Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Recital

May being quickly upon us (say it ain't so!), I thought it best to put this announcement out since I know a lot of you keep up via some kind of reader, which doesn't give you all the little nuggets I may or may not have in the sidebar.


To me, this little chart says it all:

Allergen - Grains per cubic meter - Level
Fungus - 2589 - Moderate
Cottonwood - 16 - Moderate
Hackberry - 31 - Moderate
TOTAL - 2636
Needless to say, I feel like I've been run over by a truck. All I want to do is sleep. And take drugs. (Allergy drugs, you big buncha crazies!) Doesn't make for productive evenings at home. That much I can definitely tell ya!

So whadda you guys think of this swine flu business? Crazy, no?! Hard to know what to believe. The stories change 18,000 times a day. It kills. But it's no threat in the U.S. There are x confirmed cases in your area. But no need to panic. Geez. I'm just plodding along, trying to be a little more mindful of good habits (like frequent handwashing).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Did You Know...

Did you know April is Texas Fruit and Vegetable Month? Huh. Me either. But I was bored while standing in front of the printer today at work and happened to read that little nugget on a calendar (sent to the office by a State Rep). That calendar is always full of fun tidbits, but I'd never noticed that one before. You're welcome.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Things: Installment 16

Speaking of habits. (You: we were speaking of nuns?) What do you do in a typical day? I thought that would be fun to examine, so off we go.

Things I Do in a Typical Day (that does not include the days I sing b/c that would make the schedule pretty crazy & tedious and I'm not really sure I want to think about it b/c then I would think about it on the days that are crazy and that would just make me want to throw up my hands & wave the white flag. (You: And speaking of crazy....))
  • 3:45 a.m. Shake the no-no can at Meeko who is incessantly meowing at the door.
  • 3:47 a.m. Another shake of the can and now a toss of the pillow at The Siamese.
  • 3:47:30 a.m. Make room for Meeko who's gotten on the bed & curled up next to me in apology for meowing incessantly at the door.
  • 4 a.m. Let Dori out b/c she's now up, thanks to Meeko, and thinks it's a great time to go potty.
  • 5:45 a.m. Hit the snooze button and lie in bed contemplating whether I'm getting up or actually sleeping another 9 min.
  • 5:47 a.m. Get up. Make the bed (my side of it anyway). Turn on the t.v. for the morning news/traffic/weather.
  • 5:55 a.m. Take shower. Do hair. Stare at clothes in closet.
  • 6:23 a.m. Let Dori and Meeko out in house. Get lunch from fridge.
  • 6:28 a.m. Leave for bus. Listen to news/traffic/weather on KRLD.
  • 6:35 a.m. Get to park-n-ride.
  • 6:40 a.m. Bus leaves Rowlett. Talk to bus buddies on commute to work.
  • 7:10 a.m. Get off bus. Walk to office. Go through security.
  • 7:20 a.m. Get to work. Turn on all lights in office. Turn on computer. Check mailboxes. Open doors. Check email. Clean off desk.
  • 7:40 a.m. Make hot tea. Eat breakfast.
  • 8:30 a.m. Do daily crossword to ward off the mental crazies. (You: You're a little late!) Do work stuff.
  • 11:35 a.m. Eat lunch.
  • 12:15 a.m. Back to work stuff.
  • 4:05 p.m. Leave work. Walk to bus stop. Wait on bus.
  • 4:15 p.m. Catch the bus.
  • 4: 20 p.m. Talk to bus buddies. Or study music.
  • 4:50 p.m. Arrive in Rowlett. Leave bus station.
  • 4:58 p.m. Arrive at home. Say hi to the critters. Check the mail. Change into pjs.
  • 5:10 p.m. Talk about what's for dinner while checking email/surfing web/blogging.
  • 6 p.m. Start dinner. Talk to Derek and/or neighbors.
  • 7 p.m. Eat dinner. And/or watch favorite tv shows.
  • 8:45 p.m. Go to bed.
  • 8:47 p.m. Derek comes and tucks me in.
  • 8:48 p.m. *honk-shoooooo*

(You: My, what an exciting life you lead! ... And I'm pretty sure you've totally edited out some of the stuff you do in a day. / Me: Well, of course! I can't tell you everything! *wink*)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Oh how I love Kermit the Frog. And he's right, it ain't easy been green! But I think we've done alright in the last year, but there are many things we can do even better. And Earth Day is always a good reminder. Have you thought about changes you can make at home? Here's a new bucket list for our house.

  • Make the trips to recycle the "hard" things, like batteries and electronics, that are not offered through curbside pick-up.
  • Use natural lighting. I LOVE a bright room. And that often means that I have lights on even in the daytime. (Drives Derek crazy!) I'm going to be better about opening the blinds to let in natural light whenever possible. And, of course, turning off lights when I leave a room. Do the cats really need a nightlight while I'm gone?
  • Drive less. I have no qualms about hopping in the car to run an errand. Maybe even making several little trips in a day when I realize I've forgotten something on an earlier run. I need to be better about saving up those little trips and making a day of it. Sure, it's not convenient and makes for a long day, but it saves gas.
  • Clean out the closets. And reduce, reuse, recycle. I'm a packrat in every sense of the word. Paper, clothes, shoes. Some of this stuff I haven't looked at or worn in who knows how long. There's no reason it can't go to someone else who needs it/wants it/will use it! (I already know where my craft room goodies will be going! Hi, Sasha & fam!) So not only do I help someone else, I have more room in my closets.
  • Use less water. While we haven't started watering the lawn yet, we still waste a lot of water in our day-to-day activities. Part of it is the way our house is laid out (takes a while to get hot water in the master bathroom) and some of it is just laziness (leaving the water running in the kitchen sink longer than it needs to). When we do begin watering the lawn, we're going to adopt the deep-watering schedule so we'll only be watering once a week and hopefully losing less water to run-off and getting healthier turf in the process. Aside from water waste, there's another reason to reassess our usage - water rates are outrageous in our city!
  • Close the fridge & freezer doors! How often do you open the fridge or freezer without knowing what you're looking for? You're just browsing. Know what you're looking for before you open the door.
  • And another thing in the realm of fridges & freezers, how long has it been since you cleaned the coils? Did you know dirty coils can more than double your unit's energy usage? Clean those coils at least twice a year. More often if you have pets. Needless to say, a good cleaning is LONG overdue at our house!
  • Consider new appliances. Our washer and dryer are almost nine years old. They work alright, but I wonder how much energy I'm wasting when I use them. I know my washer wastes a lot of water and electricity b/c it's a top-loader. Side-loading models use 30% less water and electricity and get clothes cleaner. (Or so the manufacturers and home improvement stores say anyway.) We've talked about getting Energy Star models recently, and I do think this is something we'll do this year. I might actually do laundry more often! *wink*

Those are just a few things we hope to do greener this year!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Date Night

Monday night we decided that we would have date night on Tuesday. A typical date night for us generally involves tv or movies and just general loafing around. (Yes, I realize that we loafed over the weekend, but we loafed with other people. Kapiche? *wink*) Tuesday night is our favorite night of television b/c there are two shows that we both enjoy watching. NCIS and Fringe...for those inquiring minds who want to know.

But my dear husband decided to go a step further. Of his own accord, he stopped by the grocery store and picked up some lovely roses and food for dinner. And then he cooked for me. (You: Awwwwww! How sweet!) We had a wonderful dinner of grilled halibut steaks and veggies. So tasty! Then we split a box of chocolates I got for Administrative Professionals Day. (Note to self: Eating an entire box of chocolates, even when splitting each piece with someone else, is not a good idea when you do not usually eat a lot of chocolate. In fact, it gives you a tummy ache! Please refrain from over-indulging in the future.)

Aside from the tummy ache, it was a lovely, quiet evening at home!

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day countdown banner

What will you do to Go Green today?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mission Accomplished?

Did you enjoy the weekend? The weather was lovely, no? Well, maybe a little drizzly here & there. And definitely windy. But on the whole, it wasn't too bad. We saw more sun than clouds. And we enjoyed a very relaxing weekend. And accomplished ... well, not much. But hey, everyone needs a good rest every once in a while.

Friday, we enjoyed dinner with Skeet since Kelli was out-of-town. Then we headed to the local bowling alley to meet some other neighbors. At one point in time, I was really good at bowling. (I took a bowling class as PE credit in college and got to be pretty darn good at the game.) Those days are definitely over as I was back to bowling a terrific golf score! *sigh* And I also don't remember waking up the next day and not being able to move. Seriously! I was still limping around yesterday, for Pete's sake!

Saturday, Derek "kidnapped" me for the day. I had all kinds of grand plans. Like cleaning the garage. But he trumped me and instead we spent the day running around. And then we loafed around in the evening. It was good quality time. And quite frankly, we haven't had much of that lately. We've both been busy, busy. So it was a nice change.

Sunday, I sang two services. Afterwards, I was supposed to go golfing with Derek. (We've signed up to play a round while we're in Alaska and thought we might ought to start working on our golf game, oh, sometime before we leave.) But his back didn't really feel up to it after bowling on Friday and swinging drivers at the PGA Superstore on Saturday. And honestly, that was better anyway b/c it got crazy windy in the afternoon. And lord knows the two of us don't do all that hot when there's NO wind! So we enjoyed lunch, a little random shopping, and a movie instead. (Note: do not watch Harry Potter while taking a nap unless you'd like to have really weird Harry Potter-ish kinds of dreams. I'm just sayin'.)

Assuming we set out to enjoy a relaxing weekend, I'd say: mission accomplished!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Be Brave, My Friends

My friend Kelli shared this gem with me. It was just too funny not to share with you!

To the girl that crapped in my car...(NE Portland)

Reply to: [address blocked]
Date: 2009-01-25, 8:53PM PST

We met on Craigslist so I am hoping that this post finds you. I know that it could quite possibly be the most humiliating first date that you have ever been on, but I am willing to look past that.

I thought we had chemistry sitting at McMenamins sharing that basket of Cajun Tots while drinking the Terminator Stout. I really felt like there was a connection there. I found you to be intelligent and witty and looked forward to further conversation with you.

At some point in life, everyone has gambled on a fart and lost. It just happened to be on a first date in the passenger seat of my car. Please don't feel bad. The package I sent you with Pepto the next day and the note that said "First dates are always a crap shoot. Call me" was meat to be funny, not offensive.

I have gambled on a fart and lost on multiple occasions. The first time I did it was very memorable. It happened when I was five and sitting on my uncle's lap. I am lactose intolerant, but love cheese. I probably win 95% of the time, but I don't think anyone wins 100% of the time. That's why they call it "gambling". I'm the last personto judge you for crapping your pants. In fact, I am impressed by your boldness. The timing on the other hand, could have been a tad bit when you're not sitting on a heated leather seat...

What I am trying to say is that if you want to go out again, I would be more than happy to take you someplace where we can get a meal that is high in fiber and less taxing on the digestive tract.

I await your call,

P.S. - If you shat yourself on purpose to end the evening early...

  • Location: NE Portland
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

  • PostingID: [link blocked]

    That date was a real stinker. {bah-dum-*clunk*} ROFLMAO! Reminds me of my own "gamble" on the sporting goods aisle in a SuperTarget. But we won't discuss that here. *wink*

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Things: Installment 15

    Here's a fun one. Let's talk about hobbies! Do you have a hobby? Maybe two? I have lots of hobbies myself - singing, scrapbooking, cardmaking, playing piano, to name a few. But today, I'm going to talk about just ONE.

    Things About Being Crafty

    • I'm crafty with paper. Some people are crafty with everything. For me, it's just paper. What do you mean just paper? I mean, beyond paper, I'm just not that crafty. You should see some of my decorating disasters - like a tragic excuse for a wreath that ultimately was too ugly to hang up & ended up in the trash!
    • I have an entire room in my house devoted to paper crafting. Yep. A. whole. room. What on earth do you need a whole room for? Well, you see, over the last nine years, I've accumulated a lot of "stuff," like paper and albums and embellishments and tools. And, when I'm working on a project, I like to spread out. And I often don't get to a stopping point in just one day. Now that I have the craft room, I can spread out and walk away and shut the door, even if I'm not finished. So no more cleaning up and putting away just so we can eat at the table! Plus, it keeps my "helpers" out of my stuff! And the cats LOVE my stuff.
    • I started my obsession ... uh, I mean, hobby after I received a scrapbooking kit as a wedding gift. My very first scrapbook is all about me & Derek - how we met, our engagement, wedding, and honeymoon. Looking back on it, it's pretty elementary, but it serves its purpose - preserving memories.
    • I have since branched out into other paper crafts, like cardmaking, rubber stamping, and digital scrapbooking.
    • I have lots of tools & toys. Here are a few I use most often and should be in every crafter's arsenal: 12 in. paper trimmer, precision scissors, adhesive, die cutting machine, wide format printer, my awesome computer, and cool scrapbooking software.
    • I tend to be a collector. I try not to buy things without a particular project in mind. But as I've branched out in my crafting, I tend to buy extras too. Ribbon & paper are current faves. The funny thing is that I buy them & then am often hesitant to use them b/c "they're too pretty" or "they're brand new." LOL
    • I do NOT keep up with all the things I have not scrapped. Believe me, you'll feel overwhelmed in a hurry. (I mean, I haven't scrapped my Austria trip from 2002! See what I mean???) I try to keep up with the recent things tho. BUT just in case I don't start on something immediately, I've learned from some pros to keep a journal, especially on trips. I write down everything b/c I know I can always sift through the "junk" later. And let me tell you, that's been an invaluable tidbit that I now pass along to you, you're welcome!
    • I am often asked to make projects for other people. I did a lot of this for a while and ultimately neglected my own stuff. I'm now a lot smarter about the projects I take on and don't do a bunch of them in a row.
    • Yes, I AM one of those people who sends handmade cards for holidays. (I see you with the big eye roll. But you know you've saved them all! *wink*)
    • I shop in three places most often: Michaels, Gotta Scrap in Rockwall, and my favorite companies' websites.
    • I have no idea how much money I have invested in my hobby. Trust me, this isn't something you'd want to know. Though it might be helpful in case of fire. *shudder*

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Do the Happy Dance!

    Derek got his blood test results back from the 6-wk post-op test. And the one marker that was high is now back in normal range! He is now officially cancer-free!!!! {Commence happy dance now}

    Wait For It......

    You HAVE to watch this video!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Easter Weekend

    Did you enjoy your Easter? I know I certainly did. Our Holy Week services went splendidly. The music was glorious. And it's always a treat to have the opportunity to sing with orchestra! It's hard to believe that this small church choir is able to perform such complicated pieces of music - and do them well. These singers improve with each difficult work they perform. They really are an amazing group of people and I consider myself fortunate to be a part.

    We also enjoyed time with family over the weekend. My parents and brother & s-i-l came over for dinner on Saturday. Nothing beats ham & Mom's potato salad, does it? Uh-uh. I don't think so! And, of course, we very much enjoyed the time to visit. The weather was lovely so we sat outside on the patio enjoying the sunshine, mild temperatures, and each other's company.

    I hope you all enjoyed a weekend with family and friends and celebrations of The King's resurrection!

    Friday, April 10, 2009

    Things: Installment 14

    Since we got a little peak into my high school years, I thought it might be fun to do a little post about college. Granted, you're not going to get all the good stuff. My family does read this too, after all. *grin*

    Things about My College Years
    • I turned down a full ride to Austin College for A BOY! While I could say this was stupid, in the end, it really did work out in my favor. I made terrific friends and have lots of fond memories! (And I went to my alma mater on a full ride too.)
    • After The Big Break-up, I dated. A. Lot. In fact, it became a running joke about "what letter of the alphabet" I was on. I did manage to date in alphabetical order. Weird. And no kidding.
    • I was one of only two agriculture majors to EVER graduate with Academic Distinction. (Though I'm sure many more have managed to accomplish this by now!)
    • I was very active on campus in several service organizations: Freshman Leadership Class (FLC) and Golden Leos (Leos). (I even earned the top two Leo service awards.) Both organizations were liasons to/for the President. We gave campus tours, escorted dignitaries, amongst many other important duties.
    • I wrapped the Assistant Dean's house my senior year. I had help, of course. =)
    • I met one of the litany of boyfriends on the drive home from Mardi Gras. We spent several hours holding notes up to the car windows. I gave him my phone number. (You: Are you NUTS?! Me: Yeah, it probably wasn't the best idea ever. But I DIDN'T stop at the rest stop he & his buddies tried to get us to stop at. *hoping to look a little smarter*) Yep, he did call. We dated for about 9 mos.
    • I took up swing dancing my junior year. There was a big group of us that went to Dallas every weekend. It was all the rage then. Remember the Red Jacket? The Velvet Hammer? The Sandcastle? I even danced for a corporate function in Greenville once.
    • I did not Go Greek. But almost all of my "boyfriends" were.
    • I actually met Derek (in passing) my freshman year; I knew his then-girlfriend. She and I did NOT get along. At all. Derek and I didn't start dating until the summer after I graduated. We met at The House. I was friends with some of his fraternity brothers.
    • While I'm an early-to-bed girl now, my usual bedtime was usually 11:30 - after Frasier went off. Unless it was the weekend. Then it was often into the wee hours. (You: I find that hard to believe!)
    • When I got an apartment, I somehow survived on $150 every two weeks. Keep in mind, my rent was $150 (my whole check on the 1st!). To this day, I'm not really sure how this worked. But I think I had a lot more help than I remember.

    Monday, April 06, 2009

    High Holy Week

    Did you have a nice weekend? Wasn't the weather lovely? I very much enjoyed my weekend. Derek and the boys were at the races, so I had the house all to myself. I did a little cleaning, but I spent most of the weekend scrapbooking. I finished about eight pages. I just might finish that Hawaii book yet ... two years later! *grin*

    This week is pretty hectic. It's High Holy Week. What's that, you ask? In the Christian church, it marks the final week of Lent whereby we celebrate the institution of the Last Supper (Maundy Thursday), Christ's sacrifice for our sins (Good Friday), and Christ's victory over sin and death (Resurrection or Easter Sunday). Each of these holy events is marked by services of celebration or remembrance. In the life of a church singer, this means a LOT of music. And it's my absolute favorite music b/c it spans the realm of human emotion - from quiet reflection to sadness to despair to hope and joy.

    We will be celebrating Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in a combined service where will sing selections from Rutter's Requiem. And Resurrection Sunday will be met with the sounding of trumpets as we raise our songs of joy and gladness, accompanied by chamber orchestra and organ. If you do not have a house of worship to call your own, I invite you to join us! (Details right sidebar --->)

    Friday, April 03, 2009

    Things: Installment 13

    Just the other day, my neighbor remembered that he'll be celebrating his 20th high school reunion this year, and that spawned this edition of Things. What can you remember about your high school years?

    Things: The High School Edition

    • I was a band geek. (You: There's a big surprise!) My first two years of marching season, I was in "the pit," where I played bells. One of my favorite songs was "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid. It was the drum feature in our marching show. (Every marching show has one - a drum feature, that is.) It was wicked hard to play on the bells, and we rocked on it! My junior and senior year of marching season, I was in the flag corps. I was co-captain my senior year and even helped choreograph several routines. I played piccolo during concert season until Rachel, who was first chair flute, graduated. Then I was first chair flute for the remainder of my high school tenure.

    • The football team went to the playoffs every year.

    • As a result, I became a HUGE football fan (once the band guys taught me everything about the game). Every Sunday, I watched the games with the guys from my youth group. I got to know the Cowboys' playbook so well that I could call the plays even if I was only listening to the game on the radio.

    • My favorite subjects were chemistry and calculus.

    • I sucked at English, tho Ms. Herman did an awesome job of turning me into the writer and (more) critical reader that I am today.

    • I also sucked at standardized tests. My ACT scores landed me all the college scholarships. We won't even bother discussing my SAT scores.

    • My first high school crush was on J. P. We went to homecoming together my freshman year. He was the first chair sax player. He ended up marrying (and subsequently divorcing) one of my good (band) friends.

    • One year, I dumped my prom date at the dance. Didn't even have the courtesy to tell him I was leaving. (You: what a B! / Me: I know!) Had a friend take me home. My mom & his mom worked together. On Monday, my mom says to his mom, "I think the kids had fun at the dance." His mom says, "I don't think so. He didn't even get to take her home." Ruh-roh. I had neglected to tell my mother that I'd ditched my date at the dance. Whoopsy.

    • I was in a high school sorority known as the Hi-King Klub.

    • I graduated 7th in my class of 220. Ironically, I also "graduated" 7th in my 8th grade class. (The valedictorian in 8th grade also graduated as our high school valedictorian. Come to think of it, most of the top 10 in 8th grade remained in the top 10 in high school.)

    • I made my first B ever in English my freshman year. I was devastated! English was the ONLY class in which I ever got Bs.

    • I was Tootle-dee-toos the Monkey in Aladdin, the One Act Play, my senior year. In fact, I didn't get cap and gown pictures because I was gone to a practice meet for One Act. Cap-n-gown day is usually Senior Skip Day, so if you miss it, the school has no make-up session as "punishment." Which was just wrong for those of us who were on a school-sponsored trip!

    • My class song was "Never Say Goodbye" by Bon Jovi. (Hey! I didn't pick it!)

    Thursday, April 02, 2009

    Things Are Looking Good

    So, a mere two weeks after his appointment, Derek finally got the results of his first post-op bloodwork. There are two key markers they watch post-op: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). These two numbers can be indicators of cancer. I say can b/c, as with many things, it's not guaranteed that an elevated number really means anything.

    So his hCG is back in normal range (on the very low end) and the AFP is REALLY close. Normal AFPs run from 0-6. Pre-surgery his AFP was almost 13 (more than double for those of you not inclined to the do the math). His four-week levels came back at 6.55. This week's bloodwork will mark the six-week levels, and he'll have another round of bloodwork at his regularly scheduled oncology appointment in two weeks, marking the eight-week levels. Taken in sum, we should see a trend. We fully anticipate his AFPs being back in normal range when it's all said and done. However, if they are still a touch above normal by eight weeks, this does not necessarily mean that there is cancer running around throwing a party. There are people whose AFPs normally run a little above normal. Because Derek's never had these numbers run prior to discovering the cancerous lump, we have no way of knowing what a "normal" AFP is for him. Whether they come down or not though, his doctors plan to run these blood panels every two weeks for at least 2 more mos. just to be certain we keep the status quo. (But don't tell Derek that b/c I'm not sure he got that memo. *wink*)

    All in all, it was a very good report. Not necessarily what we were expecting, of course, but his numbers were SO HIGH prior to surgery that it stands to reason it would take a bit longer for them to come down.

    This weekend he's off at the races with "the boys" enjoying a respite from work & worry. And I know he's taking full advantage of it!