What up Wednesday

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So yesterday, I got "the call".

"You and your sister better come and see your mother as soon as you can."

When you have a family member in hospice, every time the phone rings, your heart sinks a little. It was late in the afternoon and coincidentally, Lisa and I had both gotten home early from work so we were able to make the 2 mile journey to see Mom together.

Her condition was pretty poor but in true Mom fashion, a few hours later, she had stabilized again. Bernie and I went to visit her this morning and the minute we turned down the hall toward her unit, I heard a nurse call out, "Oh my gosh! That must be Bernadette! I recognize her from her pictures." Mom's room is FILLED with pictures of "the baby".

Bernie was a huge hit, basking in the lovin' from the nurses. Normally, when you bring a dog in, you need to keep them leashed and close to you but the hospice unit has its own set of rules, which are basically "anything goes". The unit consists of glass doors enclosing 6 suites with a common area in the center that has a TV and chairs. It's also where the nurses and aides hang out so they can attend to people immediately when they need something.

I was talking to my mother and when I looked down, Bernie was nowhere to be found. She had wandered into the common area, looking for someone to dote on her. She plays them by giving them this, "Woe is me.." look.


There were a few patients out there but since most of them have limited mobility, I picked her up and took her from person to person to say hello. It's amazing how a person's demeanor changes in the presence of a dog. There were smiles all around and I'm glad that Bernie could bring some small amount of happiness to their day.

There was a new aide there today and she came in to chat with me to catch up on what Mom's particular needs are. When she left, my mother turned to me, tilted her head and got this faraway look in her eyes as she stared at me.

I started calling out to her, "Mom! Mom, are you okay?"

She finally blinked and then did it again.

"Mom! Is something wrong? Can you hear me?"

She blinked again and said, "God, you're slow today."

"What?"

She replied, "I'm imitating the way that girl was looking at you. I think she's in love with you."

It was so funny! She's still kickin'.

Then the rabbi came in and she told him how she was going to start walking again soon. She just won't give up! I had never met him before and we had a nice conversation. As he was leaving, he turned to my mother and said, "You have a very beautiful daughter."

When he left, she said,"Boy, you're popular with the boys and girls today, aren't you?"

I just shook my head and laughed.

Secondhand Sunday

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sundays are my Secondhand day. I'm basically too lazy to think of anything new to say so I re-post a "vintage" entry.

If you aren't in the mood for repeats, please feel free to change the channel.


"I KNEW IT!"

Original Post Date, April 23, 2010


So you know how I've been lamenting over the fact that I've gained 30+ pounds in the last year, right?

And how my sister insists that it's perimenopause?

And how I'm sure that I'm NOT perimenopausal but that there must be something beyond my control physiologically that's causing this?

Well, I was finally able to get into an endocrinologist this week to see what might be going on. She asked me a series of questions:

1. Are you fatigued often? Yep.

2. Do you have trouble sleeping? Nope. Just waking up.

3. Any excess body hair? Well, I'm Armenian so this must be a trick question.

She ordered bloodwork to test my hormones, pituitary gland and thyroid. Thanks to McAfee, our computers have been down for 24 hours but I was able to get a copy of my test results to look over.

Now, keep in mind, I work in administration at a hospital. I'm not a doctor and I don't pretend to be one. However, I do have access to Google so I'm able to self diagnose virtually every disease I've ever had.


Here are some examples:


Symptoms - July, 2008

Pressure like chest pain radiating to my left arm

Clammy sweating

Rapid heartbeat and palpitations

Inability to catch my breath.


Self diagnosis: HEART ATTACK

Actual diagnosis by Emergency room physician: PANIC ATTACK


Symptoms - January, 2009

Fever

Rash

Exhaustion

Muscle aches

Pain when urinating


Self-diagnosis: HIV

Actual diagnosis: BLADDER INFECTION


Symptoms - September, 2009


New growth on neck, dark and asymmetrical in shape

Raised texture to the touch

Found after spending a great deal of time outdoors in the summer

Self diagnosis: SKIN CANCER

Actual diagnosis: PIECE OF CHOCOLATE SHELL COATING FROM DIPPED ICE CREAM CONE

Okay, so maybe I haven't been 100% accurate, but this time I'm feeling pretty confident.

I've evaluated my hormone levels. I've also looked at the normal versus overactive percentile ranges for pituitary activity and come to a conclusion.

Self diagnosis: I'M PREGNANT.



Behold and rejoice the Second Coming!


Or...maybe I just have gas. I'll let you know what the doc says today.

My Newbie YouTubie

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Since I couldn't figure out how to upload this directly from my computer, I had to create a YouTube account and cut and paste.

I promise these won't be so lame in the future.

What Up Wednesday

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just wanted to give you guys some quick updates on "what's up" this week.

As you know, the hospice that we had Mom in kicked her out last week because she didn't die. I know that sounds harsh but that's Medicare for you. We were really disappointed because she was getting exceptional care and she was so sad that she had to leave. We got her on a waiting list for their long term hospice but it's based on acuity and since her condition is stabilized, she couldn't get in.

So we were tasked with finding her a new facility. Well, actually the social worker was tasked with that but she was pretty useless so I took it upon myself to find her a place.

Luckily, I discovered that Medicare.gov has a section on their site that rates nursing homes around the country. We were seriously considering one but then realized that on a scale of 1-5, that their rating was a 1! No thanks.

Lisa and I decided on one that has a 4 out of 5 rating and is pretty close to where we both live. Unfortunately, they didn't have a suite available in their hospice unit so they put in her in a rehab wing until a bed became available. They assured us that she would get the same care as in the hospice wing.

That didn't happen so I had Lisa call and talk to the hospice director because I was far too upset and emotional and Lisa is able to discuss things in a more rational manner. Miraculously, they found a bed available in the hospice unit for her and transferred her today. I'll stop out tomorrow to check out her new digs.

Vinny's peeing again. I know! I can't understand why. The only reason that I can assume is because the weather is getting warmer and he wants to go outside. I thought that I had been cleaning it well until a friend came over a few days ago and said, "Your house smells like cat pee."

Oh no! That was my biggest fear. To top it off, I'm going to be selling my house and moving into my mother's and no one is going to buy a house that smells like cat pee. I'm torn because if he doesn't stop, he has to go. I just love him but I can't live in a pee house.

I'm anxious to start working out to relieve some stress but I still have a cough and I'm just so tired. I had a chest x-ray to see if I had pneumonia and that came back negative, so I'm not sure what it is.

Maybe it's the cat pee?

Since I'm selling my house, there are a lot of little things that need to be done. Some functional and some that will just make it more aesthetically pleasing. My house is pretty small so it's perfect for a couple or a single woman. I say single woman because I have three bedrooms but one is so small, that I converted it to a walk-in closet. That's worth the price alone!

I've enlisted the help of a hot handyman so I'm gonna be workin' it to get some discounts and I'll keep you posted.

And that's "what's up" this week.

Teach an old dog new tricks? Probably not

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


We've all seen the books and calendars with puppy pictures. Here's the puppy playing with a ball. Oh, here he is falling asleep in his food. And, yes, they're adorable.

But for any of you who have loved an old dog, you MUST read this book. I happened upon it when a local bookstore was going out of business and it called to me from the top of an empty shelf.

Each dog in the book is at least 10 years old and Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post writer, Gene Weingarten, brilliantly captures the dignity and essence of these dogs.

Check it out if you can. I promise you won't be sorry.

Monday Morning Bernie

Monday, March 21, 2011


"I'm telling you...I had to pee on the rug because Vinny flipped my pee pee pad over.

Look! It's right behind me here. Flipped OVER!

This is a set up. I need an attorney. I know my rights!"

Secondhand Sunday

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sundays are my Secondhand day. I'm basically too lazy to think of anything new to say so I re-post a "vintage" entry.

If you aren't in the mood for repeats, please feel free to change the channel.


"MY X FACTOR"

Original Post Date, March 27, 2009



Back in the early 90's, I worked for Jenny Craig. We inundated the market with strategically placed commercials; in the morning after the kids left for school, midmorning while Mom was doing laundry or right in the middle of Oprah. Sure as the tides, the phones would start to ring after a 60 second spot ran touting "50% off Registration if you act NOW."

Our first goal was to read through the phone script to convince them that they had to come in TODAY before they ate one more cupcake. The theory behind this sense of urgency was that each person has that one thing that makes them pick up the phone and call.

Maybe their child said "Mommy has a fat butt" or they tried putting on their jeans and couldn't zip them up. We called that their "X Factor", the thing that made them say, enough is enough.

My X Factor happened last week when I signed up for my 25 year high school reunion. I try to work out regularly and I was thinking that I looked okay until I waved to someone the other day and when I stopped waving, my arm kept going. Okay, so maybe I need a little toning.

My high school had a large graduating class of about 450 and I pretty much stayed under the radar. I wasn't a jock but I wasn't a "burn out", either. I could easily mix with both groups but never quite fit into either one. My memories kind of blend from one non-momentous event to another.

Until prom.

Prom is the pinnacle of a young girl's high school experience. That moment when she can dress up like a princess and gather with her friends, bidding adieu to her childhood, looking hopefully toward her future as a young woman.

Then there was my prom.

I wasn't dating anyone and so I agreed to go with a friend of mine since he wasn't dating anyone either. We'll call him Vince, since that was his name. He was on the football team and hung out with the jocks. He had a great body but average looks so girls weren't exactly swooning.

Vince and I had been friends all through junior high and high school and I told people that we were just going as friends. Vince's perspective was a little different as you'll see.

I went shopping with my girlfriends for my dress and after prom outfit and was really looking forward to the night. About 3 or 4 days before the big event, I ran into a friend in the bathroom.

Friend: "Oh my God, Chrissy, I just heard about what happened with Vince. I'm so sorry!"

Me: "Hmm? What do you mean? What happened with Vince?"

Friend: "Um. Nothing never mind."

Me: (blocking the doorway so my petite friend couldn't leave) "WHAT do you mean?"

It turned out that Vince really liked me and was upset that I was telling people that we were just friends. So he asked someone else to go. Someone who had a huge crush on him. Someone who was a FRESHMAN. Or maybe a sophomore. Anyway..she was younger.

He never did have the balls to tell me himself until I managed to get him on the phone and make him fess up. Everyone in the school knew what a shitty thing it was to do and so Student Council decided that they were going to pay for me and a date to go. Have you ever been 17 and tried to find a date 2 days before prom?

Needless to say, I couldn't find anyone to go so a friend volunteered his younger brother. He was very nice, even though he stepped on my dress and tore the bottom of it almost completely off while we were taking pictures before prom and he didn't speak at all the whole night. But, hey, what a trooper!

Wait, it gets better.

My date wasn't able to go to after prom. I don't think he was allowed to stay up that late or something. So my friend Lisa and her date said they would swing by and pick me up at my house after I went home to switch outfits.

I eagerly changed into my cute after prom outfit and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I finally called Lisa's house to see where they were and her mother told me that they had left over an hour ago.

They never picked me up because Lisa's date thought I looked pretty and she was jealous.

I never spoke to Lisa or Vince again until 10 years later when I ran into Vince out one night. He looked really different and I wasn't even sure it was him.

Me: "Are you Vince? Vince...(Okay, I won't say his last name)

Vince: "Yes", a puzzled look came over his face as he tried to place who I was.

Me: "You bastard! You ruined my prom!"

He was shocked to see me and seemed really upset about what had happened all those years ago. I told him how it had hurt my feelings at the time but that I had gotten over it because we were kids and kids do selfish things.

Then I saw Lisa a few months back.

And she was fat.

It was fantastic.

Gosh, I hope she makes it to the reunion so we can catch up...

Spring is Sprunging

Friday, March 18, 2011



C'mon, Daffodils, you can do it! Don't let the big bad snow get you down.

I'm a mess

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I came home a few weeks ago and there was a subpoena taped to my door. Remember the woman that rear ended me and my mother back in January?



Well, apparently she was contesting her ticket so I was to appear as a witness for the prosecution, which in this case was the city that the accident took place in.

There was a note on the subpoena to call the prosecutor and when I did, he asked if he could count on me to be there.

My response? "Oh, she's goin' down. I'll be there."

Today was the court date.

Mapquest sucks because I ended up getting lost in the most God awful part of Cleveland. I kept driving thinking that eventually I would hit a familiar main road but it just wasn't happening. I reached to put my sunglasses on so that people wouldn't see the fear in my eyes if I accidentally made eye contact with them at a traffic light.

Thankfully, I looked in my side mirror and saw a police car coming up alongside me.



I rolled my window down and started frantically waving my arm to get their attention. They stopped right in the middle of the road and rolled down their window. They gave me the directions I needed and then pulled in front of me when we started moving again.

A few intersections down, the one officer got out of the car and walked over to mine to be sure that I knew exactly where I needed to go. I thought that was really nice of him. Of course, he probably knew that he was just saving himself from a 911 call later from a panicked, middle aged white woman lost in the hood.

Let me preface this court drama for you by saying that I'm still sick with whatever the heck this cough is, work is a nightmare, we just moved Mom to a new hospice facility yesterday and Vinny is peeing on my sofa again so I'm absolutely drained. At least my cough syrup with codeine knocks me out enough at night so I can get some sleep but it usually doesn't amount to much.

I have two moods. Weepy and bitchy. I'm either really sad and crying at the drop of a hat or I'm really pissed off at everyone and everything. And yes, sometimes I'm both in the course of an hour.

I got to court 15 minutes early and since it's a small suburban court, there were only a few other people there waiting for their cases to be heard. The bailiff was like a character out of Kill the Irishman. He spoke very animatedly and had a thick gold chain around his neck.

Since the woman who hit me (who hereafter shall be referred to as, The Biatch) was waiting for her attorney, the other two cases were heard first. Both entered a No Contest plea, which essentially means that they admit fault but it's by no fault of their own. Also known as the Pussy Plea.

By now, The Biatch's attorney had arrived and she approached the court to plea on her defendant's behalf. I was waiting for them to call me to the stand and ask me to place my hand on the Bible and swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

I guess I've been watching too many Law and Order shows because that didn't happen. The attorneys mumbled importantly to each other and then the prosecutor asked if The Biatch's attorney could approach me to talk.

Sure, I say.

Well...it wasn't pretty after that. I had been up since 5AM and I was tired and annoyed that I had to be there. And that I almost lost my life in the hood.

Essentially, what The Biatch wanted to do was plead guilty to the charges but NOT have the points on her license so "her insurance rates wouldn't go up since she's the primary caregiver for her 5 year old son."

Cue the violins! Boo hoo. Tell it to someone who cares.

I told her that I was sorry that she had such a lousy driving record and felt the need to contest a few points on a license. I brought up how I was the caregiver for my mother and how that certainly wouldn't excuse my behavior if I had hit her.

I even pointed out how accusatory she was when I got out to inspect the damage to my car.

"Why did you stop so fast??"

And how she never even filed the claim with her insurance company.

"Yes, I did. That must be a mistake."

Boo hoo. Tell it to someone who cares.

I, admittedly, was irrationally upset. I guess it was a culmination of everything because I even thought to myself, God, I'm a mess. What the hell is wrong with me?

When The Biatch, her attorney and the prosecutor all went outside to confer about whether she would take the next step and go to court, Mr. Tough Guy bailiff came over and said, "You shouldn't be so upset about this. It's really not that big of a deal."

And what do you think I did?

That's right. I started to cry. And once I started, I couldn't stop.

He panicked, "Oh geez. Oh geez. I should have left you alone. I'm sorry."

I had calmed myself down a little by the time they all came back in and The Biatch's attorney made one last attempt to get me to change my mind.

Who knew that I held all the cards in the court's final ruling?

I responded, "Look. Your client hit me so she should incur points on her license. If she wants a trial, I'll see you in court."

I always wanted to say that..

To which, The Biatch's attorney turned to the judge and said, "We would like to change our plea to No Contest." That means court costs, a fine and points on her license.

Oh, and I get $6.00 for being there as a witness.



DUH. WINNING!

Stripper Chick Wisdom

Wednesday, March 16, 2011




Chrissy's real truth about life that no one will tell you.



"Always remember that you are unique.

Just like everyone else."

Thumbs up!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Okay, I saw Kill the Irishman on Sunday and LOVED IT. I don’t know what I was thinking not getting there early. I figured it was a Sunday afternoon matinee, how busy could it be?

Gee, a movie about CLEVELAND’S most notorious gangster playing in CLEVELAND? Yep, it was a big “duh” moment for me.

There are only a few theaters that are showing it and since the closest one to me is old and small, I decided to head over to a multiplex about a half hour away. The movie started at 1:15 and that’s about the time I reached for the theater door. I was pretty proud of myself for getting there on time when I saw the huge line for the box office. Then I kicked myself for not ordering my tickets online with Fandango. Besides, it’s so fun to say.

Fandango

FanDANgo

FANdango


I walked up to the window, “One for Kill the Irishman, please”. I took my ticket and headed inside. I handed the kid my ticket and he says to me, “You’ll have to wait 20 minutes before you can go into this theater.”

"What? No, the show started at 1:15.”

“That show is sold out.”

From somewhere deep inside, I must have been channeling the ghost of Danny Greene when I heard myself respond,“Why the fuck didn’t he tell me that? I’m not waiting 45 fucking minutes for a movie.”

I swear, I don’t know where it came from but I used my disgust to track down a manager who found me a seat in the “sold out” theater. I didn’t even mind that I was sitting elbow to elbow with complete strangers. I got to see my movie at the time I wanted. Capiche?

The screenwriter took some creative license as they always do to give a film better flow so some of the facts were skewed. Most disappointing was that when Danny was killed, he was actually killed in a medical building right down the street from where I live. However, the director must have felt that they wanted to keep the "mean streets of Cleveland" image going and have him blown up in an urban setting instead.

Ray Stevenson is my new crush. I don't know who he is or where he came from, but he is Yummy with a capital Y.


Ray...Ray...where have you been my whole life, baby?




Mike who?

Monday Morning Vinny

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday to my beautiful boy, Vinny! I can't believe he's been with me and Bernie for five months already.



Notice I didn't attempt to put a party hat on him.

Secondhand Sunday

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sundays are my Secondhand day. I'm basically too lazy to think of anything new to say so I re-post a "vintage" entry.

If you aren't in the mood for repeats, please feel free to change the channel.


"IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED"

Original Post Date, September 8, 2010



Okay, so you know how my mother tricked me into promising my dying father that I would join Weight Watchers, right?

Well, I did.

Last Thursday night was my first weigh-in. Notice how I'm not posting after this Thursday's meeting because I'm worried that I haven't lost anything. Don't get me wrong. I've stuck to the program and counted all my points. I've worked out every day. I'm just a-skared. It almost seemed too easy.

I need to suffer! I need to feel like I'm being deprived of things that all the good people of the world can eat. I don't want to be told that I can actually EAT a candy bar as long as I "count my points."

Okay, where's the camera? Is this going on YouTube?

I got there 30 minutes before the class so that I could register. The only reason I chose this particular meeting is because it's literally 3 minutes from my house in our city community center. I debated going at night because everyone knows that the best time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning, naked, after you pee but before you shower. Wet hair adds unwanted ounces to the scale. Don't be a fool, people.

Well, I'm a fool. Because I had my initial weigh-in at 7PM, after gourging myself for a week and having a "last supper" Big Mac meal at 6PM. I couldn't love you more, two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

I know I've said it before, but THIS was the most I've ever weighed.

I was so pissed off when she handed me the booklet where she had scribbled that...that NUMBER that I stomped over to a seat and waited for the class to start. There were only about 4 people there early and a guy about my age turned around to greet me.

Big mistake. Didn't he see me stomping?

"Well, hello, how are you today?"

I squinted my eyes at him, "Well, I would be a lot better if I wasn't so FAT!"

Where did that come from? I thought to myself. Wow. Fat people really are mean!

He turned away for a minute but came back for more.

"The weather's pretty nice, isn't it?"

Weather? Is this guy really trying to talk to me about the weather when I'm the fattest I've ever been in my life? How can he even stand to look at me? I'm hideous!

"Uh, huh." It's not his fault you're fat, Chrissy..

Hopefully, I'll have a positive outcome tomorrow so that I won't have to bitch slap him when he says, "So how was your first week?"

C Cleveland

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I've talked before about the colorful mob history that Cleveland has. Now you'll be able to experience it for yourself in a new film called, Kill the Irishman.



It's based on a book written by Rick Porello, the Police Chief of a suburban Cleveland neighborhood. The movie chronicles the life of Danny Greene, an Irishman who grew up in a working class neighborhood and became a union leader for the longshoremen working on the Cleveland docks.

Greene worked his way into the local organized crime world with a vision of taking over La Cosa Nostra, the Italian led Mafia. Needless to say, they weren't pleased and they showed their contempt in a series of attempts on his life. All failed.

The Celtic Warrior, as Greene dubbed himself, was a charismatic guy who wasn't afraid of talking to the press. He used the opportunity to mock and taunt the Mafia leaders who became "the gang that couldn't shoot straight" because of their inability to take down this one man force of nature.

Many of the neighborhoods depicted in the film remain as they were back then. Sadly, the film was shot in Detroit and not Cleveland, because of the tax breaks that Michigan offered in 2009 when it was filmed.

Here's the cast of characters and the actors who portray them:



Danny Greene







Ray Stevenson






Legendary Cleveland gangster and inspiration of "Kill The Irishman." He was killed by a car bomb in Lyndhurst in 1977.



John Nardi







Vincent D'Onofrio




Nardi, mob-connected secretary-treasurer of Vending Machine Employees Local 410, part of the Teamsters Union. He and Greene collaborated on gambling and money-skimming schemes that increasingly trampled on the turf of Cleveland mafia boss James "Jack White" Licavoli. Nardi was killed by a car bomb in 1977 in the parking lot of the Teamsters Joint Council 41.




Shondor Birns


Christopher Walken










Arrested more than 50 times, Alex "Shondor" Birns was mob-connected racketeer who was dubbed Public Enemy No. 1 by Cleveland lawmen. He excelled at extortion, assault and murder. He was killed by a car bomb in 1975 in Cleveland.



James "Jack White" Livoli


Tony Lo Bianco









James "Jack White" Licavoli battled Nardi and Greene for control of Cleveland's rackets. He became undisputed boss of the local mafia shortly after their deaths. Later convicted on federal racketeering charges, he died in prison in 1985.



Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno


Paul Sorvino









New York Genovese family crime boss who became embroiled in the mob conspiracy to kill Danny Greene.





Ray Ferritto


Robert Davi











Mob hitman convicted of killing Greene.




Ed Kovacic


Val Kilmer







Cleveland police detective Ed Kovacic spent his early career tracking Greene and his cohorts. In the movie, he is partially represented by a composite character named Detective Joe Manditski.





Kill the Irishman opens this weekend in Cleveland, New York and Los Angeles and expanded cities later in the month.

You know I'll be seeing it! Will you?

Secondhand Wednesday

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sorry, I couldn't resist.


"OH, I'M GOIN' TO HELL FOR THIS"

Original Post Date, April 2, 2009




I can't tell you how many times I've muttered this statement. After I've said something that's politically incorrect, cut off school buses in traffic, taken the Lord's name in vain and kept the extra change the cashier accidentally gave me. I've lost of track of how many things I've done that would guarantee me a VIP pass to Satan's lair.

Every year, I act the good Christian and impose a personal penance on myself by giving up something I love for Lent. And every year, I give up sweets. Since I grew up as a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, our Lenten season begins the 7th Monday before Easter since we don't count Sundays when calculating the season of Great Lent.

I don't remember why. I would like to say that I missed that Sunday school class but I had perfect attendance as my personalized Bible will attest, so I'll just chalk it up to old age.

In fact, I never remember that our Lenten season starts sooner so I usually just follow what my Catholic friends do. When I start seeing purple, green and gold Mardi Gras beads in the stores, I know it's time to start gourging myself in anticipation of my weeks of sacrifice.

The first week, usually on the Monday or Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, I go to the grocery store and stock up on fruits, nuts and other healthy snacks. Then I boast to everyone within earshot that I have "given up sweets for Lent" and I bask in the glow of their admiration.

The accolades continue through the second week when, at a staff meeting, I'm presented with the dilemma of whether or not to eat a chocolate chip muffin. It's early and I haven't had breakfast yet so I glance around the room to determine if any of the attendees know about my Lenten endeavor.

The coast is clear so I lovingly place the muffin on a plate, grab a bottle of water and take a seat. A glance at the clock reveals that there are ten minutes before the meeting starts, which is plenty of time to indulge myself in my favorite morning treat. I gaze down at it, plump with chocolate chips peeking out at me and I refrain myself from teasing it with a lick, though the desire is strong.

"Why, Good Morning! I thought you gave up sweets for Lent?" I stop chewing and look up to see the woman that I had made a Lenten pact with just two weeks ago.

"I'm giving up sweets for Lent." I had told her.

"Oh my gosh, me too. How perfect! We can be each other's support."

"Deal!"

I think back to that fateful encounter as I pretend that I'm still chewing, my mind racing for an explanation.

"I'm sorry. What did you say?" Because don't you always say this to buy yourself some extra time?

"I said, Didn't you give up sweets for Lent?" her arms are now folded across her chest and she's leaning on one hip.

"Me? Oh....oh...I know...you must have misunderstood. What I said was that I was giving up candy, not all sweets."

"Oh, okay." she replied as she took a banana and sat down across from me.

By week three, the plethora of drugstore Easter candy starts showing up in bunny dishes atop file cabinets and desks around the department. I spoon a handful of black jelly beans (my favorite) into my hand as I'm walking out of the clinic.

"I thought you said you were giving up candy for Lent?" a voice calls to me and I fear turning around, knowing it's my support buddy.

"Hey, hi! What? Candy? No, no...what I said was that I was giving up chocolate. Not all candy because, you know, chocolate is my favorite and it is the biggest sacrifice. These jelly beans? I could take 'em or leave 'em. Hey, how are you doing?"

"Good! No sweets at all. We're doing really good!" she beams.

"We sure are. Yay, us!" I turn to walk out and grab a tissue to wipe the jelly bean blackness off my sweaty palms.

Week four arrives and I have Sunday dinner with my parents. After we eat, my mother goes into the other room and comes back with her hand behind her back.

"Guess what I have? You're fav-or-ite..." She brings her arm around front and opens her cupped hand to reveal Cadbury eggs; the most amazing once a year confection ever invented.

I grab them from her and eagerly start to unwrap one.

"Hey!" my sister scowls at me, "I thought you gave up sweets?"

"What? No....no...I decided against it this year."

Oh, I'm definitely goin' to Hell for this. Anyone care to join me?

What a week!

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's been a physically and emotionally exhausting week. I've been really sick with this strange cough that keeps me up all night. Last night was the first time I didn't cough every five minutes so to celebrate that fact, I slept 12 hours. Yes, 12 hours!

Mom was moved to a hospice facility on Friday because the hospital felt that there was nothing else that they could do for her. Can I just say that you would be shocked at the progress she's made. A week ago, we were planning her funeral and on Friday when I went to see her, she was sitting up in bed and her greeting to me was, "Where the hell have you been?"

She's baaaaaaaaaaaack.

I swear, the woman has 9 lives. I can't tell you how many times my poor sister has signed a DNR (do not resuscitate) on her. By Saturday, she was asking when her physical therapy would start again!

Now, don't get me wrong. She's still on oyxgen and she still did damage to her heart so in actuality, it's not likely that she'll ever go home because she does need 24 hour care. But she has started talking to my sister again since she realized what wonderful care she's receiving now. You see, she thought that my sister had made the decision to send her somewhere to die. Of course, the bad decisions are never her sweet Chrissy's so it must have been Lisa!

We'll likely have her transferred to another facility in a week or so and who knows? She's defied the odds many, many times before so she may fool us all and be able to go home again. I would love nothing more than for that to happen.

For now, we'll just take it one day at a time...

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