October 31, 2020

Fun Halloween Memes!

If you didn't read yesterday's post, I encourage you to read that instead of this one! But as you all know, I LOVE funny memes--from lame "dad jokes" to super dark humor. I'm spending the day with the family, so I'm taking a break from my blog. Here are some fun memes :)

October 30, 2020

Remembering Mark

I started to write a post about my history with Mark and I couldn't stop crying. I was reading through some old posts that I'd written when he was sick and reading those just made me feel heartbroken all over again. I switched gears to write this instead. (Still about Mark, just a different direction)

Tomorrow will be seven years since I last saw Mark before he received his terminal cancer diagnosis. It was his last birthday that we'd get to celebrate because just a month or so later, we learned that he had stage 4 lung cancer. He died the following March--only three months after his diagnosis.

My last "birthday photo" with him. Halloween 2013:

I wanted to write a whole post about Mark: who he is, how we got to know him, what kind of person he was, and what it was like to visit him several times a week for the last few months of his life. But I quickly realized I can't fit all of that into one post. But his story needs to be remembered. HE needs to be remembered.

Here is a post that I wrote a year after he died, summing up the whole story in as short of a post as I could. I hope that you'll read it. (Gosh, I just read it for the first time in years... AND crying again.)

I wish he knew just how much of an impact he made in just three short months. And what a huge impact YOU made on him. When I asked my blog readers to send him cards, I couldn't believe the response! He received over 700 cards (I lost count quickly).

Mark didn't have any family that he knew (he only met his (adult) nephew--his only living relative--after he was diagnosed). We (my parents and I) fought to bring him to my parents house in hospice care, but because we weren't family, it wasn't up to us. His nephew chose to have them go through radiation and chemotherapy and put him in a nursing home. I'm really bitter about that whole story, and I don't want to make this a negative post, so I am not going to write about it. There is nothing I can do about it now.

I do want to say how much Mark appreciated your kindness! I tried to visit him every other day, so I was going to the hospital/nursing home 3-4 times a week. And I would stop at the post office to pick up his mail on the way--it was stuffed to the max into the PO Box I'd set up--and I read him each and every card while I visited.

One night, an amazing nurse took the time to staple all of his cards to the curtain that divided the rooms--it was full of cards! When the staff would go into his room, he pointed out the cards and said, "See all these people that care about me? I have ALL these people that care about me!" 

I wish, more than anything, that I had done more with him sooner--before his diagnosis. I wish I'd taken him out for a good burger (he told me that one time he had a burger from Big Boy and it was "the best thing he ever ate!").

Living in the group home for nearly his entire life, Mark never really went anywhere "special". He loved coffee, and I started to bring him the "fancy" coffee from Starbucks. At the group home, he drank instant coffee, so I hoped Starbucks would be a treat. When I learned he loved strawberry milkshakes, I started bringing him one from McDonald's every time I visited. I wanted to spoil him rotten! And still, I felt bad that I hadn't done it sooner.

Mark was so grateful for everything that it made you WANT to do things for him just because it felt so nice to hear someone speak so positively. Not a single complaint. Just joy.

There are a few moments that I spent with him that I will never be able to erase from my mind. They're bittersweet as well. I'm glad I was there for him in those moments, but it was heartbreaking nonetheless.

One time, when he was in the hospital, I was there visiting by myself (sometimes the kids or Jerry would be with me, or my dad would be there, too). Mark mentioned going "HOME home"--meaning heaven. He said going "home" meant going back to his group home. Going "HOME home" meant going to heaven.

I asked him if he was scared about going HOME home and he started crying--sobbing. He said he was scared. I hadn't expected that. He was so positive about everything else, I thought that talking about seeing his parents in heaven would make him feel good. 

And because I'm a crier (I cry at pretty much every emotional moment, even during the feel-good ads on TV), I started crying with him. I did my best to to tell him it was okay, but I told him that it was also okay to be scared. Mark understood a lot more than people thought he did. I didn't even really realize just how much he understood until that moment.

Speaking of the kids visiting with me, look at this sweet note that Eli wrote me one day!

Another moment I'll never forget was the last time I ever saw him--not because it was the last time, but because I saw, in just a flicker in his eyes, that I'd made an impact.

He was at his nephew's house (just for the last few days of his life) and I went to visit with my parents. Mark was propped in front of the TV, which made me upset because I knew he'd rather be talking or just sitting outside--even in the cold March weather--than in front of the TV. We talked to him the best we could, under the circumstances.

When it was time to leave, I gave him a hug good-bye, trying not to cry (as always, haha). His eyes seemed empty, like he was looking through me instead of at me. I said, "I'll be back in a couple of days to visit again. I love you." 

And when I said that, his eyes came to life. As dramatic as it sounds, I can't really explain it any other way. He seemed to really SEE me then and it shifted his mood. He perked up.

I thought about that look on my way home, and it hit me that the last time he probably heard the words "I love you" was when his parents were alive--and that was when he was so young, he probably wouldn't have even remembered. 

The next night, Mark went HOME home, just after midnight. I wish I could have been there with him, but I didn't have enough notice to get there. 

For his funeral, I made collages of photos that I'd taken over the last three months as well as photos that the group home had given me. I also took all of the cards he'd received and punched a hole in the top left corner, then bound them in groups with a metal ring. I laid them on tables around the funeral home so that the few people who were there could SEE how loved he was, even if by strangers.

This is what Eli wore to his funeral (he picked it out). I think Mark would have loved the hat! :)

When the minister asked if anyone would like to say anything about Mark, I told the story of Mark's cards--how he'd gotten a little money here and there inside of the cards you all sent--and that I'd tucked it in an envelope for him to spend how he wanted. Eventually, he had a couple hundred dollars--so I asked him what he'd like to do with it. 

He said that he'd like to have a party for the men in the group home, complete with pizza and cake. I arranged for that, and he still had money left over. So we made a gift bag for each of the men, containing little things from a "wish list" that my dad had gotten from the home.

The day of his party was a great day--Mark was able to walk (using a walker) into the house. He got to visit with all of the residents. And they celebrated Mark's visit with pizza and a special cake that I'd ordered from Monica's, my favorite bakery.

I spoke of how that party showed just what type of person Mark was. He had more spending money than he'd ever had and when I asked what he'd like to do with it, he wanted nothing more than to go home and see his friends, treating them to pizza and cake.

I still think of Mark frequently, but especially on Halloween. It's kind of funny, actually--it wasn't until Mark was in the hospital and we could read his hospital bracelet that we learned his birthday was actually November 1. Mark always thought it was on Halloween. And to my family, it'll always be on Halloween ;) 

Tomorrow, Jerry and I plan to hang out in the "man cave" in the garage, passing out candy to any kids that may come. On a "normal" Halloween, we get about eight trick-or-treaters... with COVID, maybe we'll get a couple? I bought 12 full-size candy bars just in case, so hopefully we get to hand them all out! Haha. Jerry and I can play a game and watch scary movies. I'm actually looking forward to it! 

Here is one of the photos of Mark that the group home had. I love it! I'm not sure when it was taken, but he was clearly having a blast doing the limbo ;) 

October 29, 2020

My Favorite Scary Movies

As I write this, I am watching a stupid scary movie about two people stuck in an elevator. I was halfway through it when I realized I'd seen it before! Hahaha, my memory is so bad, especially when it comes to TV shows, movies, or books--I can see/read the same things and vaguely remember them.

Anyway, I LOVE SCARY MOVIES. My very favorites are teen thrillers, always casting the stereotypical teenagers--male jock, hot popular blond girl, male nerd, cute girl-next-door, and the token comedic best friend. They are usually driving on a road trip somewhere and get lost and then wind up in a whole lot of blood and gore due to a killer who has no reason to kill them other than the fact that they are jackasses when they come across him at a gas station during their trip. And almost always, the cute-girl-next-door is the last one standing at the end. 

Am I right or am I right? ;)

In a perfect world, calories be damned, my favorite way to spend a Friday night would be to curl up under a blanket with my heating pad and pint of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby, a glass of wine, and watching a scary teen slasher film. With Jerry. As long as he doesn't tell me how bad my choice of movie was.

What makes a movie scary? It all depends on the person watching. Personally, I do NOT like supernatural movies. I only like movies that could, even with some big stretch of imagination, actually happen. I don't believe in ghosts (or anything supernatural) so those kinds of movies aren't scary to me. I like the slasher films, and I am notorious for watching the B-movies of this genre. 

My age definitely plays into what movies are my favorites--I'm 38 years old, born in 1982, graduated high school in 2000. So, considering I like the teen slasher films best, I tend to gravitate toward the movies from that generation--the late 90's, early 2000's. 

I probably don't even need to tell you that I'm not a movie buff. I don't look at the cinematography of a movie film. I'm not a snob of sequels or remakes (I usually like the newer versions rather than the older versions of movies that have been remade). 

All of that said, here is a list of my favorite scary movies. I've only included movies that I've seen multiple times. I've seen SO MANY scary movies that I couldn't possibly try to list them, so I narrowed it down by first eliminating the movies that I've only seen once.

Movie Series (where I can't choose just one as a favorite!):

I think of Scream as the scary movie of my generation. Just like American Pie is THE coming-of-age-movie for my generation, Scream is that for the scary movie genre. 

Final Destination
The movies in this series may be considered supernatural, but the only supernatural part would be seeing "signs" before someone dies. The first 20 minutes or so of these movies are the best! The beginning sets the scene up for the entire movie in a fun way.

I really like these movies because of how clever they are. Puzzles that you have to figure out, and if you don't, you die! Simple as that ;) 

Jurassic Park
Even though I don't consider the movies in this series to be "horror" movies or slasher films, they deserve to be on the list. Jurassic Park is on the list of my favorite movies of all time. They're scary in a nail-biting way.

The Silence of the Lambs
I love the psychological aspect of this series. Anthony Hopkins is AMAZING as Hannibal and I love how creepy he is! 

I Know What You Did Last Summer
This movie gives me anxiety just thinking about it! Hahaha, I can't imagine doing something horrible and then getting a note that someone "knows what you did". 

Stand Alone Movies (they may have sequels (and I've seen them), but these are my favorites as "stand alone" films):

Big Driver
This is a great "revenge" movie. I hate that I love this movie--it's based on a Stephen King novel, and I'm NOT a fan of Stephen King (which is funny, because one of my favorite movies of all time is The Green Mile, another Stephen King-based film). 

47 Meters Down
This movie was TERRIFYING to me, because I imagined myself in the girls' positions, and it was killing me. I hate open water and the thought of being 47 meters below the surface of the ocean without being able to get back up? Kill me now.

Urban Legend
All of the urban legends I heard as a kid? Yep, they're in this movie!

The Purge
"The Purge" is a day where laws don't apply and you can pretty much do anything you want without getting in trouble... including killing people. Watching this is so scary because I imagine if it was a "real thing", what would I do to protect my family?


Unfriended: Dark Web
I watched this right around the time we had to lockdown for COVID. It's what gave me the idea to do a game night with friends via Skype (or Zoom). Basically, a group of friends is video chatting and one by one, they see each other get killed. This was scary to me because of the technology that can actually make it happen!

Better Watch Out
This has a great twist that I actually wasn't expecting! Usually I am good at picking out twists. Jerry and I also quote from this movie frequently. Like I've mentioned before, we love to quote movies randomly in conversation. 

Slumber Party Massacre
This movie is from 1982, and it has all the stereotypes of a teen slasher film from the early 80's. One thing I love about the older movies like this is that the actresses aren't all tiny with large fake boobs and tons of makeup. I miss when people looked like this in the movies!

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
The girl next door who is pursued by all the boys... and one by one, the "competition" is eliminated.

Would You Rather
This is a fun horrific game of "Would You Rather...?" only it involves things like, "Would you rather be submerged underwater for two minutes or have all of your teeth extracted?" And if you don't choose, you die. 

When I was a kid: I won't even write about these individually, because they are nothing at all like I watch today! But they are nostalgic for me. My dad actually enjoyed watching these with me! And I remember my mom taking me to the theater to see Tremors. (Wait--I just looked it up, and Tremors came out in 1990--I was only 8 years old. I highly doubt my mom took me to see it at that age! So maybe she took me to a sequel.)

The Blob

Looking through the movies I've seen, there are so many that I want to list, but it's hard to choose. So this is actually a short list of my favorites! Do you love scary movies? What do you consider to be "scary"?

October 28, 2020

Daylight Savings

This morning, I asked Jerry when we are supposed to turn the clocks back due to daylight savings. It's driving me crazy in the mornings when it's still dark after the kids go to school. I want to leave for my morning walk right away but I don't like walking in the dark.

Lately, I've been impatient so I've just been heading out in the dark--at 7:15 or so. It doesn't get light outside until at least 7:45. I've never given much thought to daylight savings and how it affects us; I just found it annoying to change the clocks. Why not just leave it alone year round? I guess it just depends if you're a "morning person" or a "night owl". My answer changes several times a year! Haha. 

I saw this meme on Facebook and it made me stop and think for second--those are some interesting coincidences! Fingers crossed that things look up from here...?

I feel like we've missed out on fall weather so far. I LOVE the fall, but we went from temps in the high 70's and 80's down to temps in the low 40's with nothing in between. I went from wearing capris and a short sleeved shirt for my walks to wearing thick yoga pants or fleece, a long-sleeved shirt and a fleece jacket, with gloves and sometimes a hat. (My ears were freezing today, and I wished I'd worn a hat.) I hope that we get some nice fall weather in the 50's and 60's. 

I have not had ANY energy lately and I'm sure it's because I can't sleep. It's driving me crazy! I've even gotten in bed at 9:30 (super early for me) but end up watching the clock until well past 2:00. And then I don't sleep well, only to get up at 6:00 to start the day. I've even tried taking sleeping pills (nothing prescribed, just over the counter stuff) and it doesn't help. 

I've been wanting to do a deep clean of the whole house, but I just haven't had the energy. Today, I got caught up on laundry (I hate when I get behind because it feels like it takes all day to catch up). I'm behind on my podcasts because I haven't had a project to work on in the garage, so I listened to my favorites while I put away laundry and cleaned up after dinner. 

Since I'm still trying to read at least 10 pages a day, I always hope that I'll get sucked into a good book--when I read before bed, I usually end up falling asleep (dropping my Kindle on my face!). I just wasn't finding a book I was into. I started several but didn't get very far before I moved on to try another.

Today, however, I finally got really into my book and I read for a while this afternoon. So, I'm going to post this and then read in bed and hopefully that will help me fall asleep. The problem is, the more I worry about sleeping the harder it is to fall asleep!

As much as I love the kittens, I'm going to lock them out of my bedroom tonight. They wake me up constantly! Duck wants to sleep directly on my head and Chick always wants to play with my feet. Last night, I closed my door with just Estelle on my bed, keeping the kittens out. Then she woke me up by pawing at the door--something she never does during the night!--and I got up and let her out.

Finally fell back asleep and I realized that Duck was in the bedroom. He must have been hiding under the bed or something. When he tried to sleep on my head, I got up and let him out of the room. Closed the door. Finally fell back asleep and then woke up to Estelle pawing at my door wanting to come back in. I got up AGAIN, opened the door and Estelle, Chick, and Duck all ran in here like something was chasing them. I just gave up at that point. Hahaha, my cats are killing me!

October 27, 2020

RECIPE: Pork and Apples with Stuffing (super simple!!)

I'm sure this "recipe" originates somewhere, but it's so simple that it's not even really a recipe. My sister told my mom how to make it, and then she told me. My mom first made this back in 2010 when I broke my jaw. My jaw was wired shut for six weeks, and because I was high on pain killers unable to really cook (nor did I want to, because I couldn't even eat!), we got meals from lots of family and friends.

I can't even describe how grateful I am for that--my kids were five and seven years old at the time, and I wasn't able to do much for a month or so. When I stop and think of things I am grateful for, the month of November 2010 contains about 75% of those thoughts!

Anyway, my mom made this dinner for my family (while I drank yet another fruit/Ensure smoothie). Jerry couldn't stop raving about it--as one naturally does when his wife can't even take a single bite to taste it--and when I finally broke out of the wires and was able to eat solid food, I made it myself. It's SO easy and simple, and it's delicious! 

(There is pork underneath the apples and stuffing, I promise! Hahaha, I just tend to load up on more of the "sides" and less of the meat in meals.)

There are only four ingredients (or five, in my case)...

Here is a printer-friendly version!


6 boneless pork chops (I used several smaller ones--you just want enough to put in a single layer in a 9x13 dish)
1 can of apple pie filling
1 box of pork-flavored stuffing (like Stove Top)
6 Tbsp. of butter
1 large apple (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Open the can of pie filling and spread across the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. I wanted some more apples, so I peeled and sliced a large apple and spread that across the pie filling. Arrange the (raw) pork chops on the pie filling (I used thin pork chops--if you use thick cut ones, you'll want to bake longer).

Place the butter in a large bowl and throw it in the microwave for about one minute, checking after 30 seconds or so until it's melted. Once the butter is melted, add the stuffing mix and stir it together (do not add water or anything else). 

Spread the stuffing mix evenly over the pork chops. Cover with foil and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until pork chops are cooked through (use a meat thermometer to check). Remove the foil and bake for about 3-4 more minutes to crisp the stuffing a little.

October 26, 2020

A Few Weekend "Staycation" Photos

Jerry was up north in Petoskey, Michigan very early Friday through Sunday evening, so I had a long weekend without him. I had all these plans of being super productive--deep cleaning, making a couple of nightstands for our bedroom, etc--but I honestly didn't get anything done.

Other than walking Joey each morning, I'm a little ashamed to admit that I spent the weekend watching Lifetime movies, playing Best Fiends, getting take-out on Saturday night, and only doing the bare minimum of housework. I did a load of laundry and a load of dishes. I also finished up the shelves for Jerry's sister by putting contact paper on them.

I really wanted to work on nightstands, but the thought of going to Lowe's and picking out huge sheets of plywood was totally unappealing. It's hard to do that by myself (I'm picky about the wood, so I usually end up getting one that's 4-5 heavy sheets down; also, I have to have an employee cut it down so I can fit it in the car). Instead, I went out to the garage and stared at my current leftover materials, hoping to think of something to make out of scraps. I ended up just putting the contact paper on the shelves, and that was it!

Even though I feel a little guilty not having gotten anything "major" done, I guess I can consider it my own little staycation while Jerry was up north doing a "guys weekend" of off-roading and football.

When he got home yesterday, I nearly died when I saw what he brought home with him... he found this log up north. It looks like the perfect mannequin for a pair of boxer briefs! I posted it on Instagram, and a few people suggested that we put the underwear on it and then change them out for each season/holiday. I love that idea! It's perfect for the man cave in the garage.

Just a few other photos from the weekend...

I love walking past a particular house every morning, because occasionally they change their skeleton display for Halloween. Here are the three scenes I've seen so far (I wish the pictures were better--it's much easier to see in person!)

Skeleton raking up bones while skeleton-dog is chewing a bone, and "dad" skeleton is mowing the grass. I just make the assumption that they are a male-female couple in these scenes, but I could be wrong--kind of hard to tell with skeletons, unless you're a forensics expert ;) I picture the dog to be a hyper little Jack Russell Terrier-mutt. 

Skeleton couple and skeleton-dog sitting around the fire pit roasting marshmallows. 

Sitting next to the canal with fishing poles and their skeleton-dog. It's hard to make out in this photo, but notice the little skeleton-mermaids on the end of the fishing lines! Hahaha. 

I'm hoping they'll do at least one more scene before Halloween. The best part about walking this time of year is seeing all of the fun Halloween decorations!

This is just a photo of Joey while we walked along the shoreline of the Lake Erie. There is a small park here, so I let him off leash to walk along the shore for a few minutes. Other than when we see his dog-friends, this is his favorite part of our morning walks.

My brother-in-law, Shawn, sent me this photo and told me I should make one for my cats. It's so awesome! I love the idea and I just may actually do it. It looks very simple to make. Not much fun to have to clean under the bed (removing mattress to vacuum) but I can see the kittens loving it! (I don't know the origin of this photo, so if you know, I'd be happy to credit the person that made this awesome bed!)

Finally, I thought this was funny enough to take a screen shot today. I was replying to someone who'd posted about running in the rain for my Cookies Fall Mileage Challenge, and look at the suggested words on my iPhone. Sploot?! So random.

I had no idea what "sploot" was until recently when I posted a photo on Instagram of Duck lying on the floor and people told me it's a "thing" and it's called a sploot. It's hilarious to watch him lie down... while he's walking, he just stops moving his back legs while continuing to walk forward with his front legs, until he finally just plops down to this position. 

Joey likes to lie like that too, and I really hope I can get a photo of the two of them side-by-side one day ;)

Featured Posts

Blog Archive