Friday Fruitcakes and Fantasies

.:: Fruitcake
This week Rob and I drove down to Savannah, GA. As we drove down I-16, we passed by Claxton, GA. What? You’ve never heard of Claxton, GA? How can that be possible? Claxton, GA is the fruitcake capital of the world. Fruitcake capital, people! And, I’m not talking fruitcake as in ‘crazy’.

Hold on. You don’t know what fruitcake is? Fruitcake is cake made with chopped candied fruit, nuts and spices. Though some people actually consume the supposedly edible cake, others use the brick shaped concoction for door stops.

Rob’s Dad is a lover of fruitcake. And, I admit, Rob is a lover of fruitcake. (I saw past this flaw and married Rob anyway.) Driving by Claxton, GA was fitting this week, as it was a fruitcake kind of week. Of course, by fruitcake, I am now using the word to mean ‘crazy’. . .


.:: Here’s the deal, folks…
With the death of James, this week ‘spent’ me emotionally. James was Rob’s cousin. He was my father-in-law’s nephew. James lived in Jacksonville, FL, and I saw him a handful of times. Still – James and I actively chatted online. Actively. James and I cut-up with each other. He found me funny, and I found him funny. We both appreciated the humor and the laughter. And now? Now, I’ve lost my funny buddy. And, the hole created in my life with the loss of James is huge. I’d love to email James – but ding dang it all, James isn’t here to reply to my email and send me a funny email response to elevate my mood.

I want to be funny. If only as a tribute to James. But, humor is a hard thing to locate right now. Because in addition to losing James, my friend Andrea HT dealing with yucky stuff pertaining to her Mom’s cancer battle. My friend Andrea HT is in the midst of a roller coaster ride, and it isn’t the kind of roller coaster where folks are willing to stand in line for hours to ride.

As I said to Andrea HT, I find myself saying “la la la la la…” in my head, attempting to drown out the sorrow. Hey! I know, in an effort to embrace my crazy and fruitcake-self, I will now change course and start a top 10 – make that a top 8 –  list …

.:: Top 8 Non-sense Words Spoken in Our House
8. Doogie Whompers
7. Bumper-doo
6. Wee-honked
5. Dingle Dork
4. Ka’nuckle Head
3. Bubba Bean Head
2. Kerplunk-kerplooey
1. Ding-dangity


.:: Fantasy Meets Reality
Continuing with my rattling on of rambles, I share with you a story that has nothing to do with anything … this is a story of my fantasy shaking hands with my reality…

One of the Dads I see at my son’s school is on the attractive side, in part because he has very long hair. (Though the hair is just part of his attractive looks…) Rob knows long hair is something I quite enjoy on guys. I’ve tried puling his hair at night, in hopes of increasing the length – to no avail. And, I’ve joked with Rob about this guy, assuring him that no impure thoughts have crossed my mind. Which is a true statement. Still, I find this long haired man nice to stalk – er – look at.

Well, my son had a program and special lunch at school this week, and Rob and I attended. When it came time to sit down for lunch, the long haired man sat across from Rob. My son was chatting with the long haired man’s son (who happens to be in my son’s class). The next thing I know, the two grown men – Rob and the object of my stalking – er – stares – introduced themselves to each other and shook hands. Excuse me?! What?!

As soon as the two men met, I heard the bursting sound of my fantasy bubble. Now that Mr. Reality and Mr. Fantasy are ‘acquaintances’, my desire to stare at Mr. Long-locks has lessened . .  a bit. *sigh* After the lunch, as we walked to the car, I grumbled to Rob about meeting my fantasy man. Interestingly, Rob has been smiling ever since.


Be kind, and take care of yourself and each other.

Take Care of Yourself and Each Other

My husband’s Aunt Mary Alice ends most of her emails to us by writing, “Take care of yourself and each other.” If you’ve read any of my Flighty Friday posts, you may have noticed I end my posts with a similar saying, “Take care of yourself, and be kind to each other.” I adore Mary Alice, and I adore Mary Alice’s family.

Mary Alice played the piano and organ at our wedding. Now in her 80s, she continues teaching piano lessons and playing the organ for various churches in her area. Mary Alice is an active, strong and classy woman. She has experienced a great deal in her 80+ years, including taking care of her in-laws during their illnesses.

James and his Mom, Mary Alice

Uncle Edward, Mary Alice’s husband, died three years ago. Edward had Alzheimers and cancer, and Mary Alice took care of him. Mary Alice’s daughter is a cancer survivor, having won the battle against Breast Cancer. YES! Sadly, this past Saturday, Mary Alice’s son, James, lost his battle with cancer. James had all kinds of cancer.

Cancer sucks. Death sucks. Having a cold or the flu sucks, but cancer and death suck more. I realize when “suck” is used in certain context, some may find the word offensive. My apologies if you are offended. I find ‘death’ and ‘cancer’ offensive.

Death sucks for those left behind. Cancer sucks for those fighting the battle. Sure, cancer sucks for those helping their loved ones fight the battle, but I think it sucks more for the actual fighter.

And the cancer fighters? There is an army of fighters. Though lately, it seems the fighters are losing the battle. My neighbor’s friend’s Dad died this past Wednesday. He had cancer. A friend from my son’s school had a friend die last week. His friend had cancer. My boss’ Mother-in-law died earlier this year. She had cancer. Another friend of mine lost her Mom to cancer three years ago. My father died over 20yrs ago. He had cancer. The list goes on and on. Have I mentioned cancer sucks? How about death? Did I mention death sucks? Just checking.

I realize there are thousands and thousands of cancer survivors. Ya’hoo! And, I say that at the top of my lungs! YA’HOO!!! And, I remind you that Mary Alice’s daughter is one of the cancer survivors. YES! The survivors help motivate those caught up in the battle. The survivors give us all hope that remission and cures are possible. Still …

I asked a friend of mine recently, “Is cancer more prevalent these days or are we just getting older?” Her thought was that we were just getting older. I’m sure there were friends and family members that died of cancer when I was a youth, teenager and young adult. Alas, during those years I was was pretty self-absorbed. (Yeah, yeah – maybe I am still a little self-absorbed. Your point?!)

Later this week, my husband and I will drive to Savannah, GA to attend James’ burial. We are missing the visitation and funeral in Jacksonville, FL. I am trying to prepare myself emotionally. James was a light in my life. He inspired me with his wit, his smile, his optimism, his wit, his wit – and have I mentioned his wit? I stop short in calling him a smart-ass, out of respect for his Mom. But honestly – in the best way, he was a … well, you know. (At least he was with me, and I loved it!)

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I feel James around me. And, I know when I attend the burial (and reception), I’ll feel his optimism and joy for life. Joy for life at a burial? Yes. Seriously, James was so bright to me, I know I’ll feel his joy. What I don’t know is how I will handle seeing his Mom. His Mom. Wow. It should come as no surprise that Mary Alice’s kids are as awesome as they are – because their influence is/was nothing but the best. Seeing Mary Alice will break my heart. As a Mom, I can’t fathom burying my child. That is not how the circle of life is suppose to play out. And yet, a child losing a parent is also hard – regardless of age.


Andrea's daughter with 'Nana'

My friend’s Mom is battling cancer. Like James, my friend’s Mom has all kinds of cancer. Like Mary Alice, my friend is not new to cancer. She lost her brother over 20yrs ago to a brain tumor. My friend lives in FL, and my friend’s Mom lives in NC. My friend, her name is Andrea, left FL this past weekend, to spend the week before Thanksgiving with her Mom. She’s spending quiet time with her Mom, before the rest of the family gathers for Thanksgiving.

Ever since Andrea’s Mom was diagnosed with cancer, I’ve taken it upon myself to touch base with her daily. Yesterday, during our emails back and forth, she described the overall feeling at her parent’s house. I asked Andrea if I could share her thoughts with you. She said I could.

Andrea writes, I’m hoping to spend time with her talking and recording some of the conversations. But I keep finding things in the house that need to be done. There’s a mess in the linen closet that needs to be cleaned. I need to update and print her contact list. I need to go through the refrigerator and throw out old food. Of course these are things I’ll do while she’s asleep, but things I need to do because she would never allow things to get to the state they’re in. Not that it’s horrible – it’s just not up to her standard.

“It’s just not up to her standard.” That gets me. Andrea’s Mom is alive and actively battling cancer. But, she is fighting the battle in bed. Normalcy has changed. The ‘new normal’ is different. The standards are lowered.

It’s weird, Andrea wrote, I don’t really feel her presence in the house anymore, other than her bedroom that is. I don’t know how to put it in words. Her “essence” or “being” isn’t in the kitchen. Or the living room. Or the sun room. Her purse isn’t hanging on the chair in the nook and her sweater isn’t draped over the back of the chair. Her sunglasses and keys aren’t on the table. Little stupid stuff that makes this her home aren’t there anymore. I open the refrigerator door and it’s so obvious that she hasn’t been in it for awhile. The house is no longer under her control. It’s not her domain. I’m trying to find the right words to describe it, but I can’t. Does this make any sense?

Andrea and her Mom

Yes, Andrea. What you wrote makes sense. And, I know anyone who has experienced what you are experiencing will ‘get’ what you’ve written. And, I believe they will find comfort in your words. And, I hope you find comfort knowing you are not alone. And, maybe your Mom’s presence is hard to feel now, because her new normal is not the real normal – the true essence of your Mom. But, when all is said and done, your Mom is with you each and every day – alive or not. She’s in your expressions; she’s in your mannerisms; she’s in your attitude; etc. And Andrea … you look like your Mom.

Obviously, this is a personal (and lengthy) post. I hope I haven’t overstayed my welcome with my 1300 plus word count. But, I needed to write this post. I wanted to shout out support and appreciation to Mary Alice, James and his sister. I wanted to shout out support and appreciation to my friend, Andrea, and her Mom. I needed the release. And, I need (and love) my friends and family. Thank you.

In honor of Mary Alice, James, my friend Andrea, her Mom and your loved ones, please take care of yourself and each other.

Today’s Flighty Friday

:: A Bounty of Bottles
“This is our 7th bottle.” The Mom says, as I arrive at my overnight gig.

The parents of my nighttime responsibility are in the process of testing bottles for daycare. Mom goes back to work soon, and they want to make sure Baby is doing well with her bottle. As it stands now, Baby gets more ‘boob’ than anything else. But, with Mom heading to work, Baby will have to settle for a plastic boob. My first child was mainly a boob drinker, but when a bottle was used – he wasn’t picky. My second child? He wanted a boob and nothing else, and he was not open to discussion.

The 7th bottle? Craziness. Yet, the different styles and types of bottles are endless. Add to the mix the countless types of nipples for said bottles, and well – one can easily become overwhelmed with the choices. So, I should not be surprised that Mom and Dad are trying several different bottles to find the one that is ‘just right’. And a note to parents, Dr. Browns bottles work well, but honestly – with all the parts and pieces … spare yourself, your ‘to do’ list is long enough already.


A perfect bottle is the quest.
Until it’s found, no one will rest.

So many choices, each a different type.
What is practical and what is hype?

Next comes the nipple, another choice to make.
There are six different types for goodness sake!

Overly complicated? You think? Maybe?
Then again, nothing is too good for baby.


:: What’s in your Dryer?
Top 10 Items Found in Our Dryer
10. Rocks
9. Pens
8. Coins
7. More rocks
6. Plastic Army guy
5. Always Thin Maxi Pad (still neat (though swollen) in wrapper)
4. Kleenex
3. Pampers diaper (did not fare as well as the maxi pad)
2. More Kleenex
1. Raisins (the raisin box is still MIA)


It eats socks,
and spits out rocks.

It handles pads with care,
leaving diapers worse for wear.

Regardless of the setting, whether normal or fluff,
it is truly dependable, and it is truly tough.

Though it can create static cling,
the dryer is a wonderful thing.


:: Distracted
Today I am spending the day in bed. My husband has taken today and Monday as a vacation days, so he can watch our youngest, since our daycare provider also took those days as vacation days. Anyway, I’ve been battling a cold for the past three weeks, and I am finally forcing myself to do nothing. Well, do nothing except write. (Thank you to my kind husband and my kind boss for allowing me this down time.)

I am struggling to finish this post, in part because my head is clogged to the point that I am having a hard time hearing real voices, as well as my inner voices. In addition, I am struggling to finish this post, because I am distracted by what is going in the lives of those around me. I prefer my Friday posts be funny and lighthearted, yet life doesn’t always cooperate. Forrest Gump was right. Life is like a box of chocolates; you don’t know what you are going to get. Furthermore, while you are enjoying your caramel chew, someone else is stuck with the vanilla cream. Eeew.

My friend’s Mom continues her cancer battle, as her radiation treatments resumed earlier this week. And my friend feels her Mom’s last visit to their house was the last time she’d be able to make the trip. Rob’s cousin was told by his oncologist to start looking for hospice care, because he (the doctor) did not have any other treatments to offer him and his battle with cancer: renal, liver, lymph and spine. (Though Rob’s cousin is not giving up, and he is currently seeking treatment elsewhere.) Another friend of mine is in the process of getting her daughter tested for a chromosomal disorder, which would mean a lifetime of health challenges. And yesterday, out of the blue, my son asked me, “When are you going to die, Mommy? Will I still be a kid and have to watch Charlie?” He was afraid he would have to watch Charlie on his own (at the age of 5), and he didn’t think he could do it.

Haiti, still trying to recover from the earthquake, is getting hit by a hurricane. Indonesia is battling the after effects of an earthquake, tsunami and volcano. Mosque bombing in Pakistan. Plane crash in Cuba. The depressing news surrounds us. And, because I am forcing myself to stop today, the sad news is harder to ignore.

Thank God for the complications in finding the perfect baby bottle, and thank God for the miscellaneous items that find their way into the dryer. We need those ‘crazy’ moments as comic relief (though, one may not be laughing as s/he pick up each and every tiny piece of Kleenex scattered through the laundry). And my cold? Please. My cold will go away. And, my cold is not even a blip on the radar of life. Plus, I have a 4yr old coming in my room hourly, asking me if I need anything.

My life is good. And, while I enjoy my bed rest, I will keep those around me in my thoughts and prayers. And, I will do what I can to provide a little bit of sunshine and hope to those around me. After all, everyone is battling something. Hopefully, you’ll find a better chocolate soon.


The roller coaster of life,
Filled with joys and strife.

We’re all aboard this crazy train.
And, we all need help in staying sane.

So, keep the chocolate at your side.
You’ll need it for this bumpy ride.


Take care of yourself, and be kind to others.