Monday, August 31, 2009

Last day of August!

Where oh where did the summer go?  I admit I am loving the cooler weather we have had these last few days, but it seems like the time just flew and much of what I had planned to accomplish once again went out the window.  I have projects not finished that I had hoped to complete, some household changes I wanted to make that remain undone, things I wanted to adjust or remake or do differently.  It's been a good summer: we got lots of use from the pool pass and I was so glad we had it.  We spent lots of time as a family and we had a wonderful trip to MN that I am so glad we could make.  We had family come down to us, and we were able to entertain, so I am grateful for that as well.  It just all went so very fast.

I got up this morning to check the time and found I had three missed calls from the school, and a message from the principal.  Reimond took his pill with him to school, intending to take it in front of the nurse (to follow rules), only they couldn't find his paperwork authorizing his meds!  Could I please come in so he could take it, oh and could I bring the forms with me?  He brought them in and left them with the nurse last Monday, only "they don't have it," thus he must not have brought it.  I KNOW he brought it because I gave it to him to take, and when he got home I asked if he turned it in.  He even knows who he gave it to, although when they called her this morning to check she denied having anything from him.  They have a new part time nurse this year and already I don't like her (both nurses from last year were wonderful and I really appreciated them; only one is still there, but not today).  Now I have to make a trip out to the clinic to get these papers re-signed and dropped off again.  I am sooooo pissed!  I even went through his backpack and locker with him this morning to be sure he hadn't somehow forgotten it, and I checked the house before I left to be sure I wasn't hallucinating that I had sent it.  I so wanted him to fly under the radar this year, so I tried to be on top of things...  This just irritates me.  I just had a thought--the envelope they were in was addressed to Reina M.; I wonder if they filed it under M....  and not S.....  for Rei's last name.  I will ask next time I am there.

This is starting out to be a continuation of last week's difficulties, only it's going to be magnified because I am working so much this week (Working 4 and teaching 2, with one overlapping shift on Saturday).  The money will be awesome, but I am having some issues hormonally that will add to the challenges (as well as my moodiness--I am in turn depressed, angry, easily irritated, easily tearful, and wanting to be left alone--not good things working in a people-centered industry!).  Bah!  The kids did help with getting the dogs out this morning, and the boys did a nice job of cleaning the floors for me yesterday while I was gone with Aurora.  She bowled ok for her 5 games, better than last week anyhow: 201, 215, 135, 165, 163.  The middle game she couldn't catch a break if it sat next to her!  She doesn't think she made the team, especially since they are limiting HS bowlers (because of IL laws and the overlap of seasons), but it was a good experience for her.  Patrick decided on Friday that he would like to bowl on the youth league after all, so I got him registered for that as well yesterday.  Their season starts on the 12th.  One more Saturday morning of freedom!

I talked to family members this weekend about their experiences at the state fair, which is a really big deal in MN.  (I hope to exhibit some finished quilts there eventually when I have them done).  Joel showed his horses over the weekend and took a first and 2-seconds, and a best of show with his brand new little male.  He was quite pleased!  I was thrilled to hear that.  I know Aurora would have loved being in the barns with him (we tend to congregate there with Joel and the horses when he shows them).  Maybe next year.  The fair runs through Labor Day every year but there is absolutely no way we could get up there this year for it.  In fact, for the first year in a long time, family didn't go en masse to the fair, but rather went as "pockets," because everyone's schedules were so crazy! 

This comingThursday (9/3) would have been my 26th wedding anniversary to Jim, had we stayed together.  That seems hard to believe. Where have the years gone?  I am so glad that Jim and I are friends and can talk to each other about things, but I am so much happier in my marriage and relationship with Eric.  It is like comparing Apples and Grapefruits--it isn't fair to try and compare them as each are what they are, but I do have many good memories of my years with Jim, along with the harder ones too, and I have no regrets.  I can say though, my life is completely different from the one I imagined having when I married the first time at 21 years old...  Wow.

We have a new pastor at church and she is a lovely person, who preached an amazing sermon on Sunday.  I am going to try to be more faithful in my attendance now that the summer is over, and maybe even go by myself if need be, just to see how this works out.  She is newly graduated from Seminary, and she has a nice way of putting things together.  So we will see. She seemed to be well-received by the congregation, although I still really like Pastor Jan and appreciate her so very much.

Eric is sleeping so I think I will run and do a few errands.  I need to return something to the BX, I need to run by Pet Smart (forgot to do that the other day when I had Patrick and Aurora at the bookstore, then out for ice cream), and I want to stop at Kohls--got some bonus bucks to spend and I need a couple of things for me.  Might as well do this while Eric is resting!  Then he and I are off together the rest of today/tonight, so maybe we can sneak in a "date".  TTFN! (Tata for now, lol--Tigger)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Doing better today,

although still not totally happy.  The dogs are still pushing my buttons.  Today after Eric went back to bed and I went downstairs to change a load of laundry I found the contents of the garbage can strewn from the pantry to the kennel in the laundry room, coffee grounds staining the linoleum, and in the kennel, Po with Rei's policeman puppet and misc. items of trash.  The puppet was missing an eye and the arm-motion dowel was chewed to pieces.  I was so angry and upset I cried!  The puppet was a gift from me to Reimond for Christmas 2007, and he always joked it looked like Eric.  In fact, Eric is what he named it, and it always made me smile when he used it--he does such a good job of it.  I admit, Rei isn't always very responsible about keeping it put away, but still, the dogs know better than to chew these things.  They don't chew other stuffed animals or pillows.  Leina tends to be the primary culprit of knocking the lid off of the garbage can and foraging, but once it's open it becomes fair game for all of them.  I don't remember when I have last been so upset and angry!

Then, this evening, Po took off.  Not necessarily his fault, because Patrick unhooked the lead from the post when mowing the lawn, then "forgot" to rehook it.  Aurora put Po out, and he took off upon realizing he was not attached to anything.  We got him back, he didn't go far.  But it was unnerving to look out the window and see him down the trail quite a ways.  He and Midnight have been having "pissing" contests, for lack of a better word, growling and snapping at each other aggressively.  It has actually been kinda scary a couple of times!  Not sure what that is all about but I don't like it.  Midnight is getting so old; he seems like he is selectively deaf these days, and although he seems spry when he wants to be, he spends most of his time when he isn't fighting with Po sleeping near whereever Eric or I are. 

Aurora ran in her first cross county meet this morning and she ended up dropping out of her race at the 2 mile mark because her hip again started aching unbearably.  She had been doing fine with it up until Monday when she really pushed it and the pain resumed as bad as it had been this spring and she came home very upset.  She has been seeing a doctor about it, and it was thought to be related to "female issues," but it doesn't seem like that is actually what is causing it.  We have a recheck on her other issues in about 2.5 weeks and will double check this with him, then probably set up an appointment with her regular physician for followup with her too.  I sure understand Aurora's frustration, both with pain disrupting her desire to run and her body not cooperating with her desires.  We are staying on top of this as best we can.

Tomorrow is going to be another busy day.  Aurora has to bowl her last 5 games for travel league tryouts, and of course the kids serve at church in the morning.  Rei has his homework done (he had to finish it before I would drive him to a friend's house), but I am not so sure about Patrick and Aurora's.  Eric is working yet tonight and tomorrow night, so I will be on taxi duty during the day. 

I think I should probably be looking at heading to bed myself--gotta be up shortly after Eric gets home in the morning.  Good night!

Friday, August 28, 2009

With apologies to Judith Viorst,

today is a no good, horrible, rotten, very bad day!  I woke up on the wrong side of the bed (so-to-speak) and was crabby from the get-go (thanks hormones, gloomy skies, and high humidity); the dogs piddled where they pleased (thanks kids for not putting them out as you got breakfast), Rosie and Midnight seemed bound and determined to trip me as I moved between the bedroom and the bathroom, and time just seemed to fluctuate depending on what I was trying to accomplish.  I got out of the house on time, but had to stop at the high school to drop off forgotten homework (and they now have a buzzer system to get in, so there was a wait there); took an alternative route to get to work and was then 5 minutes late, only to discover I DON"T WORK TODAY-- I was supposed to be there YESTERDAY!  Adding insult to injury, they were so busy yesterday that no one took the time to call me and check why I wasn't there (I would have gone in without a problem, just would have blown off that luncheon thingy) so that made me even a bigger messup in my co-workers eyes.  I know exactly what happened, and I think it stood in my favor that I showed up today, showing that it was indeed an honest mistake. 

Anyway, what happened was I called in the end of last week (Friday to be exact) to find out what my schedule was for this week.  The girl who answered the phone had me on hold for 2 cycles, then gave me my schedule: Wednesday and Friday, noon to 5.  I asked her if it was the correct schedule because I generally don't work afternoons (unless it is my choice and I am teaching), and she said "Whoops, you're right, you are on 8:30 to 1:30."  I asked again, "Wednesday and Friday?" and she said yeah, so I wrote that down in my planner (my "Brains"--if it isn't in there, it doesn't happen!).  Anyhow, I blogged about my day yesterday so you know how that went...  I think I would have had a better time working than I had at the luncheon, although I really did like the quilt/yarn shop.  I felt absolutely nauseous on the drive home because that is not something I have ever done.  I will admit, I didn't look at this week's schedule when I went in on Wednesday, because I figured "why, I already know it;" I did, however, check next weeks so I have it for planning purposes...  This was the first (and the last!) time I will call in to check my schedule for the week.  From here on out I will again make the drive over near the end of the week if I am not already on the schedule (for when the next weeks' schedule gets posted) to see with my own eyes what my hours will be.  I don't like having a black mark on my work record, nor do I want to face any disciplinary action; my guess is there will be something though.  So I made the 32 mile round trip to work today for nothing...

I have done one positive thing for myself today: I ordered and paid for the latest Mandala pattern by Martina Weber, "A Fairy Flower Garden".  It will be awhile before I will be able to start it--it is another huge piece, close to 23" square on 28 ct fabric, done up in cottons, silks, metallics, and beads...  Still, I am thrilled to have it and cannot wait to see it all saved to my computer (it is an online class/pattern--the pattern will be released as a whole, but then there is a yahoo group that will run for a year for support/cheering, and companionship).  That makes me smile.  I have one other of her patterns downloaded, the Hawaiian Mandala, that Eric wants to stitch up himself to commemorate his time in Hawaii.  It is another that is stunningly gorgeous.  As Eric pointed out to me just a bit ago, I have 2 major stitching projects to finish, a quilt to make, and lots of knitting planned for holiday gifts, so the start of anything new is a ways down the road.  It's okay, it'll give me time to save up for the silks especially!  (So glad for the bead shop in Fairview Heights--they will make it easy to get those sparklies when I am ready for them!)

Eric is playing some Everquest at the moment, and I need to get some laundry dealt with, then maybe I will join him.  Might as well, it has become a free day today!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wow, it's been a busy week!

I had Monday and Tuesday off, but spent it doing a variety of things.  Laundry was high on the list (which reminds me I still have more to do), and the kids had their various activities too.  I worked Wednesday and they were concerned we would be slow, so my relief was called off and I was on the cutting table by myself with only back up from people assigned to do other things.  Then of course, we got busy.  I ended up working later than I was supposed to (which balanced out my being late due to traffic and a freight train), then got home, rested for a bit, then headed out again with Eric.  We met up with some knitters I had met on, a website, pattern/materials source and discussion forum that I actively participate in.  We met at Little Nashville Restaurant in Nashville IL, and it was very nice.  I liked being around people who spoke my language (heehee). Eric came with me because he knows I don't like driving to new places alone, I'm not necessarily comfortable meeting new people in an open setting, and it was a way to just be together.  I was very glad to have him there, and he seemed comfortable enough.  We got home around 9ish and I went to bed early.

This morning we were up with the kids, then enjoyed a fairly quiet morning, before we headed out to a meeting of a "networking" group (we were guests of our financial planner).  The goal with this luncheon/meet 'n greet was networking small and larger businesses for customer referals and personal references.  Eric actually made a few more contacts than I did, although I got directed to a couple of sources I hadn't yet explored.  It was a bit uncomfortable for me because I don't like being in those settings where I am expected to go up, introduce myself cold, and then chat.  I do better with small talk in controlled settings, where I have common interests with people or a defined role (e.g. teaching/leading groups etc).  Afterwards we drove to Collinsville where I explored a combination quilt and yarn shop to my heart's content (didn't buy anything because I didn't have my quilt pattern with me), but I will definitely go back.  We got home just after 3 and tried to cool down some (it is hot, humid, and miserable today--and the promised/predicted storms never came).  I hate it when my clothes stick to me and that was today in a nutshell. 

Tonight we had Aurora and Patrick at a band practice (Patrick is in band this term) and Rei hung out with some neighbor kids, so Eric and I played EQ for awhile.  Now though, it's getting late, and I am gonna finish this, shut down the computer, and maybe take a cool bath before heading to bed.  I work tomorrow early, and this is Eric's weekend to work as well, so I am gonna be on mom's taxi duty all weekend.  The band is performing at the football game Friday night, Aurora has a track meet Saturday, and she has travel league tryouts again on Sunday (second 5 games); the boys don't necessarily have plans, but I am sure I will find something to keep them busy.  The kids all serve on Sunday at Church, and it's probably a good thing--it's been awhile since we have been. 

Next week is Eric's short week but I am actually going to be working between 20 and 22 hours next week: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (mornings on the weekdays, afternoon/evening on Saturday).  Yuck!  Eric's mom is going to be here for a couple of days and I am so looking forward to that.  I am just sorry I will be working.  Fortunately, Eric will sleep a little on Friday morning, then he is off thru Sunday.  It's a good thing I didn't plan a trip to MN for the holiday weekend--I would have needed to cancel for sure!  The baby's surgery has been put off temporarily as Tony is going to be out of town quite a bit with his reserve training, but I AM looking to go to MN with whomever of the kids can go over their long weekend off early October (head up on the 8th after school, come home on the 12th).  My goal is to attend Jesse's annual lawn mower races in Princeton that Saturday, and perhaps meet up with friends on Friday and/or Sunday (maybe even go to the renaissance festival for it's final weekend).  I have asked Eric to look into whether or not he could trade a weekend with someone so he could go with (he works that Friday thru Sunday).  It's still a ways away so we will see.

Anyhow, it is getting late and I need to start readying for bed.  I will probably be on again this weekend~

Monday, August 24, 2009

On a competely separate topic,

today is a day of anniversaries. Today is my first father-in-law's birthday, and to be honest, I don't remember what year he was born in. My guess is he is 68 0r 69 today. Happy Birthday Jim Sr! It is also the wedding anniversary of my dear friend and her husband, someone I have sadly lost touch with, and although I couldn't be there for the wedding, I was so thrilled to know she had found her true love. They have a passel of children now, (there were 4 last I heard), and I wish them many more years of joy together and in each other. God-willing, we will reconnect some day.

Today is also the 16th anniversary of my first mother-in-law's collapse and "death" (she was gone in the emergency room for over 4 minutes, although she lingered in intensive care, first in a medically induced coma, then in a vegetative state, for an addition three weeks, until Sept. 11, 1994). I remember that day like it was yesterday: a beautiful, warm, sunny, Sunday late morning, when we got the call from Jim's brother that his mom had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. She had collapsed in the bathroom at her house. I was outside walking, with Reimond in my arms (he was 4 months old), and Jim yelled frantically for me to get the kids together so we could meet his brothers at the hospital. Once there, they put us into a private room, and explained that things were very grave (she had pneumonia, early stage emphasyma, and had taken, we later found out, a lethal mix of tylenol and alcohol--she was self-medicating her fever and her body aches, and we believe she didn't realize how much tylenol she had taken, along with the quantities of alcohol she was known to ingest). She had been alert in the ambulance but went into respiratory arrest in the ER, and her kidneys subsequently shut down; we had to approve her being put on dialysis. I remember calling my parents for them to come get the kids, and fortunately I had a full diaper bag with me that included bottles and formula (I was a nursing mom primarily), so my family came to take Liisa, Tony, and Reimond home with them. Her prognosis was poor, and they didn't give us much hope, so we stayed and waited for most of the day, and into the night in the ICU waiting room. Eventually Jim and I left to go home as there was little we could do other than pray, and the baby/kids needed to be home and put to bed, but his brothers stayed.

For three weeks I drove to the hospital daily, taking the kids with me. Liisa and Tony took turns sitting in the hallway and ICU waiting room with Reimond so I could help care for her, and we gave the children the option of going in to see her only if they wanted to (they did), so I would take them in one at a time, the other sitting with Rei. They were only 9 and 10 years old. Jim would go in the evening after work, and his brothers and Aunt went daily as well. We tried to keep family by her as often as we could, and although her eyes were open when they lifted the coma, she never came back. We did think she knew when we were there, because her heart rate and respirations would change slightly but noticably when we were present, and occassionally her eyes would tear. We talked to her, we prayed for and with her (she was raised Catholic), and we encouraged her to let go. Initially Jim's brothers wanted heroic measures at all cost, but as we moved into the third week and watched her continue to deteriorate, they too came to the conclusion that it was better to let her go. We stopped all heroic measures and instituted palliative care.

During that time of limbo, I frequently got the impression that her soul/spirit was somewhere outside of her body, making peace, with herself, with God, with her life. She had had such a hard life. Nothing came easily to her, and she had made many poor choices at times, of which there were numerous and hard consequences. She had her faith, but it was challenged so very many times, and she was tired and worn out beyond her years (she was just 54 when she died). I pictured her in my mind as I talked to her as if she were at some retreat center in northern MN, a place of peacefulness and contemplation. The night that she died, I had a dream. All her life she had been terrified of Doctor's offices, and I frequently went with her to appointments so she wouldn't be alone. In my dream I was sitting in a waiting room with her. We were sitting perpendicular to each other in a corner near the office door, and she held my hands in hers. She told me how much she loved me, how grateful she was for me being a part of the family, and that it was now my role to take care of her boys. She apologized for our early years of heartache (she saw me as a threat early on and resented my relationship with Jim, and our being married; she would get drunk, call me, and ream me out verbally/abusively until I was in tears. This went on for about the first 4 -5 years of our marriage). She also told me she was ready to move on now, and that she was no longer afraid. She seemed so peaceful, so content. As she finished saying all she had to say, I heard the phone ringing, and it woke me up. I answered it, and it was the hospital, telling us it was time for us to go there, that she was dying. Given it was like 2 am, I stayed home with the children, while Jim met his brothers at the hospital. She died early that morning, on 9/11/94. I was so at peace with her passing, and I had no regrets. I had done all I could during our time together to be a good and loving daughter-in-law, and I was so content with how our relationship had grown and changed over the 11 years I had been a part of her family. When I think about her now, I have my hard memories, but they are tempered by forgiveness, by understanding, and by love. When she was sober she was an amazing woman. She was strong, she was independent, she had a joyful personality, and she loved fiercely and loyally. She had a flirtatious nature, she had an infectious laugh, and she enjoyed life to the fullest. She was a beautiful woman, and she did her best with what she had. I learned so much from her, and while I didn't always agree with her or the decisions she made, I could also understand where she was coming from. She was no saint, and we have our emotional scars from her; some are deeper than others, and I won't deny they are there. Still, she was who she was, and there are times I miss her. I see the best of her in Liisa especially, and I am grateful that it is there. I can remember her with joy and gladness, and celebrate her life.

I am thinking of you today Carol, and I am so glad we became friends. You are missed by all of us.

The weekend is over...

and what a lovely weekend it was! The weather couldn't have been better, we accomplished many of our planned goals, and we even made sure we kept on schedule for homework etc.! We spent a good part of Saturday at the bowling alley as a family; Aurora bowled 5 games trying out for travel league, Rei got a new-to-him 14 lb. bowling ball (used from the pro shop) that he did amazing with (the child has grown at least 6" this summer and his hands are bigger too so he needed something bigger than Aurora's old 11 pounder). They all bowled (in general) for the first time since the spring and man have I heard subtle complaints about sore arms as they got back into the swing of things. Then we went and got school clothes--new jeans, new shirts, new shoes (for Patrick)... They are quite happy with their purchases and are now ready to face the school year without embarassment (Rei had holes in his jeans, and holes are NOT allowed in any shape or form!). Happily, the school relaxed it's rule on skulls this year so they can again wear things that are not too graphic or disturbing (almost all male clothing has a skull on it somewhere!) and that expands their wardrobes considerably from last year...

We also had an assortment of friends here off and on all weekend. Rei had a friend spend the night Friday night, Aurora had one over on Saturday night. And yesterday Eric and I ran to St. Louis to check out a yarn shop I had heard rave reviews of. It lived up to it's hype and I came home with some lovely yarns to make Christmas gifts with. Quite a satisfying outing! I was pleased, and I really met some nice people there. In fact, I had to laugh because Eric spent some time explaining to one of the older women we met how wonderful it is that his mom and I get along so well and how much he enjoys seeing us sitting in the living room doing our projects together (this was in reference to her sharing how she and her mother in law used to do similar projects and how much they learned from each other). We still need to get groceries bought (didn't get around to it yesterday), and I need to do Eric and my laundry, but in general it was a fantastically productive weekend! Eric and I had family time, we had us time, and we even got some EQ playing in together! Couldn't have asked for better!

This morning I am enjoying a quiet house. I have all the windows open, I have my cup of coffee, and I am basking like the cats in the sunshine and breezes. I have a list of things I need to get done while Eric and the kids are all in school, but it 's nothing too onerous. Eric has to do an oral presentation today so he got dressed up for it, and I have to admit I think it's kinda funny: his class is on transportation and cargo security (something he is militarily an expert at), and he has to discuss potential terrorist attacks/targets in an area local to us--how it could be carried out, how it could be averted. Scary stuff when you come right down to it. We have been talking about it for weeks now (he and I) because I did a lot of the research for it for him. He should do fine.

Brianne continues to report that things are going well at AIT. She is learning to drive trucks, and while she is at the large size at the moment, semi's are coming up next. Scary stuff! We were looking into getting a pay-as-you-go air card for her laptop--apparently there are so many people trying to utilize the ports they have, even wirelessly, that as soon as you think you are situated you get bumped off by someone else. It's really expensive though, and for many you need to sign a 2 year commitment... Not in our budget at the moment! The payg one is a bit more affordable, until you look at usage (mbs used vs just minutes) and given what she wants it for, it could quickly become a fiscal burden to her. We will give her the details and let her decide. She said she had a pass this weekend and was going off base with three other girls; haven't talked to her since then, so my assumption is she had fun.

The rest of the kids are doing well. No word yet on when Alexis' surger is scheduled for, but my guess is it will be mid-September to mid-October sometime. Liisa baby sat them yesterday and called me last night with numerous wonderful anecdotes. Really makes me miss them! Alexis was focused on carrying around "Uncle Rei's" picture on Liisa's cell phone, and when the pic blacked out she would get all upset and ask for where he had gone. As soon as Liisa restored it she was happy again. She was also insisting she had bunnies in her ears. And Justin was playing "video games" now on his leapfrog learning system. Liis says he is really good at them. The best part of her night though was after their baths, when they cuddled up next to her like the puppies do and they watched Peter Pan ("you're not a lady; you're just a sister!"). Tony is preparing for another 2 week training expedition, this time to Wisconsin, leaving the end of the week (still Army Reserve), and Andrea starts a class tomorrow at the local junior college.

I guess I should go find myself more coffee and some breakfast; it's getting to be that time. And I really want to get our bedroom cleaned before Eric gets home and needs to lay down for a couple hours (he works his long week starting tonight). I think this is going to be a good week for us--it's started out quite nicely!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just a quick note

We have a busy weekend planned. Patrick wants to go to St. Louis to see the City Museum this weekend, something we were going to do for his birthday; the Travel League try-outs are this weekend for the base youth bowling league (Patrick and Aurora both qualified for try-outs), and, we have school clothes shopping to try and complete. Eric is off this weekend and I think we need it! I still need to call and check on my work schedule for the weekend/week (I hope I have Sunday off!) and I have heard the weather is supposed to be really nice. It would be great to have a family weekend with everyone home and on the same page--it'll be the first one in a long time! I wish Brie could be here too (and I wish my kids and the babies were here as well) but one can't have everything... Selfishly, I would also like to squeeze in some one-on-one time with Eric; we have had such a busy week we have had no time for "just us" and it shows.

Anyway, here's to a good weekend! Cheers!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First day of school

Today was the first day of school and the kids all survived. They seem to like their classes, although Reimond says he'd prefer a different teacher for first hour, and I have signed most of the paperwork that needed parental signatures for them. I wish I could say I took pics this morning, but I didn't. My battery is dead on my camera and I need to charge it.

I got the cutest pictures from Liisa yesterday of her puppies after they had played in the backyard at my old house. They were mottled with mud and you could see some of the lakes that were there left from the downpours they had. The photos made me laugh, as did her captions under them, such as "Puddles? What puddles?" Glad it was there and not here. Cliff was saying we had some fairly decent storms in the night that he was awake and watching but I was so exhausted I slept through all of them. In fact, I was telling Eric on the phone a little bit ago that I slept really soundly last night, even slept in some with him this morning (I went back to bed after the kids left for school) and yet I am oh so ready for a nap right now! Man! I must be getting old! I am not bouncing back from pulling an "all-nighter" the way I used to. It was worth it though. Eric got really good grades on his final projects for his Wednesday class, and I hope that translates into a good final grade as he is on the fence over how he did on the final. At this point the goal is passing, although decent grades would be wonderful.

I have been talking to Tony and Andrea the past few days and Alexis is going to be having some minor surgery sometime in the next month on her kidney. She is not outgrowing the kidney reflux she has and they think she is finally big enough to try and do a correction on it. I am thinking I will go up to Minneapolis for a few days when they do it so that they have a little extra help, but am waiting to hear what the time table will be on it. Tony is home right now after spending 2 weeks training in Des Moines with the Army Reserve, and he will be headed out again shortly for more training in Wisconsin for another couple of weeks, so they are trying to work around when he will be home. He has two trips to go, then will be promoted in rank, which is very exciting. He graduated from his last class with highest honors and scores of 100%. I told him it thrills me to see him finally using his brains and getting the grades he deserves; he said "it's easy when you are studying things you like!" Isn't that the truth!

We haven't heard much from Brie this week, but she last posted on facebook that she is doing fine albeit missing home. I have to get another card in the mail to her... I have had the best of intentions, but have been really busy this week! I need to still call and check on my hours at work for next week--haven't done that yet--but I hope once Eric is done with these classes we can take some time out for us. It's been crazy these last couple of weeks between his finals, getting kids ready for back to school, and my working and teaching. I am ready to find whatever will be passing for normal to start happening soon.

I got an email from the base Arts and Crafts show organizers reminding me to start thinking about what I would like to submit for the upcoming show in October. I have a couple of things near completion that I may show--my shawl, maybe my sweater, and a cross stitched and beaded piece I have almost finished. I need to think on this a bit more before I decide for sure. I do think I will participate again--it was fun, and it was so neat to have Eric show up that evening and surprise me. It's something to look forward to!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tornadoes in Minneapolis!

Yes, it's true, there were tornados in Minneapolis this afternoon! I was watching the news on and one woman who lives just a couple blocks from the treatment center where I worked was saying she looked out the window and watched a funnel roll down the middle of the street and thought she was seeing things, but grabbed her niece and nephew and went to the basement; when she looked back out the window there were trees and light poles on the ground and awnings and steps and shingles missing up and down the street. Tony initially called me cuz he couldn't get a hold of Andrea, but he later connected up with her, and Liisa was sent home from work early to be sure her house and the pupkins were safe. I was concerned when I couldn't initially reach my mother, knowing how terrified she is of storms, but she was at the church working, and was in the basement there with the babies. So all my nearest and dearest are safe. I am thankful!

We went out this afternoon and got Patrick a haircut--he now has a short military style. It looks so handsome! And we got school supplies (the basics--notebooks, pens, pencils, and index cards). We will get school clothes maybe next week, but we had some unexpected expenses this week--we had to put 2 new tires on the Pilot after getting a nail embedded in one that could not be repaired and a blown sidewall on another (it was flat--"but only on the bottom", lol). Eric put the spare (a donut) on for me and I took it in to the dealership today to get the new tires mounted and moved around. They say we should be good for awhile again. I blame the heat we have had and all the roofing work being done around our addition; the ground and the rubber on the tires get really hot, and there are nails everywhere! Oh well, at least it is fixed so we can drive it again!

I am really beat. We were up late last night getting the last of Eric's research project done for his class today. And I got up far earlier than I wanted to. School starts for the kids tomorrow as a half day and they are feeling so-so about it. Aurora is excited, and the boys are "meh", but they are all basically set. We put a few new "policies" in place for this school year: the kids don't necessarily need to be home right after school, but they DO have to be here by 6 pm (unless they have made prior arrangements) for dinner and homework. Once homework is done and SHOWN to us (ok, primarily me) they will then be free to go out again until no later than 10 pm on school nights, and in bed by 11. Exceptions may be made for Patrick if he gets a job (he has been looking actively for one the past few days), but getting homework reviewed is non-negotiable, and takes precedence to socializing. The kids (ok, the boys) felt it was fair, and seeing as they have been really hanging out most of the summer with each other, we figured this would be good incentive for both of them to work together and hold each other accountable. It's worth a try anyhow. Looks like all Eric's classes next term are going to be morning classes so he is going to try to stay on Nights for the next term. It's gonna wreck havoc on our sleep schedule somewhat, but I think it will be better in the long run--he won't really miss many classes this way. Eric is done with his last class on Monday morning, then has 2 weeks off, and he is at work tonight (it's his short week! Yay!!!!)

I think that is all I had on my mind for the moment. I need to go get dinner started, and I hope to have an early night. Rei is out bowling with Cliff and Jared, but knows he needs to be in at a decent hour, and Patrick is off with friends too for a bit. Aurora had her sports physical yesterday as well as her other appointment; she is doing fine and is eager to be cleared to run in cross country. Now she just needs her ankle to heal a bit--she rolled it playing "manhunt" last week and it's a bit sore. She is now 5 ft 8.5" and Rei and Patrick are both taller than Eric--so my guess is they both top 6 ft now, and Patrick has just a half inch or so on Reimond... Eric is torn between pride and being bummed that he is no longer the "tallest" around here...

I am rambling, so I guess I will go cook. Looks like we are in for some storms tonight too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some random pictures from this summer

This was the end result of the first week of band camp. The high school band marched in 2 parades for Mascoutah days. If you look carefully you can see Aurora, far right, second from the end. This was her coming towards us....

And this was her going away from us. We all yelled out her name and embarassed her; one of her band mates said they never realized she could turn that color of red! I think she was secretly proud to have such a huge cheering section there on her behalf!

I was quite surprised by the number of tractors that were there on display proudly bearing the name Minneapolis-Moline. I think this one was from 1946, but there were others far older; I took pictures of all of them that I saw because they were a touch of home. I know where the factory is that used to make them, and while they are no longer made there, it made me proud to see them all.

Liisa and Jesse from our lunch date with them after we got Jesse from the airport. His buddy Jesse met us there at Union Station for lunch as well, then whisked them off for some siteseeing while Eric and I headed home on the train. It was such a fun day!

Eric and I, same date, facing the Marriott. He looks half dead cuz he was--had been on overnight shifts and didn't get a nap in. I was just happy.

This is how we have spend much of the summer, and I am sorry to say I haven't been to the pool since Liisa left. I had hoped to spend yesterday afternoon there while Eric slept, but no luck, had to run to work and take care of some things (signed up to teach classes over November and December). I am still trying to see if I can find someone to cover my hours for me on Tuesday (8/18) because we finally got Aurora's doctor's appointment scheduled and Eric has to be in class... Grrrrrr! We have already rescheduled it once because the first appointment would have meant pulling Aurora out of class the first day of school; not a great option, but I may need to reschedule again if I can't find a sub.

This cute little picture is one Brie posted on facebook of her and a new friend after they got their haircuts. Eric says she looks a lot like him when he was much younger. Since I didn't know him then, I can't offer an opinion, but I do see her looking a lot like her dad. She is so cute! She called today and things are going well for her. I am so glad she stays in touch!
Today was an interesting day. I went in to work for 2 hours to demonstrate Knitting and Crocheting for the classes I'll be teaching in the fall. I got myself situated and was chatting with various people when I got approached by another co-worker who was there to take a class; the teacher for the class didn't show up, so maybe I should do it, or so she said. I pointed her in the direction of our education coordinator, who then approached me as well and said "Help!" I ended up teaching a beginning sewing class, making personalized pillow cases. It went well, but of course I was there longer than I would have been just doing the demos. It made me feel good that I could help, and it was something I know fairly well. I just was sorry I couldn't just sit and knit/crochet and chat people up. I enjoy that too. I work tomorrow from 3-8 pm, then on Monday and Tuesday (unless I find a sub) from 8:30 am til 1:30 pm. I do enjoy my job and I am grateful to have something! In spite of what the news is reporting, the job market down here still sucks and I am frustrated.
Rei, Patrick, and Aurora are at a water park with a friend of theirs, so I have the house to myself. Eric is at work, and I am enjoying the peace and quiet. Speak of the devil, Eric is on the phone, so I guess I should go!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I want to apologize, I don't normally go so many days without posting. It's just been a busy week and I have not had a lot of time to myself to just think, let alone write! I worked two days this week on top of Sunday and they were so busy! I have to say, I am very impressed with teachers down here (and maybe they are like this everywhere) but I have sold more fabric to teachers making curtains for their rooms, or recovering bulletin boards than I have many other things! And they are paying for them out of their own pockets! I really salute their dedication! We have also had many dedicated mothers (and grandmothers too) making Halloween costumes for little ones: yesterday I had two Disney Princesses purchased, a Belle, and a Snow White. These little 2-3 year olds were ecstatic! Then there was the almost 4 year old soon to be cheerleader, and a 2 year old pumpkin... I really enjoy it when the little ones are in the store. One shy little girl yesterday studied me with big brown eyes while I cut her mom's fabric, then popped her pacifier out of her mouth, grinned at me and said "bye-bye" as they left, with a cute little wave. I admit I like the steady busy-ness over dribs and drabs because it makes the day go faster.

I have been focused on helping research articles and resources for Eric to use in some projects he has due for school this week. He got one major paper done this morning for today, and he has a couple more due next week. He is done for the summer on the 24th, then resumes with a fall schedule on the 8th of September. I find some of the stuff he is working on interesting, but other things are just dry (can you say crime statistics?) and I don't necessarily understand them. The gun control articles were interesting, because that is an issue I am on the fence over (I have no problem with responsible adults bearing/owning arms; I just don't necessarily like guns, nor do I want them around unsecured. If you NEED to carry a gun to feel like a man, then you probably shouldn't have one). I DO agree with a lot of what the Pro-gun people say, I just don't like extremists on either side! Anyhow, Eric is almost done with this term and I am close to being able to put my research skills back up on the shelf. I do like and miss school. It was something I was good at and it made me feel good about myself.

We have gotten some letters from Brianne this week, and I have mailed off the first of her "shoebox greeting cards" with notes from home. She has cut her hair really short now, and Eric says she looks like a really young version of him. In the only pic I have really seen of it her hair is boyishly short, but as we say of everything else, "It'll grow". She had been upset that a new friend (female) had been moved from her truck to another one, but it sounds like she is doing ok. She will be done sometime mid-September, which is earlier than we had anticipated (we were thinking early October).

We are in the count-down now for school to start (first half-day is a week from yesterday). We will need to go out and gets some school supplies, probably this weekend, and then once we know where our finances are at, will need to go get some school clothes for the kids. Rei has grown at least 6" this summer, and is nearing 6 ft. tall. Patrick hasn't grown so much, but he is hard on jeans, and they both need new shoes. Aurora got outfitted with a few things this spring, but she too needs a few pairs of jeans at least, and maybe a new hoodie. We got them all registered this week, to the tune of almost $300 when all was said and done--planners, and fees, and shool IDs and gym uniforms... What free public education? We still need to hook Aurora up with a sport's physical (she neglected to pass on the date of the $10 one sponsored by the school), so I have to track that down, and she has an appt with the specialist on Tuesday for her pelvic pain (so hopefully we can get that resolved and it won't negatively affect her running and eventual bowling season like last year). Patrick is planning to do Air Force ROTC this year so he'll be shaving his head soon (no more sheepdog hair!) and he wants us to arrange for REAL senior portraits for him for the yearbook etc. I sure do hope he and Rei do better this year with grades! One can only hope!

We had a birthday party here yesterday afternoon/evening for Patrick's 18th birthday. He had friends in and out starting at around noon, and Eric grilled hamburgers for them around 5 (I ran out and got sodas, chips, and a good sized watermelon to round out the meal after I got home from work, and I brought home a dairy queen blizzard cake). Eric and I went to bed around 11/11:30 and there were still a few kids here playing video games. It was slow to start, but I think he ended up having a good time. I counted 12 kids here at one point (including our 3), so that was good. Eric and I chaperoned, but basically let them have their party. Shockingly, we still have some soda left!

I suppose I should get going on my day--have some phone calls to make, and some post-party cleanup to get to. I will hopefully be around more this weekend!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Exciting News!

It's now official so I can publically share it: Liisa and Jesse have set a wedding date! It is going to be on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, in Myrtle Beach, SC! They decided to have a destination wedding at one of their favorite vacation spots, and the place they got engaged at! The plan is in the works to rent one really big beach house for the immediate family and wedding party to stay at, and to provide info on other availabilities if anyone else wants to come (options include renting a second house for others to split the cost of, or providing info on nearby hotels, etc.). It should be a lot of fun! They chose a Wednesday to get married on so that it would work with the house rental (a one week at a time rental), and then they will have the reception up at their land in Princeton approximately a week and a half after the wedding, on August 28th, with dinner, dancing, and karaoke under the open skies (we will have tents up too, lol). Everyone is welcome to attend that one, whether they came to Myrtle Beach or not. I am so happy and excited about all of this! The kids are in the process of setting up a website where the wedding plans can be followed at: while not much is posted yet, watch that site for details!

I had such a peaceful afternoon yesterday. I talked on the phone repeatedly with Liisa, I made a Lemon cake with Lemon frosting (and ate a big piece too!). I got another repeat done on my knitted lace scarf I am attempting, and I watched some tv shows I enjoy, all while Eric slaved at the church to get the yard mowed. When he got home we made some "homemade pizza rounds" for dinner and played a little EQ before heading to bed. Rei elected to stay at Cliff's another night, which was fine by us, so we had a really nice, child free weekend! Our first since moving down here! Now today Eric is already on the road headed for his Ex's place to get Patrick and Aurora, and I am gonna continue to gather research for his project; then I need to get ready and head off to work.

I was reading online about some other things and I *think* I may have plantar fascitis in my feet... It really fits the experiences I am having, especially the waking up discomfort, and the pain I have after I get off work and sit down for a bit. I am gonna look into getting some good arch supports, especially for work, and they said sometimes taking NSAIDS may help; I suspect they do, because when I am on my week to ten days of presecription naproxen (for monthly female issues) it seems so much better! I will keep track of it and perhaps ask my doctor about it in October when I go back for my bi-yearly med checks. Of course it really stung to read that being overweight can be a cause, and Lord knows I'd like to lose some weight... I think I may have to become more serious on this exercise business because I don't eat so terribly badly (not counting the cake from yesterday, lol). Ok, time to get going on that research....

BLONDE MOMENT ALERT! I apparently posted the news yesterday after my first conversation with Liisa, just not the details... Oh well, today it is official! Yesterday we were still hashing out plans, lol!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A lazy Saturday morning...

I had to share this picture because I absolutely adore it. Liis took it on the sidewalk in front of "her" house. Justin invited Alexis to ride with him, and Liisa entitled the photo "givin' my sister a ride." When I told him how nice it was he was taking her for a ride on his bike, he corrected me: "It's not a bike Gram, it's a motorcycle!" I stand corrected! Justin is 4, and Alexis is 2; they had birthdays in June. This pic was taken about a week ago now.
What a nice couple of days it has turned out to be. Heat index-wise it has been miserable, because it's been hot, humid, and muggy, but we have enjoyed some activities, Eric and I, some with the kids, and some on our own. Friday after Eric got home from school we ran to the high school to go watch Aurora perform with the marching band. The culmination of Band camp was performance of their half-time show for parents and others. The kids did a very nice job, albeit a bit rusty (it was their first full performance with the incoming freshman), and we enjoyed watching them. Then Eric and I grabbed Aurora and headed home, where she showered and got ready to go with her Mom. Patrick too had to be rousted home (he and Rei were with friends playing video games), and he grudgingly came home as ordered by us (heehee). Their mom showed up around 4 pm and off they went to IN for the weekend. Cliff stopped by in time to say goodbye to them, and he grabbed Rei for the night, so Eric and I found ourselves footloose and child free for the evening!

We elected to do a couple of things here that needed to be finished up on, then off we went for a lovely dinner for two at the Longhorn Steak house. I had steak and lobster (a luxury!) and he had a 24 oz porterhouse... We indulged for our anniversary dinner, complete with drinks (although we elected to forego dessert). The appetizer we had was wonderful--they called it Western Fried Shrimp, and I honestly had to go slowly with it cuz I could have easily ate it for a meal! It was amazing! We spent a wonderful 2 hours enjoying our meal and each other, then came home and crashed! (We had been up til 4:30 am working on a project he had due for school--I helped with the research on it--and we were exhausted!)

This morning we slept in, enjoyed a coffee in bed, and now I am blogging while Eric makes us breakfast. We will actually start our day around noon I think, as Eric needs to get over to the church and mow the lawn there. I am a little disappointed that I won't be able to ride with him to IN to pick up the kids Sunday. I called to get my work schedule and I am on it for 3 shifts next week (yay!) BUT have to work Sunday (Boooo!) from 4-8 pm. I love road trips when I am NOT the driver (or only partial driver), so I am bummed a bit. Not sure yet if Rei will ride with Eric or stay home with me. We'll have to ask him when he gets home.

I am really excited: I added a very pretty bird bath to my front yard (currently; when we start using the back yard more I will probably move it back there). The birds haven't discovered it as yet, but we put it close enough to the tree and the feeders that I am sure they will find it soon. Eric and I are going to get an estimate from a cement company about their molded, colored cement patios for the back yard, and we are debating whether it would be better to just buy a new table for the back or get plexiglass/acrylic cut to size to replace the broken glass top from a number of summers ago. Our chairs are in decent shape, but the table is useless as it stands right now. Things are coming together! That was one of the things we did more of last night and this morning; reviewed our first year together, and planned for what our goals with be for this next year or two (long and short range goals). Aren't we industrious~ lol....

Liisa and Jesse have picked a wedding date, and they are planning a destination wedding, in Myrtle Beach, SC, where they got engaged. I am very excited for them, and I look forward to helping them make everything come together. The wedding will be there, then they will be having a reception on their land in Princeton when they get back. It'll mean a lot of travelling for me, and some mad budgeting, but I have a year to start putting things aside. It is so nice to hear her excited about all of this, and they are making their plans! The wedding itself will be small and intimate, immediate family, but the reception will be open to all. I am so happy.

Brianne has sent us her address now; if anyone wants/needs it, drop me an email and I will send it. She is homesick, but I think this time is good for her to focus on herself. Today is Patrick's 18th birthday and we are planning a party for him with all of his friends when he gets back from IN. He is excited about it. And school starts on the 20th, oh joy... Where has the summer gone??? I don't think I am gonna be able to sneak in another trip to MN before school starts, but Eric and I still would like to get to MN early fall and hit the Renaissance festival this year. We'll see! I can hope! My breakfast is here, so I am gonna run. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Random thoughts and things...

Not much major is going on this week. I worked Monday and Tuesday, and while Monday was steadily busy, Tuesday dragged at points... I was quite pleased to get a phone call from my store manager, however, asking if I would be willing to take on a class for a single student who had been unable to take a class she had registered for and was otherwise going to cancel. My manager had been around on Saturday when I was teaching my class to a single student, sewing on a Vogue Options pattern, who kept raving about how much she had learned from me, what a good teacher I was, and how sorry she was we hadn't finished her project (a 15 -20 hour dress, even for me with experience) in a combined 6-hour class. Left me feeling quite proud of myself and I said I would be happy to do it at the customer's convenience.

One thing I have noticed though, is after being on my feet non-stop for 5 hours my feet really ache. I am wearing good shoes--Avias walking shoes--but it doesn't seem to make any difference. I am wondering if I need better arch support or something (although my day-to-day walking is generally barefoot or in flip-flops, which I have heard are not necessarily the best for feet). It just kinda sucks to have it hurt to walk after I get home. And I have found that it hurts to walk sometimes when I first get up in the morning as well. Once I am moving I forget about it being uncomfortable, but meh, I guess it's just me.

Eric seems to be enjoying his vacation. We took in the Harry Potter movie on Sunday night after we got home from the parade. It was very good, and I didn't think it was as darkly portrayed as some of the prior ones had been, albeit, it had it's moments. I really liked it, even with the minor changes from the book. Eric has gotten a few minor projects done around here he wanted to do, and is working towards catching up with his school work. I have been helping with the "research" portions of it. We really haven't done anything to speak of to celebrate our anniversary, but we are enjoying our time together and getting things done. Today is ONE year that Rei and I have lived here in Mascoutah! What a bittersweet day that was, saying goodbye to the family in MN and beginning my new life down here. No regrets, just a little homesickness now and again!

Brianne has called a few times now, and as of yesterday was beginning her training in AIT. Prior to that she was in "holding" as they awaited the arrival of newly graduated recruits from basic training to fill up the unit. She will be sending us an address soon so we can then write to her. She is allowed to have her phone, just not for specific duty times, so she will be staying in better contact with us. My son Tony is also in training right now, just outside of Des Moines, IA. He has this two week training, then another two week training the end of August. He seems to be enjoying the working part, but isn't as thrilled with the down time. Liisa is back to work and is grumbling about how much got added to her load being gone for a week--she thinks she needs another vacation! Aurora has a full week this week, between band camp and running (cross country). She seems tired but content. Patrick just got a letter from the school's ROTC program which he registered to join) giving him dates he needs to attend things; unfortunately those dates conflict with dates his mother has planned to take the kids, so I am not sure what will happen. He has enjoyed his summer but has made no strides towards even looking for a job... I talked to Reimond's new school counselor yesterday. Because he failed his summer school class, and based on his being short 3/4 of a credit, he will be considered a freshman again this year, however, if he makes up the credits he can "skip" being a sophomore and move into being a junior, provided he gets all the credits he needs to do so. I was informed he will be taking both freshman and sophomore English this year, which is going be a major challenge for him, and I told the counselor I would like to set up a meeting for as early in the school year as we can make it to review his IEP and what he needs for supports. He is already promising me that he will do better this year (but I have heard it before) and I hope and pray he's right. I also hope Patrick gives this year his all, because it isn't going to be easy for him either, being a "super senior". Registration is next week, Tuesday and Wednesday, and school then starts on the 20th as a half day.

I guess that is all I have on my mind for now, so I guess I will shut down the laptop and go get some laundry started. I like Wednesdays!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy One Year Anniversary to Eric and I!

Today is our one year anniversary, and what a year it has been! I am so very grateful for this wonderful man, and for our relationship. It has been an incredible year, and I look forward to many more!

I am also grateful for what a wonderful week it has been, having Liisa here, having Jesse show up for the weekend, and for the fun I have had with the kids (all of 'em). We have been to the pool, we have relaxed and visited, we have gone out a little bit; I love having family around! Last night we went to the Grand Parade for Mascoutah's homecoming and it was a hoot! It was a good hour and a half long, we were able to make Aurora laugh as she marched past us, and we took lots of pictures (which I have not yet loaded up onto my computer). Then, we watched a really fun band play at the "Depot", the "Well Hungarians", and they were really good! We danced, we laughed, and we generally made spectacles of ourselves (along with everyone else there). I had been really worried: it started raining at noon and rained til 4 (the parade started at 5), but the skies cleared, and other than the mud, it was a perfect night for a major town party. We will be going back again tonight, this time with Eric, as he is officially on vacation as of 6 a.m. and he wants to see Aurora march. Pictures will be forth-coming, I promise. We met up with some friends of ours, and their kids, so it was a really enjoyable night.

I got up at 8 a.m. and am just waiting for the kids to get up. I bought some texas toasting bread and am gonna make up a slew of french toast for breakfast. Jesse wanted to be on the road by 10 (don't think they are gonna make it--it's past 9:30 now), while Liisa said 1, so I have time. I really enjoy having the house to myself while everyone sleeps--it's peaceful! Wow, Eric is up--he's only slept 2 hours... My guess is he'll be eating and heading back to bed. It's gonna be sad to see the kids go, but if I am honest, it'll also be nice to get our dogs back on a regular schedule.

A couple of "housekeeping" notes:
--Jill, I am remembering your Mom today. I know it's been two years now that she has been gone, and while in some regards it gets easier, in others it never does. Big hugs are sent your way!
--Tesa and Hunter, Happy Anniversary to the two of you as well, and Happy Birthday Hunter!
--Congratulations to my sister Kristi, who celebrated 10 years as a Salon owner/operator this past week! Thank you for keeping my family and I looking beautiful!