Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Christmas...

Christmas at our house is usually a predictable affair where we go to church on Christmas Eve, come home, open a present and go to bed.  Then, on Christmas day, we get up, make the coffee and open the rest of the gifts.
The traditional Christmas eve picture

Not this year.  This year, I was on call for Christmas Eve so at 5 am, the phone rang and it was a patient that had been ready to go for a few days.  The angels came at 5 am on Christmas day.  I left the house before anyone was up and went to take care of the gentleman.  It was sad but he was ready...

I drove home and woke everyone up to do Christmas.  The coffee was made, I threw a few gifts in grocery bags, wrote names on them and threw them under the tree.  I sat down to have my first cup of coffee and tell the kids that I didn't do much and the phone rang again.  This time it was my sweet lady who had also passed away.  I put my shoes back on and headed out.  The kids and Jim went about getting ready to leave for our trip and Christmas morning was on hold.

This time when I got home, everything was ready for our trip to Mexico.  The dogs were packed up, the fence was finished, the house was tidy and the kids were getting ready to pack.  At 2pm on Christmas day, we got in the truck and headed out.
Sleeping on each other like a pack of dogs

We drove about 4 hours and found an open McDonald's for dinner and kept driving.  We made it to Amarillo, Texas around 11pm that night.  We stayed at a Comfort in and one of the kids slept on the cot and the other four of us got beds.  Before we knew it, it was morning and time to get on the road again.  We left Amarillo around 8 am and got to Del Rio, Texas, put our stuff in the hotel and went to dinner.  

The next morning was "go time".  We needed to be up, packed and ready to cross the border early.  We met our team, prayed and dispersed into trucks.  After a short drive to the border, a quick talk with the Mexican polizia and a quick sniff of our stuff by some scary looking dogs, we were thru and on our way to the building site.

Standing where we are gonna build

When we got to the building site, we met the family we were building for.  It was a grandmother named Sylvia who had extended family on the compound.  She was a lady in her 60's and why she got to be the winner of a new home is a mystery to me.  Every time we go, I can look around and see people better off, but I can also see folks quite a bit worse off in these border towns.

Anyway, she was a delight to build for and she was there helping almost every step of the way. 

 We began by leveling the site, putting the forms in, and getting the concrete poured and prettied up.

Leveling the concrete

Then the group built the walls for when the concrete dries.

After we got all that done, we went over to the house of one of the missionary's and had a lovely dinner.  The day was cool and we were tired.  But there was still time to play with the kids...

After dinner, we went back to a church to sleep.  The girls slept in   the pastor's office in our sleeping bags.  Needless to say, I slept like a rock.

Day two was a big one.  We stood walls, put the roof on, put black board and chicken wire over all of it and put doors and windows in. It was exhausting.

End of day two

Our grandma is having health problems and on day two, she had to take a 7 hour bus ride down to Monterrey, Mexico to have some tests.  She came home the morning of day three with a folder full of test results and plans.  I read them over and then did some health teaching with her as my daughter translated.  She was very afraid of the testing and results and I was able to calm her a little bit.

That was a comfortable feeling for me...being the nurse and being able to tell her what she was looking at health wise.

On the last day, we put stucco on the whole house, on the inside, a group hung drywall and did the electrical work.  When all was said and done, we had a house...

Our family to their family

I often get questions from people about doing things like this.  "Why got to Mexico and build for them when there are so many folks in the US that need help?"  I don't have an answer to that question really.  I feel like I help here in the US but yes, it is a big undertaking to drive 16 hours, go to a place that has an unsafe reputation, and work like a dog to build an 11 x 22 foot home for someone I don't know.  But isn't that the point?  To do for others what stirs you?  

I am struggling with my faith these days.  It feels forced, like doing the same thing every Sunday with no meaning behind it.  I want to live my faith...my love for humanity, not just recite the words.  I want to be someone who can be counted upon to love even when it is the hardest path to take.  I feel like doing things like this put my faith, my love for God...into action.

Christians come in all shapes and sizes.  They come with all different beliefs and faith traditions.  If you want my opinion, that's okay, that's the human side of all of us.  What I don't feel is okay, is the lack of love and using love as a verb and not a thing that swirls in the air when two people are attracted.  

I have had the privilege of seeing so much love this year...the love of husbands to dying wives, of wives to dying husbands, of folks stepping out of the box and doing the most uncomfortable thing...
seeing someone in need of human touch and doing it, no matter how dirty, smelly or drunk as they are.  I have seen it and I am humbled.  I want to be that person every day and my hope is that this trip watching my husband and kids along with the others on the trip as an example...I can do it.

Here's to 2013 and using love as a verb...

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mexico and temperatures...

I've been in bed all day.  I coughed all night last night and ached and pained and had a fever at it's peak of 102.9.  Sounds like a lovely day, huh?

I don't get sick...I take care of sick people.  I had to call my hospice patient's home and let them know that I wasn't coming because I was sick.  I felt like a fraud, a fake and it humbled me.  We are the the end with this woman and she is ready to go.  As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I get a call in the middle of the night...a call that the angels came.  Her husband and I talk about how that would be a blessing.

Interestingly, I am still in bed.  It is night, I managed a shower, a tub because I had the chills and 4 frescas.  That's it.  Secretly, I am hoping the weight is falling off of me but honestly it is not.

I am not into Christmas this year.  This year, my husband suggested that we go to Acuna, Mexico on the border across from Fort Worth and build a house.  So we are leaving on Christmas morning and road tripping about half way and then on the 26th we are going the other half.  We'll hammer up this house on the 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th and then head home.  The 31st, Jim and I will celebrate our 24th anniversary with the kids and then I am sure they will scatter.

So does Santa need to come to a house with 16, 18 and 20 year old children?  I don't think so.  But, because I didn't want to forget the season all together, my youngest and I hiked around our property, found a tree that was not gonna survive, cut it down and decorated it.

And of course, I bought a few things they need so they have something to unwrap.  What I really want to do is go shopping and get the family a few things...a broom, a bag of rice, some towels and sheets...things that make moving from a pallet house to a home all the more special.  Oh and some toys if there are little kids.

I'm not into Christmas in the sense of buying a bunch of junk no one really needs and hardly wants.  In my family, we are so lucky to be able to have what we need and most of the time what we want.  We live in a big house looking out over Pikes Peak...not a box car or a pallet house wired together and walls made of cardboard.  

My gift this year and every time we go to Mexico is watching my children change the world.  They don't see any differences in any of us and what we look like or have.  They all speak Spanish and communicate like old friends.  I like that about our world these days.  

I guess what I am trying to get across, is whatever Christmas is for you...enjoy it and do what you do.  I will be doing what I do with my family.

Just checked my temp again with that temporal thermometer and I love them...what I don't love is that I am back up to 101.  I better get some ibuprofen in me and get going...

We"ll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Goodness and badness...

I pulled up to the house and noticed that the old blue pick up was parked outside.  That thing hasn't been running for about 3 months. Jim and Howie started working on it over the weekend and got it going Tuesday night. 

I walked in and was greeted with "did you see the truck is outside?  I am gonna drive it to school tomorrow."  A chill of fear ran up and down my spine...

Howie turned 16 last Saturday and we had the first appointment at the DMV on Monday morning.  Needless to say, the kid passed and now is a licensed driver.

"Drive me to Safeway" I told him, "we need milk".  Off we went, with him working the clutch and the shift.  I needed to make sure he could turn onto the highway and shift into traffic smoothly...or he wasn't driving.  He did fine.

Earlier in the day, Jim and I went to a funeral.  This one wasn't one of my patients or even someones parent.  This funeral was for the wife of  Jim's buddy.  She was 52, got diagnosed shortly before Thanksgiving and passed away a week or so later.  She was going along, living and doing her thing and began to have some medical issues.  She went to the doctor and they told her it wasn't anything, gave her some pills and sent her on her way.  She was a healthy 52 year old, ya know?  By the time they got a diagnosis, she had cancer everywhere..."terminal" was the word Jim's buddy used.

We walked into the mortuary and saw him sitting alone, with his head in his hands.  I walked over to say hello, and he moved over and wanted us with him during the service.  I patted his back through most of it, handed him kleenex and thought, "This guy needs a drink."  He kept asking me when he was going to wake up from this nightmare and then shaking his head and saying, "I just don't even believe it."

The reception was at the Elks club and it was pretty nice.  Good food, waitresses coming around asking if you wanted a drink and a lot of people.  I am sure the celebration, which is what we call these things now, went on long after Jim and I left.  We still had Howie to pick up and work to get back to.

Jim was reflective after the service.  He was thinking about being 50 and how some of his coworkers had died recently, one from a brain tumor, another a heart attack and then today.  He was going into his "life is short and live every day speech"  when I tuned him out.  

I had one more thing to do on Tuesday and I was dreading it.  I needed to stop by a family member's house of a patient I just lost.  This patient reminded me of my mother and she was very special to me.  I felt as though she slipped away peacefully but I always worry that the family had experienced a different reality.  I knocked on the door and the dogs barked and I gathered her daughter up into my arms...I felt very close to her too.  Two hours later, I left that house thankful and energized about how much comfort she felt in her mother's life and death.  She was doing ok for what she had been through.  

Howie and I turned out of the Safeway with the milk in the truck.  He backed out of the parking spot and gave me a little whip lash but hey...whatever.  When we got on to the highway, I mentioned how his father and I were pretty lucky.  I talked about his siblings at college and how good they are doing, how we have what we need and how we have our health.  He replied, "you know Mom, we are pretty lucky.  Look at me, I have this nice old truck, all cleaned up, this air freshener on the mirror that smells like pine and this lucky rabbit's foot (from a real rabbit on a camping trip) and a parking pass to drive to school.  I ask you, what else could a 16 year old boy like me want?"

I sat in the passenger seat and smiled.  Life is so freakin' hard at times, so sad and there are days that nothing goes right.  There are also days that things are so good, you never want the day to end.  Seems to me lately, the good days are few and far between.

But then I thought about that day...was it a good day or a bad day?  Certainly it was a bad day for Jim's buddy...there is no getting around those kind of days.   But for us, for me...it was a good day.  I went to that funeral and offered all the support I could give this guy and we plan on doing that for years to come.  That's what friends do.  A visit with a bereaved daughter, lost her dear mother, comforted and laughing about how things went and how we got her to the place that she was okay with leaving.  That was so good.  To sit in the recliner and discover that her daughter is not only a client but could very well be my friend.  And the end of the night, in the truck with my precious, sulking, quiet, sometimes crabby 16 year old, hearing what he thinks and knowing that for him, an old truck, a rabbits foot and pine scent hanging from the mirror...along with a good dose of freedom makes him happy.

Yes, it was a hard day but a good one.  

As my college boy says...YOLO...you only live once...and he is right.  So live...

We'll tawk tomorrow,
]I love you all,

Monday, November 26, 2012


I got a comment on my blog yesterday from my dear friend Ms. Moon about my husband, Jim...about why he was getting handsomer (if that's a word) as the years go by.  I looked at the picture I took of him...in his overalls, without a shower and brushing of teeth and wondered the same thing.

He looks the same as he did when we met.  Sure he has gray hair in his beard and gray in the little hair he has left but he still looks pretty good.  I don't even notice the wrinkles on his face that he says he has.

What is it about men and aging?  I look like I am about 60 years old.  I have a ton of gray hair and I color it but it comes out this funny red color which only makes me older looking.  I have a bunch of hair on my face...thankfully it looks like peach fuzz but usually there is one or two black whiskers that need attention.  It is just not fair.

I exercise 5 days a week, try to watch what I eat take anything that comes along that Dr. Oz says will help burn fat.  He eats ice cream every  night, 10 pieces of toast for breakfast and if he runs once a month, he is bragging about how he worked out.  

I don't quite understand it but it must be in the genes.  My genes are not great.  My mother was old looking when I was a kid.  I remember having the "old" mother and not wanting her to come to my school.  She did anyway.  I guess paybacks are hell.  I am becoming the old mom now.  Poor Howie!

Anyway, today has been a good day.  A walk in the frost and fog, being caught up at work and doing some birthday shopping for my 16 year old to be...

The best thing though...Turkey soup boiling on the stove from a young looking 51 year old husband who worked from home, a kid that can finally swallow after 5 days of a terrible sore throat, and being told I look pretty in my jeans and top I wore today.  

He may be looking good for 51 but he needs glasses.  Hey listen, I'll take it and pretend he can see...

We'll  tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Change is a constant...

Hello you guys, I have been gone for awhile.  I have been in what I call..."the purple funk" and I have had a hard time getting out of it.  I opened my blog and noticed that I haven't written since the election and to me, that seems like ages ago.

I don't do change well and when my middle son moved out, it sent me into a bit of a tail spin.  I like things to be the same.  I can predict how the day is going to be, what needs to be done and how I am going to get it done.  I can even predict when a patient of mine is getting close to death so I can sort of plan for that too.

After three months, I am finally adjusting to three of us in the house.  I am starting to understand this last child, his likes, dislikes and things that are not to be done.  It's funny, when the Queen came home, she pointed out how Jim and I say, "Howie likes that" a lot.  She went to the store for groceries and Jim got some things that we didn't usually buy and when Christie asked him about them, he said, " Howie likes that" and moved on.  Then, when she and I went to see Bruce the other night...at Starbucks, I pointed out that Howie likes the coffee cake.  She laughed and told me the story of how in our house, everything seems to revolve around what Howie likes.  I think there is some truth to that.

Anyway, marching band season is over for the Lobo Regiment and it was a great time.  Don't get me wrong, there were moments when I was sure I couldn't make another soup, chili or muffin but when all was said and done...it was awesome.  They took 4th in the state competition and were so proud of themselves.  Marching band kids do work hard.  The Golden Buffalo Marching band season ended yesterday with a sad loss to Utah.  Jim, Howie and I went to the game to see Mac and Christie march the last show of the season.  The weather was beautiful and the Buff's at least stayed in the game for most of it.  

Like I mentioned earlier, I went to see Bruce on Monday.  He was really good and my friend, Debbie and I took our daughters.  He rocked it although he didn't do any encores.  I have been to about 9 shows and he always does encores.  Is he getting old too?

Jim is turning into Mr. Mountain man...he is outside with the chainsaw cutting trees in his carhart overalls and appears to be happier than he has been in a long time.  He is building a pen for the dogs and at the rate he is going, it will be nicer than my house.  I am glad for the dogs though.  We are terrible dog owners and for them to have a nice place to be...makes me feel better.

Lost a sweet woman on Friday...reminded me of my mother.  I have been taking care of her for about a year and when I saw her on Thanksgiving...I knew it was probably the last time I saw her alive.  I kissed her and told her that it is hard work to die and  she was doing such a good job...  Told her family to tell her it was okay to go and that they will never forget her and that they will be okay.  She slept her way into heaven that night...

Change is happening faster than I can keep up.  I am working out 5 days a week and have a big belly growing in the front.  I can't do enough sit ups to tone it up and my guess is that it ain't going away. I also notice that I have such deep wrinkles between my brow...
from worrying...do you think?

So I am getting old and I guess and change is inevitable.  When I talk about my children and mention that I have two in college, I get a twinge of sadness because they have been my life and now they are getting their own lives.  This last one at home is getting a lot of attention and not liking it but...too bad.

So that is that.  I am back...learning to cope with change, trying not to keep my brow furled and trying to enjoy the last one at home.  I guess I didn't think the time would come when I wouldn't be a mother to needy children and should just be happy about that.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving...it was quiet around here.

We'll tawk soon,
I love you all,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Some thoughts on red and blue...

The election is over and I am very glad.  I want to come clean and let you all know that I voted for Romney.  I voted for him because of his experience running businesses and getting budgets balanced.  I didn't like his social agenda at all...but in my brain, I figured that if his business savvy can end this recession...all the rest can be worked out.  Pretty simple conclusions I guess...

In Colorado, the "us against them, me against you if we don't agree" was crazy.   I was talking about who I was leaning for but wasn't sure and got called a "racist" and a"homophobe"...that I was one of "them."  I'm sure folks voting for Obama got the same type of treatment.  Listen, I am an registered independent...although when I got my ballot, I thought I was a registered democrat.  It is a free country and I believe you can vote for who think will run the country best and so can I...without being called names!

Now on the news, I hear that both parties are posturing about what went on last night.  The Democrats are saying they aren't going to let the Republicans push them around and the Republicans are going to dig their heels in.  Are we all adults or what?  The President is one man and if the congress doesn't figure out how to play nice...give concessions on both sides, we are never going to move forward.  

So, I am worried.  Not worried about what President Obama is gonna do but what he is not going to be able to do with all of these hard headed politicians.  

The question was asked "Are you better off than four years ago?"  If I answer truthfully, I am not.  Jim hasn't had a raise...cost of living or merit in 4 years, I am working for an agency that uses Medicare and Medicaid for payment...and they have all decreased the payments to us and hence, me.   Having said that, I'm pretty damn lucky to be where I am.  I am living what I think of as the american dream...a nice home, kids, husband and food on the table...

I guess I sound complacent and entitled to this life...and maybe I do.  I am also lucky and I know that too.  My father was a cop in New York and my mother drove a school bus.  I was raised in a lower middle class family and my parents never went to college.  My father barely finished high school...but took the test to be a cop and passed.  My father built our home in Yonkers with the help of other cops and firemen on their days off.  They had no  mortgage...just hard work and saved money from a cops salary.  I have seen folks work hard for what they have...

But honestly, I would love to have more money...and a lot of it.  If I won the lottery, I wouldn't give it back...

I wish President Obama the best...and Michelle and the kids.  I can't imagine that this four years is gonna be much easier than the last four although I hope so.  I also hope the folks in Congress get over themselves and hear what the people are saying and work for us...because you know what...they do.

As for Jim and I, since they legalized pot last night in Colorado, we are going buy some land in Grand Junction and start growing it...industrialized and recreational.  I am sure that will make us more money and probably make a lot of people pretty happy.  

Here's my wish for all of us be you a republican, democrat, peace or green party...May we stop the fighting, come together and get the country moving into a peaceful time of prosperity!

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Things are things...

Last week has been one for the record books.  I started Monday trying to get caught up from last week with charting and paperwork and work stuff.  I made it to exercise class but because I am a snooty old bag, I didn't like the class and decided that I would find something else to do on Monday mornings.  Needless to say, nothing went as I thought it should.  Tuesday came along and I started to have these weird shooting pains in my head.  I knew I was on the verge of a headache...probably a migraine, and went along just hoping not to have a stroke.  I ended up in bed at 6 pm thinking I could sleep it off.  Well, that didn't work.  I had the same issue on Wednesday, Thursday and felt a little better on Friday.  Jim and I went to our friends 50th birthday party at a restaurant and  wouldn't you know it...into my second margarita...the headache was gone!

We had a great time and celebrated a milestone in a friends life that we have known for 25 years!!!  

But,  the marching band had a competition and I was committed to make soup for about 75 and it was to be ready on Saturday.  When Jim and I got home, we cut up ingredients and put the soups on.  We made chicken noodle and beef stew for the gang.  We set the alarm hourly to get out of bed and stir it...hoping it would be edible by morning.  The alarm went off for good at 6 am and we got up, he left to hook up the trailer and get it loaded for the trip.  I got the soup ready for traveling...still feeling pretty good and thankful for that.  I drove down to the high school where the kids were going to play and BOOM...I started to see white spots before my eyes.  I had to pull over because my vision was going fast...here comes that migraine I have been waiting for all week!  When Jim pulled in with the instruments, he took one look at me and knew I wasn't right.  I went to lie down in the front seat of his truck but it smelled weird and I had a nice gagging session and moved to sitting on the wall outside.  After about an hour, it all passed and I was as good as new.

It was a great morning, the kids put on a great show and we fed them like little kings and queens.  As lunch was winding down, I sat in a camp chair to eat my lunch, twisted my rings around so they were comfortable, looked down and was stunned.  My middle diamond on the anniversary ring that Jim bought me on our 10th anniversary was gone...a big hole in the setting with the two little diamonds still intact.  I was speechless, yes, me...speechless.  Jim looked over and asked me what was wrong and I couldn't speak.  

We looked and looked and looked... anyone who was in the area heard the story and they looked with us.  Finally, I felt guilty that these parents who had come to watch their kids were spending time looking and I told them that I am giving up.

The loss bothered me all day, but not in what I thought was an appropriate way.  I felt ashamed that I hadn't paid attention to my ring, that I didn't know the diamond was loose and that it could fall out...I wasn't being responsible.  I apologized to Jim for being so scattered to which he replied, "I knew that when I married you."  I told him again that I was serious...and he said one of the wisest things he has ever said to me..."Terry, it's just a thing...if it means that much to you, we can replace it."  

Today, my cell phone had a text on it from my patient's husband...it read..."Hi, Terry, she's having more pain today and we would love for you to come over and see us if you can."  I was on my way to the grocery store, exhausted from yesterday and kinda mad at myself still.  I texted back "On my way" and headed over.

This patient is one of the younger people that I am caring for and it is getting really close to the end.  She has been home from the hospital for almost a month... "borrowed time" we talk about since they never expected her to have this much and this kind of time.  

I knocked, walked in, washed my hands at the sink and sat at the chair next to the bed..."what's going on ?" I asked.  The patient explained in a slow and exhausted voice..."I have this pain in my back, kind of like a softball is wedged  in there and I can't move any way to make it stop."  We talked about when this started, the quality of the pain, what helps if anything (the "nurse" things)  and then came up with a plan.  I found myself asking the questions that, with this patient, I dreaded..."Have you seen and talked to everyone you wanted to?  Is there anything else you feel like you need to do before you go..and the last one, are you okay being sleepy?"  She answered them all without hesitation..."I'm done, I've done it all... and I'm kinda tired of being in limbo."  I looked across the room at her husband...noticed the tears in his eyes, and he gently shook his head to acknowledge that this how she feels.

We increased her medication for pain, I talked about all the things we can do to keep her comfortable and if she doesn't want to be sleepy, we can deal with that too.  They listened, reviewed the plan with the medications and it appeared to me, that they felt some control and comfort with the situation.  I asked her if there was anything else I could do or say to make things better...to which she replied "no."  Then she asked my why after all these weeks of being comfortable, she was having pain.  I replied as gently as I could that  it was probably the cancer, growing in areas that cause this kind of pain and she nodded that she was sure that was it.  

She wanted to know what it was like to die...when it gets closer to the end and what she will feel like...some of the best and worst conversations of  my life.  I told her that she would get sleepier...more tired.  I told her that she would probably begin to detach from the worries of this world and hopefully when the time comes, she will go to sleep.  Her husband and I told her that he will be okay...not okay really, but he will go on and get out of bed every day and do what he has to do.  I mentioned what a wonderful man she picked and how he is taking such great care of her these days...and we all started to cry. 

When my visit was almost over, I asked if I could come tomorrow to see her and she agreed.  As I started to leave, I had this intense feeling of wanting to pick her up and hold her...rock her...but instead, I asked her if I could give her a kiss on the forehead...to which she said "sure" and  I walked out. 

As I was walking to my car, I thought about the weekend and how sad I was about losing a diamond, a thing...a replaceable thing for a ring on my finger...then I thought about this husband and how he was going to be sad about losing his wife...the love of his life.  

I may be able to buy another diamond (after we pay for college) but I will never have that night at the restaurant with our dear friends, the late night cutting up onions, laughing with my husband about how old we are getting while cooking for the band kids or watching them perform the show twice. I am also sure that I will never be able to sit with this courageous couple in the darkest moments of their life together, and have the honor of offering love, solace and control when they need it the most.

A diamond is a thing, albeit a pretty thing...but the rest of the weekend is what my life is about and if I look at it that way...it keeps everything else in perspective.

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Losing ground...

I'm putting on the weight I lost.  In the Joy family...when we refer to someone who is putting on weight, we say they "blew up."  The conversation usually went something like this..."Have you seen so and so lately, I wonder how she is doing?" to which my brother, Uncle Joe, would reply, "I saw her at the store...she blew up."  I didn't think a thing about that phrase until my husband heard it at a family gathering and burst into laughter.  I didn't understand what was so funny but now, when we get together and I hear it...it is kind of funny.

So, as in the Joy fashion...I am blowing back up.  I am still exercising 5 days a week and was eating well but slowly it's creeping back on.  My pants are getting tighter, my skin is jiggling more and I can just tell.  Not good...

As for most people who have weight issues, it is on my mind all the time.  "What should I eat?" I think when I come out of my exercise class starving.  "I'll have a cheese stick and some water" I tell myself.  Then, I eat that and am still starving and am just mad that I am still fat when I eat stuff like that.  It is a most vicious cycle.

Last week, when I was feeling really fat and mad, poor Jim walked up to me at my computer.  I looked over at him and if looks could kill, he would have been lying on the kitchen floor.  He was too close to me and looking over my shoulder.  Don't ever read over my shoulder especially when I am fat and premenstrual and perimenopausal!

After exercise class, I decided that I am overly hormonal and may, if the conditions are right, eat a whole chocolate cake with a gallon of ice cream and if Jim comes near me...kill him.  I needed to get some help and fast.  So guess what I did...I headed to the Vitamin Cottage and walked directly to the menopause aisle and started reading all the bottles.  I need something fast to even me out before I do blow up and kill someone in the same sitting!!!

I settled on this mid-priced menopause herbal pill that should even me out.  It was about 30 dollars for the bottle and should last 30 days.  Just buying these things made me feel more benevolent towards my husband.  Just for good measure, I bought a bottle of the green coffee bean pills that I heard about on Dr. Oz.  Those are supposed to get rid of belly fat right away.  Okay, I was feeling really good and felt like I have a plan for the next wave of craziness.  Life was gonna be good from now on.

I got in the car and decided, hey, what would it hurt if I took the new pills now...maybe by lunch time, I wouldn't be ready to chew on the table leg or the person next to me's leg and I would seem somewhat normal.  Well, guess again.  The pills are about the size of a large grape.  How the frick am I supposed to choke that down every day...black cohosh or not?  Listen, I was so desperate that I did.  It was painful but I did it.

My friend at the gym swears by these things.  She said her sister was about to ruin her life and then she got these pills from Vitamin cottage and changed her life.  Needless to say, I was waiting.  The day went on, the intensity of my self loathing and husband loathing ebbed and flowed and nothing different happened.  I was and still am, just a nasty middle aged woman who is blowing up.  

Early afternoon, my husband called me to "check in".  I married a brave man, I must say.  He said he noticed that I was a little "out of sorts" and did I want to go out on a date.  "No, I don't" I said thinking I was probably doing him a favor, "I'm going to Wine, Women and Whatever at church."  I could hear to audible sigh of relief.  Then I went over to the high school to pick up my youngest and take him home.  "What are we doing tonight, Mom" he asked and I stated again that I was going to church.  "Then can we stop at Safeway and I will get some steaks and potatoes for dinner for Dad and I?"  he said joyfully.  "Sure" I said not knowing how to take that.   I think he was too polite to say what he was thinking...a night without her gritching and complaining about Dad and I...a night where we can put the ball game on and hang out without her calling up from upstairs to ask us to do something...this is gonna be awesome.  "I bet you'll have a good time tonight', he said.  Smart boy, that son of mine.

The Wine, Woman and Whatever night was good actually.  A few of us are in our late 40's feeling different than we did in our thirties and even early 40's.  We painted bowls for a fundraiser, drank wine and discussed our lives.  We live each others lives, in different fashion and with different tools... 

When it was over, a few of my buddies wanted to stay out, so we went down the road to a little bar and sat and visited about our kids, the high school ones, the ones that are out of the house, the ones getting married.  It was very different than when they were little ones at home and we worried about birthday parties, sports teams and what instrument they should play.  This was about our hopes and dreams for them as they begin to  navigate the real world.  We also talked about our lives, the different path it takes when we are without kids at home, when our bodies are not behaving and when we feel kinda crazy.  Nothing a few glasses of wine couldn't make better though.

So hey...I'm blowing up.  I am not happy about it and I am not giving up but I am gonna get real about whats going on.  Late 40's is late 40's...belly out in front, skin falling off the bone and more aches and pains than I want to talk about.  

Tomorrow, I'll take a run at it again, hit the gym, take my mid-priced menopausal pill and try not to choke and I will definitely take the green coffee bean pills and see where the belly fat goes...I am not too proud!

Here's to estrogen declining, testosterone taking over and trying not to become a man...so there!

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Just talkin'...

The house is looking great...maybe the maid came.  Oh wait, I don't have a maid.  What I did have was a Saturday without marching band, feeding kids and being away from home.  I did "check in" on a couple of my patients, but it was amazing how much I got done.

I woke up at 7:45 this morning, sat and drank coffee and pondered the time that was unscheduled before me.  What to do with most of a Saturday...

As I was sitting at the table, my teenager noted that the kitchen smelled...like garbage, Mom...haven't I noticed? Uh...yeah...someone should take out the garbage, I thought.

But, to be honest, I let the house go.  It was dusty, cluttered and the floor was like a bar after a long night of drunks spilling beer...filthy.

The laundry was piled up and I can't remember the last time I changed the sheets on my bed.  I have been going at a pace that affords me to ignore most everything except how tired I am and after dinner...all I can think about is bed.

I began in the kitchen, gathering dirty dishes and recyclables to go in the dishwasher and garage.  That made a dent in the clutter but underneath it all was pretty bad.  The counters were filthy and gritty and it took two swipes to get them clean.  I was on a roll so I kept going.

Once I got the kitchen done, I swept and mopped the floor.  I told my husband that if he walked in the house with his shoes...I would kill him.  I, the maid, was cleaning and he better watch out.  I think he understood because he stayed in the garage the rest of the day.

When I was finished or should I say I was done for the day, the house looked pretty good.  I also made a pot of meatballs for pasta tonight and it was outstanding.  I was amazed at what I can get done when I have a moment.

Here's the thing...I have been choosing "not to have a moment" my whole mothering life.  If I had a choice between doing something or watching something that my kids are doing or staying home and doing chores...the chores can wait.  Sometimes I can get away with it cleanliness-wise and sometimes I can't.   This was a week that I could not.

I can honestly say, I love a clean house.  I love to look around and not see dust and dander, to walk on the floor with bare feet and not feel grit and to cook in a clean kitchen.  Too bad it doesn't last very long but for the moment, I am basking in clean...

Not to change the subject but I am going to...

I love living in Colorado.  I think it is an awesome place to raise kids.  To say that I am devastated along with most of Colorado by the latest crime is an understatement.  This is one the worst crimes...the killing and dismembering of a regular 10 year old girl that was walking to school.  How could anyone be so cruel, crazy or just plain mad?  From all accounts, this kid was nothing but a normal 10 year old girl loving her family, her elementary school and playing with her buddies.  Why this happened to her is a mystery.  The scary thing is, this crazy guy is probably still out there...watching other kids and possibly planning his next hit.  I hope they catch him soon and put him away for life.  

On Thursday, Jim, Howie and I went up to Boulder to see the Buffs play and mostly watch the marching band.  My two are in band and seem to be having the time of their life.  I was so happy to see them and they both looked so happy...a mother's dream.  The football team, by the way, stunk it up but as the Queen always says, "Band team always wins" and they sure did on Thursday night.

I am busy at work which means that I have folks that are living their last days.  My patients seem to be doing really well, being really brave and making sure that they make every day count.  I have been trying desperately to learn from them but have been fighting a little bit of what I call "purple funk".  The weather is changing, I cut down on my exercise time from 6 days a week to 5 and have put on a few pounds...all in the mid-section.  This middle age, pre/peri-menopause stuff is for the birds.  I want my vim and vigor of my late thirties/early forties back!!!

Back to death and dying and I will wrap this up. 

Typically, when a family has a loved one at home, they get to a place of acceptance and wish that the person would go so they won't suffer anymore or so they don't have to be the shell of the former self.  I tell them, actually every family, that the person will die as they lived.  If they were tough and they went at life on their terms, they are gonna die that way.  Death and birth are a lot alike, it is a process.

I think living our life is a process too.  We get up in the morning, go about our business, try to do the best we can and go to bed.  We take care of babies, the house, our job, our spouse and time marches on.  

Speaking only for me, I notice the passage of time more keenly as I watch my kids leave the nest, my body and energy change and more and more folks leave either this earth or to try new paths.  It makes me think about being more aware of everything, letting things go that don't matter and making sure that folks know I care about them...a lot.  

So while I love a clean house...gonna let that go because when I am in the living room in my hospital bed with my kids and grand kids tending to me because I am in my last days...hopefully I won't care if the floor has been mopped or the counters have grit.  Hopefully I will think, I didn't waste a bunch of time worrying about that!

Sorry about rambling on...
We'll tawk soon,
I love you all,

Friday, September 28, 2012

Nothin' fancy...

When you stop for a minute and sit down, do you fall asleep?  Is that normal or am I becoming an old woman at 48?  As Mac would say, "D, all of the above, Mom."  

Yeah, he's right...all of the above.  Today started early in the morning when my cat brought a mouse, alive and in bed at 3:45 am because he loves me so much.  I jumped up,  ran around the room and then shut the bedroom door and went back to sleep.

The alarm went off at 6 and I woke my youngest up.  He is like a bear...sleeping and snoring and not wanting to get out of bed.  It takes a wake up every 5 minutes for him to finally get up.  As I was thinking I would call Jim in London and tell him it was his fault that we had mice, the phone rang...at about 6:15 and it was Jim.  Weird, huh?  We caught up on the day and believe it or not, discussed how we missed each other...how we do better when we are both home.  

Howie and I put the dogs out, shut the house down, drove to school...him driving, and then me to the gym.  Talk about no energy and total body fatigue...you could find my name in that column.  I was pouring sweat, complaining the whole time and just miserable.  All the beautiful ladies that I aspire to be were cheering me on.  "Come on Terry, you can do it"  and finally I said, "Isn't anyone tired today...come on."  They said they were but they have way less body to exercise and I guess that helps.  Anyway, I made it through the class and wished I could go home and nap.  Nope, not today.

I headed over to the office and figured out my day.  5 patients to get taken care of.  "I can do this" I thought.  Went about my day pretty uneventfully, thank God.  Then to the grocery store to shop for the band.  Need to get the final items to feed the gang tomorrow at the competition.

Finished shopping, headed to pick up Howie from baseball practice and began to cook.  As we speak, there are 75 potatoes baking in my oven, two pots of chili on the stove (regular and veggie), onions, chives, tomatoes and lettuce chopped up in the fridge.  The car has 120 little waters on ice for pre-show water, an "on the bus breakfast" and there are two coolers in the kitchen to load at "O dark-thirty" to leave for the competition.  Here's the thing, that's one third of the work it takes to keep a group on 100ish teenagers fed for band.

To top it off, Howie and I had a great dinner of grilled steak, baked potato for him and veggies for me.  We sat at the kitchen table, said our prayers and ate like little pigs.  We know how to have a good time.

My husband called during the day to say hello.  "What time is it there" I said as I heard him yawn.  It was around 8pm and he was tired.  "Where are you, anyway?" I asked.  He told me the name of the hotel and I had to laugh.  I have been too busy to even worry about how or where he was.   Jim and I have been married for almost 24 years and together for about 25.  That's more than half my life.  

I missed him this week.  I missed my best friend.  After 25 years, we know what we are thinking (even if we don't admit it), we know how to make each other mad and we know that even when we are sick of each other, eventually, we need to connect again.  We have to or things just aren't right.  He is a great person, a great father and best friend...I couldn't have asked for a kinder person to put up with me all these years.

Tomorrow, the band will march at 10:45 am and we will wait all day to see if they get to march again in the finals.  During that time, I will be looking at my watch and wondering where Jim is...on a plane from London, on a plane from DC where he had a connecting flight or is he on his way to the competition.    Either which way, I have been missing him and want him home.

If the band does "go", the plan is for Jim to take a cab over to the competition to see the band perform.  He loves those kids and already missed the competition on Monday.  In my mind, I have been imagining him walking into the crowd at the stadium and seeing him, tired, happy and looking all 51 years of his age.  I also imagine that I will give him a hug and a kiss and tell him how glad I am he is home and okay...Nothing too fancy, but that is how we roll in our house...nothing too fancy, just us.

It's after 9pm, and I am exhausted.  The last bit of food is almost cooked, the marching band uniform is washed, the shoes are shined, the kitchen is clean, the dogs are in, my son is sitting here doing a bacteria computer game and I have poured myself a glass of pink wine. 

Now that's what I call "Nothing fancy" but a good day...and I can tell you, I'm still really tired.

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just a little more time...

Today, I got a hospice referral for a patient that I have been taking care of that has cancer.  When I admitted her a month ago, she was recovering from a surgery, planning on chemo and radiation and wanted more time with her husband.  She knew that she had a cancer that wasn't curable but she wanted to fight.  And yes, she is pretty young to die.

After week one,  we spent alot of time talking about the future, about what needs to happen to heal and how she was in for a hell of a fight...but it could be done.  I told her that I could help her no matter what but for now, we were a team fighting this cancer and hoping for more good time.

It's not going that way and hasn't for the last few weeks.  I would make a visit, talk about how she was weak and tired, but she wanted to stay the course to improve.  Every visit, we made a game plan and went from there.

After each visit,  as I was leaving, I would hug and kiss her and she would hug and kiss me.  We were becoming friends along with me being her nurse.  I know that isn't "professional" and I am supposed to keep a healthy distance.  Well, I haven't known "professional" my whole nursing career and you cannot stop a heart from falling in love and caring for those you love in a certain way.  So I don't become  someone I'm not...I fall and become attached.  Just as I would hope my nurse will be when I am dying...someone who really cares.

So, now, back to the referral...She has been in the hospital and she got the news...there is nothing left to do.  Chemo isn't going to help and as a matter of fact, it will make you sicker.  Oh and radiation, it's not doing a thing so why bother...

She and her husband have decided that she will go home.  She will be in her beautiful home, her husband caring for her, her animals climbing all over her for lovins' and her family free to visit when she wants them to.  She will be in the livingroom, in a bed, where she will "hold court."  It will be the best of a terribly sad time.

I am sure she will ask me what it will be like to die..."will I be in pain or will I suffer?"  I can honestly say that she will not.  She will not be in pain and she will not suffer...she will know when it's coming, her family will be able to tell her everything they need to and she will tell them everything she needs to as well.  Her husband will be close and because she picked an awesome man, he will care for her and love her until the very minute she takes her last breath.  I have seen that before and it is beyond humbling.

I am sure this is what I am supposed to do...love that family and care for my sweet patient until she isn't with us anymore, but it is gonna be a tough one.  She is young, close to my age and should be here for quite a while longer.  For that I have no answers and while I don't get the "God's grand plan" even though I do believe in God, I know that I am here at this part of her life...and death to be a loving presence and a help in time of trouble.  I believe that is one of the gifts I have been given and I am to use these gifts when I can.  This is going to be an instance that I can.

So that's the report from here...nursing the living and dying, feeding the band and trying not to gain a bunch of weight in the process.  I am pretty lucky to be here, huh?

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ministry or...just being a sucker as it related to band...

Yesterday was a busy day.  No getting around it.  I went to the gym as I am still fighting my weight and unfortunately not winning...then to work, which means going to patient's homes and nursing.  I consider it the best job ever.  But, yesterday, I couldn't work all day because there was a marching band competition.

My  kids have done marching band since 2006.  The Queen started it and we never looked back.  Last night was the Jeffco marching invitational...usually the first big show and the bell weather for the season (I think.)  My job in all of this is to feed the band, staff, some parents and of course, if there is food left over...stragglers.

I am not doing this alone so don't feel sorry for me.  There are two other moms that have signed on for the long haul and they are in it too.  There are about 90 kids in the band, 20 staff and at least 20 parents that help every time.  So if you do the math...we are feeding a bunch of folks.  We plan on about 140.

Last night, we had the 8th graders that did band from the middle school to show them what a good time band is...so add another 30.

We fed them and they loved it.  Spaghetti, meatballs, bread, salad...desserts and drinks.  They even had carne asada from a wonderful parent if the Italian fare wasn't good enough.  Definitely better than I feed my family at home.  It was exhausting to heat everything up in a parking lot and put it out for these kids.  

Then, if that wasn't enough, when a marching band is competing, there is an element of class that needs to be shown.  It comes in the form of hair up, shoes shined, everyone looking crisp and the same. With another group of parents, we got on our knees and shined shoes.  Then, we wandered around with bobby pins and put hair up.  I threatened a few boys to bring the clippers next competition.

They played their warm ups and sounded beautiful.  I couldn't get enough of my son...honestly I love this kid so much.  So proud and excited for him.
Howie is the first tuba 

Guess what?  They went out on the field and left it there.  They sounded amazing, looked great and won the class they were in.  They were humbled and stunned because they haven't won in a while.

Here's the thing...as they were going through the line for dinner, kid after kid thanked me...

"Thanks for feeding us, Mrs. Ritter", I heard over and over again.  As I was on my knees, shining shoes and behind them, touching their shoulders, pinning stray hair up...I felt like I was meant to be part of this...at this time in my life, this is my mission, ministry and validation that humans are good.  Then as I followed them around with water, before the contest and then after..."wow, water, thanks so much, Mrs. Ritter", I heard over and over.  

I felt exhausted by all the work but also so fulfilled by the work that was done and the kindness that was shown by these teenagers... the sweet acknowledgement of service and time spent on them.  I felt very blessed and humbled by the kids and their thankfulness...it was a great feeling.

They won and I won.  I got to take care of them, love them and connect on a level that makes me happy.  I understand now that I do this for exactly that reason.  Sometimes, we get glimpses of what  life is about in the most interesting places...last night, as I was on my knees, shining shoes...I got a glimpse.

If these kids don't win another thing, I am proud to be helping them become who they are and who and what they are to become. 

Hey Lobo Regiment, thanks for the wonderful night and the amazing show.  You guys deserved first and it was a blast to be there with you.  Here's to more of that!

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,
(AKA: Mrs. Ritter)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall Saturday in Conifer...

Today was a beautiful fall day here in Conifer.  The leaves on the Aspen trees are a shimmering yellow/ gold color and the temperature is a lovely 70 degrees.  This is my favorite time of year.

The "Mountain Bowl" was played today at the high school and it is a rivalry that goes back years and years. The stands were full with parents of teenagers and the mood was positive.

My youngest got to play his tuba in the half time show and did a nice job...

My son is the third  from the right with the gold tuba

It was a shame that the Conifer Lobo's lost but in the immortal words of the Queen, "Band team always wins" so at least one group of kids I was pulling for won.

Ever since I came home from the cruise, I have been struggling to find a new normal with three of us in the house.  I have made dinner for 5 for years and then 4 for two years and now I am making dinner for 3...hardly worth it to me.  But I have been.  It's taken all of my energy to keep mothering.  I'm not sure why but it has.

The cruise was good...bittersweet.  There is nothing bad about smiling dolphins

crystal blue water and snorkeling around trying not to spill your drink...

drinks that were served in plastic replicas of blow fish

and feeling the sun, sea and cool breeze of Honduras.

It's a different world on a cruise ship in the Caribbean than in the little town of Conifer.  Two Saturdays ago, it was a "fun day at sea" where I was on ship time.  The pool was warm, the tropical drinks were flowing and if we played our cards right, a nap in the middle of the day would allow for another round of one too many tropical drinks before bed...and let me tell you, we played our cards right.

I couldn't live like that and really, I couldn't have done too many more days of that either.  God knows, I could hardly button my shorts on the last day.  But it made me appreciate the contrast that my life is...the fact that I get up every morning, hit the gym and go to work helping people...that I can't be on "ship time" because I need to pick my 15 year old up from school and do the "Mom" thing (even if I am just going through the motions) and if I was independently wealthy, I bet I would need a purpose besides drinking and relaxing in the sun.

Here's the thing...I wouldn't mind trying it for awhile again!

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Car time...

I have been driving my blue durango since 2006 and it has been old reliable.  I have almost 230,000 miles on it...It has hit birds, squirrels, dogs, elk and a mountain lion and kept on going.  I depend on the car, it gets me to my life outside of the house.

Almost a month ago, it started to overheat.  First, I needed to turn off the AC and open the windows.  Then I needed to turn the heat in the back on, then I was driving in the summer heat with the heat on high in the car to get anywhere.  It was a hot summer anyway but this made it ridiculous.

Jim decided he would work on it, you know, replace the thermostat and that'll do it.  Well, on a test drive, it still overheated.  Then he decided to change out the radiator, replace the hoses, etc, etc.  He had it up with the nose in the sky to let the air bubbles out of the radiator...yeah, yeah...that's it, the air bubbles in the radiator.  Guess what...it wasn't the air bubbles.  It was the head gasket and it is "blown".  So, there, I was right...she (the car) is terminal.

I move on  to the subaru.  This thing has been dying for a year or two now.  The check engine light is just on.  It never goes off.  When I ask my husband about it, he says, "oh, you can drive it, it's just a misfire" and goes about his business.  Not to mention that this thing has 220,000 miles on it as well.  

OK, I can drive it.  It overheats and the air conditioner blows hot air but hey, it runs.  I have been driving it for about two weeks when it decided to die as well.  Howie was driving to school yesterday and we couldn't make it up the hill out of the subdivision...it was sputtering and misfiring and not moving.  Then I looked over and the check engine light was flashing and the battery light was flashing as well.  Howie decided we needed to turn around and get the last running vehicle (besides the tractor) we could drive.

That would be the 1991 F-150 "toothpaste" blue ford truck that Mac drove his senior year of high school.  Talk about a piece...It's got 178,000 miles on it, it's been hit on one side, the keys don't work in the locks, it's got a stick shift with a baseball for the knob, and a real live rabbit foot that was acquired on a camping trip hanging from the mirror.  It gets about 2 miles to the gallon...

I have been driving the truck for two days and have had enough.  As Howie said on the way home from school..."Mom, every car we own has been on it's last legs for about a year.  It's time to buy a  new car."  He is right.

I have been overly sweet to my husband about a new car.  Yes, honey, I know we just paid tuition for two at college, that I went on a cruise, that you have a car payment for your (midlife crisis) truck.  Yes, I know it's a difficult time to take out another loan.  D...all of the above.

Last night, I took Howie to masterdrive and Jim met me to take him home.  I gently pointed out how I have not gotten on his back and rode him like a big dog about all the check engine lights and overheating and how I told him the cars were dying...aren't I being such a wonderful wife?  He looked at me as serious as he has been in a while and asked, "Who else do you know that gets to drive a pale blue 20 year old truck with a baseball for the shifter and a real rabbits foot on the mirror?  You should consider yourself lucky..."

I had to laugh because it was funny but....

Here's what I know, there's a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with my name on it somewhere in Denver that I will be driving in the next week and the beautiful pale blue truck with the baseball shifter and rabbits foot will go to it's intended driver...

And it ain't me.

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bad luck bird?

I made it home from the cruise in one piece.  While I was gone, Howie bird sat.  The neighbor went on a trip and the bird lived at my house.  My mother always said birds were bad luck.  I told Jim that jokingly but half serious.  He looked at me like I was crazy but after the week that everyone had when I was gone...I think she was right.

The bird arrived on Friday to stay until Wednesday.  I left on Saturday.  Between Sunday and Wednesday,  Jim spent the night in the hospital, the kids were in a car accident, Christie got stitches from the accident, Howie had his first migraine along with an allergic reaction.  All this loveliness while I was cruising on the Caribbean seas with a fruity drink in my hand and the bird was in a cage in my living room.

It all turned out okay and everyone rose to the occasion and took care of each other.  Christie took care of Jim, Mac took care of himself and Jim and Howie spent time over at a friend's house.  

We are so lucky and I am so glad to be home.  Jim will see the specialist on Thursday to see if he needs to have surgery to remove salivary stones, I will take Christie's stitches out this weekend, and we will keep Howie well hydrated.  

Oh and I put on 8 pounds while cruising the Caribbean.  Tons of food and drink and family time.  That's what taking a vacation will do to you.

My neighbor came and picked up the bird on Wednesday.  I think secretly Jim was glad for him to go home.  When Sunday came along and Jim picked me up from the airport, he said..."Maybe your mother was right, that bird was bad luck."

Old wives tale...I think not.

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All over the place...

Here's what I learned from my last post.  There is a site on the internet called www.factcheck.org and it has a lot of different takes on who's saying what and who is speaking the truth.  I looked up the Annenberg Public Policy Center to see who it claims to support and it doesn't say.  From what I read on the site, no one is purely truthful and but really, both parties  seem to be trying to get to a similar place.  I thought it was very interesting.

Like I said, I still don't know what to think about all this talk.  I just don't.

I am worried though.  What will happen if Romney is president or if Obama stays in office?  Will anything change with either?  Will the recession end or get worse?  Will I pay more or less for health insurance? for college?  to feed the family?  for gas in the car?  Will we lose more soldiers to a war that doesn't seem right?  Will the rights of folks be taken away?  Will whoever wants to get married be able to and will both sides stop hating each other? 

One of the comments I got today spoke to the fact that this political discourse is needed.  I guess it is but it makes me anxious.  I know, who cares if I am anxious, right?  You could argue that I'm always a little anxious anyway!

Anyway, on a lighter note...it has been a good day.  I saw an older lady that is failing.  She is old and wrinkle...beautiful in her own way.  I walked into her room and she was lying in a hospital bed, on her side, sleeping soundly.  The wrinkles that have made their home between her brow were soft and she was breathing evenly.  She had been given her pain medication two hours before and was the picture of comfort and peace.  For the hospice nurse, that is nirvana...a patient that has found the "sweet spot" in pain control.  That "sweet spot" is my wish for every person with pain...

On Saturday, I am leaving for Tampa to get on a cruise ship bound for the Bahamas.  The cruise is bittersweet because, truth be told, my brother-in-law, Uncle Pete, should be on this with my sister.  If everything went according to plan, he would have been done with his chemo, stronger and celebrating life.  If you follow this blog, you know that back in February, Pete passed away and left us heartbroken. 

So I get to go.  I have been spending all my time in my head thinking about him and how he would be so happy that the sisters were spending time together.  It will be good to be with my sisters and remember him, but I am sure there will be times when the tears will flow.  It will be a special time but also a tender time.  No doubt the pink wine will be mixed with all the tears.

So as the title suggests, I am all over the place.  My kids are at college, my last son is learning to drive, I am lucky to care for all kind of folks, and really, I don't know who to vote for in the election in November.  I am sick of the way information is put out, and I am tired of being thought of as stupid by both parties.  I want my rights, to have a flu shot or not....and I want everyone else to have those same rights...to love who you love, to marry who you marry and if it doesn't work out, to split the sheet.  I want to be able to provide awesome care to folks in their homes whether insurance pays for it or not, and "at the end of the day" be proud of what I've done.

Today, I am...
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,