Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Nemesis

This is a step.   A step into the "kiddy" part of the pool. A section in our pool that looks like a spa but isn't. It's a pool for the babies with three little fountains. A Simple step nothing more. However, to me it's a symbol of a fading mind. Something I've worried about since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1999.
Last August, I went off work on disability. By the end of the month, I knew getting my insurance company to pay despite two doctors' completing form after form saying I could no longer work, was going to require a miracle. I was stressed and thought sitting in the kiddy pool watching Sabby swim would be a good break. Plus the temperature was well into the 110 degree range and even with A.C. I was feeling hot and miserable. So, I changed into my swim suit and gathered my towel and prepared to "cool off" in water at least 98 degrees (but at least it was wet). I forgot that there is a step into this kiddy pool and stepped into the water, not here where the step is; but over to the side, crashed down 2 feet into water that wasn't nearly deep enough to break my fall.. and voila! Broke my leg at the knee; Was in the hospital for 3 days waited another week; went back into the hospital, had surgery and remained in the hospital then a nursing home for 3 weeks. I was in a wheel chair until just before Christmas when I graduated into crutches or cane. And I whined a lot! I did however eventually start getting disability checks. And I learned an appreciation for the strength of people who face forever in a wheel chair and still smile; who face forever being cared for, not able to even go into the bathroom alone and still laugh; not being able to go to the store without help and still get up everyday; not getting outside unless a loved one can lift the wheel chair out side and still get themselves to a job everyday. It is hard to explain but at once I learned to stop fearing  what MIGHT come with M.S. and to understand what may come. I also learned to more completely appreciate what I CAN do still. 
I still walk funny. 
Pool weather is back and I'm looking at this step again.... Yesterday I did two things; I took a picture of the damn thing and held Paul's hand while I stepped down ONTO THE STEP and waded into the kiddy pool... Yay Betty! When you see a step almost as big as the pool, it ONLY makes sense that you USE this step to get into the water!
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Birthdays Birthdays

So it's been twenty-three years today Ricky. My youngest and my only blue eyed baby. You happily share your birthday with your little niece only you try to insist that her birthday be only about her. Your Older brother marvels that the parents who raised him are the same who raised you. Once, upon hearing him comment, I simply shrugged my shoulders and said "I'm tired Robbie" I'm so tired.. :)
From the first day you spoke, you argued. Me saying No, was always simply the starting point for your negotiations. You NEVER lied, you simply "beat me down" until I said yes. Going to "hang out" at the beach was always a No to your brother and sisters. I assume today, that there were times when I UNDERSTOOD your siblings to be at the movies or with a friend and they were actually "hanging" at the beach; at night. Once after a particularly bad hour with you and your "negotiations", "explanations" and "arguments", I had agreed to let you go to the beach that night with friends. As  I lay "bloodied" and exhausted on the couch, I heard you upstairs talking to the girl who wanted to go too. "No" I heard you say "you're not going to lie to your mom. I'll go with you and talk to her with you." I simply sighed as I lay there and quietly laughed, thinking, whoever that poor women is - she's screwed!
Your honesty reflects your bright star Ricky. You are honest in all things and in all ways. People are drawn to you. I know why - It's the light that shines from you. Your goodness. Your kindness. I remember you were willing to be suspended to defend a friend when you were young. Your questions about life when you were 5, 6 & 7.
My wish for you tonight is that you always walk in the light - banishing the dark shadows that can lurk when you least expect them. 
I love you.. My Vegas Baby... for always and for ever.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

My brand new baby boy 4/29/1985

Robbie teaching you to Crawl

You were 5
Senior Year
Sr. Picture
February 2003 ... A real sad day
Your Nieces and Nephew ADORE you Uncle Ricky
You make us so Proud

Monday, April 28, 2008

Six Today

How could it be already! That today you turn 6 Sabrina Cristine! 
A long hard awful day watching your mommy in so much pain and "no progress". Then suddenly the epidural to end Mommy's pain went "in too deep?" "went the wrong way?" and mommy couldn't breathe. So you came into this world during an emergency Sabby.
And worry, anger, fear and sorrow were replaced in an instant with unbelievable joy, when the doctor told me you and Mommy were just fine.
And to joy, we added Laughter and tears when the doctor answered my next question with a smile and a yes...."Is She a Red Head?" 
You my little Red Headed Treasure have filled our lives with laughter and joy for 6 years now. From your Great Escapes through windows when you were 18 months; Singing your self to sleep.  Your temper tantrum during Aunt Lyndsey's Wedding when you were two. "Sharing" Birthdays with Uncle Ricky, who will turn 23 tomorrow.  I learn so much from our conversations when I walk you home from school, or when I hear you play "by yourself?" when you're alone in your room.  Your Gran knows how quickly time goes and I know I will smile when I remember today and the Birthday Breakfast Order you gave Pappys this morning 10 years from today when  you get your drivers license. Pancakes with Sugar and Syrup Pappys! and Cut up Nicely.
Happy Birthday Honey. We love you forever and Always.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

6 months Old.. 
With Pappys early 2004
Fixing Gran's Hair with Cousin Makayla Early 2004
Trimming the Tree with Pappys 12/05
Smiling at Gran, this morning!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cooking with Betty....Sort of

Being that Katie was married for almost 4 years to a man who controlled all the money.. That SHE earned and would not allow her to buy food (he ate out with his friends every night) other than what she needed one day at a time, Katie never really learned how to cook for a family. To be honest, I didn't cook that much when I worked. Paul beat me home by 3 hours and I usually walked in to a full house and dinner ready. I had my meals but Katie didn't show much interest in learning..soo. I digress.
Since I'm home all day and even though Paul swears he doesn't hate me for sitting home on my back side all day while he works, I still think he should probably come home to dinner. I've decided lately to um take Katie under my wing and teach her to cook. Sadly, I'm not much of one. I've always enjoyed reading other blogs where they give cooking tutorials complete with Pictures! Not to be Outdone and sure to humiliate myself :) 
Here's Stuffed Bell Peppers a la Betty ! :)
Sabby's Ready to Learn too!
Yes I use Hamburger Not Turkey. Fry up the Hamburger with Onions

Add the Tomato  Sauce and Sloppy Joe Packets 
Sabby's Checking out the Peppers
Rice for However many People will be eating
Slice off the tops of the Green Peppers

Fill them with the Sloppy Joe Sauce Mix

Yeah... Sabby Got Bored

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the Cheese melts
This really doesn't look very pretty
Serve with Canned Pears ... Or healthier fruits 

In our case, Sabby enjoyed the Sloppy Joes On Hot Dog Buns!
Thanks everyone for reading my Blog today.  :)

A Right of Passage

Seems to me that Little Girls, at some point, when they're between 3 & 6 will get their hands on a pair of scissors regardless of how careful Mom or Dad ... Or Gran are. My daughters did. Katie, being 2.5 years older than Lyndsey, cut Lyndsey's hair twice; once, even cutting her ear.
Katie had thin hair which I kept in a little bob. Lyndsey's hair was long, going all the down her back by the age of 3. In my
 case, it was Katie's jealousy that caused the HAIRCUT FROM HELL and got rid of Lyndsey's long curls. In Sabby's case, twice now, it's been curiosity. Friday night she had a playdate with a little friend. According to Sabby.... They EACH cut their own hair. These Pictures are of Sabby after the trip to Fantastic Sams to "fix" the problem. She feels positively grown up.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.
Giving Gran the Big Smile with her new bangs  

The back is layered now like a grown up lady

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saguaro National Forest


What a Day! 
Paul and I had a wonderful day; Even went on some Nature Trails. I Have seen some beautiful Macros on some other Blogs and practiced some of that today.
The Desert is in Bloom now.   
   White Flowers on this Saguaro's Arm

The Saguaro's are not yet in full bloom but their "hats" are starting to pop up  and soon the Saguaro National Forest will be in full bloom.  I've never been a big Fan of Desert Views.. until I moved to AZ. Here the deserts are quite different than they were in CA. For one thing, Once you cross the Colorado River into AZ we have the Saguaros. The desert earth is more colorful too with Orange and Golds all around us.

Paul Loves Exploring whenever he can

We stayed in bed until almost 8:30 watching TV and drinking coffee, so we got a late start but as it turns out, The Saguaro National Forest is actually North of Tucson so the drive was not as long as I anticipated.
After a full day of walking and driving around the "forest" I'm tired but couldn't wait to download my new photos and do some experimental work.. the Color-Less Saguaro on the top right of my Blog.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.
Paul Walking down into the wash, where
            I wouldn't follow 

I don't know the name of this Cactus, but the 
                Blooms are Beautiful

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Good Friend Julee

The Last Job I had was for a Truck Leasing Company in Phoenix. My "Career Life" was as a Lease Processor. The AZ Boss there and the office manager pretty much restored my belief that People ( the Employer) are basically good people who really care about the people who work for them. I'd always held that belief but "out grew" it and became a big believer in Unions and the need for them. I digress.
One of the people I worked with at this great company was Julee. A girl much younger than me... Ok... Younger than my oldest child. Julee was kind of quiet and I was pretty sure she didn't have much use for me. We worked "the early shift" together and over some time we got to know each other pretty well. She was planning her wedding when I got to the "Company" so we bonded over that. One day she sent me an i.m. (Instant Message) asking but assuring it was WAY OK for me to say no, to come as a back up photographer at her wedding. I said SURE.  Well the worst thing happened JUST before the ceremony started. I had the exact symptoms I'd had nearly a year before when I had a heart attack. My worst fear was of the paramedics coming in with sirens blaring during the service, so I told a co-worker of ours to tell Julee I was sorry but not feeling well and drove to the hospital nearby. Turned out it was the first of the Pulmonary Embolisms I'd be getting.  I digress again! It was also the start of a fantastic Friendship. We've laughed since that day that if it all happened now... I'd have her bring over the cake after the wedding and we'd share it in the ICU. Julee would do that too. Together we were the Photographers at her Cousin's wedding last April. :) What a wedding it was too.
She sent the invitations for the 30th Anniversary Party a couple of weeks ago. Got on a Plane with little Emilee; came to AZ for a whirlwind trip; brought the very popular Taco Salad and brought the cake. The same cake she'd had at her wedding that I wasn't around for.  :)    Last January (2007) Katie decided to give CA another try. I supported her decision, but thought my heart would break. In TRUE JULEE style. She said "F" them. I'M here; You're Part of MY family... And so it was that Julee saved my life. While Paul worked so many weekends and holidays at Rawhide, I spent Thanksgiving, Mother's day and celebrated Birthdays with Julee and her family and when my kids were out for whatever holiday it was; they came too. Julee  didn't invite me; Rather, she told me I'd be coming. When I turned 55, Julee planned the party - We went to Peter Piper Pizza at lunch where I celebrated being 55 with my dearest friends and Daughter #3 Julee. 
I started hearing from my daughter Lyndsey.. "Who's this Julee person"? They've met a few times and now Lyndsey loves Julee too. Katee always has. Ricky thinks she's HOT especially the Packer Tatoo on her ankle!!!
When Julee left our company and followed her dream back to Green Bay last year; the boss was so sad; her co-workers were sad; I was SO sad. We held it together because we knew her dream was coming true. I miss Julee everyday; but in the relatively short time we worked and "played" together, a bond was formed that not even my fear of flying will break.
Hey Julee, Ricky is planning on moving out in May... you have YOUR room back! :)
Have a good day everyone and thanks for Taking the time to read my blog today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Coming up for Air

I'm out of bed and coming up for air now. That was a nasty bug. Started, Stayed and Settled in my Chest. Breathing is still hard. I see the Doctor today so am hoping to get the cough medicine that works. I think there's got to be a better way to control the making of Meth than to deprive this middle aged lady of the "good stuff" to stop the congestion and cough! I don't mind giving them my personal information to purchase the "good stuff", it's when they tell my daughter, "She doesn't need both Day Time and Night Time", that I get a little pissy. I digress!
Sunday we had a friend over for a barbecue and I got to practice taking pictures. However the kids thought it great fun to hide from Me!
It was a great day though, nice and relaxing. 
Yesterday Paul wanted to see "where MC85 goes".  MC85 is the 2 lane highway connecting the 10 to the 8 in Western AZ. It's also known as "the way" to Rocky Point a Popular Mexican beach area for Arizonians. The Saquaros are starting to bloom. In Gold Canyon (on the Far Eastern Side of the Valley) the blooms were red; yesterday the Saquaros were wearing "hats" of White. The skies were not so blue yesterday which makes my photos seem faded. There is a lot of construction on the MC85 these days which stirs up the dirt and contributes to poor air Quality.
A Roadrunner we met on the road
I love the hats!
Love this guy too!
They're not quite in full bloom yet but I've ALMOST talked Paul into a day drive down South of Tucson - The Saquaro National Park... Where there are many of these great "trees" and hopefully bluer skies.
Have a great day everyone and thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Great Expectations

Katie and Sabby just got home a little while ago. Sabby's Graduation Pictures have come in. I know someday I'll be looking at the real thing.. as in her High School Graduation Picture. She'll be beautiful, no doubt, but the radiance and innocence won't be the same. Little Sabby's already been hurt by life in some ways. But looking at her little face in this picture it is clear to me that my Red Headed Treasure still expects life to be exciting, rich and mankind (most of them) to be at her beck and call. I hope I'll be here to see her play out her life. I hope she'll lead a happy and full life, whatever she does. I hope   she gives back to the world and makes it a better place because she was here. I hope they all do. I hope she celebrates all the good this world can be and acknowledges but doesn't dwell on the bad or evil in it. I hope she learns from bad relationships she may enter but not dwell on them. I hope she will continue forever to look at people, FIRST as potential friends and not fear them as potential enemies.
I hope in 12 years I will look at her high school graduation picture and smile; still seeing all the great expectations in her eyes and her smile. I believe I will smile then and remember this one. Maybe look it up. Every picture, I've ever taken, or purchased or had given to me is safely scanned, with 2 back ups. I'll remember what a cutie she was when she was five. How she played and talked to the make believe people in her little world. I'll remember how pappys kept cheese cut up for her to "go with her whine". I'll remember how she ran down the little hill every day with her hands in the air and waited just where I told her to for me to catch up, so we could cross the street behind our house together. 
From now until then, Sabby and I will make many memories together. Looking at this smile of excitement as she prepares to "graduate" from Kindergarden will rank among the sweetest of my memories. 
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog tonight.