Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New Blog is UP!


All Blogged Up: A Moof's Tale

The new blog is finally up on its own server. There are still a few issues I need to work out - like getting everything into the sidebar which should be there - but nearly all of my "Letting Go" posts have been copied onto the new Blog.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to bring the comments with me. I would dearly have loved to. I hope that you will all come to my new blog- All Blogged Up: A Moof's Tale - and keep reading my posts, and leaving me comments!

Please - if you've blogrolled me, don't forget to update your links ... http://moof.blogsplot.net

By the way, those pictures you see in the Header (top) of the blog are photos that we've taken - either of home, or of our little camp on a small local lake. The picture should change every time you reload. There are 10 of them there now ... I'd like to add some more, in time.

Now - don't let me be lonely - drop in and say "hi" and be sociable! :-)


Doctors Who Pray

The theme seems to keep coming up ... and I'm never left untouched, indifferent.

Doctors who pray - before surgeries, for wisdom in dealing with their patients, for coping when they feel overwhelmed, for the moment by moment of their professional lives, of their private lives ...

What would lead a scientist to yield his head, heart, mind - spirit - and search out a place to commune, in the silence of his center, with a "Higher Being?" How is it that the experiential intellect is able to interfuse with the incorporeal spirit?

The phenomena always holds me in rapt fascination. I want to beg them to stop - tell me what it is they're experiencing, thinking ... describe what is motivating them ... I want to understand. There's a key in there, someplace ...

Somehow, even in my inability to comprehend the driving force that morphs the man of science into the man of prayer, I admit that I would far more easily place own trust in a physician who does pray, whatever my own beliefs may be. The realm of trust and faith is less frightening when the objects of your reliance are themselves humble enough to acknowledge their own trust and faith in a Power they can neither quantify nor qualify.

The The Cheerful Oncologist breaks open the The Serenity Prayer for his readers, giving us a glimpse of how he channels the "angst" he experiences when being "bombarded" by the ills of those he treats. Dr. Bob from The Doctor is In graces us with another post of amazing depth and clarity, piercingly candid, with his latest post: The Conversation.

You can pass them by if you'd like, but you would be the poorer for the omission.


New Blog Location Coming Soon ...

Last week, I picked up a nice new domain name ... and last night, I finally decided where to put it. Now, the DNS just needs to propagate across the internet, and my dear son needs to set up the SQL database for me ... (not to mention teach me how to do it for myself! ;-) ...

When all of that is done, my top entry here on Blogspot will sport a nice shiny link to my new Blog. I'm dropping the "anonymity" in the new blog, since it won't make any difference to those of you who don't know me, and those of you who do know me have figured out that I was blogging ... 0.o ... I wonder how that happened ...

I keep thinking that I really didn't need to discover blogging ... especially not now, at this very busy time of my life, because when I get "into" something, I can't do it in moderation ... but the fact is, I'm willingly addicted, and wondering where it will eventually lead -- besides eye strain and tendinitis. ;)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A First Ray of Sunlight ...

A year ago at the end of this last July, our family was blessed when a sweet young lady moved into our home. I'll never forget that first night - as she sat tearful and fretting on the sofa near my computer, with her suitcases and bags around her feet - all she was able to carry when she'd left the campground she and her mom had been working in every summer. At that moment - those few items, and our little family, were her entire world. Less than a year later, she was to become my daughter-in-law, but that was still a long ways off ...

My heart was breaking for her ... I could feel the fear and anxiety just radiating from her direction. I wanted so badly to grab her and squeeze her, and tell her that we would all love her so much that she would never regret what she'd done, but I didn't want to overwhelm her; she looked so fragile, like a little bird tossed in a gale of emotion.

I couldn't believe that this was only the fourth time I'd ever seen her, because I felt as if I'd known her for years. I was both relieved that she was out of the impossible situation she'd been in as long as I'd known her - indeed, her entire life up until that moment, but also worried, very worried, about what the future would bring for this sweet little sparrow who'd finally found her wings ...

Thus began Sarah's walk with us ... so helpless and fearful looking, that overcast hot July evening nearly a year and a half ago.

Sarah had just escaped from a lifetime of manipulation that could be called criminal - in both its quantity and quality. I wouldn't be able to list the things that were done to her here - that's beyond the scope of a mere blog entry - however, I can give you a few items to ponder ...

She was raised to be anorexic. She believed that crash diets, enemas ... etc. ... were a normal part of every adolescent's life. Who taught her this? Her mother. That was the same woman who, on Sarah's second visit to us, called Sarah and screamed at her over the cell phone, ordering her to cut her day with us short so that she could return to the campground, and go out on a date with a fellow she had no interest in seeing. Her mother never realized that we were all in the car, and we'd been able to hear (unable to NOT hear!) the entire tirade. Sarah acquiesced, and my son, God love him, drove his intended bride all the way back to the campground, an hour away, so that his lady-love could go on a date with some other fellow - a date her mother arraganged. In fact, although Sarah had obtained permission (with great difficulty) to spend that time with us, her mother had called and humiliated her on both of the first two afternoons we spent together.

Yes, I know that teen-agers are sometimes given to seeing even the best of parents in a jaundiced light. When I first heard about what was happening in Sarah's life, I wondered if we may just not be hearing both sides of the story. The more my sons and I got to know her, however, the more we realized that there was definitely something wrong - and it wasn't all Sarah. Then came the day that I met her mother, and all of my doubts vanished - forever. I could see how the lady had a reputation for being able to "fool" people, but she either underestimated my powers of observation, or simply felt so sure of own manipulative skills, that she played a very heavy, obvious, hand. I came away from that meeting full of realization and dread, sick at heart - wanting to take Sarah home with us then and there.

I wasn't able to - but we didn't have long to wait.

Less than a month later, Sarah caught her mother making photo copies of her private journal. In a phone conversation, she overheard her mother and brother ... he was on his way up from Massachusetts. This was it. They had gone too far, and she was afraid of just what they might do next. She'd recently been locked in her cabin for a month ... would they take her away from New Hampshire and lock her up someplace else? She called my son. I had no idea what was going on when he left the house - but he knew me, and how I felt, well enough to know that he didn't need to ask. About an hour later, the phone rang. It was him: "Moof! I'm on my way home, and I have Sarah with me."

Sweet Sarah, frightened - but finally free ... at least physically.

We went through some serious "re-organizing" in our ancient, drafty, cluttered home. Daein was still home from college, his fiance was under our roof - tongues would wag. Arrangements were made to everyone's satisfaction, and Sarah became my "new" daughter.

Daein left for college, and Sarah became my companion. The first year was tough. I had some rather debilitating surgery just over a month after she moved in, and I wasn't able to get around and get her the things that she needed, and the poor little lady went around wearing my old, stained, beat up clothes - good enough for an old lady like me, not for a sweet little angel like her. But she was good and patient, and always tried to make me feel better about my falling so short of being able to get her properly settled in.

I worried at first, quite a bit, about Sarah starving herself - about the habits she'd been taught were normal, and safe. I was so afraid that she would end up with acidosis or some horrible electrolyte imbalance. Over a period of time, although she never lost her weight-consciousness, she began to eat normal portions, and even to snack a bit.

Oh! And that's another story! There were so many things her mother had never allowed her to eat ... chocolate, other types of candy ... even Jello! She was "virgin territory" for food! I believe that she consumed a small country's-worth of Jello when she first tasted it! As I was gleefully introducing new foods to her, she was slowly becoming my "18 year old fashion advisor." And oh my - did I ever need one! I gave her Jello - she gave me blue toenail polish, toe rings ... and we gave each other self confidence!

In spite of how much we had come to enjoy each other's company - and the long, long talks we shared daily - I was still very worried about our little Sarah. She felt as if everything that happened was her fault. If she'd done this ... or if she'd only done that ... or if she'd thought in this way ... or ... I kept telling her that it was not her fault. She'd hear me, she'd agree - but it kept coming up, and I knew she felt guilty - all the time. I wasn't getting through to her.

I was pushing, gently, for her to make "friendly" advances toward her mother and brother, because she misses her little nieces, and in spite of everything, loves her family. I wanted to see Sarah free, making her own decisions, but not losing her relationship to her family. I thought she just needed to draw a line and say: "I love you, but I'm living my own life. You will treat me with respect, and I will treat you with respect. Let's start over from this new perspective, because we're family - we shouldn't stay apart." It wasn't long before I had to drop my urgings about she and her family "loving and being respectful" of each other. I watched her try to be friendly, and repeatedly end up being screamed at, verbally abused ... her mother even sued her for money. All we could do was be silent in the face of all of this insanity, and continue to try encouraging Sarah. I spent a lot of time contemplating what I would be like today had I been treated in the same way ...

Daein finished his junior year, came home last spring, and he and Sarah were married. Now she really is my daughter. I always tell her, "Sarah! Why weren't you mine to begin with?" ... Daein always objects, he'd rather have her as a wife ... :-)

Sarah and Daein are now in their own little place up near the University of Maine. I miss her terribly, but this is the way things are supposed to be. She's trying to get their little apartment set up ... with her Cafe Louis kitchen, and her Hello Kitty bathroom. She's even learning to make (and EAT!) some of the nicest chocolate chip cookies I've ever had.

But where is this all going? Sarah is finally for the first time in her life, free emotionally as well as physically. She's been sending me emails about a web site she found - concerning a disorder named "BPD." I thought I was pretty savvy about those things, but I'd never heard of that one. "Borderline Personality Disorder." She sent me a web link, and I was amazed to read what the signs of BPD are ... it was as if Sarah had written the web site about her mother. Blow by blow - classic. Dumbfounding.

I guess it's not going to help Sarah's mother much, because from what I can gather, few people ever recover ... however, it's released Sarah from the last of her chains. She now realizes that it wasn't her fault. She realizes that she is not crazy. She realizes that her mother is ill, and that makes it easier to forgive the lifetime of agony, and walking on eggshells ...

Sarah is finally, truly, totally FREE!

I asked Sarah if I could blog about all of this, and she said I could - (thank you, Honey!) There's still so much to say ... I could write forever ... but really, it's Sarah's story to tell. She's writing her autobiography, and I think that if she edits it carefully, and it falls into the right hands, it will go a long way.

I wonder how many people are living the way she did, and have no idea that it's not their fault ... ?


Quote of the Day (Season?)

(Offline Yahoo IM waiting for me this afternoon ... )

DocBrian: Other than that, the world is just a utopia of RamaHannaKwansMas goodwill and cheer!

Ayuh! And back at ya, Bri! ;-)



Friday, December 02, 2005

"Suicide of the West"

Take a look at what "It's Me, T.J." found ... guaranteed to make you stop and think ...

dogscatskidslife: "Suicide of the West"

Thursday, December 01, 2005


The Cheerful Oncologist is at it again ...

In this post, the good doctor gives us some insight into why we sometimes feel that our physicians appear to be using unintelligible double-speak when "letting us in" on what makes us tick (or not) ... *cough* ...

"Sometimes doctors have to provide counseling in such a manner as to not create a wailing morass of distraught relatives who become a whirling dervish of misinformation and despair. You may call it tergiversation, but we pros call it diplomacy."

... methinks he "tergiversates" even as he explains that he "tergiversates!" ;-)


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Little Common Sense, Please

Wednesday is the big "Medscape" day - my inbox fills with all the latest news on every medical subject imaginable. HIPAA ... Statins protecting against certain heart problems ... you name it. Medscape's a great informatics repository ...

Today, I saw the following headline: Who Gets Shot? Firearms and the Doctor.

I cringed a little, and almost passed it over. But my curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked ... and found exactly what I was hoping I wouldn't find.

The very gentlemanly fellow in the video quietly urged generalists to "advise the family to get the guns out of the house, and to follow up on that advice." The reasons for this appeal: guns are the suicide method of choice, accounting for 60% of all suicides, with 80% of those being committed by white males. The speaker felt general practitioners should "advise" their patients, especially those who appear depressed, to admit whether they have guns in their home, and that there should then be some pressure leveraged against the patient to get rid of them.

I did a bit of research on the statistics. I found the following blurb provided by the National Institute of Mental Health:

"More than four times as many men as women die by suicide; but women attempt suicide more often during their lives than do men, and women report higher rates of depression. Men and women use different suicide methods. Women in all countries are more likely to ingest poisons than men. In countries where the poisons are highly lethal and/or where treatment resources scarce, rescue is rare and hence female suicides outnumber males."

I have to ask - should the GP's also ask their depressed female patients if they have bleach in the house? Or peroxide? Prescription meds? Or even nicer for the real wimps among us - a gas oven - or a bottle of Nyquil and a plastic bag? And if the poor hapless patient admits to having such dangerous items under their roof, should the physician then insist the patient "get rid of them?"

Remove guns - other methods are used. Removing guns is not the answer. A man who hasn't got a gun handy - may have a rope ... or a high bridge ... or - well, just about anything, if he's really determined.

I do believe that physicians should inquire about depression, and perhaps even do some gentle probing as to just how deep the condition may run - however, to tell a patient to get rid of their firearms is another thing altogether, and smacks heavily of the anti-gun lobby's influence in our daily lives. To interject this argument into the patient/physician relationship is pure disingenuity.

The gun debate does not belong in medicine.

Yes, people are killed by guns - some by accident, some not. The percent of those killed by accidents involving cars, high places and water are hugely higher. Are we going to take away personal transportation and stepladders? Are we going to stop depressed people from swimming?

Just how far into a person's home and private life do we have the right to go?

Although we have guns in our home, and are avid hunters, I'm not politically involved in the pro-gun movement. But I do need to say that I believe the trend toward the invasion of our privacy, and the subsequent micromanagement of our lives, is becoming quite frightening. It's the classic "frog in the pot" scenario ... put the frog in a pot of cold water, put the pot on the stove ... turn the burner on low. Ever so gradually, without Mr. Ribbit realizing the danger he's in: froggy soup!

Patriots have died in order for us to enjoy our freedoms, yet we're busily taking apart the very basis those freedoms were built on as we try to legislate our somewhat effeminate views upon an increasingly apathetic nation.

"I think that this isn't right, or that is dangerous, or such-'n-such shouldn't happen, or ... (yadda yadda - ad nauseam) ... so you shouldn't have the right to do it!"

If we expended as much energy on improving ourselves as we do on improving everyone around us, we would live in a perfect world ...


Web Updates

Have begun slowly updating a web site I've allowed to lay fallow for over a year and a half. People are sending me suggestions and requests - what to update, what to change, what to add ...

Today, I got a request which I was glad to accept: "Please update your humor page!

I've got to be careful what I put up on that site ... people tend to scandalize fairly easy! ;-)

Any suggestions for clean jokes would be appreciated ... I'll try to add one to the page every few days.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Poetry within Poetry

The Cheerful Oncologist has posted a bit of poetry for our pleasure, but it was his prose between the verses that rent my heart:

Finally, just as our journey reaches a pleasant equilibrium between labor and comfort, night falls in the middle of the afternoon, leaving us stranded on a distant hillside. The forest begins to envelope us as our vision dims. Perhaps we will wander on blindly until we find the bank of the river which leads us home. We must be prepared, however, to accept the coming night. With the power that comes only from within we can find the courage to rest peacefully against a fallen tree, our eyes turned upward toward the darkness as we await the first caress of snowflakes we cannot see.

Hard to read dry eyed ...


Of Urban Legends and Dinner Dates

Now, don't get me wrong - I love going out to eat. If I could, I would go to a different restaurant every single day - or actually, the same ones over and over, because I'm inescapably a creature of habit. But- I would never leave the house before 4 PM - and I would only rarely do it with a single person.

Why? * Mornings * are * so * hard * for * me. * Having to be someplace before noon is enough to give me avoidance dreams all night long. I'm not a lay-a-bed, I just don't like leaving the house in the morning. Mornings are when I do my best with certain types of school work, my house cleaning, any sort of busy activity that doesn't call for a lot of deeeeeep thought. Socializing does not fit in that category. My poor, ol' beaten up bod wakes up long before my bemused and befuddled brain.

I especially dread lunches with people whom I know are going to expect me to do more than listen to them ... I'm a good listener ... but I hate having to talk. Add that to the knowledge that the person you're meeting kept you on a leash in Wal-Mart for two hours the last time you ran into them ... *cringe* !!! Groups are easy - someone is always willing to chit-chat, keep the conversation going ... but one on one ... ohhhh man!

Folks ... it's gonna be a long day.

When I get home, I'm going to have slightly more fun ... *cough.* This week, I have to do a persuasive essay ... on Urban Legends. Did you hear the groan from all the way wherever you are? Oh my! Gen Eds are so much fun! Again, don't get me wrong - I love to write. But Urban Legends? I'm only slightly more interested in Urban Legends than I am daytime soap operas, or the spam that hits my inbox; my greatest interest where the former are concerned is that I don't have to be where I can hear them, and with the latter - making it stop!

Ah well, what is it that my dear sainted Mother used to say? "This too shall pass!" Sounded different in French though .... ;-)

And so, off to face my day - full of the "fluff" that gums up an otherwise nice peanut butter sandwich ... if I survive, I'll drop another note later ... 0.o

Addendum: There are times that I enjoy a nice, quiet "one on one" ... for example, when I'm with someone I can share a comfortable silence with, like my dear mother-in-law, or when someone needs a "sounding board." Being a "sounding board" is easy, but comfortable silences are precious, and hard to come by ...

Addendum to the addendum: maybe there is such a thing as answered prayer? My "dinner date" never showed up! That leaves me free to help another friend who is moving carry boxes ... isn't life grand? *blink*

Addendum to the addendum to the ... erm ... you get the idea ...

That friend I was going to help ... she left without me ... I never even saw her. Just she and one of my sons. I got to spend nearly 4 hours at the library doing research. Still amazed! Fortunate fluke of fate! ;-)


Monday, November 28, 2005

This Gives a Whole New Meaning to Wife Swapping!

Families in kidney swap give thanks

AP Photo/Mike Derer :: David Dorlen, left, sits with his wife, Dr. Rosalind Dorlen, both of Mountainside, N.J., and Ann Heavner, second from right, sits with her husband, Tom Packard, both of New York City.

Updated: 11/26/05


In April, they were total strangers who nonetheless shared a dire dilemma: two women whose husbands needed a kidney, but who could not give one of their own to their spouse.

But after being brought together by a hospital and arranging a swap in which each woman donated a kidney to the other's husband, they will share Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday to celebrate the arrangement that saved two lives and bonded four new friends.

"I can't comprehend what this Thanksgiving would have been like without that kidney swap in April," said one of the women, Dr. Rosalind Dorlen, a psychologist in Summit. "This is a time of great joy for us and our families."

"This is an entirely miraculous holiday," added Ann Heavner, a retired financial researcher for Standard & Poors who lives in New York City.

The women wanted to help their husbands, but couldn't because of incompatible blood types. Dorlen's husband, David, 71, was undergoing kidney failure after years of high blood pressure. Heavner's husband, Tom Packard, 65, a senior vice president at Wachovia Securities, also had high blood pressure and a congenital condition that put added stress on his kidneys, requiring painful dialysis three times a week.

"I had a really rough time with it," he said. "I'd get violent cramps, nausea, and I was just wiped out. It would take me at least a day to recover from each treatment."

Both men knew they needed new kidneys, and set out with their wives to research what was available. They learned of a kidney swap program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center that brings together families just like theirs.

"It is a great opportunity for family members who want to donate but are not compatible with their own family member to be able to donate," said Dr. David Cohen, medical director of the hospital's renal and pancreatic transplantation program.

Dr. Lloyd Ratner, who heads the program, performed the surgery on April 21, which involved four operating rooms coordinating the removal of kidneys from the women and the transplantation into the men. He said the use of live donors expands the pool of potential transplants; many kidney transplants come from cadavers.

"There are not enough organs and we need to be able to use any live donor that we have," he said.

The families are supposed to be kept apart before the surgery in case they do not click on some level and one party decides to back out at the last moment. But due to a scheduling snafu, both families arrived at the hospital at precisely the same time: 6 a.m.

"It's unusual to come to a hospital and see each member of a couple holding an overnight bag," said Rosalind Dorlen. "Here we are, four of us, with four bags, walking onto the same elevator at 6 a.m."

"Rosalind said, `You must be the other couple,' " Packard recalled with a laugh. "I said, `I think we are.' "

The surgery was done laporascopically, involving tiny surgical instruments inserted through two tiny incisions in the skin. It's much less invasive and less painful than older techniques. The women said it took them several weeks to recover. Now, they feel exactly as they did before the surgery.

Packard came through it so well that he is off most of his post-transplant medication, and his blood pressure is the envy of men decades younger than he is. David Dorlen is recovering more slowly, but he still feels better than before the operation.

Since the surgery, the couples have become close friends, going out to dinner twice a month. They even took a joint vacation to Saratoga in August to go to the track, long one of Packard's great joys.

The two families, with children and other relatives in tow, will gather in the Dorlens' Mountainside home on Thursday to express how truly grateful they are for each other's generosity. Packard has his version of the pre-meal grace speech written in his head, which should go something like this:

"In the words of that immortal philosopher Yogi Berra, when they gave him a special day to honor him in St. Louis, he stepped up to the microphone and told everyone, `Thank you for making this day necessary,' " Packard said. "I want to thank you for coming here to celebrate this wonderful miracle, and for making this Thanksgiving necessary."

Happynews.com; Happy News: Families in Kidney Swap Give Thanks
Last visited: 28 Nov 2005; Last updated: 28 Nov 2005

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work on this web site is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

My career type ...

Your Career Type: Investigative

You are precise, scientific, and intellectual.
Your talents lie in understanding and solving math and science problems.

You would make an excellent:

Architect - Biologist - Chemist
Dentist - Electrical Technician - Mathematician
Medical Technician - Meteorologist - Pharmacist
Physician - Surveyor - Veterinarian

The worst career options for your are enterprising careers, like lawyer or real estate agent.
What's Your Ideal Career?

Now, that would be far more accurate if they'd separated the *science* question from the *math* question! *LOL*

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Changes down the road ... ?

Ever since I started school back in August, there's been some discussion about perhaps moving from the online college experience, and actually making the journey 300 miles north to the University of Maine. Daunting. More than daunting. Terrifying ...

It makes sense though. My credit hours at DeVry are $480 apiece! Imagine! I don't expect to live long enough to pay that sort of tuition back ... *cringe*

Up at the University of Maine, my tuition per credit hour would be less than $200. With that sort of fee, I think my financial aid would even pay for housing.

And that's not all ...

At U of M, I believe I would be able to take an actual Medical Informatics course which is well balanced between the medical sciences and IT. That would cut two years from my education. At the moment, I'm taking Health Information Technology, really light in the computer sciences, but heavy in health tech - with a bit of health management on the side. After finishing up, I'd need to start from scratch with DeVry's Biomedical In
formatics course, which is far too weighted toward the IT side, and very light on the medical side. I was hoping to do it this way in order to have a better rounded education. However ... reality is: I'm going to be nearly 60 when I graduate!

... Right! ... I'll be dribbling on my diploma!

But at 54, with some serious health concerns,
the thought of moving away from home for 10 months out of each year for the next 4 to 6 years is, to put it mildy, a little looney sounding.

My son who's a student up at U of M was home for Thanksgiving, and we were discussing the possibilities. He assures me that there's plenty of *cough* "old people" up there going to school, and that I would not be roomed with some 18 year old, gum snapping, boyfriend chasing, green haired ... *blink* ... (did I say that OUT LOUD??? ;-)

There's a geriatric dorm at the University of Maine???

Anyway, he would still be up there the entire time I would be, since he's staying there in order to get his PhD, so that would be a plus. But still ...

College on my lap top ... safe, easy, no-hassle ... ... ... leaving home, sitting in class rooms, living in a dorm ... !?!?

I wonder if the student canteen sells Depends ... ?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Post Chaos Post ... ;-)

I promised to post some pictures. Here they are. Names have been changed to protect the guilty!

Last night, after things quieted down, I found out that there may actually be more than "hype" to the claim that tryptophan can knock your lights out! We not only all fell asleep before bedtime, we had a hard time getting up this morning! I don't think I've slept as late since my teen years! ;-)

Good thing that we slept in, though. We awoke to frozen water pipes. Don't want to have to deal with that any earlier in the morning than necessary. It's going to be a very long winter, I'm afraid ...

And now, here are some pics ... our own warm little episode of chaos ...

Pre-chaos plate placement ... ;-)

Serious business here ... !

The fellow on the right is the Chef! I made the pies, but he made the meal. And what a meal! Everything from a turkey which was so moist it fell apart, to the garlic mashed potatoes ... a gourmand's dream!

The fellow on the left is my son-in-law. He's from Sweden, and makes addictive Swedish Meatballs. We've told him that he can't come to our Christmas Eve Reveillon unless he brings some along! >;-)

The dude on the left is my oldest son ... and if you can see the word "trouble" written across that face, you're right! On the right is a friend of his who was kind enough to join us. I'm not sure he had any idea of just what he was getting into. I hear they think he's going to recover, though ... ;-)

Youngest son and sweet little daughter-in-law ... victims of tryptophan poisoning ... ;-)

Daughter-in-law with my oldest grandson. Don't let his peaceful demeanor kid you - we had to glue him to the sofa for this shot! Actually, he loves his auntie enough to actually sit still next to her long enough to not resemble the Tasmanian Devil!

Second grandson ... he's in his "Don't LOOK at me!" stage ...

These people showed up at my door, and I have no idea who they are. I felt sorry for them and let them in ... I was soon having second thoughts ... 0.o

Actually, that's really my brother and his wife ... and I tried to get a second, more presentable shot, really I did!!!


Let us be thankful that we have one another. If not for the warmth and love of family, life would be naught but a long winter's eve ...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Old Friends ...

Last night, I met with some dear old friends for dinner. We enjoyed each others' company ... there was a lot of teasing, laughing, raising glasses and toasts ... it was one of those little gems which I can savor later, when things are quiet, and I'm by myself.

On the way home, my mother-in-law and I began to talk about some of her health problems. Her nephrologist has been after her to prepare herself for dialysis ... and she admitted to me last night that she wasn't sure she wanted to do that. The warmth of our little meeting was suddenly sucked up into the dark empty of the cold, driving rain which was making the road so hard to see. Trying to keep my voice from showing what I was feeling, I asked her to consider that we still needed her ... that her creatinine would improve if she were on dialysis, and she would be feeling better ... that whenever anything happens, the first I think is, "I can't wait to tell her!" ... that I could help her with the home dialysis ... anything ... anything ... just please don't bail on us.

Once home, as I should have been asleep to prepare for all of today's cleaning and baking, I was instead morosely considering that the majority of my very closest friends are in my mother-in-law's generation. None of them are in good health. They all seem to be in a race to leave ...

At the moment, I still have them ... Fr. Paul, Fr. Bob, Fr. Joe ... Althea ... "Mom" England ... Susan ... Emery ... There will come a time when our "get togethers" of 9 and 10 people will become sad little "nights out" with only 2 or 3. Is this what it's all about?

Letting go ... is so hard to do.

I visited "The Doctor is In," and cut and pasted some of his many inspirational posts ... and printed them out so that I could have them at my bedside for those long wee early hours when sleep won't come because there are too many faces, too many ideas, parading through my mind. While they certainly won't put me to sleep from boredom - they may let me eke out a bit of peace, and thus some z's.

And now ... I need to head for the kitchen, and make some pies. I'll take pictures tomorrow, and share them with you - whoever you are, out there - reading my sometimes "long" thoughts.

Peaceful Thanksgiving Day, everyone! May your homes be warm, loud with voices you that are dear to you, and full of cheerful bustling.