Friday, July 31, 2009


As Riley has told me several times tonite, I am addicted. I personally blame Aunt Janet and my friend Erika for this.

I spent hours playing on there tonite. I chatted for a while with some old childhood friend of Chris' - Cameron. Keep in mind, I don't know him - Chris did! He seems like someone I would love to know though! May just have to meet him (and fam) one weekend for pizza!

Just when I think I am caught up on friends - someone else comes along. For example - an old friend Tom - who is now Thom. Seems like not only have we both aged (he has aged very well if you look at his pics) but changed political parties and views! How fun... I would love to find more people - it is such fun looking at their kids...

And there is just not enough time to tag photos! I haven't even dragged out all of the scrapbooks to scan photos yet!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Visited old Dr. Quimby today. I know he is old enough to retire - but he keeps hanging in there!

His family used to own Quimby's Pharmacy in downtown Clinton on the Square. I stopped there just about every day after jr high with my best friend, Debbie Bostwick. We spent our lunch money on a bag of sour cream potato chips, a fountain cola and 2 pieces of bubble gum. I loved going there - the pharmacy was all the way in the back on the left. On the right was a long marble counter with those padded swivel chairs. There was the same old lady with the hair net - can't remember her name - with the soda stuff and the grill, etc. It burned down sometime when I was in high school. I miss that place...

So - Dr. Quimby (dermatologist) said I am good to go for another year. No super suspicious moles this time (YEA!!!). I have a strange red spot on my left cheekbone. He wanted to send me to a laser guy to get the blood vessels reduced. I asked if I had to - everyone thinks i just have on blush! So - unless it gets worse, we are just letting that go too....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Well, shit...

My PaPaw and Grandmother never swear - but when they do - it's always a "Well, shit Jack" - or "Well, shit Anna". It's kind of funny...

Yesterday, I had a "Well, shit Chris" event...

Chris received an email from his dad. Something about George talking at church about photography, then a break for refreshments, then another q&a session. Then out to lunch. Mark & Sybelle would also be attending.

Now, we didn't know that Mark was going to be in town - haven't seen him in years. Chris missed the email that Mark was married now. The Nichols family men have very strange (and strained) relationships.

Anyhow, I got up on Sunday bright and early. I even ironed. We drove the hour to church. No one is there. OK - maybe we are early. I mentioned that there was a sign at the entrance that mentioned a potluck at so-and-so's house at 11. Hmmmm... That would be in the middle of the talk. So I started asking questions - like, Chris - what DAY did he mention? Chris said Sunday. OK - WHICH Sunday? Chris calls AJ at home - finds the email. It's for the 2nd. I should have read the email...

We drove back home.

Well, shit Chris.

Friday, July 24, 2009

White Sox

Let me get this out in the open - I do not care for baseball. It's hot, not enough action and I don't like beer. The only thing I enjoy about the game is people watching. I am sorry if I have offended anyone - but I am just being honest.

Chris enjoys it - but not a huge fan or anything. His sports passion is football - he is a giant Vikings fan...

Chris and friends went to the White Sox game yesterday afternoon - lots of pictures. I guess it was a no hitter - and it was a huge deal since it has been years since the White Sox have accomplished that. So Chris got to see a little part of history - and was thrilled.

I am happy for him - and very happy that I didn't have to go with him!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Chris is taking a day today and attending a White Sox game in Chicago with his friend, Pink. He's in a band - that's what they call him. And he's a programmer - 'nuf said. For the longest time, I didn't know what his real name was! I think they have been friends since the 80's when Chris went off to college.

I am kind of jealous of Chris. He doesn't have a lot of friends - but the ones he has are great ones. I don't know when it happened - but I just don't have a lot of great friends. I have a ton of good friends but not anyone that I would imagine wanting to "jump up and do my eulogy" type of friend. I guess I moved too much - or maybe I am just too busy to spend the time to really have a great friend. I also depend on Chris for everything. So maybe I do just have one great friend - the hubby.

I guess that's not such a bad thing after all...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Work tidbit

I had a meeting with our Comcast national account team last week - and mentioned it to Chris this morning. The strangest things pop into my head when I am tired. Anyway, the Comcast folks stated that by spring of 2010 - they should have all of their business and residential accounts flying at a 50M/10M speed. wow...

I remember when we had that lovely dial-up service with the modem - with that lovely squeal. I am sure my kids don't remember that at all...


Another wonderful night of non-sleeping. I am not sure if this is a menopausal thing or what - but it is getting old. I think that a body does require more than 4 hours sleep at night. I gave up today and played on the internet. I am all caught up on the news. Read some interesting info about Cronkite. Wow - what a remarkable man.

Busy weekend. Chris and I took the girls on Sunday for mini golf and a picnic. Riley enjoyed it much more than Alyx. Alyx was done after the 10th hole or so...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Those family trips...

My Auntie Ann sent me an email the other day that just made me giggle. I guess that Aunt Janet was reminiscing about a trip that my family took to visit California during their recent visit.

Back in the day, my family camped - a lot. We had a nice, large pull camper. At some point, Mom and Dad thought it would be a great idea to buy one of those driving campers. Now, we did not have a ton of money so this was a huge splurge. And being as we didn't have a ton of money, it was probably the smallest version of a 'drive' camper that one could buy. I honestly think they bought it for this HUGE trip they had planned to visit my aunt Janet and uncle Marty in California.

Please keep in mind - I was in high school when we took this journey of hell.

These are my memories of the trip - which looking back - are hysterical. I am sure that Lee and Lou have different memories but I am writing this blog! Actually, I hate to think what Lou
'remembers' but that's another story...

I remember driving down the highway and the truckers referring to some 'moon' on the CB radio (yes, I am THAT old). Turns out, Lee was in the top bunk that overhung (?) the drive portion of the camper sound asleep. At some point, his little PJ bottoms had been pulled down (no, I DID NOT do this) and his little fanny was broadcasted to everyone - hence, the moon. I remember going to Lake Tahoe and the damn lake was freezing and there was snow at the campground - and we had shorts. That was also the location that the brand new camper decided to break down. We spent some lovely quality time listening to Dad cuss like a drunken sailor while we waited for parts. I remember the septic's lid (or whatever it's called) falling off and Dad spraying the highway for miles while it emptied. Some nice boys in a convertible pulled up while we were going down the road and told Dad that he was leaking fluids. Dad just smiled and waved. Keep in mind, we haven't even reached California yet.

Finally, we are there. Exhausted - and probably smelling not so great. The shower in the camper was on top of the toilet. You just made sure that you closed the lid. I refused to use it for showering purposes.

I don't know who - but someone thought it would be fun to take our camper down that tiny little highway that goes right along the coast. Yes, the camper was small - but next to a freakin cliff - it was HUGE. Aunt Janet took our lovely wildflowers off of the table (Mom tried to make it look homey) and laid on the floor like a dead soul. Funniest dang thing I have ever seen. If you looked out the window to the right - all you saw was ocean. No road - no pavement - nothing at all but down.

I also remember going to the Painted Desert and sleeping thru it. I remember being completely disappointed at the petrified forest - just a bunch of rocks in sand - no forest - who knew? I also remember camping somewhere and it being like 115 degrees. Who planned that stop???

Anyway - thanks for the giggles Aunt Janet (via Aunt Ann). That was fun.

Oh - and Lee - I am sure you have your own comments to make now!


Riley loves sports. She has more heart, dedication and drive than any kid I have seen at that age.

She is nearing the end of softball season. Actually, volleyball starts Thursday and her last softball game is Saturday - so a bit of an overlap.

Anyway, she loves to play catcher. And she is serious about her position. She is one of the few on the team that can throw from the plate to the pitcher. Last night, she was her normal aggressive self. A runner was coming into home and Riley had no intention of letting her on that plate. Big collision - Riley ends up flat on her back. She stayed there for a little bit. Coaches swarming her, etc. I stayed in my seat. She left the game and a tiny bit of tears are flowing (Riley doesn't cry). The opposing coach tells his girls - let's not run down other players. One of the dads says nonchalantly, well, she was just trying to get to the plate.

If it was anyone else, I would have thought - wow, way to take the hit for the team. But Riley has that single kidney - and I worry. I jump up and go check on her. She is having some breathing issues and holding her stomach. The coach thought she just got the wind knocked out of her. I whispered in her ear to suck it up and get a great hit (she was lead off batter). She smiled and was fine again.

I walk back to my chair. One of the moms asked if she was ok - and I said she was fine - that I just worry too much since she has the one kidney. I think I will always worry and I guess I need to get over it.

Chris just smiles at me. Riley likes sports and this is just going to be part of it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Miss Alyx

Alyx is a night owl. She stays up late - very late. I am about at my wit's end with her. She has teen sleeping habits already.

Riley is the opposite. Early to bed and a very early riser. Definitely my child when it comes to sleeping habits.

Riley and Alyx each have their own room, but in the summer they like to have 'sleepovers' in each other's room. Last night - the girls are in Riley's room - along with Tanner (he thinks he is one of the girls). TV goes off at 8pm. I say good night - they are now laying in a dark room. 11:40pm - I hear noise. The girls are still up and giggling! This is VERY rare for Riley - and a nightly occurrence for Alyx. I get up - I yell - and there is scrambling under the covers - including the dog.

Of course, Chris slept thru the whole dang thing. He misses everything.

In the morning, I like to kiss the girls goodbye. Now, they are sound asleep at 5:30am but nevertheless - I feel better. I can't find Alyx. She was in the bed with Riley at midnight. I searched the basement - sometimes she wanders into AJ's room. Chris searches upstairs. We can't find her. I re-search upstairs - Chris is a man after all and they can't find anything. Alyx is buried behind Mellisa in her little twin bed. Good grief.

I keep reminding Chris that I would have about been done with this whole parenting thing if we wouldn't have met!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

It all started with the waffles.

I make an effort at breakfast every Sunday. It's tradition. My dad would always stay home from church while the rest of us went. He said that he attended enough church as a Catholic boy that he didn't need to go anymore. All I know is that I came home there would be a small feast waiting for us - plus the Sunday paper.

We were out of eggs. I didn't know that - there tends to be too many cooks in my house and only one (Chris) doing the shopping. My waffles were already started so there was no turning back - Chris ran to the store.

What to do while I waited? I finally started a Facebook page. Now, I have no idea what I am doing but at least I am trying. Isn't that what everyone does while they wait for eggs?

Chris, Mellisa and I went to the Sugar Creek Arts Festival. It is an annual event held in uptown Normal - and for some reason, we always miss it. I was expecting something different. Yes, there were beautiful things there but I was expecting more artisans actually demonstrating their craft - this was more of a marketing event. There were 2 booths that caught my eye. My Uncle Marty blows glass - so of course, I now have an interest. This is very similar to when he was into stained glass - now I love looking at those pieces. Anyhow - this booth had the same type of hearts that Uncle Marty makes - but they didn't seem as clear to me - and they had a little curlicue on the end that made them look a bit strange. He did have quite a few bowls and vases that were very pretty. Nothing nearly as elaborate as Uncle Marty but I guess he had to think about what would sell as something like this event. He also had pendants that were gorgeous. I was very, very tempted on those... The other booth that I found interesting was clay sculpture. This artisan molded faces. Not a whole face - just a portion of a face. My favorite was just a nose, mouth and chin. Kind of fun. Mellisa always gravitates toward photos of gritty city scapes - like a giant DINER sign or something like that. I like that she has her own opinions - I don't think I even thought about those things when I was her age. Chris was hot - and I think was just humoring me all afternoon but at least he went!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Chris works on the side for a garage in Pontiac. The owners (Patsy and Tim Fogarty) are some of the nicest people I know. Patsy has had some major health problems but she is always happy, always positive. She is one of those Feng Shui people - trained and everything - and has her own business now to provide advice to businesses and homeowners. If I had a zillion dollars, I would hire her. Instead, I bought a book. She is just a sweetheart.

Chris barters with them. He provides computer services (including cabling, ordering, updates, etc.) for them - they maintain our vehicles. Now, our cars are both approaching 10 years so that says a lot to me.

They are good people - good bosses too. They have a huge shindig around Christmas every year and treat all of their employees and significants to a wonderful swanky-do meal in a very nice Peoria restaurant. Chris and I were invited last year - quite impressive! I would have to say that most of these garage guys have no idea what fork to use - but what a wonderful gesture.

Anyway - Chris is working there again tonight - update to their 'parts' software. AJ and Kiel are off working again. The girls are home alone. We are eating delivery pizza, drinking soda (mine has an extra punch of Bacardi) and watching movies. It's a good night...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Busy at work

Wow - that about sums it up.

Monday, at&t thought it would be fun to mess with the authentication on our modems. Down offices... Yesterday, Mediacom is down - only 6 or 7 down with them - which is typical for them. But Verizon about drove me over the edge. 16 states were down - which meant about 35 offices for me. Agents get a little honked off when they can't work.

I started my day today with a lovely Vivanno smoothie from Starbucks - no, no coffee stuff - yuck. So - it has to be a better day.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I just read that the bank that was in Clinton forever (since 1867) - John Warner Bank - was 'taken over' by the FDIC. Mom worked there for quite awhile for Mr. Warner himself. I guess the family sold the bank in '03 and it went downhill quickly.

Little Brothers & the weekend update

Happy Birthday to Lee today! I have no idea where he is - but I am sure he is somewhere warm, lovely, full of history and having a wonderful fun drink!

We had Lou visit this weekend. He is on a new medication - he was very sedate and not very talkative or entertaining for that matter. We always have him sleep in Riley's room so he can have some privacy but for some reason, he slept on the couch in the basement every night. I am not quite sure why - maybe it was dark and quiet and cool? Oh well, he seemed ok with it. We let him pick a bunch of stuff out for his birthday (his was the 25th). He grabbed socks, t-shirts, a belt and some tennies along with his coffee and cigs. Grandmother sent him some money in a card so he kept that for later. Aunt Ann sent him a card - he must have read that thing 20 times. He made sure he took both cards back to his room.

The rain on Saturday certainly dampened the big family picnic plans. We decided just to drive over to our normal spot and sit in chairs and watch from afar rather than sit in the mud at the park grounds. Lou didn't want to go - not sure what that was about either.

I cleared out a nice big path in the weeds using an old piece of siding. We sat in our chairs a good 30 minutes waiting on the fireworks (they were running very late due to the weather). We started hearing this strange hissing sound - sort of gas leak sound - not a snake-like intermittent sound. We were in a subdivision area that had not completely been developed yet so a gas leak wouldn't be that outlandish of a possibility. Anyway - I grabbed the girls and we moved far away behind the van. AJ and Chris thought it deserved further investigation and had their cell phones down near the ground trying to see something. AJ folded up his chair and started poking and the hissing stopped. Hmmm.... Now, our neighbors were with us - and Larry thought he needed a closer look too. Hissing started again. Larry mildly says, ouch - I think I just got stung. Yea, we found a bee's nest or something. Larry is allergic. Great. Larry and his wife go running off to get whatever drug you take when you are allergic - leaving their daughter with us. The girls watched the fireworks from inside the van. I love our family outings!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I am beat

I usually don't complain about my job. 95% of the time, I love my job. I am extremely happy and lucky to even have a job considering everything going on in the country.


I was so exhausted last night, I broke down and cried. Ten hour days are not my friend. Our little team has been instructed by upper, upper, upper management to upgrade every field office's speed asap. There are about 1500 offices. The exasperating part of this is that the software program that is hogging all of the bandwidth is STILL GOING TO HOG the speed no matter what we do. This is a case of the agents in the field complaining to the right director and we all have to jump - regardless. There is an accelerator program that is being deployed in August. This effort WILL help with the slow speeds. We have been told we can't wait. So, I am losing my mind trying to get my offices done - while still doing my normal job.

I had a field visit with the Director of Facilities yesterday - so I was on my best behavior for 5 hours while slugging around a construction site with various contractors. And of course, I had on heels and swanky do clothes since i was hanging with a muckity-muck. Luckily, this guy is one of the nicest men I have met so it was a pleasant experience.

I came back to HELL. I have been battling Charter to get an office in by 7/1 (it's open date) and of course, there were all sorts of technical problems on their end - which I cannot fix. But trying to explain that to a manager who has agents that can't move is next to impossible. I understand - they need to move - they need to work - and from their viewpoint, its just a little cable - what could go wrong???? The manager fired off a lovely email about not only my disaster - but the lease, the phones, the sign, etc. I guess I was just the straw that broke the camels back. This email went to every upper management person that this guy had ever heard of. Fantastic.

Then I go home - late. We had dinner plans with Chris' dad and his new girlfriend. I walk in the house - it is a mess. I have just worked 10 hours - and i come home to a mess. I have never met this woman and first impressions are important to me. 5 children were home all damn day - you would think someone could do something? I lost it. It's amazing how much my crying can speed up some cleaning. AJ made me a drink - I sat on the couch - boohooing - drinking thru my little straw. House looked wonderful in under 20 minutes. Dried my eyes - put on a happy face and went to dinner. It was wonderful - she is fantastic. Grandpa has found another good one. We bonded over gardening...

Today - better but not much. I am very glad I have a three day weekend...