Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Its the End of the World as we know it

The end of the Mayan calendar has people thinking, and joking, that the world will end December 21, 2012.  Between this and recent events, both personal and public, I have this song stuck in my head.

It drives me crazy, but it also makes me think.  I’m sure millions of other people have also contemplated this lately.  If the world were to end Friday, what would I do differently?  

My first thought, shamefully, is that there wouldn’t be any consequences for my actions, so I could do anything I wanted.  I would have total and complete freedom.  With total and complete freedom, what would I do?  I would quit my job, travel the world, and see everything there is to see.  Then I realized that that’s not very radical and I don’t know that it would be all that fulfilling when you consider that the world is ending.  So then I looked at it more realistically and realized that, if I knew that the world were ending on Friday, I would spend these last days, hours with loved ones.  That’s all that really matters in this life.  A bucket list is nice to have and goals and dreams are a human need, but the reason we’re here is to interact with one another and take care of each other.  The meaning of life is relationships.  Would I have any regrets?  No, not one.  There are things in my past that I wish hadn’t happened or that I would have handled differently, but they’re all in the past and there’s nothing to be done about them.  I’ve made my peace with my mistakes and learned from them.  There is nothing to regret because I say what needs to be said, I feel what needs to be felt, and I always try to do the very best that I can.

Hope to see you December 22nd, but just in case the world does end on the 21st, I just want to say “Hugs, kisses, and I love you.  I’ll meet you on the other side.”


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Faith in God

A king who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances would always say "My king, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect. He makes no mistakes!"

One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king.  His slave managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent his majesty from losing a finger.

Furious and without showing his gratitude for being saved, the nobleman asked "Is God good? If He was good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger."

The slave replied:
"My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and he knows why these things happened. What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!"

Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

Later, the King left for another hunt, this time alone. He was captured by savages who engaged in human sacrifices.

On the altar and ready to sacrifice the nobleman, the savages discovered that their victim did not have one of his fingers. According to them, only a whole person with all his/her parts intact could be offered to the gods. The King without a finger was deemed an abominable sacrifice for their gods. So they released the King.

Upon his return to the palace, the King authorized the release of his slave.  He received the slave affectionately.

He asked his slave, "my dear, God was really good to me! I was almost killed by the wild men, but for lack of a single finger, I was let go! But I have a question: if God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?"

The slave answered, "my King, if I had gone with you on this hunt, I would have been sacrificed instead because I have no missing finger. Remember everything God does is perfect. He is never wrong. He made you to keep me in jail so I would not be with you on the hunt."

Often we complain about life, and negative things that happen to us, forgetting that nothing is random and that everything has a purpose.

Every morning, offer your day to God, don't be in a rush.

Ask God to inspire your thoughts, guide your actions, and ease your feelings. And do not be afraid. God is never wrong!

You know why this message is for you? I do not know, but God knows, because He never makes mistakes...

The path of God and his word are perfect, without impurities. He is the way of all those who trust in Him.

God is never wrong!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The One That Got Away

How I Twisted My Ankle On a Jello Shot

Went to my daughter's house to keep her from going ballistic on the roofers.  Left with 2 trays of jello shots.  When I got home, I tried to balance the trays of jello shots on the railing while I unlocked the front door.  Jello shots do not balance on a railing.  Ended up with jello shots everywhere.  I couldn't tell how many fell off the porch, behind the bushes, into a deep pile of leaves, but imagined a raccoon finding them and getting hammered and I just wouldn't be able to live with myself knowing I got wildlife hooked on jello shots.  So, I turned on the porch light and went in the house to find something to gather up the escapees with.

For some reason, it seemed easier to grab a vacuum cleaner attachment than a rake, so I went with that.  Back outside, it seemed dark, so I turned on the porch light - not remembering or realizing that I had already done that. I turned it off then back on.  Realized I needed a flashlight.  Back in the house, then back to the front porch, one more time not thinking and turned off the porch light, so then back on again.  Stepped off the porch.  It turns out that leaves mask what's underneath and give way under the weight of a human foot.  Down I went, rolled and tumbled.  Laid there in the leaves for a few minutes, having twisted my ankle, and realized, there's no one to call for help, so I stumbled and fumbled and eventually got back to my feet.

Tried to rake in the jello shot with the vacuum cleaner attachment (turns out there was only one jello shot, so the raccoon probably would have survived) and kept losing it in the leaves, however, at this point it seemed sillier to give up than to keep trying to retrieve a jello shot with a vacuum cleaner attachment, in the dark, under a bush, hidden in a pile of leaves, so I persevered until I was triumphant.

Back in the house, turned off the porch light, looked back outside, the porch light was still on, I had turned off the foyer light overhead.  Turned it back on and the porch light off and realized I had lost part of the vacuum cleaner attachment.  Porch light back on, no wait, that was the foyer light, then the porch light, back outside - at this point I don't know what lights are on and which are off and wondering, really, if I even needed them at all, because, hey, just realized, I'm holding a two foot long flashlight.  Found the attachment in the dark, back inside, flick the lights back and forth a few more times, start walking through the living room and hear the sound of leaves trailing behind me.  Remembered, I fell in a pile of leaves, could that sound possibly be because  I'm covered in them?  Lights on and off a few more times as I muddle my way back outside, this time careful not to step in the black hole pile o' leaves just off my porch step.  Clean myself off, back inside, lights off and on and possibly off again by now, (half wondering if the neighbors are watching at this point).

Go to put the little AWOL jello shot into the frig with its little friends and somehow knock out the veggie crisper drawer.  Jello shots out of the frig, bang crisper around the frig a few times to vent; consolidate jello shots into one bin (go ahead and take a few pics because at this point I realize this little snafu is at least going to be posted on fb), sit down, have a banana, showing restraint not to just ingest all of the jello shots.  Stand up, walk through and slip on Velvet's drool from where she was sitting while I ate my banana...seem to have blocked out whatever went wrong after that; couldn't have been good.  Just as well, I feel my entire body turning into one big bruise, so I'm going to call it quits here.

So, long story short:
roofers jello shots intoxicated raccoon porch light flickers leaves twisted ankle vacuum cleaner attachment flashlight banana Beagle drool

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting in the 2012 Election

Today I stayed home from work because I've got a flu/sinus infection and so to gear up to go vote took a little coordinating of rest, food and medicine.  I think I timed it pretty well.  I got there just after 11 am, thinking there would hardly be any line, but was I ever wrong.  The line snaked and turned and seemed to be endless.  I asked a poll worker about it.  Why did they change the way they use to do it?  Before, we were all divided into separate little groups into separate little church classrooms and voting never took more than 10 minutes.  Another year we were divided into 4 groups alphabetically and then another year into 2 groups alphabetically, so I guess, in hindsight, I should have seen this coming, however, to do it this way for a presidential election was just pure craziness. 

Being sick, running a low grade fever, and suffering hot flashes, coupled with standing in a long line and sweating to death made me feel like passing out and I almost turned to leave, but then the lady in front of me started talking to me.  She said her husband said it was only about a half hour wait this morning and it was about the same length of a line.  So, I'm thinking, 'half an hour, I think I can do that.'  Then, she said, 'you know, its amazing people will stand here and complain about this line, yet people wait in much longer lines at amusement parks just to ride one ride.'  She had a point there, so I decided to stay and if I needed to sit, I would ask the people behind me to save my spot.

The people behind me were very offensive in the things they were saying about the candidates, past elections, people in general, and I tried not to listen.  For the life of me, I could not tell if they were democrat or republican, because they bashed both equally.  The couple in front of me then started talking to me more and more and then I found out they weren't a couple; they had just met in line.  I thought that was so great.  The man, it turns out, was a bodyguard for Presidents Ronald Reagan, and George Bush.  Very interesting and exciting.  I never met a bodyguard before, especially not one for two U.S. Presidents.

He bought me a cup of coffee, which I thought was really nice.  People just don't interact like they use to, so it was wonderful to meet such nice people.  It was a delicious Boston Stoker Cinnamon Twist.  The church where we voted had a cafe which I'm thinking is an excellent idea for all voting places.

Well, that was the adventure for today.  I think its wonderful to meet new people and strike up conversations.  It made the line seem not as long.  The whole process took half an hour, which, I'm understanding is not very long this year.

Get out and vote :-)
If you don't know where to vote, search online for your county's board of elections website.  Take your driver's license or other picture/state issued photo id and if you've moved and not been able to change your address, take your license and a utility bill with your name and address on it.  You will have to fill out a provisional ballot, but at least you'll have the opportunity to vote (but, please, don't take my word on it; check with your board of elections).  Those in New York and New Jersey have some options because of the hurricane.  This is the latest article I found on it:

Praying for whomever is best suited for the job(s) to triumph.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bob Ross

I wanted to wish Bob Ross a Happy Birthday, today.  He would have been 70.  He inspired so many people to draw, paint, create, including my husband and myself.  What a wonderful gift to share.

Mountain Retreat by Bob Ross

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I received this as an email.  It explains some of the thinking I've been doing the past year and a half.  Life is such a gift, we need to cherish every minute of it.  

The email contained a link to this webpage.  I've copied the text below:

This was written by an 83-year-old woman to her friend.
*The last line says it all. *

Dear Bertha,

I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the  garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now

I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.

I'm guessing; I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, tell myself that it is special.

Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do Over

I'm going through some stuff right now, mostly on a "relationship" that didn't work out.  In times like these I look to different things to inspire me to heal quickly.  First of all, I have a very supportive family, and a fantastic group of friends to support me and to always say the right thing.  I listen to soft, calming music, read the bible and meditate.  Occasionally, though, I'll think of a line from a movie or a song that gets me through the situation.  This particular instance took me back to the movie, "City Slickers".  The 3 main characters were sitting in front of a tent; everything seemed to be going wrong for their one friend, and Billy Crystal told him 'life is a do-over'.  If you don't like how this decision worked out, start over again, try again until you get the result you want. (paraphrased there).  So, that's the attitude I've taken since my husband passed away.  I've made tremendous progress, too, but need to realize that there are still going to be plans that go wrong and I will need to reassess my life and my life's path and to try, try again.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Anniversary #27

Today would have been my 27th wedding anniversary.  I don't know when, if ever, you stop counting them after your spouse passes away, but I've been dwelling on this day all month.  I don't really understand what it is about marriage, but something happens when you say "I do" that transforms two individual people into a couple; two halves of a whole.  People will argue that, but I think they're just in denial.  Even if you drift apart through the years, even if your feelings completely change for each other, that connection will always be there.  When the couple is torn apart, especially by death, it leaves a big hole that will never be filled.  You can shrink it a bit, but its never completely gone.

I came across this coffee cup at work a couple of weeks ago.  It was one that Ken loved to use and kind of fits the situation and definitely fits the way he lived his life.

Words to live by.

Ken Weeks 1951-2011

Friday, August 31, 2012

What's the Cost?

Early spring my cousins did a lot of work on my yard, pulling weeds, trimming bushes, etc.  Trimming the pair of bushes next to the back patio exposed a lone golf ball.  They left it there, and I have too for all of these months as a reminder.  This was my husband's golf ball.  He loved the fact that our backyard was long enough that he could practice his swing (I guess this one got away).  He loved being out back working on his garden, or shooting hoops, or even just sitting on the porch swing.  This golf ball is a reminder to me that life is a precious gift.  Its a fragile gift that needs our full, undivided attention.

Today marks the anniversary of my husband's visit to the emergency room where we found out that he had stage 3 colon cancer.  That was 2007.  He passed away on Valentine's Day, 2011.  His only consolation during everything was that his colon cancer got several people to have colonoscopies, some which revealed pre-cancerous polyps.  So, on anniversaries such as this, and whenever I can, I try to remind people of the importance of doing this and to offer information that others may not know to help them make a more informed decision.  I hope you'll read all of this.

When I talk to people about getting one, I get the same responses over and over again, so I would like to address those this year, especially in light of the fact that my 44 year old brother just had 4 polyps removed.

Colon cancer is the 3rd highest cause of death among all of the types of cancers, BUT its one of the few that can be detected at such an early stage that it could be wiped out if everyone had colonoscopies.  So, why doesn't everyone have a colonoscopy?

No. 1 reason:  It's Nasty.
For approximately 24 hours before the procedure, you have to drink foul tasting stuff that will clean out your system, which means spending a lot of time on the toilet.  I agree, that is nasty, but look at the alternatives:
- if a tumor is found, 2 nurses will hold you down and run a tube through your nose, down your throat and into your stomach in order to clean out your system.  Its called an NG tube.  Even a sip of water will come back up through the tube.  Imagine being like that for at least 5 days.  How does one day of diarrhea compare to that?
- while on chemo you will have days and days of diarrhea and maybe need to be admitted to the hospital to get rehydrated.
- the stuff you have to drink for various tests is even nastier than the prep for the colonoscopies, and you will be required to drink these every so many months as part of your treatment.

No. 2 reason:  It cost too much.
I was put off by the cost also and most insurance companies won't pay for it; they'll apply it towards your deductible, but the doctors will want to work out a payment plan with you before your procedure.  So, you're looking at about $1000 over maybe 3 months.
The alternative:
- Cancer is expensive.  All of the medications and doctor visits, specialists, copays, deductibles, maximum out of pocket expense, etc. over the course of 3 1/2 years, I estimate to be at least $27,000, and we had a really good insurance plan.  My monthly premiums the last two years were over $1200/month which is on top of the $27,000.  Then there's the hundreds of thousands of dollars the insurance company paid (but its still cheaper for them to do this than to cover the cost of colonoscopies for everyone).  Everyone wants their money first.  You have to call each company and work out payment plans.

No. 3 reason:  I don't have any symptoms.
By the time you have symptoms you will probably have, at least, stage 3 colon cancer.

No. 4 reason:  I did the "smear" test.
By the time anything shows up on a smear test, you will probably have stage 3 colon cancer.  All the smear test does is detect blood in the stool.  My husband's tumor was in the large colon, it would have never shown a result by this method.

No. 5 reason:  We don't have a history of colon cancer in the family.
The number of people who are getting cancer is growing everyday.  Why do you think there are so many new cancer facilities being built?  Its a booming business.  Its our lifestyles, the food we eat, stress, alcohol and other drug abuse, our environment.  Its no longer just genetics.  BUT, if you do have a family history of any type of cancer, and especially colon cancer, don't wait until you're 50 to have a colonoscopy.

Please, please, please, do yourself and your family a favor.  Go have a colonoscopy.  The alternatives are so much worse.  If you don't want to have one, that's your decision, of course, but tell me... would you like to be remembered?

In loving memory
Kenneth B. Weeks

Stand Up To Cancer - be sure to watch September 7th.  8pm Eastern/7pm Central on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX

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