Sunday, December 28, 2008

Question #131 - Describe your favorite winter activities.

Winter is more difficult for me than the summer. At least with the summer, if I don't go anywhere during the day, I can open up windows and my front door and enjoy the warmth. I'm closed in during the winter, and sometimes shut in for days! Some of my favorite things to do on cold winter days include:

*make hot chocolate
*have a pajama day!
*play on the laptop all afternoon
*make jewelry
*read and/or take a nap (usually it's both! lol)
*clean, if I'm really really bored

I have to plan my days around the weather usually in the winter. Pulmonary rehab has been a nice thing for me to escape to most days, but if it's way too cold out to go there, I try to exercise at home on my treadmill. I also try to get to the stores when the weather isn't bad, and to visit Mandy and the kids, as long as they aren't sick! Winter is pretty yucky, and I usually can't wait until it ends!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Question #130 - What's my favorite Christmas present I remember getting?

There have been sooo many Christmas presents over the years. Top gifts I remember have included a black rabbit, a hockey table, a Cabbage Patch doll, and Tickle Me Elmos! I have loved so many of my gifts, even if I can't remember them all!!

I would have to say, though, that my favorite Christmas present is the one that is trying to bite my hand right now!! Mittens was a gift from Erin, one of my best friends, and I surely thought I'd never get a cat from someone! I've loved cats so much since I was little, but just couldn't ever have one because half my family is allergic to them. So to actually get a bundle of fur in the shape of a kitten was so exciting for me! And Mittens has become my son, despite the fact that he isn't human!! lol

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Question #129 - What's my favorite Christmas memory?

Yes, it's been awhile since I answered a question! I go through spurts where trying to answer one every day just gets very boring. Too much thinking!! LOL

I think my favorite memory about Christmas would have to be going to see Santa Claus at the now defunct Rainbow Mall, down near the Falls. For the longest time, when we were kids, the Santa Claus was the most awesome Santa ever! He seriously looked like Santa, with a real beard, and a genuine laugh. He spent several minutes with every child who sat on his lap, and after we told him our desires for that year, he would give us an envelope of pixie dust. He told us we had to sprinkle it in the snow on Christmas Eve, so he would see it twinkle, and he'd know he had to stop at that house to bring toys. He just seemed so real to so many kids! I was sad many years ago when I found out he had passed away. I honestly don't think I'll ever see another Santa who could just feel so authentic!

Another favorite memory is when my sisters and I would open our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve. I always looked forward to those gifts. Somehow they meant so much more than gifts from Santa, because they were from my sisters. It was also fun to have something to do while waiting for our parents to get up in the morning, so we could open up the gifts!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Question #128 - What was my favorite birthday? What was the best birthday gift I ever got?

One of my most memorable birthdays would have to be when I turned 25, I believe. A bunch of us got dressed up and hit the bars down on Third Street. At the one bar we went to, we knew the owner, and he gave me a bottle of champagne to celebrate! I don't remember paying for a drink at all that night, and I know that I got pretty trashed. lol But, it was fun! I danced with my friends and my sister, and by the time I got home, I just crashed in my bed with all my clothes on!

My birthday this past September would have to be one of my favorites recently. We went bowling, and it was a blast! I haven't bowled in ages, and neither had anyone else. It was a great time, and we had a lot of laughs!! I'd definitely love to go again sometime, just for something fun and different to do!

I have gotten so many great gifts over the year for my birthday, that I just can't pick one out that's my favorite. I honestly love that my family and friends spend time celebrating my birthday with me. That is way better than the gifts!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Question #127 - Describe my first driving experience.

My parents used to have a big station wagon when I could have gotten a driver's permit in high school. While I got my permit, I really didn't want to drive that car! It was too huge!! Unfortunately, that was the only car I could really practice with. But, I didn't get my driver's license until I was 20. By that time, my parents had bought a car for my sister, Lisa, and I to use. It was a 1987 Buick Skylark, and it was definitely smaller than the big station wagon! I remember going for my driver's license road exam. I was so worried about failing with the parallel parking, but I aced that. I got 2 marks against me, and I think one of them was for being too far left in the road. I passed the road test the first time, and I wanted my mom to drive home for some reason! I also remember on my first trip to my dad's workshop without an adult, I was at a light, and when it turned green, I turned left immediately without waiting for the other car who had the right of way. I was very lucky that I wasn't hit, but I realized it was such a stupid mistake, that I didn't do it ever again!! That was really what I remembered as part of my first driving experiences after I got my license!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Question #126 - Did I have a favorite blanket or toy growing up?

I don't really remember having a favorite blanket growing up, but I had several favorite toys. One was my Barbie. She was the Peachs N Cream Barbie, with a long peach gown and a peach wrap thing to go around her shoulders. I also liked my Barbie car, with seat belts! Of course, I always got so frustrated with the seat belts that I never put them on. lol I also used to like my Hot Wheels car that had a key you put in the back of it. I loved my Cabbage Patch, and I named her Idaline Marie. My aunt made a bunch of clothes for her, and for my sister's Cabbage Patch dolls. I really liked my Transformer, too! It used to turn into a microscope that I could really use! Oh, and I had a Pound Puppy that I loved, too! I guess I really didn't have one toy that I loved for a long period of time! And the funny thing is, I still have everything, except the Transformer. And the Barbie car!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Question #125 - Am I a forgiving person? Is there anyone I need to forgive, and what's the game plan?

I usually don't get into fights are arguments with many people. At least, I try not to! But there have been some instances where I've really gotten into it with someone in my family, or an occasional friend. I've gotten very angry with some people, and although I have forgiven them for whatever it was they made me mad about, it took an awful long time. I've had to reason with myself sometimes to just say I'm sorry, because there have been grudges that just aren't worth staying angry over. Recently, though, I can't seem to forgive someone who hurt me really bad over the summer. After spending over a year getting really close with him, and then a summer of it all falling apart, then big misunderstandings, it's going to take me a while to forgive him for being so selfish. He still wanted to be friends a month after we had stopped talking, and that made me even angrier. I know I will let go eventually. We don't even communicate anymore. But right now, even though I should forgive because it doesn't matter anymore, I just can't seem to do it. I guess I still hurt, and it's because he just didn't get it!! I know I will one day, but just not right now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Question #124 - Am I a good listener? How can I improve this?

A lot of people tell me I am a good listener. I like to be there for someone. If they are ranting and raving, or crying and upset, I am there to listen if they need me. So I'm not sure how much I can improve on that! What I CAN improve on is cutting off my mom when she's trying to tell me something. I do it often. I don't really do it on purpose, it's just kind of a reaction. I think I know what she is going to say, so I disagree right away, or say something else about it, and she gets rather irritated that I've cut her off. AGAIN. Sooo, I would say that I really need to try harder and let my mom finish talking and finishing her thoughts BEFORE I interrupt or respond!! I know she would soooo agree with me on this, too!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Question #123 - Am I a good communicator? How can I improve on this?

I think sometimes I am a good communicator, and in some situations, I'm not. If I'm talking about a subject I know and understand, then I can go on about it without hesitation. If I'm put on the spot with a question, I don't do too well with that. I feel like I fumble and can't get my words out right. I end up being nervous and wish I could run away!! I'm usually good at trying to describe things to people, except for directions. I'm horrible with directions, and I usually just say I don't know how to get there if someone asks me!!

How can I improve on any of this?? Be prepared?? Try not to be so nervous?? Maybe admit if I don't know something, and not worry about it too much?? I don't know!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Question #122 - What is your favorite music group? Why?

I love music, and I love a wide variety of music. The only music I really don't like is country, and heavy metal. Music helps me get into the mood to do stuff, like clean, or gets me out of a funk if I'm feeling yucky or irritated. I have a lot of musical talents that I really like, but there are a couple that just absolutely get me moving and grooving when I hear them. Janet Jackson is one artist who I've loved since I was a little girl. Whenever I felt sick, or really tired, I liked to listen to her songs, and I would perk up. I've seen Janet in concert twice, and the shows were well worth the ridiculous amount of money I paid!! I have Janet's music on everything from my computer to my phone, and it doesn't matter that I've heard the songs a thousand times. Every time I hear one, it's like it's the first time all over again!

I also love the Barenaked Ladies. They are a Canadian band that slowly grew popular in the U.S. I've seen them many times in concert, and they are the funniest band I've seen perform! Their songs are quirky and fun, and some of them don't make sense, but that is what's so entertaining about these 5 men! Yes, the Barenaked Ladies are a group of men, and NO they are not naked!!! LOL!

Simon & Garfunkel is another group I've loved since I was little, and that is because of my dad. He would always listen to the records, or sing along to one of their songs on the radio when I was little. Whenever I hear one of their songs today, I immediately think of my dad. I never ever thought I would see Simon & Garfunkel play live, considering they weren't even together anymore, until several years ago. They got together again for a tour, and I saw them live in Buffalo with my parents. I will never forget when they both came on stage at the beginning. I actually cried! And I don't cry that easily!! It was sooo emotional! Not only was I able to see them play TOGETHER, I was there with my dad. Out of all the concerts I've been to (and there have been a lot!), the Simon & Garfunkel one is on top of my list of favorites, for sure!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Question #121 - What is my favorite food? When I cook for my family, what do I enjoy making most?

I love pasta. And cheese. Pasta and cheese together is fabulous! I pretty much enjoy a lot of foods, and I'm usually willing to try things at least once to see if I like it. I don't have a family living with me to cook for, but I've had my parents over to eat several times. I think my favorite thing to make is tuna noodle casserole. It was a dish my mom made when we were growing up (not everyone's fav though, I know Mandy won't ever eat it again lol), and I know she still makes it today. In fact, when either one of us say we are going to make it, we ask if we are invited over. lol It's just a yummy dish! Oh, and I like it either hot or cold! And sometimes it's good for breakfast!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Question #120 - What is my full name, and who am I named after? If I could change my name, what would it be?

My first name is Colleen, an Irish name since my Mom's side of the family is Irish (and Polish). I know I have my last name on another website, but I'm not keen on putting it here. And I wouldn't put my middle name here, either!! In this day and age of identity theft, it would be rather foolish of me to type my entire name! Let's just say my last name is very German, my Dad's side of the family. I don't think I'd change my name to anything else, though. I rather like it! I do know that if I had been a boy, my name would have been Joel. Not sure I like that name. And I hope I don't offend any Joels who may read this!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Question #119 - What pets have I had? Which one was my favorite?

My first pet was a hamster. I don't remember its name. I don't really remember how old I was when I had it. Well, we had it. Lisa and Mandy were around when we had it, but I don't remember if Joan was yet. Actually, she may have been a wee little one. So I'd say I would have had to be around the age of 8 or so. Anyway, I always get picked on about this, but for SOME REASON, I decided it would be cool to see what would happen if I hit the hamster on the head with it's water dish. Well, the poor hamster stopped moving, and I saw some red near it's mouth. Yes, stupid little 8yr old Colleen killed the hamster!! I still feel bad about that, and I actually still remember my insides shaking when I had to explain what happened to the poor little guy. I believe the hamster is buried in the backyard at my parents' house. Sorry little hamster!!!

We used to have a big aquarium for awhile in the dining room, and lots of cool fish. My favorite one was a silver dollar named George. He lasted awhile, even after the aquarium was taken down. He was then put in a big bowl on the shelf in the living room until he died. I think it's where my love of all things aquatic started!!

The next pet I remember getting is a black rabbit one Christmas. I can still remember my dad leaving for the basement, and coming back a few minutes later with this furry thing in his arms. He put it in the living room and we were so surprised! Shockingly, we named the rabbit.....Blacky!! Blacky stayed with us for a few years. He lived outside in a big wire cage during the summer, near the broccoli my mom would plant (big mistake, Blacky wasn't too happy that he couldn't reach the leaves, and I'd hear him thumping his foot!!). In the winter, we kept him in the basement. I remember letting Blacky run around the basement to get exercise, and one time he hid under my dad's workbench area. I tried to get him, and he bit me! It was the worst pain, it felt like an electrical charge went through me. I actually thought I had hit a loose wire, until I saw the bit marks!! Blacky was a nice pet, though, but sadly he eventually had to be given away. My dad was really allergic to him, and a couple of my sisters as well. We were told Blacky went to my dad's friend's farm. It really was kinda sad!

When I was in middle school, we got a parakeet. I don't remember exactly how long we had it, but I used to let the bird sit in its cage on the front porch in the summer, to get fresh air! One day, Lisa was playing with the cage, and the next thing I knew, the bird flew out. I was beyond upset! I remember going up and down the street on my bike, looking to the trees, to see if I could find it. Like it really would have come back! My parents took me that night to the pet store to pick out another bird, and I got a yellow one, and named her Melon. Melon lasted a loooooong time, at least 8 years believe. I remember having her all through high school and part of college. Melon was kind of a soulmate. She taught herself to get out of her cage and fly to me. She used to nap with me on my pillow. I just loved that bird! I used to have to twist tie the cage doors shut when my Grandma would visit so Melon wouldn't get out and fly around, because my Grandma hates birds. Melon started getting sick one year, and it got to the point where I had to keep her in a shoebox and feed her with a dropper because she would keep falling off her perch. When Melon died, I was incredibly sad. I never had a pet that was so attached to me before, and vice versa. My mom got me another bird the next day, but that one (Mokey) just was never the same!

Our family got our first dog in 1994, a couple months after my grandpa had died. I remember going to Lewiston with my mom and one of my sisters (Mandy maybe??), and sitting in a car while our mom went into a house for several minutes. We thought it had something to do with grandpa, but when she came out with a puppy in her arms, we wondered what the heck was going on! Mom said the puppy was coming home with us! WHAT?????? We got home with the puppy, and kept her on the porch for a bit, trying to feed her milk, and showing her off to the neighbors. My mom brought the puppy into the house, and into the bedroom where my dad was. He didn't look too pleased about it! It was rather strange, because my mom never really wanted a dog when we were growing up, and here she brought it home and my dad was acting if-fy about it! Anyway, my mom named the puppy Lady. Lady was a black Lab, with some white in her chest and on her nose, and with 2 different colored eyes. Lady loved all of us, and we all loved her, but I would have to say my dad became her biggest fan. Lady, sadly, only lived to be about 4 years old because she got really sick (we think by eating the sprayed grass from the lady next door). My parents brought her to the vet several times, and they tried to help her, but there wasn't much they could do. My parents finally decided to have Lady put to sleep, but the night before they were to take her, Lady crawled into the hallway to my parents' bedroom. My dad sat down with her, and Lady crawled into his lap and died. I was sick at that time, and coughing my brains out, and I was going to go down for medicine, but my mom came upstairs with some. She told me that Lady had just died, and she didn't want me to go down there. It was just an awfully sad situation. Lady is still missed today, we reminisce about her every once in awhile!!

Our next family pet was another dog, originally named Maggie. This little mutt (seriously, even the vet wasn't sure what she consisted of!) came to us by way of my Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob drove up from Horseheads, NY with this little mutt to see if we wanted her. She was cuuuuuuuuuute!! We decided to keep her, but her name had to go! Since my mom got to name Lady, my sisters and I wanted to name this dog, and we decided on Shelby, from our favorite movie, Steel Magnolias! Shelby is still around today, living down the street with my parents. Although she is not a puppy (I think she is 9), she still acts like it sometimes because she's a little dog!! She's got more energy than I do!!

When I moved into my apartment, I brought Mokey along with me, and I kept him in my bedroom. I tried to get Mokey to come out of the cage, but when he was out, he just wasn't a happy camper. He certainly wasn't anything like Melon was, and I didn't feel so attached, but one morning when I got up, I realized Mokey wasn't chirping or moving around as usual. I got my glasses on, took the blanket off the cage, and there he was, laying on the bottom. He had died some time during the night. And for not totally loving this bird as much as I had my other one, I cried so hard. I called my best friend at the time, because I was just so upset about it. I ended up getting rid of the cage and everything, and said that I had had it with birds!!

Three days after Mokey died, I got an early Christmas present. My best friend (now) Erin called me to ask if I was going to be home for awhile, and when I said yes, she said she was coming over with my Christmas gift. I hung up the phone, and started shaking a little. The only gift I thought she could be giving me that early before Christmas was a cat. Half an hour later, the doorbell rings. Erin and her fiance (at the time, they are now married) were at the door. Erin was holding something up near her neck, and when they got in the house, there was a tiny orange ball of fluff! Erin HAD gotten me a kitten, and all the stuff for it, too!! I held the kitten for at least 45 minutes, because there are certain cats that I have been sort of allergic to, and I wanted to make sure this one wouldn't be one of them! But, I never had a problem. After an hour, Erin and Mike left me alone with my brand new pet. A cat. An animal I had always loved and wanted when I was growing up, but never could have because half my family are allergic to them! I didn't know what to name the kitty, so I just played with him (her?? it was too young to know what it actually was yet!) for awhile before I had to leave for a concert I was going to that night. Yep, I left that kitty alone for a few hours while I sang and danced with the Barenaked Ladies (a Canadian band)!! I got home, and while I was getting ready to go out for a little bit to a bar, the little kitty was at my feet staring up at me. I studied it for a bit....mostly orange fur, with white paws and a white chest. Since it was around the holidays, and since I didn't want to name it a girly or boyish name since I didn't know what it was yet, I decided on Mittens. Well, Mittens ended up being a boy, and he's also been the "love of my life" in the almost 8 years that I got him. Mittens got HUGE, and he is my mini-lion! I adore the little man (I am going through many of his acquired nicknames here lol), and I thank God every day for letting this bundle of fur into my life.

Besides all of the pets above, I have also had many betta fish over the last 7 years or so. I just love them, they are beautiful fish!! Since they can only live one fish per tank, or bowl, I have become addicted to glassware!

Well, out of all my pets, I really would have to say Mittens has been my favorite so far. I think that is because he has been the first pet I've had since being on my own. He's been there since I had to quit working. He's been around when I've felt crappy, or sad. He is like my kid, only with a ton of fur and 4 legs. Like I said earlier, I am so thankful he is in my life, and I sure hope he will be for many more years!!

(Holy cow, this post is long!!!! LOL! Guess I must really love my pets to remember this much!!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Question #118 - What is my favorite area in nature?

Well, I live 5 minutes away from one of the greatest wonders in the world, Niagara Falls! You would think that I'd tire of seeing the Falls all the time, but it is one of the most peaceful places to go. Well, peaceful if you can find a spot where there aren't many tourists!! The power of the Falls is just amazing, and when I go visit (which I admit isn't often lately), the sound of the water falling is mesmerizing. I even love going down there at night, especially in the summer when they have fireworks shooting off from the Canadian side. It's hard to visit the Falls in the winter, but if I feel up to it, I just take a drive around. It's definitely a site that must be seen!!

Just A Brief Aside!

I just realized I was getting comments on my journal jar. lol I didn't set it up to get emails that someone left a comment. Oooops!! Anyway, I read through the ones I've gotten. Thank you to Deb and Jen, and occasionally Nancy! It means a lot, especially with this blog. Some of these questions are really tough to answer!! lol

By the way, I have a couple websites where I am getting the questions from. I hope they last me for awhile!! I just keep going down the list, and this is only one website I've used so far. They are pretty good!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Question #117 - Do I have a favorite sport, talent, etc?

I love hockey! Even though I don't get channels to actually watch games anymore, I still try to catch them when they are on. My dad played junior hockey when he was younger on a Canadian farm team. He actually got to play in 4 NHL games back then, for the Detroit Redwings. So, for that reason, Detroit is one of my favorite teams, along with the Buffalo Sabres! I have been to a few professional games, and I used to go to the club hockey games at Niagara University when I was a student, because I had friends on the team. I don't know what it is about hockey that I really like. Maybe it is the fast-paced style of the game!

I don't know what they mean by favorite talent, so I am going to interpret it as favorite actor/actress. I have always loved Sally Field and Tom Hanks. They have just been too great actors with many terrific performances! I also don't hear too much sleaze and stuff about them in the tabloids, which makes me like them even more!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Question #116 - Where is my most favorite place to go, what is it like?

Well here in my apartment, my favorite place is my bedroom. I think I mentioned this in another post. After I re-painted and picked my favorite color, red, to use as accents, it's a room that I just love to hang out in. If I need to rest or take a nap, that is where I go. In the summer time, with both windows open on a breezy day, it's fabulous! I get such a nice comforting cross-breeze, and relaxing in there feels that much better. In the winter, I like to have pajama days on a really cold day when I know I sure as heck am not going anywhere, and I'll curl up under a blanket and read. Now that I have my laptop, I won't have to be in the computer room that often, where it usually gets pretty cold and doesn't heat well. That's one of the big reasons I got the laptop, so I could get out of that room in the winter!!

As far as a physical place to go, I used to love going to my Grandma's when we were little. When we go there now, there is usually a lot of family around. She lives in a very quiet area of NY, and it's really beautiful, too. Her backyard is huge, and there is a hill where my mom and all her brothers and sisters used to climb up when they were younger. Trust me, I never even attempted to climb that hill!! LOL! But, my sistores and I used to take long walks along the creek, and I loved those adventures. The creek back then used to be flowing for the most part. I haven't been back there in years (I usually find it too tiring to walk all the way there), but I don't hear many people talking about the water. Anyway, that used to be one of my favorite places to go when I was little.

Nowadays, I know it isn't traveling far, but I love to go to Mandy's house. Of course, I get to see my niece and nephew! But I also get to see Mandy, and I miss having her here, even though they've been in their house for almost 4.5 years now. It's hard to go over there in the winter when it's freezing, but when it is ok to go out, and I need a change of scenery, I like to go over and hang out!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Question #115 - Do I enjoy my everyday life? What's it like?

Many people ask me what I do during the day when I tell them I haven't worked for over 8 years. I think they must think I don't do much, and that I'm very bored. Well, most days I'm not. I get up in the mornings usually somewhere in between 9-9:30. I feed Mittens, get dressed and washed up, feed myself, and read on the computer for a bit. If it's Tuesday or Thursday, I go to pulmonary rehab from 11-12pm. On Tuesday afternoons, I host PH chat at 1pm, and it usually lasts an hour or two, depending who is there. Many afternoons I try to make jewelry, or clean, or just take it easy if I feel yucky. Some days I need to get groceries, or go to the store for stuff. Some days, I do things on the computer most of the day, which makes me feel real lazy! However, being on the computer is part of my every day life! Often I take naps in the later afternoon, like around 3 or 3:30. Some days I can get by without one. I make dinner in the evening and always eat around 6pm. I watch some shows, and then get back on the laptop. Monday and Tuesday evenings, I tutor. Wednesday evenings I host PH chat. Many nights I chat on the phone with friends to see how their day went. Every day, I keep myself busy in some way or another. And I am very thankful that I have days I can do nothing if I need to because I feel like crap. I would say I enjoy my life as it is for the most part! Being able to do what I want, when I want, and if I can has been helpful in the past several years. I think if I did have to worry about going to a daily job, I might be telling a much different story!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Question #114 - What are some of my talents?

I know I'm not musically gifted, since it's been a couple decades since I played the organ, and I sure as heck can't sing! I can't draw well, stick figures are a specialty if I must create something. I guess a talent would have to be making jewelry. This was not something that I've had all my life, but something that's been building up for the past eight years since I had to quit teaching. I love to buy pretty beads, and think of patterns and different combinations to make necklaces, earrings, and other things. Most of my stuff comes out really nice, and I guess I must be good at it because I have sold quite a bit over the years!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Question #113 - What's my most favorite movie, book, poem, or song?

I have three favorite movies that I could watch over and over and over, and probably never get tired of them! One is Monty Python & The Holy Grail. I heard friends in high school quote this movie, and had no clue what the heck they were talking about. It wasn't until probably college that I saw the movie, and I LOVED it!! I can't even begin to count how many times I've seen it, and now I own the special edition version, and I play it when I feel like quoting an entire movie!

Pretty Woman is one I fell in love with years ago, and every time it comes on tv (usually TBS!), I watch it. That includes if they play it three nights in a row. I end up watching it over anything else. I know, crazy!

Steel Magnolias is another great movie, and it is one that will forever remind me of my sistores (sisters). It's one we could probably all sit together and quote, and we often do when we talk about stuff. This movie is another one that I will watch if I see it on tv!

One of my favorite books was Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell. I still read it occasionally. I think I liked it so much because it was so descriptive to me when I was a little girl, and the images I had in my head were almost real, like I was a part of the story. I have read hundreds of books since then, and that one always sticks out as my favorite!

I really don't have any favorite poems. As for songs, my favorite one is Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, by Cyndi Lauper!! I have told people that I'd like that song played at my funeral, but I'm pretty sure the priest would highly disapprove!! lol

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Question #112 - What is my most favorite thing to do at home?

It's no secret that I love to be online. It's definitely something I am doing quite often throughout the day. I read my emails, write in my blogs, chat with friends, and phriends. I catch up on PH news several times a day, and I also go to social networking sites often. Shopping for stuff on ebay, as well as other sites, makes me happy. And anything bead-related is usually searched for by me! My computer is my network to the outside world, especially when I am not feeling well, and can't really get out in the real world for days. So, I would have to pick being on my laptop (or computer, but mostly laptop nowadays!) as my favorite thing to do at home!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Question #111 - Describe a time when you felt the spirit strongly.

When I was a little girl, my parents would often bring me to healing masses. I think they really hoped that bringing me to one of these masses would allow me to be completely healed, that I would be a whole person again, and wouldn't have to deal with my illness anymore. Most of the time while growing up, my parents (and eventually myself, when I got old enough to really understand my health issues) focused more on my heart than the fact I had PH. I think that was because no one really explained to any of us what PH was. Anyway, I remember that at one of the masses, I stood up with a line of people at the altar, waiting to be blessed by the priest. I don't remember exactly how old I was. Maybe 10 or 11, maybe 13. I just don't remember. What I DO remember is that when the priest put his hand on me for a blessing, I immediately fell backwards. I was caught by someone behind me, and they just laid me down on the floor. I could still hear people around me, but all I felt was an incredible warmth in my chest, right over my heart. I laid there for what seemed like forever, before I finally got up and went back to my parents. I told them what I was feeling, because that warmth over my heart was still there, and it was very strong. I was not healed, but then maybe I was. Perhaps not healed in the physical sense, but I believed that my belief in the Lord was solidified by feeling the warmth in my heart. I used to feel that warmth every once in awhile since then, but not for a very very long time. However, this past Sunday in church, for whatever reason, I felt that warmth for the first part of mass. I felt like a basket case during church, I couldn't get my tears to stop suddenly appearing, but that warmth just made me feel blessed all over again. Maybe the Lord was telling me that he is still here for me, whenever I need Him. It was just a wonderful feeling to have again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Question #110 - What are some of the events that are happening in the world right now?

We are two days away from one of the biggest Presidential elections ever. This election seems to have gone on for years, it's been on everyone's mind forever. This year will be a first no matter what party wins: could be the first time a women becomes Vice-President, or, could be the first time this nation has a black President. As with any election, campaign ads are constantly bombarding the airwaves, newspapers print "He said this" and "He did that." The internet has thousands of ordinary Americans getting involved by posting videos on YouTube, and in blogs, etc, etc. Other countries are even anxious about who will be the next President, because they obviously want change as much as we Americans do!

The economy is another huge, huge, issue happening in the world today, and unfortunately the news hasn't been good in the past few months. The stock market keeps making record drops and gains, stores are closing up shop, even ones who have been around for decades. The impending Christmas holiday is making people nervous this year because with the housing disaster and lost jobs, this year might be one of the worst on record. It's a scary time for many people, yet others seem to take it in stride and just want to ride out the storm. Shockingly, gas prices are dropping after all time high prices even a month ago, and that seems to be one small bit of good news lately!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Question #109 - What is the weirdest dream you've ever had?

I have had some really bizarre dreams, some that wake me up and make me wonder what the heck that was all about!! I think most of the oddball ones happen when I'm stressing about something, but there are some that just seem to come out of nowhere. I blog a lot about some of the strange ones, and I had to go back to find one I dreamt a month or so ago to find the description. This was the dream!

I dreamt that for some odd reason, my parents had two squirrels as pets, along with Shelby (she's their dog), and they were trying to get the squirrels to learn tricks. The squirrels had these little stuffed animals that my parents were trying to train them to go fetch. (Ok, now I'm starting to laugh hysterically again) I was getting irritated because I wanted one of those stuffed animals for Mittens, because it was the perfect size for him, and he needs a new replacement for his little stuffed bear because it has seen better days. I kept trying to get the stuffed animal away from a squirrel (neither of the squirrels had names), but the stupid thing kept getting it back. And then I woke up!!

I really don't know where that dream came from, but just reading about it again has me laughing all over!! Very bizarre, that's for sure!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Question #108 - Am I pleased with what I look like? If I could change any part of myself, what would it be?

I was not comforable with how I looked until probably the past 7 years or so. I really hated how I looked growing up. I had huge glasses, lots of acne, braces for several years, and I just did not think I was all that pretty. I never had a boyfriend in high school, and I never got asked out until I was a junior in college, so I thought a lot of that had to do with my looks.

I think I have gotten a bit more confidence in myself over the last several years, funnily enough, after needing to wear oxygen a lot more. I think the fact I wear it has made me not care what people think. I've also gotten a lot of compliments on my looks, many from complete strangers. I figured if they think that I'm hot, I guess I must be! LOL!

I think the one thing I'd change about myself is probably my skin. I still deal with acne, and I can't tell you how frustrating it is. I keep trying new skin products, and I even asked my gyn about going on Yaz, which is supposed to help with acne. While I think it's helping a little, it's still early to tell whether or not it's actually going to really work. It's just frustrating to be 33 and STILL dealing with acne!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Question #107 - What do I think of myself?

I think that I am a pretty upbeat person, as much as I can be with living with PH. I am a caring person, usually the one calling or emailing people I haven't heard from in a long time to find out how they are doing. I love my family and friends more than anything else. I always want to make sure they are doing well. I think I am a person who is pretty easy going. I like to hang out with family and friends, watch movies, go for coffee, whatever. I don't usually complain to much, or at least I try not to. I think that I am a shy person when I meet someone for the first time, or if I go some place I am not familiar with. I do tend to warm up to people easily, though. I am trusting in a lot of situations, but very untrusting in others. I think I can be a procrastinator, but sometimes that is when I work best, when it comes down to crunch time. I am a silly person at times, especially around little kids! Well, I can be silly around big kids, too! lol I would generally have to say I think of myself as a person who just tries to live life as best I can, and I try to make sure I stay positive about things often!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Question #106 - Have you ever written a story, poem, or song that you would like to share in your journal?

I wrote this poem a couple years ago when it seemed like we were losing phriends left and right. It was a very hard thing to go through. We just had that happen recently, and it's just upsetting to lose a phriend, especially when it isn't expected.

When A Phriend Becomes An Angel

When a PHriend becomes an angel,
We may feel shocked and very sad.
We may not understand why,
We may feel so very bad.

When a PHriend becomes an angel,
We mourn the life that should have been.
We hoped they’d see more years to come,
More time with family and friends.

When a PHriend becomes an angel,
We begin to have more fears.
When will it be my time to go?
Is it months or maybe years?

But when a Phriend becomes an angel,
We start to also realize.
There will no longer be the hardships,
No more pains and no more cries.

When a PHriend becomes an angel,
They are now in so much peace.
Breathing easier forever more,
Watching over loved ones with such ease.

To my Phriends who have sadly passed away,
So suddenly gone within this year.
Please know how much I love you,
How you have become so very dear.

~Colleen Schnell

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Question #105 - What does my bedroom look like? Am I comfortable in my room? What do I like best about my bedroom?

When I moved in almost 1o years ago, we painted the room I chose as my bedroom white, and I eventually put up a green ivy-ish border. Eventually, that got old! I bought my queen-sized bed probably about 5 years or so ago. I can't really remember, maybe it was a bit longer than that! But about 3 years ago, I wanted to do an overhaul on the color in my room. My friend helped me paint it a nice taupe-ish sort of color. We did about an inch border around the perimeter of the ceiling, and left the rest of the ceiling white. I chose my accent colors to decorate....what else but my favorite color, red!! I bought a reddish bedspread set, and reddish valance panels, and I have red pictures up on the walls. I also have a new table lamp with a red shade.

I LOVE my bedroom! It's one of the rooms that I find the most comfortable. I think my most favorite thing in there is the bed. It's huge, and the frame is so beautiful! I found it online years ago, and just fell in love with it. My bedroom is my comfort zone. If I'm feeling crappy, that's where I go rest. When I read, that is where I'll go. I love taking naps with Mittens, and the bed is definitely big enough for both of us! lol

Friday, October 24, 2008

Question #104 - What are some of my jobs at home?

Ok, I do admit that the questions I've been answering lately are meant for youths who may be doing a journal jar in school or something. BUT, I think that a lot of the questions are very relevant for any age!!

That being said, since I live by myself, I have the unfortunate task of keeping my own place clean all by myself. And being that I have PH, it's not always an easy task. I've almost lived here for 10 years, and over those years, I've put my priorities in certain tasks, and less priority in others. For example, dusting gets done maybe a few times a year. Vacuuming is something supposed to be left for my mom to do when she comes over once in awhile, but there are times when it's beyond desparate around here (ummmm, cat with a crapload of fur!!!) that I do end up doing it myself. I crank up the oxygen, and take my good old time doing it! I do my dishes once or twice a week, depending how much I'm using. I sweep a few times a month, and I've just gotten a Dirt Devil Kone to go around the corners and pick up crumbs that I don't want to drag the vacuum out for. I do laundry a few times a month. Let's face it, the stairs aren't fun going down to the basement, so I certainly want to kill myself over them once a week doing laundry! How much laundry could one person have a week anyway?? Not much! Changing the bedding is done about once a month, because it's a chore that really gets me tired. I clean the bathroom a couple times a month, the tub being the worst part of it since I had bending over to scrub it out!! Sometimes I'll take an extra long shower to just clean the tub out then. It may seem to some people that I am not that clean of a person, but that isn't the case. Cleaning out the entire litter box just exhausts me, but I take a long time to do it, and it gets done. Obviously if I wasn't living with PH, I might be doing all these chores a lot more often. Emphasis on MIGHT. lol No really, I wouldn't have to mentally prepare myself to deal with being out of breath or being very exhausted after doing some sort of chore if I were a "normal" person. But since that isn't the case, I do what I can at my own pace, and if someone thinks my place is a mess, or that I don't clean things often enough, well that's just too damn bad!!

Question #103 - Have I ever stood up for what I believe, even when it was very hard? When?

A very thoughtful question. Well, I stand up for myself in how I feel in my relationship with God, and I've been challenged for it a few times by some people. I understand that there are people out there who are cynical and don't believe in anything, and I don't have any harsh words for that. It's their choice to feel that way. But when they put me down for my beliefs, that is when I get irritated. I used to not really say anything, but nowadays, I have to tell the person questioning my faith that I believe in God because I don't believe I would have been around this long without Him. God has gotten me through some really tough periods in my life, and I will not let anyone challenge my belief about Him.

Question #102 - When were my parents most proud of me?

I guess I could answer this question like I answered the previous one. I am sure my parents are proud of many things I have accomplished. I most recently heard from my new upstairs neighbor that my mom told her how proud she was of me at my support group meeting on Saturday afternoon. Hearing that makes me feel happy, and I am glad to know that how much she is proud of what I can do. I hear from random people about how my dad also talks about his daughters, and how proud he is of what we've done in our lives. It's a good feeling, to know that whatever we are doing is impressing them enough to brag!

Wendy's Mom said...
AMEN!! BTW, I am enjoying your journal jar so much. Where do you find the questions? I think it would be fun to see how other people answer some of these questions. LOL!! Love,Sheila

Question #101 - When was I most proud of myself?

Hmmmmmm. I can't really say there has been one specific moment where I've been proud of myself. I have moments all the time. I was proud of graduating college. I was proud of becoming more sure of myself, being in a brand new school with no one to hold me back, when I went to college. I was proud of doing well in college and graduating with an education degree. I was proud of getting a teaching job at a daycare, and then my own classroom a couple months after that at Headstart. I was proud to get a Masters degree in early childhood education, despite the fact I had to quit teaching and would never return to a classroom. I was proud in moving out of my parents' house and being able to live on my own. I was proud in deciding to start a PH support group in my area. I was proud in trying to make jewelry more than a hobby. I was proud of many of my past decisions, and I am sure that I will continue to be proud of many more things to come in my life!

Question #100 - Have I ever learned anything valuable from being in an argument with someone? If yes, what?

I don't often get into arguments. I hate them, they make me feel completely stressed out, shaken, and I usually feel like crap for days after arguing. I try to avoid them at all costs!! I can't even remember the last time I really got into an argument. I have had several arguments, pretty rough ones, with my sisters over the years, but that seems like ages ago. I guess one thing I have learned is that if things are really heated, and the yelling seems to be getting higher and higher, both parties need to stop and walk away from each other. Nothing can be accomplished from screaming, and it only makes things worse, I feel. I think arguments can also be avoided, or at least toned down a bit, if the issue at hand is commented on asap. If someone is left stewing and brewing about an issue, and doesn't bring it up for days or weeks at a time, and then it suddenly blows up, it's unhealthy for both parties. Especially the one who was brewing!

Jen said...
I agree..I hate arguements and hollering...But I guess we all have had our share...BTW..Am I suppose to comment these??LOLTake careLove ya,Jen

Nancy said...
I used to argue a lot with one of my sisters when I was in high school. Thankfully, those days are gone and we have learned how to really talk out a problem. I like the Journal Poem. Is it new or did I overlook it earlier?

Question #99 - Who is your best friend? What is s/he like?

Well I have a great group of girlfriends, and every one of them mean so much to me. They pretty much know a lot going on in my life, but no one knows as much as my two best friends, Erin and Eve. I've known these two since 9th grade, and they have been such awesome friends to me throughout the years. They are like two extra sisters really! Erin is practical about everything, and has a lovely little girl who is so cute! Eve is kooky and crazy and very goofy, and she has a son who is my godson. When the three of us get together, we have so much fun! Eve and Erin give me dirty, evil looks when I try to pay for something when we are out. lol Some day I will sneak in some bills, if they aren't looking!! The three of us have shared so much with each other about our lives, that I just can't imagine them not being around forever. We take care of each other in different ways, and it's a friendship that is more like a sisterhood. Not everyone has that kind of friendship a lot, and for me to have TWO best friends like that, well, I feel so blessed!!

Question #98 - What are your goals and dreams?

After losing my goals and dreams for what I wanted 8 years ago when I had to quit my preschool teaching job, I am finally realizing that for so many people, what they originally wanted in life sometimes needs to be altered for various reasons. Although I grew up living with PH and congenital heart disease, that didn't mean I didn't have goals for myself. I had wanted to be a teacher ever since I was in the 8th grade. I never thought of anything else, it was my goal all through high school to go to college for a teaching degree, so I could one day have my own classroom. I achieved that goal, and started out on the teaching trail by subbing, then working in a daycare as a teacher, and then getting a preschool job at Headstart. I eventually moved out on my own, another goal accomplished, and I was pretty happy. I was also hoping to meet someone and get married, but there was no time frame in that. I was just living my life, working, going to grad school, and enjoying myself!

Everything changed the year I started getting really sick all the time. That was from 1999-2000. When I had to finally give up my dream and quit, I admit to being "lost" for awhile. What was I supposed to do now? While I did end up finishing my grad degree in early childhood, I couldn't use it in the capacity I wanted to, in the classroom. It was pretty devastating to realize a dream you've had for years needs to be dropped.

But the initial shock of not teaching anymore slowly wore off. After a few years, I was given an opportunity to change my goal in life. I was told that I should start a support group in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls region for PH patients living here. At first I scoffed at the idea. Me, talk in front of adults about PH?? I didn't feel I could do that, being that I'm usually shy around strangers and especially when I have to get in front of them to talk!! But I prayed about it, thought about it, contemplated it, and prayed some more. After about a week or so, I finally decided to go ahead and try it. And while I still get nervous talking in front of people, I do it, and it's because those people have told me how much they appreciate me starting a group. My new goal in life has been to help fellow PHers, whether in "real" life with my support group, or in the online community with all my new phamily. It's been a huge part in my life now, and I can't imagine doing much else!

Nancy said...
With a few changes your post could be about me. I wanted to teach since I was a child: I played "school" all the time. I made my teaching job my whole life, and when my PH brought my job to an end, I was in a tail spin. I was so depressed and angry, angry at everyone and everything. Now after three years of not teaching, I am enjoying my "new normal." I, too, started a support group. We are kindred spirits.

Jen said...
Your goals and dreams of helping fellow PHers ...well you do that each and everyday..You are such a special PHriend:))Keep doing what you do...Love & Hugs,Jen

Question #97 - Who are you closest to in your immediate family? How did your relationship grow?

This is tough. I think my Mom is the one I rely on the most, especially since I've been out of work for so long. She is there for me all the time, and in so many ways. I tell her almost everything, and some things I shouldn't even bother telling. She helps me get groceries, she goes to the stores with me a lot, she calls to see if I need to go anywhere. She comes over and vacuums for me, she helps clean around here if I need the help. She's usually with me at my doctor appointments. I appreciate everything she does for me, and I feel like I don't adequately thank her for what she does.

I have three sisters, and over the years, I've been close to them all in different ways. My sisters, or sistores, as we've called each other for years, are so important to me. I love them so much. It's hard to say who I am closest to, although Joan and Mandy have been the ones I talk to most in the last several years. I talk to Lisa mostly when I call her, and we only see her a few times a year now that she's been living in North Carolina. But I am proud of her and the fact she's had the guts out of all of us to move and make a good life for herself. Joan is the one who cracks me up the most. She is a smart and funny person, who has a lot of potential for great things if she puts her mind to it. But I guess if I had to pick one of them that I was closest to, it would be Mandy. It's funny how, when we were still living at home, Mandy and I would get in such horrible fights. Well I guess that isn't too funny! But when I moved out, and then about a year and a half later, Mandy moved upstairs from me, things changed. We were living together, but not completely together. I miss the times when I'd go upstairs and chat away, or watch tv, or eat something yummy she'd made for dinner. I talk to Mandy a lot during the week nowadays, and I admire how much she's done in the last few years with her family life. Oh heck, my sistores just mean a lot, and they are all talented, funny, loving and caring women. I always want them best for them, and I hope they are all truly happy in their lives. That's what I want for them most.

Jen said...
Can I borrow your family for awhile??LOLI am glad that are so good to you..Your Mom always sounds like such an Mother like Daughter...Love Ya,Jen

Question #96 - Who are some of your favorite people? Why?

Well the most obvious answer to this question would be my family and friends! Growing up with Pulmonary Hypertension hasn't been a very easy road, but the people in my life have made that road much easier to deal with. My parents have always been there for most of my doctor appointments, especially the major ones. My sisters have always been a big support, whether that's just been to play games when we were little, to having in depth conversations about what goes on in our lives now. I know they will always be there for me, and that is comforting.I have a close circle of friends, and each one of them means something different to me. I have two best friends who know me sometimes better than I know myself! My other friends do unexpected things for me, and it's appreciated so much. I only wish I could do for them what they've done for me. My friends are important to me, because if I didn't have them, I would probably not be who I am today.

Another group of my favorite people are my phriends. Without them, I would feel lost and all alone in dealing with PH, like I felt growing up. No one completely gets me and how I feel on a daily basis than my phriends, who go through much of the same thing I do. The PH message boards are a great source of information and support, and the chat room sessions can get fun and crazy, as well as emotional and uplifting. I don't know what I would do if I hadn't found this community of people several years ago. I don't think I would have even started a support group in Buffalo/Niagara Falls, where I've met real live PHers. Meeting others who can totally relate to me has been a Godsend, and I am thankful every day that they are there for me, and I can be there for them!

Jen said...
I agree PHriends are the best..I am so lucky I found you all...I never knew you could get attached to people you never even met in person but I have...and you are one of those very special PHriends...Love & Hugs,Jen

A Journal Jar! ***EDITED***

I was browsing through a friend's journal on AOL, and realized that long ago I also had a journal on that site. It's still up there, but AOL is shutting down their journals (another reason I'm so glad I no longer pay for that dumb server!!). I also realized that I had started a blog called a Journal Jar. A journal jar is a collection of questions, one for every day of the year, and your answers to it. I was reading some of my responses, and boy, did I have some deep thoughts!!! LOL! I decided to Google journal jars, and found a few websites with very looong lists of journal jar questions. Sooooooo, as if I didn't have enough to do in my life, I decided I wanted to start a journal jar again!!! This blog will only be for journal jar questions. My other blog will be for everything else!! I'm excited about doing this, because there are questions out there that really make you think about your past, and things that may occur in the future. I hope you enjoy! And, maybe decide to join me! :) I'll start journal jar questions tomorrow!! :)

***Editor's Note!*** I found out I could transfer my AOL Journal Jar into Blogger, and so I did that last night! I've kept all 95 prior entries that I did in 2005! I'm happy about that because I really didn't want what I wrote 3 years ago to be deleted. I haven't read everything I wrote back then, but it is a bit exciting to see if my thoughts have changed on anything! Three years may not seem like a big difference, but you never know! A lot has happened during that time!!! So now my question numbers are going to be changed. I'm going to copy and paste the previous 8 questions I did to start off my new journal jar blog, and then I'll continue on from there!!
(I'm also copying and pasting some of the comments I've gotten on the other journal jar, or else I'll end up losing them!)

Nancy said...
What a great idea. Two years ago, I was given a journal jar from a friend. It was fun, but I lost interest. This might be a way to motivate me.

Jen said...
Great idea..I also saw that Monday thing on Nancy's blog and thought that was interesting..We all need to think a little more..LOl Love Ya,Jen