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Doctor Assisted Suicide – Death With Dignity or Death Without Responsibility?

I was still basking in the glow of the April 16th arrival of my third beautiful baby girl when at the end of May, my stepmother called me.  She was at the hospital with my dad, and he was refusing all further medical treatment.  They were transferring him to hospice, and I could meet them there.

My dad had been sick for a very long time.  If I don’t count the years that he dealt with his diabetes in fairly good health, it was probably a good ten years that my dad suffered the effects of the disease that eventually led to his death.  When consulting with his doctors about ending the dialysis he was on when his transplanted kidney failed, they told him that they could continue to treat him, but they would be keeping him alive only for him to continue being sick.

That was okay with me.

When I met my dad at hospice, it was all I could do to get words out of my mouth to tell him how desperately I didn’t want him to do this.  He had, after all, a brand new grandbaby at home that he’d barely gotten to meet.  It had only been two years since my sister died, and although 24 months seems a long time, the pain was raw and my father’s decision made a healing wound feel like new again.  He needed to be there to see Eilis get bigger, to see Brighid graduate.  I didn’t want him to die, and I thought he was being selfish.  How dare he want to end his suffering and leave us all behind, living with the pain and suffering his loss would cause.  How dare he?


My dad holds Granuaile for the first time, in his bed at hospice

I watched a documentary yesterday on Oregon’s Death with Dignity law, and as confused as I was before on the topic, I am even more so now that I’ve seen the documentary.  Don’t we all just want to drift off to sleep when it’s our time to go?  Don’t we all want a chance to make our peace with people and things here in this life before passing on to the next?

So why do I feel so awful?

Perhaps it is that I’ve felt the pain that is left behind when someone chooses death over whatever time they can get with the people who love them.  It might be the fact that one woman in the show very nearly ended her life a full six months before she truly began suffering the horrible effects of the cancer to which she eventually would have succumbed.  Even more, I KNOW that it was the man on state funded health insurance who was told that the coverage wouldn’t pay for additional cancer treatment to extend his life, but they would pay for assisted suicide.  How’s that for a “Here’s your hat; what’s your hurry?” attitude?

How responsible is assisted suicide?  Is fear of pain and dependency causing people to make a choice that, if the opportunity presented itself, they would regret?  And how responsible is a society that allows insurance to cover medication for someone who wants to kill themselves, but not cover medication and treatment that might have given them the extra few months they craved with their children and grandchildren?

I can’t believe how torn I am on the topic of Death with Dignity.  It seems like one of those things you shouldn’t be on the fence about, but here I am.  I would never want to see someone suffer, but with death comes suffering – if not for the person who crosses over, at least for those of us left behind.

Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmatic – oh, and Anatomy and Physiology

I’ve done my best to blog like a madwomen these past couple of days because I have a dreadful feeling, my blog is about to go dark for a few weeks.

When I decided to go back to school, I focused on the important things – what cute book bags there are out there!  I don’t have to cook dinner if I take night classes!  I don’t have to do laundry if I take day classes!

Who knew there’d be all this studying and crap to do?  They want me to write papers, turn in assignments, and – GULP – study!  The nerve!

As I prepare for my summer classes – Anatomy and Physiology I and II AND (as if that wasn’t enough torture on myself) World Civilizations.  Oh yes.  The fun never ends in this house.

Summer vacation? HAH! Who needs fun in the sun and relaxation when you can be learning the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, and the brain bone is disconnected when you have children?

So in case I don’t make it back, please disregard the email requests for urgent cash sent to Rome, where I’ve been hustled by Gypsy children, lost my passport and can’t get the Embassy to help me.  I won’t be in Rome.  If you get an email asking you to donate money for my kidney transplant, because I was left in a bathtub filled with ice after having a drink spiked at the Kool-Aid bar, just ignore it.  My kidneys are intact and still enclosed within my body, which will be in school.  All summer.

I’ll miss you guys.  I’ll get here whenever I can!

Just Another Magnetic Monday

Thanks for the memories.

That was my alternate title for this blog, because I am a Magnet Mom.  My refrigerator and freezer are crammed full with the magnets my kids learned their alphabet with, magnets from places we’ve been, magnetic picture frames that hold photos of my girls special moments and the photos of families and friends, and magnets that hold the best tests, art work, and notes from my girls.

In my excitement over getting new appliances, it never actually occurred to me what I would be losing.  We did all the appropriate research, and found appliances that were going to work well with our lifestyle and suit our needs.  But I forgot that magnets ARE a need.  I wanted an ice maker, French doors, no can holder that would be wasted space for our family of bottle users.  No where on my list of “wants” was there “Must be capable of allowing magnets to stick”.

So, we ended up with a brand new, stainless steel, Electrolux, French Door refrigerator that has all the bells, whistles, and lack of a can holder that we were looking for.  And it won’t allow magnets to stick.

While I try to make room on my downstairs freezer for the stories of my life, here is where some of the greatest artists, best spellers, and most photographic children have resided for the past 20 years of this family’s existence.



Sh*t my Kids Say

If there can be a Sh*t my Dad says TV show, I feel at least marginally entitled to bore you with the stuff my kids say.  At the moment, Granuaile is really working the “we can’t beat her to death because she’s so darned funny” routine!  Here are just a few of the things that have made us chuckle in the past couple of weeks:

“When can I wear short sleeve pants?”

“I didn’t get that paper at school – I was opposite that day.”

Directed at her father, “You listen here, Mister.  I’m going to be six, and I’m the only one in my whole family without a cell phone.  I better be getting a cell phone for my birthday!  Oh, and it’s April 16th!”

Also directed at her father, “You know, I have the world’s cutest hiney.  I know I do, because there was a contest, and I won, and they gave me a trophy.”  Replies her father, “Oh yeah, well where’s your trophy now?”  Granuaile says, “It was such a long time ago, and the trophy was so big, I couldn’t carry it, so I lost it.”


There are other gems, and I’m sure I’ll jot them down – keep watching!


Doing Disney For Father’s Day – Making Dad’s Day Special

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here at all, but my family and I love Disney World.  Yeah, I have mentioned it, haven’t I?  We’ve spent every holiday at Disney World at least once or twice (or twelve times), and we’ve celebrated many occasions at Walt Disney World.  But the one holiday/occasion that often gets overlooked when we think of what to celebrate at Disney, it’s Father’s Day.  It’s at an odd spot on the calendar – usually right before or right after the end of school.  It’s hard to take kids out of school in the last week to get Dad to Disney, no matter how much he begs!  But let’s see how you can give your Dad a Disney Day – whether you can be at the park or not!

These tips below are for Dads lucky enough to be headed to Walt Disney World for their special day:

Let Dad Choose the Attractions

No matter how embarrassing he might be, this is your Dad, and it’s his day to celebrate.  If he wants to do the Laugh Floor, hoping to be THAT Guy, where he gets up, dances some Elaine from Seinfeld spastic and somewhat inappropriate dance, ya gotta let him.  My daughters and I have all vowed to never see the Laugh Floor show again with Jim in tow.  Even we’d have to make an exception for Father’s Day.

Let Dad Choose a Meal

Honestly, I choose the meal virtually every night of the week anyway, so it’s nice to give Dad a chance to choose something he’d like to eat!  There are restaurants at Walt Disney World for every Dad palate, so offer to make an Advanced Dining Reservation somewhere you know he’ll love.  Is Dad a big steak guy?  How about Le Cellier in Canada at EPCOT or the Yachtsman Steakhouse?  Perhaps your Papa likes pasta!  Check out Tutto Italia in Italy at EPCOT or Mama Melrose’s at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Your sports loving Dad might want to grab a bite at the ESPN Club, or maybe he’d like something a bit more adventurous like Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  From Seafood to Swahili – your Dad will eat like a king at Walt Disney World on Father’s Day!

And Now For Something Completely Different

If your Dad is anything like the one I have for my kids, he doesn’t ask to do much for himself when we go to Disney World.  He likes to let the kids and I choose events or activities, and as a result, we’ve done tea at the Grand Floridian (which our Dad loves, by the way); Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique; and princess breakfasts.  But there are some special things your Dad can do that you might not know about!

How about a chance to dive at EPCOT?  Or maybe your Dad is a train buff and would enjoy the Magic Behind the Steam Trains tour at the Magic Kingdom.  Had Dad always wanted to try a Segway?  They’ve got tours for that!

If your Dad likes to be front and center as opposed to behind the scenes, take him over to the Pirates League at the Magic Kingdom, where he can get made over as a scary pirate!

And if pirates are his thing, celebrate his evening with a Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage!  Dad will enjoy snacks at the Contemporary Resort, then a front row, lagoon view seat for the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom!  What a way to end an awesome Father’s Day!

There really is something special for every Dad at Walt Disney World.  Whether it’s a round of golf, water sports, a massage, or taking in a ball game at Wide World of Sports, your Dad will love Walt Disney World for Father’s Day!  Make this the year he gets that treat!

Disney Dining – A Few Family Favorites

If there were ever two topics I had to choose as my areas of expertise, it would seriously be Disney and food.  I have eaten my way around Walt Disney World to the tune of over 300 pounds, and I’ve eaten my way back down by 150 pounds, so I’ve pretty much tasted and sampled everything there is Disney to eat.

There are some Walt Disney World dining experiences that my family absolutely loves – and I think you’ll be surprised to find that even with three daughters, our favorites don’t tend to be the character meals.  Our vacations at Walt Disney World are often just as much about reconnecting with each other as they are about reconnecting with our favorite Mouse.  Here’s where we enjoy eating the most:

Afternoon Tea – Garden View Lounge at the Grand Floridian

Having all daughters, it seems like a no brainer that we’d eventually have to do tea.  You might be surprised to learn, however, that this tea is not only a favorite meal of my husband’s, but my decidedly anti-tea father-in-law can’t wait to go back, either!  You’ll find numerous dining options here – everything from an a la carte light afternoon tea to the full, fit for British royalty, how dare you still have room for dinner after this high tea experience.

For the littlest teetotaler, you’ll find Mrs. Potts tea – a variety of kid friendly sandwiches (and if they don’t like a particular variety, you’ll find they are very willing to accommodate a picky eater with all of one type of sandwich or another), chocolate milk (served in a tea pot, of course!), and pastries or strawberries.  It’s a big hit with our littlest tea lover.

The adult offerings almost rival that which you will find at Harrod’s in London – although with a much more reasonable price tag.  We never leave the table hungry, and we always leave the table happy.  We’ve enjoyed at least an hour long meal together where we’re talking, laughing, and telling stories – the same as we did when I was a kid at my Irish grandmother’s table for afternoon tea at her house.  I love this experience.

Teppan Edo – EPCOT

We have never shied away from taking our kids to eat someplace that didn’t offer burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets.  Thankfully, you’ll find quite a few options at Walt Disney World to take your children where they can veer off the beaten path that leads them to fast food type of choices and right to where good food can be fun – even if it doesn’t come with a toy!

The kids are so fascinated and entertained by the chef – not to mention sitting at the grown up table (aka grill) – that they hardly notice there are veggies being tossed in with the chicken or shrimp!  I love taking the kids here and watching them enjoy eating a little healthier and enjoying it even more than if we’d stopped for a burger.

The restaurant is not quite as conducive to conversation as some other options, but it’s fun for me to just sit and watch the kids spellbound by the chef.  I’d like to see that creepy looking Burger King catch a shrimp shell in his crown.

Restaurant Marrakesh – EPCOT

Seriously, I don’t know why this restaurant gets such a bad rap.  I can almost always call and get a dining reservation for this restaurant – even if I’m calling at 4:59 on Christmas Eve for dinner at 5:00 with a Candlelight Processional dinner package.  Why is that?

Here’s one reason I love this place – you can sample pretty much everything on the menu!  It can be hard, especially with kids, to go eat at a restaurant with unfamiliar cuisine.  At Restaurant Marrakesh, there are several “sampler” type options that allow you to get a taste of several delicious menu items on one plate.  That way, if there is something your kids don’t like, you haven’t ordered them a whole entrée of it, and now have to grab a turkey leg somewhere because they didn’t eat dinner.

My girls also enjoy the music and the belly dancing.  The atmosphere is fun, it keeps the children entertained, and they never make you feel rushed, so you can sit and wait for the belly dancer at pretty much any time you decide to dine.

And the food – well, I really can’t say I’ve ever had anything I didn’t love.  I’m a big soup fan, especially since my gastric bypass surgery, and I love the Harira soup.  Packed with proteins in a delicate tomatoey broth, it’s a favorite even in the summer.  The kids could eat bastilla – a pastry wrapped portion of chicken or seafood – until they collapsed – and the chicken variety (sprinkled lightly with cinnamon and powdered sugar) is almost like getting dinner and dessert on the same plate!


These are just a few of our favorite Disney Dining Experiences.  We have had so many through the years, that it’s hard to pinpoint so few.  I hope these are meals you may not have tried before that you’d be encouraged to try now!






If You Could Take One Thing With You…

So, as you’re well aware, especially if you live somewhere that the six o’clock doomsday hour has already passed, God saw fit to spare us miserable mortals for the time being, allowing us yet another day to mess things up.  Well, damn.  I had an awesome outfit chosen for the looting party I’ve been invited to on Facebook for the day after, when those of us not among the chosen were going to get us a five finger discount on some HD TV.

But, let’s just say today HAD been the day.  And on your way up to Heaven, God said, “Choose one thing from your life on earth – not something living, because frankly, I don’t do diapers, I don’t walk dogs, and I don’t want to have to set yet another place at the dinner table – and bring it with you.  It’ll be nice to have that memory of home, and it will reduce the chances you’ll moan and complain about your accommodations or the food if you have something to keep you company.”

What are you bringing?

I’ve thought long and hard about all of my worldly possessions.  I have photographs that I cherish, jewelry that I love, books that I would never want to be without.  It’s been really tough to decide on just one thing, but after much thought, I’ve chosen my item.

I’m taking my pink Walt Disney World Moms Panel jacket.

I know – I hate pink, for the most part, so why would I want to spend eternity with only a pink jacket?

Here’s the rationale:

Disney World is where I have some of the most wonderful memories of my family.  Brighid as chef of the day at the Crystal Palace when she was four; Eilis learning to walk at EPCOT when she was a year old; Granuaile at 8 months old looking directly into the eyes of the Santa at Downtown Disney; and my honeymoon with the one and only true love of my life.  The jacket will remind me of the holidays we spent at Disney World, the occasions we celebrated, the meals we all ate together, laughing and joking – not worrying about cheerleading practice or dance classes or a scout meeting.

The jacket will also remind me that I was a competent and qualified enough writer that I was able to write answers that helped at least a few people plan a vacation that would give them some of the same wonderful feelings I get when I think of my cherished family Disney memories.  I can say that being on the Moms Panel was a true highlight of my 46 years on earth (okay, the end of the world is surely coming now – I’ve put my age out there in print!).

And the jacket is a symbol of the friendships I’ve made.  The weekend that I got that jacket, I met the 15 people who will be friends for life.  They are the people with whom I bonded more quickly than I have ever bonded with anyone else (except Jim).  When I look at the jacket, I will think of when we met; our weekend in Chicago; my visit with Joanne in NYC; Margaret’s birthday weekend at WDW.  And I will cherish every Facebook conversation, text message, and Tweet that we’ve shared.  Not to mention the bonus friends I’ve made as a result of being on the Moms Panel – Moms Panel Erin, Jud, Anthony, the other Moms Panel members, and those Skurvy Monkeys.

So, while I rarely ever wear the jacket; pink is not my color; and I would hope that I could find the darn thing in an instant if God said I could take it with me, the one thing I would want to depart from this mortal soil with is my jacket.  And all the memories that come with it.


Shriver vs. Schwarzenegger – Which Side Are You On?

It should come as no surprise that I side with Maria on this one – but there is a bit of a limit to my support.

Going into the marriage, Schwarzenegger already had one strike in my book.  As a Hollywood celebrity – and an action star at that – there’s already some question in my mind about how big his ego is, which leads me to wonder how entitled he might have felt to whatever women he wanted.  I’m sure he had dozens of women throwing themselves at him, and that would be a terrific temptation to your average Joe, but probably a bit like a buffet to someone like Arnold.

Marrying Maria Shriver actually put a second strike against him in my book.  I have a deep distrust for politicians, and marrying into the political Kennedy-Shriver family was definitely Schwarzenegger’s leg up in the political arena.  In order to be a good politician, you almost have to have a superiority complex, and that, in addition to his Hollywood celebrity status, probably provided Arnold with not only the will and desire to cheat on his wife, but also the assumption that he’d never be caught.

So, to that extent, Maria probably should have seen SOMETHING.  I mean, the woman was in her house on a daily basis; they paid the woman in excess of $60,000 a year to “work” for them; and as if it weren’t enough, to add insult to injury, both Maria and the other woman were carrying children at the same time – giving birth literally within a week of each other.

I know the rich and famous have a whole other kind of lifestyle than the one I live, where I have to constantly remind myself of my bank balance before I go shopping, but for 13 years, how do you hide the fact that you are supporting another child somewhere?  Did she think he signed himself up with that Sally Struthers feed a child in Ethiopia program?

He’s scum – obviously.  But I can’t help but wonder if she turned a blind eye to some things just to save face.  She has, after all, grown up among Kennedy men – not the most reliable when it comes to that pesky little fidelity thing most of us married folks have going.  Would that give her a heightened sense of awareness to cheating or a tolerance for it, as long as it wasn’t a public humiliation to her or her children?

Whatever side you’re on, you can’t deny that he screwed up big time.  The sad thing is, as soon as her bags were packed and she was out the door, I’m confident there were any number of gold digging bimbos who would have been all too happy to jump in and take her place.  He’ll feel no real remorse and have no real sense of suffering until he realizes what he’s done to his children.

That’s who really gets hit with the brunt of this.  And I’m really quite sad for them 🙁

It’s the End of the World….Or Is It?

Thank you, Steve MacCall-Carter, for giving me something to think about this week besides my upcoming classes on Anatomy and Physiology, which I am surely going to struggle with.

Steve brought up the pending end of the world, making me think I should stop paying my bills, pack my bags for the best cruise I can book at the last minute, and forget the worries of A&P I and II – I won’t need to know where your thigh bone is connected to if the world truly does end.

So, there are a couple of theories floating around.  According to one source, we’re all going to be judged on May 21st, 2011 (what does one wear to a judgement, anyway?  Do you think Beatrice and Eugenie are lending out those fascinating fascinators they wore to the royal wedding?); and then five months later, God is going to destroy the planet Earth.

Another theory is giving us until December, 2012 to get our act together, get our affairs in order (although, with no one left behind to tend to those affairs, who the hell cares what you’re leaving me in your will?), and start living life as though you deserve to be one of the chosen few allowed through the pearly gates.

Keep in mind that I’m Catholic, and as such, there are no requirements to actually read the Bible in my religion – only that I sit quietly each Sunday and holy day and have the bits deemed important read to me.  So if I’m off on my basis in religious fact, well, sue me.

But doesn’t it say right there in the Bible

But as for that day and hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father alone.

Hmmm.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but it would seem that none of the Doomsday prophets are claiming to be God – which means that the chances of them having some sort of inside knowledge of the coming of the end of the earth would be somewhere between slim and none.

Here’s the deal, my friends.  Live life every day as if it were your last day.  That doesn’t mean spend the mortgage money on that new Jaguar convertible so you can tool around town with your broke ass self until the repo man comes and collects on the unpaid car loan.  That sets up the scenario where Mr. Wells Fargo will knock on your door and politely tell you that the house you love is his, and he wants it back.

What it means is be freakin’ nice to each other.  Whether you believe in God or not, learn to be tolerant, patient, and accepting of each other.  Know that just because I go to Church on THAT corner, it doesn’t make me any less your human sibling because you go to Church on the OTHER corner.  It doesn’t matter what happy bits the person I climb into bed with has – what matters is that when I get out of bed in the morning, I don’t walk all over someone who is down on their luck, begging for some spare change; and I don’t ridicule someone for their disability; and I don’t disassociate from someone I like because they don’t have the same religious beliefs that I do.  And yes, I did call them happy bits.

Just learn to get along.  It’s true – everything you DO need to know about life, you probably did learn in kindergarten.  Remember this one – When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.  It’s that stick together part that we all seem to have forgotten.

Maybe the Apocalypse predictors should take a lesson from kindergarten.  Now, more than ever, we need to learn to stick together.  All of us.  If it is the end of the world, we’ll be way less frightened if we’re holding hands and facing it together.  And if it’s not, we’ll all be a whole lot happier.

Give Kids the World – Where Magic Lives

In 2009, when I first joined the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, I thought it was an awesome opportunity to raise awareness for an organization that I have always thought was one of the most amazing on the planet.  Can you imagine this – you are the parents of a very sick child, and every day of your life is filled with doctors, nurses, needles, medicine, schedules, treatments.  There is no playing outside, soaking up sunshine, relaxing, smiling.

Our First Giant Check!



Then someone calls you and tells you that your family will be receiving an all expenses paid trip for a week at the Most Magical Place on Earth.  I know – you think it’s Disney World – but it’s not.  It’s Give Kids the World.  Families relax in fabulous accommodations; are provided with theme park tickets to places like Disney, Sea World, and Universal; and treated to a week full of smiles, laughing, and playing – all those things kids are supposed to be doing!



Each star represents the wish of a seriously ill child

You know now why Give Kids the World is the charity that the Moms and I chose to support.  As moms, how could we NOT be a part of the daily sprinkling of pixie dust that takes place at Give Kids the World?

For the third year, my amazing Disney loving Mom friends are raising money to support GKTW.  Please take a minute to Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and DONATE!