December 29, 2007

A Tag? A Tag? Yep...I've been TAGGED!!!

Well, wildtomato from Spindles and Spices tagged me. I discovered I had been tagged last night, when I was finally able to turn on my computer. However, this is one I had to 'sleep on' to come up with the goods for this meme.
The Assignment: Write a letter to your thirteen-year-old self. I'm also supposed to tag five other people. After I get through this thing, I'll see how many people I can bring myself to tag.
Dear 13-year-old Leann,
Pick up a book, dammit! Stop worrying about those people in your class and 'who told who what.' You are in a G.A.T.E. program and you do fit in here. Stop feeling like an outcast and step up to the plate. You belong here, just as much as anyone else. You've been given a great opportunity, but it does not mean you won't have to work hard for it.
Nothing will be handed to you, just as nothing is handed to anyone else in your class. They go home and do their homework and that is the key factor in what makes you different from them. That's it. Right now, they are probably not really any smarter than you are. In a year or two, however, they will blow you out of the water with their knowledge.
Next year, you'll be in high school. Stop trying to 'fit in' and 'look cool.' It doesn't matter how hard you try with your hair and makeup. You'll still look back on yourself and roll your eyes and say, "What was I thinking???" when you look at the pictures of yourself right now. So, you might as well apply yourself in more productive ways. In fact, the harder you try to look good, the more you regret it later. And boys don't care what you're doing. You would be so much better off having them as friends right now, anyway. A thirteen-year-old boy is certainly nothing to cry over, so KNOCK IT OFF!!!
You shouldn't feel a lot of pressure to succeed, however. Even though you blew it with the homework and the studies, you can still have a pretty good life. But, it didn't need to be this hard. Having a great education doesn't necessarily make you any better at being a parent. The ability to read and a whole lot of common sense will get you far when it comes to raising kids. However, a good education typically makes it a whole lot easier to pay the bills.
Finally, dance whenever you can. Dance in your bedroom. Learn to shake those hips, even though you will not actually have hips until you, yourself, have kids. You will be shaped like a 13-year-old boy until you have children. And that's okay. You are who you are and stop having such a complex about being the shortest and the thinnest. Insecurity comes in all different shapes and sizes, which pretty much evens out the playing field. So, stop worrying about things you cannot change and just enjoy your youth....just as soon as you've finished your homework.
If I were your mother, I'd slap you!
Okay, so I'm now supposed to tag five people.
Here goes:
I would be fascinated to see what all of you would say to your 13-year-old selves. Please let me know if you should choose to play along. That will be one post I will not miss. However, if you prefer to ignore this tag, that's okay too. I'm a big girl!

December 24, 2007

How are you spending your Christmas Eve?

Soccer, trying to look like a present under the tree
Merry Christmas Eve!
We are just hanging out today. Whatever I didn't buy we will have to go without. It's cold outside and it seems like a nice day for staying home and baking with the kids. That's right. I'm actually considering letting them help. I don't have much in the way of patience when it comes to my kids and the kitchen. First of all, my kitchen is just too small. Secondly, when I want to cook or bake, I just want it to get done. Kids have a way of slowing down the process.
Our next-door neighbors are using today to clean out their garage as a family. They just acquired a storage unit that they are keeping on the side of their property and want to make room in their garage for other things. In the midst of all their stuff was a California King Snake. They are really great to have around because they actually help reduce the rattlesnake population! They are even immune to the venom of a rattlesnake and can like to eat them. So cool!
Gee, what would make you think I like reptiles???
Sooooo...they call me when they find this thing. I seem to have the reputation for liking the 'creepy and crawly' things amongst the neighbors! GO FIGURE!!! They have already gotten it out of the garage and have him in the driveway by the time I get over there. He's not really moving much. He can't. It's too cold for him to be out and he should be hibernating right now! That's probably what he was trying to do in their garage! So, they have a five-gallon fish tank and screen cover. I put the snake in the tank and take it home. As cold as he was, he would be going at a snail's pace to get across the driveway, much less anyplace he could safely stick out the rest of the winter!
So, I bring the tank into my house and pile lots of phone books and things on top. As soon as that little guy warms up, he's going to try to push the lid off that tank. It's his nature. The girls don't even notice him right away, even though I talk about him openly and call a couple of people about the best place to let him go. I do not intend to keep him. Personally, I love snakes. I think they make great pets, if you don't look for a pet to respond to you like a cat or a dog would. They don't make noise, you don't have to feed them every day, and they don't smell that bad. I mean, they can smell bad...but it's more like large bird poop or something! David, however, does not like snakes. I don't think he likes any reptiles at all, as a matter of fact! Besides, it's actually illegal in the state of California to keep a California King Snake as a pet. Of course there are always exceptions or loop holes, but California ultimately doesn't want anything that naturally lives here to be kept as a pet. California has some of the stingiest laws around when it comes to pets!
So, I let the little guy warm up a little-just enough for him to be able to move. I then decide that there is a woodpile on the back of our property that would be perfect for him. I would take the tank in my car and drive him to the back of the property. We used to have an old pole barn back there that David tore down. Most of its remains are now just a big pile that would make the perfect little home for my new little friend. At about the same time I was going to take the snake out, the girls discovered it. 11YO (who used to hold the four foot ball python we had all the time) is suddenly scared of snakes now. 4YO burst into tears as if it were coming at her. 1YO just started yelling, "SNAKE!!! SNAKE!!!" because her sisters were yelling that. She was even giggling in between acting horrified because she was so happy to be a part of 'the game' her sisters were playing. She had no clue.
As soon as he started to move a little more, I took him out back and put the tank up on its side. He happily slithered out of the tank and under the wood pile. I think he should be able to find a nice, safe spot under there to finish out his winter. Maybe he'll even want to pay us a visit when the weather warms up again.
Then again, he'll probably end up at my neighbors's house once again. They get all the cool critters there!

December 19, 2007

Not much thinking today...

Yeah, Hogan is gone now. I posted all about it HERE, so check it out if you want to.
I've decided to copy and paste another survey thingy, just to fill in some space.

1. How long do you spend in the shower?Depends on how long I have and what the kids were doing when I got in.

2. Name something a football player wears under his uniform?’HIS?’ Who said it has to be a BOY football player?

3. Name something people hate to find on their windshield.Really large bird poops. Like, what the hell did that thing EAT???

4. Name something a man might buy before a date.It had better be pretty, whatever it is!

5. What's another word for blemish?Pimple.

6. Something you'd cook in the microwave.I used to cook CHICKEN in the microwave. Came out good, too!

7. Name a piece of furniture people need help moving.A bed.
8. Name a reason a younger man might like an older woman.Her self-confidence

9. Name something a dog does that embarrasses its owner?Humps someone’s leg…

10. Name a kind of test you cannot study for.A pregnancy test…
11. Name something a boy scout gets a badge for?Tying knots, I think!

12. Name a phrase with the word 'Home' in it? Who says you can’t go home?

13. Name a sport where players loose teeth?Hockey

14. Name something a teacher can do to ruin a student's day?Pile on a bunch of homework at the last minute.

15. What is a way you can tell someone has been crying?Makeup smeared, eyes red. That or they have allergies!

16. Name something found at a Séance?Aren’t there always candles?

17. Name a bird you wouldn't want to eat?A finch, it would be too much work for so little meat!
18. Name something that gets folded?Wrapping paper.
19. Name something a person wears even if it has a hole in it?My husband will wear anything, whether it has a hole in it or not! I will still wears socks with holes, so long as they don’t show or my toes don’t stick out!
20. Name something that gets smaller the more you use it?A bar of soap!

December 18, 2007

The Finality of It All and Letting Go

Hogan is sleeping right now. He's twitchy, but he's been like that for months when he sleeps. Today, however, is different.

Hogan is going to die today.

This time yesterday, it didn't even seem possible. I've been back and forth on this issue for some time now. He's had a couple of strokes. The most recent one made the whole left side of his body weak. His ear drooped, as well as the whole left side of his face. The shape of his head even looked different as the muscles on the left side gave out. I spoke with his vet and she agreed that he probably wasn't in any pain. He wasn't any more tempermental with the kids or anything. He was just happy to be touched, even if that mean a toddler hurling herself onto his back while he rested. I would think that any actual discomfort would make him a little less welcoming. He had trouble walking and you could hear him limping around, every other step being much heavier than the last. He was still eating like a horse and doing his 'business' outside. He still followed me around and I couldn't even go to the bathroom without him seeking me out in a matter of seconds. He just seemed content to be near us.

He was very hard to look at, though. His posture was affected terribly and he cocked his head to one side. He had trouble walking through doorways, not being able to effectively determine depth and distance. His left eye even started to cloud over. In fact, his whole left side seemed to be shutting down.

Even still, he would also have some good days. He had days where he actually seemed to be starting to recover. His left side wouldn't droop as much and he even appeared to have more energy. He never seemed too uncomfortable or even sad. I just hate the idea of 'playing God' with a life like this. Some of you may not know this, but I used to work in a pet store that sold reptiles. I had no problem killing an animal to feed to another one. The animal had a purpose and it didn't bother me to end its life myself. It's all just a part of the food chain. After all, I eat meat. While I've never actually killed a cow with my own two hands, I still love a good burger or steak. That sort of thing has always been very 'black and white' for me.

Hogan, however, is a grey area. He's my dog. He's old. He's smart. He's dumb. He's a real pain in the ass, and he just gets worse everyday. But he didn't seem to actually be suffering, so long as made him feel safe and comfortable. He's only been an 'inside dog' a little more than a year now. He was always outside with the other dog we had. While he picked up on the idea of being inside and knowing his place in the house very quickly, he has become more work lately. But, I couldn't stand the thought of having him put to sleep simply because he was a burden on us. Because he was hard to look at. His life has more meaning than that, at least it does to us.

Last night, Hogan took a turn for the worse. He woke up from a nap at about midnight, sounding like he was maybe about to throw up. I raced to the back door to try to get him outside, which is always my first instinct when an animal makes that wretched sound. He stood up, as if he were to follow my directions. However, nothing came out of his mouth and he suddenly fell to his side. It was then that he appeared to be convulsing.

David, who had been napping in the recliner, jumped up and we both got in the floor with Hogan. We both stayed there for a good two hours, just reassuring him and petting him. He was calm, but his muscles seemed to have other ideas.

His breathing would get very labored, so much so that David and I would both say that we thought maybe this was 'it' for him. After a moment or two more, he would breathe again. I stared at him, caught between feeling sad that he was going and mad that he wasn't actually gone yet. I don't like seeing him like this. David finally went to bed at around 2:30 or so. I slept on the couch, while Hogan dozed in the floor right next to me. I am running on about three hours of uncomfortable sleep, and Hogan is still with us. However, he can no longer stand up. He has tried a couple of times and his back legs don't seem to want to work anymore. He can lift the front half of his body and reposition himself, but the back half pretty much wants to stay where it is. He pretty much just naps quietly right now.

I called the vet and we have an appointment to have him euthanized at 3:30 today. I will be with him when it happens. I didn't want to have to take him in because he always gets so nervous when I take him to the vet. I don't want his last moments to be in fear. But, he cannot go on like this any longer. The quality of is life has shifted dramatically in the last twelve hours. I have no doubts that today needs to be the day. The vet did tell me that we would just *know* when the time is right. And I know.

I'm not sure if he knew what was going on, but he was acting differently yesterday. He even chased the Schwan's guy away as he walked to his truck. He didn't bark or bare his teeth. He just followed that guy with his snout practically resting on the back of his leg with every step. He was just making his presence known, as he always does when I'm home alone with the girls and a man comes to the door. Even if he practically knows the guy. That's Hogan. He even got something off the kitchen table. I wouldn't have thought that a dog with very little control over half his body would be able to manage something like that. But, he did it yesterday.

Well, I have a school program to go to tonight, a cookie exchange being hosted by a friend, and I still need to bake the cookies for it. And in between it all, I have to get Hogan to the vet at 3:30 to be put down.

When it rains, it pours. And it's definitely raining right now.

December 14, 2007

Follow Up to Last Night's Survey...

I posted a survey about my home last night and a question came up from from REENblack. She asked me why I wrap my pictures on the walls.

The answer:


It makes the whole house look even more festive and it's pretty cheap, actually! I buy all of my wrapping picture the day after Christmas and keep too much of it on hand to begin with!
As much as I'd like to take credit for this idea, I actually stole it from my neighbor! I'm not really sure where she got it from.

December 13, 2007

Home Survey Thingy

My house, at least what I'll show to YOU!!!

I snagged this from SJSFalter and thought I’d give it a shot! (Yeah, too busy to be creative these days!)


1.) When you walk in your front door, which room do you enter? The living room

2.)Do you have a dishwasher? Yes

3.) Is your living room carpeted or does it have hardwood floors? Carpeted, but with tile at both entry ways.

4.) Do you keep your kitchen knives on the counter or in a drawer? I have a sneaky toddler, so most of them go in the butcher block which is currently located on top of the fridge.

5.) House, apartment, duplex or trailer? A poorly designed should see my kitchen!

6.) How many bedrooms is it? Three

7.) Gas stove or electric? Electric

8.) Do you have a yard? Yup, and then some!

9.) What size TV is in the living room? I think it’s like 60”…but’s it’s older than it should be for a projection TV and could go out at any minute!

10.) Are your plates in the same cupboard as your cups? No

11.) Is there a coffee maker sitting on your kitchen counter? Is a frog’s ass water tight? Ummmm…yeah.

12.) I just realized #12 is missing!

13.) What room is your computer in? The living room

14.) Are there pictures hanging in your living room? Yes, and they are wrapped right now for Christmas

15.) Are there any themes found in your home? There used to be, but my fanatic nature and needing everything matching got the better of me and I couldn’t handle the pressure of keeping it all together. Technically, 11YO and 4YO’s room is done in Hello Kitty, but that kitty cat is on her way out. They are getting their rooms redone and moving around after the holidays. I’m going to be very anti-theme after that because the girls change their minds too often. Yes, they are women in training!

16.) What kind of laundry detergent do you use? Tide

17.) Do you use dryer sheets? Yes, the lavender vanilla ones!

18.) Do you have any curtains in your home? Yes, but they are with the blinds because I am a vampire and do not like direct sunlight in my house!

19.) What color is your fridge? Almond, or the color of fingerprints. Depends on the day...

20.) Is your house clean? Never all at the SAME TIME!!! It’s sort of like running on a treadmill…you can work your ass off but you never really get anywhere! So, isn't it just easier to plant my butt in front of the computer instead? That's what I thought!

21.) What room is the most neglected? Probably my bathroom, because David and I are the only ones who use it. It’s usually toward the end of my ‘to-do list’ and gets kicked off said list quite often. Plus, it’s not like a lot happens in there!

22.) Are the dishes in your sink/dishwasher clean or dirty? Dirty.

23.) How long have you lived in your home? Almost 6 years

24.) Where did you live before? With my parents. I had just moved back to save money.

25.) Do you have one of those fluffy toilet lid covers on your toilet? Seriously?! UGH! NOOOOO!!! (And if I did, I wouldn’t’ admit it!)

26.) Do you have a scale anywhere in your house? YUP! It’s in my bathroom so I can pee and see how much weight I lost! TMI? You’re welcome!

27.) How many mirrors are in your house? Ummm, let’s see….one in each bathroom and one in the dresser in our room. Soooo, I guess my answer would be THREEEEE!!!

28.) Look up. What do you see? The new a/c vent we had installed this past summer. It blows the hot air right on me when I sit in front of my computer and I LOVE IT!

29.) Do you have a garage? Not attached to the house, but we had a big shop built in the back to make up for it. David knocked the garage out in exchange for a bigger living room.

30.) How many bathrooms? Two

December 12, 2007

Letter to a Stranger

Dear Creepy Man at Applebees,

You honestly seemed like a nice guy. When my 1YO daughter put her hand on you, she may have even thought you were her dad. After all, you and my husband were sitting back-to-back, as you were in the booth next to ours. Your plaid flannel shirt and hearty laugh might have also been what drew my daughter to you. The fact that she touched the pocket of your pants is funny. David even made a joke about her 'going for the wallet next time.' And you laughed. You told us it didn't bother you at all and you know how little kids are. We all laughed and were about to get back to our own conversations.

But, why did you then have to tell my ONE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER to "call you when she's 20???" You didn't even try to explain the comment...and we weren't about to ask. That is just strange, any way you look at it. I had to fight my instinct to take my daughter as far away from you as possible. But, that would have meant skipping out on the check. You left shortly after that, even though the rest of your party remained. Did you realize what you said may have come off as a tad bit creepy? I hope so.

A Mother Who Will Watch Her Girls a Little More Closely Because of You

December 7, 2007

He ain't no dummy!

We have always kept Hogan's food and water just a few steps across the yard under a small patio. This has never been a problem for him and his food has always been kept dry, except for when the girls are playing in the water out there!

It's been raining the last couple of days and the weather is colder, so I have had his water bowl moved closer to the house. The food would not stay dry this close to the house. Plus, if you've ever seen a Boxer eat or drink you know that they leave a puddle or a pile of slobbery crumbs all around their bowl due to the shape of their snout. It's not fun to keep those kinds of things in the house, especially with small and curious children and tile that's slippery when wet!

So, his water is now kept just outside the back door. At 3:00 in the morning, he woke me to let him outside. I thought he just had to go to the bathroom, but he must have mostly been thirsty. I opened the back door for him and he proceded to bend his neck around the doorway and drink a large amount of water without actually stepping outside.

He's certainly not stupid!

When he was done with his drinking, he did manage to step those few feet away to pee in the closest possible patch of grass to the door. He gave me a look that told me there was no way in hell I should close him outside. Boxers are great in the way you can read their facial expressions.

He did the same thing this morning and I managed to get a picture. It is wet and muddy outside and you can see, just to the left of him, where he has chewed the doorway trying to get back in while we were gone. He started that behavior long before the weather was bad. He just hates to be locked out.

It's becoming more and more difficult to leave the house. He panicks when locked outside and will tear through whatever he can to try to get back in. Those wrought iron chairs are protecting our back door from further damage, since he has already ripped the screens and bent their frames up. I can't leave him in the house, as he needs to have access to the outside to relieve himself at any given time. He is okay for awhile, safe behind the chain link fence. I guess I will have to put another blanket in the outside shed for him lie on while we are gone. During the day, it doesn't get below the 50's...but that's still pretty chilly for my poor old man! When the sun is out and the kids are playing in the yard, you can find Hogan stretched out in the grass, soaking up the sun's warmth.

Like I said, he ain't no dummy!

December 6, 2007

Some Random Facts about Memememememememeeeeeeeeee.....

Here's a little snippet I snagged from SJSFalter. I guess I really haven't done that much in my life! All of the things that I have actually done are in bold type.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (Does a hill count?)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula (I’ve even owned a couple as pets…’Rosie’ and ‘Quentin Tarantooola!’)
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (So long as college football counts!)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (FUNERAL…yeah, it was bad…)
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn't care who was looking (But only with Jose Cuervo as my dancing partner!)
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an "expert"
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house (as long as refinancing one counts!)
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (I'm still in the process!)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds (Unless you count my last break-up!)
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

December 5, 2007

Passing the Cheer in Random Little Ways

I needed to run to the bank yesterday.

Now, I certainly cannot speak for everyone on this, but it doesn't quite feel like 'the holidays' until you've had to stand in line at the bank at ten minutes to five with three kids in tow, 20 people in front of you and three tellers' windows actually open. If it weren't for the soothing Christmas music and the lights (and the fact that the line still moved pretty quickly!) I might have pulled my hair out. Surprisingly, this was not one of my most stressful trips to the bank!

I finished my transaction and my kids and I headed back to the car. The parking spot to the right of my car is empty. As we're getting in and all buckled and everything, a large truck pulls into the spot. The woman is on her cell phone and opens the door of her truck rather right away. By this point, we were all buckled in and I had started the engine. Given the location and time of day, I was already dreading the amount of concentration it was going to take to back my gas hog out of this space. The woman sat in her truck and talked on her cell phone while her door continued to stay open. It was open so wide that I would not be able to back out without at least our mirrors knocking into one another. And she didn't even seem to notice me.

I sat and grumbled to myself. "If this lady doesn't make up her mind or close her door, we can't back out." My doors were all closed and my windows were up. I wasn't even looking in her direction at all, so there was no way for her to see that I was talking about her. On the wrong day, I might have tried to get her attention by staring her down so she knew what an inconvenience she was causing. Not yesterday.

Within a few seconds of my comment, she got out of her truck. Whew! She then walked straight back to a car that that was pulling up behind me. I thought that maybe that was who she had been talking to on the phone and was worried that she would try to continue her conversation while that car blocked me in. After a brief interaction with that car, it drove out of the parking lot. She then walked to the other side of the back of my car and proceded to direct traffic so that I could back out. I was beginning to think that was what she might be doing, but did not know for sure until she knocked on my back window and motioned that it was safe for me to back out.


At that moment, peace was restored. The little inconvenience I might have suffered because of her paled in comparison to the way she helped me get out of that awful parking lot. Just as soon as I had backed out safely, she was inside the bank. I didn't even get the chance to thank her for the help, but that probably isn't the reason she did it to begin with.

You know, I watch the news and even walk through the dreaded mall and I get very discouraged by what I see. It's easy to get discouraged in people this time of year. Everyone has their own agenda and, therefore, everyone else is just in their way. I've felt that way myself. On the wrong day, I am one of the people that irk me.

This woman may not know it, but she restored my faith in the human race, if even just a little. She also has me wondering what random way I can help someone else out to make their day a little better.

If you ever go to Starbucks, you'll know just what I'm talking about when I say,

"Pass the Cheer!"

December 4, 2007

Quality of Life

Exactly what determines having a good quality of life?
I am asking myself this question on a fairly regular basis lately. For one, I stay at home with three kids. Basically, my life isn't the epitome of excitement in the eyes of most people. Unless, that is, you consider having your foot peed on by a toddler exciting. Another reason I often think about quality of life is because of my dog, Hogan. He's nearing 13 years of age now. Yes, those are human years I'm counting. Most Boxers are expected to live 11-14 years, from what I gather. However, many Boxers are extremely susceptible to cancer and bone diseases and all sorts of other health issues. Boxers with those afflictions aren't expected to surpass 5-7 years of age. Hogan has a condition called gingival hyperplasia as well as skin tags and bumps all over his body. Since he is already the ripe old age of 12 or so, a part of me feels that he is already livng on borrowed time.
I called a vet out the first time I noticed his gum condition. The vet gave him some medication that could possibly shrink his gums. At the time, Hogan was about 7 or 8 years old. Even at that age, the vet thought it might make him suffer more to try to remove the excess gum tissue growing over his teeth. Since it didn't seem to affect him in any other way besides looking really nasty, he thought it best we just leave it alone if the medication didn't work. The course of medication made no difference in the condition of his gums, but so long as he had a good appetite and his weight appeared to stay the same it was best to leave well enough alone. We have never fed Hogan anything but dry dog food, with the excetion of the occasional table scraps or hot dogs. Sliced hot dogs are the best way to give him pills, as he sits and catches them in his mouth and gobbles them down before he even has the chance to chew them.
Recently, Hogan has started to get thinner. His eyes remain as clear as day, but his left eyelid has began to sag a little. I think he may have had a little stroke or something. He still gets around just fine and follows me everywhere. He is still patient with the kids (or as patient as any animal can be with my children!) and his appetite is still good. We still only feed him dry food and his very large gums still appear to be pink and healthy. He continues have control over his bladder and bowels...during the day. I used to complain that he was waking me up every hour or two all night long to let him outside. Now, he rarely wakes me. Instead, his blanket he sleeps on begins to smell of urine after a day or two and gets laundered quite often. His body stinks and bathing doesn't seem to help. Plus, the weather is cooling down now and I don't want to get completely wet for fear of him getting chilled. He's an inside dog now, but I put him outside during the day when I leave the house.
For Hogan, I'm afraid the end is near.
The last time we were at the vet, they felt the same way I did. He most likely has cancer somewhere on his body, if not everywhere. He's so old that there's no real point in trying to treat something that doesn't actually bother him. He still seems to be comfortable. He isn't grouchy and doesn't whimper or anything. He still eats his dry food just fine and circles the table looking for fallen food when the kids are eating. He follows 1YO around a lot because most toddlers leave a trail of Goldfish Crackers or something wherever they go and mine is no exception. Hogan looooooves Goldfish Crackers.
It's hard to see his health decline this way. It's a slow process and I find myself making little lists of 'pros and cons' every single day, trying to look at it from his perspective. But, I'm still not sure I'll know where to draw the line. How bad do I let him get before I take him to be put down? I don't want to have to 'play God' and make that decision. But, I don't want him to suffer, either. What I want is for him to go to sleep and just die peacefully, before he gets any worse. I want God and his body to decide when he's had enough. I don't like the picture I have in my head of me taking him into the vet to be put down. He always gets nervous and shaky at the vet, and I don't necessarily want him to have to be scared his last moments of life.
I hate this.
I guess real 'quality of life' is a matter of perspective. I consider my own life to be a pretty good one, while I know that others may be miserable in my current living situation. Some have it worse, some have it better.
Have you seen that credit card commercial singing My Favorite Things while living out her life's dreams. She's fencing, diving off cliffs, and obviously doing a lot of traveling in order to 'make the most of her life' or some crap like that. That's not what I consider to be living life the the fullest. Personally, my life is full in its own way right now. Others may need to jump out of a plane or do something extreme do feel like they're really living.
I only need to look around my own life to know what my version of living is:

These are a few my my favorite things....

December 3, 2007

There once was a man from Nantucket...

Well, that got your attention, now didn't it?
This is 4YO. She's wearing her sister's dress. She even put on lip gloss and 'did' her hair and was begging for me to take her picture.

I am finding it harder and harder to post worthwhile things here. I have a blog at and a journal at Weight Loss Wars and I post to them almost every day. However, I pretty much ramble about my kids and stuff at my Multiply page and I ramble on about my obsession with food at Weight Loss Wars, so I wanted to do something different here.

I'm beginning to think that maybe I don't have any other facets to my life!

Is this it for me? I have food issues and a family. My life, in a nutshell! I guess it's not so bad. I've always thought myself to be a pretty happy person. Maybe this is all I need. Maybe that is true, maybe that's what I just need to keep telling myself.

What I do know is that life grows and changes so quickly and what may seem monotonous and tedious right now will probably be missed when it's gone. We can't really say how bad today is until we've gotten to tomorrow. I'm at the point in my life right now where I seem to have very little control over how clean my house gets (and stays) or how focused I can become on any one thing. I cannot commit to much because I have to be able to drop whatever I'm doing to go rescuse 4YO because she just fell off the bathrrom counter or get 1YO out of the dishwasher before she goes for the knives. Again. But that will change. The kids will get older and more reasonable. Then, they will get even older and less reasonable again. I can only imagine the ups and downs we will deal with. The kids who are ALWAYS AROUND right now will soon turn into the teenagers that have better things to do than stay home with boring old Mom and Dad. I should just be grateful that I can tell you where my kids are and what they are doing right now.

I am pretty focused on my home right now. A few years from now, that may not be the case. As of now I have a great sense of pride in myself for the fact that I am done with my Christmas cards and they are in the mail. Today. I have a little over half of my shopping done. What I've bought is wrapped and under the tree. I'm trying to see who will actually unwrap a present first: 1Yo or Soccer. It's anybody's guess at this point! I've even already bought David's birthday present, since his birthday is just a few days before Christmas. 1YO's birthday is a few days after Christmas, but we'll see how Christmas goes and what all she gets before I buy her any presents for her birthday. I've even lost about 15 pounds since the end of October.

I feel pretty good right now. Life's good, kids are good....doesn't make for very interesting material though, does it? it's just taken me more than an hour to type this small entry, due to all the kidderuptions. The trouble-maker is now down for a nap and my laundry basket runneth over.

Yup, life is the way it should be....for now.