Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The "W" in Christmas

My mom forwarded this to me... I thought it was such a good story to share.

The "W" in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations -- extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six-year-old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."

I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row-center stage -- held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down -- totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W."

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W..." Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

And, I believe, He still is. Amazed in His presence... Humbled by His love. May each of you have a Merry Christmas as you reflect on His Amazing Love for us... Have a blessed day!

When you are DOWN to nothing.... God is UP to something! Faith SEES the invisible, BELIEVES the incredible and RECEIVES the impossible!

I hope each and every one of you have a very Merry Christmas... and remember, Jesus IS the reason for the season. Keep Christ in Christmas. Christ was love... and still is!


My boss emailed this to me... pretty neat. You must watch until the end to get the 'true' meaning.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Radiation Update 2

I have one more radiation treatment to go... it was supposed to be Monday morning, but they told me I could come Sunday morning instead. I really don't care to get up that early Sunday morning but for a chance to NOT have to drive down with the crazy Monday morning commuters... I couldn't pass it up. ~~rant warning~~ [We have had wet foggy mornings most of this week... I am appalled at the number of drivers that don't have their lights on! ID10Ts! I wish I could have a license to go around and bop them over the head with a big stick! Or smack them on the forehead like those V8 commercials. Maybe it would knock some sense into them! No wonder there were so many accidents. I-D-I-O-T-S!!]

Great suprise! My dad works out of state, so he's only in town for an extended weekend every few weeks; upon occasion, months. He just came in for the Christmas break, he's going to go down with me and then we're going out for breakfast. Yeaaa! That'll be nice.

Another great surprise... I didn't burn from the radiation like they thought I would. I must be one tough bird! LOL

I was told that the radiation would continue to work (stay in my body) for 10 days to 2 weeks. I have a follow-up appointment on January 12th. If the lump still hasn't completely gone away, they will possibly cut the rest out. They can't radiate it anymore; at this time, I have had the limit that can be done safely. I do have my qualms about cutting... I have heard too many people say that once you start cutting, it starts spreading. My doctor said it was nonsense... I'm still not so sure. I gotta tell ya... I am really concerned about it.

It looks like I will be getting some time off from work this Christmas. In the past, we try to wrap everything up and shut down for two weeks between Christmas and New Years. This year it looks to be from December 24th thru January 4th. We have a couple of late closings we couldn't get in this week, so there's one Monday and one Tuesday. May have one or two closings the following week, so I may have to come in for those... won't have to make a day of it, just an hour or two. It will suck to drive for 45 minutes for an hour or two... but these are the adjustments we must make. They don't have to close the office down and I would have to work that whole week. So I'm willing to make those adjustments for 12 days off (w/ pay) with a minor hiccup or two. I'm grateful to have that time off and I'm grateful I haven't gotten laid off... not yet anyways. LOL

Monday, December 15, 2008

Radiation Update

It's been 11 days since I started radiation treatments on the lump on my arm. The color is better, the lump has shrunk, and the itching and pain has decreased significantly.

I caught Missy Bug running around with my Timon bobbly-head cereal box toy. It's hard plastic and pretty good sized... not something I imagined she'd take off with. It was quite amusing to see her carrying it around.

And this is the newest Missy Bug mess I've come home to...

I am severely tired, so I'm going to bed and fall to sleep watching Pride & Prejudice.

Support Sears... they support our troops!

From 'The Family Research Council' (Washington Update newsletter)...

The Softer Side of Sears

These days, it's tough to find companies that share your values. But this holiday season, FRC is catching some retailers in the act of doing good. At Sears, they're giving back to the community by supporting our troops. By law, employers are required to hold jobs open for any military personnel who are called up for duty. Sears is doing our soldiers one better. To protect their workers from taking a pay cut and losing their benefits when they leave for the front lines, Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits-including medical insurance and bonus programs. A Sears Customer Service rep said, "[We] regard service to our country as one of the greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear." We salute Sears and other corporations who make their own sacrifices on behalf of America's bravest.

I feel I'm spending my money wisely when I shop at Sears.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I finally broke down...

Ok Laura, I finally broke down and bought a bra... since I received a $25.00 off coupon in my email, I decided I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Don't want to be at work and have it bust wide open... that wouldn't be a pretty sight!

I just got done eating peanut butter & jelly on toast for lunch. I was gonna go to Subway and get a sub, but decided at this point I needed the bra more. The phones are barely ringing and our heat is out, so Ron and I are sitting here in the quiet and COLD. If the HVAC company doesn't get here soon, we're going to close up early. According to my little digital temperature thingy... it's 66 degrees in here; cool yes, but not as bad as expected. Not much lower than I've been keeping it at home to keep the electric bill down.

Had my radiation session this morning. Hit an unexpected traffic jam just before Crabtree Valley Mall, made me 8 minutes late for my appointment. But I did get a nice surprise this morning. The technician I had last spring was there this morning... Matt. He's such a sweet personable guy. I wondered where he was last week and thought maybe he had changed schedules or something. Matt & Martha... great people! They make the horrid trip down worthwhile.

Well, must get back to work. Oooo... tonight it's my 'Get LOST Again' night. Four hours of LOST on SciFi channel.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Radiation Update

For those who were not on my email update:

My PET scan was negative... no unseen clumps of lymphoma hiding out in the recesses of my body.

I had my initial setup and radiation treatment today at 11:30. Got to work about 1:30. Will start my daily treatments tomorrow morning at 8:30 AM. Egads.... have to begin the 6:30 AM wakeups and drivng down with the morning commuters!

I will have 13 sessions of a higher radiation dosage, the doctor said I would burn this time around. So basically I will be run down and tired with a sunburn on my arm for the next couple weeks. Oh joy!

About 3:00 I started feeling slightly nauseous... not sure if it was because of the higher dosage of radiation or just a fluke. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

November Catch-Up

Monday - November 24th:

I went to see my doctor about radiation treatments. He was none too pleased with me. Was not pleased with the look of my arm either. He took some pictures and said I proved to him that this was a little more than he anticipated. I told him I had taken pictures and posted them on my blog... (as he was laughing and shaking his head) he said I was warped. LOL.

He also worked some magic to slide me in for the marking and template making so I wouldn't have to make another trip down. Thank you very much... it's such a long trip down when coming from work.

I didn't get out of there until 5:30 PM... my sister showed up just after I got home. Her 4-yr old daughter saw the markings and asked me why they drew a pig on my arm. She said I should have asked for a kitty face. Too funny!

Here are some pics I took of it.

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Thursday - November 27th:

Thanksgiving! Last year on Thanksgiving morning, I was making a cheesecake to take to dinner. I stabbed my arm with a knife that was in the dish drainer. This year, I was making chocolate chip cookies and burned my arm.

Guess I should learn to stay out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving mornings!

I put ice on it but it was still very painful. When I was in the shower I noticed that my conditioner (Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp) had pyrithione zinc in it. It seems to me that was what was in the burn cream the doctor gave me, like 15 years ago, for my sunburn blisters. I put some on my burn and the pain disappeared instantly. Make a mental note.

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Friday - November 28th:

I had my PET scan today. Not fun. I hurt my shoulder moving furniture and they needed me to keep both arms locked above my head. Very painful for that one shoulder. My study was 35 minutes and I was in tears by the end of it. She had to help me move that arm back down.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lymphoma Lump Pics

Thought I'd share the pics I took... since some people have an idea in their head about what cancer is. It comes in many types... seen and unseen. It can affect people in various forms and in many different ways.

As far as cancer goes, I'm kinda lucky... the type of lymphoma I have is indolent (slow moving). I had it for about 5 years before someone figured out what it was. I get these bumps and lumps under the skin on my right arm. I go through a period where they pop up as small bumps, then recede back to where you can just barely feel them; this goes on for several months, back and forth. Then they become this big hard lump that itches, hurts, and looks nasty. The slightest bump, scrape or scratch... talk about pain... like a slow-burning crescendo of pain that seems to take forever to subside! It usually results in a slew of muttered swearing to keep me from screaming or crying.

That dark red scabby spot... that's not normally there. I stuck it with a pin 'cause... that's the kind of crap I do! When I first got them, when I didn't know what it was, I would stick them with pins and this clear liquid stuff would drain out. It eased the pain and itching. This bigger one is like a rock and it didn't work.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Simon... and Probably More Radiation

Wednesday night Simon never came home... he wasn't there in the morning either. He usually comes in when I get home from work and I always see him in the morning. I was concerned, but not yet panicked.

Before I left for work I checked the road and the ditch, then I went next door to see if maybe he had something open the day before that Simon may have crawled into. He said the back of the truck had been open and he would check.

I told Pat when I got to work... Pat is the one who found him abandoned, he brought him in so I could take him home.

After work, I stopped at my mom's so I could do her hair. When I got home, still no Simon. At this point I'm really starting to get worried.

Then, about 11 PM, he came in... kinda banged up with many scrapes. Dragging a bit... got up on his spot at the bottom of my bed and slept all night, he didn't get up until I did. Missy Bug had jumped up beside him and stopped dead... she started sniffing him, then she turned and walked away. She didn't bother him all night. (She's usually all over top of him trying to wrestle and play) She even slept at the top of the cat tower instead of on the bed. Interesting, huh? She definitely sensed something was amiss. I figure he got caught up in something, under something, or got clipped and rolled.

I told Pat this morning; he said he stopped at my house yesterday, calling and looking for him. He checked the ditches also.

Now the other thing... I have a huge lymphoma/cancer lump on my arm. It's getting so big and pushing outwards that it's starting to stretch the skin. It itches and hurts. Mom was on me last night about it; and Ron, from work, has been bugging me to get to the doctors also... so, okay mom, I called and made an appointment to see Dr. Ornick. I have an appointment at 1:30 on Monday. Really kind of surprised that I got an appointment so quickly. I'll more than likely start radiation treatments again next month.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It Figures...

Right now I'm eating lunch at work...

Yesterday was my boss's (and owner of the company) birthday, he took the day off, but, as he was going out the door Monday, said he was going to be back in Wednesday. So the birthday lunch party we were planning would be postponed 'til then.

I had my nephew's birthday party last night and didn't get out of there until after 8 pm. I had to stop at the store to pick a few things up, then get things ready for the lunch. I had to get the meatballs & sausage done, doctor the tomato sauce, put together a salad, and make the dressing, and get it all packaged for travel. It was a late night, needless to say.

The Menu:
- Meatballs & Italian Sausage in tomato sauce (w/my home grown & dried basil)
- Ceasar/Spinach Salad (w/homemade ceasar dressing)
- Italian Bread
- Baked Potato Salad (compliments of my mom & sister)
- Cake

I got to work today and got the crockpot of meat heating up, was waiting until just before lunch to put the salad together (it's sooo much better fresh). Then I got a call from Ron, the Sales Manager, he was calling off sick. Good grief!

It was nearing lunch and still no David... I had an excuse to call him, so I thought I'd casually ask when he thought he'd be in. Got voicemail. I left him a message asking him a work question and then bluntly asked if he was going to be in anytime soon because I had brought lunch in, had expected him to be in by now, and lunch is ready. I soon received a call back... He had told Ron yesterday that he probably wouldn't be in today, if he did make it in, it wouldn't be until late afternoon. He was currently on his way to a lunch meeting. Ron never told me. It figures... so I told him there should be leftovers for tomorrow! We three girls ate without them!

It is terrific, if I do say so myself!

We did save the cake for tomorrow, we aren't heartless.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Excuse Me, Your Cart Is Ringing...

Last night I had to stop at Wal-Mart to pick a few things up. When I got home, I turned to grab my purse and immediately noticed my cell phone was missing. OH CRAP!!! That's the only phone I have since I had my home phone disconnected to save money. I really don't need THIS!

I took the groceries in and got a flashlight to search my car, hoping and praying that it had just fallen out onto the floor or under the seat. No luck. Oh man! Crap, crap, crap! I know the last time I saw it was at Wal-Mart when I checked the time. So either I lost it somewhere or someone lifted it from my purse pocket.

So I got in the car and drove to my mom's house. Told her I needed her help... and her phone. I took the house phone and called my number to see if I could hear the ringing in my car... you know, to definitely rule that out. No ringing.

Then we go down to Wal-Mart with mom's cell phone. I stopped where I had been parked and tried calling again... no ringing heard. So I went inside to where the carts were lined up... tried calling again while intently listening for the ringing. Nothing.

I couldn't remember what register I had been at so I just started asking every cashier in the general area I had been. Not there. I went to customer service... no one had turned one in. So I tried calling again to see if I could hear it.

Whoa! Someone answered!

He said he was trying to call back "mom". I asked him where he was, he said by the produce aisle near register 1. I told him I was at Wal-Mart, what was he dressed as? LOL, I don't know why I stated it like that. He said he was wearing a brown jacket. I practically ran over to produce, saw him immediately. Thank you, Lord!

He said he kept hearing a ringing, then some lady told him it was his cell phone that was ringing. He said he didn't have a cell phone. That's when they saw it in the cart. Excuse me, your cart is ringing! LOL

I thanked him profusely! I was lucky a nice guy like him got my cart.

Another God-Thing!!!

Thank you, mom, for dashing out at a moments notice at 9:00 PM to rush down to Wal-Mart for another "Shelly Crisis". I very much appreciate it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stuff... Grey's Anatomy, My Roof, Power Outage and Sky On Fire

Okay... First item, Grey's Anatomy:

I was getting disgusted with the whole lesbian thing that recently transpired between two of the characters. The show was really going too far with that. It wasn't just a couple doing couple things, it was getting very sexually detailed.

TMI... Too Much Information!!! Let me say it again... TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!

I really don't care for all the detailed heterosexual sex crap going on in most shows these days. But when you have a previously married female doctor getting 'pointers' from her former male lover on how to please her current female lover... ugh... please! I was quickly losing interest in this show.

Then Thursday night... the only reason I was watching the other night, was because the end of last week showed Denny returning. (Denny was the patient that needed a heart transplant, he and Izzy (one of the interns) fell in love. He got the transplant... but ended up dying anyway. It was tragic and heart-wrenching. I am not ashamed to say... I bawled like a baby! Then we find out Denny was wealthy and left Izzy $8 million dollars.)

Anyway. Denny is back, albeit, a spirit/ghost, but he's back. Woohoo! Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Izzy (Katherine Heigl) had great chemistry. I'm hoping, and expecting, there to be a good reason for this ghostly comeback; I've been reading that it may be a storyline to end the character of Izzy. Katherine Heigl wants out of her contract so Izzy may be getting a brain tumor and dying, Denny is either a hallucination or come to comfort her through her illness and death.

Also... the lesbian doctor has left SGH (Seattle Grace Hospital). Another woohoo!

My thoughts on this sudden change of events.... They should have never let Denny die and realized that after the fact. I believe they killed Denny off because Denny/Izzy lovestory was becoming stronger than Meredith/McDreamy lovestory. They were overshadowing the main character. Then, with this lesbian storyline that I believe was turning fans off, they needed something strong to get ratings back... voila! Katherine's character needs to be exterminated, lets bring back the strong favorite, the character of Denny. The much beloved duo is back together for one last time! I expect strong ratings again for Grey's Anatomy.

Second item... My Roof:

I woke up Friday morning to a tap tapping above my head. It sounded like I had a dripping kitchen sink above my bed. Ohhh, noooo! I really don't need THIS! So I called the roof guy, which from the sound of his voice, I believe I woke him up. He said he could get here in about an hour. By the time he got here the rain had turned to a light drizzle, so you could no longer hear the tapping. He got up on the roof to check things out.

Basically, he couldn't find a definite problem. He saw some holes that had sealant over instead of being properly repaired, but nothing that screamed 'hey, we got a leak here'! He said he couldn't get a real good look because the shingles were brittle and cracking, if he messed with them too much it WOULD cause a problem.

My choices... wait to see if I start getting staining or water coming through my ceiling, or reshingle just that area where I heard the dripping. I chose to be proactive in this case, knowing if I waited it would cost even more. GOOD CHOICE, MICHELLE.

He came Saturday morning. He said it was lucky I did the reshingle. When he got the old shingles up he could see the water was getting through. This is where it got odd... he said I had good ears, the paper was wet on top but hadn't penetrated through yet. If I had let it go, I definitely would have ended up with a bigger mess.

So what was the tapping I was hearing...? It was plain as day and pretty loud. It sounded like it was hitting metal or something that was amplifying the sound. If you asked me... It's a God-thing! Very much a God-thing!

He told me I would need to reshingle the whole front side in the next year. The back side had newer shingles and was still in decent shape. So I need to come up with $1600. to get that done.

Third item... Power went out:

I'd have to say it went out about 1:30/2:00, I didn't think to look at my cell phone when it first went out, but I did call Progress and the system said they were expecting to have power restored by 3:30. At 4:30 it still wasn't restored, so I called again. Now I was being told the expected time was 7:00.

I was trying to get the trimwork done in the livingroom. I got it taped up and got one coat on, but it was starting to get dark and still had no power. I hadn't eaten all day, no stove, no microwave, no tv, no radio, no computer... talk about a shock to the system... now what am I gonna do, as I sat there twiddling my thumbs.

I started to call my sister to gauge the extent of the situation, but mom buzzed in. As I was sitting outside talking to her, I noticed the sky over Raleigh was turning red-orange and coming my way. It looked like Raleigh was burning and heading straight for me. Then the leaves at the tree line on the horizon started glistening like they were lit with red lights. It was awesome, but slightly unnerving. It was wild looking. I grabbed my camera to get some pics... then it quickly disappeared.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Red Peppers

Earlier this year, Mom bought me two tomato plants, two basil plants, and a pepper plant. Over the summer I had an abundance of tomatos and basil... which I absolutely loved. Just one of the plants had 44 tomatos on it at one time. I wish I would have thought to take pictures.

Anyways, my pepper plant was slow going but started to produce peppers late. I had a bunch of peppers growing, they just hadn't started turning red yet when it begin to get real cold at night. I decided to bring the planter indoors. I figured, with all the sunlight I get through my many large kitchen windows, they should continue to grow and ripen. So far so good!

My most recent picks...
these were ready last Wednesday.

But.... with this great idea, there is a downfall.

~ Enter Little Missy Bug ~

She gets up there digging and throwing dirt around, then she chases what's on the floor... spreading it from one side of the kitchen to the other. What a mess! I can't keep up with it. She must be having a hayday while I'm at work!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Voted...

On my way home from work last night, I stopped at the library to vote. Only had to wait in line for 20 minutes. Had some nice people behind me to talk to. One was a 33 year old woman that had never voted before. She felt really bad about it. I commented that it was better late than never. She said she was voting Republican. Yeeeeaaa! A guy behind her was 45 and it was his first time voting also.

Below is an interview with Patricia Heaton about the election, McCain, and Obama.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Down Memory Lane... Tonettes

Does anyone else remember these from grade school...?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Tonette is a small, end-blown flute made of plastic, which was once popular in American elementary music education. It has largely been superseded by the recorder. The range of the instrument is from C4 (middle C) to D5. It is also known as a song flute.

The Tonette was introduced in 1938. Designed as a pre-band instrument, the tonette was nearly unbreakable, chromatic, and tunable. It was easy to blow and the fingering was simple. By 1941 over half of the grammar schools in the United States had adopted the Tonette as standard pre-band equipment. The Tonette's pleasant flute-like sound was also used for special novelty effects in radio, television and film.

In World War II the armed services found the Tonette to be an inexpensive and entertaining way for idle troops to pass the time.

Peter Schickele has described the tonette as "a cheap, synthetic recorder with amusing pretensions"; it is one of the instruments featured in the Gross Concerto by P. D. Q. Bach.