Saturday, December 27, 2008

In Loving Memory....

June 5, 1939 - December 27, 2006

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ending "Normal"

Today is December 26th--as of 2006, that day will always mark the end of "normal". You see, that was the last day I talked to my (step)dad, the last day he was alive.

December 27th 2006, Bud was killed in a plane crash in Mt. Gilead, OH. Bud had been in my life since I was 14 years old, my mom and he were married for over 20 years. He was there for all the big events in my life and he replaced a father who disappeared from the lives of me and my brothers and sister. He was a gentle giant of a man 6'5" and skiiny as a rail--but he filled the room with his laugh and smile. He looked like a giant amongst us small "Mitchell" kids and my Mom is only 5'2" on a good day. It was quite the sight to see.

I got the call that evening of December 27th--we had just sat down to dinner. The phone rang and I answered--it was my Mom. "Amy, is (DH) home with you?" I could tell something was wrong. She asked again if I had someone home with me. I said yes, DH was here, what's going on? My Mom broke down crying and told me there had been an accident--the plane went down and Bud was gone. The highway patrol was with her at her work and they were taking her home. I needed to come out to the house right away.

All I remeber was falling down onto the couch, the plate in my hand fell onto the table. Dh kept saying, what is wrong, what is wrong? I could barely get the words out of my mouth. I sent DD out of the room. My Mom was a mess, I had to be the one to call my brother's and sister and let them know. How I made those calls, I have no idea--I just went numb. My brother's were in shock--I told them to come home. I didn't reach my sister, but I had to tell her DH--and I was glad that he would be the one to tell her, because Marisa was the closest to Bud and I just could not bear to hear her cry right then.

I then went into a "do something mode"--I had too. I'm the oldest, I'm a Virgo, I had to "fix it", I had to make it right.

That drive to my Mom's was the longest of my life--but we made it in record time. her friends had begun to gather at the house. I walked into the kitchen, saw her face and I lost it--but I pulled myself together so I could get the whole story. I knew my mom was in shock--so I called the Dr. Neighbor to see if he could get her something. Then I got the number for the Coroner and Highway patrol in Mt. Gilead so I could get the story from them.

The details are too horrible and too fresh, I sit here and cry just reliving them in my head. But how does a plane with a pilot with 6000 flight hours and another pilot who was United Airlines retired at the helm just fall out of the sky? The FAA says they must have done something wrong--but the wreckage was too severe to give many clues. This flight was a simple insurance "flight check", but it ended the lives of 2 men and destroyed the lives of many others.

The next few weeks were a blur, but I had things to handle: a funeral to help plan, insurance companies to contact, a family to comfort and trying to keep from losing my mind.

We didn't have a body to bury--the FAA held him for a second autopsy--but we had direct cremation. A giant of a man, placed into one small square urn and little/smaller boxes for each of us kids. I have barely glanced at the Urn in my Mom's room, I cannot bring myself to take my box home--I cannot steel myself from the flood of emotion that overwhelms me when I think about it.

I still miss him every day. DD has Bud's harmonica, she keeps it on a special shelf next to a dove from one of the floral arrangements from the funeral home. Every once in a while, she plays it--Bud was teaching her how before he died--I still stop in my tracks at the sound and my heart breaks again.

The first year was spent "doing" and "asking" and trying to deal with the FAA and find out "why"--and dealing with all of those "firsts" without Bud there. This second year seems to have been harder--the stuff that needs to get "done" is done, there had been nothing to keep us pre-occupied. There are only the memories and the sudden "gut punch" that hits you when you know how great it would have been for Bud to be here--or how much he loved doing things--or what he would have said in that occasion.

We laugh a little bit more than we cry, we show the new babies in the family pictures of Papa and tell them who he is, we look at small planes going overhead and we don't always shudder.

We have a new "normal" now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Ahhh--Christmas Eve.

The crazy is over, now it's just time to wait...and do you know how long this day is going to be with a bouncing off the walls 7 year old? It doesn't matter, the joy and excitement in her eyes is worth every bit of "How much longer?, Is it time?, I don't want to go to bed, I CAN'T go to sleep" that will drive me to the edge of madness today.

I am meeting a friend for lunch--that will be a nice break and I don't have to look at my office until Monday--an even better break!

I wish all of you (my 3 readers--haha) a wonderful and blessed Christmas. I hope Santa is good to each and every one of you. Most important, may you receive the BEST gift of all--being surrounded by those you love!


Thursday, December 18, 2008


So yesterday I awoke to the lovely deposit of 4 inches of snow in my area--and, of course, I had to make a trip to Cleveland for work. It never seems to fail that there is horrible winter weather for these trips this time of year.

Yesterday's trip was different though--our company was going to work in a soup kitchen in downtown Cleveland. We decided that in these hard times, a blow-out Christmas party at work wasn't necessary when there are so many others in need.

We all gathered at St. Herman's--it's a Greek Orthodox Monastery and Father Vladimir was right out of Greek Mythology himself--he kind of scared me actually--bearded, stern, you did what he said to do!

Despite a early morning water main break in Cleveland, We prepared a wonderful, hearty soup, salad, garlic bread and dessert for about 90 people. As we were preparing, Fr. V invited us to join the Monastery for "prayers". He kept saying "prayers"--so I figured it would be PRAYERS right? A few of my co-workers and I went into their chapel. I would guess about 20 other homeless had gathered--along with the monastery's newest members--8 puppies from the Dorothy the "house dog" and her mate. They were the cutest thing and added so much joy to the place with their playing and fighting with each other. I was amazed at the acceptance of pets at the shelter--Fr. V said that animals are all some of these men have left, so they are allowed to stay.

So--anyway, we go in for PRAYER. Prayers it was not my friends. It was an entire Greek Orthodox Mass--communion and all. This was fine of course--until Fr. V started passing out things to 3 of us. Guess who he decided was going to read scripture during the mass? Yes, you guessed it--ME and 2 of my co-workers.

People, I have to tell you, I feared for the life of everyone in that room when it came my turn to read the 3rd scripture (or whatever they call the reading before the gospel--Catholics only have 2 readings, so I was confused). I have no problem public speaking and having done my time in Catholic school for 12 years, I was comfortable--but I have not set foot in a church in so long, I was afraid God might smite me and in turn, kill all the innocents around me. All went well and no lighting bolts rained down--all were safe--whew!

The mass was over and we headed off to the kitchen to begin serving the meal. People were actually lined up around the building waiting for lunch to be ready. The people who walked through that door broke my heart. They are you and me--just one step in another direction. Some people you would have sworn would be working right along side you at your job. Others were lost souls--their eyes so sad and lacking hope.

What broke my heart was one little girl who came into the line with her mother. She was beautiful and had the face of an angel. Her mother had such a brave face, but the look of despair in her eyes made me realize that all mothers are the same. We only want the best for our children and we all hurt when we cannot provide everything we want for them. Why this little girl was not in school just about destroyed me. I would think she was about 9, but when you have no real home, how do you enroll for school and how do you explain to a 9 year old why she cannot go to school or why you don't have a permanent place to stay?

I talked with people in that room--some told me their stories, others just looked into their plates and would not meet my gaze. Job loss, family problems, death of a spouse or children, drugs, alcohol, mental illness--it all plays a part in the fabric of despair and homelessness. God bless the monks/Fathers at St. Herman's for taking in these people and trying to give them a better life.

The amazing thing about our guests was that THEY came up and asked God to bless US for serving them, providing them food and drink--they showed great appreciation for the meal, they wished US Merry Christmas. I was overcome. They have lost so much, yet blessed us with their love.

We went there to serve--both our fellow man and God yesterday, but I think we all walked away with a sense of how lucky we are and how grateful to God (or your preferred Deity) we should be for what we have. I don't think any of us realize how close we are to being in that soup line.

St Herman's of Alaska feeds men, women and children 3 times a day and houses men in shifts. They have 28 dorm beds that are always full. Monks live at and maintain the monastery and serve the homeless with everything they have. They always need help or donations to keep their programs running. They help with schooling and rehabilitation of those who want to get their lives back on track. This is a drug and alcohol free environment. IF you are in the area, you might consider helping those who are doing so much to serve others.

God Bless the people I met yesterday.........

Monday, December 15, 2008


OK--I went and finally saw this yesterday. Is it wrong to be crushing on a boy that is a whole person old enought to vote younger than me?

Robert Pattinson is HAWT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Moive was pretty good--stays true to the book for the most part. I do have to say that New Moon--the movie will be quite a bit less interesting without Edward in 90% of the show. HE has such a minor part in that book--up until the end anyway. Not sure I could get into a movie with just Bella and Jacob for the most part.

I asked for Breaking Dawn for Christmas, because I really couldn't think of much more I wanted--but I REALLY don't think I can wait to read it. I've read some spoilers and I really want to read the book.

Can I borrow someones copy and "secret squirrel" read it???--then I can be happy--and still be excited about getting my own copy from Santa!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Goodbye Starbucks--Heeelllllllloooooo Speedway???

OK--since I am of "the poor", Starbucks is just not in my budget--and forget McDonalds--their "McCafe" is sludge and just as expensive. But I have found a NEW love--and I am very surprised!

In a moment of complete exhaustion and desperation, I whipped into the Speedway on Conant to get some sort of morning sustenance. Did you know they have a full BUFFET of coffee and products????? They have a Double Mocha Capp. AND a SHOCKWAVE Mocha capp. ENERGY DRINK AS COFFEE--Praise be!!!!

I wasn't expecting much for .99--but to my complete surprise--it was GOOOOOOOOD. Add my Splenda and a International Delight French Vanilla creamer and sister is ready to roll!! There is a whole "condiment" station with every type of flavored creamer/sugar/substitute you can think of--HEAVEN!!!! No wonder Starbucks is in the toilet. Now, the snob in me still would still like to have a Biggby Mocha Mocha every once in a while--but this will do just nicely!!

So--in these hard economic times--I hope you give your wallet a break and try one.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey Day Karma and other musings

OK--so the heater is fixed--yeah! We had that going for us and we had a really nice weekend before the Thanksgiving crazy began--good quality family time--relaxing.

Then Karma decided to rear her ugly head and be a bitch.....I guess complaining about having to suffer thru cats and insanity came back to bite my ass in the way of a KIDNEY STONE PASSING. I spent Monday and Tuesday puking my guts out from pain. Wednesday, I dragged myself into work for a bit so I could still pimp out the holiday pay--then I returned to my bed. I didn't go to my in-laws (and hubby in his self centered little way was pissed). So I got out of one form of suffering, but having to suffer in another way. Whatever.

Saw my family for a little bit on Friday and then went back home to my bed--where I stayed until Sunday afternoon. I have to say, I am feeling a little bit better--the stone has moved out of the kidney area and more down into the groin. Is this an overshare?????????? anyhow--from what I remember of the other stone I passed--this puppy should be working it's way "out" sometime this week. In the meantime--I get to pee into a strainer to try and catch the little sucker so the Dr's can test it. YEEEEHAAA! It sucks getting old.

The upside to all of this is I didn't indulge in the usual food gorging of 2008--and with all the puking, I am down 10 lbs!!!!! Now, the trick is to keep it off!

Facebook.....whoever got me started on that should be shot--I'm addicted!!

Mork and Mindy Reruns ALL DAY on Friday--why in the hell did we think that show was so good back then???? I had a "Epic Hair Fail" moment when I saw Mindy with the one ponytail pulled over to one side of her head--OMG--so embarassed that I ever did that!!

Neighbors got a new puppy and I got to see it yesterday--so darn cute--such a face. He's a Westie--I'm in lurve with him!

I'm spent!