Friday, July 29, 2011

Not my best week

This has been a tough week for me.  It started off with me alone.  My husband went on a weekend adventure to AC with his buddies to play in a poker tournament.  I was lonely last weekend.  I don't know how come I've grown so attached to him of late.  Immediately after we married my husband and I left for our honeymoon.  This is normal.  Most newly married couples go on a honeymoon just after they marry.  Our trip was just a bit different.  We married in Chicago, honeymooned in Knoxville, TN and visited the World's Fair.  Do they even have those anymore?  I haven't heard of them lately.  We chose the World's Fair because it was something to do on the way from Chicago to Jacksonville, FL.  I was being whisked away from my home in Chicago to live in Jacksonville, FL.  This is where my husband was stationed.  He was in an S3 squadron called The Maulers.

You can ask me anything you'd like about that World's Fair.  I don't remember anything.  Oh, maybe I remember the China exhibit a bit.  I think they brought the terra cotta army.  But I could be wrong about this.  All I could think about was, "I'm married, and my husband is going out to sea for nine months when we get to Jacksonville."  I didn't really know anyone in Jacksonville.  I'd met a few of the wives in the squadron, but not many.  And, they had kids.  I didn't.

We made it to Jacksonville a week after our wedding day.  The next day, he left.  The end of my honeymoon was the beginning of my life as a navy wife.  This was the beginning of my life being married and on my own.  And, I was good at it.

So, a week after we kissed and said "I do," we kissed and said "good bye."  I adjusted very well to navy life.  I loved the freedom of being married, but on my own.  And, for the next 16 years of marriage I was on my own, off and on.  Sometimes it was harder to have him home than it was to have him gone.

Now, I don't like him gone.  I miss him.  So, that is how this week began.  And, I had a crummy migraine to match my crummy mood.  And, the migraine lasted for three days.  I had to take Monday off work because of it.  I didn't want to do this, but I didn't have a choice.  Ouch.  I'm going to blame this headache on Tamoxifen, just because I hate Tamoxifen and blame all evil in the world on Tamoxifen, but... it may have been the heat.  Who knows?

Anyway, the week didn't start out well.  Then I wrote the post about money.  I'm thinking, I shouldn't have done that.  This post fell flat.  Seriously.  I lost 20 fb friends.  Seriously.  I don't know why I let things like fb and whether or not my posts resonate with people effect how I feel about myself, but sometimes I do.  Btw, I'm going to blame this on Tamoxifen, too.  Anyway, I was kind of proud of the money post.  Yet, hardly anyone else seemed to "like" it.  Maybe I'm out of style.  Maybe I'm behind the times.  Maybe I'm just DOING IT wrong, when it comes to money.  Any of the ways you look at it...  I started feeling down.

So, I gave myself a little pity party yesterday and tried to get over it.  I'm almost over it.

This weekend I will freeze tomatoes for winter use.  I will freeze peaches for winter sunshine.  I will make pickles.  And, I'm going to load up my eBay page with items to sell.  I'm going to get back to myself and do what makes me feel good about myself.  Maybe I'll take a few pics and share them with you.  Maybe.

The Sunsphere

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


How do you 'respect' money???

This was a question put to me on fb in response to a comment I made on this particular status:   "The answer to true wealth and abundance isn't hard work, as if it was we would all be rich already"

I commented that it would helpful to respect money.  Now, I know true wealth and abundance isn't all about money.  This was just one comment made in a discussion about making money, acquiring wealth, and just generally, getting more money in your life. There are christian colleges online which offer degrees for that! The poster then responded with the question at the beginning of this post.  How do you respect money?
I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the question.  I see dollar bills crumpled on the floor in my son's bedroom.  I keep a piggy bank in my laundry room to collect the coins accumulating on the bottom of my washer.  I LOVE vacuuming the couch and finding all the coins in the cushions.  If I see a penny on the ground, I pick it up.  BONUS!!!

How do I respect money?
First of all, I take care of my money.  I keep my bills in my wallet neatly and arranged in denominations.  I keep my coins in a change-purse.  I empty the change-purse into a box on my dresser at night.  (my husband empties his pocket-change into this same box)  You may think this sounds compulsive, but I know how much money I have in my wallet.  I know how much money I'm carrying.  If you don't care for the ACTUAL bills and coins, do you know how much money you have on you at any given time? 

Additionally, I think about money in a positive way.  Please don't confuse this with the worship of money.  I don't worship money, I respect it.  Money is a tool.  A very useful tool.  And, it's a tool EVERYONE uses.  (Ok, I've heard about the moneyless blogger who lives in a cave and doesn't have any use for money.  I don't want to live like him.)  So, what do I mean by respecting money by thinking of it in a positive way?  
Here are some common disrespectful thoughts about money:
  • Money - root of all evil
  • Money - easy come, easy go
  • Rich people - greedy, selfish and unscrupulous
  • Poverty is virtuous
  • Having money will make me (see above *Rich people)
I believe the opposite of these disrespectful thoughts about money.  The first thought, money, the root of all evil, is a misquote from The Bible.  It is the LOVE of money at the root of all evil, not the money itself.  Money is not easy to get.  Most of us have to work for it.  Is money easy to spend?  Sure, but who is in control of this?  I am.  I decide how easily my money goes.  I do not think people are greedy, selfish and unscrupulous because they have money.  I think people have those traits because this is who they are, with or without money.  Just as there are generous, philanthropic, law-abiding poor (or middle-class) people, there are generous, philanthropic, law-abiding rich people.  Poverty is not a virtue.  I'm not sure where this thought comes from, but I'm guessing it may be from The Bible as well.  I remember a parable about the Widow's Mite.  I don't believe Jesus was lauding her poverty, I believe he was lauding her generous spirit.  Having money will not change my personality.  It will not change my personality any more than losing or gaining weight changes a person's personality.  You are who you are.  Money will change your opportunities, not you.

Respecting money goes hand in hand with the respect you have for yourself and your loved ones.  Taking care of your physical money can be equated to caring for your physical body.  Don't overspend or overeat.  Don't exercise to body failure or spend money until it is all gone.  Don't leave it crumpled on the floor or falling out of your pants pocket.  Keep it safe, as you would keep your physical body safe.  Knowing how much money you have can be equated with knowing where your children are going when they leave the house.  (or at least knowing how many children you have. :))

Respecting money also requires saving money for the future.  You plan to care for your children until they are grown and ready to care for themselves, right?  You don't just birth them and say, "that's it, you're on their own now."  No, you plan for their future care and maybe even their education.  If you respect yourself, you will pay yourself first.  This is called saving.

Finally, respecting money also involves being generous with money.  Money likes to work for people.  Be generous with your money, just as you are generous with your time, energy, smiles, and advise.  Don't be afraid of giving to the less fortunate.  Money circulates.  When you give to those in need, money will find it's way back to you. 

I'm not going to elaborate on investing and making your money work for you in this post.  I think if the question is, "How do you respect money?" you may not be ready for investment advise.  Take care of your money, let it go out once in a while, know how much you have, don't waste or lose it.  This is my definition of having respect for money.
News flash!!!  My husband called me just as I was about to submit this post to tell me a story about my son and his character.  My son went to a neighborhood pizza restaurant for lunch, today, with some of his buddies.  They went into the backroom arcade area to play games and my son found a great deal of money stacked on the air hockey table.  It was several thousand dollars.  He gathered the money and carried ALL OF IT to the manager's office.  The manager, surprised and sheepishly, said this money was all the receipts from yesterday's business.  Even though my son is not yet what the world considers "successful" when it comes to money, my son has integrity and honesty regarding money.  I believe these character traits will serve him well in life. 

Evidently, money knows when you're talking about her.   :)

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    My great expectations

    I have great expectations.  Yes I do.  I'm learning to stop having them, but it's a hard habit to give up.  I've been working on this part of my personality.  It's something I've been hurt by more than once.  My great expectations of others doing what they say they will do.  Or people doing the "right thing."  Since I am such a beautiful princess it's taking me a long time to learn this new trick.

    Maybe my great expectations are similar to projection?  I just assume if someone says they will do something or follow through on some action, they will do what they say.  I don't assume they are lying to me.  And this is where I often run into trouble.  There are a lot of people out there telling me what I want to hear.  Just saying the "right thing."  In the minds of these people, this is not considered a lie.  They are just appeasing me.  They are getting me off their back, so to speak.

    I'm sitting here thinking about how and why this has been my experience.  The folks coming to my mind are people like:  my son, fellow committee members, members of a bible study, and "friends."

    Ok, my son does this to me to get me off his back, period.  He will look me straight in the face and lie to me.  Even when the lie is so obvious.  I've come to learn it is more of a "f-off" than a deception.  I'm learning to avoid being lied to, by him, by not confronting him on just about everything.  Instead, if it is important to me, I ask my husband to speak with him.  For some reason my son can hear things from him in a different way.  I'm hoping, in time, my son will learn to hear me differently.  I think, to my son, my voice immediately sounds like a nag or accusation to him.  I'm trying to be more positive and look for successes in his life.  I'm trying to say the positive things out loud.  For now, I've been much more successful in avoiding the negative by saying nothing at all.  If you look at this mathematically, I'm making a 100% improvement.  However, I'm seeking a greater improvement.

    Now, the expectations I have for fellow committee members (on the HOA).  Hmmm.  How shall I begin?  My expectations have been for these folks to do the action items they are assigned at each meeting.  These are my spoken expectations.  I also have unspoken expectation, but I am smart enough to know these will not be met.  One of my unspoken expectations is for the president of the board to have an agenda for each monthly meeting.  This has never happened.  This WILL never happen.  However, my spoken expectation is for action items to be completed in the month between meetings.  I am building some very solid resentments in this area against some people serving on the board.  This is my problem.  I'm thinking, as I write, about how to remedy this problem.  I think people run (board members are elected by the neighborhood) for a position on the board for different reasons.  Some run to improve the neighborhood.  Some enjoy service.  Some want to preside over a "kingdom."  Some do it to see how popular they are.  Some do it to be compensated their HOA fees.  See, all different reasons.  When I first came to the board, I thought it was JUST to improve the neighborhood.  Now I know better.  When I think of the different reasons to be on an HOA board, I can see why action items can slide WAY DOWN the priority list for these people.  I may not be happy about it, but I can now understand it.

    The expectations for members of a bible study or any other social/study club are similar to the above.  And my take away from the bad experience is this; people will tell you what you want to hear.  Even if they are Christians and not supposed to lie to your face.  When members say a study is going to begin on Sept. 16th, I have learned it was my bad for thinking this would be the date the study would begin.  I had agreed to continue in a study with women, some of whom were downright difficult, because I had "done the math" and figured I would have to endure only three lessons.  Because my home was the study venue, I didn't want to leave them in a lurch.  However, in their "kindness" toward me, they postponed the beginning of the study so I would not miss ANY of it.  *thanks*  I guess I brought this great expectation on myself.  *shame on me*  I should have told them I no longer felt comfortable with this group.

    Now, the great expectation I have for friends.  Here's the thing.  I think I use the word friends too loosely.  I should be using the word acquaintances.  These are the folks happy to be my friend when I'm available to them, agree with them, or do what they would like me to do.  They don't have any use for me when I have my own desires or opinions.  
    My take-away from this exercise is to not have any expectations of others.  If they do what they say they will do, great.  If they don't do what they say they will do, fine.  If I REALLY need to have follow-through on a task I need to be willing to do it myself.  Since dependability is my middle name this is a tough lesson for me to learn.  And, even as I think about it right now, maybe I have my own issues.  Maybe I take things too literally?  Maybe this is my personality type struggle?  I've learned the only person I can change is myself.  Let the growth begin.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    You Might Be From Chicago If

    I got this email from my brother-in-law who lives in Aurora, IL.  I usually delete his emails immediately, because he only sends forwards.  I can't stand forwards.  But the subject line caught my attention because I Am From Chicago.

    By the way... all the items listed below are true.

    1. The "living room" is called the "front room."
    2. You don't pronounce the "s" at the end of Illinois. You become irate at people who do.
    3. You measure distance in minutes (especially "from the city"). And you swear everything is pretty much 1/2 hour away.
    4. You have no problem spelling or pronouncing "Des Plaines."
    5. You go to visit friends or family down south and laugh when they complain about the traffic.
    6. You understand that no person from Chicago can be a Cub fan AND a White Sox fan.
    7. It's "Kitty corner" not "Katty corner."
    8. You know the difference between The Loop and Downtown
    9. You eat your pizza in squares, not triangles, and you never refer to it as "pie"
    10. You own celery salt
    11. You understand that the primary is the official local election.
    12. You have drunk green beer on St. Paddy's Day
    13. Stores don't have sacks, they have bags.
    14. You end your sentences with an unnecessary preposition. Example: "Where's my coat at?" or "Can I go with?"
    15. Your idea of a great tenderloin is when the meat is twice as big as the bun, "everything" is on it and a slice of dill pickle is on the side.
    16. You carry jumper cables in your car.
    17. You drink "pop."
    18. You understand that I-290, I-90, I-94, and I-294 are all different roads.
    19. You know the names of the interstates: Stevenson, Kennedy,Eisenhower,Dan Ryan, and the Edens
    20. But you call the interstates "expressways."
    21. You refer to anything south of I-80 as "Southern or Central Illinois."
    22. You refer to Lake Michigan as "The Lake."
    23. You refer to Chicago as "The City"
    24. "The Super Bowl" refers to one specific game in January 1986.
    25. You have two favorite football teams: The Bears, and anyone who beats the Packers.
    26. You buy "The Trib" and not the Tribune.
    27. You know that despite being on the lake, there is no such place as the Waterfront.
    28. You think 45 degrees is great weather to wash your car.
    29. You picnic or ride your bike in the "forest preserve"
    30. You cried when Bozo was canceled on WGN.
    31.You know what goes on a Chicago style hot dog.
    32. You know what Chicago Style Pizza REALLY is.
    33. You know why they call Chicago "The Windy City."
    34. You understand what "lake-effect" means
    35. You know the difference between Amtrak and Metra, and know which station they end up at.
    37. You have ridden the "L."
    38. You think your next-door neighbor is a cousin to Tony Soprano.
    39. You can distinguish between the following area codes: 847,630,773,708,312, & 815.
    40. You have at some time in your life, used your furniture or a friend's body to guard your parking spot in winter
    41. You respond to the question "Where are you from" with a "side." Example: "West Side," "South Side" or "North Side."
    42. You know the phone number to Empire Carpet!
    43. You know what a garache-key is!

    If you have any questions regarding the above list, do not hesitate to ask me about it in the comments or email.  I'm happy to share my Chicagoness with you.

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Three blogs I love

    I would like to share three blogs I love.  These are blogs the make me smile when my dashboard tells me they've posted a new post.  They are popular.  Super popular.  So, I'm sure many of you have heard of them before.  But, in case you haven't.  Please, to enjoy.

    Walk Slowly, Live Wildly, by Sara Janssen

    This is how Sara describes herself:  Daughter of the Almighty. Wife. Mama. Sister. Friend. Traveler. Unschooler. Photographer. Tea drinker. Reader. Knowledge seeker. Google lover. Kitchen dweller. Hooper. Dreamer. Leader. Homebirther. Breastfeeder. Lover of life.

    The Janssen's are a family on the move.  When I found this blog they were traveling the country in an RV.  Sara introduced me to green smoothies and encourages me in minimalism.  She takes pretty pics and seems to be a very grounded young mom of two.  I believe she is preparing to go back out on the road.  If you've never checked out Sara's blog you are in for a treat.

    whatever, by Meg Duerksen
     Meg named her blog after the verse in Philippians 4:8, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  It's not the flippant, "whatever" you get from your kid.  Meg has five children.  5This is one full house.  Meg blogs about her life, but it's not just a mommy blog.  She sews.  She's stylish.  She's an advocate for Africa.  And she lives a REAL life.  Oh yeah, she takes pretty pictures, too.  If you check out Meg's blog you are in for a treat.  She has posts like this.

     Farmgirl Paints, by Becky Strahle

    This is how Becky describe herself:  My life's journey so far has led me to marry my high school sweetheart. We've been married for 18 years, have 2 beautiful little girls and a furry creature named Fergie. My painting style is very simple, colorful and almost childlike. I grew up in rural Illinois hence, "Farmgirl Paints". I get my creative inspiration from God. It is only through His giftings that I have any ability whatsoever

    Becky writes about her family, her faith and takes pretty pictures.  I love the way she sounds so mid-west to me and makes me feel like we are friends even though we've never met.  I have to share this, Becky is the blogger that spurred my to blogging regularly.  She left a comment on my blog saying it was too bad I wasn't still blogging.  It changed the way I felt about writing.  She is an artist and crafter and I LOVE seeing what she's going to be up to next.  She's moving to my area of the country.  So, maybe I'll get to meet her some time.

    You may notice all three of these bloggers are women.  All are moms.  All are Christians.  And they all take pretty pictures.  I guess I didn't give you a large variety, but they are three of my favorites.  I hope you like them, too.

    And, I didn't win the trip to North Carolina.  I came in second.  I'm ok with this.  :)

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Dependability is my middle name

    I just got an email from a friend regarding a last minute trip to North Carolina and the possibility of me going with her.  I am not the first person my friend asked to accompany her on this trip.  She asked another friend and is waiting to hear back.  I completely understand the desire of having a friend with you on a trip away.  My friend's husband had to cancel at the last minute because of work and all the accommodations are arranged and it's too late to cancel.  So, she's hedging her bets.  She's asking two different friends if they can get away at the last minute.  It's a good idea.  Girls (ok, women) like doing things together better than doing things alone.  Anyway, she wrote an email to me with the dates of the trip to see if they would work with my schedule and one of the lines in the email says,

    "Please still check the dates.  She is not as dependable as you are (is there anyone who is?????)."

    So, I'm dependable.  I have to admit, when I saw the words written on the screen I didn't think it was a compliment.  Dependable...  Regular...  Reliable...  boring.  

    I know I've posted about my Myers Briggs personality score and how I test out to be an ISTJYou can click the MBTI label at the bottom of the post if you'd like to look back at some of those posts.  I am the Duty Fulfiller of the personality types.  There is absolutely nothing exciting about me.  I will not rock your boat.  In fact, I'll most likely do the annual maintenance for your boat, or at least, ensure the annual maintenance is done by someone.  Boring

    One of the first things I thought of when I saw this line in the email was, "am I always available?"  I had to think about this for a little while.  I like to do fun things.  I like to go out.  I need to force myself because I can very easily start getting stuck at home and wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt and drinking tequila in front of the tv and watching too much Doc Martin.  But, the answer is, I'm not too available.  I've been asked to do things at the last minute and I've been previously committed.  See, I'm duty bound to my commitments.  I guess if I was a more exciting person I'd pick the MOST FUN thing to do and dump the other, even if it was the first commitment I made.  No, I could never do that.  I'm just not that kind of girl.  Reliable.

    Another thing I thought of when I read the line in the email was this.  Depends.  Aren't they some kind of pad for old ladies with bladder control issues?  I have no idea why I thought this.  Oh, maybe I do...  I had a cold last week and I was sneezing a lot.  Yeah, that may have been what put the diaper thing on my mind.  I digress.

    So, I'm the second choice invitee of my girlfriend on a spontaneous trip to North Carolina.  I'm dependable, reliable, faithful, loyal, a good citizen, dutiful, obsessed with structure, honest, serious, have great follow-through, goal oriented, and "by the book."  I'm not the most exciting girl you're ever going to meet.  But,

    I hope I get to go.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

    If you would like to know your MBTI take a test here.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Hot weather

    I feel the air on my skin
    Wet, hot, thick
    Like walking through a blanket
    It slaps my cheeks and soaks my neck

    I feel the sun on my skin
    Bright, burning, hot
    Penetrating my head
    Simmering my brain in my skull

    I feel oppressed and opposed
    Grass is brittle and dry
    Garden wilting and limp
    Squirrels are slow and birds silent

    I long for ocean breezes
    Cool water lapping feet
    Sweating glasses of tea on ice
    My body resting on the sand

    I pray for this wave to break
    Foaming, crashing, spreading out
    Over the continent of red
    Wash us with a whisper of winter

    I'm linking to Emily, but I haven't heard from her in a couple days.  Maybe she is having her baby?  I hope.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    My gift to my husband

    We are preparing for the memorial service for my mother-in-law next month.  Husband, son and I will be driving to Indiana to join with the extended family to grieve together and remember grandma.  It's going to be a tough trip.  A few months ago I wrote this post, I can still perform an act of love.  At the time, I thought I had done this.  I was wrong.  I needed to do more.  So, this past weekend I made a small book of photos of my mil with as many members of her family as I could find.  Unfortunately, I didn't have most of the pictures.  I was able to get some great old pictures of grandma when she was a child and when she was a teen and when she was a young mother.  These were such a great addition to the book.

    I'm feeling so much more "myself" today.  I can talk about the challenges involved in getting the pics from my husband's sister.  Evidently when they were down in Florida taking care of the apartment and sorting through all grandma's things, there were pictures.  All her pictures.  There were ALL the pictures of grandchildren and nieces and nephews and great nieces and grand nephews and friends.  So, the siblings divided the pics into piles and sorted.  Unfortunately my husband was not able to bring the "community" picture pile home with him for me to scan.  His sister took it home and unfortunately was not able to bring herself to work with the pictures.  We had to call her and ask her to PLEASE scan some pictures for me to use in the book.  Unfortunately she was on a weekend holiday, but she was able to understand the urgency of our desire to make this book, as well as recognize her procrastination in dealing with the pictures.  She cut her weekend short and did the scanning.  I was so grateful.

    I used My Publisher to make the book.  I am so satisfied with this company.  I've used them before to make commemorative books for retirees in my work.  The quality is quite good and the turn around time for the books is pretty quick.  I think these will be a nice thing for the sisters and nieces and sister-in-law and anyone else desiring a book of pics.

    The other chore I have taken on for this memorial is the structuring of some sort of "order of service" for the memorial service.  We aren't having a minister or doing it in a church.  The family wants to do it at home.  I've been to a few funerals in my time, so I'm sure I'll be able to put together some sort of program.  I would like to have a poem or two.  One that comes to mind is "When Tomorrow Starts Without Me" by David Romano.  I think this will be a good one.  If any of you have any favorites, please leave the name of the poem in the comments.  I'd love to have a few to choose from.  I think I'll include the 23rd Psalm.  This is always a comforting chapter of the Bible.  Even though there will be members of many faiths present, I believe this Psalm will work.  A couple of the grandchildren have asked to play music on the instruments they play.  I think that will be precious.  I hope they really know how to play.  ;)

    If anyone out there has any other suggestions, I'm taking all ideas.  I'm feeling just a little nervous about this.  I don't want to step on any toes.  I am the "out-law" in this family.  It's just my nature to have a plan.  I'll put it out there to the sisters and the nieces.  They can do with it what they please.

    Oh, and I just heard I'm supposed to make scalloped potatoes.  Really?

    This is the book I made, if you'd like to see it.

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    OK, I'm totally blowing it today

    Some days I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  Some days I just feel like everyone in my path is bothering me.  Some days I just want to crawl back under the covers and start over.  Today is one of those days.  I need a do-over.  I think this very bad horrible day may have started yesterday afternoon.  I think it may have started when I began a project for my husband.  I project I conceived in love, but soon took a dark turn.  I know he wasn't angry or frustrated with me.  But there was some frustration being vented and I was the only one in the room.  :(

    Anyway, this isn't the only factor contributing to my "bad day."  My house is a mess.  I still haven't sorted everything out from my vacation.  I still have a few things strewn about my bedroom floor.  I haven't finished all the laundry.  I have a messy kitchen.  I wanted to make pickles this weekend and I didn't get it done.  I wanted to make charred tomato sauce, but I didn't get THAT done either.  I did get a bushel of peaches in the freezer and I did make the memory book for my mil.  (this was the cause for some of the frustration, but we will just leave this alone for now)  For some reason clutter and mess in my house has a tendency to make me NUTS.  For some reason I think I need to accomplish EVERY task I assign myself or else I'm a complete failure.  I am very hard on myself and it effects how I feel in my body.  I actually feel unsettled.  I'm not doing my best at work, because I'm thinking about my messy house.  I know, this does not sound normal.  I'm a freak.

    I don't enjoy feeling this way and I'm absolutely sure my co-workers and others I've made contact with today don't enjoy it.  I wonder if any of these unsettled feelings have anything to do with Tamoxifen?  You know, I'll bet they do.  I'll bet a lot of this "uncomfortableness" I'm feeling has to do with side effects of Tamoxifen.  I wish there was some sort of signal or pattern to the days when my lack of estrogen will make me act MEAN to anyone crossing me.

    So, to any fb friends, bloggers or customer service personnel I may have been short or snarky to.  I'm sorry.  Just remember, God gives moms lots of estrogen so they can love those screaming, demanding, dirty little babies and think of them as cherubic darlings.  I don't have any estrogen.  I have to use my *sparkling* personality.  (which today, was sorely lacking)

    This has been a stream of consciousness emergency, if it had been an actual emergency you would have been instructed where to tune in your area for news and official information.

    Friday, July 15, 2011


    Ok, the state of Maryland got a full day's worth of work out of me today.  I laughingly say I get paid for blogging, because, well, I'm getting paid.  But today was a super busy day.  So, I've got nothing for you today.  I'll tell you my goals for the weekend, though.  I want to freeze a half a bushel of peaches and I want to make the memory book for my mil's memorial service next month.  I've got a busy weekend ahead.  On the bright side, I'm feeling a lot better.  I think my cold is over.  :)

    I'll leave you with a pic of my desk.  Messy.  yeah, I know.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Tamoxifen, take three

    Tamoxifen, blah, blah, blah...

    I'm a bit frustrated with my saga of being on Tamoxifen.  But, since it is the primary reason for my blogging, I need to write about it.  I've been on Tamoxifen for six months now.  Yippee!!!  Only 4 and 1/2 more years to go.  Oh, that doesn't sound good, but whatchagonnado?

    Currently I've made an appointment with a new doctor to have more endometrial testing done.  Yeah, they need more tissue.  The results of my last test were fine, but the pathology said there was not enough tissue to complete all the testing.  Therefore, back to the doctor I go.  For your information, this tissue gathering procedure is uncomfortable.  Just sayin'.
    I'm not scared.  I'm fairly certain the results will be "no cancer."  But, I'm sick of it.  I'm not a big fan of going to the doctor.  However, I am a BIG fan of taking days off of work.  So lose/win. 
    One thing I'm not so keen on is the reputation this new doctor, I'm planning to go to, has.  Every person I've spoken with has mentioned they didn't like him.  They didn't like his manner of speaking to them or "bedside manner" or "feet in the stirrups manner."  Whatever you want to call it.  Ok, so I know he's going to be a jerk to me.  I get that.  I so can't wait for my appointment now.  The fact of the matter is, I don't like ANY of these guys or gals, whatever the case may be.  I would like to avoid the whole thing.  However, I've committed to myself to take care of myself and do what the doctors recommend.

    It just occurred to me that you may not know why I'm being so conscientious.  I'll tell you the story of the co-worker across the hall.  One day when I was particularly uncomfortable with the side effects of Tamoxifen the co-worker across the hall stopped by my office.  She asked what was wrong with me.  (I was trying to crawl out of my skin and I guess I looked a little "off" to her.)  I mentioned I was taking Tamoxifen and the side effects of my skin feeling too tight were bothering me.  She proceeded to tell me she had been on Tamoxifen after her breast cancer surgery and could understand how I was feeling.  (Yikes, she's lost a breast and smiling and telling me her story.  I'm a total wimp.)  She continued to tell me she had had some spotting while on the Tamoxifen, but since she was still a menstruating woman, she didn't think much of it and didn't tell her doctor.  (Wow, my doctor told me to tell her IMMEDIATELY if I have any spotting.  And I did.)  Anyway, she ended up having uterine cancer and having to have a hysterectomy.  Evidently, during the hysterectomy a tube, of some sort, was left in her body.  It traveled to her lung and perforated it.  She almost died.  So, almost died, uterine cancer, hysterectomy, yeah, I'm going to have more tissue taken out of me and examined.  I can tough it out.

    If any of my readers have a "fun" Tamoxifen story, please feel free to email it to me.  I love stories.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Sudden storm

    What is it about a thunderstorm evoking a feeling of coziness and safety?
    Here I am, home sick, in a day with time blurred by napping and waking.
    I sit in my room and watch the sky darkening.  I listen to the thunder rolling
    and rumbling.  I see the wind pick up speed and tree branches wave and
    leaves rustle.  And here I sit in the safety of my room.  In the comfort of
    my bed.  Snuggled in my robe with a box of kleenex at my side.  I feel the
    anticipation of the raindrops soon smearing my windows and blurring my
    view of the backyard.  My dog comes and sits by the side of my bed.  He
    too, is anticipating something.  The thunder grows louder.   I can feel the 
    reverberation of the sound in my chest.  The windows shudder with the
    anticipation of rain.  Then the rain comes.  At first a few drops fall.  Then
    more and more and suddenly the shhhhhhhhh of raindrops forcing them-
    selves through tree leaves and pounding the roof and window and pavement.
    The window is smeared with the oiliness of the downpour.  Everything is
    wiped clean.  The water rushes down the driveway into the yard and puddles
    in the garden.  I can almost here the flowers and plants sigh with relief from
    the heat and dryness of summer.  And just as quickly as it came, the rain
    subsides.  The sound of the pounding rain diminishes and the roaring of
    the thunder grows softer and more distant.  The drops cling to leaves and
    gutters.  My dog wanders downstairs to his bed.  I settle back into my pillow.
    I pull my book off the nightstand and return to my rest.  Refreshed and
    relieved by a sudden storm passing by my house.  And I enjoyed the visit.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Do you have a chip on your shoulder?

    This is such a funny saying.  I had to look it up to find out where it came from.  According to the Phrase Finder it started out that shipwrights were allowed to carry out planks of wood (chips) on their shoulders after work.  However many planks a man could carry on his shoulder were his to keep.  But, the owners soon deemed too much wood was being removed and the shipwrights could only carry out what they were able to carry UNDER ONE arm.  This was substantially fewer planks (chips) and the shipwrights PUSHED BACK with their chips on their shoulders.

    How does this story link to today's usage pertaining to a belligerent attitude?  "The first such record by an English author doesn't seem to be until the 1930s in fact, in Somerset Maugham's Gentleman in the Parlour:
    "He was a man with a chip on his shoulder. Everyone seemed in a conspiracy to slight or injure him.""  (from Phrase Finder)
    Yep, here we are.  "Everyone seemed in a conspiracy to slight or injure him."  This is how we use this phrase today.  Evidently, there was a time when men actually placed chips of wood ON their shoulders and dared someone to knock them off.  Thus instigating a fight.  Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could see the chips carried on shoulders today.  It's tough enough to see the chip when we meet the individual carrying the chip face to face.  Sometimes you can see the look in their eye when a specific subject comes into conversation.  We all know to leave politics and religion alone in pleasant conversation.  Right?  But, there are MANY more minefields out in pleasant conversation.  I don't have to list them.  I'm sure you've stumbled on to most of them yourselves.  Often when one accidentally bumped into one of these subjects, one would be asked to leave this subject alone and the conversation moved on from there.  The "bumper" then made a mental note never to breech this area of discussion with this person again.  Wonderful.

    Now, however, these chips can be bumped off in a virtual way.  Social media interaction can cause a chip to be knocked off at a moment's notice.  And, you don't even have to be communicating with the chip carrier to do the "knocking off."  You can post a status for all your "friends."  You can "like" a comment or status.  (And, sometimes "like" doesn't mean like, sometimes it means, I agree with you, but if you have a chip balanced on your shoulder it can get knocked off fairly easily.)

    Oh, the difficulties of social media.

    I have a solution to this delicate situation.  I know you are dying to know what it is.  Well, I'll tell you, but I'm not sure you're going to like it.  It's going to be hard to do.  It's going to take a lot of effort.  Some of you are REALLY going to struggle with this solution.  But, I'm going to tell you anyway...

    Grow up.  Quit being a baby or a high school drama queen.  Get some thicker skin.  Get over yourself.  The world is a tough place and if you go around with a chip on your shoulder, daring anyone you meet to knock it off, guess what?  Someone is going to knock it off your shoulder.  Whether it be on purpose or accidentally.  The best thing you can do for yourself is to take that chip off your shoulder.

    I hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings by saying this.  :)

    Seriously, I DON'T want to ruffle feathers and hurt feelings.  I'm so disappointed there is not an "Emily Post" for this new frontier of social interaction.  And, I realize many of the users of this medium are teenagers and they just don't know any better, but that isn't who I'm speaking about here.  You know who you are.  I hear you talking in the locker rooms and the hair dresser.  I hear you complaining about "so and so" and what she said on fb or what she tweeted.  I see the whiny mommy blogs and the ranting political blogs.  Grown-ups don't hide behind a computer and type things they wouldn't say to a person's face.  Grown-ups don't hide up in the spare room and hide behind the smiling face of a profile picture.  Grown-ups know there are many different sides of an issue.  And they don't carry the chip on their shoulder.  They know EVERYONE is thinking about themselves, not them.  You are not the center of the universe anymore.  We all are our own center.  Right or wrong, most people are just thinking about themselves.  Take the chip off your shoulder.

    It's very unattractive.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Musings about working and family

    Here I am.  Back at my desk.  Working.  Watching the clock, because the only thing running through my brain is "isn't it time to go home yet?"  It's not even 2:30 p.m. yet.  I'm fighting a face-plant right in the middle of my desk.  Sure, I'm fighting a summer cold I caught by someone on my flight back from San Diego.  Sure, I'm fighting a three hour jet-lag, but I really should be over that by now.  Sure, I have a job a dull as dishwater.  But last Friday, on my last day of vacation, before I left to travel home on Saturday, I was thinking...  boy, I'm kind of looking forward to getting home and getting back in the routine.  I must have been nuts.

    I sat next to a retired couple on the flight home.  For four hours I tried to sleep, amidst the screaming child sitting behind me.  For about an hour I chatted with the gentleman sitting next to me.  We talked a lot about housing in the SD county area and we talked about retirement.  I said to him "What do you do all day when you are retired?"  He laughed and said something about going for walks, reading books, watching tv, fixing lunch and cleaning up after lunch.  I couldn't figure out how these activities could fill a day...  But the one thing he said, and I will never forget this, is "you won't miss the job."  I believe him.

    I'm not going to miss the job.  And, they're not going to miss me when I'm gone.  It's like the hole you leave in a bucket of water once you pull your finger out of the water.  Nothing.  You can't see that anything is missing.  I returned from my vacation and one of the secretaries serving at the college for 30 years retired.  She's gone.  Someone new is in her position.  What was her name?  Haha.  I still remember her name, but for how long?

    My husband still misses his mom.  Don't tell anyone, but... he still talks to her on the phone on his way home from work.  He doesn't use the phone, but you know what I mean.  This was the time he spoke with her every day near the end of her life.  It was their special time.  This hole remains in his heart.  When my mom passes, I'm sure I'll be the same way.  But in the mornings, on my way to work.  I'm sure it will take a long time for that hole to fill in, if it ever does.

    We give so much to our jobs.  So much time.  So much energy.  So much thought.  I know it's important to do your job well and care about your product of work.  Of course you should do a good job.  Just don't give it all to the job.  We use the word "family" so freely these days.  "The people I work with are like a family."  "He's like a brother to me."  "She's a sister to me."  This is well and good, but don't replace you actual family with friends and co-workers.  Make a genuine connection to your blood family, if at all possible.  Don't let petty grievances get between brothers and sisters.  Or parents and children.  Fight for the relationship with family.  I believe it is worth it. 

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    I met Joybird and it was a Happy girl's day

    It's good to be home from my San Diego vacation.  Yesterday was a long day of travel.  I am so thankful for a non-stop coast to coast flight.  It sure made the travel day much easier.  I am also thankful for the white noise of a jet engine.  (Just sayin' parents of the SCREAMING 3 year old sitting behind me for 5 hours)  I don't know where to begin telling you what I enjoyed the most about this trip.  Just kidding...  I know exactly where I want to begin.  I met Joybird, from A Songbird in His Court.

    Joybird came down to San Diego and we had a wonderful day together.  Joybird is the first blogfriend I have ever met in REAL life.  So, now we are REAL life friends.  I was nervous, but I had no reason to be.  My husband was so funny when I told him a fellow blogger was coming to our hotel and I was going out and spending the day with her.  He said, "What could go wrong?  It's Joybird and Happygirl going out on the town.  It's not like it's Mommy Dearest meeting the Wicked Queen."  Yeah, he was right.  We had a great day.  Joybird graduated from UCSD, so San Diego is her old stomping grounds.  She showed me places I wouldn't have found on my own and the joy in her voice as she relived the glory days of college and being young and having fun made it all the more enjoyable.

    Besides the tour, it was so much fun to talk about blogging and what it means to us.  I think I had mentioned, in a comment on Joybird's blog, that we could be neighbors.  I could tell from her writing we were kindred spirits in blogging.  We both believe in sharing the heart of the subjects we write about on our blogs, but not the details.  It was so much fun to talk about how we think about what to write and why we write.  We are similar in the way we find blogging helps clarify our thoughts as we move through life.  We are different in that we are at different stages of our lives.  I'm not saying I'm old enough to be Joybird's mom, but I could have been if I had been a teen with loose morals and spotty birth control use.

    I was able to share my blogging fears.  Fear surrounding the thoughts of the real life friends that read me and never say anything about what I've shared or those who tell me they're really not learning anything new about me or those who have change parts of their lives in reaction to something I've written.  I don't know which are easier to take?  It was so good to be able to commiserate on thinking of topics to write about.  I loved being able to share the process of thinking of things in a more positive way and how this process is changing the way I think about life.  I'm sure I talked way more about myself than I should have, but making this connection opened the floodgate of sharing I've been needing.

    I learned Joybird is one authentic blogger.  I really did find so much I've learned about her through her blog is really who she is.  Her love of Our Lord is something that is as natural a part of her being as breathing.  I admire that so much.  Her authenticity in her writing inspires me to check my own truthfulness in my feelings about situations in my life.  We talked about how we need to FEEL deeply about something to write about.  I know, for myself, those posts that seem to resonate most with people are those posts I shared more of my emotion on the subject.

    We talked about blogger conventions.  I see how going to events like this can be so useful to bloggers.  I learned much about the technical aspects of blogging from Joybird.  She gave me some very useful tips.  I'm going to implement some of her suggestions, immediately.  One of them was using Photobucket.  I need to start using this right away.  Another was the test blog site.  SUCH a good idea.  I'm not going to share the details, but, yeah, the test site is good both artistically and psychologically.  :)

    Joybird and Happygirl
    Yeah, we are two good looking women.

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    SoCal = avocados

    I have been eating well while on this vacation.  I love the fresh foods I've had offered to me while in SoCal.  In fact, I commented to my husband, I haven't even seen a McDonalds.  I did see a Wendy's, but it didn't have a drive-through or parking.  I really wanted to get a burger at an In-N-Out Burger, but I didn't come across one.  What I did eat was avocados.  I ate avocados on fish tacos.  I ate avocados on omelettes.  I ate avocados on sushi.  I ate avocados on carnitas.  I bought avocados at the grocery and made guacamole in my hotel room.  I love avocados... and they are SO affordable here.

    I'd love to share some of the food I ate with you.  It was DELICIOUS!

    In La Jolla (this is pronounced La Hoya.  why?) we went to Sushi on the Rock.  I recommend this place.  Great sushi and perfect location.  Even if you aren't "old money" you can eat in La Jolla.  It's not cheap, but it is yummy.

    The Don:  Grilled shrimp, asparagus, crab, AVOCADO, layered with seared tuna and served with ponzu sauce (sorry about the spot on my lens)
    Barrio Roll:  Tuna, cilantro and serrano chilies served with fresh salsa and AVOCADO
    After dinner, enjoy this sunset

    In Old Town San Diego we went to the Old Town Mexican Cafe.  You must order the carnitas.  They are the best.

    Yeah, those chips are warm
    These are the delicious carintas.  The AVOCADO, cilantro, tomato and onion were on another plate
     Flan ('nuff said)

    I want to share the images of the talented women making these delicious tortillas, fresh, every day.

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Del Coronado gold

    Del Coronado so exclusive
    Your beach available to me
    I dip my toes in luxury

    Sand as soft as talcum powder
    Beach pristine and water clear
    Turquoise blue laps at a shore

    Swirling sparkling sifting sand
    Crystal water wraps my ankles
    Gold dust clings to me

    Sugary grains stick to my skin
    Kissed sun bronzed with amber tinge
    Sloughing smooth with suntan lotion

    No spa could boast such
    Rich a service
    Gold dust rub and sea weed wrap

    Breezes dust the shine upon me
    Strong sun soothes my muscles loose
    Masseuse reapplies my lotion

    Del Coronado thanks for sharing
    Riches beyond reach to me
    Gold dust beach for all to share

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Tacos, the beach and the Big Bay Boom

    Today I basked in the sun at Imperial Beach.  I know, not the sexiest beach in San Diego.  It's no Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores or Coronado Beach.  We tried to get to Coronado Beach, but the annual Fourth of July parade was in full swing and there was no way to get there.  It was Fourth of July and EVERYBODY was at the beach.  My husband wanted to check out his favorite taco stand in Imperial Beach from 30 years ago, when he was stationed at NAS North Island.  It was still there.  So, of course, we had lunch.  It was in Imperial Beach, so we went to the beach down there.  I think it was a good choice.

    Fish taco combos with hot sauce and limes, YUMMY

    It was a perfect day and the beach was wonderful.  It was so fun to people watch.  There were TONS of beach umbrellas and pop-up shelters and tents.  Everyone was making a day of it at the beach.  Check it out.

    Gorgeous Pacific Ocean

    My feet

    Sexy legs (white, REALLY white)

    My future home? (yeah the tent, not the white mansion)

    Tonight we took in the fireworks called the Big Bay Boom.  There were four barges in the bay with fireworks exploding simultaneously from Coronado to the Convention Center.  My husband likes fireworks more than I do, but it was SPECTACULAR.  Enjoy the finale.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    The San Diego Zoo is a "Must See"

    We went to the zoo today.  It was crowded.  It is the Sunday of the 4th of July weekend.  Yeah, going to the zoo was a GREAT idea.  I'm not a huge fan of crowds, but they know how to "do zoo" in San Diego.  This is something you must do if you visit paradise.  I was here 21 years ago.  I was pushing a stroller and toting a diaper bag.  This time my hubby and I walked hand in hand and smiled at babies in strollers and in line for events.  Those babies are so cute when they belong to someone else.  :)

    I took a few pictures and my goal is to share pics with you all.

    Okapi (I had to look this up on Wikipedia)
    Monkey (I didn't catch his Latin name.)
    A camel with two humps (I hope he is eating marshmallows.) 
    A Meerkat (Who can resist these guys.)
    California Condor
    Yeah, he was sleeping standing up.  (I know how he feels.)
    Leopard (pacing back and forth.  It took 10 shots to get this one)
    A stranger's children (but really, weren't they adorable?)
    Yun Zi "Son of Cloud" (worth waiting in line to see)
    Fairy-bluebird, female  (gorgeous, btw, male...ugly)
    Trampoline acrobat  (my first ACTION shot)
    Rhinoceros (and children about to be eaten by them)

    Flamingo (they have to feed them by hand, 'cause the SD local birds would let them starve

    I bought this hat

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    I'm San Diego bound

    I'm going on vacation, again.  Don't hate me.  :)

    I'm going to San Diego this time.  I haven't been to San Diego in 20 years.  I'm sure things have changed.  I know I have.  I know I won't be pushing a stroller this visit.  Yippee.  I'm staying in the Gaslamp Quarter.  I'm excited about this.  Twenty years ago I stayed in the BOQ on Coronado Island.  Trust me, I LOVED it.  I think I'll pass on seeing Shamu this time.  Is Shamu still alive?  But, I think I will go to the zoo again.  I love going for a LONG walk in a pretty place.  I think the zoo will fit that bill.  I'm going to eat good Mexican food.  I'm going to drink a tall tropical drink at Hotel del Coronado.  I'm getting excited just writing all this down.

    Now for something I thought I'd never say.  I'm going to meet a fellow blogger.  Joybird, from A Songbird in His Court, said she would come down and meet me.  I'm so excited.  Joybird gave me a Stylish Blogger award.  I was so thrilled by this, as I was very new to blogging.  She gave me such encouragement.  I like her blog very much.  She is a lover of Our Lord and it shows through her words and images.  She's a hiker, and I always wish I could be a hiker.  (I'm really going to have to tell my hiking story one day)  I hope this meeting works out.  I know she has to drive quite a bit to get to me in San Diego.  And, if she bails on this, I TOTALLY understand.

    I hope to take pictures and share stories of my visit.  Please stay tuned.  I know I didn't do as well on the pics of my Dayton Beach vacation as I promised, but I'll try harder.

    I hope you all have a very happy Fourth of July.  For all my American readers, fly the flag and thank a veteran.  For all my readers from other countries, have a wonderful day and thanks for reading.  :)