Saturday, September 20, 2014

This Is Too Much Fun Not to Share

Was cruising the interwebs when I came across this short and sweet FUN game.

My ribcage already hurts from coughing, hurling and other special stuffz, so laughing was just an added bonus this morning, right?

You're going to like it - and HEY! I am posting on a Saturday, while sick with a cold, flu, death - so suck up and play along.

Okay? Okay...heehee

Here's the deal.
Go to Google
Type in your name and add the word "needs".

In my case?  "Janine needs"

Hit enter and then write down the first five you see.

Now, Janine isn't that common of a name and I only got one.

It said "Janine needs a dollar."

I was, like, "Yes, yes I do. About a million. But let's start there."

So. . . I moved onto Skippy.

Bwahahaha - THIS was SO much better.

I received the following:

Skippy needs help. [No kidding.]
Skippy needs back surgery.
Skippy needs sleep badly. [Are they stalking my blog? And no, this wasn't a link here, surprisingly]
Skippy needs a foster home.  [Yep, Steven is rehoming me. Takers?]

And my favorite?

Skippy needs a girl.

Ahahahaha.

Turns out my nickname is quite popular with male dogs, hence ALL of the lisitngs above.

But when you think of them in terms of a 48 y.o. stay at home mom it is pretty funny, isn't it?

I hope you all play and share the results.  Because you know if you don't I am just going to do it for you and then? All bets are off. ::wink::

Thank you Jen from Jen But Never Jenn for the idea.

Smile loudly Tadpoles. Life is A Gift.

And so are tissues and cherry cough drops.
See ya' on the flipside!
Love and hugs, Janine

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Still Kicking

I will be back with a new post soon.  Evie has been sick with a respiratory infection. She is on the mend [YAY!] tho' I have discovered that I caught it.

No worries, I just wanted to say "Hey!" and let you know what's up.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes they really made my day!

Love and hugs, Janine

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blue Skies

[Repost from Sept 11, 2011]

Who can forget the blue skies? It was the prettiest of days.

September 11, 2001.

I have mixed emotions about writing this post.  As much as I want to honor our country and remember those we have lost, I don't want to remember.

But?  I will never forget.  No one that witnessed it will ever forget, I think.

That morning I had walked our older children to the bus stop to attend elementary school.  I gathered up Wallene and went home to settle in and finish watching "Good Morning America" with a nice cup of tea.  Usual morning routine, right?  Just like everyone else in the world.

Or so we thought.

I remember sitting on the couch, with Wallene [who was 4] standing between my legs, playing with blocks on the coffee table and me trying to protect my cuppa' from her when all of a sudden Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson broke into their story to say a plane had hit the World Trade Center. It was shortly before 9 am and the pictures they were showing were horrifying. The smoke. It was terrible.

The one thing I never did [and still don't] was call Pooldad at work unless it is an emergency.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing, but that day?  I did call him.  I told him that a plane had hit one of the WTC towers, but they thought [and so did I] that it was just an accident. A misguided pilot or a malfunction or something else.

As bad as that would've been, I still think to this day - To have been right. 

As I talked to him on the phone, with my eyes glued to the television, I watched in horror as the second plane hit the other tower and explode. I gasped.

My husband asked, "Skip...what?"

I whispered into the phone, "Oh my God Pooldad.  This isn't an accident.  They are doing this intentionally." And I started to cry. Silent tears.  I had a pre schooler perched between my legs, playing and being hysterical wasn't my option, I suppose.

We got off the phone so Pooldad could turn on the radio at work and we could make sense of what was going on.

I was in shock. The images. It was surreal.

I knew I needed to run to the little corner store for supplies, so I popped Wallene in her carseat and drove down the winding roads to the shop, all the while the radio was on.  As I crested the hill on that bright, sunny day I heard from the DJ "The Tower has fallen."  I started to cry harder. Again silent tears, but the tears that fell felt like a river. My shirt was getting wet from the amount. Up until that point I don't think I had ever cried that hard in my life.

I walked into the store with Wallene and saw the owner, who we knew well. He asked me what the heck was wrong.  I had no words.  I couldn't believe he didn't know by this point.  I stuttered out, "The Tower fell."  He responded, "What Tower?"  I just asked him to turn on the radio and grabbed my milk and left.

When Wallene and I arrived home I put her in her room to play so I could turn the news back on.  I didn't want her to see the destruction and the pain, the chaos.  I watched the tower fall again. And again. And again. Replay.

Then, suddenly, I saw that the Pentagon had been hit.  Wow.  My heart fell to my feet. I had no words.

You have to understand, at the time Pooldad worked in Arlington, where the Pentagon is located and his office was within 30 seconds flying time of that plane - less than five miles driving.  I was sick.  Not only were terrorists killing innocent people, but my husband and all our friends [his co workers] were in and around DC.  If the next plane they were using missed their target and arbitrarily hit a part of Arlington?  My chest still tightens up at the thought.

Then Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I was panicked.

I tried to call him, but no luck.  It would be a long time before we knew they had grounded all the planes and that no other crashes were going to occur. I wanted so much to go to my kids' school and bring them home, but they were on a lock down and it was impossible. I held out hope that they would be well taken care of and safe.  I felt so hopeless and alone.  My only comfort my 4 year old baby.

I found out later that Pooldad had called all of his men back to the office.  Since Washington DC was on shutdown it took forever for them to get back, but thank goodness they were all safe.  Work, swimming pools, the mundane was no longer important that day.  Everyone thought of the attacks and their loved ones.  Everyone left and attempted to get home.

Pooldad arrived home sometime later that day and I have never been so happy to see him. We held eachother for a long time and I just cried.

The next few days we only watched the television when the kids weren't around.  We even hid the newspaper.  They were so young, we didn't want them to know what was happening - the terror, the pain, the hate. There was no reason to subject them to it. 

I discovered a few years later that none of the kids had ever seen the footage of the Towers falling until they were in their teens. I thought the schools would've shown it before then, but no. When Squirrel saw it for the first time, with me, it about broke my heart.  The tears on her face. She said "Mom, is that how it really happened?  How did you and Dad handle it with us around all the time? How did we not know?"

I didn't have an answer.

This is just my memory of that day.  I write it because I know Pooldad will remember and maybe to share with my kids our memories that we hid from them on that day. And why.

I also write this to honor all of the people that lost their lives on September 11, 2001 - the innocent, the firefighters and policemen trying to save lives and those on Flight 93 that kept that plane from Washington DC, sparing so many more lives while sacrificing their own.

And our troops. Thank you for keeping us safe all these long ten years. I hope you all come home safe. Soon.

To all of you. Thank you.  Truly.  Thank you.

God Bless America.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three Meals In One

I would never make it as a food blogger. I absolutely suck at taking pictures, but I love to cook - and the family thinks I am pretty good at it.

I am also good at trying to stretch things out to make more than one meal out of something.

I spent $107 at the grocery store 11 days ago. Those groceries have to make it to this weekend. That is our budget, for three. It includes milk, juice, eggs, cheese, meat [chicken, pork, sausage, bacon and lunchmeat]. Plus cereals, beans, rice, veggies, fruit...name it and we were out of it.  This budget covered breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also had to buy baking supplies for cookies, breads, pie crusts etc. Yeast, butter and lard ain't cheap folks. ::grin:: And yes, I do use lard in some of my recipes.  Sue me.

As they say. . .Old Mother Hubbard's cabinets were bare Tadpoles. Bare.

One of the things I bought was a 6 lb chicken for $6.00.  I am fortunate that I only have to feed 3 people now, and that my husband will happily eat leftovers.

That 6 pounder garnered me three awesome meals.  And here is where I fail at the pic' part of blogging. I neglected to take many pics, but I have a few.

On Thursday I boiled the chicken with the ends of celery, carrots and onion.  You know all those leftover pieces you don't use to feed the family, but don't want to throw away?  Those.

When it was done cooking I strained it, tossing out the cooked veggies and let the chicken cool.  I put 2 cups of the delicious broth in tupperware and placed that in the fridge for a future dinner.

I picked the chicken into three bowls.  Wow - did I get a lot of chicken off this bird.  I put two cups of chunked white meat in the fridge with the broth and ground up a mix of white and dark to use later too. That went in the fridge.

With the remaining plethora of chicken meat, both white and dark chunk, I made a big 'ol pot of chicken and dumpling strips with potatoes in the remaining broth.  Since we don't eat meat on Fridays, Steven took different leftovers for lunch, but we had dinner twice off this meal because it made so much we ate it Thursday and Sunday. So good. [no pic' of that - but I have been making it for over 25 years so I am sure y'all have seen a pic' somewhere.]

Next up was Saturday night and I made tuna, chicken and egg salad stuffed in large pasta shells over shredded romaine lettuce with roma tomatoes. We were gifted with fresh eggs from our neighbor's chickens and boy-o that was some good egg salad.

This platter I did manage a pic' of:


I did set the table with forks and knives but we discovered these were so much easier to eat with our fingers. So tasty.

For the final meal I used the two cups of chicken broth to make gravy [with flour, butter and milk] and tossed in the chunked chicken and a mix of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I put it in a homemade pie crust and TA DA - we had chicken pot pie. This is one of the family's favorites and so good. I was tired last night so I used my stand mixer to make the pie crust - and let me tell you gang - I'm not ever going back to making this by hand again. Sooooo easy.

I managed a pic' of this too - but didn't take one of it cut to show the yummy goodness inside.

I also made Evelyn her favorite Lemon Meringue Pie. I found the recipe in "Southern Living" from 1990 - and it is the best pie recipe I have ever used. If you follow the directions it is fail proof.

My week is ending with Evelyn's birthday tomorrow. And you know our rule - you get what you want to eat including breakfast, lunch, dinner and cake.
No doubt I will be making kinklings tomorrow morning [anyone want to join me at 3 am to start the dough? No? Thanks! heehee]



For lunch she asked for a tortilla roll sandwich, chips and salsa and veggies. Dinner is this silly thing I made up a few years ago - desperation thy name is Skippy - using leftovers I  made homemade scallop potatoes with ham and peas tossed in and baked.  Sometimes I have to laugh at what my family likes best, because that meal is truly one I thought we would eat once and it wouldn't make the menu, but they love it. I'll make yeast rolls to go with that too and for dessert it's a carrot nut birthday cake with cinnamon icing. I made cupcakes like this earlier in the week - another first time recipe for me - and it was a hit, so she picked that because we ended up giving most of the cupcakes away. They want more! :)

Thank goodness I don't have to lift a finger for her party on Saturday. We are throwing her a "Sweet 17" party since last year she didn't have a birthday as we had just moved 100 miles from all her friends and didn't know a soul here.  It's at a local burger joint - Wise Guys - where she actually works now.. :)  It promises to be fun. The owner is a [master] chef - and he is making Evelyn's cake in the shape of a shark because he likes her so much. Plus burgers, dogs and sandwiches. Oh, and the best fries ever. I promise to have pics of that. :)

Okay, okay - enough food talk. I am tired just thinking about it.  I will add tho' that tonight is homemade pizza [crust and sauce] and a salad. Finally. . .a super easy night.

Smile loudly Tadpoles. Life is a gift.
Thank you for everything. Love and hugs, Janine


Monday, September 1, 2014

So Many Words, So Few Synapses Firing

I have so much to share Tapdpoles and I don't even know where to begin.

It's not that any of it's important - it's all basically b.s stuff happening in our pond now - but I always feel like this is one big coffee clatch, wine party, bar fest [take your pick - notice two involve alcohol tho'. giggle ]

It's as tho' I just want to catch you up on our week, month....year, because anything written going forward won't make much sense without the context of now.  In turn I want to know what's going on in your worlds too.

Make sense? No?   Well, when do I? ::wink::

Let me tell you the goofy thing I did last night. Goofy enough to result in a "DUH, that was STUPID Janine" type of wound.  Laugh with me.

Steven and I went to a Tiki Bar party last night. It was at a friend's home, a friend I went to High School with and hadn't seen in over 30 years.  It was nice to get the invite and as I don't get out much I spent a lot of time getting ready for the [very casual] party.  Tack on at hour car ride each way and you might appreciate just how exhausted I was when we arrived home last night.

Fell into bed, faceplanted on my [beloved Vikings] pillow and BOOM! Skippy was out for the count. I didn't even take off my make up or my boots.  Thankfully Steven thought to undress me and tuck me in. Yay for cool husbands. I am pretty sure he behaved himself, but who knows? I was exhausted. I could feasibly be pregnant with our 7th child and not realize it - that is how passed out I was. [TMI? Sorry...no, not really. giggle]

I woke up around 10:30 and here started the problem. I don't sleep in the MBR.  Due to pain and illness we have found that it is better that I sleep in Emily's room. She is off at college but her furniture is still here. I normally get up every hour and sometimes the pain is so bad I am hopping around the room or simply crying into my pillows.  But last night I woke up in the MBR. Thinking I was in Emily's room.  I have no idea why Steven and I decided last night was a good night to toss me in the MBR bed, but hey! We did.

Not good. Not good at all. As I came to discover.

The MBR has a bath attached.. Emily's room doesn't.  I have to walk out Em's door straight down the hall into the second bath.  When I got out of bed and went looking for the door out of the room I thought I was in, [after much stumbling and groping of molding] I found the door. Except it was the door to the MBR bathroom.  I was so out of it I didn't notice this door opened out, when I know Em's door opens in.  I stumbled through the door and started to walk straight forward thinking I had 10 steps to get to the what I assumed was the second bathroom door.

Nope.  I got about six steps and nailed the toilet with my shin. CRACK!

Pretty sure that was the point I woke up. Gawd. I felt so stupid.  In my defense it was dark in that room. We are in a banana moon cycle - so no moonlight to light up our room - and it is DARK in the country Tadpoles. Damn is it dark out here.

So, after scavenging some clothes, I rocked the homeless look and I limped my way into the living room. I asked Steven "Just what the hell did you do to me?"  [Always blame the husband if you can heehee] He smiled and said "What did you do this time J?"  Oh nothing. Just one more wound to add to my list of stupid things I have done.

I got no sympathy - but a great looking bruise on my shin.  Bones and porcelain are not friends. Not friends at all.

See what I mean about not knowing what to talk about or what to share?  THIS is what I decide is a good blog fodder. Sigh.

I would like to point out [after reading this to myself - proofreading FTW!] there was no alcohol involved in this escapade. It sounds as though there was, but honestly?  I was just bone tired.  Sober and exhausted.

It probably would make a heckuva' lot more sense had I imbibed at the Tiki Bar party. :) And I have to give a big round of applause to my buddy Doug who threw the party - I haven't seen a bar that stocked since I was last in a bar. Wow! There was a lot of liquor at this party. I can only imagine what occurred after we left.

Well, that's all I got for a Monday morning.  Hope y'all have a great week. School starts tomorrow and Evelyn and Tucker's birthdays are this week! YAY! Plus my brother in law's birthday and my in laws wedding anniversary.  Yep, busy week.

I think I need to go back to bed.  This time I going back to Emmy's room. I stand a better chance of finding my way out. heehee

See ya' on the flipside! Smile loudly - LIFE IS A GIFT!

Love and hugs, Janine



Friday, August 29, 2014

What Do You Say?

When you discover, by accident, that your daughter shared this with a friend:

"My Mom is dying from congestive heart failure and liver disease.  I don't know how I will live without her."

I know the kids know. I know.

But what do you say? How do you assuage their fear?

Sometimes I mitigate my illnesses by reminding myself that the older kids are established. Own homes, are engaged, working their careers. . .

And then I look at Evie Lou and remember.  She hasn't been given the same amount of time with me, and she is truly scared.

I forget that Evie is only [soon to be] 17 years old, because y'all know she is my partner in crime, my foil, my best friend and I can't get outside of these four walls most days.

I have never wanted one of my kids to be a *friend*.  I am the mom. They are the kid.  Friends come later.  When they are growing up it is parent and kid.  There's a difference.

I like that.  It has worked well....but Evie?

Things changed.

I don't want to leave anyone. I think of them, each, individually.  It breaks my heart to know I am letting down all the kids and Steven.

But I especially don't want to leave my ViVaLyn alone without me.

The words she wrote to her friend scared me more than anything I have ever experienced in my entire life.

And? What do I say?

It's 3:49 AM Do You Know Where Your Skippy Is?

In front of her computer, of course.

I know you probably aren't surprised Tadpoles, considering how you know my woes of insomnia.

But?  I have to tell you - since I got back - I have been sleeping an inordinate amount of time.  From 10ish at night until the rooster [across the street] crows. And then, after I got everyone out the door, I would collapse back into bed and sleep until 3 or 4 pm.

It was the best thing in my world.
Sleep. Glorious sleep.
The kind of sleep where you drool and wake up stuck to your pillow because you are so exhausted you didn't move in over 6-8-10 hours.

I haven't had that but once in a hoodle in over a decade.

And yet?  I had it for almost a week.

The thing about sleep, we all know, is that it does rejuvenate a body. Does it not?
However, you can't make up for lost sleep by sleeping extra after a few days of lack of sleep.

For example - say, you pulled 4 twelve hour shifts and only slept 5 hours a night that week.  You would be dragging at the end of that week, but sleeping for 15 hours on Saturday isn't going to make up for the sleep you lost working those shifts.  It doesn't work that way.

Ha.Ha. My body didn't get that memo and decided that "Oh! Lucky charms! She IS going to feel better if we put her in a semi coma for a week."  I can't describe what it is to be without sleep, but you do get used to not sleeping and you get accustomed to the tiredness and fatigue that goes along with bad body parts, especially when one of those is your heart. You compensate, I suppose.  I usually fade around noon, from pain and fatigue and then by the time bedtime rolled around - bedtime for the family - I was too exhausted and in pain to sleep.

Then came the sleep-a-thon week.

Which did cause a few problems.  I started to laugh as I wrote the last sentence imagining y'all saying "Where is the 'BUT' Skippy?"  Yes....I know. And that introduced it, did it not.

After the past few weeks of being immobile and stationary, then finally able to sleep the sleep of a Disney princess, I had so much energy.  SO much energy.

Here is my failure. It is fake energy.  It is pretend. It is any word you want to pull out of your thesaurus that means it can disappear in the snap of your fingers.

The one thing I crave, desire, want so much is to be the old me. Even after years of dealing with this and experiencing getting worse, I still want to be me.  Y'all have heard this refrain too many times. I know.  I can accept a lot of things [don't get me started] but not this.

Fake energy being what it is I was running around, literally, driving Ozcarz, grocery shopping [alone!] at more than one store, laundry, cooking, baking. . .you name it, I did it. Like the old me.

And the family noticed.
And the family was happy.
Happier than I had ever seen them in quite a few years.
"Look! Old Mom is back.  Doesn't your laundry smell so much better when Mom does it? No wrinkles too."
"Oh...fresh bread with dinner, everynight!"  "Pie! How many pies has Mom made?"
"Who mopped the kitchen floor? Mom? Really?"

Then last night it started.  The pain. The ache. The one thing I can't escape, nor fall asleep to, unless I pass out from exhaustion. Every bone, joint, muscle, follicle screamed when I laid down to sleep.

I can wait for the exhaustion part. I have done it before. I get goofy as sh*t, but it does come, eventually and I get a few hours to reboot.

So as to not be boring. . .allow me to continue

The spasms came next and those are their own special treat.  They are a newer occurrence, since last summer, and are a progression of the disease[s] which haunt me.  Imagine a charlie horse, in your calf, then multiply that from your calves to your ankles, feet, toes, hands, fingers, wrists - aw hell, I had my jaw lock up on one side the other day while talking to Steven on the phone.  Name a muscle in your body and if it can clamp up? My body knows how to do it and has.

I had a whole week without this. A whole week!

Everyone takes for granted going to bed and falling asleep, only to be awakened by an alarm clock, a baby crying, a bump in the night or a rooster, right?  Then there are those of us that lay down and hold perfectly still hoping that if we don't move a single muscle those muscles that inhabit our bodies might not notice and won't spaz [or pop, as I say to Steven.]  I know many, many people suffer from insomnia, as I did too - and lack of sleep can be one of the most debilitating things to a person.  Sleep is as valuable as air, water and food to our health - yet, it isn't insomnia that is keeping me out of bed now.

Tonight, and for the past year, with brief respites, it is because the only way to find relief is to sit or stand upright.  But I am too tired to do any of the things I want to do.  Like laundry [yes, I am the only woman in America that actually wants to do laundry, go figure] or bake or cook.

I still do those things, but it swamps me.  I can't NOT do it. It makes Steven and Evie too happy.  They don't realize how their wonderful reactions hit me deeply. I want this everyday. I want to hear how great it is not to have to do their own laundry or mop the wood floors or drive to shop.

But it ruins me.

Shuts me down and keeps me in my chair.

Two, three days?  I am done.  For a week. Or two.  And then it all piles up. [Laundry metaphor Tadpoles. You're welcome. hee ]

My PCP tries every remedy he has in his arsenal, but to no avail. My former RA doctor simply patted me on the head and said "It has reached your back and with your other conditions, what did you expect?"  Hence why the bitch is my former RA doctor. And yes, this woman, who is young enough to be my daughter PATTED me on the head.  I damn near bit her.  It was the one appointment that Steven couldn't attend. It was also my last with her.

I could take oodles of narcotics to give me relief and quit my own bitchen', but there are a few problems.  There are very few drugs I am willing to take for fear of compromising my heart and liver. The doctors toss this sh*t at me and say things like "Well....[long pause]. . . it will relieve your pain. Don't worry about the death it might cause." I kid you not.  Not those exact words, but they figure I am going to die anyway, why not practice medicine on the sick chick. It drives me nuts. I am waiting on a transplant, yet, she is trying to move me up the transplant list faster? If I hit the top 10 I still may not receive one, especially if I damaged myself by agreeing to her voodoo. It doesn't make sense.

Then there are the things they have prescribed I can take safely and tho' they worked, the side effects ranged from sheet thrashing nightmares ["Why suffer from regular insomnia when we can keep you up for days with one little pill!"] and copious vomiting.  I don't say that lightly.  I know the step count between my chair, the kitchen sink and the bathroom.  I know how long it takes me to get to each.

A few months ago I told Steven "I miss our old powder room [sink and toilet]."  He asked me why and I replied "It's the only place that when I was sitting down to go potty I could rest my chin on the edge of the sink to throw up at the same time."  Yes, he did laugh. But it's true. That was one damn small bathroom. giggle

It's now 5 am  and time for me to push Steven out the door to work. Thank goodness it's Friday of a three day weekend.  I have coffee to perk and kisses goodbye to give.

Gang?  Hang in there - it isn't easy, but it is a helluva' lot of fun if you let it be.  I know this post might not illustrate that, but in my heart there is more to be grateful for than to allow your world to be colored dark because of it.

I try to explain myself, but since none of you is sitting directly across from me listening to my deep voice, tinged in southern drawl, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I am just tired and rambly.  Then again, when aren't I? ::grin::

Smile loudly, life is a gift!  We'll see you on the flipside.

Love and hugs, Janine