Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I thought Thursday was ER night

I just returned from a trip to the emergency room a little while ago. No, it wasn't for me... or the kids... it was for my husband. Those who know him know he has this issue called cholinergic urticaria (basically hives, which often occur if he sweats) coupled with cold-induced urticaria (hives that occur when his body cools down). In its mildest form his hands and arms might become itchy, but tonight his entire body was covered in hives, including his face. He took Benadryl at the first signs of itching, but an hour later felt that he should go in to the ER. Thankfully they took him back right away. He wound up getting meds intravenously and slept a little while. The P.A. on duty sent us home with 3 epi-pens and a 21-day supply of prednisone (He sure isn't looking forward to taking that.). He is pretty groggy right now because of the medication. I am debating whether or not to stay awake all night to make sure it doesn't worsen; at one point after they had given him the IV meds, the hives actually began returning, and the P.A. considered giving him epi then.

Of course, if I stay up, I won't be in any shape to drive Emily to school in the morning. She'd love an excuse to miss school...

Tag, I'm it

So Jim tagged me with the "page 123" meme a couple of days ago. You know, the one where you

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fourth sentence
3. Post the text of the following three sentences.
4. Name the author and book title.
5. Tag three other people to do the same.

So here's my answer:

Rufus' cloak felt as heavy as iron on his back, and he had to keep treading
water vigorously to stay on the surface. He had not the faintest idea where he
could be. He must have fallen into a river, for he could feel a strong current
under his feet.

This is from Detectives in Togas, by Henry Winterfield. (Eh, my computer desk is here in the schoolroom, so the closest book is one we're reading for school.)

I'll tag Sandy, Wendy, and Angie.


I caught the last 30 minutes of American Idol last night. I haven't followed this show at all in the however-many years it has been on, but I might start this year. I just loved the little girl from NC whose daddy was paralyzed because he shot himself (after shooting her "stepmomma" when he "caught her in the act" of cheating on him.). I want to see how far she can make it.

And House just keeps getting better. This is my first year watching it as well... Emily and I got caught up by watching the first 2 seasons on DVD this past fall. We had House marathons on the weekends. She is a lot of fun to watch TV with. Wish I could talk her into podcasting our TV conversations, the way Zoot and her son are doing.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A new chapter

Today marked the last page in a chapter of our life. Towards the end of last year, Brian and I came to the conclusion that we needed to find a new church family closer to home. We've been making the 42-mile drive to Antioch for about a year-and-a-half, and it was just becoming more than we could take. We didn't want to just stop going with no explanation, though. So we let Rick, our worship minister, know about it before we left on our vacation. We also let a few other people know ahead of time... ones we knew would be wondering where we were.

Anyhow, even though he's only known me this short time, Rick knew me well enough to ask if I wanted to be "on" praise team for my last 3 Sundays there. Today marked my last time to sing with the group and I managed to keep it together throughout the service... until after the final song. Virginia just had to go and say how she will miss singing with me. Well, that is all it took. I'm going to miss singing with her and the rest of the gang, too. I am so tired of saying goodbye to people, and the fact that we had been there a short 1 1/2 years doesn't make it easier.

We did get to have lunch at UNO with Rick and Virginia after church, though. It was good to spend time with them. I told Brian on the way home that I really feel like they are a couple we would spend more time with if we lived closer. I have a deep respect for both of them and am going to miss our Wednesday evening praise team rehearsals together. (Hopefully we'll be seeing them soon... there is a Mark Schultz/Big Daddy Weave concert over there in March, and we are planning on going; they may go as well.)

So next week begins our search for a place closer by. We'll be looking outside of our tradition (church of Christ), as the churches nearby are just not a good fit for us. It will be odd... we are used to a cappella worship, so the whole praise band thing feels strange. But worship style is not the most important thing, so we will give it a shot. We'll probably be trying the local Christian church first; I've heard good things about it from another homeschooling mom (who used to attend a church of Christ nearby, but also left for reasons similar to ours).

Have I ever said how much I hate starting over??

Saturday, January 27, 2007

All the gold in California

I guess I'm dating myself with that song, aren't I? But I couldn't help thinking of that song as we decided what our adventure for the day was going to be. Brian and I took the kids to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park to see what we could see. We had some very nice weather, warm enough that most of us didn't need jackets, just long sleeves. The kids were excited to see where James Marshall first found gold at Sutter's Mill. They wanted to try their hand at panning, but I think we will wait for warmer weather, when they could actually get into the water. That will involve buying pans in the museum store, something we didn't want to do today. I think Joel's favorite part of the trip was finding sticks on the short hike we took to the discovery site. He found one large piece of a branch that looks like some kind of huge phaser-type gun. He said he didn't need to buy souvenirs, since he found some. That kid is a hoot.

We also saw a group of kayakers going down the American River. By the time we saw them, we (and they) were in the calmer waters near the discovery site. If we had stayed up near the replica of the mill longer, we could have seen them in a bit faster water. They looked like they were having a good time.

I think we'll go back in warmer weather and perhaps when there are some special events scheduled. Funny thing is, we just missed a big event last weekend... on the 20th, they had a special day to commemorate the anniversary of Marshall's discovery, which was on January 24, 1848. I imagine the kids would have gotten a chance to pan if we had gone then.

Checking in

It's another Parents' Night Out at the kids' gymnastics center. The kids begged to go, so who were we to say no? Our night "out" consisted of getting a pizza for Emily, then going to Mel's Diner for sandwiches before stopping in at Blockbuster to see what was available to rent. We picked up a few movies and managed to watch one (Employee of the Month) before Brian fell asleep. I'll be heading out to pick up the kids in a few minutes.

Last night, I got an email from my former backyard neighbor (from the first house we rented here). Her husband's brother is one of the 6 guys that will be on this Sunday night's episode of Grease: You're the One That I Want. I haven't watched any of this yet, but will be sure to watch this one so I can see him. His name is Jason Celaya and he is the former "Matthew" from the musical "Altar Boyz."

This weekend is the Zoe conference in Fresno. I enjoyed last year's so much that I was hoping to go again this year, but obviously that didn't happen. Maybe next year... Next up, the Pepperdine Lectureships in May. Making it to that one isn't looking promising, either.

Tomorrow is actually a Saturday with no scheduled commitments and Brian is home. Hopefully we will find something fun to do, either out and about or here at home.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

9 miles in 3 hours

It's another Dadless weekend, so the 3 youngest kids and I were going to head to the movies late this afternoon; our usual theatre is a little under 9 miles away and we can get there in less than 15 minutes... usually. But today, the highway was in a mess, with the west-bound side being totally closed down because of a huge accident, and the east-bound side (the one I'd need for 6.5 miles of the trip) seeing bumper-to-bumper traffic. The first part of our trip actually passed by where the accident had occurred almost 5 hours before (yes, 5 hours later and the highway was still closed. I read online later that they opened 2 of the 4 lanes about an hour later, and the last 2 lanes an hour-and-a-half after that.) We could see a small sedan that was totaled... the roof torn off, and a large RV. It wasn't until later that we learned this was a 6-car accident in which 3 people were killed (2 from the small car, a Corolla, and 1 from a Ford Expedition. The Corolla was the cause of the accident, going airborn over the guard rail into oncoming traffic and hitting the Expedition.) You can read one TV station's report here.

Anyhow, I saw that the highway would not get us to the theatre in time, so I reprogrammed the navigation system in the van to show me the back way into town and to the theatre. According to its calculations, we could still get there in time. Ahhh, but what it couldn't take into account was that there were friendly police officers directing traffic once the backroad reached town... helping all the people who wanted to leave town and couldn't take the highway to get the heck outta Dodge. We wound up sitting at one 4-way stop that was manned by one officer who forgot there were actually people trying to get *into* town. We did not make it to the theatre in time. So now I was left figuring out how to get back home without going my usual highway route. Instead of taking the route we just took, the nav system gave me a new route, one I was very familiar with. It took me past my favorite Starbucks, less than a mile from Emily's school. We drove through for hot chocolate and then found ourselves in the longest line of cars I have ever seen. Almost 2 hours later, we were finally about a mile-and-a-half down the road and when I saw the line of cars making the turn I needed to make, I immediately high-tailed it into the left lane and made a U-turn at the signal. I was able to cover that 1 1/2 miles in 2 minutes. By that time, the highway was back open, but it looked like the road I'd come from, only with 4 lanes instead of 2. I decided to look for the way we came into town and found it without too much trouble. So our 15-minute drive to the movies turned into a 3-hour trip to nowhere.

The kids were very good sports about the whole thing, but to make it up to them, I went to Blockbuster and picked them up a movie. The 2 littlest ones fell asleep in my room tonight watching tv with me.

Somehow, the 40-minute drive to church in the morning has me feeling a bit apprehensive....

Friday, January 12, 2007

I'm flattered

I was checking my blog stats this afternoon and noticed several hits coming from one website... Looks like someone there liked my delurking graphic (made for last year's delurking week) and borrowed it (while politely giving me credit). I came across one more site who borrowed and credited as well. And one person privately emailed me saying they wanted to use it. How cool is that?? Funny thing is that it would be so easy for someone to make their own... I don't even remember where I found the site to make this one, but a search for "sign generator" brings up lots of different places where anyone can make a custom sign in any number of formats: ransom notes, Disneyland marquee, church signs, billboards... you name it. In fact, I like this ransom note generator better than the one I used... I think it is easier to read.

But as far as delurking graphics go, I like this one, from Sheryl, of Paper Napkin:

4 kids, 4 days, one mom

Today begins another single-parent weekend for me. Brian flew back to MO on the redeye flight last night to be with his family. He is taking care of some more financial stuff for his mom and making sure that things in the nursing facility are being managed well, plus just spending time with his family. He won't be back until late Monday night.

His mom is doing as well as as can be expected. They have stopped therapy on her legs, so our instincts about the recovery in that area were pretty spot-on. She will need a custom wheelchair now... and thankfully it appears that the cost will be covered by Medicare/Medicaid. She does seem to be showing some improvement in her arm that was affected by the stroke; I'm not sure if she has regained fine motor skills yet, though. The kids still haven't talked with her about the possibility that she may not be able to live apart from a care facility. At this point, it is important for her to feel that there is something to work towards. And depending on the availability of at-home assistance during the times when she would be alone (daughter/son at work), the possibility of her moving in with one of her St. Louis-area kids may be a viable alternative somewhere down the road. I think there are a lot of resources out there that they haven't availed themselves of up to this point, and I'm hoping they will. There is just a lot to deal with at this point, including stuff not even related to her MS and stroke, like...

the other situation with Brian's father; the prosecutor's office isn't doing anything about it at this point. They are waiting until February, when their "expert" will be back in the office to handle it. I don't know if that means they will prosecute or not. But it is frustrating for me... I want the man locked up, and just don't understand why and how they can be so laid back about this case.


In other news, Noah and Halle started piano lessons this week. We have a very sweet girl who comes here to us to teach them. They both hit it off with her and she seems to have a gift for relating to the kids. I'm looking forward to hearing them progress. It will be nice to have someone learning to play the piano in the house again. I love being able to see and hear how they grow from simple finger exercises to playing melodies with 2 hands.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It's that time again

Yep, it's Delurking Week! Time for all you lookie-loos who read and never (or almost never) comment to represent. Oh heck, even you regulars could say hi.... I love comments!


Emily is in phone heaven right now. After the abuse her phone took while were on vacation, it just wasn't working right any longer, and her battery wasn't staying charged. So earlier tonight, Brian took her to the Verizon kiosk at the mall to replace her old phone with this one. It is very cool. I am ready to let my cell phone fall out of my pocket on a rollercoaster so I can get one (if you know me, that is a big thing; I don't do rollercoasters!).

Saturday, January 06, 2007

P Words

Can you guess the 3 P-words this post refers to? I'll put the answer in the comments (the last one could be 2 different words).

It's been a hectic couple of days, trying to recover from the trip and get things back in order around here. I finally finished all of the laundry from the trip and now am working on the stuff that has been dirtied up since we got back. Sometimes it seems like laundry is like an endless escalator; you never reach the end!

Today we were able to get all the Christmas decorations put away. Halle is happy about that because now the small table that was home to my and Emily's Snow Village houses is free to be used for jigsaw puzzles. We have several new puzzles that she wants to put together with me. Won't that be a good incentive for finishing our other work?

After getting the work done around the house today, we went to the movies. Brian and the boys saw Eragon, and Halle and I saw Charlotte's Web. I felt like Charlotte's Web was very well done. I do prefer Debbie Reynolds' Charlotte voice to that of Julia Roberts, though. (Debbie voiced Charlotte in the 1973 animated version.) Debbie's Charlotte had a warmth to her that Julia lacks. So many times, I felt Julia's Charlotte came across too matter-of-fact, whereas Debbie's vocal characterization had an almost maternal quality to it. I'm sure if this had been the first film treatment of the book, I probably wouldn't have noticed this; but having the comparison, the differences just stood out to me.

Just when things were starting to calm down a bit after Brian's mother's stroke, a whole new situation has presented itself... this one involving his sister's 3yo daughter and her grandfather (Brian's father). I'll let you read Brian's post for his explanation, then ask you to keep this whole thing in your prayers.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What time is it?

My body is still on Eastern time... I am having a hard time adjusting to being back on Pacific time. Last night I was asleep by 8:30! Hopefully I will make it a little longer tonight.

The trip home was quite long; our flight out of Orlando was delayed for 2 hours and we were afraid we were going to wind up spending the night in Dallas, as our plane touched down almost 20 minutes after our connecting flight was due to depart. Thankfully, that flight was delayed as well, so we were able to make it on board before it left. We didn't get home until around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. (Was that really just yesterday?)

I spent the day doing laundry, picking up the dog from the kennel, and getting groceries. I still have more laundry to attend to today. Then there is still the cleaning up from Christmas and putting away all the decorations; that may wait until the weekend.

The last few days at Disney World were good ones. For me, the best part was our fireworks cruise on Emily's and Noah's birthday. We met at the marina around 11pm and a driver took us around the lake on a pontoon boat stocked with sodas and chips. Then we stopped in the middle for the most awesome view of the New Year's fireworks (they did them on the 30th and the 31st) ... we had a radio feed of the music, so it was just as good as being in the park; actually, it beat being in the park hands down! No tall person in front of you, no craning your neck to see the fireworks, no trees blocking your view, and no fighting the crowd to get down Main Street and out of the park.

Time to get back to real life around here again....

Monday, January 01, 2007

Almost home

Our time in FL is winding down... we check out in the morning and leave in the evening. The kids will get in a few last rides before time to head to the airport, including Expedition Everest, which turned out to be a favorite of Brian, Emily, and Noah. When we went to Animal Kingdom on Saturday, they rode it 4 times.

After dinner tonight, we spent our time cleaning up the hotel rooms and repacking suitcases. It takes some creativity to repack when we are going back with more stuff than we came with! I think we got it covered... I guess we'll know for sure after we shower in the a.m. and try to fit in the toiletries.

Time to hit the hay.

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