Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Eve I will Never Forget

When I was 20, I was renting a room off a lady named Pat. Pat was great, she was fun, always had a smile, or a joke; she was also dying from Emphysema. When I moved in, she was pretty much bed-bound and on oxygen, but, none-the-less, she was still a great mom to her 15 year old son.

At the time, I was working a minimum wage job and going to college, which meant I had no money. She was barely scraping by, so we decided to forgo a Christmas tree that year, even though she loved Christmas. She was pretty sad about not having a tree, but when you need to buy food, it just seems like an expense you can live without.

Pat stayed in her bed on the second floor of the little apartment we lived in. She could only get up for a few minutes a day, and even then, she needed help.

One of her sons had just been released from jail and came home on Christmas Eve. When he came home, he asked why we didn't have a tree. We told him we couldn't afford one. He told us that his mom loved Christmas and he was going to get her a tree, and he left.

He came home about an hour later and had a worried look on his face, like he was being followed. He went outside and when he came back in, he had a Christmas tree. The tree was pretty small, but it was a tree. I noticed it had a few strands of tinsel on it. I thought it was odd that there would be tinsel on a new tree, but I didn't ask about it.

We wanted to surprise Pat so the three of us quietly decorated the tree with a handful of ornaments that we scrounged up and ONE string of lights we found. When we turned the lights on, it was actually kind of cute, like in a Charlie Brown tree sort of way.

When we were finished, we moved the tree to the base of the stairs so it would be easy for her to see. Then we went upstairs and told Pat that we had a surprise for her, but she would have to get out of bed and go downstairs. The way the apartment was set up was, you walk up a half flight of steps, go to a landing, and they turn around and walk up the other half. Since we put the tree at the bottom of the stairs, we just needed to get Pat to the half-way mark, or the landing.

The three of us helped her walk down the stairs and we made her close her eyes. We had her stand on the landing and open her eyes. When she opened them, she saw her little tree with a few ornaments and a strand of lights, she didn't say anything. She had a huge smile on her face as she stood there and stared, and then started to cry. She told us it was the most beautiful tree she had ever seen. She asked for a chair so she could sit and watch "her tree" as she called it, and that is what she did, she just sat there gazing at that little tree. She watched it most of the night.

I will never forget that night, ever. She was so happy to have that little tree, I think it meant the world to her. I can't think of another Christmas where something so little brought so much joy.

Pat ended up dying later that year. The one thing I learned is that if you have the chance to ever give someone one last chance at a bit of happiness, no matter what, make it happen for them. I don't think there is a greater gift to be given.

I hate to tell this part, but I guess it isn't really that big a deal. Her son took the tree from a front lawn of a church. He said he had to get a tree for his mom and no matter what, he was going to get a tree for his mom. He said that if anyone was ok with him taking a tree for his dying mom on Christmas Eve, he hoped a church would be and he hoped they would not have minded.

Somehow, I have always hoped they did not mind, but after the way it turned out, I wish I could have told them how much happiness it brought, as then I know they would not have minded. That night was one of a kind; I will never forget it.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Heart Goes Out to Caretakers

For the last few days, I have pretty much been the caretaker for my nine-year-old son. For those of you who have never had to do this, trust me on this, it is exhausting.

My son had surgery a few days ago and could barely walk for a few days. This meant that he spent a lot of time on the couch and anytime he needed food or anything, I would get it for him.

The first day wasn't too bad, except I was extremely tired as I didn't sleep more than about two hours the night before. He would ask for pancakes, or toast, and/or juice and I would happily, but groggily get it for him. Heck, I might as well have been whistling a happy tune as I lovingly made him the pancakes, toast and/or juice. I was his mommy and I was taking care of him. Awwwwww.

The second day, still not much sleep as I would check on him, oh say, every couple of hours throughout the night. I was very sleepy, and a bit grumpy, but still trying to keep his spirits up all the while getting his pancakes, toast, and/or juice. It seemed that every time I would finally get a chance to put my feet up and rest, it would happen. I would just get my eyes closed and get all relaxed when I would hear, "Mom. Would you please...." and it was either food, drink, or restroom. Ummmph. "Ok son, I will be there in a sec..." and I would about crawl to help him.

The third day I was so tired but he still needed help so I did what I could to make him comfortable. It was weird to me that I was getting irritated that he needed help and I just didn't want to make the food, drink, or restroom trips as I wanted a break too. But, he is my son and I love him so much so of course, I helped him. But, I was surprised to feel almost bothered that I had to help. I felt like a jerk. Cripes. This is my son, my little man, my cutie boy, and here I was getting irritated that I had to be bothered to help. Again, I will say it out loud, I felt like a jerk.

I can't imagine being elderly and having to help a sick spouse, yet I know there are people all over the world who are in that predicament. I am betting they want a break, a day off, or some rest and relaxation; but that day will never come. I never knew how exhausting it could be taking care of someone. I am lucky that I am in pretty good health and I knew that there would be an end to my being his caretaker for his every need. What about the people who are sick themselves? Who aren't strong enough to lift a person? Who know that they won't get a break? I wonder if they start to feel resentful towards the person they are caring for.

I didn't resent my son, but I can see how that could happen if it went on for a very long time with no end in sight. I wish that anyone who is caring for someone, I hope that a friend, relative, or anyone who cares, I hope that someone offers to sit with the sick person and give the caretaker a break, even if for only an hour or so. How sweet would it be to even let them go in another room and take a nap? I think it would give them a much needed break and lift their spirits so they can give the care that is needed with a happy heart, not a bitter one.

My son is much better now, but I really learned a lot this week. Caring for someone is very demanding and exhausting. It does feel good to know I took care of him when he needed me, but it was a lot of work. My heart goes out to caretakers.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Older Than My Mom. It's Not Right.

Another birthday has come and gone. Ho-hum. I could do without them, really. Lately, the older I get, the less excited I am about having them. I don't mean to be a kill-joy, but what bothers me about my birthday is, when I was 16, I lost my mom to cancer. She was 35 when diagnosed and 42 when she died. It will be so weird when I pass her age and am older than she was...gives me the shivers.

I remember my 35th birthday, two years ago today, and I remember thinking that it was odd that I was the same age as my mom was when she found out she had cancer. I was so freaked out that I went and had a mammogram just to make sure I was fine. I was. I also remember as a kid thinking she was so old--gawd, 35, she was ancient! Somehow, when I turned 35, it didn't seem so old, I didn't feel ancient.

Now that I just turned 37, it is with an odd sadness. I am only five years away from the oldest my mom ever was. I am not supposed to be older than my mom, it isn't supposed to work that way. This is messed up as she was supposed to get old first and I was supposed to follow.

Sooooo, that is why I am not fond of my birthday as every year I get a year closer to the oldest age my mom ever was, and I don't feel right about passing her up. Someday, just knowing I will be older than my mom was...gives me the shivers.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Out for a bit

Hi all,
Well, my 9 year old son is having surgery tomorrow. It is not a major surgery, but it is still surgery none-the-less. I know he will be fine, but inside, I am still scared. I shouldn't be and I can't let him know that, but as a mom, surgery is the last thing I want for my son.

Anyway, I will try to write, but if I don't, I will get back when I can. Hope you all have a great day and since Thursday is my birthday, I might not be around on that day either. But, I will try.

Ok, I am just rambling as I am nervous about tomorrow. He will be fine...he will be fine...he will be fine.......

Take care!
Cindy

Dry Your Jeans and Eat a Pizza

Anyone on a diet, listen up, this is im-poor-taan-tey!

When on a diet you might exercise (yuck), eat low-fat/low-carb/low-taste foods (double yuck), or even try some new fangled diet. Now, that is all good and such, but I have some advice that may just help so you don't get frustrated. Being frustrated leads to more eating, which in turn leads to more dieting, and no one wants more dieting than is necessary.

Dieters, this one is for you:

When on a diet, never, ever, under any circumstance, ever, ever, ever, put your freshly washed jeans in the dryer. I repeat, DO NOT put your jeans in the dryer. Don't do it. They will be so tight that all the exercise and eating healthy will not have done any good and you will get discouraged and you will then order a pizza and eat the entire thing out of frustration, thus, making the jeans even tighter. This can and will lead to more frustration and another pizza. It is a vicious circle.

Who knows, you may have lost 10 pounds, but you sure wouldn't know it once those jeans have left the dryer and you attempted to put them back on your body. You could stop eating for weeks and those damned jeans would still be tight. FYI, it can take up to a few good months of stretching them out just to get them past the ankles.

So, dieters, this has been your warning. Trust me on this one, I know what I speak of. Oh good, the pizza man just got here, I have him on speed dial.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 14, 2007

This is from my friend Billie-she needs some support

Hi all,
I have an internet friend, whom I have never met in person, but I have gotten to know through blogging. Actually, we met in a diabetes chat room, but she has always been very kind and supportive. Today, I received an e-mail from her saying she is going to be admitted to the hospital tomorrow and I thought that some of you are such kind people, maybe you would stop by her page and wish her well. The following is her blog address, I don't know how to shorten it so here is the long version:

http://andlifegoesononedayonestepatatime.blogspot.com/

Anyway, here is her first post, I copied and pasted it. Her name is Billie and I think it would be cool to help support her. The internet is a fascinating place. People who you have never met and probably never will can touch your heart. :)
Cindy

FROM BILLIE'S PAGE: Now what do I do? Just where do I start? Usually the beginning is a very good place to start, but as I search, I’m just not sure where that is.

Got it all done, and now cannot get it published. Oh me, oh my. Simplify. That's what I need to do. Simplify. Let's try that

Myasthenia Gravis. It is for sure we cannot go much further until you, too, know what it is, how it affects me, and what in the world is it doing here? This blog is supposed to be about recalling and telling of events throughout the past sixty-five years of my life that I want to pass along, day one to the current day. Sometimes day one is clearer than today. MG is a rare, incurable, autoimmune, neuromuscular disease. It can affect any voluntary muscle of the body, at any time, to any degree, in all races, both genders, and at any age…… hmmm alive, you are eligible. *s* Common symptoms can include: Drooping eyelid(s) ( Ptosis ), double vision ( Diplopia ) and/or blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty chewing and swallowing ( Dysphagia ), weakness in the arms and legs, chronic muscle fatigue, difficulty breathing.

One of the treatments for MG is the IVIg. Intravenous gamma globulin coming anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 blood donors. I have been receiving a treatment every four weeks until this upcoming treatment which will have been two months, and I am more than ready to get that drip started this Saturday, December 15th. A treatment consists of an infusion for a period of three days in the hospital. Now, this is my treatment plan; it is different for MG patient. The last time we talked to the neurologist he said he thought he was going to stretch it out to four days, and at a slower drip rate because of the side effects.

This blog is to involve you in my daily journey toward reaching for remission of my Myasthenia Gravis. Friends. It is 1:30 a.m. and as I was reading through this, it dawned on me that is what I am looking for…….. friends to go along with me, talk with me, listen to me, just whatever. This is a crazy disease, changing as frequently as within an hour, especially within a day. Two good days in succession can be reason to rejoice! I found a forum in the UK, but though it feeds me with knowledge, I find I need people to just talk to. I am nervous about “telling it all” to you, but I am determined to try. The good is easy. The bad, no, for I don’t think anyone wants to hear my “complaints”. This will be facts, and my interpretation of things happening with me as they relate to MG. One thing I am afraid of doing, and that is talking too much! This is my world at the moment, and it is different from most other’s world (don’t we each have our own world? :). Myasthenia affects approximately 20/100,000 people, all to varying degrees. I have no one to talk to; my laptop is my contact with the outside world, so when I have an audience I tend to become a blabber mouth. At least you can click on the little red “x” and shut me up if you get tired of hearing me. LOL I *do* hope you will hang around, though, and as I move along day to day, I hope you learn more and more about this hideous disease. We need people to learn about it, and we need a cure! Goodness, we could even use some more medicines developed for MG When I started going to the hospital for the IVIg treatments even the nurses were not familiar with it, and not very familiar with the IVIg treatment itself. I invite you to ask questions. What I do not know, I will go looking for the answers. Next week I will be in the hospital so I can ask my doctors whatever is needed.

I am in a hospital bed at home, and use a wheelchair when I go out. Extreme fatigue and weakness are a major part of MG; sleep is an excellent medicine for it. Therefore, I sleep a lot, much more than I like because I am used to being a very active person, and feel sleeping a lot is a waste of time. I see so much around me that I would love to be doing. It is only recently that I have regained my ability to type.

The use of the affected muscles causes them to weaken, in some cases to non-use. My eyes are most notably affected when I am fatigued, the muscles unable to hold the eyelids open enough to see clearly. I have 20/20 vision, but the lids partially cover my pupil, making what I can see appear very hazy. Sometimes I tape my lids up to be able to read my computer or a book. This is improving with the IVIg treatments, though, and one way I can tell I am definitely ready for my next treatment. THIS is my road to remission! It is what I am going to be sharing here, hopefully every day. Occasionally MG knocks me low and out for a day, but once I get the blog going, I *think* I can add at least a note each day, but one thing I have learned since having this disease is not to make promises. We often have had to cancel doctor appointments just hours before because I would not be able to get out of bed to dress and make the trip.


This disease involves my husband Jim 24 hours a day. He only leaves the house for short errands. I’m not supposed to be up and about without someone here because of my tendency to fall. Sometimes he must actually hold me as I walk; other times I can hold on to things as I walk along, but I cannot walk unassisted by some means. Overall, since my last IVIg I think my ability to walk alone has improved. This also means that Jim must do all the cooking and washing. The cooking has been a real challenge for him since I am also diabetic, and we must count carbohydrates because I use an insulin pump. That means that some of the things we were used to eating – nope, no more. Things that are quick and easy – nope, usually. Labels, labels, labels. He has learned to read labels! I try to give him ideas from my bed, but you know, that can sound like butting in, being bossy sometimes. The kitchen had been my domain for forty years, and it has been a hard thing to give up.


There has been much I have had to give up, making a true 180 degree turn in areas of my life, and it has not been the easiest thing to do. Jim thinks I've been in denial of the disease, and am just now facing reality. Whatever it is, I need to form a friendship, support base because I want to fight this into REMISSION, and I guess what I'm needing is a cheering squad. And, yes, I really *am* going to be telling my stories of the past (present, too). Once established, maybe breaking into separate blogs, but for now, this will have to be the way. I *plan* on posting more than once a day. However, with Myasthenia Gravis, it is difficult to make solid plans. Prior to diagnosis this was a real problem, but now that we know to expect the unexpected, it has helped us relax more. Stress is one of the top reasons to bring on an MG episode! Any kind of stress, especially that of talking to people, sometimes even talking over the internet can stress me out, and I have to take a break, a nap for restoration.

Now you know a little bit about me I am having trouble saving this to post it, so whenever I am successful this first post will appear! Finally!

See you later..... hopefully! ;-)

'Ragdoll' Billie

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Loaves & Fishes

Today I went to Loaves & Fishes, which is located in Sacramento, CA. This is a place where the homeless people can go to get food, services, and are treated with respect. Everyone there is considered a guest.

I met with the Executive Director and she showed me all around. We went to one outdoor area called Friendship Park. This is a private park for the daytime use of their guests and they only have four rules: 1. No Drugs. 2. No alcohol. 3. No violence. 4. No threat of violence.

At Friendship Park, they have clean and fully stocked bathrooms, day storage, breakfast, showers and free telephones. They even have a Library with a computer learning center for their guests. We walked around the park and people would smile and nod and say hello. I have driven by this park many times and often thought it might be scary, but after walking around and meeting some people, I felt very safe, comfortable, and welcome.

They have several services at Loaves & Fishes, some of which include: a free mental health program for those who do not have insurance; an on-site free legal clinic to help with things like illegal camping, trespassing and light rail tickets; a dining room where a full course, home cooked noontime meal is served every day of the year; a day care kennel with pet food, vaccines, medical care and spay & Neuter programs are available; and several other places that help homeless women and children. There is even a school for homeless children.

I am going to attempt my first book (that is not a children's book) and it is going to be about the homeless. I am very excited because if I get the book done and it gets published, I am going to make sure some of the profits go right to Loaves & Fishes. This would be my little way of helping.

They do not solicit or accept government funds, but rely on private donations. They help homeless women and men, and like I said, they even have a school for homeless children. They really do care about their guests and I think it is a good place to help. They don't know I am writing my blog about them, but I feel it is important and I want to share. Every month they have over 1000 volunteers and I think that is fabulous. I hope someday there won't be a need for places like this, but until that day gets here, let's help make someones day a little more bearable and help them out.

If you would like to send a donation, their address is:

Loaves & Fishes, P.O. Box 2161, Sacramento, CA 95812.

P.S. Some of what I wrote came directly from their brochure. Some of what I wrote didn't. But, it is good stuff so I made sure to include what they had written on here and wanted to make sure they got credit.
(c) Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cindy's Christmas Song Game (c) (Updated-Repost)

Cindy’s Christmas Song Game (I originally posted this a few weeks ago, but the game starts at midnight, so here is a reminder):

It's almost that time of year again....Holidays, ornaments, giving, presents,and all the good that goes along with this time of year. I love the holiday season. I love almost everything about it, everything, that is, except three certain Christmas songs.

When I was ten, I went to the mall with my mom to buy Christmas presents. While waiting in one of the mile long lines to pay for our presents, I heard White Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, and Little Drummer Boy. There was a guy behind me who was whistling the songs along with them. Nothing sounds worse than a Christmas song being whistled. Drove me nuts.

The next store we went to, we ended up in another mile long line, and we heard the same three songs! Uggg!

The third store we went to, we ended up in yet another mile long line, and we heard the same three songs again! I vowed from then on, I never, ever wanted to hear those three songs again, especially while standing in line buying presents, and hence, Cindy's Christmas Song Game(c) was born.

This game does not start until December 1 of every year, and it goes until Christmas. The rules are simple, and since it is my game, they are not to be broken, bent, twisted, or anything else, unless express written permission from me is granted; but, it won't be as I don't allow anyone to deviate from the rules. The goal is to make it to Christmas without hearing your three songs. If this happens, you win. If not, you lose.

RULES:

1. Pick three Christmas song you do not want to hear from December 1 until December 25.

2. If you hear one of your songs, whether on the radio, the television, a commercial, the mall, the post office, the grocery store, if your in-laws put in a holiday song CD that they randomly decide to play, or anywhere else, when you hear your song, you get dinged and only have two songs left. If you hear over three seconds of any of your songs, THREE SECONDS ONLY, you are dinged and that song is out. No second chances. None.

2. Once you hear your first song, it is kind of a warning and you are on notice that you only have two songs left. Laugh now, but it gets stressful. You might be fiddling around with the radio and think, "I hope I don't accidentally click on a station playing a commercial with one of my songs." Or, "What if some carolers show up and sing one of my songs?" Or, "I hope the car next to me isn't blasting one of my songs." See? Stressful. That could give a person an ulcer.

3. Once you have heard all three of your songs and been dinged, you are out. Done. Total loser. Don't feel bad as I have been playing this game going on 26 years and once was out on December 2, not a good year. Only once have I made it Christmas only to have my in-laws play a CD, unknowingly, with my last song. Doh! Dinged. Out. Loser.

So, any questions? I originally posted this a few weeks ago and gave you time to pick your three songs; hopefully you have done so. Since the game starts on December 1, when the clock hits midnight, there is no turning back. So, go pick your songs and make sure they are good ones as once you pick them, you cannot change until the next year. If you get the kids involved, they are awful and will make sure to point out your songs, just in case you missed one of them. Helpful little buggers, aren't they? So, no cheating and I would love to have any updates and hear how many days you lasted or didn't last until you got dinged on all three songs. Please keep me updated! :)
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Damn "They". Where is my handbook?

Where is my Parents' Handbook? As a parent, there are just some things in life you are never quite ready for, and no one ever prepares you. Take, for instance, my kids and I were driving home from the mall the other day after having their pictures taken with Santa. While in the car, my 7 year old daughter said, "Hey mom, I don't know how to tell you this, but I know that the Santa we just met at the mall isn't real." I was quiet, not sure how to respond. "W-W-What? What do you mean? Santa's not real?" I asked pretending to be shocked.

"Well," she said, "Of course he is real, but I think all the mall Santas are fake and they are just filling in for the REAL Santa. The REAL Santa is too busy at the North Pole trying to get ready for Christmas and he doesn't have time to go to the malls. Plus, I don't think he wants all those kids sitting on his lap. I just wanted you to know that that Santa wasn't the REAL Santa." I couldn't help but smile. I looked in my rearview mirror and looked at my 9 year old son as he gave me a smile and a nod. Our secret smile and nod.

My son found out the "truth" about Santa, which I won't reveal here just in case some of you aren't privy to the truth, about two years ago. Ever since he figured it out, he seems to think it is very cool that he is in on the "secret". Whenever my daughter talks about Santa, I think he feels all grown up and gives me a secret smile and nod because he knows and she doesn't know. He puffs his chest out just a little, gives me a look, and well, I think he thinks he is becoming a man because he is in on the secret. He is growing up.

I wish I could freeze time and keep them little and innocent forever. I will miss the days of the letters to Santa and her hope that he will read her letter and bring her what she wants. I will miss putting out the cookies and milk for Santa and his reindeer. It will be an end to something magical; as if the last of the childhood magic has be used up.

You know, this is the stuff "they" don't tell you about before you have kids. "They" don't tell you that it will make you sad when your kids no longer believe. "They" don't tell you that overnight they go from diapers, to riding bikes, to helping put out the presents. "They" don't tell you.

Part of me is sad that this could possibly be her last year of believing; I want her to be a little girl forever, but I know that isn't an option. I never knew something like this would make me feel sad. How come "they" didn't put this stuff in the Parents' Handbook? How come "they" didn't give me a Parents' Handbook? How come "they" didn't prepare me that my kids' growing up would make me feel sad? Damn "they".

(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rid Your Home of Cat Hair; Without Getting Rid of the Cat!

There comes a time in a person's life when one just has to grab the reins and take control of a situation. No more sitting helplessly on the sidelines, whining; no way, action must be taken. The problem must be solved by whatever means are necessary. There is a huge problem in my house and I am going to think of a way to fix it. I am talking about cat hair, people, tons and tons of cat hair.

We have two cats, Elvis and Daisy May, and we have a ton of cat hair. Gross, I know. I put on my glasses the other day and I kept wiping the outside of the lens as it seemed a bit blurry, only to come find out that it wasn't blurry and the lens was fine; there was a piece of cat hair on the inside of my lens. There it was, taunting me, on the inside of the lens. Bug! And again, gross!

This morning, I put on a pair of black pants, well, they used to be black, but this morning they were kind of orangy-grayish-whitish. Gosh, any guesses what colors our cats are?

The final straw with these hairballs, er, cats, was after I lint-rolled my black pants and I sat down at the computer to check my e-mail. Guess what the cats did??? Any guesses? Any? That's right, the little feline furballs decided to rub up against my leg all nonchalantly, as if I wouldn't notice, and left their hair all over the bottom half of my legs! Sneaking little buggers, aren't they? Not only did they leave their mark in hair on my leg, but some of it managed to crawl up and land on my sweater. I swear, how does it know where to find the black clothes? How does it know?

Well, I am not going to sit back and take this covered in cat hair anymore. I am putting my foot down. I thought about getting out the vacuum and giving them a once over, but thought that might not be a good idea, especially if they got sucked up or something. I thought about shaving them, but I don't like the look of hairless cats and my kids would kill me and I want to live a long time. I need another option. Let me think. Hummmmm.

Click! Ooooh, my light bulb in my brain just went on. Instead of having to lint-roll the second hand hair that has migrated to my clothes, what if I could cut it off at the source? Good thinking, I tell myself as I as I pickup the lint roller off the table. Instead of lint-rolling me while I am wearing my clothes, I could cut out a step and lint-roll the cats, thus, solving the problem of their hair on my clothes, hair on my glasses, and thus giving the cats a much longer life span. Total genius!Sometimes I just amaze myself. Here kitty kitty...Here kitty kitty....Here kitty kitty.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Collecting State Quarters. It Is All Good

For some reason, I have a few things I enjoy that my friends make fun of. It is as if they are secretly laughing at me or making fun of me. OK, my true friends actually make fun of me to my face, and I am looking into getting some new friends, but until then, I just figure that as long as I enjoy what I do, it is all good; laugh away, friends, laugh away. One of the things that I get all excited about that they just don't get, is, I collect State Quarters.

In America, we have 50 states. In 1999, the coin maker people decided to put out five different state quarters each year for ten years, which would make for 50 quarters, one for every state. The quarters come out in order that each state became a state and each quarter has a different picture on the back of it; something that represents the individual state. Did you get all that? If not, go back and read it again and I will wait.

Waiting...

OK, glad you are back. I have been collecting these quarters since the beginning; I even have a map that is pre-printed and has holes cut out so you can put the quarters in the little circles. Such fun! I get so happy putting the quarters by their state, it is like a puzzle, a ten year puzzle, but nonetheless, a puzzle.

I still remember my first quarter way back in 1999, I was at a fast food restaurant and I got a quarter back in change. It wasn't just any old quarter, oh no, it was a neewwwwww one. Ooooh, it was so pretty and shiny! I wanted to find more and I realized that I only had 49 more to go and someday I would have them all! (Insert evil bad guy laugh)

As of today, I only have seven more I need to find, and five of those won't be out until next year. Today, as I was at a quick mart, I got one of the three remaining ones I still need for this year. I looked at my change and let out a whoohoo! The lady behind the counter looked up from her magazine and asked if everything was OK. I told her it was better than OK, it was great-I had another quarter! Yes, one does get used to strangers rolling their eyes. Pretty soon, one barely notices it. Now, I am going to go put the new quarter in its little place on the map. Only seven more to go! Whoohoo! Oh, it is ok to laugh, like I said, it is all good. I am happy, you are happy, and I only have seven more to go. It is all good.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Check. Grumble grumble. Check Check.

Hot water in the tub? Check
Bubble bath with lots of bubbles? Check Check
Good book, great radio station, and lots of candles so I can sit in the tub and relax? Check Check Check

Time elapsed one minute.

Kid knocking, er, pounding on door wanting me to get out and yell at the other kid for who-knows-what? Check. Grumble grumble. Check Check.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life in the ER. Some Things I Will Never Know.

The last few days have made me realize how helpless I feel when my kids are sick. Sure, I can get them medicine, to a hospital, or kiss a booboo, but other than that, if they are sick, they are sick, and I can't stop it. I will always be there to hold a hand or rub a back and sometimes, it seems, just being there is enough. But what if you didn't have anyone to be there?

Yesterday I had to take my son to the emergency room. He would kill me if I were to say why, so I will only say it was a boy thing and he is much better today. I only wish I could say that about a lady, whose name I don't know, whom I had an brief encounter with at the emergency room.

The way an emergency room works, is, once you are admitted and they start the testing, there is nothing left to do but sit, wait, tell bad jokes, and make small talk; it is extremely boring. The rooms are cold, all you hear are doctors talking or patients moaning, and you just want to get out of there.

After about two hours of sitting with my son, I had to get up and move around. I walked up and down the hallway and was surprised at how crowded it was. There were people on hospital beds lined up against the walls; all waiting for a room.

One elderly lady caught my eye as she was parked, for lack of a better word, right outside of my son's room. Apparently, she was there with a broken pelvis. I watched her for a minute as she would try to grab anyone who walked by. I don't know if she needed medical attention or just some company but she was reaching out to anyone and everyone who happened to be within an arm's distance. I tried to walk by her and back to my son's room, and that is when she reached out to me. I asked if she needed anything and she asked if I worked there. I said no but I would get a nurse. I don't think she understood me as she asked me again if I worked there and I again told her no. She looked so sad and lonely.

I wondered where her family was, or if she had any family. I thought about offering her my phone so she could call someone, anyone, to come and sit with her, but she seemed a bit out of it so I didn't. She was very old and all alone in the emergency room. Why wasn't anyone with her? I know she was there at least three hours as that was how long we were there.

I went back to my son's room and after a few hours, the doctor told me that my son was better and he could go home. I was so relieved and couldn't wait to get out of there. As happy as I was to be leaving and taking my son home, a part of me, somewhere deep in my heart, wanted to stay with that lady. I just wanted to sit with her and tell her bad jokes to help pass the time. I hate that she was there by herself in pain. No one to make small talk, no one to get her juice, and no one to hold her hand. A part of my head is still with her as I am still thinking about her, but I guess all I can do is hope that someone came to be with her. I guess I will never know.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cindy's Christmas Song Game (c)

Cindy’s Christmas Song Game

It's almost that time of year again....Holidays, ornaments, giving, presents,and all the good that goes along with this time of year. I love the holiday season. I love almost everything about it, everything, that is, except three certain Christmas songs.

When I was ten, I went to the mall with my mom to buy Christmas presents. While waiting in one of the mile long lines to pay for our presents, I heard White Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, and Little Drummer Boy. There was a guy behind me who was whistling the songs along with them. Nothing sounds worse than a Christmas song being whistled. Drove me nuts.

The next store we went to, we ended up in another mile long line, and we heard the same three songs! Uggg!

The third store we went to, we ended up in yet another mile long line, and we heard the same three songs again! I vowed from then on, I never, ever wanted to hear those three songs again, especially while standing in line buying presents, and hence, Cindy's Christmas Song Game(c) was born.

This game does not start until December 1 of every year, and it goes until Christmas. The rules are simple, and since it is my game, they are not to be broken, bent, twisted, or anything else, unless express written permission from me is granted; but, it won't be as I don't allow anyone to deviate from the rules. The goal is to make it to Christmas without hearing your three songs. If this happens, you win. If not, you lose.

RULES:

1. Pick three Christmas song you do not want to hear from December 1 until December 25.

2. If you hear one of your songs, whether on the radio, the television, a commercial, the mall, the post office, the grocery store, if your in-laws put in a holiday song CD that they randomly decide to play, or anywhere else, when you hear your song, you get dinged and only have two songs left. If you hear over three seconds of any of your songs, THREE SECONDS ONLY, you are dinged and that song is out. No second chances. None.

2. Once you hear your first song, it is kind of a warning and you are on notice that you only have two songs left. Laugh now, but it gets stressful. You might be fiddling around with the radio and think, "I hope I don't accidentally click on a station playing a commercial with one of my songs." Or, "What if some carolers show up and sing one of my songs?" Or, "I hope the car next to me isn't blasting one of my songs." See? Stressful. That could give a person an ulcer.

3. Once you have heard all three of your songs and been dinged, you are out. Done. Total loser. Don't feel bad as I have been playing this game going on 26 years and once was out on December 2, not a good year. Only once have I made it Christmas only to have my in-laws play a CD, unknowingly, with my last song. Doh! Dinged. Out. Loser.

So, any questions? I am putting this up now so you can all get a head start and think of your songs. Pick good ones as once you pick them, you cannot change until the next year. I will re-post this on December 1 for a reminder. If you get the kids involved, they are awful and will make sure to point out your songs, just in case you missed one of them. Helpful little buggers, aren't they? So, you have a few days to think of your songs so write them down and no cheating!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

You're Not Pregnant? Are You Sure?

My kids and I went to the doctor's today to get our throats swabbed for strep throat, something I absolutely hate. As we were sitting in the little room waiting for the nurse to jam a Q-Tip down our throats, I thought of something funny and started laughing. I do that a lot, I think of something funny and then laugh; my kids seem to do a lot of eyerolling. I wonder if the two are related. Hummmm.

Anyway, I was thinking back to a few years ago when I was in the doctor's office and I overheard two nurses talking outside the door. Nurse 1, who sounded very angry, said, "This little boy just asked if I was pregnant." Nurse 2 asked, "Well, what did you tell him?" I think she asked because I think she also wondered the same thing. Nurse 1 said, "I told him no, that I was not, and that it was very rude to ask!" Then she continued, "The little boy looked at me again and asked, 'Are you sure?'"

pffffffttttt. Giggle Giggle. Hehe. Snicker Snicker. I know, it was very rude of that little boy to ask if she was sure she was not pregnant, but even so, it was kind of funny.

After thinking about what the little boy said, Nurse 2 couldn't help it and she laughed; finally so did nurse 1. Then she made a comment about getting on a treadmill and they both laughed again, so it had a happy ending. Whew.

So, back to me sitting there waiting to have the cottonball-on-a-stick shoved down my throat to see if I have strep, I was hoping like mad that some little kid would ask this nurse that same question. She was very skinny, but since she was making me miserable, I thought it would be ok to make her miserable as well, at least for a minute or two. Did I mention I hate have my throat jabbed with a Q-Tip? And that I get crabby when I am sick? And when I am sick and crabby I think bad things about the people who are poking things in me? Well, I do. Hey kid, where are you? How come I can never find a rude kid when I need one?
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tall Girls Have All the Luck

The other day I was watching a TV show that was showing old TV commercials. Most I didn't think much of, but one in particular brought back some memories. This commercial was the epitome of what I wanted to be when I grew up; it gave me hope that one day I could be a something, a someone, a somebody. This commercial inspired me and gave me hope. Was this a commercial for world peace? No. How about ending poverty? No. This was a commercial that changed my life; this was a commercial for Nair Leg Hair Removal.

In the commercial, the women would put Nair on their legs, it looks like shaving cream, and poof! the end result was long, tan, beautiful legs, with no hair, of course. It taught me that a woman could wear short-shorts after using the Nair and the men would love her. I swear, as a kid, I thought that when I got older, I would buy some of that Nair and I would put it on my legs and I would be Ms. Thing. Uh-huh. Snap snap.

My friends and I would sing the little song from the commercial, probably more than was a healthy amount. If you don't know the song or need a refresher, here it is (Who wears short-shorts? We wear short-shorts. If you dare go bare it's Nair with alovera), or something very close to that. The commercial had a bunch of women sitting at what looked like an ice cream counter in super short-shorts with very long, tan legs, and it was all due to the Nair, or so I thought. I just knew I would be one of those girls one day.

Fast forward about so many years and well, things just didn't turn out quite like I figured. First off, I am only 5'2" and I think those models' legs alone were 5'2, so right there I was out of the running to be a Nair leg model girl. I also hate the heat and am not a big fan of tanning, so again, there goes the tan part being that I am either white or pinkish or a dark red from a sunburn. As for beautiful legs, mine aren't too bad, but nothing like the ones those women had. Plus, at my age, it might be a felony if I were to wear the short-shorts out in public and I really don't want to be locked up.

It is funny how, as a kid, I really thought that that Nair would give me long, tan, beautiful legs. As an adult, I know better. Sometimes it would be nice to not figure things out and still have those silly dreams. Speaking of dreams, please do not even get me started on the Rockettes. I am speaking of the world famous New York Rockettes, the ones in the showgirl type outfits that perform the famous kick line. I thought they were perfect and really wanted to be one, maybe as a side job to being a Nair leg model. My dreams were crushed when I found out the Rockettes have a minimum height requirement of 5'6". I can't even tell you how much I wanted to be one of those ladies.

I have since gotten over my dream of being the Nair leg model/Rockette and maybe I should work on world peace or ending hunger, as those would be much more realistic dreams for me. Boy, those tall girls have all the luck; sometimes life just isn't fair.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Even Bugs Need a Proper Burial

My son loves bugs. No wait, he doesn't love bugs, he LOVES bugs.

While sitting at the restaurant the other night, I noticed he was only using one hand to eat and the other hand was in a fist and he was being very careful not to bump it. Not knowing if I really wanted to know, I finally asked him what was in his fist. Again, I wasn't sure I wanted to know, but knew I had to ask.

He slowly opened his fist, and I mean SLOWLY, as I think he wasn't sure if he was going to be in trouble or not. Inside his closed fist was a moth, a wounded moth; my son brought a wounded moth into a restaurant. Arrrgggg! He told me he found it on the sidewalk and it was hurt and he wanted to help it. I told him he couldn't have it in the restaurant so he offered to go wait outside. He would rather wait outside with his little moth friend than eat dinner. I told him him no, to stay put, and to keep the moth in his hand and we would get our food to go. Our waitress stopped by about this time and luckily she must have been a bug lover too, as she got him a to-go cup and they put the hurt moth inside. Awww.

That night my son put a wet cotton ball in for water and gave it a leaf to eat. I think he checked on it once or twice throughout the night. The moth only lived about one more day, and my son gave it a proper burial. A proper bug burial consists of an empty toilet paper roll for the casket with its name written on it, and wrapped in toilet paper. He digs a little hole and buries it. Someday, someone in the future is going to discover our bug cemetery and will have a good wonder at what the heck was buried.

My son has since moved on to crickets and he buys those little feeder crickets that other people use to feed their pets. He gets very upset when people feed them to other animals, it would be like giving a puppy to a lizard, or at least it is in his eyes. Crickets are only eight cents each so I can't complain about the price. Oh, yes, he does buy them cricket food and water and even cleans out their cage. They are so gross and I can't stand them, but to see my son taking care of them makes me happy and makes him happy thinking he is saving the crickets. I guess there are worse things a boy could do.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Help Wanted: Mom-For-Rent

I am now on day two of being home sick and I have decided to put the following sign in my window:
NOW HIRING ONE (1) MOM-FOR-RENT
Duties include, but are not limited to:
Fluffing pillows, keeping the remote within my distance, making hot chocolate and soup, doing the laundry, the dishes, tidying up anything that needs to be tidied, and just making me feel better by not letting me do anything.

It's hard being sick when you are the mom; I want a Mom-For-Rent. Today as I was lying on what felt like my death bed with a fever, chills, headache, sore throat, and all over aches and pains, my son's school called and said he had the same thing and could I please drag my sick self down to the school to come pick him up. I offered her $50 to keep him, but she politely declined. I should have upped my offer. Note to self, next time offer more money.

So, looking worse than a mud fence after a rain and feeling worse than I looked, I crawled to my car and picked up my son. Luckily for me, all he wanted to do was sleep, which made it quite convenient for me to be sick and not have to move. As I was lying on the couch being miserable, I realized that the remote control was about six inches out of my reach. That was terrible. I couldn't move and didn't have the energy to reach six more inches. I had my cell phone but was pretty sure no one I called would drive to my house to move my remote the six inches that was needed to reach my hand. It was at that very second that the phrase "Mom-For-Rent" flashed in my mind. I bet someone could make a killing doing that. All she would have to do is take care of a mom when a mom is sick. Sometimes I am such a genius that I even amaze myself.

My son woke up a few hours later and wanted some toast. I looked at him and thought, "There is no way I am getting off this couch to make you some toast," and I thought that all the way to the kitchen, while standing the toaster waiting for his toast, and again as I was cutting his toast into little bite sized pieces like he likes. I was also thinking this as I made him a cup of hot chocolate to go with his toast that was buttered and cut into bite size pieces. Even moving to the kitchen hurt and I wanted someone else, anyone else, to make his toast and hot chocolate for him, and maybe make me some too.

I am cutting this short as I really do feel awful and just got up to get some aspirin for my aches and pains. It would have been so nice to have someone get that aspirin for me. Maybe a Boyfriend-For-Rent would be nice too, but then again, I would never get the remote from him and the constant flipping of the channels would drive me crazy. Plus, I would probably have to clean up after him, so that might defeat the purpose. Hummm. So, I am sticking with the Mom-For-Rent and if anyone decides to follow up with this idea, give me a call.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Holidays! I know it is early, but..

Jingle Bells...Jingle Bells...Jingle all the....wait a minute, it is only November. Rats! I can't be singing Jingle Bells in November, it is too early. Double rats! I am so ready for the holiday season to start, but Thanksgiving hasn't had its day yet. Rats, rats, and more rats!

Today I was in a store and they were selling the cutest little snowman ornaments ever. They even light up, so how could I not buy them? I couldn't, and I bought three. When I got home with my three snowman ornaments that light up, I needed a safe place to hang them, as they are glass, until I put up my tree. Where-oh-where? Hummm, how about the door knobs? No, we have cats and they would knock them off. The refrigerator? Naw, they would fall off when I closed the door. Next door at the neighbor's place? No good, they have kids and animals and that would be like leaving them here. Where could I put them? I concluded that the only good place to hang an ornament would be on a Christmas tree. Since my tree wasn't up, I had a problem.

Since I am allergic to real Christmas trees--yes, I really am, stop laughing, they give me hives--I keep mine in a box on my patio. As I walked around my place with the three snowman ornaments that light up, I wandered out on my patio and I swear I heard my poor tree begging to be let in so I could put the ornaments where they so rightfully belonged. It was saying that the holidays would be here soon, so why not get ahead of the game and put it up? I had to turn my back and ignore its pleas as being that it is only November, that is just way too early. It was all I could do to go back inside and shut the door.

All I can do now, I suppose, is wait. Wait for Thanksgiving to get here, as that is the official start to the holiday season. After that, it is acceptable to hang up the ornaments on their proper place on my tree. Nothing against Thanksgiving, as I love to eat and spend time with my family, but it just does not compare to the fun of good old December, the holiday season.

I love the holiday season and everything about it. I love how the weather is cold and I get to bundle up in a big jacket and crank up the heater in the car. I love how people seem friendlier. I love how the kids and I have more fires and drink more hot chocolate. I love how people give more money to charities and help others when that didn't seem as important during the rest of the year. I love how people donate food, clothes, and toys to help those less fortunate. I love how people deliver food to the elderly so they can have a nice meal. I love how people give a few extra dollars, or even a blanket to help a homeless person. I love the lights strung on houses. I even love those big goofy decorations people put on their lawns. I love it all!

The best part to me is that this time of year seems to bring out the best in people. No matter what their religion, or even if they don't have a religion, there is something that makes people want to share and donate and help others. Even if they don't celebrate any holidays, most people still seem to be more giving. I love that.

I have been on the giving end, and the receiving end of donations and let me tell you this: When you are down and out and there isn't much money to buy your kids presents, having someone help you, well, the feelings of thankfulness fill your heart to the brim and run over. You can feel your heart smile. When I have been on the giving end and have helped others, it is a different kind of happiness. It is such a great feeling to help make someones holiday special, and that is better than any present I could ever receive.

So, back to the snowmen ornaments that light up and my talking tree out on the patio. I think I will wait until Thanksgiving to put up my tree, or maybe the day after, as if I put it up any earlier, the neighbors might report me to the proper authorities, or egg my place. I don't want to be like the people with their Christmas lights turned on in July and I think putting up my tree this early in the year would be close to that. Since I like my neighbors, I will wait. I think I will put the snowmen ornaments that light up back in their bag and maybe take them out every few days and have a look, just to make me smile. They remind me of what lies ahead and that makes me happy. Happy holidays, I hope they are wonderful!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Huge Thanks to Anita Creamer

Today I opened the Sacramento Bee Newspaper and looked at the Scene Section. I was at the store reading the front page when I saw my name; I was speechless. Being speechless is something that rarely happens to me, so it was a big deal. The column I saw that made me speechless was about my blog and how it began. A minute or two later when I got my voice working again, I was so excited that I went over to a lady in the store and asked her to read the column. I showed a few more people and I would have shown the rest, but they were working and I didn't want to get them in trouble. The people I showed liked the story and before I left, I called my parents, sister and a few friends. I also text messaged some people. Ok, sometimes I like attention.

I owe a huge thanks to Anita Creamer, a columnist for the Sacramento Bee Newspaper, for writing her column about my blog. I am a huge fan of hers and have been since the first time I read one of her columns. She writes about people, and some of her stories have moved me to tears. That is a sign of a great writer, and that she is.

I knew there would be a story coming out, but I wasn't sure when or if it would really happen, I think that is why I was so surprised. I truly appreciate her writing about my blog and I hope to continue to provide interesting things for others to enjoy. If I could give her a hug over the Internet, I would. So, Anita, consider yourself hugged!

Thank you Anita!
Cindy Breninger
If anyone wants to subscribe, that means you will receive an e-mail alert with any new posts I put up. If you want to, just click to the left where it says subscribe.
If you would like to view the story, here is the link: http://www.sacbee.com/creamer/story/480010.html

Saturday, November 10, 2007

With Death, It is ok to Live

Last night the kids and I bought two fish for our fish tank. When we woke up this morning, one of them was dead. Our hamsters have never lasted over a year or two, and my son's pet crickets, well, if they are alive for over a month, we know they have reached old age and it is just a matter of time. In a way, having pets come and go can make it easier to handle when it happens to a person. Having lost a pet that you love, you learn that life does go on, even without them.

I remember when my kids' first hamster, named Mouse, died. It was so sad. My son found him in the cage right before leaving for school. Both kids had a good cry, but went off to school. I was worried about the kids all day. Were they in their classes crying? Were they upset? How would they handle the tragedy of the morning?

When I picked the kids up later that day, they were both fine. No tears, no sadness, no nothing. I asked how their day went they both said they were sad in the morning, but once they started playing, they forgot about it.

I have lost a lot of people in my life, from my mom, to a best friend, to relatives, and everyone in between. Often, when I find out about someone passing, I want to be alone and not talk to anyone or see anyone. But, being a single mom with kids, that option is often not available.

I lost another friend a few weeks ago and was going to stay home, cry, and be sad. My sister called me and asked me to go to her house. At first, I didn't want to. I would just be a burden, all sad and crying and such. But she asked again and I decided I would. When I got there, we put on a funny movie and it made me smile. I felt guilty about laughing when I should have been crying.

When my kids found the fish this morning, at first they were sad, but then they said it was ok because we could just go to the pet store and buy another one. With people, you don't get to go buy another one, but somehow you just know that life does go on. You still have to go to work, you still have to pay your bills, and you still have to do whatever it is you normally do. Yes, there are days when I still cry and my heart is sad, but I also know that my heart will never forget the person and that it is ok to give my mind a break. It is ok to laugh, it is ok to love, and it is ok to live.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Normal Family? What is That?


My daughter once asked me if we were a normal family. Normal? Hummm. Good question. I didn't have an answer for her, but the question got me thinking about what makes a family normal or not normal. I started thinking about my own family and the things that make us, well, us. I figured that once I put some thought into it, I could decide if we were normal or not and give her an answer.

We have a lot of pets which include a whole mess of fish, a Russian Tortoise, two cats, and about 60 crickets. In the past, we have had an entire gaggle of hamsters, two stick bugs, a dog, a frog, and a moth. The crickets gross me out, but I don't mind them as long as my son catches them when they escape. But, I do draw the line at snakes and spiders as both scare the heck out of me. My daughter once wrote a letter to Santa and asked for a spider, so ever since then, I have had to put my foot down.

Sometimes, we take our tortoise outside for a walk. I imagine it must be a pretty funny sight to see the three of us walking down the street with our tortoise. My son is working on making her a leash, that ought to be a sight.

Every Tuesday we have spaghetti night. My son hates spaghetti sauce so he puts applesauce on it. I know, gross, but he loves it. I keep hoping he will outgrow this in a few years. My daughter, on the other hand, loves ketchup. She loves it so much, she even dips her bananas and strawberries in it. Ewww.

My daughter loves to put her clothes on her cat. The cat, well, she doesn't love it so much. If she could shoot darts out of her eyes at me for allowing my daughter to parade her around the place in a dress, I would be a dead ten times over. Sometimes the kids give their cats baths and there is nothing funnier than a wet cat shaking off its little paws all the while glaring at you. You just can't help but laugh when they are all skinny, ticked off, and shaking off. They always end up just fine and smelling so much better, so, glare all ya want kitties.

We sometimes wake up and decide to drive to the snow; or go for a hike; or go to the movies; or visit with friends; or or or...whatever we want! We almost always have a good time as we are all goofballs and laugh and joke around. Sometimes we turn up the music and dance around with the lights off and the disco ball spinning; or snuggle on the couch and watch a movie; or climb a tree; or look at the stars with a telescope. Sometimes we have those Saturdays where we want to do absolutely nothing, and we sit home and do just that, a do-nothing day, my personal favorite.

Getting back to wondering what makes a normal family, I don't know how to answer that. I think as long as the family has fun together, can laugh together, and enjoys being together, then that would be my definition of what makes a normal family. If I am wrong, then I don't want us to be normal.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Obsessed? I hope so!

Obsession, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: A persistent disturbing preoccupation with an idea or feeling; also: an emotion or idea causing such a preoccupation.

Many have used this word to describe me when it comes to skiing. Just because I once took my skis in for a wax and tuneup in July in hopes it would bring an early snow, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I check the local ski resorts daily to see if, by chance, we have had any new snow, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I get happy when there is even the tiniest cloud in the sky, even in the summer, because I think it just might be bringing some of its cloud friends for some snow, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I literally dream I am skiing and wake up sad that it was only a dream, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I once skied on a little patch of man-made snow just to have my skis on my feet and snow under my skis, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I have taken my kids to the vacant ski resorts during the summer just to sit on the chair lift, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I once skied on my right leg as I put a tiny fracture in my left leg the week before from a bad fall, does not make me obsessed.

Just because I would get in the car at night with a friend and drive an hour to a resort for night skiing in 8 degree weather, does not make me obsessed.


Just because I would spend my last few dollars on a lift ticket instead of anything else, does not make me obsessed. Or does it?

I might be inclined to say I am a wee bit obsessed, but I love having something I love and am passionate about. How sad it would be to go through life and not have something that you are passionate about, dream about, think about, and get to be a part of.

I like knowing how much I love to ski. I like how if I am having a rotten day, I can hit the slopes and no matter what was bothering me, by the time I hit my first run, I no longer care. Bills overdue? Who cares! I can't pay them from the chairlift, so they just don't matter. Nothing can bother me when I am up there, nothing, and I like it that way.


I am beginning to think being obsessed is a good thing. I hope everyone finds at least one thing they can't live without. I have often said I could live if I physically couldn't ski, but honestly, not sure if I would want to. I would be glad to be around for my kids, but I know I would always be missing that part of me that loves to ski. It makes me happy. I also say to find something you love to do, and do it often. If not, why not?
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Ever See a Cat High on Catnip? It's Bad News!


Oh my word, one of the funniest and oddest things I have ever seen is going on in my place right this minute. We have two cats, Elvis and Daisy May. They are pretty peaceful, laid back, and prefer to sleep most of the time. I don't know a whole lot about cats, so I am lucky they are low maintenance. They are brother and sister, two years old, and I have always thought they seemed pretty normal, nothing out of the ordinary, like say, a drug problem...or so I thought.

I was at the pet store today and bought a cardboard scratch board type of thing. I brought it home, took it out of the box and left it on the floor and went about my day. Normal enough, until Elvis, the boy cat, started sniffing around. I swear, if cats could smile, he was smilling from ear to ear. He put his nose up to the cardboard and wouldn't move, like his nose was glued to it or something.

The girl, Daisy May, was over near the outer box trying to rip it apart. What the??? What is up with the cats? They rarely move and now they are both acting like crazies. I took the outer box from Daisy May and inside was a little baggie containing some dried green leaves. It reminded me of the bags of marijuana that the police take from the bad guys on the show Cops. I re-read the box the cardboard came in and it said it contained one bag of "Catnip".

I had never seen Catnip and actually thought it was something that was made up; however, my cats knew what it was. They were acting like junkies trying to get high. I swear, they were smellin', lickin', and eatin' the cardboard thing. Geeze, hand them a lighter and I bet they would have smoked it. I mean it, they were trying to eat the cardboard to get to the catnip, or the smell, as that must have leaked onto the cardboard. Daisy May put her nose up to the board for another hit, er, smell, and Elvis full on smacked her on the head as if to tell her it was his stash and to go get her own. They were ready to fight over sniffing the cardboard. What happened to my sweet, mellow cats? They were fighting over a hit off the cardboard.

Even now, as we are about to go to bed, Elvis is sleeping on the drug laced, er, catnip laced board. Every time Daisy May goes near him, he hisses, and I swear, he about makes a fist giving her a warning that it is his cardboard. If he had a knife, I swear he would pull it on her. Good thing cats can't have guns. I am beginning to think he is an addict. If he starts following his paws around in the air seeing tracers, I am taking that cardboard back.

I think I am going to take them to Narcotics Anonymous tomorrow as they need to get clean. This stuff is bad news. Ever see a cat's brain on catnip? It is just like that commercial with the fried egg. Bad news.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Oh, for the Love of Children

Oh, the things we will do, er, eat for the love of our children. Tonight, my seven year old daughter was in the kitchen and she said she was making a surprise for me. When she brought me a plate, it had a taco that I knew she worked very hard on and made sure it was "perfect". She eagerly watched as I picked up the taco and took a bite as she waited for my response. When I said, "Yummy! This is the best taco ever!" she was so proud and pleased with herself that it made me happy. She had the biggest grin on her face and waited to make sure I ate every last bite.

The taco that I lovingly ate contained: one taco shell; one refried bean; a piece of shredded cheese; and the rest of the shell filled with sour cream. Ever taken a big old spoonful of sour cream and eaten it? No? Me neither. But, it was so cute how she wanted to do something for me and she tried to make something she thought would make me happy, how could I turn that down? Obviously, I couldn't, and if she makes another one tomorrow, I will eat it just to see her cute little face with that great, big smile!

You just haven't lived until you have eaten an entire taco filled with sour cream. I will never forget how happy she was to make me happy and there is not a better feeling in the world. Oh, what we do for the love of our children!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 2, 2007

War Against the Gnats

For some reason, this time every year, let's just call it the pumpkin rotting season, we seem to be infested with gnats. The gnats appear out of nowhere and invade our pumpkins. Once they leave the pumpkins, for some unknown reason, they make their way to our bathroom. We have never had a pumpkin, or food, or anything of interest to them in there, and I have never been able to figure out why they migrate to the bathroom, but they do. Every year the kids and I vow to fight off the gnats and kill them, and this year is no different. This is war, people!

One trick my son uses is, he waits until they are on the wall and then rolls over them with a lint roller, he has also left glue on a piece of paper hoping they would land there, and placed a cup of hot chocolate on the counter, again, hoping they would want a drink and then get stuck; we have tried everything, or so I thought.

My son stayed home sick today and was in the bathroom for a very long while. I knocked and asked if he was OK and he said yes. When he finally came out, he was smiling, and went back to sit on the couch. He had a big old grin and I asked if everything was OK. He said yes. He looked at me and said, "Mom, we are smarter this year and we are going to win the war against the gnats!" And that was all he would say. This made me a bit concerned.

I went into the bathroom and taped to the mirror, was an empty Junior Mints box that had a piece of chocolate taped to the inside, tape was all over the inside and outside of the box, with the sticky side out. What the? Why is there a sticky, chocolaty Junior Mints box taped to the bathroom mirror? SON!

I asked my son why that was on the mirror and he said, "Mom, when the gnats walk around on the mirror, they will see the chocolate and want to go inside. Once they are inside, they will get stuck and then no more gnats!" He said it with a bit of an evil laugh. I imagined an evil scientist rubbing his hands together after thinking of a brilliant idea, or world domination. He might be taking this a little too seriously. Humm. Worry about that later, must get gnats first.

I hope his little trap works as I hate the gnats. They freak me out as I don't want to walk with my mouth open for fear they will fly in my mouth, I don't want to breathe and again, have one in my mouth, or have one get stuck to my teeth or something. Ewwww. I hope the pumpkin rotting season ends quickly and takes its gnats with it. Yuck!

First update: My son just reported that he caught one gnat in the trap! Man your stations everyone, this year we will be victorious! The bathroom will be ours again!

Second update: My have now enlisted the kid next door. They are armed with two dustbusters, a lint roller and a roll of tape. Don't mess with us, boy, we are taking over!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween. Save the deep thinking for world peace

Halloween.
Right now I have a zombie and a spider witch getting ready in the bathroom. They are having a ball putting on fake blood, red lips, and trying to make rotting flesh out of paint, the scarier the better!

In about an hour, we will be off to the haunted house for them to play games, get some candy, and maybe get a bit frightened. Nothing too scary, but a little bit, as that is what halloween is about, at least in my house.

I have never put much thought into the meaning behind halloween, and don't intend to start now. A friend suggested that she might not let her kid dress up as she did not agree with halloween because she didn't want her kid to get scared. My jaw about dropped to the floor, in disgust, and I wanted to take away her birthday just to show her what it was like. Take away halloween? Was she mad? I understand if people are religious and it contridicts what they are taught, but the other people, no excuse. Take away halloween...sheesh! Whataretheythinking?

For me, it has always been about putting on a costume and getting candy. No deep meaning at all. My kids love dressing up, I love walking with them as they knock on the door and say "trick-or-treat," and we all love getting candy. For me, that is about as deep as it gets. Dressing, knocking, eating. Overall, it is a great way to spend time with my kids and we all go to bed a little happier, and fatter.

Life is short so have fun while you can and don't take all the fun out of things we thought were great as kids. Sometimes people think way too much about the wrong things. Save the deep thinking for world peace, curing a sickness, or ways to help others. Not for ways to spoil the fun for little kids.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Enjoy Your Kids Now, As Someday They Won't Be Around To...

Sometimes it is so easy to forget what's important. Sometimes it just takes a small reminder that we should stop, take a break, and enjoy life; even if it is just for a minute or two, or ten. Tonight, for example, I was sitting at my computer doing whatever it was I needed to do on my computer that seemed to be ever so important, when my seven and nine year kids turned up the stereo and started running around the living room laughing like crazy. They asked me if I wanted to come play with them and I said I was too busy...Oh, sooooo wrong, I thought, as I closed my eyes while slapping my hand to my forehead. My computer work will still be here in ten minutes, I thought, and my kids will be ten minutes older--ten minutes I will never get back with them.

I sat here for another minute and realized that what I was missing was important, not the computer work, but playing with my kids. I know, some day, sooner than I will be ready for, they will be gone and on their own and I will be sitting here wishing they could be here asking me to dance around the living room.

We ended up getting out our disco ball, cranking up the music, and dancing around like a bunch of crazy old fools, all the while laughing our heads off! I know that my computer isn't going anywhere, but someday my kids will, so I had better enjoy the heck out of them now, while they still want me to!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Generosity Doesn't Come Easy for Some. My 100 word essay

Generosity Doesn't Come Easy for Some.
Yesterday, I watched as a homeless man asked a lady for her doggie bag as she exited a restaurant. She seemed angry and walked away.
How desperate he must have been to ask for a doggie bag-someone's half-eaten lunch. I gave him my lunch and he thanked me.
He looked so hungry, and that lady's refusal to help made my heart sink. He wasn't asking for money, just something to eat.
Sometimes it takes so little to make things easier for others.

I wrote the above story and it appeared in the Sacramento Bee Newspaper as an "I'm Just Saying" 100-word essay.

I have an extremely large soft spot for the homeless; I always have. How can it be ok for people, human beings, to sleep in a doorway on a cold, wintry night? I am really bothered by this and I wish I could help them. I get irritated if my blankets are crooked; they would be happy to have a blanket, crooked or not. I hate to see others suffer and it makes me sad. I wish I could fix the homeless problem, but I don't know how and I don't think I can. I can only wish that they are all ok and survive another night on the streets. Maybe someday, good things will happen and they will have a nice house with lots of extra blankets that they can share with others.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 29, 2007

DaisyMayRosesPrincessPiggy

Mouse. Mouse 2. Mouse 3. Mr.Bitey. Jr. Jeff. Princess. Elvis. DaisyMayRosesPrincessPiggy.

What the? What are those? In my house, they are the norm. In other homes, not so much. Those are names my kids and I have given our pets. At first glance, they might seem normal enough, but let me explain why they are not.

MOUSE. Mouse was a hamster that we named Mouse. Yes, we named our hamster Mouse.
Mouse 2 and 3. When the original Mouse died and we replaced it, the next two were also Mouse with the number. Again, they were hamsters.

MR. BITEY. He was the only pet we have had that his name made sense. He was not my favorite for one reason, hence the name, Mr. Bitey. Ouch!

JR. Jr. looked exactly like Mr. Bitey and he was also a biter. He, also, wasn't my favorite.

JEFF. Ok, Jeff is a Russian Tortoise. Not only is Jeff a Russian Tortoise, but Jeff is a FEMALE Russian Tortoise. My kids liked the name Jeff, so now our female Russian Tortoise is forever branded with the male name of Jeff. People in the neighborhood call her The Jeffers. Much better. Uh-huh.

PRINCESS. This would be a cute name for a female hamster, but ours was not so lucky. Ours was a male hamster named Princess. Poor guy.

ELVIS. I love Elvis and named one of our cats Elvis. One of my kids wanted to name him Balloons, so I took over on this one. We also named our 11 fish Elvis as it made it easy to point to the tank and say, "Oooh, look how pretty Elvis is," you can never go wrong. I know, I am a genius, go ahead and say it, it's ok. I also named them all the Swimming Elvises, or is it Elvi?

Last, but not least, is the cat with the hundred dollar name. That would be Ms. DaisyMayRosesPrincessPiggy. My seven year old couldn't decide on just one name and she said her cat was so special it needed several names, so, DaisyMayRosesPrincessPiggy is the name. I just call it Lazy, or Crazy, or Getoffthecounter, but the cat prefers Heresyourfoodeatup.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Judy, Deanna, and Susan. Gone forever, but not forgotten

Three dreams about three beautiful women, Judy, Deanna, and Susan, all of whom have passed away too early and too young.

My mom, Judy. She died when I was 16 and she was 42. After she died, I never felt that I needed to go to the cemetery. This bothered me as most people visit graves and it seems to make them feel better. For some reason, I never felt the need to go. Then I had a dream one night wherein my mom came over to me. Well, she sort of floated as she was a spirit or something. I apologized to her for not visiting her grave. She laughed and said it was fine and that she wasn't in there, but she was everywhere. She told me anytime I wanted to talk to her, just look up and she will hear me. She said it was nice when people did visit, but she also knew when they were talking to her and it made her happy. Years later, when I did visit, I took my kids. They were about 4 and 5 years old. My son walked over the her grave, put his ear on the headstone and said, "What's that? You want me to tell my mommy that you love her and you miss her? I will tell her!" He turned around and told me what my "mom" had said. It was sweet, like I got to hear her tell me she loved me one more time.

Deanna, Annie-Banannie. We had been best friends since we were 11. She died two years ago at the age of 34. We used to be so close, but had drifted apart with families, jobs, and life. One night I had a dream about her. It started that I was in the womb waiting to be born. Weird, I know, but it was dream. Anyway, I couldn't come out because I only had 3/4 of a sole and it needed to be whole. Somehow, Deanna, who was also waiting to be born, said I could have 1/4 of hers, but with the condition we always stay close or she would die. Years later in my dream, Deanna and I moved apart from one another and because we weren't as close as we were and because we were so busy, she died. I was very upset in my dream, but then she came back to me and told me it was ok, that she was never far away, as I would always have part of her sole with me. It made me think that people we love, we will always have a part of them, our memories, with us in out hearts forever.

Susan. Susan passed away a few weeks ago and had been one of my best friends for seven years. I will just say she was under 40, as she would probably strike me with lightening if I revealed her real age. Last night I had a dream and I was looking for her. I couldn't find her. I heard someone whispering my name from inside a tree. I looked inside the tree and there she was. She looked so pretty, and happy. I told her I missed her and asked if she could come back. She said no, but that she would be in the tree and I could visit anytime I wanted. She said she could be in any tree she wanted and when she wanted to say hi, she would move the branches and the leaves would wave at me. Today, while driving to the store to buy a newspaper with her obituary, I was stopped at a light, just spacing out, when out of a group of trees, only one moved. It surprised me as I hadn't been thinking about my dream, but it made me smile. Was she waving hello? I will never know, but it also made me cry as I was sad, but comforted thinking just maybe it was Susan.

I miss these three so much it hurts. They were all taken too early and too young. There are days when I wish I could take out my heart and squeeze out all the sadness, but I know I can't. I just hope they are safe and happy. Every time I see a tree move, I will wonder if maybe, just maybe, one of them is saying hi.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Secret of the Hair Color

I started coloring my hair at the age of 13. I was bored with my drab hair color, and being a teenager, I was bored with life. I knew I needed a change so I saved my money and bought my first bottle of bleach. I ended up buying this gawd-awful product-that I won't name-that was sprayed on the hair. After spraying, you had to sit in the sun for an hour and it was supposed to magically turn your hair a beautiful shade of blond, like the picture they had on the bottle. Well, needless to say, my hair looked nothing like the beautiful blond hair on the bottle, but more like a frizzy, clownish, orangy cotton ball. Not a good look for most people, and especially not a good look for me.

At about 16, I learned of this wonderful product called hydrogen-peroxide. Oooooh, all my prayers had been answered. Bleach I could pour directly onto my hair and it would make my hair beautiful! Ahh, but once I bleached and removed the towel from my head for my fabulous new hair reveal, I was again left with a wiry, orangy, frizzy mess. Again, not a good look for me.

A few years later I discovered the best invention known to womankind. Hair color in a bottle. What more could a woman want? Such a happy day that was! I still get a little tickle in my heart thinking of how happy I was at seeing all those different shades on the shelves. It looked like a rainbow, a blond to black rainbow, but nonetheless, it was my rainbow and I found my pot of gold!

I am telling you, ladies, a bad day can be cured by getting a new hair color, adding some highlights, or even adding some dark streaks. There is no limit to what we can do, the fun we can have doing it, and how good we can look when we get it just right! We may be stuck going to the same old job, driving the same old car, doing the same old-same old every day, but we can always change our hair! It that doesn't make you happy, then I don't know what will.

I have since gone over to the "dark" side and really like it. I went from bleach blond to black and I have since settled for an in-between. I am sure I will change it in the very near future and as even though everything else will be the same in my life, at least my hair will be different!
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gay Marriage. Why not?

I am straight. I always have been and most likely always will be. With that being said, I have a few friends who are, shall I say it?-ok, I will, they are in love. Not only are they in love, but they are gay.

The other day I was with a group of kids and one asked what the word gay meant. I told them that if a man loves another man, he is gay. If a woman loves another woman, she is gay. The kids thought about his for a while and one asked me if they could get married if they loved each other. I said, no, not in the state we live in. The kids seemed intrigued by this and one of them asked, "Well, that is just silly. If two people who love each other are happy, why can't they be married?" I didn't have an answer.

I have been thinking about this quite a lot and it bothers me. Why do people care if they get married? They aren't hurting anyone. I have seen many marriages fail, my own included, and I don't see why it is such a big deal for them to be married. I have seen how much my friend loves his boyfriend and how unfair it is that they can't be married.

As the kids said, "If two people are in love, why can't they get married?" Did you get the part where it said, "two people", not just a man and a woman?

I am not trying to start a debate on this, I just think it is something to think about.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

A Poem For My Mom. I Sure Miss Her

Hi All,
The following is a poem I wrote when I was 16. My mom had died from breast cancer a few weeks earlier and I went to the cemetery to visit. I am not a poet by any means, but this is special to me and I wanted to include it on here. She has been gone 20 years and she was such a great mom. I miss her.

So long,
For now,
I have to accept you're gone.
I know,
I know,
Nothing will bring you back;
Not money, not time, not love.

Five minutes,
That's all,
I am not asking for much,
Just five more minutes.

My memories,
I cherish,
They are all I have,
or ever will have;
and even they are fading.

The pain,
The emptiness,
The loneliness,
The heartache.

So long,
for now,
I will think of you often,
As I leave my heart with you.

So long,
for now,
I must go,
The cemetery is closing.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Looks like a duck!

While looking at the clouds with my seven year old daughter, I pointed to one and said, "Look at that one, it looks like a duck."

"Which one?" she asked.

"That one." I said pointing to the cloud that looked like a duck.

"Which one?" she asked again.

"That one, the one that looks like the duck!" I said a bit louder.

"Uh, mom, which one looks like a duck?"

Oh never mind...
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007 Me and Jason, Call the Grammar Police

I often correct my kids when they say, "Me and so-and-so went to the movies." Or "Me and so-and-so did this and that". I always say, "Oh, so-and-so is mean?" This really irritates them, but over time they have learned to put themselves last and will correct what they are saying.

Today, though, my seven year old daughter said, "Me and Jason got in trouble." I quickly corrected her and said, "Jason and I, and what kind of trouble did you get into?" She looked at me and said, "No mom, he really is mean, so this time I meant to say "Mean Jason got in trouble." Hey grammar police, betcha didn't see that one coming, huh? Me neither.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007 Cancer Walk


Today I participated in a breast cancer walk. Pink is the signature color for breast cancer and my sister, niece, kids and I walked along wearing pink wigs, pink boas, and even pink eyelashes. About half-way into the walk, I began to wonder the importance of why we were there. What made me get up that morning and walk several miles and donate money? I don't even like exercise, yet here I was, walking more than I have walked in a very long time. My feet were hurting, the wig was itching, and I was getting tired. My kids were hungry and walking very slowly. Why did I put myself through this every year? Why didn't I just stay home and sleep in on a cold, Sunday morning? As I was wondering these things, I looked in front of me and saw a lady with a name tag on her backpack that read, "Walking In Honor of ME". I stopped in my tracks and realized why I was walking.

Even though I am healthy, one day I could be the one with that name tag and it made me shiver. I again looked at the lady and realized why I was there. I was walking in memory of my mom and to honor those who are still fighting. If I ever do get cancer, I hope "they" will have found a cure. I hope my financial contribution to walk helps lead to a cure and my physical contribution of being there helps draw awareness. I hope with all that I have that I don't get cancer, but if I do, I hope my contributions have made a difference and there will be people walking to honor me.

I am surprised by the impact that name tag had on me. I want a cure to be found so that she will be back next year...and the year after...and the year after that. Next year, when I get up early on a cold, Sunday morning to walk, I will think of her and look for her and I will not complain about being tired from walking or an itchy wig. I doubt I will ever see her again, but I hope she is there with that same name tag for many years to come. I will be thinking of her and hoping she is beating this terrible disease.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007 Oy. The raincoat, the umbrella and the shower.

I was doing some research on the computer when I saw my nine year old son quietly put on a raincoat, pick up an umbrella, and head into the bathroom. I went back to my research when I heard the shower running. It was the middle of the afternoon, which seemed an odd time for my son to be taking a shower. Actually, anytime he would voluntarily take a shower without being asked, would be odd.
I opened the bathroom door and there was my son, he was happy as could be. He was standing in the shower, fully clothed, raincoat on, and umbrella open. The water was pouring down on the umbrella as he was splashing around and having a ball.
I quickly put an end to his having a ball, but I couldn't help but smile. Only a kid would think to do what he did. He was just having a good time and wasn't thinking about the water he was wasting, the clothes he was getting soaked, or anything for that matter. You know, he just didn't care. All he cared about was that he was having a good time.
He didn't get in too much trouble, but I did give him a lecture about wasting water, which I sure he has already forgotten. But, it did give me a good laugh and that's not such a bad thing. That's what makes life a little better, the little things. Kids are goofy and I wouldn't have it any other way.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 19, 2007

August, 2007 One glass of water

I went to a local sandwich shop to get lunch when a homeless man walked in and asked the lady behind the counter for a glass of water. It was around 98 degrees and hot. I will admit, he looked a little frightening with his hair in tangles, tears in his clothes, holes in his shoes, and was in need of a bath. He said he was thirsty and just wanted some water. It seemed as if everyone in the sandwich shop was staring at him. I didn't want to stare, so I fidgeted with my keys and just awkwardly looked around.

The lady behind the counter looked him up and down and told him, "No. You can't have any water unless you buy something." He apologized and told her he didn't have money, he was thirsty and just wanted a glass of water, he even said please. Irritated, she again said no and told him to leave.

This upset me and I wanted to make it right for him. I bought an extra sandwich and a bottle of water and went to find him. I drove around for about 20 minutes looking for him. I felt sad and couldn't eat until I found him as I didn't feel right eating my sandwich when I knew he was hungry.

I finally found him and asked it he wanted a sandwich and some water. He was happy, I was happy and that lady is still a horrible human being. How heartless she must have been to turn someone away from a glass of water. One glass of water.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

October, 2007 Diamond and Hitchhiker

Diamond and Hitchhiker
Those are the names my son gave his two new crickets. Yep. He goes to the pet store and buys the little feeder crickets and keeps them as pets. At eight cents a cricket, works for me! Anyway, he used to have 60, but they all died out (darn-NOT!) and I thought he forgot about them. Nope. So, we actually bought four tonight, but when we checked the cage, there were only two. Great. Have a good night all! P.S. He can't believe someone would actually buy the crickets as food for another animal. To him, that would be like feeding your puppy or kitten to another animal. He wants to save all the crickets. :)Never a dull moment around here......
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 19, 2007 Why trees were invented

Yesterday, my kids were climbing a tree and having a ball. When they got down, my daughter looked up at the tree and said, "You know, I know why trees were invented." Ok, sweetie, why? "They invented trees for kids to climb on!" I think she is right. :)
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 Susan's funeral. A friend of the friendless

Today I watched as one of my best friends, Susan, was buried. No matter how many funerals one has been to, it never gets easier. The act of attending the funeral gets easier, but the pain that makes the heart weigh so heavily does not.She was fun, tall, loud, and beautiful. I used to say she was a "friend of the friendless" as she could make friends with anyone, anywhere. I loved her easy going nature and love of life, and I will carry her memories with me. I miss my friend.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007 What my friend taught me

Sunday, October 14, 2007
My heart is so sad...
I lost a very good friend today, Susan. She had a wild ride in life and no matter what, she was always smiling. I wish I could take my heart out and wring out all the sadness. Losing a friend in such an unexpected way is so sad. I know it gets easier with time, just wish I could fast forward to where I don't feel so bummed. I miss my friend.
She taught me that sometimes you just have to take people for their craziness and accept them and accept who they are and then hope like hell they accept you for all your weirdness. Sigh. I always told her was a friend to the friendless...that takes a big person.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger. All Rights Reserved.