Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Reflection




Wow....2010 is basically over. This year has flown by! And as every other year, there have been good things and bad things.....

The early part of the year saw us spending a lot of time helping out our daughter-in-law in the aftermath of the divorce - - with banking, child support, getting everything switched over to her name. It had been so many years since my first marriage ended, I had forgotten how much there was to do! It took quite a while, but we finally helped her get all squared away.

Things were pretty quiet over the summer, but once September arrived, everything started happening! I had foot surgery on September 7th, and spent the next 2 months using a kneewalker scooter to get around. I was also off work on Medical Leave for 4 weeks, which would have been nice if I could have gotten up and done something! Also, Dear Mr. Dizzy's building construction started September 8th, so he was home on vacation not only for that, but to help me the first 2 weeks following my surgery.

September also found us fighting with the bank over the construction loan, thanks to an incompetent appraiser the bank used to evaluate our property. What a total bastard he was. And still is. And more than likely always will be. This whole deal has turned out much harder to deal with than it had to be, thanks to him. And has caused us more than our share of sleepless nights. If you ever want to know who NOT to hire for an appraisal, just contact me. I will be more than happy to share his name with you! Anything I can to do lose the SOB some business.

In November, I was finally released by the Doctor to be able to do some things - - so I went to Fairview Heights for a weekend of shopping and "girl time" with my Classmates ladies group. St. Claire's Square Mall, Joe's Crab Shack for dinner, an overnight at the Drury Inn....and my foot took it all in stride (no pun intended).

Christmas found us hosting Mr. Dizzy's family for dinner, with my Father coming up and spending the weekend with us as well. There were so many people in the house, and so much laughter and raucous noise, the cats all hid in closets! In fact, after everyone left, we could not find Lil Dude at all - - we were worried that one of the kids had accidently let him slip out of the house. But after turning the whole house upside-down, Mr. Dizzy found him, hiding all scrunched up in the back of my closet. Once it quieted down, he eventually screwed up his courage and came out, but was pretty jumpy the rest of the evening.

And now here it is New Year's Eve. It will be a fairly quiet one for us again this year - - we don't like to go out and do much this evening - - leave the hard partying to the kids, and we will stay home and pray they don't hurt themselves. Mr. Dizzy and I will just go out for a nice meal, get home early, and spend the rest of the evening at home, enjoying each other's company. I don't think it can get any better than that.

So in closing, I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year, and that 2011 is a very good year for you and yours!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just a "Heads-Up"....

Did I mention that I started up a recipe blog a couple of months ago? If not, well - - I started up a recipe blog a couple of months ago!

I decided that I was tired of always trying to find a particular recipe in all of my cookbooks, my scraps of paper in my recipe "file", etc. So, I decided it was time to get all my recipes into electronic form, and what better way than a blog?

So far I have over 40 of my tried-and-true recipes loaded, and there are many, many more to go. Since Campus is closed for Winter Break and I am off all week, there will be a lot more updating going on.

So if you are in the mood to find a new recipe, or just like to browse food blogs, feel free to check it out. Here is the blog address: http://dizzyskitchen.blogspot.com.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. AND, be sure to check back at the blog often, because I will be continually adding to it!

Grace In Small Things: 51/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Christmas with my Dad!
  • Visiting with my crazy aunt, uncle and cousins
  • Quiet, quality time with Dear Mr. Dizzy
  • Winter Break - - I don't go back to work until January 3rd!
  • Getting to see my son for Christmas! He lives in Oklahoma, and came up to Illinois to spend time with family.
I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Christmas!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To One and All!


From our household to yours - - from Dizzy Ms. Lizzy, Mr. Dizzy, Carmichael, Squeak, and Lil Dude.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 50/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Squeaky girl kitty still on the mend and doing well
  • My foot still on the mend and doing extremely well
  • Christmas party with a great group of friends Saturday night - - good food, good times, good people
  • Dear Mr. Dizzy's family Christmas gathering at our house on Sunday - - more good Holiday times
  • Last week of work before Winter Break, then off work until January!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 49/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • A nice warm home when the wind chill temps dip below zero.
  • Squeaky-girl kitty getting better now.
  • Roast pork and dressing for Sunday dinner....the whole house smells great.
  • Making some of the cutest Christmas presents ever.
  • Getting released by the Doctor, and finally able to do more of what I want.

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 48/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Finding out my home computer crash isn't as drastic as first thought, and shouldn't cost me an arm and leg to get it fixed - - it should be repaired and back at my home office desk soon (thank goodness I bought this laptop as a spare!)
  • Taking Friday off and making myself a long three-day weekend
  • Little Squeak Kitty sleeping on my shoulder early in the morning (like 5 AM early!)
  • The heavy snow going North of us - - they got 4-5 inches, we just got a light dusting....*whew*.....dodged a bullet on that one
  • Homemade Lasagna - - my Mother's recipe - - cooking in the oven for Sunday Dinner
And one more - - the last post-op checkup on my foot went extremely well! The Doctor has now released me, and told me to be careful, use common sense, but I can basically do whatever my foot will allow me to do. So now it's back to the Gym full-time! Yay!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 47/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • A short work week and a LONG Holiday weekend!
  • Thanksgiving dinner with my Dad
  • Dessert and conversation with my aunt, uncle and a whole mess of cousins after dinner
  • Time at home to work on Christmas gifts - - love those extra days holiday weekends give me!
  • An NCIS Marathon on the telly all day Sunday.
**I go for my next foot surgery post-op checkup on Wednesday, Dec. 1st. Wish me luck for a good report!


Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Friday, November 26, 2010

'Tis the Season To Be Snotty

After last year's Black Friday incident (I posted about it here: http://dizzymslizzy.blogspot.com/2009/11/black-friday-incident-and-other-stuff.html, I have sworn off day after Thanksgiving shopping. Forever. I don't care how much something is on sale for - - I don't care how badly I may want it - - I don't care if they are GIVING IT AWAY - - you couldn't pay me enough to put myself through that again.

Besides, why go there, freeze my ass off waiting for a store to open, get pushed and shoved and practically beaten black and blue by rude, inconsiderate people on Black Friday, when I can get that any day in the week?

Yes, it's true, unfortunately....the closer it gets to the Holiday season, and all during said season, people get more rude, more inconsiderate, and just plain, downright mean.

Case in point: Yesterday evening Dear Mr. Dizzy and I decided to get our grocery shopping done before the crazy holiday sales madness hit the following day. It was good timing - -
Walmart was almost deserted. We happened to see someone I work with, and pulled over to the side of the wide main aisle to chat for a minute. As we are standing there, a young lady walked by, and as she passed us, she rammed into my friend's cart, actually pushing it, and just kept on walking without saying a word. My friend was shocked, and I said to the girl's back (she was about an aisle away by that point), "You could at least say excuse me." Well, she turned around and gave us a "look" (and not a nice one at that), and then just tossed an "Excuse me" over her shoulder at us, and kept walking.

Gee, we were all the way over at the side of the aisle, to make sure we were out of people's way. And then you come along and decide that is the EXACT SPOT in that whole, wide aisle you wanted - - you NEEDED - - to be. What a sense of entitlement.

Amazing.

A bit later, as Mr. Dizzy and I are checking out, I'm paying the cashier, and happen to look over at the checkout lane next to us. There is the same young lady, who just finished checking out and is gathering her bags, standing there just GLARING at me. I ignored her. She continued to stand there, glaring at me. I finally looked over and gave her "the look" (if you know me, you know exactly what I'm talking about!). She faltered a bit, but continued to stare....but finally looked away and walked off.

Lucky for her. I don't put up with people who feel they are entitled to treat people as rudely as they wish and just get away with it. Push me too far and find out what happens next. Bring it, bitch.

*sigh*

It's going to be a LONG Holiday season.....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 46/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Warm kitties on cool nights
  • Gooey Butter Cookies!
  • A weekend out of town shopping with my Ladies group
  • Coming home after a weekend shopping!
  • Dear Mr. Dizzy walking in the door after a long hunting weekend....feels so good having his arms wrapped around me - - where they belong!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 45/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • A SHORT work week - - only 3 days, followed by a 4 day weekend.
  • A long weekend spent with good friends in Brownsville, Tennessee. Southern hospitality at its best.
  • Southern cooking - - nothing like good hot grits for breakfast!
  • Being home - - no matter how good it is to get away, it's even better getting back home where we belong.
  • Three fuzzy cat-creatures greeting us as we walk in the door, SO happy to see us.
Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Moving Forward....Finally!

Progress is being made!

For the first time in three months, I am able to go back to the Gym! The Doctor has cleared me to work on upper body and core, but no machines that would put stress on my foot (such as treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc.)...my Doctor and I have a good trust built up between us. He knows he can trust me to NOT do something I'm not supposed to do, and to protect my foot.

So Tuesday I went and worked out on the upper body and core machines, did some crunches on an exercise ball; only did about 1/2 hour workout, because that was my first time in three months. Wednesday, I made it back for my favorite Body Toning class. This morning I made it in for more work on the upper body/core machines. I was going to go back tomorrow morning, but.....

Tonight, the pain has hit. *sigh* Tomorrow morning, it may be all I can do to get out of bed without assistance! So - - tomorrow's workout may have to be put on "hold" until next week.

But you know, it's all worth it....it just feels so damn good to be back!

Now if my muscles will stop being mad at me.....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Blog.....

I have been looking for a way to put all my recipes in electronic form, not only to keep from losing them someday, but in a form that allows me to find one easily, or share them easily with friends or family members that may want a copy.

So, I decided the best way would be to start keeping a recipe blog.

The new blog is called "Cooking In the Kitchen With Dizzy" and can be found at http://dizzyskitchen.blogspot.com.

So far, I have quite a few of our favorite recipes in there, complete with a picture of each. And? Each recipe is categorized with a label for each in searching.

I hope you get a chance to check it out sometime!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 44/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • A good report from my most recent post-op checkup....my foot is healing well.
  • Actually able to wear a real SHOE periodically on my surgery foot!
  • Spending a couple of evenings with my grandsons...pizza one night, Crescent Dogs the next. And lots of fun.
  • Seeing my son for the first time in months - - it had been WAY too long.
  • Bacon-Corn Chowder in the crockpot....so good!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Well - - Good News, and Not So Good News.....

My latest post-op checkup with the Doctor was some good, and some not so good.

The GOOD news is that:

  • I am healing well.
  • I can start sleeping without the surgical shoe on (HALLELUJIA!).
  • I have been cleared to take my "road trip" to Fairview Heights on Nov. 20th, including driving myself all that way.
  • I can start going back to the Gym to do some light working out, such as upper body weight machines, recumbent bike, etc. NOT the elliptical, stairmaster, or treadmills yet, but that's fine. Baby steps.

The NOT-so-good news is that I'm still having to wear the surgical shoe quite a bit. I was hoping to be able to put on a REAL shoe this afternoon, but my foot was swollen just enough that it was not possible. I got the shoe about halfway on, and there was no getting it any further.

BUMMER.

I know - - it's only been 2 months tomorrow that I had surgery. I'm trying very hard to be patient. But anyone who knows me, even a little bit, knows that PATIENCE is NOT a strong point of mine.....

I have some good, supportive lace-up shoes I can wear, that will probably fit just fine, and those will definitely be getting worn a lot. But, they are not the kind of shoes I can wear and look okay with my work clothes. And as for going shoe shopping? Out of the question, for quite a few more months.

I'm really not complaining. I'm healing well, and things are looking pretty good. But it was disheartening to not be able to fit that shoe on my foot. I know it's because my foot will be swelling as the day goes on, and that will continue for a few more months as the healing process continues.

I REALLY DO KNOW ALL THIS.

And tomorrow? I will feel much better about everything.

Tonight, I just want to be able to be bummed out, and get it out of my system.

Grace In Small Things: 43/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • I survived a horrendous work week!
  • Hot tea to warm me up on chilly Autumn mornings
  • Lap robes to snuggle under while watching an NCIS Marathon
  • Finding a new Holiday outfit at JC Penney....it fits perfectly, and it was on sale!
  • Tater Tot Casserole for Supper - - one of the ultimate comfort foods!

Tomorrow I go back to the foot doctor for my 4th post-op checkup. If all goes well, I may be able to start wearing regular shoes on that foot again. Keep your fingers crossed!


Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 42/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Homemade chili simmering in the crockpot
  • Walking without crutches or a cane!
  • DRIVING again! (Missed driving SO much)
  • Going to the Animal Protective League fundraiser on Sunday....they do such good work for homeless animals, and we always support them.
  • Lil Dude sleeping on my computer desk in front of my monitors as I type this....what a sweetie.
Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 41/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Got an EXCELLENT report from the Doctor Monday, and got to start walking on my right foot again, for the first time in almost 6 weeks
  • On Saturday, I was released to be able to drive again! (Just short trips, but the freedom feels great!)
  • Fresh produce from the Produce Market - - the last one this season, unfortunately.....
  • A big pot of homemade Chili simmering on the stove....the whole house smells SO good!
  • A new purse from Payless - - beautiful, on sale, AND a coupon for additional 20% off! Yes, I am "super shopper"!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Driving!!

I am now able to drive again! Yay!

Yesterday was my first attempt at it after six weeks of not being able to be in the Driver's Seat. My first little short trip was to the Farmer's Market at the College; I wanted to go because it was the last one of the season. And, since the College is only 5 minutes away from home, Mr. Dizzy and I figured it would be a safe little trek for me to try for my first outing.

It went fine, except I noticed that I was being overly cautious, mainly because my foot still has that big clumsy surgical shoe on (my friend Adam, who saw it for the first time yesterday, called it a "Jesus Sandal"....never thought of it that way before, but ya know? He's right.).

Once I got back home, I decided to run a few errands......

HOURS later, I got back home.

Poor Mr. Dizzy - - now that I'm back in the saddle, he can't keep me home!

Believe me, I appreciate everything Dear Mr. Dizzy did for me the past six weeks - - nursing me back to health, getting me drinks, snacks, my computer, books ..... even cooking supper almost every evening! Getting my "sea legs" back doesn't mean he's no longer needed. He is. And hopefully he believe me when I tell him that.

But - - oh my, does it ever feel good to get some independence back!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Well, THIS Isn't Fun.....

I started walking, for the first time in FIVE WEEKS, Monday evening.

It feels weird, like having to learn how to walk all over again. I was a bit shaky at first, and a little off-balance. (I know, I've always been a bit "off-balance. Hush. I'm being serious here!)

You know when you start working out, or step up your workout to a higher level, how your muscles get mad at you? How the next day, you are a bit sore, but the day after THAT, you are in so much pain you just want to crawl in a hole and cover up?

Tuesday, my ankle and legs were a little bit achy and tired. I figured "hey, not too bad; I'm going to be okay." Right? RIGHT?

Wrong. So, so wrong.

Tuesday was the "day after." Yesterday was the "day after THAT."

Last night was a trip back to Vicodin land.....my back, hips, legs, ankles, feet - - hell, my whole BODY - - was one giant ball of pain. It was Vicodin, or no sleep. The Vicodin won. Even then, I woke up in the middle of the night, stiff and sore from laying so still, and had to take another one.

But today? MUCH better. I was not about to take any Vicodin at work, so carried a bottle of aspirin with me; but, didn't have to take any until about 2:00 this afternoon.

MUCH better.

And, I am walking much better today....actually starting to get the hang of it again!

I'm going to get through this. Really I am.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Post-Op Checkup: Good News!

I had GREAT news from the Doctor yesterday....everything is healing up well, and I am able to do some walking now! I still have the kneewalker stroller until the end of the month, as it will need to be used for long stretches that would be too much for me to walk just yet. But he wants me to try walking for short little treks, around the house, down the hall at work, etc.

But the nerves in my foot? Are NOT happy with me - - when I first start taking a few steps, they flare up and give me hell.....for about 30 seconds, then it calms down and I'm able to amble on down the hall.

I have also been cleared to try some driving this weekend - - just short little trips at first so that I don't tire out my foot and have it start swelling on me. But this means I can drive myself to work starting next week, and can go back to my normal work hours!

My next checkup is in 3 weeks. If all is still looking well, I will be able to get out of the surgical shoe and start wearing real shoes again. That will feel SO good!

All in all, this makes me a very happy lady!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 40/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • After a month off on Medical Leave, I was FINALLY able to go back to work this week (with Doctor's restrictions, of course)
  • MAKING IT through the whole work week - - some days were tougher than others
  • A Chocolate/Heath Bits/Cool Whip topped cake brought by my Director as a "Welcome Back" to work
  • Cool nights and warm kittycats - - makes for good sleeping
  • Chicken Tetrazzini for supper last night - - the whole house smelled wonderful
This afternoon I go back to the Doctor for my third post-op checkup. Hopefully the stitches will be taken out, and I also hope to get some news on when I might be able to try some walking. I will admit to being impatient, but - - I also know that following Doctor's orders to the letter is an absolute must. Baby steps, people, baby steps....

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 39/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • My knitting project is going extremely well
  • Dinner out with "The Ladies" at Firewater Cafe - Broiled Salmon on Garlic Spinach....yum!**
  • Cooler weather....good for snuggling!
  • Warm, cuddly kitty-kids sharing my lap robe with me
  • Going back to work after a month of Medical Leave!
Tomorrow is my first day back to work (with Doctor-ordered restrictions). Wish me luck!

**Side Note: If Travis Erwin reads about this, I'm sure he will have something to say....I know you may not believe this, Travis, but I really DO like steak also! (But sometimes I stray to the "Dark Side" of fish and veggies.....)

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Courtesy and Compassion (Or Lack Thereof)

I have always tried to be courteous to people with disabilities. I will hold doors, help someone reach an item on a higher shelf if needed, not shown impatience if I'm slowed down walking behind them in a crowded store. It's not their fault. They have a disability; they are doing the best they can. I figure nothing in my life is so damn urgent that I can't wait a couple of extra minutes....no reason to be impatient or rude.

It's the way I was raised - - be kind, be courteous, and show compassion. It's too bad that there are so many people out there who do NOT practice this.

For the past month, since my foot surgery, I have had to use a kneewalker to get around, since I am not allowed to put any weight on my right foot at all. When grocery shopping, I have been using the battery-operated carts; if one is not available, I have to use the kneewalker. During the time so far, I have run into the best and worst of people out there - - the kind, courteous ones, and the jerks. I have had doors help open for me (thank you!), and I have had people literally push in front of me, to the point where I almost fell off the kneewalker (idiots!).

But one of the worst things? Is at the checkout. I use my Debit Card to pay, and the little machine that you swipe your card through and then have to punch in you PIN? And also answer some stupid questions (cash back? donate? etc., etc., etc.)?

It does not tilt down.

So here I am, in a narrow checkout lane, sitting in a battery-operated cart, because hey - - I am not able to put any weight on my foot - - and I am having to try to stand up in the damn cart to swipe my card, punch in my PIN, and answer all their nosy-ass questions.

It's not easy, people. Not easy at all.

So hey, Walmart! Kroger! County Market! How about a little compassion here! Okay?

This time off my feet is a real eye-opener. If anything, it's made me even more aware of how much farther we need to go to make things more accessible for persons with disabilities - - better sidewalk access from parking lots, automatic doors, displays in grocery store aisles (THOSE things are a freakin' menace!) and more.

I don't know what it will take - - writing letters, talking with store managers - - but I intend to at least try.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 38/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • A knitting "play date" with my dear friend Judy, who taught me to knit a couple of years ago....I was going stir-crazy and needed the company - - thanks, Judy!
  • Wendy's BLT Cobb Salad for supper...yum!
  • Squeaky-girl kitty cuddling up with me in the early morning, keeping me nice and warm
  • Sachima (a Chinese snack cake) from my dear friend Lily....she knows how much I love it!
  • As usual, my Dear Mr. Dizzy, for taking such good care of me during my surgery recovery. Yes, blessed I am.....
Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 37/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • My new Kindle! :-)
  • A good post-op checkup report from my foot surgery
  • Pot Roast and roasted veggies for dinner
  • Mr. Dizzy, the MOST WONDERFUL husband in the world, for all the help and caring he has provided me the past 2 weeks following my surgery
  • Andee, the best hair stylist EVER, for actually coming to the house to cut my hair, to make it easier for me
I am SO blessed!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My New Toy!

Guess what I got??

Photobucket

Photobucket

I have wanted one of these since they came out....and I am madly in love with it!

I'm having so much fun with this.....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Post-Surgery Update

I went for my second post-op checkup this morning. The Doctor is VERY pleased with my foot's healing progress! But, I am still going to be off work for at least another 2 weeks (oh, DARN....LOL).

I am also fighting a sinus infection....*sigh*....we stopped at our Family Doctor's office on the way home and talked to the nurse. She spoke to the Doctor and got me a prescription for an antibiotic, so I'm on meds for another 10 days. Hope this kicks it, it's making me miserable!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 36/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • My foot surgery went EXTREMELY well!
  • I have virtually NO pain from the surgery, which means the Vicodin is doing its job
  • Dear Mr. Dizzy is home on vacation for 2 weeks, so has been here to help me out when I need it (which is A LOT)
  • My first post-op checkup went very well....the Doctor thinks things are looking good
  • My friend Connie dropped by with homemade brownies....she makes the BEST brownies ever!
Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Surgery Update

Foot surgery went well! I am now in and out of "Vicodin Land"....which is a strange feeling. But it helps keep the pain at bay, so it's a good place to be!

Yesterday we got to the Hospital at 6 AM, and they took me back right away. Got the IV put in (which was a NIGHTMARE) (thanks to the tech who messed it up) (TWICE!). I was in surgery by 8 AM and out around 9 AM, in recovery. Since they used an ankle block and Twilight, I was alert and "with it" very quickly, and was discharged and home by Noon.

So now it's all a healing process....my foot is uncomfortable, but the pain is managed by the Vicodin pretty well. I have my first post-op appointment with the Doctor this Friday morning, so we will see what he has to say. Hopefully he will have good news for me!

I'll keep ya posted.....

Monday, September 06, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 35/2010

This week, I am going to change things up a bit....

Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 7th) I am having surgery on my right foot. The Doctor has already told me that I will be off work for 3-4 weeks, will be using crutches or a kneewalker for 6-8 weeks, will not be able to drive for 2 months, and cannot return to the Gym for 3 months.

Therefore - - I am grateful that I have a job with people who are considerate and understanding, that I have health insurance benefits that allow me to take care of a medical problem when it arises, and that I have people in my life who truly love and care about me. This is being shown as follows:
  • My employer has granted me Medical Leave so that I can be off without worrying about losing my position.
  • My husband has scheduled his two weeks vacation to coincide with my first two weeks off, so that I will have someone here 24/7 in case I need something....I am SO blessed to have that man in my life.
  • My Medical Benefits is allowing me to rent a kneewalker to use instead of crutches, which is SUCH a blessing; I tried crutches, and my wrists hurt so bad I could hardly do anything.
  • When I am finally able to come back to work, my supervisor is allowing me to flex my work schedule to match my husband's, so that I don't have to worry about how to get there and back home again.
  • My friend Connie has given me many magazines to read, lent me her pair of crutches to keep around in case they are needed, and has offered to stop by every week and pick up my timesheets/time off forms to turn into my supervisor for me. She has also offered to stop at the Farmer's Market on Saturdays and pick up some fresh produce for me.
Wish me luck, and please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lil Dude and His Posse

Updated: I have added a past picture of Lil Dude from back in January, when he first joined our family, to use as a reference:

Remember this little guy?

Well - - Lil Dude isn't so "LITTLE" anymore!


He's such a sweetie! And such a Brat! And.....well, he's a kitten; what do you expect?

AAAAANNNNNDDDDD of course there are the other two sleepyheads.....

Yes, Dude is my "Baby", but.....Those two will ALWAYS be my loves!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 34/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Actually making it through the first week of classes without any major meltdowns!
  • Cooler weather
  • Curling up with Lil Dude and the other Kitty-Kids
  • Finding a treasure trove of my Grandmother's books- - she's been gone 20 years, and we just found out about these!
  • Fresh dug carrots from the Produce Market - - SO sweet and tender!
Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 33/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • FINALLY some rain to brighten up my flowers and green up my lawn
  • My Student Worker's wife coming through emergency surgery with flying colors
  • Weekends - - 'nuff said
  • A day of fun at the State Fair with Dear Mr. Dizzy and friends from Chicago
  • Breakfast at Panera with Mr. Dizzy - - and it was FREE!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

State Fair Time!

Saturday Mr. Dizzy and I took a road trip to Springfield to the Illinois State Fair. We were meeting friends of ours who were coming down from Chicago to spend the day at the Fair as well. Here are some of the "highlights" that we saw while we were there.....

When we first walked in the gate of the Fairgrounds, we saw this guy:
Photobucket
Guess you should never go anywhere without your goat.....

And, I guess this guy was jonesin' for some breakfast - - Mini-dounts, breakfast of champions:
Photobucket

I had heard of this stuff, but never experienced it before now:
Photobucket
Never thought I would say this, but chocolate covered bacon really isn't half bad!

Went into the Artisan's Building, and saw this guy:
Photobucket
Yes, that is Mountain Dew bottles....

We also saw this little fellow:
Photobucket
He is made totally out of milk jugs and staples.

Heh. I can't make this stuff up.....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Is SO Funny....

Have you seen the "Simon's Cat" videos? They are hilarious, and this new one reminds us SO much of Lil Dude.....enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 32/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • My feet have finally stopped hurting from Decatur Celebration
  • FINALLY, some rain, after a long, HOT dry spell (unfortunately, it's STILL hot, but at least my yard and flowers got a drink)
  • Fresh tomatoes from the Produce Market (great on a hamburger)
  • Little Squeaky-girl Kitty curling up with me sleeping at night
  • My grandson's Birthday....he is now 11.....Happy Birthday, Alex! (*sigh* Where did the time go?)
Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Decatur Celebration Pictures!

Here are a few shots we got from this year's Celebration:

Ryan Cabrera on our stage Friday night:
Ryan Cabrera

The Parade Saturday morning:
Parade

Shriners in parade

Lou Gramm performing Saturday night:
Lou Gramm

Georgia Satellites Saturday afternoon:
Georgia Satellites

Charlie Daniels!!
Charlie Daniels

Devil Went Down to Georgia


All in all, an EXTREMELY good Festival this year!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Decatur Celebration

Okay, this post is a few days late. Decatur Celebration was LAST weekend, but I have been "recovering" from it these past few days, and also work has been nothing short of chaotic.

I know - - enough with the excuses....so here is information on how this year's Celebration went down.....

This was the 25th Anniversary of the Celebration. It also marked the 24th year Dear Mr. Dizzy and I have worked the festival. So it was a happy time for all!

We work the Show Stage, which is the largest stage at the festival, and it usually gets the biggest "headliners" for the year. This year we had four acts to work with - - Ryan Cabrera Friday night, The Lou Gramm Band (he's the former lead singer of Foreigner) Saturday night, The Georgia Satellites Sunday afternoon, and Charlie Daniels Sunday night.

Quite a line-up, eh?

Friday evening Mr. Dizzy and I got downtown around 4:30. When we got to the stage, we were a bit concerned....not band set up; nothing at all onstage! We found the stage manager and asked about it, and he just laughed and said, "All we need is a mic and a pedal for acoustic guitar." Apparently Ryan Cabrera didn't have anyone backing him - - it was just him on stage with his guitar, singing soft pop songs.

I had no idea who he was, but apparently every prepubescent girl in the tri-county area did, because the average age of the audience was about 15. And the screaming? High-pitched and LOUD. Kinda cute, actually - - but I seriously doubt that I was ever THAT young!

Ryan and his manager were nice people, and it was a pretty calm crowd. Also, the weather was pretty mild that evening, so all in all it was a pretty easy (read: BORING) start to the festival for me. Sorry, but - - I like a little action on the stage, and a crowd that is just a touch more mature. Maybe I'm showing my age.....

Saturday the temps started out pretty mild, and the humidity was down a bit, so it was not an uncomfortable day. We had Lou Gramm's Band that day, and when they all arrived for setup and sound check, we were very happy with the way they were - - friendly, nice, easy to work with. And the show that night? Nothing short of AMAZING!!

And it seems that his performing is nothing short of a miracle....a few years ago, Lou was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he found a doctor who was using a new laser surgical technique. He agreed to the surgery, but was given a LESS THAN 50% chance of survival.

Well, he survived - - and started performing and touring again, and sounds better than ever. He put on an amazing show! After the performance, the band was backstage with all of the workers, and they were as nice and down-to-earth as you could hope to find. A very nice second night of the festival!

Sunday, the heat and humidity returned. WITH A VENGEANCE. It started out early morning hot, and as the day progressed, it just got worse. And of course, it was to be our busiest day....we had TWO BANDS and THREE SHOWS to work with.

The work day started at 9:00 AM, with load-in for Charlie Daniels' band. Also, the souvenirs needed set up, because they wanted them on sale ALL DAY, not just during the performance. Then, the Georgia Satellites showed up with their equipment. And THEIR souvenirs. Keeping the sales straight for two different groups was going to present a definite challenge....

Charlie Daniels' band did a two-hour soundcheck, and once that was done, it was time to set up Georgia Satellite's equipment in front of the other band's stuff. They were playing two shows, and Charlie Daniels was playing one show later in the evening.

All this time the heat and humidity are rising, the sun is beating down, and it's HOT under the awning were souvenir sales were going on. Which is where I was trapped.

Georgia Satellites put on a great pair of shows! And, they were very nice, funny, down-to-earth guys, and we had a ton of fun with them. I never have cared for their music, and still don't (sorry guys), but they were good people.

About 6:45, I headed into the Civic Center to help with the Charlie Daniels Meet & Greet. Again, I have never been a country music fan (and still am not), but was looking forward to meeting a man who was such a music legend. And, I had heard that he was a very nice person.

Well, Charlie did not disappoint. When he walked in the room, and heard everybody cheering, he ducked his head and actually look embarrassed! But, pleased at the same time.

I assisted keeping the Meet & Greet people in line and signaling them when to come up, and it was a fun time. Near the end, one of Charlie's people walked up, handed me a picture, and asked me if I would like to meet Charlie also. Well, HELL YEAH! So when everyone in the line was through, I came up and got to talk to him. He chatted with me for a bit, and I said I was one of his stage workers; he actually thanked me for helping with his show that night! He then not only signed the picture, but my Volunteer Work Shirt as well.

Charlie Daniels treated everyone he talked to the same, whether it was the Producer of the festival, the Media people, the Mayor of our City, or a stage worker like myself.

And you better believe the show he put on that night? Nothing.Short.Of.FABULOUS.

Before, during, and after the snow, his band and road crew were just as nice and friendly as the Big Man himself. So even though the weather was miserable, it was a great ending to a great year.

I have pictures, but will post them tomorrow. Hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BLAZING Heat....

It's hot here in Central Illinois.

Uncomfortably, miserably so.

Not just the kind of normal Summer weather you would expect....no, we are talking temps in the high 90's, high humidity, and Heat Indices (feels like) temps in the triple digits. Anywhere from 105-125. Degrees. Fahrenheit.

No, that is not a typo.

Yeah, it's not fun.

I grew up LOVING Summer. LOVING it. I was always outside, always playing, you could hardly get me to come in the house. But these days? You can hardly get me to leave it!

Don't get me wrong here - - I will still take warm weather over Winter any time! I hate being cold, and during the Winter months never seem to be able to get warm enough.

But a Heat Index of 125? Degrees? Fahrenheit?

No thanks, had enough.

I can has my usual Summer weather back now? Please?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 31/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Grilled turkey/cheese sandwiches with fresh garden tomatoes in the middle.
  • Helping orient new Scholar students embarking on their College path....a whole new batch of fresh faces on Campus!
  • Passed my online MOT class with 100%!
  • Air conditioning, especially with heat indices at 100+ degrees.....
  • Another successful Decatur Celebration festival done and in the books - - this was Year #25, Silver Anniversary.
***Side note: After 3 days of working the fest, I'm burned to a crisp! Yes, I used sunscreen, yes, I reapplied it, but it was so darn hot it kept sweating off! And I was too busy working to reapply it every 1/2 hour or so..... ***


Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 30/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Friday was Payday!
  • Lil Dude bringing out the "kitten" in Squeak - - she's getting so much more playful and fun! And affectionate.
  • My latest ION (Illinois Online Network) course is done, finished and through, and my grade is 320 points our of 320 points. An "A" in the books!
  • Fresh tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon and more from the Saturday Produce Market.
  • My life - - I am truly blessed with an amazing husband, and sweet, lovable, fun kitty-babies.
Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 29/2010

What I am grateful for this week:

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Decatur Celebration Memories....

Check this out....Tim Cain wrote a GREAT article about Decatur Celebration, and about yours truly and Mr. Dizzy....



http://herald-review.com/news/local/article_c41ab863-ae0f-598c-8da5-d13fd380f6ee.html

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 28/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • Short work week for me, just four days.
  • Spending time with friends in St. Louis....even though we went down for a visitation/funeral, it was still good to be able to see everyone and be with them.
  • Presentation at BlackboardWorld in Orlando went well for my Director. Way to go, Kona! :-)
  • Lunch with a good friend yesterday - - Cheddar's!
  • Lil Dude sleeping on my computer desk as I write this....his favorite place to be when I'm typing (he likes to "help").

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Swear, He Thinks He's A Dog....

That new Lil Dude of ours. I swear, he thinks he's a dog.

I'll be sitting up in bed, reading or watching TV at night, and he will bring up one of his cat toys, drop it on the bed in front of me, and then stand there, staring at me and meowing insistently. I will play with him with the toy for a bit, then throw it off the bed. He used to just jump off the bed and chase it, and then play with it on the floor.

Not anymore....he "fetches" it back to me.

Yes, he chases it down, brings it back on the bed, drops it in front of me, and starts the whole staring/meowing routine all over again. Just like a dog would do....well, without the "meowing" part. :)

*sigh* What a character. What a swee, adorable, funny little character!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Road Trip

I have been hoping, for a LONG, LONG time, that Mr. Dizzy and I would have a chance to make a weekend road trip to St. Louis. We have good friends down there, and there are so many things we like to go and see, such as University City, The Hill, Ted Drewe's, and much, much more.

Sunday we made a road trip to St. Louis. But, not for the reasons I had hoped . . . we attended the funeral of one of those very dear, close family friends. Mr. Dizzy's Dad and John (the family friend) served in the Navy together, have always been as close as brothers, and their kids grew up together; they are more like brothers and sisters than friends.

Dear Mr. Dizzy, his brother, father, and another Navy mate were asked to be pallbearers. I know John would have loved that.

I was doing pretty good holding it all together until we got to the cemetery, where they buried him with full military honors - - the 21 gun salute, "Taps" played in the distance, and the folding and presenting of the flag to the family. THAT is when I just totally lost it.

The past two days have been an emotional rollercoaster for us, and we both feel completely drained. It's difficult to lose someone so dear to you.

Rest in Peace, John. And God Bless.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 27/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • A short (4-day) work week.
  • Fresh sweet corn on the cob.
  • Landscaping outside around our house is finished, and beautiful!
  • Fresh peaches for cobbler. Or maybe a pie. Or both.
  • National Chocolate Day last Tuesday....just because.... :)

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Uh-Ohhhhhh......

We have one BAD LITTLE BOY on our hands.....

Photobucket

Look at how GUILTY he looks.....

But I still love the Lil Dude! :-)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 27/2010

What I am grateful for this week:
  • A FIVE DAY WEEKEND - - took off Thursday and Friday, and along with the three day Holiday weekend, it's like a mini-vacation!
  • Dinner at Olive Garden with my Dad - - always good spending time with him!
  • A trip to Arthur, Illinois - - our nearby Amish community - - for a day of fun with my friend Connie. Visited a lot of Amish businesses and found lots of fresh baked goods and fresh produce galore.
  • Steaks out on the grill to celebrate the Holiday weekend.
  • Living in America - - would not want to live anywhere else!
Happy Fourth of July....and Happy Birthday, America!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Story of Lil Dude - Part Eight (In Pictures!)

He was so small, and scared, and starving that cold Winter night we found him on our doorstep, and this is the closest we could get to him without him bolting in fear....


LilDude1.jpg picture by mslizzyj

But once we finally got our hands on him, got him cleaned up and he started feeling safe, he started getting a little friendlier.... and look at those beautiful big green eyes.....


LilDude1-1.jpg picture by mslizzyj

And just like big brother Carmichael, we discovered Lil Dude's love of "belly rubs".....


IMGP1673.jpg picture by mslizzyj

When he is not eating or playing with big brother Carmichael or big sister Squeak, he loves to spend time "helping" Mom (me) on the computer....


IMGP1675.jpg picture by mslizzyj

He also learned the fine art of "napping"....


LilDude4.jpg picture by mslizzyj

Anywhere....


LilDude3.jpg picture by mslizzyj

Any time....


IMG_0036.jpg picture by mslizzyj

He is now 6 months old, and growing BIG! Look how long his tail has gotten....


IMG_0039.jpg picture by mslizzyj

Mr. Dizzy and I never wanted more than two cats in our home. NEVER. But now that Lil Dude is here, it's hard to imagine life without him! He has brought the playfulness out in both Carmichael and Squeak, and won over my heart, and Mr. Dizzy's as well.

So, to end this story, I would like to say something to the people who dumped him out on that cold, freezing Winter night and left him for dead....

Dear cruel, heartless bastards - - this is a big THANK YOU for being such idiots, and dumping Lil Dude out at our home. He is a beautiful, adorable kitty, and a wonderful addition to our family! You have no idea what you are missing out on - - the playfulness, the comedy, but most of all - - the love. Lil Dude has more affection than his (not so) little body can hold, and gives it to all of us freely and constantly. And you never will, because he is OURS. We are the winners in this situation . You stupid jerks are the losers here!


IMGP1669.jpg picture by mslizzyj

"That's telling them, Mom!"


Monday, June 28, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 26/2010

Things I am grateful for this week:

  • Good report from my dentist appointment!
  • Curling up with Lil Dude during the thunderstorms rolling through last Tuesday....he helped make it all better.
  • Great workout in the Body Sculpting class last Wednesday - - my muscles STILL ache! But it feels good.....
  • Celebrating my student worker's 21st birthday last Friday - - pizza and DQ Ice Cream Cake for lunch - - YUM!
  • Burgers and brats cooked out on the grill for supper, with fresh green beans and new potatoes on the side. LOVE all the fresh produce this time of year!

Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Story of Lil Dude - Part Seven (The Rest of the Story)

Life got busier by the day at work. A had many projects going, and little time to do anything else. She was able to find a house she liked and made an offer, which was rejected. Then things stepped up even more, and she had virtually no time to house-hunt for awhile.

Lil Dude kept worming his way into our hearts - - gotta admit, the little guy is GOOD! His favorite thing seems to be coming up into our bed in the middle of the night and curl up on my stomach, purring. Then, he moves himself around until he is sleeping right in-between us, with my arm around him and his head on my shoulder....and he purrs himself (and me) to sleep.

How can I let go of THAT?? Well, the answer is - - I can't.

Mr. Dizzy and I were talking a couple of weeks ago, and he said, "You know, I think he is going to have to stay with us." I just about did cartwheels for joy! (That would NOT have been a pretty sight, believe me!) I had been worried that I actually would have to give up the little guy, and every time the thought crossed my mind, my heart would break a little. Yes, I know there was NO WAY we were keeping him, and NO WAY I would get attached to him.....but apparently Lil Dude had other ideas. It's amazing how such a little guy like that can take down two big ol' people like me and Mr. Dizzy. But he did.

I broke the news to A the following day, and she completely understood. She, too, had been wondering how Lil Dude would react being taken away from us and the other two cats, and being in a house alone with her and her brother, with no other cats around. I promised her that when she did get a house and moved in and settled, I would help her find her own little black kitty - - we may take a road trip to Springfield Animal Protective League (best place EVER to find a pet!) or, a classmate of mine has lots of cats on her farm, and she just informed me that she has two black kittens that need a home.

So someday A will have a "Lil Dude" of her own. But, THIS Lil Dude is happily settled in his "forever home" with me and Mr. Dizzy, along with big brother Carmichael and big sister Squeak. And it's all good.

NEXT - - a wrap-up of Lil Dude in pictures!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Grace In Small Things: 25/2010

What am I grateful for this week?
  • A 2-1/2 day weekend
  • Getting Squeak and Lil Dude's nails clipped - - no more "velcro kitties"!
  • Fresh spinach and zucchini's from the Outdoor Produce Market
  • A day all to myself with just the kitty-kids (just what the doctor ordered)
  • Dinner with my Dad on Father's Day - - my treat, of course! Happy Father's Day, Daddio! Love you!
Count your blessings - - join Grace In Small Things.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Story of Lil Dude: Part Six (the following week)

The next week I decided that even though Dude was going to another home, hopefully soon, it was still my responsibility to look after his health and welfare (and the welfare of my home as well). So I decided to cal the Vet and set up a time to get Dude neutered and all his shots. Not only would this help out A with the expense of a new pet, which would be difficult for her on top of all the moving/house expenses, but it would keep my two furbabes safe and also my furniture - - once he was neutered, he would not be spraying the place!

Friday came, and it was time to go to the Vet. I loaded up Dude in the carrier and took him in. This visit would consist of an overnight stay so that he could be monitored after the surgery to make sure there were no complications.

The hardest thing for me was walking out of there and leaving that little guy behind....he was mewing pitifully, and looking out the carrier door at me so sadly....I had to get a grip on myself. There would be NO getting attached to this adorable little guy!

As I drove off, I felt so guilty! It was just a couple of weeks earlier that someone had put him in a car, dumped him out and deserted him; left him for dead. I felt like I had betrayed the little guy - - deserted him. Even though I knew better, I was really worried about how he was feeling, how scared he must be.

I'm just too damn soft-hearted where cats are concerned. *sigh*

The following day I went back to the Vet to pick him up. As they brought the carrier out, Dude didn't see me at first - - but when I walked up to the counter and peered inside and said, "Hey, little guy" - - his eyes opened up wide, and he got so excited his whole body just started quivering! He started meowing and rubbing my hand against the carrier door. He was just so happy!

Dude laid in the carrier and just watched me the whole trip back home. He just laid there, purring and looking very content. When we got back home, we let him out and he just started running through the place as if he couldn't contain himself!

Uh-ohhhh - - he's feeling at home, and I'm getting totally attached.....

A had better find a home for herself and Lil Dude, and it better be quick.....

To be continued.......