Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fair Winds - Calm Seas, Bro One

My older brother was killed in a ATV roll-over accident on April 18, 2012 at the St. Anthony Sand Dunes in Idaho. He has been in my thoughts almost every day since learning of his death.  He was 70 years old ... he had reconnected with his first wife and the mother of his only son (there were four wives over time) He finally retired from working for N.O.A.A. - on a ship that worked out of Kodiak, Alaska and the Bering Sea.  He made a reconnecting visit in February - visiting a dear aunt and her family in Missouri, driving down to Oklahoma to visit with our step-father. From there he came to Austin to see his youngest daughter (he had four!) and we got to visit and have dinner one evening.  He went onto North Carolina to visit another daughter and his youngest grandchild, Anna. From there he went on to Georgia (two daughters there) and finally to Florida to visit with his son. The visit was a gift to all of us, one appreciated by each of us..

My brother and I were not raised together - our parents divorced when Gary was eight and I was three years old.  Our younger brother was only a few months old at that time. Gary chose to live with our dad and naturally due to our ages (and the times 1950) we lived with our mother.  A few years later, my dad, step-mother and Gary moved to Oregon.

I would see him for a few weeks in the summer - always at my dad's home in Oregon, though. I remember only one time him visiting us (my mother, step-father, brother and half-sister) and that was right after he graduated from high school and right before he enlisted in the Navy. 
We were not close obviously, although, I did a bit of 'hero worshiping' from afar.  For reasons I do not care to go into at this time, Gary was not fond of our mother and limited his contact.  I often felt like a 'football' between my parents ... added to the mix were two step-parents and an elderly, opinionated, biased grandmother - who loved me unconditionally. I attempted talking with him about our parents several times, but he would clam up, a habit with which he became very adept.

I saw him a few times while he was in the Navy - once my mother and I visited him in Norfolk, Virginia. I could not have been more that 14 years old (although apparently I looked older) as I ordered and got a mixed drink served to me while in their company.

Another time, he came up to Los Angeles while stationed in San Diego, to visit with our cousin. My mother and I were also visiting, her sister and nephew. Gary brought one of his 'sailor' friends with him.  I chuckle now when I remember us in my cousin's pool - Gary admonishing his friend for flirting with a 14 year old girl and telling me he did not think I should be wearing a two piece bathing suit!
Gary and I truly went our separate ways as the years passed, we both married in 1965 - and both of us had sons born in 1966. Gary married four times during his lifetime and there were a few more near misses!!! I met all the wives excepting one (apparently that marriage only lasted about 30 days!) He would say in a very self depreciating manner "I'm  just too selfish to be married" and "I don't think I'm the marrying kind!"  DUH!!! 
He would have five children over those years - I think he really wanted to have a family, to have that safety net and be there for them, especially after our father died in 1981. But for reasons, only known to him and surmised by others, he did not remain married.  He became a summer dad - you know, the buddy dad - living on board his sailboat, watching movies at all hours, eating cookie dough uncooked, taking the girls to Disneyland, etc.  He didn't have to deal with sick kids during the night, going to teacher/parent conferences, growing pains, boyfriends and curfews.  He acknowledged to his children that he felt he had let them down and had caused a lot of pain over the years.  I feel his visit in February was an attempt to right some wrongs.  I pray that his children know just how much he did love each of them.
After years of being apart, in more ways than distance, my brother and I reconnected. We felt comfortable with each other, we seemed to understand each other, we joked, laughed and shared our feelings.  Because of him, I started making 'Mom's' (our step-mother's recipe) fruitcakes and giving them to family members at Christmas as she had done for years. I often baked cookies (Espresso Biscuits were his 'drug of choice') -Snickerdoodles his favorite! He used to send me a Miracle Rose each Christmas. We talked freely with each other - I preferred email, he liked the telephone! We had different memories - we agreed to disagree about our mother ... and often shared the belief some family members were actually from another planet.

He was happier than I had seen him in years in February. He loved being with his first wife, he was busy helping her with her garden, making wine, jams and his famous chocolate sauce. He seemed more at peace with himself - more open than he had ever been.  Because he was the only link to our dad (and my memories of my dad) his death felt like I was losing my dad all over again.
He used to call me from wherever he was - Alaska, California, New Hampshire, Hawaii ... Oklahoma!  He said "Ya know, you are my constant, Sis" He knew I'd always be here for him. In typical fashion, it was he who started signing his emails "Bro One" ... I was "Sis One" ... then it was shortened to Bro /Sis 1 and finally B1 and S1 ... but it was never BS! 

He would not have wanted to be incapacitated, he would have been so depressed if he were not able to be outside - either in cool, green Oregon and Washington or on the water sailing. He loved life ... he loved the water ... he loved his family .... and I loved him ...  
Rest in Peace, my brother, my friend, Fair Winds, Calm Seas ... Until we meet again ....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Grandpa and his iPad

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Can you say A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E ?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Pretty Good Shape .... for the shape I'm In!!!

I'm 'turning' 65 this September ... yes, I know ... it's just a number,  right???  Since January my mail has consisted of  almost daily "Medicare Benefits" or supplemental insurances offers.  One day along with the usual junk mail, there was a burial/cremation service offered!  Gee, thanks!!!  Soooo, I've made it to 65 years of age (technically not for 55 more days)  Isn't it interesting how we phrase such events?  When we're young, it's "I'm almost 5" or I'm "10 and a HALF!!!"  I happen to prefer 65 as speed limit!!! But frankly, given a choice, I would never go back to being 'young' again ...  being a 'mature' woman has many benefits ... and I'm not talking about Medicare!!!

Most days I feel like I'm 45 years old  ... gone, but not forgotten are the days when I felt like I was 25!!!  Due to the drought and heat we are experiencing in Texas (19 days in a row of triple digit temperatures, should be a 'warm' 106 degrees today ... and still no mention of rain!!!) I have been dragging around like I'm 85!!!

I am overweight (that's another one of those words!) I've stopped walking outside for exercise due to the heat.  I attend Silver Sneakers a few times a week ... when I'm in town.  I have limited use of my right arm (three surgeries on the rotator cuff will do that!)  This past June, I drove to and from our cabin in Colorado with three of my friends. (I was the baby of the group!)  The oldest was 81 years young ... and we didn't sit around in rockers and talk about our surgeries or aches and pains!!!

I love a quote attributed to Satchel Paige - "growin' old is a case of Mind over Matter ... if you don't MIND, it don't MATTER!"  Perhaps that's the 'secret' to remaining young (at least in your heart)  .... exercise, stay busy,  surround yourself with friends (preferably older ones!) .... and lie about your age!!!

 Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out. But I can usually shut her up with cookies. Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart. When life hands you lemons, ask for tequila and salt and call me over.

P. S.  
Our rain gauge ... it's a DIET Dr Pepper bottle lid ... not beer ... darn it!!!!  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Donald Duck !!!!

Donald Duck was born on June 09, 1934 according to Wikipedia. Because of his 'bad luck' experiences in all the cartoons, it was later said his birthday had to be Friday the 13th.  He IS adorable and almost as cute as  The Duck that shares my nest!!

First appearance - The Wise Little Hen, 1934
Created by - Walt Disney & Dick Lundy
Voiced by - Clarence Nash (1934-1985
                      Tonly Anselmo (1985-present)
Aliases - Paperinik
Species - Pekin
Relatives - Ludwig Von Drake - (uncle)
                    Scrooge McDuck -  (uncle)
                    Huey, Dewey & Louie -  (nephews)
                    Grandma Duck  - (grandmother)
                    Bertie Duck -  (aunt)
                    Della Duck - (sister)
                    Quackmore Duck -  (father)
                    Hortense McDuck - (mother)
                    Duffy Duck - (brother) not to be confused with
                                                              DAFFY Duck
                    Gus Goose - (second cousin)

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Saw God Today ...

 Sunday morning around 11:00 AM, The Duck was spraying for bugs on the south side of the house.  He almost stepped on what he thought at first was a coiled 'snake in the grass.'  The 'snake' was a newborn fawn, perhaps only an hour or so  old as it was still wet.  Apparently the 'bug exterminator' had startled the doe shortly after she gave birth.  What was so amazing, though, the fawn instinctively knew not to move, not even it's eyes ... I thought it might be dead ... or dying.  We left 'Bambi' in the shaded grassy area without touching it (although Grandma was sorely tempted!!)  I took my 'look-out' position at the dining room window inside ... complete with telephone, a cup of coffee and my i-Pad.  I fretted as the little thing just laid there ... Momma did not seem to be coming back. From my perch, I saw the little tail flicker and I finally could see shallow breathing ... I was convinced the little creature was going to die!  Fifty extremely long minutes later I saw the fawn's ears stand up, then the head and a tiny little miracle rose up and wobbled down towards our 'native' backyard.  I ran to the breakfast windows and saw Momma standing in the shade below our rock wall. 'Bambi' began nursing immediately and Momma finished her grooming tasks. Momma and Bambi walked carefully back down the draw behind us, sometimes it looked like the doe had 8 legs with the fawn walking under her. Just one of God's little miracles ....


Friday, April 22, 2011

Can you say computer illiterate???

If you have gone to my blog and found a number of posts that have been previously written .... several months ago ... Welcome to my world.  Bz has been 'helping' me via long-distance telephone and I THOUGHT I was 'cooking.'  That was until I checked into my blog this morning and discovered that the last/current post was from months ago ... took me several attempts  ...  finally changing the dates worked, I think!   Anywho .... The Bucket List is the last posting ... that is before THIS one?  Where is the Nerd Squad when you need them????

Our 'Bucket List'

On Monday, The Duck and I waited for almost four hours to get our passports reissued.  We had let them expire  ... by some 15 years, thus we couldn't renew them via the mail.  The passports are needed for our cruise to Alaska in August.  We fly into Vancouver, B. C., Canada ... only after passing through customs do we head to our ship. I have wanted to take a cruise ... anywhere ... for more years than I can remember.  The Duck's usual response was "your next husband will have to take you on a cruise!"  One of my lady-friends has gone on 11 cruises ... with her second husband ... this tidbit of news had absolutely no effect on The Duck.  He will not be intimidated ... I simply gave up mentioning cruises.  Over the years he has surprised me with a TWO new cars, a diamond ring in a Cracker Jacks box, a month long tour of  Italy, Scotland, Ireland, England and Normandy, France ... and too many others 'things' to mention.  He has been my rock, my safe harbor, my best friend and my lover for almost 46 years ... a cruise just wasn't that important.

The Duck has also been my 'caregiver' for the past two years plus ... through all the shoulder and back surgeries, the asthma attacks, the dental surgeries.  So I was more than a bit surprised when last summer he announced "we're going to take a cruise next summer ... to Alaska."  After I picked myself up off the floor, I asked what had happened to change his mind?  He replied, "our bucket list."  We have lost some dear friends and neighbors over the past few years ... there are more aches and pains these days ... we're not getting any younger ... life is short!

The cruise is just one item on 'the list' ... The Duck is reading "Atlas Shrugged" ... he is not a 'reader', so tackling 1168 pages is quite a feat. Sometime this year, he will fly in a P-51  (the WWII Mustang) ... we will return to Italy when we feel it is safe to travel abroad again.  We're looking at a condo in Branson ... it's closer to family, only a day's drive and if The Duck wants to, he can play golf every day.  My list is a little less clear ... I want to finish my 'book' ... the one I've been writing for almost 20 years, about my hospice patients.  I want to take our grandchildren to Disney World ... while I'm still able to ride the rides!!! I want to finish the 'Grandmother' books for each grandchild, filled with stories from my life, a legacy I hope for them. I'd like to learn how to fly The Duck's plane ... well, to be honest, no I don't want to learn how to fly it ... I want to learn how to LAND it ... safely ... in one piece!

Okay ... I have digressed quite long enough ... we've booked the cruise and we were taking care of business Monday, getting the darn passports.  Our little burg is the only post office in the area where you don't need to have an appointment to take care of passports.  You must make an appointment at the post office 10 miles away ... the first available date is the end of May!  We got to the post office by 9:00 AM ... the office for passports doesn't open until 9:30 ... there were a dozen or more people AHEAD of us.  The Duck dropped me off in order to get our names on the list, while he tried to find a parking place.  By the time he got inside, I had learned that you must have copies of your birth certificates and the application ... the postal office's copy machine was out of order.  The Duck drove home to make the copies, I waited in line. When he returned, we had only six others in front of us ... then we discovered you needed a copy of both the front and back of your driver's  driver's license with the application.   The Duck drove home again ... this was not helping my case for a cruise.

There were several rumblings among the waiting folk about the inefficiency of the postal system ... only one lone soul working at the passport office ... the copy machine not working ... The Duck muttered "THIS is what the book I'm reading is about!"  I tried sitting on a window ledge ... too much hung over the ledge!  I tried to text on my phone and then I struck up a conversation with another woman waiting.  She was in a wheelchair, reading her Kindle ... she and her husband were going to London to visit their son and his family.  We talked about books ... she was reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" for the third time. We talked about always finding something 'new' when we reread a book.  We talked about traveling ... about hospice ... about children  ... the time passed.  She even turned and waved to us when they were finally finished.  The Duck has often said of me "you're the only one I know that can have a meaningful conversation ... with a lamppost!"   The Duck is a self admitted 'introvert' but the woman's husband asked him when was the last time he was in Creede (Colorado) The name Creede was on The Duck's hat.  The couple used to camp there often, the woman had been going out there since she was a year old child ... small world. The time passed.  We were  behind only three people now... and the woman at the desk took a break!

Three and one half hours after arriving at the post office, we were able to compete the applications, it will take 5-6 weeks for us to get them returned.  We don't leave on the cruise until mid-August but we are still talking to each other ... even after The Duck learned there are TWO formal nights included on our itinerary ... a suit and tie ...NOT something The Duck cares to wear these days ... but he's doing it ... it's on the 'list' and he's doing it for me!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Believe ....

Every once in a while I get a email that makes me stop and think.  Some are funny, some are philosophical, some are 'sweet' while others are 'naughty.'  Many emails have been political while others are simply sent for their aesthetic qualities.  The following photos were sent with a message "thought this could help your heart smile" ... and it did indeed.  I've used that expression 'heart smile' many times referring to what my grandchildren do to my own heart.  And so, for no other reason that I LOVED this email and
I DO Believe these things to be true!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Amazing Grace ...

 I cannot listen to this video without tears and chill bumps ... memories spill over me ... memories are the legacy of love. Angels whisper hope and comfort ... gone, but never forgotten.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Circle of Friends ...

I am blessed with a circle of friends ... 

When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
Then as I started to become a woman.
I found out that if you allow your heart to open up,
God would show you the best in many friends. 

One friend is needed when you're going through things with your man. Another friend is needed when you're going through things with your mom. Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities. Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be. One friend will say, 'Let's cry together,' Another, 'Let's fight together,'Another, 'Let's walk away together.' 

One friend will meet your spiritual need,
Another your shoe fetish, 
Another your love for movies,
Another will be with you in your season of confusion,

Another will be your clarifier,
Another the wind beneath your wings. 

But whatever their assignment in your life, On whatever the occasion, On whatever the day,  Or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back, Or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself .
Those are your best friends.  

It may all be wrapped up in one woman, But for many, it's wrapped up in several..
One from 7th grade,
One from high school,
Several from the college years,
A couple from old jobs,
On some days your mother,
On some days your neighbor, or your email buddies!!
On others, your sisters,
And on some days, your daughter.

I want to thank the women that God has placed in your life to make a difference.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Squirrel and the Nut

We moved to our new home in Georgetown in late June of 2000.  It took several weeks before we had most of the boxes unpacked. We did not even worry about the outside.  An extended drought kept us from putting in grass or plants in the front yard until the fall. We have left the area in the back ‘natural’ as have our neighbors.  We had only been in the house a few weeks when we took a much needed.... and appreciated trip to Colorado. When we returned the builder had finished the deck built off the back of the house.  The view from the deck is absolutely beautiful. The same view can be enjoyed from our breakfast room windows.  We can look down on what might be called a draw or ravine, in that it is a steeped-sided valley larger than a gully and smaller than a canyon.   There is a forest of green as far as you can see.  There is water far down the back of our ‘back yard’.... this water runs into the South San Gabriel River. I once explored the draw; there are several  ‘shelves’ of limestone, but it is still very steep.  It is amazing how cedar and cactus seem to grow out of the stone.  Across this draw/ravine are homes built on an opposing ridge.

One of our greatest pleasures happened quite by accident.  We noticed deer coming up the draw at dusk as we ate our evening meal.  They were timid, but curious. The Duck went to the farm supply store and bought a 50-pound bag of deer corn.  I began the daily routine of tossing the corn on the ground in back.  If the wind was blowing the wind chime or if we opened the back door, the deer would scattered, but they always come back. We have had as many as six deer eating at one time.  One of the males has an injured foot, but “Tripod” holds his own with the others.  A young  buck with possibly eight points appeared to have his own harem.  Later in the evening we often see raccoons and possums eating any leftover corn. To our surprise the squirrels appeared and would eat any corn left over as well.  After the front yard was finished with the landscaping, we started clearing the brush from the back.

The Duck hung a plastic bird feeder shaped like a lantern from one of the tall Cedar trees just outside the breakfast room windows. It hung from a black string on one of the branches and in short order we had several different kinds of birds visiting.  About this time a very industrious brown squirrel showed up, too.  He could be seen ‘stretching’ the length of the string and munching on birdseed.  The Duck lengthened the string.... the squirrel only stretched more!  The Duck removed the black string and replaced it with a thin longer wire.  The squirrel was not deterred.  The little pest could clean out the feeder in a very short time.  The duel of minds was heating up ... The Duck strung the wire through a plastic tennis ball container.... the squirrel held on to the container and would eat from the bottom of the feeder or knock enough seed onto the ground to keep himself busy for a while.  There was a second wooden feeder placed in another tree above a pile of cedar logs that we had cleared from the back. This was no challenge.... the feeder was emptied in record time.  Finally, The Duck erected a Purple Martin house’s metal pole (maybe 15-16 feet tall) securing the pole in concrete.  He built a cross brace and attached it to the pole about 7 1/2 or 8 feet above the ground. From each end of the brace he hung the birdfeeders.  I wish that you could have seen our faces when  “Squirrel” shinnied up that metal pole like a human might climbing a rope,  hand over hand.... eh, paw over paw.... not a problem!!!  Squirrel-5  Duck-4!!! 

This was now WAR.... after four years of engineering in college and 33 years plus working, The Duck was not going to be outwitted by a brown ‘rodent’ with a bushy tail (and a pea size brain!)  Picture this, a wooden disk about two foot in diameter.... it circled the metal pole and was about 6 feet from the ground, the birdfeeders safely above the disk. We noticed that while there was no sign of our little thief, the birds did not come either.  The Engineer glued roofing shingles to the wooden disk...the birds returned since the surface was no longer slick. Several days went by without incident .. then we saw him.  Somehow, the squirrel had managed to jump from a branch of a cedar tree onto the TOP of the birdfeeders and was literally ‘wrapped’ around the feeder eating upside down!!!  The noise from the chainsaw reverberated down the draw.  Several limbs were cut from the trees surrounding the metal pole and feeders.  Victory was ours.... until “the Squirrel from Hell” managed to jump from a stack of logs near the pole to the feeders and repeated his upside down eating frenzy.  We had not intended to move the logs, at least not until we had planned their placement in the ‘natural’ landscape of the back.    The birdfeeders were filled with seed, the birds returned...and if I understood  “Squirrel speak ”, I am almost certain that we are being cursed. Duck -7   Squirrel-6!!! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Silver Sneakers ... and other myths of aging

I'm giving up exercise due to illness and fatigue ...I'm sick and tired of it!!!

My many loyal followers ... all seven of them ... are painfully aware of my health 'issues' over the past few years. Three rotator cuff surgeries on my right shoulder in ONE year ... another rotator cuff surgery on my weakened left shoulder and then spinal fusion two weeks before Christmas a year ago. Five surgeries in just a tad over two years. It's taken a toll on me as could be expected. I used to do aerobic exercises three or four times a week at the Y. Following each surgery I followed up with physical therapy ... working diligently on the specific surgical area. Suffice to say, other areas were not exercised ... I put on quite a bit of weight during those two years.

The Duck encouraged me ... "you'll get it off once you are healed ... you need to start off slowly, though." I joined our local recreation center since it was much closer than the Y. I started off with an aerobic class but quickly found I could not get up and down on the mats thus aggravating both my shoulders and back.

So, at the suggestion of my physical therapist I was 'reintroduced' to water aerobics. I had done water aerobics at another rec center; deep water where you wear flotation 'boots' forcing you to work harder to keep the feet below you! I dunked myself unceremoniously more than once; the feet float up the head goes back and under ... scary stuff for one who doesn't really swim well.

Anywho ... during my 'surgical years' I walked for exercise and did some water aerobics. I forgot to mention that I have Fibromyalgia ... never had heard of it until about fifteen years ago when I was diagnosed. For those unfamiliar ... it can be sheer torture ... muscles, connective tissue, collagen tissue ... causing unbelievable widespread pain over your body. I had done water aerobics back in those days until I got a 'handle' on the pain and was able to advance back to cardio- aerobics.

Okay ... fast-forward to a few weeks ago ... I've finished all the physical therapy, I'm disgusted with my 'slug' physique and lack of energy. A friend (who just had turned 81 years old!) suggested I join her at Silver Sneakers. I was a bit insulted ... after all I'm almost 18 years younger than my friend! Besides, I had seen the ... uh, ... older folks at the Y doing their 'Silver Sneakers' exercises ... in a CHAIR!!!

BUTT <--- not a typo! I did have to do something, even walking was painful due to plantar fasciitis of one foot. So I strolled into the large gymnasium to discover about 60 'seniors' waiting for the instructor. Some were walking around the gym talking .. not to themselves, others were doing warm-up exercises, still others were sitting in the aforementioned chairs.

The young instructor turned out to be the 30-something cardio-aerobic instructor. Lisa 'takes no prisoners!' Everyone got weights appropriate to their abilities, a small rubber ball and an elastic band. We were to place all the equipment under the chairs. "Sit on the front of the chair, spine straight, stomach sucked in, feet flat on the floor, chest out ... and MARCH" March??? Okay ... I can do that ... wow, picking your feet up while your sitting in a chair ... whew, not a piece of cake ... hey, how much longer?

We were told to move our feet out and in, front and back, stand, sit, walk around the gym twice, up the stairs and back down into the room. We stood and performed balancing 'tricks' holding one foot up, using the weights in our hands above our heads ... SIXTY minutes ... we stretched, we moved, every part of your body was included. I had entered that room confident that I would whip some ... well, that I would find 'chair exercises' easy .... NOT ... I left feeling exhausted and more than a little humbled. You see, the gentleman next to me ... dressed in Dockers, street shoes, long sleeve flannel shirt ... leaned over and told me "you'll get the hang of it ... I've been coming for three years ... oh, and I'm 93 years old."

I've been back for more 'torture' a few times now ... these are amazing people ... there's no talk about aches and pains ... it's upbeat and fun. One lady is 95 years old... she pats my back and asks me 'how are you doing, honey?' as she passes me doing our laps. Growing old isn't for sissies!

Monday, November 22, 2010


I have so much to be thankful for today .... so many blessings. Then, why do I sit here questioning 'things', worry about things I have no control over, procrastinating about things that I DO have some control over, fretting about money, time, health issues ... the list is long. It's because I'm human ... I'm a woman ... I'm a caregiver ... I'm a wife ... I'm a mother ... I'm a grandma ... I'm a friend.

"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can,
and wisdom to know the difference."


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Calmness in Our Lives ....

Disclaimer: The following account is painfully true ... proper names have not been used to protect ... uh, myself!!! And most importantly ... it must be said that I love 'Pops' ... I really do ... in spite of his numerous quirks, adolescent antics, dorky walk and perennial grumpy demeanor !!!

My 86 year old step-father, Pops, and his 78 year old 'lady' friend came to visit recently. The timing was not the best ... but hey, when you are 86 years old, you don't put things off. I had just spent three days with two 'Industrial Strength Energy Zappers' (aka grandchildren!) The Duck and I are still going through some very stressful and frustrating real estate issues. It was necessary to back out on the contract of the townhouse we so wanted due to several structural problems. I'm still doing physical therapy on my shoulder as a result of surgery four months ago. Soooo .... all this was the setting for the 'VISIT' ... from Hell????

Pops and Miss W arrived around 4:00 PM last Wednesday ... they had had lunch with her sister and brother-in-law earlier in the day. We visited for a couple of hours, moved all their things into the guest bedroom and had a delicious homemade dinner complete with Key Lime Pie. We spent an hour or so playing 'Mexican Train' (dominoes ... for those who are unaware of this fun game) after dinner and headed off to bed rather early for us ... but much needed!

At 11:00 PM I was awakened by Pops shouting at our bedroom door ... "come help me, quick"
... THAT did not sound good!!! And it wasn't ... Miss W was lying on the bathroom floor unresponsive! For reasons that will become obvious, I have chosen not to describe the following events in 'graphic detail' ... The stench was unbelievable ... you know what they say happens in emergencies (no, not THAT!) ... but, how adrenaline kicks in ... I lifted Miss W up, helping her back on the toilet. She was so weak she had to be held and could not be left alone. I managed to get her in the bathtub ... TWICE! After what seemed to be hours, actually it was only one hour, I was able to get her cleaned up, dressed and back into bed. I, then, started the first of probably ten loads of laundry ... towels, pajamas, sheets, towels and more towels. Oh, and mopped the floor and disinfected the tub, toilet and floor. Okay, I know you've got the picture, no need to 'run on.'

No sooner was Miss W back in bed and things quiet than she started vomiting. More towels, more changing clothes, etc. Running back and forth. Around 3:00 AM Pops asked for help again ... for himself this time! Yup, same symptoms down to the very ... well, anyway, same thing ... both ends ... both of them. It was 9:00 AM the 'next' morning before their symptoms ran their course.

There is so much more I could share ... like the running dialog whether this was a virus or food poisoning ... the sister of Miss W KNEW it wasn't food poisoning from their lunch and I felt just as strongly about our dinner. It should be pointed out that neither Miss W's family nor the Duck or myself have shown any signs of having food poisoning or catching a 'bug' ... THANK GOD !!!!

The two 'patients' slept ALL Thursday, I had each in separate bedrooms (more sheets, of course!) I would wake them up every few hours and force them to drank fluids with electrolytes since the up-chucking had stopped. But Sister P worried that they should be in the hospital with IV fluids. The Duck suggested Sister P come over and check on her sister herself ... which she did at four that afternoon. Miss W heard her sister's voice and staggered out of her bedroom ... weak, but lucid. Miss W ended up going home with her sister for the evening. Pops ate some chicken soup, crackers and more Gator-Ade before going back to bed.

Several times over the next twelve hours I checked on Pops ... he rarely moved during the night, but the walls certainly did as he snored with gusto! Around 9 AM, Friday morning, he emerged from bedroom. The man is incredible, we're talking about an 86 year old dude here ... he actually asked for and ate scrambled eggs with cheese and toast and drank coffee heavily laced with cream! He called Miss W ... who was much feeling better. I guess she was indeed ... she went shopping for several hours with her sister while Pops was sitting here downing Gator-Ade and watching James Bond movies.

Late Friday afternoon, Pops joined Miss W over at her sister's place ... but have no fear there were reminders of their visit!!! Wish I had stock in Lysol products ... I've cleaned everything ... several times! When I talked to Pops last night he was up to his old ... very old ... tricks, jokes and curmudgeon self. I, on the other hand, slept for the first time in 48 hours and am leaving the following 'pearls of wisdom' to my readers so that you may, too, attain calmness in your lives.

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, a box of chocolates, and a half bottle of scotch.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now. Pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace.