Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sunny Day

It is very bright and sunny today... and COLD! While the thermometer says 28*, wind chill makes it 19*. It is BBBBRRRRR

My kids all seem to march to different drummers than so many their age. Dan has been working for more than 10 months, and Sam only slightly less. For the most part, they have banked their earnings, saving up for what every sixteen year old boy dreams about.
Well, maybe not every sixteen year old boy. Maybe not even that many save until they can finally buy their very own Cello. Sam has been jumping up and down and squealing like a six year old girl for the last couple of days, since he put in his order.
Just over a year ago, the boys found The Piano Guys on you tube. We listen to a LOT of their music. Sam became enthralled with the Cello.
I was never musically inclined. No ear for it at all. Tom had just picked up the guitar a couple of years before I met him, in his late 20's. But it seems music has roots in our family, and it has shown up in my children.
Benjamin can pick up just about any instrument and make it produce actual music (As opposed to dying animal noises) in a short time. Tommy, Becky, and Daniel  all quickly picked up the guitar. (And they may be as proficient as Ben with other instruments, I don't know.)
Sam's secondary choice of instruments was a bagpipe... so I am thrilled he went with the cello!

Both of the Individuals had to work today. And they have to go in early tomorrow, to cover part of a shift in addition to their own.
Last I heard from O'Reilly's was that someone had quit, and I would be getting the call to come to work pretty quickly. The call has not yet happened.

The weather passed through here the last couple of days... winds, rains, snow, winds. We needed the rain! No damages or anything severe in our area.
Have a blessed day and thank you for reading!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cooking for Two....

So NOT happening.
I tried making tuna surprise for Tom and I for supper.

Sauteed just a wee bit of onions, garlic, and celery.

Mixed Campbell's Nacho Cheese soup, tuna- just one can!, a tablespoon of chopped green chiles, 1/4 cup non fat sour cream, Some milk, and half a can of black olives. Oh, and a dash of  Whatsthishere sauce. The individuals say this is THE ONLY BRAND we are allowed to buy.

Boiled some pasta. About a cup worth. About 3/4 cup of green peas. Mixed it all together, and poured it into a greased 9x9 casserole. Topped with a handful of crushed Ritz Vegetable flavored crackers.
And it still made enough for four.
How do people cook for one or two?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another day...

The testing continues... for me, it's been three days on the CAT. For Daniel and Sam, it is two each. They will be finishing up tomorrow.
I haven't left the house today... but I had been forcing myself out to walk in the days before that.  I'm just COLD and don't want to get out! (Long sleeved T shirt, oversized short sleeved T over that, and a cardigan sweater over that... I'm INSIDE and I'm cold.)

Dan took Sam to work this morning, and went to pick him up this afternoon. Having a willing and able driver is great.
Our status quo has remained stable here.... no word on the job, haven't decided on making an offer on the house.

Our next planned adventure is Tom's mom's 80th birthday, at the end of April. Then at the end of June, down to meet the newest Coder in Texas. Meanwhile, we keep plugging along.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Testing.... testing.....

Is this thing on?
 Howdy. Today began the Individuals taking their first Standardized Achievement test. We are not finishing it all in one day.
Tomorrow morning, Daniel works. Thursday morning, Samuel works. Friday they both work... but not until evening. The tentative plan is that they will each take the next couple of test segments while the other is at work.
We just finished the Language Expression section... boy was that a doozy! But I am confident it has been their best section thus far. Thankfully, the boys are annoyed by poor language use. Most of the incorrect answers sounded like pure hillbilly speech.
By the end of the day, both were far less anxious about the remainder of the test than they were going in. I CAN see we need to work on spellun skilz.

So far, no word back from O'Reilly's. House hunting remains status quo. Tommy got moved to his new little place in Ballinger.

Since Becky hasn't blogged lately, I'm swiping her latest Tyrel story.
Sunday after church, Becky and several others stayed the afternoon at the   Z.   home. Tyrel came running into the kitchen. "Miss Julie, (Mrs. Z) I don't want to alarm you... but there is a strange truck coming up your driveway!"  (Mrs. Z offers her opinion on who the stranger might be.) Ty came back quickly with, "I don't know about that... I've never seen this truck before!"

If Tyrel says he hasn't seen a particular truck before... you can take it to the bank! He is a detail oriented kid... and he remembers every little thing.

Yet another of my friends has a medical concern regarding her child. Kerri's son Wesley got bad reports on routine lab work monitoring a condition he has. At the moment, Wes has NO immunity to germs at all. Kerri is fighting the fear this could be indicating leukemia- and is hoping it is just a reaction to his routine medications for his condition. Please lift the Morrow family up in your prayers.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Smog Brained

January rolls on. I still haven't mastered that it is 2013.
The Individuals and I stopped Connor's gifts by yesterday, well before his party. (His birthday is today, but the party was yesterday.) He seemed pleased by them.

When the family was gathered for Roger's Memorial, a number of us took a walk. It was a beautiful day- the day after his services. I forget which of the younger women in our little herd made the suggestion that we should all challenge one another to become more fit during this year. We set a group goal to try to walk 300 miles (each). A few years back, you may recall, I set the 300 mile goal for myself in June or so... and made it! Once I moved to Ohio, I had a job where I walked miles on end every day at work, just due to the vastness of the warehouse, and the fact that before we actually got it up and running, I was pushing a broom for five to eight hours a day. Not long after I got back to Arkansas was when Bill passed away. Since then, I pretty much stopped any activity at all. So I gained back all the weight I lost, then some. The 300 mile goal has looked pretty bleak to me. I walked once after I got back here from Texas. Added an entire mile to my .5 miles we all started out with! It was another week before I ventured out again. Now I have walked 2 days in a row. I am "up to" 6.5 miles! (Only 293.5 to go!)
I have also been trying to cook 'lighter'. I made beef and broccoli for supper tonight. I thought it was the best I had ever made. But my normally non-picky Mr. C had to gag it down. He didn't like it at all. I had added the juice of half an orange to the sauce, and some orange zest. All he could taste was the orange, he said. (He doesn't like MY favorite chicken and rice dish either, which also contains just a bit of orange juice.) A cold front is blowing in right now, so tomorrow the 'lighter' food will give way back to pure cold weather comfort food: Chicken and dumplings!

I think everyone here is pretty much feeling better. Tom still gets hit with a deep cough when he lays down. Dan bought some Lysol Spray, and Clorox wipes. Telephones, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches have all been doused. Toothbrushes boiled or replaced. Hoping that we all STAY well now!

I would like to ask for those of you who read my blog, to please lift up an online friend of mine in your prayers. Kate Parker and her family learned just over a year ago that their youngest son's brain stem birth defect can no longer be operated on. The brain stem controls our breathing as well as other bodily functions. He is living out his last months, possibly even his last days right now. Before the Parker's learned that Joshua's condition was terminal, they adopted a little girl with Down's Syndrome from a Ukraine orphanage. They learned this weekend that the severe Juvenile Arthritis which Bethany was diagnosed with after her adoption, has combined with other severe health related issues and was declared as terminal... probably within the next few weeks. So my friends face the loss of their two youngest children in the very near future. Kate has exhibited God's grace during all of this- never pointing a finger at God, or demanding of the heavens, "Why Me? Why my children?" Just please lift up the Parker family as they face these unthinkable losses.

Tonite, as ever, Hug someone you love, and don't take anyone for granted, even for a moment.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I took a downward turn yesterday, feeling really awful, with a nose running like a leaky faucet. I was surprised this morning at how much better I feel.
I plan to go by the library once Dan gets home from work this afternoon. Then, perhaps, by the local bookstore. As I mentioned before, Grandson Connor will be turning TWELVE on the 20th. It is too late to mail order any birthday gifts, so looks like I *must* actually go shopping. I am thinking of a copy of The Hobbit for his gift from his Dad. (As Chris is unable to shop for the kids himself.) Not sure what I will get him from CowGranny and Grumpaw. I am considering his Mom's suggestion of Star Wars Legos.  I have been tossing around in my mind, maybe some sort of journal. I wonder if I could find one with writing prompts for pre-teen/teen boys. I know that writing often helps me sort out my feelings about things, and did even from a young age.

Aha! I wandered away from my blog post to research the idea of a teen boy journal. I found this: Boy's Journal

So perhaps I will get him something like that. One can HOPE he would use it!

It's a very pretty, if cold, day out today. Not that I have set foot out at all, in days. Having licensed driving, trustworthy kids is such a blessing. (Oh yeah, after a few minutes thinking it over, I HAVE been out... to O'Reilly's yesterday. ) I think I tend to hibernate. And if I don't MAKE myself go out, I can happily avoid any live interaction with people outside the family.

Have a blessed afternoon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Roger/ Photo Book

Alrighty then....

I just got back from O'Reilly's. The talk with my former boss, Tim. He said to come in when I got back from vacation... which as it turned out wasn't vacation. I went in once last week, and drove by twice. Tim was out sick. Called yesterday, he said come by today.So I did.
Am I rehired?
Same old run-about as last year. Seems he never did talk to HIS boss about rehiring me. And then there is the 'we don't hire in the middle of the winter'. He will get back to me, after he talks to his boss on Friday.
And we couldn't of done this over the phone? (I am a bit exasperated.)

Meanwhile, back on the homefront, Tom went to add Dan and Sam to the vehicle insurance yesterday. He learned that rules have changed somewhat since the older kids were insured. Homeschoolers need to produce a copy of standardised test scores, in which the student scores in the top 20 percentile. We have one month to produce such scores. I sent for the tests yesterday. (Arkansas doesn't require that the test be administered by a professional tester.) The boys are hard at work studying for the tests.

Five days until Grandson Connor turns 12! My how time has flown. I need to think up a birthday gift for him... or maybe he would prefer cash? Most teens like money better than anything their uncool old grandparents might pick out for them.

January is half over. Wow. I have no idea where it went. Guess I ought to get busy and have something to show for it. Have a blessed day!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mixed Bag

Mr C missed all but one day of work last week with what I am calling the flu. Sam was ill with a sore throat, complete with blisters. (Not the white patchy kind associated with strep). Dan was under the weather a couple of days, and I ran a fever one day and have had a couple days of speechlessness. I was glad mine didn't turn out to be the flu, for sure. Seems anything I catch seems to settle in my bronchials and larynx, several times each year. Sometimes I don't even feel bad or have a fever, I just have no voice.
Everyone seems to be on the mend now, though.
I go tomorrow to talk to O'Reilly's about starting back to work there. (Low full time, 32 hours or so a week.)
The house buying is still stalled, though we did hear from the real estate lady, saying she has had no word at all from the seller since our last inquiry. We are evaluating our stance.
It is cold here... about 28* at the moment, but we are promised a high of 34* by the afternoon. There is sleet on the ground from several nights ago. Looks like worse weather is hitting to our south and east today, freezing rain, sleet, and such. Sunny but cold here.
For those of you who didn't see Facebook... Roger has a memorial Shutterfly site, with pictures and room for comments from any who have anything to say.

May your day be blessed! Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Better Living through pharmaceuticals!

While at my mom's house this last week, there was plenty of stress to go around. It seems like I kept a headache. I know I raided her pharmacy drawer several times for ibuprofen.
Ralph had not been feeling well, some bug had him running fever and running nose, coughing and sneezing. We went through Mom's ibuprofen.
At one point, she took her opened bottle into her room for Ralph. He fell asleep and she forgot to bring it out. Not wanting to wake him up, Mom started looking for her back-up bottle when I needed some later.
She produced the bottle... but then started laughing as she opened it. Right sized bottle, right colored label... but WRONG product! I am so glad she noticed before feeding me stool softeners!

Our plans for the early part of the week were changed when Sam fell sick to the rampaging bug. Roger's remains needed to be picked up from the funeral services office. I was going to drive them to my Dad's house in East Texas and stay the night with him, then drive on back to Arkansas Wednesday. A quick change of plans  had me meeting Dad and Kathie halfway. We exchanged hugs, moved Roger to their vehicle, and I headed for home. (I hope you are not offended that I call his remains by Roger's name. I was upset to have them referred to as "that". He was my youngest brother, and deserves dignity and respect. I completely understand joking and laughing, gallows humor. But to seriously dismiss his remains as "that" really bothered me.

Mr C and Daniel were surprised, but glad to see us. They were both ill. Mr C is as sick as I have ever seen him. I hope he is feeling better soon. Dan was well enough that he went to work today. If Sam isn't well enough to work tomorrow, Dan may fill in for him.  I had to go see my former boss... but missed him as HE went home with the flu!

I was in bed by 10 last night- the earliest I have been in a week. Grief seems to keep me awake until I just collapse. I slept until after 9 am. I know I have to be up early tomorrow- or Dan will have to take Sam to work. We did get the car unloaded this afternoon, but that was as far as we got.

Hugs to those you love. Take nothing for granted. If you have to make an excuse to get off the phone, as we all do with people at times, be sure it is done with love.

"Less than Three" to all of you. <3 br="br">


Monday, January 7, 2013

Family Week

It has been some kind of week. I've been at my Mom's, with Daniel. Roger's memorial service was Saturday. My cousin Jeanie's husband Ronnie did the eulogy. My brother Robbie, my (step) Mom Kathie, and I all got up and said a few words. My step brother David suggested we play "Angels Among Us" by Alabama.
I am estimating some 60 people there, perhaps a bit more. There were people from his online gaming community there, as well as from his home away from home- Hooters. The Hooters crew has since emailed Mom and wants to stay in touch. People Roger worked with showed up, as well as far flung family.
I was glad to get to see family members we hadn't seen in years, as well as my children and grandchildren, brothers and parents. (Nieces, nephew, cousins, Aunts, second cousins, my Godfather, his son Greg, who I last saw almost exactly eight years ago.) One thing stood out... Roger was VERY much loved.

Roger passed away of an acute coronary thrombosis, which is a blood clot to the heart. while Dan traveled down to Ft. Worth with me last week, Sam has been here since Friday. (Dan and Tom had to return to Arkansas Sunday.)
Mom, Sam and I have cleaned out Roger's room.
For me, the things I cried hardest over were some of the things he saved. I found pictures- including one of baby Chris "To Uncle Roger" labeled as when Chris was six weeks old. I haven't seen a copy of that picture in close to 30 years. A birthday card I sent several years ago. letters from a pen pal/ old school friend? We don't know which it was, but they apparently wrote for a number of years. I am trying to reach him on Facebook.

We have posted pictures to a share site:

As I say every chance I post... Hug someone you love today. Let them know you care!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Sunday Morning, I was writing a letter to my son Chris. I told him I was GLAD to see 2012 gone, it has been the worst year of my life... but I was not saying that as a challenge to 2013!

Within a few hours, I received word that my baby brother Roger had passed during the night.
If I were making a list, there are more than a dozen people I would of expected to go before Roger.
He hasn't been to a doctor in years. No medical issues at all. Zero, zilch. Roger didn't drink, he didn't smoke, he didn't gamble, he didn't drive recklessly, he didn't do drugs.

Roger was 47 years old. He was overweight... but then, many of us gain weight as we age...Certainly myself included. On Saturday, the 29th, Roger helped Ralph take down Christmas decorations and yard ornaments and get them packed away. That evening, he went to his favorite restaurant for supper. He came home, and went to bed. He never woke up. My Mom and Ralph found him Sunday in the early afternoon, when he didn't come out of his room.

I am with my Mom in Ft Worth, until after his memorial service on Saturday, the 5th. I was asked to say a few words at his service. The following is my first draft outline:
Roger was synonmous with reliable. If you ever asked him to help you, do anything for you, it was as good as done. He was dependable, he was honorable, and he was loyal. He was my baby brother.

He was never in the forefront- Roger always seemed to prefer to be behind the scenes. He was behind the camera, rather than in front of it. One seldom had to ask him to help. Upon seeing a need, Roger stepped up to the plate and did what was necessary, with no thought of recognition or reward.

He was the favorite Uncle. He refused to deal with a diaper clad baby... which he said was MY fault, As he had to watch my oldest two children when they were tiny! But once the kid was potty trained, Uncle Roger was the BEST uncle going. He loved children.

He was slow to anger.

I don't know that I ever saw Roger angry. He was even tempered and never, ever viscious. He accepted insults and abuses, he deflected wrath. He always " turned the other cheek". He never raised his voice, he never screamed or yelled at anyone.

Roger did love to laugh. He loved practical jokes. He loved Ray Stevens and Weird Al. He always had a good joke ready. His wit was often dry and sly. He loved the fantasy worlds, whether Tolkein, Star Wars, or World of WarCraft. He loved to read, and he spent hours with his on-line computer friends.

He loved to please people, to surprise them and make them smile. He would take chocolate dipped strawberries that he prepared himself, or candies, to Hooters. He was such a frequent customer there, I hope they are able to stay in business without him.

He was never sick, he never missed work. He was dependable, he was kind, He was thoughtful... never causing anyone to worry if he could prevent it. He called when he was running late, he let his family know where he was and how he could be reached.

Roger was born just three weeks before I turned five years old. I wanted a baby sister. When my Granny told me that I had a new baby brother, I was not happy at all. I suggested that they put him "In the tree tops, where the cradle would fall". Granny told me that the new baby brother asked her where I was! She said that he knew he had a big sister somewhere, and he wanted to come see her". That was all it took for me to love my new baby brother. (Hey, five year olds are easy to manipulate!)

Roger fell asleep on Earth, and woke up in Heaven. I am going to miss him the rest of my days.