Friday, July 30, 2010

100 Moments - Dream

#65 - Dream

With all the heat of the summer I find myself dreaming....

of a white Christmas!

I took this picture years ago in my parent's backyard. The juniper trees were less than 5 ft tall when we moved into the house in 1977. The remaining trees now tower some 20 ft or more in the air. I love the way the falling snow showed up in this picture.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why is Care Giving so Hard?

Ask any family care giver and they will tell you that it is the toughest job they ever had. Talk to any care giver and you may find them to be tired, stressed out, and not asking for help. The life of a care giver is often lonely and hard. They do the job because they love their ill or elderly family member.

What is it that makes the job of family care giver so hard?

• It is a 24/7 job that can go on for years.

• Often care givers don’t think of or take care of themselves because they are so caught up in their loved one’s well being.

• Care givers sometimes have trouble asking for help from their friends and family. They don’t want to burden others.

• Not only are they responsible for the physical care of their loved one, but they also have to help them deal with the emotional aspect of their illness.

• They have to become “experts” in the health care aspects of the illness involved.

• They learn to navigate the “system” to get the benefits and care that is needed.

• Care givers have to deal with their own emotions about someone they love being sick or unable to take care of themselves.

These are just some of the aspects that make care giving a difficult job. If you’re a care giver I am sure you can add items to this list. There are similarities for all care givers, but each person’s experience is unique and that makes it challenging.

If you are not a care giver, but know someone who is you can find some hints on what you can do  in this previous post. Don’t be afraid to reach out; most people will welcome your kindness.

(this post is also being posted on my Colorado Springs Fresh Ink blog today)

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Boy, Tom

Have I told you that I adore Tom Hanks!?! Well, if not, let me tell you now….I ADORE TOM HANKS! The love affair started in the early 80s before he was Big (pun intended! I crack myself up!) In those years he starred with Peter Scolari in a short lived sitcom called Bosom Buddies. I saw him on the show and quickly realized the shaggy curly hair reminded me of my current high school crush and so it began. Over the years my enchantment has grown.

Some would say it’s an obsession but I do so love my Tom. I have seen all of his movies including He Knows You’re Alone, his first movie role which lasted about 7 minutes. I have named my kitty cat, Wilson after Tom’s best friend on the island in Castaway. And, when I bought my truck last year I had to give it a rough and tumble name. My sister came up with the winner. She had just bought a fancy hybrid so she named her fancy new toy Buzz Lightyear and christened my wheels Sheriff Woody or as I call him, The Sheriff.

As any adoring fan would I originally started collecting his movies on VHS.

Since technology is a fickle lover I soon had to begin re-collecting the movies on DVD. I have not yet been wooed to join the Blu-Ray hysteria.

And there is my favorite Tom memorabilia which hangs over my desk.

I saw this picture in a local antique/flea market store. It thought it was a little steep for my budget at the time and so I waited and I visited. Then for my birthday I received a gift certificate to the very same store and a check. I had just enough money and at my birthday dinner with my family proclaimed that I was going to bring home Tom the very next day.

My niece said, “I don’t think it’s there anymore Auntie Tammie.”

Sure enough the next day I rushed in and there in the place where Tom had hung was a big ol blank wall. I was devastated but vowed to get over it.

A few weeks later I stayed with my niece while my sister took a trip with her husband. On the Saturday before their return we were driving and passed the story where Tom had been. T said, “I wonder who bought the picture.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

Then she innocently said, “There was a guy there when momma and I were there. He really liked Tom. I bet he bought it.”

“Change the subject.” I was in no mood to wonder who had my Tom. She was just rubbing salt in my wound.

The next day when my sis returned T was very excited. She said, “Can I give it to her now?”

Lo and behold, my sweet, adorable sister had purchased the picture as a thank you for babysitting. I love my sister! And Tom has hung over my desk for the last 8 years.

Just recently I began following the Tom Hanks on Twitter and can I say that my little heart was twitterpated!?! (Okay, I know, but I never promised you I wouldn’t be corny at times.) He tweeted a lot during the filming of his current movie, Larry Crowne, which is due out in April 2011. It was very cool to get pics and updates from the set as the movie was being created. Technology really has come a long way. Back in the 80s I had to wait to hear information about Tom either on TV or in magazines; now it comes to me on my cell phone with just the click of a button.

Yes, my admiration runs deep and long. I imagine as a little old lady in the assisted living facility I will still be googly-eyed about Tom Hanks!

Friday, July 23, 2010

You've Got a Friend in Me

As kids didn’t we all know that our toys led secret lives when we weren’t around? Surely they must have secret staff meetings and reconnaissance missions to discover what new toys were coming for birthdays or Christmas. Toy Story came onto the scene in 1995 and confirmed that knowledge….well, if you believe an animated story created by adults. Since1995 Toy Story 2 and now Toy Story 3 continue to give life to the toys in Andy’s room.

I find that many of the TV shows, movies and cartoons of today seem to lack the true story telling aspect of yesteryear. That may just me being an old fogy, but I like my entertainment to have some redeeming qualities and a great story line. When these qualities come together in one work it is truly a great thing. With the Toy Story movies Pixar has melded these elements into something that children and adults can both enjoy.

Sheriff Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks, (come back on Monday to find out more about Tom Hanks!)  is the main man among the toys in Andy’s room. He holds the spot every toy covets. The problem is that fame has gone to Woody’s head and he is a little arrogant. When Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tim Allen, comes on the scene there’s bound to be some jockeying for position. Who’s going to be Andy’s favorite toy?

I recently re-watched 1 and 2 while hanging with my nephew. I was a little sad to see that in 1 Woody was a very selfish character who was mostly focused on retaining his spot in Andy’s love. Thankfully over the years and the sequels he became more of a leader, someone the other toys could truly look up to. Sometimes it takes a while for him to remember what’s important, but he always does.

I love that these movies are more than entertaining. Each one comes down to the same message; friends are there for each other. The other amazing thing about these movies is that they encourage children to use their imagination and dream.

Over the course of the movies Woody and Buzz become friends and comrades. They save each other and when Toy Story 3 comes along that friendship is once again tested. I won’t tell you how in case you haven’t seen the movie yet. I do recommend that you’ve seen it. However, if 1 and 2 are not part of your past viewing history you should rent those first and watch them.

You've got troubles, well I've got 'em too

There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you
We stick together and we see it through
You've got a friend in me

Written and recorded by Randy Newman for the first Toy Story movie in 1995.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Antique Market Fun

So as I wrote last week, it has been a tad bit warm here. That by the way is what you would call understatement. Being a cool weather girl myself I am tolerating the heat, but only barely. I love the sunshine. I just wish it wasn't quite so hot that I always feel like a sweating mess.

Anyway, since I am between employment gigs at the moment I have been looking for fun, inexpensive things to do. Friday I decided it was a good day to visit a local antique market. It has been ages since I have been there. It is fun to roam around the huge showroom that is divided into little stalls for each merchant to show off their kit and kaboodle. And, it was AIR CONDITIONED!

One of the very first things I saw was this:

It is a picnic table cloth that made me giggle since Mom made me a dress out of this same material the summer between 7th and 8th grade! I will have to see if I can find a pic of me in the dress to share with you.

Then this fancy thing caught my eye:

I was taking pictures on my cell phone so this one didn't come out great. It might be hard to see, but the antlers of this fella hold a phone made out of tree pieces! Doesn't it make you just want one for your living room!?!

Speaking of cell phones, I had to take this picture because it seemed kind of ironic to be taking a picture of old timey cameras on my cell phone camera!

Here's another blast from the past. We actually had one of these coolers back in the day.

Now you know when you get the deer phone you will need something to set it on. So may I suggest this?

Not sure who would buy an elephant table, but especially one where two elephants have broken trunks and the fake ones are being held on by tape.

The thing with antique shops is that you get to take a trip down memory lane. Some of you young readers may not have ever seen one of these contraptions...

Yes, it's a record player (pre CD musical entertainment!) and yes, those are monkeys. I don't know why, they are just hanging out in this tree....

This is one of the fuzzier pictures, but I couldn't resist snapping this one. Another must have for the fashionable living room! Seriously, don't you want a wolf with a bird in it's mouth in your house!?!

And, here's a suggestion for the next time you need to really make a fashion statement.

 This place does have some really cool stuff and I have purchased things at the market to decorate my home. But, today being a hot Friday, was just a day for silliness and memory lane trips!

PS Last night when I was cleaning off my very cluttered desk I found not 1, but 2 gift certificates to this very store that I had forgotten I had.....guess I may have to make another trip down memory lane sometime.

Monday, July 19, 2010

One Girl

One girl, only 21 years old, left everything to go to Uganda. One girl, only 21 years old, has fallen in love with the country and the people of Uganda. One girl, only 21 years old, gave up her comfortable life in the United States to make the lives of others comfortable. One girl, only 21 years old, is the legal guardian of 14 beautiful Ugandan girls. One girl, only 21 years old, loves these children and all the children of Uganda. One girl, only 21 years old, is making a difference in so many lives because she is following her heart and the path God has put her on.

One girl, only 40 something years old, is humbled by the choices and the sacrifices another has made. One girl, only 40 something years old, is determined to follow her heart and walk the path God has put her on.

You are one girl or one boy. Will you follow your heart down your path?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Anatomy of Naughtiness

My Wilson is the best kitty cat ever, but sometimes he just has to go to forbidden territory. Unfortunately, he's like his momma in that regards. Aren't we all at times tempted by what we can't have!?

Just chilling and looking cute.

Yawn, I need some excitement in my life.

Hmmm. I need to be up there.

Success! Whadda ya mean 'get down, naughty boy!?!'

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cat Days of Summer

It’s the cat days of summer. Seriously, Wilson had to plop down, full out on the cool kitchen floor and rest in the middle of his dinner tonight because eating used too much energy and he overheated. Meanwhile, I melted and glistened and felt generally like doing nothing at all because of the heat. The thermometers all over town have been topping out in the 90s and in some places the 100s. Now I know that some places in the country have a lot more heat than we do and I know it gets serious for some people when it gets so hot. I really feel for those people.

One of the reasons I live where I do is because of the typically mild weather in this area. We get some really hot days and we get some really cold days but there aren’t many of those days and the ones in between are pretty reasonable. For instance, just tonight I heard the local weatherman on TV say that in 2009 we had only 9 days with temperatures over 90 for the whole summer. This year we have had 17 already. 17 I tell you is entirely too many in my opinion. The dog days of summer are not my favorite. Why, I would rather have my car battery freeze because it’s so cold than to swelter. By the way, that battery freezing thing shouldn’t happen again since I went out and bought a new battery when it happened last winter.

So, the Dog Days of Summer have us caught in their grip and it appears according to same said weatherman from the previous paragraph that this dog has no intention of letting go anytime soon. I very nearly swooned when I heard that tonight, but it was just too sultry to be melodramatic. Instead I whimpered and whined.

Did you happen to know that the term dog days of summer has nothing to do with real dogs? Oh, silly me, of course you did. My buddy Wiki says they actually are called that because Sirius is considered the Dog Star and was believed at one time to cause the hot weather. Ancient people also thought that evil things happened during the dog days of summer such as dogs going mad and people falling into hysterics.

Anyhow, I now interrupt this whine fest to bring you one good thing about the temperature that has been making me cranky. That one good thing would be dinners like this:

Okay, carry on with the maddness and hysterics!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fairy Tales

I have always loved fairy tales. How could I not? My friends in high school often told me I lived in a fairy tale with two parents who knew each other forever, married young, and were still in love. Then I became a Christian and the analogy really fit. I mean, seriously, as a Christian I have been adopted into family of God. The Bible asserts that God is the High King. That would make me, wait for it,

 A PRINCESS, right!?!

This sign has hung over my desks at work for years and now hangs over the desk in my home office. It nestles there amongst other cherished memorabilia. There’s my college diploma. (I dropped out of college at 19 after my first year because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. It was always my goal and dream to finish my bachelor’s degree. It took 15 years, but in 1998 I finished my degree.) There’s my certificate from Sky Venture that I have flown in winds up to 120mph! And there’s my first published article.

Oh, but we’ve wandered off the path into the strawberry patch. I have enjoyed picking the lush, plump strawberry memories, but that was not the purpose of this post. Back to the topic.

I have always loved fairy tales and have written a fair amount of them in my past. While at the Junior College I re-wrote Cinderella for an English assignment. I was in the midst of a women’s libber stage so I will spare you that one. But, I thought I would share with you this one that I wrote in 1998 while living in Oregon. So, pull up a chair and let me tell you a story!

Happily Ever After
A Fairy Tale by Tamara D. Fickas
Copyright 1998

**Any similarities to any person, either living or dead, are purely coincidental.

Once upon a time in a land far away, by the great sea, there lived a beautiful princess. Her name was Princess Albania and she was a happy princess. One day, while walking through the meadow, she came upon a frog sitting on a log.

“Hello Mr. Frog.” The fair Princess gently stroked his back. “How are you today?”

“Oh sweet princess, I have been turned into a frog by a wicked witch. And here I’ve sat for so many years waiting for someone to come along and break the spell.”

Well, Princess Albania, being a caring princess, began to think of ways to break the spell.

“Hmm, maybe a mirror on the wall can break the spell. No wait, that won’t work. Maybe an enchanted apple.”

The frog cleared his throat. “My dear, maybe a kiss from a beautiful princess is just what I need.”

Albania thought it was worth a try so she bent down and kissed the frog on his little head, right between his beady eyes.

A sparkling cloud of dust erupted and the frog became a handsome prince. He bowed deeply and kissed her hand gently. “My love, you have broken the spell of the witch and my love is yours for life. I am Prince Paylay from the kingdom of Reccos. I must return to my kingdom to let my people know that I have been saved but I will return and we can be married in the town of Sal Sagev. Have no fear Princess, for I will keep you safe from the one armed bandit in the town of Sal Sagev. After our marriage we shall return to Reccos and be supported by the King and Queen and we shall live happily ever after!”

So away he went and Albania went back to town. The days went by and her charming prince did not come and did not send a message. Finally, when hope had dwindled, he returned and she was elated.

That night they dined by candlelight and Prince Paylay told her of his travels and all the interesting people he met. He pledged his love to her again, but alas he must return to Reccos. This was his busy season of killing dragons. They ended the night cruising by the lake in the moonlight in her chariot pulled by the royal horses, Honda and Civic.

The days turned into weeks and the princess began to hear rumors around town about an evil prince had turned himself into a frog to catch an unsuspecting princess.

“But surely it can’t be my love, Prince Paylay.” Albania sighed. “He is so sincere, sweet, and loving.”

When Paylay returned, the princess questioned him about his travels. It appeared that Paylay was no longer fighting dragons but instead, partaking in merriment and laughter with his friends in Reccos. Albania asked him to stay with her but he told her, “I’m a busy man and everyone wants a part of me. I will return for you soon.”

Princess Albania began to see that she had been duped. Prince Paylay was the Evil Prince Paylay and he was using her for his own evil purposes. Albania was no longer a happy princess, she was a princess bent on revenge. She devised a plan. Now all she had to do was wait for his return.

The next time Prince Paylay came to town, the princess asked him to take a ride with her. So they saddled up Honda and Civic and rode down to the lake. As they approached the lake they passed an old beggar woman on the road. She gave Paylay a small bottle of magic syrup. He was to drink the syrup by the lake and then everything he touched would turn to gold.

Little did he know that the beggar woman was actually the town sorceress and this was a spell to return Paylay to his amphibian state as soon as he got wet after drinking the syrup.

Down by the river Princess Albania watched patiently as Paylay drank the syrup. Then she slapped Honda on the flank. Honda reared up and dumped Paylay into the lake. Albania picked up the little frog and put him in her bag.

Frog legs for dinner sounded like the perfect end to a perfect day ;~)

Friday, July 9, 2010

100 Moments Big Brother Style

My brother is quite the talented photographer. He has decided to join the fun of 100 Moments and I am thrilled. He works hard so I love that he is getting out and enjoying his hobby. This picture made me laugh out loud and I thought it would be a good way to end the week.

#95 - Shy

Copyright 2010 Thomas H. Fickas, Jr

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Who Begat Whom!?!

Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Aminadab, Aminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.

That’s Matthew 1:2-6 and it proves there was a whole lot of begatting (okay, that’s not really a word, but it sounds so much cooler than begetting which is the correct word to use here) going on back in the day. I couldn’t help but think of all the begats in the Bible this afternoon while Dad and I talked about family history. ‘Cause you know what!?! There has been some begatting in my family history also!

Dad has been tracing our genealogical tree for many years now and he likes to share the information that he finds. Because of my recent retreat from the rat race and the fact that I have been working on some things for him around his house I have heard a lot of the stories in recent weeks. Now, truth be told, I sometimes get entangled in all the dotted lines that connect family members, but I love hearing the stories.

Listening to Dad talk about the past reminds me that I am part of something bigger than me. I have a love for history and revel in the fact that my family has a rich history on both sides of the parental tree. It may not be the history that will make text books, but it’s ours and I am proud of it.

Today we talked about the greats on Dad’s side of the family. I’ve been around long enough to know that Mom Brendle refers to my dad’s great-grandmother since that is what she was known by. That would be my grandmother’s grandmother. I had to think about that one for a minute to make sure I got it right. See how easy it is to get confused when talking about grandparents? It gets doubly twisted because of the tradition of naming your children with family names. We have Johns, Freds, and Coras abounding in our family line.

Heck, we even have an Adam and an Eve and one of my ancestors was quoted as saying that he was, indeed, the son of Adam and Eve. Not THE Adam and Eve mind you, but a son of Adam and Eve nonetheless.

Along with the laying out of the lineage there are the stories that go along with the people. That is what really brings the history to life and what I particularly enjoy about my talks with Dad. One of my favorite stories is about the relative that I can’t remember right now, but she and her sisters were outside when a panther came along. Their daddy came out and shot the panther that then had just enough strength to swim across the river and die on the other bank. Well, daddy apparently wanted that pelt so he swam across the river, put the tail of the big cat between his teeth and then swam back to the other side towing the cat by the tail. How’s that for a manly man?

Alas, my other favorite story you will just have to wait and read about in a book since it is the basis for a novel I will write some day. Sorry to disappoint, but I dare say it will be worth the wait.

The family history continues and someday in the distant future one of my relatives may just enjoy the stories of my time. And, won’t they be lucky that they will have this here little blog to cull some interesting tidbits to tell their children!?!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Week to Remember

The Lewy Body Dementia Association has just announced its first ever Week to Remember October 10 -16. This is a great thing. I say that with tongue in cheek because I am aware that the reason it's a great thing is because Lewy affects so many people. Still, my sadness at the fact that we have to fight this doesn't stop my desire to fight.

The email I received from Angela Herron, President of the LBDA Board of Directors included the following ideas for raising awareness in your area. I will be considering things to do in my area between now and October and will keep you informed of my plans.

  • Share your experiences and connect with other LBD caregivers on our online Forums.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ladybugs and Sea Turtles

My 15 year old niece and I have been making cakes these last few weeks. Check out our handywork.

We made this sea turtle for her dad for Father's Day. He has just returned from a tour in Afghanistan.

This ladybug was for her mom's birthday yesterday. Ladybugs have been a symbol of our mom's (Grammy to my niece) love and special spirit since she went to heaven in 2007.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Sissy!

Today my baby sister is 40! Yes, I said it for all the world to hear, she's 40 but looks much younger. And, as she will certainly tell you when she meets you: she is much, much, much, much, much younger than me.

Happy Birthday, Reri from your buddy Balthazar!!

PS - she's the bundle in my brother's arm, not the squirmy one in mine ;-)