Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Well, I made it home without any major drama. There really wasn't much traffic today so the drive went really easily. The kitties cooperated (or were just ready to be home, too) and slept quietly the majority of the way. Occasionally there was a whimper of protest from the back seat, but for the most part, they're becoming hearty travelers.

It is so great to go visit family, but there is really no place like home.

Onward to New Years, I suppose. No plans as yet for that, but I hold out hope I'll be doing something besides moping on my couch.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas the night before Christmas...

Home again for the holidays. I actually got to the Panhandle on Saturday after driving in a headwind the whole way... ugh. The kitties and I made it fine... tired from the trip but glad to be here. Went immediately to see the kiddos. Little B and Miss A are just too cute. Little B is talking so much more now than Thanksgiving. They do grow up so fast.

Every year since I was a small child, I've gotten to basically celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. With 3 sets of grandparents and family, all holidays were/are generally whirlwind affairs with lots of food, fun, and presents. Yesterday I had Christmas with my sisters and parents in the afternoon and with 2 of my three brothers, both sisters, parents and the spouses and children that belong to each. Sometimes it amazes me how truly redneck my family (that part of it, anyway) really is. You never know where the conversation will go when my brother G is around. Yesterday, his girlfriend/significant other/common-law spouse-type person, L, was telling us of G's latest -- showering with his shotgun. Yes, naked in the shower with his shotgun. He swears it is the only way to go, cause it is completely clean now. Yes, you can laugh and roll your eyes, we all did (including L!).

Through the food and laughter, presents were opened. I am a hero to Miss A because of the Bunny Slippers. Aunt C is also a hero. She got Miss A a tutu that plays a portion of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake when she moves. Miss A immediately changed into her tutu and bunny slippers and we were regaled to her fairy dance with Tchaikovsky's accompaniment. Little B got lots of presents and seemed thrilled with everything you got him and a bit surprised that things were for him. I love Christmas with children around. Their absolute joy and wonder at gifts and the need to try it on immediately or play with it immediately. You can't beat it.

Today, Christmas Eve has been a bit more subdued. C, her hubby P, my parents and Moma's parents spent the day together and visited and ate (yes, lots of food around during the holidays in my family) and went to the candlelight Christmas Eve service at G&G C's church. It is always a fun thing to do. We did make Grandaddy take off the oxygen during the candlelight portion of the service. Blowing up the church didn't sound like a very Christmassy thing to do.

Now, I'm back at Uncle J's house with him, C&P and G&G B. A quiet evening is planned. Tomorrow will be more food and family and a few presents, I'm sure.

But, I want to take this few moments to say to everyone, Merry Christmas.

King James Version (KJV)
Luke 2
1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Everyone get your Holy Hand Grenade ready

A couple of months ago, my niece, Miss A, asked me for Bunny Slippers for Christmas. Okay, that's what she's getting. The quest for cute bunny slippers was on. I ordered them from and online store and got them yesterday. Can I just say they are freakishly cute! Pink nose, fishing line whiskers and a tail at the back! Too Cute!!!!

I also found a pair for me... I want these. They are The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog and he's got a vicious streak a mile wide. Okay, so maybe only those who love Monty Python's Holy Grail will get it, but, come on, this is funny stuff.....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Time is speeding up, I swear it!

I can't believe a week has gone by since I posted last. Time does seem to speed up with age. I can remember as a child thinking Christmas would NEVER get here. It seemed that time slowed down as Christmas approached. Now, as I've gotten older, it really feels like time is speeding up toward something.

I realized on Saturday night that next weekend I'll be going home for Christmas. My house and laundry were in serious need of some attention since I haven't really been home much of an evening or weekends when that stuff gets done normally. I called in sick to the photo job on Sunday partially because I was sick and tired of some of the things going on up there... co-worker issues... and because I needed to do some things in order to be ready to go home! I slept late, lounged while I did laundry and cleaned at a decidely slow pace. It was so nice.

Not much has really happened in the past week to blog about. Everything seems to be winding down toward the holidays or hurdling forward at breakneck speed.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Season full of fun, family, and friends!

Monday, December 10, 2007

And a very Bah Humbug to you, too.

In my job as a photographer, I generally see people at their very best. Kids are scrubbed shiny with new clothes, parents are smiling, and no one has a care or concern in the world at least for the split second it takes for the shutter to snap. I love watching the kiddos grow up and am always amazed at the changes in such short times between photos. It is great.

But... Why is it that Christmas can bring out the worst in some people? Saturday at the photography job was utter and complete chaos. That is pretty par for the course this time of year, but people seemed extra grumpy on Saturday. The kids didn't want to smile, the parents were screaming at the kids to smile or threatening to spank them (by the way, to those who are parents who might be reading this, that tactic NEVER EVER EVER NEVER works to make the kids smile) and the photographers were trying very hard to remain upbeat and cheery through the entire process. For the most part, in front of customers, I succeeded including when I was being berated by a customer.

Said customer felt I was not capturing the "essence" of her child and proceeded to tell me how much of an awful and untalented person I am. I went to my happy place in my head, got my most peaceful look on my face, and pretended to be listening. Another customer who witnessed the tirade commented later that he didn't know how I handled that kind of treatment with such grace. I had to laugh as I admitted to him that in my head I was asking if the "essence" of her child was spoiled brat because that is what she is raising. (I had enough tact to not admit to the gentleman that I was also imagining her head exploding as she berated me.)

Not all parents and kids were bad and my rather odd sense of humor tends to put folks in a decent mood. For example, when taking pictures of entire families, generally the father is not really thrilled with being there. I try to joke around as I put them in uncomfortable positions and say things like "no complaining, she actually is the one who had to give birth!" I often tell Mom to snuggle up to Dad and pretend to like him at least for the picture. I also threaten to use our "tickle stick" on him to force a smile. That has a two-fold effect of making Mom and kids smile, too. I got some really great shots and made some people really happy on Saturday. That is the point of my job really.

After I delivered pictures to the gentleman who had witnessed my serenity at the berating, he wished me Bah Humbug. As he left, I waved and wished him a very Bah Humbug, too.

On Sunday, the weather cooled off considerably (like to the 30s from the 80s on Saturday) and people were in a much Christmasy-er mood. Thank goodness....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Meme

My younger sis, C, tagged me for this as a faithful reader of her blog. It sounded fun, so here goes!

Oh, and if you're someone who reads my blog regularly and you feel like doing this Meme, tag, you're it!

What kind of soap is in your bathtub?
I only have Dove for Dry Skin right now

Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?
No. But that sounds good. I wish it were summer.

What would you change about your living room?
I would make it just a bit bigger and move the fireplace to another wall.

Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty?
It's actually empty right now. Now, the dishes in the sink need to be loaded into it and it needs to be run, but for now it sits empty.

What is in your refrigerator?
Condiments. A partial loaf of bread. Some cat food. I think there are some leftovers that could be used as a science experiment by now also. I have some cheese and sandwich meat, too.

White or wheat bread?

What is on top of your refrigerator?
Three kinds of cereal. Breakfast bars. Chips. Crackers. Raisins.

What color or design is on your shower curtain?
Because my bathroom in the apartment is so very small and the tile they put into the shower is pretty, I have a clear one up.

How many plants are in your home?
Just three. I have a giant corn plant and two pothos ivy plants.

Is your bed made right now?

Comet or Soft Scrub?

Is your closet organized?
Not in the least. It's on my "to-do" list that never seems to get done, though.

Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home?

Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now?
Not right now.

If you have a garage, is it cluttered?
No garage, just a carport.

Curtains or blinds?

How many pillows do you sleep with?

Do you sleep with any lights on at night?
No. I like it really dark when I sleep.

How often do you vacuum?
My bedroom is the only room with carpet and I try to get it vacuumed every week or two. I sweep the floors more often just to keep the dust bunnies and fur balls under control.

Standard toothbrush or electric?
Standard. Although, I wish I had my Soinicare again.

What color is your toothbrush?
Whatever color the dentist gave me last month.

Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch?
Yes.. It has little daisies all over it and I got it because it made me happy.

What is in your oven right now?

Is there anything under your bed?
There's extra pictures that I don't have room to put up on the walls, an inflatible queen sized mattress and probably a cat.

Chore you hate doing the most?
Unloading the dishwasher.

What retro items are in your home?
I don't think I do.

Do you have a separate room that you use as an office?

How many mirrors are in your home?
Two in the bathroom and one in the vanity/dressing area.

What color are your walls?
They're kind-of a khaki beige-y color.

Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home?
Not really.

What does your home smell like right now?
Vanilla from my oil warmer.

Favorite candle scent?
Pear scents or vanilla.

What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now?
1 jar of kosher dill slices.

What color is your favorite Bible?

Ever been on your roof?

Do you have a stereo?
I guess the only one I have is in my car.

How many TVs do you have?
Two. One I bought for my living room and the other I got for free (a 35" Magnavox) when my office downsized and we didn't need two.

How many house phones?

Do you have a housekeeper?
No, and I wish I did just to do a good "deep clean" once a month.

What style do you decorate in?
Hand-me-downs from Moma & C... they've got great taste, so my apartment is really pretty cute. If left to my own devices, I'd have a very art deco-style furniture.

Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints?
It depends on the room it will be used in. Right now I have a plaid couch that I love. Since I live in an apartment, I can't paint the walls, so I use my furniture as my color. But if I were to go buy a couch now, I'd likely buy a solid colored one.

Is there a smoke detector in your house?
Two. One in the bedroom and one in the living room.

In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you'd grab if you could make only one trip?
hopefully, I would be able to grab the cats.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Life since Nablopomo

I have felt almost guilty, like I wasn't doing my homework, for not posting the past couple of days. It's funny how something like blogging about my life -- or lack thereof -- can become a release of sorts for pent-up frustrations, sharing fears, and finding out that you're not that much different than everyone else out there who is just trying to make it in this world.

So, what has been going on in my life for the past few days, you ask? Let's see. I've got an awful cold. Thank goodness I don't feel nearly as bad as I sound (or look thanks to rough tissues at work all weekend). I've discovered that anytime I get sick, it goes to my chest and I cough. It's a nuisance, but not totally unbearable. I have decided to go to the doctor today and get something a little stronger than the over the counter cough medicine I've been taking. It seems to have lost its effectivness. Bummer.

UPDATE: I went ahead and went to the doctor for the cough since it was beginning to really hurt when I coughed (and I don't mean the stomach muscles, I mean my lungs hurt). He said I have acute bronchitis (I could have told him that) and a mild ear infection in both ears (this did surprise me a little bit). So, Z-pak and Tussionex now in hand, I should be up to par in no time at all. I still don't feel bad, other than this nagging cough, so yay for small favors!

I have been working at the photo place on weekends for a while now. I've added Friday nights now through Christmas. People ask how I can do it. There are screaming kids, frustrated parents, lazy parents who allow their kids to destroy the studios (grrrrr to that one), but for the most part, I get to see people and kids at their best. They are generally all dressed up in favorite outfits or special Christmas suits or dresses this time of year. My whole job is to make them smile. It really is fun. I will admit, not everyone can do it. I will also admit that during the Christmas season, I tend to go hide in my car for my 30 minute lunch break just to get away from the chaos in the studio. But, overall, it is a blast.

I had a treat yesterday at work. I started at the studio in September/October three years ago. A few months after starting at the studio, Mrs. O brought her newborn baby in for pictures. I got to take those pictures... and the 3 month, 6 month, and 9 month pictures. Last year, on Miss Katie's first Christmas I took her pictures. I hadn't gotten to take the pictures during the year, though, because I didn't work there during the spring and summer. When Mrs. O brought her in yesterday, I didn't get to take the her pictures (it's kind of luck of the draw as to who takes the photos during the Christmas season since there are several photographers and three studio bays) but Katie wouldn't cooperate with (also known as smile for) the photographer. Mrs. O requested that I take the redo because Katie "knows me and feels comfortable with me." {insert ego boost here} I did the reshoot and we got some great pictures and both Mr. and Mrs O thanked me profusely. See, that is why I love my photo job.

So, that is my life these days. Busy and hectic as normal but with a few ego boosts to lighten the load a bit.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Day 30: I did it!!

I did it. I posted everyday this month. I had my doubts that I'd be able to keep up with it, but I did. It almost feels like a graduation of sorts to be ending the month.

I found out quite a bit about myself this month. I think sometimes blogging this month was a chore but I did it and because it meant I blogged on more than just venting/down days I got to show my funny/sarcastic side a bit. So, maybe I'll post tomorrow, maybe I won't. I will, however, try very hard to keep it up and blog most days.

I also made some new imaginary friends whose blogs I enjoy reading mostly daily. For those who have read my blog mostly daily... thank you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 29: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

It is open enrollment for insurance at work. Since they changed our health insurance program this year, everyone had to fill out all of the paperwork again. It is a bit of a pain because I even had to fill out all of the beneficiary information for my life insurance and accidental death & disability policies.

If you have an AD&D policy, read it sometime. It is exactly what it says it is. It only pays if I am dismembered or die in an accident, but it is rather comical to read. There are things in there about how much they'll pay if you lose an arm or a leg or just fingers or some combination of your appendages.

Loss Percentage of the Principal Benefit
Life 100%
Both Hands or Both Feet 100%
Sight of Both Eyes 100%
Speech and Hearing 100%
One Hand and One Foot 100%
One Foot and Sight of One Eye 100%
One Hand and Sight of One Eye 100%
Quadriplegia 100%
Paraplegia 75%
Sight of One Eye 50%
Speech or Hearing 50%
One Hand or One Foot 50%
Hemiplegia 50%
Thumb and Index Finger of One Hand 25%
Uniplegia 25%

The funniest part is if I lose my arm in the ocean and can't produce my arm, I have to wait a year from the date of the loss for them to pay the claim. um, huh? So if a shark eats your arm, you'd better get at least part of it back, I guess.

I have more actual life insurance than I thought I had. Basically, like most people in the world, I'm worth much more if I'm dead than if I'm alive. (So not planning on going anywhere anytime soon... planning a long, full life.) But choosing beneficiaries is hard. I don't have a husband to leave it to, so Moma (and Daddy by default, but it's only in Moma's name) is my beneficiary. They also make you choose contingent beneficiaries. So, who to choose? I mean, right now I've got it listed as my sisters. But in all honesty, should I leave it to my niece and nephews for their college educations? Does it really matter 'cause if they are collecting then I'm dead.

Still, these are hard decisions to make. I so hate making decisions.

Day 28: Daddy is so generous

It seems that Daddy shared more than his home with me this weekend. It seems he also generously shared his cold germs. Ugh. I woke up this morning with a headache and sore throat. Double ugh. As the day wore on, my throat got sorer and sorer. Triple ugh.

So... I went to the store and got me some Tylenol Cold and Sinus and I will stay drugged until I'm over it. Hopefully it will be a 3 day cold and tomorrow will be the worst of it. I can feel like crap for one day and start to feel better. That wouldn't be so bad. Especially after last year (and the year before's) case of the flu and all the yucky-ness that went with that. I got my flu shot this year so hopefully I'll avoid that particular unpleasantness this year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 27: Just a day

Today was just a normal day. I went to work and came home. Since it's Tuesday I didn't have school so I did something I don't get to do very often... I took a nap. It was so relaxing with both kitties curled up next to me I just fell asleep. Now I am going to bed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day 26: I love Christmas!

I love Christmas. I really, really do. I love the fact that for one month out of the year almost everyone has a giving spirit and even people who normally are the me-me-me type will help organize food drives and toy drives for those who are less fortunate. I love the Salvation Army Bell Ringers in front of stores who always wish you a Merry Christmas with a smile no matter the weather. I love the tradition in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area of Troy Dungan's Santa's Helpers that collects toys for the Toys for Tots Toy Drive. (And seeing all those Marines in dress uniforms is a decided bonus!)

I love the decorations and lights on houses and in stores. I even love decorating my own house even thought I'm likely the only one that will see it. I love putting my Nativity Scene (which is just like the one I grew up with) on my mantle even if that is the only decorations I put out for the year. Christmas is just a fun time of year, in my opinion.

I love the Christmas Season and all the things that go with it except one thing -- Radio stations changing their format to ONLY play Christmas music on Friday after Thanksgiving. I realize that most artists have recorded a Christmas album and has a rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas that only gets airtime once a year, but how many times do I have to hear Silent Night or Oh Holy Night in one day? Just because different artists sing it, it isn't a different song! Throw in a Christmas tune once in a while, even a couple of times an hour, but still play normal music, too, please. Pretty please with sugar plums on top?

It is no wonder people are sick of Christmas by Christmas Day and the bah-humbugs have taken over. There is such thing as overkill and Christmas music all-day-every-day would be that for me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Day 25: Home Sweet Home

It is great to visit family, but it is also great to be home. It's funny to me that as an adult, you are always "going home." I went "home" for Thanksgiving on Wednesday because I went to where my parents are. That is always home. Today, I came to my own place, I came home.

Anyway, the drive in wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it would be. Slow in the areas I expected, but never a dead stop like I feared it would be and has been on other trips. Most people were driving sanely and the ones who weren't tended to meet Texas' finest.

Traveling with my cats is an experience. I know the whole time I was at Moma & Daddy's house, I was afraid the cats were annoying everyone. Maxie has the most annoying (to me) meow when he is upset, feels he's being left out of the festivities, or just wants attention. On the way home, there was no calming him. He was between the blanket and the car seat yowling at me. It's this deep gutteral "MIIRRWOOOOOWWWWW" sound that tends to carry. He did it in the garage at Mom's (where he could get a lovely echo going) and in the car THE WHOLE WAY HOME (with the exception of a few minutes here and there) just to let me know his displeasure at his situation. Buddy was calmly laying on the center console touching me. As long as he was touching me, he was fine

So, now I am home, the car is unloaded, the cats have been fed and are wandering around sniffing everything to make sure nothing has changed in the four days since they were here. I need to unpack and do a couple of loads of laundry and fold some of the laundry I left undone when I left. But it can wait. I'm home now. I'm on my own couch with my feet on the coffee table relaxing. It's good to be home.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Day 24: Thanksgiving 2007 is now in the record books

The holiday weekend has wound down and folks are heading home. C & P are staying at a hotel tonight for an early flight back to ABQ and A&D and the kiddos left a day earlier than planned because of iffy weather (both here and on the way home). It's just me now. So, tomorrow Moma and I are going to clean the house a bit and decorate her house for Christmas ('cause it's more fun to do with someone!) and then I'll head home, too.

It has been a great weekend. The drive down on Wednesday afternoon was easy even thought there was lots of traffic in Ft. Worth and a bit of rain close to Moma's. Thursday was great with all the cooking and laughing and family fun. Friday was more of the same. Then today everything wound down.

The cats in the tent was a great idea (thank you, Daddy). They watched me unzip it a couple of times and Maxie figured out how to do it himself so they pretty much have had the run of the garage for the weekend. But they were close and I didn't have to worry about them, so it was a wonderful solution for what to do with them.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day 23: Shopping and ginger bread houses

It has been a full day. We shopped some on the square. Acutally, I did more looking than actual shopping. C bought a couple of things, though so we did contribute to the Black Friday Economy.

When we got back to Moma & Daddy's house, A & B were awake from their naps and it was time to make the ginger bread house.

It was one gumdrop for the house and 4 for Miss A. One chocolate drop for the house, two for Mr. B. And then it was just easier to squeeze the icing directly into their mouths....

Even Uncle P got into the act...

But a beautiful gingerbread house was the sugary end result.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day 22: If I eat one more bite

What a day. It started with little boy B falling out of bed at 7 a.m. Then cooking. Then eating and eating and a footballnap and dessert.

A day full of family and fun. You can't beat that.

I really have much to be thankful for this year...

I thankful that school is going well again.

I'm thankful that my sisters and I were able to gather together at my parents' house to eat and visit.

I'm thankful for being healthy this year.

I'm thankful for my new car because I was really starting to worry about the other one breaking down and stranding me.

I'm thankful that my friend ME's hubby didn't have a serious heart attack this morning and the doctors sent him home to rest before the battery of tests next week.

I'm thankful for all of my "regulars" who read my blog and make me feel good about my boring/crazy life.

I'm thankful for my jobs.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

P.S.: Happy Birthday, Daddy

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day 21: Over the river and throught the woods...

I'm posting early today because it is travel day! I think I have just about everything ready to go. I've got my list of things I can't forget for both me and the cats. I just have to say that I am in awe of people who travel with children. How on earth they get out the door with everything including the kids is beyond me.

I am off to the Houston area for the long weekend. I'm so excited to get to be with my family... a little sad that my brothers won't be there also, but it will be fun with just the girls. It's a dual celebration this year. Daddy is a turkey this year! (His birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day this year.) He's 59. Wow!

Anyway, there will be 9 of us at Moma's new house this year. We're having turkey and all the traditional trimmings. I predict lots of food and football for tomorrow. A good time will likely be had by all.

Hopefully, it will be an easy trip down there. I don't forsee any problems except heavier than normal trafic. I-35 is always busy on holidays!

So, for all those who are traveling to see friends and family this week, please be safe. I hope everyone enjoys visits with family and friends and stops to give thanks for blessings in life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S.: Happy Birthday, P!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 20: The cats will be tented

No, they don't have termites! Actually, it is the way we figured out how I can take them with me to my parents' house over the Thanksgiving holiday. Moma, my sister and my niece are sensitive to the cats. Not really a full-blown (no pun intended) allergy to them, but they do get the itchy eyes and nose so just bringing them to the house was out of the question.

Still, boarding them was what I wanted to avoid, pet sitters were looking way too expensive, and I didn't know what I was going to do. So, mom went looking for some way to keep them contained that wasn't a room in her house! My dad suggested we just set them up a tent in the back yard. Since they live in South Texas, near the coast, it won't be cold, but still outside wasn't my ideal solution to what to do with them. But, the tent in the garage will be fine.

So, I'm tenting my cats in my parents' garage. They'll actually have more room than me (I'm sharing a room with the little ones) in their tent that my mom said she'd "make nice" for them with rugs and chairs and stuff. And I guess if it gets too crowded in the house, I can always go sleep with the cats in the tent!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day 19: No rest for the weary

I am so glad this is a two day work week.... okay, actually, I have to go into the office for Wednesday morning, but I know it will be a S-L-O-W morning work-wise since most of my sales reps will be on vacation (officially or not) already. I've just got a case of the I-don't-wannas this week.

Maybe it is just because I'm excited that I get to go see Moma and Daddy and my sisters, thier spouses and the kids or maybe it is because it will be my last weekend off until after Christmas and my first weekend off since October. I'll be working all week and going to school as usual Monday throught Friday AND at the portrait studio on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until after Christmas.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day 18: Post Secret Secrets

I sent a postcard to Post Secret the other day. I haven't seen it on the site (nor do I really expect to) but it is really odd to think that someone or lots of someones now know one of my deepest secrets.

I don't know what I expected when I sent it in. I am still not sure how I feel about it. I have others that I have thought about sending in, but I don't know. Maybe I will.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 16: Texas Cities... what you write about when you have no clue

I have no idea what to write about today, so I'm going to come up with a city in Texas for each letter of the alphabet.... Think of it as your Texas Information lesson for the day.

A -- Austin: The Capital
B -- Brownsville: The bottom of Texas
C -- Corpus Christi: Where Mom's hairdresser grew up
D -- Dallas: Home of the Cowboys, Stars & Mavericks!
E -- El Paso: About as far west as you can go in Texas
F -- Fredricksburg:
G -- Galveston It's a city on an island
H -- Houston: The Bayou City
I -- Irving: Where the Cowboys play until 2009
J -- Jacksonville: Tomato Capital of the World
K -- Keller: City where I work
L -- Lukenbach: made famous by Willie, Waylon & the Boys
M -- Marfa: Home of the mysterious lights
N -- Nacogdoches: Oldest Town in Texas
O -- Odessa: Oil fields
P -- Port Lavaca: Home of the longest fishing pier
Q -- Quanah: Named for Quanah Parker
R -- Roanoke: Home of the late Byron Nelson
S -- South Padre Island: SPRING BREAK
T -- Texline: The Top of Texas (and where I graduated from high school)
U -- Uvalde
V -- Victoria: the South Texas Crossroads
W -- Waco: (home of Dr. Pepper)
X -- ?
Y -- Yoakum
Z -- Zapata: where they hang glide

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 15: If you can understand this, you're smart

On someone else's blog (I'm sorry, I don't remember whose it was or I'd give you credit and a link) I found two readability tests. I am actually surprised by the results.

cash advance

The other one (link here) had me at the level of academic papers.

It isn't that I don't feel I'm smart. I just didn't realize I used that many big words!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 14: My Morning

This morning, just like most every weekday morning, I was doing that last minute rush to get out of the house while running through the checklist of things I have to do before I walk out the door: Are the cats fed? Check. Lights off? Check. Litter scooped? Check. Have keys? Check. Cell phone? Check. And so on.

Generally (and unfortunately quite often) I lose my keys and there is the 2 minute, where-the-heck-did-I-put-them-oh-there-they-are kind of hunt. Because of that I have tried very hard to get into the habit of putting my purse and keys in their place (keys on the key peg and purse on the door knob to the coat closet) so I don't have to hunt for them as I rush around of a morning.

This morning, I was running my usual 5 minutes late and as I grabbed my purse to drop something into it on the way out the front door, I realized my wallet (with EVERYTHING in it) was not there. Um, can you say YIKES!!!!

It is amazing how fast your brain works when in a state of panic. (enter curse word here) What was the last check number? (enter curse word here) What cards are there and what is the number I have to call to cancel them all? (enter curse word here) Did I drop that prescription off at the pharmacy or is it still in the wallet? (enter curse word here) If I did lose it last night, how much damage has already been done?

I called the last place I'd been (grocery store) to check to see if someone had turned it in. No. (enter curse word here) Check the car. Not there. (enter curse word here) Come in the house where could it be? Full on panic mode is setting in at this point. I turn and glance toward the couch and there, peeking out from between my cushions, I see a bit of pink. Crisis averted. (enter serious prayers of thanksgiving here)

Time from beginning of panic to finding lost item: approximately 5 minutes. Years taken off of my life: approximately 5. Relief I felt when I found my fabulous pink wallet: Immeasurable.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 13: Texas Trivia

AKA... Things I learned in the Third Grade.

In no particular order...

1) The state was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845 and Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.

2) Six flags have flown over Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The Confederacy, and The United States

3) The state bird is the Mockingbird

4) The state flower is the Bluebonnet

5) The state song is Texas Our Texas written by Composer William J. Marsh of Fort Worth along with lyricist Gladys Yoakum Wright

6) The state tree is the Pecan tree (pu-con not pee-can)

7) Texas blue topaz is the state gemstone

8) Texas' state insect is the monarch butterfly

9) The Armor-plated armadillo is the offical state small mammal, Guadalupe bass is the state fish, the the Mexican Free-tailed Bat is the state flying mammal, and the state large mammal is the Longhorn

10) The official dish of Texas is chili

11) The state grass is the sideoats grama

12) The state motto is "friendship"

13) The state pepper is the jalapeƱo

14) The dome of the Capitol Building, in Austin, stands seven feet higher than that of the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C.

15) Texas is known as the Lone Star State

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day 12: Veterans Day -- A Pittance of Time

Yesterday was actually Veterens Day. The holiday honoring military veterans. It is celebrated on the same day as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)

Today or yesterday really, in my humble opion, should be a solemn day for remembering and thanking and honoring those who fought and died or those who fought and came home forever changed by what they've seen. It irritates me that here in the U.S. Veterans Day has become little more than another day for stores to have big sales. It saddens me that an estimated 1/4 of the homeless in America are vets who haven't received the help they've needed when they come home. To me it is wrong that the flag-draped coffins of American Soldiers who died fighting for freedom can't be shown on TV because it is too "political" and divisive.

So, please take the time to watch the video and offer a prayer of thanks for those who defend our freedoms. This is by a Canadian songwriter named Terry Kelly and called a Pittance of Time.

I am overwhelingly appreciative for the fact that someone fought for my freedom... and humbled by the fact that so many died for it. I am grateful for my grandfathers, all three of them, who served in WWII -- two in the Navy and one in the Army Air Corps. I am indebted all those who fought in WWII -- the War to End All Wars -- and for those who have fought in all the wars after. I am deeply grateful for those who are this country's newest veterans. I do believe they are making me safer through their service.

I want to say thank you. Thank you for your service and your scrifices. I know the sacrifices are many and yet, you chose/choose to make them. Thank you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 11: Cats are funny

I know I said I'd only talk about the cats (1) on Saturdays or (2) when they scare the complete crap out of me (see Day 2). Well, tonight I am sitting here on my couch laughing at the cats. I have 2 identical chairs in my living room. They sit side by side. The cats only like one of them. I have actually rearranged the two chairs and it is the not actually the chair but the location they seem to like most.

Maxie was laying in the chair tonight alseep. Buddy got up into the chair with him and shoved him out of the chair. He started out laying next to Max, then rolled over and put his feet on Maxie and started stretching until finally he was sprawled over the seat of the chair not leaving Maxie enough room! Now, Maxie is a slim 18 pounds and stands 16 inches tall at his shoulder and Buddy is only 9 pounds and rather petite. A little later, Maxie went back and battle royale ensued over said chair. Maxie won that and reclaimed his spot.

After a quick nap, Maxie got up to do his regular patrol of the house. Buddy took advantage and is now sleeping round in the chair and Maxie is sleeping on the rug.

Strange kitties.... or maybe just a bored kitty's person who promised herself she'd blog every day in November and she just didn't have anything else to blog about!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 10: It's Caturday Again!

Days where I can just sit on the couch and snuggle with the furry ones are probably my favorite days of all. Sadly, those days are few and far between anymore.

It is great to come home to little furry faces like these, though.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 9: TGIF

This week has been a very long week full of ups and downs -- the ups were very high and the lows were very low. But on average, it was just an average week.

So, tonight I will leave you with my favorite quote. It is said by Christopher Robin to Pooh. (A.A. Milne) “Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Day 8: I passed a test!!!

Okay. Most people are gonna say so what it's only one. BUT it has been a long, hard road to pass this test. It is funny what a new teacher with an attitude of "you need out of here" will do. He actually is trying to help us get out and offering advice to help us get over humps. So, one jury charge, two to go! I can do this!!

PS: Happy Birthday, C...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 7: Let me explain the Camel

It was pointed out to me that yesterday's "I am the Camel" post made people sad. It shouldn't. I am not sad. I was simply pointing out how I feel.

To be honest, we are all the Camel at some point in our lives. There are days and places that everyone feels out of place. As my sister C pointed out, sometimes we become Obnoxious Camel or Aloof Camel or (insert your adjective here) Camel to compensate for being out of sorts or feeling out of place.

I happen to be Aloof Camel or Wallflower Camel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 6: I am the Camel

Everyday on my way home or to work I pass a pasture with a herd of buffalo and a single camel. Since the camel showed up a few months ago, I've found it a little funny that there is a camel in a pasture with buffalo mere blocks from a herd of Texas longhorns. (Only in Texas, huh!)

Shortly after the camel came I started making up stories about the camel and the buffalo herd as I drove by. Often in the stories, the camel felt left out and alone because he is different. Depending on the day (and how close the camel was to the buffalo that day) the camel and buffalo became friends or he continues to feel left out and alone.

Today, I realized how much the camel I am. In most settings I don't feel I fit in or that I stick out in the crowd. I am on the fringes or outside totally -- or at least feel I am. Even with my family I feel that way. Maybe especially with my family. As the only one not married, I often am fringe... not because my family makes me feel that way deliberately, but just because I don't have anything in common with them part of the time.

In social settings, I never feel I fit in. I am actually really shy in public situations and I'm afraid to talk to people I don't know. So, I stand on the outside looking in much like the camel standing in the field with the buffalo.

So tomorrow I'll drive by the field, see the camel and make up a story about him. Maybe tomorrow he'll make friends with the buffalo. Maybe he'll be on the other side of the pasture alone. Who knows. We'll see what tomorrow holds.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day 5: So this is writer's block

I have been staring at the computer screen off and on for the past two hours. I had all sorts of ideas earlier today but as I'm here now can't think of a darn thing to write.



If I were a smalll child I would be running around flailing my arms yelling "la la la la".....

But hey, post count is post count. I've blogged for the day, right?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day 4: Bulk packaging has gone too far

I work two jobs... my regular job and my "fun" job on the weekends. On weekends, I am a portrait photographer. I work in a mall store which, in some respects, is a step down from my former professional photograpy job in a big studio and shooting weddings. In many, many other ways it is much better than than the studio job ever was. For one, I like my co-workers and we all get along for the most part. Everyone who works at the weekend job is female. That leads to some interesting conversations and work dynamics.

Today, one of my co-workers was dizzy and nauseous and has been complaining for a couple of weeks of extreme fatigue. Hmmmmm, pregnant? We all think so. But, she insisted that there is 'no way' she could be pregnant. We all laughed at that (see earlier comment about interesting conversations) and proceeded to tease her all day that she must be pregnant. By the end of the day we'd worked her up to a complete frenzy. I got off work before she did so when I clocked out she asked me to go get her a pregnancy test. She just had to know before hubby came to pick her up after work. Off I go to Walgreens to buy a test.

I get to the aisle with them and started looking at the vast array of brands and styles. There is everything from ones you have to pee in a cup and use an eye-dropper thing to put the pee in the test to ones with digital readouts. I was somewhat shocked to see that, for the most part, they all come in 'bulk packs' of up to 5 tests... who knew? There was even brand one marked "Buy one Get one Free," and they came in packages of 4!! Um, okay?

There was another lady in the aisle with me (she looked just slightly older than me) and she asked (quite cautiously) if I needed help. I said that yes, I needed one that only had ONE test in it. I then, for some reason, felt compelled to explain to her that it wasn't for me but for a friend. I told her all about my co-worker and she agreed that co-worker was likely preggy. She then explained that they come in mulitple packs for people like her who took the first two and had to take the third because she didn't believe the first two.

Finally, I found a single test package, bought it, and took it back to the studio. It was negative, by the way.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day 3: It's Caturday...

Well, according to the website anyway. I love to go to that site when I need a little pick-me-up because there is always something there to make me laugh.

But most days, my own kitties will make me laugh with their antics. So, just as an introduction, here they are and the story of how I got them.
I moved to the DFW area about 13 years ago. A year or so after I moved down here, I decided, after much thought and consideration, I wanted a cat. I was toying with the idea that I'd get two so they could keep each other company, but probably I'd only get one. I wanted a kitten or young teen cat. I went to many, many SPCA, local rescues, etc. looking for the "right" one. I found a kitten I adored, but the Humane Society wouldn't let me have him... I refused to sign the paperwork saying I'd never do have a cat declawed. The DNA-ed (Do Not Adopt) me and humiliated me in front of a group of people by announcing they were DNA-ing me and why. (I have to admit, I did have my cats declawed, but knowing what I know now I wouldn't ever have another cat declawed.)

I left dejected and started calling around. I found a small pet food store about an hour away that had kittens for "sale" (technically a donation to the owner's TNR (Trap Neuter Release) effort)... they were rescued by the owner of the shop's rescue organization and they were available. I drove over immediately and was greeted by three beautiful about 12-week-old. long-haired, identical black kittens. I selected the shy one in the corner, who became known as Buddy. As I was checking out, I heard this pitiful cry from the cage they were in.... up popped this tiny, bat-eared, blue eyed kitten from the litter box. He stood there on his back legs crying. He was so tiny and pathetic sounding that I asked about him. The owner said that he was the "runt" of the litter... (the nursing mom had been trapped and the kittens collected with her). He was so pathetic that I got him too and named him Maximillian. When I took them to the vet, he said that it was more likely that Maxie was a second "litter" and was born while moma kitty was still nursing the babies from the previous litter... Moma was a Maine Coon mix and Max and Buddy are half-brothers. And, as they say, the rest is history!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day 2: Big Scare

Pardon me while I try to pull my heart out of my throat.... when I got home from work/grocery shopping today I had the beginnings of a headache, so I fed the guys and lay down on the couch for a bit. I woke up a while later to the sound of my front door creaking and the cats out on the front porch!!! I started to close the door and Maxie ran inside. I peaked outside and there was Buddy and he ran inside when I said his name.

I have carefullly attempted to put the fear of the front porch in my guys or so I thought. OMGoodness!!!! It terrifies me to even think about what 'could have' happened -- not so much to me but to the guys. I am generaly so very, very careful to make sure I shut my front door and LOCK it. I can't believe I didn't get the door shut completely and .... OMG!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day 1: And just the other day I was whining

Okay, so just the other day I posted about not posting then waited two weeks to post again. Well, life is just that hectic/boring! Anyway, my sister, C, posted on her blog about NaBloPoMo -- or National Blog Posting Month. All you have to do is post everyday in the month of November. I doubt I have more than 3 readers and don't honestly expect that to change much since I signed up there, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

So, I'm going to post something everyday this month. Since it's the first day of the month, I guess this can count for today.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bittersweet Memories

It is funny how things can make you happy and sad all at once. C sent me a picture with the simple message of "Someone had he same idea as Bob." A whole flood of memories, regrets, shoulda/coulda thoughts came into my mind as I laughed at the blurry picture.

Suicide is an awful thing. It is final for the one who commits suicide but unending for those who are left behind with memories, regrets, and shoulda/coulda thoughts.

Slowly, though, the regrets and tears are replaced by the bittersweet memories brought about by a simple jack-o-lantern carved in a centerpiece pumpkin with mums planted in it.

Last Thursday would have been Bob's 36th birthday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Purpose of a Blog

I realize I don't blog as often as I should. Well, maybe should is too strong of a word. How about, I don't blog as often as I would like to.

Sometimes I start an entry only to abandon it after a paragraph or two. Why? I don't know. Sometimes it is because the information in it is too personal and I am just not comfortable with the whole world knowing some things about my life... that being said, I realize my readership is limited to a few family members and they likely know about the stuff anyway. Sometimes it is because it makes no sense to anyone but me. Some entries tend to read like a stream of consiousness exercise from creative writing class with no real focus or punctuaton to speak of and lack of punctuation drives me batty.

So, I guess it comes down to, what is the purpose of my blog? To be honest, I don't know. I wish it were more like my sister's blog. She has a much more interesting life than I have. Or maybe I should focus more onthe cats. No, they don't do much of anything of interest although I wish I had the life of my cats. They're pretty pampered. Maybe I should write about my daily struggle with depression. That tends to go to the too personal side again. Besides, it might make my mother worry too much if I wrote some of the things I think about. (NO, I am not suicidal or homicidal or anything like that.... depression is just dark and I tend to be dark a lot of the time.)

I guess it all boils down to, I want to -- feel a need to -- define how this blog is going to go. I guess in a lot of ways, I need to define my life and how my life is going to go. That whole grown-up thing again. Gee, I really suck at being a grown-up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Buddy now has dazzing white teeth

Last night my cat Buddy couldn't eat. He sniffed the food, took a bite and then dropped the bite immediately. I knew he needed to get his teeth cleaned because his gums were infected, but had been putting it off. I called right then and made an appointment for him for today.

Teeth cleaning for cats is considered surgery since they have to be sedated. I took him into the office this morning thinking I would just drop him off and go to work. I got to the vet's office at about 7:40 and didn't get out of there until nearly 8:00! (I was a few minutes late for work. Oops.) I actually had to sign paperwork stating that I was permitting them to sedate my cat and that I understood that sometimes animals don't wake up from sedation... um, yikes! I signed the paperwork since they assured me that it is simply a formality and that it "rarely" happens. Again, yikes... rarely? They told me he'd be through surgery and that they'd call around lunchtime to let me know how he was doing. So, with an extra scratch on the head, I handed him off to the vet tech. By the time I got to work I had a headache and my neck hurt from the stress of having my "just a cat" having surgery.

I waited impatiently until 1:00 to call. They, they said around lunchtime... to me that is between 11:00 and 1:00. I thought I showed great restraint in waiting. He wasn't awake yet, but the surgery was done. There were no extractions, thank goodness and he was doing fine. Big sigh of relief. They said he'd be ready at 4:00. :::Whew:::

The whole thing made me think... it might be a good thing I don't have kids. If "just a cat" stresses me to that point. Not only that, but I feel so guilty about not getting him in earlier. I knew he needed a teeth cleaning. I knew he wasn't eating as much as normal and was losing weight. Yet, I let him get to the point that he couldn't even eat! What kind of cat guardian/person am I? A thoroughly guilt-ridden one who now has a cat with sparkly clean choppers!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I'm old and bitter, I guess

E-Harmony commercials have begun to really tick me off. As if I haven't been made to feel a failure by society, anyway, all those happy couples who are e-Harmony successes make me wonder what I did wrong.

Why do I sound a little bitter and angry? What is my experience with dating on e-Harmony? Well, I spoke with or e-mailed a whopping six guys, I went on a total of four first dates, and all of this in just a little over three years on e-Harmony. The first guy was still married. (I know!!) The second guy, there was just NOTHING there. The third guy, nothing again. The fourth (and final) guy my friends have dubbed as "Freak Boy" beause he was so very oddly and angrily jealous after one date. They joked that I'd have ended up locked in a small room away from family and friends.

So, I guess I'm never going to end up as a commercial for e-Harmony.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I saw my future...

When I went to Amarillo a couple of weeks ago to see the grandparents, I had a great visit with my uncles and aunt as well. One night as we were all sitting in the living room, the subject of "did you take all your night time medicine?" came up. BOTH of my uncles (and I suspect my father would have been, too) are on mulitple medicines for various ailments many of which would not be necessary if it they lost 75 pounds (or more). Both of them carry weight in their bellies, a good indicator of future heart disease according to the medical profession. I suddenly saw my future unless I do something about it.

But I came home, got back into my normal routine and promptly forgot about the panic I felt sitting in the livingroom that night. That is until this morning. I stepped on the scale and nearly cried. Then as I got into the shower I actually saw myself in the mirror. That panic came back. Something has got to be done. I have got to do something. I know myself well enough to know that I'm not going to change what I eat completely. BUT I can, and need to, watch portions. I can change the between meal snacks to healthier options.

I also have loads of workout tapes that I can do.

So, it is up to me to change what I saw as my future. I don't want to be sitting around with my neice and nephew 25 years from now discussing if we've taken our bedtime medicine. I certainly don't want them to look at me and think, gosh, if she'd just lose weight she'd be a lot healthier and probably wouldn't need all that medicine.

Now, in all fairness to my uncles, neither seems bothered by their weight. My Aunt J even said that Uncle G is happy with his and isn't willing to do anything about it. The thing is, I'm not happy with my weight and the way I look and I am willing to do something about it. I have got to do something about it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

As We Never Forget

"Where were you when....?"

That seems to be the question of the day each September 11. I was at work. The boss was out of town and so the office was more relaxed than normal and we were all standing around chatting before we started our day. It wasn't even 8:00 a.m. (Texas time) yet.

A co-worker's husband called and told us to turn on the TV because a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We scoffed and thought it must be a mistake... an awful accident. It wasn't and we, like the rest of the world, watched in horror as the second plane hit, the towers fell. None of us cried. I think it was just to shocking, too unbelievable to think that airplanes had hit the Pentagon and the World Trade Center -- and then hearing about the plane that had gone down in Pennsylvania. It was my job at that point to call each of my sales reps and find out where they were (many were traveling and now stranded) and assure them that the company was there for them. I remember thinking that my brother in law was on his way to Baltimore (I don't know why I new that) and hoping, praying that his plane wasn't affected and had landed safely somewhere because at that point, it was still unclear where the planes had originated or were going.

That day, like December 7 for my grandparents' generation and November 22 for my parents' generation is the day that will always be that "where were you when...?" day.

There are so many things about that day that I will never forget.

I will never forget that I was running late to work that day and how pretty it was outside... it was a crisp, clear fall day.

I will never forget seeing that second plane heading toward the World Trade Center and then watching in horror as it hit.

I will never forget watching the towers fall.

I will never forget the images of people, covered in dust, walking away -- just walking.

I will never forget those who ran in as others ran out.

I will never forget the Falling Man.

I will never forget the sound of all those planes flying over trying to land at DFW as American airspace was closed.

I will never forget the sound of utter silence broken by F-14s doing flyovers.

I will never forget the seemingly unending sound of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace at the funerals of those who died.

I will never forget I am honored and blessed to live in the United States where I have the ability to pray and worship without fear.

I will never forget that no matter her flaws, America is still the greatest country in the world and a beacon of light and hope to the world.

I will never forget....

Monday, September 3, 2007

Traveling with Cats

I went to the Panhandle to see all the family there this weekend. I stayed at Uncle J's house and, because it's so expensive to board the cats and they HATE it, I asked if I could bring them with me. He's got a great sunroom, said the guys could stay there, so I packed them into the car and off we went.

I got harnesses and leashes for them to travel and packed them into the car with toys, food, dishes, litter box.... Maxie howled for the first hour. After that, he whined and voiced his displeasure for another three hours and finally, for the last hour, settled down and napped some. Buddy was quiet and except for the shaking violently, was okay. He figured out he could put his paws in my lap while sitting on the center console and relaxed doing that. He was fine after that. It was like traveling with kids (I assume) with all the "stuff" I had to take for them.

When we got to Uncle J's house, we unloaded all the stuff and packed them into the sunroom. Buddy immediately hid in the box Grandmother provided for hiding. She said she likes to spoil her great grands... so she gave them a box. Hmmm... don't kids usually like the box better anyway? It was all good as long as they couldn't see me. That was easier said than done since there were French doors between the sunroom and living room. Anytime we were in the living room, they could see me and Maxie would howl -- especially at night because I slept on the sofa bed and he could see me. But, by night three, he had calmed down and wasn't quite as vocal.

The grandparents are doing okay. Granddaddy is about the same as the last time I saw him. He is so quiet and just sits and listens or watches TV so it is hard to know how he was really doing. I did notice some short-term memory problems, though. He would ask a question and then a little later ask the same question. He'd do this three or four times in a row. That is a little hard to see. It is also hard to accept that he's a frail old man now. I know, he's 87 and had a full life and all, but he's MY Granddaddy and he's supposed to live forever... :::sigh::: yet, the way I saw him this weekend is the best he'll be.

Grandmother is a mess... and by that I don't mean doing poorly.... she's just a mess. She had the pacemaker put in on Thursday. Friday she seemed to be in quite a bit of pain but was reluctant to take the pain meds. She groused about being waited on. She grumbled about not being able to cook for her family. By Saturday, though, she was doing much better. The pain, she said, was all but gone. I think she was just frustrated because she can't use her left arm because she can't raise it up or lift anything with it until she goes back to the doctor next Monday. There was only one scary moment with her, really. She complained Saturday morning that she was light headed and dizzy and it felt like her heart was racing. Uncle J called the doc's office and they told him to take her blood pressure and check her pulse. We did and everything was normal. I don't mean that she didn't feel that way, but for the first time in recent memory, her BP was within normal range AND her pulse was 72. I am sure that it did feel like it was racing since before the pacemaker her "normal" pulse rate was about 48 beats per minute!

By Sunday, both Grandmother and Granddaddy were feeling good and we (Uncle G, Aunt J, Uncle J, G&G) were able to go out to dinner. It was nice and relaxed and I heard stories about when Granddaddy was a boy and had a hot pepper eating contest with his friends.

Monday morning it was time to come home. I loaded the guys up and off we went. Maxie and Buddy both settled down pretty quickly and it was an uneventful ride home -- only minimal whining from Maxie.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moma came bearing curtains!

I had a great visit with my mom last weekend. She got to my office around 3:00, helped me finish up a project, and then we went to my house. Friday night's plans consisted mainly of (1) hang my bedroom curtains. So we did. It is amazing what a difference a little cloth hanging from a rod makes! It is actually dark in my bedroom at night now. No street light "pollution" in the bedroom now! Plus, they're darn pretty curtains. Hand-me-downs are a great thing when you have a mom and sister like I have. I laughingly told Moma that if it weren't for her and C, I'd have no furniture or anything on my walls! They buy the "good stuff" and give it to me when they don't need/want it anymore!

After the plans were completed, we sat on the couch for a sum total of 15 minutes and Moma said, "let's go do something." Ummm, okay. So, we went and wandered around Barnes & Noble and had deep, important conversations about literature with a complete stranger. We both adopted the time-tested way to look smarter than you are -- smile, nod knowingly and let him do all the talking. (All this because we were in the classic literature part and I said I didn't like Dante's Inferno or Paradiso and he overheard.)

Saturday morning, we lazed around the house, then went shoe shopping for a bit, looked at a McMansion on the way home and then it was time for her to head off to A, D & the Kids.

All-in-all, a great, allbeit short, visit.

During our chatting, something kind of struck me. If people had told me at 15 (actually age 13-20) that I would like my mother, much less want to spend time with her, I'd have thought they were insane.... and Moma felt the same way. It is funny what a little time, maturity (on my part, obviously), and medication will do. I wonder what my life would have been like, what my teen years would have been like, if I had been diagnosed and treated for my depression.

I realize that 20 years ago clinical depression, mental illness in general, had a certain stigma attatched that has, thankfully, begun to go away. But I look at my life now, with medication, and realize how much better I feel and sometimes wish we'd known then what we know now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Want a Hippopotamous for Christmas

Still, it begs to question.... is Jessica housebroken?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Only When Your Mother Visits

Last night I de-catted my house. I swept, vacuumed, then mopped the tile floor, vacuumed the bedroom, vacuumed the furniture, did part of my laundry, disinfected the kitchen (okay, so that one isn't so unusual... I bleach the kitchen a lot thanks to a particular microbiology class :::shudder:::) and just in general CLEANED my house. Tonight I plan to dust it really well and re-sweep and finish up the laundry when I get home from school.

Not only did I de-cat the house I attempted to de-fur the cats with this de-shedding tool I go a while back. It is a knock-off of the Furminator that I got at PetsMart by a brand called Bamboo. Normally, I comb them using a fine toothed flea comb, but I didn't seem to be getting much fur lately but there still seemed to be many furballs left as gifts for me. Those pictures they show of mounds of fur beside the animals isn't far from truth. Buddy is a small animal and I am pretty sure I got about a half pound of fur off of him! (Picture is from the Furminator website.... Bud is actually black.) I put the fur into a grocery sack and had about half a bag of fur from Buddy alone. Just think that is one or two less furballs I'll have to clean up and that much fur I don't have to sweep up!
Anyway, I can't be the only person in the world who does this mad cleaning thing when certain people come visit. I've noticed that when some people come to my place, I will pick up and maybe run the broom around to get the big chunks of stuff and the inevitable fur/dust-bunnies I have. But, when certain other people come, like certain friends or my parents, I feel I must go all out and make my house (at least look) immaculately clean. I'm not sure why I drive myself so crazy about it. I mean, Moma knows I'm not a great housekeeper.... she saw my bedroom when I was growing up! She's going to be at my apartment for less than 24 hours and I've already spent 2 hours cleaning!
I make it sound as if I am a pig.... I'm really not, but I also don't get stressed out if I end up with five pairs of shoes under the coffee table or there are dirty dishes in the sink.

Oh well, the upside is that the house is really clean and Moma is stopping in on her way to Amarillo to see A&D and the kids (or more appropriately, the kids and A&D).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Digesting Bad News

It is strange how I still see my grandparents as young and active when in reality they aren't so young or active any more. Granddaddy B's 87th birthday was August 17, Grandmother B will be 85 in November. My other grandparents are all in their 80s. When did they get old? I don't seem to remember it happening, but it appears they have.

Last week, Grandmother called my aunt and uncle to come from Oklahoma. They came expecting to see Granddaddy B in the hospital when instead, Grandmother was. As Grandmother was discharged, Granddaddy had bloodwork done and was told to go to the hostpital in Amarillo immediately.

Grandmother had had another "spell" with her heart (she has congestive heart failure and has for what seems years) and she was in the hospital for about a week. Grandmother will have a pacemaker implanted sometime this week. She and my Aunt J and sister A met with the surgeon this morning.

I talked to Grandmother last Tuesday and she told me in her sugar-coated way that Granddaddy was in the hospital, but he was "fine" and would be "fine." As I got more information and the week wore on, it seems he's not really "fine" and it has been a bit hard to come to terms with.

Granddaddy had a mild stroke which has led to a diagnosis of ALS... Now, there is some waffling on the diagnosis at this point (as I understand it, diagnosing ALS is more a matter of ruling things out as opposed to finding an actual disease process). But, as of this morning, my Aunt J said that most likely that is the diagnosis. The doctors are just saying it is "bad"... there "is no cure"... typical doctor-ese. So, now it is just a matter of planning and preparing for things no one ever wants to plan or prepare for.

I spent a lot of the weekend crying and finally accepting the fact that my grandparents, no matter how much I want them to be, are not immortal.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Wool Pi and 100 degrees

I have a group of folks I chat with online (we're all crazy cat people with diabetic cats) and one of them makes a cat bed called a Kitty Pi. The are knitted with wool yarn and felted to make adorable cat beds.

Well, I got one for each of my guys in the mail all the way from Canada yesterday just as the weather has really heated up. Wool kitty beds in August.... hmmm. They did seem to enjoy them, though. (Maxie is the big kitty in the front, Buddy is in the back)

Well, for the first 20 minutes they were in the house they loved them, anyway. Then they decided the tile floors were cooler. My guess is, they won't be using them any time in the near future since this is our forecast for the five days....

WEDNESDAY: high 99 low 79 THURSDAY: high 100 low 79 FRIDAY: high 101 low 79 SATURDAY: high 102 low 79 SUNDAY: high 100 low 78

I guess honestly, I shouldn't complain since it is August 8 and we have yet to reach 100 degrees this year and we've had lots and lots of rain so we're not in a major drought. Still, 100+ degree weather makes me (and everyone else) cranky. Thank goodness for air conditioning!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

There but by the Grace of God

The bridge collapse in Minneapolis yesterday made me really think about the little things in life that we take for granted... like we'll make it safely home every day. I live and work in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex and drive over rivers and on high rise overpasses all the time, and I've never given them a second thought as I drive. To be honest, I probably won't again after the news of the collapse is no longer the "breaking" news story. But, for now, I have a greater appreciation for the fact that I safely drive to work or to school or home and that my family and friends do the same.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The stupid things people ask

Someone I know got married recently. She had been a "I'm not ever going to marry anyone" -type person until she met her now husband. I'm happy for her. I saw pictures of the wedding and it was beautiful, simple, elegant, and exactly what she wanted. While she and I were talking, another person there actually turned to me and asked me why I am not married. Yes, someone I barely know actually looked at me and uttered the words, "Well, why aren't you married?" (Which is just as bad as the ones I usually get asked: "When are you getting married?" or "Are you ever going to get married?")

I was absolutely dumb-struck that she would ask me that question. And how do you answer a question like that without sounding hostile or bitter or angry? I can't say it's because no one has asked, because at one point, I was engaged. I can't say because I don't want to be because that isn't true. I simply told her that I just haven't found the right person.

Still, why would anyone even ask a question like that? It is almost like she was saying to me, "Hey, are you a total loser that can't find and keep a man?"Or, in this day and age, "Do you like girls?" The answer to both questions would be a firm NO.

I don't feel like a total loser by not being married. Quite honestly, 99.95% of the time it doesn't bother me that I'm not married. I can't say it never bothers me. There is that .05% of the time that I wonder if it is something I've done or if it is something about me that I haven't met my "Mr. Right," but in general, I am happy with my life and my friends and family just as it is. As for liking girls, well, that is something I just have never understood, never will claim to understand and, quite frankly, I'm just not going there.

I look at it this way, I'm 36 and I've never been divorced.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A new day.... a new blog.

Since the other blog was all about the wedding and getting ready for it, I decided to start all over.

The title pretty much sums up how I feel about being a grown up. Sometimes it amazes me that I'm closer to 40 than 20 now, but time marches on. I really am an awful grown-up. I would do much better, I sometimes think, if someone still told me what to do and how to do it like when I was a kid. But, if I remember correctly, when I was a kid, I resented being told what to do and how to do it. And so that is the dichotomy of life: Kids want to be adults, rushing headlong into the adult world and all that that entails, while adults wish life were "simple" like when they were kids and strive endlessley to hold on to youth and all the things that that world entails.

I am not really trying to hold on to my youth ... although I do plan to fight the signs of aging tooth and nail (moisturize, moisturize, moisturize and wear sunscreen!!) ... I just really suck at being a grown-up with all the bill paying and the working and the day-to-day stuff that being a grown-up means you have to do.

I guess for those who read my old blog, I should update what happened..... P got married to M. They went to Fiji for their honeymoon. Live in California and are very happy. I can't believe it has been a year already since they got married, but alas, time flies. And no, I didn't go out there and meet a great single guy at the wedding. Actually, I worked my butt off helping P get ready for the wedding for the week prior. The wedding was beautiful. The reception was full of life and excitement. Step-monster didn't create any scenes at the (or events leading up to the) wedding. All-in-all, everyone was very well behaved. A beautiful wedding in a beautiful vinyard. Happily ever after.......

What has been going on with me.... well, not much and a whole bunch. I no longer share a house with roomie.... she's ex-roomie now. It was strange, she stopped talking to me in November, moved in with her parents and was very hostile toward me. I got the heck out of Dodge (no offense to my family members who actually DO live in Dodge) as soon as my lease was up. Funny thing is, she actually got mad at me for moving out! She hadn't spoken a civil word to me since November and was pissy when I said I was moving out. I don't know. She hasn't spoken to me since. End of that chapter, I guess.

I now have a great apartment that I share with my "guys" (two cats) and we are relatively happy. Well, I'm happy and since the guys know where I sleep and they haven't smothered me in my bed, I'm assuming they are happy.

I'm still in court reporting school. I have gotten to the next speed level, so I'm closer to my goal. (Please don't ask when I'll be getting out of school.... I don't know.) Still working for the same company.

Still not dating anyone. Gave up on eHarmony. And that is basically my life for the past year in a really quick nutshell.