subject of God or no God.  I am convinced in my heart that a creator of some type was responsible for creating all this and creation continues today.  That's what my intuition (gut) tells me based on my years of study and experience but scientifically, the truth is I don't know.  And the other truth is, I either will or won't know eventually.  Not something to lose sleep over in my opinion.  What matters to me and what makes me call myself a Christian is not the life-after-death part or the guilt and judgement stuff.  I call myself a Christian because I try to follow the teachings of Jesus each and every day.  Everything he taught was about how we should treat each other.  He was all about love and kindness and acceptance and the world is sorely lacking in those areas.  It's even more important now to be an example of peace.  I've decided to bring back the peace symbol of the 60's.  I loved it then and I love it now and that little gesture speaks volumes.  Instead of giving the finger, try  giving the peace sign instead.  I promise you'll feel better doing the later.  Here's something to keep in mind for every day life.  This is kind of my mission statement. 
Go forth into the world and be of good courage;
Hold fast to that which is good;
Render to no person evil for evil;
Strengthen the faint-hearted;
Support the weak;
Help the afflicted;
Honor all people. 
    (and here's the rest of it for us Christians)
Love and serve God rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, August 8, 2011


So, this past weekend, I had decided to try a new recipe for Beef Burgandy and wanted to buy a saute pan to saute the mushrooms.  I went to Kohls and lo and behold, they had a 12 inch, stainless steel saute/omelet pan (exactly what I wanted) on the 80% off rack.  The original price was $79.00 (an amount I would NEVER spend for a pan) but when I saw the 80% off sign, well, now we're talkin!  However, the "new" price on the ticket was $31.99 which is not 80% off.  So I asked one of the people there and she scanned it and said, "yes, that's the price alright".  I then politely pointed out the price was incorrect.  After a little more discussion (ok, quite a bit more discussion) we walked up to the register and together we calculated the correct price on a calculator.  Bottom line is, I got a $79.00 saute pan for $15.80 plus tax!!  Woo-hoo!!  I LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS!!!  So, the moral of the story is....Do your own math.   

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Anniversary Lover Boy

So today is our 21st wedding anniversary.  We don't do much to celebrate because we celebrate every day.  I know how corny that sounds but it really is true.  I am  married to a great guy.  Great because he totally lets me be me.  And nothing is more attractive and appealing to me than that.  My heart goes out to women who have to ask permission....for anything.  Bob loves me just the way I am;  overweight, opinionated, sometimes crabby (he always manages to joke me out of those moods), sometimes over emotional, and on and on. 
I also think our marriage has lasted AND gotten stronger over the years because we keep a sense of humor.  We can find something to laugh about in every situation.  For example, Bob was diagnosed 15 years ago with cancer and ever since, whenever I ask him to do something, he responds, "What are you gonna do when I'm not here?" and I always respond, "No problem, I'll hire someone!".   Being together for us is easy.  We don't have to work at it.  I think if you have to work at being happy together, you've already got a problem. 
Anyway, here's to all the happily married couples in the world.  Enjoy each other to the fullest!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What am I doing in Northeast Ohio?

My favorite thing in the whole world is to wake up early and watch AND listen to the sunrise.  I will watch the sunrise and listen for the very first waking bird.  It used to be a rooster crowing, but he must have gone to that big hen house in the sky cause I haven't heard him since last year.  If I could live outside, I would.  So what am I doing in Northeast Ohio where it's Easter Sunday and so far, we've had only one nice spring day?  No wonder everyone gets cranky and mean around here.  No sun and buckets of rain for days on end will do that to a person.  It is nice though to see all the moods change when the sun comes out.  Just like the Beatles tune, ....smiles returning to the faces.  Ahhhhhhh, come on Summer!