Monday, December 29, 2008

I Switched - Have You?

Now this is a good story. And since I've already told it to my family (who may have read it out of context & been a wee bit offended), I thought I'd share it with you. B/c it always gives the listener a good chuckle.

So we're sitting at the dinner table with The Neighbors enjoying Thanksgiving dinner - more like the long conversation after but you get the idea. For those of you who don't know The Neighbors, well, you're missing out on something pretty spectacular. And the story might not be quite as good. But I'll do my best. Let's just say, they're two colorful people who never fail to keep us in stitches. And they're also some of the dearest people we know. But I won't go all sappy. Mostly, they keep us laughing our obligatory arses off b/c they're so dang funny. In totally inappropriate ways, of course. But I digress. Back to the story.

So we're sitting at the table. Yacking. Yacking. Derek gets up & leaves the room. For what reason? I don't know. Probably to powder his nose. But none of us was keeping tabs. Anyway. He comes back into the dining room & proclaims, "I've switched to dicks."

...

...

Uh. Yeah. We did the same thing. For about ten seconds. Until we *burst* into uproarious laughter. B/c. I don't care who ya are. That's just pretty damn funny! The conversation tanked from there and went a little something like the jumbled mess below:

Oh really?!

You did?!

Well, that's news to me.

Haha - so did we.

We always knew it would happen sooner or later.

Well, Susan, I guess you'll be needing a Leroy.

...

And so on.

He, of course, tried to defend himself by stating rather lamely that "I swear I just quoted a Dick's Sporting Goods commercial." To which we all replied, in unison, I might add, "yeah right!"

And scene. (To totally steal a favorite line of Daon's. But hey - it works here.)

Okay. So it's maybe not as funny on the re-telling. Cause, you know, it's all lost in translation & whatnot. But I swear. It was hilarious at the time. And it's still our favorite punch line to throw out at inopportune moments. Like Christmas dinner. No kidding! You should have seen his face! Priceless. And still really. freaking. funny!!!!

Nothing Here

Do you ever go back & read a string of your own posts? Yeah. That's never a good idea. Then you realize how you've been kinda lame lately. Clearly the entertaining part of my life doesn't make it to the blog anymore. Wait. Maybe I'm just not entertaining anymore ..... that's a sad turn of events right there.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fun with Photobooth

Today we got to sleep late. Finally. Except that thunder rumbled us right out of bed at the wee hour of 7 am. But we all managed to roll over for another few hours ... until the next round of storms blew in about 10. We finally gave up & got up. And accomplished a whole lotta nothin'. Except some fun photos with the Mac. Enjoy the fruits of our labors. *grin*

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Nap?

Whew. Well, the whirlwind is just about finished spinning through. We have just one (informal) Christmas party left.

After the (major) meltdown of Tuesday when I realized that I had company coming the next day and was completely not ready, all things worked out in the end. Namely: Derek had to work & we had to reschedule our Wednesday event. So....I ended up with the extra day that I so desperately needed to prepare for two days of company.

Wednesday church services went splendidly, tho I must admit that I was skeptical that the kids' pageant was going to go off without a hitch. But in the end, it did just that. Everyone commented on how polished the kids looked/acted & how beautifully they sang. *pats self on back* The kids were well-behaved to boot. So it was a win-win for all. And, of course, the traditional (mostly adult) service at 9 pm went beautifully, as well.

We hosted two family Christmases - one Thursday & one today. And both went well. The food was good, the company was fine, and a great time was had by all. The loot wasn't half bad either. *wink*

The weather is, once again, at its finest with temps in the 80s today. I have the a/c on today after running the patio heaters last night. No kidding! But ... never fear, Old Man Winter will soon reappear as an arctic front is pushing its way south & should arrive by Sunday (in time for dad's birthday party where I think we'll be running the patio heaters again!).

And now, I think it's time for a nap!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh...That Mouse Is Stirring!

"Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse . . . ." YEAH RIGHT! I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I was in WalMart at 5 am b/c I couldn't sleep. Did you know that no one shops at WalMart at 5 am? Yeah. Me either. But it sure was nice. And quiet. Altho, it was a little hard to get around b/c the employees were stocking which meant huge pallets were everywhere. Still. I got everything I went for & still made it to work by 6:45 am!

I really wish I wasn't working today, speaking of which, b/c I really don't know how to get everything done before company comes at 11ish tomorrow. It would be one thing if my evening was my own, but I have two rehearsals tonight. *sigh*

So ... here I sit. Making my lists. And checking them twice. Gonna find out whether things turn out naughty or nice. (Things may turn out nice in the end but will I be nice when it's all said & done? Judging by the conversation I just nixed with Derek ... likely not. (Don't even talk to me about what all you have to do. What a load of crap!) Uh. Sorry. Clearly I need a nap.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Countdown Begins

Oi! It's been quite a whirlwind of a weekend. I've been going non-stop since last weekend with no end in sight for any kind of real rest. 'Tis the season.

Thursday the staff took the boss out for one last hoorah - he's retiring on December 31st. We ate at this great little restaurant in Addison. I highly recommend Canary Cafe if you happen to be in the area - good prices & great food. And a nice time was had by all.

Friday was Derek's company party at Sambuca. I was a little grumpy about going, but I'd forced him to go to the dinner the night before so I was kind of obligated to go. I did have a nice time once I was there - despite the fact that we go stuck in horrible traffic getting there. We had heavy hors'derves instead of dinner this year, and while I was initially worried about getting enough to eat, there was plenty & I filled up fine. (Hey, I get grumpy when I'm hungry. Believe me, everyone thanked me for eating!) We stayed later than intended & got home later (yet more traffic on the way home - how is that possible at almost midnight?!) than we intended.

I slept in Saturday morning (hey, 9am is late for me!). Spent the morning in the craft room before heading off to rehearsal for the big program (Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio) at my paid church job. Rehearsal went pretty well. Lasted longer than we anticipated, but that's usually how those kinds of things go. We got the rough spots ironed out and that's what was important. I went back home to the craft room. I'm bound & determined to get these crazy Christmas gifts finished! I hit the hay early tho b/c I had to be up super early.

Today, my day began at the rude hour of 5AM! That's just not right, I tell you. But ... duty calls sometimes. And we weren't able to rehearse with orchestra/harp yesterday (tough economy = tight budget) so we had a 45 min. rehearsal before worship/performance. It was the most efficient rehearsal we've ever had. But it helps when everyone, singers & orchestra alike, are well-prepared. Both services went smashingly well! Musicians & singers were all right on & really did the piece justice. My director, who heard me solo this very work 5 yrs ago, said it was the best she's ever heard me sing/sound - "it was spectacularly perfect."

No rest for the weary, though, b/c I had a rehearsal with the kids after church to prepare for their Christmas pageant on Wednesday. *sigh* All I really wanted to do was lay my head down & take a nap! But we trudged through & now have a better idea of what to expect at dress rehearsal on Tuesday. Trust me, we needed that reassurance b/c last week's rehearsal was HORRENDOUS!

Now ... well, now I'm back in the craft room & working on those silly Christmas projects! Nevermind I still have grocery shopping to do & a house to finish decorating ... not to mention get clean! But somehow everything manages to get done. At this point, I'm not really sure how. But I'm going with the "everything manages to get done" theory & hoping for the best. Derek's been helpful this weekend tho - he coerced some "help" into hanging the outside lights for me. Now if I can just persuade him to vacuum! lol

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Only in Texas

So, for those of you who haven't already heard, Sunday, it was a balmy 78 degrees in N. Texas. A cold front moved in overnight. Yesterday, temps hovered in the upper 20s and we had a stiff north wind. Brrrrrrrr! It wasn't supposed to rain until today, but Old Man Winter had other ideas. It sprinkled & misted most of yesterday (at least around the area of home, tho downtown stayed drier until later in the afternoon) and overnight. This morning, everything is coated in a fine sheet of ice - the infamous Black Ice, to be exact. I attempted to go to work. It took me 20 min to drive my usual 5 min route to the bus station. Temps are still in the upper 20s, the wind is blowing (though lighter today), and a heavy mist is falling. On my way, I hear that Rockwall ISD has closed. No surprise after my slippery trek to the bus station! Once at the bus station, I decide that conditions are likely going to get worse & getting home is going to be an even more heroic journey than the trip I've just made to get there. And home I went (much to the delight of my bosses (and family) who were concerned that I would brave the slippery roadways).

The last two days brings to mind the familiar Texas phrase, "if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute." Indeed. End-of-week forecasts put us back in the upper 70s. And early next week, they're projecting another round of slippery stuff. Only in Texas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Size Charts??

So I mentioned that I went shopping this weekend for some new threads for some parties this week. And once again, I'm reminded why I hate, hate, HATE shopping for clothes. You know, guys have it soooo easy. They have to know two simple measurements - waist & inseam or neck & sleeve - and no dressing room is required. I don't know about you but, for me, finding clothes that fit is an arduous task requiring innumerable trips back & forth from racks to the dressing room with the on & off of shoes & pants & top countless times until I have a statically charged fro going on & about as much patience as a toddler on Christmas morning! *throws up hands & sighs in disgust* You can't just shop by manufacturer knowing that everything they make is universal - so a size 5 this week is a size 5 next week. Oh no. Because every time they make a pair of pants or a skirt or a top, they line up a completely different set of Chinese sample models & thus a size 3 on Tuesday may be a size 1 on Wednesday or a size 5 on Friday. *ahhhhhhhhhhh* Enough already! Ladies, why do we insist upon being so difficult? Do we really have to see some crazy, inconsistent number on the label to feel okay about our clothes? Wouldn't it be SO much easier if we adapted the guys' idea & shopped by inches instead? No more trying on unless we wanted to see whether the color or style was right for us??!! *sigh* For me, that would be a dream come true!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

So...this was a crazy weekend, to say the least! Lots & lots & lots to do and definitely not enough hours to do it all in. The crazy scampering began Friday afternoon when I got a phone call as I was leaving the hair salon in far N. Plano.

"Uh, yes, this is so-and-so with xyz delivery company and we are about 10 min. from your house if you could call us as soon as you get this message."

I immediately went into panic mode b/c the furniture's scheduled for delivery on Monday. So I call the guy back, and to make a very long story short, I found a neighbor to sign for the furniture.

Saturday, I got up early for a rehearsal in Irving. Then I headed home to work on decorations & to assemble the patio furniture & heaters with help from Derek & Frank. Everything looks wonderful, and those heaters keep things nice & toasty. Then it was off to dinner & the opera with my friend Rhonda. As usual, it was quite an adventure. We were diverted from our usual route to the Music Hall & ended up snaking through a (very scary/shady) neighborhood in the heart of Fair Park to get to Malcolm X Blvd for a turn onto MLK. There were cops everywhere. I cannot think of a time when I've seen so many. I'll bet we saw more than 50 patrol cars. We ended up being very late for the opera, but thankfully, they had held the curtain b/c lots of patrons had been stuck in the traffic snarl. We ran to our seats just in time for the overture. And it was a fabulous show! We avoided a big traffic snarl on the way home b/c we'd turned on the radio hoping to hear about whatever made us late to the opera in the first place & ended up hearing a preliminary report on that plus a traffic report. The next day we heard that there had been a big brawl after a Kwanzaa event in Fair Park & the Dallas PD Riot Unit was called out. So that explains that.

I got up early Sunday to do some Christmas shopping. Needed something for dad & something for myself for two parties. Success on all counts. I spent the rest of the day baking goodies to bring to work today. Then it was off to sing a little show in Irving. I came home & finished packaging up the goodies b/c you know they just had to have custom packaging. *grin* And now I have to hit the hay so I can get up early & drive to work with the goodies in tow.

Going to State!

Congrats to the SS Wildcats who beat Everman last night at Texas Stadium to snag their long-awaited spot in the Class 4A Div. II Championship game. In their first bid for a state title, the Wildcats will face Dayton at 2 p.m. next Saturday at the San Antonio Alamo Dome. {Doggonit, I can't go!!!!!!!!!} Go, Wildcats!
Photo from SSISD website

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vote for HS Player of the Week

I'm not sure I've blogged about this recently. So now's a good time. After a 14-yr absence, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats are back in the hunt for the Class 4A Div. 2 State Football Championship. They play Everman this Saturday at Texas Stadium in the Semi-Finals. Go, Wildcats!

Please, head over here to vote for Tyrick Rollison for Texas Football's Player of the Week (at the bottom of the left sidebar)!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Let It Snow!

So we're sitting here finishing up the movie we started last night (is it just me or is Michael Clayton not THE WEIRDEST movie you've ever seen?! I'm still not sure whether I like it or not. It's gonna take me days just to wrap my head around it.) - Derek doing his back exercises in the floor & me putting the accoutrements on one of the many Christmas garlands that will be going up. Anywho. I start hearing this weird noise. Honestly, I panicked at first thinking that my fireplace was the source of the noise. But then I realized it was coming from the direction of the patio door. And whadda ya know ... it's snowing BIG, HUGE snowflakes (can you call those things flakes? they look more like cotton balls!). And the odd noise I was hearing was sleet pellets.

Sorry I didn't take any photos myself b/c I was too lazy to dig out the camera & then use the brain power to figure out what camera setting would work best. So instead, you get someone else's photos (Rochas from Rowlett).

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tahdah! {edited}

Before the make-over (old photos - last spring, maybe?)










After the make-over












P.S. Dori loves the new patio, too!

Recession? What Recession?

Does anyone else find it funny that "the powers that be" are finally, after at least a year, acknowledging the economic downturn? I guess the elephant grew too large to ignore. We're both thankful to be in industries that do not feel the deep impact of the ups and downs of our global economy - people continue to file appeals and continue to break bones.

And with that, we move on to the ways in which we have directly stimulated the economy this week. *wink* The patio project is taking longer than anticipated, though we are not at all surprised. We figured it would b/c ... well, it's a very large space, particularly with the addition of seatable square footage, and it's a very big drainage problem being addressed. They finished laying the flagstone yesterday, and I have to say that it looks absolutely stunning. Everything is due for completion today - when they install the flowerbeds and walkways. *does the happy dance* I will, of course, post before & after photos. Next week, the patio gets its first test as we have a frontal system moving in that is due to bring rain. We expect a patio free of standing water for the first time in 5 1/2 yrs. And Dori will be grateful for dry paws!

In anticipation of our patio's inaugural soiree, we bought Home Depot's last two patio heaters. And yesterday, we ordered the most beautiful patio furniture. Incidentally, do you know how expensive that stuff is? Geez - we might have to start selling off organs at this rate. *LOL* But after much shopping around, we found a reasonably priced, name-brand set (surprise -surprise-surprise...I sure was!) on the Sam's website, which should arrive sometime before New Year's if all goes according to the quoted delivery schedule.

We're still on schedule for tomorrow's "mac daddy" surround sound installation. How I get talked into these things I'll never know... We'll now be able to watch our movies in true digital, hi-def, Blu-Ray sound. I'm so excited, can't you tell? Or is it obvious that this type of thing is completely lost on me? *wink* Whatever. What this will actually mean is more of "can you turn that down?!" *hahaha*

In other news, Derek went to his first physical therapy appointment on Wednesday, which turned out to be an interesting visit indeed. Apparently, he has absolutely no muscular structure on one side of his back (which one escapes me now). Who knows what ultimately caused the atrophy on the one side. Could be congenital. Could have been an injury. Essentially, this allows his spine to go all willy nilly b/c there's nothing to hold it in its proper place. And in turn, that movement puts pressure on surrounding tissues, which ultimately leads to the muscle spasms. The p/t said it was going to be a long road to recovery (like, better than six weeks and more like six months) b/c they're starting from ground zero on building good core support. Derek's committed to resolving the problem and hopefully, in the end, living a life free of back pain, which will allow him to resume activities that he enjoys, like golf, and activities that his wife enjoys, like mowing the lawn. *LOL*

Is anyone else excited about this cold weather? Mmmm. I love it! Roaring fires in the fireplace & a toasty cup of coffee. Yessiree. Best time of year! Now I think I just might be ready to deck the halls. If only I had the time...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Things: Installment 9

My friend Jana sent me this terrific little list, and I thought it would be an excellent entry in the Things Series. Enjoy!

25 Things about Christmas

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I use both. Some gifts are too large for bags while some are too small for boxes. More often I use boxes b/c I like the way wrapped boxes look under the tree …. and I like to keep the curious noses of four-paws out of the bags!
2. Real tree or Artificial? Unfortunately, real trees and I don’t agree – achoo! So we have an artificial tree.
3. When do you put up the tree? If it’s not our year for Christmas houseguests, then we don’t put up the tree. But when we do, the tree gets put up when we have the time to devote to decorating the whole house b/c I like to get it ALL done at the same time – inside and out.
4. When do you take the tree down? Usually New Years’ Day.
5. Do you like eggnog? I’ve never tried it. I just can’t get over the texture, which reminds me of buttermilk and I DON’T like buttermilk.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember being ecstatic about my Cabbage Patch doll. But all in all, I don't think I have a favorite gift.
7. Hardest person to buy for? My brother.
8. Easiest person to buy for? My mom.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a very beautiful crystal set we received as a wedding gift.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? While I’m sure I’ve had a doozie or two, I don’t remember them.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The Santa Clause.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Traditionally, I begin Black Friday. But I’m not opposed to buying before then if I happen to see something.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Sure. We have a White Elephant gift exchange at work.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Granny’s peanut butter fudge. Yum!
16. Lights on the tree? Definitely. I think I put about 20 strands on ours (properly to avoid overloading the circuits & causing a fire, of course).
17. Favorite Christmas song? Just one? If I had to choose just one, I think it would be “Breath of Heaven.”
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I prefer to stay home, but the holidays always involve traveling.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I may not be able to name the Beatles, but I can, without a doubt, name ALL of Santa’s reindeer!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither. But we have a beautiful bone china tree topper that I bought the first Christmas we were married.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? The day never matters to me. What's most important is getting to spend ANY time with my family. But Derek and I usually do stockings on Christmas morning. Large family gatherings/package fests usually involve one of the two days, though.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Aside from the fact that retail stores have to start shoving Christmas down my throat before we’ve even had Thanksgiving? It would have to be that people get hung up on tradition in such a way that it sucks the joy right out of the season. Why do we have to be stuck in the traditions of our childhoods? Why can’t we make new traditions?
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? My mom buys my brother & me new ornaments each year and has since we were born. Each ornament is hand-picked especially for us. I love putting those on the tree each year. We also have ornaments that each of our grandparents has given to us. Those are each very special, as well, because they are from the first years of our grandparents’ marriages. How cool is it to hang a 50 year old ornament?
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Dressing. Definitely the dressing.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A Christmas without family drama.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to Work

Can my week of vacation really be drawing to a close? It went by way too fast! I didn't get everything done. But it was nice nonetheless.

We enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving with the neighbors. We were supposed to have spent the week at the ranch, but plans changed with the boys' workloads & then Derek's back issues. So we opted to spend the time at home instead. It was a good thing too b/c Derek ended up working most of the week (despite the back - and much to my shagrin in that regard). (But he had a terrific month & is a little over $50k away from making quota. So yahoo for that!)

This is the first year in a long time that I haven't made the annual red-eye shopping trip with mom. We decided there wasn't anything for us to buy. And did you look at the ads? There wasn't a deal to be had anyway. Still, it felt a little strange. I did eventually get out, but I came home absolutely empty-handed. Derek had already spent all the money on his early-morning jaunt. *wink* Merry Christmas to Derek! (And I apologize to all of my neighbors in advance b/c once he gets that "big bad mamma jamma" surround system installed...well, you know what that means.)

The next week will be kind-of exciting at our house. Our new patio is due for installation Monday & Tuesday assuming the nice weather sticks around. Best Buy is coming to fix the big screen on Thursday. The darn bulb went out yesterday - but thank goodness for that extended warranty b/c the bulb is exPENsive (probably the only time I'm glad for the salesperson's upsale)! And the week closes with Kellum installing the new surround sound system on Saturday. (Like I said, Merry Christmas to Derek!)

Derek is doing better, for anyone who may be wondering. Still stiff but overall upright, which is a dramatic improvement over last weekend. He has his first physical therapy appointment this week. We're hopeful that things will continue to improve and further testing (i.e. MRI) will prove unnecessary.

The Christmas season is in full swing. So I will be busy, busy in the weeks to come - with singing engagements every weekend from now until Christmas. Sometime in there I have to get my decorations up...though I have no idea when that's going to happen. Guess I shouldn't have flaked off while I was home this last week. But I'm just not quite ready to be festive. Anyone else feel the same way? Maybe by the end of the week....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble, Gobble

From all of us to all of you, happy turkey day! May we all be mindful of our multitude of blessings and thank the One from whom they came!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vacation Week

I worked half a day yesterday since I was out all day Friday & didn't get things done & in order for my vacation this week. My bosses were all surprised to see me but were glad to get things out, cleaning out the end of the month status reports. Now I can enjoy my vacation knowing I didn't leave a big stack of work for the other girls to take care of in my absence.

Derek's better every day. He's still not up to standing for long periods of time, but he IS on his feet which is a huge improvement over the weekend. He has a doctor's appointment today. He's definitely getting x-rays & we're hoping to schedule an MRI, as well. We're hopeful neither set of films shows anything unusual, which would mean the issue is indeed muscular & thus 100% treatable. But, regardless of outcome, it's better to know what we're dealing with - whether a lifelong issue or something short-term (as long as he prescribes to the treatment plan this time).

Other than that, about the only newsworthy thing is a small family squabble about our holiday plans. But I won't bore you with the details of the saga that is family dynamics around the holidays. It's the same song & dance every family faces this time of year as Thanksgiving & Christmas approach. In the end, we all survive. And this year will be no different.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So That's What Happened to the Dinosaurs

Slow and Steady Wins

So when I got home from the movie - at 2:30am - the patient was still awake, though dozing. I left a message at my office telling them about the situation at home and that I would not come in until late morning & would only be in for a few hours. I got Derek what he needed before I hit the hay myself. 

I was up & down throughout the early morning as he needed things so beauty sleep I did not get. Work called about 7:45am to tell me *why on earth are you going to try to come in at all* and to stay home. I tried to explain that I wanted to get stuff done b/c I'm scheduled to be out all next week. In the end, work convinced me that nothing was important enough to warrant me leaving Derek alone for any part of the day. I ultimately decided that I'll work half a day Monday instead.

The morning brought a small improvement. Derek was able to crawl. And he was able to crawl enough to get in the tub. So he took a hot bath, which always makes you feel better anyway, and crawled to the den to watch tv for the day. Turns out he was allergic to the pain meds, so we got something different. I also got a device from his dad to help relax the muscles in his back. I could describe this critter clinically, but it will make more sense if I say that it uses electronic pulses to stimulate the muscles and nerves to loosen them up. Physical therapists & chiropractors are the most common clients to purchase these units. Derek's dad sells them (and uses one himself).

As the day wore on, Derek began to show improvement. Though not off the floor even at day's end, he was able to get up and sleep on the bed as opposed to the floor - much kinder to toosh when you're toosh isn't all that padded. And he must have been alright b/c he didn't wake me up in the night.

When he got up this morning, he was still able to crawl and seemed even a little better than when I put him to bed. He's still in the floor, though we're both hopeful that he might be able to sit up by the evening. The combination of muscle relaxers, nifty machine, and hot baths seems to be doing the trick.

I'm still encouraging him to see the doctor on Monday. I think it would be wise to get x-rays & an MRI, even if they show nothing other than the problem is muscular. This back problem has been ongoing since January, and clearly it's around to stay. Better to rule out disc or nerve issues in the early stages. So rather than throwing drugs at the problem each time, we might actually be able to get an effective long-term treatment plan to prevent these episodes altogether.

Twilight ... Not For the Non-Reader

So...Daon arrived on time, of course, and I was running late, of course. I had left the porch light on but forgot to turn the lamp on in the formal living room, which faces the street, so the house looked dark when she pulled up. Whoops. And then I didn't hear my phone ring when she called to say *yo, you still going or what.* So she was a little panicked. But I got out the door about 5 min. after our appointed time and we headed to The Harbor.

The roads are pretty empty at 10:30pm on Thursdays. Did you know that? And even emptier at 2:30am. Anywho, when we exited the freeway, the parking lot at the theatre looked pretty empty. Surprise. And there didn't appear to be hordes of people queued up outside the theatre either. Surprise number two. So. Yay, we weren't going to have to stand in the cold.

When we got inside the theatre, there was a Rockwall policewoman directing ticket-holders to the lines for the various screens showing Twilight. "Theatre six? They've already seated so go ahead to the podium." Already seated? What? It's not even 11!!!! Daon & I looked at each other and said, "so much for terrific seats." When we got to the guy at the podium, he said, "yeah, I know your e-ticket says go straight to the podium, but our management is requiring that you trade that in for one of our tickets." Okay. So back out in the cold we went to get a "real ticket" from the counter. Did I mention it was *outside* in. the. cold.? Brrr. But lickety split we had our tickets and were back inside in the warm theatre. And back to the podium. "First door on your right. Enjoy the show."

Do a little happy dance. And on we go. 

D: Looks like it's full up top. 
S: Yeah.
D: Do you want to sit together or split?
S: Together. What about over there close to the top? Looks like two together.
{Up the steps to the top. Only to realize someone's in them. *Doh* Keep walking up to get better views.}
D: Looks like all that's left is down below.
{Walk down to middle aisle between levels}
What about these handicap seats?
S: Sure. If someone needs them, we can always move. And surely they would be here by now anyway.

Clearly those crazy kids - oh yeah, that theatre was FULL, I tell you, FULL of tweens & teens all sporting Twilight attire - had lined up super early just as the news stations were reporting. Which is why they got the good seats.

The seats we ended up with weren't too bad. Not at the best angle to see the whole
 screen. But certainly not a neck-strainer like the floor seats. Score one for us! So we took a few photos of ourselves as we waited. We had quite a bit of time, after all. And we had to get one of our Twilight gear. *grin*

So what did we think of the movie? Well, we had mixed reactions. They did a fair job of adapting the book to the screenplay. I say fair b/c it was basically the book on MAJOR fast-forward. Lots of holes. Lots of bouncing around. Overall, I thought the movie was well-acted as a whole. But I like the books 1000 times better. And I won't own the movie b/c the one in my head far surpasses the one on the screen every day of the week. If you haven't read the book, Daon & I both agree that you won't appreciate the movie & you'll generally have the *I don't understand what all the fuss is about* feeling and you sure won't be enthused enough to read the series for yourself, which, of course, you should do forthwith. So do yourself a HUGE favor. Read the book BEFORE you see the movie - you'll be glad you did. 

That Was Interesting

Where do I even start? Thursday was quite an eventful day. I woke up anticipating the midnight showing of Twilight. My friend and co-worker Daon & I bought our tickets the day they went on sale & were lucky enough to snag them at a theatre very close to both of us. So we made our plans - she'd pick me up at 10:30 p.m. so we could cue up in plenty of time ... or so we thought. 

But my daydreaming of Edward ended abruptly at 9 a.m. when I got a frantic phone call from Derek who had, get this, "fallen and couldn't get up." Actually, he'd thrown his back out ... again ... while trying to pick up a t-shirt off the floor to cover the bath mat "since I know you don't like for me to step out with wet feet." {insert stab here (cause, yeah, I felt bad but who likes moldy rubber-backed bath mats??)} He heard a *pop* and hit the floor, where he still lies, as a matter of fact - well, not in the bathroom floor but in the floor nonetheless. It took him about thirty minutes to turn the water off in the shower, pull on some clothes, and drag himself to a phone to call me - all the while in excruciating pain. 

Naturally, the last bus from downtown to home had already run for the morning so I couldn't leave downtown until 3:45. Then began the calls to 1) find someone to cover the cases Derek had on the schedule for the day, 2) talk to the doctors whose cases he would be missing, 3) talk to a doctor to call in some drugs STAT, and 4) find someone to pick up his drugs & sit with him until I could get home. Derek's co-worker Michael stepped up to the task of covering his surgery schedule; his doctor was very understanding and was the one who called in the drugs he needed; and we were able to get his mom to be nurse for the afternoon so I was able to work all day.

Do you know how helpless you are to help someone with back pain? Let me just tell you. Pretty. Damn. Helpless. That's not a great feeling. Even with muscle relaxers and pain killers on board, Derek was miserable & couldn't move at all without setting off major back spasms. I won't even tell you the lengths we went to to get him to the bathroom. Let's just say, I will NEVER be a nurse. Gross! On. So. Many. Levels. Anyway. 

So basically he was cranky and loopy. Who wouldn't be, right?! My mother-in-law was kind enough to buy dinner. So she & I ate and visited a little before she headed for home, leaving me with the patient. Who really didn't want to listen to anything I had to say, whether helpful or not. He had dragged himself to the bathroom from the den while Mickey & I ate and I was trying to convince him not to drag himself back to the den & put all that stress on the spasming muscles but instead stay in the bedroom b/c he would be close to the bathroom & I could get him set up with the (tiny) tv just like he had been in the den. He got a phone call from a co-worker and a doctor during this discussion, and they finally convinced him that *hey, your wife has a good idea going there.* So I finally got him set up in the bedroom floor with phones and remote and pillows and his dinner.

Our neighbor Frank, who has major back problems himself, came over about 9 to help me get Derek into a neutral position to sleep. I won't even go into the screams and yells it took to get him there. B/c it obviously meant he had to move around which meant his back went in to full-on spasm mode with every move. Have I mentioned the helpless feeling? Yeah. Helpless. I felt helpless. We did finally get him as comfortable as possible and got some more drugs on board and he relaxed some, which of course helped with the spasms.

Enough so that I was still able to go see Twilight as planned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This, That, and The Other

So what else happened this weekend, you may wonder? Well, aside from all the fun we girls had on Friday night, I spent the remainder of the weekend working in the craft room on Christmas stuff.

Saturday started early b/c I had to get Ezmerelda to the shop for 9 a.m. for her 10,000-mile-service. Can you believe it? 10k already! On my way home, I did some gluten-free shopping for mom at Central Market. Then I met mom in Rockwall for scrapbook shopping before we headed home to spend the remainder of the day in the craft room. We had a great time and, of course, bought goodies that we didn't necessarily need but needed. *wink* And we got lots done, too. I'm proud to say that the outsides of my Christmas cards are done. Now I have to get the inside sentiments stamped/assembled, write notes in the cards, address them, and mail them. Looks like I'll be done by Thanksgiving!

Sunday I enjoyed a day at home. It's the first Sunday in I'm not sure how long that I didn't have morning obligations. And since we're about to enter into Advent, I know it's the only Sunday I'll have until the first of the year. So I took advantage of it. I spent all day in my pjs in the craft room working on the project I'd started the afternoon before. I was able to finish the prototype for another Christmas project & am tickled pink with the result. It took a little longer to finish than I anticipated, but now that the first one is done, I think the rest will come together much faster.

This week is a busy one. I have something to do every night. But I'm most excited about Thursday night b/c I'm going to the midnight showing of Twilight with my friend Daon. (Don't worry, Daon, I won't tell everyone about your celebrity stalking. *wink*) We read the entire series of books over the summer and absolutely fell in love with Edward and Bella's story. I'm not really sure how the movie will do the first book justice, but I can't wait to find out!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Today's Quote

"You can’t make footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt.
And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time?"
- Bob Moawad


I saw this on another blog today, and it made me giggle ... and also stop & think. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Girls Night

So I invited some of my good girlfriends over for wine & munchies on Friday. I hatched the plan b/c Derek was supposed to be out of town on business. It turned out that he didn't go on his trip, but he was kind enough to vacate to the sanctuary of Bob's house for the evening. The plan was to listen to the recording of my October recital b/c they weren't able to be there in person.

Well, let's just say, "the best laid plans" snuck up & bit me. And by that, I mean that my loverly recording wouldn't play on a single CD player in my house - not a single one. I even got my techno-geek on the job & he couldn't make the discs work either. That meant the only place we could listen to the discs was in Ezmerelda. Talk about a "cutie head moment," to borrow a phrase from SarahK.

So....we munched & drank & gabbed for several hours. I hadn't seen a few of the girls in a while so there was a lot to catch up on (like honeymoon & engagement stories). Despite our various backgrounds (though all but Daon are theatre geeks (hope we didn't bore you, Daon!)), we all "got on famously," as my Irish friends would say.



The girls finally decided that they wanted to hear at least one or two songs from the recital. So we piled into good ol' Ez & started the tunes. As you can see, a good time was had by all. 

Let's have another concert in the car again soon, girls!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Finally!

All in all, it was a very productive weekend. Friday, Derek flew in early from a conference in New Orleans. So we enjoyed a nice, quiet evening at home. Can't really say that we accomplished much other than veg time. Saturday, we got an early start. I made breakfast, and then we loaded the truck & headed to the dump...finally! What shouldn't go to the dump went to the local recycle center (anyone know where you can take your styrofoam?). And the boxes of old clothes finally went to Goodwill. We put things in cabinets and drawers and hung stuff on walls. We spread mulch & fertilizer and put bundled water hoses away. While the garage is still not neat, tidy, & organized, it's well on the way and looks soooo much better now that all that trash is gone & things have found more permanent homes. *ahhh* Time to tackle the inside mess now, I'd say. ;p

Aside from that, we enjoyed the lovely weather while out & about running our errands. And Dori very much enjoyed the fact that we took her on several of our adventures. She loves to ride! And she loves that we took her to check out the brand new Rowlett PetsMart. It's sooo nice - and so much closer.

Yesterday I talked Derek into piano shopping. We've (I've) been talking about a piano for several years. I ultimately talked myself out of an acoustic piano. They're beautiful, but the upkeep and special care are just not worth it for my purposes. While I do play, I really need the piano for rehearsal purposes rather than entertainment or even teaching, for that matter. I've shopped around for quite a while without coming to any real definite decision. Mostly, I haven't had to b/c I've been able to borrow my mom's digital keyboard. But it's come to the point where I had to get one of my own. So we went to Guitar Center and looked around. And came home with a Yamaha Arius 140. It was super easy to set up, but most importantly for me, it plays much like an acoustic (hammer action, that is). I 0pted for the mid-range model b/c I don't need the bells & whistles or true-to-life hammer action that the more expensive models offered. My model does everything I need.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Halloween, Earthquakes, and Elections - Oh My!

Did it seem like you had fewer trick-or-treaters this year? It seemed that way to us. We had quite a few but nothing like last year ... or so I'm told. (I was just excited to be around for Halloween this year - the last several years it's fallen on rehearsal nights.) We all dressed up & passed out candy. We started at the front of the neighborhood but weren't getting any kids, so we moved to our street instead, which turned out to be a smart idea. A great time was had by kids & adults alike.

The remainder of the weekend was quiet. Oh ... except that N. Texas had another earthquake (mag 2.7). I guess our fault line is no longer aslumber. It was about the same size as the one on Friday and in the same general area.

So ... we have a new president. In other news, the good people of N. Texas elected some fantastic judges to the court. Basically, that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


Shake, Rattle, and Roll

It's no Halloween prank - we had an earthquake! At midnight, N. Texas experienced a magnitude 3.0 quake. Not since 1997 has Texas experienced seismic activity. The quake was centered on the Irving/Grand Prairie border. Did we feel it? Nope - or if we did, we promptly went back to bed & didn't register it in the memory bank.

In other news, today is Halloween! Halloween is one of my favorite fall holidays. There's just something about dressing up & pretending to be someone/something else. Do you guys have plans for Halloween? We're passing out candy with the neighbors - in costume, of course. Come by - we'd love to see what you've decided to be for Halloween!

Also, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF EARLY VOTING! Let your voice be heard.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Every Vote Counts

I did it - I voted. Have you? I went to the downtown polling location b/c it's across the street from my office. But there are polling locations everywhere. So if you haven't voted, I recommend you do it early to avoid the predicted long lines on election day. You have TODAY and TOMORROW to early vote. Otherwise, pack your patience on Super Tuesday.

Exercising your right to vote is important. And yes, your vote matters. So let your voice be heard.

{Special thanks to fellow blogger Emily for the poster - it's from her favorite graphic artist}

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things: Installment 8

It's time again for a list of "Things" - I know you guys have missed it!

Things: I Love About Fall
  1. Crisp mornings
  2. Beautiful colors
  3. Sweaters
  4. Flannel sheets
  5. Holidays
  6. Pumpkins
  7. Daylight savings
  8. It's actually dark when I go to bed
  9. Toe socks
  10. Scarves
  11. Fleece
  12. Cuddly critters on the bed
  13. Fires in the fireplace
  14. S'mores
  15. Hayrides

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Indeed

As they say, you need only wait a little while ... fall is definitely rolling in as the wind picked up this evening & temps began dropping. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed the beautiful weekend weather - though it was a bit warm (upper 80s) for my taste. I believe fall just might be here to stay tho. The weathermen are even talking about freezing temperatures for the upcoming week! Ah ... fall ... it truly is my favorite time of year!

It was a nice quiet weekend for us - one of the first we've had in a while. We finally had the time to meet a landscape designer about our backyard drainage issue. We, of course, talked about how we would address that while also dressing up the space to make it more conducive to the entertaining we enjoy. Next weekend we get to see the design & quote. I'm anticipating sticker shock in hopes that I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday I ran around with mom who came to town to do a little grocery shopping (I know that's strange, but it's hard to find celiac-friendly food in E. Texas.). And I feel compelled to recommend two places to you. First, we had lunch at a celiac-friendly bistro in Plano. 100% of the menu is gluten free - everything from bread to lunch meat to pizza to dessert. Mom had a burger & I had a sandwich & we had to try the dessert of the day - it was wonderful! They also have a bakery - and the holiday menu looks divine! This place must be pretty popular b/c they're getting ready to move to a bigger space. Delicious-n-fit is worth the drive, especially if you have friends with special dietary needs. They can make dining items to order and they also serve dinner. We then headed to Sprouts to do the grocery shopping. We've had pretty good luck finding gluten/wheat free items at both Whole Foods and Central Market, but we'd heard that Sprouts had better selection. I do think there were more items to choose from, and they were definitely easier to find. I think it's the first time that we found just about everything on mom's list in one store! Sprouts also had wonderful produce at very reasonable prices. I can't wait for the Murphy location to open.

I spent many hours in the craft room this weekend. It was time for some cleaning & reorganizing in that space, let me tell you. For one thing, I got a new toy for my birthday. It's a nifty scoring tool and it needed a home on my desk, which was a wreck. I'd neglected to clean up from recent projects & there was no way to start anything new until I got things back in order. So now I can mess it all up again! For another thing, Meeko has discovered my ribbon stash. Oh the fun he has with all those spools of ribbon. But I've put the kabosh on that - it's all in mason jars now ... take that! I spent Sunday afternoon working on the prototype for this year's Christmas card. I'm happy to say that it only took me three tries to get one I was happy with ... and it's even Derek-approved! Now I can get started on the assembly line & perhaps have those finished in about a week, if all goes as planned. Then I can get started on the Christmas gift items. I may actually have everything done before Christmas this year!

Now if I can just get the rest of my house in order....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall?

With the latest few cold fronts, it's beginning to feel a little more like fall ... or is it? I mean, the mornings are pretty crisp (in the 50s) but the afternoons are still kinda toasty (upper 70s), especially if you're in the sun. I really love fall - it's my favorite season. But I can do without this in-between stuff. I mean, I can't NOT wear a sweater - you know, being cold-natured & all - but I can't wear summer stuff either - see cold-natured reference. Even the plants are confused. Take, for instance, my rosebush - it's absolutely covered in buds & blooms. You'd think we were in its prime growing season. I guess I won't look the gift-horse in the mouth but enjoy the gifts instead.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Need a Laugh?

iGoogle

So ... am I behind the times or what? I'm just now discovering iGoogle. I'm sure the rest of you are thinking "where've you been." Well, apparently, I was hiding under a rock. My friend Emily mentioned it in her post over the weekend, and I just had to hop over to Google & check it out. Who knew Google could be so fun ... and personal?! If you like to personalize your desktop, iGoogle is for you. I'm having a blast with my current fall theme.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary


to us ... eight years today!

Monday, October 20, 2008

No Going Back

After reading a little blurb in today's Quick about the new Mac smear campaign, I felt obligated to reply - in snarky fashion, of course. Enjoy!



Sure, you may be a PC. But you still suck. No matter who's tapping at your keyboard - Seinfeld, Longoria-Parker. You even admitted that it took a Mac (or two hundred) to produce the very commercial that affirms you aren't the dark side. Let's not forget. You get viruses. Irreparable viruses. Viruses that require me to lose everything & start over. And you crash. A lot. In the middle of important documents. In the middle of blurfing. For no reason whatsoever. And that project I was working on? Gone. Forever to the pits of parts unknown. That new "fabulous" OS you're now shoving down my thr... *ahem* I mean, selling to the public is compatable with ... oh ... basically nothing. Not even your own brand of software. Not even your own favorite factory-installed components. And the patch you put out to fix the flaws? It did nothing but create more problems. More glitches. More "you must be an administrator" messages. So. Yeah. You might be a PC. But Mac will always be superior to you. And once your PCers figure this out, they will kiss their new, shiny, take-me-out-of-the-box-and-hook-me-up-in-two-minutes-with-two-wires Macs every day. Because they can still run their favorite PC programs on their new, stable, superior, virus-free, crash-free Mac. And you know what? They'll never ask themselves why they ditched you. They'll just wonder why they didn't do it sooner. I'm a Mac!

Quiet...perhaps

So with the recital behind me, I was under the impression things would slow down a little ... at least for a few weeks. If last week was any indication, someone lied about the slowing down part.

Actually. Last week was really just a fluke. Since my birthday fell a few days before the recital, no proper celebrating could be undertaken b/c I was holed up in the practice room every evening. And the weekend was slated for rest rather than celebration. So last week was a make-up for lost time. Tuesday we had dinner & a movie with the neighbors. (The new Indiana Jones movie is ... well ... disappointing at best.) Thursday we had Japanese with the neighbors at our favorite local restaurant. Friday we had sushi with my brother & his wife in Mesquite - who knew there was a good sushi place there?! Saturday we went to a murder mystery party - a mob wedding. It was terrific fun! Sunday I went to a show with my girlfriend Elise. The show was ... interesting. The cast was great. The musical itself ... well, the jury's still out on that one. But Elise & I always have a good time hanging out. We grabbed a snack after & sat around catching up for several hours. I'm not sure we can ever run out of things to laugh about.

But now the birthday is (mostly) celebrated and I can finally settle in to a quieter routine. But that, of course, does not mean that things have settled down that much. Nope. It's just that my next big event isn't for another eight(ish) weeks. So I have a little breathing room. A little time to stop and smell the roses, as they say. I'm looking forward to evenings at home, my favorite tv shows (aren't you just loving Fringe - ooooh, me too!!!), some time in the craft room. And I know my friends & family are excited about seeing me a little more often - and without me dashing off for an early bedtime (alright, earlier than usual).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shameless Election Plug

Ordinarily, I do not espouse to the world any kind of political anything. It's just not my thing. I figure: you have a brain, I have a brain, we'll each use our own brains coupled with our own convictions to make electoral decisions that work for us as individuals. Good policy - yes? Yes. I think so too.

This year, however, I must step out of my comfort zone & actually make an endorsement ... of sorts. You see, I work with elected officials - good, hard-working, honest people of integrity. And this year, more than any other year, the importance of the election cycle is really driven home for me. And everything is riding on YOU (and me, too). That is not to say that it does not ordinarily depend on you - of course it does. You're the voter, after all. It's just that this year things could change in my own backyard if you choose not to vote with a brain.

So, first off, GET OUT AND VOTE!

Secondly, you're probably wondering what "vote with a brain" means. Here's the simple answer. This year, I'm asking you ... no begging you ...: for the love of all things good, holy, and just, if you live in Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Hunt, Rockwall, or Kaufman county and you're a Democrat, DO NOT STRAIGHT TICKET VOTE!

Why? Should you choose to straight ticket vote in this election, you will, without a doubt, elect the least qualified person for the appellate bench. This has nothing to do with party affiliation. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Appellate judges make rulings based on established law and code - never on political affiliation or personal beliefs. NEVER! They claim party affiliation in elections because they are required to do so. Plain & simple: in the races for appellate benches, it has everything to do with qualifications and nothing to do with politics! So ask yourself: Should these folks have trial experience? Should they have experience in appellate law? If they are currently on a bench, should they follow established law?

I don't care if you call yourself a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, a conservative, a moderate, a liberal, or a flibberdigibbit, for the love of pete! Set aside your thoughts about the national races and put the most qualified candidates on the appellate bench. In short, for this one race, *hold your nose* and vote Republican!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whew...

Well, my birthday weekend has drawn to a close. And what a grand (and busy) weekend it was! Friday, we had a lovely steak dinner with the neighbors. Good food, good wine, good dessert. Couldn't ask for more! Thanks to my friends & family who, in one way or another, made my day a special one!

Saturday I enjoyed a nice "lie in," as the Irish call it. Derek got me breakfast since he wasn't up early enough to do that on my birthday (I guess breakfast at 5:45 a.m. is kind-of a high expectation...LOL). I spent a fair portion of the day in my pjs making cards for all the folks involved in the recital. But late in the afternoon, I had to get ready to face the world & run some errands. I managed to bribe Derek into making that trek with me. Of course, it never hurts to mention he HAD to taste test cookies. =)

And then, the big day arrived. Whitney and I sang one of our recital pieces in morning worship. It was actually nice to have a reason to roll out of bed at a reasonable hour. Both of us would have otherwise been slugs most of the day & likely not warmed up until late afternoon. Not to mention, it was also a good plug for the evening performance.

Last night's performance, while not as well-attended as we had hoped, was a smashing success! Sure, we had our bobbles here & there - welcome to live performance - but all in all, we couldn't have asked for better singing. Everyone was complimentary. So...thanks
  • to all of our tech folks who made it possible;
  • to James McQuillen who played stunningly;
  • to our boss Nicki who gives us every opportunity to stretch our wings;
  • to our voice teachers who push us to be the best we can be;
  • to our families for their support & encouragement; and

a special thanks to everyone who was able to attend!

Afterward, I celebrated my birthday with my family over pot roast and homemade birthday cake. It was a good weekend indeed!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!


Special thanks to Anna Wight - fellow Libra & animal lover - for allowing me to use the great hand-drawn birthday art above! Anna's a very talented local Texas artist, photographer, and card-maker. Hop on over & pay her a visit!

The story behind the chicken:

When I was two, I got chickens for my birthday. True story! I've always had a thing for chickens. I really like the "fancy" chickens. That probably started with my first chickens, too - they were Cochins. Did you know that chickens, like lots of domesticated animals, each have a unique personality? Yep. Sure do. Some are sassy. Some are sweet. Some like to be held. Some are divas. Well, you get the picture. I would LOVE to have chickens now. Can't you just see a bunch of fancy chickens running around my yard? But Derek says no. =( Guess they're probably not the best pets for city living....especially with a dog who likes to chase small critters.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Final Plug


Sunday. 5 p.m. Lake Highlands UMC. 9015 Plano Rd, Dallas. FREE! Be there!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Yep, We're Ready

Last night's three-hour rehearsal was fantastic! We've tweaked, we've staged, we've re-lit, we've rearranged, and we've set the mic levels. From top to bottom, you'll hear some of the finest musicians in town. You're definitely in for a treat! Even the accompanist said so.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hilton Now Pet Friendly

In my latest edition of the SPCA's Paw Street Journal, there's an article about Hilton's latest endeavor to become a pet-friendly hotel. Aside from modifying policies to allow your furry friend to stay with you at any Hilton Hotel, the chain has partnered with Pet Shelters Across America. In addition to a $500,000 donation, Hilton will donate sheets, towels, and blanks to PSAA to foster a comfortable living environment for all animals in the care of participating PSAA shelters across the U.S. For more information, visit the company's website.

Beginning to Feel Ready

As you know, this is crunch week for the recital on Sunday. Just thinking about it makes me get all whoozy & have a tummy full of butterflies. And, in usual fashion, it means hours and hours of rehearsing. The three of us participating have had a few rehearsals on group numbers - the first of which was pretty sketchy and, quite frankly, made me wonder if we were going to be ready at all. But last night totally calmed the panic.

I had a voice lesson, which went smashingly well, if I do say so myself. We sang through all of my pieces and only tweaked a few here and there. It's nice to know the work you put in in the practice room is proper/correct/in the right direction to someone else's trained ear! So that was the first calming deep breath - whew, the voice teacher thinks you're ready.

I went straight from there to another group rehearsal. Our boss was kind enough to sightread music & help us tweak the group pieces. We ironed out all the rough places - have tempos set, odd key changes worked out, etc. Another deep breath - the boss is excited about the program.

To me, last night's group rehearsal was the biggest help as the group numbers were (surprisingly) the ones I've been most concerned about. Now, when we meet with our accompanist for the first time tonight, we'll be completely prepared and it will be an efficient use of everyone's time.

Every available minute today will be spent reviewing lyrics b/c those seem to go *poof* the first time you sing in front of a new set of ears. But all in all, I'm confident that we'll give you guys a great show on Sunday!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Happy (Early) Birthday and a Merry Christmas, too

So I took Friday off b/c I had tons of things to get done & likely not enough weekend to do them all. Plus, it's been super quiet at work, and I like to take advantage of quiet Fridays when I can! Did I accomplish everything on the to-do list? Uh. Not exactly. But I knocked out the big things - the taxes are (finally) off to the accountant, the house is (mostly) clean, my hair's cut & colored, and I got some time in the practice room (though not nearly enough!).

Yesterday, after I got my hair done - which is quite an affair, let me tell you - I called Derek to meet me for lunch. We ate at this great (new-to-us) burger joint at FireWheel & then I made him go shopping with me. Well, actually, he's been bugging me to tell him what I wanted him to buy me for my birthday. SO I told him it would just be easier if he went with me. =)

He's had several bees buzzing around in the bonnet - like, wouldn't I like a new purse (I'd mentioned it several weeks ago) and, oh, wouldn't it be terrific to get a new computer. I know what you're thinking. Exactly what I was thinking. I'll take the purse ... and maybe some new shoes to match the new purse and call it a day. haha Long story short, yep, I did get a new purse (and matching wallet) and decided that was plenty & actually walked out of the store without looking at the shoes. *Gasp* I know! And then.....

He talked me into going just to look at the computer he thought I needed. I tried arguing that I didn't need a new computer. Sure, I do absolutely loathe Windows Vista which is on my current desktop, but it's no reason to rush out for a new machine even if I have been reading all kinds of things I can't do on my PC that I could do on the Mac he wanted me to see.

I ultimately agreed to go look. I asked the Apple geek all the tough questions about the computer, its specs, its programs, etc. And as he put the Mac through its paces, I began to understand why people are so in love with their Macs. These machines are just pretty darn slick. (It's no wonder graphic designers won't dream of using any other machine!) When it was all said and done, I had my Christmas present, too.

So without further ado, meet the newest member in our household network (the one on the right).

I've spent a good amount of time learning about my new computer. It doesn't do things exactly the same way a PC does. (Things are easier!) Man, it's got some nifty features. Mom, photo editing is a SNAP - you have to come try this out!

Other than that, not much from here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Ack! That's AWFUL!

So, I'm like 4 yrs behind. Huh, you say? Today is the first time I've (attempted) watching the 2004 movie version of Phantom of the Opera. OMG - someone stab me in the ear, shoot me, put me out of my misery! It's absolutely DREADFUL! Dreadful, I tell you. Pretty faces but absolutely horrible voices. Someone make it stop! Make the ear torture stop! For. the. love.

[realizes]

Oh wait, I have the remote.

[changes channel]

Ahhhh. Better. SO much better.

If you appreciate *good* singing, spare yourself from this one!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

So Maybe I Do...

Care just a little about the upcoming election. A little. About what cuckoo might end up in office. About who might be allowed the privilege (?) to muck things up even more than they are already. Yeah. So I care. And given the current state of affairs, I'm guessing that you probably do too. So, watch this PSA (warning: some profanity). And then put your thinking cap on. B/c it's gonna take some real brains to pick the right cuckoo this time around.




(note: this is NOT, I repeat, NOT an invitation to tell me about your candidate. kthx.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Typical Cleaning Day

You could substitute any one of the Fox menagerie in place of Peekaboo & you'd have a typical day of cleaning at our house, too.



Monday, September 29, 2008

Close of Another Show & the Ongoing Saga of the Million Dollar Dog

DeJa Revue went without (too many) a hitch this weekend. We had good attendance at both performances. Naturally, Sunday's performance far exceeded Saturday. As with any show, it was a lot of work but worth it in the end. Thanks to all of my family & friends who attended!

And that leaves two very short weeks to prepare for the second performance in LHUMC's Festival of Music Series. An Evening of Song will feature the church's paid solo staff - yours truly included. The twenty-song hour(ish)-long program has something for everyone. Repertoire spans from Broadway to opera to art song to sacred music. Like I said, there's something for everyone. It's crunch time for us & we're really beginning to feel the pressure after DeJa Revue. The next two weeks will once again be filled with rehearsals. But I have to say that I'm much more excited about this show than the last, but it's probably b/c I programmed myself, which means very little choreography. (haha)

In other news, my family in Houston finally has both power and water as of yesterday. Whahoo! I know that the last several weeks have been very tough for them. Can you imagine trying to carry on your day-to-day business without power or water? Nope, me either.

Dori went for her annual teeth cleaning last week. She'd already been for her annual check-up & shots in late August. At the August appointment, we discussed some odd things going on with her back hip. A physical exam showed possible arthritis or hip displaysia. We decided to wait for confirmation via xray when she had her dental cleaning b/c she'd be much more cooperative for the xrays with anesthesia. (Dori hates lying on her back for any reason other than her own gumption!) In the meantime, we started her on glucosamine/chondroitin. Yep, just like you & I would take. One of her labs also came back a little wonky, but the vet who saw her in August thought it could be as a result of the early-stage periodontal disease & sort-of dismissed it. Her dental appointment was with her "regular" vet who is responsible for managing Dori's hepatitis. She was a bit more concerned about the odd labwork from August. So on top of the dental & xrays, Dori had a liver biopsy. Why? Well, that will actually tell us what's going on instead of just showing a shift in numbers like bloodwork does. So we'll know if her current meds are effective, whether a med adjustment is needed, and why her numbers were a little off this time. Xrays did confirm mild/early hip displaysia. We continue with the current treatment regimen & see how it goes. Oh, and we also found out Dori has a "rip roaring" UTI, which is odd b/c she didn't present the usual symptoms. Because she takes maintenance antibiotics, we had to send her urine sample off for culturing so we could pinpoint an effective antiobiotic to knock out the UTI. We get all the labs back this week. As the lady up front said when I picked her up, "Dori was an awfully expensive baby today." Uh, yeah, no kidding. Thank goodness for pet insurance!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Campaignin' - the musical

Check out the latest parody from JibJab about this year's Presidential Election - these never fail to make me laugh my butt off!Time for Some Campaignin' Funny Jokes at JibJab

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tech Week

So ... I finally waved the white flag & surrendered ... to my allergies, that is. I took a comp day on Friday. I slept until 9:30 a.m. Can you believe it?! I couldn't. I did the same thing Saturday, too. I knew I was tired but had no idea I was that tired. Sunday came and I finally felt like a human instead of a zombie.

So with my long weekend, I mostly stayed indoors - for obvious reasons. Friday was my lazy day. I made some birthday cards. I picked up around the house. I did a load or two of laundry. I practiced my recital music. Mostly I just tootled around & did a whole lotta nothin'. Saturday I cleaned house b/c it had to be done - and company was coming. Did a little more laundry. Sang some more. Caught up on the DVR shows. Sunday I had a lunch meeting about the upcoming recital. And then I went dress shopping. Ugh. Remind me NOT to do that on a Sunday afternoon ever again!

And there you have it, my exciting long weekend.

This week is tech week for the Broadway review at the paid church gig. I just love tech week. Anyone else sense another Friday of rest?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Welcome, Nola!

Magnolia Belle Potemkin, daughter of my cousin Cheryl & her husband Alex, arrived this morning at 5:33 and weighed in at a whopping 9.4 pounds and is 19 inches long. According to the doctor, Cheryl is "Superwoman" - he has never experienced a woman that remained so calm giving natural childbirth to such a large baby. Mom & baby are both perfectly healthy.

Houston Family Update

From my Aunt Dee:

I talk to Nancy and Kenneth daily right now. Robin and Emma came to stay with Uncle Gregg and I last Friday to get out of harm's way. It was windy here in Brenham with some small branches but nothing of any consequence. We were glad that Robin and Emma came. Nancy and Kenneth got hit pretty hard. News stated that winds in their zip code reached 93 mph. Their homes did not flood but streets had some. Trees and limbs and branches and debris everywhere. Robin's house had a tree on it but it did not do any damage to the house. Kenneth recently had surgery on his shoulder and is not suppose to lift anything over 5 pounds so this makes it impossible for him to do any clearing. Thankfully they have lots of friends and neighbors that have come over to help. They are still without electricity and their land line and water but those of us who have had to weather these storms out before know that this is to be expected. We are always amazed at what upsets others. We never depended on the government to provide us with water and food after these disasters so we just keep moving on and find a way to provide for ourselves. It is much less stressful that way than to wait for someone to take care of you. Anyway, They went to their country home today and it is a mess out there in Liberty County. Gregg and I will go this weekend to help with that clean up. Robin and Emma went home today with an invitation to come back if the electricity is still out next week. It is difficult for a 3 year old to understand why it is too dangerous for her to go and play and also why she can't watch her videos or take a bath. Gregg and I have enjoyed her sweet nature and entertainment she has provided us. She is so loving and cute. One of Robin's good friends home was destroyed by a tree in their mobile home. Thankfully they had evacuated to Splendora. They will stay with Robin till they can find another place and get back on their feet. From what I have been told their area was hit very hard. They have not shown any coverage on the Sheldon area.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reflections on Ruth by Kevin

Here were some thoughts on the way over from Bangkok to LA.

Such mixed emotions. I am on my first 747 flight. Always wanted to do this. Ever since I was a wee bairn, I have flown all over the place and longed wistfully to be on this big flying building. I would even be jealous of the UPS guys that got to fly on the jumbo cargo runs.

But it’s just not the same. Some of the luster is gone. I wanted to share this with my best friend. This and so many other little things. She liked the things I didn’t when we would go to eat. I thought about saving the yogurt on the plane for breakfast for her this morning. I hate yogurt.

Then it caught me again, like trying to get out of the car with your seatbelt still on. I forget she’s not here until it’s too late to prepare my heart for the jolt back into the car. I just want to get out, but I keep getting pulled back in.

I don’t mind remembering. I even embrace the sadness at times, so I don’t get hardened and brittle. Brokenness is where the potter can start over. Remake me Lord, I am broken. I want to stop forgetting so the sadness doesn’t startle me, just gently reminds me to miss her.

One day…

Peace and comfort I have received in the knowledge that so many people are doing so many things to make this easier. People caring for my children, comforting them, hugging them, standing in the gap until I can get back to them. Some friends have gone to the house to get it ready for us to arrive. There are even people making plans for the memorial service, so we won’t have to carry the entire burden of that.

The celebration service is Saturday 11 a.m. at First United Methodist in Longview. It was one of the few places in town big enough for all of you to attend. Plus she loved the sanctuary there. And it is not a funeral, but a memorial celebration. The family will not be all in black, nor do we expect you to be either. A wise friend from home in China noted Ruth dressed so colorfully and vibrantly (inside and out), that we should honor that. (He had only known her a few weeks, yet she had already made an impression). Good idea.

I only packed to stay a few days with Ruth after surgery. My aunt came down from China to stay with Ruth for a couple of weeks while she recovered fully. Then I think they were going shopping. Ruth had an excuse (she didn’t really need one), since she had lost a dress size or two after the operation and recovery.

My cousin David packed for all three boys in 15 minutes as they were trying to catch a flight to Bangkok, and it was leaving soon. (Thanks David, you got us together quicker than I could have dreamed).

Since the boys and I brought very little clothing with us to Thailand, we went and bought some things to wear this weekend. Things Ruth would have liked us in. (Plus they were on sale, she would be so proud). So join us in this celebration of a life that brought so much joy and wisdom to so many. Share with us the joy and laughter she brought to us. Cry with us too. It is so sad to go on without her. But she is doing her funny little dance now in front of a Savior who she loved so intimately. Let’s get together and share what she means to us and how He used her to show us joy and grace and beauty.

Kevin

Update

My brother comes home from the coast today or tomorrow (which day escapes me now). I'm sure he'll have more stories to share.

No updates on my family in Houston. Any of you have news on them?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Take Me Behind the Barn...

And shoot me. Familiar with the phrase? Maybe it's only familiar to those of us who grew up on a farm. Right now, I think a bullet in the head would be better than the misery my allergies are wreaking. Do you know what the counts were on Monday? No? How about 10, 210 ppm! Oh yeah. You read that right. Hence...my misery. Yesterday, it was down to a mere 5,743. And today, we're down to a whopping 4,798. And, of course, the fungus - my biggest offender - accounts for most of that, weighing in at 4,000. Did I mention the misery?

Yep. That's all I have for you. Because. Quite frankly. My brain is a jumbled mess of jelly-like thoughts and ramblings. Do I know what that means? Not really. Other than, not a single one of those thoughts & ramblings can be connected to make any kind of sense. And I can barely function like a normal person. I mean, I can't seem to make my lunch. Or have a cup of tea. Without making a huge mess! Because even those mundane tasks just seem to be too much for me. And I'm trying to learn lyrics for the upcoming show & subsequent recital. You should hear the interesting results! Gibberish, I tell you. Absolute gibberish.

Kinda like this post. Which is why I'm going to end your misery. Right now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

An Assignment

David finally has an assignment! Right now, he's in Lufkin serving as escort for a unit of the National Guard. No word beyond that at this time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Family's Fine

All the Houston family is fine. Without power & water. For the most part contained to their neighborhood b/c of downed trees. But fine nonetheless. They do have generator power for necessity items. No word on when utilities will return.

David is still waiting for assignment. He found out this morning that Control Center "lost" an entire group of troopers. They signed in with Control as ordered when they arrived on Thursday, however, that paperwork went *poof* and they were in limbo until today. They're obviously frustrated b/c they could have had assignments yesterday afternoon if they hadn't gotten lost in the shuffle. But things are now worked out & they should have duty stations in the next 24 hrs. (Photo: this is what the staging area parking lots look like - a sea of black & white.)