Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Forgive me, I have been struggling with technical issues!

Man! I have had such issues in the last few days! Friday, my computer went down three times during the day. Ran diagnostics on it, AND anti-virus stuff.. nothing came up. It crashed again Saturday, and then four time yesterday. My "IT" guy asked me to contact Dell and let them look at it. The first time I called, I could barely understand the woman. She had me make some changes, and I didn't think it would work, but since I don't have the Dell "que cards" I trusted her judgement. That worked for about an hour! Then, back on the phone to Dell. This time, I spoke to a woman with a beautiful name, "Gemma" in the Phillipines, and she sounded like she actually knew what she was doing! We were on the phone for an hour, and she connected to my computer and tweeked something called "virtual memory". So far, so good!

In the afternoon, I was experiencing my typical phone issues, and was so frustrated, I connected with a Comcast chat person. She was a very nice lady, and eventually reset my modem. I didn't think that would work, but again, I'm not a tech for them.. so I have to trust their judgment. This morning, I could not connect to the internet. I reset my modem, did a hard restart on the modem and router, and rebooted my computer.. and nothing. I was speaking on the phone with a coworker and she informed me again that my phone was cutting in and out! Ugh! So, I called up Comcast, very frustrated and told the lady, either get it fixed or I'm switching carriers! She reset my modem on her end, and that worked with the internet. The phone is still screwy, so they're coming tomorrow afternoon to replace the modem! I seriously hope this works!

So, I'm trying to catch up with things, and multi-task to a level I've never known possible, as I prepare for next week's big trip up to Georgia, and being away from my clients in the middle imports! Pray for me!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A comical day... you either laugh or cry!

This morning, I hurried home to prepare for my 10am meeting with a client. Shortly before my meeting, my aunt called me, responding to a message I sent her last night on Facebook. I said, "Did you call me??" She called me this morning, yes, I called you, but spoke to John. We'll be out this afternoon to look at the old truck. Uhh, what? We? What? John had spoken with Aunt Ginny's husband, Bud while we were camping about wanting to possibly just sell it, and we've been discussing it since then. Bud's brother was looking for a diesel truck, and was interested in seeing ours. The "we" part was to be my Aunt Virginia (aka Aunt Ginny) her husband Bud, his brother (I don't remember his name!) and his wife, Sue (her's was easy to remember!). Okay, so plan on company this afternoon, around 3pm. Okay. Gotta go, meeting at 10am!

I joined my meeting session, saw that my client was connected, so dialed into the conference number. "Hello" I said. Nothing. "Helloooo" I said again.. still, nothing. Hung up, dialed in again... again the message said I was the second caller. "Hellooo, Hellooooo", I said again. I started thinking, either my phone is screwed up again (Comcast, not my actual phone) or there's a problem with their phone line. Hmm. I shared my whiteboard screen, and began writing a note "Either you are not in the conference room, or there is a problem with the phone line. Please dial the number again." About this time, I heard my client pop into the call with laughter, "Suzanne, can you hear me now?" I said, "I hear you, Nancy! How are you?" She laughed, and said she had the phone on mute. A few minutes passed, while we waited for the rest of her staff, and she explained, just as yesterday, they were having issues with the projector that projects the laptop to the "big screen". Their IT guy was off today, and no one could figure it out. They played with it a bit, and I offered my suggestions that should make the projector work with the laptop, according to my limited knowledge of such things. Finally, they said, "we'll move to another room, and call you back!" Okay, we waited for that. Half way through our meeting, once we got started, they said my phone was acting up, and I was cutting in and out. Grr, that Comcast! I'm seriously considering switching my service to At&T. I was dialing into the conference call on my cell phone, and my laptop went to a blue screen of death! Ugh! No, anything but that! Not Now! Not again! No! I powered down my computer, and while it was rebooting, and I was connecting to my call, by the way, my client could hear me on the speaker phone of my office line off and on... Finally, computer came up, but now the cell phone was being pulled from my hands...why? Sheesh! The moose under the desk! Jenny knows exactly what I'm talking about! If she's reading this, she's probably chuckling! Callie, my dear sweet 90 pound moose of a dog, insists on cramming her big ol' self underneath my desk, and this morning, managed to lay down on the cord to my cell phone, which I had to have plugged in to maintain power on a conference call that may extend an hour or more! Computer still rebooting, I'm arguing with the beast under the desk to get out of there, and my clients are bursting with laughter over this entire thing.

All I can say about the whole thing is that I am so glad they found it humorous, as I acknowledge it is bordering on unprofessional! They're sitting in an office environment, and I'm trying to conduct this training session while arguing with a DOG that won't move off of my phone cord! Whatever!

Finally finished up my meeting shortly after 12:30, then IM'd my IT guy, and told him my computer had shut itself off three times today! He had me running several diagnostics on my computer, that took well over an hour, so while my computer did all this, I hurriedly ran the vacuum in the living room, and picked up the mess out there. I didn't want people I'd never met before (remember, Bud's brother and wife) coming to the house and seeing a mess. I walked into the kids' bathroom, which is also the "guest bathroom". A mess! Had to clean that quick too! Came back to the computer.. still running diagnostics. Mark suggested after 2 hours of diagnostics with no problems showing up, that I turn off a system setting to automatically shut down, if the second monitor "wigs out". I'm hoping that is the solution. If not, I'll be chatting it up again with Mark on Monday!

The good news is, Bud's brother liked the truck, and they bought it from us. This is the same truck that has been sitting in the backyard since John tried driving it out to the campground at New Year's and had to return home with it. Oh, I forgot to mention, not only did John not tell me they were coming today, but he didn't check to see if it would start. I checked it around 1:30, it did not. I had to hook the battery up to the charger to make sure it would make an effort to "turn over". Bud used to own a school bus company, and he and his boys ran the shop to maintain the buses, and the boys build and maintain stock cars and race them, so the truck is in good hands! He got a good deal.. a 1991 Dodge 250 Turbo Diesel with only 56000 original miles! I gained a good part of my backyard again!

Daniel is spending the weekend with Grandma, so it will be just us tomorrow with Hanna. John mentioned taking her training wheels off of her bike again, and she's looking forward to that. I'd like to take her to see if we can find some white sandals for Easter, and I absolutely have to stock up on everything on my list for our camping trip to Mistletoe in Georgia next weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord!!!

Oh, I just gotta say it! I went over to Victory (our "sister" church at the beach) and played with the choir. The music director over there asked me MONTHS ago, if I would like to play my viola with them sometime, and I finally committed to doing it. I'm so glad I did! I went over there this evening during their choir practice time, and enjoyed it so much! Rachel and I "sealed the deal" for this coming Sunday probably a month and a half ago! Unfortunately, the Pastor at "our" church changed things around and the choir is going to sing this weekend. I'm sorry I'll miss this, but I did make a commitment to Rachel and Victory! I have been put under scrutiny by some, being told that our church needs the "numbers" by our core members, etc, and it's wrong to go over there. Frankly, I feel that it is serving the Lord in the manner I do best! Playing Music! What beautiful music tonight! Rachel asked me if I could stay for the entire choir practice, so I did. Oh how I enjoy being with them over there! Rachel is such a wonderful musician who knows so much about the Lutheran Church. She should! I believe her father is a pastor, and she went to Lutheran Prep School AND I think Martin Luther College. She has a degree in Parish Music! Wow! I'm just so impressed with her, and I so wish I could play with her all the time. But.. my loyalties lie with my own church, and that's where I must stay... but I can come over an play sometimes, can't I??

They went over the songs they've been working on for the upcoming Lent & Easter holidays, as well as a few others that are good "anytime stand-byes". I sang with Anne, the Pastor's wife, and another lady, Bonnie (my new friend), who are both altos.

There is nothing more edifying for me, than making music unto the Lord! The church's acoustics helps a lot too, and the Baby Grande piano, and the musicians. I got there early and got to watch their hand bell practice. I'm so jealous! I've always wanted to play hand bells! Anyway, my point was, I felt so alive when I left there! The music we played for God was so beautiful, and so moving. I had to laugh; during one of the pieces, Bonnie said she enjoyed it so much, it made her want to stand up and sway! To those that aren't Lutherans you're probably wondering what the big deal is. Why is that funny?? Lutherans are right next to catholics when it comes to rigidity in church. Swaying? Oh my, that would be like clapping or raising your hands in there air! The roof might collapse! Haha! I'm kind of kidding! If you're a WELS, you know what I mean!

I think I'm rambling! It's getting very late, and I still need to go take a shower before I go to bed. I just wanted to say, I had such a great time playing with them this evening, playing music for my Lord and Savior! I'm playing Sunday pre & post service, and during the service on one choir hymn.

Motherhood has it's moments...

My friend Jenny sent this to me in an email, and had me laughing so hard, I was crying. As Kim says, I had tears running down my legs... but almost more than tears! LOL!


Subject: A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall.

By Shannon Popkin

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we are in the library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People often comment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned-3-year-old. And you never have to ask him to turn up the volume. It's always fully cranked. There have been several embarrassing times that I've wished the meaning of his words would have been masked by a
not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more than last week at Costco.

Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the last stall:

''Mommy, are you gonna go potty?

Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy?

Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now?

Mommy, what are you doing?

Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?''

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full ... 4? 5? Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this stall and reveal my identity.

Cade continued: ''Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you?

Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy!

Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty?

Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh ... Mommy!

I'm trying to see In dere.

Oh! I see dem.

Dat is a very good girl, Mommy.
You are gonna get some candy!''

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me.
Where is a screaming new born when you need her? Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, ''Why don't you look in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy. We'll both have some!''

''No, I'm trying to see doze stinkies"

"Oh! Mommy!'' He started to gag at this point.

''Uh - oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna frow up.

Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!!

Dat is so gross!!''

As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall.. I quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the subject. I began to reason with
myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone.

''Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going stinkies! Get up! Get up!''
He grunted as he tried to pull me off Now I could hear full-blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door.

''Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy?
You wooking under da door? What were you wooking at? Mommy?
You wooking at the wady's feet?''

More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the situation.

''Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now, Mommy.''

He started pounding on the door. ''Mommy, don't you want to wash your hands? I want to go out!!''

I saw that my wait 'em out' plan was unraveling. I sheepishly opened the door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladies crowded around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud. My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, where's the fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of my dignity and privacy? But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three She lives with her family in Grand Rapids , Michigan , where she no longer uses public restrooms)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A quick but HUGE thanks to Jenny!

I have to take the time before going to bed, to thank my very dear friend and neighbor Jenny! Thank you, Jenny! Thank you for picking up Hanna for me today, when I spent my afternoon at the ER with Daniel.

She told me a funny story on the way home over the phone. I had called the school before going to pick up Daniel, and this time I spoke to the office assistant, instead of the secretary, and our friend Leanne. I didn't know this girl, Teresa. I knew without a doubt, Leanne would get the message to Hanna, but Teresa? I hope so! Leanne is our friend Hughey's wife. I left message for Hanna's teacher to please let her know Miss Jenny would be taking her home. Jenny pulled up in parent pick up, and called to her son. She motioned to Hanna to get in the car. Hanna stood there, insisting, "I'm not going home with you today." Well, of course this caused a slight alarm with the teacher's overseeing the parent pickup. Should we send her with this lady, or not?? It makes me laugh to think about it as I type it! Jenny explained to the teacher, Hanna's mother called up at the school and left a message that I'd be picking her up. Her brother is in the Emergency Room! Hanna finally got in the car. Jenny asked, "Did you get the message that I'd picking you up?" Hanna said, "Oh yeah, but I forgot!" Hanna!

If only Jenny would actually eat all that chocolate in her pantry, I could show my appreciation to her and buy her some more... apparently a woman can have too much chocolate! Hmm... weird! I think she's also a fan of Mike's Hard Lemonade... right?? I'll make it up to her! I owe her big!

If one's life can be measure in the friends they can count on, I'd say I have a very good life! Ya know, she hardly ever asks favors of me! I have a great friend!

2nd times a charm???

I guess I spoke too soon when I said Daniel's arm was not broken. This morning, I was in the middle of a training session when the preschool called letting me know Daniel had fallen on his arm and seemed to be hurting a lot! I asked if I needed to come immediately, or if they wanted to see if he got better with ice. I explained I was in the middle of a training session, and had about 45 minutes to go, and the director said she'd ice his arm, and I could call back when I was finished. I called at noon, and she told me he did not eat lunch, and he was sitting,reading a book, but rather pale. When he tried to cut out his shamrock he couldn't hold the scissors without crying.

At this point, I figured if it wasn't broken yesterday, it was most likely broken today. I went and picked him up, and took him straight to the ER. Our doctor's office closes from noon to 2pm, and I didn't want to play the same game today that we just played yesterday (an office visit, sent to xrays, then wait for results). If it was in fact broken, then we'd be sent to the ER anyway.

We walked through the "proper" ER, and found the guy at admin, and asked if we could go through Express Care. He said we could so we took the quicker route. Let's face it, ER is for people really sick and hurt.. we wanted the clinic side. It was a good choice. We were in and out in two and a half hours! Not bad! The doctor checked out Daniel's arm, and didn't think it was broken, but said he'd take four xrays just to be sure. He returned after awhile, and said with a surprised look on his face, "He's got a fracture." A nurse put on a fiberglass splint and wrapped it up good, and they gave us instructions until we get into Nemours on Monday for the permanent cast. Apparently it's protocol to wait 4-7 days for swelling to go down before putting on the "real" cast. John gets the privilege of taking him Monday morning to Nemours, since he switched his days off this week from Friday to Monday! Lucky him! I've done my time two days in a row!

We found out this evening the bags the newspapers are delivered in fit nicely over his arm, held in place by a ponytail holder!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The space shuttle was a success!

For those of you that don't live in Florida, here's a shot of the shuttle as it took off last night. Such an awesome view! It wasn't that dark outside, the exposure is just a little off. I don't know if I've ever seen a launch so clearly. You could see the bright fire trail, and then when the rocket boosters separated, you could see both of them clearly, and finally just the shuttle as it continued out into the atmosphere! Awesome! The picture is courtesy of a friend's photo off of Facebook. Thanks Amy!

Yesterday afternoon, late in the day, Daniel was being himself, standing on a chair on the back porch, when he tipped off the edge of the chair. I'm not sure how is arm hit, if he braced himself, or if he hit the chair, or hit the cement floor on the back porch, but he managed to hurt himself pretty good. I immediately grabbed him and was ready to head to the emergency room, but John wanted to look at it, and evaluate it. Being that John has had more broken bones than he can count, I trusted his judgement that it wasn't obviously broken. We iced Daniel's arm, and gave him some Tylenol for the pain. This morning, when he woke up, he complained immediately that his arm hurt, so I knew we had to make an appointment with the doctor. When I asked him where it hurt, he told me.. "Where my Pain is!" Oh, okay, that clears it up, thanks Daniel! The good news, after an office visit and x-rays at the imaging center, no break! So our orders are to ice it a few times a day, and give him Motrin for the pain. (Motrin is a better anti-inflammatory.)

Our newest family addition, Annie is doing well. She's very busy! This morning, while I conducted a live meeting, I looked down under my desk to see pieces of the cord from the back of my PC to the Keyboard. Yes, I said pieces. Puppies are so much fun! When Callie was a puppy she chewed through a mouse cord. Now I have a wireless mouse! This is my personal PC, not my work laptop, so I'm not as worried as I would be if it were my employer's equipment! The PC doesn't seem to be wireless compatible, or I'd get a wireless keyboard/mouse combo. I tried a mouse once before on it, and it didn't work. By the end of my meeting, I had two pairs of shoes and a pair of socks, and lots of other small things on the top of my desk out of harms way! Guess it's time to put stuff away!

We have found Annie to be a quick learner. Her previous owners allowed her and all her pack to sit with them on the furniture. That is not acceptable in our house. She's learned in a day and half, when I say "Annie get down", she gets down! She seems to have grasped the idea of going outside to potty, rather than in the house. Again, previous owners didn't seem to be too bothered with animals using the bathroom in their home. The smell made that quite clear as I stepped in their house. I'm sure we'll have a few accidents here and there, but I'm not too worried about her. She's a quick study! I took her to the vet's this afternoon to get her shots, and checked out. Besides the car-sickness on the way, she did well. The vet warned me, yes, they're quick learners, but they're also a stubborn breed, she said that with a bit of a wicked grin on her face! I'm glad I like our vet!

The newest little Chappell seems to be adapting well. Callie loves running around with her, although being a Jack Russell, she can run circles around Callie! John kicked Callie's soccer ball around for her this evening, and as Callie ran, caught and retrieved, Annie was happy to run with Callie, and run she did! Belle doesn't seem to care much either way, but as the puppy explored our male cat, Mater, Annie sniffed and ran once, went back for a second sniff, and the cat chased her through the yard. She didn't mind, it was a fun chase!

I was wondering this afternoon, if whomever said little girls were quiet, ever had a pack of 6 little girls in their home at once. Hanna's friends came down to the house this afternoon, and the noise was unbelievable. I finally laid down the law that inside voices were to be used, or they were going outside. I also stated that if I saw anymore closed or locked doors, OR had to remind them about the noise leve again, everyone was going home! The played outside for awhile, then the pack moved on to another's home, my children tagging along. I had about 30 minutes of a quiet home before John came home from work.

My friend Tarren jokingly questioned my judgement about adding yet another animal, let alone a puppy! I will say this to all that wonder, a happy home is a noisy home. It is the sound of laughter and imagination of children. I love watching my children with our animals. They love them just as much as I do. I love the belly laugh of Daniel as he sits on the floor with a puppy licking his ears. I love to sit and watch my daughter half asleep on the couch, with the cat laying there beside her, as she strokes the cats tail. (yes, the cats are allowed on the furniture. Like a cat would ever listen to a human!) My life is chaotic, and loud, and very eventful! I wouldn't have it any other way!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What a day!

Today, I started off my day with a two hour drive to Ocala, with friends from church, as well as my mother in law, Judy. We went to a sister church, Abiding Hope, to attend the Lutheran Women's Missionary Society Spring Rally! It was such a nice rally. The guest speaker today was Pastor Zieman, who spoke on our synod's efforts (especially his) in the middle east. Pastor Zieman is our military services rep for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other places. I will write much more about that later! It was a very moving presentation! I also had a great time with the ladies, even if Janet did make fun of the yard in Waldo with the stuff on the fence!

When I returned home I had plans to go see some puppies! I saw them, and came home with one. It was so hard to chose which puppy I wanted to bring home. They had a skinny little girl who was very very active, and they had a short, chunky little girl, who was a little more subdued, and could barely get up on their sofa! That's the dog for me! The "calm" one. I say "calm", because she is a rough coat, Jack Russell. JR's are not calm dogs, and require strict discipline and rules, and lots of exercise! She is so sweet. Hanna wants to call her Annie. The other choices she offered up, were Anna and Barbie. So far, we're sticking with Annie, but John's not thrilled with the name. I'm leaning maybe towards Peanut! Callie is taking well to her, and she is such a little bundle of joy. She will be quite the little camper, no doubt!

Like anything exciting in our lives, it came with a hiccup! My precious new furr baby gets car sick! It didn't take long for her mouth to start watering like crazy in the car. At first, I thought she was just thirsty, because she was panting quite a bit when we left her old house. The owner had the puppies running around like mad, chasing a laser pointer! There's a sight.. three little JR puppies, chasing a red light around on the floor. Half way down Blanding Blvd, she threw up on the seat next to me. Eww! Her first impression to John was not too good! I'm hoping tomorrow makes a better day! I have an crate for her to spend the night next to Callie, and I'm hoping Callie will help calm her throught the night. I'll let you know tomorrow how our night goes!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I just wanna know why??

Why is it, men can be rude and it's acceptable? A man can scratch himself in public, and nobody points, OMG! Did you see what he did? He can adjust himself, he can belch, he can pass gas, it's all no big deal, but let a woman do it, and "Shut Up! She did not!" John was not able to make it to church with the kids and I, since he didn't get home utnil 6:30, so I filled him in on all my happenings when I got home. I was telling him about some funny little happening before or after church.. a small disagreement, that I commented to my friend Kim, Are we going to argue about "this"? She smiled, and nodded. Yup! I was telling John about someone in my day, that has a very strong body odor, and all my efforts to get away from them. He said, "Now see, that's where women got it all wrong! If it were me, I'd say, Buddy you stink!" I guess that's where Daniel gets it from.. his testosterone genes!

Why is it acceptable for men to be this way? Should we maybe take note of how they do these things? Should we be able to say, "honey, you smell bad!"?? I just wanna know why...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One day, they will be out on display....

One day, I hope to get my office fixed up all nice, just for me. When that day comes, I will then have out on display the violin and mandolin I have that are my great grandmother's. The violin is in an old, stinky wood box, and doesn't sound very nice. Could be that it is so old, and when I received it 25 years ago from my great aunt, the violin was in two pieces. I took it to a lithier (violin maker aka gugenmacher) who put it together for me, but I do believe she did a very poor job. The violin is dated inside 1797. I had one lithier tell me that it is most likely the standard Sears & Roebuck violin that was put out in the early 1900's. Well, I'm inclined personally to believe that it truly was made in 1797, being that my grandfather was born in the early 1900's, it belonged to his mother who was most likely born in the late 1800's.. and I don't know if she received it new or passed down from another family member. I wish I had that information. My Great Aunt Teresa Sumner gave me this violin and the mandolin along with a picture of her in elementary school holding the mandolin with her music class. It was one of those old timey pictures that was brown and there were two pictures side by side that were viewed through a picture viewer. Aunt Teresa was a music teacher, and did all that she could to encourage my musical talent. She often sent me her music programs from her seasonal visits to hear the Chicago Symphony. I enjoyed receiving them, along with her notes.

My friend Kim questioned me in an earlier post, do I have them out on display. No, not at this time. In high school and college, I used to have the mandolin displayed on the wall, held up by fishing line, with a flower arrangement woven into the strings. They make handles to display string instruments, and one day I hope to have a set, to display in my office the violin and the viola that I play. In high school, after I had the violin fixed, I often played it. One day, after I'd been playing severely out of tune, my teacher glared at me, and said.. "you've been playing that violin, haven't you?" One day, I'll have to stand them up side by side, and show the difference. The violin is about 4 inches shorter than the viola, and makes a difference where your fingers hit the strings. It becomes second nature to let your fingers go where they should to play, since a stringed instrument does not have any keys, so going back and forth tends to distort the natural placement.

One day, I will indeed have these two out on display for all the world (that that passes through my home, anyway) to see, and question where they came from!

The ticks seem to be abundant!

It amazes me that the child (Hanna) that can attract a mosquito from miles away, has gone without being affected by the ticks that have plagued the rest of our family from our weekend's adventures. Not sure what it is about her, but she seems to miss the ticks everytime! John took his shower last night, and found he too had been attacked by the little creatures! He had two on his waste, and one that I'm not allowed to mention. Let's just say, as I removed it, I nearly had tears running down my leg! Don't you dare tell him I told! I could have really gotten back at him for pinching me with those tweezers trying to get my tick! Too funny! My Aunt Virginia had just told us a similar story about a boy who needed his father's help removing a tick that had attached itself to his delicate region. It was a good laugh at John's expense. Since we seem to all be literally crawling with ticks, I called the vet's office this morning to see what I could use on the dog to kill any that might be on her, since I'll never find little ticks on a big black dog! They sold me a bottle of Frontline spray.

Last night on Facebook, one of Hanna's friend's mother who is one of my FB friends, wrote on my wall "Caroline said Hanna got bit by an alligator. There must be a good story there." That made me laugh! Hanna's stories really seem to grow. I asked her this morning, "Did you tell Caroline the alligator bit you?" She just grinned, and said, "I did!" I explained that even in good fun, it's a lie, and she shouldn't tell such stories. A few years ago, Hanna had a friend at our church's preschool named Anna. They were such good friends, and were only 3 days apart in age. Anna's mother approached me in the fellowship hall one Sunday and asked me if John was okay. I told her he was perfectly fine, and wondered what sparked the inquiry. Apparently, Anna had come home and at the dinner table told her parents that Hanna's Daddy got his head chopped off! I knew immediately where that came from, and it took me a few minutes to recover from laughter to tell her the story. The previous weekend, we had a snake in the back yard, that the dog had caught and so graciously brought to me and dropped it curled up on my feet. As it unraveled, I yelled for John to come out and get the thing! He came out, chased it down, and chopped the snake's head off with the shovel! I guess the story that Anna conveyed was that John cut his head off... short for... John cut the snakes head off. I thanked my friend Donna for the concern for John's well-being. Which, by the way, anyone that remembers Donna, she is expecting TWINS!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some things are funny, some things just aren't...

I'll start with the funny! Last night, after putting the kids to bed, I realized I had not checked myself for ticks, as we always perform this routine when we return from camping. We found one on Daniel's leg Saturday night at the campground during his bath. Ask him about it, he'll be sure to tell you all about how Mommy pulled it off of him and squished it, then pushed it down the drain in the shower. I suspected I would find at least one tick on myself, as yesterday morning, I stopped two very large ones on their way up my legs! Eww! They remind me of a spider with revenge in mind! As I undressed for my shower, I found a little one. He'd attached himself to my waste just slightly towards my back, yet still on my side. You know, that spot that's really hard to get at for a moment, let alone an extended period of time. I tried to get him, but soon went into a muscle spasm. Okay, I had to put my pants back on and head out to the living room to ask for assistance from John. I fully realize how badly he needs new glasses at this point! He lost them last year, I believe down an elevator shaft?? Anway, I handed him the tweezers, and he found the tick. "Is this him or you?" he said, as he was pulling at my skin. I said.. "That's me! Grab the tick please!" This continued, I tried to assist, he swatted my hand, and finally I walked away and said "You're useless!" I went to the bathroom with the tweezers in hand and was determined to get that sucker, and finally I did! Squished him, and down the drain he went! Thankfully, he was the only one! I've left John to inspect himself, although I'm wondering if he'll be able to see them if he has any hitch-hikers!

This morning, I realized how very fortunate I am to have the family that I have. I was speaking to a teacher at Daniel's school who was telling me she'd be out this week because she and her husband have to go out of state to pick up his children. He has not seen his children in 10 years because his ex-wife ran off with them. The children have since been put in foster care, and are now looking to be put into a permanent home. I'm not sure exactly how these children have been in foster care off and on, and this is the first the father is finally hearing about his children, but they desperately need him now. This teacher is facing a personal challenge, bringing step children into her home that are aged 12 & 13 years old, and considered "special needs" children. These children do not know their father, and certainly do not know their step mother. She will be bringing these children into her home, to adapt to life with her children. I do not envy this woman's challenges ahead of her, and I pray that God will guide her to do the right thing, and support these children in the best way that she can. I wanted to cry for her, and tell her to be strong, and that God will guide her! I am so thankful for the life that I live! It makes me realize that what I consider to be major obstacles in my life, are not that big in the broad spectrum of life!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

One more thing...

I do have to post one more thing that I forgot about our weekend. This is especially funny to my church friends that "FB" and saw Jennifer's post about buying worms. I had gone to WalMart and purchased worms for our trip on Friday after my doctor's appointment. The best way to preserve worms is to keep them refrigerated. After our day Saturday, we weren't sure if we'd be going again Sunday morning, and possibly we'd be giving them to Uncle Bud to use for fishing Sunday afternoon. When John and I went to bed Saturday night, we thought if we'd left them out on the table, as they'd been all afternoon, maybe a critter would come into camp and raid the container of worms. So, I picked them up and put them in the fridge overnight. They're in a sealed container, it's perfectly fine!

Sunday morning while Hanna was getting dressed we saw something on the floor in the camper. It was a worm. Hmmm.. how'd he get there? I tossed him out the door. About 30 minutes later, I went into the camper to get something.. another worm. Weird, how are they getting out? Daniel came into the camper, and we were looking at something, there was another one! I opened the refrigerator door, and there was dirt all inside the bottom shelf, and there were worms stuck to the inside of the door! The lid was not very tight, and they were escaping. John is a little puzzled as to HOW they were getting out of the fridge, thinking the seal on the door should be tighter than that.. but I wasn't surprised! It comes off easily for cleaning.

Eventually, I handed Daniel the container of worms, and told him to go dump them out in the woods. He said, we wished he could keep one in a cage! Don't worry, when I got home, I took my bottle of ammonia and sprayed the inside of the fridge and wiped it out really well, even pulled out the shelves and sprayed them! No worm germs in there now!

So many firsts.. it was fun!

We've returned home from our weekend of camping at O'Leno State Park, and it was so much fun! I enjoy the camping time we spend with additional family the most! John and I both said on the way home, we wish we had friends that like to camp and would go with us! My Aunt Virginia and her husband, Bud went with us to O'Leno, and we're excited about the prospects of them becoming campground hosts. They currently host when their schedules permit at a state park in Tallahasse. It's not a camping park, "just" one of those parks that boasts beautiful gardens, but as hosts, they get to camp while they stay there at the host sites. They were so impressed with O'Leno that they inquired about the contact information for becoming a host there. It would be very beneficial since Bud often has doctor appointments at the VA hospital over in Gainesville, and the campground it only 24 miles from there, as opposed to the 70 miles from their house in Callahan. Typically, they said, Bud's appointments are at 8:00 in the morning, and they may start using this campground as an "overnight" spot when he has appointments. For senior citizens to stay at this particular park it is only $8 per night. They certainly could not get a hotel for anything close to those prices! As it is, he has an appointment tomorrow morning, so they decided to stay another night. Lucky them!

Our weekend was filled with firsts! The biggest being, Daniel's first fish! It was small for sure, but we were so proud of him. Our Saturday morning started out with Aunt Ginny and Uncle Bud heading back home to Callahan, as Bud's medicines were left at home on the kitchen counter. Bud is a severe diabetic, so the trip back was very necessary! We went off on our own, down to the swinging bridge in the morning, with fishing rods in hand. Daniel has been fishing before, but he's never caught anything until today. We went down to the shore, and started fishing down just under the bridge, and then moved on down the bank. It didn't take long for Daniel to hook up with a bream! His very first fish! Yay Daniel!
The picture shows it, but unfortunately, it was a small one, and it had turned sideways, so I got the skinny profile of the fish, which makes it look even smaller! A few minutes later, just as John dropped in the line for Daniel, a fish took that bite, and they reeled in another one. Daniel openly admits, Daddy caught that one! Hanna was very disappointed that she and I did not catch anything! Better luck next time! John explained to her that many times when the two of us go fishing, one of us gets "skunked" while the other does very well. She wasn't feeling very sympathetic. The kids quickly got bored sitting, waiting for a phantom bite that may never come, so they started playing around with stuff on the bank, and tossing sticks into the water. I saw it coming.. just as Daniel was trying to pick up a stick, he was at such an incline, he stumbled, tripped, and splash! He screamed "the water's shivery!" As chilly as the nights have been, even the days, the water was not very warm, and I would not have wanted to fallen in either up to my waist! That ended our morning session at the river, as we now had to walk back to our campsite to get Daniel into dry clothes and shoes! He commented with every other step about the water squishing out of his shoes!

We went back, changed clothes, and went to rent our canoes. We rented two canoes, one for the boys, and one for the girls, including Callie! This was Hanna and Daniel's first time in a canoe and their first time seeing an alligator in the wild! We passed him once, and missed him, but then a lady on the bank, sitting watching, pointed him out. A man and a woman, who passed by in a kayak commented that they thought maybe he was dead because he was in the exact same place yesterday, and didn't seem to be moving. Well, we found out to Hanna's disliking, he was not dead! As we passed by a second time, he decided to check things out, and swam around in the river around our canoes, finally going underwater for awhile. He surfaced again later, and we saw him then too. My guess was that he was probably an 8-foot alligator. Hanna was upset that we didn't fish while in the canoes, but John and I both agreed we didn't want to each try dodging loose fishing hooks attached to lines, waving past our ears and such, while in a canoe. Not this trip, anyway! The kids need to learn a little more about safety with fish hooks before we trust them in such close proximity! I found it very interesting that the couple in the kayak were at Gold Head when we were there over New Year's weekend. It's a small world!

When we returned to camp, we saw Aunt Ginny and Uncle Bud returning to camp, and the kids convinced them they needed to go see the swinging bridge. Daniel was right at home, keeping up with their pace, as we walked back down to the park to see the bridge yet again! Callie and Angus (their dog) both tried out the river, although this trip, Callie would not go deep into the river again, obviously remember her last trip to this bank, when she went underwater! She had a good time, none the less! When we returned to camp again, we came across a campsite where they were playing two guitars and a violin near a campfire. I commented that I should have brought my viola, they thought I said, I have a viola.. and said, "Go get it, and come play with us!" I wish I did have it with me at the time, although, I do not know how to "fiddle". Twice a month, on Sunday afternoons they have "old time dances" at the campground, in which they have square dancing and such, so it is possible that I could go again on such a weekend, and have the opportunity to learn how to fiddle and play with these groups. Wouldn't that be fun? When we left this morning, Aunt Ginny and Uncle Bud said they would be going back to listen to the music and enjoy watching the dancing. I really wish we had the time to have been able to stay today, but I'm sure we'll do so at some other time!

We've returned home with the laundry in full routine, the dog is exhausted, the kids are exhausted and cranky, and so are we! I think being out in the wild has stirred some "animal instincts" in Callie, as she also had a first this afternoon, when she finally caught a squirrel, and killed it. Daniel watched the whole thing, and commented he wished he could keep it as a pet. I explained we had to leave it alone while she had it, because it might bite us, but later, we picked it up with the shovel and put it in a garbage bag for the garbage man to take away on Tuesday!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Finally a post!

My dear friend and neighbor, Jenny informed me today that it was "poor blogger etiquette" to go so long without a post. So.. here I am, Jenny! I'm making a post!

It's getting late, and I want to get to bed at a reasonable hour, so I can be rested for our camping trip that starts late tomorrow afternoon! Imagine that, it's time for another camping trip. John and I have been very good at keeping to our commitment of a camping trip at least one weekend a month, with the exception of December. We have to make exception for December, due to Christmas, The Nutcracker, and of course.. Daniel's birthday! Tomorrow afternoon, we'll be headed over to O'Leno State Park, where we'll be meeting my Aunt Virginia and her husband Bud. We have adjacent sites, but I'm not sure how well they connect. And heaven only knows where the rocks will be on these two sites! The kids are very much looking forward to it, and frankly, so am I! We've planned on taking the canoe, although I'm seriously leaning towards renting two, rather than cramming both our kids and us into our single "3-man" canoe. It would hold us, but the kids would be a little cramped, and I could just see them starting to push and shove each other, and then we'd have a serious problem. As Daniel said today, "it's an issue". He educated me on the way home from school this evening as to what exactly an "issue" is... it's a problem, so it's an issue! Hanna asked this evening, as I put her to bed, if we could take her Barbie fishing rod, and Daniel's Spiderman rod. Of course! Kim.. I'll have to stop off at Wal-Mart and pick up some red wigglers!

To bring you up to speed on the comedy in our life, I'll start with IHOP on Fat Tuesday, or "National Pancake Day" at IHOP. I saw on Facebook that IHOP was having free pancakes on this day, and after my post there that we'd be going there for dinner, my cousin Mary text messaged me.. "which one you going to, and when?" We met up at the one in Fleming Island around 7pm, and waited an hour for a table, and took another hour plus at our table. We were getting into the truck to go home at 9:20pm! Late night for the kids! So, as we enjoyed our fun time with my cousin Mary, and her two kids, Christopher and Nicola, the kids were getting a little rowdy. No, not my kids you say! LOL! I heard Mary say, "Oh Daniel, honey, don't put that in your mouth!" I looked over, and there he was, sucking on the syrup bottle! I was horrified.. my child is leaving germs on the syrup bottle that sits on the table! John and Mary just laughed and laughed, and said.. "you think he's the only one that's ever done that?" I really didn't need to go there with that thought, and I'd prefer to think they are changed out with the passing of each new patron. Probably not, but I can dream!

Moving on, Ash Wednesday, we went to church of course, and there was also a pre-service dinner. It was hoped, we'd have much more people attend, eager for fellowship as we launched the Lenten season. I believe there were four different pots of soup, and plenty of variety of sandwiches. After my kids ate their meals, they were eyeing the cookies up on the cabinet. Daniel got his, without "issues". Hanna headed up to pick out her cookie, and I told her, look twice, decide and touch once! Suddenly, I heard a crash! I knew where it came from, and I just sat their for a brief moment, shaking my head. I looked up and saw a grin on our pastor's wife's face. I turned, and there was Hanna, looking quite flustered, with the plastic Publix bakery box dangling from the sleeve of her fleece jacket. She shook her arm, as she pointed at the tape hanging to the lid.. "It stuck to my arm, Mom!" Apparently, the tape that held the box closed, as it dangled freely, found her sleeve, held tight, and as she pulled her arm away, the box came with it, flinging the cookies to the floor! I picked them up, and placed them in the box, announcing to everyone we could either declare the "five second rule" or throw the cookies out. Are you kidding? They're cookies! Five Second Rule was the vote! I can tell you, my mother in law is the last one in the preschool/fellowship hall in the afternoons, and that floor was clean! If anyone knows Judy Chappell, they know, she leaves that floor clean, so I wasn't too worried about it. I felt better, knowing that I had disclosed the accident, and everyone knew exactly where those cookies had been since Hanna touched them!

Last but not least, and then I'm headed off to dry my hair, and go to bed...
You may recall during CHRISTmas season, Hanna was confused about elves versus slaves. She has so proudly declared her red hat with a white pom-pom her "slave hat". Then, in January, when she learned about Martin Luther King, she was telling me about the elves, and how the white people treated them so badly. Well, now we have another confusion.. pelicans versus leprechauns. Monday afternoon, she was talking to me about pelicans, and how they have long beaks with a pocket for scooping up fish. Since were are in the month of March, I'm guessing her class must have started talking about leprechauns. Tuesday, on the way home from school, I heard the comment, "I love leprechauns with their big beaks to scoop up fish." Hmm, leprechauns and beaks? What? Oh yeah, we talked about pelicans last night! I said, Hanna, do you mean pelicans have big beaks?" Yes, she said.. pelicans!