Living large in Fatopia.

Archive for the ‘family’ Category

My Favorite Christmas Present This Year

I’ve started receiving early Christmas presents. I love all of the presents I’ve gotten, but the one I love the most is the one my 17-year-old son made me with his own two hands. The present: a bracelet made from rubber bands.

Now this bracelet is special to me for several reasons. First, he made it all by himself. DS is one of God’s special little people. He has a lot of issues, one of which is multiple developmental delays. His aunt sat with him this afternoon and used the rubber bands on his fingers to teach him how to make the bracelets by himself because that’s what he decided he wanted to do for everyone for Christmas this year (the woman is a saint I tell you). It took a little while, but he got the hang of it and ran with it.

Secondly, the colors he chose are close to my heart. My mother has myeolofibrosis. The way it was explained to me is that her bone marrow is slowly turning into fibrous tissue like scar tissue (find out more about myeolofibrosis here). All I know for sure is her best shot at a cure would be a bone marrow transplant that Medicare has refused to pay for because she’s 64 years old, so she has to go for blood transfusions at least once a month. She usually has to take at least two units at a time, and this takes the better part of six hours to run into her arm, so that’s a whole day out of her life by the time she signs in and everything else. But that’s a whole different blog post to come later.

A few months back my parents got some myeolofibrosis awareness bracelets and passed them out. One of the bad things about being a fat chick is that things like that don’t usually fit me, and true to form thos bracelets didn’t either. I was heartbroken because I couldn’t wear a bracelet like the rest of the family to show my support for my mom. I cried when nobody was looking, but I put a good face on it in front of everyone, telling them that it was okay and I didn’t really mind.

Well, DS remembered those bracelets were purple and green, and he made me a half purple, half green bracelet for Christmas. He went ahead and gave it to me today. It means a lot that he remembered my feelings were hurt and fixed the situation in true DS style. Yes, he gets style points for this one!

Thrid, DS didn’t even have to measure my wrist to get the size right. He said he just thought about how big my arm is and made the bracelet. And it fit on the first try. Oh yes, more style points!

And now I proudly unveil DS’s creation. Here is the second bracelet he ever made. I couldn’t be prouder of him, and it’s my favorite Christmas present this year.

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Isn’t it beautiful? I’d rather have this bracelet than any made of gold or silver. It’s priceless because I may wear it on my wrist, but it lives in my heart.

Have you received any Christmas presents yet this year? Would you like to share any memories of presents past? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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Making Christmas Cookies with Recipe

I remember making sugar cookies when I was a kid around Christmas. We used to give them out as presents to people that we cared about but couldn’t afford to buy gifts for. I had a great uncle who said our Christmas cookies reminded him of the tea cakes his mother made when he was a boy, and he looked forward to us making and gifting them every year.

To be honest, I’d love to give everyone I know a little something for Christmas, but the old wallet just won’t let me do it. So this year I decided to bring back the old tradition of giving Christmas cookies with intentions of giving them to all the adults on my Christmas list. I didn’t realize just how many adults there are on my Christmas list. There was a little more heart than time involved with that one. I had to drop my ambitions a bit. And then as luck would have it, Mother Nature stepped in kicking a lot of my medical problems into overdrive and made it even harder to try to get them done.

Over the weekend my mother, sister-in-law, and youngest son had the kitchen in Fatopia smelling so good I was about ready to gnaw my arm off. Oh my goodness, if only we had smell-o-vision so I could share what it was like in here on Saturday, you’d be ready to gnaw yours off too. I didn’t get to help at all this year, but instead of feeling bad about it, I’ve decided to look on the bright side. I have my health, family that cares enough to make my Christmas wishes come true, and Christmas cookies to munch on when I feel like it (because there still aren’t enough to give away), so I’m very blessed. See what I mean?

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And here’s the recipe so you can make your very own. Feel free to use any kind of sprinkles, colored sugars, icings, or anything else that tickles your fancy to decorate them, or just leave them plain. The great uncle I mentioned above liked them plain because that’s how his mother made them for him when he was a boy. Make up a batch and enjoy! And Merry Christmas!

Sugar Cookies

1-1/4 cups granulated pure cane sugar

1 cup butter flavored shortening (we used regular shortening and it turned out fine)

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

2-1/2 cups self-rising flour*

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and granulated sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add egg; beat until combined. Add flour**; mix on low speed until combined. Immediately roll dough into a log shape and slice into 1/4-inch slices. (For cutout cookies, foll out cough to 1/4-inch thickness and using cookie cutters cut into desired shapes). Sprinkle with additional granulated sugar if desired. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Bake cookies 11-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Be careful not to over bake. Cool on wire rack. Decorate with frosting or icing as desired. Makes about 36 cookies. Cook’s Tip: For firmer dough wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

*Original recipe called for 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cream of tartar

We never have any of this stuff readily available at home, so we just go with self-rising flour and it works out just fine. We’ve always made them with it.

**This is where you would add in all of the dry ingredients if you were using the all purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and cream or tartar.

NaNa FatChick tip: If you cook them too long and they get a little hard, put a slice of apple on a paper towel in the container with the cookies, and it will soften them right up given a little time. Putting the apple slice on a paper towel is very important because if you don’t, the moisture will melt the sugar on top of the cookies.

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Houston, We Have A Tree!

IMG_20141212_092443Now it is officially Christmas on the homefront here in Fatopia. We have our Christmas tree up! It has lights! Still needs some more decorations, but we have some reinforcements coming in to help with that later today, hopefully. And the best part is that I get to sit here in the living room in front of it and look at it all the time because the living room is my bedroom for right now. Christmas cool 🙂

Here’s what the tree looks like so far. I’ll update the pics as it gets decorated more and more and when it’s a finished product.

 

Heart Fart

I am not looking forward to Thursday afternoon. Mr. Fatchick and I have to make a trip back to our regular doctor. I’ve been away from Fatopia because one of the seven stents that are keeping things open around his heart got blocked off and had to be replaced the other day. Again. He’d had another heart fart.

Heart Fart

 

It all started about three years ago. Mr. Fatchick didn’t feel well, so we took him to the doctor, and before all was said and done, he ended up having a heart attack, was hospitalized, and had a stent put in to open one of the arteries going to his heart so blood can get to it like it should. Scared me half to death to be honest, but I didn’t let on at the time. At least I don’t think I did. But I digress.

Over time, the blockages kept coming. Heart attacks and myocardial infarctions kept happening. More stints needed to be placed. At first it was like maybe twice a year. Now, Mr. Fatchick is lucky if he gets six weeks between hospital visits. If I didn’t know him better, I’d think he was trying to collect those little stent cards like kids collect baseball cards. He’s getting a nice stack of them in his wallet.

The thing is, you are supposed to give it at least three months, or 90 days, between arteriagrams. That’s where they make an incision near your groin area to go up the main artery in your leg that leads up to your heart. If they must do the procedure closer than that, it gets even more dangerous than usual. Mr. Fatchick had just had another stent put in about six weeks before this heart fart, so he insisted they go up the other leg this time. Not a popular opinion, but since he was the patient, he had the power of veto on his side, so they did it his way.

So, why do I not look forward to that trip to the doctor for his follow-up appointment? Well, Dr. H, is a great doctor. I wouldn’t take anything in the world for him. But he is as slow as molasses running uphill in the dead of winter with snow on the ground. We are talking so slow that I usually end up sending Mr. Fatchick out to bring our supper back to the waiting room so we can eat it while we wait. Like we don’t leave the office until after 10 pm when we had a 2 o’clock appointment kind of late.

Doc doesn’t get in a hurry for anyone, which is really great if you’re in the room with him and you’re the patient. But if you’re outside in the waiting room, well, it sucks hairy monkey balls big time. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that if I want him to take that kind of time with me and mine, I have to allow him to give that kind of time to everyone else, but you tell that to my butt when I’ve been sitting for four or six hours straight and it’s gone to sleep and is snoring loud enough for the whole waiting room to hear it.

So no, I’m not looking forward to visiting doc Thursday afternoon, but I’ll go. For Mr. Fatchick, I’ll go. To keep him on this side of a dirt nap, I’ll go. I won’t like it, but I’ll go. Bah!

The Child of A Veteran

 

Around Memorial Day I saw a picture that was making the rounds on Facebook. It was “Unless You’ve Been A Soldier” by Clive Sanders. This very strong poem is worth reading and can be found here. Please take the time to read it. It is definitely worth it.

When it was posted as a photo, I read the comments and found a very moving and what I feel is a wonderful poem describing life from the spouses’ side of serving our great country by Christina Love titled “Unless You’ve Been Married To A Soldier”. This poem is the most popular comment on the photo and is at the top of the comments. I ask that you take a moment to read both poems in their entirety. If you do so, the three together can offer a rare look into what the whole family of a soldier may feel when they serve in our armed forces. This may not be true for all military families, but it touched a nerve in me that made me feel it is true of mine from my point of view at least.

I have contacted both authors about posting their poems in their entirety in this post and have not received a response. If I should receive their permission, I will update this post to include them. I do not agree with using someone else’s work without their permission and so do not do it.

 

Update:

I received permission from Clive Sanders to post his poem “Unless You’ve Been A Soldier” here in its entirety. I wish to thank him for his kindness. Again, you can find his original poem here.

 

Unless You’ve Been A Soldier

Unless you’ve been a soldier,
You just won’t understand.
The things that we have seen and done,
In the service of our land.
We were trained to live in combat,
And to deal with awful sights,
That shouldn’t be seen by anyone
And keep you awake at nights.We don’t discuss the wounds we have,
To the body or the mind.
We just put our hurts behind us,
And turn our memories blind.
We are proud we served our country,
But remember those we lost.
For the freedom that you have today,
They paid the awful cost.

See more at: http://allpoetry.com/poem/11161617-Unless-Youve-Been-A-Soldier-by-Clive-Sanders#sthash.sig0qZw8.dpuf

On Veteran’s Day, I offer my poem “The Child of A Veteran”. I didn’t write about being the child of a soldier because my dad had been out of the Navy for a long time before I came to be. Although he was no longer an active member of America’s military, in many ways he still serves the country that we all love so much today. You see, he fought in the Vietnam War and like so many others who have gone off to war, there is a part of him that will be there fighting that war forever.

 

The Child of A Veteran

Unless you’re the child of a veteran, there’s no way to understand,

The things that happened after our parents served our land.

All the time we wonder just what made them go and fight,

For a country that seems not to care if they have a meal or bed at night.

They went off to battle and served in all your wars,

They saw and experienced things that shook them to their core.

They were trained to live in battle while we learned to live in silence,

Giving them space to grieve their losses as we dodged residual violence.

Childhood ended much too quickly turning us into small grownups,

Taking care to not do things that might cause them to blow up.

Raised with great discipline to some great imagined code,

We’re not supposed to understand, just do what we are told.

Cry yourself to sleep at night, but never let them see,

They have enough to deal with without extra stress from me.

Everything is just perfect or so it must always appear,

Don’t let anyone get close, not even those we hold most dear.

We could not be prouder of our parents who served, but please understand,

It’s the WHOLE FAMILY that pays when a soldier serves our land.

A Mouse In The House

I hate rats. This is a well known fact to anyone that knows me. Well, the other night we had a mouse in the house, but somehow this time I didn’t mind so much. You see, this mouse was just so darn cute, I actually found myself wanting to cuddle with it.

The mouse was my four-month-old granddaughter, Shelby. She dressed up as Minnie Mouse for her first Halloween. She’s such a dollbaby that  I just have to share.

Mouses

 

Now you tell me, who is the real Minnie Mouse?

Sabotage!

file3771249330561When I got married, I was asked, as most women are, how I was decorating my home. I had a simple, one word answer – functional. No magic color scheme that no one could understand. No cutesy little animals or stupid country ducks or anything like that. My only criterion was it had to be something that performed a necessary task. If it didn’t do something that needed to be done, then it didn’t need to be in my home. I have to say almost everyone followed this theory, except of course, one of those crazy relatives we all have hanging around the family tree for no good reason. You know the one, that guy or gal on the branch all alone who makes you want to grab the chain saw and just lop that sucker off really close to the trunk so there won’t even be a twig growing back to produce another one. We all have them.

Well, that relative struck again, this time in the form of a cheesy set of knives. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials for them, the ones that are supposed to stay sharp even if you cut nails with them. The ones where the person cuts the nail and immediately turns and slices a tomato so thin you can read through it. Let’s all be honest here. I know I like to be able to taste the tomato when I eat it, so when will I ever need to cut one that thinly? And I have not spoken to my stomach directly mind you, but I have it on good authority from my tongue and throat that I’m not ready to eat metal shavings just yet. My teeth are waiting to see the size of the shavings, at which time they say they’ll get back to me as soon as possible.

file4511243652806Anyway, since this was the only real set of knives I had (yep, I said it and even I can’t believe I just said the word real about these things), I believed the box and gave them a shot. I didn’t even make it through the first potato before one broke. Who knew a potato was so much stronger than a nail? Maybe we should build houses out of french fries so they’ll stand up to anything Mother Nature can throw at them. I mean we’re talking about a knife that can cut through a nail, a beer can, a small tree limb, and the bone of a frozen chicken leg and still cuts that tomato into such lovely slices afterward. And then can’t make it halfway through one little potato. I’m pretty sure a  french fry house could stand up to a hurricane. That is as long as the hurricane isn’t spitting rain in the form of cola.

I can see it now, instead of putting the kids in a closet with blankets and pillows or a good old fashioned mattress to pad them against a storm, we’ll just lay them down in the bathtub and cover them with potatoes and they’ll be fine. If that knife couldn’t break through a single potato, if a wall just happens to fall on them, surely a ton of bricks and mortar won’t possibly make a dent in a whole wall of the things. Just remember to give each kid their own straw to breathe through.

What is the world coming to when a simple potato can beat the greatest knife on the planet? Seriously, I almost lost all faith in knives. How could someone do this to me? How could they give me a raggedy set of knives parading around tooting their own horn of greatness on one of the most important days of my life? We’re having dice fried potatoes for supper. I’m going to get the chain saw.

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