Life is Good – April 30, 2010

Flowering Crabapple Tree in my front yard

Wow, the weeks pass by quickly, don’t they? I can’t believe it’s the end of April already. And what a week this has been. It started out a little rough on Monday when we realized it was time to say goodbye to our ailing 15-year-old cat, Holly. It’s funny, because I never considered myself a cat person. I never really wanted her to begin with. She just sort of landed in our lives and found a place in our hearts for 15 years. It was so hard to let her go, but knowing that doing so put an end to her suffering helps ease the pain a little bit. Tigger is a little confused. When he joined the family, he had to compete not only with Holly, but with our Springer Spaniel, Shelby. Now he’s the only one left and he’s trying to find his bearings.

Dogwood bush in our back yard

But life goes on, and it is still good.  It’s been a beautiful spring so far here. The flowering trees are in full bloom and the air is filled with their sweet scent.  The weather has been warm and mild and there has been plenty of sunshine. The warmth of the sun does wonders for me. I’m so glad it’s back! And as you can see from the photos posted here, I’m taking full advantage of the opportunity to use my camera to capture the beauty of all this new life springing up outdoors!

Hastas resurfacing under the deck after a long winter

Work is keeping me busy. There are plenty of challenges and lots of opportunity to exercise my brain and find a creative outlet. Every day when I look at the clock and realize it’s almost quitting time already, I find myself feeling grateful to have a job that fulfills me.

I had a nice day off this week on Thursday. I decided to start the day by browsing through the local tile shop since the kitchen remodel project is still in the works. Yeah, the big stuff is done and it’s operational, but there are still some finishing touches that need to be done. Mark is working on installing new trim work and crown molding. I still have to find some lights and some glass panels for one of the new cabinets. And the back splash needs to be done. Mark is going to tile it, so I went in search of the perfect tile. And I found it. The only thing I knew for sure is I wanted to incorporate glass tiles into it somehow. Wayne, the salesman at the tile shop took a look at my counter-top sample and pulled out some tiles for me to ponder. I loved them immediately and made my decision immediately. So that’s done. Who knows when Mark will get around to the actual tiling, but at least we’ll have all the supplies when he’s ready.

Another thing I accomplished was picking out a pretty good gift for Mark. Why? We’re celebrating 22 years of marriage today! Over the last few years, Mark has really surpassed me in the awesome gift department, but I think I got him this time.  Happy Anniversary, Honey!

And happy weekend to everyone else!

Life is Good – April 9, 2010

It was a tough week here. The news of Holly’s tumor kind of overshadowed everything else.

Things seemed so dire on Monday when we were given the diagnosis, and again on Wednesday when she was so sick, but she seemed to be okay by Thursday. I spent most of the day at home keeping an eye on her, and she seemed better. She ate some of her dry food and kept it down . I also bought her some canned cat food. (Iams Proactive Health brand food. Now there’s irony if I ever saw it.) I was  hoping that the canned food would sit better with her stomach and it did. I gave her a small amount to begin with and she woofed it down. Poor thing was hungry!

And yes, I know the poor cat is on the tail end of her ninth life, but I seriously think she’s taking advantage of me and my obvious sorrow over her impending passing. See, every single time I use the bathroom now, and I do mean every-single-ever-lovin’-time…whether it be to actually… you know… use the bathroom, or simply to grab a tissue or just wash my hands…suddenly there she is trying to look all forlorn and pitiful and weak.

And then she starts in on me. “MEOW! MEOW! Poor me! Pick me up, puh-leeze! You know I simply can’t make the leap up there to your lovely sink and I want to drink out of that faucet thingy where the water comes out all fresh and clean and has no hairs of other cats in it. And also, be sure not to turn it on too much. Just a trickle please. Thank you. That is lovely. You know I just can’t possibly drink out of that big, blue bowl full of water into which Tigger has been sticking his tongue. Eeeew. Cough! Cough!

Okay, so cats don’t actually cough, but the rest is very true, I’m pretty sure. And I’m totally letting her get away with it because I plan to spoil her rotten for the rest of her days, even if she might actually be milking it just a little bit.

So, while Holly and I hung out on my day off, I was also waiting for the appliance repair guy to come and tell me what was so wrong with my brand spanking new oven that it refused to heat up. Steve showed up in a timely fashion and went to work figuring out what the problem might be. First he checked to make sure the gas was on. (Duh!) And then he started taking pieces off of and out of the oven. He stuck tools inside and checked his little computer and such. I proceeded to fold laundry at the kitchen table, trying not to look like I was scrutinizing him too much as he worked down on the floor with his head in my oven. He seemed a nice enough guy. He didn’t try to steal my pot-holders or Tupperware from the cupboard near where he was working, so that was good. I’m telling you, you can trust those G.E. Appliance Experts!

Steve talked on and on, sometimes to himself and sometimes to me. And wouldn’t you know it, he pulled his head out of the oven and turned to look at me just as I pulled a pair of my string bikinis out of the basket of laundry I was folding. I stuffed them back in the basket and tried to look all like “Underwear? What underwear? No, we don’t have any underwear in our laundry, Heaven forbid! No underwear here! Those hot pink things? Yeah, those were socks. Totally socks.”

Steve was kind enough to pretend not to notice my hot pink underwear.

So, as Steve the G.E. Appliance Expert informed me, the problem was simply something called a glow bar. I pretended to know just what a glow bar was, because, quite frankly, I didn’t care as long as it got fixed or replaced. Steve said that glow bars are delicate parts and  it is quite common for them to be damaged during shipping. He replaced mine and then showed me it was working, all like “behold the flames!” I did my best job of looking impressed, all like, “Wow, look at that. Fire. I can cook now. Yay.”

I thanked him, and off he went to rescue yet another appliance. All in a day’s work for Super G.E. Appliance Expert Steve, I am quite sure.

And also, I’m sure you are asking yourself what these pictures have to do with anything I’ve written here so far. Well, if you would just be patient, I will tell you that the tulips are getting ready to bloom in the little garden underneath the crab-apple tree. I actually tried to get rid of all the tulips a few years ago, but some of the bulbs were all stealth-like and escaped their demise.  I don’t necessarily dislike tulips, but they are only pretty for like a week before they croak, and then you have to leave all the stems there until they sort of dry up and you can pull them off the bulbs. But now I’m just too lazy to remove the rest of them, so there you go. Pictures of spring in my front yard!

And also, Kacey has a volleyball tournament this weekend, and I think I am actually going to stay home! Because I have been a super-supportive volleyball mom and attended every single tournament so far. And this weekend, Mark is available to go with her, and it is a very local tournament, so I’m thinking I’ll just stay home and have a non-chaotic weekend for a change. But I haven’t told Mark yet that I’m bailing out and he gets to go solo this time, so Shhhhhhhh, okay?

Have a great weekend!

Finally Slept!

I finally slept last night. I totally laid off the caffeine yesterday, suspecting that may have been my problem Tuesday night. I was so tired on Tuesday that I drank a mocha and several cans of Diet Coke throughout the day. When I hit the sack that night, my eyes were burning with the tired, but I just couldn’t get them to close.  Last night, I could feel myself drifting off to sleep and it was effortless. I feel a million times better today.

I need to get back to being an early bird. I feel my best when I start my day early and get plenty of rest. I think it will help that spring has arrived. The cold and dark days of winter stress me out and depress me. No wonder all I want to do is sleep. Now that there is warmth and sunshine and color to look forward to, I can feel my whole being relaxing and taking things in stride again. I hope I’ll get back to my old self now.

Went to my once-every-three-weeks chiropractor appointment after work yesterday. A good adjustment always makes me feel better too. I like my chiropractor, Dr. Dave. He’s a cool guy. Did I ever mention that Dave is married to the sister-in-law of my coworker, B? I’ve been seeing Dave longer than I’ve known B, so I’m of the opinion that this makes this a small world situation!

B is one of those people who, let’s just say, you don’t want to be on her sh*t list. Lucky for me, B really likes me, but she’s got a reputation around the office for being a… well…a really big B! Dave knows what B is like, and he likes to ask me about her every time I see him. He’s always asking me to give him some goods on B so he can give her a hard time the next time he sees her. I love to hear Dave talk about the times he and his wife have gone out with B. He talks about a side of B that her coworkers don’t get to see; the side that really lets her hair down. I’ve had occasion to see this side of B once or twice, and I agree. She can be fun. Most of our coworkers wouldn’t believe it, but it’s true. I like B. I can brush off her harsh side and choose not to take it personally.

So. Anyway. (This is turning out to be a long story, isn’t it?) Remember the time I mentioned running into Dave and his wife at a local bar? I literally almost ran into them because the place was that crowded. A popular local band was playing and there was barely room to stand much less sit. As I made my way to the bar to buy a drink, I just missed slamming into Dave and the little woman playing kissy-face right there in the middle of the bar. Ever since, Dave will periodically suggest that we all get together at that same bar. A lot of good bands play there and it’s a fun place to hang out. I never take Dave’s suggestions too seriously though as he never gives a specific date or time. I always just kind of laugh that he seems to have some sort of new-found respect for me because he apparently never saw me as one to go out to a bar and whoop it up. Anyway… (again, with the “anyway”) Yesterday, as Dave was making fun of B and talking about what fun she is to go out with, he again said, “We’ve got to all go out one of these days. We’ll get B and her husband to join us. Let’s go to that same bar. It’ll be a blast!” This time he didn’t let me leave the office without a promise to make it happen, so I agreed I’d take it seriously this time and plan a date. Mark really thinks Dave is a great guy, so he’s all over this, but I just think there’s something strange about socializing with your medical professionals. There are the people you go out with and drink with and let see you make a fool of yourself when you go just a little bit overboard. And then there are the people who have seen x-rays of your innermost parts. It just seems strange to mix them in the same company. I don’t know. Maybe I’m like the little kid who is shocked to see her teacher in the grocery store because she always thought that teachers were always just teachers and not real people.

Could be interesting. It should make an interesting blog post, to say the least!

The big excitement for today is that I got the stitches removed from my head, THANK GOD! They were driving me nuts with the pinching and itching. I’m such a wuss. I was seriously afraid that it would hurt to get them removed, but I didn’t even feel a thing. My doctor is a very laid back and friendly guy, so the conversation was casual. He made a comment about his daughter being married now, which surprised me, because when I first started seeing him, his daughter was a little girl. I remarked how I couldn’t believe she was married, but it made sense, I guess, because I started seeing him when I was pregnant with Brad and Brad is now twenty-one. So then I realized that my doctor, being the one to handle all of my pregnancies and child births, has seen a lot more of me than just my x-rays, so maybe I should be glad that I have social plans with my chiropractor and not my doctor because that would just be way too weird.

Time to pack up the kitchen

I enjoyed a sleep-in morning, this being my day off and all. I stumbled out to the family room and the scene out the window is one that’s been holding steady here for a few days.  Fog. Lots of it. It’s been raining off and on since early this week.  The mountains of snow are dissipating, slowly but surely.

I plopped myself in the recliner and while Mark watched an episode of American Eats featuring famous breakfast cereals on The History Channel, I grabbed my laptop to check up on blogs and such. While I was absorbed in what I was reading, I thought I saw a flash of light out of the corner of my eye, but the gas fireplace was flickering next to me, so I attributed the flash to the flames. However, the massive clap of thunder that followed made me practically jump out of my chair and I soon realized that flash was lightning and we were going to enjoy a rare sight out the windows; a thunderstorm while the ground is still pretty well covered in snow.

Weird.

Does everyone else hear a musical back-drop to the days of their lives? I do. I know Rock Chef does. Since the clap of thunder, I’ve been hearing Amii Stewart singing, It’s like thunder… lightning…. The way you love me is frightening….:

Today is the day I start packing up all the contents of the kitchen cupboards. Mark bought a bunch of boxes for me yesterday, then ripped out the soffits while I was at work. After dinner, he asked me how soon I’d be ready to part with the dishwasher. (NEVER!) The microwave? (DITTO!)

(The microwave is one of those over-the-stove kind. It hangs below a cupboard. The cupboards come down this weekend. Hence the reason I have to part with my microwave.)

I know I need to give up my stuff for a while, I just hadn’t given any serious thought to living with out my daily conveniences. I guess the next trip to the grocery store will have to include lots of crock-pot and grill cookable foods. And paper plates.

And wine. For medicinal purposes, of course.

Well, I better get off the internet now. I’ve got to go pick out a new sink and faucet today and the kitchen is not going to pack itself up.

Have a GREAT day!

Lazy Thursday

I had a lazy start to the day today. No alarm clock. No hurrying out of bed. It felt good. I needed that.

For breakfast, I made myself a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich on Country Hearth multi-grain bread, toasted, of course. I am a bread lover, and this bread is to die for!

Okay, I think I’ve hit a new low here on the blog when I’m describing my breakfast and singing the praises of bread… So as long as I’m down here, let’s talk about peanut butter. I’ve never bought natural peanut butter before. It’s pretty good. Not as sweet as my usual Jif, but good. Do all natural peanut butters have the consistency of baby poop? I swear, when I opened the jar and started stirring it up – because that’s what you do with natural peanut butter – you stir in the oil – my first thought was, “Baby poop.” Didn’t stop me from eating it though. It’s very tasty when combined with Nutella, which just seems sinful, but who could resist it? It’s spreadable chocolate and goes great on toast! (And shortbread cookies, I might add.)

Speaking of cookies, those Girl Scouts are evil. I currently have eight boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the house and I think I have six more on the way. It’s not that I want to eat them all. I just can’t say no to those cute faces when they give me their sales pitch and tell me how bad they want to go to Girl Scout camp. I went to Girl Scout camp once, even though I was never actually a Girl Scout. Not sure how that happened, but it was FUN!

So we have cookies. Lots of cookies. I’m going hide them and put them in the snack cupboard, one or two boxes at a time. Otherwise, Jake will eat three boxes a day. Not that it would affect him. The kid eats anything he wants and nothing of value and still doesn’t gain a pound. It’ll catch up with him someday though. I keep warning him.

I think I’ll take Jake bowling today. He doesn’t have class for some reason. He’s asked me a few times lately to go bowling with him, but I’ve not been able to take him up on the offer for one reason or another. My almost-19 year-old kid still likes to spend time with me now and then. I’ll take it. Today’s the day.

Reasons why I'm impressed with myself

First, I bowled a 195 last night! 195! Can you believe that? That’s my highest score ever! The pins; they just kept on falling! Of course, we were bowling just for fun. Do you think I can pull off a score like that in leagues? Probably not. I have this habit of showing up for leagues and forgetting what I did right.

Also, I had the grocery shopping done by 9:00 and dinner made before noon. It’s 11:40 a.m. and I have dinner made. A real dinner. With vegetables and everything! It’s a broccoli-chicken casserole kind of thing with slivered almonds. It just needs to go in the oven later on.

I don’t know what’s going on with me, but I like it!

Actually, I kind of know what’s going on with me. I’ve been working hard at eating better, avoiding junk food and exercising more consistently. And we all know I have that “plenty of sleep” thing pretty well covered. It’s amazing what these improved habits are doing for my motivation and productivity!

I have to go now. My arm hurts from patting myself on the back.

Life is Good – November 13, 2009

IMG_0761_2Welcome to Friday! We made it! The weekend is upon us!

I’ll stop shouting now. Sorry.

Good stuff this week… ummm… let’s see…

I had some busy days at work this week. I know, I know. It’s called work and it’s supposed to keep you busy, but trust me when I tell you that is not always the case these days. So I was thrilled to be invited to participate in a particular project and have something to pass the hours a little more easily.

I had a good workout on Wednesday. I know it was good because I was sore the next day. Kacey’s winter volleyball team is holding weekly team workouts at the gym and she is showing me some of the exercises she’s learned. With any luck, I’ll beef up these spaghetti arms just a bit and prevent the dreaded bat-wing effect.

What else…?

I had a great birthday. There were tons of birthday wishes from friends and family and a couple of wonderful gifts and cards. And I got one of my wishes, a call from my oldest in the morning. The conversation went something like this:

Ring-Ring (Actually, my phone doesn’t go ring-ring. It goes We will find you acting on your best behavior. Turn your back on mother nature. Everybody wants to rule the world…) What? I like Tears for Fears!

Sorry. I digressed again.. so, back to the phone call:

Me: “Hello?”

Brad: “Happy Birthday, ya old geezer!”

Me: “!”

Brad: “Heh-heh.”

Me: “You’re lucky I love you.”

Brad: “I’m just teasing ya, Mama. You know I love you and you’re not an old geezer.”

In other good kinds of stuff, Jake went out and did some social things this week with other people his age. This was a very good thing. He’s a great kid and I love him to death, but sometimes I worry about his home-body tendencies. Did you ever see that movie, The Sandlot, where the mom tells her son, “Go out. Get dirty. Get in trouble… Not a lot of trouble, but some trouble.” That’s what I often want to say to Jake. I’m happy to see him expanding his horizons a bit.

Plans for the weekend? There’s still a mountain of laundry to tackle and groceries to be purchased before we all starve to death. I am possibly bowling in a tournament on Saturday. (I know. You’re surprised, aren’t you?) I am definitely getting together with my sister.

Life is good… except maybe for the mountainous laundry and bare cupboards… but other than that, life is good!

Life is Good – October 16, 2009

This has been a great week!

Crab Apples

Our Monday women’s bowling league is in full swing and we are having a great time. We got some cool new shirts this year, which just arrived this week. I’ll have to get pictures. You’re gonna love ‘em! And I’m finally seeing some improvement in my game. My scores this week were 155, 146 and 172! BOOYAH! I bowled a 172 and it was the high score for that game! Considering my average after last week was 124,  I was pretty impressed with myself. I love bowling! But you probably already knew that. :-)

Drops

Around the office, business continues to be slow, but I was asked to assist our Accounting department on Wednesday, so I had a nice big project to keep me busy and pass the time. I think I would die of boredom if I had to do Accounting stuff all the time, but this week, it was a welcome change of pace.

Frozen Flower

Thursday was the beginning of a four day weekend for me. I took some time off to spend with Kacey while Mark and the boys went on a hunting trip. I love a four day weekend, and especially the first couple of days. I feel so relaxed and there’s no pressure to do all those things that are always hanging over my head.

No Idea

While Kacey was at volleyball practice yesterday morning, I cooked lunch for my parents and the two of us brought it over and ate with my mom and dad. It was just a simple meal, a hamburger and rice hot-dish and some home grown squash. They loved it and were really happy to have the company for lunch. Afterwards, Kacey and I did some serious girl shopping, found a bunch of bargains, had dinner together at Applebee’s  and we both came home happy. She kept thanking me for the few things I bought her and for taking her to dinner. She’s such a great kid.

Pine Tree

And one of my favorite things about the day was that I managed to find time to go out in the neighborhood and shoot some photos while it snowed.  I wandered around a nearby pond and just enjoyed the quiet and solitude. And I was pretty happy with the results of my outing.

Pond

Life is Good!

Snow Again

It’s only October 15th and it’s snowing again! It’s very pretty, actually. The flakes look like powdered sugar being sprinkled from above and the colored leaves on the trees are laced with a layer of white.

My four day weekend has begun! Mark, Jake and their hunting crew left this morning for four days of hunting. Brad plans to meet up with them after his last class on Friday.

I’m a little nervous and won’t feel better until Mark and Jake call and say they’ve arrived safely. You see, Mark worked twelve hours overnight, then came home, packed up the truck, and headed out for a four hour drive in the snow which is predicted to turn to rain later on. I had hoped he might stay home and grab a few hours of sleep before going, but neither he nor Jake wanted to delay their hunting weekend. I hope he stays awake and alert enough to drive safely, or at least knows when to let Jake to take over the driving. They’ve gone in a caravan with their buddies, so at least I know there are others keeping an eye on them.

Kacey had volleyball practice this morning. While she’s gone, I’m going to cook a hot dish (that’s a “casserole” for all you non-native Minnesotans.) When Kacey is done at practice, she and I are going take the food over to my parents’ house and have lunch with them. My mom has not been feeling well for over a month now, so it’s hard for her to do everyday things like cooking and cleaning. I’m trying hard to do some of this stuff for them when I can. I’ve really been trying to do as much cooking for her and my dad as possible so that she doesn’t have to worry about preparing meals while she’s got no energy. I’m making good use of the crock pot these days, cooking large quantities, so there’s enough for a family meal and enough to bring to Mom and Dad too.

As for the rest of the weekend, who knows what’s in store! It’ll be quiet around here, so I definitely want to take advantage and do some writing and catch up on reading. I may go out with my sister and friends tomorrow night. Ladies’ night always ends up being a good time. And I think there’s a little shopping in the works. I need some new shoes and I think I hear Victoria’s Secret calling as well!

I love a four-day weekend!

Lunch with Dad

Cory and I took my dad out to lunch today. We decided last weekend that we should make it a point to do something with Dad once a month and do the same with Mom once a month. Mom and Dad spend so much time together, we thought it might be nice to give each of them some freedom to do their own things once in a while when the other is out with us.

There was another motive too. I don’t make nearly enough time for my parents, unless I actually schedule time with them. When I called my dad to invite him, he was pleasantly surprised. He asked what we were celebrating. I felt guilty that he thought going out to lunch must mean there was some kind of occasion. I explained to him in not so many words that I was just trying to stop being such a slacker daughter.

We asked Dad to choose the restaurant and he wanted to go to Applebee’s. The food was good. Dad got some kind of club sandwich that looked as if it had an entire package of deli turkey stacked on it. I couldn’t believe he was able to finish most of it! I ordered something called the Ultimate Trio where you can select three items from a list of options. I got some mini cheeseburgers, boneless honey barbecue wings, and the famous spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips. I ate the chips and dip and then I was too full to eat anything else. I should have just ordered the chips and dip from the appetizer menu and called it good!

During our time together, we somehow got on the subject of how my parents chose the names they did for their kids. Cory has had conflicting feelings about her name for years. Due to the spelling of her name, those who don’t see her in person automatically assume she is a male. She says she still gets mail addressed to Mr. Cory ____. She commented to Dad that in 1965, the name Cory, especially for a girl, had to be very unique. He agreed it was, but couldn’t quite remember how he and my mom had come up with it. He just knew that they didn’t want to use any of the “typical” names of the day, “You know, like ‘Barbie’.” He did remember that my name was one he remembers liking because of a woman he had worked with many, many years ago when he worked for an insurance company. He had a coworker there named Terri who he described as “the nicest person in the world.” Then he leaned forward and spoke in an exaggerated whisper, “but she was kind of… well…not obese, but quite a heavy gal. But the nicest person in the world!”

I had to laugh that Dad felt it necessary to share that last bit of information!

While we were gone, Mom took advantage of her freedom and went to have lunch with a long-time friend. Cory, Dad and I had a good time and when we dropped Dad off at home, he gave each of us an extra squeezy hug and thanked us for taking him. Precious moments. I wish I’d thought to do something like this long ago.