Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Laugh or Cry?

My sister is back in the hospital. The Saint and I took her to the ER yesterday. Elevated heart rate and fluid in the lungs is putting off the radiation therapy she was due to have tomorrow to "kill" her thyroid.

She's been feeling poorly for too long and is beyond upset to be back in the hospital. We're a little low in the morale department around these parts.

So laugh or cry?


The Saint calls me today at the office

The Saint: Are you cooking dinner tonight?

Fannie: I was planning to, why?

The Saint: I think the Precious Daughters both have plans tonight.

Fannie: Well, what time? Do the plans involve dinner?

The Saint: I think Precious Oldest has potential dinner plans, I'm not sure about Precious Youngest.

Fannie: It doesn't really matter -I'm cooking whether anyone is home or not. Tell them to do whatever. And any way, I don't want to be "THAT MOTHER" .

The Saint: "THAT MOTHER"?

Fannie: You know, the one that does the guilt.

The Saint: Oh, I'll be sure to pass THAT along!

Fannie: "Well ...when you do make sure you tell them *sniff* you heard tears in my voice!

All joking aside - we need a prayer over here!

P.S. They were both home for family dinner, I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


A funny thing happens when you have nearly grown children who believe in Santa Clause and tradition in equal measure.

They still get new PJs on Christmas Eve

They sleep with their very well loved Teddy bears

Even if you’re the MOM you get new PJs on Christmas Eve

Because your nearly grown children don’t want you to feel left out

And of course they leave milk and cookies for Santa

And a carrot for the reindeer

Do YOU still believe?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hope You Had

A Merry Little Christmas!

We've had:

  • A blizzard
  • An enormous Prime Rib
  • A twenty first birthday celebration
  • A concert
  • Company that's been here since Wednesday
  • And coming up - A quick trip to the ER to determine the status of a toe

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


As a continuation of the last post I bring you


When my mothers parents retired to Florida the community they moved to had a holiday bazaar every year. The ladies group my grandmother belonged to began to make felt ornaments to sell at the bazaar. These are some of my favorites.

Christmas/Winter Themes

Tiny Christmas Stocking

Silver Bells




Winter Sports Themes

Skiing Snow lady

Skiing Santa

Skiing Polar Bear?

Famous Characters




Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes and such

Winnie the Pooh

Kanga and Roo

Raggedy Ann and Andy

Wynken, Blynken and Nod

Mary had a Little Lamb

The Three Bears, sans Goldilocks

Humpty Dumpty

Pinocchio and Geppetto

And of course the big man himself

Patterns were constructed and pieces were cut from felt. Sequins were hand sown, dozens per ornament. Individual pieces were pinned together, stuffed when called for, then sown by hand. Can you imagine the work that went into each and every one?

My Nana, personally, made HUNDREDS every year for over fifteen years. She could tell you the year each was made and how much it sold for. Nana started sending me nanaments the year I got engaged (1984 - remember people I am OLD!). I have dozens of them.

Hanging these ornaments on the tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Open House

When Jen offered to host another Open House I thought twice because my holiday decor tends to look the same from year to year.




Then I realized there had been some changes around here since last year. Look, mirror in the dinning room!

When my parents moved this summer I inherited their living room sofa. I had my wedding picture taken on this sofa, as did my sister, so it holds many memories.

The tree holds other memories

My grandmother made many of the ornaments we've used to decorate our tree for many years. Because she was "Nana" we deemed the ornaments she made "Nanaments". That, my friends, is a story for another day.

For now, thanks to Jen for hosting and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reports of my demise...

Reports of my demise have, as usual, been greatly exaggerated.

The office is CRAZED and I'm trying to handle several new projects along with the rest of the year-end joy.

I've been shopping and wrapping and baking and decorating (don't forget Jen's Open House is tomorrow!) and in general getting ready for Christmas.

Last night the Saint and I made the trek east to fetch Precious Youngest back from school. We had her mostly to ourselves (the girl can TEXT!) for the two hour car ride back. We took full advantage! She's bringing some friends home for dinner tonight so I'll get to grill OTHER peoples children on their freshman college experience!

I hope to surface some time soon - thanks for sticking around!

Friday, December 11, 2009

First Snow

We had our first real snow of the season Tuesday night.

The Saint and I took a walk and enjoyed the wonderful, muffled quiet you get in town only during a snowfall.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When the Spirit Moves You

I am, as they say, a cradle Catholic. A product of Catholic parents and Catholic schools. There are are a hodgepodge of sayings our parents and the nuns used to toss out to us while we were growing up. Little gems like:

  • "Offer it up!" when someone called you a name or was in any way mean.
  • "Pearls in your crown!" should you complain after being asked to do an odious chore.
  • "Leave room for the Holy Spirit!" if there was the possibility of a near occasion of sin.

Avoiding near occasions of sin was BIG. The textbook definition is to avoid external circumstances which either because of their special
nature, or because of the frailty common to humanity, entice one to sin.

In other words, don't put yourself in a situation that would TEMPT you to sin. One should avoid hanging out with people of low character as this could lead to smoking, cursing or drinking. One should avoid spending time with rumor mongers lest you join in the gossip. And one should never, EVER spend time alone with a boy behind closed doors, in a parked car or in an otherwise empty house as this could lead to S-E-X.

It's a parents job to remind their children to avoid near occasions of sin.

And to leave room for the Holy Spirit!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cousin Time

We had much merriment over the Thanksgiving holiday. One of the most enjoyable aspects was all the “Cousin Time”. My two oldest nieces (Sib #2’s girls) are very near in age to the Precious Daughters and they’ve always been close.

“Cousin Time” became more important as the girls got older and became busier with school, jobs and activities. They didn’t see each other as often as they would have liked even though we were all in the same town. Now with three away at college (all different schools) they don’t see each other much at all.

"Cousin Time" makes getting together on holidays that much sweeter.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Simply the best

I don’t know about you but this was about the best Thanksgiving I can remember in years! There are many, MANY aspects of Thanksgiving I have always enjoyed immensely:
  1. It is the holiday when we can count on most, or all, of my siblings and families being together.
  2. It is about Food and Wine and Beer.
  3. There are NO GIFTS, therefore NO SHOPPING.
  4. It is a four day weekend, whoopee!

For the past umpteen years my family has taken the show on the road down to my parents. It was not without its own brand of stress, but generally a fun time.

I’m sure you all recall that this year my parents are living a bit….um…closer.

People it was awesome! By seven o’clock Wednesday evening everyone had hit town. My brothers, sisters, spouses, daughters, nieces and nephews. My mother had dinner for everyone on Wednesday night. I hosted Thursday and my sister had everyone for a big breakfast on Friday morning. Then we took the entire clan out for Mexican Friday night. Don’t you love a progressive holiday?

In between we ate and imbibed with whoever happened to be in our respective homes at any given moment. We mostly walked back and forth between homes as the weather was perfect! We even went to a couple of museums, played some games, spent some time at the park and of course watched a whole lot of football.

By five o’clock on Saturday all had departed to their cities of residence except my daughters. We were able to get in church and a movie on Sunday with them before they headed back to school.

I felt so energized by the whole shebang that I (with the help of The Saint) did five loads of laundry and got two thirds of the Christmas decorations up before collapsing last night!

Christmas you say? BRING IT!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This and That - Holiday Edition

Things I've been doing:

  • Judging a debate tournament
  • Thanksgiving food shopping
  • Changing sheets and airing out rooms
  • Sampling wine
  • Enjoying meals with Precious Youngest – home for Thanksgiving break
  • Taking the Terrorist for a Day of Beauty
  • Big ass Costco run – God I love that place!
  • Counting chairs, plates, napkins, wine glasses, etc.
  • Coordinating the out-of-town arrivals of/accommodations for three nephews, two brothers, one sister, one niece, one brother-in-law, one sister-in-law and my step-nephew and his new bride

Things I will be doing:

  • Picking up the cases of wine we ordered
  • Cooking, cooking, and more cooking
  • Baking - only one cake but still…
  • Getting a manicure
  • Last minute grocery shopping
  • Runs to the airport
  • Enjoying meals with Precious Oldest – home for Thanksgiving break
  • Oh yeah, more cooking
  • Laundry, laundry and more laundry

How are your holiday preparations coming along?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Updates (Starring good news!)

My sister is home from the hospital! While she is taking a total of eight prescription medications NONE of them need to be injected. Can we say “halleluiah”?

My mirror is up and I’m very happy with the results.

And let me just add that taking a picture of a mirror and not putting yourself IN the picture? Is a whole lot harder than it might seem!

If you can ignore the “which damn camera are we supposed to be looking at?” expressions on our faces, this is me with my mother, my sister and my niece from the wedding a few weeks back.

Growing up we didn’t think we looked much alike, but geez now that we’re older? Yeah, maybe a little.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How do you think…

A week is going to go when it begins with a dead car battery? At 6:45 AM? In the gym parking lot? Accompanied by a cold and steady drizzle of rain?

I don’t think so either.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I don’t know exactly what happened this fall but we have been a positive whirlwind of home improvement projects. For the last several weeks I presented a list to The Saint on Saturday morning of all of the things I wanted to get done over the weekend, taking special care to highlight the things I would need his assistance on.

(An aside on the subject of lists: I love them. I love the sense of relief that comes when a large project is broken down into manageable steps. I love crossing items off the list when finished. I love the feeling of accomplishment when lists are complete.)

One nagging item keeps showing up on the list every weekend as no forward progress was being made; purchasing a mirror for my dining room. I've had the same picture and sconces over my side board for something like fifteen years. I have grown weary - WEARY I tell you- of the look and wanted a change.

People let me just say that buying a mirror was WAY harder than I anticipated. I had a good idea of shape, size, frame, etc. nevertheless I failed to execute the task.

On-line shopping was next to impossible because I could not get a good bead on either scale or color. Catalogs, while slightly better than on-line, presented other challenges including cost. Throw in shipping (mirrors are HEAVY!) and... well you get the picture. Dragging my ass through various stores hither and yon proved both exhausting and annoying while yielding no acceptable merchandise.

I began to fear in my heart that a visit to a mega store was the only solution.

(An aside on mega stores: As nearly as I can determine my residence is about a nine hour car ride from the closest IKEA store. I will wait here while those of you NOT geographically challenged vis a vis IKEA stop to weep on my behalf at the injustice of my situation. HOWEVER, what we DO have in close proximity is Nebraska Furniture Mart.Vast amounts of floor space, an army of salespeople, furniture, appliances, rugs, electronics and crowds, oh dear Lord the crowds!)

After an exhaustive search for the now elusive mirror, The Saint suggested I try Nebraska Furniture Mart. I nearly went apoplectic. Very few times have I ventured to NFM because the sheer size of the place fills me with dread and a side of panic. I came up with all sorts of reasons why it was just.too.damn.hard. Then he offered to come with me. He would shield me from the wretched refuse and huddled masses that are the other patrons. He would leave a trail of crumbs so that we would not get lost in the maze of furniture displays. He would not complain if I found something I liked but had to look at every last OTHER mirror just to be sure.

After girding our loins we set out in search of a mirror....

to be continued...

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Hospital room on the cardiac wing -

Nurse B: “Hi, I’m Nurse B and I’ll be taking over your care for tonight.”

Sib #2: “Hi, this is my sister Fannie. She’s here for moral support.”

Nurse B: “Great. OK, I brought something to help with your nausea. But we really need to get your heart rate down. I’m going to give you Cumadin, Atenolol and Lovenox. Have you had Cumadin before?”

Sib #2: “The blood thinner? Yes”

Nurse B: “How about the Lovenox?”

Sib #2: “I’m not sure.”

Fannie: “Hon, I think that’s the injection they do in your stomach.”

Sib #2: “Oh man, I hate that one, it hurts!”

Nurse B: “I know, I’m sorry, but we really need to get your heart rate down. You’re going to need the Lovenox every 12 hours for about four days to give the Cumadin time to kick in.”

Sib #2: “Wait, four days? Will I have to stay here that long?”

Nurse B: “If we get your heart rate down enough to send you home you can do the injections at home.”

Sib #2: “No WAY am I doing that to myself!”

Fannie: “I could do it!”

Sib #2: “No way I’m letting YOU near me with a needle!”

Fannie: “Hey, when my time comes I’m letting you pull the plug!”

Sib #2: “Oh alright, you can stick me.”

Nurse B: “This is what you call moral support?”

Fannie: “I’m holding her hand aren’t I?”


All kidding aside, they have only been able to get her heart rate from 205 to about 140. A normal heart rate is 70 to 80. We’re also waiting for the results a CT scan. Please keep my sister in your prayers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Small Request

Sib #2 was over last night and told us she has not been feeling well. Pain in her back, racing heart, some nausea. She planned to go to the doctor this morning and get checked out.

She did the right thing. Her doctor had her admitted to the hospital for tests because her heart rate was in fact much to high. Test results are pointing to Hyperthyroidism (ding-ding-ding - family history)which they will deal with when they get her heart rhythm under control.

Sib 2# is a single, working mother who needs this like the proverbial hole in the head. If you so inclined, a good thought or a quick prayer would be much appreciated.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sometimes you feel like a nut

Precious Oldest was on the phone and we were comparing Halloween notes.

Fannie: “We ran out of candy at 9:00! And I had two HUGE bags of assorted candy! I almost resorted to handing out the Almond Joys I held back!”

Precious Oldest: “I did the same thing – took out all the Almond Joys!”

Fannie: “Well of course! Kids don’t like coconut!

Or nuts!

It’s really for the best.”

Precious Oldest: “But …I bought a huge bag of candy that included Almond Joys ON PURPOSE….”

Fannie: “So what?”

Precious Oldest: “SO, I bought candy I had no intention of passing out to the kids! OMG - I am turning into my mother!”

Humph, she says that like it’s a bad thing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just don't call me crazy

After running errands last weekend I went about the business of putting groceries and sundries away. I came up from the laundry room and said to The Saint that he must PROMISE me that if I died tomorrow and people came over to help him clean out the house that he wouldn't let them call me “Crazy Soap Lady”.

When I went to put this recent purchase in the cabinet:

I found THREE of these already stowed away:

A close up:

Yes - a combined 56 bars of soap. For two people. Who only rarely engage in mud wrestling. Upon reflection I suppose "Crazy Soap Lady" DOES a certain ring to it, no?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Living On The Edge

Do you ever find yourself doing something stupid, maybe even dangerous? That as you're doing it you're thinking

“Gee, I really should stand on something stable/put on work
gloves/make sure the electricity is off/put on some safety goggles!”


Last night I decided to tackle the weird mold spots that appear on the bathroom ceiling over our tub/shower. (Please tell me this happens to you too – PLEASE?) I did put on rubber gloves before I grabbed the bleach. I did get my kitchen stool and take it in to the bathroom. I did have a bucket of water at the ready to rinse my cleaning rag. My intentions were good. But…

I’m short, so reaching the ceiling from the stool wasn’t really working. So I started wiping the ceiling with bleach and water from the safety of the ledge of the tub. And as I’m peering up at the ceiling and realizing it is dripping I thought “Huh, I probably should have on some sort of eye protection…” Did I get down for the tub ledge? No I did not. Did I find protective eye wear? No I did not.

Did you know bleach really, really stings if it drips in your eyes? Well it does. It really, really does.

But you could eat off my bathroom ceiling. I’m just sayin’.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Duped Again

Yesterday was glorious. The sun was out! OUT I tell you! The sky was clear blue, not a cloud to be seen and 5 degrees above "normal" temperature-wise. The trees were beautiful shades of red, yellow, orange and russet. I drove home with no coat and the car window open soaking it up.

Last night I gave The Saint two choices for tonight's dinner. He chose sirloin on the grill because today was to be a repeat of yesterday, only WARMER. With the fall we've had so far who knows how many more nice days we'll have so I readily agreed with his assessment and prepared accordingly.

So when my alarm went off at 5:29 this morning and I heard THUNDER? The first words out of my mouth were not “Oh Happy Day!” I’ll give you one guess….

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And now with updates...

  • Blood work? Normal
  • Pap Smear? Normal
  • Liver Function? Normal (I KNOW I can hardly believe it myself!)
  • Mammogram? Normal
  • Dress? Arrived (Thank GOD, we leave for the wedding TOMORROW)
  • Gardens? Too wet and cold to go out there!

OK, now to my real dilemma. Baby proofing. My nephews will be 18 months old when they come for Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that I'm OLDER THAN DIRT and Precious YOUNGEST is eighteen. It's been a while since I did this sort of stuff. But I want everyone to be comfortable you know?

I have a baby gate for the stairs and I plan on packing up every breakable object now perched on a low table or shelf. Also my prescriptions will find a home OTHER than my bedside table.

What about my under sink cabinets? I have cleaning supplies in both kitchen and baths. I hate to install latches for five days, are there any other quick solutions? What about the outlets? Do I need to invest in those plug dealios?

What am I forgetting? Help!

Monday, October 12, 2009

This and That

Things I've been doing

  • Dragging my ass into the office
  • Two college visits with football tailgate parties
  • A Texas Hold Em’ poker tournament
  • Some clothes shopping
  • Put out the Halloween/Fall decorations
  • Routine physical, mammogram and lady bit check up
  • Pulling spent basil and annuals after the first freeze.

Things I'm working on today

  • Dragging my ass into the office
  • Switching out my seasonal wardrobe
  • Stamping my feet at the rapidly waning evening light
  • Making potato leek soup.
  • Obsessing about a dress I had ordered that should have arrived but has not

Things I need to do

  • Go to a wedding in Chicago
  • Finish clearing out and preparing gardens for winter
  • Determine exactly how to host Thanksgiving for twenty +
  • Baby proof the house for when my nephews visit at Thanksgiving
  • Keep dragging my ass into the office

Anyone notice writing over here didn't make ANY of the lists? Sheesh.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Loving her new living quarters

First the back story:
Precious Youngest lived in West Hall her freshman and sophomore years. This year she is an R.A. in a different dorm. The day we moved her in to her new digs she and a friend (also an R.A. and also a former West Hall resident) ran through their new dorm shouting “OMG – we lived in a slum for two years and we didn’t even know it!!!”

Flash forward:
Here is an e-mail sent to me yesterday

From: Precious.Oldest@school
Sent: Tue 10/06/09 04:24 PM
Subject: GHETTO

Remember how much of a ghetto West Hall is? This weekend, a pipe burst and flooded the entire basement, leaked into some electrical appliances, caused an electrical fire in the elevator shaft, and forced the entire hall to evacuate for two days. HOORAY!

<3 Precious Oldest

Sometimes timing is everything!

Friday, September 25, 2009

For Jen

I read this in the morning paper and thought immediately of Jen on the Edge.

Fess up - are the rest of you holding on to the good stuff?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The calendar informs me that autumn begins today.

I could have told you that without help from the folks from "At-A-Glance".

  • Mums have replaced begonias in the pots on the front porch.
  • The crab apples are plentiful and a bright, bright crimson.
  • The boat has been pulled, cleaned and stored for winter.
  • The windows are open and the morning air is brisk.
  • There is barely enough light after my early morning work-out to do any gardening.

What says "Fall" to you?