Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Catching Up!

I haven't been writing much this week. I've been busy trying to catch up on my work. That's what happens when your schedule falls by the wayside when summer comes! We've had a very unstructured two weeks now and while it's been fun, I think a little bit of order is, well, in order! Even my cat has gotten lazy. It used to be that on weekends when I deliberately didn't set my alarm, my cat would awaken me at around 4 a.m., because that's about the time I got up on weekdays. While it frustrated me a little on days I wanted to sleep in, I was thankful for his diligence on days when I kept hitting the snooze button too long. When school ended I didn't set my alarm anymore because the cat was doing a very nice job of waking me at the correct hour. Then 4 o'clock became 4:30, then 5, then 5:30, and now this morning I woke him up at 7 o'clock! Guess it's time to go back to using my alarm clock - if for no other reason than to re-train my cat.

On Sunday we had a birthday dinner for Tom's girlfriend, Sam. Tom cooked a spaghetti dinner complete with garlic bread. It was very good. Tom put candles that said "93" on her cake. We're not sure why, but he said he thought it would be funny. I'll bet Sam will find it a lot less amusing when she really does turn 93!

Andy decided that he wanted to go bowling for his birthday this Friday. He didn't want a regular birthday party, just for the family to go bowling. We are coming back home afterwards for cake and ice cream. We are looking forward to it, as we always enjoy bowling. Can't do it very well, but we have fun!

On Monday afternoon Jerry, Andy and I went to lunch at Red, Hot & Blue. Andy had three certificates for a free kid's meal and they were due to expire this week, so we figured we would use them. It was, well, an experience. Between waiting forever to be seated, the waitress forgetting us, and our food, I don't think we'll be going back anytime soon. Andy had gotten the coupons from school where they were given for honor roll and graduation. It stated on the coupon that the value of the coupon was $4.99, so I thought that maybe we could just take that amount off of our total since all three of us were eating, but the waitress said that we couldn't do that. We had to get kid's meals and nothing else, and furthermore, the coupons couldn't even be used for carryout - they had to be used eating in the restaurant only. What I decided to do was to let Andy get what he wanted from the regular menu, and then when we were just about finished eating, I ordered three kid's meals - and then asked the waitress to please bring boxes so that we could take them home. So, guess what Andy had for dinner that night?!

I recently read in a book that God doesn't like it when we complain. I can understand this because when we pray we ask "Thy will be done", meaning that we will accept whatever His will for us is, and we are to know that what He does in our lives is what He thinks best - but then when we let Him do His will, we complain about what we get! Driving home from the restaurant, I told Jerry that I was REALLY struggling not to complain. I wondered how such a bad experience could have been His will. I said that maybe He was trying to teach us patience. Jerry thought a minute, then decided that He was trying to teach us not to go to that restaurant ever again! If that's the case, we learned that lesson well!

She looks good for 93, eh?!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Oh, the irony! This story made me chuckle yesterday. Hmm....if I had all that done, I too could be Miss World. Then again with plastic surgery, anybody could! Doesn't this totally defeat the point of a beauty contest?!

It figures that we have had a very long dry spell just when we're anxiously waiting to see how our drainfields will behave. We are watching the septic tank the way some people watch nighttime television. "Checked the tank?" has become the greeting whenever Jerry walks in the door. I should probably stop that. Not exactly the greeting a man expects when he returns home from work! I feel sorry for Jerry right now. He is working in the heat on a metal roof down the street from us. It's not the whole house, though. The metal is being put on a little round part near the roof just for decoration, but it's really not appropriate for it considering the fact that the house is right on the water and the salt water will quickly erode the aluminum that he's putting on. Oh, well. That's what the homeowner and the builder insisted on, so Jerry's doing his job.

You can definitely tell that summer is here. The boys have been staying up late and playing games and watching television together. It makes me reminisce when I hear them laughing at 1 o'clock in the morning because I remember when my sister and I used to do the very same thing during the summer. We would get so tired and everything would seem funny! Inevitably a parent would come out to tell us to quiet down and go to bed, but boy did we giggle! At the dumbest things, too! For some reason we found playing with our dog, Porky, immensely amusing at about 2 a.m.. A tired brain will find just about anything amusing.

I keep telling myself that SOON we'll be in West Virginia. It can't be SOON enough! Well, I talked about being pruned. Snip! There goes another bad limb. I have a feeling I'll be left here until I learn to handle situations instead of stewing in frustration about them. So, I'd better start dealing with stuff or I'll be stuck here forever!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Running From The Gardener

prune (proon), v. 1. to rid or clear of anything superfluous or undesirable.

I now understand why I have been so tired lately. I have been running away from pruning shears. For some time now I have been growing increasingly discontent with people and situations around me. Sometimes discontent turned to anger and actual bitterness toward people, namely my closest neighbors. They were inconsiderate. They were disrespectful. They were ....(fill in the blank here with anything derogatory). I prayed about this. A lot. But nothing changed. They were still inconsiderate. I was still resentful. Why didn't He change them? Didn't He know how miserable they were making me?

I finally reached a breaking point and told Him that I really couldn't deal with this anymore. It was then, while on my knees admitting defeat, that I realized that I hadn't once apologized to Him for my bitterness. My neighbors were His children, too, just as I was. Would I like it if I had a child who felt contempt and bitterness toward a sibling who was also one of my children? Of course not. I am not proud of how long it took me to change my prayer from "Change them, Lord", to "Change me, Lord". I was one who needed to be more tolerant, patient and understanding. That was why having peace with my neighbors was so elusive. I was asking for the wrong thing the whole time, and God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that if He changed them, I would learn nothing, and could not grow. Thus began my pruning.

My neighbors may or may not change; all I need to concern myself with is being the child that He wants me to be.

Being pruned is being disciplined, but who is doing the pruning is what makes all the difference. Some parents will discipline a child, but it's really just a control issue; it's not about the child at all, and the only thing to grow out of that will be resentment. But some parents will discipline out of love and concern for that child, and out of that will grow patience, love and understanding.

So now I see what a tangly vine I have become, and that I cannot grow if I am not properly pruned. And I am quite sure He's not finished just yet, either! That's okay though, because I know that what comes afterwards will be much better. But, oh! those pruning shears are sharp!

He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and He prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit. - John 15:2

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness. - Galatians 5:22

Monday, June 20, 2005

This is what the back yard looked like. That's Jerry's brother and mom staring at the water that was filling the hole.

Here is Jerry's brother in the depths. To get an idea of how deep they dug, at the top of the picture is the fence that runs across our yard!

Jerry, standing in a soon-to-be drainfield.

Bathing With Abandon Once More!

Whew! I was beginning to suffer Internet withdrawal. My dependence on it is shameful, but I really use it for lots of things! Yesterday Jerry's brother came here and he and Jerry fixed our drainfields. Fixed the cable, too. Right in half. Anyway, it has now been fixed and so have our drainfields. If we have a problem now, we might as well just give up. We thought they were trying to dig to China!

I am feeling much better about myself these days, too. Thank goodness! Do you think the magnitude of my mood swings is scary? Yeah - me too!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Is This What Middle Age Is?!

This week has been, well, interesting. I'm not sure if it's a combination of feeling like I'm coming down with something, the relief (but yet sadness) of the school year ending, or *that* time - but whatever it is, I have been in a major mood these past few days. I'm not grouchy, I'm just too. I feel too fat. I feel too ugly. My hair is too nappy. My clothes are too frumpy. My peeling skin is too itchy. Even my feet are too ugly to wear cute sandals. Yes, it's gotten that bad! I haven't been writing because I was too embarrassed to express these things, but then I remembered the whole reason for having this blog in the first place - to share what's going on in my life. And this has been it. My negative feelings about myself have been overshadowing my days, and frankly, I'm getting a little tired of it! This morning I was thinking about these things and started examining them one by one.

My hair - well, there's absolutely nothing I can do about the texture of it. It's nappy, curly sometimes, frizzy others, and basically has a mind of it's own. I am in the middle of the dreaded growing-out stage right now too, which doesn't help matters. I am growing it out again as Jerry has said he likes it when it is longer, and I do too. But because I was feeling frumpy once before, I kept cutting it short so that I could be more "fashionable". Fashionable, shmashionable. I need to just be me and do what I like. After all, it's my head!

As far as the frumpy clothes, during these past child-raising and staying-at-home years I never felt the need for anything more than jeans and a T-shirt which were practical for what my days held. Then when I did decide to try something a little nicer, the reality of my size jumped out at me and made me hastily retreat back into my comfort zone, which is jeans and a T-shirt! I did make a leap, though, and ordered some new things online from Fashion Bug and I must say that I am beginning to like some of my choices. One obstacle has been the fact that everyone has gotten so used to seeing me in my "old faithfuls" that they are just as surprised as me when I change things a bit. Yesterday I needed to go to the store so I decided to wear a new outfit that I had gotten. I walked downstairs to tell the boys that I was getting ready to leave when they both stopped what they were doing and stared at me. Then Tom informed me that the ties at the bottom of my capri pants (which I rather liked) had to go, that my shirt should be a different color, and did I have any Birkenstock-type sandals rather than the ones I was wearing? This from the kid with piercings and a tattoo. I put my chin up a little higher and informed him that I liked what I was wearing, and that was that.

As far as my feet go, well, I've come to the conclusion that this is what I was born with (just like my hair), and that's the way it is. My earliest memories are of a childhood friend making fun of my feet, and actually asking me to remove my shoes when people would come over so that she could show them my "awful-looking feet". Then my own family used to tease me about how I should have webs between my toes because of the space between them! I have always been self-conscious about my feet, but lately I have been looking around and noticed that there are people whose feet are a lot worse than mine, and they are wearing what they choose to wear. I have decided that this is what the good Lord gave me, and if I see a pair of shoes that I like, I'm going to wear them. For me.

This blog really is therapeutic! I feel like I have made major progress climbing out of this hole of negative self-thoughts just by writing this! I do know that I need to lose weight - that's just a health and feeling better and common sense thing. Besides, I do know that I feel much better when I exercise. And I will do so - but I will also enjoy the journey that I'm on right now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Let Summer Begin!

Summer vacation officially started this afternoon. Even though Andy's graduation was yesterday, today was actually the last day of school for students, but fifth graders didn't have to go if they didn't want to. Andy wanted to go in for a while to give the teachers their gifts. We gave a gift to each of the teachers that he has had since he has been in this school (with the exception of first and third grade because the teachers he had are no longer there). I wasn't able to get a picture of Andy with his kindergarten teacher because she was in a meeting. When we got to school we noticed that the lights were out and it was incredibly hot in the building. It turns out that the air conditioning was not working - on the hottest day of the year so far! It was pretty miserable in there. It seems so strange that we have been counting down the days and yet now we are surprised that this day has finally come!

Andy and the wonderful principal of his school.

Andy and his fifth grade teacher - the one who "rocks"!

Andy and his fifth grade math teacher.

Andy and his fourth grade teacher.

Andy and his second-grade teacher.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Pomp and Circumstance (and tears!)

Well, it's official. Andy graduated from elementary school this morning. I didn't cry like I thought I would, but I did choke up and hold it back to the point that I gave myself a headache! We told Andy he could choose any lunch he wanted on his special day. At first he wanted to go to Outback, but then changed his mind and wanted to order from Dominos. We so seldom order out anymore that this is actually a treat! Right now we are waiting for our huge order to arrive.

At graduation they showed a video that was made of all the different activities that the fifth graders did during the year. It was very nice. It was accompanied by music and so between the music and the pictures, it is quite a tearjerker! Each of the fifth graders got their own copy of the movie as a graduation gift. Andy has already watched his and we have only been home a short while. Well, I'm off to take some Tylenol now and go hug my graduate again!

It's official! Andy has graduated from elementary school!

Friday, June 10, 2005


I LOVE Fridays. After this week I will either love them more, or love all days of the week the way I currently love Friday! Andy has two more days - and they are half-days at that. Monday is graduation. Tuesday is a day when fifth graders can attend school, but don't have to. Andy wants to go, though, because the gym teacher told them they would be playing his favorite game on that day.

I have a feeling that Monday is going to be an emotional wringer for me. I know this because yesterday while just reading about the graduation in a teacher's newsletter, I started choking up. Oh, well. I think I would rather feel things as deeply as I do than not be sensitive to things at all. Gets expensive buying tissues, though!

My sunburn is healing nicely. I'm still using after-sun cream about five times a day or the itching and burning feeling will drive me crazy. I told Andy we could go back to the beach soon, but you can bet I will be wearing sunblock on my overexposed anatomy!

In a previous blog I wrote about Jerry's mom, Jerry, Andy and I going to the beach to test my gate key. The reason Jerry's mom was here that day was because she and Jerry went to the farmer's market together. Jerry surprised me by bringing home a beautiful oak table for the kitchen. Jerry and I had looked at the table a few weeks ago when we went thrifting and to the farmer's market (when I got my Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots!). We really liked it but had to think about purchasing it at that time. When Jerry told me that he and his mother were going last week, I jokingly asked if he intended to invite me along. He just looked at me and said "No". Okaaaay...... Actually I couldn't go anyway. My work was behind and I had already told Jerry that I couldn't do anything on Saturday except plant myself at my desk for however long it took me to catch up, so I really didn't mind. It was a wonderful surprise to see the table, and it looks wonderful in our kitchen. The table we were using is so old that we really can't remember where it came from. I believe it was in my family for a while and then got passed around. It was really old, and the legs were very loose. One leg in particular we had fixed several times until there were no more threads left to attach a screw to. Sometimes while we were eating someone would inadvertently hit this table leg and it would jut out at an angle and everyone would have to secure their plate and drink until the offender could push the leg back into place so that the table wasn't sitting at a precarious angle. We have done this for quite a few years now. Isn't it funny the things you get used to and accept as just part of your life?! I plan to post pictures of my beautiful table when I can. Right now it is holding items from my pantry closet because I have turned on the air conditioning. I had to do it. Ninety degrees and sunburn just don't mix. The air conditioning unit is in the attic and last year we discovered that the drip pain wasn't draining too well, and we had a small waterfall into our pantry closet, drenching everything in there. At the time Jerry hadn't put shelves in it yet, and it was more of a utility closet, so basically only umbrellas, bowling balls and gloves and hats got wet, but it still wasn't fun to clean up. When we had the new heat pump put in last fall and the new unit put up there, Jerry said he had to adjust the pipe for the drip pan before we used it this year. Well, I forgot he said this and turned on the air conditioning about two days ago. When he got home he strongly suggested that I remove everything from the closet until he got the proper stuff to fix it, because now there is food stored in there. He got the materials he needed yesterday and plans on fixing it tonight. It figures that nothing has leaked thus far, while my beautiful table holds a gigantic bag of rice (wouldn't that be a mess if it got wet?!), cereal, and various other things that could be really disgusting if they got wet.

I will not bug Jerry about fixing this, though, because he was up all night (literally) tearing out all the carpet in the basement and scrubbing the floor down there. The last rain we had was torrential and the downstairs bathroom flooded, and flooded everything else down there, too. It was a mess. We didn't realize how much had gotten wet until he started taking up the carpet. We also didn't realize that there was a vinyl floor under the carpet. The floor cleaned up nicely. In light of what he went through last night, a few foodstuffs on my beautiful new table is not a big deal.

Jerry is also very tired because he was in Delaware on Monday and Thursday of this week, fixing a sunroom there. He didn't install this one, but there were problems with it so he went over there himself to fix it and make it right. He also had an appointment with an attorney there to get something moving on his trailer. Because the trailer was bought in Delaware, it turns out that everything needs to be legally handled there, as well. He was up all night Wednesday night getting paperwork together for that, then left at 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. This attorney is very positive that something can be done to get Jerry's money back and get rid of this trailer. Basically what it boils down to is that the trailer was built wrong, is over the legal size limit, and Jerry runs the risk of being ticketed every time he puts it on the road, not to mention the tires he goes through because a little more of the rubber burns off the backs every time he uses it, because of rubbing on the oversized frame.

Well, enough blogging for now. I have to get some work done, and it's about time for more after-sun lotion for my reddened, parched skin!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Andy and Kody enjoying the luau.

Here's Analu - Andy's Hawaiian name.

Here's Jerry's behemoth shark tooth. Quite a find!

Feels Like Summer Now!

I was beginning to think summer wasn't going to get here - not that I was complaining - but it sure arrived today! Actually yesterday was very warm too, but I didn't feel it as much. I took Andy and his friend Kody to the beach here. Kody's mom came along too, and we had a very nice afternoon. I look like a lobster today and am in extreme pain, but we had a very nice afternoon! It wasn't so pleasant today, though, when I was outside at Andy's school from 9:30 until 12:00 for his field day. It was very hot today, and my sunburn wasn't feeling too pleasant at all in the heat. Knowing that we were going to the beach on Sunday, we went Saturday afternoon to make sure my gate key still worked (it got stuck in the lock last year and took some doing to get it free!). Jerry's mom was here and so Jerry, his mom, Andy and I went to try my key and then decided to stay and walk the beach for a while. Andy and I always look for shark teeth when we go, and we usually find a few small ones. Jerry has never even been to this beach even though we have lived here 10 years this summer, and as he was just walking along kicking through some shells, he found a HUGE shark tooth. I have never found one this large at our beach. Of course, he had to brag about what a good shark tooth hunter he was all day. He called the little things I found "minnow teeth"!

Friday's luau at Andy's school was a lot of fun. Everything had a Hawaiian theme. Even the childrens' names were translated into Hawaiian and they were given name tags with their Hawaiian names. They were originally supposed to have field day Friday morning and then the luau in the afternoon, but field day was postponed until today because of rain. Andy will be graduating next Tuesday. I am very sure that I will cry, and for once I don't care who sees me! This is my baby here, and I am not ready to see him grow up.

My blogs have been short because I haven't had much time for anything between being at school just about every day and then trying to catch up on my work at night. Well, now I must go relieve my sunburn by taking a cool shower and then slathering myself with sunburn relief gel. You'd think someone who typed about patients with skin cancer would know better.....!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Busy Days!

Wow - it's been a while since I last wrote. Nothing major has happened, but the day-to-day stuff has been a lot of fun. We didn't do anything over the Memorial Day weekend except stay home and relax. Well, I relaxed a little too much. I stayed up late at night and then slept in late in the mornings instead of working like I should have, so I found myself behind on Monday night. I stayed up until 1 in the morning and then got back up at 4 to finish. I won't let that happen again!

On Monday Andy planted a garden. We had decided that we weren't going to plant anything this year because we didn't want to dig up the yard before selling the house, but since we weren't ready to list it yet anyway and I was just itching to plant something, Jerry finally said we could. Andy and I had to dig the spot by hand with hoes and rakes. We have a rototiller but we can't use it on the side of the house because there are phone and cable wires buried not too deeply there. It was the same spot I had used last year for my garden, so the soil wasn't too hard to dig. I must not be used to physical labor - I have three blisters on my hand from hoeing! I guess that means I definitely need to be outside doing more.

Today I went to the movies with Andy's class (and all of the fifth graders from school). It was really nice. The theater opened just for us and each child got their choice of popcorn or candy, and a drink. We saw Madagascar. It is a very funny movie, and we enjoyed it a lot. There were about 125 fifth graders and they were all very well behaved and glued to the movie screen for the most part. Tomorrow we will be going on the field trip that was rescheduled from last week when it rained (the trip Andy thought he was missing because he was sick!) Andy's teacher asked me today if I could go with them because one of the other parents couldn't make it. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, though, so we'll see if we actually get to go. On Friday it is the school's field day with games and picnics all day. This is going to be a very busy week.

I have been enjoying the strawberries. I am able to pick a handful each morning, and a couple of days I have gone back out in the evening and picked a few more. I have frozen some, but mostly I eat what I pick! We have to pick them just a little early, otherwise if we wait until they are perfectly ripe, the birds will have beat us to them. We gathered plums today. They are like the strawberries - I need to get to them before the birds and squirrels. We gathered several from the ground and then Jerry climbed up in the tree and shook the branches. We had to run for cover! Getting beaned on the head with a plum hurts! We had let our handicapped cat outside with us but when it started raining plums, he ran faster than I have ever seen a 2.5-legged cat run! I hope to make a deep-dish plum pie. I made one the year before last that was delicious. Last year for some reason we didn't get any plums at all. It was strange. This year we are inundated with them.

I'm glad I planted my mint plants on the bank of the ravine in the back yard. This year new plants came up all over the place! They are truly taking over the bank. I knew mint would spread, but wow!

Well, I guess I should be getting to work now. I have a busy week ahead and definitely do not want to do what I did last week! I thought of a bible verse as I was typing at 4 in the morning because I had slept shamefully late the previous three days -

How long is the lazy man going to lie around? When is he ever going to get up? "I'll just take a short nap," he says, "I'll fold my hands and rest a while." But while he sleeps, poverty will attack him like an armed robber. - Proverbs 6:9-11

Here's Andy planting his garden.

The laurel is in bloom.


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