Warm, Fuzzy Socks

My cousin is dying. She has a recurrence of leukemia and chose not to treat it this time.

She’s in hospice today, almost four months after she got the news. She lives 1000 miles away, and I have plans to go see her in three weeks for the event she really wants to attend – her nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. I spoke to her last week and her numbers were still good. We laughed and joked and talked about the serious stuff. We talked about the warm, fuzzy socks I sent her, and how they’re like a hug for your feet. We talked about me staying with her for the Bar Mitzvah (she offered, I declined), and we looked forward to seeing each other again. I was sure there was plenty of time.

I was wrong.

I spoke to her yesterday, and the day before. The warm, vital woman I’ve looked up to since childhood is there one hundred percent. She doesn’t sound sick. She’s lived for many years with Multiple Sclerosis, she’s beaten the cancer once. My heart wants to believe it’s a mistake, but my head knows it isn’t.

We’ve had her for longer than we thought we would. She’s had a rough road physically, but she’s also had many blessings. A wonderful husband, a gorgeous son who is already a man at fourteen, family and friends that adore and admire her.

I’m not going to be there when she dies. I’m not going to be there for her funeral.   I’ve decided to go for the celebration of her nephew’s Bar Mitzvah that we’ve all looked so forward to.  We’ll celebrate my little cousin becoming a man, and we’ll celebrate the life of my cousin, his aunt, who loved us all.

In the meantime, I hope she’s wearing the warm, fuzzy socks.


Deal of the Day May 31, 2008

This one was sent to me by Aunt Sou Zou…

Avenue is offering the following discounts:

In-store event! Mix and match! BUY ONE TEE, TANK, SHORT OR MORE AND GET ONE FREE!* Plus come in today and spend $100 or more and get 25% off** your purchase.

In Avenue Stores: Print and bring the in-store bonus certificate to your local Avenue store and save 25% off** your purchase of $100 or more now through Thursday, June 5, 2008. Click here to print your in-store certificate.

At Avenue.com: Save 20% off** or spend $100 and get 25% off** your online purchase. Use coupon code AV81157 in the coupon code field at checkout now through Thursday, June 5, 2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Water Pistols and Mimosas

I love traditions. Holiday traditions like decorating the tree to the soothing sounds of Frank Sinatra, birthday traditions like allowing the birthday person to dictate the day’s menu, wedding traditions like wearing your Mom’s necklace – they all make my heart happy. It’s a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself, being a blip on a timeline that started long ago, instead of being the beginning and the end. It’s knowing that others before me have had the same fun I’m having.

Son is only three and though he’s in preschool it’s only two days a week, and it’s not on a school year calendar. Once he is on a somewhat regular calendar I want to start some new school traditions, and I’m going to use my sister’s traditions as a starting off point…

The other night I was on the phone with her and she told me this great story. Every year on the last day of school the Moms in her neighborhood meet the bus with water pistols in hand and promptly start a water fight with the kids as they are getting off the bus. Everyone then heads over to the pool for a School’s Out! Party, and summer has officially begun.

I just love that. They’ve been doing it since he started school, and it’s become something everyone really looks forward to.

This year, though, my nephew tried to prepare. My sister had said nothing about the last day of school plans, but it seems my nephew remembered on his own. The day before he told my sister, “Mom, I’m just going to ride my bike over to the bus stop and come right back. I don’t want you to worry about it.” When she questioned him further he added, very nonchalantly, “I’m just going for a ride with my water pistol, but if I forget to bring it back I don’t want you to worry about it.”

Uh huh.

Later that night he laid out his clothes for the next day and instead of underwear he laid out a swimsuit. “Don’t worry about that, Mom. I just feel like wearing one. Just forget it.”

The next day the Moms were waiting, the water fight was on and the pool party was a blast! Terrific memories were made for each and every kid, and each and every Mom.

The kids aren’t the only ones to have school traditions. Come fall, when it’s time to go back to school after a long, activity-filled summer, my sister will do her yearly tradition to mark the beginning of the school year.

Every year on the first day of school she walks my nephew to the bus and sees him on his way. Then she goes home, takes out the orange juice and the champagne and waits for the other Moms in the neighborhood to arrive for their very own Back to School party.

Isn’t that great? I love it.

I want to have some of our own traditions, too, and I’m sure they’ll develop naturally.

Traditions help mark special days in our lives. What are some of your favorite traditions – back to school or otherwise?

A Lizard Tale

Last night there was a lizard in my sink.

I don’t mind lizards at all. They’re cute and they eat bugs. What more could a girl ask?

When I was trying to catch him to bring him outside I made the mistake of picking him up by the tail.

Which came off in my hand.

And kept moving on it’s own.

That was kinda creepy.

I caught the lizard and brought him safely outside.

When I came back inside the tail was still in my sink.  And still moving.

His tail ended up in my garbage.

I didn’t check this am to see if it was still moving.

Deal of the Day May 30, 2008

Planning on working in your yard or garden this weekend?

Head over to Home Depot and use this coupon to get two shrubs for the price of one.  I love buying plants at Home Depot.  If they die and you bring the, um, remains and your receipt back they will replace the plant.

Since my thumb is somewhere between green and black that policy has come in handy.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Lottery Tickets Are a Complete Waste of Money. Unless You Win.

Every Wednesday Husband takes son up to the local grocery store and buys $5 worth of lottery tickets. Once the numbers are in hand they go over to the bakery and get a free cookie for Son. Each leaves the store feeling like they hit the jackpot.

I think lottery tickets are a waste of money. The chances of winning are so infinitesimally small, the money could be much better spent, or saved, or invested, yada yada yada.

Husband doesn’t see it that way.

After dinner Husband sits at his computer and does research on what numbers have hit recently and decides what numbers he wants to play. Whether the jackpot is $3 million or $30 million makes no difference. He and Son leave the house eager to make each one’s dream come true.

Each night they come home happy and excited for what’s possible. Son gets immediate gratification, as he’s usually eaten the cookie by the time he gets home. Husband talks about what we’d do with the money, how big of a jackpot has to be won before I’ll “let” him quit his job. I admit the fantasy is a nice one, as we both picture us living in our mountaintop home in Asheville, doing generous things for our friends and family and enjoying all the things money can bring.

We talk about going to Tallahassee to pick up the money, how he’ll take a short leave from his job before going back until they find a replacement. We talk about finding a hotel that will takes dogs so we don’t have to leave ours at home.

Sigh. It really is a nice fantasy.

Husband never watches the numbers being drawn. He likes to wait until the next day to check them before he goes to work. So every Wednesday night before he goes to sleep Husband tells me he hopes he’ll be quitting his job the next day and that we’ll be on our way to Tallahassee…

So, I don’t say anything about the $5 a week, or $260 a year.

A man needs his dreams.

Deal of the Day May 29, 2008

It’s Disney Deal time!

Disney Shopping makes all your dreams come true with 20% off purchases. Apply coupon code BONUS20 when checking out. Other outstanding savings include up to 50% off luggage, and swim merchandise. Shipping is just $5 on orders of $50 or more when coupon code SHIPFOR5 is used. Some restrictions apply, see site for details. Expires 05/29/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Security Alert: Lock Bumping

The local news did a story on luck bumping, and I found it so alarming I thought I’d find out more and pass it along…

Chances are, your home’s front door is vulnerable to a crime that can be accomplished by a novice: lock-bumping.

With a specially cut “bump key” and the well-timed whack of a hammer, someone can surreptitiously enter your home and leave no obvious sign of a break-in.

Check out this video where a guy tells you how to make and use a bump key.  Videos like this are a dime a dozen on the internet, and so are ready-to-use bump keys.  The bad news about  the internet rears it’s ugly head…

The bump key, used legitimately by locksmiths for decades, is designed to momentarily force upward the internal pins that secure the lock, freeing the lock to turn just as if the correct key were used. For as little as $3, a bump key can now be ordered online from numerous Web sites offering what is really nothing more than a burglary tool.

The growing online lock-bumping phenomenon has made such an impact that some top lock manufacturers have dedicated sections of their Web sites to the topic. They tout their most sophisticated (and often more expensive, of course) locks as “bump-resistant.”

“A motivated individual with some time and very little skill can learn to ‘bump’ open most conventional locks with relative ease,” one lock manufacturer’s Web site warns.

Using the bump key requires a little finesse, and burglars often don’t want to take the time to do that.  Ergo it is still far more common, police say, for break-ins to occur through a rear sliding-glass door.

Here’s what crime prevention experts recommend for your front door:

• Deadbolts that extend at least an inch when locked.

• A lock with multi-layered locking mechanisms, such as a sidebar that prevents the plug from rotating.

• A burglar alarm.

• A second lock, to make it more time-consuming to bump.

• A slide lock, used while you’re home, to back up your main lock.

Consider consulting a reputable locksmith on whether your existing lock is secure, as it could be retrofitted or upgraded to a brand that has proven effective against lock-bumping.

Deal of the Day May 28, 2008

Here’s a freebie for you!

Register with Office Depot to receive updates on sales and happenings, and they’ll send you an email coupon good for a free DVD+R Media 10-Pack. They’re great for all audio, video, and data storage, and have a retail value of $9.99. Available while supplies last.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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I Am About to Become a Crackberry!

I took a job, and we all know I don’t wanna.

But tonight I went to get my new Blackberry. A Blackberry Pearl. In a very pretty red.

My new boss paid for it. And to increase my minutes. And for the internet/e-mail service.

So, working won’t suck completely.

Now if only I could figure out how to work the darn thing…

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