My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Backstage Photos

My head still hurts but not like yesterday. Today it's just sort of a shadow - like a bruise - I can tell where it hurt yesterday but it's nowhere near the pain level. Still groggy and a bit dizzy so I had a nice nap this afternoon. The back is out of whack and much more painful than usual (and it always hurts so....). Thus ends the daily whine.

I mainly just wanted to share the photos from last night. The girls did not place which is crazy - once I post the video you'll agree - they did a great job. Nothing against any of the other acts (which I haven't seen) I just know that my girls performance was more polished and professional than the typical Kiwanis talent. I'm jes' sayin'....

 Getting her hair and makeup done in the high school cafeteria. Reminds me of when the boys did dance and we would end up getting ready in all sorts of random spaces.  I look quite a fright here - curly/messy hair and all because I had such a nasty headache and had been laying down all day.
 I love her tunic and leggings... very much like what I like to wear. In fact I'm wearing a comfy maxi skirt and long sleeve tshirt with hoodie over it. The hoodie is very thin, tshirt material. Comfort above all else is my motto. I rarely wear stuff that I couldn't sleep in.

Jamie's braid. She wants an Elsa braid (like on Frozen). I'm going to have to do a little internet research to see how to do it.
 We were doing ok until I broke out the liquid eyeliner. The thing is... once it dries, the liquid is fairly smudge proof. I thought it would be better than pencil. What I didn't count on is the combo of my shaky hands and a fidgety girl. We got lots of smears and by the time I finished she didn't like the look (or feel of it).
I love how intent Jamie is on this. She's such a curious girl!
 Presenting.... (actually, Mawmaw was trying to get a picture so SB could see how she looks and Jamie intentionally photobombed! Ha!)
yeah. A pencil would have worked better. I'm sure we have plenty of makeup opportunities ahead of us. We'll figure it out.
 Really, really not loving the whole makeup thing here...
 Of course, Miss Priss is happy as a lark. I could have done a bit more on her but I was afraid for her allergies to kick in and things get smudged.
 With her bestie, Jorjanne whose makeup is flawless. I should have gotten her to do it!
 Lots of happy little performers...
The end.















Love and hugs, y'all!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Migraine in the Rain

I rolled out of bed just after 7 this morning with one solitary thought on my mind:
MAKE THIS HEADACHE GO AWAY!!!!

Mom and Pop were heading to the Southside of Atlanta for a day of adventures (doctor appointment, lunch with my Cody & Marquee, visit to the tax man, browse some stores that we don't have here in the hills). I was on dog duty (not doodie, as I explained yesterday).

I grabbed a shower, put on some loungewear (leggings and a tunic) took a combination of medication that would not be fatal but would come as close as possible in order to eliminate the headache, gathered my comfort items (chapstick, laptop, etc)  and set up camp up on the main level.

I refer to the top floor of the house as "Pop's House" because that's where he is banished due to his snoring and also where his computer is set up.  I refer to the main level as "Mawmaw's House" because that's where she spends most of her time, unless she's at the dock or in the yard. I refer to my basement apartment as "The Whine Cellar". Not sure why I wanted to share that at this point.

Oh yeah, so I went to "Mawmaw's House" and fell asleep on the couch. I slept pretty deeply until just before 10am. The dogs also slept. It was quite quiet. Honestly, throughout the day the dogs were incredibly low maintenance and seemed to just want to sleep. I appreciated this new attitude.

For breakfast I made sort of a "lazy frittata". I sauteed three different kinds of peppers, a tiny bit of onion, broccoli and a spinach/swiss chard combo until they were all tender and then added in three beaten eggs. Once the eggs were cooked through I tossed in some avocado and tomato and a sprinkle of cheese. It was more along the lines of scrambled eggs with veggies than actual frittata but the important thing is that I got in all those lovely veggies! I only ate half of the frittata so they're another ready for tomorrow.Yay ME! For the sake of my own record keeping I'm going to note produce items in green type. I hope it's not distracting.

For lunch I made tuna salad that was equal parts boiled egg and equal parts tuna so it should rightly be called a tuna/egg salad. I added celery, onion and sweet pickles to it and mixed it with a spoon each of sour cream, cream cheese and mayo. It made for a nice, thick tuna/egg salad. My plan was to serve it on greens but I had white bread instead.

Mom brought me leftover spinach salad with chicken and cranberries from O'Charley's - that was my dinner. So... not as good as yesterday but I did have more produce servings than usual. Yay me! Having the tuna, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs and chicken (from the salad) also got me in more servings of protein than I usually have. It's hard to tell if that will help my energy level since the migraine has me really dragging today.

I gave up on getting to see the girls' Talent Show performance tonight. My head hurt too much to drive by myself but my back is inflamed/muscle spasms out of control to the point that I knew I couldn't make it the entire time. I didn't want to ride with mom and dad and really need to leave and not be able to. So my plan was to skip the whole thing.

Then my sister-in-law called in tears... they had to put down their parakeet, Sunny which had her afternoon all out of whack. She was working on the Talent Show (I'm not sure in what capacity but I know she had to be there early and would be busy from the time she got there). She asked if I could come and get the girls hair and makeup done for the show. I didn't have to think twice. There are so many things that I just can't do that honestly, people don't bother asking me or including me any more. And there's nothing I love better than doing girly stuff with my girls.

As it turned out Sarabeth hated the makeup and didn't like the way I curled her hair so that was sort of a bust where she was concerned. (I still loved every minute of it!) We're going to have to practice so that we can come up with a "stage look" that doesn't make her feel, "goth". Teehee.  Jamie loved the makeup - I went lighter on her because of her allergies. I didn't want her to get the itchy eyes and end up looking like a raccoon. Her hair was easy - we did half up braided into a fish braid with a pink bow. We considered curling her ends but we ran out of time. I didn't feel well enough to stay for their performance but I was so happy to be a part of the backstage excitement.

I left not a moment too soon. On the way home the headache was so bad that between the migraine dizziness and the curvy roads I got sick - had to pull over and christen the side of the road. I broke out in a cold sweat and was shaking like a leaf in a hurricane. I made it home and had to sit in the car for about five minutes before I felt strong enough to walk to the house. I came in and laid down and just felt completely drained.

This is the thing about my pain... human nature tells you to "push through the pain" and adapt to living life while you're in pain. The problem is that pain is not the only consequence of pain. Pain causes me to be sick to my stomach (and sometimes barf). Pain makes my reflexes slower. It makes it harder for me to communicate. I saw a lovely lady backstage that I haven't seen in a long while and I would have loved to just chat with her but I had no words. I was wrung out.

My parents stayed for the first half of the show but they were beat after their long day. We don't know yet if the girls placed in the contest. I saw mom's video of it and they were so durn cute! I'll try to post some pictures and video tomorrow.

The headache still hasn't gone away.

And now it's time for bed. Love and hugs and happy weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Late Night Ramblings

I am a HUGE How I Met Your Mother fan. It all started when Cody quoted Lily and gave me the context of the show and I thought, "hmmmm... sounds interesting". And then I had surgery and didn't feel well enough to surf the web for about two weeks and so I binge watched HIMYM. I've been hooked ever since. It deals with adult subjects and can be a little naughty at times but there are a lot of fun musical numbers and it's very well written. The last episode EVER is this coming Monday night and I'm beginning to grieve a little. Tonight the cast was on Inside The Actors Studio (which I also love) and it was highly entertaining.

Then I watched Greys Anatomy which was just insane. I can't keep up. And now the Television Without Pity website has shut down and I can't read the recaps to figure it out. Bummer.

Now I'm watching NCAA basketball. Not sure how long I'll manage to stay awake but... eh. Anyways.

I usually put my laptop to bed around 8pm and start reading. My eyes are kind of wonky tonight and I'm getting a headache so I picked the laptop back up. I saw this little graphic about how wonderful birth control is and why every company should have to provide it to their employees - a liberal attack on Hobby Lobby. I thought I'd clear things up for my readers. Hobby Lobby has petitioned the Supreme Court to opt out of providing four abortive types of birth control to their employees - types of birth control that insurance companies are mandated to provide under the Affordable Healthcare Act (commonly known as Obamacare). Hobby Lobby agrees to provide sixteen other types of birth control - only objecting to providing birth control that they feel is abortive. In other words, if the birth control allows the sperm to fertilize the egg but stops the egg from implanting in one way or another. Here are my thoughts about it:

  • Abortion is murder. That little clump of cells has the potential to become life and no one has the right to end life other than the one who creates life and in my belief, that is God. I feel so strongly against abortion that ALTHOUGH I WOULD NEVER INTERFERE WITH YOUR RIGHT TO OBTAIN ONE, I would be heartsick knowing that I had provided any assistance in anyone obtaining one. This is how Hobby Lobby's owners feel as well. 

  • Exemptions have been made for religious organizations to not have to provide birth control under the Affordable Healthcare Act. Hobby Lobby, based on the religious views of the owners of their company have requested a modified exemption - not from ALL birth control but from only four different types. Birth control pills can be used in other capacities than just preventing conception, other forms of birth control may also have alternate uses. Hobby Lobby doesn't want to be exempted from ALL birth control, just those four abortive methods. 

  • People who are insured under Medicare and Medicaid have restrictions on treatments and drugs that are available to them based on the cost of said treatments and medications. I haven't reviewed the plans available under the ACA but I am certain, one hundred percent certain, that there are these same type of restrictions. Why must every type of birth control under the sun be provided when every type of cholesterol drug isn't? Or every pain medication? Or every cancer treatment? Or - as was repeatedly promised - every doctor? (Remember, "If you want to keep your doctor, you can..."?) I have a great relationship with my pain doctor and there are many, many reasons I'd want to continue to see him once my disability is approved and I'm on Medicaid but you know what? He's not on the list. Shouldn't it be MY right to see whomever I choose and have my insurance provider pay for it? 

  • And of course in every discussion about conception/abortion there comes the question of rape... to which I say, in that situation there is a very personal decision to be made between yourself, your God and your doctor. I'm certain, as far as the government reaches into our lives that there can be some provision for those rare occasions when this situation arises. Hobby Lobby has 16,000 employees. I would venture that a larger percentage of those are women. Perhaps half of those women are in their childbearing years. Of those women who could become pregnant, what percentage of them do you think would be raped over the course of a year? Few, if not none. It's a non-issue but... if need be, allow for that provision. 


Anyways. So now that is out of my system and I can tell you about my highly productive (for me) day. This morning I had to go to the bank, the Vocational Tech office (for Austin), the pharmacy, the library and the grocery store. It sounds like a lot of running around but it was only a few minutes at each stop and it was a lovely day. My back pain and hip pain is bad today but the evil gut pain isn't so I was able to go all of those places and I felt quite accomplished having done so.

I'm really concentrating on eating a more balanced diet, especially in getting more fruits and veggies into my diet. Today I had watermelon, black grapes, mixed greens (in a salad), avocado (in a salad and on a taco), tomatoes, lettuce, onion (taco), sauteed green beans and a banana (dipped in chocolate). I also had dried mango but honestly, it's more like candy than fruit so I don't count it. I also had pringles, a cupcake, freeze dried pear so I'm not exactly dieting but I have done a little better than usual.

At the library today I picked up the following books:

Elizabeth and Phillip: The untold story of the Queen of England and her Prince
Unsinkable: the full story of the RMS Titanic
Southern Harvest (a historical account of rural life in 1942)
The South And The Southerner
Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon woman's intimate diary of marriage and beyond

And I'm still reading Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer (who I adore but doesn't he look like the bald eagle on The Muppets?). I am really tempted to buy Greg Gutfeld's new book, Not Cool because I adore Greg and think he is witty and insightful.

My mom and I are doing some Spring dress shopping - trying to catch some of the comfy dresses that we like to wear when the weather is warm. I prefer dresses that are comfortable and casual instead of shorts. We're keeping our eye on zulily.com to catch what we like on sale. Mom says her "rich uncle died" so we can splurge a little. (not a true story).

Tomorrow my parents are heading to the Southside of town to go to mom's oncologist (she's fine - it's a checkup) and will be gone for several hours. I'm on dog duty (which is different from dog doody but they both stink) (not really, I love our fur babies) and hopefully will not wear myself out before the Kiwanis Talent Show tomorrow night because I really, really want to be there. My back is inflamed - the discs - from my activities this week and I'm having a lot of pain in my hips which is not unusual but not an everyday thing. It makes walking harder.

My poor cousin is still dealing with the extreme migraines to the extent that she is unable to work. She's ten years younger than me and has three kids and two stepkids but her hubby is awesome and her mom lives across the street so she's getting by ok. I just hate for anyone to live with pain because I know firsthand that it is no fun. I told her today that you have to just get up every day and do what you can do and forgive yourself for what you can't do. There's so much guilt involved in this whole pain thing and that is just wrong. It's enough to suffer without beating yourself up about it. I have to remind myself of this almost daily.

I chipped a tooth today. Front tooth. Really ugly. I need a major dental intervention but it's on hold like everything else in my life right now.

And now Little Kitty has decided it's time to put the laptop away. He's trying to sit on it. Goodnight and big hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mid-week Check-in

Mother Goose and Father Goose
 I was DYYYYYING for Chickfila today so I splurged and had my first restaurant meal that I've paid for in ... I can't even remember the last time. Austin and I think it may be as long as six months. Not that I haven't had takeout - we cook at home most every night but Pop treats us every now and then to Captain D's or Papa's Pizza (Not Papa John's - Papa's, a local chain). Back in my prime working years I had a drive thru or takeout meal almost every stinkin' day. That's where my pot of gold is buried - in an empty McDonald's sack. Anyways... today it was Chickfila's asian salad which is very, very good and so worth it.

Afterwards Austin and I made a big grocery trip at Walmart in Cornelia. I usually go to Walmart in Cleveland so this was different. Around here the scene rarely changes so shopping at a different Walmart is noteworthy. Also, I feel like the Cornelia Walmart has better produce than Cleveland and I'm trying to get in more fruit and veggie servings in an effort to take some weight off the old spine. It will be easier this Summer once stuff is growing. Not that I bought only "clean" food today. I picked up those bananas dipped in dark chocolate that Dole's makes and strawberry cupcakes and some Pepperidge Farm cookies. Austin bought two big packs of freezer pops (those popsicles in the long plastic tubes) because we have a big freezer down here in the shed. I always try to have a few things here in the Whine Cellar or the freezer that I can eat without having to climb the stairs. Of course, if I had fewer things to eat here in the W.C. I wouldn't have as much trouble climbing stairs.

The girls came over after school today for a little while so we worked on watching High School Musical 3 which we started on Monday. Sarabeth (who is 11) is really creeped out by the romantic parts of it but loves the rest. I was sharing a little Hollywood gossip with the girls the other day and told them that Zach Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were boyfriend and girlfriend in real life but that they broke up since the movies were made. Jamie asked why they broke up and I said that I wasn't sure but Zach got into drugs and I thought it had something to do with that. She very astutely noted, "Drugs ruin everything." Teehee. Then today while we were watching there was a scene where Vanessa's character tells Zach's character that she's not going to make it to the prom and when he asked why Jamie jumped in and said, "because you do drugs!"  Too funny!

Cat with stolen cinnamon roll
Pop made homemade cinnamon rolls this afternoon and Jamie brought hers down to snack on while we watched the movie. She left it unattended for a few seconds while she checked out my snack stash (deciding I didn't have anything worth noshing on) and Stubby the 3Legged Wondercat bogarted her cinnamon roll. I bought the little straws that turn your milk into chocolate milk - which were a total bust. She had Mawmaw add chocolate to her milk and then drank the chocolate milk through the straw that turns milk into chocolate milk. We spoil the girls rotten while they're here but that's ok. Everybody needs a place where they feel special.

Spring Snow
Last night around 7pm it started SNOWING! It was so bizarre to have snow falling while there are blooms on the trees. We've had snow in March before but we've never had snow after time changed. It was surreal. It didn't stick or accumulate or anything. Hopefully that was our last bit of cold weather because I. am. OVER it! It was nice in the sunshine today but when I came in from the grocery store I had to change into a warm sweatshirt. It was cold enough last night that Little Kitty wanted under the covers.

I called the free clinic people yesterday because I hadn't heard anything on my application for admission to their program. It turns out that they JUST got my records from my doctor yesterday. A full month. It makes me feel like my doctor's office was only interested in my money, not my health, knowing that they are preventing me from receiving medical care until those records are received. I know it's not something that's thought out that deeply... but obviously it was not a priority for them. Makes me wonder if I should see them once I do have health insurance again. If/when. From what I understand the North Georgia Healthcare System isn't accepting a lot of the big insurance companies now so maybe they've been bombarded with people having to change doctors. At any rate... they said they would review my records today and let me know today if I'm accepted. The records just have to show that I have high blood pressure... which... they've been prescribing meds for it for the past five and a half years so that shouldn't be an issue.

The lady who is overseeing Austin's case through Vocational Rehab wants him to consider getting back on meds for ADHD. He is strongly opposed to it. This same lady oversees Austin's girlfriend's case and dissuaded her from spending time with him the other day. She reportedly said something along the lines of Austin being a slacker which... he freely admits but still... not very professional if she did say it. I've got to go by there tomorrow to pick up some paperwork for Austin. If she's in the office I think I need to just drop a bug in her ear that she may want to take a different tact in motivating Austin toward a career path.

Anyways... that's what's going on around here today. Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bonnie Blogger and The Third Grade Musical

It's cool today but there's no doubt that Spring is here because I have sneezed a gazillion times this morning. There is so much fluid in my ears that I hear it sloshing around every time I move. I've got watery eyes and feel so miserable. *end of whine*

Yesterday was my niece Jamie's Third Grade Musical. There are very few events that I attend- mainly because it just hurts too dang bad to sit for any length of time, especially if travel time is involved. But when your favorite niece has the lead in a musical and her character is named Bonnie Blogger... you endure whatever it takes to be there to support her. Fortunately her school is a short drive from us. The seating was the typical elementary school lunchroom - little seats attached to the table - uncomfortable for everybody over age 10 but really, really miserable for me. By the end of the show my feet were totally numb and I was having currrrazy muscle spasms. It was absolutely worth it and I'm glad I went but my pain level today is off the charts. Combine that with the cold/allergy stuff and I am one big ole barrel of whine today.

Jamie did a great job, though. She didn't miss any lines (that I could tell) and her solo was (as far as I could tell) on pitch. Her personality really came through in her character. She's just adorable and I was so proud of her that I had to wipe a few tears. I waited a long, long time to have little girls in my life - four brothers, three sons - so I don't take these moments for granted. Not being able to get out and about much also makes me appreciate these milestones even more. My sister-in-law took about a dozen pictures of me with the girls and I joked that she was trying to commemorate the fact that I left the house for a few minutes. My pictures of the performance are blurry because I didn't use a flash and just have my little point and shoot digital camera.

Sarabeth was chosen to be a stage manager/stage hand. She has the personality that would make her an amazing stage manager in theatre. She is very detailed oriented, motivated, organized. She has a great memory. She's comfortable on stage and around the stage. My friend Gina (who is the best stage manager I've ever known) would LOVE to have Sarabeth as an assistant, even at 11 years old. She's just that good.

Here she is removing a prop from the stage in between numbers. Notice how she's dressed like the cast? With her trademark knee socks... when you're as tall as she is you can wear knee socks. Knee socks always hit me around mid-thigh.

The show was about a little girl, Bonnie Blogger, who didn't want to go to Summer camp. It was a cute story and was very entertaining.

The girls are performing together in the Kiwanis Talent Show on Friday night and I'm gearing my whole week toward being able to attend that performance. My mom is going to the oncologist that day (just a follow up, nothing new) and will be gone for several hours which means I'll have several hours of dog duty. I'm hoping the dogs are cooperative so that I don't expend my minuscule energy supply before time to go to the show. The girls are singing "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" from Annie Get Your Gun. My sister-in-law is involved in the program and she said there are three girls doing "Let It Go" from Frozen. That should be fun (not) but she said they were all good. There is one person doing "Stars" from Les Mis which I'm looking forward to. People always do "On My Own" because it's a pretty ballad that's not very demanding (and I think she said someone is performing that on Friday) but Stars is a bit more ambitious. If I'm really not feeling well I may just go and slip out after the girls' performance. I know that's rude but it's better than not going at all.

Today... I've got the cutest little kitty cat cuddled beside me... I'm wearing my warmest, coziest fleece lined leggings... Grey's Anatomy is on three times today and I had one recorded from yesterday... I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich for brunch... and life is good despite not feeling great. Little Kitty is frustrated because he likes to rest his head on my hand and wrap his front legs around my arm when he naps beside me but I'm using that hand to type.

I mention this often but it's more true lately so I'll mention it again - I'm working my tail off on my genealogy research. Yesterday I was bogged down with Charlemagne for a couple of hours. There's a lot to discover in my family tree that is fun and interesting and neat. There's a lot more that is just boring work. Yesterday was boring and redundant. I've spent a few hours over the past week combining profiles. You'll have William the First in there half a dozen different ways - he may be Guillame I in places, he may be William the Brave (or whatever it is) in others. If you've already researched one branch of your family tree from that person under one name, you don't want to put hours in doing the exact same research for him under a different name. It's time consuming to combine the profiles but worth it in the long run.

That's what's happening so far this week. I have been convinced all morning that it was Wednesday already so I'm having to adjust back into Tuesday mode which is really no different than Wednesday now that I think about it. Have a good one!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring

 I can haz pretzels?
 Little Kitty in the snack basket. We are both partial to hot buffalo flavored pretzel pieces, especially when paired with ranch pretzel pieces.

It's time for us to do some more snack shopping but I wasn't up to it today. Still having too much pain to function. Thanking the pharmaceutical industry for the ability to get out of bed but hating the fact that I need them. And wish they made me able to do more than just roll from the bed to the recliner and back.
 Spring ere sprung here in Cedar Hollow. We're expecting temps below freezing this week but today, at least, it's sunny and mild and oh, so colorful!

 I'm not a big motorcycle enthusiast but I did enjoy the color of this bike parked at Leaf Grocery.
My kids call these "fish trees" because although they are lovely, they are rather aromatic. I think they're bradford pear trees. This was on Duncan Bridge Rd, right past Hwy 115.
 Mt. Yonah, through my windshield on this fine Spring Sunday.
 I love forsythia!
 In da hood. I actually stopped the car in the middle of the road to take this picture. I haven't altered the color in this pic - the sky is THIS blue!
 More forsythia... there's an interesting old house on this lot. I'd love to explore it but don't want to trespass.
 And more.

We survived D-Now weekend. It was really very low impact... mom slept down in the Whine Cellar with the doggies so that Oscar didn't bark his head off at the visitors... and Pop made breakfast for an extra five people. I barely heard a peep.
 More pics in "da hood". Or "da hollah" more like it. This is two houses up from us.
Hoping to get a little boost of energy and a day or two of feeling better so that I can do a little more sight-seeing around town.

Happy Sunday! Love and hugs!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Seven Quick Takes

Linking up with nobody but still participating in my own unsociable way with 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. I haven't watched college basketball this year except for the final game of the SEC Championship on Sunday but that didn't stop me from filling out a bracket. It's fun to guess the winners. Turns out even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally... I picked Mercer over Duke which was a huge upset and the bracket buster for most people. I also picked Harvard - another upset - and Dayton - an upset. I'm at about 90% correct on my bracket.

2. We're having a few teenagers spend the night up on the top floor tonight which means my mom and the doggies are going to spend the night down in the Whine Cellar with me and the kitties so that Oscar, the Unsociable Dachshund, won't be barking his head off all night. The kids are here again tomorrow night so I guess mom will be down here then as well ... unless Austin keeps her awake all night. He goes outside about every half hour. She may decide that it's preferable to be kept awake by a barking dachshund in her own bed than be kept awake by a insomniac on my couch. We'll see.

3. I didn't sleep well last night... lots of crazy dreams and lots of ungodly pain. I haven't been able to get a break from pain for the past two or three days and I'm feeling even more exhausted than usual because of it. It just won't let up. It's making me miserable and grumpy. Not real grumpy. It's a rare combo of off the chain evil gut pain and a worse than usual flare up of the back stuff. It's like a band of pain around my waist.

4. I borrowed a book from the library about a family in 15th Century England. My thought was that I could expand my World History knowledge (which is sadly lacking) but instead, as it turns out, the family in the book is MY family, some of them, anyways. Makes it infinitely more interesting even if it is a bit difficult to read. The book is compiled from a cache of letters written amongst family members. Apparently they kept letters as a way to document their land holdings. The family moved from peasantry to "gentry" courtesy of a family member who was a successful attorney. I'm only in Chapter 2, I'll share more if it seems interesting or relevant.

5. I'm almost out of peppermint tea. And obviously running out of Quick Takes.

6. We had Papa's Pizza for dinner. Austin was supposed to make wonton soup but it's a new recipe for him to try and he wasn't feeling like it today (and I wasn't feeling like talking him through it). Papa's Pizza is a small local pizza place that is pretty good. Good enough that I had two pieces of deep dish pizza and am STUFFED. Full belly doesn't make evil gut pain and worse than usual back pain any better. Full belly is the least helpful thing. Of course, the fact that I have a healthy appetite tells me that evil gut pain can't be a digestive issue. Right?

7. I did laundry yesterday and didn't get around to hanging stuff up before I went to bed. OCD Trouble Kitty could not STAND the stack of clothes and kept going to stand on top of the clothes and meowing loudly (for him - which is still barely a whisper). I tried to hold him to look out the window which we do EVERY day and he loves (he purrs like a little motor) but today when I tried to pick him up he ran to the stack of clothes. Once I finished putting the clothes away he put his front paws on the wall (his sign for "pick me up"). Later today he noticed that my mom had put a pair of shoes down here. He kept standing by them meowing. They were out of place.

Anyways... that's all I've got. Happy Weekend.





Thursday, March 20, 2014

What I'm Reading, What We're Eating and Other Random Things

TBT - My brother Jim& me, Kindergarten Graduation
A few random things today...

Picture is for Throwback Thursday - my big brother and me at my Kindergarten Graduation. 

My sweet niece, Jamie, the sunshine of my life, giver of hugs and sweetest soul that ever walked the Earth... is sick. She has missed three days of school this week and next week she has the lead in her 3rd Grade Musical. (like High School Musical only for third graders). Pray with us that she bounces back and is able to be her best for her performance. She's worked so hard for this! 

I'm dealing with a lot of pain today. I know it's the same lame game but today nothing is easing it. I've been up since before 5am and have thrown the entire medicine cabinet at it but nothing is helping. Nothing. Have I used the word "nothing" enough? 

While Austin was in the youth group at church I always looked forward to a special retreat weekend they had once a year called Disciple Now. The teenagers from our church gather with other churches in the area for combined worship services and then split up into groups to do service projects in the community and spend the night in groups at different homes. The kids are fed and have devotions at the home where they spend the night. It was very precious to me that on Austin's first year here the family that hosted his group got him a birthday cake as his birthday fell during D-Now weekend. This weekend we're hosting a group of kids here at Cedar Hollow. Just a couple boys and two chaperones for them... but what a blessing to be able to open our home for this... to return hospitality for the hospitality that Austin received over his years in youth group. My dad will do the cooking and the kids will stay on the top floor where we have two guest rooms and a bathroom... I don't have to do much other than help keep Oscar the Unsociable Dachshund from being an unholy terror but I'm glad they're coming. 

I haven't shared my list of books from the library this week yet so here goes:
Going Rogue - Sarah Palin  I'm a little over halfway through with this. I enjoy the biographical information and backstory about the family but the political stuff is a bit whiny and defensive. 
A Medieval Family: The Pastons of Fifteenth Century England  - My historical research for the week. Working on genealogy has shown me how very little I know about World History so I'm working at expanding my knowledge.
Uncharterd TerriTORI - Yet another Tori Spelling Book. It's like literary junk food. 
Mob Daughter: The Mafia, Sammy "the Bull" Gravano and Me

I started and haven't finished Unveiling Islam (which is good but takes a bit of concentration) and Charles Krauthammer's book - also involves a bit of concentration. My problem is that if I've taken any pain medicine it's harder to concentrate - this is partly why I try to read - I don't want my brain to turn to mush but sometimes I'm too mushy to read. Also, Austin is like a pop-up. Unless he is sleeping he comes through the Living Room on average about every fifteen minutes. Makes it hard(er) to concentrate. For these reasons I will read some fluff stuff when I know I won't be able to concentrate and save the deeper stuff for when I'm more likely to be able to focus and less likely to be interrupted. I read my Beth Moore books and the Bible when I'm drying my hair because that is when I'm least likely to be bothered by anyone or anything in my environment. I'm an A.D.D. reader but at least I'm reading! I'm interested in getting Greg Gutfeld's new book, Not Cool that just came out this week. I adore Greg but never pay full price for books so maybe I'll catch it in a few years. 

This week we've been eating a little bit better. Pop made corned beef with cabbage, potatoes and carrots on Monday. He made tuna casserole (with rice, cheese and edamame) and steamed mixed greens on Tuesday. Last night Austin made meatloaf and oven fried green beans. I made my favorite three bean salad (with red onion and cilantro, red wine vinegar and olive oil) and have been eating that for lunch. I had several days last week that I had not one single serving of fruit of veggies and that's just completely unhealthy. We'll do better over the Summer because of the availability of fresh produce but I'm really making an effort to do better now. I think lasagna is on the menu for tonight. 

I've covered everything except the weather which looks to be sunny and mild today. Hope your week is going well! Love and hugs all around. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Family Resemblance


 I'm the world's worst about snagging photos without permission. I generally operate under the theory that it's easier to get forgiveness than permission. I did warn her...but when my (second) cousin Rachel posted this picture of her and her newborn baby, Isabelle, the family resemblance was too great not to share.

 So here is the lovely Rachel with Isabelle...
 And Rachel's grandma, Aunt Bette, one of our Steel Magnolias... a photo from long ago...
















And our handsome Great-Grandfather, Charles Pelham Ward, Emory University School of Medicine, Class of 1894. Isabelle's Great-Great-Grandfather.














 Isabelle's Great-Great-Great Grandmother, Rosa Bertha Hawes Ward. Aunt Bette is named after her. I see lots of her in Rachel.
Rosa was married to William Cleveland Ward, my Great-Great-Grandfather. Scroll back up through the generations. To me, it's all in the eyes... the resemblance is uncanny.

Carrying physical traits from past generations is one thing... but to me, the real treasure is the character traits that have passed down to us.

I've mentioned before that Rachel's beautiful mother passed away in 2007. Baby Isabelle was a little late and in my mind (maybe because I watch too much Long Island Medium) it seemed like her Grandma Leslie was holding her little soul in Heaven and reluctant to let her go.

God has a way of filling in the blanks in our lives and although no one could ever take Leslie's place, I am happy to see that baby Isabelle is loved and cherished by a large family and many kind friends. She is surrounded on Earth by many who will love her and treasure her but she is also watched over by a great cloud of witnesses in Heaven.

Our Steel Magnolias didn't become that way by living a life of perfection and ease. They certainly experienced trials and tragedy along the way. I'll never forget how lovely Grandma and Aunt Bette were at Leslie's funeral. They both wore pink! Although they certainly shed many tears they maintained a certain dignity and grace that was unmistakable in the face of what must surely have been one of the saddest moments of their life. Their strength was inspirational.

The legacy that is evident in photos is even more evident in lives. By a combination of nature and nurture we have a strength that continues generation after generation. We are recipients of more than just dark, curly hair... we receive the ability to overcome hardship. We have the ability to become Steel Magnolias by modeling the example set before us. That's the resemblance that matters most.

Love and hugs and Happy Tuesday, y'all!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This Weekend

Yesterday I binge watched Welcome To Sweetie Pie's LITERALLY all day. Pop made spaghetti for dinner and an apple/peach pie for dessert. It was an unremarkable day with the exception of the fact that my (second) cousin Rachel delivered a beautiful baby girl, Isabelle Marie, who has dark curly hair and is every bit as lovely as her mother and grandmother and great-grandmother, one of our Steel Magnolias, Aunt Bette, my grandmother's sister. My grandmother, of course, is the other Steel Magnolia.

It's amazing to think about the fact that Aunt Bette, who will be 90 in December, will have shared this planet with her own grandmother, who was born in 1849 and this latest great-grand who, if she lived 90 years would still be alive in 2104. We are all the link between the past and the future. That's what makes genealogy so important to me. Somebody has to keep our family history alive until someone in the next generation is ready to take up the torch. I know I drive my kids and nieces and nephews crazy with all my genealogy factoids that I share but it's important.

It's raining today. My parents are celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary by going to church and then out to eat so I am dog-sitting. So far, they're all sleeping so it's been easy. I'm watching American Heroes Channel which is doing a marathon of Bible Secrets. I love this channel. Later I'll be binge watching PBS to catch lots of St. Patricks Eve broadcasting, starting with Rick Steves' visits to Ireland. I have Irish ancestors but pretty much everybody has been here for many, many generations so I don't know if I can claim to be Irish.

Tomorrow Austin has another appointment at the Vocational Rehab place to try to get him back in the training program that he flunked out of two years ago. It's so hard for him to grasp the importance of learning a trade and earning a living. His understanding and appreciation of money is so different from what most people think. If he has a dollar he's going to likely give at least fifty cents of it away. He's content with whatever he already has (with the exception of a bit of a gaming obsession). He won't let you buy him shoes if he has even one pair - he has no concept of saving or accumulating anything. He has such a hard time adhering to any sort of schedule. It's a gargantuan task to get him motivated but I'm trying.

After his Voc Rehab appointment we're going grocery shopping. He and Pop made a menu yesterday and today we're making a grocery list. These are some really important life skills that he needs and I'm trying to do whatever I can to make him self-sufficient. I won't be here forever, you know!

I'm very interested in the mystery of the missing Malaysian jet. I hope it's not another Amelia Earhardt thing where we never know the answer. My fabulous friend Beth who lives in London is traveling to Kuala Lampor today and one of the first things I did this morning when I woke up was pray for safe travels for her. I know air travel is safe. I know the fact that she's going to Malaysia doesn't mean she'll meet the same fate. I'm logical about all of that stuff but I figure a little anointing can't hurt. It doesn't matter that I haven't seen Beth in 28 years. I still want her to be safe. And I can't WAIT to see her travel photos!

I found out yesterday that my friend A.T.'s stepfather has passed away. A.T. and I were very close in junior high and high school. We worked at the same place as young moms and often rode to work together. My mom kept her baby girl when she was little. When things fell apart in Jacksonville it was A.T. who dropped everything and made the trip down there to get me. She was with my boys and my brother waiting for me when I was released from psych hold. You never forget the friend who springs you from the psych ward, but we have lost touch over the past few years. She remarried and I couldn't make it to the wedding and then this whole back thing and of course, you know, my unsociable phone hating self... we've just lost touch. I had to ask her step-sister (who I also grew up with - she was in the same grade) for her phone number. I don't know what I can do to help but I am very sad for her. Freddie was such a kind, generous person. He took very good care of A.T. and her mom. He leaves a huge void.

Anyways... so that's what's happening around here this weekend. Love and hugs, y'all.




Friday, March 14, 2014

My Happy Place

I woke up this morning to a kid who had been up all night gaming. He was upset with the behavior of my Little Kitty who has a tendency to get a little rough when wrestling with Stubby. It's non-sexual and totally playful but The Kid had set in his mind that it wasn't so he went off on a tangent of all the violent things he was going to do to my cat in retaliation for his totally innocent animal behavior. The thing about folks with Aspergers - once they have something in their mind, it's very difficult to change their mind. The thing about me first thing in the morning when my pain is at it's worst is that I don't have the energy to debate things. I was a very unhappy camper.

SO... I "put a kettle on"... which in my Whine Cellar means running water through the coffee pot to heat it... and settled in to dwell on a few of My Favorite Things to find My Happy Place. I decided you might like to visit My Happy Place with me so here goes!

1. Peppermint tea. I love peppermint tea because it clears my sinuses, tastes good hot or not as hot and doesn't need as much sweetening as other teas. I start with two teabags and just add water throughout the day. Two tea bags will last me all day.


2. Fig Newtons. When I wake up in the morning my pain is usually at it's worst. I can't take pain meds, even the not-as-strong ones on an empty stomach. When my pain is at it's worst I can't eat. You can see how this could be a conundrum. I find that I can always manage to put away a couple of fig newtons, even on the worst days. I'm sure there is no nutritional value in them at all and I'm sure there are a lot of stuff I shouldn't eat in them. But when the goal is to get to the point of being able to function, it's hot tea, fig newtons and pain meds  - in that order.


3. Candles. If you read yesterday's post you know that I have an affinity for my fur-babies. Cats are many things - low maintenance, cuddly, entertaining, etc - but one thing they are not is potty trained. They ARE, however, litter box trained. Three cats in one space = many litter box trips. Many litter box trips = much litter box smell. Myself, Austin and my mom all take turns scooping the boxes but inevitably, someone will drop a bomb that lingers. This is why I love scented candles. Nothing makes me happier than descending the steps to the Whine Cellar and smelling something fresh and unlitter-box-like. Since I have no disposable income, a candle is a luxury but I treated myself this week to two new candles and it has been like a vacation. It doesn't take much, people.

4. Farmville2. Guys, I know it's a big time suck but having gone from being a highly productive person with a career and a house full of kids to being a Spinster Cat Lady, I need a way to be measurably productive. Farmville is my place to SHINE. I only started playing six months ago and I'm on level 70. I'm kicking some Farmville2 butt! My secret is that I play through Zynga.com instead of Facebook. I have nearly 2000 Zynga friends from all over the world. Literally, some of their names are symbols that I can't pronounce but their only contact with me is through the zynga website. It makes it easy to complete tasks and level up quickly. Zynga is a Happy Place.

5. Zulily. I haven't ordered anything since right after Christmas but I window shop every day. They have many cute things reasonably priced. If you click this link right here, it will send you an invitation to Zulily. If you buy stuff, I get $15 to spend on Zulily. Don't order just for that reason but if you're going to order anyways and haven't ordered from them before, why not share the wealth, right?

6. Barnes and Noble. I love my Nook. I spend a lot of time on it every day. The Barnes and Noble website has a lot, a lot of books they offer for free or super cheap. Every now and then I splurge and spend two or three dollars on something there. Most of the time I just get the free stuff. I have 156 unread books on my Nook. It's got a whole lot of Happy Place just waiting for me to explore!


7. Little Debbie's Nutty Bars. Not healthy at all but they make me so happy! In this house running out of Nutty Bars is a crisis on par with being out of toilet paper.

8. TV. And now on to my happiest of Happy Places... time for the afternoon Grey's Anatomy mini-marathon, followed by a showing of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya-Sisterhood, followed by The Five, two episodes of The Middle and then Rick Steves.

The sun is shining, the cat is cuddled up beside me, the grumpy kid is still sleeping and Pop is on the golf course. It's going to be a good day. Happy Weekend, love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Life As A Cat Lady

Someone is coming down the stairs
I wonder where the whole personna of the spinster woman with a room full of cats and newspapers originated. I saw a picture on Pinterest the other day from the 1920's of a spinster - they literally used that term in the original caption - who had built a little wagon to carry her cat through the streets of New York. Obviously the concept isn't new. I'm not sure if I qualify as a spinster - divorcee is probably more acurrate - but I'm certainly deserving of the Cat Lady moniker. And proud of it.

Little Trouble Kitty is very in tune with my schedule. He's also extremely OCD. If anything is out of place - such as a book on the nightstand - he will move it if he can or stand beside it and meow in his tiny little whisper of a voice until someone acknowledges that something has changed if he can't handle it himself. Things must not be moved. He's so OCD that if I happen to be sleeping on "his side" of the bed he will walk on me until I move. Once I move, he curls up in his spot and purrs like he is being paid to do it. He loves to sleep with his head on the pillow and his body under the covers, just like me. When I get up during the night to go to the bathroom I have to slip out of the other side of the bed so as not to disturb His Highness.

He gets upset when I take a shower. He can't stand to be in the room - he's scared of the water - but he sits outside the bathroom door and puts his paws under the door and cries until I turn off the water and let him in. I suffer that blast of cold air that comes with opening the door just to calm him down after my shower. He follows my whole glam routine. He starts getting concerned if I put on makeup because that means I might be leaving the house. He gets further upset if I put on shoes. Socks are ok but shoes mean leaving.

Little Kitty has always let me hold him like a baby that you're trying to burp. He loves to be high up and look out the sliding glass door. I go through a whole list of potential things that might be outside, "are there fish in the lake? are there birds in the trees?..." and so on. Sometimes I take a step out onto the patio with him and his heart starts to race. He's curious about what happens outside but he's not comfortable being out there. He was born to be a house cat. A fluffy, spoiled, adored little house cat. He really loves being held by me and Austin. Austin plays a little rougher with him, holding him upside down and such. I'd intervene but Trouble purrs the loudest when Austin is playing with him. He loves his boy.

When Austin steps outside (as he does frequently) Little Kitty waits at the door for him and meows his loudest when Austin comes back in. Little Kitty runs to get to the top shelf playhouse so that Austin will play with him there. His favorite game is to peek out of the holes in the box to try to grab straws or whatever we hold up for him to get. If Austin ignores him, Trouble follows him to his bedroom door complaining.

Every day Trouble takes a tour of the house to make sure everything and everybody is in their place. He anticipates our behavior. Yesterday Pop mentioned getting dressed and Little Kitty was waiting for him in his closet. Maybe it's coincidence. I choose to believe that he's just the smartest cat EVER! He waits by the door when the dogs go out to do their business. If Eddie Cat tries to sneak out the door Trouble blocks him. He knows that cats live inside. If the door to the utility room is open - the room where he can access the ceiling AND HE LOVES to climb up in the drop ceiling and explore - if the door is open he will meow until he gets my attention so that I can shut the door. He knows that it's a "bad place".

When I go upstairs he follows me. If I'm in the kitchen fixing something to eat he is right beside me. His name should have been Shadow but we already have a Shadow Kitty in the family - my brother in New York has a much adored cat named Shadow. Once I finish upstairs and start back down the stairs I say, "I'm faster than you, Little Kitty... I'm going to get there before you do..." and wherever he is, he dashes past the animal gate (that we use to keep Lily from going downstairs) and bounds down the stairs ahead of me and lounges at the bottom like he's been there all along. It's really funny to watch him.

When I go to the bathroom I say, "do you want to come with me?" and he follows me right into the bathroom. He checks out the water bowl I leave in there for the cats. He checks the shower to see if anyone has used it lately. He points out anything out of place. He supervises me on the toilet. If I have a candle burning he sniffs it. He had a little bead that he used to play soccer with while I was in the potty but it hit noisily against Austin's bedroom wall ONE TOO MANY times so Austin chunked it into the lake and replaced it with a rubber ball that Little Kitty doesn't enjoy as much. He does love to bat empty toilet paper rolls around.

The minute my laptop is put away and I pick up a book or my nook instead he takes advantage of my empty lap and jumps right up and curls into a ball for a nap. If I'm eating, he's right beside me tapping my arm with his paw, begging for nibbles. I give him the tiniest, itty bitty bites of what I'm eating. He prefers chicken above everything else. There is literally nothing I do during the day that he doesn't involve himself in... he's really my baby.

His favorite thing in all the world is his straw collection. He prefers the long green straws from Starbucks. We call them his "tings" (for "things"). He keeps them stored in his playhouse on top of the shelf where the other cats can't reach. Austin will take the straws down and throw them across the room to watch Trouble frantically chase after them and try to keep the other cats from getting them. He's very selfish with his tings. Yesterday he and Stubby were sitting side by side on the couch and Trouble was chewing his straw. The end was pointing toward Stubby so Stubby very stealthily stuck his declawed paw in there and slipped the straw away from Trouble. It was hilarious!

Stubby also bogarted Troubles treats last night. When I get the packet of treats down Trouble and Stubby line up for theirs and wherever he is in the house Eddie the Fat Cat will come bounding down the stairs to get his. Trouble won't start eating his until both Stubby and Eddie have theirs. Last night Oscar the dachshund followed Eddie down the stairs and while Trouble was watching Oscar to see if he was going to get a treat, Stubby slipped his paw in front of Trouble and snuck a few of his treats away from him.

Every morning the sun comes in through the sliding glass doors in my living room. The cats pick out a spot and sunbathe until the light goes away. It really doesn't take much to keep cats happy - a warm lap, a sunny spot, a few treats and some Starbucks straws.

In other news... there is no other news. It's all cats, all the time around here. Upstairs it's all dogs all the time.

Hope you're having a wonderful Thursday. Another week has zipped past us. Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Day In Pictures

 View from the parking lot of the library in Cleveland, Georgia - and my little Minnie Mouse antenna topper.
 Can you find the REAL animal in this picture?
 Does this help?
This is my Stuffed Animal Support Group. There's another branch on the shelf above this chair and another one in my bedroom.
Austin found this upside down in the woods beside the house. He drug it out with the lawnmower. We think it will make a good raised bed garden.
Pop's garden. Tiny little buds of stuff that get covered up at night and uncovered when the sun comes up.
Buds and blossoms.
Everything is in bloom up here. The daffodils are amazing. Forsythia is blooming and even the dogwoods are starting to sprout. I'm sure this means the pollen count is also on the rise.
  Mother Goose and Father Goose


 Oscar the Dachshund is particularly fond of goose poop. He likes it even better than he likes cat poop.
 Mom planted azaleas on the hill beside the fountain yesterday.
 
 The shed just looks like Spring... all full of potting soil and lawnmowers and yard working stuff. I think. I'm actually unfamiliar with all of the shed except for the freezer where I keep my popsicles.
 Austin and I made a Walmart run this afternoon. Not a big one, just for bottled water and such. We got stuck in "traffic" in town and had to wait an extra light cycle to get through the square. I took photos to amuse myself. This is "downtown Cleveland".
Austin says this old store would be a great place for a homeless to live under. I would be afraid to go under there. He thinks it's funny that there's a "door to nowhere" off the back.
 Progress or something. They've been putting in these big pipes everywhere. The road is chopped up all around the library.
 The old Courthouse. I have never been inside and I need to. It would be a fun "field trip".
This is the top of the hill beside the driveway - the top of the fountain. The wooden bench was made by my brother. Austin, Pop and my niece Jamie hauled the stones up to create a little walkway. Mom dug up moss out of the woods to put between the stones. Hopefully it will take. It looks real fancy now.







In other news... today I washed two loads of clothes and went to Walmart, which I've already mentioned. I found a bag of black jelly beans for my mom. She likes them. I can't stand them. I wanted some jelly bellies jelly beans but the only ones they had were $3 for about twelve jelly beans. I settled for skittles instead. We bought candles for the basement because it smells like a guy lives here. I made Austin pick out the candles so he wouldn't complain. Now the basement smells like bubblicious.

Anyways... that's my Tuesday. Hope yours was good!