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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tulips!



I love Spring!  My tulips survived the blizzard, they survived the giant hail stones, and, so far, they have survived the roving deer and rabbits that wander through my yard.  Aren't they gorgeous?

To see more Today's Flowers posts, please click here

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When it Rains, it Pours....

A couple weeks ago we had a hail storm.  A major hail storm, the likes of which I personally have never seen before.  The hail that fell at our house was about the size of golf balls, and there was a LOT of it.  The noise it made was terrible.  Down the road at my sister's place, it was worse.  She had hail the size of baseballs.  It tore up her roof and shattered her siding. She has a baggie full of hail stones in her freezer, waiting for her insurance adjuster.

So why am I bringing this up now?  Well, now is when we found out we have hail damage, too.  Not right now, of course, as it's the middle of the night.  But yesterday, Walker stopped at my moms and found out she was having her roof inspected for hail damage.  He asked the inspector to come by our place, too.  We don't have bad damage but there is enough to warrant repairs. Sigh. So here are some photos from the storm that wrecked our roof:

I never looked this closely at a hail stone before.  I was surprised by all the layers.

The hail piled up against the house, against the steps, and against the fence.  We actually had to shovel it onto the lawn. Piles of hail are just as slippery as ice patches in the winter.

Our side yard flooded.  So did the streets.

At worst, I could barely see across the street.  My flag was so torn up after this storm we had to replace it.

Now, driving through our neighborhood, half the houses have contractor signs in their yards.  I think we'll be hearing construction noise for the next several weeks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Story Sisters, by Alice Hoffman


Holy crow, this was a great book! I'm not sure what I was expecting, as I don't remember when I bought this book or why I was interested in it in the first place. Not that it matters - once I started reading, I could not put it down.

The story follows three young girls, sisters, who are by turns brought together and torn apart by a personal tragedy that the oldest sister endures. She never speaks of the incident, and most people who know her are unaware of what she's been through. At one point, she dares, even begs, her mother to see her as she really is. The writing is so real, it will break your heart. If you're looking for a great read, this one will fit the bill, but I warn you - clear your calendar. You will not want to stop until you read the very last word.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Practicing

I'm still working on learning to photograph the moon. Well, I have a way to go, and I still think I need a tripod, but I think I'm getting better. You may remember the last moon shot I posted:


And here is my most recent. It's blurry (no tripod) but now you can see the "face" of the moon, a bit, in this one.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Family Time

The kids and I colored eggs on Saturday. Um, yes, I do color eggs, too. Cubby decided he's outgrown the tradition, though he did make one egg just so he'd have one of his own. This year we tried something new - an egg dye kit that came with little itty bitty rollers and pre-mixed dye packets. I don't recommend it. The dye was chunky and the rollers soaked up so much of it that it dripped all over the eggs, even though we tried to roll some of the color back into the pots. When we finished, I left the eggs to dry for a good two hours but the colors are still sticky. Next year we're going back to dipping.

I woke up Easter Sunday eye to eye with the biggest chocolate bunny I have ever seen. I'm pretty sure I made all the kids jealous. Not to worry ~ I was on Bunny Duty and I made sure they had plenty of eggs to find, along with lots of chocolate treats. It was my first experience on Bunny Duty, and for the most part I had a lot of fun, but Saturday night the kids would not stay in bed. There were the bathroom breaks and the water breaks, then Cubby thought he might be getting sick, then Diva wanted some lights left on, but only certain ones, and would I help her? It was after two before all the kids were in bed, asleep, and likely to stay there. I ended up getting up at 8am and can I tell you? There is a reason I work nights. Me and mornings? Not such a great combination.

When my mom came over Bro and I had a surprise for her: another very large chocolate bunny. Before we gave it to her, though, we thought a little payback was in order:


We are so going to hell.

At Easter dinner, my sister announced that she's applied for a job in another state. Not sure what brought that on - she has a good job here, plus all the family, plus she just moved into a new house. I didn't even know she was thinking of moving.

Right now, I'm so tired I can't type straight. I think it's time to call it a night. I stayed up til my normal bedtime so I can sleep in, so I'm not too tired at work tonight. Walker is taking the kids out to breakfast so they don't wake me up ~ no school today. Hopefully they all sleep in, too.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Beauty


To see more Today's Flowers photos, please click here

Happy Easter!

I love this card.  My mom was notorious for eating the ears off our chocolate Easter bunnies.  I think I was halfway through school before I even knew chocolate bunnies are supposed to have ears.  Once in a while, she'd eat the tail, too.  That didn't show until we opened the box.  Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My First Weekend Reflections Post

I thought I'd try a new photo meme, since I have such a pretty "reflections" photo from our freak April snowstorm earlier this week.  This was taken after my dinner date with Walker, as we walked back to our car.


To see more Weekend Reflections photos, please click here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Great Big Sigh of Relief

My mammogram showed absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. Finally ~ I got the much longed for all clear!  To say I'm relieved would be a huge understatement.  Thank you all for your support ~ your comments helped so much.  Now, time to get back to my life.  Wahoo!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Frozen Watery Wednesday, Outdoors

Not sure what's going on with our wild weather, but this week we were treated to a freak spring snowstorm. And storm it did - about eight inches of heavy, wet snow blanketed the landscape, shut down schools, and snarled traffic.  Here, bits of snow and ice are caught in a lilac bush that had started to bud out.




To see more Watery Wednesday photos, click here
To see more Outdoor Wednesday photos, click here

At Least It's Pretty

Okay, so the weather messed up our plans. But take a look at the view from our table at the restaurant.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ah, Rats!

Walker and I have a date tonight. We scored tickets to a huge concert, so we both took the night off, made dinner reservations, the whole bit. I was looking forward to it, but Walker has been downright hyper. With both of us working nights, different shifts on different days, we just don't get to go out much. Having a date night is a big deal.

Which is why it totally sucks that we're having yet another freak April snowstorm. The concert is cancelled. They say it will be rescheduled, but this has happened before and what usually happens is, the venue negotiates with the performer for a couple weeks, they eventually realize they can't come to terms, and refunds go out in the mail. I really, really wanted to see this concert. I hope they can work something out.

When the announcement went out that the concert was cancelled my office called to see if I'd be coming in for my shift. Um, no. Walker and I are still planning to go out to dinner. We're terribly short staffed at work but the thing is, my coworkers have already adjusted their schedules to cover for me. If I went in, they'd still need to work their shifts. I would just be an extra body floating around. I'm surprised they even asked me.

My internet service will be disconnected some time after midnight. Not sure if the weather will affect our new service being installed. I'll catch up with y'all when we're back online!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just in Case....

The short version is, I'm ditching my cable company. They have been systematically removing channels from their lineup while simultaneously increasing their charges. Um, no. That is not how we do business, folks. I called to complain, told them I would discontinue service if they didn't adjust my bill to reflect my decreasing service, but got nowhere until I actually did set up service with another provider. When I called the current place to cancel, they offered me the moon to stick with them. Too little, too late, Charter! You should have taken me seriously when I called the first time.

So the cable company also provides my internet connection. I'm scheduled to switch on Wednesday, but things tend to not go as planned around here. I would not be surprised if I got disconnected early, or if the new people didn't show up on time or something. So, if I'm not around for a couple days, y'all know why.

Today was a better day. A good nights' sleep did wonders. Still spending too much time stuck in my head, but I'll get there. I decided I'm not making any decisions about anything until after my mammo on Thursday. I can't focus right now, and I don't want to jump into anything like a major purchase until I can think it through clearly. I am also not going to beat myself up for eating PopTarts, or anything else with no nutritional value, until after I get my all clear. I'm not much of a drinker, I don't smoke, I don't even like to go shopping. So, while I wish I was one of those people who exercise compulsively when stressed, I am not. I eat. And I'm going to be okay with that, at least for the next few days.

Thank you all for the supportive comments. I have the best cyber neighbors ever. I wish I could invite y'all over for brownies.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

In a Funk

It's been a long week. I've been in a funky blue mood for pretty much the whole time, and I can't seem to shake it. It started last Sunday when my mom called about a car she thought I might be interested in. I do need to think about replacing my car, but I was hoping to wait until next spring. This is supposed to be the year of fiscal reform in our house, after all. But Mom found a great deal on a great car. Walker is all for it. So the decision is up to me. Thanks, Walker. So much for teamwork. I told him, I feel like I'm in a canoe paddling down the river. If I make the wrong move - flip! - over I go. But in the meantime, Walker is standing on the shore, waving. He just does not worry about anything, especially money. It was just a year ago that I was told my job was going away (that didn't happen, but it was a tense couple of months). It was six months ago that I was diagnosed with cancer, facing another round of medical bills and months off from work. How can I not worry about money?

While I was pondering diving into the deep end of the debt pool, things at the office slid downhill. Policies and procedures are changing, we're short about half our staff, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The funk continued.

Next week I have my first follow up mammogram since completing treatment. I am not even going to pretend that I'm not losing sleep. I will be so very glad when it's behind me, and I finally get that elusive "all-clear".

Today, I was supposed to go to Squeak's soccer game, take the car in question for a test drive, then go out to lunch with Walker. When I got up, however, I found a nasty surprise: snow. Yep, snow, in April. Snow covering my tulips. Stupid snow. And it was still coming down. Sideways. You know, cause the snow wasn't enough so the weather gods added wind. Cold, damp wind. Soccer game? Canceled. Test drive? Canceled. Wanna guess what we did instead? Today was the day my brother and sister-in-law had designated to divide up their stuff and move my brother's things out of his old house. Yep, that's what we did.

There's not a lot I can say about it. It was tense. My heart broke watching the two of them divide the last twenty years into "His" and "Hers". I cannot imagine how they felt. The kids pretty much stayed out of sight. It was a difficult day, to say the least. I do not know what happens now.

When I got home I faced a long list of chores that still needed to be done. I don't have it in me. I did some dishes and started laundry, but I'm so dang tired and I still feel chilled from hours in the damp wind, loading and unloading boxes and furniture. I ate a package of PopTarts meant for the kids, and now, here I sit. I think I need to toss in the towel, go to bed, and start again tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

I haven't done this in a while, so why not?  Here's today's Booking Through Thursday question:

I was reading the other day a quote from JFK Jr who said on the death of his mother, that she died surrounded by family, friends, and her books. Apparently, Jackie’s books were very much a part of HER, her personality, her sense of self.
Up until recently, people could browse your bookshelves and learn a lot about you–what your interests are, your range of topics, favorite authors, how much you read (or at least buy books).
More and more, though, this is changing. People aren’t buying books so much as borrowing them from the library. Or reading them on their e-readers or computers. There’s nothing PHYSICAL on the shelves to tell strangers in your home, for better or worse, who you ARE.
Do you think this is a good thing? Bad? Discuss!

Hmmm......I've never used an e-reader and I don't often use the library, so I guess you know what side of the fence I'm on.  I do think that e-readers have some advantages; for one thing, you can download new books anywhere.  As someone who travels,  I see that as a plus. I also like to read during my break at work.  Sometimes my coworkers will start a conversation  based on the cover art.  No offense, but... I'm trying to read here, people!  Please go away!  So, you know, an e-reader would probably help with that, too.  Or if you want to read a trashy sex book in front of your kids.  Or your parents.  Or your coworkers.

I'm sure at some point I'll give the e-reader a try, but for now I'm very happy going about reading the old fashioned way - with my nose in a book.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday in the Garden

Almost overnight, the garden burst into bloom. I planted the daffodils when we moved in here six years ago, but the little blue flowers were already here. I don't know what they're called. They sure are pretty, though.



To see more Blue Monday posts, please click here.
To see more Mellow Yellow Monday posts, please click here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Memory Lane.....

I was cleaning up some in the basement today, and I came across a box of my dad's photos. Most of them were photos that I took and mailed to him, so he could "watch" his grandkids grow up. But some of them were of my sibs and I, when we were little. Take a gander at these:


My parents' wedding photo. 


This photo cracks me up every time I see it.  Doesn't this always happen? Yes, making little kids get all dressed up is very cute.  But for the kids?  Not so much fun.  I love the expression on my oldest sister's face, as she drags my other sister down the aisle at my aunt's wedding ~

Christmas, 1968.....I was the drooly baby in the front.  My world was about to get turned upside down:  my mom would have been almost eight months pregnant with my baby brother.
And Baby makes five......

On vacation at Grandma's, 1976....Love my big brother's plaid shorts.  I remember my Grandma snagging us right after church to take this photo.  She made a comment about how she had to hurry with the photo before we got all messed up like usual.  She wasn't a warm and fuzzy grandma.  But, we had a great time visiting in Florida.  This was the trip that started my life long love of the ocean and all her treasures. 

Random Bits

I burned my lip last weekend.  It was totally my fault.  I knew my lunch was too hot to eat but I was so hungry, I didnt wait.  The blister wasnt fun but then it split.  Now, if I smile too big or move my mouth the wrong way, it bleeds.  A lot.  Lovely.  I had to wear a sweater at the office even though it was 79* in there, to cover the blood spatter on my shirt.
 
I was able to clear two sections of my garden one afternoon before work.  The garden was very neglected after my breast cancer diagnosis late last summer.  So neglected, in fact, that I didnt even cut down the dead annuals before winter.  It looks so nice now where Ive groomed it.  I have three more sections to go.  And  ~ yay! ~ I have daffodils and some lovely little blue flowers blooming, with tulips and hyacinth right behind them.

I also made some progress on the basement cleanup this week.  By the end of the weekend, I should have the patio furniture cleared off.  I had loaded it withstuff when the storage room flooded, then it got pushed back when we had to have the new water heater installed.  Ive unburied it from the back wall of the basement and have just a few more boxes to sort before the table is all cleared. The chairs are already free.  Walker and Bro can move it all out to the patio now that the weather finally warmed up.  Well have lots of space in the basement when the furniture is back outside.

In my never ending quest for fitness, Ive started a walking program.  I got some funky toning shoes ~ Im surprised at how much different my muscles feel after walking in them, even for a short trek.  Im also embarrassed to admit just how out of shape Ive gotten.  But ~ if the first step to correcting a problem is admitting it, well, here it is.  I walked a one-mile loop yesterday and Im sore from it.  There you go.  So much for the girl who used to walk six miles a day, every day, without any problem. Ah well.  Ill get back there.

We have Diva and the nephews this weekend.  I'm hoping the rain holds off as it is FINALLY warm enough to play outside.  Not just the kids ~ I want to play, too.  I'm thinking a bike ride down the trail is in order.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It Won't be Long Now

These photos are from last spring, but what the heck. Who doesn't love bright spring tulips after a long, gray winter? My daffodils have buds in them, and today I spotted a bit of blue coming out on the hyacinths. Wahoo!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Diva's Latest Creation


Diva's been in the kitchen again!  She used purple paper cupcake liners, confetti cake mix, white frosting, pink frosting, sprinkles, malted milk eggs, and paper flower cut outs.  It was quite a project, but I think they're cute. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

When Being Wrong is Right

The forecast for Saturday was rain, rain, wind, and more rain. Lucky for us the weather people got it wrong: