Friday, July 31, 2009

Energy burst

Wow, I don't know what got into me today, but I got so much done! In fact, if this were a one-story house, it would be all clean right now. Maybe I'll have another burst of energy tomorrow and tackle the upstairs.

Besides cleaning, I also took Mike to get his senior picture made (here's hoping they can airbrush out the small gash he got on his forehead last night) and took Annabelle to run a few back-to-school errands.

Speaking of school, can you believe they start back up on Monday? Where did July go? I'm not finished with it yet!

Last night we went for the open house at the new high school (as in so brand new there are still workers throughout). Mike is feeling all sentimental towards the old school, but the new school is beeyooteefull, and the old school was pretty much a pit. Color me shallow, but my whole mood is brighter in those wide, cheerful hallways.

I guess I never took any pictures of the old place, but here are a couple of random ones I found on the web, just to give you an idea:

In April 2008 we had a groundbreaking:

And now we have this:

I'd call that progress.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Graduation pics

One of Fred's professors from last year sent out some graduation photos yesterday, and there were a couple of really nice ones of Fred. Here he is getting his diploma:

And walking away with a smile on his face:

Way to go, Fred!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's a bird! It's a plane!

It really IS an airplane, Pilates-style at any rate. Remember back in May when I posted about this wicked new move that Annabelle and I had learned in class? Well, we've never done it since then, but because today was Annabelle's last regularly scheduled class (school begins on Monday), she got to call most of the shots for this class, and she wanted to go out on an airplane.

I could really see what 2 months of Pilates training has done for her in that her airplane is starting to look pretty good (sorry for the horrible quality; I recorded that on my phone):

My airplane on the other hand is still more of a plane crash than anything else. Fortunately no video exists of that. Oh, the humanity!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Today was the first day in a long time that I haven't had any pressing obligations outside the house. Sure, I had to go to the commissary for a few things (like the pineapple juice I am getting ready to mix with a little Malibu rum), but that didn't take long. The rest of the day was free and clear, mine to do with as I pleased.

So you might think that it pleased me to clean up the house a bit or get some work done (I have an indexing project and editing project running concurrently). You would be wrong.

I DID do a little reorganizing of the file drawer in my desk. I am replacing the hand-written tab inserts with neatly typed ones and purging a lot of the junk that tends to build up in those files. And I took a nap, which counts as "me" time. And I played Bejeweled on Facebook. Lots and lots and lots of Bejeweled. I think I need an intervention.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Concert pics

As you can see, I was still relatively perky when Lee Ann Womack (I think you can barely see her up there on the stage) came on:

By the time Brooks & Dunn came on, however, I was ready to call it a night:

Somewhere between the 2 photos, I did this to my leg. (Don't click if you don't wanna see a really big bruise!) I also saw one woman puke (well before the first act even started), another flash her boobs (to the dude in the next concession stand!), and a fist fight between a concession worker and a guest who desperately deserved a good punching.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Night vision

The concert last night was way less painful than I had anticipated. I did wind up wearing ear protectors for the last hour or so, but the rain held off and the heat wasn't too bad. I hope to have a couple pictures to share in a few days, but they are currently trapped on my cell phone and a friend's cell phone. So instead I give you random webcam photos of Harvey!

Harvey loves to get all snuggly late at night, which is generally when I am lying beneath my laptop. I got the idea one night to use the webcam to capture candid shots of him. Of course, because it is generally dark, they're not very good, but I think his sweetness shines through.

I took this one on June 20, when he was chasing the cursor around the computer screen:

On July 16, he lay beside me on his back for a good 20 minutes watching Breaking Bad with me:

Then he got bored and played around on my pillow:

During the day of July 21, he sacked out across me for a catnap:

Ginger joined us at the same time for a dognap:

Here's another cute one from the night of July 24:

The lack of lighting in this one just kills me:

See that big, black void that Harvey is snuggled up with? That's Eddie!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Can't resist a practical joke!

Yesterday afternoon, Mike was following me in through the back gate to post. When I stopped for the security checkpoint, I said to the guard who was checking my ID: "Hey, wanna have a little fun? See that kid in the car behind me? That's my son. Why don't you say something to make him poop his pants just a little bit? I don't know, tell him the car has been reported stolen and you're calling the MPs or something."

Annabelle was in the backseat shrieking as we drove away: "Mom, that is the meanest thing I have ever seen!" I laughed like an idiot all the way home.

Mike was laughing as well when he got home. He said he THOUGHT it was something I had set up (the guard asked whose car he was driving and said that it matched the description of a stolen vehicle), but just in case it was legitimate he had better play along. He also said that the guard got a good laugh out of the whole thing.

Think of me tonight. I will be working concessions at the Brooks & Dunn concert as a fundraiser for the swim boosters. We better make a buttload of money, as I would gladly write a check for $100 right now to buy my way out of this. I have no opinion on Brooks & Dunn, having never heard their music (Lee Ann Womack will be there too--couldn't pick her out of a line up), but I'm not a fan of concerts or of crowds in general and I'm REALLY not a fan of standing on my feet and sweating for 10 hours. Fortunately I'll be working with a lot of my friends, so we can be miserable together.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Armistice Day!

As my long-time readers know, a serious feud has been brewing down the street. In a series of escalating atrocities (4 separate links--feel free to visit them all), these 2 households have managed to turn the neighborhood upside down, despite periodic times of peace.

Tonight we marked the end of an era with a "cessation of hostilities BBQ" in the "neutral territory" between the 2 houses:

Here are some scenes of the evening's frivolities:


With the retirement of the Marines and the leaving of the Canadians, I think I can safely speak for the entire Clarke housing area when I say . . . "There goes the neighborhood!"

We're gonna miss you guys!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back to school . . . but how much school?

That is the question.

I registered for the fall semester at FSU today to continue working on my Master's of Library Science, a project that I took a little break from for the spring semester. I wound up registering for 3, figuring that I should grab a selection while the grabbing was good and then drop what I don't want. Now I'm wondering if I should keep them all.

I have 5 classes left to go, including 2 "core" courses. One of the classes I picked today is LIS 5271 (Research in Information Studies), which "examines the principles and methods of systems analysis and research in the context of library and information studies. Considers problem identification and definition and techniques of data collection and analysis, including statistical analysis. The course also discusses typical problems studied." I don't know that it really lights my fire, but it's a core course and I was able to get into it, so it's staying on the schedule. So that's where I'll be on Wednesday nights from 8 to 10.

That leaves Monday and Tuesday nights to worry with. On Monday from 8 to 10, I currently have LIS 5008 (Advanced Online Searching), which "presents the latest tools, resources, and techniques of searching online database systems (such as DialogWeb & LexisNexis) and various Web search tools (such as search engines, directories, & meta-search tools), and of delivering search results for clients." Yum!

And on Tuesday from 6 to 8 (meaning Mike will have to pick Annabelle up from dance class), I've got LIS 5362 (Design & Production of Network Multimedia): "Examines theory, concepts and techniques for designing, producing, and evaluating network multimedia resources to meet specific information needs. Students engage in collaborative design projects applying theoretical constructs from communication, education, engineering, graphic design and information science to the provision of resources using emerging multimedia network technologies." Again, yum!

So, as I was saying, my original plan was to definitely keep the core course and maybe one of the electives. But now I'm wondering if I would be insane to keep all 3. On the plus side, if I do all 3, I will need just one more core course and one more elective, and I will be done, done, DONE! That falls in line with my original plan of graduating the same time Mike finishes high school so that we're not handling college tuition for more than one person at a time.

On the other hand, THREE classes? I've never taken more than 2. Will the enthusiasm that I feel today carry me all the way through until December, or am I just a little bit manic at the thought of fresh school supplies?

Feel free to tell me what to do.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Somewhere along the way, we got into the habit of having supper freakishly late, like 7:30 or even later. Today, however, we were FINISHED with supper by 5:00 and for that, I would like a sticker please. (Our earliness was really a function of lateness though, as Annabelle and I were at the Pilates studio until there really wasn't time to have lunch and then want any supper. So we skipped lunch and accelerated supper.)

Ever since we got home from Florida, I have been staying up way too late. It's not unusual for me to push the laptop away and go to sleep at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. I'm sure that my tendency to lie in bed catching up on Breaking Bad (my new guilty pleasure) doesn't help matters. Thanks to tonight's unbelievably early supper, however, I am way ahead of schedule. Annabelle and I walked the dog together, and I just took a shower and finished the editing work that I set out to do today. I'm thinking at this rate, I can finish the rest of season 2 and still be asleep by midnight, a definite improvement for me.

Edited to add: Ha, 10:47 and I have finished Season 2! Now if I can keep from getting sucked in to playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, I just might fall asleep before midnight.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bonus post

This morning I updated my Facebook status for Mike's birthday, and my friend Beth left the following comment: "I still remember reading your birth story in the paper that came with my diaper delivery before I even met you. FUNNY!" I had a couple pieces published in that paper, but I haven't thought about them in years.

I decided to dig out the one that Beth referred to and scan it to share here. (For heaven sake, save your eyes--click to make it bigger and therefore legible!)

Happy birthday, Mike!

Wow, it's hard to believe we've been in the parenting business for 17 years! Somebody wiser than I once said that the days drag, but the years fly.

Here are some of Mike's first photos, taken when he was only a couple hours old. As you can see, Fred and I were teen parents:

Here he is at 2 months doing his impersonation of a Cabbage Patch Kid:

He's lifeguarding at the waterpark today, working on his tan. Tonight we're going to take a couple of his friends and go to Jailhouse Pizza in Brandenburg.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekend report

I would like to know who canceled summer! The past couple of days have been freakishly cool, which I'm sure sounds lovely to my readers in Florida, but I lived through that hell that was the ice storm last winter and I do not want to miss a single warm minute, thank you very much.

Today Fred and I figured out how to use our webcams and AIM to talk to each other, which was pretty cool. I got to have a little tour of his room. I even brought Ginger into the chat, although it seemed to confuse her a bit. She tried to look behind the screen to find him!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Return to Oz

Dropping out of Wizard of Oz was probably the toughest decision Annabelle has ever had to make. Our lives have been unbelievably crazy this summer though and theater is a huge commitment, so I think it was for the best. We are playing the part of audience members this summer in a big way. We went last Saturday night, and we went again tonight, this time taking her friend Janelle along, and we'll be going tomorrow to watch closing night.

It's a really great show! It amazes me to see how much kids from last year's production have matured. I love the costumes and all the special effects--the tornado, the light-up rainbow, etc.--and the dog who plays Toto is cute as can be. Ginger looks like a Toto, but no way does she have the discipline to go on stage.

Both nights we've gone, we have gone out after the show with the cast and even though I HATE driving home from E'town at midnight, it just melts my heart to see how happy Annabelle is with her people. They truly are her tribe! You can read her thoughts on the matter here.

Youth Theatre of Hardin County is more than just a fun group of talented people; they are a family, and they have welcomed us as one of their own.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My dad: out standing in his field

When I was a kid and Jenny was just a tiny baby, our parents set out to corner the turnip market. I guess the turnip bubble burst and our millions were lost. We got to keep the plow though:

*My dad gets all the credit for the cool composite photo.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Returning to normal

The last few days have been crazy, but things are slowly getting back to their normal abnormal state. Annabelle and I started back to Pilates today after more than a month of being away from it (between my ankle and all that traveling, it just got pushed aside). It felt amazing as always, but when I got home I needed a nap in the worst way. We both agree that we feel taller and can't wait to go back again on Friday.

This morning I did a huge purge of our fridge and pantry. The downside to living in one place for 4 years now (yikes!) is all the junk that accumulates. We should have purged and moved twice by now, which would have naturally led to getting rid of those strange odds and ends. I tossed out candy that I bought in Germany in 2006!

Ginger came home from the kennel today. Her original reservation was through today, and I just couldn't face bringing her home in the midst of all the insanity around getting Harvey settled, etc. She was thrilled to be home but not so thrilled to see that Harvey is still around. He hisses at here and arches his back like the world's least-scarey Halloween cat, but she is terrified. She seems to think that if she doesn't look at him, he can't see her, so she spends a lot of time averting her eyes. I hope that they can become friends, because Ginger really is Harvey's best shot at a playmate. Eddie isn't aggressive, but he is NOT interested in playing either.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two random deployment thoughts

1. I don't like the time difference. When we were in Germany and Fred was in Iraq, we were off by 2 or 3 hours. Now the time difference is 8-and-a-half hours. We're almost on opposite days! And, I'm sorry, but 8-and-a-half is just a stupid time difference.

2. I wonder how long it will take me to stop thinking, "Oh, Fred's here!" every time I see the Blazer and start thinking, "Oh, Mike's here!"

Monday, July 13, 2009


Remember back in April when I posted the picture of our friend who had a brain tumor dancing with his daughter at prom? Well, he died on Thursday, which prompted our early return from Florida. Yesterday was the visitation at the funeral home, and today was the memorial, followed by mass and a ceremony at the cemetery.

Everything was lovely as far as those things go. The memorial was especially moving, a joyous celebration of Mark's life, just as he wanted. His family put together a wonderful slideshow of pictures, and somebody read aloud beautiful letters written by his wife and kids. One of the speakers told a story about Mark that I had also read about in a note that a friend posted to their online guestbook:

He loved his family more than anything else, and he talked about you and the kids nonstop. I remember I noticed a sticky note on his desk one day. It said in all caps, "CALL HOME NOW!" Months passed, and that sticky note remained there. One day I asked him what that was all about. He said that is was a permanent reminder to call the family because in the middle of the workday, it's important to have a reminder for what matters the most.

I didn't know Mark very well, but Mike is close friends with his sons and considers their family to be his home away from home. He always comes home laughing about something funny that Mark said or did. Last Monday, Mike left the following note on their guestbook:

Hello Eastman family!

Hello from Florida! Just signing in to wish you all the best, and I hope that everything is going okay. I have a somewhat random story that you all may appreciate.

I bought a new acoustic guitar the other day, and one of my friends asked me what I was going to name it. I thought it was kind of silly to name a guitar, but I started thinking on it. As I was driving home from Orlando this evening, I started humming the tune to "Sherri" by Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons and knew that I had found my name.

That song reminds me of Mr. Eastman every time that I hear it. I remember when he would drive Mark and I to a show, we would always listen to his iPod, and would sing along to the Jersey Boys soundtrack (of course Mr. Eastman was the loudest;).

I remember he would always talk to Mark and I about how to make it big into the music business; writing a thousand songs using the same three chords like the Four Seasons and the Beatles did. These pep speeches were always really inspiring to me and left me feeling ready to conquer the world.

Essentially, these talks were all about following our dreams and living every day to the fullest, something that Mr. Eastman was always a pro at. So I am hereby naming the guitar Sherri, and I hope to use it to follow my dreams and use for what I love, just as he would.

I just want to say thank you to Mr. Eastman and his wonderful family for teaching me to live for what I love. This message was probably super awkward and long, but I just want you all to know that you have made an impact on me.

I love my second family and I can't wait to see you all again:)!

Mike Taylor

I think that follow your dreams, live for what you love, and call home now are excellent words to live by.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cat report

Harvey and Eddie are not getting along quite as wonderfully as Harvey and my parents' cats did. Whereas Willis and Arlo were always up for a game of tag or a feisty round of ear- and neck-chewing, Eddie just hisses occasionally and runs away. That doesn't stop Harvey from trying to start something up though. I hope things get better, but I'm starting to think Ginger (who is still in the kennel from our vacation) might be Harvey's best chance for a playmate. Of course, last time they saw each other, she was scared of him, and he has only gotten bigger and rougher, so who knows how that will go?

I still think Harvey is perfectly adorable, except between 5 and 6 every morning, when I think he is a perfect pain. That seems to be his chosen time for waking me up by chewing on my hair or playing with my eyelashes. This morning I got up, stuffed him in the Sherpa bag, and shut the bag in the bathroom so I could get another couple hours of sleep.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic

I have got a couple of really rough days coming up--crazy busy days full of emotional stress and work deadlines. So I spent today shopping for a tower for Harvey:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oh, Auntie Em!

Sorry I forgot about blogging last night. I didn't actually forget. It's just that by the time I remembered, I was already in bed in my in-laws' house and couldn't get a signal on my cell phone. I was feeling too lazy to go back upstairs and use the computer, so I blew it off.

One nice thing about cutting the trip unexpectedly short was that I usually spend my last couple of days in Florida whining about how much I'm dreading the drive back up. Leaving early spared me (and everyone around me) that special joy. And the drive turned out to be fairly OK as far as 800+ mile trips go. Mostly we listened to Life of Pi on CD.

I have so much to get done this weekend, but tonight I am being a complete slug. I am going to sit here in bed and try to get caught up on my email and maybe watch some TV.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Heading home

Ugh, this is the part of the trip I always dread--getting ready for the drive home. We had our last Belly Busters for supper and watched Benjamin Button, but now it's time to start packing up. Our time in Florida always goes by much too fast!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

In search of the fountain of youth

We met up with my grandparents, great-aunt, and aunt this morning at DeLeon Springs for breakfast at the Sugar Mill:

Most ate pancakes:

And Mike learned how to fry an egg:


I got an email from Fred this morning reporting that he has arrived safely in Afghanistan. No real details other than apparently his office and living quarters are pretty sweet.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A day of food

Oh, my, I am STUFFED! I began the day with a bowl of banana pudding for breakfast. My mom makes epic banana pudding from my Grandma Jernigan's recipe (except that Mom makes 3 cups of sauce and uses an entire box of cookies):

Then we went to visit my grandparents, my aunt, and my great-aunt and stayed for lunch: cheese lasagna for me! There's a nice woman who works in the cafeteria whom we have dubbed "the compliment lady," because invariably one--and only one--member of our party will get a sweet compliment from her. Jenny and I compete somewhat shamelessly to be the one to snag the compliment, but today's winner was my mom for her hair. I think next time I shall wear the hat I wore to Derby--that is sure to win some sort of remark!

Tonight we met up with Jeff and my friend Dez for supper at a Thai restaurant (garlic pork) followed by a visit to the Dessert Lady (sour cream apple cobbler).

I'm positively stuffed and would like to say I'm never eating again. In less than 12 hours, however, I'll be back in action, scarfing down pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill at Deleon Springs. Sigh . . . it's a tough life.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

No kitten pictures tonight!

We got an email from Fred today letting us know that after 40 hours of travel, he had made it safely to Kuwait. I'll keep you posted as he progresses to Afghanistan!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Cat potato

We gave Harvey a chair today to make his TV watching more comfortable, and he spent a good 20 minutes glued to Animal Planet:


Last night, he fell asleep on my cell phone:

Happy July 4th! Maybe one day soon I'll have something non-cat-related to post!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Friday facts

  • Fred is on his way to Afghanistan by way of Kuwait.

  • Annabelle is sleeping over with Karen.

  • Mike and I are going with Jenny and Jeff to watch The Hangover.

  • Harvey likes to watch Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet:

  • Harvey-watches-Meerkat-Mano

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    Cat of a different color

    We are continuing to revel in cat harmony. Never expected Willis to be caught snoozing so peacefully next to another cat:

    And Arlo plays especially well with the baby, sometimes taking on bath duty:

    Wednesday, July 01, 2009


    Today was a nice, low-key day of hanging out around the house. My grandparents came over for a visit and lunch, and of course, there was a lot of playing with the kitten:

    Right now the kids, my mom, and I are watching back-to-back specials about parasites on Animal Planet. High ick factor, but quite interesting!