Friday, December 19, 2008

Kim and her "China project"

Here is Kim in the shirt I made for her and with the visual aid for her class presentation. We took down our pictures on our wall to have a clean background for this shot, but you can see our Apache wire art down the hallway.

Christmas Kitteh

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight! Unless something crazy comes up for me to talk about, I'll see you all in 2009

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Two more days

Two more days and we hit the open road for Phoenix. They got snow earlier this week. I know they've had snow before, although not during my childhood that I can remember... Hail? yes.. Flooding? oh, hellya.. but snow? nope.. not that I can remember as a kid.

Of course it will have melted by the end of that day. Oddly enough.. it's cooler in Phoenix right now than it is in my area of Alabama... what's up with that?

Here's an amusing little cat for your entertainment.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Curious Sensations

My minor procedures ended up taking most of the day. At least ... we were at the hospital most of the day. At least things progressed very nicely and it wasn't until the end of the day I felt like I was just waiting... which I was at that point, waiting to see my doctor. But I slept most of that time away, so I guess it doesn't matter.

Anesthesia is weird. Has anyone ever seen the episode of Buffy TVS where the "trio" place a time modulator on her and she keeps losing pieces of her day? She's kind of standing still while the world seems to be fast forwarding. That's how I felt after coming out of anesthesia. It seems like one moment I was talking with the anesthesiologist and the next the nurses were saying "Take two deep breaths, Mrs. Steele." LOL... it was kind of cool.

So Dr. Banach arrives at my room a little after 2pm and says "I have good news and bad news." He proceeds to hand me a bunch of pictures he took of my insides. The good news.. absolutely no evidence of cancer, the bad news... a humongous number and size of fibroids. He says this condition must have been building up for years. My uterus is the size of a 16 week fetus! Maybe that explains some of why I gain weight the way that I do (like a pregnant woman... all in the belly!).

At any rate, I'm good to go for right now, but have an appointment with him when we get back from Phoenix to plan our next step.

Sunday Mac and I went to the gym to do our workout. I increased the weights I've been using in several of my exercises, but especially in my calf workout. I mention this because what hurt the most immediately after coming out of anesthesia were my calves. Like "charlie horses" were just waiting to grab the muscle. It took me a long while in that after fog to realize that it was probably due to the workout and not the surgery.

Today my throat hurts really bad because of the tube... imagine the worst sore throat and then notch it up just one more bit. As long as I don't swallow, I'm okay... but my mouth is all dry so I'm pushing fluids and that means swallowing.. ouch!

My calves are not as tender as yesterday, and my belly where the incision was made is kind of tender.. but otherwise I'm doing well. I've been told I can't drive the car for 24 hours, but tomorrow I guess it's back to all that I can tolerate.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Time Flies

Wow, how did so much time manage to slip by since my last post?

Paul came home three days early from his last mission. A very nice surprise indeed.

All preliminary tests continue to be clear of any serious problems. Today I am going into the hospital for outpatient surgery. More of the exploratory kind, but not expecting them to find anything more than possibly endometriosis. We'll see.

Kimberly did a project for her mythology class about the Christmas traditions of China, which ultimately rolled into a briefing of Christmas and Chinese New Year. I spent a good part of last week sewing a Chinese inspired tunic for her to wear during her presentation. Paul asked in passing "What do kids that don't have mothers that sew do?" I told him that they choose "easy" countries to discuss.

Kendra finished up her finals last week and all her grades have been posted. She was elated to discover that she passed her Western Civilization class (it was very touch and go most of the semester). I hadn't realized until this class that Kendra is not a big fan of the history class. Luckily this is the only one she needs for her major, so this should be the last worrisome grade. I hope anyway.

After my procedure today, I'll be spending the rest of the week getting boxes and cards out in the mail and packing for our trip home. We leave on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cell Wars

I hate to admit it, but I'm kind of glad Paul is gone right now. I know that sounds harsh... but we were at an impass about "what to do" about Kendra's stolen cell phone. With him gone... my way is going to be done. Call it passive-aggressive, but I did send him an e-mail with the information about the final solution.

So... first the background. This is from my point of view and not necessarily accurate. When we purchased our new phone plan we did not buy the replacement insurance (a monthly fee that is not worth it if you never lose or break the phone, right?) because in the past nearly 10 years of phone ownership the insurance has never been needed.

I called our carrier to find out what our options were. 1. buy a new phone at aprox. $300.00 ... we are too new into our contract for them to just write out a new contract.
2. buy a cheaper phone or a refurbished phone 3. have one of our old phones turned on(cheapest option).

This is her only phone source, so not having anything at all is out of the question as well as wasteful since we'll still be billed the monthly charge. At the moment she has my phone, so that we can call her.

Our plan initially was to have my old phone turned on for me and she could continue to use my phone. Then I thought... why am I getting the old phone? I didn't leave my purse in the car and I didn't forget to lock my door. So I told Paul that I thought Kendra should have to save the money to replace her phone and give me mine back. This began a discussion which really kind of swirls down to these two viewpoints:
Paul: I don't think that Kendra should have to save money to replace her phone.
Me: I don't think that I should have to bear the brunt of her foolishness. She either gets the old phone or she can save to replace her phone.

Okay.. I know she thinks she is a "Daddy's girl"... .but I had no idea that Paul thought this too!!! Am I nuts? You can answer.. but I already know that I am not... that she should be taking care of this somehow. (We've elected not to pursue replacement through homeowners insurance, etc.)

So.. windfall came in yesterday. My mother had set up Certs of Deposit for all the grandkids when my dad died. They matured this year and dividend checks were sent out to all the kids. Kendra's is enough to cover the cost of the new phone and pay for the next semester at school. (Go, Grandma!!)

When I go up to see Kendra today, I am going to lay out her options. She can A) use the old phone until our contract expires or B) take some money from this check and buy a replacement phone or C) use the old phone and slowly save up the money to replace the phone. Her choice... I honestly don't care what she decides as long as she gets the old phone and I get my new phone back.

I sent out an email to Paul last night detailing this plan. I thought my idea was fair and just. And in this mornings email, he still thinks she shouldn't have to pay to replace her phone. I am really glad he is out of town AND on reverse cycle right now. He's sleeping while we are working and working while we are sleeping. I know it sounds cruel. But I also believe that in this case I am right and he is soooo wrong.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Out the door... again

Paul just took off to go back out to Yuma to finish up the testing. It's incredibly early, but he has the first flight out of here. If things go well, he'll be gone less than 10 days.

Smokey will probably be thrilled to have "her" side of the bed back. At least he won't be gone so long this time.

And about 10 days after he gets back we go on Christmas vacation. Still planning to drive to Arizona.

Gas dropped here another 7 cents after my time before last fill-up. Yes, I'm obsessed with the dropping price every time I fill-up. At my very last fill-up, I paid 1.70 a gallon. That was on Black Friday.

This week I will be sewing. And I need to call and make reservations for Smokey at the Kennel. I hope I didn't wait too late.. LOL.. wouldn't that be funny if the reason we don't go is because the cat had no where to stay?

Lastly, the most recent tests continue to be negative. No cancer. Seems it's all routine at this point. Next up is minor "surgery", scheduled for 15 December. It's all good- Paul will be back to help out.

Friday, November 28, 2008

OH My, My

Our family Thanksgiving was shared with Tyler. Tyler is Kendra's boyfriend. They've been dating for a little less than 3 months now. Thanksgiving was Paul's first chance to meet him. He makes a good first impression.

We ate later than usual, so that Kendra and Tyler could eat with his parents first and then with us. I'm a nice mom... LOL.

So... Tyler and Kendra head back up to the school after dinner (Tyler had to work last night) and through a series of interesting events, Kendra had her phone and camera stolen from Tyler's car. Initially she thought her car keys had been taken as well, but she found them under the driver's seat this morning. Tyler also had some things stolen, but the thieves didn't find his laptop.

I'm very glad that the kids are safe, they were inside the apartment when things were taken. The car was not hurt (he'd left the door unlocked), so there is no damage that has to be fixed. I'm very glad that her keys were not taken. By chance, her car was not parked in the same parking lot... so if they did fiddle with the keys, they wouldn't have inadvertently found hers.

We had just upgraded and renewed our cellular contract in August. I didn't get replacement insurance because in 10 years we've never lost a cell phone. LOL... but we did keep the old phones as "back ups". So THANKFULLY, I don't have to replace her phone anytime soon. We can just re-connect her old phone and she can save up the money to replace the stolen phone if she wants.

Today Paul and I went out for some of the early sales. We were not out there so early that we had to stand in lines. We did manage to get some great deals and we are down to just two more presents needed. All the kids are done (YAY!), but we still need something for Paul's mom and dad.

Guess that's it for now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

You like me, You REALLY like me!

I want to thank Christina at The Uniboob Club: BREAST CANCER DOES NOT DEFINE ME AS A WOMAN,BUT MY BATTLE WITH BREAST CANCER DOES! (Christina is inspiring with her honest words about her battle with breast cancer and how it affects her and her family. I admire her truth and I'm praying for her.)

and Lynne atI'M ON A MISSION (I started reading Lynne while we were still back at AOL journals. She and I are fighting the same battle of weight loss. I love encouraging her and being encouraged by her.)

and Jun at JUN-MIDNIGHT (Jun and I are both here in Alabama. I enjoy reading her journal. She writes about her family and real life.)

for awarding me the Marie Antoinette distinction. I appreciate being thought of and being given this opportunity to spotlight some of my favorite journals.

I write about three basic topics
1. my hubby, family and our life as seen through my eyes.
2. Our military service members and how we can support them.
3. My continuing battle to lose weight (although you haven't heard much on that topic as of late).
It's good to know that folks enjoy reading about these things.

The Rules:
1. Please put the logo in your blog
2. Place a link from the person, from whom you received the award
3. Nominate at least 7 more
4. Put the links of those on your blog
5. Leave a message on their blog to let them know

Many of the journals that I read are ones that I followed at AOL journals, but there are several that are new to me as well, that I have found through following links and/or comments on other journals. I wish I could give them all an award, but since I can't these are the seven I have chosen.

1. Heather at Tightening the Corset ... Again . I have always enjoyed Heather's journal, even when she was back at AOL journals. Currently she's recreating her life to be a joyous one.

2. Fried MSW at A new find for me since moving to blogger, I have enjoyed reading her accounts of her job in the medical social work field. A fellow Alabamian, she is not quite close enough to me to benefit from my powers over the price of gasoline!

3. Jason at ROAD TO RECOVERY. Another new find, Jason uses his journal to discuss his weight loss process. I get a real kick out of reading the male perspective.

4. Madison at Life's a learning process . Madison and I go way back. We have a lot of the same struggles and we are both moms of teenagers. I love reading about Madison's antics.

5. Rebecca at Latent Thoughts . A "new to me" blog. I enjoy reading her entries and since she also has two teenage daughters, I find we have a lot in common.

6. Erica at *Southern Comfort* . Erica is another one that I've been reading a long time. She is so funny and I just never know what I'm in for when I read her latest entry.

7. Emmi atHome Schoolin' in Jammies. I know Emmi received this award for her tag journal, but I love reading about the homeschooling hijinks of her and her children.

I read so many journals and enjoy every one of them. Thankfully most of them have already received this award and to check them out more closely, just follow the "follower" picture links to find their journals.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Operation Paperback

I want to talk about an organization I found this weekend called Operation: Paperback.
You can find out more about the effort here: Operation Paperback .

This group allows you to help in two ways. First, you can send monetary donations to them and through their sponsors they will purchase and deliver "high demand" titles to our military members deployed. Second, you can volunteer to be a shipper and send out many of your gently used paperbacks to the troops. Once you are approved for the progam, you list the genre of titles you have available (mystery, science fiction, etc) and they provide you with a list of names and the addresses so you can send your books on to troops that will enjoy these types of titles.

Besides the troops deployed, your books (and/or donation books) can be sent to the recovery hospitals that our wounded military members are at as well.

I hope that you will take the time to check out this website and maybe get involved with one (or both) of the ways that we can help support troops. They have a great FAQ section to cover any questions you might have.

Paul and I are already gleaning titles from our library for our first shipment!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

You know.. I function fine when Paul is gone. Things get done. Children are tended. Happiness is there for all of us. However, when he comes home it's like everything is just brighter. For all of us.

glitter-graphics.comYesterday I went to a spouse's luncheon. We met up at Ingrid's Castle. This spot is an interesting combination of jewelry store/fine gifts and German restaurant. The theme was "wish list" and part of our time together was spent putting together a wish list for our husbands so they could shop for us at this store. I chose three jewelry items that I especially liked. I met two new wives yesterday. One named Jen, whose husband works with Paul on Apache projects. They have no children. The other woman, Ronnie lives on post like we do and has three teens about the same ages as Mac and Kim. I exchanged numbers with both of them. I did that because I've been too isolated this move and it's time for me to branch out. I really liked these women and felt we could have some things in common. Ronnie is about to go back to college (as I hope to do this spring), plus none of us are working outside the home right now. I have to admit that as outgoing as I can be, I have been very reserved here.

Paul went to the gym yesterday with Mac and I. He ran on the treadmill while we did our usual strength training. Then we played some basketball. I so enjoyed watching those two play and be "father/son-y" together. Paul smoked both of us on points, but we had a grand time playing.

glitter-graphics.comToday my big chores are laundry and t-giving grocery shopping. Last time I was at the store, I was too focused on what Kendra needed for her pantry to think about the t-giving feast. So today it will get it's own shopping opportunity.

In other mundane shopping news, I am 50% done with my Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gas and Doctor

Quick update on the gas prices in local area. I filled up on Friday at 1.99. By Sunday it dropped to 1.87. I had to fill Paul's car Monday before picking him up. I'm watching the pumps now to see if it drops again. Ha ha

Doctor appointment today, two more tests. News keeps getting more interesting and yet farther way from a "final" decision. Test results will be back next week, I see the doc again on Wed. Two more planned procedures within a couple of weeks and then finally... decision time.

Let's Say Thanks


If you go to this web site, Let's Say Thanks you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you. Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do. We can never say enough thank you's.

Thanks for taking the time to support our military!

He's Home!

I spent most of yesterday making room for Paul in our bedroom (things tend to creep into his empty places when he's gone). The kids helped me clean up the rest, which didn't take all that long.

I picked him up from our "local" airport at 10 pm last night.

When we finally were ready to go to bed, Smokey jumped up on the bed and was rather nonplussed to discover there wasn't all that much room for her anymore. LOL. I scooted my pillow down from the headboard so she could stretch out up there by my head. Paul says she would occasionally turn and give him baleful looks.

This morning I had to be careful to grab my toothbrush now that there is an extra one in the cup. I don't mind making these little concessions if it means he's home.

My heart just sings today "He's home, He's home, He's home."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dance the HAPPY DANCE!

Against the odds, Paul is coming home on Monday! LOL Apparently another thing has gone wrong with the "chase" bird and the team is pulling up stakes and coming home for a couple of weeks.

He'll have to go back to complete the testing the first week in December, but it should just be for a few days, not the months that this has been. And, hey.. worst case scenario, his leave starts on December 17, so I know he'll be back by then.

Thank you everyone for your support, well wishes and prayer.. Paul is coming home!

Pudge the fish

In the original movie Lilo and Stitch, Pudge the fish controlled the weather. Much like Pudge, I also control things... not the weather, but gas prices in lower Alabama.

I became aware of my power recently when I purchased gas. It seems that since prices started falling, every time I buy gas, the price seriously drops within HOURS of my purchase. It's kind of awesome to have that kind of power.. he he.

Today gas prices here are at $1.99 a gallon. I have to take off in a bit and I need gas. If my theory holds true.. by no later than tomorrow gas prices will drop again.

Alabama, you can thank me later.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Troop Support

During this time of year, I like to bring attention to various groups that offer ways for us to be able to support our troops. Although I am sure that those of you that have family members or friends serving in the military are supporting them every chance you get, I like to mention these places that have a pipeline to the troops for those of us that don't have someone that we currently are supporting.

At the present time the general public can no longer send packages, letters or cards generically marked "To Any Soldier". This is to protect our troops from various terrorist possibilities. So companies have stepped up to allow a bridge between the public and our troops to all ow those well-wishers to still be able to brighten a military members day.

My pick of the day is Military Care Package Soldier Gift Baskets Care Package for Troops Treats for Troops. These folks have set up a very user friendly website where you can send a package to any troop, or designate a specific troop... they have a birthday club, so you can send a package to someone specifically for a birthday. Just tons of options and all of it packed up pretty and sent out for you.

They even have a "Foster a Soldier" program, where you can give some guidelines to the individual you'd like to foster, ie sex, location, age range... I often choose two gals and a guy to support, to represent my babies out there. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Support Supportive Employers

Kimberly's godmother sent an email to me this morning regarding Sears and what they do for their Reservist and National Guard employees. I've checked it out at Snopes and it's true. But.. here's the plus to this... Snopes also gave a web site Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
where you can check out OTHER employers that go above and beyond for their Reservist and National Guard employees. You can check it out by state, so you can show some support to these companies.

Subject: Sears -
Christmas shopping has already started. I know I needed this reminder since Sears isn't always my first choice. Amazing when you think of how long the war has lasted and they haven't withdrawn from their commitment. Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year? How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up. Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years. I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves. Pass it on.

I should have known better

I was actually getting excited. Paul was due home on the 21st (delayed from the original date of 5 Nov.). I believed it was going to happen and I finally told the kids that Daddy would be home by next Friday... STUPID!

During our conversation last night, I discovered there have been more delays because of the crappy bird they have to use as their "chase" bird.. they haven't been able to fly it more than one out of every 10 days. They have test data in abundance on other aspects of this prototype, but they can't get the final stuff done so they can come home. And they keep sending the chase bird back to be repaired.. get a day out of it and then something else goes wrong... and more days are lost. At any rate... at this point Paul's return date is up in the air.

Initially he was going to buy a ticket to come home for Thanksgiving. But I told him no. .. unless the government was going to pay for that ticket, I didn't want him spending our money on that (we still have Christmas to deal with). I told him to go spend T-giving with his parents (he is just 6 hours away from Phoenix) and we'd see him when he gets back.. if he ever gets back. .this is becoming the TDY that never ends. LOL

Anyway.. in other news Mac, Kim and I went to see Madagascar: Escape2Africa yesterday. They loved it.... I slept through it. I guess I was tired. The part I did see, I didn't think was as good as the first one.

We did see previews for "Inkheart" though. Kim and I have both read the book and are so looking forward to that movie in January.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quick Notes

This weekend Kim and I accomplished our gardening goals. We've divided up the work that needs to be done over three weekends. With luck we should be close to done when Paul finally gets home.

I'm on Kim's computer this morning. The fan on my computer died yesterday morning and I don't/can't run the computer without it. So.. .one more thing waiting for Paul to come home and repair.

Kendra is coming home today to spend the night and tomorrow with us. I'm thrilled because at first she wasn't going to come (boyfriend and classes) but her classes were cancelled and I guess boyfriend is working.

Paul and I spent close to four hours on the phone yesterday, divided up between 3 calls. I miss him so much... I'm really glad this separation will be over soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Random Alabama Images

November 1 downtown Enterprise sponsored a Fall Festival with booths and food and assorted games for the younger crowd. Kim and I went down to check it out. The food smelled great, but the booths of things to buy weren't of interest to us. We walked up and down the street and took a few pictures, then we came home.

This is the back of the Boll Weevil Monument. The monument is the only one that pays tribute to a pest. This monument was dedicated on Dec. 11, 1919 at the intersection of College and Main Streets in Enterprise, AL.

This area used to be a large cotton growing area until the Boll Weevil struck in 1915, destroying so many crops and putting several farmers in jeopard of losing their land. But a Mr. Sessions felt that perhaps peanuts would be a better way to go and convinced a farmer to try that crop.

Here is a view of more of the statue. It sits in the middle of the street, so for safety purposes, it's better to take the pic from one of the street corners.

At any rate, it was due to the decimation of crops by the Boll Weevil that this part of Alabama turned to peanut growing.

These roses are in my front yard. Kim and I spent most of the day working in the garden area. We pulled grass and weeds and generally cleaned things up in the garden bed. Tomorrow we plan on putting in a brick trim around the garden and then laying down some mulch.

This spider is living outside our house, near the high peak of the roof. She stays up there out of our way, so we've let her be. She kind of looks like something out of Star Troopers, but much smaller.

I deserve a cookie!

With everything that has been going on, I haven't had the chance to share my "personal growth" opportunity. LOL

Last week I got an email from Paul telling me that an package would be arriving. He said that it would have one of my Christmas presents in it and I was NOT allowed to open it.

A little later that same day I received another email from Paul banning me from Apparently, whatever he got me has "also buy" stuff attached to it and he's concerned that if I go to Amazon, they will show me enough hints that I'd be able to figure out what he bought me.

The package arrived last Friday while Kendra was home. I handed it directly to her, explained why and asked her to hide it. She did with Kim's help. Since it's been hidden, I have not gone looking for it AND I've stayed off That has been my "personal growth" experience. Because believe me, a few years ago that package would have been toast! LOL.. or I'd be snooping on

Of course... considering I told Paul that the only thing I want for Christmas is the opportunity to go to a Quilt Retreat in January down on the gulf coast I have NO clue what the box could contain. I am so curious, but I'm being a good girl and waiting. See... I deserve a cookie!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Playing Catch-up

Wednesday I had my appointment with the gyn specialist. He wants to do a slew of tests before we sit down and map out a plan. Being a cynic in the medical area, I know part of the reason for the additional testing is to milk more money out of the government health insurance, but I do appreciate that he wants to be thorough. His lab drew blood for more tests (iron, CBC, Thyroid and a cancer marker test). Upcoming tests will include a more complete U.S., bone density test and a biopsy. Again, he's not expecting to find anything cancerous he just wants to be sure before we make plans.

Wednesday afternoon I met up with Kim and her guidance counselor at school. No problems, but our move from Maryland to Alabama did some wonky things to her transcript and we wanted to have a clear understanding of what classes she still needed to graduate next year. Good thing we did... turns out that after her school in Maryland promised she'd get credit for her nearly complete semester there, one teacher gave her an F and another gave her a W for her end of semester grades. That F is really killing her GPA, so I now have a new writing campaign to get underway. Even without those grades, Kim is good to go with her plan.. in fact, she will be in a good position in her second semester next year to take some classes at the college. But no early graduation for her.

Mac's teeth are feeling much better since Tuesday. I brought Kim and him milkshakes and fries for lunch the last two days. I think today he's ready to go back to his usual luncheon fare. I will say this ... even though he's not happy with the braces, he's taking good care of them and brushing exactly as the assistant demonstrated. I am happy about that. And I can already see some movement happening in the front.

Today is gym day for Mac and me. We are dragging Kim along with us. A couple of weeks back, Kim and Mac did a bit of arm-wrestling and he beat her with no problem. LOL... I guess prior to his working out, they would usually end up in a draw. She is not thrilled to have him winning, so she has asked to join us at the gym. I think that in the long run it may not help her with the arm-wrestling, but if it gets her to start working out with us... I'm cool with that.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Head- Desk

My daughters have come up with this phrase "Head-desk" to signify those moments when if you could you'd smack your head down on your desk . I don't know if it's an original phrase to them, but they are my source.

It's been a busy week for us here. Every day thus far as had more than it's fair share of errands and appointments to be kept. The day worthy of note, however, is Tuesday.

Mac had his appointment that morning to have his braces put on. Kim missed the bus and because there was no time to drive her and make it to Dothan for the brace appointment, I dragged her with us. There was time for a quick stop at my polling place to vote. Time spent there total was about 15 minutes (early was definitely the way to go). That early in the morning it was still easy to be hopeful. But believe me when I say I have known for months that ANY democratic hopeful was going to win. I think Hilary Clinton knew this and that is at least part of the reason she held out as long as she did in her attempt.

At any rate, my voting done, we traveled on to Dothan. We were at the orthodontist's for two hours. Two very long and very boring hours... Kim and I debated the pros and cons of the presidential candidates and the very real possibility that Barack Obama could win. It wasn't a sanguine discussion.

Once Mac was done I offered up two possibilities... one.. I take them back to school or two.. we take a "mental health" day and shop and lunch up in Dothan, plus possibly take in a movie. No surprise they opted for option #2. We visited Krispy Kreme, where we picked up some milk and donuts.. and I got my free "thanks for voting" donut... YUMMY! Then we set off to do some shopping.. Mac was in desperate need of new jeans.. he has now lost so much weight that his jeans are falling off his hips.. and while that may be "style" for some guys... it's not for him, nor for his parents. Kim also scored a couple of pairs of new jeans.... she prefers higher waisted pants than is currently popular with the teens so we have to go to a specific store to find hers. At any rate, it was a successful trip on the shopping front.

Unfortunately, our plan for a movie and lunch was tanked because Mac's teeth were beginning to feel tender and he wasn't sure what he could eat and the movies didn't start until after 2 pm. So we hit Best Buy, bought "Get Smart" and came home , made soft gooey comfort food and ate while watching the movie. One of the funniest re-makes we've seen in awhile. loved it.

Our late afternoon was difficult at best between Mac's discomfort and a few other testy teen issues. I give them some leeway because I do understand that most of these tirades have to do with asserting a bit of independence, and I like to believe it teaches them to stand up for themselves out in the real world.. but there does come a point where... I'm the MOM and that is THAT. So Kim is currently grounded from her computer as a result of her testiness. I wrote a note to Paul belaboring poor pitiful me and he sent back this reply... LOL

I'm sooo sorry you had such a horrible day. And then to have Obama win... what a horrible end to a horrible day!Well, at least when things go to hell in a hand-basket we can say we didn't vote for him. Unfortunatly, I think because he already has a halo effect, he can be a shity president and everyone will think he's great (ala Bill Clinton).I will write to Mac and try to smooth his feelings. Poor guy. I'm sure it sucks. I wish there was some way of showing kids computer generated images of their faces/smiles (projected into the future after they get older) with, and without the benefit of braces.You could disconnect Kim's computer's power cord. Then you won't have to worry about being on top of her constantly.We are back down to one aircraft. The AATD bird continues to be a piece of crap. Both crews took turns flying the one good aircraft tonight and we will do the same tomorrow night.All for now.Love ya,Paul

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Apathy on the Rise; No one cares!

LOL, I was watching some old Buffy episodes and this was the headline on one of the school newspapers. I thought it was a pretty good title.

We had no trick or treaters last night. We live on post. People DRIVE ON POST to let their kids trick or treat (less walking between houses than off post). And yet... no kids came down to our house. I have a lot of candy left over.

Our house is situated at the end of a dead end street. These are duplexes and most of the ones down at our end are empty. But I think the biggest reason we didn't have kids is because the neighbors at the front end of the block had a big display and all the various folks up there set up a long table with bowls of candy up and down it. In other words.. the four or five families living up at the front of the street did their candy "block party" style and didn't bother to let us know that this is how they were gonna do it.

This is not a big deal other than I have all this candy left. I'm sending it up to the high school with Kim and Mac on Monday so that they can get rid of it.

Today we are heading to the annual Chili cook off here on post. There is a 5K at 8:30 (we're not going for this) and the chili tasting starts at 11:30 am (we do intend to be available for that). Kendra and her boyfriend Tyler are coming down from the college to taste with us. And we're bowling in the afternoon. Should be fun.

Monday, October 27, 2008

more animals

This little pic made me laugh out loud. I swear this could be Mac and Kendra on some of their more beastly days.

I will say that their relationship has improved greatly since Kendra moved out of the house. Now when she is home, they talk, laugh and play wii games together... it's been a nice improvement.

HA! I did it!

I have been procrastinating about moving my journal from AOL to here. Not that I didn't want to... just that I was nervous that things would get messed up along the way. And some things did (I noticed the comic strip from FBorFW was truncated), but other than that the move went smoothly.

I have placed it under Lasttime-atbatarchives. Of course I can't remember the http to get there. But I am sure it's listed on my profile page.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lists of five

I am a few short minutes from walking out the door and heading to "historic downtown Enterprise" for their fall festival. But I wanted to leave some lists behind before I go.

5 books I recently read (or am reading)

1. Ink Death by Cornelia Funke (great stuff, I've been waiting for this last entry of the trilogy for over a year)

2. Dangerous Games by Keri Arthur (fantasy about Riley Jensen, a werewolf/guardian living in Australia)

3. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (a re-read for me, but I just love Adams sense of humor)

4. Haunted History Atlanta and North Georgia by Corinna Underwood (ghost stories, the story, the history and the author's personal experiences)

5. The Great Tree of Avalon by T.A. Barron (a triology, a very good read, fantasy story of the world set inside the tree)



I just wanted to clarify a comment I made in yesterday's blog. "Paul doens't live here anymore" is my passive-aggressive way of dealing with this particularly long TDY. Paul left right after Labor Day and because of delays in some of the testing won't be back until Thanksgiving.

I thought this assignment would keep him home for awhile... you know... that 9 to 5 kind of existence that civilian families experience. Well... it isn't. He's been gone far more than he's been home.. or at least it feels like that to me. He doesn't like being gone so much either, but he does love the job..... and he's really good at it.

I just didn't want anyone to think there was anything wrong over here. Nothing that retirement won't cure anyway. Or even, a change in assignment.. but we've made promises to the two littles that they can graduate from this high school... so I guess there will be no change before 2011.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Random Friday Thoughts

At the end of weeks like this one.. I can't help but think "I don't get paid enough for this job!"

The kids ran late this morning and I had to drive them to school. Normally I wouldn't, but this time it was my fault they were late.. I forgot to put all their jeans in the dryer first thing this morning... at 6:30 I suddenly remembered that no one had clean DRY jeans for the day.

For the last two days I've been back on my eating plan (which doesn't include chicken fingers, or mountain dew). I've also walked both days. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself at the moment. Mac is inspiring.

Got a call from my sister-in-law today while I was out of the house. The message said "I'm calling for a chat with Paul. Justin is thinking about going into the Army and I am PANICKED!"
I called Gail back and let her know that Paul doesn't live here anymore, but that I would pass the message along and he'd call tomorrow.

I had a moment of panic myself earlier when I was checking out at the commissary. I opened my purse to pull out my debit card.... and couldn't find it... I searched other spots, checked my pockets... I was concerned that I might have left it at the Post Office (my prior stop), so I figured I'd just use the credit card and run back by the P.O. to pick up my debit. I opened up my wallet to pull out the CC and there was my debit card! I can't believe I actually had put it back where it belonged, as opposed to the quick and convenient front pouch of my purse where I usually have it. I laughed.

I had to pick up Kim after school yesterday. She had a French Club meeting. I was late. She was wet. AND to add insult to injury, she had to pick fall leaves for today for her interior design class. So on the way home, I pulled off near a bunch of trees and we picked leaves in the rain. I'm hoping that action doesn't become a family tradition!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mac has that male weight loss gene thing going on!

Normally, this sort of thing would piss me off if it were my husband losing so easily. But I have to admit I am just so darn proud of what Mac has accomplished thus far this fall.

Over the summer, our very sendentary life style got the better of all of us. In spite of concerted efforts to get us up and moving.. humidity and inertia kept us sitting still..

Well.. once the kids started school in early August... Mac suddenly became Mr. Motivation Man. Suddenly, he was asking for my help and assistance with making better food choices and exercising. He had to take a slight break in late Aug/early Sept when he had what we thought were shin splints, but turned out to be some other syndrome instead (common in adolescent boys). At any rate... at his first visit to the doctor he weighed in at 195 and for him.. that was IT! As soon as the doctor allowed him to go back to exercising, Mac really has kept at it.

He has faithfully walked 2 miles a day, including weekends. He is eating less. Without giving up any of his favorites. He still eats chicken fingers, he still eats dessert (though not as much), he still drinks Mountain Dew. We (Mac and I) have been going to the gym twice a week to strength train and play basketball. He has increased his milk consumption and his water consumption.

Yesterday was his weigh-in. He is now down to 182 pounds. He wants to lose a bit more and he's doing it in such a sensible way. The perfect example of "eat less and exercise more".

He's inspiring ME to step things up a bit.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Research, Research, and oh, yeah, Research

I have spent a few days doing some basic research with respect to the uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. Not such a drastic concern. Apparently plenty of women have these things just hanging out. If there is no secondary reason for removing them, a "watch and see" attitude is taken.

Apparently the low iron is enough of a secondary reason to at least carry this further. I think my appointment with the gyn will be more productive now. Not so much a need for surgery.. .but one of many options. I'm good. Thanks for the support and I will keep you posted.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Medical Update

As is so often the case, it's never what you expect. I saw Dr. Fontanella today and reviewed my labs and my ultrasound results.

It's not the worst, but it's not necessarily good either. I have a cyst on my right ovary (hmm.. guess that explains the question from the tech), and several fibroids in/on (?) the uterus. While Dr. Fontanella stressed that the radiologist did not think anything was cancerous, he was also insistent that I set up my appointment with the gyn specialist very soon. The way the military clinics work, we have to wait for a referral letter before we can make the appointment (so the insurance will pay). Usually a 7-10 day process. Dr. Fontanella said not to wait longer than 7 days. I'm not exactly sure the reason for the rush if it's not "cancerous".... anyway.. Dr. Fontanella discussed two possible outcomes that the gyn might suggest. And Dr. Fontanella would like to see this situation (surgery) concluded within a month.

Hard to have a warm and fuzzy about the "not cancer" statement when he's being so hurry, hurry, hurry. In the meantime, my iron level is far too low and I have been placed on iron supplements until things are resolved.

Called Paul immediately after I left the clinic (sitting in my car). I have to admit.. I'm kind of nervous about what comes next. I probably freaked him out too.

So I'm thinking that our Christmas plans have changed. No traveling for us. I'd rather change the plans now than have to change them last minute. I'm not sure I could handle the disappointment later. Just better to know I'm gonna be home (here) for the holidays.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For Heather

1. I have several bible verses that I have committed to memory that give me strength when I am discouraged. Can you share a few of your favorite? Or maybe just a quote or passage or song lyric that you find empowering?
Romans 8:28 ;I Corinthians 13: 4-13; Psalms 18:2; Psalm 23 (especially useful during times of great stress) My favorite quote is "God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept what I can not change, and the wisdom to know the difference." (paraphrased I am sure)

2. What would you consider your "lean" years as far as finances are concerned? Many might say college - or when they were newly married. Tell me about your hard times and how you survived... ramen noodles? I may glean some tips that help us get through!
Our leanest years were probably the first five or so years of marriage. Paul was still in college when we were first married. To make ends meet, we had "meatless" meals every other day. Used all our leftovers. Stayed in most evenings, but once a month we'd go to the dollar theatre and then play $5.00 worth of tokens at the local game arcade (it was the 80's, after all). Even now, I try to use coupons for products that we use all the time. I also use a lot of generics.

3. I'm interested in your love stories. It's discouraging to not be "lucky in love". My first marriage was abyssmal. My second marriage was, without a doubt, the greatest disappointment I've ever faced. I want to hear stories about how you may have given up on finding someone special and ended up meeting him.
Funny story, although I have always wanted children, I was not so thrilled with the prospect of marriage. In spite of that, I have always had a mental list of the things I wanted in a partner. Whenever I dated, I would compare the guy to my list and make a decision early on if this was for "play" or one that could be for "keeps". My first date with Paul was for a New Year's Eve party in 1977/78. My then boyfriend was pouting and didn't want to go to the party, but since it was being held by my oldest friend, I felt obligated to go, so I called on my good buddy Paul. He went with me, kissed me at midnight and that was it. He was an excellent kisser, a very considerate guy. My boyfriend got the boot after that night and Paul and I began dating. When we were still in the very early stages of dating, my brother got married. I did not take Paul to the wedding. But I caught the bouquet and as it touched my hands I heard a very booming voice in my head say "You will marry Paul Steele." I have always felt that we were meant to be together since that day.
We became engaged at Christmas 1979, married on May 29, 1982. It hasn't always been easy, but we have always tried to respect each other, love each other, and protect each other.

4. I'm loving having TV again after 3 weeks of not really watching. I'm a big tv junkie. My favorite show right now is Jon & Kate Plus 8... what show are you watching obsessively and why?
My absolute must watch TV is The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Bones, Grey's Anatomy, The Ghost Whisperer, Army Wives.
The two reality series I always try to watch are The Biggest Loser and the Amazing Race.

5. I'm also a big magazine reader. I love People, Shape, Self, Weight Watchers, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping... lots and lots of random mags. What magazine do you never miss? Why?
I have subscriptions to Cooking Light (love their recipes), Health, Women's Health, Fitness. I buy regularly People, Smart Shopper.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quarantine- A movie review/warning

The girls and I had a fab time shopping in Montgomery. Mostly it was books that we purchased, but we did hit a few clothing stores and grabbed a movie.

We saw the new movie Quarantine. I want to warn folks that haven't seen all that much about it yet. It is another of those "hand-held camera" movies. OMG! Both Kim and I walked out of the movie with headaches and stomach upset.

To be honest, I liked the movie itself and really thought they had a good idea here.... just wish they could have shot it with a stationary camera. Without giving anything away.... the movie follows a "reality" reporter and her camera man on what they think is going to be a routine episode of their television show. Along the lines of a "____ for a day" type reality reporting, they are following the Fire Department in Los Angeles. It is anything but typical. As the audience, since we are not as freaked out as the quarantined people, we can slowly deduce what has happened through pieces of dialogue and the series of events that are recorded by cameraman Scott.

Again... I wish that they had used a still camera for many of the scenes. The headache and nausea made it hard to appreciate the action and frightening conditions that were unfolding.

This movie is very intense.... and the jerky hand held camera doesn't help. If you felt ill after Cloverfield, you most likely will after this movie too.

Another hour of shopping helped settle our stomachs, and dinner took care of the headache.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Reviewing, Renewing and Doing

I recently spent a good part of a day reading my old blog on AOL. I started Last Time at Bat (Checking in ) on March 28, 2005. Paul had just left for Afghanistan and I was using the journal to chronicle that year of separation plus keep me accountable during a weight loss plan. It's over three years later and I am heavier than when I started the journal. HA! Guess it didn't work so well for me on the weight loss. But I have certainly had fun being able to write about the family, life and anything else I've wanted.

It's been a busy week. I had an appointment with the Nutritionist at the clinic on Thursday. I have decided that perhaps I need a more solid plan to use. It was a very good visit. I like this woman. She is empowering, rather than treating me like a recalcitrant child, she helped me to realize what I've known all along... that I can do this,that I know how to do this. And now I may be ready to do this all the way through this time.

We set realistic goals and I have all kinds of things to fill out between now and our next appointment (in 4 weeks). I really want to show both her and myself that I can do this. To that end, I'm following what we set up... but I am staying away from my scale until I see her next.

Friday I had my appointment for the Ultrasound of the uterus and ovaries. Dr. Fontanella is concerned about my low iron and RBC. He wanted this test done, but to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what he's looking for. Interesting side note... the technician asked a few questions before starting the scan (expected questions about problems, history.. that sort of thing)... but then while she was scanning the right ovary, she suddenly asked "Do you ever have pain on your right side?"... NO I don't.. but now I'm wondering what she may have seen to prompt the question... OY!

I see Dr. Fontanella next week, so I'm sure if there is anything I need to know about he'll tell me.

Today, I'm heading out for some retail therapy with the girls. Mac has elected to stay home because as he puts it.."you-all just don't know when to come home!"... LOL

Monday, October 6, 2008

Just roll over, show me your belly, and be done with it.

Paul and I are currently engaged in an e-mail argument. LOL.. and only because he can't quite bring himself to say "I'm sorry" and let it go. He has to keep hammering how I am taking what he is writing the wrong way.

At this point, I have decided that no further good can come from continuing on this particular topic with him... so I am now giving him the cold shoulder by not replying to further e-mails on the topic.
In a couple of days it will all be a moot point anyway. He's so funny.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mischief (Almost) Managed

I waited a day before re-coloring my hair. And as anyone with coloring experience knows... I am still looking a little patchy. At least now the patches are in shades of brown and I can go out of the house without wearing a hat. Ha Ha.

Seriously, this experience was beyond funny and I laughed at myself all day long.

But now I have to figure out the best way to correct the coloring. I'm tempted to go to my hairdresser and cut it shorter (the bleaching process did a number on my hair) and have her try and color correct it at the same time. Maybe the answer is lots and lots of highlights and lowlights. I imagine that will be an expensive little visit. I'll have to think about this. Another option is to go and buy jet black and just be really dark for awhile.
Or... convince my daughter to help me do highlights and lowlights all over.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

OMG! I turned my hair CALICO!

Have I mentioned that Paul is out of town again? He's been gone for three weeks and will be gone until Thanksgiving. Clearly, this gives me too much time to find stupid things to do... LOL
So, I found my first gray hair at age 17. By the time I was 30, I was coloring my hair to cover the gray. Recently I've been curious as to how much gray I now have (compared to the dark hair). I found a product at Walmart for removing artificial color from hair.

Yesterday, I bought a box of the stuff (and after reading the caution on the back of the box), I also bought a bottle of a new color, just in case.

The instructions INSIDE the box tell you that your hair is going to turn orange.. that this process is for removing excess color so that you can put new color in your hair. One would think that this statement would be enough to deter me. NOPE..

I did the little patch test and the results looked very promising, so I proceded to apply the product to my hair. I discovered that there isn't enough product in the box for my length of hair. So I did the best I could do, combing the solution all through my hair. Then I waited the 50 minutes.

I now have calico cat hair. ... layers of orange and dark. There is no way in this mess that I can tell how much gray I have. So. .the experiment was a failure. I'll be coloring my hair later this afternoon. I guess if I want to know how much gray is there, I'm gonna have to do this the old fashion way and just let it grow out.

File this under... lessons learned: hair color foibles.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Medical (almost) ALL CLEAR

Last month I had a bit of a scare. I blogged about it late one night and then deleted it before anyone could read it.

My health history is not without it's little bumps here and there. I smoked from the time I was 13 until I was 30. I stopped smoking for 8 years, gained 50 lbs and started smoking again. Lost the 50 lbs, quit smoking and gained back the 50 lbs. I started smoking for the last time when Paul was deployed to Afghanistan. It was a way to relieve some of the stress of waiting for him to come home. It didn't help that my new next door neighbor was also a smoker. We'd spend quite a few mornings, smoking away on her balcony. It was great, but it couldn't last.

I quit for what I hope will be the last time July 2006.

I'm pretty sure you can see where this scare is leading.... During August I developed a recurring sore on my lower lip. At first I didn't really think too much about it. But early in September, I finally became aware that it just never really healed and went away. Then late one night, I found a lump in my right breast.

I have been spending the last couple of weeks having various tests done. The specific tests that have given me the "all-clear" is the mammogram and most of the blood work. While there is a "fatty tissue" lump in my breast, it is benign and not anything that needs to be removed or otherwise played with.

All my blood lab work came back normal, except one. The RBC is low and the doctor has some concerns about iron deficiency. He believes that this deficiency could be the cause of the lip irritation. So.. we are continuing tests to rule out that as the problem.

It'll be another couple of weeks before this next set of tests are done and I review them with the doctor, but since he never said the "c" word with respect to my lip, I'm gonna keep a positive outlook for these results.

Re- animation

I feel like a refugee. It's gonna take me a bit of time to get this all together, but what is life but a "series of challenges to be met and mastered."

I will be back later to offer up a full report,but for now... here I am.. same blog, same me, new location.