Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Exciting, Huh?

Hi All!

Yesterday I found myself in a fit of nervous energy. I am leaving for the NSDA National Symposium on Thursday and that means I will be missing classes on Thursday. By missing classes, I will also miss an important day of time to work with my partners on the two different projects I have coming up.

One of the projects is about the ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act. I get to make a PowerPoint.

Does it look exciting enough for you? Of course, this is only the first slide.

I got pretty far with the PowerPoint. It would be nice if I could get it finished this morning so that I could give it to my partner and she could work on the paper that needs to go along with it over the weekend while I am gone.

Another PowerPoint is soon going to be created for my presentation at the NSDA Leadership Training. This one is causing a bit of nervousness on my part since I don't really have what I want to say formulated yet. I suppose I should do that before actually getting up to speak, right?

Oh well!

Tee-hee! I am listening to the music I have on my computer and The Time Warp just came on. You know, the song from Rocky Horror Picture Show! It always makes me giggle a bit! In my mind I can picture everyone in the movie theater standing up dancing . . . ah - memories! Isn't it fun how music can bring up memories you haven't thought of for years? Amazing stuff, music!


Voice Update: Still hanging in there. Doing more massage but still crunchy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

One of those days!

Hi All!

Yesterday . . . it was one of THOSE days! It started off well enough. Hubby and I slept in and got up for church only to discover the Hubby had NO clean pants. AND I mean NO CLEAN Pants! *sigh* I was doing laundry on Saturday and did he tell me that he needed pants washed??? Of course not!

So . . . church was off the board. I think Hubby planned it that way.

Anyway, we got up and I got together a list to go grocery shopping. I was supposed to go last Wednesday but that was headache day and so I didn't end up going. We were in serious need of food . . . Hubby even lowered himself to eating my generic fruit loops for breakfast on Sunday!

Right before I headed out, Hubby was vacuuming the living room and managed to suck up Skor's favorite toy - which Hubby had just bought on Tuesday! The toy connects to the "fishing pole" via a ball-link chain. Well, that was toast after its run-in with the sweeper! Luckily, Hubby managed to hook the toy back onto the string but then . . . he knocked a container of morning glory seeds off of our kitchen island by swinging the toy around!

After cleaning up that mess . . . I started to repair the toy. You see, the string had pulled out of the connector and was no longer attached to the pole.

Everything was going well . . . until I impaled myself on a paperclip trying to pull the string through the hole in the cap.

Blood. Pain. Blood. Pain.


Hubby and I went into the bathroom to "doctor" up my finger (left index finger) after which Hubby got the string through the cap and I managed to get everything put back together. Then - it was off to the grocery store.

Nothing too bad happened at the store but I did manage to dump two bags of groceries out in the back of my car on the way home!

What a day!

Luckily, dinner went smoothly even though it was tough to do things with my left index finger all wrapped up!


Voice Update: Doing well but my throat is crunchy. *sigh*

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Bit Chilly!

Hi All!

It is a chilly and windy day here in North Texas! When I woke up this morning it was showing a "lovely" 37 degrees on the thermometer. Now, I know that other people in other parts of the world are experiencing colder temps or have experienced them before but remember . . . I live in TEXAS! It isn't supposed to be this cold! Besides - a change from about 68 to 37 is a bit drastic, don't you think?

Not that I am complaining. It is just a bit of a shock to the system to be walking in 60 degree weather one morning and 37 degree weather the next.

At least the kitties are staying warm - snuggled up on the bed.

Speaking of being cozy in bed . . . I think I should go take a nap in that cozy bed!


Voice Update: Still hanging in there. A bit of crunchiness due to some serious sneezing going on lately. Rats!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Old Pictures

Hi All!

Even though it is a bit "geeky," I have to admit that I adore history! Ancient history, modern history. Whatever. If it is history, I can't get enough! One of my all-time favorite kinds of history is family history.

Knowing what my relatives were like "way back when" is fascinating to me. I can spend hours imagining what life was like for my relatives; the hardships and joys they faced, how they dealt with new technology, what they would think of the world we live in today.

Part of my fascination with history is a love of old pictures. Pictures of my relatives hold a particular fascination for me but, any old picture will draw my interest. They always seem to have a story to tell and I wish I knew what it was!

Here are some pictures from my family.

My Grandma Frank had four children - all boys! Here are the oldest three: (from left to right) my Uncle Bob, my dad, my Uncle Ken. Just look at their faces. Can you imagine what it was like for my grandma to deal with these little rapscallions? I know these people all grown up - and they are pretty quirky - imagining them as little kids just tickles me.
This picture - as far as anyone can tell me - includes my great-grandfather. Where he might be in this picture is a mystery but I still love the picture.

Here are my great-grandparents, my grandma's parents. My great-grandfather was an officer in the army drafted for the Spanish-American War. Don't they look fun? Those hats!
There are a lot of old pictures in my grandmother's house which I hope to inherit some day. Is that weird? Wanting to inherit old pictures? They just make me feel connected to something bigger than myself - history.
Voice Update: Still doing really well. Massage, massage, massage!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Val Kilmer and Hawks

Hi All!

Thankfully, I have recovered from yesterday's migraine! All day yesterday I felt bad - like I had been run over by a truck - but, another LONG nap helped a lot. Today I feel pretty good, all things considered.

Just to clarify the whole lunch making for Hubby thing. Hubby CAN and has made his own lunch. However, he isn't much of a morning person and I am so I took over making his lunch for him a while ago. It also helps me feel less like a "kept woman" when I send him off to work.

Val Kilmer.

Lots of people think that he is really handsome and that he is a good actor. Me . . . not so much. Wait! Before you gasp is outrage, I DO admit that he is a pretty good actor. He makes his characters very believable. But there is just something about him that sort of freaks me out. It makes it difficult for me to watch him in a movie - something I had to do for class!

The movie I watched is "At First Sight." In this movie, Val Kilmer plays a man who became blind at the age of about three and who has grown up blind. He meets a woman and falls in love. She convinces him to try a surgery to reverse his blindness and it is a great success . .. sort of. He can see but, because he never really saw a lot of things (or doesn't remember what he saw) he doesn't know what the things he is seeing are. He has to learn what things are like a child experiencing things for the first time.

This movie mirrors the experiences of some Deaf people who are pressured into getting cochlear implants. They technically hear but have no idea what they are hearing. They have to spend a lot of time learning to hear. Weird,huh?

Anyway. The movie - good. But Val Kilmer just freaks me out! I am so glad that I am done watching that movie!

On to other topics. I saw two beautiful hawks this morning while I was walking. The morning is cool and misty - hinting at rain to come. The first hawk I saw flew across the street in front of me and landed in a tree. I stopped and gawked for a while until he/she flew away. This hawk seemed a bit small and I am thinking it may have been a juvenile. About a half a block down the way, another, larger hawk flew across the street in front of me in the same direction as the first hawk. They are really magnificent birds, aren't they?



Voice Update: Working on it! Working on it! I got into the massage yesterday during the movie (it distracted me from Val Kilmer) and things seem to be good.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Migraine Morning!

Hi All!

This morning I am off to a slow, slow start due to a "wonderful" migraine. Last night I had a little headache right behind my eyes. I took some aspirin and went to bed hoping that would be the end of things.


This morning when I woke up, I had a full-blown, honest-to-goodness migraine! Lovely.

I crept out of bed and into the bathroom to find some Excedrin Migraine meds. Hubby was kind enough to turn out the lights as I fumbled in the medicine cabinet. Isn't he a sweetheart? After taking the meds, I stumbled back to bed and burrowed under the covers to avoid any peek of sunlight. Hubby left for work - lunchless because I couldn't make his lunch this morning - and I slept away the morning.

Waking up at about 11:00. I feel much better but as always - I feel like I have been hit by a train. My body aches and it is almost like I have a hangover. Not too much fun.

At least I got an idea for my next presentation in Fingerspelling class - a story about my migraine morning.


Voice Update: I didn't do as much massage yesterday as I should have. I am still having a bit of breaking now and again but I am sure that will improve with more work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Again With The Books!

Hi All!

It is time to hear about my books again! I have a varied group this time.

First is a book I borrowed from a fellow ASL student. Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean by Edward Krisler.

That is right JEWISH pirates! Who would have "thunk it??" This book reviews the history of the Jewish people around the time of the Spanish Inquisition when they were being expelled from Spanish held countries. These Jews were in quite a fix - they were not welcome in most European countries and, if they were allowed into the country, they were not given equal rights as Christians.

A central theme in the history of these Jews in search of a "homeland" free of persecution is their financial prowess. Wherever they went, the Jews managed to succeed financially and this caught the attention of the Spanish King. While he wouldn't abide the Jews in HIS country, he was more than happy to allow them to settle in his "New World" colonies to take care of his financial interests.

What does this have to do with pirates, you may ask? Well, a large part of the finances that Jews oversaw included piracy - or profiteering. They were given permission by the Spanish King to basically capture the ships of other countries and to take the cargo the ships were carrying. It wasn't only Spain that saw the wisdom of Jewish pirates. Other Western European countries also allowed Jewish sailors to act on their behalf to "loot" cargo ships.

The Jewish pirates were very, very good at what they did! This is an interesting book which was researched extensively by the author. While I wouldn't go as far as to say that the writing was sparkling, if you are interested in history, particularly Jewish history, this might be a book you would like to peruse.

Next up is The Light of Falling Stars by J. Robert Lennon.

This book centers around the crash of a passenger airplane in the remote hills of Montana near a small town named Marshall. The book flits between several people who are effected by the crash in different ways.

First you meet Paul and Anita. They are a couple who live in an isolated cabin in the woods outside of town. They are going through a difficult time because Anita wants a family while Paul doesn't. They are arguing in their backyard, on Paul's birthday, when they see the plane. One of the plane's engines falls from the sky and actually crashed into their house before landing several yards away in their yard. Both Paul and Anita run to the crash site in the woods and what they see changes their lives forever.

Next is an Italian businessman named Bernardo who is moving to America to be with his son. His son has no idea that Bernardo is coming until he gets a call from his father from the Italian airport. Bernardo is running from what he considers disaster in Italy. His marriage ended in his wife's death. His business, a thriving market, burns to the ground due to carelessness of two young workers. His "girlfriend" is pressing him for marriage. He doesn't have any money to rebuild or to marry so he runs. To Montana. On the plan which crashes.

Lars and Toth are next. They are young men who both have a strong connection to a woman who is a passenger on the plane. Lars was her boyfriend and wanted to be her fiance. Toth was secretly in love with her and had recently told her his feelings. The two men each deal differently with the sorrow of learning that Megan has been killed in the crash.

Finally is Trixie. Trixie is a divorced woman who lives alone in a small house in Marshall. Her grown children have no contact with her and turned against her after her husband, their father, left her when they were young. Hamish, their father and her ex-husband, contacts Trixie and tells her he is coming to see her. On the plane that crashes. Trixie begins to deal with her emotions about Hamish as she waits for his arrival, learns of his death, and deals with the loss.

This book is a good read. The characters are richly developed and become real as you progress through the book. In their reactions to the crash, you begin to imagine your own reactions. Sometimes you can't understand the actions of the characters but when you look at the reasons for the actions, all centered on the crash, you begin to understand.

While this book is more literary than a good beach read, it is good and well worth the time.

Speaking of beach reads . . . 3 Love Stories is just such a book. This is the second of these collections (from Grandma's stash of books) which I have read. In this book are the stories "A Guest in Paradise" by Peggy Gaddis, "Backhand to Love" by Rebecca March, and "Treasured Dreams of Love" by Joan Garrison.

In "A Guest in Paradise," a young secretary, Celia, who is in love with her boss, Brad, flies to an island to help him with a business deal. The island, Paradise, lives up to its name. Once there, Celia finds herself a pawn in a strange business deal and the interest of several men. This story has a happy ending but, I just didn't feel that the story was developed adequately to support the ending. Oh well. It is fluff and you can't expect too much from fluff, right?

This story left me wanting more.

The next story, "Backhand to Love," was a bit better. In this story, a former tennis player whose career was ended due to a car crash and a badly injured ankle, takes up the coaching of a young tennis player. The former pro, Bess, and the young player, Karen, are wrapped up in the creation of a woman's club which wants to sponsor Karen. Bess is hired as the director of the club and finds herself more involved in Karen's life than she ever imagined.

Again, a nice story but not really as developed as I would like. I am thinking that the story length needed for the book may have some influence on the development of the plot.

The final story in this book, "Treasured Dreams of Love," was actually a struggle for me to get through. To be honest, this was more due to the cumulation of feelings about the previous two stories than the merits of the final story. In this story, Cathy, the manager and owner of a fine restaurant in a small Nevada town, gets involved in the local politics of casino owners as the town experiences some growing pains. She is in love with Dan, an ambitious hotel manager, but also pays attention to Doug, a wealthy rancher, and Gary, a slick out-of-towner who comes to town to develop a casino/motel/restaurant.

Again, the story ends on a happy note but . . . geesh! How in the world does Cathy get to the decision she makes? More info please!!!!

If you are at the beach and just bumming around looking for some brainless reading this may work for you. If you are looking for some well developed stories . . . pass!

The last book in this batch is She Went All the Way by Meg Cabot.

Meg Cabot was an unknown author to me when I purchased her book at the local book sale. I was attracted by the picture! Now, I am thinking I will search out another of her books when I get a chance.
While this book is definitely "Chick Lit," it is a good read. The main character, a screenwriter named Lou Calabrese, finds herself in an unbelievable situation with the person she would least like to be stuck with, an actor/playboy named Jack Townsend. The two find themselves stranded in the Alaskan wilderness running for their lives as unknown people are trying to kill them. Actually, Jack is the only real target but Lou is caught up by merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Amazingly, the pair survive several days in the wilderness due to some fabulous luck. The reason for the paid killers is unknown to both of them - and the reader - until the very end of the book.
This book is a very, very good read. I couldn't put it down! The plot is interesting even though it is incredible. The writing flows and is peppered with sex scenes (as all chick lit is) but not so many that the reader gets frustrated. The twists and turns in the plot are very unexpected and makes this book even more interesting.
Looking for some good "Chick Lit?" Get this book!
Voice Update: Still feeling like my voice isn't as strong as it should be. Still working on the exercises and massage.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What Do You Say?

Hi All!

Yesterday was Hubby's birthday - Happy Birthday, Hubby! We had a nice, relaxing day. Church was first then it was home for a quick nap before watching an American Chopper marathon. What a day!

I must admit that I had some birthday cake yesterday - how can you say no on your husband's birthday? However, today it is back to the grindstone of resisting sweets!

Speaking of that - indirectly, of course, I have a strange question for you. As you know, I walk every morning. I take the same route every day so that I don't have to think too much (not that I could at the beginning of the walk!). Well, this route takes me past the same people each morning and we always wave or say "Good morning!"

This morning was a little different. This very nice man who I greet each morning stopped me. He asked if I walked each morning. When I replied, "Yes." He went on to tell me that he had lost over 100 pounds and that he used this spectacular program and that he would give it to me. He said that it really helped him when he used it along with his walking.

What do you say to someone who offers you a weight loss program?

True, I know that I need to lose weight - why do you think that I am out walking every morning and then doing weights and Wii Fit? True, this need to lose weight is apparent to people who see me. But . . . does that mean that you should offer me weight loss programs unsolicited?

I am not sure how to react. What did I do this morning? I said "cool" and kept walking. We will see if he is out there tomorrow with the program for me! THEN what do I say?


Voice Update: Doing okay. I have noticed some more breaks than usual. Of course, I noticed this at a brunch in the neighborhood with people that Hubby says "all are on the brink of needing hearing aids." Also, most of the breaks were when these people asked me to repeat myself because they didn't hear what I said. Repeating is ALWAYS hard for me! Massage, massage, massage! Exercise, exercise, exercise!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sinking Feeling

Hi All!

When I was teaching, there would always be at least one meeting every school year about where education is going and all of the new changes that were coming up. This usually included some new government mandate that just didn't make a lot of sense. I remember sitting in this kind of meeting with a sinking feeling in my stomach. How was I supposed to teach the students what they needed while doing all of this new stuff that just didn't make sense? Would the parents understand the changes or blame the educators for everything, as usual? It was times like this that I really felt, deep down inside, that education and the public schools were doomed.

I hated that feeling.

Since I haven't been teaching, I have had that sinking feeling a couple of times. Usually when I think about my SD and getting a new job. Not fun.

Last night, I got that pit-of-the-stomach feeling again while Hubby was watching tv.

Each night before we can go to sleep, Hubby has to watch tv in bed for a while. This is his method of "unwinding." Personally, I don't like watching tv before bed - I would rather read quietly but . . . Anyway. Last night Hubby was flipping through the channels as usual. I was listening to my podcasts and reading but every once in a while I would glance up at something interesting. How pipe organs are made. A travel show about some exotic place. The news.

Then I heard what caused the sinking feeling. It was a political show I guess - Hubby likes the talk programs. This particular one was discussing various things going on politically - the stimulus packages, the video Obama sent to Iran, the economy. As the people analysed everything, the sinking feeling began. Taxing bonuses at 90%. Taxing people who make over $250,000. The national debt continuing to rise. The fact that Iran will view Obama's tape as a "surrender." Possible terrorist activities. Private enterprise going under because of all the new rules and regulations. How the government was just making everything worse.

My stomach was roiling.

Another reason not to watch television before going to bed!


Voice Update: My voice is doing well but my throat/neck is still a bit sore as I massage it. I am doing the massage but . . . ouch!

Friday, March 20, 2009

New House In the Family

Hi All!

My brother got a new house. No, he isn't moving . . . well, not exactly! He and his family will be staying on their property but will be living in a new house shortly.

How, you may ask?

Well, he had a house moved onto his property.

The house isn't all fixed up yet but it is exciting that my brother and his family have a new house. This house has more bathrooms and bedrooms than the house they are currently living in so my brother won't have to share a bathroom with his wife and two daughters!
Congratulations on the new house! Maybe I will head up to Oklahoma to see it in person!
Voice Update: Boy, my neck is sore. I was massaging yesterday and wincing each time I touched my throat! It really makes me want to stop massaging but, we all know where that got me the last time I did that!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oh My, Opossum!

Hi All!

This morning is beautiful in North Texas! It is cool - on the way to about 80 or so - and slightly windy. The birds were out and, thankfully, the sun rose just a bit earlier than it did last week.

I was bopping along listening to my podcasts and scoping out the landscaping trying to think of what I would like my front landscaping to look like if/when we ever rip everything out and replant.

Suddenly, I saw movement between two houses. By the time I had tracked it, the movement had entered a flowerbed. I stopped and peered into the shrubs. Then, I saw this . . .

Well, almost! This is an Internet picture and what I saw didn't include the humans. A white face with little black ears and a small black nose peered back at me from the shrubs. It was an opossum!

Now, I have seen plenty of these animals . . . on the side of the road as roadkill. Never had I seen one this close and this alive! The animal peered at me and stayed motionless for a long time (probably really about a minute). Then, it turned in a tight circle and retraced its steps across the lawn between the houses and disappeared into the dense shrubs of the other house.


While I know that opossums are not the nicest, fuzziest, friendliest, or sweetest smelling of all animals, it was still neat to see one that close - it was only about 8 feet away from where I stood staring at it!

Let me tell you - seeing one alive is much preferable to seeing one along the side of the road!


Voice: Well, I had speech yesterday and I got all fixed up. My voice was good but had started missing a bit - especially when I got to my appointment! Isn't that always the way? My throat was a bit tight which I knew - thanks to that lovely "gunk" I had been coughing up and the sneezing that went with it. Susan got me all loosened up and speaking smoothly again. It is amazing what that woman can do with her massage that I can't do at home!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meeting Flea

Hi All!

Well, I did it! I met Flea yesterday as she made her way from her home to visit her grandmother! How exciting! This was the first time I met a blogger friend in real life! Now I can tell Hubby that I do know Flea - I have met her!

We met at La Madeline's - a French bistro like restaurant which serves a mean breakfast as well as nice lunches. The desserts are really good - especially the fruit tart - but, I did give up desserts for Lent and I am sticking to it!

Flea showed me her smocking projects and I have to tell you - they are even more beautiful in person! Flea is one talented blogger!

Oh - I should tell you that Flea was surprised by how young I am (not that I am THAT young). She says that I look much older in my Blog picture. What do you think?

Today I have speech so we will see how I have been doing with everything lately. I am always a little nervous about my speech appointments. I am not really sure why!

After speech . . . I might take a nap with these two.

Oh - I planted moonflower seeds yesterday and today I am going to pick up some tomato plants on my way home from speech. My garden is starting to shape up!

By the way- I still have a TON of moonflower seeds. Who wants me to send them some? If you want some, email me at the address on my profile!


Voice Update: I think I am doing pretty well - we will see what Susan thinks. The NSDA National Symposium is coming up and I am getting excited!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Office Helper and Bookmarks

Hi All!

Things have gotten go busy around here that I finally broke down and hired office help. Communication is a bit difficult but . . .

Screening all of my very important emails is his first job every morning. He takes it very, very seriously.

He hasn't quite gotten the knack of responding to emails yet - if only I could convince him that the screen isn't a touch screen!

At least he works cheap!

In other news - I am meeting Flea for breakfast this morning! I am so excited. Of course, I am a bit afraid that I won't recognized her! Over the past couple of days I have been making things to welcome her to my part of the world. I must admit that I got a bit carried away with the bookmarks. Here are the ones I have finished.

The flash washed out the lovely blue color of the disk. This almost reminds me of turquoise.

Appropriate for St. Patrick's day, don't you think?

Again - the leaf is a bit washed out by the flash but this is a nice "earthy" bookmark!

An interesting experiment! I got the long beads while I was in Alaska last summer and finally used them!

Another experiment - I really like this one but am a bit worried it is too reminiscent of a cat-o-nine-tails!
What do you think?
Voice Update: Doing well, doing well!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cat in the Hat - Errr . . .the Box

Hi All!

Well, you have heard of "the Cat in the Hat," right? Around our house we have "the cat in a box!"

Skor LOVES this box and likes to jump in while playing with "Mr. Sparkly." We didn't get a shot of him when he puts his head down into the box as well - so that all that is sticking out is his tail.
What a weird cat!
Voice Update: Still doing well!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Short

Hi All!

I just finished my brunch for the day after sleeping in - amazing! Hubby got up with the kitties at about 6:30 and me . . . I just kept on snoozing! It felt wonderful! Now I am up and ready to go. I have already thrown a load of laundry into the washer and folded some clothes I had hanging. It is about time for the clothes to go into the drier and the last load to go into the washer - how fun is that?

Today I plan to continue my wonderful Spring Break by doing things I want to do instead of things I HAVE to do. Yesterday Hubby and I did some shopping so I now have fiberfill to stuff my Homely Homies and some new glass beads to be made into bookmarks - craft world, here I come! Also on the agenda today is to FINALLY get my next podcast recorded and posted. I have been putting it off and putting it off . . . today is THE day to quit procrastinating and to get it done!

My Jewish Pirate book is still calling my name so after I finish some sewing and some podcasting, I may just snuggle up in my reading chair and learn some more about those feisty Jews.

Doesn't that sound like the perfect day?


Voice Update: Still doing really well. I need to get a bit more aggressive with my massage to keep the crunchies at bay but other than that . . . I am good!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Free Day

Hi All!

Yesterday was my first "free" day. The first official day of my Spring Break from college (gee - I feel weird typing that since I am OLD for college!)! It is incredible how excited I get when I just have a day to do absolutely nothing.

Not that I just sat in one spot staring at the wall yesterday . . . I did some of my all-time favorite things. First, I played with my kitties. They make me laugh so hard when they both decide to go after the toy at the same time and end up running over each other. I am afraid that my dear Miss Cleo gets the worst of those encounters since Skor just zooms right over her back.

Next, I took a long, leisurely nap. No alarm clock. Nothing to require me to get up at a certain time. It was raining so the rain on the roof lulled me gently off to sleep and I woke up when my body told me it was time to get up. Heavenly! Of course, the cats thought I should get up about an hour before my body did - it was a little hard to convince them that I wouldn't forget their lunch but that they needed to wait a little bit!

After the nap I took a hot shower - one of my favorite things in life. A hot shower just relaxes me and refreshes me. Now, I know that hot water isn't the best thing for your skin but, really, a lukewarm shower just doesn't do it for me!

Once I was dressed I grabbed a glass of water and headed up to my bonus room. This room is one which Hubby has relinquished pretty much totally to me. It is home to my desk - where I graded papers when I taught and where I podcast. My sewing machine also is a resident of the bonus room. The sewing machine was the purpose of my trip upstairs yesterday but I also found time to appreciate the television - the "old" one from the living room which was replaced with a flat screen - and my beautiful yellow sectional.

Let me tell you about my sectional. I love it. It is a lovely yellow color which never fails to make me smile. It is sleek and modern looking - quite a contrast to our normal furnishings which tend to be on the traditional side. One side of the sectional - right in front of the television - is a chaise. I have always wanted a chaise and now I have one. I enjoy lounging on it and feeling like a pampered woman.

Anyway - yesterday I headed upstairs, turned on my Gilmore Girls reruns, and started sewing. First I repaired my walking jeans - again. Because my thighs are less than - shall we say - slender, my jeans tend to wear out where they rub together. Since I walk every morning and wear the jeans whenever it is cool, these things have seen a lot of walking . . . and a lot of rubbing! I took denim for my "donor jeans" and patched the "holey" area. My mother says I should just throw the jeans out but, I get some kind of pleasure in patching them and making them usable again. True, they don't look the best but . .. who is looking between my legs when I am walking at 7:00 in the morning?

Next, I took out my fabric stash - scraps of fabric from past projects - and started preparing to make some Homely Homies. Homely Homies are my version of the ugly dolls which are sold for a LOT of money. My version is made of a wild patchwork of fabrics and is much cheaper! It was shocking to find out just how much fabric was in my stash because it all fits into a plastic shoe box! Who knew that so much could fit in such a little place?

Finally, I got sewing and got one panel done for my Homely Homies project. Only about a million more to go! I promise to show you a picture of my Homely Homies when I actually get some made. I made some at Christmas time for the family gift card exchange (they had pockets on them to hold the gift cards) but they are in Ohio and I don't have any good pictures of them.

About the time I finished my panel, Hubby came home. I returned to the downstairs and, while he took a nap, I snuggled up in my reading chair with my silky throw (the only kind of throw that lets cat hair just slide right off!), my iPod docked in the speaker system, and a good book about Jewish pirates. How can you go wrong with that set up?

It was a perfect, perfect, free day!


Voice Update: My voice . . . is still good. In fact, my mother-in-law was shocked to hear me and told Hubby that she was positive I was "cured." We both just sort of laughed at that idea because we know how hard I have to work to keep my voice in this shape. If I was cured, I wouldn't have to work so hard, would I?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Midterms are Over AND It's Friday!

Hi All!

What can be better than having your midterms over and it being Friday? Such a wonderful feeling of relief! I could literally feel the tension drain from my body last night as I drove home - an hour and a half early!!! Having those tests out of the way feels good.

Not that I was really stressed about them - I don't get too uptight about tests - but they were still there and something that I had to do. Not to mention that the first one of the day - ASL 3 - was TOUGH! I did get a nice compliment from the teacher, Henry, though. He said that I would pass because Deaf people understood my signing and that I understood Deaf people. He said I had a gift for ASL. That was nice, wasn't it?

Today I have a full day planned. A day of doing nothing but relaxing, maybe a little sewing, some napping, some playing with the kitties, some Ugly Betty viewing. Just decompressing. Lovely.

Next week is my Spring Break. While I won't be heading to Cabo with the other kids, I will be enjoying myself somehow. There is a strong possibility that Flea and I will meet up as she travels in my neck of the woods. That would be thrilling! She will be the first blogger I have met in real life! How exciting! I can't wait!!!

That is all I have planned so far other than some real nice reading time!

What would you do during your Spring Break at this age?


Voice Update: Kicking some bootie and taking names! My voice is doing really well. My throat is getting a bit crunchy though - I think it might be because I am catching Hubby's Ick. I have a LOT of drainage as well as gunk in my chest which makes me cough - that isn't good for your vocal cords! Ughhhhh! I will attempt to massage away the crunchy but the odds are stacking against me!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Let Me Explain

Hi All!

Yes, I have a fascination with rain. For as long as I can remember I have loved rain. The sound of it pattering on the roof. The smell of freshness rain brings. The sight of rain dripping from leaves and railings. The feel of raindrops on my face as I look up to try to see it fall. Some of my best sleeping has been done to the muted accompaniment of raindrops on the roof.

Never have I been in a mood bad enough to resist the wonder of rain. It activates something peaceful and wonderful in my soul. It calms me.

My love of rain has always been with me but there was one period of time in my life during which it was reinforced many times. It was during the time that my parents lived in Saudi Arabia and I lived in their house.

My parents have always had wanderlust and after my dad retired it was the perfect time to do something about it. They took jobs at a school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and from there traveled all over the world. For most of the year I was living far from my parents and at least an hour and a half away from my closest relatives. It was a bit lonely.

Don't get me wrong, living on my own was super at that time in my life. I stayed in my parents' house and didn't have to pay rent as long as I managed their money while they were gone. Responsibility is something that I learned really quickly after they left!

Each summer my parents would come back for about 7 weeks and would then head back to Saudi. I always felt sad that they were going so far away again. During their visit I enjoyed talking to them and just having them around so it was difficult to watch them leave again. However, it never failed - when I would drop them off at the airport for their return trip, it would begin raining. My sadness seemed to vanish in the face of the rain.

It seemed like God was sending me a message that it would all be fine. I would pause for a moment and just soak in the beauty of the rain - no pun intended! My sadness would lessen and the joy and wonder of the rain would begin to work its magic on my soul. Soon I would feel better.

How can you not love rain when it carries that kind of a message?


Voice Update: Still doing well. I am massaging my little heart out here!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rain, Glorious Rain!

Hi All!

Just when my spirits were a bit low and I was dragging . . . it began to rain. Not just a little sprinkle, real, roof pounding, gutter tickling rain!

The streets and sidewalks are being washed free of their winter grease and grime. The rooftop becomes a percussion instrument with rain the unseen hands pelting out a rhythm soothing to the ears. The downspouts are the triangles, the gutters the bells. Each adding its distinctive notes to the natural melody in an amazing masterpiece of syncopation.

The brown and dormant grass is sucking in silvery mouthfuls of cool, clear water with an almost audible sigh of satisfaction, finally feeling able to push up new, tender shoots to greet the world. The trees, just breaking free of the winter sleep and bursting with red buds, are basking in the shower of wetness before sending their pale, new leaves upward into the sky. Flowers poke their heads out of the hard ground as it softens with the moisture of spring.

The birds. Oh, the birds. Their songs are jubilant as they preen and flutter in puddles relishing the relief of a spring splash. Over and over they flit from the full feeder to the glistening puddles. They snack and bath over and over, obvious in their enjoyment, all the time singing joyfully to welcome the rain.

The glorious, wonderful, heavenly rain.


Voice Update: Just singing along with the rhythm of the rain in fine voice today. My massage and exercises . . . still not quite on track with that but working on it . . . working on it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Books, Books, Books!

Hi All!

It is time for a look at my most recent reading!

First up is a two pack from Debbie Macomber which contains the novels: Ready for Romance and Ready for Marriage.

These two novels are great, easy reads full of fun. In the first, Jessica meets up with her teenage crush as an adult. The man, Evan's, family expects Jessica to help Evan get over a tragic heartbreak.

Jessica ends up working for Evan's family business where she is thrown together with both Evan and his big brother, Damian. Of course, things don't turn out exactly as the family expected!

As usual, Macomber delivers good romance with some fun twists.

The second novel revolved around Mary Jo, the woman who broke Evan's heart. She is from a working class family while Evan's family is wealthy. How can the two ever be together with such different backgrounds? To compound the problem, Evan has his sights set on politics and Mary Jo just knows she could never be a the kind of wife who would be an asset to a politician.

If you are in the mood for some light romance without torrid sex scenes, pick up Ready for Love by Debbie Macomber.

Next is a novel filled with suspense, revenge, and sisterhood by Fern Michaels, Lethal Justice. Apparently, this is one of a series of books by Fern Michaels revolving around a group of women called "The Sisterhood." While I haven't read any of the other books in the series, this book didn't require any prerequisite reading to enjoy.

The Sisterhood is formed of women who have been wronged in some way and who desire revenge. Each act of revenge is meticulously planned out in advance and the women remain anonymous in their vengeance. As the plan for revenge is plotted in this novel, there are several bumps in the trail. One bump involves two nosy reporters. Another bump involved the a reclusive billionaire who has retreated from reality at her estate in Spain.

As the women work through their plan and deal with the unexpected bumps, the reader is kept at the edge of her seat waiting anxiously to see what will happen to the women, the object of the revenge, and those unexpected "bumps."

This is another good read which zips along at a good pace and which is a fabulous read if you want to just sit back and relax with a good book.

Finally is a book from my stash of "Grandma's books." Death in Cyprus by M.M. Kaye is reminiscent of a good Agatha Christie mystery with a bit more "spice."

Amanda is on her first trip away from her strict and old fashioned guardian. She is visiting Cyprus, a world which, to her, seems filled with romance and fancy. Amanda's trip starts off on the wrong foot when, on the ship to Cyprus, a woman dies in her cabin! Certain that the woman was poisoned, Amanda enters a world of mystery, uncertainty, lies, and deceit.

Rooming with an eccentric old woman, Miss Moon, Amanda gets sucked into the mystery as her life is threatened because of what she knows or what someone thinks she knows.

This novel is full of many twists and turns which make the pages turn rapidly. While not a novel which is impossible to put down, it is one which you want to pick back up after just a little time. It is a fun read and the solution isn't quite what you would expect.

If you are looking for some good Spring Break reads, pick up one of these books.


Voice Update: Still doing well. Yesterday I wasn't feeling well and ended up sleeping most of the day so I didn't get a whole lot of massage or exercises done. Hopefully, today will be better!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some Updates

Hi All!

Do you remember me tell you about the crack in our foundation and trying to get the warranty company to cover the repair? Well, that didn't work out, of course! We had a foundation company come out last Friday (while I was getting ready for DI - good planning, Hubby!) to evaluate things and tell us what was going on. It seems our house isn't too bad - yet. The front corner near the laundry room has gone down 8/10 of an inch. That is what caused the kitchen tile to crack.

The solution? Get helical piers installed to support the front of the house so it doesn't continue to sink and make things worse (think more cracks in the floor, cracks in the drywall, doors that don't work, etc.). We haven't signed a contract yet but I am pretty sure it is just a matter of time.

There are a few good things about the foundation repair. First, they won't have to dig up my floors - all work will be done from the outside. Second, it will only take a day for the repairs to be made. Third, it comes with a lifetime, transferable warranty (of course we saw how well the warranty on the foundation worked out for us!). Fourth, in the course of the digging, we just might lose some of our "ugly" bushes out front. In fact, we are thinking this is a good excuse to just tear out all the landscaping in the front and replace it with smaller and fewer shrubs. I am excited.

The bad things? Well, they won't fix our floors so we will still need to do that on our own. We will have to actually get to work on the front landscaping instead of simply putting it off indefinitely. Finally - it is going to cost money!

What else to tell you about - oh, the front door handle which wasn't latching because it kept getting stuck. A little WD 40 and the thing is serviceable again! Yeah! We will need to replace it eventually but . . . we have other things going on right now!

Hmmm. Oh - did I mention that my car was scraped at the DI tournament? It is only the bumper and not too much damage. However, Hubby's car also has a scratch on it - in the driver's door. He isn't too happy about that!

Last, but by no means least (because there will always be SOMETHING going wrong in our lives), all of my DI stuff which had taken over the living room and the guest room - it is all packed up and stowed away neatly. Now I only need to transfer it to the person who will be taking over for next year!

That is about it for today! Now that DI is over I will get back to reading blogs again. Fun!


Voice Update: My voice is rocking! Of course, after the weekend I don't want to talk - AGAIN! But - that is just part of the "game" these days, I guess! I am getting on track with my exercises and massage again now that I am not so stressed!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I survived!

Hi All!

Well, Saturday is over and so is the Destination Imagination tournament. It was a LOOOOONG day but, I survived and actually had a little fun as well. The most fun was talking to the different teams as they registered for IC and then talking to some teams after they finished their challenge. I really enjoy kids.

Lugging all the materials upstairs was a bit of a trial but, luckily, there was an elevator and we were able to borrow a dolly! Score! Friday night, the night we got most stuff set up, I was very lucky to have some helpers. Hubby, another couple, and a young woman all helped get stuff in shape. It only took about 2 and a half hours!

Saturday morning started at 7:00 for me and, miracle of miracles, ALL of the appraisers showed up. Okay - one woman didn't come but her father was in the ICU and we expected her to be with him and not with us. She had an excellent reason and we all hope her father is doing better. Anyway, ALL of the appraisers showed up and, for the first time in the six years I have been doing this, I had more than enough appraisers in each room! It was quite a luxury for everyone involved. More appraisers means that the workload for each one is lower and that the stress levels are lower. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time and no one told me to take their name off the list for next year!

The day ended at about 5:00. The last team finished up at about 4:30 and then we had to take everything down - including a LOT of signs and caution tape (used to ensure that people didn't enter our area accidentally which is vital due to the confidentiality of the problems). Also, it was back down the elevator with all the stuff and out to the car. Happily, the boxes (six of them plus a laundry basket full of "extra" supplies just in case, were pretty much empty as the supplies had been used. A much lighter load on the way home! Again, we were able to borrow a dolly and away we went.

Hubby and I got home around 5:45 and fed the two piglets . . . I mean kitties, got the mail, and hauled everything into the house and/or garage. We discovered that my car had gotten biffed by another car in the parking lot (no note, of course!) but it isn't too bad - just one corner of the bumper scraped and smeared with paint. Then - after a phone call from the tournament directors about a team manager who talked about the Instant Challenge her team did - we both fell into bed for a "nap."

My nap lasted until about 7:15 this morning (taking into account the time change which just HAD to be this weekend, didn't it???).

Still feeling the effects of the long day in stiff legs and hurting feet, Hubby and I are both up and planning to head to church. Maybe I can convince him to take me to IHOP on the way home. That would be a nice treat.

Oh - I went off my "resisting sweets" run yesterday but am back on today. I just couldn't make it through the day without a gooey brownie and a few M&Ms!


Voice Update: Going strong. It did well yesterday and I think I gave it enough rest throughout the event to keep it from going out on me. I didn't do my massage - too busy - but it is back to business now!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fractious Friday

Hi All.

I am feeling grumpy. Grouchy. Fractious. Impatient. Irritated. Annoyed. You pick your favorite and we will go from there!

While most people look at Friday as the start of the weekend and the start of a "rest from work," I look at this particular Friday as the beginning of a marathon event for which I never feel prepared.

For as much fun as Destination Imagination is for everyone involved (including me), it can certainly be a pain in the neck (and back and legs) to get ready for. I have most of the supplies I need but still have the odd thing to pick up today. Also, I have about a ream of paperwork to sort through, stick labels on, and put into individual envelopes.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

Add onto that enjoyment the fact that Hubby has a foundation company coming to the house this afternoon to check out what the cost would be to fix our foundation- which the warranty company isn't covering - of course!

At 6:00 I will be at the Destination Imagination tournament site to set up the Instant Challenge area. That involves a lot of moving of desks and tables and putting up signs and walking back and forth and back and forth and back and forth . . . .

Let's just say I am not looking forward to it.

Then tomorrow . .. I will be at the site between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning and will be on my feet all day until about 5:00. My poor feet and aching preemptively! Once home I will fall into a temporary coma as my body tries to recover from everything I have put it through in the past few weeks to prepare for this event. Then the clean up will begin. All of the bits and pieces left over from the tournament will need to be sorted and organized and stored. All of the paperwork leftover will need to be shredded (to maintain confidentiality) or recycled. *sigh*

Oh - I WON'T be blogging tomorrow but I will try to get you an update on Sunday.

Wish me well!


Voice Update: Interestingly, Hubby is having a rough week with his voice due to congestion and drainage and all that wonderful stuff. Me, on the other hand, am doing well. My voice is strong and sounding good. I am a bit concerned about tomorrow though - there will be a lot of talking involved. . .

Thursday, March 5, 2009

DI Disaster Zone

Hi All!

You wanted a DI update, didn't you? Well, here it is.

This is me nearing the end of my "bagging" for the day. Only one more group of bags to fill! Don't I look thrilled? I gathered material for about 120 teams and divided them into bags and then into 6 different boxes to go to the different rooms on tournament day.

It was pure chaos around me. I even chased poor Hubby off the couch with all of my stuff!

Skor had a blast hiding amongst my bags of supplies. Of course he also had a blast knocking them down and chewing on the pipe cleaners (politically correct name: chenille sticks). He also had a fascination with the foil. No chewing but a lot of pawing and walking on. Somewhere I read that cats don't like the sound or feel of walking on aluminum foil. Well, MY cat seems to enjoy it!

"What are you saying, Daddy? Stay out of Mommy's stuff? Okay. I will."

"Yeah, right. Who does he think he is talking to? I HAVE to get those last three craft sticks out of this box. Maybe putting my entire head inside will work!"

***Note: Skor got his head stuck in many things yesterday. This box, a brown paper bag, and a Wal Mart bag. Fun, fun! You would think he would learn!

Well, that is pretty much done with. Tomorrow I will focus on getting labels on papers and papers in envelopes. That isn't too bad if I can sit on the comfy couch and do it!

Today is classes - I am ready but next week is mid-terms. Is it just me or does everything always happen at once?

Oh - I do have a cohort in crime to help me with stuff for DI. She did all the copying. Bless her heart!


Voice Update: Too tired to contemplate talking . . . I might let you know how things are going after a nap!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Veggie Chips and Destination Imagination (Again!)

Hi All!

As I am typing this, Skor is playing with a veggie chip under the desk. I don't know if he is trying to eat it or just licking the sea salt from it. He seems enthralled. Actually, I am enthralled with the veggie chips myself.

The color of the chips got washed out in this shot but here is what veggie chips are. They are dehydrated veggies - carrot, squash, sweet potato, green bean, and taro. These little buggers are crunchy and slightly sweet and sprinkled with sea salt to add another layer of flavor. I am addicted.

My local Kroger store sells these in the produce department and once I got the nerve to actually try them. . . I fell in love. These are healthier than potato chips and also satisfy my sweet tooth now that I am resisting the urge to eat sweets. They are perfect!

Who knew a green bean could be so sweet?

The Destination Imagination tournament is this coming Saturday and that means I am in the thick of preparations. Hubby was sweet enough to lug my boxes of supplies out of the closet and I spent a bit of time going through the boxes getting out what I will need this year. Today I will really get into things as I start portioning out supplies for each team and each room.

Here is my guest room at the present moment courtesy of DI.

Lovely, isn't it? Wouldn't you like to come and spend a night with us? I should mention that the dragon is always in the guest room. He is a hand puppet and is absolutely adorable. He is the companion to my wizard hand puppet who hangs out in the music room. Hmmmm - maybe the dragon needs to relocate!
Next to the windows you can see some of Hubby's golf balls. Anyone want some slightly used golf balls?

DI has also taken over our coffee table (and soon the entire living room!). Do you see the pile of brown envelopes peeking out at the left side of the table? I had to put labels on each of those and then divide them into 6 groups (there are six different rooms teams will be going through and certain teams go to certain rooms). Soon I will be labeling six sheets of paper for each of those envelopes.
On top of the pile is a file box filled with index cards - two for each of the 130 teams - which I had to hand write this year because the powers-that-be didn't deem fit to give me enough pre-printed labels! Now THAT was fun!
At least I have Gilmore Girls re-runs to watch during the drudgery!
Voice Update: Still not feeling like talking too much. I DO but I don't feel like it. My voice is good but I am getting really phlemy so that isn't helping matters much. I hope I don't have a cold!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sunburn, Henry, and Melody

Hi All!

Yesterday was busy and fun - and busy. After my morning routine (actually I slept through my alarm so my morning routine was greatly altered!), I got my act together and had an al fresco luncheon with my friend M and her daughter A.

We went to a wonderful park which had a great playground for A to play on, pavilions, and a pond with fountains. After A played in the playground for a while - that kiddo loves her slides! - we walked back to the pond and ate our packed lunch - chicken salad, fruit, veggie chips, and bread - sitting in an ampitheater looking at the pond. It was a cool day with a slight breeze. Fabulous!

The food was great, the company was better and the chance to just relax and slow down a bit was heavenly.

It wasn't until I was home getting ready for bed at the end of the day that I noticed that I had gotten sunburned! Yikes! Luckily, it isn't bad but it is a clear reminded that sunscreen is essential even in March when the weather is only 50 degrees!

The next time I will remember to take along my camera so I have pictures to post for you! I hope to go back again with M and A.

Right after the picnic lunch, I headed off to the college and to the ASL lab. I have an assignment for fingerspelling class due today and it had to be video taped. The assignment involved writing twenty sentences, each of which contained two numbers, two fingerspelled words, and a FLS (fFngerspelled Loan Sign - a "shortcut" so to speak). Let me tell you - getting all of that into a sentence isn't exactly easy. The last time I had to write twenty sentences it took me FOREVER!

This time I decided to amuze myself and write a little story. My story was about Henry and Melody (the Henry in the story is NOT the Henry that teaches my ASL 3 class. In fact, I didn't even notice that I had used the same name until I was all done recording my sentences!). These two people need help with their taxes and both go to the same accountant where they sit in the waiting room next to each other. It is love, love, love at first sight and the two marry and take a two week honeymoon in Barbados.

It kept me amused. We will see what the teacher thinks!


Voice Update: Still doing well. I am still not feeling too eager to actually talk but . . . the voice is kicking bootie!