Friday, December 9, 2011

A Letter To My Father

Dear Daddy,
I flew home because they said you were dying. I didn't want to come because I couldn't bear to see you like this. The traveling part looked like such a burden to me because I feared the worst- 9 hours on a plane with an extremely active and sometimes Attila the Hun-like toddler. She has been such a healing blessing to us since Mom passed away 2 1/2 years ago. I knew I had to get over my fears so that you could see her, mom's namesake, so we packed up, prayed up and hopped on 2 planes and a long car ride to see you and say "Hello and goodbye". My fears were unmerited and this proved to be one of the best plane trips ever! We were so blessed and out of thousands of people, we ran into a dear friend, Barbara Yoder from Ireland, in the Chicago airport! Just her presence was a comfort to us and after we parted, we ran into each other again!
So Daddy, I came home and I knew you weren't going to be the same person that I knew when I last talked to you. They said you were unresponsive and that the final stages of dementia had set in. You had gone home from the hospital and were fine, eating and drinking and talking as usual, then all of a sudden you just fell ill and your sugar level wouldn't come down. Nothing worked and they took you back to the hospital. From there, I was told that your condition worsened and you slipped into a partially vegetative state, the condition that you are in now. It's been over 10 days since you last ate and a feeding tube would only prolong the inevitable and make you more uncomfortable. So Daddy, I made the big trip and came to see you and introduce the new generation to you.
It took 24 hours and a lot of coffee,(you know I don't like that stuff), to stay awake during the drive from Oklahoma City to you, but I did it. When I finally came to see you, my heart sank- you were just lying there, half asleep. I held your hand and spoke to you, then all of a sudden, you opened your eyes and started looking at me. You knew it was me and as I spoke to you, you squeezed my hand and a tear rolled down your face! Since mom died, every time I spoke to you on the phone, I cried. I knew you missed her and weren't being cared for as nearly as well as she cared for you. I'm sorry I couldn't be here Daddy, but was coming home in a few months to live anyway. Then you'd have us to help care for you.
I want to tell you about yourself-the things I thank you for the most. Daddy, you are such a strong man and your personality is a "take it or leave it" type. You weren't going to drag anyone to do something they didn't want to do. You'd willingly teach the person who wanted to learn- that's how I learned so many neat things from you. You took me everywhere with you. I can remember going with you to one of your friends store. They were a bunch of old crusty men, but they were kind and always had a soft spot for me. Whilst they were drinking, smoking and playing cards, someone would always produce some candy and teach me how to play what you were playing. Gin rummy, spades, bones- I learned to master them all. You taught me how to fish and clean those fish (yuck!), but you did most of the cleaning for me. I love eating fish and you did too. I learned a bit of patience from fishing, Daddy. Thanks. You taught me how to fix toilets because I thought it was interesting to see you digging in the tank.(And because my brother, Steve, didn't care to learn.) You made sure I could fix a leaky faucet because there would always be one that dripped and drive mom crazy! We worked on cars and got oily and grimy together Daddy. I remember looking under the hood and wondering what this and that were for- you told me and I couldn't remember it all, but I knew if the car got sick, we'd be together, getting parts and working on it.
I learned a lot of DIY from you. You fixed whatever you could and if you couldn't, one of your "Old Crusty" friends could and they'd have me helping out or observing, explaining the whole process along the way. You taught me how to cut the grass in a neat and orderly fashion. To this day, I actually like cutting grass and vacuuming because you can see results instantly and you can see if you were doing it wrong too! I was learning organization from that. You taught me how to love and treat animals. We always had a cat or dog and when I left home, you and my kitty, Deveraux became the best of friends. I remember you telling me that he was your alarm clock, waking you up every morning so the two of you could eat breakfast together. I knew he was in good hands with you, Daddy. When he disappeared, you kept looking for him, every day. Finally you gave up- he was old and you knew he went away to die. You called me and let me know. Compassion- you showed me some of that too, Daddy. When we drove to New Orleans because your mother had passed away suddenly, we drove through the night to get there and at one point, a rabbit hopped out on the road in front of the car. You hit him, but I heard you say, "Sorry, Mr Bunny". I'll never forget that. There was compassion in what you said.
Tall and slender, you always had a neat and cared for appearance. I remember you ironing your clothes every few days. Since you worked at Neiman Marcus for over 20 years, you introduced me to fine perfumes, quality clothes and exotic foods. You brought home what you could to show us children that there was more to life than meat loaf and mashed potatoes! You provided for us well, Daddy. Thank you. You showed me that the best things for lunch was a sandwich,(always on fresh bread),and a power nap. I heard old songs and watched you and mom dance to them. What a delight! You two were so happy to have each other. Such love! For years i begged you to stop smoking, but you didn't. Not until you nearly passed out after chasing the dog back into the fence did you realize how bad cigarettes were for your health. You quit cold turkey-I was so proud of you! You drove the nieces to and from school each day and helped my Grandmother when she needed anything. We played baseball and football together. I ran track and you were so proud of me when I went to the nationals in Hershey, Pennsylvania. You took me to school on the first day. I remember watching you leave. I cried and watched you walk away. I think you cried too- you did't turn around and wave to me. That's okay because you made it up to me with the biggest hug and kisses! Oh we missed each other!! You aren't an emotional person- except for getting angry at crazy stuff And wow, you have a temper there! I know because I picked that up from you too. That's alright since I've learned how to deal with it. When I was older, I diagnosed you with Peter Pan Syndrome. You were angry so I rediagnosed you with Last Child Syndrome. You thought that was more like you!
Oh Daddy, I'm sorry you have to go, but Jesus is calling you soon. He has an appointment with you and I think you are ready. You know him well. Mom is there and waiting to see you too as well as many of your loved ones who went before you. We will miss you and do our best to pick up the pieces when you are gone. Steve hasn't become fully responsible yet, and he most likely won't, so we will have to make sure Karlin is taken care of. It'll be alright and at least you were able to see the littlest children before you go. I love you and don't for you to have to spend the rest of your life in bed with machines helping you to live. You wouldn't want that so we won't put you through it. Just remember that I will be with you till the end and when I cannot be there you will be comforted by Jesus himself. Look ahead for glory, Daddy! You'll be there soon.

I love you forever,
Your Baby Girl

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In My Closet Is My Own Worst Enemy......

Disclaimer: There is one word that may be offensive in here and it is not a curse word!

Several days ago the weather changed towards the cold side. I pulled out the childrens coats and gave them a wash, making sure that they were clean from when I cleaned them before I put them in the closet. All was well until I decided it was cold enough for me to get my coat out. I avoided doing this until it was absolutely necessary because, facing the thought of freezing wind howling through my sweaters, I though it be best to avoid pneumonia. I headed to the back wall of my closet where I hadn't seen, nor heard, from my wool coat for at least 6 months. I dug deep, and coming up with the heavy, camel colored, wool coat, I saw there was a brown dot on the collar. I thumped it off, thinking it was a bit of lint from the brown sweater in front of it and laid it down on the recliner near my bed. My eyes scanned the wonderful warm and fuzzy coat that I anticipated wearing later that day when I spied a strange trail of naked fabric. The fuzz was gone and you could see where it was missing!
What? What? What was that? Was I seeing what I thought I was? Something had eaten the fuzz off my collar! On my coat. My ONLY GOOD COAT!
(I have to pause and tell you that I am getting upset as I write this because I STILL can't believe it happened to me!)
Was that creature I thumped off my coat responsible for this? No way! But what else could have done this but that thing! What am I going to do? Get it dry cleaned, yes, that's what I'll do. But wait! Look at the stain under the sleeve! That was there from the last dry cleaning so they really stink at dry cleaning here! I can't wash it. It'll turn to wrinkled fluff. I can't wear this anymore! This creature ate' drank, sleeped, peed and pooped in my coat! I can't wear this again! Oh no, I need a new coat and fast.
I ran downstairs to explain my dilemma to my daughter and husband and they started laughing at me! Mr said that I'd have to get some mothballs and smell like an old person forever! He also called me neurotic. That is NOT FUNNY!
So, I layered up and went on my merry way, vowing to go back in the closet and vacuum that creature to another dimension later.
That evening, I went back to the closet and found my beautiful Scottish wool scarf that was given to me by my daughter for Christmas last year. It just happened to be on the hanger next to where the offended coat was butchered. I took it out in anticipation of getting it cleaned so I could wear it later in the week. Inspection time!!! I held it up to the light and my eyes couldn't miss the holes that the light was streaming through!! I WAS INSANE WITH ANGER! That was it! This was the last straw and that little,(close your ears my friends, you've never heard this word from my mouth), bastard, had to die! I grabbed a hanger and started beating the clothes in my closet with it. If that thing was there then he was going down! After a few minutes, I gave up and landed on the closet floor to inspect if the offenders body was there. I took everything out and crawled through it from corner to corner. I FOUND NOTHING! You can only imagine how much angrier I was! I was unconsolable with anger! Trust me, I was beside myself when I figured out what state I was in!!
Today I am calm enough to write about it, but if you mention that coat and take my blood pressure, you will see Mt Vesuvius arise again!!

Has this ever happened to you?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Compassion- What in the world?

It all began several months ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. He had gone to the Dr for a variety of ailments, but the most prominent one was the blood in his urine. I know I am telling his business, but if there is any man in your life that has this symptom, have them get this checked.
He had a biopsy which confirmed the disease and we have been on the fight against it ever since. On the day he found out, he was coming in the door and I was walking out of it. I asked him what the Dr said about his biopsy and he said to me in a whisper, "I have cancer". I said "Really? No?' and he said "That's what they said."

So that is how we roll at our house. No big announcement. No sitting down to talk about it, just a whispered statement and time to let it sink in. Later on we sat down to a Pow-Wow and had a deep discussion. It took us a few days to tell the children what was going on. We had to be ready for any questions they had at the time and we needed to be prepared ourselves for questioning. As it was, they barely had 10 questions to ask. I guess it all sank in thoroughly.

I had to look at him in a whole new light after that fateful day. Every ache and pain became thoroughly investigated. I tried not to ignore his "Oh,this pain and oh, that hurts." (I was getting REALLY good at that- This man has LOTS of aches and pains!) Each and every day was to be savored more than ever. My heart became softer.(But not too soft though, I don't want to seem "mushy".) We had this appointment and that appointment and finally the decision was made to have the surgery and get it over with. We had already been waiting since the biopsy for a surgery date and it seemed a long way off and our patience was wearing thin. He seems to have more patience than I in certain situations, and I didn't feel like this was a time for patience. Action, swift and decisive was what I wanted and in this country, I wasn't going to get it. Frankly, I haven't been getting many things that I have wanted lately and I guess I have had a sour attitude, but I wasn't showing it (or at least I thought I wasn't- another place where God is working on me!)
Some things you really want to just put in the closet and deal with on a rainy day and this has been one of those situations.
November 19, 2011
My dear husband has had his surgery almost 3 weeks ago and has had his share of complications. We have been back and forth to the hospital emergency room frequently enough for me to know many of the staff on a personal basis. I think that at some point,some of these obstacles to his recovery are mental barriers called pride and ego and those are two hard partners to dance with. I know those two- pride and ego. They make you obnoxious to others, just like the whiff of a skunk in the middle of a fresh breath of air. You almost choke while inhaling!
I don't ever recall asking for two little ones at the same time, Lord, and I think I have done fairly, sorta, okay with them so far. I know I was blessed with them because I had wondered about the sanity of anyone who would double their workload and stress level by choice, and that is what it is, a choice to be a parent. God chooses us and gives us options. Even if we don't get what we want, a child or children, then we have ignored the choices we had before they were conceived and now that they are here, we have the choice to be the best parent to that child that they could ever imagine or be a sorry and pitiful parent who mumbles that they are still angry about that child being here.
How did I get off subject so badly?
I know- MR being at home and under the weather with moments of all out crankiness and dejection combined with the daily care of two little ones has been taxing on me mentally and physically. It's easier to take care of the children then the one man! Most nights I only get around 5-6 hours of sleep and I am so tired and worn out for it all. I could choose to be a cranky and cantankerous wife and mother, spreading my misery throughout my daily travels but I don't want to be remembered that way. I want people to remember me as "That Happy American Woman! I don't hit the mark everyday because of my attitude, but people genuinely know that I care for them.
Off subject again!!
Now I have a bit of compassion. Not a lot, but a sprinkle. My dear Mr has used up most of my compassion these last 3 weeks. I have felt sorry for him and all, but truth be told, my compassion needs a refill. I am tired of examining and apologizing for each hurt pain and boo-boo. Men are very verbal in their pain. Mother Theresa was a saint if she had so much compassion for so many people. Jesus has compassion and grace for every man, woman and child on this earth. I have only a few to care for and I am overwhelmed some days. I see why a retreat is needed to rejuvenate ones soul. I need one soon.
Do you want me to send you a postcard?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Happy Birthday Girl

I had to show how happy Chloe was to have her Parisian party. Look at the smiles!!!

Chloe and her friend Kylee.

The theme for this party was Paris, Paris, Paris!

One of her lovely birthday gifts. She loves this dress!

Another gift for her. This one is now her constant companion.

Thank you all for your sweet birthday wishes!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Birthday in Paris

I have to say that when I asked my little 3yr old, soon to be 4 yr old, what she wanted for her birthday, I received a strange answer from her. She didn't mention Disneyland, Princess collection,cell phone, doll, a Hummer or a big honking box of candy. She said she wanted to go back to Paris.
Now any sane person would say "No" to this request, but if you were me and where I am and waiting for a chance to go back to that wonderful place, then you would jump at this chance to go back to the "City of Lights'.
Since our first trip there many months ago, she has recounted many times her steps across this grand and lovely city. She remembers the sights and the smells as if she were just there that morning. She can tell you where Madeline fell from the bridge and the sweet pastry shops which were mere footsteps from our door. When we went in April, we stayed in a gorgeous apartment in a superbly multi-ethnic neighborhood. there was so much to love about this city! The gentleman whose apartment we stayed in was an excellent host even though we never met, he was just a phone call away. My 9 yr old was hospitalized for 4 days and her stay in the hospital was great! Oh, and the hospital food was awesome!! How many people can say that about a hospital? So French and so wonderful!

Anywho, we went back to Paris again and guess what? That pesky 9 yr old became ill again! 102 degree temperature ill! I just about lost what parental composure I had, but decided to make the best of it and focus myself on having a good time. One of the greatest moments of my life was had there on the first night we arrived. Instead of sitting around looking at the sad scenery from our cramped hotel room window, my son, birthday girl and I decided to make a quick night time run to see the tower ourselves. We took the Metro (underground train) to the nearest station and had to walk a few blocks to our destination. as soon as I could see the Eiffel, I called out to Chloe, "Look Chloe! The tower is ahead!" She came to a complete stop, looked forward and said in her most overjoyed voice, "The Eiffel Tower, The Eiffel Tower, The Eiffel Tower!" Each time she said this, her voice became ecstatic, almost to the point of tears. She was so happy! I almost cried to see her so happy! We walked to the tower and snapped a few photos with my cell phone, (duh, I forgot to take the real camera!). Wandering around the base of the tower, there seemed to be a never ending stream of tourists. Personally I thought all of those people should have been stuffed in their cramped little hotel rooms and sleeping, but apparently they had the same idea. We popped into a grocery store on the way home for some sandwich making supplies and ate a late night meal. She had thoroughly enjoyed herself and was so-ooo happy about her late night soiree.

A good time was had by all and the best time for the children was on the last night when we hired a driver to do a night time tour of the city. The sick 9yr old's fever had broken and I didn't want her thinking that all the sights of the city were on postcards. She needed some fresh air and a chance to see what we had seen the night before. There were many places we hadn't visited so we combined them all into an exciting personal guided tour.

I'll stop talking and let the pictures show you the beauty of the city at night

This Diet Thing

Okay, it has been 2-3 weeks now and I really can't tell if I have made a lot of progress. I can tell you that I thought I was going to faint when I went on the rowing machine earlier this week. I made it to the gym and actually worked out! I did take my little ones with me and had to get off the machines more than 3 times but I actually sweated!! Now there is something I haven't done on purpose for a long time-sweat on purpose. Sometimes I wonder about people who do that. They do have a purpose for it, but do we really have to sweat to show that we are making progress? Yech!

I can truly see why people take diet pills. They don't want to do the work, but they want the results. I feel that way sometimes. I'd like to eat that half dozen of piping hot, fresh baked, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, but I don't want to "pay for my sins". Do you know how many calories that would be? That's 1320 calories!! Hello! That is nearly my whole days worth of food! They look good to me but not that good. I just have to leave the room and come back tomorrow when the heavenly smell of baked goods and melting chocolate has dissipated from the air.

My opinions are changing and so is my appetite. Now if you know me at all, you know that I have an insane love for baked goods- not just any baked good, but fresh out of the oven, made within the hour of my seeing them baked goods! I can contribute this to OSD-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have to know it is fresh. Who knows how long things have been sitting on the bakery shelf before you purchase them? And how many hands have touched it? How clean are those shelves? On and on, the questions run through my head like a horse tethered to a rope, running around in circles. SO, now that you've seen how my mind works then you can see why I have an obsession for food freshness and why I tend to make things only a mere hour or two before they need to be served. (It also explains why I am late to things that I have to take food to.)

Next subject: My taste buds have changed since this challenge has begun. I have begun to really crave earthy tasting foods like fresh spinach and especially mushrooms, RAW ones. I eat mushrooms like a chain smoker. A few an hour and my appetite is satisfied. They are low cal and all that good stuff but I really like the fact that they satisfy my constant urge to chew something. (And snuff is out of the question!) I eat a package a day and seem to be fine with it.

My family feels strange about it. Maybe you eat too many of them, they say. They tease me and say things like, "Ehhh, eating those magic mushrooms again?? or Shouldn't you have those with a pizza?"

I'm okay with that. They can say what they like about me, but don't say anything bad about my mushrooms too close to the refrigerator. They might hear those negative thoughts and wont' share their magic with me anymore..............

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Challenge!

It has been a week since I decided to do this. So to make myself accountable, I have to let the world know!!!! .
I, Misty Harris, challenge Malaka Grant to a "Weight Off".

I have seen through this last year (well, I can't remember how long I have read your blogs and known you), that the both of us have put on an unhealthy and unacceptable amount of weight.
We have both borne children in the last year and have suffered with the after effects of a cesarean section. We don't get enough rest, eat too much unhealthy food, and don't move enough to get rid of all that excess. The overhanging belly tells me that it is time to go.
No more fat and fluffy for me!

How about you?
We both lead extremely busy lifestyles, but we deserve better!

If you accept this challenge, you may proceed by any means necessary.
Your family should participate with you by being active with you for at least 1-2 hours a week. This can include such outdoor activities as playing, washing the car, gardening, chasing chilrens, walking, hiking Mt. Killahiker, basketball or some kind of sport.
Soda needs to leave our diets along with fast foods. You may have a free day but only one free day a week. (And you can't roll it over to the next week!) Beware that this day of "free food paradise" may satisfy the craving that only Snickers may fill but may set you back on the scale. You may want to purge your cabinets of any temptations.

Whatever devices you choose to use; becoming a vegetarian, diet supplements, at home liposuction, Dr. Pepper, Dr.Phil, cabbage soup or exercise (oh my gosh-that means sweat!).
Do whatever it takes!
* (I am not liable if you hurt yourself- please do this in a sensible, adult manner.)(Legalities, legalities!)

One of us has to lose at least 15 pounds by Christmas. If you break that down, that gives you 12 weeks to lose it.
We have to check in at least every 2 weeks with news of our progress.

Can you do this?
Will you accept my challenge and defeat me... or crawl away with your tail between your fat thighs???

Get your Spandex ready!

(The Grand Prize will be given to the winner by the loser no later than Dec 31st.)

Malaka replied with this weak message; I, Malaka Grant, hereby ACCEPT your challenge! My goal size is an 8. I am currently an 18. No more fat and fluffy for me either! What's the grand prize? A chocolate cake? Just kiddin', just kiddin'.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A pickin' we will go! Part 1

Ahhh, fall is upon us and it is time for the traditional apple picking pilgrimage to Sandringham.
This year, we went on a Friday afternoon since the children were released from school early. A new group came with us and we had to caravan it since there are only 8 seats in my van. Needless to say, I hope I have introduced these "newbies" to the addiction.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

We finally make it to Ireland......4 of 3 (I lost count somewhere)

Never mind! There were a couple more photos that go along with the series. I misnumbered and was too lazy to fix it.

Look! My faster, little brother ship!

Should I defend him against Irish Ferries?

Can you read Welsh? It's kind of gibbldey gock to me.

A lovely Victorian hotel tucked in the tree laden hillside of Fishgard welcomes us back to mainland England.

We finally make it to Ireland...... 3 of 3

On the way home again and into the belly of a different ship.

The competition.

A peek from the ramp before we go inside.

The beautiful, freezing cold waters of the Irish seaside.

A lighthouse salutes us goodbye!

We finally make it to Ireland...... 2 of 3

We finally make it to Ireland...... 1 of 3

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Almost to Ireland

A slow drive into the belly of a ship!

My son the photographer was enthralled with these cars. There was a rally in Dublin the day after we arrived. He was lucky enough to be on this ship and got to see lots of these Porsches.

There were other ships coming in port as we were leaving Fishguard that afternoon.

This is a view from the top deck. Somewhere down there are Porsches! (My son!)

These little people were enthralled with the view for about an hour, off and on.
Ahhh, only 2 1/2 more hours till we get to Dublin! What shall we do next?

Driving through Wales

These are what they call "Row Houses".

Okay, now you want me to squeeze my van past that building with 10 inches of clearance and a car on the other side of me?"

Click on this picture and look at the brick wall going uphill. Is that crazy or what? They really wanted to keep their neighbors out!!"

Check out the view! Lake to your right, mountains to your left and volksmarchers in the middle.

Same lake, better view.
Snowdonia National Park

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Night of the Nosebleed!

It's late and you just climbed into your warm bed. Ahhhhhhhh. Snore, snore. Oh my. I was so tired and it feels great to finally get some rest after such a long day. In your sleep, you hear footsteps. Heavy footsteps and they are headed your way. The son is the only person heavy enough to make those footsteps. You hear his voice, "April got her foot stuck in the chair!" This is his voice of distress. Hubby crawls out of bed, stomps down the stairs, heads to Aprils room where her foot is twisted, stuck inside the recliner and she is half crying/laughing at the state she is in. Mr looks at her leg, assessing the situation, pulls at the chair, yanking her foot out at the same time. He says nothing.
Back to bed we go. No words are spoken but we faintly hear the voices of our two oldest children as they say "Goodnight" to each other. Peaceful dreamland, come to me once again.........
Footsteps AGAIN! This time they are fast and furious. Sounds like April this time. Before I can get my wits about me, she whispers,"How do you get blood out of the carpet?"
"What happened? Who is bleeding? What is going on?" She whispers, "Wyndon has a nosebleed." Next thing you know, I'm headed down the stairs to find my son standing in front of his bathroom with every part of his face under his eyes covered with blood! Yep, he was covered in it and it was furiously dripping from his chin and nose.
Yuck. I can deal with blood, but after one of my children lost a tooth while eating chocolate covered cherries, my stomach hasn't been the same around it. I was not well and had to turn my back and shout out some instructions. Mr did all the footwork. April helped a bit so I vacated the area and went back to bed. Mr came up 10 minutes later after cleaning the carpet and "plugging up the leak", so to say.
"What a strange night!",I thought as I drifted back to sleep dreaming of what I thought had really happened.
And would you like to know what I thought really happened?
Here's how my mind works........

I think April did it!

A Little More Air......

Do me a favor and click on the picture above. Try to read the word..It's Welsh and as one of my "adopted" neighborhood children said,"Reading it makes you feel dyslexic!!!"

We could't believe someone would name their shop this!

We walked this way to get our fish and chips that evening. It was such a pleasant night and so many people were out enjoying it also.

A yellow church! So bright and yet it just illuminated warmth. What a neat place! You could hear laughter of children inside the building and they were having Vacation Bible School that night too!

Another pleasant riverside view.........