Monday, December 17, 2012

Somber reflections

Somber reflections

I have been reading Facebook comments all weekend and watching CNN among other sources trying to understand the tragedy that occurred in Connecticut over the weekend. I think my biggest frustration with the coverage is the plethora of misinformation that was put out in the wake of this tragedy regarding who the perpetrator was, what his relationship was to the school, and the speculation related to why he did it. I admit I had the tv on once I heard about what had happened, but it bothered me to listen to the speculation and hype that surrounded this event. I want to hear the facts, as released by the authorities, rather than anonymous sources who seem credible. Although I feel this way about a lot of news coverage, whether it is election coverage, celebrity speculation, or high profile trials. In some regards, one can no longer trust the media for accurate reporting because of all the "expert opinions" being touted and judgments being rendered before all the facts are in.

My heart just breaks for the families affected by this tragedy. Justin, Alexis, and Kajsa are all the ages of the victims and I cannot imagine losing even one of them! We have had our share of tragedies that occurred over the holidays that have forever changed the face and tenor of those holidays for most of us. The same is true now for those families. I also think the are dialogues that need to begin, especially surrounding the issues of mental health, mental illness, and how we as a society deal with these vulnerable individuals. A very brave mother wrote a widely disseminated article about her experiences with her 13 year old son who has been violent with her and made threats of self-injury and how hard it is to get adequate services for him prior to something horrible happening, resulting in legal action. As unpopular as it may seem, I believe there is a need for long-term, non-prison related treatment facilities where individuals who need them can be treated away from prisons or places where they could either be negatively affected by or negatively effect the lives of others. Mental institutions are no more negative than nursing homes in my opinion, any more than group homes or treatment centers are. I also believe in orphanages, places where lost children can grow up cared for with a sense of connection, identity, and self-esteem. They have to be properly staffed, and have some structure to them, but be places where there is some accountability, resources, and support available to support as high a quality of life as the individual is capable of. I am one who agrees with the concept of least restrictive environments, but there are individuals who need structure and organization in order to function at their best.

I also believe we need to have open dialogues about how best we can support families in crisis, which is, in my opinion, even more important than discussions on gun control. Something is seriously broken in our society when we don't have the appropriate resources available to help individuals in need. We need to have alternatives available because one-size fits all just doesn't work!

Anyhow, that is m rant/opinion. I am praying for those families who were affected by this shooting, including the first responders and others who had to deal with the aftermath of such a terrible situation.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's beginning to feel more like Christmas

I have a couple of major gifts done, have the gifts for the 6 grand kids well in hand, and am now starting to think about decorating around here. The sad part is there is lots to do but I have NO energy or drive to focus on it. It's a grey and gloomy day outside and all I really want to do is sit and knit, with an afghan over me, lots of lights on, and either a good movie or my audio book on. It's a cocooning type of day and that isn't realistic for me. Instead, I have laundry in the washer, my Zune primed with a collection of short stories I want to listen to, and after blogging, I will head for the sewing room. Honestly, I am excited to work on gifts for the little girls (I am making doll clothes wardrobes for all of them--even Skye is at a stage of dressing and undressing her bitty baby "Susie". Heck, we had to buy Susie diapers last time we were at the bx (baby alive diapers--the doll that eats and poops). She is thrilled, and each diaper gets much practice with on and off before needing the new one, heeheehee.

I know what I want to do for my husband for Christmas, and we are discussing what to do for the "big kids". The girls posted lists for us, but the boys are a bit harder to decide on because they are less specific in their wants. I also know what I am doing for the nieces already, so my shopping list isn't too huge. I suggested a trip to St Charles for tomorrow to my spouse so we can browse the specials there--I prefer crafted, one of a kind gifts any day over commercial stuff for family members. I for sure am going to Minneapolis over Christmas, taking Reimond and probably Patrick with me. Aurora said she is staying home, as is Dan (because he has to work), and the jury is still out on whether or not Brie and her SO will come up with Skye. My first trip in ages that I won't be bringing Skye with me! It's gonna seem odd!

I have started Reimond's hoodie sweater, a pattern he picked out and chose the colors for. I am keeping careful track of the pattern because I am knitting size small for the circumference, but size extra large for the length! The boy is tall and skinny! This was my reward to me for finishing another project that will remain picture less for a bit until after the holidays because the recipient reads this blog :)

Reimond is back on track at school and I am very relieved. Brianne had a mini meltdown after bombing a chem lab final this past week, but she did better on another test and here chem final is next week. She is working feverishly on a final paper for her American history class, and will be done with the term next week. Aurora too is taking finals next week and one of her tasks with a friend who is also a classmate was to choreograph a dance and perform it. They have been practicing it and while I have only seen the video of it I am sure it will be fun.

Dan has a job at a local convenience store/gas station and works varying hours each week. Patrick is still in the market for a job and is feeling frustrated at times with all the time on his hands. Video games, reading, and hanging with friends can only occupy so many hours of the day. Eric has assigned the boys with chores to take care of to help fill in their free time Nd they are following thru for the most part.

Skye is doing ok. She had another upper respiratory virus last week and still has a nasty cough that wakes her at night. She is my girl when she is here, attached to me by an invisible leash most days, but the other day she was Eric's girl and it was adorable! Speaking of Eric, he did finish off and pass both of his classes and officially has his BS degree in criminal justice. Not sure when he will get the actual diploma as he didn't walk at the ceremony (he had to work, and wasn't thrilled that the graduation was being held in a high school auditorium). They have had a few things come up at work and he is picking up numerous ot shifts. This wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't on overnights right now and these shifts have all been day shifts, messing with his sleep schedule something fierce. He's working one today, then back on nights Monday night. Blech!

Ok, it's time to change the laundry over and the move to job C. And maybe light a candle (they smell so good) along with turning on more lights :). Hate grey skies with a passion!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trying something new!

My daughter told me about this blog she found that has challenges as themes to blog about. So far there are 55 or 56 of them, and it's a way of exploring who you are and sharing your story. I decided to give it a try, and while I may not do them in any sort of order, I figured it would be a nice change from strictly rambling about the family. It's from and the first challenge says "If you were forced to go back to the olden days what ten modern conveniences would you want to take with you?"

Lets see:
1. My e-reader because it has so many books on it that I want to read, many of which are the classics I never read in high school or college, that I had gotten free shortly after I got my Nook.

2. My cell phone, because I like the ability to talk to family at any time and any where. It's small, easily portable, and I would have a hard time living without it.

3. My Zune, because it houses all my favorite music and if I knew I would be going back in time ahead of time, I would be sure to fill it as fully as possible with all the possible music and/or audio books I might ever want to listen to, just so I wouldn't be without them! (Thanks Liisa for the 32g upgrade, even if it is older and boxier than my old one).

4. The Nintendo game boy and/or the Sony PSP, along with all the games we have for each. I love my video games, and while I wouldn't presume there would be televisions, I would hope there was at least electricity so I could keep things charged and useable.

5. The Internet/wireless connections so that I could use my phone to make calls, etc. even if no one else could access them but me. Selfish, but true (although I am thinking of it existing strictly for making phone calls. I could probably survive without the Internet, but not without a telephone).

6. My sewing machine, so I could have the ability to sew garments, quilts, and other items of necessity or beauty quickly and enjoyably. I can embroider and sew by hand, and even enjoy doing so, but the ability to do it fast is gratifying.

7. If I have my sewing machine, then for sure I would need my laptop and my thumb drive for storing and transferring designs and patterns (man I hope there is electricity! Lol).

8. My washing machine! I love hanging things to dry, so I don't need a dryer, but I hate washing lots of things by hand, unless they are hand knits or delicate (blue jeans by hand?/ shudder).

9. My bread machine because bread is a staple and I have trouble with all the kneading and mixing by hand. And that leads me to my last modern convenience:

10. My mixer, which I got for Christmas last year and adore. It makes mixing dough of any sort so easy and accomplishes it with little fuss or muss. If I had to I could probably mix and knead bread dough in it, but then again, while the bread is being made in the bread machine, the mixer is available to make other things in.

That's my first challenge response. It's actually harder than one might think. So what would YOU want to bring with if you had to go back in time?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

After Thanksgiving already!

It's hard to believe this month has passed so quickly. For the most part things are still fairly status quo from my post earlier in the month, except that it has gotten colder, Eric is just about done with his final term, has rotated back on to overnights, and had his last vacation of 2012 this past week. Skye has a nasty bug again and is coughing, hacking, and congested like nobody's business. Poor baby is miserable! And I am plugging away at my project list and starting to figure out Christmas gift stuff.

I finished the quilt top of my Baltimore album quilt, started back in 1993. I had some issues with the borders, but found the original left over fabric from the background and decided to just piece in a square rather than go with my original concept of having mite red borders. It looks good, and I will use that space to do some fancy hand quilting. After the new year I will get the batt and backing fabric for it so it and be quilted (by me, by hand),hopefully finishing it in 2013, making it a 20 year project.

Liisa sent me her 32g Zune to replace my 8g one as it was having issues. It is amazing how much space I now have on it, and I don't know that I will ever fully fill it. I don't like that it's heavier and larger than my old, slim one (about the size if my cell phone) because I am forever knocking it off my sewing table and disconnecting the headphones (my old one would just dangle until I could grab it), but it works beautifully, is less touchy to being bumped, and I can put more books and music on it so the risks of boredom are small. There will always be something fun I can listen to!

Zack found a new job, working at a Mexican restaurant (sorta like a chipotle) and we are thankful. Liisa has been put up for a "Diamond Award" by her hotel and she is very excited about this honor. she will be interviewed by members of the Bloomington city council, along with all the other nominees, and the winner will be announced at a gala in February. She is also a strong candidate for associate of the year, which will be determined sometime in the next couple of months. She is not only realizing again how much she loves the hotel industry; she also recognizes the skills, talents, and knowledge she brings to her job and is again ready to be in a management position where she can implement these things. My hope is her bosses see this too and help her to move up the ranks.

Dan too now has a job, part time, at a local convenience store. He's only worked a couple of shifts, but it is a job. Patrick is still looking for something, and we are really encouraging him to consider school for spring semester. Aurora continues to be busy with school and bowling. In some regards I envy her traveling with the team and going's such a wonderful experience. Brie is in the process of figuring out her final semester as well (she will have her AA degree) and where she will go from there. Some of my future plans remain dependent on what she needs help and support with, so it will be good when things are figured out.

Reimond continues to plug away with his senior year. We are all focused on seeing him graduate, but there continue to be trials that need to be dealt with related to his various struggles. We are working together with the school to be sure he has what he needs for support, but it's a frustrating process at times. Tony too is dealing with some frustration related to his knee and his surgery. The government hasn't paid for some of his bills and he can't get the physical therapy he needs until that happens. Bureaucracy is a wonder thing... He is working because he has to--bills need paying and family needs supporting, but he continues to be in pain and have range of motion issues. Andrea and the kids are good, and the kids really like school, although Justin was sent to the principal's office a couple of weeks ago for "drawing a butt" (he drew a stick figure with two round butt cheeks). He was told that was not appropriate subject matter for drawing at school, and was shaken up by the incident, but as Andrea said, how can you discipline a child sincerely when you can't stop giggling over the issue? He didn't mean anything bad by it, and I laughed too as she told me about it.

My mom is doing well, although she is grieving over the passing of her dear friend Helen, who died last week at the age of 99, just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. Mom is taking it in stride and says the sadness is for herself, and not Helen. For 18 years my mom visited her at least once and usually twice a week (on Saturdays to play bingo, and on Sundays after church--she drove Helen to church until she was too frail to attend any more) so now mom is wondering what she will do instead. I'm sure she'll find something as she cannot just sit. Hard to believe she is going to be 75 in December. And if dad were still here he'd be 83! I wonder sometimes what he'd have been like as an old man. He sure would be proud of the family and all the kids!

Anyhow, that is the news from around here. My coffee cup is empty and I need to get going on some more projects.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thoughts on this first week of November

Aurora's birthday was yesterday: her last one as a teenager.  We went out to Olive Garden for dinner last night as a family and it was one of the nicest family dinners we have had in a long while: no drama, no strife, no tension; just laughter, enjoyment of being together, and a really nice meal.  It was wonderful!

The election is over and now it's time to sift through the results, determine what needs to be done, and buckle down.  Needless to say our household wasn't happy with the result, and I feel strongly a number of things need to be changed in how we do our democratic system (I think we need to return to the popular vote and get rid of the electoral process; it's outmoded and outdated); I also believe we need to get rid of "projected results" and reporting on winners of states based on small percentages of returns as polls close.  I would like to see a moratorium on results until after all the polls have closed in all states, and the majority of votes have been counted before winners/losers and results are broadcast because it is so frustrating to watch political dissections taking place before all votes have been counted, and this focus on "key states" makes it feel like who cares what the "other voters think"--if you carry states x, y, and z, then you can't lose!  Perhaps the winner should be determined by how many states he or she carries (again, popular vote in each state) versus "electoral votes".  I am so frustrated with our current system, and have been for years!  (My blog, my opinion, take it or leave it, but let's not fight).  Aurora, Rei, Dan, and Patrick all voted in their first presidential election this year and I am proud of them for contributing to the process, flawed as it is.

We have had a nasty flu bug floating around our house this past month or better.  Brie came down with it first, then a week later Skye had it; I came down with it as she was mending, followed by Dan (who probably came down with it shortly after me), then Eric, about 7 days after me.  Seems like there is a long incubation period before symptoms manifest, but as Eric starts to feel better no one else seems to be getting sick (thank God!).  It starts as a lingering, annoying sore throat, moves into a cough and chest congestion/headache, followed by head congestion, and can include lower intestinal issues/stomach cramps as well, along with chills, body aches, and a general sense of having been hit by a truck.  I still have lingering cough/sinus symptoms that won't go away but otherwise I am feeling better, and Eric ended up taking Sunday off sick after plugging through working Thursday thru Saturday (he had 3 overtime shifts in that two week period!) 

The teen population continues life status quo: school, and/or job hunting.  It's getting a bit frustrating that the boys haven't found jobs, especially with the holiday/seasonal employment season heating up, and at least Dan and Patrick having no restrictions on availability (Aurora and Rei have school and other commitments to work around). Brie is planning out her last semester at SWIC for her AA degree, and her schedule will somewhat dictate what my availabilities are (based on Skye). We (and they) are settling into a routine of sorts that fluctuates from week to week, sometimes day to day.  It's working though.

Prayers are needed for Liisa and Zack, especially heading into the holiday season.  Zack was fired for being late to work yesterday because he was voting.  He had asked his boss if he could go to vote after the noon rush was done (was scheduled open to close) and was told the polls open at 7 and to go before work, so he did, but had to wait in line for his turn, thus making him late for work.  An hour after he got there he was told he was fired.  They are now back-pedaling on the reason for the termination (because it is illegal to fire someone for voting), but the crux of the matter is that there have been no complaints of unsatisfactory job performance, no warnings, write-ups of other complaints, and (at least at the wedding, which his company catered) it seemed he was doing amazing there and they loved him!  Regardless, bills need to be paid, children need to be supported, and they need two jobs.

Prayers are also needed for a dear friend of mine who continues to face an uncertain future due to unemployment, the lack of a safe residence come the end of the month, and health issues.  Life has been extremely hard for her these last 4 years, and for whatever their reasons are, her family appears to have abandoned her to the whims of fate rather than standing with her in her time of need.  I don't understand it, because it isn't how I was raised, but my heart hurts for her and I pray things turn around for her.

Today is another of those grey, gloomy days that make me want to turn on lots of lights, burn a candle or two, and make things feel bright and homey inside.  We gave in and turned on the heat (to 68 degrees) because with so many of us being sick the house was taking on a decided chill when things dropped to the upper 30's outside.  I think I am gonna stay away from the television or radio today and just listen to my audiobooks and music on my Zune, and maybe look at the election results/numbers online later on.  I think I just need a day of prayerful reflection, of counting my blessings, and focusing on the things I can take care of for today.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is most certainly true...

I was born and raised a Missouri Synod Lutheran, and while I rail at times against some of their more closed-minded attitudes, there is much about this system I celebrate because it is such a part of the fiber of who I am.  I got this as an email today from my mom, and while it is gently poking fun at Minnesota Lutherans, it also makes me smile because it is a reflection of my growing up in the church.  Enjoy!

This is most certainly true. Do you Lutherans remember this sentence?

> From Garrison Keillor:

> I have made fun of Lutherans for years - who wouldn't if you lived in Minnesota? But I have also sung with Lutherans and that is one of the main joys of life, along with hot baths and fresh sweet corn.

> We make fun of Lutherans for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese. But nobody sings like they do. If you ask an audience in New York City, a relatively Lutheran less place, to sing along on the chorus of 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore,' they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their under-wear. But if you do this among Lutherans they'll smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! And down the road!
> Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony. It's a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that person's rib cage. It's natural for Lutherans to sing in harmony. We're too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you're singing in the key of C and you slide into the A7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it's an emotionally fulfilling moment.

> I once sang the bass line of Children of the Heavenly Father in a room with about three thousand Lutherans in it; and when we finished, we all had tears in our eyes, partly from the promise that God will not forsake us, partly from the proximity of all those lovely voices. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other.

> I do believe this: These Lutherans are the sort of people you could call up when you're in deep distress. If you're dying, they'll comfort you. If you're lonely, they'll talk to you. And if you're hungry, they'll give you tuna salad!

> The following list was compiled by a 20th century Lutheran who, observing other Lutherans, wrote down exactly what he saw or heard:

> 1. Lutherans believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.

> 2. Lutherans like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.

> 3. Lutherans believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don't notify them that they are there.

> 4. Lutherans usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.

> 5. Lutherans believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.

> 6. Lutherans feel that applauding for their children's choirs would make the kids too proud and conceited.

> 7. Lutherans think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle while passing the peace.

> 8. Lutherans drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.

> 9. Some Lutherans believe that an ELCS bride and an LCMS groom make for a mixed marriage. (For those of you who are not Lutherans, ELCS is Evangelical Lutheran Church Synod and LCMS is Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. When and where I grew up in Minnesota, intermarriage between the two was about as popular as Lutherans and Catholics marrying.)

> 10. Lutherans feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.

> 11. Lutherans are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.

> 12. Lutherans think that Garrison Keillor stories are totally factual.

> 13. Lutherans still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and think that peas in a tuna noodle casserole add too much color.

> 14. Lutherans believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.

> And finally, you know you're a Lutheran when:

> *It's 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the service;

> *You hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can;

> *Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee;

> *The communion cabinet is open to all, but the coffee cabinet is locked up tight;

> *When you watch a 'Star Wars' movie and they say,'May the Force be with you,' you respond, 'and also with you'.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Feeling sorry for myself.

Last Sunday when Brie and co. came down from Springfield, Skye was running a fever and feeling really punk.  It resolved into a terrible cold (along with a rash the first couple of days--my guess is fifth's disease, a common childhood ailment that looks like "slapped cheeks" and a fine rash on the trunk/torso).  Brie had her in to the clinic and she was given supportive treatments: mucinex for the cough, advil for the fever and aches, tlc...  Anyway, as the week wore on little miss sidekick generously coughed, sneezed, and shared everything in her small life with me, and as a result by the end of the week I had a sore throat starting, followed by a cough from hell that showed up in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  Over the course of last night, things have started migrating up to my sinuses, and I feel worse today than I did even yesterday (and yesterday was NO picinic).  I am not necessarily looking forward to another day in bed (although I did bathe, then play some EQ last night with Eric), but being upright isn't feeling so great right now either.  Still, Eric has an ot shift today, the boys are either gone or sleeping, Aurora is still out of state (bowling tournament), and Brie and Skye won't be back until later this afternoon (her guy is gone most of the week again for work, so she and the baby will hang with us), so I might as well just vegetate, read, knit, and/or watch the rest of Lost's episodes (I am halfway through season 5).  Seriously: what fun is a sick day if one is too sick to enjoy it????

Otherwise, things around here are pretty much status quo.  Nothing major going on, no significant changes to discuss.  Just plugging away at life, school, work (or job-seeking as the case may be) and other than the colds, everyone is healthy.  Now I think I need to find some more hot something (tea or coffee), and lay back down.  This lump of lead I call a head is throbbing!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Back from my travels!

It's been a busy week!  I am safely home from trips to Indiana and Florida, both of which were successful in their various agendas.  I am worn out though, and have a bit of a sore throat (changing weather/allergies I am assuming). My mental drive to be productive is not keeping pace with my physical lethargy these last couple of days and I am not sure if that is an indication that I need more coffee, or need to just rest and relax a couple of days.  The grey, gloomy skies don't help, and as Eric pointed out this morning on the phone, the day seems to drag when there are no obvious indicators of time's passage.  I told him I was gonna come home, turn on every light I could find, and even light a few candles just to erase the gloom!  He laughed at me.

I try not to get too political or hyper religious on my blog, but it is MY blog, and I read something today that really spoke to my heart.  It was a link posted on facebook to an opinion piece that had been published in the St. Paul MN paper:  This post, written about the Catholic Church's response to gays and the gay marriage initiative was spot on, in my opinion, and really reflects how I was brought up to view faith and my relationship with God. It is the same argument I used in talking to the Mo Synod Lutheran minister (who pushed my children and I away from the community church we attended because of his closed-minded, narrow attitudes) as to why I struggled with his teachings and hoped for less judgment and more tolerance; his response to me was that my "secular education had obscured my Christian upbringing" (or words to that effect).  Although it focuses on the Catholic church, it addresses the conflicts found in many faith groups.  Please, let me know what you think related to this!

Aurora is in Peoria this weekend at another college tournament, and Brie has taken her boyfriend and Skye to go cheer the team on.  Brie decided against running the Army 10 mile she had registered for (was to happen this weekend) when the people she had planned to go with bailed out, (along with not being as well-trained for it as she should have been).  Probably for the best, although I know she is disappointed.  Eric is working all weekend, and the boys too have their plans, so I am basically on my own, and I love it!  Just wish I could find my missing motivation to get things done... We have a red cross pickup on the 26th (clothing and household items drive) and I need to get a bag together for that.  I have many things I love but can't justify keeping because I just don't wear them.  I prefer giving them away where I know they will be used than just taking up space in a closet or dresser drawer.  Now to actually pack them up....

The October birthday celebrations continue.  I feel bad I haven't mailed out any cards, but I have tried to at least call, send emails, or do facebook messages to let people know I haven't forgotten them.  I also mailed out the shawl I made for my friend Erika today, as well as a package to Justin and Alexis of socks, underwear, and shorts they had left here in August (along with a treat of sorts).  I am grateful Aurora rode with a friend so I have a vehicle at my disposal for the weekend--helps to not feel stuck at home when there are things to do and places to be gone to! Besides the post office I took in the Fall Festival on Main Stree today (crafts, a chili cook-off, a car show, etc.) and the Arts and Crafts show at the high school.  I sometimes wish I had unlimited funds for some of the things I see and like.  There were some things I know I could make (or make better) that were for sale, while other things had me drooling with desire or shaking my head with "what were they thinking".  An altogether pleasant way to spend a gloomy Saturday morning!

Now though, I really need to find something to eat (coffee is delicious, but not terribly filling), and find the next item on my to-do list...  Or maybe I will just play some Everquest!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy 49th birthday to my "little/big" brother Erik!

Which reminds me, I have to call him either today at work or tonight at home to wish it to him in person...  Oddly enough, in many ways I feel no different at 50 than I did at 25, except for maybe a bit slower in some regards and wiser in others, heeheehee.

I had the most amazing weekend!  I spent 18 hours at the local sewing machine and fabric store (Jackman's Fabrics in Fairview Heights, IL) attending the Anita Goodesign's fall embroidery event and party.  I was seated at a table that had one sewing machine and 4 other women, one of whom actually lives here in town, just past the grocery store, and the others live in surrounding communities. Over the course of two days we shared the machine, laughed, learned from each other, made some fun projects, and discussed all the ways we are both similar and different!  I collected telephone numbers, and plan to use them; I also succombed to the lure of joining an "embroidery club" sponsored by the design company (two brand new embroidery design packs each month, plus bonus packs quarterly), enticed by all the bonus gifts they were offering to attendees, plus the additional enhancement of a "golden ticket" that offered a lovely bonus gift if drawn (I won a $400 value collection of Madiera embroidery threads!).  I also received many lovely attendance gifts (design packs), free meals (breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack, along with unlimited access to coffee, tea, or soda) and open enticement to shop the store itself during breaks or "non-driving" sewing time (we took turns making the projects, but got a cd with all the projects and instructions to bring home to do ourselves).  The only money I actually spent beyond the attendance fees was to join the quilting club (design packs that center around quilting and quilting themes), and when I shared with Eric all that I came home with he fully endorsed my participation.  By Sunday night my eyes were so dry and tired I didn't even want to knit during my favorite shows, so I just sat on the bed and relaxed while watching them, and Eric played EQ.

Now I need to slowly start gathering supplies to make up some of these design packs I got (for lovely embroidered quilts), meaning I need basics like muslin, lightweight fusible interfacing (for stability) and stabilizers.  I have plenty of fabrics to use as supporting fabrics, and I have plenty of on-hand things I can use to practice these new skill-sets with; it's just if I want to create any of the completed sets I will need further basic supplies down the road (a good use of those JoAnn and Jackman sales fliers and coupons I get!)  It won't replace the quilts I already enjoy making, but it will provide more variety and options for construction and quilting!  I am soooo excited to begin!

Today is one of those gorgeous fall days that just enliven one's blood and lift one's spirits: cool, brisk, but blue-skied and sunny.  I plan to sit outside with projects in hand and enjoy at least part of the day!  Being it's a holiday, many federal things are closed today, as is the public school for Rei (although the colleges are still open so Aurora and Brie have class), making it a quiet day for us.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share my happiness over the fun I had, and how refreshed and energized I feel by a weekend away from the norm!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2 posts in 1 week!

I saw the eye surgeon today and am pleased to share that I have 20/20 vision now, albeit with a slight astigmatism still in my right eye.  That is what is causing the "ghosting" of the images I see (especially script).  This may or may not resolve itself over time as healing continues and my brain acclimates to the new signals it is receiving.  He pointed out that if needed we can probably correct that with a bit of lasiks, but not for at least 3 months.  I am fine with that, and generally can do the things I want/need to do without issue.  He also said midrange vision is generally the last to come back to clear, so that too may just be a part of the healing process.

I am quite excited: this weekend I am attending a machine embroidery event at the shop where I bought my machines from.  This will feature new designs and offerrings from a design company, along with making some items, free gifts, and door prizes, along with meals and snacks.  It is both Saturday and Sunday from 8-5.  I am psyched!  I will be having Skye 2 weekends this month, once for drill, and once because Brie is running in an Army 10K in Maryland (?) the end of the month, but this coming weekend is my own (Eric even works!) so I am looking forward to some fun, conversations, knowledge, and improved skill-sets!  I have never been to one of these before, so it will be something new for me to do.

Next weekend we are considering a trip to IN, taking Skye with us (because we'll have her), to go see Aurora's college bowling tournament, then visiting Eric's family up there.  I am not sure why, but I have been dreaming a lot about my in-laws and while I remember very few of the dreams, I wake up with them on my heart.  Given I really enjoy being with both of them, I am hoping this trip comes to fruitition.  Then I am looking at another quick roadtrip to FL to help Patrick take care of some outstanding business he needs to address.  Should be 2 travel days with a day there in between to take care of things.  After than things should start to normalize around here!

For those who follow my needlecraft projects, I have completed the applique on the final border of my Baltimore Album Quilt, a top I have been doing by hand for almost 20 years now.  I just need to miter the final 2 borders, and applique on the corner motif, then I can sew them to the quilt top, finally completing it so I can then hand quilt it.  It is so exciting to see the next phase of it coming to fruition, and my hope is that I can quilt it over the course of next year, finishing it exactly 20 years after it was started (more or less anyway).  I have also been working diligently on two cross-stitched projects that have been in the works for awhile: my Lady of Shalott is being backstitched and beaded (the border is labor-intensive), and a sampler called "How does your garden grow," which is made up of specialty stitches, beading, and cross-stitching.  I have two knitting projects going right now: my Evenstar Shawl, which I have almost completed chart 3 of, so it is about 3/4 completed; and an Estonian lace stole done in 50/50 merino wool and silk, which is my "simpler" project.  I have a couple of other things I pick up and work on in varying places of completion, but those are the priority.  I really wish my cell phone camera took better pictures because I could post photos of my progress on these things.  I will just have to get out my real camera and then I can do so.  I have been alternating between types of projects because they work my vision in different ways: some projects have finer details than others to be on top of, some have charts, graphs, or written instructions to follow, and all require varying levels of focus/attention to detail that help strengthen my eye muscles and vision (a nice side benefit AND justification for doing things I love--it's ohysical therapy and I am following Doctor's orders!)

Patrick is thrilled that he may have found a job already at a local restaurant across the street from the high school.  He had an interview yesterday that went well, and he is cautiously optomistic.  No nibbles for Rei or Dan yet though. Aurora has this weekend off from bowling, then has tournaments the next 6 weekends.  I believe she said her team came in 2nd overall in the standings after last weekend's tournament, and she is quite pleased.  She placed 4th individually, which also made her happy (was 2nd after the first shift finished, and only dropped to 4th). 

Eric and I went to the Strange Folk Festival on Sunday and had a fun time.  I was disappointed the variety of crafters wasn't as large as it has been in years past, but many of my favorite vendors were there, as were the alpacas (sooooo cute!!!!) and the Southern IL Artisan's Guild.  I was given an opportunity to spin on a spinning wheel using an alpaca wool blend batt (I hope I didn't mess it up too dreadfully for the lovely lady who let me try), and I got many questions answered that I had floating around in my head regarding techniques and materials.  I bought a second spindle, some fun yarn I was fondling ("super ego" is the brand!), and received some much needed coaching/tuteledge from some drop spindle spinners.  I came home with my treasures (including a hank of practice fiber) and feel like I have really fine tuned my technique--I think I can now call myself a novice spinner vs. an aspiring one.

Anyhow, that is the updates for today on me (primarily) and my household.  Hopefully I will be back sooner than another month : )

Monday, October 1, 2012

September recapped...

Somehow the entire month got away from me with only one blog post...  I know some of it is due to the challenges I am still dealing with as my eyes heal, learn to function together, and reconnect with my brain in a meaningful way; none-the-less, I tend to limit my time on all screens except for my Nook: for whatever reason, the e-ink they use, the pale grey background, and the ability to change font size has made reading on that both easy and soothing!

My eyes are healing, and while I was very impressed with my post surgery vision in my left eye, for whatever reason (possibly the swelling going down) things have changed again and are not completely as clear (my eyes seem more balanced, but not quite in synch with each other).  I see the surgeon on Thursday morning, so I will ask my questions and follow up then.  Overall though I feel I am doing amazingly well and am quite content.

Eric and I made a round trip drive to Florida and back to pick up Patrick and bring him home.  Life down there didn't live up to what he had hoped for and he was ready to come home.  The trip down was fairly uneventful, as was the trip back, except for the GPS we were using: it was set to the fasted drive time for the trip down, but for the trip back was somehow set for "least use of freeways" and thus we were rerouted away from any sembelence of an interstate!  The drive was scenic, fairly direct, and generally comfortable, however it was also extremely looooooooooong!  The drive down was about 12 hours (plus a 3 hour nap in Alabama), while the drive back was 16 hours with only one break for dinner (we went to IHOP for a substantial meal vs fast food).  Patrick is glad to be home, and is already working to re-establish employment and re-connect with friends. 

Brie and Skye have gotten fairly well settled in Springfield, and we see Skye a few times each week, whether I babysit her during Brie's classes or not.  Skye is adapting, but does struggle a bit with leaving us when it's time to go home, because in her mind, home is still here.  Aurora is now in the swing of bowling season and she came in 4th overall (individually) in the tournament this past weekend (not sure how the team did as a whole), highest on her team.  School is also going fine for her, and she hasn't complained too much about her classes as yet :)

Rei has had a few downs at school over the past couple of weeks, but nothing he cannot bounce back from.  He just needs to get his head back in the game and rein in his attitude a bit.  Senioritis combined with girlfriend issues takes a toll on attention spans.  His grades are doing well still, which is nice to see.  Not much new or exciting is going in with the Minneapolis kids--life continues apace for both Liisa and Tony's households. 

Eric switched back to day shifts as of today which will let all of us get back onto a somewhat more "normal" schedule.  I am needing to look at ways to pass my time now as my eyes heal.  I am focusing on the household and "clutter" right now, as well as looking at what my options are for internships and/or employment, including the transportation issue.  Eric and I are brainstorming! 

I am fairly sure there is stuff I am leaving out, but those are the highlights for now. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Middle of September already?

Where has the month gone to!  It's been a busy, crazy month around here.  Brie and Skye moved out and are now living about an hour and a half away with her boyfriend, a really nice guy who is good to botIh of them.  We still keep Skye when Brie goes to school (she commutes), and for drill weekends, so it's not like we don't see her/them a few times each week, and it's going ok so far.  I have been filling my "free time" in with working on projects and doing some chores that have been put off, so I am not sitting idle by any means.

My right eye continues to heal, and I can see fairly well to do the things I love, although driving and distance vision still seems a bit out of reach.  I restart my eye drop regiment on the left eye tomorrow, with surgery scheduled for Wednesday.  Then I am cautiously optomistic that things will really improve.  I know it's gonna take time for everything to fully heal and for my eyes to be at their peak of performance, but each day things get a bit clearer, and when both eyes are balanced out, then things should be great.

Reimond got his midterm grades back: 5 As and a C.  He said he'd be bringing the C up, but even so, the core subjects are all As and I couldn't be prouder.  He asked if I thought he was settled enough with school to get a job and I said I believe so.  He is keeping up on everything he needs to, so having an income will be nice for him.  Hopefully he will have better luck finding a job than Aurora and Dan have been having.

Aurora dropped cross country after some difficulties with the coaching staff over her schedule with bowling, which is her primary sport and her being sick for their first meet.  She seems ok with that decision, and has been focusing on her bowling and academics.  She and Eric plan to continue running together and perhaps even get into some races.  Eric hasn't been running much since Aurora returned to school and he started overnight shifts, but those come to an end in another week or so, so they can resume their morning runs (he just doesn't feel like running after a 14 hour day at work, and I certainly can't blame him!)  And Brie is focusing on school and being a full-time mother, which she is happy about. 

My big kids are doing ok.  Tony is still having a lot of pain from his knee surgery, and I sure feel for him.  A dear friend of mine had knee replacement surgery and she too is struggling with the healing process and letting things have time to heal.  As someone used to being in the caregiving role, it is so hard to sit back and let others do the giving, and we chomp at the bit to be independent and not have to rely on others for assistance.  As much as I hate driving, being reliant on others to take me where I need to go has been a lesson in humility and being thankful for the graciousness of my family members to get me out of the house some and doing things.  Liisa got chosen as employee of the quarter for her hotel, with her picture on the front page of the hotel's website ( along with a link describing why she won this award, and it includes a personal parking space.  I am so proud of her!  She and Zack are doing great, and he was just in his first cook-off (BBQ) representing his employer and they lost placing by only 3 points.  It was a fun experience for him.

My grandkids are settled in to school (2nd grade and kindergarten) and are quite happy too.  I need to mail them a package of some things I found here of theirs (socks and underwear) that turned up in the laundry after they left...  I will try to find something fun to tuck into their package as well. Eric resumes classes this coming week (Wednesday night in fact) and he will be headed there while I stay home and recouperate. He works the overnight shift monday and tuesday as yet (and did an overtime shift tonight) but is off at 2 am wednesday morning, so he'll be able to catch a nap before taking me to the surgery center.  He has 2 classes left, and will have his BS at the end of this term.  We cannot wait!

I probably am leaving all kinds of things out of my blog tonight, but it's getting late and I am getting tired.  Reimond invited me to go to a celebration at the park tonight with him (he had been there with friends) and there was live music, some booths for beer and food, and the postponed 4th of July fireworks were set off (at 8:30 pm!)  He came home and got me (because I can't drive myself up there), and we sat with his friends, then with the neighbors to watch the fireworks display.  It was a lovely night, very fall-like, and a nice way to end the weekend.

We really haven't heard much from Patrick of late, but last we did talk to him things were going ok for him, although his hours had been cut just prior to the tropical storm that hit Florida and the gulf states, so he was looking to see if he could get hired by a McDonald's down there as a second job. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

End of August update

We survived the summer, school has started for the younger adults, and Skye turned two yesterday.  I had my surgery on my right eye on Wednesday of last week (8/22) and am now in the healing phase of recovery.  It's slow going as I cannot comfortably wear my glasses, even with the right lens removed, so seeing clearly is still in-process, although better each day.  I feel good though and am glad to have done it.  Just need to restrain my impatience to be "doing things" until I am able to do so comfortably.  I have surgery scheduled for the left eye on Sept. 19th and cannot wait.  It's wonderful to see some things clearly now, and I am sure that what is to come will be amazing!

I loved having Justin and Alexis here, and was sad that Tony and Andrea only stayed overnight when they came to get the kids.  As Liisa said, those kids were never still: active minds, bodies, and mouths!  It seems almost too quiet now that they are gone, and although Skye is relishing being the center of the universe again, even she misses them.  Skye is blowing me away with her language skills--new words and sentences appear daily, and she is such a happy little girl.  Today she decided to take herself for a walk (we were all outside with her) and she didn't turn around until she reached the "kitty mailbox", Justin's landmark for turning around when pushing her in the stroller or pulling her in the wagon.  Glad she recognizes the boundary, however, being two is far different from being 7, and even Alexis kept herself to one house on either side of ours when she was in charge of the wheeled conveyances.  Skye has a mind of her own! 

I see the surgeon again tomorrow and hopefully he'll give me the all clear to resume normal activities. I feel great, and have no pain or irritation; just the occasional headache from eyestrain when I try to do too much too soon. 

I think that's all I can manage for today.  I will try to get around to posting wedding pics from Liisa's wedding later!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Update on Skye

They got home from the ER around one this morning and Skye has the start of bacterial pneumonia.  The xray showed her lungs were starting to look cloudy and the persistence of her fever suggested she was getting pretty sick relatively quickly.  Not sure how she got it, but she looks like a pin cushion, with needlesticks for blood draws on both hands, arms, and one foot, along with antibiotic shots in both thighs.  Poor baby looks like she's been through the wringer!  Her mood is good though, and she is lethargically cuddly, spending much of her time awake this morning on my lap with a few stuffed animals and a couple of books.  Her fever is down slightly (almost 101) and Brie picked up her prescription this morning, so we have started her on her meds for the next 5 days, and she'll need to see her own doctor after that.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Middle of August countdown...

We are coming to the end of our summer and things continue to move at a hectic pace.  I have really enjoyed having Justin and Alexis here with us and they have kept things lively and active for me, although I admit to being somewhat tired out.  Andrea is driving down next week (either Tuesday or Wednesday) to come get them and they (I think) are starting to miss home, although Justin will definitely miss the xbox 360 (he has become a major Lego Starwar's fan) and Alexis is a bit bummed I have done no sewing with her.  I would have, but I just can't see clearly at this point to make things.

Eric is on the homeward stretch for two of his three classes (he dropped the third one and will need to retake it next term), with two weeks to go, and Reimond starts school Friday.  Brie and Aurora both start in the next week/week and a half for their semesters, and I am no closer to an internship now than I have been all along.  I am frustrated, mostly with myself on that score, because I have not devoted the time or energy necessary to follow up on the leads I find, or on emails I have sent, although in my defence, life has had a tendency of late to run away with my free time. Eric is back working overnights, and adjusting to that schedule has been brutal!

Brie and Aurora have taken Skye to the ER tonight.  Skye got shots the end of last week, had a bad reaction at one injection site, was sorta fussy off and on (trouble sleeping at night especially) and limited appetite, then had the runs really bad on Monday into Tuesday.  She ate better today and seemed better this morning, only to wake up from a nap with a fever of 102.2 and cry/complain of pain in a couple of random places.  Because she really cannot tell us, and this has been going on for a few days (and she is so small), it just makes sense to bring her in and see.  Could be something in her ears or nose again; could be a virus; could be an ear infection or a bladder infection...  Brie just called and her temp isn't going down, despite motrin, so they are testing her for strep among other things.  I couldn't hear Brie clearly as the signal she had sucked, but it sounds like they will be at the ER for a while yet.

I had a frustrating day today of running from pharmacy to pharmacy: I need to get my pre-op/post-op eye drops filled as I am supposed to start them on Monday, but my normal pharmacy on base didn't have 2 of them and refused to fill the third (because it is in a family of meds I have had an allergic reaction to--although the doctor was adamant that shouldn't be an issue with the drops); So 2 hours at the pharmacy on base, only to have to go to plan B, the WalMart pharmacy.  After being there for an hour it turns out two of the three were out of stock, so need to be ordered, and should be there tomorrow after 3.  So nice of them to let me know up front instead of making me wait and check back twice with the counter!  Justin and Alexis were very good at all of these places for the most part (they got restless and owly with each other a few times), but our plans were shot to heck for the day.  Better luck tomorrow I hope!  I did let them stay up a bit later tonight playing because it was only them and me home tonight, and now they are chatting like magpies in their bed in the loft...

Eric and I have been debating about upgrading the lens they place in my eye from the basic one to a more complete one (minimizing my need for glasses).  We need to make a decision fairly soon as the surgery is Wednesday.  The cost is a drawback in some regards, and I will be satisfied just being able to see clearly again, glasses or not.  I am just so ready to have it done with!

Tony had his surgery on his knee and it has resulted in a lot of pain as things heal.  His tendons were affected by the chunks of calcium that broke off and floated around in there, and this healing process is not what he expected (one individual--not medical--suggested he'd be back on his feet and working within 48 hours of surgery!)  My poor boy is a hurting unit, and he HATES taking meds for anything, so he is trying to tough it out and manage.  Andrea will be driving down on her own because he cannot sit for 10+ hours in the car without his knee/leg being elevated so he is staying home this trip.  The kids and I had a wonderful evening last evening looking at all my pictures of previous trips they have made here, and of my trip to visit them in El Paso.  We laughed at how tiny they were, at some of their antics in the pictures, and how much they have changed over the course of 5 years.  It was a lovely trip down memory lane!

Reimond is home from Alaska (got home Sunday) and has "visited" home daily, but has been staying at his buddy Ryan's house.  I am hoping this changes come school starting, but after a summer of travelling, Rei and Ryan have lots to catch up on and they have used this week to do so.  He keeps me appraised of his doings and has not been driving all over the place, despite having his own vehicle now, because he knows he needs to cover his own gas etc. and has learned the value of money over this summer.  I continue to be pleased with the way he is maturing!  He and Maddie really miss each other and they talk/skype/text daily.  They seem to be good for each other and for that I am very pleased as well.

Patrick hasn't been in touch at any length of late, but we have been exchanging text messages with him.  He seems to be doing ok and his living arrangements are working out for the nonce.  He did say he didn't think he'd be back in September after all because he doesn't think he'll have the money to travel, and to a certain degree, I think he likes being self-sufficient.  We all made sure to wish him a happy birthday, and he was pleased by all the comments.

Hey, my peanut gallery is finally quiet, so I guess that means I can relax some too now.  Time to find my Nook and settle in with a new book!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's already August 8th?????

Where has the summer gone to? I got Rei registered for school today for his senior year and realized his classes start in 9 days!  It is going to be a wonderful year for him, I hope, after a summer he will never forget.

So let me recap the end of July:

Liisa and Zack Bakke's wedding, 28 July 2012
Our trip to MN was fabulous, with the initial days spent preparing for the wedding, which was held on the front lawn of Liisa and Zack's house, followed by a reception in the back yard and main floor of the house.  Then we had a few days to relax and just "be" and I was so grateful for the time I got to spend with the extended family too--my sibs and their spouses, the nieces and nephews, and of course, the grandkids!

The family as depicted above includes (from left to right) my brother Erik, my Mom Sylvia, Aurora, my husband Eric, Me holding Skye, Reimond standing behind me, Liisa, Zack, Anthony, and Andrea, with the kids in front of the adults, including Bailey (almost 9), Kajsa (just turned 7), Justin (also 7), Alexis (5), and Kodie (almost 3) on the trike. When Eric and I married 4 years ago I doubled the number of children I had; when Liisa and Zack married I doubled the number of grandkids I have, from 3 to 6!  Wow!  So much love and joy though.  The wedding was beautiful, performed by Rev. Heidi Wallace, our former pastor from down here in Mascoutah, and she did a lovely job.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect for us, and even the little rain that fell in the late evening didn't put a damper on things.  The food was delicious and catered by Zack's work, and we had all the traditional things: cake, a first dance, dancing, and fun.  Liisa has most of the photos already up on facebook so send her a friend request to see them.  I too will post some of them on fb soon.  Just haven't had much time to myself!

We took Skye with us up to MN as Brie couldn't get more time off from work, and she was a lot of fun.  She really enjoyed the beach and collecting rocks along the waters edge, along with the dogs to pet and the ducks that swam by.  She isn't so good at building sandcastles yet, although she has dumping water into the moat down to a T.  We brought Justin and Alexis back to IL with us, and the drive was Loooooonnnnggg!  The kids were all excellant travelers, and we had no issues with them, but the pickup truck Rei got for his summer of babysitting wasn't too fond of a ten hour drive and we had a few pit stops to let it cool down and rest.  We did get it home in one piece, and it's now parked out front.  It isn't lovely to look at, and in fact, looks like a country boy's first truck.

Eric returned to working overnights at the completion of our vacation, and is slowly readjusting to his new hours.  He and Aurora have been running most mornings to prepare her for cross country this fall, and they both miss the lakes of Minneapolis, as they enjoyed their morning runs and scenery there immensely.  Aurora starts classes on the 24th. I am not sure when exactly Brie starts. 

We talked to Patrick today and all wished him a happy 21st birthday, mostly by text message.  He had to work this morning and he promised not to be stupid around celebrating being legal age to drink (and he has to work in the morning again too).  He says things are going ok and he's maintaining status quo right now.

My son Anthony had surgery on his knee this morning to repair the damage from his PT injury in July; he had chunks of calcium deposits floating in his knee of various sizes that were sticking out and causing problems.  He has a recheck the same day as my eye surgery, so my guess is he won't be coming down with Andrea to get the kids, unless they wait til that weekend.  Not sure when he can return to work either, as he was pretty medicated when he called me.

If I am honest with myself, taking on three grandkids at one time has been a bit of a challenge for me, and I am weary.  They are all fairly high energy kids, and while the older two are good at entertaining themselves, limits are being tested by all, and Skye and they vie for attention from the rest of us.  I have been trying to do at least one outing a day to get them moving/out of the house, including trips to the library, attending all three days of Mascoutah's homecoming (along with rides, the parade on Saturday, and seeing the 4H animals on Friday), along with going to the playground after dinner for an hour or so, followed by baths, teeth, and bed.  A loose routine, but one that seems to be working.  I tend to put my nightgown on after tucking them in and settling on my bed with my book for some peace and quiet.Skye hasn't gone on the after dinner playground trips because her mom has been home with her, which works out well because I sit, knit, and monitor the older two, who have found same-aged peers to engage with: Justin has been playing tag and other games of chase with a group of boys, while Alexis has found some girls to play with, and tonight she was thrilled to be asked to "play princesses" with the playground equipment as their castles and kingdoms.

Tomorrow I need to run and get my labs drawn prior to my appointment for my pre-op on Monday. Blech. My mother got a good report from the cardiologist with the new med regime she is on, so now all we are concerned about is the stent and being sure all the "gravel" is gone from her kidney.  I am still anxious about my surgery, but am also looking forward to it's results, so I am trying to remain confident and all of that.  I know it's not a big deal and from what I have heard most are thrilled with the results.  I just don't like the idea of someone messing around inside my eyes.

Anyhow, that brings everyone up to date about our lives.  We are healthy, busy, and as chaotic as always!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just a little over a week until...

Liisa and Zack's wedding!  We are in the final countdown and it sounds like she has everything under control.  I am very excited to be headed to MN--it's been over a year now since I was last up there and I have missed it dreadfully!

I have had some amazing conversations on the phone with Reimond of late.  Being away has been really good for him and I am so proud of the directions he is choosing to go.  He is a really neat kid!  Andrea and Justin got some really bad wasp stings last week after Justing ran through a ground wasp's nest (he didn't know it was there) on their way home from the beach.  Liisa and Rei took them to the ER and Andrea was at Abbott while Liis took Justing and Alexis to Childrens.  Andrea had 14+ stings and Justin had 9+ stings.  Both ended up on prednisone and benadryl, but both are much better now.  It was scary though (Alexis had one sting on her back and was fine). Rei ran as go-between from the two hospitals (across the street from each other and connected by an underground tunnel for those who are not familiar with it) and I am so relieved everything turned out well.  Tony was in Kansas and called me to see if he should try to fly home; I told him not unless things took a bad turn (e.g. bad allergic reactions), but he will be headed home for this weekend.  He blew out his knee doing PT and they had no clinic with an MRI available closer than 200 miles away, so he is needing to get that looked at when he gets home.  There is no break, but he can hardly walk on it.

Brie got home from AT and Skye was happy to have her home. Skye is still being a bit of a challenge in putting things up her nose (yesterday she blew out a piece of what looked like scrunched up tape torn off something) and it bled and ran for hours before it finally was visible and could be removed by her mother.  I suspected something was up there, but we couldn't *see* anything.

Patrick and his friends have had a series of misfortunate events in FL and currently he is staying at a parent's place of one of the girls.  He does have a job, and has been good to be in communication with us.  It's definitely been a learning experience for him!

Aurora continues to enjoy her summer vacation, and is glad Dan is back from Maine.  He grandfather is now in a rehab home, and is stable. Eric's vacation begins tomorrow, and we are counting the hours!  It will be so nice to have him home and be taking a trip together! 

I am doing ok: excited tosee/be with my family soon, excited to be bringing the grandkids back with us, and thrilled for Liisa and Zack. I am a little on edge over the pending surgery but am also looking forward to it... And now I have to go get Skye, who is yelling "Helloooooooo" from her bed quite loudly and melodically!  She is definitely awake!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Phase 2 (or is it 3) of our summer:

Whichever it is, we are on the part where Brie is at AT for two + weeks (she should be home on the 9th), Aurora is continuing her job search, Dan has gone to Maine because his grandfather hasn't been doing well (had a stroke while their family was enroute, but is now a little better), Rei is continuing to baby sit the Soulak littles, Patrick is having his own struggles in FL (job-wise, we believe), Liisa is planning her wedding, and Tony passed phase two of his military training (B-NOC) "exceeding course standards" (or the top 10% of his class).   Tony is home briefly between phases, then returns to KS for phase 3 on the 8th.  Andrea is really appreciating having Rei in the house with her, another adult to entertain and keep track of the kids!

Eric is working hard at both school and work: this is his last term (we hope) and it's going ok so far. I am being run ragged by "Miss Almost Two" who is showing a strong will and a strong independent streak of late (no is her favorite word, she runs the opposite direction from where she is suppose to be, and she has learned the habit of selective hearing from her older role-models...).  Skye has figured out how to open the front inside door, and the storm door latch is no longer catching so she can let herself outside (and we fear the dogs too) so we have resorted to deadbolting it, which sucks for those needing to get in.  Today she announced to Aurora and I "back later" along with an emphatic finger shake at each of us, then headed for the front door to "go aside".  Aurora took her for a brief walk, because the temps were almost 100 degrees at 11 am.  What a monkey!  She is infuriating and frustrating, and loveable, all rolled into one precocious package (Skye that is).

I saw the eye surgeon and he said surgery is necessary. I am scheduled for August 22nd to do my right eye, followed by my left about three weeks later.  I am just having the basic package done, which means I will still be needing glasses when I am through--the astigmatism correction is considered "optional" and costs almost $1800/eye to fully correct the degree of astigmatism I have, and it's $2600/eye if I want my reading vision corrected too, with no guarentee that I won't need glasses still (at the $1800 level I would still likely need reading glasses). We just don't have it in the budget to get it all corrected, and I am ok with that.  Just so I can see clearly to do the things I love and enjoy them!  Today Aurora laughed with me when I got scared there was a dead animal on the back of the loveseat...  It was her hair draped over the back and off to the side of the loveseat, blending in ( because of my blurred vision) with the couch in places, except for where it was standing up/poking out in front of the window.  Looked like tufts of fur or feathers to me, seated perpendicular to her on the couch... As I said to her, I can generally differentiate things fairly easily when they are things I know well or expect to see.  In that instance, it was neither!

Liisa's wedding plans are coming along.  Our prior pastor from down here is a MN native, she is now back in Minnesota, and she will be performing the ceremony at my daughter's house (on the front lawn), followed by a reception/party. It's going to be small, intimate, and loving, and I am so happy for her and Zack. They have focused on ways to do this on a tight, limited budget, and it's going to be beautiful and fun!

We have been dealing with record breaking heat for the past week and today it's supposed to be the hottest it's been.  We blew up the kid's pool and have been enjoying it daily with Skye.  She developed a horrible yeast infection from her antibiotics, and having her in the pool multiple times a day, plus using the creams has been a god-send and she is looking much better. She is quite the waterbaby and loves to splash and swim.  We have to watch her like a hawk though because she makes a beeline for the pool any time we are outdoors, and she can get herself in and out of it without any struggle. She also loves to play in the sprinkler and helping Poppa with watering the yard in the evening is a favorite task.

I completed my May socks by deadline MY time, but not by deadline of the Sock Knitter's annonymous group.  Eric wore them to work yesterday and said they were wonderful. I have the June socks to finish before the 31st, and I have been spending time knitting on a gift shawl I started a while back. I have some other knitting that needs to be completed as well, so I have elected NOT to knit the July sock challenge.  I am pretty proud of myself though--I kept up thru june!  I have things I want to be doing but can't right now, for many reasons, so knitting is helping me to pass the time, as is my Nook (because I can change the font size) and audiobooks. I have played Everquest some, and still enjoy it, but it is hard to get involved with anything of significance (game-wise) while I have Skye to keep track of.  She loves computers, but isn't much help with playing games on them.

Like so many in similar circumstances we are in the process of tightening our belts some, and realigning some priorities.  I am trusting in God's grace to see us through these challenges, but it is stressful and frustrating, as well as humbling when we see how much we have been blessed with as well.  Lots of prayers are being lifted up on so many fronts for us, for family, for friends.   Everyone has their struggles these days, and prayers are an easy way to aid when there is nothing else to be done.  God knows the needs better than we do ourselves, and I trust in His plan to satisfy them in His own time (as much as I wish it were in MY time frame, unfortunately). 

Anyway, baby is awake from her nap, so it's time to hit the pool in the yard!  Stay cool!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Almost the end of June

and phase two of the summer is done already.  I finished my class, and ended up with an A for it, which I am so relieved about.  My final project paper, which was due the end of week 9 was submitted a day early, and three days before the end of the class I get a notice that said it was late!  I was scared, nervous, and upset.  Sent emails to the instructor, talked to tech support (I had received confirmation that it had been submitted and accepted that Saturday, which remained in place most of the week, until the notice it was late, because I was checking for grades on it daily thereafter), and my instructor accepted it when I resubmitted it and didn't penalize me for "being late".  Thank God!  I had been just sick over it!

We made the trip to Florida (St. Augustine) and it was lovely.  The weather was perfect, the town historic, the hotel had a pool and a 640 year old oak tree, and I really enjoyed it.  There were moments of tension and frustration, of course, because one doesn't have an ex-girlfriend, a current fiancee, a baby, one's entire family present without there being stress and tension. Brie generally handled herself well, but it was clear she was stressed at points. Then we had a trip to the ER added into the mix on Father's day.  Skye had been stuffing things up her nose, and unbeknownst to us had put a part of a tissue up her right nostril that was rotting.  Anyhow, she woke up with a fever and lethargic, and we took her in.  They pulled out two small wads of tissue (the second one, higher up, was just rank), and put her on a high powered antibiotic for the infection. Poor baby was scared to death and kept telling everyone "thank you, buh-bye" to get them out of the room.  Dalton, Brie, and I were in the room with her, along with the hospital personnel, and we were there for around 3 hours, after which we went back to Regina's house (Dalton's mom), ate some burgers, and took the baby back to the hotel to nap.

Long-story short, the med upset Skye's stomach so she had no appetite and the runs, she threw up on the drive home so that we ended up staying in a hotel overnight so we could rinse out the carseat cover and give her a bath.  We did take her in once we were home and they changed her antibiotic; she is 100% better now and hopefully will stop sneaking stuff up her nostril!

Skye was very receptive to meeting her great-grandparents on her dad's side of the family, who had only seen her in photographs prior to this trip, and we took lots of pictures. She got along well with her cousin Abby (who is 2 weeks younger), and seemed to like her dad's fiancee too (who was generally gracious with all that was going on). I really enjoyed meeting Dalton's grandparents and of course, I really like his mom, so the trip went well.

We got home late Thursday afternoon, took the baby to the clinic Friday, Eric and I stole a few hours on Saturday to go to the winery in the afternoon, and went back onto "parenting duties" Saturday night because Brie left for her two weeks of AT training.

Reimond had a little excitement heading up to Minneapolis. He got dropped off at the train only to discover he had no cash to pay for the train ticket (despite my telling him to take change from my bucket for it), and he called me in a panic (I was in Florida at the time!).  He was able to track down Aurora and Dan, who raided my "piggy bank" for him and brought him back train fare, then he got to the airport without incident, and made it safely to Phoenix, where his flight got delayed for 2 hours or better.  He finally arrived in Minneapolis 2.5 hours after he was supposed to be there, and was glad to be "home".  Things are going well at Tony and Andrea's, the work isn't terribly onerous, and he is spending time with the kids, his siblings, and friends in his spare time.  He passed his license test, so he is driving now, and seems to be doing well with the adult responsibilities.

So: I am back in Mascoutah, and now am planning out the rest of July! We have Skye this week and next while Brie is gone, then we will be travelling up to Minneapolis on the 25th for a week.  Liisa is now pulling together her wedding for July 28th so it can happen while we are there, and it's going to be on her front lawn at the house, followed by a reception/party.  She is doing it on a shoestring, and is very excited about how it is coming together.  My former pastor from down here will be officiating, and things will be finalized on Sunday (7/1) when Liis and Zack meet with Pastor Heidi at her new office in St. Peter, MN. When we leave Minneapolis we will be bringing Justin and Alexis back with us to spend 2.5-3 weeks here, and I am looking forward to that too.  I miss those little ones dreadfully!

My mom's heart issues seem to have straightened out with the medication change, and she is feeling fine.  She still has "gravel" in her kidney so the stent remains in place and she has to drink more water to try to flush it out.  She is excited about the wedding, and is the same as always when I talk to her on the phone.

I see the eye surgeon today and hopefully will get some answers I need regarding my vision.

Skye yesterday decided to swim in the dog's water dish...  I think she got spoiled with the pool at the hotel, and missed it, so I took her to the Mascoutah pool--for 2.5 hours!  That baby was so tired she asked to be carried in the pool but wasn't ready to leave.  We came home anyway, and she was in bed by 7:30 last night. 

Ok, that's the news!  Now I need some coffee!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I am taking homework time to briefly update everyone on life around here...

If I hadn't mentioned it before, Rei had a fabulous time in Alaska, and misses his girlfriend dreadfully now that he's back home. 

Brie is at drill all weekend, and we are doing a fantastic job of juggling Skye and getting other things accomplished (mainly me and homework--Eric and Aurora have been wonderful!)

Aurora went out to collect some job applications of Friday, so keep your fingers crossed.  She really needs a job and we could use the help with gas, insurance, and misc. : )

Dan too is job hunting (I believe) and he too needs some direction to his days, although he has been making many of the family dinners.

Patrick has been incommunicado for the past few weeks, so I think it's time I send him a "checking on you" text message later today...

Liisa is back at work, getting back into the routine of daily life, and enjoying Zack's kids.  They had a busy day Friday at the park and park pool, playing in the sprinkler at home, where she was in charge cuz Zack had to work a 14 hour day. She has her ups and downs, but she is doing well.

My mother had her chemical stress test on Friday and had another episode of atrial fibrillation that needed iv pushes to control and get her heart re-regulated.  Her pulse was not as fast as last week (where it ranged in the upper 180s-200s), but 120-159 for an extended period isn't great either.  They have upped her med, and she has another EKG scheduled for Tuesday (initially I had been told Monday).  Prayers are appreciated!  The best (or worst) part of all of this (depending on how one looks at it) is that she is completely asymptomatic and has NO sense at all that her heart is misbehaving, so it leaves us wondering if this is a new thing, related to her "white coat syndrome" or if it is something she has episodes with periodically that we are unaware of!  She, of course, is of the opinion that since she feels fine, we are making a fuss over nothing (and is "scolding" all of us for checking on her and checking in with my brother Eric).  I took a deep breath yesterday after hearing her plans for the day (grocery shopping, visiting the nursing home, her usual routine) that in the end, the quality of life is far more important than the quantity of life (something we had to accept with my father's heart issues as well), and trust in God's grace, timing, and plan.

We blew up a fairly good sized inflatable pool for the back yard on Friday and have been enjoying it with Skye, especiall with the temps being in the upper 80's low 90's here.  She loves the water and is thrilled to have others in it with her (unlike her solitary baths).  I am sure Brie would have a fit to know she was "skinny dipping" yesterday because I have no idea where her swim suit is, and we are out of swim diapers...  She did fine and loved it!

Tony is leaving Mpls today for Kansas, where he will be attending advanced training for three weeks (I believe). He called yesterday to be sure that everything was on track for Reimond's arrival on Saturday, and said he might make the trip to come see us if he gets any extended time off while he's so close by. Reimond's last day of school is Monday, and he thinks he's done well this term again.  I am cautiously holding my breath to see.  Overall his IEP came back fairly positive with regards to growth and change.  Regardless, I am very proud of how well he has done, and I do see positive growth and change. The focus this week will be on getting him out driving so he can take his road test (and hopefully pass it) before he leaves for Minneapolis.

Brie and I are on track towards our trip to Florida too.  She booked a hotel for us (Howard Johnson!  That name sure rings a bell with my childhood and travelling cross country!) in St. Augustine, and thus far it's all a "go".  We will take the pilot and Eric will use Brie's car to get back and forth to work. I promise to take lots of pictures!

Ok, back to the assignments!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Giving thanks and grieving.

Last Saturday something I didn't blog about came to pass: my daughter found out she was pregnant for the first time, and she was ecstatic! We all were.  Then she started bleeding, and we were concerned.  ER labwork and ultrasounds could neither confirm nor deny a miscarriage, so we continued to pray and cautiously wait.  Tuesday's labs indicated the pregnancy was still viable, so more tests were scheduled for yesterday (with incriments of bleeding, cramping, and discomfort). Yesterday morning we got the sad news: the fetus was about 6 weeks along, and tucked firmly in her fallopian tube.  Yesterday afternoon both were removed as it was becoming a threat to Liisa's health and life.  It was heartbreaking!

Today I was included (via speaker phone) in a meeting with a Pastor at a neighborhood church as Liisa and Zack gave thanks for the opportunity we had to love this gift we were given for so brief a time, and to return it back to God's arms.  It was sad, it was loving, it was healing, and it was the right thing to do for us. I was blessed to be included, and while my heart hurts for them and their loss, I am also grateful that things are no worse.

I am also giving thanks today that things are going relatively well for my mother.  She had a routine surgery yesterday because of a kidney stone she was unable to pass, and after the surgery had trouble maintaining a regular heartbeat (sinus rythm). They kept her over night and monitored her,with a thought that they might need to "schock" her heart back into a normal rythm, but in the night it restored itself.  She had an echocardiogram today, and they still want to do a chemical stress test at some point in the next few weeks (she was adamant with her bum ankle that she couldn't run a treadmill to save her life!) but they are sending her home. We are grateful that nothing significantly wrong has been found, and she can return to her normal life, taking things a bit slower while she heals up. Unfortunately, as they were taking out her IV her hand started bleeding into itself and is swollen and ugly looking.  Poor mom!  We prayed for her too with the pastor, which I also much appreciated.

Also yesterday my daughter-in-law had a fender-bender with a parked car, resulting in some damage to both vehicles, and her being pretty shaken up.  Not sure that there is much more I can deal with, crisis-wise!  When I talked to Tony he just said "man, what's next?" And I said "nothing?"

I have cried more these last few days than I have cried in a long time.  The tears have fallen of their own accord and I have just let them fall.  It's been so hard being so far away from everyone, knowing how much my daughter wanted me there by her and being unable to do more than be a voice on the phone. It's been hard getting info about my mom second and third hand, despite us all keeping the lines of communication wide open, because I am so used to being there and hearing it for myself.  I struggle with letting go of control and having to rely on others for information.  It has been humbling to be so helpless. Eric has been a blessing to me, letting me cope as I have needed to (knitting, crying, praying, and being on the phone), and providing endless hugs.  I am so blessed to have him.

God is good, and he has sustained us all, along with the prayers that have been raised on our behalf by family and friends.  I have spent more time on the phone these last few days, talking and texting with family members as we tried to keep everyone on the same page, and I am more grateful for today's technology than I can say.  I now just need to steady my course and move forward: finishing my school term, getting my eyes dealt with, preparing for the trip to Florida with Brie and the baby, sending Rei to MN to stay with Tony, and maintaining my own household.  Life is never dull! 

Now I just am awaiting word that mom is safely home; Liisa and Zack have gone over to her house to see her for themselves and give her love, and then I can start to relax. What an emotional rollercoaster it's been!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


1. My birthday was awesome and I had a fantastic time with family here; I was sad to see them go home.
2. Reimond is having a blast in Alaska, and I am so happy he had the opportunity to go, even if there were some difficulties prior to his leaving (at school--he dropped a level and got upset, was assessed a 2 day oos suspension).
3. My eyes have been really bugging me this week, and combined with some other stressors, I have been dealing with migraine-type headaches off and on all week, resulting in being behind in my school assignments.
4. This term is kicking my proverbial a$$ because I just am not into ed psych--I don't plan to teach, I am not interested in learning theories, and I am lost in the language.  I am maintaining an A so far this term, but I am working at it and not enjoying any part of it!
5. There have been a few family stressors that have been coming to a head off and on this week, and I am tired of the drama and the attitudes and the blaming...  ('nuff said).
6. An old, dear friend has returned to Everquest after an extensive hiatus and I really want to play more than I had been.  It's hard to see Eric having fun while I keep my nose to the grindstone sometimes, but I am dealing with it by using time online as a reward for getting stuff done (or as a break when my brain goes into overload (see 2 & 3, lol).
7.  I started my May socks on the train home from the airport (dropping Rei off on Wed.) so I can "legally" count them towards my SKA challenge, and not miss a start since I joined; IF I don't finish the April sock on or before the 31st though this will be my first "fail" in this challenge.  Am plugging away as Skye let's me.
8. I have gotten better at spinning on the spindle, and spend about 10-15 mins practicing every few days.  Love the Merino wool I am practicing on, and hope to turn it into something useable when it is all spun up as singles.
9. Skye is becoming quite a challenge to keep up with of late. She is very busy trying to do whatever she has seen us do, and is not easily dissuaded from whatever she sets her mind to.  She is a strong-willed, independent child, and I am getting tired of saying NO constantly and trying to redirect her.  Love her to pieces, am so very proud of how smart she is, but wish she could just be satisfied with playing with HER toys, in one spot, so I can get things done that need to be done instead of chasing her around trying to corral her into one area.
10. I am really looking forward to going to Florida (if everything stays according to plan) and having a change of scenery for a few days; really looking forward to seeing the ocean again, and even the car ride  and reading/knitting while we travel (less looking forward to helping drive, given my eyes).

Time to hit the assignments again....  After I get more coffee and some toast!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Three more days and counting!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012 -- You're at another turning point in your life, but everything could seem more important now than it actually is. It still may take several months to gain clarity about your long-term goals, yet your current choices are instrumental in setting a new direction. Don't be overly concerned if you can't synthesize your desires into one single goal. Just allow your daydreams to flow without analysis; you will have plenty of time to make sense of it all later on.

This was my horoscope for today and I am posting it here to remind myself to keep my eyes on the goals before me and undertand that "All things work together for the good of those who love God" (paraphrasing). My mom, sister, daughter, and niece are on the road and headed south to me.  I am so excited!  I woke up at 6:30 and couldn't go back to sleep!  This is only the 2nd time the three of them have been here (Liisa is, of course, here quite regularly), and I cannot wait to see them! 

Difficult news from the eye doctor: vision in my left eye is no longer correctable with glasses, and while vision in my right eye is still correctable, it too has deteriorated.  The macula looks good, and everything else seems fine, even the cataracts don't look like they have changed all that much, but my vision continues to deteriorate, so I am seeing a specialist (surgeon) on June 7th to see what my options are.  I am scared (I hate the thought of anyone messing with my eyes!) and yet I am also resigned to doing whatever is necessary to correct my vision.  I need to be able to see to enjoy all my handwork, my books, and my photos.  Getting older isn't for sissies!

Anyhow, I have an assignment to do so that I am free to play the rest of the weekend.  Looking forward to a wonderful time!

Monday, May 14, 2012

On the count-down to 50!

Last week, I was running Rei and his friend to an appointment, and while listening to the story they were telling, glanced down at my speed and realized I had accelerated more than anticipated (Eric's pilot drives soooo smoothly compared to the van!). I hit the brake to slow down as I looked up, and sure enough, one of Mascoutah's finest was parked on a side road with a speed gun and I got nailed...  Stupid ticket--I have NEVER had a speeding ticket before!  I sucked it up though and was gracious with the officer as he wrote me up, and paid my fine by mail with a wry grimace...  I told Eric it was a last act of rebellion before turning 50.

My mom and sister are driving down on Thursday morning and Liisa is supposed to be coming too.  Unfortunately, Liisa is really sick right now (fever, bad throat, swollen glands, puking from the fever, chills, etc.) She called off work last night, and went to urgent care.  Given how sick she was, they called in a prescription of penecillin for her to a pharmacy that closed before she got there (she picked it up this morning), and they are waiting on strep results (quick strep was negative). She is concerned about coming down if she is sick, but hopefully by Thursday morning she will be feeling well enough to come see me.

Reimond got a letter from our district congressman on official  House of Representatives letterhead paper congratulating him on making honor roll third quarter.  We didn't realize he had made honor roll, so we were thrilled!  Rei called me and said "Mom, I bet you never thought you'd hear these words coming out of my mouth before..." then told me he was on the honor roll.  So very proud of him!

Reimond's birthday was yesterday and he spent a large part of it hanging with friends to celebrate. I think he enjoyed his day.  I had a decent mother's day too.  Spent a large part of the day writing a paper that was due last night, then spent some time in the garden with Eric working on things, and played some Everquest. Eric made coffee cake and fresh fruit for breakfast, and grilled steak, corn on the cob, and made rice for dinner, and Aurora made a lovely and tasty dessert in my honor.  She and Dan also made chocolate chip cookies for Rei (and the family) for his birthday. The weather was perfect and I couldn't have asked for a better day!

Last night was a struggle though. Skye had gotten all riled up when she should have been settling for bed, and she could not settle for anything last night. She screamed and wailed so much that I ended up sitting in the rocker with her downstairs, cuddling her and singing to her.  When she was settled I tried to lay her down but the screaming resumed, so back down we went. She fell asleep in my arms at midnight, slept an hour, then woke screaming again.  Back downstairs we went, and rocked for another half hour.  Finally at 1:30 I put her to bed and went to sleep myself (Brie had to go to bed cuz she worked at 6 this morning, and Eric had to be up at 3:45, leaving me to deal with the punk!  She got up in a great mood for the day just after 10, and we have had a good day since!

I called and scheduled a new eye appt for myself for tomorrow morning at 10.  My vision is getting bad again to the point I am getting tension headaches and I am struggling to read my research articles, texts, and the computer.  Cannot sew or cross stitch right now by hand, and even knitting on small needles (Still have to finish the April socks, and haven't touched any for May) is challenging to focus clearly on.  It is scary and maddening.  I don't know that I am quite ready for surgery, but I definitely need my lenses tweaked if nothing else.  Bah!

Ok, Skye is firmly napping, Brie is off to do a couple of errands herself, and I have things to do downstairs.  I think it's safe to get moving on chores now.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Twice in one week!

An update of sorts...

Brie got sent home from work because they had way too many people scheduled and those they kept had the fewest hours on the books.  For me it is a blessing because I can do a marathon homework day (including dvr-ing my two Wednesday night shows I like to watch later on): Eric is at work all day and class tonight, so I will have few interruptions (I hope).

The principal at the high school approved Reimond's absence of 3 days for his trip to Alaska, so I have bought the plane tickets for him and he is set: will be leaving on Wed. the 23rd after school (a 5:45 pm flight out, getting into Anchorage at 12:36 a.m.), and he'll come home on May 29th, after flying all day.  Between the time zone changes and layovers each way (a short one in Phoenix on the way out, a three hour one in Minneapolis on the way back), they are gonna be long days for him, but he is excited and his girlfriend (according to her mother), is beside herself with joy.  This is Reimond's 18th birthday present, as well as a reward for turning his life around so thoroughly, and a celebration of his reaching adulthood.  In many ways I am jealous of this trip--I'd love to see Alaska--but I am also so very proud. Her family is grateful too that we are sending him, because between the mother's surgery for cancer and other issues, having Rei there for their daughter will be a support.  I was especially proud of Reimond because I left it to him to talk to the school about taking these three days off as excused absences, and he had to create a contract (with the support of his classroom teacher and the social worker) in order to get them, but he did it, and I was pleased with how grown-up he was.

So!  We have Rei's birthday and Mother's Day Sunday, my mom and sister (and maybe others) arriving the following Thursday for my birthday weekend, with them leaving on the 21st, then Rei leaving the 23rd for Alaska, coming home the 29th; then the last day of high school for him is June 11th followed by his flight to MN for the summer, with Brie and I leaving later in the week for Florida...  Oh, and finishing up my term, including two assignments each week, and a major paper due every other week (including this week) for the next 6 weeks....  No wonder my head is swimming!

Aurora just left to take her last two finals, and Brie has finals this week and (I believe) into early next week, then she too is done.  Eric has about 3 more weeks to go (I believe) then he is done too for a couple weeks...  And Patrick has a job in Florida, working at Pizza Hut down there.  Not sure of how many hours, but it's a job and it's a start...  He says things are going ok for him, and seems happy, although he's recognizing that "parenting" is harder than one thinks!

Ok, time to get dressed, find another cup of coffee, and hit the books!