Goodbye 2015, Hello Hodgepodge…

1. Share a favorite memory/moment from the week of Christmas.

My favorite moments, this Christmas, took place early Christmas morning, when Ed and I visited the houses of each one of our grandchildren to see what they got for Christmas.  It was the first time we’ve ever been able to visit all four of them on Christmas morning, and it was fun sharing their excitement!  It brought back some good memories of our own children when they were little.

2.  If someone wrote a book about your life based on the past year, what genre would it fall under? What would the title be?

Because so many unbelievable things happened to us in 2015, a book based on my life  would have to fall under “fiction”. Ha!  A good title might be You’re Not Going To Believe This, But…

3. What made you feel patriotic this year?

I feel proud and patriotic every time I look at this:

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The hat belonged to my late father-in-law, who was a WWII veteran, and the flag draped his coffin, after his death, and was presented to his wife at the end of his funeral, in 2002.  I still remember his war stories, and I know the great sacrifice he made for our country. Ed’s mom was a veteran, too, and we have a similar display, for her, as well.  Both flags/hats sit on top of our entertainment center.

4. What experience from this past year would you like to do all over again?

I think I’d like to go back to October 14, and relive the day we bought our new Trans Connect.  It was the first brand new vehicle we’ve bought in quite a few years, so the anticipation was high!  Ed and I had to drive 100 miles to an unfamiliar dealership to buy it, but the scenery along the way was beautiful, and we thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  Add to that, the fact that “the price was right” on the van we wanted, and the folks at the dealership were super friendly and helpful.  To me, it was the easiest and best car deal we’ve ever made, and the happiest day of the entire year!  We love our new ride!

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5. What song lyric sums up or is a reflection of your 2015?

The old Hee Haw song, entitled Gloom, Despair, and Agony is the first song that comes to mind, because I’ve felt that way many times throughout 2015.  See clip for lyrics.

6. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate 2015?  (10=stellar) Why?

My husband, Ed, says he’d rate the year 2015 a 5/6, because he says “We had some hard times,  but we lived through them.”  I’m going to rate the year a 2/3 because it’s been the most difficult year of my life, so far, but Ed’s right, praise the Lord, we lived through it!  I’m keenly aware, as bad as it was, it could always have been worse.

A brief recap of our 2015: (1) January-Ed lost his job, (2) February & March-we dealt with all kinds of government officials and paperwork related to unemployment, health insurance, social security, plus we had to get used to living on 1/2 of the income we had been accustomed to.  (3) April-we discovered we had termites and mold under our house and had to spend $4,000 to treat the problem. (4) April thru August my back “went out”, I discovered I have two bad discs in it, and I suffered through 5 1/2 months of very painful sciatica. (5) September-I had back surgery. (6) October-Ed suffered a heart attack. (7) November-I found out I had basal cell carcinoma. (8) December-I had Moh’s surgery to remove the cancer from my face, followed by plastic surgery to repair the hole.  It’s been a year to remember, for sure!

7. What part of the upcoming year are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about getting a ‘fresh start’, and putting 2015 in the past!

Random:

Here’s the picture of our grandson, Evan, with Santa, taken on Christmas Eve.  Poor Evan! I think it’s safe to say, he didn’t care much for Santa!  Meanwhile, jolly old Santa didn’t seem to mind at all.  (This ‘mall Santa’ is one of the best I’ve ever encountered, by the way.)  I’m sure this picture will be a family conversation piece for many years to come, and I’m going to display it proudly each Christmas:).

12-29-2015 8;24;29 PM Evan and Santa

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Published in: on December 30, 2015 at 7:39 am  Comments (11)  
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2015 Christmas Recap…

Christmas 2015 is now history, but it was a very good day!  It was also a very long and busy day, which left me totally void of any energy for two days!  I’m somewhat recharged, at the moment, so I’ll attempt to “recap” the day in 750 words or less!  Here goes…

Christmas Day began early, about 6:30 a.m., I think.  Ed and I quickly got busy with the morning chores.  He took care of feeding the animals, while I took care of putting the Christmas ham in the oven.  I was happy that I’d finally gotten to remove those pesky steri-strips from the surgical site on my face, but, now I was having trouble wearing my glasses so I could see how to cook!

100_5523Christmas stop #1 – Madison’s house

About 8:00 a.m. our granddaughter, Madison, called us to tell us Santa had been to her house. We quickly walked next-door to see what Santa had left her.  This has been our early morning Christmas ritual for the past seven years, and we feel very blessed to live close enough to just walk next door.  (We also feel a bit sad, because our granddaughter is now nine, and we wonder how many more of these excited Christmas phone calls she’ll be making to us.)

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 Interesting note: Madison leaves Santa’s cookies on the same plate her mother used to leave Santa’s cookies on when she was little, back in the eighties.  I passed the cookie plate down to my daughter.

After leaving our granddaughter’s house, we ate a quick breakfast, then drove 1/4 of a mile down the road to see what our two oldest grandsons had gotten for Christmas.  We feel very blessed to have them living close to us, too.

Our oldest grandsons don’t believe in Santa, so Christmas morning is a bit different at their house, as there is no talk of “Santa”.  We watched as they opened their gifts from their mom and dad.

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Christmas stop #2 – Caden and Chase’s house

For the first time, ever, we were able to drive across town to see what our youngest grandson, Evan, had gotten for Christmas, too.  What an extra-special blessing it is, having Evan’s family living in the same town with us, again!

Evan is only two, and still a bit too young to grasp the concept of “Santa”, but he was very excited over his new toys.  Excited about having his picture made with Santa on Christmas Eve?  Not so much! (I’ll share that photo on Wednesday)

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Christmas stop #3 – Evan’s house

When all was said and done, Ed and I were able to visit all three houses in just over an hour, then come back home and finish cooking Christmas lunch.

Christmas lunch came together without a hitch, with the exception of a turkey breast that refused to get done.  Our son-in-law baked that sucker for five hours!  No worries, though, we continued baking it, throughout lunch, and enjoyed it, that night, for supper!  It was delicious.

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the grandchildren eating lunch first

Due to the slow-cooking turkey breast and a lunch-time visitor, we ran a bit later than usual eating Christmas lunch.  By the time we finished eating and cleaning up the kitchen it was after 3 p.m. before we were able to get on with the rest of the Christmas festivities.  Note to self:  I really need a bigger kitchen table.  We had 13 gathered around it, this year!

This year, we decided to take our annual “crazy hat Christmas picture” before we opened any gifts.  Our youngest grandson, Evan, fell asleep while everyone was deciding which hat they were going to wear.  No worries, we photographed him while he slept in his daddy’s arms!  At least we could keep the hat on him since he was asleep 🙂

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The next order of business was listening to our oldest son speak to us for a few minutes about the real meaning of Christmas, basically reminding us where all [good and perfect] gifts come from. Then we let the grandchildren take turns opening their gifts, with the exception of Evan, who was still sleeping.  He woke up near the end of the adults’ game of “Dirty Santa”, and opened his gifts then.

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three older “grands” opening gifts while Ed watches

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older “grands” watch while Evan opens his gifts

The adults game of “Dirty Santa” was somewhat tamer than it’s been in past years.  I attribute this to the “mini sermon” we heard from our son, just prior to playing.  Something doesn’t seem quite right about “stealing” your neighbor’s gift, after listening to Bible scripture!  However, we did still manage to have a couple of “thieves” among us :).  I probably would have stolen a gift, too, if I’d had an opportunity.  Unfortunately, I was one of the first to open a gift, during both rounds of play, so I was one of the victims of theft!

Last, but not least, was the opening of “the Christmas panties”!  I was the recipient of the panties, last year, and I passed them on to my daughter, this year.  She wasn’t expecting them, as you can tell by the look on her face when she recognized the box!

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Surprise!

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It’s the Christmas panties…

Everyone stayed all day, ate supper, and helped clean up the kitchen, afterward.  By this time, I was exhausted, so my daughter ran me out of the kitchen, to go take a bubble bath, while she and some others put away the food and cleaned up the kitchen.  I felt a bit guilty, but I gladly went and enjoyed my bubble bath!

Ed and I finally opened our gifts to each other after everyone had gone home.  By then, it was 8:30, or so.  One of Ed’s gifts to me was another piece [that I’d seen and loved] to go with my Christmas Village.  It’s a “tacky” little camper, all decorated for Christmas, complete with a picnic table out front, and Santa and a Christmas tree on the roof.  We laughed and said this would go on the “poor side of town”–for the folks on a “fixed income” [which we are].

I love that Ed usually gives me an addition to my Christmas collection, each year!  He’s given me everything from village pieces, to animated Christmas dolls, to a set of porcelain Santas from around the world!  Of course, the gift I loved best of all, this year, was simply being able to share another Christmas with Ed.

Published in: on December 27, 2015 at 9:15 pm  Comments (6)  
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The Twelve Questions Of Christmas…

12-question-Christmas-tag

Since there’s no Wednesday Hodgepodge today, I thought I’d do something different.  I borrowed this “12 Questions of Christmas” tag from Cathy’s (Tales of the TCKK Family) blog, and decided to answer the questions myself. Feel free to copy and answer the questions yourself, if you like.

Here goes:

1.  What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

I have two favorites.  The first one is the passing around of the “Christmas Panties”, each year, which I’ve blogged about recently.  The second one is playing the “Dirty Santa Game” with our family, on Christmas Day.

2. Where do you spend Christmas?

Ed and I always spend Christmas at our house, with our grown children and their families.

3. What is your favorite Christmas song?

My favorite old Christmas song is probably “Sleigh Ride”, but some more recent songs I like are: “Let It Be Christmas” by Alan Jackson, “Merry Christmas From the Family”, by Montgomery Gentry, “Hairy Christmas” by Willie Robertson and Luke Bryan, and “Mary Did You Know?” by Winona Judd and Kenny Rogers.

4. Do you decorate before or after Thanksgiving?

I always wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin decorating.

5. Tinsel or garland?

I have used both, but, I prefer garland because it’s easier to work with–most of the time.

6. Who are you most excited to see this Christmas season?

I’ll say all of the grandchildren, because it’s fun to watch their excitement at Christmas.

7. Do you own an ugly Christmas sweater?

It doesn’t get cold enough here for Christmas sweaters, but I still have a couple of old Christmas vests, from back in the day when I worked at school…  By the way, I don’t think they’re ugly.  “tastefully tacky” perhaps?

8. What is one Christmas food you cannot live without?

I can (and do) live without Christmas candy, but it doesn’t seem like Christmas without some kind of homemade candy– fudge, buckeyes, or peanut brittle.  I usually make it and give it away.

9. Peppermint or gingerbread?

Gingerbread

10. Have you ever tried a fruit cake?

Yes, I’ve tried fruit cake.  After all, I do live just a few miles from Claxton, Georgia, known as “the fruit cake capital of the world”.  Ha!  I’ll eat fruit cake, but, not much, and not very often.  I actually prefer fruit cake cookies over fruit cake.

11. What is one thing you asked for this Christmas?

I haven’t asked for anything, this year.  When asked what I wanted,  told my husband, Ed, “All I want for Christmas is you.”

12. If you could be any Christmas movie character, who would you be?

I have no idea, unless it would be one of the characters off “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.  I’m a bit like Clark Griswold when it comes to decorating for Christmas 🙂

 

Published in: on December 23, 2015 at 10:45 am  Comments (6)  

Four Days Before Christmas And All Through The House…

It’s just four more days until Christmas, and I thought I’d post what’s been going on around our house…

First of all, the weather turned cold, so it finally felt like Christmas around here!  On Friday and Saturday nights, our overnight temperatures fell below freezing.  The bird bath was frozen, on Saturday morning, and the top of our daughter’s house, was white with frost.  Unfortunately, the arctic blast was short-lived, and our temperatures will be back into the 70’s by tomorrow.  It’s predicted to be 84 on Christmas Day!  So much for wearing long-sleeved Christmas p.j.’s.

Ed and I finally finished wrapping the last of our Christmas gifts.  We didn’t have many gifts to wrap, so I put it off as the next-to-the-last thing on my “to do” list.  It looks nice to finally have a few gifts under our Christmas tree.

The last thing on my “to do” list is to cook for Christmas, something I’m not really looking forward to.  It’s not much fun to cook when you’re not supposed to eat most of what you cook. Ah, the joys of growing older–not!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that Ed went back to the doctor, last week, for a checkup, and discovered his “bad cholesterol” is up from almost two months ago, right after he had his heart attack.  We were shocked to hear this, since we’ve both been on the low fat/low cholesterol diet since his heart attack.  If his numbers haven’t improved by the next visit, they’ll change his cholesterol medication. (he’s already on a double dose!)

When I last blogged, I’d taken the tape off my face, and was about to have the stitches removed [from where I’d had the plastic surgery performed on my face].  On Thursday, the doctor removed the stitches, but replaced them with some type of “skin adhesive”, then  re-taped my face with steri strips.  I was a bit sad, but also a bit glad.  The steri strips make the scars not so visible, as well as making it easier to wear my glasses, since the “nose piece” of my glasses hits the affected area.  The bad part is the constant itching from the tape!  I have to leave it on until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  I’m praying the wounds will look better than they did when this picture was taken, last Wednesday.

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We were supposed to attend our two oldest grandson’s birthday parties, this past Saturday night.  For the second year in a row, their party was postponed due to illness.  The little fellows can’t seem to catch a break around their birthdays!  We’ll be celebrating their birthdays on Christmas Eve, instead.  Hopefully, everyone will be feeling “fit as a fiddle”, by then.

‘Tis the season for Christmas plays, and three of our “grands” were in plays, last night, at two different churches.  Ed and I didn’t attend either play, but enjoyed seeing the pictures of them shared on Facebook, this morning.  Social media has perks!

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our oldest grandsons

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 our granddaughter

I have fond memories of working with our own children for Christmas plays of the past.  Ed helped create some elaborate sets, back in the day.  The one I remember most was a giant replica of a box of “Alpha-Bits” cereal.

Speaking of social media, after all this time, Ed finally signed up for a Facebook account! Wonders never cease.  He says he wanted to look at “on-line yard sales”, but, actually, I think he just got curious about all of the things the rest of us were talking about.  Anyway, my husband, of 43 years, is now my friend on Facebook 🙂

That’s about it for what’s been going on around our house, just four days before Christmas.  I’m going to try to post one more time, before Christmas, but in case I don’t, I’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone…

Merry Christmas Wallpapers

 

 

Published in: on December 21, 2015 at 11:14 am  Comments (4)  
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T’was The Week Before Christmas Hodgepodge…

Are you ready for Christmas?  Me either!  Ready or not, Christmas is right around the corner, but there’s still time to enjoy one last Hodgepodge before Christmas gets here, so let’s take a few moments and relax.  As always, thanks to Joyce, for being such a great hostess, to us.

1. What’s your biggest ‘first world’ problem?

Perhaps, mine should be “Due to recent facial surgery, my Christmas pictures are going to be really horrible, this year.”  See what I mean?

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Instead I’ll say, “It’s having to drive our old car 1/4 of a mile [to Ed’s parents’ house] in order to retrieve our new car whenever we want to drive it.”  (We’re keeping it there so our cats won’t scratch it.)  This sounds pretty ‘first world’ to me.

2. Each year Time Magazine names a ‘Person of the Year’, someone who has ‘for better or worse…done the most to influence the events of the year.’ It was recently announced they’ve named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. You can read more about this year’s selection here. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year?

I hate to, but I’m going to opt out of this question.  It simply requires more energy and thought than I am able to muster today.

3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share its history and how you display the pieces.

Yes, I have a nativity set–or three.  The one I’m displaying, this year, is a nativity set I found, last year, at a vintage store called “The Red Wagon”.  I fell in love with it when I saw it!  As mentioned, I also have two others.  One was purchased many years ago, when our children were still young, and has a wooden stable that plays “Silent Night”. The other nativity set used to belong to Ed’s mama.  Now that I have three, I take turns displaying one of them on our book shelves, each Christmas.  I’d show you a picture, but, apparently, my camera broke after taking that last picture of my face.  I’m serious.

4. Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?

In years past, I’ve been involved in many efforts to “give back” , through school or church, not just at holiday time, but other times throughout the year. This year, not so much.  It’s been a difficult year for us, and, as a result, Ed and I have been more on the receiving end of encouragement and prayers.

I think the best way to encourage people is to simply let them know we care about them.  It can be as simple as a kind word, a note, a phone call, or a visit.  Thoughtfulness goes a long, long way to make someone feel loved and appreciated.

5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?

My favorite people to shop for are my grandchildren.  Why?  Because it’s more fun to buy toys than anything else!  However, this year, I didn’t have a clue (or the energy) to know where to start shopping, so their parents helped me out.

6. What’s the last delicious thing you ate?

On Monday, I baked some gingerbread cake.  I enjoyed a warm piece of it, fresh from the oven, with a dollop of Cool Whip on top of it!  It was delicious.

7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is… to be kind, courteous, thoughtful, respectful, helpful, and any other nice thing you can think of!

Random:

I’m almost one week out from the plastic surgery [on my face] to close the hole left by the cancer surgery.  I’ve given birth to a 10 lb 9 oz child [with no drugs], had a total abdominal hysterectomy, and experienced both neck and back surgery, and, believe me, this facial surgery ranks right in there with all of that!!!

As of yesterday, I still required [at least] Tylenol for pain.  The stitches won’t be removed until tomorrow, but Ed and I had to remove the tape from over the incisions, last night, because it was irritating my face so much.   At the moment, I look a bit like Frankenstein, and I cried when I looked at my reflection in the mirror.  I’m hoping [and praying] my face will improve, with time [and makeup].

 

Published in: on December 16, 2015 at 8:57 am  Comments (12)  
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Counting Down The Days…

For the past several days, an ice pack has been my “best friend.”  Ed bought it for me the day I had Moh’s surgery done, and it quickly became my constant companion after having the plastic surgery done, two days later.  I’m so thankful my daughter discovered this “soothing secret” and told me about it.  Although I did spend a couple of days lounging on the couch, since day three I’ve been up and going.  It’s Christmastime, and there are many places to go and things to see!  Unfortunately, I’ve had to go out and about looking like a battered woman…

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On Saturday morning, Ed and I attended another  Christmas parade (in Pembroke), along with our daughter and her family.  The temperatures were in the upper 70’s and it’s the first time I ever remember being hot during a Christmas parade!   It was strange.  I decided to just relax and enjoy the parade, therefore, I didn’t take a single picture of the parade.  Thanks to the bright sunshine, I had a good excuse to wear sunglasses, too!

On Saturday evening, after resting a bit following the parade/festival, Ed and I loaded back up, along with our daughter’s family, and went on another Christmas outing.  I’m so glad Ed and I finally have a vehicle that’s large enough to accommodate lots of people, again, since we always have lots of fun when we go off with family!  They say “laughter is the best medicine”, and we sure laughed a lot!  I even took my ice pack along for the ride!

The first leg of our evening Christmas outing led us to the Cracker Barrel to eat.  This is something we always try to do every year, at Christmas.  My daughter and I love their food, as well as shopping in their store.  At the end of the meal, Ed and I received an extra treat when I discovered a Cracker Barrel gift card in my purse, still containing enough funds to pay for our meal 🙂

After a little, last-minute Christmas shopping, the last leg of our journey took us to a place called TMT Farms to see some Christmas lights.  This was our third annual visit to see their lights, and we’re never disappointed.  Although traffic was heavy, and the line to get in was long, it was well worth the wait. There’s no way to describe TMT Farms except to say they’ve built a “western style” replica of a town, in the middle of nowhere, and decorated it for Christmas. This year, they’ve added more lights, than ever, as well as several new “inflatables”–and they do all of this just to help feed hungry families in their community.  TMT Farms is Christmas spirit at its best.

Last night, we hit the road, again, to get in on a couple of Christmas sales.  When we arrived, it looked like “Black Friday” at the discount store, known as “Ollie’s”.  People were lined up down the sidewalk waiting to get in!  “Ollie’s” was having a 25% sale off all toys and Christmas items, plus 15% off everything else in the store.  It was crazy in there!  Thankfully, I wasn’t shopping for toys, so I avoided those aisles like the plague!  It took us nearly two hours to get out of “Ollie’s”, and much of that time was spent in the check out line, but we became acquainted with a very nice man from Jacksonville, Florida while we waited.

After leaving “Ollie’s”, we stopped at “Wendy’s” for a bowl of chili.  We’d eaten a sandwich before we left home, but all that shopping business made us hungry again.  We got lucky, once again, and received free drinks with our meal!

Our last stop was at “Big Lots”, and by the time we got there, we had the entire store to ourselves–quite a change from the previous store, thank goodness.  However, for some reason, their cash register wouldn’t read my personal check, so we ended up having to ‘pool’ our cash to pay for our purchases!  On that note, we went home.  It was almost our bedtime, anyway!

It’s cloudy and dreary-looking, outside, this morning.  It LOOKS like Christmas, but it doesn’t FEEL like Christmas.  The air conditioner is running, instead of the heater.  All of this is supposed to change by Thursday, so they say.  I’m hoping it gets cold enough to wear my new Christmas pj’s.

Ed has another doctor’s appointment, later this morning, and I have one, on Thursday morning as well.  At least this week’s schedule will be an improvement over last week’s schedule, when Ed spent time at a doctor’s office every single day!  (He was either the patient, or with someone else who was.) What a way to ‘count down’ Christmas, but, then, that’s the way this year has been!

Have a great Monday,

Published in: on December 14, 2015 at 10:24 am  Comments (4)  
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Something About December 10th…

What are the chances I’d have surgery twice on December 10th?  You would probably say, “Pretty slim”, but, yes, it happened.  The first surgery, on December 10th, 2004, was a cervical fusion, to correct a herniated disc in my neck.  I’d suffered with neck pain for several years, then, all of a sudden, my fingers began to go numb.  My neurologist said I needed surgery, immediately, to preserve nerve function in my hand.  The surgery was a day procedure, which they put me to sleep for.  Shortly after lunch I was released from the hospital, and, although I wasn’t supposed to, I felt well enough to stop by K-mart on the way home!

My second December 10th surgery was plastic surgery, to close the gaping hole in my face left by the Moh’s surgery I’d had earlier this week. (An M&M would’ve fit perfectly in the crater left by the skin cancer surgery)  Yesterday’s surgery was performed in the surgeon’s office, and I was wide awake for every minute of it!  Unlike the previous December 10th surgery, afterward, I didn’t feel well enough to go anywhere except home!

My daughter had the same [plastic surgery] procedure done, last week, and had warned me how unpleasant it was.  She didn’t exaggerate.  The surgery, itself, was fine.  I didn’t feel a thing, once the surgeon finished numbing my face, but the numbing part was excruciating!

That first shot was given inside of my mouth, between my gum and my cheek!  The entire right side of my face immediately went numb, including my teeth.  (Think of the worst dental shot you’ve ever had multiplied by ten)  My eye immediately swelled shut, and I couldn’t see a thing for a few minutes.  This shot was followed by two more [in the face], which I felt, in spite of my face being numb.  I think one of the shots was actually given in the wound that was to be repaired.  While getting the shots, I held my eyeglasses case in both hands and squeezed with all my might!  The nurse noticed, and commented, “If that glasses case was alive, it’s not anymore!”

The surgeon then explained he was going to “rob from Peter to pay Paul”, which meant he was going to “borrow” some skin from my cheek, and use it to cover up the hole left by the Moh’s surgery.  He says, “you’ll never miss it.”  Ha! Sure I won’t.

The surgeon was extremely nice, and I didn’t feel a thing, once the shots took effect.  The entire procedure took under 30 minutes, but I left the office looking and feeling like I’d been “sucker punched” in the face.

The surgeon gave me two prescriptions.  One for antibiotics, the other for a pain medication, which he said he didn’t think I’d need.  Ha!  Apparently, he’s never had any plastic surgery on his face!  All I can say is, “Thank God for Oxycodone and ice packs!”  Those two things are what got me through yesterday afternoon and last night.  So far, today has been better, and I’ve only taken some “over the counter” pain relief.

I have a bit of “a shiner” today, and I woke up with a bit of “a smirk” on my face, due to swelling in the cheek/eye area. Ha!  My daughter says I look like “the Joker”.  Thankfully, an ice pack helps reduce some of the swelling, as well as the pain it causes.

Of course, those antibiotics I’m taking will be causing some more problems, in addition to the nausea I’m feeling.  I’m already “doubling up” on my probiotics and yeast control medications, in anticipation of what’s to come. Fun times!

The good news is, the surgery is behind me, and the surgeon says I should have “good results”.  (Anything would be an improvement over the hole that was in my face) The affected areas of my face are covered with flesh-colored bandage, and will remain covered until next Thursday, when the stitches are removed.

Today, I’m lounging around the house, and catching up on Hallmark Christmas movies. Meanwhile, Ed has gone to take our daughter, Brandy, to have her stitches removed from last week’s surgery.  Her face looks pretty good, nothing like it did last week, so I know there’s hope for me!

My daughter and I had our picture taken, together, last night, as a souvenir of our Christmas surgeries of 2015!  I don’t know about anyone else, but I think we’re about ready to ring in the New Year 🙂

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still able to smile…

Published in: on December 11, 2015 at 11:42 am  Comments (4)  
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Wednesday Hodgepodge #247…

Here we go again, with another little edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  It’s good to take a little break from our Christmas preparations, don’t you think?  Only sixteen more days until Christmas, though.  As always, thanks to our gracious hostess, Joyce, for another great set of questions!  Now, let’s get started with “The Hodgepodge”!

1. Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.

Yes, our family has a funny story involving ” Christmas panties”, but I am not the star of the story.  My late father-in-law is!  Here’s an excerpt from a previous post I wrote about the whole Christmas panties thing:

My favorite Christmas memory has now turned into a family holiday tradition.  Ed’s daddy was quite a character in his time.  He had a sense of humor and always wore a smile. 

One day he went to the dumpster to take off the trash.  It wasn’t unusual for him to return with a “treasure” that he’d find, at the dumpster, but on this one particular day he found a VERY LARGE pair of ladies underwear.  I mean, they must have been the largest size available!  Now I know some of you may thinking “gross”, but the panties were clean, and we all laughed and marveled at how HUGE those panties actually were! 

On the following Christmas morning(many years ago), I can’t remember who, but one of us received those HUGE panties wrapped up as a Christmas gift!

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my sister-in-law with the Christmas panties (cir. 1980)

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still clowning around with the Christmas panties (cir. 2013)

Every since that year we’ve passed those panties to someone different in the family every Christmas.  Whoever keeps the panties for the year writes a note to the new recipient before Christmas, and attaches it to the box, on top of the previous year’s message.  The box is now very old and has LOTS of notes attached to the top of it. Some of the messages are pretty funny!

It always brings a laugh when someone opens up the gift of the Christmas panties and reads the message on top of the box!  Ed’s daddy passed away many years ago, but he still makes us laugh every year, as we continue to pass around those Christmas panties.

Below is one of my all-time favorite notes attached to the box.  It was written by our [then] new daughter-in-law to our youngest son, back in 2007:

Brad, (2007)

Wow, the year has flown by!  It’s sad for me because now I have to pass these lovely panties on to someone new…but it’s worth it to see the look on your face when you realize that you now get the privilege of caring for them an entire year.

I got a lot of uses out of them; they’re very versatile.  Here are some examples:

1.  a tablecloth at a picnic with my family; as you can imagine, they were quite envious.

2.  an area rug for the living room.

3.  a tent when I kept my nephew and nieces, and they wanted to pretend to camp out.

4.  a blanket for Brett and me before we got the new heater

Probably, the most beneficial use was the one I’ve never told anyone.  I took them to Atlanta in October to the [Naascar] race-and thus began the tradition of holding them near to me during each race.  We all know the success the Lowes team had this year!  Maybe the # 9 team will have some luck in 2008.

Christina (and the #48 team)

2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?

These days, yes, I am afraid to speak my opinions. I hesitate to offer an opinion, most of the time, unless I am talking with a close family member or friend.  It seems the art of “agreeing to disagree” is fading fast, so I usually just try to keep most of my opinions to myself.

3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm…did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it’s blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I’d find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?

No, I didn’t know serenity is a color.  Although, I think the colors are pretty, neither of them would match any of the current decor in our home, so I wouldn’t be using them there.  However, I wouldn’t be opposed to adding something in either of those colors to my spring wardrobe!

4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?

I’ve always loved the Christmas carol, “Winter Wonderland”, so I’d choose that one.  We live in the south, where it rarely snows, so having a “Winter Wonderland” would be a rare and wonderful treat for us.  In all of my 61 years, it’s only snowed once during Christmas!  It was wonderful, and the snow lasted for a couple of days.

photos from an old scrapbook~our children playing in the snow

photos from an old scrapbook~our children playing in the snow

5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What’s your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?

Pastry!  Oh, be still my beating heart!!!  I will not celebrate, because such things are not on my current diet, but I’d certainly love to!

I don’t know if this counts as pastry, but I purchased 1/2 dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme several months ago, when I had a doctor’s appointment in Savannah.  Until then, I hadn’t had a doughnut in a long, long time, but my back was hurting, and I needed some “comfort food”, so I gave in. (It was worth it!)  My favorite “pastry” is a raspberry danish that I used to purchase from Sam’s.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had danish from an actual bakery.

6. When it comes to holiday decorating, I tend to go a bit overboard!  Just ask anyone who’s been to our house at Christmas!  

7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.  

I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was 15 years ago.  Ed, our youngest son, Brad, and I were on vacation at Panama City, Florida.

One night, we found a “like new” 3 gallon bucket, that had been discarded, beside the dumpster in the Walmart parking lot.  Ed and I use buckets a lot at our house, so we put the bucket in the back of our mini van, and headed back to our motel room.

The “strip” was crowed with cars, and traffic moved slowly.  About five or ten minutes into the trip, we discovered why the bucket had been discarded–it reeked of the smell of dead shrimp!  Apparently, someone had used the bucket for bait, then threw it away after fishing.

However, we weren’t about give up our “precious find”, so we placed the “smelly bucket” on the top of our mini van, and continued on the journey back to our motel.  Traffic was moving slow, so the bucket sat on the top of the van with no problems.

People began giving us strange looks and yelling to us, “There’s a bucket on your roof!”  We even got stopped by some cops.  The whole situation got so bizarre, we all got tickled.  I laughed so hard, and so long, I totally wet my pants, so I’m sure I was sore the next day, too.

Ed washed out the bucket, at the motel, and we brought it back to Georgia with us.  We laughed about that night on “the strip”, for many years–every time we used that bucket!

Random:

I have some good news and some bad news.  First of all the good news–

I’m “officially” finished with my Christmas decorating!!!  Yay!

The bad news is, I had a terrible time decorating that last tree!  Most of the lights stopped working, and what should have taken two hours to complete, ended up taking an entire afternoon!  We ended up throwing three strings of lights in the trash!

In other good news– my dermatologist’s office called me on the day I was decorating that last tree (on Monday) and asked if I’d like to come in the following day (yesterday) for my Moe’s surgery, instead of waiting until January 19. (Someone cancelled.)  I jumped at the chance to get the surgery over with because, frankly, I’ve been dreading it!  More good news– she was able to get all of the skin cancer on her first try!

The bad news is–although my skin cancer was only about the size of a tiny pimple, I’m left with a deep, gaping hole right beside my nose that’s about the size of a dime!  Whoa!  For best-looking results, my dermatologist recommended having a plastic surgeon close the hole, which I will do tomorrow morning (Thursday).  After watching my daughter suffer for three days, following her own plastic surgery [to close a gaping hole of about the same size as mine], I am not looking forward to Thursday.  Hopefully, all of this will soon be a distant memory.

Published in: on December 9, 2015 at 8:29 am  Comments (13)  
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Christmas Decorating Mishaps…

 

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Christmas Day is getting near…

I’m not quite finished with my Christmas decorating, but I’m getting very close.  I have one last tree to decorate, then I have to put away the last of the boxes.  I’ve scaled back on decorating, this year, but I think I need to scale back some more in the future.  I spent eight long hours just hanging ornaments (on one tree), last Thursday.  (Of course, that’s counting unwrapping them, too.)  I may be just a tad bit picky about my ornaments and decorating Christmas trees.

For some reason, I can’t seem to hold onto anything this year.  Usually, I never drop anything, but, this year, I’m having the opposite problem.  I’ve dropped no less than a dozen of my prized ornaments, but, thankfully, none broke. Did I mention how flimsy new ornament hooks are made, these days?  They bear some of the responsibility for part of my ornament mishaps.

It seems, we’ve had more than a few “Christmas Mishaps” this year.  The first one came when I was decorating the kitchen tree [for the second time], and discovered a limb had broken off.  It couldn’t be repaired, so I ended up throwing out the tree, and starting over with a new one.  My old tree was only three feet tall, but the new one was four.  Ed had to cut several inches off the trunk of the new tree to make it fit my space.  He also had to move a shelf on the wall higher.  Have I mentioned that Ed’s a good man?

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new kitchen tree, with raised shelf of Christmas salt/pepper shakers

When we put our net lights on the ground, outside, for a “snow effect”, we discovered part of them didn’t work. Strange, because we tested them before putting them out! We replaced those, then put a second set of net lights on another spot on the ground.  Would you believe after a week, a section of those died, too?  They’re still out.

Then there’s the problem we’re having with our inflatable snowman.  He worked fine until it rained on him a few days ago.  Now he won’t inflate as firm as he needs to, so I have him propped with a shepherd’s hook and some fishing line!  If “Frosty” makes it till Christmas, he’s going in the trash can, afterward!

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our “drooping snowman” and lights that partially work

We also have two strings of multi colored miniature lights, in which all of the red bulbs refuse to light, so we’ve settled for green and blue lights on that particular shrub. It was easier than trying to trouble shoot two strings of lights.  Those lights will probably go in the trash after Christmas, too.

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Note the green/blue lights, to the left of the snowman

Then there’s the miniature Bayberry Village that used to belong to Ed’s mama.  When I plug the houses in, they all light up…for a while.  Then, after a while, the “General Store” goes dark, and stays that way until I plug the village back in the next night, then it all lights up again.  Every night it’s the same scenario.  I put this same village out, last year, and had the same problem with random houses going dark at various times. Haunted, perhaps?

Last, but not least, there’s the problem of the “decorative toilet seat cover”.  Oh my, where to begin?  My problem all started when I bought a new padded toilet seat, this year.   Actually, I bought two, but that’s a different story! Anyway, I’ve discovered that padded toilet seats and “decorative seat covers” don’t work well together!

I started out with a “Santa head” lid cover, but Santa’s hat was padded so thick, I could barely get the lid to raise, much less stay up. How’s a person supposed to use the toilet??? Needless to say, Ed said, “Thank you” when I removed “Santa’s head” from our toilet.

In addition to all of this “seat drama”, imagine my surprise, this morning, when I discovered our new padded seat has developed a “pink glow” on it, thanks to the dye from the red fuzzy toilet seat cover I was using before switching to the “Santa” one.  Sigh.

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Last, I tried a “Rudolph head” seat cover, which works better, but is still somewhat bothersome. Only time will tell how long “Rudolph” gets to stay on top of the lid!   Have I mentioned that Ed’s a good man?  Only eighteen more days until Christmas…

 

 

 

 

Published in: on December 6, 2015 at 9:41 pm  Comments (6)  
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The “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” Hodgepodge…

My house is in total disarray, with boxes of decorations scattered all around, but, I’m sitting in my chair participating in The Wednesday Hodgepodge, like I have nothing else to do.  “First things first”, I always say.  Another thing I always say is “Thank you” to our Hodgepodge hostess, Joyce, because I always look forward to our Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Here are today’s questions:

1. Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special Monday night? Who’s your favorite Peanuts character and why?

No, I didn’t watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special on Monday night because I was playing Christmas music while decorating the kitchen tree– a tree I had much trouble with.  I decorated it, un-decorated it, then discovered it had a broken limb, and had to start all over with a brand new tree, but, I digress…

I’m not a big fan of Charlie Brown, but my favorite Peanuts character is Snoopy.

“Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind.”~Linus

Would you agree?  No, I can’t say that I agree with that one.  Sometimes my mind gets “troubled”, like it is this week, but I don’t think sitting in a pumpkin patch would help 🙂

2. Describe a sound from your childhood. What does this sound bring to mind?

The tinkling sound of music playing, sort of like that of a music box, reminds me of the ice cream truck that occasionally traveled through our neighborhood during the summer months when I was a child.  A neighborhood visit from the ice cream truck was a special treat!

3. You’ve won a trip to a winter wonderland…would that excite you? Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which one would you dislike the least)-see the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden’s Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland Finland, take a winter wildlife safari in Yellowstone or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec?

Well, I’m from the south, so I’m not sure how excited I’d be to win a trip to a winter wonderland.  I probably freeze to death since I’m not really used to temperatures below 40 degrees!

Of the things listed, I think the Winter Carnival in Quebec sounds like the most fun, to me, while staying in the Ice Hotel sounds like a nightmare. (I shivered while looking at the pictures!)

4. Who or what keeps you humble?

The Bible teaches humility, so God keeps me humble.

5. What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most? Explain.

I love decorating the house for Christmas.  I have many storage containers of decorations that I’ve collected over the years, and I love sifting through all of it each year while trying to decide what to use.  Many of my decorations (animated dolls, villages, cookie jars, etc.) were gifts, and each one has a special memory attached.  For instance, this week, I set out my “nutcracker” cookie jar on a shelf, and thought of our daughter’s old boyfriend, Richard, who gave it to me.  I fondly refer to the cookie jar as “Richard” 🙂

6. Gingerbread-yay or nay? Is making a gingerbread house part of your family holiday tradition?

Yes, I do like gingerbread, but I prefer the “cake-like” gingerbread, with whipped topping, over cookies.  Our family has decorated one or two gingerbread houses, over the years, but it’s never been a family tradition at our house.  I think our daughter-in-law, Christina, decorates gingerbread every year with her boys, though.

7. What’s one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year?

I’d like to get our mailbox moved!  We’ve been trying to get approval [from the post office] to do this for several months.  You may recall, a while back, when a truck lost control and destroyed all three of our family’s mailboxes which are located on the main highway, 1/4 mile from our house.  Well, all of our paperwork is now in order, our little dirt road has been re-deeded to the county (because they lost the original deed), and the it has been named since it’s now a public road.  We even have an official road sign at the end of it, AND a new address, but the post office is still dragging its feet!  Will we ever get our mailboxes moved???

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Random:

Our daughter had surgery to remove her skin cancer from her nose, followed by plastic surgery  yesterday.  She was actually finished with both surgeries by lunch.  She said the Moh’s surgery wasn’t too bad, but the plastic surgery was a bit rough.  Her nose is very swollen and sore, and she has a bit of a black eye, but she survived and has the ordeal behind her.  Praise the Lord!

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Jo Jo (gray) and Baby (white), playing together

In other news, we lost another beloved member of our “cat family”, yesterday.  “Jo Jo”, who was born feral [at Ed’s mom’s house] a couple of years ago, but later followed Ed home and became our pet, has died. We have no idea why, but “Jo Jo” suddenly became ill and died, with very little warning.

We enjoyed having “Jo Jo” as a member of our family, and watching  him grow up.  “Jo Jo” had established himself as “quite a tom cat”, and was an awesome mouse catcher. “Jo Jo”  quickly became quite attached to our youngest cat, “Baby”, when we got her as a kitten, and could often be seen playing with and grooming her.  R.I.P. “Jo Jo”, we’ll miss you.

 

Published in: on December 2, 2015 at 8:49 am  Comments (7)  
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