Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 Resolutions

I've been thinking about the new year's resolutions and I've come up with a few.

Last year I resolved to read the Bible through in a year. I did good until a few weeks before christmas, then I just stopped. I gave myself permission to put it off until after the holidays. So I will finish that up in January. I still want to read the bible daily, I just won't follow such a hard schedule. I find that I'm missing it and I can tell by my attitude that I haven't been reading it.

Also, the usual eat right, exercise resolutions will be there, but with a twist. A fun twist.

And then there is the matter of the upcoming move.

Let's just get to the list:
1. Read the Bible daily. Pick a book and read a chapter a day. Much more flexible and doable schedule.
2. Eat healthier. This is the fun one. I've already introduced the idea to the family and they are on board. My plan is to fix one new recipe - healthy, quick and hopefully tastey(but not guaranteed) - a week. We've chosen Tuesday. We will call it Terrifying Tuesdays or something like that. Everyone has to take at least one sincere bite. I'm already working on assembling the recipes. I've got dozens of cookbooks and I get emails and I have dozens of websites at hand. I'm choosing some vegetarian, some heart smart, some weird, some normal but made over - but all of them are to be touted as healthy and fairly easy to make. The goal is to discover new foods and to add new dishes to our regular repetiour (sp?), so we will be more apt to stay home and eat. My hope is to post the recipe, pictures and the results. Stay tuned. It starts next week! p.s. I only have 5 recipes selected so far - if you know of any really goofy good ones, let me know!
3. Exercise. I need to incorporate strength training into my routine. I don't have a plan set yet.
4. Survive the move. I need to start weeding out and throwing away junk. Gary said that we should choose one room a week to concentrate on. I think there are some rooms that would take several weeks! We have got a lot of toys, books and clothes to either sell or give away. I'm tempted to just give away.
5. Work the budget. Put the budget together so we can clearly see what we can afford for a house. We probably won't buy in Atlanta, at least not when we first get there. But we will be buying in the near future.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at the beach!

This is what we did today, after the present opening frenzy. (try to ignore the wild gray hair) The water was brown, yucky, wild and on the cold side. And it was cloudy and windy. I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. It was wonderful! I had a great time boogie boarding. Jake did a little and dug around in the sand. Ryan pouted the whole time. He did NOT want to be there. All he wanted to do was play the Wii. We were there for about an hour when my friend Susan came and her family and they set up a little tree. We decorated it with seaweed and beach debris.



The finished product:









Something bumped my leg twice, so I got the heck outta there!

That's me!







Wednesday, December 24, 2008

gearing up for Thursday

The boys have sorted and counted the presents under the tree, and I have been informed that Jake has 7 and Ryan has 6 (from us) - so I need to go out and rectify that situation. They did this on Saturday and pulled out their Webkins and commenced to playing with the gifts. What was I thinking buying them presents? All they need are boxes! (these are 9 year olds I'm talking about, not 3 year olds) They built structures, oil rigs to be exact, and assigned jobs to each of their Webkins. This has gone on for several days. My boys create businesses quite a bit in their play. We have also created a business of baking snickerdoodles and have named the business (which I will not reveal here, because I wouldn't want anyone to snatch it because we will surely actually create a business and need to register the name - LOL!). We also daydream about being candymakers and brainstorm different exciting candies. That's just a couple of examples.

Two large boxes from the in-laws arrived tonight, so that was big excitement. The boys have asked if they could open a present tomorrow morning. We have a tradition that we can open 1 present each on Christmas Eve. But it's usually later in the day. The boys are about to bust!

Tomorrow evening there is a candlelight service at the church. This past Sunday our church held a live nativity. I helped in the kitchen with the cookies. Right before it all began, someone came in to ask us to pray because the animals were stranded on the side of the road. The trailer had broken down. The police was with them. So we prayed. That trailer of animals showed up just when the opening hula began. (yes, this is Hawaii, so hula is a must at any and all activities)

Another tradition in our family, that I started and I'm sure I mention every year, is to make a birthday cake for Jesus. This is the celebration of his birth, so I think a birthday cake is appropriate. This year I want something different. So I have selected a gingerbread cake recipe - a heart healthy one of course. We'll see how it turns out. I'll take pictures.

As far as food goes, I'm making a breakfast "pizza" involving sausage and eggs and crescent rolls. Not at all healthy. My plan is for Christmas morning, but it may be for supper tomorrow night and pancakes for breakfast instead. We'll see. I need to poll the peeps. I have steaks to grill for Christmas supper, brown rice and green beans will round it out. During the lunch hour we will hit the beach and blow off steam. My friend Susan has invited us to join her family. She has a tradition of hauling a Christmas tree to the beach and decorating it with stuff found on the beach. And then surfing and playing in the water. and of course taking pictures to drive the mainlander friends wild with envy. LOL!

The next big thing going on is our school is putting in a new playground. Scratch that, the PTSA/parents and community is putting in the playground. The DOE tore out our awesome playground suddenly, traumatically and unexpectedly this fall the first week that school was in session. I'm sure I wrote all about it. We have raised $120,000 so far and need to raise a little bit more, but the new playground will involve cool stuff like a volcano... It's been designed by Leathers and Associates. So, the build will be January 7-11. But I'm going to help on Sunday by providing some food for 50 volunteers (it's a group of us providing the food). I guess they are part of the demolition, which looks like the demo is complete... Maybe they need to smooth out the dirt or something? Dig up old buried tires?

Our school has no budget. It's a great school, but the DOE has decided to take money from the schools instead of themselves. So, as it is, we have a half time librarian, no music, no art, no reading specialists and will lose a teacher or two next year. Because our teachers are so awesome, our school does well on the standardized tests and we are not classified as a no-child-left-behind school and do not get extra monies. We have a large military population, and the monies we get from that has been slashed, and it doesn't help that we had a very disruptive 5th grade the year before and lost a huge number of students. Good school, but big money problems and other issues.

Well, I didn't mean for this to go into a diatribe about the school situation.

If I don't get on here again until after Thursday, then Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the unofficial Honolulu Marathon 2008 post

(I'll post for real when I get some pictures!) But in the meantime, here's a picture that a friend took of us, posted on facebook and I swiped. I'm the munchkin holding up the shirt, BTW. You may recognize Jenny from the Pokemom's Komen team just a few posts back.


This was Jenny's first marathon and I'm surprised she's smiling here. j/k She did great! I did great!

As a refresher, last year's time was 6 hours 32 minutes. This year's time was 6 hours 7 minutes! yeah baby! I shaved a whole minute per mile average off my last year time. And this with some really bad pain in one knee and both feet. But I'll get to that in my official post...

I read in the paper today that a player for the Red Sox ran it and came in at 6 hours 9 minutes. Wooosh. Did you feel my breeze as I swept past you? LOL! j/k Gotta have as much fun with it as I can. Trust me, there were 80 year olds passing me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Noah! Start building the ark!

The rain has finally stopped, but it's still cloudy. I woke up last night at 1 am and it was pouring down rain and windy. It carried on all night and all day until about 1pm. Why is this a big deal? It doesn't rain like this very often. Rain usually comes in little 1-5 minute sprinkles (with the exception of the marathon last year, thank you very much). Sure, there are harder rains, but this was bad. I've got pictures, of course...

This first picture is of the water in my back yard, coming up on the lanai. I have a concrete backyard. Don't ask me why the owners wanted so much concrete... But, to let you know, this is a covered lanai. Oh, and this is my outdoor furniture finally with the repainting done. I like the black.

This picture shows just how close to the house it got. That's our back sliding doors on the left.


This is a shot out of our front door.



This is the octopus tree on the side of the house. At least 5 large branches broke off. I had to drag them all the way around the house and out to the front.

These are all the branches out front. You can see the single string of icicles I hung, all by myself. Hee-hee. It's so redneck.



As you can see, it didn't pare down the tree a whole lot. That's it looming over the house behind the garage. We are so blessed that it didn't damage our roof or the neighbor's house.





These are the cups I set out to catch the drips from our leaking roof. Ghetto house.




This the area at the tree after my branch cleanup.



While it was raining I managed to get all my wrapping done. Yay! Now I need to scrounge up boxes for the shipping.




















Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Verdict is in...

We have been assigned to ..................................







drumroll please......................................................................













Hot-lanta!! um, Atlanta!!



He'll be working at FORSCOM (Forces Command).



Uh, I just got an email saying it's not official. Pretty much set though. Well, that's the Army for you. Why say anything if it's not a done deal?



So, has anyone lived there before or currently?? Any opinions on areas to avoid or good schools? Anything, I'll take anything! Names of good churches - I need that too. Where are good places to run or walk? Should we live in close or should we live near the train stations? Buy or rent?



Great. Now how am I supposed to wrap presents when now I want to obsess??

Monday, December 8, 2008

how's the new look?

I was digging around the blog land out there, mainly I was looking at blogs by people who read Lyn's blog - and came across some info on how to put backgrounds on your blog. Which led me to the site "the cutest blog on the block". They have some free backgrounds, and they have some things that are not free. What I have here is free. I did have another background, but it was dark and you couldn't read the text. I put the link to them on my sidebar there >>.

Cute, no? Yeah.

Gary called and left a message. I was out grocery shopping. Bummer. I also got a call that my plastic surgery surgery date was moved. Did I mention that I had a date scheduled? It was for January 6, but now it's the 14th. bummer again. In case I forgot to mention it, it's for scar repair and, uh, you know, the little bump that makes a girl just a little bit more girly and less Barbie. But maybe the date change will mean we can take a quick outer-island trip during the winter break.

But I don't have time to be goofing off like I am. I took the boys out Saturday and we went on a wild shopping spree and got all the Christmas shopping done. Well, it's never done done. But mostly done. I should be wrapping presents and boxing them up for shipping. I'm still in recovery from the shopping. The boys did really well considering the torture I put them through. I did splurge on a trip to McDonald's and an order of the mini cinnamon things.

I weighed in today and am shocked at how much I've gained!! So after the marathon, I'm getting serious again. Weight watchers has renamed their program - I've read up on some of it and don't see much change, other than terminology. No change that rocks my world. Stopping eating the junk will rock my world enough... I'd hate to see my cholesterol now.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

ants, trees and marathon

Let's start with the pleasant things... Like our tree! Having lived in Hawaii before, we knew of the housing situation - as in SMALL. So we left the non-essentials, like the fake Christmas tree. We do have a tiny Spongebob tree and a small table top tree that were supposed to suffice during our stint here. Yeah, right. This year I insisted on a real tree. Which means we had to buy a tree holder, lights and ornaments. It just has not felt like Christmas for the past 2 years - mostly due to the weather, but also due to the woeful lack of ornamentation in our house. Not that I'm a superstar designer or anything. But a tree adds that umphf.

Gary is currently in Japan, but before he left, we went to the local lot and picked us out a nice 5 1/2 footer. The 1/2 foot is a tall stalk on top, which is perfect for our star tree topper. It took us a week, but we found time and bought some cheapie ornaments and it doesn't look half bad! A little sparse, but that's okay. I actually thought it'd look tacky, but the cheapie ornaments you can find nowadays are slightly more sophisticated. The tinsil garland is still tacky, but at least the color coordinates. It's a bit breezy tonight, so it's durability is being tested.

It now proudly sits out on the back lanai, right on the other side of our sliding glass doors, so we can enjoy it inside or out. I'm glad to have it.

Now, to clean the house and get the rest of the stuff put out...
******************************************************************************
I can't believe it's the 5th and we have not started our Christmas advent readings.
******************************************************************************
Marathon news. I've walked my last long walk this morning. Last weekend I walked 20 miles and felt awful for several days. My shins have been in pain for a few weeks which alters how I walk which makes other body parts start aching. So my schedule called for short 3 mile walks this week and I think that has really helped with healing. today's walk was torture for the first 3.5 miles, but then I loosened up and hit my stride, finished the 10 miles and felt great all day long. (with the exception of one toe)

Tapering for real begins. And then the marathon. It's on the 14th. I'm excited for it to come. I love the energy that comes with it. All these people who have trained so hard and for so long. Everyone is full of energy and life and excitement. I'm a little bit dreading the pain that I know will come, and the port-o-potties. I still gag when I think about them. It really traumatized me!

Gary will not be here, so that makes me sad. I had a friend who was going to take the boys, same as last year, and be my en-route support person and cheerleader, but she had to go to the mainland and do a Thelma and Louise cross-country with a friend who is dying. Her husband is sweet enough to agree to keep the boys as planned. Since she is gone, the boys will be a good distraction for their son. But I don't anticipate him bringing the kids to a point somewhere on the route to cheer me on. (and carry supplies that I might need) So I don't imagine I'll have any pictures of this race. :-(

*******************************************************************************

Ants. I'm being invaded. I've seen them in the kitchen here and there for over a week now. I made fudge and merangues on Wednesday and the ants swarmed the bits that I missed in clean up. So I had to get them. I was given a local tip on what works, went to the store and immediately put out a few drops of the "bait". The ants practically stampeded to get to the stuff! And let me tell you. While I saw only 10-20 at a time before, gazillions came to get to this stuff. Where have they all been hiding? Scratch that. I don't want to know. They ran (because these ants aren't walkers, they are frenetic runners) back and forth for hours. The stampede has diminished significantly, finally, but a few are still at it. I just hope they took the poison to the nest and now the million-gazillion are D-E-A-D.

Did you ever see that movie Ants! (IIRC) I guess it was made in the late 70's early 80's. I swear, if these ants start forming words on the walls, I'm outta here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving a day early!

So, is everyone ready?? Are you having a big feast with lots of family or doing something adventurous with your own little clan, or inviting someone to join you? Or, like us, just having a nice little dinner with just us, watch football, put up Christmas lights and spend time together. Gary is leaving Sunday for Japan for a few weeks - yes, the crucial shopping days before Christmas. (not to mention shipping days) Ugh, don't even get me started on Christmas cards. Last years aren't even done! I'm going to take the easy way out and do picture cards. I already have a picture picked out.

Gary asked me to keep it simple. He didn't want me slaving for hours in the kitchen. So here is our menu: I'm going to bag a small-ish turkey (cooks much faster); sweet potatoes with crushed pineapples, walnuts and cinnamon; brown rice; jarred gravy; and some easy rolls that a friend gave me the recipe to. We tried to make these last year, but they kinda flopped. So I begged her for the recipe and I'm going to try again. I need to stick in a green vegetable - but why bother? I'd be the only one who eat it. For dessert, I'm picking up a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake that they sell at Foodland.

****************************************
So I was looking at last years posts, to get a feel of when we they told us our assignment. It was around the first week of December - so hopefully we'll know something soon. The job that Gary wanted most is not going to be available, he just found out. I guess the guy is going to stay there. Anyway, I was reading the post and I had said I was getting teary-eyed at the thought of leaving here. Well, I've got to say, last week we went to a movie.... Back the train, I have to explain this part. At Consolidated Theaters, they have this intro clip. Very dramatic. Starts out dark, and you hear the blowing of the conch shell, you see native Hawaiian paddlers and hear the chants, some hula, etc. LOVE IT! I get goose bumps every time. They were showing this clip when we lived here 10 years ago. Goodness knows how long ago they filmed it. Back to the story, at the movies, and the clip comes on. Guess who tears up? You got it. I'm such a sentimental sap. But I couldn't help but think that I would never see it again in just a few short months. Such a totally Hawaiian thing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

it must be fall!

even though it doesn't feel like it. Because I made soup! It was yummy. I also made bread using the recipe I posted many moons ago. I'm going to have to label my recipe threads. Here is the recipe I used, I got it off the weight watcher chat boards. I made a few changes as you'll see in the notes beneath the recipe.

Beef Barley Lentil Soup
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups cubed red potatoes ( ¼ inch pieces)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
½ cup medium pearl barley
8 cups water
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) stewed tomatoes

In a non-stick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker (crock pot). Layer with the potatoes, celery, carrots, lentils and barley. Combine the water, bouillon, salt and lemon-pepper; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables and barley are tender. Add the tomatoes; cook 2 hours longer.

Yield 10 servings.

Notes: I used stew meat and trimmed off all the visible fat. I browned the meat and onions, but I'm sure you could get away with not doing that. I only had 1 can of stewed tomatoes (which I blended with a hand blender) so I added a can of rotel tomatoes. The cooking time - well, I didn't need 8 hours! Very yummy.

I'm sorry I haven't posted all week. I had a very unpleasant day Wednesday and it's affected me for a long time. I wish people were more aware of how their words can really hurt. Even when they mean to hurt you (at the moment) - it really, really hurts. Probably more than intended.

I've got some pictures to post. We had a huge rain this weekend, and while we were driving past the Koolaus on the H3, I hung my phone out the window and took pictures of the waterfalls cascading in between the folds of the mountains. I need some time to resize them for internet posting.

Monday, November 17, 2008

reminiscing...

This time last year I was posting about bad news that Gary got passed over for promotion. Well, deja vu - it happened again this year. There is no "next time". In rereading those posts, I relied on I Thess. 5:18 - and curiously enough, that exact verse is what I've relied on this time. We just did it in our after-school Bible class. I even made a "give thanks" cake, because this means we are going to embark on something different in our family. And God always has the most interesting stuff planned.

So we have to face the future. That means I'm going to start digging into our finances and figure out how much house we can afford! Woop-te-do. I'm so not looking forward to it. Househunting - yes, I look forward to that. Being in debt, no. We are a frugal family and have no debts. A couple of years ago I swiped a book from my parents, one of those For Dummies books about buying a house. I'm going to fill out the charts and learn all about the intricate world of mortgages and negotiating.

So anyway, we have to move this summer. Gary talked to the placement people and we have a few possibilities. Notice I didn't say choice. It's never our choice. Hah! (gotta push the bitterness down) We're looking at 2 jobs a Ft. Monroe, VA (very near where we lived last time), Charlottesville VA at the JAG school, Atlanta, and Ft. Sam Houston San Antonio. Of course, I've been spending my time online researching schools and houses. The list needs to be narrowed down more, because these are just too many areas to research fully.

Oh, and if he finds a job and wants to retire? They need 9 months notice. How fair is that? What employer is going to wait 9 months for a new hire?

So, to lighten the mood, I decided to post a picture of me when I was 13 and in braces. Give me a break folks, I was 13 and this was the 70's! LOL!




Wednesday, November 5, 2008

back to the usual routine...

First off, I'm going to post Halloween pictures.

Jake as a gangster (I need to talk to him about not pointing weapons at people!) and Ryan is a forensic crime investigator (in other words, a CSI, but I dare not call him that in his range of hearing) Basically, they are cops and robbers.


These are some friends they went trick or treating with. We went to a little party beforehand where we attempted to ply our children with goulish yet healthy foods before the candy frenzy.




It seems like there has been very little school the past month or so. First, there was the week of fall break, then a week and a half of half-days due to parent/teacher conferences. BTW, they went very well. The boys are doing great except their handwriting is atrocious. It's going to start affecting their grades, and I told the teachers to do whatever they needed to do to drive the point home that they needed to take the time to write neatly. It's bad folks. It would be unreadable if I weren't the mama.
Oh, we had off monday and tuesday for waiver day and election day. Then they get Veterans day off and two days for Thanksgiving. Not to mention we get 3 weeks for winter break which is coming up way too soon. Christmas shopping? It's so hard to even think about when it's in the 80's. The room I'm sitting in right now reads 88.
I'm about to scream. My printer is flaking on me. I just bought a new ink cartridge and now nothing is printing. Oh, there's ink in that thing all right. Can we not manufacture a printer or pc that actually works?? This is so frustrating. We seem to buy new ones every other year! That's just not green people! If I had a shotgun I'd rip this thing a new one, ya know.
Okay, in this no politics zone, I must mention that I'm glad the elections are over. I may not agree with the politics of the president-elect, but it is wonderful to see a black man going to the office. Let's face it, race is important in this race. It may not be what the race was about (for some I'm absolutely sure it was), but it is a major earmark for this particular election. I fear for some of the changes that will be coming, but I do embrace the change that having a black man in office will incur (is that a word?). This is huge folks. Huge. It will be normal for the newest generations for a person of color to occupy the highest office in the country. An office of respect. I think this is a turning of the tide for greater gains in race relations. (of course, I pray he does a great job and doesn't pass bad legislation) I love that this will be the norm (as it should be) for my kids. When I think back again to that book "Elijah of Buxton" - how it reminded me that slaves were treated as animals, or really less than animals - possessions, not even prized possessions. This is a good day. Maybe not so politically, but a good day morally.


Gosh, I wonder if this will end up being another post I have to unsave...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

pictures from today and more race pics

First, I took a couple of pictures on my walk today with my camera phone. It rained for half my walk, so it's really cloudy, and well, the quality and composition are just not great. But I wanted to share what I get to see on my walks. The ocean was really roaring this morning.

The first two are along the ocean, actually looking across the top of Kailua Bay. You can see the Mokes in the distance (the two tiny little humps on the left - the other big humps are part of Oahu) in the second picture; and the little island in the first picture is dubbed "bird poop island". It's usually shining white - with, well, you know. They seem really far away in these pics, but they are larger IRL.

Had I left 15 minutes earlier and were it not cloudy, there would be a spectacular sunrise. I want to get that photo.

This next picture is alongside the stinky pond I walk around. It's stinky for a few reasons. It's right next to a water treatment facility, and the flow of water in and out is limited. I hear it's very briney. I love to watch the fish jump when they are feeling frisky. The crater in the background is on the Marine Corp base. I walk along the base of that crater. That's enough hill for me without having to go straight up it!


This is team Pokemoms - the ones who attended the race who are female, that is. Disclaimer, Jenny, the tall one, is not a deranged killer. She didn't want me to post this photo, but then later gave me permission. I guess it was early and she had too much coffee. Just kidding!


This is my favorite photo. Heh, heh. Job recruiters, please don't hold it against him! I made him do it!



regrets...

I "unpublished" that last posting. When I was typing it up, I knew it was the wrong thing to do, but I just wanted to get it off my chest. I'm so totally over it. I just use this place to blow off steam, and it usually works - unfortunately, this is such a public forum, casualties are bound to happen. I really didn't want to confront you Krisanne, so that's why I didn't. I figure that the 3 readers I have don't know you and I didn't name names, so it wasn't really a big deal in my mind. Unload and move on. I'm passive-agressive I guess - big shocker there. LOL!

On an interesting side note, the school had a kids vote on Friday. My boys' votes cancelled each other out. Gary is shocked - because he was the one who explained to them the differences between Obama and McCain. He, of course, expected them to fall in line. He shouldn't be shocked, this is Obama country. Ryan said the kids in his class were making fun of McCain's age.

Meanwhile, I'm saving up a big vent about HFCS and a related article I read in the newspaper. I have a little pantry research to do first. (this whole this is a form of procrastinating my FRG duties) Exciting, I know...

Monday, October 20, 2008

more Komen photos - all pre-race




somehow, didn't get post race photos, that's all for the best I'm sure, but the lei I got was really pretty.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Komen race for the cure

This is what I did this morning ...
Excuse the gray hair and glasses, after all, it was 5:30 in the morning! This doesn't even begin to show what I looked like at the end of the race. Imagine bright pink shoelaces on my serious running shoes, and energizer bunny ears atop my bright pink cap - and a lei. Like my t-shirt? Had I known there was a t-shirt contest I would have bought another one to enter. But we know in our hearts that we won that contest. (no one was willing to strip off theirs to enter it) Ryan and I won door prizes. I won a Chevron pink car (toy), a team Chevron t-shirt and a Komen candle. Ryan won a pink Chevron car and a pink folding chair. Our team raised $390.


Friday, October 17, 2008

cryin, but not about me

I've cried out all my tears about me. That's done with. But now I'm bawling. I just finished the book "Elijah of Buxton" that I mentioned briefly before. It's a book that Jake is reading. It's a MUST READ. It's easy to read, yet hard to read. But I think it's important. I'm glad that my child is reading it, to get just a taste of the ramifications of slavery in America. I think the further and further we get away from those times, it becomes unreal - just an aside in history. That would be a shame to forget or minimize.

Jake asked me this morning, when we were walking to school, "would you rather be dead or a slave?". I couldn't answer him. Think about it. It's a hard, hard question.

I'm just so sorry that such a horrible thing as slavery existed, and even more horrible, it still exists in the world and the prejudices still linger here.

I can't help but be reminded that people are capable of anything. Usually rotten things. I'm not one of those who think people are basically good. That never flew with me. *sigh* oh how we need Jesus.

Creamy Salad Dressing recipe

I thought I'd change it up and do something fun today. A recipe!! Recipes are always fun. And this one is good and easy. I made it last night for the first time.

I have to give credit where credit is due, I get recipes sent to my email by Dr. Andrew Weil. I think I got hooked up with these emails by poking around Jillian's (from the Biggest Loser) website. He's got good recipes if you are wanting healthy ones.

Creamy Salad Dressing

8 servings This delicious and easy soy-based dressing can stand head to head with everyone's favorite – ranch dressing. Look for silken tofu in shelf-stable cardboard containers. It has a different texture than regular tofu and is good for dressings and desserts. This dressing is good on a tossed green salad (remember to pick dark green salad greens), but equally at home on a baked potato or as a dip for raw vegetables. Add a bit of fragrant bleu cheese if you like.

Ingredients:
6 ounces silken tofu (or soft tofu, drained)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender container. Blend until well mixed.

Nutritional Information:
Per serving:
33 calories
3 g total fat (0 g sat)
0 mg cholesterol
1 g carbohydrate
2 g protein
0 g fiber
134 mg sodium

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

another wednesday - WW vent

Yeah, lame title. Just a little of this and a little of that.

Weight Watchers is driving me nuts. They did something to the planner so now it's not working properly for us on the Core plan. It's been this way for a WEEK!! With no message or notice to those of us on the plan. Finally, 2 days ago, customer service posted a message on the core board telling us of a workaround. Pretty lame workaround if you ask me. If you can believe what you read on the message boards, the responses people have been getting when they call WW is pretty unbelievable. From not knowing there is a problem, to saying it'll be fixed in a few hours. Heh, heh. Last week. Oh, and my personal favorite "well you know what foods are core, so it shouldn't be a problem, just roll with it". And then, you have the people on the core board who don't use the planner, so they are sick of us posting about it and they are being ugly. It's only a few, but enough to irritate. People like that like to post often and everywhere.

Corbies already feel like the red-headed stepchild. There are already a few bugs with the planner that we've been living with. But this new problem renders the whole planner useless. If you can't eat a banana without using points, you may as well be on the Flex plan.

So I sent a message to customer service. It took two days, but I heard back - I'm getting credited a week. I guess if this problem persists, I'll have to periodically send messages to get credit or just cancel. The planner is everything to me. I need to keep a journal to keep me honest and mindful of how much I'm eating. And this planner is fast and easy. I've tried other free food journals online and they are so slow and/or not flexible. Plus, I like the core plan. Remember how good it is for my cholesterol?
*****************************************************************
I picked up the race packets for my Komen team - Pokemoms. Yahoo! Our little team has earned $365 already. I need to distribute, but they didn't include the race instructions and maps for everyone so I'm trying to make copies. My printer is flaking out on me.
******************************************************************
This morning I went on my 3 mile walk. I've been feeling cocky about my jogging (I jogged 2.8 sunday night), so I thought I'd jog a couple of miles. Bonk! My shins were hurting so bad and I was just not feeling good in general. Couldn't do it. I maybe made a mile. In spurts. The rest I walked. But it's all good. Today is just supposed to be a 3 mile walk on my schedule. The reason my shins are sore is because I did 2 minute fast walk intervals on my 4.4 mile walk yesterday. I need to stretch them out good. The vog is here again. Kona winds. That doesn't help one bit.
*****************************************************************
The house is a mess and I need to shower before school lets out. Another Good News Club today - pray that the children are calmer. I'm hoping the fall break gave them some stress relief and now they are ready to behave. Wishful thinking...
*****************************************************************
We got the boys their halloween costumes this weekend. Jake is going to be a gangster and Ryan is going to be a crime scene investigator.
****************************************************************
The boys got their latest book order in yesterday. They both have already read 1 book each. Ryan read a Goosebumps book, and Jake has read that new 39 Clues book. I'm eager to read that one myself. They've done a lot of reading lately. Ryan is working on finishing The City of Ember. As soon as he's done, we're going to see the movie. Jake and I have already read the book. I've read the movie review and see that they changed the story a bit. That sort of thing ticks me off, because it's a good book - ready to be made a movie if you ask me. But screen writers seem to think they haven't done their job if they haven't changed the story. It was like that for Spiderwick Chronicles - oh and countless others. I remember when the first Harry Potter came out and the kids were raving about how it was just like the book and the critics were criticizing because it was just like the book. Now that just doesn't make sense to me. I figure the author spent years writing and planning a book and a screen writer spends maybe a few weeks or so (if even). They usually miss the big picture vision and the nuances that are charming in the books.
I'm still trying to read the books that the boys bring home to read. It's hard to keep up, since Jake is such a fast reader and the books are bigger. Jake is reading Elijah of Buxton and I'm just charmed by it (there's that word again) and hope I can finish it before he has to leave it at school. I'm tempted to tell him to leave it home for a whole day so I can get more time in.
****************************************************************************
I'm working on trying out more whole grain recipes. I did one the other day that was barley in the rice cooker. Gary liked it. I didn't. Too strong. It tasted like Spanish rice, of which I'm not a fan. When I find some good ones, I'll post them. It's fascinating though, the recipes out there that you can make in the rice cooker. Google "rice cooker recipes".

Thursday, October 9, 2008

tada! the reveal...





This is the long-awaited design. Cute, isn't it? I hope you can see it. I will tweak the size if it doesn't show up large enough. The little words on the bottom say "early detection saves lives". I will take a picture of the team and post it after the race. I can't wait until the shirts get here. We all ordered tank tops. Crossing fingers that they are decent quality and not too tight!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

First post here

This is going to be one of those loser throwaway posts. I just want something to show up. It's gonna be a fun holiday season figuring this business out. I promise, my next post will be that awesome t-shirt I designed for my Pokemom's Komen team.

toodles!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

t-shirt design

I've got a good design in the works!  My teammates approve - actually they encourage me to make it BIGGER.  I guess when it comes to all things chest, the bigger the better...  LOL!  I had gone out and bought some software - did a bonehead thing and bought something that wasn't Vista, I thought it was.  Looked online and they have a patch to make it compatible - so I got to work right away.  The girls want to do a screenprint - which makes it limiting in colors.  We want to keep it down to 3 colors.  I don't know if that would look better than an iron on.  Considered cafe press, but it would be pricey, and the selection of shirts are limited and I doubt it would be delivered in time although I bet they would have the best results.

To answer your question Trish, they gave me a couple of options.  There are two other plastic surgeons for me to choose from, but one is my next door neighbor - so it's a 'no' on him.  The other guy I will meet in two weeks - I have an appointment to meet him and he'll administer the shots I'm getting in my scar to help reduce it. (keloid)  My PS is said to be coming back a couple of days a week starting in November to finish up some of his current patients - I fall in this category.  At this point, I think it's too late to do any surgery, no matter how minor, until the marathon.  So I'm looking at mid-December regardless who I choose.  Plus I'm not sure how follow-up care would work.  What if something goes wrong?  It's just one procedure though - supposedly a simple one.  I don't want to break in a new surgeon!!  Ugh.  I hate this situation.  So unless this new guy is a real moron, I'll probably go with him.  I briefly met him - he was one of the crowd at my last appointment.  He didn't say a word.  He seemed a bit homorless - which would be polar opposite of my current guy.  I guess that doesn't matter if he's good.

Friday, October 3, 2008

my doctor flew the coop!

I'm so upset.  My plastic surgeon is on terminal leave, as of Monday.  Terminal leave means he's getting out of the service.  Rumor has it he's leaving plastic surgery too.  I can either see him to finish up (supposedly he'll be coming in a couple of days a week starting in November to finish up some of his patients) or get a new doctor.  I'm so confused on what to do.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

yes, I'm still here...

I had forgotten I had a private journal, so I just finished saving all that stuff on my pc.  It was kind of a fun trip back in time.  It started in August of 05.  I was complaining about gas being $2.53, and saw a week later it jumped up to $3.  So funny because today it's $4.04 and I'm happy about that, because that is way down from this summer!!  Meanwhile, my parents are on a trip and say that there is a gas shortage in NC, and my brother in IL says they are practically giving gas away for something like $3.75.

Thankfully the entries were short and few.  It would have taken all day to copy over, but this went fairly quickly.

I just ran out and bought some cheap design software.  Not the fancy Photoshop stuff, not photo software, but just some stuff that lets you mess around with fonts and clipart and pictures.  hopefully I can figure it out quickly (if I can find time) and design that t-shirt.  Times a-wastin'!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a little notice would be nice! (rant)

Thanks to Trish, I now know that J-land is closing.  I hadn't noticed the banner up top which cryptically announces it's demise.  I'm sorry, but I  need a flaming, in-your-face, you-can't-ignore-it announcement.  Um, Trish's IM to me was perfect, but she's not going to do that to everyone.  LOL!

Here is a link to a journal I stumbled across. http://journals.aol.com/journalseditor/magicsmoke/

I mean I literally stumbled across this journal.  There has to be better communication.  There is NOTHING on the people connection page.

Apparantly these are the folks who are responsible for J-land.  They will be posting a blow by blow.  It seems that not only are the journals going, the hometown webpages are going (ack!  I have a lot of links to people's recipes! plus my baby and pregnancy pictures), and PICTURES is going.  The journals and pictures are most devastating to me.  Remember, last summer our computer blew and I lost a lot of pictures.  Well, I've got a lot of pictures in AOL Pictures.  I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS PEOPLE!  This is a 1 year project, at least, to back all this stuff up.  (drama queen)

They say that they will try to migrate everything to a new place, but from what I was reading, they were just trying to test it out.  Not much buffer built in there.  This puppy is going down in a month, let's get the kinks worked out!  So do I save and transfer all my stuff to a new place I find on my own, just to have to turn around and transfer it all again onto the new place they choose?  (who wants all that personal info out there in multiples?)  Or do I wait on them and risk having everything disappear?

I'm so mad I just ate two cookies and I'm contemplating more.  I don't like change.  I'm mad.  Why am I still paying for AOL if they take away these benefits?  What good is it?  Seriously.  Answer me.  And why?  There is no explanation of the why.  I ate two more cookies.

This is just my rant entry.  I will be posting later where I can be found.  I do have a myspace account for my walking.  I'm also in facebook.  But facebook is not a journal.  Myspace seems too public.

Friday, September 26, 2008

dazed and confused?

First off, it's good news.  I didn't even have to get a biopsy.  They ultrasounded me to death, taking pictures of the myriad of cysts I have (and there are a lot, he was estimating 20-30, but that's probably an exaggeration).  These were the reasons given to me.  They saw scar tissue consistent with the surgeries I've had, there are so many cysts and they all look like the same kind, it's not concerning to them.  If there were just 2 or 3, then they'd biopsy.  The guy said, why biopsy just a few, you'd have to do them all!  I don't know about that reasoning, but he's supposed to be The Breast Man at the hospital, the Mammogram Expert.  I believe him, but what about what the other two guys saw??  Aren't they just as qualified?  One of the men from last time was the radiologist who shot me full of radiation for my SNB.  I dunno.  I would have liked to have had the same docs or had those docs pulled in to confirm that they were viewing what they saw last time.

So the game plan is this: they have put in orders for an MRI in 6 months.  And I'll have MRI's yearly after that.  So my breast will be looked at every 6 months, either by MRI or mammogram.  I am happy with that. 

So what happened to my moxy, my bluff and bluster to get a prophylactic mastectomy if it turned out benign?  I don't know.  I'm kinda confused.  I guess since they didn't poke me, and I feel thoroughly examined, I don't feel that angst so much.  I think that the next time I get hauled in for a biopsy, that's when I'll say "enough".

My emotions are starting to resolve themselves.  I walked out of that place in a daze.  I suppose you'd guess I'd be jumping up and down for joy, but I didn't know how to react.  I guess I don't trust that I asked the right questions or probed and questioned enough.  Should I take them at their word?  I did confirm with them that they knew I had breast cancer on the other side.  Yes, they did.  And I think that's why they ordered the yearly MRI.  Because MRI's aren't cheap - it's hard to get that approved.  I'm concerned about our current station in life and the future.  With Gary contemplating retirement, we won't always have the stability of our health insurance.  And we won't always have the safety of a large, all-inclusive hospital.  I've made it clear to Gary that this is something he HAS to include in his consideration of our future.  I'm not of good health.  We need good insurance and we need to live in a place that is not a health-care black hole.

So right now I'm awaiting a return phone call from the plastic surgeon nurse.  Get that back in the works.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a pit in my stomach, my inner chaos

Voila!  My journal finally recognizes me as who I am.  I got some unloading to do.

It's been too long in between my mammogram and the biopsy.  All last week I was googling my symptoms and re-visiting all my breast cancer websites that I had weaned myself from, making lists of pros and cons and having heartfelt conversations with my DH - being a nervous nelly in general.  The past 3 days have been alright.  But today, I get my mammogram results in the mail.  Yep.  They still mail it out even though I KNOW what the results are.  But it still hurts to see that "abnormal mammogram" box checked.  And now my stomach hurts.  (which isn't helped by the fact that I've been eating horribly - saw that letter and ran to the Triscuits and cheese).

My biopsy isn't until Friday.  Gary is taking me.  Men.  Get this, he had taken off Thursday last week for when I was scheduled to get my nip made.  Even though I told him he didn't need to, it's an easy procedure that'll take less than an hour and no anesthesia yadda, yadda.  Since that was cancelled, he went to work, but he didn't take off for Friday for my biopsy.  I asked him why and he said that it was just a few needle sticks.  Hello?  Don't worry.  I gave him a graphic description of these so-called "needle sticks" that he won't soon forget.  Needless to say, he's taking me on Friday.  I'll let him sit in the waiting room for 2 hours with those images running through his brain... Is that cruel? <bwah-hahahaha>

I really can't fault him though.  I think he was sheltered too much from the gravity of the situation and the depth of emotions I experienced last time.  My parents were here through most of it, so I expressed a lot to them, and here online and privately to God.  Plus he's great at denial.  I am too.

My life is reflecting the inner chaos.  I've not been a good housekeeper.  Well, I'm not a good housekeeper, I'm just worse now.  I'm behind in my Bible reading - which is probably the most devastating because I need this time more than ever.  I'm staying up WAY too late.  Like I already said, my eating is horrible.  I've just about finished up all the leftover pinata candy.  I have some other obligations that I've let fall to the side.  I'm just doing the bare minimum to get along.  I feel like life is in limbo.  I need to get answers NOW so I can get on with it.  I wonder how long it will take to get the pathology report.

Oh, I guess I haven't voiced yet my deepest concerns.  I can feel two lumps in the areas that they are concerned about.  One feels like a small frozen pea and the other feels like a frozen blueberry.  I say frozen to refer to how hard they are.  Hardness scares me.  Yes, I know already they are solid, so therefore they would feel hard, but you know, they are not the soft hard.  Yes, total paranoia here.  The pea one concerns me the most.  You know how they have those breast models that you can do a practice feel on and they have the good lumps and the bad lumps.  Yeh, I feel the bad lumps on me.  Again, it could be paranoia.  I hope it is. 

One of the popular DCIS statistics is that if there is a recurrence within 5 years, it's 50% likely to be invasive.  Now this wouldn't be a recurrence, because they removed that breast so this would be classified a new occurance if it is cancer.  I think even if it's DCIS again (which I doubt since this is such a different experience), that would move me from stage 0 to stage 1 automatically.  I'm not sure, I'll have to google that one.  Anyway, it's just a number, but ugh, it's not the safe place I've been.

So now you know what's going on in my head.  I hate cancer.

I'm sitting here putting together my Komen team and in the back of my brain I'm thinking that I could possibly be starting some form of treatment by the time the race happens.  Meanwhile I've thought of a cute little slogan to put on our team t-shirts.  How's that for a facade?  Life goes on, I gotta go on too.

Here's my shirt idea.  I thought up the phrase "freshly squeezed" (in reference to mammograms and/or self exams).  Okay, after looking at cafe press, it's not terribly original - but kinda original from the BC standpoint.  I thought about making the word squeezed big on the ends and narrow in the middle, like it's being squozed. (I know that's not a word) And then putting an orange on the end with a little pink ribbon on top.  There COULD be two strategically placed oranges, but that would be tacky (hilarious but tacky) and I'd have to explain it to my boys.  So I wanna keep it somewhat innocent.  But I don't have appropriate software to design this thing, nor do I have the creativity and know-how.  It will probably be another brilliant idea that never comes to fruition - I have a lot of those in a pile somewhere.  (similar to the Komen team link I was going to put on the side of this journal, but again, I don't have the know-how)

It helps to have gotten some of this stuff off my chest. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Pink Ribbon Month is coming!

I just registered my Komen Race for the Cure team.  If you wish to donate, you can visit my personal team page:  http://race.komenhawaii.org/site/TR/Race/General?px=1010661&pg=personal&fr_id=1020&et=7GR7BhV7o6CyiUQvPFSZ5w..&s_tafId=1410

You may just want to visit to see the two pictures I put on the page.

Now, to figure out how to put a nice link or button on the side here...  Any help, with elementary level detailed instructions, is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

surgery cancelled

Come join me in my pity party.  My barbie boob will remain faceless/plain for a while longer.  Excuse me while I lie down and kick my feet and have a good old temper tantrum...

Yeah, that's too much work.  Tantrums are for two year olds for a reason.

So I guess I will be able to run when we do the Niketown 5K on Sunday.  rats.  that's a lot of work too.

No time to dwell.  Must take shower so I can battle a bunch of elementary school kids and try to teach them about Jesus - if they can keep their hands off of each other!

Friday, September 12, 2008

change in plans

I guess I'll be journaling more now.  

As you know, I was scheduled to get my nip done on Thursday.  Was.  Maybe still, but I don't think so.  I called the PS office to ask if I could have a consult with him at the same time as my procedure.  The nurse called back to find out the situation.  She can't give me a definite answer, but I'm now prepared that it may be wait-until-your-situation-is-settled.  She will email the PS (who is currently in a 3rd world country doing charity work - don't tell me that the military is all bad!) and get back to me on Monday. 

So, I'm a little pouty.  But this may turn out for the better in the long run.

Anyway, this whole experience is already so much different than when I was diagnosed 2 years ago.  Then, we had just moved here and I had no friends, no home church.  It was a very self-focused, solitary experience.  Not so, this time.  This morning I told my first non-family person.  We already call each other bosom buddies.  She is in her late 50's early 60's - very youthful and funny and energetic.  She had chemo and radiation, and her diagnosis was a couple years before mine.  She has this tiny little tattoo of the Christian fish done on her chest where one of her radiation dots were.  Anyway, we are in the aerobics class together.  I told her and we all gathered around and prayed.  And then I shared via email with (edited) two people in my church.   They both emailed me back saying they too have bosom concerns  - so we are bosom buddies now.  God brought us together at just the right time.  Because none of us were going to share with the class.  Now we are joined together as prayer partners.

I have not told my vortex friends yet.  It's really been just too busy, especially with playground business.  But I know they are there for me when I do tell them.

I'm going to wait to tell mom and dad.  Last time, when I told them they bought plane tickets the next day, stayed 10 weeks just waiting around for something to happen, and then bugged out just a few days after my surgery, when I could have used them for a little longer.  So this time, knowing what their reaction will be, I'm going to time it better.  I'm going to wait until a plan is set and dates are clearer.  Don't get me wrong.  That time together was precious - I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it would be better for all of us if it was timed better.

Actually, if everything is B9, I think they would be quite resistant to my decision to have a prophy mast.  It's just a guess, but that's what I think.  Maybe I shouldn't project on them?  If I do go forward with a prophylatic mastectomy (which I will heretofore refer to as PM), I hope it will be AFTER the marathon.  Yes, I'm determined to do it.  Of course, then I think about the timeline for fills and all that mess.  I won't finish the process here in Hawaii.  Well, I needn't project out that far into the future.  I've not even been dx'd with anything.

I have to type all this stuff out.  It was rattling around my brain at 4:30 this morning and I couldn't get back to sleep.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

a comfort

It's been an anxiety filled day, but God has been faithful.  I sat down to do my Bible reading and this is the very first thing I read.  I promise it was on my schedule, I didn't go hunting and pecking for words of comfort!

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you."  John 14: 1-2

Those first two sentences nearly knocked me off my chair.

Now "going to prepare a place for you" may seem more doomsday than comforting, but yet it is.  Regardless the outcome, it's in good hands.  There's hope - it's a promise that I can trust.

And the the old testament reading.  I'm in 2 Chronicles and reviewing King Jehoshaphat's reign.  His country is being threatened by the Moabites and the Ammonites wanting to make war.  Jehoshaphat led his people to fast and inquire of the Lord and then it follows with an amazing prayer.  The Lord spoke to a Levite (priest) and these particular words just leaped off the page at me: "This is what the Lord says to you:  'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's....'"  then in here is a promise for deliverance , it continues "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you."

The promise for deliverance is not for me.  It was for Judah and Jerusalem.  But I was so encouraged by the words to not be afraid or discouraged, and that the Lord will be with you, the battle is God's.   And God proved true to his promise.  Suh-weet.

Here we go again?

I hope not.  Cancer, the gift that keeps on giving...

I went in for my mammogram today.  It took under 3 minutes for me to undress and get squished.  If you haven't had a mammogram in a while, you will be pleasantly surprised (if you have a good tech).  My tech was a speed demon.  This is the same tech I've had for the past 2 years.

It took less than 10 minutes waiting in the waiting room for them to call me back for an ultrasound.  Several suspicious spots.  They put up my last year mammo and today's.  Obvious places of concern.  Yes, mammograms do pick up things, even in dense breast tissue.  Even I could see it.

So they ultrasounded those spots and eventually the whole breast.  They've got at least 2 areas that need biopsy.  So I come back in 2 weeks to get those checked out.  They try to reassure you - oh, it's protocol, they don't look concerning, but we want to get samples.  Well, I would insist if you didn't!  You can't tell one way or the other unless it's on a slide.  So pray that if there is any cancer, it is picked up by the biopsies.

I should have had a double mastectomy.

But I can't live in the shoulda's.  I'm so close to just telling them to take it off and let's be done with it.  This will be the 3rd time my left side has been biopsied.  I think that's ridiculous.

I don't know.  My stomach feels awful.  It's in knots.  I'm sure everything will be fine (how's that for a platitude?), but do I want to keep going through this?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the New "new math"

My grandma used the term "new math".  And she was a school teacher.  She is long since passed, she was born in 1901 to give you an idea of her era.

Ryan has been struggling with subtracting large numbers.  I've been showing him how to borrow, but he's lazy and just wants to subtract the small number from the large number regardless of whether it's proper. 

Or so I assumed he was being lazy. 

Until I was checking Jake's math homework today.

Freaky stuff they are learning, I tell ya.

Here's the equation: 851 - 569   (I wish I could type this out like I can write it on paper)

You start with the numbers on the left. 
If the top number is larger than the bottom number, you put a plus sign.  And then you write down the difference of the 100's.  So you would write +300  (which is 800 - 500)

If the top number is smaller than the bottom number, you put a - sign.  And then write down the difference of the 10's.  So you would next write -10  (which is 50 - 60).

So in the ones spot, you would write -8  (which is 1-9). 

So far you have, 851 - 569 = +300 - 10 - 8

When you calculate 300 - 10 - 8  you get 282 which is the correct answer! 

What?????  How did that happen????  I've not figured out the mathematical logic to this yet.

And that's not all.  They are using the Everyday Mathmatics curriculum.  Which teaches like 12 different methods to add, and then 12 different methods to subtract, you get the idea.  I just glanced at Jake's math workbook check out what they've been learning lately: "trade first subtraction" (which I think is OUR way), "partial differences subtraction" (the method I just illustrated),  and "subtraction by counting up" (I glanced at that, and realized that that's what I do in my head a LOT).

A lot of moms HATE Everyday Mathmatics.  The jury's still out for me.  Because I understand that a lot of people don't process math easily in the way that we were taught.  And this method is supposed to help the child learn math by presenting a number of methods so they can pick the one that works for them.  I'm all for that.  As long as they don't get confused in the meanwhile. 

A con to E.M. is that you have to do it throughout your schooling.  So the new kids that move here are having a tough time of it.  I'm sure they'll get it soon enough, because E.M. is nothing if not repetitive.  It's learn a little, move on, learn a little, move on, etc. then rotate back and start all over again.  Feeds it to them in little pieces and repeats.

I think we have Ryan straightened out now.  He saw me showing that method to Gary, and his eyes lit up.  He said he likes that method.  It was easy to him.  So good, a connection was made.  THere's hope.

Friday, September 5, 2008

politics

I hereby declare this journal a No Politics zone.

I cannot get into a political discussion without getting upset.  I don't like getting upset, nor do I like having my words misconstrued, misread, dismissed and/or ignored.  I belong to a group of moms online and tried to get them to agree to no politics - some dissented.  We at least agreed to be nice.  I will not allow myself to be drawn into the fray if a fray begins.  So far, so good.

However, I belong to another group I will not mention and did get drawn in.  You cannot have a conversation with a person when their only answer is "we never should have gone into Iraq in the first place".  Okay, if that's your answer to everything, there's not a two sided conversation going on, is there?  The bigger problem, it's the mob mentality.  Oh, I forgot, the other answer is "she has an infant and her daughter is pregnant".  True, I can't help you with that one, but it doesn't address taxes.  Let's focus on policy people.  All politicians are evil - let's move on and try to sort things out.

Augh.  10 seconds after my declaration and I get embroiled with myself!!  That does it.  I'm not voting.  I'm going to just pop a tent up in Waianae and hide out until it all blows over.  Wake me up in time to go Christmas shopping.

(I think I married a wise man, because he refuses to rise to my baits of discussions that can get animated - much to my chagrin)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My babies are 9!

Yes, they'll always be my babies.  Here are some pictures I just took of them and the cupcakes I slaved on last night.  I was up till midnight making these things.  I think they are kinda groovy.

This is Ryan.  Don't mind the mess.  He's at the homework table and the shelves behind him house school supplies and all the paper junk they bring home.  He's currently eating a cupcake - which is a huge deal.  He's only been able to eat cupcakes for a couple of years.  This is the first year he's really eaten the whole thing and not just a tiny lick or a few bites.  Hooray!

This is Jake and his more serious pose.  You'll get the silly one next.  Notice in the background the outdoor table and chairs.  If you look closely you'll see one black chair with a black floral cushion.  The other chair and the table are beige.  This is my summer (now turned winter) project.  I'm supposed to be refinishing them.  The original is beige - with lots of rust.  The black is the makeover.  It'll be nice once I start working on it and get it done.  I'll take a better picture at that time.

This is the silly picture.  Jake has no problem with cupcakes.  He's gleefully cramming one in.  Again, don't mind the mess.  But do note the recliner in the background.  Yes, that's my sleeping/recovery recliner.  Wedged right in between the corner windows.  That's good sleeping!

These are the tie-dye cupcakes leftover from school.  Pretty cool, huh?  One tip, if you make 72 cupcakes, 9 little tubes of gel icing are not enough.  I would go with 15+.  I'm just guessing, because I only decorated 60 cupcakes and ran out.  At least 20 of those were decorated conservatively.  You can find the instructions on the family fun website, but here's how you decorate:  Make concentric circles of different colored gel icing and drag a toothpick (lightly) from either the center out or from out to in.  Center out looks more like tie-dye, out to in looks more like a flower.  I just so happened to have photographed both.  Wipe the toothpick clean between each drag.  This gets a little sticky/messy.  For the cake part, I made boxed cake mix, yellow, and stirred in a little bottle of colored non-pareils (sprinkle balls).  My tip for this - stir sparingly.  They melt very fast, and the more you stir the more the colors get muddled and the batter turns a purpley-brown.  Yuk.  I've seen online where people have separated bowls of batter and colored them and put blobs of different colors in the muffin cups.  Very cute.  Just google tie-dye cupcakes.  Lots of ideas out there.

Oh, the cupcake disaster.  Isn't there always one?  So I cleared out a shelf in the frig for the first batch of cupcakes.  I, mistakenly, put them in there without a lid.  They were on the middle shelf.   You can feel the disaster coming, can't you?  On the top shelf is the water pitcher thingy.  It's long and short and has a spigot that hangs over the edge.  I anticipated some drips so I put a ziplock baggie over the spigot.  Well, at one point I reach into the frig and somehow I notice water is pouring out of the spigot, filling up the baggie.  I'm panicking.  It's not easy stopping the flow, saving the cupcakes and figuring out what to do with the baggie all at the same time!  Water did get into the cupcake container, but I only had to take out 6.  Which is nothing compared to how much I had to bake.  Total disaster averted.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

every woman for herself!

I just had to call to schedule my mammogram.  It's been 3 weeks since my gyn appointment and have been patiently waiting for the mammogram dept. to call.  Gee.  If you don't look out for yourself, no one else is going to do it!

Go schedule yourself a squish if you are overdue!

BTW, the scheduler asked me, "so did you actually have breast cancer" - I knew she had pulled up my records on her computer.  For some reason, that just ticked me off.

Why am I in such an angry mood today??  I'm not liking myself too much.

PSA concerning dogs

First, I love dogs.  I've had a few in my lifetime, just not one at the moment.

The PSA is, if your dog goes running up to a stranger, if they are a friendly dog - call that out to the stranger "he's really friendly, he won't bite"; if he's not a friendly dog then bow and scrape and apologize profusely to the person.  You owe them at least that much.

Yesterday I was walking to the school to pick up my boys.  Same route as I always take.  Just a few yards down the street two HUGE (at least 150 lbs apiece) black lab mixes charge me barking ferociously.  I stop, because you don't want to infuriate a dog any further, and try to use a friendly voice, but these beasts were jumping and barking and surrounding me.  Not in a friendly way.  I had a large water bottle in one had and held one dog at bay with it, but the other literally put his mouth on my arm.  I felt his teeth and his wet lips on me.  I could tell that he was going to bite, but gave it a second thought and didn't.  I just knew I was going to lose my arm in a painful way.  Luckily labs are soft mouthed dogs, had it had a terrier mouth I would've been toast.  Where was the owner? - right there in his yard watching the whole thing.  He yelled once for the dogs - they didn't come immediately.  Then when they ran back to him, he hollered out a measely "sorry" and scurried off.  I yelled out that his dog bit me.  He was gone.

Hello?  To the owner:  I see you and your wife walk those two beasts every day.  I always smile, say hello and wave, even though you don't back.  You have to muzzle those beasts for your walks, and it's really not a walk, it's you being pulled down the road.  Those dogs each weigh more than you and are certainly stronger than you and your old, frail self.  The number to animal control is going onto my phone.  There will be no next time.  Had I had my boys with me - I shudder to think of how many years of therapy they would need.  *I* even cried afterwards.  I'm not crying any more.  I'm angry.  It doesn't matter that the dogs didn't hurt me.  They intimidated me and scared me.  Dogs are animals.  I believe that any person is capable of any thing, so what do you think I think about animals?

Rant over.

So, today, I went for my usual walk.  The couple was out with their dogs as usual.  They were sitting on a bus bench, I'm sure for a breather from being pulled by their dogs.  At that same time, a runner (the guy at Fleet Feet who sells me shoes) passes by.  I give him a big smile, Hi and wave - as usual, and give the couple the cold shoulder as I pass by.  Didn't even look at them.

Of course, being who I am, I feel bad about it.  Not very forgiving or Christ-like of me.  *sigh*  Maybe now that is out of my system I'll get over it and not hold a grudge.  Of course, I'll have to pray about it to get over my fear.  Because you know how it is, the story gets bigger and bigger - like a fish story.  Next thing you know I'll be saying the dogs ripped my arm to tatters and only the best plastic surgeon on the planet was able to put it back together.  LOL!  But it's challenging to even want to behave beyond my natural self.  God is so good.  It'll be interesting to see how this develops...

Monday, August 25, 2008

doctor appointment

Went to the plastic surgeon today.  My scar has healed enough for us to proceed to the next step.  He was measuring and stuff, and does acknowledge that the recon side is "that much lower" (showing me with his fingers), but I told him I'm ready to move forward.  So the nurse will call and schedule a date for the "cherry on top" to get made.  After that heals, it's on to the tattoo. 

While I was there he injected the other side, where I had the lift, because my scar was hypertrophic and it had been a year.  He said it would take a couple of injections, with 6 weeks in between.  I'm so ready for all this to be over.  It's been two years.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for a call to schedule my mammogram.  I'm going to have to call them, it seems.

I dropped a can of corn on my foot yesterday.  Left a nasty, painful bruise and a little lump.  Not broken.  But it hurts! 

Gary is going to Vegas tonight.  One of his fantasy football leagues is meeting to do the draft.  Why Vegas?  Yuck.  They should've chosen hawaii!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

racewalking on the olympics

I'm watching it right now.  It's very exciting.  It hurts my knees to watch them, because I've tried to walk like that, and it ain't fun or easy.  I really need to get professional instruction before I make any real effort to do it or I'll hurt myself.  I debate it.  Because I don't know if I want to go that fast.  Seriously.  I chose walking because it's doable.  This looks like too much work.  But it's still exciting.  It's laughable to hear the commentators talk about them "walking".  This is clearly not the average "walk".  They walk faster than a lot of people run.  I would like to kick up my speed though...

Speaking of walking, I've got to go to bed so I can get up early and do a long walk in the morning.  It will NOT be 20k.  Just 8 or 9 miles.  Depending on my cough and ability to get some sleep tonight.

Friday, August 15, 2008

cholesterol results

drumroll please...

for the first time in my 43 years of life, my cholesterol is

NORMAL!!

here are the stats:

total: 195

HDL: 54

LDL: 124

Triglycerides: 83

plus all my other bloodwork is normal except my white cells elevated, but I've got a bad cold I've been fighting for 9 days.  I'm at the hacking cough stage.  Nyquil has been my nighttime friend.

To recap, last year stats were:

total: 224

hdl: 41

ldl: 156

triglycerides: normal (unspecifide)

I am so beyond thrilled, to say the least.  The WW Core plan is exactly how I need to eat.  I've never been a person who could get away with anything, and so it goes with my body.  Why should I expect anything different?  So, if I have to eat very strictly healthy foods only, then that's what I shall do.  I've been really happy on Core, with only little splurges here and there.  I have not been hungry - maybe I'll crave, especially depending on hormonal fluctuations - and I like the freedom to eat to satisfaction without having to measure every single morsel of food that goes in my mouth.  So now I'm going to have to become a full-fledged food snob.  :-)

So how is this affecting the family?  Gary is losing weight.  I don't know why.  I make them biscuits and french fries and stuff, they've only gotten a few new foods like barley and bulgur.  Whatever.  That's the way it is with men.  Jake - well the other day I made a chicken and barley casserole that has chopped up carrot (and this time I snuck in chopped up broccoli that no one noticed) and he mixed his corn in with it while he ate.  Think about it.  That's kinda unusual behavior for kids.  It was awesome!! Gotta love this kid.  Ryan - different story.  He complained the other night that we've been eating too many bird foods (heaven forbid we have chicken twice a week!).  So tonight I made ham.  "Awwwww, why do you keep making stuff like this?"  me- "what? it's ham, not bird! what do you want?" him "I want things like pizza!".  Ahhhh.  I see.  Not enough "fun food".  (never mind we had pizza twice last week)  p.s. he loved the ham -  tastes like bacon he said.  :-D

EDITED TO ADD:  I've lost 11 pounds so far since I've started WW in June.  Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

this and that

I had my "well woman" visit today.  He put in referrals for a cholesterol test and mammogram.  I'm looking forward to the results of the cholesterol test.  The man hesitated when I told him that I wanted the results, good or bad.  He said he doesn't usually call if they are good.  Well, I want to know!  I need numbers.  (I'm eating as healthy as I can in a sustainable manner - if I can't control it now eating like this, I'll never be able to) He did acquiesce, but I did not like the hesitation.  He also hesitated when I asked him to check my back for moles.  In fact, he just checked the one I was concerned about - but here's the thing, I can't SEE my back, so how do I know if there is any other area of concern??  He's not my PCM.  Next time I'll hold out for her.  She wouldn't hesitate.  Oh, he also accused me of not taking my bp meds.  My bp was high, but he didn't bother to retest.  The computer did not have one of my meds listed, so he accused me of letting it lapse.  I set him straight, but he still gave me 'tude and believed the computer and not me.  I'm honest to a fault, so this was distressing to me.

Gary submitted his resume' today.  Fingers crossed!

I've got the start of a sore throat.  I started the Zicam tonight.  I hope it's not too late.

Oh, one good thing about the doc, he said that my recon was good.  He couldn't even tell.  I'm assuming that since he came in the room already knowing about my bc, you can't help but look at someone's boobs when you are armed with that information.  So whether he was looking or not, nothing stood out as noticable to him.  And that's what I want.

The nurse who was chaperoning noted that I had keloid scars where my good side was lifted.  Yes, I knew that, but it was good to hear it from someone who knows.  She gets them herself and she's black.  Darker skinned folks are more prone to keloids.  I knew it was either hypertrophic or keloid, but it was good to hear it confirmed by someone else.  The doc (plastic surgeon) has been brushing it off.  Maybe he's just been putting it off.  Anyway, I'm going to bring it up again.  I've got an appointment for the end of the month.  I think my recon scar has faded enough for us to begin work on the final touches.  The cherry on top, so to speak.  :-)

Big announcement:

I'm not ready for adolescence.  Or the pre-teen years/mouth.  One of my friend's is on the mainland for a week.  We had agreed that I'd walk her kids to school and then meet them at the playground afterwards and they hang with me until their 12 year old brother gets home and then he watches them until the dad gets home.  (he's coming home early)  The two I'm watching are 7 and 10.  They are super independent kids.  Allowed lots of freedoms.  Lots.  The first day I let them talk me into walking them home right after school.  I had gotten the gist from the parents that they were okay for about an hour and it would be about 10 minutes til brother was due home.  Anyway, the next day I was asked to keep them with me for a bit longer before taking them home.  Okay, no problem, message received and relayed to kids.  They left the playground without me!!  I searched for 45 minutes before finding them at some neighbors house.  Oh my word!!  They were not paying attention when I told them 3 times where I was sitting.  They didn't see me and just went home, but home was locked.  When I found them the 10yo was like "where were you" with that tone you should not use with an adult.  It was argumentative.  As in, he was already forming his defense.  Then the attitude I got later trying to get them to go to my house, since they were locked out of their house.    Oh, I could go on.  I know it doesn't sound bad here, you had to be there.  Today went more smooth, but when I asked 10yo whether he heard from his mom, he was all eye rolling and mouthy "yeah, she calls like twice a day, all the time, sometimes three times a day" (which I think is sweet) so I said "awww, she misses you" (no positive response, negative grumbling and eye rolling) and I said", it's like she didn't even leave" and he jumped all over that "yeah! it's just like she didn't even leave".  I wanted to smack him.  His mom is so cute and sweet.

Makes me love my own kids all the more.

10 years old is not that far away.  They had better not get that attitude in just 1+ years.

I told myself all weekend that my friend is counting on me to make sure her kids are safe.  That's what she's depending on, and that's what I would want in her place.  Plus I really don't wish harm on them.  I have to grow a backbone and stand firm when I need to.  (I do not have a backbone with other people's kids)  I also read an article in the Sunday paper that was about the struggles of the middle school years, and that helped to have an insight into the insanity that kids go through at this age.  10 years old isn't quite middle school, but close, and the 12 year old has the 'tude too.

Anyway, that's not even addressing that I think 12 is too young to look after younger brothers...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

atlanta

I know I said I was going to talk about the water park, but I'm too lazy to scan the photos that they took of us as we came hurtling out of the water slide.  I'll get it done though.

It's just that I saw a little preview of the newest Housewives show on Bravo.  It's Housewives of Atlanta (something like that).  Let me say, those people are living large.  Unimaginable wealth.  Conspicuous consumption.  I don't know, it just seemed even more than the Orange County or NYC housewives.  Some of them are/were professional athletes.  So, you can imagine the bucks involved.  It will be interesting because all but one of the women are black.  At first I wasn't sure why they picked the white chick, but then I saw why when I saw how she bought an Escalade after a short phone call to her sugar daddy bigbucks.  That she's DATING.  So beyond anything I could imagine.  So it'll be interesting to watch.  Not that i want to live like that.

The whole Atlanta thing sparked my interest because my sights are set on Atlanta at the moment.  Gary came home telling me about a job opening there.  Civilian job.  It's at a base that's on the BRAC list, so it's slated to move to Ft. Eustis in 2011.  Does Ft. Eustis sound familiar to you?  Well, that's where we were living before we moved here!  We moved there at the start of this journal.  Gary told me about the job and I immediately got online and began to look at houses FOR SALE!  This is a huge deal for me since we've never owned a home.  The next day Gary popped my bubble, I think he got cold feet.  He told me he was just thinking about applying for the job.  Here I am ready to sign up for the Disney marathon!  I've got our lives planned out already!  Um, do you know how many houses are for sale in the Atlanta area??  It's unreal.  Overwhelming.  And with a BRAC move coming up, it'd be impossible to sell, and then the houses would be jacked up in the Eustis area with all the new people moving in.  anyway...that's just being negative... LOL!

On related news, Gary told me today that the assignment officer for O5's is someone we know well.  So if he gets passed over again and we decide to stay in, we may get a shot at actually choosing our next assignment.  Yeah, we can dream.

I talked to my mom today.  She's been really missing us.  She misses all her grandchildren.  I know a lot has to do with the fact that they just moved back to Alabama, and us kids are so scattered.  She was just begging us today to apply for Huntsville.  Um, you don't apply for jobs, and there has to be something open.  I kinda thought they might be happy about the Atlanta thing.  That's not too far from either Alabama or NC.  No.  She told me her dream was for us or my brother to buy the big house (they bought the little MIL cottage on the property and the Big House is still for sale) and all of us to live next to each other.  Yep.  She can dream.  Ain't happening.  My brother has declared he didn't ever want to live there again.  He's one of those that once broken free of the small town he doesn't want to go back.  Me, I'm homesick for it.  I would LOVE to live in the big house.  Tear down that 5 car garage and put in a ginormous pool.  I'm a southern belle at heart.  I want to live in The Big House.

It's late.  I need to hit the sheets.  School starts early tomorrow.  Oh, yeah.  School started today.  It was a short day, but the boys enjoyed it fine.  Ryan came home with a fever.  He still had it at bedtime, so he'll probably stay home tomorrow.  We'll see how he feels.  Stink way to start school.