Welcome to 'Attic of the Heart'!

Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, January 30, 2009

Tests, options and surgery...

I knew I shouldn't have checked email that late last night. I could have just gone to bed, but no.
Instead, I opened an email from my aunt. In it was the news that my mom was going to have a double mastectomy in February. Just about 2 weeks from now.
I knew it was a possibility. Mom and I had talked about it some. She'd had the lumpectomy done late last year. The results suggested the possibility of a precursor to breast cancer. At least, that's the way we understood it. A 2 mm something or other. Non invasive. That was good news. However, when the 64 slides were examined, they found traces of LCIS and DCIS. Was it one or the other? Both? We weren't exactly clear on that. Nevertheless, she was scheduled for 3 weeks of radiation therapy. As a kind of 'preventive' treatment. Or so we thought. Then, 3rd day into treatment, they send her home. Why?? It was scary, not knowing. It was explained that the pathologist in Saint John read the slides differently that Fredericton. Only thing is, they didn't get them until she had already started treatment. What is wrong with that picture??
Suddenly we were in a state of confusion. Again. Just after we had reconciled ourselves for her 3 week stay for treatment. This would be the ticket, the cure, the 'just in case'. So back to the doctors.
After careful consideration, it was decided, partly due to family history (other kinds of cancer), and to the findings, that a simple double mastectomy would be best. Mom felt that due to her age (over 65) that she would rather have it done and over with now, than find out 5 years later that the other would have to come off too. She wants peace, not to live in fear of every mammogram of 'inconclusive' findings again, or worse, cancer itself, the invasive kind.
So here we are. After speaking at length with her this morning, and going over a copy of the pathologist's report, navigating all those big words, we were in agreement. Not that we want to do this at all, the Lord knows I'd rather she didn't have to go through any surgery, as she's not real tolerant of anesthesia or drugs of any kind. But the alternative is unthinkable.
So we go on with what peace we can with this decision. I never thought it would come to this, or happen in my family. Others perhaps, but not mine...
Isn't that the way it always is, though.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mid January, and it's cold!

It was 1 degree F this morning! Cold! Especially for here in CT. It took the furnace an hour to warm up 10 degrees. I thought something was wrong, but doesn't seem to be. Just not used to being this cold here. I woke up at 4AM and started worrying over the pipes, even though this house is not quite 20 yrs old yet. How old does a house have to be to have a valid reason to worry over pipes breaking? I'm thinking turn of the century or older, depending on how well built it is, but I could be wrong.
We were spoiled a bit by some recent winters. Although last winter was colder and snowier, and this one has followed suit, I remember a few years back when people were golfing in February! Not this year, with snow and ice on the ground. I still see the occasional flip flop though when we are out shopping or out for dinner. Ridiculous if you ask me. Are some people in denial??
Not too much happening here. We are still looking at houses, hoping to move sometime this spring. I would really love to be out of here before spring planting time. It would be lovely to have a real nice garden this year. Plus, I want to get all my perennials out of the ground before a lot of growth has started. I have a lot of transplanting to do!
I'm still dreaming of acreage. Ok, an acre would even be nice, but I'm hoping for 2 or more. Very expensive here. But one can hope. If you've read some of my older posts, then you know what my dream is. I'm trying to temper that with my pocketbook! Ha!

Still fighting with the squirrels and blue jays at the feeders. Last year, had no squirrels, and only a couple of jays. This year, a whole family - about 7 or so, and at least 5 squirrels. Until I saw a couple of hawks this past week.The squirrels are now down to 2 at the feeder today - maybe the others are in hiding? I don't mind a squirrel or two, but 5 or more is just too many! They clean the feeders, and the little birds can't get at the food. Same with the jays, only now the jays have discovered my suet. They even chase off the biggest of my wood peckers - the Red Bellieds. I have so many downies now - at least 3 pr. A couple of pair of Hairies too.
Lately, they have been climbing up my patio door screens and leaping onto my feeder. I've moved the screen over, and as you can see above, he is looking for it! He scrambled around, looking into the house, trying to climb the glass, until he finally discovered it next to him. It was comical, and I did get a video or two of him climbing the screen. No damage yet, it appears their claws are tiny enough not to do any harm. However, they are great leapers, and very tenacious. I finally had to remove the feeder altogether.

Max is still braving the garage several times a day. He just has to go out there. It provides variety in his sheltered life, poor thing! Then he sleeps all afternoon. A short runabout during dinner, then on my lap with the afghan for the evening in the recliner. When I have to get up for something, he gets off, waits til I come back, and pops back onto my lap again. He knows the routine. He's a great lap warmer!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is Cable TV too important in your life?

I was reading the news online this morning, and noticed an article about an Indiana family who had a daughter that was badly burned, but they refused to take her to the hospital. Two weeks later, they were reported, the daughter admitted (now in critical condition) and the other child taken.
The daughter had been badly burned when her PJ's caught fire from their space heater, their only source of heat. Since they owed $1000 to the gas company, their heat had been turned off. Reading further, it was stated they still had telephone, electricity and CABLE TV!
This is what really gets me. These people would rather pay their cable bill than their heat bill!!

What is wrong with this picture? I know they aren't the only ones with this philosophy. This is partly what's wrong with America. Priorities are all screwed up. Now don't get me wrong, I know I don't make the right decisions all the time either. But the heat bill is a major thing, especially if you have children. In this case, TV was probably being used as escapism, and to keep the kids occupied. TV can be used like a drug. I know, because in a small way, we do it to. Who hasn't?
Who hasn't come home from a long exhausting frustrating day at work, only to zone out in front of the TV? And woe to the one who stands in the way of 'my tv time'! Children are yelled at, the dog is kicked, and the wife ignored. We don't have that problem here, but in the past, I have seen tempers flare if someone interrupts, or makes too much noise.
What saddens me is the TV now has priority over family. It is more important than time spent with the kids or wife or husband or even yard work. We need this drug to help us forget the day's troubles. And a drug it is. Just like the computer can be, or music. If it isn't balanced in your life, if it takes priority over family and friends, or having a real life, then it's a drug. An idol. And we let it happen every day.
I am not working at the moment, so the computer has become my friend. My way to keep in touch, to reach out. Problem is, there isn't much reaching back. And you will find that with the TV, computer, or radio. It's a nice accent to life, but it shouldn't be your life.
As I sit here typing this, my anger slowly dissolves, only to be replaced with guilt. When I see screwed up priorities or wrong reactions, first I am angry, but then I start to apply it to my own life. Am I doing this too? Where am I making this mistake in my own life? Let me see, do I really need HBO when I have credit card bills to pay? Oh boy...
Do I really need high car payments when we're trying to save for a down payment on a house? What about our savings account? Couldn't we grow that more by cutting down to basic cable, or none at all? In this economy, what if we lost our job? Sit and watch cable so we don't think about it, while our lives literally fall apart around us??
How many times is that sadly true? I know people that have kids, can't pay their oil bill in the winter, yet overspend on their kids at Christmas, while the inlaws pay their bill. Or other foolish things, like they pay to have a bear they shot stuffed and mounted, instead of being able to afford things like decent mattresses for their kids.
What is wrong with this world? Why do we buy our kids the latest wii or Playstation, yet they don't have a decent mattress to sleep on? I know of another family who had cable TV, but their little 4 year old didn't have more than one pair of PJ's to sleep in, or enough delicates between wash days.

WAKE UP PEOPLE!! What is wrong with this thinking?! We have such an attitude of 'I deserve' and of what we think is 'normal', that our thinking is all out of whack. It's selfish.

Our parents and grandparents had much better prioritizing skills than we do. We've been given too much, so we think we are owed much. And we want it all NOW. Never mind our parents had to scrimp and save and go without so we could have. And the scrimping didn't mean going without sheets on the bed or enough underwear to last between washings. I never noticed lack at our house, yet we were far from rich. They were just better at prioritizing than we are.

As a side note, I remember when we only got 3 channels on our TV. We didn't have to pay for it back then. We got to watch it for an hour after school (Gilligan's Island!), then we had to go do our homework and go play till supper. After supper, if it was summer, we were never allowed to stay in to watch it. We always escaped outside to play till dark. If it was raining, or winter, we either played in the basement with our toys, up in our room, or, we got to sit with our parents and watch what ever THEY choose to watch that night. And they always choose something family friendly while we were still up. Adult content didn't start till 9 or 10pm in those days. And I say 'Adult' lightly, because now it's laughable what they called 'adult' compared to today. At this point I've given up 'R' rated movies, because I can't take the language and violence anymore. I am becoming appalled at what is allowed in PG-13! But that's for another post...

So ask yourself this: Are my priorities straight? Do my children have a comfortable bed to sleep in, enough bedding to keep warm, enough good food, enough shoes and clothes to wear, and a warm house to live in? I know life is hard, and we all do our best. I'm not judging here. But if you have cable TV, and I pods, and cell phones, but not enough healthy food in the fridge, or the other necessary things, then you need to reexamine what's really important.
Because in the long run, you are teaching your children what's important for the next generation, and the next, and the next...


Following is a story I received through email. I saved it, because there was so much truth in it. I hope you find it as thought provoking as I did.


A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with
adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name?.....

We just call him 'TV.'
He has a wife now....We call her 'Computer.

Note: I guess we could call their children Video Game, IPOD and Wii?