Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thoroughly Enjoyed "Old Man River"

Hi, all! Hope your holiday weekend was enjoyable and relaxing!

Tom & I got back from our Rifle River trip late Monday afternoon. We had an absolutely wonderful time with 3 other couples, and were extremely grateful for the time away from our jobs.

I had planned on going in to work today, but discovered when I awoke this morning that the laundry and housecleaning fairy had run off with a Keebler elf (the fickle wench), so I really felt obligated to stay home and get chores done. Of course, being a person with a strong conviction about priorities, I just HAD to tackle the first chore (which really isn't a chore) on my list which was to read all your blogs and update mine. LOL

Below are some pics from our trip. I'll post several and let them speak for themselves. Have a great day, everyone!  :-)
Several of us admiring the beauty of the Rifle River. I'm on the left.

During "Lumberjack Weekend," the guys made this log bridge 10' above a creek. It was scary to cross, but solid enough.

To cross this wide, but shallow creek, I had to straddle 2 logs and walk across them. I'm not exactly the graceful type, so the fact that I successfully made it across the creek twice in one weekend without falling in was amazing.

Tom captured some early morning fog on the river bank in this gorgeous photo.

The next morning, Tom was sitting on a bench high above the river when he spotted this doe on the opposite bank.

With no electricity or water on the property, this is how we po' folks had to wash our hair. By the time I got out of the river, my toes were so cold I couldn't feel them anymore. LOL Notice the large bottle of shampoo in my pocket.

By Sunday, it had warmed up nicely and we were able to take a few tube rides down the river. I'm the tuber in the middle here.

The neighbor next to our friends' property also owns acreage on the river, and he has a TON of animals including two horses. This one is my favorite horse (not sure what his or her name is), and I got him to pose for me, and let me pet him, over the weekend. (I love horses.)

How many adults does it take to rescue a lost oar in a creek, and also to convince the snapping turtle in said creek to come up on shore for a visit? I'm not sure, but in this photo, 4 people (including Tom in the foreground) decided to give it a go. Oh, and the turtle chose NOT to visit with us, which was probably best for all involved.

My Italian husband doing what he does best--cooking!

Look how high the ferns are, mom! (Great place for kids to play Hide and Seek.Haven't found any Poison Ivy yet, thankfully.)

I really like this picture of Tom.  Peek a boo!

Amongst the ferns, we discovered this old outhouse and though it was really neat-looking.

On that note, I think I'll post this blog for now and add more photos from our trip later this afternoon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

River Camping This Weekend

Whew! I just finished reading all the blog updates my blog buddies had written over the past week. It's been about that long since I've had time to sit here, relax, read, and post anything. Life never seems to slow down at our house. I was telling my hubby tonight that I almost feel guilty for sitting here reading because I just KNOW I should be doing something else--working from home, emptying the cat litter box, running errands, etc. However, when nothing came to mind (although I did attend choir practice tonight), I was thankful for some down time (finally).

I have the TV on in the background right now and it's on The Weather Channel as it has been in the evenings throughout most of this week. The sheer number and strength of the tornadoes that have affected our country so greatly this spring have just blown my mind, and my heart aches for those people who have lost loved ones, homes, life's treasures, etc. Most of Michigan's severe weather occurs in June, and I'm hoping and praying that the number of tornadoes we receive will be few.

Hubby & I are truly looking forward to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend! He has Thu. & Fri. off work this week, and I have Fri. off. The plan is for us to leave Friday morning to spend a long weekend in the woods along a river about 2 hours north of our house. We'll be camping on our friend's property (they own 20 acres) along the Rifle River near Standish, MI, and quite a few of the couples we affectionately refer to as "the river gang" will be camping with us. They are all our age, our kids attended the same schools, and they're a blast. And we even get to stay in a really nice travel trailer that's on the property because the couple that owns it can't make the trip this weekend!

Tom and I are SO geeked about finally having some time off work where we can be with each other in a quiet, wooded area with nature all around us. And we're bringing our camera, so I hope to get some cool pictures to show you guys! Oh yes...and the interesting thing about camping on this property is that other than a few travel trailers, it houses nothing more than ONE porta-potty. No electricity, no running water (unless you count the river), no nothing. LOL And since the river is like ICE cubes this time of year, we can't bathe and wash our hair in it like we might on a sweltering, humid weekend in July. My guess is that by the time Monday rolls along, my hair will look like someone spilled a can of 10W30 motor oil on it! (And no...I won't be taking pictures of THAT.)

With all the laundry and packing we have to do before Friday, I doubt I'll get back to blogging before the weekend, so here's wishing everyone a very safe and blessed Memorial Weekend. And thank you to those service men and women who gave of themselves in order for our wonderful country to be safe and FREE.  :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

LOST: Blue Skies and Sunshine. If Found, Please Return to Michigan ASAP!

In spite of all the COLD, NASTY, RAINY weather we've had the past 5 days, my tulips in the front flower garden are doing quite well, and I'm rather impressed with them. Left is a large, yellow tulip that has to be at least 2' tall. It stands way taller than the others around it. It was practically BEGGING me to take its picture, so of course, I obliged.

I've been having some issues with dizziness and high blood pressure this week, so I decided to stop in to my doc's office yesterday to see what she thought. Turns out the dizziness was caused by allergies--a very congested sinus cavity on the left side of my face, and a eustation tube filled with fluid in my right ear. The doc gave me an Rx for some steroidal nasal spray that will hopefully help. As far as the elevated BP goes, it was definitely too high, so the doc switched my BP meds to include a diuretic that's supposed to decrease the amount of fluid in my body. Boy Joe Howdy, is that ever fun to deal with!  NOT!  We only have 1 set of restrooms in our church, and they are located at the opposite end of the building from my office. The good news is that I'm getting lots of extra exercise now; the bad news is that at this rate, the church budget will have to be increased to cover the extra amount of hand soap and paper hand towels I'm using!

Work has been unusually busy this week. Between the phone ringing off the hook, and the frequent visitors and church people who have stopped by needing stuff, Pastor & I are about to lose our minds as we're having difficulty getting this week's work done. I wonder how much trouble I'd get into if I removed the "Church Office" sign from my door and replaced it with the one on the left--permanently.  LOL

I was supposed to be working on my "Book of Joshua" Bible study homework this evening in preparation for tomorrow night's group Bible study at our Pastor's house. However, I got so busy reading and commenting on all your interesting blogs, as well as updating my own, that here I sit at 11:16 p.m. and it's bedtime for me. I hope you guys don't mind my using the "my friends' blogs were so interesting that I couldn't get my homework finished" excuse for tomorrow night. Oh, and if our pastor happens to call or email any of you in an attempt to confirm my story, just tell him that you've never heard of me.  :-)

Tonight's choir practice went pretty well. Our Choir Director, who is our pastor's wife, spent a good two minutes very patiently teaching our group what a certain musical mark meant. Five minutes later as we were supposed to start singing the piece, most of the choir gave her a blank stare and asked, "What does that musical notation mean and how are we supposed to sing this part?" ROFL  She again, very patiently, explained the musical mark to us, and was even kind enough to omit the words, "You bunch of ding-dongs" at the end of her explanation. I swear, that woman has the patience of a saint!

Well, I hear my bed calling my name from the 2nd floor, so I better get to snoozing. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Saturday Surprise

My goodness, the week has flown by so quickly that it's already Saturday night and I haven't posted anything in days. I'm slipping! Then again, it sounds like Blogspot was down for a day for maintenance, so maybe I'm not as behind as I thought I was.

The big news is that the Detroit Red Wings lost (barely) Game 7 of their play-off round, and so Tom got to keep his hair on his head. While he was sad that the Wings lost, he was RELIEVED that he didn't have to have his head shaved by his co-workers! He did mention that he had learned his lesson, and will NEVER make a bet like that again. LOL

I drove to my sister's house this afternoon to help her pick out paint colors for every room in her house. I think they've lived there maybe 5-7 years now, and the cheap-o, flat paint the builder used was marred and wearing thin. She lives about 35 minutes from our place. Her painter starts work Monday and she hopes to have the entire house done by the end of this week. She's also buying new family room carpet and furniture, and I can't wait to see what everything looks like when it's finished!

Our prodigal daughter came home from Virginia today, which was a welcome surprise to her dad & me! I, of course, just had to give her a bunch of hugs, although I did have to wait in line behind her two cats in order to do this as they had missed her an awful lot. Since she wasn't able to secure a job in VA within the past 2 weeks, she decided to come home and re-charge her batteries (not literally, of course). Wouldn't you know it though, right after she arrived home, she checked her email and there was note from another vet wanting to interview her?! She plans to get back with them on Monday, but now that she has out-of-state job hunting experience under her belt, I do believe she'll try to come as close to possible to securing a job over the phone before driving back to VA again. We'll see how this goes.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Red Wings, The Beast, and Virginia

Well, for those of us that were wondering whether "The Beast" would start up again this spring for Tom, the answer is, "It did!" That 25-year-old red Montgomery Ward riding lawn mower that his dad gave him several years ago (and that is falling apart) is, apparently, alive & kickin' for another year of cutting grass. Tom, of course, did his usual spring start-up routine with it:  he patted it a few times, said, "C'mon, baby, start for daddy," and then used a flathead screwdriver to touch the solenoid (because the on-off key no longer, started right up. I just couldn't believe it!

I had a blast riding it around the backyard last night, cutting the lawn while light smoke drifted into the air from where oil had spilled/leaked on the engine last year. LOL  I probably looked like a ghetto version of Bob Villa! I'll let you be the judge as Tom took a pic of me on the tractor last night (right).

Speaking of  Tom...tonight is game 6 of the hockey playoffs between the Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose...well...whatever their team name is. (LOL) IF the Wings win tonight, they'll only have to win 1 more game in order to win the round, and THAT will lead to Tom getting his head shaved at work at the end of this week. O, Lordy! My hubby is running scared now!

Angela continues to interview for Vet Tech and Vet Assistant jobs in Virginia. She had a promising interview last Thursday, but they won't be making their decision until the end of this week. She thinks she'll be interviewing with a 3rd vet either tomorrow or Thursday, but is waiting for them to let her know. On top of all this, she has come down with a bad sinus infection and is at the doctor's office right now getting treatment. Also, her cell phone broke at the end of last week, only to have the new phone she purchased (with a new carrier) become inoperable a day later. How can potential employers call her for interviews if her telephone won't receive calls??? She can text, and call out, but she can't receive calls. She's just so frustrated. Her old carrier says it's Verizon's problem; Verizon says it's the old carrier's problem. <sigh> That poor kid is trying SO hard to make a go of it in VA, but life keeps throwing her curve balls. Still, she's determined NOT to come back home until she's made a success of herself there. If you guys could keep her in your prayers, I'd greatly appreciate it.

I decided to take a photo of some of the tulips in our front flower garden. I like these yellow ones because they have pointed petals.

Thanks for stopping by, and I'll keep ya posted on events at our place as life slowly mosies along!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Will My Hubby Have His Head Shaved--Bald???

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm so grateful that the work week is over. I didn't have to work late today and I don't have to work tomorrow, so I'm a happy girl!

My depression has decreased somewhat the past few days, thankfully. Yesterday was sunny and in the 60's; today it rained on and off, but the temps were still in the 60's. I do believe the warmer weather and some sunshine have done me wonders. Sometimes our Michigan winters are just too long for me.

At the end of the work day today, our current Pastor and I were honored by a visit from our church's 2nd pastor (1989-1998) who is now the Assistant to the President of our entire Synod (in St. Louis, Mo.). My husband and I became great friends with him and his wife before they moved to St. Louis for his work there. And our current pastor became friends with him when he (the current pastor) attended the seminary in St. Louis a few years ago. Gosh, it was good to see him and catch up on things with him, his wife, and their 2 adult kids. What a great ending to the work week!

Angela didn't get the first job she interviewed for early this week, which made her irritated because the office manager, who had been emailing with Angela when she was still in Michigan, gave Ang the impression that she would most likely be given the job. In the end, the bosses decided they didn't want to pay an actual Vet Technician to do the work; instead, they opted to promote one of their lower-paid employees and teach them the work. That's very unfortunate for Angela, but she did have an interview yesterday with another vet office. They said they'd be making a decision on Monday, so we, and she, are keeping our fingers crossed!

Thank all of you for your prayers for our friend, Scott's family. His funeral was "up north" today. None of my family could get off work to attend, but his widow was nice enough to post a few pictures on Facebook of everyone releasing balloons after his cemetery interment, so at least those of us who couldn't make it felt as if we were there. We will continue to pray for his wife and 4 kids as they struggle to heal and move on.

I"m excited that our grass is finally long enough to cut! Hubby says he plans to fire up "the beast" tomorrow and cut the back lawn. "The Beast" is his ancient riding lawn mower (it's probably 25 years old) that his dad gave him probably 12 years ago because it wasn't running. He fixed it (he's good with repairing small engines), but it's falling apart. The gear selection plate fell off last year, so now we have to guess when putting it into a gear; the engine will no longer turn off when you turn the key off, so we have to flood the mower out using the choke; after the mower runs for a while, you see smoke coming from under the hood from where oil has dripped on the engine, etc. HOWEVER, Tom loves that silly tractor! Each spring, he talks sweet to it and pats the seat lovingly as he tries to start it saying, "C'mon, Old Girl. Start for me, OK?" And I'll be doggone if that tractor doesn't start every time! I'll have to post a picture of it later this summer so you can see what I'm talking about. I do have to say though, I started riding it to cut the back lawn 3 years ago, and it is a lot of fun to drive. I actually enjoy cutting the lawn on that thing.'s an eyesore, for sure. I'll letcha know if it decides to cooperate and start this year. I swear, Tom talks more lovingly to that tractor than he does to me! LOL

Tom's Red Wings are doing terrible in the playoffs, and even though they won tonight's game, they're still behind in the series, 3-1. Tom doesn't think they're going to make it out of this round; his co-workers think the Wings will win the next 3 games straight and take the series. And so they made Tom a bet at work today: if the Wings make it out of this round, Tom has to sit in a chair in the middle of the lunchroom at work and let his co-workers take turns shaving his head with electric trimmers. And Tom agreed!!! When he told me that, my mouth fell open. "You did what?" I asked in disbelief! Oh, boy. No wonder when the Wings won tonight's game in overtime he mumbled under his breath, "Oh, crap." ROFL Again, I'll keep ya posted on the outcome of this one.

I hope all you moms have a wonderful Mother's Day. Enjoy your time with family and/or friends, and be sure to get some relaxation in too!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Little Ketchup (Catch Up) Note

A quick "hello" to my blogger friends and an apology from me for being MIA the past week or more. I just got too overwhelmed at work and couldn't seem to find some down-time to update my blog. While Easter is my favorite time of the church year, it certainly can bring a lot of stress (and overtime) in my life from a job perspective.

OK, so what's new that I can include in tonight's quick posting (since it's already past my bedtime as I'm writing this)?

The weather had been crappy and depressing earlier this week and over the weekend. Only today, in the afternoon, did we Metro Detroiters see sunshine and temps in the low 60's. Will this continue? Tune in later this week to find out as the saga of "Will Spring Ever Spring?" continues to unfold on my blog.

Tom has been busy watching his beloved Detroit Red Wings in the hockey playoffs on TV this past week. Unfortunately, the Wings are playing like a Pee Wee-level hockey team and are behind in the series against San Jose 3 - 0. It doesn't appear they'll make it out of this round, much to Tom's chagrin.  :-(  

Angela has been a busy bee in Virginia as she has interviewed for several Veterinary Technician jobs in the Virginia Beach area. She is hoping to get an offer this week. If not, she'll find a job doing something else until she gets a job in her field. She is determined to stay in Virginia and start a life there. She says she loves the weather (it's been in the 70's and 80's the past 7 days!), the people (who are very friendly) and the area (which is really clean). She also met, and just adores, the gal who is going to be her new roommate once Angela makes enough money to move in. The roommate's name is Stacy. She's single, around age 30, loves animals, works part-time at a vet's office, and according to Angela, is one of the nicest people she's ever met. Stacy owns her own home, and she's invited Angela to rent a room in it as soon as she gets a job. Stacy has her own bathroom (the master bath), and Angela will have her own bath as well since there will just be the two of them. Stacy has even invited Angela to stay the night there whenever Ang isn't staying with her college buddy, Jenelle. That was just so nice of her! Ang has spent 2 or 3 nights with Stacy and really enjoys the opportunity to spread out (Jenelle's apartment is a tiny studio), enjoy campfires on the back deck and help Stacy with her spring landscaping work.

I've been fighting off some depression lately, and that's just not like me. I'm usually really bubbly, and don't spend a lot of time down in the dumps, so this has me confused especially because it started a few months ago, and has gotten a lot worse lately. Could it be due to the gloomy weather we've had for the past 3 (or more) months? Or perhaps because Angela is gone (I KNOW that's a large part of it). Or maybe it's hormonal? I don't know, but I sure wish it would ease up a bit. If it continues, I might have to ask my doc what she thinks.

We received some sad news yesterday evening as well. A good friend of my brother's, Scott, committed suicide yesterday morning. And it was a violent suicide involving a gun. He was alone when he died. He has left behind a wife and 4 young daughters. We only met him and his wonderful family once, last summer, when they drove 30 miles from their home, at my brother's request, to rescue Tom, me and Becky from the side of the road in 80 degree heat after our van broke down in the middle of nowhere south of Traverse City, MI. They never even hesitated to make the trip to get us even though they'd never met us. And then they stopped on the way back to their house and bought groceries so they could feed us dinner. We tried to give them money to help with the food, but they wouldn't take it. They had our van towed to their house that day until my brother could bring up a flatbed truck to bring it back home later that week. They invited us to spend the night at their place too. We told them that we needed to get home so we could go to our jobs the next day and as we were working to figure out a transportation solution, Scott volunteered to pack up his van with us, Becky & his 4 girls in it, drive us home, then turn around and drive right back to his house--a 4 hour trip that he made twice in one night. (He had to take the girls because his wife had to work that night.) Who would do that for a couple of unfamiliar people and a big, black, stressed out dog???? Scott would. He & his wife and the 4 girls had undergone a lot of bad things over the past 2 months. A lot of stress. A lot of heartache. We can only wonder at why he would take his life like he did. I think he was maybe in his mid-30's. I can't even imagine what his loved ones are going through right now. But Tom & I feel honored to have met Scott and his family. I'm still friends on Facebook with his wife and oldest daughter (she's maybe 14?). If you could please keep this family in your prayers this week, it would be greatly appreciated. My brother is heartbroken at Scott's death.

I didn't mean to end my blog on such a sad note. I'm hoping to have happier things to blog about as the week goes on. Good nite, all!