Monday, December 29, 2008

All I want is a counter

I have always thought myself as somewhat computer savvy, but believe me there are some serious limits to what I can do. Like understand HTML or any other computer based language.

Here's my simple yet impossible (at least for me) delimna. I want to add a visitor counter to this blog site. I have found a site that offers a free counter in several different styles. All you have to do is copy the code and insert it into the code written for my blog page. Simple yeah?

Err, no it isn't. First of all where in all those lines of letters and symbols and dotted lines do you insert this jumble of more letters symbols and dotted lines? I've tried several likely looking places. The result is one of the following. I see absolutely nothing new on my web page, no counter, no blank space where a counter may be lurking, no odd line of odd lettering in a strange place...nothing.

The other is that the edit function refuses the placement of my code imbedding, deciding that I obviously don't know what the heck I am doing, therefore it will refuse to accept my attempt as valid.

Of course I can find nothing that offers a word of help in how to make such a simple addition to my blog page possible. My lack of geek-dom is showing, and it's embarrassing. It was a good fake while it lasted.

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's the day after Christmas

And I'm still sick! I need to go to work today, even if its just for a few hours, and I am still congested, and really lethargic. Even with antibiotics, Mucinex and loads of tea and vitamins, I am having a really hard time shaking whatever it is that has gotten a hold of me.

I haven't been out of the house since Saturday night, have spent most of the week on the couch, surrounded by blankets, pillows and used kleenex. I did learn something interesting. If I want to guarantee that I stay awake all night long, take Mucinex right before bed. Works like a charm.

It really sucks to be prone to these respiratory ailments, and boy am I ever. I tried so hard to avoid getting near people who were fighting this version of the annual crud, despite the fact that half my co-workers were dealing with one or more stage of the current bug. At least I managed to hold it off until a week where there wouldn't be a whole lot going on at work, and at least one extra scheduled off time was in the making. Also my boss, having dealt with this herself, totally understood how I felt and gave me the two extra days off I needed.

Thankfully my lungs are showing every sign of staying put, despite my best efforts to cough them up, and my nostrils don't scream in protest anymore when I use my prescription nasal allergy spray. So I must be getting better, just not nearly as quickly as I'd like.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I forgot to add sleep to my schedule

It's the week before Christmas my schedule's a wreck
There's rehearsals, shopping, work, and errands oh heck!

Ok, my mind is too befuddled to finish this poem, but you get the gist. I've got loads to do this week.

My church is putting on it's Christmas Concert series this weekend.(shameless plug time here) I am singing in the choir, and am really looking forward to that. I have rehearsals Monday and Wednesday evenings. In case any of you are interested in attending, the event is Saturday 20 at 5:00 and 7:30 pm, and Sunday the 21st at 5:00 pm at Spartanburg Community Church. Email me if you want more details or visit

On top of that, I am not done with my Christmas shopping yet. I am going to try to knock some of that out tomorrow, maybe, if I'm lucky.

On top of that I have drama rehearsals for our church's children's service. We do a drama every week. It's loads of fun, and the kids seem to enjoy the shows.

On top of that, there's work. Thankfully we haven't been too busy this season, but this week is likely going to be different. It looks like I have a busy schedule of pre-holiday hair to do.

On top of that, I have a list of friends and family needing their hair done before the holidays. I've done three this weekend, two to go.

On top of that, there is laundry, the need to go get a new vacuum bag so the house can go through it's weekly de-mucking...You get the point.

On top of that, there is my column to write, some scripts to read over and edit.

I just wonder where in all of this I'm going to find time to sleep!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tinsel me this.

I noticed last night that the tree that Megan and I worked so hard on to decorate is looking a little careworn, at least on the bottom 2/3 of the tree.

We didn't decorate the very bottom because its wedged in between our couch and our love seat to help keep a toddler out of it. BUT it made the perfect launchpad for two of the cats who have made it their mission to strip the tree of all ornaments from the middle section. I will be trying to make things neater today after church.

Now don't go suggestion the water bottle method of keeping cats out of holiday decorations. I tried that with the little cat. I kid you not, she sat there until fully drenched, just so she could get just one more swipe at the garland. Chernobyll gets herself far enough into the tree that I would risk electrocution if I tried spraying her. Luna-tic is our only cat that goes outside. She sees real trees every day, so considers the indoor one as unimportant.

There is just one thing that I didn't consider when deciding on safety for the reason for our Christmas tree location this year. Where to put the presents. There is no space!!! Looks like someone's closet, mainly mine will get rather full before December 25.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Check out the Heavenly Bods

No not mine, although I am beginning to suspect that my hips could house a small solar system. What I am talking about is a beautiful sight in the evening sky.

For the next couple of nights. The Crescent moon, Jupiter and Venus will be clearly visible and close apparent proximity to each other. The three together will look like there is an upside down frowny face in the night sky.

Even with all the light pollution near my neighborhood, I was able to get a good clear view. The sight is supposed to only get better over night. I just wish I had a telescope.

I did a quick google and discovered that although these three celestial objects do appear at the same time in the sky, we often cannot see it due to the timing, or the angle of the earth. More often we will get either Jupiter, or Venus alone. To see both together is a treat. It has been speculated that such a configuration is fairly rare, and may have been the view the wise men saw signaling the birth of Jesus.

It has been estimated that the next time such a display of our moon and our two brightest neighbors showing up so close to each other will be in 2052. I may still be alive then.

Such a unique sight makes me wish that every so often, everyone would just turn off all the lights, so we could get a real good look at our night sky. I think we'd be amazed at just how gorgeous our solar system is, even from such a limited vantage point.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

End of an Era

We went back to NC for Thanksgiving to share it with my husband's family. Upon our arrival we saw the remains of our old house which had been burned down as part of a fireman training program.

It was kinda sad to see the shell of the foundation as the only sign of a house that had stood for nearly 80 years. Bill and I had considered buying the old homestead instead of renting it from his family and completely renovating it, but we had known that the cost would not be worth it. The foundation was in poor shape and getting worse. We instead opted to move to Spartanburg and into a house that didn't need such exhaustive work to bring it up to the 20th century, much less the 21st.

There's a lot of history in that old house. It housed the first telephone in the town of Rosman, as Bill's Grandfather was a game warden and the phone was quite useful for his work. It helped raised three generations of kids, my father in law, my husband and my children, all of whom spent a large part of their childhood in that home.

My Sister and law and her husband who did take over the property will likely build on the old site as they are needing more space for their growing family. It was something we too had considered, before moving here. I look forward to how things turn out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

you know you aren't quite awake when...

I have a morning ritual. Wake up, look at the clock, get up, go to the fridge, get out gushy food for the cats, divvy up food, let one cat out, grind coffee beans, make coffee, go take a shower, go get coffee, put in milk and honey, get fully awake at the computer.

I don't deviate much from that routine, and its pretty automatic now for me to stumble through my morning ritual without thinking.

This morning that ritual, was slightly altered, because I grabbed the gallon of orange juice instead of the gallon of milk. So now my coffee has a slightly citrus taste, but I do believe I'm getting awake

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Recycle please

The other day I went into the break room at work to sit down and eat my lunch. There is usually a copy of the local paper there, and I will browse through it. It's that or watch soap operas with the other employees. I prefer reading. When I picked up the paper I immediately noticed something different.

Either my hands are getting bigger or that paper just got smaller in size. Now I can appreciate the H-J trying to save a few dollars by using less paper, and maybe going a bit greener, but I'm also betting the the price just went up as well.

They aren't alone in this. Many companies are shrinking their product size, while either keeping the price the same or raising them. It's not a lot, just a little and it's easy to miss. It just bothers me, mainly because a better solution is so simple.

I've always been bothered by the sheer waste I see in commercial packaging, and the apparent lack in incentive to make packaging from recycled materials, more bio-degradable, or of a form that doesn't reduce landfill space at such a rapid rate. I am certain there are ways out there to package products or produce reading materials such as a newspaper in a way that encourages wise stewardship of our resources.

Of course I wish that recycling was more widely encouraged, both in the private and the business sector. So much of what we use has packaging that can be recycled, but isn't. In just plastics alone, we could save millions of barrels of oil a year by recycling bottles and containers, instead of throwing them out. Countless trees could be saved if more publications encouraged people to throw their products in the nearest recycling bin instead of the trashcan. Metallic resources could find themselves in larger supply if we re-used more of those as well.

There is so much talk about "going green", yet this form of greening is mentioned so little. I just don't know why, as it is one of the smartest and effective methods of using sound environmental practices.

I already recycle here at the Galloway house. It is amazing that when we haul the trash off, up to 50% of what we take to the drop off site goes straight to the recyclable containers. It's a bit of a hassle, but to me well worth it. I encourage everyone to do so.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Has it been a year already??

Yesterday I attended the birthday party of my granddaughter who has just turned one year old. She enjoyed the toys she got, but was totally unimpressed with the whole opening packages scenario. She was also quite bemused by all the camera flashing around her as we were trying to take the perfect shot of her eating her cake. She got her hands all dirty with pink frosting and bits of cake and a bit on her face, but I suspect most of what she pulled off the cake, ended up on the floor and into the bellies of two delighted dachshunds, who belong to the hosting grandma. If we were wanting a kid face planting into her cake with glee, we were disappointed. Helene seems to prefer to reserve her massive mess making for her diaper, or any room of the house she can strew toys through.

It just doesn't seem possible that she is that old already. Wasn't it just last week that we took Mommy to the hospital to have that child?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Honoring Product Relocation Specialist

I am not sure if there is a day honoring the people in the title of this blog, so I am making it a personal declaration to thank these men and women. Of course I have a husband who is one of these dedicated workers.

What is a Product Relocation Specialist? Well let's see if I can help you figure it out. They work horrible hours, spending days or weeks away from home and their families. For most their home away from home is the space of many of our bathrooms, and some PRS share that space with another. These spaces have no indoor plumbing either, so PRS folks must use public style venues for personal hygiene and toiletry needs. They have to be vigilant and careful while working as what they do can directly affect the safety of others.

The job is a necessary one for our economy as the lowly PRS or over the road trucker is responsible for a major percentage of goods, components and products being transported from one location to another. The turnover rate in this field tends to be quite high, as it is a demanding job, and the pay doesn't always reflect the work these guys do.

Safety regulations in the industry have been tightened to the delight of most truckers. They know quite well that there are people driving 75,000 pound boxes on wheels that have no business behind the wheel, and champion getting and keeping these people off the road. They know that they are under major scrutinty if a worse case scenario and are involved in an accident. They want high standards in their industry knowing that well trained people and people who strive for excellence make the roads and highways safer for everyone. What a lot of people do not know is that in over 75% of truck related accidents that also involve other vehicles, the truck driver is found to be not at fault. It is usually a careless auto driver that set up the chain of events causing the wreck.

Truckers often work with law enforcement to help keep the roads safer. They have helped people with disable automobiles, have helped control traffic so that police can catch a criminal on the run, have been on the scene helping with an accident, and have reported traffic situations, suspicious or illegal activities or motorist problems to police.

So the next time you go to the store, remember who helped put that product you are buying into your hands.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I blame all typos on the following reason

My granddaughter who will be a year old next week, has a favorite toy. My computer. She has been scolded more then once for turning it off. When she disappears for a minute we know just where to find her, in my room, at the desk, trying to bang the keyboard to pieces. She now also knows that the mouse is supposed to be moved around too.

She knows that she can see pictures of animals on the monitor screen, and will ask to see "diddy" (kitty) pictures. She also likes when I play music on the computer.

But try to get any work done, like write my column, do another writing project, check my email or just catch a few minutes of gaming time with her around and knowing I'm at my desk? Forget it. I can't even ignore the computer and try to pay a bill without her trying to come in and see what Nana is doing. And then of course she wants to "help" by holding down a key, hitting any key at random, or trying to commandeer the mouse.

At least she does the same thing to everyone else sitting in front of their computers as well.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Please! NOT YET!!

I went into one of those big box stores the other day, to get my tires rotated and pick up few thing while the work was being done. Sadly I ended up having to replace two tires, because they were completely shot. I wasn't happy, but we knew they were needing replacing before too long anyway.

What caught my attention was the Muzak playing in the background. It was only November 3, and I heard....Christmas Music!! Heck the Halloween candy has barely gone on clearance and they are already playing Odes to Jolly St. Nick!!

I know stores put on holiday music WAY too early in hopes of putting shoppers in a holiday shopping mood. But what about us poor saps who are stuck working in a retail oriented work place? By Christmas Eve, some of us, mainly me, want to hurt someone if I have to hear just one more rendition of Santa Baby, played for the 6 time in a 8 hour period.

Radio stations for some reason start Christmas music way too early too. I have yet to figure out the reasoning for that. I just hate it. To me it spoils the whole season. I like Christmas music, but hearing it constantly for 8 weeks? Wait till after Thanksgiving PLEASE!!

Looks like I will be digging out my old CD collection for my commutes to work very soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I had a feeling

Have you ever had a premonition that came true? Well on occasion that happens to me, like today. Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up thinking that my 2 o'clock was going to be showing up at one. So instead of sleeping I am wondering if I had indeed told her to show up at 2 instead of one. Since I only work about 1 Sunday every six weeks or so, and I usually come in at one, I thought that maybe I had told her my usual time instead of this altered time in.

Of course I couldn't call the lady because I didn't have her phone number, it was at work, and the shop didn't open until noon. AND I couldn't call at noon, because I am at church still and the service is running way long. As soon as I got back to my car, I call work, busy. I call again, still busy. By this time I am driving in the general direction of the mall, and on the third try I get through. I ask for the lady's number to see if I can head her off realizing that I probably won't catch her at home. Sure enough as I was on the phone with a co-worker, in my client walks. So much for lunch, as I was hip deep in perms all afternoon, besides having to come in an hour early.

I hate those types of premonitions. Why don' I get the ones that don't turn out to be inconveniences but instead result in something fun? I cant complain too much though, I ended up having a positive day paycheck wise. Now if I can catch up on the sleep I missed worrying about what inevitably happened.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Keep it, no give it away, no keep it.

Today I helped my daughter go through all her daughter's baby clothes and do a sort. We had four piles, the toss, the give to one of my friends who is expecting, the give to charity and the keep. If Ashley had had it her way, she would have kept every little Onesie, sleeper and cute little outfit the baby had ever worn. However she knew that the amount of outgrown clothing would only continue to grow if she didn't do something. Besides she was running out of closet and storage room. She still had a forlorn look on her face when the task was done. Those little outfits represent some wonderful memories, however we had loads of pictures too. They store much more easily.

I am proud of her as she managed to keep a few special little outfits, like the one she wore home from the hospital, and my friend has some really sweet little things for her new baby. It was nice to revisit those favorite outfits and remark on how tiny they were. Helene enjoyed playing with the hangers and storage boxes as we went through her former wardrobe. We both were amazed at how much that little munchkin has grown in the past year.

Now if only we could have that kind of success with all those unmatched socks languishing in my laundry basket.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where's my heating pad?

Monday morning I woke up with a twinge in my lower back that by the end of the day was definitely more pronounced. I have a bad back, moderate scoliosis in my lower back, and my neck with a less then healthy disk in my neck. So I have things go south on occasion, it had just been awhile. I suspect that as I had taken a few days off from work that maybe picking up a 26.7 pound bundle of squirm one time to many may have set things off, so I go to the chiropractor for an adjustment and a bit of physical therapy on my sore muscles. I left feeling much better with orders to take it easy, come back in a week, and apply heat.

We took the 26.7 pound bundle of squirm with us so that we could go vote early. Yes while on vacation, I am babysitting my granddaughter. We figured we'd be in an out in about 20 minutes. WRONG!! Try an hour and a half! The baby was very good, entertaining us and the other people standing in line. Bill and I passed her back and forth and towards the end, my back was reminding me that I was undoing all that therapeutic work I'd had done. I found a chair to wait out my turn. I went to bed with a heating pad again.

This morning, I'm still stiff and am going back to work. Hopefully I'll have a light day, as my back isn't better. Of course it usually takes several days and at least two adjustments for recovery to be had. Anyone got a slightly used back in good condition they want to sell? I'd like to trade this one in right now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

touring for ghosts

Last night I went with some friends and took the Spartanburg Ghost Tour. The tour is taken while riding a open air trolley through several areas of our fair city. It is an evening event that even this paranormal skeptic would highly recommend.

Why would someone who is quite uncertain about ghosts and all that is about them go on such a tour? First because I was invited by friends, and second because, even if you don't see a single thing that may confirm the existance of the otherworldly, you will get an entertaining history lesson about some of the places in Spartanburg.

For example, The Old Main Building at Wofford College was used as a military hospital by the confederate army. Another was the site of a former flour mill, of which only a small portion of the building remains, where a multiple murder took place committed by a disgruntled former employee.

Several of the older buildings in the downtown district have historical stories attached as most have had changed in ownership and purpose. Where Wild WIngs now stands used to be a departments store, and Justin's Steakhouse used to be the location of a bank. Both locations had stories attached where a tragedy took place.

All of the locations we visited, including the two cemetaries had a story attached about people seeing, feeling or hearing something unexplained. To my knowledge the only thing we felt was interested in the tour and chilly, as the temperatures were probably in the upper 40's, and we were in an open air moving vehicle.

Our tour guides were knowledgable and quite funny. Two of the passengers, one of which was part of my group, got to be the spokes people of the tours. Well, rather our guide asked them questions to see if they were paying attention, then teased them mercilessly. My friend Chelsea may never speak to us again, as we joined right in with the ribbing.

When I got my half-frozen hieny back to my car I was quite surprised that two hours had passed. I enjoyed the tour so much I never realized that we were taking so long to see all the sights. I'll have to try the tour again, or maybe do the walking tour.

One thing I did enjoy is that the guides, who are paranormal experts didn't try to find a ghost under every rock and bush. They discussed some local legends and reports of what people had witnessed as well as some experiences they themselves had witnessed. They also were not afraid of discussing stories that had proven to not be accurate. Their website lists at least one haunting legend that, although a fascinating story and linked to actual people and events, was proven to be unsubstantiated. I found that refreshing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rain,Thai food, and new friends

Tonight I braved the weather and went to a local restaurant downtown. If anyone who doesn't live in Spartanburg SC want a nice quiet place to have a good meal downtown while visiting the area, then I highly recommend the Monsoon Noodle house. If you do live here and haven't been yet, don't wait as long as I did to try this great little eatery. I had a Thai dish with some hot jasmine tea to drink, and it was a perfect meal for a rainy October evening. The setting was clean and spacious, the service was prompt and the food presentation was attractive. In fact I commented on how pretty my food looked when it arrived.

Why did I go out tonight? Two reasons. I was long overdue a self induced treat. I got to have a meal, with nary a family member in sight, at some place I'd never tried before. It's been a long time since I've done that. I do need to that more often. I found it quite relaxing.

Second was a meet up with other folks who do what I do here in my fair city. Blog. We were a small yet eclectic group. Our topic of conversation ranged from politics, family, to photography, to knitting, to books, to business. One thing was obvious, at least to me. We all seemed to care about one thing in common, making this place we call home better then how we find it now. This is a great place we live, but as in many things it can be better. It was great to share ideas and stories about that very thing.

I look forward to another opportunity to meet with more Spartanburg residents in such a venue, and to take myself out for an evening at a new place to eat. There apparently are some great ones downtown.

The List

I've got a list of all the things I need to get done around here. This list does not include the usual everyday type of chores, that I struggle to finish and fail at. No this list is in addition to the normal list that includes laundry, cleaning the bathroom and determining what is that funky smell the kids are complaining about in the fridge. This list is stuff like, Take things to Goodwill, mail a package, find the number for the heating and air guy, make time to get my tires rotated, do six weeks of script editing for our church's children's drama. Just stuff that takes time. I'd also like to find time to get back on my exercise bike, as I have fallen completely off the "get into shape" wagon, oh, and come up with something to write about for my column.

And yet what am I doing right now? Drinking cooling coffee while I wait for my breakfast to cook (nuked cheese and sausage grits...yum) and blogging, while I put on my make-up. All that accomplishes is proving that I can multi-task while sitting on my heiny.

Just don't take my complaining to seriously. I'd far rather have lots to do then little. I get bored quite easily, so having things lined up to accomplish helps stave off that "oh no, nothing to do, what do I do now" feeling. Instead I prefer the "oh no, I got so much to do, what do I do now?" feeling. Yes, I know I am a bit odd.

So, off I go. I think I'll at least move the bag of charitable stuff from my bedroom to the trunk of my car this morning. It will join the rest of stuff that is already there. Maybe, I'll manage to finally get my trunk emptied this week, maybe.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

das gut, O'leary, merci, gov'ner!

My church does a wonderful children's service during the school year. It has lively music, silly drama, and object lessons. This will be my third season being involved with this little venture. I admit it is a lot of fun, and I have a great group of people I get to work with. Yes, I am a drama nerd.

I am currently learning a script for an upcoming service and I am in big trouble with this. You see, my character has a monologue. Memorization is work for me, as I promptly forget all my lines once the task is done. However this script has an added difficulty level. Within the space of about three minutes, my character will be speaking in four distinct yet different accents, German, Irish, French, and Cockney. Sigh. I do one accent well, Southeastern American, or Southern. I've tried out my "accents" out on my kids. They laugh and scoff. The older one then reads the same lines with proper accenting in place.

I've tried to play u-tube videos of movie clips, no help so far. I've gone to websites that give tips on how to speak with a certain accent. I still struggle. It doesn't help that Irish and Cockney have some strong similarities. French? Forget it. The best I can do with German is switch W for V. It will all likely sound like some poor southern woman trying to speak with non southern accent and failing.

My best hope is to learn the lines and just mangle through the accents as best as I can. Thank goodness these scripts lean heavily on humor to help get the point across. Comedy I can do. I wonder if I can work a prat fall into my routine?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just a piece of tile..ssssss

My daughter has had to borrow my car this week, as hers is having transmission issues. Somehow my right rear tire, managed to pick up with what we thought might be a piece of tile. That little triangle of porcelain, or whatever it is, that made a nice hole in the tire. In fact when Ashley got out of the car, she could hear a distinctive hissing sound as air escaped from tire's new orifice. Sigh, that meant that I was either going to hope my luck improved and I could get the tire repaired, or dig into my wallet and buy new tires.

Going on the advice of my husband and hoping not to have to buy a new tire, I went to Dixie Tire on Asheville Highway here in Spartanburg. One of the things you notice right away is a big jar sitting on the counter. In that jar is a collection of things these guys had taken out of tires. The items ranged from the expected screws and nails to a sizable piece of rebarb and at least two deer antlers. My little chunk of tile, although an inch long looked puny in comparison.

I was pointed to the coffee and the waiting room. My granddaughter, who I had to bring along, decided that the place was rather boring and promptly settled down for a nap. Within 30 minutes, my tire was fixed, and back on my car. The price for the repair was quite reasonable, and I went back home a happy camper.

I just hope it goes as easy for my daughter's Neon. We'll find out soon, but I'm betting that we won't get off near as easy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'll have some pollen please, with a side order of ragweed

As nice as summer is, I am very glad that fall is in the air. Oh, wait, Fall is my favorite season. Spring falls into second place. Summer is the worst! I just don't like being hot and sweaty. Getting a tan is a waste of time for me too. I don't tan, I just turn into a nice shade of fuchsia that fades into my normal bleached whale hue. Winter would be great if it didn't get cold. I like shivering about as much as I like being hot and sweaty. So I pick Fall as my favorite season

I love the crispness in the air you feel with fall. I love the leaves as they change colors. Fall comes just in the nick of time for me fashion wise, as by the time it gets here, I'm utterly sick of my summer clothes. However Fall brings with it something that that doesn't agree with me at all. Ragweed, and all those other lovely pollinating weeds, plus the mold and mildew that falling and decaying leaves are sure to breed. Of course I'm allergic, very much so. SO much in fact that I get shots and take two prescription medications to help alleviate the symptoms. However even all that medical help is not quite enough at times. Like now when my sinuses are alternating between being completely blocked up and running like a raging river.

Thankfully such episodes as I am experiencing now don't last all that long, but boy can it make me grumpy. So all who know me and I'm not my usual perky self, just be patient with me and remember that ragweed has exceeded its maximum capacity in my head. Just point me to a Claritan and a cup of coffee and I should be much nicer tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And then I saw her face

I have living with me a considerable source of distraction. She's small, can't walk without holding onto something and only has two teeth. I am of course describing my 10 month old granddaughter. While her mommy and daddy plan a wedding, take classes at USC-Upstate and hold down part time jobs, little Helene' Grace, often finds herself left home with me, her Nana, as Nana attempts to get something, anything done around the house.

Now while I'm at work, I am able to get my clients taken care of, keep my station organized, and do other duties required of my job, and go back home, satisfied that I've managed a day of accomplishment.

My granddaughter, to her credit is a good baby. She has a sunny disposition, entertains herself easily, and usually only cries when she's sleepy. Then she fights the urge for a nap with every fiber of her little chubby being. However she's a busy little girl. Here is a list of all she can accomplish in the space of about 20 minutes.

1. Pull all the books off her bookshelf...again. (1.5 minutes)
2. strew all her toys with pauses for playing with them. (5 minutes)
3. Chase a cat, catch the kitten who is her best friend and partner in crime. (2-3 minutes)
4. Play with her musical toys, dance to the music (five minutes)
5. Crawl around seeing what else she can discover, stopping to examine before moving on. (five minutes)
6. Find any small object left on the floor, give it a taste test. (2 minutes)

It is no small wonder, that when she is in my care, I get little done other then maybe some laundry and picking up what she has left in her wake. For example, she once managed to open up a box of wipes and pull out 34 of them (of course we counted!) in the space of 1.5 minutes. We had left the box on the floor, after a quick, "grab and change, release" diapering job.

Of course one look at that happy little face, so proud of her accomplishment easily prevented her mommy or I from scolding her. We were too busy laughing at her as she gleefully waved two of her purloined wipes.

Laundry time is play time for her. To her its a game. We usually fold clothes while sitting on the couch, making little sorted piles. Her mission is to tear down those piles. The last time she did this, her persistence reached a new high. I repeatedly told her "no" She ignored me. I moved the piles, she reached for them even harder, I lightly smacked her hand and pulled it away from the pile, again telling her no. Not dissuaded, she tried again, and this time I smacked her little well padded bottom, repeating the word NO. Then I saw her face. There wasn't a single tear, but it was as if she was saying, "I'm sorry Nana, I'll be good now." I'm such a sucker for such adorable remorseful, so I gave her a big hug and a kiss.

She loves our cell phones and immediately goes into pose mode, whenever we point it in her direction. She knows she's getting her picture taken, the little ham. We try to get her to talk to Daddy or Pappy but she just grins for all she's worth.

Her fascination with electronics is not limited to cell phones. TV interests her only when music is playing, or like just know when she heard someone squeal on an advertisement and she squealed back an echo. Her other big fascination is with our computers. Why? Because they have buttons just asking for little fingers to push. More then once she hit the bright blue button on my tower, sending my system into shut down mode. The last time she did that, I was in the middle of something, so I gave her a rather sharp "NO!" Then I saw her face, eyes big, little lip stuck out, knowing full well that she had done something Nana didn't like. So I scooped her up and gave her a big hug. Yes, I know. You don't have to remind me.

This week, my Nana duties have been upgraded as her Mommy had a health issue that required surgery. Ashley is in recovery mode and is unable to care for her daughter nearly as much as she would like. Daddy's school and work duties limit how much he can help, although he has been here as much as possible. The rest of the family is helping as much as they can, but the lion's share of baby duty has been falling to me.

Last night I was tired, wanting to go to bed early. I have kept forgetting how much energy caring for little ones can be, and was ready for some baby free time. So I was sitting in the rocker contemplating how I could rope my younger daughter into helping her look after the baby for a while so I could at least put on pajamas and brush my teeth. Then Helene came over, pulled herself up, and then I saw her face.

I knew my bedtime routine would just have to wait, I had more important things to do, like play with that little cutie a bit more.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Got gas?

So it's been a busy week, if one watches the news. Naturally the recent storms have made headlines. My own family watched Ike's passing with great interest. First because my oldest lives near downtown Houston, and second because he works for one of the local stations. We got to view local coverage from the online feed. We also were quite surprised by the effect this storm had on the gas markets.

It didn't really make much sense to me when I learned that so many gas stations were not only raising the prices, but were selling out of fuel. While I understand the need to temporarily shut down oil platforms, refineries and pipelines in the face of some really bad weather, to see a major panic attack set in because of it took me by complete surprise. Who started this unnecessary and expensive panic? Who knows, but once started, even the media who kept reporting about fuel price risings and shortages at the pump, possibly fueling the panic,(no pun intended) couldn't get people to listen to the sound advice of "don't panic this is temporary and a wise precaution. Things will be up and running in a few days".

Thankfully any damage to our fuel infrastructure in the Houston area was minimal at best, and that entity will be back in full swing, likely as soon as the power is all back on. Apparently the panic was merely that, panic brought on by people already nervous about the economy of our energy infrastructure.

The arguments from capital hill, and the campaign trails don't do much to help people feel any better about the future of our energy sources. There is a lot of arguments about whether or not to drill in Alaska and offshore, there are debates about the greenhouse effect, there are some tax incentives for buying energy efficient appliances or hybrid cars, and there are some rumblings about alternative energy down the road, all while the urging of further taxing oil companies. I see from those sources a lot of talk, and very little positive action.

While I am not a completely avid environmentalist I do firmly believe that we need sound sensible solutions for conservation and energy usage, as well as to find cleaner and renewable sources of energy. We already recycle here at our home, burn those high efficiency light bulbs, use energy star rated appliances and electronics, keep our thermostats at warmer, or cooler settings depending on the season, and keep our vehicles in optimal condition so they use gas more effeicently. The only reason we haven't jumped onto the hybrid car bandwagon is the cost. I just don't see how a $400 a month car payment is going to offset the price I pay at the pump. Our cars are older but paid for. Going into debt to save a few dollars at the gas pump to me makes no financial sense.

Which is why a television ad intrigued me. I'm sure some of you have seen the ads that T. Boone Pickens has been airing lately. I got curious and went to the website and immediately saw that here was someone who had decided not to wait on the government to fix things, and was instead taking positive steps to do so himself. It's suggesting among other things a shift to wind power to help free up natural gas for vehicles and other energy uses. It does urge more oil drilling but recognizes that as a short term solution. The site is non-partisian and doesn't support any political candidate. It instead is a grassroots effort for change in the energy sector.The website is a good source of information, contains a petition we can send to congress to urge them to take actual positive action, web groups, forums, and news. Yes, I signed right up.

While there is news in our area about using old landfills to turn methane to electricity, and negotiations for a new nuclear plant there is much we as individuals can do. If a new nuclear plant is built, and that is a big if, seeing how the last plant went online about 20 years ago, construction will take quite awhile. And to me it is merely a short term answer. They still haven't solved the waste problem which needs to be done. While smart cars and hybrids are flying off the car lots that sell them, they don't have a large impact in our local economy or energy infrastructure. While we have a decent mass transit system in Spartanburg, it is still underused, and doesn't affect most of us who live outside the city limits. We of this beautiful are I now call home need to step up to the plate and do more.

Does Mr. Boone have THE solution? Well I think that he is offering at least a couple of them, and I do agree that it is us, the people of this country that can make things happen. I also agree that it is time to remind our congress men and women that they are to be representing our interests, not the other way around.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

As if my house wasn't enough of a disaster area

For those of you who don't know, I am a recent addition to Spartanburg SC. When I lived in the mountains of Western North Carolina, we lived in an old farm house built by my husband's grandfather. The place had a lot of character. It also lacked a single wall, floor or ceiling that was level. The windows were old and drafty, and the kitchen, although of a nice size did not have a space for the fridge. It was in the dining room. The square footage was also pretty small and we had one tiny bathroom. With five people, that bathroom was the most popular room in the house in the morning.

When we moved here, our new house was about 300 square feet bigger. Its doesn't seem like much, but for us it was a huge difference, or rather it was at the time.

We moved four people and two cats to our new house, as our oldest child had already finished college and was on his own. We relished in our new space, discovering we had space for all our things with a bit of room to spare. It's been nearly three years since we moved here, and I am wondering what happened to all my space. Now in all fairness I am hardly Mrs. Neat Freak, and my daughters, especially the youngest could win awards in livable clutter. Our house has a lived in look, very actively lived in.

I suspect two factors. The first is my granddaughter who came into the world 10 months ago. She's the most adorable baby in the world,(me? prejudiced? NEVER!) and is the light of my husband's and my life. But she has gotten to the age where she is crawling destruction. If she isn't pulling things off a shelf, she's dragging a toy along in her wake. I now call my living room Toys R Us.

It is amazing the space required for a crib, a high chair, a toy bin. Oh wait, we put dvd's in the toy bin as the baby kept pulling them off the entertainment center. There is a huge stuffed dog, a musical gadget that she can eventually ride, and various and sundry kid friendly toys. They are in their place for the first ten minutes after you put them away. Then things are right back where they belong, strewn all over the floor, just as my granddaughter prefers it.

Then there is the laundry. I thought two teenaged girls produced massive amounts of dirty laundry. I had forgotten how much a baby could produce. Even though we all share laundry duty, we seem to always have at least one load in both machines. And it doesn't take long to have overflowing hampers again, with tiny outfits in every single one.

The other factor to the growing chaos that is my home is the new kitten. Yes now we are a house of three cats, and the litter box may not survive. The kitten is a rescue and of course who could resist 1/2 pound of inky feline cuteness? The baby adores the kitten and the kitten adores the baby, when it isn't trying to outdo her in the game of "make a mess." One of my cats, Luna-tic, aka Jabba the Kitty, usually stays out of the way of all this living activity. Of course I think that cat was actually a slug in a former life, she's so lazy. Chernobyll, feline number 2, loves the new kitty playmate and has stepped up to the plate to keep up with the youngsters. Yes I named a cat after a nuclear disaster sight. Remember the a fore mentioned litter box? That cat is what sent it on the road to its ever pungent demise. Of course the new kitty had to have unique name just like this housemate. so Kit-astropheis what we dubbed him.

As Kit and the baby follow each other around, I know that cleaning up after them is only going to be caught up while they are sleeping, that is if we can find the energy with all of us working, some of us in school, Of course it would help if we stopped playing with our most recent additions and taking pictures of that durn cuteness long enough to do something useful, like clean.

Of course soon, my daughters will be moving out having finished college and with the older will go the granddaughter and at least one cat. I will then sometimes long for the days of barely contained chaos. Or will I?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Apparently someone out there likes me!!

Someone in my area has decided to take the time to search out other people who blog in my city. They read a recent entry I had written, liked it and after asking permission, posted an excerpt on the local blogger site.

Spartanburg bloggers are an eclectic group, but that isn't surprising as most of us who like to write are eclectic in our tastes, our writing styles, our subject matter and our viewpoints. The name of the site featuring us bloggers from Spartanburg is which is tied in to a local online paper called the Spartanburg Spark. (yay, a new possible place for me to blather on about)

Should be interesting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

That whole election thing

For what seems like the past two years this country has been considering who to choose for the next president of the United States. I saw my first roadside sign featuring a potential candidate long before most people had decided to even to run for the office.(No, they did'nt make the final cut) I knew then that it would be a long, long, LONG campaign. I also knew, considering the political temperament over the past few years that things would likely get ugly.

And that is what I just don't understand. Why are people so vicious in their attacks on the current president, as well as the potential presidential candidates? While I don't agree with everything our current president has done, I still believe he deserves our respect. He was elected twice, as was his predecessor, who I had far greater issues with. It surprised me that this former president could seem to do no wrong, despite having scandal, after investigation, after legal proceedings after impeachment. At times his private life made public would make any tabloid editor drool with happy anticipation. Yet despite my personal dislike for all of that, I still believe that he deserved the respect for the office he held. During Mr. Clinton's tenure some positive things were done that he deserves credit for, he did and still does have an amazing gift for public speaking, and is a natural diplomat. Of course he made as well as all who have gone before him some very poor decisions.

Why in the race for the "big seat" is everyone so polarized? If some say that they are for one candidate, or express, as I have admiration for something a candidate has said, even though they are not my voting choice, do some immediately decide that I am either a complete political idiot, or someone out of touch with reality. Therefore I tend to avoid most politically minded conversations for the potential argument that could ensue.

The current president has made both good and some very bad decisions, yet he has received none of the respect that usually goes with the office. While he's not the most eloquent of speakers, but he sure can handle a press conference. In comparison to his immediate predecessor, the sitting president's private life is rather boring. He sometimes makes decisions that seem short-sighted and often goes against his advisers when making decisions. Sometimes he's proven wrong in those choices, but he is also often right. Somehow the right decisions get no attention from his critics, only the wrong ones. Mr. Bush has had to make unpopular decisions and quite difficult ones as some of the situations faced were unprecedented. Of course every president since Washington has found themselves thus, and so will whomever we elect in November.

We can "If I was president, I'd do this" all day long, but for what end? We elected them to make those hard decisions so we don't have to. And of course when making hard decisions, one is likely to upset someone along the way. that is why they are called H-A-R-D decisions, because of the potential, often unknown consequences.

One would hope that people would stop listening to the nastiness, the half truths, the innuendos, the slanted polling, the talking heads in the media and simply look at each candidate and the merits of what they hope to bring to the table. By looking at their views on important issues, their voting record, if they have held legislative office, what they have written, business decisions they have made, and lastly and least importantly personal lifestyle choices.

Maybe if we didn't have a plethora of pundits on every media station trying to tell us how to think the decision of choosing the president would be easier. Of course it would be nice if Congress would enact a law limiting all the campaign hullabaloo that gets worse and worse every year,. But then I remember that they take regular dips into that murky campaigning pool themselves. And I guess that some journalism graduates are thankful for the job that reporting on the circus that is politics allows. I just wish this circus would at least have a decent high wire act.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's a bird! It's a plane! Oh! it's just rain.

Yes rain, something we have seen very little of over the past couple of years. We in the deep south have been under what the experts call a drought. That doesn't mean that we have been completely rain free, but instead have had brief forays of raindrops now and then, usually not at my house.

On the plus side the lawn only needs mowed ever couple of weeks or so. On the down side, what few flowers I planted this year are either already dead or wish they were.

Currently the remnants of Fay, a former tropical storm with the moving speed of an ancient tortoise, is making her way through my area. We have had on and off rain since yesterday evening, some of it a bit on the heavy side. Tornadoes have made brief appearances south of us, but thankfully leaving little damage. We won't be getting the flooding that Florida received, thank goodness, but there will be little flooding in a few areas. Especially as our ground is so unused to being wet.

I had to run an errand this evening after dark in a downpour. I was very thankful that most of the other motorists on the road were going fairly slowly as visibility was far less then ideal.

It is a grand thing to hear something I've not heard much of lately, the pitter-patter of raindrops outside my window.

Thus ends Sylvie's personal weather forcast.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Water Glasses and Other Bouncable Items

I have two cats Luna-tic aka Jabba the Kitty, and Chernobyll aka dammitcat. They are ordinary cats, in the fact that they can render a litter box into a toxic waste dump in three days max, they are very picky in their choice of kibbles, and in Chernobyll's case breakfast MUST include a spoonful of gooshy food. They sleep in all the best places, the couch, the love seat, your shirt that you had just set on the bed to wear for the day. And they shed, well at least Luna-tic does. Just wear black and come to my house for an hour. You will be wearing some of her snow white hair on your black clothes within five minutes of entering my house.

Not long after Luna-tic got old enough, she discovered the perfect way to people up. For my older daughter it was using an ear as a pacifier. The cat is now four years old and still tries to sneak in an ear fix on Ashley now and then. The younger daughter, keeps her door firmly closed against all kitty intruders when she sleeps. Smart girl. For me, ear sucking wasn't going to work, because I wasn't going to let that cat anywhere near my earlobes. So being the determined feline that she was, she figured out a way to get me out of bed and into the kitchen to fix her breakfast without fail. She bats my glasses around aiming to knock them off the nightstand. When Chernobyll came into our lives, Luna-tic taught Nobyll that nice little trick. One or both cats will be in my room every morning, making sure they hear the "alarm" they have set off. I haven't set a real alarm clock in years, unless I have to get up at some ungodly middle of the night hour. That is quite rare however.

Chernobyll liked the wake up Meowmie game so much that she decided to take it further. Any object is fair game to what I have dubbed "bounce". She'll knock off anything off my nightstand, my desk or the coffee table. She once knocked off a baker's lamp off my overhead shelf onto my bed, missing me by inches. Her favorite target however is water glasses. The fuller they are the better she likes it. She never targets glasses when people are in the room. She considers them fair game however, if someone makes the mistake of leaving it on the coffee table for awhile. I try to make sure that all glasses are in the kitchen, preferably in the dishwasher before bed, but every now and then one will escape my notice. Mainly because my college aged kids go to bed after I do. When that happens, it is almost certain that Chernobyll will go glass tipping.

Of course the glass will still have some liquid in it. Of course I am a light sleeper and hear the sound of glass making that sound it makes when it merely tips over onto the coffee table surface or manages to hit the floor. Of course I also hear the splash of liquid. And then I yell Chernobyll's nickname and get up to clean up the mess she's left once again.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Ok I just did mention that I need to "de-slugify" my body, especially as it is increasingly Post-op. I have discovered a new weight-lifting method. Well that isn't exactly true, it is one I used to do quite regularly years ago. This method takes no special equipment, no new expensive wardrobe, just a sense of humor and a baby.

Yes a baby, preferably six month old or older. Why that age? Because of the weight! In my granddaughter's case, seven months old of age means 22 pounds and counting of amazing, yet quite hefty cuteness. All you need to do is lift her quickly over your head as many times as your arms hold out. Believe me you'll tire of the game long before she will. Just when your arms fell like they are about to fall off your shoulders from sheer exhaustion, you can then put the baby on your knee for your cool down.

That cool down is a simple exercise. Just bounce your knees up and down with the baby sitting on them. Do this for at least one minute intervals. Hold the baby at least by the waist as they tend to be wobbly or discover something worth attempting to lunge off your lap after.

When your calves are now jiggly masses, you can stop your exercise routine for the day. All that is left is some stretching. You can accomplish that by picking up the toys she has strewn all over your living room. How such a small person can make a mess covering such a wide area is a special skill quickly mastered by children.

Now, I have another excuse to avoid that exercise bike for a day.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

As the flab turns

Ok, it is officially 65 days since my surgery. I am doing much better physically and the absence of my uterus and it's squatters is not missed at all. My energy levels are slowly returning to normal, and I just get "pulls" or twinges when I move contrary to my healing tissues.

However I am still a slug. I look like one, and I feel like one. Loose fitting clothes is my preferred wardrobe choice. I wore jeans today and felt most uncomfortable. Ok, they were 7 years old and likely not for my body type anyway, but did it help me feel better? NO!

I need to get my butt on my exercise bike daily, and when August starts, begin to de-slug my belly. Oh heck, I need a drill sargeant, dragging me out of bed, yelling at me when I order french fries or head towards the candy machine at work, and forcing me to be a work-out queen.

Anyone interested in the job? The pay sucks, but I'm getting desperate, I can't get motivated.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

I said I'd be old when this happened.

Yes, it's true, I did say this.

When my oldest child graduated from high school, I was asked, "Do you feel old now?" To which, my snappy come-back jumped into gear and replied. "No. But when my youngest graduates, then I will feel old." Well, here it is, seven years later, and in a few days that youngest child will be all dressed up in a bright blue cap and gown and receiving her high school diploma. So I ask myself now. Do I feel old?

Actually I don't. I have discovered that old is in the eye of the individual. I have met youthful 80 year olds and ancient 20 year olds. To me age is less in the condition of our bodies, and more in the way we view ourselves as a person. I don 't need or want botox, liposuction, or breast augmentation to make me feel young. I just had surgery for authentic medical reasons thank you very much, undergoing more just to "make my self all purtified" is just more pain then I want to undergo. I do color my hair, but leave a rather large white streak right in front. The color helps hide my pre-mature grey, and the white streak left behind is left for two reasons. First, it is distinctive, and second, covering it up, means I have to do so every three weeks, my hair grows that fast. I'm too lazy to do it that often. I could leave off the color, but I'm a hairdresser by trade, so I do color it. It's been a nice variety of shades and hues. In fact my hair hasn't been its natural color in a very long time. Yep, I admit it, my hair is addicted to pigment.

My body just is what allows me to walk around this old earth. So I have stretch marks and a pillow belly. Big deal. I still have a sense of humor, the ability to appreciate and enjoy life, the knowledge that my body works quite well for what I've put it through, and enough creative juices a flowing to keep my brain from getting bored. Now if I could only keep those pesky chin whiskers from cropping up.

So when will I feel old? Ask me again when my first, and currently only grandchild graduates high school, in 18 years.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Oh Energy Where Art Thou?

I know I was warned that one of the slowest things to recover following my surgery would be my stamina, but I honestly didn't quite believe it would be that long, or that much energy. Sure the first few days was to be expected, I was still on pain medication most of the time, and moving around was slow, very slow.

The second week was better as I could get up and around a bit more and even fold some laundry. By Saturday I had braved a short car trip to pick up my husband, and I put all other shoppers in danger as I test drove those little motorized carts at the grocery store.

Just a note for future reference. Using those carts at a Super Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon is NOT a good idea.

On Monday my doc gave me the green light to return to work on June 3, and to slowly, (and he emphasised slowly) increase my activity level and what I could pick up. It had been reduced to five pounds or less. Of course I immediately began to test my limits. The next day I did two loads of laundry and cleaned my bathroom. Yeah, I spent most of the next day reclining on various reclining pieces of furniture. Thursday I went to Sears for laundry bags. They did not have those little motorized carts. By the time I had found the bags, purchased the bags, gone to the bathroom (hey I had bladder surgery too, it doesn't like to wait) and walked back to my car I was beat. THEN I went to meet some co-workers for lunch. I spent most of the next day, being generally inactive.

Today I had a wedding party, bride and mom, over to the house so I could do their hair. Yeah I know it's too early to do that work, but I had promised her a year ago I would do it , and I try not to go back on my promises. It didn't take that long, they were thrilled, and I was soon flopped on my couch watching What Not to Wear reruns. Then I took my daughter and granddaughter with me to the grocery store. I needed a few things. My daughter soon realized her purpose for accompanying me. She was the pick up and carry-er. We discovered the little motorized cart for shoppers when we were checking out, drat. So back home to the couch I went, and she fixed dinner. Good daughter.

Thankfully I am generally improving though not as quickly as I would like. That is most likely a good thing as I want to be completely healed up. Even when I return to work in a few weeks, my boss insists on me starting out a few hours a day and working up to my full, burning my candle at both ends with a blow torch speed, over a couple of weeks. I just hope someone remembers to fill that blowtorch with propane for me. I'm fresh out.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Oh the horror of it all!

Note from author: This story was written several months ago. I just want to try to put my stories/etc into one location. They are harder to lose that way.

There is a place where few fear to tread, where unspeakable horrors reign unchecked, and where one must fight to return from alive. That place is of course a certain room in my house most used by my two teenaged daughters. I usually avoid the place, assuming they will keep the terrors inside from creeping out to the rest of the house, but I also know that their idea of cleaning is tossing wet dirty towels into the hamper.

So today I braved the confines of their bathroom, determined to conquer the place. Armed with cleaning supplies and a toilet brush I entered. I began my cleaning frenzy at the sink. First I had to uncover it. The vanity is small and every inch was covered with hair bows, bobby pins, toothbrushes, used q-tips, and styling tools. Once done, I sprayed the surfaces liberally. I started cleaning it, and I swear the thing changed color. The toilet was not littered with girly objects, just horrifically dirty. I stood back as far as I dared as I added cleanser into the bowl. I just didn't want anything reaching out and grabbing me before I was done.

That conquered, I faced the tub. First of all, I do wonder if my daughters understand that when a bottle of shampoo or shaving gel is empty, that it belongs in the trashcan. From the number of empties I threw away, I believe that this simple concept has not sunk in. I then peered into the tub. I saw a ring around the tub. No surprise. Younger daughter holds some kind of record as a marathon bubble bather. However upon closer inspection, I saw that that ring had a ring around it! It took large quantities of cleanser AND scrubbing to render the tub clean. I then quickly cleaned the floor, gathered up all the towels and the rug and beat a hasty retreat, shutting the door firmly behind me, lest the nefarious dirt monsters make a quick return.

Next time they can clean the bathroom. Oh wait, their avoiding that particular chore far too long is what prompted me to brave the task of doing it myself. Sigh. Well on to one more "bathroom". Its user wouldn't clean it herself if her life depended on it. She prefers me doing it. But then you can't expect a cat to clean out their own litter box, now can you? Let's see fresh litter, cleaning supplies to wash box out, gas mask I think I'm good to go.

Missing a piece or two

I can finally stop whining about my womanly body part woes. Why? because on April 30th, I had the cause of the problem removed. That's right Bubbette, Earlene and the place they were squatting are gone forever!! The doctor also fixed a small hernia and did some tacking back into place work on my bladder. I wonder if that means that I can jump up and down again and not need to run and pee? I will find out once I am allowed to jump up and down again. Lifting my own body weight off the ground exceeds my weight lifting limit at present.

It is now 10 days post-op and although I have a little pain and not too much physical energy, I can tell that recovery is going to be difficult in the next few weeks. I get bored really easy, and am not used to allowing others to do the things Im used to doing myself. Like laundry,cleaning, cooking etc. On the plus side, my daughters are getting hands on training for the time in the near future when they have their own places to manage.

I should be able to drive next week. I am starting to get a little cabin fever. However I know that in a few weeks, I will be looking back to this much needed time of leisure, and wishing I could be lazy again. OR maybe I will finally learn the benefits of not trying to burn my candle on both ends with a blow torch. Or will I?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The end of a punctuation mark

I don't know why we call menstruation periods, but we do. We also give them my favorite moniker Aunt Flo. We women experience this "visitor" about once a month. It is an event we anticipate with part delight and dread. Delight, if we don't want to be pregnant, dread when we realize the inconvenience and discomfort this time causes. As we age, we eventually see the last of Aunt Flo. However in some cases Aunt Flo turns on us.

I am having Aunt Flo evicted on April 30. Auntie Flo turned evil about six months ago, and decided to keep her visits longer, and come more frequently with intermittent "phone calls" (cramping, discomfort, spotting, etc) in between. The doc suggested THE PILL at first because, I am after all 45, and could be peri-menopausal. Maybe a bit of extra estrogen will regulate things out. Let's try this for a few months and we'll see how it works. Ok, I'm game, as it was becoming bothersome. Did those 60 buck a pack pills help one bit?? HECK NO!!

SO we did the vaginal sono-gram. For any of you who have had one of those, you know what I mean when I say, I thought the tool looked like something from one of those sex shops, even more so when they put the little condom like cover on it. It was hard to keep a straight face, OR get that image out of my brain...snicker..its still there. Of course the tool was anything less then pleasurable.

Right away, We discovered the squatters. I'll call them Earleane and Bubbatte. Bubbaette is 3 cm, think golf ball sized hail, and growing happily at the top of my uterus, while Eearlene is smaller, near my cervix and is mean tempered.

My last period, and the week I took the last of those over-priced bp pills was the worse I've ever had. And I had horrible ones as a teen, cramping, throwing up, passing out. I almost called the ER because I'd never gone through pads that quick. In fact Always's "have a happy period" pads failed me. I had to go to the store to buy the super-sized, super-thick overnight pads, cheap store brand.

Ok, I need to take a moment for a side rant. I sure would like to strangle the writer of the slogan "have a happy period". A happy period, HA!!!!! Now if he meant have fun using punctuation, I could understand, but not for a sales gimmick for a product we all wish we didn't have to use.

Back on track now...

True to form, I get a ten day break, then HELLO, back again and its even more "fun" this time.

On Wednesday, I can shout (through my drug induced haze) from the operating table "BEGONE! Ye Evil she-devil, and take your ugly cousins with you!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Joy of Motherhood

I actually wrote this a few years ago in honor of a sister in law who was pregnant with her first child. It has been published several times, online, including and in print. As Mother's Day is fast approaching, I thought I'd post it here as well.

Welcome to the sorority of motherhood. You've done the Lamaze, read all the books; you've gazed wistfully at those tiny pairs of favorite slacks hanging in your closet. You've prepared the baby's room and have the doctor's number on speed dial. You think you are all prepared for what lies ahead. But there are a few areas that no book or class can quite prepare you for. As a friend and sorority sister, I am going to clue you in to those little secrets all mothers learn.

Sleep: Pregnancy prepared you for short sleep times. The baby will need to eat or be changed or both every few hours. If you are nursing, you are it. Dad ain't got the equipment, and besides WWIII isn't going to wake him up at 3 am.

Multi-tasking: When the baby gets older, he will have a scary dream, and you will sleepily let him climb in with you. You will soon learn to sleep with an elbow in your ear, a foot in your rib, and a strangely warm but damp feeling creeping underneath you. This will last till grade school.

You have eyes, ears, a mouth and two arms and two legs. Plan on using all of these simultaneously and all with individual tasks. Here is an example.
You are on the phone with the pediatrician (holding the phone with your shoulder), while looking for your car keys, while listening for the dryer to buzz, while zipping the baby's jacket, while keeping him from eating your earring, while opening the door with one foot while keeping the cat outside with the other. You will get very, very good at this.

Romance: The number one reason there are baby-sitters. Even though romance caused the baby, the baby now has the ability to thwart romance at every turn. GO OUT! Or pray that baby will sleep just 15 more minutes.

Listening Skills: Not only will you be finely tuned to the sounds of your baby's voice, you will also be able to pick his cry out from a room full of crying wee-schoolers. WARNING! All small children seem to say "Mommy" almost exactly alike in certain conditions, like at a playground. Don't be surprised to go answer the Mommy call along with ten other moms. Don't worry, the child will sort out the correct Mommy.

Art Appreciation: Your refrigerator is your child's personal art gallery and bragging corner. This will last for at least 18 years. Decorate around it. Toddlers also delight in the wonders of nature. They are master explorers and discoverers. You must lose your fear and repulsion of frogs, bugs, worms, dirt, and undecipherable lumps. Enjoy their curiosity. Try sharing with them the excitement of their find before they eat it.

Education: Read up on everything you can or leave the TV on the Discovery Channel, 24/7. The "Why" stage is coming. You cannot out-why a 4 year old. Every answer prompts a new why question. "I don't know" prompts a why, "I'll tell you later" prompts a why, "Go ask your father" prompts a why question. That is why God invented kindergarten.

Housecleaning: It will be a long, long time before you see your house totally clean for longer then it takes for your child to take a nap. But that's ok, life is short. Dirt will always be here, children grow up. Leave the vacuum in the closet and go play tag with your child.

Entertainment: Telle-tubbies, Barney, Veggie Tales, Bob the Builder. You will get very, very familiar with these characters. You will get very, very familiar with the songs that go along with these characters. You will sing the theme songs to these programs in your sleep, or Barney's "I love you" will keep you up at night. Thankfully your child will eventually outgrow those shows and prefer programs like "Power Rangers" a slight improvement on the intelligence scale. Very slight.

Humor: Don't ever lose it. Children can drive you bananas sometimes, but right before they send you over the edge, they make you laugh at something they say or do. Enjoy every phase of their life. In a blink they are born, the next blink they are walking, the next playing t-ball, the next driving a car. You will laugh, cry, worry, yell, sing, punish, reward. You will have moments of great disappointment and of great pride. All are part of the great institution of motherhood. It's exhausting, never ever boring, but oh so worth it.

Welcome to the club sister.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A bump on the Corner

Yesterday my youngest was at the corner of a local street waiting on a light to change. It turned green, and her side of the traffic started to move. As she was making right hand turn she began that process only to get hit by someone who had run a red light. Thankfully she's just a bit sore from the seat belt, but her little 98 Plymouth Neon didn't fare so well. It lost its entire front bumper assembly. The other driver's insurance should pay the repairs or just total the car.

What gets me is that in the two years we have lived here, my family has been involved in FIVE accidents, none of them our fault. We've witnessed several others. I was nearly t-boned by an SUV who clearly ran another stoplight. He missed me by inches. When I lived in the NC mountains we had two fender benders over an 18 year period. Since we moved to a more metro area the quality of drivers we encounter has plummeted.

I suspect that people are too big in a hurry, too distracted, too rude, and don't remember how to drive defensively. Or they are wannabe crash-em-up derby racers and are practicing. As I am still relatively new to city driving, I am having a hard time adjusting to other people's driving methods. Of course I doubt they could as easily navigate the mountain tracts I used to have to. Narrow curved roads are a whole other beast to conquer, and conquer well.

I wonder if I can bubble wrap our cars? That may keep our cars out of our favorite body repair shop. They are very nice, but I would rather not have to be sending my crashed up vehicles to them.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Finally! an insurance rant

Ok, a little background. A few months ago I switched jobs. Because of the change I had to undergo a waiting period to become eligible for the new benefit package my new employer offers. That should have occurred at the beginning of last month. Naturally I hit a snag.

The first problem reared its frustrating little head when I found it impossible to log into the supplied website as it kept asking for a password I had yet to possess. When I went through the process on-line to ask for a password, I'd get a message that one would be emailed to my work email account. That of course never happened. So then I tried several times to contact a representative through their toll free hot-line. If one is looking for a sure fire way to get me to nearly lose my temper, or to put me in a really bad mood, then calling that hot-line is the way to go.

First, you get an sweet, throaty sounding automated voice asking for some basic information, then you get the "please enter your password" Well, the entire reason I'm calling this number is THAT I HAVE NO PASSWORD. There is no option other then, "use your keypad to enter your password, say I need help with this option, or I don't know my password" Of course I couldn't do the first one, the help choice was a "how to use your phone as a keypad" tutorial, and the I don't know choice said, "we will email you a new password". That's it. No, please press zero for assistance. Believe me I tried pressing zero several times. All that got me was a repeat of the password options. About that time, I strongly consider using the phone to bash in my own head with.

Finally, I hit upon the idea of not doing anything and seeing what happens. Lo and behold after about five minutes, the automated voice, says "I'm sorry, I cannot understand, let me transfer you to a representative." SUCCESS! Or so I think.

I get the person on the phone, let them know of my password problem. and ask, when should I be getting information on signing up for my benefits. "Oh, I'm emailing you your password right now." The answers on my benefits ranged from "you are eligible now, you are only eligible for part-time benefits, to you won't be eligible till next month." Yes, by now I have realized that head with the phone is not helping, I'm now banging it on my desk.

Of course the password NEVER hits my inbox. I repeated this process four times over a several week period. Finally yesterday I found a rep. who knew how to help my password problem. We bypassed the whole "we'll email your password to anyone but you" scenario, and just did it over the phone. And then today, I confirmed what I knew all along, I should be getting benefits. In fact I've been eligible for a month!

Now if only they can snail mail my my sign up package to the address they keep asking me to repeat every time they talk to me. Hey! A girl can dream can't she?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A little growing angel.

she's growing up so quickly. Just not big enough to fit into Daddy's hat.

It is amazing how much a small baby changes in just a few weeks. She can almost roll over, and will once she figure out how to get her one shoulder out of the way. She recognizes people and smiles frequently, well until you get out the camera. Then she gets all solemn on you.

Being a grandparent is amazing. I get to love on my grandchild, play with her hold her, feed her, bathe her, much of what I did as a parent. I don't, thankfully have to stay up nights with her, make sure I either breastfeed or pump every four hours, and all the other things new parents have to do. I gladly leave that to her mommy and daddy.

I consider each day I get to spend with this precious child a blessed gift. I know that soon she and her mommy will move away with daddy, once they finish college, and I won't get my daily dose of baby kisses. So many grandparents don't get to spend that time with their grown children or their grandchildren. I just can't take that for granted.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cuteness personified

Yes, my little darling granddaughter is growing like the proverbial weed. She is the most photographed person in the house, and rightfully so as her adorableness MUST be sealed in perpetuation.

Naturally as the proud grandparent that I am, am about to subject you with yet more photographs of the little baby that has stolen all our hearts. Just don't say I didn't warn you

Yes, you are seeing this correctly. That is an official San Diego Chargers cheerleader's outfit. Never mind that the wearer is only two months old, has no idea who the Chargers are playing, or even what football is. The cuteness of her bemused expression is perfection.

She makes funny faces all the time these days.

Aren't those cheeks just so cute??

That is the two of us. She is actually kinda sleepy there.