Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tales of a New Homeowner, Part III

Sorry about the complete lack of posting, but I am sitting on my bed in my living room, people! Maybe I should go back a little. Yesterday was our official "moving day" and thanks to a group of wonderful, hard-working folks we got everything over here in just a few trips! We will not get any carpet in until tomorrow -- hot water too -- so all of our belongings sit, at the moment, in the garage, living and dining rooms. It is a new experience for me, and I am one that likes to feel settled and at home, so this is a bit of a struggle. I promise I am not complaining! I think everyone just wants to feel like they are "at home," and when there's this kind of disorder that feeling doesn't come so easy. I am excited, too, because there is such a feeling of newness in this new chapter of our lives.

I plan on, at some point (next week?) posting some pics here of house stuff. Not a lot, mind you, but Sally-Anne and my dad have requested photos of the progress (can you call it "progress" when your clothes and mattresses are in the room that you should be dining in?). We also have a bird's nest in the eaves of our front porch, and now that the five -- yes, five baby birds are really growing I have some great photos to share. This morning I captured the shot I had been waiting for: mama bird feeding her babies. Wow, was that exciting! And let me tell you, Junebug was just dying to get out there. She stood at the door, tail swishing, while I took picture after picture.

I hope to post early next week, at the latest. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Casey is back!

Casey was gone, you ask? Yes, Casey was in Argentina helping with our Let's Start Talking team. The other four will be there through the end of June, but Casey was only there for about eight long days. It seemed that way to me, anyway. Poor thing is jet-lagged, but he was smiling when I saw him at the airport, and started working on the house yesterday, and has already started again this morning. I am so thankful that he is back safe with me! I am also thankful for the volunteers that came out to the house yesterday and did so much great work -- thank you again!

I can't think of much to write at the moment, but I found this very neat quiz. Take it to see who you are!

You're Hobbes!

You're Hobbes. First of all, the makers of this quiz would like to congratulate you. You have our seal of approval. You are kind, intelligent, loving, and good-humoredly practical. You're proud of who you are. At the same time, you're tolerant of those who lack your clearsightedness. You're always playful, but never annoying. For these traits, you are well-loved, and with good cause.

Which famous feline are you?
brought to you by

Monday, May 23, 2005

Spoon Theory

I came across something today that I thought I would share. I have had many people ask me about Behcet's Disease (some pronounce it 'be-SHAYS', while others say 'be-SHETS' and yet others say 'BAY-sets'), and one of the answers I give them is, "It's in the same category as Lupus" because they are both auto-immune disorders. And if you have heard of Crohn's Disease, it is probably more closely linked to Behcet's than any other auto-immune disorder out there. I was, in fact, almost diagnosed with Crohn's. Anyway, I haven't really had a real sit-down with most people and really talked about the whole thing. Sure, I will talk about it and have no problem doing so, but you don't want to just rattle on and on about the pains going on in your body to everyone. I realize that people don't really want to hear all about it (besides, doesn't Casey hear about it enough?). But when coming upon this site, I thought I would link it here and let people see a very neat theory that someone discovered while trying to answer a friend's question. Granted, I do not have Lupus as this person does, but chronic illnesses can occasionally be explained together. And I would say I am at the very blessed upper end of suffering, meaning that I do not deal with a lot of the pain that others do. But now, if there are those who want to get a glimpse and understand my fatigue a bit better, here it is.

The garbagemen are laughing at me

I didn't bring in the garbage can last night (it's not really a "can", but I can't think of the word at the moment). And so I didn't put anything in it to take back out there this morning. When I heard the garbage truck rolling along, then stopping, I imagined those men getting ready to heave this thing over their heads and empty its contents. They probably almost threw the whole thing in, it being so light and all. I imagined them wondering, "Who puts an empty garbage can out?" (not really "can" but that other misplaced word...am I that old already?) and then laughing. Oh, the laughing. I didn't actually hear any laughing because our house is not all that near the road, but I imagined the laughing. And I wanted to peer out the window to see what was happening, but I just didn't want to see them laughing at me.

Friday, May 20, 2005

This is how we're moving her to the new house


I took this photo this evening, just couldn't resist. Junebug, like most cats, loves to get inside boxes, and these are some of our moving boxes. She got in there, but had a hard time getting out. This was her trying to figure out how to do just that. And, like any concerned pet owner, I laughed, grabbed the camera, and took a picture.

Just when I thought I was getting better...

...I realized I was getting worse. How did that happen? Last Saturday my throat was swollen, I felt horrible, etc. Sunday it felt a little better, and that night I lost my voice. Monday it was really gone. Tuesday morning I was like, "Oh, wow, I am doing so much better!" Then that evening came the pain. And by Wednesday morning I knew that something was wrong. Or back. It wasn't good. Turns out I had a sinus infection (so that's why the Tylenol Cold wasn't working!), so I've spent the past two days on the couch with Junebug at my feet most of the time. And when I say "at my feet" I mean that I have the chair reclined and she is on the end of that reclining, so I have to maneuver my feet around her. Hey, it's either that or she's actually where I want to sit. Besides, I liked having her there, constantly sleeping. Always with the sleeping! You would think she does nothing else until you open the front door on a random morning and there is a little mouse on the doormat. Yeah, she does other stuff besides sleep.

In other news, I have recently met a fellow Behcet's Disease sufferer via email! I thought I would do a search at the ABDA (American Behcet's Disease Association) website in the "Stories" section for someone born in the same year as myself. Only one person my age had submitted a story, so of course I had to email her! We have written back and forth a couple of times, and I have to say it is really, really neat to be able to connect with another person my age who knows just what I am dealing with. She has seen far worse than me where symptoms are concerned, and for much longer, so I am encouraged by her story.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More random...ness

School is out. Summer (vacation) is here. Why do I still look at it that way even though I have been out of school for more than five years?

Is it just me, or is there something just not right about seeing someone more than ten years younger than yourself drive by in their Lexus SUV (with personalized plates) as you putter down the road in your fourteen-year-old paint-peeling (not my fault) -windshield-cracked (my fault) Mazda 323?

My voice is coming back. I don't sound so much like a frog anymore, much to the relief of the people calling our office.

Junebug is the most stubborn cat I have ever known. When she knows she is somewhere she shouldn't be (i.e., our bedroom), she will lie down and get ready to attack anyone who tries to move her.

It is so strange that different paints can look like no color at all until they have been up on the wall for a few minutes, and then ta-da! Color.

People who are trying not to drink coffee should not be allowed to carry an Uptown Coffee card around. It's just not right.

Crunch 'n Munch is cheap, people! I am talking one dollar for a box of sweet, caramel popcorn goodness. You can't beat that. I guess that doesn't matter when one can polish off an entire box of Crunch 'n Munch in one day.

Sarah is now the mother of twin four-year-old boys (not to mention the newborn), and all I can think is, "This is the same woman who let me borrow her chicken costume one night while I checked rooms in a freshmen girls' dorm."

I've been watching a lot of Little House on the Prairie lately. When something inevitably goes wrong, I tell Casey (who is not watching but just walking by), "Don't worry. Charles will fix it." And he does, every single time! That's good TV.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Who turned off my voice?

The weekend proved to be a time of sickliness on my part -- not too bad, mind you -- and ended with me losing my voice. Ugh, I hate it when that happens. I opened the front door this morning to call for Junebug and what was supposed to sound like "Junebug!" came out more like "(Silence)-bug!" Pitiful. I even tried to do it again!

Last night, Case and I tested the paint colors we had picked out for the interior walls. They look nice! Casey was relieved, because when they mixed the paints at Home Depot, they all looked about the same to him -- white. But after getting a bit of it on the walls, then waiting just a bit, we could clearly see the differences in all three. And did I mention that we like them? All three colors? Woohoo! I was pretty nervous about it because I had picked out those colors, so if they looked bad it would be on me. And, okay, they are not these wildly brilliant colors -- they are quite safe -- but we are okay with that. We just wanted a bit of "neutral variety" within the house. And the names of the Glidden brand colors? Pristine Porcelain, Crisp Linen and Vermeer's Pearl. Now you really want to visit, don't you?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday the 13th and everything after...or something

Wow. The fatigue is absolutely beating me down today, it seems. It just took all of my energy to type these two sentences! Maybe not exactly, but I am having trouble getting my thoughts through to my fingers. Tomorrow is graduation day, and for those not graduating, today (or maybe even yesterday) is leaving day. We've already hugged some of the students, some that won't be returning, and wished them well. Hopefully they will get to come back for a visit so we can see them again. It is really hard for me to believe that the school year has already come to an end.

second post ever on this blog was written on a Friday the 13th. I didn't write much, I think because I just had no idea what I wanted to write about. It seemed like a decent topic...hmmm. But today, not so much. My body is trying to get a message to me:

Body: Would you just lie down and rest?!

Me: It's a little difficult at the moment, Body.


Me: Well, how nice of you. Now be quiet.

You get the idea. So, if you are at home at the moment, take a little power nap for me, will ya? Thanks!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

House and home

Casey and I took our house's former owners (and current inhabitants) to lunch yesterday. We have liked them so much from the beginning, and although this may sound strange, I wish they weren't leaving! Don't get me wrong -- I would still want to live in our new house -- I just want them to be our neighbors. They will be driving away to their new home on Sunday, so the official key and garage door opener exchange (I guess it's not really an exchange if they don't get anything!) will be on Saturday. We own this house, and yet it still does not feel that way. How strange it's going to be when we are settled and look around, and think...here is our new home.

Coffee and peace

Readers, I must confess something (and boy do I hope that Luke doesn't lecture me!). Yesterday morning I broke down and made a cup of coffee. Yes, I did it, and I am neither proud nor sorry. It is what it is, okay? We all break our resolutions from time to time. By the way, did I mention that I had another cup this morning? Again, neither proud nor sorry. It was the last of the Coffeemate (trying not to be wasteful), and without that how could I possibly have another cup? So there is my confession. I am still going to strive to stay away from the deliciously evil coffee (mmm...vanilla latte), but at least now you know my deepest and darkest coffee secrets. So there.

Last night was our final 'school year' Bible study, so the students will be graduating or leaving for the summer, although some will be (yea!) staying here. The LST group leaves soon for Argentina, along with my Case, and I am proud of them for sacrificing so much of their time to do this work for God.

I've been in a more peaceful, thoughtful state of mind today than I have been in more than a week. I love to see God at work, and although that is more difficult in uncertain times, it is still truly amazing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

God is patient

You may have already considered this, and I'm sure that I have at some point, but please bear with me anyway. We pray to God and we wait for his answer. Sometimes we wait and wait and wait for an answer...but nothing. Or is it? Have you considered that God might be waiting on you? What I mean (and Casey got me thinking about this today) is that, instead of just expecting to get a definite answer and waiting around for that answer, we could be using this time to grow closer to him. This is more along the lines of what Casey was saying. And I started thinking, wow, there is my answer -- growing closer to God. And in that growing, wouldn't it make more sense that I would become more content not having my answer right away? I think so! This is probably a no-brainer for most, but it's still good to reflect on these things every now and then. We all struggle with waiting and watching for answers, and all the while God is beckoning us ever closer to him.

Monday, May 09, 2005

What Casey said...

...when he took his third sip of my vanilla creme steamer: "It tastes just like...pudding!"

Last Friday, I had my final physical therapy appointment. Woohoo! Of course my shoulder is not completely better, but what do you expect when you tear your rotator cuff and don't see anyone about it for seven years? That's what I thought. Still, it is much, much better since my first visit, and hopefully if I continue with my exercises at home and put ice on it (the part I despise) it will only get better.

Casey will soon be leaving for Argentina with our LST group. The team will stay through the end of June, but Casey will only be there for a week (thank goodness!). Meanwhile, I hope to get some packing done for our move to the new house. As soon as Casey is back, we'll start on painting, then new carpet, then we'll move stuff in. That should put us in there by the end of the month. It's coming up so fast, I can hardly believe it! I will be so glad to be settled into the house for the summer so that by the time school starts again we'll be living closer and can have the college students over much more often. I'm going to miss the college students this summer! So glad that some of them are staying, and for much longer than I thought too (John and Brandi!). Hope everyone is having a great Monday!


Me (standing at the mirror with messy hair in my eyes): "I look like a rock star with my hair like this."

Casey (singing, from the bed): "And you smell like one too!"

Friday, May 06, 2005

Banquet fun

Last night was our spring banquet and what a great time it was! I don't think I could pick a favorite part, because all of it was so much fun. Soko has proved himself to be an excellent game show host and...Broadway star. Dave and Sean got some really huge laughs. Well, okay, everyone playing the game got laughs. And for those not there, I have to share this one: Lauren was asked, "If Lucas was any character in the Bible, who do you think he would be?" (and Lauren is answering based on what she thinks Lucas would say). Lauren said "Noah -- because he likes boats." It was funnier last night, I promise.

The awards came later, and when Casey was handing out the senior gifts I started getting pretty emotional. I don't want to see any of them go, and some that won't be coming back are only just finishing up their freshman year! I know there will always be new faces, but I will never forget the ones I know now. I guess one of the best parts of last night came when it was time to go -- almost mine and Casey's bedtime, actually -- and Cheese and Jeremy approached me and asked, "Can Casey come and play ping pong?" like I was the mom or something. The story here is that lately there has been this sort of doubles ping pong craze between Dave, Cheese, Jeremy and Casey. I have heard that it is quite a hilarious spectacle, but it being so late I was tempted to say, "No way, we are going home!" Then the guys pointed to Casey, who was making a sad face, and asked, "Can you really say no to that face?" I said I really couldn't, and we were off to the UCSC...after ten o'clock at night!! But all in all, it was a great time, and I am glad I didn't miss it. Jill and I chatted while watching the three games, and she was sweet enough to bring me a blanket to keep me warm while we sat on the "sidelines."

The whole evening was wonderful, from magical start to hilarious end! Click here to read Casey's "Things to remember about banquet" post.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Just for fun...

Your Linguistic Profile:

60% General American English
15% Dixie
15% Yankee
5% Midwestern

5% Upper Midwestern

Day three, look at me!

For those of you who saw me with a 16-oz. coffee-looking beverage in hand at lunch today, that was NOT coffee! I was craving a hot beverage, and so I strolled into Uptown Coffee and ordered -- tada! -- a chocolate steamer. We'll call this "Tracey's new best friend" (just kidding, Case). And I was given the complimentary chocolate-covered espresso bean, but I chose only to eat the chocolate and then promptly spit out the bean, promise I did! I woke again to the blood-vessel headache thing, but the pain has waned (ooh, nice rhyme!). Boy, that steamer was nice. No, not anything like a latte, but steamed milk with chocolate syrup is awesome!

Our college students' spring banquet is this evening...very excited about that. I am sure our hosts will have a beautiful setup for us to enjoy the festivities. This is a wonderful time of year because the students are finishing up another year, but it is also sad because it means some will be moving on to the next chapter in their lives. When Casey and I moved here and he started his work as a campus minister, we were meeting all of these great young people and couples, and then it hit me that a lot of them are only here for school and don't plan to stay.

So the question becomes, do I form close bonds with people who will be leaving soon? For me, the answer is a simple yes. What I will gain in the several years of knowing someone here will far outweigh the sadness at seeing them go. My thanks to the RFC's for your enthusiasm, kind words and caring hearts!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Day two w/out my coffee

Well, at the moment I've got a song stuck in my head that Jonny Lang performed the other night, a real hand-clapper called "I Believe", so you can imagine how hard it is to type in between all the clapping! Seriously though, I am feeling rather proud of my avoidance of the coffee. My headache eased after lunchtime, and I was doing alright. This morning I haven't felt near the same kind of pain, so hopefully it will ease off more each day. And people, there is still coffee in my house!!

Okay, I wanted to share a couple of funny stories. Before I start the first one, I have to explain that I am very easily frightened. I do not like to be scared, especially in the dark (Casey is totally aware of this, by the way), and I have a very active imagination. It usually gets the best of me -- even when I'm just trying to get across a dark room! I also have a very strange habit where I just have to have a drink of water right before I go to bed. It's like I become obsessed with my mouth being too dry. I can sometimes get past it, but the other night Casey and I had talked for a little bit and so I said, "Okay, I have to get one more drink of water." And I've done this before, but I asked him to just keep talking to me while I went to the bathroom sink to get the water. He was very helpful in this before, so why should I doubt him this time? Here is why: As I got to the sink, Casey said, "I'm your friend." (In his kindness he's still making fun of me!) And then, then he says, "And friends don't kill friends..." WHAT?!? I bolted back across the room as I said, "Why would you say that, why?" And we were both laughing hysterically, of course, even though I had just been scared out of my wits. By the way, Casey's response to my question was, "Well, friends don't kill friends!" O-kay...

Here's the other story. Last night I went to pick Casey up from Prayer & Praise, or P2, and we got to a light where you can only go left or right. We were turning right, and so we're just sitting there waiting, when Dave suddenly drives up next to us in the left-turning lane. Casey waved, and I turned to wave, but then I noticed that Dave had a green arrow so I pointed at the light. Dave did a sort of double-take and hurried through the light, but not in time to let the three or four cars behind him get through. We had a good laugh over that one. Thanks Dave!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

And the pain, it is real

Speaking of musicians I like, Sir Paul McCartney is headed out on a US tour this fall. How cool is that? Yes, he may be 63 years old, but isn't that all the more reason to try and see him in concert? I for one, am impressed. You go, Paul.

Now faithful readers, if you will remember
this post from October, I lightheartedly talked about my effort to stop drinking coffee. Or to start drinking decaffeinated coffee. Or some such nonsense. Did it happen? you ask, on the edge of your seats. That would be a big NO. If anything, I seemed to have made a resolution in the past few months to insert a Starbucks radar in my head for those long trips into town. But I have wanted more and more to cut back, or give up as much as possible, on the coffee thing. I have one cup in the morning and more often another in the evening...and, okay, sometimes a latte in the afternoon if I'm very good. So I don't guzzle the stuff, but neither do I stay away. Yesterday I did a search to see what I could see as far as some motivation to drop the habit. Here is what I found, and let me warn you that it is not for the faint-hearted-die-hard coffee drinker. You will be called an addict, and you will probably feel bad about putting any coffee in your body ever again. But it was exactly what I needed. With hardly any coffee or Coffeemate left in the house, I bravely told Casey that no, we would not pick up coffee and its Mate along with the other groceries (this was yesterday). Last night I had some cran-strawberry juice with dinner, and then some milk with dessert after dinner. And there is still coffee in the house. This morning I had juice (again with the juice!) with breakfast. I took a pain reliever for the beginnings of the fateful "caffeine headache" -- do you know what that is, by the way? Caffeine constricts your blood vessels, and so when you don't have it, the blood vessels are able to open up like normal blood vessels and that is what causes the pain. I am feeling the non-constricted blood vessel pain as I type. Where are those pain relievers?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Tales of a New Homeowner, Part II -OR- "How to waste time in Memphis without really trying"

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Casey and I, new homeowners that we are (!), learned something about ourselves as a couple (at least I think we did). But let me get the house stuff out of the way first.

This past Thursday, we sat in a conference room at a lawyer's office and were each handed a pen. It was all a flurry of papers and explanation of said papers from that point on. It is not fun looking at those HUGE numbers that we will presumably bring down to a pretty little zero by the year 2035. That's the year I turn 60. You know, the age that comes after fifty-nine. With the house papers signed and the wind in our hair and a song in our hearts, Case and I decided to celebrate our little purchase by heading over to Home Depot to promptly buy a washer and dryer. Why not? we thought. We just bought a house -- after that any purchase looks miniscule. Plus, there was a good deal. We wanted to continue with the celebrating, so while Casey picked up two orders of baby back ribs plus some chips and queso from Chili's, I drove to Kroger to find some desserty, cake-like substance but most importantly to get the biggest possible coffee from Starbucks ever. This was one of those moments where I suggested to Casey that I get 20 ounces of stimulating beverage and he said, "Okay!" You don't have to tell me twice. Venti vanilla latte in hand, I found a package of four chocolate-glazed eclairs...mmm, eclairs. We met at home and had a wonderful feast.

Now let me tell you about Saturday. We bought a couple of one-day tickets to a music festival in Memphis a while back because I saw that
Jonny Lang was on Saturday's lineup and you had better believe I was gonna be there! I've been a fan of his for about eight years and seen him live three times (two of those times he opened for Sting, and don't you know that was my ultimate concert experience!). Casey is not a fan of his voice but I was hoping he would at least enjoy it a little bit (he did end up liking the guitar and keyboard work, but still not a fan of the voice). Did I mention I have a really awesome husband?

The site for the festival never mentioned more than who would be there on what day. There was no talk of what time or order things would happen. The gates opened at 1 p.m., so I figured we had better be there when the gates opened! Probably the worst thing about these kinds of events is that it is outdoors, so the smoking is endless and just wretched. There was hardly a place to walk or stand without breathing it all in. So we arrived promptly at one-something, got through the little security line where people were actually throwing their disposable cameras away (remember this for later) as opposed to taking them back to their cars. I don't know, I guess I might do that too, but come on! We got through the ticket line and then thought we would head for the "Blues Tent". The website had mentioned different stages and where a very few would be performing, but what does that help if they don't give you times? Times, people, times!! We finally saw an information booth and Casey got a little booklet thingy, and as he walked back over to me he was mumbling like, "Oh dear" and handed it to me. It took me a second, but I found Jonny Lang's name (ah, on the "Rhythm and Rims" stage after all!) and underneath was the most horrific part of all: 9:05 p.m. What? That couldn't be right. But it was...oh, it was. And here we were -- innocent people without a clue -- and it wasn't even two o'clock yet! I told Casey we could leave, sell our tickets and go home. We certainly didn't want to hang around all the clouds of cigarette smoke and music we hadn't come to hear. It was then discovered that a re-entry hand stamp could not be given until the gates had been open for two hours. Thus commenced Project Sitting on a Curb for the Next Hour and Watching All the Interesting People Go By.

One hour later we were hand-stamped and ready to go. The final decision was to walk downtown so as not to lose our parking spot. The Peabody Place Mall was downtown, looked interesting, and neither one of us had been there. We had so much time on our hands -- we could see a movie! and eat! and get Starbucks! (That last one was mostly me.) It was a very interesting place. Case and I took a bit deciding between "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Sahara", I wanting the former and he the latter. "Sahara" won out, although at the moment I can't remember just how, but it was really enjoyable. Steve Zahn plays the same hilarious character in every movie, and while I'm not a huge fan of Matthew McConaughey or Penelope Cruz, they did alright. In fact, I am here and now officially recommending "Sahara"!

After the movie, it was on to more adventure -- I had my first slice of HUGE pizza in a mall. Sure, I've had pizza, but not the HUGE slices. That was the best crust ever. Casey and I could not stop talking about how good the pizza was, and did you taste this crust? It's unbelievable! We had also bought a slice of chocolate cheesecake (had to trade it in because the first piece had, um, fungus on it, eww). My intention for the dessert was to have it with my latte afterward, and so when Casey reached for it while we were still at the pizza place I was all, "No! We have to have it with the Starbucks!" I'm very picky that way. And although I'm sure you'd love to read an account of dessert, let me skip ahead to the festival.

We got back an hour early and began Project Worm Your Way Through the Mud and the Crowd as Close to the Front of the Stage as Possible -- Yes, I'm Still Behind You. We got pretty close, and after waiting out some "technical difficulties" we saw Jonny and his band stroll onstage. He's very casual that way, and I like that about him as a performer. No big introductions. Oh, and remember the disposable camera thing? How everyone was having to throw them away or take them back to their cars because no way was security going to let cameras in. Well, I could hardly see the stage for all the flashing of the non-existent camera flashes. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but still...how did they do that? Anyway, while the music was really, really, really good and Jonny Lang had outdone himself once again, I have to say that I don't think I would ever brave all of the festival yuckiness again, or endure driving home soooo late and having to wash the smoke out of my hair.

I would, however, spend any old afternoon hanging out at the mall with my darling Case.
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