Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just what you HAVEN'T been waiting for!

GOTCHA! Here's our vacation photos from San Antonio! This post is being narrated in my best tour-guide voice.

Here comes the Amtrak to take us to San Antonio, Texas! The Amtrak station is less than a mile from the Riverwalk.

I love the train! One of the most fun things is the dining car.

This is the first time that any of us has been to San Antonio.

After arriving on the Riverwalk, we went on the river boat tour.

It doesn't take a whole lot to entertain Shelby. She got a charge out of finding a drug store on the Riverwalk!

These photos don't even begin to show how pretty this area is.

The pool was nice, but the water was COLD! :)

Here's some of the great breakfast cuisine offered at the hotel.

This is the Tower of the Americas and the view from the top.

Shelby checks out the view from the hotel, and John checks out a palm tree.

Arthur and I check out a couple big glasses of cold Guinness at Waxy O'Connor's Pub!

Of course, we didn't forget the Alamo.

The last night we were there we went on a dinner cruise. It figured, I forgot my camera, but some nice people used our cell phone to snap this shot.

Sooo... that's the end of the vacation photos. Aren't you glad you don't have to politely sit and watch hours of home movies or slides? If my friends and family click right off of this post I'll never know, so they're not bored and my feelings aren't hurt! Everybody wins! :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm back from vacation with a meme! :)

Hi everybody! We are back from our trip, and just about rested up.

I’ll post the “Oh no! Not vacation photos!” sometime soon, but first I need to share a meme that I received from The Practicing Catholic just before our trip.

The Rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you. (See above.)
2. Mention the rules on your blog. (Here they are.)
3. Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours. (I doubt if I have any truly spectacular ones!)
4. Tag six fellow bloggers by linking them. (I love my blogging buddies!)
5. Leave a comment on each of the six blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged. (Will do as soon as this is posted.)

My Quirks:

1. I am a very shy person. Shy to the point that I suspect I have social anxiety disorder. I love being around people, but I am always frightened except when I am one on one.

2. Ironically, despite my shyness, I don’t mind performing in front of a crowd! I used to earn my living as a singer/guitarist, and I will still ocasionally do a set or two at a local coffee house.

3. My hair color depends on my mood. It ranges from blonde to dark brown. My natural color? I’m not sure!

4. I almost never get angry. It takes a lot to get under my skin. But when I do get angry, it is not pretty. (Just about the only thing guaranteed to make me angry is unjust actions toward the weak and the infirm.)

5. My taste in music is quite eclectic. I listen to classic rock, country, jazz, pop, classical, some opera… just about everything except rap. I even enjoyed a recent concert where a rap group was the opening act!

6. I am a big believer of “signs.” I consider synchronicity to be an example of God’s perfect order in the universe.

I tag:







...and anybody else who would like to play!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Taking a little break

I'm sorry for not posting for the past few days, but we are in between our home make-over projects. Therefore, we decided to leave town for a few days. Actually, it's more like we ran away screaming from the house! I'm beginning to think it would have been easier to move than remodel.

At any rate, I am starting to feel much more relaxed now that we are away. Guess where we are? Here is a hint:

We will have lots of typical tourist photos to share upon our return. See you soon! :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Especially Reserved for Andy

Just as these words on Andy’s toolbox say, there is still a place within me that is reserved for him. However, these days my grief is more of a gentle nostalgia than anything. There is no longing or pining, just sweet memories.

The sign is from Andy’s parking space when he worked for Oklahoma County. Before he started his medical retirement, he removed the sign from its post, and brought it home with him. It has been on the wall of the garage ever since.

I took it down a couple of weeks ago. The wall has needed to be replaced since the day I decided to drive the car part way though it, and that’s some of the remodeling work we’re having done. I’m still debating whether to put it back up, but I probably won’t. Right now it is sitting on top of his tool box that I’m keeping for John.

Lately there have been some gentle “signs” around me that I interpret to mean, “I’m glad you are happy, I love you still, and I’m glad you haven’t forgotten me.”

When this happens, I just whisper, “How could I ever forget?”

I dreamt of Andy last night for the first time in ages. The remarkable thing about the dream is it was completely unremarkable. We were simply getting ready to go on a two hour trip. He complained of a headache, I suggested he lay down until we had to leave, and I brought him some ibuprofen with water. That was the entire dream.

I guess it was necessary for me to go through the searing, turbulent, gut-wrenching grief to reach this point where my love for him feels like it did before; sweet, calm and peaceful. I’m now secure enough in his love to blow him a misty eyed kiss over my shoulder, and then sprint on ahead to take the hand of Arthur, the love of my present.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The first two projects are completed!

There is a spot of light at the end of the remodeling tunnel!

John and Shelby’s rooms are just about finished, except for a few minor details. Arthur and I did the painting, and we had the carpet replaced with new hardwood floors. We are not responsible for the color schemes, we’re just the painters! :)

This is Shelby's,

...and here's John's.

Now, (evil grin) the kids get to move all their furniture back while we rest.

Oh, by the way, we didn't win at the casino, but we didn't lose very much either... so it was a nice trip!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Well, ALRIGHTY then! :)

You never know what it is with some people.

I was standing in line at the grocery self checkout behind a woman and her teenaged daughter. The woman was on her cell phone most of the time as she rang up her items. She seemed a bit harried, but I was in no great rush. I was sort of staring off into space about the time she finished paying for her groceries.

As she prepared to wheel her cart out, she turned around, gave me an ugly look and snarled, “Thanks so much for crowding me. Next time, keep your ass back!”

Her daughter looked as shocked as I felt. I didn’t think I had moved up too close, but if I had she didn’t give me any indication until that moment. I was too surprised to even reply. I just gave her a little sheepish smile, which made her pause a moment before she stormed off with her basket.

The lady behind me burst out laughing, and said “Oh, was she rude, or what?”

I have to think she was dealing with some problem unknown to me. Otherwise, I can’t imagine what would make somebody be so mean to a total stranger.

At any rate, I’m putting the incident behind me without too much difficulty, because Arthur and I are taking the rest of the day off from the remodeling. We are taking a little overnight trip to the casino resort in Tulsa. The rest and relaxation will make us all bright and ready to continue with the house on Monday, even if we don’t hit any jackpots!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Remodeling continues. Please send help!!!

Actually, it’s not too bad as long as we quit caring about mess all over the house. There are four rooms torn out, and all the contents have been moved into the rest of the house. One bathroom is half torn out, the other is half replaced. Today we had five people working in addition to Arthur and myself. In other words, our house is in a state of total chaos.

In some ways, all the activity reminds me of the days when I was a young adult and friends would just drop in. I didn’t worry if the house was a mess, and the friends didn’t care either as long as there was an empty piece of floor on which to sit!

One of the carpenters had turned a classic rock station on his little radio, so I turned the same station on our stereo. Arthur and I were painting trim together in a front bedroom, having a great time listening to songs from our youth.

There is something right with the universe when me, my husband, and the tile guy are singing “We are the Champions” together at the top of our lungs.

Good stuff, man! :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back to the business at hand

OK friends, I've returned to my normal, cheerful self. The tears about my babies are behind me now, but the remodeling continues!

I have been taking some photos to eventually post as “before” and “after.” But, first I need to post a different bunch of photos.

Arthur, the kids and I are actually involved in “Phase Two” of the dining area remodel. The original kitchen project began in 1998, when Andy and I decided that we absolutely hated the ugly dark painted cabinets in the kitchen. New cabinets cost a small fortune, so we did a “poor man’s remodel.” We completely stripped and refinished the wood cabinets.

This is not a job for the faint of heart. I have never before or since tackled such a difficult project. It seemed like it would be simple, but there is nothing easy about stripping and sanding an entire kitchen! Not to mention the DUST. It turned out very well, and the cabinets are still looking good as they wait for their new countertops to be delivered.

Believe it or not, my paraplegic Superman did all of the lower sanding and finished all of the cabinet doors after I took the high ones down. I sanded the upper cabinets and did most of the trim painting. Looking at these photos no longer makes me sad, and I still find Andy's attitude about his injury to be inspirational.

A very bad, horrible, awful, messy job!

Moving stuff out of the way... (MUST you take my picture???)



... and more sanding. (There was lots more non-pictured sanding out in the garage to do the doors.)

I don't know if I could still climb up here!

Andy hated painting!

Sanding completed, cleaning badly needed!

I always wanted to write in the dust, so I did.

C'est moi, painting the trim

Although Shelby was too little to do any painting, a hug was always a big help.

Fast forward to the present... Here is Shelby, taking a rest in the same corner. (I'll bet she wishes she's still too little to paint!)

These images combined with these help weave together another piece of the fabric of my life. I can't wait to see the room finally finished! :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Five Hundred Miles (actually, two thousand.)

Well, they are gone. It was such a joy to have them here, but I feel so empty now.

We had a lively song fest for awhile yesterday evening to try out my brand new guitar. First Jimmy played, and then I took my turn. The songs were cheerful, even my little tongue-in-cheek goodbye song to the babies:

“…now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company.

M-I-C (see you real soon!) K-E-Y (why? Because Grandma loves you!) M-O-U-S-E!”
Jimmy left the room to pack up the car for the airport, and I smiled, snuggled my face into Stevie's feather-soft hair, and idly began singing him another old song:

“If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone, you can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles…”
I caught myself off guard with my choice of song. Right then, it hit me like a ton of bricks that they are leaving and it will be a year before I can see them again. Why does this country have to be so big, anyway?
“Lord I’m one, Lord I’m two, Lord I’m three, Lord I’m four, Lord I’m Five Hundred Miles away from home…”

I couldn’t finish the song. It made me cry.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

This is how we create a family band!

Starring Jimmy, John, Andy and Stevie.

Sorry, video quality isn't the greatest, but this is family bonding through music at its very best! :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Birthday Bash

The kids' last day in town is tomorrow, so I will be able to get back to writing soon. In the meantime, here is a slideshow of Andy and Stevie's first birthday bash that we had at Cici's Pizza last night. We also celebrated Grandma's 80th birthday along with Tiff's ?? birthday. (I know, but I won't tell on you, Tiff! :) )

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