Saturday, December 31, 2011

Any New Year's Resolutions?

I guess my one and only is to continue my diet. I'm not really sure how much weight I lost this year but I have lost some and my doctors are pleased with my modest progress. Another year of modest progress and "what the hey" I guess I'll have made good progress then.

Last year I resolved to be "more cheerful". All my friends laughed so hard that I just resorted back to my usual irascible self! No sense messing with perfection.

I used to resolve to go to Times Square every year. Although I made it to New York once in my life and I loved it, I never made it back for New Year's Eve. Life kept getting in the way. Now it is out of the question because of my health.

c'est la vie

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Shopping Cart Races

When I lived in Florida I lived at one place where the kids would have shopping cart races. They were hilarious! I didn't even get mad (for the most part) when they would disturb my afternoon nap with them.

They would take 2 shopping carts and fill them with various amounts and sizes of children. Usually the bigger kids would push the carts. They would race them and the best part was when they would hit the speed bump! Kids would go flying in all directions!

Then they would get back up and do it all over again!

Oh, to be as indestructable as a child again.

Our Gazebo

Here is the gazebo that Eddie and I decorated

greetings from my new computer

and my completely FREE wifi

I have a friend in the building with the same computer. I couldn't get the internet at first, but he showed me what to do

ta da

I bought a laptop.

I'm going home to test it out. I have 14 days to return it if I'm not satisfied. It is a toshiba. I checked online and the pricing was good. I guess I'll know about the rest of it in a few days.

I have bought probably 10 different cheap video cameras in the past year and returned them all within hours for various reasons. I am not shy about returning products that don't live up to what the salesman tells me.

I got my laptop at best buy. The salesman was very helpful. I went to Walmart first because my friends told me to get a Kindle Fire but I didn't think it would do what I wanted. The salesman there was decidedly unhelpful so I left. Unfortunately I had opened a Pepsi and I had to stand in a line of about 20 people just to buy it and some hamburger buns. That is why only go to Walmart about once a year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I had a good Christmas. It started with Eddie and I attending a local production of "Humbug" back around Thanksgiving. It was really good. I am becoming quite a fan of local productions.

Also my doctor let me put off my stress test until January. Every year for the past 5 years he has given me a stress test right at Thanksgiving. It took me so long to recover that it would mess up both my holidays. Unfortunately I have to take it in January. Not looking forward to it at all.

I have had too much salt as usual but I don't feel like I am at death's door because of it. That's an improvement. I had about 20 free Wendy's breakfast coupons to get the whole meal free. I threw away about 10 of them because I couldn't resist temptation anymore. Also I had about 10 coupons for free Chick Filet sandwiches. Between the two free meals I was getting the sodium was piling on the weight.

I didn't win the free truck again this year, but I had fun trying. Oh well, there's always next year.

I went to my mom's for Christmas. It was pleasurable. I enjoyed myself.

I took Eddie to Logan to see the Christmas in the Park display. It was great! We have one in Charleston but it isn't nearly as good as the one in Logan. We both enjoyed it very much.

I had my dream Christmas Tree of "Silver and Gold". I'll probably leave it up for awhile.

A neighbor gave me enough VCR tapes to fill up a whole trunk. I'll have plenty of movies to what while I hibernate this year.

I had my Chinese feast for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I didn't try the Peking Duck though. Maybe I'll do it for Easter.

My Story was published in the Charleston Gazette on Christmas Day. I didn't know it until the next day though when my aunt and uncle met me at the door telling me how much they loved my story. They gave me their newspaper clipping as well as a whole deer. I left most of it at their house but I will go back soon and give it out in the building and keep plenty for myself.

Eddie and I decorated the gazebo with Christmas lights. It is very pretty and I will post a picture if I can get one. I will leave the lights up until New Years.

I didn't get all my decorations up but I didn't let it bother me. Now I don't have to take them down either. I was able to relax and take it easy and still had a good time. Wouldn't mind doing it all over again.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Story Was Published in the Christmas Edition of the Charleston Gazette

This is a true story. It happened 5 years ago.

I met a little girl named Heather. She is 8 years old. Heather did not have a Christmas. I don't mean Heather had a bad Christmas, I mean Heather did not have any Christmas. She did not get so much as a candy cane for Christmas. She is a sweet child with long, blonde hair and very quiet and mannerly. She is shy. When you ask her if she wants something she is afraid to say, "yes".

Her mommy is a crack head. Her daddy is a drunk. I met her on New Year's Eve at her uncle's house. She was having a good time playing on the computer and her uncle bought her a personal pan pizza and went to Rite Aid and bought her some play dough. When I walked into the house he pulled me aside and told me what was going on. He did not know what to do for her. I had not planned to have a child in the house so I went digging through my Christmas stuff (I have entirely too much) and started giving her what I could find.

She was appreciative of every little item down to the candy canes that I let her have off the tree. Fortunately I had not taken it down yet. She would run to her daddy and show him every little thing. She was just tickled pink as only little 8 year old girls can be. Her drunken daddy would slur and paw over "my little girl" and go on about how much he loved her. Heather does not know that real daddies don't act like that. I kept her distracted all evening.

New Year's morning I woke up and went to the local dollar store, they had toys half price. I got Heather a few things. In fact I got her more than I could afford and I was afraid I would have to take some of it back. I woke her uncle up when I got home and told him what I had done. He immediately went to his wallet and paid for everything. He was grateful. He said he just didn't know how to shop for a little girl. I wrapped up the presents and we circled them around Heather and woke her up. Apparently Santa had come that night and left her presents there at her uncle's house because he couldn't find her on Christmas Eve.

Heather's eyes were shining and she was laughing and playing. Her daddy got up and cracked open his first beer of the day. She had pumpkin pie for breakfast because everybody knows you can eat anything you want on a holiday. She played for hours with the few toys I got. I know a lot of kids who would throw a tantrum over the little presents I bought for her that day.

Heather was happy.

The next day I went to work. I work at Fruth Pharmacy. The pay sucks but this is the reason I work there. I started to tell my coworkers about Heather. My coworkers are mothers. Within a few hours we had her a smorgasbord of toys - even a few regular customers pitched in some money when they found out what we were doing. When I left Fruth that night I had 4 bags of toys and candy and toiletries hand picked for an 8 year old girl. In a few days there will be some clothes for Heather too. This is not the first time my friends and I have run into a child in trouble and everybody chipped in to help.

Now Heather had a Christmas. It was 10 days late. The hard part is yet to come. I will try to turn her parents in. Not having a Christmas is only a small problem in this child's life. As of today no one has seen her mom since Christmas Eve. It is presumed she is off on a crack binge somewhere. When her uncle took her presents to her, her daddy was still drunk. He has not drawn a sober breath in days. I'm not talking just drunk. I'm talking pissing on yourself, can't walk across the room drunk. Can't even get yourself another beer drunk. I am disgusted I have to do something or I won't be able to live with myself.


I tried to call Heather's school. The woman I talked to was not interested in even looking for her with the little bit of information that I could provide.

I could not find Heather after that. I don't know where she is now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Look! Santa's Buttcheeks!

I arrived at my brother's house early one Christmas morning to find my nephew, Arny, waiting for me at the door. He immediately flew into my arms to give me my traditional flying hug greeting as only he could do. After my flying hug he grabbed my hand and excitedly started dragging me to the family room where all the presents were - screaming for his sister, Becca, the whole way.

My brother was in the family room building a fire and as we burst into the room Arny exclaimed, "Look Aunt Pam, Santa's buttcheeks!" I looked over at the screened glass in front of the fireplace and indeed there was a perfect imprint of Santa's rump on the glass. It was obvious that he had landed on his derriere with a great thump when he had come down the chimney the night before!

Daddy's Last Christmas (pictures)

Monday, December 19, 2011

My First Florida Christmas

We lived in one of those apartment complexes with a pool and laundry facilities and a million kids running around. The only way to tell if it is Christmas in Florida is to decorate, so for the first time in my life I put a tree up on Thanksgiving Day. Apparently that was quite a novelty because soon after I put it up, all the kids in the neighborhood started knocking on my door a hundred times a day wanting to see my tree.

I soon tired of this, especially since in my line of work afternoon naps were a necessity. So I made a deal with them. I told them that if they would all come at the same time everyday (5 o'clock) then I would let them in. To make it extra special I put candy canes on the tree everyday and let each of them have one.

This worked. Every day at 5 0'clock on the dot there would be a knock on my door. A perfect line of children would come in my house and ooohhh and aaahhh over the tree. They would each take a candy cane and then they would go home. This went on until Christmas.

It was fun.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thank You to the Union Mission

I want to thank the Union Mission for the wonderful Christmas Food Basket that they gave me. There was way too much food for me to eat alone and I have already given some out to some of the seniors in my building that I know need the food.

They had us pick up the food at a church that I had never seen. I have to say it was an absolutely beautiful church. It looked like a massive mountain lodge. They had a wonderful service with old fashioned Christmas Carols and upbeat Christian music and a short sermon. The actual giveaway was well organized and they gave out a couple hundred baskets in probably less than 1/2 an hour.

I was almost at the end of the line and I noticed that there was a lot of food left over. I tried to contact someone about delivering some of the food to the low income seniors in my building that I know need the food but have no way to get it. I spoke with 3 different people but I could tell they didn't want to be bothered with it. I am sure they thought that I was somebody that was just trying to get more than my fair share, I can't blame them for thinking that but it was certainly not the case. I used to give out government commodities a few years ago and you wouldn't believe that stories that people come up with to try to get extra food.

I still think I will try to call the mission tomorrow and see if I can talk to someone about getting some food delivered to the building. It is probably too late but, what the heck, it's only a phone call and I can handle rejection.

My Christmas Miracle

In 2001 my dad was in the hospital dying on Christmas Day.

He was in so much pain that they had him in a medically induced coma and he was still lying in the bed stiff as a board. There was blood on his lips because he was clenching his teeth so hard. He was a diabetic and he needed to have his leg amputated because of sepsis but he was too weak for the surgery and they did not know if he would make it through the day.

Needless to say I was miserable, not only was my dad dying but it was Christmas Day and Christmas would be ruined for the rest of my life!

I promised God that I would do whatever I could to help him if he would let him live.

They decided to do dialysis on Christmas Day saying that it was the absolute last thing they could try for him. Fortunately the dialysis worked and he became strong enough a couple of days later to do the surgery. Also he never had to have dialysis again which is one of the complications of having it once - being on it for the rest of your life!

Daddy became strong enough to come home with me on February 4, 2002. They told me that he had around 10 days to live. I was blessed with taking care of him for another 2 3/4 years.

He had lost around 100 lbs. during the course of his illness. When I took him home and he still didn't want to eat, I would make him delicious,appetizing foods. When he would turn them down I would sit there in front of him and eat and smack my lips and just enjoy the hell out of the meal in front of him. Usually he would lean over and peep at the plate and say "I think I'll have a little of that." I managed to put 50 lbs. back on him but I also put 50 lbs. on myself! I definitely didn't need it, but it was worth every pound.

Taking care of daddy alone was hard. I had a little help from my uncles but for the most part I took care of everything for him. I do appreciate the help that they did give me though.

There were lots of ups and downs but he eventually became well enough that he was quite happy. I told him that if he could bear with me that I might make mistakes and do a lot of things wrong but I would always do my best and never intentionally hurt him.

That is exactly what happened.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

This Doesn't Happen Everyday...

...not even to me!

Last night an old man on a walker knocked on my door. He wanted to know if I was the kind of woman who liked to get stoned and watch a Christmas Movie????

I tried my best not to laugh as I told him I was busy. I do know who he is because I have given him food before but I have never really spoken to him before. I guess it was his way of repaying me???

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

I have to admit though that one time I had a tree that nothing could fix. I was living on my hundred acres and I had the bright idea of going out and cutting my own tree from my property. I knew exactly which tree I wanted to cut down. It was in the middle of a field, in a tiny cluster of trees which were in my way when I mowed the field. I was ready to kill two birds with one stone as it were - cut the tree down and clear the field so I had a clear shot during mowing season. The perfect solution.

So I marched out of my house with a hand saw to cut down that tree. No power saw for me, by golly, I was going to do this the old-fashioned way! (not to mention the fact that I am a natural born klutz and I KNOW my limitations) There was a light snow on the ground so I slipped and slid all the way up the hill to the tree. I sawed at that tree for probably a half an hour before it fell with a gratifying thud. I felt like such a lumberjack.

I dragged it to the house and I put it up in the corner of my living room. I started to turn it to find the "good side". To my dismay I found there was no "good side". So I decorated it with my lovely decorations that I had saved from year to year and had always had a gorgeous tree. Not this time. My tree was not beautiful, it was not even pretty, It looked pitiful.

It looked so pitiful that I went back outside to that little grove of trees and cut down another tree. I took it into the house and I took off all the decorations and I put the two trees together and I wired myself one big, giant tree! It still didn't help. Even after I decorated my makeshift tree it was still the ugliest monstrosity that I have ever had the pleasure(?) of putting into my house at Christmastime.

Every year I enjoy my ritualistic burning of the Christmas tree when I take it down. The burning was particularly enjoyable that year. And that is the story of my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.