Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy BirthdayTo The Cute Boy I Live With

It was LaMar's birthday on Friday the 27th, and I feel compelled to tell all of you that I really won the prize with this man. (He would say he's the booby prize, but no - he is the blue ribbon and gold cup rolled into one) Life is good with him. I am taken care of, and in turn, he lets me take care of him. I won't say he's perfect, but really - who is? I think I can handle the fact that he always knows the price per pound of chicken in the grocery store, and he likes to comparison shop on the internet. He, in fact, never forgets the price of anything, which can drive me a little crazy. (Me, who can't remember what I paid for anything, ever. Numbers are soooo abstract.)

It has become a source of endearment to me. I can always count on him knowing the best store to buy produce at, or where to find an i-Pod or i-Phone at the cheapest price. When he's been under the weather and is on the mend, I'll ask him how he's' feeling. It's never "so much better" or "a little better" - it's something like "I feel 85% better." I've never been able figure out how he quanitifies the amount of betterness he feels, but I can't remember the price of chicken either.

We shopped for a new suit for his birthday - his request. We found two that he looked incredibly handsome in, and so we got them both. Merry Christmas too - and that is OK with him. From there we went to Target and did some Christmas shopping for - well, for all kinds of people. I'm not giving any hints. We went home, unloaded our loot, cleaned up a bit, and then went to Maggiano's for dinner. My treat. Pasta, chopped salad, and the most delicious fried zucchini I've ever had. We walked around South Coast Plaza to work off dinner a bit. LaMar treated me to a new Christmas bauble at Villeroy & Boch - a little china gingerbread house that glows when you light the candle inside. On his birthday.

When we got home, he came in to rub my feet on his birthday, because he was worried that the shopping had made them sore. Yep, my friends - I really did win the prize, the gold ring, the whole enchilada with this one. He is my soul mate - my quirky quirky soul mate. Two monkeys - that's us. And I couldn't be happier.
Happy Birthday, LaMar! I love you!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We finally got smart this year, and made the side dishes(mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing) the night before so all we had to do today was pop the turkey in the oven, bake the stuffing, and make a really good hot crab dip for an appetizer. L and I cleaned everything up as we went, and it was surprising how quickly we had the kitchen cleaned up!

It was so good to have Scott, my Aunt Margie, and my grandma all at the table with us. My grandma was walking really well, had a great appetite (what else is new?), and we had bright and lively conversation all through dinner. Last year, Grandma had a little nap between dinner and pie. Not this year. She stayed at the table, and talked to us while we cleaned up the dinner dishes. I got my laptop and showed her pictures of little Hayden, and also ones of Mia, Lexi, and Matthew that she hadn't seen yet. She seemed to get a second wind, and started casting her eye about for the whereabouts of the pies. She had apple AND pumpkin. I can't figure out where she puts it. I ate about half as much as her, and I am groaning.

All in all, what a beautiful day! 80 degrees on Thanksgiving - it doesn't get nicer than that. We even had the A/C going! And we had Scott all to ourselves, so we asked him a million questions about Ashley, and his job, and his future plans. Poor guy didn't stand a chance against us three girls - LaMar was the only one who respected his privacy. I suppose someone has to be mannerly.

I hope you all enjoyed good food and conversation in the company of family and friends. I'm grateful for all of our family members both near and far, and for the privilege of spending another holiday with my aunt and grandmother - two great ladies. May you all feel the love and blessings of family and friends throughout the holiday season, and be thankful each day for this wonderful country we're fortunate enough to live in.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving & The (Shy) Drama Queen

I had a weekend that was filled with inward gazing. I'd attended an event early on that left me feeling nothing but inadequate. It was supposed to be a happy occasion, but it wasn't for me. All I could feel was (dare I say it?) jealousy. I don't think the person in question has any idea the depth of my feelings, or how inconsequential she makes me feel, and happily she doesn't read blogs. (She once told me she was way too busy to bother with them after I was talking about mine. Sweet.) But she is everything I am not: thin, accomplished, assertive, thin, organized, disciplined, and... did I say thin?
Once upon a time there were two girls in the family who played piano. One was really confident and assertive about it, and so the other one just sort of let the talent fade away into the background. You can guess which one I am. The other one had a birthday party on Friday and invited about 100 people to perform for. For her birthday. On her new Steinway. On my best day, I would never have thought to do that, but you know what? It was really really nice. She did a beautiful job, and the party and the entire occasion was lovely. And I was miserable. Why? Because at times I'd like to have that kind of confidence - that self assurance. And, quite frankly, that many friends that would indulge me.
So, I went home feeling bad, feeling angry, but most of all feeling like I'd done nothing of worth in my life. I'm a thinker, and so I thought and thought and thought about why I was so resentful. It certainly wasnt' HER fault. It was all me. I mean, would I really want to be her? She is accomplished, yes, and has a lot of material things, yes. But I am accomplished as well, and I have nice things that I love, too. She is driven - I am not. I am relaxed. I sleep well at night. I don't usually toss and turn. I don't drive people crazy pushing them. With me it's sort of que sera sera. But then when I don't get all the lights and attention, I get sulky. The real truth is, it wouldn't hurt me to be more driven, just as it wouldn't hurt her to relax a little bit. Moderation is a good thing. But we are who we are, and somehow we need to learn when to be satisfied with that, and when we need to improve and step it up a notch.
I said many prayers about it, hoping to get some kind of enlightenment, some kind of something that would help me feel a little better about my meager contributions to the world. About how I yearn for attention and then when I get it I want to turn around and hide. Ego is a funny thing: so fragile, yet so easily bolstered. And this is what I want to stress - Heavenly Father totally understands that. He knows we struggle, and He knows our weak spots, and He knows when our hearts hurt. And - He knows when we're trying to learn something about ourselves so we can grow and move on. And so, while I was sitting at the piano (how ironic) in Primary, sweet Lori asked about my daughter and how she was doing with the new baby. And then she smiled and said "She was one of my Young Women, you know. She is such a happy girl - one of my favorites." And you know - the sun just came out. I was handed a gift. I felt like I'd done my part in giving the world the happy girl that is my daughter. And it gave me joy and confidence. So thank you, Lori, for your comments. You never know what small little thing you say will mean the world to someone in that moment. I am thankful for you, and I'll go even further. I'm thankful for your two boys, who are always willing and available to help anyone who needs a hand. Job well done on your part. And so we pay it forward. We are thankful for the blessings we've been given, and we do our best to pass it on. And that's what Thanksgiving is all about.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (apologies to Judith Viorst)

Today is a terrible horrible no good very bad day. I got out of bed at 5:30 am and my muscles still hurt from falling down last week. Only today, my hand was a little swollen because I forgot to inject myself with Enbrel on Sunday. It was going to be a terrible horrible no good very bad day.
L had to go to work early, so I had to make my own eggs for breakfast. I thought I had plenty of time, but when I finished I could see I was going to be a little late. I am time impaired.
When I got dressed, the sparkly jeweled buttons on my sweater had a hard time getting into the buttonholes just right. They kept snagging on the sweater part. Finally, I thought I had it, but when I looked in the mirror, one of the buttons was snagged on the buttonhole, but was not attached to the sweater anymore. It was going to be a terrible horrible no good very bad day.
I tried to find another outfit to wear in a hurry, but either I had the wrong color bra on (black) or I looked fat. Finally, I had to settle for fat, because I was really out of time. I don't like what I'm wearing today. My belly looks fat, but how could that be, when I lost 1 1/2 pounds since yesterday? *sigh*
I walked fast down to the car and remembered that I'd forgotten to get gas last night. Now I was really going to be late. It was a terrible horrible no good very bad day.
I drove about a million miles per hour to the gas station and filled up. When I got on the freeway, I got stuck behind a slow truck. I signalled to go into the next lane, and realized about 5 miles down the road that I had forgotten to turn off the turn indicator, and now I was one of those annoying people who go down the freeway signalling aimlessly.
I finally got to work in one piece, but I just got back from the restroom where the lighting always makes you look tired. I caught sight of myself in the (of course) wall size mirror and noticed that my thighs look chunky and my sweater has bulges that have nothing to do with a chunky knit and everything to do with pumpkin pie. I said out loud "This looks terrible" and then I realized there was someone else in the restroom with me. I hid in the stall until she left.
I am getting a headache behind my eyes because I think this bad outfit is messing with my immune system. It is a terrible horrible no good very bad day.
But at least I can go home in a little while and be with L. He always makes me feel better.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beauty Tip Monday


Here's a product I really like. I was introduced to this by a facialist, and it's great stuff - especially if you have sensitive skin. It's Eve Taylor Facial Oil - that's right, OIL. If you have oily skin, this could be all you need. I pat a small amount on after cleansing, and then put moisturizer over it. It calms down little rashy areas, DOES NOT give you zits, and won't irritate your skin. I gave some to a friend of mine who has eczema, and it calmed her skin right down. You might think it would make your skin greasy, but it doesn't - just nicely hydrated.

I buy it here via mail order. (I love it when the products come to me, rather than having to go out and get them.) But if you Google it, you can probably find something close to you.

It comes in several formulas (Normal, problem, delicate, sensitive, and mature) but my favorite is still the one formulated for sensitive skin. It's made from pure oils, and smells wonderful - no junk in this product - and one bottle will last for several months. And let's face it - the price is right. I don't often find products that I like well enough to purchase over and over again, but this is one of them. Let me know if you try it and like it. If you try it and don't like it, you can forget I mentioned it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Table For My Cave

I'm sitting at my new desk tonight. Yes, L finished it for me last week, and installed it. I was waiting for the varnish to be totally dry, but today I couldn't wait any longer. I love this desk. It's so big and roomy. So far I only have my laptop on it, but just wait - it will fill up. (L helped me style the picture up with flowers, etc, so it would look nicer) I want to go to the Container Store and get all of those clever containers and doodads to store ribbon and art supplies in so they are easily accessible. What a treat this is going to be! Here are some pictures of the finish (berry red stain and black antiquing) and a detail of the legs:
























Ankle update: Still swollen and bruised, although not really sore. I had a pedi today, and it was fine. I shunned the hot oil treatment (not that my tootsies couldn't use it) because I didn't think all the swelling would appreciate a hot towel wrapped around it. Maybe next time. I didn't use the ankle wraps today as I was just going around town, but next time L and I go out to walk the trails and avenues of Yorba Linda, I will have those ankles wrapped up tighter than a drum. I do NOT wish to repeat last week's trick - I'm not sure I'd have ankles left if I did. As it stands now, they're looking more like cankles, and my swollen left foot looks like a Flintstone foot. But at least I can wear shoes other than flip flops now - just in time for Sunday! (Can I wear Uggs to church?)















It was cool and crisp today - perfect fall weather! I'm going to sit down, leaf through recipes, and come up with a Thanksgiving menu. Did I tell you? My grandma and Aunt Margie are coming for Thanksgiving dinner, and Grandma says she'll bring the pies.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Babies and Gimps

First things first: Baby Hayden is officially out of the woods. She is breathing well on her own, and the tube draining her lungs (or whatever) is out. She was taking a bottle, and I believe today was the first day Katie was able to nurse her. Good news indeed! Katie has some wonderful friends in Puerto Rico, who are so supportive and have organized a carpool to pick her up twice a day and take her to the hospital and back so she can hold and feed Hayden. Isn't that nice? I don't think you could find better friends, or a better ward anywhere!

Now about me: On Tuesday night, L and I set out for our usual walk. I was feeling pretty good because we were actually going earlier than usual, and that meant we were ahead of schedule. We parked in the church parking lot and were headed across the street to where the trail starts. It was pretty dark, and L had just said that he'd forgotten the flashlight. I answered that we'd be all right without it. And with those words I stepped on an uneven patch, my left ankle went over hard, and I totally boofed it on the ground before I could catch myself. I grabbed my ankle, said some bad words (right across from the church!!!) and started crying. L, meanwhile, kept circling me, wondering how to pick me up. I mean, I bit it HARD. I finally got up (with help) and was able to walk back to the car, where a huge egg was forming on my left ankle. Honestly, I thought I could walk it off until I saw the swelling. We got home, and I walked in and upstairs under my own steam and L put an icepack on my ankle.
A little while later I thought I should get up and wash my face, brush my teeth, etc and OH. MY. GOSH. I couldn't even put weight on that left foot. That's when I got a little hysterical, and I probably needed a little slap to snap me out of it, but L is way too nice for that. He just sighs patiently in that way, and then it makes me be quiet. So he got me back to the bed, and he had to bring me everything to wash my face and moisturize. It would have been funny to watch him trying to figure out just the right product or cream to bring me had I not been so mad at myself. He was trying really really hard. And because he was so nice I was determined to not wake him up in the night when I had to go to the bathroom. Three times. Instead, my friends, I crawled. Three times. There's a real drawback to drinking lots of water sometimes.
On Wednesday I thought I should stay home from work, even though the swelling was way down. I took Ibuprofin all day, kept the ankle elevated and wrapped, and finished The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, and my new Lucky magazine. By the end of the day, I was able to walk around with only a slight limp. But when I took off the wrap, it revealed an ankle that is still very swollen and VERY bruised. Not to mention ugly. Oddly enough, it doesn't hurt a lot. What hurts is my whole left side, which, I assume, took the brunt of the fall. (I can't remember.) I'm all achey and it hurts to take deep breath. But since even that is getting better, I assume no ribs were broken - just my pride.
L came home, cooked dinner, made a pumpkin pie (!!), showed me the English Toffee he'd purchased from a co-worker's kid, and the Kettle Corn he'd gotten at Trader Joe's. After dinner we headed upstairs to watch a movie. I was settled on the bed in my undies and a pair of black Halloween socks with orange jack o' lanterns on them. My feet were cold, and I was just lounging. (Sorry for the visual, but it's tantamount to the story) L came in, looked at me in all my glory, and kind of chuckled. I was embarrassed and started to apologize for looking like such a dork. He came over to the bed and said "No, no - that's the beautiful part of marriage. You can be however you want, and its OK." Now you can see why I love this man. He loves me in my undies and Halloween socks in November, and thinks I am beautiful. AND he makes pumpkin pie on a whim. Not only that, but he shared English Toffee with me, and then a small bowl of Kettle Corn. We watched our movie, had treats, and then we pulled the covers over ourselves, snuggled, and went to sleep. As I drifted off, I thought about what a lucky girl I am to be married to this man who loves me in funky socks with a gimpy ankle.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Puerto Rican Angst

She's in the bubble, she's out of the bubble... I can't keep up from so many thousands of miles away. I got a call from Katie this morning saying Hayden was doing well, she was out of the oxygen bubble, and she was going to be able to hold her.. Hallelujah - all is well. I could hear the happiness in her voice as she thought about cuddling her sweet baby at last. 30 minutes later, I picked up the phone as I was heading out the door, and all I could hear were tears. Hayden was back in the bubble, and so no holding. We spoke for a few minutes, while I clumsily tried to calm Katie down. An aide came with her lunch so she hung up.
Once at work I spoke with one of the girls I work with who had once worked in a NICU. She told me that pneumonia can happen when babies aspirate the amniotic fluid during delivery, and that antibiotics will do the trick within a week. We just need to be patient. In the meantime, Katie was able to go to the nursery and change Hayden's diaper and spend some more time with her. She was more calm and focused.
I'm not good in these situations. I fluctuate between confidence and almost impatience with the stress others are feeling, and then I get this terrible fear that just because nothing horrible has ever happened to me or around me, doesn't mean that nothing ever will. I get frightened that because I'm not treating the situation with proper fear that THIS will be the time Horrible happens. And I start to wig out a little bit.
Luckily, I work with several good Voices of Reason, and have a few more as friends. They help me to attack the situation rationally. It's hard when your little girl (who has two little girls of her own) is so far away and there's not much I can do to help. All I could do today was sit there and listen and be late for work. Luckily I have an understanding boss, who was concerned and in my corner on this one.
So here, for your enjoyment, is a picture of Hayden. It's not much, and she's a little the worse for wear here in her space helmet- but isn't she just beautiful? I can't wait to get my hands on her and smooch those little cheeks. We'll post more later, after she's gussied up a bit.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

We Took A Slight Detour

This will be quick, as I don't have much to tell right now. Hayden Reece (still not sure whether it's "Reese" or "Reece" so I'll just spell it like I want to) was born this morning, November 7th by Caesarian section, and all went well. Katie is sore (understandably) but doing well otherwise.
Hayden has a full head of hair, I hear, and weighed 6 lbs can't remember the ounces (does that make me a terrible grandma?) and is 20 inches long.
About 2pm or so this afternoon (6pm or so in Puerto Rico), Zach called to say that Hayden was taken to ICU, as they didn't like that she was "breathing too fast." I have no idea what that means, and Zach didn't either. Katie is distraught. She was finally able to get her doctor to OK her to get in a wheelchair to go see her baby, and she was a little more calm after that. She told me that Hayden is very cute, looks a lot like Mia, but is different around the mouth. Bigger mouth? That wouldn't be hard - Mia has my little keyhole mouth.
So now we're still waiting to hear the results of any X-rays they take and/or tests they're running. Katie was tired when I last talked to her around 4:00 this afternoon. She was going to try and sleep, and I haven't had a call from her since. I'll call her again in the morning and see if they know any more. Katie's bishop and Zach gave little Hayden a blessing, so that made me feel better. We'll know more in the morning.
Mia seems to have the flu, and was running a temp of 103 this afternoon. She misses her mom and dad, but Katie's friend Nellie is taking good care of her. Tomorrow Momo arrives (Zach's mom) and life will get a little more organized. If you think of it, give this little family, and especially Hayden, a little shout out in your prayers. I'm sure everything will be fine. Right? Yes, it will be fine, but right now I'm regretting choosing to come later rather than now.
Until tomorrow -

Friday, November 6, 2009

Passings & Birthdays & Babies (oh my!)

Different kind of day today. My sister-in-law's father passed away last Sunday, and today was his memorial service. Jack was a character - and that's putting it mildly. But he was a character in a good way, an interesting way. He loved to organize and mobilize a room - definately a take charge kind of guy, and sometimes that could get to you a little bit. But oh, what a heart this man had - and such love for his family! The various speakers all gave a little bit of insight into this man- things that I hadn't known before, despite all the years I'd been pretty much related to him. His two grandsons (my nephews) gave tearful tributes that were so sweet to hear. Honestly, it made me look forward to the day when I can see him again - truly. If I had known he was so much fun, I might have put a little more effort into getting to know him better. And isn't that the saddest thing of all? Too bad we don't put that kind of effort into things while they're still here with us. I've come to the conclusion that the true value of funerals and memorial services is just that: they inspire us to fly higher, do better, be better. And today I was inspired by Jack and his valuable yet quirky time here on earth. I would like to have it said of me, as it was of Jack, that I was good hearted, generous, and gave selflessly to my family and others. But like Jack, I would also like people to find the fun in knowing me, to appreciate my quirks and eccentricities (and believe me, Jack was eccentric!). I would like to be seen as a bit unusual and out of the ordinary - a rare jewel, if that's not going too far. *sigh* I think I have a long way to go, and many many lessons to learn first. But I'm thoughtful tonight as I think about everything I saw and heard today. I'll try harder to be better, although my direction is often fuzzy, and it's difficult many times for me to have clarity. But I will try.

It was my dad's birthday today as well. He kind of got robbed, but I don't think he minded too much. He's not as worldly as I am, and so he set aside his birthday today to celebrate Jack's life instead. My dad is kind of an amazing guy. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. His mathematical abilities are astounding. I must have been a sore disappointment to him because from Algebra forward I was completely baffled by mathematics. Just too abstract for me. But he is tone deaf and can't hear notes properly, so maybe we're even. My dad is a legendary baby lover, and fun attraction for small children. He loves to take the little ones on walks to see what they can see. My own kids have memories of little hikes with him. He is generous and kind (although completely, unintentionally tactless). He has been good to me my whole life, even though there were times when I didn't deserve it. So Happy Birthday, Dad! We will celebrate tomorrow, and share some cake with you. I love you.

Another big event for our family tomorrow: our fourth grandkiddie will be born tomorrow morning. Katie is going in for a C-Section at 7am tomorrow. Puerto Rico is 4 hours ahead of us here in California, so by the time I'm waking up, little baby girl will be born. I know what her name will be, but I'll wait for Katie to announce it - that's only fair. We're all wondering whether she'll be a bald baby, or whether she'll come out looking like she's wearing a bad wig like her sister Mia did.
Will she have pale skin, or will she have skin that tans like Mia? (Since they're under the brutally hot son most of the time in Puerto Rico, I'm voting for the tan skin - but either is lovely.) Mia has beautiful golden curls. Maybe Baby will have silky straight hair. Tomorrow we'll know, and tonight I'm just praying that all goes well tomorrow for my baby, Katie. I will come back and report.


Mia then and...

Mia now.

Baby Sister? To be determined....

Sunday, November 1, 2009

No Kids at Halloween...More Chocolate for Me!

Yay! We finally got the new cabinet installed in the living room this weekend! (I'm using the old one temporarily in my office for much needed storage!) We're still kind of getting used to it, but it really warms up the room.

Other than furniture moving, our weekend consisted of antiquing my project tabletop on Saturday morning. It was kind of a deep claret red, and I mixed up black oil paint and paint thinner and slathered it all over it. Scarey... and thenI rubbed it off like a madwoman. I had to add and subtract a couple of times before I got it right. Now, the center of it glows red and fades to black on the edges. I can't wait to get it varnished - that always makes the layers of color come out and kind of glow. I'll post pictures when it gets more photogenic. For now, here are a couple of the new cabinet:







Aren't the handles AWESOME?!? So beefy and rustic.
After the antiquing frenzy, we cleaned up and headed to the movies: Amelia. Go see it. Amelia Earhart's story is intriguing, and the movie didn't disappoint. Beautifully filmed, and Hillary Swank was good and looked just like her.

We got out early enough to go and catch a quick dinner down in Costa Mesa - right next to one of our favorite stores, and they were having a 50% off sale on all Halloween items. Woo hoo!! So, we stocked up with some really cute things before going to dinner. A shame that we only got to enjoy them for the one evening, but what fun they'll be to pull out next year! We chose an orange silk table runner embroidered with sparkly spider webs and trimmed with black feathers at each end. Also, a cute black metal lantern detailed with jack o'lanterns, black cats, and bats and a spooky poem that glows eerily when a candle is placed inside. We also picked up a dozen ceramic eyeballs for our Halloween spooky jar. Next year, a dozen more.

We rushed back for the trick or treaters, but were a little disappointed that we had so few this year. Oh well, our house was decked out, and for the few that came, we handed out great handfuls of candy. Honestly, did other neighborhoods experience a lack of kids this year? We had to go out around 8:00, and there were hardly any kids out at all. Our neighborhood typically gets very few - it's a little isolated and tucked away - but this year was very sparse. I was wondering if parents would rather their kids go to parties rather than roam neighborhoods in the dark these days. I think I might, if I had it to do over again. A shame - I remember Halloween night being one of the most exciting nights of the year. One year (I was quite small) my dad sent me up to a house while he waited with the other dads by the street. There was something on the porch covered in white. When we rang the doorbell and yelled "Trick or Treat!" the thing on the porch came to life with a huge roar - it was a vacuum cleaner covered with a sheet to look like a ghost, and when the kids came to the door, the people would turn the vacuum on. All I remember is running as fast as I could back to my dad, and the man in the house chasing after me saying "Come back sweetheart - I'm sorry! It's okay!" That is still one one of my most vivid memories - that, and the birthday clown chasing me across the yard. But that's a story for another day.

I hope you all had a wonderful, fun, and safe Halloween. And now the holidays are upon us. But I want to take a moment and say a big "Happy Anniversary" to Rex and Ronna - their 7th. Between 7th anniversaries, and a new granddaughter due to be born in a week,on the 9th, I truly have much to be thankful for these days. Life is good.

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