Friday, August 31, 2007

2 Hours, 31 minutes - Updated

It's Friday, so I started the day with typical Friday motivation (less than average levels)

It's a holiday weekend Friday (drop that level even lower)

It's the last day of the month (tons of end-of-month paperwork to finish and submit as well as prep for first of the month new resident rotation orientation, in addition to regular work crap)

It's already 2:00

I'm in a sugar coma

I have 2 hours and 31 minutes left in this work day.


At 2:53, after being taunted by Super Mom, I have officially made an executive decision that the rest of the pile on my desk can wait until Tuesday. That doesn't mean I can leave early, I'm waiting on Greg so we can go camera shopping at Best Buy after work, but I can darn sure waste the next hour and a half!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things That Aren't Really There

In a previous post I ran through some of the warnings on my brain meds, my favorite being seeing things that aren't really there and believing things that aren't really true.

Ok, so some background. Greg and I tend to drive Hwy 80 from I-220 to Clinton rather than take I-20. We have a hobby of taking roll for the bars along the strip to the Clinton line. There's Main Event, Second Chance, Rock Bottom/Crickets (which is now closed AGAIN), Betty Boop's, and The Horseshoe. We tend to make fun of the migration of cars from one to the other, and we know what makes a good night for each. Main Event tends to have a good showing most nights, whereas Betty Boop's and Rock Bottom/Cricket's would have a good night with 3 or 4 cars there. The one constant was The Horseshoe. At most, it had one truck. Parked in the back. All the neon would be on, open sign shining, one truck, parked in the back. Didn't matter what time - mid day or midnight - the same truck, if anything, parked in the back. Friday night, Saturday night, Tuesday night... yep. truck. back. That's it.

Tonight we were coming home from the airport around 10:30, taking roll at the assorted establishments, when I saw something incredible. The parking lot at the Horseshoe was completely packed. And there was a line of people at the door waiting to get in. Clearly, the end of the world was near. But then I noticed another anomaly. Right across the street there was a police car with lights ablaze, arresting someone, and another one directly ahead pulling another car over.

If it had just been the cars at the bar, my jaw would have dropped and I would have been in total shock. But to see people at the bar AND the local law enforcement actually enforcing on that strip of Hwy 80, ARRESTING somebody? Clearly, the hallucinations have begun. I am seeing things that aren't really there. Good thing I see my head doc on Tuesday.


I'm ashamed to admit this. Especially here, among people who share my love of good food and a joy of preparing a real meal for their families. But we're all friends here, and I know that I'll find support and love, despite my confession. Or, perhaps, laughter and bad jokes, but either way is fine.

So here it is. There is no food in my house. None. Hasn't been for a week. I crock potted a roast last Thursday. That was the last meal I cooked. Monday night, when Greg was sick, I did manage to prepare a BOX of mac and cheese. Yes, I said box, as in Kraft with powdered cheese. That was dinner. And no, I don't consider that food or cooking. Aside from that, every single meal we've eaten has been either at a restaurant or fast food, 3 meals a day. I am so sick of fast food I could scream. But, there is no food in the house. None. And since I've had such a crappy week (see previous post) and haven't been hungry anyway, I haven't had the nerve to face any type of retail establishment.

Tonight is Greg's bowling night, so I'm home alone. What do I do this evening? I whip out one of our Alton Brown DVD's and watch four straight episodes of Good Eats. Soups. CHEESE. CHOCOLATE. Grits. At this moment, I could eat off my arm. It's either that or a dog treat. Or face the grocery store.

Except I don't have time to face the grocery store, because I have to return the monster truck to the airport in about an hour. I think there might be remnants of stale generic brand rice crispy's left over from when I made treats for Greg's birthday a month or so ago...


I've had a crappy week. I'm tired. I haven't felt good. Thanks to my meds, I haven't been eating much. Work has frustrated me more than usual. I've been in a funk.

Tuesday I get an email from a friend who still works at the bank. One of the ladies I used to work with, who I had a tremendous amount of respect for and happens to be one of my favorite people there, had a wreck on the way to work Monday, hitting four other cars along the way. When she got to the hospital they found out she'd had a stroke. While she was there, she had a second stroke. Her blood pressure was extremely high and she had lost her ability to speak. My heart broke when I got that email. She had already announced her plans to retire this year and had more than earned it. I prayed so hard for her that day...

Today I got another email from my friend. Barbara had been sent home from the hospital. They'd confirmed that she had had two strokes, but found no damage from them and no more blood clots. She was talking again. They put her on two weeks of bedrest with home health checking on her. She's going to be ok.

My week isn't so crappy right now. My week is looking pretty good. Not so much because I'm so grateful that she's ok, even though I am. Not because I realize how lucky I am and how petty my problems are, even though I do. But because for the millionth time I see God answering a prayer, saying that we aren't beyond asking for miracles and getting an answer, and that sometimes, even though we don't always do everything He wants us to, it's important enough that He's willing to give us the chance to do more. As long as I have that, the rest will be ok.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007



What is 103? Bwwaaaahhhaaaaha!

For the month of August, the hottest month of the year, the month with record high triple digit heat, the month of miserary and refusal to go outside...

My power bill DROPPED ONE DOLLAR to 103.

Today is Fred Appreciation Day at the Hall home. Fred would be the gentleman who sold and installed our brand new shiny A/C unit. We also named the new unit Fred in his honor, so it's really a double appreciation.


Yep. I just did that. I deleted not only the whinny post but also the Katrina post. Gone. I don't care what other people think about my plans, so I shouldn't whine. Wish it was that easy to wipe away crappy attitudes about things all the time. Wiped out the other post because I decided enough had been said, and I had nothing new to add, so I'll also take the cue from Mayberry and think about ONE year ago, not two. Because one year ago ROCKED. Well, it was darn close to it, anyway.

One year ago today I was 32 days away from FINALLY being married. We'd counting down since the day we got engaged, I think the total was like 156 days or something. That aside, one year ago today I was tired of waiting, tired of wedding showers, tired of dealing with details that I just DID NOT CARE about, and was ready to be Greg's wife and head to the beach. I wasn't sure I'd survive the next 32 days. I did. Thanks to many supportive friends and family who understood "I DON'T CARE" and my favorite wedding day phrase, "I'm not in charge of that..." It's led to a wonderful marriage with much silliness. So today, instead of depressing myself or whinning, I'm going to look forward to a real anniversary, in 32 days. At the beach.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Where Am I? How'd I Get Here?

I realized while walking across campus this morning that I had forgotten to take my brain meds today. How did I know? Because I couldn't see. What do ADD meds have to do with my sight? Nothing. Technically. But it does have an effect on how my brain processes what I see.

I can't read signs. Literally. If it's a small sign, I never see it. If it's colorful, I may see it, but it'll look more like a modern art image than words. If it's got a big word (like NOTICE!) then I may see the big one, but not the smaller letters under it. If they're all big, chances are it'll come out looking more like a jumble puzzle than words. Or I'll pick up maybe two words before my eyes are averted to something shinny. This can be a problem when you work in a maze where reading signs is the only thing between you and a biohazard research lab.

After I got back to my desk (and took my meds) I got to thinking that this probably had a lot to do with why I used to get lost all the time. I couldn't make out road signs very well. And heaven forbid you give me a road map with all those lines and words on it. Even when I was looking for landmarks, half the time I'd never see them. I also got to thinking that I seemed to have started about 6 different tasks on my desk this morning, but hadn't finsihed anything, leaving me a bit bummed about where to start this afternoon!

Having said that, I still wonder if medication is the right way to go. It's a whole lot harder without it, that's for sure, but now that I've gotten to a point where I recongize it, could I do more to compensate? For example, when I was walking earlier I started making a concious effort to read signs around campus as I went, testing my theory. If I made a serious effort, I could do it, but I would also almost run into people because I couldn't read and watch where I was walking at the same time. I dunno. Could make driving dangerous. But if I buy that Hummer, then it wouldn't matter so much. I wouldn't risk running into other cars so much as flattening them along the way.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Yee Haw!

My brother left for a work trip Sunday, but since we were in Arkansas I wasn't able to take him to the airport. To keep him from having to take out a loan to pay for the parking when he gets back, we went and picked up his truck from the airport and brought it back to our house.

Now, keep in mind that Greg and I own a Taurus and a Mustang coupe, neither of which are going to win any biggest-car-wins showdowns at a yeild sign. So imagine little old 5'3" me driving down I-20 in this monster:

Oh yeah. I could take on just about anybody. Driving too slow in front of me? Look out, your little compact is nothing more than a speedbump in this thing! Feel the power!

Greg had to boost me up to get me in the thing after I fell out the first time (and lost a shoe in the process). I joked about driving it to work today, but I knew I'd never get in and out of a parking space.

Where Were You?

That's the question of the week. For those who didn't migrate here from Marshall Ramsey's website, he's posted a gallery of some of his Katrina drawings and cartoons here. It's no wonder he keeps being a Pulitzer finalist. Some of these cartoons were in his last Pulitzer portfolio. He's also posted a lot of links to recent Katrina stories on his blog, so check that out if you want. The link is on the right.

A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio in the car and it hit me that if you change about 3 words in the lyrics to Allan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) that song could have been about Katrina for those in the coastal states. Just change "September" to "August" and "black smoke" to "storm clouds." My favorite part of that song is when he quotes the Bible:

"Peace, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love."

Amen. It was the love of strangers and the love of Christ that started putting victims back on their feet. I know people who aren't from here are probably a little tired of hearing about Katrina. They have their own distasters to worry about. But it's good to remember, and to see where we've made progress. And where we haven't. There's a lot of work left to do, a lot of people who still don't know what's next for them. But thanks in large part to the flood of volunteers, from churches and schools and organizations all over the country, we've seen more progress than we thought we would. That's a lesson that needs to be applied to the aftermath of tornados and forrest fires and floods and man-made disasters all over the country.

After Katrina we saw what this country was capable of - immeasurable amounts of generosity and love and compassion. That's quite a change from the mindset of "the government will come in and make it right." There's only so much the government can do, if they ever get around to it. It's up to individuals willing to sacrifice a little time, money, and effort to help pick up the pieces of other people's lives. And on behalf of those who benefited from that help, we say thank you to every single person who made a trip to the Coast to lend a hand. Nobody should ever have to go through this alone, and thanks to the volunteers, many of our victims didn't.

I'll probably post my "where were you" later. Not because it's dramatic or exciting, because it's not. But it's what we do. We remember. And through remembering we keep some of that love and a few extra prayers flowing. For a sample of what Katrina left behind, check out Super Mom's blog.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Party Pictures

Got pictures from Dalton's birthday party on my Flickr. Here's a preview.

The party was a blast, especially the water slide. The kids are huge, and brilliant. When we left this morning they had the train track leading from bedroom all the way into the living room, complete with a 3 story bridge. Very impressive. I wish I could see them more often. I miss my boys.

And just a PS, I took over 100 pictures (but I only put a small selection on Flickr, I'm not torturing anybody!) and I realize that my inside pictures turned out terrible, but all of the outside shots looked great, which is crazy, since they were all action shots. No idea what I'm doing to make the inside shots so fuzzy, but I'm practicing. That's why most of the Flickr pics are outside.

Friday, August 24, 2007

5 Things - Joy Week

5 Fantastic Things About This Week

1. Mom Joy - Mom's doctor said she's doing great, which means the rest of us are doing great!
School Joy - Monday was Edwin's first day of kindergarten, and Parker's first day of 1st grade
3. Birthday Joy - Dalton's on Wednesday and Casper's on Thursday
4. Blizzard Joy - The Clinton DQ is open again
5. Little People Joy - I get to hang with Parker and Dalton this weekend
6. Shuttle Joy - I got to see the shuttle landing, which went off perfectly

7. Winning the Battle Joy - I defeated MS Access this week. Well, defeat may be a strong word. But I beat it into submission. Somewhat. The war isn't over yet...
8. Bonus Mortgage Joy - We made the first monster house payment on Monday, less than 12 months (we hope) until we say gooooooodbye to Chase Home Finance!

Yeah, I'm not good at 5, but I figure we need all the joy we can get to offset some of the crappier parts of the week, so the more the merrier!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Couch Ate My Cell Phone - Update

Well, not my phone. Greg's phone. Of all the times I think we need to hire a film crew and film our own reality TV...

Tonight is Greg's first league bowling night of the season. So he's walking out the door and realizes he doesn't have his phone. After a quick search, it's not in any of the usual 12 places it lives. So I grab my phone and call it. The couch starts ringing. Worse, actually. The couch starts playing Cheeseburger in Paradise, because that's my ring tone on his phone. So we start searching the couch. No phone.

Let me stop here and clarify something. We have the best couch ever. Very cushy, with dual recliners with the massager and a pull-down console in the middle. What? Heck no I didn't buy it! Somebody Greg knows bought new furniture and was willing to give it away to get it out of their house. I don't spend that kind of money on furniture!

Anyway, because we have this schmancy couch, the cushions don't come out and there are hiding places in the middle. So after several minutes of searching Greg was officially late, so I told him to take my phone and I'd keep searching for his. That was like 45 minutes ago. I still have not found the blasted phone. I HAVE found a couple of rubber bands, bottle tops, a sharpie, one sock, the Tivo remote that's been missing since before we got married, and enough dog hair to knit a whole new pup. But no phone. I have pulled out the couch, searched every nook I can get my arm in. No phone.

So now I'm sending it text messages from my email (because Greg took my phone so I have no way to call it!) and then quickly stuffing my head as far into the cushions as I can to listen for it to beep. I still can't find it. So far I've sent these messages:

Where are you Mr. Phone?
I can hear you, but I can't see you!
Did the couch eat you?
Bad couch!

Sigh. I've narrowed it down to one impossible to get to part of the middle section. HOW did the stupid thing get in there??? If it really is in there. It may just be broadcasting in there to throw me off the trail. Ok, so next I guess I try flipping the couch completely over. If I don't post for a few days, I'm probably in the hospital with a hernia or something.

3 hours, 6 calls and 17 text messages later, I finally juggled the couch around enough to shake the phone loose to a place where I could contort enough to grab it. Barely. How it got in there, I will never know.

Birthday Goodness, Part 2

And now for the moment we've all waited for...


Yes, my dear, insane, spoiled, loveable pup is 5 years old today. In dog years, he's older than me. We're having a surprise party for him tonight. He'll get H-A-M (yes, we have to spell that one around him) and cheese, and of course several new annoying squeakers to tear up. I love watching him unwrap gifts. He's very good at it, he'll take the paper off very carefully, then tear it to shreds, before investigating the actual gift.

And yes, my dog is spoiled. He has his own swing in the back yard and his own couch in the living room. He failed to advance in obedience class twice, the second time because he refused to NOT face his "audience" while sitting still for 5 minutes. He'd sit. He just wanted to do it his way. He is very smart, learns all kinds of things, but only follows commands if he really wants to. Unless there's treats involved. Then he'll dance a jig. Literally. We taught him to dance for cheese.

With all the disturbing news about dog fighting in the news lately, I'm even more grateful that we have Casper. He could have been one of those dogs. He was a rescue, and has a dominate/aggressive personality. But from the time he was barely a handful of pup, looking more like a rat with giant ears, Jen and I worked with him and gave him all kinds of affection. It paid off. He's still a bit aggressive at times, but I notice it most when he's being protective of me. Or when there's a cat in the house. But anybody who will throw a squeaker is his best friend. He's a very loyal, loving dog who will come get me off the Forbiden Couch and take me over to his couch just so he can sit in my lap and snuggle. And he's even more insistent about it when I'm sick or upset. If anybody ever tried to hurt him, they'd meet my wrath. And I'm pretty sure if anybody tried to mess with me, they'd meet his. Just ask Greg. He accidentally hit me with the Wii remote once and Casper went after him. Ooops.

Anyway, happy birthday Casper. You'll always be my favorite pup, even if you do love Greg more.

5 Things - 6:30am

5 Things That Suggest I Was At The Office Entirely To Early Today

1. I'm parked in the second row of the stadium. Could have parked on the first row if I'd just driven around.

2. There was no traffic. Not light traffic, NO traffic. And I was thinking maybe I shouldn't drive to work via the 'hood on days when I leave the house and it's still dark.

3. I was almost run over by a breakfast cart in the hospital hallway on my way to a crack of dawn meeting.

4. I stumbled over my own fee 3 times walking to that same meeting. I think I was sleepwalking.

5. I felt like I'd been bludgeoned by 8am.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Birthday Goodness

Today is Dalton's 2nd birthday. He's my cousin Lynn's youngest clone. I'd post a picture, but I'd have to dig through wedding photos to find one. And since he'd just turned one at the wedding, it wouldn't be very representative of his current appearance! Instead, I'll wait until next week and post some news ones from his birthday party on Saturday.

I feel horrible because I haven't spent hardly any time with the little guy. He came along a few months before I got engaged, so I wasn't doing a lot of traveling. Due to a variety of travel-preventative issues for both me and Lynn, I haven't seen him since the wedding. I'm a terrible person. But the slump ends this weekend.

Happy Birthday Dalton! Can't wait to see you and Parker this weekend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Quote of the Day

I can't help but post this. My apologies to Lauren up front. A quote from Lauren, describing Edwin's reaction to his first day of school:

"The cafeteria is a cool place, [Edwin said] 'there are lots of tables and RED chairs... not blue like Children's World.'"

Followed by:

"Ed popped in to see his teacher before he picked him up from aftercare and got a glowing report on his manners... I am sad to say that it is not our influence that caused that but two teachers at daycare over the course of his time there that made my son so polite. ;)"

Have I mentioned how much I adore my godson? And only Edwin would be all excited about new colored cafeteria chairs. The boy does love some color. When he was younger and the world revolved around Thomas the Tank Engine, the names of his trains all included their description. Blue Thomas, Red James, Green Percy... And she's not kidding about him being polite. Greg cracks up every time Edwin stands at my feet and says, "Excuse me, Boo." Sigh. They're so far away.

More Good News

I don't know how much more joy I can stand this week.

My Dairy Queen has reopened! Blizzards for all!

Whew - Updated

The shuttle landed safely, and as Super Mom put it, right on time. The airlines could learn something from that! Greg was a little concerned it might get shot down flying over Cuba, but apparently they missed due to the glare from the sun or something. I was a little disappointed in the the fact that all I could get was the NASA feed, since the networks' video and commentary tends to be a bit better, but I did get my favorite shot of the shuttle coming over the camera and touching down right in front of it. I love that part.

Next up, Discovery in October, if NASA is feeling all fuzzy about a fix for the foam problem by then.

For those who were concerned, my toy shuttle landed just fine as well.

11:32AM CDT

The shuttle Endeavour is coming home. Landing is scheduled for 11:32 AM CDT at Kennedy Space Center, and I hope to be somewhere where I can watch it. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be there for that! Would really love to see a launch, but they are so hard to catch because they'll have like a 2 week window. Can't really hang out in Florida for two weeks waiting to see if it's going to go up. And they don't usually land in Florida, so seeing that isn't likely either. But you can bet I'll do my best to watch on TV!

One of my favorite trips was to the Johnson Space Center outside of Houston. No, I wasn't in school, it was a few years ago when Sharonda was temporarily living in Houston. I went to visit for 4th of July and we spent half a day at JSC. It was AWESOME and I can't wait to go back. So many things stick out about that trip, the actual Mission Control room that was staffed during the Apollo 13 mission, the observatory over the actually training area for the astronauts (which was not in use at the time, it was during the time right after the Columbia disaster when the program was on hold), I got my picture made in front of actual giant rockets (gotta try to find those and scan them...) and of course the grove of trees, one planted for each astronaut lost during a mission. There were all kinds of things to do, and they had a huge kid-friendly exhibit up with all kinds of hands-on stuff (yeah, I did some of it!). I was surprised at how neat it was. I'm facinated with the space program but didn't expect JSC to have so much to do. Greg and I want to go back and I'd love to tour Kennedy as well.

A couple of years ago, when I was walking around the bank as a zombie after getting up at 4:30am two different days to watch the first shuttle launch after Columbia, which kept getting delayed and ended up taking off during the day when I couldn't watch it, I was talking to somebody about the whole space program thing. Don't remember exactly who it was, but as I recall they didn't realize the shuttle was set to launch. Most people didn't. It's sad, the only time the general public seems to care is when a shuttle is destroyed. I remember watching that scene in Apollo 13 when the televised live transmission from space was cancelled and they didn't want to tell the astronauts. We're there again. Nobody cares what the projects are on the missions, or when they go up, or when they come down, other than to see if something tragic will happen.

I don't want to see anything tragic happen, I want to see the awesome beauty of that rocket blasting into space, or cruising in for a smooth landing. I even love watching the shuttle being piggybacked back to Florida after it lands in California. It seems so huge, until they park it on the back of that plane and fly it across the country! But as a culture, we've lost our love and awe of space travel. I blame TV. We've gotten so used to seeing cool things on TV, CG and special effects, that we don't really notice something as common as a space shuttle lifting off or our astronauts doing a space walk. Heck, we've seen that on Star Trek a hundred times, and they make it look easy.

But it's also, in part, NASA's fault. They haven't done anything NEW in ages. It's past time for a new shuttle. It's past time to revisit the moon, or Mars. I know all of those things are in the works, and that it takes time, but we seem to be stuck in slow motion with the program and all the problems over the past few years have made it worse. We're impatient for progress in an area that can't be rushed, but still seems to be moving backwards at times.

Do kids even want to be astronauts anymore? I haven't heard one say that in a long time, and that makes me sad. I'm also sad because I left my little toy shuttle at home. I usually get it and do a mock liftoff or landing while watching the shuttle. Perhaps I can do a recreation when I get home tonight. In the meantime, lets pray they land safe and get a hero's welcome home.

Monday, August 20, 2007

All Is Well

Both of Mom's doctors said everything looks good. She saw her cancer doc and the thyroid doc and neither of them had any concerns. The cancer doc said to come back in 3 months for another checkup, and if nothing has changed at that point they can start scheduling them further apart. For some reason this checkup felt like the big hurdle, and being over it is quite a relief. From here it seems almost routine, like going to the dentist twice a year. That's a pretty bizarre feeling after everything she went through. Not sure whether to laugh or cry, so I think I'll just stare dumbly into space for a few minutes, and offer up another big prayer of thanks to God for walking her through this.

Monday Update

Well, Edwin was THRILLED to start school, and the one person I left off my list was the one who had the hardest time. Apparently Ian had a meltdown when he was left at daycare without his big brother. I don't figure it'll be too many more years before they can't stand the sight of each other, but for now it's nice to know they're so close. Here's the pics of Edwin on his first day.

He looks happy. It's always a toss up of how he'll react to new things, but the school did a great job of getting them in there to visit a good bit before the first day, so he knew where he was going and was pretty excited about it. Let's hope the day ends as well at it began!

In other Monday news, Mom goes back to the doc today to get the results of the last PET scan and find out if there's anything new to see, or anything new they want to do. Let's hope not on both counts. She's doing well, and has gotten much of her energy back. I'll post an update on her whenever she calls me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Big Day

Tomorrow is the big day. The day Edwin starts kindergarten. I almost feel sorry for his teachers. They did enroll him in a magnate program for insanely smart kids, which is good, but I still doubt they know what they're about to face. I just hope he adjusts well and enjoys it.

It's also a big day for Lauren and Ed, since they have to actually SEND him to kindergarten. It's hard enough on me and I'm not actually his parent! Mostly because they didn't fulfill their promise to give me their first born child as payment for introducing them all those years ago. But I'll let that go for the moment, since I know it'll be a hard day for them. Good luck to all three of them. I hope tomorrow is the start of a wonderful educational experience that ends up giving him the ability to channel his brilliance into something great, like curing cancer or creating a future-generation Wii. Love you, Edwin. Good luck.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Ladies and gentlemen, today I broke a personal record. I accomplished something I didn't think I'd ever do. And I have a witness. Greg was there. He saw it. His mouth fell open and he stared in disbelief.

I bowled a 111. I'd never broken 100 before. It was shocking.

And that was the first game, not the second game, where I threw a strike granny-rolling the ball because my arm was hurting and I couldn't actually throw it anymore. Only bowled a 97 on that game.

Pager Pilgrimage

Monticello. Stately home of one of our founding father's, Thomas Jefferson. The majestic house sitting high on a mountain in Virginia...

No, wait... Not in Virginia. Not on a mountain. I think we have the wrong Monticello.

Sure enough, if it's Friday night and if Greg has the pager you can guarantee we're going to end up in some small town in the middle of nowhere fixing something at their local hospital ER. Welcome to Monticello, MS. Why things don't break in off-site locations when his employees have the pager, I don't know.

And by fixing something, I mean half the time it's something that takes about six minutes or less. Like when we drove 4 hours to Aberdeen, getting there at 1:30AM, and found the problem to be that whoever had been working on the computer equipment earlier in the week hadn't plugged a cable back in all the way and it was loose. Or the trip to Marks, getting there at midnight and working on it until after 1am, spending the night in Batesville, and getting up at 7 the next morning to learn that nothing was actually broken, it was a problem with the phone line.

At least last night just required swapping out a piece of equipment, which took 3 minutes, and we were back home by 11:30. I don't mind these trips, I go just to entertain Greg driving back late, and I get to see all kind of towns I don't ever want to actually live in. I keep saying that one of the requirements to join their program is that your town has to be small enough not to be able to support a Walmart. Not sure how Newton got past that rule, but I'm sure they'll get kicked out any day now. Hopefully we got he curse out of the way Friday and can now have a pager free weekend. However, since we made plans for dinner with Greg's family tonight, it's a safe bet we'll end up in Port Gibson or something before the night is over.

Friday, August 17, 2007

An Ode to Microsoft Access

An Ode to Microsoft Access
by Susan

Oh, database software,
So promising and full of hope!
All I want is order and ease,
But alas, you say, "Nope."

I hate your queries,
forms and tables.
I wanted to be friends,
If I'd been able!

But now I give up,
And wave my white flag.
I can't take anymore.
My brain now sags.

So keep your relationships
And all your reports
I'll go back to Excel
Where at least I can sort!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

TV Quote of the Night

"The wahoo can follow the floatsam for a month at a time..."

From the documentary Blue Planet. The quote servers no purpose, but I found the sound of it hysterically funny for some reason. Especially with the commentator's Brittish accent.

Self Portrait

Super Mom suggested I give up my attempts at photography and take up a career in art. Here's my argument against that plan:

Self Portrait

Yes, there's a story behind this picture. It has to do with a kidnapped flamingo, a ransom note, and a wanted poster.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Even Cheesier

For those who couldn't figure out what I meant when I said my camera processes slow, let me demonstrate.

While trying to photograph one of my favorite, most adorable subjects, I patiently watch for a cute pose and quickly push the button to capture it. I get this:

It was a great picture when I started. I promise. But give the dog 2-3 full seconds and he's gonna move.

Then, I'm taking a picture of a new toy. A toy that can't move, is perfectly still. In between the time I press the button and the time my camera actually takes the picture, I have this:

or this...

Yes, that's partially my fault for doing anything while sitting in the floor with a dog in the house, but seriously, he was on the other side of the room when I took the picture, but the processing delay gave him time to come over and investigate!

Bad Pun of the Day

Ok, I should preface this by pointing out that we got a new A/C unit in June, which was the best money EVER spent, and we love it so much we named it Fred, after the gentlemen who sold it to us and installed it. It can now stay sub-freezing in our house when we're home, even when it's 106 outside. We like it.

So, last night I climb in bed and have this conversation:

Greg - "You have socks on?"
Me - "My feet were cold last night."
Greg - "Cold?"
Me - "Yeah. They had brrr-situs."

Megan Mullican would be so proud of that one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

With great potatoes comes great responsibility

The newest member of the family:

I just love the fact that my husband will look all over town to buy me a potato head. This one he finally found at Books A Million. Walmart was out of them.

Say Cheese!

We're thinking about buying a new camera. This doesn't sound like news for most people, but for me to drop money on a new toy that costs more than $15 is a pretty big deal. We had discussed getting one as a joint Christmas gift for each other, but now we're thinking maybe an early Christmas gift, in time to take it to the beach to play with it there.

You see, Greg had this awesome Canon Powershot that would do everything but dance the polka. He took thousands of pictures at Disney, but at some point while we were using it to take pictures for Ebay (the auction, not gnome) the lens got stuck and the dreaded E18 error code showed up and it's now a fantastic paperweight. I have an older Samsung Digimax that, of course, was a Christmas gift from the parents several years ago. It's a great small camera and takes good pics - 5 megapixels, 4X zoom (better than the average small camera now!) with just enough extra options not to totally confuse me every time I turn it on. It's pretty fantastic. Except it processes really slow between shots and uses up batteries faster than Oliver the monkey can pick a lock. That combination means I get about 30-40 pictures, or less, per set of AA's, depending on how long I dink around between shots. I pack extra batteries at all times.

While my camera is fine for general day to day snapshots, I don't think it'll hold up well when we go to Disney in April. We'd spend more on batteries than we would on the park tickets. So we're looking for something new. The problem is, the camera we want doesn't exist. We want something small, Greg's camera was bulky and was hard to haul around while traveling. I want something I can carry in my purse or bag. However, we want the same type of features his had, a better than average zoom and closer to 7 megapixels. The only compact camera we've found with those features has gotten great reviews (even from somebody we know that owns one), except the picture quality isn't that good. Huh? Isn't that the point of a camera??? Who cares if it can zoom to freckle on a gnat, if the picture is too grainy or fuzzy to see it?

Now I'm in research mode. I bought a basic photography book to figure out what the buttons do so I'll know which ones I care more about when looking at new models. I've checked Consumer Reports and a variety of websites that review point-and-shoot cameras. I've browsed the camera department of every store in town. The only thing I know for sure is this: within ten days of deciding on and buying a new camera, the PERFECT camera will come out for about $10 more.

Monday, August 13, 2007


For some reason I have been reminded of this story twice in the past three days, so I thought I would just share it.

I've always been the favorite toy for several of my friends' kids. It's because I'm the one that teaches them bad things and gives them back. Like when I taught Parker how to shoot straw wrappers and blow bubbles in his drink. I'm always shocked at the things parents don't teach their kids. With Edwin I felt it was my duty, since he was such an insanely brilliant child, to dumb him up a little. I taught him things like how to spin in a circle until you fall down. Except he'd spin a few times, then run over to wherever I was sitting and fall down on top of me.

My favorite lesson came during my halloween visit a few months after his first birthday. He already had a frightening vocabularly, so I went about teaching him to be creative with hit. Since he wasn't picking up the lingo from Stargate SG-1 that I was drilling him on, I tried something different. I finally got it through to him that any object you put on top of your head can be called a hat. It's block, put it on your head, now it's a hat. It's a book, put it on your head, it's a hat. We played that game quite a bit on that visit.

Jump forward a few weeks. It's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the day I traditionally take off from work to finish my Christmas shopping. I'm standing in line at the food court in the mall when I get a call from Lauren. She was home with Edwin and had just given him lunch. While he ate his spaghetti in his high chair she washed up the dishes. She could hear him babbling to himself, "Spoon. Fork. Plate. Plate. Plate. Hat." Ooops. I would give anything in the world to have a picture of that moment. I've been proud of corrupting quite a few little people, but that was a shinning moment for me. Man I miss those guys.

Sunday's Sermon

Ross gave one of the best sermons ever yesterday. Definately in my top two ever. You can download the mp3 or the video at Galloway's website (from the main page, scroll to the bottom left and you'll see the link). The sermon title is "Praying the Devil Out of Hell" and even if it's been replaced by a new one by the time you read this, it's availalbe for free on iTunes. This was the last of a six part series on prayer. Ross does like to preach a series.

The real meat of this sermon had to do with the presence of Evil, how it works in the Bible and how it works in our lives today. He talked about how if everything is perfect in your life, you're probably praying to the wrong god. If you're focused on God, you're probably attracting negative attention from Satan, who likes to create hardships for God's people. He told a story about how if you're already spiritually dead, Satan has no reason to attack you, and you can go on with your life thinking all is good because you have everything you want, not realizing you don't have everything you NEED.

I won't go into all the personal stories I've seen and heard on this topic, because most of them aren't my stories to tell. But I will say that I realize that too often I pray for the wrong things. Some things I can't seem to help. If someone you love is sick, you pray for them to get better, not for God to use the illness for his glory. Thankfully with my mom we got both. When life is just plain crappy we pray for things to get easier, not for God to show us the lesson we get from going through it. When I was taking my Disciple Bible Study class we debated whether or not God tests us, or if it's Satan attacking, or if we just reap the benefit of bad decisions. The more I think about it, what difference does it make? Our reaction should be the same. Ross said something at the end of the sermon that I tend to neglect. He said he didn't believe in the power of prayer, he believed in the Power of the God that answered them.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Where did it go?

My weekend, that is. I lost it somewhere between laundry, baseball, and cleaning out the fridge. I will admit that I spent my afternoon today curled up on the couch, but that was between church and a later trip to Walmart and then taking back the fridge. I KNEW we were completely out of food, you just couldn't tell it because there wasn't a square inch of free space in the fridge! The reality is that I've felt pretty crappy most of the day and figure I'll be making a call to my doc tomorrow. I wanted to do a post about church this morning, but I've felt too bad to be completely coherent, so maybe I'll do that tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm curling up in bed early and reading myself to sleep. Maybe next weekend I can actually find a weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Argument for a Pool

My husband wants a swimming pool. He's pretty determined that our next house should have one. I'm not at all adverse to having a pool, I'm adverse to the energy and money required to maintain a pool. He doesn't want your small dollar store pool, he wants a big in-ground pool. None of this really matters since we're years away from buying another house, but every once in a while he'll drop the hint in subtle opportunities.

Last night, while watching the 3rd disk of Shark Week (I do love Netflix!), I was staring with my mouth open watching the huge manta rays as the divers swam with these huge, friendly, playful sea creatures that are basically harmless, social stingrays with a 20 ft wing span. Greg look over with a completely serious face and says, "You want one."

Me: "Well yeah. But they're HUGE."
Greg: "It wouldn't fit in the bathtub."
(sidenote - I have been known to want to own assorted water mammals and justify that they could live in the bathtub.)
Me: "They're bigger than tree of me."
Greg: "It wouldn't fit in three bathtubs."
Me: "No..."
Greg (completely serious): "We need a pool."

The bad part was that if we'd actually been seriously looking to buy a house, he might have convinced me on that one. And he knew it. So I'm sure he filed that away in his brain, and when we ARE looking at houses at some point down the road he'll drag it out.

"You know honey, if we get the one with the pool you might can get penguins..." or,
"Well, if we had the bigger pool there'd be room for a pygmy hippo like the one you like at the zoo..."

I'm doomed. We're so going to end up with a pool.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

5 Things - Shark Week

5 Things I Learned from Disc 1 of the 20th Anniversary of Shark Week Box Set:

1. If you get bit by a shark, witness somebody else getting bit by a shark, or hear about a shark bite, don't send your kids surfing in the exact same shark infested waters the next day.

2. Shark scientists can be stupid. Don't test the theory that sharks are peaceful by standing in a swarm of bull sharks with a camera crew for an hour, pointing out how big and scary the ones that keep bumping into you are.

3. When a 400lb bull shark takes off your entire calf muscle after you spend an hour standing in a swarm of them pointing out how big they are, don't go out of your way to seek out more sharks trying to figure out why it bit you. It was hungry.

4. Don't go spear fishing in shark infested waters for the exact same fish that is the known favorite snack of the previously mentioned sharks.

5. Great Whites are really really large, scary, beautiful animals. But not as dangerous as tiger sharks, who have sharper teeth.

An honorable mention goes out to the girl who got attacked on her surfboard and jumped off her board onto the back of an 18 ft great white. Seriously. Talk about riding a wave. And yes, she still surfs. I wouldn't even want to get in the bath tub ever again.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Optimash Prime

For those who haven't seen a Mr. Potato Head since their own childhood, the whole concept has become a hysterical phenomenon. They now come in themes. Just search Ebay (the auction, not the gnome) and you'll be amazed at the selection. The Spiderman Potato Head is called a Spidey Spud. The Transformers one is Optimash Prime (for the uninitiated, the main character in Transformers is Optimus Prime). The Star Wars set is Darth Tater, Spud Trooper, and Artoo-Potatoo. There are also parts packs you can buy, with just the interchangeable wardrobes in themes from firefighter spuds to birthday spuds to assorted holiday spuds. I have a rock 'n roll set and a safari set. I even have an Easter Bunny Spud and a Space Spud with both an astronaut suit and alien parts. I'm very excited about going to Disney World in the spring so I can get a box of tater parts at the toy store there, you can fill a box with the Disney-specific parts of your choice for a flat price and they'll fit on the regular heads. It's brilliant, really. You can mix your Disney-Transformer-Alien-Rocker Spud. Is there a more versatile toy?

Here's my newest Potato Head.

My favorite quotes on the box:

"Potatoes in Disguise!"
"More than meets the fry."
"A Tater-Bot with dual identities!"
"Optimash Prime is the fearless leader of the Auto-tots, a faction of taters battling the evil Decepticons. Starchy situations call for a quick change - from truck to robot! No ordinary fries, these are potatoes in disguise!"

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Best Tuesday Ever

I've made no secret of the fact that I am wildly in love with my husband. Tonight I have further proof of what an incredible man he is. We normally carpool to work every day, but he had to go out of town today and wasn't sure if he'd be back by quitting time, so we took separate cars. As it turned out he did get back and we left at the same time. Halfway home I get a text message that he had a quick stop to make and would be home in a bit. I didn't think anything about it and headed home. Thirty minutes later Greg walks in, announces that it's Official Susan Day, and hands me a Walmart bag.

Now I need to stop here and say this - the simple fact that my husband went to Walmart, ALONE, at 5:00 on a random weeknight, to do anything for me that wasn't an urgent life saving errand, is more impressive than I can ever explain. He hates Walmart, even in the middle of the night when it's deserted. The fact that he went to the mart to get me something as a surprise was an incredible compliment.

That said, I opened the bag and found a brand new Optimash Prime Transformers Mr. Potato Head! I almost cried. I love Mr. Potato Heads and had been wanting this one ever since I saw the Transformers movie! Then Greg announced that he was taking me to dinner with his own stuff money (we'd wiped out our dining out budget early this week) and I could pick where we go. Sigh. So after a yummy dinner and some quality time introducing Optimash Prime to Casper, I'm now curled up watching the 20th Anniversary of Shark Week. Susan Day is pretty cool. My husband is even cooler. He's the best husband ever. What a great Tuesday.

Ebay (the gnome, not the auction)

Some people were wondering what the deal is with the gnome in the first picture I posted of my mom. Ha. Those people weren't at my wedding.

The gnome was a wedding gift, from one of my dearest and most favoritest great-aunts. It originally was intended to be a yard ornament that held a little staff with windchimes. Uh huh.

By this point, due to the massive number of rather unusual wedding gifts I'd received, I found the gnome hysterically funny. We named him Ebay. As in, the defeater of Ebay. The one and only thing Greg and I owned that we wouldn't possibly be able to sell on Ebay.

So the gnome took up residence in my living room. It was made an honorary member of the wedding party. The photographer thought we had lost our minds, but played along, taking several pictures involving the gnome. My mother snuck up to the sanctuary of the church right before the wedding and put the gnome discretely among the ferns near the alter, so it would have a good seat during the ceremony. It went on the honeymoon with us, and we have pictures of him at the beach and inside the beach house. We even included him in a game of Monopoly, during which we had to gang up on him to win.

Now Ebay lives on the big display cabinet in my living room, with all the Disney snow globes and my Mr. Potato Head collection, overseeing all of the activity in the house. You can click here to see his photo album.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Captains Log - Day 3 on the Return Trip from Space

So we made a special trip back to Clinton after work Friday to pick up my new head-meds before going to my parents' for the weekend. I was determined to start them on a weekend because I never know how the side effects will hit me and I didn't want to deal with it while at work if it was ugly. Greg and I got a kick out of reading the Medication Guide insert. Yes, I'm a nerd who always reads the insert. This one was more of a one page flyer. Some of our favorite exerpts:

1.Vyvanse is a stimulant medicine. The following have been reported with the use of stimulant medicine:

*sudden death in patients who have heart problems
*stroke and heart attack in adults
*incresed blood pressure and heart rate

Yeah. I'm feeling good now. Especially since I had all kinds of heart problem while taking Ritalin.

2. Mental (Psychiatric) problems:

*new or worse behavior and thought problems
*new or worse bipolar illness
*new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility

Um, aren't those some of the things we're trying to FIX with the meds??? And I'm really looking forward to the new bipolar illness, that'll be a nice change for me.

Finally, my personal favorite and the one I've been making fun of all weekend:

*new psychotic sympotms (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, are suspicious) or new manic sympotoms

Call your doctor right away if you or your child have any new or worsening mental symptoms or problem wile taking Vyvanse, especiallly seeing or hearing things that are not real, believing things that are not real, or are suspicious.

First of all, they can't just say "hallucinations" or "paranoid." Politically correct? Maybe, but if believing things that are not real and being suspicious are considered serious side effects, they shouldn't start people on it during an election year! After I took the first pill on Saturday I kept pointing at things and asking my mom if she could see it too, much like John Nash at the end of A Beautiful Mind. I also used this as an excuse to say things like, "I don't believe you! I won't start believing things that aren't real!" to the most simple statements. Guess if I'm having that much fun with it it's not really bothering me much.

But on a more serious note, this drug is predominately prescribed for kids. I would freak out if somebody wanted me to give a kid something with those warnings on them. I freaked out taking it myself. So far no major problems, highest clocked heart rate was 132 on Saturday but seemed to even out pretty quick. Granted, food is of no interest to me now, but I've been that road before so hopefully I can work that out. But still, this looks like some scary stuff to give little people.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Hair Update

Mom's new hair, for those who haven't seen her since she finished her chemo.

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Ian's Birthday

Ok, so I didn't forget Ian's birthday last week, I emailed his mom and even mentioned it to several people around here who think I'm a looney, but I didn't have a good picture at work and I didn't want to post a birthday message without it, and then we got home late and blah blah and it didn't get done. But luckily I got birthday party pictures from Lauren Friday, so I have one I can use!

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Ian's now 2. I adore the child. For those who don't know the history, he's the son of two of my dearest friends, Lauren and Ed, and his older brother is my godson, Edwin. We visited them in South Carolina back in June and had an awesome time. I hate not seeing much of the boys, they really make life better just by existing. When we were there in June Ian's vocabulary consisted of about 5 good words, and Greg and I have assimilated those into our own vocabulary (he knows way more than 5, he just has 5 he likes a lot and chooses to use most of the time.) Those words are Up, NO, train, hotdogchips (that's all one word, and applies to any food) and Jupiter, which applies to every planet in the opening of one of the Star Trek series. He's a hoot. He's really smart, I think he just has a hard time getting words in over his brother! I do love those boys.

Ironically, this blog's beginning missed Ediwn's birthday by a week, so happy post-birthday to him. Here's his earlier party picture (and yes, Lauren produces clones.)

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My boys are all growing up. I'm going to go sit in a corner and cry now.