Monday, January 30, 2012

Spaghetti Arms

Life is funny...

In my line of volunteer work with the American Red Cross, I can handle pretty much any major disaster...I've responded to devastating house fires, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.

I keep a cool head and can quickly assess the situation, and respond quickly with whatever is needed. Without even breaking a sweat.

I am Grace. Under. Pressure.


However...when it comes to disasters involving my own family, I can only be described as...a wreck.


A jelly-filled donut with a cream-filled brain with spaghetti arms and legs.

Case in point - today.

Around 2:15 this afternoon, the phone rings - and caller ID tells me that it's the school nurse calling.

Which is never a good thing, when you're a mom. Or a dad, for that matter...when the school nurse is calling.

It can only be bad news - because no school nurse I've ever known has called up out of the blue just to wish someone a nice Monday afternoon.

Bracing myself, I answer the phone and hear, "Your daughter fell - she's busted out some teeth and her nose - and you need to come NOW."


Busted teeth? That's my worst nightmare. Seriously. I think I can slightly handle blood better than busted teeth - and I don't handle blood all that well, trust me. But teeth?? Shudder.

So, I hop in the car, and as I'm driving to school, I make three phone calls:

The FIRST call is to the dentist, to see if I can get my daughter in. Immediately. They are fantastic - and tell me they'll have a room waiting.

The second call is to Hubby - and as his office is about 50 miles away, I tell him that he doesn't need to leave the office, but to keep his cell phone handy and I will keep him assessed of the situation.

The third call was to my Mommy. Yup - even at (almost) 50 years old, I need my Mommy in this situation - to give me a pep talk and to tell me that it's going to be okay. My mom is great - she tells me to take some deep breaths, be strong for my daughter, and to call her when I know something.

I arrive at the school, and the teeth are worse than I could have imagined. Both permanent front teeth have jagged edges - but I manage to smile, make a joke, and bundle up Daughter to get her to the dentist.

Along the way, she's got an ice pack on her face, and between her tears, I can tell she's curious as to what she looks like.

"No - I'm not letting you see your teeth until we talk to the dentist and you're assured that its going to be fine," I tell her.

Fifteen minutes later, we're at the dentist - and Dr. Molly spent the next 90 minutes doing the most AMAZING job I've ever seen in restoring Daughter's teeth. They're not permanent - but they're pretty darn good for the time being - and we never, ever ONCE let Daughter get a glimpse of the carnage in her mouth.

What would be the point in THAT? None.

At one point, the dentist says, "Mom - you're looking pretty pale there...are you going to be okay?"

Between broken, bloody, jagged teeth, needles and drills...I WAS about ready to topple over in a faint, when my dear, dear Hubby walked in the door.

My hero. He knew I needed his support - and there he was. He knew not to listen to me, and he drove all the way across town to be with his girls when we needed him the most.

Later, when we arrived home, I went into my closet, sat down, and just shook for about 10 minutes. Bleh. Spaghetti arms and legs...that's me, all right.

Daughter's resting tonight. We still have to address the probable-broken nose, and we'll be getting permanent crowns in the teeth once the pain/bleeding/swelling subsides.

But we're good. We're in a good place.

Ironically, my Facebook status early this morning was: "The fabulous smell of spring is in the air today - and although my "to-do" list is a mile long, it's already promising to be a wonderful day!"

Humpf. A wonderful day, my ass.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Heaven on a Winter's Day

Things that I love right now:

1. Chai Latte K-Cups
I just discovered these little babies yesterday, and I'm already addicted...had 3 cups yesterday alone, so I have a feeling I should have bought these in BULK. As in, truckloads.... I love Chai...the delicious, calming aroma...and these little cups are a little taste of sunshine. LOVE.

2. Revenge
Any one else watching this little thriller on ABC's Wednesday night line-up? Set in the Hamptons, with scenery and fashion to die for, this is a must-see for me every Wednesday night...LOVE.

3. Agnes Obel singing "Riverside"
Haunting...poignant...this song from a Danish singer is my must-listen-to on my iPod right now. Drinking Chai tea, listening to this beautiful song, is absolute nirvana. LOVE.

4. Pixel of Ink's daily FREE Kindle books
My Kindle has been one of my most favorite things the last few years, and I love nothing more than getting emails daily with FREE books to download. Every single day. Free books. LOVE.

5. Friendships
I've been getting together a lot recently with girlfriends and family - lunches, dinners, shopping trips - as I love nothing more than being surrounded by the people that I love and look up to. Each friendship, relationship, whatever - brings something to me that can't be put into words...and the laughter, advice, and companionship that flows as I spend time with those I love is something that is priceless. LOVE.

Those are my five favorite loves on a murky January morning, that is bringing me one day closer to spring....



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Living in Paradise


I have accepted the fact that my life is pretty much centered around the pursuit of chocolate.

Creamy, delicious, melt-in-your mouth chocolate.

Yes, when it's all said and done, and the chips are down, one fact remains - and that is, I love chocolate.

As a child, I would often fantasize about living with Willy Wonka in his chocolate factory, having total access to the unbelievable chocolate room....I would throw down a sleeping bag and live forever with the Oompa Loompas and the chocolate river and the edible flowers....


Recently, Consumer Reports magazine published their listings of the best chocolate in America, and considering myself a chocolate connoisseur, I was curious to see what their results were.

For cheap chocolate, they listed Russell Stover...which just so happens to be based here in my hometown of Kansas City.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I like cheap...and cheap chocolate is even better...Hubby knows that a box of Russell Stover creams are a sure-way of making me happy...especially the orange creams. Yum.

For the "adventurous", Consumer Reports listed the Christopher Elbow Collection. And guess where Christopher Elbow is based?

Kansas City.

And their number one pick, overall, is Norman Love Chocolates.

Which is based in my home-away-from-home, Ft. Myers.

Hmmm...I live in Kansas City and Ft. Myers - home of two of the best chocolatiers in the country...


I think not.

It seems I've been living in the "chocolate room" all along, and never knew it. Huh.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Views Outside My Window

Being somewhat 'homebound' the last week, I have had lots of time on my hands...

...oh, what glorious things I could have done with that time - if only I had been feeling better.

I wasn't so sick, though, that I couldn't appreciate the beautiful shows being put on by Mother Nature in my own backyard...and since I don't have any exciting stories or adventures to share lately, 'm going to share a few of my favorite photos over the last few days:

Sunset on the lake...January 4th...

Again, sunset...every night, a parade of ducks will float by our window...I like to think it's their "Rush Hour" and they're on their way home from work...

One of the (few) joys of getting up early...catching a beautiful sunrise on January 7th...

Today was our first snowfall of the year...

With the snow, our bird feeder was extra busy today...trying to capture the dozens of birds was difficult, as they flew in too fast to get a decent was still fun to watch, though.

Living on a lake is a cat's dream...there's never a shortage of birds to watch, and our cat has the best seat in the house....

I'm not one to complain about being sick, what with this gorgeous view outside my "hospital room"....Hope you enjoy.



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ninjas vs Jelly-Filled Donuts

Anyone ever see the Bill Murray movie, "Groundhog Day"?

This 1993 comedy classic had Bill Murray portraying a weatherman who finds himself repeating the same day over, and over, and over again.

And this would now be my life. Bleh.

The last week has found me repeating the same sorry routine over, and over, and over again.

To summarize: I wake up. I drug up. I rest up.

And then repeat.

Groundhog Day.

I'm on Day #7 of my antibiotics for the sinus infection, and I'd like to say that I'm seeing improvement.

Unfortunately, I find myself getting worse...the infection has made its way to my left ear, where it appears to have settled in for the long haul and is seeking permanent residency.

This morning provided some excitement, when I broke from my usual routine, by waking up at 3:15 in the morning with an ear ache so intensely painful, I seriously thought someone was driving an ice pick through it.

That would be the infection deciding to move furniture into my left ear, since it appears to be staying awhile.

Besides just downright feeling horrible and exhausted, I'm struggling with a huge disconnect from reality that is driving me nearly insane.

When I think of myself, and my physical abilities, I like to think of myself as a Ninja.
(Don't laugh.)

Ninjas are super-strong, fierce, and immune to measly virus & bacteria-causing illnesses. Ninjas don't need stinkin' antibiotics and pain pills - and even if they do, they rebound back to pure physical glory in one measly day.

I must now realize that I am not, indeed, a Ninja. Not even close.
(You probably already knew that.)

No, I am not a Ninja.

In reality, I am nothing but a jelly-filled donut.

Soft...squishy...with nothing substantial inside...

Trying to reconcile the two - Ninja vs Donut - is very sobering...and very frustrating...

Every day, I wake up expecting Ninja Drama Queen.

And every day, I am faced with jelly-filled Donut Drama Queen.


Just another "Groundhog Day" in my life.



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Moms Are the Best

sllsl2lg; algsg;hs slslglls g98s.cnxui!!!!

What you just read is what my brain and thoughts have been the last few days...and consequently, why I haven't been blogging. Because, really...would you even have the slightest clue what I was talking about?

I didn't think so.

Actually, I'm not even sure my thoughts were THAT clear. "Fuzzy" and "disoriented" don't even begin to describe my brain activity since Tuesday.

See, we flew back to Kansas City on Tuesday...and because my Hubby had so generously decided to share his cold with me, the flight was a little bit uncomfortable....My ears were popping; my head was pounding; my throat was scratching; and my chest was coughing. Okay - it was a lot uncomfortable.


I could NOT afford to get sick, as I was scheduled to fly to Hawaii on Friday for a 3-week mission trip. My ears barely survived the 4-hour flight back from Ft. Myers on Tuesday - and that was using every medical trick in the book to alleviate pressure. Sudafed, Tylenol, gum....I was doing it ALL. There was NO WAY IN HELL that my ears would survive a 9-hour flight to Hawaii.

By Wednesday, I was still self-medicating - loading up on Sudafed and Tylenol like they were candy M&M's...and I was convincing myself, with every passing hour, that I was getting better. Convincing myself to no avail. By Wednesday evening, I could tell that things were only going to get worse before they got better.

On Thursday, I met a girlfriend for lunch at my favorite watering hole, Chipotle's. As we were sitting there, the pain in my head got so bad that at one point, I was seeing not one, but TWO Julie's.

This can't be good.

I tried to bring her into focus, and I guess I mumbled something like, "Uh, I'm not feeling so good right now...maybe I'd better go home." She replied, "You don't look so good." And she was right. I looked like Death Warmed Over.

I'm not sure how I managed to drive home...which is not funny at all, and I'm not even going to try and snark about that, as it was actually pretty dangerous for me to be driving a car at this point. I was about a half-second shy of passing out when, fortuitously, my mother called. (And I have Bluetooth, so don't worry - I still had both hands on the wheel.)

"Where are you?" Mom asked.

"Uh...on my way home from lunch with Julie," I mumbled.

"WHAT?" Mom shrieked. "I thought maybe for once you got smart and were at the doctor's!"

When have I ever been smart, is what I wanted to say...but I don't think I said anything at this point...rather, I burst into tears and told my mom how I couldn't see or think, the pain in my head was so bad.

Bless my Mama's heart...she immediately called the doctor for me, got an appointment that same afternoon, and then directed my dad to come over and take me.

Lots of good advice and good medications later, I am feeling better...almost human again, actually. It's amazing what a bit of antibiotics and Vicodin will do for you.

As far as my mission trip - the rest of the team took off yesterday, but I have postponed my flight until next Thursday, with my doctor's advice. I'll join up with them there, in progress.

Hawaii will still be there...and my ears will thank me on the flight over.

And as far as my Mom? Sometimes, that woman can drive me insane...but other times, like on Thursday...she rocks.



Monday, January 2, 2012

Frostbite at the Beach

The Kennedy family was famous for their money and power and womanizing...

...the Von Trapp family was famous for their singing...

...and the Kardashian family is famous

...remind me again, what the hell ARE the Kardashians famous for?!?!

Anywho...MY family is famous for bad timing.

Yup. We are notorious for bad timing, as evidenced by today.

All week, we've been running around southwestern Florida in 80-degree heat, running errands, shopping, spending a bit of time at the pool, cleaning the house...but NOT spending too much time at the beach.

That was saved for today - our last day here - before we fly home in the morning to the frozen tundra of the Midwest.

This morning, the sun was shining as I hurriedly awoke the kids, packed the beach bags, loaded up the car, and hustled us all down to Ft. Myers Beach so we could beat the anticipated crowds.

We arrived - found a place to park (miraculous at this time of year!) and then staked out a spot on the beach, each of us kicking our shoes off and digging our toes into the sand. Bliss.

Unfortunately, something else decided to arrive around 30 minutes after we did...

...a HUGE cold front that dropped the temperature a good 20 degrees, as well as bringing strong, northerly, biting winds that didn't let up. pretty much chased everyone off of the beach, except for the foolhardy and the stupid.

Like us.

Until then, though, everyone was doing what they enjoy best:

Daughter was walking the beach, trying to look cool as only a pre-teenager can:

Oldest son was texting his girlfriend back home every 3 minutes:

And younger son was being a jock:

Not be left out, our resident elf, Buddy, joined us at the beach, and enjoyed his little perch on Hubby's chair:

Actually, I began to suspect that it was Buddy's fault for the temperature drop in the first place. Being from the North Pole, I imagine that he decided to bring in some weather that he's familiar with - but geesh. This was downright ridiculous!

We toughed it out as long as we could, but eventually, when all five of us-oops, six of us (Buddy!) - are wrapped up in our towels, shivering, it was time to call it a day and head home.

So much for sunny Florida!