Rose Bowl Monday

I start out watching today’s Rose Bowl game with my dad at his house. I’ve been watching football games with him for as long as I can remember. Wisconsin and Oregon both score on their first possession; gonna be a good game. Midway through the second quarter Daddy starts feeling badly so he heads back to bed and I head back home.

I’m one-half block from my house and can’t figure out why the car in front of me is stopped. Has there been an accident? Is someone crossing the street? No, it’s a tree. A big, beautiful Oregon Fir tree sprawled across the busy four lane street. Surrounded by this sight, I feel like I’m in the woods and a wee bit confused. Once I realize what has actually happened I detour around the block and pull into my driveway where I find my sister, Chrystal, on the porch cleaning her windows. I tell her about the tree and she goes into full on Diane Sawyer mode for the duration of the “tree event.”

During my journey home both teams seemed to have scored again. Go Ducks!

The tree has fallen on power lines which leaves some folks without the ability to watch the game. I decide to watch the rest of the game next door with a bunch of dudes.

At some point I look out the window and see Chrystal on the street chatting it up with police officers and neighbors. She texts and calls in periodically with breaking news about the status of the tree. Soon after halftime is over she reports that the fire department has arrived and chain saws have begun clearing the area of the tree. Both teams score again.

Good news, at approximately 5:14 p.m., sometime during the third quarter, traffic on the busy street resumes and life for Chrystal goes back to normal.

Towards the end, the Quarterbacks trade interceptions and the Ducks pull ahead for the rest of the game. Yea Ducks!

So now the Oregon Ducks have won their first Rose Bowl since 1917, the very year my dad was born, who, by the way, was kept up to date on the game by my mother. Maybe that’s where Chrystal gets it.

Question:  Did you watch the game?

Christmas Gifts

I think I ate a year’s supply of chocolate over the last two weeks. Have I mentioned I love chocolate? I must have because I received lots of it as gifts. I ate every last bit as well as all the fudge and other luscious nummy-ness at parties and on the counters at school and church. I will have to work doubly hard in the new year to work it all off (she says laughingly as another Hershey kiss is plopped in her mouth).

Chocolate is always a good gift for me no matter what the occasion. But one of my favorite gifts this Christmas was from the hugs of former students as they visited church over the holidays. Some of these kids I only see once or twice a year, so as they arrive home from college with diamond rings on their left hand ring finger I see how quickly time is passing by.

It was also a great gift to watch some of my current Junior High students as they sang in the adult church choir. As one 7th grade girl I’ve known since Kindergarten sang out her solo among all the grownups I got all misty eyed and couldn’t stop smiling.

Spending Christmas morning with my 17 year-old niece was another great gift. Watching her open her stocking, I pictured her as a little girl again with curly locks instead of the hair she works so hard now to straighten.

But, I have to say my most favorite of all, first place winning Christmas gift this year was the fact that my church partnered with a Presbyterian Church for a Christmas program mid-month and shared Christmas morning service with a Baptist congregation. Yowsa! Imagine that, different churches with differing theologies getting together to celebrate Jesus. Whee!!  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Amen and Hallelujah!

Question: What were some of your favorite gifts this Christmas?

Survivor Finale

A great tradition I have is watching the Survivor Finale with my friend Linda and the wonderful Stewart Family. We’ve shared countless snack food filled finale nights cheering on our favorite survivor who out played, out witted and out lasted all the others.

This season my favorite was Coach. Now granted, his other two seasons I found him rather annoying, but I gravitated towards him this time around. There was something different about him on his third try for the million even though I did find his use of the words integrity, honor, family and Christian rather hypocritical.

To me Survivor is A GAME and if you have to lie, cheat and steal to get to the end then so be it. I’ve had many a scratched hand and nearly broken finger while playing a rousing game of spoons, so a little dishonesty would be nothing in a game for a million buckaroos.

I auditioned for Survivor back in the spring of 2009. I was a children’s minister at the time and I said in my audition tape, “My biggest fear is that I will drop some f-bombs or that my bathing suit top will go askew on national television and I will have to quit my job.” I did tell my senior pastor, since I considered Survivor to be a game, I would stop at nothing including lying and cheating to win the million dollars. He said as long as I planned on tithing he saw no problem with my tactics.

One of my least favorite contestants this season was Edna. That was until she spoke up during the final jury. Then she rocked and won my respect. To summarize, she basically told the jury, all the ones who had been voted off, you should be prepared to be duped when you sign up for a show like this. So, hats off to the final three cuz they did the duping and out lasted all the rest. And after all, isn’t that the point?

I think I will audition for the show again. If I get on maybe I can meet Coach. Because you see, unfortunately I now have a crush on him.

Question: You a fan? If yes, who was your favorite? Do you think Coach and I would make a good pair?

3D, Schmeee D

During the ’80’s when everyone else was buying CD players and selling off their turntables at garage sales, I was a holdout for records. I didn’t want the tiny, frustrating to open CD’s. And I also didn’t want to start my music collection all over again. I mean, I had been through it all before with 8-tracks and cassettes. But Albums were my favorite and they had lasted through the switch over with both types of tapes so I figured they weren’t going anywhere. The last one I bought before I finally gave in was Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody. Loved it, loved her. Now I find her a bit scary.

Another holdout for me has been 3D movies. I remember going to them over 20 years ago with the paper glasses that never stayed on and tickled my nose. I never even saw Avatar in 3D. Even though everyone was saying, “Oh you have to see Avatar in 3D. It’s soooo much better,” I never gave in to the 3D phenomenon. That is until last Friday night. I, along with two adult friends and their combined five children, went to see Hugo in 3D. It was also available in 2D or regular D, whatever it is called, but we opted for the 3D because it was showing at the best time.

It seems that a high percentage of recent movies are available in 3D and I think I know why. It’s not because it makes it so much more exciting. No, it’s because they charge an extra $3.50 for the luxury. After two and a half hours of Hugo in 3D all I can say is, “I want my money back.”

The movie was cute and all but not worthy of spending my evening wearing stupid, annoying glasses just to see the images in a way that makes me want to reach my hand out and touch them. Which, by the way, brings about teasing from those around you if you do. I could see it if it was an action packed movie, but it wasn’t. Hugo is basically a movie where a little boy goes around winding up clocks in a train station. Well, actually it’s more than that but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

And, since I know it’s just a movie and not real life, I don’t really need the added 3D effect. It doesn’t enhance my movie going experience enough to make me want to spend an additional $3.50 to an already expensive evening, what with the markup on popcorn and coke.

And why the glasses? On Survivor the other night, they showed the remaining tribe members a phone with 3D you could see with the naked eye. So, if technology allows it on a tiny phone, why not on a big movie screen?

Question: 3D or regular D?

Beat, Beat, Beat

Beat, Beat, Beat…I am so tired…Gotta finish the scrip…Beat, Beat, Beat…I just have no energy…Beat, Beat, Beat…What songs am I gonna lead at the women’s breakfast…Beat, Beat, Beat…What is going on with my heart…I don’t have time for this…Beat, Beat, Beat…This is ridiculous…Most wonderful time of the year…More like, most eventful time of the year…Beat, Beat, Beat…Too much going on…Does the congregation know this song…Will it work…Beat, Beat, Beat…Shawn said I should go to the doctor…No time…Beat, Beat, Beat…If  I could just take a nap…When am I gonna practice the piano parts…Beat, Beat, Beat…The kids are working hard…They’re gonna rock at the Christmas program…Then I need to start thinking about The Christmas Eve Service…Beat, Beat, Beat…Wow, my heart sure is loud… Beat, Beat, Beat…Maybe I should at least call the advice nurse…This is embarrassing…Not another health issue, please…Beat, Beat, Beat…If something is wrong who will take care of these performances… I can feel my heart from the top of my head to the bottom of my baby toe…Beat, Beat, Beat…I can’t let the kids down…Beat, Beat, Beat…So, the advice nurse said I need to come in…Crap…Beat, Beat, Beat…What if I’m having a stroke…Or a heart attack…Beat, Beat, Beat…Blood Test…Chest X-Ray…EKG…Beat, Beat, Beat…Doc says, no phone call is good news…Ring, Ring, Ring…Crap, there goes the phone….Beat…Beat…Beat…Pneumonia, huh…Seriously…Pneumonia can do that…Beat…Beat…Beat…Hmmm, not at all like the last time…Good to know…Antibiotics do your thing…Mama’s got some shows to do…Beat…Beat…Beat…Come on…Beeeeeeaaaat, Beeeeeeaaaat, Beeeeeeaaaat…Ah much better…

Jack Reacher Part II

So I heard back from lots of Reacher fans regarding the casting of Tom Cruise for the upcoming movie. And Twitter is all a buzz, or a twit, over the news.

I also found that fans weren’t just upset over the casting of Tom Cruise for this movie, but the whole idea of Tom in any movie is distasteful to them. And here I thought it was just me.

Other suggestions for Jack are:

Liam Neeson: Yes, yes and yes. He was quite “Reacherly” in TAKEN.

Hugh Jackman: Wouldn’t be my choice, but…

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Oh my yes.

It’s funny how I can get so smitten over a fictional character. But, he’s a bad boy; wounded, dark and mysterious.  AND, emotionally unavailable. Just my type.

Question: Any more suggestions for our beloved Jack Reacher?

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving. Or to be more exact, today was Thanksgiving. I was in charge of all things potato: mashed and sweet. And when I say sweet, I mean sweet. Every ingredient I put in nullified any nutritional value in the sweet potato. I was going to go the healthy route but my niece requested my casserole with the mashed up sweet potatoes mixed with sugar, brown sugar, butter and other fattening things with a mixture of brown sugar and walnut yumminess on top.

I began the day with brunch at my place with a few friends. Stuffed Baked French Toast topped the menu. It was a fun way to begin the day. When I got home from dinner with my family this evening I felt like I had either been cooking, eating or washing dishes all day. But that’s okay. I enjoyed every minute.

My oldest sister Robin, the family historian, likes to make cards and scrapbook. She greeted everyone with a nice Thanksgiving card and poem. My other sister, Chrystal, you know the one who left me stranded with pancreatitis :), likes to play games. She had everyone write down a few things they were thankful for and then we had to guess who wrote them.

Most of the thankful notes mentioned family and friends. One said chocolate. And no, that one wasn’t me. I said I was thankful for my family, friends, that I had a job and a place to live.

This has been a very difficult past six months for me, but I am not complaining. God is good and I am grateful. Very grateful. Forever grateful.

Hope you had a wonderfully thankful Thanksgiving.

Question: How did you spend your Thanksgiving?

Jack Reacher

 

I am interrupting time with my boyfriend to write this post. Well, he’s actually not my boyfriend, nor is he even real. He is a character in the book I’m reading.

His name is Jack. Jack Reacher. Lee Child, the author, has created a character loved by both men and women. Men want to be him and women want, well, they want him. All 6 foot 5, 220 pounds of him.

Several of my female friends are also fans of Jack. But they’re married so they know he’s mine. Recently, one of these friends gave me an article about the series. It said the series has been so successful they are making a movie of one of the books. I was excited to read on and see who would play Jack in the movie. I had conjured up such a wonderful image in my mind I knew they would have to come up with a new, unknown actor to play him because no current actor that I knew of would fit the bill.

The closest I could come to would be to combine Harrison Ford, who I love, love, love and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Harrison’s face and Dwayne’s body would be the perfect Jack Reacher, in my humble opinion.

But sadly, they went for a big name, obviously to sell tickets to people who haven’t even read one of the books, without thinking of us true Reacher fans. I can’t even bring myself to write the actor’s name. It’s, it’s…wait for it…Tom Cruise.

Now, I loved Top Gun, and he had me at hello in Jerry McGuire, but ever since he thought it was appropriate to turn the Peter Graves character in Mission Impossible into a bad guy I have found it difficult to go to any of his movies. Granted the recent one with Cameron Diaz, Knight and Day (“With me, without me, with me, without me”), was an exception, but not much other than that.

I don’t even hold the Oprah couch jumping incident against him. It’s just that, well, he’s short. Short is not bad, it’s just not tall. And Jack, my Jack, is 6’5”. I’m sorry, but if I know the actor in my movie is standing on a bench to appear taller, then he shouldn’t have been cast. And Tom, you should not have been cast.

I guess I shouldn’t get too worked up about it. Lee Child isn’t concerned that his lead is a foot shorter than the character. He said in the article all the fans of the books still have their own image of Jack. So, I guess I will keep the image to myself and not go to the movie.

See you Thursday. Gotta get back to my boyfriend.

Question: Do you think I will cave and go see the movie anyway?

From Here to Maternity

I have been to the maternity ward of many a hospital visiting friends and their newborns. I have also been blessed to see a friend’s child actually come into this world while in a maternity ward. But never in my unmarried, childless life have I ever been a patient in a maternity ward. That is until now.

Monday I told you about my ER visit last August. Well, when Nurse Sheryl found out the next day that I had not been admitted to have my gall bladder removed she was appalled. She said, “But you threw up in front of EVERYONE; the triage nurse, the nurses back in ER, the doctor, EVERYONE! She assured me at HER hospital they would have done surgery that night.

Instead, my lovely insurance plan hooked me up with a surgeon that was booked out until mid-October. So, for the following two months, I was very careful (for the most part) about what I ate. I had a few smaller attacks during the wait but they just suggested more Vicodin. It never helped and just made me nauseous. It made me wonder how folks get addicted to that drug. I was hoping for at least a little buzz or something! But nothing.

Back in the ER, five days shy of the scheduled surgery, I did my duty and threw up in front of EVERYONE again. Sheryl would have been so proud. This time I was admitted. I got to my room around 4:00 a.m. and was sleepy as well as in a pain med fog, but I was really impressed. My private room was huge and had a bed for my friend to sleep in. I felt so fortunate to be in a five star hospital. It was only later that I found out I was actually in the maternity ward because there was no room at the inn for me down in the regular surgical ward.

The only thing worse about the teasing I received from being in the maternity ward was that it was right next door to the psych ward. I was either scandalizing the church by getting myself knocked up or finding my rightful home among the rest of my crazy peers.

I always thought if I was in tremendous pain while in a maternity ward I would at least get to come home with a baby. But instead, I was the proud mommy of a gallbladder. I was also the proud mommy of a very angry pancreas that kept the surgery at bay for a few days. (A nasty gall stone got loose and lodged itself in the duct leading to my pancreas. That’s not a good thing!)

People always say that hospital stays are very annoying. I did not find that to be the case. I LOVED my nurses, CNA’s and even my phlebotomists. They say you can never get any sleep while you’re in the hospital because they are always coming in and checking your vitals, etc. I didn’t mind. And the bed was soooo comfortable.

When I got back home I thought to myself, “Where is the button that makes my bed go up and down? This bed sucks!” I also missed my nurses. “It is two o’clock in the morning and I have absolutely no idea what my blood pressure is. And can anyone tell me what my oxygen level is please?” I missed being fussed over.

So I was pampered for five days in my first hospital stay. I eventually made it down to the regular wing, but I will always remember my stay in maternity!

Question: Have you ever stayed in the hospital? Was your experience pleasant? (Other than the whole pain or illness reason for being there in the first place.)

A Sister in Need is a Sister in Deed

This past August 8, a Monday evening, at approximately 7 pm, aliens invaded my body, lit a campfire and shot each other with darts causing me the worst pain and nausea I have ever experienced.  Having grown up with a sensitive stomach I’ve spent many an hour vomiting after consuming rich or high fat foods.  Since I am not Jerry from Seinfeld or Ted from How I Met Your Mother I have no proud record of how long it has been since the last time I vomited.  It has happened all too often during my lifetime.

But as I was puking up my toes for the 3rd time that evening, I said to myself, “Something is worse this time, but how handy it is that my sister lives just upstairs.  I shall give her a call and have her drive me to the emergency room.”
So I called.  And called.  And called again.  Her car was in the driveway so I assumed she was home.  I went to her front door and rang the bell.  And rang.  And rang again.  And cried.  And through up some more.
Then I remembered she was attending the Bible Study next door.  So I went, shaking and sweating with puke bowl in hand, and knocked and opened the door.  “I need Chrystal,” I sobbed.  “She’s not here tonight.  What’s wro…?”  But before their final words were spoken I was headed back to her front door for one last try.  Ring, ring, ring.  Still nothing.
Sheryl a nurse friend of mine lives nearby and I gave her a call.  She arrived in no time and I was on my way to the hospital.  Yea Sheryl.
They took me right in and gave me some morphine.  Hmm…Strange sensation intravenous drugs.  You can actually feel it ooze through your body with an, “I can see why people do this recreationally,” thought or two as it does.  Alas, this first dose helped only slightly, but enough for me to lie still.  I had to wait before they could give me more.  After a couple of hours, I suggested Sheryl call another friend, Linda, to tag team with her.  Linda didn’t have to work the next day and I wanted Sheryl to get some rest.  Linda arrived and Sheryl went home.  But not before reminding the nursing staff I needed my fluids bag replaced and that it was time for my next round of morphine.  It’s great to have a nurse for a friend.
Being in a pain meds haze I can’t remember exactly when Chrystal texted but I do remember the content.  It went something like this:  “Hey, what ya doin’.  I’m in the backyard on the trampoline.  It’s a beautiful night.  Come out and enjoy it with me.”  I handed the phone to Sheryl, or was it Linda at that point, don’t know.  Whoever it was called her and told her where I was. 
Turns out Chrystal had been upstairs in her bedroom the entire time, with the air conditioner on causing her not to hear the phone or doorbell. 
I will have to share the ins and outs of the reasons why they didn’t take my gallbladder out that night and why I had to wait two months for the surgery in Thursday’s post.  But fast forward from August 8 to October 14…
Around midnight the Friday night before my scheduled surgery on the following Tuesday, the aliens were back and I wound up on the bathroom floor again.  This time it was much worse and I felt pain in the same place as well as just to the left and in my back.  So, once again, I called my sister upstairs; no answer.  She was obviously sleeping with her phone off.  I had texted her a few hours earlier telling her I wasn’t feeling well and received no answer then as well.  So, wasting no time, I called my friend Dawn, waking her up, and cried, “Make them TAKE IT OUT!!!”  She couldn’t quite tell what I was saying because I was crying so badly, but she assumed what was happening and made it to my house. 
Waiting for Dawn to arrive, I christened my sister’s front yard. 
I shall share the details of my health issues and hospital stay in Thursdays post as well. Fast forward to my first day back at work two weeks later…
“And thank you, Lord,” prayed my principal Mr. Whittlesey, “that Dana is blessed to have her sister living just upstairs to help her out in times like these.”  Seriously?  Of course, after the Amen I had to share the real story.
Chrystal really is a great sister and feels guilty she didn’t know I needed help, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to tease her about this.
Question:  Are you a “Jerry” or “Ted” and have a non-vomit record going?  Or are you more like me?