Thursday, October 18, 2012

Maggie

When we first found Maggie at PetSmart, she was visiting with a local shelter hoping to be adopted. They guessed she was about 9 months old, but they had picked her up as a stray, so we decided her birthday was early September. Maggie was 8 years old when she passed away on Tuesday, October 16.

I had always had a dog growing up, so in my eyes, it's a bit difficult to survive life without one. My husband, even though he didn't have pets growing up, realized this and decided it was time for me to get a dog after we bought a house together. He found Maggie and took me to PetSmart to meet her. The local shelter told us how we could adopt her and we didn't hesitate. It was obvious she was a sweet girl and all we had to do was make sure she was happy in our home.

It took quite a few months for Maggie to stop cowering when someone would raise their hands above their head, but she soon came to realize that yelling and flailing arms meant fun in our house, not beatings. She greeted everyone at the door and barked at anyone she didn't know. She was a fierce watchdog and a loving family dog. She never once complained when our kids were too rough...and sometimes they were!


Two weeks ago, I noticed she acted funny after I had let her out in the morning. The next day, she wobbled when she came in. And the next day, she wobbled, then fell on her face like she had no control at all. I knew right then we were in serious trouble. After her first tests, the vet said she was anemic. The trick was finding what was causing the anemia. A week later, tests came back negative for lyme and other tick related illnesses. On Monday, her red blood cell count was terribly low and she could barely catch her breath for lack of oxygen. An ultrasound revealed the final verdict. A large tumor on her spleen was bleeding into her belly. Surgery was an option, but not a useful one. There was no guarantee she would even make it through the surgery to recover from it.

Growing up, we had to put two of our family dogs down, but it was always my mom that did it. This was the first time that I had to take a dog myself. And with my husband by my side, we apologized and we told her we loved her repeatedly until she was gone. It was, by far, the hardest thing I have had to do in my life to this date.

Maggie didn't chew our shoes. She didn't pee on the rug. She never ate things she shouldn't eat. She loved cheese and pretzels and her bedtime Milkbone snack. While I was unemployed and at home, she spent every minute underfoot. When someone would knock on the door, she had a protective bark that made any solicitor stand ten feet back from the front door. She loved to play in the snow. She was everything you would want in a dog.


Monday night, my husband and I slept downstairs in the living room with her, stealing every moment we could. In the morning, we told the kids what had to be done and let them stay home from school to spend some time with her to say goodbye. My daughter, at 5 years old, understood but didn't quite grasp the situation. Yet she cried and hugged her before she left. My son, at 12 years old, was more emotional, and like us, not ready to let go. 



As for me, my tears aren't finished yet. I've cried every night in the shower, so the kids wouldn't see. I've stifled them during work, so I could make it through the day. But, I keep forgetting...if only for a split second. When I come home, I think she'll be there to greet me. I drop some food on the kitchen floor and expect her to come running. Someone knocks at the door and I expect her to bark. I get ready for bed and think I need to let her out one last time. It's going to be a long while before I can accept that she's gone. Right now, I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm needing her here with me. And even when the day comes that we are ready for a new dog, I'm pretty sure I'll still be missing her as much as I do today.

Goodbye, sweet Maggie. You are one in a million, baby. I will miss you every day.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Crash


Accidents are a funny thing. They happen in an instant. They can take a couple hours to clean up. And the aftermath can be minutes to hours to years.

This is my car. 
Goodbye, Sweet Car.


DON'T WORRY!! Everyone is ok. 

After a trip to Target, we were on our way home when I came to an intersection where there are two consecutive lights. I was stopped at the first and when I started to move, I saw a car in the opposite turning lane ahead of me. She had her turn signal on and was inching into my turning lane. I stopped with a car length, or two, ahead of me, trying to figure out if this was someone lost attempting a u-turn. Suddenly, she accelerated, getting right in my lane and hitting me head on. 

This is where the seconds feel like hours and milliseconds all at the same time. All I could see was her deployed airbag and thinking that would stop the car, I hoped it would all be over quickly. But, I was wrong. She continued to accelerate and pushed me right into the car behind me, giving my kids and I a double jolt from her hit and then my hit backwards. 

A million decisions floated in front of me in flashes. My foot was on the brake and she was still pushing. Foot on the gas, she's still pushing. Put in park...the car says NO. I couldn't change the gears. With both kids in the car, it was either let her keep pushing me, or pull away. I took a quick look behind me and turned the wheel to peel away from her bumper.

By the time all this has happened, the man in the car behind me was now reaching for her door trying to get it open. And with my car out of the way, her car sped off down the street. I watched in disbelief at her car racing down the street and not even taking out another car. And even more shocked that the man went sprinting down the street after her yelling, "Stop that car!!" By the actions of the driver, we knew it wasn't a typical accident. Something very wrong was occurring. 

When I turned back around, my daughter was crying, my son was frozen and confused, and our car was surrounded by people. I saw a woman in scrubs, who later identified herself as a nurse, talking to my daughter and checking for injuries. Two more girls next to us assured us they were certified in First Aid if we needed help. Another woman and a man on my side of the car asking if we were okay and if we needed to make calls. By this time, it was near impossible to hear the 911 operator on my phone as I tried to tell him what was going on. 

Amazingly, our former neighbor was at the intersection and, once the kids were checked out, took them to her house for water ice while I stayed at the scene. Once she was gone, I had a moment to breathe and almost lost it, but then realized I still had to deal with paperwork and police. 

The police officer was patient, kind and even funny. The tow truck driver, calm and helpful. Every person I came in contact with today has helped restore my faith in humanity. 

Some days, it seems like people are just jerks. They can be selfish, greedy and rude. But then there are days like today. When I'm already stressed and then a poorly-timed disaster happens, all of these people show me that people can still be wonderful, helpful and generous.

I would like to extend a deeply felt thank you to ALL of the people that were at that intersection today. Especially to Melissa Hellman, a complete stranger, who was not involved in the accident, but pulled over and stayed with me the entire time. Someone who I have never met stood there and kept me calm and occupied, and even made sure I had a ride before she left. Please check out her blog The Savings Wife and let her know how awesome she is! 

*It turns out the woman who hit us MAY have been having a seizure. After getting by my car, she hit a pole at a very high speed causing a power outage. I know she was taken to a local hospital, but let's hope she's recovering and not seriously injured. If you are interested in finding out more, you can go to our local paper, The Reporter, for updates.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Giveaway!

If you know me at all, you know that I'm all about getting your daily giggles. On Twitter, I post a #DailyGiggle any day that I'm on. I even wrote a blog post about why I do the Daily Giggle. Laughter really is the best medicine. It's benefits are immediate, and if you make sure to get your laughs every day, they can continually aid your physical and mental health.

I am also an avid reader. As a kid, I devoured books. Then I became a mom and for a while, I forgot all about the things that make me happy. So in the past few years, I've picked up books again. Each year, I try to increase my goal. The bookshelves are overflowing and there is never enough time to read them all.

Today, I'm combining my love of books with my love for laughter. I'm giving away a paperback copy of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang! This book had me laughing so hard that my husband was giving me dirty looks because I was interrupting his TV watching. And he was the one who bought it for me! I loved it so much that I passed it to my sisters and I can't wait to read it again...and again...and again.


Now, while I have your attention...

I am looking to do a little guest posting on some other Mommy Blogs. There are so many of you out there and I have a VERY long list of the ones that I have read, but I'd like to send out an open invitation to all of you. If you have a mom-related blog, and are interested in having a guest poster, please send me an email at c_horos @ hotmail.com. We'll trade some details and get to know each other a little better!

HOLD ON! 

Having a blog, or having me guest post has NO influence on winning this book whatsoever. It was just a good way to get in touch with a lot of people at once. 

So....if you'd like to win this book, all you have to do is leave a comment that you'd like to win. 

AND...for a second entry, you can Retweet any of the tweets I post announcing the giveaway. Find me at @ChristineMarie_ on Twitter. And make sure to check my Twitter page on Sunday, June 17, to find out if you are a winner!

Good luck! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Own Silver Lining


As a kid, I constantly dreamed about acting. I imagined what it would be like to create the magic behind the scenes and write the scripts that built the stories. Time passed, life happened, and I never made that dream come true. However, I do check in with a local company, Heery Casting, for occasional work. I missed the filming of Limitless in 2009, starring Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro, but when I heard they were returning to film The Silver Linings Playbook, I immediately applied. I have always admired Robert DeNiro. A true natural, his movies have profoundly affected me. It was only just before Hangover 2 released that I discovered Bradley Cooper is from Jenkintown, only one town over from my own birthplace. 


I waited anxiously for the call, which I finally received near the end of October. The location was a cozy diner in Upper Darby and I was to bring a Halloween costume. I arrived early, which gave me time to make friends with some of the other extras. After some waiting in the holding area, we piled in vans and headed to a quiet neighborhood. We did a few quick shots as trick-or-treaters, then headed to the diner for more waiting in the parking lot. The crew members were scattered about communicating on headsets to organize who would go where. Taking the opportunity, I made sure to keep moving away from the outgoing vans that were carrying extras back to the holding location.

Eventually, we were herded into the diner and people were placed, filling the space like sardines. I spotted a table remaining empty in the middle of the room and slid myself into a seat at the counter directly across from it. I soon found my intuition was right as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence came in and sat at the table.

I spent from 4pm until 4am on the set, adrenaline keeping me wide awake the entire time. I laughed. I nibbled cold French fries. I spent hours getting to know the incredible people in the seats around me. Most importantly, I soaked up every moment like a sponge. Being so close to the action allowed me to see how much effort is put into every moment of a film. While David O. Russell directed, the crew worked furiously to keep the extras quiet and moving when needed. When a better camera angle was needed, they swooped in to remove a seat and change the lighting. When squeaking counter seats were creating a distraction, they appeared with oil to grease each one. And all the while, they still worked with a smile and pandered to my penchant for playful banter.

The night was unforgettable. I went home floating on a cloud. When the next day came, all I could think about was getting back to the set. I wanted more. If I was an addict, I would have been doubled over from the withdrawal.


This video was not taken by me, but was from the same day I was on set.

Thankfully, I was called again. This time, the location was in the city. There was a much larger crowd of people and I wondered if I had made the right decision. Would the second time be as fun as the first? Would I be able to get as much out of it as I did before?

It wasn't long before I was assured it would be another memorable day. A more formal scene, we headed over to the Ben Franklin House. We were placed throughout the lobby and balcony hallways. Finding a crew member I recognized, I said hello and he sent me right upstairs with a few others. Wondering if I would be within view of a camera, I was thrilled when Bradley Cooper walked by and stood at the end of the hallway with the gathering crew members.

Again, I was in awe as David and Bradley hashed out the scenes, deciding the best camera angles and how it would be performed. As the day went on, I was placed in prime spots as the stars walked the hallways. David would read their lines, each time with different inflection and timing. They would repeat and repeat until they had what they wanted.

At the end of the day, I left with the same feeling of adrenaline and satisfaction. A dreamy smile plastered to my face. For so long I wondered what it would be like, and even though I didn't pursue the career I wanted, I spent two amazing days entranced with being in the center of it all. Hopefully, it will lead me to more days like this to come. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Woolite Oxy Deep

Let's talk cleaning.

In my house, I have neutral colored rugs. Sandy brown, speckled beige, and I even chose a cream colored carpet for the dining room. The dining room!

What was I thinking? you say?

I have a secret weapon.


When it comes to cleaning messes, I battle juice spills, mud tracks, and my least favorite, animal puke. While the dog is an infrequent offender, the cat ruins my day several times a week. 

This little bottle of magic has erased every stain in its path. You spray it on, leave it a few minutes and come back to soak up the mess and POOF! Gone. I only use paper towels and it works every time.

I have never been so grateful for a stain remover. It has erased the big and small spots. I've even used it on the microfiber sofas...because the cat is not picky about where he chucks his hairballs.

Woolite OxyDeep is hands down the best stain remover I have used. Between kids and pets, there's nothing that has eliminated messes like this cleaner. 

If only it would watch the kids so I can go see a movie, it would be perfect.


*I was not compensated in any way for this review. I have used Woolite OxyDeep for a number of years and was not approached to post about it.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back in Business

It's been a while since I've worked on this blog and I've been trying to make the time to pick it up again.

So, here I am.

I had discussed in a previous post about how I had made some changes to my diet and exercise routine. Let's start there...

While the holidays added a few expected pounds, I've kept up with making smarter choices and exercising on a regular basis. But, I'd like to be very clear here, I HATE exercise. And yes, I realize that this is not a revelation. Many people hate exercise. Hell, it's the reason why we don't do it! I think my husband underestimates my hatred, though.

First of all, let's point out that men lose weight faster than women. My gradual changes have drawn out over the past two years and my husband dropped 30 pounds in three months as easily as he takes off his shirt. I've lost weight, but I feel like I'm wading through three feet of mud.

I don't enjoy the pain. I don't enjoy the sweating. The tired muscles, the gasping for breath, and the soreness the next day all add to the pile of reasons not to exercise. And yet, I trudge on. I swear at the TV the entire time. I tell the instructor to go do horrible things that I should not repeat here. It's how I cope. So what?

Whatever.

Recently, we were in a sporting goods store checking out the available equipment looking for something we can both use to change our routine. We came across the Supreme 90 Day workout package which was only $14.99. We certainly didn't want to drop over $100 on the P90X or other similar workouts. Our funds are not currently disposable, but our health is something we both want to improve.

It's actually a solid workout. My body is killing me. They do include a booklet on an appropriate meal plan, but I don't follow those. Yes, I want to get stronger and be healthy, but I'm not trying to get ripped like a body builder. You won't catch me ingesting any of those protein shakes, either. Blech.

Because I hate working out so much, I don't want to talk about it. I'd like to forget about it the second it's over. My husband however, is obviously enjoying his workouts and likes to check in with me. "This one wasn't too bad, huh?" or "I think this one's going to hurt tomorrow."

I scowl at him and agree with "Mmhmm."

"Oh, c'mon, it's not that bad."

Um, yes, at a matter of fact it is. I'm doing this because I'm requiring myself to do it. Having free will means making the decision to do something on your own, it doesn't mean you have to like it. So, I've been keeping up with it all, I'm just loathing every minute of it.

Don't get me wrong. This is NOT supposed to be a post of my whining about exercise. The moral of today's story is: No matter how much you hate it, you can still keep doing it. You can plow through and come out better for it. Hate it all you want if you have to, just don't stop doing it. 




*Please note: I was not compensated for mentioning Supreme 90 Day workout and purchased the package with our personal money. I am not a doctor and will always recommend finding exercise that suits you best with your physician's help. Also, we have not completed the full 90 days, so I would not give a full review of the program until I have had a chance to finish it. 

Let's Go Site-Seeing!