Monday, January 29, 2007

Weekend Fun

I had a busy, but very fun weekend. Friday night Michael came by to watch a movie and eat some pizza. Too bad I fell asleep 10 minutes into the show - it was really dull. Oh well - Saturday was much better anyway.

Saturday we headed to this great little place that serves divine crepes - breakfast, lunch or dessert crepes. Very yummy! After a quick stop at Wal-Mart for ammo, we met our friends Eric, Ran and Lars at the gun range. We stayed there over three hours. Michael even rented an Uzi for Lars, Ran and I to try (he and Eric are members). That was fun. Talk about a powerful gun - wow. The five of us then headed out for a late lunch/dinner at the most fabulous Greek restaurant in town.

After lunch Michael and I met Kevin at the mall to pick up some furniture he had ordered. He needed Michael's truck since he drives a very small car. Afterwards he invited us to join him at Wash U's After Dark performance. There were actually three groups performing that night, After Dark, The Amateurs, and The Other Guys from U of I. These were A Capella groups, and they were FABULOUS! I didn't know what to expect, but they were pretty amazing. Kind of songs mixed with dance and comedy all rolled into one great package. I highly recommend seeing some of these groups if you ever get the chance.

After the concert Kevin, Eric, Naomi, Micheal and I went to City Diner for a late night snack. Watch out for their slinger - the chili is sweet and kinda gross. Their milkshakes are beyond fabulous though.

Sunday was spent laying around, watching TV and trying to figure out the more advanced features on my cable service. Michael and I had another "conversation" so we'll see where we go from here.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Give Me Access or Give Me Death

I am currently sitting in my second SQL (Select Query Language) class. I am beginning to understand it, but Access is so much easier! I guess if I had taken these classes before Access they would have made more sense. It's like reading and understanding the complete works of Shakespeare, and later learning what nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are and how to combine them to form sentences, and an explanation of what a sentence is, and how they can be formed into paragraphs, which form chapters and chapters form books, etc.

It's kinda strange. I can see the usefulness of understanding the underlying language, but...if you have the chance to take in depth classes, start with SQL and move up to the programs that use it as their base.

I did do some pretty awesome (as in awesome for a beginner) work in Access at work. I created an entry portal that leads and links to various sections depending on what the user enters. I'm very proud of it for my first effort.

Oops - back to work. Break is over.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Surgery Date Set

My surgery date has been set - February 8 at 7:30am in St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond Heights. I'm ready - last night my throat started hurting so bad I once again had to take Rx painkillers. This is ridiculous!

My dad is taking me to the hospital. We have to be there by 5:30am, so I think he's spending the night on Wednesday and maybe going out to dinner with Jean and Grandma. Aunt Marilyn will arrive on the 8th and stay with me through the 13th. If I still need help then, Michael will come and stay. Hopefully I'll feel much better by then. The dogs are going to dad's house until I can handle walking them again. I've turned in my FMLA paperwork and everything is in motion.

I'm missing Mardi Gras this year, which you know is a HUGE deal here in the Lou. :( I'll also miss the Barkus Day parade this year - the parade where all the dogs get dressed up. It's one week before Mardi Gras.

I won't be able to talk at all for 7-10 days. If you need info on me, call my Aunt Marilyn, dad or my cell phone. If someone is around they'll answer it for me. If not, that's what voice mail is for. Once I start feeling a modicum of human again I will be texting, emailing and IMing anyone who is available. Since my computer is downstairs it will be at least a few days before I'm able to get to it.

Send positive thoughts my way! (And I wouldn't say no to flowers!!) :)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cable TV aka My Love Affair With My Couch

Yesterday the cable guy came to upgrade my cable service from basic to everything-under-the-sun. I even have HBO, Starz and Cinemax! So, basically I haven't moved off my couch since he left.

I'm hooked on National Geographic and the History Channel. I watched a 2 hour special on Queen Boudica of the Iceini tribe (in England). She was fascinating. When her husband died, he left his kingdom partially to the Romans in an attempt to appease them. It didn't work. The Romans came in publicly flogged Queen Boudica and raped her daughters. She went with the mantra - don't get mad, get even and in 60AD led a revolt against the Roman occupiers. She destroyed - obliterated actually - the modern towns of Colchester, St. Albans and London. In her day these towns were populated by Romans. Estimates are they killed over 100,000 in those towns. She and her rebels killed every man, woman and child then burned them to the ground. The blazes were so intense that evidence of the fires are still very visible after almost 2000 years. They also wiped out the entire 9th Legion of the Roman army.

Ultimately she and her rebels were defeated by Rome's military superiority, but Queen Boudica lives on in history as a testament to the strength and courage of a mere woman. No one knows for sure what happened to her or her daughters, but it is believed they committed suicide on the battlefield rather than be captured.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chronic Tonsillitis

As some of you know, I've been sick off and on for almost 6 months now. Every time I start to get better, I come down with something else. I've had more strep tests in the past 6 months than in my entire life up to this point. I even had a mono test. They were all negative. The docs gave me antibiotics and sent me home.

I finally went to an ENT last Wednesday (1/10). He gave me an anti-viral and some pain meds and said to try it out. 10 days later I still feel lousy and can barely swallow. So I had a follow up with him today. The verdict? I need my tonsils out.

I meet with the surgeon Monday, and will probably be scheduled for surgery in early February. Unfortunately this is not an easy operation for an adult. I will miss at least two weeks of work. I won't be able to speak AT ALL during that time. (I think that will be the hardest part for me.) :) The good news is I'll probably loose about 20 pounds. Do you think I can have this surgery again in April? Loose another 20? Then again in November to slim down for the Christmas holidays? If I don't laugh about this I may cry.

I am currently accepting applications for the position of nursemaid. I will need someone to stay with me for the first week. Any takers for taking care of a whiny, miserable, complaining me?

This is supposed to be an incredibly painful operation, but all the chat boards I've lurked in have said the pain was worth it. Once you are healed, no more getting sick all the time. No more feeling like the life force is slowly draining out of you. No more feeling 90 when you're only 32.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cass's Visit

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my best friend from college, Cass, came last weekend with her two kids, Nora and Aidan. Nora is 6 and Aidan is 3. I am Aidan's godmother and Nora's "Crazy Aunt Karen." We had a ball - despite Mother Nature's attempts to thwart us.

They arrived late Friday night. I had gone to see Seinfeld at the Fox with some friends (and it was a great show!). By the time I got home, Cass was there. Aidan was already asleep, but Cass, Nora and I sat up and talked. Around midnight it was bedtime for everyone. The weather was icey and wet and cold, so snuggling into a warm bed was great!

By 6:45am my power was off. We managed to get everyone up, showered and fed in the gloom of another rainy day, then headed off to somewhere with heat and lights. First stop - Anheuser-Busch for a tour of the plant. (Don't we set a great example for the kids - drinking by 10:00am!) We had a really nice time. The kids loved the Clydesdales, and in the hospitality room they had enough soda to float a small battleship. Cass and I tried the new AB product "Peels." I highly recommend it.

Next was lunch at the City Diner on Grand. Thanks to the Seinfeld gang from Friday night for introducing me to this fabulous St. Louis institution! The kids loved it. If you ever end up at the SLU hospital, keep on driving south on Grand - City Diner is on your right. It's even open 24 hours.

Our next choice was the Magic House, but they weren't answering their phone - leading me to believe they did not have power either. So off to the Science Center we went. We spent the rest of the day playing with all the exhibits and watching dinosaurs. Aidan has a fixation on dinosaurs, so we spent quite a bit of time watching the giant T-Rex kill a Triceratops. We made sure to see the overpass over Hwy 40 where you can watch the cars zoom underneath and clock them with radar guns. Last visit this was Aidan's favorite part. He still got a huge kick out of it. By 4:30pm kids and adults were tired, so we headed back home for some quiet time.

Since I still had no power, we went out for dinner to this great Mexican place at the end of my street called Las Palmas. During dinner Michael called and said we could all come stay with him - he had power. So back to my house to load up kids and dogs into the car and back down to South city we went. (I love my car - 2 adults, 2 kids in car seats, 2 dogs, luggage and toys and we all fit just fine!) We effectively invaded Michael - and he deserves kudos for putting up with it all.

Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at Uncle Wimpy's, then headed to the City Museum. Lest you think this is a normal museum, check out their website I guarantee this is no museum you have EVER seen before. The kids (and adults) enjoyed running around and playing on everything. When sensory overload kicked in we went to the art studio and made "swords" and "fairy wands." A quick wander through the Enchanted Caves and we headed for lunch at Crown Candy Factory. Nothing like candy and ice cream for lunch!

By now it was pouring buckets of rain, so we headed home. Cass and I moved car seats back to her van, changed kids into PJs and loaded up their stuff and they set off for home. Since I still had no power, I headed back to Michael's house. I crashed and slept straight through till morning.

I thoroughly enjoyed having the kids here, but boy they wore me out!! Here are the pictures...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Powerless - AGAIN

It happened again. The nasty storm that came raging through the midwest knocked out my power. 6:45am Saturday morning my house went dark. The trees creaked in the wind, and periodically branches would come crashing to earth. Several large trees also came down this time. I guess the previous storms had weakened them to the point they couldn't survive another. My neighbors once again had power (I want to be hooked up to their grid!) so I ran the extension cords across the street again to run my fridge and freezer.

Facing another week of dark and cold, I decided that this time, I couldn't take it. I packed up the dogs and headed to Michael's house. Did I mention the my best friend and her two kids were also in town (more on their visit later)? Bless Michael for letting all of us invade his home.

On the bright side, my power was only out for two days this time. My neighbor called at noon to let me know it was back on! I'm spending one more night in Michael's guest room since all my stuff was still at his place. I honestly thought I'd be down a lot longer. Pray for all those folks still down as the temperature drops into the teens tonight.

Tommorow - my own bed!!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

New Year's Ramblings...

I hope everyone's new year is off to a fabulous start. Still keeping those resolutions? So far so good for me. I resolved to be more organized and eat healthier in the new year. To that end, I took inventory of every single thing in my pantry. I typed it all up in Excel, organized by category, and clipped the whole list - with a pen - to the inside of my pantry. Each time I use something I cross it off the list. No more buying crap and forgetting I have it, or grabbing dinner on the run because I have no idea what's at home.

Next up - the freezer.

As for the eathing healthier, maybe I should have changed that to simply eating. I've been home in bed with a nasty stomach bug. In the past three days I've eaten a can of chicken noodle soup and a bagel. You know how lousy I felt - I'm ALWAYS hungry :)

As a reminder - dad's birthday is FRIDAY (1/12) and he'll be 60 this year. Give him a call and wish him a happy day/decade.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Saving The Environment, One Car At A Time

I did it! I just purchased a new car! It's a 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid. It's Titanium Green (really light smokey green) with eggshell accents. All leather interior, 6 disk in dash CD changer, power seats, power locks, power windows, keyless entry and a 110v electrical outlet in the dashboard. Most of that stuff comes standard on the Hybrid anyway - except the leather. With dogs, leather is easier to clean.

Dad helped me with the down payment - at least until I get the tax refund check from the Feds. Uncle Sam is still offering a $2,600 tax credit on the Escape. Dad loves the car. I think he likes the idea of me having cutting edge technology - the Hybrid.

It is a little disconcerting to pull up to a stop sign and feel the car engine stop, or be ideling and have it stop, but I guess I'll get used to it. It's supposed to get 36 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. Oil changes are 12 months/10,000 miles.

Welcome back to the world of car payments. Ugh. (I am accepting donations!)