Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Greatest "Holiday" Gift You Can Give

Last year the Chicago Tribune asked for letters describing the greatest "holiday" gift we ever received. I am reposting this year the letter I sent in reply.

I would love to share with all of you the best holiday gift I have ever received. I received this gift as a child, and have cherished this gift for more than thirty years. This gift has given meaning to both my joys and my troubles. If this gift were to be lost or tarnished, I would be most desolate. The smallest child can use this gift. Actually, we could all learn from the smallest child how to best utilize this gift. I can share this gift with the whole world, as much of it as I possess, and never have less of it for myself. This gift is the gift of faith.
The holiday I celebrate is Christmas, so my faith is in Jesus Christ. It is His birthday I rejoice in. For me, He is the great gift this holiday season, and every holiday season, and each day in between every holiday. That God has given the gift of His own Son, in itself humbles me. I was not blessed with a child, but you could bet if I had been, I would not have wanted him to sacrifice his own material well being, his own comfort, his own life really, for the good of others. The Father God giving us His only begotten Son demonstrates the love He has for all mankind, the love we ought to try to give each other if we truly love Him. While we could never match His love, doing our best to love others for His sake is all the thanks we can offer for so perfect a gift.
I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I do believe that by emphasizing this belief more than the tangible aspects of Christmas, my parents gave me the greatest gift: belief in God. They took me to Mass, and nurtured my sense of wonder as I looked upon the crèche. They shared their belief in one greater than the highest official in the greatest of lands. No power on earth is greater than His. No love on earth is greater than His. It is His love that gives dignity to all people.
I know that there are other holidays celebrated this year by people who do not celebrate Christmas, or believe in it as I do. Hanukkah celebrates a great miracle done by the Creator to save His chosen people. Ramadan, which took place earlier this year, is a time of fasting and seeking God’s guidance. I must leave it to others to better explain these holidays, and suffice it to say that they too are about faith in God. I think the greatest gift to give others and oneself for the holidays is to remember the etymology of the word holiday. It comes from the words holy day. Sharing the holiness of our holy days is the greatest holiday gift any of us can offer anyone.

To all who read this, I wish Happy Holy Days. Merry Christmas. Much love to you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's All in How You Curl the Ribbon...

If you read my last two posts, you won't be surprised that I am not "feeling the funny" lately (except when I go macabre), but I had this in my head for a "Life is Funny" post before that all was happening.

I may or may not have mentioned that a week ago Saturday, I had an early Christmas Party at my house. I know. You'd think that with the way I emphasize advent, I'd be allergic to Christmas parties this early, an I have to admit that I have been a bit of a snob about that in the past. I am the one who will suggest to a prayer group or Church organization that we have our Christmas Party between December 27 and 30 or January 2 and 6 so that we keep advent and Christmas separate. I am also the one whose hand is ignored at meetings when the Christmas party is being discussed.

So anyway, I don't know why I decided on December 12. I recognized the hypocrisy of my choice, and brought it up to mom. She liked December 12 as well, and we went with it on gut instinct. I'm glad because I don't know when she will be home from the hospital.

No. That is not my life is Funny post. That is a little writing tool I use called digression. I just digressed big time.

The funny thing is that we were doing an ornament exchange (think grab bag with ornaments) and since I am the worst Christmas Wrapper (not to be confused with "Christmas Rapper".) I bought gift bags to put Mom's, Bob's, my Uncle's, and my ornaments in.

Then I find out that Bob needs a grab bag gift for work, and it states it should be wrapped beautifully. Between Bob and me, they'd be lucky to get it wrapped at all. So I bought wrapping paper and lots of ribbon, and started practicing on those for ornament boxes, figuring that I could put the wrapped box in the bag later anyway, but needed to experiment a little before wrapping the gift for Bob's grab bag. (For those of you wondering why I was doing this and not Bob, just assume Bob wasn't going to give a candy cane about the wrap prettily directions...)

Now, the funny part of this story is that I have been deficient at present wrapping my whole life. I've tried and tried, but could never get the packages to look like I wanted them to. But while experimenting with ornaments, I just wrapped, ribboned, and curled without any forethought, and they came out beautifully. Same with the grab bag gift.

I find it funny that the harder I tried, the more awful looking it was, but when I was laid back and laissefaire, it turned out great. I wonder how many other things in my life work out like that. Something to think about...

Come and join my friend Wendy in her "Life is Funny" blog carnival. Really. It encourages me to find the humor in my life every week.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

No Longer Tired and Confused...

I want to thank everyone who sent emails and made comments on my post the other day encouraging me. Your prayers and encouragement have done much to lift me up.

My mom was taken to the hospital yesterday. Her most recent blood tests indicated a need for a blood transfusion. She looks good to my eyes now, but I have been given no indication as to when she will be coming home. Last night I slept the whole night through, and I took a nap after Church this morning. Mom is getting the care she needs at the hospital, and I am making sure I rest and take care of myself in the meantime.

Now that I am not exhausted, I see that I did the best I could, and that is all anyone can do. Thank you again, for your encouragement in helping me see that.

Blessings to you.

Love, Helen

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Not Perfect Daughter, and Why She is Tired and Confused

No twitter post today either. I have mostly been in lurker mode. If I tweeted or retweeted anything entertaining at all, I can't remember. It has been a tiring week. Besides the furnace problem I shared with you yesterday, I have a more serious issue than that I have been dealing with (which is also my explanation for my sparseness of posts lately).

If you read my profile, you know that I am a stay at home daughter. I take care of my mother. Taking care of mom has been a joy in many ways. I wish I had taken more care to describe those joys. Right now though, I am exhausted. I have been leaving incoherent comments all over the blogusphere this morning. I'm not even sure I am making sense right now.

My mom has a huge bump and black and blue mark on her hip because of too much blood thinner. I am not living in denial when I say it is not my fault. I don't want to say whom I blame right now. I am tired, and leaning toward being cruel and unfair.

Anyways, this bump is starting to open up. Yes, blood and whatever is seeping out, and I try to keep dry dressing on it constantly. No tape. I wasn't told not to use tape. She has been sensitive to tape in the past, and I am trying to make her feel better, not worse. (I know. That was an obvious point. See what I mean about being incoherent). Mom is in a lot of pain, and calls for me all day and all night. Sometimes all I can do is remove a dressing and fluff the pillow that keeps her from laying on her side. No, it doesn't help her, but she will call for me anyway, and I come.

I have tried to be the perfect daughter, and I fail in my own eyes every day. But I have seldom failed as miserably as I did last night.

Last night, after mom woke me up for the third time in two hours (it was one in the morning), she asks me what time it is. I tell her it is 1 am. She asks me why her phone says 2 am. I look and tell her it doesn't. She insists that it is actually 3 am and time for more pain medication. I tell her it is 1 am, not 3 am. She tells me to wake up Bob so he can verify that it is 3 am. I refused. He gets up to go to work at 5am. He will be getting up even earlier this morning because snow is predicted to fall overnight, and he will shovel out the driveway and the wheelchair ramp (in case of emergency..) before he leaves. I cannot bring myself to wake him up to back me up that it is the time I say it is. I'm exhausted and can't think straight anymore.

Suddenly mom is insisting that even if it is 1 am, she can have more pain meds. I tell her no. She asks me how much longer. I tell her I don't know, I can't think straight. I am confused because I just woke up and had an argument about what time it is. I can't give her any meds. if I myself am confused. She insists that since I'm confused, we need to wake Bob. Bob had no idea what time I gave her pain medication, or how often the doctor has said she can take it. He knew on Tuesday, but the dosage has changed three times since then. I wrote it down, but I need a moment to pull myself together before I can even remember where I left it. (Refrigerator. All meds. are listed on the fridge so that if she has to go to the hospital, I can grab and go). Suddenly I just start weeping. I just couldn't help it. Then I had a coughing fit and had to leave the room... I kept crying and coughing in the bathroom. When I finally pulled myself together, I remembered the fridge, but forgot how to do the Math. (Did I mention it was one in the morning, and I've been getting up hourly to bihourly (is that a word?) to fluff pillows for almost a week?) I told her about an hour, hoping that by then I'd remember how to subtract (or add? I'm still a little fuzzy headed..). She asked me to sit with her in the meantime, and I just couldn't do it. I feel so ashamed, but I just couldn't keep myself together. I needed to lay down and cry. My husband had woken up by then, but he knew he couldn't actually help and it would be two of us confused, so he waited for me and held me. I calmed down, was able to go back to fridge. I found that it was too early to give her pain meds. An hour from then would still be a little early, but not dangerously so, so I kept my word and gave her the pain killers.

After giving her the pain killers, she again asked that I sit with her all night. I feel like the world's worst daughter, but I didn't. I told her that I had to be alert enough to take care of her, and that wouldn't happen if I was sitting on a chair in her room all night. She didn't get any sleep. I didn't get much. More because she kept calling me during the night than from guilt. Not that I don't feel guilt, but I am too tired to let that even matter to me, you know?

I have spent the morning on the phone with the doctor, with the visiting nurse agency demanding a new nurse (ask Wendy why, she can tell you. I think.. Wendy, tell anyone who asks, okay? Me tired...). I have poured out my worries to God. I'm not really sure what He is doing with them right now, but I am too tired to question Him. I am too tired to hate myself for not doing a better job. I am just so tired...

I am sorry for the whining. I mentioned to some cyber friends that I might write this post, and they encouraged me to do so. If you by any chance landed on this blog because you are taking care of an elderly parent, or considering it, please don't let this one post discourage you. Taking care of my mom has been a rewarding experience for me. I wouldn't undo the decision my husband and I made three years ago when we decided I'd stay home and take care of her in our home. I wasn't blessed with children, but I imagine that you get some exhausting nights (for weeks, even months on end...) , yet you wouldn't undo your choices. It's tough, but worth it. Right now I am feeling the tough.

Oh, and please pray that my mom's butt heals quickly. I mean hip. Oh whatever, He knows what we mean, right?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Love Songs to My Furnace....

Well, as some of you know, I have been off the computer lately. Last week I was preparing for an ornament party. We all had a good time btw. Remind me to share my ham recipe with you all, it went over really well. Mom wasn't feeling that great, but she had a good time anyway. Then my furnace went on the fritz. Five visits from the repairman in one week.

Yesterday the repairman assured me (after telling me the day before that it had to be my fault, our vents had to be covered and we didn't realize it...not so...) that the problem is taken care of. I asked him one question.

"If the heat goes out tonight, do I call a vent cleaner, a new repairman, or an exorcist." He laughed. Sadly, I was not kidding...

Thankfully the heat is working today, so I don't need any of those options. I have been trying to be more encouraging to it by singing "Heat Miser" and "Hot, Hot, Hot" to it...

Come join my friend Wendy and post some craziness on her blog carnival, Life is Funny. She'll be glad.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Church, From a Friend's Perspective

My friend Bernadette wrote an amazing post on Church for today's One Word Blog Carnival: Church.

I started to write a post for today about Church, focusing on unity (or lack of) and love (or lack of) and stuff... I'll probably post it some other time. For now, I'd really like to direct my cyber friends to Bernadette's blog, where she says a lot of things I wish I did.

Friday, December 11, 2009

No Clever Title Today...Ten Dollar Challenge

It was a dark and stormy night ... Okay, not really. It was a gloomy, snowy morning......

I had a lot of errands to do. One of them was to get some supplies at Walgreen's. It was a snowy and windy morning, so when I left, I wanted to make double sure that I brought my cart all the way back so that it wouldn't knock into a car. There are no cart carrels at Walgreen's, at least not the one by us. On my way back to the store with my cart, I pulled in the carts that were on my way there. I did not go out of my way to get the carts past my car because it was so horrible out, but it took no extra effort to bring back the ones that were on my way, and I figured that the people working inside the store should stay warm and dry for as long as they can. I figure that people working in stores during the Christmas season must find this season frustrating. They are busier than ever, the weather is sometimes bad, and people are in a hurry and preoccupied and not always as nice as they can be. I try to be extra pleasant and thoughtful to them in the hope that it may counteract some of the tension. We Christians insist that Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill, so it behooves us to share some, you know?

Still, since it was snowy, cold and windy, I did not want to go out of my way to get the other cart. I was not willing to experience a little more discomfort. Don't worry, I'm not hating on myself for that. What I want to get across is that it was uncomfortable weather, bad enough to make me not want to be out there an extra few seconds.

The clerk noticed me bringing in the carts, and thanked me. I got into my car to continue running errands. Up at the next stoplight was a man wearing what appeared to be a brown hoodie and jeans holding a cup asking for change. Billy Coffey had suggested the ten dollar challenge weeks ago, so I had my ten bucks easily within reach. I did not wait for any confirmation of the Spirit that this man was whom it was meant for....I just knew that the whole cart incident and not wanting an extra moment outside was meant to prepare my heart to give quickly to the man before the light changed and he needed to get out of traffic.

It was ten bucks. There was no life changing moment for either of us. I opened my car window, said "God bless you. I hope you have better circumstances in the coming year ", and placed the money in the cup. He said thank you. The light changed and he dashed to the side. I could see in my side mirror that he looked inside of the cup, and started heading to the gas station. I can't tell you whether he was thinking "Yaay! Coffee and a donut!" or "Stupid woman probably was confused and thought it was a dollar." It doesn't matter. The important thing is that for a few moments, he did not have to stay out in a snowstorm, and could get a coffee and a donut.

Yes. I know. They sell other types of refreshment at gas stations as well. Don't let the fact that I am young and cute fool you. I was NOT born yesterday. It is altogether possible he got himself some liquid refreshment that would make him feel warmer, but is not, coffee, tea, or cocoa. I'm okay with that. I'm not a tea totaler myself. I like a little whiskey and honey to soothe a sore throat or a chronic cough, and being outdoors collecting change on a day like that was bound to give him one or the other. I regret more that it is unlikely he would be having any honey to sweeten the bitter home remedy, if that was his choice. Which again, he may have been getting cocoa with marshmallows. I'll never know. I don't need to know, though I sort of hope he opted for a little sweetness...

In the spirit of Goodwill that we Christians sing about this time of year, how about checking out Billy Coffey's Ten Dollar Challenge by clicking here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Party, Pine, and Poetry

I love a good party. It doesn't really matter what kind. That's right, I even enjoy the Tupperware party. Pampered Chef? Sure, if you're demonstrating that lovely margarita recipe they have... Candles? Well, why would I let the fact that I am afraid of fire stop me from buying candles....Lighting them, never, but buying them, why not?

It was at a candle party where I decided to buy the vanilla scented candles and the pine scented candles. Who doesn't want their kitchen to smell of vanilla? And the pine candles would be perfect during Christmas. I have an artificial tree, and the pine scented candles would be a nice touch.

The saleslady was really nice, and suggested I take a deep whiff of that beautiful smell, just in case that one case of twelve wouldn't be enough. So I did...and at that moment, it came flooding back to me why I have an artificial tree: I'M ALLERGIC TO PINE!

Yeah....I decided not to get twelve pine scented candles after all. Good thing for me the lady was extra zealous and twelve candles weren't enough for her to sell to me.

All this reminds me of poem I wrote for you all last year. The purpose of this poem was to explain why I choose an artificial tree instead of a real one. I'm sure after you read it, you will agree that plastic is the best choice for me...

Owed to Allergies
(to be sung to the tune of jingle bells)

Allergies, Allergies
Pine trees make me sneeze
It’s not fun on Christmas day, when all you do is wheeze.

Allergies, allergies
Cause my throat to swell
Such a shame, since pine has a truly nice smell..

Dashing in the Chevy
To the apothecary
Hope I get there safe
It is starting to snow
Why did I buy the pine
I should’ve known it wouldn’t be fine
I can’t mow the lawn because I’m allergic to grass
Now I’m knocked flat on my…

Allergies, Allergies
Pine trees make me sneeze
It’s not fun on Christmas day, when all you do is wheeze.

Allergies, allergies
Cause my throat to swell
Such a shame, since pine has a truly nice smell..

I'm supposed to cook a meal
Tasty enough for a Goodhousekeeping Seal
But I have yet to start
I have yet to do my part
Because I started to sniff
No one has of yet gotten a whiff
Of my Christmas roast
I may have to serve toast
And of my culinary skills no longer boast

Allergies, Allergies
Pine trees make me sneeze
It’s not fun on Christmas day, when all you do is wheeze.

Allergies, allergies
Cause my throat to swell
Such a shame, since pine has a truly nice smell..

How about joining Wendy at her Life is Funny blog carnival? Maybe a little laughter can clear up those sinuses...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Today I am participating in the one word blog carnival, and the topic is grief. I don't suppose I need to tell any of you what grief is... We have all felt mourning for someone or something. Even a newborn baby cries for the loss of the comfort which once surrounded him in his mother's womb. To be born into this earthly life is to experience grief.

I am so glad we are tackling this topic in the beginning of Advent. The closer we get to Christmas, the deeper the bereaved feel their grief. When my daddy died, I thought that'd be the deepest grief I ever felt. But outside of hearing Blue Christmas or The Little Drummer Boy (our favorite Carol), I still found joy at Christmas. Then I thought that the deepest grief I'd ever feel was the grief I felt when I found out there was nothing that could be done about my infertility. I'd look at Mother Mary holding the Christ Child and pour out my heart asking why.... But the deepest grief I ever felt was the year two of my former students died.

In the month of May, about two years ago, a dear young woman who I once taught named Elizabeth passed away after a long battle with leukemia. I have mentioned her here before. I can still close my eyes and see her in her First Communion dress. If I listen to Leroy the Redneck Reindeer , I can picture her dancing for the Christmas Program when she was in eighth grade. She was a remarkable young woman, with dreams of making the World a better place.

Though I hoped and prayed for her recovery, her passing was not a shock. The shock came in October when a teacher friend called and told me a student I had taught the year before was killed in a car crash. Her whole family survived without a scratch, thank God, but Eve got tired during the long ride, and she took of her seat belt to stretch out and lie down in the back of the van. She was thrown from the van through the glass windshield. This faith filled child was dead before she reached the hospital.

That Advent was hard. I poured my soul out to God in prayer. "Lord, why take those children? How can their families know another "Merry Christmas"? These girls weren't even my family, and I find every carol I hear this year to be painful. I'd rather have my inner thighs scraped raw with a potato peeler than hear Have a Holly Jolly Christmas ever again! If I feel like this, how can their brothers, sisters, parents, ever stand to celebrate Christmas again? What do they have to celebrate? How bitter this holiday of "rejoicing" must taste to them!"

One Sunday, at Church, after having said that, or a prayer like that, often, I felt the answer from God deep within my heart. "Helen...They can rejoice because it is not the end. Their daughter, their sister, will be reunited with them once again. They can rejoice this Christmas in the birth of their daughter's, their sister's, Savior, as well as their own. No, they will not have a "holly jolly Christmas" for a long time, but they can have a peace filled one where they can feel gratitude that their loss is their daughter's, their sister's gain."

So then my prayer changed. I prayed that they would find peace that Christmas, and Rejoice in the birth of their daughter's, their sister's Savior. Each time I had to bear listening to "Holiday Music", I prayed that Elizabeth's and Eve's families would find comfort and joy in knowing their daughter, their sister, died under the protection of a Savior.

There are many people grieving out there this Christmas. Pray with me please that they can rejoice in the birth of their Savior, and that whoever they are grieving for also knew Jesus.

Revelation 21:3-4
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rick Springfield is NOT one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Yesterday afternoon was a dream come true! Sure, it was a dream that I had 29 years ago, but it came true, didn't it? Rick Springfield AND REO Speedwagon performing Christmas songs and some of their best known work for a figure skating exhibition! Pretty exciting stuff!
You see, Bob wasn't feeling well yesterday, so we couldn't go out. Then my Aunt called my mom to let her know that figure skating would be on this afternoon. My mom and I are fans of figure skating, so my Aunt always calls when she sees they are on the schedule. When Auntie said that REO and Rick Springfield would be performing, I almost thought it was a joke. Her daughter knows that I am a big fan of both. Someday I will tell you why it is her fault I am a fan of REO Speedwagon... But I knew my Aunt wouldn't tease me that way, especially during the sacred season of Advent!
I enjoyed REO Speedwagon's rendition of The Little Drummer Boy , Silent Night, and Sleighride, as well as some old hits. I was not all that impressed by Deck the Halls. "It's time to be jolly...wipe those tears from your eyes...", had me laughing so hard, I told Bob that first Jethro Tull (my cousin is a fan, and one Christmas Eve asked what I'd like to hear...not realizing they actually made one, I suggested The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, and he played it!), now REO...now all we need are Deff Lepard and The Beastie Boys to do a Christmas Album, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse will be complete.
Rick Springfield did such a wonderful job on Hark the Herald Angels Sing and The First Noel that I suspect he believes what he is singing! To be fair to REO Speedwagon, Kevin Cronin did mention how he loved to sing Silent Night as an altar boy in fifth grade while attending a Catholic School, and even mom did not find any fault in the way they styled that song.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show, even though I suspect we are now ever closer to the end of the world...But heck, Advent is the perfect time to keep The Second Coming in mind, am I right people?

And now, for your viewing pleasure, Deck the Halls by REO Speedwagon. Skip over to the two minute 29 second mark to get to the part that made me laugh if you don't want to hear the whole thing.

Come join my friend Wendy in her Life is Funny blog carnival. C'mon.... She is not picky. She accepts the four horsemen or the apocalypse as funny, doesn't she?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Watch! Wait! Happy First Sunday of Advent!

Happy New Year! Today we begin the Liturgical New Year in the Catholic Church. And how to we begin? By waiting! By being watchful! By preparing! We emphazize both the coming of Christmas day and the second coming. If you check out the Mass readings for today at the side of my blog, you'll see that the Old Testament reading (First Reading) is from the book of Isiah--clearly he is awaiting the birth of the Christ. In today's Gospel, we are reminded to keep watch and await faithfully the Second Coming of Christ. I love how we do both at this time of year.
Obviously it is difficult to keep a traditional advent in our culture, what with Christmas carols being played everywhere now, and the focus on buy buy buy. But the next time and every time I hear or read __ shopping days until Christmas, I am going to ask myself "If it is __ days until Jesus's second coming, is he going to find me ready for Him? What do I need to do so that He find me watching and waiting for Him? Am I preparing for His coming either in the Isaiah sense or the Second coming sense, or am solely I getting ready for red and green holiday?

I know that last year I was a bit of a Christmas curmudgeon because I thought that our culture sends out the wrong message, celebrating Christmas a month before the season is supposed to begin while ignoring Advent, then ending the celebration before the twelve days of Christmas actually are over (it is supposed to end on January 6, Epiphany). This year I decided that I too send the wrong message about Advent if I allow myself to get angry and be a curmudgeon! This year, I watch and I wait with a smile on my face, and a song in my heart!

Come Lord Jesus, Come! I'm getting ready! I look forward to you Coming! I love you!

In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us, everyone.


Not So Tiny Helen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Helenatrandom's Thanksgiving Weekend Twitter Special

Okay. At various times this week, I tweeted these pictures for Thanksgiving...

Not so...I prefer legs and thighs... on Twitpic

Thanksgiving in Oz on Twitpic

Yoo hoo....Where are you..... on Twitpic

And this video because I am a Muppet fan...

And this picture because it is my dream Christmas tree...

Wow!  I need to get started on my tree earlier than I thought! on Twitpic

And now, some actual tweets....

RT @tracyyoungtv Big holiday sales this year from Moose & deer droppings made into Jewelry. Act surprised when U open UR gift this year

@katdish Didn't you see @bryanallain is tweeting about eating turkey raw. Cooked beef tongue should sound delightful!

@sarahmsalter Ahh...well then, you could always come here and help me out... ;-)

@bryanallain I have a great recipe for beef tongue...

@br8kthru Where are you going to go? Will you be staying with your nearest (twitter) neighbor?

@weightwhat No. My Grandma used to make it. It's a Polish delicacy. Really. I'll post the recipe on Saturday for you!

@pagan43 That's smart. My mom used to like to cook ahead so she could watch the parade with us. If I cooked it today, we'd eat it today ;)

@weightwhat Actually, my Uncle's birthday was yesterday, and I asked what he'd like for his birthday dinner. Beef tongue was the answer.

@weightwhat Tongue is rather tasty!

@sarahmsalter I do most of the cooking on Thanksgiving morning. Only the cranberry sauce and pie gets made ahead of time...

@weightwhat I know. When you preorder something from the butcher, it should come in fresh, not frozen, right?

@pagan43 I am cooking the turkey and trimmings tomorrow...well I make the cranberry sauce today to chill? You?

@pagan43 Today I am making the beef tongue I bought yesterday. I was supposed to cook it yesterday, but when I ordered, didn't know frozen

@prodigaljohn Are they doing a feature on you soon? TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME!

RT @prodigaljohn Talked with the Chicago Tribune last night about this post on Stuff Christians Like http://tinyurl.com/yjbapb7

@br8kthru Hey..your loss that future commenters on your blog post don't know that the beard comment was left by a girl....

@br8kthru If it was the one with the beard, it was me.... I couldn't figure out how to leave my name, so I left my pic (one wo beard tho)

Okay. Going out to buy a beef tongue now for supper. Tweet you later...

@CandySteele I believe "techie guru" is on @PeterPollock 's business card... :-0

@CandySteele Did you tell @PeterPollock? He might be able to help you get it back.... He is a techie guru in real life, I think.

@makeadiff21 YESH!!! RT Tweet and Retweet were in a boat. Tweet fell out. Who is left in the boat?

@makeadiff21 You are clever...you can figure it out... go on...

Tweet and Retweet were in a boat. Tweet fell out. Who is left in the boat?

@weightwhat Did she see "The Year Without A Santa Clause"? Heat Miser is my favorite....so musically gifted...

@weightwhat How far did you get with taking over the world while I was gone? Halfway there?

@br8kthru I feel great! Very behind in my cyber life, but my house (except for b-room) is clean, no aches or pains,....How are you?

@pagan43 I leave out the turkey parts when I make the same recipe to stuff a veal breast.

Rt @Br8kthru This sugar-free weight-loss oatmeal I'm eating ain't half bad if you put some sugar in it...

@marni71 If by adult, you mean DIET Dr. Pepper, that would be me...

@weightwhat Ah, but there is nothing like telling an elderly relative to "try to look innocent..."

Shhh....It's the cops over there... just stay calm and look innocent~ what I say to any passengers when I spot a police car...

Okay. Time to finish putting up my tree, which will look nothing like this...

Wow!  I need to get started on my tree earlier than I thought! on Twitpic

Note to self: start saving Heinekin bottles for next year's tree.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Caption Contest!

So....what caption do you think belongs under this picture? Share your thoughts...

If you are looking for a more serious Thanksgiving post, please check out yesterday's post about why I am thankful for my mom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

You all know that I haven't been posting lately because I was busy preparing for my mom's birthday, and Thanksgiving. I meant to write a post dedicated to my mom on her birthday, but things kind of got away from me. I thought maybe it would be appropriate to share with you things my mom taught me, that I am grateful for...

Mom taught me...

1) That being angry at someone hurts me more than them. Forgiving heals me. She is the most forgiving person I know.
2) That it IS my responsibility to care for those who are weaker. She used to visit and shop for the elderly on our block. No special neighborhood outreach program. No big ceremony for her celebrating her years of volunteerism at the end. Just the knowledge that she was there for people who needed her.
3) I can do what I set my mind to. Nobody ever cheered me on more than Momma.
4) We are more valuable than the things we do, but we still need to do for others to feel valuable. I don't love mom any less now that she can't walk than I did when she was able to help me with errands and stuff. She is still so cherished.... But she needs to be able to do things for others in order to feel that life is worth living. Mom doesn't run errands for me or elderly neighbors anymore, but her quiet prayers give us strength and she now makes things for families, friends, and even strangers.
5) Momma taught me to cook. She gave me the confidence to believe it is okay to change a recipe to suit my family better. When I started putting olive oil instead of vegetable oil in her bean salad recipe, she was cool with that. When I put canned tomato sauce instead of real tomatoes in Daddy's Hungarian Goulash recipe because my husband has diverticulitis, she gave me the nod to do what was best for us.
6) That BÓG (Polish for God) is watching me. Yes, when I was little, it sounded kind of like a threat. And I had a complex that God could see me when I was taking a bath. I was a modest little girl. But now that I am an adult I have a clearer picture that she meant watching over me, not spying on me. :-)
7) That it never hurts to watch the weather forecast so that I can plan for tomorrow, or, in the case of winter in Chicago, next week.
8) That you can never have too much Crystal Lite in the house.
9) That if a recipe didn't turn out just how I wanted it, don't admit it. Claim it is a new recipe...
10) People respond better to patience than to being chewed out.
11) Always wear a hat that covers the ears during Winter.
12) Have extra blankets in the car in Winter.
13) Keep an extra five dollars in your coat pocket in case you run into someone who needs money, but are afraid to open your purse. (My momma is the only person I know who could be suspicious of strangers and generous to them at the same time.)
14) Hot chicken soup will cure a cold.
15) Hot tea will cure almost anything else.
16) People like getting cards for Birthdays and Anniversaries.
17) Mom taught me how to read. Now that her eyesight is poor, we often listen to books on tape together.
18) Shortcuts aren't always bad, so long as they don't prevent you from learning the right way. I learned to tie my shoes with the bunny ears, not the rabbit through the hole...
19) Music from other cultures can be as exhilarating and uplifting as music from our own. Mom is Polish, Daddy was Hungarian, yet Mom would listen to Irish music, Italian music, German music, Mariachi music....lots of different music played in our kitchen.
20) To dance wherever I darn well please. For momma, that had been our own kitchen, sometimes the living room....For me, any supermarket in my area still courageous enough to play music (I found a fruit store in my area that still plays music, and I shop there a lot now! They even sell meat and groceries! Yayy!)

I'm sure that's not the end of it, but I have things to prepare for tomorrow, and Momma also taught me that I'd better make cooking and serving for Thanksgiving a priority! ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving, and God Bless You!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Doohickeys and Thingamigigs

Ever notice how sometimes "car people" and "noncar people" have trouble communicating? My cousin was explaining to me that her car won't go in reverse, so she had to take it in. Her husband made a comment about the gear shift not working. She then said that it worked fine....she was able to move it from Park to Reverse without any trouble, it just wouldn't go. He then went on to speak in carese to explain to us what he meant by that. He used big vocabulary words that have to do with car parts. Inside car parts, not visible car parts like tire and antennae. Since neither her nor I are "car people", we were a little lost...

Then I said to her "I think he is saying that the shift lever is connected inside to a doohicky that then makes switches some thingamigig in the engine or something that tells it to go in reverse. I think something isn't connected between the doohicky and the thingamigig. Am I close Jack?"
Jack says "Something like that...."
And my cousin says "Okay, that makes sense to me..."
I say "Me too..."
Jack shakes his head sadly....

Join Wendy in her blog carnival and tell her how your life is funny!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Community : Serving and Being Served

Peter Pollock and Bridget Chumbley are hosting their bimonthly one word blog carnival. Today's word is "Community". For purposes of this post, I am working with the definition

a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.

Which I found here.

So, a community shares something in common. But is knowing that the person living across the alley likes to play checkers and so do I really make us part of the checker playing community together? You know, I don't think so. I think to really be part of a community, we need to share more than a common interest. I believe we need to share our very selves: we need to serve a community, and allow ourselves to be served by that community, to really be a part of it.

Community must be important to God, I think. When we were just babies, He placed us within the most intimate of communities, our families. It is with our families that we learned to share our gifts, whether that gift was reading to a younger sibling or cousin, clearing the table and doing the dishes for Grandma, or taking out the trash for mom.

The youngest of children are the ones who really get it: we are most part of a community when we are either serving, or being served. Hopefully we are at both ends at times, so we don't either become burnt out or entitled. I think this is true whether the community we are speaking of is family, neighborhood, Church, and even cyber communities.

Service in the neighborhood could be anything as time consuming as delivering meals on wheels, or as quick as a phone call to a shut in to see how they are. It could be as difficult as organizing a food drive, or as simple as donating some canned food to that food drive. Even shoveling your own walkway so the mail carrier doesn't break his or her neck is a community service. It is the thinking of our neighbor and acting on that thought that binds us in a community, and not the mere proximity of our houses.

Some of our greatest acts of service take place at Church: prayer. I know, there are lots of ways that the Church serves others, but there is nothing that makes me feel more attached to someone in my heart than to pray for them, or to know they are praying for me. I have found myself genuinely concerned about strangers I have been asked by friends to pray for, and I have felt so weary and sad at times that I didn't even know what to say in prayer for my self and family anymore, but I felt God say in my heart "Helen, that is okay. There are so many others sending prayers for you right now. Just sit here with me and rest, and I will take care of you". THAT, my friends, is the power of a community! Years ago, when my mom was sick, and I despaired of finding the right words, I knew that God would read my heart, and hear the prayers of my Church, school, friends and family. Sometimes I would think that I just had to find a way to say it, and I would feel God say "Shh...I know...It's been said. Rest with me."

I also mentioned the cyber community earlier... How can we serve each other via the computer? You know, we do all the time. How often have we talked things through with each other via twitter? We encourage each other over the cyber waves when we have a bad day, and rejoice with each other when things go well. I love joking with each other, sharing music links, life stories, cheer, and cookie descriptions. I will also always be grateful to Wendy at @weightwhat for tweeting back and forth with me for hours the night before I was to take my husband to the hospital for tests (which turned out great by the way...) because I was worried, and friends who commiserated with me over my broken furnace. And how many times have my cyber friends and I sent requests for prayer via email back and forth?

Most people who complain about their community do so because they feel disconnected. Service, both the giving and receiving is in my opinion the best way to connect with our community. Prayer, I do believe, is the ultimate service any of us can do for one another.

A Mildly Amusing Conversation at Barnes and Noble Cafe

Okay, they looked nothing like this, but everyone knows that a picture on a blog post grabs attention...

First of all, I want to ask you to go to my friend Wendy's blog. Things are hectic for her right now, and she could do with an extra smile. Ideally I know she'd like for you to participate in her blog carnival, but if you aren't up for that right now, how about leaving a favorite joke in her comment section. Something, anything for a grin. Thanks.

I wish my life is funny post was a barrel of laughs this week, but it is more like mildly amusing. Still, the best I can do is good enough, right? (I have to say, Wendy has always been generous in her blog carnival about the best I can doing being good enough...)

Anyway, here is what I found mildly amusing lately...

Last week Sunday, November 8, my husband and I went to see a movie, and then to hang out at Barnes and Noble. We LOVE to hang out at Barnes and Noble. We will each scoop up an armload of books, take them to the Barnes and Noble Cafe, and browse through them. We do not buy many of them. We usually pick no more than one each, because frankly, we love our library, and can get many of the books there, at least eventually. But sometimes there is a book that we believe we will read more than once, need to savor, or will be quite possibly passing down to someone else.

Anyways, I digress. My perusing habits don't have much to do with this except that after we each are done with our pile of books, we will usually order a treat. What was funny last week was that when I finished my last book and was about to get myself a peppermint mocha latte and the chocolate brownie with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts that I'd been looking forward to, I look up to find Bob staring at me...

Helen: What's the matter? Is something wrong?
Bob: No, not at all. I just realize...You lost some weight...
Helen: I don't think so hon, but thanks. ( I have fallen "off the wagon" of my diet a few months ago, and meant to get back on, but didn't...)
Bob: Really Helen, you have.
Helen: Bob, you are very sweet, but I doubt it. I have been getting out of breath lately when I go up and down the stairs, and after a while, my knees start to hurt. I do appreciate the compliment though..
Bob: Honey, have you thought about the fact that you actually make more trips up and down the stairs now, so of course you have aching knees after and our out of breath...Anyways, you are looking good, and I am proud of you.

Okay, what is so funny about this? I'm getting there...I suddenly had no more desire for the peppermint mocha latte and the chocolate brownie with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts... Since then, I have even noticed that I desire less portions at meals at home. I'm not talking about a loss of appetite that should be worrisome, just that I haven't desired as much food.

Isn't it funny? I couldn't get back on my diet once I cheated on it because I despaired, but once my husband suggested that I actually succeeded, I could get back on without even trying.

Life is funny....

Now make sure you have gone to Wendy's blog and either left a link to a LIFE IS FUNNY post of your own, or left your favorite joke in the comment section...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Some Roses are Pink, Others Are Yellow, Welcome to the Friday Twitter Ho Down

Okay, so Twitter has decided to make my life more difficult. They no longer link responses so that I can follow between the conversations, which means that I couldn't go back and easily find the conversations some of these were from. Oh well...
Oh, and the repairman was NOT able to fix my furnace yesterday. We need a new circuit board.
And now, the "best" of Helenatrandom on twitter...

@weightwhat The repairman is here and he is fixing the furnace as we speak!

@katdish No shower for me until the furnace is on! TMI? Sorry...I'll put on some perfume..

I am so cold... http://bit.ly/1Sequ

@weightwhat YOO HOO! WENDY! COME ON OUT AND PLAY WITH US...we miss you...

@BridgetChumbley I bet @weightwhat could find a way to TWSS the word gesundheit!

@BridgetChumbley Yes. If only @weightwhat were here, she'd have us tweeting TWSS worthy comments in a hurry, wouldn't she?

@BridgetChumbley Thanks. The furnace repairman should be here shortly. I'm sure if I weren't careful, I could tweet something TWSS worthy/

@katdish Right now it is 52 degrees, but my furnace conked out last night. It is 66 degrees in the house..

I better go move around a bit...I think it has gotten even colder in the house....

@redclaydiaries Hi. No warmer yet. It will be a few hours before the repair man comes.

@pagan43 Beanbag socks are the homemade verion of the Bed Buddy™. Dry beans in a sock that get microwaved and then warm you up in bed.

@SBeeCreations Thanks for the invitation. The repairman will be here between noon and four.

@weightwhat I don't jog.... My ankles couldn't take it... OUCH!

@weightwhat I am pretty sure it is the blowers...TWSS

@weightwhat No fireplace. I am drinking herbal tea (I ran out of milk for coffee!) and heating beanbag socks in microwave for mom...

@weightwhat I am waiting for the furnace repairman.Believe it or not, I was not able to fix it myself by flipping circuit breaker repeatedly

Brrr...31 degrees outside, and I woke up to THE FURNACE ISN'T WORKING!!!!! Helen is not happy. Neither is Helen's mom, Helen....

@makeadiff21 I don't teach there anymore. I'm a stay at home daughter. There is no more opportunity to make helpful announcements..

@makeadiff21 Yeah...I'm sure the secretary there misses my helpful suggestions...

@BridgetChumbley We are innocent....Okay... a little...

@makeadiff21 I didn't know how to run the PA system.... :(

@makeadiff21 I mean, do you think Jennifer Lopez is really such a rare name that anyone would catch that it was made up?

@makeadiff21 I know. We are so innocent....

@makeadiff21 Oh yeah...the school secretary was afraid someone would snitch on her. I thought paging JLo would work though.

@weightwhat I even gave her alternatives like "Will Jennifer Lopez please come to the office immediately..Jennifer Lopez..." No dice..

@weightwhat Sweet dreams, Elvis!

@weightwhat I begged our school secretary to announce that over the PA when Sister Principal would go to a meeting off premises. She refused

#celebrityperfumes Ingenue by Taylor Swift

#celebrityperfumes Rude by Kanye West

#celebrityperfumes Uh Oh Oh by Beyonce...

@VariantVal You are right. No response to links. I hope they will be coming back, and that it is just a temporary glitch.

@sarahmsalter Dang....I forget about the ho down when I start talking about my assetts...

@weightwhat More like connecting between the roses...

@weightwhat Don't you mean small? Small roses would daintify their surroundings...No? AAA...what do I know? I like multicolored lights..

@pagan43 I could live with either... Do you think it would need baby's breathe in between?

@weightwhat Trust me,I have the space for chrysanthemums and sunflowers, but I think roses, even rosebuds, would have a daintifying effect..

I have been checking out Airplane clips on Youtube. Man oh Manischewitz that movie is funny!

@pagan43 with a yellow rose on each cheek. The cheeks nearest the tramp stamp...

@pagan43 I am not a fan of needles... If I were, it'd be a pink rose tramp stamp (meaning in the small of my back)....

@redclaydiaries Actually, the size of your fingers is directly related to the proportion of alcohol you can handle...

@redclaydiaries That's how you measure.Put your3 fingers at the side of the glass,bottom finger at touching edge of bottom of the glass.Pour

@redclaydiaries Three fingers of scotch and two teaspoons of whiskey makes everything make more sense...

@weightwhat Uh, yeah...when reason has a sore throat and is drinking for medicinal purposes then, yes, we are the voice of reason...

@tracyyoungtv No milk., but @bryanallain is preparing grilled snuffleupagus.There ought to be plenty.You can share your cookies for dessert.

@bryanallain Snuffleupagus is better deep fried....so I've heard.

@katdish Great! Bob's birthday was Sunday. We went to see A Christmas Carol, then hung out at Barnes and Noble. Yeah. I like bookstores.

Don't be afraid. She doesn't really worship ducks. She is actually a Methodist. Checkout @pagan43 's blog http://wateritsirk.blogspot...

@pagan43 You think I am kidding, but can you ever truly be sure?

@pagan43 that I had been mistaken...

@pagan43 Ah....See, I thought you were a duck worshipper and hesitated to follow you, but checked out your twitter page often enough to see

@pagan43 Actually, not be a duck anymore may help. With a name like "pagan43" and a duck avatar, the implication is that you worship ducks

@pagan43 I agree with @redclaydiaries...you are much better looking than the duck...who was pretty cute, by the way...

@CandySteele Does Billy have a fan page on facebook? Did I join it? I should have....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pink, Thanks for Asking

Yes. This is my prefered brand of Chamomille tea.

I was drinking rosehip tea yesterday and tweeting about it. My friend Candy Steele (@CandySteele , follow her if you know what is good for you, unless of course your avatar is a moon shot..) is the queen of tea. Whenever I drink herbal tea in the morning, I always tweet her about it and tell her I am thinking of her as I drink it. Another friend tweeted me that the rosehip tea was funny because of a tattoo conversation we had on twitter the day before (read tomorrow's twitter post for those details...) I responded that I drink it to prevent bladder infections...
You see, growing up, my parents used a lot of herbal tea remedies. Peppermint tea was used to end constipation. Rosehip tea was used to prevent bladder infections. Chamomile tea was used for tummy aches. It gets rid of whatever is bothering your stomach one way or another...Regular orange pekoe tea with a shot of wine in it was the remedy for menstrual cramps when I was a child. The grown up version is tea with whiskey and honey, but children weren't allowed whiskey in my family (except for teething babies....just on my gums...geesh...) just wine.
Thinking about that got me reminiscing about my first year of marriage, and my very first tummy ache as a married woman. Keep in mind that I moved into the house he was already living in, so this odd question seemed less odd to me..

HRM: Bob, where do we keep the chamomile tea?
Bob: Huh?
HRM: The chamomile tea. You know. For upset stomachs...
Bob: I have some old Pepto Bismal on the top shelf of the left cabinet in the kitchen...
HRM: That's okay. I don't mind making myself a cup of tea...
Bob: Helen, we don't HAVE any camowhatchamacallit tea...
HRM: Then what do we do about tummy aches..
Bob: We take Pepto Bismal...
HRM: But...it's pink....
Bob: Helen, it is all we have....

So I took the Pepto. As directed. The next day I notice while in the bathroom at school that MY TONGUE IS BLACK!

I was so scared! I thought maybe I bit it, got gangrene, and now it would need removal. HOW DOES A TEACHER TEACH WITHOUT HER TONGUE? What I mean is, a teacher needs to be able to talk, doesn't she...
I go to the doctor immediately after work...

Dr. Right: What seems to be the trouble...
HRM: My tongue is black.
Dr. Right: Have you had an upset stomach lately?
HRM: Yes. Last night. Oh my...My tongue never turned black from a stomach ailment before! What's wrong with me?
Dr. Right: Did you take anything for it with Bismuth.
HRM: I took Pepto Bismal.
Dr. Right: That did it.
Dr. Right: Your tongue will be fine in a few days, provided you aren't taking the Bismuth. The longer you take it, the longer it will take for your tongue to return to normal...

Well, how was I supposed to know? I NEVER had that problem with chamomile tea. And I still don't...

How about joining my friend Wendy in her Life is Funny blog carnival? It's more fun than a barrel of monkeys on a two wheel bike.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You For Your Service...

Sorry. I don't have any witty stories to share. No touching stories either. My uncles subscribed to the maxim "War stories don't make good bedtime stories.." and did not tell us kids about their experiences in Korea and Vietnam.
So I don't know much about the sacrifices they made. I can only imagine.

If you are a Veteran who has served the United States of America, especially in battle, please accept my gratitude.

If not, please join me in a prayer I found at aarp.

Dear Heavenly Father,

In every age, You call certain persons to defend the human family from oppression, tyranny, and evil. Since our founding as a nation "conceived in liberty," countless American men and women have stepped forward to defend our country and many others from aggressors, and to liberate those held captive.

Today we revere all our veterans: those who rest in honored glory, those who still suffer from the wounds of war, and those who, with us, enjoy the blessing of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O God, thank You for the selfless sacrifice of these veterans and of their families. Help us to remember them, to pray for them, and to care for them. Please bring all our departed veterans into Your Kingdom, and console their families with Your unfailing love. Please heal our wounded veterans through the power of Your Holy Spirit, and give to all our veterans the satisfaction of having served You even as they have served us.

Thank You for Your gifts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. May we fight to keep these rights available to all. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halloween, Mammograms, and Queen, Oh My: A Rich and Full Life on Twitter

Sorry folks. If you want my twitter post to make any sense today, you will have to read from the bottom up. Yeah, yeah...TWSS..We know...

Helenatrandom @BridgetChumbley Out of the two songs, Queen has done more for my self esteem, let me tell you...

Helenatrandom @BridgetChumbley Heard it when Sherri posted it on fottsp. I'm like "Wow! I make the rockin' world go 'round! COOL!" http://bit.ly/EXk0

Helenatrandom My friend Sherri from fottsp, @gabbysherri, who never tweets, is the one who introduced me to this song btw http://bit.ly/EXk0

Helenatrandom @BridgetChumbley As you well should be...go ahead and click it! http://bit.ly/EXk0

Helenatrandom @BridgetChumbley As a matter of fact,I now know what I want played at my funeral. http://bit.ly/EXk0...ok. Not really.Church wouldn't allow

Helenatrandom @BridgetChumbley I got a better one for your head, but I must admit @PuriChristo 's tweet made me think of it...

Helenatrandom @katdish Maybe you should send this to them in an @reply http://bit.ly/EXk0 They won't like you then...

Helenatrandom @emptynestegg Yes. I think we can put you in charge of stockpiling chocolate...

Helenatrandom @weightwhat I scared @PeterPollock with my post yesterday, now with my music...I don't want to lose his friendship....

Helenatrandom @PeterPollock Do I really need to dump the playlist? I use that instead of an MP3 Player...Free music!

Helenatrandom @PeterPollock Sorry about yesterday...My newest post: Don't be afraid, I don't ask you to picture anything... http://bit.ly/4epLtE

Helenatrandom @weightwhat Is he working with us or against us in our bid to take over the world. And if with us, as partner or minion?

Helenatrandom @PamperingBeki We all whine on twitter! It saves our families the trouble of telling us to stop our whining...

Helenatrandom The Udder Bovine Girl #cowfilms

Helenatrandom The Udder Woman #cowfilms

Helenatrandom @weightwhat I follow @inkpanther. He gives us five words to use in a tweet. Yesterday was Catholic, boltcutter, lemonade, qtip and button

Helenatrandom Stirring lemonade with a qtip, I questioned if I'd need a boltcutter to get a button I lost behind the locked doors of the Catholic School.

Helenatrandom @PeterPollock Thanks for the RT. And sorry about the scary picture...I know...Halloween is over.

Helenatrandom You are such a giver! RT @VariantVal "I have found men who didn't know how to kiss. I've always found time to teach them." ~ by Mae West ~

Helenatrandom Scary Mooooovie #Cowfilms

Helenatrandom Bovine Madness #Cowfilms

Helenatrandom Drat! There is no @MrsGraas...

Helenatrandom I think I shall send @MrsGraas a tweet..

Helenatrandom @weightwhat He just likes the special noodles in Mrs. Graas soup. It spoiled him for all other soup...

Helenatrandom @weightwhat It's not his favorite, but he accepts the soup. #fearthefunnel

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 You don't eat other kinds of meat? I did not know that. It's not because I've been pushing headcheese, is it?

Helenatrandom @br8kthru Ah...Well I hope for your sake, their restrooms are luxurious...

Helenatrandom @pagan43 It was almost four months before anyone commented on my blog. But that's okay. I have some great cyber friends now.

Helenatrandom @pagan43 Tweet your post when you are done. I will come and comment. I'll even Retweet. Sometimes it takes a while..

Helenatrandom @VariantVal Salsa dance? I'll be right over. Send me some directions, though..

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 Well...her behavior should improve now that she thinks you've eaten a puppy.

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 Did your tummy growl scare pretty kitty?

Helenatrandom @weightwhat I thought perhaps Owl Keepers would start following me. People who want to keep their pet owls healthy...

Helenatrandom @weightwhat Now there is a blog carnival for us...Shall we call it the Healthy Hooters Blog Carnival?

Helenatrandom @weightwhat Thanks. I love you, too! You are welcome to rewrite the whole post as a romance novel if you like.

Helenatrandom @WinLiannefield No, just Wendy. Why? Am I being left out of something?

Helenatrandom @weightwhat She's a little young to be worried about a mammogram. Though practicing the monthly exams now wouldn't hurt her none.

Helenatrandom @weightwhat You start wearing your time traveler costume, and she'll be more confused than ever...

Helenatrandom @sarahmsalter Mr. Bubble used to be my muse, too, but now I use Avon...

Helenatrandom The Everday Testimony Project is here!: http://bit.ly/2jmMtw via @addthis

Helenatrandom @buzzbyannies I don't know what I want for breakfast. I'm hungry, but I don't want just anything...Yeah. I'm feeling picky. That's odd..

Helenatrandom @buzzbyannies So...what's for breakfast?

Helenatrandom @CandySteele Yes. How are you? Still enjoying Autumn in Iowa? It was chilly here last night. Almost freezing!

Helenatrandom @WinLiannefield Thank you. I put myself in charge of candy dish cleaning detail, as well...

Helenatrandom @WinLiannefield There will always be places to vacuum...clean the candy dish!

Helenatrandom @WinLiannefield So many chores, so little time...

Helenatrandom @SBeeCreations Of course, we don't want lumps just so ins. will let us get a mammogram, I'm just saying that monthly self checks are good.

Helenatrandom @SBeeCreations You do the monthly self check, don't you? Bc if God forbid you found something, I think ins. does let you have one..

Helenatrandom @pagan43 You might get some really interesting new followers if you joked about colonoscopies...

Helenatrandom @WinLiannefield It really was not so bad. It was uncomfortable, but wearing a girdle is more so. At least after six hours of girdle..

Helenatrandom @pagan43 and make light about the test, so it will not be so scary to the women around us. Let's be scared to not know, not of a mammogram.

Helenatrandom @pagan43 Don't worry about behaving, LOL! Serious subject, yes, but I don't think I'm the only woman who was afraid of the test. Let's joke

Helenatrandom @SBeeCreations Thanks. I think too many women dread the first one. I did. I thought it'd be horrible, and it was merely uncomfortable.

Helenatrandom @katdish Same here. If I imagined myself in a really odd p*rn picture, it was actually quite funny!

Helenatrandom @katdish @sarahmsalter But if we blog about it, we could be encouraging other women to make that appointment. You know?

Helenatrandom @weightwhat Did you get my tweet? My life is funny post tomorrow will be about my mammogram! Yayyyy!

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 Oh Ginny, we can find fun and laughter anywhere if we are looking for it! C'mon... :-)
Helenatrandom @katdish You didn't find having your bust pinched by a stranger to be a barrel of laughs worth blogging about? I'm shocked...

Helenatrandom @weightwhat My addition to your blog carnival will be up at midnight. It's about frontsetts. I knew you wouldn't mind...

Helenatrandom @katdish I guess I should have said underarm. Yes. I was tweeting about my first mammogram. Tomorrow's blog post!

Helenatrandom ATTENTION / WARNING ! My Life is Funny / Mammogram post is scheduled to go up at midnight. Forewarned is forearmed...

Helenatrandom You know, @pagan43 is right. It would be so cool to have bagels follow me along with the cream cheese...
Helenatrandom @pagan43 It was uncomfortable, but not painful. I'm glad it is over with. The dread of it was worst than the pancaking...

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 I'm actually fond of cream cheese, but I never knew it cared enough to seek ME on twitter and follow me...I'm so touched..

Helenatrandom @pagan43 Thanks...I kept feeling like I was posing for the world's oddest p*rn picks, and kept laughing. I bet the tech never had that!

Helenatrandom I am now being followed by Philadephia Cream Cheese! HOORAY!

Helenatrandom @weightwhat I am thinking of working my first mammogram into a Life is Funny post...

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 I had my first mammogram yesterday. "More fun than a pap smear.." Wendy thinks I should write their brochure...

Helenatrandom RT @StephenAtHome hey kids who toilet-papered my lawn: i don't appreciate your using the cheap stuff. my birches deserve at least 3-play

Helenatrandom @weightwhat Yep. It was my first. More fun than a pap smear...with a slogan like that, they should let me write their brochures...

Helenatrandom @br8kthru I think they closed the hospital I was born in. Poetic justice, I suppose..

Helenatrandom @weightwhat They don't force you to be either. So long as you like Italians and Catholics, you could be in....

Helenatrandom @weightwhat @makeadiff21 @sarahmsalter No, I'm not Italian, but they like Hungarians well enough. Same color flag, love of wine ...

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 @weightwhat @sarahmsalter Good morning. I am also trying to bake pies for the Italian Catholic Federation meeting tonight.

Helenatrandom OK. Off to deal with people. Pray for them...

Helenatrandom OK, time to start a new project. Tweet y'all later.

Helenatrandom @br8kthru I'm doing well. Bob and I fixed the garage door and various other projects.

Helenatrandom @CandySteele Howdy! We have good candy to start, granola for when it gets late, and raisins for repeaters.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Update: Great News!

My mammogram results are in, and I am fine. No worries. Hakuna Matata...
Was there any doubt? Well...
I did get a fright on Halloween. No, not a trick or treater dressed as a vampire, though that might've done it. I found a lump on my left frontsett. Breast. I found a lump on my left breast. I know. It would have been more honest of me to include that on yesterday's post, but it would have ruined the funny. The funny was important to me. I think being able to see the humor in situations that are difficult is a gift. Okay, I know, humor is not one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in the Bible, but it has been a precious gift to me anyway.
Besides. By Sunday, I knew I was okay. Don't ask me how. I just knew. Yes. I know I could have emailed you, and you would have prayed for me. But I knew I was okay. I can't explain how I knew, but I did. I still went to the doctor, who felt the lump and decided I needed a mammogram and made an appointment for me that day. I wasn't surprised. I figured that since I had turned forty in September, it wasn't an overreaction, even though I had come to believe I was fine. Now, it is true that my personality is such that I would wait until September 2, 1:30 am to have the mammogram at forty if I could, or at the very least, last appointment on September 1. Sometimes I'm a letter of the law sort of gal. I have to watch that.
I had a moment of melancholy driving through the forest preserves to get to my appointment. I have always loved autumn leaves. As a child, my parents used to take me to the woods, and I'd pick them, press them, and seal them in a book. I was never an artistic child, but I loved drawing trees, any season actually. I wasn't good at drawing them, I think because I always wanted to make them symetrical, so they never looked right. I chalked it up to the truth in the poem by Joyce Kilmer....


I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, 5
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain. 10

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Anyways, I thought how sad it would be if I never saw another autumn, never enjoyed such beautiful color again...

And I heard God laugh. I do believe I did. Not a derisive sort, but the kindly laugh of a Father who is amused by his child's lack of imagination as He prepares wonderful things for her for when she comes home...
He promised me that if I thought these trees were beautiful, I'd be amazed one day at the trees in Heaven. And I had to laugh, too.

P.S. I am sorry if I caused any offense with "Go ahead, picture it" when joking about the brochure. I guess I got carried away. Forgive me?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pink Ribbons on a Life is Funny Post?

Gentlemen reading this post, you are welcome to stay and read this. I consider you my brothers in Christ. However, your sister (me) is about to describe a mammogram. If I was shy about men potentially reading this, I wouldn't post it, but that doesn't mean you want to read it...Jason, I know I linked a post to your blog early on that was even more descriptive, but keep in mind, it wasn't my glitter or gynecological exam. If you ever write about having a prostate exam, I plan on skimming that post to the end, and commenting "I am so glad you are taking care of your health", so feel free to skip to the end and leave a similar comment.

Okay, now that it is just us girls (and guys who have been fairly warned..).... I know that Breast Cancer Awareness Month was last month, but you know that I have to be different. Neither my mammogram appointment nor my post on the importance of mammograms could be done in October, because that is when everyone else is doing it. I like being the only carnation in a bouquet of roses. I like to use a purple ink when everyone else is using black or blue. So of course, my first mammogram had to be Monday, November 2. You know I wouldn't write about the importance of a mammogram without first getting one myself. And you know if anyone can see humor in getting her bust flattened between a piece of plastic and an X-ray machine, it'd be me.

To begin with, I found it funny that when I called my doctor's office asking where to go for a mammogram, they said that I'd have to come in for a referral. Why would I need a referral for something that is recommended yearly? I found out later when they asked me to put my name on a reminder post card that the Dr.'s office was wrong. I didn't need the referral.

I have to admit, I was very much relieved that the tech was a female. It is not that I am used to being felt up by females, but I am a bit of a prude. I was actually afraid I'd strike a male. Old habits die hard... And its not like he'd even be buying me dinner first! He'd be expecting my insurance to pay him! And let's not forget the copay. Yep, the thought of a male technician doing my mammogram was my biggest worry, and it did not come to pass...

Now, I knew from listening to other women describe mammograms, that I should expect smooshed frontsetts. (For the uninitiated, frontsetts are the opposite of assetts...) I would like to add that the female technician very kindly told me to let her know when the tension was about even with the amount of discomfort I was willing to endure. I knew this was important, and I was willing to endure. The shots of just my bust where I face forward and don't breathe for several seconds was quite manageable.
However, I was not expecting the underarm shots for my lymph nodes. The tech places my one of my frontsetts on the X-ray while I try to place my underarm on it, have my body face one way, and then face to the left (for the other frontsett, I had to face to the right). Well, all of the sudden, I start to laugh. I know this had to be a first for her...a woman with a pressed bust and armpit gazing to the side and laughing.... I just kept thinking that if this picture were on a mammogram brochure, no one would ever go. I pictured having the kind of smile on my face that you find in dental brochures, but with one bust hanging out, and the other one pressed with my arm hugging the apparatus taking the X- ray so it can get a shot of my armpit as well. Underneath the picture would be the caption...
"Much more fun than your average pap smear!"
Go ahead. Close your eyes and picture it. Please don't forget the toothy grin! Funny, no?
I explained to the technician why I was laughing. I am still waiting for a call to begin my new brochure writing career!

How about joining Wendy for her Life is Funny blog carnival? You know she ain't picky! She's accepting mammogram posts for goodness sake!

You know what is not funny? Having breast cancer, and not knowing....
I found the mammogram to be uncomfortable, but not at all painful. It was definitely worth doing. My doctor should be finding out the results sometime today.
If you ignored that last month was Breast Cancer Awareness month, well, so did I. But if you are over forty, take a moment and remember when your last mammogram was....If the answer is fifth of Never, then I encourage you to make an appointment. If you vaguely remember ignoring a reminder, again, I encourage you to make an appointment. It isn't really that bad. I would score it as ten, even twenty times more fun than a pap smear!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Today I am joining the One Word blog carnival, hosted at Peter's blog. Today's word is REMEMBER.
My original plan for this post was to write about remembering the lives of the Saints, and how they were people just like us, but with the help of God, they made it. People with faults and failings who still loved and trusted God. People whose stories inspire me.
But then I got to thinking, what is it that I admit most remembering? Click here if you want to read a post where I come to terms with a grudge I held for years. Grudges, snubs, misdeeds....Not at all the things that one who has been forgiven herself should be remembering....Then, of course, I started to feel guilty. Guilt is only a useful emotion if and until it causes me to repent. After that...well, I suppose it can keep me humble, but if it prevents me from feeling the joy of my faith because I am dwelling in my own unworthiness, it becomes a hindrance.

One of my favorite hymns is called "We Remember". The repetition of the phrase "We remember how You loved us 'til your death..." always makes me cry.

Funny story, I remember my first year teaching, there was a music teacher. The music teacher taught in the music room, and I went back to my classroom to prepare lessons and such. One day at Mass, I hear my students singing this hymn, and the words brought tears to my eyes. One boy, Russel, says real loudly, "We should sing louder! Ms. Helen is so proud of us, she is crying!"
I thought it was a funny memory, anyway...

Here is the hymn...

We remember how you loved us to Your death,
And still we celebrate for You are with us here.
And we believe that we will see You
when you come in Your glory, Lord.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe!
Verse 1
Here, a million wounded souls
Are yearning just to touch you and be healed;
Gather all your people, and hold them to your heart.
Verse 2
Now we recreate you love,
We bring the bread and wine to share a meal;
Sign of grace and mercy, the Presence of the Lord.
Verse 3
Christ, the Father’s great “Amen”
To all the hopes and dreams of every heart;
Peace beyond all telling, and freedom from all fear.
Verse 4
See the face of Christ revealed in every person standing by your side.
Gift to one another and temples of Your love.

Saturday Morning Caption Contest / Happy Halloween

So....Go ahead. Come up with the silliest captions you can. I can't wait to laugh.

Wanna see a scary video before you go? I thought so. But be warned...It gave Steph at the Red Clay Diaries nightmares!

Happy Halloween, everyone, and God bless you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Last Twik or Tweet of the Year: Or Is It? Mwahahahahah

In celebration of my last Twik or Tweet post of the year (unless there is popular demand, hint hint hint), today is the biggest Twik or Tweet extravanganza I have done to date!

Remember, you need to decide whether these people really tweeted these things on twitter. And if you are not following them, you totally should..

1) makeadiff21 Few things make me laugh so hard as when my youngest looks at me and raises her mustache up and down at me... LOL

2)weightwhat @Helenatrandom If that doesn't scare 'em off, nothing will.

3) Helenatrandom Shopped for Halloween candy. And chocolate ants. The kids who keep coming to my house more than once are getting bugs this year on 2nd visit.

4)PeterPollock I severely dislike blogs having music on them. But if you're going to force people to listen to something, Mambo No. 5 is a good choice!

5)sarahmsalter Warming up my best "phone voice" so I can take my turn answering the switchboard... Oooh la la! Okay, I'm ready!

6) br8kthru @Helenatrandom do you know why @katdish is avoiding me? I said hi to her early this morning, but nothing. My world is crashing down! :)

7) VariantVal Anyone else totally getting slammed by the brit bot right now??? 5 times in a row here, plus some new chicks.

8) bryanallain home sick...tweeting with my website design and sucking on ice cubes.

9) muchl8r Starting a new day. This one will rock yesterday's socks off! Or else I'll be forced to stab someone!

10)CandySteele @billycoffey good, thank you. Hate to ask if the Yankees won. Suppose I could google them.

11) redclaydiaries In better news, I have apparently won the Honda Lottery in the UK. Just gpnna email a bunch of personal info to them. I'm rich!

12)PeterPollock I'm still not jealous of all those people who in Chicago, same city as @Helenatrandom. Honest!

13) PuriChristos just listened to Loveshack by Whoever: http://tinysong.com/aLiH

14)buzzbyannies Those white flakes posing as frost on the deck look suspiciously like coconut.

15) TheBonnieGray One touch from Him, freedom and beauty pours out of us, bringing us back to life.

16)marni71 Halllooooo! I'm giving up coffee in celebration of Halloween! Life is good. And how is everyone this morning??

17)billycoffey RT @katdish: "A good writer is basically a storyteller, not a scholar or redeemer of mankind." -Isaac B. Singer

18) MattTCoNP: I almost didn't make it out of that corn maze...then I remembered corn is easy to knock over.

19) billycoffey Watching The Sound of Music. I swear this is the scariest movie ever made.

20) BriddetChumbley @poemsandprayers Sounds good! I was just thinking about what to cook tonight... Last night made some black bat chili/soup, de-lish!

21) becca_homefront Keep fingers crossed that it doesn't rain over Virginia...daughter and I are going on school fieldtrip to a farm.

And now for the answers…May I have a drumroll please….

Thank you, you all are really too, too kind...

1) Twik. makeadiff21 Few things make me laugh so hard as when my youngest looks at me and raises her eyebrows up and down at me... LOL

2)Tweet weightwhat @Helenatrandom If that doesn't scare 'em off, nothing
Wendy REALLY doesn’t like raisins. I think she’d actually prefer the chocolate bugs…
3) Twik Helenatrandom Shopped for Halloween candy. And raisins. The kids who keep coming to my house more than once are getting raisins this year on 2nd visit.

4)Tweet PeterPollock I severely dislike blogs having music on them. But if you're going to force people to listen to something, Mambo No. 5 is a good choice!
(I resemble that remark. ☺ or at least my blog does!

5)Twik sarahmsalter Warming up my best "phone voice" so I can take my turn answering the switchboard... lalalalala! Okay, I'm ready!

6)Tweet br8kthru @Helenatrandom do you know why @katdish is avoiding me? I said hi to her early this morning, but nothing. My world is crashing down! :)
Yes. It is true. That is how I feel if she doesn’t comment on one of my posts. ☹

7) Tweet VariantVal Anyone else totally getting slammed by the brit bot right now??? 5 times in a row here, plus some new chicks.
Just thought I’d let it be known Variant Val hates porn just like the rest of us.
8) Twik bryanallain home sick...tweaking with my website design and sucking on ice cubes.

9)Tweet muchl8r Starting a new day. This one will rock yesterday's socks off! Or else I'll be forced to stab someone!
He is always threatened to stab us, but don’t worry, he won’t..so long as we do as he says..

10) Tweet CandySteele @billycoffey good, thank you. Hate to ask if the Yankees won. Suppose I could google them.
Yep. There she goes, googling again..

11) Twik redclaydiaries In better news, I have apparently won the Honda Lottery in the UK. Just gotta email a bunch of personal info to them. I'm rich!

12)Twik PeterPollock I'm still not jealous of all those people who are at Story Chicago. Honest!

13) Twik PuriChristos just listened to Love by Day of Fire on @Grooveshark: http://tinysong.com/aLiH

14)buzzbyannies Twik Those white flakes posing as frost on the deck look suspiciously like snow flakes.

15) Twik TheBonnieGray One touch from Him, freedom and beauty pours out of us, bringing us back to life.
I wasn’t gonna mess with that beautiful thought. I wanted to share it.

16)Twik marni71 Halllooooo! I'm on my second cup of coffee (going on third!) Life is good. And how is everyone this morning??

17Tweet )billycoffey RT @katdish: "A good writer is basically a storyteller, not a scholar or redeemer of mankind." -Isaac B. Singer

18) Tweet MattTCoNP: I almost didn't make it out of that corn maze...then I remembered corn is easy to knock over.

19) Twik billycoffey Watching Alien. I swear this is the scariest movie ever made.

20) Twik BriddetChumbley @poemsandprayers Sounds good! I was just thinking about what to cook tonight... Last night made some white bean chicken chili/soup, de-lish!

21) Tweet becca_homefront Keep fingers crossed that it doesn't rain over Virginia...daughter and I are going on school fieldtrip to a farm.

So that's it for now. If you are only here for the Twik or Tweeting and won't check out my silly caption post tomorrow (yeah, I know how some of you are ;-)..... Then Happy Halloween!