Monday, December 27, 2010

Second Visit Hope for the Holidays

Yesterday we made our second visit to the homeless camp. My mom had given us some money to buy a few more things and we wanted to get the propane tanks over to Pops so he would stay warm in this little cold snap we were having. We were almost there when we saw the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles.
When we saw that it was a man down on his bike we pulled over and Vic walked over to see if it was one of our homeless people. The man was okay, and not one that we recognized from the camp. They took him by ambulance to have his leg checked out. Vic said the police man was lecturing the biker on how dangerous it is to ride his bike by such a busy road. I think sometimes they forget that if the man had his choice he would most likely choose to be in a car and not on a bike on such a cold day.

As we walked through the woods to the camp we noticed more tents than were there last week. We didn't see people but saw the tents scattered along the path back to "Pirates Cove". As we got closer we noticed a large American Flag flying in the breeze that was flying proudly in the camp. As we walked in , three voices from one of the new tents called out to us. Pops, Tony and a new man named Leathered invited us over to the new tent. Pops seemed very happy to see us and even happier when he realized we brought the propane tanks he needs to keep warm.
Leathered introduced himself. He is a Vet and is the newest member of Pirates Cove and as Tony explained , one of his oldest and dearest friends. The flag was a gift from him to Tony with a much deeper story behind it. As tears streamed down their faces we knew it was a heartfelt story that we'd have to hear on another day because they were not talking.

Pops said that they had many people come out and bring food for Christmas and it was the best Christmas he had seen out there. I'm sure the newspaper article has touched other people the way it touched Vic and I. It is comforting knowing there are other people reaching out and helping too.

There are two dogs that stay at Pirates Cove. Mask and Stripes. One is 7 months old and all puppy, and the other one is 6 years old. There are toys strewn all over the place. I played with the puppy for a bit , throwing sticks for him to bring back. One of them peed on my leg before we left. My dogs did not much like that when I got home..but I guess I belong to all of them now. :)

We left with more requests for radios,lanterns and batteries on our next visit. And of course big hugs again from all of them. Pops even called me Holly Baby and kissed me on the cheek!

I didn't get pictures again because I felt strange asking if it was ok. Our dear friends in Sacramento did make it out over Christmas, passing out the sleeping bags and supplies they had gathered for "hope for the holidays" and got some great pictures that I will share. We love you Sue (and family) and are so happy that you inspired us to do this!







Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ho Ho Ho

I hope that everyone out there had a very merry Christmas!!

Our family always celebrates together on Christmas Eve. We went to my older sisters house around 3. My brother in law fried a turkey for sandwiches and we had other yummies to munch on. I brought the crack candy , mom made her delicious spinach dip and brought some new pumpkin pie dessert that Vic and I ended up bringing home. My niece Mallory made chocolate chocolate chip cookies and Steph made party mix (yay!).

Once we all were there we played a holiday version of Bingo. The winner of each game got a lottery scratch off ticket. My sister Britt and  her son Brandon were the big winners..they won three lotto tickets and when scratched Brittany ended up winning $45..you go girl!  Greg (mom's beau) won a card too but he didn't scratch it last night. I spoke to her this morning and she didn't mention being new millionaires or anything so I'm guessing he didn't win big.

Some of my favorite gifts were..a frame that mom and Greg made Vic and I. I love it because they made it, and that it has my moms handwriting on it. The picture of us was one we took earlier in the year when we came to visit them for a crab boil.

My sister, Steph, had some glasses made for Vic and I with pictures of the furchildren on them..It was so touching that Vic and I almost teared up a little when we saw them!


All in all it was a lovely Christmas. We were home earlier than most years (6:30 ish) but still didnt manage to get to bed until after midnight. I think we were laughing to Hank Hill  on TV right before I fell asleep.

We are heading back to the homeless camp today with the propane that they asked for a few days ago. Vic also picked up some oranges, veggies, canned soups and coffee with money that my mom donated. Right now  we are being lazy enjoying a quiet Christmas morning watching movies and munching on some of the food we brought home from last night.

Vic made me cry this morning with a very sweet card and gift bag full of yummies. We were not going to exchange anything because we got our gifts for each other earlier ..but Vic didn't follow the rules. I'm secretly glad...because I LOVE my card!! I have some lotto scratch offs to do  in a bit too! I'll be sure I'll tell you if I win BIG! :)

Here are some pictures of my sisters fur children from yesterday...I hope that you all have enjoyed your holiday as much as we have.





Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!



The video is from last year..but we still wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hope For The Holidays In Action!



Today after work as planned we packaged up our goodies and headed out to the homeless camp.
I did not know what to expect and was a little nervous but excited at the same time.
As we entered into the woods we saw tents on both sides of our path but heard voices further in the woods so we kept walking until we were met by a man on a bike. Tony was his name and he welcomed us in and gave us a verbal tour of how the camp was set up  and who all was there. He was heading out to buy cigarattes but we would see him again.  He asked a few gentlemen up front to escort us back to the back camp but they declined so Vic and I followed the path and the voices until we reached the main camp that they call "Pirates Cove".
Tonys wife Carol was there along with Pops and a young lady named Annie. They came out and gave us hugs and talked with us for a while. We were told that 8 people live back there now and that the newspaper article has brought them attention and help. Local organizations were out and coming back with more things tomorrow. We asked what they needed so other people could help too. Pops said propane. Tony explained that Pops uses heaters and they are run by little propane tanks. We promised to see what we could do about that.
While we were visiting , the mayor of Pirates Cove, as they call him (Joe) pulled up on his bike with bags of ice and food he had gotten from the church and with food stamps. They were having chicken tonight. Joe is the cook. He was so nice to talk with us and you could tell , a proud man.
When it came time to leave we were given hugs , Pops gave me hugs twice! And Tony escorted us back up to the truck. He thanked us and told us about moving to the camp this past year after losing his job. His unemployment ran out and he could no long afford his mortgage so he and Carol and their kids (two fiesty dogs) made pirates cove "home".
I wanted to take more pictures but felt intrusive by asking so  I didn't. I found a slide show on the newspaper link that shows the camp and the people..here is the link PHOTOS
What stood out to me the most is their smiles. They had three Christmas trees up, and even joked about one of them being a charlie brown Christmas tree because it only had one ornament.
I feel more blessed tonight in knowing these people..and look forward to going back again and getting to know them better.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hope For The Holidays

Sometimes things just fall  into place as if putting together a puzzle. Since before my partner and I started living together we have talked about things that we wanted to do together. Helping the less fortunate was one of the things we talked about but just never found our "people". As I often do with things that are meant to be I didn't worry about it because I knew when the time was right it would all just happen. My entire life has been that way..why would it change now?


A few weeks ago Vic's very good friend Sue was facing another huge battle with cancer and admitted to the hospital back in Sacramento.  For the past year we knew that the time would come when Vic would need to go back but tried to keep the positive thoughts flowing and not think too much about it. Saturday morning as I was reading new status updates on facebook I saw where Sues daughter, Krista, had written that she felt so f'ing helpless. I shared that with Vic and within a few minutes a text message came across telling Vic to come to California. By that evening Vic was back in California sitting by Sues side in the hospital.

For the following week Vic stayed near Sue's side and would call me at night with the updates from the day. Some good days, some bad but mostly just sad. The conversation that made me cry the most was a story Vic told me. Krista had gone to pick up some mashed potatoes and gravy at KFC for Sue and she saw a homeless man sitting on the curb. She picked him up a sandwich and gave it to him before she left. She was nervous but felt a strong pull to help this man out.  When she came back to the hospital and told her mom about what had happened  Sue said that her wish for the holidays was she wanted to get sleeping bags and take them around to the homeless people that they see around where they live, not drop them off at a shelter but actually go out on the streets and find the people that they would be helping. Sue's excitement about this spilled over and she shared her wishes with the nurses and friends that would come by the room to visit with her.


Later the  next  evening the sisters (it was a catholic hospital) brought up five sleeping bags that someone had left at the front desk for Sue and her children to deliver over the holidays. There was not a dry eye in the room.

The kids made a flyer and created emails telling what their plans were and asking other people to do the same thing in Sues name this Christmas. Vic and I even posted our plans to do the same thing back here in Florida.


On a side note, while Vic was in California there was a fire in the woods not to far from where we live. It was a pretty big fire and I was stuck in traffic because of it. It would become more important later. A sign if you may.

Since Vic came home Sue also got out of the hospital and is starting a new medical trial this next week. We have not talked much because Vic has been under the weather and with the time difference we don't always know when she is sleeping but from the looks of her facebook status she had a great day at church yesterday!

This weekend in our local paper they did a two part series on the homeless people here in Venice! The story was about a "camp" if you will, of homeless people that live in the woods that were on fire while Vic was in California! As if two days of this story wasnt a big enough lightbulb moment today a man came into our office taking donations for the local homeless. We are still not sure if it was a scam or not but we donated a few bucks and just tucked it away as a nudge.  On our drive home we talked about all the signs. We have talked about doing something for the homeless for a while but didn't really know where the homeless in Venice lived or stayed and now we find out they are so close to our house. We stopped by the woods where the fire was and Vic got out and walked a ways into the woods to see if she could see the tents or anything. She did. We found our people!  We came on home and made a plan to go back out and shop tonight but not to stop by the camp at night because they are probably already scared of having to move because of the article , we would put together bins of goodies and bring them by during the day when we could meet them.

We stocked up at the dollar store and then at walmart with sleeping bags, lanterns,canned goods, socks, toothpaste, razors, soap, etc...It was hard not to go too far over our budget!  I hope that this touches you as much as it did us and this Christmas you will find a way to add some hope for the holidays!

Merry Christmas!!
Holly

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 11-18

This week was a  pretty full week for me. Since it is the week before Christmas it is surprising how little holiday activities played a role in my time.

This week I ...
  • Went to the doctor and got back on my meds for my asthma.
  • Had my hair done..love it! Thanks Heidi..Venice Day Spa is the BEST!
  • Ate at Peach's and had the yummiest four cheese quiche..twice!
  • Had Friday Night Date night with Vic and went to Ivy's Steakhouse and then out looking at Christmas lights around town.
  • Got my first order for my new business venture..www.suncoastgrocerygirls.webs.com!
  • Talked to my BFF Steph and realized how much I miss her!
  • Felt like I lost my bubbawoo.
  • Filled up my jeep, gas is now $2.94 a gallon...yikes!
  • Celebrated as DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) was repealed today.
  • Caught up on All My Children from last week and this week.
  • Found some new great blogs to follow after this weekends Lady Blogger Society Tea Party.
  • Actually made a youtube video after slacking for so many months.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs



I have always had dogs. Growing up we had a beagle mutt named Toot. She was born the same month I was and lived until new years day in our 15th year. She was so cool, her trick was to sing happy birthday whenever we sang that song.


 When I moved out on my own I got a Dalmatian named Engine One, and then because you just have to have two , got his girlfriend Oreo. They  had several litters of puppies and i was in the puppy business for a little while. Did you know dalmatian puppies are born white and get their spots later? As there are many losses in divorce I had to say good bye to my spotted friends.


After having my heart broken by saying goodbye to a foster baby that I had fallen in love with it was time to take on a baby that I could KEEP! It just so happened that a lady that my mom knew was having to place her yellow Labrador "Scout" in a new home because she was moving. Of course I would spoil him rotten (see above first b'day picture..tux, doggie cake and b'day party!) I would have been happy with just one furchild but then came Dakota..another yellow Labrador in need of a forever home.


I love the labs..they are so smart and have kept me company on more than one or two  lonely nights. I did stop dressing Scout after Dakota came around because she would not stop making fun of him. He is very sensitive and was getting a complex.




Last year Vic and I went to a football party at our friend Marcia's and we met Brandy. Brandy was a long haired dachshund and it was all she wrote for Vic. We talked about dachshunds all the way home. We looked online for rescue sites and talked about what it would be like to have a lap dog around.

I can't remember which one of us found Crystals website first but she is a local breeder and was in need of placing some of  her adult dachshunds. We looked thru the pictures of all the dogs and Vic fell in love with a little long haired black dachshund named Dexter.
We went to visit him and of course brought him home. The labs didn't quite know what to think. I was thrilled because I had a dog I could dress again!


Right before Christmas last year I got back on Crystals website and realized that Dexter had had two puppies before we adopted him. The girl was already sold but his son was available! I knew we just HAD to have Dexter Junior (AKA DJ)

So that explains how we have two dachshund's, and two yellow Labrador's. Also known as The Littles and The Bigs.
I could easily have a houseful of dachshunds! I don't know what it is about those little dogs but they worm their way right in your heart and you just can't get enough of them. Everyone I know that has a doxie seems to have multiples!
From our babies to yours...Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

ahhh to dream

In my dream world I would be sitting in front of my fireplace admiring my beautiful Christmas tree while drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas songs.   I would be very proud of all of the gifts that had been wrapped under my tree because that would mean I was finished with my shopping. Each gift would be unique and just what the receiver wanted.

My dogs would all have on their Christmas collars and smell fresh and clean. There would be no accidents, no barking and no torn up toys cluttering my floor.

My house would be spotless and smell like gingerbread cookies because of course I was baking and had a full counter of assorted holiday candies and cookies to give to everyone. The sugar cookies would have frosting and look like the ones you see in martha stewart adds.

My front porch would host poinsettias and the Christmas lights would be hung on every corner of the house. The wreath on my front door would be freshly cut and smell even better than the tree. My mail box would have a bright red bow tied to the post. Anyone walking by would have to smile and feel the spirit of the holiday just by being near.

I would have to cut this blog short because it was time to bake the dog treats..and stuff the cats stocking with cat nip...ho ho ho ...oh what it is to dream!

Christmas Memories of my family thru the years

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy holidays?

Am I the only one that just can't get in the mood this year? I have not put up a tree..have not shopped until last  night and that was only because we need to ship a few things out..think it is too late for the CA gifts? I hope not!

We thought that we were going to make fudge again for all of our friends but that isn't happening either this year. My emotional, give a damn , jar is too close to empty and not really getting the energy it needs to be refilled.


I have enjoy the hallmark channels constant Christmas movies since before Thanksgiving! While Vic was away last week i caught up on  tons of them that I have missed over the years. Total chick flicks.

Vic and I did our personal gift exchange earlier in the month because we needed/wanted things before Christmas. :)  I'm loving my new PINK laptop and my new blackberry cell phone!

As I am typing I have on the holiday music channel on tv but alvin and the chipmunks singing christmas tunes is about to make me barf.

here is hoping that your holiday preparations are going better than mine! merry christmas!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

5 Question Friday 12/10/10

1. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
I don't have children but my sisters do. As an entire family we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and open everything to each other. Then on Christmas day they have Christmas with just their kids-husbands and the rest of us come over later for brunch and hanging out.

2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie (or candy)?
I don't think I could pick just one...I love them all!



3. What's the worst Christmas gift you've ever received?
My ex gave me a bike rack to go on the back of our SUV one year...We were not big bike riders and it was hardly ever used.


4. Christmas song that you love?
Again,  I love almost all of them...Silent night, Holly Jolly Christmas, etc.




5. How many trees do you put up?
just depends..this year none.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

2010 Year in review

Ok can you even believe that we are nearing the end of 2010!? I think this year has been the fastest year to pass me by yet.
Some things that happened this year in my life..
  • Best Friend Steph came to visit with her boys in July
  • Vics son, Victor and his girlfriend Hilary came to visit
  • Found out Gin had cancer and three months later lost him
  • Got a new treadmill in Oct. (so far it's been used three times, one of those times is when it tossed Vic off)
  • Friends Deb and Linda visited once and then moved here from Oregon
  • took a road trip with my sister (Brittany) and visited our dad in TN
  • Had several family get togethers (Crab Boil, My B'day party, Moms b'day party, 4th of July)
  • Saw RENT at the Venice Little Theater..awesome!
  • Volunteered at Sarasota Pride
  • Worked for several weeks for the Census Bureau
  • Parasailed for the first (and probably last) time
  • Started a blog!
  • Celebrated more b'days..me 43, Vic 57, DJ 1, Dexter 2, Dakota 5,Scout 7
  • Celebrated one year with my new hip, found out it was recalled but so far so good with that

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope this holiday finds you all healthy and happy!

Some random facts about thanksgiving this year for my family...

  • we will have two turkeys..one fried and one done the traditional way
  • there will be pumpkin, apple and pecan pies (most of which don't even get touched if it's anything like thanksgiving days past)
  • we will play trivia games as a family
  • the Cowboys will be on the TV
  • there will be two dogs running around (Jasmine and Ellie my sisters yellow lab and yorkie)
  • we get together around 1 but will probably not eat until 3
  • it is suppose to be 83 degrees today so we will all probably be in shorts
  • I will have one parent, two sisters, one brother in law, one partner, two nieces, two nephews,two friends, and possibly three relatives boyfriends in attendance today
  • I will eat more noodles than turkey
  • my niece is making my moms 7-up salad this year for the first time

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Woof Woof!

It is that time of year again...Have you started your holiday shopping? Do you know what you are getting everyone on your list? I sure don't but I believe it just got a little easier for me. I came across a great gift idea that also gives back!

I love dogs as many of you know. And I love rescue stories and the people that put so much into saving the poor dogs out there that don't have anyone else looking after them. So I was THRILLED when I saw this website where a porton of your purchase goes to benefit Used Dogs pet rescue in New Orleans!http://www.bigpawdesigns.com/fldebostbech.html

They sent me a sticker and a collar charm to help raise awareness and I was super impressed with the quality and size of the sticker ( 4x6 ) and the charm is just adorable. I can't wait to order more for my other dogs! They have some really cute sayings on them that fit my furchildren to a T! I have one that says Squirrel Patrol in mind for Scout!


Be sure to check out the Daily Deal Bar along the top of the website. Todays Daily Deal is FREE SHIPPING!  You can follow the Daily Deals on Twitter (www.twitter.com/woofcp)
Or Facebook (www.facebook.com/bigpawdesigns)  and they have a blog too! (http://www.blog.bigpawdesigns.com/)


Friday, November 5, 2010

Little Horses Love Me

video
The farm next to my dads has six miniature horses. I had fun feeding them but I am afraid of all horses, no matter what size they are. I thought I'd have fun and make a video of them with my sister. Yes it is me screaming like a little girl...Enjoy!

5

5
What are 5 things on your Christmas List this year?


1. a flat screen TV!


2.Double Delicous Cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld. I saw her on Oprah and then tried the crock pot lasagna and it was YUMMY! Can't wait to try more things.


3. I couldnt find the picture of the exact one but it's a new phone from sprint, it's pink and fabulous.

4. A gift certificate to Venice Day Spa for a wonderful massage!

5. A day just to relax and have fun with the family, friends and loved ones!




Link Up to Join in and list your 5!



Just Me and My Life

Friday Fun


It's that time again...Friday Flip-Offs! Time to blow off some steam and start the weekend off on a happy note!

My flip offs for this week are:
  • Body parts that get re-called! You never want to get a call from your doctor saying something in your body has been re-called. On a happier note after xrays yesterday they have decided that my hip is doing good and I can keep it. Yay!
  • Long lost cousins that show up looking for money. Enough said.
  • Rick Scott for Florida Govenor
  • Dallas Cowboys because now with Tony out they suck
  • Sarah Palins commercials for her Alaska show...will this woman ever go away?!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cades Cove, TN

On my visit to TN last weekend I went to Cades Cove. This is by far my favorite picture!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Road Trip!

When my sisters fiance went in the hospital a month ago I had no idea how much life was about to change.
I am not complaining at all , please don't get me wrong. I would do anything for her .

When he passed away I was there but more importantly I have been there since. While he was still hanging on she made a comment to me that it was nice to have so many people around but she was worried that once he was gone where would they be. I have tried to fill her days with things to do so that she didn't ever feel alone. I realize that is not realistic. Her life partner of the last 9 years is suddenly gone. The man that filled her car with gas, bought the groceries, paid the bills, ran the house...was no longer going to be there for her.

She has good days and bad days. It's the unexpected triggers that sneak up on her that throw her off. For example we were working on paying bills yesterday and writing down things on the calendar when she realized that after this year is up and she gets a new calendar she will no longer have his handwriting on the calendar. It hit her hard. What can you say? Nothing.

She has gotten over moving his urn into whatever room she is in. For a while it sat in his chair, and then moved to the bed when she went to sleep. She is going to get a vile so she can wear some in a necklace or something.  I've often joked with Vic that I want to be put in a big pink urn that lights up and is kind of obnoxious so the next girlfriend will always be reminded me of me...not very nice is it? LOL

This weekend I am going to go to TN to visit my dad with my sister. We are taking a nice long road trip to get away for a few days. It will be nice to have a change of scenery. I hope to come back with lots of pictures and happy things to blog about.

This past month I have written many blogs but have not published them. I dont want my blog to be about me venting on how much cancer and doctors suck or how some of my family really disappointed me or anything negitive...I don't want to look back later and see a series of depressing blogs. Until I can blog happy things again I will be MIA. I hope this trip to TN cures me :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Birthday


I have had the best birthday week this year! I have hated birthdays for a while now (40 just killed me!) But this year was different.
Last year Vic and I started the tradition to go somewhere on our b'days (hers is a week before mine) We went to Tampa for the weekend and enjoyed a day at Busch Gardens and then went back at night for Hallo- scream!
This year we could not decide where to go and leaving the four dogs and cat behind was harder on us than we thought it would be. Plus the added fact that my sisters fiance had just died and she would be needing us. So we ordered ourselves a treadmill as a birthday gift for both of us. The gift that would keep on giving (or hopefully subtracting....pounds!)
My birthday started out on a somber note with me taking my sister to get her fiances ashes. It really made me think twice of how I think about my birthday , I will not complain about getting older ever again!
I was happy that we planned a big birthday celebration at my favorite Mexican restaurant that night. The whole family could use a reason to laugh and have some fun after a week or two of such sadness. And we did! The flowing margaritas helped.

Today we are going to relax around the house and put together the treadmill. The huge box has been taunting us all week. I wanted to wait until after all of the birthday cake before I started my new workout plan.
Hopefully by my  next birthday I will have a few less chins!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Meet me On Monday

Questions:






1. What is the best dish you can make?
Is Cake a dish?

2. How often do you change your sheets?
At least once a week, more if the furchildren have jumped in bed with sand between their toes!

3. What is the longest car trip you have ever taken?
Family trips from Missouri to Florida in the car, but have traveled to Europe in high school on planes,trains and buses

4. What is your favorite fruit?
I love most fruit, favorite would probably be strawberries

5. Would you rather have breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast?
 breakfast for dinner! I love breakfast food

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sister Wives on TLC

I finally got around to watching the new show "Sister Wives" last night. I've only seen the first episode but enjoyed it enough that I will watch more.

It is a reality show about a family that practices polygamy. The man in this show has three wives and 12 (soon to be 13) children. He is courting a fourth wife. It was not your typical poly family that we have seen on the news where the women and girls all wear dresses and have long braided hair. The Brown family has wives that work, children that go to school and a more "modern" feel to it.

Even though I could not see myself living this lifestyle I totally could see it working for others. The sister wives made some very good points in the first episode, such as they have the security of knowing if anything happened to them the other sister wives would take care of their children. The third wife said she married more for the other sister wives than the actual husband. I could get that. What a great support system.

The children were all born AFTER the three marriages took place. So all the kids have grown up together as sisters and brothers. They all share a huge house but it is divided into three very separate spaces with three kitchens, three living rooms and lots of bedrooms.

I read this morning that the family is being investigated by police because polygamy is illegal. I wondered about that as I watched the show last night. It was a pretty big risk to put it on TV. The family said they knew the risks and thought it was worth it. I can't say I would agree. I'm sure the local authorities know it goes on but look the other way , it's kind of hard to do that when you're rubbing it in their face on a tv program.

Did you watch it? What did you think? Could you live that way?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's been a while since I posted. Actually the last time I wrote anything was a Friday Flip Off regarding cancer. Since then I have spent a week that felt more like a month in Venice Hospital watching my sisters boyfriend of 9 years die.

I had been going to the doctor appointments with them so I could take notes. Tuesday we were suppose to find out the results of the last PET Scan. We ended up calling 911 that day because he was burning up with fever and was more than we could handle. He wasn't making sense and was too big for us to get into the car by ourselves. They would later tell us he was septic, the infection had poisioned his blood.

While he was being taken to the hospital we called the doctors office to find out what the test results were going to be today. His cancer had spread. Chemo had not helped. He had a new tumor at the head of the pancreas. There wasn't much more they could do for him.

In the week we were in the hospital we had some very good doctors and nurses but we also had some real shockers. I wonder if they ever had compassion or if they were so burnt out that they had forgotten why they were there. I think since the first doctor visit a few months ago , that has been my biggest surprise - the lack of compassion. When the Doctor first told us it was stage 4 pancreatic cancer they sent us home without ever explaining what that meant or what to expect. I of course got online and read up on it, which is probably NEVER a good idea because it all sounds just horrible and worse case scenarios. My sister and her boyfriend kind of buried their heads in the sand and went the route of denial. When the family would talk about wills and getting prepared for when my sisters boyfriend would pass they got angry and didn't want to hear about it, they would deal with all of that later. When he would try and show my sister how to work the pool, or pay the bills she would put him off saying she would pay attention later. Later would never come.

It's now been three days since he passed. We have spoken with his lawyer, visited the cremation place, placed obituaries,notified all the family out of state and taken a breath. One thing about being in that hospital for a week is that it gave us all time to come to terms with the fact that he would not be coming home again. We were able to slowly prepare, and to say our goodbyes. I think if he would have died that first day it would have been much harder on the family and loved ones. I used to think that I wanted to go fast but after seeing the process the way I did I think it's kinder on the family to have a little more time.

Life is precious.

Something no one wants to think about but should is pre-planning. Luckily about five years ago my sisters boyfriend paid for and made all his cremation arrangements and saw a lawyer. He had his will in order, had put his accounts in a trust so there will be no problems with probate and all of that. I also learned that this year (2010) there are no inheritance taxes, so my sister won't have to worry about taxes on top of  everything else. If he had not set up his will and put his accounts in a trust it would have cost around $900 just to file probate.  I plan on getting this stuff done myself soon so my family does not have to go through any added expense or stress if I were to die. It was the ultimate thing he could have done to make this easier on my sister.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pink Fire Trucks

Pink fire trucks parade down Main Street in downtown Sarasota on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, part of a Pink Heals 2010 tour that travels through about 46 locations around the country between August and October to support breast cancer awareness.


HERALD-TRIBUNE STAFF PHOTO E. SKYLAR LITHERLAND
 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday Flip Offs 9-24-10


My Friday Flip Offs this week...

  • Cancer.
  • All of his doctors over the past 50 years that misdiagnosed his health problems.
  • The Oncologist for sounding so casual a few months ago as we sat across from him and heard the words "Stage 4  Pancreatic Cancer" and then left the office with no idea what we were in for.
  • The Doctors in the ER this week that didn't explain what was going on or what to expect.
  • The nurses and hospital staff that were rude when we needed kindness the most.
  • My snoring because it was so loud after an exhausting day that Vic couldn't even sleep next to me.
  • The uncomfortable chairs in the chapel/waiting room outside of the CCU.
  • The not knowing.
  • The hurt I feel as my sister cries in my arms.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's Left

I'm going to be 43 in a few weeks. I wonder if I am passing the half way mark to my life. Will I live past 86? These past 43 years went by pretty quickly, will the next 43 be just as fast? Will I continue to forget amazing things that I've done? I know I won't have all the same people in my life in the second half. In the first half I had to say goodbye to grandparents, pets,teachers and some friends. The second wave is just going to be harder. I imagine more loved ones, family, and sadly more pets will leave me :(

I do believe that we all go to a better place when our bodies leave this life. I am not dreading death. My sadness is selfish I guess because what I fear/dread is not having those people still around for me. It would be better if we all went together.

I really don't mean to make this a dark , sad, post. I love my life. I look forward to each and every day. If I was told that I had only months,days, hours to live would I regret not doing something?

I have never had a bucket list . If I want to do something I do it. If I have not done it ,I figure that either I will or I won't..simple enough. My thinking is a little different on these kind of things. If I would make a bucket list and set about to doing everything on that list I may miss out on other things that I was suppose to be doing. I think that people/things/events are put into our lives for a reason and the simplest things could end up meaning the most to us. I go through life with my eyes and heart wide open. I notice and celebrate the beauty in every sunset, every rose that gives me the gift of blooming in my garden, every puppy kiss....etc.

I don't always know the reasons behind why things happen but I think I come across people all of the time that are here to teach me something or me them. I found a young blogger a while back and feel that pull towards her. I am not sure why, but I feel almost as if we are being introduced to each other for some sort of support or lesson.

When one passes over I'd like to think their spirit still watches over their loved ones left behind, still finishing the earth project. Vic and I were just talking about this last night. She thinks her dad really had a part in making things work for us. I know something in the universe wanted us together because it all just pulled together so perfectly for us when it could have just fallen apart living 3000 miles away from each other.

I went to a psychic once and she told me that I had spirits around me and would always be protected. Nothing bad would happen to me in my life. I always believed this. I've had heart break but very little. I think my positive attitude and outlook on the world helps me to see a bigger picture than myself and be a much happier person than some of the people around me.

What do you think the next 43 years will look like?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

9-20-10 Mellow Yellow Monday

MellowYellowMondayBadge

The house I grew up in (Moberly, Mo)

and one of my roses

A reposted Note from 2009..Jennifers Rose

March 3, 1991 Vics 13 year old daughter was shot and killed by a playmate. On March 3rd of this year I wanted to do something to remember her by so I had planned to get a yellow rose bush. Her name was Jennifer Rose and she was born in Texas...so a yellow rose bush seemed perfect. When I went to pick out a rose bush I could not just choose one so I got one yellow and one that is yellow with pink tips on the ends (Called a Peace Rose). Over the past month and a half Vic and I have really enjoyed these two rose bushes. Every morning we get up to see the new blooms and as many of you have noticed I take alot of pictures of them! lol We sit out on the lanai and watch the birds, squirrels, bunnies and the furchildren play in the back yard. It's kind of neat because when Vic visited here before the move we use to sit out there in the morning over coffee and talk about how neat it would be to be able to do this every morning...and now we do!







So anyway, soon I wanted more roses...we added a pink cherish and a coral tropicana bush, and then yesterday on my way to work I found myself stopping by Walmart and picking up another rose bush..all white this time. Vic says I did this on purpose to commit us into making another row because she said she didnt want to end a row in white lol So last night we went out and found a bright red and purple bush..it is called a double grafted rose...it grows red and purple on the same bush! A perfect end for our first row!






I have always loved flowers but have never planted any myself or had my own garden..My grandpa Dunny used to take tons of pictures of his flowers and I would make fun of it...now I understand and feel a little guilty about not appreciating it more back then.






My mom has always had beautiful roses too. She just planted one the other night and when I talked to her yesterday she said she plans on 4 more! It's contagious!! Vic and I went over to visit her and we drove around the Island looking at landscaping and gardening ideas. There is one really cool gazebo that is covered with Jasmine...I will have to go take a picture to share..it's beautiful! Now we want to plant jasmine all over...one because it climbs and looks so pretty and two because it smells incredible!

9-19-10
Today I noticed that most of our rose bushes have beautiful blooms. Here is the peace rose in full glory!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A night at the movies

Tonight Vic and I went on our Friday night date night. We went to Sarasota to see "The Kids Are All Right" with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. The movie is about a same sex couple and their two children. The kids are 15 and 18 and were conceived by artificial insemination.

We waited for the movie to come to Venice but it never did. We looked online today and saw that it was playing at a discount theater in Sarasota..not too far from us. The tickets were $2 each! Score! I didn't really know what to expect but just figured it would not be very crowded. I was surprised. It filled up by the time the movie started and it was mostly straight older couples. There were a few other gay couples but not many.
Right before the movie started an older couple came in and sat right behind us.

So the movie starts. It is very obvious that Annette and Julianne are a lesbian couple. They are affectionate to each other, the kids call them moms, they kiss. Annette and Julianne are on the screen and the dear old couple behind us that have forgotten their hearing aids say to each other rather loudly "Which one is Annette?". Vic and I about spit out our popcorn trying not to laugh at this sudden outburst.

The movie goes on. The kids in the movie are trying to find out who their sperm donor is. As the kids are explaining the situation to the sperm donor the dear old lady behind me says rather loudly "Oh , I get it now!" , I wonder at this point if they even knew what the movie was about before they came in.

The sex scenes between Annette and Julianne were kind of awkward because I felt like my grandmother was watching it with me, the little old lady shouted out "Oh good ! a lesbian sex scene" which made it even more funny. I think the only thing funnier was when she said that the sperm donor was fucking the black girl that worked for him. Yes she said the word fuck and yes she talked throughout the entire movie telling us what was going on. Her husband joined in and commented on how he could not hear them (the actors) because they were mumbling.

Even with all of this extra entertainment, the movie was wonderful. I think it did a very good job at showing a same sex couple and even thou I didn't get the gay men porn part, I think everything else was pretty believable and I was super happy the way it ended for the family. I don't want to say too much incase you are planning on seeing the movie. Thumbs up for me on this one!