Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random Dozen Easter version

1. How do you feel about the marshmallow Easter Peeps?  I don't like them at all.  I remember being flabbergasted a few years ago to find that my mother absolutely loved them -- she didn't strike me as a "Peeps" kind of gal (actually, I'm not sure what a "Peeps" kind of gal would be, but it sounded good, right?)

2. Chickens are notoriously nervous creatures. When you are nervous, what is the best way to calm down? I need some kind of physical rhythm when I am nervous. For instance, in the dentist's chair I slowly move my feet in some kind of regular rhythm. If I'm nervous before a performance, I pace back and forth, breathing as deeply and rhythmically as possible.

3. People say, "April showers bring May flowers." Do you enjoy Spring rains? Yes -- I love both the soft rains and the torrential rains.

4. When I was randomly flipping through TV channels this week, I saw a show in which tattoo parlor employees received tattoos of a co-worker's face on their bodies. I can't imagine having a portrait of a colleague tattooed on me. But if someone forced you to receive a portrait tattoo (face only) of anyone, who would it be? Why? I cannot wrap my head around that, even as a hypothetical concept. What a horrendous idea!

5. Would you rather have a tattoo (any kind) or a nose ring? Neither, please.  Yuk to both.

6. Do you have any special plans for Easter? None as of now. But in our family, you never know . . .

7. Cadbury Eggs or Reese Eggs? Neither. Dove Dark Chocolate, please.

8. What was the last thing/person you took a picture of? Camera is on the fritz, so I've no clue.

9. What book are you reading now, or what was the last one? "Full Dark House" -- a mystery by Christopher Fowler. This is the first in a series, so if I like it, I'll go on to read the rest.
10. What do you think is the most difficult task when it comes to Spring cleaning? Getting behind and underneath the furniture. I truly hate having to pull everything out of its usual position, get the hand vac attached to the long hose, and then get the dust bunnies from around the baseboards and underneath where the furniture usually sits.

11. How many pairs of flip-flops do you own? About 7 or 8, I think. Some are leather, others are more sporty.

12. Which color makes you happiest? I have no idea if there is a color that makes me happy. I guess it depends on the circumstances -- whether it's decor or clothing, for instance. I like things that look well together, in any case.

Thanks to Lid at 2nd Cup of Coffee for hosting the weekly Random!

- Catherine

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The purple face

The purple face didn't happen! I have to say that I am astonished and that I am also thanking God for the mercy shown to me and the healing that is taking place already (the wound started itching this afternoon).

 Many, many people prayed for me.  I confess that I was so completely trying to control my emotions during the crisis that I did not cry out to God (yes, I know I should have done otherwise). But my church's prayer chain went into action on my behalf within 20 minutes of the injury, and I do believe that prayer really helped.

I should have had an obviously bruised face today. Black eyes, bruised jaw bone, etc.

But I don't!

Our church hosted a youth retreat this weekend and I was scheduled to play with the worship team Friday night and Saturday morning.  No way I could get there last night (Friday night), what with that lovely mummy bandage and all. And I was bummed.

I woke up this morning feeling reluctant to look in the mirror. I expected the worst. I was amazed. After steaming off the mummy bandage in the shower (in order to get the dried blood unstuck), I saw only the sutures and one teeny bruise at the exact spot where my jaw first impacted the floor. 

That's it.

It doesn't get any better than that, believe me!

I went down to church and played with the worship team for the youth's morning service.

And I've been fine all day!

Thanks be to our God and Father for all His mercies. He has a purpose, and I am grateful.

Thanks, also, to all of you who prayed for me. It was an awesome experience!

- Catherine

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Friday was not my favorite

I haven't planted my face on a hard surface since I was a kid. So it was shock to find myself communing up close and personal with the unforgiving floor of the racquetball court today.

I lay still for several seconds, trying to figure out whether I'd broken my nose or anything else. Then I felt the blood dripping onto the floor. A rather large puddle of perfectly red blood. Nice shade -- the color really "popped" against the light wood of the court floor.

Nice to know I'm healthy and can still see a good color match when it's presented to me.

Anyhoo . . . back to my injury.

At the time I careened off the wall and smacked the floor, my fellow players made a few jokes. Eventually they realized that maybe I needed help. By this time I had my wits about me again and realized that sitting up would put a whole lot of blood on my clothing, so I lay there until Sue returned with a towel.  I held the fabric to my face, putting pressure on my nose, thinking that was where the blood was coming from.

Well, it was coming from my nose. Somewhat.

But worse, and what I didn't know right then, was the gash under my chin. With blood still leaking from under the towel, Sue finally asked to see my chin. "Stitches," she said.


Stitches it would be then.

Rhonda drove me to the Urgent Care after collecting my daughter, Abbi (#4), from the training room upstairs in the health club.

I was taken right in and I was doing okay with the whole thing until the doctor mentioned that he could see the bone through the gash. THAT freaked me out and I asked for Rhonda and Abbi to come in and hang out with me (ever the maternal sort, I first checked with my daughter to be sure she'd be okay seeing her mother being stitched up).

The doctor numbed my chin with several little shots of local anesthesia, cleaned the wound deeply, and then began the stitching. Two internal stitches and, ultimately, 6 external stitches.  Feeling the tug of my skin as he stitched was somewhat uncomfortable, but I had only one moment of true pain - and even that wasn't all that awful.

He sent me on my way with a tetanus shot, clean x-rays of the jaw bone, a large bandaid over the stitches, and instructions for care through the coming seven days,. An hour later I was back, though -- the wound had suddenly bled through the bandaid and was dripping. Off came the first bandaid and on went the mummy bandage -- the one that is a wad of gauze taped from ear to ear so it will stay on and give the wound some pressure for a few hours.

Hence my daughter's new nickname for me: Mommy Mummy.

I am supposed to have a purple face by tomorrow. I can hardly wait.

- Catherine

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Random Dozen - Spring Water version

Today's Random Dozen is hosted by SouthLakes Mom over at "I Didn't Know That." Lid, our usual hostess, is assisting a friend who is in the hospital. If you wish to play along, you can link your own blog post over at I Didn't Know That.

Thanks, SouthLakes Mom!

1. What is your favorite sign of Spring? The unmistakable hint of warmth in the morning air. The thermometer may be registering in the 30s, but there is no getting away from the difference in how the air feels. Spring mornings are somehow softer than those of winter, even at comparable temps.

2. Did you remember to spring forward on March 14? If not, how did it impact your day? I did remember. And it’s still impacting my day(s) anyway! As I’ve grown older, I find this spring time change to be a very difficult adjustment – usually two or three weeks to get my body to change its internal clock.

3. If soil, time, talent and climate were no problem, what vegetable would you plant in a garden this year? Brussel sprouts. I love fresh Brussel sprouts (but not the yukky frozen kind).

4. If soil, time, talent and climate were no problem, what fruit would you plant? Peaches. There is nothing better than fresh peaches from your own tree – especially when you’ve carefully frozen them and are having them on your pancakes in the middle of January.

5. What is your least favorite insect? All of them.

6. March 22 was World Water Day. To celebrate, here are some water questions. Do you drink bottled water? If so, what brand? We have a Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration system under the kitchen sink, so we drink our own filtered water, for the most part. When I’m on the road and need decent tasting water, I reach for Dasani, usually.

7. Have you ever been somewhere that it was not safe to drink the local water? If so, how did you handle that? Well, when Hurricane Hugo hit New Jersey in the late 90s, our town's drinking water got screwed up for a while. I boiled a lot and drank a lot of bottled water for a few days.

8. How many glasses of water do you drink per day? Three? Not sure.

9. March 24 is the birthday of Harry Houdini. Have you ever watched a professional magic show? Share. Yes, at our local dinner theatre. The magician took my wedding ring, immediately made it disappear and then made it reappear later in the show. I still don’t know how he did it. And yes, I was a little worried.

10. Have you ever been a participant in a professional magic show (up on stage!)? Not on stage.

11. March 24 is also the birthday of Steve McQueen and Clyde Barrow. Do you like Westerns or gangster movies? If so, what is your favorite? I don’t enjoy either genre, I’m afraid.

12. (Really random) What U.S. state that you've never visited would you like to visit someday? Hawaii! Please! Now!!!

- Catherine

Monday, March 22, 2010

My friend's fight for her life

As I note on the sidebar of my blog page, I am tracking along with a young friend fighting breast cancer. Lani lives in Nashville, so I do not have the opportunity to participate in person in her life. She is in her mid-30s, with three children, a husband, and a vibrant career as a mathematics education professor. She has generously shared with her friends the feelings, the treatment, the hardships and even the joys of her journey through cancer. At this point in time, she is facing her surgery after a preliminary round of chemo.

Today, I refer you to a guest blog post she wrote about parenting through treatment.

Her own blog is at -- a place where she focuses her energies to help others with cancer.

I'm privileged to count myself among her friends and to track her in prayer daily.

I love you, Lani, and am still standing with you every day. You go, girl!

- Catherine

Friday, March 19, 2010

Slacker blogger yet again

I have been a slacker yet again. My last post was just a few lines of update, and that's about all I have for today, too.

It's been a busy week in our household. I'm starting into the time of year when my work schedule is heaviest and there are many balls to juggle in the air.

One of the dear ladies of our church went home to be with her Lord unexpectedly and we had a funeral luncheon to prepare yesterday. As always, we're glad she's gone home to Paradise, but we sure will miss her here.

I've been savoring the time to talk and talk and talk with my daughter (#4, that is). It's wonderful to have her here and to be together again, even if just for a little while. She leaves for New Jersey, where her father lives, on March 30, but she'll be back with us for the month of June and part of July again. After that... well, we'll see....

#7 has gone on a much-anticipated Spring Break trip to the Midwest with his mother and stepdad. Not only will he visit with family while out there, but he'll be playing with his school basketball team in the national championships in Indianapolis! To say that he is excited about this trip would be an understatement. His team won two regional tournaments this winter and their hard work during the season earned them a berth in the nationals. Go Royals!

Have a great weekend!

- Catherine

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

#4 is home

Wa-hoo!!!  #4 -- daughter Abbi -- is home for the next two weeks.

I haven't seen her since last August.

So I am a very, very, VERY happy camper!

Pictures to come!

- Catherine

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How r u feeling?

#7 has a stomach virus and was up quite a lot in the middle of the night... doing what, um, stomach/intestinal viruses (viri?) make you do.

Poor kid.  He seems a little better today -- at least the ginger ale is staying down.

But that's not really what this post is about. It's about text messaging. Yep, I'm starting this post with a stomach virus and ending up with text messaging.  Are you having trouble following me?

I'm not surprised.

I was up in the middle of the night, too, and I'm not making much sense to myself this morning.

But what made me laugh today is the fact that #7 and I text message each other when we're both in the house or building.  Even in the same room sometimes!

This morning we let #7 sleep in quite a long time, given the night he'd had and not being sure how he would be feeling when he woke up.  Tim and I had breakfast and then the message alert sounded on my cell phone.  It was from #7, upstairs in his bedroom. "Where r u guys?" it said.

"In the kitchen. How r u feeling?" was my reply.


And then we heard him clumping down the stairs to the main floor.

I suppose I should think it's sad what the world is coming to, but actually I think it is funny as all get out.

Text messaging has saved me a lot of time and effort as a parent, when you come right down to it.  No more marching up and downs stairs or wandering from room to room in an effort to find someone.  No more screaming someone's name at the top of my lungs when my search fails.

For example: on Sunday mornings, Tim and I arrive at church pretty early because we have responsibilities to see to before the service starts.  Of course #7 is with us, hanging around with his friends as they trickle in before worship.  Our requirement for #7 is that he has to be in the sanctuary for worship -- even if the other kids don't come in (sadly, that happens with some of the older teens).

Sometimes I have to text message him a reminder from behind the keyboard (before I start playing, of course -- I'm not quite THAT talented).  Beats having to get out from behind the keyboard and go fetch him myself, or, worse yet, make grotesque, charade-like motions to his dad to get HIM to go and fetch #7.

By the way, the stock answer to my text reminder that worship is starting is a possibly withering "I know."

I don't care.

I like text messaging my kid.

Happy Saturday!  I've got mega cleaning and laundry to do today.

- Catherine

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blue cheese pork chops

Okay, this is the dish that my stepson served to us about a month ago. I finally had a chance to make it for myself (and tweak it a little, of course). I have to say, it is incredible.... and easy. 

2 Tbsp. butter
4 thick cut pork chops
1/2 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 cup riesling or white wine of your choice

1 cup whipping cream
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Season pork chops with pepper.

Heat large skillet over medium heat.  When heated, melt butter in the pan.  When the butter foam has decreased somewhat, place chops in pan, spread with minced garlic, add wine, and fry (uncovered) until chops are done and juices run clear -- about 20-25 minutes.  Do not overcook. Turn chops once half-way through in order to cook evenly.

Remove chops to plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Stir the whipping cream into the skillet, loosening any brown bits as you stir. Add the blue cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens -- about 5 minutes (on medium heat).  Pour sauce over warm chops.

If you like blue cheese, you may wish to increase the amount used. It's the combination of flavors that makes the dish, though.

I served this with baked potatoes, spooning sauce over the potatoes -- delicious!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Random Dozen -- the Wednesday meme

It's been a few weeks since I played the Random Dozen. I'm glad to be back.

Thanks, as always, to Lid at 2nd Cup of Coffee for hosting this weekly meme.  If you want to play along, you can link your post over at Lid's blog using the Mr. Linky thing-y at the end of her post.

And now, the drum roll please.......

1. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet? I have a pair of sandals that are about 8 years old. I think that’s the oldest at the moment.

2. Did you buy Girl Scout cookies this year? If so, what variety? No way. I can’t stop eating them when I buy them – so I don’t buy them. Sad.

3. Do you know how to ballroom dance? If not, would you like to? I’ve taken a few classes in years past and loved it. But my husband can’t dance with me because he has only one arm, so I gave it up.

4. Were you a responsible child/teenager? Yes. I was the second of two children but I acted much more like the stereotypical elder child than my brother did.

5. How many of this year's Oscar-nominated movies did you see? Was the Blind Side nominated? I saw that one.

6. If you're going to have a medical procedure done, such as having blood drawn, is it easier for you to watch someone else having the procedure done or have it done yourself? I cannot watch them stick the needle into anyone, but I can more easily watch the actual blood draw on someone else than I can on myself. Especially if it’s one of my kids – once the technician gets the needle in, I can watch just fine.

7. What is your favorite day of the week and why? Sunday is our Sabbath and we try to make Sunday afternoon a time of relaxation.

8. Do you miss anyone right now? I miss my mother every day in a hundred ways.

9. Do hospitals make you queasy? No, although I wouldn’t want to watch surgery or anything like that.

10. At which store would you like to max-out your credit card. Not that you ever would, you responsible person, you. Oh my. There are many. But probably anywhere that has a good inventory of Jones New York clothing (which always fits me well and lasts a long time).

11. Are you true to the brand names of products/items? Only if I think the brand really is better than others.

12. Which is more difficult: looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when he/she is telling you how he/she feels? For me, I'd say that both circumstances are the same. I don't have difficulty with either.

Happy Wednesday!

- Catherine

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Deprived of Vitamin D

Hmmm.... it seems Mother Nature didn't take my February 25th warning to heart.

So, on this gray and snowy day, let me be succinct:   Listen, lady. It's March. Get over yourself.

- Catherine

Monday, March 8, 2010

Return from San Antonio

We are home from San Antonio. Do I have pictures? Not a one, I'm afraid.  The battery charger for my point and shoot camera is still MIA, and the camera is out of juice.  Very frustrating, because there were many photographs I could have taken.

First: warmth and sunshine. It did us a world of good to be able to walk around outside, no jacket, soaking up the vitamin D.

Second: a reunion with a childhood friend whom I haven't seen since 1973(!). I loved getting to know her again, getting to meet her husband, and just spending time with her. Sometimes you meet up with people from your past and you quickly realize that you no longer have anything in common.  Sometimes you meet up with people from your past and you fall very easily into relationship again.  This was one of those latter situations, and it was very lovely.

Third: we got to see the Broadway touring production of the musical South Pacific. It was wonderful! I've seen the two movie productions that were made over the years (Mitzi Gaynor in the 1950s movie version and Glenn Close's recent TV production).  Neither holds a candle to the actual stage show. This was the first time that the relationship between Nellie Forbush and Emil De Becque made sense to me -- the first time I could see the chemistry and the attraction.  Bonus: the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, where the musical was staged, is a work of art in its own right. It is a historic theatre and has been lovingly restored down to the nth detail. And there is a lot of detail since it is the old Spanish style.  Beautiful.

Fourth: my childhood friend, on the night that we had dinner in San Antonio, invited us to stay overnight in their new vacation home in Corpus Christi. So on Saturday Tim and I drove down to Corpus, toured the USS Lexington museum (a WWII era aircraft carrier), and then relaxed on Kathy's deck overlooking the water.  I even got a tiny bit of sunburn!

Fifth: I'd gone to San Antonio to attend a conference, which turned out to be very interesting and informative -- I'm always happy when the time and money spent on professional development is not wasted.

All in all, it was a great week!

- Catherine

Friday, March 5, 2010

Post this or else.....

I'm a little tired of the bullying Facebook status updates that end with "Post this on your status if you support (fill in the blank)" or worse, "I'm proud to support (fill in the blank). 97% of people are too afraid to post this on their status update. I dare you to be among the 3% who will." or words to that effect.

Stop bullying me.

There are many ways to support something -- not just through a Facebook status.

The latest one I almost responded to on Facebook, but I decided that I couldn't make my reply sound anything other than churlish.  And I value the other person's friendship, so a reply was out of the question.

But here's what I have to say about the latest, which was a bullying "show your support for our troops by posting this on your Facebook status" effort.

The statement made was that our military troops are slated to receive only a 1.4% pay increase in 2011, due to the President's request. 

Firstly, it is more than just a President's request that sets salary levels for the military.

Secondly, I support the military 100%.  But my husband, a public school teacher, took an actual pay cut this year and will be expected to take another one next year. And his health insurance now sports a $1,000.00 deductible that must be met by each person covered under his plan.  Two of our boys are in the military (and I think that's great, by the way).  The reality, salary-wise, is that they will end up making more than their dad pretty soon, between their tax breaks, their health benefits and retirement benefits, and their actual pay.

I'm not saying that I think the military should take a pay cut.

But there are other professions equally as important to the infrastructure of the United States -- and public school teachers across the nation are, in fact, taking actual pay cuts.

Okay, that's my rant.

- Catherine

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'm walkin' in sunshine!

It's Tuesday and I am in San Antonio for a professional development conference.

And it's sunny!

So I went out in that glorious Texas sunshine and walked.

I walked right over to the Majestic Theatre where I scored two Mezzanine tickets to the Broadway touring company production of the musical South Pacific.

I'm so excited!!! 

I've seen the two movie productions, of course, but the original Broadway show is supposed to be much, much better -- and I have always, always, ALWAYS wanted to see it. The musical score has been one of my all time favorites since I was a kid and I truly loved the Reba McIntyre concert production that was shown on PBS a few years ago (she made a great Nellie Forbush).

I am a South Pacific enthusiast, to put it mildly.

The show was revived on Broadway in 2008 but there was no way that I could get to New York to see it -- so I was absolutely thrilled to find that the touring company has brought the show to San Antonio at the same time that I am in town!

When purchasing the tickets today I smiled so wide and was so excited that the nice lady at the box office got all enthusiastic, too. 

Between the anticipation of seeing South Pacific this coming Friday and the glorious sunshine today, I spent the entire afternoon smiling.

And then I went shopping for new jeans.

Color me happy!!!

- Catherine