Thursday, May 27, 2010

What have I been doing?

Good question. You can't find it on these pages the last week or 2. I could have made up something, I guess. Life is easy, uneventful just like I like it.

I've been celebrating this:

By working myself into a stupor. I've worked every day in May except for May 1 when I was traveling back from Texas. Every day. Overtime is nice though. The blue thing is a T-shirt that will go in my collection of 3 others that I've gotten over the 4 years I've worked here. Some MTs got chapstick on a string one year (that may have been us), and that's been a big joke about how appreciated we are. OSi is a good company, and they do listen to our gripes and try to make good changes, but things have changed in the 16 years I've done this, and it's not quite as much fun as it used to be. I'm just grateful for the wonderful job that I could pack up and take with me every time I moved and one that allows me to learn something new every day. Like lately it's kidney and heart transplants. It's so interesting to hear how they take the organ to the "back table" and get it ready and then see what has to be done to make it work. Anyway.

Everyone within the sound of my voice knows I'm planning - thinking about - hoping to retire in 16 months. I'm counting the days, but then I'll probably miss it and stay on part time. It's good to have that to look forward to though.

I've driven Mama twice this month to Prattville to get steroid injections for her back, which have been worth it. It may not have taken all her pain away, but it's certainly perked her up to the point that she has wanted to go shopping every day this week. Today on the way home, she said, "You would tell me if I act funny, wouldn't you? I just feel so good."

We've been on the hunt for just the perfect dress for this wedding Saturday. Found. Just the perfect small beige purse to put a Kleenex in. Found. Just the perfect necklace and earrings. Pink pearl-y ones. Found.

None of this for me. I'll just wear whatever I think is suitable and whatever fits this spring. The wedding is formal, and I know what that means for the wedding party, and I know what it means if you're a guest, but I'm really kind of in between, aunt/guest. One thing I'm certain of - my feet will hurt at some point, probably sooner rather than later. At least during the dinner, I'll be able to hide my shoeless feet under the table. Debby and I plan to have a good time in spite of hurting feet and uncomfortable clothes. And take lots of pictures.

I'm just glad it's not me running all over the place this May trying to work miracles. That's just a happy memory. One year ago this week. Emily and Ryan.

Two of my favorite pictures. I still don't know what Keith was saying to get that kind of reaction.

They can't believe they finally did it.

They're taking a few days off work to get away. I asked what potentially dangerous thing they were doing this time. Snowshoeing, mountain climbing, running marathons? Eating too many oysters? It's only camping on an island, Orca's Island in the San Juan Islands. It sounded Central American-ish to me, but it seems to be the other direction - way up there. It looks beautiful, and I'm happy they are getting this chance.

One day soon I'll get back to sewing instead of fighting the water hose every day to keep my plants happy - or shopping - or listening to doctors chew and doze off while they dictate.

Don't think I don't have a pile of projects ready for that time. A huge pile.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Morning Walk

I always have good intentions to take at least one walk a day (or week), but I somehow can't get up early enough to walk before starting to work, and it's dark when I get through work at night. My middle-of-the-day break comes in the hottest part of the day.

That's my excuse but hard to explain to Darby.

So she was surprised this morning when I jingled her leash and said, "Want to walk?" That's a "yeah, right" look.

She's a good walker and will stay beside me usually unless I allow her to do some sniffing.

I do love getting out early and seeing the neighborhood quiet and cool. We surprised a little rabbit 2 houses down, but I couldn't take a one-handed picture that showed him well enough. The yards and trees are nice and green but not much else happening.

These are getting ready to make a nice show.

And the back bed that makes me happy.

These are new in my yard. I think this is one of the pots I inherited from Emily when she moved.

This is what she growing now. Poppies in April hail. And she's learning that planting seasons in Washington are a little different from Alabama.

Just-planted tomato plants after the hail.

This is what she sees on her way to work in the mornings. I love it, but it's a little different from the steamy greenness down here.

It's more work today - overtime - trying to get our account caught up. I've worked probably 15 days in a row - not full days all of them - but at least a few hours a day.

Mama, Debby, and I will travel to Tuscaloosa for my niece's wedding next Saturday, so we'll have a nice change of pace - and hopefully some nice pictures and stories. Getting dressed up and going to weddings, especially formal ones, is not what any of us enjoy doing, but we'll have a good time.

One year ago, we were in full panic mode getting ready for Emily's wedding. I was probably lost in Atlanta begging Emily or Meghan to get me back safely. Or praying for sunshine (which we thankfully received). I wouldn't want to do it again any time soon, but it turned out wonderfully. One year.

Maybe someone will talk to me today and tell me what they're doing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nothing But Work

Lately it seems like nothing is happening, which is a good feeling, but it doesn't make for an interesting blog. I'm trying to get Emily to describe her mountain-climbing adventure. The pictures are wonderful.

Work is taking precendence right now. For many complex and boring reasons, our account is way behind. We have a backlog of over 400 reports with nearly 200 nearing the 24-hour window when we promised the hospital we'd have them back.

Since we've been kindly (but temporarily) relieved of Voice Recognition problems, it's fun typing again, and if overtime is being offered, I'm jumping on it. In fact, it's being begged for today.

So all else is on hold except to take Mama to try to find an outfit for Robin's wedding on the 29th. Here's hoping the trend continues, and no one wants to look at the house this week.

Below is one of Emily's pictures. She hiked 4 miles up a mountain, and this was her reward. I'm just trying to enjoy her happiness and enthusiasm and not let "mother" thoughts appear. Well, I did call her and ask her a bunch of questions when I found out from Facebook that she was doing this. By that time, she was halfway up. And she did patiently promise to "not fall off."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Absolutely no midnight snacks

My big grandkitty Jack guarding the food.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Catch Up

Seems like there would be a little bit to write to catch up the week.

I've worked and worked and done not much else. Since I (and many others) have complained so about our new system, our company has temporarily gone back to the old one. They finally had the bright idea to take the doctors off Voice Recognition until they learn to use it - no more parties in the room, clanking, beeping, ringing machines; no more chewing and drinking; no more saying - oops, I forgot, can you go back to the first paragraph and add.... VR picks up every sound and tries to make words out of it. I'm not convinced that will work, but some of them had not even been aware of how they sound to us and are making an effort.

So I'm taking advantage of it being fun to work again.

Flowers and trees and lawns are still just beautiful in spite of the lack of rain.

Today is my favorite day: Beauty shop for Mama, Wal-Mart for her prescriptions.

But - Chik-Fil-A and the library. There are some bright spots. I may even get my hair cut.

Baby Hannah has perked up and is now home.

Mama celetrated her 87th birthday and Mother's Day.

I see Emily's footprints in the comments section. I hardly ever go back and look at the comments, but I did today. It's been nearly a year since that crazy May last year when she was having finals, graduation, and a wedding in a matter of weeks. Oh and a new job and a move across the country. It's been a good one for her, although I've missed her like crazy. She and Ryan are happy with their jobs, and they are completely loving Washington. That makes my heart feel good. Elise is also loving her job and Texas, so it looks like no one is going to come back. Thank goodness for e-mails, phones, and IM. Not so much texting. No one can understand my texts.

I've even been doing a very little stitching but nothing to show. Oh - maybe a few pictures. I started this blue blanket some time ago and decided to finish it finally. I thought it was plisse, but it looks like I pressed out the bumps. The bear was fun to do in split stitch, but feather stitch - ugh. I've battled every stitch, trying to get two alike. I think I'm going to back it with blue and white dotted flannel.

It's from this book that I've had since Emily was a baby at least. I made this same blanket for my niece when she was born in the early 1980s but with blue flannel.

Outside pretties.

The plumeria decided to grow some leaves this year, although it probably won't bloom this late. It's now nearly 12 years old and grows a few inches each year. Gray and Stephanie brought it from Hawaii on their honeymoon - just a 2-inch piece of stem in a baggie with planting instructions. I need to do some surgery on it, I think, and make some new plants, but it kind of scares me.

The confederate rose that Kathy and Alan have so patiently rooted over the winter from the one my mother-in-law use to love looking at from her kitchen window. Here's hoping I can make it live.

Darby is just full of happiness lately, loving her short hair and the nice weather. She keeps the flower beds free of dangerous critters - mainly lizards which can keep her entertained for hours.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May in Alabama

One year when I spent a couple of weeks in Texas, I came home to find all my plants dead and the grass copper-colored. That was in August.

This year I came home to a beautiful yard with plants I didn't even remember I had. This is an amaryllis taken from my grandmother's yard years ago. It hasn't bloomed in a long time, probably protesting being dug up and moved from state to state.

Strawberries in the back door pot, trying to hide them from the birds.

Marigolds and rosemary.
The mystery plant - maybe lavender?
I love smelling freshly-cut grass. This little tree has gotten too big for the yard boys to mow down this year. There's a double fence in the back, and my neighbor keeps it clean in between, but I told him I enjoyed the look of those vines hanging over the fence, so he left me some this year. Before Darby can come inside, she has to pick up all her toys and bring them in. You can see the rebellious look in her eyes here, as she had to go all the way to the fence to bring in her duck.

It's so peachful watering the plants in the evening just before dark, taking my time and just enjoying how clean and fresh everything looks afterward. The gardenias surprised me, as usual, with their blooms this morning. Their leaves are so pretty, a bloom is just a bonus.

Even Darby got hosed down, much to her disgust. To cheer her up, I put her Sheepie in a tree to make her go crazy trying to get it.

I took Mama to Prattville to a pain clinic to get a steroid shot this morning. We'll know in a day or so if it helps her any. She happened to get a nurse (Gail) who asked her a lot of questions, and Mama never minds talking. Gail was awed that Mama used a computer and still sewed and just took a halfway-across-the-country trip in a car. When the doctor came in, she said accusingly, "I looked up those pills you gave me on the internet, and some people said it sent them to la-la land." I told the nurse that she had her pictures on Facebook, and later on I could hear Gail telling people, "And she's even on Facebook!" Maybe I should sign her up.

A few more pictures from the trip:

One more reason to love Lubbock. The new Barnes and Noble.

I would need this.

I think I mentioned the wind in West Texas one or 20 times. I was really hoping to get to see some good stuff. It's hard to portray wind blowing by just a picture of a trees, but how about when it blows the stripes off the flag? This is the same flag last September when I was there.

Darby had a hard time keeping her ears out of her eyes.

We went by to visit with Doris and her unclothed (this time) Chihuahuas. They came out to the car to greet Mama and get some cuddling. I can't explain that corner. Not my work.

Mama was fascinated by the huge windmills and took a lot of pictures of them. The ones that scare me. This was also taken last year. Her pictures are probably better, but I don't have them on my computer.She says she doesn't want to go back any time soon, but she's glad she made the trip.

I wish I had some sewing progress to record, but I'm just doing a little cross-stitch and feather stitching around a baby blanket. I have a lot of work to do on feather stitching before I show a picture.

End of rambling.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pictures from Texas

I can't seem to find time to write anything lately with work and catching up on emails and bills and yard work. No time for sewing or reading, which is making me unhappy. But the weather is so pretty, especially in the early mornings and at twilight, that I have to spend some time just enjoying it. The contrast between West Texas and Alabama landscape is pretty big, one with the open spaces and sky where you can see forever and the other with its green lushness. I can appreciate the beauty in both. I did miss the flowers and trees last week. If we move, I will definitely have to get used to the difference and make my own little garden.

Some of the following pictures are just ones I took from the car window, and I don't know much about them, just things we thought were interesting or pretty.
One afternoon Mike took Mama and me out to see the sights around Littlefield. He just took different roads that we thought were interesting, and I kind of worried we might be lost, although it would be hard to get lost when you can see miles in every direction. We could just follow our path to the nearest water tower and find a town.
There are feedlots everywhere, and these cows seemed glad to see us stop and break the monotony of - well, eating.

I just glanced at these creatures at first, then had Mike stop and take a closer look. I think he said they were mule deer. Strange-looking things. That night, our friend Butch mentioned that he knew the owner who had other unusual animals and that he would take Mike to see them sometime. Hate I'm missing out on that.
On a trip to Levelland (appropriately named) the next day, we found these llama. We, of course, stopped to take pictures. They pretty much ignored us until Mike started making sounds that they found interesting. What a talent.On the way back to Littlefield, the black one was in the same spot but turned the other way. Guess he got bored chewing.

Just one of hundreds of goats we saw that week. These were interesting because they had dogs with the same coloring in the field, and it was hard to tell them apart. Bird-dog goats.

For contrast, here's one of Elise's domesticated alley cats. We named him Kirby, and he wanted to come home with me (or I wanted to bring him home). He's one of the 4 that she has fed and loved through the winter and now is trying to find homes for. He wouldn't speak to me at first, but I won him over with strings and toys. He's so handsome.

I have more pictures and talk, but I'm out of time.

Please pray for a new baby - my sister- and brother-in-law's niece Hannah - who was born yesterday morning and has some breathing problems. Kathy will keep us updated on her progress.

It looks like another beautiful sparkly spring day. I'm trying to see how long I can go without turning on the air-conditioning.