Monday, June 25, 2007

One more week in Chicago

Hi everyone!

I just finished reading my Dear Wife's blog update from yesterday. I just returned from grabbing a little dinner at the local Red Lobster, where I found that their seafood gumbo doesn't hold a candle to that of my beautiful bride. I'm just about to call her and let her know how much I enjoyed reading about the beautiful sunset she enjoyed tonite. Psalm 19 comes to mind everytime we discuss the sunsets at home.

There are many memories of watching the heavens with my precious DW as they declare the glory of God.....and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto Day utter speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where His voice is not heard.....DW and I have spent several evenings and mornings quoting this scripture as He takes out His paintbrush and places images in front of us that shout out glory to His mighty name!!!

I had the incredible priviledge of traveling a couple of hours north of Chicago into the "Dells" of Wisconsin this past weekend to spend some time with K and S (friends of mine for the last 20 yrs). We hadn't had any face to face contact for about the last 3 yrs and really enjoyed our time together. Saturday night consisted of traveling to a local resort town where we enjoyed "junkyard" pizza at the local downtown pizzeria.

From there we went to another small tourist town (can't recall the name of the town) where there was a beautiful granite quarry at the centerpiece of the town. There was a waterfall that sprayed over about a 200 ft square area of granite that had hundreds of beautiful natural colors gleaming from underneath the water as it dashed to the pool below. The pond of about 4 acres was crystal clear was hundreds of 3 to 5 lb largemouth black bass swimming near the top begging to be caught. I then had to get back in the car before I got arrested for fishing without a license, and tresspassing on private property...... the temptation was just too great to bear!!! We then went back to their 14 acre farm, and on the way observed at least 20 white tailed deer grazing in the corn fields near their home.

Sunday service at their church was wonderful. Their pastor (Casey) preached on 2 Corinthians 5:7-19 on how we are new creatures IN CHRIST all of the old has passed away, and everything in our world is new and wonderful everday as we celebrate life in our daily walks with Christ. Their santuary backs up to the what must be deepest clearwater lake in the state of Wisconsin. "S" went to brunch with a friend while "K" and I picked up some supplies at the local "Piggly Wiggly" and grilled burgers at the farm. After a wonderful afternoon nap I found K and S giving their cocker spaniel "Scooter" her summer hair cut afterwhich K and I rode mopeds for about an hour and saw maybe one car the entire time. We also saw a wild turkey, and several HUGE sand cranes. What a great time with great friends, and what a wonderful retreat from the BIG city of Chicago.

My next four days are at the corporate headquarters here in Il. I get to return home on Friday to my beautiful bride, and don't have to return to Chicago for at least 4 weeks as I start a new project in the hometown area.

All of the girls are on vacation in Florida with their mom. If you guys are reading this I Love You and hope you are having a great time!!

Time to sign off and call the world's most beautiful blonde.

Till next time,

In Christ!

The Dad in the Family

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The world is upside-down tonite

When I was in Europe a couple of years ago, I had the very special privilege of traveling with some wonderful people. I picked up a saying from one of these special people (actually, I picked up several), and I can't help but borrow Connie's peaceful "Today was a good day." It was a phrase often said at the end of the day as we sat down over an evening coffee and sweet treat--oh, how I long to go back to that little patisserie in Prague, just a couple shops up from the entrance to picturesque Charles Bridge. Well, today was a good day.

I had a bit of a rough afternoon and evening yesterday--I had been planning a jewelry party for Sunday for some time, and had been working on the house this week. We have been wanting to put the house on the market anyway, so it's high time to make this place presentable! Anyway, work has also been getting crazier--there's a lot of work to do, and no chance I'll run out of work anytime soon! My Dear Husband has been gone, and the girls left on Friday with their Mom to go to Florida; I was getting kinda lonely. As I was making calls (people aren't the best about RSVP-ing) to remind people of the jewelry party, I began to realize that there really is no good day, or night, or afternoon--or anytime in June--to have a jewelry party (it's no wonder they offer double incentives to host a party in June!). So, I had worked my tail off all week and all day Saturday, and finally my wave crashed. DH is so sensitive--he picked up pretty quickly that something was bothering me, and I got the frustration out of my system--thank you, DH! So, I slept like a baby (having worked all day long probably helped!), and Snuggle Monkey woke me up this morning. She was hungry. Brat.

I had a few things to do to finish the house--just in case someone decided to show up. So, I got up and cranked the A/C down (I always work up a "sparkle" when I'm vacuuming), cranked up some Third Day and Paul Coleman, and set to work. I called the "jewelry person" (Nicole doesn't want to be known as the jewelry "lady") to let her know that we would be having a private party (read: nobody's coming), and we decided that since I had some outside orders, we should get together to pick out my free jewelry that I had "earned" with my book sales. I made it to the store, picked up some fruit & yogurt dip, and made it back to the house just in time to bake some brownies--Nicole and I discussed having some chocolate on Friday--and the two of us had a ball! I finally found another person who can eat as many brownies as I can, and not feel bad about it! Anyway, I'm made off with a boatload of jewelry for not very much money, and she said it's the easiest party she's ever done--she didn't have to do a presentation, and we were just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company.

After Nicole left, I discovered I had little energy left to clean anymore (hey, I never said I finished the upstairs!), and thought I would take a nap. Except... I hadn't heard from my husband all day, and he told me yesterday that he was leaving his friend "K's" house after brunch. So, I thought I had better call him and find out if he was okay! We had a conversation that lasted several phone calls, as he was driving out in the boonies and his signal bottomed out time and again--he had a fantastic weekend, and I'll let him tell you about it.

So, I never got that nap--I decided that Wulfgang would probably be needing some snuggle time, because he only sits down to snuggle when a body sits down to watch some tube, and I hadn't done that all week! I picked out some movies I hadn't seen yet, and a couple of favorites that I hadn't seen in a while, and then played eenie-meenie-minie-moe--and finally decided to watch all of them. As I settled down to watch the first one, it didn't take Wulfie but a moment to come over and ask for some snuggle, but he was only here for a minute. We have a chair in the corner of the living room that has a skirt on it that hangs to the ground--it's the perfect hiding spot for a snoozing pussycat, and one of Wulfie's favorites. Well, as he sauntered off and squeezed under the chair, I teased him about leaving so soon, and he responded with his usual repeated twitching of the tail. The one that still was sticking out from under the chair! I continued to give him a hard time--he thinks he can't be seen, but his tail tells me that he can hear every word, and continues to wind down twitching as he drops off to sleep.

I am currently enjoying A Walk In The Clouds, and I again have a fuzzy little companion who would rather be on my lap than on the couch next to me. Now, I'll bet you're wondering, how does all this tie into the world being upside down? Well, every once in a while, one had a truly good day. Today was definitely one of those--completely upside down from how yesterday was. In this part of the country, God has blessed us with beautiful mountains, and we get to enjoy the most beautiful sunsets. Today was no exception, but it was a most exceptional sunset. You see, every once in a while, God does the neatest thing: He lets the sun dip down below the mountains, and shine up under the evening clouds, lighting them up and bringing an absolute, reflective glow to the entire sky--it's like a sunrise, but from the other side of the earth. The evening was mild, and the kitties were playing in the grass, and here was this incredible evening sky--brighter than it had been for the preceeding hour or so.

Pardon me for waxing poetic, but it just made me think of the world being upside down.

I'm going to go watch my movie now!!


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Well, it's been a great weekend! It actually started early--I got a call on Thursday from Princess #2, asking if she and "J" (one of her best-est friends) could come and stay the night at our house. Now, we have a special rule in our house: no sleepovers on school nights. While the kids are out of school, it was still a "school night" for me, since I had to work the next day. Whoa, last year, I let Princess #2 and Princess #3 have friends stay the night on a DW school night, and I got ZERO sleep. Can't figure out why DH wasn't there... oh yeah, that other company for whom he used to work had a thing up in the mountains for store managers. That was the first time we had spent apart since we had gotten married, and it wasn't our idea of fun--especially the lack of sleep on DW's part. Now, where was I???

Oh yes, last Thursday. Well, we have an interesting time with the kids assuming that the other parents will: give rides, know that I'm going to be gone and going to work in the morning, etc. So, I allowed them to come over, and then of course, when they got here, I asked J if her Mom knew that I would be gone in the morning... I don't have to tell you the answer to that one! Anyway, I told Princess #3 that she would be home alone all day and probably until late at night because I had to go to the airport to pick her Dad up after work. She had the GREAT idea to come to work with me. I then made them promise to keep it down to a dull roar because I was getting ready for bed, they had to be in bed by midnight, and be ready to go by 7:20 so we could drop J off on our way to the office. So, we were late getting to the office--the one day that I really shouldn't be--and Princess #3 (she's so sweet!) sat in the corner of the conference room and listened to her CD player while I was on a conference call with others at the office. Then she went to my office with me (I now occupy a space on the 5th floor, and the company's offices are on the 4th, which is where the conference call was), and we set her up with the DVD player to watch some movies. We had packed a lunch that day, and so took some fresh veggies down to the Mall to people watch. She said she really wanted to see somebody with an afro--something that's not uncommon "on the mall," but Friday, I guess all the wackadoos were on vacation. It was pretty mellow--not even very crowded, and mostly business people and folks on vacation. Princess #2 has lived here almost her whole life, and can't fathom this being a vacation destination unless it's the slopes in the wintertime. Ah, to be so young and naive... she's just such a cutie! Anyway, she now understands what it means to "sit on the mall" and peoplewatch, and we gave our extra food to a guy that was collecting aluminum cans out of the trash. He was pretty unassuming and unthreatening--compared to some of those yay-hoos!

So then we had a snack on the way to the airport--our healthy lunch left us famished in the late afternoon and early evening; then we picked DH up and headed back home for our favorite Chinese restaurant. I love the place, and the people are very nice, but my number one agenda for immigration consideration (besides everyone doing it legally) is fluency in English. It's pretty bad when the server can't even say "Pepsi." That one had us guessing for a while! But, the food's good, so I guess it's a trade-off.

Saturday... Saturday... Hmm... I guess I got kinda wiped out--Oh yeah! DH took each of the younger two on dates--first, Princess #2, who got a short-term stint watching a dog for some of her Mom's neighbors. Poor little pooch (a "Labradoodle?") had to spend all day in the house, so it was good that Dad was there to ensure that Princess #2 actually walked the dog instead of just letting her out... Anyway, they then followed up by going to one of her favorite places: Starbucks. Oh yeah, she's addicted--but not to the coffee. Give her a frappaccino (sp?) even on the coldest winter day--she might even wear mittens if she knows she'll be needing to hold onto a frosty frap cup! Anyway, they had some great one-on-one time, and she sure needs it. I would ask you all to pray for us and for Princess #2--she's reached that stage in her life where she recognizes no authority whatsoever and does whatever she wants and is ... uh... less than honest with us sometimes. To say that she is a strong-willed young lady is a nomination for the understatement of the year. She really is a good kid, and we just want the best for her; she just doesn't often agree with what we think (and know--hey, we've been there before) is best for her.

After that, Dad had a lunch-date with Princess #3 at their "secret place." He has a secret place with each of the girls--a different one for each. She is always giving me hints as to what their secret place is, but I can't quite figure it out (and wouldn't let on that I knew if I did!). I think it's maybe a Mexican food place, but I'm not sure, because she told me yesterday that she had a burger for lunch... Hey, some "Mexican" places serve burgers! Who knows? All I know is that they had a great time, and she is young enough that she hasn't begun to give us the grief that her sister has--and probably won't, either. They are about as opposite from each other in personality and taste as two people living in the same culture and under the same roof can be. She really has a servants heart, and she is a great help to me. AND she likes to spend time with the parents still, unlike those teenagers!!! I suppose we'd better enjoy it while it lasts... *sigh*

Sunday dawned bright and warm: a perfect day to fulfill our plans to go to the water park. First, though, we had a breakfast of fruit salad and cinnamon rolls and the girls gave Dad his Father's Day gift: he is now a sharp-dressed man with all the fancy new shirts and ties that will complement his suits nicely. We've been hearing for some time that it's free when you bring your Dad to the water park on Father's Day--and it is--well, for him to get in, anyway. Sheesh--they let you bring in coolers with food and unopened original beverages (no Nalgene water bottles or anything you fill yourself), and I can't recommend it enough! We may have saved thirty bucks on Dad's admission, but crikey, we spent $60 on food and drinks (and let us not forget, the rest of us still had to pay admission!)--oh, and return trips to the single-use fifty-cent lockers! They're not big enough that the family can fit towels, sunscreen & the like into any less than three lockers, and of course, every time we turn around, someone now wants their flip flops (and mine are in this locker, hers are in that one), someone needs more sunscreen, we left the cash in side pocket of the bag and need to buy some water, now it's time for lunch and we need the coupons for free breadsticks... I really think it might be worth the "unlimited use" lockers that require $8.00 up front, $5.00 of which is refundable at the end of the day. Let's just say that they have a fine attraction, but they sure are proud of their stuff! We had a great time--the kids love that Dad can carry the tube up to the top of the ride, and once the two older girls and I made an interesting 6-legged "tubulous monstrous" as we carried one on our heads. We picked a great day to go to the water park, as we hit a new record of 97 degrees today. Princess #3 taught us a new trick in the wave pool--we sit in the "shallows" and wait for the water to come and drag us around. When you're in that area, the water waves (once every seven minutes) straight back, then bounces off this side while it bounces off that side--basically, you get hit from the front, then the right, then the left, and then the water drags you around as it continues to wave in and out and settle to wait for the next big wave. We were rolling all over the place and having a great time--and no cramps that way since we had just eaten. You know, I heard that was actually an old wive's tale, the "no swimming for 30 minutes" rule... Still, it makes sense, so we stayed out of the deeper water. Besides, you can get "run over" in the crest of the wave if you don't have a tube--I once got cold-cocked and nearly knocked out. And I DID have a tube! Of course, that was years ago, and I'm much wiser now. HA!

Okay, so we're all cooked (I missed a spot on my shoulder with the sunscreen--it's gonna hurt later!), washed out, and tired. Sunscreen in the eyes (can you say "ouch?") is a good way to make a person want to close them and not re-open them, so we all took naps (although I think I was the only one with the SPF 50 on the orbs). Mellow evening, getting ready to head back to work on Monday and DH's flight leaves tomorrow evening. It's been nice not having to take him back on Sunday this time, and I'll get out of work a bit early tomorrow to have him to the airport on time.

Finally, a couple people have been asking me if we know where the company is going to have us for our "permanent" assignment, and the short answer to that is "no." I will ask DH to blog and fill you in on that one (and maybe I'll pick up some details I haven't heard yet, too!). Basically, we won't know until probably mid-August at the earliest. Pray that we get to stay here!

On that note, I'm gonna go get some stuff ready to help him turn in his expense report tomorrow, make sure I've got clothes for tomorrow, all that "evening routine" stuff.

Until next time,


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Science is "interpretation" of the "evidence"

One Nation, "Under God."

One day a 6 year old girl was sitting in a classroom. The teacher was going to explain evolution to the children.

The teacher asked a little boy: Tommy do you see the tree outside?
TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the grass outside?
TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see if you can see the sky.
TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes later) Yes, I saw the sky.
TEACHER: Did you see God up there?
TEACHER: That's my point. We can't see God because he isn't there. Possibly he just doesn't exist.

A little girl spoke up and wanted to ask the boy some questions.
The teacher agreed and the little girl asked the boy: Tommy, do you see the tree outside?
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you see the grass outside?
TOMMY: Yessssss!
LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the sky?
TOMMY: Yessssss!
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you see the teacher?
LITTLE GIRL: Do you see her brain?
LITTLE GIRL: Then according to what we were taught today in school, she possibly may not even have one!

(You Go Girl!)


Monday, June 11, 2007

Yes, we're still alive!

Some of you have been wondering... We don't call, we don't write; when are we gonna blog again??? Well, I guess it kinda goes without saying that we have been a bit busy. Let's see, since Boo Boo did her stand-up fall-down comedy routine, DH has been home for Memorial Day (wow, it's dawning on me how far behind we are!) and back to Chicago, he has been back again, and Princess #1 has graduated high school, the girls have finished school for the year, and I got a hysterical mailing from Pops. Oh, and we've had a hailstorm that looked like snow, a windstorm that blew around and killed half of my garden, and SUN to BEAT THE BAND!!! It may not be summer according to the calendar (we do have the summer equinox approaching rapidly), but it sure feels like it!

Well, now it's Monday morning, and I should be working--actually, I will be soon, but since I'm working late tonight, I figure I can take a few minutes this morning to catch up a bit.

Let's see... When DH was home for Memorial Day, we had a nice time getting to see each other's faces... the girls sure were glad to see their Dad--as was I! We were able to make some plans for the following weekend, and pretty much enjoyed each other's company. Crazy week at school, what with it being the week that the girls have to turn in their books and finish assignments without them--I'm not sure what the purpose is of that last week of school; I remember the last week being a week of tests and turning in books back when I was in school. These girls had all that the week before the last week of school. Hmmm.... makes one wonder what all those tax dollars aren't doing!

DH then got in on Friday, June 1. His flight was delayed, and therefore, so was dinner... we were HUNGRY by the time we got some food in front of us! It was really nice to get to see him and spend some one-on-one time that evening; the girls had already gone to their Mom's, so it was just us Friday night. Well, us, and the cats, and the dogs, and the yellow jackets.

Princess #1's graduation was picture-perfect. The weather was much different than it had been a couple years ago when her boyfriend graduated; this time, it wasn't pouring down rain. No, this time, it was pouring down sunshine and warm and sunburn--I don't think I've ever been to a graduation ceremony where they had a concessions stand open. Well, okay, they were selling bottles of water. It gets hot in the morning sun on the football field! We all got pretty cooked, too; I'm even peeling on my arm. Yummy--save me a piece o' that for later! After that, we went to brunch with the girls and their Mom and Grandmother--and Grandmother gave her a car! What a spoiled little girl, and she knows it. So, I got to show her what to do to get her car licensed and legal on Monday morning. I'll never forget where to go to get the emissions and inspection done, and neither will she--I got two main parallel roads confused, and we got to tour parts of our town that are usually reserved for people that live in those neighborhoods! One of these days, I'll get it figured out!

Princess #3 came home with us after church on Sunday so she could spend some time with Dad, and then she accompanied me to the airport to drop him off for his flight out. We then went to the mall to do a little Father's Day shopping -- we'll never shop at Dillard's again. And I can't say more about it than that, because DH might read this... Then she and I watched Willow and she stayed at the house that night. Wow, I haven't seen that movie in years, and it's just as weird as I remember it!

Let's see, I think that just about catches us up... This last weekend was pretty uneventful. I started about 3 projects and didn't finish any of them, including gardening (well, that one was started quite some time ago), getting ready for a garage sale, and cleaning up the house; but I got to hang out with Princess #3 for a little bit. I just remembered on the way to work this morning that I have a jewelry party on Sunday the 24th, and I haven't gotten any invitations to send out from the jewelry-lady... One more thing to put on my to-do list! Oh, and the realtor is calling, wanting to know if we're ready to list our house; I have been trying to wrangle my accountant to get some stuff ready so the IRS doesn't come and carry me away... and I have a second meeting with a client set up for Tuesday evening. He and his IMMENSE family have some minerals in Texas, and we're trying to figure out who has how much, and how to get that information of record so that everyone else can tell who has the minerals. It's crazy--there have been a number of wells producing since the 1950's, and nobody knows what's going on! Ah, well, I live for the challenge, and really get a sense of accomplishment when these things get resolved.

Oh, yeah, and I got the Sales Contract out to the tenant for the townhome in my old hometown. Now THAT is a blog in and of itself...

Finally, DH is still in Chicago, and has met what he calls the "Echo" class (they started a couple weeks after his class did). I guess the group of store managers with whom he is training are all in line for basic stores; this Echo class is a group of store managers in line for the upper line of stores, so he's been hanging out with them alot. Anyway, I guess they have doubled everybody up in rooms for this week, because this week is called *something particular* (don't remember what) and I'm sure that it's an acronym or something, but I couldn't tell you what. Basically, they'll be meeting all the upper-tier management and teams and spending time with them, getting more deeply entrenched in the culture, etc. He'll be out late all week, so it's doubtful he'll be able to blog much, either. I'll be picking him up again this Friday--I CAN'T WAIT!!!

On that note, I'm gonna go get to work!

Have a great day, everybody!