Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthday Wishes and Weekend Fun

My birthday was a really nice day. We met our friends early (after breakfast) and headed for Fantastic Caverns. Debbie has a knack for getting sidetracked, so we ended up at Tanger Mall. That was OK (she asked before she told her husband that we might want to go there) because I wanted to go anyway. I went into the kitchen store to pick up a couple of things for my coffee pot. Then, we headed to the caverns. The caverns were very interesting.

Next up, a trip to the Z-Coil shoe store. Debbie has worn those type of shoes for about six months and they have made a big difference in the pain in her feet and knees. We decided it was worth a shot for Ron. These people were so nice, they sold him one shoe from one box and one shoe from another (size 11 and size 12). I've never seen anyone offer to do that. Of course, they were not cheap but even his orthotic shoe guy wouldn't order him one in each size. They adjusted the coils and Ron wore them for about six hours. I need to check his feet for blisters or uneven wear but I think once he gets used to the spring action, he'll walk better. He already said the left knee was not as painful.

Then, we went to Lambert's for lunch. LOL, after we waited for an hour, it was more like an early dinner. That's OK, it was delish. Debbie and Ron each had fried chicken, Debbie's husband (Herb) and I each had prime rib. We had a great dinner. I got mine mostly free ($9.99) and it was very good. The "pass arounds" for the day were fried okra, black-eyed peas, and fried potatoes with onions. Very good. Oh- and can't forget the "throwed rolls" as that is one of their signature items. They've definitely got a great recipe for their rolls.

Later, we went to the Hollywood Wax Museum and had a pretty good time. I was a bit disappointed in some of the art and thought that many of the recreations were less-than realistic. I did love the Forrest Gump display and had to have my picture taken with him.

On Sunday, we went to the Titanic exhibit. I was totally bowled over by the quality of the replica of the ship and the interior sections they've created. It was really sobering to see the photos of people as they're loading up the ship and getting ready to head out, knowing that many of them did not survive. As we boarded, we each got a boarding pass of someone on the ship. The people Debbie and I had both survived, but those that Ron and Herb had did not.

They didn't allow any photography inside but they did take our pictures and superimpose them in a few places. I went ahead and bought the package of pictures so I'd have something to put in my scrapbook.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Anniversary update

Our trip to KC on Saturday was a lot of fun. We went to my mom's house and then on to the restaurant. We ate at Buca di Beppo on the Plaza. It is in the basement of the building and goes a full city block UNDER the street and parking garage. There were so many rooms that when I took my mom to the restroom, we made a wrong turn coming back. They had to get her a chair so she could rest before we made the rest of the trek back to the table. Ron had to sit on the way to the table the first time and then barely made it to sit down at the elevator. When we called to ask about handicap accessibility, they directed us to where the elevator entrance was, but no one said there would be a 1/2 mile walk to the table. My mom and Ron barely made it in or out. But, the food was excellent. I doubt we'll go back, but it was a nice place to visit once.

I'm a bit concerned about Ron. He's got the shakes really bad this week. His whole right side was shaking the other night and it comes and goes. He has trouble resting when he shakes like that and I do, too because he sometimes shakes the bed. I don't know what to expect from his medical condition anymore. It changes so much all the time. He has us worried. I think he is tired of living this way but we don't have a clue how to improve it.

I'm making plans for him to get out and do things, hoping that it gives him a reason to look forward to a new day. We're going to Branson for the weekend with friends and I know he's looking forward to it. I'm just praying every day that he still feels like going come Friday afternoon.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blessed Beyond Measure

It's been 25 years and I am blessed beyond measure. I have been lucky enough to spend the last quarter-century with my soul-mate, my best friend, my strongest supporter, and the one who has given meaning to so much in my life and the lives of my children. I thank God that He brought me to Wichita, KS and steered me to the only apartment complex in town that would work out for us.

We've changed a lot in 25 years but that's the way it's supposed to be. We've each got a bit less hair than we had then and a few more pounds, but I still see the same man I married and I hope he still sees the same "girl" I was way back then, but with more wisdom and maturity than I possessed then. Growth is awkward and sometimes painful, but it must take place for life to be lived to its fullest measure.

We've had a lot of trials in 25 years – and a lot of wonderful experiences that I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world, even if it meant re-living the trials.

In 25 years we have learned to…
not sweat the small stuff – it will still be there tomorrow

Budget – and adjust the budget – again and again

Buy a few cars together and make a few mistakes along the way

Deal with many surgeries and life-threatening events. We've sat together for many hospitalizations and doctor appointments

Learn how to be poor an hour after we've been paid

Make our house a home – no matter where it was

Laugh lots - and often

Say good-bye to loved ones

Support each other in decisions that affected the whole family – even if we weren't 100% sure it would work out. They usually did but there were some bumps along the way.

Raise a blended family of six kids who love each other and consider each other siblings.

Stick it out even when leaving might have been the easier thing (at the time) to do. We both knew that we were here for each other for the long haul and did what it took to make it work.

Work together in all that we did

Give 150%

Grow in love daily

Laugh at our mistakes, pick ourselves up, and proceed

Yes, we have physically changed a great deal in the last 25 years, but the one thing that has never changed is that we love each other. In fact, if it has changed at all, the love and respect we feel for each other has just deepened.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

25 years is BIG

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I am looking forward to going to Branson but my mind thinks that something else should be going on, too. I remember my parents having a big 25th anniversary bash and one of my brothers (besides me, the only one to be married 25 years to the same person) had a big bash for his 25th. I feel a bit of a letdown. Spending the weekend with Ron (and we’re meeting some close friends there) will be really nice but celebrating this event with my family is also important.

Number 1 – no one thought we’d make it 25 months, let alone 25 years.
Number 2 – it’s a miracle that Ron is still alive to be able to celebrate at all.
Number 3 – I don’t have a good number 3, but didn’t want to stop with just two. {grin}

My mother’s health is too frail to come down here for a celebration and most of my siblings would probably not be able to make it. One will probably have to work, one will probably have to take his daughter to soccer/basketball/softball, etc. practice or tournaments, and one will probably just not reply at all. Plus, I have a couple of nephews who I’d like to invite so it would just be easier on everyone that if I want to celebrate I take the celebration there.

We could go to dinner but the tab but it would definitely be a BYOD (buy your own dinner). I’d like to go to The Melting Pot but it is very expensive (that’s what I’ve been told – never been there) and Ron probably would not enjoy it. I would thoroughly enjoy it but not sure that my mom or my husband would enjoy it. LOL – and I know that Isaiah would not. He’s way too picky.

So - I gave Amy the task of setting up some kind of celebratory dinner in KC, maybe down on the Plaza. Someplace nice enough to be special but not so nice that we can't afford it. We can also celebrate my mom's 79th birthday and my birthday as well. Actually, if we get right down to it, there's another anniversary and at least two more birthdays we could also be celebrating at the same dinner.

I'm looking forward to the big celebration.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fantastic Caverns Trivia

When I told my mom that we were going to Fantastic Caverns for our anniversary, she gave me some interesting information...

Seems my great-grandfather (Richard Dowdy) and two of his sons (Claude and Ed) ran a Speakeasy in the caves during Prohibition. There's a building on the property that is now a community center, but it was the school my grandfather attended.

Very interesting...

Navy Poem

Amy was, and Shaun still is, in the Navy. I have been blessed to be able to spend time with each of them on their respective ships and I thoroughly loved it. I wished many times that I had followed the path of joining the military after I got my Associate Degree in Applied Science. I had plans to join the Air Force but my parents talked me out of it. There were a lot of extenuating circumstances as to why they didn't want me to go but I have been sorry most of my adult life that I didn't just "do it" anyway.

Amy has a new siggy line on her email that I thought was excellent. When I sent her the comment, she sent me the whole poem. It's so awesome that I had to post it here. I don't know who the author is and Amy didn't know who the author is. If anyone DOES know, I'd love to give him/her credit for it. It's an awesome piece.

I Was a Sailor Once

I liked standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe.

I liked the sounds of the Navy - the piercing trill of the boatswains pipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck, harsh, and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work.

I liked Navy vessels -- plodding fleet auxiliaries & service ships like the Ute and Emory S Land...and amphibs like Inchon and, sleek submarines like Haddock, Amberjack, & Finback and those steady solid aircraft carriers.

I liked the proud names of Navy Carriers: Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, Coral Sea, Lake Champlain, Valley Forge - - memorials of great battles won and tribulations overcome. I liked the lean angular names of Navy "tin-cans" and escorts like Spruance & Maddox - mementos of heroes who went before us.

And the others like San Jose, Los Angeles, St. Paul, & Chicago named for our cities and those named for counties like Harlan County and Park County

I liked the tempo of a Navy band.

I liked liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port.

I even liked the never ending paperwork and all hands working parties as my ship filled herself with the multitude of supplies, both mundane and to cut ties to the land and carry out her mission anywhere on the globe where there was water enough to float her.

I liked sailors...officers and enlisted men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest, small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains the prairies, the swamps & the deserts...from all walks of life. I trusted and depended on them as they trusted and depended on me - for professional competence, for comradeship, for strength and courage. In a word, they were "shipmates"; then and forever.

I liked the surge of adventure in my heart, when the word was passed: ''Now Hear This'' or "Now set the special sea and anchor detail - all hands to quarters for leaving port", AND, I liked the infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting pier side.

The work was hard and dangerous; the going rough at times; the parting from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust Navy laughter, the "all for one and one for all" philosophy of the sea was ever present.

I liked the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as flying fish flitted across the wave tops and sunset gave way to night.

I liked the feel of the Navy in darkness - the masthead and range lights, the red and green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk and joined with the mirror of stars overhead. And I liked drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises large and small that told me that my ship was alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch would keep me safe.

I liked quiet mid-watches with the aroma of strong coffee -- the lifeblood of the Navy permeating everywhere.

And I liked hectic watches when the exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes racing at flank speed kept all hands on a razor edge of alertness.

I liked the sudden electricity of "General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations," followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transformed herself in a few brief seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon of war -- ready for anything.

And I liked the sight of space-age equipment manned by youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their grandfathers would still recognize.

I liked the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who made them. I liked the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John Paul Jones and Burke. A sailor could find much in the Navy: comrades-in-arms, pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman's trade. An adolescent could find adulthood.

In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, AND SO WE ARE,--We still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods - the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm with Sailors "manning the rail" in dress uniforms, a refrain of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief's mess and on the mess decks.

Gone ashore for good we grow humble about our Navy days, when the seas were a part of us and a new port of call was ever over the horizon.

Remembering this, WE stand taller and say, "I WAS A SAILOR ONCE."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Application essay

I had to write an essay on the importance of teaching. I decided I'd post it here, too and see what you all thought of it.

The Importance of Teaching

Charlene Law. Bill Grace. Kathy Gold. These are just a few of the many teachers who either directly, or indirectly, demonstrated to me the importance of teaching. You might ask why these three names stick in my mind above all of the other countless teachers I’ve come into contact with. Charlene Law was my sophomore English teacher and she nurtured and encouraged a love of reading that continues to this day. Bill Grace was my high school Music teacher and he taught me that it takes many subjects to create a well-rounded person and music was one avenue in which to shine. Kathy Gold was my sister and she left a legacy behind that impacted her students and their families for many, many years. In some instances, she taught two generations of the same family and the ideals and memories she instilled in all she came into contact with will continue to impact countless others.

The children in classrooms today are our future leaders, doctors, scientists, teachers, and everyday heroes. Included in this group of children are those from within my own family – nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren. I often wonder where they would be tomorrow without the teachers of today. In fact, where will any of us be with this group of students without effective teachers? Can we rely on people to just inherently “know” the intricacies of a particular subject, how something works, or how a goal is accomplished? No, I don’t believe that we can. Just because there are a few who intuitively know how to figure something out, or how to understand an action or a set of instructions, there are many, many more who would never be able to comprehend the necessary components to be able to accomplish a task without interaction with a competent or well-trained and caring teacher.

Can you imagine a doctor trying to operate on a patient without the required tools that teachers provide? Or, imagine an architectural engineer trying to design a building to withstand a hurricane, a tornado, or an earthquake without the proper background. Those, plus many more, careers would be totally impossible without the valuable input from teachers on every level. Knowledge, and the desire for knowledge, is created and cultivated at an early age. Every teacher, at every level, has an important role to play in that quest for knowledge.
Teachers provide the foundation upon which every other thing in life is built. Do you know how to count and to make correct change? Someone had to teach you. Do you know how to read and to write? Someone had to teach you. Do you know how to evaluate and to use complex thought processes to figure out a situation? Someone probably had to teach you the skills necessary for such an action.

In reality, all I need to do to recognize the importance of teachers in today’s world – and all of the tomorrows to come – is to look at my six year old grandson and marvel at the changes and accomplishments that he has achieved and know that many of them would not have been possible without the teachers that he has already come into contact with. Isaiah, who was diagnosed with developmental delays, has been blessed to have outstanding teachers who recognized their importance in his life and how that would translate into the lives of those he touched.

My goal is to play the same type of role in the lives of others.

Feel free to send me your comments or suggestions. I'm sending this tomorrow.

&*%$, &*%$, &*%$

Use your imagination on what those symbols mean...

For those of you who have been following Ron's health issues, you know that within days of him being given permission to walk he developed a new blister. We've been going back and forth to the doctor for about three months with this one. It was healing.

So we thought. It's developed a very distinct smell - the smell that can only mean he's got infection in it. I clean it and I change the dressing, so I know it's being taken care of. The problem is that he pronates very badly on that foot and puts all of his weight when walking directly on that spot. Insurance had denied the doctor's request for a full contact brace to keep his foot in the correct walking position. They've changed their mind and says that they'll pay for it but he's got to get it healed up before he can walk again.

He has an appointment with the foot doctor on Thursday and until then, he's on walking restriction. None. That's the goal but that's impossible. He has to be able to move from point A to point B in the house. He doesn't want me to bring the scooter back in but I'm going to do so. He's pretty disappointed. So am I.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

I have decided...

I am going to go back to school. I really appreciated the comments my new online friends left for me. You're absolutely correct - I should follow "my" dreams now and I'm going to turn 53, 54, 55, (God willing) etc. whether I go back to school or not. No sense in putting off something and then two years from now wondering why I didn't go through with it.

So far, I've requested my transcripts, filled out a student data form, applied for student aid, and sent in an application for admission. I've checked the course descriptions and the course requirements. I think I have enough of the correct credits and classes to start the program this month.

So far, so good... Now, I just have to wait until I start getting answers back.

Patience, patience, patience... {sigh} Not my strong suit.