Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Holidays

Whew, it's been awhile since I posted, I was caught up in holiday preparations. Our holidays have gone quite smoothly, almost surprisingly so. I decided to just make my homemade cinnamon rolls (made a few weeks in advance and frozen for Christmas morning), wine biscuits (easy recipe for a traditional Italian biscuit), and our traditional gingerbread men cookies, which we put out for Santa each year. This year we cut it close, making them a 7pm Christmas Eve., but we were not stressed over it, in fact, it made the evening go by quickly.
J man got everything he asked for on his list (he only asked for 6 things, and those were provided for by his relatives). We decided to get him a digital camera as our gift for him this Christmas. I was his age when I got my first 110 film camera. I remember taking picture after picture, then having to wait for the film to get developed. Jman gets instant pleasure from his. He loves taking photos and then modifying them on the computer, it is his artistic side coming out, and we like to encourage it. He did not ask for one, but he has been very excited using it. We did not realize that it did not come with a memory card, so he was panicking on Christmas when he could only take a few pictures. Luckily, memory cards are relatively cheap, and he was able to buy one with some babysitting money he had earned the day after Christmas (yes, if we had realized that it needed a card, we certainly would have bought it for him as part of his gift, but since it was after the holiday, we figured it was a way for him to realize that electronic items often have extra costs associated with them).
I got several great items, one of which was the Shark floor cleaner, which steams and sanitizes as it cleans. Yes, I am a dork and get excited over new cleaning tools. It started very early in life; when I was 7 I started asking for a dust buster every year for Christmas (never got one, I think my parents could not rationalize it in their heads).
We were able to Skype my family Christmas morning, and my folks "watched" us open presents, which is nice. It was the next best thing to being at home for the holidays. In fact, that was what they wanted for Christmas, to be Skyped each month, mostly so they can see how Jman is growing and stay connected in his life.
I hope everyone else had a blessed, peaceful holiday. Here is to a new year full of growth and promise.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Brothers"

*Caution* Depressing post ahead...don't read if already feeling miserable.


My husband and I saw "Brothers", the movie, starring Jake G. (don't ask me to spell his name), Tobey M., and Natalie Portman, . If you do not already know, it is a movie about a soldier (Tobey) who is going back to Afghanistan, leaving his wife and brother, (Jake) newly released from prison at home. Tobey is reported killed in action, Jake becomes part of Natalie's family life, Tobey comes back and tries to readjust to the world.
The acting was very realistic in this movie. So much so that I would strongly recommend that anyone in the military, married to someone in the military, or even someone ex military should not see it, it cuts that close to home. I cried almost the entire time.
As we left the theater, I looked at my husband, waiting for his response. It took him a bit, then he said "well, that was certainly not a comedy". He also agreed that no military person should see it, nor anyone interested in even joining the military, again, because it was too realistic.
It got me thinking. I've asked my husband before, who would they send if he was killed in the line of duty, would they wait until I came home from work, or would they come to my work. Way back when he first joined the military, I broached this topic, he was taken aback, but now, he understands it is my way of coping of what might be. I've asked that he arrange to have certain members of his squad come, since I would recognize them (I don't know all of them and really would not want this news from a "stranger"). I've debated whether or not I would stay in Texas, where my son has lived over half his life or if I would move back east to where most of our family is located I've mentioned that I would get a dog, since we can't have one now since he is allergic to them. He gets insulted at the thought that he could be replaced by a dog, but it is more that I would need something to distract me, to love me unconditionally without expectations during that trying time. Back when he was just coming out of basic training and they were deciding whether or not to send him to Iraq, Italy, or Germany; I remember taking long walks with my dog, since no one around me was involved with the military, so they could not offer me the comfort I needed. It was my dog who kept me strong.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Insurance runaround

My insurance company and I like to play a game every year, it's called "how many times does Dawn have to call the insurance company before they pay a claim".
My insurance company likes to keep me on my toes by denying my son's claim every year, even though it for my son's preexisting condition which they know about. It's quite frustrating, since every time I call, the rep will look at our account and agree with me that it should be paid, but she can't fix it, it has to go to her supervisor. OF course, none of the reps. give out their full names, they always insist their comments will be saved in the file. They never are, and I have to explain yet again what the problem is the next time I call.
It's funny, because when I call, I get the "you've been selected to respond to a customer satisfaction survey" request. One of the questions is whether or not I believe that the insurance company is responding in a quick and a caring matter. Sure they are, in fact, they care so much about him, they insist I fax them his medical records for the past x number of years (working on year 6 now)., just so they can review them and get to know him all over again.
I don't know where they are putting the old copies, perhaps they are using them as alternative fuel for their fireplaces; money's tight all over, even for them.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Quote of the day

“I know God would never give me more than I can handle, but sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much"

-Mother Theresa

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving day jingle

"Turkey Day, Turkey Day, Turkey Day is only days way. Turkey Day, Turkey Day, Turkey Day is only days way."

This is the song my son was singing to himself as he was reading the paper today. It made me laugh out loud, he really loves all the food and family that Thanksgiving brings.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Lime tree




Last Christmas I received a gift card to a local nursery, since I wanted to plant some fruit trees in my yard. I bought a key lime tree, with the thought that it would probably produce fruit in 3 years. Jman was in the yard yesterday and he discovered our first lime, almost ready to pick, with another one just starting. I'm so excited, since I use lime in Thai dishes that I cook, and several of my baking recipes call for them as well. It is an item that I never have on hand, or buy and forget in the crisper of the fridge.

Key lime pie here I come!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good news

Yesterday we had to take J to a specialist for a health problem that seems to run in my family. Last week we found out my 5 year old nephew would be going for surgery for a very similar problem. I was afraid while we were at our appointment yesterday that we would be told that J needed surgery as well.
J has had surgery once before in his young life, and I did not deal with it well. He had a difficult time coming out of the anesthesia, not waking up, vomiting as he was unconscious, with hubby and I not able to do anything to help. As I stood by watching his small, tiny body (he was 2) on that large sterile hospital bed, I was struck such pain in my heart from my powerlessness to help him that I almost fainted. I said to my mother at that time that I could never go through that again (obviously that statement was from an emotional standpoint, realistically I would be sure to get the health care he needed).
So, when I found out that he might have to go for surgery again, I was rather distraught. This last month of waiting for his appointment with the specialist has been one full of stress. As we got closer and closer to the date of his appointment, I became more and more nervous.
Luckily, the doctor determined that J does not need surgery. We will watch his condition and reevaluate next year, but it looks good that he will not need the surgery ever. Whoohoo!
Now I need to focus on giving my sister the support she needs to get her son through surgery.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blue October

I thought I might share some music with you. This song just seems to describe my life to a "T" right about now. "Life's like a jump rope, up down, up down, up down"...describes a lot of folks lives right about now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7eyqCQYBGY

I'll go into more detail after tomorrow, lots of meetings, doctor's appointments, etc. whose outcomes may be good, they may be bad, we shall see.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Swine Flu

Swine Flu has struck hard in our neighbor hood. One day alone last week, 43 children went home sick from the elementary school. 2 of my neighbor's children came down with it, and within 48 hours the oldest was diagnosed with pneumonia. Poor kid was admitted to the hospital yesterday, and they gave him massive doses of antibiotics in an attempt to turn it around. They released him from the hospital today, with things looking a little more positive than they did yesterday. Unfortunately, his poor mother, who has been nursing both boys to health, is not doing so well. While at the hospital by his bed, she became ill, and was rushed to the emergency room herself. She too had become infected.
Her husband, who is not used to dealing with all 4 kids by himself (they are all 8 and under), was looking rather frazzled when I saw him this afternoon. I felt so bad for them, so I brought over a home-cooked dinner. I had told his wife earlier that I was going to do that, but that was before she became so ill and I guess she forgot to tell him because when I came knocking at his door at 6pm he seemed overjoyed to see me. He said he had just told the 4 children that they would have to go out and get something since he had nothing ready for them (in his defense, he normally is the one who makes dinner at there house, but he had to leave the house this afternoon so that realtors could show it to possible buyers). Hopefully they liked it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Advice anyone?

We are at a tough spot with J, he has no desire to do any of his school projects; when he does work on them he either does the bare minimum or claims he "does not know" or "can't think of anything", which is bull, since we've discussed the projects in detail at dinner or in the car to make sure he does know what he needs to do.
We are at our wits end with him, and have no idea how to get him to do his work. His normal homework has him working into the evening, so he has no outside time as it is. He does not watch TV during the week, and he has lost weekend TV whenever he has not done his projects. He has lost gymnastics each week he has not done his work. Nothing we say or do seems to get through to him. When we try to sit with him and ask questions to get him thinking, all he responds is "I don't know" even if it is a simple question such as "do you want to write this report on paper or on the computer?" I've offered to type as he dictates, so that he won't be frustrated trying to type or write. He answers no to that suggestion. I'm tired of fighting with him, I'm tired with fighting with my husband over him. I'm just tired.
Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall memories

When I was a child, my family would choose a crisp October day to go pick apples from an apple orchard. We three kids didn't necessarily like apples, but apple picking was a different story. We would grab a bucket and race out into the orchard, each looking for the perfect tree weighted down with ripe apples. It had to be a good climbing tree, one that allowed a child the ability to walk out end of the branch if need be to pick that fat crisp apple. We would also spend some time on the ground looking for the most rotten, oozy apples we could find, not to take home, but to throw at each other.
Once home, mom would take the 10-20 lbs of apples to make applesauce. Dad would help peel them, and we would marvel at how he could get the peel off in one piece. Each of us kids would also be put to peeling, or washing, or cutting duty as well; although if recall correctly we never did last the whole process. After hours of simmering on the stove, mom's applesauce would be done. It would be a rich cinnamon brown, sweet and tender. We would eat bowl after bowl and make applesauce sandwiches as well.
To this day, when a crisp autumn afternoon rolls in I think of that applesauce. I've never been able to duplicate it, there was no recipe, it was always just to taste, so mom can't help me out in that department. Not that there are any apple orchards around here, it is just too hot.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Writing blahs

Hi folks, I've got the writing blahs and the end of weekend bitters so I'm not going to write much, since my new focus is to be more positive.

Recent goings on included a well visit for J to the doctor's that turned into a 2 hour appt.
(wait time included), 4 shots, and a referral to a specialist for something that may be nothing but that the doctor wants to be sure about. So, if I seem preoccupied, this will be the reason why. Hopefully, it will be nothing, we shall see.

While at this same doctor's office, I decided to test the doctor. A little background: every year when we go for our well visit, the doctor addresses me as "mom" and normally does not address J by first name. So this year, after waiting an hour, I told J that I was going to ask the doctor "without looking at the chart, what is J's last name". Yes, I was all piss and vinegar, but I was tired from work, tired from waiting, and bored.
Anyone want to guess if the doctor passed the test? He did not, in fact, he was apologetic, stating that he was a "face person, not a name person" which is why he also calls all the mothers "mom". He admitted that it was not a good trait, that it was good that parent's called him to the floor on it every once and awhile, it keeps him on his toes.
I've noticed that when I do this to the doc, it makes him slow down and really pay attention to us, rather than his mind being 2 patients ahead. Sure enough, it was this appointment that made him decide to refer J, rather than our last appointments where, on hindsight, this same problem existed, but was not as noticeable. I'm not going to go into detail, since I choose to think positively, but I'm glad I listened to the devil on my shoulder this time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tribute

I remember the falling buildings,
I remember the sense of everything being lost,
I remember "the all circuits are busy" telephone tones,
I remember the worry,
I remember the tears,
I remember.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

What would your super power be?

Growing up I always wanted to be a super hero, I wanted mutant powers. I remember reading comic books, with Marvel comics being some of my favorite. There was a comic called "Misfits" I believe, where there was a school of mutants, some with super powers not so great, like acid sweat.
That would be the type of super power I would get. Actually, we joke around my work place that my super power is the ability to render computers inactive, the ability to find every glitch in a new computer program. It is useful if you are a tester of computer programs, but not so useful when trying to get work done.
I think I would like the ability to turn into a fly. I could fly, always a positive; I could cling to a wall, be practically invisible in a crowd; all positives. I would have to avoid fly swatters, but I think it would work.

What would your superpower be?

Friday, September 04, 2009

I should be sleeping but...

I realluy should be sleeping but...
there is a bird outside peeping away. Well, it sounds like a bird, but what bird is up at midnight? All I know is that just as I drift off, I am startled awake by a "peep-peep".
I keep checking my facebook page, playing silly games like Yacht (similar to Yahtzee), Farkle, and the like.
reality television plays in the background, and it keeps catching my attention just as I am about to turn it off.
the floors need sweeping, the counters need to be wiped down and there is laundry to fold.

I really should be sleeping.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mornings

My child is not a morning person, never has been, probably never will be. Therefore, the earlier morning school wake-up (middle school starts an hour early than grade school) has been difficult, to say the least. It usually results in several alarm clocks then the mom alarm clock yelling up the stairs for the boy to "get your butt out of bed". This works with very little success.
The other morning, after doing this, I checked in on Jman to see how his progress in waking up was going. He was folded in half like a Swiss Army knife, with his middle draped over the edge of the bed. When I asked him what are you doing, he snickered, "look, my butt is out of bed, isn't that what you wanted?".

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quote of the day

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

-Robert Frost


I'm in need of some more education, that's all I'm saying.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Day

Today was Jman's first day, which may not have seemed that long to him, but to me it was an eternity; which could be because I had so much nervous energy last night that I stayed up baking 6 dozen mini-cupcakes and then frosted them from scratch (my co-workers appreciated the results of my stress). It didn't help that Jman's new alarm clock, which was set for o'dark early, worked too well, waking up the entire household; well, almost the entire household, Jman was still asleep under the covers 10 minutes later when I stormed into his room to turn it off (disclaimer: I am a bear when awoken early in the morning, especially after a night of tossing and turning. I need(not want) my coffee to make myself civilized). After a short, terse discussion on alarm clock etiquette, Jman got out of bed and readied himself for school. He was still in good spirits, the fact that I made him his lunch cheered him considerably (I had been telling him for months that with him going into middle school he would have to make his own lunch since I would not be getting up that early).

I got home from work after him, so I had to interrupt his intense concentration on Lego ship building in order to get the details of his day. Me: "Did you switch your locker?: Him: "nope, I figured out if I stand to the side a little and stay on my tippy toes I can do it, I did it like 5 times today" ME: Any homework? Him: "No, but you have homework (referencing the oodles of paperwork that comes home the first week). He told me about the kids in his class that he already knew (luckily, they are ones whose parents I know, who are in scouts with him or were in his class last year), how they really did not do much during the day, and how everything seems like it will be ok. I am breathing a sigh of relief. Now, I know we'll have our trials and tribulations during the school year, since we always do, but I am a little more relaxed today.

Middle School here we come

The new school year begins tomorrow for Jman and he is headed to middle school. He has no worries about it, but I am a quivering mass of fears. Why? Well, we went for orientation yesterday, and Jman was given his locker, books, gym clothes etc. When we went to his locker, we found that his was the one on the top and he can't see the combination on it since it is too tall for him. It was almost comical as you looked down the line of students; it seemed as though cosmic forces were at work since many short kids were stretching to see their top locker combos while the tall kids were bending down to reach their low lockers. No switches were allowed for that day although it was mentioned they might be able to switch the lockers the first day of class.
Jman is so naive and innocent. When I mentioned to him that if he was lost he should ask a teacher not a student where a class was located, he wanted to know why. When I explained to him that sometimes upperclassman will send the new kids of the school to the wrong place (my day it was the pool on the third floor - no pool, no third floor), he didn't understand why someone would do that.
He is smaller and younger than many of the kids in his grade and I am afraid he will get picked on. The gym uniforms they have don't even come in a size that fits him. The shorts are extra loose, and I can picture him getting "pantsed" in gym class. Why am I imagining all these bad things, I do not know. It could be because Jman does not hide his emotions well. If he is upset, you will see it on his face. It often looks like he is ready to cry when he gets angry, and he has a great deal of difficulty controlling those emotions. I see it as a red cape waving in the wind for bullies to target.
In Jman's defense, he has a confidence when it comes to new situations that I never had. He thinks middle school will be fine, it'll just be school, which he does not enjoy, but it does not have any extra worries for him. His homeroom class is his art teacher, and he could not be happier about it. In fact, she is already talking about taking the students to the NY and Washington, D.C.

I just want to protect him, to have things run smoothly for him. I know that the teenage years bring angst and upheaval for children, but can't I protect him a little longer?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cookbooks

Most folks know me as a practical person, someone who is frugal, one who does not purchase things on a whim...but I have a weakness, it being cookbooks. I'm likely to buy a cookbook based on one recipe that intrigues me, with the thought that if the author was smart enough to include that recipe then there must be many more where that came from.
I have an entire wooden cabinet filled with cookbooks. In my defense, it is a small cabinet, about 3 1/2 feet tall, so it is not too full of cookbooks. I've got cookbooks on my counter top and even a "cookbook" I created. It is a photo album that I have placed copies of family recipes, recipes from friends and just ones from magazines and newspapers that have caught my attention over the years. The clear plastic protective layer prevents food splatters from destroying the recipe and it's binder format gives me the opportunity to add more sheets as needed. I even have my collection of the cooking magazine "La Cucina Italiana" on my counter top for quick and easy reference.
Yet, out of all those books, I barely open them once I get them. I use my "Joy of Cooking" most, and my homemade one next. I'm more likely to peruse several cooking websites I've come to love than to open my cookbooks. It's not that I don't like them, it's just that I don't usually have the ingredients on hand for the recipe that catches my eye or I do not feel like spending the time to prep it for that night's dinner.
I've made a new resolution, that with each new cookbook (and the old ones as well) I need to take 1 recipe per week. This way, our dinners will be more varied (or our desserts, I have several dedicated to chocolate, cookies, etc) and I will have gotten my monies worth from them. I can plan ahead, so that the ingredients will on hand. In fact, I can even prep most of the meals on Sunday so that the hectic work week will not be quite so hectic.
Luckily, Jman cooks dinner once a week and he is not afraid to open my cookbooks, to choose something completely different every time. Some of the recipes he has picked have seemed odd, but all have come out deliciously. I guess I do know how to pick a cookbook, even if I don't use it myself!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Hiking

We've also done some hiking this summer. Even in 100 degree weather we still have been able to enjoy our selves.
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Plymouth Rock


We visited home in July and decided to take in some of the historical sites while we were there. One of them was Plymouth Rock. As you can see, it is smaller than most would think. In fact, the rock was not recognized as the landing point until years later. I think even the colonists back then realized what a tourist attraction could do for their local businesses.
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Reviewing the past 5 years

I just finished reading all my posts from the past 5 years, along with their comments. I noticed several consistent themes in my blog: I rant about work, cancer, hot weather; hubby is gone a lot and J's progress through the years. Several of you have stayed with me through the years, almost from the start. In fact, Envoy and Wally are my oldest "internet friends". :)

I'd like to add some more fun to this blog. How, I am not sure. I'd like my posts to be more positive as well. Just because I'm having a tough week you should not have to read my complaints, or at least they should be peppered with some humor and inspiration.

I'll have to think some more about it. For now I need to get ready for a new day: Hubby's gone again, temps are in the 100's, and have to rebudget based on the 2% raise I got rather than the 1o.7 % I was promised. ;)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A little prayer to give you strength



Saint Theresa's Prayer


May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
Dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prayers

“People die in character. A person’s attitude about his or her death and the degree of affection shown by the family and friends who have gathered are often the summation of all that preceded that moment.”
- Rodney Smith from “Lessons from the Dying”

A fellow blogger friend ( www.fatcyclist.com) is going through a tough time right now; his wife is in the end stage of fighting metastasized breast cancer. Please send your prayers out to him and his family in this difficult time.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Work ethic rewarded?!?

Have you ever noticed in the workforce that seems that those who do not do their jobs properly get rewarded and those who do their jobs well just get more stuff assigned to them? I have a story that will refresh your memory if you have forgotten.

Recently, a coworker (who we'll call Slacker), who had had two previous incidents of reprimand, was to have her final written reprimand. This was to be done last Wednesday. My boss was coming in from her vacation to speak with this individual. That morning, Slacker was to open the store. Instead of opening, she called another coworker 10 minutes before we were to open asking if he could come in and if he would put her in for two personal days - two unapproved personal days, two unavailable personal days. She was taking an unauthorized vacation, taking advantage of the long weekend.
What would you do in my boss' shoes? Well, as she told us today, after speaking with Slacker, she allowed her to take tomorrow, Thurs., Fri. and Monday off as "sick days" (normally you need a doctor's note to take 3 or more days off as sick days). Where does this bother me? Well, I'm already doing the work of another coworker who was sent out of town for a week, and now I'll have to do Slacker's job as well, one which coincidentally was going to be rather tedious this week since we expected about 80,000 worth of books to come into the store and have a end of summer session rush. Lucky me I get to wear three hats this week.
My boss' comment? "Well, you can come in on Friday (we don't work Fridays in the summer) to get your paperwork done". Oh lucky me, don't I feel special.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vacation planning

Whew, I just got done planning our trip home to visit family. What a chore. I had to book a total of 8 different one way trips, since Jman stays back to visit longer with the relatives and Papa has to fly back out with him (Continental "lost" 2 kids within the past month, no flying alone for Jman) and then Papa flys home himself. It took over an hour, with a brief break to call the credit card company to explain that my card was not stolen so could they please reactivate it (I'm not complaining, I like that my credit card companies recognized that my charges did not reflect my normal spending habits).

I was able to plan J's trip around my mother-in-law's annual vacation with the grandchildren to N.H. J loves this trip, he gets to play with his younger cousins (whom he adores), he gets to spend time with Grandma, and she is always fun. They go hiking, to beaches, to quaint small tourist attractions., etc. Because we live so far away, any chance I can give him to create memories with the family are ones I strive for.
We'll get to go home, visit with my grandmother (she is 96), see his dad and my ever busy step mother-in-law, laugh with his sister and brother-in-law, and maybe even do something touristy, like visit the beach or Plymouth Rock.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Livestrong challenge



I'm not sure if any of you have noticed or wondered why about the Livestrong challenge bar I have on this blog. For those who do not already know, the Livestrong Organization is foundation that not only wishes to find a cure for cancer, but provides the support and resources for those currently suffering from cancer (as a patient, as a family member, etc).

I'm supporting it for several reasons:

1. Look in my sidebar, see the link for fatcyclist, click on it, read some of his posts, then come back here and donate. (his wife is in the end stages of terminal cancer, yet he is still able to bring humor to his life and to ours).

2. My family has been affected by cancer many times over. My dear, favorite uncle passed away not too long ago cancer (he had all of a month from diagnosis to death).
My mother has had skin cancer. My grandmother, my aunt both have had breast cancer. My paternal grandmother died from cancer. My identical twin sister has had cervical cancer.

3. It is for self-preservation. See #2, with those genetics, I am sure to have cancer, one way or another.

So, if you can donate please do.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Time flys

Tonight was J's elementary school graduation. Next year middle school, how can that be? It was hard to believe that I knew so many of those children when they were only 5, and now they are young adults. I was getting a little teary eyed, I admit it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grateful

In a few weeks, hubby and I will have been married 14 years, and together..17? Whatever it may be, I have to take a moment to appreciate what we have. While neighbors and friends are divorcing left and right, we're still together. I asked him the other day if there was something wrong with us, since we seem to be one of the few satisfied, happy couples around us. I still look at him everyday and think "I could not possibly love him more than I do today". I'm not saying we do not ever disagree, I'm saying that I truly appreciate the love I have in my life and can look past those occasional disagreements. I think it is necessary to stop on occasion and appreciate and acknowledge these gifts.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Grey's Anatomy

As far as I am concerned, there is very little quality television on right now; but last nights Grey's brought my faith back for quality TV. If you have not followed Grey's this season, you catch up either through abc.com or hulu. ABC.com offers the episodes free.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Getting old is no fun

So, I had great plans for this spring. For once, the temperatures have stayed mild and, up until today, the humidity had been low. I wanted to plant some new flowers, get a small garden going, and train for a bike race to raise money for the Livestrong foundation. Only my body decided it did not want to participate. So, by some unknown method, 2 weeks ago I managed to sprain my left shoulder ACL . This is the joint that surrounds the rotor cuff. How do you do this? Normally it is from a severe contusion to the shoulder or from repeated overhead lifting of heavy objects. But I did neither of these, all I did was go running in the morning. I blame it on getting old. Either way, I was unable to move my arm above my waistline, and was unable to move it backwards either. By the following Monday I was able to move it some, but could not do simple things like push open a door without really putting a lot of thought into the action behind that movement. I went to the doctor's that same day, and he prescirbed physical therapy for at least 5 weeks, nexium, then possibly a steroid shot.
So here I am, unable to mow or edge my lawn, unable to weed, unable to lift my arm straight above my head. It is getting better, but too slow for my liking. I need to take advantage of the cooler weather before the heat really sets in.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day haiku

I am in sorrow
from loss of forests back home
chopped down for wood

- by J

Monday, April 13, 2009

Quote of the day

Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.
- Jerry Garcia

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The 10 year old does April Fools

Yesterday was April Fools day, one of J-man's favorite days of the year. He always wants to pull some sort of practical joke on us, and usually half-way succeeds. One year he salted our morning coffee. That did not go over well, and he soon learned there are boundaries to practical jokes, certain areas are off limits, one of those being our morning coffee!
This year I gave him a heads up the night before that the next was April Fools day so that he might have some planning time.
His jokes this year were rather tame. He took box of tissues, pried open the side, replaced them all with a roll of toilet paper and retaped the box. The idea of the prank was that I grab for a tissue, instead of one tissue I would have this long roll of paper following me. It didn't quite work since I grabbed it from the side and it tore.
He also managed to scare the bejeebas out of me as I came out of my bedroom in the morning, hiding not in his usual area when he tries to surprise me. He did not do it to his dad, since the last time he tried that, dad reacted in a defense manner and almost knocked him out (its the military training).
All in all, a very peaceful, safe April Fools day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

updates to the blog

I'm trying to add a little more to the blog. I'm looking to update the header too, I just have to find the right picture. Unfortunately, my laptop died recently, and I have not transferred the photos from it to my new computer as of yet.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back-up plan

So, I asked Jman what he wanted to be when he grew up. His response:

J - I want to be a writer
Me - Well, what is your back up plan?
J- I'll be an actor. No, wait, I'll be an artist if that doesn't work.

I don't think he grasped what I was getting at....

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Music soothes the savage beast

Lately I've been a bit tense, what with the job situation, hubby being away, and Jman just being difficult. I'd forgotten one of my relaxation tools until today, a very simple fix. It's music.
It amazes how music can have such an influence on my emotional health. I may be stressed and irritable, but once I slip my headphones on, sit back and listen, the anger leaves my body and a calmness comes over me. It doesn't have to be any certain song, as long as it is not too "energetic". Blue October is a good band for me to relax with, since they are not overly heavy on guitar or drum riffs. I don't have to listen for that long of a time, 3-4 songs worth, before I'm ready to deal with the world again.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm lucky, right?

I have an odd situation at my job. Along with most companies in the US today, mine is restructuring and cutting back on jobs. This means that folks at my level may have their specific job cut but a new one will be created to combine that job along with another one. This is the case with my job, they are planning on cutting the position across the board from all the stores.
This is not a problem, since I know that as they restructure the jobs I should have one of the new "combo" jobs.
Herein lies the problem. One of the jobs my boss would like me to take is a salaried job at almost twice my pay (currently I am hourly). This is great, right? Well, I am not too sure. The new job will entail me being responsible for personnel, hiring, and making sure all the underlings are their jobs. Lots and lots of interactions with people. I've had it come up before that I am intimidating and that our temporary employees don't feel like they can approach me because I demand a lot from them (I expect them to do the job they were hired to do, not to stand around and socialize. I hate people and my skills at being "democratic" and "tactful" with others is questionable. I do a good job now; I interact with one other person all day long, with a few interactions with other interspersed throughout the day,I find financial errors, I follow-up on paperwork and I get things done. The people I communicate with are through the computer, no face-to-face.

Obviously, my boss believes I can do the job since she approached me about it, but I don't know if I should apply for it. I don't believe in taking a job if I can not give it 100% of my skills.
On the other hand, the money is nice, we have college funds and retirements to think about.
What do you think I should do?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Facebook

I've become addicted to facebook, the social networking site. I'm not just addicted to the updates posted by my friends, but to the games they have connected to the site. Word Twist, Scramble, Mafia Wars; I have to play them all, for hours at a time, trying to beat my high scores or to reach the next level. I've become the target of many a "hit" on Mafia Wars, I've got my "family" to defend and I must take my revenge!
Hubby is amazed how it has captured my attention. I think it is because each game I play takes a maximum of 3 minutes and the challenge to find more words is a welcome brain break.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I went to my follow-up appointment with my doctor; she confirmed that I have endometriosis and the tissue removed was just that. I'm healing nicely, although I must remember not to be lifting anything over 10 pounds still. This is very difficult for me to do, since I work with books all day long and I can think of several titles that 8 pounds each.

Jman has joined the creative writing club at school and he is a success at it. In fact, he's placed first in their writing contest they had. This is the boy who in the past has refused to write anything for his benchmark tests.

The weather is changing quickly here in Texas and it is time to think about the yard. Do I want to start a container vegetable garden this year? Or should I just focus on my front yard flower garden? What color scheme should I do?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Looks good

Well, my surgery is over and it looks good. They found some tissue that was not supposed to be there and removed it, my "pain buddy" has all but gone away (woohoo), and the incision sites are not too bad, as long as I do not overexert myself. I've got to make a follow-up visit for two weeks from now to make sure all has healed, that any tissue biopsies done have come back clean; but for now I am very optimistic. It is amazing how not having that pain in my life has made me so much more positive. I did not realize how much it was effecting my mental status until it was removed.
Plus, it is a lovely day out, perfect day to open the windows and air out the house.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"Exploratory surgery"

I've got "exploratory outpatient surgery" in the morning. Can you say nervous? Hopefully the doctor will figure out what is really wrong with me and stop the pain that has been plaguing me for the past year and a half. Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
That is a question we all get/got asked at some point in our lives and one we ask our children as well. It's fun to hear how the answers change (or for that matter don't change) over the year.
I wanted to be a doctor or an archaeologist or a writer when I grew up. I did become an archaeologist, and have been both an EMT and a medical assistant, and do this for writing, so I did follow my dreams somewhat.
When I was younger, my parents told me we could be whatever we wanted to be when we grew up, to follow our dreams. Hindsight being what it is, I wish they had not done that. When I worked as an archaeologist, I held two jobs, since payday did not always come through with archaeology since grants were slow to be processed at times. I wish my parents had told me to be a doctor, and to follow archaeology as a hobby only.
Now my son tells me he wants to be an archaeologist or an artist or a writer. And I, well I want to tell him "no, don't go for those dreams". My brother tried life as an artist - he ended up frustrated and angry. Jobs as an archaeologist are few and far between, with cuts to state budgets, those jobs go first.
So what do I tell him - to go for his dreams or to go for reality?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Would you hear the " I need you"

I was watching a repeat of "Sex and the City" last night, the episode where Miranda's mother dies of a heart attack, and the girls and ex boyfriends all go to the funeral, because they know Miranda need them, but she does not ask for them to come. It is very touching and moving to see Miranda's relief when Carrie steps up to give her a shoulder to lean on at the funeral procession. The episode started me wondering...
As human beings, we have subconscious ability to recognize when our fellow humans are in need; sometimes they ask for help, sometimes they don't. The question is, would you know if someone was asking you for help?
Think about it, how many times have you looked back on a situation and thought to yourself, I should have offered that person a ride, I should have had that neighbor over for a dinner, I should have called that friend up a month ago, etc. Or you thought, "jeez, I wish I could do something for , but s/he said s/he was o.k....."
I know when my coworker's dad died, I didn't know what to do, what to offer, especially since I am not an overtly emotional person. Giving her a hug of support felt like an awkward thing to do at the time, but a few months later when my dear uncle passed, I knew that was what I desperately needed from someone and that she probably did as well.
What about that young mother with her 4 kids who seems to never get out of the house with out at least 3 of them with her - how about offering to watch ALL of them for 2 hours so she can go to the store alone? It's not much to you, but to her, it is.
I remember when hubby went away for 4 months. My neighbors all said they would give me a hand, I just had to give them a call. Sad thing was, I never called any of them. I needed a hand, desperately, but I was too proud (?) to ask. Now if someone had come to my door and said, "hey leave Jman with my son and my hubby, we're going to the movies", I would have had tears of appreciation in my eyes as I handed over my child and went out the door.
So, one of my resolutions for my life is to be more aware of my fellow human beings, to appreciate what I have and to share with my fellow human beings. Case in point, my dear friend whose husband got laid off, we were shopping at Target for household stuff. Instead of asking her if she wanted to stop for a coffee at the Starbucks kiosk, I told her I was getting coffee and wanted to treat her. I know she would have said "no" to getting the coffee since it is an expense she can not afford right now, but I also know it is a treat that she did appreciate having.
It's a little thing, but it brought some happiness, and that was what I was hoping to achieve.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My first blog award....

thanks Envoyette!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

President Obama,

You have taken on quite a task, one that may soon seem overwhelming if it does not already. Our country needs a lot of help to get back on its feet. On this day, the Dow dropped more than 330 points. Lay-offs have become a daily occurrence and many of our citizens already had their budgets stretched before the loss of their jobs. What are you going to do to turn our economy around?
In the last 8 years, we've lost the respect of many countries around the world. How are we going to earn it back?
Yes, people cheered today, some even cried in their joy at seeing you take office and it is a momentous occasion; but you have a job ahead of you and you will be judged by your successes and your failures. It seems that many will have open arms for you, please don't disappoint them and us. You're name is already is already going into the history books, hopefully it will be with more than just "1st African-American president of the United States".

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I need you

As human beings, we have subconscious ability to recognize when our fellow humans are in need; sometimes they ask for help, sometimes they don't. The question is, would you know if someone was asking you for help?
Think about it, how many times have you looked back...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jobs..

Yet another friend got a pink slip today...I'm so thankful that both my husband and I have jobs and they are secure (knock on wood). Of course, my friend today had no warning that his job was in jeopardy either....

Monday, January 05, 2009

What I did for New Year's Day

Hello, I have not completely abandoned this blog, as some might suspect, since my writing is so sporadic. No, it is because I want to upload some pictures to the blog, but I seem to have misplaced my camera in all the holiday hoopla. Instead of waiting any longer, I'll just tell you about my new year's vacation and upload the pictures later when I find the camera...if I find the camera.

It has been a desire of mine to go to Oklahoma City to see the site of the 1995 bombing of the the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, or I should say the memorial site and museum dedicated to the memory of it. Why I had this desire, I do not know, although part of it could be because my dear hubby could be in a situation like that at any time due to his job, and the loss of my husband in the line of duty s a deep-rooted fear of mine that I wanted to confront head-on.

First off, if you have never been to the site, you should go. As far as I am concerned, the 7 hour drive was worth it. Although I did none of the driving, so my view may be skewed a bit. :)
The site is composed of the footprint of where the building was and its adjacent parking lot. There is a large black upright rectangular slab of rock (granite?) on one end of the site with "9:01" engraved on it, then a huge reflecting pool, rectangular shaped again, the length of the original building, then another slab with "9:03" engraved on it. The pool is a symbol of that final minute of so many lives before they were irrevocably changed forever.
Then there are the chairs, 168 chairs composed of a metal backing and a frosted square base. Each chair represents one of the people that died that day. They are of two sizes - the smaller size represents the children who perished.

The museum itself is wonderfully done. It gives the visitor an ability to step into that day, from the minutes before the explosion, to the explosion and its aftermath that day, all the way through to years after it is all done. There are video clips of the news coverage, interviews of the victims and survivors, artifacts (IE. bits of the car that was involved in the explosion, an actual room persevered so you can see the damage, clothing, crime scene pictures, etc.), and a memorial to each victim. Watching the video clips of the parents rushing to the scene, asking where is my child, and then seeing their commentary of their feelings and emotions from that moment was heart-rending. (There was a daycare in the building. Only 4 children survived.)

You are able to view what the relatives of the victims have to say about how their how lives were impacted, some moved on in positive way, others have barely clung to day-to-day reality. There also are after effects that were more positive such as how laws were changed to benefit victims of crimes like this, and you get to see that side too.