Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy New Year

I had visions of actually blogging my 'Christmas Tag' and 'unremarkable' tag all at the same time. Wrong- and it isn't really called the 'unremarkable tag' either, I just can't remember at the moment what it is. See, I'm brain dead (again). ---Unspectacular--Blog??
The 2 weeks before Christmas, I worked over 50 hours each. And Christmas week (even with Christmas Eve - half day, and Christmas {which is now an UNPAID holiday}), I still came in with 40+ hours. So, yes, I am grateful I have a job, but had failed to recognize that I now work for Scrooge Mc Duck. Apparently, his employees are supposed to save up their personal days, or vacation days, for Christmas. Unfortunately, we have not worked for the company long enough to support vacation time off, and, (AND) only FULL TIME employees get paid vacation days. FULL time is 43 hours a week. Bah- Humbug.

Enough of that- Christmas was really nice. We went to Mt Healthy on Christmas Eve and visited a live Manger scene. There are life sized, life like models of the Wise Men, Joseph, Mary, the baby and maybe a shepherd. The animals are neat to see. The kids had just watched the Nativity video in primary, so I had the chance to talk with Sammy about how they really had to prepare the 'barn' for Christ's birth. There were lots of people there, but it wasn't too bad. At least this year there weren't any drunk people singing Happy Birthday.

Christmas Day was nice. They slept in until about 9:15. I guess Sam was up earlier, but went back to bed, yea! for older kids! It was a low key Christmas, we have never done a lot with the kids, and this year wasn't any different.

In the early afternoon we went over to Katy's house. Joey and his girlfriend, Katy and Josh, Sam, Madeline, and Bari Ray all exchanged presents. They draw names and try to keep it all a secret from each other. It is cute to watch what they come up with, and how they try to figure out who has whom. Before dinner, we all went to Bari's mom's house in Anderson. Linda and Al had a huge buffet dinner all prepared. Al's niece from Panama, and her 2 children were there. We were told that they didn't speak any English, but that wasn't at all true. They speak very well. Madeline and Marie (who is 10) are now joined at the hip. The boys stayed over Thursday night, but Madeline came home. Friday morning she went with me to Katy's ultrasound and got to see and hear the baby. It was fun. Katy is doing very well.

After I dropped Madeline off at Grandma Linda's I picked up Bari from work and we shot a wedding in Saltair. Yes, we do get all the exotic locations around the Greater Cinci area. The reception was at Pattison Park Lodge, (for those of you who don't know, that is just outside Owensville). It was the ugliest day you could have chosen for a wedding. It was cold (December, remember? Dark, (December). And rainy (snow would have been better). The church was a typical brick type. The inside was decorated for Christmas, and it was really pretty, so that helped quite a lot. We got home from the wedding at 12:30 or 1am. I worked the next morning- actually, we both worked the next morning. Saturday evening, Bari brought both boys home, and left Madeline. She says she isn't coming home until she has learned Spanish.
That brings us to today. It was our last Sunday with this class. Next week we will have a different group of CTR's. I'll miss these chatter-box, excited, expressive kids. They were great.
I promptly fell asleep on the couch after lunch for a little while, then got up and went to the bedroom expecting to 'nap' and ended up sleeping for 2 TWO! hours!

Oh, and I have failed to mention that sometime on Thursday my kitchen sink became clogged. It is Sunday 10 pm and still clogged. We have taken apart the pipes under the sink, and put them back together. Who knows. It is such a pain. I wish I were more handy around the house.

So, I hope your Christmas, and New Years are full of fun and family. Ours certainly are.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

News flash- -

Hey Ya'll- just a quick blog of upcoming news and information.

Some of you wanted to be told when we had positive information on Josh's baptism. Katy called tonight with the exact time (I had the date, but not time). The baptism will be in the Clough Pike building, Cherry Grove Ward at 5 pm next Sunday. (It's really on Ferguson Rd if you want to Google it). His Confirmation will be the following Sunday during church (which is also at 9am). Bari and I will be speaking at the baptism (come anyway). I don't know who will perform the baptism or the confirmation. As luck would have it, her dad and step mom will probably be visiting that Sunday, too.

Time for bed- it's Christmas and time for 12 hour days-no day's off (except Sunday- when I'm giving a talk-and teaching the class-and something else, I'm sure).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sorry I haven't updated for a while. It's stupid, but I don't like to blog unless I'm the only one at home. Everything just gets too confusing if the kids are at home, and somehow, Bari has tonz to talk to me about at the same time if he's home. So, it is just the Sam-boy home with me this afternoon.

He had another appointment at Children's this morning. It was with the Psychologist. They met for about an hour and a half, had a little break and then met again for another hour or more. All of this was to help assess if Sam has Autism. I met with Dr Mack after Sam was done. Dr Mack didn't have the Speech assessments, but from his testing today, he saw little or no indication of Autism. He did say Sam is a 'very interesting child'. Yes, I agree. But everything that was an indicator of some challenge, could be directed to his ADD, and not Autism. He is recommending Educational testing, he thinks Sam has learning disabilities of some kind. This also can be attributed to the ADD. We have the final meeting in early January where all of the information is in one report, and recommendations are made at that time.

More news. Joey is home with us. He came home the day before Thanksgiving, when the rest of us were up North (aka: The Great White North) with my mom. I had mixed feelings when he was released. The judge originally said that Joey wouldn't get any more 'chances' - he had to make restitution for everything up to that moment in court- the 180 days and all that. Now, the same judge said, 'well, I don't ever do this but........I'll let you out, but you have to still full fill the probation requirements you had originally.' I'm afraid that Joey will never learn that he has to finish anything-----. He always seems to get away with something. Well, on the bright side, he got out Wednesday, spent the weekend between our house and his girlfriends, and went to church with Katy on Sunday. Monday had an appointment with his probation officer, filled out job applications, and today went on an interview and was hired at a factory near Middletown. Unfortunately, he goes in at 3:30 pm and works till 1am. He Can't Drive. So, what do I do? He is really trying hard to get a legit job, and there isn't much out there. So, do I drive him and make my husband not-so-happy (it's unfair to say Bari would be mad-), or do I not drive Joey, and make him try to find something else-and look like I'm not supporting him the whole time. Just because he gets this doesn't mean he has to stay if something else better comes along. And it also doesn't mean he will always have those hours. Although, if you have any idea of my schedule, those are probably the only hours I could take him somewhere. Anyway, I have to admit, that although it is really hard to have him at my house, it does seem like things may be getting a little better for him. The road is long in his case, but right now, he really seems to be trying to do the right things to move forward in his life.

Katy is feeling well, Joey even felt the little guy moving around. She is a cute little-momma-to-be. Josh is laid off for at least a month. They were doing ok with it all until there were problems with the heath insurance coverage. Because of all the specialists that she sees, it is a major concern. They are counseling with their bishop, and he is helping them through this. It is nice to know that she has a good relationship with him and can go to see him for whatever council she needs. Josh has been taking the discussions with the Missionaries, and has a tentative baptism date of Dec 15. They seem to be happy together, even with such big trials so early in their marriage.

I know I have some kind of other news, but I'm tired, and my brain is mush. Oh, and Sam has come into the kitchen and wants my attention- what did I say about writing ALONE in the house?

My job is ok. Busy isn't even the word for it. Being 'caught up' with my projects is impossible, there is always something more to do for someone. Both of the designers we work with are placing big orders that they need next week, and then one of the other stores took a large commercial order for the University of Phoenix. Along with the frames and mats we cut daily for the other stores, and our own orders. At least now, we can send the big framing orders to the Fab Frames Montgomery store and let them cut and join, we'll mount, glass and finish-fit. It really helps. There is a Christmas party at the new owners house in a couple of weeks, it should be interesting. This week is Bari's Christmas party. There just isn't enough time (another reason I haven't blogged). And the reason I need to go---- love you all!!!!!

ps---to my favorite Gordonfan- I will address your tag another day- (sometime soon I promise)- and I think Chelle tagged me too- - - -Sorry!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not every day is this busy- - - what was I thinking?

Keep in mind that my day isn't over yet.

6:30am- wake up, start making Madeline's lunch
wake up Madeline
wake up Sammy
find clothes for Sammy, and encourage him to put them on
clothe myself

7:10am- Bari comes in from taking Bari Ray to seminary

7:13am- I leave for Children's Hosp.
7:45am- appt with the psychology dept for Sam

9:10am- pick up Sam and drop him off at school (only a little late)
9:40am- get to work
- fix paperwork for my boss
- cut 2 Double multi-opening mats on the Wizard

3pm- Leave work
3:30pm- get home
- pick up living room- wait for plumber
- start supper

4pm- Sam is home from school
- wait for plumber

- - - - -it is now 4:10- the plumber is late - - - -so should go the rest of my day - - -

4:20 -- Leave to pick up Madeline from Art Club at school
4:45pm- back home-
- finish making dinner
- help with homework ( if Sammy doesn't finish his workbook packet, he won't be allowed to go to Webelows tomorrow)

5:45pm- leave to go to Sammy's school

6pm - Conference with Sam's teachers (all of them)

6:20pm - back home
6:30 - leave for church

7pm - Meet with Bari at church for our Dave Ramsey class tonight

9pm- leave class

9:20- get home and (hopefully) find all the kids in bed already. (Most of the time they are)

10Pm - CRASH!!!!!!!

Where is the plumber?????????????????

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What next ???????????

I only have a couple of minutes to update the drama in my life, and yes there is drama.

Sammy had his speech tested at Children's hospital on Monday. I have no idea how it went. I was a little surprised at some of his answers, but then again, when am I not surprised at Sammy? I'll let you know when I hear anything about the testing.

I also heard from Joey. He is doing as well as anyone could in his circumstance. It is hard to talk to him. I don't know what to say most of the time. All I can do is encourage him to try to go to the church, and educational meetings as much as possible. I think of him every day. Mostly at night when it is time for bed. I think of him in his 'room' and how noisy and uncomfortable it must be there.

When I got back to work Tues (after taking off Monday for Sam), I got the big news. Yes, BIG news. I can hardly stand it. - - - - -My store (all the Fastframe franchises in Cincinnati) were sold- SOLD-- - - S-O-L-D. To the owners of Fabulous Frames and Art. They have 3 locally owned stores in Cincinnati. The new owners are closing the West Chester store, and laying off one employee (not me)- . I've heard that everything is supposed to stay the same for 'a while'. We are all assuming that means 'through Christmas'. But we don't know for sure.
The new owners are taking over this coming SATURDAY. Yep, November the 1st. Not a lot of time to tie up loose ends or anything. And to really make it difficult(er) - (which isn't a word)- we are finishing up an order from one of the designers. It is a bear- large canvases we stretched, painted the sides and float - framed. My arms hurt most every night.

So, once again, I hate DRAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The big news- - - - drum roll please .........

I only have a minute to blog-

Here's the news, Katy had her sonogram this morning, and - - - - - -
it's a BOY!!!!!

She's doing well. There are more tests and dr's appointments mid November- we'll find out more about any Preclampsea (sp) then. Right now things are Fabulous. -

I think I like 'grammie'-( for now anyway. )

More news later-

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday Evening

I've wanted to update this for a couple of days. Tonight Madeline is at dance until 8:30, Sam, Bari Ray and Bari are at church. It is almost 7, so I only have an hour and a half to myself. It's kind of like sending your first child off to Kindergarten, and imagining the day without him. And then realizing that it's half-day Kindergarten, and he is only gone about 4 hours.

So I have a little bit of time to catch up. Katy is feeling really good. She feels the baby move all the time. It is such an exciting time for them. I'm glad it is all very boring and normal. Next week, on Thursday she has an ultrasound and will find out the sex. I'm looking forward to it.

Joey is all settled in his new digs- for the next 6 months. He is taking it well, with a good dose of humility. He has a good friend, Jillian who is being the 'voice of reason' right now. She's been telling him that this is the time to make a plan for when he gets out. What does he want to do, and how can he accomplish it? For some reason, it is better coming from her than from me. Oh well, I don't care as long as he finally gets THE MESSAGE, and grows up. Katy and I went to see him last Saturday, it was emotionally draining. I finally told the kids on Saturday morning. They took it pretty well, had a few questions, and got just a little teary when they realized that he wouldn't be around for the holidays. But all in all, they know Joey is doing the right thing, and this does not reflect on them.

It is now Thursday and I'm going to try to finish this before any more children come home from school. My blogging was interrupted by a 45 minute call from my loving husband who missed me, and wanted to talk.

Soooo- Bari Ray is in a play at McAuley High School. Anyway, the girls school is always looking for guys who are willing to do male rolls in their theater productions. He seems to be enjoying it. (Ha)- it is Pride and Prejudice.

I'm almost through my 2nd week at the Tri-county store. I miss Pam and Cristyn. Really badly. I do like the woman I work with, but there is a little adjustment going on. She talks ALL THE TIME. And she doesn't own a TV, so she talks all the time and repeats her self. And she doesn't even know what Project Runway is! I forgot my aspirin today. It was bad. She's a good framer though, and she is nice, and not too crabby. (Most framers are crabby - just so you know). So, I'm sure it will all work out - but I miss Pam and Cristyn anyway. Oh- Chelle- I did have a customer go to Kenwood, ask where I was, and then come to Tri- Co. to find me. AND he had something fairly interesting to frame. I'll get over this, at some point, but right now it's hard.

Well, time's up, I need to heat up some Chili for Madeline before she goes off to dance. Sam should be in the door at any time, it's time to put on the Mom Hat- - - - -- well-----Make that the Super Mom Hat!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What goes up.........

Monday afternoon I was on my bed doing a little reading, just trying to relax a little. I could hear the local High School band through one window, and the next door neighbor (5th Grader) practicing his Clarinet through the bathroom window. It was just a little 'home-towny' for me. I love that stuff.
Monday was my first day at the Tri-county store. It was fine. I worked with my boss and finished framing about 15 pieces for one of the designers. Good thing I already know how to frame. So far, the hardest part is standing on concrete all day. There are some rubber mats by the framing tables, but it is still hard on my feet. The other challenge is taking a break for lunch. I'm spoiled, and used to getting my stool to sit on and my book and having a few minutes to eat and a little down time. Rose (who I work with every day except Mondays) stands by the microwave and eats her lunch in about 10 minutes. Hmmmmmmmmmmm- I'll have to make some kind of compromise. Other than that, it is ok. There really is always lots to do. I have learned how to use their frame joiner (it is different than the machine in Kenwood), and today I used the Wizard mat cutter for the first time. It will be fun to experiment with different types of openings. It will get better. It's not so bad.

Katy had a really good Dr's appointment. I can't remember everything he said, but she had gained weight, and looked fine.

Joey had his Court date today. The judge asked him if he wanted to postpone the hearing so he could get a Public Defender, but Joey said no. I got a call from one of his friends, because he didn't want me to go. Anyway, Joey just wanted to get all of this over with, so he didn't defend himself, and basically wanted to go to jail. He wants to start fresh when he comes out, without any probation, or meetings, or anything. In fact, he wants to move away from Cincinnati.
He spent a few minutes with Katy last night, and was really sorry he wouldn't be around when the baby is born. He really likes kids, and is looking forward to being an uncle for the first time. Katy said he patted her belly at least twice (she isn't t-h-a-t big yet)- and gave her 3 giant bear hugs. She said he didn't do that after she got back from Russia! It breaks my heart that he has made such bad choices, and that he will miss so much. But I want him to take responsibility, and this is one way he can.

I'm adding a little more to this post. I spoke with Joey tonight. He is in the Clermont Co. Jail. He was sentenced to 179 days. He kept saying, 'Mom, my release date is 4-4-09. My release date is 4-4-09.' Yep, that is a long way off, 6 months or so. He has a lot of time to do some serious thinking about his future, and what he needs to accomplish in his life. Katy is trying to get in contact with the Bishop in that area, so he can visit Joey. It seems like right now he really needs a support group that will help him gain back the self esteem he has lost through this whole awful relationship and unbelievably poor choice of friends and money. It will be a long road to the end of this incarceration. We'll see what happens.

I need a little Alone Time- - - and Ice Cream . . . . .

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's a day off- well, not really. . . . . .

I've been spending this morning reading everyone's blogs. I tried to take a nap first. That didn't happen. Now, all of you young mom's with little ones still at home. You know who you are, you're thinking it will all be wonderful when your kids go off to school, or (even better) married and out of the house. You can do what ever you want- - even TAKE an nap! Well - hold on a minute- Yes, my kids are all out of the house for school or whatever. So, what happens? I'm all curled up with the cats, thinking happy thoughts, and I get a call from Katy. She knew I was home today, but never in a million years would have thought I'd be TAKING A NAP- I just don't do those kinds of things. (and there is a reason why- - - ). So, I finish my conversation with her, settle back in with the cats, and the phone rings again. Joey. I hadn't heard from Joey for at least a week. I promised myself that I wouldn't panic this time. But I did want to answer the call. We spoke for a little while, and when we were finished, I just decided that I had better get up and get MOOVIN' - cause, I wasn't getting anything done just lying around. Hmmmm.

So, Joey's news. He has put in some of his Community service time, but not all. And he hadn't made a new appointment with his councilor at the Alcoholism Council yet. He has a court date on the 8th, and he said he just wanted to go to jail, pay his debt and try to come out clean and ready for a new start. I told him I would support him in what ever he decided. I know this sounds terrible, (no Mother of the Year AGAIN!!)- but I'll be relieved and less stressed if he goes to jail. I worry every time I hear of any crime, robberies, shootings, accidents in Clermont Co. At least I'll know where he is. I am also aware that it is likely that he will come out with even more information on drugs and crime, than when he went in. It is, and always has been his choice on what to do in any situation. Including this one. So, I'll update after the 8th on Joey and the courts decision.

I've spent the morning not only going through blogs- - -I miss the Apple Festival EVERY darn year!!!! My grandpa had an apple farm, I'd love to go to the festival sometime.

Anyway, I was looking up suggestions for Baptism talks on line, and got a couple of good ideas. Jackson is being baptized after conference this Sunday. Bari and I will be speaking. I'm looking forward to it. He is such a cutie.

Now, I'm heating the oven for lunch, I've already made plans for dinner, and when I'm done (eating- and blogging)- I HAVE to clean my front closet. It is total disaster- so much so, that I don't trust the kids to do it. And I need to clean under the fish tank, where all the games are stored.

SOOOO- that is my day off- no wedding production today (although Bari signed 2 new wedding contracts this week- for October and November weddings!!)- so, I am cleaning and working around the house.

Does this still mean it is my day off???

OOOOOOOhhhhhhh my gosh, I almost forgot to update on the whole work issue. Yesterday Bruce came to my store and told me about the meeting he had with Marty. It was pretty much what I thought. Marty is all business, and business is not good. Also, Marty is all about keeping an even playing field, if I get 4 weeks, there should be others who get 4 weeks. (I figured all this out too), AND- - - if I'm only working 30 hours (or less) I've become part time, and the part time people don't even get vacation. Oops. Actually - I thought of that too, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from asking. Now. I might loose all of my paid vacation next year. We'll see. I have a plan for that, too. Anyway, Bruce was able to negotiate 3 payed days for me. That was a lot more than I expected. That Bruce, he's a good guy.

THEN- -- Bruce told me a funny story. Bruce went to his office Sunday to do a little work, and he saw an Email from Corporate Fastframe. It said, 'you should read this'. Well, to make a long story short, he opened the attachment, and low and behold, it was MY BLOG! Bruce didn't know what it was at first, and had to figure it all out, but what happened, is that the company (this is common practice) does Internet searched to find their names associated to dialog about their products, etc. Blogspot is a public domain, so there weren't any blocks, and Fastframe picked up on it. Well, like I said, he read it and then told his wife, that what I had written was almost word perfect of what I had told him at out meeting. I guess, if anything, my integrity was intact after all of this. Weird, isn't it? Starts making you think of Big Brother (no, not the tv show). Well, anyway, I'm off to Tri-County with a much better attitude, and enthusiasm. Oh, I did ask Bruce if he read the comments, because they were really good. He didn't answer, too bad. I wonder if corporate will send him this one, too. Fastframe-- -Fastframe- - - - Fastframe!!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

the Job ........ Part II

So, after much debate with Bari and all the little voices in my head I made some interesting discoveries.
1. My job is flexable - - -FLEXABLE- -- - I can leave for a couple of hours in the middle of the day (under certain conditions) and not be repremanded, or fired.

2. Money is not the most important thing. This was a BIG suprize (especially with Madeline's 10 (TEN) dance classes this year).

3. Spending time with my family is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

4. The ability to schedule my work around weddings and wedding meetings is SECOND in importance to me right now.

5. All the confusion came into the picture after the job interview. I wasn't really happy about leaving Kenwood, but I certainly wasn't confused about it.

With all that figured out. (Thank you for all the support, I know I was a little testy about it, but I really did appreciate it). Anyway, with all that figured out, I met with my boss on Friday. I was working alone, so it was really easy to call him and ask him to stop by. The conversation was pretty simple. I told him I had the opportunity to leave Fastframe and take a framing position with another company. That I felt that even though I made scheduling difficult for him sometimes, I did take my responciblilites seriously, would go back to work late at night after the kids were in bed if need be. I have always been the Senior framer, taking on the most complicated pieces and giving advice to the other framers if they got in trouble with their projects. I also told Bruce that I knew he had been loyal to me through the years, allowing me to take extra days off if needed, and changing my schedule to accomidate the kids activities.

Most of all, I told him that I was just going to be honest and not play games concerning this job offer. I said that I always was straight forward with what I needed and expected the same from him. If I ask for a bonus, then I expect that request taken seriously, and that he would do his best to fight for me when he relayed this to his boss. I also said that if he - after taking my request to the owner- came back and said that it just wasn't possible, I would trust him to be truthful.

We had quite a talk. Bruce went on for a while about why none of us had gotten raises, etc. I expected this. I told him it wasn't about the money. What I really wanted was another week of paid vacation. It would be such a benefit to be able to take off more time and not lose pay over it. It's not like I stay home and watch soaps when I'm off. Usually I'm helping Katy or Joey with their appointments and meetings.

Anyway, Bruce said that he would talk to Marty about it. That's all I can ask.

I'm not going to Deck the Walls. I'm going to Tri-County, even if I don't get the extra week. If the kids that are at home were older, or out of the house. I would take the offer. But right now, I need the flexability more than anything else. I doubt if the new job could offer that, and I would feel terrible (and stressed) if there was a problem and had to leave during my shift. I'm going to call him Monday and thank him for his time and consideration, but I'm staying.

I feel calm again.
That's a good sign.

Friday, September 26, 2008

When do I not have news?

So, I have exhausted myself whining and moaning about the change in storefronts. I tried to really look at the positive. I even got really tired of everyone telling me to look for the positive. Then, the very next day - in the morning - something really weird happened.

I was back at work. It was really slow so my assistant for the day, Lynne, and I were examining all points and pieces of my upcoming move, when the front door bell rang. I went out front and met the man who had come in the door. He immediately told me that he wasn't a customer, and I immediately thought, 'well, he must be a vendor'. I was wrong. He introduced himself as Ken, the owner of the Deck the Walls store, just down the road from me. Hmmmmm. This was odd, very odd. We spoke for a while about the stores and the economy. Then Ken said that he was looking for more help in his store, and if I knew any one who FRAMES and would be interested, to give him a call. Well, we had a little discussion. I told him I was supposed to change stores, and that I might be interested, but I had a specific schedule that was hard to work around. I told him what it was- 9 to 3 every day, No Sundays, 1-2 Saturdays a month. He said I should call him, that wasn't a deal breaker, and that we should talk. I spoke with Bari a little later that day and set up an interview with Ken for Thursday (my day off).

So, today I met with Ken again. We went through all my history, framing experience, expectations and all the questions I had. Then he said he would look over the schedule, and see if it would work out. He wanted another interview with me. It all looked really good. The money is better, but the way the pay system is set up, it is a little confusing. There seem to be quite a few opportunities for bonus money and extras through incentive programs implemented each month. I'd only have 1 week of vacation the first year, 2 the second, and 3 after 5 years. Nothing really seemed negotiable. But, it was a positive meeting.

All afternoon I thought about both stores and how I would fit in. The differences and what I really need. After all of the debate, and even though I haven't seen a raise - ever, I am leaning toward staying with Fastfame. There is really only one reason to stay and that is because Bruce is really very flexible. He knows my family, and any challenges I would have. I can only assume the new store wouldn't be as easy going, at least for the first year. I don't know how much money it would take for me to overcome the flexibility issue.

So, I thinking I'm going to talk to my boss, tell him I've been approached about another job, but let him know that all I really want from Fastframe would be another week of vacation.

Now I'm worried that I'd be letting an opportunity that literally knocked on my door- go.

Well, it's not over yet. They say that when a door closes, a window opens. In this case, a door closed, and another door opened, and if that one closes, we'll see what else makes it's way in the room. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-- - - - Why can't my choices be easy and obvious?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A little bump in my road---------

Well, today I had a little bump in my road of life. No, it wasn't about Joey and his whole thing. No, it wasn't about Katy and her life with husband, baby-on-the-way, new house and job. No, it wasn't about Bari Ray and teen age angst. No, it wasn't about Madeline, dance - dance - and more dance, dance class, dance teachers or dance mom's. It wasn't even about Sammy and his school, Webelo, Nintendo DS filled life. Nope. This was a little bump, all for me.

I am moving stores. My boss, Bruce, took me to Panera for a 'little meeting' - - - - -never a good thing. And told me he would like me to move to the Tri-county, Kemper Rd store. I surprised myself and didn't cry. I've been in my store for over 5 years. I've worked with Pam for 5 years. I know my customers, we get fun people from the radio station, and the Bengals and all sorts of really fun stuff. Did I say it was fun stuff? Yes, all fun stuff for me to be creative and frame.

Bruce wants me to move so he can accommodate my schedule. I will still be able to go to work at 9 and leave at 3. He needs to put a full time person in the Kenwood store. I understand that. I was waiting for that. But I didn't think that meant I would be leaving. My store. That's fun. It's a fun store. Where I can do creative things.

Tri-county Kemper does a lot - - - - A LOT- - - - of commercial (boring commercial) framing for (boring) commercial designer and corporate clients. Did I say boring ? What I really meant was- - -- - -B-O-R-I-N-GGGGGGGGG stuff. It is busy, I don't mind that, but it doesn't have the residential client that I'm used to. Ugh.

So, I have a bump, not a pot hole, or a flashing Red four-way Stop, just a bump. The commute should be better (I wonder if I can take the bus?)- and -- - -he didn't fire me. Bruce could have said that he couldn't accommodate my schedule, and just let me go, but he didn't. He found a better solution. So, there you go. Bari isn't even home from work yet, and I'm working through my therapy/blogging session quite nicely, don't you think?

Oh, and he wants me to move next week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

1 week later- - - - -

Well, what a week. Considering we were all caught by surprise, I think my family did pretty well.

Food storage and emergency kits are not our strong point, but everything came out fine in the end. Our power came back on late Tuesday afternoon, but we could have held out longer. The longer the outage, the easier it was for our family. Boring, yes- but in a sense, easier. One night the kids slept in the tent out in the back yard. That was fun, until the wood chippers/tree trimmers came along and woke them up (at 8am). We got used to taking the flashlight into the rooms (bathrooms) which had no windows. We were able to clean out the garage (finally) because there just wasn't anything else to do. Thank heavens the weather was fabulous!

I went back to work on Tuesday. I doubt I'll get paid for Monday even though our store in Kenwood didn't have power until late in the day. The tri-county store didn't have power until Wednesday. School started back for all the kids on Thursday. Madeline said only half of the students returned on Thursday. There is still whole residential areas without power. Sis Rice (some of you know her- she was in the RS Stake) lives in a neighborhood across from Whittaker school. Most of that area is still without power. Katy's family in Indian Hill is still without power, too. They might not get it back until early in the week. Of course, the neighbors of Katy's family said that was just fine with them, they'll just take a little vacation in the mean time. Wouldn't that be nice? Then again, sitting in the back yard with the kids, just chillin' and watching them all play together was a pretty nice vacation too.

By Monday night ice was scarce, the Kroger was open, but only on half power. So Bari called around and found a store that still had ice. We picked up 20 bags and knocked on doors in the neighborhood and gave them away. That was probably the most unusual Family Night service project we had ever done. The kids really had a blast giving away the ice.

We learned a couple of valuable lessons. Get better prepared for one. We did pretty well. I need more candles and fresh batteries. The big lanterns were easy to find, but it would have been nice to have individual flashlights for each of the kids (I think we did at one point, but they've all gotten broken or lost). We did ok with the food. We hadn't done any big shopping for the week, so there wasn't much in the freezer to worry about. The first night was peanut butter and jelly, and then we started grilling. The supply of briquettes was good, but now I will probably want to keep a back-up bag, too. We have a couple of camping lanterns that need a little maintenance, that now needs to be a priority. Other than that, more crackers in the pantry, and cans of fruit, something that can be eaten cold, would be good. Like I said, we got through it all without any real problems, and with a few reminders thrown in.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

WHAT ? ? ? ? ? ?

Ok- I just posted a very long (for me) emotional commentary on forgiveness. My day was (again) VERY EMOTIONAL. You - all have read my last couple of blogs about the challenges I am having with the whole Joey situation. (Which, by the way- is S...L...O...W...L...Y............. getting better). (I think). And then- - - - I check my e-mails and we have a Wedding request! I was soooo excited! The bride saw our website, and wants to meet with us- wahoo!!!! May 24, I'm pretty sure that is after Prom season. Yep it is Wahoo!!!!!!! Oh- - - no........... May 24th is a SUNDAY!!!!!!!
WHAT??????? Like I don't have enough trials ALREADY ????? You couldn't just GIVE me this????


Some lessons in life are learned over and over again. Each time taught a different way than the last. The lesson is learned with more depth, perception, awareness, than the time before. Today was one of those life lessons- again.

The event that changed my life is one of the most sensitive, because it involves one of my children. Although I love you all, and understand you are the most sincere friends and family, I feel that if I tell the story in it's entirety, I will be breaking a sacred trust with my child. The security of privacy is not taken lightly, even more so in this case. With that said, I will do my best to express the 'Forgiveness lesson' I learned today.

This story started 2 years ago. There was an indiscretion which happened at one of my children's' schools, to one of the kids. It shocked us, and upset my child. The offender was arrested. Because this offender was a minor, the court case was The State of Ohio vs John Doe, not us against John Doe. Our child did speak to the Detectives, and had to appear in court. It was traumatic. For all of us. Well. Moving on, this was 2 years ago, and we thought everything had been resolved, until I received a letter concerning this situation. I was caught off guard and was FURIOUS about the supposed changes this offender wanted on the official record. We called the Victim's Advocates office and was told that we could attend the court ourselves, and were welcome to speak on our child's behalf. That was all I needed, my goodness was I going to speak my mind. How dare they want a change in status! I took some time and wrote a letter to the Magistrate, which I was prepared to read.

This morning Bari and I headed off to court. He was full of questions, I was full of righteous indignation. We were briefed by the prosecutor's office and victim's advocates office. Well we found out that not all the information we had (what little info we had) was correct. They weren't asking for leniency just out of the blue. There had been a change in the law, and that change affected our offender dramatically. Even more so than the original judgement. I listened to a Phychologist, and his assessment of the situation, and I kept thinking, "this is wrong". It was wrong for this person to have the new law apply to him, it was excessive, and wasn't fair. I agreed with the defendant. The person who had offended my child.

I did have a chance to read my letter and speak my mind. I told the Magistrate that the new law should not apply to this situation. Well, in the end, our offender was able to keep the original judgement, no more, no less.

That is when I knew forgiveness. When we were done, and excused to leave the court room, I asked if I could speak to this young man. As I walked over to him, he was still sitting in the chair, but immediately got up as I started to speak to him. I told him I was a mother more than anything else, and as a mother, all I wanted him to do was to stay out of trouble, make something of himself. And I told him I was proud of him for all the progress he had made. He hugged me and wouldn't let go. He apologized over and over, promised be productive, and apologized again. I can't even describe the moment. We just stood there holding on to each other, whispering our private conversation, promising and accepting all sincere gratitude's. I looked in his eyes, held his face in my hands and knew he was sincere. Knew, I had forgiven.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Updates from Friday-Saturday

Before the updates I have a little unfinished business. First off, so sorry I published the last post without Spell-check first. I'm an atrocious (better Spell-check that)-speller, and I depend on it. Secondly, sorry I didn't make it to Enrichment on Thursday. I was really looking forward to some 'me' time -(and I even had my nightgown out and ready)- but alas, I had some last minute Wedding Production to do. I'm sure it was a great evening. Again, I'm sorry I missed it.

Ok- on to Thursday. If you haven't read my last blog, none of this will make any sense, be warned. Read at your own risk.

Thursday I had a very nice phone conversation with Mr Brown from the Alcoholism Council. He was trying to reach Joey, but in the end we both agreed that this was a much better-much needed conversation. First off, he gave me some specific ideas on how to get Joey back into the final assessment meeting without having to wait 3 weeks for the next appointment. That was helpful. Then he pretty much gave me a pep talk. It was nice to hear. I think I am done with thinking that all of this trouble with Joey is my fault. That I'm a bad mother because of it. There really are things I could have done better, his education for one. But, in the end, it is his choice to use this as an excuse, or move on productively with his life. Is it an embarrassment? of course it is. But it is not my choice, these are his destructive behaviors. So, Mr Brown confirmed all that to me. He also said I was doing really well with my choices of when to help and when not to. It can be difficult to know when it is enabling, and when it is helping. Then he said something that made me cry. Mr Brown said that he could tell that Joey was raised right. I had done a good job raising him in a Christian home. Really, I cryed. And I told him that he made me cry. Then Mr Brown said, "well, sometimes you just have to let those floodgates open and let it out. Let the emotions out. It's a good thing". What a nice guy. Like I said, he really made me feel better about the whole situation.

Then came Saturday. I stayed in bed Saturday morning debating about going in to work or not. My hours were really pitiful this week because of all the Joey stuff. Then Madeline called at about 9 (right when I would have left) to ask me to pick her up from a sleepover. The rest of the morning there was a debate about where we were going to go for the day. For once, Bari and I both had the day off without any weddings or meetings. Just as Bari bought tickets on line for the Zoo (I had never gone there) I got THE CALL. I can't say I was surprised. I was hoping it would be different, though. Yep, Joey called. He was even more sick than before. He now had severe diarrhea, cramping and still couldn't sleep all night. And worse than that, he kept saying over and over,"I just can't take this any more, I just can't take this". I asked what that meant. He said he was tempted to just give everything up, and forget about trying to stay clean. And what did that mean??? More importantly, what did he expect ME to do about it? He called the clinic that Good Sam had referred him to, but it isn't open on the weekends. It is an out patient clinic. I did have the director call me though. He (also) was very nice. He (I can't remember his name) suggested we go back to the hospital and tell them what is going on. He also suggested Joey get emotional support from somewhere. So, at 11:30 or so, I left and went to the eastside (again) and took him to a hospital. (again) This really was worse. He is so defeated. He kept saying that if it wasn't for his friends, he would have done something stupid by now. I did my best not to cry.

We were at the hospital until 4 or 4:30. Bari, Bari Ray, Madeline and Sam all went to the Zoo without me. Bari bought a family pass though, so we (hopefully) will be going back soon.

Back at the hospital, Joey kept telling the nurse that he needed something stronger to help him. She of course (in a very nice, but firm way) told he wasn't going to get anything else. We did get a prescription for a medicine that was prescribed at Good Sam in a patch form, only this time in a pill form. I didn't get the patch because I just couldn't afford it. Thank heaven's the pills were a fraction of the cost. So, in the end. I took him back to Batavia, and cryed all the way home. Bari asked why I was so low this time, much more than the last time at the hospital. I think I was cautiously optimistic last time. This time he seems so defeated. He has such little hope for himself. I can't even tell you how sad that makes me feel. My 21 year old son feels he has no hope.

Madeline asked how Joey was doing. They (Sam and Madeline) know he's been in the hospital, but not for what specific reason. I told her he was trying to get better, but what he really needed was prayers.

Well, I've re-read and Spell Checked. We'll see how the rest of the weekend pans out. I'm looking forward to Church tomorrow. I miss you all. Oh, I better get cracken' on that Class Presentation! I think I'm doing the 'Whole Armor of God'. I need it. It's a lesson that can't be taught too many times.

Oh, and thank you for all of your kind word. I have read all the comments and REALLY appreciate all your thoughts and prayers on my and my family's behalf.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lifes' little challenges. . . . .

If you thought I already blogged about everything in my life, you were wrong. I have had a couple of weeks' worth of little challenges. I think I've hinted about my oldest son and his lack of good choices. If I've ever miss-stated anything, that would probably be it. He has gone from making foolish choices, to being just plain stupid. A couple of weeks ago he dissappeared for almost 10 days. Now, he's been living out of my house for over 3 years, and I don't always hear from him consistantly. He's all boy, and doesn't communicate very well (or at all). Anyway. This time, I knew he was in trouble. Very big trouble. I have known for a while that he had been selling drugs. It broke my heart. Then things got worse. The last 8 months he has been doing Meth. I cryed (and screamed and swore) when I heard it. He was not encouraged to stay at our house. We were afraid about anyone coming to see him, or any other problems that might come from his drug use or business. Then he got in trouble AGAIN- and I think I blogged about him having to see a Probation Officer.

So, I'm at my wit's end, I haven't heard anything for almost 2 weeks, I pray on the way to work that I will at LEAST hear from him. I wasn't asking for any Devine intervention, he needs to pay restitution for all he had done up until now, but I needed to hear from him. While I'm at work, Katy calls. She and Josh had a funeral to attend that day. One of Josh's cousins saw Katy and told her that he knew where Joey was. Incredible. Katy told the cousin, to tell Joey that we love him, and that he needed to CALL HIS MOTHER! About 30 minutes after that call, Joey called me. It was a really hard conversation. I was happy to hear from him, but I was not going to enable him. At all. Nada. He seemed calm, but not feeling well. He said he didn't have any money, no car, no phone, and was being supported by his friend. He also said he was trying to stay clean. Yea, yea, yea, talk to the hand. I felt terrible after that conversation. I wanted desperately to help, but knew I shouldn't. I felt like a terrible mother, and I was afraid that he would feel abandoned.

I didn't hear from him for a couple more days. Then he called on Tuesday and told me he had an appointment at the Alcoholism Council that afternoon, but no way to get there. I told him that I would take him IF he called his Prob. Officer and talked to her. He did, so I agreed. Somehow, I felt this was a breakthrough. I took Joey to his meeting, and had the opportunity to also talk with his counsellor. It came down to just a couple of choices. Joey needs intensive drug therapy. Mr Brown highly recommended a 3 day a week program. Joey said that would be a hardship on his family. Man, talk about feeling guilty. I want to do all I can, but he was right, 3 days a week would be really difficult. So, we started talking about facilities where he could stay during his treatment. Somewhere in the middle of this meeting, I was absolutely over come with the reality of my son's addiction, and the seriousness of Meth addiction specifically. I found out (and Mr Brown, with all his experience- believed him) that Joey had been going Cold Turkey for over a week. It was incredible he had come so far all on his own. Anyway, we weren't able to place Joey at that time, we were supposed to go back and sign papers and have another meeting the next day.

When I came home, I had to try to explain all of this to Bari. It was hard to get across that Joey REALLY was trying to get better. Bari was very suspicious. I don't blame him. But sometimes I just want support without discussion.

The next day (Wednesday) Joey was sick and wanted to go to the hospital. He had gone 10 days without any additional medication helping him through withdrawl. He had heard from his friends that it could take a year to clear all the medicine out of his system. A YEAR!!! Well, an amazing thing happened. On the ride to the hospital he really opened up to me. He told me that his first addiction was the money. That he wouldn't have done the drugs if he had known how much money it actually cost him ($80 a pill). And that he had enough money (and access to drugs) to have overdosed without a problem. WHAT??????? He also told me when/how he decided to give it all up. This drug is incredible - in all the wrong ways. Anyway. Because we spent 3 1/2 hours at the Emergency room, he missed his appointment. He is trying to get back to see Mr Brown next week. Joey has an appointment with his Prob. Officer tomorrow.

I can see a difference in him. If we had to spend that much time in the waiting room before, he would have been - impatient, angry, belligerent, restless. But, besides the normal 'slightly irritated' way we all feel in an emergency room, he was fine. Oh, and besides feeling sick from the withdrawl.

I know this is all very early. But I have to be a LITTLE optimistic about my son. I am well aware that there will be many ups and downs. But at least he is showing some intention of wanting to make a good choice.

So, that was my week, anyone watch Project Runway?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So sorry- - - but........

Well, I'm probably the only Stake member who was (a little) happy Elder Ballard wasn't able to be at Conference last weekend. Now, don't get me wrong, I would not wish ill health on anyone, but, at the same time, I did have a feeling of relief. Relief because we were in Clyde the whole weekend, and weren't able to make conference. My brother had called MONTHS ago to ask which weekend was better for us. He was making the trip to Chicago from Boston (Cambridge MA- actually), and wanted to meet up with us at my Mom's. We haven't seen his family since our wedding 4 years ago- so I was pretty excited. Until, of course, I heard Elder Ballard was to attend. UMMM- well, since I chose the weekend, I couldn't very well tell them that all of a sudden my plans had changed. So- again, I was a little relieved that Elder Ballard was a no show.

The trip was FABULOUS! had a great time with my brother, his wife and 2 boys. They were fun to be around. My mom was in very good health (and spirits) the whole time. Katy and Josh were able to make the trip too. My mom hadn't met Josh yet, so that was a riot all unto itself. (I think he found out just how much like my mother I am)- and Katy is following right in my footsteps. YEA!
We all went to the (only) Italian Restaurant in Clyde (actually, it's about the only sit-down restaurant of any kind in Clyde) on Saturday night. It was fun. Did some Geocaching on Sunday.

The only really hard part of the weekend (actually there were two parts that were hard)- Mom's house is really OLD- and has no air conditioning. It was HOT. I remember summers very well, you go outside to sit on the porch to find a breeze and then when you can't take that anymore, you go inside and sit in front of a fan for a while. Wow, years of summers like that. I'm getting soft- I couldn't wait to sit in my car with the air going (thank's again Dave!).
The other sad news (this is more serious) is that we found out a little more about why my Mom hasn't heard from my sis in Michigan. I won't share all the details- and there were - lots - of details. Just let me vent a little bit. I can stand it if my sis chooses to be non communicative to me, it is her loss. But it really makes me mad when I find out that she won't speak to my Mom. I'm STILL really upset about it all.

ANYway---- like I said, it was a really good visit. We sat around and tried to explain cell phone commercials to mom. She is such fun. I really need to visit more often.- Especially since my sis isn't making the drive down anymore.- - - -
Missed you all- I know conference was great, even without Elder Ballard. I'm sorry I had to miss it. Saturday evening meetings are my favorite. I'm looking forward to the next one- and I'll TRY not to schedule anything else that weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More news- - - - - -

What a week (or 2), it has been busy with dance and school prep and church, and wedding meetings (last night we booked one for next March), and Katy is expecting. WHAT? WHAT?
NOOOOOO-----they promised they'd wait a while. NOOOOOOO- - - -that means I'm going to be a (shhhhhhhh-- - -say it v-e-r-y quietly. Grandma. NOOOOOOOOO- - - - - I don't want to be a GRANDMA! Hmmmmmm- well, that isn't exactly true. I don't mind being a grandparent, I just don't want to be CALLED Grandma. So, I need to start a list of COOL g'ma names. Any suggestions? We have until March 3 (give or take) to come up with an alternative. (And for me to get used to the idea).

And that blew the heck out of Madeline's great news- she's going to be on Toe Shoes this year "on Point" as they say. Soooooo how much busier can I be? OH, AND Katy closed on their house on Monday. Yes, we can say, busy busy busy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Calling all Bloggers.......

Help, This is taking every ounce of humility I have left.

HELP- - - -

I need a Prayer/Exercise Buddy- someone (or more than one- I need lots of help!)- someone I can e-mail everyday. I will go weeks (this is the humble-pie part) without thinking of my personal prayers or my exercise commitment.

Does this make sense? I remember I need to e-mail a friend, I will remember to keep to my challenge of prayer, scripture study, and exercise. The responsibility of 'reporting' also helps.

So, any takers out there? I'll warn you, I'm an exellent excuse giver!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wedding pics- better late than never...

Well, we've had Katy's pics online for a week or more. There are 2 sites you can check out if you want. The first has all the pics from the wedding day. Sorry- if I was more computer savvy, I'd be able to link you right up- but I can't. So, here's the site and instructions- - - go to View an Event - User name - Katy and Josh Colonel
Password is- 20074

The other site has a book we designed for my Mom. It has more of Katy's family than Josh's (remember, it's for Katy's Grandma). I thought it turned out really pretty.

My - Click on My Bookshelf (at the top of the homepage)
The ID-or Order ID is - M755722
Password is - 1242239

All right, I feel better now. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happiness is . . . .

Remember the Peanuts book 'Happiness is a warm puppy'? I think I need to write a list of things that make me happy.
Having an adoring husband makes me really really happy. He works so hard at trying to keep me happy that it drives me insane sometimes- but I know he loves me truly.
My many children make me happy. I love seeing the little ones grow up, and although I miss the toddler years (yes, really- and Yes, I do remember how hard they were), I love that they are getting older and more independent. Silly me, I like kids who have an opinion, it shows me they are thinking for themselves. (Although I don't always agree with their opinion).
Having a house, neighborhood, and neighbors I know, is wonderful. I don't miss living in apartments and living by rules a property owner has dictated. I like knowing who lives on both sides of my house, even though I don't see them very often.
My cats give me the giggles. They are so much like- - -- CATS! You know, independent one minute and 'in your face' don't you love me? the next. Happiness is a warm furry, cat food smelling kitty!
Family makes me happy. I don't get to spend much time with my own family, so I am very grateful that Bari's family has been so welcoming to me and my children.
Memories of my childhood give me happiness. I grew up in a very average household without much extra money floating around. For some reason this summer, I find myself reminiscing about my summers in Clyde, and how we spent our time. Those are good memories.
Sometimes my job makes me happy. I am really good at what I do, and I like saving treasures and making them into showpieces for their families to keep. It can be very rewarding.
I like a good movie. Going out with my husband and my children makes me happy. We don't always have to go out to have a good time, but it is fun to do something different. Last weekend we took Madeline, Sam and Bari Ray to Macaroni Grill in Tri-County. Since the kids ordered from the kid's menu, and we got water to drink, the bill was less than $10 a person! So, the key is to take them out only as long as they can order from the Cheap Menu!
I am happy with my life. I know I complain about hot flashes, and busy schedules (it won't get any easier next school year), but I am happy with where I am right now. I am grateful for the gospel in my life. I am 'out in the world' more than with church members, and that is a constant reminder of how wonderful the gospel and the church are. People really are confused, and even more importantly, they seem to want to take the easy way out. I have several friends who attend a very large non-denominational church who are constantly talking about how great and fun and exciting the 'messages' are each week. They wouldn't dare call them 'sermons' because that would mean that it was something other than a suggestion. Anyway, I am reminded that we are taught the Meat of the Gospel every week, not fluff, or suggestions of what we should do. It surprises me how scared people are that they might be told what to do. Or even the ministers seem hesitant to do more than suggest a Christ like life. Christ's baptism was absolute, not a suggestion. His teachings were specific.
Happiness is getting the chance to blog my thoughts and feelings no matter what they are.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gotta D-A-N-C-E . . . . .

Ok, I know we aren't supposed to brag, but it is my blog, so if you don't want to read it- - then don't.
Madeline had Competition tryouts for next year's team. Last year she was on the Junior team and loved it. She really wanted to make the Senior team, or be allowed to perform a duet or trio next year. Well, the studio has changed a few things for next year, including the addition of an Elite Squad for Jr Jazz/Tap and Sr Jazz/tap. In a performance, if there is a special role to be danced the performer will be selected from the Elite team. Also, duets trios and other special dances will be made up of elite dancers. So tonight Madeline did her try out and made the Jr team again. The judges did not select an elite team for the Jr Tap, and only 3 members for the Senior Tap squad for elite. In Jazz, there were 2 members from the Senior team selected, and ONE member from the Jr team. Yep, Madeline was the only Jr team member to be chosen to be an Elite team dancer and that was for Jazz.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back again

Well, Madeline and I made the trip back without any problems. We had a great time in Gatlinburg. We spent very little time sightseeing and enjoying the attractions, most of our days were spent in the Convention Center watching other teams perform. And I really ment Our DAYs. We were at the competition by 7-7:30am both days even though she didn't perform until the afternoon. The Senior team and duets performed in the mornings and she didn't want to miss them. On average, we were done around 10-11 each night. So, yes, they were really long L-O-N-G days. Good thing we enjoy watching all of it. Madeline's dances did very well considering it was the first year the Junior team went to Nationals. They got 3 Golds, and one HighGold (which was really really good). They last day we were there, I was able to take her to the Dixie Stampede. If you have never been, I don't know if I can explain the experience. Madeline Loved it. It was really fun to spend time with her. I love how much she is still a little girl, and new experiences still really excite her. She never got over the fact that EVERYONE had an Accent! Too cute. I was really proud of her. She really enjoys performing. I don't know how she does it.

The other big news- PROJECT RUNWAY is BACK!!!!!! Who watches? I love it. I'm a little dissapointed that there are so many 'professionals' in this group. But, oh well, LOVE it anyway! It will take me a couple of weeks to pick my favorite designer, but I already have a few I'm not crazy about. I'm not sure I'll like the suntaned freak. He seems like he is a Christian wannabe, and the Cher look-a-like needs a makeover. Anyway, Love the show! One of my all time favorites.

Anyway, it's great to be back!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Final Score-Cats :2 vs Birds:0

We used to have 4 Cocktails in our living room. (Yes, this isn't going to be pretty).

They - Elvis, Ozzy, Moe, and Cosmo lived happily (I would guess) in a very large green cage in the corner of my dining room. They had every thing a captive bird could want. Elvis was the first, Katy bought him over 7 years ago from a breeder. She got Ozzy from a friend of her brothers about 6 years ago. Not long after that, I bought Cosmo for Bari for Christmas. We weren't married yet, so it was a weird kind of gift. That was about 5 years ago. Then, my boss gave us Moe about 4 years ago. Moe was the bosses' sons pet. Moe was the least liked of the bunch. (or flock as it may be).

Fast forward to Mother's Day this year. Bari and I choose 2 beautiful male European Burmese kittens (6 months- so they weren't too little) for our new family pets... All is well. For a while. Then we spy Jay sitting on top of the bird cage. Now, I have to explain that the cage is fairly large. It stands almost as tall as I am, and is at least 3 feet wide on each side. We bought it at a bird show, so it is a standard type cage for this breed. Ok- so there is Jay, on top. At night we'll put a blanket over the cage to keep the birds quiet in the mornings. A couple of times, I heard strange noises, only to find Jay UNDER the blanket that was COVERING the cage. We went full-scale trying to discourage the cats from being near the cage. Then one day last week, I heard the vacuum going at 7 in the morning. Uh-oh, this can't be good. Bari was cleaning up the feather fest from the living room and hallway. The cats got a hold of Moe. Jonesy looked pretty guilty, but I think he just got Jay's left overs. So, we work even harder at keeping the cats at bay.

Tragedy strikes Monday morning - 4:30am. There is pounding at our door. It is Madeline screaming "Cosmo! Cosmo!" Yep, Sure enough, Cosmo is outside our door, looking like dinner. (Or maybe a really early breakfast). He was still alive (in his own little birdy voice calling for help), when Madeline found him. Did you know that not all Vet's offices take birds? Well, none of the 24 hour pet hospitals take birds. So, off we go to Wyoming at 8 the next morning, with our little chewed bird in a Little Debbie box. So sad. They kept him over night, and even considered an amputation of the wing (there was muscle damage). But what got him in the end was the bacterial infection from the cat bites. - Side note, oddly enough, Bari brought home KFC that night (which rarely happens) and instead of the regular dinners, brought home WINGS-(he has never brought home wings before). Maybe Jonesy had an accomplice.

OK- back to the story, after $200 of treatment (our absolute limit), he was pronounced incurable. Even if they took the wing, the infection was too bad. Now, another decision. If we have him cremated, it would cost $80 !!!!!! Oh, no thank you, I'll just pick him up and bury him myself. So, I did just that, (went and picked him up) and they sent him home in a little box. Well, Sam and Madeline wanted to see him. The last time I saw him he looked a little plucked. But, I opened the box and there he was, all dead and all, but with a little (no kidding) PURPLE cast on his wing! In an odd way, I think that purple cast helped the kids know that they did everything they could for him.

We have yet to hear from the fish. Maybe I'd better start counting.

ps, the rest of the birds have now been moved to the spare downstairs room. I just hope someone remembers to feed them. Katy better hurry up and take them.....soon.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Weddings -day's past and day's to come

What can I say about my week? Work is pretty slow right now. I think there may be 5-8 orders on the Production Log (it is usually around25-30). Needless to say, about 3 of the orders are 'hold for Louann' requests. I like doing the more complicated pieces but I think it frustrates my boss when there is so little to do, and the other framers aren't aloud to work on them. One of the orders has 3 newspapers to frame. They are articles or advertisements and the paper heading with date. These are for my old friend Dr Mark Mandell-Brown. He's a plastic surgeon in town. He is one of my regulars who always requests me. That's ok with the other girls because they say that helping him makes them think he is sizing them up for surgery. I have something to cut apart and put back together for another customer, and I don't remember the 3rd thing I have to do tomorrow. I need to work more, but it is really nice to be home, too. I don't think - infact, I am sure I couldn't find another job that is as flexible as this one.
I need to start getting things together for the trip to Gatlinburg with Madeline. It should be fun. We should have quite a lot of free time, if we are scheduled to dance 3 days, and they only have 4 routines. That's where not working very many hours really bites - it will take some serious budgeting to get us through 4 days, meals and some entertainment. The condo where we are staying has a kitchenette, and Madeline is in favor of making some dinners in our room. We are taking off Thursday and will be back on Monday. The dance studio director and her husband were married 10 years ago in Gatlinburg, during National competition- so they are renewing their vows on Thursday night. All the girls (and any family members) are invited to go. It should be fun.
Sammy is going to his Dad's again this week, leaving Wednesday night and returning next Tuesday night. He is going to Cedar Point, so it should be a fun trip (I hope).
Bari and I had two weddings this past weekend. One was on the 4th at a Lutheran Church in Anderson, with the reception at Dree's Pavilion. If you haven't been to Davou Park, it is just off I75 in Kentucky, just after the bridge on the right, up a BIG hill. It has a pretty view, but the evening was foggy, and you could only see the bottom half of the fireworks. It was pretty neat to see all the individual fireworks along the hill sides, though. But, I would hate to have spent the BIG bucks to have this view, and then have it be cloudy. Oh well. Anyway, it was the most difficult wedding we have done. It was a challenge because all the timing was off, and people were not where they were supposed to be. For example, the brides brother was supposed to stay at the parents house for portraits, but he went to the church to be with the other groomsmen. (Who were not dressed when we arrived for their portrait session). It was hard to keep up with which portraits we were missing, and then try to pick them up later. Usually, we meet with the groom, groomsmen and grooms family at a specific location. Next, we travel to the bride, photograph her, her 'maids, and her family. That way, after the wedding all we have to do is portraits with the bride and groom together with families, and wedding party. Lastly, we'll do some romantic shots of the couple together. If we miss the individual families from the early sessions, it just makes the portrait time in between the wedding and reception even longer. No one likes to be late to the reception. The second wedding was also in Anderson-Withamsville area, with the reception at the same hall where Katy had hers. It went like clockwork, a perfect wedding photography day. Thank heavens for that because we were still a little hung over from the wedding the night before. It's hard to explain why the day after a wedding is so hard. The only way I can think of explaining is that the day of the wedding we are running on adrenalin for hours and hours, and the next day you just crash. While I'm gone next weekend, Bari has 2 more weddings, but he is shooting for someone else so it isn't quite as intense. Oh, the second wedding had the cutest Grooms cake, it was huge- about 20 inches long and 8-10" in diameter, it was a serious looking Coney with cheese. Bari took 2 photos, one from the front, and one from the end. The end view looked just like a hot dog with chili beans and cheese. It was so fun.

Well, to make this post even longer, I'm going to write a few of the things that I'm grateful for. This is probably pretty repetitive from other lists, but we talked about Gratitude today in my primary class, and I need to write just how grateful I am.

I'm grateful for my kind and loving husband. He would do almost anything just to make me happy. He loves me and loves taking care of me. I can't even express what this means to me.

I'm grateful for my children. I love them all and am grateful to be their mother. I was looking through some old pictures tonight, and fell in love with my little 2 and 3 year olds all over again. Thank heavens we only take pictures of the good moments and fun times. I'm grateful that Sam and Madeline are having a normal childhood, and are loved and cared for.

I'm grateful that we have a house to live in, that all my children have their own beds, and even have their own rooms. We have hot and cold running water that is clean. We are protected from the elements. That there is peace in my home.

I'm grateful that I have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I know what a lost and wandering soul I would be with this knowledge. I am ever grateful that I know that Heavenly Father knows me personally, and that he helps me, guides me, supports me and forgives me without comparing me to anyone else.

Well, it's late and I have a couple of big days ahead (and I haven't gotten to bed before 1 am the past 2 nights)- so I'll just say that I'm grateful for the bloggin' sisters (and Ray)- this wasn't a deep and insightful blog, but it does help to just write sometimes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What's new

I guess I haven't blogged in a while, so I thought I'd record a few things that are going on in our lives so far this summer.

Tonight is the rehearsal for Madeline's recital tomorrow. She has to be downtown at the Aronoff by 4 this afternoon. Bari is taking her because he has become the official recital photographer for the studio. I was looking forward to going because this is the first year I won't be a Back stage helper. This year I am free to watch all the performances. I like the rehearsals because it is so chaotic. Now, this is not normal for me. If you recall, I don't like going to the Christmas party because of the chaos. Who knows why I can deal with one and not the other. Anyway, I'm blogging partly because I am trying to keep busy since I don't have to get ready. Soooo- Madeline has 5 dances this year (oh, I wasn't going to start with Madeline- - - -pardon me as I switch family news to another member). - - - Bari is shooting this event tonight and tomorrow night. He is also working tomorrow(regular job) until noon, and then helping another friend-photographer with his event. THEN he'll meet us downtown. Bari is deep in Senior portrait season. It can be a bear, but the kids are fun most of the time. He sometimes thinks his bosses are pushing him out of the studio and that they will let him go in the fall. Besides all the financial challenges, I can't say I hate the idea. Anyway, he's holding his own for now.

I'm getting a lot of 'how's Katy?' She and Josh are doing well. If you haven't heard, they have a new puppy, a Yorkie named Chewie (like Chewbaka in the Star Wars). Katy only calls 3 or 4 times a day. Sometimes it is work, sometimes a manners question (do I need to send Uncle Randy a Thank You if he sent a card and no gift?), mother-in-law venting (her's -not mine), and my very favorite- . She'll tell me something Josh did 'just to help' that really wasn't any help at all. Yes, we all love our husbands when they 'think' they are helping. Anyway, all is good as rain (?) (what is the saying?. Katy is happy and that is all that counts.

Not many of you know my son Joey. He is 21, just 2 years younger than Katy. Joey gets himself into trouble now and then. And, he makes poor choices most of the time. The worst of his choices lately is his ex-girlfriend. I won't get into details, but just so you know my weeks aren't all fun and games (ha) - I'll let you know that last week, Wednesday was his trial. He and his ex had a fight (not physical, but she said menacing). After weeks of pre-court dates, it finally came down to this, Joey is on probation for 2 years. During this time he cannot speak, text, call, or send messages through a 3rd party to her. He will have random drug/alcohol testing, alcohol/drug counseling, anger management classes and have to report to a probation officer. The judge looked at Joey's prior record (not good-not terrible) and told Joey that he needed someone to check in with and report to. I was sooooo happy to hear this. Joey needs to be accountable to SOMEONE, and he won't talk to his dad or to Bari. I was also happy with the anger management classes. I hope he really learns something from this. Now, if he breaks his probation, he would have to serve all the jail time he has avoided until now. That could mean a year in jail. On a positive note, he called today and said he had met with his probation officer, and she seemed nice and reasonable. If he checks in regularly in the next couple of months, and starts taking his classes, she'll only want to see him every 3 months. I want her to see him every week, but I guess that isn't possible. Soooo that is the Joey story. I have always worried the most about him. My prayers are always with him.

Bari Ray, boy is he happy school is out for the summer. He has his summer reading to do, and has already started on it. Infact, the kids have a mandatory 1 hour reading session every morning this summer. So far (3 weeks into summer) it has been very successful. I hope I can keep on top of it. Next week is Boy Scout Camp. He is looking forward to the new camp. Sometime this summer is will probably try to make a trip to Tenn to see grandparents, but we'll see how that goes. He is thinking about the Air Force, and a Mission. I'm proud of his choices. When I get frustrated, it is because he is acting like a typical 16 year-old boy, and not the cute, happy, wanting-to-please kid I've come to know and love.

Like I said earlier, Madeline is at her rehearsal tonight. She has 5 dances, ballet (it is beautiful!), tap small group (dr's and nurses routine), tap large group (Undead, zombies routine), jazz small group (shimmy-shimmy, fringe and all), jazz large group (disco fever, yellow shiny bell bottom hip hugger pants). I've seen all the routines at competitions except the ballet. There is no sign of stopping or slowing down next year either. She wants to add a lyrical class, and a duet or trio. Last Sunday she had a small performance. It was for students who wanted to create their own dance and then perform it. Madeline choreographed a lyrical dance for 3 friends and herself. The parents and other teachers were really impressed with what they had come up with. It was beautiful and sophisticated. This summer she has 3 one hour workshops, a 4 day (all day) dance camp, and a competition performance in Gatilinburg. I guess she dances pretty much all year round. I don't want her to get burned out, but it is really hard to stop her when she wants to do this, and does it so very well. She, also will (maybe) take a trip to see family in Tenn, but it will really depend on her schedule.

My sweet Sammy. He had a pretty busy couple of weeks. Today was his last day of his Summer Reading Program. It was only 2 hours a day, and he love it. He wants to do it again next year (funding is only for 3rd - going into-4th graders). It kept him busy, he felt like he had something to do too (like his bro and sis). I wish the class was closer to the end of summer, as a refresher before school starts again. Well, they didn't ask me, did they? Last Friday Sam had his first appointment at Children's Hosp. for his Autism assessment. We met with a really nice doctor who asked a lot of questions and told Sam he wouldn't have any shots that day. Sam said he had prayed for that (and indeed he had! the night before, it was Sam's turn for family prayer, and he added "please help me have a good day at the Dr's tomorrow, and no shots." Don't you love that?
Anyway, the Dr is sending Sam to see a Speech Pathologist, and a Psychologist. Unfortunately, the next appointments are not until November. I have to keep calling to find a cancellation. After the next appointments, we'll meet with the Dr again, and make some kind of assessment on his behavior. Hang tight, this is just the beginning.

So, between dance, dr's, judges, brides, husbands, kids, and my regular job, life just gets better and better. So, how can I summarize this ? I do love my life. I love my family. Everytime I'm at a wedding and they pronounce the bride and groom married until death I cringe, and then say a prayer of thankfulness that I do have the gospel, and the temple, and a loving, adoring husband who is my husband FOREVER. Could my life be better? I don't know, it would help if we were a little more financially stable. It could be better if Bari had more time to spend with us. We do alright. Yes, life is good. I am thankful.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yes, I have a testimony

I just want you all to know that I do have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This past month has been stressful in many ways, but challenging my testimony is not one of them. Well.....that isn't exactly true. I want to know something. How can a loving God in Heaven give to women, mothers, daughters of God, HOT FLASHES ?????? This has challenged my testimony. Yes, I know you are ALL too young to understand the complications of such a seemingly innocent body function. But I ask you, have we not already sacrificed a week of our lives every month since we were at the tender age of 10? Sacrificed sanity, water gain, white jeans and swimming? I don't understand. What more can I give? Well, apparently, I can give a little more. In the middle of the night (3am to be exact), I can give up my sleep, covers and any modest pj's. Is that enough? NOOOO.....IN the middle of the day, a slow sweat drips down my back, as if I am sitting in the middle of a beach. I am not on the beach.
I LOVE the Lord, but if I ever get the chance, unexpected hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and hair growing in all the WRONG places!!!! I will make a change or two.
This isn't over yet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sometimes . . . . .

Sometimes we have to do really hard things in our life. Things that we don't choose to do, but things that we know are the right thing to do. Or we are prompted to do. Life is not always easy. Sometimes we just have to do hard things because no one else can do them. Not because they don't want to, but because they are paralized and can't do them. Last weekend was one of those times.

I gave the eulogy for my little niece on Saturday. I have no idea how many people were there. (Lots). I got really nervous as we were driving to the church. It was one of those things that no one wants to do. I felt compelled to speak for the family. (And I was asked by my brother-in-law).

I am grateful that I have had a lifetime of service in the church, teaching and speaking, that I wasn't paralized, that I could express the love Maddy had for life, and her family. It was the most difficult speech I have ever given, I cryed, but got through it.

Most importantly, the family was appreciative. They knew I spoke for them, through them to everyone else who was there grieving.

Prayer made it possible. Prayer is beautiful.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The circle of life - - - -

The circle of Life - or- 2 funerals and a wedding.

My (Bari's) niece died this morning. She was 9 years old. She had Cerebral Palsy. The last couple of days of her life were spent with loving members of her family holding court at her bedside at Children's Hospital. We have spent the last couple of days also with the family. Some of the family are holding up pretty well. It is a difficult time burying a child. The grandparents are not coping well with the loss. It seems that those who have some faith, even a little bit of faith, are dealing with grief much better than those who do not. Maddie really did change those around her. She had a marvelous life. She saw and did many things for such a young girl. I think she was tired of missing out on all the dancing at the weddings she has gone to. We love you Maddie - - - dance on!!!!

Maddie's funeral is Saturday at noon. Bari and I are photographing a wedding at 3. It is a contract for another photographer, and we can't get out of it. It will be difficult, but we'll manage.

There is another funeral on Monday, in Chattanooga, for Bari's Step-Mom's father. Bari's dad (also Bari), and step-mom Linda were on the way here on Tuesday, they got as far as Knoxville when they got the call that Linda's dad died. Bari and Linda went back to Chattanooga, made funeral arrangements and Bari drove back up here. Linda and other TN relatives will be driving up tomorrow for the funeral Saturday. I guess it will be a caravan back down on Sunday morning. Bari and I (my Bari) will also be driving down on Sunday and returning on Monday after the funeral.

Throw in Dance photos, Seminary graduation, scout camp outs, birthdays, modeling shoot, wedding rehersal meeting, and regular work stuff and it could possibly be even crazier than normal. And our normal is pretty crazy.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Only have a minute- - -

I only have a minute or 2 before everyone gets home from school and the weekend begins.

The Wedding. So sorry I'm inept at the computer. The wedding pics are BIG and I mean B-I-G files and I don't know how to make them smaller. When Bari gets time to teach me, or just does it for me (!), I'll post all the beautiful portraits of the bride. The wedding was beautiful. The day was spectacular. Everyone behaved themselves. It was a nice, pretty, low-key, conservative, Prodestant wedding. The cake was really good. I questioned their choice of Carrot Cake, but it was delectable. They had a chocolate fountain that was a hit. I never got over to it, but the guests who did seemed to enjoy it. It took me until about Wednesday before I felt recovered.

On to the rest of the family. A week ago Sam's Cubs put on a magic show. It was really cute. I have to admit that I really don't like going to events where I don't know too many people (sometimes even places I do know most everyone there-) anyway. I wasn't looking forward to it, but wanted to support Sammy and the Cubs. I was so glad I did. It was sooooo cute. Each boy stood up and presented a trick he had learned. I can't even describe how fun it was. The boys were a hoot. I have to put in a big THANK YOU and HUGS to the Sisters who run our Cub program. They are terrific. Sammy really loves to go.

Madeline has a dance competition this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Yes. Mothers Day. That's ok, I'm a low maintenence mom. I just want someone else to do all the cooking on that day. This is the closest competition to home, so if anyone is looking for cheap entertainment, it's free. It would probably be a bit boring, too. Anyway. That is what is coming up.

You have all noticed that I have (finally) figured out how to add a pic to my blog title, but now I need to learn how to make it SMALLER ! Again, the file is probably huge!

Work is pretty good. While I was out on Wedding-Leave, one of my favorite Bengal's players dropped off more things for me to frame for him. That was kind of a bummer because he is such a cutie, 390lbs, 6'6''- just one big Teddy Bear! He picked up his stuff Wednesday and I wasn't there Again! I still have another jersey to frame for him, so I'll get another chance in a week or so to see him. I am also framing 2 shadowboxes full of stuff for Marvin Lewis. They are all full of football and lacrosse items of his son Marcus. Marcus is graduating this year. They want them for the graduation parties. Oh, and the week before the wedding I framed up a really nice piece for Shayne Graham (the kicker for the Bengals) as a gift for his mother. It was really sweet.

Enough of that- -- I need to start to check on all of the dance stuff for this weekend !!!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY !!! to all the Great women I know -

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday night- 5 days and counting- - -

Well, considering that none of my usual readers have had children old enough to move out of the house ( sorry Michelle, college doesn't count- they come back), I will give you-all a little information on the subject. Yes, at some point, you really ARE anxious (and happy) for your children, your sweet, kissy, lovey, innocent children to leave your comforting, secure, safe, arms to go out into the big bad world. Yes. Really. But, it doesn't mean you aren't going to miss them, or worry a little, or call to check (although you would NEVER say that was why they were calling).

Katy moved to the new apartment Saturday morning. It was a little surreal. Sunday when we got back from the dance competition, we drove over to 'help'. (As in "Mom, can you come over when you get back to help?"). I helped arrange and hang pictures, and give advise (much needed advise) on how to put together a kitchen table without the correct screws. Mom can be quite handy.

Like I said, it was surreal, mostly because when I left, she didn't come with me, she stayed there. Weird.

In how many? 5 days she'll be someone's wife. That is REALLY surreal. I will probably cry. Mostly because she will be beautiful. And scared. And someone else's responsibility. And because I am old and my children (who aren't children anymore) are ready to leave me. I will also cry because I'm happy. My mom cried when I married Katy's dad, but I'm sure it wasn't because she was happy.

Just wait until your children leave the house- not for missions, or to go to school, but to be married. To start a life. A new life. Their own life.

I am really REALLY happy. I am so happy. . . . . . I'm crying.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Just couple of minutes ---- and BIFOCAL contacts? ! ?

I have a couple of minutes to catch up before driving Madeline to dance.

I just realized that I never posted anything about the mini-vacation Bari and I took on our week-off. We went to Richmond, KY to pick up some paintings that my cousin had that my parents had done. I have 2 oils from Dad, 2 watercolors & 3 oils from Mom. It is really nice to see them again. We have lots of pottery of my Dad's, but Mom has kept most of Dad's paintings- which is ok since those are very large. Anyway- Bari and I also went to Berea, KY and spent the day walking around the shops. It was fun. We made a couple of little purchases. Then we went to a smaller KY town, Bybee. There is a pottery there that I wanted to see, and purchase a couple of bowls and mugs. It has been around 100 years - family owned, very utilitarian stuff. I love it. We want to go back and really re-think how we can use more (Bybee Pottery) at home. Then we went to the Natural Bridge. It was beautiful. I'm really- REALLY out of shape. It was fun.

That was a while ago. Just last weekend, we photographed a wedding in Mason. 8 Brides maids, 8 Groomsmen, 4 Ushers, and 2 flowergirls. It was interesting. The groomsmen were late, the pastor told jokes and almost forgot the scripture reading, and the mother of the groom almost didn't show. But----the bride was beautiful, we collected about 50 e-mail addresses to notify when the wedding goes on line (potential extra $$$$ for this wedding), we had some new equipment which worked perfectly (specially with a large group), and I got to be creative with the wedding dress portrait. So----it was pretty fun.

Sunday morning early I sped off to Louisville to watch Madeline's last 2 competition dances. It was really fun to see all the girls cheer each other on, and the hard work pay off. We got back home around 10 pm. Madeline really enjoyed it, good thing, because there is another this weekend in Indianapolis.

Next Saturday (when I'm fast on the way to Indi) Katy is moving all - ALL - her stuff to their new apartment in Batavia. That is the first big event of WEDDING WEEK, followed by Monday- liscense, Wednesday - mani/pedi's for K, M, and I. Thursday- family and friends coming into town early, Shower in the evening. Friday- move the flowers and kids wedding wear to the eastside, 5pm rehersal, dinner, pick up my sis at Dayton. CAN'T WAIT TILL SATURDAY- 10 am hair, 1pm, all over town for picks, 4pm family pics, 6pm ceremony - then on to the reception. SUNDAY- birthday party for ex-husband for kids (I don't go to this one!). Oops- -sometime on wednesday I pick up my dress. And I need to clean my house (early in the week) and take my sis BACK to Dayton on Sunday.

Add to that, I'm working all day on Monday and Tuesday. And the Matt Maupin procession and memorial is - SATURDAY - just down the road from the Reception hall. Let's hope the president doesn't come.

Love you all! I'm reading blogs although I'm not always commenting. It really helps me feel like I'm kind of keeping in touch.- - --

I think I took the wrong week off for vacation.

I just realized that I never explained the contact comment. Yep- I'm officially old. Not only is my first born getting MARRIED, I got a new perscription for contacts and their BI-FOCAL! (and their really great- I can see close up and then - - -really far away--). It is amazing. (See? I do sound old).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Temple dates

Bari and I had a fabulous week of vacation. There were all sorts of suprises, climbing mountains in KY, getting myself locked in a Women's Room stall. But I will expound on every detail at a later date. I need to write about something we heard at the end of the week. I found it all very interesting - on many levels.

Although Bari and I photograph weddings for our own business (check out the web site- there are more photo's on it)- we also photograph weddings as sub-contractors for friends of ours. Scott and Aimee have their own business photographing high school seniors and events, but hate doing weddings. They know how good Bari is, they pay well enough, and so we go and photograph for them.

This couple both (not always at the same time) worked for an LDS family business. Unfortunately, the LDS family were not very good manager/owners which is why Scott and Aimee both eventually left the company. The LDS couple were very difficult to get along with, micromanaging the business and undermining accomplishments of the staff. The office was always very on edge about every little detail that could possibly go wrong, because that would trigger unpleasant consequences from the LDS bosses. (I am being gentle in portraying the LDS family- really). The LDS family was very active in their ward. He would go on Scout campouts, and serve in the Bishopric and on the High Council. She served in Stake capacities. They would take an afternoon off and 'go to the temple' about once a month. Most of the time, the mood in the office would be better when they returned from their temple date.
Scott and Aimee were not an active religious couple when they worked for the LDS couple. In fact, they were quite amused by the hypocracy they saw coming from the LDS family.

We speed up in time 2 years. Scott and Aimee now have their own fledgling company. They took us out to eat after the wedding reception on Saturday and we visited over dinner for over an hour. Scott told us that when they get overwhelmed or stressed about the business, the go on a 'Temple Day'. They actually call it a Temple Day, too. They get into their Jeep, take off into the countryside, find a beautiful calm spot in nature, put in a favorite Christian CD and 'talk' to God. They said it was kind of like praying. (It was EXACTLY like praying!). They express their needs, concerns, and frustrations, and ask for help (!). Aimee said that almost immediately, they will receive what they need to meet their bills, not more than they need at the moment, but just enough to relieve the stress. It was amazing. I never would have seen this couple as looking for spiritual experiences for help.

What REALLY gets to me is that - no matter how (seemingly) awful the example of the LDS couple was, Scott and Aimee gleaned the ONE thing that they needed to become more spiritual as a couple and family. I just can't get over that.

I can't figure out what this means. Does it mean that if (as LDS) we do 'everything right' - go to church, hold callings, pay tithing, attend the temple,----that if we do all that- no matter what bad -horrid- example we set- we'll still somehow also - - - what?- - - help ?

I don't get it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's a new day - - - -week

Well, after a perfectly awful weekend, this week has been pretty good. Tonight Madeline and I went dress shopping. I'm often out shopping for her (please don't ask how many different dance shoes she owns)- but tonight it was all about US. We went through a Burger King drive through for dinner (to save more $$$$ for the dresses) and hit the mall. I thought we might have some luck at the TriCounty Mall, but no. We walked the whole thing twice. Then we went to David's Bridal just down the street. I think we were there 2 hours, maybe 3. Definitely 3. I can't even begin to tell you how many dresses we each tried on. Madeline settled on a sweet light pink dress, and I actually ORDERED one for me. The first dress I tried on the sales assistant refused to sell me, because it made me look too old for my age. Thanks to her I tried on another 6 or 7. Anyway--- it's done.
That's just the beginning of a great week for me. I'm (finally) getting my hair done -cut-dyed-hilighted-whatever!!! on Thursday. I cannot wait. And on Friday we are having friends over for a game night. I'm excited. I rarely take time for me just to do something fun, and I'm really looking forward to it. Not only that - my vacation starts Saturday, and the kids (M & S) are going away with their Dad for the week. Wow. I'm ready for a Good Week!
I hope you all take some time to do something nice for yourselves this week !

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Prayer needed- - - - -

2 weeks ago a little girl almost drowned in Winton Woods pond. She was pulled to safety and sent to Children's. Her family goes to the same church in Mason as my assistant Pam. There is a blog of information on her condition. Please visit The family would appreciate any words of encouragement and prayer on their behalf.
Thank you.

My ABC's-

Some of these things might be a little different than some of the other lists I've seen. Here we go.

A- Attached or single. Yes, I'm attached to pretty much everyone I know. I can be quite a pest. I am especially attached to my sweet, adoring husband!

B- Best friends. I have quite a few GOOD friends, but I think my 2 BEST friends are Margaret, and Patty.

C-Cake or Pie? Cake. Pie begins with a 'P'. I got 3 cakes for my birthday, homemade Lemon (kids), Buskin (my boss), Peach Crumb Cake (Pam) and 2 cupcakes also from Buskin (Cristyn).

D- Day. The day after Christmas, everything slows down, the kids are happy, I'm not as busy.

E- Essential Item. Cell Phone- and Contact Lenses.

F- Favorite Color. Let's all say this together - - - - Orange.

G- Greatest Accomplishment. Great Kids.

H- Hometown. Clyde, Ohio.

I- Indulgences. If we don't count the birthday cakes- - - Diet Soda.

J- January- July -Jam - Jelly. (I added a couple). July, who doesn't like the warm weather. Besides, I'm going to Gatinburg with Madeline this July.

K-Kids. Dane, Katy, Joey, Bari Ray, Madeline, Sammy. Do I add Josh when Katy get's married?

L- Life is incomplete without---Madeline (she told me to write that!). I was going to put Project Runway or The Amazing Race.

M- Marriage. May 28, 2004.

N- Number of siblings. 3

O- Orange or apples. Well, oranges start with an O. Apples should have been listed under 'A".
I eat more apples, but like the flavor of oranges better.

P-Phobia-Fears. Water, swimming.

Q- Quote. As said by my Mother EveryTime we left the house,"Be Careful! All the Nuts are out!"
(Yes, really)

R- Reason to smile. Sammy just gave me a kiss.

S-Season. SPRING! The squirrels in my back yard are changing from winter gray, to summer brown. Did you know they change colors?

T-Totally Cool. Madeline (again). I'm not (cool-that is).

U- Unknown Fact. Bari and I took a Swing Class when we were first married. We never finished the class.

V-Vegetarian Dish. I don't make too many. Almost eveything I make has hamburger or chicken in it.

W- Worst Habit. Waiting too long to dye my hair.

X- Xtra-Special Date. April 3, 2007. My Sealing date to Bari.

Y- Your favorite food. Well, I don't know what YOUR fav is, mine is old fashioned Pot Roast cooked on the stove in a big pot with all the veggies.

Z- Zodiac Pisces. Chinese Calendar- Rat.

I know I changed a few things. I hope it made this a little more interesting. Madeline helped. (and Danced).