Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Fun & Memorable Moments

This week we spent three wonderful days with "Mr.D"s children, and their significant others. They are almost all grown up now, the youngest being nearly seventeen, which makes visiting a lot of fun on a different level. When our children were younger I am sure there was a lot of magic about the holidays, birthday celebrations, and visits with family. Now that they are older, there is a better understanding about the importance of spending time together.

Our journey began on Sunday morning with the road trip from NC to GA. We met up with his oldest son at a nearby gas station as they have moved to a new place, just he and his girlfriend. It's a nice wide trailer with a large living room, eat-in kitchen, guest bedroom, guest bath, laundry area, and master bedroom complete with garden tub, shower, and walk-in closet. We stayed in the guest room at the front end of the trailer which was equipped with a full sized bathroom. Since they were newly moved in and still getting set up, we brought along our airbeds, sheets, and blankets to make our room more comfortable for the stay.

After we finished setting up our room, we headed into the nearby town for some supplies for dinner. As part of our gift to them, and in thanks for them giving us lodging, we would cook meals for everyone during our visit. It made things a lot easier for his daughter, her fiancee, and his youngest son were able to come over for dinner each night before heading off to work. His youngest decided to stay overnight the last night of our visit.

"Mr.D" took the opportunity to speak with each of his children individually about what they wanted to do with their lives. It was one of the reasons he was excited about the trip down to see them. For years now he has been talking to them about moving north to explore the possibilities they were missing in GA. Please, don't get me wrong. I am sure there are areas in Georgia where one can excel in life, but the area in which they are living offers very little for young adults when it come to job opportunity.

While we were there we spent quality time with everyone. We had fun cooking together, watching comedy videos, talking and laughing together about all sorts of things, and getting to know their pets. We even managed to do some work around the house, including some plumbing. Even though Tiffany had two teeth pulled the day after we arrived, everyone still seemed to have lots of fun. I'm really glad we were able to make our trip down to see everyone!

After today's long road trip home it's time to turn in for a little rest and recuperation ... until our next adventure, goodnight!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Southward Bound!

It all seems to have come together nicely over the last couple of days. We found someone who wanted to watch the puppy until we get back, in the event the owner calls, or just adopt him should too much time elapse. Jenn and I are both sad that we are unable to keep him, but he would be a big expense as well as a lot of time and energy.

Ryan is all situated with where he will stay here in NC while awaiting for his former boss to call about his going back to work at the gas station. Whether he works while I am gone or not, I am sure he will have fun. Why not? He will be spending the week with his best friend and his family.

Jenn is going back to VA with Lisa and Steve later today after their visit with Grandma and Grandpa. She will be spending time with them until sometime after the first of the year. She wants to meet up with her brother Ted while she is there and they are all planning a trip in to Washington, DC to do some site seeing. Sounds like fun to me!

I'm packed and ready to go, will head into work shortly until 4 pm, and then I'll stop by here for anything I may have forgotten before heading west on the first leg of our trip south. All we'll have to do in the morning is load up the van and head south to GA to see "Mr.D" children. It's going to be a great visit I can just feel it!

Whooshing away now ... :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Time Together Matters Most

If you were to ask me what one gift meant most to me this Christmas, I would have to say time enjoyed with loved ones. Yesterday my boyfriend, my oldest daughter Lisa, and her husband Steve came to town for the holiday celebration. The celebration is about more than gift giving, it's about sharing that one gift that no one else can give ... your time. Even though we do share gifts, being together is more important.

Today we went to my parents for Christmas dinner, and this year we had the honor of bringing the sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole. My mom and dad normally make most of the main dishes, including some of the most delicious side dishes and desserts. However they were both sick with the flu, so we offered to bring whatever they needed to help prepare the meal.

When we had finished feasting on the most delicious meals, we gathered all into the living room for the traditional opening of gifts.

Cameron is the youngest of my parents grandchildren, and as such ost of the paper flying during the festivities was from his opening his toys. He's 4 years old and Christmas is still so magical!

The teens were excited to open their gifts too ... after all, green always makes for a good color in a gift. Each family had celebrated at their respective home before arriving at Grandma & Grandpa's so there is a less mess to have to clean up ... thank goodness!

Nearly everyone was in attendance, my parents, all four of my brothers, their wives, most of their children, most of my children, and my significant other ... "Mr.D" ;)
To all of the rest who were unable to be here ... Merry Christmas!
(Talena, Angelica, Nathan, Olivia, and Pamela)

Once we had managed to clean up from the dinner meal, we said our goodbyes for the day and headed home. It was wonderful to spend time with our friends and family, but it was time to get home to check on the puppy. When we arrived home we took him out for a stroll, fed him some dinner, and played with him until he passed out on the living room floor. He did really well during our absence today; I'm hoping his owner calls within the next 24 hours. For now, we'll enjoy having him around.

All in all, this has been a wonderful day, and now its time to relax. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Rescue

When I headed into work today, the last thing I expected to do was rescue a lost puppy. Around lunch time a small Husky pup wandered by our door as we were talking taxes. Joann asked if we saw what she thought she saw, and then we all headed to the door. There he was, as cute as could be, even tempered, beautiful black and white Husky. As we all stood outside to figure out what to do with him, my boss went next door to get some puppy chow, puppy treats, and toys. As she handed me the bag of goodies she said, "Take him home, his eyes match yours." Very funny.

When I arrived home it was all Jenn could do to contain her excitement. She danced at the idea of owning a Husky and was so thrilled to see this little fellow on Christmas Eve. I immediately reminded her that like all of the other pets we had rescued, this one had to have an owner somewhere that was missing him. We would try and wait to see if someone claimed him before finding him a new home. For now, Jenn is in puppy heaven. :)

I'm not sure when we might hear something from an owner since its so close to Christmas, but we left our number with a nearby veterinarian, a no-kill shelter, the animal shelter, and the pet store. I hope we hear something soon. We all will be leaving town on Saturday for the rest of our holiday vacation. I wish we could keep him too, but now is not a good time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Rush Before the Calm

I know it's late and I promise to get some rest, I'll need it. This week will be a busy one indeed. I have to work both jobs most of the week and get ready for visitors for the holidays. Here's what my schedule will look like for the week:

Monday - Run Jenn to her friends before I go to work at 11 am to job #2. Get off work at 8 pm, head home to work on getting the house in order before my guests arrive on Wednesday.

Tuesday - Work from 9 am to 4 pm at job #1, then work from 5 pm to 11 pm at job #2. After work I will return home and hit the hay!

Wednesday - Work from 9 am to 4 pm at job #1, then return home to join my guests for dinner. I'm hoping my kids will fix some chili; it's an easy meal.

Thursday - Arise, fix breakfast, bake a sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and get ready for the day's events. Head to mom's before 1 pm. Visit with the family, eat Christmas dinner, open presents, head home around 5 pm with the kids, then relax.

Friday - Enjoy my time with everyone until 4 pm when I will head into work from 5 pm to 11 pm at job #2. Come home and snuggle in for the night.

Saturday - Say my goodbyes to my children before they head off to VA. If Ryan is staying in town I'll drop him off at his friends house. Then I'll head to work at job #2 from 7 am to 4 pm. After work it will be time to head out to the sand hills for our trip to GA to see "Mr.D"s children.

The following week we will spend with each other while visiting his children, then returning to NC to await a call from Lisa to meet her halfway to pick up Jenn and Ryan from their visit to VA. Before we know it, the new year will be knocking on the door. I need to get to bed, more later!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Homemade Gifts for Christmas

We have decided to make some of the gifts we are giving to each other for Christmas this year. Before Pamela arrived we purchased a large stocking, various stocking stuffer items, and supplies to make a special gift for her new apartment. Jennifer decorated the stocking as part of her gift for her sister. Then she helped me frame some photos we had taken from a previous visit, and a couple others from more recent times as her gift from all of us.

Pamela's Stocking
(design by Jenn)

Here Pamela's is trying to sneak a peak
into her stocking, imagine that!

Pamela is wearing her part of her scarf and glove set
while opening some of the stocking stuffer items.
Although she doesn't have a microwave she says
she can fix her hot cocoa on the stove. Her stocking was
filled with all sorts of goodies including fruit, gum,
tootsie roll bank, a small calendar, and a small framed
photo of her boyfriend.

This is the finished framed gift of photographs.
Beginning with the top left and continuing clockwise:
Ryan (the rock star); Pamela and Jenn;
Pamela (a model photo); and Pamela, me, and Jenn

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Early Christmas Visit

Yesterday my second eldest daughter came to town for an early visit for Christmas. This is the first Christmas in seven years that we have been together. The timing is kind of odd, but I think she had a two-fold reason for her visit being so early. We have just started to decorate for the holidays, but she really didn't mind. We met in town, headed over to the local department store to pick up some supplies, and then stopped to pick up dinner for all of us before heading home

We had planned on spending the evening together but I got a call from work reminding me that I was scheduled and was two hours late. OOPS! My days have been running together so much lately, and for some reason I thought I had to go in on Wednesday, not Tuesday! Pamela stayed here with Jenn and Ryan watching movies. By the time I got home after work, the kids were in bed as they had school today, and Pamela was awake and ready to talk for a while. We managed to get to bed around 2 a.m. making for a short night's rest for me ... :/ stuff happens ... :)

Today she headed to Fayetteville, NC to see one of her high school friends. He is in the military, stationed in Hawaii, and was home this week to visit his family. Pamela has stayed in touch with her friend and apparently had made plans to see him during our visit. So, she will return tomorrow to spend the evening with us and then head home until some time in January of 2009.

If all goes as planned tomorrow, we will head to my parent's for a brief visit, then head over to my brother's before heading home. Then sadly, she will head north to return to her home and get ready for work on Friday afternoon. These visits are not nearly long enough and hard to orchestrate when we are on different schedules. This is not an unusual thing though, my boyfriend's children are also on overnight work schedules, so we have learned to make adjustments when visiting.

Monday, December 15, 2008

State Championship Slips Away

This past Saturday our high school's football team traveled to play in their first ever State Championship game. Though they had experienced an undefeated season, this was not their best played game. Some speculated that the news of one of the football team's players having been diagnosed with a brain tumor put a damper on their spirit. Rumors stirred at school today about particular players going out the night before the game who partied a bit too hard. Apparently the outing hampered their performance for the most important game of their high school football career. Regardless, it was an honor to make it to the championship playoffs; maybe they will repeat their undefeated season but go on to win the State Championship. It would be a great gift to their retiring coach!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good Luck Red, White, & Blue!

Yes, tomorrow the kids high school's football team will go halfway across the state to play their first ever State Championship game! Can you tell, we are excited? Well, I won't be able to go, but Jenn will be performing during halftime with the band. She is riding a tour bus along with the rest of the color guard, band, football players, and cheerleaders. They leave here around 5:30 a.m. to get to the stadium before the game. Ryan and I will be cheering them on from the warmth of home. I would have loved to have been there, but the cost for all three of us to go was over $165.00. Right now, that kind of expense isn't realistic, so I've decided to spend it on the holidays.

"Go Big RWB!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

OMG, Who Elfed Me?

Imagine my surprise as I opened my email to see that I've been elfed! But not just me, it's my boyfriend, my son, and my youngest daughter! LOL! Honestly, I love it!

You can be "elfed" too! Just visit and follow the easy instructions. Before you know it, you'll be a dancin' elf yourself!

Go ahead, have fun with it! I dare you ... ;)

Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 8, 2008


It has seemed like years since I had to deal with any of my children arguing about privileges based on age. There was a time when my oldest daughter would be allowed to do something, or go somewhere, and her younger sister (by four years) was not, thus causing discontent among them. No matter how much we tried to explain to Pamela that she wasn't old enough to do the things her sister was, she didn't get it. It didn't help that they were about the same height, adding to the argument in her defense. Nonetheless, the boundaries were set.

Now it begins again. Tonight Ryan won "meet the band" tickets for a concert that he and his best friend are attending tomorrow night. His friend is coming home from college for the Christmas break, and they thought it might be fun to go to the free concert in a nearby town. The band's name is "We The Kings" and they have a current hit song titled "Check Yes Juliette". Well, Jenn wants to go too, but she has a full day of school the following day. She had asked me if she could go and she assumed since I didn't answer, that she could go anyway. You can imagine her disappointment upon hearing my answer.

Thus ensued the argument between them, but only for a few moments when I stepped in and ended their heated discussion. During their arguing I heard "that's not fair" to which I thought, "that's life". I would imagine that next year, there will be a whole new set of challenges as we experience the "only child" syndrome with Jenn being the only child at home. Oh wait ... perhaps she won't be the only one. ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You Make the Call

If the absent parent is $10,239.00 in arrears with his child support, is not making his payments on a consistent timely basis, is not even attempting to make small payments to the arrears, should he send his child, whom he has had little to no contact with, a cell phone? Keep in mind, that a mobile phone, whether pay-as-you-go or one added to an existing plan, is an ongoing expense. Right? And if you are not currently paying the support needed for your child, does it make any sense to spend money monthly in order for the teen to have a luxury item?

I understand that a lot of teens have cell phones, but how many of them pay for their own, and how many have parents or someone else who have afforded them that privilege? I cannot afford that expense, and Jenn can't either since she is extremely involved at school with band, drivers education, and being an FFA officer. For some reason, she thinks that since her cousin down the street has had one for a long time now (in teen time a year is a long time) and he brother now has a cell phone, she should have one. Ryan lucked out for now. He has a friend who added him to their plan. It may not be the smartest move, and could flop should he not soon get a job.

As a single parent on a limited budget, I tend to watch what we spend money on as closely as possible. A cell for either of them is out of the question. There is no argument when it comes to my owning one since mine is paid for by my oldest daughter and her husband. She used to call me on my home phone and was running up her cell bill. Her husband suggested they combine their services and add me to their plan. This would keep their bill to a minimum and give her unlimited minutes to talk to me. Nice son-in-law!

In my opinion, if my ex-husband cannot pay his child support on a consistent timely basis, he shouldn't be sending gifts that someone else will have to maintain monetarily. A gift such as a watch, book, teddy bear, DVD movie, music CD, or something personal and not too expensive would be appropriate, and this would only seem natural if he were in their lives on a consistent basis. Since he is not, these types of gifts would be empty in value, and the phone would be an inappropriate to say the least.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

Here we are, the end of the month, and still no child support. Hmmm ... can we say repeat performance? What's different about this month from the others? Why is it what the ex always seems to miss a payment just about the time I am getting back on some sort of footing financially? Who the heck knows! I could be jumping the gun here a bit, after all I won't really know he has missed the month completely until I check my account next week. Sometimes when he pays it on or near the end of a month, it won't show up in my account until about 7 to 10 days later. So I'll wait to sing that ever popular tune ... "another one bites the dust, and another one's gone, another one's gone, another one bites the dust" bump, bump, bump, dadada da da!

Yeah :/

PS It's a good thing we got our Christmas bonus early on November 1st, it paid the rent, so "Merry Christmas" and thank goodness we have all our needs met this month in spite of the ex's absent behavior! Tomorrow is a new day :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Surprise, I'm Home!

Wow, what a fast three days this has been! We were prepared to meet my daughter; Pamela, in Wilson on Tuesday morning, but I was awakened by a call around 5 a.m. letting me know I could sleep in as she would arrive at the house around 7 a.m. Her ride had decided to bring her all the way to my house and spare me from having to make an early morning trip. Thank goodness!

She pulled in the driveway about 20 minutes before Ryan and Jenn headed out the door to school for the day. Since she had been up all night, we talked as I got ready for work, and then she headed off to bed for some sleep. Pamela works as a waitress in an all night diner and sleeps during the day, so we did our best to allow her to set her schedule for the visit.

When I got home on Tuesday we all spent the evening together, catching up on our lives, and as the evening ended everyone turned in for a good night's rest. On Wednesday I was surprised by a car load of guests for lunch. My boyfriend had arrived for the holiday weekend and brought the entire family in town to take me out of the office for a quick bite to eat. It was a great!

I had to work both jobs in order to have the next five days off. Yes, I said five days! I'm sure I'll end up working as much while on vacation as at my regular jobs, but I'll get to spend it with loved ones, and that is not work but a labor of love. Even though I knew today was going to be a long one, it seemed even longer at work knowing that my daughter would be going home to NJ sometime tomorrow. Hopefully later in the evening but not too late; I want both she and her friend to arrive safely at home before midnight!

So much for making this a short post, everyone is still awake, they have fixed a pizza and some snacks, and they are ready to start the movie. So, more about our vacation later ... and "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A 10 Day Stretch

As I mentioned earlier, this ten day stretch is going to be a dozy! Pamela will come in on Tuesday morning, she'll sleep while I am at work, then we will get to spend the evening together before I go to work on Wednesday. Thank goodness the kids are out of school that day, they can all spend time watching movies, talking, and having some fun. The around noon my boyfriend should arrive adding one more to the mix of fun. I'm hoping to see him for lunch should he sneak by the office first before going to the house.

I'm not real happy about having to work while either of my guests are here, but at least we will all get to spend Thanksgiving day together at my parents house. I just wish Pamela could stay longer as she and I rarely get to spend time together. Fortunately, this will not be her last trip home, she is planning one around her birthday during tax season. Let's hope she comes before our mad rush and long hours. She will leave Thursday afternoon and drive straight through to home. Ever notice that now matter how old our children are, we worry about their safety?

Friday we all plan on relaxing around the house. Saturday we want to get the dryer hooked up so we won't have to go to the laundry mat again. Perhaps Sunday we can find some alone time for just us, "Mr.D" and me of course. Right now, I'm just hoping I'll have the time to get all of the things done before anyone arrives next Tuesday. Laundry and work today, work and housework tomorrow, I'm going to be like that lady on television in the bathtub ... Calgon, take me away! We definitely need one of those cast iron tubs ... yeah!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sheesh, is my hearing ever going bad!

The other day I was talking to my daughter who love doing wild things to her hair. She has changed the look of her hair at least five time in the last three years. She offered to style my hair next time she visits, which will be this coming week. Both Pamela and Jenn think it's time for me to get rid of the 70's style long hair. I like my long hair! During our conversation we were reminiscing about some of our favorite hair salons in Virgina, and I could have sworn I heard her say she had been looking for an opening for one of the Manhattan jobs she had seen in the newspaper. When I asked what Manhattan had to do with Madhatter's she laughed so hard she fell off the couch. I really didn't think it was that funny, but she said it was more the look on my face and not the mix up on the words that made her laugh. Great, now not only am I hearing funny, but I'm funny looking!

:/ Remind me not to use the web cam next time! :P

A Busy Week Ahead!

This afternoon I had the opportunity to talk to the administrator at Jenn's school. We set up an appointment for Monday at 8:30 a.m. which is normally my day off from my bookkeeping job. I had planned on working this coming Monday in an effort to maintain my pay for the week. If the meeting with the administrator and campus officer is completed before lunch, I should be able to get in at least 4 hours of work for the day.

After work I'll need to get home to prepare for the week of visitors. We are expecting my daughter Pamela to arrive on Tuesday afternoon, my boyfriend sometime on Wednesday, and my daughter Lisa, and her husband late Wednesday or early Thursday. It should be a wonderful week filled with family, friends, fun, and lots of good cooking! I even get to work on Thanksgiving day! Thank goodness it's in the earlier part of the day (7 a.m. to 11 a.m.) ... LOL!

Next week is going to prove to be a busy one indeed!

Diet Pills for the Mind?

If you think about it for a moment, it may make perfect sense. How so? We live in a day and age when there are so many different types of media, where people are continually being bombarded by images and ideas both positive and negative. Wouldn't it makes sense then, that limiting the negative input we feed ourselves might be a lot like taking diet pills for the mind? Why not?

Seriously. What you feed your mind and body, is what makes you who you are, in more ways than just physically and mentally. So the next time you think about feeding your children visual imagery that is not positive, remember that it will stay with them for a lifetime. It makes perfect sense to utilize effective diet plans to eliminate the affects that junk foods have on our physical health. Why not have a similar plan to limit the "junk food" that affects our mental health?

I wonder if you can have too much positive input for the mind? Nah!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Waiting for the other shoe to drop ...

Today when I arrived home from work, I watched my daughter head to her room to take a nap. She was emotionally drained. Why? This week has been a hectic one for her. There is a classmate who's ex-boyfriend decided that he wanted to pursue someone else and asked Jenn if she wanted to "go out" with him. Jenn was excited to say the least, but her happiness would soon be threatened by the old girlfriend. You can read more about the kinds of verbal intimidation and cyber-bullying this classmate has put Jenn through over at Adventures in a Lifetime.

We are still waiting for the administrator to call to set up an appointment to talk with the officer on campus. News as it develops ... sigh ... hopefully good news!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chewy or Crisp?

A couple of weeks ago, two of my coworkers and I went to one of our favorite lunch spots instead of ordering out. It's famous for its Greek cuisine, but the also cook American favorites. Since their large subs are too much for one person to eat, and only a $1.00 more than their half subs, Joann and I will split a large BLT sub, and order a large order o onions rings.

As we began to eat our lunch, Joann and I both gave each other a puzzled look. At nearly the same time we asked, "Is your bacon chewy or crisp?" The answer was a resounding "raw"! There is nothing worse than undercooked bacon on a BLT. We asked the waitress if she could have them cook the bacon a bit longer and send our sandwich back out. She said they would just have to make another sub, and then huffed off.

For a moment before realizing that the bacon was undercooked, I thought perhaps the restaurant had joined some kind of bacon of the month club and were experimenting on their customers. Boy was I wrong! For the time being, when we order lunch from this restaurant we do not order our usual BLT, instead we stick with the tried and true Veggie sub. I guess you could say we are "pork" shy from the experience.

Chewy or crispy, I like my bacon COOKED!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who's Got Senior-i-tis Now?

Meet Ryan, he turned 18 this last summer as he entered his last year in high school. He's a Senior. He is active in the FFA, plays on the high school's club lacrosse team as a co-captain, and is looking forward to graduating this coming June. He plans on attending college about an hour from home at a private school. We went yesterday to participate it's "Visitation Day" only to find out that the administration assistant had emailed us an announcement of the day's events from last year. It's all right though, they invited anyway us up for a private tour and lunch.

Meet Mike, also a senior in high school and one of Ryan's best friends. Mike is active in the FFA as Sentinel on the officer's team, he is on the wrestling team, and plays lacrosse for the high school's club team. This is Mike's third year as an officer for the school's FFA chapter. He previously served as Reporter as in his sophomore year, and as Secretary in his junior year. Last year, he, Ryan, and their friend Andrew, all served as part of the officers team. In fact, last year's team was what some might call a "Dream Team" of sorts. More about that another time. As we arrived at the college parking lot, we met up with Andrew.

Photographed below are some highlights from our tour.

Arts & Science Building

Ryan and Mike head to admissions to meet with
the admissions assistant while Andrew
went back to class until after lunch.

One of the first stops on our tour was a visit to the Cafe.
One thing is for sure ... these boys will not go hungry!

As we left the cafe we got a glimpse of some
sunshine and a beautiful view of the gazebo.

We headed over to the library, but stayed outside
as we didn't want to disrupt any real studying. The
building that linked to the library houses several
classrooms for the Science and Math departments.

As we crossed the campus to see where the music
department was located we passed by the Chapel.
Apparently you can earn a scholarship by simply
committing to work 80 hours events for the year.

Next we stopped by the weight room, aerobics
classroom, gymnasium, and racket ball courts. We had
completed our tour, it was not time to discuss what
was required for the guys to attend the college.

Finally, after a nice hot lunch, we met up with Andrew.
He had a couple of hours before he had to head to work
on the campus, so he gave the guys a tour of the dorms.

This is the Freshman dorm room. As you can see it's small.
As you enter the room there are two single beds and a small
refrigerator. The chair is to the desk on the other side of
the closets seen to the right of Andrew.

The other side of the room has a desk, bookshelf,
dresser, and closet on each side.
Can you tell they don't do much cleaning?

The guys stopped for a few minutes to play guitar.
All three of them have played music together
for the last two years. They are hoping to all
share an apartment in a couple of years.

Andrew escorted us to our van as the guys all
said their goodbyes. All Ryan and Mike could talk
about on the way home was how ready they are to
get to college. Seems I'm not the only one suffering
from senior-i-tis!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When was YOUR last Tetanus Shot?

My doctor asked me that very same question and I quickly answered the spring of 1999. Wrong! After talking with Lisa I was reminded that we both had our last tetanus shot on the first of our Disney vacations with her high school marching band. So that means it was in the spring of 1995 thus making us both overdue for our shots. Ryan may be overdue for his too! At this point Pamela, Ted, and Jenn are probably the only ones who are up-to-date on their immunizations.

If you've not had your shots lately, please, stop by your doctor's office or local health department and get them soon. I'm getting mine before the end of the month, as there's no need to wait until we go to Disney next year with the marching band and color guard!

"See you real soon!" ;)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Teens & Appropriate Jobs

Ryan started his new job this week and is finding it a bit overwhelming. He is cashiering at a local gasoline station and one of the duties is to sell tobacco and alcohol to customers. Most adults are able to handle this since they have life experiences that help them identify those that are trying to pull something, or are too drunk to have another drink. For someone who is not accustomed to dealing with people that are deceitful or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can be very intimidating. His new boss has told him that if after a week's training if he feels that this line of work is not something he wants to continue doing that she will understand.

At this point he is already looking for another job at something a little less intimidating, and less danger of personal and physical harm. This past week alone there were over 20 robberies in our area, most at convenience stores. Apparently the store that Ryan works at keeps a scanner on site to stay atop these types of situations. Regardless, he is not comfortable with either the prospect of selling tobacco or alcohol to the wrong person, or putting himself in harms way should there be a robbery at his station.

Hopefully one of the jobs he has applied for at the grocery store will call soon!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Class 5A

Last night Jenn and her fellow guard and band members performed their last show for the season. Thought they are normally in a Class 4A classification for competing they were bumped up to compete with six other Class 5A bands. Since I had to work until 5 p.m. today, I made it down to the competition just as her class was to perform on the field.

The bands were great! They really had their work cut out for them. It was a good thing that the host band was not competing tonight as they would have been an additional threat. The most interesting and best performances of the night was by a band who were all dressed in black and white. As the musicians would turn to the music it was like an optical illusion.

Their uniforms were like a circus outfit of sorts, all black on one side, and all white on the other from head to toe. Their color guard changed outfits at least three times from white with diagonal stripes, to solid white, then to solid black. Their flags were also varied but all were black and white as was the name of the show.

The most thrilling moment of the night for Jenn was not so much the competition as it was the air gram she got as she entered the field. As the announcer read them we heard, "Jennifer, I said I was going to ask you something tonight ... will you go out with me?" Jenn is now officially no longer single. The look on her face was priceless!

Their band finished in 4th place out of seven, receiving Superior marks for a grade!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Moen, Moen, Moen ... oh, Mowing!

As the season changed the grass in my yard started growing slower, thus making it a bit easier on my budget. Having to mow 1.5 acres of grass each week with a 20" mower takes a bit of petrol. We've been able to put off mowing for the last four weeks with the cold weather, but it's time now. I asked Ryan if he wouldn't mind making sure the mowing was done, especially the grass next to the house, before I got home from work. The look on his face was priceless, sheer puzzlement! He scratched his head and asked what do Moen faucets have to do with the grass outside? Nothing. Ryan was suffering from a "deh, deh, deh" moment. When he heard me say we needed to get mowin' he couldn't figure out what the grass next to the house had to do with our faucet which needed fixing was in the house.

Can we say selective hearing?!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Making the Most of a Day

Today I worked two shifts but at different jobs. I spent the first half of my day as a bookkeeper and the second half as a cashier. By the end of the day I was ready for some time to unwind, and one of the ways I like to do that is by writing about my adventures. I managed to catch the tail end of the weather report on television, so I'll have to read today's news online. In some ways it's easier that way, no commercials, especially those surrounding this years elections.

Speaking of elections, it would appear that most of what we are hearing now is repetitive and unlikely to change anyone's mind about their choice. Since we were already at the high school to pick up Jenn on Monday evening, Ryan and I both decided to vote early in an effort to avoid long lines next Tuesday. It was Ryan's first time voting and the staff at the polls were most helpful in making the process an easy one for him.

Regardless of who we vote for as a nation, perhaps the one thing we can all agree on this year, is that watching the results come in on Tuesday is going to be very interesting!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Inspirational Women

Today I received an email from my sister-in-law titled "MAYA ANGELOU'S' BEST POEM EVER". As I read the poem it struck me odd; for whatever reason it just didn't have that familiar feeling to it. While investigating the poem's validity on I found a link which directs the reader to Maya Angelou's site disclaiming this work as one of her own.

I had to look in another direction to discovered that it was not a poem but a list of "30 things every woman should have and should know by the time she’s 30", and was written by novelist Pamela Redmond Satran. She is an accomplished author and the message in her list of womanly needs is indeed inspirational. You can read Pamela's entire list here in her Glamour magazine article written February 1, 2007.

To satisfy my curiosity I did some additional searches for both the works of Pamela Redmond Satran and Dr. Maya Angelou. There is no doubt that both of these women have a talent for putting into words what we feel as women. If you ever get the opportunity to hear Dr. Maya Angelou perform, you may agree that she truly is an amazing woman!

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
the swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
what they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
the need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Read more information about Dr. Maya Angelou

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mom, I don't feel good :(

It's funny, that no matter where your children are when they are sick, they seem to think you have some magical power to make them well again. Ryan called yesterday morning to tell me that his throat and tongue were swollen and that it was hard to eat and talk. Any other time this would be an easy fix. Call the doctor for an appointment, pick up a prescription, and put him to bed. Why not yesterday?

Unfortunately he is in Indiana for the week until Sunday. I called the teacher who tried to take him to a local urgent care facility, or an emergency room, but the best they could do was have him sit for six hours until they could work him in. So, we called his pediatric doctor who suggested he gargle with warm salt water, take some ibuprofen for pain, and get some rest.

I called earlier this evening to see how he was feeling and surprisingly enough he was much better. The teacher said he is talking up a storm and eating healthy again. I don't think they will return before the doctor's office closes on Sunday. Yes, I said Sunday. Can you imagine your pediatrician being open on the weekend much less Sunday? If he still needs to go, we'll go Monday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hey, which way are you going?

What a busy week! Ryan if off in Indianapolis, IN at the annual FFA National Convention, Jenn is taking drivers education on top of classes at school and color guard practice for this weekend competition, and I am have worked for the last ten days. Sound busy enough for you? I'm finding that I have little time to relax between the two jobs. It seems I've been picking up other people's chores. Guess we'll have to have a talk when everyone is home this weekend.

Until then, tonight I get a break. Thanks goodness! Thursdays are our date night for watching "Survivor" and I am really looking forward to a relaxing evening with my boyfriend. Even though we are in a long distance relationship we make it a point to spend time each week enjoying something fun together. I really miss watching "LOST" but it's not back on television yet. Anyway, it's nearly time, so I'd better get ready for some "R" time!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Troubleshooting Jumpy Monitors

My coworker's computer monitor at the office will often twitch like a nervous or stressed muscle. After performing some troubleshooting, we thought we had narrowed down the culprit. It appears that the video card could possibly be to blame for the jittery monitor screen. Since the computer is a fairly new purchase it should still be under warranty. In an attempt to narrow the field even more, I mentioned the problem to Eddie (our computer guru) who suggested we try switching out monitors. This could eliminate the video card as the core of the problem. I'm sure Eddie would rather it be the monitor as he seems swamped lately. Between one of my bosses and myself, we have the resources to solve most of our computer problems. When computers are vital to the livelihood of your business, it's important to keep them functioning properly. So I'll have to give Eddie's suggestion a try first thing in the morning.

You know, it's nice that I am able to do all of this techie stuff, but it would be even nicer if I could earn what Eddie does per hour when working on our computers. I'm working on it! ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Happy Anniversary, Indeed!

Around 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning I woke up and started my day by cooking two cream cheese quiches for the my daughter and her husband, Ryan and Jenn for breakfast. I had to be at work by 12:00 noon, so I had no time to waste. Lisa got up around 10:00 a.m. and helped finish putting in the second quiche as I got ready for my day. As I headed off to work I noticed that the three youngest were still in bed. It must be nice to sleep in. ;)

Lisa (my oldest daughter) and Steve (her hubby) are down for the weekend in order for Lisa and Jenn to spend some time together for her birthday. As I arrived home after work, Ryan's friend was over and wanted him to come spend the night, and Jenn, Lisa and Steve were headed out for the evening. Since everyone was going to be busy for the next 24 hours, I asked them if they minded if I made a surprise trip to see "Mr.D" in celebration of our 5th anniversary? Everyone wished us a "Happy Anniversary" and waved goodbye for the day.

I had planned on making a surprise entrance but decided to call ahead to ask if "Mr.D" was busy for the night. When I told him I was able to come for a brief visit, he was as excited as I was to be able to celebrate our anniversary together. At first he asked that I pick some wine and bread for the meal, then he called back and said he had to go to the store anyway so he would get what we needed for dinner.

I stopped by a store near the house to pick up an anniversary card and small gift. When I arrived just a few minutes later he greeted me with a huge hug and kiss. As I looked into the room, there on the dining room table was the most beautifully set table, complete with candles, a dozen roses, and a card. My heart just melted!

We had a romantic dinner, danced to Diana Krall, and celebrated our love for each other!

Visits like this definitely make the distance seem so much shorter. ;)

Three Pairs Later ...

Just what kind of shoes are best for your feet if you standing for long periods of time? I'll be standing about 24 - 35 hours per week on my new job, and even though I'm on a budget I don't want to give up comfort. Last week I purchased a simple pair of shoes from a local retail store for my new job. They met all of my needs, good fit, right color, and the price was within my budget. I had them on less an hour and they were killing my feet. In fact I had to switch them out for my old faithfuls, a pair of clogs.

I decided I'd try wearing my clogs to work on my first day at the grocery store. Bad idea! They were not made for standing still in for any length of time. So, I purchased another pair of shoes at the same store as before, but decided to choose a more expensive style shoe. These are much more comfortable, but I can tell I'll need another pair in a few months. It would appear that the old saying, "you get what you pay for" is true.

While I was at work today, I asked one of my coworkers what kind of shoe they suggested I purchase for the type of work we do. Each seemed to have on a different style, and the ones that interested me the most were the one Dansko shoes. My coworker said they were the most comfortable, and durable shoes she had ever purchased for work. I'd rather pay more for a great pair of comfortable, durable shoes, than to have to repeatedly try and find the same in a cheaper style shoe.

Three purchases of bad shoe styles? Or one pair of comfortable, durable, Dansko's!

Is this what is know as a "no brainer"?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Visitors, Work, & Celebrations

This weekend Jenn's older sister and her husband will be coming down for a visit to spend time with Jenn in celebration of her sixteenth birthday. I'm not sure what they have planned for her, but I think shopping is on the list, and what girl doesn't like to go shopping? Jenn loves it! I'm hoping they have a really nice time no matter what they end up doing together.

On Saturday I'll begin my new job at the local grocery store. They have me scheduled for just three hours and since Lisa and Jenn will be busy most of the weekend, my working and any other plans shouldn't interfere with their fun. Apparently the manager who hired me decided that he needed me more hours per week than I had originally been given last week. I'll have another partial day Sunday night for four hours and then nine hours on Monday. Whew!

If all goes as planned this weekend I should be able to pull off a surprise of my own! ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Anniversary Gift Ideas

This coming weekend Mr.D and I will celebrate our fifth year together as a couple. I'm always looking for a good deal, and for good ideas for gifts for the man in my life. Today as we sat around the conference table the subject of anniversaries came up in conversation. One of my coworkers is also celebrating an anniversary this month; she and her boyfriend have been together for one year on October 31st. Though she is thinking of getting her beau one of the new Seiko watches for their anniversary, I've got a different surprise in mind for mine. We had a sneak peek of what is in store this past weekend, and even though time was limited it was wonderful!

It's important to remember that even though money may buy pretty trinkets, baubles, and bangles, as the Beatles sang, money can't buy you love!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Longer Days Are Just Beginning

Tonight I headed to my second job for training after spending a full day at my current job. I spent my first night of training watching several videos, reading multiple procedural documents, and completing numerous tests. Five hours later I was exhausted, and since there was nothing left for me to do I headed home. Thank goodness we are only open until 11:00 p.m. each night and that I will only be working six hours per night a few days per week. After working seven hours during the day I am praying that my night shift won't wear me out. My next scheduled day for training is Saturday for just three hours ... whew! LOL!

Funny thing? As my son headed off to bed he said, "Mom, it was really weird not having you home tonight". I thought they wouldn't even notice. ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Surprise Awaits Jenn!

When Jenn arrives home today after her trip to Myrtle Beach she'll find a surprise awaiting her on her dresser. It was "Mr.D" idea to get her the companion book for the series "Ugly Betty" since she loves the show. When my favorite show is off air taping we'll grab some hot tea and a snack and watch it together. The shows main character is one of her favorite new stars; America Ferrera, who also starred in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants". There have been two movies in that series of books and she loves those too. I wonder if she'd like the next book in the series for Christmas? I'll have to do some further investigation.

America Ferrera starred in three other movies that I don't believe either of us has seen, "Lords of Dogtown", "Steel City" and "American Family", so we'll need to put those on our list of must see movies.


Box Lacrosse!?

As many of you know, Ryan loves playing lacrosse. Well, he and two of his friends are getting that opportunity today as Coach Mac and Coach Kevin are hosting some games for the youth league players in our area. It's going to be a bit different in that they are playing indoors and the game is referred to as "Box Lacrosse". The rules are pretty much the same but there is a limited body contact and no boarding (knocking a player into the wall) rule for the day. If all goes well there will be games each Sunday for two age groups. This type of indoor sport should increase their stick skills for next spring.

The groups are broken up as ages U14 and 15+, each age group will play two games alternating times, one U14 then one 15+, then set again. Ryan is so glad this is becoming a fast growing sport for our area now, he has missed playing since his injury this spring. If they form an age group of 18+ some of the young marines want to play too, and Ryan says if it continues he will come home from college each weekend in order to play. If the college he attends does not have a lacrosse team, perhaps he'll help inspire a movement among students to form a team. After all, he is used to being on start-up teams!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Broadway at the Beach

Every year Jenn's high school marching band travels to compete at one other school with a nearby attractions and this year they chose Myrtle Beach. They originally had entrance into "Hard Rock Park" but they closed the park down due to the economy. So the band boosters agreed that the students could attend the attractions at "Broadway at the Beach". If they choose the "Ticket to Play" for $49 they will enjoy these fun events during their visit.

* 1 hour of play & a wand at MagiQuest
* 18 holes of mini-golf at Dragon's Lair
* 5 individual ride tickets to Pavilion Nostalgia Park
* 1 admission to Ripley's Aquarium
* 1 admission to IMAX 3D Theatre

It works out to be less than the original attraction cost and the students can add on to their fun with a race at Nascar Speedpark, a dip at Myrtle Waves Water Park, or live performances at the Palace Theatre. Sounds like a great idea for future vacations.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Sweet Sixteenth Birthday, Jennifer!

We love you with all of our hearts!

4ever & always,

Mom, Mr.D, Ryan, Lisa & Steve, Pamela, Ted, Baby & Lil'Man

When Knowledge is Power

Ignorance causes fear. Ignorance being a lack of adequate information about a subject. Take for instance a child who turns the light off at night in his room. He is afraid because he doesn't realize that there is nothing more in his room in the dark than there is when the light is on. Once he is of an age where reason sets in he is able to make that distinction.

Elections can be a lot like the aforementioned situation for a first time voter. Like this child, the uninformed voter is afraid of what they cannot see. It is very intimidating to try and sift through the various media venues to find truth in either candidate's speeches or promises. On top of that, they are both slinging mud at this point in an attempt to diminish the character of the other. I once told my children that voting was like making a choice between the lesser of the two evils. This year seems no different. So, amid the political muck, where does one help find truthful information to make an educated decision before voting in November?

Any ideas?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who let the birds out?

Ryan and I were sitting out front on the lawn when I noticed that the new Adirondack chairs he had built had some droppings on one of them. We had been talking about getting cushions for the chairs, but if we are going to have large birds flying overhead, we might want to consider purchasing some outdoor furniture covers to protect the chairs. It would keep them much cleaner and it would make visits outside more comfortable for everyone. We recently moved the chairs to the deck which makes it easier for all of us to relax after a long day, or enjoy a fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Perhaps he's planning on making that love seat he's been talking about as a surprise for next spring?

Mother's day would be a great time for a surprise!

Grand Champions

Last night Jennifer, her cousin Ashley, the entire marching band and color guard competed at a high school in Edenton, NC. Since finances are so tight I stayed home while Ryan attended the competition with Ashley's parents. At about 8:15 p.m. Ryan called to tell me that they had performed the best show ever! Shortly after his call, my sister-in-law called to let me know that the band had not only placed first in drum major, visual effects, general effects, music, marching, and over all, but they won the prized award of "Grand Champion". Fortunately my brother filmed their performance and I'll get to see it tomorrow night; I can hardly wait!

Next weekend these "Grand Champions" will compete in South Carolina, and we wish you all the best of success!

Hiding from One's Responsibilities

Have you seen this man? One should be so lucky! He is my ex-husband, and we've been living in separate locations since May 31st of 2001 and are now divorced. There are several reason why the marriage was no longer working and finances was second in line. If ever there was a person who lived by the seat of his pants it was him. Between what he now owes the IRS, his first ex-wife, and me, were they all combined it would be like winning the lottery!

So how does anyone like this hide from their responsibilities? If this were any honest person they would have never allowed this to happen or been caught long before now. So what keeps him safe? Is it "hip" clothing, a wig, or a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses that easily disguise him from detection? I know it's not the beard, he can't even grow one. Even though he has been served with notifications from the IRS, and both the states of NC & VA, he has managed to escape accountability for his actions. Why?

PS The man pictured here was disguised this way to protect his identity.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Brother!

Join me as we journey back in time to the year 1960. It's is Sunday afternoon and my mother is at the hospital while two of my brothers and I stay with one of our relatives for the weekend. We are all anxiously awaiting a call to find out whether or not we are adding new brother or sister to our family. I'm wanting a baby sister, and my brothers don't seems to care one way or the other. As I sat playing with my favorite monkey "Zip" the phone rings. It's my mom with news of our newest sibling ... it's a boy! My brothers cheered as I sighed, there would be no little sister for me. :( When he came home, we all welcomed him into the fold with lots of love. Though he was not a girl, he was mistaken for one many times as a young child, and no wonder, he had the most beautiful blue eyes, and curly blond locks of hair. Today he is one of five siblings, four brothers and a sister, that's me! :)

"Happy Birthday" Steve! Thank you for being a part of our lives, and for sharing in our adventures as a family!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Time for New Tactics?

Where in the world did this year go? That's the talk you often hear around our office during this time of year. They warned us. We would no sooner complete the current tax season feeling the time would drag on before the next season, and then BAMM! It's tax season again! That doesn't bother me nearly as much as the idea that we are packing on the pounds with each season and not shedding it afterward. Time for a new tactic for managing weight loss? Indeed!

While I was at my parents home this weekend I saw a commercial for a new weight loss product. Though it sounds good, I'll need to do some research to include alli reviews, and a talk with my doctor before purchasing anything to lighten my load. I hope the reviews are good ones, and that my doctor finds nothing that will prevent me from becoming more physically active.

Of course, having an exercise buddy would help too! ;)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Plan "B" an Intimate Concert

Today seemed to pass right by as I took Jenn into town to see the doctor for her cough. She has been coughing all week and has been a real trooper with school and after school activities, but she needed an antibiotic to kick the infection in her sinuses and upper respiratory system.

Needless to say, in the depth of parental concern for my daughter's health, I was nowhere near a radio when they played the song that would determine the final winner for the tickets to see Michael Bublé in Raleigh on Friday, October 3rd, 2008. No problem, we've always got something up our sleeves.

So, it's time to set in motion plan "B" which will take place later on this month. I'll share some of the details with you later as they develop, but for the time being let's say it will be an private concert with up close and personal appearances, slow dancing to romantic, sultry jazz tunes from Michael Bublé and Diana Krall. Just imagine!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Hard Choices in Hard Times

In today's financially challenging times it seems that those who are forced to live paycheck to paycheck on a fixed budget are the most burdened by our current economic crisis. Funds are so tight at the moment that several of us at work are facing the idea of having to make some uncomfortable sacrifices. Let's face it, with the rising cost of both gasoline and auto insurance some of us might have to find alternative ways to get to work and around town. I'm not talking about car pooling alone, but parking our vehicles in an effort to stretch our resources. My children and I have already incorporated multitasking when we need to make trips into town. I've tried to arrange a ride with a neighbor into town each day, and offered to split the cost of fuel with them but so far no luck. No one should have to make the choice between fuel to drive to work, or food for their children.

As the gentleman in the song sings ... "Something's gotta give" and soon!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Susan, You've just won tickets to see Michael Bublé!

OMG! Yes! Yes! Yes! That's what you will hear scream on Monday, September 29th, 2008 when our local radio station V103.3 announces that I am the 13th caller and winner of tickets to see Michael Bublé up close and personal in the front row at the RBC Center on October 3rd! All I have to do is call as soon as one of his songs ends and be the 13th caller. I can hardly wait to pick up my tickets! Why?

Michael Bublé is my favorite male crooner! I didn't even know who he was until my boyfriend asked if I had heard his hit song "Home". It became "our song" and as well as his hit song "Everything". As corny as it may sound, there is nothing more romantic than having a song to represent your love for someone, and this singer won both our hearts. This is Michael's second performance in NC, we missed the first one in Fayetteville on March 18th, but as soon as I win those tickets we're headed to Raleigh on October 3rd for a wonderful evening of melodious romance!

Psssst ... wake up! All right; but I'm staying positive about winning one of the five remaining pairs of tickets. Either way, I will be equally as happy to spend our 5th anniversary dancing in each other's arms while listening to our collection of Micheal Bublé's most romantic melodies!

Holiday Recipe Exchange

Over the last few months we've been sharing recipes at work. One of my favorite's is a breakfast cream cheese quiche that Gayle gave me. Though she cooks hers with onions and sausage, I ventured out and added broccoli to the mix. It's so popular at my house that my teens ask for it at least once a week. Since the holidays are fast approaching I've been tempted to call my boyfriend's sister to get her recipe for the dressing she serves with the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner each year. I'm not sure if it's a cornbread dressing or a bread crumb dressing, but what I do remember is that it's great!

I understand it's a recipe that has been in the family for many, many years and I'd love to be able to surprise my boyfriend with it at one of our holiday dinners in the not so distant future. If I get it right, I'll be so thankful, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brrrrrr ....

It's autumn, and boy is it chilly outside tonight! When I arrived home after work today the sun was still shining, so I decided to mow part of the 1.5 acres of grass surrounding my home. The task went a lot easier considering my boyfriend's neighbor fixed my mower this past weekend. I managed to mow nearly half the yard before dark, so Ryan will have to work on it tomorrow after school before the winds and rain move in later in the afternoon.

As I sat outside on the deck swing I began to shiver while chatting with my boyfriend on the telephone. After my body had cooled down from mowing the evening air seemed to have a real bite to it. Yes, autumn has arrived in eastern NC. Not only has the temperature dropped, but the leaves are also beginning their seasonal change from green to various shades of yellow, gold, orange, and red. Though some dislike this time of year, I relish the thought of cool nights, a cozy fire, a glass of red wine, and my sweetie to snuggle up with under a throw while watching a great movie.

This season also brings with it the aroma of fresh baked pies like pumpkin, apple, and spiced pear! We made good use of the pears that our employer's father gave us by preparing spiced pear cobbler ... mmmMMMmmm ... tasty indeed!

What's your favorite thing about autumn?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Weekend Well Spent!

It might have been a short weekend in some ways, but anytime you get to spend with loved ones is a treat! After attending the football game Friday night, we arose early Saturday morning to get ready for an overnight trip. Jenn had promised she would finish earning her money that was paid on her behalf to go to her summer leadership camp, so we were headed out to do some mowing. When we weren't working, we spent time relaxing by watching a video of a comedian from "The Last Comic Standing" and the movie "Tin Man" a slightly different version of OZ (the Outer Zone) than we saw as children. It was intriguing to say the least, as Ryan and Jenn stayed up until one to finish out the three disc feature.

Then this morning Jenn got busy mowing, I finished up the laundry, Mr.D worked on his posts, and Ryan worked on his cardboard Mount Olive "Trojan" helmet for mascot day at school tomorrow. Jenn is dressing as a NC Wolf Pack mascot, her favorite college! I can't wait to post pictures tomorrow morning after they are dressed and ready to head out to school. Back to the mowing for a quick laugh. Remember that Jenn mowed the grass today? Well, the neighbor must have become frustrated at hearing our mower sputter through the grass so he came over to see if he could fix it.

He took the air filter off and headed to his house to see if he could get the carburetor to work better; in the meantime I cleaned out the filter. As he replace the part he had removed he checked the blade underneath the deck of the mower. It was on upside down he exclaimed. Well, when Ryan and I replace it we did just what the directions said to do, put it back on the same direction you take it off. The one thing it didn't say, was that if your elderly neighbor takes the blade off to sharpen it and replaces it upside down to begin with, how are you supposed to know it's on wrong?!

Anyway, Mike took it off and turned it around right, tightened it securely on, and cranked it right up. It sounded better and cut even better than before! No wonder we were having such a hard time cutting grass. Mind you, it did cut grass, but it was more like a ripping or tearing instead of a smooth as butter cut. At least it wasn't on upside down because it was a blond moment! It was a senior moment, and not mine! So there :P

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just how safe are my JPG files?

It's that time of year, school is back in and there are plenty of picture perfect moments to capture. This is Ryan's senior year and Jenn's sophomore year and both are continually asking to use my camera to take photos. What worries me most is the camera's ability to protect my jpg files from being deleted from its memory.

When I mentioned my concerns to my boyfriend, he suggested my purchasing some sort of micro sd travel card for those times when the kids have my camera. One of its features is that is has a write/protect switch which would prevent my data from anyone mistakenly deleting valuable files. I think it might be something I'd use all of the time. Goodness knows, with all of the things I photograph, I could use the extra space!

PS Maybe I'll pick up a 2 pack for twice the space, you think?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Please, Merci!

In today's economy more and more of our clients are coming into our office to get copies of their federal returns in an effort to qualify for medical care at the Merci Clinic. They aren't the only ones effected by the economy, even some of us at our office are earning less than what it takes to support a family and to have medical coverage. That someone is me. All of the other women in our office either have husbands with medical benefits or they have ex's carrying them on their insurance for the time being. So, today I spent the better part of my day at the clinic. I have to say that the staff was wonderful, the doctor took his time answering my concerns, and they made you feel important. It's a shame that for the most part, medical services that are paid for lack the qualities of subsidized care. All I can say, is that I hope to be able to give back the way this staff and doctors have to our community.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No Gimmicks Needed

On Friday morning we received a call at our office from a client who advised us all to fill up our gas tanks in preparation of sudden but certain higher gasoline prices. We suspected they would rise after Hurricane Ike stormed its way through the gulf, but our client said they would reach the $5 mark by days end. So we all took turns to head out and purchase the least expensive product available. The station just up from the office was still selling it for $3.61 but the lines of vehicles were ridiculous! I ended up getting mine at a station I saw on my way into work and managed to only pay $3.68 per gallon.

There are many businesses that have to offer promotional items to get you purchase their products; gasoline sales is not one of those. The best thing they can do is keep their prices lower than the next guy. We have way too many gasoline stations in our town, and you would think that they would practice this feat, a few might. It's so bad here, that you will see one station selling it for $3.99 and less than two blocks away it's being sold for $3.61. What's up with that?

They don't even need someone in a t-shirt that says "Cheapest Gas In Town". Like I said ... no gimmicks needed.

Ike: Hurricane to Tropical Depression

As Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, TX it was packing winds of 110 miles per hour and traveling at a speed of 13 miles per hour. Today Ike is categorized as a tropical depression and is currently on a path through Memphis, Tennessee. I'm sure our friends and family who were and are in the path of Ike have taken the necessary precautions to prevent any injury. Forecasters had predicted some rain for the area but local Doppler radar isn't showing much at the moment. Though most of the farmers might like a bit more rainfall for their crops, too much is never a good thing!

At this point the news reports say there has been minimal loss of life in Texas and the surrounding states along the coast. Rescue efforts resulted in saving nearly 2000 residents from Galveston and flooded areas along coastal waters, and the search for survivors continues. However there is extensive property damage throughout the area. The JP Morgan Chase building in Houston which stands 75 stories tall suffered extensive damage including loss of office equipment as the windows were blown out on the sides of the building. People outside found computer parts on the sidewalks and streets along with shattered glass. What is puzzling is that older surrounding buildings seemed to have very little damage to their windows. Was this a design flaw?

Several roadways remain impassable due to downed power lines and debris from the surrounding areas. Standing water and debris over these roads were making rescue of those still in Galveston hard to accomplish early this morning. Why would anyone want to ride out a hurricane that had flooded your streets before it made landfall? One man's home burnt to nothing as he helplessly stood by watching in horror. Firefighters had no way of reaching his home; it is a total loss. My heart goes out to all of the residents and families of the hardest hit areas. I can only imagine their sense of loss.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike Regaining Strength Over Gulf

Over the past two days Hurricane Ike has crossed over Cuba causing great damage and loss of life, and has entered the Gulf of Mexico. It would appear it is headed on a northwestern path towards Texas and the surrounding states along the coast. While it appeared to have had the breath knocked out of it crossing over land, as soon as it was over the warm water in the gulf the winds grew with renewed strength. Ike may once again make it to a category 4 by landfall later this week.

We've watched with great interest as we have family in Texas and in Louisiana and am hoping they are all safe having taken the necessary preventative measures to avoid "the wrath of Ike". Hoping for a miracle with this storm, that something causes the winds to diminish to nearly nothing, and for the rain to dissipate causing minimal or little flooding. We can always hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

Reminder to self: It is far better to be safe than sorry!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Helpful Blogger Tips & more ...

A couple of days ago, I was searching for tips on how to better maximize my blog here on Blogspot, when I received an invitation to visit a website via BlogCatalog. I accepted the invite, and boy, am I glad I did! As I read this gentleman's posts I found one titled "Must Read Tips for Google Blogspot Bloggers". It is both interesting and informative, and I manged to find some things that may help improve the look and feel of my blog. Right about now I could use a good facelift ... I mean my blog could ... yeah ... after all I am just 29 ... cough ... 39 and holding! ;)

While I was there I there I took a look at some of the other topics. In "Make her leave you soon" the writer shares his experience handling one of life's most uncomfortable situations; a break up. As a man, how do you handle a break up with a woman from whom you have fallen out of love? Are you up front by telling her the truth? Do you find a way out without being honest? Or do you find ways to turn her off? To see some of the ways this writer suggests might be options for handling the same situation, you'll have to visit the site yourself.

Thanks for the tips!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Residents of Florida May Get Their Wish

If Hurricane Ike stays its course westward Florida residents will breathe a great sigh of relief! Since yesterday the storm had diminished in strength by over 50 miles per hour. What began as a storm packing 135 mph winds has weakened to a mere 80 mph winds; at least for the moment.

Forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Ike will regain strength once it is in the gulf. The thought process is that it will make landfall anywhere between Louisiana and Texas. I'm no meteorologist, but if I lived anywhere from Florida to Mexico I'd be packed and ready to hit the trail in a moments notice. But that's why they pay the meteorologists the big bucks; they know their stuff! :)

Hopefully both of my nieces, Olivia in Louisiana and Talena, her hubby, and two children in Texas are far enough inland not to be to badly effected by this monster on waves! For now my friends and family in Florida are safe, which is a good thing! Did I mention that I am so thankful that Hurricane Ike didn't repeat Hannah's track up the eastern seaboard? Well, I am!

To all my family and friends in Louisiana and Texas, please take care & BE SAFE! I love you all!