Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Easter Bunny Tale

Some time ago my little Cherub asked me ‘If Easter is supposed to be about Jesus, why is there an Easter Bunny? ...and what’s up with the candy and chocolate?’

Traditions are fun, and they bring us together... but how did we go from Christ has Risen to a rabbit?
What’s up with coloring and hiding eggs, eating ham, serving hot cross buns?  I couldn’t answer her, so I did a little fun Cottontail Tale research.

How bunnies came into the Easter ‘picture’ is this......

Back in the 13th century, in pre-Christian Germany, people worshiped several gods and goddesses.  

The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility.  Feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal (of, in, or appropriate to spring) Equinox.  Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate.  (Rabbits are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life.)  Spring symbolizes new life and rebirth. 

It is believed the Easter Bunny arrived in America with German immigrants, who referred to him as "Osterhase."  Osterhase was an egg laying hare who visited children and left brightly colored eggs in nests the children built for him.  Much like our lovely Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny continues to come every Easter Holiday, delivering candy and toys. 

Easter Eggs
Eggs are also an ancient symbol of fertility and are used to welcome the arrival of Spring. 
(This again links back to ancient Pagan celebrations)

From a Christian point of view, eggs are said to represent Christ's emergence from the cave. 

Once a forbidden food during Lenten, eggs were decorated and saved until Easter Sunday, when they could be eaten.

The colors we use to decorate/dye also have meaning.

Green is said to represent Spring and the rebirth of the Earth. 
Red is a symbol of Christ's blood. 
White represents purity and birth
Yellow is for light and purity
Orange is for endurance and strength
Brown stands for Mother Earth and her many gifts. 
Blue is for the blue skies of air
Purple represents fasting

All of these colors together represents the burst of color brought forth when plants begin to bloom and trees begin to leaf.  Mother Earth springing into a new season....

Easter bunny legends were documented as far back as the 1500's. 

By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. 
These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in 
Pennsylvania Dutch country.  (According to the University of Florida's Center for Children.)

The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs soon followed.  Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts.

The arrival of Spring meant fresh food in abundance for the Pagans.  They would fast to cleanse their bodies of the heavy foods eaten during winter in preparation for Spring celebrations.

It was said that the devil was allowed to take the form of any animal except for the lamb because of its religious symbolism.  Meeting a lamb foretold of luck.  In many Christian sects, the lamb is used to represent Jesus.  

Before the invention of refrigeration, meat would have to be cured for winter storage and consumption.  The Easter feast was the perfect time to use up the last of the stored meat.

Hot Cross Buns
It is believed that Hot Cross Buns originated with the Pagan celebration of Ostara (the arrival of Spring).   The white cross, traditionally used to decorate, is said to represent Christ's crucifixion.

Many superstitions follow the buns:  
Some say a bun baked on Good Friday will not mold for the remainder of the year.  Sharing a bun with another is said to ensure friendship through the coming year.  Buns are purported to protect against shipwrecks ...and if hung in the kitchen, perfectly baked buns are to protect against fire.

FYI - More Information can be found at these two links ~

Happy Easter to ALL!

Monday, March 4, 2013

He's Fine

Frank had his doctors appointment Saturday morning... the long awaited day.  I watched him leave, and for some reason the Wizard of Oz song played in my head... “He’s off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Eyes...”

Bright Eyes...
His list of complaints:  Most of the time his eyes are red, though Thursday and Friday offered moments of white.  Both eyes itch all the time.  The right bottom lid is still not seated on his eyeball...  

On a positive note:  His eyes are looking much moister.  (is that a word?)  His vision is also improving... slowly, but we are thankful that it is happening at all.  For a while we weren’t so sure this surgery was a good move.  The right eye is the one with the lid issues, the left is the one that had the stroke - but looks great.   FYI ~ Frank now has a good side... if you intend to take a photo, come at him from the left... On a sad note, we can no longer call him Mr. Potato Head, as it no longer fits... Frank wants Bright Eyes to be his new nickname.  The kids and I were thinking more along the lines of Chucklehead... The decision is still up for grabs.
  • Though I must say... telling us how the large, brass “Last Super” wall hanging fell off its hook... as you mistakenly stretched your arms into it... causing it to land on your FACE!... does not help plead your nickname case! {Sorry Babe... I think someone has been trying to get through to you... what did you do in your last life?  ...or what did we DO?} 

In all seriousness, Frank has been getting better.  Dr. W is pleased with the progress and continues to say everything is looking quite ‘normal.'   We are starting to embrace the word on new terms.  The next 'transition phase' involves skin tightening, as the lids try to regroup to their new ‘design.’  Time, the great healer, has to do its job.

Given that all is getting back to normal... we decided to take a mini sightseeing, road trip to Captree for some clam chowder, as well as give Mini-man an opportunity to get some miles logged for his Drivers Ed requirements.  It was beautiful.  Though seeing the damage hurricane Sandy caused along the parkway was daunting.  

In closing this brief update, I leave you with this tidbit of a tale.... 

The Drivers Ed instructor told each of his students to find an open space to try out the ABS.  (Anti-lock Braking System)  He wanted each to know what it feels like, under controlled circumstances. 

Frank was sitting in the back seat with Cherub.  I, in the passenger seat... the official front-seat-back-seat-driver.   Cherub argued, “Dad, put your seatbelt on...”  He countered, “I’m fine.”  Back and forth they went.  Alex looked at him eye-to-Bright-Eye, silently requesting and waiting for him to buckle-up.  Frank refused, insisting he was ‘fine.’  {Good Grief...}  I tried, but it only made Chucklehead pissed... “I’m fine.  Just do it!”


Mini-man was tired of pleading.  Eager to see what this ABS thing was all about, he mashed the brakes... propelling Frank, full force, into the back of my seat - like a bug hitting the windshield, his arms were pinned between his body and the seat back... Everything in the van came rocketing forward.  When I looked behind me, all I saw was an eyeball looking through the space between the headrest and the seat top.  Frank's shocked face was glued, by a mushed cheek to the seat.  

As the van rebalanced, and the forward pressure was removed, Frank dropped to the floor.  We all held our breath.  Frank mumbled and grumbled, “You people are all trying to kill me...”  He made his way back into his seat - putting his seatbelt on with an exaggerated click, “I guess the brakes work good!”  We all {including Frank} burst into laughter... relieved and thankful Daddy was still ‘fine.’  

So today we learned...  Our brakes work great.  Mini-man, Cherub, and maybe even Bright Eyes, will never question the need for a seatbelt... and - oh yea - Frank is ‘fine.’

PS - Cherub - somewhat vindicated in her seatbelt plea - has deemed "I Believe I Can Fly" as Daddy's new song....

Getting Healthy Can Kill You!

Okay... after the Eyeball Saga - I had to search up this colonoscopy story to repost... Although the doctors at the time said the aftereffects were due to excessive air in the system, I am not so sure this wasn’t Frank’s first anesthesia nightmare... 


September 28, 2006

After years of bugging my darling husband to go to the doctor, he finally agreed.  He set an appointment for a physical...  Full blood work, check out his eyes, heart, lungs, and so on down the line... and I do mean down.  He now had his first appointment for a Colonoscopy.  The fact that he agreed to do this last exam was a shocker to me.  Apparently the doctor talked him into it, explaining how simple the procedure was and how important it is.  Frank was convinced. 

All of the test results so far, were coming back great.  The appointment was set...  and based on the fact that the doctor told him it was ‘only a fifteen minute procedure,’ Frank told work he ‘would be in late.’  {Seriously?!?!}  We were also told I had to go with him to drive, which Frank was a bit miffed by.  He felt they were being overcautious.  {Geez Louise?...}

He had finished drinking the infamous cocktail, and seriously tested our plumbing... just as the doctor ordered.  Before we knew it the morning was here.  We sat in the waiting area, waiting for the nurse to call his name.  As usual, Frank does not get nervous, so I figured why should I... after all its not my ass on the line.  The nurse called his name, and he was off.

I sat watching the television, reading and people watching - odd thought when you know what they are waiting for.  {All the while trying to not be nervous.}  

After about 25 minutes I got a really strange feeling... like a rush of energy up my arms and back, every little hair stood up.  Moments later the nurse came out to call my name.  I was told he was just brought into recovery, and she guided me to where he was.  Sleeping on a gurney, covered with piles of yellow blankets, the nurse assigned me the task of waking him and getting him talking.  This I could do.  I shook him and rubbed his back, talking close to his ear.  Still super groggy, his eyes were not focusing very well.  After about five minutes he said he needed to go to the bathroom.  I went to get the nurse to find out if that was okay.  She said ‘fine’ and we helped him to the bathroom.  He was wearing a hospital gown.  All I could think of was Jack Nicholson in the movie Something’s Got to Give.  Remember how his butt hung out for all to see as he danced down the halls?  Well, Frank wasn’t dancing.   I was trying to keep him covered.  Not an easy task, seeing that I needed my hands and arms for the more important issues... like keeping him standing upright.

Finally he was on his ‘thrown’.  The nurse and I left to give him some privacy.  I went back to the waiting room across the hall.  In passing one of the doctors told me that it was a really good thing he did the procedure, as a really big polyp was removed which could have, or would have, turned cancerous.  Okay...  A sense of relief crossed my mind.  A few minutes more passed and I got that strange feeling again.  I went back to the bathroom to see how he was.  He was still sitting there, however he was making sounds that weren’t making any sense.  (Even more than the usual not making sense :)  Concerned, I went into the bathroom with him, closing the door behind me.  “Frank, how ya doing?”  He responded with another inaudible noise.  “What?”  I moved directly in front of him so I could try to read his lips.  For a brief second I wondered if this was one of his Dennis-the-Menace-Peter-Pan pranks...  Again I asked, “How are you doing?”  He did not respond and started to slump forward.  I couldn’t tell if he was leaning on me for support or passing out?  I pushed him back to keep him balanced on the seat, just then his body started to really relax - actually slump, as if he was melting.  His head hung so limply, that I needed to hold it up just so he could breath.  I propped my back against the wall, and with my elbows wedged into my bent knees I was able to hold him in his seated position, “Frank?  FRANK?!  FRANK!!”   He was not responding.  Worse yet, I hadn’t felt him take a breath.  I was trying to stay calm.  Trying to convince myself that he would take a breath, and that I was just panicking... uh, yea... After a few moments - and four of my own breaths! - that attempt was duly squashed.  I called for the nurse.  She opened the door to peek in... “I need a hand in here... He passed out!”  She quickly left to get help.  I was left holding my husband’s dead-weight body and head.  I put my ear right to his nose to listen for a breath...  I am now beyond trying to stay calm... Doctors and nurses returned quickly.  He still had not taken a breath in.  “He’s not breathing!” was enough to drive them all into action.  One doctor crammed in next to me and started vigorously rubbing the side of Frank’s neck... so hard it looked like he was going to peel his skin off.  Another was pinching his upper trap with a Vulcan death grip.  They all wanted me out of the room, which was no easy task as I was wedged by Frank’s full weight and couldn’t let his head go until the nurse took over.  (Picture 5 people trying to maneuver all this, in a SMALL bathroom.)

From out in the hall I could hear the doctors trying to address Frank... For me, time came to a screeching halt, second by nerve-racking second...  I listened to them yell his name... slap him... yell and slap some more.  Finally he gasped a breath, a very loud, horrible sounding breath.  So did I.  It wasn’t over, as he still wasn’t articulating clearly.  The nurse started speaking to him in Spanish, obviously wondering if he was just not understanding them.  “Oh great!”  Seriously?  “This is just great!?!”  I could feel myself getting dizzy.  I yelled into the room, “He speaks ENGLISH!”  They were still yelling his name and slapping him... hard.  This can’t be happening!  

Then... after what seemed like and eternity, he started talking.  He wanted everyone out of the bathroom... he had to ‘go.’  “Oh no!” they argued in unison, “Your going on the gurney!  You can ‘go’ there if you have to.  We’ll clean you up if necessary.”  They basically swarmed him and got him to the gurney just in time for the next round.  All the doctors were with Frank, the rest of the office came to a stand still.  Taking vital signs and loudly explaining - close to his face - that part of the problem was that he had so much air in his system from the procedure, it was putting way too much pressure on his organs - his heart and lungs were being squished - causing him all these problems.    He needed to get the air out.

The same doctor that was ‘massaging’ his neck, was now practically doing a hand stand on Franks stomach.  Poor Frank!  He yelled out loudly in pain.   It did not deter the doctor, who stopped only long enough to reposition himself for a bigger, better, belly handstand.  Frank’s senses were coming back to him.  “Okay! OKAY!” he yelled, trying to stop the assault.  The doctor now had his full attention.  “Mr. Lopez you have to pass the air!  Let your bottom relax!”

Well that was easier said than done.  You see...  This particular part of Frank’s anatomy has never seen, liked or wanted any attention.  Under normal conditions it has no problem letting it rip!  Now, that it has been assaulted with the unthinkable - and men have gone where no man has gone before - it was protesting.  I guess it figured a complete lockdown was in order.  That means nothing in!  Nothing out!!

They called me back in the room to try to get him to ‘let go.’  (Oh sure... the wife gets all the ‘fun’ jobs... thanks for the challenge and vote of confidence?!)  I was able to get them to stop the belly handstands - which were boarding on abuse - for a moment so I could try some rational, “Frank, there is too much pressure on your organs.  You have to pass gas to get it out and release the pressure.  Stop being a tight ass!”  He wasn’t laughing.  The doctors did, and whole heartedly agreed. “Yes! Yes! Make him laugh it will help him relax and let go!”  A few more belly stands, and they left the room for a privacy reprieve, hoping that that was what was impeding his ability.  All Frank wanted to know, was ‘why was everyone bothering him,’ as his eyes started to glaze over again.  No sooner did the belly-stand doctor leave, he returned with ‘props.’  It was very clear that the air was coming out, on its own, or with assistance.  Frank made a few off beat jokes about pulling his finger and needing a cigarette... quite possibly a last stitch attempt to make friends with the man that was ‘assaulting’ him... and was, though necessary, about to take it a step further... Their banter, was my exit line.  Privacy was in order, especially if I wanted to avoid witnessing something that I would have to live with... forever... The doctor came out a few seconds later with a smile.  “He deflated like a balloon.”  {Okay?!!  Didn’t I just say I didn’t want to have to deal with that visual image?!}

Back in the room again, Frank was much more alert, now looking at me and talking.  “Why is everyone bothering me?!  Just let me sleep!?  If you would just let me sleep, I'd be fine.”  Yeah... Okay, Frank.  Not!   I tried to explain the drama that had just played out.  Before I finished the doctor was back to check on him... vaulting right into belly-stands.  Concerned about the remaining amounts of air, and the fact that Frank was still not fully coherent, the doctor twisted him into some interesting positions.  Frank shot him a look and chastised, “You enjoy this a little too much!”  The doctor just laughed, did another, more forceful, belly-stand and left the room.

Frank was finally transferred to a normal recovery room.  Patients, waiting for the same test - their hospital gowns on, stood in doorways lining the hall.  I can’t image what was going through their minds after hearing all this commotion, though their anxious expressions told volumes.  Frank was NO help.  Still groggy and feeling beat up, he barked out to each of them as he passed, Don’t let them do it to you!  Their nuts! Don’t go in there!  

I tried to quiet him, “Frank! What is wrong with you?!”  I pushed him quickly into the recovery room, closing the door, “Don’t do that to people!”  He mumbled, “Well, look at what they did to me...” and climbed on the table to assume the position.  

Needless to say, it was a long day...  The doctors released him, wanting to see him back in a year, “Leave now or I am going to start charging by the hour.”  Frank one-upped his joke, “Fifteen minutes my ass!!!”  

Of course, in the car my darling hubby informed me that it took 63 years to grow that polyp... he’ll wait another 65 before addressing the next...  I decided it wasn’t the time to discuss it.  Much like discussing having another kid in the moments after childbirth...   We went to get something to eat, then straight home so he could sleep.  

The next day we were both exhausted.  Frank was, quite literally, beat up.  He stood in the kitchen rubbing his jaw and neck.  “I don’t know what’s going on, but my face really hurts.”   The inside of his mouth was cut up and sore, his neck was bruised and though not visibly bruised his shoulder sure hurt... You could say it hit him all at once, “I almost died!!”   Now believing my exaggerated tale of the day, “You did this to me... {referring to my initial request that he get a physical} You people are trying to kill me.”  

For the next few days he joked about how I ‘missed out on the life insurance and a lucrative lawsuit’ - {Ha. Ha. Ha... I’m not laughing...}

Doesn’t he know?  It’s all necessary... diet, exercise, doctors, the tests, even the nagging doting wife.... Getting healthy can kill you!