Tag Archives: Family

A Good Egg

I mentioned in my previous post that a beautiful person in my life, my Mom, was recently diagnosed with aggressive stage three breast cancer.  While I’m not going to give very much attention on here to this topic [because cancer sucks and doesn’t even deserve the single mention I just gave it] I do want to honor my Mom.  In fact, this honoring is going to continue well into May and Mother’s Day.  So Mom, sorry but you’ll just have to deal with the attention.

Things have not been easy these last several months for our family.  When one member is hurting, the entire family unit hurts.  But true to our nature we try to heal the hurt with humor.

It all began with a head shaving party lead by her son-in-law, Mr. Pavlov.

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Dear Lord what am I doing?!? Remember, I’ve been a good Mother-in-law….

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OY VEY! Deep breaths….

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Serious work

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Offering support. Don’t worry Mimi, that ear will grow back besides, you have two.

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The incredibly happy look and large smile worn by Mr. Pavlov is concerning.

So who knew that there’s this whole show-your-support-and-shave-your-non-cancer-head thing that people do?  My daughter and I, who are descendants of Rapunzel (I’m convinced of this fact) began to get twitchy over the nobel notion.  Just as we were about to make the huge sacrifice of losing an inch or two (I mean  an entire inch…that counts for something!) these beautiful people decided to go full blown commando shaven.

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These two are pretty super and just incase you didn’t know…this is actually the real Superman.

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Two strong women

    

It seems certain members of our tribe have developed a fondness for her numerous wigs. With each new wig comes the “ooooo” and “Ahhhh” and of course the mandatory sampling of the goods. Test driving the wig starts by yanking it off of her cute, bald head, running to the nearest mirror and usually ends in front of a camera phone. Yes, we are deplorable and social media rules.

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Sometimes you gotta strike a pose, vogue and steal your Mimi’s wig

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The wig knows no gender….

And when she finally lost her eyebrows we, of very-little-eyebrow-drawing-on- experience, were there to hook her up with brows.  Hey, that’s what family is for right?

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She’s very trusting….wonder if she prefers The Joker or Spock?

Life has a way of throwing surprise parties and when it does you want to surround yourself with people who really know you and will support you.  People who not only say, “I’m here for you during the good, the bad, the ugly” but also who back up their talk (which can be so meaningless) with hard core action.

My dad is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of action.  He has been like a mother hen caring for his chick during this nasty ordeal.  Anyone who knows my Mom quickly realizes that he has his work cut out for him.  The “chick” is strong, determined and independent.  Rest or taking it easy is not something that comes naturally to her.  She created the term “burning the candle at both ends” and goes until she can go no more.

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Yet another Chemo day and Dad is never far away.

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Valentine’s Day is not ruined by Chemo day and fatigue thanks to Dad.

And when she finally crashes, he is there as he said he would be.  These are the people you want in your corner when the battle rages.

Talk is cheap. Words are just words unless they are backed up.  Sadly, people disappoint.  I’ve had my share of disappointments recently and it is the sucky behavior people throw at you that causes you to truly appreciate and value the good eggs in your life.

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Two of my favorite eggs. My brother always did look more like her!

And I’m holding onto mine a little tighter….

I love you Mom!

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A girl interrupted.

I was walking into work today deep in thought.  My mind was mauling over the previously mentioned “baggage” that 2015 is starting off with.  We, as a family have some serious decisions facing us.  I’m talking the heavy stuff but desperately wishing for the “paper or plastic?” decision making variety.

Let’s table the decision talk for awhile and face some facts.  My beautiful Mom was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  I’ll write more about this later but  she is a general in her faith and one of the strongest women I know.  It’s pretty sad when the “patient” (i.e. Mom) is telling the family member (i.e. Me et al.)  “I’ll be ok.”   We should be the ones encouraging her and yet, true to her nature, she continues to protectively care for us.  She has begun the long treatment process (below) while we try to be useful…if nothing else we provide the sick, distorted, dysfunctional humor to distract and deny the facts.

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But decisions are to be made and I was deep in thought.  I was also being slightly pessimistic and maybe even a little pissed over the tendency of humans to meddle in the affairs of others and create unnecessary talk.  With this talk comes wildly incorrect information and by the time it’s repeatedly circulated it becomes difficult to find even a nugget of truth in the muck.  So yeah, I was pissed.

But God understands His creation and unconditionally loves.  He is good.  This fact I know regardless of the storms around me.

In His unconditional love and understanding of my extremely pessimistic thoughts I heard a voice belt out,

Now that’s the optimism I love!!

I chuckled as I appreciated the sarcasm and then looked up to see if God Himself had appeared in the flesh to deliver me this message.  And he did.  In the form of His human creation.  A man, who was exiting the hospital and who I had failed to notice due to my self preoccupation, stood before me smiling from ear to ear.  He repeated again,

Now that’s the optimism I love!

Keep it up and maybe we’ll get somewhere.

I paused and began to laugh truly appreciating the humor of my God.  I was also at a total loss as to what in the heck this seemingly nice man was talking about.  Just as I began to wonder if he was a Psych ward escapee he saved himself with,

It’s sixty degrees out right?!?

I mean you’re not wearing a coat so it must be warm! We can hope!!

I looked down at my body clad only with thin scrubs and a lab coat just as I felt the negative temps and wind hitting my skin.  Oh yeah, a coat! Of course!  I never wear one when I’m in the hospital.  I don’t have a place to keep it and carrying it around with me all day? Not an option! So I have grown accustomed to rapidly scurrying across the parking lot before I turn into a human ice block.

Now it all made sense and I couldn’t help but marvel at the perfectly timed interaction.  My God, what a God!  I am truly thankful that He knows us and uses everyday occurrences to speak.  I am always willing to be a girl interrupted…by God!

I am not God (shocking, I know) but in my humanness I’m going to speak.  To all of those people who like to meddle, gossip, and delight in the misfortune of others…I feel sad for you.  Sad that your life is not full enough to enjoy.  But they say a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe my daughter actually says it the best…

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Live your own life and forget about the lives of others unless you can actually offer sincere help.

Cheers!

Goodbye 2014.

And I can’t say I’m sorry to see you go.  In fact, I thick my foot got prematurely lodged in your backside trying to hurry the process along.  I will spare you glorious readers the “Oh how my year sucked” details but here is one highlight.

My knee decided it no longer wanted to straighten.  I know, insane right?  A hinge joint deciding it no longer required to comply with the anatomical rules of operation.

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But nonetheless I found myself in the ER (above) with a stubbornly flexed knee.  After two ER docs and about 10 ortho residents and a few fellows had their manipulative way with me, I was told to follow up with the Attending surgeon.

Much to the disappointment of all the young ortho bucks, I guess the attending would get to be the one to exercise his virility and unlock the beast.  But I would like to thank a particular ortho resident.  His extremely hairy chest and gold chain beating on it with each forceful manipulation helped to momentairly distract me from the pain and I’m convinced, kept me from passing out.

I mean first, that much chest hair? Not my thing.  And secondly, how in the heck could that chain beat so freely and with such force without getting caught in all of that bush?  It was truly fascinating.

Clearly he was unaware of my voyeuristic activities or the fact that he was grunting and sweating.  I can only imagine what the scene looked like from another angle.  It would have been comical had I not been every shade of the rainbow and about to vomit from pain.

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But enough about hairy chested residents.  My temporary ride above sucked and I gained new appreciation for my legs and for the support of my family.  My daddy (above sporting the look of worry) is truly a one-of-a-kind wonderful man and second to none.  He has always been my hero and I shadowed him relentlessly as a kid and would probably continue to if it wasn’t so creepy.   But let’s face it, good men are worth shadowing.

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It was love at first perma skin mark between me and the ortho attending.  He had me at “GA Yes.” Rather than spreading my legs and contorting me into the various pretzel formations that his younger, inexperienced counterparts attempted, he decided to give me good drugs and take care of business arthroscopic style.  And the fact that he marked the correct body part to invade was a huge bonus for this girl.

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Someone should’ve told anesthesia to keep the good drugs running because when I finally came to pain had been playing on my playground for awhile.  And anyone who knows anything about pain knows that once it gets ahead of you it is game over…pack your bags….time to find a drug dealer and shoot up heroine.

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I spent much time on the couch during my recovery.  And as all mothers can confirm, our children are never far away.  I’m extremely thankful for the rare occasions that I’ve been able to poop in private.  In fact, my bowels literally shut down when there’s not a kid competing for attention.  We’re taking full blown constipation until a child returns to get things jump started again.  I think I’ll require bowel retraining when they all leave for college.

During one of my many moments on the couch I happened to look over and there was under ware clad Tres lighting up the room with his moon.

“Laughter doeth good like a medicine” (Prov 17:22) and I had much medicine that day.

2015, you’re starting off with some baggage but I believe that you have the makings of greatness in you.  So goodbye 2014, don’t let my foot cause you too much discomfort on the way out….hello 2015!

The nose knows….

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So much to say and so little time.  In fact, I’ve neglected this part of my world lately and hope to return for more than a quickie (although I do love quickies).

Like many of you who live in the North, we are experiencing extreme cold with temps in the negatives and I hate it.  Every cell in my body (that has not been frozen) is revolting. Yes, I know everyone hates this weather so you may be asking what makes me special, different or gives me any more complaining rights?  I’m glad your raised the question.  You see I have a built in thermometer, barometer, and if I push it even a weathervane.

I can thank my father for passing down this special mutant power.  It is none other than the Italian Schnoz or Schnozolla.  It’s special powers can be seen in the above photo where it is lit up that “it’s too freaking cold” kinda Rudolph red.  Like a thermometer, it has built in degrees and bystanders can accurately gauge temps based on the color and dripping (yes, dripping because flaming discoloration wouldn’t be entirely accurate so our ancestors had to breed in nasal discharge) of the Schnoz.  The color change in arctic weather is unavoidable somewhat like Pinocchio and his lie growing Schnoz.  Nothing can prevent the transformation.  Not make-up, not scarves and sadly not even the salvation of all…Starbucks (I was on my second cup).

We inheritors of the Schnoz have an unspoken understanding, a language if you will.  As I pass another flaming red Schnoz soon on the verge of open faucet, I nod and smile.  I look the other way as the coat covered wrist swipes across the nostril catching the drip just in time.  Now the awkward part arises and that is what to do with the snot smear?  If it’s cold enough the snot smear usually freezes solid and can be chipped off.  If not, a quick wipe with the other hand or across the jeans usually does the trick.  Again, I look the other way providing privacy during this sensitive time.  Told you.  It’s the whole unspoken language/understanding thing.  Sometimes I offer a tissue although I often find the stash living in my deep coat pockets (because deep pockets are a must for people of the Schnoz) have become crumpled and disgusting looking.   I try to avert my eyes from all the facial Rudolph going on but like a guy trying to pry his eyes off of big boobies (something I’ve never encountered) it is challenging.  So I get it guys, I get it.

Notice my daughter who is sitting beside me suffering exposure to the exact same temperatures.  Her nose is perfectly unchanged and non-dripping.  She can thank Mr. Pavlov for giving her that cute little button nose.  And I can thank my dad for being a walking thermometer as my kids gauge their need for a coat on the color of my nose.   I pretend not to hear them when they can say,

“Yep, it’s cold enough for a coat, Mom’s nose is red.”

The nose knows.  And those of us with the all knowing Schnoz know that winter is not easy, for Italians.

Winter, we are never, ever, ever getting back together

I’m out of denial.  Summer is gone.  Even though we are STILL playing baseball (some horrid thing called “fall” ball a fanatic dad probably created to continue living his missed opportunity through his son – yeah Baseball is awesome) my beloved summer has passed away.

I ignored the colder weather.  I pretended like the shortening of daylight wasn’t really happening.  I refused to look at the changing of the leaves screaming at me in all of their colored glory.  Until one crisp morning I almost did a pajama-wearing-butt plant (because PJs are what all of the real Mom’s wear) right in our driveway in perfect view of all of the neighborhood parents on bus patrol (and their children who would surely howl and ridicule my dear son for years to come).

Yep.  The culprit was several of the huge, wet, majestic, red colored leaves that came into contact with my rebellious flip-flop wearing feet.

As I flapped my arms around like ineffective wings and bent back and forth trying to stabilize the potential crash and likely fracture of some important bone, I finally screamed,

OKAY, IT IS FALL…YOU HAVE ARRIVED.  I ACKNOWLEDGE YOU!!!

And, almost immediately, I regained control.  Bam, just like that (which is a miracle for anyone aware of my level of coordination and control).

Don’t get me wrong.  I actually like fall.  I was married in the fall.  The fall is beautiful.  BUT it signifies the end of summer and eminent evil.  It is what comes after fall that I abhor….hate…dispise…detest…

Old man Winter needs taken off of life support where he can die a quick, painless or painful (I prefer painful) death.  Because each winter a small chunk (yes, chunk – I have more chunks in the winter) of me dies.  Dead.

Don’t believe me?  Have you tried pumping gas in the dead of winter?  I guarantee you my fingers had frost bite (I’m sure on the edge of gangrenous).  It’s torture!  You clench your teeth, groan a little, tap dance and giggle while trying not to draw unnecessary attention or trip over the gas pump spilling gas all over yourself (told you coordination wasn’t my gift but in my defense it was a very windy day).

Wait, what about cuddling by the fire-place with your honey navel gazing? Ha-ha. In what world? Harlequin Romance? Sorry, we are real world here.  By the time you make the fire, that is, if you can do so without smoking out your house, the desire to spend one more second by the smoke pit has long evaporated along with your intracellular fluid and you spend the rest of your evening in the kitchen guzzling water and getting stomach cramps.

Now, a gas fire-place does add a nice touch to a freezing house but don’t you dare try to cuddle beside me.  I like my space and two adults trying to cram onto a couch is not only uncomfortable but is also an unwanted chiropractic adjustment waiting to happen.  Blanket on the floor?  Ouch, no.  There is nothing romantic or cozy about winter.

Beautiful snow?  Give it a few hours and this “beautiful snow” becomes a nasty, sloppy, brown (or yellow depending if you have dogs) sludge that is dirty and messy and melts all over your faux hard wood floors creating a dreadful warped appearance.

I could go on forever so just trust me, winter is evil.  Granted I didn’t always feel this way.  As a gullible kid I thought I loved winter because my brother, cousins and I were brain washed to play outside in sub-zero temps for hours.  This time of extreme cold exposure (I KNOW I had frostbite as a kid) was created to give our housewife mothers a brief glimpse of sanity sans kids.

We found ourselves bundled up and shown the door.  And when we complained that our cheeks hurt or our lips bled each time we talked or smiled, we were slathered with vaseline and informed that cold weather was good for us and killed germs.

Just in case you weren’t aware, we were the first humans to develop extreme sled riding.  Our version of extreme sled riding was slightly different from most and involved a 100% grade hill…located in a functional cow pasture with barbed wire at the bottom.  FYI, frozen cow patties add quite a vertical lift and ample air time to any sled riding experience.  But if you accidentally hit your head or limb off of a patty be prepared for a concussion or fracture at best.

The barbed wire in our extreme sledding is a different story.  After a near decapitation incident, I decided that maybe extreme sled riding wasn’t the best sport for my non-coordinated body to partake in.  My brother offered to ride with me and promised to stop long before the decapitating barbed wire.  However, it only took me one ride (one ride too many) to discover that his idea of stopping actually meant hurling me off until I formed my own moving snowball avalanche.

Wait, what?!? Some of you guys actually enjoy Old Man Winter?  Seriously?  What do you like about the old dude who seems to find a way into each and every anatomical crevice regardless of the layers of wool or goose down?

Ok, well you can have him.   ’cause as Talyor Swift sings so well (no doubt, I’m convinced about old man winter)

We are Never, Ever, Ever Ever getting back together…like ever!!

Forget the chickens, you just might be a redneck if….

….you have a doggie door that looks like this

dog made doggie door

It seems that once we installed the invisible fence the dogs have developed excessive boredom with the great outdoors (now sans exploration) and long for the comforts of our home.

The little rat decided to take matters into her own paws and create her own doggie door.

I warned you to Let me IN or BAD, BAD things would happen!!!

For once the destructive power house was innocent and we captured her bewilderment and surprise at the newly created doggie door.

What the…how the…when…?? I didn’t do it!!!!

Now AS IF chickens free ranging in our home (this is no longer occurring) and dog made doggie doors isn’t redneck enough, take a gander at our son-made swimming pool.  This baby is guaranteed to provide hours of fun on hot summer days as our youngest demonstrated.

A boy and his dog. This is the redneck life!

Who needs a pool when you have a 50gal rubbermaid container that previously housed chickens?????

Ahhhh, this is chill.

I don’t know about you but (other than being a little grossed out – you should see WHAT that dog rolls in!) the swimming pool tub is giving me the frontier vibe and I’m suddenly thanking God for my showers and running water.  I’ve heard my grandpap tell stomach churning stories about having the disgusting misfortune of being the last person to use the bath water after his umpteen brothers bathed.

Gross.  I think I’d be tempted to forgo the bath and remain in my filth… At least it would be my own.

Speaking of filth, my chickens are calling and the little neighbor girl is squealing (I can’t tell if it is with fear or delight).  The run is still not finished and they are free ranging through the neighborhood.

Time for this redneck in denial to round ’em up and then maybe take a dip (sans dog) in the pool when I’m done!

Buffalo Farts. A name too fun not to revisit.

I’m on my way to the landscaping store to get rocks for the chicken coop run and had to look up an older post I wrote.  I did not want to repeat an extremely awkward experience that I had there a couple of years ago and required the correct language for my purchase.

I’ll post more about the coop run update and the rapidly growing mutants (i.e. chickens) but while I’m working on yet another hot and humid day (I seem to have a self torturing pattern of doing this) you can simply….

….Read on.

July 7th 2010

I, with the mandatory assistance of my young helpers, are embarking on a shed clean-out project and it is taking place on the HOTTEST days of the entire year.  Why?  Because when I get an idea I just have to move on it.  Plus, the tale-tale odor of death and decay along with killer African Bees (I’m sure of it) swarming the shed hinted to me that some TLC was in order.

We have made some interesting finds…from old stuff we forgot we had to critters in various stages of anatomical decay.  This project has become a huge biological lesson.  My kids are quite the experts at sniffing out “death” and have been known to loudly shout “I smell death” as soon as they get that familiar whiff.  Although, shouting this sentence truly becomes awkward when the elderly are around.

For the sake of those with weak stomachs I will not post the pix of the maggots having dinner ‘with’ the mouse.  But here are some more appropriate finds…..

The killer African Bees

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
The ‘rat pile’ mouse nest my husband fosters
                                                                                                                                                                                
Awww, now this little baby bunny we can deal with                                                                                                                                                                   

After experiencing heat exhaustion and dehydration I had to make a trip to the local landscaping store.  Mr. Pavlov thought it would be a great idea to lay down a rock floor in the shed to help with moisture and really show some shed TLC.  I was apprehensive when he told me the type of rock I wanted to ask for was called “Buffalo Farts.”

Buffalo Farts? [I echoed].

Yes.  He absolutely assured me that this was indeed their proper name.  But still my gut was twisted…somehow I could not envision the landscaping business advertising Buffalo Farts to the manicured lawns of the rich and famous. I can just picture the conversation:

Hey Bob those are really nice rocks you have there.  What are they called?”  Bob (having great difficulty): “Buffalo Farts.” 

But ok, I get that I am a landscaping ignoramus so Buffalo Farts it is.  I confidently walked up to the counter in my sweat pouring state and declared,

“I need a half ton of Buffalo Farts.” 

As awkward as this may sound, the real humiliation came with the extremely long pause, followed by the quizzical looks, and ultimately the deep belly laughter from big burly, tanned men.  Big burly, tanned men who attempted to repeat my statement but were unable due to their fits of hysterics.

The moment turned into a prolonged comical session of partially spoken sentences – “A half ton…..A half ton of Buff…..Buffa…Buffalo Far….half ton of Buffalo Farts” followed by more hysteria while I stood in fake confidence self consciously soaking the floor with my sweat.  Once they regained their composure and questioned the ignoramus they determined that what I actually required was #3 gravel.

Yes, #3 gravel has a nice ring to it and I can totally see Bob (fictional guy from my imagined conversation above) proudly proclaiming,

“Well, thank-you it is #3 gravel.” 

Buffalo Farts or #3 gravel…same thing yet solid proof that “A good name is more desirable than great riches” Proverbs 21.