Monthly Archives: March 2010

Rusty Yellow Gliders

As a child, I loved the sunroom at my grandmother’s house.  I remember sitting with my head in her lap and my feet in the glider across from us.  She’d play with my hair as we both let our selves be completely enveloped by the sun’s rays.
and forth.
and forth.
and forth we would sway.  
And I was warm, inside and out.  
I imagine she was, too.

Now those same gliders sit on my porch. Metal rusted, fabric faded.  For years I’ve great plans for them.  Great intentions…but every time I would head to the store, something would get in the way.  I wonder if I’ve been subconsciously putting it aside, wanting to preserve a part of her.

But today I walked outside to find this:

And realized that it’s time.

For new paint,

new fabric,

new memories.


Once upon a time, somewhere between having 1 child and 2 children, I was a phone talker.  I called friends.  I kept up with what was going on in their daily(well, maybe weekly) lives.  I was connected to lots of people, most of whom lived far away from me.

Once upon a time, somewhere between having 2 children and 3 children, I was a note writer.  I might not have time to call and chat, but late at night when the house was calm and quiet, I’d pull out my favorite pen, my box of cards and stationary, my silk-fabric address book and some stamps.

Once upon a time, sometime after having 3 children I lost my pen.

And my mojo.

My “note box” runs over with beautiful stationary that calls my name, but I look over at the pink-striped and paisley box and become overwhelmed.  I think about all the people that I want to write to, all the friends I’ve slowly but surely drifted away from.  The people who have touched my life in so many ways, some who have had an integral part of shaping who I am today.

I want them to know that I think of them, and I pray for them.  But I just don’t know where to start.

I think I’ll start by buying a new pen.

Simple Simplicity

So often for me, and I’d guess for you too, life is complex and busy and overwhelming.
But are there ever times when you get overwhelmed by the simplicity of life?
The pleasure that you get from the little things…
stuff like eating dinner with your family,
or warming in the bright morning sun while Lydia cuddles with me in my favorite chair,
or hearing “Mah-meee”, the only word in Asa’s vocabulary, over and over and over again,
or Carter rambling on and on about nocturnal animals and what it takes to make the moon shine.

Too often I get caught up in the rush of the day and find myself drained well before bedtime.
But there’s something that always refreshes my soul and my attitude:  childhood prayers.

“Dear God, thank you for the forks we have, and the chairs at our table, and our table, aaaaaaaaand the toys we have and the grass we have to play in and the not grass part where we can drive the car.  And thank you for the food and family and friends aaaaaaaaandddd all the everythings.  Aa-mayn.”

Her simplicity inspires me.

“Dear God, thank you for little girls with curls and boys with big smiles and perfect eyelashes.  Thank you for a wonderful husband who loves me and cares for me and about me.  Thank you for family who goes out of their way to help, just because that’s what family does.  Thank you for friends who let you pick up where you left off.  Thank you for laughter and giggles and hugs and even tears.  Thank you.  Thank you for the everythings.  Amen.”

Smartphones that are smarter than me.

Many of you know that a few years ago, I fell in love…with my Blackberry Pearl.  But over time I found myself getting annoyed at some of the little quirks that I couldn’t change on my Pearl.   Since I was almost due for an upgrade, I started checking out reviews on a few phones.  Although I really wanted an iPhone, I am a Verizon girl at heart.  I’ve been with them for years, and they’ve always (with the exception of one specific store) been good to me.  Well, my upgrade time came and I decided to wait and see if the rumors were true:  Verizon would be getting the iPhone in 2010.  I let Marshall use my upgrade to go from his piddly little phone to a Blackberry Tour.  And so I waited and waited and waited.  I read tech blogs and phone message boards.  I kept up with the Verizon-iPhone rumors.  And then a friend asked me if I’d tried the Droid.  She loved hers, and thought I would too.  So I started looking at the Droid.  I’m nothing if not thorough when researching products.  But there’s something about just looking and reading and reading and looking that doesn’t do a product justice.  I like to get my tech toys and customize them and determine how easy it is to use while picking up kids from school and getting on ball uniforms and changing a diaper.  Ya know, real life application.

In the meantime, I also noticed that there were several bloggers doing a Palm Pre Plus “test drive” through Verizon.  The Pre really seemed like the ultimate “mommy phone” and I started second guessing my Droid desires.  So I talked to some lovely folks at Verizon and they agreed to let me do a test drive of my own.  For two weeks, I had access to both a Droid and a Palm Pre Plus.  For the first week, I used the Droid exclusively.  The second week I used the Pre, but found myself wishing that I could mush the two phones together and make the perfect phone.   Both of these phones are amazing and capable of so much, but to be honest they both have downsides.  Here’s what I learned about each of the phones.

Pros and Cons of the Palm Pre Plus

Photo of the Palm Pre Plus taken with the Droid

What I liked:

  • It’s cute.  No really…it’s adorable.  (But I know that you shouldn’t buy a phone based solely on looks…)
  • Not only is the exterior pretty, but the fonts and colors and such are all very aesthetically pleasing.
    (Again: not a reason to buy a phone, but a nice touch!)
  • Great in-phone camera(only 3mp, but very clear).
  • So very easy to interchange between programs if you are utilizing multiple screens.
  • This phone is Hot Spot capable, which means you can essentially turn it into your own wireless router for up to 5 devices.   (There is a per month fee for this feature, which I believe is $40 per month.  Probably not feasible for most individuals, but I can see the advantages of it for businesses.)
  • Worked well with my multiple Gmail accounts and with my Google calendars.  I can elect to see any calendars that I have access to, such as my mom’s or Marshall’s family calendar.

What frustrated me:

  • Battery life, battery life, battery life.  Depending on how you use this phone, the battery will probably not last all day long.  Surely they will solve this problem, but for now the only solution is to either carry around a charger with you or buy an extra battery.  The same is true for the Droid and the iPhone.
  • The learning curve.  Often the icons and symbols aren’t very descriptive and you have to figure out what all the little symbols mean.
  • The size.  Although it’s adorable, whenever I was using it to talk I felt like I didn’t have a good grip on it.  I also had more complaints about people not being able to hear me well, so I’m wondering if the speaker/microphone is poorly placed.
  • Not nearly as many apps, and many of the apps I did use weren’t as good as the ones on the Droid.

Pros and Cons of the Motorola Droid

(Photo of the Droid taken with the Pre)

What I like:

  • It’s a little heavier than the Pre, which will surely be a con for some people.
    But I liked the weight of it, and it just felt right in my hand.  Holding it was never awkward.
  • The variety of keyboard options.  You can type on the actual slide-out keyboard or you can type on the virtual keyboard in either direction(horizontal or vertical, depending on the phone’s orientation).  (Although it has taken me a while to adjust to the virtual keyboard, it’s actually fairly accurate and the word recognition function usually kicks me to the right word with only a few letters typed in.)
  • Slightly larger screen that easily zoomed with a double tap.  Also never got “disoriented” and always knew if it should display vertically or horizontally.
  • Google apps, including Google Maps with Navigation.   I love love love the Gmail app, which I think is only available on the Droid.  My inbox has never been so clutter-free.  Ever.
  • Fast.  So, so fast.  It’s like everything is at your fingertips just waiting for you to access it.
  • Voice search.  Super helpful when you’re driving and lost, looking for directions or an address or phone number or something. Just speak the name of the place, get the address and plug it into Google Navigation and you’re golden.  Trust me…experience talking here.
  • Since this is a Google phone, it obviously works well with my multiple Gmail accounts and my Google calendar, which is the main hub of our life.
  • You can add widgets (such as a clock or a Google search bar or a widget to let you know how many unread emails you have) to the home screen.
  • The apps.  The only part that the Pre ups the Droid is in the fact that it makes it really easy to sort out the free apps.  Most of the apps I am using are free, but there are several that I have my eye on.  With so many inexpensive apps(many only $.99), I’m trying to remember that just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean I need it.
  • Update on Wed, March 24.  I just figured out that you can change the color of the little blinking notification light for different things.  For example: Facebook can be blue, texts can be red, missed calls can be orange.  Small detail, but nice one.

What I don’t like:

  • Like I mentioned with the Pre: Battery life.  If you use your phone a lot(like I do), the battery will not last all day long.
    With the help of the Advanced Task Killer app, you can get a little more life from your battery.
  • Navigating between multiple programs.  (The Droid isn’t particularly bad at this, but it’s easier on the Pre.)
  • The charger cord.  Now I know this sounds finicky, but it’s really short and it can’t even reach the top of my bedside table without the help of a extension cord.
  • The Lock/Power button.  It’s kind of annoying that you have to hit it and have to do another swipe across the screen really unlock it.
  • I have managed to accidentally mute my phone mid-conversation more than a handful of times.  That’s just annoying.
    (And maybe a sign that I should work on getting my cheeks a little less chunky so they won’t touch the screen.)

I really really really wanted to like the Pre.  It is adorable.   With it’s rounded corners and compact size, it literally fits in the palm of my hand.  It is, by far, much cuter than the Droid.  I know, I know…you shouldn’t buy a phone based on the way it looks, but dog-gone-it, I wanted a pretty phone.  BUT after playing around with the Droid, I knew that it was the phone for me.  You’ll notice in all the pros and cons I’ve mentioned here, that I really liked both phones.  But there’s something about the Droid that I can’t seem to explain.  It has that “it” factor.  We just clicked.  (And yes, I’m aware that it sounds like I’m The Bachelorette, down to the final two bachelors and then somewhat arbitrarily choosing “the one”.)

Still not sure about which phone you like?  Go here to see the Palm Pre Plus interactive site, and go here to “play” with the Droid.

**This is a sponsored review.  Verizon gave me two weeks to “test drive” the Droid and the Palm Pre Plus.
At the end of the two weeks, I chose to upgrade to the Motorola Droid.**

Bridget, where have you been?

Just when I thought that we were finally all well, I heard Carter scream “Moooooooommmmmyyy, I fink I frew up in my bed.” at 2am this morning.

It’s been almost a month since my surgery, and for two of those weeks I’ve been doing a test drive on some phones for Verizon.  That post should be up tomorrow, so if you’re thinking about getting a new phone make sure to come back by tomorrow.

I haven’t been on Facebook, Twitter or online in general much the past few days.  Surgery followed by sick followed by weekend mission trip followed by sick again…well?  It just doesn’t leave much time for anything other than making it through the day.

And although I haven’t been blogging, I have been writing.  The old fashioned way, ya know?  With pen and paper.  I found these adorable little notebooks at Hobby Lobby and they inspire me. (Side note:  Hobby Lobby now offers online shopping!!!!!!) So keep me in your feed reader while I let what I’ve written settle and I promise that soon enough I’ll translate my garbled hand-written essays into readable posts.

I have so many things I want to do, I need to do.  And I’m slowly but surely checking things off my list.

And soon, very soon, this blog will be back to its regularly scheduled programming.

I’m the grown-up here.

Today hasn’t been good.
I’m sick.
So are all of the kids.
This is the first time we’ve all been sick at the same time.
Luckily, they are faring better than I am.
We’ve been lazy all day, watching TV and eating nothing but muffins and pancakes.

All day Carter, Lydia, Asa and my headache have all been volleying for attention.
And I’m afraid that  I showed partiality towards the headache…and the nausea.

They’ve cried.
I’ve cried.
I slept some.
They slept some.
Not always at the same time.
(Thank you, Playhouse Disney!)

I found myself getting very frustrated with them all today.
And I had to keep reminding myself that they don’t feel good either.
They are tired and achey and feeling yucky too.
I had to keep reminding myself that I’m the adult here.
I need to be nice, not lose my temper, not get frustrated.

But it’s hard.

I don’t want to be the grown-up today.

My mom stopped by this afternoon and brought treats for everyone, buoying all of our spirits.
Giving proper germ-free hugs and kisses, she made us all feel better.
Now for a good night’s rest and hopefully we’ll all be as good as new tomorrow!


A few days ago Dawn over at Not Going Postal posted about a writing prompt she was given as a class assignment.
Using the directions provided here, you’re supposed to write a 15 sentence paragraph about someone whom you never specifically name.

You stand there young and slim with a gleam in your eye, unsure of what the future holds but ready to find out.   I stare back at the black and white photograph, at faces so familiar and foreign to me all at once, and the photographer in me can’t help but be curious about who was behind that lens.  With an arm around her waist, you both seem confident and sure, yet there is a gentleness in your touch that defies your rugged physique.  As I wonder what you were thinking, what you were saying, somewhere in the back of my mind I find the sound of your voice and I can hear it as clear as a bell.  It amazes me that I haven’t heard your voice in nearly twenty-two years, yet I can still hear your hearty, robust laugh.  I miss you and crave-oddly-your smell.  I remember you holding me once after I’d gotten lost, and as my tears soaked your white undershirt I was comforted by your smell: sawdust laced with peppermint.  I wish I could remember more about you, and I’m always surprised when a random memory pops into my mind.   The smell of sawdust, the sight of a poodle, the sound of heavy machinery: my senses prod my brain to dust off old memories.   Right now I am weathered and weary, wistful for simpler days of my childhood, when a piece of peppermint from your pocket could cure even the biggest of my woes.  Time, however, marches on and continues to dilute the effectiveness of candy against my problems.  (Although I must admit that even now a whiff of mint can still calm my soul.)  But I realize now that it wasn’t the smell that was comforting, it was just you-plain, simple and sincere.  Your unwavering confidence in the future, in what can be, continues to inspire me long after you’ve gone from this world.  And even though you died much earlier than any of us would have liked, I think you were happy and content, and your contentment regardless of whatever life threw your way encourages me to be a happier, better me.

Wordless Wednesday: My Three Amigos Edition

{I broke my header.  I shouldn’t be allowed to play with my blog.
The wonderful @MommyGeekology is currently sprinkling her fairy dust on it, so it should be back shortly!)


I know, I know…I haven’t posted in almost a week.  I think that may be a record for me!
But I think I had a pretty valid excuse.

Our family also had another life-altering event:  Marshall’s grandfather died.

He was 92 years old.  I’d only known him the past 10 years or so, as his health continued to decline.  But even as things got more difficult for him and even when he couldn’t quite communicate what he wanted to, I never failed to feel a certain peace around Papa.


All things I am not…and wish I were.

In the years that I knew him, I rarely heard him speak.  I remember one morning at his house, only he and I were in the kitchen.  I’m not usually very good at sitting and being quiet, but something about his demeanor made the silence not only comfortable, but something I craved.

Papa died a few days after my surgery.  As we were preparing to make the drive for the funeral, we got word that several family members had a terrible stomach virus.  Weary of anything that might cause an upset to my recovery, we all agreed it was best if the children and I didn’t go.  And although I’m glad to be germ-free, there’s a part of me that wishes I’d gone.  I’ve never been good with closure.  Death, no matter how expected and no matter what age, tends to pull the rug out from under your feet, doesn’t it?

But he lived a good life.  He was happy.  More than happy, he was content.

Papa was a proud WWII Army Veteran who found himself far, far from south Georgia when he landed on Normandy beach.  He was a dedicated husband and father.  He was the Postmaster of his then-tiny town for years.  Proud of his heritage, he was a member of the Georgia Salzburger Society.  And I recently learned something that I’d never known about Papa: he was one of the founding members of the local fire department back in the 1950s, and he was fire chief in the 1960s.

To honor Papa, the local fire department did something I’ve never seen before.  They put two trucks on either side of the road and use the extended ladders to form an arc across the roadway.  You can see the display in the video here.

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man.

Coblation Tonsillectomy Post-Op Information

(Not really written so much for my regular readers, but for folks looking on post-op information.  Before my surgery, I searched high and low for something like this and found nothing.  So here’s hoping that I can help someone else!)

So most of you know that I had a tonsillectomy last Wednesday.  I had heard many, many horror stories and had been putting it off for years because of all the hullabaloo(yes, I just used the word hullabaloo…face it, it’s a fun word to say!).

Luckily during the time between when I should have gotten it done and when I actually got it done, a new procedure had been developed and perfected.  Also luckily, one of our friends from medical school completed her ENT residency and was more than happy to take me on as a patient.  (Thanks, Melanie!)

So my wicked-smaht friend suggested that we use the new technology and do a coblation tonsillectomy instead of the traditional method.    She warned me that it was really going to hurt, and made me promise that I wouldn’t hold it against her.

And after all the crazy-wild “you’re not gonna die, but wish you were dead” stories that I got from most people, and after Melanie’s warning…I was plain out scared.  Well, not so much scared as petrified; completely mortified that the pain was going to be so bad that I couldn’t tolerate it.  As a matter of fact, I was planning on just making sure I was drugged up enough that I slept through most of the pain.

But, only 12 hours after my surgery, I’m feeling great!  It hurts, of course, but nothing like that round of strep in January that tried to kill me.  I’m taking my antibiotics(liquid) and keeping a low-dose of (liquid) pain meds in my system.  (Why tempt fate by letting that run out unnecessarily?)  But since I’ve gotten out of the hospital, I haven’t thrown up or taken any anti-nausea medications.  (For me, that’s an amazing feat!)

I have also heard that somewhere around Day 3 to 5, it really hits you.  Here’s to hoping “they” are wrong, just like “they” were wrong about how intense the initial pain would be.  Also, most of the info I got was from people who’d had the traditional cut’em out surgery.  Even after looking online for more info on post-op pain, I found very few personal accounts.  (There are plenty of stats out there but stats, after all, are really just numbers.)

So…here’s my running diary of my coblation tonsillectomy.
Each day you’ll see a pain rating.  It is based on this scale.

Surgery Day(Wed):
Pain Rating: 5

  • Reported to hospital around 5:45AM, hungry and cold.
    (I’m not a morning person.  I’m even less of a morning person if I can’t eat.)
  • Got all the paperwork completed and changed into a gown.
  • In the OR “holding tank” by around 7.
  • Happy meds….lalala…remember nothing.
  • Vaguely remember Melanie coming to me in post-op and telling me that it was a good thing I got them out.
  • The good Dr. Seybt goes in to talk to Marshall and my parents.  Tell them that my tonsils were absolutely disgusting and she doesn’t often see tonsils with that much scar tissue on them.
  • A bumpy ride from the recovery room to my room leaves me a bit motion sick and I throw up.
    It hurts, but I still have a good bit of anesthesia helping me out, so it doesn’t hurt too much.
  • The anti-nausea medication makes me sleepy, and doesn’t help my nausea all that much.
  • After throwing up a few more times, I ended up trying to sleep it off.
  • I finally brave getting dressed and leave the hospital.
  • I sleep most of the day until around 6pm.
  • By now I’ve had a couple of popcicles, a pudding cup and some ice cream.
  • Marshall and Jesse eat Chick-fil-A, which is just mean, and I sneak one piece.
    It goes down fairly easily, but I know better than to push my luck too much.
  • I’m not talking too much, but trying to drink.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
    (I don’t think I’ve ever peed so much in my life!)
  • Still not much pain, just wondering when the other shoe’s gonna fall, since all I’ve ever heard were horror stories.
  • Can’t seem to sleep now because I slept so much today.

Day 1 Post-Op(Thurs):
Pain Rating: 3 for throat, 6 for body

  • Woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a mack truck.  Not my throat, mind you, but my oh-so-stiff body.
    I feel like the surgical staff must have made me do some crazy yoga during my surgery.
    There’s no other way to explain this soreness.
  • Realize that the soreness is actually from when I threw up.  I threw up hard and used every muscle in my body.
  • Throat doesn’t hurt all that much, but keeping the pain meds going steadily.

Day 2 Post-Op(Fri):
Pain Rating: 3 for throat, 4 for body

  • Kept pain meds going fairly steadily.
  • Even when pain meds ran out, I didn’t feel horrible.
  • Felt good enough to go to the store and buy a notebook.
  • Kept liquids and popsicles going non-stop.
  • Foods for today: scrambled eggs, soft part of hashbrown casserole, grits, jello, pudding

Day 3 Post-Op(Sat):
Pain Rating: 3

  • Mostly same as Friday.
  • Tried to do too much on Saturday morning and ended up getting nauseous.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!!!
  • Food for today: oatmeal, chicken and stars soup

Day 4 Post-op(Sun):
Pain Rating:  3

  • Had problems with nausea on and off all day long.
  • Slept a lot today.
  • Pain not so bad, but nausea was overwhelming at times.
  • Inner ear pain is worse than throat pain, but even it isn’t so bad.
  • Could ear pain possibly contributing to nausea?
  • Ear pain is, I think, coming from the fact that the scab came off the right side.
  • I think I have have had some throat bleeding that went down into my stomach, causing the nausea.
  • Food for today: oatmeal, pasta with cheese sauce

Day 5 Post-op(Mon):
Pain Rating: 5, 6-7 when pain meds wear off

  • Even with pain meds, I don’t feel like talking today.
  • I haven’t been drinking like I should so that’s probably contributing to the problem.
  • I’m starving, but nothing tastes good.
  • If it tastes good, I probably can’t eat it.
  • Tried to eat vegetable soup, but the tomato base was too acidic.
  • On the up side, I’ve lost 7 pounds since Wednesday.
  • Food for today: grits, fresh fruit popcicles, ice

Day 6 Post-op(Tues):
Pain Rating: 6-7

  • Coughed a good bit last night, so my throat is raw.
  • Throat feels more swollen today than before.
  • Scabs on on left side fell off sometime last night.
  • Felt good enough to go get my hair done, but by the time I got back home I was exhausted.  From sitting in a chair.  Ridiculous.
  • So yeah…BIG DEAL.  Sitting in my bed doing nothing.  Realize that I think my nose is bleeding.  Actually, no…it’s my throat and there’s A LOT of blood in my mouth.  And by a lot, I mean about 200 cc’s(which is, ya know, about the size of one of those little milk cartons you used to get at school).
  • Called my husband, who rushed home.  He called my doc. We all three discussed it.
  • Conventional wisdom says rush back to the OR and re-cauterize the bleeder.  But there are a lot of docs who say if it’s just one bleeder, see if you can stop it before going back under anesthesia.
  • Got it stopped relatively quickly and was super-cognizant about whether I was bleeding at all.
  • Even more insistent on staying hydrated.
  • No more bleeding and SO very thankful I didn’t have to go back to the OR!

Day 7 Post-Op(Wed):
Pain Rating: 4, even without pain meds

  • Went with my dad to the kid’s school for a little while, and it wore me slap out!
  • Took a long, long nap and forgot to take my antibiotic.  🙁
  • Swallowing easier, throat feels much better but any activity leaves me exhausted.
  • Although I’ve lost 10 pounds in a week, I don’t suggest this diet.  I’m starving.
  • I am sick sick sick of jello, pudding, soup and other “smooth” foods…but I’m afraid that I have at least 3 more days of  a “smooth” diet.

So my big words of wisdom:
Just take your pain meds on a schedule.  Don’t do it p.r.n.

And BUY PLASTIC SPOONS! Sure, you’ll look at your silverware drawer and think, “I have tons of spoons!”  But when you use nothing but spoons for days on end, you run out faster than you think.

I’ve been told that I can resume picking up my children  after 2 weeks, and that I can try to sing after 4 weeks.

I’ll try to remember to come and update on this post after that (so that all the info will be in one place)!