Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Surprise There

Arlen Specter, Senator from Pennsylvania, set to switch from Republican to Democrat. Like that is a real surprise? I am just surprised that he didn't do it sooner, he has been a RHINO (Republican in Name Only) for so long that sometimes it was hard to remember that there was that little "R" next to his name on CSPAN.

Edit: I have to be honest and say that if I thought this wasn't done for purely political reasons I wouldn't have as much disgust with the situation. But the PA polls were clearly showing that Spector would most likely have been beaten in the Republican primaries by Pat Toomey, the fellow that ran in the Republican primary against him last time (and almost unseated him). So his switch seems to be for political reasons only and that is just a sweaty, slimy mess of a thing to do.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Ahhhhhhhhh, it feels good to exercise again. My doc has given me permission to get out there and get my heart rate up but no "core" exercising yet. So this morning Max and I went for a two mile walk around the neighborhood and it was great.

I love to walk in the morning, the sun is just coming up over the trees and hits my eyes at just the right angle so I can't see that car coming down the street. Lovely. It is always good to remember your sunglasses when you walk in the morning.

The sound of the birdies is soothing, well it would be if I didn't have my ipod on and blasting music from my "Favorites" playlist. It is always a dilemma, do I walk without ipod taking in the sounds of nature. Or do I walk with ipod and get myself motivated to the tunes of Kansas, The Beatles, Brooks and Dunn, The Wicked soundtrack. I went for the ipod today because it was my first day out and I needed the musical incentive. When the 2008 election cycle was in full swing I would listen to my radio but it is hard to walk and yell at the commentator at the same time. And besides, the neighbors look at you funny when you are talking to yourself and waving your hands in the air.

Walking with Max is always an interesting experience. We have an invisible fence and Max rarely violates "the line". But he knows that when I put his choke collar on him and get the leash that it is TIME TO WALK,TIME TO WALK,TIME TO WALK!!! He is leaping down the driveway like a furry gazelle on uppers. Run down to his imaginary line, run back and jump around, run down to the line, run back and look at me like "Why is she taking so long!" Once he is hooked up to his leash then he knows that it is safe to walk across the line without getting "zapped". Of course, when Dan and I walk him together Dan likes to make a zapping noise just as the dog crosses the line.

Walking with Max is sort of like "visiting" in Victorian Days. You know the time when you stopped by peoples houses and left a calling card that was uniquely yours which meant that you had been there to say hello and if they wanted to stop by your house and leave a calling card that would be fine. You see, Max leaves a "calling pee" at various predetermined points. He sniffs to see who else has been there, leaves his contribution and then we move on. He stops at the Fisher's house to leave something for the Labradoodle, then it is on to the big rock at the corner, the sign post half way down the side street, the house on the corner where there are TWO dogs, the MacDonald's house and then home. You would think he would run out of "calling cards" but he never does.

So all in all the walk was great, my legs felt like jelly and if it is nice tomorrow we will do it all over again.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Welcome to the Family!!

Are they not the cutest couple! This is my daughter Meg and her..........fiance Josh! The big day was yesterday and he asked her at The Cottage which holds loads of wonderful memories for all of us.

We have really come to love and appreciate Josh and are so glad that he will be a part of our family, as well as Meg being a part of the Josh's family too.
Isn't the ring beautiful! It is just right for Meg I think.

Of course we also had to have a picture of Josh taking a picture of the ring. I am sure this won't be the last time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 19)

Without further ado here are my quick take thoughts for the week.

Do you have a dog living in your house? And if so, do you ever wonder what that dog is saying to the other dogs in the neighborhood when he stands outside and barks into the air? There is always some dog barking in the neighborhood. The next door neighbor has a big lab, the neighbor across the cul de sac has three dogs. There is always barking. But Max doesn't always react to what is being "said". I can tell he notes it because his ears perk up but he doesn't get up from his prone position and want to go out. But then there will be barking that gets him up immediately so he can go out and bark too. What are they saying to each other? Are they communicating some amazing truth or are they just telling each other what they had for breakfast?

How can it be that I have a daughter graduating from college in a month. Where did the time go. Now if she can just find the correct job and a place to live. Do any of you need to hire a newly minted college graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cartooning? Just let me know.

This is one of the saddest poems I think I have ever read and I have a feeling that this is the sentiment of many people even if they can't express it that way.

I've been avoiding my illness
because I am afraid.

I will die and when I do
I 'll end up alone again.

Jason Shinder 1955-2009

When I read something like this I am so thankful that I KNOW where I will be when the Lord takes me home and I KNOW who I will be with.

As I am writing out my Quick Takes this morning a passing thunder shower is making it's way over my house. For some reason that is one of the things that makes me absolutely shiver with joy, a thunderstorm early in the morning or anytime of the day for that matter. Yes, I know that is strange but no one said that I don't march to the beat of a different drummer. I love sunshine and warm days, don't get me wrong. But I also absolutely LOVE the occasional day where it rains and thunders and lightenings all day long. It is such a cozy feeling. I just want to put my feet up with a good book and some knitting and enjoy the day.

I heard a startling statistic today while standing in the shower, that the US and Russia each have 20,000 nuclear warheads, A PIECE. But that they are in talks to cut that down to 500 warheads a piece. Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for nuclear weaponry, except for Iran and North Korea of course. But, um, that just seems like way more than you need to do the job don't you think? Heck 500 warheads seems like more than you need. You couldn't have all those loaded and ready to go and if you started in on a nuclear war everything would be destroyed long before you could reload I am thinking.

I was struck this week by a question that I read somewhere. The question was, "Do you lead an intentional life?" I am sure that once I have this fleshed out in my own mind that it will be the subject of a longer post but I am still mulling it over in my mind. What is an "intentional life"? Do I lead one? Do I want to lead one? Should I lead one? Any thoughts.

Tonight is opening night for my daughter's last musical production at her high school. Where has the time gone!?! They will be doing "Beauty and the Beast" this year and she says that the dress rehearsals have been "magical" so I am pumped. PLUS, I get to put my new camera through it's paces. That alone makes things exciting because this is the beauty that arrived at my door step the day before my surgery. It is lovely!!! So, we will go tonight and watch all the kids that have become so dear to us over the years put on this porduction. I am sure that I will have plenty of pictures to put up next week so check back later. Break a leg Beth!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I often times wish that I had the level of enthusiasm for every day tasks that my dog has for the things in his life. What ever he does during the day, even if it is the same thing that he did yesterday, and lets admit his schedule doesn't change too much from day to day, he is so excited about it.

Now my dog has an internal schedule that doesn't vary from day to day. He has the most reliable internal clock that I am surprised the people who keep the time in Greenwich don't come calling just to make sure that their clocks are right. His schedule is as follow:

1.Get up at 5:45a
2.go to greet person sitting a computer (me)
3. go out, do business, bark at things in the woods thereby announcing to other dogs in neighborhood that I am ready for conversation
4. come in, have treat, try to convince my person that I should be fed before the stated time
5. eat delicious sawdust/meat parts nuggets in warm water
5. go out again, do more business, sniff last business, bark at bus
7. spend day sleeping, looking out windows, barking, going in and out, MAIL!
8. try to convince my person to feed me again before the stated time
9. eat delicious sawdust/meat parts nuggets in warm water, go out and do business, bark to other dogs in neighborhood that I am out doing my business.
10. wait until owner is done eating even more delicious things at the table then bring toy over to play
12. Sleep on floor by my person. Put myself to bed at 9p.

That is Max's schedule and it never varies. You would think he would get bored or depressed with that sameness. But that is so not the case. For him every day is new and his excitement level at doing the same things is through the roof. Going to get the paper is done at peak level of excitement as if he has never done this before and has been waiting just for this moment and that he might expire from the excitement. The same thing happens when we go down to get the mail or when it is time to play with his toys or throw sticks. When we mention squirrels or chipmunks or deer he is all, "WHAT! THERE ARE SQUIRRELS ON THE DECK!!! I MUST TRY TO CATCH ONE!!!! LET ME OUT!!!!!"

Can you imagine what life would be like if we all reacted the same way about the mudane things of life? VACUUMING!!!! I CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!! LAUNDRY WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE!!!! I cannot say that I look at cleaning or laundry with the enthusiasm that my dog does when he is going to get the paper or the mail. Perhaps life would be just a bit simpler if we did.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 18)

I am amazed at how fast time flies sometimes. Here it is Friday again and time for another Quick takes.
Life is slowly getting back to normal after the surgery several weeks ago. I am still not feeling totally myself (my children will tell you that I am never TRULY normal) but every day is better. At about two weeks post-op I really started to feel better and that is dangerous. When things start to feel like they are healed then you want to do more than you should. Now that my mom has gone home and I am by myself during the day I have to remind myself NOT to pick up that large basket of things that need to go upstairs. So annoying I can tell you.
This is the time of year that I really start to get the "itch" to work outside in the garden. Of course, I have to temper all that enthusiasm with the reminder that I can't lug large amounts of anything but that doesn't mean that I can't go out and do a tad bit of weeding now that the days are getting nicer. This is also the time of year when I really miss my veggie garden. At our old house we had this wonderful, open "meadowy" area that was perfect for a garden. Sun all day long. Oh I could grow lovely things like tomatoes, green beans, beets, radishes, zucchini, herbs, rhubarb. It was wonderful. But with this house......not so good. I lots of lovely beds and grow lots of lovely things but none of them are veggies because there just isn't enough sustained sunlight. I yearn for veggies. Maybe in the next house.
During this recovery process we have been receiving meals during week nights. I actually have 15 friends who signed up to bring us meals. I am amazed. We have had a wide variety of things and everything has been delicious. When my friend Sue decided to organize this I was a tad skeptical. First I wondered if I actually had 15 friends who wanted to make me meals. The "I am small and inadequate and no one likes me" monster rearing it's ugly head. Then I wondered if I really needed meals. My mom was going to be here for part of that time. But I have to admit that it has been a great blessing not to have to worry about cooking in the evenings. We have had such a variety of things to eat, everything from pork tenderloin to chicken enchiladas to fish. And the desserts! I really need to get well enough to get some exercise in or I am going to be as big as a barge. So Karen, Cindy, Hope, Marilyn, Caroline, Jen, Sue, Susie, Sue, Lynelle, Dottie, Ann, Kelly, Lauren and Cheryl this is a BIG thank you to all of you for taking such good care of us. I love you guys and thank the Lord every day for your friendship.
Speaking of exercising, I am dying to get back to it. Two years ago that just wouldn't have been a phrase that would have come out of my mouth I can tell you. I didn't exercise, I didn't think that it was particularly necessary for me. Yes, I took the occasional walk around the neighborhood, ignoring the fact that a two mile leisurely walk just about did me in. I had long ago decided that I would never diet again (having been a serial dieter for many years) and for some reason I lumped exercise in with the dieting. It is amazing how you can lie to yourself about what you need to be doing with your life and body. I would look at myself in the mirror and say, "Hey, you don't look too bad. So what if your jeans are a little tight. It is probably almost 'that time of the month' and it will get better later." But then my oldest daughter joined Curves and told me I had to do that as well and for once I listened and the rest is history. Now, when I am not recovering from surgery that is, I exercise 4-5 times a week.
You know you are finally an adult and a parent when you are praying fervently for your oldest child to get a job that has actual benefits and all that adult like stuff. The oldest progeny will be graduating next month and jobs in her particular field of endeavor....cartooning.....are a tad scarce at the moment. She is an awesome cartoonist and illustrator so if you need one let me know and I will let her know and then.....

Also, isn't it funny how our prayers for our children change as they get older. Always you are praying for their health and safety but at some point you also start praying that the Lord will be preparing just the right spouse for them and that they will claim Christ as their own and that they will get a job. Believe me, just because the oldest two are 22 and 21 doesn't mean that I don't pray for safety for them. I mean oldest lives in Manhattan at the moment and the middle daughter is going to be spending 4 months in Uganda (with perhaps a side trip to Pakistan) come fall so prayers for safety are a daily thing. It is just that prayers for your children when they are older are different.

One of the great things about this resting period is that I have been able to give myself permission to read A LOT. Now I read a fair amount of books as it is but since I had the surgery on March 31st I have logged 12 books into my "book database". Of course, I know that I can't indulge in the hours of book reading forever but I can enjoy those hours now.

I just wanted to end this post with a HUGE thank you to my mom who came out and spent 12 days with us to take care of me after the surgery. Mom, we couldn't have made it through without you. You cleaned my house, cleaned the bathrooms, did the laundry, carted me around in the car and all those other things that we take for granted. Thanks for giving us 12 days out of your busy schedule and also thanks to Dad who went home after 4 days and coped without her for another week and a half. You guys are the greatest.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Day in History

Have you noticed that some days are just packed with things that have happened in history. This just seems to be one of those days.

1828- Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language.

1865- John Wilkes Booth assassinates President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C. An excellent book to reading on the assassination and subsequent search for and death of John Wilkes Booth is Manhunt by James L. Swanson.

1912- The "unsinkable" Titanic, on her maiden voyage, hurrying to break an Atlantic crossing record, strikes an iceberg. She sinks within three hours with the loss of almost 1500 lives. A Night To Remember by Walter Lord may be an older book but is still a good one to read.

1939- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is published.

1944- The cargo ship Fort Stikine explodes in the port of Bombay. India. Bales of cotton had been stored in the hold of the ship one level below a shipment of TNT, even though it was known that bales of cotton had a tendency to spontaneously combust. The blast killed 1300 people (everyone who was close to the ship) and injured 3000 others. The force of the explosion lifted a nearby, 4000 ton ship from the bay onto land.

1969- in a first for the Academy Awards, Barbara Streisand and Katherine Hepburn share the Oscar for Best Actress.

2004- Marine Corporal Jason Dunham gives his life for his fellow Marines in Iraq by throwing his Kevlar helmet and then himself on a grenade. His act of heroism contained the blast but left him mortally wounded. Cpl. Dunham became the first Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq. Michael Phillips has written a wonderful book on Jason Dunham, The Gift of Valor. It is well worth your time to read.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


See, what a morning, gloriously bright,
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes, tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce, "Christ is risen!"
See God's salvation plan,
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, "Where is He laid?"
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name;
It's the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty.
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow'r and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

Words and Music by Keith Getty and Stewart Townend

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Freedom!!! Out of the house, in the car. I have become my dog, whose greatest joy is to ride in the passenger seat and stick his head out the window. When you haven't been yet given the OK to drive it is the little things in life that give you pleasure. Mom goes home tomorrow and I think I can drive on Monday. Yahoo! Well, yahoo to the driving part not the part about Mom going home because she has been VERY helpful the last 10 days.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

7 Quick Takes (vol 17) The Surgery Edition

Well, what else do I have to do but put my feet up, recover and give you all 7 quick takes related to my surgery. My life is an open book and this week people have actually seen INSIDE me and lived to tell. Life is just a barrel of laughs, or will be when I stop hurting.

It is amazing to me that even in pre-op the Lord provides divine appointments for us if we are open to them. He had one planned for me with the pre-op nurse and I am still shaking my head about it. I had no real reason to tell her that I had had a Cesarean section and then two vaginal births afterward (VBAC) but I did. She stopped suddenly and asked what my experience with them had been like and would I be willing to talk to a young friend of hers that was struggling with the decision. The Lord placed the two of us together on Tuesday morning. Cool right.

When you go into the hospital for surgery you need to just understand that all dignity goes on vacation for a few days. People you don't know are going to see parts of you that you usually don't show to people. You might not be aware of it because you will be under general anesthesia but it will happen. And then there are those lovely hospital gowns that they have you wear. The ties around the neck don't stay tied when you want them to and the back is always open. And then there is always someone coming in and asking to see your incision. I have flashed so many people in the last two days that I am expecting to have the local police show up at my door.

Having to rely on others to do even the simplest things, like picking something up from the floor, is a humbling thing. I don't ask for help well. I am usually the one to say, "I'll do it myself". But in this instance someone just has to do the stuff for me. I can't just hop in the car and go to fill my prescriptions, someone has to do it for me. Someone even has to walk up and down the stairs with me for the first day or so! When you are used to being independent then to rely on others is hard and humbling and that is good I think. No man is an island, despite what Simon and Garfunkle might tell you.

When you have been told that you can't lift anything heavier than a 5 pound bag of sugar it is amazing how many things in your life show up that are so much heavier than that. Just scooting my chair and me into the table is a no-no at the moment. For the love of Pete! Can't pick up my little suitcase, can't pick up the laundry basket that needs to be moved, can't even cart around the package that arrived for me. Today I might have trouble with the 5 pound bag of sugar for that matter! Vacuuming is a no-no but I can't say that I am really crying about that one. Oh Bother! (to quote Piglette)

If they say that you have narcotic pain relief available to you then TAKE IT. I don't like the way that narcotics make me feel. You know that sort of out of control, woozy, the world is fuzzy feeling. But, I am still going to occasionally take that Percoset because I just really have to. Don't like it but I understand the need for it. I can certainly understand why some people would like the feeling of being slightly disconnected from the world. Perhaps that is why they do drugs to begin with.

There are other side effects of narcotics, ones that we won't discuss here that are of a shall we say, scatological nature, that I have to deal with. But then there are other medications to take care of that. It is a never ending drug cycle around here.

I met all manner of people during my two day stay in the hospital. I love talking to people! There was the nurse anesthetist who had on so much "bling" that I was afraid she might short circuit something during my surgery. There was my "housekeeper" Adriana who recognized me from my short hospital stay two weeks ago. She of the many ear piercings. I always enjoyed talking to her and she could talk! Then there was the nursing assistant Cheryl who was so eager to take out my catheter. She practically ran into the room with all the equipment. Far be it from me to dampen her enthusiasm for a rather mundane and unpleasant job.

The nurses were great and all unique. There was Robin, who was always hustling and bustling up and down the hallway, always smiling even when doing a less that pleasant job. There was Linda who kindly DIDN'T wake me up to do my vital signs on my second night in the hospital because I was sleeping. I have never understood why we nurses have to wake up a perfectly sleeping person, who is well on the way to recovery, just to do some vital signs. Linda checked on me but didn't wake me up. Thank you Linda. Then there was my nurse on my last morning who REALLY wanted me to take a Percoset before leaving to go home. I didn't want one. "Well how about HALF of one?" NO, I really don't want one. In retrospect I should have listened to her and taken one. But don't tell her that.

I just have to say that when you have been told that you CAN'T drive for two weeks then all the things that you think you are up to doing involve driving. Now in my head and my body tell me that there is no way that I could get behind the wheel of my vehicle but that doesn't mean that I don't look at the keys for my Subaru with longing. It's the little things in life you know. Oh well, for the moment my mom will have to drive me around. That just means that I can tell her where to go and get away with it. Hehehehehehe.

See you in two weeks since next week is Good Friday.