Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A boy and his new toy

When Mike was in seventh grade, he started begging for a guitar. I managed to put him off until we got back to the States, but by the end of that first October in Kentucky he had hounded us into purchasing a beginner's acoustic, which has served him well over the years. He has been pondering an upgrade for the past several months, so today the kids and I went to Sam Ash in Orlando with my dad. Annabelle bought a tidy little stack of new sheet music, and Mike wound up with a new guitar:

It took a couple hours and much hand wringing to make the final decision, but he is very happy with his new toy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Crazy cat cousins

My parents have 2 cats: Willis and Arlo. They cannot be in the same room with each other without fighting, which means my parents spend a lot of time shuffling cats around. Because of this, we were a little nervous about introducing Harvey into this mix, but leaving him at home just wasn't an option considering his ongoing health issues. So far, so good--Willis and Arlo still can't be together, but each of them seems to enjoy having a baby in the house. Here's some video from tonight of Harvey and Arlo wrestling:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Film festival

Today was a nice lazy day, starting with banana pudding for breakfast (yum!). This afternoon we went to see Up with Jenny and Jeff. We just finished watching Stand by Me on DVD. (Blogging from my iPod Touch because I am too lazy to drag out my computer.)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

For comparison purposes

And so begins another big adventure. The kids and I dropped Fred off at Fort Benning this morning and then drove down to my parents' home in Florida. Fred will deploy to Afghanistan from Benning later next week.

Last time Fred deployed, I took pictures of him back to back with the kids both before and after to show how much they grew while he was gone:

I don't know how much more growing they're going to be doing over the next year, but here are the baseline photos for this deployment:

I'll bet you this little guy won't be so little when Fred comes home next summer!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Space saver

Rats, I knew I would forget something when we left the house this morning, and I did: I meant to upload my last few Jamaica pictures. Now that will have to wait until I get home in a couple weeks. For tonight, hi from Alabama!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Annabelle Edition

Today was a big day for Annabelle! Braces in the morning, contact lenses in the afternoon:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jamaica: I'm on a boat

For most of the vacation, I was content to sit in a lounge chair on the beach, hiding behind a book. On Saturday, however, we left the resort to take a boat ride (a.k.a. booze cruise) for the afternoon:

The kids seemed to take quite naturally to cruising around on a 65-foot yacht:

Ooh, look! A gun show:

The boat took us out to the Montego Bay Marine Park, where we spent about 45 minutes snorkeling:

Once the snorkeling was done, the bar opened up, and I discovered that rum punch is very much to my liking:

Our next stop was Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, where Fred and the kids monkeyed around on the water slide and trampolines:

They also hung out on the tubes:

I couldn't choose between these 2 shots of Fred and me, and I so rarely like any photo that I'm in that I figured I might as well post them both:

The boat ride finished up with foot massages for all the ladies, which was heavenly:

We really lucked out with the weather, as it started raining pretty hard on the ride back to the dock and the later cruise was canceled. We returned to the hotel to get cleaned up and rest for a little while and then took a shuttle back to Margaritaville for supper.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Working on my photos

I was hoping to have some more Jamaica photos for you today, as I did spend a fair bit of time working on them this evening. The hardest part was choosing the best ones, but the editing takes a while too. Maybe I'll get them posted tomorrow!

Monday, June 22, 2009

From the archives

I forgot to post this right after visiting Fred back in May because I left my camera in his car when we got to the airport, and he had to send it to me. But look! It's Three-Mile Island:

They say don't go to Three-Mile Island:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Deployment prep

Fred is busy getting ready to leave for Afghanistan. Today he spray-painted his duffel bags with his identification info to make it easier to find his bags from among the 1000+ (literally) other green bags on his flight:

Clever, no?

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Harvey's upper respiratory tract infection seems to be coming back. He did a round of antibiotics while at the wildlife rehabilitator's, and all was fine when he came home on Tuesday. Thursday night I noticed him sneezing occasionally, and last night it was impossible to miss. I googled the phrase "sneezing kitten" and spent the rest of the night in a panic over whether he was going to die from Feline Infectious Peritonitis. This morning he was still sneezing and seeming somewhat less playful, although at least he kept eating and drinking.

So our morning was spent in pursuit of antibiotics for him. He had a big starter dose early this afternoon and a regular dose this evening, and already I think he is much improved. He's definitely perkier! As I type this, he is sitting beside me playing with his tail. Getting medicine in him is NOT fun though. I think his reaction is about the most extreme of any animal I have ever had to medicate (and that includes Ginger and her eyedrops a couple of years ago).

I am going to end this post here because it is not easy to type with a kitten sitting on your chest, especially when said kitten keeps trying to attack the cursor on the computer screen:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jamaica: The early days

So, yeah, Jamaica! It really was the perfect vacation for us. The resort, which was recommended by my invisible friend Suzanne who has impeccable taste, was wonderful--not overly luxurious but quite comfortable and an absolute bargain when you consider that $4500 got us roundtrip airfare for 4 out of Louisville, 2 rooms for 5 nights, and all food and beverages, plus trip insurance (booked through Cheap Caribbean in case anybody out there is shopping for vacation packages).

We arrived at the hotel mid-afternoon on Wednesday, had lunch at the restaurant by the pool, looked around the resort, and chilled out in the room until supper, which we had in Fresh, the buffet-style restaurant that does not require reservations.

Thursday morning, we had breakfast at Fresh (this became a daily routine), met our tour company representative, and made reservations for the 3 nice restaurants on-site. Then we grabbed towels and hit the beach:

We wound up opting for lounge chairs on the beach each day that we were there. The location was perfect, as we could read our books while listening to the waves and then take a dip in the lazy river at the water park to cool off.

Thursday night we had dinner reservations at the Seaside Grill. The food was great! Afterwards we stopped inside the hotel lobby for a family picture:

How cute and trendy am I in my maxidress?

(Answer: Very cute, very trendy.)

Friday morning, the guys went SCUBA diving after breakfast while Annabelle and I took up our customary reading spots on the beach. That evening we had dinner at Three Palms on the golf course. While we waited for our meals to arrive we enjoyed the wildlife fun and took turns taking each other's pictures:

(For the record, scarves might be the hot summer accessory this year, but they are REALLY HOT!)

Coming up next: We take a boat ride and do some snorkeling.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ebony and ivory

It's not perfect harmony, but it's a start:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another day, no Jamaica pictures

I'm still struggling to get my feet back under me, so I still haven't had a chance to work with my Jamaica photos. Annabelle and I went to Louisville this morning to get the spacers for her braces, and then I spent the bulk of the afternoon sitting on the floor of my closet. OK, maybe "closet" is a reach, but it's a hallway between our bedroom and bathroom, and I sat in there on the floor to keep Harvey company while we tried to entice him to use the litterbox that he had to that point scorned. He peed once under my bed (thanks for that, cat!) and pooped in a corner of the bathroom but wanted nothing to do with the immaculate tray of kitty litter we had set out for him. As I sat there, I had a thought: the litterbox at the wildlife rehabilitator is actually a rather large doghouse. Maybe Harvey doesn't like going potty when he's feeling so . . . exposed? So Fred went up to the PX for yet another litterbox--a covered one this time--and that proved to be the ticket. Go figure.

While I was sitting there with the cat, I amused myself by taking pictures with my phone:

Video, too:

I'd like to say the Jamaica photos are coming tomorrow, but realistically that's not likely. We're going to Lexington for the day, and I'm still hard at work to meet a Saturday freelance deadline. So cross fingers for the weekend!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming

We had a fabulous time in Jamaica! While I think we were all ready to get home last night, it does seem strange not to have people wandering around offering to bring me a drink. I hope to get some pics posted soon, but you know how crazy the first day back from vacation is. We didn't get online even once while we were on vacation, so I had a ton of email waiting for me, plus I had to update Quicken to see if we had any money left for the rest of the month. Fred spent the morning and early afternoon in-processing with a break in between to go with me to pick up Ginger from the kennel. Then later on, he hit the commissary while Annabelle and I went to get Harvey and bring him home:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Closed for vacation

We leave tomorrow for 6 nights in Jamaica, and I have decided that I am just not going to commit to daily blogging while we're there. I'm sure I'll check email and Facebook every couple of days, but I don't want the stress (not to mention expense) of HAVING to get Internet every day. I will, however, take careful notes and lots of pictures and blog retroactively once we return home. If anybody needs me, I'll be here. See you next Tuesday!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Definitely a Harvey and not a Sophie

We had second thoughts today on whether the rescued kitten is a boy or girl, so we chose Sophie as our back-up name. We picked him up and took him to the vet today and confirmed that (1) he is definitely a Harvey and (2) he is negative for those nasty illnesses stray cats sometimes have. He got his first shot and came home with us to visit for a few hours.

Harvey was not interested in getting to know Ginger or Eddie and spent most of his time curled up on a willing chest or shoulder. I didn't manage to get any great pictures, but here he is on our red sofa, which will now be covered with white cat hair as well as black:

We noticed something funky about Harvey's eyes tonight. First, his left one never seems to be open quite as wide as the right one. Second, when he has his picture taken using flash, one eye glows red and the other doesn't:

After supper, we took him back over to the wildlife rehabilitator's house. She is going to watch him for me while we go on vacation so we don't have to subject him to the stress of being kenneled. Can't wait for next Tuesday when he gets to come home for good!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Phone photos

Fred arrived home safe and sound, and we're having a nice visit with his parents. Today's blog post has no particular theme, so I thought I might share some pictures from my phone.

Remember when my friend Amy sent me that really cool Crazy Frog from Korea? Well, Annabelle and I were on our way to Louisville the other day, when I noticed that the car in front of me had a Crazy Frog looking out the back window. I grabbed my phone and snapped a few shots, but they all came out looking like pictures of Big Foot. This is the best of the bad:

See him?

On Friday when the kids and I went to visit Harvey, I forgot to take my camera, so I took a couple phone pics. Isn't he adorable?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Music to travel by

When I was 5, I wanted nothing more than to grow up and marry David Cassidy. Things didn't work out that way, but I remain a fan of the Partridge Family to this day, cheesy as that may be.

Fred graduated from the War College this morning, packed up his UHaul, and headed towards Kentucky. For the past couple weeks, everybody keeps telling me, "Oh, you must be so excited," and I smile and say, "Oh, yeah," but I haven't really felt all that excited. Fred's coming home for 3 weeks and then leaving for another year. Yippee. We got screwed. This is supposed to be the end of the big separation, not the not-quite-halfway point. So, yeah, I'd have to say my bitterness has outweighed my enthusiasm.

He called me tonight to say he was stopping in Ohio though, and I felt myself starting to get excited. Ohio! That's just the next state over. He'll be here sometime tomorrow afternoon, and we'll celebrate his graduation with his parents and then leave for a family vacation to Jamaica on Wednesday.

I think the Patridge Family makes great music to travel by, so I'm dedicating this one to Fred for his drive home tomorrow:

I'm glad I'm not Mrs. Cassidy after all.

Friday, June 05, 2009


The high point of today was definitely going over to see Harvey. He's so sweet and cuddly! I can't wait to bring him home.

Other events of today included going to the doctor to figure out why I felt like I had something stuck in my throat (nothing there that shouldn't have been there, so who knows?). While I was there, the doc took a look at my injured ankle and outfitted me with another removable brace/cast that is a little sturdier than the one I bought the other day. He also gave me a cane, so now I toddle around feeling like Dr. House only without the great drugs.

Tonight I am hard at work trying to catch up on my copyediting project. You wouldn't think that a messed up ankle would interfere with a hands-only job like editing, but EVERYTHING seems to be taking longer than it should this week. I'm in pre-panic mode, as Fred and his parents arrive on Sunday, and then we have 2 days to get ready for Jamaica. There's cleaning to be done, cooking to plan and shop for, island clothing to buy . . .

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Did I sleep through summer?

Today was just nasty--high in the low 60s and rain, rain, rain. Perfect weather for staying in bed though with an ice bag on my foot and the computer on my lap. I have an editing project going, and I'm kind of behind on it. I need to really crank it out before Fred and his parents arrive on Sunday and we take off for Jamaica on Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Getting by

My ankle continues to frustrate me. It is rather lumpy and
purple today and still resents being made to carry more than the bare minimum of weight. I have 2 office chairs, one upstairs and one down, and I use them for scooting around the house. Annabelle and I went to Louisville today though, and I bought a brace at a medical supply shop, and that seems to help.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Have a RICE day

RICE, as in Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It's the story of my life today.

When I took the dog out first thing this morning, I stepped in a pothole and twisted my ankle in a big way. Fortunately I had my cell phone on me, so I was able to call Mike and have him come down and pick me up. He also took me to the ER, where 6 xrays later it was determined that I have a sprain. They wrapped it up for me and sent me on my way with crutches, which I am HOPELESS at using.

While I was waiting for the final diagnosis at the hospital, I used my phone to take some pictures. Here's my injured foot--see the lump on the outer left side?

My ankle definitely got the worst of it, but I also walloped my right knee and shoulder pretty good. I must have hit my head as well, because my glasses wound up looking like this:

Monday, June 01, 2009

The kids and I went to visit Harvey (still discussing names, but that one has a lot of potential) this morning. He looks SO much better--his eyes, his ears, everything! In fact, now that we can actually see his eyes, I think they look more green than blue:

We can't wait to bring him home!