Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's That Sweet Time of Year!

I've started my Christmas cookie baking! And I'm looking forward to having friends and family around to help us eat them all up!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Clara

Clara turned nine years old yesterday. I can hardly believe she's growing up so fast! Dan and I drove over to Katy yesterday morning. We got there about lunch time. Clara was in school, but Robert and his Mommy were home. At the end of the day we went to school to pick her up. She didn't know we were coming, so she was surprised to see us there.

This was her second big surprise of the day. Her first one was that her daddy spent the day at her school, volunteering in the "Watch D.O.G.S" program. The Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) is a school-based father involvement program. The dads spend at least one day a year helping in their kids' schools by reading with students in small groups and doing other things as assigned by the school principal. Of course, Clara was proud as punch to have her daddy at school all day long.

In the evening, we went to the Rain Forest Cafe for Clara's birthday dinner. Dan and I had never been there before, so it was as exciting for us as it was for the kids. The interior of the restaurant is like a jungle. There are all sorts of life-sized animatronics inside, including elephants and gorillas which were the noisiest of the bunch. Every few minutes a huge thunder and lightning storm occurs, and the animals go pretty crazy. All of the noise was a little overwhelming for the kids. Robert always hid his ears and sometimes covered his eyes, as well, while he waited for the storm to pass and the animals to calm down.

"Too loud!"

For dessert Clara got the chocolate VOLCANO. It was really pretty, with a sparkler in the top and lots of chocolate syrup running down the sides of the decadently rich chocolate cake slices which cradled vanilla ice cream. Yum! The wait staff brought it out singing a loud Volcano song, with lots of clapping.

Once we got back home, the kids took their showers, got into their p.j.s and then got to watch a Frosty the Snowman video before going to bed.

This morning Dan and I went to a nearby hospital, where Clara's school choir (3rd through 5th grades) performed. Kelsey was volunteering at the school for their Santa's workshop, so couldn't be there. I took pictures and recorded some videos for her, so she wouldn't miss out, completely. (This is just a short clip.)


I didn't have any trouble finding Clara in the crowd!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Long-Awaited Birthday Gift

Dan's birthday is in July. One of the gifts I gave him for his special day was a pair of tickets to the Temple Symphony Orchestra's Christmas Concert. So, after waiting six months, he finally got to enjoy that gift, last night.

We had not heard this orchestra before and, considering the size of Temple, did not have high expectations. But before the first piece was finished, we knew we were in for a great treat. The orchestra and its conductor, Thomas Fairly, were first class.

The first half of the program was classical music, and the second half was lighter, more familiar Christmas music. There were also some vocal pieces, featuring one soprano, a baritone, and a combined chorale from San Gabriel and from Temple College.

Near the end, the conductor led the audience in a sing-a-long. It was fun singing with the chorus and the full orchestra.

This program was just what we needed to put us fully into the Christmas spirit. We may make this an annual holiday event.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Art Class

Here are two of my recent art class projects. I hope to do watercolors, eventually, but my teacher says she wants me to get more comfortable with acrylics before moving on to watercolors. She also wants me to continue doing studies of other artists (like these two) for awhile longer, before trying to paint originals from my own photography.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Day and Following

There were a few moments earlier in the week when I wondered if I would be able to pull off the Thanksgiving dinner that I had been so looking forward to. But each day got a little better, and it was a success! By Thanksgiving morning my cold/flu was pretty well behind me and my head trauma was healing nicely. The only thing that still bothered me (and still does) was a pain in my rib cage, which must be a result of the fall.

I did a lot of the preparation on Wednesday, and then, on Thanksgiving morning Dan drove out to Mother Neff Park and picked up Kelsey so she could come and help me finish getting the meal ready. Clara came, too, so we had a nice morning together - just us girls. Around 11:00 a.m. Kelsey, Clara and I drove to Belton and picked up Mom and brought her to the house for the festivities.

The guys showed up around noon - Chris and Robert, and their good friend, Jason (aka J-Dog), and his father, Jon, whom we hadn't met before. All in all, nine folks to gather for the Thanksgiving feast. Oh, I almost forgot that there were two others - Max, the kids' dog; and Zeph, Jason's dog. They enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in the back yard.

Clara and Max, playing in the back yard. Notice Clara's new fashion statement - glasses!
Chris and Robert - two of the special men in my life

Mom, Clara, Robert and I. The sun coming through the window made it a difficult shot, but it's better than no picture at all!

Robert loves our living room rug, because it has roads and a round-about for his cars.
For Friday, Kelsey planned a birthday celebration out at camp. Robert, Clara and Jason all have birthdays in the couple weeks around Thanksgiving (Clara's 9th and Robert's 5th). Clara and Robert knew that there was going to be a party, but it was to be a surprise for J-Dog. It is sooooo hard for a five-year old boy to keep such a big secret like that, but Robert did it!

Kelsey baked the cupcakes at camp, and that takes some talent!
 J-Dog was surprised that he was one of the three birthday honorees.

Kelsey brought a pretty table decoration, but the wind kicked up a bit right at party-time, so what better to keep it on the table than a strip of duct tape (the camper's secret weapon) up and over the top!!! 

J-dog was such a good sport, joining in on the scavenger hunt, playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and blowing out the imaginary candles, just like one of the kids.

The birthday kids heading to the stump - to find the next scavenger hunt clue.

Clara reads the clue aloud, and everyone tries to guess where to go next.

"Come on J-Dog! Hurry!"

The end of the hunt - and a bag of prizes for the three participants.

Clara gets spun around before trying to pin the tail on the donkey.

Kelsey's turn!

Robert models one of his birthday gifts.

Maybe Kelsey needs her own TMNT cap for Christmas!
Jason is a superb campfire chef! He pretty much takes care of all the meals. That's Jon, his dad, reading in the background.

Dan and Jon really hit it off and spent most of both days in never-ending conversation.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Just Another Day in the ER

Dan and I have both been fighting head and chest congestion and coughs for a week or so. I think I came down with it a day or so earlier than Dan, but he was the first one to start the DRAMA. I can't remember what night it was that he woke in the wee hours in a bit of a panic because he was so dizzy that he thought the room was spinning. It made him sick, and he had several episodes of nausea and vomiting. Oh my! He had stopped spinning by the next morning, and we figured it had been caused by the head congestion . . . maybe an inner ear problem or something.

The congestion and coughing continued day after day for both of us. On Saturday night Dan said he was planning to stay home from church, because he was still feeling awful. I thought I could make it, though, so got up at 7:00 yesterday morning and started to get ready for church. I went into the bathroom and brushed my teeth. Right about then I knew that things weren't right. I was very light-headed, nauseous, and had a ringing in my ears. I was seeing stars.

That was the last thing I remember until I heard Dan, calling though the bathroom door, "Linda, are you all right?" I heard him, but didn't know why he was asking me that.  I managed to open my eyes than, and saw that I was lying on the floor, in front of the bathroom door, with my head against the threshold to the shower. I was so confused. Then, again, Dan called, "Linda! Did you fall?" I answered, "I don't know. But I'm on the floor!" I felt quite comfortable lying there and didn't want to move. Dan tried to get in, but I was blocking the door. He got me to move a little and came in. He discovered that my head was in a pool of blood, and there was blood splattered all over the place. He tried to get me to sit up, but it made me too nauseous, so I continued to lie on the floor. He put a compress on my head where he thought the blood was coming from and called 911. Remember, he was so sick that he wasn't planning to go to church, and he didn't feel like he could safely drive me to the ER.

The EMTs were at our door VERY quickly. They wheeled me out to the ambulance and whisked me off to the hospital. On the way they drew blood and started an IV.

I was taken into the trauma room as soon as we arrived. They asked me all sorts of questions, many of which I couldn't answer, because I really didn't know what had happened except that I somehow lost consciousness and fell. It turned out I had a pretty deep cut on the top of my scalp, which took seven staples to close. They took me for a CT scan and did an EKG, then said the doctor would be back to talk with me after the results of those tests and my blood work came back.

About then our preacher, Rodney, and his wife, Janet, came in. They were all dressed up for church, and I had to giggle seeing them like that when I was still in my flannel pajamas, splattered with blood, and my head a jumbled mass of bloody hair. They told me that Dan had called and said that he was too sick to make it to the hospital. Rodney had to leave after a little bit - a whole congregation was waiting for him - but Janet stayed with me until I was released. Janet and I have become good friends, so it was good to have her there with me.

Pretty soon a nurse came in and said that there was a call for me from my daughter-in-law. She brought me the telephone and put the call through to me. It was really sweet to hear Kelsey's voice. She told me that Chris was coming. I talked to Chris soon after, and tried to talk him out of making the 3-hour drive, but he was only an hour or so away by then and insisted on coming. He got to the hospital just after they released me - all my tests came out okay. He took me home and then went to the grocery store to get some soup and canned fruit for us, and medicine for Dan. I am so blessed to have two wonderful sons and the best d-i-l in the world!

Today is a new day. I'm feeling much better. A wee bit light-headed at times, but NOTHING like yesterday morning. I have an appointment to see my primary care doc tomorrow morning.

And I'm determined to be fit as a fiddle by Thursday (although still sporting staples in my scalp), so I can have a nice Thanksgiving spread for my family and friends. Because I do have a LOT to be thankful for.