Friday, December 29, 2006

Party Time!

Well, it's time for the annual "Looney Time" party at Chez Jackson - - Curt and Judy, Jan and Don, and Cindy will be here. So will our friend Paul from the College. Should be fun, but - -

Unfortunately, Jerry will not be here this year. He has a dear friend with a critically ill family member, and he is driving him to Louisiana to spend time with his family. He is an integral part of our "Looney" group, and will be sorely missed.

But I guess that means that the rest of us will just have to try harder to make up for his absence . . .

You might want to keep bail money handy . . . I'm just sayin'.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Yes, that's right - - I said "Merry Christmas" . . .

I know it may not be "politically correct", but - -

That's what I was raised with, and that's what I feel like saying.

You can say "Happy Holidays" if that is your preference, or you may celebrate Ramadaan, or Kwanzaa, or whatever other holiday tradition you were raised with.

But for me, it's "Merry Christmas", and always will be.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Goodbye To A Dear Friend

I lost my dear friend Barb.

Her visitation and funeral was today. I made the trip to Taylorville to pay my respects to her family and make my goodbyes to her.

Dad came over from Pana and met me at the funeral home. He and Mom knew Barb almost as long as I did - -

I can't help but think of all the "mischief" she and I would get into . . . she was such a character, and we would laugh and giggle like lunatic schoolgirls. All those years ago - -

It's amazing - - after all Steve and I have been through with the ice storm, and fighting with AmerenIP and State Farm . . . here it is, almost Christmas, and her husband has lost his wife of over 30 years, and her 3 daughters have lost their mom.

Really puts it all into perspective.

Goodbye, my dear friend Barb. I love you, and will miss you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Friday, December 08, 2006


AmerenIP is not the only company who is going to hear it from me.

Our insurance agent, who shall remain nameless but whom I will refer to by initials (SV), is also on my "list".

I went to our agent's office this afternoon to turn in information about the situation we had just been going through.

I was told that they are "sorry", but - - there is nothing they can do for us.


We have paid you literally THOUSANDS of dollars in premium payments over the years, and not turned in any claims to speak of. And now you are telling me that you are NOT THERE FOR US???? That we are in this ALONE????

I'm pissed.

Damn You, State Farm, and Damn You, SV!!!



Yesterday afternoon, Steve called me after he got home and said the furnace wasn't working. When he went downstairs to check, the wire nuts were blackened and melted to the wires. So he called the furnace guy, who came right out.

WELL - - we had a MAJOR problem.

The furnace guy couldn't figure out why the wires were so hot, and our light bulbs were burning so brightly, and our outside pole light was about twice as bright as it should have been. He asked if we had noticed - - well hell, we had lived there all of SIX DAYS when the ice storm hit, so NO, we had NOT noticed anything unusual, because we didn't know what was supposed to be USUAL!!

When he went to the circuit box to check the feed into the house, he found the problem - - we were getting 276 volts into the house! HELLOOOOOO - - that's THREE PHASE POWER, folks - - which is NOT the SINGLE PHASE that should be coming into a residential unit . . .

He told Steve we were lucky the house had not caught fire (damn!) and recommended the whole house breaker be pulled, which Steve did. He then called Ameren and reported the situation - - they said they would file the report and send someone out.

WELL - - 2 hours later I get home, and there has still been no sign of Ameren, so I called to check on the status. The call center said they had our report, but bumped us up to "Emergency Status - Dangerous Situation", and that they would send someone out.

Two hours later, still no Ameren.

SO - - I went out looking for someone from Ameren to talk to about the situation - - found a guy by the Jasper Street facility and talked with him. He called in to the call center, and yes, they had our report, and no, they did not know when someone would be sent out.


Just then, he saw a supervisor. He told me to head back home and get in out of the cold, and he was going to talk to the supervisor and try to plead our case.

Yeah, right. He just wanted to say something to appease the crazy woman who wouldn't leave him alone.

I was wrong.

Thirty minutes later, this same guy pulled up in to our driveway to tell us that he had talked to the supervisor, who was going to try to get a lineman out to our area as soon as he could manage it.

This guy came all the way out to our house just to tell us that! Definitely above and beyond in my book.

We sat up in front of the kerosene heater until Midnight. No Ameren.

SO - - we piled all the couch cushions on the floor by the heater, put on MANY layers of clothing, and tried to get some sleep - - even though it got down to SEVEN DEGREES that night.

Yes - - I said SEVEN DEGREES.

I got up the next morning and went into work, again getting cleaned up and ready in the locker room. Steve stayed home, waiting for Ameren.

They finally showed up at 11:00 a.m.

That's TWENTY HOURS after we reported the problem!

Sorry - - but I think that's a bit much. Especially since it was a problem THEY caused!

Once Ameren got there and the power was back on, Steve called the furnace guy back, who came back out within minutes. (A side note - - this furnace guy also called Steve early this morning, just to check up on us, because he was really worried about us. As far as we are concerned, NO ON ELSE will EVER touch our furnace but this guy - - from this day forward!)

Once the furnace was fixed, Steve went checking out the rest of the house looking for any other problems. He discovered one of our two freezers would not work - - the compressor has bene totally fried. It would cost as much to repair it as it would to replace it, so we will be heading to Lowe's this evening to get a new one.

Steve also discovere that our power strip surge protectors are all fried and need to be replaced. But this is actually a good thing, because that saved all our TV's and computers!

AmerenIP is gonna hear from me about all this - - and it ain't gonna be pretty . . .

I'm pissed!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Good News, Bad News . . .

First the bad news.

My dear friend Barb, whom I have known since I was 18, is gravely ill and in a Springfield hospital. She has had numerous health problems over the past few years, and unfortunately, it is only a matter of time now - - all they can do at this point is try to make her as comfortable as possible until it's over.

I got a call from one of Barb's daughters yesterday morning telling me about her Mom, and that she thought I might want to come to the hospital and see her to make my goodbye's. So after work, Steve and I headed to Springfield to see her.

Oh my God. That was rough.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to an old, dear friend? One who has known you from WAYYYYY back when? And who still loved you anyway?

Trust me, it's tough.

Her daughters have promised me that they will keep me posted. All I can do now is pray.

Now for the GOOD news . . .

We were coming down the road towards our house, and the first thing we saw was the outside pole light - - yes, the OUTSIDE POLE LIGHT IS ON!!!


Amazing how the good and the bad seem to balance each other out, isn't it?

It was so nice to sleep with HEAT last night, and get up this morning to a warm house and take a nice hot shower, and actually iron my clothes and put on make up and fix my hair in my own bathroom instead of a locker room!!!!

Isn't it funny how the little things mean so much?

Can't wait to get home tonight and fix supper - - I have the GREAT cooktop stove that I'm dying to experiment with - - now maybe I'll have the chance!

Monday, December 04, 2006


We have a VERY serious problem at home.

Last Thursday, Nov. 29th, a major ice storm hit the area. The last one that was this bad was in 1978.

The storm had been building up all day Thursday, and by the time 5:00 got here, things were a big mess. I had to literally chip out my Jeep in order to be able to see through the windows and drive home!

The drive home was nasty - - icy, slick, really treacherous. But I made it home and in to the garage okay.

I was in the process of fixing supper when the lights went out. I looked over towards Steve and said, "This can't be good."

I had no idea how true that statement was going to turn out to be.

We had no power all night. All night long we were awake, hearing crashing sounds as trees and branches fell all during the night. They were so loud! We were scared to death one was going to land on the roof and come through in to the house - - fortunately, none did!

Steve got up the next morning and went in to work, but I stayed home. Ethough I was not able to hear any news (no power for TV, and our battery operated radio was packed . . . SOME DAMN WHERE . . . *sigh*), I figured Campus would be closed.

I sat in the sunroom, all bundled up in layers and layers of clothing, boots, gloves, coat, and watched the storm as it got worse and worse. Steve kept calling and checking on the situation, and it just kept getting worse. He finally got off work at 1:00 and came home. We had no way of heating anything, so we were just basically "stuck" in the situation. Somehow we made it throught the rest of the day and went to bed all bundled up against the cold temperatures.

Our yard looks like a war zone - - HUGE tree limbs down, some split at the trunks. It is very apparent no one had taken care of these trees over the past few years . . . we really have our work cut out for us come springtime!

Saturday morning we went out in search of a battery operated radio, batteries, and anything else that might help us get through this ordeal. We were in Walmart when Steve's cell phone rang - - it was his Aunt and Uncle from Charleston. They had not been affected by the storm, and the Rural King there had 2 kerosene heaters left in stock. Did we want one?


They met us halfway and delived into our cold little hands a kerosene heater and jug of kerosene, which was very nice, since the kerosene lines in town were about 2-1/2 hours long!

On the way home, we stopped over by Lovington and checked with Steve's family's farmer, to see if he might have a generator. He did, and Steve's new tractor would run it just fine! So we loaded that up also and headed back to the old(COLD) homestead.

Once we got back, we spent the next couple of hours getting lines ran for the generator and getting the kerosene heater filled and ready to run. We were able to hook up lines for the furnace, the water pump, and the freezers for the generator. We were not able to run them all at the same time, but we could switch off. The first things we hooked up were the freezers, to save all the food we had. While we had that going, we huddled in front of the heater, which felt SO good and warm, and it was SO nice to have some light in the room! Then after a couple of hours, Steve unhooked the freezer and hooked up the furnace and well pump. Ah - - HEAT, even if it just was for a short time. We left it running long enough to take the chill off the house, then shut everything down for the night. We moved the heater into the bedroom to warm up that room before bedtime - - once it was warm, we shut it down and piled down for some sleep.

Sunday we went out by the other house to check it out. Fortunately, there was no damage, just lots of limbs and branches down in the yard. But all the hard work we had put in over the years, trimming, pruning, etc., has really paid off. Damage to the yard is minimal. However, the whole neighborhood out there looks like a war zone!

This morning, Steve got up early, moved the tractor and generator out, and hooked up the furnace and water. At least we can have it on long enough to shower and get ready for work . . .

SO - - that is where things stand for now. Not sure how long this situation is going to last, but there is such extreme damage throughout most of the state, it could definitely be awhile. At least I live close enough to work to go in early and steam out my work clothes in the locker room, fix my hair, and put on some makeup (don't want to scare the students!).

I can't wait for this ordeal to be over . . . .

Friday, November 10, 2006

Closing Day

Pssst . . .

If you haven't been following our latest adventures on my other blog, "Escape From the Money Pit" - - you're missing out on a lot!

Today is CLOSING DAY on our new house!

Check it out . . .

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hug a Veteran Today!

The College had a Veteran's Day ceremony today to honor veterans in the area. Dad came up to take part in it - - he looked so nice in his suit, very distinguished!

The Macon County Honor Guard presented the colors. Then some sixth-grade students from one of the area elementary schools read their essays on "What Veteran's Day Means To Me." One of the College administrators recognized the veterans present by name and military branch. The Honor Guard then demonstrated the folding of the flag, as one of the Guard described what each fold meant. It ended with Taps, and a poem about Veterans.

It was a very nice ceremony!

After the festivities wrapped up, I took Dad to lunch for Veteran's Day. All in all, it was a very nice time!

SO - - please take this chance to thank a Veteran today for all he or she has done to make this country free.

I'm proud to be an American!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Did You Vote Today?

I did - - for what it's worth . . .

It's gotten to the point where all I'm doing is trying to choose the lesser of two evils - -

And although our idiot Governor LOST THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE STATE - - He still pulled off a WIN - - THANKS TO THE CHICAGO AREA - -


I'm not happy - - but that's life . . .

Monday, October 23, 2006

UPDATE To My House Blog

Hey - - slip on over to my other blog, "Escape From the Money Pit" - -

LOTS of good stuff going on . . .

I'm not going to tell you what all is happening - - you need to go over there and see for yourself! :-)

(I'm such a tease, aren't I?)

Monday, September 11, 2006

We Interrupt This Program . . .

We interrupt this blog for a special entry.

Today, September 11, 2006, marks the 5th Anniversary of the World Trade Center disaster at the hands of terrorists.

That was a day from Hell for me. You see, I have a large Italian family in New York City, and a lot of them work or go to school in Manhattan.

I think you can see where this is leading.

I was at work and listening to the local radio talk show when I heard the report of a plane hitting one of the towers. The local host was unsure at the time if it was a small plane that crashed, or what the situation was. Then came the report of the second plane in the second tower.

Uh-oh - - this was not sounding good.

Reports started coming in about another plane smashing into the Pentagon. Then a 4th plane crashing in a field in Pennsylvania.

I was worried sick about my family. I called my Mom, who lived about 30 miles south of me, and she told me she had not been able to get through by phone to anyone out there. I told her we probably wouldn't be able to, because I'm sure the whole phone system was gridlocked.

Our office's Field Manager moved the television to the Break Room so we could watch the news coverage. I sat there, worrying and praying, watching the horror unfold.

When the first tower fell, I was stunned beyond belief. I got up and left the room; I could NOT watch any more.

Since we were a State office, the Governor closed all offices in the State. I went home and kept trying to reach someone out East. First my "land line", then my cell phone. I kept trying both of them periodically all day long, hoping one of my calls would eventually make it through. Mom kept trying also, and we kept in touch with each other during the day.

That evening I had a Psychology class out at the College. As I pulled into the parking lot and parked, I decided to try calling out East "one more time". My call went through! As I heard my Cousin Kitty's voice on the phone, I started crying. We were both crying and talking at the same time.

She told me Cousin Eloise, who worked in downtown Manhattan, had been on the Metro, and it had been stopped. She had to get off the train, and walk 2-3 miles through Manhattan, across the bridge back into Brooklyn, where people were using their cars to get them back to Crossbay Blvd. to catch buses and eventually get back home. She made it back home late that afternoon.

She told me Chris' children, who attend a school in Manhattan, were safe. One of their neighbors, a policeman, was able to obtain permission to pick the children up, and was able to get them out of Manhattan and back home to Queens.

Paul and Ginny were out on Long Island and were fine.

Rocky was working for the NYC Street Dept., but was not in the area, and he was fine.

Kitty was fine.

The only one I did not know about was Chris' husband, who was a police officer in Manhattan. With all the reports of the killed and missing police and firefighters, I was a wreck.

But - - it was almost time for class. I gave Mom a quick call to let her know what I had found out, and headed into the building.

Everyone in class was quiet; everyone seemd just - - "stunned" - - including our instructor, who was usually very vocal and upbeat. He spoke to us in a low tone of voice about the tragedy that day, and how he was reacting to it, as he was sure we were all going through it also. He then did something I appreciate to this day - - he said, "I am sure you do not feel like learning today any more than I feel like teaching. Go home." Bless you, Tim!

When I got home, I tried calling out East one more time. This time, Kitty had good news - - Chris' husband was okay!

Now that the last piece of the puzzle was in place, I could relax just a little. My family was okay. I called Mom, let her know the good news, and went to bed.

Not everyone was this lucky - - my Cousin Rocky's neighbor lost his brother on 9/11. He was in the Command Center when the tower fell on it. They never recovered him. May he Rest In Peace.


Friday, September 01, 2006

"Catch Up", Part Six -- Weight Watchers and Misc.

Weight Watchers has been a bit of a struggle this time.

I don't know if it's because I'm older, or if it's because of the season - - being summer, there are all kinds of things to do, and it's kinda hard to totally follow program sometimes. But I'm trying.

So far I've lost 10.2 pounds, so I must be doing SOMETHING right!

But I have 13 pounds to go . . . *sigh*


Our booth at the antique shop is doing well. I get up there every 2-3 weeks and putter around. It's fun, and very relaxing. Also, Tuscola is a neat little town, and once I'm done at the shop, there is always something to do. I'm really enjoying myself! :-)


I'm signing up for an online teaching class through ION (Illinois Online Network) to learn more about online teaching. Not that I want to ever be a teacher full time, but it would be nice to have the knowledge in case any opportunities ever come my way. You never know when the short courses I teach periodically may have a virtual section, and I would like to be qualified to teach it. Or you just never know when some other opportunity may come along, and I may need that extra knowledge under my belt . . .

I'll keep my progress posted.


Well, that is basically it for "catch up" - - I will try to be on here more frequently, especially now that summer is over and real life has started up again with a vengeance!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Catch Up", Part Five - Back to School

Ah yes - - school time.

Kids in the hallway - - some returning and familiar with the place - - some so lost they are just totally confused.

I like to work the Help Desk the first week of school during the 7:30-8:30 a.m. slot, espeically the first day. You get some good ones!

The hallways are packed with new faces - - some a little "stranger" than others, such as the one with lip piercings (yes, plural!) and green hair, but hey, I was young once and did stuff to get attention, although dying my hair green was never one of those things, and I hate needles so I would never get a piercing or tattoo (heck, getting my ears pierced was traumatic enough!)

It's kinda neat to drive up and see the parking lot full and know that classes are in full swing. It also means it is again time for me to park WAYYYYYYY out in the North 40 to keep my Jeep from being smacked by other car doors! Oh well - - good exercise for me!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Catch Up", Part Four - Nothing to Celebrate

For the past 21 years, the first full weekend of August always brings the Decatur Celebration to our fair city. It's a street festival that is billed as the "World's Fair of the Prairie", encompassing 22 blocks of downtown, with 12 music stages, over 60 food vendors, over 100 arts & crafts vendors, roving entertainers, a huge carnival for the kiddies . . . and attracts approximately 300,000 people during its three-day run.

Dear Hubby and I have worked stages for the Celebration for 18 of those 21 years now, and have stories about some of the entertainers that would curl your hair. We have never - - NEVER - - missed working a performance on our stage, regardless of weather, scheduling, anything.

Until now.

Our perfect record has been broken.

This year, we became victims of food poisoning. I don't remember when we have ever been this sick!

Dear Hubby and I decided to do a bit of a "walk-about" right after the parade finished Saturday morning, to see what all was there this year. One of the things on the agenda was to grab a bite to eat before heading back to our Stage, because it was anybody's guess when we would have our next chance to eat. As we were walking around, we saw a booth for Smoked Pork Loin. We LOVE us some good smoked pork! So we decided to stop there and have a sandwich.

Tasted good at the time, but - -

But that evening, I was sick and had horrible stomach cramps. I told Hubby I needed to go home. Since he drove, he gave me his keys and told me he would get a ride home from one of the stage hands who lived out by us.

That was a rough trip home. From the time I left the Stage to the time I pulled in to the driveway was only about 20 minutes, but I was PRAYING THE WHOLE WAY that I would not have to pull over somewhere and get sick!

When Hubby got home, he told me I had not even been gone 10 minutes when it hit him also. By the time he was finally able to make it home, he was in just as bad of shape as I was. (Thank goodness for a house with 2 bathrooms!)

We called Kurt, our Stage Manager, the next morning and told him what was going on. We were too weak the whole day to get out of bed other than go to the bathroom, and even that took all our energy.

The following day (Monday), we were both on vacation from work, but it was spent - - you guessed it - - in bed, still very weak, still not able to eat anything but some crackers and possibly sip som Sprite.

Tuesday we both made it to work. Hubby was still pretty shaky, but he made it through the day with lots of breaks. He told his boss what had happened, who told him to take it easy.

I, on the other hand, was not so lucky. By 11:00 a.m., I was back home and in bed.

Basically, it was the next Friday - - nearly a full week from when it all started - - that we were finally feeling halfway human and weren't scared to try to eat!

What a ride. And we do NOT care to experience again soon!

Monday, August 28, 2006

"Catch Up" Part Three - Something Old, Something "Odd" . . .

Dear Hubby Steve and I love going to antique shops, and make a point of stopping at them wherever our travels may take us. It's always a kick to go to some little "spot in the road" town in the middle of nowhere, find a small antique shop, and walk out with a "treasure" that you would never find anywhere else.

We had also been kicking around the idea of renting booth space in an antique shop for at least a couple of years. I have a lot of antiques from both sides of the families, plus TONS of "stuff" from Dad's basement that has been down there for at least 50 years - - in fact, some of it was probably already there before he and Mom bought the house almost 55 years ago! A lot of the antiques I have are treasured family heirlooms, and will NEVER be sold in my lifetime. They were very special to my grandmother, or my Mom, and they stay. Period. NO amount of money would make me part with them. So take your wallet and GET OUT.

But then I have so many other things just stored away in large plastic totes - - around 9 totes at last count, I think . . . plus more "stuff" to get out of Dad's basement this coming weekend . . .

SO - - one Saturday in mid-July, we got on the road and made the rounds of antique shops in the area to see what booth space cost, and what was available.

Talk about an eye-opener!

Some shops charge so darned much for booth rent, you would be selling your antiques and collectibles to just be able to pay your rent!

WELLLLL - - excuse me, but I'm no dummy - - I want to sell my "treasures" for fun, and of course a little profit on the side, thank you very much!

One shop we went to is on Interstate 55, and gets LOTS of traffic. We started there, thinking that would be a good location. It is, but you pay dearly for all that traffic . . . $140/month, plus you have to work a minimum of 2 days a month in the shop; if you don't want to work the 2 days, they charge you an extra $40/month.

That's ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DOLLARS a month, folks - - because this place was too far away for me to be able to make it over there to work 2 days every month.

I don't think so!

So it was off to another place, closer to home - - which was $180/month.

THIS was getting frustrating!!!

Finally, we went to Tuscola, which is abot 35 miles from home, and with all the Amish crafts and businesses in the area, AND with Arcola, the home of Raggedy Ann and Andy, just down the road, AND having a HUGE Outlet Mall, AND being right off Interstate 55 - - it seemed like a possibility.

I walked in to Paddy Wagon Antiques . . . and felt like I had come home.

I had been in the shop before, when it was under the previous owners, and was not real happy with the place. But it had changed hands, so we decided to check it out. I am so glad we did! The booth rental is very reasonable, you are not required to work in the shop any days during the month, and Sandy, the owner, is a total jewel.

So Dear Hubby Steve and I spent lots of time getting displays painted and ready to set up, and sorting and pricing some of my antiques and collectibles. Then one Saturday in July, we headed up to Tuscola, with BOTH trucks loaded down to the max, and got moved in. I have been back quite a few times since, arranging, re-arranging, adding, sorting, checking price guides to help find values for some of my "stuff" . . .

It's a lot of work, but I'm enjoying myself immensely.

I am SO happy to be there!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"Catch Up", Part Two - You Call THIS a Vacation????

Summer was a BUSY time for us this year. We are still working at getting things in and around the house fixed up and made "pretty" in anticipation of being to put it on the market next Spring or Summer.

The biggest project was the driveway. FORTY-EIGHT TON of white rock was delivered mid-July. That was our "vacation" - - leveling out FORTY-EIGHT TON of white rock. Here's a pic of Dear Hubby Steve riding the bucking bronco (a.k.a. "Toro Wheel Horse":

Unfortunately - -this was also the week we had the "Horrendous Heat Wave of 2006" . . .

It was HOT. We are talking heat index of 110 plus.

The only reason we did the rock was because previous arrangements had been made. SO - - We took lots of breaks, drank lots of water, and finally got it finished.

But the heat wave prevented us from doing anything else outdoors, so all of the projects we had planned to do that week were put on hold. *sigh*

The driveway looks GREAT, though! :-)

"Catch Up", Part One - Alma Mater Time

The end of June brought my Class Reunion. Our class has maneged to have one every five years. I know a lot of people don't like going to these things, but it's kinda fun to see all the people you knew from First Grade through Graduation, and how the years have treated them.

Our Reunion consists of a two-day deal. Friday evening is a Social Hour at the Country Club. It's a pretty relaxed, informal time, with lots of "catch-up" and good conversation. Saturday morning is a Golf Outing for those who are into "Pasture Pool" (Dear Hubby and I are not), and Saturday evening is the dinner and dance, which is sometimes held at the Elks Club, and sometimes at the Country Club.

Here is a picture of Dear Hubby and I, taken at Dad's house as we were getting ready to leave for the Dinner Saturday night:

It was a fun time! :-)

"Catch Up", The Series

Now that I am FINALLY back on track - - well, maybe just a little - - I will be writing a series of posts as to what all has been happening this summer. It may not seem like a lot, because I will be making them pretty brief . . . if I typed everything that happened to us the past few months, my poor little fingers would fall off!

Stay tuned - - more to follow . . .

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Yes, it has been a LONG time since I have been on here. Summer has been - - umm - - "strange" to say the least.

In the next couple of days, I will be doing lots of "catch-up" to update everyone on what has been going on.

Stay tuned - - I am back . . . :-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Weight Watchers, Week 2

I have lost another .6 pounds!

It may be a SMALL loss, but it is STILL a LOSS, and that is a GOOD thing! :-)

I have now lost 4 pounds total, with 19 to go.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


FINALLY back home, and exhausted.

We had SUCH fun and spent lots of time with good people.

But now, I need to unpack, and get things ready for work tomorrow.

And get some SLEEP.

I'll post about the trip a little later . . . *yawn*

But as always, thanks for stopping by! :-)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Missouri Bound

Dear Hubby Steve and I are going to the St. Louis area this weekend. Some family friends are having a Graduation Party for their oldest son, and it should be a good time - - these people, like Steve and I, are just a little "off center", which always makes for a fun time!

We are pulling out Saturday morning at 5:00 (yes, that is A.M., unfortunately!) and heading down to Perryville, Missouri first, on a little 'shopping trip' to Stoney's Meat Market, and then heading up to our hotel in Festus, Missouri, then heading to the party in Arnold, Missouri.

Unfortunately, we will not have a chance to visit my favorite place, The Hill (the Italian neighborhood) this trip, but there will be other chances this summer for that.

On the way back, we will stop by Dad's and take him to dinner for Father's Day. I'm looking forward to spending some time with my Daddy! Yes, I definitely AM a "Daddy's Girl! :-)

I'll write all about the trip when we get back. As always, thanks for stopping by, and your comments are always welcome! :-)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

1st Week's Results

Tonight marks the end of my first Weight Watchers week. Meeting and weigh-in time was 5:30.

I was a nervous wreck!

All I could think is, what if I didn't lose any weight? What if I had actually GAINED weight? What if still being on this medicine prevents me for seeing any progress? (more on the meds later).

As it turns out, there was really nothing to fear. I had followed program all week, watched my portions, counted my points, got all the foods in all the categories like I should . . .

And it paid off.

I lost 3.4 pounds!!! YIPPEE!!

Yesterday at my Dr. appointment, we decided it actually was time to wean me off the meds. He, like me, did not like the excessive weight gain they caused. So over the next 2 weeks, I will be cutting back the dosage until I am totally off them.

I'm hoping that will also assist my weight loss!

I'll post my results every week - - and as always, THANK YOU for stopping by, and please feel free to comment!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Love and Hollyhocks

There is an Amish settlement near where I live, and I noticed there are always lots of Hollyhocks on the Amish farms.

When I once asked one of my Amish friends about them, this is what I was told:

"Where the Hollyhocks are in bloom,
There is love in the home."


All I can say is - - there must be LOTS of love in my home! :-)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

More Scenes From the Vow Renewal Ceremony

I have finally gotten to the point where I have been able to go through all the pictures, do so cropping, resizing, etc., and now finally have some to post for you!

Cindy and Jerry hamming it up before the Ceremony.
I don't want to tell you what Jerry has in his hand - -
It was a joke gift we all gave him, and is a story in itself!

Bishop Jerry Wood of the Diocese of St. Francis,
United Independent Catholic Churches of America

Bishop Wood officiating the Ceremony
Left to right: Curt, Steve, Liz, Bishop Wood, Judy

Another picture of the Vow Renewal party

View from the other side of the Garden Arch

Another picture from the back of the Garden Arch

Jan (left) and Cindy (right) looking on

The Vow Renewal party

Another picture of the party

Bishop Wood (left) with the happy couple

Steve, Bishop Wood, and Liz

Cindy, Jan, and Judy even gave us a Wedding Cake,
complete with topper!

The traditional cutting of the cake

So there you have it - - it was a wonderful ceremony, with our special friends there with us to help us celebrate.

Looking back over these pictures, I'm reminded all over again how truly blessed Dear Hubby Steve and I to have these wonderful people as friends. They enrich our lives in an undescribable way. Our lives would not be near as good without them!

Thanks to my dear friend Judy for standing up with me; to her husband Curt for standing up with Steve, to Cindy and Jan (and Judy also) for all their hard work making a beautiful reception for us, and of course to our dear friend Jerry, who did a wonderful job of officiating the Ceremony. It was heart-warming and touching, and we could not think of anyone else we would have wanted doing it.

Steve and I love you all!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Time To Get Serious Now

I am overweight.

Not by choice, mind you - - almost 2 years ago, my family doctor put me on a medicine to help with anxiety attacks I had been having. They started a year after my Mom had passed away, and that, combined with worrying about Dad, things at work and at home, losing a dear friend to a particularly nasty form of cancer, and other dear friends with serious health problems, really did a number on me. The medicine really did the trick . . . unfortunately, the side effect was weight gain.

About a year ago, the doctor tried to reduce the dosage, but apparently my body was not ready yet, because the attacks starting coming back, and they had to increase it back to my original dosage.

We also tried another med for about 6 months that would not make me gain weight. It didn't, but it also didn't help the anxiety attacks. I was ALWAYS "edgy", and not sleeping well at all; when I finally DID get to sleep, I had terrible nightmares and wake up exhausted. So we went back to the original med. *sigh*

I have been fortunate to have such an understanding spouse through all this! Dear Steve, thank you for standing by me during this time - - love you, babe! :-)

Now, here it is, another year later. For the first time in 2 years, I am actually feeling like it is time to try standing on my own two feet, and taking back control of my life. I have an appointment with my doctor next week, and I am going to tell him how I am feeling about this - - that this is the first time I have felt confident in myself and my ability to "handle things" in life, and the first time that I have felt "ready" for it.

Things in my life are SO much better than they were back when I started taking the meds. Dear Hubby Steve and I are at the best place in our lives that we have ever been. I have gotten to the point at work where I don't let all the lousy stuff bother me any more I am so blessed with the best friends anyone could have. Dad still misses Mom terribly, of course, but overall is doing well, and is getting out and actually enjoying himself with friends and family members, and some short trips periodically.

SO - - it's time. I'm ready.

AND - - another big thing I'm attempting - -

I rejoined Weight Watchers tonight.

I achieved my Lifetime Member status in October 2001, when I lost nearly 25 pounds. I kept most of that weight off ever since then. Well, there was about a 3-4 pound fluctuation that was always going on - - first I would put it on, then take it back off, but I kept off 20 or more of the pounds I had lost.

Until recently, that is.

SO - - since I am talking to my doctor next week about getting off this medicine, I also decided that now was the time to start getting those blasted pounds BACK OFF MY BODY!

I will be going to my meetings on Wednesday evenings, and will share my weekly progress with you on here. It's not going to be easy, but I'm determined to do this, and be successful.

Wish me luck . . .

The Next 20 Years

I have gotten lots of good comments from friends about my post about our 20th Anniversary vow renewal. Most of them have been very complimentary.

But then there are some of the other comments . . .

The following is the vision of one of the "cast of characters" in my life (who has too much knowledge of computers, and obviously wayyyy too much time on his hands!) of Dear Hubby Steve and I in another 20 years:

Apparently we never got our house built, hence the trailer ("It Ain't Home Till You Take the Wheels Off") - - and don't you just love Dear Hubby's hairstyle??? And MINE???

Ahhh, friends - - what would I do without them?? :-)

Thanks for the laugh, Paul! :-)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Away From the Rest of the World

Everyone needs their own little hideaway - - a place where they can get away from all the stress and pressures of the world around them.

For Steve and I, it's our patio and garden.

A couple of years ago, our dear friend Jerry (yes, the same Jerry in the previous post - - who married us again) helped us design a garden off our patio. He worked many long hours - - digging, hauling dirt, and getting the design "just so". He and Steve and I then made sure the walkways were laid out straight, and were evenly set in the ground. We set around concrete benches, a wrought iron archway, and a fountain. Jerry then helped me select planters and flowers, and we had our garden!

I then picked out patio furniture, added a few more planters to the patio, and our own little personal paradise was complete.

Here are some pictures of our "hideaway" - -

View From the Patio:

This shot shows the walkways and the layout of the archway,
the fountain, and planters along the retaining wall.

My Mom and Grandmother always loved Hollyhocks,
so I planted some in their memory.
They are doing great! A couple of them are as tall as I am already!

The Fountain and Fu-Dogs:
This is an Antique Cauldron Fountain, complete with river rock accents.
It's a beauty - - and believe it or not, I found it on "Clearance" at K-Mart!

An Angel for My Mother:
My Mom absolutely loved angels, and had quite a large collection of them.
I put this angel statue in my garden in her memory.

View From the Garden:
This is the patio, as seen from the garden.
You can't really see the umbrella table very well, because it's a little dark in that corner.
We usually have the gas grille to the left of the umbrella table, up near the retaining wall.
We like to cook out during the summer months,
and it's nice to eat outside in the shade of the big umbrella!

The twin swing on the left also has a canopy that goes over it,
but it's inside for repair at the moment - - a slight tear that is being mended.
The seats on the swing also fully recline!!

Another View of the Patio:
This view shows the steps leading up to the yard.
The yard is higher than the patio and garden,
and the retaining wall goes all along the back of the garage and house.

The pole light (center) was an actual street light
from the Square in Downtown Taylorville, Illinois,
where I spent a lot of time when growing up
(we had family friends that lived there, and visited often - -
I also lived there after high school).
It's really bright, and lights up the whole back yard!
It really sets off the park bench and hanging plants up there.

Well, that's our little private personal space. We love it, and enjoy entertaining friends and family members back there.

Thanks so much for stopping by and going along on my little "garden tour", and as always, comments are ALWAYS welcome!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Will You Marry Me . . . Again?


Twenty years ago on May 24th, Dear Hubby Steve and I professed our love to each other in front of our loved ones. We promised to love, honor and cherish each other, in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for the rest of our lives.

The past twenty years have shown me that LOVE and MARRIAGE are not for the faint of heart - - it takes real effort and a willingness to work hard to make it all work out. There have been some bumps and rough patches along the way, but our deep love and respect for each other have gotten us through. We are stronger now than we have ever been. And when we look back on the past twenty years, it is totally amazing to us just how much we have grown - - how far we have come - - how much we have accomplished . . . TOGETHER.

So here we are - - twenty years later. Steve and I
decided to do something special for our Anniversary . . .

We decided to renew our vows, and re-affirm our love for each other.

So, Saturday evening, in the formal garden in our back yard, in front of a small group of dear friends, we did just that.

Our dear friend Jerry, who is a bishop in an independent church in Springfield, officiated the ceremony. He did a wonderful job, and made it perfect for us.

Our dear friends Curt and Judy were our witnesses. Steve and I could not imagine anyone else we would want standing up there with us. Their presence made it perfect.

Our dear friends Jan and Cindy created a wonderful reception for us, complete with a wedding cake (with a topper and everthing!), punch, nuts, mints, candles - - the works. It was absolutely beautiful, and their efforts made it perfect.

Jerry's parishoner Jeff, and Jan's friend Don, also were in attendance, and their presence and friendship helped make the evening - - well - - perfect.

What else can I say? The WHOLE EVENING was a dream come true - - we were there with dear friends who love us, and we love them. Steve and I are truly blessed to have these wonderful people in our lives!

So - - in closing, I have a couple of pictures to share with you:

THEN - -

And NOW- -

Here's to the NEXT twenty years - - I'm looking forward to the journey. As long as Dear Hubby Steve is by my side, I know it will be perfect!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Today is a very special day - - it is the 20th Wedding Anniversary for Dear Hubby Steve and I.

TWENTY - - LONG - - GUT-WRENCHING - - YEARS . . .. :-)

(Sorry, just had to do that!)

Actually, it hasn't been all that bad . . . I mean, there have been some bumps and rough spots along the way, but who hasn't had them??

The important thing is, we are together, and we are happy, and even more in love than we were 20 years ago. That's what happens when you are married to your best friend.

Twenty years - - doesn't seem possible . . .

Looking forward to the next 20 years! I love you, Steve!

Saturday, May 20, 2006


It's been over a month since I posted here. I know - - and I'm sorry.

It's been a rough trip down a very bumpy road this past month. A lot has happened. I'll try to summarize it and make it as short as possible.

The last part of April is always a pretty rough time for Dad and me. Mom passed away three years ago the last week of April, so I try my best to spend even more time than usual with him, because it hits him harder than usual at that time.

For some reason, it was harder on me this year. It's always pretty rough, but for some reason this year was worse. It was pretty difficult keeping on a "brave face" for Dad when I felt I was just dying inside. And what made it even more difficult is Dear Hubby Steve's extended work hours, including weekends. SO - - I was feeling pretty much like the "Lone Ranger", and it wasn't too easy.

But I made it through - - *whew*

Getting into the first part of May is always quite an adventure. Spring Semester is always the most hectic at the College, with faculty receiving tenure status, faculty promotions in process, the Institutional Data Book (my 185-page baby!) being readied for presentation to the Board, Outstanding Student Awards in each discipline, starting end-of-year budget close-out AND starting the next year's budget process . . . and of course the Reception for the graduates, followed up by the Commencement Ceremony.

This past week was a lot of those things - -

The Reception for the graduates was Monday, with 2 sessions - - one in the early afternoon, and one until 6:30 p.m. Of course, then there was clean-up, so I didn't get home from work until close to 8:30.

The Data Book was presented to the Board on Tuesday, which meant there was a HUGE last-minute push to make sure everything was accurate and looking "pretty".

There was a Committee meeting on Wednesday, which I had to take minutes for and then work on getting everything completed before the faculty members of the Committee took off for the summer.

I was in Springfield for an all-day training workshop on Thursday, which was actually pretty interesting. It was a PIC workshop (Political Involvement Committee), and was to train us how to find out more about our legislators and how to approach them about issues important to us and our community, such as our State-funded Pension Plan, which has been "raided" so many times to pay other bills, I'll be lucky if anything is left by the time I retire! SO - - instead of sitting on my dead backside and bitching about it, I decided it was time to get involved and try to do something about it. If I expect somebody to help me out in this situation, I better be willing to help myself, right? :-)

Commencement was on Friday. We were down at the Civic Center by 10:00 a.m. to help set up the stage, place program booklets on over 2,000 chairs, and make sure everything was a "go". Then at 11:00 a.m., the usher volunteers and a good-sized group of graduates came in for rehearsal. That was all finally finished up around 12:15 p.m., so a bunch of us headed off to lunch before heading back to Campus. I left work around 4:00 p.m. and headed home to change clothes (including COMFY shoes!) and headed back to the Civic Center. We all met there around 5:15, and got ready to help the students, faculty and staff with their caps and gowns. Those things are a ROYAL PAIN to get on right - - and the fabric doesn't "breathe", so by the time they march in, they are already sweating profusely!! Then you pack them in that already crowded arena . . . it's a VERY uncomfortable time! They are SO happy when the ceremony is over and they can peel those things off!

After Commencement, we cleaned the dressing room, went back to the arena and helped clean up signs, discarded programs, etc., and finally headed home.

My day had started at 530 a.m. I finally got home from work Friday night at 9:30 p.m.

My feet STILL hurt!

But - - I made up my mind last month that I was just going to keep my head down, concentrate on what needed to be done, and do it. I knew there must be a light at the end of the tunnel - - once I made it around that long curve. Once I reached it, I would be able to catch my breath and get on with other things.

I can FINALLY breathe. It feels good.

Thanks for stopping by. The next post won't be so long in coming as this one was. Promise.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Well, Here It Is - - Finally

Yes, I am FINALLY able to get some computer time and catch you all up on how our Indiana trip went last weekend! *whew* It's been quite a week!

SO - - here we go - -

We left last Saturday morning, pulling out at 6:00 a.m. *yawn* But we figured we needed that much time for stops along the way for breakfast, gas, maybe an antique shop or three, so evern though I was looking through an early morning fog (inside my head, that is), off we went.

We stopped in Sullivan at a little cafe on the Square called "The Spot", which is the local gathering place for all the farmers in the area to drink their coffee and talk about the weather. It also has great food. Our waitress was a cute little thing, and she knew it. She kept giving Dear Hubby Steve the eye when she thought I wasn't looking. He kept denying it, but couldn't any longer when she brought us our check, and had drawn a heart next to his order! (heh heh heh). When we finally got out to the Jeep, he looked REAL uncomfortable, and I couldn't quit laughing. What can I say? He's an attractive man, and I would be crazy to deny it, or get mad if someone else notices it. But his reaction was priceless.


As we got ready to pull off, I turned around and noticed the sign above the front door of the cafe, that advertised their specials - - which gave us an idea of what kind of weekend this was going to be . . . . .
Folks, you can't make this stuff up . . . . wonder if the local police noticed . . . . :-)

The next stop was in Charleston - - at the Rural King store, of course (yeah yeah - - the FARM STORE again!). And, as usual, I found whole lots of nifty "stuff". It also gave us time to stretch our legs and walk off a bit of our breakfast.

Then it was time to get back on the road and head for the Indiana border. The weather was beautiful, a little cool, partly sunny, and we made very good time. We stopped again in Terre Haute at a great Antique Mall, run by a very nice young couple. After wandering around and finding a few little "treasures", we got back on the road again.

We stopped for lunch in the little town of Linton, Indiana, at the local Dairy Queen. We like the little locally-owned franchises in small towns, because the food is usually really good. We weren't disappointed this time, either. As we were leaving Linton, we noticed a small antique store, and decided to pull in. It was an old three-story house, with every floor full of neat stuff, and the basement was full also. We found lots of little goodies there, and had a great time talking with the owner, a really nice older lady with a delightful sense of humor.

One thing about really small towns - - you usually find some pretty neat places to see, and sometimes meet some really great folks - - but I would NEVER, EVER want to live in one - - EVER AGAIN! Been there, done that - - will NOT repeat the experience. :-)

We got to the Church for the Anniversary party right at 1:00. It was a nice time, but the only people there that I knew were my in-laws, and another couple from Highland who knew the guests of honor.

Now - - I have been told in the past that a "Bored Liz Is Trouble" . . .

SO - - not wanting to disappoint, I set off amusing myself - - at my mother-in-law's expense, of course . . . that poor lady - - she is SUCH fun to pick on! :-)

I thought I was being pretty quiet and sneaky about things, but then Linda, one-half of the guests of honor, came up to our table and asked me, "Have you been having fun playing?" I turned beet red, and Linda had a good laugh at my expense. Apparently she had been watching the antics going on at our table, and was having a lot of fun with it.

Oh well - - at least the time went faster!

After the party, we headed out to their house for a brief visit, We got there before they did, which gave me a chance to make friends with a couple of their barn cats. What lovable little things they were! Then everyone else showed up to the house, so we had a chance to chat a bit before leaving to head up to Indianapolis.

I'll tell about the second leg of the trip in the next post. Again, thanks for stopping by, and comments are always welcome! :-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Typing Help

Is it any wonder I have so much trouble typing - - when I am getting THIS kind of help?

But - - HOW can I resist that face????? NOT possible . . . *sigh*

Carmichael is such a Mama's boy . . . :-)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Yeah, I Lied - - So?? :-)

Yeah yeah - - I know - - I promised to post about our weekend trip.

But it's been a TOTALLY hectic week, and I get home from work frazzled, and facing bunches of stuff to do in the house and the yard.

But I have a 4-day weekend coming up, so things will get caught up.

They WILL get caught up.


(I hope)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Back From Hoosier-Land

Well, we are back home.

It was a great trip, and lots of fun. Spent time with good people, saw lots of interesting "stuff", did lots of fun things. BUT - - isn't it amazing that now matter how much fun you have, it always feels so darned good to be back HOME????

The kittycats are excited - - their "people" are home, so they now have laps to curl up on!

I have lots of things to post about our trip, but - - I'm bushed. So it's off to bed for a good night's rest, and I will post about the trip tomorrow, either on my lunch hour, or after work/gym.

So stop by later to see how it all went!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rained Out

Well, unfortunately the races this weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park have been cancelled due to the nasty weather. We have had TORRENTIAL rains last night and all day today! And by TORRENTIAL, I mean at the rate of 2-plus inches per hour!

Nasty stuff.

But - - Dear Hubby and I are still heading to Indiana. We will still go to the 50th Wedding Anniversary party. We pondered the idea of just coming on back home Saturday evening, but then decided that since we already have the room reserved, we may as well take advantage of it!

So we will still be heading up to Indianapolis Saturday evening to stay overnight, and there are lots of things we can check out in the Indy area on Sunday before heading back home.

We're together - - so it will definitely be fun! :-)

P.S. Bill - - beg to differ with ya - - "burning rubber" does NOT mix well with my morning cup of tea . . . . *laugh*

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hoosier-Bound (again!)

We must REALLY like Indiana. I mean, we have been there more in the last 6 months than we have been the last 10 years!

Yes, this weekend, we are Indiana-bound, one more time.

Saturday we are pulling out at 6:00. Yeah, I mean A.M. *yawn* We will be heading about 2 hours southeast of Terre Haute, to a little spot-in-the-road named Odon, Indiana, for a 50th Wedding Anniversary party. Dear Hubby Steve's Dad served in the Navy with the husband, and they have kept in touch ever since they were discharged. Nice family, and it should be a good time.

Saturday evening we are heading up to Indianapolis to stay the night, then Sunday morning up at 5:00 a.m. (*sheesh* I'm NOT liking the pattern that is emerging here!) so we can hit the gates of Indianapolis Raceway Park in time for the 7:00 a.m. Time Trials.

Folks, I'm NOT getting any younger here - - and these early hours are getting rough on this tired old body of mine . . . *laugh*

But what the heck - - Dear Hubby and I will have fun. I'm not really into races, but he loves them, and it's been years since we have gone over there. In fact, the last time I was at this speedway was when we were dating, so we are talking over 20 years ago!

What the heck - - I can make the sacrifice every 20 years or so for him . . . :-)

I'll let you know how it goes - - should be a fun weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mini-Road Trip

Dear Hubby Steve and I had planned on going to Mattoon (about 40 miles away) to do some browsing and stuff Sunday, but when we woke up, the weather did NOT look promising. Rain, wind, thunder, lightning . . .

But then the sky cleared, and even though it was WINDY and VERY cool, we decided to head on out. The forecast called for some pretty bad storms, but they were forecast for later in the afternoon.

SO - - after shaking off the "groggies" from losing the hour from clock-resetting (curse you, Daylight Savings Time!), we finished up breakfast and the paper, got ready, and headed on out.

Our first stop was Rural King. Oh, I can hear you now - - WOW, a FARM store - - you guys really know how to live life on the edge, don't ya?

Stop that.

That is ONE FUN STORE! In fact, I always find more in there than Steve does! They have food, kitchen stuff, clothes, candles, garden and lawn decorations, and all kinds of neat "stuff".

So just stop.

And - - just for the record - - I ain't no farm girl! And I have cousins in New York City who will help me prove my point! ^-^


After Rural King, we went to lunch at McHugh's, which is kinda like a Krekel's (but if you don't live in my town, you have no idea what the helll I'm talking about!) They are mostly burgers and fries and drinks, and it's strictly drive-thru, and it's CHEAP . . .

And the hamburgers were awesome! We had never eaten there before, but Steve's cousin always raves about it. So we tried it. She was right!

If you are ever in Mattoon or Charleston and just want a quick, cheap meal, I highly recommend McHugh's.

After lunch, we went to Big Lots, where I found BUNCHES of stuff. That store is huge, and ever aisle we saw something we wanted. I bought mostly stuff for the house, and got lots of ideas for the new house.

We then went to Cross-County Mall, and looked around there a bit. They have an Elder-Beerman store there, and that place is expensive! But I managed to find some cute little clearance items (the ONLY way to buy) and bought some for gifts for friends' birthdays.

We also went to the Home Depot. We don't have one in our city, so we like to look through them when we get a chance. And Dear Hubby found a wonderful bargain - - a outdoor power washer. It will really come in handy when we start getting this place ready put on the market. The siding need cleaning badly! It will also help with cleaning the patio, and any outbuildings we will have at the new place.

AND - - it was on sale. For a GREAT price. He would have been crazy to pass it up!

Well. He IS crazy. But not that way - - the power washer came home with us. Can't wait to try it out.

We finally decided to start on our way back home, and it's a good thing we did. The closer we got to home, the darker the sky started turning. By the time we got home, it was getting darker, and the wind started picking up.

We had been home about 30 minutes, and it started looking really ominous. The cats started pacing. So did I.

Then the tornado sirens went off.

It was a pretty nasty storm. We got lots of rain and wind, but no tornadoes in our immediate area and no wind damage.

So Sunday ended on a not so nice note.

But spending the day with Dear Hubby was a blast, as always. Yes, even in a "farm store" and "Big Lots" and "Home Depot".

I spent it with him, and that's all that mattered! :-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Lucked Out Again . . .

Thank goodness - -

There was MORE bad weather this weekend. Springfield got hit AGAIN by tornadoes! And in some of the same areas!

It's only been Spring for 2-3 weeks. Those people have NOT had good luck so far.

Some of the smaller towns in the area got a lot of damage also. Taylorville (about 30 miles south of us) had lots of businesses and homes damaged. Harristown had some damage (just a couple of miles from us) and Warrensburg (a little ways down from Harristown) lost their restaurant to the storm.

I get the feeling we are in for a ROUGH Spring . . . *sigh*

Keep ya posted . . .

Friday, March 31, 2006

Updates on House Building Blog

Got my other blog all updated (finally!) with some new "stuff" that has been going on.

You can check that out here.

Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Remember my big project? The Data Book? All 185 pages of it??

WELL - -

It's been put on hold until the MAY Board Meeting.

So I have another month to finalize it.


I can finally breathe . . .

And also maybe get a couple of posts done on my other blog, which is woefully behind the times - - I have a couple of interesting things to add to it, but haven't had the time.

I'll post here when the other one is updated. Stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This Site is Addictive!!!

Go to this site - - and you will see what I mean:

Click on this link for the "Levers" game

This is the homepage where other games can be accessed: vectorpark

I am NOT a fan of computer games, but - - "Levers" grabs me and will NOT let go!


But it's FUN! Check it out . . .

Sunday, March 26, 2006

In the Office Again . . . *sigh*

Yes, even though it is SUNDAY - -

I was in the office.

Working on the Data Book.

It was a good time to get things completed, though - - during the week, there are so many interruptions - - phone calls, people coming in, and the general everyday work that needs done - - that it makes it impossible to get through all th minute details that this book involves.

SO - - since yesterday was Nephew Sam's Birthday party (and I was NOT going to miss THAT!) - - that meant Sunday was designated as "Data Book Day".

I spent a total of 5 hours in the office, and accomplished so much - - got the whole book proofread one more time, got all the pages numbered correctly, filled in the page numbers on the Table of Contents for each section (all 9 of them) - - created the Index/Glossary section and got it alphabetized - - *whew*

Then I went through the 6-page Fact Sheet and got it corrected with accurate information.

Tomorrow I should be ready to fix the one survey page that still needs revising, and also correct that info on the Fact Sheet - -

Once that is all done, all the sections will get converted to PDF to preserve formatting when it's sent to the Copy Center - -

Then (hopefully) we will be ready to print. Thank goodness.

It's been a long hard trek - - but it will look fantastic when presented to the Board in April.

This project is my "baby" - - my "pride and joy" - -

I take great pains to make sure it is all accurate and formatted properly and looks as good as possible. It has the College's name on it, as well as my boss's name, and MY name. I want it to be a publication that the College can be proud of.

And once it's all printed and done for this year - - I will go home, look in the mirror, and count all the new white hairs it has caused me - - and then go visit Lady Clairol for a touch-up! :-)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Dear Hubby and I went to his brother's new house in Bloomington today for nephew Sam's 10th Birthday party.

Pizza Hut pizza, Scotcheroos - - yummmmm!

And - - Nephew Travis and his girlfriend Renee were there also! It was good to see both of them!

This was also a nice treat for me, because I had not seen their new house yet, having had that nasty stomach flu a few weeks ago and having to miss all the moving day activities. So Debbie took me on the "grand tour", and it is a gorgeous house! The "parlor" is small and cozy, and would be perfect for curling up with a good book and a couple of cats . . . :-) . . . and the Master Bedroom is HUGE!! The whole house is wonderful. I'm sure they will be very happy living there.

Sam was having fun and got lots of neat presents.

All in all, it was a good time - - and it was great to be able to spend time with all of them!



"M-Unc" Steve and Aunt Liz

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Snow Day Update

Well, the Banana Chocolate Chip Bread is baked.

The Blueberry Bread is baking as I am typing this.

The whole house smells WONDERFUL!! :-)

Both cats are asleep on the bed - - I did Callie's favorite thing - - folding her favorite fuzzy throw into 4ths, then placing the heating pad between the layers (only turned up to 2 on the heat dial). She LOVES that! She has spent most of the day on it, and has even been so kind as to share part of it with Carmichael! They look so cute curled up sleeping together - - it's tempting to go join them for a nap!

But I still have Blueberry Bread baking, so it's probably best to stay awake . . ..

The snow and wind have died down quite a bit now. At 10:30 a.m. we were downgraded from a Blizzard Warning to a Winter Weather Advisory until 4:00 p.m. We have probably 10 inches of the cold white stuff out there, and some pretty awesome drifts! And it just looks cold out there. *brrr*

I've only been out of the house twice - - once to step over to the garage and get something from the freezer, and the other time to do some "maintenance" - - we lost Satellite signal. No TV? Oh no!! SO - - I put on my coat, gloves, boots, and hiked around the corner of the house. Sure enough, the dish was full of snow - - brushed it all out, went back inside - - picture was back! That's one of the very few times we have lost signal since we got the Satellite dish last May. Some people may consider it a pain to have to go out and do that, but the good things GREATLY outweigh the bad! 180 channels, plus a whole bunch of Sirius Satellite Radio stations . . . and it's cheaper than our expanded basic cable cost us. (Hey, I'm no fool!)

Well, the timer just went off - - need to go check the Blueberry Bread!


Well, I got my wish.

For the first time in three winters, the College is closed for a SNOW DAY!

I'm going to baka Banana Chocolate Chip Bread (Banana Bread with mini chocolate chips stirred in - - yummmm!), and I have some blueberries from a late summer farmer's market thawing out for Blueberry Bread (no chocolate chips in that, though!).

I'm also going to do a bit of filing in my home office - - just a little bit - -

And THEN - -

I'm going to pile down on the couch and spend some "quality time" with my two fur-babies! Callie and Carmichael are looking forward to it, I can tell - - they keep following me around the house, waiting for me to sit down and create a lap they can curl up in!


But one is plenty - - I want to make it back to work tomorrow, before "cabin fever" starts to set in! :-)


If you haven't already noticed, there are a couple of new things on my sidebar. I've joined BlogMad and hope to get some more "hits" from that, and maybe some new readers? And some more commenters? Keeping my fingers crossed . . . .


I also adopted a "virtual pet" from BunnyHero Labs. He looked so much like my kitty Carmichael, I just had to have him! When you click on the "More" tab at the lower right corner, it brings up a toy to play with, a ball and string on a stick. You can move it around, and he will stick his paw out of the basket and try to catch it. It's just TOO MUCH like my real Carmie . . .

Anyway - - Check out the site - - once you get to the homepage, click on the "CyberPets" link - - you can customize and "adopt" your own!


Well, it's off to enjoy my "SNOW DAY" - - I hear the oven calling - - time to go start Banana Bread - - the whole house is going to smell yummy! :-)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Batten Down the Hatches!!

Well, we were under a Winter Storm Warning.

That has now been cancelled.

It has now been upgraded to a BLIZZARD WARNING.

Oh joy.

They are forecasting freezing rain, sleet, and hunderstorms this evening, and 1-2 inches of snow per hour from Midnight through 7:00 a.m. Tuesday.

Along with all that nice "stuff" will be 25-35 MPH winds.


SO - - I may have my longed-for snow day yet! :-)

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes just a week ago - -

And now this - - on the FIRST DAY OF SPRING, no less . . .

Ah yes - - weather in Central Illinois . . .. :-)

Keep ya posted . . .

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Storm Damage

Springfield had LOTS of damage from the two F2 tornadoes that hit last Sunday night/Monday morning. One of the local radio stations, WNNS Lite Rock, has a slide show of storm damage photos on their website. You can access the photos HERE.

Some of the people in Springfield are STILL without power, and some will not get it back until next Wednesday. The really bad thing is, they are calling for pretty cold temps from tonight on, and a very good chance of an accumulating snow by Wednesday.

I'm saying my prayers for them.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Okay - -

Well, I promised to post about last weekend's little "road trip" - - and now that this HECTIC week is FINALLY over, there is finally time to do just that! :-)

Dear Hubby had two gun safe doors to pick up in Ohio (one for himself, and one for a co-worker) - - so he was taking a Friday and Saturday to make the trip to pick them up. Would I care to go along?

Hmmmm - - riding 6-1/2 hours, in the cab of a pickup, pulling a trailer all the way out there, and pulling the trailer and an additional 1,500 pounds (more or less) all the way back - - bumpy, rough, LONG . . .

Heck yeah - - I want to go - -


Because - - no matter what it is, it seems that if he and I are doing it together, it's always FUN! :-)

And it was . . . .

We pulled out last Friday morning at 5:00 a.m. Yes, that is 5:00 in the MORNING. Yes, I'm crazy . . .

We stopped in Rantoul for a quick breakfast, at the local Hardee's, where it seemed all the local farmers gathered. Listening to them pick at each other was pretty amusing as we sat there and ate. Then it was back on the road.

We stopped for lunch in a small town just across the Indiana/Ohio border called Antwerp, at a Friendly's. If you have never eaten at a Friendly's, I highly recommend it! The only time I had been to one was in New York City, and all I had was Italian ice or ice cream. As it turns out, their FOOD is great! We will definitely stop at a Friendly's again on future trips.

We finally made it to the small town of Tontogawa, just north of Bowling Green, Ohio, to pick up the safe doors. After about 45 minutes of loading and securing, they were ready to go, and we were on out way back towards Ft. Wayne, Indiana to spend the night.

This is where the REAL fun began . . . . . :-)

We pulled into Ft. Wayne, which is a fair-sized city. Of course we got lost trying to find the Red Roof Inn. Finally found it, turned to go to it - - and of course wound up on a street with NO entrance to it. *sigh*

SO - - it's time to backtrack and take another stab at it.

As we get back to the intersection and are waiting to turn left, we look about 1/2 block up, and see a very LARGE neon sign - - of a girl dancing on a pole. The sign with it said "Brandy's Exotic Dancers". I looked at Steve, and he immediately said, "I'm innocent here! I've never been in Ft. Wayne before! Honest!"

I just started laughing . . .

So he is still protesting his innocence as the light turns green, and he proceeds to turn left. As he does, we look next door to the Red Roof Inn - - -

and there is "Showgirls I Gentlemen's Club". Right next door.

I bust out laughing even harder.

Steve just says, "Aw S**T! I can't win here!"

But then it got even better - - we had to pull into Showgirls drive and go THROUGH THEIR PARKING LOT to get to our hotel.

He was mortified. I couldn't quit laughing at him.

Poor guy.

I tried to smooth things over - - I even pointed out to him that we didn't even have to drive anywhere for supper, because their sign advertised "Free Buffet until 7:00 p.m."

He didn't go for that, for some reason . . . . :-)

Oh well - - it was all fun. At his expense. *snicker*

The next morning we found a GREAT bakery for breakfast - - Richard's Bakery. They are kind of a small place, looking pretty plain and unassuming, but when you drive by, you can see they have wedding cakes and all kinds of other things they make. So, we decided to stop and try a couple of doughnuts.

Oh. My. God. Those were SO good.

We got two apiece, but they were so BIG and so FILLING, I could only eat one. Steve managed both of his, somehow. But I kept mine wrapped up in the bag and saved it for Sunday (which, by the way, it tasted just as good and just as fresh-baked as the one the day before).

Ever in Ft. Wayne - - stop at Richard's. You will NOT be disappointed. That's a promise.

After breakfast, we headed up to Auburn, Indiana, the home of the Auburn-Cord-Deusenberg Car Museum. It is located in the original manufacturer's building, which has been totally restored to its original grandeur, including the Art Deco designs on the walls, floors, and ceilings. Absolutely amazing! And the cars - - oh my, the CARS - - are awesome. Completely restored Auburns, in all their bright, bright colors; Cords, and of course, Deusys. BEAUTIFUL works of art.

We loved every bit of that place, and will definitely go back again some day.

After a couple of hours of browsing fun, it was time to start heading back towards Illinois. We made it to Champaign right at supper time, so of course that meant stopping at our all-time favorite Barbeque place, Li'l Porgy's. They are one of the best!

Finally made it back home, just in time for a pounding thunderstorm. LOTS of fun unloading in the rain . . . *sigh*

But, we were home, and that's all that mattered.

It was fun going away with Dear Hubby for a couple of days, but it was even better being home with him and the fur-babies (who, by the way, were VERY glad to see us!)

SO - - that is the "Reader's Digest Condensed" version of the weekend trip. There were lots more things that we saw, and some more things that we did, but too much to go into right now. It's been a helluva week, and it's not over yet. I'll be in the office tomorrow trying to finish up my yearly Data Book (about 175 pages or more), which is due the first part of April. It's extremely difficult to get it finished up during the week, with phone calls and numerous interruptions, so tomorrow will be a good time to do it. It may take some time on Sunday also . . . oh well, I may have a weekend SOMETIME . . .

Thanks for stopping by. I'll post more over the weekend. :-)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I Know I Know . . .

Yes, I promised to post our trip highlights today.

I lied.

Not intentionally, though. It's just that it's been "one of those days" at work, and tomorrow is another L-O-O-O-N-G day, due to teaching Part 2 of the Intermediate Excel class tomorrow.

I think the reason for the bad day at work is due to the weather - - we just had those violent storms - - now it's COLD (29 degrees!) - - and they are calling for rain again tomorrow and Thursday.

My sinuses don't know WHAT to think! And so, as usually is the case when this happens, they decide to THROB. And HURT. Since they don't know what else to do. (Like take a nap or something . . . )

SO - - it's some aspirin and an early bedtime for me tonight.

And I will get the trip highlights posted by the weekend.


Thanks for stopping by - - 'night . . . *yawn*

Monday, March 13, 2006

Survived the Storm

Well, last night was quite an adventure.

After I shut down the computer around 8:30 or so, the wind started really picking up, and the lightning was just absolutely awesome! We had quite a little windstorm blow through, and dump quite a bit of rain on us, but it seemed to pass pretty quickly.

Other areas around us didn't fare so well, though - - there was quite a bit of tornado damage in Springfield and the surrounding areas. In fact, my favorite Gordman's store lost their roof! :-(

I am officially in mourning over that loss. . . . .

BUT - - just when you think all the fun is over - - Mother Nature turns around and give you a BIG surprise!

We were wakened up at 3:00 a.m. this morning with the tornado sirens going off, wind blowing, thunder and lightning - - the whole show. We turned on the scanner and started hearing reports of tornadoes on the ground over by Springfield again. We turned on the TV, and the local station had their weather reports cranking out non-stop, showing the places of rotation, and where things were heading. From the looks of it, all the really bad stuff was going to skirt by just West of us - - which it did.

But it was STILL a pretty spectacular light show! :-)

SO - - I have been awake since 3:00 a.m. I'm teaching Intermediate Excel tonight, and will not get out of here until 9:00 p.m.

Can't wait to get home and get some SLEEP!!

I'll post my trip highlights tomorrow . . . I'll be WAY too tired to do that when I get home from work!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Back From Ohio

Well, Dear Hubby Steve and I made our "road trip" to Ohio and back this weekend - - the one we had to put off for a couple of weeks due to the flu bugs in our household.

I will post about our little "adventure", but not at the moment. We have severe storms heading our way - - in fact, I can hear the thunder in the distance, and Springfield (just 35 miles West of here) has set off their warning sirens.

SO - - the computer is going down, and we are going on alert. Time to ride the storm out . . .

I'll post our trip activities soon!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Update on JT

I heard from our mutual friend A about how JT is doing. He came through the surgery fine, but is having quite a bit of pain. He didn't have his pain meds yet, and Tylenol w/codeine wasn't doing the trick. Once his mom got off work and can get the prescription filled, he will be in MUCH better shape.

But he's doing pretty okay, and I'm glad to hear it.

Hang in there, JT - - and come see "Mom" out at the College when you feel up to it! :-)


Today was better.

I'm still not back 100%, but at least my energy level is better. Yesterday was such a chore, just trying to make it through the day, and it felt like 5:00 p.m. would NEVER get here! But my energy level was vastly improved today.

NOT looking forward to tomorrow, though - - TWO - - count 'em - - TWO meetings to take minutes at . . . *sigh* . . . one at 9:00 a.m. (staff meeting), and one at 3:30 p.m. which should be a real doozy!! I am NOT looking forward to it . . . and, since it is confidential, I can't even get on here and vent about it afterward! :-(

Oh well - - wish me luck . . .