Sunday, November 23, 2008

Great Weekend!!

Wow, did I have a great, busy fun-filled weekend! Friday night, Rhonda, Maxine and I headed to the farm for girls' night. We pigged out on fattening dips and hoagies and enjoyed drinks while we watched movies by a roaring fireplace. It was soooo relaxing to watch an entire movie without ANY interruptions! No kids, no phone, nothing. Noel had stopped by the farm on the way home from work and made sure everything was clean, warm and toasty for us when we got there. He did a great job on the fire...look...

Here's a shot of Max...not sure what she's doing, but you can see her dang tonsils for goodness sakes!

And me, taking pics of myself
when I got bored...

Rhonda was the first to yawn, so she was labeled as the official old-lady-party-pooper:

We got up Saturday morning, and after a hearty breakfast of over-easy eggs and farm-style bacon, we headed home.

Saturday night, Noel and I went out to dinner (yum...spaghetti with shrimp and clam sauce) then headed to the Atlas Legion and met up with Rhonda, Nancy and Mike to see a friend play in his newly-formed band. We met some other friends there and enjoyed an evening of good music. The band did really well! Here's the only picture I got (with my camera phone) of our friend Sean. He's the drummer and lead singer.

Terrible picture, but the lighting looks pretty cool! The best entertainment of the whole weekend was watching redneck coal-region drunk people think they're sexy on the dance floor. No shame! Headed home after the band was done at about 1:00 a.m. I've come to realize that it's hard work having an active weekend social calendar! I'm definately a little slower today than normal and can't even think of putting my contacts in my face...age? Nah!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The First Snow!!!

We woke up today to a beautiful snow-covered land. It was a surprise snowfall for sure, especially when we got out of work yesterday and had to drive in the slippery mess, but you gotta love it! Even the coal banks are gorgeous when it snows :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Economy...

Today had me thinking pretty hard about how desperate our economy has become. Noel and I started packing our lunches for work in an effort to save some money and after work I went to a local surplus store to do some shopping. First off, I love surplus/thrift/consignment stores or any other place I think I can get a bargain. I would be there regardless of the state of the economy because I'm a penny pincher at heart. But, with everyone I speak to, penny pinching is becoming a need, not a choice.

Yesterday, as I drove home - 17 miles from my office to my home -I saw the following:

10 homes, 2 businesses, 1 car and 2 campers for sale. That is almost one big ticket item every mile! This stretch of road is really quite rural by normal standards and to have that amount of things for sale boggles my mind. I'm especially sad about the businesses and homes.

I'm thankful that gas prices are down ($2.18 per gallon here) and am hoping that the economy bounces back soon. In the mean time, all we can do is work a little harder to make those pennies squeek! We can pull our resources together and do everything we can to help those that were hit especially hard during this upcoming holiday season. By working together, we can all get through these tough times and become closer as human beings in the process.

Here's what we're doing:
Packing lunches, carpooling more, shopping for things we need (not want), using freecycle, gardening, canning, budget-friendly meals, donating to our local homeless shelter, re-using items for other purposes and we bought a thermostat on a timer. are YOU handling the poor economy?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wine and Cheese and Good Friends...

Last night I hosted my Alpine Lace® Cheese "Cosmos, Appetizers and A Movie" House Party through . What fun! There were about ten women and we sipped drinks, ate appetizers (made with Alpine Lace Cheese of course) and laughed our tails off! It really was a great, relaxing evening that was needed by all of us. Here's some pics:

I would definately have another party through! What a blast!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Bog of Every Day...

Do you ever get tired of all the little things taking over your life? Yes, we have full time jobs that we know take about 1/3 of our days, but there are days I feel so bogged down by every-day "stuff" that I get frustrated over the lack of time for fun things or relaxing things or even just nothing. Today for instance there were things like 1) drop off paperwork to the accountant 2) meet with the guidance counselor for both girls 3) arrange pick-up of new furniture for Noel's uncle 4) confirm doctor's appointment for tomorrow 5) pick up new blinds for the living room 6) pick up food items for Mom 7) make copies of medical records for Alex 8) get gas in the car 9) pick up items to bring home from the cottage 10) review receipts for the past few days 11) drop off magazines for waiting room at work 12) pick up paint for the woodwork - which I forgot to do despite the fact that I was in the dang store! 13) update calendar for upcoming week for all of us 14) go to the Courthouse to get paperwork needed to apply for new social security card...and I'm sure the list goes on.

Even though one or all of those things may only take a few minutes, added up they take a nice chunk out of my day AND my mind. Sometimes, it's like all I'm doing is preparing for the next day or the next week.

The only "quality time" I got today was dinner with my mom and her friend Melissa. My lunch with Noel was spent with two other people. Don't get me wrong, they are two people that I really like, but I didn't even get 5 minutes alone with my husband yet today. The children? I had a short conversation with Alex and haven't caught a glimpse of Kelsey since 7:00 this morning.

I guess what I'm saying's more important with each passing day to MAKE time for fun, for love, for family, for friends. Spend a few minutes every day reaching out to those around you. Stare into your spouse's eyes and connect with them, even if it's for a short time. Say "I love you" every single day. Look around you...take it all in...smell the air, hear the birds, feel the love and enjoy the sights.

Here's something to get you started. Last month, two co-workers and I were on our way to training, not really looking forward to it, complaining about the road construction and the commute when out of nowhere appeared this awesome rainbow:

We took the time to capture it and to admire it. Now, go find something awesome in your world and take the time to relish in it. Me, I'm going to go cuddle on the couch with my husband and get my quality time before the night is over.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Alex!

Well, last night Alex had her 17th birthday party. A rec room full of teenagers! Seems everyone had a good time playing Guitar Hero and Dance Revolution while stuffing their faces with pizza and junk food. I did end up having to retrieve two of the girls later that night after they wandered from the house (looking for boys). That seemed to be the only glitch though. All the girls stayed over night and were gone by noon today, ahhhh peace and quiet! Here's a group pic from the party:

I spent the afternoon painting the living room (trim area) and then took Kelsey driving after she got off of work. Yes, I know I swore I wouldn't do it again, but Noel was tied up all day putting a new roof on the garage (at least getting it started), so I had to step up to the plate. She did alright and I only wanted to throw up once! Speaking of Noel on the's some pics of the work progress:

Poor guy was exhausted by the end of the day..........

Well, there ends another weekend. Noel goes back to work tomorrow (has Tuesday off for Veteran's Day), but I don't return until Wednesday. Looking forward to having the time to hopefully get the living room at least near finished!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Healthy Heart!!!

I wasn't going to post anything about this until it was over, but yesterday I underwent a heart catheterization at Geisinger Medical Center. Over the last two months, I had two positive stress tests (one regular, one nuclear), so they recommended a heart cath. Well, let me tell don't know stress until they tell you that they want to go inside of you and tickle at your heart! Here's my reaction when the doctor told me:

Yes, that was taken at the cardiologist's office after he told me about the heart cath. (I really should not be left alone in the room after you tell me something like that...I'll find something to do so I don't sit there and dwell on that great news you just told me!)

See what I mean...I even played with the little plastic heart while he was gone.

So they scheduled me for the cath...yesterday. My appointment time, 7:30 am. Noel and I get there after very little sleep the night before. They take me back to "prep" me for the procedure at about 7:20 am. Nurse Tina tries to get my IV going...not so successfully! Ouch!! She mumbles to herself about how she doesn't understand why it's not working and decides to move up my arm and try again......Holy Crap!! Ouch already Tina!! She still can't understand why it's not working and calls over another nurse. They decide to bring in the "IV Team". It was like I wasn't cooperating enough, so they had to send for back-up!

The lady from "The Team" gets an IV going in my right hand, no problem. I'm finally "prepped" and wearing nothing but a hospital gown and some booties. ( I was quite the fashion statement!)They bring Noel back to be with me before they take me back. The nursing assistant comes by with my paperwork. "Blah, blah, blah...risks...sedation...1 in 1000 chance you can die...sign here please". Huh? So the odds that I'm gonna die are greater with today's procedure than say, getting in a car accident going home? Yeah, sign me up for that!

Around the corner comes my cardiologist. He stands at my bedside, takes my hand and says "I am so sorry, a heart attack came in and I have to take him first, it's going to be a while". I of course ask him if he's being funny this early in the morning and after he assures me that he's not, it sinks in that I have a long wait in front of me. Soooo...Noel and I spend the next four hours watching bad tv on a 7 inch screen.

Finally, at 11:30, technician Heather comes to tell me they'll be taking me back soon. So at 11:55, I kiss Noel goodbye and they wheel me off to the operating room. They take me in and start swabbing me, draping me and setting up the machinery. Very nice people by the way, we're all joking and having fun, but there's that part of me saying...hello? You guys know I'm fully awake here? You're gonna do yucky things to me and I haven't had any "happy" medicine yet! So, the cardiologist comes in and I ask him "You doing ok? You get some coffee after that last heart attack guy?". He assures me that he's ready to go and orders me some happy medicine. Woo hoo! I can feel it going through my IV because it's very, very cold. Before it gets up my arm, they're giving me local anesthesia in my groin area, where they're going to go in. So now I have a hot groin area and a freezing cold right arm. Really, really weird.

Doc says "ok, gonna start now". In my mind, I'm thinking "what would they do if I said 'nevermind, I really don't wanna do this anymore'?" I don't have time to think of the answer because I can hear Doc saying "We're looking at your heart now". Wow! You guys are fast! I get up the nerve to look at the monitor. Something very surreal about the whole thing...laying on a table, feeling like you had one too many glasses of wine and watching your heart arteries fill up with dye while your heart pumps it through. It's going ok until tech Heather says "ok, a few extra heart beats now...". I'm sorry? Oh! Scary! I felt my heart doing this thing like it was jumping rope. I did NOT like that! Next thing I know, Doc says "ok, all done". Really? Cool! "But first...make sure you don't move or tense your stomach muscles". Well, I'm sorry, but what's the first thing you do when they tell you not to do something? You do it! Doc says again "Don't tense your stomach muscles...take deep breaths. You're going to feel a lot of pressure". Apparently, he's putting the "plug" into my femoral artery just like you would the cork in a wine bottle...pushing it in as hard as you can. Ok...this is just too weird for me! And there's Doc, standing next to me telling me the good blockages! I try to take in the information but it's hard when he's standing there with my blood splattered down the front of his gown. Tells me my coronary arteries look "pristine". Most of me is very happy, but there's this little part of me saying...are you kidding me? You just put me through this for nothing? I'm pretty sure I'll get over it though. Good to know that your heart arteries are "pristine"!

So, after laying completely still for two hours (ever try eating a turkey sandwich laying flat on your back?) and doing some post-op stuff (walk around the nurse's station, pee by yourself, etc), I was allowed to go home. I am recuperating rather well and am only a little sore. I'm not allowed to lift anything more than 10 pounds for a while and cannot over-exert myself, which I find to be the hardest part. It took everything I had to convince myself today not to finish the laundry or the painting in the living room.

Bottom line: I learned two things from this experience. 1) You really should follow up on any and all health concerns. It may not always be good news, but there is a peace of mind knowing what's going on with your own body. 2) No patient should see the inside of an operating room while fully awake! You should always be given a lot of happy medicine BEFORE they wheel you in and you should not wake up until you're in recovery. Call me an old-fashioned girl, but there's something to be said about the old days when they just "knocked you out" for everything.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Home Ownership...a Non-Stop Adventure...

Today, Noel and I spent the majority of the day getting ready to paint the living room. It is a huge room and took a very long time! I am already feeling the aching back, arms and hands! I am so ready for a long, hot bath. Here's a pic of the room after scraping, spackling, sanding and priming:

I'll post "after" pictures when the paint is up. Problem: I haven't decided on the final color. Tomorrow I'm heading to the cottage, laying out all of the paint samples and begging Mom to help. I'm limited in the color choice because of the fact that we already have green rugs for the room. Mom will come to the rescue I'm sure.

The rest of the clan was busy as well. Alex had spent the night at her friend Carin's house and stayed for her birthday party today. Kelsey went to work this morning, had some pictures taken this afternoon at a local studio and is now studying for a Sociology test tomorrow in her dual enrollment class. Tomorrow starts another week of fun...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm Alive!!!! I'm Alive!!!

I survived an entire hour of Kelsey's first day driving!!

Seriously, she didn't do bad at all. I am just such a terrible passenger to begin with that although I remained calm while she was driving, I'm pretty sure I should be medicated right about now. Noel, she's all yours from here on out....this is your territory!

I Can See the Gray Hairs Already...

It's official. As of yesterday, October 31, 2008, we have a new driver in the family. Kelsey got her driver's permit. I'm aging by the moment from the worry! I think you should have to be, oh I don't know, like 25 to be able to drive. *sigh* Ok, I can live through this too. Heck, I survived the onset of puberty of two girls, how hard can this be? Right? Right?

So, last night was the final football game of the season. We ended up losing 23 to 21. Very exciting game though. Since it was Halloween, the cheerleaders and band wore costumes. It was very cute.
Here's Kelsey and her friends Dee and Colette. (A teddy bear surrounded by two kitties).

Here's Kelsey cheering and marching in her costume.
Overall, it was a fun game, even if we did lose our chance for the playoffs. :(

Noel and I then went to meet some friends at a Halloween party being held at the Garden Terrace restaurant. Our friends Scott and Rhonda went with us. Alex ended up earning some extra money by babysitting Rhonda and Scotts daughter while we were out. The band Deuce played and we met up with some other people once we got there. I guess I'm showing my age by making this comment, but...the band was really loud! My ears are still ringing! Ok...let's get the rest of this weekend going!