Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve...a time for parties, refections, and resolutions.

A normal New Year's Eve has Hubby and I heading either out for a fancy dinner, or a party at the Hyatt. THIS year, though, due to this darned cold/flu thing I have going, we're sitting here at home...eating Jason's Deli take-out...and gearing up to watch "Mamma Mia" on the DVD player. Woo hoo, huh?!

Is it just me, or has it gotten more difficult to stay up until midnight each year? Does that mean I'm getting old??! Gosh - I hope not. I never think of myself as "old" - until I can't stay up until midnight any more.

I love this holiday. I love the chance to reflect on the previous year - and I love to look forward to the new year- like a fresh start.

Whatever it is you're doing tonight, be safe - and be joyous. Kiss someone for me at midnight, as I will NOT be awake! I'll be snoozing away in bed...hoping this cold is gone by tomorrow! I do NOT want to start 2009 being sick!


I'm Addicted to Coke Zero

Okay, after posting the photo yesterday of my cat - staring hungrily at the Christmas tree ornament - I had a twinge of guilt. So, the cat is tempted by bright, shiny round objects. I have a confession. I'm tempted by bright, shiny objects as well. In particular, a bright, shiny object that contains "Cherry Coke Zero" inside it. I admit it. I'm an addict - not to use the term loosely - but there's not a day that goes by that I don't have one, two, three - or more - of those bright, shiny cans. So - I guess I'm just as bad as my cat about resisting temptation. I had mentioned yesterday that the cat got scolded after giving into temptation; the question is, do I get scolded for yielding to my temptation?? The answer is yes - Hubby scolds me on a constant basis for drinking too much of the stuff. And I react to him just how my cat reacts to me when getting scolded - I ignore him. Meow.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Temptation

My cat, Romeo...the intent look on his face, as he stares at that Christmas ornament on the tree...cracks me up. Is this temptation, or what??!! And do you think he was able to resist temptation? Not a chance. He was getting scolded the next minute after he took a swipe at that ball. Sigh...he'll never learn.


Climbing A Volcano

Have you ever been faced with something you thought was impossible?

I know I have - this past summer, on a mission trip to Guatemala, we were given the "opportunity" to climb a volcano. Cerro de Oro is a small volcano located on the shores of Lake Atitlan, in the western highlands of Guatemala. I had never climbed it before on any of my previous trips - didn't really want to climb it this time, either. But both of my sons were on this trip - and they both pleaded with me, the Drama Queen, to go along with them. Oh joy.

So, after church on a beautiful Sunday morning, I put on my hiking shoes, filled up my water bottles, and decided to tackle the volcano.

The climb begins easily enough - at the bottom. I couldn't really see how high we were going - which is probably a good thing, as I would have turned around and gone right back to the hotel room. But I forged ahead, putting one foot in front of another...

...And then another foot in front of the other, and another, and so on, and so on.

This photo gives you an idea of how steep it was in some places on the climb: I'm the one in turquoise.

So, the climb continues - and continues. I have to stop every so often to take a rest break; I AM middle-aged, remember! Again, another photo along the way to show the intensity of the hike:

I'll have to admit - it was pretty intense...I thought about turning around early, but everyone on the team was there to offer support and encouragement along the way. Without that support, I would have given up.

After about 3 hours of hiking, we made it to the top. Here's some photos of the top; the first photo shows the incredible view of the lake at the top; the 2nd one is of the whole group; and the 3rd photo is of my sons and me.

We sat at the top for awhile, enjoying some snacks and enjoying the view. After a few photos, it was time to begin the hike down. When we reached the bottom, I seriously kissed the ground.

Was it worth it? YES - it was. Would I do it again? Hmmm...I don't know. I learned some things about myself - I learned that it ALWAYS helps to have support when faced with a difficult challenge. It's too easy to give up if you're going at it by yourself. I learned that patience and perseverance pays off...what a view, huh? And I learned it's pretty awesome to do something with your kids, if to show them that you CAN!

Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one day at a time, one action at a time. Get support, if you need it - don't do it by yourself!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Sniffles, Sneezes & Sore Throats

Being sick sucks.

I've been sick since Saturday night. Not fun. My symptoms - sore throat, sneezes, sniffing - as well as a very bad headache. Is this a cold? Is this a virus going around? Who knows - all I know is, I feel like crap - and I haven't slept worth a darn. Who knew you shouldn't drink gobs of cough syrup right before bedtime? How did I know it would keep me "wired" all night??!! Geez - now I know what to drink next time I need some energy, I'm tellin' ya!

Jeff Dunham was in town Saturday night. I managed to snag some tickets several weeks ago, and me, the boys and my brother headed downtown to catch the show. Pretty freakin' funny - although a little on the raunchy side. Dear Daughter wanted to go very much, but she's only 9 - so Hubby kindly stayed home to babysit her. Good thing - this type of humor was NOT for a 9-year old! It was good to laugh, though - I think the guys all enjoyed it.

It was in the car on the way home from the show that the sneezing began...and it hasn't stopped. Seriously - I sneezed so many times in the car that I was seriously scared of cracking a rib or something. I mean, it freakin' hurt! Good thing Brother was driving - I would have wrecked the car.

So, this will be a short post - as my drugs are starting to wear off, and it's time for another hit. Thank God for Tylenol and Robitussen and DayQuil and Vicks. All at the same time. Just kidding. Maybe.

No pearls of wisdom today. I'm too sick to save the world - the only action I'm taking right now is going back to bed. Catch you tomorrow, when hopefully all will be right with the world again. I at least know now to NOT swig half a bottle of cough syrup tonight before bedtime. Geesh.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't Pet the Alligators

Yesterday, I received a thank-you letter from an area school in the mail. In November, I had been asked to do a hurricane presentation to some 1st-graders in Kansas City. Seems they had just finished a unit on extreme weather, and wanted to hear from a Red Cross volunteer who had experienced hurricanes first hand. I put together a power point presentation and headed out - and boy, was it fun! Their thank-you note was an added bonus! Here is a brief synopsis of what I called, "Don't Pet the Alligators."

The presentation focused on preparations before, survival during, and clean-up afterwards, a hurricane. Here are my tips, as presented to a 1st-grade audience.

Tip #1: ALWAYS evacuate before a hurricane. That's the BEST way to survive a hurricane, hands down. Either find a motel room, call a friend or relative, or head to a Red Cross shelter. Here's a photo of a FEMA tent (this was in Galveston, during Hurricane Ike), which is very much what a shelter will look like.

Tip #2: If you can't evacuate, be sure you are stocked up EARLY on food. And gas. This is because the power is likely to go out for several days, if not longer, after the storm - which means grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations may not be open for business. Don't wait until the day before the hurricane to purchase your supplies - I made this mistake during Hurricane Gustav. I went to "Wally World" about 5 hours before the hurricane was due, and I found the following:

The picture's a little blurry - but you can see my point - the shelves were EMPTY! There was nothing left - seriously! Yikes! So, lesson learned - don't wait until the last minute to stock up on water, food and gas. The lines to the gas station were long - and a lot of gas stations were closed, because they had ran out of gas:

Tip #3: If you can't evacuate, after you've stocked up on water, food and gas - move your car to high ground and then find a safe shelter for yourself. Flooding is a natural consequence of hurricanes - so, if you can move your car to high ground (preferably an indoor parking garage - on an upper floor), you'll have transportation after the storm. As far as yourself, make sure you're in a strong building - preferably concrete. A major killer in hurricanes are trees falling down on houses - be sure you are aware of your surroundings.

Tip #4: During the hurricane, don't go outside to try to capture the moment on film. Let the guys from The Weather Channel and CNN do that. They're being paid to be foolish - you're not. Stay indoors and out of the storm.

Tip #5: After the storm, wait for the all-clear from the authorities before venturing out. And don't go out unless you HAVE to. If the power is out, then that means the stop lights aren't working - which can lead to major traffic tie-ups, as people try to maneuver their way around. A lot of traffic can be a nightmare for emergency personnel trying to navigate the roads.

Tip #6: If you've evacuated, and you're now back at your property to check for damages, be careful of displaced wildlife. It's not unusual for storm surges to "deposit" unwelcome animals in your yard. Take a look at this photo, that I took in Sabine Pass, TX, shortly after Ike:

This is one angry, confused and pissed off alligator that someone was trying to remove from their front yard. I told the kids, "Don't pet the alligators"...but the same can be said of any animal you encounter. If you see the neighbor's "friendly" dog roaming the street after the storm, don't try to approach it and pet it - it could be very frightened and confused, and this can lead to bites and attacks. Let the experts handle the dogs, cats and other wildlife that are displaced.

Tip #7: Wear gloves and masks while cleaning your property. If your property was flooded, who knows what stuff was in the flood waters - think of it as a giant cesspool, swirling around your stuff. Use gloves and be sure to wash and sterilize everything. Don't let your children pick up their favorite toys before they're washed. Use hand sanitizer like there's no tomorrow.

Tip #8: Take care of yourself - and your family - FIRST. Stuff is stuff - it can be replaced. Don't forget to take care of you and your family - drink LOTS of water, take breaks, and remember to breathe. Everything won't get done in one day - it's not a race, but a marathon, to clean up after a natural disaster. That's why it's called a DISASTER. You are way more important than stuff.

So, that's it...the 'shortened' version of the presentation that I did - my actual presentation had to last over an hour, so it had lots and lots of photos!

If you ever have any questions, feel free to contact me, or your local American Red Cross chapter. We're always here to help!

Be sure to do YOUR part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

How Do You Say "J" in Spanish?

Had some extra time today - so thought I would share one of my favorite photos.

Today's photo is from a cruise Hubby and I took in Mexico in March 2007. We were on the Vision of the Seas, with Royal Caribbean. Awesome cruise. (ALL cruises are awesome, though!)

We went to Cabo San Lucas, and then Mazatlan, and then Puerto Vallarta. It was in Puerto Vallarta that we went whale watching - and we captured this shot. However, I never saw the whales. I didn't see anything. It wasn't until I saw the photos that I saw what I had missed.

Before our stop in Puerto Vallarta, we stopped in Mazatlan...and that's where the problem lay. We went to a little beach with another couple from the ship, and discovered the joys of "boogie boarding." Wow - I had never been on a boogie board before, so in the beginning, I was a little hesitant to go out far, and played it pretty safe. We'd paddle out a little ways from the shore, and then wait for the killer waves to come in - and then lay on the board and ride the wave back to the shore. It was too much fun. As the afternoon went on, I discovered I had somewhat of a natural talent for this - I was pretty good at timing the waves, and being patient - letting a wave go on by that looked somewhat good, only to be followed by THE wave a minute later.

At one point, the four of us are out a ways in the ocean - and a pretty good-sized wave comes along. The other 3 (including Hubby) jump on their boards and ride the wave in to shore. I hadn't been paying attention, and didn't go in with them. I had missed the wave. So, I'm out there now, by myself, when I hear Hubby and friends yelling at me to turn around - and so I do - and I see a TSUNAMI coming right at me. I'm not kidding - it's a wall of water; the biggest wave I've ever seen; and it's coming right at me. I don't have a choice - I HAVE to ride this wave in - either that, or I drown. So, I do my best to time it when it hits me - I jump on my board - but the wave was too big, and I was too much of a novice. The next thing I know, I feel like I'm in a spin cycle of a washing machine - I'm tumbling, head over heels, in the water, as the wave rushes into shore. I feel my boogie board ripped from my arms, and now I'm on my own - struggling to figure out which way is top and which way is bottom, and holding my breath for all I'm worth.

The wave pushes me into shore, and Hubby had rushed over and literally plucks me up out of the water. The force of the wave had almost ripped my swim suit off - seriously. As I stand up, gagging out water, coughing, etc- I realize that my view of the world had changed. See - I have worn glasses since I was 9 years old. And at this point, I'm in bifocals. I had a super expensive, tricked-out pair of bifocals that had every bell and whistle on them - they were operating as sunglasses on this day. As I stood up from the water, I realize the glasses have been ripped off my head - gone - swimming with the fishes, now. OMG! I'm blind without those glasses!!!! Hubby immediately sizes up the situation, and begins an all-out intensive hunt for the glasses. He spends the next 2 hours, walking up and down the beach, trying to find the glasses - to no avail. They're gone - forever. Some little mermaid has taken them back to her lair for treasure.

Me and my tricked out glasses - the last photo taken before their untimely demise

So, I'm now blind - this was Wednesday - the cruise was not ending until Sunday. I literally couldn't see more than five feet in front of my face. That evening, back on board the cruise ship, I realized how vulnerable I felt - I couldn't see or perceive dangers or threats - I felt very exposed. People would wave at me from across the dining room, and I would snub them - as I couldn't see them. I wasn't trying to be rude - I was just being blind. We went to the evening show in the theater that night, but I couldn't see it. All I could do was enjoy the music. This sucked. What was I going to do for the rest of the cruise??

The next morning, we docked in Puerto Vallarta, where we had the whale-watching excursion booked. However, when we walked off the pier, I realized there is a God. RIGHT across the pier - not more than 100 yards away - sat a Sam's Club!!!! And Sam's Club has an optical department!!! You can hear the choirs of angels singing at this point as I run across the parking lot to Sam's. The optometrist at Sam's only spoke Spanish - no English - but I somehow could figure out that he could make me a basic pair of glasses in 8 hours - enough time before our ship left port - but no bifocals. That's okay - who needs stinkin' bifocals in Mexico??!! The doctor has to give me an eye test so he can figure out my prescription - what a hoot - imagine doing an eye test when you and the doctor don't speak the same language! I'm trying to say the alphabet (on the eye chart) in Spanish - but the "J" has me stumped. "J, J - how the heck do you say 'j' in Spanish??!!!" (Hota, by the way). Anyway, I'm cracking up laughing at the absurdity of the situation - the doctor is getting frustrated - but we got it all worked out.

We went on our whale watching excursion - while we waited for my glasses to be made. I used the telefoto on my camera to see a little bit of the whales - but it was pretty much a non-excursion for me. Oh well. I was just thrilled to stop by Sam's Club on the way back to the ship - I never treasured a pair of glasses more than those Mexican glasses! Thank GOD for Sam Walton and Sam's Club!!!! They saved my life!

Lesson learned - don't wear glasses while boogie boarding. And always take a spare pair of glasses along with you on vacation. And learn how to say "J" in Spanish so you can read an eye chart in a Mexican eye doctor's office. You just never know.


Sociable Introverts

I had lunch today with an old girlfriend...we have been friends for many, many years, and she's the type of friend that when we get together, we can pretty much talk about anything. That's right - nothing is off limits. We talk about our families, jobs, pop stars, politics - wherever the spirit moves us. It's always refreshing to get together with Debby - I can pretty much let it "all hang out" and not worry about what she might think - there's no pressure, no judgements.

I am an introvert in an extrovert's body. When you get right down to it, I really prefer solitude. I like being alone. I feel that I can re-charge my batteries when I'm by myself. Social gatherings exhaust me - I can't wait to get back home and just chill out, alone. However, if you met me - or if you know me - you would probably be surprised to hear me say these things. In most social gatherings, I'm the life of the party - yup, the one who has to be the center of attention, cracking the jokes and making sure everyone is laughing and having a good time. I guess I have a reputation for being a talker. Go figure. Introverts can be talkers, though - that's not against the rules. I'm just a sociable introvert. Nothing wrong with that.

I love having friends. Because of my volunteer work with the American Red Cross, as well as various mission trips, I feel like I have friends all over the country. Heck, all over the world! I have a very good friend in Guatemala City - Elly - who I think about all the time and always hope she is doing well. I try to see her whenever I'm in Guatemala - in 2007, I got to spend a week with her, which was pretty awesome. Here's a photo of Elly and I in 2007, in Guatemala City:

My friends with the Red Cross are amazing. These are fellow volunteers who have left their jobs and their families and the comforts of their own homes to get out there and assist in times of disaster. By the time you've spent 3 weeks with these people, they're practically family. I feel that I can travel anywhere in the U.S. and stay with any of these friends - just drop in - and they wouldn't mind a bit. That's the kind of friends they are. Here's a photo of me and some girlfriends from the Red Cross, in Port Arthur - after putting in a 12-hour day serving others:

Do you have good friends? I hope so - they really are a good thing. Take the time today and call an old friend. Set up a time to get together for lunch. Send an email - or better yet, an actual card or letter in "snail mail." Let them know how much you appreciate them. See how things are going in their world.

Be sure to do YOUR part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Santa Baby

Well, Christmas is over...sigh.... Now I can breathe again!

I hope you had an awesome Christmas. Our family did. We spent Christmas Eve relaxing, and then went to church at 4:00 pm. The music was incredible, as usual. My favorite song of the season, "Oh Holy Night", was sang as a solo by my favorite singer at church. She nailed it, as usual, bringing tears to my eyes. The candles at the end of the service were incredible - I always worry, though, that someone is going to drop theirs, and set the church on fire or something.

After church, we came home and settled down to watch some holiday movies on TV. My favorite holiday movie, "The Bishop's Wife", was on - woo hoo! I like the original version, with Cary Grant and Loretta Young. If you've never seen this movie, take my word for it - it would be well worth it to check it out. Here's a photo of Hubby and I right before we went to church last night:

We finally got the kids to bed around 9:30 pm or so - but had to wait for them to fall asleep. Then, Hubby and I made sure all was ready and waiting for Santa's visit - setting out the cookies, opening the chimney flu, etc. Then, blessed sleep for us, as well.

Kiddies are awake at exactly 7:06 am. Joy. We rush down the stairs, and joy, oh joy, Santa came!!! We were good this year!!! (I always worry a little bit). We opened gifts and emptied stockings, and then loaded up the van and headed to Grandma's house to open more gifts. We made merry - we nibbled and kibbled on delicious junk food all day - it was a day to remember.

Santa brought me what I wanted - I had asked for an iTouch - as well as brought me things I didn't ask for. Santa really spoils loves me! It was fun spending part of last night playing with my new gadgets.

Today was spent in recovery mode - cleaning up, repacking, picking up trash, etc. Kiddies are all happy, playing with their Wii Fit and other new video games - life is good.

I hope your Christmas was delightful. I hope you had a chance to truly enjoy the day - and to truly reflect on what it really is all about. Hubby and I made a gift to church on Christmas Eve that will assist families in need of assistance with water, heat and electricity - as well as food. I think that gift meant more to us than any gift we received personally. It's a tough time right now, so if you're in a position to assist, then get out there and do it. It's what it is truly all about.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Photo of the Day - the Nativity

Today's post has to do with Christmas - so here's a photo of one of my favorite Nativity sets that I own. It's a Jim Shore - one of my favorite artists. Isn't it beautiful?

Are You Ready?

It's Christmas Eve...

I just love today. I love the anticipation...I love what the day signifies...I love seeing the impatience of the kiddies as they count down the hours until Christmas.

Are you ready?

I am...the shopping is done...the wrapping is done...the cooking and the baking are all done. The house is clean - I've always told the kiddies that Santa doesn't like dirty houses...the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, as you can see:

Are you ready?

I am...we'll be loading up the family in the car tonight and heading to church services. I love the candlelight services on Christmas Eve...I love the songs...I love the peace and serenity of everyone around me - the love and warmth of the crush of humanity as we sit in the pews, together, worshipping the birth of Jesus.

Are you ready?

I am...I enjoy thinking back of Christmases when I was younger. I remember when I was 7, I vowed to stay awake all night and wait for Santa - I'd catch him in the act. So, I climbed into bed with a good book and a flashlight....I hid under the covers, reading - but pretended to be 'asleep' when Mom & Dad checked on me. The hours ticked by - slowly...and then...I heard it! I heard something on the roof - THUMP! OMG! Reindeer hooves! Santa was here! My heart started pounding so hard, I thought it would pound out of my chest. I suddenly remembered that Santa didn't leave gifts for children who were still awake - and there was probably no fooling Santa, like I had with my parents, into believing that I was asleep. Yikes! What does one do??! I dove under my covers, my heart pounding, my body shivering in fear - please, oh, please - DON'T let Santa check my bedroom to see if I was asleep! I lay there for who knows how long - and eventually, must have dozed off. The next thing I knew, it was Christmas morning - and Santa had indeed come - sweet relief!

I learned my lesson that year, though - no more taking chances with Santa. From then on, I was the first one in bed on Christmas Eve.

Are you ready?

I am...I sit here, thinking how awesome it would be if this feeling that comes this time of year would last - for every day of the year. The love, the sharing, the gifting.... What can I do to perpetuate that feeling? To spread that feeling? Wouldn't it be great???

I hope and pray you're ready...I pray that you have a very merry, joyous Christmas this year. I pray that you get everything you've wished for - all of your dreams come true. I pray that you still feel that child's joy on Christmas morning. I pray that it lasts - far longer than just one day of the year.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Peace to all.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Photo of the Day - Christmas in the Park

Today's post is about "Christmas in the Park" - an animated, holiday lighting display in Kansas City. Click here for a video of the lights.

Popsicles & Polar Bears

Okay, so last night I did a good deed and volunteered to work at the Christmas in the Park light display here in Kansas City. This involved a Herculean effort of layering clothing - as the outside temperatures were in the single digits last night, and the wind chill (the wind was blowing pretty good) was in the 'below-zero' range. It took me 20 minutes to complete the layering process - and when it was all said & done, I had on 16 items of clothing (I counted). 

It was American Red Cross night - which meant all the volunteers were from the Red Cross. Although the display itself is "free", we collect donations at the end, and the donations are split amongst various charities in the area. 

I get to the park at 5:00 pm - so layered that it was difficult to sit in my little sports car and drive there. Thankfully, I live all of five minutes away - so my discomfort of squeezing myself in a small car with 16 items of clothing on was of short duration. We all get a short orientation from the park rangers, and then it's time to go - the gates are opening, and the cars will be coming.

Christmas in the Park has been around for 18 years now. It's a drive-through display of over 300,000 lights and 175 animated figures - it's really quite impressive. I've posted a link above to see some video on You-Tube; but video doesn't do it justice. It's a really "must-see to be believed" display.

So, anyway - gates open; cars begin arriving; and the fun begins. As volunteers, our job is to man the donation booths at the end of the display - and pass out free chocolates to every person in every car. Our biggest job, though, is to make merry with all of the visitors - shoot the breeze, ask them if they had fun, and thank them for the generous donations to the charities. It's been fun in the past, but with the weather conditions, the fun is a little dampened.

Last night turned out to be the busiest night the display has had - it opened Thanksgiving night. It was the "perfect storm" of light-gazing, apparently. The kiddies are now out of school for the holiday; it's 3 days before Christmas; and bad weather is expected here in Kansas City the rest of the week. Sooooo...every person in Kansas City sat down with their family and decided that Monday night was the PERFECT night to go see the lights. The result? A 2-hour wait for most cars to get in to see the lights. Seriously. Can you imagine waiting 2 hours in a line of cars to see Christmas lights? But that's what happened. Well, it kept us hopping last night. No rest for the weary - we didn't get a chance to really rest, or warm up - we were greeting thousands of cars - all full of sleepy, bleary-eyed children and lots and lots of dogs. I didn't know dogs enjoyed the Christmas lights so much - every dog in Kansas City has seen the lights now.

So, although the display officially closes at 10:00 pm - they let the last car in line at 10:00 snake their way through - so we didn't finish until 11:15 pm. Six hours, 15 minutes of being outside in the elements - on my feet - oh joy. Actually, the only part of my body that was exposed to the elements were my eyes - and consequently, my left eye froze. Seriously. It became very cloudy and foggy - kinda' freaked me out for awhile, thinking I had developed an instantaneous cataract or something. (I had lasix surgery about 18 months ago - and this is one of my side effects  - if my eyes get too dried out, they get very blurry). I felt like I was blind, trying to drive home. 

Did I tell you that I have the most wonderful Hubby in the world???  I do - I really do. Not only did he wait 2 hours in the line last night to bring me hot chocolate (although it was cold chocolate by the time he got through the car line!),  but he had hot soup and sandwiches waiting for me when I got home. At 11:30 pm. And he ran a hot bath for me and he helped me take off my 16 items of clothing - layer by layer. He put drops in my blind eyes, and he wrapped me in warm towels, and he helped me defrost. He is truly an angel. I am blessed.

So - was it worth it? Absolutely. It was awesome to know I was helping out a good cause. It was awesome to see the joy in the kids' eyes after they had seen the lights. It was awesome to see the delight of the women when we handed them free Russell Stover chocolates. It was awesome to see the excited puppies and dogs in the back seats (but no chocolate for them - sorry!). It was awesome to come home, frozen like a polar bear or a popsicle, and have a DH that treated me like a queen and took care of me. And it was awesome to climb into my warm sheets, blissfully warm and blissfully exhausted. 

Be sure to do YOUR part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference somewhere.


Monday, December 22, 2008

My Try-Out With The Rocketts

Today's post has to do with a typical Sunday - and the world famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. Someone caught me at our Saturday night party doing my own impersonation of a Rockette - do you think the chocolate martinis had anything to do with this photo??!!

Kickin' it with the Rocketts

Yesterday was Sunday. 

A typical Sunday for me begins with reading the Sunday newspaper in bed. Hubby spoils me - I mean loves me - and brings me the paper while I lay blissfully under the covers. I LOVE the newspaper. Seriously. To me, every day it's like getting a gift - the anticipation of not knowing what's inside the pages - and carefully unwrapping it, page by page, to discover the wonders of all of the stories and features printed within. I love the feel in my hands of a brand-new, unread paper. I seriously have anxiety attacks if my delivery person forgets to throw a paper in my yard. It's enough to cause heart palpitations!

So, I read my paper...and then, a typical Sunday has me getting out of bed (finally) to get ready for church. I love my church. I love the people - and I just love being there. To me, it's a place where I can focus on my faith, and focus on what's important to me. So many times during the week, I lose focus - I get caught up in the mundane things of life - and lose focus on the bigger picture. Church helps me get the bigger picture. Yesterday was an awesome day at church. Our Sunday School class finished up on a book study (What in the World is Going On? - great book) and we'll begin a new book, a study of Revelation, in another week. The sermon was good - I can usually always find a message in the sermon that I can take home with me and focus on for the week. And the people yesterday were wonderful - so much love and caring. 

Now, a typical Sunday would have our family going to our favorite restaurant, La Fuente, after church for lunch. However, yesterday was not typical. The HIGH temperature of the day was 8 degrees - and the wind was blowing, pretty strongly, all day, giving us a wind chill of 20 below zero. So, I really, really, really didn't want to get out of the car after church to go inside a restaurant. It was just TOO darn cold. So, I'm sorry, Ernesto (our favorite waiter who always takes care of us on Sundays - including teaching us how to speak Spanish), we missed you yesterday - look for us next week - as long as it's not bitterly cold. I hate the cold.

So, we drove home in our nice warm car after church, and then I settled in to watch the Chiefs game on TV. Again - a very typical Sunday for me. Even at the restaurant, the Chiefs are on TV, and I can't imagine not watching the game. I LOVE football. I love the strategy, the thinking behind it, the awesome physical prowess involved - I love seeing great catches, great tackles, great runs, and great kicks. I love the thrill of victory - I don't love so much the agony of defeat. And unfortunately, the Chiefs have experienced a lot of the agony this season. We've won a whopping two games this season - woo hoo! Oh well - I don't give up; I keep watching - especially when Tony Gonzalez is playing, my personal favorite! 

So, we watch the game yesterday - and a typical Sunday has the Chiefs losing, which they did - to the Dolphins. (Some people called yesterday's game the "Mrs. Paul's Game" - due to the extreme cold temperatures, the Dolphins were frozen fish - get it??!!  I know - bad). 

After the game, we bundled up and headed downtown to the Sprint Center, where the world-famous Radio City Music Hall Rocketts were performing, live. What an awesome performance. Wow - I wish I could kick and dance like that. Our Dear Daughter - who is 9 - was thoroughly entranced the entire performance - it helped that Santa Claus was basically the 'narrator' of the show. It was a full house, too - not an empty seat to be found. Kansas City likes its dance performances, for sure. 

After the show, we came back home to warm up again. Dang, it's cold outside!! However, upon arriving home, the cold just made me remember that I needed more cold-weather clothing. With my volunteer work, a lot of which has me outside in the elements, it's just gotten too cold for the clothing that I have. So, we bundled back up, went back out, and made a trip to a sporting goods store last night to buy some coveralls and ski pants for me, along with some nice gloves and a hat. I hope this helps - being cold is miserable.  I'll find out tonight - I'm volunteering at a local outdoor lighting display, "Christmas in the Park", where volunteers collect donations and distribute candy as cars go through and look at lighted Christmas displays. It's a 5-hour shift outside; I hope I'm not a popsicle when I'm done.

Back home again, and a typical Sunday evening has the family just chillin' and enjoying some down time. (I think I'm still recovering from Saturday's chocolate martinis!)

Reflecting on yesterday, though, had me and DH thinking of the people who are homeless - and are outside in these elements. We were praying that everyone found some kind of shelter to go to yesterday - the City Union Mission, ReStart - somewhere....It was life-threatening to be outside for any length of time. It's always good to support the homeless missions in your community...the people there are someone's father, someone's mother, someone's CHILD - and they need our love, support and prayers during this time of year. Make a donation to a shelter today - or sign up to serve a hot meal at a shelter. Donate hats or gloves to a shelter - or better yet, coats. They need them.

Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference somewhere.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Photo of the Day - Drama Queen Santa

Today's post has to do with our annual Christmas party - so I posted a photo of me - pre-party - getting ready for all of the fun & games. 

Too Many Chocolate Martinis

Last night, we hosted our annual family open house for Christmas.... The Saturday before Christmas each year, we invite both sides of the family over for "reindeer games", food, fun, fellowship, more food, presents, and more food.  (Did I mention there's lots of food??!!)

Although the temperatures outside last night were downright frigid - not even a penguin can survive in these temperatures - the inside of my house was warm with laughter, fun and good cheer. It was almost a scene out of "The Christmas Carol" - I felt like Mr. Fezziwig. Okay, maybe I'm more of a Mrs. Fezziwig - but you know what I mean. When I was a little girl, I thought the character's name was "Mr. Fuzziwig"  - because he gives warm fuzzies to his friends, families and employees every year at Christmas.

Hubby added a special twist this year to the party by indulging us in chocolate martinis. Woo - hoo! They were delicious! All four of them that I drank! Seriously...I was feeling no pain last night when I went to bed - but certainly felt the pain this morning waking up. Those martinis can certainly bring the warm fuzzies, huh?!

It's good to get the family is too short to miss out on these opportunities. We're probably blessed in that our families all get along - we don't have the fighting or the drama that can make up some get-togethers, fortunately. Between the 7 kiddies and the 7 grand-kiddies, along with moms, dads, in-laws, etc - the house was full. 

So - take some time this year to spread some warm fuzzies with YOUR family and friends. Drink chocolate martinis if you have to, but do something to spread the warmth of the season to those you love. Take some advice from me, though - take some aspirin before you go to bed. You'll thank me in the morning.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to some more aspirin. Hee hee.

Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference somewhere.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Red Cross "ERV" Disaster Vehicle

Today's post has to do with responding to fires, and being a volunteer with the American Red Cross. So, I posted a photo of an "ERV" from Kansas City - ERV means, "Emergency Response Vehicle." Next time you see an ERV driving in your area, be sure to give a honk and wave - we love that!


'Tis the Season - for Fires

This week, we had a family of 18 (yes, I said 18 - that is not a misprint) escape from a house fire here in Kansas City. Can you imagine? They managed to get all 16 children out, as well as about 2 dozen animals. No one was hurt, which is a true Christmas miracle. 

Being a DAT (Disaster Action Team) volunteer with our local American Red Cross chapter, I go to several fires each 'season'. This year has been a particularly busy season for us, unfortunately. People sometimes ask, what does a volunteer do? What does the Red Cross specifically do for the fire victims?

When I first receive the call to go to the fire, I make sure I'm dressed appropriately (steel-toe boots, warm clothing for winter, Red Cross apparel & identification, etc), have my paperwork, and head to the address immediately. There is always at least one other volunteer headed to the fire - the Red Cross never sends volunteers alone to fires; safety is always their #1 concern.

Upon arriving at the scene, I introduce myself to the family, and do a quick check to make sure they are okay - no injuries, etc. After introducing myself and the other volunteer, we tell them that we're they're to help in whatever way we can - and this will be a 3-part process.

The first step is doing some small paperwork - I need to fill out some forms with demographic information on the family and the house - addresses, phone numbers, names & birth dates of all of the residents of the address. Not too difficult - but sometimes, when a family is in shock from escaping a fire, their brains aren't working too well, and coming up with the birth dates of children can stump them. 

I then tell them that after the paperwork is done, I'm going to have them give me a brief tour of the fire. This is the damage assessment part of the process - I want to see the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the bedrooms. I check their clothing, and I check mattresses for water damage. I try to gauge where the fire started (I don't care at all how it started - doesn't matter); and I record all of this information in my paperwork for future reference.

The last part of the process - I have the family relax for a few minutes (I give them bottled water and comfort kits out of my trunk), while my partner and I assess how much money we need to distribute - for food, clothing, sleeping arrangements, etc. We try to do this as quickly as possible so that after giving this to the family, we can let them be on their way with the process of rebuilding their lives - contacting insurance, relatives, etc. 

I never leave a fire without assuring the victims that they're going to be okay - we're there to give hope - and that's what is most important. Hugs are always welcome. (if they're open to that). 

People ask what fires are like. They're messy. They're smelly. They're dirty. There's a particular smell of smoke that gets in your clothing that doesn't leave immediately. Besides the mess of the actual fire that you're dealing with, you now have the water from the firemen that has soaked everything in the house - the walls, the carpet, the floors. Yuck. Sometimes, I've been to a fire that I shake my head in amazement that no one was hurt. Sometimes, it's all I can do to not cry, when I see the extent of the damage that was done. 

I love being a volunteer with the Red Cross. I love knowing that when a family has gone through a traumatic experience, such as a fire, that there are other volunteers, like myself, who are there to help in any way. I guess it's my small contribution to making the world a better place. 

Are fires convenient to my busy schedule? No. But, SOMEONE has to be there for these people. I figure, these people are way more inconvenienced than I am - so I don't complain. If anything, working fires shows me how truly blessed I am - and my family and friends, as well.

So - the next time you hear about a fire in your community - pray for the victims, as well as the volunteers who left their family & warm home to go out to assist that family. Especially if it's at 2:00 am in the morning. Praise God for people who are willing to be inconvenienced by fires to help people in their darkest hours. 

Prayerfully consider if YOU have what it takes to be a DAT volunteer. If you're the least bit interested, contact your own local American Red Cross chapter to see what it would involve to become a volunteer. Tell them that Sherri sent you.

Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference somewhere.

Friday, December 19, 2008

10 Tips for Easy Holiday Entertaining

1. Don't spend too much time cleaning - just do a quick dust, vacuum - and stash the clutter behind closed doors. By dimming the lights and using candles, your guests won't see the dust bunnies under your sofa. I usually try to concentrate on the bathrooms - if they're clean, I'm happy!

2.  Decorate simply. I don't spend any extra money or time on decorations other than what I already own.

3. Plan your menu in advance - and make sure you have all categories covered - salty, sweet, sour...crunchy, creamy, etc. I usually do finger food so my guests don't have to mess with silverware - and I use paper plates, so I don't have to wash too many dishes afterwards!

4. Set up some games on tables beforehand. At my house, we set up simple, easy games from our childhood (Operation, Kerplunk, Catch Phrase, Rock'em Sock'em Robots); the games are in different rooms, encouraging the guests to move about. We offer a "grand prize" at the end of the evening for everyone who participated in the games. The games encourage mingling by the guests, and gives them something to do - besides EAT!

5. Have Christmas music playing softly on all radios/stereos in the house.

6. Offer simple door prizes - I sack up some chocolates, candies, etc - and all guests go home with something. No one leaves my parties empty-handed! 

7. Have something set up for the children to participate. At my house, it's the Wii - the kids love it. It keeps them entertained, and allows the adults to play their own games.

8. During the party, keep one eye on your kitchen/food/drink area, and the other eye on your guests. I try to have fun, but I keep an eye out for potential problems - i.e., running out of ice, no toilet paper in the bathroom, a guest who appears "shy"; etc. 

9. Take photos during the party - or assign someone else the job. Then, the following year, I put a photo show/slide show on the TV of last year's photos. We have some great shots of the guests playing KerPlunk!

10. Have fun!!! Enjoy the party!

Photo of the Day - Ker-Plunk!

Today's post has to do with "Reindeer Games" that we play at Christmas - so here's a pic of Daughter #1 playing a very serious game of Ker-Plunk last year. The concentration on her face is priceless - God forbid any of those marbles fall.


Bah, Humbug!

Hmmm...less than a week before Christmas. Yikes. Once again, I sit here and fret about how much is still left to do...Have I got all of my shopping done? (I think so....) Are all of my groceries bought? (No - still have some more to do). Is all the wrapping done? (Yes, thank God!) Is there ever a point during this season where you can just sit back, put your feet up, and say, "I'm done" ???

Hubby and I have a blended family - there are seven kids, ranging in age from 30-something to 9-years old. We have seven grandchildren - so far - although that number is certain to rise over the years. I believe our family has "rabbit" running in it's bloodlines - hence, the tendency to go forth and multiply. 

My Christmas shopping begins months ago - I first set up an Excel spreadsheet, listing every member of the family & extended family that we hope to buy for.... I then begin popping in ideas into the spreadsheet, and then begin logging when the purchasing actually begins. Because I absolutely HATE crowds, I don't go near the malls at this time of year. 99% of my shopping is done on the Internet - I sit here, on my sofa in my bedroom, engulfed in my comfy slippers and sweatpants, sipping hot chocolate - surfing the Net for amazing bargains, and most importantly, FREE shipping! 

The UPS delivery man is my best friend this time of year - my neighbors are probably beginning to talk, seeing that his truck is parked outside my front door just about every day at 2:45 pm. (That's pretty bad - when you know exactly what time your driver will appear!) 

Once the gift comes in the front door, I immediately wrap it and then stash it. This is where the problem begins. I have this unfortunate, frustrating habit of stashing gifts around the house and then forgetting where they're stashed. UGH! I do this every year!!! Last year, the kiddies had opened up all of the gifts under the tree, and I realized that half of the gifts had never made it under the tree to begin with! I then had to go on a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning - NOT fun - and muttering and cursing to myself that I couldn't believe I had done this - AGAIN! All the while, on my hands and knees, looking under beds, in closets, in the cabinets...and starting to panic when the gifts weren't magically appearing. 

This year, I've picked ONE spot where the ***SPOILER ALERT*** "Santa" gifts are hidden. Unless lightening strikes or I come down with dementia overnight, I 'should' be able to remember where the gifts are this year.

In addition to the holiday shopping and stuff, we also host an open house every year for our families and friends. The Saturday before Christmas - which means it's tomorrow. Lots of food and goodies and fun and games. Literally, lots of games. We set up games from our childhood - Operation, Rock'em Sock'em Robots, Ker-Plunk, etc - and have competitions. The games are set up in various points around the house, and the guests just rotate around on their own, making sure they participate in all of them. Everyone (I think) has a good time, being a child again. We call it "Reindeer Games Night" and there's a grand prize at the end of the evening. We're going to cap it off this year with a variation of "Family Feud" - I'm dividing up the guests into two "families" - the Reindeers and the Elves - and the questions will all have to do with Christmas, of course. 

And since my house will be full of people tomorrow - today will be spent CLEANING. Oh joy. And then tomorrow will be spent making dips and appetizers and all of those other yummy, delicious things. More joy. And then Saturday night, after everyone goes home, we'll spend more time cleaning. Don't you just love the holidays??!

But really - it is the "most wonderful time of the year". I almost cry when I drive around and look at neighborhood decorations, and hear Christmas carols, and see people in stores, buying gifts for their loved ones. I love participating in charity events where we give gifts to children who need a little "help" from Santa; I love slipping coins and bills into the Salvation Army red kettles, all the while hearing the bells ringing; I love the Toys for Tots campaign and the meals for senior citizens so they aren't alone....I love seeing families get together and put aside their differences - for at least one day of the year. I love the songs on the radio, and the wrapping and the shopping, and the looks on my kiddies' faces on Christmas morning when they open their gifts. 

So, bah humbug, any Scrooges out there! Lighten up and have some fun this year at Christmas.

Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference somewhere.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Photo of the Day - Romeo, Our Cat

Since my post today talks about my pets, I thought I'd post a photo of Romeo - our "puppy" cat who also moonlights as a clown. Complete with wearing a lamp shade on his head. 


My Cat Has the Heebie - Jeebies

Do you have cats living with you? We do - we have two cats who have graciously allowed us to open our homes to them. Romeo was rescued from our local dump when he was about 5 weeks old, in April 2006. We brought him home, fed him from a bottle, and watched in amazement as he grew...and grew...and grew.... He is now the size of a small panther. Seriously. He's a black-and-white tuxedo cat with a very 'confused' personality. The problem is, when Romeo was a kitten, his only "role model" was our dog, a Shih-Tzu, named Cocoa. Romeo now thinks he is a dog - he has no idea how cats are supposed to behave. Our vet has called him a "puppy-cat" - I just think he's very, very brain-damaged.

Our second cat, Juliet (duh!), was rescued from a Kohl's parking lot in June 2006 - she was about 6-8 weeks old at the time. She's a beautiful gray tabby/persian mix - her fur feels like velvet. I don't know if having to survive in a concrete jungle of a parking lot at the tender age of 2 months old was easy or not - but whatever the case, she is the most jumpy, skittish cat there ever was. 

After much observation of my cats and my dog, I have come to the conclusion that if I were to ever be reincarnated, I want to come back as a cat. They have it made....don't they? some some more.... Day after day after day. They don't have to wag their tails when they see you; they don't have to sit up, beg, or roll over to get treats. They just have to "be". How easy is that??!! 

Unintentionally, though, Romeo has become somewhat of a clown. Last night, he went into one of his periodic, sporadic "heebie-jeebie" attacks - as I call them. He was chasing and pouncing on....nothing. Nada. Zip. Nothing there - but you would have thought he had cornered the world's juiciest, tastiest mouse. He's pouncing - he's chasing - he's swatting - at...nothing. Then, he'd look over at us to see if we were watching him, and to make sure we were making all of the appropriate admiring "ooh's and ah's" so he'd know we were proud of him. Which of course, we did - in between all of the howling with laughter that we were doing and not letting him see. It was freakin' funny. 

They say that if you pet or stroke a dog or a cat, your blood pressure lowers...animals are actually good for your health. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know we, as a family, get a lot of enjoyment out of our pets. Besides the laughter and love they bring, they sometimes remind us that all we really need to do is just slow down...and simply "be".

Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Picnic at Pearl Harbor

Today, we have 4" of snow outside - wind chills are in the single digits. So, I thought I would post a picture that is WARM! In March 2008, I went to Hawaii for 3 weeks to work at a Methodist camp - what a rough mission trip, huh? On our 2nd-to-last-day, we visited Pearl Harbor - and this is me, with friends Joan & Lee, having a picnic lunch on the grounds outside the Museum. I won't be having a picnic lunch outside today here in Kansas City. Brrrr.... No way. No how.


Why the Sign Off?

So...."Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference somewhere."

Do you ever watch "My Name is Earl" on TV? If not, I highly recommend it - I think it's one of the funniest, cleverest shows on television. If you DO watch it, then you know the basic premise - that Earl believes in "Karma" (with a capital "K") - if he does good things, then good things will happen to him. Simple enough - but how true, don't you think?

I went to Guatemala in 2004...had a horrible trip. Everything that could go wrong, did. It was a scene right out of that old Jack Lemmon movie, "The Out-of-Towners"....(can you tell I watch a lot of movies and TV??!!) I came back from that mission trip and said to DH, "I never want to go back there again - don't even say Guatemala to me!" 

Now fast forward a few months...and I begin to have thoughts, dreams, 'pushes', etc - telling me that I have to return to Guatemala. No way, Jose - I say. But the thoughts and 'pushes' continue - to the point where I resign myself to the idea of returning to Guatemala in the summer of 2005. However, that 2nd trip, my focus changed - instead of focusing on how the trip was affecting ME and how I was feeling and how miserable I was - I looked outward - and began to focus on the people of Guatemala - and how they were living, how they were feeling.... Wow. Totally life-changing. Came back and realized I needed to make a difference - somewhere, somehow.

Since 2004, I've been to Guatemala a total of six times. If my kids were old enough and out of the house, I'd be living near Lake Atitlan, in the western highlands of Guatemala, teaching English and working the land. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Guatemala. Did I mention that I love Guatemala? I do - I love it. I think Guatemalan, I dream Guatemalan - I think in a previous life, I must have been Guatemalan, as I feel so at home there...very close to God.

I've now taken countless other mission trips - to the Gulf Coast, New Orleans, Hawaii, Mississippi - and next month, Jamaica - all the while, trying to make a small difference in the world. Each trip brings new experiences, new people, and new opportunities to save the world - one day at a time.

I signed up with the American Red Cross - which has taken me to floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires - everything but an earthquake - all the while, trying to make a small difference in the world. I've hugged people who have lost everything but the shirts on their back; I've cried with people who feel they've got nothing - and I remind them all that they still have ONE thing that truly matters - and that is HOPE - and don't ever let a natural disaster take that away. Trying to save the world - one day at a time.

In this spirit of the Christmas season - think about what YOU can do to save the world - one day at a time.... Volunteer somewhere.... Perform a random act of kindness.... Make a donation to a food bank or charity clothing store.... Pay for the guy behind you's coffee.... Do something! 

Remember - "Karma" is watching!

Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time.

Drama Queen

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Galveston, TX

I like blogs with photos - I guess I'm a "visual" person, so pictures help me process better!

So, my blog will have lots of photos, if I can help it! 

This first photo - me and other Red Cross volunteers in Galveston, TX - this past September - after Hurricane Ike. We're getting ready to go out to deliver some meals.

That's me - on the far left, in the red shirt. Yes, I'm blonde. No jokes, please.

Welcome! first entry in my first-ever blog! How exciting! I have been reading other people's blogs for years - and have always been intrigued by various posts, thoughts, words, etc. Now it's my turn...will I intrigue someone? Will my blog be inspiring? Interesting? Boring? Hmmm... I guess only time will tell.

What do I hope to accomplish? I'm not sure...I used to keep a journal for many years - especially when I was in college. It's now interesting to pick up the old journal and browse through it - well, it's beyond interesting - it's rather amusing! So, perhaps this blog will be amusing years from now; who knows?

So...sit back; enjoy the ride...I hope you enjoy my blogging.

Today sucked. 

Going to sleep last night was "The Impossible Dream". After much tossing and turning, I slept fitfully for a few hours - only to be awakened by a shrill telephone ringing at 5:57 am. UGH! It's a recorded message - school today for the kiddies is canceled due to snow. Thanks a lot - I REALLY needed to know that at 5:57 AM!!!  NOT!!!  

So - we have snow...lots of it. After dragging my tired butt out of bed - I begin the slow process of putting on many, many layers of warm clothing, in preparation of going outside to shovel the **!!## stuff. What's that line from "A Christmas Story"? I had so many layers on, I looked like a tick ready to pop. Hubby had already gone to work, so it befell to me to go out into the cold and shovel...and shovel...and shovel some more. Joy to the world, and all that.

Moving snow from driveway to a huge pile in the yard is now complete - and time to come in to dry and warm up. 

I am a volunteer with the American Red Cross - have been now for over 3 years, ever since Hurricane Katrina. Besides national disasters, part of my volunteer work involves being on call 24 hours a month for local disasters - particularly house fires. Today is Tuesday - and that means I am on call from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm - just like every Tuesday. At exactly 9:01 am, my phone rings - there's a duplex on fire nearby, and the dispatcher asks if I can go. Normally, I would jump in my car and be all over it - but with the snow day - the kiddies are home from school - and no, I am very sorry - but I can't go. I truly feel bad - but dispatcher reassures me that there are several other volunteers he can call today; not to worry. However, I hear later that the one of the duplex residents slipped on ice (from the firemen's hoses) and broke his wrist. Ouch. What a sucky day to have a fire - and I empathize with the duplex tenants, and silently offer up a prayer that they are doing okay tonight.

So, the morning moves on....I have been having stomach pain for several months now - to the point that I have sought medical attention. I had a CAT scan last week - and today my doctor calls to tell me that "lesions" are showing on both my liver and pancreas. He's hoping that the lesions are nothing more than benign cysts - but I need to go in next week for an MRI. More joy - don't you just love going in for medical tests??

You would think this would be enough for one day - but OH NO - the day is not over. Hubby comes home early from work - at 2:00 pm - as we are supposed to meet with our financial advisor at 3:00 pm. Hubby walks in - hears a strange noise coming from the north side of the house - and realizes that our water pipes had frozen - and had now burst. We rush down to our (finished) basement and find 3" of water coating the top of our carpets. OMG! Will this day never end??! We shut off the water; call a plumber; rush up to buy a Wet Vac - and proceed to pull everything out and begin the drying off process. More joy to the world, and all that.

So - what a day. If I truly think about it, though, it really could have been so much worse. My issues and problems are so trivial compared to what others are going through. Yes, there was snow - but we still had electricity. Yes, I got "possible" bad news on a medical test - but there's still hope that it can turn out to be benign. Yes, my basement flooded - but I still have a warm house that didn't burn down. So, I guess I truly DO have things to be joyful for...Life IS good. 

Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time.

Drama Queen