Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankfulness list

This morning, feeling thankful for:
  • The Alpha. Amazing guy. SuperHusband, though many don't recognize it because he doesn't wear his cape.
  • The Boy and Tuesday. Such cute dogs. Such good dogs. So darn loveable.
  • People who feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. The list of helpers for Food Share in this week's church newsletter was enormous. And up north, where being homeless this time of year is life-threatening, a friend who is working her tail off being an advocate for them.
  • My job, and the relationships it's brought.
  • My extended family, even when I let myself become frustrated with them.
  • My in-laws, who are wonderful.
  • Friendships.
  • A car that runs, a body that does what my brain tells it to do, a house that's safe and comfortable and that we can afford.
  • Music, and the role it plays in my life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sister update

I realized I forgot to blog that my sister got to go home from the hospital! She's been home a little more than a week now. MS still sucks; she's still in a wheelchair; but her home is far more accessible now to accommodate that, and just being out of the hospital takes the stress level way down.

She can do a few steps here and there with a walker; she can transfer herself in and out of the chair; but with the level and number of exacerbations she had, walking just won't come back very easily. Yet, when I talked to our dad this afternoon, I got the distinct impression that he's surprised she still can't really walk, now that she's out of the hospital and all.

Soapbox moment: Folks, if someone you know has MS, do everything you can to learn about it. It's a wacky, frustrating disease, and it can affect people in all kinds of different ways. Do some research. You. have. the. Internet! Makes it really easy to learn about stuff like that.

Once you've learned a little, do something. Go on an MS Walk. If you're more athletic, do something more ambitious, like an MS 150 bike ride. And if you're not athletic, but your brother-in-law is, and he does one and asks you for a donation, make a ****ing donation this time, m'kay? Researchers are making headway, but they need funding to keep going. And we know you can afford it, so I'm going to ride you as hard about it this year as my husband rides that bike.

Photo: All the cousins of my generation who were present at my nephew's wedding. The one who is sitting down is in her wheelchair, on a 3-hour pass from the hospital. Sure, she looks good, but she can't walk. And only one other person in this picture has really tried to understand why.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blog Gender Analyzer

According to, there's a 61% chance that my blog is written by a man.

Funny, as the only "man" who has blogged here has been The Boy.

Maybe it's because I don't like to shop? I do like to think that I defy certain gender stereotypes, but then there are moments when I utter phrases such as "I found it on the clearance rack," or "I just love that shampoo," or even "It's been too long since I've exfoliated."

On the other side of it, when my sis-in-law complained about the hot glue gun ruining her manicure before nephew's wedding a couple of weeks back, I replied with, "Easy solution: Don't get a manicure and it won't get ruined."

I'm thinking I'll publish this post and see what it does to my gender percentage. But before I go: pretty dresses, lace, dolls, frills, pink, really pink, cuteness, pedicure, shopping, shopping, clothes, heels, candles, baking, chick flick, purse, makeup.

Updated to add: Ha! This post brought it down to 56% likelihood of being written by a man. Stereotypes are interesting.

Glory Be!

Five years ago at this time of year, she was anticipating the birth of a long-awaited child.

Two years ago next month, there was a trip to the ER and a shocking diagnosis.

Last year at this time, complete remission.

Last week, I was privileged to be part of a group that prayed over her... for strength, for courage, for healing.

This week, she made the call: hospice.

I keep thinking, "Glory be!"

You can see those words on her stole in this picture.
Words she lives by.

But I'm not feeling them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Five: Remembrance

Over at RevGals, Sophia writes: Earlier this week the U.S. celebrated Veterans' Day, known in many other countries as Remembrance Day. At this time last year I was commuting to a postdoc in Canada, and I was moved by the many red poppies that showed up there on people's lapels in honor of the observance. Unlike a flag lapel pin, which to me has political connotations and implies approval of our current war, the poppies simply honor the sacrifice and dedication of those who have followed their consciences by serving--sometimes dying--in the military.This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day.

1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day?
We write names of the saints on cards that are laid in a basket on the altar, and we toll a handbell and carry bell banners whose bells were given in memory of individuals.

2. How about Veterans' Day?
Just prayers and such.

3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break?

4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces?
My father was career military, and is still around to thank. My brother-in-law is currently preparing to come back from his second tour in Iraq, and we continue to pray for the safety of all those serving.

5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on?
I love cemeteries. Not quite like SpookyRach loves cemeteries, but close. I still visit my mom's grave when I have free time in my hometown (which isn't often). Last month, for the first time, I visited the grave of the brother I never met. And my girl's ashes are still in their box and velour bag on the mantle in the living room. It doesn't feel right to scatter them, at least not now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Always just a bit behind.

I did most of my Day 1 Disciple reading yesterday, but haven't done any of today's, and I'm about to go to bed without doing it. I feel very little remorse over this fact.

Today I called to make an appointment at the place where I have a monthly massage membership, and discovered I've stacked up five pre-paid massages that need to be used. Apparently, I find it very inconvenient to be good to myself.

There's been a hole in the sleeve of my leather jacket for more than two years now. No point at all in getting a new jacket, and I saved the piece that tore off, but have I taken the durn in for repair? Nope. Maybe tomorrow.

I really need to select a couple of Advent- or Christmas-themed lead vocal options for a certain Sunday a month from now in which worship is all music, no preaching. Have I listened to anything new, or even anything old, in the Christmas department? Nope. I think I'm in some sort of denial about what month is next.

But hey! My sister is supposed to get to go home tomorrow! She's been in the hospital three and a half weeks. (Stupid MS.)

And I'm sure there's something else about which to blog, but it'll come to mind a bit behind the other stuff, I'm sure.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Clump o' updates

The wedding went well and was lovely (remember working in a flower shop? yeah, we need you to tie some bows and hot-glue some stuff); the sister is still in the hospital, but we got her out on a 3-hour pass to see nephew get hitched; I passed the time with her Friday afternoon, including being the only non-wheelchair-bound person participating in the physical therapy class; niece was a gorgeous bridesmaid, and it was very nice to spend some extra time with her and not-yet-officially-future-nephew-in-law; met my maid of honor's fiance, and am now looking forward to being in that wedding; came home to two happy dogs, one of whom seems to have gained some weight (eating bunnies?); had a computer breakdown at home, days before departure, and am blogging on an 8-year-old laptop that has no business still working and is starting to smell like it's getting a little too hot, so I'd better wrap this up.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tagged: Seven Random Things

Melissa tagged me back on Wednesday for the Seven Random Things meme... here we go:

Here are the rules:
Post the rules on your blog.
Write 7 random things about yourself.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post. Pass on the tag.

1. I won't get to meet my maid of honor's boyfriend this weekend after all -- because he's not her boyfriend anymore. He's now her fiancee! Way cool!

2. I'm standing at my kitchen counter blogging this, because I know I'm going to have to sit down for at least 7 hours today.

3. Tonight I'll be at the site of my first job (where I refilled tea and water and bussed tables) for my nephew's rehearsal dinner.

4. I'm going to miss my dogs all weekend, but they will be properly spoiled by a dear friend who is moving in with them until Sunday. I've never boarded a dog at a kennel.

5. My personal email account is currently using up 57% of the available storage space. And this is after weeding things out a little. I am an email pack-rat.

6. I'm not sure where I'm spending Saturday night.

7. I still need to pack and change the sheets on our bed for our dogsitter.

Not tagging anyone because I'm pretty sure I'm the last person to have played this, but if you do decide to play, let me know!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Yesterday, when I called my sister's hospital room to check in on her, I chatted with my brother-in-law because she was busy. She was completing her absentee ballot and putting it in the envelope so he could return it to the courthouse.

I don't think I can adequately convey how glad I am that she got to do that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

This dog comes pre-spoiled for your convenience.

Tuesday the New Dog got a special treat tonight.

She got my lunch.

And The Alpha's lunch.

Beans and rice, homemade in a big batch by The Alpha, divided up into containers to carry to work, and cooling on the counter before the lids were to go on.

We're lucky Tuesday didn't get Wednesday's lunch, too. (Two containers were positioned further back on the counter.)

We are so not used to a dog tall enough, and with good enough hips, to do that.

This episode, combined with other brash kitchen behavior, leads us to guess that she may have been just a little spoiled with people food in her mysterious past. She lost 5 pounds in the 3 months of living at the vet's office, and she could still stand to shed a couple more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dots of the weekend

  • Halloween night was The Alpha's time to shine. He dressed as a gravedigger to go with the cemetery theme of the front yard, and had a ball freaking out trick-or-treaters. I wish I had video, but it was too dark. Photo at right was taken at dusk, which allowed for clarity, but doesn't convey the full effect. (Click to enlarge.)
  • The Boy is still learning to cope with new dog Tuesday's presence. Slowly, but surely. (He has no choice.)
  • Concert went pretty well. Within the band, we noticed every single mistake, but it was obvious that others didn't. And from what I've gathered, my rendition of "Shut Up and Kiss Me" while flirting with The Alpha (strategically positioned in the front row) was a crowd favorite.
  • At least two people who attended the concert because they saw our neighborhood publicity also came to worship with us the next morning. Outreach goal accomplished!
  • My sister is still in the hospital. It's Day 13. She had a setback on Day 11. My other two siblings have yet to visit her, and one has yet to even call her (they live 20 minutes and 1 hour away by car, respectively, as opposed to my five hours). I left Sibling #2 a message giving him the hospital room phone number yesterday. I wonder if either of them reads this blog? I'm easily Googled.
  • Our oldest nephew is getting married this weekend. I hope my sister can get wheeled out of the hospital for it, even for just a couple of hours. (And maybe the numbskulls will finally realize what MS does if they see her when she's not in a "but you don't look sick" stage.)
  • We're still mystified as to why Tuesday's former owner let go of her. (Death? Foreclosure? I half-wish somebody had left a note...) She's well-trained, and has obviously been well-loved: we had to manage her expectation that she would be allowed to sleep on our bed, for starters. And last night, when I got the box of Frosty Paws out of the freezer for the first time since she's lived here, it was clear from her reaction that she knew what they were and she'd had them before.
  • (This just in...) I like parentheses.