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Lost Dreams – Hope

Lost Dreams - Hope

Took this photo after a late snow 3.26.11

It is a cedar that was growing in the fence when we first moved into this house almost 20 years ago. It was about 3 feet tall at the time. We dug it up carefully, keeping a large root ball intact, but when we pulled it from the hole we’d excavated, the large earthen sphere split cleanly in two, leaving the roots entirely bare. Despite the haphazard method of its transplantation, it has thrived, always.

It is a guardian whose boughs shelter a small patch of hallowed ground. It bears sadness, but thrives despite the solemnity of its duty.

For 2014 I seek the strength and serenity glimpsed from my back window.

Gratuitous Kittens – Mei-Mei

Mei-Mei was born April 9, 2008. She was the kitten of a coworker’s cat. I had tried to help him out with spaying and neutering for his cats, but somehow I think the funding was diverted to other things and his cat, Spike, had yet another litter of kittens.

Meimei Adoption Day

In June, I tried to help him place them. I took Mei-Mei and one of her brothers to show to someone else – who ended up NOT taking her. She clung to me like I was a lifeline and she was so crawling with fleas, I did not even consider giving her back to my coworker.

Meimei Kitten 1            Meimei Kitten 5

I put her in a little box and took her straight to the vet for a check-up. She had fleas and worms.

Meimei Sling

She also was not a good eater. I was up with her every 3 or 4 hours to try to get nutrition into her. She was a lot of work and she was very attached to me. She wanted to be held constantly. I even made a sling like mothers have for newborns so she could stay with me while I was home.

Meimei Kitten 2Meimei Kitten 4Meimei Kitten 3Meimei kitten 6Ducklings 016

She continued to grow and thrive and she continued to cling to me. Most nights she sleeps on the pillow next to my head – if not actually draped over my head. She uses one of her paws to move my head and if I’m feeling cooperative, I let her…though she is very stubborn and persistent.

Meimei sleep

She has grown into a really, really big cat. She is likely part Abyssinian. Last check-up she weighed 14 lbs. She is unusual, not having to sniff anyone before they pet her and she isn’t picky about where she is petted either. She loves small dark places and sometimes crawls into the covers to sleep.

Regal MeimeiMei-Mei 12.7.13Meimei Face

She is a very sweet girl and it is wonderful having her in our family.

Old News

Fit 2
This is the side hit by the car

Fit 3
This is the side spun out by the semi

This is old news, but we just got some new information today and it astounds me.

Here’s the old news. Back in October, my son Gary was in a serious car accident. He was driving along in the slow lane. It was a drizzly day and it was rush hour time. I had left work late and had just pulled into the driveway at home when I got a call from him. It was around 6:30 pm.

Here is how our conversation went.
Gary: Mom, I was just in an accident. (sounding upset and on the edge)
Me: Are you OK?
Gary: I don’t know.
Me: Are you in pain?
Gary: I don’t know.

I could hear people telling him, “Don’t move, man. Stay still.” So, I spent a little time saying calming things to him. then asked:

Me: Where are you?
Gary: I have to go. I can hear sirens.

I raced into the house yelling for Robert. We didn’t know where Gary was or what exactly had happened. We did our best to track down where he was by checking traffic reports online. We got that figured out, but couldn’t tell where they would take him.

It was a harrowing wait. I tried calling his cell and texting him, but got no response.

Eventually, I was just wasting time online and checked FB where I discovered he had posted that he was in an accident, was in the hospital and was OK. I was relieved AND pissed…or should I be PC and say perturbed?

He did call me around 9 pm to tell me where he was and I went to be with him in the ER.

He had bruises and abrasions. The thing they were checking for primarily was head injuries. He had several CT scans. They finally let him leave around 1 am. We went to pick up some meds and drive thru somewhere for something to eat.

I took a couple of days off work to help him. I made sure he had whatever he needed – food, meds, etc.

The accident happened on a Tuesday. He went back to work the following Monday.

Here are the accident details.

He was driving along in the slow lane. He had just come abreast of a cloverleaf on ramp. A woman driving onto the highway was going too fast around the turn, went airbourn and T-boned the passenger side of G’s car (2012 Honda Fit).

He saw her coming and thought something about how it looked like the Dukes of Hazard driving the General Lee. He also thought, “That car is going to hit me. I’d better move over into the next lane.” When he looked over his left shoulder, he saw that he was driving next to an 18-wheeler. Then he thought (calmly he says), “Shit. I’m getting ready to die.”

Then the car hit the passenger side, shoved him into the semi, and the semi’s wheels spun him out. He says he remembers doing at least two complete 360s before coming to rest in the grass in the middle of the other leaf (the exit ramp) of the cloverleaf.

At this point he thought, “I think I’m going to freak out right now.” So, to keep calm he sent a snap chat picture of his windshield and started getting a series of texts back from his friends. Then he called me.

Multiple people stopped and came to check on him. They called 911 and stayed with him. Responders had to use the jaws of life to get his door open and extricate him.

If you guessed that the woman who caused the accident was A-OK, you’d be right. She was walking around at the scene. If you guessed that the woman who caused the accident was also uninsured, you would be right again. She tried to buy insurance that night and make it work, but it was no dice.

Gary’s insurance has been wonderful. AAA. They made things happen fast and they were very good to him. I can’t say enough nice things about them. He also had the kind of insurance that replaces your car with the current year model. So, in less than a week Gary had a 2013 Fit. The only sad thing is that his 2012 was a special color that was no longer available, so he has plain old blue now.

So now the NEW NEWS on this.

Gary had an MRI of his spine done a few weeks ago. He just went to the doctor for the results today. The results floored me. He has 3 broken ribs in back near his spine, 2 broken ribs under his left arm, 5 broken ribs at the sternum, and a fractured sternum. Holy crap! And he went back to work 6 days after the accident and never got a refill on his pain meds. He only took them at night to sleep.

He must have a high tolerance for pain! That’s all I can say.

White Elephant

Patty O'Cat

This is not a white elephant; it is a cat. Specifically, it is Patty O’Cat, known more commonly as Miss Kitty, or just Kitty.

Miss Kitty made her grand debut on St. Patrick’s Day 1989. She was probably around a year old and was expecting – as stray cats have a habit of doing. The location of her appearance was Main Street in downtown St. Charles, MO which is known for its cobblestones and quaint shops nestled in historic riverfront buildings.

Patty O’Cat a/k/a Miss Kitty was named for the day she was adopted. She was, in fact, adopted by an antiques shop owner and lived contentedly in the shop until her kittens were old enough to be weaned. When the antiques dealer decided to keep one of the kittens, Miss Kitty moved across the street into an art, hobby and framing shop called Remington’s, because she was quite certain that she was cat enough by herself for any shop – no exceptions.

Roaming the historic district by day, making friends among the shop owners and patrons, Miss Kitty lived contentedly at Remington’s for the next 6 years. She loved the art students who took classes there and fed her tuna from their lunches and she often slept in the sunny storefront windows to entice customers inside. Kitty especially bestowed favor upon the picture framer and could often be found standing on his shoulders as he worked. She had decided he was her person.

So, when the business changed hands in 1995, Miss Kitty went home with her person and lived happily ever after. She had a cat door so that she could come and go at will. She was (to SOME of her people’s horror) one bitchin’ huntress. She never killed senselessly, but ate whatever she caught, which was primarily bunnies and birds. (eek!) She even brought a live bunny in one day and dropped it in her food dish for later. In addition to all the other perks of living in a home in a neighborhood, she enjoyed the benefit of a plethora of sleeping accouterments and locations. And THIS is where the two stories converge…the cat and the white elephant, if you will recall.

One of the last gifties Miss Kitty received was a large, cushy pillow. It was bright orange plush, about 4″ deep, an oval approximately 18″ X 24″. One side was embroidered with the word SWOOSH and some lines suggesting a basketball. She occasionally lay on this pillow, but her life was winding down and she didn’t use it for very long. (I’m glossing over this, because it has been sad thinking about the day we said good-bye to her – 12.13.07.)

A year later, I packaged the Swoosh pillow up to contribute to the annual White Elephant Gift Exchange. If you’ve never done this, it is a game-like exchange of gifts where each person re-gifts something – the more unexpected, the better. We draw numbers and select and open gifts in turn. Any person may opt to open a wrapped gift or steal one already opened by someone else.  The fun is in the stealing and in the surprise of the offerings.

Following is a timeline/outline of the Swoosh in its ongoing gift journey.

** Christmas 2008

–The Swoosh makes its first appearance as a white elephant gift

–received by Kyle

— left behind at Grandma & Grandpa’s house

–Steve says Kyle was sad to leave it behind

–Greg says everyone was teasing him about it – Kyle didn’t want it

**Mid-2009

–a package addressed to Kyle arrives at the Martinelli residence

–the return address is “The White Elephant Shipping Company”

–Greg accuses Steve of sending it

–Steve says White Elephant Shipping Co wanted to right a wrong

**Christmas 2009

–The Swoosh was a white elephant gift – packaged in a smallish box

–received by Nathan

**Christmas 2010

–The Swoosh makes a third Christmas appearance

–received by Steve in a tiny box

–a mere 10-12″ cube, the Swoosh explodes outward on opening

–Nathan elaborates on extreme pillow stuffing into a tiny box

**The Swoosh goes off the grid–moving mysteriously from location to location

–Martinellis discover the Swoosh in their car when they get home

–Steve’s daughter Jessica visits Kyle’s sister Laura

–Jessica is coerced to bring the Swoosh home

–Jessica hides the Swoosh under Steve’s desk

–Laura visits Jessica and is pressured to bring the Swoosh home

–Laura keeps it with her at school instead

–in summer 2012 Laura gives the Swoosh to Grandma & Grandpa

–Grandma & Grandpa visit the Martinellis

–they hide it under Greg’s bed

**Christmas 2012

–a Swoosh-sized box goes to Steve’s wife, Barb

–Barb doesn’t open the box and leaves it behind

–later Greg finds the Swoosh under a car seat and leaves it behind

–then the trail goes cold

**Christmas 2013

–no sign of the Swoosh

Here is the only clue I can offer. As I was hugging Steve good-bye last night, I whispered in his ear, “I know you have the Swoosh.”  He just laughed.

ADDENDUM

When I told Steve I was blogging this. He insisted I thoroughly check the white elephant gift I got last night. It was his old leaf blower. He kept telling me the zipper on the bag was broken and wanted me to look at it. I just ignored him. Tonight he texted me to insist I open the bag… and then I just knew.

The Swoosh is sitting here beside me. It’s in one of those plastic vacuum bags you see advertised on TV to suck down sweaters and blankets for storage.

I guess last night Steve was laughing because he knew I was taking the Swoosh home with me.

Now I feel like Gru (of Despicable Me fame) and must make evil plans for the next step in the Swoosh’s epic journey.

Minions needed.

Family Tree Recharge

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Kai enhances a Christmas morning surprise

My account of Christmas 2013 would not be complete without a mention of the way the day started. I had trouble sleeping and ended up lazing around until 11:30 am. When I did get up, I went downstairs to discover that my son had put up a string of lights and lined up a couple of gifts and cards on the mantle. It was so sweet and thoughtful, it brought a tear to my eye. It was completely unexpected, which is the best kind of surprise of all. Robert, Sonny, Wendy, Gary and I will celebrate our own nuclear family Christmas on Saturday.  I’m really looking forward to it.

Today was an occasion to gather together with as much of the family as available. That amounted to 27, with only 2 absent because of work.  The experience of family togetherness is very intense for me. If there were a scale for measuring happy-happy-joy-joy (citation, retrieved 12.26.13: http://nicktoons.nick.com/videos/clip/happy-happy-joy-joy.html), then it would have to be recalibrated to measure how I feel on days like this. That is not to say that everything is always lollipops and rainbows, but my family is fabulous in its ability to remain civil and controlled and go along until things even back out. But, today was perfection.

We hung out and talked and snacked, then ate dinner and cleaned up and talked some more and finally gathered together for the annual white elephant gift exchange. We have a blast gifting each other with bizarre and random items, some gently and some not so gently used. Several years ago there was one particular white elephant gift that caused a bit of a stir – a stir which has continued to grow in intensity over the years. I’m proud to say it was a gift I bestowed on the family – and it shall receive its own posting tomorrow.

For me, today spanned the emotional spectrum from serene bliss to uncontrolled laughter. The highlights were 1) hearing that my youngest sister will be moving back into the area after living away since her college days and 2) looking at jokey things from FB and YouTube, then laughing ’til we cried.

I also adored spending time with nephews, nieces and great nephews and nieces. I treasure them all.

Here is a sampling of pictures from the day.

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Mom’s Family Tree Table

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There was no way to get everyone in the picture, but this is most of us

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White elephant gift exchange

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Keeping Zoe busy – we had fun eating and measuring and pouring

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Liam is content to keep himself busy

The Blog of Ongoing Edits

In an earlier entry, I talked about this blog being primarily a place-keeper and a collection of trivial entries. The reality is, I can’t seem to stop tweaking it. Every time I drop in I feel compelled to delete and add and embellish. Instead of triviality (of which there is still enough to cause the most dedicated reader to yawn) I have now added silly, dramatic words and thoughts on topics such as depression and grief…definitely not where I thought I’d venture. I’ve added pictures and titles and tags and categories (whatever those are???) So, anyone visiting here one day might return the next day to find that what they previously read is now a completely different entity.

To make up for the mundane-ity of this entry, here is a picture to maybe make it bearable…or at least provide something to look at when the words deflect the eye. Cats are always a good diversion.

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 Kai (left) and a tiny Mei-Mei, big yawn.  

Scamp Yawn

     Additional yawn provided by Scamp.

I’ve also begun an effort to make my blog anonymous. I’m not sure how well that will work. The active blog seems to reflect those changes, but when I look at comments I’ve made on other blogs I see my name plain as day. Also, a google search comes up with my name as well. Will it go away? (several days later…I’ve given up the anonymity idea for this blog.)

I want to begin a series of book reviews and analysis and I want that anonymity.  There is probably some other way to do that and I’ll have to dig around to figure it out. (must create a new identity for that…)