Sunday, December 20, 2009

Skyping it

Another leap into technology. And pretty cool technology at that.

For Christmas, my mom purchased a new laptop for Erin, Eli, and Elsie, so we can video chat on Christmas morning. Erin already has skype set up on the laptop, and this morning, I hooked up my webcam and mic and got set up on skype, also. This afternoon, I'll head to my mom's and get her set up with the webcam I bought her (might have to go get a cheap mic). Julie's laptop has a camera built in like Erin's, so hers should be fairly simple.

Remarkably, I was also able to install skype on my phone. Which is cool because I have unlimited data but not unlimited minutes. So theoretically, I can bypass minute usage calling skype-to-skype.

Kinda cool.

Anyway, facebook friends can find my skype username on the info page of my facebook profile.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ebook love...

It's the holiday season, and of course Amazon is pushing their Kindle, and B&N is pushing the Nook.

I honestly don't understand the draw of dedicated ebook reading devices like Kindle or Nook (and at least a dozen others). Don't misunderstand: I love ebooks and I love gadgets, but this one just doesn't compute with me. For me, the coolest thing about ebooks is that I carry a library literally in my pocket, on a small device that I'm already carrying with me--first it was my palm pilot, now it's my phone. I can pull out my phone and read anywhere, and I don't have to remember to bring another device with me--that's just like remembering to bring a paperback book (my phone is my MP3 player and PDA, too). And these dedicated reading devices are big and heavy! What's convenient about that?

Here's what I love love love about ebooks on my phone:
--Portability, as mentioned. I carry it in my pocket all the time.
--Convenience. It's already with me, so when I'm bored on the elliptical machine at the gym, or standing in line at the slowest fast food restaurant on Earth (Wendy's on I-20 west of Birmingham, Alabama)... Reading time! (Can you imagine whipping out one of those huge dedicated readers while standing in line at Wendy's? How geeky would that be? :D)
--Price. eReader (my fave) and Mobipocket software are free and available for most smartphone platforms (Android, Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry, iPhone, etc.). I pay for the books themselves only. (lots of free books available too, check out just one source)
--Adjustable font size. When I'm at the gym, I can increase the font size so I can read and run at the same time, then reduce it to normal size after.
--Tap the screen (or press a button) to turn the page. I can read completely one-handed, or put it on the machine in front of me and just touch it to go to the next page.
--Backlight. Boo-yah!
--Selection of titles. Millions. More than any brick & mortar store could ever hope to carry, and with internet access on the phone, all at my fingertips.
--Conversion software. I can make any digital file with text into an ebook readable on my phone.

Okay, so dedicated devices probably have adjustable font size and backlight. Possibly have one-touch operation, too, but they're too big to operate with the same hand you're holding it with. Probably a similar selection of titles, though I think your sources are limited. No idea about conversion software.

I'm thinking if you want something bigger than a phone, rather than a dedicated reader, you're better off getting a netbook (about the same size and often cheaper). It can serve as an ebook reader, a PDA, AND do lots of other stuff.

As for me, my phone is my (heart) ebook reader.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Praising God for guardian angels

Tonight I am very thankful for Norseman's guardian angels. Without them, today could have been really bad... See, we've got this pull-up bar that fits in the doorway and is held in place by tension. It's intended for pull-ups, wherein your body only gets perhaps twelve inches off the floor if you bend your knees. Despite being told several dozen times not to, monkey-man 'forgets' and hangs upside down from it. Being that just leaning on it can make it suddenly give way, I was VERY adamant that he not hang on it, explaining in horrible detail what could happen if it gave way while he was hanging upside down, if he fell three feet to land on his head. He told me I was being a paranoid mom.

This afternoon I was doing a crossword puzzle in my bedroom when I heard a loud thump, a groan, and a clatter. He moaned "It gave way." I leaped off the bed and into the hall, and found him on the floor, dazed and in pain. If I didn't honestly believe at that moment that I would further paralyze him, I would have smacked him upside the head. Instead I made him lay flat while I assessed.

He's fine, landed on his shoulders (thank you angels for giving him time and sense to tuck his head), though the bar actually landed on his head, so he's got two little cuts over fairly obvious lumps. "I've learned my lesson," he told me. While I successfully refrained from strangling him (though just barely), and went back to my room and cried.

He told me later this evening that he had an 'Oh sh*t' moment--that millisecond that seemed like several seconds between when the bar first started to nudge and when it gave way completely. That moment when he knew he was in a pickle, but could do nothing to prevent it.

Anyway, praise God disaster was averted, and we were able to attend the final night of Crowley High School's production of The Wedding Singer. Very good show with lots of talented kids. On the way home, I asked Sunshine and Norseman if that sort of thing appealed to them at all. They both said, 'Nope.' Which kind of makes me sad. How can I live vicariously through my kids if they have no interest in what I want to live vicariously in? Even now I sit at theater productions and think, "I wish I could still do that." Sunshine says, "You can! Erin did, why can't you?" If only we had a Theatre Tuscaloosa around here.

Now... need to go slip that pull-up bar into the trash without anyone noticing...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I'm missing Mythbusters to share this stuff....

Couple of newsworthy items today...

Sunshine twisted her ankle again. Same one she broke six months ago. Apparently she was running at recess near the end of the day and stepped on a rock, rolled her ankle and went down. The nurse sent her back to class with an ice pack, but she was hobbling by the end of the day. It's now swollen and purple, and very definitely a good sprain. She's begging me not to make her go to school tomorrow (because she doesn't want to use the crutches), but I'm gonna be a meanie. A sprained ankle is not a good enough stay-home excuse. Ace wrap and acetaminophen and she's good for the day.

I uploaded and started running an ad for my photography on Facebook yesterday afternoon with a budget of a paltry $2 a day. I've already gotten two contacts from it; one of those is a small national magazine based in Dallas that wants me to do their editorial head shots. So I'm encouraged.

And Lucy is still alive and well, though she's come thiiiiis close to being strangled several times in the last few days. It's been very cold, so she's been indoors more than usual. So when she's left alone for even three minutes, she finds something to chew on that she's not supposed to chew on (even though she has a very nice selection of sanctioned chew-things). Like Sunshine's camera, Norseman's screwdriver case, my Neanderthal skeleton model, among other things. A dismantled ball of yarn on the couches (plural) when she's not allowed on the furniture. Shredded kleenex on my pillow when she's not allowed on the bed. *sigh*

Friday, December 04, 2009

Clothes are not for dogs

At least not according to Lucy.

While I got the coffee pot going early this morning, I noticed poor ChiChi (the chihuahua) sitting on the floor shivering. The house was quite chilly, even moreso on the floor, so I dug her little green jacket out of the hat and mitten basket and put it on her for the first time this year. She trotted a circle around my feet in thanks, and then went in search of a place to hide her dog biscuit before Lucy (the border collie) came back inside.

Perhaps ten minutes later Lucy was inside--and noticed ChiChi. More specifically, noticed ChiChi's jacket. I happened to be in the kitchen observing as Lucy became very disconcerted, looking at the jacket, sniffing the jacket, even trying to take the jacket off of ChiChi. I had to tell her several times to leave ChiChi alone. I swear she looked at me like I was crazy. That look spoke volumes; it said "She is a dog. Dogs do not wear clothes. Humans wear clothes, dogs do not wear clothes. Capiche?"

Smarty pants.

Monday, November 30, 2009

La fin

This is it. 31 posts in 31 days. Nope, I didn't miscount.

I realized two things this month: 1) My life is not nearly exciting enough to blog about daily. I think if one were going to commit to blogging daily long-term, one would need another topic... like Cake Wrecks, or Epic Fails, or Clever Kludges. But even if *I* personally had another topic, it would be a struggle because, 2) I'm not the daily blogger type. Unless you count groggily posting a quick (and boring) blab as I fall asleep. So I welcome the end of NaBloPoMo, but still glad I did it.

On another note, my son realized for the first time a few days ago that if you change the spacing of the letters in his first and last name, it's French for 'the sea-faring Norse plunderer'. It's something I'd considered before choosing his name many years ago, but I was more concerned that he'd be teased. My worries were for naught. Apparently his friends think it's very cool. Arrrrrrr! Or maybe it was Urrrrrrr!

Okay, headed to bed. I have only one thought remaining tonight....


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pizzelles Tradition

This is about the time I remembered I still hadn't posted for Sunday, right before I drifted off to sleep. So I'm faking it.

Oh--just in case you ever get a Samsung Gravity phone... Don't attempt to use an SDHC card in it. Even though the user manual indicates that any micro-SD card will do, the phone will irreversibly reduce a 4 gigabyte SDHC to 104 kilobytes. No joke. Guess how I know this. Fortunately I got the card for $9.99, so only tossed $10.81 down the tubes.

Dad put together a big Thanksgiving Revisited meal, with meat leftover from the 20-pound bird he cooked Thursday. And there was STILL lots of meat left over!

After dinner I mixed up a batch and a half of pizzelle batter. Years ago, this is something Gramma and I did together several times each year during the holiday lead-up, both Christmas and Easter. We made all kinds of cookies, but pizzelles are my favorite. She and I would each have an iron going, and she'd tell me about her aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. So when she wandered out of her room after I'd added the anise oil (such fragrant stuff!) to the batter, I had to smile. She sat and silently watched me set up my own waffle iron and start stacks of finished cookies. I offered her one, but she refused. (I called her 'Gramma', and I realized the mistake as soon as it was out of my mouth. If I'd used her first name, she probably would have accepted it.)

Though she really wouldn't acknowledge me except to say that I'd taken the waffles off the iron too soon, she did stay at the table to watch. Mom turned on a CD of treasured hymns, and she sang along (kind of) with Alan Jackson. It's weird that the tunes of those songs have stuck with her to steadfastly. She sang loud, strong, and mostly on-key, at the slow, deliberate pace of the old ladies in the choir loft at St. Joseph's mission.

At some point mom got out Gramma's waffle iron, and she and I sat at the counter, while Gramma still observed and critiqued our efforts. She told Deena on the phone that we didn't know what we were doing (apparently she remembers that pizzelles are supposed to be the color of dark caramel, and ours were too white). After I cleaned up the pizzelle mess, I put all the accidental 'good' ones in the cookie jar for her.

On one hand it was nice to make pizzelles with Gramma. And it was nice to spend the time with my mom. On the other, I do really miss making pizzelles with my REAL Gramma. My kids barely remember her, but she's the Gramma who would never even think to stick out her foot and try to trip them.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


It's in its 5th season and I'm only just now getting truly sucked in. Until today, I'd really only watched it at the gym, reading the closed captioning subtitles while I was on the elliptical machine. But I happened to catch two back-to-back holiday episodes today. You miss so much vocal nuance by reading subtitles. It's a terrifically intelligent show, which makes me wonder how in the world it's survived this long.

Had to go to the Fox website and watch the available episodes.

Of course now that I'm hooked, it will probably be canceled...

ADDED SUNDAY MORNING: I realized this morning why the name 'Temperance Brennan' sounded so familiar to me. Ten years ago, I read the very first two Temperance Brennan books by Kathy Reichs when I was assigned to review the second one, Death du Jour, soon after it was released. Terrific books but a little on the intense side for my tastes at the time. Gonna have to dig through my shelves and re-read them.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Almost forgot to blog today. Would have ruined the NaBloPoMo streak right at the end! But alas, I have remembered just in time.

The initial plan today was to avoid the Black Friday crowds altogether and do laundry. But my mom called, asking if we wanted to go with her, and we said 'Sure, why not?' (Who really wants to do laundry anyway?)

So we braved GardenRidge (where I picked up two nauseatingly cute ornaments for Tuesday's ornament exchange), Best Buy, and Walmart (where I picked up the cheddar cheese pretzel Combos I'm munching right now).

This evening after David got home, we headed back out and braved the mall to finally get new phones. After going so long with crappy, beat-up, falling-apart phones, it's strange to have brand new ones. We're sticking with T-Mobile for now, but without a contract.

Tomorrow I'm thinking we may go bake cookies at mom's... We'll see...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Home again, home again, jiggety jog.

Thanksgiving dinner was very nice, and very delicious. It was just the four of us and David's mom, Rosaleen. This morning, between floats and performances during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, we got dinner in the oven in stages. Okay, I use the term 'we' very loosely. Rosaleen did nearly all of it. All I did was open two cans of corn and a box of corn muffin mix (but I made up for it by washing dishes afterward). The 'fresh' turkey she had paid extra for turned out to be frozen on the inside, which would kind of be impossible for an actual quoteless fresh turkey. I've found that as I mature, cranberry jelly grows on me (not LITERALLY). I used to hate it, but I took a big slice today and ate every smidget. Still not fond of sweet potatoes, though. At least not as sweet potatoes. I do like 'em in pie, though.

David has to work tomorrow, unfortunately, so after digesting for a couple of hours, we piled back in the truck and headed home. Think I'm headed to bed soon, so I can get up early and stay home for Black Friday. Wooo!

Today I am so grateful for the abundant blessings bestowed on me that I'll never even begin to deserve. I'm grateful for a God that loves me no matter how obstinate I can be. I'm grateful for family, for freedom, for the men and women who are serving our country away from home.

Hugs and blessings to you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mobile in Altus

Posting for the first time from my mobile phone. Not the most fabulous arrangement, but it works. We're in Altus tonight, Lucy's first trip out of state. It took us an hour and a half just to get out of Fort Worth, so the overall trip length was that much longer. We were ALL kind of whiny at the three-hour mark and we were only half way.

Have a blessed day of thanks!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Sitting here with Sunshine, jamming to Foo Fighters via Rhapsody. She's playing billiards on Webkinz. Bookman is spending the night at his buddies' house, but he just checked in with a text message. David is in the living room on the laptop, Facebooking and watching basketball. A quiet evening (if you don't count the music) with modern technology.

For some reason, about 7:oo this evening, I thought it would be nice to reheat and drink the cup of coffee I left in the microwave before lunch. And it was nice, don't get me wrong. Peppermint Mocha creamer. Mmmmmm... But even at half-caff, I'm having a hard time sitting still. So it's kind of good that I've got music blaring, 'cause I can channel some of the energy into be-bopping. But be-bopping and typing at the same time is a challenge... *air guitar*

Probably ought to go do something constructive with this energy before it wears off...

Monday, November 23, 2009

They're a blessing

I have fabulous kids. I like to think I had a lot to do with that fact, but really I think I'm just blessed. By the grace of God, I have kids who are, in general, polite, respectful, responsible, and helpful. Of course they have their moments, as all kids do, but fortunately theirs are relatively few and far between. Just wanna squeeze 'em!

It used to be that if you asked them to do anything that might be construed as 'cleaning', they'd protest with exponentially more effort than it would have taken to just do the task in the first place. But this past week, I asked both kids to do various 'chores', and they BOTH did them with nary a sigh of dissent. It almost makes me wonder if they have a cooperative agreement between them to get on my good list in the lead-up to Christmas. Almost, but not quite. Not even when combined with TWO instances of brushing one's teeth without being asked. Nope.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chili dogs

Lazy day. Did not go out to Mom's house, as is our normal Sunday routine, for fear of spreading whatever viral crud is still lingering. Sunshine hasn't decided yet if she's getting it, though as I type this, she's sitting at the computer next to me with about a dozen wadded up kleenex in front of her, sucking on a cough drop...

As the weather get's chillier, our chihuahua becomes more and more of a lap dog. If she gets cold and sees that you have an available lap, she'll stand at your knee and send those subliminal brain wave messages. It's cute, and she usually gets the lap. However, the border collie has observed this, and is also trying it, except that she skips right past the cute brain-waves part. She's big enough to take the initiative and and shove herself into your lap, invitation presumed. In other things, she really seems to grasp the 8-pounds versus 42-pounds difference between them (like when they play), but in being a lap dog, fair is fair apparently.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

National Adoption Day

Felt MUCH better today! I didn't think the 12-hour Alavert that Mom had brought me yesterday had helped a whole lot, but boy I can tell when it's worn off.

Tagged along for the official adoption ceremony of Valerie 'Daisy' Jacobson today. I was serving as photographer, but I've known Daisy pretty much her whole life, so it was a little emotional too. I had to concentrate on photographing the event so I didn't get choked up. Take pictures, take pictures, don't cry, take pictures. Sunshine also tagged along, and I put her to work. She's good friends with Jacobson kid #2, but did a very good job handling my other camera. In fact she got more photos than I did, mostly of the same stuff, but from different angles, which is always good. Daisy's biological brother, Daniel, was fostered by the Jacobsons almost from the day he was born. They officially adopted him two years ago today, which was about a month after they took in days-old Daisy.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider saved a lot of photos today. I mention it because that same spider saved my sanity many times when my kiddos were younger. Cooped up in a van for 21 hours with an 18-month-old who would SO much rather be out of his carseat? Sing that wonderful song for hours and hours and hours and hours on end. What is it about that spider that little ones (particularly those under age four), find so captivating?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Am I drooling?

I'm sick, spacing out on cold meds, and beat from a long day at the school. Even though I took an hour and a half nap earlier, I'm drifting off, sitting here at my keyboard, and maybe even drooling a little bit.

So I should probably head to bed--after I post my daily photo on ShutterMuse.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


How can one nose produce so much? I've been through a whole box of kleenex in the last two hours. And now blowing my nose sends a stabbing pain through my ear. Fun times. Just in time for Grandparents Day portraits at school tomorrow.

The good news is that Bookman is feeling better after having stayed home from school today. I had a photo shoot in Arlington, so I had him call me every thirty minutes with temperature and breathing updates (he's such a good boy). He's still running a low-grade fever, but is otherwise fine.

The photo shoot today went great. Got to work in an actual studio, and I got some really great portraits of my good friend Courtney. Had to buy a light meter and wireless strobe triggers on ebay--got some good deals, which is helping me to feel a bit better :)

Hope all of you are healthy and happy! Love you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

100 Degrees

A 100.7 degree fever in the heart of a swine flu breakout. And it's the kid with asthma. I'm thinking it's a cold--he's had some allergy-like symptoms for the past couple of days. But remaining vigilant.

I swear the days have been missing a few hours lately. I think they may be skipping out of work early, 'causeI just can't seem to get everything done AND get enough sleep.

My friend Stacy sent this to me today... Hadn't seen it before. I laughed because I have had at least half of these random thoughts myself, and totally agree with most of the rest. Thought I'd share it.

Random Thoughts for the Day

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Google Maps really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever.
15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
18. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day, "Dad, what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?
19. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
20. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Yeah...I've got nothing.

My new camera arrived today, but I realize that level of near-hyperventilating excitement is not shared by the general population. So rather than bore you with an original poem yet-to-be-written (titled 'Ode to my Canon Monster'), I'm just gonna head to bed.

Good night!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bless Her Heart

Last week I mentioned I was doing some preliminary logo work for a non-profit organization called Vi Kennedy and her husband lost their 29-day-old baby girl last year to TAPVR (the same thing Sunshine has). She had initially suggested a four-leaf clover (though I'm unsure why), but I felt a butterfly might be more appropriate. So I compromised. Stuck a body down the middle of a four-leaf clover, and we have a butterfly with heart-shaped clover-like wings. So I sent her the quick sketch to the left.
She also asked me to submit Sunshine's story to feature on the site. I'll work on that over the next few weeks.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Switch? Stay. Switch?

First, thought I'd share some Christmas freebies:

David and I are sitting here browsing the Verizon site for phones. We've been with T-Mobile since it was VoiceStream, but the coverage is still really on the spotty side. So on December 1st (or thereabouts), when our contract is up with TM, we plan to switch. However, better coverage on Verizon comes at a price. The plan we need is about $40 more per month than on T-Mobile. But TM's phone selection is sad, and the one I want is $150 cheaper on Verizon. Better coverage, better phones. More money. *sigh* Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Froggy, Froggy on the wall...

Just a quick post, mostly to share a cool photo I took today. We had lunch at Rosa's Café, a very colorfully decorated Mexican restaurant, while we were out running errands. In the middle of one wall, there were four brightly painted frogs, each probably about 3-feet wide? They're very cool and I love them. Anyway, this is a shot of two of them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weehuudalee hoober noobit

My hands are blue. I forgot to put gloves on when I was rinsing the dye out of the second backdrop. The first one turned out a bee-yoo-tiful brown. The second is very blue. Much brighter than I thought it would be. I'll assess it after it dries, but I may have to bleach it a bit.

This morning I grabbed my friend Stephanie and her 21-month-old daughter and we drove to Frisco to IKEA, where I bought the fabric to dye. Stopped at Cowboy Studio Lighting on our way (in Dallas). After school, Sunshine and I headed to Walmart and Hobby Lobby to get the RIT, and got back to Bookman's school just in time to retrieve him before heading home.

I would describe how utterly exhausted I am, but being that David just dragged in from work minutes ago (nearly 11pm) all muddy and sore, I'll keep my measly tiredness to myself.

I will, however, tell you that it was determined this morning that 'Weehuudalee hoober noobit' is much more fun to say than 'Weehuudalee hoo ha.' (In case you ever wondered.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oh Canada

We're working on a Canada project. She had to choose and research a country that interested her. I suggested Germany, or Italy, or Great Britain. Nope. Canada, eh. Had to look up the word 'patriated', since I'd never heard it before (Canada's constitution was patriated from the United Kingdom in 1982 *nodding sagely*).

Received those settlement documents today (woohoo!). Only had to check the mailbox six times. Celebrated by going out to Peter Piper Pizza for the PTA fundraiser night. The kids spent 40 tokens, cashed in tickets and chose prizes with no input from me--I sat and chatted with other PTA moms. :)

8:41 and David just got home. Going to visit with him....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mr. Postman, bring to me...

I'm expecting some documents via mail from the insurance company, so I've been sitting here listening for the mailman while reading through some Veteran's Day articles and working on various Photoshop projects. Went out to check the mailbox twice in the last two hours. Was headed out a third time, but eventually made the connection in my brain between 'Veterans Day' to 'no mail service'. *rolling my eyes at myself* Dangit! I want the mail!

One of the photoshop projects I've been working on is beefing up the portfolio on my website. So I'm sifting through all kinds of old photos (the kind printed from 'film'--remember that? Yeah... *sigh* mem-ries), looking for anything that might be considered 'good.' Found these two and scanned them, then muted the colors a bit (that's the photoshop part). Taken the same day at a park in Altus. Such cuties!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ooh look, a penny!

--Thirty minutes on the elliptical machine, 10 minutes on the nautilus machines, and 30 minutes on the recumbent bike. Worked out with Mom tonight and I'm beat.

--I was invited to visit a photography studio in Euless next week to kibitz with the owner and shoot some portraits of a willing victim. Just need to find said willing victim.

--Am doing some preliminary logo work for a newly-established non-profit organization dedicated to kids with congenital heart defects, like my Sunshine. Check out the website here: Very sad story under 'Our Story.'

--Spent a good amount of time on hold with JPS today, but have the info I need to hopefully negotiate my bill down a few thousand dollars. Will fax that off tomorrow.

--Got absolutely no laundry done today. (I know you were wondering...)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Almost behind me

Three milestones today:
1) I sent off the signature page for my part of the accident settlement.
2) The lawsuit was filed for David's part of the settlement.
3) I have a brand new shiny Tax ID number for my brand new shiny photography business.

So we spent some money to retain the lawyer, but will hopefully have a check in our hands by the end of the week. It's not nearly as much as I'd hoped I could get. Not nearly enough to cover the stuff I still go through on a daily basis as a direct result of this whole thing. But enough to just let it go. Put it behind me, pay the medical bills, and move on.

I suspect the accident that happened 17 years ago today may have a lot to do with why the accident that happened two years ago Wednesday affected me the way it has. The brain works in weird weird ways.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Designer Shirts :)

Every year, the PTA purchases class shirts for the 6th graders--not sure why exactly, it's just a tradition that's been upheld since before I got there. We discovered last year that it's a lot cheaper to design and have them printed ourselves than to use a company that specifically caters to school shirts--they cost the PTA less than half as much, actually. Since I'm able, I offered to submit a design again for this year's shirts. This is what I've been working on:

Photoshop is my program of choice, but I did this entirely in Illustrator, using another design as inspiration. This may be the most complex thing I've ever done from scratch in Illustrator. It's a little messy as far as construction, but I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, and I REALLY hope the other Board members love it. I'd love to see this on a t-shirt and say, "Hey, I did that!"

Saturday, November 07, 2009


We talked with the lawyer yesterday, and he kind of creeped me out a little. He seemed to dismiss David entirely, and really just rubbed us the wrong way. However, it's amazing how a phone call from an attorney's office will light a fire under a claims rep's booty. I talked to the rep at Farmers five or six times yesterday afternoon, negotiating a settlement amount that I could live with. It's not nearly what I asked for, but putting it behind me is much more valuable at this point. Hopefully we'll be able to get the release language worked out so I can sign and fax the forms on Monday.

David is deciding. Yesterday he was pretty intent on pursuing a lawsuit. Today he's considering settling. We need the money, but if he settles, he won't get even half of what he thinks is fair. So we'll see.

Friday, November 06, 2009


I'm going with David to the appointment with the lawyer today, so this morning I'm gathering up files, printing off copies of the accident report and burning photos to disc. Feeling lightheaded and nauseated already, so this is probably going to be a long day.

I really like to pretend nothing ever happened. It's much easier to remember only when I can't squash it down, like when I'm the last person in line at a stoplight, or worse, the last person in line in stopped traffic. And just go ahead and hand me the kleenex and look up the number for my 'counselor' if I'm the last person in line in stopped traffic on a bridge... It's been almost two years, and it still very much affects my life. Dammit.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Feeling kinda funky, not sick really. Just... Funky.

Tomorrow David meets with a lawyer about a possible lawsuit related to the 2007 accident. It would need to be filed before Wednesday if it can even happen. I'm thinking I need to attend this meeting, too, but David was kinda non-committal.

Not sure what's going on with the other guy's insurance. We were supposed to have another offer early last week, and have received no word. They're probably dragging their feet, hoping we won't file a lawsuit and they can offer whatever they want.

Update forthcoming...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I'm not a guy, either.

I think the check-out girls at Kroger this evening thought I was a guy. And possibly a cute guy? If so, should I be flattered? First, I'm pretty sure my $50 worth of groceries didn't need two extra girls to bag them. Second, as I was unloading my cart, they were talking rather loudly in odd, breathy voices between giggles about how very long ago they'd been seventeen (two years for one, three years for the other two). Third.... well, there is no third thing. It was just very odd.

Okay, I was wearing a Cowboy's ball cap over my bad-hair-day short hair, jeans, sneakers, and a hooded sweatshirt jacket. And no makeup. My decidedly diminutive bosom doesn't help, either. But I was wearing one-inch hoop earrings! Do guys wear earrings that big?

I just know they were screeching to each other as soon as I was out of earshot: "OMG! OMG! I totally thought that lady was a guy, didn't you?"

I'm pretty sure I couldn't care less...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I do not have a luggage fixation! I don't think. Do I?

Bookman isn't feeling well this evening, but I suspect it has more to do with the amount of homework he's put off until the last minute than with an actual bug. Gave him some echinacea and some tylenol for his sore throat, and told him to either go to bed (as in turn out the light and sleep) or get back to work. He's back to work.

In other news, apparently someone in Phoenix with a name remarkably similar to mine has a luggage fixation. Here's the story on CNN. I stumbled across the story on a Phoenix news website earlier today while looking at my site stats, which showed that several people arrived at my website by plugging her name into google and yahoo. While I'm glad to have the traffic at my site, I do hope her name doesn't tarnish mine.

And in a bit of totally unrelated news: I need to lay off the aspartame in diet sodas. It's been linked to memory loss, and I kind of scared myself today with a memory-lapse incident. I'll spare you the details, but I seriously thought I might be losing it. I'll blame the aspartame for now, and hope the short-term memory improves!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Autobiographer's Block

I spent much of the day today trying to come up with a short biography for my photography blog. One would think writing about the one person I know best would be relatively easy. But how do you simmer down all the pertinent information about yourself into four or five sentences? I ended up not posting one, but what was I gonna say? "I'm a geek and proud of it, grew up all over the world. I love nearly every sort of artistic pursuit and am even good at a few: photography, graphic design, painting, papercraft. I'm not good at interpretive dance."

Actually, that's not half bad.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaBloPoMo and tall tales

November is National Blog Posting Month, and I'm going to take a stab at the goal of posting at least once a day for 30 days--on TWO different blogs. Check out the November 1st postings on Shutter Muse for my other NaBloPoMo project :)

My mother asked me today, "What did you do to your neck?" I'd kind of forgotten about it, because I um... sort of... um... injured... my neck at the base of my throat on Friday morning. David says it looks like I clotheslined myself, which is a much better explanation that what actually happened. Can't you see it? Maybe I was chasing after ChiChi to save her from the jaws of a rabid dog that had somehow gotten into our yard, and perhaps was so focused on her that I didn't see the clothesline, but didn't let it stop me. It could be that I hit the clothesline so hard and kept running that it snapped off, leaving a bright red welt on my neck.

What. It could totally have happened like that.

Or maybe--MAYBE I was in line at the convenience store when I saw the guy ahead of me pull out a gun! So perhaps I tackled him, making him hit his head on the counter and knocking him out, but the gun discharged and the bullet grazed my neck!

Maybe that one's a little far fetched, but still completely feasible! Right?


Okay, okay... *sigh* The truth is... I um... I.... I burned my neck baking muffins. Okay? Geez!

I was in a hurry. David was ready to walk out the door, and I was trying to get the muffins out of the oven and flipped onto a plate so he could scoop some up with a paper towel and take them with for breakfast. But my hands were in the wrong position for flipping. So I tried to reposition my hands without losing my grip on the potholders. Which I accomplished successfully. I did NOT lose my grip on the potholders.

I did, however, lose my grip on the pan, and it slid into my neck.

There, are you happy now? Surely I'm not the only person who has ever burned her neck whilst baking muffins.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Last Day of October!

That's the only significance of today, right?

Last night was the yearly Family Fun Night (aka 'Carnival') at Sunshine's school. This is our last year there, so I purposefully didn't take as active a role as I normally would... or that was the plan, anyway. I'd only signed up to do some decorations and to work in the silent auction for an hour.

BUT... then the silent auction coordinator got swine flu. No, I did not volunteer to take it over (aren't you proud of me?). But on Thursday morning when the power went out, I went in to the school a day earlier than planned to get some decorations made and see how else I could help.

Yeeeah. That whole 'no real active role' notion? Overcome by marker fumes, apparently, as I wrote out 60+ bid forms and estimated the value of the donated auction items. Yesterday I did manage to get some decorations made and hung up before diving back into auction stuff. I was at the school from 8:30 am to after 10:00 pm, except for two fairly brief stops at home to potty the dogs.

Needless to say, I was utterly exhausted by the time I got home last night. Stiff and sore from being on my feet for sixteen straight hours, brain-dead, but still very caffeinated. Got into my jammies and drooled on my keyboard while I surfed facebook like a zombie. Couldn't even think about sleep until after midnight.

Was still very tired and creaky at seven this morning, so stayed in my pajamas nearly all day. Does it say anything to how exhausted I was, that around 2:00 pm I noticed for the first time that I'd put my pajama bottoms on backwards last night, and it took another hour or so to work up the energy to do anything about it?

Bookman also wore himself out by spending quite a bit of time inside the dragon mascot outfit. He did a great job, letting kids hug him, giving high-fives, posing for pictures. Inside a mascot outfit, he's free to use those *ahem* amazing dance moves...

On a related note (if I may bore you with just a smidge more auction chatter), I donated a portrait session, 11x14 print, and be-yooo-tiful 11x14 frame to the silent auction. I put a minimum bid of $30 on it because that's how much the whole gift cost me in actual dollars (I got the frame for half price), and if it were to 'sell' for less than that, I'd just as well give the money directly to the PTA. At the right is a picture of my item alongside other auction items.

Get this: TOTAL STRANGERS bid on it. People I do not know! How cool is that? It ended up selling for only $20 less than the total estimated value, which for a PTA silent auction is really good! Most things go for about half their estimated value, so I'm kinda grinning about that. The person who eventually won it is a fellow PTA Board member, which is cool. I'm already familiar with her kiddos, so photographing them will be relatively easy.

Off to watch Year One with the family!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So in addition to getting my new website up and running, I've been working on another project--a collaboration on the illustration of a childrens' book about battling cancer. My friend Guerin did the character sketches, and I'm helping take those sketches from paper to PAZOW! My first transformation was a Chemo Dragon, representative of chemotherapy drugs. The first pic below is Guerin's drawing as he sent it to me (he sent it bigger, of course):

Now here's a small version of my interpretation:
Pretty cool, huh? The book hasn't been submitted to any publisher yet, and won't be until we get most/all the illustrations done, so it'll be a while before you can look for it in your local book store, but it's kinda fun. It's coloring book to the nth power. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New website live!

I've been volunteering/donating my portraiture skills to friends, family, and PTA for the past few years. Finally enough people asked, "Why aren't you making money for this?", that I decided maybe I should give it a try.

For about three years, my web site at has been more of a portfolio of an assortment of skills, among them book covers, graphic design, web design, photography, and flash animation. It had no real purpose, except to show my students when I was teaching a class on web design, or photography, or graphics, or flash. It now has a purpose.

For the past three or four days, I've been brushing up on my Flash skills (it's been a long time since I taught it), and cranking out a new and improved website, this one a home for my portrait photography. Rather than an entire site in a single flash animation, I split it up into separate pages, so the browser buttons work, and individual pages can be bookmarked. And I'm very pleased with the result! Still working on getting pictures into the gallery.


Please visit the site and test out the gallery, and send me a note from the contact form, help me find any kinks in the plumbing sooner rather than later.

Woop! Woop!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

She's a King-Fisher!

[British accent] Beautiful plumage, eh!?


Friday evening was the much-anticipated wedding of David's sister, Michelle King, to her long-time beau, Cory Fisher. After a few 'What to do with Lucy' glitches on Friday morning, we managed to get on the road to Tulsa by noon-ish. We checked into the hotel by 5:00, relaxed a bit, found the rest of the family down the hall, then got dressed and headed to the chapel.

Now, before we left home, David asked if I had the video camera. I said yes, it's in my camera bag, and of course I take my camera bag pretty much everywhere we go. Didn't give it another thought.

Until we were all standing in the the small vestibule of the chapel minutes before the wedding was to start, and Rosaleen, running through a verbal checklist, ended by pointing to the bag over my shoulder and saying, "And you've got the video camera."

I blinked at her for a moment, processing several things at once: 1) She said 'the' video camera, not 'a' video camera, 2) 'the' video camera is expected to film the ceremony, please, 3) David has never operated the video camera, 4) that means I'll be filming the ceremony, 5) OHMYGOSH I never checked the camera to see if the battery was charged!!!, and 6) it's been more than a month since I last touched it so chances are slim that it will have enough charge to film an entire ceremony.

After a few moments of mental stammering, I blazed into action, finding a corner by a power outlet, tearing into my camera bag, discovering that the camera battery in fact had ZERO juice (!!) and quickly plugging it in to charge for the few scant moments left before the bridal party started lining up.

All worked out in the end. There was a power outlet at the side of the altar area, so I was able to film the entire ceremony. The angles are a little odd sometimes, and the camera spazzes a few times while I plug and unplug it, and without a tripod the entire thing is a bit shaky, but it's a decent record of the event. While they finished taking pictures, I was also able to find an outlet in the reception hall, so I got lots of video of the reception, too.

I was actually relieved to have something meaningful to contribute. I'd been feeling bad that we couldn't get there early to help with flowers or food, as the rest of the family had done. I do wish I'd been prepared to film it (known to charge the battery and bring a tripod), but as crazy as the preparation stuff was, with family coming into town from North Carolina and Great Britain, I can see how it fell through the communication gaps. Besides, family and friends know well that I always bring the cameras. I may leave the rescue asthma meds in the car or at the hotel, but I will definitely have the cameras.

The professional photographer didn't stay for the reception, so between videotaping and dancing and dancing and more dancing, I managed to get some good still photos, too.

To the right is a particularly sweet photo of David and his sister. And yes, that's my goober Sunshine, too. More reception pics if you're interested.

The dancing machine gene must be genetic (but if so, where did we get it, Erin?). As soon as MJ's 'Smooth Criminal' started, the reception video starts bouncing around because I just could not keep my booty from groovin'. The rest of my family soon congregated on the dance floor and proceded to boogie. (By the way, call it heresy, but the Alien Ant Farm version of that song is WAY better than the original.) We tore up the floor, and at the very end of the night, we were the last ones still dancing, along with David's big sis Maggie.

All in all, it was a beautiful wedding!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lock down!

It's book fair time, and this year I'm the chairperson again. I love this job. All the cases were delivered today, and we managed to get it mostly set up. Also got a long list of other things accomplished (mostly decorations). But today had a little bonus excitement. :)

Sunshine's school used to sit in the middle of nowhere, nothing but fields surrounding it. Now, however, the area has been built up, and it sits near the intersection of two major roads, and within spitting distance of several pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, and.... banks. Today's excitement was thanks to a bank robbery across the street, after which the gunman made a break on foot toward the elementary school. So we were under complete lock-down for a good portion of the day while helicopters searched from the air. ALL doors locked, blinds drawn, lights out, kids silent and away from windows. There were five of us PTA volunteers in the work room, huddling in the dark behind the counter, calling people 'on the outside' to try to get more information.

It's kind of weird to be in a situation like that with other people--it's an opportunity to see how differently people handle the stress of potentially dangerous situations. I totally kept my cool. I was more worried about the Scholastic delivery guy being hijacked while attempting to deliver my book fair (which would have completely screwed up the book fair schedule! *wink*). I also worried just a smidge about Sunshine, and whether or not she was freaking out, but figured she was worrying more about me than about her (which turned out to be the case).

Anyway. The moral of today's story is that small towns are not exempt from big city crime, particularly in more desperate times. Thank goodness the lock-down was the extent of the excitement.

**Edited 9/17 to add photo.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday night madness and more

Last night I taught an Introduction to Computer Graphics class. The last time I taught the class it was a four-hour Saturday morning class with no text. Now they've expanded the class to three weeknights, and the text they gave me to use is a 15-year-old TEXTBOOK for a semester-long college course. Now you probably know that 15 years in computer age is longer than the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods combined. And even if the material were current, there's no way we could cover anywhere close to the contents of the text in three nights. So I was scrambling. We were supposed to go until 10:00 pm, but made it to about 8:35 and decided to call it a night.

On the way home, I decided to swing by Fry's electronics to purchase a DVD burner to replace the DVD-ROM which had quit months and months ago. I got there with a few minutes to spare before they closed. Got home a smidge before 10:00.

And... since it was fresh on my brain, I decided to just go ahead and install the dang thing then, rather than waiting until morning. Instead of unhooking everything and bringing my computer tower into the light where I could see it, I crawled under my desk with a screwdriver. Of course just plugging the DVD drive in caused errors in the boot registry, so I spent another 90 minutes troubleshooting. Stuck my finger in the CPU cooling fan (that's when I decided I should find the camp light), bled on my good jeans ('cause I didn't change out of my teaching clothes first), and now have two gashes in my fingertip (which is hindering my typing a bit).

But I got it working (!), and was able to also get Vista repaired using the installation DVD (Vista crashed months ago, too), so I now have access to my Adobe CS3 design suite again! Wooo! I tried to do something creative with it last night, but alas, all my good thinking was used up. By that time it was nearing 2:30 am, so it's also quite possible that I was just dang tired.

This morning I had a date with Sunshine to take her to Justice (I hate that store) to spend some gift cards she'd acquired over the last year or so. I took my DSi and did sudoku puzzles while she shopped and tried on clothes.

Tonight's class was the third night of a four-night Photoshop class. I do try so very hard to be patient, but I confess I get frustrated sometimes. Photoshop is a robust, advanced program. If you have little experience using computers in general (and are unable to find and open a file, for instance) you should probably consider taking a class in computer basics before trying to tackle advanced software. And the people who use computers and can keep up get frustrated and bored while I spend more than half the class time repeatedly bringing the turtles up to speed. There are 16 people in this class--the largest I've ever had for Photoshop. It's tough with that many turtles and snails in one class. But I love the program, and hopefully my enthusiasm masks my impatience.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Trampolines and day-glo fiberglass

It's because of Facebook. It's so much easier to type in a one- or two-sentence status update than to come here and actually compose lots of sentences and put them together for a blog entry. That's why this blog (and my other blogs) are so pitifully out of date. *nodding*

When we first moved into this house, we inherited a big trampoline from my then brother-in-law (okay, we actually purchased it from his brother, but only for some ridiculously crazy price like $35 or somesuch). Before we even put it together, we went out and purchased an enclosure for it, so no one could accidentally bounce off of it and break something. Yet somehow my Sunshine has now sustained two broken bones on it.

On April 15th, she was jumping on the trampoline with a friend who lives nearby, and I guess they had asked David to sit on the trampoline so they could 'bounce' him, wherein the bouncee sits in the middle and the bouncer(s) jump around him/her to see how high off the mat they can make the seated person fly. Apparently Sunshine accidently jumped on David, rather than the mat, and rolled her ankle. Sunshine and Friend both said they heard a pop, so I took her for x-rays the next day. Her doctor thought it looked like a sprain, but said someone else would look at the films just to make sure. So we hooked her up with lots of ace-wrap and some crutches, and she went back to school.

On Monday afternoon, the doctor's nurse called to tell me that the radiologist looked at the films and saw nothing to worry about. But the ankle was still swelling (even worse than it had initially) and it was still very sore. On Tuesday afternoon, the nurse called again to to say that an orthopedist had taken another look at the films and thought she might have a non-displaced fracture. She said she'd make an appointment with pediatric orthopedics at Cooks and call me back with details.

So yesterday morning was our orthopedics appointment. He confirmed that her tibia is fractured just below the growth plate, which is sort of unusual. Growth-plate fractures heal pretty quickly because that's the part of the bone that is already generating more bone (for growing!). This one is going to take about six weeks to heal, and she has to be in a real non-removable cast for at least four of the six. He'll reassess on May 22 and see if she can wear a 'boot' for the remainder.

A very small fracture right above her ankle. And she needs a toe-to-knee cast. Needless to say she is not happy about it at all. Preteen drama queen that she sometimes is, yesterday was the worst day of her life, and she's sure she didn't do anything to deserve this fate. She got so stressed out that she got a mini-migraine and stayed home from school all day.

Please pray for a return of a bright positive attitude!

(Yes, it's a very nice bright shade of orange. Color not accurately reproduced here--on my monitor anyway.)

The good news is that she can walk on it. They gave her a little black shoe to put over the cast. And even though she loathes the cast, she's finding it a lot easier to get around. She also gets out of PE for the rest of the year (which is good), but will be a spectator at Field Day (which is bad).

She's especially worried that this will make us miss Baby Beaver. So Erin, can you send me BB's email address so we can request that she hold off until after May 22nd?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Erin, this is for you: My baby book

My dear neurotic pregnant sister has this notion that second and subsequent babies never get the attention that the first child got. So it is my understanding that she has decided NOT to do baby books or scrapbooks even for the first child, because she might not be able to do the same thing for a second baby, if a second child is indeed in God's plan. When she was here for Christmas, she mentioned my baby book, and how it was so much more detailed than hers. I laughed, but could not remember where I'd put my baby book to show her. Well, today I found it. Took a photo of every page spread so she could see. Here's the cover and the first few page spreads:

So far, so good. All this stuff was probably filled out when the book was purchased, at the shower, and in the hospital. It looks like there was once a copy of my birth certificate there, but it is now gone.
Okay, here the info starts to peter out. The cause is not that another baby was born, but that keeping up with a baby book, no matter how many other kids you have, becomes less of a priority, and THAT'S OKAY.
There's only one date recorded for my first. Mom went in after the fact and put in approximate ages. Aack! My first word isn't recorded!!!
Must have had a good long nap when I was 4 months old when my baby book was out...
Okay, this is kind of interesting. My first birthday is recorded in one ink. The REST are recorded in another ink. Mom recorded 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th birthdays AFTER my 6th birthday, which, incidentally, was after Erin (baby #3) was born. She probably pulled out Julie's and my baby books when she was working on Erin's. (And in fact, most of my 'Firsts' recorded up there are in the same ink, so mom filled in a LOT of my baby book after Erin was born.)
That's all. It's not complete by any means, but I am so glad to have it.
Erin, how does this compare to your baby book?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Love the Book Fair and classic Van Halen

No, those two things aren't necessarily related (though a classic rock-themed book fair would be, ah, TOTALLY righteous). I spent the day at the school, volunteering in the book fair for student previews. I'm exhausted, sitting here zoning, playing Van Halen's '1984' album on Rhapsody.

I love the book fair. My only real memory of book fair as a kid was the night when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade in Alaska, it was some sort of family night and the book fair was going on, and Julie (who was probably four at the time) pulled the fire alarm at the school. We left quickly (as I remember it, anyway) without spending any money at the book fair. Now I'm lucky if I get out of there with less than $100 worth of books.

Two years ago I was the book fair chairperson, and I had such a good time planning and decorating for the fair. For the Medieval theme, we made castle and dragon decorations to go around the school. For the rainforest theme, we transformed the library into a wild jungle with a CD playing jungle sounds in the background. Next year, when I hand over my President stuff, I get to do book fair again. This year someone else is running it, and I'm just helping out because I don't think there's very much that could keep me away from a book fair. It's magnetic.

Sunshine sat down beside me, telling me about her day, and mentioned that one of her friends was named after a Van Halen song. So of course I had to open Rhapsody and find the song. And then I had to go ahead and listen to more songs...

Right now we're headed out to Peter Piper Pizza for a school fundraiser night. I'm going to be so beat by the time we get home. Will have no choice but to vegetate in front of Earl.

By the way, lost five and a half pounds this week. :-)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Trim time

That's it. No more procrastinating. Today I am reforming my eating and exercise habits. I could use the excuse that I've gained sympathy weight, being that my sister is pregnant, but she lives three states away, so that one doesn't really fly. The truth is that I've been unbelievably lazy in my exercise and downright stupid with my eating. I've gained about 15 pounds over the winter, and am 20 pounds heavier than I want to be.

About five years ago, I found myself in a similar predicament, so I did a good bit of research, consulted a good friend who is a personal trainer, and put together an daily nutrition/exercise plan that's easy (not TOO much sweat!), just requires some discipline. I stuck with it and lost the weight in about three months. I was five years younger then, but I'm hoping it will work for me again. My goal is to get back down to my ideal weight by July, then just eat sensibly and exercise regularly. So this morning I dug out my aerobic step, my nutrition plan, and my hand weights (poor dusty things!), and got moving.

I'm posting here as a means to keep myself accountable. I won't bore you with the nitty-gritty details, but I will post a progress report once a week.

Here's one of my breakfast recipes (actually pretty good! I toss in about a tablespoon of dried fruit, too)

1 packet plain instant oatmeal
½ cup skim milk
½ scoop flavored protein powder or protein drink mix
1 packet Splenda

Prepare oatmeal with skim milk. Add protein powder and Splenda. Stir.

Oatmeal with milk: 140 calories, 1.5 g. fat, 24 g. carbs, 8 g. protein
Protein powder: 57 calories, 1 g. fat, 2 g. carbs, 10 g. protein
TOTAL: 197 calories, 2.5 g. fat. 26 g. carbs, 18 g. protein
Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Sunshine is having a friend spend the night tonight, and this afternoon while I was taking them to Hobby Lobby, David was home industriously setting up a Facebook profile. When I got home I was more than a little astonished since I am the computer/Internet geek and I'm supposed to do all that stuff first and advise. I hadn't yet done that, my logic being that I don't need both a MySpace and a Facebook page. Never mind that I've not even looked at my MySpace page in about a year.

So of course I had to create a Facebook profile, too. *rolling my eyes* So far, I do like it a lot more than MySpace...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I love IKEA!

So we got our tax refund, and with it, we're working on bedroom makeovers for the family. It's slower going than we'd hoped, but we're getting there. It's a good bit of work to do three bedrooms at a time. Note to self: Next time, do one room at a time.

David and I needed a new bed, so I shopped around online. I confess that I didn't check out a whole lot of places, because I already knew what I wanted, but I did browse Sam's Club online and the sites of a few local furniture stores, looking for a nice king-size bedframe and high-impact foam mattress (the kind that absorbs motion, so you can jump on one side and the glass of wine on the other doesn't spill). In the low-middle range at Sam's, it was $1300 for frame and mattress, not including a box spring or bed base! Say WHAT?

I didn't panic though. When we were in Orlando this summer, I made a couple of trips to the IKEA there, and saw a bed that I absolutely loved--frame, bedlinens and all. Very simple but colorful, clean lines, wood, and WIDE. I even took a picture of it. Check it out:
So after investigating other options, we headed to IKEA and bought the stuff to recreate that bed. Including sheets, summer comforter, pillows, duvet, foam mattress, adjustable-tension bed base, and frame, it cost less than $750! (!!!!!!) AND, they're running a promotion wherein you receive an IKEA gift card for purchasing Sultan-brand bed stuff (mattress and bed base), so I got $100 off my next purchase (which was a small fold-out couch for Bookman's room).

The bed was a little fiddly to assemble--I'm sure part of the reason IKEA furniture is priced low is because nothing is pre-assembled. The simple bed frame had a remarkably large number of parts, and we opted for European-style bowed wooden slats in place of a box spring, which came in a box as 90 slats (45 for each side) and the rubber and fabric bits to complete the two sides. Took us 2-1/2 hours, but we got it finished last night and slept on the fabulous foam mattress. LOVE IT! It is a little low (the legs of the bed are only about 3" tall, so the top of the mattress is just 15" off the floor), but it's comfy!

Alright, probably ought to get back to work on bedrooms...
Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday morning fanfare

For some reason, getting Sunshine out the door this morning was almost as bad as getting her out the door on a Monday morning. Two things were in her favor: 1) it is not my week to drive, so she had about eight extra minutes, and 2) her brother is STILL home sick today (upper respiratory infection), so she didn't have to compete with him for the sink to do her hair or brush her teeth. Yet at the two-minute warning, she was still rushing around in shoeless feet with unbrushed teeth and hair, looking for a different shirt. *sigh*

Her lateness was due in small part to a Lucy escapade this morning. After I went in to wake Sunshine up, Lucy stayed in DD's room, a reasonably normal occurrence. When I went in to check on them a few minutes later, Lucy sat down by the dresser and looked up at me with guilty eyes. I looked around and saw nothing out of the ordinary, didn't think much of it, and prodded Sunshine again. Later, I noticed that Lucy had a used kleenex stuck to her butt. On closer inspection, I saw that there was fresh glue holding it there. Puzzled, I made my way back to Sunshine's room, finding the complete cap to an Elmer's glue bottle in the hallway. And there, on the floor by the dresser, was a puddle of white glue squished out in the rough shape of a border collie's rear end. I suspect she sat in it to hide it from me.

I groaned/laughed/cried, then decided to clean up the carpet first and let Lucy outside. She's now back inside, with an assortment of leaves and sticks literally glued to her backside. Suppose I ought to add 'Give Gluebutt a bath' to the list of stuff I need to do today. *another sigh*

Happy Friday!, and I do hope your morning was reasonably glue-free.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Taxes filed? Check!

I am so proud of myself! It's barely February and I have already filed our taxes! Whooo! That's what I did this morning. My last W2 arrived yesterday, and I was reasonably organized this past year, so I already had everything assembled, ready to punch numbers into the handy dandy software (I've got people!).

So now it's 10:30 am, and I have a couple of free hours to... ugh.. do laundry. *sigh* Maybe I'll go volunteer at the school instead...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thoughts of blistering heat

An ice storm is moving in. I had vainly hoped that schools would be closed today, but even now it's still 32 degrees, so the roads are just wet. A normal day so far, but there's a good chance I'll have to chip ice off of my truck at 2:20 this afternoon when I leave to get Sunshine.

So what am I doing now? Going though summer vacation photos on my hard drive. Remembering how swelteringly hot it was at Palo Duro Canyon. How it was at least 140 degrees on the hike to Ernst Tinaja at Big Bend, as the vulture circled overhead and we had to tell him "We're not dead yet!" How we all just about cooked ourselves on the beach near Tampa. (Do you see a theme here?) To the left is a photo of my little vandals at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo a few summers ago. They had a great time.

I'm actually putting photos on a flash drive that I want to put into scrapbook pages. Sometime this week, I'll head to Walmart and use their nifty machine to print them. I'm going on a scrapbook retreat this weekend, to a little place in Bowie, Texas, called Hobby House Hill. Cindy, the owner, is a phenomenal cook, so it's worth the money just to go have her cook for us. I'll have roughly 55 hours of scrapbook time, so I need to make sure I take plenty to work on.

Looks like my Internet connection is about to peter out (always happens when it rains...) Hope y'all are staying warm!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I love lazy days...

I slept in sweats last night, wore 'em all day, and am about ready to crawl back into bed, still wearing the sweats. It was chillier today. Only got up to the mid forties--but with a wind advisory, it felt much colder. After 80 degrees yesterday, today seemed like a good day to stay home and out of the wind. David got out to deposit his check, and brought home Rose's authentic Mexican food for lunch (mmmmmm....). The rest of us just lounged around the house.

I chatted online with my baby sister, got some stamping done. Did some crossword puzzles. David watched football. The kids took turns on the other computer playing WoW. They only indulged in a few minor altercations between them, so overall it was a very quiet day.

Oh. Sunshine and I did get one small thing accomplished that needed to be done. We emptied her craft supplies bin onto the middle of my bed, then sorted and organized everything. She has a lot of stuff she didn't remember she had (and quite a few things I'll have to borrow!).

Everybody had a lazy day... except Lucy. She was busy, busy, busy. Today Lucy chewed: 1) the zipper of one of Sunshine's comfy suede boots (it's ruined); 2) the earbuds to Bookman's iPod (destroyed); 3) Sunshine's pants from the dirty laundry (caught those in time); 4) a heavy duty orange extension cord (completely destroyed); 5) a TV remote control (the #4 button is missing), 6) the sleeve of David's jacket (caught that one in time, too). She also discovered the cool pop-up feature of Kleenex. Empty box, lot's of wet kleenex on the floor. *sigh* She's lucky she's cute.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A journalversary!

When I was in high school, I kept a pretty regular diary ("I love [insert name of current boyfriend here] so much, he is just so nice and cute! I am so lucky!" *modern day rolling of eyes*). But somewhere around my Junior year, I fell out of the habit, and never really picked it back up. I've received some cool journal notebooks as gifts over the years, but tucked them into the top drawer of my dresser, saying "Someday I'll use them."

On January 20, 2008, I picked up one of those journals and wrote in it. And I did it again the next day. And again the next, and the next, and the next.

One year ago today, it was just two months after the accident, and I was still pretty traumatized, having physical pain, emotional issues, and nightmares. In those two months, I spent way too much time focusing on the crap that resulted from the accident, particularly as it related to me. My fears, my pain, the disruption of my life. It was doing me absolutely no good whatsoever, but acknowledging that fact made no difference. I had to DO something. In writing that first journal entry, my intent was to write down the things I'm grateful for (to help me focus on the good things in my life), as well as my prayers for others (to help me take my focus off of me). I tossed in a quick summary of the day's events, and thus began my journaling habit.

I've only missed one day that I can remember, and am now half-way through my third notebook. And I still use the same format: Quick summary, stuff I'm thankful for today, and my prayers for the day. Many days the Praises and the Prayers are the same as the day before, but writing them each day helps me remember them each day. Many days I've had to struggle mightily to stay awake to finish the entry, but every day I did it.

And now I'm wondering why it took me 20 years to return to journaling! Even in the past year, it has been helpful not only to my mental health, but also to my memory. When did we go to see the Butterfly Exhibit? Oh, yeah, it was Thursday, March 27th. What day did we find out Erin is pregnant? Yep, here it is. Friday, September 26th.

Which makes me think of all the memories I could have quickly recorded on the day they happened that are now lost or muddled in the haze of time. I have no idea when Sunshine lost her first tooth. I couldn't tell you when Bookman first learned to ride a bike without training wheels. No idea what those kids' names are in the pictures of 3rd birthday parties. *sigh* These are things I wish I'd written down. And if I'd been in the habit of journaling daily... *bigger sigh*

No more memories lost like that. I shall continue to take 20-30 minutes to sit quietly, reflect, and write a daily letter to God.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Deep thoughts on... death ;-)

Joel was buried yesterday. Landra is doing well, considering. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

However, this has gotten me thinking again about funerary traditions. One of my favorite books of all time is Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. In it, Mary Roach details all sorts of useful things you can do after you die. Obviously there's the whole Gross Anatomy thing, but did you know you could also help improve vehicle safety by becoming a crash test dummy? Or help forensic scientists research how a body decomposes under various conditions? You could help aspiring plastic surgeons perfect the latest techniques in face lifts, or even help grow food for the hungry. It's a really interesting book, and it's frequently very humorous, too.

After my paternal grandfather died, I decided that I don't want to be embalmed, put on display in a ridiculously expensive box, then buried in said ridiculously expensive box. I personally think embalming is silly. The body is going to rot anyway. Why spend thousands of dollars to prolong the process when you're just gonna put 'em in the ground in a day or two? And a casket! Holy moley. Cremation and a simple black canister (or biodegradable box) is the way to be buried if you're gonna go the cemetery route.

After David's dad died, the family did go the cremation and simple black box route. But I started to question the whole cemetery idea. Cemeteries in general are sad places. People visit their deceased loved ones in cemeteries, as though their loved ones are still there. They focus on the 'death' part of their loved ones' lives, rather than the 'life' parts. Sure, from a genealogical standpoint, cemeteries are a treasure trove of information, and I am one of those odd people who likes to visit historical cemeteries and wander among the headstones. But I really don't want to spend more than a few hours in one, ever.

Here's my thing: When I die, I'm outta here. I'll be on the next train to Heaven, sayonara! But I do want what's left of me on earth to be useful! Please, if you love me, donate any usable tissue to someone still living whose life could be saved or improved by it. Whatever's left... can be a crash test dummy, a parachute prototype tester, a decomposition subject, a dissection cadaver, I don't really care. If nothing useful can be done with me (or after I've done something useful), torch me and scatter the charred bits in a flower garden. Buy a brick for a library and put my name on it, then visit the library to remember me. Then... throw a party! Oooh! A luau would be cool, or a fiesta! I love theme parties with lots of bright colors! Play music you can groove to, and give wet raspberries to anyone who wears black or navy.

And if I believe one day a group of med students might be in Gross Anatomy, carefully peeling away layers of fat on my belly, it'll help me stay slender. Because I would just die if my belly looked like an ocean of curdled cheese.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sad news

I am so very sad to tell you that Joel Peña passed away this morning around 10:15. Please pray for Landra and her family.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Please pray for Joel

I'm gonna post this here, because I know a lot of prayer warriors read this.

My friend Landra Peña is our PTA's historian. I have known her since her youngest son started Kindergarten at Deer Creek, and he's now in 3rd grade. Her husband, Joel Peña, is fighting for his life at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, after a drunk wrong-way driver slammed into his truck head-on at high speed. The accident happened in the wee morning hours of Sunday, December 28th. The drunk driver, 26-year-old Matthew McCoy, died in the accident. Mr. McCoy was driving on a suspended license (for DUI) and had no insurance.

Joel is so badly injured that doctors have kept him unconscious. Numerous broken bones, massive internal injuries, they had to remove his pancreas, and now his other organs are trying to shut down. He is right at this moment undergoing his second surgery of the day. Doctors say things look pretty grim.

But we believe in miracles! Joel is a great dad, has two boys: teenage Cory and 9-year-old Christopher. Landra is a stay-at-home mom heavily involved in PTA.

So I ask that you please pray! Pray for healing for Joel, trusting strength for Landra and for her boys, and peace for the family of Matthew McCoy. Pray for God's guiding wisdom for Joel's doctors, and pray for loving acceptance of God's will if His Plan is not what we pray. God is Great, and can restore Joel to his family.

Thanks everyone! I love you!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New Baby!

Happy New Year! It looks like we've got a new baby in the family. She is right now on the floor by my feet playing with an empty 2-liter bottle, banging it around and chewing on the cap, occasionally looking up at me with those big brown eyes... I guess she's forgiven me for taking her to get her vaccinations.

She's perhaps 10 months old, and she already weighs about 35 pounds. She's a bit on the skinny side, and still has feet that are a smidge too big for the rest of her.

Meet Lucy:

A couple of weeks ago, I was at my parents' house taking care of the cockatiels when my dad came in to tell me about a young border collie that had been hanging around. He said someone had painted her green on one side. It was right before Christmas, and I was already over my stress limit, so I held up my hand and said, "That's very sad, Dad, but I don't want to hear it. Lalalalalalalalalala." I know, very hard-hearted of me, but there are dozens of families that actually live in that neighborhood that could easily take her in. We already have an aging Chihuahua.

Well, on New Year's Day, we were putzing around after dinner when someone said that the green border collie was outside. I stayed where I was, ignoring my kids' 'Awwww's and 'She's so sweet's...until my curiosity got the better of me.

The dog did indeed have mint-green latex paint in her fur. We asked around and learned that she'd been hanging around for several weeks, and that the neighbors had been feeding her very occasionally. She's incredibly sweet-tempered, and a beautiful dog, so it was tough to resist the kid's pleading. We brought her back to our house for a trial run, intending to make Found Dog posters if we observed any indication that she'd ever had a home.

After four stressful days, I can say with confidence that she's never had a good home. I don't think she'd ever had a bath (she was that dirty), she'd apparently had a run-in with a skunk long enough ago for the dry scent to wear off (but boy was it apparent when we got her wet!), and she tested positive for the heartworm parasite even though she's not even a year old. And she has an eye infection. Wherever she came from, it was not a loving home.

She's not housebroken yet, either. But she seems to be an intelligent dog, and she very much wants to be a good girl, so I'm sure that won't last long. She has tried to use ChiChi as a chew-toy a few times, which does concern us, but I'm working with both dogs to show the puppy that the little dog is off-limits. If that behavior continues, we may have to find another home for Lucy.

Here's a slightly blurry (nearly-dead camera battery) picture of ChiChi:

Here's a pic of the two of them (again kinda blurry, but note the size difference) playing with Tiki, one of two Pomeranians that lives behind us.

We'll see how she does. She's a much bigger dog than we've had, so that alone is requiring some adjustments (like remembering to put the toilet lids down). Adrienne was perhaps 20 pounds after old age fattened her up. Lucy will probably grow an inch or two and gain another 10-15 pounds in the next year.

I am thankful for the blessing of devoted friends, including the four-legged variety.

And blessings to you! May you live all the days of your life!