No, I’m not talking about the butterflies flitting around outside, although I have seen some already this year. They’re lovely to see, but not the type of butterflies on my mind right now. I’m talking about those butterflies you get in your tummy, like before a flight or speaking in front of a crowd or whatever takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you a little edgy or downright anxious.

So why do I have these butterflies? Well, today I signed up for a 6-week course on internet list building and marketing. It has two main coaches, 12 other experts giving teleseminars -- lots of videos to watch and homework to do. I’m going to be one busy person as I try to do all my usual chores, plus try to finish up work on remodeling the bathroom, and get through this course.

It’s like taking a college course, and it isn’t what I’d call cheap. In fact, to my way of thinking, it costs a lot of money, but if it delivers as promised, it will be well worth it. I’ve been looking for some sort of work I can do at home off and on for a long time, got really serious about it the last few weeks and done a lot of research, and now have to be even more INTENSE.

Some of this stuff is going to be way out of my comfort zone, but I can’t have a business online without learning how to market. If I flub it up, I waste the money. If I flub it up, I’m no further along in my quest for income. If I flub it up, I have to start over trying to find what I can do and working online is about the only way I can see of making a living while dealing with a chronic pain syndrome and fibromyalgia.

I can’t afford to flub this up. I’ve got butterflies.

Taking a break!

It’s been a busy, busy week. Remodeling is high-energy time-consuming stuff, especially when things don’t go according to plan due to problems. And when do you ever do a project without any problems?

Today after we finished painting, Jonathan and I were trying to scrape linoleum backing off the floor. One section was resistant to parting from the wood it’s clung to for so long. After working a while, then checking out the rest of the flooring, I told Jonathan we’d cease and desist until Jess got home and gave us a second opinion.

I felt like the particle board needed torn out and replaced. There are two sections, and the one in the back that borders the bottom of the tub and where the commode sits was black with mildew. NASTY. There were also a couple of breaks in the board, and a broken piece around the heating vent.

When Jess got a look at it, he concurred. Tomorrow we rip out the flooring and put new stuff down. We had hoped to get by with just putting finish board on top but no such luck.

This is the guy’s job. I feel sorry for Jess though, because he’s feeling bad. I’m afraid it sounds a lot like how I felt last week. I was thinking I probably ate something in one of the airports or some such on the way home from Canada. Maybe it was some kind of bug. I hope the two aren’t related, because it took me a week to get better.

Jess is taking off work tomorrow, and we’re hoping to get the bathroom, well, probably not totally finished, but at least to where we can use it again.

Ellie hard at work!

I'm slowly sorting through photos I took while I was in Canada, including a few little video's I took at The Movement Centre where Ellie goes for therapy.

Unfortunately, I took leave of my senses and shot most of them from a vertical angle so the movie is "on its' side". I've got some software that should allow me to put them upright so the videos aren't a loss, but first I have to learn how to use it. The way things are going, that could be a loooonnnggg time, so although this isn't the best of the videos, here's one showing Ellie working her way down the hall...

In other videos I got, she was doing a lot better walking without scissoring (getting her legs kind of crossed). This was the end of her therapy session, so I suspect she was getting kind of tired! As you can see and hear, the therapist is encouraging Ellie to go to Chrystie.

Also notable, they're working on preparing the walls for repainting, so the place really doesn't look as shabby as it does in this little movie.

Richard took a lot of video, as we went early specifically to have the therapist, Gemma (so aptly named, for she is a real GEM!), help them get movies of Ellie doing specific tasks the specialist in St. Louis wants to see so he can make the initial determination of whether Ellie is a good candidate for surgery to lessen the spasticity in her hips/legs.

Come on Gemma, give me a break! I've been working hard!!!

Richard and Chrystie got all the paperwork filled out and the video in the mail to this doctor today, so please pray that he'll view it quickly, and make a wise choice based on his special knowledge of whether this would help Ellie.

It's a major surgery, so obviously we only want Ellie to have it if it will help her, and just as obviously, we hope it will!

It's nice to be home...

Yes, it’s nice to be home, but it stinks leaving behind the kids and granddaughter. I had such a good time visiting. It sure was hard going back home without them.

It was a treat to spend time chatting with Richard and Chrystie, and get to play with Ellie. She’s such fun, and it makes me sad I see so little of her as she grows. I just get a glimpse every few months into how and what she’s doing.

Richard and Ellie at the Mennonite Heritage Village

I’m thankful for digital cameras and being able to send pictures so easily over the internet these days, and even little videos. But it’s not the same as having that cute little kiddo sitting on my lap asking me to help her do something, or wanting me to play with her.

Pictures aren’t the same as getting to go watch her in therapy, or take her to the park on a pretty day, or being there when she learns to do something new.

All our family is just so scattered! It’s such a bummer.

Heading Home!

I'm getting all packed up and ready to go. We're headed down to Winnipeg first to The Movement Centre for Ellie's video and then her therapy, then it's over to the airport and start of my long trek home. Hopefully all flights will be on time and safe flying home!

We're on a roll taking pictures!

Yesterday we did pictures of Ellie with a "Little Red Riding Hood" costume, and Winnie the Pooh Bear. Today we've already got pictures of Ellie as a scarecrow and as a 70's hippie chick.
I'm planning on this one being in a Woodstock kind of photo.

We've got plans for a couple more pictures later today, so like I said, we're on a roll!

A Swinging Good Time

In a turnabout of weather, Manitoba is having nicer weather than Tennessee. We took advantage of it and took Ellie to the playground for the first time this year. She loved the slides and swings.
As you can see, we had a swinging good time!

The Beginnings of Ellie's 2009 Calendar

I'm getting started on picture taking for next year's fund raising calendar for Ellie.

We get some mighty cute pictures of Ellie in all kinds of outfits, then turn them into whimsical flights of fantasy with the help of Photoshop.

Today we got some of Ellie as "Little Red Riding Hood" and plan on taking some of a ballerina, a fairy princess, and anything else we can think of before I leave Tuesday.

You can't help but have great pictures for the calendar with such a sweet little subject!

Ellie in her new Ariel pj's!

Flying has it's drawbacks...

First off, I can say I am extremely thankful I didn't have tickets for an American Airlines flight, and had to worry about my flight being canceled.

I did however goof up right off the bat and ended up getting pulled out for extra security at the Huntsville Airport. I had my laptop in it's old case, and didn't remember there was a pair of small scissors in there. The lady asked me where they were located. She measured them, and they were small enough to be in carry on luggage. I told her to just throw them away if they were a problem. She said, 'No, we just need to be sure you can't get to them easily."

Huh?? If I carry them on, what does it matter how easily I can get to them? If they're a risk, and I can get to them at all, why let them through???

At any rate, they did, and I finally got into the main part of the airport.

The first flight to Atlanta was easy enough. Once there, they played musical chairs with the gates, and it was come in on one concourse, move to another, and then they change the gate and move again... they were boarding when I finally made it to the right gate.

Then came Minneapolis. In my bit of traveling experience, if there's a place there's going to be a problem, that airport will be the one. Yesterday was no exception. However, weather was the problem, and I don't hold that against the airport facility! Airplane maintenance, over scheduling, and stuff like that, yes, but not the weather.

Anyway, we were put "on hold" in the air for about half an hour while they changed runways and rearranged when and where planes would land. Of course, that meant the plane I was to go out on was also late, since it had to wait to land also.

The upshot was we were an hour late boarding the plane, then sat on the runway for another hour waiting our turn for the de-icer and go ahead to fly out. First it was sleet, and by the time we left, it was snowing. They were expecting anywhere from 4-8" of snow.

It was 11pm when our plane made it to Winnipeg, then I had to go through customs, find my suitcase - which thankfully made it there with me! - and finally made it out to find Richard waiting!

At least I didn't totally miss a flight and have to stay over somewhere and wonder when I was going to finally make it to Canada!!!

Hopefully, flights will be as easy or better yet, right on time and easier, on the way home.

Getting ready to fly!

I've been busy today, scurrying around hither and yon, getting stuff ready for my trip to Canada. Besides the usual critter chores today, I needed to make birdie bread and make up daily food packets for Jonathan to feed the parrot. Jess can do the outside chores, but it might be nice if he kept his fingers intact, so I'll let Jonathan feed the parrot.

I've gathered stuff up to take, packed and repacked, trying different suitcases in an effort to figure out the easiest way to get everything I need from here to there. I have some outfits for Ellie, 2 cameras, a laptop, and oh yeah... some clothes for me!

I'd about decided to check-in two suitcases until I saw Northwest only gives you ONE free check-in these days, so it was back to rearranging and cramming one suitcase full to check-in, and go with two carryon pieces. Hope Richard and Chrystie and Ellie don't get tired of seeing me in the same clothes all week, ha!

When I go by myself it's a little more difficult since there's no one to help carry everything. That means everything has to fit into luggage I can manage. At least one piece has to have wheels, and the other piece needs to sit on top of that so I can wheel them both. I've tried carrying bags over my shoulder before, and that just doesn't get it. If you've ever run through airports before, from one end to the other to make a flight, you know what I mean. And a pain problem in one side makes it even harder.

I'll do a little last minute packing in the morning, but boarding passes are printed for all three flights, so hopefully I'm good to go! Now if the airlines just cooperate and there aren't any late flights or other messes.

Here's hoping for smooth sailing tomorrow... uh, flying!


Today is another special person's birthday! I didn't get to watch Chrystie grow up, so I don't have lots of pictures of her a child. In fact, here's one of the first pictures I have of her, taken on her first visit here. (I reckon you can figure out who the guys are in the background!)

Before you know it, we were in Canada for a wedding. All too soon they moved from Alabama to Texas, then a year or so after that, Chrystie blessed us with a grandchild!
Chrystie is a great person, wife, mother.... we're so blessed to have her in the family!

She and Richard have their hands full with all their activities - home, work, church, and the extra care Ellie needs since she has Cerebral Palsy. Here's a picture of Chrystie helping Ellie during a therapy session at The Movement Centre.

Before you know it (Lord willing & the creek don't rise, ha!), I'll be in Canada and can wish Chrystie a happy belated birthday in person! But until then...


The Good, The Very Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Good:

Our cultured marble countertop with sink was delivered this week. I still haven’t got to see it because it needs moved before the box is opened. It’s got a swirl pattern, and no two are quite the same, and some have much more color in them than others, so I’d really love to see what ours look like!

Jess also picked up our new toilet. I peeked in the box and can see the color, which is exactly what I wanted. Gray may not sound pretty, but this is a pale gray. If there were such a thing, I’d call it a pastel gray. It should look nice in the bathroom.

At the time I purchased the toilet, the saleslady was surprised they had one in stock. She thought they might have ordered it to show people what the gray looks like – that it’s prettier than it sounds. When Jess went to pickup the toilet, he discovered a guy he knows from church works there. This guy told Jess “The Rest of the Story.”

It seems that someone else special ordered that toilet. The day before Jonathan and I went to the store, it was delivered. She decided she didn’t want it after all. So there was the exact thing I wanted waiting for us when we showed up the very next day. Cool.

The vanity and valet cabinets should be delivered to the store April 14th, then we’ll have to go pick them up. I won’t be back home until the 15th, and I suspect will be more than a trifle tired, so Jonathan and I are planning to start work on the bathroom the following week.

Which brings us to The REALLY Good!

Less than a week until I fly to Canada! Whoo whoo!!! I need to get a lot done between now and then, but if all else falls, I’ll just throw some stuff in the suitcase and head out. As long as I remember my passport, camera and laptop, I’d probably survive, ha!

Plus I need to remember the cute little outfits I just bought on eBay for some photography sessions with Ellie. One is a Winnie the Pooh outfit. It’s pretty neat, but the one that really knocks your socks off is the Little Red Riding Hood Outfit.

Ellie is going to look sooooo cute in it!

I’ve got an added bonus with this visit, as we’re going to The Movement Centre for Ellie’s therapy before I have to catch my plane that afternoon. Even better, I’ll be there while they do a special video of Ellie doing various activities. They need it to send to the surgeon at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He’ll check it out, and if he thinks Ellie is a candidate for surgery to help her Cerebral Palsy, then they’ll take Ellie to see him.

As for The BAD:

Tree pollen + lots of rain + fibromyalgia + sick and/or dead animals = I’ve had better weeks.

We have lots of trees that produce lots of pollen this time of year. My sinus’s don’t appreciate it and ache. Then there’s the rain. It’s been raining off and on all week. My fibro doesn’t appreciate that and my whole body aches. (Think feeling like you’ve got the flu every time it rains.)

It doesn’t help I’ve had to be out in the rain a good bit. Besides regular chores, I’ve had to nurse sick animals. They didn’t make it, so Jonathan and I had to compost them, which is a LOT of work. Now I have to go out and milk the goat mom every so often – just enough to take the pressure off while her udder gradually dries up.

And lastly, The Ugly.

We got the picture we had taken for the church directory in the mail. It looks just like us. ‘Nuff said.

As you can see, it’s been a real mixed bag around here lately, but I’m hoping for better days!