Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sometimes Life's Not Fair: Part 2

Big Joel is here today.
Those are sea turtles in the surf in case you couldn't tell.

I am here today.
Those are cow patties in the pasture in case you couldn't tell.


**double sigh**

Monday, February 23, 2009

She's Gifted, Alright...

In the car, just Hallie and me--
Hallie: Did you know that the sun is brighter or not as bright depending on how full the moon is?
Me: No, I don't believe I was aware of that?
Hallie: Well, its not a scientifical fact, but that's what I've observed. Sometimes I can look directly at the sun and it doesn't hurt my eyes, and other times I can't look directly at the sun. I know its not good to look at the sun all the time, its just that sometimes when I'm on the playground I can't help myself...blah, blah, blah, gab, gab, gab, talk, talk, talk...
(Ok so she didn't really say "blah, gab, talk, " but that's what it began to sound like after 10 non-stop minutes.)
Me: Hallie, you sure talk an awful lot!
Hallie: (and I quote) Mom, my voice is my gift!

Some posts just write themselves...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekly Pic--Supporting the "Arts"

This pic goes all the way back to 2003. Elizabeth and I were in Boston having a wonderful time when we saw this giant "lobster" carrying a black purse with martini glasses printed on it and trimmed in bright red feathers. For a small "donation to the arts", he posed for a picture with us. (I'm pretty sure he was the cause we were donating to, not some official league of Boston artists, but you gotta admit that it was worth it!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

On a (Blog) Roll

At first I thought this was going to be a random rambling post, but my thoughts do have a common thread afterall. So I'll save the random card for another day, because no doubt I'll need it.
I received my first bloggy award today from Brittany at Sweet Nothings! I'm so honored. It is an attitude and gratitude award. (I'm glad Brittany wasn't a fly on the wall in my house today, but now I have a standard to keep.) So now, I get to pass the on the award. I've chosen 3 people I know in real life that are oh-so-precious to me:
1. Ms. Cheryl @ Mama Cheryl's Thoughts
HannahKate has started her own blog at Shakespeare&&Me. (I have no idea why there are 2 &&s. She just says she likes it that way.) First let me say, that I'm impressed she's taken on such a lofty goal of beginning every post with a quote from the bard himself. I had no idea she was such a fan. Secondly, she never ceases to amaze minute she's a giggly/whiny teenager and the next she's a wise sage dispensing gems of insight far beyond her 13 years. But she still needs to work on her spelling =)
I'm so glad my friend Johanna has re-joined the blog world. She has such an interesting way of looking at shows in her humor and insight as well as her beautiful photographs.
As if I don't already waste, I mean, invest enough time blogging, I started another one! Its called QuirkyBee Designs and is dedicated to my jewelry. I really just wanted a place to refer people who might be interested in my work or considering placing an order. The guidelines make it difficult to post custom pieces in my Etsy store, so this blog will give me a little more freedom to showcase my "portfolio".

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekly Pic--Sunset Silhouette

This is HannahKate on the beach in Pacasmayo, Peru in 2006. I believe I've shared another one before, but I love this one as well. You can never have too many pics of beautiful sunsets on the beach...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Baking with a Buddy

Our children's ministry has an annual event called "Baking with a Buddy". The idea is for kids to con, er, I mean, invite their father, grandfather or other significant adult to bake a cake and then decorate it together. The actual baking is done at home, but the decorating is done at the church. Hallie loves this event and pestered Joel for days in anticipation. You know, the world wide web is a wonderful thing because you have the expertise of ultra-creative people at your fingertips. So yay for Al Gore...or whoever it was that really invented the internet.

Big Joel and Hallie eagerly awaiting the starting whistle with all the ingredients at the ready. Notice the cake--a strawberry bundt cake with a few "bites" missing. They say it was because they dumped the pan too early and it humm *wink, wink*.

The work begins. They cut the bundt cake into 3 pieces and start frosting. Can you guess what it is?
(Notice Hallie "testing" the icing.)
Two gumdrop heart eyes and a tic-tac mouth...

Purple gumdrop feet and pretzel antennae...

It's a Love Bug! I do have to give them credit. The original idea online was a caterpillar, but they took the concept and made it their own to create a Valentine's Day masterpiece. They won the title of "Most Creative".

And unlike last year's red velvet fiasco, this one actually tasted great, too! I'm so proud of Hallie and her "Buddy".

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekly Pic--A Bridge to Somewhere

On our last trip to Pennsylvania, BigJoel surprised me with a self-guided driving tour of covered bridges. It was so fun driving around the Amish countryside in mid-October. We had a great time.

I chose the title for this picture because my youngest daughter loves to impersonate Sarah Palin by saying, in her very best Alaskan accent, "Gosh darnit! If we wanted a Bridge to Nowhere, we'd build it ourselves!" Even now, you can't mention the words bridge, Alaska, or Sarah Palin without her breaking into an impression of the former vice-presidential canditate. Let me just say that Tina Fey's got nothing on Hallie (except maybe the glasses).

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Little Blue Men in My Head

Ok, you're gonna have to track with me here, but hopefully it will all make sense in the end.

Yesterday, was my appointment with the ear, nose & throat doctor to see if he could shed any light on the cause of my dizziness and double vision. First they tested my hearing, which appears to be intact. Next the doctor questioned me, quite thoroughly, about my symptoms. He seemed to really listen to me and he even took notes. Then he prescribed a very low dose of Valium because it is suppposed to help combat dizziness and he ordered an MRI.

We were able to go immediately to the imaging center. I realize that thousands of people get MRIs every day, but as I've mentioned before, I've always been blessed with good health and therfore don't have a lot of experience with these types of tests.

So I go in and the nice man in blue scubs tells me to have a seat on the table. He then proceeds to explain that the test is really very simple, but that its very loud. He instructs me on inserting spongey earplugs in my ears. Then he continues to explain things to me, but I really couldn't hear very well (because he'd done such a good job teaching me how to put in the earplugs). He did mention several times that it would be LOUD.

I laid down and he inserted an IV. Not a pleasant experience due to the small, rolling, collapsing veins that I inherited from my mother. Next he clamped the metal cage-thingy over my head and tightened down the screws. I felt a little like Hannibal Lector, or maybe Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie The Man in the Iron Mask. He warned me again that it was going to be LOUD.

I had no idea what he meant by that, but I think I assumed it would be like a jet engine roar or maybe even a freight train. But if you've ever had an MRI, then you know that LOUD refers to repeated banging and thumping noises for 30-45 minutes. With an emphasis on repeated, banging, thumping and 30-45 minutes. At one point, the thumping had a pretty catchy rhythm that reminded me of the two times I've gone to see The Blue Man Group. So from then on, I just closed my eyes and imagined I was in Boston or Chicago at a Blue Man show. This is what was going on inside my head:

I realize that 3 minutes is a long time to watch some freaks pounding on PVC, but you kinda get the idea now of how I spent 45 minutes of my time yesterday.

And then that reminded me of the song Destroyer by the Kinks. The abridged version goes a little like this:
Dr. Dr. help me please, I know you'll understand...
There's a red, under my bed
And there's a little green man in my head
And he said, you're not goin' crazy, you're just a bit sad

I'm not really sure what a "red" under my bed is...probably some sort of drug reference... like maybe say...valium? And the men in my head were blue, not green, but overall the doctor told me that I'm not going crazy...or deaf or blind. He said I have Bell's Palsy...which is what we already knew. But he said its just going to take while to fully recover.

He sent me to an eye doctor today who did lots of "fun" tests (read: extremely painful drops and excruciating bright lights). And guess what? She said the same thing. "You have Bell's Palsy and its just going to take a while to recover."

So I'm relieved that there are no masses in my head or permanent injury to my eye. Now I just have to wait. Well, at least I have valium...

Even if it doesn't STOP the spinning, maybe it will take the edge off so that I don't mind the spinning quite as much. That should make the little blue men in my head happy.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just Bee-cause...

Welcome SITS-tahs! I'm so excited you're here! Don't you just love Heather and Tiffany?! I've met some of the. nicest. people. thanks to them. I can't say enough about how much I appreciate all their hard work and what a blessing SITS has been to me.


So you may be wondering, "what's with the bees?" When I was in college, my dad gave me a book by Mamie McCullough called "I Can, You Can Too". Looking back on it now, it seems corny, but at the time it changed my life. Ms. McCullough is an inspirational speaker that was affiliated with Zig Ziglar, the motivation mogul. The book is rife with clever quips about "stinkin' thinkin'" and your "hopeometer". Chapter 1 opens with the story of the bumblebee:

"Scientists have proven that it is aerodynamically impossible for the bumblebee to fly. Its body is too heavy, and its wings are too light. You've probably read about this phenomenon before. However, the bumblebee doesn't read--it just flies!"

I was fascinated by this. Now of course, there are spoilsports out there who refute this illustration saying that it is, obviously, possible for bumblebees to fly. Therefore, why would anyone say they couldn't? Especially a trained scientist in the field of aerodynamics. (These are probably the same people who delight in informing small children that it is logistically impossible for Santa to visit every household in the world on Christmas Eve.) Talk about your "stinkin' thinkin'"--Sheesh! They are missing the point, which is that the bumblebee doesn't focus on the negatives and is therefore able to accomplish things that might otherwise seem impossible.

I like this line of thinking. So that is why I used the bumblebee legend in my classroom to motivate students. That is why I named my jewelry business QuirkyBee Designs. And that is why my blog is entitled "To Bee or Not To Bee". Because in each of those areas, one must focus on the positive if they are to take flight and be successful--whether its a kindergarten student learning to read; someone with no training or artistic background creating jewelry; or a somewhat shy, very guarded person posting rambling literary rants for all the cyber-world to read.

I also like honeybees. Did you know that after a female honeybee stings something, she dies? Part of her is left behind. She is passive, unless provoked and then she is willing to sacrifice her life. That reminds me of Jesus. He gave His life to redeem us from our sin, left part of himself with us (the Holy Spirit) and replaced the sting of death with eternal life for those who believe.

And neither the honeybee, nor Jesus can be refuted by the party-pooper skeptics.

"As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced..."
2 Corinthians 11:10 (ESV)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mystery Diagnosis

Question: What do you get when you cross insomnia with amnesia?
Answer: A person who can't remember if they've slept! {bah-dah-bump}

Ok, its not as funny now as it was at 3:00 a.m. this morning.
I'd been trying to remember the word insomnia all day yesterday, but the only words that would come to mind were amnesia and omniscience. I finally had to Google it (at 3:00 a.m.) because it was driving me crazy.
How ironic is that the the word I couldn't forget was amnesia?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And the Plot Thickens...

I had hoped that I would be able to retire the recurring theme of "I'm donating my body to science", but alas, another chapter is now unfolding. I finished the last of my medication one week ago. I am soooo happy to be off of all antivirals, antibiotics and steroids now! I may have mentioned that the cure for my bout with Bell's palsy and shingles has been almost as bad, no, let me re-phrase, much worse than the original symptoms. Even the excruciating pain from my wickedly swollen earlobe pales in comparison to the side effects I've suffered at the hands of prednisone. So I did a little happy dance last Tuesday when I took the last pill.

On Wednesday, I began experiencing some dizziness. I assumed it was from coming off the medication. However, on Thursday it continued to worsen to the point that I felt like a pinball every time I tried to walk, bumping off walls and furniture. You know the old Carole King song, "I feel the earth. move. under my feet. I feel the sky. come. tumbling down. tum-ble-ing down."? Well, that's me.

On Friday, BigJoel had to go to Canada so my precious mother-in-law came and got the girls for school because we knew that if I couldn't even walk a straight line, I shouldn't be driving a motor vehicle. My sweet friend Johanna took me to the doctor. (I felt like a MeMaw having to be driven to my appointments, but at least I don't have silver-blue hair yet. )

I love my family doctor, but at this point, I think I've progressed beyond the realm of her expertise. She referred me to an ear, nose and throat specialist because, and I quote, "the rocks in your ear are out of whack". So I have an appointment later this week to see if I can get the rocks in my head to behave themselves.

It is different from the vertigo I experienced a year ago where sudden movement would bring on a tornadic spinning sensation followed by severe nausea. The spinning is constant. It doesn't seem to be related to my position. And my eyes are not cooperating with each other. They cannot agree about what to focus on. BUT, I am not at least "I've got that going for me." (Reference: Bill Murray, Caddyshack. Its not the Dali Llama, but I'll take what I can get.)

So I'm trying to be patient. But patience does not inspire funny blog posts. I refuse to give in to the darkness and depression that is slowly encroaching. I will continue to do my best to keep my crazy to myself, but I hope you'll forgive an occasional pity party.

Your prayers are appreciated.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekly Pic--She's An American Girl

Hallie & Friends Celebrating Her 9th Birthday at the American Girl Boutique & Bistro in Dallas

Since my birthday tribute to Hallie was pretty lame, you should go over to Elizabeth's blog. Hallie and Dilbert have a special friendship because Elizabeth really appreciates Hallie's "unique" personality.