Tuesday Stuff

I Am …

I just converted a VOB video to a WMV format for a client (geeks will get this and GO ME) all by myself. Well, I Googled how to do it, found a free program and VOILA! Converted!

Anyway, I’m waiting for it to upload and then I will (finally) work on my professional site – because I finally have an idea – ideas are slow sometimes. Link forthcoming. (But before I do THAT, I had to fix my blog template because it suddenly just exploded earlier today. Talk about annoying!! Anyway, it actually looks better than before, I think. Did you notice anything different?)

In the meantime, since my computer is being dragged down by the WiFi upload (I’m on my laptop at the office), I thought I would do something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time – participate in San Diego Momma’s Prompt Tuesday.

This week’s prompt is: I Am From.


I am from hardy stock.
I am from hard-working, honest parents.
I am from humble beginnings.
I am from a loving environment.
I am from a varied work environment.
I am from the Ozarks.

I am still in the Ozarks.
I am strong.
I am stubborn.
I am cynical.
I am healed.
I am renewed.
I am loud in sneaky ways.
I am a strict mother.
I am a devoted mother.
I am a daughter, sister, and aunt.
I am a faithful wife.
I am a computer nerd.
I am blazers and turtlenecks.
I am hiking boots and clunky heels.
I am books, coffee, and comfy sweats.
I am a fiction writer.
I am a professional writer.
I am a writer who never finishes her thou…
I am a devoted Christian.
I am not your typical Christian.

I AM BLESSED.

Tuesday Stuff, Writing Stuff

Writing That Shines

I enjoy finding new voices. (Well, new to me, at least). Here are a few I think worthy of attention:

Sneaky Hate Spiral” from Hyperbole and a Half

The Diving Board” from Ministry So Fabulous! (Wow)

The Breakdown of: Friendship” from 10% Fiction

The Daughter of an Abortion Protester” from It’s a Beautiful Wreck

The Golden Rose” from Paulo Coelho

Cold Feet” from Just Eat Your Cupcake

The Ache” from All Adither (Wow – again)

On (not) Getting a Diagnosis” from No Points For Style

Feminism: A Four Letter Word No More” from Nerdy Vernacular

The Right to Say Goodbye” from Miserable Bliss

These people inspire me to be a better writer.

You can find many more interesting reads at Five Star Friday.

Tuesday Stuff

Thankful for a Speedy Recovery

Kevin’s physical therapy (PT) has been a God send. Every time we go, they either tell us something new, or they show us something new to try – often times, they do both.

Initially, Kevin thought physical therapy was a waste of time. “I can do this stuff at home.” he’d say. “Why do I need a therapist to help me?” I would get annoyed with him. It’s not like we’ve been down this handicapped road before – neither one of us knew what the heck we were doing.

But he went. Not because he really wanted to, but because deep down he knew it was helping him. The PT’s helped him build his confidence and showed him that though he had limitations, they were only temporary. I can’t tell you the number of times we would go to a session and they would ask him to do something, he would give me a dubious look but then do it and be totally surprised that he could do it.

Take today for example. They had him roll onto his belly. Though he’s tried this at home, it hurt him. And though he didn’t think he would be able to do it for the PT’s, he did it. He not only rolled onto his belly, he was surprised that it didn’t hurt him.

They also asked him to get up on all fours – which he did with surprising ease.

They also suggested we buy a cane and have him start walking with it, slowly weaning himself off the walker.

And that’s what we did.

We went to Walgreen’s after his session today, bought him a cane and he’s been using it all day. At first, I thought he wouldn’t be able to handle it, every time he’s walked without the walker, he has been hunched over and very jerky in his movements, and though he’s not walking completely normal yet, he’s walking upright and his movements are starting to smooth out.

Once again, this man of mine has surprised me. And once again, I’ve underestimated his determination to get back to normal.

He only has one more session with the PT’s. Our insurance will pay for more sessions, but this is all we’ve scheduled at this point. Since we’ll be leaving next week for vacation and he goes to see the bone doctor shortly after we return, we’re going to hold off on making any more appointments and see what his bone doctor suggests.

We would not be where we are right now without the help of the various physical therapists he’s seen these past weeks. His progress has been phenomenal and the PT’s routinely comment about how fast he’s recovering. And though some of this might be said to encourage him, I also believe they are truly surprised by his progress.

It’ll be twelve weeks since the accident this coming Friday.

They intitially said he wouldn’t be able to put weight on his legs until twelve weeks and yet, here he is, on his feet no longer dependent on a wheelchair, no longer dependent on the walker, and really, no longer dependent on me. Though I knew, in my heart, that Kevin would surpass everyone’s expectations, I had no idea just HOW FAR he would surpass my own expectations.

And we have God to thank for his speedy recovery.

Sometimes, we travel that dark road, the “what if” road, especially when he starts getting down about his situation and his attitude drops several notches.

“What if you had had a brain injury?”

“What if you had been paralyzed?”

“What if you had died?”

And suddenly, this situation seems trivial when compared to the “what if” possibilities. (How could I have handled a paralyzed husband? How could I have gone on and lived my life WITHOUT him?)

This accident could have been so much worse, and yet, it wasn’t. I truly believe it was our firm belief in Jesus Christ and our unwavering faith in God our Father that saved us from those terrible “what ifs.”

We have so much to be thankful for.

Kevin’s life and remarkable recovery are at the top of that list.

Emily at Chatting at the Sky hosts a weekly “noticing” party – giving us a chance to unwrap and share the little gifts that God gives to us on a daily basis.

Tuesday Stuff

Daily Walk

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This is how long I walk, on average, on a daily basis.

Well, maybe not daily, more like five or six times a week.

It works out to be about 3.25 miles.

I’m back on my walking kick.

But before you become too impressed, let me pop that balloon right now; I’m getting back into shape for purely selfish reasons.

One: My pants are too tight again and buying a larger size is NOT an option.

Two: Vacation. As in, vacation pictures. We are planning a trip to New York and then catching a boat to Canada in July. This means? Lots and lots and LOTS of vacation pictures. That will likely be posted here, and passed around at family get togethers and will stick around for years and years and if I don’t look halfway decent in them? Well …

I mentioned vacay pictures are around forever, right??

So. I force myself to get on the treadmill every morning after dropping the kids off at school. I walk and watch 45 minutes of either a TV series or half of a movie, get cleaned up and THEN start my day. My walk is over with for the day and I can concentrate on what I need to do and not what I OUGHT to do.

You know?

I’ve just about built my stamina back up so that I’m ready to tackle some toning exercises – either Turbo Jam or Wii Fit.

I only have about 12 weeks to go before our trip – no pressure.

(And I would like to apologize for my gritty, nasty weighted gloves – they ARE rather gross).

What about you – are you getting into shape for the summer months?

Emily at Chatting at the Sky hosts a weekly “noticing” party – giving us a chance to unwrap and share the little gifts that God gives to us on a daily basis.

Tuesday Stuff

Home Office

Home Office

Nearly every morning, after Kevin takes a shower and gets ready for the day, he will give me a quick kiss, say “I’m going to work now,” and then walk the few steps required to get to our home office.

Where he’s working now, full time.

His company liquidated (thanks to President Obama’s wonderful stimulus package which spooked banks into hoarding and not lending, but that story is old and what’s done is done and there’s no sense in bitching whining about it now) a few months back and since he was the CFO, he’s required by the law of the state where the company was originated to keep things active/open for three years. Which means he moved all of his files (three file cabinets) and his computer (note the three monitors) to our home office. It’s been a tight squeeze, but he’s a master at organization and somehow he fit it all in.

I admit, I was wary of him working from home. I thought we would get in each other’s way and get on each other’s nerves, but so far so good. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. He’s been so busy I’ve had to practically beg him to pay attention to me.

I assure you, this is not the norm. 🙂

I’d like to find a way for him to work from home full time. I’m MORE than ready to get a job outside the home (for the insurance – ah health insurance, don’t even get me started) and then he could stay home and do … whatever. I’m MORE than ready to do a little role reversal and unless something else comes up that he wants to do in the interim, that will likely happen after our trip in July.

In the meantime, it comforts me to hear him on the three phones he answers on a daily basis (his cell phone, the company cell phone, our home phone) and know that he’s literally just a few steps away.

It’s both cool and odd.

I can do cool and odd.

Emily at Chatting at the Sky hosts a weekly “noticing” party – giving us a chance to unwrap and share the little gifts that God gives to us on a daily basis.

Tuesday Stuff

Random Tuesday: Disoriented

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1 Kevin is home full time now. I’m both thrilled and … not. Not because he’s getting on my nerves or bugs me every five minutes, oh contrare, the man has actually been pretty busy. He’s still answering calls, submitting reports, having meetings with his boss and dealing with last minute moving.

No. I’m weirded out with him being home because I’m quite used to having the house completely to myself. I’ve had it for seven (I can’t believe I’ve been home for SEVEN years now) long years and I’m having a problem sharing my quiet space with my best friend.

And I’m finding it really difficult to write with him around. But that’s really nothing new, I’ve always had to have it completely silent whenever I wrote anything.

Like now. Kevin went to meet with an investment guy and now that I have the house to myself? I can suddenly concentrate and write something.

What can I say? I’m easily distracted.

Financially, we’re okay. Kevin got paid up front and we don’t have a lot of bills, so we’re good. I think the weirdest part of this whole liquidating the company thing has been the fact that he doesn’t receive checks anymore but is still expected to put in so much time. (He puts in more, but we won’t split hairs).

I have no idea what’s going to happen with our job situation. I’m MORE than ready to go back to work and will, probably some time this summer. Kevin and I talked about it and we thought it would be best to put off seriously looking for something until we get back from our trip in July.

Unless something comes along. We’re keeping our options open. So for now, I’m looking at this time that Kevin and I have with each other as a trial period for when the boys move out and it’ll just be him and me once again.

I see a lot of adjustments in my future.

1 The boys’ schedules are whacked. Dude ended up having American Civil War again instead of P.E., so we had to contact his counselor, who was off on spring break, so Dude went to school yesterday really not knowing where he was supposed to go. Luckily, his counselor was on top of it and had a new schedule for him to pick up in his first period class.

He has Team Sports.

……………. pause ……………

HAHAHAHA!

Dude LOATHES sports. Just ABHORS them. When his counselor emailed me yesterday and told me that that was the only class available, I felt sure Dude would have a coronary. I thought he would want out of that class like *snap* that. But I was determined not to give him my opinion, I was curious to see what Dude would say. After all, I personally don’t care what the boy takes, as long as he gets his last P.E. credit in before he graduates. (Isn’t P.E. so stupid?? I don’t know why it’s required to begin with).

When Dude got into the car yesterday afternoon, I cautiously asked him how it went.

“Fine.”

“Did you know where to go for second period?”

“Yeah. Mrs. Miller had a new schedule ready for me.”

“What did you end up with?” (I’m the master at playing dumb).

“Team Sports.”

“Oh.” I couldn’t tell by his face how he felt about that, so, I asked him.

He shrugged. “Okay, I guess.”

Well alrighty then. I guess he’s going to go ahead and go through with it. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles the competition. I’m not overly worried about his coordination, but I am a little worried about how he’ll take it when his team loses. He’s a sore loser. As in MAJORLY sore loser.

I’m hoping this class will be good for him.

Dude had scheduled to take an Economics class next year, but unbeknown to us, it was an honors class. He could have taken it, and in fact, I encouraged him, but he ultimately decided that it was too much work (he’d have to read a book over the summer and prepare a Power Point presentation) so he changed it to Psychology. Now I’m not a big Psychology sort of person, but it IS interesting (I had it in college) so I thought Dude would find it interesting, but alas, the class is full so we’re stuck at square one trying to find another class he can take that he’s halfway interested in. I’m not making any recommendations – this choice is completely up to Dude. But I AM curious to find out what he picks.

Oh, and he has Computer Programming this quarter. He’s going to learn some Java and when we asked him questions about it last night, he looked sort of excited. I think he’s going to enjoy this class. (He has Jazz’s Math teacher – which is neither here nor there, but I thought it was cute listening to the boys exchange opinions on the teacher).

Jazz and I talked about his schedule last night. Since he has Jazz Band, it sort of eats away a couple of elective classes that he would have taken instead, so we’re looking at some summer classes. His counselor suggested he NOT take a core class, those are really reserved for the students who didn’t pass during the regular school year, and suggested he take P.E. instead. We thought this was an excellent idea because he could get his P.E. course out of the way and not have homework to deal with during the summer months.

So, he is planning on taking one P.E. class this summer, and his last P.E. class next summer. That will free up one quarter that he can use toward a practical elective class that will be way more fun than P.E. would have been. Not to mention, summer classes are one month as opposed to three so …

1 I’ve now sold 46 books from my Amazon book store.

I am DIGGING this book store gig. Are you kidding me?? Working with books AND getting paid?

Heaven.

I will be adding more books from my book shelf as well as some books the boys don’t want anymore, if you’re interested. In addition, the library book sale is coming up at the end of April, which I’ll be haunting for more books to sell. I paid a membership fee so I’ll have first dibs on the selection. I can’t wait to hit that book sale!!

1 Kevin and I found some tile that we liked for our back splash. We were hoping to have it up before this weekend, but no such luck. The guy is scheduled to come out April 5th. I can’t wait to get that done because then we can choose our paint AND THEN we’ll nearly be done with this project.

Kevin and I look a little like Laurel and Hardy in the kitchen – we’re both scared to cook on our new stove top because we don’t want to mess it up. HA! We’re getting used to everything though …

Oh. I ran the dishwasher for the first time the other night. It took THREE HOURS to run it’s course. I was stunned.

Three hours for one load of dishes?!?! I thought this thing was supposed to be energy efficient. How in the world is running this thing for three hours more efficient?

I have to say, though, we probably had some of the cleanest dishes in the city that night.

Apparently, the more options you choose, the longer the cycle. So the next time I run the dishwasher? I’m choosing like one option which will reduce the cycle time to thirty minutes. Which is more like it.

Three hours. I nearly died. Pfft.

1 Dude is scheduled to take the ACT test April 10th. We went to Barnes and Noble and bought him a book that goes over some math and science questions.

He has yet to open it.

I’ve also suggested he check out the ACT website, there is all sorts of helpful information there and practice questions that will help him prepare.

He has yet to do that, too.

I’m not pushing him. If he blows this test, he’ll have no one to blame but himself. He’ll take the test again next April (his counselor suggested this was the best course of action, then the school he applies to can take his best score) so maybe he’ll prepare a little more for it.

But for now, I’m simply sitting back to see what happens.

1 We’re having Easter at our house this year. My nephews will be staying the night Friday night and it’s just easier to have my parents come over on Saturday since the guys will be over here anyway.

I’d like to have an Easter egg hunt, but the boys blush whenever I suggest it. They’re all teenagers, I guess that MIGHT be a little weird. Still though, I’d like to do something special.

I’ll think of something.

Tuesday Stuff

Caught Reading

Spontaneous Reading

My boys are not readers.

This kills me. Because if I could get paid to read? I’d be in HEAVEN.

In other words, I AM a reader. I love to get lost in an imaginary world. I love to shed real life for a few hours and become someone else.

But my boys? Meh. Not interested.

So when I opened Jazz’s door the other day to see what he was up to, I was SHOCKED to see him reading. On his own. Without any encouraging from me.

He has an English class this semester and part of their weekly assignment is to read a book and then write a journal entry about what they read for the week. Jazz had a book on his book shelf that he took and when he finished, he asked if we could buy the next two books in the series.

I’ve always told my boys they NEVER have to ask if we can buy books. Ever. They want to read? I’m all over it.

So, we went to Borders, found the next two books and bought them. But Jazz couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the next book, so he dug right in.

It really, REALLY warms my heart to see him reading. This is definitely a moment I want to remember because it’s just so RARE.

(Here’s the series, in case you were interested. Maybe I’ll add these books to my book store – when Jazz is finished with them, of course).

Emily at Chatting at the Sky hosts a weekly “noticing” party – giving us a chance to unwrap and share the little gifts that God gives to us on a daily basis.

Tuesday Stuff

Patching it Up

Patching It Up

(I know this is late – yesterday was crazy nuts. More on that later).

I’m going to consciously work on highlighting the little moments I’m thankful for every Tuesday because it’s the little moments we forget but make such a huge impact on our lives, overall.

Here is one such moment:

Kevin took our old light fixture out (the wire hanging down behind him) and in the process is patching up other areas of our ceiling and making them blend in by painting over the repairs.

I’m soooooo thankful that my husband knows how to fix things around the house. Truly. He has saved us so much money by doing it himself. I pray that he passes this knowledge on to our sons so they can be handy men to their wives, too.

Thank you for all your hard work, honey. I adore you.

Emily at Chatting at the Sky hosts a weekly “noticing” party – giving us a chance to unwrap and share the little gifts that God gives to us on a daily basis.

Tuesday Stuff

Early Mornings

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I am not a morning person.

But I married a morning person.

I have been converted.

I now routinely rise before the sun has risen and before the birds begin their morning chirping.

I sit before my computer and with a groggy mind and groping fingers, I turn my computer on. As it boots up, I open the blinds in the office so that I may look out at the pitch blackness.

Waking up to darkness depresses me a bit.

Once the coffee has finished brewing, I pour myself a large mug full adding too much sugar and anticipating that first, scalding sip; the moment I truly start waking up.

I check email first, and then my blogs – there are usually no comments to approve. Instead of feeling disheartened by this, I am relieved. I do not enjoy playing moderator on any level.

At precisely 6:15 (or thereabouts), I prepare to wake the boys up. Taking a quick sip of my morning brew, I brace myself for the groans, grunts and dirty looks.

My teenagers don’t care for mornings, either.

I turn the light on in Jazz’s room. He stirs and burrows deeper into his covers.

I turn the light on in Dude’s room. He is completely oblivious to my presence. I pull his covers back and he frowns. It’s not until I turn his radio on and a blast of music rips the silence into shreds does he emit a low, grumpy growl of protest.

I return to my computer and continue my morning routine. I update and upload changes to the school websites before checking Cute Overload, (I smile), Picture of the Day, (I am inspired), my Facebook account, (I am overwhelmed), and finally Twitter, (I am curious).

I save Twitter for last because I’m usually on Twitter the longest.

Jazz has usually gotten up and is preparing his morning cereal by the time I reach Twitter.

Dude has usually fallen back asleep by the time I’ve caught up on my Twitter stream.

I get back up and loudly knock on Dude’s door to startle him back awake. His eyes open and he shoots me a dirty look.

I’m used to his dirty looks.

I sit back down at my computer when I hear Kevin stirring. He comes in, gives me a quick kiss and we ask each other how the other one slept.

“I tossed and turned all night,” is my answer.

“I woke up at 4:00 hungry,” is his answer.

It is the same every morning.

It’s now 6:45 and Jazz has finished breakfast, has gotten dressed and is making his bed.

Dude is still in bed.

I stand in Dude’s doorway, and continue to stand in Dude’s doorway, until he sits up, pulling the sheet over his head and huffing in irritation.

I leave him alone so he can fully wake up, confident that now that he’s sitting up, he will soon begin his morning routine.

I smile to myself as I listen to Kevin greet the boys as they make their way to the kitchen,

“Morning sunshine,” is how he greets them both.

They mumble what I assume to be a greeting in return.

I smile.

It’s an inside joke because neither boy is anywhere close to being sunny in the morning.

It’s 7:00 o’clock and I stretch. Rose and peach fingers of sun are just beginning to curl around the horizon and I sigh in contentment – sunny days make me happy.

I take one last, large swallow of coffee before hefting my mass out of my chair and beginning the long, and sometimes complicated process of packing the boys’ lunches for school.

I take pride in the lunches I pack for my boys. And apparently, they are quite popular with their friends, judging by the funny stories I hear on a daily basis about who has stolen what food item that day.

Beds are made. Teeth have been brushed. Hair has been combed. Backpacks have been packed.

At 7:25 a.m., it’s time to leave.

The boys pile into the car, I kiss Kevin goodbye and we take off, the car gradually warming degree by degree until we arrive at the school, toasty and comfortable.

We carefully navigate the busy high school parking lot until we reach the yellow trimmed doors to the school.

“Have a good day,” I say. “I’ll see you later.”

The boys mumble “Bye” nearly in unison and pile out. I watch them momentarily as they merge with other students and head toward the building.

My children are no longer boys, they are young men, and without fail, my heart skips a beat.

My time with them is running out.

I assimilate myself back into the morning traffic and head home to begin my day.

Though every morning is nearly the same, I do not feel bored with the routine. I treasure every mundane moment I have with my guys.

Emily at Chatting at the Sky hosts a weekly “noticing” party – giving us a chance to unwrap and share the little gifts that God gives to us on a daily basis.

Tuesday Stuff

Random Tuesday: Because My Life Consists of Random Bits of Nothing Right Now

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1 I’m trying to talk my mother into having Christmas at our house this year.

She’s being stubborn.

I’m offering to do this, because my mom works like a dog and deserves to be able to take it easy, relax and ENJOY the holidays for a change.

I have the perfect plan – Dude and I will drive over the 24th and pick up the gifts and her AWESOME stockings (she fills them each year with tons of useful / fun things and everyone always looks forward to them every year), and the food so then on Christmas day, all mom and dad have to do is get in their car and come over.

No mess. No stress.

I’m thinking this is a good idea. And now that I’ve put it out on the Internet, MOM, you sort of HAVE to do it.

How do you make someone you love slow down and enjoy the holidays and NOT be the hostess for a change?

2 Kevin compares pot roast and cooked carrots to candy.

Who even does that?!

Such an odd man. It’s a good thing I LIKE odd or we’d be in a pickle.

3 We have a winter storm coming through tonight (and thank God we’re on the tip of this storm because I hear it’s been dumping A FOOT OF SNOW on some folks! EEK!) and OMG, my head.

I can always tell when the weather is about to change, my sinuses go nuts and I’m like this all day:

But seriously, go away headache. Or I’ll start whimpering like Robert Gibbs when he’s forced to explain the actions of our idiot government..

OH … PWNED!

4 I witnessed two accidents yesterday. One was while I was waiting for the boys, the other was while Dude and I were out getting the pot roast that we ate tonight.

I was sitting there, waiting for the boys after school, when I noticed this red car, full of kids and none of them wearing their seat belts, drive erratically through the parking lot that I was waiting in. They do this every day. They parallel park on the road and then use the parking lot to turn around. And like every other student driver, they are goofing off and showing off for their peers.

They were trying to turn left. But there were several cars parked alongside the street, so it was hard to see what was coming in both directions.

They pulled out and though the car coming tried to swerve and miss them, the red car, instead of braking, sped up as if to try and make it and they crashed. Head on. Car parts went everywhere and though I don’t think anyone was hurt, I can’t be sure because like I said, none of the kids (and this includes the kid that they hit) were wearing seat belts.

Dude and I ran across the second accident shortly after it happened. It was another T-bone accident right in the middle of a busy intersection and it looked bad.

Oh, I forgot, the kids and I ran across another accident the day before yesterday. We didn’t see it happen, but it must have happened shortly before we got there because there wasn’t a cop car to be seen and smoke was pouring out the guy’s motor.

What do you want to bet that other than the kid accident, the others were on their cell phones when it happened?

Hang up and drive, people.

5 Did you hear that Global Warming is a hoax? Is anyone surprised by this information? I’m not.

And did you also hear that the EPA has deemed C02 harmful to humans? And does anyone else find this colossal news, that was released shortly before the climate summit in Copenhagen, incredibly stupid?

The media is a bird feeder, we are the birds and we are gorging ourselves on what they want to feed us.

Seriously. It’s time to wake up.

6 You must, must, MUST, do this. Your children’s eyes will bug out and they will love you forever.

Click on the picture below and follow directions.

You’re welcome.

You have to admit, this guy’s Christmas decoration is hilarious:

But yeah, after more than one person tried to use the ladder to rescue “the man” and other countless cars drove off the road looking at “the man” in horror, the owner had to take it down.

And yes, these are the kinds of things going through my mind at the moment.

What can I say, I’m a deep thinker.



(Winter Wonderland by Tony Bennett)