Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Poor Ian.

He's bored.

All he has is a Wii, a DS, 3 light sabers, a slew of army men, enough Legos to build a new space station, a shiny new Rubik's cube, and a cat.

Life sucks for poor, bored Ian.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Morning 2008

Eight on the nose,
Our boys arose
And just as they were taught,
Came to our bed
And thusly said,
"Let's go see what we got!"

Their plea denied,
Their dad replied,
"Not yet, you understand?"
He scurried past,
Then back so fast
With gift for me in hand.

Inside, an Elph
From Canon's shelf,
With charged up battery,
And memory
-4 gig for me!-
For pictures 'round the tree.

Then down the stairs
We went in pairs,
With Dani close behind us
And took our seats
Beside our treats
Where Santa knew to find us.

New GeoTrax
And Lego packs.
Soft Bath and Body lambies.
Puzzles to do,
Fatigues for two,
And Star Wars Lego jammies.

The paper flew,
The laughter grew,
The boys were good and jolly.
But 'cross the room
Impending doom:
Teenager melancholy.

The Office game,
A robe (so lame),
John Lennon book (she flaunted),
iTunes. And yet
forgiven debt
Is all she really wanted.

For Darren - YES!
For geocaching jaunts.
A cool fifty
To Academy
To spend howe'er he wants.

And then for me,
New game for Wii:
The Dance Dance Revolution!
To recommit:
Size 12s I'll fit!
This may be the solution.

The day is spent
How fast it went!
The family's soundly sleeping.
Except for me,
Writing faithfully
These memories for keeping.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the numbers on Christmas Eve

9 cousins
9 aunts, uncles and grandparents
8 quarts of taco soup
3 pies
12 birthday cupcakes
6 2-liter bottles of soda
14 Christmas carols
4 hours of laughter and delight
3 distinct patterns of wrapping paper, none with names attached (Only Mom knows!)
5 stockings stuffed
1 happy home ablaze with lights

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Christmas Kisses

The other day riding along in the car, Darren and I chatted with the boys about how cool it is when we see us in them. For instance, Aidan is just like me when it comes to math, and Ian is just like Darren. You see, Aidan and I are happy with a close guesstimation, but Darren and Ian see a problem through to its completion - usually faster than Aidan and I can guesstimate!

Aidan is also like me in that he's not ashamed to do whatever it takes to get a laugh. One of the girls in his class appreciates it, too. "Izy talks about Aidan a lot, so when I got to help with field day I really wanted to meet him," wrote Izy's mom in an email. "She thinks he's funny and Izy's all about funny!" That boy IS funny. He cracks me up on a daily basis!

Ian is more like Darren - he's shy until he knows you well. He's content to sit back and watch the action rather than be a part of it. He notices things and has very good intuition about people and possibilities. He's a thinker, not a reactor.

Aidan loves to entertain. When we're having company and the boys are being made to clean their room, Aidan is more interested in "decorating" it than cleaning it up. If girls are coming, he tries to decorate it "girly", setting up the stuffed animals in a welcoming way on the beds. If boys are coming, he mans it up with lego creations and train tracks. I'm that way, too. When company's coming, I'm more likely to decide now is the perfect time to update all the photos in the picture frames than to make sure there are fresh towels in the bathroom.

But there's one very big detail about our personalities that Ian and I share, and that Aidan shares with Darren. Ian and I are night owls, and Darren and Aidan are not. Two nights ago, at 11:00, Ian and I pulled all the ingredients out of the pantry and spent the next hour making Christmas Kisses. Today, the boys delivered them to some of our favorite friends in the neighborhood. We're making more tomorrow to share with our company tomorrow night. Hopefully Darren and Ian will clean while Aidan and I put finishing touches on the packages! :)

(Yes, Dani's still part of the family, but we haven't seen her in a while. Word on the street is that she's hobnobbing about with theater people and making movies about the French Revolution. I'll let you know more when I know more.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

leading up to Christmas

On Tuesday, I worked at the office from 8:30 am until 9:30 pm, with barely even a break for lunch. Got a LOT done, which felt good.

On Wednesday, I caught up on sleep and stayed in bed until a naughty hour, then made three 6'x3' banners for the Madrigal Feast Dani's choir was putting on.

On Thursday, I started the day with physical therapy (my therapist prescribed another 3 sessions and a re-evaluation, which she'll do tomorrow), then I went in to the office for 4 hours, then crammed in some errands before arriving at the performance hall, where Darren and I slaved away in the kitchen, preparing and plating food for the wenches and serfs to deliver to the royal court and their guests.

On Friday, I made a last minute decision to send Christmas cards this year after all, created 50 of them (after paring my list way down), and got them ready to mail. Then Darren, the boys, Darren's mom, our friends Tina and Wendell, their son Connor, and Tina's mom and sister all went to The Madrigal Feast together. This time, Darren and I got to be royal guests instead of kitchen grunts. The Madrigals put on a FABULOUS show - so entertaining and fun to be a part of.

The thing I loved most was how they entered the hall through the audience as they sang, allowing us to hear each choir member's voice individually as they went. The Madrigals are a 25-voice choir, and each one of them are incredibly talented - not a so-so voice in the bunch! It amazed me that they could be so far apart, in motion, with audience chatter going on around them, and they STILL sayed on key and together through the songs. I'm so glad that Dani gets to be a part of such an awesome group during her last year of high school!

On Saturday, I shopped. Up to that point, I'd only bought two gifts, but with a strict list in hand, I conquered most of Tarrant County's main shopping districts in under 6 hours, and crossed all but three small items off my list. I crossed two more off today and only have one more gift to buy. YAY! I've even wrapped most of them. Go me! (My foot hurts. A lot.)

Today, I decorated and prepared for the Fortress YDC Christmas Party. The Sunday School class that I teach was performing at the party; my 1st and 2nd graders - all boys - performed a skit about the shepherds who followed the star and found Baby Jesus just as the angel said they would. The boys wrote their own lines several weeks ago and have been practicing at home and on Sundays during class. They did such a fantastic job! I was so proud of each one of them today. Their audience was an overflowing, standing-room only crowd of 120 or so kids and adults, but they weren't nervous at all.

Tonight, the five of us hopped in the car and drove around to all of our favorite Fort Worth neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. We made a game of finding "the worst lights we've ever seen", an honor which went to a certain house not far from home, and we oohed and aahed over the lights on the huge oak at Park Hill, the Lowden house near Rivercrest, and the backyard docks on Luther Lake.

And now I sit here, planning another week that's sure to be as busy and fun as this past one has been. I promise to blog as I go, though. I PROMISE.

Monday, December 15, 2008

tennis elbow and dodging shoes

If any of you have played Wii Fit enough to be busted upside the head with a flying soccer cleat or three, then you were mightily impressed with W's dodgeball prowess this week. That's all I'm saying. (Ignore the cleat marks on my forehead.)

Speaking of Wii, I've gotten hooked on tennis. Darren and I play here in the family room after the kids go to bed, and tell me this isn't weird: when you play Wii Tennis, you don't have to actually move your body. All you have to do is move the remote. That's not the weird part, though. What's weird is that I cannot play worth a patoot unless I move about as if on the court. I position myself for either a backhand or a forehand shot, serve overhand, and even grunt ala Serena Williams when necessary. When I stand there and just move my remote - which works for some people whose names begin with AIDAN - I miss the dern ball everytime.

What's been happening is wonderful: I'm getting an actual aerobic workout bee-bopping all around the room, AND for once in my life, I'm able to play more than 1 volley of tennis before falling dead on the cement.

My favorite tennis memory: busting my little brother in the eyebrow and thinking I'd knocked his eyeball out when blood starting spurting all over the court. It was ALL HIS FAULT! If he'd have stayed on his own side of the court instead of being such a BOY and hogging MY SIDE too, my backhand would've never found its way to his face. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Is it possible to get tennis elbow standing in my family room? Methinks yes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Calm Christmas

"When you have time, I'd love for you to go in and read the story Aidan wrote today. We wrote about our favorite Christmas memories. His is precious."

As it happened, I had time at that very moment, so on his teacher's suggestion, I walked inside the school and looked for the Santa paper with Aidan's name on it, expecting to read about a new bike or the year the kids got a Wii, or the year we went to Holiday in the Park at Six Flags.
"On my fifth Christmas, it was calm," I read aloud. "We talked about Jesus
christ and how he effected our Lives. We got no presents that year. I did
not care about presents. I care about my family. Oh, how I Loved that
christmas. it was so peaceful. Dear god. Thank you for are food and famLy,
thank you for everything. in Jesus name amen."

I glanced over at Aidan, who was smiling sweetly, clearly proud of his effort. I thought for a moment about what to say.

Finally I said, "So, Aidan. I don't remember this Christmas."

"That's because I made it up!" he exclaimed, breaking into a huge grin. "I couldn't remember any Christmas memories, so I just made one up!"

I congratulated him on his wonderful story and told him I thought it was beautiful. Then I called Darren from right there in the hallway, trying not to laugh out loud.

"Hey, listen to this story Aidan wrote and see if it rings a bell to you. It's his favorite Christmas memory, but I'm having a hard time remembering it myself. "

We had a good laugh, talked about how sweet the whole thing was, and then wondered if getting no presents THIS year would go over well.

Then I searched out Mrs. Bradshaw; I wanted to make sure she knew the story wasn't entirely accurate before she nominated us for KLTY's Christmas Wish or something. I can hear it now... Frank Reed sniveling and weeping, "Today's Christmas Wish comes from a second grade teacher, Mrs. Bradshaw, in Fort Worth. 'Dear Christmas Wish, I'm nominating the beautiful Kocur family because their poor children don't get gifts (sniffle snarvel chokechokechoke) on Christmas Day, but they're so precious they don't care. They went all semester without a haircut and looked like ragamuffins until someone finally took them to SuperCuts over Thanksgiving. (hey, gimme a break. I had a broken foot.) Sometimes they don't wear socks. (That's Aidan's preference, thank you very much.) They have to eat peanut butter every single day for lunch. (I try to make them branch out, but hey - they're peanut butter connoisseurs.) I want them to know the joy of opening a gift, for once in their sweet (snarf, stammer, sniff) lives."

"I found Aidan's story," I said when we found the teacher, "but he neglected to tell you that it wasn't a real memory."

"What!" she gasped, turning her attention to Aidan. "You MADE THAT UP?!"

I thought he was about to get reamed.

"I can't believe you made that up. Aidan! Have you ever thought about being a writer?"

He looked at the floor and barely shook his head.

"If you can write something that good sitting in class without even thinking about it, you should definitely think about being a writer when you grow up."

Then she looked at me and said, "It was such a sweet story."

I think she was disappointed that it wasn't true.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stacy's Christmas Playlist

Darren and I began building our Christmas music collection the first year we were married. For many years, we bought one Christmas CD each season, and we got to take turns picking out the year's album. On my years, we acquired stuff like "The Coolest Christmas", "A Very Special Christmas", and "Christmas with the Stars". I like compilations. When it was Darren's year to pick, we added the likes of Aaron Neville, "Celtic Christmas" and "Christmas with the Judds". One year, a friend gave us Celine Dion's Christmas album, and I threw up in my mouth a little. That is, until I heard "The Prayer", her duet with Andrea Bocelli. That song instantly became one of my lifetime favorites. I doubt I'll ever tire of it, partly because it reminds me of Aidan as a tiny baby. I'd play it over and over, singing in English and a sad excuse for Italian while he snuggled in my arms.

These days, we just cruise iTunes in search of a CD's worth of tunes. This year, I discovered an artist named Ali Matthews and became mesmerized by her silky smooth voice - it's so pure and melodic. Check her out! Her Christmas album is called "Looking for Christmas". I also discovered MercyMe's new Christmas album, "The Christmas Sessions". I went to high school with Bart Millard, the lead singer, but he was a lowly freshman and I was a snobby senior, so I never even knew him. I regret that every time I hear his warm, gravely voice on the radio.

A few years ago, I uploaded all of our versions of "O Holy Night" to iTunes and burned a CD for Darren. It's his favorite song, and I thought it would be really cool for him to have a CD of all its different variatios. I never did figure out if he thought it was cool or not.

This past weekend, I took a wise friends's sage advice (okay, it was Darren) and set aside an hour after the kids went to bed to slow down and just be. With no projects on my schedule (not that there weren't projects to be done - I just wasn't allowed to DO them!), I discovered time to do something I've wanted to do for a long time: I uploaded all of our Christmas CDs. Then I carefully and painstakingly chose a 25-song playlist of the tunes I can't live without each year.

  1. O Holy Night by John Berry
  2. Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie
  3. The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli
  4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen
  5. Ave Maria by Andrea Bocelli
  6. What Sweeter Music by The Cambridge Singers
  7. Still, Still, Still by The Cambridge Singers
  8. Have A Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives
  9. O Holy Night by Point of Grace
  10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by The Smithereens
  11. The Friendly Beasts by Garth Brooks
  12. The Christmas Song by Aaron Neville
  13. Winter Wonderland by Aretha Franklin
  14. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by MercyMe
  15. Christmastime is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmas
  16. Sweet Little Jesus Boy - Natalie Cole
  17. In the Bleak Midwinter - Ali Matthews
  18. One Small Child - Ali Matthews
  19. O Come O Come Emmanuel/What Child is This - Ali Matthews
  20. Baby It's Cold Outside - Louis Armstrong
  21. We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Relient K
  22. Hallelujah Chorus - A Soulful Celebration
  23. I Saw Three Ships - Sting
  24. Angels We Have Heard on High - Point of Grace
  25. The Wexbury Carol - Yo-Yo Ma with Allison Kraus

It's a mix of old and new, tried and true. Still and solemn, rocking and energetic. I love it all, and I love it all mixed up. Music - it's one of my favorite things about Christmas.


Send your own ElfYourself eCards

balancing act

It's not anything that 1000s of other Moms don't do every week, but this working gig is kicking my tail. When it comes to maintaining any sort of "normal" around here, well, I'm not. Right now, I'm struggling to catch up on scrapbook jobs, decorate and shop for Christmas, celebrate both boys' birthdays, rehab my foot, catch up on all the little household things that got neglected when I was broken... and finding the new normal will just have to wait until the holidays are over.

I do love working again, though. And I've managed not to show up at the office in my pajama pants even ONCE! ;)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

free at last

Yesterday, I had to restrain myself.

See, I was sitting on the bed/table thingy in the doctor's office, and when Doc looked at my x-ray, then felt up my foot, then said, "You're fractures healed beautifully. Your ligament is healing. You can drive....", it took everything I had in me not to jump down off the table and kiss him full on the lips. Thankfully, I'd already warned Darren that if I got released to walk and drive, I'd be hugging the good doctor. Darren warned me to behave myself. ahem.

I celebrated today by taking my good friend Mecca out to lunch. She's the one who rescued me from my melancholy last summer and forced a pedicure and Lili's lunch on me. She's the one who called on her way to Target however many times to see if I needed anything since she was going anyway...the one who walked down the street once a week and carried my dirty laundry home, then brought it back clean and folded the next day. The one who invites my boys over to play "because it helps her out". Oh yes, I love me some Mecca.

I wore a pair of cute shoes for the first time in 8 weeks, and I felt marvelous! Walking seems a little treacherous, though. It's weird to be aware of every single bone and muscle as I plant my foot with each step. My ankle feels weak, and by the end of the day, my calf and hamstrings are sore. This poor leg has a long way to go before it's normal again. Bring on the physical therapy!

But today, I'm thankful that I'm on my way to full recovery. I'm ready to walk. Heck, I'm ready to RUN!! Thank God for continued healing, and for friends like Mecca who are seeing me through the process. :)

O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
Psalm 30:2
(Is it wrong that the next verse cracks me up 'cause I'm totally taking it out of context?)
you spared me from going down into the pit.
Psalm 30:3
(Nah. It's not bad. My God - I'm sure of it - is a laughing God. :))

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

in my room

One month ago, my doctor told me to move my bedroom downstairs until my foot healed.
This past weekend while I was out of town, Darren moved us back upstairs to our own bedroom. WOO HOO!

Psssst. Hey neighbors! The show is over! I hope you got your money's worth! bwahahaha

Yep, it's true. For the past month, we've been camping out on a futon in the front room, in front of a big window with sheers for privacy, and a glass-paned front door. It's nice to be back upstairs in my own bed, under my ceiling fan, enjoying the ambience, and able to undress with the light on. And now, I don't have to worry about Mecca walking right into my bedroom! (Love you, Mec! We really WERE just taking a nap that afternoon, though I know you'll never believe it!)

It was good for me to be away, as the old adage proved true once again: absense makes the heart grow fonder. It MUST be true, because I awoke one morning to hear my roommates giggling about the dream I'd had that woke them all up. I wish I could remember it - it sounded quite delicious!!

When I arrived home Sunday night, Darren had a surprise for me. Not only had he moved everything back, he'd also cleaned up and... get this... lit candles! Our bedroom was flickering with romance and smelled heavenly. It made me realize how much I'd missed my bedroom. Everything is just as I left it - the Texas Monthly with Matthew McConnaughey still lies on the floor next to my side of the bed. I think I'll never move it. *sigh*. The stack of books I've yet to read have gathered dust on the side table. The pillow I was using to prop my foot up on as I slept is still shamless. And the walls are still sunny yellow during the day, and golden rich at night.

Today, I'm thankful to be back in my bedroom, thankful to be safely traversing the stairs, and thankful for romance. :)

Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God!
Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
keep lifting all your praises to God!
Psalm 113: 1-3

Monday, November 10, 2008

where I've been and where I'll be

You thought I already got bored with the thankful challenge, didn't you? You're wrong! I've been away since early Thursday morning, enjoying the dawg outta myself with 49 of the funniest, kindest, most talented women I know. It was my 5th annual scrapbooking retreat, and BOY did I enjoy myself! So much so, in fact, that in a 90-hour period, I only scrapbooked 6 pages. Eek! But it was worth every penny and every minute just to spend time with friends. More on that later.

In other news, I started a new job!

Most of you think of Fortress as my church, and it is. But about 4 years ago, we reorganized and the after-school program became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called Fortress Youth Development Center. Last year, I designed a website for us that details the various ministries under that umbrella.
I've been a long-time volunteer, working on various creative projects, designing brochures, helping make our grant-writing look snazzy, etc. For the past couple of months, I've been working on our first annual Dinner and Auction. We raised over $17,000 with that event! While I was working on it, Michael (Fortress' Executive Director) started talking to me about making what I do a paying job. I accepted immediately!

I'd been looking at having to get a job, anyway. The economy has already affected my scrapbook business; two of the jobs on my fall schedule had to cancel due to finances, even though they'd already paid a deposit. When you have to tighten your purse strings, payin' someone to scrapbook your vacations SHOULD be the first to go, ya know? (eta: I'll still be scrapbooking for my regular clients and for any new ones who come along as well.)

Dani starts college next fall, and even if she gets plenty of scholarship and loan money, I still think of Bill Cosby's advice: When you budget for college, you've got your tuition and board, then your incidentals, but don't forget your ASKidentals, 'cause that's the most expensive part. ha! Also, the boys are old enough now to be in Scouts and sports, and that costs money. And our poor house needs so much work. It was time for me to pitch in more anyway.

I worried about marketing myself, having been out of the workforce for 6 years, and with no degree. How blessed I am to get to work for a ministry I'm so passionate about, AND to be doing something that I'm really good at and that is so much fun. The job just fell in my lap, and I'm so, so grateful!

Here's what I'm doing, in case you're curious:

JOB TITLE: Director of Public Relations & Communications
DATE: November 2008
REPORTS TO: Executive Director


Strategic Planning

  • Assist in short- and long-range strategic planning activities to create and implement public relations goals and objectives.
  • Work closely with staff and leadership to assess both public relations needs and priorities.


  • Direct the production of printed publications; write materials for and direct the layout of informational materials
  • Initiate, develop, and maintain local media and public contacts for disseminating information; research and write news releases
  • Create and implement plan to recruit volunteers where needed
  • Communicate regularly with volunteers, donors and potential volunteers and donors to convey needs of the program and updates on progress through the following methods:
    Post weekly on Fortress blog; write and publish monthly E-newsletter; update website at least once a month; write, publish and mail quarterly newsletter
  • Establish and maintain local church relations as it pertains to communication


  • In-Kind Donations
    Create and implement a plan to secure needed items through in-kind donations, soliciting groups, churches, classes, families, etc. for donation drives/collections
  • Dinner and Auction Fundraiser
    Chair committee; Recruit committee members and volunteers; Design all marketing materials and market event throughout the year; Create and implement plan for displaying auction items
  • General Fundraising
    Help develop materials and resources for fundraising/development purposes;
    Be willing to reach out to sphere of influence and share funding needs and opportunities

Today, I'm thankful for a job that landed in my lap. I'm thankful that I'll get to keep working with people I love, doing work that I'm good at, and on projects that interest me. I'm thankful that it allows me to use my talents and skills to benefit a ministry that I'm passionate about, and that I'll be getting paid for work I'd likely be doing anyway! I'm thankful that Michael offered me the job and then convinced the Board that I was the best candidate for it. I'm thankful that I can help provide for our family in a tangible way, and still be home for the kids when they're not in school!I'm exceedingly grateful.
I'm happy. :)

I give thanks to Him Who has granted me [the needed] strength
and made me able [for this], Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He has judged and counted me faithful and trustworthy,
appointing me to [this stewardship of] the ministry.
I Timothy 1:12 (Amplified Bible)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hair Makeover

Aren't these cool? These are the colors I chose when I sidled up to the Color Bar at Magnolia Ave Salon this afternoon. I went in for my celebratory hair makeover - my reward for reaching my halfway mark! As of this week, I've lost 70 pounds! WHEEEE!

I went to a new salon because I wanted a new 'do by someone who wasn't afraid to let me be bold. I wanted someone edgy. I was told that Magnolia Ave was my answer, and I booked a consultation and appointment on blind faith.
After telling Richard that I wanted red lowlights and honey highlights, he gently told me that I was using '90s speak, and asked if I wanted to try something new. Uh, YAH. The method is called color blocking, and the technique he used is called "the sun". Basically, we put the darkest color - a red brown - all over. Then he took a mid-section layer around my crown and colored "sunbursts" in the honey. Finally, he topped it on the topmost layer with a color between the two. It gives me bold color and lots of movement, which is exactly what I wanted. :)

As for the haircut, it's not quite as drastic as I was hoping, but it's a good cut. He took 3" off the length, then layered it up in choppy chunks. I also cut my bangs back to chin-length and had him blend them into the back. Lots of play with this cut, and it's a cinch to style!

So... without further ado, here's the before:
And here's the after! (with Richard the Colorista)

Darren took this one a few minutes ago, 10 hours after the fact, all sweaty and gross and limp. But you get a better feel for the chunky color at this angle....

Today, I'm thankful that when I changed into the smock at the salon and realized that there was only one size (Fits All) to choose from, there was no need to panic. I fit! :)

Blessed be God— he heard me praying.
He proved he's on my side; I've thrown my lot in with him.
Now I'm jumping for joy, and shouting and singing my thanks to him.
Psalm 28:5-7 (The Message)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Darren and me at Wendy's election party.

I don't generally discuss politics. Save for this entry (and now this one), I doubt I've ever mentioned politics on this blog. There are a few reasons for that. Number one, I'm not well-read enough to carry on intelligent conversation about policy or candidates. Often, I'm an emotional thinker rather than an analytical one, and that just doesn't bode well in political discussions and debates. And number two, I'm a terrible debater, so I just avoid them altogether. :)

The sad truth is, politics just has never really interested me. History classes were barely tolerable; in fact, the only thing that kept me awake during Mrs. S's class was guessing how much thigh she'd show while sitting at her desk, and then watching everyone wince and gag when the view became R-rated.

Dani, who at 17 can't be heard yet, is quite the little pundit. She knows what she thinks and she thinks analytically. She can hold her own on any political subject. For fun, she reads books about the Holocaust and the 1960s; tonight, she started reading this. Me, I even snoozed through the week we played RISK in Mrs. S's class, which everyone else thought was the best week of the whole semester.

So - I don't generally talk politics. And I won't start now, except to say that today, it was a privilege to cast my ballot. My vote didn't make much of a difference here in red Texas - I mean, we're still a red state - but nonetheless, I cast it, and that alone is enough. I feel invigorated and optimistic about the future, and I'll always be proud that I participated in this historic election.

Today, I'm thankful for the privilege of casting my vote.
I agonized over my decision, riding the fence, feeling overwhelmingly one way, then sliding toward the other side. Ultimately, this morning as I looked down and saw the candidates' names in black and white, I was thankful for clarity.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
Phillipians 4:6

Monday, November 03, 2008


(A month of thanks, day 2)

me, Nikki and Kristi - the past Sunday at Fortress

Five years ago, I stepped through the doors of Fortress Church for the first time, having no clue that it was about to change my life, literally. Because of Fortress, Darren and I decided to stay here in Fort Worth instead of chasing dreams of New England. We laid down roots (finally) and commited our resources and lives to the very worthy ministries under Fortress's umbrella. In so many ways, our involvement with Fortress has blessed and enriched us.

For the first year, I kept wondering WHY I felt so strongly about being there. See, Fortress exists to serve the kids who live in the urban jungle of Fort Worth. KIDS. I make no secret about the fact that I'm not a kid person. I love my own kids more than my own life, and I love my neices and nephews and my friends' kids - but mostly only 'cause I love my friends. I never enjoyed babysitting as a teenager. I've just never been a kid person. And so I kept asking myself, "Why are you HERE? What is your purpose?"

For several years, I'd been praying for a best friend - one who didn't belittle my faith, one who was on the same road of life I was on, one who could give as well as take. One day, it finally dawned on me. I was at Fortress because that's where the answer to my prayer was! Not only had I found the best friend I'd longed for, I'd found them in PLURAL!

I'll blog about them this month, in more detail. But today, I feel especially thankful for Nikki. When I walked through those doors that crisp November morning in 2003, she was a senior in high school. I never dreamed back then that in a few years, she'd be one of my nearest and dearest friends, that she'd take to calling me her ABFF (adult best friend forever), or that I'd cherish her as I do. She encourages me by noticing my accomplishments and remarking on them. She's always ready with a squeezy hug. She laughs at my lame jokes and makes a bazillion lame jokes of her own. She's a total goofball, and I love it!

One night several months ago, she was behind the wheel and stopped in the middle of the road, calling a Chinese Fire Drill. Cara, Kristi and I - because we're the mature ones - jumped out of the Suburban and started running around the back of the vehicle. Nikki gunned it and went roaring down the road, leaving us in her dust to fend for ourselves in an area of town well-known for prostitution. I could've been furious, but as soon as we caught up to the car, which Nikki had pulled over into the turn lane, her riotous laughter completely erased my ire.

I love this girl, and thank God for her everyday. I heart you, CBFF! (college best friend forever)
"I thank my God everytime I remember you."
Philippians 1:3

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Month of Thanks

My cyberfriend Sherry issued a challenge for the month of November, and I'm IN, baby!

I have so much to be thankful for. Today, I'm especially thankful that even though I've been unable to work out aerobically for the last 7 weeks, I've managed to lose weight! I slipped into a new size of jeans today - one I've never worn! When I got pregnant with Dani, I was a 12-14. After nine months, I'd gained 40 pounds and was only wearing stretched out elastic stuff. I continued to gain weight after the pregnancy, and when I finally bought my first pair of post-baby jeans, they were 20s.

Today, I wore a pair of 16s.

There's no reason that *I* should be credited with the continued weight loss. About two weeks ago, I re-invited God to be a part of this journey with me. I'd let myself become complacent about my healthy eating, and hadn't made an effort to work out at all. When I relinquished control and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I actually FELT like working out, and got pretty creative about going about it. I got serious about eating right again. And I lost weight. And a pants size.

All because God is in control. I'm thankful that He's real, and that He doesn't hesitate to prove it to me over and over again!

Give thanks to God—he is good and his love never quits.
I Chronicles 16:34 (The Message)

Friday, October 31, 2008

in the news

This story makes me happy:

11:08 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 29, 2008
By JESSICA MEYERS/ The Dallas Morning News

Marilyn Mock went to last weekend’s foreclosure auction in Dallas as a dutiful parent. She left as a minor celebrity. Now, she’s a national hero.

The 50-year-old Rockwall woman acted on instinct when she bought Tracy Orr’s Pottsboro home back for her while Ms. Mock’s son was signing papers on his first house. But at a time when economic woes rule the headlines, a stranger’s big-heartedness can make national news.Ms. Mock’s good deed prompted Good Morning America to knock on her door before dawn, drew local police to investigate CNN’s satellite truck, and led to a slew of interview requests from the Oprah, Ellen and Dr. Phil shows.

“All these people are calling and calling and calling and calling,” said Ms. Mock, who runs a rock yard with her three children. Two pot-bellied pigs wander around outside.

“I don’t understand it. I just happened to be there, and anybody else would have done the same thing.”

But few others have agreed to bid on a piece of property they’ve never seen, for someone they’ve never met. Ms. Mock paid about $30,000 for the house in Grayson County and plans to use her dump truck as collateral against the mortgage payments. Ms. Orr will make payments to her instead of a bank, Ms. Mock said.

The women are awaiting final approval from Fannie Mae before they visit the single-family home for which Ms. Orr, 38, took out an $80,000 mortgage in 2004. She lost her job a month after taking out the loan, and earlier this year she lost the house.

“I’d kind of already accepted the fact that this was the end. It was closure,” she said.The two women were sitting by the auction door Saturday when Ms. Mock struck up a conversation with the sobbing Ms. Orr and discovered that she was about to lose her house.

“Then she was standing there and bidding and someone was shaking my hand,” Ms. Orr said.

“She didn’t even know if I had a job or was a nut case. She didn’t even see a picture of the house.”

None of that mattered, Ms. Mock said. “She needed help. That was it.”

Ms. Orr’s fairytale rescue happened amid a sea of foreclosures. At least 4,200 homes in the Dallas area are scheduled for a foreclosure sale in November, according to Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service. More than 46,000 homeowners have been threatened with foreclosure this year, a 31 percent increase from the same period last year.

“All these things were going through my mind,” Ms. Mock said. “I grabbed her arm and pulled her with me and tried to make her understand.”

After the purchase, Ms. Orr disappeared. “I thought, what if she left?” Ms. Mock said. “What would I tell my husband, ‘Hello, honey, I bought a house for this lady and I don’t know where she went?’.”

But Ms. Orr, a former U.S. Postal Service employee and now a housekeeper at All Saints Camp and Conference Center, was waiting outside in tears.

Then a news camera showed up.
“They caught us,” said Ms. Mock, who was hoping to keep the deal quiet.

The Mock family is adjusting to the extra attention, said her son Dustin,27, who accompanied her that day.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe you just did that. What are you thinking?’.” he said. “It’s a little annoying,” he admitted about the endless ringing of the phone. “People are calling to say, ‘The story touched me so much.’ We appreciate
it, but we are trying to get stuff done.”

The women talk on the phone daily but haven’t met since the purchase or worked out details of the financial arrangement. In the meantime, Ms. Orr said she doesn’t mind the barrage of media, saying she hopes others will follow Ms. Mock’s lead.

“More than my house, she gave me something inside, and that’s more important than material or financial things,” she said.

I was surprised to read THIS one. I SURVIVED MY FIRST EARTHQUAKE, and I didn't even know it!

Two minor earthquakes shake Dallas-Fort Worth area 08:26 AM CDT on Friday, October 31, 2008
The Dallas Morning News

Dallas-Fort Worth residents received a pre-Halloween scare as two minor
earthquakes shook the area overnight.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a 2.5-magnitude earthquake centered in
the Grand Prairie area was reported at 11:25 p.m. Thursday. A slightly stronger
3.0-magnitude quake centered in the Irving area occurred 36 minutes later.

Law enforcement agencies across northern Texas said they received some
911 calls from concerned residents but no reports of damage.

Irving police spokesman David Tull said his agency received about 25
calls around midnight from people inquiring about the vibrations, which set off
car and building alarms.

Grand Prairie and Fort Worth officials also reported no damage. "We
just learned about it on the news this morning,” said Dawn Atkins, a Grand
Prairie emergency dispatcher.

USGS geophysicist Randy Baldwin said the quakes, which lasted only a
few seconds, most likely felt "like a lightly loaded truck passing by, kind of a
sharp jerk and then a rapid vibration."

Irving resident Christine Laughland said she was sleeping when the
earthquake woke her up. She's from California and wasn't too shocked by the
vibrations. But she couldn't say the same thing for her dogs. “They were barking
hysterically because it was their first one,” she said.

Reports of the quake also came from Dallas, Euless and Hurst and
Fort Worth, Mr. Baldwin said. Aftershocks could last several days. There is also
a possibility of more smaller quakes in the coming days that no one would likely

Texas occasionally has earthquakes. An April 7 earthquake in southern
Texas had a 3.7 magnitude. A minor earthquake was felt by some people in
Amarillo on March 30, 2002. The Amarillo area also recorded seven minor
earthquakes in 2000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

playing catch up

For someone who's stuck on her butt, I've sure been busy!
But enough about me.
Here's a quick run-down of what's been happenin' here in FunkyTown.
Dani is a senior! She's having the BEST year of her high school career, socially and academically. Thank goodness! Her SAT score came in last week, and she did great. These days, SATs are graded on a 2400-point scale. She scored 660 in math, 730 in verbal and 710 in writing, for a score of 2100. That's the equivalent of a 1390 on the old-school 1600-point system. :) She's still working for the lawyer downtown after school, but it's only 8 hours a week and she's finding that it barely puts gas in the car. She's looking for a temporary seasonal job through Christmas so she can afford to buy gifts. She auditioned for All-region choir last week and was bummed to place as 2nd Alternate, meaning she still has to learn the music for Area, but isn't guaranteed an audition time. She's been amazing while I've been hurt. She helps get the boys off to school in the mornings, picks them up in the afternoons, drives me wherever I need to go and pushed the wheelchair without being TOO horribly embarrassed, runs a bazillion errands for me, cooks dinner and cleans the kitchen more than she should have to, and does it with a good attitude. Last week, I had to be at a meeting about the auction (more on that in another post), and Darren was scheduled for a 5k race, and it also happened to be Open House at the boys' school. Dani took them, and even took photos of their work so I could feel like I didn't miss so much. To reward and thank her for her hard work and her cheerful disposition about it, Darren and I won something for her at the auction - but that's another post, too. Here she is with one of her BFFs.

Aidan started his first season of soccer this fall. He plays in the YMCA league; they play all kids at all positions at this age, but Aidan's favorite is halfback. It's amazing to watch him play. From the time he was four years old, he could dribble the ball. We couldn't believe it the first time he did it; he knew how to take the ball all the way down the field, dribbling between feet as he went! He's aggressive and FAST. I think he's one of those guys who is just naturally athletic. Speaking of... he's training with Darren again, and will run his next 5k on Thanksgiving morning. And he's growing his hair out. Before school started, he printed out a picture of (The Suite Life of) Zach and Cody and said he wanted his hair like theirs. Crack. Me. UP.

Ian is all boy. All over the place, all the time. He's been sent to the nurse twice this year after smacking his head when the legs of his chair went flying. He can't seem to keep all four of them on the ground at the same time. He loses his backpack, homework, folder, shoes..... constantly. And yet, his teacher loves him. Darren and I had a conference with her last week and she giggled the whole time. He's reading a couple of grade levels ahead of his class, and she's working on a special math curriculum for him. I've said for a long time that I'm not smart enough to raise this kid, and it becomes more evident every day! He doesn't hate girls as much as he used to, but don't tell HIM that.

Darren ran his first 10k a couple of weeks ago. His time was 58:47. I didn't get to go; it happened right after I broke my foot and I was still completely immobile. BUMMER! He's running both the 5k and the 10k at the Turkey Trot next month, and depending on where we have Thanksgiving, I don't know if I'll be here or 3 hours north in Oklahoma. I hope I get to watch him!

Monday, October 27, 2008

6 Random Things

The Rules:1. Link to the person who tagged you (Elaine tagged me).
2. Post the rules on your blog (this is what you are now reading).
3. Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Ok. Now that we have THAT out of the way...
The Random:

1. I'm a crazy driver. This wheelchair has two speeds: turtle and rabbit. I love to go fast, and because I'm not real good with the joystick that controls this thing, I've taken paint off of doorfacings, a chunk of wood out of the french door, busted a porcelain knob right off the kitchen cabinet, and run over two friends' toes. Even the cat is scared of me now.

2. I'm addicted to Dove Dark Chocolate and Blue Diamond Bold Lime n Chili almonds.

3. I won't drink out of a cup at a restaurant unless it's with a straw. I hate to even share my drinks with my kids, so the concept of drinking out of a cup someone else used this morning grosses me out. I've seen too many lipstick prints on "clean restaurant cups".

4. I kinda miss the workplace since I started working from home 6 years ago. I'm moving back into a full-time job, and am hoping to be full-time by this time next year.

5. The first thing I notice on a man is his calves. Then his butt. But if his calves are exposed, that's where I look first. Since Darren started running last year, his calves have become beautiful, and his butt.... never mind. I don't wanna embarrass my Mom.

6. I'm thrifty, frugal, and sometimes downright cheap, but there are a few things that I'm a brand snob about:
  • paper towels must be Viva, and white.
  • Mac-n-Cheese must be Kraft.
  • Coke must be Coke, not Pepsi and especially not "cola".
  • cotton swabs must be Q-Tip
  • Aveda hand therapy lotion
  • Secret deodorant - lately I'm hooked on the Asian Pear scent!

I tagged: Bobbie, Terri, Desiree, Summer, Nookie, Carrie

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

cautiously optimistic!

Dr. Myers looked at today's xray, then without facial expression, looked at me and said, "There's been no change."

It scared me at first.

"That's good, right?" I asked.

He replied enthusiasticly, "That's excellent! It's what we were hoping for."

"So... we don't have to talk surgery?"

"Not today, at least," he answered. "I'm cautiously optimistic."

So, all these hours of riding around in my wheelchair and making people run my errands is paying off. I have to continue staying off the foot for two more weeks. Then I get to start putting weight on it a little at a time... still in my boot and on crutches... 25% for 2 days, then 50% for two more days if there's no pain, and then 75% for two days. On the seventh day, he'll X-ray again and we'll see how it's reacting under pressure.

YAY!!! There's an end in sight! I can't wait to be able to walk again!

You should see my right leg. The little bit of muscle definition I'd developed over the last few months is gone. It's a sad little sorry excuse for a calf compared to my left leg. Doc says that I'll require rehabilitation, because my quads and joints and calves have been dormant for so long. It'll be 7-8 weeks from the day he declares me "healed" before I can count on walking for exercise or doing Nia.

Even so, I'm ecstatic!!! If I can just be good for two more weeks and stay off my foot, bone fusion surgery is getting drop-kicked out the window. YAY!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

diagnosis: grim

See the two red lines? That's where the fractures are. They're healing perfectly. Nothing to worry about.

Now, see those two circles? Take a look at the one on the left. Notice the vertical black space between the two bones. That's my healthy left foot.
Compare that space to the one on my right foot. See how the space is wider and longer? That's bad. It's a torn ligament. What's worse is, the reason the gap is so wide is because the other 4 metatarsals are sliding off to the right, away from my big tone bone. That's very bad. As the podiatrist said, "We're dealing with a substantial injury here. This is serious."
Then he had a Come To Jesus meeting with me.
Under no circumstances am I to put any weight or pressure on the foot - for FIVE MORE WEEKS. That means no walking, no standing, no stepping for balance, no driving, no kickball (ha!), and get this - no placing my foot on the ground when I'm sitting. NO STRESS WHATSOEVER.
There's no magic that will pull those bones back to where they're supposed to be; our only hope is that they don't slip further apart. It's imperative that I stay off of it. The doctor conferred with one of his surgeons today, who agreed that if it separates a fraction more, it'll require surgery. They'll recheck it in two weeks to see if it's continuing to slide. "Trust me," he said. "You do not want a bone fusion in your foot at 39." It would mean a lifetime of painful and limited walking. As it is, this injury alone could nag me forever. Told ya it was grim news. At least it doesn't hurt much anymore.
He prescribed a wheelchair. I wonder if I can borrow one instead of paying high rent for one?
Looks like I'll be learning real fast how to get over myself and lose some pride. I'll be asking for help. I won't be trying to sweep the kitchen myself, or throw a load of laundry in myself, or walk around in my boot - however carefully - ever again. I owe it to my family to let this thing heal so they don't have to deal with months of recovery instead of weeks. And I owe it to myself, damn it.
Over the last several months, so many things had started coming together in my personal life. One, my health was under control and I'd lost 60 pounds. Suddenly, I can't walk anymore, or dance, which were my two main forms of cardio. I've got to figure out a new workout strategy that doesn't involve my feet. Any suggestions?
And two, I'd finally conquered my intense dislike for housework and devised a system that was working for me. My house was staying CLEAN, and the laundry was never piled up. Even though Darren and the kids have taken over all of my former chores, it still realllllly pisses me off that all those months of hard work and getting things in order are going up in smoke. You know the saying... "If you want it done right, do it yourself"? I have to accept the fact that since I can't do it myself, I have to be content with how it's being done.
For someone as active as I am, being immobile has been torture. Five weeks seems like a lifetime, but at least there's light at the end of the tunnel. I can do it. What's harder for me is this: I have to swallow my pride and ask for help. I can't keep using my foot, and Darren can't keep carrying the extra load by himself. Neither can Dani. We need outside help. That's the hardest thing I've ever had to admit.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I'm smiling because...

1. Darren brought me flowers today.

2. Ian said to Darren last night, "Will Mom be back before my bedtime?" (no) "Well, give her a message. Ms. Bailey (his art teacher) said she likes everything Mom does." awwww!

3. I laughed out loud several times tonight at Denny Crane.

4. I'm drawing near to a major deadline and that always gets me revved up.

5. I'm really happy with the job I finished today.

6. My orange pants are too big!!

7. The kitchen is clean.

8. The laundry is caught up.

9. The boys did their homework without complaint today.

10. I get to leave the house tomorrow. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

still broken

Since people keep asking me how my foot's doing, I'll just answer once and for all here on the great big internets. (crack me up)

It's still broken.

The bruising appeared early last weekend, and turned all sorts of purple and black - across and around and under my toes, mostly, which I think it weird. It's now a muted purple/green and doesn't look as gruesome. I should've taken pictures, but decided that no one needed to be subjected to that, so I didn't. You can thank me any time.

When I'm wearing the boot, the swelling seems to be a lot worse, and then my toes go numb, and my leg starts itching, and I get all kinds of cranky, so mostly I keep it off. All I'm doing is sitting around on my rumpus anyway, right?

I haven't walked or driven or even stood for any length of time in almost 2 weeks, and for a person as active as I am, well.... you draw the conclusion. I feel trapped and homebound and like a drain on society. Ha! People keep commenting that it must be nice to be waited on hand and foot, but I gotta tell ya: I'm not enjoying it so much. When I need a drink, I'd rather be able to get up and get it myself. When I have to ask someone, I feel like a burden, especially when 30 minutes later I have to ask again, and 20 minutes after that, my tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth and I'm still waiting. It infuriates me to have to depend on others; I really hate being so needy. I told Darren to just buy a couple of feed sacks and tie 'em around my neck. Hey - it works for horses, it could work for me!

Thank God for Cara, my nurse friend who finally laid eyes on me crutching around all hunch-backed, and adjusted my crutches properly. She saved me from a debilitating case of Quasimodo Syndrome, which I'm certain was setting in. It's amazing how much easier it is to get around on those things when they're adjusted correctly!

Even so, my house is full of stairs. You can't get IN without climbing stairs. Not in the front, nor in the back. Once inside, you can't get to a bathroom without traversing more steps. Even though the downstairs bath is down a short flight of only 3 steps, let me assure you, my friends: three mere steps with no handrails, ample bazooms, a pair of crutches, a foot that won't bear weight, and general hurriedness combined with profound clumsiness does not a pretty picture make. I've fallen three times. Imagine, if you will, leaning over and trying to hop down one step. First of all, I HAVE to lean over to even see the step over my bahombas. Secondly, when I lean over, my center of balance is all screwed up. I sometimes think we should video my bathroom treks, especially on those occasions when I'm not wearing a bra and the clap of boobs-on-belly sets off seismic activity that's picked up in Marin County CA. Surely we could win $100,000 on Funniest Videos, which would then allow us to install an elevator.

Going up is much easier. I use my right knee and my left foot, which leaves only one position for my butt: up in the air. I've actually gotten pretty fast at ascending to my bedroom. The cat stares and cocks her head, but no one else has had the nerve to laugh out loud yet.

Pain-wise, for the past two days, it's been mostly non-existent unless I'm waking on it. Which, of course, I'm not supposed to be doing. The broken bones should be healing just fine, but the ligament is what the doctor is worried about. Next Wednesday, we'll reX-ray and go from there. Until then, I have to try to stay off of that foot. Anyone have a feed bag I can borrow?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Countdown #2

10 Things I Want to Do Before I Die:
  1. skydive
  2. run a 10k
  3. wear a size 8
  4. own a VW bug again
  5. finish my degree
  6. publish a book
  7. climb a 14er
  8. tour Italy
  9. live in Ireland
  10. own a mountain cabin
9 Places I Last Spent Money:
  1. Walmart
  2. 2 Peas in a Bucket
  3. Walgreens
  4. Orthopedist's office
  5. Doctor's office
  6. The Wild Bunch
  7. Staples
  8. USPS
  9. Target
8 Sounds I Routinely Hear Around My House:
  1. Pow Schpuh Hoooh Ahhh PshouPshou (the boys having light saber fights)
  2. Brick House (Cara calling)
  3. the landline ringing
  4. someone clacking on a keyboard
  5. Spanky, the next door dog
  6. mail dropping through the slot
  7. ice maker
  8. iTunes

7 Real Restaurants Where I Last Ate Out

  1. Pappasito's
  2. Chili's
  3. Lili's Bistro
  4. Old Neighborhood Grill
  5. Flying Fish
  6. Mi Familia
  7. Chadra Mezza

6 Things I've Recently Scratched Off My To-Do List

  1. get packages ready to mail
  2. get quotes from printers
  3. cut letters for Kristen's wall
  4. design YDC newsletter
  5. work on lesson plans for Bible class
  6. sort the kids' outgrown clothes

5 People I Don't Know but Would Like to Hang Out With

  1. Ellen DeGeneres
  2. Steven Curtis Chapman and family
  3. Kacey Luvi
  4. Carrie in the West Bank
  5. The Fug Girls

4 Songs That Make Me Happy

  1. I Will Change Your Name
  2. I Can See Clearly Now
  3. Song Sung Blue
  4. Forever Young

3 Things I Hate To Do:

  1. Dishes
  2. Get out of bed in the morning
  3. Come home to a messy house

2 Things I'm Really Good At:

  1. Procrastinating
  2. Hand-lettering

1 Bad Habit:

  1. Picking at my cuticles

And now... how did I answer these same questions 2 years ago?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Plain Dumb Bad Luck

We have a guest blogger today. Darren is writing this blog because Stacy is incapacitated in the bed. "How'd that happen?", you ask. Well, I'll tell you.

Have you ever had something happen to you and it seemed like you were just, through no fault of your own, completely in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Texas we call that dumb bad luck.

Stacy wanted to do something fun for herself this week. First, she thought about getting a pedicure. But she stepped outside and it was one of those gorgeous sunny fall days in Texas, so she decided instead that she'd like to pick me up from work for a picnic lunch by the Trinity River.

So, she picked me up around noon and we drove down 7th Street to Trinity Park. When we got there, though, they were doing construction on the roads and parking lots. There was nowhere to go, so I suggested a little parking area on the other side of the river that I'd driven by many times. So, we crossed back over the Trinity and went down Forest Park Blvd. until we found the spot.

It was a beautiful spot. There was a picnic table, but Stacy had brought a blanket because she wanted to lay in the shade under a tree. There was a nice pecan tree nearby with a flat grassy area so we made our picnic there. It was great. We ate and talked and lay there and had a great time enjoying being outdoors on a beautiful day.

The weekly tornado siren testing let us know it was 1:00 and time for me to head back to work. I grabbed the trash and drinks and headed back to the car, leaving Stacy to bring the blanket. I was halfway to the car when I suddenly heard Stacy screaming. She was clearly in terrible pain. I set all the stuff on the ground and ran back to her.

When I got back to her, she was rolling around on the ground, holding one leg up at a funny angle. I thought she had dislocated her knee. I asked her what was hurting she couldn't tell me, she was in too much pain. I knew something serious was wrong. I gently grabbed her leg and foot and she flinched and yelped. Finally, she told me her foot was hurt.

To try to figure out what was wrong, I reached for her foot, but at a touch from my fingertips, she winced and flinched again. I knew it was bad, and I told her I thought it was broken. I said we'd go straight to the doctor's office and went to move the car to the closest part of the parking area.

When I got back, I saw Stacy was laying on her stomach looking into a hole. She had been walking to the car and all of a sudden her left foot and leg had sunk into the ground all the way to her thigh. Her weight had suddenly shifted to her off-balance right foot with no time to prepare, injuring it. I was wondering to myself how there could be such a deep hole in such an innocuous-looking spot.

Upon closer inspection, I realized the hole had not been there before. There was still grass covering the hole and it had obviously been torn by her foot. At the bottom of the hole, there was a mound of fresh dirt and grass that she had knocked down there. Stacy had stepped on a weak spot in the ground, where a sewer line ran underneath, and the ground had collapsed beneath her.

The sewer line had an opening at that point for a drain, but no drain had been installed. Instead it had been covered with dirt. Over time, the dirt above had gradually collapsed into the sewer line underneath as water washed through it, until there was a cavity in the earth below with only a few inches of soil held together by the roots of the grass. One step on that would've sent anyone crashing through. Stacy was the person with the dumb bad luck to step on that one spot first.

I tore out the grass from over the hole so it would be visible to anyone else walking by. Then I helped Stacy onto her good foot and held her up as she hopped a few hops. Each hop brought excruciating pain to her hurt foot. We made it as far as the nearby picnic table. I went back to the XTerra and off-roaded down to the picnic table, where I helped her to gingerly get in. A call to the doctor got her in quickly thanks to a last-minute cancellation, so we headed straight there.

At the doctor's office, the X-rays confirmed two broken bones. The X-ray below is not Stacy's, but I circled the part of her foot where the breaks were. The doctor called a nearby orthopedist to arrange a visit for that afternoon.

From there it was on to the orthopedist. We parked in the handicapped parking and joked about getting a ticket. "I think I could get us out of that one," I said. Thankfully, both the doctor's office and the orthopedist had loaner wheelchairs, so Stacy mostly got to roll around. It was tricky getting in and out of our high-clearance XTerra, though. Stacy practically had to do a chin-up using the handles above the door!

The orthopedist touched Stacy's foot all over to ensure that the pain matched up with the breaks he could see on the X-ray. He was also concerned that she might have strained or torn the ligament holding her big toe to the toe next to it. Meanwhile, Stacy was mortified because she had spent the earlier part of the day walking around barefoot, so her feet were quite dirty, and she hadn't shaved in a while. But she got through it and we decided to go with a boot rather than a 3-week splint followed by a cast.

After a trip to the drugstore for crutches, Darvocet, and chocolate, we went to pick up the boys. (Our good friend Tina, whose child is in school with Aidan and Ian, had taken them home from school while we were at the doctor.) Then, I went out and took pictures of the hole—to post on this blog and as evidence for our upcoming discussions with the city's Parks department...

(Using a broom handle to measure the depth of the hole)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

coupla things

My head hurts.
It's full of cotton and weighs 1000 pounds.
My eyes are buzzing.
Someone squirted silly string all up in my nasal passages.
My ears need to pop.
My neck aches.
And my head hurts.
Thank you.
That's all.

oh, wait. No it's not. I have one more thing to whine about.

Biggest Loser Family premiered tonight.
I watched even though I had mixed emotions about it.
Desi and I poured our hearts into auditioning for this season, but then they went and made it a FAMILY show and we were disqualified. Hmmmph. As I watched the new teams, I kept thinking, "We coulda taken them." "We have more personality than they do!" "She's a wuss."

But what REALLY pissed me off?
Even though I've lost 60+ pounds since sending in our audition tape, I still outweigh a couple of the girls on the show.

I coulda been a contedah!

I've hit a major plateau. Been stuck on either side of 60 for a month now. Methinks I need Jillian to kick.my.BUTT. Kick it HARD!

Monday, September 15, 2008

back to the '80s

I've been reliving the '80s lately, by reconnecting with old friends on Facebook. It's been a lot of fun to exchange messages, relive memories and share milestones.
But nothing took me back to the '80s like this did this morning:

It's '80s Day at Dani's school. Of course, she informed me of this last night at 10:15 when it was too late to get my hands on leg warmers and top-siders. Instead, we dug out some old pink foam rollers for her to sleep in, and I hacked up one of Darren t-shirts Irene-Cara-style. It's amazing how those radical 80's hair skills like, totally came back to me! With a hairdryer in one hand and a can of hairspray in the other, I majorly Molly Ringwalded Dani's hair. I only wish I'd had a can of Aqua Net on hand!

We pegged her jeans, plastered on the blue eye shadow and scrunched down her socks. What I wouldn't have given for some twister beads this morning. Dani cracked herself up when she caught her reflection in the mirror. "I can't believe y'all thought this was a good look! I can't believe I'm leaving the house in this."

It was like staring at my 17-year old self as I watched her drive off - so much so that I had to run upstairs and dig through old photos! Here's another one of me at 17:

The really funny thing is, Dani suffers from the same "I Was Born In The Wrong Decade" syndrome that I suffered from at her age. I always wished I'd been a teen/young adult in the late '60s/'70s. Dani does, too. Her room is covered in John Lennon posters - and check out her book bag:
I love that kid! She beats to her own funky drum, it's true, but that's one of the things I admire about her.
That, and she just texted me, saying, "I'm bringing you lunch today. What do you want?"