Touchdown, Aruba

December 24, 2009

It was a long flight from Newark to Aruba yesterday, especially since our day started at 4am and did not end until after 9pm last night.  It was our long awaited reward from two years of hell, especially for me. First, two contiguous years of medical maladies including but not limited:a misdiagnosed illness,  an auto- immune disease,  fibromyalgia, flu-like symptoms every day (without the temperature), a very badly sprained ankle,( started in February 2009)  plantar fasciatis, and a torn ligament, excruciating back spasms…. ending, or at least lessening yesterday. After both a medical upheaval, a marriage upheaval (the whole summer of 2009) and surviving an extensive guilt from my mother about this trip, we are here; and it is good. It is good to be selfish sometimes when you know what you have been through and know what will keep you going. It is very, very good.

Don’t think, however, that the incredibly full flight was without adventure, it wasn’t. Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to disconnect so abruptly from my malaise but ease out of it slowly because the flight was filled with screaming children,major turbulance and some lady, trying to get her bag from the overhead (over my head) compartment hurling my metal cane and smashing me in the eye, causing massive pain, red welts, and me thinking that the plane had just been bombed.  A horrible passenger had a fight with the flight attendant and ended up shouting at her and giving her the finger. She was not saying “wait a minute.”

Once we got here, however, life was so very good. I eased into walking without a cane. We ate in the hotel for convenience sake last night and because we were so tired we thought we would pass out directly. I don’t remember much except having the fruit punch, a mixture of pineapple juice, red cranberry juice and orangey papaya juice;  It was addictive.  We stumbled into bed at 9pm, I don’t even remember putting my head on the pillow….

This morning we woke up, it was cloudy and my daughter cast a snarky attitude to the day, not seeing the promised sunshine. Luckily for us the wind changed and the sun, broiling in the sky, made several parts of us really sunburned. Tomorrow, we will use (even more) sunscreen.  Life’s a bitch.

A walk on the beach felt good for me both physically and mentally.  The sand is coarse, like kosher cooking salt, not smooth and shiny. The water, a perfect aquamarine was deliciously cool, salty and made me feel, as water always does, renewed. There are sharp inclines on the sand that are directly at the shore so it isn’t always easy to navigate, especially for me.

The pool was cool for some, never too cold f0r me and it had a swim-up bar, all frozen red-orange-pink drinks and large, light lime green margarita glasses rimmed with salt.  Sunglasses, a book, a virgin iced tea and the palm trees. Water, sand, palm trees, a cooling breeze; these are the pure things that make me very happy; this is my kind of heaven.

We went to dinner at Smokey Joe’s BBQ place and then took a long albeit painful walk back to the hotel..  I’m stubborn, I know. I didn’t want to miss up the opportunity to take pictures of Jillian next to a fake Santa or Christmas lights on the palm trees. Our son, Tim, is staying at his friend Aaron’s grandmother’s beach house aka  the mansion.  I’m glad that after all this time he was able to go; it was important for me, that after years of changing plans, he could finally do this.

Now it’s another nibble of dessert: white coconut cake with fresh pineapple inside and Jillian and Dan’s gooey, rich , sweet chocolate cake. Chocolates on the pillow; aloe on my body, vacations make me so very happy. And, I do deserve it.

Scared To Be Happy

I am lying in my bed, covers nearly over my head. My stomach clenches, my head hurts, I sigh loudly. No, I am not getting sick ( I hope ) but I know what the feeling is from. It’s anticipation in a highly negatively charged way. I don’t want to look forward to anything because (from experience’s sake) it’s a jinx.  Yes, that’s what I said. More importantly, as much as I try to psycho-analyze myself and redirect it’s what I know to do.  It is what I have been taught and what I have taken on for myself. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t healthy. It isn’t good for one itsy-bitsy tiny thing.

My family and I are “supposed” to go away for a few days to someplace “warm” over the break. I can’t say where or when or how or why. Why? Because of  the aforementioned jinx.   As a family we do not have good karma for going on vacations so I am being ultra conservative this time to the point of nueroticism, not to mention hysteria, mood swings, feeling stagnant and immobilized.

I try, really I do, to be in “neutral” as my dad used to say. No need to be optimistic or pessimistic, just be in neutral. In control, neither this way or that, or in airline terms, stand-by.

I can’t fill my head with visions of blue-aqua swimming pools or bright orange tropical drinks with slices of pineapple on the glass rim. No. No sandy white  beaches, no trying to feel the sun flood my natural Vitamin D starved body. No.  At least, not yet.

This is no way to bring up children, I know that and I try to keep it to myself but who is kidding who or is it whom?  I feel insecure and tentative, and responsible and uneasy. Not much of a trailblazer am I!  I am comfortable with routine and as much as I love to go away (if we should be so blessed) I am just as happy  to come home. To fit in the little niche I have carved out for myself in my little world. My shrink is going to have a field day but it’s not anything I don’t know.

I don’t want the kids to be disappointed, I don’t want to look forward to something and have it not come through, there are too many negatives in our travel history for that. Tonight, I will try to stay calm and think of many different things. I will not hyperventilate, I will not be anxious, I  will not be negative……I’ll try.

Of course I am trying to protect myself and my family. Does it work? Never. Do I believe in karma and that things work out the way they are supposed to? A definite Yes! Does that not ease my precipatory anxiety? A resounding NO!

Not good at taking chances, not a risk taker, I have bludgeoned myself for being so self-protective. Apparently, I can’t win. I want to be positive but  I am scared to, I don’t want to be negative but it’s self-protection. I want to stay in neutral and feel free from pressure but I find that very hard to do. For now, I will try to take things minute by minute, try to declutter my mind and take long, deep, big breaths, inhaling, holding, exhaling.   Finding neutral is not as easy as it sounds; but I’m still looking.

Inject Yourself !!!

It’s  been a very long time since I started my journey into medical madness. First stop: Menopause. Second stop: an underactive thyroid. Third stop: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an auto immune disease) Fourth stop: Fibromyalgia. I was being treated for my underactive thyroid with  Synthroid and more synthroid. Cymbalta was added on top of Prozac, intertwined with various other drugs for various other ailments. Then, a very long period of feeling like I had the flu without a temperature, no energy, no strength, every body part and his brother ached, all I wanted to do or was able to do, was pretty much, sleep. I felt and looked like hell.

That was about a year and a half ago until I was forced to see a specialist in NYC that dealt with joint diseases and auto-immune diseases only. That became the start of more medicine, but more hope.  I had to keep a journal of how achy I was (yes) and how tired I was (still yes.)  Then came Plaquannel, high doses of Vitamin D and after that, folic acid. After a few more months he added methotrexate and to contradict some of the really bad side effects of methotrexate he added Levocoir or something that sounds like that.  That worked and it didn’t work, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. There was no rhyme or reason as to when it would work and when it would not. In addition, he had me see his colleague ( girlfriend) an OB-GYN, and start me on bio-identical hormones.  I always swore, absolutely, positively swore I would NEVER , ever take HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy.  Again, I started rubbing the Estrogel in my arms every day. When does it stop? When do I stop?

Since I have not reacted most positively to all the drugs listed above, my guru Dr. wants to go to even stronger meds, including injectible ones. That’s right, injectable drugs, in my thigh, given by me, every day. From the diary he asks me to keep from one to ten, one being a mess and ten being (in my words)euphoric or on top of the world, I am at best a five. He is not happy with that number, he wants it to increase to an eight. I will never be a ten, with my auto-immune disease, but I should be higher than a five or sometimes a two. At least that’s what he says, my Guru Dr.  Me? I’m not so sure.

How much though, is too much?  How much more medicine to I want to take in my already overly medicated body. Why isn’t a five acceptable? Are these his standards, or mine? I am weary of taking stronger drugs and injecting them daily. For what? A higher quality of life? I have an acceptable quality of life and I am beginning to think that that’s enough for me. The name of the drug he wants to introduce by injection is Enbrel. Since I become hysterical at looking drugs up on Web MD, my husband always reads it first. For him to shake his head and say, “I’m not so sure about this one…..” is tantamount to me shrieking, feeling sick and fainting all at once. My husband is a calm man, I am not considered to be calm when it comes to medicine, illness or personal safety. I admit it. I worry.

Yes, I would like to feel better than I do but at what cost? Doctors often breezily refer to drugs with well known risks as if they were telling you to take a multi-vitamin.  I am going to have to seriously think about the next step, although I’m pretty sure I know what I am going or NOT going to do. I don’t want more drugs in an already inundated body. I don’t want to inject a drug that has more negative side effects than it does worth. I’m sick of all of it, sick of feeling poorly, sick of taking drugs and sick of Dr.s and yes, sick of myself.

I can’t tell you what I am DEFINITELY going to do, I need much more information. Why is a five in a range from one to ten such a bad thing? What about the hidden side effects of all these different medicines? And, what about quality of life? Maybe being a ten is not for everyone, or a nine, even an eight. Now I am going to weigh all the risks and get more facts,  but, for the meantime I will stay at five; and just be very grateful for that.

What Are YOUR *Fimmels?

A “Fimmel”* is a word  Fred Fessler, (my dad) made up that is defined as “an irritant, an idiosyncrocy, a major annoyance or an  intense dislike.” Depending on the intensity of the fimmel, this could make you angry, vomit, disgusted, nervous, anxious, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a “fimmel” that makes you happy. It’s not used in a positive way. Ever.

I have a fimmel with finding egg shells in my egg salad or scrambled eggs. Once I find a piece of unintended egg shell in egg  salad I cannot, repeat, cannot, physically  continue to eat the sandwich. No how, no where and no way.  Serious gag reflex time. Another “fimmel” of mine is finding someone’s hair in my food. It COULD be mine or it could be the dog’s, the waiter’s, the cook, the sous chef, my daughter, my husband, my son… get the idea. I cannot eat another bite of whatever dish was inhabited by that lone ( well we hope it’s lone)  hair.  If I could bottle these two together, I would have a serious diet revolution. Fimmels do NOT necessarily have to be associated with FOOD.

For example, I, have an extreme fimmel with people clipping their nails in public; particularly toe nails.  I still remember the story of an old friend whose work partner sat in his office and clip-clipped his toenails for all for the world to see and hear. The sound alone, in public, makes me want to throw up. This is a fimmel that defies an  accepted social boundary . One just shouldn’t clip your nails in public:  you can’t convince me of one reason unless you are in a Podiatrist’s office.   This story, was told to me about 8-9 years ago and  will not dislodge from my neurotic brain. The sound alone of someone clipping their nails in public puts me way over the edge. It also happened once on the subway about 30 years ago. I still remember it and in addition to utter disgust I find myself furious. Perhaps fimmel is the wrong word for it, it has progressed to an utter dislike of any person that would do it .The mere thought of it makes my blood pressure go up and my stomach to clench in disgust.

I have a germ fimmel that is really a phobia.I have been using Purell way before the H1N1 flu virus came along.  I ALWAYS have a small bottle of Purell in my handbag, a larger container in the car and one, ok, at least one at home. I must come from the same family as Howie Mandel (or is it a Jewish thing?)  The difference between a fimmel and a phobia can be hard to distinguish sometimes. You have to know the person to assess the severity of the problem. One person’s fimmel is another person’s phobia  is another person’s delight. It’s also linked in our minds to a specific situation that may have happened 25 years ago but will not disappear, ever.

I often went out to dinner with my then friend Toby when we lived in Boston. We were single, hard-working and lived in studio apartments that were about the size of half a garage. We went out to eat approximately 3 times a week and that is modest. One night Toby and I went to a restaurant called Cappuchino’s, one of our favorite Italian restaurants.  We ate our meal and of course ordered our  desserts.  Back then in our late twenties, desserts were a given not an exception. Toby had hers served and I had mine and before I could blink Toby stabbed my dessert and ate a piece before I could taste it. This, in our language became “Tobying.”  “Don’t Toby me” is heard often around my house now, a mere 30 years since it actually happeaned. It is one of my children’s favorite stories. However, the phrase will live in infamy. Even distant family members and true friends know the saying. “Tobying” is forever, never forgiven and certainly, never forgotten. Don’t touch my dessert, much less try it first. “Tobying”desserts  should be a punishable offense.

Last but not least is the vomit fimmel. It’s ok if my kids throw up, but not others or those unknown.  Seeing vomit outside on city streets or in an apartment building, basically anywhere , is the leader of the gag pack. If I smell throw-up, I immediately feel like I am going to throw up too. For bad smells anywhere, my mom perfected a quick antidote which she swears by. She always has a small handkerchief doused with her favorite perfume stuck in her pocketbook. I must say, this is pure genius. If only there were simple remedies to fimmels like that. Therapist would be sent packing, there would be a steep decline in the profession and there would be a lot more people, men and women, carrying handkerchiefs filled with sweet perfume.

What are Your fimmels?  Write back and tell me…..

Who We Really Are

Can you really separate the person from their actions? Should we judge a person by what they do and not who they are? Do actions define who we are?  Can you not delineate the different sides of one person. For example: (not Tiger Woods….YET)  What about Michael Jackson?  People were trying to  categorize him in one of two ways, a brilliant performer or a perverted weirdo. What was he? In my opinion, he was both.  He was an amazingly skilled artist, an incredible dancer, singer, song-writer and he made a huge contribution to the  music world as a performer and to the world of Pop.  On the other hand, we was accused several times of pedophilia, dangled his baby outside of a window for fun, lived with a chimp, had boys sleep over and share his bed and lived in Neverland. Who was he? He was both.

Bill Clinton, in my opinion, was an absolutely wonderful President and leader. He was unbelievably smart, (still is) a fabulous presence, a great contributor to our nation and a wonderful negotiator. On the other hand, he was also charming to a fault sic Monica Lewinsky, lied during office, and raised philandering to practically an art form. I have run into President Clinton a few times and just a look or a smile or  a one word greeting, personally, made me melt. The guy has the most charisma of any person I have ever met. Face it. He does. When my son made me drive around the supermarket parking lot so he could say Hi to the President, the President was as gracious to my son, kind and personable, and treated my son with warmth and sincerity as if he had been at his birth and every birthday party thereafter. Bill Clinton makes every one he talks to feel special. It works.

And of course, Tiger Woods. An amazing athlete, a role-model,  a “family guy” the world thought he had it all. He did, and more. Now all people are talking about are his torrid love/sex affairs with a plethora of women. His image has been shattered as the guy everyone looked up to came speeding down, down, and down. But, should it have been? Is it his fault, or is it ours?s

Maybe our standards are too high. Maybe we shouldn’t blend athletes, political officials, and “the rich and famous” with their personal lives. Maybe we should? I,like everyone else, question these things every day. And, are the “celebrities” entitled to their home life or does public knowledge come with the territory of their fame?

I know one thing,  people are not one sided.  We all have multiple sides to us, we are not one dimensional. The public thrives on the failings of their “heroes.”  But why? None of us is just one thing. No one is just made up of one emotion, one habit, one skill; It’s an ongoing struggle.  The truth of the matter is that we are all flawed, all imperfect and all of us have sides of us that we don’t think are particularly attractive.  We all have our good points and our bad.  Do I judge Susan Boyle on her voice? Of course. She is an incredibly gifted woman with the voice of an angel.  Do I care that she comes across as a bit unstable? Not at all. But, she doesn’t have to pick one over the other. She may be both and a whole lot more.

I think it’s okay to question, it’s ok to struggle with answers but not necessarily okay to judge. What we all have in common, us mortal human beings is that every one of us is not just one thing. We are many things, good, evil, smart and stupid. I think I am a good mom but I am lousy with bowling (ok, with all sports) does that make me less of a mother? No, it makes me a good mother with no athletic abilities whatsoever.  So, who are we to judge?  We have all made mistakes, we have all floundered and questioned and contradicted ourselves. We are loving and good and king and we are also critical, judgmental and sometimes, evil. What it comes down to really, is that all we really are is human.

Crush Envy

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they let themselves enjoy a harmless crush. The idea is NOT for anything to happen, but it’s the pre-flirtation part that enlivens you and fills you with great joy. Do you remember that feeling when you just had a crush on someone and just thinking about them made you happy?  From my own experience I can tell you that life without a crush is downright boring and I am definitely very bored.  I envy people who have innocent crushes, their secretive smiles, the soft, pink, blush rising up their neck and making their faces blotchy. I miss the stomach churning, hand sweating adrenalin that comes along with a secret crush. The key to a crush really, is that it’s a secret. All the more reason to keep it to yourself, that private (imagined) connection, that silly five year old enthusiasm.

The closest thing I have to a crush these days is a crush on someone’s teeth. Sad, but true. One of my husband’s work associates has the most beautiful teeth I have ever seen in a human being. And, they’re natural. No braces have touched these perfectly aligned pearly whites. This is not a secret crush, I am not embarrassed or ashamed of it, actually I’m proud of it. It isn’t much but it’s something. The fact that they are large teeth, untouched by any orthodontist makes them even more special. People have been known to stop this man on the street and admire his teeth. If only Seinfeld wasn’t off the air, this would make a great storyline.

We’re supposed to go to dinner with this man and his girlfriend and I have mixed feelings about it. I want to say, as much as I like their company, do I really want to see his gorgeous set of teeth, covered with mushy lettuce or ketchup stains or G-d Forbid messy egg salad?  Do I want to see the remnants of his dinner lingering on his teeth?b  I have a hard choice  to make in the upcoming weeks. I don’t want to lose my crush on his teeth but will my crush dissipate if I see his teeth under less than perfect circumstances?

In the meantime, I will try to have a pseudo-crush on someone or something else. Maybe someone will wear delectable looking boots, or carry a handbag that makes me swoon. I would love to have a crush on a person (but you can’t just  decide to have a crush on a person-you have to feel it) but unfortunately I haven’t had any luck with that. Maybe it’s my age, maybe there’s noone out there that’s “crushable”; at least it’s been this way for me, for many,  years.

There are all kinds of crushes, all of them innocent,  harmless. Life without an innocent crush just keeps you in the center of all your responsibilities and chores with no escape. I am missing vacation-like moments to beach resorts without a crush. There is no one to make you look away and smile with your eyes. I love my family and my friends.  I like most everyone, people, children, dogs (cats not so much) and it’s a nice distraction from a very long winter day but it is at most, a luxury.  I bet Larry David could use this in an upcoming episode for Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Do you crush?

Mother and Daughter Wars

Last night I had another angry dream about my mother. We were  in Israel and supposed to be coming home. I remember my kids were with us as well. I was both daughter to my mother and mother to my children.  My mother decided she wasn’t coming home, she was abandoning us (me) and staying in Israel to be with her boyfriend. I believe she said something like “I never wanted this to begin with.” I begged her to come home with us, I sobbed,  I pleaded. She stood her ground and wouldn’t budge. I remember her crying in the dream as she walked in the opposite direction, but ultimately, she stood her ground and stayed. She had planned trips with her boyfriend. Until the very end of my dream and continuing as I gradually woke up, I was in a state of total disbelief. I’ve had this dream about 3 or 4 times a week for about two months.

My relationship with my mother now is definitely uneven, up and down, intense and cool. My mother and my sister are very similar people but I was always closer to my dad. He understood me, he made things better, he was more diplomatic; he was my warm and loving parent. He died 8 years ago. I feel that whatever I do for my mother is not good enough. Even though I TRY much harder to please her (visits, dinners, lunches, grandchildren…) than my sister,  it never feels like it’s good  enough.  My mother and I  are so different that it gets in the way. It gets in the way that with every thoughtless comment and(self-perceived)  dig she makes. When I am this angry it makes me  want to see her less. She drains me, she hurts me, the one time she came to see me when I was on bed rest with my leg, she arrived demanding a sandwich from my husband.  There was no pot of chicken soup in her hands or even a few bagels, not even a cookie. She came, demanded a sandwich and then, complaining about the stairs, went upstairs and said hello to me, after she was fed. In her defense, she is a diabetic, in my defense, I just wanted to see her first.

Several days ago I returned home from a very important Dr. visit in the city with my Guru Dr, as I refer to him. He was so pleased with my progress that I was beaming. He said the first time he saw me I definitely “grabbed his attention because I was so sick.” Then, the first visit after, I had improved a little bit. This visit he exclaimed “You Look Great.”  I felt better, I looked better, I had lost ten pounds and I was absolutely thrilled.  As a daughter, the first thing you want to do is call your mom and tell her  the good news and so I did. She listened and then said”Now I’m going to ask you a question that you won’t like”  to which I replied “do you have to” and she said “yes I do, I have to.” Sigh. Groan. She asked the following: What did the Dr. say about your weight gain? ‘Huh? What? I just told you he was thrilled with me?!  She then replied “but what did he say about your weight gain?”Telling her, again,, that I had indeed lost  ten pounds did not mollify her. She wanted to know about the total weight gain… I gave up.  I was hurt, I was disgusted. And, of course she pulled the weight button, goes off like an alarm every time.

A common theme in our relationship has always been about my being overweight, chubby, FAT. I was very thin as a child and she used to carry Nestle’s Quik all around the world trying to fatten me up. Boy, has that changed.  Ever since I was about 10 and  she left the NY Times Magazine on the kitchen table open to “Overweight Camps For Girls”it has been a big problem (try and forget THAT!)  Of course, when I starved myself to 121 pounds (that lasted about 5 minutes) she was nagging me to gain weight. Is there anyone who wouldn’t need Psychotherapy after this?  Not that it helped….

I summoned the courage to have the “talk” with her. It was heated, we both feel we can do no good for the other person. But then we listened…I told her how I felt, she told me how she felt. It wasn’t that different after all. She needed attention and she really needed advice. She did not know, honestly did not know, what mothering meant. She had grown up without a real mother, just a twisted, nasty, dishonest stepmother.

I told her what I needed, she told me she understood. She also told me that she doesn’t say personal things to make me feel bad, she just means it as a fact. Yes, I do take things way too personally. We agreed.

Today, she came over with bagels and cream cheese for lunch. She said hello to the dog,and told her outloud “I want to see Laurie”  and walked upstairs. The first thing she did was say hello to me, her brown eyes twinkling. I love this woman who looked so cute and fashionable in her little blue outfit. I will always love her;she is a part of me that will be with me always. I want to make her happy, I want her to know how much I love her and I do.  I just can’t promise to always agree with her. But that’s ok, as long as we keep on talking it through and leaving our hearts all the way open.

Dearest Family and Friends,

Dearest Family and Friends,

Dan and I are always so delighted to get YOUR newsy Christmas/Channukah letters that this year we want to give back to those of you who give so unselfishly. It’s been quite a year for the Fessler-Friedmann family, 2009 will be a year we won’t forget!!!  Our son, Tim, is now 17 and he finally has the long awaited senior driver’s license. Ever since he was able to apply for his permit he has been bugging the crap out of us for his own car. Oh, that tenacious young man. We affectionately refer to him as our “PITBULL.”  He is doing well in his Junior year of High School where he does his utmost to procrastinate about anything “college.” You would think he would stay up long hours to do his homework and to study but half the time we find him in our “family” room bombing cars, throwing grenades and basically killing people as fast as he can with his favorite toy, X-Box.  He does extremely well on this games; we’re so proud!!! Tim is a Junior in HS now (“Sunrise, Sunset”) and he is making every effort he possibly can to alienate us,  frustrate us or make us seething with anger. He is moody, obnoxious, and arrogant. They call this stage “individuation” where the child is learning to separate from the parents, for this he deserves an A++.

Jillian, the baby of our family, is now 15. Where does the time go? Wasn’t it yesterday when she dressed up in her blue Cinderella dress and refused to take it off?  The hours between 4 and 6pm are so quiet now that those angry, sobbing and screaming episodes have ended. She is a delightful young lady, still saving all animals and fish, as a vegetarian with limited vegetable eating. Tim first called her a “Dairytarian” which still makes us all chuckle as pasta and pizza are her two mainstays.  Jillian is our fashionista and we wait for the UPS man with great anticipation to deliver her catalogue items before she models them for us. Jillian babysits and uses every penny she makes on clothing. (Where did that trait come from?) We think it’s a little bit of her precious “Granny Sue” that definitely skipped a generation with me.  She is magnificent in languages and is now taking French in addition to Spanish. Apparently,in her acting class, “Schrot, the teacher,”  is as entertaining as the class itself. Jillian doesn’t want to try out for a” regular play” but she may decide to try out for a comedy. Break a leg!

Dan is unemployed, he lost his job due to this horrendous economy. When not looking for a job he entertains himself by playing Beweled Blitz on the computer. Apparently that game is quite addictive. We’re so happy he’s having a little joy in his life.  Other than that, both cars needed major repairs, and you know what we used to say? We used to say that any single repair on a car was at least 200 dollars. Not for us!!! Both cars needed $1,200 dollars of work.  First was the driver that smashed the car Tim had just parked, lucky the little love bug was safe and sound. Second, the Altima needed several thousand dollars for various items that us girls don’t know anything about!! Brake pads, rotor cuffs, engine trouble….it’s all the same to us; it just means money,  big money.

Lastly, Laurie has spent the entire year of 2009 in medical distress and it still is continuing. To give you just a little sample, she has dealt with a badly sprained ankle with a chip from the bone dislodging taking up 9 months, followed by heel spurs in the same ankle and now is in a heavy, smelly, black cast to the knee. She has seen numerous Dr.’s in the city for her Hashimotos Thyroiditis, an opthamologist for her narrow angle glaucoma, the TMJ she tries to ignore. The exciting news is that Laurie’s Guru Dr. as we affectionately call him wants to up her 14 pills a day to a more powerful dose that would mean injecting a needle daily into her thigh. Wow, it’s something to look forward to. She also is having a needle of her very own blood, centrifuged, and inserted back into her heel in a few days. How cool is that?. Before the injuries she did take a class in Senior Pilates but flunked, but the dear old men and women in the class were so nice and so good!!! Cheers for them! Laurie is looking forward to her upcoming dentist appointment as her first outing without a cast. Joy.

Last but certainly not least, is our dog, Callie. She fills our lives with great joy and love….at least she does to Jillian and Laurie. She is going on 8 years old and it’s sad to see her fur turn a little white under her chin. She’s the most nurturing dog, a real love and we all adore her. Of course there was the time that Dan let Callie out and forgot about her….leaving Jillian and me shrieking and searching and hating all things male. The “boys” were not unhinged (as we were) and they didn’t seem to care. It was not a good family night to play Apples to Apples.  Luckily, Callie was found and remained upstairs with the girls for the rest of the evening.

All in all, it’s been a really great year.  Can’t you tell??  Filled with nothing but joy, tsuris (bad luck) and more tsuris.

Happy Holidays from the Fessler-Friedmanns

Dan, Laurie, Tim, Jillian and Callie the dog