Monday, December 22, 2008

The Revised Edition

Riesa has edited her Christmas list at least twice since I shared her wishes with you, and I, personally, find her lists entertaining and telling!

The first revision came when I asked her during carpool one day what she wanted for Christmas. I had never directly brought it up before, so I wanted to make sure I was correctly interpreting her earlier remarks. Here was her answer:

New television set...big, black one.

New rings...2 of 'em: R-E-D and B-U-L-E (yes, that's how she spells blue!)

New purple hat

New socks - Letter B-L-K (black)

O-K then! She didn't name one thing from her previous "list" other than the hat, which changed colors. So, I prompted her, "What else?" Thankfully, she went through the original list. Good. I hadn't misinterpreted her desires.

New walkie-talkies - 2 of 'em
New telephone
New reh-whike-a-blue wheelchair.

I took this opportunity to explain to her that if she gets a wheelchair, she can't stay at my house because the chair is too big. I told her she'd have to go back to My Place (where she lived for a year and half when my Grandad was ill...and she loved it, by the way). Her face fell and she said, "Oh, I see." And you know what? I think she did. She hasn't mentioned it once since then.

A couple days later she advised me of her other wishes. We were sitting at the table having lunch and she pointed over to the Christmas tree and said, "Christmas Eve...right over there..."

New black typewriter - "this big" she demonstrated with her hands what size it should be
New gown - "all the way down" R-E-D
New black shoes - 2 of 'em
A block (she acted out playing a block instrument)
New banjo (she demonstrates for me)
New drums (more demonstration, of course)
New guitar (you guessed it, she played her air guitar too)
And FINALLY: New black glasses (based on the hand motions which accompanied the request, I think she meant binoculars!)

YES, she specifies "NEW" before almost each request. Like I'm gonna go to Goodwill to get her Christmas presents or something! Sheesh! Who does she think I am? AND...she makes sure to tell me that if I get the black shoes, she's gonna need 2 of 'em. Apparently she thinks I might actually go and get her one new black shoe. Maybe she hasn't quite distinguished yet who's taking care of whom here.

Well, since I can pretty much guarantee she's not gonna be reading my blog anytime soon, I can safely tell you she is officially spoiled. She's not getting the typewriter or the noise-making instruments, but she's pretty much hittin' the jack-pot on the rest!

Merry Christmas to all of you! Our family is heading back to New Orleans for a missions trip over break, so you'll likely not hear from me until we return!

May the peace and love of Christ and the grace and hope of His Gospel be yours in full measure this Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We Cry A Lot

Jeffrey's last couple of weeks have been filled with sickness. His doctors are fairly certain that all the vomiting is not from the new chemo drug, but from the increased dose of pain medication. Of course, the pain meds can't do him a whole lot of good if he can't keep them in long enough to absorb into the bloodstream.

In addition to chemo, he is currently undergoing radiation on his skull. He has a growth above his left ear that has changed in the last month, so they are targeting it for now. At this point, they're doing chemo to try and slow the progression of this very aggressive cancer, while the radiation is designed to shrink particular tumors so that they are less uncomfortable for him, or to prevent them from penetrating other vital organs (the few that remain untouched).

Yesterday, Jeff was so sick that he couldn't make his scheduled treatment...that's a first. Today, Dad brought him up for radiation. Since his pain level continues to increase in his right hip, thigh and knee, they are going to take an extra set of pictures to see if that bone is deteriorating to the point where they need to keep him in the hospital.

All I know right now is that he is always cold but sweating, he sleeps a lot, he's in a lot of pain and he throws up a whole lot. His sweet wife labors faithfully by his side, trying to make him comfortable, and doing all she can to meet his needs while caring for the 3 little ones and trying to hold herself together. She's doing a wonderful job, but it is beginning to take its toll on her.

We covet your prayers on their behalf. And this may be a selfish prayer, but I'm asking God to give him a good day on the 24th so he can be with all of us at Mom & Dad's.

Speaking of good days: he was able to come with Daddy 2 weeks ago to watch Grant play in the championship game of his basketball tournament. Thankfully I had my camera...we value every moment he's here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Makeover Magic: DOA

You can lead a horse to water...but you can't make him drink. The fashion pool is one from which my husband refuses to take even a sip.

He tried on the jeans last night (the part I was least worried about...for crying out loud, they're JEANS / AKA: Levi's, and only slightly darker big deal right?). Apparently, in spite of his boys telling him he looked cool, he decided they weren't "him."

I not only withheld my arsenal of protestations, I also resisted the temptation to tell him how attractive the "un-him" would be, not only to myself, but to all the chics.

After 16 years, I think I may finally give up...maybe. I'm a slow learner.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Falling Down Moments

Have you seen the movie Falling Down? In case you haven't, I'll just say this: it is extremely difficult to watch. The level of intensity remains excessively high throughout every single moment. Do I recommend it? No, not really. So, why am I even mentioning it? Because as I complained to a friend about the emotional and mental perils of driving carpool, she brought it up. After renting and watching it...I know why. For Bill, the accumulation of life's stresses reached their breaking point while he was sitting in traffic on a hot day. I've been there.

Bottom line: I don't like driving carpool. Period. I experience many moments where I am forced to consciously back away from The Edge. All the minor stresses of life seem to coalesce when I'm uptight about the traffic or the time or the way somebody is driving. My perfectionism and rule-keeping tendencies are at their peak. I expect everyone to stay off their bloody phones and follow every detail of the Drivers all the rules of common courtesy. Silly me.

My darling children, and their friends who are lucky enough to ride with us, have become acutely aware of just how unsanctified Mrs. Shaffer really is. However, I cannot say that each ride has been completely devoid of joy. I have been pulled back from a Falling Down Moment more than once by these highly entertaining bumper stickers which I have actually seen while sitting in painfully slow traffic.

Sometimes the little unexpected injection of humor is that one step back which prevents me from plunging over the precipice into certain insanity.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Makeover Mishap or Magic?

These are busy, busy days which leave little or no time for writing. I miss it. But most of my time is being spent with other people (AKA: friends) and that is a very good thing...a legitimate reason to relegate writing to the sidebar of my life.

Of course, in addition to all the "normal" activities that require my attention, there are holiday shopping and cooking to be done, gifts to be made, wild heads of hair to be tamed, and parties to attend.

And speaking of parties...for most women, the mere mention of a party conjures up one all-important question: What am I going to wear? That's not to say that some men don't wonder the same thing, but they wouldn't readily admit it. My husband is one of those who would a thousand millenia, ask himself what he was going to wear. When it's time to get dressed there is only 1 question to be asked: Can I wear my Levi's? Yes, he calls them Levi's. If the answer is yes, he happily dons them with one of his wide variety of shirts which we affectionately refer to as "Uncle Gary" plaids. If the answer is no, he somewhat happily dons his pleated, cuffed khaki pants with the same Uncle Gary plaid shirt. End of is simple.

Well, little does he know it, but I am about to un-simplify his life. Oh, yeah. I bought him a stylish, manly, ensemble today which I expect him to wear to a party on Saturday. I have attempted to buy clothes for him in the past with very little success. Anything that strays too far from his slightly-dated-comfort-zone feels ostentatious to him and he just can't bring himself to wear it.

My hope is that this is conservative enough and close enough to his comfort zone to be successful. The first picture shows what he would choose to wear Saturday apart from any input from me (which is normal), while the second showcases what I will attempt to entice him to wear instead.

Whad'ya think? Will I be successful? Is it ostentatious? Is it a step up style wise? Hmmmm....

To be continued...