Monday, June 30, 2008


We finally got Doodle Bug baptized. Now I can crash, and I certainly feel like doing just that!

The service went flawlessly. She was a charmer. She spent her time at the font flirting with the pastor and her uncle/god father. She didn't get to wear the family dress, but then this baptism was unlike the other two anyway.

Her other grandparents didn't come, but our extended family on this side was able to come. That means my DIL's mother and boy friend and the wife of one of B's friend came. Later in the day, some new friends of S and K came by.

I discovered S and K's oven is actually a Shake and Bake oven. It is about that size, and I really believe the light bulb would heat better!! That meant that everything was tremendously slowed down. I prepped the day before with K and Lady Bug's help. I left the appetizers, baked bries, mini-quiches to that day as well as warming the dips. It took so o o long. What should have taken 30 minutes total really wasn't done in an hour and a half. Finding baking sheets to fit that oven was a real task!

But it's done. I have enough left overs for another small party. I don't really know what I'm going to do with most of them. I think I'll try freezing since we all will be at SSB mid July. It's bound to be eaten then - besides perhaps I can stand to look at it again by then!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Last post about the convention, but the strangest!

Yes, this is finally the last post about the National Convention. We made all the train trips with the exception on the one to the Piney Woods. Been there and done that - but much better. The last trip was certainly the most memorable.

It was on a line that last ran 41 years ago. It was to a VERY small town in the panhandle. We were on the train at 6:15 - yes a.m.! I'm thinking this is certainly a strange vacation. Let me get home to get some rest!

They promised breakfast on the train. Well that was a blueberry muffin and a bottle of orange juice. Didn't make me too happy. A breakfast of carbs doesn't do me well. But I guess it was better than nothing.

The train left right on time. That in itself is amazing. We love train travel, but we always figure several more hours into the trip than the schedule. This is because even though passenger traffic should get the main line track most of the time, the big rail roads control the tracks and their freight almost always gets priorities. We had a couple of times on sidings, but generally we were doing well.

The man in the seat across the isle is a real train buff. He had a scanner set on the rail frequency. When we stopped next to a coal train, his scanner went off. They were talking about some nut around with a blue painted face weilding an axe!

People who organize the trips like this always post two people on each rail car called car hosts.
They keep the car neat and tidy, and make sure everyone is safe. Their radios went off with the message to make sure the vestibule doors were locked.

We were the seventh car back. We didn't get to see this nut, but not seeing anything can lead to more apprehension that actually knowing where he is. Apparently, he was trying to do something to the air brake system on that coal train. When we got to our final destination, I overheard some others talking. He was arrested and carted off to jail. The rumor has it that he was a disgruntled Con Rail ex-employee.

That was really a train ride that will remain in my memory. K called me while we were stopped. I told her what was going on. She thought it was a joke until I was able to convince her that I was really telling the truth, and it really was NOT a set-up.

What a way to end our convention vacation!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's alive - and growing!

Sunday, Doodle Bug will FINALLY be baptized. It is not going to be at "our" church. I'm not sure how much longer "our"church will be our church. B and C are already going to another megachurch, and I am responsible for S and K going to the mission church that even I like. G doesn't. The pastor is really good as compared to ours (who ran our kids off with his poor preaching), but the music is completely non-traditional. G hates that. The real reason I am dismayed by having the baptism away from the old church is I make the napkins that are used. Both of the others have the napkins I did. She won't. I'll live though.

I emphasized the finally because DB is almost a year old. K wants her to be in the dress she was baptized in. Lady Bug wore the same dress. We are going to have to use a lot of baby powder to slick her down and a shoe horn to get her into that dress. Thankfully she is a long lean baby. She prefers mother's milk to real food still.

We will continue the tradition of a meal following the service, but this time it will not be a my house. I simply cannot get my house party ready in a few days. It would take me a few months!! I am however "catering" this event. What began as just the family (6 plus 2 kids) has grown to 20 (plus 5 kids). S wasn't happy about calling his parents about the shindig, but K told him he HAD to.

He doesn't really want them here. For one thing, they cannot manage money and are always broke. They think their children should support them. He was hoping they would say they couldn't afford the trip, but I think instead they will demand money spent to get here and money to get home again. His mother has a vicious tongue on her, and people don't like to be around her. Oh well. That in itself is a good reason for all the people being invited. I can stay away from her!!!

Things will turn out good. We will have a good time! The important thing is that the baby is going to be baptized - finally.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shhh - it's a secret for now

My daughter in law is pregnant. Finally. Again. All those things are important. She miscarried almost five years ago. They should have a child the same age as Monkey Boy who will be four next month. For a while, they weren't trying, but when they did again, nothing happened.

B found a fertility specialist. At first I was dismayed because he found this specialist the same way he found the doctor who caused the problem in the first place - talk radio. The one who caused his problem is a "doctor" who isn't well thought of in the medical community. He claims to be a holistic healer, but I think he is just a quack. Every patient of his I have heard of has the same problems: an underactive tyroid, and low sex hormones.

My son is 31 years old. He is and always has been thin as a rail. He was put on thyroid hormones. Ones that were formulated in the quack's own lab. He also was to give himself a testosterone shot every week.

When the fertility specialist found who B was seeing and taking testosterone, he almost had a stroke. He used some choice language about the quack. He was very descriptive in a most profane way, but I echoed his sentiments exactly! The testosterone shots had decimated B's sperm production.

Fortunately, it is only a few months post quitting the shots, and I hope all the negative effects are gone from taking the shots in the first place, but only time will tell. But I am really hopeful.

Now we begin worrying as to whether C can carry this child this time. She took a home test, then she followed up with the doctor. They did blood work, and the only worry is that her progesterone was a little low. She is taking some progesterone, and will be tested again tomorrow.

For obvious reasons, she is keeping this wonderful event under wraps for the first trimester. My niece did the same thing. She has a singleton and twins, but she has had six pregnancies. I can fully understand how my sister in law has felt. E didn't let her mom tell right away either.

All we can do now is pray. B will make such an awesome father. I am so happy for the both of them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A new experience

Day two of the convention was one I really was looking forward to! We were going to ride a steam engine pulled excursion train. We got up at 5:30. What a vacation! We boarded a bus to Grapevine to ride the Grapevine Express.

There was no air conditioned car on this train. One was a really open
car. It had a roof and some rails to keep you inside, but that was it. We chose the next car up. It was probably built in the 1920's. I don't think the seats had ever been refurbished. I'll get back to that later.

The train was supposed to leave at 9 I think. This trip became a blur after a while. One of the things the rail fans like are the "run bys." This is where they troop off the train, plot through the weeds (and bugs and snakes and the like), to form a line to get pictures of the train steaming by them - as though they were just standing there and , wow, a train came by.

At 8, two of the buses were late because there was an accident on the freeway. It wa
s announced there would be a run by before the train left - at 9. People piled off the train and formed a line! The photo is a closely cropped image of that line because I don't want to show faces. It was still a little early and this was just a small part of the line that finally formed. Now place this same line along a rail road easement, and that will give you a picture of what the later run bys looked like!

These people are not just local hacks they are serious photographers. I snapped this picture the
night before at the barbeque. His equipment is not anywhere nearly as good as some of these folks. But it's
lot better than my little point and shoot Kodak!

We were able to experience some "rare miles" that the train doesn't usually cover. We went east from the station which is not part of the regular passenger experience. They scheduled two run bys. These required the photographers to climb up the embankment along the easement.

Returning to the station, the engine was turned on the turntable so we could then head west along the line that is usually traveled. We ended at the old Stock Yards which is a place I would like to visit again. It seemed to have some really cute attractions.

We finally returned to the station about five. My knees were screaming at me by this time and the 1920 vintage seat was a permanent feature of my backside. I headed for the first bus only to be told that one was going to be last, and we had to go to another. That other was two buses ahead. When we got to it, we were told it was full - which I knew!! So we got on the middle bus and headed back to the hotel.

All in all, it was fun, but that was the FIRST time I was more than ready to get off a train. I usually have the attitude that the trip is more fun than the destination. Little did I know what was ahead of me later in the week!

Lady Bug is bugging me to go upstairs to work on crafts again. She finally found that the little beaded friendship pins are fun! Yea! I can get some of my work done for the craft sale at Round Up in three weeks.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back at home - at last

We are finally back at home and back to a normal (whatever that is) routine. Except the routine is already not normal. Lady Bug is staying with me for the day. That wouldn't be so bad, except G is home. I told him she would be here at 8 am. As it turned out, she was here at 7:45. He slept until 9. That took the other TV away from LB. He finally got up, and breakfast was consumed about 10. She had two frozen waffles with our breakfasts. At 11 she started saying she was hungry for lunch. When G is around, lunch isn't thought of until AT LEAST 1:30. I don't care what time we got up and had breakfast. He will go forever - which means I don't usually want dinner. I guess that could be a good thing.

Anyway, after he announced that he found the bread, I got to make her a sandwich of which she ate half. Really starving I guess. He just called (12:45) with the news that he was still at the car wash, had the grocery store yet to go, and then would pick up something. She will want some of whatever, but who knows when it will get here.

Back to the real thing I was going to write about, and that is the convention. The first night should have been a clue as to what the rest of the week was going to be. It was going to be a "Welcome Barbeque." Fine. I had visions of a civilized air conditioner room for the food, and since they were going to watch trains, said room would have large glassed in windows overlooking the train yard. Was I ever wrong. When our bus pulled up, there was a tent that measured about 10x20 with the outer half in the sun.

We were in Texas for God's sake. Texas in June is HOT, HOT, HOT. The day before this event, Ft Worth was 100! The shade in the tent was mininal.

When we got off the bus, we saw the line for the food. It seems that during this convention, if the food was not catered sandwiches, it was a l o n g buffet line. We got in the line which moved surprisingly quick - that is until we were four from the food. The people who were right there had misplaced their dinner ticket. Rather than suggesting they step aside to let the rest of us get our food, the woman was allowed to stand there while she went through her purse and its 100 pockets, his shirt, cargo pants, her shirt, her cargo pants, etc. Finally she found it, and the line went on.

We were able to find two seats in the shade, and if you didn't move it was almost bearable. Fortunately there was a breeze, and that helped a lot.

We then got to watching the photographers. Now these folks are an interesting bunch! They would probably kill for their train shot. They are really serious. They enter contests with these pictures. I took some pictures of them - and their equipment, but I haven't been able to work on editing these pictures since I certainly don't have permission to use those folks images. I'll work on that.

We thought ahead and brought my stool to this. I used it only once, and things weren't too bad. I wish I could say the same for the next four days, but that will come later too.

All in all, we really did have a good time and I am paying for it now. I think the appointment with the orthopedist isn't too far away. I am really down in my knees and hips.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Into the twentieth century (at last)

I'm here and almost alive in Cow Town. Today is the first day I have had computer access, and will be the last until I get home on Sunday. The computer odyssey has been a true comedy. I didn't load it on Sunday night because I didn't want it to be in the car overnight. We took Princess Simone to her summer camp (the vet) Monday morning, and the plan was to put the computer in the car right after that. Well - life got in the way. K called before I walked into the house. That put the single cell that makes up my chemoed, anesthetized brain cell to work, and the work wasn't remembering anything.

We were twenty-five miles away when I remembered the computer. I was still talking to K. She said she would Fed-Ex it to me. At the time, I declined. I didn't know the address of the hotel. I thought about it during the trip, and then decided that would be a good thing. So I called K when we got to the room, about 4 pm. She said she would call me right back. Well that call came at 6:30 - after we went to dinner and all (which I will recount later). I gave her the information. She didn't go get it that evening, nor the next day. She wasn't sure which of the keys she had was mine. So she waited until her brother got off work.

We were on an excursion train that day. Excursion trains are NOT air conditioned as a rule. Cowtown had been in the 100's previously. I have never wanted off a train before. I was more than ready to say good-by to that piece of machinery!!

We detrained and got on beautifully air-conditioned chartered buses for the trip back to the hotel. My phone rang. She was just going to send the computer. This was 5 pm on Tuesday. Overnight at that time was $85! We finally got it down to a price that I felt was reasonable - $30. To make a long story shorter, she called another 4 times. I was so embarrassed!! In the close quarters of this bus with all the other travelers that are exhausted, my phone kept ringing! K couldn't understand why I sounded a bit miffed during the last call.

Greta arrived yesterday. I was exhausted once again. We had been riding the mass transit systems from Cowtown to Big D and all through Big D. The killer was the trek back from the station to the hotel. I wasn't sure I would make it. All of three blocks in 99 degree with 98% humidity (or so it felt). Three years of inactivity are killing me.

I was so thrilled as I waited for the Fed-Ex package to be brought to the desk. I opened it and began looking for the wi-fi. Found it - for $10 a day. You would think 4 star hotels would have free wi-fi, free phones, and at least one premium cable channel. Not this one.

So I have Internet for one day because I'm too cheap to pay for another. Besides we will be on a train tomorrow for 11 hours. Don't need wi-fi then. The next day we leave for Swamp-Land!

I am glad to have Greta with me AND access to the world. Would I do it all again. I don't think so. It has cost more than it's really worth especially since I thought I would be using it to fill the day when G went to seminars (that seems he is not going to do!!).

I'll give you a run down of the convention on Monday, along with some pictures it I somehow get some additional computer savvy before then. "See you on down the line!" (Train people are getting to my brain

Sunday, June 15, 2008

In memory

Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I really still miss you. Even though your physical body left only 3 years ago, the real you left a few years before that. When something happens during the day, I still find myself thinking how I must share it with you. But you are not here. How I wish you were. I wish you were totally here - mentally and physically health. I know the last few years were ones of misery for you. I still have no idea how much of you was still present in those last years. But I do so miss you.

I know this is a hard Father's Day for G. It is the first without his dad. He is going about normal business, but I know it is in the back of his mind. He just doesn't openly dwell on missing his dad. \

To all you dads, I hope your day is great. To their families, make it great for him. You will not always have him.

Friday, June 13, 2008

We love our animals

I know many people who would think my family and I are crazy. We love our pets and take their care seriously. Years ago, we adopted a crazy lab mix. He had been sprayed with pepper spray when the house where he was living was broken into. He had tremendous separation anxiety. To get to the point, he developed a cancerous place on his back food. It would grow until the skin split.

We did almost everything we could for him. We weren't offered chemo or radiation, but we kept having the place removed until we were told it was no use, and he was best being put down. Most of our animals, and there has been quite a parade of them in 40 years, have lived to a ripe old age.

My daughter is facing the same thing with her old black tom cat. He is 11. He has begun to lost weight - a lot of it. She took him to the vet on Monday. The bill came to about $850. She had then taken him back on Wednesday because he still wouldn't eat. They instructed her on giving a bolus of 100 cc's of fluid twice daily, and food that can be administered via syringe as well as the meds he was put on.

Why am I bringing this up? Because I'm really afraid she inadvertently let him get out last night. She called me telling me that she couldn't find him anywhere. She said she did have the door open for a short time when she was talking to her neighbor.

I saw what the cat did on Wednesday when I was there. Lady Bug was going to dance class and was being picked up by her friend. Jack (the cat) was sneaking toward the door.

If he DID get out, she will never see him again. He is getting what he really wants. He is going off somewhere to die. I haven't heard from her today, and that means they didn't find him I'm sure. I really hate that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Real mixture of thoughts

I've simply got to get better about really coming over here. I don't know what is keeping me from jotting down my thoughts. I think about them all the time, and think about posting them.

I guess posting goes along with my "thing" about passwords these days. I keep forgetting them. Today I even forgot the password for this site. This is really disconcerting! I think I'll just pass it off to the six hours of anesthesia! That's a good idea. It cannot be my mind, it's outside forces!

In progress notes, my fluid accumulation went away. G had to try to get the antibiotic into the drain tube twice. The first time, it went smoothly. Sunday, of course, it wouldn't go. The line became blocked on Saturday and I was able to clear it. It seemed to be doing well on Sunday - until it was time for the antibiotic. We did get two syringes of air in, but when it was time for the antibiotic, there was no go. I called on Monday and they gave me hints. They worked. The antibiotic flowed in on Monday evening. Tuesday I went to the office and thankfully lost the final drain! Yea!! Cowtown, here we come.

I have been keeping Lady Bug off and on for these two weeks. The craft I bought that I thought she would be interested in doing (thus keeping her occupied for hours on end) is a dud. As of now, she toddles off to my bedroom to use "On Demand" or the Disney channel. I know her mom doesn't want her watching that much TV, but when she's here it just works better for me. Yesterday she broke my (brand new) bedside lamp. She has to have plenty of light to watch that blasted TV.

I thought she would be staying with her dad today since he is "working out of the house." That got changed late last night. I don't mind when it is K who has to have me keep her. S abuses the fact that I will keep her. K picks her up as soon as she can. S has a history of keeping her here as late as possible.

That fact almost meant that G was dead set against me keeping Doodle Bug. When Lady Bug and Monkey Boy were infants and I kept them, he would bring them to me, go home to dress, do whatever (including "hitting some balls, etc"), go home to check emails and so on, then change again. THEN he would pick them up. All too often, I had things to do after they left. I would be sitting here just waiting.

I know I should have said something. In these situations, it is a slippery slope. He already has an insecurity thing because of his parents. He gets his feelings hurt at the drop of a hat, and then he cries. K is super protective of him. She often says it's like she is the male in this relationship and he is the female. She is very astute.

So I wonder how long I will have her today. If he gets a golf game in, I will be very angry! I will say something. That may cause a big to-do!

We will be leaving on vacation on Monday. We are going to a National Historic Train Convention. I am really excited about it. We love to ride trains. Both of our trips to Chicago have been really just train trips. For us, it is as much about the trip as the destination. I was so thoroughly surprised to find that I fell in love with Chicago when we got there! Made the whole thing even better.

I know we have one trip included in this vacation. There are many other activities we signed up for. I'm so very thankful I don't have to return to the doctor for two weeks. At one point, I was really wondering just why in the heck I did this. I was all healed. Things were going well. I just hated the prosthesis. For a while, I felt as though I had jumped from the frying right into the fire. While not completely healed, I am doing pretty well. I will have my stitches for another 2 weeks at least, but they are few and are in the irritated skin that doesn't heal well anyway.

I promise I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Change of plans

I thought we might be able to get away and go to the SSB this weekend. I was supposed to see the plastic surgeon on Friday, but I called and made the appointment for today. I am really thankful I had the appointment today. My one remaining drain had stopped draining. I didn't think anything of it because it was supposed to come out today.

We got to the appointment in the Med Center, waited a bit and finally got to the exam room. Dr B came in and looked at my back. He said I had fluid buildup. Boy did I ever. After they stripped the tube a few times, we ended up with over 250cc's right there in the office. Had I not planned to leave Friday for the ranch, I really would have had a fluid buildup and it would have been really bad.

I'm glad G was with me. I have been trying to get him to strip this drain, but he never would. I was fairly good at it, but really did think it was finished with its thing! Now he gets to inject the antibiotic into the tube tomorrow and Sunday. I go to the other office for them to do it Friday.

Sometimes I am amazed at how things happen. I was so glad we went today! I am almost equally upset we can't leave, but later in June is a far more important trip. We are going to the National Historic Railroad Association's national convention. I won't miss that one - mainly because we have already paid for a lot of the things we are doing.

In other news, I kept Lady Bug yesterday. She is really fun, and I enjoy her. I thought I had crafting things to keep her busy for hours, but she had other ideas. She completed them in about 30 minutes!! Needless to say, the things I had planned for me didn't get done. I forget she is only 7. She is so mature that I always expect so much that she is unable to do. I still love keeping her here, and best of all, she seems to enjoy being here. That makes things good.