Saturday, December 31, 2011

Puzzles - this should be a pre-marital test

Uncle Lee gave our family a puzzle to work on. Chris and I have done a couple of puzzles together in the past but frankly, our schedules were too busy to do too many. Now that we only have to work around the girls' events, we have more time.

We started out following the same processes. First, the outside edges. Then the lines that outlined some boxes that were in the puzzle. Then the chaos began.

I have learned a lot about Chris. We enjoy each other's company - we like to talk - but wow, we do NOT solve puzzles the same way.

I came downstairs this morning - and this is what I found.

Chris is a shape sorter - I am a color sorter.

I cannot work under these conditions.

Friday, December 30, 2011


My mom was a saint. That's all I have ever heard about my mom. But, my mom loved to gamble. Now - she didn't go to the boat or anything and she certainly didn't make it a regular thing. But Mom loved those scratch off tickets. She would give them to us for Christmas even.

I have a friend here at work that loves them also. It's not an obsession or anything but for fun - she will bring a couple to us here at work at well.

So now - I love them. I love the crossword ones. It's the anticipation of getting that one letter that makes them fun.

I bought one today when I went to Casey's to get breakfast pizze. I didn't win on my crossword but I did on one of the 3-of-a-kind. Won a whole $2!!! So - I am only down three bucks today!!!

Woohoo!!! I like to believe I am helping the Illinois Dept. of Education...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Neighborly love - not hardly

So - I know that I might be wrong here but my feelings are my feelings...

Our neighborhood does not allow parking on the street Monday thru Friday 9-3. We live next to a high school and the high school students were always parking in front of the mailboxes and we wouldn't get mail. The US Postal Service petitioned and we lost all parking. We have tried to get at least parking on one side of the street - opposite the mailboxes - but I guess the neighbors on that side weren't real keen on that idea - so no dice.

Chris ran home for lunch today. Our driveway is full with AJ's truck and the ghetto van. Rather than risk a ticket - which the police have come thru and given tickets before - he pulled into the neighbor's driveway across the street. Meesie got a ticket a month ago for $30 for being parked at 10am in front of our house.

Now, this particular neighbor is NEVER home. I don't know what she does or maybe she lives with someone - whatever - she is never there. We scoop the snow around our mailboxes since her's is on our side of the street. The neighbor next door to her mows her grass. I have moved her trash cans up to her house for her. Chris even shovels her snow when it is bad.

Of course, today is the day that she is home???? So what does she do? She left a note on Chris' car that said the next time he parks in her driveway, she will call the police.

Love it.

Chris won't be parking there anymore. And I will be damned if he scoops one little snowflake for her again!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

so.... Christmas eve....

The candy table is ready.

And I miss my Kiel. This is the first year I haven't had all of my babies here.

I will be ok...

Friday, December 23, 2011

So sad...

Way back when I did my student teaching in Kindergarten, one of the teachers pointed at a student and said she knew exactly how he would turn out... I didn't want to believe that but I had that same feeling yesterday.

Chris and I were stopped at a four-way stop on ISU's campus. A kid - maybe ten years old - came running out. A man was chasing him and tried to grab his arm. Now, they are in the road doing this. At first, I thought - whoa - child abuse - need to call someone. Then we noticed that the man had a CVS name badge on. Uh oh. This was a shoplifting thing. The clerk was trying to tackle this kid - and was yanking at his sweatshirt and they were scuffling around. Keep in mind - Chris and I are sitting in the car - and have no idea what to do. Finally - the clerk gets a bottle away from him and pulls off the kids sweatjacket over his head. The kid runs off and the guy throws the sweatjacket at him and starts making a cell phone call.

The bottle was tall - clear liquid - red top. Chris thinks it was vodka.

I was just so sad. I am so afraid that this event won't be the last time that this kid gets in trouble. 10 years old and stealing - alcohol no less. Just sad...

We drove off.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas picture

Well, we failed on the family holiday picture this year. Actually - it wasn't a failure but more of a family picture full of exceptions.

We didn't include Kiel of course since he lives in Florida. Then we didn't know if we should include Holly or not. She is part of the family - but yet, she isn't. And we didn't want to make her or AJ uncomfortable - so we didn't include either one of them. Besides, AJ had to work. And there was no way Mellisa was going to get up on a Saturday morning - in freezing weather to go to a zoo and hang out with a reindeer.

So there you have it - our family Christmas card for this year! I might get them sent out old school style - but don't hold your breath on that!

Friday, October 28, 2011


I had my followup visit with the surgeon today....

If anyone in the Chicago area ever needs this surgery - HIGHLY recommend Dr. DeJong. I could not have had a nicer experience and what a great staff! And one more time - nothing like having an entourage of super hot residents to look at!!!!

The tumor was not cancer - which was what I was expecting to hear - but it is still nice to have that confirmation. Tape is off now also. And Dr. Pittman still had the tumor pic on his cell so he sent it to us... Love it!!

By the way - the small yellow part is thalmus (?) - the tumor was descending into the chest - this part is for the medical junkies of the viewing audience.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The details... (just for Aunt Janet)

The tumor is out - and life is returning to normal (ha).

The surgery team thought it would be funny to have the patient that is located the furthest away from Chicago to have the first surgical slot - so we had to be there at 6am - which meant a 3:45am departure time. Chris was awesome and let me sleep.

I don't remember much other than there were a lot of very cute, young doctors (I highly recommend teaching hospitals). I did manage to talk the anesthesiologist into taking a picture of my tumor before it went to pathology. He is supposed to be sending it to me - and it is very cool looking by the way - but I don't have it yet. Probably against some rule.

The other interesting part - there are no fun drugs for this surgery. No painkillers - nada. I have been taking extra strength Tylenol. The stitches came out at the hospital the very next day (which is why I had to spend the night). I actually have very little pain - just a lot of discomfort. And my throat is just now starting to feel better - it really hurt to talk the first couple of days. I take a lot of Tums to take over for the calcium loss - at least until the other parathyroids come back from their vacation...

I do go back tomorrow to have my followup with the surgeon and get the little tapes off my throat.

Chris took a picture of my throat - it would be perfect for a throat slasher victim for Halloween!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tumor Update

Chris and I drove up to Loyola yesterday. And for the record - he was right, we were super early. So we drove around - found a Panera and had a nice lunch.

We were still thirty minutes early - but they took us back anyway! Always a good sign!

The Nurse Practitioner was super. Perky - answered all questions - just loved her. She was probably with us about 30 minutes.

Surgeon came in right after. He was fantastic. He actually drew pictures for us, answered all of the questions - just wonderful. He did not act like he had something better to do or anything! He does three of these surgeries every Thursday - so he is quite experienced. He did talk about the vocal cords and the risk but I am not worried in the slightest. Totally impressed with him. (Dr. DeJong)

Had more blood work done for the surgery immediately following.

We were back on our way home about 3. Fantastic!!!

So - nuts and bolts. Surgery is October 20th. Will require an overnight stay. Will be off work for maybe three weeks. Can't lift anything for a month. They are removing the lower left - but will check the upper one since they are there. While on the table, they will check the calcium counts which should drop immediately after tumor removal - if not - they will check the other side. Usually feel better that day and my symptoms should start going away pretty quickly.

Technical name for the procedure: sub total parathyroidectomy.

Go Kiel!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Tomorrow is my meet & greet with the surgeon. Yea - I'm nervous. Not sure why. Well, it may be because I am not a fan of doctors. I really don't think that they ever have good news. Certainly isn't their fault - but crap - I don't go to doctors unless I absolutely have to. Anyhow... I get to find out the surgery date and details Wednesday...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kiel's locker

So far - my friends have mentioned...

his pic looks like a mug shot

at least he has deodorant

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Had a minor breakdown today...

I couldn't remember if I had used shampoo in the shower. I know - really? Shampoo? With everything going on - I break down over shampoo???

I made a decision which bothered me today - I never wimp out. I take tests for insurance licensing. I love taking tests - I love challenges - I love learning new things. Yesterday, I read for half an hour over my lunch. I could not tell you a single thing that I had read in the book today. I am an over achiever - I know that - I accept that. I paid $50 to move my test to November. I could not risk a fail. I hate spending the money on that - but if I fail - it's $110. Can't gamble on my brain right now....

And then tonite - I just started crying to poor Christopher. I can't remember things. It is driving me crazy. He is my rock. I can't imagine life without him...

My Aunt Lisa told me that my Grandmother L'Hote had this surgery - and the surgeon accidentally clipped a nerve and her mouth drooped as a result. Now, that was 30 years ago - and there have been advancements in the surgery without a doubt - but it is a risk. I know - relax - 30 years ago - but it is something that my doctor mentioned. I would rather have a droopy mouth than this memory loss problem - and it will match the boobs - so whatever!

And then, I had dreams about trying to find my dad all night. I usually don't dream about Dad - just Mom. Interesting. I kept hitting closed doors but someone kept calling - he's here, he's here... I would be a lovely case for a psychologist.

Let's face it - I am a mental mess right now. Cannot wait to get rid of the stupid tumor.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I wrote a quick email to HR today...

Basically, my supervisor was mistaken - yea - big time wrong. When in the midst of a waiting period for disability - you can take that time however you want. Now, if you wanted some fantastic trip to Hawaii - then - yea, time off without PTO is a big deal.

Whew - much better. And yes, I did forward HR's email to my supervisor for her files...

Anyway - consult with the surgeon is on Sept 21.

The irony to the whole thing is that I will have the 5 days of PTO by then!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Part II

So - I went to tell my supervisor the update.

The place that I work changed their short term disability in January. It used to take effect on the 6th day - and would retro pay for the first week that we were off. Now, it takes effect on the 7th calendar day - and has no retro pay. Employees are supposed to use their PTO for the five days or unpaid leave.

Now, I have not worked here very long. I was a contractor for years but not a 'true' employee. So i have ZIPPO PTO time. I did take five days in May to move Kiel to Florida and a few days at the beach. The rest of the PTO time was spent at doctor's appointments.

I work hard. I get to work at 6:30 and work until 3:15 - way beyond my required 7.75 hours. I read email in the evenings and I am on call 24x7. I take LOMA tests (which are beyond my job requirement - as it is for insurance licensing, etc). I was on a team on five in January - but due to staff shuffling - I am now on a team of three - without any workload reduction.

Anyway - my supervisor only says - well, if you have to take unpaid time - then that is a performance issue. WHAT???? She said - well, I had to take some time off for illness - and I managed my PTO. Hello - she has been there for 30 years - and probably has three months or something assanine for PTO. I should have managed my time better according to the rules. This is also something that an employee can be terminated over.

Keep in mind - I wasn't expecting anyone to pay for my non-PTO time. But I sure as crap didn't think that I might not get a raise or fired due to a tumor!!!

Chris and I have talked. I can't afford to lose my job. I will hang on to my lovely tumor until I have enough PTO to take it off officially and then schedule the surgery.

The side effects of the tumor aren't too bad. Osteoporosis, heartburn, kidney stones and dementia, headaches, depression, thinning hair (it falls out like crazy). Great.

I think it is criminal and wrong.

It might be a tumor....It's not a toomah!!!

Remember that line from Kindergarten Cop with Arnold? Well, Chris didn't - but everyone else that enjoys juvenile humor movies does...

Doc did confirm that I have a parathyroid "toomah" on the left side of my neck... Not sure when surgery is but will be going to Loyola in Chicago to have it removed... I should have a referral by this time next week.

Sometimes it is nice when then actually find things - at least I know I am not going crazy!!!!

More details to follow...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New video....

awwww... memories

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Trailer Saga: The Final Episode


It's Homecoming. Parkside PTO borrows a trailer that we have used two years previously. The Town of Normal will not let us park it on the street. One of our members owns a business about four blocks from the members that were in charge of the float. It is a lit premises but not a locked area. There are several other trailers stored there as well. The lot is behind the building which is also the parking lot for customers/employees. The local Boy Scouts even have a trailer back there. The hitch is not locked nor has it been in previous years - especially since it is not a theft prone area. The owner did not provide a lock or instructions to do so.

Two days before the parade, the trailer is stolen. A Police Report is immediately filed and the owner is notified via a PTO member but not the people in charge of the float. This particular member secured the float as the owner of the float was a good friend. The copy of the Police Report was sent to the owner in order for his to file on his insurance. A new trailer was found in time for the parade.

That was September time frame.

PTO meetings became ugly. He did not have insurance for the trailer. The owner started harassing the friend - who was devastated. He wanted his trailer back. The owner claimed he was having to rent a trailer to haul things. The friend went to the PTO to get help. The PTO had not been contacted by the owner whatsoever and did not even know what his grievances were. The PTO board refused to write a check - especially since no one knew if insurance had been filed or what a check would be written for. PTO's insurance would not cover something like this. The family building the float felt responsible but they were doing this for the PTO - so they felt the PTO should step up. The business owner felt responsible and was willing to write a check - but yet again, PTO had not been contacted and he was encouraged to not make that offer. And the meetings just kept getting uglier and uglier.

This went on for months. It caused the end of friendships, stress on the PTO, hardship on the PTO officers, stress trying to get the Unit Office's attorney to help us - just ridiculous.

Eventually, we started hearing dollar amounts. Emails were flying back and forth to different officers - different members - each email had a different twist/amount to it. The trailer had new tires worth $900; the trailer was valued at $2000; the trailer was valued at $1500. It was just a ridiculous situation.

Oh - I forgot to mention that this trailer was from 1983, wood floors, no rails and no tailgate with supposedly new tires.

Chris became an officer in late 2010. He attempted to mediate and talk to the trailer owner and called him at two different occasions. It was an ugly conversation (I was listening) and the owner just repeated over and over - I want my trailer back. Chris kept telling him that we did not have the trailer to give him so we needed to come to a monetary arrangement. No deal.

Did I mention that Chris and I worked with this guy when all three of us worked at Bloomington Computers? Yea - that was an added twist.

So - the same ugliness continues until the PTO is served. He was asking for $3000 plus attorney fees plus filing costs.

Now, I got permission to attend court since I work at the same place the owner does now - not in the same department luckily. And I tell you - I can't believe the lies that can come out of someone's mouth.

His case short version -

*no one from PTO offered to replace his trailer
*he bartered for the trailer - so no cash outlay
*the tires really cost $347 - he forgot that he bought truck tires at that time too
*legally registered at 8000 lbs.
*he stores his trailer behind a friends house - unlocked
*he presented his comparables - one was a 2003 trailer for $1750 on Craig's List and from Ebay - $3500
*he bought a new trailer last week for $2300

Cross -

*confirmed it was a 1983 registration
*showed pics of our float from 2009
*confirmed how it was stored by the owner (no lock and not gated or inside - at a farm)
*what do you use it for? i don't use it much at all - the people that store it for him use it
*repairs? new floor in 2007 - did he know that PTO replaced boards? no
*did the trailer have brakes? yes - one on the front axle
*went thru several emails - owner corrected some of his remarks that he had made in the email
*owner actually did have insurance - liability only
*and then our attorney ripped apart the comparables as not valid

Then his attorney called our PTO President - who wasn't there. I guess it costs extra money to subpoena someone.

Our attorney then tried to move for a Prima Facie. I obviously have not been to law school - but it seemed like there is a bailee and a bailor and a bailment - and something about the trailer owner didn't prove the PTO was negligent. Judge ruled against us....

So - we call witnesses.

First was the float builder.
*didn't see any brakes
*2010 - they replaced boards since they were afraid kids would fall thru
*police put a value of $500
*owner told her value was $1500 w/ $900 tires - months later - $400 tires

Cross -
*basically silly stuff - the worst was he asked if she had told anyone where the trailer was parked. She said her husband knew - the business owner & wife knew and that was it. He asked her several times in fact.
*He then said - don't you think it was a little strange that this one was stolen? As he sat down - he said - I believe you told someone and one of your PTO members stole it.

WHAT??????????? Wow - over the line on that one....

Then the business owner.
*Our attorney just went over the lot - lights - etc.
Cross -
*basically claimed that we used no care to store it
*And then made the snotty statement as he sat - well, that's what happens when you park something on the West Side.

Whatever... Our town has the uppity East Side - and the blue collar West Side. And yea, there is trouble sometimes on the West Side and there are areas to watch out for. Technically, we are in North Normal which crosses over both the East & West. I know - silly - but that's how some people think... Like this uppity attorney obviously...

Then our attorney called an actual trailer dealer.
And that was the downfall for the trailer owner.
Nuts and bolts -
*First - it is not registered legally as the registration has to be in increments of the trailer hitch load - which in this case was 3500lbs per axle. No way it can be registered for 8000lbs regardless of the load.
*Second - the trailer cannot be driven on a highway or interstate since it only has one brake. To be legal, it needs brake per axle plus a breakaway brake.
*Value - $500 since it would have to be made street legal.

Judge said that the only evidence that she could trust was the value placed by the trailer dealer and ruled for $500.

So - the owner should have taken one of our offers. PTO is out $500 plus about $200 in filing cost (since we did still lose). Owner only has $500 to apply to a trailer - and has at least $750 in attorney fees. Wow - hope this was worth it to him! And to think - the PTO knew we should compensate him for his loss and actually tried....

And I bet Parkside PTO doesn't have a float again for a long time...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alyx's bday, Part II

Since Alyx's birthday is in June - and it is so hard to get her little friends together in the summer, we try to take little trips in her honor.

This year, we are off to Chicago. We are staying with Uncle Lee on Thursday and Friday night; Friday will be spent at Six Flags; Saturday will be Lincoln Park Zoo and the beach.

I used to love roller coasters. I remember going to King's Island with family during the Cincinnati Reunions. For some reason, I remember Uncle Henry the most. He loved them and would just grin after riding. At least that's how I remember it. Maybe he and dad were drinking beer - who knows. I plan on not eating a thing after noon on Thursday and limiting my liquid intake. I used to be able to handle these things but I am not sure if this old stomach can deal with it anymore!! And let's face it - the coasters have advanced considerably! Might even need to invest in some Imodium!!!

Mellisa is going to go with us. She barely fits on the rides but she loves them. AJ and Kiel haven't been able to fit for a while. Riley is tall enough and is very excited. Alyx is now tall enough but I am not sure she is ready for the experience although she says she is. We will just see how that goes once she is standing in line for hours thinking about it!

We are leaving Mellisa in Chicago when we leave. She is going to hang out with Uncle Lee for awhile this summer. I think she is planning on walking the dogs to the beach every day and scope for men. Hopefully, he won't want to kill her by the time she comes home!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Here's the deal - I love to tell stories. I tell stories about whatever crazy thing happened to my family to my coworkers. So, I get it out of my system so I forget to blog.

This event is still worthy of blogging.

Alyx. Wow - she will be the death of me. That girl is nothing BUT attitude. I had attitude; Mellisa has attitude; Alyx could teach the both of us how it is really done.

Alyx has a friend that is in Jr. Hi. I know - Alyx is turning 9 tomorrow so it seems strange that a 13 yr old would want to hang out with her. I think it is more like a big sister thing but Alyx is certainly learning some things that I don't like. Last evening was a great example.

Riley had a softball game. It was doing that spritzy mist and was colder than March. I have no idea why the game didn't cancel - but I digress.

We finally found Alyx and I told her to march upstairs and get on some jeans. Stomp, stomp, stomp. I hear things being thrown, yelling, slamming. I go upstairs. Yelling begins. We find jeans. Stomp, stomp, stomp down the stairs. Crying starts with more yelling. I guess she has lost her favorite green jacket with butterflies. I told her to get another jacket. No, this is the jacket and she thinks she left it in the corn field.

Excuse me? Cornfield? She is not supposed to play in the cornfield. So - I start yelling about the cornfield. She is yelling because she wants us to go find her jacket. Chris, Riley and Mellisa slowly sneak out the front door to the car. I am left with drama queen. I told her - tough - you lost the jacket now get your fanny in the car. Stomp, stomp, stomp - and big slam. That honked me off. I went running outside. She is in the backseat, screaming at the top of her lungs and kicking the seat. I open the door and told her to get over it. We don't play in cornfields and we don't look for a jacket in the pouring down rain when Riley is going to be late to her game. Keep in mind, Chris, Riley and Mellisa are sitting in the car as well. Stonefaced. I am not even sure they are breathing.

I get in the car and back up. Chris says in a meek voice - maybe we could just drive by the cornfield and see if we see it? Fine. I was completely willing to forget about the dang jacket.

Oh - forgot that Holly and AJ came home in the middle of all of this. Poor Holly - she has no idea how crazy life gets at our house.

So - our car in now sitting at the cornfield. AJ and Holly pull up in their truck.

We all start looking in the cornfield. Keep in mind - it is raining and it is freaking freezing. And did I mention that the jacket was green? Yea - corn is still green in June. Oh - and that thigh-high by July - garbage. Dang stalks were taller than Alyx. And they are sharp.

Alyx is still screaming and crying in the rows. I am screaming right back. I hate to think what the neighbors thought we were doing. Seven people walking around in the rain in a cornfield.

Holly found the jacket - she is the hero.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Graduation was nice. People weren't nearly as rude as I expected.

There was one grandma that was cracking me up. She had this bouquet of wildflowers and you would have thought they were dipped in gold. It looked like they came straight from the WalMart florist and were wrapped in the most crackly sounding cellophane. She had an extra large paper cup filled with water that she was using to keep the flowers fresh. This woman messed with those flowers thru the entire ceremony. She would move them to her left, to her right, pass them down for someone else to hold, they would pass them back - it was crazy. At some point, we stood. She spilled the cup and water went everywhere. The row in front of her had wet purses. Her granddaughter (maybe 3) kept walking thru it and got her shoes soaked. Grandma put her on the chair so she could see. Then we sit down again. Now, the dress is wet - and dirty. So the mom takes her to the bathroom. It was such an ordeal. But, it kept Chris and myself very entertained.

I won't even start on the people saving entire rows - and then having their people not show or so late that the graduates were already seated.

I didn't cry a bit until we went outside for pictures and Kiel's coach had them all huddle around while he said a little prayer. I cried. Those guys had been Kiel's family for two years - and he probably won't see them again. Just sad....

So - the trip.

Kudos to Chris - he drove the whole stinking way. Yes, I tried to give him a break but he was on a roll. The giant church van worked very well - plenty of room for everyone and Kiel's apartment stuff. Kudos to Meesie too. She made it down to Florida with mono - and actually could eat food about the third day into the trip!

I didn't get upset at all dropping Kiel off. He was so excited and I was happy for him. What an adventure!

St. George Island is beautiful. I want to live there. It is not touristy at all - there are no giant bars or casinos or junk store strips. It is just sand and gulf and peace.

I burned my feet. I slathered so much sunscreen on me that I was whiter than white. All we can figure is that I walked too much and 'exfoliated' my sunscreen off my my feet. This was day one. I could not walk day two - literally. It stung so badly that I almost cried. We did spend three days on the beach though - we just really watched our timing!

Kiel called Sunday night - Mom - can you order me a pizza? Yes, he is in Florida and wants food. Thank goodness Papa John's is national. He might be growing up but he still needs his mama for some things...

Friday, May 6, 2011


Tomorrow is the big day for Kiel.

Someone tell me how he is ready to be on his own in Florida...

I asked him - Kiel, where is your cap and gown? Huh? That thing you wear to graduate in? Oh - yea, it's in my backpack. Kiel - go get your backpack.

Yes, it is smashed in a little wad in his backpack. Wrinkled all to hell. I am going to have to iron for an hour to get that presentable.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Kids move on... I get that... I understand that the point of parenting is to raise them to be independent and successful and move on...

But crap - it sucks...

AJ has a girlfriend... Love her... I guess I never pictured him with anyone but our family. He spends most of his time with her unless he is at work. I should be happy that he has found someone that makes him happy and giddy and silly - but the selfish Lisa is somewhat sad...

Mellisa is about done with school. She will spend her summer at home - not that I will see her. I imagine her goal is to be gone all of the time...

I won't even talk about Kiel. That just about breaks my heart. He will be so far away...

Riley and Alyx are always gone - or with their friends - so they don't really hang out much with me anymore.

Chris has resumed his passion for music and baseball - and is gone a lot. Not a bad thing - he loves it and it makes him happy.

So - I have dogs. And my plants. And I need to get over my self!!!!

I have been doing my diet - per the doctor - and stopped drinking - per the doctor. Maybe that's why I am so melancholy...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Kiel graduates on May 7th. We leave at midnight that night to take him to FSU as his classes start Monday morning....

So - we are rolling a family vacation into the trip. We are pulling the girls out of school for a week. Meesie will be done for the summer. AJ can't go.

I have a giant church van reserved for week so we can move his stuff and all of us. Hotel reservations are made. Between those expenses and gas, we will have to eat peanut butter the entire time we are down there. But peanut butter will taste great while I am sitting on a beach!!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My - another month...

Per Aunt Janet... the blog...

For those that don't know... my parents died very young. My father at 51 - from either a heart attack or a stroke - can't remember which - on the 4th of July no less. Mom died at 57 from an unforgiving cancer.

Needless to say - in the deep, dark corners of my brain, I worry about my kids. Let's face it - I had Riley and Alyx at the late end of the child birthing spectrum. Checking out early is not a good option as I think children at any age need their mama.

Last week, I had a strange pain while I work and I didn't think much of it but did go up and have my bp checked. And it happened again yesterday. It starts in my shoulder blade - a sharp burning pain - that travels down my left arm - numbing my fingers and causing my left hand to turn to ice. It only last about five minutes. My friend Amy dragged me upstairs to the Nurse - who did the BP and told me to go to the dang doctor.

OK - I hate doctors. I don't like to get lectured - I know what I do wrong and they never tell anyone anything good. I went today. He is not sure exactly what is wrong but was pretty sure it wasn't heart related. He thinks it is my shoulder. So - three hours later - a zillion xrays are completed. I will have results in a few days.

Oh - of course, I got lectured about my weight, lack of exercise and my drinking habits. And i go back in a month for blood work and followup visit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


One would expect a different blog from me....
Maybe it should be about Kiel being named MVP of his region for the year (which is basically the state of Illinois) or that his team is going to the national tournament again...
Or maybe it should be how proud we are of Mellisa for having such kick bootie grades and getting inducted in a national honor society....
Or that Riley finished her basketball season with only one loss and starts softball soon...
Or that we adore AJ's new friend - who is his friend but sure seems more than that to me...
Or Miss Alyx managed to get awesome grades on her grade report this trimester...
But no....

I love straws.

I think my grandmother started this issue for me. She has to have a straw with her can of soda. I can't remember the soda now - but she is very specific on her beverage of choice.

I know when I cared about lipstick - I used straws - no lipstick anymore for me. Chris is anti-makeup. I put the basics on when I get to work. It's kind of like sneaking makeup to Jr. High school!!

Chris buys me the cutest straws. All sorts of neon colors and they have to be the bendy kind or there is no point.

I like to chew the end of straw just a tad. Not sure why - probably just a nervous thing....

McDonald's has giant, wide straws. I guess so people drink more - and in turn, buy a larger size?

I can't remember the basketball player's name - but one of the NBA guys chews a straw every game. They interviewed his wife - she grabs handfuls at Mc'D's. Now - if I made a million bucks a year - I think I could break down and go to Sam's club and buy a box or two of a thousand...

I hate when they have different sized straws for drinks - and I grab the super size straw for my large drink and then I look like a dork.

I don't like those crazy straws that do the loopy-loops. Those are horrid to clean - and it never fails that the girls drink chocolate milk that goops it all up. Those mysteriously disappear...

The girls tried the chocolate straws that you are supposed to put in white milk. Yuck - those were a mess. They melted in the hand and disintegrated at the bottom too quickly.

And water bottles - it is next to impossible to match the straw to the lid to the cup. Good grief - can they not figure out a way to code those darn things? We must have fifty cups in our cabinet with mismatched parts.

I used to love those little straws that came with your milk in school. It took talent to open your milk carton only wide enough for the little straw.

And juice boxes? Or those juice bags? You have to STAB the little straw in the juice box. And how many parents have ended up with juice all over everywhere when their kid squeezed the damn bag while trying to insert the straw in the little impossible to permeate hole??? I don't know who designed that but wow.

Anyhow.... gotta have a straw....

Monday, February 28, 2011

What a great weekend!

Kiel played his last home game for Lincoln. It was sad - but what a great experience he has had there. He was so fortunate to have such a wonderful coach - and coaching staff. They took a huge chance on him - and I guess that certainly paid for them and Kiel!

Lots of friends came to the game - and the uncles. Kiel had his own cheering section. The game itself was incredibly dull - they creamed the other team. I think Kiel was just so thrilled to see everyone there supporting him.

So - on to the tournies. He has one makeup game this week that should be a very easy win. All of the tournament games are in Danville - so more driving. Since Lincoln won the conference - they will be seeded 1 - so we should have a pretty easy time at least the first game!

On a sadder note, poor Riley lost her first game on Saturday. She was pretty down but snapped back when the company came.

Had a great time with Lee and Phil. Kiel came home after his game also. And then AJ had a friend spend the night. So - I ran out of beds at some point! Riley slept on a floor - Alyx slept in our giant rocking chair - and AJ hit the couch. It was loud and crazy and so much fun!!!!

And now - back to work - bummer

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Phi Theta Kappa

Mellisa was officially inducted on Sunday. It was a very nice ceremony - and we are so proud of her!!!

She is really concentrating on grades lately - which just shocks me. She didn't seem to give a rip in high school! She still has a very active social life and did play a sport... I think she is mastering the whole time management thing very well...

So go Meesie!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011


I hate back aches. I hate back aches even more when I have no idea what I did. And it isn't even in a logical place. Why does my back hurt behind my left rib cage - what is even there????

I try to find a comfortable way to sit and then three minutes later - a spasm. What the heck? I am not doing anything!!

I try to blame everything on menopause - don't think it is going to work for this ailment. This is just a you are getting old thing...

love it

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Parenting woes

Kiel's team lost last night. And not just lost - spanked. Kiel had 21 points - but sucked big time. He just couldn't get his rhythm and looked so unhappy and frustrated. The other guy was fouling him all over the place and despite my yelling at the refs - watch 52 - watch 52 - no calls...

I think that is one of my hardest moments to deal with. I can see my kids struggle at success - whether it be sticking the landing on the beam or passing a math test or making a free throw. There is nothing I can do to help with some things. They are on their own and that just about kills me. I have to hope that they can reach down deep and get it done without me when I all want to do is hug them and tell them that it will be ok and tomorrow is another day....


Friday, February 4, 2011


I ordered a cute little tin from Popcorn Factory today for my godson, Dylan, for Valentine's Day.

I never know what my responsibilities are as a godparent today. Back in the day, I believe that godparents used to be the people that kind of signed up for caring for the child after the horrible demise of the parents. And then I think it became a spiritual source. Actually, I am not sure what the history is to be frank!

I know what I do. I buy gifts for major holidays. I attend family parties. I send cards of encouragement (when I remember). I am 'friended' on Facebook. I brag that he is the best of the four brothers of that family since I am involved.

What should I be doing?????

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Alyx's room...

I finally got my photos of Alyx's room uploaded!

I also should mention - snow pics are on Facebook now also...


Did I mention how much I hate hearing weather stories?

Our home offices were closed yesterday due to the foot of snow and horrible drifting. Now, you know how people fish - and that fish they caught just keeps getting bigger and bigger? Yea, that happens with snow drifts. Lordie... I guess no one has any work to do today around here...

The girls had an absolute BLAST yesterday in the snow. One of our super wonderful neighbors came over with his snow blower and helped Chris finish the driveway. And he chiseled the coolest tunnel ever on the sidewalk that the girls used as a snowball fort. I was the official hot chocolate and dry mittens mom. Our dryer was going all day!!

Yes, I took tons of photos. I have been slacking on getting them uploaded - maybe tonite...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I hate it when people talk about weather.

Yes, we COULD have a major storm coming - but let's get real - we live in freakin Illinois.

We get snow - we get ice - we get subzero temperatures.

You would think the people at work live in Florida as much as they complain and moan and talk about the weather. I listened to quarter hour weather updates all afternoon yesterday - and the storm hadn't even come close to Illinois yet! Really? Is your life that empty that you have to fill it with worry?

Embrace the possibility of a blizzard! Have a warm fire. Spend some quality time with the kids playing Yahtzee in candlelight. Tell stories. Share dreams.

I loved horrible weather when we were kids. My dad was too much fun then. My all time favorite entertainment was playing Hide and Seek when the power went out. That was scary as hell! And dad always made it worse by making floors creak - or spooky moaning sounds - and jumping out and scaring the CRAP out of us! We would just giggle and giggle.

I also remember an Easter (I think it was) that we had some huge ice storm and the power was out for a week. We lived in the camper and were toasty warm - crowded -but warm and fed. We even had guests over?? How in the world did we fit that many people in that tiny camper!?!

Awwww - good times...

Monday, January 31, 2011

And now...your weekend update...

Everyone was home this weekend. We even played a family game of Yahtzee....

Kiel is back at school. I could tell he was getting better - his attitude was back.

Mellisa applied at two more schools this weekend - Chicago University & Chicago State. She wants to be in Chicago - plain and simple. She will have loans forever. She is hoping that either might pick her up for volleyball. She sent stats and film clips so we shall see! Any scholarship would be great!!

Alyx was the gymnastic superstar on the beam Saturday. New skill so she got to ring the bell (this is a big deal - everyone stops and claps). She is on the tall beam now - and has zippo fear. The rest of the class are still on the low beams. She did three tuck jumps in a row and landed each one. Very exciting...

Riley's basketball team dominated (that was her word - so cute). They reset the clock again since it was so lopsided. They are 3-0 - and all were blowouts.

AJ's friend Holly came over one night. She is so sweet. She is an only child and we probably scare the hell out of her. We are a wild bunch...

Chris' dad and girlfriend Roberta came over for dinner last night. It was really nice. Lovely meatloaf - Chris' famous mashed potatoes - Paula Dean's green beans and Texas sheet cake. I am even more excited as I have them for leftovers for lunch today!!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011


Recently, a good friend of mine asked me what songs make me think about good times.... Interesting question - and there were three that popped into my mind instantly...

My first love was Roger. I remember he was picking me up for the Sweetheart Dance and I played 'How Deep is your Love' by the BeeGees over and over and over so it would be on when he walked in the door. That was in the day of records - so I probably wore that needle out! I hear that song today - and smile. Bittersweet memory... And for my children that are totally embarrassed now - hey - I was a freshman in high school and times were different then...

Secondly - after my divorce, I had a - shall we say - special friend, Michael. Anytime we went out, we would dance to 'Play that Funky Music' - I still giggle when I hear it...

And of course, my wedding dance song - 'Just the Way you Look Tonight'. That one makes me tear up every single time...

One of my favorite people that I have had the pleasure to know was one of my college roommates - Donna. Today - out of the blue - I rec'd a Facebook friend request. Go figure. I looked for her once in awhile with no success. So to my list, I have to add absolutely anything by Michael Jackson. She knew every move - and had every video down. I miss college - those were fun times....


My poor cousin Erik was laid off... Been there, done that.... It is very hard to be the spouse of someone that is work-less. So love to Erik and Jennifer....

On the opposite side of the spectrum - I was assigned another part of a job - no duties went away though - so fun! I have been given the task of procuring, tracking, working on contracts with our leasing company, returning at lease end, etc. for all of the network hardware in both the field and our home offices. Yikes!!! The fun part - no one has been doing this job for over six months. I will have to put on my Sherlock hat and find this crap too.... It may sound like craziness -but I actually love this kind of stuff!!!

My baby Kiel is still sick, sick, sick. Fever is down to 101 - so I hope that is a sign that he is getting better. I had to wash his sheets last night - they were just soaked... Poor guy. I am trying to pamper him and keep liquids in him. And I never forget his bendie straw...

Meesie is coming home today - so everyone will be home again this weekend. I am the only one that managed to get a flu shot and I can't wait to play nursemaid for the whole clan when we are all infected!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Little post...

Mellisa called - she is being inducted into Phi Theta Kappa... Go Meesie - not many freshman get awesome grades!!!! Heck - not many college students period!!!

Kiel's nurse called - he is sick. I am picking him up in an hour or so to spend the night and go the doctor tomorrow... She doesn't think it is concussion related but wants us to make sure....

Monday, January 24, 2011


Mellisa is looking for another school. Long story short - her coach at Lincoln was a total ass and had ZIPPO idea what he was doing. It took every ounce of strength in my body not to hurt that man and tell him what I thought of his skills...

It's scary to think that Mellisa was the more mature one when she told him that she would not be back next year... Need an example - he took her picture off of the school's website... Grow up...

So - looking for a school. I wasn't sure if she would want to continue to play volleyball or not (he was that bad). She thought long and hard over the holiday break and thinks she still has some gusto left in her!

We drove to Eureka College on Saturday. Wow - very, very small. I am sure it is gorgeous in the fall though. All of the buildings are brick - and old. This was Reagan's Alma mater. There is nothing going on in the town however. So we are still looking. She sent an email to University of Chicago - so maybe they will be interested. I know she would love to be in Chicago!!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Alyx's room

Back in 2000 when we were building the house, we thought it would be cute if the girls had a 'fish' decorated room. So, the walls were bright blue - and we added a cute fish border along with fish light switch plates, fish accessories, etc.

Riley moved out of that room and took over Kiel's 'monkey' room when Kiel moved to the basement. Riley was not a monkey fan. So - the old messy border came down but we left the dark green paint. It is gorgeous paint - soothing and den-like. I found the coolest landscape stuff - and now she has one wall that is covered with a giant waterfall in a beautiful forest. Yes, I am that good...

So poor Alyx is now in the fish room alone. And hated it. Lord knows she complained about it every time she cleaned it. So, in order to appease the princess, Mellisa and I brainstormed. Mellisa wanted to do something like the walls in Toy Story 3 - you know - bright blue with clouds. Mellisa wanted to paint white fluffy clouds all over the existing bright blue walls. I spent one day getting the fish off the walls - which was a mess but I lived thru it. Although the paint was a fun idea - I didn't want to have to cover that up in 3 years when Alyx changed her mind again. Thank goodness for the Internet. I found very cute clouds, butterflies and an inspiring quote that were wall-art (which means SUPER simple to apply).

Alyx had a sleep over one night. Mellisa, Riley and mom spend a few hours applying all of these 'stickers'. It turned out so cute and Alyx was so happy and very surprised!

I also spent some quality times with some damn beads and made two butterfly mobiles to hang in her room. I bought the butterflies about five Christmas's ago when they were on clearance (they were ornaments). I knew one day they would come in handy...

Long story short - pics to follow!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Normally, I don't ever miss a meeting. I pride myself on attendance at all of the volunteering events that I have. Last night, a CAC meeting - which is part of the school board. Yea, I skipped it.

Instead, Chris, the girls and myself crawled into jammies. We popped popcorn. We all snuggled and watched 'Blindside'.

What a perfect evening! I need to skip more meetings... Twenty years from now, I won't care about CAC but I sure will love remembering movie nights...

And - 'Blindside' was wonderful. Made me laugh, made me cry - and what a message....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Technology is good. Change is good. Losing one's job - not good.

The place that I work is catching up with technology and is actually going to implement virtual desktops to the field offices. Now - what we don't know yet is how that affects my department.

I work in Assets and Deployment. Our department buys, installs, moves, ships all the hardware and everything that makes an office 'go' (like networks and phones). We might not be in the hardware business any longer after this implements - we might partially be in the hardware business - or nothing may change at all.... They are in Pilot stage right now...

We find out soon what will become of us - we have been told that we will have jobs regardless.... Time will tell...

Monday, January 17, 2011

She's back...

New year... already blew that blog daily resolution!

Of course, tons has happened since my last installment. One day at a time - and I might get everyone up to speed!

Let's start with resolutions. My big one for this year was to stop bouncing. At some point, I developed bouncy legs. You know - some people click their pens - I bounce. I guess I might click my pen as well but I don't buy clicky pens as that sound is annoying to me. My coworkers give me grief about my leg bouncing. I can even get a table moving. One of my friends will put her had on my leg to draw my attention to it. I blamed it on my crazy medication. Unfortunately at my December checkup, the doctor said nope - it's just a bad habit.

Great... I can blame no one but myself....

So far so good - no bouncing this year. I do squeeze my toes in my shoes once in awhile when I start to bounce but I have almost made that 21-day habit milestone.

My other resolutions? The blogging is still an ongoing effort. I am drinking only water at work now. That is about to kill me - but I am saving money on soda and it is better for me. Plus it flushes the kidneys that are full of alcohol. Yea - that 'cut down on drinking' resolution failed on day three....