Monday, January 31, 2011

"Red's" Inpatient Tonight

I'm not sure I've ever introduced you... This is Red.

Original, I know. But those of you who know me know that there are few other colors in my personal rainbow so it really makes perfect sense.

A few years ago, my mom treated me to Red (of course she did). We bonded immediately. We've been on many trips together...including to the bedroom.

Recently, Red came down with a cough of sorts. At first it was sporadic and I simply attributed it to the freezing temps and recent snowfall here in Carolina. But things progressed and the "cough" turned into an almost constant wheezing, grinding, bringing up my guts-type noise. The other evening while chatting with my mom on the phone, she said, "what on earth is that noise?" That was it. I knew it was serious.

I took Red to the office with me today and made an appointment with Dr. "Sergio" of CCH. Sergio can work miracles. After explaining the ongoing symptoms, Dr. Sergio suggested an immediate PC intervention. Not to worry. Red was out of ear shot during this conversation and safely packed in his (red) laptop carrier. A few short minutes later, and on his way back to work from lunch at Bojangles, Dr. Sergio made a house call. Yep, he stopped by CCS and carefully and lovingly picked up Red and took him to the facility where he can get the best care possible.

Based on what I've described, Dr. Sergio thinks it's a simple bearing in the fan but he won't know for sure until he gets in there. He didn't seem overly concerned and assured me, with the right amount of antibiotics, Red will be up and running again in no time. This, of course, brought me comfort and I gave a huge sigh of relief. For as much as I love my ancient and never breaks desktop, I'd look pretty funny carrying it under my arm into Open Eye Cafe.

I'm expecting a call tomorrow with the lab results.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Day of His Birth

Today is my DH's birthday! Happy Birthday, Michael!

My family loves to recognize and celebrate birthdays in a BIG way. I mean, after all, it's the anniversary of the day you came into this world! What better reason to have a celebration!

I am so thankful J & B Mineer were born, that they met, fell in love, married and brought this guy into the world. Because if none of that had ever happened, where oh where would I be?

A few facts about my lovey...

1) Did you know that he is 26 months YOUNGER than me? Yep. And that makes us both very smart people.
2) He hails from the great state of Kentucky and is VERY loyal to UK...go Cats!!
3) He served in the Army and witnessed events he will never share with me.
4) He knows more about me than I know about him.
5) He is a major competitor in EVERYTHING he does. He absolutely must be the best.
6) He is a cell phone junkie.
7) He does the laundry and the grocery shopping (note item #1...I am a smart person).
8) He is romantic, regardless of how he seems "on the outside".
9) He takes every opportunity to further his education.
10) He protects me...and my heart.
11) He can show Brandi Lee tougher love than I can.
12) He hates to "tinker".
13) He likes my cooking and really prefers I don't bake too often - for obvious reasons.
14) He'll shop in Victoria Secret alone for me and always tells the sales associate "no thanks, I'm good" when she asks if he needs any help (again, note item #1).
15) I married him because he makes me laugh every day. Little did I know how important that would be as we've moved through this life together.

Me sweet works an extremely dangerous job...I don't dwell on this fact but I never forget it as I kiss him goodbye and tell him I love him as he leaves for the night. So to be able to celebrate another year with him, either by our birthdays or anniversaries, is a true blessing for me.

Happy Birthday, honey...I do love you so


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Same As It Never Was"

It's my favorite Tuesday of the month. The last Tuesday of the month. The Tuesday I meet with 6, 8, 10 - however many can make it - of the most unique, beautiful women I know. It was book club night.

This month's selection was a read regarding aging, becoming forgetful and having the opportunity to right wrongs and finish unfinished business. All of this, however, comes at a grave cost; death. Would you pay the price? Of course, it prompted great discussion and, of course, we veered off course...which got me to thinking...

Are you a different person today than you were twenty years ago? Do you hold the same opinions today as you did when you turned 21? Are you the same wife to the husband you married "x" number of years ago? Do you love your children differently today than you did the day they were born? Have you gained more respect - or pity - for your aging parents? Have you started or stopped a habit over the last decade? Have you experienced a death in your lifetime that affected you so much that the process, or "end", has taken up a small residence in your brain? If you're a grandparent, are you a different, better grandparent than you were a parent? Have you grown bitter? Has your opinion of your country changed? Your opinion of the world? As you are aging, are you paying closer attention to the more simpler things in life - the stars in the sky at night, the brightness of the moon, the color of the sky on a crystal clear day? Do you eat better and/or exercise now that you're post-menopausal? Are you fighting the "aging process" all together? I told you, my favorite Tuesday of the month!!!

I'd like to think I'm getting better. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, and I think it's a relative term considering at what point I'm coming from. But I think we are supposed to wise up as we age. I think we're supposed to "get it". I think we're supposed more. Appreciate more. Give more. Love more. And I don't think we're supposed to stay who we are at any given time. I'm not the same person I was as a teen, or in my twenties, or in my thirties...I'm really not even the same person I was a few weeks ago.

I refuse to live in the past. I work hard to stop asking myself "why" when something hurtful happens in my life. I'm not sure anymore that I was "put here for a reason" or that I owe "anyone" anything for my life but I do believe in humanity. I care for and about people and I expect the same in return. I expect you to take care of yourself so that I don't have to pay the price via my health insurance. I expect you to do your part in keeping my community safe. I expect you to contribute to society in some way.

I expect us all to be grateful for each day we're given, don't assume we have 80+ years to handle our business. Take note of the trees, a puppy, the lake, someone holding someone elses hand, how a cat stretches, how your spouse smiles at you across the dinner table during a lull in the conversation. Do this because more than likely, you won't be the same person tomorrow and it will never be the "same as it never was".

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Am Easily Moved

No, I'm not talking about my bowels...

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I cry at the typical, sad stuff but I can also cry at the beautiful, blue Carolina sky, at the steam flowing from the nostrils of horses grazing in a field, at a young person obviously enjoying being in the company of an elder, at hearing my daughter's laugh on the other end of the phone when it's been months since I've seen her in person, at some unprompted gesture or compliment from my husband, when my dad leaves me a voice mail message of ANY kind, when a patient hugs me and tells me thank you, when the blue birds leave the big bird house in the front yard, when I get the call that my folks have arrived home safely after leaving NC, when I receive an unexpected treat in the mail from someone I love to the depths of my get the idea. I am a sap and I cry.

I have a very special friend who lives in NY City. Right in the midst of all the hub-bub. Can walk to anything and everything. I recently asked a favor of her and she went above and beyond my request which is not the point of this post but still bears noting. I received my little treat in the mail today from my city friend and included in the package was an article written by New York Times correspondent Jim Axelrod. My friend thought of me when she copied this and included it with my surcee, which was enough to make me cry. But the article itself caused me to bring my hands to my heart...

I am training for a marathon that will take place in May. I am focused and dedicated to my routine and working hard at staying fit and healthy so that I do this correctly and without injury. I am working toward this for my own personal achievement and success. I'm not doing it for anyone else. I'm not doing it to prove a point but, instead, for the satisfaction of settling my soul. I expect this will be one of the most important, memorable days of my life.

I don't expect anyone to understand the lunacy of it all. I don't expect non-runners to understand what a good time for a first marathoner might be and as such, I hope they won't ask me or concern themselves with my time if I decide to even answer the question. That's personal and intrusive and misses the point.

So please, if you will, heed the advice of Mr. Axelrod and "on the Monday after Marathon Sunday, when you see me in whatever condition I may be in, leave it at "congratulations, that's some kind of achievement". If you really need to add something, how about "have fun?"

I will be in touch with my friend to let her know I received my goody in perfect condition and that I will giggle every time I wear it and, of course, think of her. But maybe more importantly, I will make sure she knows how much her "second thought" of including that article touched my heart and soul even more and how it will be at the forefront of my thoughts as I cross that finish line...because it will be some kind of achievement and I will have had fun.

Sniff, sniff...

Oh No She Didn't!!!!!!

Some things are just OFF LIMITS!

Don't touch the food on my plate. I'm sorry if you forgot your toothbrush, but please don't ask to "borrow" mine. Um, it's MY kitchen thank you very much. And if I ask you to hand me my wallet, what I really mean is hand me my ENTIRE purse - no need for you to go rifling thru it! But, most importantly, don't ever, ever walk on my yoga mat. EVER.

When class was over and everyone was putting away their "tools" and picking up their things making ready to exit last night, some newbie carelessly and obliviously WALKED ACROSS MY PERSONAL YOGA MAT!! I stood there with my mouth gaping open and my hands on my hips - typical, I know. My immediate reaction was to bitch-slap this little heathen. I thought better of that. I thought, wow-I've something to blog about! Ha!

Seriously, some things are just sacred and my yoga mat is one of them. Hell, I'm not crazy about the fact that my own sweaty body and dirty feet are on the sucker. I surely don't want the germ soaked soles of some stranger's feet touching it!

Get a clue, chicka. And learn some Bikram Yoga manners!

Namaste. I feel much better now.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gahhhh...This is KILLING Me!

Crank this baby up, won't 'cha?! Until it hits 86 in this place, I'm just gonna lay here and wait 'till you get it right...or until that stupid canine you let in here gets a sniff of "all this" and mistakes me for a chew toy - in which case I'm outside with the rest of the degenerates.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oh Summer...I Heart You...

"Be patient, Joyce...soon, very soon"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can't Cats Smell Smoke?

My Dad and I are saps. Me for and about most everything, especially if it's living, breathing and has a moist nose. My Dad is a sap for me. This is a lethal combination.

We have 13 outside barn cats. They've all been spayed and neutered, we're responsible that way. Okay, it took awhile to get them all spayed and neutered which is how we ended up with 13 outside barn cats but eventually, we got the job done! It gets pretty cold outside, even here in Central North Carolina. I couldn't stand the thought of my kitties being outside, FREEZING in their winter coats. My Dad couldn't stand me not standing the thought of my kitties being outside FREEZING in their winter coats.

So, he built this:

Yep, it's a cat house...with electricity inside. Well, basic electricity. Enough to hang a naked light bulb to provide some additional warmth that the 10 blankets and comforters may NOT be providing (my mom provided most of those for the record). That's a little history to prep you for the real story here...

When I come home every night, there are typically 4 kitties that come and meet me at the car. One of these is Vivvy, the stray that showed up 2 years ago and has never left. She's an outsider on every level but it's really evident because Vivvy is a long haired, creamsicle color and the rest of my herd is simply black or black and white. Last night, as I would have expected, Vivvy and the others met me at the car. I noticed a discoloration on her fur where her tail connects to her body. I bent down and got a closer look...hmm, that looks like it's been scorched. The only thing I could come up with is that some cruel ass got a hold of my cat and burned her with something! I was furious...and confused because we really are fairly secluded out here, know our neighbors (who are acres away) very well and are confident not one of them would bring any animal any harm. It was at about this time I noticed a smell. At first I simply thought someone was burning leaves or had a fire going or...MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE! THAT WOULD EXPLAIN THE SINGED HAIR ON THE CAT'S BACK!!!

I went tearing down the driveway and leapt on the front porch...sniff, sniff...I could smell it but couldn't see anything. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see smoke billowing inside my beloved cat house! What the hell????

I flip open the roof (why my father had the foresight to hinge the roof is beyond me but he did and I am SO grateful) and smoke comes pouring from the kitty condo! And laying in there, comfy cozy, looking at me as if I'd just walked in on him sitting on the pot reading "Cat Fancy" was Beau! Just laying there. Amidst all that smoke. Billowing all around him. A purple haze if you will. Like something from a Cheech and Chong movie. "Beau! Get the hell outta' here, man! Your house is on fire!"

I pulled smoldering blankets from the abode and threw them out in the yard. I lifted the naked light bulb that had somehow fallen from the ceiling and landed on the blankets up and off (which was the source of the soon-to-be fire, according to fire marshall J. Mineer), unplugged it from the electrical outlet and, when it was cool enough, unscrewed it from the socket and threw it in the yard. And before I went in my house, I made sure there were no "hot spots" left and, of course, called my mom (why do we always call mom...).

I've had time to collect myself over this mishap. I haven't taken it lightly because if I'd just been a few minutes later or decided to make a stop on the way home or, worse yet, gone to the gym and been HOURS later coming home, our own house would've burned to the ground.

But tonight, I can't help but laugh! Because I tell you this for free people...there is ALWAYS a story in Bear Creek! Always!!

...really, really grateful we dodged that big, hot bullet!!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Balls Sucked

I pride myself on a few things: 1) getting the Thank-you note/email out in a timely fashion, 2) always saying please and thank you, 3) never arriving at a gathering that I've been invited to empty handed, 4) being a good hostess and 5) being a self-proclaimed good cook.

Early in December I attended my book club's annual Christmas party. Karen was our hostess this year and she really outdid herself; fruitcake, peanut butter sammy cookies, fresh fruit, a tasty assortment of wines and Bourbon Balls!

I can't remember if I've ever had Bourbon Balls. I'm inclined to say "no" because, well, I don't like bourbon. But I was in the spirit of the season and am less likely at this point in my life to miss out on something new. So, two balls made their way to my plate...then two more...and, although I can't swear to it but I'm sure had a breath-a-lizer been available, it could've been proven that I ingested 2 or 4 MORE balls. I LOVED these things. So much so, I asked Karen to share the recipe.

I followed it verbatim - I swear I did. And, no, there was no sipping of the ingredients to make sure everything was fresh. I didn't miss a teaspoon, a cup, a pinch. I did break my spatula while stirring and stirring and stirring. Should that have been a hint?

My family were real troopers - Brandi graciously spit her's out into a napkin as her face contorted into a shape I'm certain was painful and my dad, well, he was steadily putting a dent in the bowl full (this from the same man who gave me UGGS for Christmas) out of nothing but love I'm sure.

There's still a tupperware container full of the powdered-sugar little orbs in the refrigerator and two gallon-sized bags of the "batter" in the freezer. They all need to be thrown out but because of the cost, I simply can't bring myself to do it.

Had I thought of it sooner, I would have rung in the new year with these potent spheres and saved my money on the champagne.