Friday, December 31, 2010

Help Rissa Watkins

Though I generally save this blog for family and friends, today's blog is for a writer friend of mine, Rissa Watkins, who found herself fighting the same battle I have been winning:

What would you do if you discovered you had cancer and you had no way to pay your medical costs? Would you be able to come up with $500,000 in a year? The cost for cancer care is astronomical. I know. I have cancer too.

But I was lucky. Though it will sound sarcastic for me to say I was lucky, I really was, because I was so far below the poverty level, the government stepped forward to help me.

Rissa Watkins isn't so lucky. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia just this week and is in dire need of financial aid.

By reading her articles on Associated Content (link below), you will help her raise money to pay her medical bills.

Her battle has just begun. You can be one of the soldiers and one of the angels to help her win it.

Rissa's personal web site is located HERE.

Her articles are located HERE.

And information on how to help her in her battle to fight and win her cancer war is HERE.

Thank you for caring.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Sweetest Christmas Present Ever

Michelle, Kaden, Taylor, Zac, & Greg

My grandson, Kaden, just said, "Know what I wish?"

"No, Kaden, I don't. What do you wish"?

"I wish I could give Santa a gift."

At this point my heart melted all over the place, but I was curious about what type of present he would want to give to Santa.

"So what kind of gift would you like to give Santa?" I asked Kaden.

After some thought, he replied, "Probably a stuffed animal."

"What kind of stuffed animal."

"A reindeer."

And, as the grandma to this amazing child, I wondered how many other kids would have thought of giving a gift to Santa.

Want to read more from this author? Please see the sidebar and THANK YOU for visiting.

Our Nontraditional Christmas 2010

Greg, Kaden, Michelle, Zac, and Taylor (back and center) on Staten Island Ferry.
The Statue of Liberty through the snow.
Kaden playing with pigeons outside the New York Pizza place.
Christmas in New York – sounds glamorous, doesn't it? We didn't start off in New York, though, because after the kids spent most of Christmas Eve and part of Christmas morning opening their presents, with lots of excitement, I might add, the six of us (my son, his wife, their three children, and I) left Virginia and headed north.

The first place we stopped was in Central Park for a carriage ride. Though it was dark and cold, the ride was really fun. We saw hundreds of ice skaters skating on a rink in Central Park. I couldn't help but wonder how good they must all be, because if even one of them fell, a domino effect was likely to occur – but everybody skated around counter-clockwise at a reasonably fast pace, and from the time I noticed them until the time I couldn't see them anymore, everyone was still skating.

Busy busy city – New York streets were bustling with activity, apparently mostly due to the entire city rushing to see the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

I'd like to interrupt this blog right here to discuss the drivers in New York City. Visitors need to know that rules that apply in other cities around the country do not apply in New York. Even my three-year-old grandson, Zac, was confused as he insisted, "Green means stop. Red means go."

Pedestrians were oblivious to the cars around them. The "walk-don't walk" alert might as well have read, "gobbledygook." We had to crawl through traffic – wait, I'm sure New York has another term for traffic – maybe it's standstill. Whatever.

We finally made our way to the magnificent Christmas tree, but we couldn't find a parking space, so, since we were just crawling by anyway, we stared at the mammoth tree from the street, which was great, because that gave us a good half hour to view the tree from inside the car.

"The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree," according to the Rockefeller web site, "is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. The tree, traditionally a Norway Spruce, is illuminated by 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on five miles of wire, and crowned by a Swarovski crystal star. Tens of thousands crowd the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions watch the Tree Lighting Ceremony broadcast live across the globe."

Wikipedia says the Norway spruce is anywhere from 69 to 110 feet tall and has been put up every year, with the exception of 1932, since 1931.


Next stop after we drove through Times Square? Christmas Dinner. But first we had to find the hotel in Queens to get our room. GPS couldn't find it. Nobody at the hotel answered the phone when Michelle called, and the online feature was inaccessible while we drove through several neighborhoods that offered no phone service???????? In New York?????????

Anyway, we finally made it to the hotel and looked around for an open restaurant on Christmas. Closed. Closed. Closed. Closed.

OH, WAIT! There's one! A Japanese restaurant where adults pay a mere $30/plate, and children pay $15/plate! Ridiculous. We drove on.

The ONLY place that was open was a combination Baskin Robbins/Dunkin' Donuts. And so, on Christmas day, my son, his family, and I, had donuts for dinner with ice cream for dessert. (I would have taken and posted a photo, but my son and his wife refused to allow me to take one.)

The next day we rode the Staten Island ferry, had some New York pizza (not bad, but I prefer Chicago pizza), and drove home through a blizzard.

All in all, it was a memorable experience, and I got to spend it with my son and his family, with whom I rarely spend Christmas, so I was really happy.

Next year? Who knows? Whether I'm sitting at my own dining room table eating Christmas dinner or standing in line at a Taco Bell, as long as I'm with family, I'll be happy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Zac's Mouth

While I was sitting on the floor playing with my grandson, Zac, who is 3, Zac ran behind me to jump on my neck. But while he was hanging there, he wanted to know about something he found on my neck.

"Why you got a bubble?"

"It's a mole," I told him.

"I pop it for you," he told me.

And when I looked behind me and saw his open mouth descend on my neck like a vampire (he really does have vampire teeth), I  screamed, "Noooooo!"

My outburst stopped him. "Why?" 

"Because you'll hurt me," I explained.

He thought about it for a few seconds, then decided that if I was hurt, I must need a band-aid.

"I get it for you."

I had been asking other family members where the band-aids were, and nobody else knew, but Zac walked directly to where they were kept (I still don't know where they are), brought one out, opened it up, and tried to place it on my neck.

It got stuck to his fingers, though, so every attempt to place it meant pulling it from one hand and getting it stuck to the other. By the time he was finished I had a wad of band-aid clumped on my neck, making my mole look more like a distorted pile of rubble than a band-aid covered bubble.

On another day Zac told me, as he has been telling me every day, that he needed to see a doctor. So when I mentioned this fact to his parents last night as we were on our way to Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate Zac's mother's homecoming after she had been gone for a couple of weeks (attending to business), Zac said, "Yeah, I need to see a doctor."

And I said, "He keeps saying that. Why does he keep saying that?"

And Zac said, "Know why I say that?"

And I said, "No, why do you keep saying that?"

And Zac said, "Because I have a mouth."

Only one thing wears this little dynamo out – eating. The photo above is of Zac falling asleep at the table after eating. To see a video of Zac falling asleep while eating, click HEREBy the way, Zac really does have a doctor appointment scheduled – for January 2011.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Calling All Nurses!

Since so many people in my immediate circle are nurses (including my sister and my pen pal), I wanted to let you all know about where to find nursing scrubs, scrubs pants, scrubs tops, nurse uniforms, and, well, scrubs clothing in general – if you haven't already hear about this place:

Blue Sky Scrubs.

As I have made abundantly clear in most of my blogs, I like comfortable clothing. If it weren't for the fact that I don't handle crises well when it happens to other people and I have an aversion to cleaning up vomit, because it makes me throw up, I would have become a nurse – not because I wanted to go into the nursing profession, but because I wanted to wear comfortable scrubs clothing. Seriously, I could live in a nursing uniform.

And now that my hair is growing back after chemo, and it still looks hideous, I still wear the hats and scarves so many of my friends gave to me during my early stages of breast cancer. As cute/beautiful/pretty as those hats and scarves are, though, most of them are quite hot indoors, but Blue Sky Scrubs offers hats I can wear INDOORS without getting too hot, and the selection is awesome.

Who'd've thought nursing scrubs could help cancer patients? I would post a photo of myself with my hair today, but it might frighten you, so I'm just going to say this: I'm seriously considering getting some of these nursing scrubs items for myself.

And for all of you who actually are nurses and are looking for some really cute cheap (read inexpensive) scrub tops, uniforms, and scrubs clothing, I invite you to click on any of the links in this blog.

Seinfeld, Glee, Low-Talker Brittany, Taylor, and Misunderstandings

I've been in Virginia with my son and his family for the past couple of weeks, so I've had lots of interactions with Taylor, Kaden, and Zac. Kaden and Zac are LOUD. Taylor is loud only when she is yelling at Kaden, but Taylor's voice is usually, especially when I ask Taylor a question, barely detectable. My inability to hear her often leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Fortunately, I grill Taylor to explain her low-talking revelations. Last night, for instance, when she was supposed to be in bed, she ran downstairs and jumped on the computer. Here's how the conversation went from my perspective (keep in mind that even if I had used one of those funnels in my ear, I still wouldn't have been able to hear her properly):

Me: Taylor, what are you doing? You're supposed to be in bed.
Taylor: I'm looking up something.
Me: Well, if it's for school, why did you wait until after bedtime to look it up?
Taylor (who was in the same room but sounded as if she were talking from another continent): iuo
Me: What are you looking up?
Taylor: Inventor. (Wow, I actually heard that one.)
Me: Which inventor?
Taylor (again from another continent): Mariah Carey.

I could have let it go, because, quite honestly, I didn't know that Mariah Carey invented anything outside of vocal chords that stretched beyond human comprehension. But I persisted.

Me: I didn't know Mariah Carey invented anything.
Taylor (in her lowest possible voice): Muhrie Krey.
Me: Muhrie Krey?
Taylor (even lower): Mre Kre.
Me: Mre Kre???

At this point I stretched my neck until I felt like a giraffe so I could get as close to Taylor as was humanly possible without crushing her. This frightened me, because I'm getting older and older. Pretty soon I won't be able to hear normal-speaking people. How will I deal with low-talkers? I'll be completely left out of every conversation. But now that I was inside her throat I could hear her.

Taylor: Marie Curie.
Me: Oh, well, that makes more sense.

Bottom line: sometimes we don't understand our kids because we don't hear them properly, or sometimes our perceptions are just a little off. The next time your kids or grandkids tell you something that doesn't make sense, probe. And if they are low-talkers, consider surgically implanting loud speakers in their voice boxes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Clone Blog

What do you do when, for TWO WHOLE MONTHS, you have to deal with a ton of personal issues, including a car in need of more than a thousand dollars worth of repair, a broken vacuum cleaner with a warranty (but the nearest fix-it place is 50 miles away), a broken refrigerator (cost me several hundred dollars), a broken computer (would cost the price of a new computer to fix), no Internet connection (so even with a working computer, what difference would it make), seven blogs that cry for your attention, a memory that fails every now and then to remind you to take your cancer drugs and your asthma medicine, AND you take care of children all day long?

Well, I can't answer for you, but for me, I've decided to clone my blogs – at least this once.

Yessiree. If you go to any of my blogs (all of which are listed at the end of this blog), you will find that on this day, December 6, 2010, every single one of my blogs will say exactly the same thing as does this blog – assuming I don't get interrupted while I'm posting everywhere, that is.

So, without further ado (I don't think I've ever used that word before), here are a couple of (shortened versions of) blogs I would have written if I could have found the time and a working Internet connection:


When my hair began to grow after chemo destroyed it, I noticed about a thousand cowlicks EVERYWHERE. In other words, I continue to look as if I am permanently affixed to an invisible electrical socket.

My youngest daughter and I were sitting in the cafeteria at Barnes and Noble (one of my favorite places to visit) when I spotted two women, who at first appeared to be reflections of me in the windows and whose hair looked as ugly as mine did. Of course mine was hiding beneath Avon's Breast Cancer cap, so nobody could tell how truly ugly it was.

In complaining to my daughter about how horrible I felt, because every time I looked in the mirror I saw a frightening apparition, I decided to illustrate my sense of horror by pointing out the two women to her.

"See those two women sitting by the window with their short, ugly, no-style hair?" I asked my daughter. She discreetly turned around.

"That's how I feel," I continued.

"You feel gay?" she asked.

OK, before you get all uppity, know this: several people I know are gay, and one of my best friends is gay – I think HE would get a laugh out of my daughter's comment.


Everybody knows I have none – fashion sense, that is. I even wrote about my lack of fashion sense in my Weekend of Fashion blog, which I invite you to read by clicking the link.

Never had my lack of fashion sense been more apparent, though, than the year Jim Riordan shot his movie, Maddance, and one of his actors needed an outfit for a character she considered to be "trailer trashy."

Oh, what to wear, what to wear? Her eyes settled on me. I was wearing a broom skirt with a button down sleeveless top and a pair of sandals.

"That outfit, the one you're wearing. That would be perfect."

The #@%$&! What irks me even more is that I actually GAVE her my outfit!


Yes, I'll admit it. I have a temper. Some people might be surprised to learn that I do because I usually hide it, though not always very well. You can tell when I'm upset, though, because I sulk or become an absolute witch.

Seething with sarcasm, my eyes squint into slivers of hatred. I become a cartoon character of myself, and I really don't like ME when I act that way (though, believe me, I have plenty of reasons to be "witchy" sometimes). In spite of those reasons, I really TRY to be mature (at my age, you would think that would come naturally by now).

Sadly I can't always help myself, so I'd kind of like other people to step forward and slap my mind with things like, "Do you realize you're acting like a temper-tantrum-throwing child?" or  (sarcastically) "Yeah, it's all about you!" or (even more sarcastically) "Nobody else ever in the history of life itself has ever had as many problems as you do. You deserve the status of martyr. Give me the phone. I must call the Pope!"

When I act like the Wicked Witch of the West I don't understand why people don't just throw a house on me. Maybe my toes curling beneath the pressure of a house smashing me into the ground would be the catalyst for change and I would respond differently. I could smile and say chirpy little comments, like, "My car needs over a thousand dollars worth of repair – the Universe must be trying to tell me something." ("You're getting too old to drive, Nimwit!"), and, "My computer is so broken, it will cost me the price of a new computer to fix it, so the Universe must be trying to tell me something." ("You're the one who wanted to be a writer – maybe you should rethink you're 'ideal job'.")

Or, and this is just a thought, maybe people should start being more responsible for OTHER people, especially those – like me – who need…what? What do I need – a heavy dose of reality? No, thank you. I think I've had  plenty of that…a reminder that lots of people have it worse than I do? No, that won't work. Oh, how about ________ (fill in the blank – I'm trying out a new type of blog – interactive – how's that working for me)?

Oh, you know what? Just throw a house on me!

Hmm, you don't like my remedy for witchiness? Be gone! Before somebody throws a house on you!


Comcast is on my hits (rearrange the letters) list. For the past three years since I moved into my home I have had intermittent problems with my Internet connection, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I call them and they send a tech, without fail, the technician who arrives at my home to FIX (choke choke) the problem tells me that the guy who came before him didn't know what he was doing.


So, does that mean that for the past 3 years, every technician Comcast has sent to my home has been incompetent, or does Comcast hire egocentric techs with superiority complexes who believe that nobody but them knows how to properly connect a computer to the Internet?

Whatever. My Internet connection is in Illinois while I am in Virginia enjoying, in addition to attending to the needs of my grandchildren, a reliable Internet connection. Could the fact that I'm in Quantico, hub of the FBI and other government agencies, have anything to do with that, I wonder?

Despite the vacuum cleaner/computer/Internet/car/refrigerator problems I have been deftly dealing with over the past several months, I have managed to get a couple of articles and blogs written, the most recent of which is Paranormal Gifts for Your Paranormal Loved One.

In my Help For Single Parents blog, my most recent postings are:
Applauding Accomplishments
Single Parent Resources

The three recent posts that appear in my Paranormal Minds blog are:
Why Does the Tarot Scare People?
Interviewing the Dead
I Have a Confession to Make

My Heart Blogs To You includes the following recent posts:
What Happened This Halloween
T-Ball With Kaden
Why I Have No Time To Write
Jeremy – Another Writer In My Family

Your Weird Dreams could appear in this blog along with these dreams:
The Bobby and The Dead Guy In The Trunk
Violent Murder In A Dream
Dream of Former Workplace

Writer of Blogs includes only one recent post:
How Embarrassment Became a Kindle

Your Blog Connection is currently disconnected due to the fact that I have not interviewed anybody recently for that blog.
But just because I had no time to devote to this blog, doesn't mean you can't check it out ;) Also, if you want YOUR blog covered, let me know.

My Wordpress Blog:
Nothing new here, either, but feel free to visit for links to my other blogs and articles that automatically post here.

My most recent Associated Content Articles include the following:
A Halloween Paranormal Nightmare While Awake
I Wish Somebody Would Do Something About That!
The Perfect Gift for People Who Have Everything

My most recent Xomba Articles include:
A Halloween Paranormal Nightmare While Awake: Halloween Voices Won't Let You Sleep
Interview With Dead Rock Star Jim Morrison of the Doors
Learning the Mysteries of The Tarot
Paranormal Gifts for Your Paranormal Loved One

Hopefully by 2011, everything will be less stressful and I'll be writing more. The only way I can see that happening, though, is to find my own planet. But then I'd have to consider the costs to get there and...

In the meantime, thank you for reading this blog and clicking on the links.