December 22, 2013


Just went to Arby's to go to the restroom while traveling to Canada. First I had to slip and slide down the newly mopped hallway to the restroom. Then I open the bathroom door and there is a worker sitting on the stool. She screams, I scream, and I hurry and shut the door. Me, always saying the wrong things in awkward moments say through the door, "Don't worry, we all have the same parts."      

She comes out and to try to make her feel better I say, "I didn't really see anything." Even though I did. "I just screamed because you did and I thought something major was happening."    

Needless to say, I couldn't look her in the face when I went to order my small chocolate mint shake. (If you are one of the many who like chocolate mint ice cream you know you're a freak about it and at Christmas time mint is everywhere!)

So I turned and watched football stats on the TV behind me which if you know me, that's a joke. The only time I watched a football game was when I twirled Flags for Purdue football and I would fall asleep on my hand out in the hot sun on the bleachers.

Finally, after what seemed like 20 minutes to make a shake, she said it was ready. I didn't know what to say to her, I mean I couldn't say sorry that I saw your whole backside. So I just said, "Thank you." She must have not been too angry because she gave me a large shake instead of a small.

So in closing, if you want free food or a larger size order all you have to do is to see an employee half naked in the restroom. But is it worth it? Probably not.

December 11, 2013

Going to Grandma's House

Noah at the Indiana State Fair
We are going to visit my husband's parents in Canada. It has been probably a year and a half since we've seen them and we are bringing Noah.

To get them prepared, we sent an email telling them to put everything which is breakable away and to lock the cabinet under the sink which contains dish washing soaps. Oh, and to also make sure the knives are put far enough away from the kitchen counter.

You see we have a toddler, plus he is overactive, and he doesn't sit still and he LOVES discovering things which he is not supposed to get into. He loves knives too, but it really is because he wants to cut things. Not people. Like apples and play dough. (Thank God.)

I fear they have no idea what is coming for them.

Noah is adorable. He is lovable. He is hilarious and is sure to be a comedian the way he loves to make people laugh. I love him and he is a mommy's boy. But he is also daring, impulsive, inquisitive, and obstinate.

Yesterday, I went to pay the cashier for his toddler pass to the gym. He took off running down the hallway, not looking back, going full throttle to make it to the racquetball courts. I chased after him, leaving my purse on the counter. Finally we get back and the cashier has me sign the credit card receipt. I let go of his hand and he takes off again, full throttle, for the racquetball courts. "You have your hands full," the cashier tells me. Don't I know it.

I am hoping it is a phase. That when he understands words he will suddenly realize it is not good to run off with abandonment. Maybe it is not a good idea to pull his sister's hair. And maybe it would be easier on mommy and daddy if he didn't scream when people are praying in church. Just maybe he will.

People don't believe me when I say he is high energy. They think, "He is just a toddler." But then when they take care of him, they know. He is very active. I know l00% he will never have a desk job. He is going to be a mountain climber or a builder. He will be going sky diving and race car driving completely for fun. Something definitely outdoors. When he was a baby we would sit outside and he would never, not once, cry. I've never seen a baby take to the outdoors like he has.

I try to remember it will get easier. He will eventually learn to be a little safer. If he ends up having hyperactivity or ADD, it is okay. I had a baby die at 8 months when I was pregnant. Give me a child with any type of problem over having one that dies, it is a blessing.

I just hope things go well in Canada. I hope they are prepared for the little whirlwind who is coming. He is crazy adorable but he is non-stop. It's just how it is. Wish us luck. They are going to be exhausted when we leave.

December 4, 2013

My Story Has Been Published

One of my stories has been published! A few months ago I read an ad on the Indiana writing website calling for submissions for a book they were doing about Indiana state parks. If chosen, it would be published in an anthology containing stories and poems from many contributing authors. Well, I grew up in Indiana and I attended those state parks. I thought, here we go!

The short story is about my camping trips with my dad at Shades State Park. Of course, it is done in my style and includes the harrowing experience I had with a crazy rabid raccoon family in the middle of the night. 

It just came out so I haven't received my copy yet but if you are from Indiana or like to go camping you may enjoy it.

Here is the website and yes, there is my name, Debbie Kollar. Or, you can go on The great thing is all of the proceeds go to help school children visit state parks to learn about nature and wildlife.

Whatever the case, I'm in. I can now say I am a published author in a book no less. I can say I have had an ongoing published column which people actually read. I can say I have had a blog, which pretty much anyone can have, right! I can even say I have had fan mail from my column, well two letters, but they made me feel wonderful. 

Yes, I am a writer. I am not perfect and I am slow going but I'm getting somewhere. I don't know what the future holds but if I want to get anywhere pertinent I'm going to have to work for it. I have never been one for good fortune to fall into my lap.

When I look back on my life there is a continually thread. I still have the poetry book I made in third grade. In junior high, my stories were published in an ongoing column in the school newspaper. But get this, because it will at least provide you with a laugh. They were soap opera stories! As a 7th/8th grader I was writing soap opera short stories about men and women in love. I don't have a copy from back then but I'm sure they are hilarious! 

In high school since I didn't have any money, I made up poems for my sister and brothers, wrote them on parchment paper with a calligraphy pen and framed them. Quite cheesy but I think a few of them still have it. I also had a story published in a high school book which I don't remember writing. When I worked at United Airlines in South Bend, I wrote for the company's newsletter and did exposes on the people who worked there. Then when I went to Catholic Charities, besides doing social work, I had a column in Keenager News. A newspaper which also contained articles from Monsignor Boland and Cardinal George.

You know we all have heard this before, try and find your purpose in life or what you should be doing. I can tell you how and if you don't see it, email me and I will be able to show you what it is. I think God or the universe or something shows us but most times we don't want to listen or see it because we are scared to fail, to succeed, or how much work it will take to get there.

Look at your life and see what threads or connections you have? Maybe you were always good at putting things together, figuring out how it worked, solving problems, and you felt wonderful when you did. Along the way, you won the science fair, you built a bookcase for the 4H fair, you always gravitated to discovering, building, and making things. You see where I am going? From the time we are young, we all have something which we come back to. Like my daughter. She is only 7 but I see her pathway emerging. She always gravitates towards arts and crafts. She watches You Tube for an hour just to learn how to build an outfit for a barbie doll out of duct tape. She will pick an art class or painting over her favorite show and considering how much she likes television, that is saying something. At the parent/teacher conference her teacher notices how great she draws. You see, we all have the answers of what we are supposed to be doing and it started when we were young and in some cases either we forget, our parents want us to go in a different direction, or we grow up and have family or financial responsibilities which preclude us from going down that path. What I'm asking you is, what path were you supposed to take? Only a few are lucky enough to be doing exactly what they want to in life. 

Every now and then it seems something comes along to show me my way. I just have to fight for it, harder than I have been. We all have dreams and many people tell us we can't do it. Most times it is us, telling ourselves, it is too hard. Here is the thing, the hard truth of it all. The more time we wait to work hard for something whether it's to change careers, write a book, get in shape, or take that dream vacation to Paris (anything you really want in life but feel you can't have) the more time passes until we wake up one day and realize how much time we have wasted. We have to continually work harder than we thought we could for what we truly want in life. We only have one lifetime to do it.

It is never too late to be what you might have been.

– George Eliot

October 6, 2013

You Are Getting Sleepy . . . Very Sleepy

Yesterday, I watched The Best of the Oprah Show and Super Soul Sunday, which is televised on OWN Network. It is a popular show with speakers like Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Tony Robbins and others who show people how to live spiritually, live their best life, and be their authentic self. You know, the Oprah thing. 

So I watched the show where Dr. Weiss, a prominent psychiatrist, was talking about Past Life Regression. Apparently, this famous psychiatrist is no backyard quack, he had a prestigious career, went to an ivy league school, and was the head of a hospital.

As the story goes, awhile back this doctor had a patient he treated named Mary. He notes she was a practicing Catholic and he was a skeptic so they didn't believe in Past Life Regression, basically saying they aren't crazy people. While he had her under hypnosis to help her with other issues she started talking about her past lives. He didn't know what to make of it until Mary, while under hypnosis, mentioned details about his son who passed away, his daughter being named after his father, and other information she could not possibly know. So at the risk of his career and after researching this for years, he published his book, Many Lives, Many Masters. There are more interesting details but you get the idea and whether or not it is true, it is interesting.

Here's the thing, Dr. Oz was on the show also. The psychiatrist had put Dr.Oz under hypnosis (privately) and ta da, Dr. Oz said he experienced previous lives or something like it!! Now you know if Dr. Oz says something is true it has some weight. Seriously, Dr. Oz doesn't seem like the type of guy who would lie about his experience. He has too much to lose with his practice and TV career.

I don't know if we have past lives or not but anything where we find out more about ourselves or the condition of our human existence is interesting. I wanted to see if I had past lives or if this really happens when under hypnosis. The only problem, I can't afford to go to a psychiatrist to get hypnotized! We have kids so taking out money for this rather than, I don't know, paying the electric bill probably wouldn't set well with my husband. I could probably afford the local psychic down the street, you know the type, with the sign *Psychic* blaring in neon lights out of her home window. However, she would probably give me a tarot reading, tell me I have the Death Card, say I was a crazy person in my past life, and ask me to give her an extra $200 so she can come and burn sage and incense in my house to get rid of evil spirits. No, can't see myself doing that. So I decided to do the next best thing, for free!

I tried to hypnotize my husband to see if it works.

Yes, folks. I know what you're saying. My husband is my guinea pig for everything: reading my stories, testing recipes, tasting expired food, being hypnotized. Until he protests, I just go with it.

So I had him lay back in a chair while I sat on a bench close to him.
"Just relax," I said.
"I don't think this is going to work," he said.
"I know, but let's try. Close your eyes."
He closed his eyes.
"You are getting sleepy, very sleepy."
He burst out laughing.
"You have to try and take this seriously or it won't work."
"Listen to the sound of my voice," I said calmly. "I'm going to count to 5 and you are going to be very relaxed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ."
He starts laughing again. "Wait a minute. You said you were only going to count to 5."
"Oh, yea, that's right. Okay, close your eyes again."
He closes his eyes.
"I'm going to count to 10 and then count backwards. Breathe deeply as I count. 1, 2 . . .3. . .4, 5, 6 "
He opens his eyes. "If you're going to count you have to count in an even tone. Not 1,2,3...4,5...6"
"Just close your eyes and relax!" I said. "Okay, let's move on. I want you to think about your earliest childhood memory."
"I don't remember back that far," he said.
"Just pick something and try to remember it already."
"Okay, I remember when I was young and my family and a bunch of friends were sitting outside in our backyard and there was a fire going. The neighbors came over and we were all singing."
"And what happened?"
"My parents made me go to bed."
"Okay, how did that make you feel," I said as a psychologist would do.
"I wanted to stay up but I was young."
"Now think of your past lives," I said. "What is happening?"
I see his brow furrow as if he isn't buying this.
"Maybe you were a solider in an army?" And then we both lost it and laughed hysterically.

So then he said, "Let me try and hypnotize you."
"Relax," he said.
And then the neighbors weed whacker went on next door. I tried to tune it out.
"I want you to go into a deep sleep.What is your earliest memory?"
The neighbors weed whacker went on full blast.

By the time we were done we realized there is a reason why husbands and wives don't hypnotize each other. I guess I'll have to go to the neighborhood psychic lady's house down the street and find out if I was a crazy person in my previous life.

September 15, 2013

Ten Favorite Places

1. Hawaii  - If you were lucky enough to venture there you know why. I worked for United Airlines so I was able to go a few times. Lucky, yes! With the freshest pineapple you have ever tasted, a constant breeze which smells like the ocean and giant green mountains full of tropical flowers - it really is paradise.
2. The Library - There is something about a library, any library. Yes, it's quiet. But the amount of information there enables you to get lost in your own little world, preferably in a nice comfortable chair by a window.  
3. The Movie Theater - I love movies and every time I go I know for 2 hours I'm going to be entertained and lost in another world.
4. The Beach, Lake or Swimming Pool - I am definitely a water person. There is something peaceful about water even when you wash your hands with cold water on a hot day. If the theory of evolution really exists, I definitely was spawned from a sea creature. Hopefully, a cute one.
4. A Writing Conference - Being together with a bunch of people who are passionate about the same thing is always good, no matter what you like to do. There is a collective energy in the room and at writers conferences there is always hope, excitement, camaraderie and a wealth of knowledge to share.
5. The Outdoors, Reading a Book - I love sitting outside on a nice day, reading something. If the view is peaceful, it's all the more better. When you look at the sky, the fresh grass or the bright flowers - you know life is supposed to be simple and beautiful.
6. Listening to a comedian - Laughing is probably one of the best things in the world. If you can find someone who makes you laugh, it can make your day.
7. A Moment of Grace - I know everyone has experienced it a couple of times in their life if not a few times a year. It's when in that moment, everything is perfect and there is no place you would rather be. It can be a moment experienced when your child is laughing, accomplishing something you didn't think you could, experiencing something which tastes out of this world or being in the moment with a new love. It can even be riding your bike and feeling the sunshine or driving fast in a new sports car. With everyone it is something different and there isn't a lot of these moments in life so they are special. Moments of grace make you feel more alive than anything else.
8. Being With My Children In the Moment - I have a problem of getting distracted, thinking about the millions of things I need to do. So when I'm in the moment playing Barbie dolls with my daughter or playing trucks with my son and I'm not thinking about everything else, I feel blessed.
9. Feeling the Presence of God - I haven't experienced this very much in my life. But a few times, when I have been at church (I need to go more) and the music is going just right and there is an energy with the people singing, I feel moved. Like there has to be someone greater than who we are out there.
10. Traveling to a New Place  - Whether it's Disney World, Door County, a beach in Florida or a museum, there is something about discovering a new place. We are not the only ones out in this world and seeing new people, learning new things and even being in a new type of place I haven't seen before reminds me of how big this world is and how people and life exist all around. Different lives, different places but in the end, we are all just people trying to live our life the best we can.

So what are your ten favorite places to be? If you don't know them, you should. We all need to experience more terrific moments in our lives.

Do Something About the Neighbors, Floyd!

This is not the actual car, but you get the point.

We have a neighbor problem or I should say, I do.

The reason for the title?  I can just see a cranky elderly woman sending her husband out to deal with "those" troublesome neighbors next door. "Deal with it, Floyd. Just deal with it." Alas, I am not a cranky elderly woman (I'm too nice for my own good) and I do not have any Floyd to go over and cause a ruckus.

You see, we live in a rural city, downtown in a suburban middle class neighborhood. But next door to us, as if it doesn't belong, we have an apartment building. The absentee owner has always been pretty nice when we've called him, which I appreciate. Most of the tenants from about 8 apartments seem like hard working easy-going people. But then there are "the ones", people who are now starting to drive me crazy.

The first tenant I had an issue with, we'll call her Natasha (I have no idea what her name was), is a 90 some year-old elderly Russian woman who couldn't hear, at all! During the afternoons, every time I went outside to read, suddenly The Price is Right or The Wheel of Fortune would blare out of her apartment window. I dealt with it. But then the cop television shows at 2 A.M. started to happen. Our bedroom window would be open and I would hear shooting, yelling, sirens - whatever a cop show entails and I would not be able to sleep. My husband, oblivious and dead asleep did not hear these old cop shows. I had enough! So I told my husband to call the owner. (I know, I'm a chicken.)

My husband comes back that night telling me he had a long conversation with the owner. Apparently, the woman was an elderly Russian woman who has the TV full volume all the time, has the air conditioner on in the winter, has issues with the neighbors, thinks her case worker and the manager of the building are having sex, is disagreeable with the neighbors, called the cops to talk to them, was tired and just put down the phone (the cops came and broke down her door and found her asleep) and is extremely hard to get to change. "Oh brother," I told my husband. And then he told me he had mentioned to the owner I had been a social worker/case manager for seniors. My husband said the owner thought maybe I, yes I!!!, could go talk to her and get her to change. "What!" I said. No way, no how was I going to enter into that situation.

Well, the good news. It stopped. Where she went, I have no idea. But now, a new problem has ensued . . .

The rapper, base playing, no job, 20 something, Pimp My Ride boy. I have no idea when he moved in or even if he has an apartment because he spends his entire day in his car parked in the apartment driveway right next to our sunroom. First, he was outside fixing the old car. He jacked up the tires, cleaned every inch of it, bought some base playing contraption to go into it, and sits out in it the whole entire day. Right now, as I write this, he has played his base music which has the same beat, over and over, for three hours straight!! Finally, after telling myself, I need to say something or I'm literally going to kill the guy, I asked kindly to turn it down. (I had expletives in my mind but chose not to say them.) I'm not sure what I'm going to do. He and his friends hang out there and so far, they haven't caused us any problems, they haven't been rude and haven't done anything to us. I try to remember he is young and this is what he thinks is cool. But I think he and I are going to butt heads real soon.

Yes, there have been real doozies in the apartment building. One woman moved in who went around the neighborhood asking for money. She knocked on our door, the neighbors across the street, the neighbors in the apartment building always saying, "I need to feed my kids." Meanwhile, she was walking around with an expensive registered Akita puppy and smoking cigarettes. The finality came when she came to our house at night, trying to sell, YES sell her puppy to us for money and asking if she could stay with us for the night because her boyfriend kicked her out of the apartment. My husband was like, "Hell no" but told her she needed to call the police and they could bring her to a shelter. We called the apartment owner and he told us she didn't pay rent, she was told there were no dogs allowed and we were to call the cops if she came back. Eventually, she was evicted and now she is gone. Another bites the dust, right.

I remember when we bought this house. When my mother asked about the apartment building next door, the previous owner said, "We've never had any problems." Well, the owner also told us the basement didn't leak. I had asked his wife why the basement didn't have any carpet (thinking it strange) and she made some story about the cat and the carpet which didn't make ANY sense.
A week after we moved in, our house was broken into and our basement had an inch of water. By the way, this previous owner who sold us the house was an Illinois Representative, which goes to show you politicians can't be trusted. (Like I'm telling you anything new, right?)

And so it goes. Things will work out, eventually. And then some other crazy person is going to move in next door. I'm glad I have conflict resolution skills.

UPDATE: Two things. As for the Russian elderly woman, the owner told me later they screwed her windows shut. She int turn, took the screws back out. The owner then bought screws which were permanent and this is why I never hear cop shows in the middle of the night anymore. I guess that woman was very strong willed!

Second, as for the Pimp My Ride guy who had the base thumping contraption in his car and which every so often, I looked over and his white car was literally jumping up and down like a bunny rabbit. (He has some kind of mechanism which makes his car go up and down like a gangster.) Well, I finally got the nerve and walked over there with my dog, Emmy, while he was polishing his car with about five friends around him and asked (drum roll please), "Are you selling drugs?"  I mean really, there are guys huddled around his car all the time! Then I said kindly as a nice gesture, "I thought I would come over and introduce myself. By the way, are those guys who hang around you on the up and up? I have two small kids." He said, "No, I try and keep the peace." It was so awkward and silent I could hear a pin drop. So I started petting my dog and out from my mouth came, "So do you like dogs?" He said, "I'm allergic." "Oh," I said, "she's 13 years-old." Silence again. "Well, I better go. Have a nice day." And then I walked away. I was so proud of myself yet, what kind of crazy person am I?

July 19, 2013

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Beautiful and energetic Noah
 That's me! I'm going crazy. Can I just say raising a boy toddler is a lot different than a girl! Can I hear an amen!

Last week, I put our toddler boy, Noah, in the playpen so I could safely go and get something in the kitchen. When I came back to the living room, he was sitting in the armchair pouring salt down the seat of the cushion. Ahhh! If there is a way to get out of something, get in to something, climb up something, destroy something, turn it over and spill it, draw on it, bang it, find it or destroy it - my toddler boy can do it!

Who me? I'm innocent.
Yesterday, I took my 7 year-old daughter and Noah to the library and we all went on a dinosaur type tour. The library is one of the best in the state. The first ten minutes was fine, then the flailing on the floor started to happen. I was holding his hand one minute, trying to get him to come with me, then he did a nose dive straight to the floor as a protest that he wanted to go in the opposite direction. Then, yes we all know it, the screaming started. And Lord, can my boy scream loudly! In the end, he got his way and we headed back to the Kids Room.

Yes, I love him! Yes, he's a charmer and amazingly cute. But with dropping crayons down the heating vent, throwing the remote control across the room a million times, putting dog food in the water bucket to mop the floor, pulling my daughter's hair, pushing over a gum display at a grocery store with a hundred packets of gum falling about, spitting out any green vegetables onto the floor at a restaurant, making me chase him at a county fair--- he is some kind of boy! :o)  I wonder with all of his energy if I can get him involved in a 5 hour sports team. Do they make those for toddler boys??

June 10, 2013

Cloud Atlas and Hot in Cleveland

Tonight, we finally got around to watching the movie Cloud Atlas. Three hours of characters playing men, women, old and young, and even white people facially made up to look like Asians. Who, by the way I might add, did not look Asian but instead looked like they were born with some missing chromosome. It took pretty much 2.5 of the 3 hours before I started to get anything. I kept saying to my husband, "Do you understand this movie? Why am I not understanding this?" 

It may be that there were several worlds and time periods involved: 1849 slavery, 1936 love affair between a male composer and his "buddy" (a good looking buddy I might add), 1973 a journalist trying to uncover a story, 2144 futuristic Korea with mass produced women who serve fast-food and don't think (don't ask) and finally, 2321 (and this is the craziest one!) in a post-apocalyptic world where they speak some kind of made up language all mixed together, for example, truth is pronounced "true, true." Yes, two words together like, "You speak true, true?" I kept asking my husband, "What did he say?" I mean really, what the ?

Anyway, despite its craziness, I am glad I watched the movie. I really understood the meaning at the end. My husband, his answer is, "not sure." I think it depends if you are looking for some kind of answers in your life and even then, you have to stay awake for 2.5 hours of confusion until you get to the understanding part, which is probably the last ten minutes.

I will suggest one show that I love!!!! Even my husband and 7 year-old daughter love it when I let her watch some of the program. It's called, Hot in Cleveland on TV Land. It's hilarious! It stars Betty White, Jane Leeves, Valerie Bertinelli and Wendie Malick. A star cast with women who have starred on other famous sitcoms such as The Golden Girls, Frazier, One Day at a Time, and Just Shoot Me! You have to see it. It's a great show!

May 25, 2013

Well M'am . . .

Yesterday, I went to Jewel Osco, a grocery store to buy a few items to make pizza. What a trip! I couldn't find the pizza sauce so I gingerly asked a young man, maybe he was still a boy who knows?, if he knew where the pizza sauce was located in the store.

"Well, certainly m'am. I can take you right on over there."

"Wow, didn't know I would get an escort."

He takes me to the pizza sauce section and waves his hand all around the pizza sauces, "Well, here you go. I would recommend this brand," he points (which is the Jewel Osco brand of course), "for its flavor and economical price."

I look at him and then around. Is there a camera around here and I'm being punked on some show.

"Well, thank you, I guess. I'll take that one then. Do you know where the pepperoni is by chance?" I figured I might use and abuse my personal shopping guide.

"Why certainly, m'am," he says taking me across the store. "By the way, here is a brochure of movies going on. Only $1.00 this summer."

"Okay," I say. He hands me a brochure for discounted summer movies in another town. Why, you got me.

"Here we go m'am," he points to the pepperoni in Vanna White style. "I would recommend this brand," he points again to the Jewel Osco brand, "for it's flavor and economical price."

"Sure," I say.

I go off on my merry way and then realize I forgot the cheese for the pizza. I head back and who is RIGHT in front of the cheese stocking the shelves, my handy dandy personal man/boy shopper.

"I guess I forgot the cheese for the pizza," I say.

"Well, m'am. Here you go. I recommend the Italian cheese over the mozzarella." Again, he points to the Jewel Osco brand. "For the flavor and economical price."

By the time I'm done with my little escapade, I realize two things. One, the man/boy is a little off. But that's okay. I think those are the friendliest helpers stores can hire and they need a job. Second, that is the damn best service I've ever had at a grocery store in my life.

April 7, 2013

The Things Children Say

On the way to dropping our 7 year-old daughter off at a friend's birthday party, held at a dance studio, I went through some safety precautions. "Stay in the studio after the party until we get there. Don't go outside. Be safe. Etc. Etc." Somehow we got on the subject of noticing your surroundings if you are ever lost or someone takes you. "Make sure you look around. If there is a McDonald's on the corner or a library down the street. See what's around you."
"So noticing a trash can probably won't work?" she asked.
"Um, probably not," I said.

April 4, 2013

Once In Awhile You Get a Break

Several months ago, we realized our 16 year-old cat, Tigger, was losing weight. He wasn't eating and he was becoming a skeleton. The doctor told us we could either try some anti-inflammatory medicine to see if it changed or do a quick exploratory surgery. I've had Tigger since he was born in 1996 and ever since then (almost every night) he has slept on my arm at night. He is the one that seeks me out when I come home. He is like my little buddy. I was pretty upset.

Now you may say, "What do you expect at 16 years-old?" But when it comes to a loved one, human or animal, it always, always hurts. And you grasp at straws so to speak.

We decided to do the exploratory surgery which wasn't as bad as it sounds. We never did it with our other cat, Ghost, and it turned out to be a mistake because we never knew what was wrong with him when we died. I am glad we did this with Tigger. The doctor found that the connective vessels connecting some of his vital organs are damaged. He doesn't know if it is cancer or what because he can't do a biopsy or mess with them since they are so delicate and small, like the size of a strand of hair. He said it would probably be only a few weeks to a few months he would live.

But! And there is good information here if you are a pet owner. He put Tigger on an anti-inflammatory (Prednisolone), hopefully, to take down the inflammation of the connective vessels. He put him on an appetite stimulant which is actually a human anti-depressant to increase his appetite (Mirtazapine) and we gave him NutriCal, a vitamin supplement for pets from Pet Smart which has had a lot of good reviews. He also has dry food at all times and three times a day we fed him a little (or as much as he would eat) Prescription Diet CD wet food to try and get some food in him any way we could. Guess what? Since the operation several months ago, he has gained 2 pounds and looks normal. Mind you, who knows what is going to happen with the damaged connective tissue. But at least! At least! He has quality of life and is back to his old self. I am telling you about all of these (somewhat boring) medications because again, as in other posts, it is good to know if you have a pet.

I am very happy! I have more time regardless of what happens. And after all the death around us lately, it is a blessing no matter how you look at it. Daisy, our dog, died in November. So I clung to Emmy (our other dog) and gave her extra attention. A month later, Chewie almost died under anesthesia, so I gave him extra attention. Then a few months later, Tigger was going to die so I paid extra attention to him. It has been a roller coaster!! In any case, I am thankful for a brief reprieve and will take what I can get. Thank you God or life, for giving us a little hope.

February 27, 2013

Changing Generations

by Norman Rockwell depicting Bridges as she goes to school
Last week, my six-year-old daughter said she wanted to be an African-American mermaid. It was a little funny, she just announced it as if it was the most normal thing in the world but I also felt pride that I have taught her well.

You see, I have worked long and hard to shelter my daughter from bigotry. I want her to be part of a better generation where people are just people and although she is aware of what it is, it doesn't really exist in her world. This is how it should be, in a perfect world of course.

Yesterday, she brought home two books from the school library, Black Heroes and Ruby Bridges. Since Black History is in February, I know they have talked about it at school. She was so proud of finding those two books in that little library at her school. We saw a display about Ruby Bridges, Ryan White, and Anne Frank at the Indianapolis Children's Museum this past summer. It is a wonderful museum to take your children.

The bottom line is we should always try to teach our children to be better than we are. It's not easy, believe me. But if we get 80% of it right, I think we are doing pretty well. A large part of this starts at home with what we say and to explain right from wrong, not just to tell them. Last Thursday, I took my daughter to her Hip Hop dance lesson (she loves Lady Gaga and it's hilarious to see little girls dance this way) and these two boys got on the elevator saying F this and F that. Pretty much every other word. They were about eight and ten-years-old. All of the mothers looked at each other. So it starts at home, first. Bottom line.

So my daughter announced yesterday she no longer wants to be an African-American mermaid but a werewolf African-American mermaid. Is that even possible?? I told her she can be anything she wants to be in life, so long as she loves doing it. Every child, whether they are black or white, an American citizen or here illegally, rich or on food stamps should have the hope they can be anything they want to be in life. As adults, we may figure out it's not so easy, but as children, their dreams should be limitless.

February 1, 2013

You Just Never Know

For Christmas, Santa gave my daughter a belly dancing scarf and a belly dancing DVD. Now, you may be wondering, this for a 6 year-old? But my daughter loves to dance and if it encourages her to do something other than to watch Scooby Doo, I'm all for it.

But what she said when the tape was playing is priceless. She was reading the warnings at the beginning of the DVD which are in all exercise videos. "Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant . . ." My husband said, "You're not pregnant are you?" She said, "Are you crazy! I'm too young to have a bladder."

I remember telling her awhile back in a very vague way a baby doesn't actually grow in the stomach and left it at that. But how she changed it over to the bladder, I'm not sure. Hopefully, this will not last to the 8th grade when they teach it in Health class or she might be in for a big surprise.

January 24, 2013

Taking Care of Business

I have about five new posts I've been wanting to do but I haven't had the time to write them. If you have young children, you know the drill. They come first.

Just yesterday, I fell asleep in the recliner holding Noah (14 months) while he was sitting in my lap watching The Pajanimals on television. I also had a bowl of cheerios next to him to keep him content for about twenty minutes. I woke up with a bra full of Cheerios. He was dropping them down the front of my shirt. He's a boy alright!

I am going to look up ways to teach him more things today. I have noticed he is still not saying any words. He understands a lot of them (when he wants to) but it is hard to get him to say an actual word. I have a firm belief this has to do with him not going to daycare or not having a time set aside to really get into teaching him words. Also, I know what he wants without him saying anything so he doesn't have to work for it.

My husband brought up the fact in an educational daycare, like the one my daughter went to when I worked, is geared around lesson plans. The babies are exposed to more children/circumstances while stay-at-home mothers (although they do play and teach them) have other things they have to do as well like housework, dinner, etc. Who knows? But it is always good if we as parents help them along. Now if I can just convince my daughter homework is not boring. She's 6. I have a long road ahead of me. (Drawing mermaids and fairies, loves it! Spending thirty minutes on a book report, not so much.)