Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye 2008

I'm sitting here reading other people's blogs and thinking of how I haven't posted to my own in a while. Christmas has come and gone with all it's busy-ness of shopping and wrapping and secretly preparing for one day. I'd like to say that the spirit hasn't left me but I can look around from my comfy vantage point here on the love seat and see nothing that even remotely looks holiday-ish. Yesterday I took down the tree and dragged the boxes up into the attic. I did leave the 'skinny' tree up in the dining room with its white lights and homemade paper ornaments and garland; and I'm thinking of how cute it will look in a month with red hearts hanging from it for another holiday.

Now it sounds like I was all Scrooge-like for Christmas and that was not the case at all. I enjoyed most of it and although not putting up the lighted houses might be considered sacreligious here, I looked at it as 'scaling back' and only doing what I wanted, not what was expected of me.

Christmas Day was great. The girls seemed genuinely satisfied with their gifts. And although Randy and I had said we weren't buying for each other (we are remodeling the basement and we usually buy ourselves little things we want when we're out anyway), he surprised me with a little Tiffany-blue bag containing a bracelet. He also won a radio contest for a full dinner prepared by the chefs at the Mohegan Sun so we could relax all day and not worry about cooking! Yeay! We had family and friends over and had a nice, relaxing day.

Now I sit here a couple days before 2009 begins and I'm wondering what this year will bring. 2008 was not all roses and sunshine, but looking back I can now see the rainbows through the raindrops. I am stronger because of the challenges I faced, but I do feel a little ungrateful for saying that I wish we hadn't had to face them at all. Our 'challenges' could have definitely been tragedies instead, and for that I am very grateful.

Before I get all introspective and sappy I will just end this by saying that 2008 has been a long year, especially with that extra day in February and an extra second coming at midnight on the 31st! haha Goodbye 2008, may we all have a happy and healthy 2009.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A little behind on the thanks...

Amazingly enough I have been too busy to blog these past couple of days and have missed my daily "thankful' posts. I had subjects in mind for those days, but never got the time to write so I'll catch up now.

Thursday, November 6
I frequent a message board for parents of kids with diabetes (CWD) and a friend posted a message this morning about November being Diabetes Awareness Month and that she was blogging everyday about diabetes. This friend, Nancy, is someone I had 'met' on a scrapbooking message board and was a source of information and comfort when Kathleen was diagnosed T1 in March (Nancy's youngest daughter has T1 as well). We have never met in person and have only spoken in the phone and computer, but she was 'there' for me when I needed someone who knew what I was going through.

Anyway, I was thinking on Thursday morning that I was thankful for all that I've come to associate with diabetes. My 'friends' on CWD, including Nancy, who are a constant source of encouragement and information; for Yale/New Haven hospital and their great diabetes educators; for medicine, medical technology and medical advancements that have come so far in managing this disease; and for being able to educate everyone I know about Type 1 diabetes.

Of course, I wish none of this had come about but I thank God everyday that Kathleen was diagnosed with diabetes and nothing more serious.

Friday, November 7
This day was my 45th birthday. I cringe when I see that number. I don't know why I have such an issue with age, but I do. Do I feel old? Look old? Older, maybe, but not old. Act old? No way. So why the problem? I think some of it has to do with the fact that my mother died at 48. Believe me, I will have a rip-roaring party when I turn 49!! So on this momentous day I am thankful to have another birthday, no matter what the number because after all, it IS better than the alternative!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Month of Thanks

I'm a little late coming to this game, but I read about this blog challenge on Stacy's blog and wanted to try. The gist of this challenge is to blog everyday for this month of Thanksgiving about something you are thankful for.

To be honest, I really don't know where to start. The past month has been full of challenges for me, some of which I'm not sure I've recovered from and some of which I'm sure will reappear. I know I should be thankful for those challenges as they will teach me and make me stronger in some way...some day. But for now I cannot think of them as blessings or 'teachable moments.' Right now I am just "getting by" using an old AA saying: One day at a time.

So if I have to be thankful for something today I will be thankful for whatever I have inside of me that is getting me by, one day at a time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our ship has sailed...

Randy and I went on a cruise this month. Yes, I did get my submariner on an ocean-going vessel that he did not have to navigate and he loved it. (Okay, okay, he was a little tense going through the narrow strait into Bermuda...)

We left Boston on October 12th and headed for Bermuda. Our ship, the Norwegian Dream, is older (and smaller) and not as modern or brightly decorated as the newer ships but since it was our first cruise ever we did not mind. It will be nice, however, to cruise in the future on something with a little more open space. (We had one stormy day on the way home and it was a bit 'busy' with everyone below decks.)

Anyway, Bermuda was bee-you-tee-ful!!! I loved it there. Everything about Bermuda is pretty. The water is a million shades of turquoise and so clear! I stood in the water up to my shoulders and could see my toenail polish perfectly!! The sand on the beach we went to was PINK! and very powdery (is that a word?). The houses are painted in every imaginable color and the properties are clean and uncluttered. The streets, although very narrow, were clean - no litter anywhere. The people were so friendly and nice and accommodating and helpful and did I say friendly? Everywhere we went we were met with smiles and hellos and conversation. I understand that their country kinda depends on tourism and keeping people happy while they are there, but their friendliness just seemed genuine to me. Maybe it was the rum.

Oh, yes, the rum. I cannot say the words "Rum Swizzle" without having a little giggle. They are good. Really good. And they go down too easily. There's a couple Swizzle Inns on the island and we visited both within hours of each other. I could've been on the Bermuda evening news that day and the video footage would have shown me holding my arms out like an airplane on the back of the scooter just before the accident. (No, there was NOT an accident, just my example of how my drunkeness, I mean silliness would've been the last thing people on the street saw before said hypothetical accident.)

We spent three days in Bermuda before sailing back to Boston. It was a great week full of eating, drinking, shopping, beaching, walking, scootering, more eating, and more drinking. I recommend a cruise to everyone. We're shopping for our next one already.

Here are some pictures of our week:

A 'moongate' in front of a 'little pink house'

St. David's Lighthouse

View from a window in the lighthouse
Gibb's Lighthouse (I didn't climb this one)

Reid Street in Hamilton with Allen, Lisa and Randy walking

Horseshoe Bay Beach

All the roofs are white and 'stepped'

St. Georges from the ship

The ship docked in St. Georges

Randy and I at Horseshoe Bay Beach (taken by the 'honeymooners')

Turquoise water

Horseshoe Bay again

St. Georges
...another beach (taken while scootering down the road)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

JDRF Walk 2008

I'm a little late in posting about our walk. This was our first year walking for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund). Never in a million years did I ever think I'd be walking for a cure for something one of my children have, but I did. In the rain and wind and cold. And I felt good about it. I also felt good about the support we received from family and friends. The weather was truly miserable and to have them there shivering right alongside us was heartwarming, as was the support from friends who could not walk with us but donated anyway.

Together we raised a little over $700 which was almost three times the modest amount I had set for my first-year goal. I also learned alot about organizing and fundraising which will help us next year. Next year I will start earlier. This year's walk came only 6 months after Kathleen's diagnosis so I was still learning. I know to be a little more 'agressive' in getting the word out there and not to wait until the last minute to do t-shirts! And - Kathleen was hospitalized the day before so I was very frazzled the morning of the walk.

I am very proud to have been a part of the walk this year and although I am looking forward to the next, I most look forward to there being a cure and therefore, no need to walk at all.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ledge Light

At the mouth of the Thames River here in CT there is a very unique lighthouse. It's called Ledge Light and I have always been infatuated with it. It doesn't look like a typical lighthouse. It looks like a house; it's not round, not particularly tall, and not on the shoreline. It's built atop a ledge in the middle of the water.

I love lighthouses. I've been inside many and taken pictures of even more. I've always known that the public can tour Ledge Light but often seem to 'forget' that fact until someone else brings it up. My sister-in-law did just that while we were camping last month. We were both like "ohhhh....we should go!" and "we've GOT to go out there" and then just as soon as I remembered, I forgot again.

Until she offhandedly mentioned maybe a week later, "We're going to Ledge Light tomorrow!" WHAT?!? You didn't call me?!? Right away I decided that my family and I were going too. Who cared what was "going on" the next day? I had a plan.

The entire tour was to take 2 and a half hours - 2 hours of which were spent at the lighthouse. The weather didn't look like it was gonna be great, but when we got to Avery Point the haze started to lift and by the time we got on the boat the sun started to shine.

It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon. We toured the lighthouse from the top of the light to the basement; we learned the history of Ernie the lighthousekeeper who died there and the antics of the Coast Guardsmen who kept watch for years after; we were told why it is designed in the Roman-revival style (New Londoners wanted a 'sophisticated' lighthouse) and that the four faces of the building match the compass points; we learned how the light turned before the building was electrified (candlelight and a weight and pulley system through the center of the building) and how it survived the Hurricane of '38 (barely).

I was surprised the kids weren't bored - they really seemed to pay attention to the guide - especially the story claiming that Ledge Light is haunted by Ernie (Ghost Hunters tv show went there once).

I took a million pictures (although five minutes after leaving the dock my camera's batteries died; I highjacked Robyn's).

We took pics of Chris and I touching the lighthouse and of New London Harbor Light.

I really enjoyed the trip out there and I am sure I will go back again and just sit on the steps watching the water for two hours, it would be worth every penny (although it only costs $16 per adult).

Like I said, I love lighthouses but sometimes I find it hard to climb one even though I'm DYING to see the view from the top (in my defense...Currituck Light in NC had 216 steps and those steps were BARELY attached to the wall!). I will always go out of my way to see one, photograph it, and maybe even touch it. heehee

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer '08

The girls have gone back to school and although the calendar states otherwise, summer is over. School starting has always been synonymous with fall and I don't like fall. Well, I guess in a way, I do since I love to see the leaves turn glorious shades of red, orange and gold. But okay, if it is said that I like fall, then I LOVE summer. And summer is over.

So while I sit here and reminisce about summer and it's lazy days, I will share some pictures of our summer.
At a 'family' picnic in June. Tasty food, cool drinks (see the three drinks on the railing in the first picture? 2 of them are mine...yeah...), and good friends - the three requirements for a good time!

My mom had always said that if you couldn't afford your own swimming pool or boat, be friends with someone who can. Well, we got our own 'pool,' but do have friends with a boat! :)

Virginia Beach. Only spent about an hour there, but I just HAD to go. Nobody loved it as much as me.... While there we visited some friends and went to Busch Gardens.

On the left is Currituck Lighthouse in Corolla, NC on the Outer Banks. On the right is the reason I didn't make the climb to the top.

No, I didn't get arrested (although stuck in a car with two kids for a week, I came close a few times!), this was the view from our balcony in Kill Devil Hills, NC. And a picture of the girls in a weak moment of sisterly love.

While in NC we had dinner at Dirty Dick's Crab Shack. Shelby had to have the crab hat and wore it for two days straight. Too funny!

Our resort in Myrtle Beach, SC and everybody enjoying the pool (hel-low people? there is a perfectly good beach just around the corner!!)

Just a "few" shells we collected in Myrtle Beach.

We went camping in late August with my brother and his family. The kids had a blast and it was the most relaxed I've been in a long time.

All in all it was a great summer, but as usual, too short. 9 months and counting 'til next summer....

Saturday, August 02, 2008



Here's a picture of Randy in front of our new home in Myrtle Beach. Yeah right.

We're having lots of fun here. I've taken tons of pictures and when I'm home I'll blog more.

Right now, there's still more beach here to sit on...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Team Kat-Walk invites you....

Hello Family and Friends,

I am writing to ask for your help.

This year we will be walking in our local Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes on October 5, 2008 (Kathleen’s 16th Birthday!) in Niantic, CT along with one-half million other walkers across the country, as we try to reach our goal of raising $100 million.

As most of you know, in March of this year our lives were forever changed when Kathleen was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. In just four months she has been through a lot and has shown amazing strength though it all. Each day she tests her blood sugar levels at least four times and receives three insulin injections. She HATES needles and is anxiously awaiting approval of an insulin pump. While insulin keeps her diabetes in check, it is NOT a CURE! Without insulin a person with type 1 diabetes will die.

Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, is a devastating disease that affects millions of people, with a large and growing percentage of them children. To see what a day in the life of diabetes is like, you can watch this video made by a parent of a child with diabetes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1tiIcHfeMc

There is some good news, though. For the first time, scientists are predicting that we CAN expect to see a cure well within our lifetime! Now, more than ever, you can make a crucial difference. Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as possible? Together, we can make the cure a reality! Until then, Kathleen lives with this disease every day and we will do everything we can to support her.

You can donate the following ways:
Option 1: via our website http://walk.jdrf.org/walker.cfm?id=87051577
Option 2: by check to me (I will add your donation to the tally on the website. Please do not send donations directly to JDRF.)
Or, if you would like to join our team and help fundraise, visit our website and click on JOIN THIS TEAM. I guarantee we will have a great time walking "on the Kat-Walk." (couldn't resist!)

Thank you from the bottom of our pancreases!
Denise, Randy, Kathleen and Shelby

P.S. For more information on type 1 diabetes visit this link:

Just SOME of Kathleen's diabetes supplies - about 1 month's worth:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We Spy...ourselves!

A Yahoo Group I belong to has started a new blog called Shutterbug Spies http://shutterbugspies.blogspot.com/ where a challenge is posted each Wednesday and we, the members, take pictures pertaining the that challenge and post them on the blog. Everyone else who wants to participate can post their pics to their blogs and link them in the comments.

I missed the deadline for this challenge. This picture was take a couple weeks ago on a friend's boat. Kathleen took it - I'm used to being behind the camera - not in front of it! I edited it in Photoshop Express.

Make sure you check it out and add your own photos to ours! Here's to a fun blog with lots of interesting photos!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Five-star knitting

This is my latest sock project. My goal this summer is to knit all my sock yarn (so I can buy more!). In the (read: my) world of sock knitting there are varying degrees of difficulty: multiple needles, one circular needle, stockinette stitch, patterns, thick yarn, thin yarn, etc.

Although some may look at these socks as no big deal for them, they are my "Five-star highest degree of difficulty" yet socks. The yarn is 'Magic Stripes' which (duh) 'magically makes stripes' as you knit. The higher degree of difficulty here is that I have made the stripes MATCH for both socks. Also, they are knitted from the toe-up, rather than cuff-down; they have a short-row heel (not a skill I have mastered), rather than a gussetted heel; and they are both knitted on one circular needle at the same time. WooHoo for me!

If you don't knit this may all sound quite foreign to you and you just may well be saying big deal. Well, the approval-seeking side of me just wanted to let you all know that for me, it is.