Christmas stories

Christmas just isn’t quite Christmas when you’re not at home.

But it’s pretty good. Family is great. My dad looked pretty good. He does sleep a lot, and he can’t hear much even with his hearing aids in, but he could have been a lot worse. Mr. Social, he's not. But never has been. Pretty much everyone else was sick, but we managed to avoid catching it. Babies were adorable and fun. Nothing like watching babies run around the house. SOOO cute! And the 4 year olds had their testy moments, but were mostly really very good with each other and us! Thanks to big sis, there was lots of cookie baking.

We did take the pop-up down there and parked at a pretty darn nice RV lot. Close to the bathrooms (very important when all you’ve got is a pop-up!) and clean showers. The heater worked very nicely the entire time. No complaints. I thought it would be kind of awful, but it wasn’t bad at all. I don’t suppose I’d have wanted to be in that close quarters the whole time, but for sleeping – it was just fine.

Cute moments:

A. telling his aunt he didn’t have any shoes. Or a sweatshirt, either. This was the day after he’d told his older cousin that he’d been forced to sell all his videos. Except one. Roly Poly Ollie. Poor child. Poor neglected child. We found out later that not only did the family still own all their videos, they had never owned a Roly Poly Ollie one! I think there is a future in storytelling, if the government gig doesn’t pan out. Come to think of it – it may play very nicely into that government job!

Sparked no doubt by the talents of that same cousin, author and performer of the catchy and inimitable “Snow is Slippery”, and inspired by an actual acknowledgement of the Christmas story, we spent a trip back to the trailer entertained by Little K and her new composition called “Mary and Jofus”. It went something like this:

“Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus and Jesus too.
Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus and Jesus too.
And the baby is asleep. Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus. And Jesus too.”

I’m suspicious that A. planted the seed. But I did love the “Jofus” part. I’m told when I was a little one, I used to call Mary’s companion “Jane Sofas”, which is probably 3 year old for “Saint Joseph”.

Speaking of words and the passage of time – we were speaking of that weren’t we? Every day words come out more and more clearly. I’m missing the little toddler mispronounciations all the time. During this trip, we went from “lipsops” to a very deliberate “lipstick”. And it was only a mere few weeks ago that we got “Honey Bunches of OATS” instead of “Honeyvunches a boats”. (But that was totally understandable – it started out a very confusing “sim-mon-a-boats” I think she thought it had cinnamon somewhere in its title.) So I’ll enjoy the “Jofus” moments when they come. There - see – there was a point there after all!

Little Ben decided that I was a wonderful snuggler and climbed up into my lap time after time to get some snuggles. Does that kid know how to wrap an aunt around her little finger or what???!! And I got lots of blown kisses from great nephew L. Can’t get much cuter than a couple of 1 year olds playing the adults like violins.

So, we got back safe and sound despite very heavy winds and rains on the last 90 minutes of our trip (and it was still my turn to drive), which also coincidentally was around midnight after I’d gotten up at 5:30am to take DDD back to the airport. Needless to say, I was super tired, but that weather scared me enough that falling asleep just wasn’t much of a concern. We blew around the Altamont pass a little, passed through some very heavy rains and hydroplaned our share of the road. But the trailer stayed hitched and behaved itself quite nicely despite the challenges thrown at it.

Hope your holidays were wonderful as well.


Happy Birthday, Nan

Today marks the 109th anniversary of my grandmother's birth. She didn't live all those years, in fact I think she didn't get much past her 80th birthday. (I'm really bad at remembering dates - I'm very happy my sister got married in 2000. I can usually remember that. The other one got married in, gee, let's see - I think E. was 16 or maybe 17, so that makes it 1982? or 3? See, that's how my brain works, so I'm usually close, but can never be relied on to be accurate.)

I suppose most families are dysfunctional in one way or another, and mine is no exception.

Let's see how much I can come up with about my Grandmother.

1. She LOVED to hug me.
2. She used Dove cold cream every night.
3. Her skin was creepily soft.
4. And very wrinkly.
5. I don't think the Dove did what she wanted it to do.
6. She lived in a house in Skokie.
7. Skokie is a heavily Jewish population. (or at least, it did.)
8. My grandmother was Catholic.
9. And pretty darn anti-semitic.
10. I loved that her house had an ALLEY behind it!
11. And there were garbage cans in her alley!
12. And that the street sign was a wooden 4x4 sticking up out of the ground with the street name carved in it.
13. And that I knew just how many street signs I was allowed to walk to.
14. But I walked farther than that. A lot.
15. She let me watch the Mickey Mouse Club EVERY time it was on.
16. She used to jiggle her fat.
17. She used to say "Nanny, Nanny with the big fat fanny".
18. I suppose it made me laugh, but it seems a bit odd now.
19. I was a rascal and she still had a sweet spot for me.
20. She was pretty racist.
21. She once turned down popcorn at a movie because a black man was serving it.
22. She married her brother-in- law after they were both widowed.
23. She remained married to him until he died, although they barely lived in the same house let alone occupy the same rooms.
24. She was a pretty attractive young woman in her 20s.
25. Her son (my uncle) lived with her until the ripe old age of 42 when he died from a heart attack.
26. She used to travel to Europe to visit us when we were there.
27. I liked her visits.
28. My parents didn't as much.
29. My mother called her "mother".
30. I thought that was weird.
31. She used that temporary hair rinse they used to sell in drugstores to "cover" her gray.
32. She frequently had pink hair.
33. I thought that was weird.
34. She never quite got over my mother having a 3rd child at 42.
35. She was nice to my little sis, but never had the connection with her that she had with big sis and me.
36. The woman could hold a grudge.
37. She sent me (only me) money the year my uncle died and I was so appalled that I used that money to pay for my sister's and my airline tickets to go back to the funeral.
38. She bought me my first sewing machine.
39. I made my wedding gown with that sewing machine.
40. She was alive for both my older sis' and my weddings.
41. She saw her great granddaughter, but none of her great grandsons.
42. I loved the "sleeping" porch at her Skokie house.
43. That house is SOOOO much smaller than I remember it.
44. She used to take me to the bakery after church every Sunday for a donut or pastry.
45. No wonder she was overweight.
46. She finally moved out to CA to be near her daughter in the 1970s.
47. I used to visit her at the assisted living place.
48. Her eyesight was horrible.
49. And she had cataracts.
50. And glaucoma.
51. Her eyedrops were always in the door of the refrigerator.
52. Her apartment never smelled very good.
53. She loved Jimmy Dean Sausage.
54. Mom and I would eat lunch with her at Marie Callendars.
55. She would always order the clubhouse sandwich.
56. Or was that my mom?
57. She loved my husband.
58. My mother didn't.
59. Reactions related? maybe.
60. She liked polyester pant suits.
61. oh my god.
62. She was apparently married to a potential FBI agent.
63. My l'il sis knew that. I didn't.
64. She gets lots of little details out of people. (my sis, not my grandmother)
65. I would never have a drink of anything at my grandmother's place (later life)
66. Because she couldn't see very well, and never cleaned anything very well.
67. It grossed me out.
68. She liked to be called "Nan" by her grandkids.
69. She had a grandchild she never wanted to know.
70. It was my uncle's daughter.
71. Who had no relationship with her father.
72. My older sis and I met our cousin once. I don't think she (the cousin) was thrilled about it.
73. Neither was my grandmother. (or was she already dead? oooo, there's that time continuum problem again.)
74. I know she did not want us to meet our cousin.
75. She prayed the rosary every night.
76. She taught me how to pray the rosary.
77. In a very kid friendly way. I didn't have to say the mysteries and stuff.
78. I teased her about her laps around the beads.
79. She had enough of a sense of humor to laugh about that.
80. I miss her.


Squish, squash, that's my tit you're trying to smash!

Had one of my yearly (cough, cough) mammograms last June. The radiologist found something of concern and had them ask me to come back for "additional views".

I said no.

They asked again.

I said no, and talked to someone who could stop the nagging. (They did.)

My doctor tried to appeal to my sense of reason, saying it was only a mammogram.

I said no.

Mammograms are among the absolute MOST painful procedure I have to endure. I realize it is not so for all women, but most women have a fair amount of fatty tissue in their breasts. I have pretty much all ductwork in there. They've been called "dense". They've been called "difficult to place" and "difficult to read". They are very careful not to say they're so damn "SMALL". It's painfully obvious that I present a bit of a challenge to the poor radiology techs.

To top it off, I have some cysts in there. Been there for years. I've had two (yes, TWO) stereotactic biopsies on them. After the first one, I vowed I would never do that again without some kind of medication. Now, people - I have had two children without any kind of anesthesia - I can typically handle pain ok! After the second one where I WAS medicated and all that did was make me cry the entire time, I vowed that they would have to take my breast off me if they wanted to biopsy something in it again. It makes sense to me that if I had cysts in my breasts at one time, why would I stop making that tissue? It makes sense to me that they would eventually see more. What makes them believe this is anything different?

Anyway, last month, I had about a week of strange pain in one breast (the concerning one), in roughly the location they were concerned about. While breast pain generally doesn't mean anything other than a shift in hormones, I decided my body was trying to tell me something and I set up the appointment for the additional views.


And YOUR GOD, too!

We squeezed my little tit every possible way it could go. And then the radiologist still couldn't see the exact location, so we squeezed it again. And again. And again. And again. Move this way. Turn your head that way and kind of lean back. (While I keep your tit prisoner in this vise, btw) Relax your shoulder. OK, try your head this way. Now try stepping forward and THEN leaning back. I think I went out to the waiting room and back into the procedure room at least 5 times, garnering some mighty sympathetic looks from the gals around me. Still no one acknowledged just how small my breasts are. (but I did hear about all the ductwork in there again... I confess I think about heating ducts when they say stuff like that, but these little dudes do nothing to keep me warm...)

Bottom line - the radiologist is going to classify this as "suspicious" and something that should be biopsied, but acknowledges that it is in such a difficult place to pinpoint, that a normal needle biopsy probably wouldn't work. Guess what I told him? Yep - just take the whole damn breast and check it out. I don't need it anymore. In fact, take them both and give me some nice B cups instead, OK? He laughed a little and told me that since it had already been nearly 6 months since my last tittie twister, and he didn't see any change, he would be ok if I wanted to wait another 6 months again. But that it had to be at 6 months, not a year. (Oh, and if I'd have come back in a few days AS THEY WANTED ME TO DO, there would be no way he'd be ok with waiting. He would insist on the biopsy. Sometimes patients DO know best!)

So back to today. Yeah. Fine, I said. But I really mean it - they can have these things. Betcha if they put implants in, they would stop trying to squish the living bejeezus out of them. I want to see some male type radiologist have his little private parts squashed in one of those machines. A new way to do this would be on the horizon in no time!

So, I'm back on the 6 month plan. Yippee. Can't wait till May.