Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today Laughter is Priceless

Today is my Daddy's birthday. He would have been 64. January 5th, 2008, he passed away. Daddy left a huge legacy of laughter and fun in the wake of his too-short life.

I have been bummed today, wishing I could call him and do our yearly birthday conversation. So not to wallow in self-pity,

I am posting some of the funny pictures I have of my daughter's children. Grayson, Kaydi Jo, and her step-son, Jacob.

My Daddy would have been so proud.

Monday, December 29, 2008

'Twas 3 Nights After Christmas

'Twas 3 nights after Christmas, when all thru the house,
Not a creature was stirring, we thought, not even a mouse.
The stockings were packed in the attic with care,
In hopes I could find them next year right up there.

The children were at their dad's or in their own beds,
While visions of Clean and Quiet danced in our heads.
With ma in her sweats and dad in his cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

When out in the garage there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
Away down the hall I flew like a flash,
Tore open the door and fell on my ash. (Work with me here)

The light on the breast of the new-fallen bimbo
Gave light to the water I slipped in, above and below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a mouse with a sticky pad trap stuck to it's rear.

With the little old mouse, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment I needed to call for Rick.
More rapid than eagles his footsteps they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called out by name!

"Now Dammit! Now Mother! Now Effer and Shitter!
That stupid mouse! I will just hit her!
To the top of the entrance, to the top of the garage wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So inside the garage the mouse and man flew,
With it's ass full of sticky pad trap, and St Rickolas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. (I know, mice don't have hooves,
work with me here, too!)
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Over the boxes St Rickolas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in sweat, from his head to his ash,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and trash.
A giant broom he had flung over his back,
And he looked like a mad man, or someone on crack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The blob of Redman he held tight between his gum and his cheek,
And the smoke out of his ears encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a mad face and me, a little round belly,
That shook when I laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
I was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him running around, in spite of myself!

A wink of his eye and a twist of the broom's head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And beat the poor mouse to death, then turned with a jerk.

And with his finger pushing his glasses up on his nose,
And giving a nod, off the garage floor he rose!
He sprang to his feet, to his wife gave a whistle,
And I wondered what the hell was the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he came into sight,
"I think I blew out my knee, but I will be alright!"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I would
like to put
up a tree in my
heart, and instead
of wrapping presents,
I would like to put the
names of all my friends.
Close friends and not so close
friends. The old friends, the new
friends. Those that I see every day
and the ones that I rarely see. The ones
that I always remember and the ones that
I sometimes forget. The ones that are always
there and the ones that seldom are. The friends of
difficult times and the ones of happy times. Friends
who, without meaning to, I have hurt, or without meaning
to have hurt me. Those that I know well and those I only know
by name. Those that owe me little and those that I owe so much.
My humble friends and my important friends. The names of all those that
have passed through my life no matter how fleetingly. A tree with
very deep roots and very long
and strong branches so that
their names may never be
plucked from my heart. So
that new names from all
over may join the existing ones. A tree with a very
pleasant shade so that our friendship may take a
moment of rest from the battles of life. "May the
happy moments of Xmas brighten every day of
the new year". These are my sincere wishes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Rest Of The Story

If you are just joining us, we are talking about how I got these fabulous boots in Amarillo and got home to Dallas and realized they were not the same. One was fluffy, one was gnawed-on looking. I loved Nikki's suggestion about finding the closest Pomeranian and hot gluing some it's clippings
onto the boot, as well as just finding a willing mouse or scissors to finish off the pretty boot so they would match. But I have started this thing and I MUST complete my assignment.(Because I AM a secret agent and all.)

So, off to Dillards I go and was pleasantly surprised that the returns were taken directly back to the whichever department you got the item in. That meant no lines!!! I approach a man who had his back to me and was behind the counter. I had my camera in my purse because I every intention of making her/him pose with my new boots, because I am a sadist like that and someone was going to pay for my inconvenience.

When I approached the counter, he turned to the side and I was looking into the eye of poor Jim the shoe salesman. Jim had what we call a gouch eye. An eye that basically has a mind of it's own and looks wherever it wants, no matter what the brain and the other "good" eye say. Now I am not making fun of Jim. I did not point and laugh or say, "Oh my GOD, man! What the eff is up with your eye?" or even, "You lookin' at me?" in my best Pacino voice. I did start saying in my head "And what to my wandering eye did appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer" over and over though.

I, too, in my younger years had a lazy eye which explains so much today. My eye is fine now, but now my ass has it. (Heh, that was so just thrown in there!) My husband sometimes gets that wandering eye early in the morning if he is staring into space and someone asks him a question, only half of him looks at you. It's rather freaky and has caused a good early laugh when Cooper asks him something and he looks with one eye and Cooper turns around to see who/what the gouch eye is looking at. And my step son had an eye injury when he was young and he also likes to make you wonder at times where to look when you talk to him and his wandering eye. But we all laugh and no one makes fun of them. Too badly.

So back to poor Jim the shoe salesman. I took my box out and showed him the boot and he totally agreed with me that right one was a little off. Then he said, "BUUUT, I don't carry that one here at this store. It doesn't get cold enough for that particular boot." Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech. Stop the car. "Excuse me?"
"We carry that particular boot at the North Park Mall."
"Can you call and find out if they have my size before I drive up there, please?" And could you tell someone to jump in their Beamer and just drive it down to me from WAY up there at North Park. I mean here in Texas apparently 30 minutes south and you are screwed out of the good winter clothing.

"It's there. They have 3 pair in your size."
"Tell them to hold one. I will be sending my husband tomorrow." (Before you judge me, just ask the girls who live here in DFW area with me. I am saving him HUNDREDS, maybe even thousands (if I had it) of dollars by sending him. That Mall has a magnetism to my wallet and I cannot say no to the great deals. I am doing us a FAVOR by sending Rick in.) So I thanked him for all his help and thought about taking his picture and then assumed he would think I was mocking his eye. But because I was leaving with the same fur-ic-ally challenged boots, I was going to cough in poor Jim the shoe salesman's face just for good measure and to say I did it. But I just couldn't. I walked away and turned back to see Jim facing the side door but still able to give one fleeting glance in my direction without turning his head.

Man, I miss Marty Feldman.

Happy Birthday, Georgie!!!!!
Comment on G'dog's blog wishing her a happy day and Deb will put you in a drawing for a great prize! We are looking for 100 legitimate comments. None of that hijacking-one-word-comments-that-make-you-laugh-as-you-write-it-crap, but real comments. God, what immature person would really do that?! Quit pointing at me!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

While in Amarillo, my mom and sisters bought matching boots. We are weird like that. Always saying, "I love your ____. I am going to go get me one." Or, "I got a new ____. You have to go get one." In other words, You won't let me wear yours or you can't wear mine. Either way, we dress alike. So while in Dillard's we all got pajamas. Those we didn't match. Then Amy went to the shoe department.

She tried on these incredible black yummy boots. They were on sale and since she was at the time, wearing MY black boots, she bought her a black pair. And I wanted a new brown pair. So I try on one, love them, thrilled they fit over my freakishly enormous calves, and tell the lady I want them. (Please note I tried on ONE boot.) I never even checked the giant box she brought out and I paid for. And because it warmed up while I was there, I never wore them.

Until yesterday. It was freezing cold, all blustery outside with drizzle and strong winds. I had to work. And I was sick. So, I decide to take the giant box down and take my boots out. I am giddy to wear them and thinking I already feel better, realizing they have some magical healing power.

How cute are these boots?!

The left boot is so perfectly fluffy

The right one has issues. No perfect fluffiness noted. In fact, it looks like a fashion-conscious mouse have gnawed herself a new hat and scarf with my fluffy border.

I screamed and cussed (not real bad, Mom). Okay, bad. And suddenly felt a fever come upon me and started coughing uncontrollably, because yelling so vehemently always make choke. That meant I couldn't be all cute in my new boots. And worse, I would have to fight my way to the return counter in Dillards in Cedar Hill which makes me want to just pass out.
As difficult as it was, I stifled the thought of trimming the left fluffy boot irratically to match the right one just to avoid that freakin' store. So, today I have to see more patients, spread my love and germs and go wait in line at the damn mall. Even though I know it will be a different one, I am so coughing in the shoe girl's face.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book Winners, Anniversaries, and Birthdays

Congrats to Ginger for winning the copy of "Holding Fast" By Karen James. Also I am sending a copy to Rhonda because she promised to read fast and send it on to those that wanted a chance to read it. I think that is a GREAT idea, so just let her know if you are willing to read and pass it on.

Thank you so much for the sweet comments and allowing me a chance to share the impact that tragedy had on me. But I am done making you cry. Now on to funny things!

Saturday was our 5th anniversary. The kids were at their dad's. So you know what that meant...
loud sex and Christmas shopping! (Just kidding, mom!!!) We did take a break (From shopping, mom!) and went to eat at Randy's Steakhouse in Frisco. This elite place is in an old Victorian house and dining is by reservation only. The room we were seated in was dimly lit and reading the menu was next to impossible. I had to get the little candle on our table to put up next to the menu to even see the choices. The prices were high, but not jaw-dropping, so when the waiter came to give us the specials, I never bothered to ask the price. BIG MISTAKE!!! We both got the iced tea since there was more shopping to do (and plus, we were planning on getting soused at home (just kidding, mom!)). No appetizer, just salads, filet mignon with lobster bernaise and Cajun tiger shrimp, asparagus, and garlic mashed potatoes. It was phenomenal. Beyond belief good. Dessert was complimentary because it was our anniversary. Our bill was $147.95. Rick's 12 oz. steak was $67. With tip, we were looking at $180. It was delicious, but for the love of God, 30 minutes later in IKEA's restroom, it was already over and done with.

On our way back home, while going down the highway, in the middle of nowhere, fireworks begin to go off directly beside us. Not just one or two big fireworks, but BIG 4th-of-July-like-light-up-the-sky fireworks. I was shocked and said, "Wow, I wonder what the celebration is!" Rick just turns and says slyly, "Happy Anniversary, honey." Then he laughed hysterically. For a split second I thought, DAMN, he's good!!

Sunday was my mom's birthday and since I couldn't score any tickets for the game in Dallas, (Thanks for trying, Janie!) she went to Burlington Coat Factory with my sister Erin and got herself a huge parka with a fur-lined hood and sat with her mocha moolatte from DQ to watch the game on TV and pretended she was there. How much better could it be?

I love you so much, Mom, and wish you lived closer. I miss spending time with you and laughing at all your mispronunciations and driving (dis)abilities. You are my role model and taught me everything I know about being a good mom. (The bad mom parts of me I learned from a book.) You supported me in all my (legal) activities and were always there when I needed a shoulder to cry on with encouragement and guidance. I am who I am today because of you. Thank you, Mom, for always telling me I made you proud and making me want to please you. You were always my biggest fan and laughed harder than anyone at my jokes (unless Amy was there).You made me see the good in all people and be satisfied with life as long as my kids were safe and happy. Thank you for encouraging me to go back to school and helping me when I went thru my divorce. I know I lived a childhood that not many people get to experience and I am so thankful to you and Daddy for showing me true unconditional love. I only have a couple of complaints:

1) Did you really have to keep my hair in a pixie all those years?
2) I know it may have been the style, but some of the pants I
have seen in pictures that I wore could have been avoided.
3) Stop sign glasses? Really?! I was 7 and had no sense of style.
You should have been firmer about that.
4) You probably should have been honest with me about my
4H sheep. Learning they really were not frolicking in the
pasture all these years,but were lamb chops, was a difficult
revelation 10 years later.
5) You should have pushed dating David A. more fervently. I
might have actually gotten a redheaded kid out of the deal.
I wish everything you wished for on your birthday, but I know Daddy is happy and patiently waiting on us to join him. He loved you very much and no one torked his jaw like you and your navigational skills (except John's ice crunching). And in case you have forgotten, I love you more than Amy and Erin. I mean, not to pat myself on the back, but who saved your life? Okay, then. I can't wait to see you this weekend and spend time watching you make you chocolate pies. Hey, Amy is the cook and Erin cleans. I am the delegator and taste-tester, not to mention world-renown choreographer. You can't have it all and I have accepted that. See, I learned from you that I should be happy with myself, even if it meant not liking to cook and clean and just bossing people around. I love you, Mom!!! (And BTW, Jerry Jones said that win was for you!)

I will be cleaning(blah) and cooking(double blah) for the fam coming in friday, so I may be a vapor this week. I am thinking serving McNuggets, and Whataburger fried pies won't cut it this year. I have grown as a hostess and now am going above and beyond with some bags of Chex Mix. What? I will have Amy put them in a bowl. Sheesh. I am not that lazy. Being bossy is hard work.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Part Three of My Version

Side Note: This post, as the previous 2, are my words and feelings about the tragedy on Mt Hood two years ago when 3 climbers were lost. Kelly James, the climber they found in the snow cave, was my husband's oldest and dearest friend. I share these memories with you as a tribute to the James family as well as my husband, Rick who tirelessly spent a week in Oregon supporting his friend Kelly and Kelly's family in any way he could. The effects of Kelly's death linger on, but the memories and love surpass the pain that being separated from him in this world hold.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of Karen James' Book Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy" please say so in your comment. The drawing will be held on Sunday and the winner announced Monday the 16th.

I awoke to an empty bed with three hours of restless sleep. My husband was 2000 miles away in the middle of what had become the biggest news story of the time.

It was our third anniversary.

I vividly remember Karen and Kelly at our wedding. Each was indescribably gorgeous. Together they were breathtaking. I had gotten to know them over our year long engagement and loved them dearly. They were so classically charming and made you feel like you were the most important person in the world when they spoke to you. I knew they genuinely loved Rick and we all had a mutual admiration for our new roles as Rick and I became a couple.

The calls continued to come from concerned family members and friends and I went through the motions of daily life with the television never off of CNN. That morning Rick hadn't slept, but instead had gotten food again and taken it to the men who were the rescue team for that day. This was the day they would find them. I just felt it. I told my children over breakfast, "Pray that the rescuers are safe today. I really feel like today is the day they will find them."

They planned to use small model-sized radio controlled planes that were heat seeking to go above where the rescuers could not go. Everyone's hopes were high in Dallas and reports on every local and national news station were optomistic.

I went to my room after dinner to watch and pray uninterrupted. My prayers were beginning to sound redundent and I decided to talk aloud to God to keep my thoughts straight. I decided not to end it with 'Amen' but leave it open in case I wanted to add anything. I fell asleep dreaming how Kelly would look in the hospital, sitting up in bed with some scratches and bruises but with a smile on his face. He would be telling Karen the story and she would smile and lay her head down on the bed next to his arm and go to sleep. The ringing of my phone woke me up.

"Any news?" I asked.

"They found the letters they left at the lodge and in their rental with detailed insructions of where they were going and what they were taking."

"Did the little planes find anything?"

"No. the winds are gusting like crazy and windchills are 30 below."

I looked at my alarm clock and it read 3:13am. It was now December 14th and our anniversary had come and gone. I hadn't gotten what we both wanted more than anything. Kelly was still up on that mountain.

"Happy anniversary, honey."

"Oh, shit, honey. I am so sorry. I totally have lost track of time."

"Really, baby, I sorta knew that. I just want them to be found and when you come home we can celebrate."

"Tonight something really weird happened."


"Tonight while Barry and I were downtown, out of nowhere a huge blast of wind swept thru and all the electricity in the town went out. We were just standing on the street talking and the next thing we knew it was pitch black and quiet."

"That IS weird." Later he would confess that he felt like that is when Kelly died.

"It doesn't look good, baby. They can't get Kelly's ping anymore from his cell phone and we are running out of time. I am really scared they aren't going to find them in time."

"Yes they will honey. They have to."

He talked about meeting a guy with National Geographic and how they wanted to interview him. Any other time being on CNN and having NG wanting an interview would have been so exciting. Only now it brought sadness and despair. Rick humbly denied his offer but remained close to this photojournalist who had become his friend.

Thursday and Friday came and went and the phone calls became more frequent yet more quiet. Rick who is normally very talkative had nothing to say. The news station were only covering bits and peices, unlike the full coverage they had been doing since the news broke. The family was beginning to feel the strain and Rick was right in the middle of it.

"Karen will be in the next press conference. I know her. I know she is panicking that the rescuers and the media will give up and we cannot have that. Not now."

Thankfully Karen had had experience in news reporting and had wonderful contacts that allowed her access to many resources. She was so savvy and even under this tremendous pressure, she was able to see what would happen if everyone gave up and left. So the rally began.

Plans were made for the moms of all three men and the sister of Brian to speak. People from all avenues of communication were available and the lull quickly turned around. The boys were again the Top Story in the news.

Sunday about 4pm. the family gets word that not one, but two snow caves have been found and there is a body in one. I am in Target at the time with my daughter and my neice getting last minute Christmas gifts when my phone rings.

"It's Kelly."

"Oh, God, NO!" I can no longer stand and I go down to my knees and begin sobbing right in the middle of the accessory aisle. People turn as they hear me cry and begin to offer help.

"They just found my parent's best friend dead in a snow cave,' my 11 year old daughter tells them.

I vaguely remember nodding my head when people were asking me about Kelly and if I was okay to drive. I was able to drive 5 minutes to my mother-in-law's house where I called Rick back and asked him to come home.

He made sure that karen and kids made it to the airport and he booked his flight to come home.

I went to the airport to pick up Rick even though he had his truck. I just needed to be with him. I saw him thru the glass coming towards the revolving door and as he entered the Baggage Claim I grabbed him and we fell into a giant heap of sobs and kisses. The love I had for him was spilling out and from that moment on, my heart has never forgotten how much I loved and needed him. We never quit holding hands the entire trip home.

The funeral was after Christmas and we went early knowing there would be a full house. We hadn't had the opportunity to hud Karen or even see her without the entourage of people that were there there to help her. I had resigned myself that we would see her soon and that she needed that support at the time. I decided to get a cup of coffee at the coffee shop inside the church. I stood in line and was looking up at the menu when the woman in front of me turned around. It was Karen. We just stood there looking at one another and without words our pain and sympathy was entwined as we just hugged and cried. As she pulled away, words were still unable to come and as her hand slipped from mine I knew all had been said that needed to be said. She knew how much we loved her. She knew how much we loved Kelly. And she knew we were hurting for her and were here for her. That's all that she needed to know.

As time went on and the healing began, we were constantly reminded of Kelly and his love for adventure and life. His life testimony taught all of us the importance of living life to the fullest. To be passionate about all things that you love. And to cling to those you love. Kelly always told his family and friends he loved them. I now do the same thing. I want my friends and my family to never doubt the importance of our relationship, just as Kelly so perfectly modeled. One thing we all went away with was that we were all Kelly's best friends. He always made us feel we were his favorite. That is a legacy I want to leave.

As all Kelly's best friends sat together at Brian's memorial months later, there was a pause in conversation. Then someone, during the course of talking about Kelly, asked, "How are we going to know what's cool now?" The women laughed and the men were suddenly hit with the reality that Kelly had been the "cool" one, giving his opinion of your clothes, your house, your hobby, etc. These men that had known him, respected him, and loved him were now on their own. It was a revolution for these guys to fully understand the impact Kelly had had on them.

The holidays are very difficult for us as a family. We lost Kelly in December 2006, Rick's father in June 2007, then my father in Jan 2008. In June 2008 one of our nephews was shot and miraculously survived. So every six months we have had a major circumstance that reminds us how fragile life is. Needless to say, we are holding breaths during this exact time. But I have faith in God that just as He did in the other times, He will pull us through. Even though I am far from the poster child of Christianity, I have my placed my faith in something mightier than myself. I cannot imagine going through life without something to believe in. God has allowed all these things in my life for a reason. And one day I will see why. I am still looking but have a peace that I can't explain. All I can do is share with those who want to know.

This peek into our life during Dec 2006 was told because during this time is when you should hold your family closer and tell them how much you love them and how important they are to you. Don't wait until tragedy strikes.

I love you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Second Part of My Story

Side note: I am giving away a copy of Karen James' book "Holding Fast, The Untold Story of the Mt. Hood Tragedy". If you would like a chance to win this book, please say so in your comment. These posts are written by me from my point view. Karen's book is much better and more detailed and conveys the issues those that were in Oregon were going through during the search.

Kelly and Rick were inseparable growing up. Lou Ann and Logan, Kelly's mom and step dad were best friends with Norma and Dick, Rick's parents. The men had served in the military together and the girls shared the same head-strong determination to raise their families with high morals, strict disciple, and strong religious foundations. Many times Kelly and Rick found themselves being spanked at one house after doing their infamous childhood pranks, only to go to the other's home and receiving another paddling. Both sets of parents loved all the kids as their own.

Before Rick had proposed to me, he informed me that I had to meet Kelly and Karen. Later, I would find out that the dinner we had with them was my interview. Rick had shared with Kelly that he was going to ask me to marry him and he had wanted their "okay". I was just glad I had been on my best behavior that evening.
I awoke to the same sounds and stories I had fallen asleep to the previous night. The rescuers had gone out around six a.m. and they were planning a news conference to give information later in the afternoon.
Rick called early on Tuesday, Dec 12th, to tell me he was on his way to the Portland airport to pick up Lou Ann, Kelly's mom. He was dreading the long ride to the B&B in Hood River where he would be reuniting her with her grandchildren and daughter-in-law. (Logan was ill at the time and Rick's mom had been in contact with Lou Ann just weeks before the accident to share war stories of their ill husbands.) What would he tell her? How would he comfort this mother that was like his own when he himself felt so helpless?
I plugged on, trying to keep some resemblance of normalcy back at home. I was manning the phone, starting the email for encouragement to the families, and attempting to remain upbeat and calm to all the family and friends that were calling to check on things. Rick had limited phone privileges due to the overwhelming amount of media that flocked to Mt. Hood and their B&B. He would call and whisper the daily events so that nothing could be written and taken out of context. His main concern was to help in whatever capacity was needed to find Kelly and to keep Karen and the kids safe from the media.
I was not allowed to share intimate details about what the family knew to our family and friends and he told me under no circumstances was I to talk to anyone in the media. The story was nationwide and people were coming out of the woodwork to get any and all information on these men who were lost in a storm while climbing Mt Hood.
Even though I was never alone, I didn't have anyone to talk to or tell me it was going to be okay. I was so lonely and felt so guilty about thinking of myself during this horrific time. My kids were phenomenal and after the days grew into one another, they took over a lot of the hands-on details. They left me alone, knowing that if I was in my bedroom with the door shut, I was not to be disturbed. I have never had that happen before in 22 years of mothering. It was oddly uncomfortable.
Back at Hood River, the families had had their first news conference and I watched on CNN as Rick tried to stay as inconspicuous as possible. I could see him hiding in the backgound behind the kids, there to support the family that he loved so dearly, and I would cry out of relief knowing he was safely still on the ground. I could see the pain on everyone's faces as the search was again called off due to high winds. They had been on the mountain 4 days past the time they were to meet Brian's friend. I could hear the faint sound of despair in Frank's voice as he spoke for his little brother's family. They all remained optimistic, as did the rest of the world.
When Rick found himself alone with no media around the corner or at the table next to him, he would call me. Sometimes that meant at 3 am. I would answer with a hopeful, "Any news?" to which I would receive a whispered, "Not yet". Then he would quietly tell me of the days events and I could hear the exhaustion in his voice.
Rick is a take charge kind of guy. He has had his own business for over 25 years and been the boss in his family, even making decisions for his parents. If something needs to get done, Rick is the man to contact. During this time, he had designated himself "Food Guy" and would awaken before anyone else to go out and get doughnuts and coffee for the rescuers and family. This was something he could control and it gave him some hint of satisfaction knowing he was needed. But this overall helplessness was almost more than he could handle. No amount money or manpower could change the weather.
"It's so incredibly weird here at this Bed and Breakfast."
"What do you mean? Because of the media?"
"No. Kelly and the guys stayed here the night before they climbed."
"I talked to the owner for about two hours tonight. She is very kind. She told me something but you can't share this with anyone."
"Okay, " I whispered back, almost not wanting to hear what she told him.
"She put me in the room that Kelly had."
I heard myself gasp, not really knowing the full impact of this information.
"She said she had planned on not even renting it out, but when she saw me, something made her give me the room. I sleep where he slept. The room is so warm. Jill, it's so cold here. He is somewhere up there in sub-zero weather. And no one can get to him."
We softly cried and then I begged him again, "Rick, please don't go up there."
"They won't let anyone up. I tried to find another route but with the snow and wind, it is impossible."
I breathed a sigh of relief. But an incredible amount of sadness flooded me.
I suddenly felt the all the weight of reality hit me in full force.
Kelly and the guys were still up there.
I could not imagine what Karen was going through.
It was freezing cold outside where 3 men were waiting to be rescued.
We were less than 3 hours away from the beginning of another rescue attempt.
Would they find Kelly and Brian and Nikko today?
And it was my and Rick's third anniversary.
(to be continued...)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holding Fast

If you able to watch GMA this morning, you probably saw our friend Karen James being interviewed by Dianne Sawyer. She has written a book telling the untold story of that fateful trip that ended all three climber's lives.

I am giving away her book to a commenter that would like to read more about this story. If you want to win the book, just tell me so in your comment. The drawing will be done over the weekend and the winner announced Monday, Dec 15th.

The book, "Holding Fast" is a fast easy read that lets you in on the emotions and circumstances that her and the kids were going through during the time of the search. It was very cathartic for me, as well as Rick. This has deeply effected my husband, which in return effects me and I would love to share that part of our life with you, my dear bloggy buddies.

I can only describe what was going on on my side.

It was two years ago yesterday when my husband Rick received the news that his oldest and best friend Kelly was missing on Mt. Hood. Rick answered his phone and I saw his face fall, the color draining out. He got up and went outside to talk. I followed, knowing something wasn't right, running a mental role call of the kids. He turns his back to me and I hear him say he will call them back when he gets to the airport.

"Kelly and Brian are lost on the mountain. We are all flying out today. It's on the news."

I watch him stand in shock and reach out to grab onto him, not exactly sure what "being lost" completely entailed. It was 60 degrees where we were and I had no idea what storm was literally brewing in Oregon.

Rick began to get the suitcases and I immediately had CNN turned on. I unknowingly would not turn off that TV or station until 6 days later.

As we sat and watched the sparsely patched bits of info being given, Rick was on the phone with all his climbing connections and scheduling his flight out to Oregon. I was calmly organizing his suitcase, truly unsure of the magnitude of what was actually transpiring.

It was all so unreal. Kelly was this Adonis specimen and Brian, his climbing partner, was even bigger and more super-human. I was thinking they would be found with everyone fine and we would be at their house for New Year's drinking wine and smoking cigars on their back patio and listening to this latest adventure that made CNN's Developing Story.

I was calm, as I usually am in a crises. All my ER training had prepared me for my meticulous organization and clear head. I was a machine. Until I saw Rick getting out his climbing gear.

"What the hell are you doing?!"

"Just taking my stuff in case I need to help find him."

"You can't climb. You haven't trained. You are not in shape. You will be lost, too."

"I am not going up alone."

I try to remain composed and realize I am about to burst open. As I make my way to the bathroom, I trip over a climbing rope. My sob escapes and I sit on the floor and cry like a baby.

"Promise me you won't go up there to find him!"

He has no response, and just continues to pack.

I now begin to scream, completely shocked at my reaction to seeing his climbing gear being packed.

"We have an anniversary on Wed. You cannot do this to me and the kids. This is stupid."

"I am not going to climb."

His words were flat and I knew he was lying.

At this point, we knew nothing except they were missing and teams of rescuers were being organized to go out in the morning.

I grabbed my phone and went outside to make a call to Sean, another climbing friend.

"Are you going to try to find him?"


"Kelly. Are you taking your climbing gear? Are you going to try to find him?"

"Probably not."

"Promise me you won't let Rick climb. He isn't in shape. Even if you have to drug him, don't let him climb. Promise me, Sean."

"I promise. But I am not leaving until tomorrow."

I then called Barry and talked him into going to chaperon my husband. I booked his flight with Rick's and knew Barry would never let Rick climb. I had manipulated some sort of temporary peace for myself and was able to kiss him goodbye and tell him I loved him without completely falling apart.

At midnight I received word that Rick had made it to the Bed and Breakfast where Karen and the kids were staying and he had gotten a room.

"There are 4 news vans here. They keep wanting to talk to me. I have to stay with the kids or in my room. I will call you in the morning."

"Promise me, Rick."

"I love you, Jill. I won't climb."

"Say the words 'I promise'.

" I can't. He's my best friend. He would try to find me if that was me up there. I love you."

I don't think my 'I love you' was audible. It is too hard to talk when the air is knocked out of you.

I finally fell asleep to the droning of CNN reporting the search would resume in the morning and the weather was getting worse.

(To be continued)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why My Grandchildren Always Get Their Way

Below are some pictures my daughter, Kalee and her husband, Lance, had taken for Christmas.
Jacob, 8, Grayson, 3, and Kaydin Jo, 8 months.

Now do you see why they have me wrapped around their little fingers?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Weekend

As you all know, I went to see my mom and sisters this past weekend for my sister, Amy, and my mom's birthday. Amarillo was freezing cold, and as expected, the wind was blowing like a million miles an hour.

Here is picture of Amy paying no attention to me, but instead is on her flippin' blackberry watching her video over and over.

Here is what happens when the wind blows a million miles an hour in the Texas panhandle. These are Texas style tumbleweeds. Ya know everything is bigger here... This was taken while I was getting gas. I stayed in the car because I am a whimp and honestly I am petrified of being speared by a giant tumbleweed.

We ate out every meal because it was Amy's and Mom's birthday and that left Erin and I...

Hello Restaurant Row!!!! This is Erin and Mom at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. And yes, they actually eat, just not like the Champs do.

Here are the Champs.
Amy had her bouffant going and all four of my chins were present to enjoy the grub.
Here we are staring at the sun with our eyes watering and unable to open. Look at Mom's new dog, Lucy, a King Charles Cavalier. Isn't she so cute? (Amy will say, "Thanks for putting a picture of me with my eyes closed!" and I will say, "But I looked good, so shut it We are about to eat. Erin looks like she is about to pass out from hunger. I wish I would have know you were getting a boob shot because I would have smushed them together for greater cleavage. Shut up, Deb. Yes, I have to use my upper arms for cleavage.

This, my friends, is what we ate for breakfast.
Blueberry pancakes, eggs over-easy, thick sliced bacon, (slurp)

Biscuits and gravy, Cheesey hashbrowns, Sausage, Grits, Stewed Apples, Ham, and an orange slice. This was just mine and Amy's side of the table.

We ate and we laughed, which made us hungry, so we ate again.

My sisters and I grew up very sheltered. Our dear mother sat behind us with a cup towel while we watched TV and covered the screen if any violence or kissing went on.
So Erin, in all her 34 years has never seen the Thriller video. She said at the exact point every time she tried to watch it, Mom or Gammy made her "turn that filth off". So I educated all of them and played it for them on my laptop. Below is video of them watching it. They were all so into it, they never looked over to see if I was doing...
This is long, but the background music will put you in a good mood. Just watch my mom's reactions. Erin will be giving her dance officianado commentary thruout it's entirety.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Do you know if you push enter trying to move your signature down, it posts? Hmmm. learn something new everyday!

I just got home from my wonderful trip and had a package waiting on me!!

The perfect ending to a perfect weekend. (Well, someone to clean my house after my messy children and pushover husband were here alone would make it COMPLETELY perfect, but you know what I mean.)

So I of course rip my package open and then remember I need to be capturing this on film. So here is the first shot:

It is so pretty and actually I am so pumped about how cute the freakin' box is, I almost forget I have to take pictures. So after I open it, I see a card.
Now, I am no Magnum PI or anything, but I have a limited number of followers from Florida and I am honestly giddy about who I think has gotten my name might have sent. Man oh man, was I right about to get completely verklempt over this (And I am not even Jewish)!!!


Dream Angels Desire perfume and body lotion in a neat little bag AND a book on Patricia Cornwell, who is one of favoritest(yes, that's a word) authors.

I am dancing around and pelvic thrusting and my kids and husband are staring at me like this:

What? You have never seen anyone giddy? Sheesh!

Thank you ,thank you , dear sweet Secret Santa Sister (that I think I know who you are). You have excellent taste. May my poor, unfortunate person who got me be half as excited and happy as I am. I love ya, girl that I think I know...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Worth The Wait

Okay, okay!!! I know you have been waiting and I promised a post last night...but really this time it wasn't my fault. I went 6 hours away to my mom's last night to surprise Amy for her birthday. Mom and Gene, Amy's husband, and I worked all week on how to pull this off. I had a cancellation in a scheduled meeting and was able to come a day early. But Amy was late arriving, then I couldn't connect to mom's internet and didn't have the energy to use her 1936 computer. SORRY!!!

I wanted all of you to be a part of the party. So push play and when Amy looks at the camera, just yell "SURPRISE" really loud.

WARNING: Do NOT stand near glass when viewing this. Risk of shattered glass may ensue.

Okay, now watch it with no volume and just watch her and Cole's faces.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not Today- Tonight, Honey.

I promise to post tonight. I am swamped and don't even have time to read yesterday's posts. Please forgive. I promise tonight will be well worth the wait. (that's what she said)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Guess Who Is FORTY Today

Once upon a time, forty years ago today, in a small town in Kansas, a little red headed sister was born to her older sister. The mom and dad brought her home to the sister and she loved the new baby from the first time she saw her. She was three, but very astute.

The sisters grew up inseperable, joined at the hip like conjoined twins, doing everything together. They laughed, they danced, they made up skits and entertained their family every night. They sang to Donny Osmond and Sean Cassidy and did one another's hair and make up. They even looked alike and were often mistaken for one another.

They slept together ever chance they got, even though they each had their own rooms. Every night they would race to the bed, because, as everyone knows, the last one in bed had to turn out the light. Every night since they could remember, the little sister always had to turn out the light. And when she walked to the other side of the room to flip the switch, the older sister would giggle and snort awaiting her little sister's return to hte bed in the dark. Just as little sister was about to lay her head down, older sister would jerk out her pillow and throw it across the room. Older sister would become hysterical, thinking this was the funniest thing in the world. They would laugh and laugh until they heard their mom say, "GIRLS!!"

One night, when the sisters were 12 and 9, the nighttime ritual had started. The race, the loser walking to turn thelight off, the winner in bed stifling the giggle, allready gripping her sister's pillow. The little sister sat and began to lay down. The pillow went flying across the room. The burst of laughter escaped the older sister's lips. The little sister reaches down beside the bed and pulls up another pillow stating, "I have a spare!" Older sister laughed so hard that snot flew out of her nose.

The girls grew up and were maids of honor in each other's weddings and were there when each child was born. They continued to confuse people with their uncanny similarity by wearing the same outfit to many parties and even having the same hairstyle, even confusing their children.

Little sister is her big sister's very best friend. They talk on the phone nightly and text each other every chance they get. Big sister would not know what she would do without little sister. Big sister loves little sister very very much. This will never end.

This is little sister. She is old today.
Happy Birthday, Aimless!!!! I love you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Name-dropping and Teeny Tiny Foreigners

I just want to say that the people you meet on a cruise and share almost meal with, become your "family" on the ship. We sat at a table that had the most AWESOME couples and just fell in love with them. I even was more pumped to go to dinner than normal, just to laugh and visit with these people. I apologetically name-dropped some of YOUR names when they told us which state they lived in. Sorry if you wanted to remain anonymous.
This is Morris and Donnette from Connecticut. They didn't know you, Nikki Crumpet. But their dogs HAD heard of your dogs.
Another couple was from Ohio. They didn't know you, Jules, but they were wonderful, so you need to look them up. The last couple was from Puerto Rico. I have no blog buds from there, so everyone is safe. I don't have pictures of them since I always had too much wine at dinner and totally forgot to snap one. Sorry.

At St Thomas, which, yes AFF, was totally the shiznik, we went on a tour with a group of ladies on another ship that were from England. They were hysterical and even when they said things like, "What is that building?" or "It is so hot here," I was cracking up at them. Their accent was so great. I could have listened to them  all 7 days. Plus, they told us when they went back to their ship, we were "a delightful couple". Smart and funny. Perfect combo.

I really think there is something wrong with me. Just riding in van for the short tour with these ladies, I was talking like them, using the same inflections and verbage they used. I couldn't help it. It was getting on Rick's last nerve and when I would talk, he would jerk his head to look at me with this wide-eyed frown on his face. I would just look at him and in my best English accent I would say, "What?" Then for the rest of the day I said "spot of tea" and "smoke a faggot" like a million times. I was freakin' hilarious and cracking myself up.

We gambled every night and won and lost and won and lost, but it was quite entertaining. I had this favorite machine and spent most of my time on it, feeding it all my money. On Wed. I went to go sit at MY machine and there was this tiny little Puerto Rican lady sitting there. Poor thing. It was a nickle machine, but I had played it so much, I knew when to bet a  nickle on one line or all 9 lines. But she didn't. She had no clue what she was doing and was betting one nickle on one line. For an hour. I hovered. I sighed and gave her the 'get-off-my-machine-you-tiny-little-woman' look. I even asked her if she would be playing it all night. She, of course, spoke no English and just glared at me. I was literally Jonesing to get on that machine, and with turtle like movements she pushed one button and drove me INfreakinSANE. So, after an hour, I gave up and went and threw away $40 on another machine.

The next night, I literally ran down to the casino, thinking that freakishly teeny woman was NOT going to take my machine tonight. I rounded the corner, digging my twenty out of the front my bra and came to screeching halt. There she sat, only now she was accompanied by her freakishly tiny husband. She looked up and gave me the stink eye and I slinked off. The rest of the week, I would see her during the day and we would glare at one another, then look at our watches to see if the casino was open yet. I would be there at 3pm to play my machine and she ALWAYS beat me there. I think she was slipping thru cracks like a mouse to get to that damn machine. That is the only explanation there is. I would see her sitting in a chair up on the deck and so I would take the stairs to the casino, only to find her already there. I was beginning to think there were 2 of her. Or she was magic. But she never won, so she wasn't magic. I don't think. She stressed me out the rest of the cruise.

Speaking of stressing me out, my daughter Kalee told Grayson, who is now THREE, "Grayson, you are stressing me out." Ten minutes later, he said to me,"GiGi, you are stretching me out." So that is now the way we will say it. Don't stretch me out. I need a drink, I am stretched out. God, I LOVE that kid.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Couple of Pictures

Now that everyone has gone home and I can come out of the kitchen, I am now checking back into Blogland. I.AM.NEVER.COOKING.AGAIN. Okay, at least not until Monday night. We cooked 3 deep fried turkeys and had 2 honey baked hams. I cooked all day Tuesday because I had patients to see all day Wed, and finished Wednesday evening with all the cooking. I was so flippin' tired on Thursday, that I hardly ate. Which was good because I had gained probably 10 lbs. on the cruise.

Speaking of cruise....
Since you asked, here a couple of pictures from our trip:

This is a picture of our ship. Don't ask me which dock/island we were in.
Dana Wyzard is so popular and famous that she has her own store in St Maarten. By the way, Dana, the girl that you had working that day wouldn't give me that discount I told her you said I could have. Fire her.
This was a beach we visited. We had taken a tour and didn't have a chance to lay out and tan. Heh heh. Like I would do that anyway.
Rick was ready to go tan but I made him pose for a picture. And no, I am NOT pregnant. It just looks like it

This is wear I had to pee. I couldn't take a picture of the other side because IT WAS A HANGING OFF A FREAKING CLIFF. I was wondering why there was sunlight coming thru the floorboards.

This was St Thomas from the peak that I watched Rick climb to take a picture. marrying a mountain climber has it's perks. No, people, It was a trail. No ropes or picks were needed. I waited on level ground and sweated. HEY!! Waiting is tiring.

No idea where this is. Ummm, Curacao?

This is definitely Curacao. Maybe.

I actually married this weirdo man that PAID some dreadlock dude to pose with his boa.

This was a formal night. I was just waking from a food coma I had eaten myself into. And no, I am not pregnant here either.

I standing here with my erection. Okay, really, it's my drawstring. Note to self: Don't tie you damn drawstring over your huge ginormous pudge. It makes you look like you a have a hard-on.

Does this life vest make my face look fat?
Take note of the light that is over my left boob...

Please note where Rick's hand is strategically placed. Over this light that about the size of a nipple. The man could not quit twisting it the entire time he had that damn vest on. I would clear my throat and nod to let him know that he was still titty-twisting. He would stop until I turned my head then again with the rolling it in his fingers. I think I even saw him lean his head back and close his eyes. He is a sicko.

This was in our hotel in San Juan. I had just said, "Don't let me leave the camera. I HAVE to take pictures for my Peeps." So Mr. Funny decides to snap one of me undressing. I am sure I am saying, "Darling, precious, don't take one of me, pretty please." or something like that...

Okay. I WENT on the freakin' trip and I am bored, so I will add more later. Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I am so glad it's over and I am so not looking forward to puting up all the Christmas decorations that are down from the attic and sitting on my office floor. I just don't have the energy.