Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I went to see "Marley and Me" with a friend today and thoroughly enjoyed it, even the sad ending. I sobbed aloud at the end, but I was not the only one; nobody left the theatre with dry eyes. I tried to make the most of it, since the tears don't come for me nearly as easily as they used to, and it felt so good. I wish I could have that kind of boo-hoo every time I feel really sad, but it just doesn't happen anymore.

I spent some time with Mike this evening, took him some more clothes, and assisted him with his supper. He thought one of the nurses had helped him bathe, and they may have, but another one told me he refused to do it when she suggested he should. He's usually very conscientious about bathing, not so much about shaving, but he never neglects daily bathing.

I finally got more complete information on the extent of Mike's injuries from Dr. Irby, the neuro-psychologist who has been involved intermittently with Mike's care since his stroke. He had seen the CAT scans and the intake notes. He still wants to review the discharge notes, too, before he will know how to proceed with recommendations for treatment at Methodist Rehab. It's possible that Mike could go there after this stint in the Brandon facility. One of the places in his brain that was injured regulates emotions, inhibitions, social interaction, etc. so that’s why we’re seeing behavior very similar to his alcoholic behavior even though he hasn’t had anything to drink.

New Year's Eves spent alone used to depress me, and tonight I am sorta lonesome, but it's better to be lonesome when you're the only person in the house than to be lonesome when you're not the only person in the house, right? Hope 2009 is a great year for all of us!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sure am glad every day is not as stressful as today. Skip and I got to the hospital this morning around the same time that discharge decisions were being made for Mike. He refused to cooperate with the psychiatrist who came yesterday to do an evaluation, and was giving the nurses a difficult time, so they were anxious to get rid of him.

Methodist Rehab was not an option because I would not commit to letting him come home, and insisted he enter rehab for his alcoholism after completing his treatment there. So Plan B was a Nursing and Rehab Center in Brandon. Medicare will pay for 20 days, not sure if BC/BS will pay beyond that or not. No treatment plans are in place for anything but his physical disabilities, but they were willing to take him without a firm discharge plan.

Hopefully, in the meantime, he can get started with AA and get an evaluation from one of the local treatment centers. He's still not acknowledging his dependency on alcohol, but he did take my ultimatum more seriously today than he's been taking it. Having Skip in the room with me probably helped. He didn't dare rail and curse like he's done in the past, but his "Okay, honey..." sounded like he was more interested in getting me to hush and get out of the room than in following the advice I was giving him, very patronizing and condescending. We're probably going to have to do an intervention before he is motivated to learn new coping skills.

Skip and I then went to talk to the attorney who drew up the wills and living wills and power of attorney authorizations, etc. for Mike and me. I had not seen Jimmy in years and had no idea he had personal experience with the type of dilemma that I'm currently facing, but he could not have been more attentive or solicitous. He gave me some solid advice about legal options. We touched on divorce, but I want to try a couple of other things first.

If I have to divorce Mike to preserve my physical, mental, and emotional health, I will. A panic attack woke me up around midnight last night with a pounding heart, blood pressure that had spiked and acid reflux that was choking me. I can't tolerate much more of this uncertainty and anxiety. I need some resolution and peace of mind.

Your prayers are very much appreciated. God continues to put very helpful people in my path, and for that I am very grateful.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

When my friend Jean had the heart attack in July and didn't die, I knew her recovery would be arduous, and it has been terribly difficult for her and all those who care for her, especially her daughter Pam. She's struggled valiantly to make a comeback and has succeeded to a certain degree. She plans to be in church this morning for the first time in several months. Then we're going to Amerigo's for lunch just like we did most every Sunday before she got sick. That's what she told me yesterday when the weather was only partly cloudy and the temperature was 75*. Today it's colder and cloudier, so I'm not sure she can manage it. She's still quite frail.

I've invited Skip to join us for lunch. He was planning to arrive around that time anyway, so putting these people all together for a meal seemed like the best idea I've had in a long time. Two of my favorite friends and my favorite cousin, that has to be a winning combination. Nothing invigorates Jean like a man's attention and he's very good at giving a woman attention, so if I get him back to my house without Jean trying to steal him, I'll be surprised.
The choir dinner last night was a quiet, low-key affair, not the raucous atmosphere our Wednesday dinners have, but that's okay. I enjoyed it. And the food was the finest I've enjoyed during this holiday season, so far. We actually ate at the home of our church's gourmet caterer. She's had a very difficult 2008, like some of the rest of us, sustaining serious burns in a kitchen fire earlier this year, but she recovered and returned to cooking a couple of months ago. I even got some green bean casserole without having to fix it myself. Is any holiday meal really complete without that? Not to me.
I visited with Mike for a short while before going to the dinner. He was in a jovial mood, but got impatient with me when I told him I did not bring his clothes. Yesterday was the first day he realized he has nothing to wear but hospital gowns. What he doesn't realize is that that is by design. It helps the hospital personnel keep him confined. He's already called this morning begging me to bring his clothes, and got so irate when I told him no, I had to hang up on him.
He keeps insisting he needs to go home. I've successfully skirted that topic, but we'll soon have to tell him he's not coming back here. I have told him a couple of times, but he acts like he doesn't remember. I'm supposed to have a conference with the social worker and a couple of his doctors in the next few days, so we can decide what our best options are. It's going to be a difficult week. Keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

There is something so deliciously freeing about having this house to myself. Mike's presence has always had an oppressive effect on me, and his negativity is especially draining. He comes in and wants all doors and windows closed and locked and would not mind keeping the house as dark as possible. I am the opposite. I want it open, unlocked and light. He wants TV noise on 24/7; I enjoy lots of peace and quiet. He would like to be able to control everything that goes on around here and everyone. I enjoy the ebb and flow of nature. How on earth did I ever think I could live happily with someone so different from myself?

We "celebrated" our 16th anniversary by watching 30 minutes of "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" Not much conversation between us except to argue about a couple of silly things. He seemed totally unaware that he has been harassing me and his friends with telephone calls in the much-too-early hours of the morning for us. I asked the nurse to unplug his phone last night and not to plug it back in until after 8 AM, but I guess they forgot. At least, he started this morning at 6:30, rather than 5:30.

He had a friend buy an anniversary card and a box of chocolate candy for me, and had actually signed the card with a sweet note. He didn't mention any of this until I got ready to leave when I asked, "Whose card and candy?" I suspect his friend Ron handled all this, since I did mention to him yesterday that it was 16 years ago when he was serving as best man in our wedding. He had called to see if there was anyway to get him to quit calling so early in the morning. I told Mike I didn't get a card for him because I did not feel much like celebrating our 16 years together. He said he understood.

Skip has decided to wait until Sunday to drive up here, should be here by the time I get out of church, so we can go to lunch, then enjoy visiting for a couple of days. Today I'm cleaning house and getting my nails done. Tonight I'm going to a choir party. Maybe before the party, I'll pay a visit to the hospital. Maybe not.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day came and went and will be remembered as an enjoyable, quiet, relaxing day. Pip enjoyed all his new toys, especially the last minute cheap stuff I grabbed at the dollar store - a set of musical instruments/noisemakers, a ping-pong gun and the candy canes.

Benji managed the transfer from Dad to Mom without incident, then he and I went to eat and to a movie. "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey was exactly what the doctor ordered for me - enough laughs to trigger the endorphins and turn around the depression that continues to drag me into the doldrums. After our hospital visit, we stopped by Sandra's so I could introduce him to my good friend from Tupelo, who happens also to be a close neighbor now. They immediately fell into a conversation that only English professors would understand.

We visited with a sleeping Mike at the hospital, unplugging his phone before we left, hoping it would prevent the 5:30 AM calls we've been getting. Alas, he discovered our mischief and plugged it back in or got a nurse to. Looks like I'll have to call the nurse tonight and get her to remove the cord, or make some arrangement so he can't continue to harass me like he's doing. He's so inconsiderate. Ron, his best friend, says he's been harassing him, too.

So far, all of Mike's friends have been very supportive of my decision to send him to rehab. They have all expressed admiration and appreciation for how long and how well I've cared for a "very difficult person." They are all tired of watching him commit suicide the slow way and had quit having much to do with him because he could never control his drinking. This probably explains why things were getting so much worse around here. He had no where else to go with his irresponsible behavior.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve at my house was Pip's Christmas Day #1, so I spent the day here with Benji and Pip and had so much fun watching a 3 year old child be spontaneously joyful and excited about his new toys. Today he's right back at it, singing, squealing, chattering, giggling...what a beautiful blessing.
Other blessings I'm thankful for today include Mike's continued recovery. His left eye is open a wee bit, but he could not count the number of fingers correctly when the nurse tested him. The drips have been removed, and he's been out of bed and walked (with assistance) to the restroom and around his room. His mental confusion lingers, part of the time he's tuned in perfectly to what is going on around him, then he's back in his own Twilight Zone - hallucinating, forgetting, repeating. He still claims to be feeling no pain. He continues to call me to say he's being discharged and that I need to come pick him up, so he's had no trouble remembering our telephone numbers. The nurses say he's nowhere near discharge.
I've requested a psychiatric evaluation, so we can assess the amount of cognitive damage that was done, and what coping skills need to be and can be developed other than drinking. Maybe his anxiety and depression will finally be addressed.
A couple of his doctors have suggested another stint at Methodist Rehab to deal with the brain injuries. I would love to leave this problem in his lap to deal with, but for now, he's not capable of making rational decisions. He is experiencing the consequences of his drinking, which is the first step in getting him headed in a different direction. I'm not sure he will remember much about spending Christmas 2008 in the hospital, so I'm not sure that these consequences mean much to him right now.

You will notice that I use the term "experiencing the consequences" rather than "suffering the consequences." Just the thought of anyone suffering anything triggers my co-dependency and I go into rescue mode, so I don't use that word when there is another way to describe what's happening. I am having minimal contact with him to protect myself and to give me room to deal with the anger I feel, but also to increase the effect of his self-imposed alienation and isolation.
My own coping skills include healthy and unhealthy behaviors, and I'm having to work very hard to stay on the healthy side of the fence. The unhealthy ones just lead to more pain, and my rational mind knows this, but my very needy, emotional self could so easily take me down the wrong path. Strong, healthy friends have appeared at every turn to help, so God's love and mercy have been abundant and apparent, and for that I am very thankful. Benji has agreed to stay through tonight before returning to Memphis, and Skip says he's coming tomorrow, if at all possible.

I cried yesterday for the first time in a long time while talking to my friend Sandra. She's been with me in this episode since Sunday night, coming down to the hospital and sitting with me for several hours, then following me home to make sure I made it safely. (I drove to the hospital with the "empty gas tank" chime dinging.) You are an angel, Sandra, and I thank you and love you. (And she's a Tupelo angel, which makes her super-special to me.)
Our Midnight Mass was magnificent with the music coming together as only God's grace can do it. The improvement that occurs between rehearsal and performance always amazes me. Mike's name got called twice last night in Prayers of the People:
For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering, let us pray to the Lord. (And then all the names on the prayer list are called.)
Lord, have mercy.
Then when we got down to "We give thanks, O Lord, for those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries," the names Mike and Cathy Garrett got called for December 26th. Lord, have mercy, indeed.
Benji and I enjoyed a late Christmas breakfast, Pip is still not interested in bacon, eggs, biscuits, etc, but he loves Pop-Tarts, and they are fortified with vitamins and nutrients. Later today, Benji and I will enjoy a quiet Christmas dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant. They, the Cracker Barrel, and the C-Stores are the only things open today, well, maybe Waffle House, but I'd rather have Chinese.
Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mike was moved from ICU to a private room this morning. He still has a good bit of confusion, and yesterday he was vacillating from super-silliness to hostility and belligerence, with very little in-between. Today he's in his own personal Twilight Zone, told me he'd been to Madison for lunch with friends at a Chinese restaurant, and that he'd seen some people he hasn't seen in years. He still doesn't remember, or admit he remembers, what happened to him. His kneecap was dislocated, but they got it popped back into place. He was able to open his left eye some and count fingers accurately, so maybe no permanent damage was done to it. And he still claims to be feeling no pain.

I've been a little giddy with my new freedom today and all the phone calls I'm getting. Tonight the gravity of the situation is beginning to sink in. I'm headed to choir rehearsal and the dinner afterwards.

Benji and I got the tree up and decorated last night. Tonight we're playing Santa for Pip so he will have a full day and a half to play with new stuff here before he has to leave for his other grandparents in Mobile.

I really appreciate all the calls and emails from everyone. I'll try to keep you updated as new developments occur.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday started out being so much better than Saturday. The choir's music was 95% good, lots of love and Christmas cheer flowing freely through all the folks at church, I cooked after I got home, anticipating the arrival of Benji and Pip, singing Christmas tunes as I worked in the kitchen. Then my husband came in from his lunch with friends after having consumed too much wine. Staggering as only a crippled stroke patient can, with speech slurred and language too blue to repeat, he told me immediately that we were in for a rough night.

After he fell the first time, Benji managed to get him up. Around 6:30, he climbed the stairs, headed for bed, got to the top of the stairs and grabbed hold of a heavy, full-length mirror, pulled it down on top of him, and fell back down the stairs to the first landing. When Benji and I heard the noise, we rushed to him. The mirror was on top of him, his head had gone through the sheet rock in the wall, blood was gushing profusely, and I called 911. The ambulance got him to St. Dominic's ER by 7:00.

The prognosis is not good. He has brain bleeds on each side of his head, a huge gash above his left eye, his left kneecap is twice the size of the right one, and those were the only injuries they could detect last night. He claimed to be feeling no pain at all. The ER doctors did not think he would make it through the night. The neurosurgeon was a little more optimistic, but not much. They couldn't operate last night due to the blood thinner he takes and his blood alcohol level being too high.

I called his daughter and she and I went in to see him around 1 AM after they got him admitted to the neuro-ICU. Then the nurses told us to go home and wait for them to call before we came back. They still haven't called and it's 10:30 AM, so I'm headed back to the hospital. I have my cell phone and his with me, if you want to call, 601-946-2454 and 601-260-8851. There's not anything anyone can do now but pray.

Lord, have mercy.

Update: For those of you who have expressed concern that Pip witnessed any of this, let me assure you - HE DIDN'T!! Thank God, for TNT and Wizard of Oz. He was totally mesmerized in the backroom by the movie, didn't even come out when the firetruck and ambulance came. The damage to the carpet and the wall have been camouflaged by towels and a "Little Mermaid" poster over the hole in the sheetrock.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not sure what started this funk I'm in, but it got worse as the day progressed. News of friends going through really tough times, a woman whose love affair ended, a dog being mistreated by a neighbor, seems just about everything I heard today is sad. Then I got a call from someone who was so excited to learn of an available apartment in this area, she makes an appointment to see it, and never shows up.

Then I tried to vacuum and the belt on it broke again. So I mopped the kitchen floor, then our cat Mick promptly threw up on my clean floor. I knew I should have just stayed in the bed this morning. Makes me want to withdraw, isolate, become a recluse. . . for a day or two anyway. It's 9 PM, surely nothing else bad will happen today.

Mama said there'd be days like this, there'll be days like this, Mama said.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let's see, what else can I do to generate a little Christmas spirit around here? Still don't have the tree up, I could do that. Still don't have all the gifts wrapped, I could do that. I did get the Christmas cards mailed. I've got a couple of Christmas CD's I found in an old case, haven't heard them in years, I could listen to those.

Okay, well actually, one of the CD's was a Rick Wakeman album, you know, Rick Wakeman of YES, and I had a heck of a time tracking down which album it was. Burned by someone, somewhere, sometime with nothing but Rick Wakeman scrawled across the CD, I had to listen, then google around until I figured it out. And I love it, just wish people who burn these things would put a little more info with it. And it wasn't Christmas music, unless you want to count "Morning Has Broken" as a Christmas tune. This is the guy who played on Cat Stevens hit recording of that song. Seems "Catherine Howard" had a touch of "Jingle Bells" in it, too.

Yesterday's large disaster was a busted water line, which I didn't know about until I started drawing my bath and saw muddy water filling my tub. Because I was running my washing machine and my dishwasher when it broke, my water heater filled up with the yucky water, so I had to run and run and run some more 'til it ran clear, then wait for it to heat the clean water. Consequently, I missed the party and was in a foul humor for the rest of the evening, did not want to even think about decorating the tree. So you may get to help me with that, Benji, when you get here on Sunday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Are you willing to STAND STRONG AGAINST HATE? If so, please go to the Southern Poverty Law Center site and sign up as one who does take a stand against racism and other destructive prejudices. I am one of only 5 people in Rankin County who have signed up, so far, and I know I'm not the only one who feels as I do.

Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration has upset a lot of people. Warren would have been near the bottom of my list for possible picks, right above Jeremiah Wright, but it's his inauguration, so I'm glad he's willing to make controversial choices. He's sure to make some that will upset the other side of the aisle, too, but he is making an effort toward reconciliation among rival factions. Hopefully, this latest choice will help to neutralize some of the negativity among those ultra-conservative opponents he had during the campaign, and will draw some of them into the larger tent of UNITY. My pick would have been Bishop Robinson, but nobody would have been happy about that except for liberal Episcopalians and their LGBT friends. There's a good reason I'm not a politician.

I'm still trying to get house cleaning done, gifts wrapped, cards addressed, etc. Tonight I'm attending the Christmas party of the Rankin Co. Democrats, then a friend is coming over to help me decorate the Christmas tree. Last night we had a delicious meal after choir rehearsal. Our hostess cooked a pork butt, which we promptly hailed as "the best butt in town." I also enjoyed the lively conversation, the ribald humor, and the excellent wine. Nobody (who keeps all their clothes on) has more fun than we do, I promise.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Okay, this is downright depressing. I mean, I like cold, wet weather around Christmastime, and yes, I've been out in it more than once to shop, but this is a cold dampness with fog that penetrates to the bones and chills whatever warmth I manage to muster, a "Return to thy bed and cover thy head!" kind of frigidness that is so foreign to my better nature. Can we get a break here, please, Mr. Weatherman? Well, as a matter of fact, looks like our "front slowly falls apart." It can't happen too soon. I'm sick of this.

I've just torn myself away from my newest addiction - Facebook. Yes, it's why I haven't blogged lately. For someone who hates talking on the telephone, it's a perfect way to stay in touch with certain people. For those of you who haven't been bit by the Facebook bug, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It's free, it's fun, BUT it can be addictive. Remember, you were warned.

I've got stuff piling up around my ears that has to be done, no more procrastinating, gotta do it - Water Lilies lunch at Pan Asia, choir rehearsal and dinner, and a vacant townhouse that hasn't had a renter for two months now, but I'm still getting calls. Ay, yi, yi, yi, yi! And who is going to wrap these gifts and pay these bills and vacuum these floors and pick up all this clutter and dust this furniture and, and, and.... Thank goodness, the only company I'm expecting is Benji and Pip. Thanks, Guys, for being so easy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

They're snow pictures like snow pictures, they're snow pictures I know...(should be sung to the tune of "There's no business like show business.")

More snow pictures, these from Skip in Folsom, La. I read where Covington got about 6 inches, so that's probably what this is, right, Cuz? My favorite is the shot of the Tchefuncta River behind his house.

According to the Dec. 13th post on Dr. Jeff Masters' Blog:
A rare early December heavy snowstorm hit Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi yesterday, setting several records. It was the earliest measurable snowfall in recorded history at Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Lake Charles. Also, this snow event set the all time record snowfall amounts for the month of December at Beaumont, Port Arthur, Lake Charles, Lafayette, and New Iberia, and was the first measurable snowfall in recorded history for the month of December at Lafayette. In Mississippi, up to 5 inches of snow fell on areas south of Jackson. The snow knocked out power to 83,000 and caused numerous traffic accidents and road closures across Southeast Louisiana. The snow was caused by an upper-level low pressure system that deepened over the Gulf of Mexico. The snow was unusual because it occurred when the surface temperatures were 32 to 35 degrees.
The one inch of snow reported in New Orleans was that city's earliest snow on record. The previous earliest date for measurable snowfall in New Orleans was Dec. 22, 1989. New Orleans' last snowfall, in 2004, was a dusting. The record snowfall for the city is about 5 inches, recorded Dec. 30, 1963.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The line between lots of snow and not much snow in Rankin County must have been between my house and my nephew Vance's house, and as the crow flies, that's not but about 2 or 3 miles. We didn't get nearly this much. And what little we got was washed away quickly by the rain. The vacant lot to the left of his house is the one Rick and Mary Ann bought a couple of years ago. How long before we see new construction there? Great pictures, Vance! Thanks. He says it snowed there for 5 hours straight, huge flakes. Here's another shot of the front of his house.I took advantage of the inclement weather to go Christmas shopping. Not much traffic on the roads, not many shoppers in the stores, perfect! I have to be "in the mood" and weather like we had this morning definitely gave me that holiday spirit.

I also got that other birthday gift I promised to myself - a full body massage from my massage therapist friend, total self-indulgent decadence! What a luxury! It's what I would give to everyone I know as a Christmas gift, if I could afford it, but I can't, so do yourself a favor and get one from your favorite masseuse or masseur. The first time I had one, I craved water for hours afterwards (and probably drank a gallon of it) because toxins are released from muscle tissue into the blood stream, then filtered out through the kidneys. It's the body's way of saying, "flush me, flush me."

Massage has the power to restore natural, healing breathing. This may sound like a nice but perhaps superficial benefit, yet look a little deeper: proper breathing is key to good health. Important in easing anxiety and boosting immunity, breathing may also contribute to intestinal health, restorative sleep, and emotional well-being. from

My blood sugar was high when I went to the doctor yesterday, which could very well have been caused by stress. Did you know that the stress hormone, or cortisol, increases blood pressure and blood sugar, and reduces immune responses? Massage therapy breaks a lot of that down and gets it out of the body. I'll bet if I went for a fasting blood test tomorrow morning, my blood sugar would be significantly lower.

The fact that I overdid the desserts at the Red Hat Readers luncheon on Tuesday may also have contributed to the high blood sugar reading. Since my doctor told me to slow down on the weight loss (I've been averaging 5 lbs. per month since starting Adderall), I'm not real concerned about it. The nurse who called said it wasn't high enough to worry about diabetes, so I won't. And with the holidays, I'm sure slowing down on the weight loss will not be a problem. My cholesterol was down to 137, lowest it's ever been.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The new monitor came in, I got it hooked up, and I'm lovin' it! Y'all were right! I didn't know what I was missing. Now I don't have to squint anymore to see pictures and read. Great gift, Guys! Thanks! I'm so proud of this new toy, I didn't even clean off my desk before Mike snapped the picture.

The Red Hat Readers luncheon was a lot of fun today. (Maybe that explains the red cap I'm wearing.) I always learn stuff when I hang out with this crowd. Smart bunch of ladies. I wish I'd known them better when Mike had his stroke, but I had been a member at St. Philip's for only a year when that happened, and really didn't know anyone except choir members, and not all of them. I realize now what a mistake it was to turn down all the help that was offered from these kind but total strangers. I've always felt self-conscious about my modest little hovel, especially when we had Mike's hospital bed in the living room for the first couple of months, so consequently, I cheated myself out of an opportunity to make friends with some of the sweetest people I know now. Hindsight is 20/20, isn't it?

Today is the fifth anniversary of our acquiring Gus. Bless his heart, if he wasn't the most adorable homeless creature ever! I'm just glad he made it very plain that he wanted to live here with us. He thinks it was his lucky day, but really it was ours. He had me at hello.

Monday, December 08, 2008

That's my boys! Well, two of 'em anyway. Way to go Rick and Cooper! This was the tournament I wrote about a month ago on Rick's birthday 11/08. Even though I'd already heard about their win, I finally got the photos and newspaper article today.
What the article doesn't tell is how, in the top of the 9th inning of the tie game with the Venice Pythons, the team came together for prayer, without any prompting from any adults. (6 innings is all they usually play.) Seems the kid named Jesus suggested they pray, so they prayed, just the kids, no adults involved. Then they won the game and believe it was the prayer that did it.
Hmmm. I'd say that was a big advantage right there! Sure can't hurt to have a praying Jesus on your team! Which one is he, Rick?
He's on the second row, 2nd from the right end, per Rick.

Bulldogs Win State Championship
The Tampa Tribune

Teams don't often go from losing seasons to state champions. But that's what the New Tampa Bulldogs Under-12 baseball team did when it defeated the All Star Red Storm from St. Petersburg 3-1 earlier this month at the AAU Fall Classic Fire Division State Championship in Winter Haven.

After the two teams exchanged runs in the first inning, the Bulldogs took the lead for good in the second as Coleman Etelkozi, James Coviello and Ryan Peeler each drew two-out walks. Etelkozi then scored on a wild pitch to put the Bulldogs ahead.

Joey Nieves threw the first two innings for the Bulldogs in the final, giving up the only run, while Nathan Pearson and Jesus Vega each pitched a pair of shutout innings to close out the game.

The Bulldogs had earned a bye into the quarterfinals after group play, and then defeated the Polk County Gators 3-1 to advance to the semifinals. Then, they needed to go extra inning to defeat the Venice Pythons 6-4 in nine innings. With the game tied at 4 going to the ninth, Nieves singled, and was pinch-run for by Colton King. King was brought home on a double down the first base line by Luke Leonard, and Leonard added an insurance run scoring from third on a wild pitch.

According to team founder and Manager Rick Borden, the Bulldogs had never won more than nine games in a regular season before this fall, when the team won 19. Borden said it gave him a great sense of accomplishment to see the team's improvement."I really feel like there was a great sense of accomplishment to see a team that had only won nine games in each of the past two seasons," Borden said. "It was just a real great sense of pride to see these kids come together and put together one of the better under-12 teams in the state.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Shouldn't there be some degree of embarrassment that goes along with a life so devoid of excitement that hurling virtual snowballs on Facebook is the most interesting thing that happens all day? I guess not, since I don't feel any. That I might actually be able to enjoy a Sunday afternoon nap excites me, too. Ah, the pleasures of getting "on up in years."

Now, let me see how many pages I can read in my book before dozing off. . .

Friday, December 05, 2008

Even though I'm enjoying Mike's laptop in the absence of my old desktop, it's just not the same. It's got different quirks and it's Windows Vista where mine is Windows XP. And I don't have access to the many files I keep on mine, very disconcerting.

Ah, is that a UPS truck I hear that just pulled up? Not mine, but my neighbor's delivery. Shoulda known, since my dogs weren't barking. Gus hates the UPS guys. One of their drivers kicked him in the head a couple of years ago, so it's no wonder. I saw it. He told me they're trained to do that with unleashed, barking dogs. Poor Gus, and it was my fault.

They did deliver my gift to myself yesterday. It's a picture by Jack Vettriano called "Back Where You Belong." I found it several years ago when I was reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, and assigned a quote from that book to it: We greet this artist self as we might greet a lover at the end of a long and costly war. It's in the personal prayer book/journal I mentioned on 11/21.
The theme to several of my dreams lately has been my psyche trying to bring together the extreme masculine attributes (domineering, angry, dictatorial, knows everything, arrogant, unwilling to show weakness, ignores own mistakes, blames others, feels superior, out of touch with feelings) and the extreme feminine traits (victimized, depressed, begs or schemes, knows nothing, shut down, emotionally numb, overwhelmed by own feelings, unwilling to show strength, makes excuses or obsesses about mistakes, feels inferior) to heal the split that has occurred (caregiver burnout being the major culprit) and bring me once again to wholeness, which will restore these attributes: creative, relaxed, inviting, curious, attentive, drawing from experience and self-wisdom, owning feelings, flexible, learning from mistakes, feeling equal. This bringing together of the opposites is so delightfully depicted in this painting that I get good feelings just by looking at it.

My artist self is making her way back, she just isn't persuaded yet that it's a safe, nurturing environment where her creative juices can flow, and in which she can begin to paint, but she's beginning to get comfortable here again. Stay tuned. . .

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The old tube monitor just up and died this morning, went all spastic on me, made frying noises for a couple of minutes, then dark. May it rest in peace. Thanks to Ricky and Benji, there's a new flat screen monitor on its way, and won't get here a minute too soon. It's probably a sign that I should be doing something other than wasting a whole day on Facebook and other useless pursuits. Oh well, I'm at the Flowood Library, stopped on my way to the Water Lilies lunch at Cheddars, and thankfully they let me use one of their computers even though I've got a past due library book. They renewed it, but I still owe $2.30. Where there's a will, there's a way, right?

Not much else to report from my neck of the woods. Will let you know when I get the new monitor hooked up, and I'm back to blogging. Hasta la vista!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Okay, I admit it! I don't like spending money on unnecessary stuff at Christmas, even though I've done it countless times. Bah-Humbug! There should be a better way to celebrate, and here's one of the best ideas I've seen yet. Let me know if you've found others.

For those of you who requested the recipe for the Shoepeg Corn Casserole, I've modified the original to include 2% cheese, low-fat sour cream, and low-fat Cream of Celery soup. If it affected the taste, I couldn't tell it, but then it still has the topping of Ritz Crackers (only 1/10 g Trans fats) and butter (saturated fat but no trans fats). Here 'tis:

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
1 can French-style green beans, drained
1 can Cream of Celery soup
1/2 pint sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

1 stick butter, softened
1 stack of Ritz crackers

Mix first 8 ingredients. Add salt and pepper. Place in 9x13" casserole dish. Mix butter with Ritz crackers. Spread on top of vegetables. Bake at 350* for 45 min.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Benji got me started on Facebook a while back, and I'm finding it to be more demanding of time and attention than I'm used to giving any one site, but I'm also fascinated by the connections that can be made, kinda like a high-tech way to play 6 degrees of separation. I know this just proves how far behind the times I am, but it does intrigue me. The fuzzy hugs and pokes are not nearly as satisfying as the real thing, but better than nothing, I guess.

Old Man Winter is keeping this chilly mama inside. It's not really that cold outside, 44*, the thermometer said, but looks much colder, plus an icy North wind was whipping up last time I took the dogs out. Tonight's low should be around 29*, they're saying. This is why I would never seriously consider moving to a blue state. They're all too cold for me. Well, with Virginia and North Carolina going blue, I might consider it. Oh, that's right! Florida, too! I forgot. Hmmmm. I may have to rethink my excuses. How about, I just hate moving?

I'm hoping Gus and Jay-Jay can catch up on their naptime. Having company in the house for several days last week really disrupted their sleep schedule. Unfortunately, Jay-Jay seems to be even more nervous and insecure today than he was with company here, if that's possible. "Are they gone for good, Mama? Are you leaving, too? I'll make every step you make just to be sure I don't miss anything." I finally shut him up in Mike's bedroom awhile ago, he was beginning to seriously bug me. Poor baby, maybe he needs Prozac or something. Vets are prescribing that for dogs now, did you know? If I get the dental work done for them that our vet is recommending, he will need a tranquilizer, for sure.

Some of the best advice I ever got from my Grandmother Deedo was:

Before you say anything, ask yourself these three questions. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If you can't answer yes to all three, don't say it.

My, my, how many times I should have heeded that advice! Today I received an expanded version of that from a friend, an acrostic based on the word THINK:

T - Is it true?
H - Is it helpful?
I - Is it inspiring?
N - Is it necessary?
K- Is it kind?

This may not be new to you, but it was to me.