Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Heart is a Strange ……

…… and wonderous thing.
It can continue to grow and hold more love inside it, even as it constantly works on mending itself. Even after it’s been torn in half.

I’m going to do my very best to not cry while I write this, but it’s doubtful that I’ll succeed, because I’ve been crying at the drop of a hat for the last few days.
You’d think I was the one who gave birth, what with the level of emotions that rise up inside me, threatening to rush out of my eyes and my throat.
I keep swallowing them down, as best I can, but that doesn’t always work …… like today in church, for example.

For those of you who have yet to hear my latest, and by far biggest, news …… Daughter #2 became a foster mom Friday. Β  She decided a long time ago that she wanted to do this, married or single, and so …… rather than wait around to see if Mr. RIght came along, she decided to do what she wanted to do, now, rather than later.
I wonder where she gets that??

Anyway, I visited her about a month ago to help get her home ready to have children.
We thought it might happen quickly, once she finished all of the paper work, the inspections, the hoop-jumping and the I’s and T’s were all dotted and crossed.
And it did.

Last week I flew to Canada for our first ever international Camp Widow, in Toronto. It was a long day. I flew from NY to Montreal, and then on to Toronto. I got to the hotel, dumped my bag in my room and then went downstairs to start helping out. I had not been at the hotel for even an hour when my phone rang. I picked it up, saw D#2’s name, and said, “Uh oh!” to my friends, M and D and D. Β I knew exactly what was about to happen.
Because …… hello?!! I’m in Toronto!

Yes, Daughter #2 had been called. It seemed a mom was being induced that day so would she be willing to take the baby, as long as he/she was healthy? After thinking about it for a bit, she jumped at it. When she called me that’s all she knew. We didn’t know when the baby would be born, or how long after birth it would take for her to get the baby. But we knew it would be before the weekend was out.
Because …… of course. Β Camp Widow Canada!!!

I immediately started searching for flights and found a few that I could swing on Saturday. I had three workshops scheduled for Friday, but none to lead on Saturday, so I hoped that Saturday would be the day the baby would be placed with her.
It was placed on Friday.
Of course.
Because nothing in my life seems to go flawlessly, right?!

She called me Thursday night at around 9:00 or so to inform me of the placement. So back to the internet I went, seeing if I could find a flight that would leave late enough for me to get two of my workshops done, and I’d find someone to cover the afternoon event.

Let’s just say that there are not a whole lotta options when trying to fly out of Toronto and into Waco, TX.
By the time I found a flight and finally clicked on “Purchase”, I received a message that someone else had beaten me to it.
So I started over and was finally successful. I found a flight that would depart at 2:15, meaning I could leave the hotel at 12:30, which was the time the second workshop would end.

I re-packed my bag Thursday night and got everything ready to head out the next day.
But by Friday morning I was a nervous wreck. I realized that the 2nd workshop would be very intense and I suddenly couldn’t remember how I was supposed to handle the discussions in there. My mind had gone blank. But I did remember that several people stay after and need more time to share and process, which meant there really was no way in hell that I would get out of that hotel by 12:30.
And then I remembered that I was outside of the U.S. …… which meant…… Customs.
Oh my word, there was a huge panic monster residing in my stomach, threatening to jump up and out of my throat, screaming at the top of its lungs.
Fortunately I ran into M on my way to the first workshop. She informed me that there was no way I could leave at 12:30 if I did the second workshop, AND there was no way I’d be able to concentrate with everything going on in my head/life. I already felt bad that I wasn’t going to be able to lead the afternoon workshop, so I hated to bail on the second one, but she was totally right. She told me that she’d lead it, which truthfully, did a wonderful job of calming down the panic monster. He left my throat and settled into my stomach, where he usually resides during times of stress.
Thank you, M. ❀

So I led the first workshop and then left for the airport, made the flight and even, surprisingly made the next flight out of DFW to Waco. Because DFW is a hella-big airport and I never arrive in the terminal where my connection is. And I had less than 30 minutes by the time I got off of the plane. So I ran through that airport, cursing it along the way. Especially since I hadn’t eaten anything ALL day and didn’t have time now to grab something (as I had hoped).

But I made that flight and it was very short. In fact, the flight attendant came over the speaker and she told everyone they could now bring out their laptops and electronics …… and I kid you not …… the pilot came on less than 60 seconds later and told us that we were starting our descent so we had to pack up our electronics.

A friend of the girls picked me up at the airport (Daughter #2 was still on the road and would not be getting in until 9:00 p.m.). So we went to Target and loaded up on all things baby.
Then went to the house to unpack it all, launder it, clean the house, and get everything ready.

And then they were home.

And my mending heart grew another size.

Now, as I hold him, feed him, change his diaper, I marvel at his perfection.
But also as I hold him, I look into his eyes and I cry.
I cry for the joy of him.
I cry for his mother (who hopes to be reunited with him in a few months).
I cry for joy for Daughter #2.
I cry for the pain and tearing of the heart that she will most likely experience.
I cry for the missing of Jim, and for him …… missing this.
I cry for him not being here to watch the love and joy in Daughter #2’s face and eyes.
I cry for the pain I’ll feel when all I have to do is leave in a few days.
And then I cry for the heart-rending that my all-too-torn-up heart will have to feel again in a few months.
Another loss.
Over someone who has firmly placed his tiny fingers around my finger, and around my heart.

My daughter is the bravest person I know.
I’m so very proud of her.
I love her so fiercely that I can not bear the thought of the pain she will certainly feel when it’s time to let this little angel go.

We want the best for him. We try to focus on the mom, and all she’s missing right now. We try our best to focus on being happy/thrilled for her, knowing Daughter #2 is keeping him safe and loved for her.

But with the passing of each minute with this tiny little being, whom no one knew about 5 days ago, that focus gets fuzzier and fuzzier.

So for now, we focus on now. And only now.
And hope that the peace, comfort and strength of God, will get us through “then”.


My Blisters Have Blisters ……

…… because I walked all over the town of Hoboken today.

I left the apartment at 9:00 to head to the southern most point of Manhattan. As in Wall Street/the Financial District/the World Trade Center.
I didn’t get home until 7:00 p.m.
Oh, my word …… my body hates me right now.
But it was worth it.

So, I made my way to the ferry terminal down there, and met up with several friends from the Manhattan Women’s Club.
I know what you’re thinking. “A women’s club?! Sounds very snobby to me!”.
I get it.
I thought that the first time I heard about it.
But trust me, this is a group of some of the friendliest women I’ve ever met. Most of them have lived all over the world, so they’re used to making new friends and accepting people easily.
And there are so many events/lunches/book club meetings that it’s hard to keep up with them all.
I love it.

Today we went on a tour of Hoboken.
The weather was perfect for a tour of any place, but Hoboken was pretty dang cool. It’s changed a lot since the days of “On the Waterfront” and Frank Sinatra.
Like night and day.
It’s now a hugely popular city and housing is expensive and scarce.
It’s a lovely city and I can see why anyone would want to live there. I mean, heck, it’s got the best dang view of the NYC skyline.

I took a ton of pictures.
And hopefully I’ll share them with you …… one day.
But tonight is not that day.
I’m pooped.
I’m beyond pooped.
And I have to leave the apartment tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. to head for the airport ….. and then take two flights to Toronto.
Camp Widow goes international this weekend.
I know!!!

So instead, I’ll give you a list of things I observed yesterday while walking around Manhattan/sitting in Columbus Circle for an hour.
It probably won’t be as interesting as Hoboken, but there you go.
Beggars can’t be choosers.
I have no idea why I wrote that.

OK, here are my observations from yesterday:

1. I watched a man and a woman pushing strollers that held 6 (SIX!) toddlers. Each. For a total of 12 (TWELVE!) kids. And yes, they were obviously child care workers, but still …… 12 (TWELVE!!).

2. As I sat in Columbus Circle I noticed a young woman sitting near me. She was listening to music (like 98.9% of the people who walk around Manhattan). And she was waiting for someone, though I didn’t know it until she got up and ran to a much older man who was walking towards us. They grabbed each other and hugged. And hugged. And hugged. And hugged.
It was an abnormally long hug, which made it all the better.
They were evidently thrilled to see each other, and she, especially, could not let go of him.
It was a pretty neat sight.
And then I noticed what he was wearing.
Which may or may not have made it more cool.
He had on green velvet pants …… bright green.
He also had two different pairs of boots on his feet. Not that he had both pairs on, but he had one boot on his right foot, and a whole ‘nother boot on his left.
He was a bit …… eclectic.
I would’ve loved to know what their relationship was and what he did for a living.

3. There’s been a huge crackdown on cyclists in Central Park over the weekend. That’s because a woman was killed when a cyclist hit her. So I watched policemen make cyclists get off of their bikes when they came into Columbus Circle, heading towards the Park. Which was nice because a lot of times those guys ride all over the sidewalks, where there’s supposed to be NO bike riding.

4. The temps were in the high 60’s/low 70’s yesterday. Which made some people dress in shorts …… and others in jackets and scarves.

5. I am now in a ton of photos that were taken in Columbus Circle yesterday afternoon. Without even photo bombing a single person.

6. People watching outdoors in New York is WAY better than people watching elsewhere. With the exception of Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas …… where it appears that most people don’t own a mirror.

7.Sometimes, if you sit long enough, you get free samples.

8. Columbus Circle at 3:00 p.m. is a pretty decent place to sit and people watch on a gorgeous fall afternoon.

9. Some girls’ school uniform skirts are WAY too short.

And, for the 10th thing I observed in Columbus Circle ……

10. I am thanking God that my three sons have better taste than this guy:

See you from Canada, Peeps.

Barre, Broadway, Blisters and ……

…… The Blacklist!!

So, yeah, I finished Season 1 yesterday. I am now ready to watch Season 2! Whoop!
Tonight!! Double Whoop!!!

Yesterday was a busy day.
I went to barre class in the morning (I’ve now gone 3 days in a row, and yes, it’s still killing me), then came back to relax and finish The BL.

For those of you who were under a rock this past weekend (or who don’t live in NY), NYC had what has been purported to be THE largest climate rally in history.
Which begs the question: How long have we been having these rallies because this is the first time I ever heard of it.
There were over 400,000 people at this event. And it all started just down the street from my apartment …… at Columbus Circle.
Which looked a whole lot like this:
There were people EVERYWHERE!!
The parade was so big (How big was it?!) that, for people standing somewhere along the middle of the route, it took over an hour and a half for the parade to reach them. It was 3 miles long and took over 5 hours to complete.
Climate March


I wasn’t too bothered by the parade and the massive amount of people. I had a show to go see in the afternoon, but I thought that I would be avoiding the masses since I was going in the other direction.
Completely and totally WRONG!
I had no idea how massive the rally was nor that the multitude was spilling over in streets in every direction!
So my plan to leave 30 minutes before the show was, in hindsight, a pretty stupid plan.
On a nice day it only takes me 20 minutes to get to the Theatre District/Times Square. And yesterday was a nice day (although it was too warm, but there you go) …… so I didn’t think twice about my timing.




I ended up running at least half of the distance to the theatre. Running where I could find space to run.
Running in and around somewhere around 400,000 people.
Running, in boots.
Running, in boots with heels.
My feet are still ticked off at me.

I arrived at the theatre less than 5 minutes before curtain.
I had a huge blister on the bottom of both feet.
And I was drenched in sweat.
Fortunately, this is what I was seeing:
It’s not what you call a “dressy” show.

It’s the third time I’ve seen it. Twice with Neil Patrick Harris (sigh ……) and yesterday with Andrew Rannells (whom I saw in “The Book of Mormon”). He was very, very good.
He’s not Neil, but no one is (sigh ……). But he was certainly worth seeing.
He’s doing this show until the middle of October.
Then, a guy named Michael C. Hall is going to star in it. If you’re not sure who he is, he just finished the last season of a little show called, “Dexter”. If you know that show ……
I KNOW!!! Can you believe it??? I can NOT picture him doing Hedwig.

If you don’t know that show, good for you. I wish I didn’t. It was very disturbing. I never finished the first season.

After the show, I limped down 44th street to take in the annual Broadway Cares Flea Market.
Once again I was surrounded by a throng of people.
A throng is a whole lot.





I’ve never seen so many old Playbills in my life! I think every single table was selling them. Each theatre had a table set up with those, albums, cds, props, costumes, etc. It was fun to look through all that they had.
I ended up buying this t-shirt, because people are always asking me what the difference is/which spelling is correct.
That’s all I purchased. I figure I have more than enough current Playbills.

After that I stopped for dinner at a decent Mexican restaurant and then I went to church. But I had just eaten, I was hot (the building was very warm) and I was exhausted.
You do the math.

This morning, when I came out of barre class, 8th Avenue was packed with black vehicles. I’m talking a parking lot.
Black limos, black Escalades, black Lincolns. They were triple and quadruple parked. Men dressed in black suits, wearing earbuds, were standing all around.
I couldn’t figure out what was going on and just hoped I hadn’t popped onto the scene like any in “The Blacklist”.
Because, you know …… New York!

But then I saw a sign in one of the car windows that read, “Argentine delegation”, so I knew it was part of the huge U.N. Summit on, what else?, climate control.

I wanted to take a picture for you all, but after my last experience with taking a picture of something that looked kind of sketchy (you know, when I was stopped in Paris by the military for taking a picture of something I still can’t define, but knew it was government/military related), there’s no way I was going to chance get arrested over a picture!!

OK, I’m totally kidding!
Not about the Paris Picture Caper …… that really happened, but about taking pictures today.


See what I do for your entertainment?!
You’re welcome.

Tomorrow I’m touring around Hoboken.
I hope the blisters are gone by then.

Later, Peeps.

New York, New York ……

…… it’s a wonderful town.

Yes, I borrowed those lyrics from a song.
And these:
“Heaven … I’m in heaven. And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak. And I seem to find the happiness I seek.”
Of course I’m leaving out the main line …… “When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek.”
That’s because I don’t know anyone I’d want to dance cheek to cheek with, and because I’m happy with the first few lines.

Daughter #3 and I walked to Trader Joe’s today (it’s about a mile from the apartment …. which is nothing!), and the weather was beautiful (in the 60’s!!) and I’m so happy to be in this city, that the words, “Heaven …… I’m in heaven ……” kept running in my mind over and over again.

I’ll keep humming that until …… oh, about 10:45 tomorrow morning …… when I go to my first barre class in over 4 (FOUR!!) months.
Trust me, I won’t be humming anything during, or shortly after, that close.
Well, I might be humming, “Let my people go”, or something akin to that.

After that there’s a plethora of things going on in NY. But then, there’s always a plethora of things going on in NY.
And I just like using the word “plethora”.

Tomorrow is that German American parade (thank you, Margot!) and Oktoberfest in the Park. It’s a shame that I don’t like beer.
Then there’s the San Generro Feast in Little Italy. I’m not sure exactly what goes on with that, other than Italian food, but it sounds fun.

I’ve been pretty torn since I arrived here.
I want to walk around and just soak up the cooler weather and the spirit that is NY, but I also need to finish watching the first season of “The Black List”.
Do NOT roll your eyes!! It happens to be a VERY good show and the second season starts on Monday. I think there are 22 episodes and I’m on #13.
This is a frustrating conundrum.
And yes, I’m watching #13 while I type this for all of you.
That’s just the kind of blog writer I am. Totally selfless when it comes to my readers.
And …… I’m going to have to watch this episode over again because I’m not doing a great job of multi-tasking.

So after my barre class tomorrow I’m hanging out with my friend Kelley. We’ll see what source of entertainment we choose. Or how many.
Daughter #3 is spending the day with her BF.
Things have changed.
She’s in love.
And while I’m happy for her, one small, teeny, tiny part of me wants to gag.
She’d be totally happy to dance cheek to cheek with him. In fact, they took took dance classes for quite a while, so I”m sure she’s danced cheek to cheek with him several times.
It’s a good thing I like him.

So that’s it. I know it’s not very exciting. I did hang out with friends in my building last night and tonight, so that was fun.
And I got out to go grocery shopping today.
Oh, and to also laugh at the people in line at the Apple store.
The store on 5th avenue had a line that was over 12 blocks long.
That’s over a mile, Peeps.
That’s insane.
Totally insane.
Especially when you can order the stupid thing on line!!! Why on earth would you stand in a line like that when you can have it sent to your home a few days later?!!!

I also had to catch up on a lot of bills and companies who have failed to change my address.
Blue Cross is sending stuff to my apartment here AND to my home in Texas.
Go figure.

So, kind of a dull post, but not to worry. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of things to tell you about during most of my stay here.
Right now I’m just pacing myself.

Have a great weekend, Peeps.

P.S. Here’s one of the pics I took while we were landing yesterday. See that tallest building there? The very tallest? That’s the “Freedom Tower”, that’s been built next to where the World Trader Center buildings were.
It’s pretty dang tall.

I Am Woman ……

…… hear me brag roar.

I did something new today.
Something I never imagined I’d ever do.
And though it was pretty dang easy, I’m still proud of myself for the accomplishment.

I put this ……

on to this ……
I KNOW!!!!

And then I replaced another one.
Two toilet seats in one afternoon!

I didn’t intend to do that when I got up this morning.
In fact, all I intended to do was drive about 45 minutes to the rheumatologist.
That’s another story that I hope I remember to tell you after I tell you the toilet story.
But I probably won’t.

Any-whooooo, after I finished with the dr. I stopped at a Home Depot on the way home to pick up some bird seed and air filters.
Then, like so many, many times in my days life, I got distracted while passing by the aisles. When I saw the word “bathrooms” I thought, “I really want to change out my toilet seat!”, so I turned down that aisle.
You see, we had the non-slamming toilet seats in the other house, and I’ve missed them.
And, because I loathe previously-used toilet seats, I wanted a fresh one.
So I perused the toilet seats for a while, as I tried to remember if I have elongated or round toilets.
And no, I wasn’t sure.
So I called Son #3 and asked him.
Of course he knew.

Then, not only did I get a non-slamming toilet lid, but I also got a super-cool lid.
Here it is again …… notice anything?
Yep! It DOES have a built-in light on it!! So now I don’t have to turn the light on in the middle of the night, just to make sure there’s not a snake in the toilet.
Yes, I’m serious.
Every. Single. Time.
Since I was small.
No, I don’t know why …… except that I’ve read stories.
And have a friend who had a large rodent come up through her toilet.
So I check.
Make fun of me all you want, but know this ……
I’ve never been bitten by a snake in my toilet.

So yeah, two toilet lids.
And four air filters.
Well, three really.
But also four.

You see, I have high ceilings.
Some are very, very high.
So I had to use my imagination to reach one of the air filters.

This should come as no surprise to those of you who are on Facebook and saw that this is what it took for me to fix my ceiling fan:

So yeah, I used a chair and a soft-sided ottoman. And I still had to put one foot on the ledge in order to reach that dang thing.

You’ll probably be relieved to know that I used this when I put the new filter in:

But the vent in my bedroom ceiling is way too high for me to reach, even with the ladder.
So I used this:
And it worked very, very well.
And was quite easy.

Then I went outside and stood on the grill so that I could reach one of the bird feeders that’s high in a tree.
No photos of that, though.
Now both bird feeders are full to the brim.
So the birds will have sustenance while I’m in NY.

Let’s see …… what else?
Oh yeah, the doctor.
So after my first visit with him last month, I had several tubes of blood drawn and several x-rays of my hands and feet.
All of which came back very normal.
With no sign of any damage nor any inflammation.
Which, yes, is a good thing.
Except for the fact that I have pain 24/7.

Sometimes it’s worse than other times, but it’s always there.
It rarely stops me from doing what I want to do because I just push it aside, knowing that I’ll most likely pay the consequences later.
But I will not be stopped by whatever this is.
This …… that appears to be nothing.

If I don’t have RA, that would explain why I never felt any relief from ANY of the toxic meds the first doctor prescribed.
But it still begs the question …… what’s going on?
No one knows.

So we take a wild guess, and treat the symptoms on a hunch.
I start a new med tonight.
It’s a “cross-over drug” that can treat RA and a couple of other inflammatory problems.
Except for psoriatic arthritis. If I have that, then this medication will bring it out in all it’s ugliness and pain.
But at least we’d know what it is if that happens, which is rare.
I have learned to not count out things that are rare.

This med is also a malaria treatment, which is a bonus if I decide to go to Africa in the next couple of months. πŸ™‚
It’s also a lighter kind of med with very few side effects.
It doesn’t cause cancer like methotrexate sometimes will.
Or Remicade.
Both of which I had.

It also takes a while to make a difference, if a difference is to be made.
Of course it does.
So I go back to see this doctor the week before Thanksgiving.
I’m not all that hopeful that this will work, since nothing has worked since all of this started.

The pain is always worse in the evenings, which makes evenings alone SO MUCH FUN!

But, I’m too excited to care about any of this right now.
Because I’m flying to NY tomorrow morning.
I am SO excited that I doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight.
Which really, isn’t so very different from most nights.
But it won’t be frustrating this time, because …… New York!!!!

See you from the Big Apple, Peeps!!!

Life Is a Wee Bit ……

…… busy.
But then I’m sure that’s news to no one. πŸ™‚

I spent the weekend in Oklahoma and returned to Houston today. It was pretty much a last-minute decision. Every Wednesday United Airlines comes out with a list of “cheap fares” for the upcoming weekend. Last week Tulsa was on the list, so I called Vicki and asked/told her that I was coming up to help.
I can’t remember if I wrote about this or not, but when she had surgery after she broke her leg very, very badly, her foot basically had to be re-attached to her leg. You know, with metal plates and screws and fun stuff like that.
As difficult as this might be to believe …… the surgeon attached it at an angle.
And not in a good way.
When she would put her legs out in front of her straight, her knees would both point up, as would her left foot. But her right foot was turned outward …… which was a little freaky to see.
Her surgeon didn’t think it would be a big deal, but she (and everyone else in the world, especially HER world) disagreed, and encouraged her to make an appointment to tell him that she wanted it fixed.
Which also meant that the weeks she had spent going to/working at physical therapy, were a complete waste of time.

But, she had a second surgery a week and a half ago, and now she’s back to square one. No weight bearing on that foot for at least three more weeks and then hopefully she can start PT.
She may still be using a walker/wheel chair at Christmas.
But hey, at least her right foot is on straight.

The first time I went up to stay with her and help out (about 2 weeks after the first surgery), I walked into her house and she came out of her bedroom, using a walker.
I looked at her and said, “You know, I knew that this day would come …… I just didn’t expect it to come for another 20 or so years!”.
And though she was unable to walk, we really did have a great week.
As we did this time (only it was less than 9 days this time …… and only about 3). Both times I was the chauffeur for her and her lovely 12 year old daughter. I also helped with the house, the laundry, dishes, etc.
Nothing spectacular (except helping her organize her jewelry Β and board games cabinet …… and you know how much I LOVE to organize!), just the every day kind of housework things.
Oh, and I made great margaritas.
And home made Bailey’s drinks …… were are WAY better than Bailey’s. πŸ™‚

But we also spent time just sitting and talking …… both times.
I got there Saturday afternoon, while her family was at OSU for the football game that evening. She and I watched, and loved, that game. GO COWBOYS!!!!

People have been very nice and have brought the family dinner a few times a week, which is so wonderful when you’re off of your feet, or just had a baby, or are in shock from grief. It’s nice to not have to have to think about what to feed your family because someone wonderful brings all of you a warm meal.
Or almost all of you.

I told her that I was going to blog about this, because I find it hilarious, and a bit stunning.
When I was there the first time, this little old lady from their church brought dinner over one afternoon. She didn’t stay to chit chat, nor even acted like she wanted to stay, but she told Vicki what she had brought for dinner.
And dessert.
She had made chocolate chip cookies.
And she told Vicki, not once, but twice, “I made those cookies myself.”
Ummmmmm, ok? And thank you very much?

She and her grandson took the food into the kitchen and put everything on the counter and then left. I let them out the door, since Vicki was stuck in an office chair (it had wheels so she could roll around the house). Then we both walked/rolled into the kitchen. The woman had made a roast with vegetables. A roast that she got out of Vicki’s freezer, then took home and cooked.
She also brought cookies.
Here’s a picture:

Yep, your eyes are fine.
Yep, there are only 3 (THREE) cookies in that bag.
There are four people living in that house, and I’m not one of them.
That sight was the most hilarious thing I’d seen in a long time.
And it was made more hilarious by her pointing out that SHE had made those cookies.
All three of them.

When you make a meal for someone, do you make a recipe and then only take about an eighth of it to the person’s house?!
It was just soooo funny.
To be fair, the woman also brought three small chocolate chip muffins.
Which really doesn’t change anything.
It’s still hilarious.
And yes, it was very nice of her to make dinner.
But it was still hilarious.

Fortunately they’re still getting dinners. And Sunday they got an entire 9×13 pan of brownies.

And now I have a question for you.
See these?

Do you notice how similar they look when they’re face down?
Yeah, well, they’re not so very similar when you brush your teeth with the wrong one.
I’ll pause while you laugh.
And I hope that you pee your pants.

Yes, I brushed my teeth with Clearasil.
Or rather, I started brushing my teeth with Clearasil.
It didn’t take very long to realize that Crest was not in my mouth.
Or on my toothbrush.

Live and learn, Peeps.
Live and learn.

In other news …… this time Thursday, I’ll be in NY!!!!!

Can you tell that I’m just a teeny bit excited?

And even better, I really don’t have much packing to do!
I’ve packed one empty suitcase inside another empty suitcase.
All of my fall/winter clothes are in NY and I need to bring some back.
Other than that, I’m taking my Tulsa suitcase and it’s still packed.

This means that I can spend time binge-watching “The Black List”!
It’s SO good. I didn’t watch it last season, though I wanted to.
I always have problems watching shows consistently. Especially shows that you should watch each week to understand.
Maybe it’s a commitment issue.

So thank goodness for internet, Netflix, and network sites that allow you to watch their shows.

It’s now after midnight. I need to go so that I can finish the latest binge. I think I’m on episode 8 or 9.
I may have to start it over since it’s been well over 12 hours since I started it, and I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t look anything like the end of the episode before. Nor did it explain why. One minute/end of an episode someone’s getting shot in the head, the next minute/start of the next episode the setting is completely different and everyone who was captured by bad guys, are no longer captured.
That may be another reason that I didn’t watch it during the season.
It fries my brain.
Which really doesn’t need any more frying.

Happy Wednesday, Peeps.

And be sure to make certain that it’s toothpaste you’re putting on your toothbrush.
I’m just sayin’ ……

My, How Soon Things Can Change ……

…… in only 3 days.

The critter hasn’t been seen, or left any evidence of his partying, since the slamming of the flue.

Raccoon – 0. Me – 1.

But we have now exchanged a wild, perhaps rabid, party animal, for a teeny, non-partying, but totally whiney new critter.
Here he is:




Photo on 9-8-14 at 4.43 PM #3

He’s six weeks old, his name is Cass, and no, he’s not mine. Son #2 completely ignored my protestations and brought him home.
Now guess who’s stuck kitten-sitting while he’s at school?!
It’s a good thing this little guy is cute. Because his high-pitched meows/whines could drive you stark raving mad.
Fortunately, Son #2 is graduating from school in just a few days. So I’m guessing that he’ll be here a couple of more months while he takes his test for his license, finds a job, makes some money …… and moves out.
Until then, little Cass fits pretty well under an upside down laundry basket. πŸ™‚

In other news …… a family is moving into my house tomorrow. They’re leasing it for a year, and have paid 6 months up front.
So there you go.
Hopefully the house will hold together and I won’t have to fix anything.
Or become a slum lord.
But I’m certainly not above that. πŸ™‚

I worked out with the trainer yesterday and planned to take a nap at some point during the day, but never found the time.
I went out to lunch with some lovely ladies from the neighborhood and had a nice time.
Then I came home to hang with a yowling kitty who misses his mom and his siblings.
Poor guy.

I got up early today to go play 3 sets of tennis in the east Texas heat. In spite of the humidity and hellish heat, it felt good to be out there.
Afterward I came home to …… you guessed it …… kitten sit.
I really wanted to take a nap.
But I had to leave again to go meet the tenants at the house and turn over the keys.
As I pulled up to the house I had to take a minute or three, to gather myself together so that I wouldn’t cry. I was full to overflowing.
While I’m happy to be out of that house, it is the house where Jim and I did the majority of the raising of our children.
And watching someone else take over was almost more than I could handle.
But I kept myself busy by checking all of the keys with all of the doors (almost every stinking door in that place — and there are MANY — has a different key from the others). The two real estate agents seemed to keep them busy discussing all things rental-related, so I got all of the keys lined up.
And didn’t cry.
Until I drove away.

It’s always something.
And it always will be.
No, I don’t spend my days, weeks or even months mired in grief anymore.
Thank God.

But every once in a while something happens, some wave sneaks in out of nowhere and soaks me to the skin, knocking me off balance.
I no longer fall, or get sucked in to the under tow, but the pain is still there.
And will always be there.

I love him.
More than ever.
I miss him.
Way more than ever.

But I’m thankful for him, for our life, our marriage, our children …… and for my life now.
And I’ll miss him every day of my life.

Party Animals ……

(Settle in for a bedtime story, Peeps. Β πŸ™‚

…… seem to be drawn to me.
Or to my property.

They can be human, or non-human. They can be furry, or have scales.
They can be carnivorous, or vegan.
They can get up with the sun, or be nocturnal.

But they all seem to have one thing in common:
They want to see if they can make my head explode.

I went back to the house yesterday, armed with a bucket full of cleaning supplies …… and an intent to maim and/or destroy.
I was able to do neither.
Which I guess is a good thing, because that meant that the most recent party animal couldn’t make his way back down my chimney, through my flue ……. and into my house.

We first thought that he had only been in the house one time, evidently on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. That’s because a family had looked at the house and, when questioned, had seen nothing amiss. But then today we found out that they had indeed seen something amiss …… they just didn’t recognize it as that. It turns out that when they saw clumps of poop in the bedroom, and tons of dirty footprints in the bathtub …… they figured that the owners had a dog and had given it a bath. And I guess they thought the owners didn’t have a problem with poopy floors.
Go figure.

As I cleaned the house up, I was able to piece a bit more of the story together.
The raccoon made his way down my chimney, out of the fireplace and through the screens and glass doors some time during the middle of the night, most likely.
He is SO lucky that I don’t live in that house, or that I didn’t live in it the night he decided to drop in for a visit.
Or a party.
I can assure you that there’d be one less raccoon in the world today.
Probably because he would’ve had a fatal heart attack the moment I saw him and started screaming.

He didn’t wander around downstairs. I don’t know why, maybe he thought he wouldn’t run into humans if he headed upward.
Maybe he thinks all parties are held on upper floors.
Or maybe there was already a crowd of raccoons doing the limbo up there.

Whatever the reason, he took his fat, dirty self up the stairs and into Son #1’s room. He walked around the room, looked out the window, and then decided to poop. And so he did.
Then he walked through the bathroom that connects that bedroom to Son #3’s bedroom. He opened a few drawers on his way, but didn’t find anything.
Once he got into Son #3’s room, he opened more drawers in the wall of built ins. Again, he found nothing. So he walked along some of the shelves, continued to find nothing, so he got down and headed towards the window. He then decided climb up the blinds to see if he could look out the window, and wave to his friends letting them know the coast was clear.
Imagine his surprise when the blinds came crashing down to the floor, along with his fat, furry, dirty body.
He was so surprised that he peed all over the blinds.
And then peed in another area for good measure.

After that he decided that he could use a drink, so he headed into the bathroom. He couldn’t turn the faucets on so he headed into the adjoining room with the toilet and tub.
He then climbed up on the toilet (he could do that easily because we raised our boys to always put the lid down!) and took his dirty paws, grabbed a hold of the lid to the tank, and tried to lift it off of the tank.
He managed to get it a bit askew, but he wasn’t able to lift it completely off. The wimp.

He gave up, climbed down, and walked over to the tub. That’s when he noticed that the faucet was slowly dripping, so he managed to climb up, and over the tub wall. Then he fell into the tub because the porcelain was pretty slippery and I doubt that he’d had much experience with porcelain.
After getting up, he focused his attention on the faucet, and started licking up the drips on tub floor, as well as on the faucet.
It’s hard to tell how long he did that before he either ……
A. Tried to get out of the tub, but kept sliding back down into it, leaving hundreds of sooty-footmarks all over the tub …… or ……
B. Texted all of his raccoon friends, inviting them to come over for a hot tub party, which accounts for the hundreds of sooty-footprints all over the tub.

Choose your own conclusion.

At some point he was finally able to make his way out of that slippery tub. He then walked through one of the bedrooms some more, and then left the bedroom and climbed the few stairs that lead to the upper level of the house, which contains 2 more bedrooms, connected by another bathroom.

He walked into the largest of the two room, moved the blinds so that he could look outside (to make sure that all of his friends actually left the house) and then opened a few desk drawers so that he could use them as a ladder to get up onto the desk.
He once again found that there was nothing to play with, nor was there any food to eat.
So he waddled into the bathroom and spied the toilet paper roll. At last! He found some fun …… and proceeded to unroll the entire toilet paper roll, leaving it lying almost neatly in a pile on the floor.
When it was completely off of the cardboard roll he decided to move to the next room. But this time he didn’t try to get into the tub. I think he’d had enough of slippery porcelain, and his fur was still drying so he stayed out.
He wandered around Son #2’s bedroom, but decided that he didn’t need to pee or poop. He pulled out a few desk drawers, climbed up and checked out the shelves. By this time he was becoming pretty bored and most likely pretty tired from all of the hot-tubbing/drawer-climbing/toilet paper un-rolling/pooping and peeing.
He knew that it was close to his bed time because the sky was getting lighter and his eyes were getting heavier.

So he waddled his fat, damp-furried, but cleaner-footed self back down the stairs, went into the dining room, opened a few drawers, climbed up on the cabinet, found nothing and so decided it was time to head out.
He waddled back over to the fireplace, got up on his two back feet, looked around to make sure no one was watching, and then lifted himself up and into my chimney. Once he got past the flue he was able to grab onto a brick ledge that goes around the inside of the chimney. From that ledge he could stand on his toes and grab on to another, though smaller, brick ledge. There are several small 2-brick ledges that circle (or square?) the inside of that chimney, making climbing up or down a challenge, but definitely do-able.
Trust me, this isn’t my first rodeo.
And we’ve had that stupid chimney top fixed several times with all kind of materials locked down over it.
But nothing works for very long.
Thus, the hot tub party in the middle of the night.

So there you go. A raccoon bedtime story.
You’re very welcome.

And bonus! I have a few pics and a video.
Cuz I’m nice that way.

This is one of the pics of the tub, post its first scrubbing. Β There may, or may not, have been some sailor-like language accompanying all that exhausting, but not very effective, scrubbing.

This is Son #1’s room. Well, it used to be his room. Now he has his very own apartment and no one lives in this room, or this house at the moment. But I’ll still refer to it as his room. For now. πŸ™‚
It looks pretty clean, doesn’t it? Look a bit closer.

See that? That’s what we call a raccoon foot print. That’s probably what most people call it, but if you have a different name for it, please share. πŸ™‚

There’s another one. It’s pretty large. Have you ever read “The Kissing Hand”? If you have, check out the middle of the “palm” area.
I know, right?!!!

This is a video of me, following the fat guy’s foot steps. I was investigating. Kind of.
I don’t think I’ll be working for the FBI any time soon.

I Am On ……


I’ve had it.
I’m toast.
I’ve thrown in the towel.

I’m seriously considering selling everything in my Texas life and heading to NY and not looking back.
What, you may ask, would cause me to do such a drastic thing?
Well, I’ll tell you.
And you’ll laugh. But at this point in time, I’ve really had it, so it’s not so very funny to me.
Maybe it will be tomorrow.
Or next month.
Or ten years from now.

I worked all day today, on the computer, doing what I do to keep up with all things Soaring Spirits. I’ve scheduled a lot of Skype meetings, have already had a lot of Skype meetings, and have several more to do (we’re adding new groups at an amazingly fast pace right now!). So I worked on the computer all morning, until around 3:00.
And then I ran some errands, because I had to return a comforter that I bought for one of the guest rooms. It was a twin sized comforter. The bed in that room is queen sized. How in the world I came home with a twin sized, I’ll never know. I might be a bit worried about that, but I don’t really have time to ponder it.
So I took it back.
And got something else.

But on the way home I decided to make a detour and go over to the other house to check on things. Not that I expected to find anything out of the ordinary in an empty house, but I do watch “20/20” and they recently replayed a show about people moving into vacant houses and claiming squatters rights. That may have, or may have not, given me some motivation to make sure all was well in my big empty house.

I went through the garage door, and noticed that some of the stuff I let Son #2 put there (for his girlfriend, who was moving from one apartment into another), was still there …… 2 months later. I was under the impression that the stuff would be there for 2 weeks.
Color me surprised.
And unhappy.

But I walked past that stuff and on into the house. The first room I entered was the game room. Everything looked fine there. It was empty …… and still looked like a great room. With tons of storage.
Dang, I miss that storage.

Then I moved on into the kitchen area/family room. Now there’s a double sided fireplace in that area. One side is in the family room, off of the kitchen, the other side faces the living room.
I noticed that there was a “log” (it’s a fake gas fireplace) had fallen off of the stack and that a lot of the fluffy fake stuff that was in there was now in the family room. Like someone had stirred up everything in the fireplace and made a mess.
“Weird”, I thought. But whatever.
Then I walked into the living room and saw the other side of the fireplace. The glass and metal doors that are on that side of the fireplace were open. The fireplace screens were open. Someone had opened all four “doors” and left them open.
Again, I thought, “Weird”, and then I shut all of them. Very firmly.

I went through the downstairs …. my bedroom, bathroom, the study, and the dining room and looked things over. Nothing seemed to be amiss.

I then went upstairs.
I walked into Son #3’s room and saw that the blinds had been torn down from the windows. Upon closer inspection I noticed that there was some kind of dark stain on part of them. I wasn’t sure what that was, but the room had an odd smell.

Then I walked into Son #2’s room, and saw that something had been in there, and had decided to poop in that room. It looked kind of like dog poop.
I was stunned.
Who would’ve brought a dog into my empty house and let it poop all over the place?
That’s when I realized that the dark stain on the blinds, was pee.
And then I noted that there was pee in a few other places.

I then went into the bathroom that those 2 rooms shared. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary …… until I moved the shower curtain back and looked into the tub.
And then I was shocked.
Full fledged shock.

Someone …… or something …… with very dirty feet, had been in that bathtub. All over that bathtub. There was dirt and mud and dirty footprints all over the place. And there was dirt all over the white shower curtain. Upon closer inspection, I saw that there were footprints all over the tub. I started cleaning the tub, as best I could with only hot water and a t shirt to rub all of the footprints with. But I couldn’t get the tub totally clean.
After all of that work, these footprints were still visible:


I saw those footprints and I knew immediately what and who had been in my house. And in that tub.
Those footprints belong to a raccoon.
I kid you not.
Again, you’re probably laughing your ass off right now.
I am not.

As an amateur, but pretty dang good, detective …… here’s what I surmise had happened.

Someone, I don’t know who, I don’t know when, opened the flue of my double-sided fireplace. And left it open.
Now, a family looked at the house this past Tuesday …… two days ago …… and noticed nothing amiss. So evidently, sometime last night, or today, a FREAKING (and you really don’t know how very much I wanted to use another F-word here, but am trying my very best to rein in my anger) RACCOON climbed into my chimney, and then down my chimney, landed in my fireplace, knocking stuff out of said fireplace, and then made his way upstairs. (I’m using the word “he” because I can’t imagine a female of any species being as rude and trashy as this thing was.) He then tried to climb onto the windows of Son #3’s room, tore down the blinds, and then decided to pee on them. He also decided to pee in a couple of other areas of that room.
Then he made his way into Son #2’s room, and felt the need to poop. All over that room.

After all of that peeing and pooping he must’ve decided that he needed a shower.
The tub in that bathroom has a slow leak through the faucet. I’m guessing that this disgusting raccoon decided that he’d like a drink of water. So he climbed into the tub. He then found it a bit difficult to climb his way out of the porcelain hole, even though he walked and climbed all over that tub. We’re talking ALL OVER.
There was mud/dirt caked onto the shower curtain. Let alone the hundreds of footprints all over the tub.
Again, the pictures above were taken after I had scrubbed that tub for at least 20 minutes.

I continued scrubbing it after I took the pics, so it looks a bit better now, but it’s still not footprint-less. I’m going to have to go back over there tomorrow to see if I can clean that tub completely.
We shall see.

After I cleaned it as well as I could, I went back downstairs. I checked the flue, found it open, and then slammed it shut …… as hard as I could. I put the fake log back on the pile and cleaned everything up as best I could.

Then I texted my good friend/real estate agent and told her that a raccoon had been living in my house.
And then I drove home, to my smaller, raccoon-less home. By the time I got home my friend has responded to my text …… just as horrified as I imagined she would. Then she asked me if I’d like to meet for a margarita.
Funny …… that sounded like just what I needed. So I met her for a margarita. Or two.

I’m feeling better now, though I’d still love to catch, and then skin, the raccoon who made its way through the top of my supposedly-animal-proof-chuimney, down said chimney, through my flue, and into my house to pee and poop to his heart’s content.
I hate him.
And yes, I checked the entire house to make sure he wasn’t hiding in it.
Alas, he was not.

So there you go.
Another freakin’ run in with another freakin’ creature.
I need to go to NY. ASAP.

Although …… I have to tell you that as I was approaching my home (the one I live in that has no raccoons), this is what I saw …… as I was pondering on how much I hated raccoons:





Yes, there was a mamma dear and two babies. The closest baby looked just like Bambi, with freckles and everything. How can you think about hating wild creatures as you gaze upon (and take photos of) these beautiful creatures?
So I promptly forgot/let go of the hated raccoon.

For now.

But I’ll be keeping a closer eye on my house now …… and hopefully the two of us will never encounter each other. Because I’m sure that I may be the one doing the peeing if that were to happen. Unless, of course, I decide to bring some kind of weapon with me.
Preferably a fire arm.

We shall see.

You’re totally welcome for this absurd, and perhaps funny, post.
Laugh at your own expense.
What goes around …… comes around.


Geez Louise ……

…… it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve written a post.
What kind of writer am I?!! Other than a bad one. Or a neglectful one.
Thank you for your patience.
And grace.
I need a whole lotta grace.

So, let’s see …… when last you heard from me I was in Waco, helping out Daughter #2 get her house ready for foster children. I had intended to stay there for a couple of days …… you know, the Friday to Sunday kind of thing. Then on Sunday afternoon Daughter #2 said something about me maybe staying another day. I think I had just said something like, “It’s too bad I’m leaving today. I could get a lot of stuff done if I had more time.” So when she said that I should stay, I thought, “Why not?”, and so I did.
And boy, did I get a lot of stuff done!

The bedroom I slept in looked like this when I arrived:

There was a twin bed on the left side of the room, out of the view of the camera here. That’s where I slept.
On Monday, when she came home from work, it looked like this:

I had to disassemble the twin bed so that I could assemble the twin beds that she brought from home, which matched each other.
I put a bookcase together that we had purchased over the weekend. The plan was to put it into the closet. The best laid plans …… are probably accomplished by taking everything into account. Like how tall a bookcase should be if it’s going into a closet.
Something most people call “measurements”.
We took none.
And now the bookshelves are against a wall in the room rather than in the closet. They were a wee bit taller than we thought they were. This knowledge was obtained by eyeballing the picture on the box, not the actual bookcase.
Oh well.
It still looks good. It’s white and will hold a lot more toys and books than we thought.
Given that it’s about 7 feet tall.

She already had a bookcase in there, but it was black and very full to overflowing with her books. So I emptied it and moved it into her room. Then I organized all of her books and put them on the shelves.
Have I mentioned that I love to organize? No? Well, I do. A lot. I’ve even been paid for organizing a kitchen. I’d love to do it for a living, but I’m not sure how I’d start.
Anyway, I digress.
Kind of.

So I organized the bedroom and the closet (after I cleaned it out). We now have mattresses on the beds and new bedding on them. This room is child-ready.

After D2 came home from work, and liked the results (yay!), I said that it was too bad that I didn’t have time to get anything done in the third bedroom, which will be a nursery, if a nursery is needed.
So she said, “Why don’t you stay?” and I thought, “Why not?!” …… and so I did. We went out to eat, had a margarita, and then came home to watch the Emmys.
Unfortunately, D2 doesn’t have cable, or satellite ( I KNOW!!!) …… and the tuner/antenna she has, picked that night to not get NBC. Sigh.
So I went on line and set my DVR to record the Emmys and we watched stuff on Netflix. And I enjoyed another evening with her.

While she was at work the next day I ran some errands that needed to be done, did some laundry, cleaned the kitchen and then organized her paperwork/bills/craft area. I still didn’t get anything done in the other bedroom because dogs were in there most of the morning while we waited for a plumber to get there, and then leave.

These dogs are insane. Or actually, her dog is insane. She has a small dog and she’s been keeping Daughter #3’s dog (a black lab …… not so small) while she’s in NY. Her friend who lives in an apartment behind her also has a dog, so it stays with the other two during the day. They have crates in the bedroom.
When you walk into the room to get them, here’s what happens (again, the small dog (her’s) is the insane one:

See? How insane is it to jump like that and not realize that you could easily jump right out? He jumps like that All. Of. The. Time.
Seriously. He must be part springer spaniel.
Get it? Ha!!!

This dog also started growling one night, seemingly at no one or nothing. Then D2 figured out that a bust of Shakespeare, that I gave her a few weeks ago, was the culprit. It was in a corner of the living room and it seems that RG (the insane dog’s name) was not going to let Will sit comfortably. We’re not sure if someone forced him to sit through “King Lear”, or what, but he does NOT like that guy!

So other than having an insane dog, I think her house is ready for inspection. She’s already passed several, including one by the fire department, so I think she just has the final one to do.

If everyone had to pass these intense inspections before they were able to bring home a baby from the hospital, our hospitals would be overflowing with babies and toddlers. It’s amazing to see all of the hoops she’s had to jump through.
Now I just have to take a CPR class so that I’ll be allowed to babysit.
I doubt that the last one I took will count. I took it when I was pregnant with Daughter #1.
But it’s not like I forgot everything.
Although the thing that stands out the most is having to say, “Baby, baby …… are you ok?!!”, and trying not to laugh while Jim made faces at me.

OK, that’s it for now. I’m hoping to write about my trip to Chicago that occurred this past weekend. I had a great time.
Even if our hotel was full of hundreds of tiny little One Direction fans.
And their mothers.


P.S. I’d like to take a moment to brag. Did you notice that rug in the second video? D2 made it. She bought a very inexpensive beige rug, made templates for the design she wanted, and then used a Sharpie to draw it onto the rug.
Cute, huh?
She’s SO talented. πŸ™‚