Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ava is here!!!

Now I have something to be merry about! Ava and Lori are visiting me for 5 days! They just returned from Costa Rica (Ava is getting to be quite the traveler - she already has her own passport!) and they are making a stopover here in Florida to spend the New Year holiday with me.

So, time to dust off the champagne glasses. Ava loves to stay up late, drink "champagne" (ginger ale in fancy glasses), and watch the ball drop. I'm happy they're here. I'm glad I can ring in 2009 with my two favorite people nearby.

Cat

Thursday, December 25, 2008

BAH HUMBUG!

Time for my annual "crappy christmas" post.

This is not to say that I don't have anything to be merry about. Lori is still in fair health. Ava is happy and doing very well out in Seattle with her. I will be getting a visit from both of them on Saturday.

So what's crappy?

Well, Lori's health. I went to Seattle earlier this month, and I could see a noticable difference just from when I saw her in September.

My health. I am currently on short-term disability leave from work.

Which brings us to, my job. My wonderful job that I loved. My job responsibilities have been changed to something completely different than what I was hired for, and I'm not qualified for it nor am I good at it. My type A personality likes being good at what I do.

The economy. I'm trying to find a new job, but they aren't a dime a dozen out there. And the ones that are out there only want to pay $10 an hour. Might as well stay on disability.

Xmas dinner. My maniac brother is going to be there, which means that there is a better than good chance of a family argument at some point today, probably ending with him stomping out, as usual.

So, my hopes are that the new year brings amazing discoveries in medicine and new economic opportunities for all of us.

And that your Christmas is not crappy.

Cat

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Time to go visiting!

My job still sucks (I don't think I told you that whole sad story, I'll save it for another day when I can't think of what to post about), Tara still doesn't pay her rent on time, if at all, and I am behind on all my bills, I think I am having wierd side effects from one of the medicines I'm taking and my doctor has not returned my calls (good thing I'm not dying!), Stacy lost her job, and she had a fight with her boyfriend that landed her in jail, BUT.... I do have one piece of good news...

I am going back to Seattle! Lori bought me a ticket and I'll be there from Nov. 30 until Dec. 7! YAY!!!!! I miss my little mija soooo much. I can't wait to see her again. And of course, Lori too. I'm just counting down the days.

Lori had her first "parent-teacher" conference at Ava's school. All the teachers like her, she gets along well with the other kids, and she is very creative and artistic. Well, I am one proud abuelita!

That's it for now. Hoping you are all well,

Cat

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

This was posted on the Bead Creator user group on Yahoo by someone named Stephanie, so I can't take credit for it, but it is soooo true. I had to repost it. And I really needed a good laugh. I just know I have this disease - A.A.A.D.D., Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests: I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water. I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.

Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers don't have enough water, there is still only 1 check in my check book, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail...

Cat

Saturday, September 20, 2008

When do 3 days = one week?

When my mom and my brother visit my sister, that's when. They were supposed to leave last Saturday to visit Lori, John and Ava for a week. They would have arrived home today.

I must say that all of them were really looking forward to this visit with a lot of trepidation. I was getting daily phone calls from all of them. My mom was afraid to fly alone, then when my brother said he would go with her, she was afraid to fly at all. My brother was upset that he hadn't even gotten there yet and my sister was being too "controlling" because she wanted to pick the week that they would be invited. My sister was worried about my brother snooping in all her stuff (a valid concern) and about my mom almost acting like she was only coming out of a sense of obligation.

And on...and on...and on...every day it was something else. By the time the day for the trip finally arrived, I was the one who was ready to pull my hair out.

They left here on Saturday, and I didn't hear anything from anybody for three days. I figured all must be going well. How wrong I was! I got a call from my daughter Stacy on Tuesday inviting me over for dinner. I said I couldn't go because I was going out with Fred (my stepdad). She says, "Oh, you haven't talked to Grandpa, have you?". Uh-oh...

So, I call him, and he tells me that Mom 'wasn't feeling well in Seattle' and she and my brother were on a flight home this very minute and he was going to the airport to pick them up. I said "WHAT????", and he says that he told me too much already, and I'd better call Lori, because he wasn't supposed to say anything until I spoke to her. Oh, hell, what now?

I call Lori, and she says the visit just didn't work out. My brother smoked in the house, my mom was homesick, my brother made messes and just expected people to clean up after him, my mom kept asking prying and uncomfortable questions, and a whole litany of things ending up in several arguments until they all just decided it was best if the visit was cut short.

She also said she felt her own health going downhill with the stress of it all, so she was kind of relieved that they left. Really quite a shame, as it may be the last time either one of them sees her in such (relatively)"good" shape.

Cat

Post-script...Kind of a creepy thing... Ava has these "sidewalk chalks" and she was playing with them with my brother, so he knew she had them. After he left, Lori found written on the sidewalk in front of the house, I LOVE YOU with the chalks. That isn't creepy, maybe my brother felt like he couldn't tell her that himself. But then, she was in her rock garden, and on one of the rocks was written, DIE IN PEAC, but the last E was left off, like maybe someone walked out while he was writing it and he had to stop real quick. That is creepy, and he could have been the only person who would write something like that. I got the chills when she was telling me about it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

My new 'friend', Alice

I started seeing a therapist. I don't know what good it will do, but I can't just go around crying all the time. It's not really constant, but the littlest things will bring on a bout that seems to last forever. I need to learn how to cope.

Like the other day in Michaels, they have the new 2009/2010 calendars out. First thing I always do when I pick up a new calendar is flip through and look for my birthday. Next thing I do is flip through and look for Lori's birthday. Her 2009 birthday is only a few months away and we already have plans for that, but as I started to flip to 2010, I couldn't even turn the pages. I just started having all these horrible thoughts. My eyes got all blurry and I just had to go out to the car and have a good cry.

So, the first "therapy" session was really just getting to know each other. Her name is Alice. I think I'm going to like her. She also has late hours and Saturday hours so it doesn't interrupt my work schedule. And when I called her office to make the appointment, she answered the phone herself!

I visit with her again this week, so we'll see how things go and if she has any suggestions for me to help keep things under control.

Cat

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Live your dreams

Believe me, I don't have any kind of morbid fixation and I am not searching out posts on death and dying, but a link in an AOL story led me to a recent post on this blog, Diary of a Dying Mom, and then I was driven to find out why she had started writing the blog in the first place. So, I went back to her very early blog entries where she does explain why, and I found this beautifully written paragraph about living.

Why tell you all this? Misery loves company? I don’t think that is it although I feel less alone when I tell my friends how I am feeling. What I really want to say to all of you is go outside and run. Feel the wind in your hair and the cool air on your cheeks. Run until you feel tired and then be grateful your body lets you do that. Sing at the top if your lungs (even if you sing as badly as Bill does), dance in your bedroom, take the trip that you are dying to take, do the things that make you happy, etc. Bill’s grandfather lived to be 89 and was healthy enough to bike and golf until the last few months of his life; few people are that lucky. Someday you may not be able to do the things that you love so make sure you do them now, while you can. Everything we all said in the days after 9/11, all the promises that we made – spoken or unspoken – need to be made good on. Enjoy the ride folks just in case we only get one go around.

Great advice for anyone at any age, wouldn't you say? And kids know how to do it best. Stop to look at that pretty flower growing out of the crack in the concrete, for tomorrow it may be gone. Put the dirty dinner dishes aside and spend half an hour making funny faces with your kids before they go to bed. Make wishes on stars, and lay on your back in the grass while you're doing it. These are the things that memories are made of.

As for me, Lori and I are still going to take that trip to Buenavista this year to find the perfect spot for the retirement casita. I know Lori won't be sharing the casita or the retirement with me as we had planned, but that doesn't mean that she can't share in the planning and make memories with me that I'll be smiling over as I drink my morning cup of Nescafe on the patio years from now.

Cat

ARGH Moments

I always know how to put my foot in my mouth. I just open my mouth and words pour out before I even think about them. Here are just two examples, but I'm sure there are many more that I still don't even realize I said. Either I'm incredibly naive, impossibly stupid, or some combination of both.

Lori was talking about trying to make her will and how difficult it was because with the stock market the way it is, the value of her investments keeps dropping and she isn't able to leave people with the amount of money she had wanted to.
LORI: My 401K has gone down by about 15% in value just since January.
ME: Mine too. But I figure if I just wait it out, the market has to come back up in a few years.
LORI: Wellll......
ARGH!


We were driving down the street and we saw two brightly dressed old ladies in the car next to us.
LORI: I always wanted to be like that lady.
ME: What, old?
LORI: That would be nice too, but I meant eccentric...

DOUBLE ARGH!


I have really got to start thinking about things before I say them.

Cat

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Bittersweet Trip

I've been back about a week now, and there has been so much to think about that it's been hard to sit down and put it all out there.

The trip was bittersweet. It had it's great moments as Lori and I giggled together over silly things the way only two sisters can. It had it's medium-sad moments as Ava kept telling me how much she would miss me when I left, but I promised her I would be back to visit often. Little does she know the reason why. And it had it's really rough moments as Lori discussed her estate planning, the progress of her illness and some of her wishes for the later stages.

We didn't get into too much detail with most of it. Lori could tell that I'm not ready yet. I think I'm still in the denial stage. She still walks (well, with a limp), she still drives, goes places on her own, can still manage most of her household responsibilities. How can she be gone in less than 2 years???? I still can't even think about it without crying. I'd better get it all out now, though, because at some point I imagine I will have to be her rock, and a slippery, wet rock just won't do now, will it?

She seems to have a remarkably good attitude. She says she's done her crying, and she's accepted it. The way she sees it is that she is no different from anyone else - we all die - she just happens to know the when and the how of it. She actually feels that she is luckier than most in that by knowing in advance she has time to plan for it and take care of all that must be done.

She is a strong, strong person and I'm glad Ava will get to spend some time learning from her, no matter how much time that turns out to be.

Cat

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Seattle, here I come!

Just a little over one more week until I see my sister! This trip has already been planned for a long while. Ava and I are flying out to Seattle (Hi Travis & Candice!) on the 18th to stay for a week.

It had been planned that Ava would stay with Lori for a year. She would attend Montessori school while Tara had time off, hopefully to grow up. If Tara's behavior didn't change radically, we would regroup in a year and make more permanent plans for Ava.

Of course, as it will, life got in the way of our well thought out plans. We are now thinking that Ava will stay in Seattle until Christmastime. She is soooo excited to go to school out there that she has been talking about little else but that for months, and Lori did not want to disappoint her. I suspect that Lori did not want to disappoint herself either, she really loves being around my little mija.

Everything is very fluid right now, as Lori isn't sure sure how well she will manage now with a four year old, but I think 3 months will work out perfectly. Her boyfriend is there to help, and Ava will be in school 4 days a week. Maybe it will be good therapy. For both of them - Lori and Ava.

Along with being excited about the trip, I'm a little scared and nervous. Lori says not to be surprised by her appearance, I'm not sure exactly what that means. I know there will be some very emotional times, especially since I know she wants to talk to me about some of her wishes for "after". When can you ever be ready for a conversation like that with your sister?

But we still have some bittersweet moments of laughter. Every time I visit Seattle, she's like a whirlwind tour guide, keeping me on the go from early in the morning until late at night, running from here to there, with activities planned every single day. I was telling her that I really need some rest, and I'd rather stick around the house a little more this time. She says, "Don't worry Cathi, you'll find that I've slowed down considerably." So we both got a chuckle out of that.


Cat

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It's not that easy trying to find information about ALS. There are a lot of websites, but it's mostly the same basic information, almost the same exact words, over and over again.

Even the message boards aren't that great. Some of them just aren't very active, some of them are too broad so you only see a question or two about ALS, and most of the rest are filled only with posts such as "I felt a muscle twitch in my leg. Do I have ALS?" Not very helpful.

But I did find one great message board. If you know anyone with ALS, who cares for a person with ALS, or who has a friend or family member with ALS, send them to the ALS Forums for support. There's a wonderful group of people over there, all of whom have different outlooks to offer, and very much knowledge and support, with a huge helping of care and love thrown in. I haven't posted there yet, I'm still lurking, but from what I've seen, I know I'll be jumping right in one of these days.

Cat

Sunday, July 27, 2008

OK...here goes

Alright, let me take a few deep breaths here. In....Out...In...Out...

Oops, forgot the Xanax. \_/ o ----- A few more breaths... now I'm ready.

Some of you know that my sister has been sick for a number of years(4+) with a progressive "muscle" disorder that a gazillion doctors could not diagnose. We've been calling it 'the disease with no name', for lack of anything better to call it. She has been through useless and unnecessary surgeries; treatments from A to Z including one where they infuse a blood component called IVIG (and charge her insurance $5000/month); diagnosed with ulnar nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated disks, ms and various other muscle disorders, arthritis, lyme disease, tumors, a number of different autoimmune diseases and everything around, about, and in between except for what they have now decided she really has (and what she says she knew in her own mind that she had all along and had asked MDs several times about).

ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease. And now that they took so long to come around to giving her the correct diagnosis, she is near the end stages of the disease where it has started progressing faster and we will be lucky if we have another 18 months with her.

It is never easy to hear about terminal illness of a loved one, but this is a particularlarly insidious disease. I have provided a couple of links above in case you don't know much about it.

She does have a live-in boyfriend, but she will be requiring an enormous amount of caregiving. I am not really in a state of mind to make major life decisions, but I am 99% sure that I will be moving to Seattle to help him care for her AND to spend as much time as I can with her, for however long she has. Besides being my sister, she is truly my best friend, and if it were me who were ill, I would want her near me.

I'm worn out, and the Xanax is kicking in and I'm falling asleep. I'll post more when I can.

Cat

I think I'm numb now

I made it through the day, kind of. We planned a phone call to arrive so that I would be there with my mom while she received the news. We cried together, my mom and I, and then I plodded through the rest of the day. Remarkably, one foot fell in step with the other, time after time. Air filled my lungs, though I had thought I would suffocate. Sounds came out of my mouth, and they resembled words, but I would be at a loss if I had to remember anything that I said or heard during this day, while I watched other people in amazement, going about their normal lives as if the world had not just ended.

One day at a time, Cat, one day at a time.......

What is my mood today? SAD

I received the most shocking and devastating phone call of my life yesterday. It makes every other thing that has ever happened in my life seem insignificant. I can't even speak of it without crying, and as I write this I am crying yet again.

I have to process this news, wrap my head around it, make myself believe it. I don't know how I can ever accept it.

Hopefully, over the next few days, I will be able to share it with you, my friends. For now, just please pray that I will have the strength to be there for those who will need me.

Cat

Thursday, July 24, 2008

McDonalds Math

I went to MickyD's today to buy a sandwich and a drink. The girl rings it up and tells me my total is $5.95. I'm just about to hand her my money when I realize that the amount is wrong. So I tell her that can't be right. She says it is. The conversation continues....

me: The chicken sandwich is $3.79, right?
her: Plus tax, it's $4.04.
(oh, yes, let's not forget the tax)
me: And the drink is $1.00.
her: Plus-
me: Right, plus tax. But $4.04 and a dollar plus tax does not equal $5.95.
her: Well, that's what it says.
("it" being the cash register, I suppose)

So, now we're at an impasse. She is just staring at the cash register, waiting for me to hand over $5.95 and I am just waiting at the counter for her to give me the correct total. Finally she calls another girl over (the manager was too busy standing in the corner eating an ice cream). The other girl shows her what she did wrong, apparently there was some kind of an override on the drink because it isn't always a dollar. The first girl is in in complete shock that the register could possibly have given her the incorrect amount to charge me.

What kind of education are our kids getting when they can't even add 4+1? What a shame!

Cat

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A rice shortage? Good grief!

Rice shortage?

Several stores are now "rationing" rice due to a severe rice shortage. Ohhhhkaaaay... Costco's idea of rationing is to limit each customer to four 20-pound bags of rice. I don't think 80 pounds of rice is going to last me very long. I'd better find another store to buy from and stock up!

And in the meantime, you can have free rice donated to poor people on your behalf while testing your intelligence with a fun game. Check this out.



Cat

Saturday, April 05, 2008

It never fails...

I can leave my house a million times, and never see anyone I know.

So why is it that the one time I go out looking like death warmed over, with any old clothes and no makeup, I see my favorite ex-boyfriend? Now he's probably thanking his lucky stars that he moved on before I turned into the wicked witch of the west.

Damn!!

Cat

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Call a stranger, any stranger

So now you can letanyone who sees your blog call you up by pressing a button on your blog. Now, why in the heck would I want to let any kook who happens to run across my blog call my phone? I have plenty of free cell phone minutes available, but I'm not much of a phone talker. Maybe that's why I have so many rollover minutes all the time. Half the time I don't even feel like chatting it up with my friends, let alone a stranger. Or a stalker.

This is the button that bloggers can insert in their posts so that readers can call them. Obviously, I've disabled it here. You won't reach me when you click on it, but it will link you to the Blogger blog post where they explain how it's all supposed to work.

I guess there are some people who will enjoy a feature like this, but I am definitely not one of them.

Cat

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm all a-twitter

So Christmas and the New Year have come and gone. My oldest daughter turned 26 (gasp!) on Jan. 13. My mom seems to be winning her battle with cancer for now. Ava is still a precious little thing, of course. She just gets cuter and cuter every day. The homeowners association finally got the indoor repairs done on our house for the damage from hurricane Wilma. They broke our tile floor while they were doing the repairs though, so to replace it they put wood flooring down in the living room. It looks pretty good.

And I still can't seem to find the time to write one simple paragraph a week about my life to keep this blog updated. Maybe I can keep it current if I'm able to do it in one-sentence increments, LOL. I found this site called Twitter where you can write short (very short - less than 140 words at a time) updates about what you're doing day to day. They have a little video on the home page about how it works.

So, I'm going to try that out and see how it works. I can post entries by phone too. I've finally learned how to send a text message. Welcome to the 21st century Cat! In case you want to keep track of whether I actually do update it on a semi-regular basis, my address there is http://twitter.com/meowtalk

Just remember that each short entry is an answer to the question "What are you doing?" For example, here is my latest Twitter entry: