Saturday, May 31, 2008

Highlights from the Cruise

Since our cruise is winding down, Marilyn and I thought we would give you a brief overview:

Favorite port:
Luanne: Puerto Vallarta because it was easy to walk to places
Marilyn: She said it was Costa Maya until I told her we didn't go there on this cruise. She then amended her answer to Cabo San Lucas because she liked the tour, the port was pretty, the day was nice. Then she burped so I encouraged not to speak any more.

Favorite dinner companions moment:
Luanne: When I realized one person had no teeth
Marilyn: The two minutes in which one of them told Marilyn about her upcoming 3 surgeries (the reason she cannot go on a cruise for the next several years), her diabetes, and the Canadian health system.

Favorite tour guide:
Luanne: Libby, because she was a teacher, and now has the kind of job all teachers should have when they retire
Marilyn: Adan-Call-Me-Adam, because he was so open with his life and Marilyn got to know him so well in such a sort period of time

Favorite tour moment:
Luanne: Pulling up to the Jose's Chicken Coop Cafe, realizing that was where we were going to eat a meal.
Marilyn: A tie between Carmen reading us all the American restaurant signs as we rode down the road, and Libby reminding us for the 96th time that the sidewalks were uneven and to be careful.

Best spa moment:
Luanne: When Wendy the reflexologist told me that she could tell by my big toe that my colon was clogged up, and wondering what she wanted to do about it
Marilyn: When she got to go in a new spa room with a window, but was told not to worry because it was a one-way window, but worried anyway when a little boy started trying to look in the window (and Marilyn was in her spa-wear - a towel covering her lady regions).

Other Significant Cruise Moments:
*Getting our professional photo made with the captain, who has the personality of ... actually there's nothing with less personality to describe him to.
*Trying to get a picture while on land of Marilyn pointing out our cabin, because we thought we saw her bathing suit on the veranda, only to realize after returning to the cabin, that our cabin was actually on the water side.
*Trying to buy a Mexican Wal-Mart card, that ended up being a child and parent card, so we don't know if our room steward and dinner server will actually be able to use them or not, or even if they have any pesos on them.
*Dressing for a late movie (because we had eaten too much at Palo and were extremely uncomfortable in our dress up clothes), which meant in our pajamas, then seeing our dinner companion on the front row. And no, we didn't go sit with him.
*Ditching the tour when Adan stopped at his brother's jewelry store, thereby depriving him of his tour evaluation and tip!
*Looking at our first photo from the cruise, of us having lunch on the deck, then realizing the woman walking past was actually our future dinner companion.

All in all, it was a good cruise. Good food, good service, interesting dinner conversation with interesting people. Tomorrow we get back to reality, taking lots of good memories with us.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Torture on the High Seas

With only two days left in our cruise, I had already decided that today I would have a "well-being" massage. Today and tomorrow are sea days, so I thought that a massage would be a nice relaxing way to finish up the cruise and arrive back at home relaxed and refreshed. Then came Boris.

Boris is a nice young man from from Russia or Germany or some former Soviet Union country. He had already given Marilyn a massage on Monday, so she mentioned that he was good with the pressure. When I met him today, he asked as to how much pressure I wanted. I said, "medium to hard," which he started with. He continued to ask me if I wanted it harder, to which I said, "yes," thinking that was a good thing. I can only liken it to that good thing that happens just before giving birth. You know it's going to hurt like the dickens, but the end result is worth it.

At times I thought he was trying to squeeze the fat out of my pores, or separate the knotted-up muscles in my back. Maybe both at the same time. At the end of my 50 minutes, though, I knew I had been massaged. It was the worst best thing ever.

I'm not sure if I will arrive home relaxed and refreshed - it all depends on the Advil. But I have been to Boris, and it was good.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Puerto Vallarta

I wanted to post a picture that would most accurately sum up our tour today in Puerto Vallarta, but blogger would have none of it. So I will have to try to describe the neighborhood in which we had our mid-tour “snack.” Amid the broken-down vehicles and buildings, were the local business establishements. The actual cantina (probably our tour guide Adan-Call-Me-Adam’s brother’s garage) pretty much blended in with the surroundings. We were given a quesadilla and a drink (I chose 7Up, hoping that whatever active ingredients were in the soft drink would combat any of the organisms in the food or on the hosed-off plate). The snack was good, especially if one just eats (hoping the wetness from the glass plate is from a hot-water rinse and not a dog-lickin-creek-rinsin) and ignores the rooster walking around outside (really). Obviously this establishment is a family run business, as our Adan(m)’s whole family was out selling their jewelry and lovely painted doo-dads. (We didn’t buy anything there, but bought identical doo-dads later at the town flea market, probably actually made by Chin-Lee over in China). Another of Adan(m)’s relatives brought his pet parrot, so in case the chicken ran away, you could eat with a parrot. But that was only part of our tour.

A (as I shall call him to save internet time) started off the tour by telling us how terribly he recently hurt his foot playing basketball (even though he is obviously middle-aged and 300 pounds). He reminded us quite often, and when he wasn’t reminding us of his infirmity, he was grimacing and wincing, even though he was sitting down at the time. At every stop he managed to tell us the A’s Version of Puerto Vallarta history. He also told us he had two degrees, was a back-packing and snorkeling and scuba diving guide, and once got upset because at the underground sea something he thought he saw paper in the water while scuba-ing, but when he got closer, it was actually money that had come out of people’s pockets so he made a billion dollars picking up “trash.” He is also trying to save the environment, so he instructed us not to have our picture made with the lizards because the people who do that stress the lizards out and then throw them in the trash. He has never been out of Mexico, takes his vacations in September, except this year when he is going to Canada for a conference in July. He also has a friend who back in the 60’s was a waiter for Jackie Kennedy when she came down with all her friends, and she tipped him $100 a person. And even thought the houses on the coast cost millions of dollars, he has a friend from Alaska who is coming down to buy one to live in and two to rent.

Anyhow, a mind can only hold so much information, so when A let everyone off the bus to “shop” at his relative’s jewelry shop (where A hopped all over the store giving us his special drinks he makes of tequila and lemon and water and whatever), Marilyn and I decided to abandon the tour, shop, and take a taxi back to the ship. We managed to hit the local flea market, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart (where we attempted to purchase gift cards for our room steward – cards we hope are legit) before heading back to the ship and lunch.

By the way Puerto Vallarta is named for a person. I should know – Adan-Call-Me-Adam told me so!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


This is a picture of me, diving off the cliff because I can't get any of my lovely photographs to load, and the internet aboard the ship costs like $50 a second, and I know people whose life happiness depends on getting my vacation photos on a daily basis.

Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. Actually, this is a picture of Please Pay The Diver Diving Man who dove off this rock (which is not so high when you see it in person) and then went around asking for money. Asking for money was pretty much what we encountered at every stop today on our tour around Mazatlan. We saw an Indian dancing show, where we could buy a CD of Mazatlan music, known the world over (except obviously in Tennessee). The MC of the show said that all the money from the sale of the CD went to homeless Mazatlan children, but I really don't think so. Since he changed shirts 3 times during the 20 minute show, I think it went to his shirt fund. I would show you pictures, but apparently Blogger does not want me to post them.

At some point during this post and resulting picture-posting frustration, I remembered that I am on vacation. So I have decided that I will lay in my deck chair and ponder other ways of your seeing my pictures. Besides, I think it's time to eat again, and I do have my priorities!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cabo San Lucas

Today I'll just let the pictures do the talking - if I can get them loaded onto the blog!

This is the way to get to the pier to get to the bus to go on the tour. The rockin' and rollin' boat tender ride was an excursion in itself!
This is one of the windows to the glass-blowing place. It was interesting, but they didn't look too busy. Guess the glass-blowing industry isn't booming right now!

This is the band that greets you upon your arrival on the pier. They were not all that excited, but played a happy tune, anyway.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Aboard the Disney Magic

These are pictures of some of our new friends aboard the ship. We've met people from Thailand, Chile, South Africa, and Canada, just to name a few of countries.

Today we've had a spa treatment, jogged on the deck, sat in the sun, and eaten sumptuous food. We've met new people and watched fabulous shows and a movie. It's been a good day. Tomorrow we will be in Cabo San Lucas and will go ashore to see the sights.

Sometimes when you're on vacation, you tend to isolate yourselves from other people on vacation. But I find that on a cruise, I tend to reach out and connect with fellow vacationers. I talk to strangers, smile at people across the room, and dine with strangers. It's a nice way to live on vacation ... on in real life, too.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Aboard the Disney Magic - Embarkation Day

Just juice. I mean kool-aid. Honestly. We just really wanted the souvenir glass. But to get the glass you had to buy the drink inside. I think it was lemonade. I really don't know. But it sure tasted yummy!

This is during the emergency drill. I am practicing with my personal flotation device,
Handsome Young Guy. I do look quite fetching in my orange vest, though!

This is the first of our nightly towel animal sculptures. I am thrilled because of the chocolate used in its creation.

Today Marilyn and I boarded the Disney Magic for our 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera. We have eaten, shopped, napped, booked our spa treatments, seen the opening show, and met our table mates for the week. Our dining servers are great, and even though we skipped desert tonight and the weather is a bit cooler than expected, I think it’s going to be a great week at sea.

I’m looking forward to a week away from the cell phone and the daily things that keep me from getting my life in order. I’m hoping these days will help me focus on the things I want to begin to accomplish. If nothing else, at least I’ll catch up on some sleep. Now, if I can just find out where they keep those Mickey bars!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Molly Morgan Davidson

She is the epitome of tenacity, perseverance, and determination. She is also wry, witty, and fun. She is strong-willed, self-confident, and inwardly- driven. She is often right, seldom wrong, and will defend her opinion to the end. She is a self-starter, a hard-worker, and a risk-taker. She is smart, brave, and thoughtful. She is my daughter Molly, and twenty-two years ago today she made her way into this world.

Molly arrived on her own terms, a week early. Her sister likes to call her a “preemie” even though she weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces. Being the baby of the family made Molly no pushover. If we were headed to church or ball practice or school, Molly was ready to go when Molly was ready to go. She has made her own way, decided her own path, and is finding her own place in this world.

I am thankful for her life because she came along as a special gift at a difficult time in my life. Just after I had found out I was pregnant with her, I found out my mother had cancer. She died seven weeks before Molly was born, and I like to think that somewhere out in the cosmos, they met and got to know each other during those seven weeks. Even today, I believe that Mammaw looks down on Molly and smiles, because Molly is leading the independent kind of life that Mammaw would admire and support.

I am blessed to be Molly's mom because of who she is and is going to be. But I am also blessed because of all that I have received because of her. I have the joy and memories of the moments we share, the patience and understanding gained by waiting on Molly-time, the pride and admiration of seeing her accomplish things on her own, and the faith and assurance that life goes on and continues in those we love.

Today is Molly's Day. Happy Birthday Molly - thanks for being you!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Visiting the Original

This is my view from my bedroom - at least for the next two nights. That's California Adventure and the new DVC construction you see, along with the resort pool.

Yes, I am at the Grand Californian in Disneyland for a few pre-cruise days. Today's flight was a little over four hours, but fairly uneventful, so it was good. By the time I claimed my bag and rode the bus to the resort, I was way past hungry, so I wolfed down a Disney burger, chili fries, and topped it off with a lemon swirl ice cream, spending the rest of the afternoon in a food coma.

Having been sleep deprived for the past week, I can barely keep my eyes open. I am hoping to catch some zzzzs in the next 48 hours so I will be able to appreciate all the sleeping I will do on the boat.

Just another visit with Mickey and the gang.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dr. Mom, I'm Not

Last night Molly's tonsil holes started bleeding, so we made a midnight run to the emergency room. To put it bluntly, the right side of her throat had a spot that looked like what your gum would if you had just pulled a molar - to me it looked like a bloody abscess, or what the weekend doctor described as a blood clot. She swilled ice water for about 15 minutes (a suggestion we found on the internet), but it still looked gross, so we decided to ask a real-live doctor instead of staring at each other (and her throat), wondering what we should do.

The doctor in the ER took one look and said it looked like what he would expect it to look like ten days after surgery. He said it was a blood clot, but it's supposed to look like that. Dr. Itsokay sent us home with instructions to return if she starts spewing blood all over the walls (or something like that). We left and promptly went in search of a cola Slurpee at 2am.

I was never any good diagnosing my children's illnesses when they were little. First of all, they always got sick after doctor's hours and on weekends after 11pm. Second, I never knew if they were doctor-worthy sick or wait-it-out sick. I always chose wrong. If I waited for the doctor's office to open the next day, their eardrums were blown to bits by the time the doctor saw them. On the other hand, if I rushed them to the emergency room, I was told they had a cough and a virus, and give them a Tylenol (and take a Valium myself).

Oh well, at least I know where to get a 89-cent frozen coke at 2 in the morning.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

L. Davidson, Home Security

While Sam and Lynnette are on vacation in Palm Springs, I have been appointed Chief of Security to insure their home and cat are safe. I'm also to water the plants in the front yard if needed. I take my job very seriously.

I couldn't remember if I last checked on Sunday or Monday, so I decided today I would run my security detail again. It's usually very quick - glance at the plants, get the mail, try to pet the cat, turn on a different light to fool would-be robbers, thieves, and catnappers, and empty the litterbox (although technically I was not asked to perform that duty, it's just an added service I provide). Today, though, was no ordinary patrol.

First, upon arriving at the premises, I noticed the front yard plants looking a little thirsty. I made a mental note to water them (my personalized checklist is still being printed up). I get the aforementioned mail, unlock the front door, go in, lock the door, and deposit said mail on the coffee table.

I looked around for Missy the grandcat, but did not see her. On my last visit, she did come to greet me and I did have a tender moment of holding her, but after about 45 seconds, Missy decided that Grand SheHuman had no special treats, and spent the rest of my visit under the table.

I decided to look for Missy later, and instead went about my Missy tasks - filling her floor water bowl with fresh water and removing her poops from her litterbox. Walking down the hall, I noticed she had deposited a bit of regurgitated lunch on the floor, and made another mental note to clean that up later. If you are keeping count, this is two mental notes, which pretty much fills up all the mental I have at this stage of life.

Anyhow, I scooped the poop, putting it into earth-friendly poop bags and depositing it into a trash can. My next goal was the watering of the plants, otherwise known as "Who Needs Old Faithful When You Have Sam and Lynnette's Water Hose."

I find a water spigot by the side of their house. I had already tried to enter the backyard from the front yard by the side gate, but Fort Knox had already been there and installed various locks and bolts requiring entry from the back yard. Basically what had happened was I unlocked the front door, went out, locked front door, went to the side gate, was refused entry, went back to front door, unlocked it, went in, relocked, went to back door, unlock, went out, relock, and went to side yard. Why all the locking? I am a home security expert, thank you. And paranoid.

Anyhow, I find the water source, attach the garden hose, and unwind it from the hose holder, noticing all the twists and turns and bends, feeling that this is not going to be pretty. I turn on water, and pull the hose to front yard, which takes a while since the hose keeps getting hung under the security gate. I finally get the hose to the flowers and water them. At one point, I look back at water spigot and notice water is beginning to spray out of hose connector that is connected to water spigot. By the time my water gig is done and I get back to water spigot, I have the Bellagio Fountains coming out of water spigot. There is no grass under the water spigot, so I also have a mud pit. I had neglected to bring rain gear, but I braved the elements and managed to turn off the water. I made the executive decision that if I had to water the plants again, I was going to do it on my terms, meaning Sam and Lynnette were going to get a new water hose and spray thingy. Although I considered just leaving the muddy twisted hose where I lay, my moral sense of right and wrong won out, so I dragged the muddy mess to the backyard, intending to dump it in a trash can or bag. If only there were one in the back yard.

So I decide look in the garage for a receptacle for the disfunctional hose. Of course the garage door is locked, which required more unlocking and locking. I found a garbage can. I do not know if the material in this can is recyclable or just plan trash, but it now contains a skanky old water hose. Now, back to house. On the way I notice plants in back yard. Do they need water? How can I neglect them when I gave attention to front plants? I almost let them parch when I think of using that hose again, when I see the rain barrel. It is full, there is a water can, so the backyard plants get a sip, too.

Having nearly completed all my tasks, I turn my attention to locating Missy the Cat and assessing her condition, should her parents ask about her. I put the key in the back door to unlock Lock #1, pull it out, insert key in Lock #2, open the door, and go in. However, key does not wish to come out of Lock #2. I twist and turn and shake and rattle and roll, but key refuses to budge. I ponder my options. I think I need some WD40. I do not know where this is kept, but I think maybe garage. Which is locked. And would need to be opened by the key that is stuck in the back door lock. Luckily, there is another key inside Lock #1 on inside of door. I remove, go to garage, unlock, look in entertainment center shelving unit, and find generic WD40. I go to back door and spray in lock, spray some more, jiggle, wiggle, spray some more. No budging. I return generic back to garage, and plan to lock, but no Key #2. Retrace my steps, can't find key. Brain is already full from mental notes, so I decided to keep retracing steps. Finally find key on path to garage.

Lock up garage, return to door/lock/key conflict. Continue to jiggle. Consider calling Sam, but since there is very little battery left in phone, don't think that is a good idea. Imagine phone conversation going, "Sam, we have a problem at your house ..." Dead air. Sam and Lynnette in panic, cancel vacation, come home, have me committed to mental ward. Decide on no call. Consider finding hammer and just knocking off part of key, leaving other part in lock. Think of dismantling entire lock, but think that might create security problem when I cannot reassemble lock. Get bright idea to use knife to help with jiggling key. Go to kitchen, don't know where knives are, so after extensive search, find knife (probably their favorite one), take knife to lock, jiggle, and finally key comes out. Of course what do I do then? Let well enough alone? No, I stick both keys in both locks just to make sure locks still work. They do, and I get another paranoid notch on my belt.

I wash off the knife, return it to drawer, and decide to clean up Missy vomit. Do not want to destroy ant eco system that has taken up residence on their new food source, so I gather it all up with a paper towel and throw it out in the back yard. I then go in search of Missy, who has taken up residence under the bed. I assure her that the plants will live, her toilet is fresh, and the locks are secure. I don't think she really cared, as long as I would hurry up and leave.

Which I did, only after locking the front door, going down the steps, and returning - just to make sure it was locked!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cruise Planning

In just five more days, I will be on vacation. I will be on a 7-day cruise with my sister Marilyn aboard the Disney Magic (what - you mean there are other cruise ships out there?). I will fly out on Friday and spend two days at Disneyland, then board the ship on Sunday. We will visit three ports in Mexico, and spend the other days lolling about on the ocean.

Today Marilyn and I talked about what clothes to wear. We are getting much more efficient about packing - or we just don't care that much anymore. Our main activities consist of sleeping and eating, so we mainly just pack clothes with a lot of elastic.

I enjoy cruising because of the lack of decisions that have to be made. I don't worry about what we're going to do, because we can do as many activities as we want, or none. I don't worry about cleaning up anything, because the ship is filled with cast members who do that constantly. I don't worry about what to eat because all I have to do is look around and there is something to eat. I can watch movies (or not), play Bingo (or not), or get a massage (or two). All I really have to do is relax and enjoy. Now that's what I call a vacation!

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's What Our Family Does

Our family is at times goofy, and funny, and strange. We have fun adventures, making memories that get told and retold in a variety of versions. We do things that others might think odd but that we think routine. Through the good times and bad, we've been there for each other. And while we've made each other cry, scream, laugh, and stare in bewilderment, we know we can count on each other.

This was the case on Saturday night when Molly was having tonsillectomy issues and Maribeth was the only family member in town. Having just gotten off work around 10:00 pm-ish, she went to Molly's house, put her in the car, took her to the emergency room, and stayed with her until we got there on Sunday morning. It's what our family does.

It's what Molly did when I had gall bladder surgery last year and she stayed after Steve had gone home. It's what Sam did when he was at Publix and got the call that his mother was headed to the emergency room and came and waited with me while his groceries cooled in his car.

It's what we do when Maribeth calls from Wyoming and says she and Mathieu are stuck in the snow and she doesn't have her driver's license or AAA card. It's what Sam did when I called him in the middle of the night and told him his sister's upset and could he please come over. It's what Steve does when he goes to Redbox for a movie, then Walgreen's for a prescription, then Smoothie King for a smoothie to help Molly through the no-tonsil blues. It's what Lynnette does when she stops in the middle of grading papers to let me back in the house I've locked myself out of.

What is it that we do? It's whatever is needed for a family member at that time. Sometimes it's picking up something, or feeding a pet, or sitting in the hospital, or just listening and being there. It's responding to a call from that part of us that is family. It's that appendage that has a need, and we can meet it.

Family. It's the best and the worst and everything in between. But if you've got one like mine, you'll always know one thing for sure - no matter what, they'll always be there when you need them. Because that's just what we do.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Half-Marathon That Wasn't

The Cleveland Half Marathon didn't happen, at least for me. Here's why:

Last Monday, Molly had her tonsils out. She was recovering quite nicely, so I decided (after talking with her) that for the few days I was in Cleveland, she would continue on her recovery course without my interference. Unfortunately, we had not consulted her gastro-intestinal system.

Steve and I flew out Friday night. On Saturday morning Molly started vomiting and pretty much spent the day continuing that activity. I asked her mid-day Saturday if I should return, to which she said no, but then on Saturday evening, she decided it might be a good idea. When her throat started bleeding late Saturday night, Maribeth took her to the emergency room, and Molly spent the night in the hospital, re-hydrating and getting back on track. Steve and I changed our flights, flew back on the first flight this morning, and went to the hospital. Molly was discharged around noon, and is back at home, healing and re-healing.

What's the point to this story? My plan for this year was to do a half-marathon a month, hoping to encourage a regular and effective training schedule (which hasn't happened). Since I didn't do the Cleveland Half, then technically I have no half marathon for May (although I did a 5K and 15K back to back in Orlando two weeks ago). So, the question is, do I keep the half-marathon/month plan or not? Is the whole plan a bust just because I chose not to complete this one for May? Do I scuttle the whole plan or modify it?

There are several halfs that are scheduled simply because they were available a certain month. There are a few that are scheduled because I really want to do them. Do I do them all, or just the ones I really want to do? Do I refocus my training, or just keep hoping it will fall into place?

Sometimes in life we set goals that we fully intend to work toward, but stuff happens and the plans are threatened. We have to decide how this goal now fits in the grand scheme of our life. Does it still meet our original design, or has the goal become just a goal? Are we trying to improve our lives through this goal, or just trying to achieve something? These are answers that I will examine in the next few days.

The great part is that I'm glad I didn't do this half-marathon. The weather was chilly, windy, and rainy - not fun when you have to pack a pair of wet jogging shoes and clothes for travel back home. But I'm really glad because it gives me a chance to step back to think about what I'm doing and why. Now all I have to do is find the answers.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cleveland Half-Marathon Eve

It's been cool, sprinkle-y and windy in Cleveland today. It's supposed to be a little better tomorrow. Maybe it will be ideal for wogging 13.1 miles - we'll see. I have Tylenol and a plastic bag cover-up for tomorrow morning. I have four hours to finish the race. I believe I know how to get from the finish back to the hotel.

I guess I'm ready. We'll catch up again tomorrow.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'm What?

I am sitting in the Nashville airport, waiting for the 7:30 plane to Cleveland, that won't be leaving until 8:15. Yes people, I am on my way to my May half-marathon.

Just to be clear, I did the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville on April 26, and the Women Run The World 15K on May 4. In the two weeks since, I have done diddly-squat. I'm not sure that two weeks off is a sound training plan. If you think so, please call me, as we are meant to be training (or more like non-training) partners.

Anyhow, the Rite Aid Half Marathon is on Sunday. I haven't had time to seriously think about it, which may be a good thing. All I know is to get out there and keep going. Eventually I will end up at the finish line. Sounds sort of like my life!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Limerick For Today

There was a lady named Lu
Who got tired like old folks do.
She finished her blog
In a hazy mental fog,
And was snoozing by 10:02.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tonsillectomy at 21

When my children were little, they had a year when it seemed like they were constantly getting strep throat. After endless doctor visits and a multitude of antibiotics, we finally decided to have Maribeth's tonsils out (she was four). Unfortunately, the strep throats continued. We went on another course of antibiotics, and when they had taken it all, all the children were tested again. Sam became the culprit - an asymptomatic carrier. So we had his tonsils removed, and the strep contagion went away. Unfortunately, we didn't get rid of Molly's tonsils. Until Monday, twenty years later, after they had grown to the size of golf balls (when they weren't infected - those were the size of tennis balls).

Molly did her research and knew how much harder it would be on an adult. A friend of her had his out a few weeks ago and has been giving her a first-hand adult account of the journey. She consulted with her ENT, Dr. Witherspoon (Reese's daddy), and on Monday, had her tonsils removed.

So far, recovery has been okay. She's in pain but has significant pain meds. She's drinking and eating, although food gets in the holes where she once had organs. She talks some, but uses her dry erase board when needed. She has magazines and puzzle books and coloring books and craft projects (thanks to Michaels). She's had visitors and care packages from faraway friends. She's taking it easy so she will be recovered in time for her 22nd birthday trip to Miami at the end of the month.

What's the point of this story? No matter how old you are, there's a relationship between mother and child when the child is sick. The mother wants the child to get better and not be in pain. The mother wants to take care of the child and meet her needs for pain, for comfort, and for entertainment. The mother wants to make it all better. It's pretty much the same as when I went this route when my patients were 4 and 7 - now instead of going down the hall, I get in my car and drive down the street.

Some things about being a mom never change - and for that, I am truly thankful.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pajama Day

I have had on my pajamas for 24 hours. Okay, so they're technically not pajamas - it's actually a race t-shirt and capri sweat pants, but I slept in them last night. I deemed them fit for daily wear today and have been everywhere from the grocery store to Michael's craft store to the back yard where I chatted with the plumber. The jury is still out as to whether I shall sleep in them tonight.

I think pajama days are great. Or maybe I just think today was great because I didn't see anyone I knew while I was out!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself - Just Be Sure To Love Yourself First

Love yourself first, because only then can you truly love your neighbor. Love yourself first, because love has to start within you before it can flow to anyone else. Love yourself first, because God loves us and doesn’t skip over us to love someone else. Love yourself first, because only by truly loving all the parts of yourself, can you truly see, understand, and love the parts of your neighbor.

Love yourself for all the flaws, mistakes, and missteps that you perceive in yourself. Love yourself and accept them as the parts of you that continue to hone you to be all that you want to be. Love yourself every time you fall, every time you misspeak, every time you err, because you learn who you aren’t by going through these things. Love yourself even though your actions beg you not to, because your actions may not be who you are but simply a test for who you aren’t. Love yourself through all of this, because only then can you love those that are searching for themselves in the same way and are losing the battle through their mistakes.

Love yourself for all the good that you are, all the good that you do, and all the good that you share. Love yourself by celebrating your goodness within and without. Love yourself by telling others of how you righted a wrong, or championed a cause, or helped someone in need, or simply did the right thing, because these acts are worthy to be heard and may inspire others. Love yourself because of these things, so that you can love and celebrate the good in those who are afraid to celebrate it in themselves.

Love yourself for the unique creation you are, with all your diverse personality characteristics, talents, and knowledge. Love yourself by recognizing and documenting your exceptionality on paper, in film, and on audio. Love yourself by sharing yourself with others, even though you may be afraid. Love yourself by putting yourself out there, because only then can you recognize the unique qualities in others that need to be encouraged rather than ignored, celebrated rather than discouraged, and praised rather than criticized.

But most of all, love yourself because you were loved first by your Creator. Love yourself because you were created out of love to be who you are. Love yourself because you were put in a place and a time for a reason. Love yourself because you are the only one who genuinely can for all the right reasons. Love yourself first, because love has to start somewhere and you have the heart and the will to begin. Love yourself first, because your neighbor and this world need the love that you have within you, the love that belongs and begins only in you.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I have been trying for the last hour to put into words what being a mother means to me. But there are not enough words to accurately describe the thrill, the heartache, the bliss, the laughter, the tears, the pain, the honor, the privilege, the excitement, the hard work, the frustration, the monotony, the sleep deprivation, the pacing the floor, the pride, the joy, the fear, the smiles, the faith, the hope, and the love that go into being a mother.

There's only one word that can begin to sum it up for me. Motherhood has been a gift, because of Sam, Maribeth, and Molly. They introduced me to a world that I could have never experienced without them. They taught me about love that I had never imagined. They have enriched my life, broadened my horizons, and delighted my life in so many ways.

Because of their births, I am a mother. But because of them, I am who I am today, blessed because of the gifts of their lives in mine.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Socks Stories - Part 2

Today I dealt with the remaining three socks. One was a black sock that belonged to me. I have no idea where its mate is. It's been missing for months, so I have little hope of finding it. The second gray-heel sock (which I think has belonged to just about everyone in the family) and the third white-heel one both belong to Maribeth but could not be located on my sock-finding mission yesterday.

I decided it was time for the black and gray-heel socks to go. They have been useless long enough and it's time to move on. In their honor, I also decided to purge my closet of clothes that met the same criteria. The first pass-through yielded one shirt. The second pass-through yielded a few more. Finally, after a ruthless and honest third and fourth pass-through, I had three sacks full. After going through my drawers, I ended up with another sack and a half. All the sacks were full of clothes that either I hadn't worn or honestly was never going to wear, or they were hanging in my closet only because that's what one does with clothes. In the end, I had to admit that it was time for them to become someone else's clothes, and they are now in the hands of Goodwill.

The remaining white-heel sock has a reprieve. I will put it in Maribeth's laundry pile and let the sock go live in Maribeth World in her room. Perhaps it will find its mate. Perhaps it will go into sock limbo. Perhaps it will apply to Whatever happens, I have returned the responsibility back to its original and rightful owner.

So what are today's socks lessons? Sometimes you have to get rid of things that you think you should keep, in order for someone else can use them. Sometimes you have to stop taking responsibility for stuff that is not really yours and give the responsibility back where it belongs. Sometimes you just have to clear out the clutter one way or another.

As for me, life is good. At this very moment, I have no single socks. They're either matched or moved out or returned home. Sock World is at peace.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Socks Stories - Part I

These are the five orphan socks that have been residing in my laundry room, waiting for their mates to join them. Since today is Lost Sock Memorial Day, I had resolved to do something with them.

I started with the obvious, since three out of the five belonged to Maribeth. I had a suspicion that I might find the matches to Grey, Santa, and White Heels. I went in search in the great abyss known as MB's bedroom, and found pay dirt. Grey Mate and Santa Mate were found, and happily united with their counterparts.

While White Heel, Grey Heel, and Blackie are still without their matches, their stories will have to wait until tomorrow. Today is about found things.

I have been looking for a particular pair of earrings for about a week since my return from Disney. I have a habit of taking my earrings off and putting them in the nearest "safe" spot (nightstand drawer, bobby pin holder, soap dish, occasionally in the jewelry box - you get the picture). I could not find this particular pair of earrings in any of my usual keeping spots. I have been looking everywhere, but no earrings.

I prayed that God would help me find the earrings. I looked and relooked in my favorite spots several times with no luck. After finding the sock mates today, I decided to look one last time and I found them - in the jewelry box, in the very place I KNOW I have looked several times this week.

So what's the lesson of this story? Seek, and ye shall find? Put everything back in its rightful place? Maybe, but I think it's more.

Today I found things because I kept looking for them. Even though I had just about given up, I looked again, and found what I was searching for. Today's socks story is about starting, continuing, and persevering when you have a goal. It's about not giving up, but praying and believing that you will reach that goal. It's about doing it for somebody else as well as yourself.

Today's socks story is about not giving up. I should know - I have the socks and earrings to prove it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Subject is Socks

In looking for a subject this blog, I sometimes research that day's particular holiday. I found out that today is No Sock Day. But more importantly, tomorrow is Lost Sock Memorial Day. According to various websites, tomorrow is the day to gather all those single socks, pay your respects to their memories and missing mates, and move on.

I know all about lost socks. When my house was a home of five, I had a basket into which I placed all single socks. I would regularly go through the basket, matching up those that I could. When Molly and Maribeth moved into their house, the sock basket went with them (to which I occasionally visit and match up socks again). While I no longer have a basket for lost socks, I currently do have a stack of five singletons on a shelf in my laundry room, waiting for their matches to appear.

All of this leads me to this thought - tomorrow it is suggested that I let go of these singles and move on. I wonder how many other things I should let go, because the matching part is no longer here? What about the grudge I have against the person who is no longer my friend? What about the pair of pants that no longer can be squeezed over my hips? What about the dish with the chip on the corner?

Maybe tomorrow it's time to stop hanging on to some things, waiting for the needed part to appear before it can be used. Maybe tomorrow I use the single socks for dusting. Maybe I take the pants to Goodwill. Maybe I take the dish to the recycle bin. Maybe I let go of the grudge and make a new friend. Maybe tomorrow I use it or recycle it or get rid of it, and move on.

Tomorrow I'm going to match up those five socks. I'm going to match them up with something else I need to take action on, and do it. My sock shelf will be clear, temporarily, because socks disappear everyday. But maybe that's how we can learn to move on from one thing to the next - by taking it one sock at a time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What Goes Around ...

As I was checking out in Walgreen's, a young man looked at me and said, "Weren't you my teacher at Bass?" I thought I recognized his face, but then he introduced himself - a beefy, manly version of the skinny, lanky boy I taught so many years ago.

He told me he was teaching at a local elementary school. I offered my congratulations, and told him that I no longer taught. The check-out lady applauded him and said that we need good teachers, to which I replied that I got out before I became a bad teacher.

After we both left the store, I couldn't help but wonder what effect I might have had on him as a teacher. Was I fair? Was I nice? Was I a good teacher?

I guess that's the way it is with everyone we meet, either personally or professionally. We have the chance to make someones life better and more pleasant, or not. We have the chance to react in the same way people approach us, or differently. We can say it all depends on the situation, or the person, or that particular moment in life.

But maybe it doesn't. Maybe all it takes is for us to do the right thing. Maybe all it takes is thinking of how we would want to be treated. Maybe it will be hard and take a lot of effort, but maybe it will all be worth it because we did the right thing.

I don't know what Brandon remembers about our school year together. I do remember he was a little pesky at times, as are most middle-schoolers. But I hope there was a moment or two that he remembers fondly.

After all, students grow up to be teachers, strangers turn into neighbors, and grumps can turn into friends. All is takes is genuine effort on our part to make that change happen.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Top Ten Thoughts About Returning Home From Vacation

1. Sleeping in my own bed with my own sheets and not imagining stories about who may have slept on them (you mean you don't when you sleep in a vacation bed?).

2. Unpacking and thinking, "Now why did I buy that?"

3. Unpacking something and stopping to remember the experience that particular thing represents.

4. Going to the grocery store for all the necessities that disappeared in my absence.

5. Washing the vacation clothes, and sniffing to see if the vacation smell is still there.

6. Looking through the pictures I took, thinking vacation seems so long ago, when I actually just got back yesterday.

7. Catching up with what's going on in the real world (drat - I missed Sex in the City on Oprah!).

8. Wishing I had a vacation to rest up from my vacation.

9. Repeatedly looking at my calendar to view my next scheduled vacation.

10. Trying to reconcile the emotions of being glad I went on vacation, being glad I'm back from vacation, and wishing I was going on vacation!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Day 5 - Minnie Marathon Weekend

How can one weekend have five days? When you spread it out over a Thursday and Monday, that's how!!

Today was our last day at the World, and we certainly used it up. Work had called Marilyn home yesterday, but today Rachel and Lucy went water parking and Studio-ing, Maribeth and Molly went shopping, and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo in Mexico (okay, so I ate a burrito there - at least I tried!). We bought our last-minute goodies in the Earport at the airport, Maribeth got some $$ for giving up her seat for a later flight, and finally everyone returned home to sleep in their own beds.

It was a fun, busy weekend, full of all the things that I like about Disney. I met total strangers who understand Disneyspeak, I saw former fellow cruisers, I observed little (and larger) princesses, I was part of a mob watching fireworks, and just like everyone else, I wore myself out having fun on vacation.

It was a great weekend, but now I am tired and ready for bed and a good night's sleep, if Shaggy the Cat will cooperate (especially since I didn't bring him anything). Besides, I have a cruise to plan for in three weeks! I guess that's the best part of vacations - coming home and remembering only the good times you had. No wonder we can't wait to go on the next one!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Day 4 - Minnie Marathon Weekend

Here they are, the bling I received from wogging a bit over the weekend, along the roads and walks I love so much. Yesterday we started outside Epcot and wound around World Showcase. Today we started in a parking lot outside Animal Kingdom, wogged 6 miles to Hollywood Studios, then another 3 through the Studios to the Beach Club Resort to the World Showcase and Future Word to finish in an Epcot parking lot.

Today's 15K was not too bad. I remembered to take two Tylenol before the start, so I felt no pain. Maribeth, fresh off her 5K finish yesterday, decided she could do this race today (yesterday's 3 miles was the longest she had done in years), and kept us at a steady 15-minute pace. We posed for some hilarious (or so we thought) photos along the way, and had a good time.

Maribeth was very consistent with her pacing - every mile marker proved that she could keep a 15-minute per mile pace. It is probably the first race that I have every kept such a steady pace. I usually have a 12-minute mile followed by a 17-minute mile, followed by a 14 minute mile, followed by a 20-minute mile, etc. It pretty much personifies my life much of the time - things tend to go fast, then slow, then faster, then slower, and I get really tired. Maybe I would do better just to practice finding that steady pace that is consistent and gets me where I need to go without the exhaustion.

All I have to do is find that pace that is right for me.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Day 3 - Minnie Marathon Weekend

Since I ate way too much for dinner (thanks to Mama Melrose), today's post will be a photo essay.

Princess Posing 1

And 2!

Already at Mile 1 - after only 6 hours!

A Little Sisterly Help At Mile 2.

Mile 3 is here - we want to do more!

Molly gets caught 5K-ing too fast!

The entire Minnie Marathon Gang!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Day 2 - Minnie Marathon Weekend

What a great day! It started and is ending very nicely with Maribeth arriving this morning and Lucy arriving tonight. Our group is complete, and ready for the Go Red For Women 5K in the morning - at least that's our story tonight!

Today I got to meet Kat and her family. They are everything I thought they would be. Kat and her husband Craig are so very kind and gracious, and their daughters are absolutely delightful. And if that weren't enough, somehow in her busy life, she managed to create a quilt for me that is Mickey Magical. Meeting and getting to know Kat through cyberspace deserves a post of its own, but it will have to wait until I have of a less-occupied brain. For now, I'll just say it has been a real blessing in many different ways.

Today we ate lunch in Canada and dinner in the Magic Kingdom. In between we got our race packets, saw a wedding taking place around the lake, and shopped in Japan. We ended our night with the other princesses and pirates finding treasures and watching parades and fireworks. It's been a wonderful day in the World!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Day 1 - Minnie Marathon Weekend

I have rented the car, checked in at Boardwalk, had my obligatory WDW Burger, bought the requisite pins, picked up Marilyn and Rachel at the airport, been to Wal Mart, called computer tech support at the resort, took a cursory stroll through the World Showcase at Epcot, explained the Dining Plan, seen a wedding entourage at resort, valeted the car, and am now about to go to bed.

So much for Day 1 - tomorrow the fun really begins!