At the Moment

Turkey Dinners, Black Out Curtains, All Aboard to Chicago!

What am I doing today?

OMG! I’m SO glad you asked!


Kevin and I took a carload of crap, er, goodies to the Goodwill today. Okay, honestly, it was good stuff: coats, home decor, clothes, board games … I would never dump crap on the Goodwill – crap goes in the garbage.

Kevin cleaned out our front closet to make room for more crap, er, Christmas goodies. And I’m so glad he does that!! There’s no telling what our house would look like if he didn’t keep me organized.

What warmed my heart though, was seeing about ten cars there at the same time – apparently, we’re not as original as we THINK we are.

And that’s awesome – more gently-used things for people who need them.

Carving Turkey!/writefromkaren/status/153949548061007872

I told you about Kevin’s sleeping problems, right? Well. The latest theory he’s trying is blackout curtains. Because now he’s convinced he’s waking up because as cars pass our bedroom their headlights illuminate our bedroom.

Which. I suppose it doesn’t help the situation, any.

We went to JCPenney’s today and bought some blackout curtains for our bedroom.

We like these because they’re a bit more “modern” looking and we already have a set in our living room that we love. And they really make the room darker. They are Chris Madden® Draperies, Mystique Grommet Panels and we bought the same color that is in the picture above. I’m hoping they match the purple in our bedspread.

(They’re also on sale right now!!)

And of course, I’m hoping they help Kevin stay asleep for longer period of time.

(But I’m not holding my breath on that one).

We’re taking a trip during spring break in March.

To Chicago.

On Amtrak.

I KNOW! Doesn’t that sound like fun?!? We’re inviting the boys. (If Dude has a job by then, hopefully he can take off. Otherwise, we’ll have an extra seat … ).

It’s SUPER cheap. Seriously. I just figured it up: all four of us, ROUND TRIP, from St. Louis to Chicago is $192.00!!! *squee* Of course. That does not include the price of gas for us to drive to St. Louis. And the rental car in Chicago. Or the hotel room. Or the food/entertainment factor. BUT STILL.

It’s much cheaper than flying there, that’s for sure.

It’ll take about six hours to ride the train. That sounds like a long time, but I’m betting it goes faster than we think it might. The train we will likely take (because it offers the times that we need), doesn’t have a dining car, which, bummer, but we’ll just take some sandwiches – I’m sure it will be fine. *chews lip*

We’ll go up on a Thursday, spend two days in Chicago (doing God knows what, I haven’t researched things to do in Chicago yet), and come back on Sunday.

Remember when I talked about traveling being one of my New Year’s “treats”? Well, I wasn’t kidding about that.

After I iron out the details for this train trip, I will be planning a trip to New York. I’m thinking … May? It’s unlikely we’ll go anywhere during the summer months – so that leaves September.

I’m thinking somewhere on the western coast …

At the Moment

Quick Thoughts …

I had to sleep sitting up in a recliner last night. My sinuses hate this yo-yo weather. It’s supposed to be sunny and close to 60 degrees today, OVER 60 degrees tomorrow.

I guarantee it will be back in the 20’s next week. Such is our Missouri weather.

I’m so glad today is Friday. Why are short weeks SO LOOOOONG?!?

There is a lot of drama at my job. Not from patients, doctors or nurses, but from the people I work the most closely with. I was prepared for this, for what can you expect from an office full of women?

Still. It reinforces the reason why I have never had a lot of female friends over the years – I just don’t have the patience required to deal with it.

The shine is starting to wear off this new job. I still like doing it, but it’s A LOT of work for the small amount I’m making every hour. Still. There are the benefits and I suppose if we’re all honest with each other, that’s basically what we’re working for nowadays.

I’m starting to get sick of our Christmas tree. Yes. It’s still up. But it’s coming down tomorrow. I HAVE to get this house cleaned – I’ve had so little energy this week. And we HAVE to start seriously thinking about this new construction project that is coming very soon.

Oh right. I’ve never told you guys about that. I will. Patience, my friends.

Enjoy your day. I’m looking forward to 5 o’clock.

At the Moment

It’s Time to Get Serious …



Seriously ya’ll. I’m SERIOUSLY behind. I’m usually DONE by this time. But that was back before I started this job and back before it took every last brain cell that my pea-brain possessed to simply FUNCTION in this job.


Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend?

Besides celebrating Christmas with my family.

Besides cleaning my house.

Besides looking for tile. (More on THAT soon).

Besides making fudge. (Because the Christmas season is NOT complete without at least one batch of fudge).

Yep. You guessed it: wrapping presents.

Here’s to hoping you’re more ready to celebrate this holiday season than I am. *cheers*

(Click the blue arrow to play)
(Michael Buble “Holly Jolly Christmas”)

At the Moment, Band

Appreciating Another Winter Concert

We went to Jazz’s winter concert tonight – it was AWESOME. No really. The kids sounded phenomenal. Jazz is in advance band this year and it just warms my heart to see how much he’s grown both as a musician and as a person.

I taped their performance, but I have no idea when I’ll have the time to convert it and upload it – maybe by this weekend? I really enjoyed the concert. Not like last year when I felt like I was going to explode because my colon was blocked and I couldn’t pass, er, anything solid or in gas form.


Last year was not a good year for our family.

We went to Simply Yo afterwards. It’s a self-serve, low-fat, non-fat yogurt place. They were having a fundraiaser for the band, so of course, we went to try and help out. We would MUCH rather participate in something like this than say, having to pawn off catalog items that no one really wants. Heck, we’d rather give money, straight out, than have to go through the catalog nightmare.

Dude was really fun to be around. Usually, he’s so awkward and self-conscious that he’s rather difficult, but I can tell a HUGE difference in him since I’ve been working and he’s been hanging out with Kevin more. I think Kevin forcing him out into the public more is really paying off – he acts like he’s feeling more comfortable with himself and with other people. I also think it’s really been good for me not to be around to baby him. He’s been forced to make his own decisions and Kevin has given him a key to the office, so most days, Dude actually opens up the office while Kevin goes to visit with clients. He’s taking on more and more responsibility and it’s starting to make a difference, I think.

I just can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss these band outings. Me, Kevin and Jazz are talking about going to band functions even after he graduates, too. In fact, quite a few school graduates show up at events to offer moral support.

Which I think is just awesome and goes to show just how tight these band “geeks” really are.

If you’re a parent of a pre-teen or a teenager, I can’t stress ENOUGH how IMPORTANT it is to get your kids involved in a school activity. I really wish we had pushed Dude to become involved in SOMETHING in high school. I think his life might have been different right now if we had.

At the Moment, AudioPlay

Driving Lesson … Hey! Don’t Hit That Kid! They’re Not Worth Very Many Points

I’m kidding, of course. For those out there that don’t have a sense of humor.

You know who you are.

Jazz’s driving “lessons” are going well. He’s catching on pretty quickly. We’re still having trouble staying in the lane – he tends to drive on the edge of the road, which makes me ride on the edge of my seat. I’m constantly having to point to his side of the car to indicate he needs to get over.

His corners are better – we no longer turn them on two wheels. (You only THINK I’m joking).

He’s been driving to school – We almost hit a kid in the school parking lot the other day. To be fair, it wasn’t totally Jazz’s fault. These high school kids have a tendency to walk in front of the cars without bothering to get over. I guess they think they’re being “tough” and “cool” when we know they’re being “idiots.” There’s a portion of the parking lot where you have to turn left. In the meantime, there are kids driving toward the back lot and you have kids that have parked in the back lot that are walking to the school.

So. You are trying to avoid being T-boned by an oncoming car and trying to drive around teenagers who refuse to yield.

Fun stuff.

We drove the busier roads today. He did really well. We drove all around the outskirts of town. We’ll drive those roads several more times before hitting the highways. It’s supposed to rain Wednesday – I’ll probably have him drive to school that day too, so he can start getting some experience driving in rain.

Then. Night driving. *gulp*

And parallel parking. But Kevin is in charge of that because I SUCK at parallel parking. I always have.

I’m thinking he will be ready to take his test in March. Since it’s dark when I get off work, that only leaves the weekends to practice driving, so we don’t really have very many opportunities to drive.

I took a short video of him today. He was cranky because I made him stop playing his precious video game and go driving. (*GASP* Tough toenails). I would have pushed it (because I’m mean like that), but I didn’t want to distract him too much.

I have to say, I’m ready for him to get his license. It will make it SO MUCH easier on everyone when he’s driving on his own.

(Click the blue arrow to play)
(Glee “Merry Christmas, Darling”)

At the Moment, AudioPlay

Busy Weekend – Actually, It Wasn’t. It Only Felt That Way Because We Normally Just Veg Out

Jazz had a buddy from school come over yesterday so they could finish up a project for their Earth Science class. They built a structure that is supposed to withstand a rocking table for two minutes. In other words, a structure that can withstand an adolescent earthquake. They were given some wooden rods, glue and a base. That’s it. This is what they came up with …


If it doesn’t stand the shake test in class tomorrow, he’ll only get 50%. Which will drop his overall grade, which is third highest in his class right now.

So, he’s a bit stressed. And I’ll be praying the thing holds together.

It was a gloomy, typical December day in the Ozarks. Cold and overcast. It feels like snow, but I don’t think we’ll get any snow. Then again, our weather is unpredictable so … you never know.

Correction, make that ice.


Kevin and I ran up to his office today … he couldn’t resist putting a little tree up.



He had to print out pictures of his pelvis, both before and after his motorcycle accident. He’s meeting with our lawyer tomorrow … and that’s all I can say about that.

It’s pretty obvious that he loves his office …


… don’t ya think?

After we left his office, we went to Walmart so I could pick up a game that I had shipped from site to store (because I suspect we have a neighborhood creep stealing our mail/packages), and we bought these goodies.


Kevin picked up cards for an 18-year old boy and an 8-year old girl at a radio station last week and we went shopping for them. The girl wanted a Barbie doll and an MP3 player (I can’t believe how cheap shuffles are now), and the boy wanted tools so he could use them to work with. Kevin had a ball with this one. We bought him some sort of screwdriver set, a toolbox, a gift card and Kevin cleaned out some odds and ends in the garage that he has never used – so the boy will get a few surprises when he opens his toolbox.

We LOVE shopping for foster children. It’s heart warming to do something for them. I just wish we could do more. My heart breaks for these children that, for whatever reason, have been abandoned by their parents.

I hope you’ll find it in your heart to donate to needy children this holiday season.

Afterwards, I dragged Kevin to Shoe Carnival. I needed to buy some dress flats to wear whenever I have to work outlying clinics at work and when I tried these beauties on and they felt so good, I simply bought the same style but different color. (Can you see the difference? One is black, the other is navy).


That pretty much sums up my clothes shopping – once I see something I like, I tend to buy it in every color and BAM, I’m done.

I hate to shop. I’m sure you didn’t pick up on that.

We’re having fried chicken for dinner …


… I hate to cook, too.

I’m like the epitome of housewife, don’t you think?

Kevin’s so lucky to be married to me. *snort*

Dude pretty much hasn’t left this chair, or this game, all weekend …


I’m really looking forward to him starting college in January and REALLY looking forward to the day he starts his part-time job. Not that he HAS a part-time job right now. *sigh* But it’s BOUND to happen eventually, right? RIGHT?!?

The kid won’t know what to DO with all of that reality.

*evil laugh*

Jazz’s high school marching band is scheduled to march in next weekend’s Christmas (*gasp* SHE SAID CHRISTMAS … CALL OUT THE LYNCH MOB – *HEH*) parade. However, if the weather sticks to the forecast, and it’s sunny, but only a high of 31 degrees, then they won’t march. The band director has told the kids he won’t make them march below 40 degrees.

So I’m thinking it’s not going to happen.


I hope he gets to march at least one parade before he graduates.

I also made two loaves of pumpkin bread this weekend …


That wrapped part on top is all that is left of one loaf.

One guess on who ate most of that loaf.

I ran over a trash bag full of leaves the other night and unbeknownst to me, it got stuck under my car. We heard it flapping in the wind when we went grocery shopping Friday night. Kevin got most of it out, but a significant portion of it melted to my exhaust pipe and now it smells like someone used a hot glue gun ON the underside of my car.

I’m betting the people behind me are LOVING that.

Have a good week, ya’ll.

Would you hate me if I told you I’m actually GLAD tomorrow is Monday?

I know. Sick, right?

And we mustn’t forget another Christmas tune. You’re not being all “hum-bugg-y” on me, are you?

(Click the blue arrow to play)
(Michael Buble “Jingle Bells”)

At the Moment, AudioPlay

OMG. I’m So Boring. All I Ever Do is Work, Eat and Sleep – Not Necessarily in That Order

I’m tired.

But what else is new.

I’m going to Harrison on Friday.

As in Arkansas.

I know you’re silently screaming FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, KAREN, WHY?!?!

I’ll answer that silent scream with, “Because I opened my big, fat mouth and volunteered to learn outlying clinics and *POOF* they took me up on it and now I HAVE TO TRAVEL WITH PERFECT STRANGERS AND REALLY SMART DOCTORS.”

God help me.


We spent three hours with a contractor last night.

We are very excited.

But I’m too tired to go into details … yet.

Soon, my pretties, soon.

I just spent thirty minutes proof reading Jazz’s Volcano brochure. Even though I had to pinch myself to stay awake three times. I also uploaded it to Kinko’s so they could print it out – we’ll pick it up tomorrow after dinner.

I’m making Jazz drive over there.

He doesn’t know that part.

Remind me to tell you about yesterday … when Jazz nearly ran a kid over in the school parking lot driving himself to school.

I’m totally not kidding.

I’m such a tease, aren’t I.

Soon, my pretties, soon

Are you taking time out of your busy schedules to take a breath, appreciate the season and listen to some good old fashioned Christmas music?

Well, WHY NOT?!?

Do it now.

Or I will go all Grinch-y on you.

Also. Where did November go!?!

(Click the blue arrow to play)
(Michael Buble “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”)

(This isn’t exactly “old-fashion” Christmas music, but whatev).

At the Moment, AudioPlay

Pause is An Awesome Song – Also? Sleep is Pretty Awesome, Too

Someone linked to a Zumba video that was playing this song on Facebook today – I’ve been jamming ever since.

Listen to this song and tell me you’re not shaking your booty, or wagging a finger at least.

(Click the blue arrow to play)

If you’re not, then you’re lying.

Or dead.

Or a dead liar.

Today was busy. I was all over the place today.

I got up to the office at ten (I had a bunch of emails to answer at home first), and then I went on an interview at 1:00 this afternoon.

I’m pretty sure I blew the interview. No, no, I’m not just saying that – I couldn’t focus and I knew right away that me and the person just didn’t click. It was hot, I was dressed in slacks and a blouse and I had to park a ways from the building, so by the time I got into the building, I was sweating. And then, when I couldn’t think of how to respond to some of the questions, I got nervous. Which only made the sweating worse, which only served to make me more nervous and before long, all I could think was, “I wonder if she sees my sweat mustache?”

I did not leave with a good feeling.

I’m pretty sure I won’t be called for a second interview.

Then, I sold four books. Actually, I received an email from the buyer of the third book before Amazon even alerted me that I had sold a third book. The buyer wanted me to address the book to a certain person, and he wanted it NOW. So, after I picked Jazz up from school, I gathered up the books and was packaging them when someone bought a fourth book.

I mailed all four books today. I bet the person who bought the fourth book minutes before I walked out of the door thought I was all kinds of awesome for shipping her book not even an hour after buying it.

She’d be right – about the awesome part.

After all of that, I had just enough time to get to the office, answer a few emails and then race home to get dinner ready before Jazz had to report back to school for yet another band practice.

I had just returned home, got settled in and was updating some sites when Jazz called – thirty minutes later – he was ready to leave.

That boy NEEDS to get his license.

Which we’re working on.

Slowly but surely.!/writefromkaren/status/109455535706873856

I live for Fridays. Not only because it’s Friday, end of the workweek, start of the weekend, but because they’re late days at our house this school year.

I can sleep an extra hour on Fridays.

I like sleep.

Sleep makes me happy.

Especially on our new bed (which is becoming more and more comfortable).

I miss my Euro pillows though.

Which I bought, arrived on my doorstep but somehow I didn’t receive.

FedEx is investigating the case of the missing pillows as we speak.

I hope the thief who stole them doesn’t get any sleep.

Because stealing is wrong.


I think I need that extra hour of sleep.

Wouldn’t you agree?

*The song is Pause by Pitbull

At the Moment, Band

Band, Podcast, Pushy Parents

Jazz has been banished to the garage. He was getting on my nerves and I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m sure he’s hot and it’s stuffy out there but TOO BAD – feel the wrath of MOM.

Okay, not really. He IS out in the garage, but we had nothing to do with it. He’s out there practicing his saxophone because today was the first day of band camp and since he’s sectional leader, he has to set … what? You didn’t hear?

Yep. Jazz is SECTIONAL LEADER. *goofy grin*

Which really simply means, he’s in charge of the entire saxophone section. Which, with the incoming freshmen, is at a whopping SIXTEEN. (Including Jazz). Yes ya’ll, 16 freaking saxophones.

Can I get a “HOLLA?” Woot-woot

It’s because saxophones are ‘DA BOMB’, that’s why. Everybody wants to play it.

Actually, it’s quite possible they won’t end up having 16 saxophones when school starts. Some of the kids drop out when they figure out how hard marching band is, and the band director might ask some of them to play instruments in areas that need them – but for now, he’s in charge of making sure every saxophone player knows his/her part so they can kick butt in competitions.

Jazz has been all business since coming home from camp today. He spent a few hours transferring his dot schedule (please don’t ask me to explain what that is, it’s in essence, well, look at that picture – it’s a marching plan and it tells the kids where they’re supposed to be at all times during their show. There’s some sort of app that he has on his iTouch that he can transfer the schedule to so when he has to refer to it, he can just pull out his iTouch instead of carrying around a stack of papers. Cool, right?), and he’s practicing the music so he can “set a good example, mom.”

That’s my boy. Show em who’s boss. (Only don’t be TOO cocky, no one likes a know-it-all, in-your-face, I’m-better-than-you sort of figure head).

The band is also collecting canned goods to donate to a food charity, so Jazz and I will make a trip to the store after camp tomorrow and pick up some stuff. I also need to buy more bacon and eggs because we’re been MAKING our boys eat a big breakfast every day. We’re doing that because we’re concerned. I don’t know how they did it, but our boys have lost weight these past weeks and they both look malnourished. No seriously, they are skinny as rails and Kevin and I are both a little freaked out with how skinny they’ve gotten.

Also? Dude has been drinking coffee. I haven’t been buying him Mountain Dew (he just drinks it late at night, making him stay up all night and AARGH – not while he’s living IN OUR HOUSE he’s not!), so in order to get his caffeine fix, he’s been drinking coffee. It’s really weird drinking coffee with my son. It’s like he’s a grown up … sort of. (In my dreams – patience, Karen, patience).

*Jazz just told me that he’s part of a quartet. Apparently, he, and three other saxophonists (that word sounds funny) will separate themselves from the group at some point in the show, come up to the front and play a solo, only … there’s four of them and … oh, you know what I mean. He said they had to try out for the part and he made it . Have I mentioned I’m fiercely proud of this kid??

They’re having an ice cream social next Tuesday night and the parents get a chance to hear what they’ve been practicing on. I’ll take some pictures.

I have an appointment to get my teeth cleaned tomorrow. *GULP* I haven’t been to the dentist in … oh gosh, a few years. My teeth are a bit sensitive when I bite down so I’m thinking either I’ve lost a little filling, or maybe I have some food caught up in there and it’s decaying. I usually put these things off, but I figure the longer I wait, the worse it’ll get and the more expensive it will likely be which … OUCH. We don’t have dental insurance anymore.


I got a lot of work done today. And in between all of that productivity, *ahem*, I played around with putting a podcast together. I want to start posting a podcast starting this Wednesday just to break up the blog monotony. I’m getting bored, I’m sure YOU’RE getting bored. (Listen to me, talking as if I’m the ONLY blog ya’ll read all day long. HA!)

What am I going to talk about? Well, brace yourselves … I wanted to talk about something I’m passionate about and if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’re probably a few steps ahead of me – politics.

I KNOW! I’m going where no blogger dares to venture without being blog-crucified.

But here’s the thing – I keep up on this stuff and I get so frustrated because a lot of people don’t and considering our news media is BEYOND biased (they’re basically the liberals’ customized bullhorn), and don’t report on anything (translation: TRUTH), then maybe I can help enlighten people and provide a FAIR analysis of the crazy things going on in politics.

And I will. Try to be fair, that is. It’s hard to be fair sometimes, but I like to challenge myself and besides, not every issue is black and white. A lot of issues are a lovely shade of gray.

At any rate, I hope you’ll listen and if this sort of thing makes your skin itch, then by all means, skip it. I was going to vlog my thoughts but UGH, who wants to stare at my ugly mug for ten minutes while I rant, erhm, DISCUSS the hot topics for the week.

I call them podcasts but really, I’m just making MP3’s and posting them online. It’s pretty easy to do, here’s what I’m doing/using in case you’re curious.

I downloaded Audacity – it’s free and pretty much rocks my socks off.

The only problem with Audacity is, it doesn’t automatically convert the files into MP3’s – you have to download a plug-in program that Audacity recognizes and uses to convert the files into MP3’s.

Still with me?

The plug-in program is called LAME MP3 Encoder. (CAREFUL! The actual download you want is down a ways on the page – it’s NOT the big download button you see, though you could use that for the files listed. But the Audacity file is different and you will need another program for that, so keep scrolling and read before you click on anything. Even though these programs are free, they sort of trick you in order for you to download all sorts of extra “tools” you don’t really need and only serve to clog up your computer, so please, read and make sure you’re installing only what you want. Also, even though I ran a virus scan on these files and they were clean, I would recommend you do the same, just in case. Actually, you should ALWAYS run a scan before you install any online program onto your computer).

After you have these programs installed, all you need is a mic, click the record button in Audacity, make your recording, “export” it into an MP3, (the LAME Encoder will convert it for you), and then all you have to do is upload it to your server. (We have a private web host that we don’t do a lot with, so I’ve been storing our audio files there and inserting the URL into the wordpress audio player to play on this blog).

All of this sounds complicated, but really, it’s not. Just take your time and read everything and you’ll be fine.

Anyway, I’ll be posting my first “podcast” this Wednesday so stick around!

Dude update: He’s been filling out applications like crazy. He’s been keeping a list of where he applies and the date so he can follow up in a few weeks if he doesn’t hear anything.

Kevin has really been pushing him to put some applications out there and I pray to God he has actually been putting them out there and not SAYING he’s been putting them out there – he’s been applying online. So, we’re sort of taking his word for it. But if he doesn’t hear anything, we’re going to make him print out the applications and actually walk into these places and turn them in – even if it means we (actually Kevin) has to drive him those places and watch him turn them in.

This kid is getting a job if it kills us.

Since Kevin and I are working out of the office and Jazz is at band camp, Dude has been bored and lonely at home by himself. We’re hoping this also motivates him to DO something. In the meantime, he’s not going to sit home and do nothing, so we told Dude tonight that he’s going to be our housekeeper until he gets a job. He gets to do all the household chores (thereby freeing Kevin and I up from having to do it on the weekend) and we’ll teach him how to cook, too, so he can possibly cook us dinners, too.

To my surprise, he actually liked this idea. (Again, I think he’s getting a little bored and having something to do sounds pretty good right about now). This will also teach him the skills he’ll need whenever he gets out on his own.

I also suggested (told) Dude that since Jazz has an hour and a half break during band camp (I know, that’s a LONG lunch break, isn’t it?) that he could pick Jazz up for lunch on Wednesday and take him to Wendys (which is very close to the school). That will get him out of the house and give Jazz a break away, too. Plus, it will make them feel all grown up – eating out together without mom and dad.

We’re such pushy parents, aren’t we? 😀