Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another STORM! OF! THE! CENTURY! is coming our way

I had my last counseling appointment today. It was good. It felt good to end today. It felt good to say, "I have met and/or exceeded the goals I set in place last summer". It felt good to see my progress. I told my counselor that some people see counseling as a crutch but I see it more as a railing. It’s there to help you when you are feeling weak, ill, or carrying too much. Once you are stronger, well, and empty handed, you no loner need the aid of the railing. Today, I let go of the railing.

My trip to my hometown was good. Well, that’s not exactly the word for it, though parts of it were good. It was also a very difficult visit for a variety of reasons. I am glad I left Friday noon instead of Saturday morning. As I drove through Winona, the snow hitting my windshield was plinking like ice crystals. I drove in and out of that until I hit the first Madison exit. Traffic came to a complete stop and was backed up for about 20 minutes. Once I got through that, the sleety/plinky snow turned to SNOW. It took me almost 60 minutes driving in second gear to get what normally takes me 10 minutes. I think we got a foot of snow overnight that first night.

It started snowing again on Saturday, but this time it was wet, heavy snow. My brother, sister-in-law, and nephews spent the night at my parents’ house Saturday night instead of driving home in the blizzard. It was a fun family slumber party. (Except we all slept in separate rooms of course.) Sunday my dad had to get up and clear the driveway and sidewalks again.

The church parking lot was just getting plowed as people showed up for first service. It snowed/rained throughout much of the day. I tried to leave town Sunday night, only to turn back and crash at my parents’ house for one more night. It turns out that it was good I turned around since the slipperiest roads were just a few miles north and towns along that road had cancelled school altogether rather than delay for 2 hours like much of the rest of the area. I took off for MN around 10am and got home around 2. I have a lead foot and sped much of the way and made great time.

While home I took lots and lots of pictures with the new camera. I really like it. I am still trying to find a good setting for taking photos outside with bright non-sunlight and snow, but other than that, I am really happy with it. I am now saving money to purchase an auxiliary flash and a telephoto lens. You can see the newest photos by clicking my Flickr badge on the right. Most are of family, friends, church, and the rest are of my hometown down town.

The newest issue of MDA Quest is online. To read the small article on Bob, click here. There is going to be another article on how we manage apartment living in the midst of also managing Bob’s disability. Not sure when that will be coming out, but another photo has been requested from me to illustrate it. Yay! (I took the one of Bob in the above mentioned article but someone else took the one of the two of us though they used my camera and I edited it for prettiness.)

We are being told to expect another 11-13 inches of snow over the next day and a half. They just plowed out apartment lot and will have to probably do it again Friday or Saturday. I need to refill out bird feeder and suet holder for the birdies. I don’t usually make a run to the grocery store but we might need some eggs and milk at the very least. We surely won’t be snowed in until Spring, so I think we can make it through the weekend at least. The birds, however, are not quite as lucky. Remember your fine feathered friends!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Made It

So I made it. I left my brother in law's auto shop around 3:30. I drove through some freezing rain near La Crosse and hit some fluffy flurries outside of Madison. Right before one of the first Madison exits, traffic came to a stop. All three lanes were stop and go. And when we went, we all only went about 10 - 15 mph. Turns out, the roads were a bit more slippery than perceived. We passed a cop and a two car accident on the right hand shoulder. Most of us went slower after that. Once I got off the interstate and onto the regular roads and highways, it seemed the snow picked up. I drove in second gear from the main highway to my parent's house. At times the snow seemed to be coming right at me. Other times, it went blowing sideways before me. I couldn 't see the road. Thankfully, there were a couple of cars a head of me making a path and when an oncoming car drove by, the path was made even clearer. I got to my folks' house around 8:30. Not bad time for me in good weather. Good thing I left when I did. The weather people here are daying Sunday will be the worst. I might get snowed in! Good thing I brought provisions. My brother and his family will be spending the night here tomorrow night. It's too bad Bob couldn't join me here. It will be like one big family slumber party. I'm just glad I got here when I did.

Leaving Today

It's actually colder right now in Madison that it is here. That is a rare occurance.
I decided to leave today rather than face the sleet and freezing rain tomorrow is supposed to bring. I am leaving work at noon, getting my oil changed at 3, and hitting the open road by 4 all in order to miss the storm. That gives me about 2 hours after I leave work to get home, get packed, clean cat boxes, make sure Bob has enough food to get him through, and get to the oil change. I have been making lists all morning in an on-going effort to not forget anything. Also, it seems as though I am bringing every electronic device known to man for what amount to be an overnight (2 nights really) trip. Cell phone? Check. Ipod? Check. CD Player? Check. Laptop? Check. Camera? Check, Check. Crazy, no?
Bob is a star! We received the national publication for the MDA association in the mail yesterday and he is featured in an article on FSH MD with a photo and everything! I would link to the online version, but the March/April issue isn't posted yet. If you want to see it, Google MDA Quest in March and read the article on FSH MD.
Once I leave work today, our team of 12 will be down to 6. Another guy is leaving at 1, leaving 5. Although one guy has not shown up and may not show up at all and that will leave 4. Good times. Let's see how many people can be gone before our department grinds to a halt. I have CE on Monday and Tuesday so I won't be here to experience the fray, should there be any.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Snow Oh No

I am leaving Saturday morning to drive 250 miles to my former home town. I will be driving back to the Twin Cities on Sunday. This is what the weather people are predicting for weather. The weather people are practically orgasming about the impending doom of the LARGEST STORM OF THE SEAON! Usually I can drive out of these things but the weather people as saying this storm should encompass all the known free world including Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. There is no way around it! In the mean time, I will be driving my little Hyundai to Southern WI for a family gathering that is too important to miss and can’t be recreated at a later date. Crap. At least I will have my new camera, my iPod, and a bunch of books on tape for company. To make matters worse, (or better?) I have CE (continuing ed for those in the know) on Monday and Tuesday in order to keep my insurance license current and my boss happy. If I get stuck in a white out on I-94, I will miss the pearls of wisdom that my CE instructor is offering as well as throw good corporate cash in the pooper. Good times.

I would drive Bob’s van except that I need an oil change and tune up on the Hyundai and my talented mechanic brother in law agreed to take my car in early Saturday morning before I head down the road. Since his shop is on the way, it would not make sense to drive down there in my car, get the oil change and tune up, drive it back to our place to switch, and then drive Bob’s car back the way I just came on my way to WI. Plus, Bob is wonky about me driving the van after last week. I told you about my bottoming out on the speed bump on V-Day but I did NOT tell you about the side scrape the next day, did I? Here is my genius: I was driving the van to an early morning appointment. We agreed to stop at McDon@lds for a little breakfast action. I pulled up to the squawk box, put in our order, and as I pulled ahead, we both heard this horrible scraping noise as the side of our hoopty low rider van scraped the side of the curb. I burst into tears immediately and Bob began comforting and shushing me, encouraging me to pull forward to the first window of the drive through. I paid the guy who thought I must be a crazed wacko, picked up our food from the second window and then parked in a space in the lot and cried. I am a winner. Bob felt like crap because he realized I was scared of him and what he would say, hence the tears of destruction. He allowed me to continue driving to our appointment and nary a scrape or bump or bottom out occurred. I told him I drive his van all the time without him and NEVER have this stuff happen. He agreed that the van is just a tool and that as long as we are OK and it’s still running, he is fine with an occasional bump or scrape. It’s why they call them accidents, after all.

My mom just emailed me and said her weather people are saying 8-12 inches of snow and/or freezing rain. sigh.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New Camera

New Camera
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
I've been meaning to get here and tell the story behind my new favorite possession, but the longer my to-do list gets the further behind I get on my blogging.

I got a new camera. And I LOVE it! I've been saving for a few months and then Bob said I could use half the tax refunds to get it. Once I knew that it was inevitable, I began doing research on which camera to get. At first, I was all about the Nikon D70. It was D70 this, and D70 that and D70 all the time. Then I discovered the Canon EOS XT and I was all about the XT. Until I saw the prices. Then I began to expand my research.

I settled on the Pentax K100D for a couple of reasons, one being price. When I first learned how to use an SLR camera in the 80's, it was on my dad's Pentax K1000. This is probably the camera you used to learn on too. It was the camera that launched a thousand photography students. It was basic, easy to use, and took fabulous pictures. One day my dad gave me his to keep and I fell in love with this camera. Unfortunately, it was stolen from my car in either 1999 or 2000. (My car which was locked and also parked in the driveway!) Thankfully I also had a Minolta SLR to fall back on.

When I went digital in 2003, I never used film again. Like most people, my first (second AND third) digital camera was just a point and shoot model. I liked it and learned to use all the features but it was limited in some aspects. The white balance was off and I could never get it right even with the best of Photoshop. The AF could not be adjusted and photos would often turn out blurry if the camera deemed the AF to be off.

Back to the new digital SLR. In doing research, I found that Pentax came out with a brand new SLR in October and I really wanted that one, the K10D. However, the price was once again in D70 and EOS XT areas. So I talked myself down to the K100D. It features shake reduction, compatible lenses and flashes, manual, programmable, and automatic settings.

Once I knew what I wanted, I had to figure out where to get it. There are a couple of national camera stores, a local camera store, and the big box stores nearby. I started at the local camera store. I chose them because they will accept trades and exchanges for store credit which can be used to purchase new and upgraded equipment. I took my old Minolta and flash in and got $60 in return. Not to shabby for a camera that hasn't been used in about 5 years. However, when I went in to buy, I was given a price that included 2 lenses and the camera body but did not include a case, a memory card, a tripod, cleaning solution, or anything else. I went online and did some shopping and found a place that sold the camera I wanted plus the same two lenses, a memory card, a tripod, a bad, and cleaning solution for almost $250 less.

The store would not and could not match the online price. Still, I had cash on me and told the sales guy as much. I said, "I have $XXX in cash on me right now. What can you do for me?" Turns out, he could not do much for me at all. He told me to check the Sunday paper for President's Day sales and come back and he could match local stores prices and gimmicks. I left knowing I would not buy my camera there even with the $60 in store credit. (I am going to use it to buy a tripod.)

I went to one of the big box stores and found they only carried the Canon and Nikon but they did not have a deal on either. I went to Target and found the same. I went to a national camera chain store and found that they had the camera I wanted. It only came with one lens but because I had cash in hand on my person, they threw in a 1GB memory card for free. Plus, they were helpful and knowledgeable, and answered all my questions. They wanted to sell me an extended warranty thing but because the cash I had on hand would only cover the camera and lens, I said I'd have to come back. They said I had 10 days.

I went home and played with my new camera. Bob said I should get the care plan and gave me the $ to get it the next day. I would have gone to sleep holding my new camera if I could have. However, in the morning, I woke up with a bad case of Buyer's Remorse. I wondered if I had made a huge mistake. I wondered if I should have bowed to the Nikon/Canon pressure instead. I wondered if perhaps I had been too hasty in buying and should have saved longer and waited.

That morning, I went to the camera store to buy my care plan. When I got there, the sales guy from the night before told me there was a $50 rebate on my camera and he had printed out the form and duplicate receipt in case I came back. He also mentioned classes they hold on digital camera usage and offered to sign my up. I picked four and signed up for the next offerings in March. As he rang me up, I chatted with the store manager who told me about features she thought I would like on my new camera. She also told me about a dad who was just in before me buying his 12 year old daughter a Nikon D70 with extra lenses. He also bought his wife a D200 which is the professional model and costs about a million dollars. I have to admit I was insanely jealous of that 12 year old and wife. Still, I don't think that 12 year old will appreciate what she has as much as I appreciate what I have.

So, it's been 5 days and I have to say I really like my camera. Granted, about the only things I've taken pictures of these past 5 days have been my 4 cats and my husband, but's a blast. And I am loving the digital aspect because I'm not wasting a lot of money on film to find out if the settings are working or if the flash went off. If it doesn't turn out? I just delete it.

Now I need to build my photography equipment pool. Next purchase will be a tripod. After that, an auxiliary flash. After that, a telephoto lens. After that, a wide angle or fish eye lens. After that, who knows?

I have loved photography since receiving my first camera in 8th grade. I think I've come a long way since then. I've had lots of cameras and I've had my favorites. What I've learned though is that you can have the crappiest of cameras and still get great pictures as long as you understand light, shadow, framing, and sizing. I had a craptastic freebie camera I got from a magazine subscription and yet some of my best photos came from that camera. The reverse is also true, you can have the best photographic equipment money can buy but if you don't know how to use it or you don't understand the concept of light, shadow, framing, and sizing then your photos aren't going to be all that good. Granted there is Photoshop and online tooling that can help, but you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. Or something like that.

I have received more recognition for my photos these past 6 months than in 20 years of taking photos. And the photos I'm getting attention for were mostly taken with a Fuji Finepix point and shoot. It's all about lighting and framing. I can't wait to see what I can do with my new camera!

Monday, February 12, 2007

More On Yesterday's Issues

I’ve been thinking about the fight with Bob a lot since yesterday.  Obviously we are having problems communicating.  Part of the problem is that Bob continually interrupts me so rather than talk to him about things; I just keep them to myself.  Then Bob gets frustrated and lashes out and I cry and that drives him insane.

Another, more obvious issue is that we are completely different.  Other than him being male and me being female, we don’t think alike and we don’t see things the same way.  For instance, Bob is an all or nothing guy.  He is the definition of black and white thinking while I am more laid back and can see more than just 2 sides to something.  I am more ready to give someone the benefit of the doubt while Bob is quick with the fast judgment. 

Bob is also more apt to see the dark side, the glass is half empty, and the end is near kind of guy whereas I am more positive and see the glass as half full and the silver lining in the dark cloud.

Bob shared that part of the reason he is so gung-ho about saving and making sure we have money saved is because he is convinced he is going to die before I do and he wants to leave me with enough to live on and to get us out of debt before that happens.  However, he also shared that he is afraid that he will die soon and if he does, he doesn’t think I will be able to make it on my own financially.  That was a little hurtful and demeaning to me but not without truth.  However, because of his doom and gloom focus, it is hard to convince him it will ever be otherwise.

Another problem is that Bob is VERY easily distracted.  That is part of the reason that when he gets a bee in his bonnet and wants to do something, he has to do it NOW, especially if it’s an important, non-fun task.  However, I am NOT that way and am in fact very task oriented.  So if I am at work on something or doing something else, it is hard to get me to focus on something else.  However, if this something is on my list of tasks to complete, I will happily do it as I get to it.  This does not just frustrate Bob, oh no, this has implications at work as well.  Although I am learning to adjust at work, I am just not naturally able to move from one task to another until I’ve finished with the first thing. There is a reason for the cliché that opposites attract.  It’s funny because it’s true.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I Don't Know What Happened

The morning started off well. As well as it could with us skipping church again. Maybe it's my fault. Instead of waking Bob up to go to church, I think he would get up if he really wants to go. If it were really a priority, he would get up in time to go. So I don't even attempt waking him.

Instead, I got dinner ready. I rubbed Chinese 5 spice powder on some pork chops. Then, in the crockpot I pot the following; a can of chicken stock, 3/4 cup of dark soy sauce, 2 tblsp dark sesame oil, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 4 cloves of garlic crushed, half an onion sliced, 2 inches of fresh ginger sliced thinly, and a container of mushrooms. I stirred it all and then added the porkchops. I cooked it on low for several hours. I served it with oriental noodles and baked egg rolls.

I also spent a lot of time in prayer this morning. I am back on track in getting to know God. I spent a lot of time reading the Bible and praying. Much of my time in prayer was spent praying for Bob. I prayed for his healing, for him to find his calling, and for our relationship. I wanted to reconcile with God AND with Bob.

Yet my good morning was completely ruined and I don't know how it happened. Bob woke up and started talking to me about money. I think that's what did it. We are getting everything in order. We are making it work and yet we really have trouble communicating about it. We have trouble finding time to sit down together to talk about it. We have trouble communicating our needs, desires, wants, and hopes about it.

I got paid on Friday and normally we sit down Thursday night and do bills together online. But now we have this financial class on Thursday nights and we don't get home until almost 9:30. Well, I'm already wiped out from a long day of work and then this class. Bob wanted to do bills and I just wanted to go to bed. On Friday, I came home and Bob was in bed. By the time he got up to go to the store, I was heavily invested in reading The Husband. So we put it off again. Saturday our DSL was out until about 1:30. Bob had to go to the store and I was watching Lost when he decided to do bills.

When we started talking about this, I said that it's hard for me to just stop what I'm doing to do what it is Bob wants me to do. I can't just do what he wants the minute he wants to do it. I said it's like when he asks for sex, he wants me to just be in the mood the minute he wants it. I'm not like that. Then he says to me, "Yeah and you'll notice I haven't asked you for that recently either." Which made me cry.

The fight escaladed from there. It was the worst fight we've ever had. At one point, Bob threatened to leave me for a week. I don't know how it happened. I had spent the morning praying for him and feeling closer to him than I had in a long, long time. Yet here we were tearing each other apart and fighting like cats and dogs.

We worked it out yet we are both scared. We admitted we need help and we will probably be seeking some professional help. Yet it's scary. How can something so seeminly strong unravel so quickly? How can I love someone so much and dislike them so much at the same time? How can I be working so hard at something and still feel like it's getting me nowhere?

Man, this marriage thing is hard.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Checking Back

I'm not sure why Maisey looks so frightened in this photo but it cracks me up. She looks craaaaazay!

So I'm over pouting about getting my period again. It was a set back but I am determined to keep trying and not give up hope.

I emailed the photos the magazine art director requested plus a few more. It can't hurt to be bold and send a few more can it? All they can do is say no and not use them. I don't know what issue they will be in, but I can't wait to see it. The next issue that comes out will feature Bob's story in the main article. That issue should be arriving at any time.

Bob and I are going to share our stories at a meeting of TGIFridays managers on Thursday morning along with other MDA families, staff people, and sufferers. TGIFridays is partnering with MDA to sell shamrocks as a fundraiser. If all goes well, it can become a regular thing AND could go national instead of just state-wide. This is very exciting and we can't wait to be a part of it.

Today has been a good day for me. I got up and finished touching up and resizing the MDA photos. I uploaded some new music to my ipod. I talked to my mom on the phone for over an hour and while I did that, I cleaned the kitchen and cat boxes. Then it was time to catch up on my TV shows. I made enchilladas for dinner and vacuumed the crap off the carpets.

Today was not so good a day for Bob. The DSL was out so he couldn't do his business. When he went to work, someone had parked in front of the wheelchair cut out so he couldn't get in. He tried to find the culprit but no one would own up to it so he huffed home. When he came in, he tracked dirt and oil into the apartment and onto the carpet. They called him when the car was moved so he went back to work. Once there he had a couple of difficult customers and the car wash was broken. We had a heatwave of 15 today so people were actually out getting their cars washed and were mad about the broken wash. All that, and it was bill paying day.

Bill paying did not go as expected. We had quite a few to pay and though we had the money to pay them, we didn't have as much to put into savings which is Bob's goal in life. However, we did get our state tax refund so we did use part of that to put back into savings, so that was good.

You know sometimes I feel like I am putting my life on hold until we have children and other times I feel like no matter how well we live, it just won't be as good until we have children. Children are at the center of my longings and I can't imagine a future without them. To think of going forward in life celebrating anniversaries, holidays, and birthdays without children, well it just feels so empty and void. We are still gathering information on adopting and that would be just fine too. Just as long as children are somehow brought into our family and future, that will be fine. This has nothing to do with anything I have written above, it's just what I am feeling right now.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Learning the Lesson the Hard Way

I just will not learn.  How is it possible to be absolutely, positively certain about something and still be so completely wrong and off the mark? 

I was positive I was pregnant.  I was positive that when Bob and I, um, had relations last month that the end result would be a pregnancy.  I just knew it.  I was positive.  My period was due on Sunday.  It didn’t show.  It didn’t show on Monday or Tuesday either.  Last night I dreamt about taking pregnancy tests.  I even allowed myself to do the unthinkable, hope and dream.  I thought that the brown discharge last week was a sign of implantation.  I thought the mildly sore boobs were a sign of pregnancy.  I thought my instant, absolute weariness around 2pm was a sign of pregnancy.  I thought that my sudden irritability and emotional outbursts was a sign of pregnancy.

I imagined telling Bob about it on Valentine’s Day.  I imagined telling my mother at our visit next month.  I imagined telling all the friends who have been praying for years and years.  I imagined being pregnant.  I imagined going to the doctor and telling my boss and even thought of what kind of arrangements we would have to make in cleaning the kitty litter.

It turns out that all of this was all for naught.  My period made its appearance today.  You would think I would have learned by now.  I don’t know why I thought this time would be any different.  I don’t know why I was so positive that our bodies would have finally produced a pregnancy.  After 5 years of trying and failing.  After 5 years of hoping and praying. After 5 years of dying a little each and every month.  You would think I would have learned better by now.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

He Didn't Hit Delete! He Didn't Hit Delete!

Um, remember how in yesterday’s entry I was trying not too hope too much that the art director from the national MDA magazine would contact me about the photos I took from the Winter Wine Down?  Well, either my not hoping too much worked or…well, I don’t know what else to say here because I am too excited.  The art director emailed me directly to ask for my permission to use my photos from the Wine Down AND he wanted to know how he could get permission to use future photos for future publications!  Isn’t that a nice surprise on a cold winter day?  I was going to use my half of the tax return money to get a Dyson but I think I will use it to FINALLY get a digital SLR and see how I can improve on my photography.  I am so excited!  I know it’s not Time or Life or National Geographic, but it’s a national publication that thousands of people read each and every month.  In fact, the photos accompanying Bob’s story in March were also taken by me. Actually one was taken by me, the other was taken OF me and Bob with my camera.  Anyway, it’s a start and it’s a step down the road of becoming someone who is paid to do what they love.

Monday, February 05, 2007

All Kinds of Good Things

So it’s still cold here. But it looks like a heat wave is building and we will have highs in the teens later this week! I can’t wait. When I left the house the morning, the actual air temperature not counting wind chill was -16 degrees. If you don’t know what that kind of cold feels like, well I guess you don’t live in a cold climate.

It seems like the weather was the topic du jour all weekend. A lot of the bloggers who write from the southern states were saying how cold it was there and if you are used to highs in the 50’s and 60’s then I guess it could be considered cold. However, I beg to differ and don’t think you know from cold. It was so cold here this weekend that you could actually and literally throw boiling water into the air and have it turn to snow as it fell. THAT is cold.

The weekend was good but holy moly it went by quickly. Friday night I ran errands and picked up dinner from Cousins Subs. We have lived where we live for almost 5 years. It is about a half mile from this particular sub shop and yet Friday night was the first time I have patronized it. I can tell you that it won’t be the last. The guy at the counter was friendly, funny, and engaging. The bread was fresh, the ingredients tasty and PACKED onto the sandwich. Bob really liked it, so it won the “Bob” test. I don’t know why we haven’t been there before, but it will be a regular part of our “sandwich” night from now on.

Saturday was packed with stuff. I meant to get up around 8 but my bladder woke me at 6:30 and my brain would not shut up. So I got up and made cowboy stew and monkey bread. The stew was for me and Bob, the monkey bread for my friend Lisa’s birthday breakfast brunch. (Quick aside and basic cowboy stew recipe: brown 1 to 2 lbs ground beef with some onion and garlic. While that’s browning combine the following in your slow cooker; 1 can rotel tomatoes, 1 can black beans with lime and cilantro, 1 can Mexican kidney beans, 2 cans crushed tomatoes, 1 can corn drained, 1 can green chilis, 1 packet of taco seasoning, 1 packet of ranch dressing seasoning. Once hamburger is browned, drain and add to slow cooker. Cook on low until all ingredients are mixed and heated thoroughly. This is a hearty meal that we usually eat with taco chips and garnished with cheddar cheese and sour cream.) I left the apartment at almost 10am and the temperature thing-y on our van said the outdoor air temp was -12 degrees. Brunch was fun. I don’t get to see these particular women very often but when we do get together we yak and yak and laugh. This time we met at one woman’s house and each of us brought a dish to pass. I brought the monkey bread, someone else brought cheesy potatoes, someone else brought an egg bake, etc. The food was delicious. After we ate, we talked and caught up. We half-heartedly joked about joining forces and resources and opening our own coffee/tea shop. I could totally see this happening except the 6 of us are all so different that it might be quite the challenge personality-wise. Anyway, we finished our time together with prayer and encouragement. had enough time to run to the store, get home, eat lunch (breakfast had long settled), and shower for the next event. We were going to go to Stillwater for the MDA Winter Wine Down. We stopped on the way to pick up our friends and then made the trek east for fun. And fun was had by all. It was a great event and one that has possibly outgrown its home at the Water Street Inn. The place was packed with people sampling wine and great food. There was live music and dancing. There was a silent and live auction. There was wine. There was a “heads or tails” game played for a trip. There was wine. And while it was frigid outside, the Inn was warm and cozy, maybe because of all that wine.

I played the wine pull. For $10 you choose a bottle of wine from hundreds cloaked in brown paper bags. They range in price, type, size, and quality. I pulled three and ended up with 2 chardonnays and a blush reminiscent of a white zin. One of the chardonnays I got is called Fat Bastard and I can’t wait to try it. The blush came from a local vineyard. I tried it at the tasting table and really liked it. I pondered buying a bottle from the distributor who was there and while I thought about it, I went to the wine pull and pulled that very bottle. Score! We had a great time, met some great people, ate, drank, danced, and left warm and happy. The frigid cold woke us up and conversation flowed as I drove us home. I tell you again, the local MDA is an amazing organization that takes such good care of the people who need them most. We love their events, we love their staff, and we love anything affiliated with MDA.
We got home around 10:30 and Bob decided he was so excited about MDA that he would go to the bar across the street to try and drum up donations for the Stride and Ride fundraiser. (Keep in mind this event does not happen until June.) I found out the next day that he met a guy who plays in the Steve Miller Band. They hit it off and talked for over an hour. The guy gave him his wife’s new CD and he gave Bob his phone number. Bob meets the most amazing people and becomes friends with everyone. He is amazing.

Sunday I didn’t go outside at all. I cleaned, I made dinner, I got our tax stuff ready, and I sat in front of the TV and vegged. Oh, but I didn’t watch the Super Bowl at all. I didn’t miss it, but I am bummed that I missed Prince’s half time show. I didn’t remember under after the third quarter had ended.

Today dawned cold and blustery but still brought good things. Bob had physical therapy and dropped off our tax stuff. I found out that the monthly Muscular Dystrophy magazine’s March issue will feature Bob’s story and a photo! I also had the author of that story contact me to tell me she passed my name and Flickr site to their art director and will keep me in mind for photos should the need arise! I don’t allow myself to get too excited about this because it could amount to nothing, but still…to have someone in magazine publishing say that my photos are good and to pass my link along to their art department, well that’s just a boost a girl can learn to love. Granted the art department guy could just hit delete and never think of me again, but I hope he won’t.

Friday, February 02, 2007

My Boogers Are Frozen

Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.

Today was Amy’s Pet Peeve day.

Pet Peeve #1: Once again, while the only one in the bathroom, the next person in sat down in the adjoining stall and proceeded to poo and it stank. Gack!
Pet Peeve #2: AGAIN! I was in the elevator, the elevator got to my floor and as soon as the doors opened, I tried to exit only to be stopped by a VERY IMPORTANT man in a hurry trying to get on the elevator. Elevator etiquette dictates, offs first, ons second.
Pet Peeve #3: While driving over my lunch hour I was going 55 miles an hour in the right hand lane. There was no one behind me. Yet a big black SUV turns right directly in front of me and stays in front of me. I had to slam on my brakes and then merge into the left lane in order to avoid an accident. Why do people do this? If you’re going to pull out in front of me, at least have the courtesy to speed over to the empty lane.
Pet Peeve #4: (See accompanying photo.) The weather. I hate it when the highs for the day are projected to be BELOW zero.

In accordance to doctor’s orders, I had to go in to the doctor’s office to give blood for the annual physical. Because my actual physical was scheduled for 6:30 at night, they didn’t want me fasting all day before giving blood. Instead, they scheduled me for 11:30 this morning. I thought I would keel over from hunger before this. The doctor told me no eating OR drinking. When I got to the lab, they had a hard time finding a vein. They finally used a butterfly needle in my hand and even then, things were slow moving. Now I have a huge lump on my hand where the needle mark is. The lab tech told me I COULD drink water and in fact, they would prefer it because it plumps the veins. D’oh! Now they tell me. I don’t really have a problem giving blood but I do have a problem with them poking me half a dozen times in order to find a good spot. I am NOT a pincushion.

The weather might be cold, but the weekend is HOT! Tomorrow morning I am gathering with my beeotches for some brunch. I am bringing the monkey bread. I am coming home, coloring my hair, and then Bob and I are picking up two of our friends and we are headed to Stillwater for the MDA annual Winter Wine Down. This is an awesome event. There will be dozens of wine to taste, great food, fun games, a silent auction, and a mystery wine pull. We always have fun at this thing and end up meeting the coolest people. Pictures will be forthcoming, of course. If it was any other event, I wouldn’t even both to venture out. But for this, I will brave the frigid temps.

Tonight is not as hot. Tonight is all about tax preparation. We have a guy, but he doesn’t take all our receipts and stuff. I have to tally everything and write it down and then we give him the W2s and charitable giving stuff plus the stuff I went through and added up. Thankfully, I should get through it all tonight and have it ready for our tax guy on Monday. I know. I party too hard. (I didn’t even know Sunday was Superbowl Sunday until yesterday!)

I am desperately sad over an issue that cropped up on the local news this week. You can read about it here. The adoption agency in question is one Bob and I supported physically, financially, and emotionally for years until about this time last year. We knew the woman who ran it as well as several of her staff. We know several families who have built their families through this agency. We hoped and planned for a day when we too could use the services of this agency. Then, last year we found out some things about the founder’s personal life that kind of hit us wrong. We were surprised and hurt at the time but still felt that helping the orphans was a good thing to do so we kept our donations coming for about a month. After that, we felt convicted that our money was not being handled with the utmost of character and care so we began donating to another local agency that helps women and orphans. We didn’t hear anything from the former agency until summer when we got the desperate fundraising letter the article speaks of. We did not send more money. Now our hearts are breaking. Breaking for the families caught in the middle of this crisis. Breaking for an agency and the founder we looked so fondly on. Breaking for the children in several countries who may or may not be getting the quality of care they were getting. The children who may or may not be in the process of getting placed with new families. The children who may or may not have had their hopes and dreams crushed by this situation. Yet we thank our lucky stars that we weren’t in the middle of an adoption at this particular agency. This news comes at a kind of a serendipitous time. Tuesday night we are scheduled to attend the adoption info meeting at Children’s Home Society. You can bet we will be going into that with eyes wide open and will ask pointed questions. I can’t imagine the horror these families are going through. A process that is already fraught with anxiety, hope, fear, impatience, and little control has been made worse by the very people that should have been there to make it better. My heart breaks.