Snow or Spring?

Another month of the fast becoming not-so-new-year is pretty much shot.

The weatherman here is making dire predictions for tonight and making much use of what southerners consider a 4-letter word: S – N – O – W.

Jonathan and I are supposed to go grocery shopping tomorrow and I wouldn’t be surprised if the shelves were devoid of bread and milk. Any prediction of snow around here requires an immediate trip to the store to purchase milk and bread, so it goes fast.

Mostly lately, it’s just been rain though. Bad for pain levels, but that’s the way it goes. And some very cold weather interspersed with unseasonably warm weather – pretty much what everyone else in the country is getting to one degree or another.

However, since the month of February will soon be over, that means it’s soon to be March, and that means spring can’t be too far off, right? I think lots of people are counting on it! I know I am.

As far as what’s been happening around here, let’s see…

Jess is still working. Some days he’s busy all day, and some days he isn’t. He’s been showing off lately and running across the yard on his new knees. It really is amazing how well he’s doing with his bionic knees. He got a little card in the mail from his orthopedic surgeon’s office:

... so now he has an official card to show at airports and what not, explaining why he sets off the metal detectors!

Jonathan has been doing a lot of miniature model painting lately. Well, maybe they’re not called models. Whatever you call the little miniatures they use in tabletop war games he’s been painting some on commission, and has some leads to do more work. He’s also put in more applications, like at Costco, but without results. I think he’s going to give in and try applying to drive at the Domino’s in Hazel Green. He’s been a little reluctant to do that because of the wear and tear on his car, but nothing else seems to be happening.

As for me, it’s the same old, same old. Every day I do farm chores, morning and night (except Jess does them Saturday mornings). There’s always laundry, dirty dishes, cooking and all the household stuff that needs done. I try to get as many hours in as possible every day on computer work. Thursday nights at 9pm I’m sitting on the couch in the living room with my laptop going and my headphones on, ready for our weekly teleseminar that usually last 2 hours or more.

I’m still working on cleaning up my hard drives. I’m also trying to get my computers to talk to each other. They’re supposed to be networked, but I can’t connect to the laptop, for instance, with my desktop computer. And my laptop doesn’t see the desktop or the printer anymore. There’s always something that needs fixing, and most of the time I don’t know why it got unfixed in the first place! Granted, I've added a lot of new stuff in the last couple of months with new anti-virus protection, firewall, and a ton of new software to my desktop. So who knows!???!

And that's the way it is in our part of the world with another month gone, and just waiting for spring!

The King Sings About The REAL King!

Jess just sent this to me and I obviously enjoyed it or I wouldn't be putting it up here.

For one thing, I like to hear Elvis sing. When I was a kid way back when, my mom and one of her best friends, Doris, loved to listen to Elvis, so by default, I heard him a lot also. Enjoying his music stuck with me over the years.

And then, well, this is just a good song and the video they did to go with it suits it so well!


Vivid Colors!

May I present Ellie in VIVID COLOR!

Remember back when I was talking about some color in MY life? Well, here's the gorgeous hat and scarf set my friend, Sharron, crocheted for me for my birthday.

While the kids were visiting, I decided to let Ellie model the set. When I tried it on, Jonathan said I looked like a bag lady. I believe that Ellie, however, carries off those bright colors with a certain panache. I mean, just look at this face!

Cute kid with a "distinctive and stylish elegance" - even in such VIVID COLORS!

Okay, even if you don't believe it's elegant, you must agree the model is fabulous, and the hat and scarf set is fun and... well, BRIGHT!

Family Matters

There’s a saying, “Blood is thicker than water.” In today’s idiom, it’s another way of saying that family relationships are stronger than any others, even though to me, that phrase doesn’t make sense. What’s water got to do with it?

Well, there’s an older meaning, extending the phrase to say, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb."

This blood covenant was made by the two people involved dividing an animal in half and standing together in the blood with their right hands clasped, and swearing a mutual oath binding them to each other. Sometimes, they would each cut their hand before clasping them together, allowing their blood to mingle. In effect, the two participants in the covenant would become "blood brothers," with the resulting union of this blood oath to never be broken.

In other words, "My relationship with those I have joined in blood covenant is supposed to be more valuable than the relationship with a brother with whom I may have shared the water of the womb."

So on one hand you have the idea in our culture today that family ties are stronger than any other ties. But on the other hand, there’s the biblical idea of “a friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

If you’re lucky, you have some friends that are that close (without requiring the blood covenant ritual!). A friend who is a kindred spirit is a precious thing indeed.

But so is family.

I got to thinking about all this after receiving an email chastising me for not including the locations of everyone in the family when I mention in this blog that our family is scattered “from Florida, to Tennessee, to West Virginia, to Canada.” That by doing so, I was essentially declaring I felt like the people whose locations I didn’t mention weren’t part of my family.

So let me clarify that. When I mention the locations I do, I’m only talking about parents and kids. My dad lives in West Virginia. We have kids in Florida, Tennessee and Canada.

We have a VERY far flung family, both nuclear and extended. And if I were to talk about ALL our family, including brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews, well, I’d have to add a whole lot more states like Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and more!

So forgive me if I’ve offended you by not mentioning your address when I talk about our far flung family. It’s not that I don’t consider the above people important family members, but that’s an awful lot of states to write every time I mention visiting family, and wishing we were closer together.

Just let me stick with parents and kids please.

Too Quiet On The Home Front

The house is a whole lot quieter now. I miss the extra noise.

I miss the “Sussern mama, read to me!”

I really like this picture Richard took!

I miss having Richard, Chrystie, and Ellie around. We had such a great visit, at least I think we did. It’s just too bad we can’t visit more often. It’s just amazing how much Ellie had grown and progressed in the short time since we’d last seen them.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a real bummer our family is strung from Florida, to Tennessee, to West Virginia, to Canada!

Ellie Practicing Walking

Ellie has a new walker, and boy! It's making it easier for her. She walks down a hallway every morning for practice.

Here she is walking down OUR hallway this morning!

She's really made some great progress!

It will be interesting to see what they say at Shriner's Hospital later this week though. The doctors have said her hip is moving out of joint, so putting it back in place might make it easier for Ellie to walk. But it's 6 or 8 weeks in a cast after surgery, so no small thing.

Whatever Ellie does, she has to work harder than most to accomplish it because of the Cerebral Palsy. I'm really proud of how well she's doing!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Last night Jess and I went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and enjoyed some yummy food. He brought home some flowers and candy and a card, so guess he's earned some brownie points, huh?

Right now he's on his way to the Huntsville Airport to pick up Richard, Chrystie and Ellie. They're going to have a nice shock weather wise. It's 7 degrees where they live today, and 61 degrees here. Wow! Viva la difference!

The sun does look mighty good out there. It was rainy and gloomy this morning, but now it's a sparkling day.

I've got a chicken in the crock pot, so supper is started, I've done all the cleaning I planned on doing, and I've got clean sheets on beds. We're ready! (Or at least as ready as we'll ever be, ha, ha.)

We even went up to Walmart this morning and bought a new car seat for Ellie. Richard called from Minneapolis and said they'd forgot to get the carseat out of the car, and would I go buy a cheap one and they'd pay me back.

Jonathan and I went up and found one that looked decent. It will adjust for kids up to 100 pounds, so ought to work for a long, long time, considering Ellie only weighs somewhere between 30 and 35 pounds right now. It's got a nice zippered bag we can store it in, and just pop it in the basement between visits. So now they will have one less thing to cart around the airport when they come to see us!

They're in flight from Memphis, and looks like they didn't have any major flight delays any where this time. Always a plus.

So we're going to have a fun Valentine's Day. Hope everyone reading this has a super day too!

Drama and Adventures in Outer Space

That’s what I put in the mailbox this morning, drama and adventure. The last episode of the seventh and last season of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Watching that last episode was like reading the last page of a really good book. One you really hate to put down, and somewhere down the road, you just know you’re going to have to read it again, it was that good.

To tell the truth, when Jonathan suggested we try watching DS9, I wasn’t too sure I was going to like it. I’m a long time Star Trek fan, so long I remember watching the original series – not reruns! - on tv. (Does that date me, or what?) I loved Star Trek then, and I love it now, but I wasn't too sure about this newer series.

We'd already went through the Star Trek: Voyager series though. (We make good use of our Netflix account!) It was pretty good, and I enjoyed watching it, so figured might as well give DS9 at try.

Well, Deep Space 9 was not only good, it was better.

Forget the fact it’s science fiction and set on a space station. For sci-fi fans that’s a plus, but what it really had going for it was drama and adventure! It had an on-going story, with lots of twists and turns, and lots of character development. People liked and disliked other people and things. People loved and fought and did all the things people do in real life.

People were real. Bad guys occasionally did good things, and the good guys occasionally did bad things. These weren't cookie-cutter characters, but complex individuals.

There were not only some excellent family relationships, there were lots of well-developed friendships. Guys who were best buddies and would occasionally even admit they loved each other. Men and women who were good friends without the erotic overtones, but valued their friendship instead. And yes, since it’s science fiction, not only were there friendships between different races and genders, but between different species.

Wikipedia notes, “The show is noted for its well-developed characters and its original, complex plots. The series also depended on darker themes, less physical exploration of space, and an emphasis (in later seasons) on many aspects of war.”

Yeah, there was a huge war going on the last couple of seasons that did indeed become quite dark. A time or two I wavered, thinking this was getting too much like the new version of Battlestar Galactica, and too dark and “real” for my tastes. But they dealt with those aspects well, and didn’t dwell in the darkness always. Light peeped through in unexpected places sometimes.

Bottom line: I was sorry to watch this last episode. I cried at the sundering of so many long-standing loves and friendships, as people were pulled in different directions, killed in the final battle, or for whatever reason, moving on. It was, by and large, a good show with few so-so episodes.

I’m going to miss all those people from Deep Space 9 and their drama and adventures.

Some Color In My Life

My great friend, Sharron, made a flying visit yesterday. Well, so she drove up here, but she flew in and out of our place so quickly after she arrived, that my head was still spinning when she left.

When things slowed down a little after supper, I got to check out the bag full of goodies she left. The bag and gift wrappings were COLORFUL and so were the contents.

There was a package of lovely stationary to use in the printer and some great purple and turquoise envelopes. My penpals ought to LOVE such bright COLORED letters!

The hat and scarf were very COLORFUL, made with some interesting yarn. And take a gander at those purple gloves with "Princess" all over them!

Also included was a COLORFUL mug with handsome roosters on the sides. Not shown in the picture is the vase full of cheerful daffodils Sharron picked from her flower garden.

A nice call from my dad, a couple of emails from friends, and a COLORFUL assortment of gifts... my birthday wasn't all bad.

But I still don't want to have any more. I'll get another year older on my date of birth, but that's all that's required and all I plan to do.

Banish Birthdays!

Next year I’m not going to bother with a birthday. Oh, I know that 365 days from this past one I’ll be another year older; that’s just the way it is. But as for celebrating a birthday, well, forget it. What’s to celebrate? It’s just another day. Maybe a couple of people send an email or call with birthday wishes, and a couple of business’s send birthday cards, but mostly, it’s a non-event. So I repeat, why bother?

And this birthday was worse than most. I managed to do chores and clean the kitchen today, and that’s about all I managed. I slept more today than I usually do at nights. My head hurts. My stomach is queasy. The pain is bothering me. One way to escape is to sleep. Feeling depressed? Sleep will evade that as well.

It didn’t help that when I went out to do evening chores, 5 of the peafowl were out where they didn’t belong, and when I opened their gate to shoo them back in, guineas and roosters got in their pen as well. Then I had to chase them out while keeping the peacocks in. I ended up with some stinking muck splattered on me from their wild flapping around.

By the time Jess and Jonathan came home, I was in no shape to go out to eat. I told them to feel free to go on by themselves if they wanted to. I went to bed.

I could go on about the misdeeds and not-done-deeds of the day, but that's enough to give you the idea.

Happy Birthday? I don’t think so.

Derma. . . Done!

Today was the long awaited appointment with the dermatologist to check a couple of spots on my skin. I really didn't want to go, but figured I've been waiting a long time for the appointment, so I'd better haul myself down there.

I didn't know exactly where I was going, but I had a general idea and found the place without any problem. Parking wasn't even too bad, considering I was driving our big truck.

Since I was a new patient, they had the usual pages and pages of paperwork for me to fill out. I didn't get much more than half way done until the nurse was calling my name and taking me back to an examination room.

I barely finished the paperwork before the doctor was in there, and before I could say "dermatologist"... he was done.

What a waste of time.

Oh, okay, so I know a dermatologist thinks the problems are benign. So did I, and I'm a lot cheaper and easier to get to, ha!

And here's what else I know - that dude is raking in the money if he skips through patients all day long as quickly as he did in my case. If he was in there 5 minutes, I'd be surprised.

It's the first time I can recall I've been in and out to see a doctor BEFORE it was actually time for my appointment.


My Office Improvements

It's taken me a while to get used to the rearranged furniture in my office, but there's not doubt it's a vast improvement over trying to work in the middle of the living room. How is it better? Let me count the ways!
  1. It's furthest away from the action in the rest of the house. Which means...

  2. Less interruptions!

  3. My desktop computer is lightyears faster than my laptop, so it's easier to get work done.

  4. My mess isn't right there for everyone to see when they walk in the front door.

  5. And I've got places to put things!

Jonathan finished the shelves on the wall yesterday, so I've got even more storage.

Didn't he do a GREAT job? They really look good. I almost hate to cover them up. Almost... but not quite! They're going to be a great help in organizing stuff in here.

While he was working on the shelves, we piled all the cushions from the couch under a desk. A nosy little bird came in to see what was going on, and found a great little hidey-hole.

She loves to find secretive little places to hang out.

But most of the time when she's in the office, I put her on her playdoor.

Isn't that an ingenious use of an old door? She's got lots of play stuff to keep her busy, she's right close to me so she doesn't get lonesome, and best of all... she hasn't figured out any way to get down.

Now to get all the rest of the stuff out of the spare room and back into the office!