Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Everyone is still sleeping this Christmas morning. Gone are the days when I have to wake Paul up so early to put together bikes, baby doll beds, or many of the other "some assembly required" gifts that were so prevalent when the children were smaller.

Kendra is spending Christmas in Wisconsin, probably snowed in at this point. So for the first Christmas in 22 years, we are less than a full compliment. Another indicator that my babies aren't babies anymore. She'll be back on Monday and we will celebrate a second Christmas with her and Tyler.

I hope that each of you are surrounded by the folks you love and that your family traditions hold for another year. Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

All is kind of calm

I've been dividing my hours between studying and family time. We are hoping to get the Christmas tree up this weekend, but I'm beginning to think that might have to wait until next weekend. Too much to do! I'm only half way through my study guides for the Algebra.... as in making them up to use to study. Luckily, the Anatomy ones are good to go. And the psychology ones will be done shortly.

Monday morning we head back up to Birmingham to consult with Kendra's urologist. KUB is on the schedule to see how the stone dust has fared. We're all hoping it's moved on into the bladder and out the catheter (they didn't require her to strain it). We'd like to not have to try and fit another surgery in during the Xmas holiday.

So off to bed for me, for a well deserved rest. It's crazy cold here (although it's probably nothing compared to what some others are dealing with) and I'm ready to snuggle under the covers in my flannel jammies

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Test, tests, tests

I am now in the last two weeks of this semester and am running the gauntlet with test after test. I know I'm whining (just a bit), but I'm also really happy that we are so close to the end of the semester. I get a month off of school and then on January 19 (or thereabouts) spring semester begins. I think next semester will be tons easier... at least I'm hoping so.

So, my average in Anatomy at the moment is 90.83. I have the lab final and the unit final to go (10% and 12% of my overall grade respectively). Feel really comfortable about both, but kind of nervous knowing that I have to do 92% or better on each to hold on to my A.

Today I have my last chapter test in Algebra and then next week I sit for the cummulative final. That one makes me nervous, but as long as I make at least a 70%, I will pass the class. Right now, I have a tentative hold on a B. We'll see how the next two tests work out for me.

And finally I have my psych test next week. Should end the semester with an A. ;)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Begging and Borrowing

My computer is/was the oldest computer in our house. It wasn't always the oldest. Paul's was seriously old until we finally splurged on him for his birthday and set him up with a new computer that better suits his needs.

Over Thanksgiving, my computer gave up the ghost. I have seen the blue screen of death and it is not pretty. Thankfully, Paul had the forethought to back up my files a few days prior.
Now I am begging and borrowing computer time off everyone else to get my schoolwork done. Thank goodness I have less than three weeks left. Of school, that is. My computer issue is going to have to wait a bit longer.

I'm gonna hold off buying a new computer for a couple of months. With extra computers in the house, I think I can get by for awhile. Wait for some really insane sale to pick up a new one.

In other news, Kendra has a kidney stone. Because of her unique physiology, she can't pass it naturally. We've already been up to B-ham once to try and have it surgically removed. They managed to break it up (it was the size of a jordan almond, according to the surgeon), but they were unable to retrieve the pieces. She is scheduled for a follow up after finals. X-rays first, in hopes that the smaller pieces passed and no further surgery will be needed.

If you pray, please pray for her, that these fragments will pass through her system and we can avoid surgery for the holidays. Thanks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Seeking Advice from the masses

I have found this great website For just $15.00 a quarter (3 month period), you can sign up for weekly menu plans AND shopping lists. We are saving a lot on food now because with quick and easy recipes at my fingertips we are eating out less often. That is where the real savings (for us) comes in!

Anyway, now I'm at this point where I want to make my grocery shopping trips a bit more productive as well. The fewer trips I have to make to the store for perishables the fewer opportunities I have to impulse buy.

Which leads to my question, I have this great big freezer that I know I could be using more efficiently, but I need advice. Have any of you ever frozen milk to use later? How has that worked for you? We use non-fat milk, now that the kids are teens.. so I think it will freeze well, but I want confirmation. Also, what other items have you found that you can freeze (bread, etc) that came back to room temperature without freezer burn. As a kid, my parents froze everything, but i remember some of that stuff not faring too well, so I need advice from a savvy freezing pro.

Thanks so much! :)

Oh, and on a side note... e-mealz offers several menu plans (low fat, point, coupon, vegetarian). We're using the low fat and so far, there isn't a menu we haven't enjoyed. A few have become our new favorites.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An open letter to the man with the DUI

Mr. Darrin Paul Ellis,

I find that the tactics you and your attorney employed in court today to be most heinous. After delaying the court trial month after month with your stall tactics (as I found out today, your hope was that we would not show in court and you could continue your "not guilty" plea), you suddenly switched your plea to "Guilty" in order to prevent my daughter from having her day in court.

Her one chance to speak up about the horror of being involved in a head-on collision with you on that fateful night was snatched away from her today, while you managed to work the insanely lax DUI laws in your favor. Please realize that I don't for one minute believe that this is your first ever offense. You are 39 years old and you should freaking know better by this point. Why, oh why couldn't you have called a family member or a friend to come and pick you up after your long night of drinking?

Did you see my daughter's car after that accident? I did... I took tons of pictures of it. The blood that dried up in the console between the seats was the hardest thing of all to see. I broke down and cried that day. I suddenly realized in all too clear a manner just how seriously blessed we were that night you ran head-on into my daughter's car. By all the laws of physics, she should have been dead. But God saw fit to keep her safe during a very scary time. He was with her in that car that night and I have thanked Him daily for the safety he has kept her in.

My daughter is no longer comfortable driving at night, neither can she relax when someone else is driving. For the last 8 months she has had to change her way of living to prevent the need to drive after dark. All this because of you. I hold you completely responsible for that night.

I hope that this time you've learned your lesson and any future drinking events will be with a designated driver in tow. I don't think the $800.00 fine and the $150.00 court fees, plus a suspended thirty day jail sentence, with an unsupervised one year parole (along with a court approved substance abuse program) is anywhere near enough punishment for what you almost stole from our family that night. My only consolation in this is that I believe the scales do eventually balance and you will one day get what you deserve. I just hope when that day comes you don't take some other innocent driver with you.

I hope that night haunts you for the rest of your life. I know it will me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have been humbled

I am not thrilled with my test scores... the muscle lab quiz came back as a 78 (I missed points for spelling)... and the psych test was an 86.7.... if I had missed one less question, I would have stayed in the A zone (my unit tests have all been A's)... but the midterm knocked me down to a B (for now).

Lots of work ahead of me, but I'll "keep on swimming, swimming, swimming."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Of Muscles and Psych tests

Normally I love Thursdays. My last day of school each week is Thursday. I look forward to my three day weekends... which I use to study, study, study. This week, I'm not so sure I'm loving Thursday.

I have my first muscle lab test in anatomy. The muscles of the upper limb, and it's "attachment" muscles to the trunk are the first 29 muscles I have had to learn (we aren't doing ALL the muscles.... The human body has more than 600 muscles).

Then I have my mid-term in Psychology. Normally I don't mind tests...I actually do pretty well in tests... but I really hate having two tests on the same day. It's hard to make time to study well for both.

Tonight I focused on the muscles. Tomorrow between classes, I'll study the psych notes. 60-75 questions on the first 6 sections we've studied. Multiple choice.

I guess I'm venting. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

back in the saddle

Things are going well at school. I dropped Microbiology. It was easier to push forward in my other classes than to have all of them suffer while I tried to stay mediocre(at best) in Microbiology.

Now it's study, study, study as I get ready for my mid-terms.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back to school

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I have a lot of studying to do to catch up. I think this would be easier if I didn't have two lab sciences and algebra too! I have two lab quizzes and one unit test to be ready for by Monday.

Still, it's good to be back at school. Good to feel well again.

Monday, September 21, 2009

School, FLU, and birthdays

Kim and Kendra, September 1991

It's been a hectic month for all of us here. Kendra is back up at school, doing well. Her first post-op visit was encouraging, we go back again in October to see how things are moving along. I actually cried, the news was so good the first time.

My husband is a fount of wisdom and I would do myself well to listen to him more often. In my anxious need to make myself as competitive as possible for the nursing program, I am taking two lab sciences this semester. Paul warned me that I might find myself a bit overwhelmed. Well.. he was right, although I suspect part of the problem lies in the ongoing care of Kendra. I missed a few key days here and there for her appointments. But I'm doing okay. I actually thought I'd be well settled by this past weeked.

And then the FLU hit me on Tuesday last. Following CDC guidelines, the military clinics are no longer testing to confirm h1n1 diagnosis, but based on the information I was given, I'd say that is what I am struggling with now. Kim and Mac have come down with it too. The basic strategy is to stay away from people until you are 24 hours without a fever and fever reducing medicines. But, based on how I have felt... you don't really want to be farther than your bed anyway. My fever finally left this morning, so I think I am good to go back to school tomorrow... but both kids are still feverish and very lethargic.

Kim and Kendra had birthdays this month. Kim on the 15th (the day I got SLAMMED down by the FLU) and Kendra's was the 20th. We celebrated yesterday, with Kim, Mac and I wearing lovely face masks throughout the event (at home). We were trying to keep Kendra's exposure to a minimum.

At any rate, we took a few pics of the event (with Kim in mask). I can't believe I have two "adult" daughters. Kim turned 18 and Kendra turned 21.
I'll post the new pics once Paul gets the new ones uploaded.

Monday, August 24, 2009

School Days

glitter-graphics.comThe kids are all back in school. Both Troy University and the local high school began fall semester on August 12. I think the kids were glad to get back to a school schedule... maybe.

Today I started my fall semester. I feel as though I may have bitten off more than I can chew. How dumb of me! LOL.. I'm hoping in a couple of weeks time that I won't be feeling quite as overwhelmed as I am right now.

I have a hefty schedule... I didn't get accepted into the fall RN program, so I have to re-apply for the Spring program. And I'm trying to make myself as competitive as possible, so I am currently taking courses that will give me extra points towards admission. I am taking Microbiology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Algebra, and General Psychology (a pre-req for a course I need to graduate the RN program).

Today I had Microbiology and Algebra. I have concerns about the Algebra.. it's been a few years since I last had to know all this math jargon. I'm hoping it will be easier as I get used to the terms again.

The Microbiology teacher is gonna be a lot of fun. I think the class is going to be fascinating and that gives me hope that I will not have too hard of a time keeping up.

Tomorrow I have Anatomy and Psychology. Of those two, I think the Anatomy is going to be the harder one. At least I have no classes on Fridays so I can use that day to read ahead!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Durbin Farms- And Peach Jam

Kendra's surgeon and urologist are both at UAB medical center in Birmingham. We travel routinely between here and there using I-65.

During one of our trips, I discovered Durbin Farms fruit stand at exit 205. The folks there have a lot of great locally grown fruits and vegetables. Now that I know its there, I try to stop and shop each time we have to travel to Birmingham.

Most recently I stopped on our way back from Kendra's post-op check up. I picked up a huge box of peaches. They are so delicious! But a bit more than I can consume on my own.

So today I took a stab at making Peach Jam. HA! I amaze myself. The jam came out really tasty and set up pretty well. I'm looking forward to having some peach jam on my toast tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Latest News

Mac passed his driving test on the third go around. The driving test here in Alabama is much tougher than the driving test that Kendra passed up in Maryland. Kimberly is still doing all she can to avoid learning to drive.

The second week of July all five of us plus Tyler (Kendra's b-friend) went to Orlando. We didn't do the usual Disneyland thing, instead we did a few of the indoor entertainments available there. We visited the Ripley's Believe it or Not Odditoreum, Wonder Works Museum, and did dinner at Sleuth's the mystery dinner theatre. Fun time for all of us. Each day started or ended at the pool. One day we slipped in a game of miniature golf.

On July 13th Kendra had her reconstructive surgery at UAB hospital in Birmingham. Everything went really well and we brought her home on the 16th. We've had our first post-op visit with her doctor this week and things continue to move along nicely. Looks like she'll be good to go when the semester starts back up on August12. And really.. what I mean is .. with chauffeur service (mom and dad), she'll be able to attend classes as long as she doesn't sit too long in each class. She's supposed to not put too much weight/pressure on her "sit upon" during the next 6 weeks. We've come up with a plan to use a hemorrhoid cushion and alternate standing with sitting during her classes.

Both Kendra and the "littles" go back to school on August 12. My classes don't begin until August 24. I didn't get picked up for the fall semester start nursing program, but I am confident I will get picked up for the spring. In the meantime, I'm taking as many of the non-nursing classes as I can, to lighten my load down the line.

We still are swamped with unpacked boxes. Our load increased slightly when Kendra moved back home for the summer. My goal for the next three weeks is to get as many of these boxes emptied and/or repacked for storage.

The two classes that I have been taking this summer are almost complete and it looks like I've earned A's in both of them :).

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's My Birthday... and I'll cry if I want

I have officially celebrated my last birthday. I shall forever more remain at forty something. he he he.

Kendra came home for the weekend (my b-day was Saturday, June 13). We had a fantabulous family weekend with games and movies and a delicious spaghetti dinner cooked by Paul.

When the kids were younger it was so easy to using a sliding scale to denote my age. I had Kendra about 6 years later (at least) than most women.... in fact, I was the same age when I had Kendra( my first baby) that my mother was when she had my sister (her last baby). So for years, I could take 10 years off my age and not seem too off the kilter.

With Kendra turning 21, I have two choices.... ignore any further birthdays... or just admit that I was a child bride! Well.. I guess there is a third choice (my mother-in-law's preferred method)... from this point on, Kendra quits aging... and as the others catch up to her, I claim that they are first twins and finally triplets. LOL

Of course, I'm kidding... I am old enough now to know that age is a mind game at best. I wouldn't want to be younger, unless I could take all this experience back with me. About the only thing I miss from my early years is my much more in shape body. And that I can fix. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Painting --as exercise, plus What is my cat thinking?

Cool thing about the new management/housing. We can paint our walls if we'd like. Kim wants to put her interior design class to the test, so she wanted to paint her room. Two colors.... Purple Moon on three walls and Rich Amethyst on the fourth wall.

We just finished putting on the second coat of the Purple Moon. My arms are definitely feeling the burn! Which means, painting either burns more calories than I realized, or I am more out of shape than I realized!

My desk is currently free of debris. Typically, it's a bit cluttered with papers and information that I need to deal with. Moving gives me a chance to start fresh because I dealt with all my business before they packed up my computer. Smokey the cat is in the habit of sitting in my lap while I work on the computer. Today, she discovered that there is a whole desk top that she can explore while I work. HA! not for long. But for now she's found a cozy spot by the monitor.

Mac did not pass the driving test today. But I know he'll get it next time. He did a few "California stops" (rolling stops) and forgot to check his blind spot a few times. Surprising because he did fine in both those areas on the drive up. Guess he got a little flustered.

On the college front, my paperwork is finally done and I turned in the application to the nursing office. I should know in about 4 weeks if I made it into the Fall program.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Home, Same Fort

Finally have cable, internet and phone service again. It was a very productive 5 days without it. Doubt the next five will be as productive, now that i have multiple ways of procrastinating.

Still working on getting the paperwork together to apply for the RN program. I still need my high school transcript to be "unconditional admission" at the college. (can you believe that 30 years and 30 somthing credits later, this is still needed? )

All the other stuff is in hand and ready to go. Kudo's to the registrar at NVCC. She spent over 20 minutes on the phone with me, walking me through the steps to get my transcript off the computer.

Tomorrow Mac takes his driving test for the "real' license.
Today our new couch and loveseat were delivered. The delivery guys sliced the side of the loveseat while getting the packaging off. I'll be getting a new loveseat in a week.

Back to living among boxes. Retirement (from the Army) can't come soon enough. 2015... and counting.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The five minute catch-up entry

So, May has just flown by! This month we spent a weekend at the Georgia Renaissance Faire. We dragged Kendra's boyfriend with us, to initiate him into the fun of "faire-ing". Tyler (the boyfriend) graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Next step for him is graduate school.

Paul and I spent a long weekend in Nashville, celebrating (early) our 27th anniversary. We attended the Billy Joel/Elton John concert on May 16th. Great fun!

We have found two surgeons that will be doing the next surgery on Kendra. That should happen in June. We have appointments to see both in early June and I think this is going to be good.

We are half moved out of our current house and half moved into our new house. A lot of the older housing here at Ft. Rucker is being replaced. Our current house is next on the chopping block, so they are moving us to a new house, with at least 600 squ. ft. more space than here. So, we are changing addresses, but not really posts.

I have been in the process of taking placement tests for various classes. I am heading back to college this summer semester. I'm taking a few prerequisites and then I'll be starting into an RN program (hopefully by fall).

I think that's all for now. Computer is being packed up in two days and we won't have internet again until June 2.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The first time for an "adult" event

When I was a sophmore, I went to my first bridal shower. I didn't know the bride personally, she had graduated two years previous. I was invited because I was part of the drill team that she had commanded during her senior year. I was a "friend by proxy". It was a fun shower, how could it not be so with so many teen girls? (And Wendy was the recipient of a lot of lingerie... which I'm sure her hubby appreciated!)

So today, Kim is attending her first shower.... a baby shower.... for a fellow classmate. The teacher has arranged for a surprise shower during the class time. I appreciate where the teacher's heart is in this....the girl is a single mom with limited resources. She's directed the boys to bring diapers and diaper wipes and she's allowed the girls to buy beyond the diaper.

I think what bothers me the most is the number of teen pregnancies we have in this area. I don't know if its lack of parental supervision, or a lack of fun teen things to do around here, or a combination of both. I just think it's so sad that these girls are missing out on so much by rushing motherhood.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Does Frosting Ever Expire?

We are fast approaching the move-in date (about two + weeks). I am slowly packing things up. Today I am going through our pantry and weeding out expired items. So much of what we buy these days has a "good through" date on it. Makes it easy for me to run through and grab out things that probably should have been thrown away before the last move.

It always surprises me to discover that certain foods aren't unperishable. :) You mean I can't keep my double chocolate ding-dong stash forever? DANG! But I have a can of frosting that doesn't have an expiration date. Or at least not one I can find. I'm pretty sure I've had this can for a couple of years (it's vanilla... not my favorite). Still, without a date... I hate to toss it

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Phone Call and Dinner Conversations

It's been an interesting couple of days. Lots of phone calls happening and an interesting conversation with my teens this evening.

First, I received a call from Mac's Marketing teacher yesterday. I admit.. as soon as he identified himself as a teacher from Mac's school my first thought was "what's wrong with Mac", followed closely by "what did he do?" Mr. teacher assured me almost immediately that this was "not a bad call." (LOL) He wanted to call because Mac and his partner had scored the highest EVER in a marketing simulation program that they use in their class. He wanted me to know that my son was a very bright and polite young man. He said that he expected to see great things from Mac in the future. WOW! It was an amazing pleasure to receive that type of phone call from a teacher. Especially one of Mac's teachers. I am so pleased and proud of how well Mac has been doing this year at school... it's nice to know the teachers are noticing too.

I've also been making calls, trying to line up three tests for me this month. I want to be sure that I am eligible to apply for the RN program this June, rather than having to wait for the spring. So I need to CLEP out of Biology 103 and I need a math and english placement test. I think I can finish up the rest of the pre-reqs this summer. It's been busy, but I think I have a plan now.

Received a call regarding Kendra's surgical records from 1998. They are not where we expected them to be, so I have a whole new avenue to pursue. I hope that we find them soon.

Finally... tonight the kids and I went to the Bowling Alley to bowl and have dinner. Unbeknownst to us, it's League night and we couldn't bowl, but we ate dinner there anyway.

glitter-graphics.comWe got on the topic of Mr. Obama's speech for tonight. While discussing what's gone on thus far in his presidency... Mac and Kim made a few observations. I don't know that I completely agree with them.. but I found their viewpoint had merit (considering what I've read on some blogs and in some papers).

Mac started off by saying that during the election period he (Mac) felt very strongly that the United States was ready for an African-American president. He thought that race relations had come a long way. But since Mr. Obama has taken office, Mac no longer feels that as a country we are ready for an Af-Am president. He says that if we truly were, we could disagree with his policies without being immediately labeled "haters" and "racists". He said that if we truly were at a point where color no longer made a difference, then the pro-Obama groups would not be using this simplistic tact (calling folks racist) to stop negative remarks about government policies.

Kim agreed, adding that she thinks their generation is probably the first generation where there is very little thought about race when making friends and dating. (I don't know that I completely agree with that.... but this was their view). She says that while my generation had certainly made strides...we still see color. She thinks that many folks voted for Obama to be part of something historic. And while that is not a bad thing, that also shows we are not quite ready. They both think that it may be a while yet before America can truly vote for the "content of character" and not the color of skin.

I do not believe that I would have put that much thought into the presidency at their age, so I'm impressed and hopeful of the future voters of America.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Special Entry- eight things

glitter-graphics.comPlaying the game...Tag You're It. I was tagged by

Here's the rules: mention the person that tagged you. Complete the lists of 8's. Tag 8 of your wonderful blogger friends. Go tell them you tagged them! here we go!

8 Things I am Looking Forward to:

1. Getting answers to Kendra's medical questions
2. Reaching my goal weight;

3. Completing my college degree in nursing
4. The end of the school year
5. Moving into the new house (looking like it'll be week of 5/11)

6. Attending the Georgia Renaissance Festival
7. Billy Joel/Elton John Concert on May 16
8. May 2011- graduation for Kendra, Mac and Me

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Washed my car
2. Folded a load of laundry
3. Showered and dressed for play
4. Watched "What Not To Wear"
5. Drove 5 teenagers to Montgomery
6. Watched a different set of teenagers get prom pictures done in the park
7. Enjoyed The Three Musketeers play with my daughter
8. Drove through Wendy's for a frosty after getting rid of the other four teenagers.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

1. count to ten before speaking in anger
2. speak German, Spanish and French fluently (instead of my pidgin version)
3. see into my children's futures and know that they will be all right
4. run for public office and make a difference
5. run a marathon
6. live in Europe again
7. live near all my family
8. find my best friend from high school

8 Shows I Watch:

1. Greeks
2. Biggest Loser
3. Bones
4. Grey's Anatomy
5. The Dollhouse
6. Amazing Race
7. Castle
8. Ghost Whisperer

Look below to see who I tagged [in no particular order]:
1. Ken of
2. Beth of
3. Madison of
4. Dan of
5. Heather of
6. Mary of
7. Teresa of
8. Robin of

Playing the game...Tag You're It. I was tagged by

Here's the rules: mention the person that tagged you. Complete the lists of 8's. Tag 8 of your wonderful blogger friends. Go tell them you tagged them! here we go!

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To:

1. Getting answers to Kendra's medical questions
2. Reaching my goal weight;

3. Completing my college degree in nursing
4. The end of the school year
5. Moving into the new house (looking like it'll be week of 5/11)

6. Attending the Georgia Renaissance Festival
7. Billy Joel/Elton John Concert on May 16
8. May 2011- graduation for Kendra, Mac and Me :)

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Washed my car
2. Folded a load of laundry
3. Showered and dressed for play
4. Watched "What Not To Wear"
5. Drove 5 teenagers to Montgomery
6. Watched a different set of teenagers get prom pictures done in the park
7. Enjoyed The Three Musketeers play with my daughter
8. Drove through Wendy's for a frosty after getting rid of the other four teenagers.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:1. count to ten before speaking in anger
2. speak German, Spanish and French fluently (instead of my pidgin version)
3. see into my children's futures and know that they will be all right
4. run for public office and make a difference
5. run a marathon
6. live in Europe again
7. live near all my family
8. find my best friend from high school

8 Shows I Watch:1. Greeks
2. Biggest Loser3. Bones
4. Grey's Anatomy5. The Dollhouse
6. Amazing Race
7. Castle
8. Ghost WhispererLook below to see who I tagged [in no particular order]:1. Ken of http://buckoclown.blogspot.com2. Beth of
3. Madison of http://lifesalearningprocess.blogspot.com4. Dan of
5. Heather of Mary of
7. Teresa of
8. Robin of

The Play's the Thing

Last evening Kimberly and I met up with her French teacher and several of her fellow classmates to see The Three Musketeers in Montgomery. I was one of the designated drivers. Besides Kim and myself, we had four other students with us.

The drive was kind of long, but two of the gals in the car kept up an almost constant patter of conversation regarding colleges and tuitions and cars. Seems that everyone in my car (except Kim) is graduating this spring.

The play took place at the Alabama Shakespeare Theatre. It was amazing! The story had to be arranged for the stage and the playwrite took a very interesting direction. Alexandre Dumas originally wrote the Three Musketeers as a serial. The playwrite elected to allow Monsieur Dumas to tell the tale through the frantic pressure of a deadline,with Dumas interacting with his characters.

The end result was a very fast paced, engrossing and enchanting play. The actors were amazing. This is the first time I've had a chance to experience a play at the AST, but it won't be my last.

Friday, April 24, 2009

There... and back again

It's been a busy week. Paul, Kendra and I made the trek up to Birmingham to meet with a plastic surgeon and with her (Kendra's) urologist to discuss the next steps that need to be taken. Really liked the plastic surgeon, still on the fence about this new urologist. He seems a bit flip about Kendra's concerns. (eye roll) I think he doesn't care to have his "authority" challenged.

Kudos to Kendra for standing her ground and making sure he understood her desires. I have to say this week has been an interesting roller coaster of ups and downs. It's heart warming to realize that Kendra is getting more mature all the time. As she learns to handle more and more about her condition (with doctors), I feel better about letting go.

We didn't get all the answers we wanted and we have another trip up north in May for more tests. In the mean time, I am composing letters to our preferred surgeons (one is in Texas, two are in DC). These three doctors are the ones that have been giving her care through the military since she was a week old. Her local urologist lacks the experience in bladder exstrophy patients that I think we need for certain aspects of the next surgeries.

I am hoping that the e-mails I send out will answer a lot of our questions and either start the ball rolling to get Kendra back to these surgeons, OR help us find "local" surgeons with the experience necessary.

What I really don't want is for Kendra to have to have repetitive corrective surgeries if we choose the wrong surgeons.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cookbook Chaos

Many moons ago Paul gave me a blank cookbook. (a gift I asked for) It's been sitting on my bookcase ignored and mostly empty. I love cookbooks and collecting recipes. My plan for this book was to make it a gathering place of all my favorites that we use again and again and again. My thought was that by gathering those family favorites in one spot, the chidren would have easy access to the recipes that they'd most likely want to take with them to their own homes.

My plan for today is to work on the cookbook. We're trying to get the house ready for this move and I have so many loose recipes flying all over the place that I thought this would be a good use of today. Organize the family favorites cookbook!

glitter-graphics.comOf course, I'm now sitting at my computer, the mass of loose recipes and the cookbook binder behind me spread out on the dining room table. What chaos!! This seemed like a really good idea when all this stuff was stuffed in the bookcase (I have one small bookcase dedicated to my cookbooks). Now that the slips are all over the table... WOW! do I ever collect a lot of recipes!

I think I need to call in the calvary (Paul) to help me get this organized.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Weekend Blues

We are back from our trip to Disneyworld. We had fun. The weather was good for the first three days, if a bit humid. Tuesday we spent most of the day in our hotel, with tornado watches and warnings constantly being updated. I'll have pictures later in the week.

Kids head back to school on Monday and Paul heads back to work. That is my blues. I've enjoyed these last days with everyone together and I will miss that this next week. But I'll get over it. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's been a productive day. Laundry is about done, piles to be packed have been made.

I did run by and get the medical information forms turned in, so that is now out of my hands.

Paul and I shifted seasonal clothing in and out of storage. We actually needed the air conditioning in the house today (probably because of all the work we did!).

It's good, it's good.. it's all good. :)

Stress Insomnia and 29 hours

I've been waking at odd hours of the night. Something will pop into my head that I have to deal with, or that I've forgotten to deal with (as was the case this morning) and then I'm awake for good. Today's stress has been brought on by my forgetting to get Kendra's signature on a medical records release form. We had dinner last night and I had the damn forms in my purse... and totally blanked on it. OY!

I was hoping to get the ball started on this before we leave on Spring break (which commences in 29 hours, give or take an hour). Kim, Mac, Paul and I are heading south to Florida for a few days.

So... I'm contemplating signing the forms for Kendra so I can get them turned in today as planned. I doubt anyone will notice and/or care. I need these records to her new surgeon by April 21 and there just isn't that much time left (sigh).

Florida will be nice. We plan on taking in Disney World and possibly Universal Studio. But even if we spend most of our time relaxing by a pool.. that will be good too.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

To touch or not to touch

"OMG, She touched the Queen!" I'm sure the mouse under the Queen's throne is having a fit over Michelle Obama touching Queen Elizabeth during their "private" meeting.

I have to admit I was surprised to see the bit of video that HLN has shown over and over again during the Robin show.

And then I remembered an incident from when Paul was going through flight school.

The Army trains certain allied soldiers in helicopter flight. Among those allies are the United Arab Emerates. We had a few such students in Paul's flight class.

At some point or another there was a formal gathering of the students, teachers and spouses. I had been very specifically drilled that the Arab students do not shake hands with women. I was told to not hold out my hand for a handshake. I was instructed to keep my hands at my side and make the greeting verbal. No problem.

When Paul introduced me to one of the Arab students with whom he had forged a "friendship", I kept my hands to my side. I said "How do you do? " without lifting a hand.... and he... well.. he stuck out his hand for a traditional american handshake!
I felt that etiquette required me to take and shake. So I did. But I could tell he was very uncomfortable with the handshake.

Who knows.. perhaps they were drilled to shake the spouses hands... that it would be rude to do otherwise.

So.. I think we can cut Michelle Obama some slack. After all, the Queen touched her first.

No school today = no work at home .... or...

The school called at 6:20 this morning to let us know that school was cancelled. Too bad they can't make these decisions the night before so we can sleep in. Ah well... back to bed and when we finally wake up rested, I'm gonna try to enlist the kids so we can get some house cleaning and packing done.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's so Soggy!

We've had rain this week. The rivers are over their banks in a lot of areas on and off post. I've had to take the longer routes when I go off post because my usual route is seriously under water.

Paul comes home on Friday (YAY!), I have sufficiently procrastinated that I am feeling the stress. The rain doesn't help... I have stuff I need to trundle off to storage and I hate to have to move it through the rain. But... I do have the rest of today and tomorrow to start making some headway.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Do You Twitter?

Apparently the new craze is Twitter. All the cool "kids" are doing it! I've been hearing about on The View (yes, I watch the view... I keep hoping for some really good arguments.) Anyway.. now Elisabeth and Sherry are twittering too. But Joy, Whoopi and Barbara are holdouts. They don't have the time to twitter.

I have signed up. I am "following" Danny Bonaduce and Wil Wheaton.. as well as Elisabeth and Sherry. It's kind of interesting, but to be honest not something I forsee myself obsessing over.

but for getting a concise bit of dribble out, it works.
So... do any of you twitter?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shopping Therapy

This may not be the best thing to admit (in the current economic times), but I currently have an excess of money in my spending account. ... or I did until last night. It's been a rough couple of weeks (months) at our house and I needed some retail therapy.

So yesterday afternoon, after our gym time, Kim and I dumped Mac on the doorstep of the house and we drove off to the mall to indulge in some therapy. Kim made a big score at HOT TOPIC, picking up some really nice jewelry (not my taste, but totally hers!). Then we spent some time looking for new shoes (flats).. unlike Beth (over at Nutwood Junction), we were not successful in that particular quest. Flats that are cute enough and fit are elusive. So we placed that on the back burner and headed over to Bath and Bodyworks.

I found a new scent that I loved. It's in their aroma therapy section. It's called Black Cherry Vanilla. YUM! I bought a candle and the body wash in this new (to me) scent.
Then off to JCPenney's. We found a few choice pieces of clothing and felt like we'd really scored big. After that, it was time to hit the bookstore.

The bookstore didn't get quite as much of my money as it normally does. I did pick up a couple of magazines and a puzzle book. And one new title, a Dean Koontz book whose title escapes me at the moment.

It really was a great shopping trip. I didn't spend too much, but I found some really great things.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day !

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We're Moving!! (AGAIN)

I was contacted a few weeks back while Paul was out of town by our housing office. Seems that our street is next on the renovation/rebuilding project list. They are trying to relocate all of us into some of the new housing on the other side of post.

Tuesday I got the call that they now have a house ready for us. Paul is gone for the next four weeks. Anyone else see the problem? LOL.

I'm not exactly sure yet how we are going to handle this. The housing office is having a meeting today to map out the future availability of four bedrooms. If they can have something else available for us in late April/early May, we will pass on this particular house and take the next one. But if this is the only one in the foreseeable future (keeping their construction schedule in mind), then they will hold this house until Paul returns. The one thing they won't make us do is move without him here.

Which means that the kids and I have three weeks to make this house "move ready". OY! I've mentioned my procrastination issues, right? Poor Paul.

Okay.. so anyway... Kim and I went to see the house yesterday afternoon. The bedrooms are huge. The rest of the house is kind of chopped up into smaller areas. Its a two story. On the first floor is a formal living room, formal dining room, 1/2 bath, kitchen, breakfast nook and family room. Lots of square footage, but not all together in a way that makes sense. I'm not quite sure how we are going to work this all out, but I'm sure we will.

I guess in the next day or two I'll get a definitive plan from the housing office Re: our move date. But the writing is on the wall, and we are moving.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mood Swings in the aftermath

It's been a very long and trying week. In fact, it's hard to believe everything that has "gone down" has happened in just a five day span!

On Monday Paul and I had to dash up to Troy to pull all of Kendra's personal belongings from her car (police had the cars quarantined while they took pictures, etc.). When we arrived at the lot, we took a bit of time to take pictures of her car as well as the car that hit her. Just in case we decide to bring a civil suit against the man.

After the pictures were taken, I opened up the driver door. I was not prepared for how it all would look. I was not prepared to see my daughter's blood dried up in pools here and there on the seats and in the tray between the seats. I wasn't prepared to see how much damage occured within the car. I cried. I was so shocked.. all I could do was cry. I am grateful that Paul can be here during all this. He keeps me grounded.. without him I would have been a rampaging, insane mama bear. Still, I'm glad we don't have to see that car again. It did what it was supposed to do (protect our daughter), and I am glad for that.. but I don't want to see it again.

On Tuesday, we had to take a car up to Kendra for her use (foolish us for not doing it on Monday, but at the same time.. I'm not sure I was ready to face Kendra after seeing her car). We took Kim up with us so she could visit with her sister during dinner.

Wednesday I had a luncheon I no longer wanted to attend, but Paul insisted since we missed last months we needed to be at this one. On a side note, it did end up being a very nice , if a bit long, lunch.

Yesterday Kendra and I saw her doctor again because Kendra has begun to experience dizzy spells and is having a lot of pain and numbness in her left knee. Too early to tell, but the numbness could indicate permanent nerve damage. She still has a lot of fluid in her knees, which may be pressing on the nerve bundle... so there is hope that once the swelling goes down further, her feeling will return. OH.. and on a side note, I noticed that Kendra has lost 7 lbs since the accident.

Paul flew up to Huntsville with one aircraft and then drove back in a rental car. We had to pick him up in Dothan (a 45 min drive). No problem... we made an evening of it (the kids and I that is), and left early enough to have dinner and do a bit of shopping before meeting Paul at the airport. Of course, then we discovered that there was no Enterprise counter for the car, so Paul had to drive it all the way home.

Interwoven through all of that were countless calls between the various insurance companies.

I'm not proud of my behavior this week. Oh mind you, I've been nice to the outside world, but I have really been unfair and unkind to Paul. I am stressed. I am resenting his departure on Sunday when so much of this is still up in the air. The Army is not a hearing entity, so it's not like I can bitch at it. My venting is done at Paul..... although I've been careful NOT to use you messages, I know he is still kind of reeling from some of the things I've said.

Today we are running around returning rental cars to various locations, having lunch.. and trying to carve a little bit of couple time for ourselves before the kids get home this afternoon. All while he's trying to make sure he takes care of business at work before he leaves on Sunday (4 weeks to Yuma).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Worse before it gets better.

We saw Kendra's doctor yesterday, to follow up after the emergency room visit. She did a very thorough exam and then she sat and talked with us about the physiology of whiplash.

She told Kendra that she will feel worse (usually 72 hours after the accident) before she begins to feel better. Use the medications given to help with the soreness and pain. Warm soaking baths and/or showers. heating pads and eventually (once some of the bruising is gone) massage. She warned of relapses in muscle stiffness and muscles seizing up that could occur over the next year or so. And how to combat these things. It was a good visit and Kendra is now armed with ways to help herself through these injuries.

We found out a bit more about the perpetrator. He is 37 and this is his "first" offense. Here in Alabama, they have a law that prevents them from searching this sort of prior beyond five years back. So if you can keep yourself out of trouble for five years, you reset your misdemeanor clock (eye roll). He suffered a broken nose, arm and a "star" fracture of the ankle. He was taken to the hospital in Montgomery where he is under police watch. Once he is released from the hospital he will be arrested. His other passengers escaped injury.

My brother (a police officer in Phoenix) is urging us to pursue a civil claim against this guy. He says that the sentencing that will occur through the state's case will not be enough to deter this man from driving intoxicated again. I know that our insurance company is planning to sue this man and his insurance company (if he has one) for all costs associated with this accident as well as for an award for Kendra's "pain and suffering." Is that enough? Or should we pursue a private civil claim as well?

As a first time offender, his maximum sentencing could be up to 365 days in jail, loss of his license for 90 days, fines not to exceed $2100.00 and mandatory substance abuse program. Is that enough?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shell shocked

We've settled her at Tyler's (her boyfriend) for now. Her apartment is on the third floor and she is in no condition to do the stairs for now. Tyler is in a single level home. She is able to walk on her own power, but because of where the bruising is, I'd just as soon she didn't have to tackle too many knee bending obstacles (stairs). She missed classes today while we took her around to see the officer handling the case and pick up prescriptions, as well as to collect the items from her apartment she'd need for a few days. But she wants to try and make as many classes tomorrow as she can.

Tomorrow we go back up there to take her to her doctor for another exam and to give her my van to use until we replace her car.

After we left her, Paul and I went by the wrecker lot that had her car. Although, technically we were not supposed to "see" the car, the lot attendant gave us directions so we could drive and see it on our way off the property. I am amazed that she is not more banged up. If she did not have her seatbelt on and/or if there had been no airbag I firmly believe that she would be fighting for her life in some hospital.

With just a flip of the coin

Kendra was hit head-on (in her car) by a drunk driver last night (Monday) at 11:45 pm. Through the Grace of God and the invention of airbags, Kendra escaped major injury. She was seen at the emergency room at Troy Medical Center. She will have some colossal bruises and will be very sore for some time, but we are praising God that her injuries are relatively minor. The police investigator says her car is a complete loss and without those airbags, she would have been, too.

Later this morning, Paul and I will be going back up to Troy to take Kendra by the police station so that she can give her statement and then take her home. The drunk driver was in an SUV, but it appears that his injuries are more severe than Kendra's. Blood Alcohol tests were drawn on everyone involved (he had passengers with him) at the ER.

I promise I will keep everyone posted, but as things stand right now.. Kendra is resting comfortably... some bruises on her hands and knees, a bloody nose,... but all the CT scans and x-rays show nothing broken.

Friday, February 20, 2009

They all start out so small and sweet. So cute, so huggable . Nothing prepares you for that time when you suddenly realize that you have become almost obsolete.
Happy 16th Birthday, Mac!
We love you so much and are so proud of the young man you have become.
(And a special shout out to our Grand-niece, Aydia...Happy 7th Birthday, Sweetheart!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Keeping the home fires burning

Paul is off somewhere in Florida this week. I can't remember exactly what he's doing this time, but I know it's some sort of OJT so that he can take over this "job" when the current overseer retires next year.

He'll be "missing" Mac's birthday this year (it falls on Friday), but he's home on Sunday so we will just delay the family party until then.

Mac wants to head to the bowling alley with a few of his friends on Saturday to celebrate. He's turning 16 this year. I secretly ordered special M&M's to celebrate the landmark event. I hope he likes them.

Well.. it's late and I'm tired, so that's the end of this update.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Midnight Cookies

Okay... it's really not quite midnight.. and I should be done before midnight. Still... when the boy waits until 5:30 pm to mention he's signed up to bring cookies and chips to the class party Friday, it feels like I'm going to be stuck making midnight cookies.

Paul asked Mac.."How long have you known about this?" "Since yesterday," says Mac. "Well, says Dad," Yesterday you could have expected home baked cookies... today you get what's easy for your mother."

As my mother would say "I was at home when I baked them!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Catching Up

It's been interesting, recovering from this surgery. The first week I was taking my pain meds regularly. The second week I began spacing the time out a bit more. This week I've been needing the pain med only at the end of the day. I wake up pain free and make it through most of my day under my own steam. But usually around 6 pm... I am beat and there is pain. Still, I am so much bettter than right after surgery.

Interesting too was Sunday night. We went to Dothan that day to do a bit of necessary shopping. Bookstore, Hallmark store, lunch, and JCPenney for jeans (not necessarily in that order). By the end of it all (maybe two hours max) I was exhausted. Sunday night I just wanted to cry. Don't know why... I didn't hurt too bad and it had been a good day... but I just curled up in my bed and let the tears flow. It wasn't long and I felt better afterwards.. but it was just such an odd thing. Hormone fluctuations, maybe?

Mac has reached his weight loss goal. He looks so good! I need to take pictures and post them. He started out shortly after school began, weighing about 195 lbs. Our two years of homeschooling had definitely taken it's toll. But in just 5 months he's dropped 45 lbs, and has lost 3 pants sizes (thus the need for new jeans)! And he's done most of the work with exercise. He started with walking just a mile a day and slowly worked up to five miles a day... we later added two weight sessions a week, plus basketball playing. As far as food goes, he mostly just began watching portion sizes. This kid lost weight eating pizza and chicken fingers! LOL.
We are now working on tweaking his program so that he quits losing weight. I'm encouraging him to walk fewer miles and give himself a little leeway on the food.

And speaking of weight loss... since the surgery I have now dropped 8 lbs! I am also eating a lot less at mealtimes. Yesterday I took the kids to the gym ... although I couldn't work out with the weights, I did walk a mile on the treadmill while the kids did their thing.

I am looking forward to truly being "back to normal." Each day (minus the Sunday meltdown) I get a little better and that's good. :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I had the staples removed today. Not too terribly painful... some were actually painless.. others felt a bit like a pinch. No driving for another week and then I can start doing "local" driving.

The staples were replaced with surgi-strips. Those will fall off on their own. I actually am having a bit more localized pain than before. But even still.. each day is a bit better. No gym for me for another four weeks, but I can begin my walking program again... starting slow and building up. I go for another check up in four weeks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Approaching Normal

I actually have a couple of outings planned today. Grocery shopping (with Paul's help) and a luncheon with some of the spouses and hubbies from Paul's unit. :) Fun stuff I hope. I've been pretty closed-mouth about my health here within the unit. I had to tell the XO's wife because this month (February) is my month to plan the spouses' coffee. All I told her is that I had surgery and that I had to plan something that wouldn't require me to do a lot of lifting and preparing (we're having our meeting at a restaurant on post).

She did a little fishing... asking if everything was okay. Now, Paul had told her hubby exactly what was going on because of the time off that Paul would need. Guess the information stayed at the office. So, the only additional information I gave her is that we had to plan it for a time when we knew that Paul would be home.

For all that I share here on this journal, I really am rather quiet about my affairs around the folks that are in our unit. Although I've met a few that I think I could be friends with, truth is, we aren't friends yet and I prefer to keep my business out of the general public.

So.. at this point, I can laugh deep and only feel a slight twinge. Everything is healing nicely. I have my appointment tomorrow to have the staples removed and I will ask Dr. for a bit more guidance with respect to exercise (walking) and how much longer I might need to wait before I go back to weight training with the kids.

Since the surgery I have lost 4 lbs (without really knowing if I gained any "water weight" right after the surgery) without really trying. I understand that the uterus was the size of a medium some of that could be from the removal. My appetite is good, but I find that I am quickly satisfied with about one third of what I ate before surgery. I don't know if that is a side effect of the pain medication (lower appetite) or if after 48 hours of liquids only, my tummy is smaller and I'm actually listening to it. At any rate.. it's all good from my point of view... unless after I stop the pain pills I go back to eating too much...

I'm only taking pain pills during my waking hours now... so I'm down to about three a day at this point. Sleeping through the night, but I am having some truly bizarre dreams... which may be partly caused by the books I am reading... lots of vampire/werewolf stories. :) In last night's dream, we were part owners in a large house (four floors) that was a gateway to the demon world. Demons would occasionally come out and grab someone to drag down to their dimension. We moved out... grabbing as much of our belongings as we could.. while the house was beginning to implode on itself.

Friday, January 30, 2009

When is a good "belly laugh" not a good thing?

Within a week of abdominal surgery! LOL. It's funny, but it's not. Anything that really tickles my funny bone is guaranteed to cause pain. So, I'm avoiding some of my favorite spots like LOLCATS... after first discovering how much it hurts to laugh.... and on that note.. there is the cutest video of a cat under the packing peanuts that really really really hurt my stitches! Should you get the chance, and it doesn't hurt you to laugh... go enjoy.
funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's done

I went into the hospital on Monday and had my surgery. I came home Wednesday. It already seems like a million days have gone by! And not in a good way.. lol. Pain medication is keeping me comfortable. I am up and moving... after a fashion. I know it can only get better. I really do have a happy mindset about it all... I'm just really tired and sore and bruised.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What a surprise! It absolutely made my day.

For years I have carried a roll of developed 8 mm film. Based on the envelope I had it in, I assumed that it was footage of the girls (military) drill team that I was a part of in high school. During December it resurfaced again and Paul suggested that I have it converted to DVD format before it deteriorates too far. So we dropped it off at the local Walgreens.

It takes a while... about two weeks longer than the estimate they gave us. We finally picked up the finished product yesterday when we were out for lunch. After our many errands were taken care of, we came home and popped in the DVD. It wasn't the drill team.

It was Christmas 1977. The year that my brother brought home his fiancee. There was my mom and my dad looking so young, so happy. And my sister Susan, looking almost exactly like my daughter Kim. (Something that everyone has always said, but until this video I never saw the resemblance) It was an incredible blast from the past! To see my dad looking so good, so healthy... what an incredible gift.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pictures from the trip

Our travel plans were to make the drive to Phoenix in two long days. Unfortunately, our plans were changed at the end of the first day. Kendra had new braces put on the Thursday before we left and she was having a difficult time eating our typical "on the road" fare.

For her comfort and nourishment we were forced to use sit down restaurants on the road. That slowed our progress significantly on the first day. We elected to do the last 13.75 hour drive in two days. We arrived in Phoenix on Monday Dec. 22. I took this pictures somewhere between the Arizona Eastern border and Benson, AZ.

We were beginning to seriously lose hope of ever arriving when we finally had some good news :)

Our last hour on the road was under rainy skies.

While at my mother's house, I helped make the annual tamales, taking notes so I can repeat this recipe at home this year (my mother does not measure ingredients, she throws stuff in and tastes). Kendra learned to make tortillas... taking lots of notes so she can make some for her boyfriend.

We spent Christmas Eve with Paul's parents and his older brother and sister in law. Pictures include my three in front of the fireplace, Paul's parents, and Paul (no beard) and his brother, Mark.

Christmas Day was spent at my mother's house with My brother and his family. Here's a picture of Paul and me that Kimberly snapped.

After the disastrously long trip to Phoenix, we decided that we might as well change our travel plans for going home to allow three days again. Traveling west, I noticed a couple of traffic signs that I found amusing. In New Mexico, they seem to take an existential view of dust storms, while in Arizona.. it's much more matter of fact. Heading home, I asked Paul to allow me the opportunity to snap these two signs.

Arizona- matter of fact

New Mexico (as Paul says.."Well, it is the land of enchantment")

Finally, we were treated to some spectacular sunsets during our stay and travel. These two pics were taken in El Paso.