Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas in Omaha

On December 17th I flew to Omaha to spend Christmas with my aunt, Sister Johanna, and Sister Jeanne. On the 18th we drove to Kansas City and had dinner with some of my cousins. There were 40 of us and we had such a good time. We were in a restaurant with one lady waiting on all of us. It really became confusing to her since we kept moving around to talk to everyone. One of my cousins in TX bought her mom and dad a bus ticket as a surprise and sent them to KC on 4-hour notice. There was a lot of hugs and kiss’s going on with lots of picture taking. On Saturday I got to see Shalom and then Melissa and Jillian. We attended a party for the poor on Saturday night then headed back to Omaha after church on Sunday.

I had a wonderful time but Omaha had a blizzard and we were snowed in over Christmas. When it started snowing we decided to go to Mercy Villa Health Care facility for Christmas Eve services. Well, none of the priest could make it so there were no services. Christmas morning the sisters tried to get one of the priests there but could not because of all the drifts. So, the sisters did a communion service and it turned out very nice. Mercy sits kind of down in a gully but maintenance kept the drives clear so that we could make it from one building to the other.

Johanna had a therapy treatment on Tuesday morning and decided to stop and pick up a small turkey just in case we were snowed in. It paid off. Everyone’s plans were cancelled and so Johanna and Jeanne had all of the sisters on their floor to Christmas dinner. It turned out very nice. After Christmas day the weather improved a little each day and we finally could move around some.

Johanna and Jeanne purchased a Wii for Christmas and set it up in the large common area so everyone could enjoy it. I have never played on a Wii before and it was so much fun. I could not believe how sore my right shoulder was the next day. I am pretty good at golf and not as good at bowling, but terrible at tennis. It truly is exercise.

The picture at the top is the balcony of one of the apartments in the building across from Johanna and Jeanne. The wind blowing was so strong. They live on an end apartment and one side is open so there was no drifting on their porch. In the last two weeks they have had a total of 22-24 inches of snow. We watched truckload after truckload dump snow in a field a couple of blocks over.

Health update

Sometime around the first of December I realized that I was putting off the inevitable. My classic answer is always that I am doing okay, and basically I really am doing okay. However, anxiety has been setting in as well as severe back pains. I attributed the anxiety to the holidays but I am sure that it is more than that alone. The back pains are all over and not localized to only one spot and are not constant.

My oncologist wanted me to go on antidepressants a year ago, but I did not want to until it was absolutely necessary. I emailed him and he was in agreement that it was time. He said that it would take about two weeks before I would notice a difference. I was very surprised when I noticed a difference after the first day. The anxiety is nothing like it was. He also gave me a prescription for the back pain. It is pretty strong and I only take it when I feel that I absolutely need it.

Things are progressing and I am in hopes that I can get another PET scan in February. That will be six months since the last PET scan.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying or pain. ~Revelation 21:4

A very difficult decision

I have been concerned about Mario, my cat, because of the confinement of the apartment. He gets no exercise and it has been very hard on him. He is a big cat and already weighed about 14 ½ lbs when I moved in May. I am sure that he is about 16 lbs now. He loved running up and down the steps and through the condo. He used it like a racetrack.

The lady that will take my cats when I can no longer care for them, Laurie, kept the cats at her house the two weeks I was gone. Before I left we talked and decided that if Mario adjusted well at her house with her two cats that she would just go ahead and keep him. Mario did well and there were no catfights, which really surprised me. So Laurie is keeping him.

Laurie brought Ember back to the apartment just before I got here on Tuesday morning. She was under the bed and did not come out for about 45 minutes. I talked to her continually while I unpacked and put the luggage away along with her carrier. When she finally appeared it took another hour to get her to really make up with me. She usually gets upset when I am gone for a week but this time she was doubly upset. She has made up with me now and does not leave my sight she follows me everywhere. She knows that something is not right and continues to look for Mario.

I stayed home all day and have cried on and off. I miss Mario so much but I do know that it is a decision that I had to make for him. He has steps again and a large house to run in – even bigger than the condo. He has windows to look out on the ground floor, that is a totally different view than the 15th floor. I have no doubt that he will be happy there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Merry Christmas

As we grow older we begin to realize just how important family and friends are to our daily lives. We soon realize, that when all is said and done, they are the very ones that are there for us letting us know that they really do care and they really do love us.

So often we forget that every person, with their own personality, may not always do things the way we think it should be done. But, are we really any better…I don’t think so. I can’t help but remember what my aunt Mickie taught many of us, “Love them where they are, not where you want them to be.”

This Christmas season let us put aside our differences and just love each other.

Jesus said in John 13:34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

As I have said before - My Facebook is for cousins only. We are spread out all over the U.S. I am talking with cousins that I have never met personally. Cousins by marriage and cousins who were little kids that last time I saw them...and now they are grandparents. I especially love the pictures and I am getting to know my cousins through these pictures and postings.

I get lots and lots of good comments from the different ones that they also are communicating with people they really don't know...they just know that we are all related. What an exciting time this has been for me. I only pray that they will all continue getting to know each other after I have gone home to be with my savior.

There were nine children in the Joe/Jo Burnell Family...eight girls and one boy. One girl died when she was 18 and one is a nun in the Mercy order. So from seven of the Burnell children came 28 cousins with one thing in common - "lots more cousins."

The following "A Tribute to Cousins" is a glimpse of our family.

A Tribute To Cousins ~by Andy Rooney

Cousins vague bond more binding than friendship.

Some families are more serious about cousins than others. We never made much of cousins in our family. I can't even remember exactly how many I have. They were nowhere near as important in my life as uncles and aunts. You're more aware of cousins when you're young than you are later.
When I was little, I knew some of my cousins pretty well, but in our family, we treated cousins more like friends. If we liked them, we saw them. If we didn't like them, we hardly ever saw them.

One of the first questions I recall having about cousins is why boy cousins and girl cousins are both called just cousins.

It's as if uncles and aunts were both called by the same word.

Cousins are the only relatives, the word for whom does not distinguish gender. And, come to think of it, English is probably one of the few languages in which the word for boy cousin or girl cousin is the same. In French it's "cousin-cousin", in Spanish, "primo-prima." You always have them and even if 20 years go by without any contact, it's still possible to get together with a cousin and share stories about how Uncle Herbert drove his car through the garage door.

Cousins are the glue in the cracks that hold big families together.

Southerners make more of cousins than people from other parts of the country. In the South, everyone knows their second and third cousins. I hardly know what a second cousin is and I know darn well I couldn't give the definition of a third cousin or a cousin twice removed. Whatever it is, we didn't do third cousins in my family. Just plain cousins were enough to deal with. ("Kissing cousins," I understand.)

Strange things happen with cousins in relation to age.

If your mother has a brother 10 years older than she is, and he has children early in his marriage and your mother has you late, you can end up with a cousin 25 years older than you are. My cousin Bob was more like an uncle than a cousin to me because he was about 15 years older.

Living reminders.

Cousins are a great reminder of genes and inheritance. You can know a cousin for years and never give much thought to what he or she looks like and then one day the cousin will turn his head or pick up a glass or a shadow will fall across his forehead and, in a flash, you see a likeness.

There is something about the way the cousin holds his chin or something about the position of his thumb, that reminds you of your father or your mother or yourself. You see some minor gene you have in common and wonder what major genes you share.