Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Love Affair with Herb Alpert

In the midst of all of my music, heavily dominated by Queen, David Bowie, Aerosmith, Elton John, Beatles and other favorites, I have Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. It makes me laugh, but I have to admit that I do love it. Its one of those hold overs from my early childhood. My Mom used to load up vinyl LP's onto the stereo and turn up the volume for house cleaning, for cooking. Apparently, any domestic endeavor required Herb Alpert as the background music. And even though I went 20 years or more before I re-discovered these tunes, I remembered them. Like note for note, anticipating the next bar, the next rift. It must be embedded into my subconscious somehow.

And listening to this (yes its even loaded onto my MP3 player) makes me feel happy, and joyful. I think Mom had all over his records, but I particularly remember this album. I don't think I realized, way back when I was just 4 or 5 years old, just how evocative the cover was. Is this lady really naked under all of that whipped cream? LOL. I remember seeing it and thinking how delightful it must be to be encased in all that delicious whipped cream. I wondered if she would be able to eat all of that. Ah, the innocence of the very young. And its funny just how fast a song from the past can bring back those memories.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I made it!!!

I survived Christmas this year, and I even had fun. I had this one meltdown on Christmas Eve, when the sadness of missing Erica really closed in on me. I had a good cry but was able to pull it together. But Christmas Day was fine. Good even.
We set up Bruce's laptop in the middle of the morning gift opening, and she tuned in on Skype, so it was "almost" like she was with us. In a weird and funny way....but still. She was there.

And I got an iPad 2 tablet. It came as a major surprise. I had mentioned the idea of a Kindle Fire, but never even considered an iPad. I know it is supposed to be a lot more versatile, but my husband has a deep-rooted dislike of Apple. OMG this thing is amazing. I still don't know probably a 10th of what it can actually do. I DO know that I can download books from iBooks AND Kindle. Stephen put the Kindle app on it yesterday. It looks like its going to be a fantastic e-reader. But also, a tablet computer. Its fast and responsive, but its a lot different than my laptop. Like, there is no right click for stuff. I have a whole lot to figure out, but thats part of the fun......I am so excited about it.

Stephen was here. Chris and Jessica came over yesterday afternoon. We had a big dinner of roast beef, and all the fixings. Yummy. And then we had plenty of cranberry Mimosas and played Wii games until we were all exhausted. There was a lot of laughter, and hilarity, and the day passed without my even having time to remember that I was worried about being excruciatingly sad.

I think today is going to be a lazy day. Maybe even an "I am not getting out of pajamas" day. I am going to clean up a little of the Christmas chaos (I was too busy yesterday), play around with my iPad and try to figure more of it out, and there might even be a nap in my future. I hope you all had a fantastic holiday too. Now its time to look forward to a whole new year. I love those fresh starts.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All

So, we had a little Christmas gathering with Stephen and Hannia last night. Unfortunately, it looks like Hannia is going to be driving to Texas with her parents, and Stephen is staying in Greenville. But we went out to eat, and came home and opened gifts. This is what the kids gave me. It took me a second or 2....I thought it was a really cool frame. Then I saw cats....then it dawned on me that these were MY cats....and I teared up. Hannia really is an amazing photographer. I try constantly to get good pictures of my darlings, but it never happens. First of all, the lighting has to be perfect for the features of a black cat to show up....and secondly, I can never get them to be still, look at the camera, etc. My attempts usually end up with kitties hiding under beds until I go away. That she got such good pictures, especially of Vixen, the black cat who looks like an angel here, but is curmudgeonly and grumpy most of the must be a Christmas miracle. LOL. Seriously.

I love that they got a good picture of Brock in there, even though he has just joined the family. And I also love that Geico the lizard (chameleon? is it the same thing?) is in there, and Chipmunk the mouse that was rescued over Thanksgiving.
I can't tell you how much I LOVE this!!!! Oh, and we came home after dinner last night to find that my friend Ana had made us a tray of homemade tamales. Oh yummy delicious.....I feel so blessed.

Right now, on Christmas Eve morning, I have to run out and buy food for dinner tomorrow. We have been so busy, working so late, there has been NO time for it yet.
Wish me luck that the grocery store is not too picked over and I can find what we need. Bruce wants roast I need to run and find one. I hope all of you feel the love and the blessings that I feel right now. And yes....I have teared up a couple of times missing Erica, but she is having fun in Merry old England and its all going to be ok. Love you my daughter. Whenever I get sad, I just start thinking about planning our trip to see her. Love to all,

p.s. Speaking of my daughter-in-law and her mad photography skills, she is thinking of volunteering to take photos of the animals at the Humane Society here in Pitt Co. Good photos on Petfinder make a huge difference in adoptions, and she made me so happy when we talked about this last night. The Humane Society is, of course, a cause very near to my heart. I know they would be absolutely thrilled to have her work with them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Many Thanks!!

This is a blog post from one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho. My favorite book of his is "The Alchemist", which I found right at a time when I needed it the most, not long after my mother passed away. He published this post a few days ago, and once again, at a time when I need to be reminded that things change and its OK.
It also reminds me of something another favorite author of mine said, "This world can offer you nothing of lasting value due to its impermanent nature." Eckhart Tolle

Words of Paulo Coelho:

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.
Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.

You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister.
Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.

Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.

Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.

Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.”

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.
Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.
This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.

Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are......I found those words to be simple but wise. And also, empowering in some way. I think I found what I want to make my New Year all about. Thank you Mr. Coelho. You keep popping up to help right when I need you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I guess I am growing up (finally)

Maybe I am growing up. Ok, I KNOW that I am 49 years old, with a husband, 2 grown children, a daughter-in-law, a full time job and a house to take care of. You would think that would make me an adult by default, wouldn't you? But no, because I still feel like I am playing house, waiting for the "real" adults to step in when a problem arises. And yet, maybe I am finally becoming the "real" adult. My first hint of this was over the upcoming holiday. I admit it, I was sad that Erica had to leave for the UK before Christmas. And then when Hannia's family made plans to have Christmas in Texas, I was sad all over again. Christmas without either of my kids???? I knew it was inevitable at some point, seeing as how they are both grown with lives of their own.....but I really REALLY was hoping that day was some time in the far distant future. Oh well....

Stephen has not been certain he would be able to go with Hannia. Time constraints (her parents are driving and its 23 plus hours WITHOUT the stops) are making it difficult. And money factors in as airfare is expensive this time of the year. Its still not clear whether or not he can go. They are watching airfare prices and hoping for a last minute drop. If not, Hannia may still go with her parents to help drive. For a while, I was selfishly kind of hoping he would be home. With us. At least one of my children here for Christmas. But over the past few days, I realized that I was hoping he could go. Would go. Because it will be sad to be away from Hannia for the holiday. And we will be fine. Really, we are going to be relaxing and enjoying the end of the most hectic time of the year at work. I am making a dinner, but nothing too over the top complicated. A few goodies....a few presents....mainly just laid back relaxation. We have invited Chris and Jessica to be with us....And I am ok with all of that. And that fact? The fact that I would rather him go be with Hannia and have a Happy Holiday someplace else, someplace away from his family? That is the proof that I am all grown up and ready to accept that life is all about changes. And changes don't mean "bad". Just different. And we can all have fun and be happy even if we aren't in the same place on Christmas Day. I feel like I need some kind of rite of passage ceremony to celebrate my newly found grown-up-edness. LOL!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In My Dreams...

One year for Christmas (NOT this one obviously, or even next one as it will be Erica's first time back in the US after a year) I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a tropical Christmas. Not a cruise, but a serious beach vacation. Someplace in the Caribbean maybe. A week at an oceanfront resort where somebody will hand me pina colodas as I sit and contemplate Happy Holiday thoughts on the beach. One day my dream will come true. In the meantime, other than NOT being out there basking on a warm sunny beach, things are good here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cats hate roofers

The roofers finally arrived today after having us wait since the hurricane back in early September. There are plenty of folks around here STILL waiting, so I guess we are lucky. They are crazy-loud though, and it scares the daylights out of our cats. But Vixen is out and about tonight, and even ate a little bit of dinner. That is a VAST improvement over the last time we had roof work done 2 years ago. She stayed under our bed for about 48 hours AFTER they left. I was scared she was going to starve to death. So....maybe she is becoming a bit more flexible. The cats are also a little upset about Brock, but will eventually adjust. Brock is hanging out in the garage, having to be closed up entirely in there right now because of the roofers, who are going in and out of the back gate, so....we can't just let him have free run of the backyard. I think he was scared of the noise, too. Poor thing, he had a long ride in a carrier, came home to a strange place and immediately has to suffer the roofing hoopla. Hopefully the roof will be done by tomorrow evening and life can get back to normal. We brought him inside for a while this afternoon. He did NOT like the other cats. But he did use the litter box without our coaxing him. So that was good news. Maybe he can be inside more than we originally thought (he has been an outdoor cat for 10 years now). He seems to be happy to have his bed, has been eating like a little piggy, and using the litter box I set up in the I think he has made a good start to get himself situated here. I've learned from experience that cats take a minimum of 2 weeks to get used to a new pet in the family. Vixen took almost 6 months to stop freaking out over Samantha...but with time, it seems to work itself out. It will be fine.

Erica is doing really well in York. She is settled into her new place, has decided that she doesn't mind the small space so much. We have skyped and IM'd enough that I feel a lot less worried, although I DO still miss her. She went out with a group of people from work on Saturday night, so apparently is meeting people and making new friends. She is going to an Indian food curry dinner tomorrow night that the post docs try to do occasionally. And the department Christmas dinner will be on Thursday. And before you know it, she will get to see her friend Tara in Munich for New Years. I think she is making the adjustment really well. And as much as I miss her and hate how far away she is, I am thrilled that she is happy and having a good time. I would be so upset if she were sad and homesick and wondering if the move was all a big mistake. What an adventure!!!

Stephen and Hannia are doing well, too. They are settled into their new place, and have put up the official "Christmas Branch". I hope Hannia will post some pictures soon. I haven't seen it yet, but I will run over for a visit soon. Stephen is enjoying writing for Patexia, an online news site. Go check it out if you have the time. He has gotten great evaluations from his bosses, and having this writing experience is incredibly valuable. He has an interview with a company here in Greenville this week, but I don't know all of the details about that yet. I wish him well. Its been wonderful having both of them back in town again, and I know it might not last forever (if he gets the funding for research he will be off and running for a PhD program...applications have all been sent, so....). But I am not going to worry about that right now. I am just going to relax and enjoy for as long as it lasts. All in all everything is good here. I hope you all have some wonderful things going on wherever you are too!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A River Runs Through It

Erica posted some pictures on Facebook of some fairly substantial flooding along the banks of the Ouse River that runs through York City Centre. I finally had to Google just how to pronounce the river's name. I was thinking it might rhyme with "house", because...well....its the same except for the "H", right? Or maybe, it rhymed with "Aussie", with a long E on the end. What do I know? Apparently, not much because it is actually pronounced "ooze". Not such a pretty name for what looks to be a really pretty river. But I want to be able to say it right when I visit.

A couple of months ago, I was listening to another one of my books on CD. I listen to them while I am in the car ALL the time, and I get them from the library. I don't get my hands on the latest releases that way, not for a long time....but it has also given me a chance to listen to books I might never have actually chosen if I stuck to the current best seller list. I have heard dozens of interesting, compelling stories that way. But I digress....I can't remember the title of this particular book, but I do remember that it was set in New Bern, NC. New Bern is a gorgeous little town, if you ever get the chance to visit. The waterfront area is particularly pretty, with cute little shops and restaurants. But anyway, the narrator of this book (it was a man, I do remember that part) kept pronouncing the Neuse River there in New Bern as "noise" river. Or more of a shorter "s" sound like it would rhyme with "Joyce". It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about. If you live in this area, you would know it as "Noose" river. Or sort of a "Nyoose", the same n-y sound you might use when saying "New". Newoose, I guess,if that makes any sense at all. LOL. I enjoyed the story, wish I could remember...maybe it was "The Wedding" by Nicholas Sparks. Was that set in New Bern?
I do know that The Wedding was romantic and it made me teary. But I still was annoyed by that mispronunciation...LOL!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Feeling a little panicky

I admit, I am panicking a little bit. I just got the tree done today, such as it is. The lights are on, but the ornaments are sparse. That is mainly due to the cats, but also, I just don't have the time and energy to do a hugely fabulous tree this year. It is what it is. Things are way behind schedule from Christmases past. Its mainly because Erica moved, and then Stephen moved....I got behind. But I keep telling myself that it's really OK. Erica won't be home, Stephen and Hannia most likely won't be home (that is still up in the air, but it is fine. I am keeping myself flexible for whatever ends up happening). It is just going to be a scaled back holiday this year. And that is fine....isn't it?

I have barely shopped. I haven't wrapped anything at all. Except for the tree and a few lights wrapped around the front porch columns....well, that is about the only decorating that is going to get done. I do plan to at least drag out a red table cloth eventually. We are having some friends over for Christmas dinner, and that makes me happy. It will keep me from missing Erica so much. Missing Dad so much.
I just want to chill out, relax, and enjoy some time off work. God knows Bruce and I both deserve it. This year the P.O. is about to kill us both. Due to so called "dwindling" mail volume, we are working harder than ever. Seriously, I have NEVER had this many packages or mail. I don't get it. But whatever. Come December 25th all of that will be behind us for 1 more year. Yay!

And I have our New Year plans to look forward to, too. Its going to be a wonderful holiday season. Just different. Things change and adjustments have to be made. It feels weird not decking the halls to the hilt, or spending hours out shopping.
I just need to learn to relax and enjoy things just the way that they are. I hope you all take some time to slow down and enjoy this holiday, too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Making it Green

Well, our Christmas tree is still naked. But, the good news is that the cats seem much less interested in it and maybe I can get it decorated in the next few days. I hope so. I see everybody all decorated for the holidays and then come home and it feels really blah and un-festive. Its a bummer. But in the meantime, I did a little web surfing for more eco-friendly recycled Christmas trees. Some are really pretty, some are interesting but not my taste. Still, I love how creative people can be with green ideas:

-Done with Mountain Dew cans. The end result is actually really pretty

-Books! I don't think its gorgeous, but its definitely interesting:

-5 gallon Water bottles. I kind of like this one:

-Tools, and car parts. A handy man tree. Its cool, but not exactly pretty:

For small spaces, how about a table top "Fork" tree??

Another tree from drink cans:

Do any of these trees give you ideas? Or are you more of a traditional Christmas tree person? We will go the traditional route, mainly due to lack of time. I think to come up with something really unique and interesting, you would need to start the planning and collecting of recyclables a little earlier than just a few weeks away from the holiday. Maybe next year????

Monday, December 5, 2011

T-Mobile, Signed Waivers and Christmas Trees

There is a disturbing T-Mobile Christmas commercial on right now. Its got the girl in the pink dress surrounded by elves with pink hair AND (most disturbing to me of all) blazingly PINK eye-brows. I don't get it at all. And they are singing "Walking in a 4 G wonderland". Only it actually sounds like "Walking in an ORGY Wonderland". Orgies with a bunch of pink-eye-browed elves gives me the creeps enough to cause nightmares. What the hell were they thinking? I won't be switching to T-Mobile anytime soon. I can promise you that.

Erica called me today. She is still without internet, and although she was at work today, some kind of construction mishap involving drilling into a line caused a University-wide internet failure for most of the day. She couldn't email, but knew I was hoping to hear something from her, so she called. She said she went out to eat last night, and not being able to finish her meal, asked if she could get a "to go" box to take the rest of her food home. And this place said that yes, she could IF she would sign a release form. LOL. We aren't sure why. Both of us suspect is has something to do with IF you left the food out on the counter for 3 days and then ate it, you couldn't then go back and sue them for food poisoning. ??? You think? I have never heard of anything like that. But she signed it, got her food, and had leftovers for dinner tonight. So it worked out.

Also? We still have a naked Christmas tree. The cats haven't lost any interest in yet it. Bitty was up inside of it when I woke up this morning. And besides, this day was absolutely endless at work....I didn't have the strength to deal with it today. Maybe tomorrow...???? But since we are talking trees, I have done a little bit of searching for pics of bizarre Christmas trees...just because I like that kind of thing. This one is from Sydney Australia. Each year they feature a "tree" made from recycled materials. The tree from last year was bicycles. Kind of cool really.

Its actually really pretty all lit up!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On a Sunday

We (meaning mostly Bruce and Stephen) got the kids moved in. It was a LOT of moving. Hannia's Dad came with a rented UHaul, but had just had some minor surgery so he wasn't supposed to lift anything too heavy (I swear he did anyway). It wasn't just the kids stuff, but Hannia's parents had things in rental storage and they were tired of having to pay the rent. So that got moved out and into the garage of the house. Everybody was exhausted, but it all got done. Its a great space, that house. Its laid out nicely and I KNOW they are thrilled to have some privacy again. They are spending today trying to get things unpacked and put away. And although Stephen is busy applying to jobs and schools and most likely will end up moving again some time in the coming year...Stephen said last night he was tired of the nomad lifestyle. Moving is hard work.

I got email from Erica. She spent her weekend getting more familiar with the city and the best places to shop for food, and household goods. She got herself a library card because like me, she prefers to read a book (for free) and then give it back. Less clutter that way. She is really enjoying everything, and is looking forward to her first full week at work. She has to give a short presentation to her lab tomorrow, so she had to take some time to prepare for that, but its all good, I'm sure. I just can't wait for her to get internet.

In spite of being exhausted after all the moving, Stephen came over this afternoon to help drag down the Christmas decorations from the attic. Thank you son, I KNOW It was about the last thing that you really wanted to do. We (meaning I this time) put up the tree. But it was instantly attacked from all sides by our cats. I gave up and plan to let it sit out with nothing on it for a few days just to see if the novelty of it wears off. I know it hasn't really in Christmas's past, but I am just an optimist that way. LOL. If not, then I have a separate box of unbreakable ornaments that will just have to go on there. My beautiful glass ones have not seen the light of day in several years now. Oh the grander scheme of things, I would much rather have a warm, fuzzy kitty to love than a cold glass ornament, no matter how pretty or expensive the ornament is.

Speaking of felines, we are planning to adopt Dad's cat Brock. That will bring the herd up to 5. I think this officially earns me a crazy cat lady badge, but Brock needs a home and what better place for a cat to be?

Mama pushing our poor tree limbs to their outer most limit:

Bitty prefers the sturdier interior branches:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Learning Vicariously

Oh the things I am learning vicariously by Erica's move to the UK. I knew a few things, such as petrol is gas. Or a cell phone is called a mobile phone there. I knew a few others as well, like cookies are called biscuits, trucks are lorries (that one makes me laugh like a plural version indicating multiple Aunt Lori's...LOL), the bathroom is called the loo. But Erica is adding to my knowledge of British english almost every day, and I find it all so interesting. Things like a stove top is called a "hob" there. And Erica actually called it a "hob" during our phone conversation yesterday. LOL. She also said that those baking sheets she packed up for the movers are going to be useless as her oven is sized more for a doll house. Oh well....

And one of the most surprising ones to me: the letter "z" is said aloud as "zed".
Erica found that out trying to spell her name at her hostel the first day. It will make me have to think. Oh, I am extremely used to spelling my name. In fact, I generally pronounce our last names as: Kintz K-I-N-T-Z, as if the spelling were a part of it. I like the rhyming lilt of the T-Z. But there it will be K-I-N-T-Zed.
Doesn't have the same appeal to me somehow. ZEEEEE is a light, airy, whimsical sound like a honey bee. ZED is heavy and squat and flat. Oh well....I guess I better at least remember to use it when I visit, or else, as Erica reports, they will spell our name as K-I-N-T-G. And somehow that is even worse than zed. LOL.

Anyway, this is moving day for Stephen and Hannia, so its going to be busy. Her family is all here to help so hopefully the work will go by fast and easy. I KNOW the kids are excited to have their own space again. I will miss them though, even if I can visit by getting in my car and driving a mere 10 minutes to Winterville.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Decorating for the Holidays

Its the first of December, and while I have neither the time nor the energy to actually put up our tree, or decorate our house just yet (I will, I swear), at least I decorated the blog. It feels festive now. Maybe it will help to put me in the mood. I think the biggest holiday downer for us is working for the post office. It almost makes us want to forego any celebrations. BUT...I will NOT let it get me down.

So, Erica reported that her first day on the new job was just fine. It was mainly having ID's made, emails set up, meeting lots of people and touring the campus. Tomorrow she will be picking up her keys and hopefully getting things like utilities all set up. She isn't certain how that will go and whether or not she can actually stay in her new place just yet.......but it will all get sorted out. She seems to be enjoying the adventure of all of it.

I am considering changing the blog up a little. Maybe moving to another blog site, maybe changing the name because I feel like The Fishbowl Chronicles limits the templates and I just feel like using different layouts from time to time. I don't know, but am giving it some thought. For now, I am just going with the holiday scene, nevermind the name. Its a Snowman in a Fish Bowl....LOL. Just use your imagination, I guess.

Also? Tomorrow is Friday!!!! Yay!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Schizophrenic Day

After I got to work today, I checked my phone to see that I had missed a call from a number I didn't recognize. But I had voicemail. I listened to it and lo and behold, it was from Erica!!! My spirits sunk to an all time low as I realized I had missed an opportunity to actually talk to her. Her message said that as she is using this pay for minutes kind of mobile thing until she decides on an actual phone plan (I swear she is already using the word "mobile" instead of cell phone...LOL). And she can use her prepaid minutes to call anywhere, even internationally. How cool. But I was despondent to have missed her.

Later that morning, while I was still in the office, she called back and this time I caught it in time. I was elated. LOL. From despondent and depressed to elated in the time it takes to answer a call. We had a nice chat. She is doing well. She signed a lease for a teeny tiny apartment, and can move in on Friday. Its a 6 month lease though, so if the size really bothers her, she can move in a while after having the chance to figure out more about ideal locations and transit and stuff like that. She says this one seems to be in a great location so far....maybe she will be too busy having fun to care that her place is not much bigger than a walk in closet.

She starts work tomorrow, and had coffee with her new boss today to meet her face to face. The boss is Dutch but mainly grew up in Tennessee, so she is basically American. Maybe that will help ease Erica's transition. All in all, my girl was in good spirits, and although its been much more different than she first imagined, she is figuring it all out. She will be fine.

And it was time to say "I love you" and "Good-bye"....I got that "I'm gonna cry" feeling. Sad and despondent all over again. What an emotional rollercoaster I seem to be on. We still haven't gotten the chance to Skype just yet. First of all, I am not sure how comfortable she is talking on Skype in a hostel full of people. the time I get home, get comfortable and on my computer (I am getting home later and later as we are in the dreaded Christmas rush at work), its almost midnight there and I feel sure Erica is asleep. So, yeah.
But maybe soon, like on a weekend, we can skype her and she can show us around her new place. I hope so.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Stephen

27 years ago today our one and only son was born. He made our family complete. I just can't believe you are 27 already. Why are you making me so old??? LOL. We love you. I hope you have a wonderful day and a fantastic year ahead.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

She made it

Erica made it to York today. The flights were fine but she had a little trouble with the trains. Not to worry, she made it eventually. Now we just hope her bag shows up tomorrow. And then the apartment search commences. I hope she finds something that she loves. And that she gets a British mobile phone number, too. She promises to keep me updated as progress is made. I was just happy to know she made it there safely.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm just plain sad

The holiday was a good one, but its over and Erica is boarding her plane to England right about now. I'm sad, and I can't help it. It did help that we had a lot of fun these past few days. We built a huge bonfire last night. We roasted hot dogs, and marshmallows, complete with graham crackers and hershey's chocolate bars. Hannia came up with the idea of wrapping bacon around the roasting sticks, and it was all amazingly delicious.

At some point on Wednesday our cats cornered a tiny baby mouse outside. Jeanne rescued it, and believe it or not Casey has taken it as a pet. The mouse (sex undetermined) is now named "Chipmunk", and is living in a fancy mouse palace that Jeanne bought at Petsmart yesterday. I think Chipmunk hit the mouse-lottery. The last time I saw Chipmunk he was happily snoozing in an overflowing food bowl in his new home. He seemed very content for a little mouse that was on the verge of being murdered by a bunch of cats.

Anyway, Jeanne, Calvin and the girls left just before lunchtime today. Bruce took Erica to RDU airport just after that. She did call me to say that there was absolutely NO line to check in, and security was a breeze. She went a little bit early because we were afraid this being Thanksgiving weekend and all that the lines would be ridiculous. Oh well, better to wait at the gate than to be rushing and panicking that you might miss your flight, right?

Right now, Hannia is visiting her brother and parents in Morrisville, Bruce is driving home from Raleigh, Stephen is writing an article for his job, and the house is so ridiculously quiet. I miss Erica already. But she plans to Skype and email and let me know how its going, how the apartment search goes, and how the new job is when she starts there on Thursday. I will let you know.....and speaking of the house being too quiet....Stephen and Hannia will be moving into their own place here in Greenville. Its temporary, until he figures out which school he might be going to (the applications have all been sent), or what job he might take (still applying, while he is doing this freelance work). But they will be about 10 minutes away, so at least I won't feel too sad about it for now. All I can think about is booking a trip to England in the near future. I just feel like I need to wait until she at least has a place to live first. :(

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving: The Aftermath

Following the tradition set last year in Danville, we decided to build a bonfire Thanksgiving night. The feast was mass consumed. The kitchen was reasonably cleaned up, and the weather was perfect. It was too dark to be able to gather much in the way of firewood, although our woods offer tons of it. And there was the free-roaming bear to consider, so nobody was eager to venture too far from the confines of the yard. But a smallish fire was made and we had a nice time. It has been decided that it is to be tradition from now on.....bonfires on Thanksgiving night.

We have spent this afternoon cutting up a huge tree that fell during the hurricane. Its way back at the edge of our property, and now we have enough wood to have a huge proper bonfire tonight. The weather is beautiful, and so we will party round the fire. Maybe I should send somebody out for marshmallows???

After the bonfire, we gathered to watch a heartwarming Thanksgiving movie, recommended by Hannia, called "Thankskilling". Its about a killer demonic turkey with a really foul mouth. Seriously, it was so bad, maybe the worst movie I have ever watched. But it made us laugh hysterically. And so the viewing of "Thankskilling" may also be added to the list of our Thanksgiving traditions. Not for under aged children though as there are moments of turkey porn. I'm not even kidding. LOL!! No way to describe it, you really have to see it for yourself. If you find yourself curious, its available for instant view on Netflix right now. How could you let that opportunity pass you by?

We are excited to find out that there is a "Thankskilling 2" in production right now, and will be available by Thanksgiving 2012. We will definitely have to add that to our list of things that absolutely MUST be celebrated.

I attempted a small amount of Black Friday shopping today. Kohls had a couple of things on sale that I kind of wanted to buy. I walked in to the store, and discovered that the line for checkout was so long it was approximately an hour and a half wait. Um, no way. Not happening. I will just wait and pay full price when I can check out in a matter of minutes. There is nothing that I want that badly. I came straight home, because I give up easily that way. Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. So far, its been a hilarious time. I am sure I will be feeling sad when Erica takes off for the airport tomorrow, but at least I know we sent her off with a bang. It really has been fun. I have my doubts that she will be able to come home for Thanksgiving next will be so sad to watch Thankskilling 2 without her. But we will be sure to save it so she can see it at Christmas time. HAHAHA.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

We just got back from eating Thai food at Anchalee's tonight. So delicious. There are 2 turkeys in the fridge. One for roasting and Calvin is going to fry one for us.
Stephen is making homemade yeast rolls. He has been practicing his recipe for a couple of weeks now to perfect it. As of this moment, there are something like 5 dozen of those proofing in the oven. He wants extra rolls for turkey sandwiches afterwards.

I just did a huge double batch of sausage balls. And tomorrow will be a flurry of cooking in the kitchen no doubt. Pumpkin spice cake and Flan for dessert. Have I mentioned that flan might be one of my most favorite desserts in the universe? Stephen and Hannia are taking over most of the cooking duties. Of course that makes me really happy. I will do the stuffing and deviled eggs, but everything else is being done by someone else. Jeanne and Calvin brought 12 bottles of fruit wines, so we have punctuated our cooking activities with wine tasting. It makes it seem less of a chore that way.

Anyway, I hope you and yours are someplace safe and warm. And I hope all of you find plenty of things to be thankful for this holiday. Much love!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful to be able to be here at home, ready to celebrate the holiday with my family around me. We did the grocery shopping today, and the cooking will commence shortly. Erica leaves for England on Saturday. Stephen and Hannia will be moving to their own place here in Greenville right after that (pending future plans). And so, for now, I am taking a break from blogging to be with my kids and enjoy them for this celebration. I hope you have a wonderful holiday too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Knight in Shining Armor....with Shiny Tools....

My husband rescued me again today. I got ready to leave my office and my car wouldn't start (not the new red one...this is the mail delivery car). We have a couple of mechanics on duty, and one of them came over and used jumper cables to get my car started. He told me to head straight home and not to turn the car off (well, duh). But as I drove off I heard a weird high pitch whine, AND the lights on my dash were going crazy. They were flashing and strobing and I knew something was going on besides just my battery. I called Bruce and he said it sounded like an alternator problem. He told me to meet him at this auto parts store, and call him if I needed him.

Anyway, I made it there but it tore my nerves up completely. Traffic was heavy. I got caught at every stop light. I was so sure my car was going to cut off and get me stuck in a traffic jam. I think I was halfway sobbing the whole way. But I made it. I drove up right beside Bruce, and a guy came out to test my alternator which had gone bad, as well as my battery. And as he was testing it my car cut off. I made it by the skin of my teeth......whew. Anyway, my Knight with all his shiny tools had the old alternator off and the new one on, a new battery installed all in less than 20 minutes. So, its all done and I am good to go. What would I do without him???? He is priceless, for sure.

Also, the new dishes that I ordered came today. I am saying good-bye to the heavy stoneware Pfaltzgraff. I liked the pattern, but between the heaviness of it and the way it leaves marks when a piece of silverware even barely touches it....good riddance. We bought Corelle when we first got married, mainly because Bruce's Mom Lila strongly suggested it. I decided to go with the stoneware later...and have regretted it ever since. My new set (for every day) is Corelle again. I went with one of the new square designs, but its lightweight, and I know how well Corelle holds up. Erica is still using Corelle dishes that belonged to yeah, it is definitely durable. I feel sure Lila is somewhere smiling over my latest decision. LOL.

Also? We have a pretty red truck in our driveway. We are friends with the people who own the dealership, and Daryl brought it over for us to test drive for a couple of days. It was kind of funny....Stephen was home when the dishes were delivered. He called to tell me, and then he said, "Oh, by the way, did Dad buy a truck? Because there is a new one sitting in the driveway with the keys in it." Daryl said he might run it by if he got a chance. I don't know if Bruce is completely ready to buy something else....but IF he was...I really like this little truck. It has a crew cab, meaning a full front AND back seat. That cuts off a little length of the bed of the truck, but man that thing drives like a fun car instead of a truck. I don't know if we will buy it or not.......but if it were up to me, I probably would. I mean how nice of them to just drop it off for us to try out, right....????

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Can't Shake The Crud

I've had this cruddy stuff...sore throat, stuffy nose, feeling run down...and its been going on for a couple of weeks now. Sometimes it "almost" goes away and I feel ok. Then it will set in again and I start to feel sick. The past couple of days has been some of the cruddy sick days. I don't get it. I guess it could just be allergies. Colds set in and then just go away, don't they? I am just trying to live through it because the idea of taking antibiotics does NOT make me happy anymore. Not with the whole bout of dangerous C-diff Bruce got from taking amoxicillin. So what in the world do you do to shake the crud? This crud has worn out its welcome and the way I feel tonight, it has no plans to vacate the premises anytime soon. Good Lord, I am tired of it. I take Zyrtec every day, but that doesn't seem to be helping with this stuff. Blah!!!

We stayed in and watched a movie last night, especially since I was feeling pretty yucky (Stephen was too). We got rid of Netflix by mail when they got all crazy and started raising prices, but we kept the "Netflix instant view" because you can find so much stuff on there. We ended up watching some off the wall Korean film, complete with subtitles called "I'm a Cyborg and that's Ok". Its about a mentally ill young woman who thinks she is a cyborg and that ends her up in a mental hospital. There are some crazy characters in there, of course...and I found it weirdly entertaining. Bruce thought it was 2 hours of his life that he will never get back. LOL. It also starred "Rain", the Korean singer that had a singing battle with Stephen Colbert on his show (if you watch that....everybody watches The Colbert Report....right?). Anyway, it was strange fun. We think that it might make more sense if you were familiar with Korean cultural references, because I think alot of that kind of thing went right over our heads.

Anyway, I have a few errands to run, mainly grocery shopping. I need to sit down and figure out a Thanksgiving menu. But I am also going to be taking it easy, taking my vitamin C, and hoping that this crud decides its had enough of me. Maybe I will pick up some Airborne at the grocery store. Some people swear by that stuff.
Oh, and we did drive all the way to New Bern yesterday to look at a truck. Bruce halfway wanted it, but that genetic predisposition to spending money kicked in and he decided he needs more to time to think about it. I really liked the truck, but since this is something he will drive much more than I will, he is the one who has to love it more.

We bought a truck....

We set out to buy a truck yesterday. We came home with this. Stephen saw it and said, "Well, Mom, I have to say that your new truck has very limited hauling ability!". LOL. Yeah it does. But we had also thrown around the idea of buying a new family car as well, and had decided that we would probably go with another Impala since our older 2001 model has been so solid and dependable. And still is. We kept that one too. When you find something that works well, why mess with it?

I know red is Lori's favorite color, and I do like red. I just never owned a red car. Its sportier than I usually go for. Our car colors are usually a bit more conservative (white, dark blue, etc). And we did drive a silver Impala yesterday that we were tempted to buy. I almost didn't consider the red one until we drove it. It was something about the sunroof, I think. The way it opens makes it feel almost like a convertible but without the ripping your hair to shreds part. Anyway, we both liked it better, so we got the red one. We still need a truck, and we will still probably get one. There is a used Chevy Colorado at one of the dealerships we visited yesterday that we really liked. The guy made a good offer on it too. I just don't know if Bruce will be able to bring himself to buy 2 vehicles in 1 week. He has a certain gene in his genetic structure that prohibits him from spending money too freely. Which overall has been a good thing for us seeing as how I don't have that. But considering that our truck was purchased the same day that I found out I was pregnant with Erica (now 28), and considering the fact that although he has kept the thing running, it now runs like a lame 100 year old dog and parts are no longer easy to find (special order...yikes), and considering that it has no speedometer and is so scary to drive that I won't drive it unless the situation is dire, it might be time to replace it. Although we don't have to haul stuff too often, there are always occasions where having a truck is just really nice. Maybe he should shop for the truck alone, so he won't come home with something else he had no intentions of buying. LOL. Just saying.

Speaking of cars, I checked out the new Chevy Volt while we were out. It has gotten a lot of rave reviews online, so I wanted to see one for myself. I liked it alot, but it isn't practical for us at this time. Our cars need to have the ability to be used for mail delivery in case our work cars break down (always gotta have a back up). This one wouldn't do at all. Plus Chevy requires dealerships to have the expensive equipment to service these things before they can be licensed to sell finding places in case of a breakdown would be tricky still. One dealership we visited had one (and just one!), the other Chevy dealer in our area did not. Eventually I think it will catch on, but not right now. There was also the matter of the sticker price which was just shy of $50,000. The salesman explained how it works though and the concept was pretty cool. The gas only powers a generator to charge the electric batteries. It has really decent pick up and speed, and if you were going to use it only to go back and forth to work and run errands around town, it would run entirely on about 80 cents of electric current a day and could presumably be used without a drop of gas ever. That is as long as you plugged it in at night.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sherry's Birthday

We (meaning Val, Donna and myself) took our friend Sherry out for her birthday last night. It never fails...the minute we make plans to go out, work starts being a royal pain. It didn't fail to follow tradition yesterday either. I guess because today is a holiday, it was decided that every single scrap of mail, every package, every bulk rate junk mail catalog MUST go out that very day. It was late and I was exhausted when I finally left work, but I made it to the party on time. I was so glad I did.

We haven't been out, just us girls, in a while now. Donna has been battling thyroid cancer, and part of the treatment required a special diet (no iodine). She got the fantastic news on Wed. that her last scan showed no more signs of cancer, so honestly it was a double celebration last night.

Anyway, we had a wonderful time and were so happy to finally be able to have a Girl's Nite Out again. And while I think that ALL my friends are special, each in their own way, Sherry is truly one of a kind. I have never met anybody so quick to be the first in line to give or to help anybody in need. I trust her implicitly to keep any confidence that I might tell her. I was thinking how each of the 4 of us has such different personalities and yet we fit so well together. Val is the voice of reason and honesty. She is always "keeping it real". Donna is more the strong, silent type. A pillar of strength no matter how bad things get. Sherry, of course, is the compassionate, generous soul. And I??? I am the funny one with enough tinges of crazy to keep them all laughing. Sometimes, I feel like I don't have as many gifts or talents to bring to the table as the rest of them. I am not fond of reality like Val, crumple to the ground at the slightest hint of adversity, unlike Donna, and sometimes become way to self-involved to be attuned to the needs of others. Still, they all somehow seem to love me anyway. They appreciate my way of keeping them laughing, so maybe....maybe the gift of humor is worthy after all.....?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


As usual, the time change has thrown me off a little. I loved getting an extra hour of sleep. And I fully appreciate seeing daylight when I wake up in the mornings. It is so much easier to get out of bed with light coming in through the windows. But my body has not adjusted and I really don't love having things get dark by 5:30 in the afternoon. Oh well, Daylight Savings time will roll around again. It always does.

We are in a countdown for Erica's move to England. Things are coming together. She managed to sign over the lease for her apartment today, and will be leaving Charlottesville for the last time in about a week. She will be in NYC this weekend with her friends. I am planning to do up Thanksgiving in a big way to send her off with a celebration. I am NOT going to be sad. Really....Ok, so I am going to TRY not to be sad. LOL. I will be visiting her, and I am excited about that. It makes me unhappy that she is not going to be home for Christmas, but I have been preparing myself for the fact that the kids can't be home for every holiday now that they are grown and have their own lives and stuff.

Speaking of Christmas, Stephen and Hannia are most likely going to be with her parents in San Antonio, TX. Bruce and I are inviting some friends for dinner just to keep any sadness at bay. It will be ok. But we are thinking about heading to Asheville for New Years. We need to visit Greg and Lori, and I have always wanted to see Biltmore decorated for the holidays. We are in the process of trying to figure it out with our work schedules.

Anyway, I hope everybody is having a nice week. Its a long weekend for us, as we are off this Friday. Yay!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Well, it works

I was setting up blogger to work on my phone so I can publish a blog using text messaging. It works, but it has no way of publishing a Title that way. I guess if I can live without titles then it will be fine.

Anyway, I hope everybody managed to sneak in that extra hour of sleep last night. I think its wonderful, and I am excited to be able to wake up to daylight in the mornings again. Still, the drawback is always going to be how early it gets dark in the evenings. I think it really doesn't matter all that much when its cold outside. And it just gives me something to look forward to again in the spring when its warm and the days last so much longer. Its funny how 7 or 8 pm feels so much different...if its light outside, I have the feeling of having plenty of time to still get things done. When its dark, its like, "Oh! Its time to get ready for bed." LOL.

So, we went to UVA for Erica's defense. I was so mesmerized by her presentation. I didn't understand it really, but she seemed so poised and knowledgeable that my joy was in the presenting, not the information. There was champagne and cake afterwards (and lots of cookies), and I got the chance to meet her mentor Joanna, and some of her friends. Then there was dinner at Zocalo's, which was delicious. I wish I could say that we partied all night long....but after getting up early, making that drive, having champagne and then a heavy dinner....we were all so tired that we gave up and went to bed fairly early. Still, it was a day that I wouldn't have exchanged for anything else in the world.
Trying to set up blogger on my phone to blog via text message. Sorry this is not more exciting! LOL

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

About to burst

I am so proud of my daughter, I could literally burst. She has attained her PhD in microbiology. It was a long hard road, and there were times when I thought she was going to throw in the towel. But somehow she always found the strength and the determination to stick it out another day, another month....another year until she finally finished. I asked her if she was excited, or relieved, but right now, all she says is that she is still feeling rather "shell-shocked". It hasn't sunk in yet. And along these same lines, I found myself worrying about her move to England. Its foreign. Will she be able to figure out all the logistics of finding a place to live, a new bank, a place to shop? Will she feel homesick or lonely until she gets acclimated? Will she find the weather of northern England too damp, or depressing? But then I actually had another thought that went something like this, "Oh my God, she's a Dr. now!! That probably makes her way more qualified to take on all of these tasks than I will ever be." And that thought calmed me down, because of course she is smart and competent, and has done her research to make this transition go as smoothly as possible. She will be fine. Why do I keep thinking of her as a little 16 year old that needs to be protected and guided??? A 16 year old who still needs her Mommy to remind her to clean her room, and make sure all of her homework is done. LOL.

Anyway, Halloween here was kind of a bust. We had torrential rain all night. Stephen and Hannia went downtown, but they said it was basically a ghost town. There were more policemen than party-goers. They hung out at a club called "Winslow's Tavern", but it wasn't crowded. Too bad. Usually downtown Greenville is a circus on Halloween night. We had exactly 2 trick-or-treaters that came before the rain started. These were the kids of a woman who works with Bruce. We hooked them up righteously....seriously. Bruce bought them both a grocery bag full of candy. For each of them. Its probably a good thing because the rain started not long after that and I don't think they did much more trick or treating afterwards.
Oh well....there is always another Halloween next year.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dreary Saturday

Its a dreary, blustery day. The temp is hovering just below 50 degrees, and there is a constant light drizzle in the air. No matter. Its just fine inside and I have no where that I have to be today (a miracle in and of itself for sure). We are trying our hand at making mulled wine. And after we get sufficiently tipsy, we intend to pick up sharp objects and have a go at carving our pumpkins. LOL. Don't try this one at home kids. We have stencils, and patterns in mind. Maybe I will post some pictures later if they turn out well.

And after that? I intend to have some pumpkin seeds toasting in the oven. Yum. I LOVE autumn. Its my favorite time of year. Happy week-end, ya'll!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

He is pretty special

My husband is pretty special. I was feeling sad and sorry for myself because I haven't had time to decorate for Halloween. As I drove into our drive-way from work today, the first thing I saw was my blow ups out in the front yard. 8ft. tall ghosts, a vampire hearse....Frankenstein, a witch, and a Mummy in a hot rod. And when I walked inside, he was decking the halls with witches and skeletons, pumpkins and ghosts and monsters. All my favorite toys are out, loaded with batteries, and ready to be enjoyed. I know its only a week until the Holiday. Generally we decorate by the first part of October. But I am so happy to have my decorations up. I can't believe Bruce went to all that trouble. Because believe me, its a LOT of stuff to deal with. Stephen had bought pumpkins for the front porch, too. I was never going to have the time or energy to get it done this year. What a big surprise to find it all laid out and done.

Now just a few more things....I need to string up some Halloween lights on the porch, buy some candy, and I think we are ready to start the celebrations. Seriously, he's the best husband in the world.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Un-Halloween Season

Although Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, we aren't really celebrating this year. No decorations, no costumes, no plans. Sad, isn't it? Oh well, its just that way this season. There is too much going on. We didn't make travel plans because we didn't know what was going to happen with Dad's illness. We didn't know what was going to happen with Erica's graduation and move to the UK. In fact her private defense, which we can't attend, is actually ON Halloween. We will go to the public one a few days later. We are running low on days to take off of work anyway, so a trip was out of the question. Maybe next year.

At first it wasn't bothering me. I have been too busy, too exhausted to worry about dragging out boxes upon boxes of decorations. But as it draws near, it really is kind of nagging at me. A little bit. Not enough to drag out those boxes, but still.....
Stephen and Hannia want to carve pumpkins. At least half a dozen or so. And we want to do some of the fancy stenciled designs. I am considering throwing up a bunch of spider webs all over the front porch, lighting the pumpkins and at least there will be that. Its better than nothing. And while I might not have decked the halls for the celebration this year, I sill love it.

We think a trip to Universal in Orlando would be a good trip for next October. Harry Potter World anybody???? Let us know and we can start planning.

Friday, October 21, 2011

In the Pink

October is breast cancer awareness month. I have 2 friends who are survivors, so its something that hits home with me. One of those friends wrote a book about her journey called : Bye Bye Ta Ta
I worked with Willamina for years before she finally had to retire because of the cancer. But she is still alive, doing well and enjoying her grandson. What a blessing.

On this coming Monday, the 24th, wear something pink if you can. To raise awareness, to remind people to get check ups and mammograms. To focus on the need for research. Places all over town have been selling pink tshirts for cause. I bought a couple, so I will be ready. If not a shirt, then pin on a pink ribbon, or a pink band on your wrist...anything at all to remind yourself and others that we have lost far too many people, both men and women, to this disease.

And while we are thinking about breast cancer this month, here is a link from the CDC to locate a low cost early detection program near you:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Go fly a kite

We are back from Corolla. It was so nice to get away for a few days, and to see Chris, Jessica and Jeff since its been a year. Yep, a whole year. And that is inexcusable really. But we had a wonderful time. Corolla is further up the Outer Banks than I have ever been before. Its where the wild horses are, although I didn't see any of them. You have to have a permit, or a guide to go out there where they are now, since some time earlier some people were out there shooting at them. What the hell is wrong with people??? Hearing that just made me feel sick.

So no horses, but instead, it was the week of KITES. Chris bought a kite at the well-known Kitty Hawk Kites store, and it ended up being a real blast. Its one of the 2-stringed parafoil kites that you can control and do stunts and stuff. Well, I could barely control it and I certainly didn't do any stunts with it, but if you knew what you were doing you could. And we had so much fun with it that Bruce got "kite-envy", so he went to the kite store and bought a bigger kite. Still a 2 stringed parafoil. It occupied a good portion of our time.

The beach was fantastic. I LOVE the weather in September and October. We had warm sunny days, perfect for sitting out on the beach. The sand wasn't too hot to walk on, and there were no crowds. Perfect. I found it a bit chilly to swim in the ocean, but there were people doing it.

Anyway, it was good fun, wonderful scenery, awesome company, and a lot of delicious food. Whats not to love? And now we are back and today at work kind of kicked my rear end. Its always sad to have to go back to reality after a good time away.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Food Fest

Erica got home yesterday afternoon. And when we all get together, apparently the feeding frenzy never ends. I am laughing at just how bad we are. It started not long after Erica arrived. The kids went out for frozen yogurt. We have this place just up the road called Peppermints. Its a whole wall of frozen yogurt flavors, followed by another whole wall of toppings. You can have almost any fruit, candy, nut or sprinkles that you can imagine. Even cereals. And then you go to the counter and have your concoction weighed so you can pay by the ounce. Its kind of expensive, but absolutely delicious.

And while Bruce and I were still at work for the yogurt outing, we were home for Parker's at dinner time (eastern NC BBQ and slaw for those who don't know). Today was Dale's Indian Cuisine for lunch. Buffet-style. I only moderately tolerate Indian food, so at least I didn't eat disgusting amounts of it. I did decide that the curry chicken was pretty good but its not something I crave or go out of my way to eat. And tonight? Thai food. And that I do happen to love. I get mine really mild. I had the crispy chicken Pad Thai and it was as good as always. Stephen had the mango a heat level of 20. That's as hot as it can go. This is a different Thai place from the Thai 360 restaurant that we ate at last weekend with Jeanne and Calvin, but it is run by the same people so the menu is pretty similar. Stephen said that the 20 level at the place tonight was much hotter than the 20 level Mango curry he had last weekend. He didn't sweat, but he did get all red in the face while eating it. But he ate every last bite, and slurped up the curry broth afterwards, so apparently it wasn't too hot for him.

After pigging out on Thai food we went to yet another frozen yogurt place called Lo-Yo. The kids like it because the tart original flavor is really super tart. I think its good, but there are only about 5 or 6 yogurt flavors to choose from at any one time, and they did NOT have Peanut Butter today. That made me kind of sad. Peanut Butter yogurt is amazing. But I had chocolate with reece cup topping, so it was acceptable. Right now we are all stuffed and tired. Erica is going to be here until Monday morning, so.....who knows what tomorrow will bring. I might have to slow down with the feeding frenzy though. I am going to have to eat nothing but salads for the next week to make up for all of this decadence.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trying Hard

We are trying hard to find our way back to normal after this long, heinous summer. I have a lot to say about Bruce's Dad's passing, the summer he spent so terribly sick. But not now. Its too much with me still. Its too raw. Maybe later I can sort it all out.

In the meanwhile, we get up and go about our days, go to work, run errands...all of it. We are finding our way, and eventually things will be ok again. I know this from experience. Erica is coming home to see us this weekend. Her visa was issued this week, and her plane ticket bought. She will be leaving for York at Thanksgiving. I get sad sometimes, but I am quick to push those thoughts away and think about how exciting its going to be visiting her over there. And the fact that her contract is for 2 and a half years. And how exciting its going to be for her to be able to spend her time off roaming around Europe.

And we are spending part of next week with some friends of ours. They have rented a beachfront house up in Corolla, NC. That part of the NC coast is our favorite. And its been a while since we have gone up there. We had plans to go up for our anniversary, but Dad was too sick. So this is a real treat, and I am looking so forward to it. That whole area: Corolla, Duck, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Hatteras is such a nice combination of beautiful and remote (there is even a nude beach if you know where to find it...its not on any map), but with shopping, restaurants, and interesting sights just a short drive away. If you ever go, be sure to catch a sunset up on Jockey's Ridge. Its the largest natural sand dune in the eastern US. The climb up to the top is somewhat arduous....its climbing a tall mountain of loose sand. But the view is worth it. The Hatteras lighthouse is where a lot of people go, but I didn't find it all that exciting. Maybe because the one day we finally decided to drive all the way out there (its a long haul), the darned thing was closed, and it was hotter than hell that day anyway. At least I saw it up close from the outside, and it was kind of amazing to imagine how crazy it must have been moving that thing. We watched the moving of the lighthouse on the news, but seeing it in person...what a feat!

Love to all!

Friday, September 30, 2011

A bright spot

There was a bright spot today in the sea of car problems, stove problems and the fact that we haven't even had the time to get a new roof put on after the hurricane (we have draped plastic on top of our house....again). When I got up this morning, our fridge was acting crazy. The LED read out that tells you the temp was reading 0f, instead of -4/34. Those are the ideal fridge and freezer temps, and I didn't know that until we bought this fridge. I was so upset with it, on top of everything else, that I went to work in a tizzy.

Ok, but this afternoon I set out to deal with it. Its less than a year old, so I called Samsung to see what could be done. And it makes me happy to be able to report something happy and good. First of all, after a brief recorded menu, I had an actual customer service person, a real LIVE person on the line in less than 2 minutes. She listened to the problem, put me on hold for another 2 or so minutes to look up information about this model of refrigerator. And then in 5 short minutes of a service call....gave me the answer as to how to fix it myself. Seriously, I was floored and grateful. Apparently power fluctuations can cause the thing to go into "demo" mode. All I had to do was to hold 2 buttons on the display down for 3 or 4 seconds and it just magically started working again. The display is on. The fridge is working. I could tell that while it was still working with the 0f display, it wasn't quite as cold as it usually is.

And while I can't say how aggravating it may have been if we had needed to have a repair man come out to deal with something more involved....I am happy to say that Samsung was really quick and helpful. And in today's market of pathetically poor customer service, that is something to be grateful for. And I showed both Bruce and
Stephen how to fix the problem if it happens again. Because chances are, I won't remember...LOL.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

And it goes on and on and on

My stove finally gave up the ghost completely about a month ago. We have been planning meals completely around what can be cooked on a stove top, grill, microwave and toaster oven. There is no fixing it either. Its a control panel and its old enough that the part is no longer available. Bruce's car is on the fritz, too. We played musical cars today, Stephen ferrying us around trying to get the routes covered, and now its too darned late to figure out what the problem is. Its electrical...we know that much. Does it ever end? We are both tired and cranky and raw.

I do have a new stove coming next week. We have to have a very specific size, and it has to be "drop in" due to the fact that my cabinet configuration was done to make it look built-in. I like it because the sides have a lip that goes over the edges of the counter tops so nothing greasy or grungy can fall down onto the sides. Still, it makes our choices limited, and expensive. So there you go. I found one that I liked and of course it had to be ordered. Hopefully that can be dealt with and the 9 month saga of the oven that works only periodically will end.

Did I mention that I am tired??

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Barb asked, "Do you not want a funeral?". And that is a very good question. I don't know. I want my family to do whatever is comforting for them at the time. I feel like I will probably be someplace better and it won't make any difference to me. But I know that society dictates a certain etiquette, so....? I just know that for me, grief is private. What I wanted when my mother died was to have a week or so alone just to process things in my brain. Time to pull myself together, cry it all out, and try to feel like a human being again. I didn't want to answer calls, make plans, figure out food, or receive visitors until I felt like I had a handle on the situation. Then...maybe I could have handled a public funeral for people to pay their last respects. Maybe. As it was, I was so beside myself with shock that I don't remember much about that day. Those couple of days when we were doing all those necessary things to plan a funeral are a complete blur. I wouldn't have gotten through it without Bruce, I do know that. I have no idea who came, who didn't, who I spoke with or what I wore. All I remember was wanting to curl up in a ball in my bed and to be left alone. I realize everybody processes things differently, and a public funeral is expected. I seriously doubt I will be allowed to rewrite the rules anytime soon. My thoughts are just that it should be about bringing comfort to the ones still here. Of course, maybe having lots of people around to pay respects does bring comfort to some people....I will be the first to admit I am odd and reclusive. So, probably its just me. Funerals are just hard. And thats all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quote of the day

I like this quote. It seems appropriate right now:

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell

Bruce's father passed away quietly at home this past Friday. Jeanne called us Thursday morning, and told us that things were getting dire. Bruce immediately drove back up to Virginia and was there with him through until the end. His breathing slowed over the course of hours and finally he just didn't take another one. Its been hard. All of it. Watching him suffer through the illness, the long stay at the hospital....the whole family is sad and exhausted. But we go on because we have to.

I remember when my Mom died. One thought that occurred to me was how odd it was that life was going on normally for everybody else. People were still shopping, still going to work, putting gas in their cars, and making dinner. My world was crashing in on me and yet....the rest of the world was carrying on, business as usual. It seems like there should be at least a moment in time when there is a worldwide pause, just to commemorate a life passing. I know....not practical given how many people share the world with us. But still, something. Some acknowledgement of the moment. Not the funeral later, but the actual moment.

Dad's service was really nice. I don't really get the concept of funerals. Is the point to honor the life that has passed? I have always heard that its to give the survivors closure? Maybe its both. I just am so appalled at having to be paraded, tear-streaked face, broken heart and all, down the center aisle of a chapel full of gawkers and onlookers. And then to be expected to entertain a crowd of people afterwards? Yes, its what is expected. I know that. But to have to stand there and make trivial small talk over finger sandwiches when all I want to do is curl up in my bed and cry...its cruel and inhumane. There has got to be a better way. Or maybe its just me and my reclusive tendencies. I prefer to deal with my grief privately. But the service was nice. It was also exhausting and sad. I don't remember who I talked to, or what I said. But I got through it, and so did Bruce. At least there's that.

And now, we will have to pick up the pieces and get on with it. Its what people do.
It will be ok, but it takes time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Dear Driver of the monstrous white SUV who parked beside of me at Target,

I bite my tongue and try hard not to judge you based on the offensively large, gas guzzling vehicle that you choose to drive. Even when your obnoxious SUV blocks any view for pulling out of a parking space, or seeing if the traffic light ahead is turning yellow. Its your right to drive whatever you want, ecology be damned. But the thing that I can NOT tolerate is the way that you side-swiped my car, leaving white scratches down the driver's side as you pulled your yacht sized automobile out of the parking space. I was inside of my yellow lines. I know that for a fact, because I checked. I checked because I took notice of the fact that I was pulling in beside a ginormous white SUV, and wanted to make sure you had plenty of room to pull out. Clearly I didn't take your lack of driving skills into consideration. Thanks ever so much for the scratches, and the tattered shreds of the rubber striping down the side of my car. How nice of you to leave the scene without a note of apology. Very "klassy" of you. I wish I had gotten your license plate number, but I didn't. Although....I may actually take the time to jot that down the next time I park beside an SUV larger than anything on wheels should ever be. I take it back...I DO judge you, and unfortunately, you proved my judgement correct. I hope my car gave you some big blue streaks from where you hit me. Moron.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If you could....
1) live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Oh my Lord, I have so many places that I don't know how to narrow it down. I LOVE Puerto Rico and I could see me living happily ever after there. Maybe a little Italian village? Midtown Manhattan? A mountain lake house in the southeastern US?
I could be happy any of those places. It probably boils down to where my friends and family are really.

2) change anything about your body, what would it be?

I would say bye-bye to the thyroid disease. It has wreaked so much havoc that I don't even feel like myself most of the time. I think of my life in terms of before and after hypothyroidism. But what can you do but keep on chugging along?

3) go to your perfect job, what would it be?

Eccentric novelist...the reclusive kind who spends lots and lots of time churning out intriguing entertainment for anyone who loves to read. I don't even pretend to care about writing masterpieces. I think its the reclusive lifestyle that interests me more than the writing part.

4) change anything about your partner, what would it be?

Oh My God, I love him. He is "almost" perfect. But if we could lose the snoring so I can get a good nights sleep in my own bed, it would be wonderful.

5) have dinner with a celebrity, who would you choose?

I have been in love with Roger Taylor (Queen) since I was like 15 years old. He is my ideal dinner partner, unquestionably.

6) be invisible for a week, what would you do?

That would be such a fun filled week!! One thing would be to mess around with some folks that aren't on my "favorite's list" as much as possible. Maybe sneak in, and rearrange their furniture, hide their keys, whisper in their ears until they commit themselves to a mental health facility. Oh the fun I could have.....

7) tell someone the absolute truth what would you say?

I would tell my father that the most hurtful part of what he did to me, and to our family was to lie. Or maybe not. Its actually not that important to me anymore. For the most part, I think I have been pretty straightforward about all the things that really matter, so I don't think I could say anything that anybody wouldn't know already.

8) have a talent that you don't have now, what would it be?

I wish I could sing without scaring people. Seriously.

9) see someone who has died just for an hour, just to talk, who would you want to see?

My mother. I still really miss her pretty much every single day. I am always thinking of things I wish I could tell her, or see something that makes me think of her. An hour isn't much time, but oh if I really could have it....

10) be the opposite sex, who would you want to look like?

Heath Ledger, no wait...Johnny Depp...I don't know. Who cares? I have no desire to be a man even for a day. And I would much prefer to look AT Johnny Depp, than to look LIKE him.

11) take one thing back that you've said to someone, what would it be?

This one is difficult. I can't single out a specific thing. I know there were plenty of times that I got frustrated and spoke sharply to my husband or my children.
I wish I had more patience and the ability to stay calm when chaos strikes. I need to think about this one a bit more.

12) pick the time of your death, when would you want it to be?

The literal time? Because really, I don't care. The time of my life would obviously be when I had lived a good long time, and my death was swift and painless.

13) pick an actress to play you in the movie of your life, who is closest to what you really look like and could play your personality well?

When I was younger, maybe Goldie Hawn. Slightly ditzy definitely blonde but with a good heart. I don't think I really look like her though. Maybe a neurotic Meg Ryan?
Although people have said I remind them of Melanie Griffith, so....yeah. Any one of those ladies could probably play me better than I can be myself.

14) change your name to any other, what would it be?

I like old-fashioned classic names like Sarah, Olivia, or Lavinia, maybe Cassandra. Clearly, I also really liked Erica, too. Definitely NOT a cutesy trendy name with a funky spelling. If not Sarah, then maybe a name that is not necessarily a name. Like Absinthe, or Willow, or Zinnia. I would have to think about this some more. But since I am perfectly ok with being Rebecca, I probably won't waste any more time on it.

I will be back

I'm still here. Its just been busy/awful/insane lately. Let me update you briefly on what all has gone on since I last wrote:

Bruce's father has been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, so he is really sick. Bruce has spent a lot of time with him, and I have been to see him whenever I could beyond work. Its not always possible for both of us to be absent from work, and the bottom line is that its HIS father and he is not going to be happy unless he can be there to make sure things are being done properly. Dad needs a lot of care right now...round the clock care. The family has all pitched in and pulled together to try and do the best for him that we can. He is home now, and much happier. And we will continue to make sure he is taken care of. We have interviewed care givers and feel confident that we have found some good help. And that is a wonderful thing right now.

Stephen and Hannia have left Indiana and moved back home. They are staying with us temporarily, and honestly? It has been a God-send. My spirits are lifted just being able to see them, and they have been so much help while Bruce has needed to be with his Dad. Its funny, in a sad kind of way....they moved their furniture into our garage until they can get moved into an apartment (most likely in Durham). Bruce had said, "Oh yeah, the stuff will be just fine there....unless we have a hurricane or something". Well, yeah....1 week later Irene shows up. But their stuff stayed nice and dry, thanks to all the weather-proofing Stephen did.

We got a pretty good hit by Irene here. We lost electricity for over 24 hours (some people here in this county went 5 days without it.). We had roof damage and damage to the barn out back. We are grateful it wasn't worse. Stephen was a HUGE help in getting ready for the storm AND in the clean up afterwards. He had all the limbs and branches cleaned up by the time we got home from Danville, and believe me, that was a really nice thing to come home to.

Erica is still moving to York, most likely around December 1. She is busy writing her dissertation but has managed to visit with us and her Grandfather a couple of times over the past 2 weeks. It has been so nice to see her. I feel like I need to soak up all the time together that I can before she moves "across the pond". We need to get busy trying to get her ready, but there is still time this fall. Things are so much more expensive over there in the UK that I want her to go stocked up with essential clothing, household items like sheets and towels, etc....and rain gear. Apparently she is going to need really good rain gear, too. LOL.

So thats the gist of it. Busy, busy and not much leisure time. But it is what it is and we will be ok. I may not be updating the blog as much as I would like over the next little while. I will do the best that I can but not making any promises. Besides, I keep hearing we have yet another hurricane on track to potentially hit us again. Katia...? Much too close to the name "Katrina", and I am not especially happy about it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Should have stayed in bed....

My day started out with the realization that it was 7:00am and I was STILL in bed. Our alarm goes off at 6:20. I am generally meticulous about making sure the alarm is set before I go to bed. Apparently, having my husband out of town, and lots of chaos going on makes me forget things. God, I hate being late, too. If I am anything at all, it is punctual. I like schedules, and sticking to them. I am always put off, even slightly angered by people who breeze along, taking their time, and thinking its OK to be somewhere in the general time frame of a set meeting time. No, its NOT ok. If the time to be there is 8am, then BE there at 8am. If you know you can't or won't or have no inclination to be on time, then put that out there for people to know. Say, for instance, lets meet at 8-ish...But I digress into one of my pet peeves.

Today I was the late one, and that makes me crazy. I actually even considered calling in sick when I saw I had overslept. But then I have to be honest and confess that I think about that pretty much every single day that I wake up and think about going to work. My first thought is "Ugh!". My second thought is that with just a quick phone call I can make it go away....LOL.

So, I get to work a little late (maybe 15 minutes, but without coffee or breakfast, double ugh). The first thing I see is that the mail volume is really heavy, stuff is piled up everywhere and its just going to be one of those days. The second thing I see is one of our supervisors chewing out MY sub. You know I got a new sub a couple of months ago...she struggled, and still struggles a little bit but she IS going to make it. I wasn't so sure at first, but now I think she will be ok. If our management could stop picking on her. She's a little shy, nervous, and has a way of giggling if she is not sure about what is going on. I overheard just enough of the conversation....the supervisor was yelling at her for coming in to work just to see if they needed her. ??? She has picked up days that if somebody calls in (like I almost did), then they have her there to cover it. I don't understand why you would want to yell at somebody for being...well...industrious and trying to work. Most of our subs sit at home and refuse to answer the phone. She has bailed them out of a bind on several occasions because she was there, just waiting to make sure everybody showed up. I can't even tell you how angry I got.

Anyway, because this scene was taking place in the middle of everything I walked away. But a few minutes later, I couldn't stand it. My sub had left, probably upset from being yelled at, but I don't know because I didn't get a chance to speak to her. I ended up getting into it with the supervisor over the whole incident. One thing I have figured out about this one particular supervisor, she is one big bad nasty bully....until you stand up to her and then she backs down. When I told her I didn't appreciate her verbally abusing my sub, she started to lay into me. She started with this "Its none of your business when I talk to one of the other employees". I told her I was making it my business if I thought it was someone who might not know the ropes yet, or understand her rights or how to protect herself.
It got ugly. There was yelling. But somehow I managed to stay clear-headed and concise and didn't lose my temper to the point of not being able to see straight.
By the end, with the whole office watching us, she was blubbering about how hard it was to be her, and how everybody blamed everything on her, and how everybody hated her. I said in all brutal honesty that the office was a laid-back pleasant place to be (well, more pleasant, not amazing pleasant) when she was NOT there. It is the truth. Nothing I said was untrue. Somehow we called a truce. Life went on. I got several congratulations from people who overheard us for "saying the truth loud and proud". (I also got a "tell it sister" too which almost made me laugh). By then I was almost an hour late with doing my actual job, but at least now she knows that she can't get away with treating my sub like a dog. I know her style. It will be a while before she tries that sh*t again. She will eventually, but not right away. Why do some people feel like they can get away with picking on the meeker ones who can't or won't get into a confrontation?

So anyway, I am home again finally, and it feels so good. Stephen and Hannia are most likely going to be arriving with all their stuff in a gigantic rental truck sometime tomorrow evening. Her parents might stay the night with us too. I really need to run to the grocery store, but not today. I have had enough for this one day.
I think I am just going to go take a nap and sleep off the bad vibes. I just hope to God I can remember to set that alarm tonight. I really don't want another day to start off like that again.

Oh, and also, Erica heard back from York. They would like her to start sometime around Dec. 1. Damn it I was really hoping it would be after Christmas but I guess not. The date is not set in stone, but the only reason it might would change is if her visa takes longer than usual to get. Everything is apparently completely dependent on the visa, so....can I bribe somebody in that office to "lose" it until after New Years? LOL....But anyway, having an actual date set Erica's mind at ease that the University hadn't suddenly changed its mind. She really really is going to live in England for reals. :)