Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The full moon and a dozen other things that have been on my mind...

The moon was a beautiful full one tonight. And as I read here, the closest to us it has been all year. Had it not been so cold, we would have done some moon and star gazing from the back yard tonight after the nice little dinner date we had. This is the time of year that I miss spending time out in the back yard. If I had a pile of money, I would build a gas fire pit like the one we sat around in San Diego. Nice, that would be real nice. I miss Bernie Mac. I digress.

Speaking of cold, did you hear about the snow in New Orleans this week? Crazy. Have you ever said "when hell freezes over"? You should be careful saying that from now on. I'm not saying the NOLA is hell, I'm just saying that if there is lake effect snow and the lake is Pontchartrain, then hell could be next. I have family in NOLA. They hollered about the snow on Facebook. It sounded like fun.

Speaking of Facebook, I've gone now and done something foolish..got a Facebook page. I barely keep up with this blog, Twitter, and my 2 email addresses. My plan is to manage it all from the iPhone. I will go blind trying to read the tiny screen for extended periods of time, but I'll look cool.

Speaking of the iPhone, I love my iPhone. I have an addiction to the App Store on iTunes. I have 4 pages of Apps on my phone, and 5 of them are weather apps. 4 Twitter Apps, 3 for restaurants and points of interest. I have Ebay, Amazon, and of course the voice activated Google - for when I'm driving down the road and need to Google. I love Google. I've got a novel by E.M. Forster that I'm reading in drive thru lanes. I only have 2 games, but they are my favorites - Ms. Pacman and Crash Bandicoot. There is the virtual Zippo lighter, just in case I'm at a concert and feel so inclined. Ooh, and Shazam. I've never used it but I might need it some day, at a concert. And then there are the Apps I use to listen to radio stations, and Pandora. I love Pandora. I have a Mazzy Star station on Pandora and that's just the best. I also have a KC and the Sunshine Band station, a Family Force 5 station, and a Mozart station. My neighbors at the office hate me. Chris says that Pandora and Satellite Radio are going to kill his career. Why can't they all just get along?

I have achieved electronic clutter. And I'm OK with that.

There were a few other things on my mind, but Mavis has chewed off one of my toes and is starting on a second. Jealous dog. It's probably for the best, the rest was going to be a rant. Nobody likes a rant.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The month that got away.

I let November get away. It just flat went. I have to say that since I've gotten an iPhone, and use it to keep up on Twitter, I've really neglected the blog. It's not that I don't have anything to say, I just am saying it on Twitter more. Shame on lazy, lazy me. I go days without cranking up the laptop too.

I've enjoyed the changing of the season - and everything that goes with it. A couple of weeks ago we spent the weekend up at Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Chris, Mavis and I rented a cabin along with our good friends Johnny and Kellie. Since they moved to Tulsa we don't get to see them nearly enough. It was a good time to unplug and just relax. They are avid game players and taught us a new game - Settlers of Catan. You usually have to drag me kicking and screaming to play games. I have a huge allergy to competition. But I really had fun playing this game. The good company certainly didn't hurt. See Chris and Mavis totally focused on the "rock for wood, no I mean sheep for brick" strategy? Yeah, that didn't work. Johnny beat the crap out of us.

We (I)also spent quite a bit of time eating marshmallows by the fire.

So there you have it, I spent November playing games and eating marshmallows. Or so I wouldn't mind remembering it that way. It's been a tough November. Maybe someday I'll feel like writing about the rest of it. Here's to a better December.

PS.. I did go to see the new James Bond movie this month. I have decided that I want Dame Judi Dench to play me in the movie of our lives, the later years. Also went to see "The secret life of bees". Loved the book, and it was a great movie. From that movie I've decided that Dakota Fanning will play April as a young teen. So really I didn't lolly-gag all of November. I also did some casting for the movie of our lives.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

Now is a good time for a new collection or hobby.

*this is timely since I will embark on the Artist Trading Card project tomorrow*

Saturday Afternoon Multi-Tasking..My Way


I'm spending my Saturday the way I like it. Just enough lounging, but not so much I feel I've wasted the day. It's a beautiful fall day and I've enjoyed coffee on the back porch, and now letting the afternoon sun come in the windows. I'm home alone with Mavis - Chris is working this afternoon. We're watching LSU play Alabama. That's the most stress I'm gonna let in today :)

I gave the doglet an overdue bath today. For those of you with human kids, you're gonna shrug off my despair when it comes to just how hard it is to keep up with this furry kid of mine. For ME, it's like keeping up with a toddler. I've struggled with her at bathtime from the beginning. We've tried double teaming her, me bathing her alone, in the tub with her, sitting on the edge, the kitchen sink, space heater to keep her warm, no space heater... No matter what, she fights bigtime. This time, I tried something a trainer recently told me. I was completely silent the whole time. No "it's ok baby, shhhh, BE STILL!!!". Non of that. I was silent from the time we went into the bathroom. Even the times that I have used a soothing voice all the way through and not yelled it hasn't made a difference. This time, I was shocked to find that Mavis was completely relaxed. So much so that she laid in my arms hanging her legs down while I lathered her head. I have no scratch marks. I'm a believer. This may be the start of a beautiful thing. I also tried a new shampoo. My pooch had an Aveda Shampure spa treatment today. I think she's worth the money. She's a calm submissive silky smooth :) I've tried several shampoos especially for dogs, baby shampoo (which I always still use on her face) and this one made her the most beautiful. It's the little things that make me happy. Now my doglet smells amazing!

I've also managed to hang some pictures that have been stacked and waiting on me. I have a small collection of antique postcards. I've had a few framed and hung them today. I also framed (myself thank you!) a print we got in New Orleans. That goes up today too. This is my most recent postcard find, "Bon Voyage".
I think the last energy I will exert will be gathering together some supplies to work on something artistic tomorrow. Georgianna is coming over and we are going to take a first stab at Artist Trading Cards. I am eager to get my hands working on art again, this is the perfect project. Small and easy to finish. I do think it's gonna be hard for me to let go of what I've created - that's always been difficult to me. I don't think I could ever make money as an artist. Once I'm satisfied with a painting I get so attached to it. We'll see how this goes :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yeah, what they said.

A couple of people that I read daily summed it up nicely for me. Jade says trust in God here, and Anne says stop whining here.

Yeah, what they said. Now if you'll excuse me I have some things to get involved in.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pain Management

Update 11/5 I am cautiously optimistic today that these injections may have hit most of the right spots. Even if the pain relief is short lived, we may have found the source of the pain. Long term relief may be in sight with the next step!

I don't like to talk about it much, but I battle chronic pain every day and have for years. Mostly in my neck, it is my constant keeper it seems. I've tried almost every treatment there is, and yesterday I went back for more of the same. Injections under anesthesia directly to the nerves affected. In the past this has been somewhat effective but not 100%, but this time they hit more spots at one time. I look like I've been visited by aliens after this round of injections - sometimes I feel like it too. I just had to take a picture for the XFiles factor :)


Anyone have any miracle cures for arthritis and chronic pain of the cervical facet joints? I'm all ears. Really I am. I'm getting desperate and am not much good for anyone or anything when I hurt this much. I've tried so many things, but science moves fast. Maybe you've tried something I haven't. Here's a list.

Cortisone injections
Meds (neuro drugs, pain meds. Etc)
Yoga
Bio Feedback
Acupuncture (not going back for more of that)
Traction
Decompression Therapy
Chiropractic (still do regularly)

Besides the stress of constant pain, the stress of spending a pile of money on remedies that don't fix me is a killer. There is a surgical procedure that has been recommended, but we're talking about such a scary place to be screwing with. My doctor says they can destroy the nerve endings (rhizotomy) in the arthritic joints giving semi-permanent relief. I don't know, I'm just throwing it out there. Anyone had this done? Know anyone that has had it done?

Ok, enough said on this subject. Thanks for letting me share.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Visit to Music City


This week we paid a visit to Nashville to see April in her new hometown. We had the best time doing mostly nothing, our favorite pastime. As long as we eat and laugh it's all good. There was movie watching in the hotel room, several visits to really great coffee shops (Nashville has the best coffee shops), and of course a trip to Guitar Center in Nashville. I thought we would miss our flight - Chris and April were just lost in there. It goes without sayin, Mavis went with us. It was her 2nd trip on an airplane. She's a pro! I just have to stick a foot into her carrier under the seat and she's happy.


Chris, Mavis and I also got the chance to visit with Bernie at A Place to Bark. The folks at my office all pitched in to take a donation for her ongoing building project, which gave me a good excuse to visit. I really appreciated her taking time out of a very busy schedule to visit with us. I got the VIP tour of her shelter, and some always welcome puppy love from the adorable schnauzer pups! (it was FREEEZING - we had to tuck them in our jackets)


In a addition to her obvious passion for animals, Bernie is an artist. She is active in the ATC (Artist Trading Card) movement, having written a book and teaching others how to create in workshops. Bernie gave me a copy of her book, and now I'm getting motivated. I may have to start a shoe box of supplies and get started creating my own cards. I majored in Fine Art/Painting and Drawing in college. I've just let it go over the years. This would be a great way to get back in the swing of things. I've still got some of the old tools, just need to dust them off.

Most of all I'm encouraged by the hearts of others who strive to do the right thing, and give selflessly. Not just Bernie, but my April too. It was a good visit.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A House for Mr. Spock



We got Mr. Spock's house up today! Now we wait and hopefully Mrs. Spock with love the house and we'll have little owlets come spring!

Pumpkin Patch


We made our annual trip to the local pumpkin patch this weekend. It always has that small town feel and really gets me going for the holiday season. Sometimes I imagine that I live in Stars Hollow while we're there (one of the things on my life list..live in a town like it). There's fresh roasted corn on the cob and made fresh kettle corn right there in a big kettle while you watch.

The corn maze is pretty spooky at night - they hand out flashlights and you can always count on someone to lurk and scare the bajeebas out of you. I've gotten lost in there during the day, which is precisely why I let everyone else go while I stand by ready to call in the choppers to search for them if they don't come back :) I was perfectly happy to sit with Mom on a bench and people watch. Kids running wild with excitement. I love it.


Mavis tagged along and was tortured by wearing her costume for this year, compliments of Aunt Pamela:) She wears these things to make me happy you know. She'll have to wear it again to my office on Oct 31st. So this was a good practice run. She was the cutest pumpkin in the patch.


Of course we went on the hay ride. Half the fun is waiting for your turn, and then spotting the rabbits and foxes in the field at night. My niece Sadie commented that they went way slower this year. I'm pretty sure that was because she is a year older and it just seemed slower. Pretty soon there won't be any kids in the family that still want to do the hayride. What will my excuse be then :)


Sadie made a great Tiger, but sadly, her wild getup didn't help my LSU Tigers at all. While we were at the Patch, they had their first loss of the season. Ironically to Sadie's favorite team, the Florida Gators.


At the end of the night, we all got to pick out a pumpkin or two to take home. I'm grateful for a Mom that insists we all still do these things, and who will always treat us to it.

PS.. April and McKenna, we really missed having you here this year.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Dog Whisperer

I'm a HUGE fan of the Dog Whisperer. Cesar Millan is hosting a live seminar and I wish I could go (with Mavis of course)

Cesar's ONLY 2008 Live Seminar!
Saturday, December 6th, at 2 PM
Atlanta, GA - John A. Williams Theatre
at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Click here for details. Anyone want to donate a ticket to get us there :) We could really use some Dog Whisperin'!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Hawaiian Vacation


This is as close as I'm going to get to a vacation in Hawaii any time soon. My sweet friend Marilyn brought me back a fresh flower lei, and some seashells and sand from a business trip to one our Hawaiian offices.

Ya think I should arrange for something to go terribly wrong in my area of expertise so I'll get sent over? No, that would be very wrong. Hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Update on "The Ugly"

Well the city says that it's not just them but also a state and fed thing or something - if the dish is less than 10 feet - 10 FEET people - it can go where ever Mr. Neighbor wants to put it. I guess I should be grateful that it's not a 9 foot dish. Maybe I should plant a tree to block the view. What kind of tree should I plant?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mocking Bird at Dusk


Took this dusk shot with my iPhone this evening - not bad. I'm still figuring out how it all works!

Now I'm just sitting with Chris and Mavis enjoying the lightning bugs, some deserved R&R for all 3 of us.

Mr. Spock

I think it's unanimous that our little Eastern Screech Owl will be named Mr. Spock (thank you Joanne!) Here is some audio (and mostly dark video) I got around dusk Sunday night. You can hear him "whinny", which I understand is usually used in territorial defense. I also think I might have heard another one over in the next yard. Hopefully he will get used to me hanging around and I'll get to hear the "trilling" that is not so defensive(owl lingo you know).
video
Chris called me at the office yesterday to tell me that he was there in the same place in the afternoon. I didn't get home until well after dark, so I wasn't able to visit with him (Mr. Spock that is). Come to think of it I was so late that Mavis was the only one I could visit with. Chris is an early bird, while I'm more of a night owl...GaaaaHaaaaHaaaa! Couldn't resist the lame joke.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Clutter


I needed nail polish remover today so I looked under the sink where it normally is. We've been trying to tackle the clutter so there have been a few things tossed out from beneath the sink revealing what is in the way back. Here is what I found for nail polish remover down there. Do you think it will cause a chemical explosion if I pour them all into the same bottle? I'm going to do it outside just in case.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I'm sitting in the backyard, enjoying a cafe au lait made in the french press with some authentic Cafe Du Monde coffee. Oh so sweet. My intention was to come out and write about whats been going on with Mavis. I'll get to that in a minute. Here are some recent Mavis pics. I know you have missed her so.





I haven't been very motivated to write lately since nothing extraordinarily good has happened. This is the "In my backyard good things happen" blog after all. There have been extraordinarily BAD things going on, but I just don't feel like writing about those things, don't ask. So I haven't. But today, as I got settled to sit and write about Mavis and her health, since so many of you have asked, a good thing happened in my backyard. So it preempts my not so good news story about Mavis. Just by a paragraph though, so again, I'll get to her in a minute.

The Good
Like I said, I'm getting settled on the porch, coffee in hand. The squirrels are running rampant and Mavis is having a ball chasing them. It's funny because she isn't much bigger than they are. I think I see one crouching in the pine tree (I'm not wearing my glasses) so I go closer to check it out. I don't want her to get into a boxing match with a squirrel. Then I get goosebumps. There sits my Eastern Screech Owl. In the pine tree, on the lowest branch, in the middle of the day. We stare at each other and he appears to snooze off and on. Chris comes out to look and the owl just blinks. That was an hour ago and he still sits in the same spot cleaning himself, snoozing, and I'm guessing hunting too. I'm irritated at this moment that I haven't bought that upgraded camera that I've been dreaming of. I have a pretty nice one, a Sony Cybershot, but what I really want is one that can super zoom and take rapid shots. Here's the best shot I could get.



I think we should name him, since he's decided to keep us company. Let me know what you think, I'd like for you to help me pick a name.

The Bad
Ok, now on to the rest of my story. Now don't get me wrong, it hasn't been all bad lately, I've just felt all doom and gloom and stuff. Mavis has had trouble breathing for a year now. She snores LOUD all the time. When she gets really excited she snorts and kind of gasps. I've asked our regular vet before if it's all ok. Dogs like her are prone to "collapsing trachea", and I've always worried that was the case. Our vet has always said that it's probably just allergies. I've known and trusted this vet for a long time. She used to take care of Beaux Kittie and Pee Wee before they went to kitty heaven. Fast forward to Friday. Mavis was going in to have her teeth cleaned, and 2 baby teeth that never came out pulled. The regular vet is out on leave, so we had a sub, Dr. Long. By the way, I REALLY like Dr. Long, and he has little ones like Mavis too. I was going to have routine blood work done since she'd already be under. You know kidney, liver, blood sugar. Just to be sure everything was working right. I mentioned to him that she had trouble breathing a lot, and he said he would take a good look while she was under for the cleaning. A couple of hours later he called and asked if he could do some X Rays. Said he didn't see anything in her mouth or throat that would cause labored breathing and just wanted to check her trachea. Of course, it turns out she has a collapsing trachea in the worst spot, down in her chest right next to the chest wall. This means that she wouldn't be a candidate for the surgery they do now to correct this - a metal or plastic stint much like a tube that is permanently implanted. I'm not sure I would want that for her anyway. How could that be comfortable? I cried a little, sucked it up and went to pick her up. Did I say how much I like Dr. Long. He's older, rough and worn hands, and reminds me of a favorite grandfather. He also reminded me of a vet we had when I was in high school that would come out to our place and treat the horses. Dr. Long assured me that she would be able to deal with this on her own. She knows her limits and will calm herself most of the time. Eventually she may sometimes faint when she over exerts, or gets too excited. I now have the doggie CPR instructions posted where I can find them. *deep sigh* Worst case the collapse gets so bad it will be fatal. Not all dogs but some die from this, and usually when they are older. I was counting on getting a good 18 years with Mavis like Joan Rivers did with Spike. I'm trying not to be a pessimist, but I tend to err on the dramatic side. I'm currently resisting the urge to buy an oxygen tank and tiny mask just in case she keels over.

And the Ugly
Ok, now a complaint about the ugly. Dear Mr. Neighbor, could you please remove the ugly satellite dish from my nice view. Every time I sit in my favorite chair out here now this is what I see.



I've already emailed the city. There has to be an ordinance regarding the placement of these hideous things.


It's been at least 2 hours now since I spotted the owl. He's still there, hasn't moved. The Blue Jays have been totally harassing him. They have a nest nearby. I wonder if this little owl has been hanging out in my backyard every afternoon? I need to spend more time out here. I miss it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Out in the backyard enjoying the tree frogs, and I'm trying out the iPhone for blogging. No novel gonna be written here but it's do-able. Also, Mavis hasn't figured out it's a computer yet. So no tantrum.

It tries to guess the words I'll type. Sometimes it's right, and then there's the time it wanted to turn boss into Bono. Funny.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Upgrade Me

I have made some changes in the last month that you could call upgrades. I'm thinking my brain is going to explode from trying to remember all the things that come with these upgrades. I got a new car, really just an upgrade of the same car I had, but with all the extras I didn't have before. All those different places for switches, gadgets and new features I've never had. Satellite radio..I have like 20 favorite channels. I don't have 20 buttons. I've got a cheat sheet but then that's not too safe when you're cruising down the freeway. Then I decided that I would get an iPhone. I LOVE my iPhone, but oh man are there are so many things to see and do. I lay in bed at night just looking at all the different things there are to do when I should be sleeping. I downloaded an app for virtual fortune cookies that deliver the "fortune" to you..to be shared here later. In the office I put the iPhone on the credenza behind my desk and I can feel it staring at me, asking me to stop what I'm doing and use it to do something incredibly worthwhile. There will probably be a need for a lockbox to put it in just so I can stay focused on my job. I'm sure this is just the honeymoon, I'll get over it...or I'll say "how did I ever live without my iPhone".
I've never been the one to have the cool new gadget. I decided that it was time for me to treat myself. It feels really good.

In totally unrelated news, I have inadvertently turned my husband into a Fox News junkie:) I leave it on for Mavis every day when I go to work. I think she likes the regular reporters and anchors, you know familiar voices and faces to keep her company. Chris comes home every day and it's on and he can't stop watching. I think it's kind of funny. From Star Trek and the History Channel to Fox News. I'd say he's well rounded.

Oh, and Mavis is speaking to me again. All I had to do was cook for her and give her treats for breakfast (the equivalent of giving your kids Chocolate Cake for breakfast). We're old pals again. She still hates it when I read or use my computer. She was throwing a huge fit, but is now curled up beside me. Proof that Chocolate Cake for breakfast is a very good idea.

One more thing - I talked to April for the longest time today. She is doing so very well and is really stretching herself. I am proud of her. She has also changed her major to Social Entrepreneurship. I really think it fits her.

I think that about covers it. Me and the doglet are going to bed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Excuse #52

I have been a terrible blogger the last few weeks. Neglectful etc etc. You could probably say I've also been lacking in the wife, mother, sister, daughter (well maybe not so much that one), employee, and friend department. Mavis even seems to be telling me in her way that even she prefers to be around her daddy more than me. THAT's an all time low. I'm so out of whack even my dog won't give me the time of day. I'm gonna have to find my bootstraps, then start pulling. I'm in a terrible slump! Just look at my office!

I had to get up, stand at the door and just look at it earlier today. It's time to burn some of this stuff in the trashcan and make everyone believe I never saw it when they ask "where's that copy of the soandso agreement"..and so on (naw, I'd never do that, really I wouldn't.) That copy of Treasury and Risk magazine is months old. I should at least get rid of that. I do think I have a good excuse for the old mags and piles of paper though. I do. The management here at the office has decided that recycling costs too much. I'm not kidding. I haul stuff home to recycle. So there, it's the companies fault that my office is such a mess.

I have one 5lb dog that eats a quarter cup of food a day, how hard can it be to keep up with that? The kids are in college, out of the house. I do however have to keep up with that sweet man I'm married to. That is A WHOLE LOT like having a little kid at home sometimes. But I'm not raising 5 kids while in command of the State of Alaska, and at the same time running for Vice President of the USA. I'm pretty sure I don't have a good excuse for such a messy existence.

Seriously (finger now pointed at my face) you've got to grab ahold of yourself woman! People need you. You need you. You have a life list to accomplish. You have a life list that you haven't even blogged about yet.

Major slacker I am, and I had such high hopes for myself.

I shall start taking my vitamins again, pay attention to all the sticky notes I've left myself, and I will find those bootstraps.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

San Diego

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to go on a business trip to San Diego and I brought Chris and Mavis along. I took an extra couple of days and we had a great time seeing a few sights despite the fact that I got so sick with a sinus infection I had to find a doctor while I was there. I wasn't about to miss San Diego so towards the end Chris just propped me up in the convertible we rented and we kept going. I took tons of pictures except for the day we went to Coronado Island. We forgot the camera that day. I was too tired to throw fit for Chris to go back and get it.

Mavis had her first trip on an airplane. She was so good, nobody even knew that we had her with us.




We went sailing in the Bay at sunset. Mavis even had her own little life jacket (it's under the fuzzy blanket - got a little chilly for a doglet out on the water). She loved sailing - even fell asleep towards the end and snored.



Chris got to steer the boat.



We went to the dog beach at Ocean Beach. Mavis is NOT a fan. I made her go anyway.
Can you see the pout?




We stayed at the marina on Harbor Island. This was our backyard for 5 days. Mavis got spoiled with the regular walks and the yachts and all. She will tell you that she deserves better than our ho-hum life. I will tell you that she lives better than lots of kids do. Oh but we love her though. We made lots of good memories.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie...

You will soon witness a miracle. (in Renate's cookie)

You will make a change for the better within the year. (in my cookie)


Hmmm. Good news, and they seem to go together. Heads up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Finally saw the owl I've been hearing.

I was having a glass of wine in the back yard this evening (a lovely Syrah/Grenache Rose to be exact) when I was surprised by the treat of seeing the little owl that I've been hearing lately. It was just dusk so I still had light to see. He's an Eastern Screech-Owl, the reddish brown variety. As he was first perched in our pine tree about 20 feet up, I went under the branch and we just looked at each other for about 3 minutes of pure wonder on my part. Then he flew to a higher branch for a moment, then over to the cypress tree, and on out for the evening hunt. I wish I could turn back time and have my camera at the ready. It was nice though to just have the moment and not be distracted with trying to get a good picture.

I love my backyard. I'm grateful for the escape it provides.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Excuse number 47, plus I'm just weird about death.

Warning, this post is full of run on sentences, poor punctuation, and a disclaimer about my psychological condition. Also, I am very tired.

....another reason I've been focused on other things besides writing, we buried a loved one on Monday. I wasn't going to write about it, but now that it has opened a very large can of emotional worms (that still sits open in the middle of the living room floor) I feel compelled. Unbelievable behavior by someone on the day of the funeral (this is me not writing about that either) has been a recurring topic which has led to Chris and me discussing our wishes for what will happen to us and how that day will go. Chris has entertained the thought that he wants to be cremated, I want to be buried in my favorite comfy clothes and a soft quilt. I KNOW that I'll be gone. I have serious beliefs about what will happen when I die, and in my brain I know that I won't give a rip about the box or the outfit or the blanket. I'm just WEIRD that way. I have a vivid imagination, and it is the biggest tool I have in the box when I go to deal with stress. I can sit on a patio and pretend that I'm on vacation when escape is impossible. I have imagined at funerals that the one I'm saying goodbye to is really just having a nice long sleep until we all see each other again in heaven. (here is where I'm going to give you the disclaimer..I am in therapy, I know I need it, please don't tell me that I do. We're working on it) Ok, so I don't deal with death very well. As Chris and I have discussed this over the last couple of days I've let him know that my vivid imagination plan at his funeral (if he goes first, we're placing bets) will be shot to hell if he is cremated. What, what on earth tell me, will work for the image of him being all burned up in a furnace? It's hard to sleep when you are jumping around in the fire and are reduced to a pile of ashes. I can't begin to imagine a pile of ashes waiting for me to get there so it can wake up from a long sleep. So, Chris has promised not to be cremated, but only if he can be buried in his Capt Kirk outfit. We deserve each other. (in therapy together by the way, we're working on it). AND he is has this thing about being buried under dirt. He wants to be put in a drawer, above ground. I guess we should be shopping for side by side spots at a mausoleum somewhere...unless therapy is extremely successful, and then we might shop for matching urns (that would be REALLY good counseling, I'll tell you what). I will draw the line on outfits though. He hasn't asked yet, but I can hear it coming. I won't be wearing a Lt. Uhura outfit. Sorry honey.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

April is Home!


April is home and I couldn't be happier! Thanks to all of you who have kept her in your prayers while she traveled India and Malaysia. She's had so many stories to tell - there's just not enough time for all of them. We've had some good chats over coffee and are now packing her up to move off to Tennessee later this week. I guess I'll just have to spend some quality time in Nashville soon so we can finish catching up. Darn the luck.

I have not forgotten you.


I've been on vacation (kind of), and on a business trip (kind of), and camping with the whole family (kind of). I'm dying to get down to business and share all of it here - but the laptop has been on the fritz, along with my head (which has a serious cold). I'll be back soon to tell you more about this



and this.


I promise.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Update from April

Got a phone call from April this morning. After more than 2 months she's back in the USofA. Even though she's not HOME yet, good to know she's back on the home soil. We'll get hugs and all the stories on Thursday. Just can't wait!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

Live, think, and act for today. Tomorrow might be too late.


The fortune cookie speaks! Reminds me of something I've read in the Bible..."Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

I'm sitting up and paying attention to this one.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Deep Thinking From the Backyard

Sitting in my backyard tonight, I am reminded how God works in the little things. I guess, if you consider Twitter and blogging the little things (I do, compared to lots of things). I have experienced His love over and over again both in what I've read and the souls I've met thus far. The comfort of this backyard is one more little thing - but giant blessing I have been given. It's cool, the sliver of a moon is out, and the tree frogs are seranading us. How fortunate am I that I'm allowed to experience all this.

I've only been doing this (blogging, Twitter) since June, and already I've found kindred spirits. For me that's rare. Even had the blessing of talking with one over the phone recently when I reached out in her time of need. I have plenty of "times of need" believe me, but I do seem to get some of that met when I reach out. I've enjoyed a pen pal of sorts from India - a crazy good gifted writer who never ceases to make me smile. All of this has been such a great open door for me. I said early in June when I started this thing that it was a new season for me. This season continues to bloom. In so many ways. There have even been some blessings under my nose that did not come to light until I stepped out on this ledge. I asked April, on the only phone call we've been able to have this summer, "do you think God uses Twitter, and blogs, to do His will?" I wish you could all know her. She said "uh, YES" in only that way that a 20 year old completely in tune with Him could answer.

Tonight I'm thanking God for those moments, the kindred spirits, and the road ahead. I've had the chilled feeling that the winds of change are upon us in this house. I will embrace each blessing that comes. Here, there, or anywhere. There, I said it. God, bring it on. Open the doors.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Girls Weekend Away, Mission Accomplished


I recently spent a long weekend away in Austin with Pamela, my BFF. We spent Saturday evening with her family, including my God Children Madeleine and Lanegan. I can't begin to tell you how precious these 2 little ones are. Old enough now to be little people and really coming into who they are. Madeleine a little Diva, and Lanegan a sensitive, bright young man. It just kills me that I can't see them more often. Sunday morning, with little more than 24 hour just to ourselves we set out for a day and night on the town, just like old times. We visited old haunts, had talks that will forever remain in the vault, a couple of great meals here and here, and some good old Austin fun.

We stayed at the Austin Motel where we lounged in the pool. I highly recommend it if you are not high maintenance, enjoy a retro experience, and don't insist on room service. It's a really cool (and affordable) place in the heart of our capitol city.

Another "put up your feet" photo for my collection.


Later we took in some music (Hey Bale!) at the Continental Club. The band was incredible, some of the members having played in the past with the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens just to name a few. I was even persuaded to go one round of swing dancing - if you know me well enough, then you know that Val doesn't dance. It was too much fun. (Seriously, we had TOO much fun, I'm getting a little old for the good old days) We stayed up late (REALLY late), and got up early, but I wouldn't have changed that for the world.

Thanks Pamela for a wonderful girls weekend away. If you guys end up going straight from Turkey to Italy, and don't come back here first, then I will have to find my way there just to get our fix. I'll keep my fingers crossed for Italy (I know it's what you want:). It will be a good excuse for Chris and me to do some globe trotting!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Someone I Admire


One of the many special dogs rescued in Tennessee last month. All pictures in this post by Bernie at A Place to Bark with her permission.

I have been following Bernie on Twitter, and reading her blog. You can follow her here. I REALLY admire her, and just want to say it out loud here on my blog! If you are the least bit inclined to support a good cause for the humane treatment of animals, her shelter "A Place to Bark" is a great place to support. It does my heart good to read and keep up with what she is doing. She recently volunteered at the big puppy mill rescue in Tennessee. You can read about that too on her blog. Here are a before and after picture from one of the many many dogs rescued. All I could think about was my dog Mavis when I saw this little one on her blog.





Anything we can do to prevent this kind of mistreatment will help. Volunteer, donate money or supplies, even talk about it to others. I for one am going to do my part. Won't you too?


Thank you Bernie!

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

Two small jumps are sometimes better than one big leap.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

It is sometimes better to travel hopefully than to arrive.

Backyard Slackin'

I've been slackin' big time in the blogging department. Last night my intention was to finish up my post about the great weekend I had in Austin. Instead I lounged on the back porch with Chris and Mavis with the off and on rain showers. We needed to enjoy the break from the daily 100 degree temperatures we’ve been having. I made breakfast for dinner and we ate out on the back porch, and then just sat there for over 2 hours. So, after I went to bed, I fell asleep with my laptop on my belly while attempting to finish the Austin post. I’ll get it done soon. Pictures and everything. Really I will. (I think I’m trying to convince myself more than I am you)

I really needed a dose of the backyard to slow me down and remind me what the important things are. Why I do what I do. I’ve been at the same job now for 9 years, and have gotten to the point of being an over achieving work-a-holic crazy person. I have put this picture up in my office with the caption “Work hard and take time to enjoy moments like these as your reward”.

I have a habit of taking pictures of myself putting my feet up in wonderful places. This was taken at Cocoa Beach Florida on a quick weekend getaway…one day before I broke my left foot last March. In a cast for 6 months, some of that in a wheel chair (it was a nasty, nasty break) – you think someone was trying to get me a message? I think I’ll slow down. Don’t need anymore broken bones.

Sitting in the backyard last night I realized that this Saturday, August 2nd, I will have been married to Chris for 6 years.

I've been so busy that it hadn’t even crossed my mind that it was this weekend. I don’t think that we’ll do anything special other than stay home and just be. That will be nice…because the next weekend we are off to San Diego for a week on one of my business trips. I’m taking Chris and the doglet along. It’ll be her first plane trip. AND she’s going sailing with us! I got her the cutest little life jacket. She will probably be strapped to me anyway. I’m just terrified that I’ll lose that 5 lb baby in the Pacific.

Friday, July 25, 2008

April Update....Malaysia (but not from April)

I haven't gotten an email from April since July 15th, but have been lucky enough to catch an update on one of her team members blogs. It sounds like they are so very busy with teaching, building relationships, and doing some community outreach. She posted this picture that I will share. April is the one in the blue shirt seated on the "bikeshaw". I was really glad to see that smile.



Apparently Friday is their day off, so I'm trying to imagine what kind of fun they are having today. Trip to the beach? Shopping? A chance to use a real toilet? (I'm sorry, but I am going to dwell on the toilet situation until she is home safe and I know all the details! Crazy, but that is what I've worried about the most.)

Live the moment while you are there sweet April. We are all anxiously awaiting your return so that we can hear all about it. I am continuing to pray that you find joy in the details of your adventure.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Backyard Hi Jinx

A couple of evenings ago, I'm attempting to wind down in the backyard with a glass of wine while the husband and doglet play in the backyard. The sprinkler unexpectedly goes off catching Mavis by surprise. She runs around like a mad dog in the water catching pine needles all in her hair until she looks like a porcupine. Then I spot a hawk swooping through the yard (attempting to murder my little Mavis I'm sure - do hawks eat porcupines?). I scream, Chris runs, Mavis runs, I run after both of them.


This is what a waterlogged doglet looks like.

As we settle down, Chris decides he will adjust a sprinkler head. It breaks off in his hand and now we have a geyser. Screaming ensues again, and now we have to perform surgery on the sprinkler system, again. I would have caught that Kodak moment but he was screaming LOUD for me to turn off the water. We laughed in the end, but relaxed I was not. I do love my life. I love my husband, and I love the little dog who is Mavis Pearl. I wish I had something more interesting to tell you, but I wouldn't trade any of this for the world. Well, actually I am going to temporarily trade it for a 2nd try at the BFF weekend in Austin tomorrow. Just for 2 nights though.