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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weekend Photo Essay Part 1 BIke Project/Center For Sustainable Living Annual Meeting

There was music!
There were dancers!
This is THE place.
The band set up in the workshop. There was also a fifteen foot (vegetarian, of course) sub in there!
Nummy cakes donated by the Bakehouse. I had the chocolate. It was delicious.

the band was pretty relaxed about the children.
People ate and talked.
People had a good time.
I THINK this is Greg, who may mentor Michael when he does Bike Project as a class.
This is Justin. I took his picture, just because I think he's hot. Hey, it was like ninety degrees, okay?
This is MY hippie boy. He's a sweetheart. Look! He is wearing a shirt that is not ripped, stained or faded.
Some old people came too.
Amazing awning the bike shop guys managed to put up using the bike stands that hold the bikes while they work on them and some other really rigged up stuff.

It was fun. I went late because I had gotten so into working on the yard that it was hard to quit. There was still plenty of food and music. I had my fill of both. At first I was very uncomfortable because I didn't know the old people and to all the Bike Project guys I am just Michael's mom. After a while I finally just plopped down at a table full of old people and listened to the conversation until I knew what was going on. I was so relieved that we had finally gotten a garden in. I would hate to be amongst the Sustainable Living people and have to admit to BUYING all my produce. At least I could have said that in the summer I buy everything I can at the Farmer's Market. Phew - close call with my secret consumerism almost escaping!

I don't know why this is underlining and I can't make it stop!

It's 11:55 and I still have five items on my list and I did NOT nap today. I weeded for two and a half hours. That reminds me I have an essay to write when I am done with the postings of the weekend photo essay. If you don't see it soon, remind me about "Eat the Frosting First."

Positive thoughts are for a nice conversation with a neighbor tonight. I haven't been feeling too neighborly and this was short, but nice.

Monday, June 29, 2009

No more tonight.

I cut down things, I dug up things. I staked other things (not vampires), I moved more things. I pulled things. I mowed things.

I'm so tired. I have to go shower and go to bed.

No thank you note tonight and no picture posting either, just clean me and sleep me.

I deserve atreat this time!

I weeded from about 11:15 - 1:30. You will all be so proud. I stayed in the shade as much as possible and I wore a shirt that covers my shoulders. No more sunburn! I need to keep remembering Stephanie having patched of skin removed and grafted on and NOT let it get out of control. I also need to eat something during this break. So my goals now are to drink my ginger ale, eat something at least fairly healthy, and drink some water in addition.

My front garden bed only has a couple more Canada Thistles and it will be weed free, at least until tomorrow.

Already

I have begun my battle in the yard. I decided to attempt to tame the parasitic vines that climb many of our trees. I wish I would have take a before pic. In about an hour of work I have made three large piles of unwanted flora. I may have to hire someone to come take it away

I am going to have to put housecleaning on the list sometime this week. It's to the point where I am drinking my water from a canning jar! There are coffee mugs clean, but they don't hold enough.

Goal for this particular break is take medicine, download pictures and drink this quart of water. I already have about twelve mosquito bites - I was working in the shade. As sensitive as my skin and allergies have been lately I need to find some hydrocortisone or Benedryl cream so I don't scratch bruises into myself again!

Now I am going to ddownload my pics. Back later!

Not dead.

I have returned a live, although I proabably gained some weight back in the last 36 hours or however long it has been!

I'm not going to do the picture thing or any of that tonight because I know I will get carried away. What I hope to do is get to bed quickly, sleep quickly and soundly, then wake up in the morning at a decent hour refreshed and full of energy. I will enjoy my time off work by downloading my pics and intermittently working on my blog and photo captions and working on the yard and house. I also have an important thank you note I'd like to complete.

I did not mow on Saturday. I decided it was too hot and I seriously would have been risking heat stroke. It was bad enough weeding. I didn't just sit and do the "pick the Creeping Charlie," but did some serious digging with the Canada thistle and it was amazingly hard work. I am not sure how Michael has convinced me to try this organically, but somehow he has influenced me...

So more tomorrow. Positive thoughts toward SLEEEEEP, SLEEEEP....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Getting ready for my adventure.

First to the party with Michael, then traveling. I am kind of nervous because I don't really have a firm plan. Usually when I say I don't have a plan, I kind of secretly do in my head. This time, not so.

So I don't know if I will be at a hotel tonight or sleeping in the car .. or... so if you don't hear from me, I'm not dead. Unless, of course, I'm dead.

I will make a photo essay of my journey. Be prepared for a feast for the eyes and the soul when I return.

Work , work, work, PLAY!

Weed some more
Mow at least one more portion of the lawn
Take stuff to dump
Take stuff to Salvation Army
Pack for trip
Load car
Play several rounds of Jewel Quest
Eat a strawberry frozen fruit bar
Go to the Center for Sustainable Living Party
Start traveling!

Pretty good, huh?

Michael is already on his way downtown to buy a tuning fork, some rosin, and go to Bike Project. I will meet him when it is time for the party and we will eat dinner there. Then we are off to go to Heather's and get his music (SomeProkofiev concerto, I think), take Michael to his dad's and then I am off to Ohio, probably. I think I might travel to Richmond, which is right on the border, sleep there and then tomorrow get up and explore town a little bit. We lived there from when I was three until I was about 10, so I want to go and take pictures of the houses we lived in, see the park, stuff like that. I'm sure you'll get a report.

Well, now that it is noon and blazing hot, I thin I'll go work in the yard. It's only 85 degrees so I'm sure I'll be fine... I promise to take frequent breaks and drink a lot of Pina Coladas!
:)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hippie Boy is back...

This is what the lawn looked like this morning. Even with the bagger on the mower it left great piles of grass in the yard. I think it was because the grass was so long that it just didn't go into the bagger! I hope to finish it tomorrow and go over the front part again.
This is me on my first birthday! Many of the pictures I took from Mom and Dad's don't have any names or dates on them, but this one does so I know for sure. Deb, this is for you. I posted a bunch on Facebook, but I know you don't FB and I want you to see how cute I was... and always these round cheeks!


...but just for a little while. He arrived this morning and went out to work at the hot dog stand for the bike team. I went out there after work and hung out for a while and talked to him and Lindsey. It was kind of pleasant. I made a quick trip to Aldi and he rode his bike home. He was starving, but neither of us felt like cooking. He said he really wanted to go to Max's Place because he likes the food and maybe there would be music. We drove downtown and took forever to find a parking space and then when we went in there was a band that sounded good, kind of bluesy, but it was so loud we couldn't have had a conversation at all. So we left and went to my friend Tamyra's place. It was more expensive (sigh), but we could talk so it was pleasant.

We didn't get home until late so Michael pretty much went right to bed and I am doing my usual thing. The only things left on my list are finish my laundry, which is in the dryer right now, and blog, which I am doing right now!

I am going to go meet a couple of internet friends in Ohio on Sunday and I am taking Monday off work, so I am excited about that!

Positive thougts today are for joy in being with my son. I am glad Emily found a job for the summer (no teaching job yet), but Chicago is so much farther away and I already didn't see her enough. I am so happy my children are nice people.

Adding a couple of pictures:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yard & Stuff.

This is what I looked like after I mowed
This is the sweet potato patch - it needs weeded.
This is my "shepherd's Crook" with the sunnyface candle lantern and morning glories.
This is what a patch of lawn looks like after I weed it.
This is what a patch of lawn looks like before I weed it.
My spaghetti squash have started to grow.
Some very tall grass!
This morning's bloom.
My grass was getting seriously long. The "weedy" type of grass was over a foot high. The rest maybe 6 inches and all the clover blooming. I went out a little after 8:00 to mow and I couldn't get the mower to start. I was VERY frustrated and wanted to either cry or scream. I finally just sat down and started weeding some more to calm me. After I while I tried again and it started. I only mowed the front lawn and one side. It was extremely difficult; the heat, the humidity, the way I have been so tired lately, and the bagger making the mower heavier to push. I feel really accomplished anyway, and I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow so I can do some more in the evening.

Michael comes home tomorrow and works at a hot dog stand fund raiser for the bike team all day. I kind of hope he will want to stay home in the evening and play yard work with me. I'll understand, though, if he wants to go do something with his friends.

I am going to add pictures, I wish I could figure out how to caption the pictures on here. I'm sure it's possible and I am probably just too lazy to look in the right place. Positive thoughts today are for comfort for those who mourn: Lots of people dies today and we think of the celebrities as tragic, but there were hundreds of people who died today and left children and loved ones behind.

It's still 89 degrees.

But I am going to go try to mow at least a little of the front. I'll be back later!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Work, Sleep, weed, blog...

I could probably just write that every day and it would be pretty accurate. After work I slept until after 8:00. I went out and weeded until it was just too dark and too mosquitoey! It was about 10:00 when I came in. I'm sure the neighbors think I am nuts because I go out and sit and weed, but I haven't mowed in forever. Some of my grass is a foot tall. Tomorrow I should take a picture. I have been going places and such on weekends, however, and also the last couple of times I have mowed it has made me so ill that I am kind of dreading it. That makes me sad :( because you know I normally love mowing. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I am going to mow at least the front. I am going to put the bagger on the mower and see if that helps keep me from getting so sick. That makes a little harder to mow because when the bag gets full it is really heavy! I am getting weeding muscles, though, so I ought to be able to handle it.

After I came in I called Katie and we went out and ate. I had hardly eaten all day. I had almonds and dried fruit for breakfast and it upset my stomach. I went to the evil empire on my munch to return a couple of things and I bought some Ginger ale and pretzels and that is all I had eaten all day. For dinner I had some salad, some ribs and some fried mushrooms. I saved the rest of the mushrooms, the Texas toast and the baked potato for tomorrow, and maybe the next day too!

So I really just got home from dinner a little bit ago and it's after midnight! I had a few things on my list tonight, but I don't know if I am going to really try to accomplish them or not. They'll still be around tomorrow.

Positive thoughts toward a beautiful and natural lawn and garden - oh - did I say my squash has sprouted? I'll take a picture of that too!

Goodnight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Better day.

I was still tired today, but I worked a full day and accomplished a lot. I felt like I did a lot of my "own" work and not stuff for the entire team, like working on the ads submitted on the websites and such. I happen to have a large number of display ads right now and they are pretty labor intensive.

When I got home I lay down and slept until about 7:00. I went and weeded until almost 10:00. I just now ate a little bit and took my night meds and I have a couple more things on my list to do and then I am going to try to sleep again - I hope in bed by midnight. My list has remaining: blog, put away 10 items, take medicine (Hey! that's done. I get to cross it off!), fill my pill case, and start a load of laundry - not really too bad! Blogging is almost over. The joy of an uneventful day

I didn't eat very much today so I had some roast beef for my snack. I am supposed to try to keep my protein up - 50 grams a day! That seems impossible. My four ounces probably did that, but that's a rare day. I would like to lose another five pounds by the time Gill returns from down under. Then I would be at 190 by July 9. We'll see.

Positive thoughts for a good day tomorrow with healthy food and little fatigue and positive thoughts of comfort to those in lands of battle and war and disaster.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wiped out!


All the work yesterday, combined with the driving was too much for me. I could hardly get out of bed this morning. When I finally did roll into the office I was only semi-functioning. I felt like I was in a haze. I couldn't type worth crap, my speech was garbled, just bizarre. I finally emailed Leah and just said, "I'm sick." She called and checked on me and we talked about it. I decided it's probably the low blood pressure, combined with the exertion yesterday - I carried out 10 or more bags of trash and more boxes and bags to the car, plus the strange sleeping patterns I have been having. I asked Joyce to go to lunch first. When she got back I called Leah I said "I am going to go home and lie down and set my alarm and see what happens." I came home and set it so I could sleep about 45 minutes. I turned it off and went right back to sleep. I called Leah and told her I wasn't going to make it back. I slept off and on until about 7:00. Since then I have eaten a little, tried to drink water, played computer and just done a couple of very mild household tasks. I feel a lot better. When I woke up the second time I tried to check my work email and I still couldn't even type real words. Everything got all mixed up. I also got some really strange bug bites yesterday and I wonder if they are something toxic that threw me off even more. If so, the water ought to help flush it out. Now, the actual bites are only little bumps, but there are bruises all around them - probably from me scratching.

So all in all it's been a very strange day, physically, mentally... emotionally - worried about Michael, wishing tonight for a companion, not my usual as I am usually happy alone.

So positive thoughts about tomorrow will be a better day. Picture is bug bites yesterday evening.

Here's today.









About 10 hours, by myself. I left once to go buy some containers and get some food. I took a nap for I don't know how long, but not one of the three hour ones! The one picture, of some little object on the red carpet, is a dead, dried-out fish I found sweeping under a cabinet. I really need to work on the kitchen next. In fact, it is usually what I do when I go up there. Right now I just can't stand the idea of doing it alone. It is too bad and too overwhelming.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tired, dirt, dusty, smelly and gross.

So off to take a shower. I hope the shower relaxes me and I SLEEEEEPPPP. If it doesn't I will come back and write.

I just realized I need to go out to the car to get medicine and it makes me want to cry - that's how tired.

So probably no more until tomorrow.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cave Crickets



and they get BIG! and jump HIGH! and I hate them.

We're getting ready to go off to Bike Project, Taste of Bloomington, who know what else, eventually ending up with Michael in Greenfield and me in Lafayette. I'm leaving the house messy, the yard unmown, all the things that affect my General Anxiety disorder - now officially diagnosed by a Facebook Quiz as well as two doctors. Now we know for sure it's real because the internet says so.

Positive thoughts toward some good donations and good publicity for solar bike at the Taste - also some tasty foods to try, I hope!

Something I have been wanting to try for a while.

My children are both very good at recalling conversations, quotations and lines from books and such. They must pay much better attention to detail than I do. Sometimes I don't even recall if I have read a book or seen a movie until I start it again and then I remember! I would like to try to see if I can recall lines from some movies I have seen repeatedly or really enjoyed. My goal is to have at least ten. I think I will list the lines first, then the titles below. That way you can see if you can guess which movies I have seen a lot.

1) If I knew your name and address, I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.
2) Mrs. Robinson, I believe you are trying to seduce me.
3) And that's all I have to say about that.
4) Is it dead?
5) It's a rug that really pulls a room together.
6) Focus on my empty wallet.
7) My father's not crazy! He's a genius.
8) Does she know?
9) PC Load Paper! What the fuck does that mean?
10) Take the Cannoli. Leave the gun.
11) Build it and they will come.
12) I'll have what she's having.
13) I think what we have here is a failure to communicate.
14) Kmart sucks.
15) As you wish.
16) If I could eat one food the rest of my life it would be Pez, cherry-flavored Pez.
17) Bad horse.
18) Practically perfect in every way.
19) Do you want me to kill him?
20) You hate people. I can tell because I hate people too.
21) They were mean to me.
22) I guess because I'm Irish.
23) I tried to take it back.

WOW! I can't believe I could even think of that many! Tell me if I got them wrong. Here are the movie titles.
1)You've Got Mail
2)The Graduate
3)Forrest Gump
4)Boondock Saints
5)The Big Lebowski
6)Rent
7)Beauty and the Beast
8)Blade Runner
9)Office Space
10)The Godfather
11)Field of Dreams
12)When Harry Met Sally
13)Coolhand Luke
14)Rainman
15)The Princess Bride
16)Stand By Me
17)Dances With Wolves
18)Mary Poppins
19)American Beauty
20)The Good Girl
21)Pretty Woman
22)The Shawshank Redemption
23)The Green Mile

Maybe Y'all should try it too - especially if you are challenged like I am!

positive thoughts toward a fun, yet productive day tomorrow! No rain for Taste of Bloomington!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm addicted to weed-



ing. I just want to sit in my lawn for hours and pull Creeping Charlie. I feel very calm and centered while I am out there. I am doing something productive, yet restful. I think for the summer, at least, it has taken the place of knitting in my life. You have to do it barehanded because the runners grow parallel to the ground and you kind of have to dig with your fingernails to really get them. Another use for my long and glamorous nails.

Michael is building bike #3. He took the bike trailer (which we got free at the Trading Post at the dump!) and brought it home from Bike Project today. He is afraid to leave it there while he goes to Ed's because if you don't work on something for two weeks it becomes up for the taking again. He will be back within two weeks, but we have to do fund raisers and stuff for the Japan trip, so he may not be able to get to Bike Project as much as usual. Bike three is another "fixed gear." It all started with one beautiful hub he found and just HAD to build a bike around it! I decided tonight that I am glad he is addicted to bikes and not heroin, but my garage looks like a bike graveyard - my two bikes, his three bikes, the bike trailer, a loose wheel here or there, tools, pumps, cables ... sigh. As long as everything is consolidated enough when the car windows start frosting so I can park in the garage, I'm okay with it!

Positive thoughts for a busy, but calm day tomorrow. I stayed calm today despite the weekend deadline pressures. Tomorrow will be "proofing" all the ads and trying to be ready for three days worth of four newspapers by 5:00. No sweat, right?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wee Beasties...

Yellow slugs: I know when they come out it is time for me to stop weeding.

Cave Crickets: Extremely disgusting and very good jumpers. They look like a cross between a roach and a cricket. I caught one in my bathtub the other night and Michael saw one in his room tonight, but didn't catch it.

Spiders: We haven't had any of the BIG mamas in the house yet this year, but last night I caught a small spider trying to make a web between the headboard of my bed and the dresser. Tonight there was an unusual gray one on the wall by the couch. It was very aggressive. When I tapped my finger on the wall it ran to attack instead of running away - probably a new species of killer.

Mousies: I finally saw the mousie tonight. I've been watching since Michael first saw it. Usually you find chewed open packages and mouse poopoo and can tell where to trap them. This one was under the sink where only storage dishes are stored. Maybe it's a little damp under there and it's a thirsty mouse. I set two traps. One under there and one in the food cabinet. Within fifteen minutes I heard a trap snap. I don't want to go look, though, It was so cute with its big eyes... I've always used peanut butter as mouse bait, but the natural kind you have to stir up first was a messy and runny deal. I'll have to get some Jif, despite the hydrogenated oil, if we continue to have mousies.

Centipedes: I haven't seen any more in the house, but I saw one in the garden a couple of days ago that was bright orange, so I knew not to eat it.

Fish: I cleaned the fish tank tonight. It has been on the list for about five days. I think they look a little peppier now.

Damn Dog down the street: It keeps yipping into the wee hours every night. I think I am going to go over tomorrow and ask her if she can take it in at night - try the nice neighbor approach first.

Cat: Emily has asked me to catsit Miss Kitty again until she gets a real job and gets settled. I don't really want to. I have asked her to please talk to Mandy first and find out even if Emily doesn't go live with Mandy and Casey if they want the cat. I don't know, though because Casey has a chest tube for her chemo and I know when Heather had a port for her dialysis it wasn't a good idea to have animals in the room while she was doing an exchange. People in the room were supposed to wear masks, even. I think the actual chemo actually takes place at the hospital, however, so maybe her chest tube would never be "open" at home. Maybe having a co-dependent cat like Miss Kitty would be nice for Casey. (I hope so!)

Positive thought: That there was only one mousie and it has already died a quick and painless death.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rewards:

I deserve two rewards now. The last one was a big milestone (under 200 pounds) and I said I would get a massage. This morning I went under 195, 194.6 to be exact, so I deserve another small reward. I need to be kind to myself and give myself the rewards when I earn them. Therefore my goal is to email Laurie tomorrow and schedule my massage. I think my under 195 reward will be to see Star Trek. I probably won't be able to go until next week on a weeknight because Michael will be at Ed's for a few days. That should also give me some time to plan ahead and perhaps find a friend to accompany me.

Michael & Ed: Michael called Ed tonight and one of the things Ed said to him was, "I forgive you for the nasty things you said in your email." That really upset Michael. His email was a heartfelt attempt at honesty and communication. Several times within it he said something like, "I am telling you these things because I think we should have honesty between us so we can build our relationship." I feel really sad for Michael. The plan is I will take him up Saturday evening after the "Taste of Bloomington" where we are fund raising for solar bike, and that he will return in time to work at the hot dog stand on Friday. Michael kind of feels like this is the last straw, that he attempted honest communication and it didn't work. He said he wants to take his bike when he goes up, not just to ride for pleasure, but so he has it if he is so afraid of his dad that he needs to get away. What a shitty, shitty way to feel. I told Michael that if he honestly feels afraid while he is up there this time that I am willing to let him stay home the rest of the summer and Ed can just file charges against me. I honestly have my own fears that Ed will think about that and not let Michael leave the house, or that if Michael leaves Ed won't give the cello back or that Ed will sabotage the bike somehow. He is not a reasonable person and I have learned from experience to expect UNreasonable reactions from him. I haven't said any of this to Michael because I don't want to plant more seeds of fear, but obviously he has enough experience of his own to think that he needs an escape plan. Holy crap, the whole thing pisses me off, and yes, scares me too. Michael was extra clingy tonight and I reassured him several times that he is a good person, that honesty is the right thing, that he offered his dad choices about their relationship and other good stuff. Michael really is such a wonderful and kind person. It rips my heart out to seem him hurting so badly.

Positive thought.... well, once again it is one of those times when it is hard. I guess I can just feel positive that I finally made the bed in the purple room. It was on the list for the weekend and didn't get accomplished until tonight.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stuff and more stuff.

First stuff:

His email is in italics, mine plain.
(Beginning of email)

Dear World's Most Persistent Home Teacher

You must have learned by now that this "mere elder" is uncommonly persistent, so I would not begin drafting your exit letter yet. I am not the only one who hopes that you will choose to return to the fullest blessings of the gospel - certainly your Father in Heaven and your Savior have not forgotten you nor your son.

Ummm... don't believe they exist.

What is your story?

None of your business. Ask some of the old ward people and get their impressions if you like. I don't care who talks about me. Of the current ward members Susan A**** probably knows me the best.

I remember from our first memorable conversation that you have family in Utah. Were you raised here? Do you still have family here? How did you end up in Bloomington?

I am from Indiana. The Utah branch are the migrants. My eldest brother went out there in the 80s with one of the computer start-up companies. He's dead now, so you won't find him, and they all have different last names anyway.

You need to give up. There is nothing you can do or say to make me come back. Maybe a million dollars, tax free, but that would only prove that "You can buy anything in this world for money," wouldn't it?

IF (and it's never going to happen) I should decide to repent (which I really don't think is necessary) of my "sins" (which I don't believe they are) and come back to the fold I have plenty of family and friends who REALLY know me, know my story, and would be glad to assist.

Yes, I am a smart-aleck, and I know it. I have asked for no contact and it seems every time everything gets rearranged I get assigned someone who never seems to have heard that. So please respect my wishes or I swear the next time I hear, "anything I can do to help" you will be cutting down trees, weeding Canada thistle, cleaning the garage, shampooing carpets and roofing while I sit inside and play Scrabble on Faceboook. Oh, and I think I need a new deck, too.

Thank you.

Hope
(End of email)

I think this is the snottiest I have ever been to someone but he has been too persistent. One day while I was sleeping, he first rang the doorbell and then knocked for several minutes until I answered. It really pissed me off. He brought his sweet, silent wife and a plate of cookies with him. I said "I am diabetic AND a baker and I have 200 chocolate chip cookies left over from an event in this house and I don't want your cookies." or something like that. Now he is in Utah for the summer. I have to admit that I emailed him first, asking him the one thing he could do for me, which is to keep me informed if anybody in the ward died, because I don't like reading it in the newspaper. So maybe it's my fault for initiating a dialog, but my friend with whom I do still keep contact is the RS President so if somebody dies she is too busy to call me.

Maybe when fall comes and we get all new people here for the school year they will rearrange and I can have some slacker who will be glad to have someone who wants no contact. Then again, it would be nice to get that Canada thistle weeded by somebody else!

He emailed back fairly recently and said that he would respect my wishes and that he would rather ask me my story than hear it from others so he could hear my perspective. That seems nice, but I don't know that I have "a" story. I have thousands of stories. I call them "episodes" when I write them. When they are all complete and put together perhaps they will make a balanced equation... perhaps not. I replied that when my book is published he can pay $24.95 and read my story at the same time as the rest of the world.

It's a little bit sad in some respects because I can tell he is intelligent, well-spoken, kind, and has the best of intentions. I've been there. I've had those same good intentions. I just don't like some kind, well-spoken, intelligent man knocking on my door and offering to help me because it is assigned to him and it is his Priesthood duty.

Other stuff:

Michael wrote an email to his dad today. I am tempted to copy it and let you read it, but that would be a mighty strong invasion of Michael's privacy. It was very honest and emotional. Michael mentioned how much he hates going there, how he wants more time in Bloomington, how Ed's house doesn't feel like a home to him, and some other really important things. As of now, Michael is still here and we have not made arrangements for him to go up there. It makes me a little nervous. I half imagine Ed coming while I am at work and physically forcing Michael to go with him. Michael plans to call his dad about it and talk some more. I hope there is a positive outcome, but I have trouble envisioning what it will be.

Other stuff:

Work was better today. I only worked eight and a half hours. Of course, part of the reason I was able to do that was because I stayed about an hour and a half after I clocked out Friday and cleaned up all the piles on my desk. I sorted them into arranged and labeled piles so that things can be take care of in priority order. Problem is - when do I get time to take care of the piles? Instead I am afraid I will just be adding to them. We'll see, I guess.

Positive thoughts: More positive healing thoughts of hearts and minds and wounded souls everywhere, those whom I know, and those whom I don't.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sigh...

I worked on my own house and yard and garden and still didn't get everything done that I would have liked. I also have a blister on my hand from digging Canada Thistle. I swore I was going to make Michael do all of that nasty stuff, but it is leaving the garden patches and expanding out into the lawn. Ugh. I cleared enough more garden patch that I planted a little row of spaghetti squash. I have never eaten it, but I figure it will spread quickly and fill in the garden. People keep telling me I should eat it instead of pasta. We'll see on that!

Michael had a very successful fossil hunting trip, and brought home many specimens - one declared to be "Museum quality." It's all fairly meaningless to me, except I trust what he says - after all he IS a medalist in the fossils event at the National Science Olympiad!

Michael called his dad when he got home and they had quite a row, I think. One of the things Ed did was ask for the Solar Bike team coach's phone number. Watch out, Cindy! Crazy talk coming your way. Maybe she can see what we have been dealing with here. I remember one year April thought maybe if SHE called Ed and asked him about the possibility of Emily continuing to get violin lessons over the summer that he would respond reasonably. He yelled and screamed at her, just like he does to me. Tonight he kept telling Michael that he wanted to talk to me, that this is my responsibility and that I shouldn't "make" Michael call him. Michael replied that no, he wanted to talk to Ed, that he thinks that if they can figure this stuff out together, it can help their relationship and other good things. He also said that he had asked me to write the letter that I sent back in April, but that it didn't really reflect what he wanted to say. Michael says he is going to write his dad an email tomorrow and tell him what he really wants to say. That really makes me nervous.

Well, I'm itchy, dirty, tired and emotionally distraught. I think I am going to take a nice, hot shower and then lie in bed and watch something super boring.

Positive thoughts toward Michael expressing himself well in his email tomorrow. I hope he lets me see it, but if he doesn't I won't make him.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

France trip pictures

http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/media -- page down a little bit to where it lists "galleries" and click on the title.

In the posed photo, Michael is third in from the left. There is another clear picture of him gawking in a cathedral. The concert in the large cathedral seems to be the part that he really enjoyed. I think it built his confidence as a performer and a musician. I am glad the "real" first chair cellist did not go, because it was really good for Michael to be section leader.

Friday, June 12, 2009

An illustration of ridiculous

Ed called me at work around 3:30 and said he wanted to come pick Michael up tonight in a couple of hours and that he wanted tonight to be the beginning of summer visitation! I told him don't come get Michael at all because he's not home this weekend and that he can't tell me the DAY he wants summer visitation to start and really expect it to happen. I reminded him that I had sent him a letter in April requesting that he tell me in writing when he would like Michael to visit and that the last time I had seen him in person he had said he wanted Michael to visit during his plant "shut down" and that he would tell me as soon as he knew when that is. He said he still doesn't know when that is. I do NOT believe that at all. I swear I am going to see if they have a company website or call the company Monday and find out. I told him he could call Sunday evening (or maybe I said I'd have Michael call him) and discuss when Michael could come visit. I am going to write a letter this weekend and post it right away that lists all the fund raisers Michael is supposed to attend and tell Ed if he can't make sure Michael can attend the fund raisers, then he can either pay a couple of thousand bucks for his already paid for rail pass and airplane ticket! If Ed refuses both I will just keep Michael here and wait for Ed to file a petition against me in court. When the judge hears that Michael is expected to visit and share a room with two sisters I am pretty sure there won't be any visitation under those circumstances. It is totally inappropriate, always has been, and the only reason I haven't fought over it is because Michael asked me not to.

I'm tired, fed up and pissed off. I had about an hour of zen out pulling clover and creeping charlie until it got too dark and the mosquitoes were eating me alive.

Positive thoughts that Michael will be safe fossil hunting and that I will feel calm and accomplished over the weekend with my emotions and my tasks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yawn.

We have to "clock in" at work now. So far this week I have put in 77.6 hours. (Editing - not this week, but within the last two weeks - we do twice monthly time cards and pay) There is supposed to be NO OVERTIME. Leah finally talked to Cory and just said they are going to have to pay me overtime. I am even STILL not getting all my work done and everything is a mess. I hardly remember to take time to get a drink and pee. Someone either brings me food or I eat tomato juice and a protein bar (and chocolate). I check my Yahoo! email maybe once a day for five minutes and that is my break. No walks, no reading, no lunch with friends - nothing but answer the phone, type things in, do paperwork and just barely manage to get the ads entered for the next day. My coworkers who took over the public notices have really stepped up to help me and I don't know what I would do without them. Today when I was busting my butt getting the Sunday auction ads logged and turned in to creative services, they were waiting on customers at the counter and pulling ads offline. It's really not part of their jobs, but I guess now it is falling under that infamous "other duties as needed" phrase!

I told myself bed by 11:00 tonight - my old goal. I am very physically tired. After work was immediately Michael to a cello lesson with beautiful Ben, then we went to Aldi, then to Wal-Mart. I made Michael put away all the groceries. He stayed home all day and didn't do much around the house and then he's going fossil hunting all weekend. While he's off fossil hunting, I will probably stay here one day and catch up on housework, then drive to Lafayette the next day and do MORE housework.... then it's Monday again. If I can survive for one more month then I get my week of vacation. It begins the weekend lots of family comes from all over and it will be wonderful to see everybody! I can't wait.

Problem is I am physically exhausted, but this is the only time I get to myself. Funny I should choose to use it sitting on my ass in front of a computer some more. Writing and playing games is WAY different than the pressure at work, however! Rita from work really wants me to go to a play with her tomorrow night. I am afraid I will just sleep through the entire thing if I am sitting calmly in a dark room! Beautiful Ben asked us if we had seen Star Trek yet and I was tempted to say we should go this weekend and see his reaction!

I do hope it's not raining this weekend. I really want to work more on the yard. That is kind of one reason I am disappointed Michael is leaving. I really like it when we work out there together. I know he does too, but he really wants to go look at stupid dead rock animals. Pout.

Okay - positive thoughts that I will survive the week. Ten more hours trapped at the desk at most, right?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dr. Appt.

Lots of good news.

I had him check my feet and he said they are healing well and that I cared for them exactly the right way.

According to his records I have lost 23 and a half pounds over the past 90 days.

My blood pressure was so low that he is changing the diuretic kind of BP med to a much milder one. Also he says the low BP may be the cause of the extreme fatigue and all the naps.

My breathing and my heart still sound good.

I can continue to take one kind of the diabetes med at a lower dosage.

I wonder if the low BP is why I have been craving pickles so much. I have been buying the half gallon jars of Claussen pickles. Maybe my body was telling me my BP is too low and trying to get sodium in to keep more water. Ha! Maybe I'd rather keep the stronger medicine and keep eating pickles. They are yummy.

Conflict with Michael and Ed visitation.
It sucks. Michael would rather go fossil hunting with Alexander in Ohio this weekend than visit his father, whom he hasn't seen in a month. Of course Michael and Alexander just spent 24 hours a day together for how many days touring France. This is the last weekend before A. starts his summer class, though, so the last time they can go. I told Michael if he thinks he is mature enough to make this decision, then he has to be mature enough to communicate with his father about it. I told him that if I were a non-custodial parent who hadn't seen my child in a month, and that even if our relationship sucked and even if I knew my child didn't really enjoy seeing me that if I were told that my child still didn't want to see me after a month I would be deeply hurt. I told Michael that if that happened to me that the hurt would take the form of lying in bed in the fetal position and crying for days on end, but that he has to realize that with his father the hurt is going to take the form of explosive anger. Michael says he will do the communication and deal with it. My friend Mark told me several months ago that Michael is old enough to deal with Ed and that I need to stop coddling him and doing it for him. Well this is it. It's happening right now. I am terrified for Michael. I am terrified for me and I am sorry for Ed. It is horribly sad that it has reached this point and I can't imagine how painful it must be to have your children despise you and not want to be with you.

Legally, I have on my side that I sent Ed a letter April 21 in which I asked him to notify me of when he wanted Michael to visit for the summer and asked him to do it in writing. He did tell me once that he wanted Michael to visit when his company has their summer "shut down" but has never told me the dates. I think this is a different deal, however, as it is a weekend visitation and not the weeks-long summer visit to which a custodial parent is entitled.

Basically, Michael just never wants to go at all and I understand. I just think it sucks for everybody.

I seriously don't know if I can think of positive thoughts for tonight. Maybe that it will turn out differently than I expect.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wow again.

Work was incredible. Came in about 8:15 and worked until about 6:00. It was only me and one other rep on the phones all day. It rang and rang and rang and rang... get the picture? At the end of the day I told Leah I want her to check the phone records and see how many calls we answered. A lot of the online submissions I printed out and Pam and Joyce handled them. They can't run credit cards on their machines, however, so I just had to have them make a pile for me, run the cards as I could and then mark the ads paid. I only left my desk once to pee - oh - wait, I went to got a soda once too. Kerri's mom died last night, Angie is on vacation, Christie doesn't work on Tuesday... Friday will be even more fun. Christie usually works, but she's getting married Saturday and thinks she needs a day off to get ready - how selfish! Then she thinks she deserves a week for a honeymoon. Can you believe the nerve?

I am frazzled to say the least. I came home and was SO tired. We talked about dinner and what we have in the house - not much - and then went out for Mexican. When we got home I sat on the lawn and worked on my war with creeping Charlie and Clover. I decided I have this one little section I am going to work on constantly, when it has all the bare spots instead of weeds I am going to reseed and try to grow real grass. Then in the spring we'll see if real grass comes back or weeds again. If it's grass I'll choose a new section next year and keep on the organic battle. I have found a kind of peace in just sitting there pulling weeds. They are easy to pull and it is immediate gratification. It's kind of a bad thing for a person with some OCD traits because it is hard to quit because it is never the bad P word. I always think - I'll just get that little patch there - then move my leg and inch and oh! there's another perfect little patch to pull....that can go on until I am sunburned, mosquito bitten, too stiff to stand back up...I need to limit myself, maybe.

I need to get to bed. I set a midnight limit and oops!

Positive thoughts for Kerri's family tonight. They are very close and this is a horrible thing for them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

He's here!

Michael is back from France. Funny thing is, I thought they didn't get back until Wednesday. I just happened to glance at the itinerary this morning and realized it was tonight!

He had a great time. I think he really built some confidence as a musician

I had one of those days at work. No tears, just lots of busy. I didn't get everything done, including the paper work that Donna usually does for me. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

I stayed at work until about 5:30 working, then checked my bank account, paid a payment and stuff until around 6:00. I came home and went directly to bed and slept until Michael called a little after 8:00 and said they were almost here.

I'm already tired again. I'm going to do a couple more things and then go to bed.

Positive thoughts toward Michael getting enough sleep to overcome jet lag and for some task completion for me tomorrow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh - just a little more...

"Dust Boogers" refers to what I think I still have in my nose! It was SO dusty in there Emily and I were sneezing and sniffling and blowing our noses the entire time!

Emily is thinking of moving to Milwaukee with Mandy and Casey. After Casey's amputation, especially, she will need around the clock care. If Emily gets a day job (teaching, I hope!) and Mandy gets a night job, then they can take care of Casey between them. Casey and Mandy have a place now and it has an extra room. It's a very small room, but like I mentioned, Emily doesn't keep a lot of stuff. I noticed when I looked at those pictures after I posted them that her refrigerator magnets are even kind of in rows... and she accuses ME of OCD! Ha!

Dust boogers.







Emily and I worked five hours on Dad's room today. I have a carload of stuff to donate, plus there were many more bags out for trash day. Chris and Miko came over and Miko cleaned all the trash in the yard and Chris mowed. Emily had planned to work at her waitressing job today, but when she learned I was willing to pay $10 an hour for toting, lifting, and following orders she got someone to cover her shift and came with me instead. She knew she'd make more money that way! She did sit and text a couple of times while I was still working, but she did a good job, really. Emily is a VERY good person to have around when it comes to sorting things out. She is not sentimental about THINGS at all. I am, and I fight the packrat urge. I think between us we achieved a good balance of purging, yet respecting Dad's belongings and privacy. When there were items we could not agree on, Miko or Emily would go ask Dad. I want to be very careful of his feelings because his ill health is making him also be very depressed and I don't want to add sadness or anger on top of that. We boxed up all the photos and documents relating to family history. Emily took one small batch to start scanning for record keeping. My dad's cousin Craig wants to go through and get all the ones from that side of the family and scan them and work on identifying all the dates, names, places, etc. He is the Mormon side of the family so it's all very important to him from that viewpoint. When they get that done I'd like to get them all put on discs so we can give them to others in the family who are interested. I found a couple of items I want to make sure Karen and the kids get copies - a card Bobby sent where he wrote a poem - and a couple of letters he wrote, I think when he was in the marines. I should have made sure I brought those home with me, but I didn't. I will make sure to alert Craig and Emily about that.

The pictures I am posting are of a couple of Emily's apartment - I want to illustrate how austere her surroundings are. She has Mom and Dad's wedding picture displayed and refrigerator magnets and that is IT in her front room. In her bedroom she has one set of shelves with books and decorative items, other than that, everything else is completely utilitarian.

The other couple of pictures are Dad's room after. We tried to keep all his modeling stuff in the same place (on those white shelves) and boxed up his map collection and it's all on top of the dresser. I don't know that he will ever get to work on his models again. I don't think he feels well enough, but I wasn't about to be the one to say. "Let's dump it, your modeling life is over." He's actually a genius (I really mean the true use of that word.) in his modeling. He has built some from kits, but he often looked at pictures of airplanes, drew his own scale drawings and plans, bought odd clearance pieces of wood and made amazing airplane frames. He always felt like he couldn't afford the fittings and the coverings to complete the models, however. I wish, oh how I wish, he would have stopped doing so many and fully completed ONE. He always said he wanted to make a model of Amelia Earhart's last plane and donate it to Earhart school. I know he has every bit of talent and skill to have done it, but he never did and now it's too late. I could just cry about that.

Positive thoughts that what Emily and I did feels good emotionally to Mom and Dad and that it helps physically for Dad to have more mobility in at least that little part of the house.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Copy of email for quick posting reasons...

Did you go out last night? see anybody? I went out to Lowe's and bought a lawnmower blade - Woo Hoo! Then I worked on the house a little bit. My mom and dad are in crisis in Lafayette. I am going to run out to the the bank now and grab a bunch of money so I can offer to pay teenagers to help me when I go up there. I'm going to go to the bank, grab money get a little lunch, come back here and work on my own house and yard this afternoon, clean up and go to a meeting about Michael's trip to Japan, then drive up to Lafayette, stay all night at Emily's apt, then go try to help Mom and Dad at their house, then come back here in time for another meeting for my kitchen project - which I don't think I have told you about. I will be more tired after the weekend, than before and I am worried about it because I KNOW work is going to be very bad this week. If you don't work tomorrow you can come to Lafayette with me and work. I'll buy ya pizza! Mom and Dad need serious work done to their house so he can use the walker to get around. It's like one of those houses you see on Oprah or something. Last fall I tried to get them to move down here so they would be closer and I could help them, but my dad finally refused. Sigh. So I gotta run

two nights in a row

with no nap. Tonight I went to Target to pick up some medicine and ask the pharmacist a question. I continued my search for the lawnmower blade. I tried to be a good townie and went to Bloomington hardware, but they only stock the 21" blades because they are most common. So I had to trek across town to Lowe's. I looked around for a long time. I found a ceiling fan I really like and it is only $100. I wonder how much it costs to get one installed. I don't think I am brave enough to try it. I saw someone I know at Lowe's and was social for a little bit. After Lowe's I went to grab something to eat and brought it home. I have been playing computer and watched What Not To Wear and worked a little on the house. I want this room, formerly known as Katie's room, formerly known as the purple room, formerly known as Emily's room (and a few others here and there!) to be cleaned and organized. I packed up the last remnants of Katie's stuff. She has moved back into her house and has a new dog, Harvey, to keep her company. I am a little afraid that she will be hurt that I packed her stuff up, but she also knows how the clutter can make me crazy and how I am on the eternal quest for organization, so I really think it will be okay in the end.

I have been thinking about this all day because I was hugely tempted to take a picture of a dead snake in the road. The second large one I have seen in the past couple of weeks, in almost the very same spot. So I decided to make an odd list:

FIVE EXTREMELY STRANGE THINGS IN WHICH I AM INTERESTED OR HAVE SOME ODD FASCINATION:
1) Roadkill - I think it is really interesting how sometimes they hardly look dead, or funny when they are frozen with all four paws up in the air, almost like it's fake. I am especially interested in snakes when they are dead in the road because when we were little and would drive down the curvy country road (especially the one to Aunt Dodie's house), my parents would always point to the curving road warning signs and say, "There's a snake in the road ahead," Plus, I just really like snakes and even though the road-kill snakes are dead, I think it's cool to see what large snakes live in my neighborhood! I am not fascinated to a morbid extreme, I promise. I get completely grossed out when something is really squished or guts are visible. I would never take a picture of something like that. I warn you that someday, however, you may open my page to find some cute or interesting roadkill. I guess if Sarah can post poop pictures I can post dead animals, right?

2) Large or strange statues businesses use for advertising purposes. I have had my picture taken with a large cow, a carved Yeti, and astronaut so far. There is one I am dying to get up in Pendleton - a pink elephant holding a martini in its trunk! Now that I have the digital camera, anything is fair game.

3) I like fake insects, snakes, lizards, frogs and such. Every once in a while I buy something like that and just put them in fun places around the house until I get tired of them. I bought some really colorful lizards for Christmas stockings and there are still a couple in plant pots around the house. There is also the spider outside the door I really love. I have a container of 300 plastic flies in the closet right now and I am thinking of something fun for them... maybe a cake decoration.

4) I like Happy Meal toys. I wouldn't really say that I collect them, but every once in a while I find one so cute or funny that I just HAVE to have it. I especially like the ones that talk or move. I had a "Donkey" from Shrek that I kept in the car until its batteries wore out. When you moved his tail he would ask, "Are we there yet?" or say, Shrek!." I was sad when his batteries died. I think my favorite is my Stuart Little Mouse in the little wind-up car. I usually de-clutter and get rid of them eventually, or give them to some child who visits and expresses a lot of interest in one, but usually I am sad to part with them.

5) I love pens, stationery and office supplies. This is kind of ironic, because I seldom write real letters. The pens don't have to be nice, even. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite kind is a type that they stock at the Dollar Tree only at back to school time. I usually buy at least a couple of 10 packs and that usually gets me through the year. I feel a special sense of pride if I use a pen until the ink runs out, rather than losing it first. I love metallic gel pens. One of my favorite memories is that when I filled out and addressed the invitations for Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary party, I used my gold gel pen and I thought it looked fabulous. That was ummm. EIGHT years ago and I still remember it fondly. I guess that is one of my examples of how I like to let the little things in life make me happy and enjoy all that I can!


All right - just five demonstrations of what an unusually interesting person I am... I hope you've enjoyed.

Dad had some kind of crisis this morning and couldn't walk. Mom had to call the ambulance to come get him. The police came too and when they came in the house they said it smelled like gas. They called the gas company and they came and found TWO leaks. We are lucky they didn't die in the night or the house didn't explode! Mom called me later today and she was crying. She said they didn't keep Dad in the hospital, but sent him home. She feels like he needs to be in a nursing home. I asked her if I could call the Area Agency on Aging and find out about getting them services and she agreed. I called and talked to an intake worker and she told me what information I need to get tho apply for services for them and get them assigned to a case manager. Problem is there is a ONE YEAR wait for case manager. Sigh... I talked to her about him getting around the house and that he ought to be using the walker, but the house is too crowded and messy. She says there is a volunteer service that will help the elderly with housecleaning and gave me the number so I can call them. So that is on the agenda for Monday. She also said I need to have them give one of us Power of Attorney. She emailed me a list of attorneys in the area who specialize in elderly. I didn't see anybody I know, unfortunately. I feel like I need to go up, but I just don't even know when I can go. If I went tomorrow I'd have to go early in the morning and return for a meeting by 6:00. I know it sounds selfish and terrible, but I just don't think my own mental and physical health could handle it. I do plan to talk to Mom again tomorrow and let her know what I found out, and what information I need so we can get them on that list. I really wish they would have found a place they liked and moved last fall. If they were here it would be so easy for me to go over and wash dishes a couple of nights a week and for Michael to go over and help out, at least until he goes to college. Maybe I am feeling inspired to clean this room because we need to think of that as a possible solution. I just don't know if my need for solitude could handle it - again I feel so selfish.

I need to figure this all out. I wish I had lots of money so we wouldn't have to go through social services and could just HIRE people to help when needed. Alas, that is NOT the case.

Well, positive thoughts toward finding some good way. Maybe as I get my health more in control I can travel more and help more often.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It was evil, but I had to do it.

I bought a copy of People magazine. I have to read about Jon & Kate. I figure if he gave the interview I guess I can pay a couple of bucks to read it. I feel dirty...

I did NOT take a nap tonight I went out to dinner with a friend (Eric). I let him choose and he picked Olive Garden. I feel a little guilty for two reasons. I try to avoid chains because Bloomington has so many wonderful local restaurants. Reason two: One of my friends OWNS one of those local restaurants...and it's Italian and GOOD!

Work had its ups and downs today. I took a lunch today, even kind of a long one. I am still at 36.6 hours already for the week and I am pretty darned sure I am not going to be able to get all my work done in 3.4 hours tomorrow. I will probably at least take a long lunch. I need to go to Target and ask the pharmacist a question as well as pick up some medicine.

I bought another HUGE jar of Claussen pickles tonight. I just ate three of them - and not the spears - the giant halves! Yum.

My weight loss has slowed a little bit and I was really upset by it, then I realized that since the tearing up my feet with giant blisters incident I have been intentionally walking much less. I usually do the park far away thing and walk extra in the store and all that, but I have been so worried about my feet healing properly that I have been doing exactly the opposite. They don't hurt all the time now, usually just at the end of the day and I think the new goodformyfeet shoes are helping that. I was bouncing around between 198 and 200, but I finally hit 196 this morning. Now tomorrow I will probably be heavier again because of all the salt in the pickles! I get my next reward when I go under 195, and I still haven't gotten my under 200 massage. I'd better schedule it soon!

Today Michael went to Monet's house and gardens. That is something I would like to see! Tomorrow they do another concert in a cathedral, I think, but I don't recall the name of it.

Positive thoughts for work completion tomorrow. !

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yawn...

I lay down in bed to start watching "Bonneville" and promptly fell asleep. I woke up about 10:30. Now I have played online, checked messages, had a snack and am about ready to go back to bed. I need to take my medicine and I want to fill my pill case for the week first. It is much easier for me to remember to take my medicine and lets me know when something is running out ahead of time if I keep up on that.

Work was the same way again. Donna got really angry with me at one point, but I was overly sweetly grateful in return so we didn't get any further with it. She did some math figuring rates for the customer she helped with and I haven't checked it yet. She doesn't have a good record of doing the math correctly and there have been times I have had to fix it. We'll see tomorrow. My favorite time today was when the IT guys were working on Joyce's computer and had to use mine to compare to hers to try to find the differences. I was able to get rid of a bunch of recycling and do a little sorting and generally make my mess a little less. Maybe I need to make a sign " Make the mess a little less, every day in some little way." until I get caught up! I have my "Attitude of Energy" sign up right now and I swear it helps!

Positive thoughts toward a positive, productive and health day tomorrow.

A little blurb from the blog on Michael's trip, written by Carol Kugler:

Wednesday is a full day: Everyone had to be up by 6:30 a.m., breakfast at 7 a.m. and on the bus headed for Caen at 7. This isn't a typical week for us, or the French: There are hundreds of extra people, many in U.S. Army jeeps and vehicles heading to Caen with us.

The first stop is The Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), which was built in 1063 by William the Conqueror. The abbey was actually begun before William became King of England. The building is magnificent inside and out. Across the busy street stands the shell of a cathedral that was bombed during World War II. What a contrast to the abbey, which survived intact.

The second stop of the day is the Peace Memorial. There was too much to see in too little time, but we did see the amazing video that tells the story of World War II and D-Day. Then it was on the buses again to go to Normandy American Cemetery, We were told the place is usually quiet and peaceful. It's a little less so today, as preparations are under way for the June 6 anniversary. A stage was set up over the pond in front of the stage at the cemetery.

At 3 p.m., chimes began. The Hoosier Youth Philharmonic waited and listened patiently in their seats, instruments at the ready. Almost 15 minutes later, the chimes, music and taps were over and they began to play. Crowds of people stopped to listen to the music. Some were soldiers, some were Americans, many were French. Others were German.

After the wonderful performance, most of the group walked to Omaha Beach. The way down was beautiful, the sun was shining and the breeze was cool. The channel water was at low tide, just as it was when the forces landed 65 years ago. After playing in the water and looking back at the remains of some of the German batteries on the hillside above, the group started its walk back.

Now it was when student and adult alike started to realize how far away that hillside was. The sand slowed down footsteps and the hill loomed large. Just as most people had reached the top of the hill, a C47 plane flew overhead, stopping most in their tracks. The plane used to carry paratroopers to the French shores passed over one more time as the group left.

Then it was a rush to get students, instruments, music and everything else loaded in the buses for a mad dash to the next stop, the parish church of St. Aubin Sur Mer, for another concert, this one longer than the first. The cool, quiet church filled with French folk who came to listen to the students from America. After an hour of performance, the audience rose to its feet, clapping. One French woman was crying.

Now we are back in Lisieux, tired and very happy after a wonderful day and delicious dinner.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quiz and updates:

This is a dumb quiz from Facebook. You make up you own questions and answers. Emily and Heather did the best. Pay special attention to #4, then keep reading.



1) What is my favorite color?
a) Green
b) Pink
c) Black
d) White
e) Blue

2) What is my middle name!
a) Eve
b) Leslie
c) Edna
d) Elaine
e) Penelope

3) What is my dream car?
a) Jaguar
b) Rolls Royce
c) Toyota Matrix
d) Chevy Malibu
e) Pinto

4) What scares me the most?
a) Snakes
b) Centipedes
c) Spiders
d) Scorpions
e) Mice

5) What item am I known for baking very well?
a) Bread
b) Cheesecake
c) Pizza
d) Cakes
e) Petit Fours

6) What color are my living room walls?
a) Eggshell
b) Pale Blue
c) Dark green
d) Sunny yellow
e) Chocolate brown

7) Where am I considering moving in the future?
a) Ireland
b) Finland
c) Utah
d) Lafayette
e) New Mexico

8) What kind of pet do I own?
a) Cat
b) Dog
c) Fish
d) Tarantula
e) Snake

9) What unusual item is by my front door?
a) A taxidermied Road-kill raccoon
b) A large plastic spider
c) A ceramic hedgehog
d) A dollhouse
e) A bottle of bubble stuff

10) How many children do I have?
a) 1
b) 2
c) 3
d) 4
e) 5

11) What is my favorite holiday?
a) Easter - all that chocolate!
b) Halloween - fun costumes
c) Christmas - and it's all about decorations
d) April Fool's - I think up the best pranks
e) Valentine's Day - I have a romantic lover!

12) What kind of instruments have I played the most?
a) Piano
b) Woodwinds
c) Percussion
d) Strings
e) Anything electric and loud

13) What is my favorite game to play?
a) Monopoly
b) Life
c) Scrabble
d) Clue
e) Mystery Mansion

14) How much do I read?
a) About three books a year
b) Not at all
c) About three books a month
d) Two books every week
e) About ten books in a year

15) In what sport did I compete as a teenager?
a) Track and Field
b) Basketball
c) Volleyball
d) Swimming
e) Softball

16) In what class was I most pleased to earn an "A" in college?
a) Chaucer
b) Geology
c) Victorian Literature
d) Jewish history
e) Physics

17) What was my first boyfriend's name?
a) Kevin
b) Donny Osmond
c) Michael
d) Ed
e) Matt

18) How often do I drink alcohol?
a) Like a fish, every weekend.
b) Every time I'm with Pat.
c) Hardly ever.
d) Every time I go to karaoke.
e) Every day at work - how else would I make it?

19) Where did I travel last week?
a) Canada
b) Utah
c) New Mexico
d) Georgia
e) Ohio

20) What is my favorite vacation spot?
a) Utah
b) Cancun
c) Disney World
d) Any place with a beach
e) The ski slopes of Vermont

21) What is my favorite weekend activity?
a) Thrift shopping
b) Sleeping
c) Karaoke
d) Farmer's Market
e) Roller Skating

22) What is my favorite music of those listed?
a) Tracy Chapman
b) Jewel
c) Any opera will do, especially Wagner
d) Indigo Girls
e) Musical Theater

23) One more: Am I an early morning or a late night person?
a) Up at the crack of dawn.
b) Force myself to bed every night.
c) Whatever is necessary, I am dedicated worker & mom


So #4. This morning I awakened in a rather timely fashion for me, jumped in the shower and when I came out of the bathroom there was a CENTIPEDE in my bed! I swear I could have thrown up. I grabbed a tissue and tried to brush it off the bed and it ran in between my pillows! I started throwing pillows of the bed and finally found it and knocked it to the floor and killed it. Utter grossness. So tonight I am washing everything that was on the bed. I think the fourth load is in the washer now. Ugh, Ugh, Ugh. Editing to add: When I stripped the bedding off tonight there were a few stray legs I must have knocked off trying to get it off the bed. So totally disgusting.

Work was awful today. The phones were insane, there was a ton of online ads and all my auction stuff started coming in.... The next few weeks are going to be hell. Kerri is taking a leave for how many weeks it takes for her mother to probably die of leukemia, Christie is getting married and going to Mexico for a week, Leah is on vacation right now. I don't even know what else - oh yeah, one of the part-timers quit and is not being replaced. Oh, also my Coordinator, Donna, who does my paper work for all my "display" ads and the auctions is going on vacation for a week next week, so I will have to do all that by myself! I'm sad for Kerri and happy for Christie and that's really true. Selfishly, however, I worry about how it will affect me. They are telling us no overtime, and even asking people to take volunteer unpaid time off to save the budget. I am not even getting my work done completely now. The ads make it in the paper (usually) but receipts don't get sent, billing problems are ignored, things are piled instead of filed. I am crazy with it. After I learned that Kerri was not just off today, but maybe long-term I swear I was on the verge of having an attack. That Ativan that Dr. Andry prescribes for my anxiety, yet I hardly ever take and I have three or four bottle because it's on auto-refill... it may become a regular part of my day. Either that or more frequent episodes of crying at my desk.

Well Michael is safely in France. We started receiving emails from students and blog entries from a chaperone who also works at the H-T. If I get time tomorrow I will post the blog address and make sure you don't have to be a subscriber to read them.

Positive thoughts toward a better day at work tomorrow, no creepy crawlies in my bed or in my dreams and for comfort for Kerri and her family.

Monday, June 1, 2009

He's off to France.

I had a terrible night's sleep last night. I woke up every time I turned over and then kept having recurring dreams about making ad tickets - the paper work for scheduling ads. I had to take a lunch today because we have to clock in and out now on the computer. I went down to the car and slept for almost an hour. It was too hot to do it. I was all sweaty and gross when I was done!

Tonight I have been doing housework, not the normal kind, but the it looks worse before it looks better kind. Sorting out papers and stuff like that. I have recycled piles and piles of stuff I have kept too long. So my house truly is cleaner and more organized, you just can't tell!

I'm getting so tired I can hardly type. I better go get my snack and medicine so I can get to bed.

Positive thoughts toward organization, proper filing of important documents and also a little tidiness here and there.