She’s Touching Me!!!!!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit:ericpetersauto.comAs I was easing onto the interstate Friday night, I fell into line with other cars and mini-vans traveling to parts unknown.  Some vehicles had one person, some had families.  I noticed that in some of the vans, there were small tv screens dropped down from the ceiling showing a movie or cartoon. I shook my head and thought of what a blessing those small screens were to the 2 occupants in the front seats. When our kids were little we didn’t have anything like that to keep the kids entertained.  I would pack a tote with coloring books, colors, small hand-held games, sticker books, and anything else that would distract them for a few hours.  After my mom died, my dad went on vacation with my sisters and I, and our families.  Since I only had the girls and I, he rode with me, and stayed in our cabin. It was going to be the first vacation after my divorce.  I can remember sitting in the driver’s seat of that tightly packed Durango with my dad as my “wingman”…praying my first solo trip would be uneventful.  My dad had bought a small hand-held DVD player for Maddie to use during the trip.  She tended to talk a lot, so I realized that the $80.00 he spent was going to be worth it’s weight in gold.

Then my memory went back to when Kelly, Tammy and I were kids in the back seat of that white Pontiac on our way from central Illinois to Northern Wisconsin every July.  This would have been in the 60’s, when the cars were huge, there were only AM radio stations, air conditioning in the car was a treat, and there were only 2 lane roads, so the trip was 8 hours.  My mom would pack a huge bag of treats consisting of sandwiches, chips, grapes, homemade cookies, other assorted snacks, a gallon of juice, and 2 thermos of coffee.  One coffee was with cream for dad and one was with cream and sugar for her.  We left at 2 in the morning and would fall into line in the caravan with our other family members that stayed at St Johns Resort in Minoqua Wisconsin.  We were allowed to take our pillows for the trip, but you learned early not to take too much because that back seat got pretty cramped if we had much more than our bodies in there.  First off, there were 3 of us, and only 2 windows….fight number one.  Then someone had to sit behind my 6’2″ father who had the front seat set back as far as he could in order to be comfortable.  The driver was the top dog back then, and everyone did their best to be sure he was happy.  My sisters and I inherited our long legs from dad, to sitting behind him for 8 hours was torture. Somehow I got the seat behind him, Tammy in the middle (she was the baby) and Kelly behind my mom.  We would then trade places after we stopped for breakfast at the Oasis truck stop in Janesville Wi.  We had drawn imaginary lines down the back seat, dividing it into 3 areas that we claimed as ours. You could put all of your crap in your area, but stay out of your neighbors area.  It seemed to simple in the minds of youth.   Of course once Kelly got into position behind dad, she would begin shoving Tammy into my area in order to make room for her legs.  I would shove her back, Kelly would then shove her again my way……and so it began.  It would continue until my mom would get involved, to avoid my dad getting distracted.  “SHES TOUCHING ME!”…..over and over and over….. Then came the threats “Don’t make me pull this car over!”….Pretty soon my moms arm would fly over the front seat trying to make contact with someone…anyone…

About mid-morning she would break out the goodies that were stashed in the bags at her feet.  Looking back, we thought we were cramped, but it we could have seen into the front seat we could have seen mom squeezed into her seat with all of the food, coffee, juice, plates, napkins….WOWZA.  I don’t know how she got turned around enough to swat at us…probably why she never connected with flesh.  We would have our snack, and then settle in for a nap, since we had been up since 1 in the morning.  The air was heating up outside, so the air conditioning came one.  It had been on “vent” up until now because “the air conditioner used up gas!”  So now the windows were rolled up tight, and my parents would decide to have a smoke, without the windows cracked.  Pure torture…plus  they always seemed to smoke at the same time….and that air conditioner that was our savior…was now blowing the smoke right back to the back of the car.  AWFUL!!!!  One time I thought I would just crack the window just  a smidge to get some fresh air…bad idea!  So finally the cigarettes were done, and we could settle into our respective third of the back seat for a little siesta.  The car became quiet, and the radio would then be turned on.  But again, there were on only AM stations, which meant there were seldom stations with music, just talk.  Plus, we were traveling up into the woods, which made reception ever worse.  Somehow mom would find a station with some music and we would settle in…until I would notice the station was not quite tuned in….just a small turn of the tuner knob would get that tiny bit of white noise out of the music…but she never seemed to notice…and it made me crazy…..

So here we are, traveling in this car packed to the gills with food, clothes, cookware, towels, people, Tammy now practically in my lap as Kelly stretches out to be comfortable, mom humming softly, the radio playing quietly, just a little out of tune, air conditioner blowing full blast and cruising at 55 mph towards 2 weeks of fun in the sun with some of the best family in the world.  We didn’t need a DVD player that dropped out of the ceiling…we had each other…and what I would give to go back for one more vacation with mom and dad in that front seat  ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

DUMP CAKE

1 large can crushed pineapple with juice

2 cans cherry pie filling

2 sticks of butter

1 box cake (yellow or white)

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Grease 9 x 13 -inch pan

Dump in crushed pineapple with juice. Spread to fill corners.

Dump in cherry pie filling and spread to fill corners.

Dump in cake mix (dry) and spread to fill corners.

Spread nuts on top.

Cut butter into pats and place on top of dry cake mix.

Do not stir or mix ingredients.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until browned.

Can serve with a dollop of whipped topping.

That Crappy “C” Word Again……

FOOD FOR THE SOUL’

Photo credit: Tristancoopersmith.com Yesterday was a day my children will always remember.  Yesterday they found out that their dad could possibly have cancer.  There it is again, that awful ” C” word.  I hate that word,  knowing that in one single moment  your world is forever changed.  If you talk to anyone, they will have a story to share about how cancer has touched their lives.  In my own life, my sister, mom and dad all had cancer.  Cancer is what took my mom’s life, allowing her to spend 6 weeks with her family before it claimed yet another beautiful soul.  Their father and I have been divorced for 5 years, after being married for 27  years.  He has remarried and has a new life, so there is no place for me in this story.  There really should be no place for me, as our chapter in his life is closed.  Of course that does not stop my heart from hurting for him and my children.  I know the feeling that squeezes your heart when you hear those words.  I don’t want my children to feel that pain, but am unable to protect them.  Instead I will be here, right where they would expect me to be, ready to be their rock.  I will lend an ear, give out the hugs, offer reassurances, and just be “mom!”

My daughter Katelyn was with him when he got the diagnosis.  At that very moment she had to grow up, and realize how life can change in the blink of an eye.  Later that night we met in a neighboring town, as her little sister had spent the night, and needed to come home.  When she pulled up, she immediately ran into my arms, sobbing as if her heart was broken into a millions pieces.  She said that she “held it together” all day, but the minute she saw me she fell apart.  She just needed her mom.  I can remember several times when I just needed my mom, because moms just seem to make things better.  I would have given my soul in exchange for my children begin able to avoid that pain.  I wonder if my mom felt the same way when the doctor came and gave us the news that my dad had lung cancer years ago?

The positive thing about going through these experiences with cancer is that I feel I do have some words of advise for those facing the “C” word.  1.  The worse time is between the diagnoses and the “plan of attack”…it’s the fear of the unknown, and this is when a person feels absolutely helpless.  Someone you love is going through a life changing event, and there is no way to predict the outcome.  2.  Cancer is not a death sentence….there are many many things that can be done, from radiation, to chemotherapy, to surgical excision of the cancer.  Cancer is so common now that we tend to triage the diagnoses, and are able to deduce that “Oh, that’s a good cancer to have.”  I looked into my 13-year-old daughters innocent tear streaked face and told her these very words.  “Maddie, the type of cancer that your dad may have is a good one!”  She just could not comprehend how any cancer could be a good cancer.  3.  Don’t ever give up hope, don’t ever let the cancer think that it can beat you!  It has been proven over and over that a positive fighting attitude will greatly extend you chances of success.  I’ve personally seen people with Stage 4 cancer that has metastasized to other organs, live way beyond the “predicted” time of survival.  4.  Don’t ever lose your faith in your God.  As always, there is a reason for this happening.  Perhaps it is a wake up call to those who need one, for who knows why these things happen.  5.  Learn all you can  about your cancer, but be careful about getting reliable information from the internet.  The best thing to do is to get advise from your doctor about where to get the most accurate and up to date  information.  Local cancer centers usually have a library where you can get information.  6.  Always take someone with you to your appointments, especially the initial ones, because you are going to be so overwhelmed that an extra set of ears is invaluable.  7.  Write down all of your questions before your appointment, and take notes.  This is your life you are discussing, and you must be your own advocate!  8.  Get into a cancer support group, and get your family members into one if appropriate.  It helps to know that you are not alone in your fight.

I realize that my role will be to be  there in any capacity I am needed.  I will pray for God to put the right words into my heart, so that I can do whats needed of me.  I will be the cheerleader, the counselor, the tissue giver, the limited medical adviser, or just mom.  My advise to anyone who may face the “C” word in their life…don’t let it win, get the best medical care you can, love your family just a little bit more, enjoy the little things that you may have taken for granted, walk in the rain, kiss a frog, play hopscotch, take time to relax, and pray.  And while praying for healing, send one up for thanks for the blessings you have been given.  For these challenges you are facing today will give you the experience to possibly share with someone else in the future ♥

Did We Need to Know That?

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit: Amazon.comThere are only a few television shows that I will actually sit and watch.  One of my new favorites is Duck Dynasty.  It is my absolute favorite!  Those  Robertson men….whoo whee!  The show makes me laugh and I love that at the end of every episode they gather around the table to share grace and a meal.  The nights they have the marathons, I stay up too late, and then dream of alligators, swamps, duck calls, shotguns, and being chased on an ATV by a mysterious bearded man.  Plus, Miss Kay, there is a real lady….and a woman who appears to be completely loved by her husband….something that women over the world search for.  My problem it that my 13 years old daughter also loves Duck Dynasty, and that is not the real problem.  The problem is the commercials.  Holy cow!  I am sure that the advertisers have the misguided idea that the male viewers greatly outnumber the female viewers.  Therefore we are forced to watch commercial after commercial about the malady that we in the medical field refer to as ED.  Now, I know these things happen to a great number of men, but for petes sake, is nothing sacred anymore?  First off, I am uncomfortable talking about the birds and the bees with my daughter, let alone having to explain why the bird is having trouble keeping the bee happy.  Plus, my memory is fading at this point in my life, making the subject more agonizing.  I watch these couples giving each other “the eye” and then they dance from the porch swing hand in hand to the deep recesses of the house.  Do I need to know that he had to take a little blue pill in order to “carry on?”  My favorite one is when they are each in a different claw foot tub, holding hands, watching a sunset on a beach.  Really?  That one doesn’t even make sense to me, so how can I can’t even begin to explain that one to her……..If memory serves me right, even “the pill” won’t help him is she’s in another tub?  Come on Robertson men….you really don’t the women watching your show to go from watching you to thinking about ED…..am I right 🙂

It’s bad enough that we have to see commercials on tampons that expand and fit you like a glove, or see women showing off their matching bras and underwear, or various “he/she” products on the market that will make fireworks go off on your bedroom ceiling.  I can tolerate explaining the commercials about the need for eating yogurt to help keep your colon clean,  where to call to buy personal catheters or diabetic supplies, who to call to sue the company that furnished that bum hip or knee you had implanted, where to purchase a scooter at no cost, how to get rid of belly fat, but these ones on ED….too far.  Although it does give me comfort to see that the men in these commercials are my age, so since I’m not dating at this point in my life I’m not missing much?  Bzzzzzzzzzzz ♥

I wanted to add an addendum here….after pondering it over….if the day comes that I fall in love again, it won’t matter if he need a blue pill, yellow pill, green pill, white pill or no pill at all, because at the end of the day LOVE is all that matters.  The rest of that mumbo jumbo  is immaterial ♥♥

Things My Mom Told Me

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit:teachmetotalk.comWhile listening to Christmas music last night, I became lost in memories of the holidays of past.  This is how my mind works, I start to think about one thing, and that leads to another, which leads to another…..so on and so on…until I end up with memories in my brain that have nothing to do with the original thought.  Follow me???? It you can’t, don’t feel bad….and if you can follow me…all I can say is “WOWZA ! AM I IMPRESSED!”   Anyway, I was remembering some wise words of advise given to me throughout my life by my number one fans: my parents.  I will now try to share some of them, and then add some of my thoughts on them now that I am an adult.

 1.  A man will never buy the cow when he can get the milk free over the fence.   While most teenage girls get the “talk” on the birds and the bees, sometime prefaced with a cute little book, I get the speech about cows and free milk.   My mom received a phone call from my high school health teacher telling her to please give me the “talk” because I was asking too many questions in class.  The only reason I know this is because I was listening on the extension phone.  The talk never came…..you just knew that you shouldn’t have sex until marriage….end of story…can I get an amen!  It took me a long time to figure out the correlation between the cow and the milk…especially since all I knew about sex was from a health ed textbook.

                                                  2.  Don’t be in a position with your boyfriend that would cause you to be embarrassed if the Lord appeared at that moment. I will admit that that one kept me out of many back seats when I was in high school.  Now that I am older I realize that the Lord knows where I am every minute of the day, so I am sure he would not be surprised if he found my in an unsatisfactory situation.  Again…. since I was still pondering the cow/milk advise I was unsure what should be embarrassing  at that point.

                                                 3.  Don’t go outside with your hair wet, You will catch pneumonia!  Since I have been a nurse for 30 plus years I can safely debunk that one.  Although it does make for a mighty cold trip to where ever you are going, and in my case, air-dried hair equals lots of frizz and curls…not good!  Plus everyone knows that you catch pneumonia from the cow trying to get the milk…who did she think she was fooling….. 🙂

                                                  4.  You are who your friends are!  Ok, now I will give that one to her.  It is true that people judge you by company you keep.  Right or wrong, it happens.  I have gotten in trouble in the past by just association with someone who was in trouble.  It’s not fair…but it’s life.  I lost a friend in grade school because she came from the “wrong side of the tracks” (there’s another one)  Of course, it couldn’t have had anything to do with the fact that I got into situations with her that I never would have thought of on my own?

                                                  5.  Why do you step over those clothes on the step…take them up with you!  Our laundry was on the main floor, our bedrooms were upstairs, so mom would put our clean folded laundry on the steps and we were to take them up and put them away.  I saw them there, I did step over them, but in my defense I didn’t need that particular outfit for the next day, so why take it up to my room.  Plus they seldom went upstairs, so they weren’t stepping over them, therefore whats the beef?

                                                 6.  If you sh** in your nest, you will have to sleep in it!  Ok, first off, I had no idea where my nest was, and last time I checked I had full control of my bodily functions.  The last time I got this warning was when I was dating a young man who my dad despised.  He kept telling me that he knew things about this guy and if I continued dating him, my bags would be packed and waiting on the porch.  Even though I was 17 and I thought I loved this young man, I loved my nest more, so poof…he was history.

                                                7.  Pull in your horns!  This one was mainly aimed at my sister Kelly.  She had a terrible temper…..and I was an angel…enough said.

                                                8.  Don’t sit so close to the tv.  It’s bad for your eyesight.  I laugh now as I sit at my computer, with my glasses off, because I can’t read the screen with them on….perhaps they had a point?

                                                9.  Welcome to womanhood for happy days are here again.  These were the only words of advice we received as we became “women”…along with a saddle sized pad and a belt being flung from the cracked bathroom door.   Young women now days don’t know how lucky they have it with the press on pads.

                                              10.  They can never take you education away from you!   My parents both left high school and entered the work force, bypassing college.  It was understood since we were little that we would go to college.  There were no questions, it was expected.  As girls my mom stressed how important it was that we could support ourselves financially without a mans help.  Thank heavens for that one!

My parents were wise, wonderful, strict, loving, sometimes hard-nosed, stubborn parents and to this day I applaud them for making me what I am, good or bad.  I miss them every day, but boy what memories.  Hug yours today, because the day will come that they remain in your life as just a memory ♥