Monday, February 28, 2011

Say Hello to My Little Friend!

All good things must come to an end, and so my girls-only trip to Florida ended yesterday...

I'm so fortunate that it was JUST the trip that ended; for awhile last night, I thought it would be my life.

I'm an anxious flier.

I don't like planes.

I don't trust them; I don't trust the mechanics who work on them; and I have a hard time trusting un-seen pilots who are flying them. I mean, who ARE these pilots? Were they good students in flight school? Are they having a rotten day? Did they eat their Wheaties this morning? And did they get enough sleep the night before?


I've been doing pretty good lately with flying, as I seem to be doing a lot of it. And I've been very lucky - the flights have all gone very smoothly, which has most certainly increased my confidence and trust.

And then came last night.

I boarded the plane in Ft. Myers around 3:30 p.m. EST. I had to fly to St. Louis for a brief stop (I wasn't even de-planing there), and then a quick hop-and-jump to Kansas City. I was scheduled to land in KC around 6:55 p.m. CST.

Checking the weather channel before leaving Florida, I was a little unnerved to see that severe storms were moving across the midwest - meaning high winds, strong rain and horrendous hail. Lovely.

Just what a nervous flier wants to hear.

The flight from Ft. Myers to St. Louis was, for the most part, smooth. It got a little bumpy as we got to St. Louis - but I did fine. I've been in worse turbulence, so this was manageable.

Once we landed in SL, however, the flight attendants told us that we were now "grounded" for awhile, due to storms in Kansas City. Uh-oh.

"Houston, we have a problem."

I'm not a rocket scientist by any means, but I CAN figure out basic meteorology and geography.

Storms are heading east. We'll be heading west.

Inevitably, we will meet in the middle somewhere. And I know it won't be pretty.

And it wasn't.

We eventually took off, and although the pilot tried his best to fly south of the storms, there was only so much he could do.

The bumps, rocks, and rolls started pretty much immediately - and they were bad enough that NO ONE was allowed up out of their seats the entire flight. Not even the flight attendants.

"No drinks for YOU!" was the motto last night - as it was just too dangerous to have anyone up, trying to serve drinks.

But I sure could have used one, believe me. A double, I think.

It was a white-knuckle flight for pretty much everyone on board. Lightening flashing; the plane dropping and rocking and tipping from side-to-side.

I kept thinking that Disney would pay big bucks to simulate this ride, as it would be a hit with the thrill-seekers.

I survived only because of the incredible skills of the pilot...and my little friend, Ativan.

It became my very BEST friend last night, so that by the time we landed in KC, I was still in the clouds somewhere over middle-Missouri.

Once I snapped out of it and realized that I really WAS standing on solid ground, I kissed it. The ground, that is.

And then I kissed my Hubby. But the ground came first.

Hubby understood.


P.S. I checked out okay today with the dermatologist - although I did have a basal cell removed from my neck. The fact that it was only 2" away from the melanoma I had removed in July gives one pause. There is definitely something going on with the right side of my neck - I will remember to slather EXTRA sunscreen there in the future.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bacon, Anyone?

I am SO not looking forward to tomorrow.

At all.

I have never liked getting into trouble, and tomorrow morning I will probably be in some serious doo-doo.

All because of some misbehavior on my part while on vacation this week in Florida.

Why, oh why, would I spend a week at the beach - getting all toasty and golden-brown - and then come home, only to go in for a dermatology check-up the VERY next day?

Although I happen to love the brown and somewhat-red colors highlighting my skin, I have a very bad feeling that my skin cancer doctor is going to be slightly horrified.

My bad.

However, in my defense, I DID use sunblock. Every day.

But who remembers to use it on their ears? Not me, apparently.

Or their lips? I didn't even know lips could sunburn.

It probably wasn't such a smart idea, scheduling a skin cancer check-up the VERY NEXT DAY after a week in Florida.

Now it's time to pay the piper, I guess.


Sure wishin' I could scrub this tan off tonight. Think it will work?



Friday, February 25, 2011

The Very Idea!

Here is the question I'm pondering on a Friday night...

...why is it, that when we're with our girlfriends, that we get all weird and do crazy-ass stunts that we would NEVER consider doing when we're not hanging with the chicks?

Or is it just me?

So - I'm down here in Ft. Myers for the week, hanging with some chick-friends...we call ourselves the "Back Row Broads of Jamaica", and if you're bored on a Friday night and want to read the riveting story of just WHY we call ourselves that, you can click HERE and read the entire post. Knock yourself out.

Anywho, we're down here and yesterday, we're hanging at the beach, where we're people-watching (and the beach is probably THE MOST FUN place in the world to people watch - because it's warm, and sunny, and there's ocean waves - and there's all kinds of odd-shaped people wearing ALL kinds of weird things - some of which is good and most of which is bad but provides for some really good entertainment - but I digress)....

We decide to muster enough energy and momentum to get our butts off of our beach chairs and go for a walk, where we just so happen to stumble into a...wait for it... shop.

Now, there's still some disagreement on who walked into the tattoo shop first. The other broads say it was ME who walked in first, but really, that is hardly feasible. I mean...seriously? Moi? In a tattoo shop?

The very idea.

Fifteen years ago, when I was more immature and much more stupid, I found myself at a tattoo shop, and somehow walked out an hour later with a very-red somewhat-painful rose on my right shoulder, wondering how the heck did THAT get there??!! And who authorized it??!! Moi?

The very idea.

And that damn rose has never gone away.

Fast forward to hour after we walked in, we walked out - somehow having made deposits and appointments to come back today to all get a tattoo...

It's a good thing we slept on it.

I woke up this morning, and had one of those gobsmacked moments, of "What the heck was I THINKING??!!" - and so, no.

I don't have any new tattoos today. I gracefully bowed out of the whole, "Let's all get tattoos!" thing.

The very idea.

One of the broads DOES have a new tattoo. Good for her. But one is enough for me, thank you very much.

And by the way - Hubby? If you're reading this?

I realize you're probably shocked now that I was even considering one - but I hope after your initial shock, you'll realize that I didn't go through with it, and I really CAN be trusted to make smart decisions. Right?

Even when hanging with my girlfriends.



Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Beautiful, sunny, warm Florida.

Flew down yesterday.

Enjoying today.

Will have to go back to cold, windy Kansas City on Sunday. Gah.

If you need me until then - you'll find me on the beach. I'm the one with the good book in my hand, and a blissful smile on my face.



Monday, February 21, 2011

A Holiday? Really?

The conversation this morning in the car, between my 11-year old daughter and myself:

Me: "I'd have you get the mail today, but there won't be any, because of the holiday."

Daughter, incredulously: "Today's a holiday????!!!"

Me, with patience: "Yes. Why else do you think you're not in school today?"

Daughter: "I don't know...I just thought maybe it was because it's another snow day."

This said, with blue skies, sun and nary a drop of snow to be found. I love it when that public school education is paying off.

Me, said with even more patience: "Um, that would be negative. Today is President's Day."

Daughter: "Oh."

She digests it for a moment, and then says, in all seriousness:

"Well, Happy President's Day, President Obama."

Indeed. Happy President's Day to all current, former and future presidents - and to all of our friends and family.



Friday, February 18, 2011

I Fell in to a Burning Ring of Fire

I have an amazing group of friends...both online, as well as off-line.

You all have been amazing in your support, and it is VERY much appreciated, believe me!

Here's the deal...

About 7-8 years ago, I noticed a very strange occurrence in my body every time I drank a glass of hands would turn amazingly bright red, and they would burn...they'd get all tingly and itchy and they would HURT. A LOT.

They would hurt SO MUCH I wanted nothing more than to grab my Chef's knife and just chop them off. Problem solved.

Ouch, ouch, ouch...and every time, I would look at Hubby in bewilderment, as to "Why is this happening?" and we'd both shrug, I'd suffer through it for a few hours, and the cycle would repeat itself next time I'd drink.

Very weird.

As the years went on, I noticed that it wasn't just wine triggering the reaction - but anything alcoholic....martinis, margaritas, mojito's - didn't matter. Drink a few sips, and my hands were on fire. Ouch.

Sooooooo.....I gave up drinking the last few months. I just told everyone I was "allergic" to wine - and let it go at that. It just wasn't worth the tremendous pain.


The pain continued. Granted - the pain wasn't as severe - but it was still there.


And it was now in my feet, as well. Along with my lips.

Burning hands. Burning feet. Burning lips.

WHAT was going on??!

Erythromelalgia is what's going on.

And it sucks.

"EM" is a rare neurovascular peripheral pain disorder in which blood vessels, usually in the lower extremities (or hands), are episodically blocked (frequently on and off daily), then become hyperemic and inflamed.

Curable? No. But treatable. To treat it, you avoid certain triggers.

The triggers include: heat, pressure, mild activity, exertion, insomnia, stress, alcohol, sugar, melon and caffeine.

Well - take out the world "melon" (yuck!) from that list, and you pretty much have MY LIFE.


So - no more gazillion Diet Dr. Peppers during the day. Sniff.

No more gazillion pieces of chocolate during the day. Sniff.

No more stress during the day. Okay, that one made me laugh.

Seriously, though, I have begun making the lifestyle changes necessary to be pain free. I haven't gone cold-turkey on the caffeine - I've been doing FANTASTIC by only having one soda pop per day. Hey - that's HUGE for me, and I am patting myself on the back.

I've cut sugar back to only one tiny piece a day - and again, that's huge - for me - as I am the Cookie Monster incarnate.

It's hard. I'm going through withdrawal. And I'm pissed that I'm having to do this.

But I've noticed the difference in just a few days. The burning and tingling in my extremities has stopped.

My cravings, unfortunately, haven't.

Welcome to my new world of managing EM.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm Here....

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

Really. I haven't.

If you know me at all, you know that if I "disappear" from the blogging world, then it usually means I'm struggling with something.

I don't like blogging about my struggles...I'm not sure why; everyone has them, I think.

I've somewhat tried to keep the blog light-hearted - but that's difficult when you're struggling.

In this case, the struggles are with my health - and some lifestyle changes I have to do.

Have to. Ugh. Hate those words.

And lifestyle changes can suck. Especially if they're ones that brought enjoyment.

But I'll be fine. Really.

Diagnoses can be devastating...but they can also bring peace of mind when you finally....FINALLY...put a name to what has been bothering you for years.

And putting names to things brings you just that much closer to dealing with them...and understanding them...and eventually kicking their asses.

So...I've been off the blog the last few days as I develop my plan for kicking a diagnosis's ass.

Cuz' that's how I roll.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolates, Flowers & Diamonds - Oh, My!

I don't need the sweetness and joy that my family brings to me is better than anything I would find in a candy box.

I don't need the beauty and colors of God's world around me inspires me more than anything I would find in a vase cushioned with baby's breath.

I don't need diamonds...for the love I have for my family and friends shines brighter than any sparkly things found in a jewelry box.

I have all I need for a spectacular Valentine's a wonderful Hubby who puts up with me and loves me in spite of myself.

Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends and family and readers...may it be special and memorable, however you choose to celebrate it.

And for the record...although I don't need chocolates, flowers and's always nice to get them. wink

Thank you, Hubs. I love you.



Sunday, February 13, 2011

No Soup For You!

In 2007, it was estimated that a little over 2,067,000 people live in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.

On any given Saturday night, it is my estimation that approximately 2,066,500 of those people will be heading out to local restaurants for dinner.

If you are losers like us, and don't have reservations, you usually have to begin your quest for a coveted table around 4:30 p.m., if you have ANY hope of getting a table somewhere.

But who the heck wants to eat dinner at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon?

Not us.

So...last night, we gambled...we headed down to the Plaza of Kansas City and found ourselves at one of our favorite dining spots, the Grand Street Cafe, arriving at the still-rather-early hour of 5:30 p.m. We were hopeful. We were hungry. And apparently, we were very naive.

We walked in, strolled up to the hostess table, where the maitre d' gave us the once over and said, "How may I help you?"

Apologetically, we answered, "We realize we don't have reservations, but we were hoping for a table for two...." and our voices trailed off with just the slightest bit of a whiny beg at the end....

The Grand Poo-bah of Tables then asked, "Do you have a reservation?"

"Uh, That's what we just said."

"It's Valentine's Day weekend," he pointed out.

I guess that was to impress upon us what losers we were by not having reservations on a Saturday night during Valentine's weekend. Like we didn't already know that. He didn't need to impress that upon us.

He continued, "All of our tables are booked for the night."

Our hearts sank.

"However...." he added.

Our hopes rose.

"We DO offer limited seating at what we call the 'Chef's Table.' Would you like to check it out?"

His tone implied that the Chef's Table was only one step up from eating in the gutter out the back door of the restaurant by the garbage cans.

But. We were hungry. And hungry beggars can't be choosy, right?

So, off to the Chef's Table we went. And the results?

Sitting at the Chef's Table was an experience like no other. It's like Culinary Crack for the wanna-be chef. Hubby and I think of ourselves as wanna-be chefs, so this was right up our ally.

It was the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup all rolled into one for anyone even slightly interested in cooking.

Hubs and I sat at a counter overlooking the kitchen, where we watched the somewhat chaotic, but highly-synchronized choreography of a professional staff pushing out the most wonderful-looking, and probably most fantastically-tasting was AWESOME!

We sat there for a good hour, enthralled, while eating the most delicious food ourselves. WHAT A SHOW!!!

And afterwards, when we went to a live theater venue, where we watched an amazing production put on by local actors, we really couldn't decide what had been the better show...the restaurant? Or the theater?

So now? We're going to go back and ON PURPOSE, request the Chef's Table at the Grand Street Cafe.

I think I just want to see the look on the maitre d's face when we do that. Hee.



Friday, February 11, 2011

A Bieber Blessing

Dear Lord of the Universe:

I know I have a lot of things to be thankful health; my family; my friends - and all of the hundreds of blessings you've brought into my life.

There is ONE particular blessing I need to particularly mention tonight, as it's a big one.

Thank you for the gift of a daughter...who is NOT a Justin Bieber fan.

That is all.



How Do They DO That??!!

With thanks to fellow blogger Mental P Mama, I took one of those weird-yet-so-true personality tests - The Castle Personality Test - floating around the internet, and my results are as follows:

You Are A Thoughtful Idealist

You have no problem diving into new experiences. You're so brave that you don't even notice how courageous you are.
I would say this is somewhat true - I DO like new experiences...however, I don't know that I've ever called myself courageous before. Put a giant, hairy spider in the room, and you'll see what a coward I truly am!

You like to think that people see you as dramatic and fascinating. You do your best to seem mysterious.
Me? Dramatic? Fascinating? Duh. I AM the Drama Queen, after all! I don't know that I try to seem mysterious, though...usually with me, what you see is what you get....

You are a very romantic person. You can't help but see the world as it should be.
Yes. So true. And my heart gets broken when the world - or people - don't live up to my expectations. Sigh.

Right now, you feel like the whole world is open to you. You see lots of possibilities.
Always. There's always possibilities - new things to see, new things to learn, new people to meet, new things to DO!

Overall, your life is calm and steady. Not much stirs you, and each day is full of joy.
I would say this is definitely true. I do try to find the joy in each day - whether it's the joy of something my kids say or do, the joy of a good meal, the joy of a great lunch with a friend, the joy of something learned, or the joy of my family.

You are extremely optimistic about the future. You feel like things are always getting better.

So, I guess that test was weirdly accurate, yes?

How do they DO that?! Weird.

If nothing else, it gave me a minute of fun on a peaceful Friday afternoon!



Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Severe Case of B.O.

I've been suffering from a severe case of B.O. lately, and it's rather embarrassing.

Oh - you thought I meant "Body Odor" - as in I stink?

OMG, NO! Not THAT B.O.!!!! Gah - that would be awful!

No...I mean the OTHER type of B.O.

As in "Brain Overload."

Perhaps you've heard of it?

It's a rather severe case of trying to cram Too Much Information into my itty, bitty brain - and frankly, there's just not room for it all, so some of it is getting pushed out, kicked to the curb, leaving me in some rather embarrassing situations.

For instance, yesterday.

I KNEW I had a 2:00 p.m. meeting at the Red Cross office. Yes, that much I knew. I also knew that, being in charge of that meeting, that I needed to get to the office a little early so I could get things prepared.

I figured I would leave my house around noon...and due to idiot drivers on the road traffic, snow-packed slick roads, and just-plain-too-much-distance-between-my-house-and-the-office...I wouldn't arrive until 1:00 p.m.

But that's still plenty of time to prepare, right? Grab a snack and a drink...sit down at my desk...catch up on e-mail...prepare the agenda... make copies of the agenda for everyone...relax ahead of time....No rushing...


So, I'm relaxing at home yesterday morning, and it's about 11:00 a.m., when I check my daily calendar.

And see that in addition to the 2:00 pm meeting I KNEW about, I ALSO had a NOON meeting at Red Cross.

That I totally forgot about.

It's in ONE HOUR.

And I have a ONE HOUR drive.


You've never seen a girl get ready so fast - throw on my boots, brush my hair, re-spray the perfume, grab a coke on my way out the door - and hit the road.

I JUST made it to the office in time for the noon meeting. Whew. (And there was PIZZA! Yum!)

But I had no time to get prepared for the 2:00 pm meeting. Ack.

I winged it.

B.O. will have you doing that more and more - as it's happening more and more where I am just plain forgetting things. I refuse to put this down to getting older - or menopause - or hormones - or whatever.

It's simply due to my itty-bitty pea brain. It's not my fault.


Please tell me I'm not alone in suffering from B.O....



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Future Rocket Scientist

If you're a regular reader of this blog, than you know that most posts involving my family also involve a little snark. In a loving way, of course.

So...when a rare opportunity comes along for me to actually brag about a family member, than I have to take it. As the saying goes, "it may never pass this way again"...although, in reality, I don't think that's true.

I really have some great kids, who I know will give me many opportunities to brag as the years go by - so forgive me if I take each and every one of them. As any proud parent would do.

Last night, Dear Daughter received an award at her elementary school as the 5th-grade "Super Citizen" of the month.

The month's theme was for Outstanding Academic Achievement - so it was just validation that my daughter is super-smart, and is further proof that she obviously takes after me. As if there were any doubt.

Hubby and I are justifiably proud of her, and we now expect nothing less than a future at an Ivy-League college with a career in Rocket Science. With a full scholarship, of course.

No pressure, though.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Truly Sinful Evening

Last night, I cheated on my husband.

Yes. I did.

I cheated by spending the evening with a very charismatic Italian man, named "Jasper"...

...who slaved over a hot stove, while cooking some of the most amazing food ever...

Of course, there were about 24 other people in the culinary kitchen classroom...

...which made it rather crowded...

...and Chef Jasper was teaching us students all about Venetian cooking...

...which made it rather delightful.

We learned to prepare Tofeja, a succulent Italian Carnevale soup that tasted a lot like minestrone....

We then went on to a fabulous risotto, Risi e Bisi (which means, "rice and peas")...with a dab of some heavy cream and bits of bacon, this dish was heavenly....

For the meat dish, we prepared a recipe from the famous chef, Artusi...Piemonte Fricandu. This was an Italian stew that is served during Carnevale - and with a dash of red wine vinegar and a bit of red wine - it had a little "zing".

For dessert, we prepared Bugie, which are Carnevale fried ribbons of dough. Think pie dough - with a bit of Grand Marnier thrown in (okay, more than a bit...) - and then deep fried with a bit of powdered sugar; serve with gelato and caramel sauce.

To. Die. For.

So - since this was part of culinary school, I guess I wasn't really cheating.

But it sure felt sinful.



Monday, February 7, 2011

D-Day: 16 Weeks and Counting

Holy macaroni, Batman... body hurts.

But in a good way. I think.

Trying to train for a half-marathon 10K is either killing me or making me body is at that confused state right now, so it hasn't really made up it's mind.

Last night, while watching the Super Bowl, I was at my home-away-from-home. My treadmill. The machine of torture. and over and over again. Repeat next day.

That's been my story for the last couple of weeks...with 16 more weeks to go until D-Day - which stands for DEATH Day, if you haven't figured it out. The day of the race. The day that I will either finish the damn thing or die trying.

Last night, I pushed it a little harder...a little farther...a little faster. Because running while watching $3 million commercials makes it all better, right?

I have a little ritual now for my gym experiences...after crawling climbing off the treadmill after I've reached my goal for the night, I do a quick inventory of the body...making sure I still have all of my parts, and then evaluating each part for pain threshold.

(I'm 48 years old...there WILL be pain, believe me.)

Hamstrings? Check. Pain-free. Woot.

Knees? Hmmm...a little twinge in the left one, but probably fine. Better watch it a little closer tomorrow.

Shins? Still there...seem to be doing fine. Move on.

Ankles? Check.

Arches in the feet? Wait...was that a slight cramp in the left one? ACK! I hate cramps in my feet. They're the worst.

Then, we wash, rinse, repeat.

If there's a light at the end of the tunnel in all of this madness, it's that I stepped on the scale this morning and four pounds had disappeared. I'm hoping those pounds came from my butt and hips - but it's too soon to tell. And I hope those pounds don't come back. Ever.

In the meantime, I'll keep pounding the pavement...

...all of this to just mark #2 off of my Bucket List??!!



Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Cutest Two Hours on Television

Today is one of the days that I most look forward to all year...the day that I set aside all those little annoying things that get in the way of life...such as my children...just so I can focus my eyes and my attention on ONE THING.

The BIG DAY is finally here.

The Puppy Bowl.

Yes, the highly-anticipated annual Puppy Bowl is back for it's 7th season, and if you've never watched it...or even heard of it...then all I have to say is, "What rock have you been living under?!"

Because no matter what problems you may be dealing with - or what hurdles you are having to jump over in life - all will be forgotten for the few mindless hours of watching cute, adorable little furry puppies romp and play and chew and nap...along with an entertaining half-time show by cute, furry cuddly kittens.

New this year are the chicken cheerleaders.

CHICKEN CHEERLEADERS??!! How awesome is that??!!!

Classic television, I'm tellin' ya.

Heck, if we could get Osama Bin Laden out from his cave and put him in front of a TV with the Puppy Bowl playing, that would be the end of terrorism.

Let's put the Puppy Bowl on in Tahrir Square in Egypt, and the next thing we'll see, both sides of the protestors will be holding hands and singing Kum By Yah.

Last year, over 8 million people tuned into the Puppy Bowl, which is on the Animal Planet channel today, starting at 3:00 ET.

So, before the big kick-off for that OTHER game today - the Super Bowl - you'll know what I'll be watching.

Puppies. Kittens. And chickens.

Oh my.



Friday, February 4, 2011

My Strange Addiction

I'm taking a big risk today in my blog...indeed, the subject that I'm choosing to write about will probably cost me a few readers...

...however, I feel that honesty is the best policy, and I don't feel like I've been honest with you.

So...(taking deep breaths)...

I have a confession.



I am addicted to "The Jersey Shore."




Do you all hate me now?

It's okay. I would totally understand if you do.

Admitting that I love "The Jersey Shore" is pretty much admitting that I love train wrecks...

...that I have no culture or class...(which I don't, I guess)... if you hate me now, I totally get that.

Even my Hubby hates the fact that I love "The Jersey Shore."

To say he hates the show is an understatement. Really.

What can I say in my defense?

It was all oh-so-innocent to begin with...but isn't that how tawdry love affairs usually begin?

I started watching Snookie and friends just so I could see what all of the hype was about...

And before I knew it, I was SUCKED in to the Guido world of GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry) and the Boardwalk and Karma and Juiceheads and Grenades and Teeeeeeeeeee-shirt time....


It was innocent, I tell you!

Maybe watching the somewhat sad and pathetic lives of the Jersey Shore cast...

...makes me feel just that much better about my own life.

Hey...that sounds like a good excuse, so that's what I'm sticking to. you know.

Now that you know the sad, pathetic truth about me...I hope you come back to my blog.

Pretty Please?



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

This, I Know...

Snow drifts up our stairs in our back yard...

Know this...

...that after getting deployed yesterday afternoon at 4:30 pm with the American Red Cross,

...that after driving 45 minutes through the raging, howling winds of a white-out blizzard,

No, my photo's not blurry...

...that after setting up a warming shelter in a local community center for stranded highway motorists,

(like for this truck driver, who jack-knived in front of us....)

...that after registering said motorists and quickly cooking some delicious, hot pizza so they could eat,

...that after getting a call from Red Cross RE-assigning me to a different shelter (at 8:30 pm),

...that after driving 45 minutes AGAIN through the raging, howling winds of a white-out blizzard to the NEW shelter,

...that after shoveling mounds of drifting, blowing snow in the mind-numbing, frost-biting temperatures in the darkness of night so we could open the doors of the shelter...without a hat (ouch, said my ears),

...that after getting the new shelter ready for any new, potentially-stranded highway motorists,

...that after spending a restless night on an uncomfortable cot with a thin blanket to ward off the chill, of which there was plenty,

...that after shutting down the shelter at 6:30 a.m. this morning and heading home,

...know THIS:

...that I am one pooped puppy.

Either getting old is not for the faint of heart...or blizzards can kick your butt.

This, I know.

But, I also know that, for all the chaos and misery they cause during their midst, blizzards most certainly leave beauty behind when the move out.