Tuesday, December 8, 2009

sin city

i am currently in las vegas as bob is attending the national pharmacy convention so i get to tag along. he is in meetings all day and i am on my own. it has been a very relaxing time for me. we arrived saturday and leave to go home in 2 days on thursday; we will have been here for 6. i have to say it has taken me until today to finally unwind. you don't realize how stress can creep up on you until you are able to be in an environment where there is no stress. (unless of course you consider what time you want to get up, which way you want to walk on the strip, when and what to eat, etc., stressful. - i'm not much of a gambler so losing money is not a stressor for me)

the extra nice part this year is that my best friend from college was here for a few days. her husband ran in a marathon on sunday so it has been nice to get together and catch up with her and her family.

i know i will be refreshed when we head back thursday night to dig back into the craziness my life has to offer. it's funny, even though i know being a caregiver consumed my life and was so stressful, other stressors seem to have taken the place and filled those holes. maybe not to the degree and certainly not in the same way, but stress is stress and it can consume you just the same. it makes me realize, we all need to take time for ourselves, maybe not always going to vegas, but even a few minutes here and there, just for ourselves. it's definately important, i know that's easier said than done, and i'm as guilty as anyone of that, but,if we want to live healthy and long productive lives........

take a deep breath, think happy thoughts and take care everyone.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

serenity inn

the serenity inn is a house in milwaukee that drug addicts trying to recover can go and live. they have very strict guidelines and rules and one must sign a contract and abide by it to stay in the house. the goal is that by around 7 months, one will be clean and will have found a job. hopefully then they will then be ready to live on their own again in the real world. this is obviously a tough thing for many of the men as they are here because they reached the bottom of the barrel and many know that if they didn't try this they would end up in prison doing hard time.

our church has been volunteering to take food to the serenity inn once a month for about 2 years. i have thought about offering to help on a number of occasions and then for whatever reason i don't. once, over a year ago, i did offer to help, but was called about a week before the date and said they had more than enough volunteers so would i please offer another month. well, i didn't. for reasons unknown.

i finally did volunteer again and went earlier this week. what a wonderful experience it was for me. the house they live in was a very old home that habitat for humanity remodeled a few years ago. it can comfortably house 12 men, currently there are 6 living there. the newest has been there 2 months and the senior member 5 months. their current ages range from early 20-early 50's. 3 of us went on tuesday, both carl and sharon had been there before, i was the newbie. we arrived at 5:45 with our food ready of turkey and gravy, smashed potatoes, green beans and cherry pie with ice cream. we ate dinner with the men along with rick, one of the counselors, who lives in the house with them. prior to dinner, one of the men said a prayer, thanking God for a second chance at life and for us, for providing their physical nourishment.

during the meal, they each went around the table and told of changes in their life since they had been at serenity inn. i was especially taken with one young man who i'm guessing was in his early 20's. he talked about finally spending time with his son who just turned 2 and actually remembering the time he spent with him. for another it was his first day of work, he used to be a mechanic, and had found a job working in an car shop. to him, the greatest joy was not having the temptation to steal from the shop or owner.

after dinner, they did the dishes, and asked to keep any leftovers. then it was time to leave as they had a group meeting at 7pm. they walked us out to our car, and hugged and thanked us for our generosity. i truly felt i walked away much more nourished than any of them. it was so nice to be a part of their evening and see how they were trying to change their lives for the good. how many of them will be able to make it and stay clean? i don't know what the statistics are on this. i have found myself saying a prayer that they will be the fortunate ones.

i also know that this is something i want to do again. as i was dropped off, i told sharon, (who coordinates this project), how much i enjoyed it and wanted to do it again. i really think i will follow thru this time!

rabbit rabbit everyone and way to go today brett!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

end of september

others have posted and shown pictures of the quilt show last week in chicago. unfortunately i am having problems downloading pictures from my camera so those may have to wait until another time. it was a wonderful moving experience to see not only the quilts that were made from people from the AD board but also wonderful quilts from so many others across the county.

after the quilt show lori, ann and i drove up to door county. it was very special for me to be able to show them a place that means so much to me. we visited all the typical "tourist" places as well as some of my favorites. neither had ever been to wisconsin so i had to make sure both experienced things that are equated with wisconsin. - friday fish frys, brats with sauerkraut, racine kringles, cheese curds and some wisconsin brewed beers. i did stop short of making them wear cheese head hats! lori of course wanted to see lots of cows and i made a point of showing her how "happy" wisconsin cows are, not like the reported california cow commericals which we wisconsin residents despise.

and of course before we could drop ann off at the airport in green bay, i just HAD to stop at lambeau field to show them the legacy in green bay. i think ann was disappointed that the houses were not painted green and gold!

thanks to you both for taking the time to come up and see a little part of my heaven. i just wish i could live there all year round. hopefully one day, bob and i will make that dream happen.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

heading up north

i'm just about finished packing. it is time again for "our week" up north. gene and russ had deeded their property to my sister and i so when russ died, their home up in door county became ours. it's still hard to think of it as half mine, a part of me will always think of it as theirs.

anyway, we rent it out all summer but 2 weeks. sue and her family go up the end of june and bob and i and the boys always go up the first week in august.

i'm looking forward to some peaceful relaxation. i'll check in when i get back.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

banking like yesteryear

yesterday (saturday) i was driving in our little downtown. we are not totally rural but for a milwaukee suburb, we are small, our population is about 8,000. as i was driving by one of the 2 banks in town i spotted an elderly gentleman walking out of the bank. he had his wallet out, and was counting his money before he placed it into his wallet.

it suddenly brought back a string of memories of when i was little. i can strongly remember going to the bank with russ as he would cash his paycheck from work. some he would put into a savings account and a certain amount he would take home to cover expenses such as groceries and gas until his next paycheck. he also knew most of the bank tellers and would catch up on each others lives since the last time they saw each other.

i must admit when i saw this gentleman yesterday he looked a little out of place. he did not seem to be in a hurry as most of us are these days. it made me think of how now everything is automated. most places of business have direct deposit for their employees. one can transfer money from accounts on line as well as pay most bills that way. credit cards are used frequently in grocery stores and now a lot even seem to have the self service checkout line. most gas stations you can pay at the pump and never walk inside to talk to the cashier, much less have the attendant come wait on you.

but for a fleeting moment, this kind gentleman took me back to a time where life was different and definitely a slower pace, and maybe a friendlier one too.

Monday, July 6, 2009

my run-in with a nail

boy i'm beginning to feel a little jinxed. just when i have pretty much gotten full use of my finger (from the avocado incident) i had a encounter with a nail, and needless to say, the nail won.

we have a beautiful large deck out back built by the previous owners. well, yesterday i was carrying out some cushions for the lounge chairs to enjoy the beautiful day and did not see a nail that had worked itself up out of a board about 1/2 inch. well, my foot didn't either and it shaved back about an inch of skin like a potato peeler would. it hurt like hell, of course nobody was home, so i let out a few expletives. after attempting to clean it out and getting it to stop bleeding i got a hammer and pounded the heck out of the nail, to which i felt somewhat better. i then relaxed in the pool, thinking all the chlorine would help as well. it burned a little but the coolness of the water felt good.

now the real trick was determining which if any shoes i would be able to wear to work today. also keep in mind, with the ball of my foot being affected, i can not walk normally, i have to walk more on the side of my foot, and with an obvious limp. this isn't hard for short distances but considering i walk over 3 miles a day in hospitals, this is a little tricky. i managed to find a pair of crocs that were large enough not to be constrictive and also cushioned my foot. they are open toed and hospital rules only allow closed toed shoes. so on went the white socks underneath them and my fashion statement left a lot to be desired with the rest of my attire. with pumping the motrin to the max i managed to get through the day with only a few weird looks. one of the case managers i spoke to today told me she did the same thing last summer and it took months to feel better. GREAT....just what i wanted to hear. it is less tender tonight than last night so i hope tomorrow will be better too.

luckily i had a tetanus shot last summer so that was one less thing to worry about. i've now been 2 for 2 with injuries on summer holidays. maybe i should stay in bed on labor day!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

happy 4th of july

the 4th of july has always held special memories for me. ever since i can remember it is a day filled with family, fun and traditions. growing up we always went to see the parade and then fireworks at night. once gene and russ bought their house up in door county we started celebrating the 4th up there. that is where my fondest memories are from. there were even a few years that i remember that russ and his brother-in-law were in the parade. we helped him decorate his mopeds with crepe paper streamers so that they could ride in the parade. and talk about candy being thrown out - garbage sack fulls! such fun.

gene always outdid herself with the food - either brats or burgers, with tons of sides, including a 3 layer red,white and blue jello. for dessert i was in charge of making a flag cake - pretty easy, a white cake with cool whip as the frosting - sliced strawberries for the stripes and blueberries for the stars.

of course being the superstitious person i am, you HAVE to wear red, white and blue on the 4th. it was always fun to see my sister's family scrambling around in the morning, borrowing things from others to make their red, white and blue outfit. no matter how many times gene or i would remind them to brings things up, they never seemed to remember. i wonder if they remembered today? doubtful....

watching the fireworks at night was the finale of the days activities. we would either sit on lawn chairs or lay on blankets and ooh and aww as the fireworks were shot off. a few years it became pretty funny as there seemed to be a 3 minute pause between each one set off. we kidded each other that the town was short of money and wanted to make the show last more than 2 minutes. i will never forget the year my sister tried to parallel park and ended up in some poor souls bush, or the year matt set off a smoke bomb in a porta-potty. of course i didn't find out it was him until much later!

this year will be quiet and different than those previously remembered. we have renters up in door county so we will not be up there. both boys are working so we will have our meal tomorrow. bob and i are invited over to some friends for a drink before the fireworks start. however, i may pass on the foreworks and come home to watch them on tv. the mosquitoes have really hatched the past few days and i guess i'm not as tough as i use to be, especially without my family peer pressure. the only thing i know for sure is that i made certain that mark had his patriotic boxers on before he left for work and i will make sure matt does the same. bob will also get the "inspection" when he gets dressed for the day.

happy 4th to all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

boyhood friends

the last two days have been draining to say the least. one of bob's childhood friends passed away unexpectedly and suddenly last week. i came home from work last week and bob explained what had happened. i could tell it really affected him. bob is lucky to have stayed close to his childhood friends. there were 3 in bob's grade, including him and 3 a year younger that all hung around together and still are close to this day. i find that unusual for men their age. it's been well over 55 years!

it was interesting to watch "the survivors" grow even closer these past 2 days. the visitation was yesterday and the funeral today. 2 of the guys stood up and spoke at the funeral on behalf of their "group." mostly it was humorous stories, tastefully told, of how they got caught drinking, and their many memories playing golf and camping over the years. it really added a nice levity to the service. the 3 children of bob's friend, ages 19-26 found these stories of their father fascinating. after the service was over everyone was invited back to bob's friend house and "the guys" sat in front of a video camera for at least a half hour and talked and shared many more memories of their friend for the family to have.

close friendships that last for as long as these friends have is really amazing to me. i have 2 close college friends, who know me better than anyone else, but i must say to have that friendship go back to as far as they can remember is remarkable.

nese, you are and will be missed by all your buddies. may you rest in peace.

p.s. i didn't forget you yesterday russ. i still miss you like crazy and love you. happy father's day ya big shit. You done good.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

trying times

you never know what life will throw you, you just have to be always prepared for the unexpected. a lot of times, these things are not what you would prefer but, one must trust that things will work out.

last week, bob came home unexpectedly "on time" and informed me he had been let go from his job. it is a job that he had been at about 9 months, a director of pharmacy at a LTAC facility (long term acute care - somewhat of a cross between an acute care hospital and a long term facility, or nursing home). i could tell he was in shock as i was, it definitely blind sighted him. as no job is perfect, but he really enjoyed the challenges and not only his staff but other staff in the hospital. he was told "we want to go in a different direction". corporate wouldn't be more specific, only would say that he had done a lot of good things, and it was NOT complaints from staff or MD's, but wouldn't really share anymore. he did get a severance package which helps but, never good for one's ego. i think there is more going on than we will ever know. bob was the only director not hired by the corporate pharmacist, bob was hired by the CEO of the hospital. the CEO was let go about a month ago as well. the very next day they had a replacement in from corporate. it is a gal who had been traveling around to the different hospitals helping out and staffing where needed. ironically she had finished up her last stint and only lives 20 minutes from the hospital. makes me wonder if bob was let go to give her a permanent position. fortunately being a pharmacist he will pick up hours "here and there" until something else comes up that sounds intriguing. so, i have to trust things work out for a reason and there is something out there for both of us in due time.

enough venting for now, i feel a little better, at least for the time being. the good news is that bob will not be working 60-70 hour weeks, 7 days a week and will not be on call this summer. we can actually plan things on the weekend and not worry about the phone ringing that he has to go into the hospital. i have learned to look for the silver lining in most situations. you can't change it so you might as well try to look for the positives.

p.s. happy anniversary gene and russ, i'm thinking of you and will toast you tonight!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

beware of avocado's

it has been about 2 weeks now since i had my run in with an avocado. it was memorial day weekend and we had been invited over to some friends for an annual memorial day cookout. as ususal i was asked to bring a salad. i made my usual spring salad but this year decided to add an avocado to it.

my cousin had had a run in with an avocado a couple months ago and has needed surgery and is still undergoing rehab and physical therapy as she severed tendons and nerves in her hand. when pitting the avocado, the knife slipped and went completely thru her hand between her middle and ring finger.

fortunately for me, i was much more fotunate. i also was attempting to pit the avocado and thinking to myself i needed to be careful. well, like my cousin, my knife also slipped. for me, the knife also went completely thru my finger, near the base of my left pointer finger and then entered my middle finger. i was much luckier as i did not cut any tendons or nerves. for once in my life i am happy to have short pudgy fingers. the knife only cut thru my skin/fat, missing anything else.

immediately after there was a big discussion as to who would drive me to the ER, i think everyone wanted an excuse to speed! well, i stood firm and stuck it out with just elevating it and icing it and in about 30-45 minutes the bleeding stopped. i cleaned it out as best i could with soap and water and applied neosporin and kept it bandaged.

it has healed really well and i am now able to get back to doing normal activities and typing without difficulty. i know i am really lucky that my injury wasn't any worse. i have since seen different little gagits that you can purchase to cut and core an avocado. i just have to decide which one to try as i love avocado's too much to forgo eating them. so for those of you out there who use a knife to get the pit out of the avocado, beware and please be careful!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

danny - my american idol

i have always enjoyed watching american idol and this season was no different. it's just that it seemed a little more personal this year. one of the top 12 finalists, danny gokey, was from milwaukee. of course, i felt i should support and root for the local boy. actually i really like his voice, but also what type of person he is.

for those of you who don't follow, danny made it to the final 3 and was voted off last night. in hindsight, i think it was more disappointing for all of his fans than for him. listening to him in interviews last night and today, (of course he was the main news story today in the milwaukee area), he tells of his relief.

his story is a rather sad one. he was happily married and his wife died less than a year ago, early last summer due to congenital heart problems. sophia was going in for her third heart surgery since birth and didn't survive. she had encouraged him to try out so he did so to honor her and did amazingly well. danny is/was also a youth music director at his church so a lot of his songs have a gospel feel to them.

i noticed as the season went on, little was said about his wife and he even stopped wearing his wedding ring. he did have it on again last night when he was voted off, i sensed he knew he might be going home. what he has said since is that he feels free again now, free to be able to talk about sophia and her inspiration to him and his love for her. he no longer has to listen to advice given to him by those at american idol and worry about if he wears his ring he might not get as many votes, or if he talks about sophia or his work at his church he might turn people off. he said he can now concentrate on the foundation he started for children in sophia's name, www.sophiasheart.org, and talk freely about her and his experience. yes, danny admitted, he is competitive in nature so a part of him wanted to win, but if he had, he would have been under contract from idol, and not able to do what he wanted to do.

i also learned in an interview with his brother that no family members are allowed to talk to the media while their relative is in the competition. it really makes me realize how controlled the entire competition is and only what the dirctors want to portray to the public is shown, so that we may never get to really see the person for who he or she is.

for that i am glad that danny was voted off. now he is able to pursue his foundation in sophia name. he made a name for himself while on the show and i can't help but think he will be able to do wonderful things in his wife's name. and he can now also publicly talk and grieve for her if he so chooses. he can also talk about his music ministry with the youth in his church. he will still be my american idol for what he stands for and believes in.

i'm glad i got to see another side of these reality shows. i will continue to watch idol in the future but i know i will never look at it the same, i will always wonder if what we are seeing is what is really reality.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

mother's day

today was a little tough as both boys are away at school studying for finals. mark even had one today! second year in a row on mother's day. mark sent me a card and both boys called me and i had a nice talk with both. bob and i drove up to see his mom, and went to church with her. she is 90 and still in relatively great health. she still lives by herself and drives to church and the grocery store in their little rural town. afterwards we went out to eat with my mother-in-law and bob's brother and his family.

upon arriving home, i saw on the kitchen counter some fresh flowers and a box of dots (my favorite). it immediately brought tears to my eyes. mark doesn't have a car at school but matt does...... i called him and sure enough he had taken a break from studying and had driven home to start bringing a load home from his apartment. i wish i had been home to greet him, but we will celebrate next week when they are both home for the summer. that had been the original plan. those little unexpected surprises really make my day though.

gene, you would have been proud of your grandsons. happy mother's day, i love you and wish you were still here. happy mother's day to all moms alike!

Friday, May 1, 2009


lightning can be a very strange animal. after last saturday i must say i have a new respect for it as well. we have all heard stories of people being struck by lightning. well, fortunately i wasn't but i sure had a close call.

around 1130 am i was on the phone in my kitchen taking to a sales person regarding a new refrigerator we needed (another story in itself). it was raining at the time with some occasional thunder and lightning. the next thing i knew, a lightning bolt came into the kitchen, (through the top of the kitchen window to the best of my knowledge), and then exploded in the middle of the room about 5 feet from me. bob, the boys and other people keep wanting to know exactly where it come in but it's hard to say for sure. it's not like i was standing there watching for it to enter the house... needless to say i about **** in my pants! it happened so fast, there was this big "crack", and a flash of light about twice the size of a basketball. bob had been in the basement and came up because he heard the sound and felt the house shake. i can't say i felt any vibration, i think i was in too much shock, but a chip clip that was previously on the counter was now in the center of the kitchen floor.

there was no fire that started, although the house smelled of something burning for about 3-5 minutes. there is no burnt mark on either the outside or inside of our house, but it did fry both our small kitchen TV and my dining room light fixture.

it really makes you realize how small you are in relation to other things in this universe. life can be freaky sometimes and we see how little control we humans have over things. i also know that i was very fortunate to be standing near the kitchen table and not where i usually spend most of my time in the kitchen, in front of the sink or stove (which also happens to be in front of the kitchen window). if that were the case, this blog may never have gotten started.

starting anew

it has taken me awhile to get motivated to start up a new blog. in fact it is exactly 3 months ago that i posted my last post on my old blog. it has always been on the back burner of my mind, but i am a true procrastinator by nature. my philosophy is life is pretty much, "why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?" not for everything mind you, but unfortunately for a lot of things. i also wasn't sure i would have that much to say, especially things that others might want to read. i finally decided that if i felt the need to write down some periodic thoughts and feelings then i should create one.

maybe one day it will be fun to look back and reflect on what i was truly feeling at this time in my life. maybe one day my kids and or grandkids will come to know me better by reading this. maybe not, and that's ok too. but for now, i will go with the flow and post when the feeling moves me.

p.s. rabbit, rabbit