Friday, November 28, 2014

After

So the dishes are washed and put away and the leftovers area in the fridge and I am sitting here wrapping Christmas gifts and baking Christmas gifts.

I enjoy these few days after Thanksgiving because generally I don't have other obligations (until tonight when I have to work the gate at a fundraiser) and I can start to think about Christmas. I just sat and went through the list of gifts in hand and wrapped, and made a list of what I still need to buy. There isn't a lot on the list, but I need to get it done asap.

There were sad moments today though as I made my Christmas cookie list and wrote out all the folks who will get them this year. Using last year's as a guide I remembered my dear friend who died in March. I've been taking her Christmas cookies for about 50 years.. Not this year.

Her name came up again when making gift lists. She and I always exchanged for Christmas, usually getting together a few days before the 25th to have lunch and open our presents. Because we knew each other so well hers were often the best gifts I received. Last year one of her gifts was a small plague that sits by my kitchen sink. It says "You're the kind of friend everyone should have". Dear Lord I miss that woman! Because that describes her perfectly.

Well I feel blessed to be here planning another Christmas. Because I am.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

ThanksgiviIg

I have so much to be thankful for its difficult to come up with a list. Mostly it would consist of my family and friends because at the end of the day its all about our relationships, isn't it? Following quickly behind would be my material blessings - my house particularly. I love my comfortable home.

Of course the list would never be comeplete without mentioning I am thankful to be here. This is my 6th Thanksgiving since I was diagnosed with cancer. Six bonus years. How lucky am I anyway?

Today I'm wishing everyone a wonderful day surrounded with people they love. My own life is overflowing. And I thank God for that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Prep

Today the real prep begins for the holiday tomorrow. In about half an hour I'll head to the IGA to eat the crows there and pick up my final supplies. I bought much of what I needed last week but I've been making a list of the things I still nee ever since. I have about 10 items on the list now, from potatoes to heavy cream, and also need a couple staples to get us through the rest of the week, like bread and milk.

I don't do much in the way of cooking ahead of time. We don't eat until late afternoon, so I have most of tomorrow for that. I'll start with my mother-in-law's chocolate angel food cake in the morning. We aren't pumpkin pie people in this house and this is my husband's favorite dessert, so its become a holiday stale around here. Then I'll get the turkey in the oven, cook up the gizzards for gravy base, and work on the sides. The one thing I don't enjoy doing is the potatoes - too much peeling involved there. But I love to eat them!

So tomorrow will be a busy day. But it will also be a fun, family filled day of thanks. Because I have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rain rain rain

It certainly came down yesterday in buckets! As I sat at my computer in my home office the sound of the rain in the early morning was comforting. The skies were still dark and I couldn't see outside the house, but I could hear the rain coming down in great quantity.

I think a lot about the people in upstate New York - the place where my mother grew up - and I wonder how they are doing. There were fears of more roof collapses with rain making the snow heavier than it already was, causing more damage to already hard-hit areas of the state. They are hardy people up there, but everyone has their limits and I fear they may reach theirs.

When visiting upstate in the winter I always wonder what draws people to an area so harsh, but its really all about history. Hundreds of years ago it was trappers who moved so far north, looking for the valuable pelts of northern dwelling animals like beavers to sell. Just like the crab fishermen of the North Sea, they were willing to risk everything to make the money they needed to feed their families. The animals with the heaviest, lushest furs were in the coldest climates, naturally. And so to the north country they went in search of "gold" of a different sort.

Their descendants are equally tough people and come from good stock. But even the strongest have their breaking points. I hope the people of Buffalo and surrounding areas and not cowering in their homes listening to the rain.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Choices

Occasionally we all consider the choices we've made in life and wonder how smart they were, don't we? I mean some we rush into headlong with little thought at all, and some we take way too long to ponder, but all of them sometimes make us wonder "What was I thinking?"

Nothing makes me ask that question as often a my volunteer work with the ambulance. If it were not otherwise so rewarding it would be easy to walk away. But the good side still outweighs the bad....so far....

The other night we were called out at 9:30 to an "alcohol overdose". Sure enough this guy was out of it, until he woke up and tried to climb off the stretcher and called everyone a lot of unprintable names, including one that has never once come out of my mouth. It was not the kind of thing that leaves you warm and fuzzy if you know what I mean.

Two hours later we were called again, this time for a person less than 30 years old who was complaining of difficulty breathing. Again, experience tells us that this is probably not a serious call because people that age don't generally have a hard time breathing unless they are asthmatic, in which case it would come over as an asthma call. Sure enough it was another one of those times you wonder what was really going on that this person needed to go to the hospital at nearly midnight.

When we came out of the hospital to get back in the ambulance and go home, guess who was sitting on the curb waiting for a cab? The guy we had brought in earlier. He had been in the ER all of about an hour and a half. We all looked at each other and said what we always do in these cases: "Remind me why I do this again!"  I'm not altogether sure I know the answer to that question anymore.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Drilling

Today we're having a huge drill for the east end's fire departments and ambulance squads. It's what we can an MCI drill, which stands for Mass Casualty Incident and involved a major event, like a train derailment or a bus accident - something that stretches the limits of the available resources. Since I've been in EMS for twenty-four years now this not my first MCI drill - I've even planned them in the past - but its the first I've done in awhile.

I've always learned things from the drills I've participated in, which is the point of course, but used to surprise me. I used to think "Why am I wasting my time with this? We already know what to do, this is what we've trained for" but learned early on that there is always something to take away from the exercise. Which is of course what makes it all worthwhile.

Because it does take a lot of time and energy, bopping around in heavy turn-out gear with helmets and boots and such. And its not as though I don't have anything else to do with my morning. And I always miss going to church. But just like when I was in the 5th grade and had to do drills for the multiplication tables or spelling, the whole drilling idea has certainly proved its merit. It's going to be an interesting morning.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cold snap

I've been enjoying the weather this week. It's not quite at my favorite place - I prefer the 50s to the 30s in terms of temperature - but I don't dislike it. I was game to get the heavy winter coat out and wrap myself in a faux fur blanket when watching TV in the evening, sitting in front of my gas fireplace and enjoying the pleasure of my cozy living room.

I'm not in a hurry for snow. It's a bit early for that - I'll gladly wait until the end of December for snow. January and February, bring it on - winter is all about snow and I'll take it. Not too much - not Buffalo snow - but a little here and there I'm fine with.

I remember one year some time ago when we had a blizzard on Thanksgiving. That was over twenty years ago and since then we've not seen as much as a flake as early as Thanksgving here.

The wonders of winter lie ahead of us: ice skaters on Town Pond, Christmas lights up and down Main Street, .snow that turns the world into a wonderland. It's ahead of us and I'm looking forward to it. By March I'll be ready for Spring. And that's what I love about East Hampton.