Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Cheese Effect

Okay, so I know this is gonna sound weird, but my eyes sweat when I eat cheese.  It has done it for a while, mostly with cheddar cheese  While I was staying at my brother's place, I mentioned it to him - as I was chowing down on some cheese.  He looked at me like I had six heads.  Well, I had some cheese today and it happened.  So I used good old Google to search for it.  Guess what?  I'm not alone.  There's even a term for it:  The Cheese Effect.  In some people, one of the ingredients in cheese produces an adrenaline response and causes their eyes to sweat.  How freaky is that??

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Footloose vs. Firestarter

I was watching The X Factor with my brother and his family, and one of the groups sang a medley of songs including Footloose.  Like any 80's child, this song brings back fond memories.  In fact, it instantly brought to mind one thing: Horror Movies.  What do Footloose and Horror flicks have in common?  Hang with me, and you'll find out.

I absolutely love horror flicks.  One of my favorite things about Netflix, is the abundance of really cheesy horror flicks.  I like to be scared and stressed out.  I love to yell at the screen urging the stupid characters to not split up, to turn on a light, to not investigate the noise.... I just love it all.  Well, not all of it.  When I was younger, I could handle the gory movies.  Now.... not so much.  I've become old and easily disgusted.  But other than that, give me a good, scare the pants off ya movie any day of the week.

I know that I get this love of movies from my mother.  She is the horror queen.  She gobbled up Stephen King books and movies.  They were a staple in our home... and as far as I'm concerned, a total parenting WIN!

I recall one particular movie that we saw at the Drive-in:  Stephen King's Firestarter starring the oh so young Drew Barrymore.  I remember mom and dad piling me and my brother into the back of the truck (it was okay to do that in the 80's).  We went to the drive in, got some popcorn, and sat in the back of the truck to watch the flick.  It was a great time and one of my fondest childhood memories.  Every time I hear the song Footloose, it reminds me of this adventure.

You see, this particular drive-in had two screens.  Go ahead and guess what was playing on the other screen... you got it, Footloose.  I know that it is strange that I remember this so clearly.  However, the reason I do is because we were not allowed to see Footloose.  All the music plus the dancing... it was a big no no.  I remember my brother and I sneaking off to take a peek at the screen.  We just had to see what was so evil about it... lol. 

The irony does not escape me that it was perfectly okay for my nine year old eyes to see Firestarter but not Footloose.  But my parents were protecting me from the evils of the world.  I mean, let's face it... I was never going to encounter a girl that set things on fire with her mind.  But... a boy wanting to dance was a real danger. 

So thanks mum and dad for keeping me safe from those crazy boys and instilling in me a love for a good old fashion horror flick.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Extras Spotlight: Pain

I can't help but wonder what God was thinking when he came up with this whole pain thing.  Yeah, I get that it's our body's way of telling us, "Hey, there's something wrong" or "Okay, time to stop playing Wii boxing."  But it seems to me that He could have designed it a little different.  I for one, wouldn't mind a sort of snooze button for pain.  You, know... tug on your right ear twice, twirl around like a ballerina, and then say the Lord's prayer... something like that to just take a little break.

I can hear you already... "Um, aren't pain killers a pain snooze?"  I suppose to some extent.  But anyone with chronic and/or severe pain can tell ya that there's no real snooze there.  I know my pain killers don't so much take the pain away as make me not care that I'm in pain.  And even when the pain subsides some, there's still that feeling.... kind of like you've been hit by a truck, then mauled by a dog, then dragged behind a horse by a rope feeling.  I want a full on, pain snooze button.  

It's hard not to think about pain and its purpose when it's been a constant companion for so many years.  And although I understand the why of pain, it doesn't make me like it any more.

So, for now I will continue to dream about my pain snooze button, until that day when I am whole again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Character Development: Me

I can be kind of a quirky person.  Those that love me, accept my idiosyncrasies.  Those that don't...well, let's face it, they're in the minority so it doesn't really matter.  Wonder what I mean?  Well let me share a few things with you.

I don't like meat in my spaghetti sauce.  But meatballs are okay.  I do however, like meat in the sauce of lasagna.  Now, what exactly is the difference?  I have no idea.  Pasta with meat.  Oh, and I don't care for tomatoes, so I like light sauce on my spaghetti... light sauce on pizza... lasagna- sauce is not an issue.  And don't get me started on mushrooms.  Don't mind the taste, the texture, not so much.  And while we're on the topic of textures... please stop putting things in Jello.  No fruit, or marshmallows, or any other non-smooth item.  Jello is not supposed to have chunks.  Of course this only applies when I can actually bring myself to eat Jello... do you know what that stuff is made from???  It's not pretty.

I also need the car windshield as clean as possible.  You can imagine what a feat this is in Maine, in the winter.... all that salt and dirt from the roads.  And don't forget about the bugs in the summer.  You wouldn't believe the amount of windshield washer fluid I go through each winter.  It drives me so nuts that even when I'm a passenger in a vehicle, I can only ride so long before I have to ask whoever is driving to clean the windshield.  Ask Jimmy, he knows it all too well.

Another thing....I mess up my words.  And not just the occasional slip up.  I'm talking, full on it's almost my own language, mess up.  I call them oral typos.  People that know me, and know me well, understand this completely.  One of my good friends from college posted as her facebook status one day... "I just want to thank Stephanie Mcilwain for needing me to translate for her during college... that ability has come in very handy with a 3 year old."  And I could not deny it at all.

One of my more infamous slip ups occurred while we were moving my sister into an apartment.  We were talking about where to put the computer station.  So everyone was debating back and forth, and I pointed to a corner and they moved the desk there.  After looking at it, I turned to them all and said.... "Pifba".  What I meant to say was "It fits there perfectly."  Now, I don't know about you, but how Pifba came out of my mouth instead of that sentence is a mystery to this day.  They all just looked at me.  Then Jimmy turned to Crystal and said... did she just say Pifba?  And then the hysterical laughter began. We now use the word to fill in the blanks for a lot of things.

So, that's just a little but about me... hope you have enjoyed the sneak peek into my mind.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Memorable Quotes: Everything Happens for a Reason

The year was 2006.  It had been a doozy of a year for the cast in my life.  So, Jimmy, Kimberly, and I decided what we needed was a vacation.  Just a little time away to just relax and escape all the drama happening in Maine.  So, we headed off to one of our favorite vacation spots, Orlando, FL.  This was quite an impromptu trip, and was the week of July 4th, so our timeshare options were a bit limited.  So we chose the Celebrity Resort.  It was just a rock throw from the entrance to Disney.  There weren't a ton of amenities, but it had a pool and beds and looked nice enough, so we booked it. 

We checked in on June 30, and spent the rest of the day getting settled and enjoying the pool.  When we got back to the condo that night, Jimmy was packing some serious cash so he decided to lock it in the room safe.  We all crawled into bed to get a good night's sleep... okay, we didn't quite do that, but we did sleep a little!  We awoke the next morning, bright and early so we could go to Universal Studios for the day.  When we were ready to leave, Jimmy went to the safe to get his money.  He punched in the little code... we waited... and it didn't open.  So he tried again... and again... and again.  Kimberly tried, I tried, and the safe would not open.  So I called the office and they said they would send over a maintenance man.

Johnny, the maintenance guy, showed up at our door.  We told him what our problem was, told him what the code was, and he went and tried it too.  After he tried, the safe totally locked us out... too many failed attempts.  I figured, no problem, maintenance guy will have some sort of override thing to get him in, then we would be on our way.  Funny thing, maintenance guy didn't have a clue.

So maintenance guy called the office, who then called the manager.  You see, Celebrity Resorts has two locations in the Orlando area.  So there was no manager at this one.  We then had to wait for the manager to drive over to our location.  Once he arrived, we once again had to explain what happened and he went over to the safe and tried.  It didn't open.  And I thought, well, at least he'll know what to do.  I mean, we can't be the first people that have ever had a safe issue in their whole resort history.  Funny thing, manager guy didn't have a clue. 

Now, if I was the manager, and I got a call that a safe wouldn't open, when I went to the room, I would have brought with me whatever I needed to fix the safe.  Evidently, that's just me.  Since manager guy didn't know what to do, he said he had to drive back to the other location, get the safe opening instructions, and then come back over to fix the safe.  At this point, it was around noontime.  We had so far wasted around 4 hours on this safe and all of Jimmy and Kimberly's money was in it.  Manager guy said it would take him around an hour to get there and back because of traffic.  "Okay, we'll go eat some lunch" I said.  His reply to us, "All I can say is everything happens for a reason.  You never know why things happen, but there is a reason."  I looked at the guy like he had six heads.  But, we had no other options, so off he went to the office, maintenance guy headed off, and we went to Pizza Hut.  For whatever reason, Pizza Hut seems to be the place we go when we're having a rough day.

While we were at Pizza Hut, we recounted the morning's events.  We laughed about the maintenance guy not having a clue.  Then we laughed about manager guy having less of a clue.  And then we talked about the words of wisdom manager guy gave us.... Everything Happens for a Reason.  Now, you should know this about me... I do not believe that everything happens for a reason.  I believe that things happen, and sometimes good things come from it.  I believe that Everything happens and then God finds a purpose.  But I do not believe that everything happens for a reason.  I also think that anyone that says that probably doesn't really believe it to be true.  People say it to try and make people feel better.  "Ahh, I'm sorry you lost your home to a tornado, but you know, everything happens for a reason."  I just don't buy it.  And if this is your philosophy, just try looking into the eyes of some child that has been abused and say "I'm sorry you were abused... but everything happens for a reason."  No... nope... I don't buy it.  Okay, rant over... for now.

We were at lunch for about an hour when we decided we should head back to the condo.  After all, we didn't want to miss manager guy's visit.  So, we packed it up and headed back.  We arrived back at the room around 1:15 p.m.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  I called the front office, they called the main office... manager guy was nowhere to be found.  Then around 3:30 pm, manager guy showed back up with maintenance guy.  We were in disbelief at this point.  7 hours and our safe still wasn't open.  Well, manager guy finally had the directions to open the safe.

He had to plug the phone into the safe, and then go through a series of steps to make the safe pop open.  You're not going to believe me, but the whole process took about 2 minutes.  2 minutes to follow the prompts and open the safe.  2 minutes to get the money out so we could do something.  It took 2 minutes.  We had waited 7 hours, for this 2 minute procedure. 

So once the safe was open, and manager guy had said to us several times, "Everything happens for a reason", it was time for him to leave.  I followed him out and asked if they would refund the $7.00 for the safe deposit since we had absolutely no intention of using the safe again.  7 bucks... he said no.  He then came back in to show us how wonderfully the safe worked.  Only to prove to us, again, that the safe was very good at keeping things too safe.  But he would not refund my $7.00.

We laugh about the story to this day.  Really, what else can you do in a situation like that?  I never got my 7 bucks.  We never got more than... everything happens for a reason.  And even though it wasted a day, it gives us a memory to cherish forever.... hmmm... maybe that was the reason ;).

And just in case you're interested... we captured it all on video....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Freaky Frank Update

Well folks.... I can't even believe it.  All these years later, my friend Vinod has found Freaky Frank:  Frank Romano.

After reading through that, and his list of accomplishments.... I feel like a real dork now... LOL.

Location Spotlight: Merrill Auditorium

Did you know that you can often get tickets to sold out shows on the day of the performance?  Evidently, the venue sets aside some tickets for family members, friends, etc. that are connected to the performers.  The day of the show, the tickets not being used are released for the public to buy.  My sister discovered this little gem of concert trivia.  Because of that, we've often, at the last moment, said "Hey, let's go see...." whoever happens to be playing that night.  One of these last minute concerts was Rob Thomas.

Sister and I love Matchbox 20.  So when she found out Rob Thomas was going to be at Merrill Auditorium, she called me up at work and said, "Hey, want to go see Rob Thomas tonight?"  I said yes, and then asked around to see if anyone else wanted to go.  We ended up with Sister, her husband, Jimmy, and my boss at the time, Ken.  Because of the spontaneity of this trek, I didn't have time to head home, so Jimmy met me at the office, and we drove in to Portland.  My boss had enough time to head home before meeting us at the concert.

So Jimmy and I met up with Sister and Shaun and went to find our seats.  As it was getting closer to time for the concert to start, Sister and I decided to go to the lobby, do the potty thing, and then just wait for Ken to get there, since we had his ticket.  As we were standing there, I noticed a shifty looking guy standing off behind my sister.  He appeared to be inching closer, so I pulled her closer to me and had her pull her purse around to the front of her body.  And then I just kept an eye on this guy.

While we were standing there, someone with a seeing eye dog came in to the lobby.  This particular dog was being trained.  But, as with most dogs, people always want to pet the dog, but the trainer would say no because she was trying to train him to ignore the things around him.

Eventually the freaky guy made his way all the way to us.  He looked like he might have a hangover or cold... his eyes were kinda puffy and he was sniffling a little bit. Finally the guy says to us, "What's an assist dog?"  Sister and I hadn't yet noticed the dog so we were kinda clueless, and just kinda mumbled and then turned a little away from him.  "An assist dog.  That woman has one and she wouldn't let me pet it" freaky guy says.  We looked over, saw the dog and once we understood sister explained what it was and why he couldn't pet it.

Realizing that we were a little freaked out by this guy, he said "Oh, I'm sorry.  I probably look a little sketchy and freaky to you.  We went out before the concert and I had some shrimp.  Evidently I'm allergic to shellfish.  I could barely open my eyes an hour ago.  They swelled all up and I look pretty rough now."

Feeling a little relieved, I said, "Ahh, that makes sense... you do look a little freaky dude."  At that point he held out his hand and said "I'm Frank, nice to meet ya."  Sister and I introduced ourselves.  Told him we were just waiting for a friend because we had his ticket.  We chit chatted for a few minutes before he said he had to go.  It was not until this point that sister and I noticed that people were pointing and staring.  As freaky Franky walked away, sister turned to me and said "Who were we just talking to?"  Neither of us had a clue.  So as soon as Ken got there, we relayed our Freaky Frank story to him.  Then we all went to our seats, where we then told our story to Shaun and Jimmy.

The four of us tried to figure out who it could be.  Obviously, the people in the lobby thought he was a big deal.  So as the opening act started, we watched very closely to every stagehand, musician... really anyone that looked even remotely like Freaky Frank.  The guys kept pointing people out to us.  Nope, not Freaky Frank.  We had kinda given up our search by the time Rob Thomas was set to come onstage.  We were ready to focus on Rob's smooth voice.

Suddenly, all the lights went out and a single guitar started to play.  Then, one single spotlight came on shining its light right onto center stage.  And standing there, playing this amazing guitar riff, stood the lead guitarist for Rob Thomas..... Freaky Frank.

Obviously Sister and I are not hardcore Rob Thomas fans.  It seemed that we were the only people in the lobby that had no idea who we were talking to that night.  We do wish we had known... maybe we could have finagled a backstage pass.  But nope... instead we are the two women that thought Freaky Frank was trying to snatch women's purses. We may have squandered our opportunity, but we sure have a great story to tell now.

Our adventure for that night was not over.... but we'll save that story for another time....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Location Spotlight: The Post Office

Writing about "Jake: The Preop Screening Nurse" got me to thinking about my conversations with other people.  I've decided I should share a story about a conversation between me and the postal worker, Joe.  

When I was a working girl, I was a daily visitor at the Post Office.  I was all about helping the economy one stamp at a time.  When you visit one place, daily, for about 10 years, you kinda get to know the people there.  They become the type of people that you miss when they're away, but you wouldn't invite them to the Christmas party. 

Well one day, I got that little yellow slip in my mailbox that says... Hey, you've got a package!  So I got in line and waited patiently for the line to move.  When it was finally my turn I moved to the part of the counter Joe was working at that day.  We exchanged our normal pleasantries and then he went to get my package.  Now, before I go any further, I need to tell you what was in that package.  Bras.  Pretty ones.  Lane Bryant was having a buy one get one free sale online.  So I bought one, and got one free.  And it had free shipping.  And I had a coupon.  So I was pretty excited about this package.  Now, back to Joe... our conversation went a little like this:

Joe:  Ooh, looks like someone has been shopping.
Me:  Yup, I sure have.
Joe:  Lane Bryant, nice stuff.
Me:  Yup, I like their selection.
Joe:  Whadchya get?

Now, I'm pretty quick on my feet when it comes to being witty, but I must admit that I was not prepared for this question.  As I felt my face start to blush, I decided I had one of two options:  Tell the truth or talk my way outta this.  So here's how the rest of my conversation went:

Me:  Shhhh... it's a secret.
Joe:  Oohh...a secret.... Why?  Is it something for your husband?
Me:  Laughter... I'd be pretty worried about my husband if I bought something from Lane Bryant for him.
Joe:  I don't know... maybe you bought him a manpurse.
Me:  I'd be even more worried if he wanted a manpurse.  He doesn't know I was shopping yet.
Joe:  Laughs, ahhh, I see... so it's a secret until he gets the credit card bill.
Me:  Exactly.  Have a good day Joe.

And off I went with my package in hand.  I'm pretty proud of how I skirted that question.  But I was worried the next few times I went to the Post Office.  I kept waiting for Joe to say... "Hey, you never did tell me what was in your package."  Although, I had decided I would just say, "I'm wearing it now" and be on my way again.

I think there is a life lesson here though.  Under no circumstances should you ask someone what is in their package.... especially if you work at the post office.

Until next time...

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Cast: An Extra Spotlight - JP

I don't know why, but I always seem to think of what to write late at night.  Maybe it's because the world is silent and I can collect my thoughts.  This time, a story came to mind while I was dealing with JP.  I've mentioned a few times about my medical issues, and one thing that I deal with daily is a JP Drain.  It looks like a grenade with a tube the goes into my lower abdomen.  It works with suction... I squeeze the bulb, close the top, and the suction pulls the goop out of my abdomen.

These drains are very common after surgery.  It helps pull fluid away from the area so it can heal better.  They are generally left in from a few days to a couple of weeks depending on the circumstances.  I have had mine for 13 months... yes, you read that right... months.  I try not to complain about JP (that's what I call him... and yes its a he).  He's kind of a part of me now.  It is gonna be weird the day they take him out.

I've had to have this appendage so long because my surgeon (the FABULOUS Dr. Rutstein) can't get to my problem and fix it because my abdomen is a wreck.  So JP keeps me from developing an abscess and getting an infection.  So JP is a good guy to have around.  However, when there is a foreign object in a body for so long, particularly one developed to only be there for a few weeks, certain issues arise.  One of those reared its ugly head today, and that's what prompted this blog.  JP clogged.... and when he does, it hurts.

Well, a few months ago, JP was being a real pain in the abdomen.  He was clogging way more than usual, he smelled...oh boy did he smell, and the tube and bulb needed a replacement.  The tube, which is generally pliable was hard as a rock.  So JP and I went in to Dr. Rutstein's office to talk to her about it.  Rather than just replace the external tube and bulb, we decided it was time to change the entire unit.  This is a relatively easy procedure.  It literally takes longer to drape a patient for the "surgery" than the surgery itself.  But, because it is considered a surgery, a patient has to go through a series of pre-op things to be cleared fit to cut into. 

Once the procedure is scheduled, a nurse calls to go through a bunch of health questions.  And this is where my story really begins.... yes, I know it took a lot to get here, but it's my blog, so there... lol.  Jake was the nurse that called.  I remember his name because this conversation is one I'll never forget. It went a little something like this...

Jake:  Hi Stephanie, I'm Jake and I just need to go through some of these pre-op questions with you, is that okay?
Me:  No problem.
Jake:  Okay, great, let's get started.  Do you smoke?
Me: No.
Jake:  Do you drink?
Me:  No.
Jake:  Do you do any drugs?
Me:  No.
Jake:  Do you swear?
Me: (wondering what this had to do with my surgery) giggle... No.
Jake:  Geez, do you do anything bad?
Me:  No, I'm a good girl... you can ask my mom.  Although I do have an addiction to Farmville I should probably disclose.
Jake:  Laughter
Me:  Does that count?
Jake:  More laughter...We see that all the time.  It shouldn't be a problem.  Okay, next question.  I see you've had several surgeries here, so this is probably nothing new, but is there anything we should know about them?
Me:  I have a colostomy.  His name is Mr. Stoma.
Jake:  Laughter, okay.  And you have a drain now that we're replacing correct?
Me:  Yes, his name is JP.
Jake: Laughter... one more character and we could have a sitcom.  What medications are you currently taking?
Me:  blah, blah, blah, and citalopram.
Jake:  And the citalopram is for depression?
Me:  Yes... because of Mr. Stoma and Mr. JP.
Jake:  Laughs.... I think we just found our third character.

Jake made my day.  I even laughed quietly to myself while typing that out to share with you.  I had hoped he would be working the day I had my surgery, cuz he was a good time.  Alas he wasn't, but he sure gave me a good story.  So, welcome to my sitcom folks.... STOMA - Some Thing On My Abdomen... it's filmed in front of a live studio audience.  We've been renewed for this season... but I secretly hope we get cancelled so I can start a new show called... Stephanie's Living Life.

Until next time...


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Cast: Supporting Roles Edition

There are two schools of thought when it comes to friends.  Friends are either the family you get to choose or are an apology from God for our families.  Since it's pretty obvious I need no apologies for my family, I like to think of friends as the family I choose.  And I think I've done a pretty good job of it so far.

I've always been pretty choosey with my friends.  I would much rather have quality over quantity when it comes to friends.  Luckily, I've been able to find both over my life's journey.  But I would just like to take a few minutes to introduce you to some of the major players in my life right now.

Libby, Kimberly, and Jimmy
I've known Kimberly and Jimmy for about ten years.  It has been a privilege watching them grown into the people they are today.  Kimberly was just a peanut when I first met her.  When I was directing the choir, I used to have everyone hold three ring binders.  Poor Kimberly, I swear that binder was bigger than she was.  But she held it like a trooper.  Fast forward ten years, and you now find Kimberly a senior in high school trying to save the world one puppy at a time. 

When I met Jimmy, he was 13 and a short fella. In choir, he stood next to my husband singing the tenor part.  Well, there was a good foot in height difference, so I made Jimmy stand on a box.  Yes, I subjected a 13 year old boy to public ridicule, but hey, at least the choir looked good.  It was Jimmy's love for music that really solidified our friendship.  And now, I am happy to say I count him as one of my dearest friends.  We always have a good time together... but you'll get more of that later.

I've only known Libby for a few years now, and yet she treats me as though we've known one another forever.  My favorite thing is when she tells Kimberly that I'm her favorite.  We've had some fun on our journeys to and from doctors appointments.  My favorite has to be the day I lectured her about being a positive influence.  We picked Kimberly up from school and went to the Happy Dragon for some yummy Chinese food.  While we were eating, she turned to Kimberly and said, "Stephanie lectured me today".  Without hearing any more, Kim knew exactly what my lecture was about.  Got to love that... at least I'm consistent!

And now for my oldest childhood friend, Janel.

Janel and Steph
I have no idea when that pic was taken... and this is the first time I've realized my eyes were closed! But I love it, so it stays!  The picture I wanted to use was the one where Janel put straws up her nose.  I couldn't find that one, so I used this one... but when I find it Nelly, it's soooo going on my blog :).  Janel is my Soul Sister.  Our hearts and souls speak to one another and are connected in a way that could only be done by God.  I've known her since I was 9.  Her dad was the pastor at the church we went to when we moved to Maine.  We weren't really good friends until we were both much older, but since then, nothing can come between us.  Even though we live miles apart and hardly see each other, when we do get to, it's like no time has passed.  I will forever cherish this friendship.

Naturally, these are not the only people that I would put as my supporting cast.  There have been so many over the years.  But this just gives you a little insight as to the people you might hear about as I write. 

Until next time...

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Cast: Family Edition

Now that you've met Husband, I'll introduce you to the rest of my family.  Let's start with Mum and Dad.. and yeah, I know, they're super cute.

John and Debbie
Mum and dad had many professions when I was a kid. Between the two of them, they conquered truck driving, factory work, computer work, delivering papers, and I'm sure a whole lot of stuff that I don't even remember.  However, when I was a senior in High School they added one final career to their resumes.  They became Pastors.  This calling wasn't too far from stuff they had going on the side.  They were quite popular as song evangelists and preachers.  In fact, one church liked them so much, they asked them to be their full time Pastors.  

Let me tell you the kind of parents my Mum and Dad are.  The year the church called them just happened to be my Senior Year in High School.  Bethel was about an hour and a half away from where Skowhegan.  My parents discussed it, and decided it wasn't fair to move since I only had one year left.  So for that whole school year, my parents commuted to the church, all so I could graduate with my friends.  So every Friday night, we would pack up and head to Bethel, stay the weekend and travel back home Sunday night so I could be at school Monday morning.  I know it was inconvenient for them, but they never once complained.  They probably never knew how much that meat to me.

Mum and Dad are now retired and living in Florida.  They live just a few short minutes from my grandparent's winter home.  One winter they decided they were done with Maine winters.  The looked for a home in FL, and a few short months later, they moved.  I miss them, but I think it was the right move.

Next I would like to introduce you to my older brother, Joe, and his wonderful wife, Donna.
Joe and Donna
Joe was your typical older brother.  He would chase and torture me, but then be as sweet as candy the next minute.  He probably doesn't remember this, but I remember him telling me I was pretty one day with those "blue eyes and blonde hair".... it stuck with me all these years.  But then again, so did him chasing me around the house, with me trying to get away from him by fleeing into mom and dad's room.  My brother and I are much closer these days.  It's funny how adulthood does that to folks.

And his wife is phenomenal!  I have to admit, I didn't know her all that well until a little over a year ago.  But since this whole illness thing has sidelined me, I have gotten to know her very well.  In fact, sometimes I have to remind her that she's married to my brother, so she can stop sharing... lol.  But if I had a choice to go back in time and avoid all this but not get to know her, I would go through all this again, she means that much to me!

Next up is my little sister, Crystal, and her husband, Shaun.

Crystal and Shaun

Crystal, a.k.a Sister, is 9 years younger than me.  When we were kids, she was a biter (yes, she's outgrown it), and spoiled rotten!!  We've had some good times together.  In fact, I'll do another blog about Sister, just to share some of those stories.  We are as close as sisters can be.  Her family lives with mum and dad, but we make sure to keep in touch via Skype.  In fact, it is not uncommon for us to Skype 4-6 hours at a time.  We will start around mid morning, have lunch together, we take potty breaks and then meet back at our computers.... yeah, it's marathon Skyping for sure.  

Shaun is Crystal's husband.  If my memory serves me right, my mom introduced them.  She found out Shaun was single, and dragged my sis over to him.  And now, they're married with the cutest little girl, Liliana.  Prepare yourself, she is super cute....
Isn't she just the cutest?!  One day, my sister said that Lili was playing with her toy computer and was pretending to Skype with me.  She brought the computer over to Sister to say hello.  And these days, every time it's time to say goodbye, she doesn't want to say bye.... she wants to say Hi.  And then she wants to sing every song she knows for me.  Yes, we can Skype for 6 hours, and she doesn't want anything to do with me.  Time to say goodbye?  All of a sudden, she can't bear to see me go.

A few days ago, we told her that I would be coming to visit soon.  Sister asked her if she was excited.  Her reply, "I'm excited to see Auntie on the street. Come live with us Auntie."  Yeah, if I lived closer, she would be totally spoiled... well, more than she already

So that's the family.  You'll get to know them a little better the longer you read.  Sometimes I swear my family could be a sitcom.  So stay tuned!

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Cast

I thought I would take a few posts to introduce you to the cast in this movie I call my life.  I'll post some pics and videos so you can get a true sense of why the people in my life are the best out there :).

Let's start with my husband.  His name is Andrew.  It actually took me a while to find a picture of the two of us.  He's a bit camera shy.  As you can see, he's just a little taller than me, but I kinda like that.... makes it easier to get things off the top shelf.  Husband doesn't accompany me on too many fiascoes.  He's much more of a homebody.... not to be confused with a homeboy.  But he always finds sufficient time to roll his eyes at me and my escapades.  

 Andrew and I met back in the early years of the internet.  There was no Facebook or Twitter... no eHarmony or sites like that.  We met in a chat room on mIRC (who remembers that?!).  We enjoyed chatting, so then we moved to talking on the phone.  Then we decided it was time to meet.  I was in college in MA and he was working in FL at the time.

I remember very clearly sitting across from my mom at a Chinese restaurant trying to work up the gumption to tell her about Andrew.   I guess you would say we were slightly ahead of the internet dating curve.  I told my mom, and she reacted pretty much as I thought she would.  She was concerned for my safety and well being so she and my dad contacted Andrew's parents to confirm that he was exactly who he claimed to be.  Everything looked on the up and up so off I went to meet this strange man.

We had a nice time over that week.  But at the end of it, I had decided that I didn't think I was interested.  So I left thinking I had gained a new friend.  When I got back home from that trip, there was a dozen roses waiting for me.  So after careful consideration, I decided that a man that sends roses is perhaps worth giving a shot.  Over the next few months, we continued to chat and talk.  He came to Maine for a visit.  I visited him a few times.  

When my birthday rolled around in 1997, Andrew sent me a beautiful pair of emerald earrings.  I showed them to my dad, and he made the comment that "A man doesn't give that kind of gift unless he's serious.  So if you're not serious about him, you need to do something about that now." I spent the next few weeks at camp thinking about what my dad had said.  And it freaked me out.  Completely.  So, I broke up with Andrew.  He said he would be waiting when I changed my mind.

I didn't think I was going to change my mind.  But one simple thing happened that made me realize that Andrew was indeed "The One".  I had met a nice guy named Steve over that summer.  We went out a few times, and he came and met the family.  He was sweet, and caring and all those good qualities.  But there was just one thing that I couldn't get over.  The man couldn't carry a tune to save his life.

Anyone that knows me is well aware that I love music.  I had a checklist for the man I would marry.  On that list was the ability to sing.  And I'm not talking, yeah, he can carry a tune, kind of singing.  I was specific... he had to be GOOD... real good.  Steve had come to church with me one Sunday.  The music director had us stand and open our hymnals to sing How Great Thou Art.  The pianist and organist started playing away, and then came time for us all to begin to sing.  The sound that came from Steve was, shall we say, special.  I know we are to make a joyful noise and all that jazz.  But I must be honest... it was not pretty.  Poor Steve, he was singing with all his might, and all I could think about was his voice.  I half expected the Lord to send a lightening bolt down and smite me right then and there.  But it was in that moment, that I knew Andrew was keeper.  

In case you're wondering, I let Steve down easy.  He called me after Andrew and I got engaged to ask me out to dinner.  I told him dinner would be lovely, but I needed to let him know that I was now engaged.  All he said was that it hurt his heart.  We never did do dinner, and I never heard from him again.  I've often wondered what happened to Steve.  But, he just wasn't the one.

With Andrew and I, we came to that point in our relationship that one of us had to move.  I said I wasn't going to, so he moved to Maine.  We got married October 6, 2001... so next week we will be celebrating 10 years of marriage.  As with all things, it's had its ups and downs.  But that's life.  We wouldn't enjoy celebrating the highs so much, if we had never experienced the lows.

So, that's the first member of my cast.... Andrew... a southern boy stuck in snowy Maine.

Until next time....

And thus it begins...

Throughout my 30 some odd years of life, I've often thought about starting a blog.  Well, maybe not all those years.  I did spend a few of them in diapers... then I had to learn to walk and talk and such.  And then there's the whole - the internet didn't even exist - for a large portion of my life.  But I think you hear what I'm saying.  I never really had the time or energy to really devote to one.

But then one day my sister mentioned starting a blog.  And I thought to myself... self, you should start one.  It took me a while to actually put that plan into motion, mostly because I wanted a really good name for my blog.  My sister and I talked about a few options.  My suggestion?...  "I'm That Awesome" .... because I am.

I sent my suggestion to my friend Hal.  He works for a newspaper and I thought, he'll tell me if that is catchy enough.  It didn't take long before I received a reply from him.... "How about The Humble Supremo"?  I immediately loved it.  As with most things, I ran it by my sister, who also liked it.  So here I am now, writing my first post on The Humble Supremo.

I don't have any real plans for this blog.  It will most likely be a place for me to put the rants and raves that go on in my head.  Sometimes it will be stories from my past.... and ofttimes stories from my present.  I may talk about a movie, the weather, a TV show... who knows what I'll come up with each day.  
My hope is that you will find my journey amusing enough to hang on for this ride.  

Oh, and one more thing... I use "..." quite a bit.  It's my thing... embrace it, love the dot dot dot... for it is my friend :).

Until next time....