Wednesday, November 30, 2005


For the past two weeks I have put off the inevitable; a trip to the dentist's office. I honestly have two very good reasons for avoiding the dentist:

1. My dentist retired last year and I have to find a new one
2. I'm a big chicken

I have had good oral health all my life, and if I had my way, I would never darken the door of another dentist's office again. Nothing personal against the doctors; they are always compassionate. It's the darn equipment.

I always get the creeps when I slither into the exam room. In most of the exam rooms I've been in, the medicinal smell of alcohol prep pads permiates the air, and the equipment skulks along the back wall, dark and foreboding. The lights are turned down low, and even though I know it's too make the atmosphere more soothing, I can't help but compare it to the lighting in a funeral home. It doesn't help when, in some places, they strap your arms down to the chair. I was told by an attendant that this keeps the patient from becoming unruly if something goes wrong. Umm. . . excuse me . . .but are things expected to go wrong during a dental procedure?

Okay. . .fast foward to the present. I did say that I had good dental health . . . until now. Over the past few days I have been experiencing pain you wouldn't believe. Seriously, if anyone wanted to know all my secrets, I would gladly "spill my guts" in exchange for a year's supply of Motrin.

This past Tuesday, my pain reached epic proportions, and I was forced to make the dreaded dental appointment. That night, because of the pain, I didn't get a wink of sleep; instead, I paced the floor and counted the hours til I received some sort of relief. At dawn, John walked into the kitchen and found me, in a sleep-deprived stupor, trying to have a conversation with the Mrs. Buttersworth pancake syrup bottle.

At last it was time to leave for the appointment. The trip was a short one, but to someone in my predicament, the ride was endless. Finally we arrived.

Hmm. This doesn't look too bad, I mused, getting out of the Jimmy. The exterior of the building was a warm beige stucco, and Christmas decorations were hung tastefully in the window. As I walked inside, I was greeted by the smell of vanilla candle burning from an undisclosed location. There was a fishtank at the end of the room, and a soothing nature print hung over an over-stuffed sofa. In no time at all, a pleasant looking dental assistant came for me. I was even surprised with the decor of the exam room.

The room was brightly lit and the walls were covered in a soothing striped wallpaper. Easy-listening music played quietly in the background and the smell of cinnamon wafted in the air. The exam chair, much like the sofa in the waiting room, was over-stuffed; a sharp contrast to the chairs I've sat in before. Before long, my dentist entered the room. His touch was gentle as he examined my mouth; his voice, soft and soothing. I found myself totally relaxed as he prodded into the dark recesses of my mouth.

"You have a great set of choppers," he said. "But you have a small mouth."

Hah! John and my mom would beg to differ on that one.

At the end of the exam, the dentist concluded that I had fractured my tooth years ago when I had my car wreck. The break was so minute that it went undetected, and bacteria had entered the crack. I have to get a root canal.
Sensing my alarm, the dentist was hasty to explain that a root canal was not as painful as people thought, and the whole procedure took less then an hour.

He put a temporary cap on the tooth, gave me a script for Vicadin and Amoxicillian, then sent me on my way. As I sit here in my Vicadin-induced fog, I realize how silly I was to put this off. I put myself through hell rather then being a "big girl" and facing my fears. :(

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thirteen years

Thirteen years ago today an event took place that changed my life forever; I got married.

It wasn't exactly love at first sight; in fact, I thought John was one of the most obnoxious people I had ever met. Standing 6'0," John was an impressive figure and walked with an air of self-confidence. He reminded me of the macho-acting male cousins I grew up with, and I hated that. He had eyes the color of sapphire, and their gaze seemed to penetrate and expose people's soul.

We met when I was an intern at the sheriff's office, and the meer sight of him sent my heart racing for reasons I couldn't explain at the time. He was very attractive, and because I was engaged, I felt guilty for staring at him in the office. We often argued over the tiniest issues, with him keeping a "cool head," and getting the better of me. John was four years older, and patronized me and treated me like a child; it drove me nuts. His attitude changed after he saw me crying in the patrol room one morning.

Wordlessly, he handed me a Kleenex and seated himself beside me. "Here, you have a trail of snot coming out of your nose."

"Thanks for noticing," I snapped.

"What happened?"

"If it's any of your business, my fiance cheated on me then dumped me last night."

"Oh. . . well . . .it could have been worse. You could have married the bum." In the days and weeks that passed, John and I became close friends. He had a heart of gold, and the samE streak of mischief I possesed. Eventually, we started dating, then, after two years, we were wed.

I can't begin to say how lucky I am; I married my very best friend. We have encountered many hardships in our marriage, but we prevail, and our love for each other grows stronger with each passing day.

John is my hero, my inspiration, the love of my life, and my port in a storm; for that I am grateful.


Thanks to Dave for the great review on Amazon!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

What's going on here?

This is the season for goodwill to your fellow human and a time for peace and happiness in your heart; or so you would think. I was dumb-struck when I watched the news and witnessed the mass chaos and confusion of "Black Friday."

In Michigan, an elderly woman and a teen were rushed to the emergency room when trampled by a stampeding crowd of shoppers. I worked with horses for over twenty years, and I must say that our equine counterparts have better sense then those greedy grabbers; a horse will avoid stepping on humans or other animals if possible, .

The scene at a Florida Wal-Mart turned nasty when a man boldly cut the line then attacked all who confronted him.

One of the saddest things that I heard involved an older woman and an X-BOX. The lady cashed her entire paycheck, spent the night outside the Best Buy in the cold, but was one of the lucky recipients of a new X-box for her son's Christmas. She was elated with her purchase and thought all was well until she arrived at her home. After exiting the car, she was confronted with an armed man who took the system from her; now she has no gift for her son.

Yesterday I read Big Dave's Blog, and was even more appalled to learn that Target has banned the Salvation Army bell ringers from their doors. Okay, I have to admit, when I'm in a hurry to get out of the store, it irks me to be bothered, but it takes two seconds to flash the bell ringer a smile, return his "Merry Christmas," and drop a few coins in the pot. It doesn't even have to be a lot, every little bit helps; even the smile and a warm greeting.

Speaking of season's greetings . . . Target and Wal-Mart have instructed their employees not to say "Merry Christmas" to the customers, but to say "Happy Holidays." Their theory is that it might offend someone to tell them "Merry Christmas." Hmm. This is the first I've ever heard of that phrase offending anyone.

Christmas is so over-commercialized. The stores decorating for the holiday in SEPTEMBER sucks some of the excitement and fun out of the season for me. But there's also a flipside to all of this.

I have to look no further then my toddler's eyes to re-spark my love for the holidays; the excitement that he carries in his tiny heart is contagious. Gloria Estefan's Christmas Through Your Eyes really sums up how I feel when I gaze into those innocent blue eyes. He unknowing puts everything into perspective for me again.

As they used to say in the old variety show Hee-Haw, "Life's not all bad." I received a very inspirational email from the Mom Writer's writing group. The author of the email said that she had bid on and won a special engraved rock on Ebay. When she made the online payment, she left the comment that the rock was for her son "who needed a little courage in the world." Below is what the author--in her own words--said what happened next

"The man and wife who received the payment refunded it saying magic is given,not bought. I thought they were being mean! Then I found a letter from them that said the man remembered being a young boy who had a hard time making his way in the world. His mother had given him a magic rock that carried him through many days. He thanked me for being a good mother and loving my son so much. They're sending this rock for free."

It is refreshing to know in some sense that Christmas is still alive and doing well.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Wish

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blog Flux Directory

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is there an insurance rep in the house?

I am an "accident-looking-for-a-place-to-happen." I have been fallen on and dragged by horses, fallen off the stage during a drama performance in high school, and have had several car accidents.

A couple of years ago, I broke my wrist while riding my son's scooter; that was a very embarrassing situation. To make a long story short, the docs in the ER kept asking me how old I was. I swear I heard giggling as they walked away from my room. The last doc that walked into the room was more business-like, but avoided eye contact and kept the char suspiciously high in front of his face, making only his eyes visible.

"Ms. Roppolo, how old are you?"


"What were you doing when this injury occurred?" I was in pain, and this line of questioning irritated me. Go ask your giggle buddies, I wanted to scream. Instead, I took a deep breathe and said, "I was riding my son's scooter and flipped over the handle bars."

"Uh huh . . . and . . . how many alcoholic drinks have you consumed today?" I was shocked. Why is he asking me this? I am not a "drinker," so to speak, but I do occasionally indulge in a glass of wine.


"Really? None at all? Then . . . are you using any drugs, prescription or street?" Again, this question puzzled me. Where is he going with this? What bothered me even more is that John, who had accompanied me to the ER, had a sudden onset of the giggles, which he was trying hard to control.

"No. I'm not taking drugs."

"None at all? Then . . . are you under the care of a mental health specialist?" With that, John's giggles erupted into a full-fledged belly-laugh.

"No I'm not! Are you going to fix my arm?" The doctor lowered the chart and stared at me icily.

"I'll have the nurse to start that now. I'll give your your husband a few minutes to compose himself first. I glanced at John; he was laughing so hard that tears were running down his cheeks.

"What's wrong with you?" I hissed.

"Don't you get it, Deb? He thinks that you either have to be drunk, high, or crazy to do what you did."

Hmph. so much for the physician's creed of "do no harm," I thought bitterly. Unwittingly, he had damaged my ego. The nurse put my wrist in a cast and I went home. So, because of my past, you would have thought that I knew better then to take on my Christmas tree last weekend.

My artificial tree is a monster; it stands over 8.5 feet, and is super fat. I usually don't decorate until after Thanksgiving, but since Mom was here, I wanted her to see my house decorated. Everything went smoothly until it came time to decorate the top of the tree. Though the hour was late, I was determined to complete the task and surprise my family with a stunning tree when they awaken the next morning. I stood in a chair to decorate the front top part, but since my tree was next to the love seat, I couldn't get the chair around there.Seth had been watching me decorate, and finding himself sleepy, used the couch as his bed for the night. I stared at the sofa speculatively. Hmm. The sofa has nice broad arms, and it is right by the tree. . .

Against my better judgment, I climbed onto the arm of the sofa and began decorating the side of the tree. True to form, I lost my balance and fell into the tree. Seth awoke with a start. "Is anything broken?"

"No. I'm fine."

"Oh . . . I-I meant the ornaments." Seth yawned loudly, rolled over, and went back to sleep. So nice to be thought about, I thought wryly. Luckily, the tree was not damaged and in a short time I finished.

The next morning I beamed with pride as my family fussed over my efforts. Not one of them said anything about the obvious noise the night before. I couldn't stand it. "Did you hear anything last night," I asked Mom. "Anything suspicious?"

"I think I heard someone fall."

"Yeah. It was me falling into the tree. Why didn't you come see?"

Mama patted my back comfortingly. "Honey, you've had so many accidents, I guess I assumed that you would be okay."

I've had many accidents, taken many risks. But life is about living, about taking reasonable risks. Even as I write this, I contemplate what my next risk will be; my guardian angel, on the other hand, is begging to be re-assigned.

Think you know a lot about Christmas? Try out this link!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Nasty comments

It is becoming painstakingly clear that the "good-old days" are a thing of the past. In this hi-tech, "dog-eat-dog" society, people tend to leave their manners at home.

Just recently, I braved the elements and journeyed to the grocery store with my oldest son, Seth. The hour was late, and shoppers jammed the aisles as tightly as sardines in a can. My patience strained, I maneuvered the heavy grocery-laden cart through the sea of arms and legs. Seth is at the age where I'm "uncool" to be seen with, and was walking slightly ahead of me. Two young men walked towards us and bumped roughly into Seth, almost knocking him to the floor. It takes a lot to anger me, but the sight of my child being manhandled sent my blood pressure sky-rocketing, and my mouth overloaded my brain. "Uh . . . excuse you," I called after the youth.

The boys turned around, and studied me critically. One of the boys, a blonde, elbowed his buddy in the ribs, sneered, and said loudly, "Oh look, a b**** and an idiot that can't walk." They slapped each other on the back, gave me the finger, and laughing loudly, jogged down the aisle. I literally saw red; I hadn't been that furious in a long time. I never would have been allowed to act like that, I fumed. Briefly I fantasized about running them over with my cart. Jonathan's voice brought me back to reality.

"Hey Mom. That was hateful of them, wasn't it?" I was ashamed of my actions, I had let my temper get the best of me, and had set a bad example for my very impressionable son.

"Yes baby; it was very hateful of them. I shouldn't have "popped off" to them like that either."

"That's okay; you were just sticking up for me." The rest of the shopping trip was uneventful, and we made it home with the groceries. But rudeness also lurks online as well.

Just this morning I was reading a very wonderful fellow writer's, Linda's, blog. Let me start by saying congrats to her for finishing her NaNo writing goal. What an accomplishment!

I am mostly a children's and a short story writer, and don't have the patience to write a novel right now. There are a few people that have the mis-information that writing is a very "tame" branch of the entertainment industry; wrong. When it comes to success and money, writers can be just as "cut-throat" as anyone else. Some are quick with jealous nasty comments.

What ever happened to loving your fellow human? Call me old-fashioned, but I long for the days where you were given warmth, not hostility.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Forty pounds of what and a crate of what?

The rising cost of beef and poultry has just about turned this old cowgirl into a vegetarian. The other day, while browsing through the meat department of my local grocery store, I saw a delicious- looking standing rib roast.
Mmm. That would taste wonderful this Thanksgiving, I thought as I picked it up and searched for the price. I gasped in alarm, and felt nauseated when I saw the price. There it was it big bold print: $64.99 Very carefully, I placed the roast back where I found it. I still couldn't believe what I saw. I grabbed a meat attendent that was rushing by.

"E-Excuse me. I-Is that roast REALLY almost seventy dollars?"

The attendent examined the roast briefly and smiled--I thought too happily-- back at me. "Yes. It's a twelve pound roast at a little over $5.41 a pound." I stammered a "thank-you" to the attendent as he scampered off.
In a disbelief I looked at the prices of the other meats: $2.99 a pound for ground meat; $2.00 a pound for poultry; they had even raised the price of my cod to $4.00 a pound. Needless to say, I did not go home with a lot of meat. That night I lamented to John about what happened. "We'll just have to at more veggies," I said.

John took what I said literally. The next day he went to the local vegetable stand and returned with 40 lbs of sweet potatoes, a crate of tomatoes, and other various in-season veggies. I stared at the boxes in disbelief. I loved sweet potatoes and tomatoes, but how many ways were there to prepare sweet potatoes and tomatoes? Thank goodness for the internet.

In the past few days we have had tomato soup, sweet potato soup, and sweet potato fries with other dishes. I don't want to waste these veggies, but I'm running out of unique ways to prepare them and everyone is getting burned out. Hmm. Maybe I'll try a sweet potato milkshake (LOL).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

A bouncing baby . . . truck?

A few days ago the family truck breathed its last and departed this world. It had a special place in our heart; it was the vehicle that I brought my youngest son home from the hospital in. With over 100,000 miles and a blown transmission, we decided to part company with it, tighten our belts and look for another vehicle.

After a few days of searching, John came home and announced that we were now the owners of a 1993 GMC Jimmy. We had decided to go the used car route because we didn't want another car payment. My joy was short-lived when we went to the garage to aquite my new wheels. The body was good, but color was an eggshell white, and was in dire need of a wax job.

Maybe the interior will be better, I hoped. Wrong. The interior looked like it had never seen a vacume, and the stale smell of body odor permiated through the whole auto. I've had used cars in the past, but never one this filthy. Still, the eternal optimist, I thought the small SUV had promise.

John walked to the door, stuck his head in, and wrinkled his nose. "Let's get this thing detailed. . .today!" I was glad that hubby and I were on the same wave-length. The motor to my new ride purred like a kitten as I drove it to the detail place.

A few hours later, the detail shop called us and let me know that the Jimmy was ready. When we arrived, I couldn't see the vehicle anywhere. Surely it hasn't been stolen. A grundgy young man approached me, handed me a set of keys and told me that the Jimmy was ready.

"Okay, where is it?"

"You're standing beside it," the guy laughed. I turned around in shock. I was standing beside a gleaming off-white GMC.

"This can't be mine."

"Oh but it is." The young man showed me the inside. A pattern. . .beneath all the filth my interior had a pattern! The whole Jimmy smelled fresh and sweet, and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive home in it. Remarkable what a little soap and water can accomplish.

Monday, November 14, 2005

What's You're Favorite Holiday?

According to my daily OM, your favorite holiday determines what kind of person you are. Interesting. There are many holidays that I enjoy, but my favorite is Christmas. My curiosity piqued, I went to the site and took the quiz.

Here is what my favorite holiday--Christmas--says about me:

Winter Holiday
Childhood magic and wonder have never lost their appeal for you. Courageous and forthright, your ability to find beauty in the darkest days is an inspiration to others, as is the generosity of your spirit.
Hmm. Me? An inspiration to others? I don't know about that, but I am the type that tries to find some good in everything. I guess I could be called the eternal "rah-rah" girl. I hate to see people down, but my "Pollyanna" persona sometimes gets on others nerves; mainly my family's.
I do love Christmas. For me it is still a time of magic and excitement; a time for friends and faimily, for sharing and caring.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Okay. . .I'm a kid with a new toy. I got this link at Mary's Freebies, and "lookie" what I made!

Blue has no Clue

A few months ago Blue walked into our lives and left his paw prints all over our hearts. Orginally he belonged to ou neighbors, but after discovering our cats' food and our two young sons, he decided to make our house his new home. After we discovered who he belonged to, the appropriate call was made, and the owner picked him up. I had always wanted a Husky, and I couldn't help but wish that this dog was mine. I was alarmed at how thin he was; it was obvious that the poor pooch was not being fed.

A few days after the owner picked him up, I opened my front door one morning and found Blue happily eating with the cats. Again we called the owner and he trudged over to pick up the dog. "I just don't understand why he doesn't stay at home," our neighbor complained.

Maybe if you tried feeding him, he'd stay at home, I thought nastily. I couldn't watch as the neighbor loaded a whining and resisting Blue into his truck. My heart broke as I watched the truck drive away with the dog hanging his head out the window and howling. I was depressed the rest of the day; I felt I had betrayed a friend.

A few days later--yep, you guessed it--Blue was again on my front porch. We called the neighbor, and he seemed less then enthusiastic to pick up the dog. That was a month ago, and Blue remains with us. I was concerned that the former owner could take him back; after consulting with a dog catcher, I found that, in my state, if you feed a dog for more then three days, and maintain proof that you are feeding the dog, according to Texas law, the dog is yours. If the former owners want the dog back, they have to reimbursh the cost of the food.

Here is where Blue has no clue. Just within the past few days, Blue has got a case of the wonderlust. Not to go into any distastful details, but we think our boy has a girlfriend somewhere. So . . . have called the vet and arranged for Blue to have an *ahem* surgury next week. If Blue did have a clue, he would be heading for the hills.

BTW, Blue was already named when he came here, and I guess he got the name because of his sky-blue eyes. I'll post pictures when he gains more weight.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Couple of Weekends Ago

Up until a couple of weekends ago, every one of the book signings have gone off without a hitch; the last one went well, but there were some serious problems. I put half of the fault on my own back. That week was the week of Mom's heart surgery, and I wasn't as focused on the book signing as I normally am. I didn't get to promote myself as well as I should have, but there's no one to blame but myself.

Anyway, the morning of the signing was a blur. The night before my hubby and I decided to redecorate my office into a guest bedroom for my mother. What we thought was a small, 2 hour job ended up lasting most of that night and the next morning. We were almost done that morning when we received a call from Mom at the hospital; they were releasing her that day, but she didn't know when. That threw my family and I into a tailspin. Not only did we have to complete the project before noon, we also had to clean the rest of the house, do laundry, AND I had to get ready for the signing that afternoon. Long story short, we cleaned our house in less then three hours.

After lunch, John dropped me off at the book store for the signing and left to pick up Mom at the hospital. Normally, I'm pretty calm, but the events of the morning, and five cups of coffee, left me extremely jittery. To make matters worse, the book store was not prepared for my signing. To my horror, I noticed that my flier was not in the door, and the signing table still had the books from the previous visiting author on it; none of my books were to be seen anywhere.

Okay, no big deal, I thought as I walked to the customer service desk. I was met by a male employee, obviously irratated because I interrupted his flirting session with a female employee. I ignored his sour expression, extended my hand, and introduced myself. The guy sneered and actually said "What do you want?"

I felt my blood pressure rising. What a creep! I took a deep breath, smiled, and explained my problem.

"And what do you want me to do about it?"

I was fast reaching my boiling point. "Would you please ask someone to help me move the other books. I don't know where they belong.

"Hmm. Okay." The fellow turned his back on me and started another conversation with the pretty female employee.

Surely he'll call someone. Wrong! After a few minutes I gave up on getting help from the creep at CS, and started looking for help elsewhere. After a brief search, I found a floor manager that was more then happy to help me.

The rest of the signing went well. I met interesting people, and I enjoyed signing the books for them
Part of me wanted to report the rude employee, but what good would that have done?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

An oops and my toddler

Oh crap . . . I've really done it this time. Always the one eager to take risks, I tried the Haloscan comment program. I like the program, but it erased all the comments left in the past. Arrgh!

My toddler, Robert, has been battling allergies for about a week, and tonight he had another round with them. He was in wonderful spirits when he went to bed, but a few hours later he awoke with a hollow rasping cough. That sound causes my heart to sink to the bottom of my stomach.

When he was an infant, he had RSV, and was almost hospitalized. Ever once in a while now, he has an asthmatic episode, and I have to give him a breathing treatment. It's quite an ordeal. He sits in my lap and cries almost the entire time; he hates the mask being put over his face. He's still too young to understand that this meant to help him, not hurt him. By the end of the treatment, we are both physically and emotionally drained. I can honestly sympathize with him. When I was a little older than he was, I was hospitalized with pneumonia. After I was released, I got another case of pneumonia; this time I almost died from it.

That's why I have a tendency to panic when I hear that horrible cough; I'm scared to death that it will turn into pneumonia, and I'll loose my baby. If that ever happens, I'm done for. My children are my world. I love them more then anything.

Thankfully, after listening to his tiny lungs, my husband and I determined that it was just upper congestion; no need for a breathing treatment. It was difficult for Robert to sleep, so I held him while I rocked in the rocking chair. I was prepared to stay up all night if I had to.

Robert sighed lightly and laid his little angelic face against my shoulder before closing his eyes and drifting off to sleep. I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I watched him sleep; he looked so vunerable, so innocent. It seemed like only yesterday that I first held him in my arms. I will do anything withing my moral fiber to insure his happiness and well-being. He is hope, he is the future, he is my child who I will treasure forever.
commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Friday, November 04, 2005

"Try before you buy"?

Okay. I'll admit it. I'm a freebie and a coffee addict. As I've said in earlier blogs, I can't start my morning without a steaming cup of coffee. I've tried to quit before, but without that much needed boost of caffine, I'm not a pleasant person to be around.

Maybe I'm over-exagerating on the freebie part though. It's been several months since I've been able to search for great deals on the internet. I'm not really looking for "something-for-nothing," I'm just a very cautious consumer. Years ago, when I was newly married, I made the mistake of buying a product without sampling it. I was sold on the flashy packaging and the ads I had seen for it on the television and magazines.

Without batting an eye, I paid the expensive price for the product, and went home with my new prize. I prepared it according to the package directions, and waited with bated breath until it was through cooking. I closed my eyes blissfully and waited for the flavors to dance in my mouth, or so the ads said it would. It never happened; to be quite honest, the product tasted like crap. Disgusted, I put the product where it belonged, in the trash. I had spent over four dollars for that item; it was money that I really couldn't spare at the time.

That's why I support the "try-before-you-buy" theory. I look for samples either at places like Costco, or online; I don't want to waste my money again. A great place to find freebies is Mary's Freebies.

After all, "a penny saved is a penny earned."


The other night my mother, sons, and I were sitting in the living room watching television. The hour was getting late, and everyone's eyelids were starting to droop. At one point, my mother looked toward the clock and asked, " . . .is it sin yet?"

What she had meant to ask was ". . .is it ten yet?" Always the one to have something smart to say, I smirked and said, "I don't know, but if we keep talking, it will turn into sin!" We all laughed until we were crying. With all the stress that we've been under, we truly needed that laugh.