Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sweet Stuffed

I love, love, love this cat.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Laughing with Mom and Dad

I returned yesterday from a weekend at my parents' house. Mom's health is a continuing concern, but she told me Friday night that she knew when her health troubles began that she could either freak out and fall apart or just hang in there and try to find the humor in it wherever she could. She chose the latter, and this visit, like most of ours, was again one of (much-needed) laughing and teasing between us all.
Mom told me that as the medical staff prepared her for her first MRI, they reminded her to "stop moving," as she would have to stay still during the exam, and my poor mom, suffering from severe tremors and muscle spasms, dryly noted, "If I could do that, I wouldn't be here." The MRI technician then asked her what kind of music she'd like to hear during the exam, and Mom said, "Oh, just anything relaxing." Moments later "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" began to blare all around her at full volume. We laughed so hard together over that Friday night, we were almost crying. We would start to settle down again, and then one of us would start singing the "Uh-weem-oh-weh! Uh-weem-oh-weh!" part and we'd break up again.
Making it even better, Mom said the next song on the MRI playlist was "Eye of the Tiger." What on earth were the MRI staff thinking?! Ohhh, we laughed so hard. I told her she should be grateful they didn't continue with the theme and blast "Welcome to the Jungle."
She said that while she has been stressed over the major medical bills that have been coming in, Dad has been pretty cool about it, just looking at it like, "We'll pay what we can every month, but these won't be paid off in our lifetime, so what can we do about it? Just focus on getting better," but that even his cool broke a couple weeks ago, when he opened yet another "THIS IS NOT A BILL!" notice. Exasperated, he told my mom he wanted to make a copy of one of his blank checks and mail it back to them with "THIS IS NOT A CHECK!" printed across it. :)

While assembling an apple crumb pie for Sunday's dinner, Mom and I reminisced about some of our kitchen mishaps over the years. She brought up the Easter visit that was Mike's first to her and Dad's house and how I'd made a big production out of making a big Edible Arrangements-style fruit bouquet for dessert but hadn't made it right, so the entire morning's work fell off the counter onto the floor. Mike and Mom had just watched in silence and continued to stare at the mess and then at me, waiting for my reaction (and momentarily too stunned to laugh) until Mike commented, "Your cooking show was just cancelled." :) This weekend when she brought it up while rolling out pie crust with trembling hands, I told her that her cooking show was called "Shake and Bake," and Dad groaned from the living room while she and I snickered.
Mom said her beloved aunt Ann had always loved the anecdote of Mom's horrific experience when my two brothers and I were all sick with pneumonia at the same time as kids. I was almost hospitalized over it, never having had that strong of an immune system, and my brothers were seriously sick with it, as well. One morning while she ran from room to room checking on each of us, frazzled and near tears, there was a knock at the door. Mom opened it to find a Jehovah's Witness smiling at her. "Have you ever heard of Armageddon?" he asked her. "Heard of it?" my poor mom cried out. "I have three kids here with pneumonia. I'm LIVING it!" I had never heard that story before and howled. 
Saturday night, Dad was working on a crossword puzzle in the living room and came into his and Mom's room where Mom and I were watching TV to ask for the four-letter name of the band that sang "Mr. Roboto." "You remember that one?" he asked and then quite unexpectedly started singing the Japanese part of the lyrics and doing the Robot. Dad! Dad can do the Robot?! Mom and I were (already giddy and) so distracted by his impromptu song and dance that we never answered his question, and it wasn't until I called home after getting back to the apartment yesterday that I remembered to say, "...Styx, Dad. With a 'y.'" :)
And I found Sunday's "For Better or Worse" comic in the paper especially funny and took it out to Mom and Dad on the deck after reading it. Even when Mom and I said goodbye to each other yesterday morning, we pulled apart with a cheerful "Dite, dite, Hodey!" that made us all start giggling again.   I doubt I'll be lucky enough to have both Thanksgiving and Christmas off from work again this year, but I'll get home at some point both next month and in December. In the meantime, we have memories of a happy weekend--and of course, a letter ready to go out in tomorrow's mail. "Dite, dite...." :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

All the Way from Scratch

Monday's "Frank and Ernest" comic hit the spot and made me cackle. In an email yesterday, one of my aunts described herself as not being able to get out of her own way lately, and I thought, "You too?! That's it exactly." I often feel like God is bemusedly watching me and thinking, You know, you have everything you need, if you could just figure that out and get it together. That's likely the way it is for all of us, but I am feeling it pretty acutely lately.

In one example, I have completely blown off running since May's half marathon but decided to get back to it last week and ran a 5K over the weekend. Run-walk-run-walk-jog for ten seconds and walk again-run-walk-walk-walk. . . . I saw Mike waiting for me around the halfway point and berated him for not having thought to bring his phone to take a picture, since I was actually RUNNING that part of the race talked with him for a minute, and his first words were, "Are you the last one?" Apparently, he couldn't see any runners behind me. Correction, now that I know the race results: Apparently, there was only one runner behind me--I came in next-to-last in a race of 700-some people. And that's what I get for gaining back the weight I'd lost and taking off six months from running. (Don't call it a comeback. . . !)  This is when I join God in shaking my head and saying, Why didn't you just keep up with it?! Why must you always make things so hard for yourself? And I don't know, but I hope I at least get credit for trying and always coming back for more. Sigh.