Friday, January 30, 2009

Updating

As I have been sitting here waiting for the plumbers, (who were supposed to be here between 10 and noon, and will be later than that, as they just called to tell me, and, no, I'm not angry that I'm not getting on the road yet, and what was I doing? Oh, yeah) I have done some updating.

There's a new photo in my profile; that would be me and Soldier #2 at his homecoming earlier this month. I have also updated my profile to say that Ethan will be leaving for Basic in March, not April, which is causing both of us fits. It's not enough that he has already moved out, but now he's leaving the Midwest earlier than planned?! And he's missing the MilBall, whatever that is, and is not happy about it.

So, enjoy. Remember that the photo of me was taken at 3:30 in the morning, and I had driven from Corpus Christi to Killeen that day!

It's Deja Vu All Over Again!

The toilets are not flushing. The sinks are not draining. The plumber has been called. They'll be here tomorrow, with their rodding machine, their big wrench, and their big honkin' invoice book.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Last week there were two birthdays in our family. Joy turned 8 and Sean turned 7. On Friday, when the homeschool moms came by, there was a party. Birthday cakes were baked.



(They be chillin') (I couldn't resist)

Happy Birthday was sung. Cake was eaten.



(Contrary to appearances, there was no alcohol served to Sean!)



There was even live entertainment,courtesy of the Meacham girls!

video




MARY! You can't HANDLE the party!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pro Life Corner

"For every woman who participates in an abortion, there is a man. Although men are less likely to seek recovery, they suffer many of the same emotional feelings as women."
Grace Kern, director of Word-of-Hope, Lutherans For Life's post-abortion ministry

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Report

Slept in today, and went surfing before I go out to feed the critters. I added a new geegaw to the sidebar of my blog! (Thanks, Polly,!) It is where I found this video, which, Pioneer Woman, includes a moment that now outranks (Bwahahaha!) a cowboy holding a baby! Pay attention throughout, but especially at about 2:30.




(BTW, are those the President's Marines jogging at the beginning? We saw them do that once in Washington, DC. Situps, too, on the Capitol lawn. What an awesome sight; not a bead of sweat anywhere!) (See comments. Boy, am I a ditz! Bet the 82nd doesn't sweat, either. :) )

(BTW#2, this is fun! Farm weather! The critters are good today; eggs aplenty, happy cows, and goats. It's 1 degree outside; wind chill, -15. Ahhh...January!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Once Upon a Time in America

Once upon a time in America, a boy and a girl grew up. Although they grew up in separate states, they managed to meet and marry. They raised 4 children on one income; his. He worked very hard for the same company for 28 years. Despite his loyalty, however, when times got tough, the company told him, "Due to business conditions, we are letting you go."

The husband and wife were not sure how things would fall out, but were optimistic. After all, this is America, where anyone can do anything and be successful, if they try. And try he did. He looked and looked for work, interviewing, being rejected, interviewing again, and, finally, finding another company that wanted him.

He worked hard for this company, spending more and more time there. His family knew he had to work hard, so did not begrudge the company his time and attention. They knew he loved them and wanted the best for them. And this was America, where anyone can be successful if they try.

Then came the fall, and time to choose another President, another administration to, well, administer the government. Although the couple were not happy with the winner of this election, they knew they were blessed with a government that would stay strong and stable, despite a radical change in philosophy and direction. Then came this incident.



The husband came home, ranting about the speaker, and his words. The wife tried to calm him down, but they both felt uncomfortable. Here, in America, hard-working people could be denied work because of the color of their skin? Hadn't decent people fought a hard battle to make sure that didn't happen again?

And the next night, he came home, depressed and despairing. "You have to get a job," he said. "You're the only one who can get ahead for us, because you're a woman." She asked, "Why? What happened?" He had headed to work that day happy and content to be working very hard for a company and product he believed in. He spoke with his manager that day, a woman who called him a "Rockstar," a golden man who could do anything she asked and more. She told him, "I will be moving on in the next couple of years. And I will be handing my position to the best person suited for the job. And it won't be you." As much as she wanted it to be him, she couldn't do it...because he was a man. As the position is currently held by a woman, giving it to a man "would be a step backward." She is not happy with this. In fact, she had just had to turn in a "dissertation," a lengthy and detailed explanation of why another man who reported to her should be promoted instead of a minority. Never mind that he's been with the company 38 years, and that there is no one else even ready to be considered for the promotion; "We have too many white, male professionals," she has been told.

So I have committed a faux pas and married a white male professional. And, for my crime, I may be heading off to work at a time when my daughter needs me at home most. Once upon a time in America...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In Honor of Those Marching...

Along with Mike Gallagher, I am honoring those who march in Washington,DC, today.
I was listening to Dennis Miller this morning. He is as conservative as it gets, but, because he believes in less government, in not regulating everything ad nauseum, he is pro-choice. He thinks people should be able to have abortions, if they want to; although I'm willing to bet he doesn't intend to pay for them! His comment was along the lines of, "Why should we stop them? If they want to, well, it's abhorrent, but let God tell them someday that what they did was wrong."
While I tend to agree with the guiding reasoning of his statement, I think he's forgotten about life at the other end. I may not have shared that Grandma's doctor called me about two weeks after she passed away, and asked me what I thought of her care at the rehab center. I was very candid in my disapproval. So was he. He told me, "Well, I told the doctor there that he killed my patient, and I was not happy about it." He further expressed his frustration with medical staff not treating the elderly as if they were worth any time and energy. This attitude, he said, is not just at that rehab center, but is appearing increasingly in all corners of the medical world. Any human life that is not perfectly strong, vigorous, and independent, is viewed through the lens of, "What will this cost us in time, energy and money? Is it worth it?"
And I worry about that. While I have passed the stage where I might be aborted, I am facing the stage where someone might want to persuade me to "go home". I know I will...but when God's ready for me, not when I'm ready. And I certainly don't want someone deciding for me that I've had "enough" (whatever that means) years and it's time for me to check out...so let's withhold this or that treatment.
So I will continue to pray for and silently work for those who can't work for their own right to stay alive. In that spirit, I ask this question of our current President; why you and not them? (Thanks to Cheryl for pointing me this way!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Merry Christmas to me!

I was promised one of these for Christmas.



That, my friends, is a Hoover Hard Floor Cleaner. Now, some might call that a lame-o Christmas present. But all of our floors here are hardwood, vinyl or tile. Not a carpet anywhere. And my back and I have a tenuous working relationship. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes not. After mopping a floor, I can be pretty much useless for an afternoon. So that hard floor cleaner makes my life ever so much easier, and, therefore, makes a wonderful Christmas present.

Or Mother's Day. I got one there years ago on Mother's Day; John got much flack from the car pool, I can tell you. But, come Monday, when they were looking for black eyes, they saw smiles. I really liked my present.

But nothing lasts forever, and it was time for a new one. Having been married sometime before the wedding at Cana, gift-giving occasions are somewhat subdued for us. Often we have small surprise gifts for each other, but our major gift-giving involves shopping. We take a day to go out and shop together, buying for each other and for ourselves. It's usually things we need; clothing, tools, floor cleaners. We get the chance to spoil ourselves, have a quiet lunch together, and talk out bunches of things while we drive from store to store. Our Christmas trip this year was cut short by a family party, so we said, "We'll pick up that cleaner sometime."

Yesterday I was in The Big City, and decided to run into Best Buy and pick it up. I don't know what compelled me to do this, but I did. And I mean compelled; I really felt like THIS WAS THE DAY.

It sure was. About 10pm yesterday, Mary was in the shower, and I was in the office. I heard an odd noise, and came out of the office, which is in the basement, to see water pouring down the wall. When John pulled the ceiling and wall apart, it appeared that the water from the shower was pouring out through the toilet. Sure enough, we had to call these guys;



They spoke of rodding and septic tanks. And then they fixed it. It only took two hours. I wish I had become a plumber, rather than attending college. Even at a high level position in my profession, I might equal their salaries. Maybe. And I would get to leave someone's house in an awful mess.



I would get to put fixtures in unusual places.



After handing over a ginormous bill, I could drive away and leave the homeowner to scrub and disinfect. You'd best believe I was thankful for the prompting to buy that hard floor cleaner!

Really, they did a good job of pre-cleaning. But I am recovering tonight with dark Dove and Cabernet. Best get back at it!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Woodland Maiden

This past Saturday our church's day school, along with some members of the local community, put on a performance of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Miss Mary was asked to perform the part of a Woodland Maiden. Although she really hated practicing, she really enjoyed the process and the performances. She really didn't like the director. (I'm sure that's true of most actors.) The performance was sweet and fun, and you could tell the kids were really proud of themselves.


Here she is, ready for the stage;



A shot with her dad, brother and nephew;



And one more, because, after this, NO MORE PICTURES, MOM!

Pro-Life Corner

Which will probably become a regular Sunday fixture.

"America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts--a child--as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters." Mother Teresa

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday at Home

Today's farm report finds us blissfully home...Maybe not blissfully, but home. It's warming up, which means it's a wet cold, not a dry one. Whatever that means. The critters have been fed and spoiled, and new supplies have been acquired for their comfort and nutrition. (I bought shavings and feed.)
I have moved us back into this house, a feat accomplished with much sweeping and laundry. I don't get it. I did laundry on the road, and, yet, there were mountains of the stuff when I got home. I don't remember leaving any. I return to my lifelong theory; the stuff breeds.
The upstairs is comfy and clean. The downstairs can wait until tomorrow; it's not too bad, anyway. I have to wait for the dryer to finish, so I may as well start reading for the class I'm taking this semester, The Geography of Coffee, taught by this guy. Does it sound fun? I think it does. Relevant, too.
Off I go...to the land of Coffee.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Home

We are. It was a late drive yesterday, and we missed supper. We had toast in front of Andy Griffith before we fell into bed. I slept like a log and am spending today moving us back into our house. Stop by but don't expect much!
Oh, by the way. -18 this morning. Last night I pumped gas in central IL, where the wind chills were in the -35 range. It felt like it. My toes were slightly frostbitten just unpacking the car last night. But I am still so glad to be home.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On The Road (Yet) Again

Yes, we did leave. It was really tough, and didn't happen until after supper Tuesday. But, leave we did. -sniff- I left my "little" boy again at the mercy of Sgt. So-And-So, and lit out for the frozen tundra.
We spent a night in the Ft. Worth area, and Mary renewed her friendship with the Heimbigner girls. Today was a long, slow trek through Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Treebeard the Ent once said something like, "I like going south. It feels like walking downhill." In much the same way, driving north was like going uphill. Time really dragged.
But we're in Independence, MO, tonight. If the West is properly defined by the Missouri River, we have crossed over and left it behind tonight. We'll be back soon enough, but we'll miss it until then.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Before I Go To Sleep...

I read. Blogs and e-mail and even, often, books. Yeah, books! Betcha thought there weren't too many of us readers out there. Tonight I was reading things online and found this, which I thought I'd share. It made me laugh, and laughter is wonderful for the soul (and the digestion, or so I've read.)



(My favorite, if you're wondering, is the bear.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You Still There?

You're still hanging around? The last few days have been pretty boring; thanks for reading. Today may be no better.

I have some choices to make today. I have this hotel room until tomorrow. Hotel living is wearing on me. It's the simplest thing that gets to me; rotten coffee. Yes, I have coffee in here, and I can make it. But hotel room coffee is notoriously bad, and I haven't done so yet. I could go two doors down for coffee, waffles, eggs, etc...but I'm still in my jammies. And a nice Midwestern girl just doesn't go out in public in her jammies. (Unless there are geese on the pond, but that's another post someday.) So I have the choice between rotten coffee...and no coffee.

I have been thinking about heading home. As much as I like playing set-up-the-house with Matthew and Jarvis, (his last name, but his first is also Matthew; it'll be confusing while they room together!) I realize that I need to get home. Mary will be appearing as a Woodland Maiden in The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe on Saturday night, and dress rehearsals started Sunday. The director knows the situation and is good with it, but I should have the WM home in time for the last one on Friday, if not the second-to-last one on Thursday. I also am beginning to feel guilty for having other people caring for our animals for so long. So, in short, home is calling.

But then I checked out the forecast.

It's 11 degrees there this morning. By Thursday, the high will be -2! Wind chills are expected to be in the -20 range, and there is blowing snow. Today there is a blizzard warning. It'll be lovely driving, won't it? Not to mention a quick re-introduction to the Midwest!

So I have choices; leave today, leave tomorrow, stay here longer. Get dressed and go get coffee, or stay here and whine about it. And then there's the whole route home; go through OK, KS, MO and IA, like I did on the way here? Go home through St. Louis instead of Iowa City? Or, since our History study has brought us up to the Civil War, go home through LA and TN, stopping to see some sights and sites along the way? But then Mary would probably miss those dress rehearsals altogether.

All right. First decision made. I have got to get some coffee so I can clear the cobwebs and think through this in some sane fashion!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Saturday Farm Report

What? No, you aren't nutty; perhaps I am. But I/you missed a Saturday Farm Report, so I figured I'd make up for it.
Saturday was sleeping in, then helping Matthew and Jarvis, another soldier, move into an apartment. The guys hit Goodwill and WalMart for necessary supplies, including furniture, and we met the (scarily) reassuring landlady. Mexican food for lunch and good steaks for dinner; don't look for any good Weight Watchers' reports from me after this week!
Yesterday we continued the process. Matthew bought himself an iPhone, which is a good thing. Between him and Mary, I didn't get to use mine most of the weekend. He was like a kid with a new toy, which, I guess, he was. Sadly, I really did lose my iPhone this weekend. On the advice of the AT&T salesman who helped Matthew, I tried to update my phone and, instead, now have a brick sitting on the desk. It seems he mentioned one simple direction that needed to be done. But he didn't write it down. I needed it written down; didn't do it, hosed up my iPhone. We're heading over there right after breakfast and some laundry is done. We ht a nice deli for lunch, Cracker Barrel for tea and ice cream, and the Olive Garden for dinner. My jeans still fit, but this has to stop!
(Yes, I do laundry on the road. But, when I come home, all my clothes are clean and go right into drawers!)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Homecoming


So we drove to the gym. We waited an hour. The crowd got unruly. (It didn't help that the music was ungodly loud, there were little kids in the crowd who were exhausted, and the DJ was encouraging us to higher levels of frenzy.

video

Then they marched in. We all whooped and cheered. As they were dismissed to find families...we realized we were in the wrong homecoming!

No matter. It was still fun, we were in the right place, just early, and it was practice for the real thing.

Which happened.





There are still troopers from the 3d ACR whose homecomings have yet to happen. Please keep them in your prayers.

"Thunder Squadron Is In The House!"

It was 1:30am. It is 3:56am now. There'll be more tomorrow, but, for now;

video

Friday, January 9, 2009

Almost Home...

Well, we're here. Matthew's not. Of course we shouldn't have counted on the Army getting him here on schedule. In fact, we really didn't. But, about an hour after dragging Mary away from Serena and Kimberlee



we learned that he was delayed. He'll be in at 1am Saturday. Yes...1 am.

So we stopped for lunch (that's Wolfy, enjoying a coffee.)





And, after another day of driving,



we are here in Killeen, waiting...

But we'll wait.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Have Beach Hair Tonight

You know what I mean, right? That wind-blown, messed up style that comes after spending a day on the beach?

I don't think I've ever been on a beach in January.

Julee and I walked (which probably didn't counter the effects of Fuddrucker's, seafood dip and Border Buttermilk) and the girls played in the sand.



After about an hour of building a moat around the castle, then constructing a levee to protect the moat...

video

Three pretty beach girls.



And the simply wonderful moms who took them there.

Warm Weather

Coming from a place where you know it's cold when your snot freezes, (sorry if the image is upsetting) I have mixed feelings about the warm, sunny weather I'm experiencing today. On the one hand, I really like Illinois. Really. I would miss the change of seasons, the rhythm of life when summer and fall are really different. On the other hand, it was really nice to walk outside today in a t-shirt and not wonder if I would need a jacket.

Ain't my life sad?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

From The Road

So I have arrived. (What was with that post yesterday? Could you tell I was quite tired?)

We (Mary and I) left IL on Monday morning. As usual, I left about an hour later than I wanted to. I realized that Mapquest was sending me through Iowa, rather than Missouri, like I had thought. Because I don't do anything if I haven't been told to, I switched my plan and went through Iowa. It gave me the opportunity to call my cousin Cindy and have lunch with her in Iowa City. We spent that night with John's aunt and uncle in Independence, MO. We got no pictures of them, but a few of one of their cats, Roscoe. This is his favorite sleeping/observation post.



Day Two was spent driving through Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas. While on route, John called to tell us that Matthew will be home TWO DAYS EARLIER THAN EXPECTED! We spent the night with the Heimbigners near Fort Worth. Their daughter, Abigail, was nice enough to allow us to help her celebrate her baptism birthday. She wanted--and received--her very own hymnal.



Mary made some new friends among the Heimbigner children.



After pictures, we hit the road for Corpus Christi; an hour later than I wanted to! I did not like the route Mapquest sent us on; 35 straight through the state. I do not like Austin traffic. But we made it here, and are spending some time with the Brynestads. Tonight we had a wonderful supper, some good wine, and good conversation. Now for some good sleep!

(By the way, some of you may wonder why I headed for the coast when I need to be up north in Killeen. Those of you who wonder have obviously never been here! But, believe me; I'll be in Killeen on time!)

On The Road Again...

Yes, I am. I am in Burleson, TX tonight. Tomorrow I'll be in Corpus Christi. Friday I'll BE IN KILLEEN, WELCOMING MY SON BACK FROM IRAQ!!! Yeah, I'm a little excited.

Not too excited, though, about the driving. I drove down with his car, because he wants it back. It's been a long two days. But I've always liked road trips.

It's after midnight. There'll be pictures tomorrow.