Indian Summer Day

It is a beautiful Indian summer day, about 58 degrees and sunny.  Hope it lasts awhile.

I have been lazy today.  Mike is home for fall break (Did we ever have fall break?  I don’t remember any breaks until Thanksgiving?)  He basically has a long weekend.  Mike goes back to class on Wed.  Anyway, I baked some cookies since he was home.  I need to make some brownies because I have some buttermilk I need to get rid of.  I made this yummy dessert called “Monster Salad” for my friend, Maggie, when I took dinner over to her the other day.  (She had rotator cuff surgery–her fourth.  She helped me out a lot when I had mine back in Feb so I thought the least I could do would be take over dinner.)  Anyway, this Monster Salad calls for buttermilk.  It’s about the only time I use buttermilk.  I don’t care for buttermilk much, but the “salad” (dessert) is delicious.  It has vanilla pudding, buttermilk, Cool Whip, mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple and FUDGE STRIPED COOKIES in it.  Yum, yum.  Anyway, now I have leftover buttermilk. (No leftover Monster Salad, though.)

My, this is an exciting entry.  (Sorry. I was nodding off there for a moment.)

I waited for the furnace man part of the afternoon.  You know how that goes.  “He will come sometime between 1:00-3:00.”  So, you have to stay home, by the phone, waiting for the repair guy to show up.  We are just getting our furnace winterized.  (Dennis is real big on maintaining equipment. That’s why our cars and appliances last for years and we’re always about 10 years behind the times!)  I wish we could make appointments at the office that way.  Maybe we wouldn’t have so many people mad about waiting in the waiting the room.  The problem would be they would all show up at once, though!  Waiting for the repairman to call and say he is on his way is kind of like when we were teenagers, waiting for someone to call on Friday or Saturday night.  I guess it’s just another of life’s lessons.  Patience.  Wait all afternoon so you can be charged $175.

I played on the internet, mostly Face Book games like Farm Town and Cafe’ World, while I waited.  I also signed up for NaNoWriMo again this year.  It is an internet program that encourages writing.  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and you try to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  I have tried it the past two years, but always ended up quitting.  I hope I can finally do it this year!  I have been thinking about using the blog to do some writing, so we’ll see how that works out.  Maybe you guys can give me ideas or encouragement, or tell what you think. (That might not be a good idea if you guys hate what I write!!) 

My old printer conked out.  I think it was from all those class pictures I was scanning the past year or so!  And the booklet for the reunion.  Anyway, Mike and I went to Office Depot last night and picked up a new one.  I wanted to get it while he was here so he could install it for me.  It’s so much easier to have a teenager install instead of reading through the manual and try to figure it out myself.  Every household should have a teenager for that purpose.  Maybe we should start a new business called “Rent-a-Teen.”  Just have him for hooking up electronics, then send him away so you don’t have to see his dirty room or feed him.  Sounds like a plan!  (Actually, I am enjoying having Mike around and will miss him when he goes back to Lincoln tomorrow.)  Our grocery bill went up this weekend.  Amazing what a difference that makes.

The towel rack in the boys’ bathroom downstairs came off the wall.  (Heavy duty hand drying, I guess!) The molly bolts and all came out.  The dry wall torn off a little so I spackled the wall and sanded it this a.m., then painted it this afternoon.  Now that it’s dry, Mike is not here to  rehang the towel rack.  He left with a friend who goes to UNO.  They were going to hang out this afternoon.  His friend works at 4:00, though, so Mike should be showing up anytime now. 

I have had some fun today, scanning old pictures.  I want to scan Dave’s pictures and put them on a CD for him for Christmas.  Today I did Halloween pictures.  It was fun to look at all the costumes the kids have had through the years.  Joe still dresses up for Halloween.  His friend, Kristen, has a Halloween party every year, so all the kids dress up for it.  They have some pretty elaborate costumes.  No more Batman pajamas!  Last year, Joe got a kilt and sword and dressed up like William Wallace (“Braveheart”) with face paint and all.  This year he is going as Roschack, a character in the strange movie, “Watchmen.”  Basically, he will wear a white mask with an inkblot on it.  Apparently, they sell them somewhere.

Yesterday I was in the local “cheap junk” store, Nobbies, looking for baskets to put things in for our receptionists.  I made “Stress Relief” kits for them.  Anyway, Nobbies was packed.  They have all kinds of Halloween crap including hundreds of costumes.  I remember when Mangelsen’s was the only place in Omaha where you could get good Halloween costumes.  Anyway, it was a madhouse!  I found what I wanted and dashed out of there as fast as I could.  They do have some cool things besides costumes–cauldrons that “smoke,” all kinds of sound effect things, statues that move, etc.  A lot of what Nobbies has is cheap little toys like rings or rubber snakes by the gross.  A lot of schools and room mothers get party favors there.  Anyway, this time of year, you take your life into your own hands, going in there!

This last week at work was very stressful, especially for the receptionists.  They had over 350 phone calls in one day!  People lose patience when they are on hold or don’t get the answer they want, so the girls at the front desk were really stressed out.  I made the stress kits for them and left them yesterday.  I haven’t heard yet what they thought.  I put little bottles of wine, stress balls, packets of Tylenol, Tums, candles for aroma therapy, Hawaiian leis so they could pretend they were at the beach, chocolates, and a dart board so they could put pictures on it (of the nurses and doctors) and fire away!  I hope they got a kick out of it.  When people work as hard as they have been and don’t get recognition or thanks, they may think about leaving for another job!  I don’t want that to happen!  Unfrotunately, some the nurses and doctors get short with them and snip at them, so I am trying to counteract that bad behavior.

Well, Mike is home, so I will get on with my afternoon.  Keep in touch!  Hope you are all well (or getting well, Lynne and Deb.)  I think of all of you guys often and have fond memories of this summer.  Thank you!

Extremes

    We had snow Saturday, October 10th.  The weekend before (Oct1-4) we were basking in the sun in Arizona.

Oct 10 first snow 2009   Dennis and Susan closeup in Sabino Canyon

My aunt turned 100 years old October 1st.  Our baby girl turns 6 months old October 16th.

Aunt Ruths 100th birthday  HAPPY GRANDMA

Life is full of extremes, but fortunately, we are usually somewhere in the middle, balancing between the two extremes. 

We had a wonderful time in Tucson. Dennis, Joe and I flew down for the weekend.  My cousin had our time absolutely packed with things to do.  I have been to AZ several times for my aunt’s birthdays.  Once she turned 90, it became an every 5-year experience.  I usually took one other person with me.  Dave went along when Aunt Ruth still lived alone in her home of 65 years in Phoenix.  Mike came the next time.  She was still living in Phoenix. Prior to her 95th birthday, she fell and my cousin moved her to Tucson where he has lived for years.  She now lives in an assisted living home in Tucson.  My brother, Jim, went with me when Aunt Ruth turned 95.  It was my goal to have everyone come for her 100th, but it didn’t happen.  Life gets in the way sometimes so only the three of us could go.  I chided my family somewhat, reminding them that we have never had a relative live to be 100 years old!  We are lucky to make it past 65!  But, it just didn’t work out for the others to come along.

Joe had never been to Arizona, so it was quite an experience for him.  He enjoyed seeing all the different landscape and sights.  He wasn’t too crazy about flying, but things went fairly smooth.  In fact, it was the best flight I have had in over 10 years! We arrived in Tuscon 8:00 their time (10:00 pm our time)  Arizona doesn’t go on daylight savings time (only state in the Union that doesn’t) so, during the summer, there is a two hour time difference.  We were ready for bed when we got there!  Raymond reserved a real nice suite at the Ramada Foothills in Tucson.  It is a beautiful motel.  We had a suite of two room, separated by an actual door!  Joe was able to sleep in the front room.  He even had his own television so he could watch football!  We had two huge beds in the other part and our own television, too.   It was a huge room with plenty of space.  The front area where Joe slept had a kitchenette with refrig, wet bar, microwave, and hook ups for computers.  The grounds were beautiful with lots of vegetation, a nice pool, breakfast area that also served as an evening cocktail bar.  Breakfast and Happy Hour were free.  Anyway, you get the idea.  We weren’t there enough to enjoy everything that much, though, because Raymond took us all over!Dennis at Ramada 

Dennis in the courtyard of our motel

We drove up to the Saguaro National Forest Friday morning.  It was pretty dry so the cacti weren’t blooming yet.  It is still an impressive sight.  Joe enjoyed the “wild west” landscape and the mountains nearby.  After that, we picked Aunt Ruth and took her to lunch.  We drove out to the Mission of San Xavier after lunch.  It was a hot day and I think we wore poor Aunt Ruth out!

Den and Joe at SNP

Joe and Dennis at Saguaro National Forest

Joe at the mission

Joe taking a picture of the mission

Mission cactus garden

Cactus garden at the mission

Mission artwork

Mission ceiling

Mission patio Mission patio

The next day we were up bright and early and heading to Sabino Canyon.  Sabino Canyon is almost like a city park for Tucsonians.  They go there all the time to hike, bike and picnic.  It is a beautiful area in the Catalina Mountains.  Actually, you go through Sabino to go up to the mountains.  I couldn’t believe all the people hiking and running up the mountains!  Those Arizonans are a fit group.  (We took the tram up!)

Joe and Dennis at entrance of Sabino Canyon 

Entrance to Sabino Canyon

Tram ride - off we go 

Tram ride up to the mountains

Sign showing bicyclist falling off bridge

Warning sign showing bicyclist falling into canyon

We flew home early Sunday morning.  We lost two hours on the way back so arrived home around 3:00 after an hour layover in Dallas-Fort Worth.  Our flight was wonderful both ways.  No missed connections, no lost luggage, no long delays.  It restored my faith in the airline industry (although I’m not sure I will ever fly to Chicago again.  I like have a car there that I don’t have to rent.)

Leaving Tucson Sunday am Leaving Tucson

Now, we back into the grind and October is reaching midpoint already!  Where does the time go?

We are in the midst of flu shot season at work so we have to work extra hours to get all the shots/FluMist given.  We also have the H1N1 to do, but that has been sporatic.  The government sent us 50 doses of the mist (no shots yet) which lasted us about two seconds!  It is going to be an interesting fall!  We are receiving a record number of phone calls from concerned parents about sick kids or flu vaccines.  We have already had several kids with the H1N1 and most are weathering it well.  They are sick a long time and are missing school, but at least we haven’t had many hospitalized.  I think we’ve only had one child admitted to the hospital with H1N1 and he did fine, too. We aren’t testing for it anymore, just diagnosing based on symptoms.  Treatment would be same whether we knew for sure it was flu or not, plus the test is very uncomfortable (a tube stuck down both sides of the nose and sucked out), it cost around $500 and insurance companies aren’t paying for it.  So, it’s not worth it.  We are dealing with the people who insisted on having their children tested a couple months ago.  Now they are mad because they have this huge lab bill.  You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Anyway, I may need a long vacation when this is over (hopefully, my vacation won’t be a psych ward!)

Last week, before the snow, Dennis and I went to Lincoln to meet up with Bill F and Bruce W and his wife.  We met for dinner at a Mexican restaurant and had a great visit.  It was nice to meet Bruce’s wife.  She is a delight.  I haven’t heard how it went for them the next day.  They were headed to BBow to see Bruce’s mom.  I don’t know if they made it or not.  Anyway, we visited for quite awhile, but it didn’t seem long enough!  We had such a nice time.

If any of you are going to be in Lincoln for the Kansas State game, let me know.  Craig L and his wife are coming in from Illinois and we thought it would be fun to get together.  Not sure where yet, but we’ll find a place.

Deb G is home and plugging along.  Her sister was there for a week or so, but had to fly back to California.  Deb is pretty much on her own now (except for her boys and Frank.)  She told me people have brought over meals which they appreciate greatly.  I think she has lots of food for now.  She received lots of flowers, too.  She was pleasantly surprised by a couple classmates who sent flowers.  If you want to keep up on her progress, the address for the webpage is http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/debgovier  I know she appreciates hearing from people. You can leave a message on her “guestbook” on Caring Bridge if you like.

We still have classmates struggling with unemployment.  It seems more people are losing their jobs.  Please keep them in your prayers.  Some have been without jobs for over a year.  We wish them well and good luck with the job search.  Hang in there!

I will try to do better with keeping up the blog now that the weather is getting worse.  I am on Face Book a lot, so you might find me there if you’re online!

Have a good week and try to avoid EXTREMES if you can (unless they are good ones like turning 100 years old!)