Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Year, New Hope

The New Year is fast upon us. 

The Old Year wheezing along... the death rattle ringing in our ears...

We choose to ignore it, our eyes locked on the celebratory promise of what the New Year holds instead.

As 2006 ends, two deaths stand out; their lives in absolute contradiction to me.

Former President Gerald Ford, a beloved icon of our country and Saddam Hussein, former tryrannical, murderous dictator of Iraq.

As Ford took the oath of office he represented a new hope, and set about the task of healing the broken image of the Presidential office itself, and that of our whole political machine. 

Ford knew, before we as Americans knew, that what we needed most in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam was forgiveness.  He pardoned the draft dodgers, and more importantly he pardoned former President Nixon.  He shouldered the controversy of those actions alone for many years, until as he knew it would, public opinion changed and realized how courageous he was on our behalf.  As the sands of time have flowed, the respect and honor given to Ford has increased exponentially.

On a personal note, I remember Ford as the smiling, kind President.  Nixon always seemed so serious and intimidating, and Ford was so much more open and accessible in appearance and demeanor to me as a nine year old in 1974.  In 1975 and 1976 as the Bicentennial approached, I could not have imagined a better man leading those many celebrations than President Gerald Ford.

Rest in Peace, you will be missed and remembered fondly and well, dear Sir.

Now, onto the death of a vile man, who put a face to evil in the arab world for three decades, Saddam Hussein.  Yes, Osama bin Laden joined him as an evil twin in 2001, but prior to that, and up until being deposed in 2003, Hussein certainly wore that mantle as well.

In 1987-1988 the man killed approximately 160,000 Kurds under his rule, just because he could.  Although his trial was for the specific crime of killing 148 Shiite Muslims from Dujail, all of his victims and victims families, varied and many as they are since his reign of terror began in 1979, should derive satisfaction from the justice of Hussein's execution.

Prior to the Baath Regime, Sunni's, Shiites and Kurds were all able to live together in relative peace.  It is my ferverent hope that their new coalition government will be able to find a way for all to live in democratic peace.

Prime Minister al-Jaafari would do well to take a page from President Ford's book.  Maybe he will find some inspiration there to help his people to heal, to turn their backs on violence, and turn toward peace and prosperity in our ever shrinking world.

I don't often expound on political topics; I hope I haven't offended anyone.

be well,

Bowling, Shopping, Eating, Reading and Resting

My title for this entry basically gives you my entire week update!  lol

Yesterday, we all went bowling!  It was so much fun!  My hands hurt a bit, so I used a lighter ball and that worked for me.

We shopped earlier in the week and got lots of books to read while we rest and eat!  lol  Actually, we have run out a few times for breakfast or dinner and it has been a really nice week.

I love when Hubby is home for vacation! :-D

One thing I will never do again is delay my Orencia IV for my rheumatoid arthritis by two weeks.  If I am sick and need to delay for one week... okay, but this 2 week thing is really sucking now at the one week and three days late mark!  My hands are swollen and sore, my right knee hurts and both elbows are screaming!  I have to make it all the way until Thursday, Jan 4th!!!  Arghhhhhh!

But, I am still smiling!  I love this time of year!  The kids are relaxed, we are relaxed, it is so nice!

Tomorrow night is New Years Eve!  We are having two families over for snacky food and desserts and great conversation!  The kids play video games and card games and all us grown ups gab and eat the night away!  We will have a champagne toast at midnight (sparkling cider for the kids) and watch the ball drop.

New Years Day we will rest and have a jammie day!

Hope you and yours have been having a happy holiday season!  I will be back with one more entry... a more serious one tomorrow.

be well,

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Meme from Dan

Found this over at  Dan 's journal... And Paul did it too!

I think everyone should try!

And, I completed this last night in my test journal, so the answers were correct then... last night!


1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
    "Damn. I need to put my hair in a ponytail but my hands hurt."

2. How much cash do you have on you?

    $2, which I found tonight in my coat. 

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?

4. Favorite planet?
    Venus, goddess of love thing and all that.  Then, Pluto.  I don't care WHAT they all say now... it will always be a planet to me.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
    My kids' orthodontist office.

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
    AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long, and vibrate

7. What shirt are you wearing?
    My hubby's burgundy three button henley thermal shirt from Eddie Bauer.  I love stealing his shirts and thankfully, he likes seeing me in them!

8. Do you label yourself?
    I hate labels.  Period.

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?
    Merrells.  The best shoes ever for people who have feet problems or arthritis type issues like me!

10. Bright or Dark Room?
    Candlelit.  I have to go with Dan on this... Candlelight would be fave.  Followed by bright for reading. 

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
    Dan rocks.  I wish he lived nearby so I could hook him up on some dates!  lol

12. What does your watch look like?
    Dan and Paul totally didn't get this question, but I do.  Mine is a Fossil, silver, bracelet style with an oval mother of pearl face.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
    I was reading!

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
    My hubby sent me a few text messages during my daughter's dance recital rehearsal in June.  Since my kids read this journal, as well as my mom, I would rather not repeat them here.  Let's just say he was being suggestive, in a demanding and funny way.

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?
    Make a right 4 blocks down the main road, then take the second left and it will be on your right half a mile down the road when it t's at the intersection.

16. What’s a word that you say a lot?

17. Who told you he/she loved you last?
    My hubby!

18. Last furry thing you touched?
    My hubby!  No, actually it was the dog, just now as I let her out!

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
    None that weren't prescribed.  Ditto Dan.

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?

21. Favorite age you have been so far?
    26... I turned it on my honeymoon, found out I was pregnant 2 weeks later, and had my first son later that year!

22. Your worst enemy?
    Rheumatoid Arthritis/Lupus

23. What is your current desktop picture?
    It's the Constructicon picture above, rhapsodizing about coffee.

24. What was the last thing you said to someone?
     'Go pee pees and poopies!' To the dog.  Yes, we have to tell her or sometimes she gets distracted by other animals, leaves, cars etc.  Hey, she's a yellow lab... it's just how they are.

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
    I think with a million bucks I could take a lot flights.  So, gimme the cash.  Ditto Dan.

26. Do you like someone?
    Many people, actually!

27. The last song you listened to?
    "Kryptonite" by Three Doors Down

28. What time of day were you born?
    At 2:28 pm on Monday, November 22nd, 1965.  Dammit.

29. What’s your favorite number?
    I have several... too hard to pick one.

30. Where did you live in 1997?

31. Are you jealous of anyone?

32. Is anyone jealous of you?
    Not that I am aware.

33. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
    Here, at home.

34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
    Put more money in or call a manager of the facility I am in. 

35. Do you consider yourself kind?
    Yes.  My hubby would say to a fault.

36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
    I would never 'have' to do so, but if I did 'choose' to do so, probably on the top of my foot.

37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?

38. Would you move for the person you loved?
    Yes, but I would hate it.

39. Are you touchy feely?

40. What’s your life motto?
    'Carpe Diem' (translated from latin: Seize the Day)

My second favorite life motto is 'Omnia Vincit Amor' also latin for 'Love conquers all'.

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times?

    I am usually at home, but if I am out, I always have, my cell phone so the kids' schools or my son that I homeschool can get me, my keys and my driver's license.

42. What’s your favourite town/city?
    New York City, baby.  Nothing like it in the whole wide world.

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
    Books at Border's.

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
    Do not remember.

45. Can you change the oil on a car?
     Oddly enough, yes, on older models/makes of cars.

46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
    I heard that he had a baby and is living with the mom.  Never been married, much to his mom's chagrin.

47. Howfar back do you know about your ancestry?
    My Aunt Deb has traced it back 4 generations prior to mine on my mom's side.  My dad's we only have 2.  My hubby's family has his mother's side traced back to them coming over here in the early 1700's.

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?
    I wore black velvet pants and top out to church and dinner on Christmas Eve.

49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?
    Pretty much everything hurts. Yeah, me too, Dan.

50. Have you been burned by love?
    Oh yeah.  Lots.  But, I have been rewarded a thousand times over by finding my soul mate, my wonderful hubby!

be well,



Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Ahhhh After Christmas

It is the 'Ahhhh' time.  The time when the hubbub is over, the shopping completed, gifts wrapped, gifts given, food cooked, food eaten, company came and company left time.

Christmas Eve began our family celebration.  The seven of us, my parents, the kids, Hubby and myself at 5:00 pm church and then to dinner in one of our favorite town restaurants. 

Once we get home we do all the gifts for the adults, ours for each other and from the kids that they bought themselves.  This year we added that the kids gave each other their gifts, also.

It was very nice!  Lots of sweet, thoughtful gifts, and gifts of things we each needed!  One of my favorites is a new coffee mug from the kids with 'Carpe Diem' across it in big black letters!  Perfect!  (In fact, I am drinking out of it right now!)

Christmas morning was the joy of Santa's arrival and the gifts for the kids from Santa, G-ma and G-pa and their parents.  Smiling faces everywhere... very nice.

Starting at 12:30 pm, family began to arrive and appetizers flowed.   We had 22 in all... a very nice sized crowd, adults and kids.  Appetizers were fruit platter, cheese and pepperoni platter, veggie platter, 2 kinds of deviled eggs,  jumbo shrimp cocktail, spinach dip, stuffed mushrooms and Mike's cheese and bacon bites!

Next, my mom's Rich French Onion Soup, a family fave.  Then, on to the 2 Roast Ducks a'la Orange, a Honey Baked Ham, and my Cheesy Baked Ziti, with my dad's homemade sauce.

Next, the desserts!  Coconut custard pie, chocolate cupcakes, brownies, homemade chocolate pudding and homemade whipped cream, and chocolate candies.  Of course, also lots of yummy coffee, in flavors and plain!  And, teas for the tea drinkers!

The house was cleared of people by 8:00pm and we had the remaining debris cleaned and bagged and out by 8:45pm.

Then, we hit the 'Ahhh' zone!  G-ma and G-pa had already retreated upstairs to their own 'Ahhh' zone after much cooking and cleaning, themselves.  I could never do it without them!

Hubby, the kids and myself, put on our jammies and snuggled into our family room under throw blankets, and watched some mindless tv, Deal or No Deal Christmas Special.  The dog and cats even rested with us.  The kids went to bed at 10pm and the hubby and I watched 1vs100 Christmas Special, and then we headed off to bed as well. 

We also revisited conversations from the day of visiting and remembered the joyful kiddie faces we shared during the day.

So far today has been a jammie day for all, everyone relaxing and reading or playing video games.  The 'Ahhh' zone is being enjoyed by all!  Aside from venturing out for a quick bite to eat at Fuddrucker's later, that is it for us today!

Tomorrow, we may hit a store or two for an exchange or a gift card purchase.  Everyone is home for vacation together and we are going to enjoy the lull until New Year's Eve!

I hope you and yours all had a wonderful family day like ours, because then I know that you are happy in your 'Ahhh' zone now, too.

be well,


Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays 2006

Happy Holidays to you and yours!  May 2007 be filled with health, wealth, and happiness! 

be well,

Thursday, December 21, 2006

About the graphics on my Journal

Please note that all of the graphics on my journals front page were made by the very talented   Dianna   .  

Unfortunately, starting in 2007, no tags will appear in my journal from  Dianna  .  Suffice it to say that because the graphics were not always appearing properly, either due to AOL or my inexperience, I received a very negative, hurtful email from  Dianna  who apparently assumed I did it deliberately and in a mean spirited way.  I don't know how or why she would assume this, as she and I have emailed many times, and she knew I tried my best to get the tags to work properly at all times, and also was always very complimentary of her work.  

Regardless, I have no need for such drama and attacks in my life, and starting in 2007, all tags will be from different artists.  Thank you.

be well,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hump Day...

Today is Hump Day!  Middle of the week...  and 5 days until Christmas.  However, that is actually only 4 because if you are not ready to go by the 24th, well, you are screwed.  In my world, anyhow.

So, here is the latest shakedown.  Pumpkin Muffin is back at school for two days and is much better.  Just has a teensy bit of a cough, that is a little worse in the am. 

Hammer is great, his cold gone and his chipper mood returned. 

Fuzzy... well, he didn't make it to school today either.  Yesterday, we saw the pediatric pulmonologist/allergist/immunologist who changed up all his meds.  We discontinued a bunch and slammed him with high doses on some other stuff.   Doc said he should be markedly improved today, Wednesday, and as Tuesday progressed into the evening, I did see improvement!  Yay.  It looks very good for school in the morning!

We return to above Doc on the 28th and Fuzzy will have a whole big round of allergy testing.  All good things.  He was due for a new workup.

I should be going for my monthly IV medicine in NYC in the morning, but I am not.  When I spoke with the RN's, and we talked about my cold and cough, they postponed me.  I rescheduled.  Hopefully, my rheumatoid arthritis will not flare or notice the delay at all.   Shhhhhhhhhhh........

I think now that the kids are on the mend, hopefully, Fuzzy too, I will be able to get some uninterrupted nights of sleep and be great for the weekend!  I am so excited!

I really have to start wrapping.  That will be the Wednesday plan!  Wish me luck! 

I also have to decide what to order from our local market for Christmas Day.  Nothing like the last minute, eh?  It somehow falls together each year and everyone has a blast, so, I am not worried!  Well, maybe a little...

be well,

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wow! A Whole Week has Gone By?

Wow!  I can't believe a whole week has gone by since I last made an entry!  Yikes!

It has been crazy.  Very busy trying to get all the holiday stuff done.

And, dealing with sick kids, and being sick myself.  Tuesday night, Pumpkin sang in her school Christmas Concert, and then during the night, spiked a fever of 101. 

Strep throat.  The poor thing was so miserable... couldn't eat normally until Friday.  Missed school for the rest of the week and she was not happy about that. 

Fuzzy made it through the school week, but starting Friday he began to relapse and the cough and congestion bloomed again.  He went right back down hill.

We saw the pediatrician this morning, who called a pediatric pulmonologist/allergist and got us in today at 1pm.  I will let you know how it goes, we are leaving to see him in about a half hour.

I still have my cold, too.  I got a little worse, got some antibiotics too, and now I feel like I am slowly mending.  I guess if the kids weren't sick, I would have been able to bounce back quicker, but, c'est la vie!

I only have 2 or 3 little loose ends to tie up with gifts for the holidays, and one package to send out. 

Exciting new, my wonderfully generous dad and mom, gave us a new couch and loveseat for our living room!  Our family room furniture was really falling apart at the seams, so we were able to ditch that, move the living room furniture into that room, and then put the new in the living room!   Thanks Mom and Dad! 

Well, gotta go, will check back in later....

be well,

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Meme - Try it!

I got this adorable Christmas themed meme from Julie over at Coelha Thoughts

I hope you will all give it a try...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping for the kids, and bags for anyone I can get away with!  Even with the kids we can do some easier wraps, like with cd's and video games, now that they are older.  I do like the cute little chinese food containers with holiday designs, too. 

It is hard with my hands to do all the wrapping.  It is the chore I like least related to Christmas.

2. Real tree or artificial?   Personally, I don't mind artificial at all, that is what I grew up with.  Hubby on the other hand, cannot do without a real tree.  Basically, if I give in on that, everything else goes my way the rest of the year. 

We only buy from tagged tree farms that plant 2 for each they chop, but we get the trees through a local nursery.   No different than eating a chicken for me. 

3. When do you put up the tree? Yesterday!  We have to wait for around December 7th-11th, since it is real.  However, usually all the other decorations are up, Thankgiving weekend.

This year, with Booga passing, it took until this weekend to get the house done.  Pics coming soon.

4. When do you take the tree down?  Usually the first weekend after New Years or the day after New Years.

5. Do you like eggnog? Love it!  Especially, a certain brand whose name I cannot remember right now because my brain isn't working thanks to a cold.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?  It is a toss up between the Easy Bake Oven, and my Dawn Dolls.  Anyone remember those?  They were miniature Barbie's with long blonde hair.  Since my name is Dawn, and I had long blonde hair, I must have had 2 dozen between my parents, relatives and friends.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, on top of my computer armoire. 

8. Hardest person to buy for? Usually, my parents are hard, but this year I had early epiphanies for both!  lol

9. Easiest person to buy for? The kids... they always have tons of things that they put on their lists.

10. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail.  I still have to take the picture, do the cute editing and graphics, and print the labels.  Ugh.  ThankGOD for self-sticking stamps.  Amen.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?  I would have to say an ugly wooden paper towel dispenser rack thing that my mother had some kind of seizure one year and bought for me thinking a) it was cute and b) that is was practical. 

I still shudder when I think of it.  ::: waving:::  Love you anyhow, Mom!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?  The 1930 something 'A Christmas Carol'  I love it, it is black and white and truly does the Dickens book justice.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? August, at the craft fair when we are in Wildwood Crest.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh yeah.  I am not ashamed to say it, and it was always successful!  One persons garbage is anothers treasure, as they say.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? The appetizers.  My cousin Karol is the appetizer queen and she makes a lot of good ones.  Her deviled eggs are to die for. 

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?  Colored on the tree indoors, clear icicles frame the house, and some bushes have clear, some mixed, and our garage doors are framed in solid red.

17. Favorite Christmas song(s)?  'White Christmas' by Bing Crosby.  It just 'is' Christmas to me. 

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We host everyone here at our house, and my parents started the tradition.  Everyone is invited, family and extended.  No one is ever turned away.  ;-D

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Of course, because...

'You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall, the mostFamous Reindeer of all.... Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer....'

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?  A lighted star.  My mom always had angels, and it just seemed wrong 'shoving the tree up her butt' as my dad used to say.  So, since I have been married, it has been a lighted star!!!  And, I think it fits the Christmas story better....

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We do the adults on Christmas Eve, kids in the am, for obvious reasons.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?  Having to wrap presents.  See the wrapping question above... lol

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?  The only theme is we like them.  We have 4 boxes filled to the brim with ornaments and we only use about 1/4.

We have ornaments that were my great-grandmother's and my grandmother's.  And, from my mom when she was growing up, and from her and my dad's first year of marriage.  Those all go up at the top, safe from kids and animals, and they go on every year.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?  Italian (lasagna, stuffed shells, ziti or manicotti) and spiral ham.  Usually, also minestrone soup.  Yum.


Our house has been battling illness since last Monday.  Fuzzy's head cold entered his chest and got the asthma screaming late Monday night, and has been out of school since last Tuesday.  He is going to go back tomorrow, after nebulizer treatments round the clock and being on the steroid for 5 days.  They will give him treatments at school, too, this week.

Pumpkin was the next to fall, Thursday, her cold going into a cough, too.  She missed school today, but should be in tomorrow, which is her choral performance day, too.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

Pumpkin has the ability to get everyone sick, almost.  So, now Hammer is miserable since yesterday, with an awful head cold.  He is never cranky and today... whoa, look out.  I know he is really feeling badly.   My dad and myself are now, also, the proud owners of a head cold.  I guess tomorrow, we will be cranky like Hammer.  Oh boy... fun! 

I don't care though.  My house is decorated, my tree is up and I LOVE this time of year!

be well,

Friday, December 8, 2006

It's Time!!!

It's time!  Time for you to pick out a recent entry from your journal that you would like to share with a wider audience for CarnivAOL !!!

So, come on... send Paul the email with your link, as per the side bar over at the CarnivAOL journal site!

Now, scoot... go do it!

be well,

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Dear Santa from Mom

** I have received this many times over the years in email... please feel free to copy yourself!

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season.

Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable?  It will clear my conscience immensely.  It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,

P.S. One more can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to

*Santa has asked that this gets passed on to all the mommies you know*

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

My Hamster Dilemma

Oh boy... what a week, last week.

As if dealing with the impending death of my Booga and helping the kids cope with the same, and then her actually passing wasn't enough, we had a hamster mishap.

I should say that I had a hamster mishap.

I feed the hamster usually right before I head into the bedroom at night to read.  Monday night, it was about 11:30pm, after the news, and I put in 2 yogurt chips and freshened up his dish of food.

I hadn't been sleeping well worrying about Booga, and I was kind of foggy headed I guess, because I did something I had never done.  I left Tweak's cage unfastened.  Our hamster is actually named Lightning, but Hubby and I renamed him Tweak after a South Park character who drank too much coffee and was very hyper.  Such is our hamster.

We have a glass fish tank with a metal grate style topper that hooks on with metal clips and has a bungee fastner with a hook for the lid.  Normally, this contains said hamster very well.

Apparently, Tweak is strong enough to push the metal grate lid up, when it is left unlocked, and crawl out.  And, apparently, hamsters can survive a four foot fall out of a cage!

The next evening, Fuzzy noticed the cage was open and we joked about Tweak trying to escape.  After the kids were in bed, I mentioned it to hubby, who asked if I did actually check the hamster house to see if the hamster was in it sleeping.

As I went to do so, I realized his food had not been touched.  I got a lump in my throat as I confirmed, no hamster was in the cage.

So, let me re-cap.  This was Tuesday evening.  Everyone had been summoned to the hospital earlier in the day for Booga.  Her passing was going to be at any time.  I fully expected a call that night.  The kids had also been prepared for that, and were quite besides themselves.

And, now, their beloved hamster has been out of the cage for 24 hours, and I, their mother, was responsible for it, and the odds of Tweak being ripped apart by either one of the two cats was increasing exponentially by the hour.

I was a wreck.  Hubby said to relax and watch tv with him and something would come to mind. 

Of course, he shortly fell asleep and was no damn help. 

In desperation, my mind pounced on a memory from long ago.  I used to go with my friend Fred to his family's country home.  His grandfather used to catch and drown mice that got into their pantry by filling a tall bucket halfway with water and then rubbing peanut butter around the rim about 2 inches down on the bucket.  The mice would try to get to the peanut butter and would slip in and drown.

Yes, I was horrified as a kid by it.  Fred's grandpa even used to hide it from me so he didn't have to hear me cry on the weekends that I visited.

Ok, back to my dilemma.  I figured that I could use this evil method for good.  I took a large pot, placed Tweak's food in the center bottom.  Then, I smeared on the peanut butter.  I even made him a ramp to climb up to get to the edge of the pot. 

Off to bed I went.  The cats were sleeping and didn't seem to know anything.  I locked the dog (using our gates) out of the area so she wouldn't eat the hamster food and lick off the peanut butter.

I couldn't sleep.  So, I read.  I was so anxious, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting to hopefully, save the hamster.  I ran out and checked the bucket about 3 times before 2am when I finally fell asleep.

At 4:30 am, Pumpkin Muffin came downstairs crying.  She had a bad dream, and then she started to think about Booga.  I steered her clear of the family room, comforted her, and settled her in with her dad on the day bed in our spare room, adjacentto our bedroom.

After Pumpkin was settled down, I found an alarming site.  Our cat Tina, sitting in the family room, staring under the entertainment center.  I tried not to over react and headed back to bed.

Then, I heard it.  Tina meowing and making scratching noises!  I ran into the family room, relieved to find no dead hamster, only the cat trying in vain to get at it under the entertainment center.

So, now what?  My heart was pounding and sleep was not going to come, and I had to keep the cat from killing the pet hamster.  So, I cleaned up my ingenious bucket/food trap, and let the dog back in.  Libby chased the cat away.  I stayed up and watched a movie with the dog.  I can't remember which one.

I knew that the hamster would probably settle down somewhere to sleep for the day, so, crisis temporarily averted.  For as long as I could keep our two wonderful mouser cats away from it.  I needed a whole lot of luck.  My cats have each killed their fair share of mice, and they slice them up nastily, but don't eat them.  Talk about scarring my kids for life!  I'll be guiltily paying therapy bills forever.

Booga passed in the afternoon, about 3pm.  The afternoon and evening went by in a blur of crying, and consoling, and sadness. 

Meanwhile, the panic was building within me!  A dead or missing hamster, if discovered, was going to put this whole family over the brink!  I prayed to Booga to intervene if she could, and please let me find this hamster!

Just before bed time for the kids, the dog became very interested in the loveseat in the family room.  She kept sniffing around it, and trying to stick her nose and head behind it.  I took it as a good sign that Tweak was still alive and hiding there.  However, I was also panicked that she was smelling a dead, bleeding, or injured hamster.

All I needed was for the kids to get to bed and settle down. 

I was also relieved that hopefully I wouldn't have to make Hubby move the entertainment center, which is a large, heavy, wood corner unit and screwed into the wall, which he basically said he was NOT going to move, hamster or no.  Ha.

Hubby does the bedtime routine, and finally about 9:30pm, because it was Boy Scout meeting night, all the kids were settled into beds and quiet.

I was fit to be tied and very distressed, by everything.  I was like an over wound watch spring, just waiting to explode.  I told Hubby in a hushed whisper to lift the loveseat to one side as high as he could, and hopefully we would find Tweak unharmed. 

I got down on my knees, and as he went to lift it, I was never so full of dread...

And then, there he was!  Tweak!  Alive and trying to run away from us!  I never moved so fast in my life as I threw myself down and grabbed the hamster! 

Yes!  I deposited Tweak swiftly into the cage, slammed it shut and locked it.  I could swear that Tweak looked as relieved as I was!

However, at that moment, I was hit by such a wave of relief, that I melted into absolute hysterics.  You know, the kind of crying that you feel like you are going to hyperventilate and pass out?  Yeah, that was it, I couldn't stop for about 20 minutes.  But, thank goodness, and thank Booga, no additional trauma for the kids.

And, Tweak was just fine.  Apparently just a bit dehydrated, judging from the fact that he sat at his water bottle and drank about every 10 seconds for the next 2 hours.  Then, he ate.  A lot. 

I can laugh about the absurdity of it all now, but during the whole experience, and just after, I was not finding it amusing in the least.

But, perspective changes...and you only come by this way once, so you just have to laugh.

be well,

ps... let me assure you... laughing hysterically is okay, I am now!

Monday, December 4, 2006

I Am Back...

Though, I was never really gone.  It just felt that way over the last few days.  Things were so very hectic.

Saturday am, my cousin came with her hubby and the four girls, 9, 5, 17 months, and 4 months.  We alternated between my house and Booga's.  First the men went and did some heavy lifting.  Then, my cousin, my mom and I went, and we separated, organized and threw stuff out.  We met my aunt there, who was up from Florida and Booga's son and wife.  Then, my hubby came and moved some furniture back to our house, beautiful cherry antique pieces, that Booga knew I loved and told everyone to be sure I got.  I will take pics soon.  I am thrilled with them, constant loving reminders of Booga and how special she was to me, to all of us.  Saturday afternoon, everyone cleared out by about 5:30pm, and we grabbed a bite with the kids. 

Sunday, I slept in...  Exhausted after all the emotional stuff of the day before, being at Booga's place.  The wake was 3-5 and 7-9.  The funeral home is 2 minutes from my house, and full of memories of many who were waked there - family and friends - over the years.  In between, sandwiches and drinks here at my house for 12 people.  Only the baby came, though.  My cousin left the other 3 girls with her mother in law.  Pumpkin didn't go to the wake, but Fuzzy and Hammer did.  They both had moments of crying, but were perfectly mannered gentlemen, and made us very proud as they talked to everyone.

Today, early start.  9am at the funeral home, final viewing, prayers, and good byes.  The start of an emotional day.  Then to the church across the street, my Catholic church that I made all my sacraments at and was married in.  My dad is usher there, too.  The music always gets me and my mom at the funeral masses.  Ave Maria is a real killer... instant tears.  My mom was a mess... although, Booga was not her mom, it didn't matter.  It was like losing her second mom... very hard.  Very hard for me to watch.  Hard for me too.  Then to the cemetery to be blown by 20 mph winds in 38 degrees... making it feel like 15 degrees!!!  The tears felt like they were freezing on my face.

My cousin and hubby had to bring the two little ones, but they were great.  Daddy kept them in the car during the cemetery.  My hubby and I only had Hammer with us today, the younger two were at school. 

We all went to lunch at our favorite local restaurant that Booga loved.  It was a really nice way to cap off a stressful and emotional week of the hospital, and then the wake and funeral.  Not to mention cleaning out Booga's apartment.  That was so hard.

So, I have been 'here' but not here, and now I am back.

Needing a rest, but knowing that time waits for no one and Christmas is arriving in EXACTLY 3 weeks!

be well,