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.



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.)

Ruth Shorey

For those of you with whom I grew up & went to church camp, you may remember Kevin & Ruth Shorey - niece & nephew of Leroy & Jane Ramsey. Kevin & Ruth recently answered a call to serve with Leroy & Jane in China. After arriving there, Ruth began having health problems & ended up having emergency surgery in Bangkok, Thailand. The surgery went well, however, she had a post-op pulmonary embolism, was rushed to the hospital, and ultimately passed away.

Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday, September 20 at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist in Longview, Texas. Donations for travel & burial expenses are being accepted, and I have that information if you'll simply post a comment that you would like to have it.

UPDATE: As a family we have decided this should be a celebratory service, so we will wear clothing that she loved us in. Please wear what will be comfortable for you. Thank you for all your help and support. Esther

Blue Skies Shining On Me

Nothing but blue skies - to borrow a line from an old song. We've woken up to an absolutely beautiful morning - blue skies w/ wispy white clouds & cool fall-like temps. "Oh, what a beautiful morning!" Indeed!

David's still waiting. He doesn't wait well. But it's much more likely they'll get orders today. Ivan did a lot of damage on the coast, so the assistance of DPS is certainly needed - for crowd control, traffic control, and looting patrols.

More info as we know it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Seems Like a Miss

It appears that the worst may be over. The wind blew, the rain pelted, the patio flooded. It's still raining & windy, but it's a more typical N. Texas rainstorm at this point.

Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I'd expected. Ike tracked a bit further east than forecast yesterday. That's good for both us & my parents. We haven't been out to survey damage, but I would be surprised to find anything major. We lost power before the storm for about an hour but got it back & it's remained on without flickers since then (much to our surprise).

Derek & I had to get out in the middle of the storm to tend to the patio issue - that was fun. Talking about stinging rain - yeowch! And we looked like drowned rats by the time it was all said & done. But we got the water issue under control. The rain has slowed, so I doubt we'll have to worry about that further.

My brother, last I heard, is still at the staging facility in NW Houston. Several units have been deployed to various places - Beaumont, Port Arthur, etc. - but he's still awaiting orders. At this point, the only way to Galveston is via air or by water. The intercoastal waterway is completely obstructed by water and/or debris. Downtown Houston was under water in various places midday. It's littered with glass and other debris in the dry parts. I suspect David will be ordered to that area, but that's only an educated guess on my own part.

Still no word from our family in NE Houston, but we assume no news is good news. The phones will likely be unreliable as they're either a) down or b) jammed with loved ones calling to check on each other.

Again, updates on family as I get them.

Morning Update

We haven't heard from my brother yet today, but that's not terribly surprising. We're not sure we'll be able to get phone calls through to him given the current situation in the Houston area. My mom did speak to him last night. My s-i-l talked to David early this morning. Believe it or not, he slept through the storm. The wind woke him up several times, but he just rolled over and went back to sleep. Figures! He and 200 other Troopers are sheltering in a high school in Northwest Houston. They ran no patrols yesterday - only staged for after-storm duty. They were not anticipating going on duty today until after conditions became favorable for safe travels, which will likely be in the next several hours. Safety is, of course, of utmost importance even for rescue & recovery efforts. It was not clear what their duties would be exactly, but he anticipated running anti-looting patrol. As we hear more, I'll let you know.

Likewise, we have heard nothing from family in Houston - for the same reasons we haven't heard from David. They're in the higher areas in Houston - those least likely to flood due to storm surge and/or heavy rains. So we suspect they are safe & sound.

Us? We're just waiting. It's windy now with occasional gusts. Nothing more than you'd expect in the spring in N. Texas. Thus far, we've had nothing but sprinkles. The leading edge of Ike is just now coming into N. Texas. So we suspect conditions will begin deteriorating as the day goes on. As expected, our electricity has come & gone several times already this morning. As Ike comes into the area, we fully expect to be without power for the remainder of the day (we lose power in thunderstorms on a regular basis so we don't expect our lines to remain standing in tropical storm force winds). We have everything ready - LED lanterns, candles, flashlights, a small generator, etc. - when that happens. Aside from losing power, we're hopeful that we'll sustain little more than gusty wind damage, if anything.

My parents, on the other hand, are in Ike's direct path. They, like us, have also battened down the hatches in preparation for much stronger winds & greater amounts of rain. As it stands, they'll probably have more wind damage. But we're hopeful that it will be little more than fallen limbs. Only time will tell.

I'll keep you updated as we have anything to report.

Friday, September 12, 2008

And So ... We Wait

As Hurricane Ike bears down on the Texas Gulf Coast, we wait with bated breath. Why? Well, this is the first storm, in as long as I can remember, that actually threatens N. Texas. The center of the storm is currently forecast to pass about 100 miles or so east of DFW, and we are now under Tropical Storm Wind Watch as Ike's path becomes more & more certain. Honestly, we're not all that worried. We expect lots of wind and rain but little else - certainly not what the Coast is sure to get. But, to be on the safe side, we've gathered necessities just in case - candles, batteries, water, food for us & the critters, gasoline in the vehicles, etc. Much of the same things my family on the Coast and in E. Texas are doing. David's been called to duty & is now in Houston awaiting the storm. Now ... we all wait.

Go. Wildcats!

Sulphur Springs 22
Rider 16

For the first time in school history, Sulphur Springs played football 1) on Thursday night and 2) on national television. ESPN2 wanted to capture small-town Texas football at its finest - where the streets roll up when the boys are playing, where the only thing you'll hear in neighborhood restaurants is the cheers of rabid hometown fans, where the fans live and breathe for game day. Some would argue that choosing one example would prove harder than finding one in the first place. Last night's game between Sulphur Springs and Rider did not disappoint. The two top-seeded high school quarterbacks in the entire state faced off - and number one proved just exactly why he is number one. The Wildcats rallied from an early-game defecit to conquer the Raiders in a nail-biting, come-from-behind, push-to-the-end victory.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Things: Installment 7

Gosh. I guess I got out of the habit of posting my lists after I went to Ireland. The Ireland day-by-day summaries kinda became the Things lists for a while, I guess. But now I'm back in the swing for a little while ... I think. Enjoy!

Things: I Like to Do to Relax

  • Sing - I know this one surprises no one. To me, singing is the ultimate way to find peace, comfort, and quiet. It's definitely my escape.

  • Music - But I don't have to sing to relax, I enjoy listening to music as much as I enjoy singing it. You'll often find me with earbuds in or with iTunes playing or with a CD in the player or with the tv tuned in to my favorite music station. It's not often that I work or relax in absolute quiet. I only require that for sleeping! =)

  • Craft - One of my favorite ways to escape & relax is by going into the craft room & making something. No matter what I set out to make, it always takes me longer than I intend b/c I just get wrapped up in the process. Lately, I've made more cards than anything else. But I'll be back to making pages for the scrapbooks soon since I have so many trips to get in the travel book!

  • Clean - Okay, this is a weird one, I realize. But there's nothing like cleaning to make you sit back & go AHHHHHHHHHH. Plus, if you happen to be upset about something, you can listen to your iPod & beat away on that dirty ole rug! LOL

  • Bube Tube - As my grandmother would call the tv. Who doesn't like to sit back & watch tv/movies?! Sometimes it's nice to escape into someone else's world for a while. And I feel confident we all have our roster of favorite shows not to miss each week - what did we ever do without DVRs?!

  • Read - I haven't always been an avid reader. I guess b/c, for so many years, reading was never for my leisure but rather for some required assignment. But I've come to find that I enjoy reading very much. And I've found some really terrific books/series that I could read over & over. My most recent favorite? The Twilight series. Who doesn't love a hunky vampire?! Oh, how I love my Edward - oh yes, he's my Edward! haha

  • Ranch - My in-laws have some property in the Hill Country. It's a beautiful 600-acre ranch complete with rolling hills, cactus, stock ponds, cattle, rattle snakes, blue bonnets, and a cabin. We spent the Labor Day weekend there and were reminded why we loved going there so often in the early years of our marriage. It's an escape from the hubbub of the city life ... with all the conveniences of home.

  • Exercise - The sound of the pavement beneath my feet in the wee hours of the morning. That, my friends, is a nice, relaxing sound. Until I got back in the habit, I'd forgotten just how much I loved running. I do some of my best thinking when I'm working out. If only I could write & run at the same time!
  • Sunday, September 07, 2008

    Stuff and More Stuff

    Um, not really much to report from here. Same ol', same ol'. Derek was busy, busy at work last week, which is good b/c August was awfully quiet. We're ready for those kids to get back to school & start falling off those monkey bars ... not that I wish any ill will on your munchkins or anything. But hey, it does pay my bills!

    And as usual, I'm up to the usual. Singing. Altho, it's still relatively quiet on that front. I go back to the voice studio this week, so that will fill in another evening. And it means I'll actually have to practice instead of just thinking about it. =) I've been memorizing lyrics, does that count as practicing? Probably not. But it's still necessary nonetheless.

    This weekend has been quiet. Hooray for quiet weekends! I did some light cleaning Friday night so I wouldn't have to do much the remainder of the weekend other than what I wanted to do. Sure, I've neglected the laundry, but what else is new?! haha! I got to spend countless hours in the scraproom instead. Finished up a long-promised/neglected project that goes to its rightful recipient tomorrow.

    We spent some time on the lake yesterday with some friends. They bought a new boat this summer & have really enjoyed taking it out. And since there's a lake literally on our doorsteps, it's awfully convenient too. I've never been on Lake Ray Hubbard. You know, it's a really nice lake. It's probably considered more a fishermen's lake, but there are some nice ski lanes too that are relatively sheltered from the crazy winds that whip across the majority of the open water there. Derek went skiing for the first time in many summers - he was thrilled to have use for the skis we've been storing in the garage.

    Now I'm off to catch the middle half of the Cowboys game at the neighbors'. I'm sure there will be food & fun involved - there always is!

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    And We're Back

    Just in case you were wondering, we did survive our weekend. We had a great time at the ranch with friends. We did lots of fishing, riding around, hanging out outside, and mostly just lots of relaxing. The cell phones DID work, but no one really bothered with them. That was probably the best part of the whole weekend - getting to ignore real life for a few days.

    Now it's back to the grindstone. A new term started at work. Indeed, it's back to the real world.