Sunday, October 12, 2008

12 of 12 - October 2008

Finally posting my 12 of 12. It has been a long exhausting couple of days. I went to Vegas (kudos to Laura/Zin for guessing correctly) with my parents and a couple of Dad's friends.

Unfortunately, after the first day, the trip ended up abruptly coming to an end, as my Dad got really sick. He was already coming off of knee replacement surgery 6 weeks ago and pushing himself to go on the trip to prove that he was recovered. But the first night there, he couldn't sleep and said he felt like he was drowning. Helping him with his shoes in the morning, I noticed that his feet and legs were swollen, and so the decision was made to come home immediately. He is now in the hospital and it looks like he was going into congestive heart failure. They have treated him with some diuretics and other meds and he is already looking better, but his cardiologist wants to hold him for a few more days to be safe. But thank God he is improving.

So anyway, here are my pics before the trip took a turn. Leaving the times off, since once I leave on vacation, I have no concept of what time it is anywhere.

Me and Dad at the airport awaiting our flight.

High above the Mississippi River.

Mom on a plane.
In Vegas, next to the tram that takes you from the D terminal to the main terminal. They have murals done by local kids of various destinations. This one is obviously Berlin.
And a little shout out to my Dallas friends.

I wanted to head down the strip and take photos at Paris and New York to play up the angle of multiple destinations, but when I walked out to take the photo of ancient Rome/Caesar's Palace, it was like 40 degrees and windy, so this ....

and this (The Mirage) is all I got.

I hate when they put up Christmas before we've even had Halloween. But, since it is a Flamingo tree, I will give them a small break.

We went down to get Mom (Maxine) signed in for her tournament, and we ran into the other Maxine - an event coordinator for the Flamingo. She is one of many friends that Mom and Dad have made at the hotel over the years.

I went back up to the room to slip in a little nap, and I spotted a wedding taking place down in the hotel gardens out back. You can see the bride coming up the pathway, about to make her walk down the aisle.

They really don't like for you to take random photos in the casino area, so I sort of snapped this one with the camera down by my side as I walked through on the way to meet Dad and his friends. I have turned this photo every which way, but I'm still not sure which way was up.

Here is Dad and his friends Fred and Buck. We really enjoyed having them along, and they were a huge help when we determined that Dad was starting to get sick and needed to get back home. Dad really does have some of the best friends, and they can really be counted on in times of need. I'm sure once word gets out that he is in the hospital, there will be a revolving door of his buddies coming in and out visiting and lightening his mood.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Farewell to a Favorite Uncle

My great uncle, J W "Chubby" Thomas, passed away today. He was 93 years old. He had battled and beat cancer a number of times over the years, but blessedly, he appears to have died peacefully at home, sitting in his favorite chair.

Chubby was my grandmother Cleo's younger brother and the fourth of nine children. Apparently, he was pretty fat as a baby, hence the nickname "Chubby". And in spite of the fact that he ended up a pretty skinny guy, the nickname stuck. His actual name was J.W. - that's it - just the initials. I have no idea why. Maybe if he had been the ninth kid, I could see where you might run out of names. When he joined the military during WWII, they wouldn't accept just the initials, so he became John Wesley - the name of his grandfather.

During WWII, he served in the infantry and spent almost 4 years fighting in foxholes across Europe. His unit was in Milan in April 1945 where he saw the body of Mussolini hanging following his assassination. It was something he rarely talked about, but he did talk to me about it once when I was working on a school paper about the war. It seemed hard for him to talk about, but he knew my love of history - both world history and our family history - and he wanted me to do well. It was a special feeling to know that he cared about me enough to share such an obviously troubling memory.

Chubby and his wife Lil really doted on my mom and her sister, and I know that they were among Mom's favorites. They were the only relatives other than my grandparents that accompanied my parents when they went to New York for their TV Wedding. Their daughter Susan, 3 at the time, was the flower girl. When my brother was born prematurely and was hospitalized for several months, and again after I was born with several birth defects and had to spend a lot of time in and out of the hospital during the first 3 years of my life, Chubby and Lil would come down from North Georgia and would sit with us at the hospital so that Mom could get out and have a short break once in a while. They also came down and helped my mom and aunt when my grandmother was dying.

(Uncle Chubby, my grandmother Cleo, my great-grandfather Papa, Uncle Tom Jack and me - 1966)

It was always a treat to drive up to North Georgia with Mom and stop for a visit. He loved putting together puzzles, and he always had one in process when we would stop by. I enjoyed helping him out and listening to his silly jokes as we worked.

(Great uncle Chubby and my aunt (and his niece) Charlsie during one of our visits in 1999.)

In spite of his advancing years and bouts with cancer, he was still one of the most vital and alive people I've ever known. He could still drive, and when his younger family members fell ill, he would drive them to the doctor, pick up their groceries, and cut their grass to help out. He was just an all around good guy. I will miss him, but I am thankful to have had him be part of my life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

TiFaux Alert

My friend and honorary cousin via my real cousin, Faith Salie, will be the guest expert featured on tomorrow's Oprah show. The show is about how to handle life's stickiest situations. Faith is a regular contributor to O magazine. She is both brilliant and funny, so I'm betting that it will be a great show. Please watch if you get a chance.

I also found out today that my bestest (and newly retired) work buddy Glenda and her family will be attending a taping of Oprah next week. I hate that they missed Faith by a week, but I am crossing my fingers that the show they are attending will be one of those Oprah's Favorite Things shows where everyone in the audience gets a ton of free stuff, like a refrigerator with a built in TV, a pair of $500 cashmere socks, and a washing machine that criticizes you like my mother does if you wash the dark clothes with the colors.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008