Dec 31, 2007

Time Flies When You're Crazy Busy

I can't believe it's been a week since I last blogged. A lot has happened so I'll keep it as brief as possible. So we bought the Hyundai Santa Fe last Monday, on my birthday. We love it and are very happy with our purchase. Christmas Eve service at Austin Stone was beautiful. Christmas day at Roger's parents was great. We had a lot of fun. We watched a few footballs games over the past week. Happy UT won, sad A&M lost. Too many pro games to talk about, but enjoyed them all. On Wednesday, Roger received the date of his formal hearing for his disability appeal. It is set for February 13, 2008. Not only is that much later than he expected and means he will be there even longer than expected, but it's also his birthday. What a way to spend your birthday plus knowing it's going to suck is worse. So that means he won't be home at the earliest until March 13th. He was quite bummed that day knowing he has to be there so much longer. Tells you how bad it sucks at WRAMC. We've been getting numerous things done around the house since Roger is home to help including organizing the garage. This has taken the most time but we're pretty much done. We are very excited about how the garage make-over has turned out. We can definitely get both vehicles in there again once I get rid of a couple items. So I am spending today freecycling tons of stuff to continue organizing the garage while Roger is taking care of his truck. We are planning to drive him back to DC so he will have a vehicle while he's there so his remaining time won't suck as bad. This will also help him when he comes home for good as he has lots of stuff to bring back since he's been there so long already. We have a bunch more stuff to accomplish before Roger leaves, but only a few things that have to be done. The rest can wait for me to do during the semester or when Roger gets home for good. I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but oh well. Tonight we are going to Roger's sister Mirna's home for New Year's Eve celebrations. Hope you all had a great Christmas and will have a happy new year.

Dec 24, 2007

Today Was A First

Roger and I laid down last night after midnight. I knew it was after midnight and it was technically the next day, but it did not dawn on me that it was already my birthday. So as we were snuggling down to sleep, Roger said to me, "I want to be the first person to tell you happy birthday." Oh, he's so sweet. The next thing I know, it's really bright, obviously it's the next morning and I hear a loud, "Good morning!" Roger is walking towards me with a big tray in his hands and a huge smile on his face. He brought me breakfast in bed. I was like, "Huh, what?" I'm a pretty good sleeper when he's home so I had no idea what was going on. That boy got up earlier than me, turned my alarm off, moved our phones far away so no texts or reminders would wake me up. He shut the door to our room and tried to be as quiet as possible. And he pulled it off. I can't believe he did it. I have never had breakfast in bed before so I really had no idea what to do. It was kind of strange. Before he left the room, I thought this is going to be strange sitting here eating all by myself. So I told him I wished he could eat with me. So he ran to the kitchen and cooked his breakfast and joined me. And he was done before I was half way done with my breakfast. Which if you know Roger any bit, that's fast for him. He said he tried very hard not to be perfect and cut corners to be faster. He usually takes forever to do most tasks because everything has to be perfect, the toast to the right browning, the butter at room temperature to it can spread, the jelly spread at the counter before he comes to sit down, his coffee just perfectly mixed with Splenda and creamer by that time my food is cold waiting for him or I'm done eating. So I was quite impressed. He had only gotten up about 30-45 minutes before he brought the food to me. Of course he told me don't look in the kitchen. Don't worry, I didn't. He also gave me a beautiful birthday card on the tray. I love it and can't believe he found it at HEB, our local grocery store. What a great way to start my birthday. Roger always tries to make my birthday special. He's so sweet. I wonder what the rest of the day has in store. Of course, I'll let you know later.

Dec 23, 2007

Weekend Update

Roger and I are sitting here Sunday night watching the Washington Redskins whoop up on the Minnesota Vikings. We had a pretty lazy Sunday. And we deserve it. Friday and Saturday were non-stop so we need a bit of a break. Friday I woke Roger up about 5:30 a.m. because I couldn't sleep. We laid down about 12:30 a.m. and I hadn't been able to sleep yet. So he woke up so we could talk about the 3F's, feelings, fears and frustrations. This is one of many things I miss about Roger not being home. I can tell him anything and he listens well and helps me see things the way I need to see them. We end in prayer and shed tears which always makes me feel better. We talked until 7:00 a.m and I got up and baked those red velvet cupcakes finally. Then we headed to the south steps of the Capitol for Tuba Christmas with Roger's dad and his sister Cindy. It was really nice. We try to go to Tuba Christmas every year. Here in Texas it can be outside, but in DC it has to be inside. After lunch at Waterloo, we ran a few necessary errands before heading back to the house to ice the cupcakes and so Roger could wrap all the gifts he picked up. It takes Roger a while to wrap gifts now so since he didn't want me to see my birthday or Christmas presents, I ran to HEB for some last minute groceries and to top off the gas tank for our two hour drive the next day and then I went to Michael's to exchange my cupcake stand because it was missing parts which made it unable to be put together. Upon my return he was still not done wrapping gifts and I finished icing the cupcakes. Then we ran over to my friend Susan and Tim's house to say hello, drop off some cupcakes and have a glass of wine. It was so nice to hang out with them again. They are definitely our kind of people.

Saturday we went to Smetana for the Wise family Christmas. It was a great day. We'll post the pictures from all these events at the end of Roger's leave and you'll get to see how much fun we had at my parents. Going home to the farm is always interesting and you never know what you'll end up doing. All the kids had fun and us adults too. The food was great. There's nothing like your own parents' holiday cooking. Fried turkey, glazed ham (real ham, not spiral, with homemade glaze), tamales, cornbread dressing, etc. Oh and all the desserts. We took a great group picture in front of one of my dad's tractors and then shot handguns in the front yard. I know, so country. This was the first time Roger fired a weapon in a long, long time and he said it felt good. And he did a good job too. Better than me. We fired a few different handguns, a couple revolvers, a .22, a .45 semi-automatic pistol and another one or two I can't remember what they are. I don't know how exactly it all got started. I was in the driveway hanging out with the youngest kids while they were playing in the sand and saw the gaggle of men, my mom and sister walking to the side yard with pistols and a couple of coffee cans. Of course I had to walk over and see what was going on. None of us had ear protection so we stuck our fingers in our ears except when it was our turn to shoot. I fired a few times before I shot one of the revolvers once and my left ear started ringing and hurting. So I decided I needed to stop. See, you never know what you'll end up doing when you go to the country.

Today we slept in really late. Roger cooked us scrambled eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast at noon. Roger watched football for a bit then we proceeded to trim some bushes, mow the grass in order to mulch all the leaves, fold cardboard, get the trash and recycle out for trash pick-up on Monday and to bring my plants inside from the freeze tonight. But our lawn mower refused to start. It was quite frustrating. I think if Roger could have picked it up and threw it in the street he would have. He finally gave up and we decided we were done with that lawn mower. We've had a lot of problems with it this year and we're not about to spend any more money or time on it. So after getting the trash and recycle bins out to the street we went in to watch more football and eat dinner. While Roger watched football, I decided to do some research on electric lawn mowers on his laptop in the living room with him. I was just interested in finding out about them because I'm sick of gas lawn mowers and wanted to learn about the performance of electric lawn mowers in preparation of maybe getting one in the spring. Roger moved over to join me in my research and we found a really good deal on a highly recommended one at The sale ended tomorrow and we thought about Christmas Eve at the mall and quickly decided to go tonight. So we drove to Sears and bought it. Now, this was pretty impulsive for Roger and I but I am glad we have it so we can mulch the leaves in the yard and I can mow the grass whenever I want to now and much easier than usual. I can't wait to try it out. We already use an electric weed-eater, edger, blower, tiller tool so we're used to using a corded yard tool. And we won't have to worry about mowing the grass early in the morning anymore because it's supposedly as quiet as a vacuum cleaner. And electric lawn mowers don't need any maintenance like tune-ups, etc other than blade sharpening. I'm glad about that because loading that gas mower in the truck by myself over and over again this year was getting very old. Hopefully I won't have to worry about that ever again. And, the best part is the touch of a button start and the fact that electric mowers give off no emissions which is great for the environment. I feel good about that.

So, we didn't buy a car on Friday. Turns out the great deal the area Mazda dealers were having was non-negotiable. So we have decided to get one of our other first choices which is the Hyundai Santa Fe SE. We already test drove it a few times and did some preliminary research but we did more research Friday night and will test drive it again tomorrow. They have some great rebates right now, plus a military discount and Hyundai's come with a 100,000 mile warranty which is unbelievable. I feel very comfortable with the Santa Fe which I didn't feel as comfortable with the CX-7. And in the process of doing all the research on it, Roger found out that Hyundai donates a certain percent from all their sales to pediatric cancer centers across the country. I was already impressed with the vehicle but knowing this made me even more impressed. So maybe we'll buy a new car tomorrow. Maybe.

Dec 20, 2007

The Latest and Greatest

No new car today. We have narrowed it down to a Mazda CX-7 Sport. We have test driven it several times each and read a ton of reviews about it. We have our numbers calculated and actually spoke to a salesman today about buying one when we were done test driving. But he didn't even want to hear an offer amount from us if it was below theirs so we left. The salesman was a real b.s.-er. That is one of the biggest annoyances to me about salespeople and it's so hard to not call them on it even as they are saying they don't b.s. But I was raised to be respectful towards people especially in their face. So we just told him good night and left. We will be making an offer to another dealership tomorrow morning if they have the one we want via email and/or phone, the way we like it. We'll see what they say.

We spent the day at home and we really enjoyed it. We did have two visitors, a plumber and an electrician. The plumber came to fix the overflow plate in our master bathroom bathtub. He was not able to pull the rusted screws out of the pipe and had to cut a hole through the sheet rock in the wall behind the tub which is in the entry of our house. But he did such a beautiful job cutting it that he was able to put the piece of sheet rock back in the one foot square hole and you can barely tell it was ever cut. He was proud of his handy work as we were impressed. He made it very easy to fix. Our home warranty company will send a contractor out to fix it, but if we had to, it would be a cinch. I tell you, having a home warranty has been great. We have used ours three times this year and it has been completely worth the cost. We pay a $55 "co-pay" and that covers everything. Our disposal stopped working a few weeks ago. And because it couldn't be repaired we not only got a brand new disposal but it was a higher horse power and quieter disposal than we had to begin with. All for only $55. If we would have had to hire a regular plumber for today's work, no telling how much it would have cost. And the guy was good. Our home warranty company, American Home Shield, uses ARS as their contractors. And the ARS technicians that have been sent to our house have been great. I highly recommend home warranties.

Now the electrician came to quote the cost to add an electrical outlet to the front of our house and add on two or three light boxes for security lights on the sides and back of our house. After seeing the numbers, we have decided to wait a while before we do that work since we are about to make a huge investment on a new car plus all the expenses of the holiday season.

And as for Roger's PEB, he made a decision today and faxed it to the powers that be. He has decided to appeal the PEB because after reviewing all the specific regulations, the Disabled American Veterans have advised him that he should be receiving 100% disability through July 2008 and be re-rated after July not just receive 30% for the next 18 months. Here's my take on it: the Army is trying to get him for as little as possible, as usual. Most people don't know their options or just give up and take what they are offered, but Roger is not about to give up and he is well informed. Not surprising if you know Roger well. So he signed and faxed his appeal, requested a formal hearing and designated the pro bono attorney assigned to him as his representative. He will also be scheduling a physical with the VA upon his return to DC to continue with the VA disability process. Keeping all this stuff straight is tricky for me and explaining it is exhausting for Roger. It's not surprising that he doesn't like to talk about it nor his grueling experiences at Walter Reed. It's already depressing to live it so why make it more depressing by talking about it. Poor thing. I hate that he has to endure this longer, but no one said life was easy.

Last night we walked down 37th Street to see the very eclectic Christmas lights with Roger's dad Roger Sr, sister Mirna, brother-in-law Joey, niece Ariana and our friend Denise. Tomorrow we are meeting Roger's dad and his sister Cindy at the Capitol for Tuba Christmas then having dinner with our friends Susan and Tim and maybe their daughter Steph. Depending on the response of the dealership, we might stop in to finalize the sale. Then Saturday we are off to Smetana for a Wise family Christmas.

Dec 19, 2007

It's Official!

Okay, it's official. Here's the proof:

I made a B in my history class. Yeah!! I think I'll celebrate by buying a new car today. Just joking! I'm not that impulsive. Roger and I are going to test drive some vehicles this afternoon to figure out which we prefer the most. He will also hopefully be talking to the legal counsel assigned to him today to get more answers regarding his PEB and eventual medical retirement. There are so many details and scenarios. He wants to make sure fighting the PEB is worth it. Please pray he gets the clarification he needs to make the best decision.

We're having a great time together. I wish every day of his leave could be this laid back and relaxing. Of course, I'll have to work a little and we have holiday family obligations. And you know how much fun family events can end up being. I pray those are fun times too and we all remember and focus on the meaning of the season and how blessed we truly are.

Good News! Praise the Lord!

Okay, before I post about Roger being home, sorry babe, I have to share my grade for my history class. So I went to check my grade online and where the official grades are posted it said, "Grades are currently not available for this term." Aughhhh! It was even a few hours after the official time when grades would be available. You know I was quite nervous about my grade in this class and I was not happy about this. So I thought, let me check my degree audit and see if there's any change from "in progress". And there it was, "HIST 481 SEMINAR IN HISTORY 2007 Fall 3.0 hrs B" I made a B! I am soooo happy!! I was almost shocked, but very elated. I immediately thanked the Lord over and over and over again. If it wasn't after midnight on a Tuesday night, I'd go celebrate. But we're in the house for the evening, so we'll have to celebrate tomorrow. Although this is Austin and there are plenty of places we could have gone even this late. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Wow, what a relief. Now I know for sure that I only have to take one class next semester and I WILL graduate in May, 2008. Oh, I am so happy. Have I told you how happy I am?! :) Now, I don't know how official this is, especially since it's on the degree audit but not in the grade display. You know I will continue to check it because I won't feel completely at ease until I see it in the grade display which is official. This also means that I didn't do so bad (I know, not correct grammar, but I don't care!) on my research paper.

I really don't care what grade I made on the paper as long as I made a grade high enough to count for my major so I don't have to take that class ever again. I don't know if I ever mentioned this before, but this was not my first attempt at this class. I tried it first many, many years ago and didn't make a grade high enough to count. I'm sure it had to do with all the partying I was doing in Northgate. The second attempt I withdrew for some reason I can't remember now. I'm sure it had to do with partying too much and a certain loser in my life that I let influence me negatively. And the third attempt, many, many years later, I dropped because I couldn't handle all the many obligations I took on Roger's first year of deployment. So this was my fourth attempt. Talk about pathetic. I'm almost embarassed I shared that. Oh well, those of you who know me very well, know I'm not the person I used to be. And I'm sure you, and my parents, are all saying under your breath, "Thank goodness."

Okay, now we can talk about Roger. I picked Roger up at the airport about 4:15pm today. It was so nice to see him in the Austin airport again. I love it when he comes home. I really don't enjoy going to Walter Reed to visit him. It's awful there. But we have been laughing since he got home. He's pretty much unpacked and seems like he never left except I have to remind him where things are and go. We went to his favorite bbq place, Rudy's on 360, for dinner then stopped at Scooter's on William Cannon for coffee and dessert. We discussed our schedule while he's home and all the things we would like to accomplish and people we need to see. I told you we'd start a new list when he got home. Of course this schedule is not set in stone but it gives us an idea of what we can try to accomplish.

So as far as Roger's day yesterday trying to get answers to his many questions regarding his PEB, I will let him go into detail in a future blog. But I will share that most of the advice he received was for him to appeal the PEB and go to formal hearing. He also found out it probably won't go to formal hearing until the end of January. Which means he won't be home for good until February at the earliest. Although I've have decided he won't be home until I pick him up from the airport for the last time, he is quite disappointed with the thought of staying longer. Of course, we both know we have to do what we have to do for his future health.

On that note, I'd like to share some scripture I came across Sunday. I can't for the life of me figure out where I came across it, but I know I was led to it for a reason. And I'm still trying to figure out what version it is. I've gone through every English version on, but no luck. So if you know this version, please let me know in a comment below. It's the same concept and meaning, but I'd like to find the version because I like it. I hope it moves you as much as it moved me. And I pray for this kind of joy for you.

I've learned how to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy, whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Phillipians 4:12

Dec 16, 2007

Weekend Update

I intended to post earlier this weekend, but I had such a productive weekend I got distracted. I ended up getting sick and didn't bake those red velvet cupcakes nor help out at the benefit event Thursday night. The volunteer coordinator told me to stay home and get rest since they had plenty of help coming. Did I do that? Well, I stayed home, but I didn't rest. I started working on my to do list but I didn't work super hard so it's okay.

My parents were in Taylor, northeast of Austin, for another funeral Thursday for a farmer and blacksmith friend of theirs, Charlie Stolte. He and my father were a lot alike and related very well to each other although Mr. Stolte was a couple decades older than my dad. They had similar backgrounds and appreciated each other well. My mom and I always said Mr. Stolte was what my dad was going to look like when he gets old. After the funeral and lunch with friends, my parents drove to my house in South Austin and helped me with a bunch of stuff. I bought an air compressor a week or so ago. We will be able to use it to make putting flooring in the attic an easier task by borrowing my dad's pneumatic nail gun. And we'll be able to air up balls, bicycle and automobile tires and blow leaves from under my front door on the front porch. And if you've ever driven to convenience store after convenience store trying to find air for your low tires to have them not work and lose more air, you know how much we will love having this air compressor. I've been wanting one for about five years now. You know I am going to find any excuse to use it.

So my dad helped me set it up, make sure it was ready to go and showed me how to use it and maintain it. I cleaned out a section of the attic which we will tackle first. The previous owners of our house left us lots of great stuff when we bought the house and I didn't realize how much they left in the attic. Of course everything they left was pretty much trash that we have had to dispose of ourselves. Thanks Stewart family! Anyway, my mom consolidated leftover garage sale stuff into fewer boxes while my dad and I messed with the compressor. She helped me load the boxes into my truck to which I took to Goodwill and helped me clean the garage from the trash I threw out of the attic. They also took a bunch of spare wood we had which helped to empty the garage out more. We're not only trying to organize the garage better but make room for another vehicle. We got two in there before I totaled my car in 2003 so I know we can get two in there again. Friday and Saturday were more projects I've been trying to get done for a while and I got almost all of my list completed. All I have left to do is clean the house tomorrow after I work in the morning and complete a personal Christmas gift for Roger which I'm working on now. I'd tell you what it is, but then Roger would find out. He's already been bugging me about his "real" Christmas present. Once Roger gets home, we will start on a new list. I'm sure he's looking forward to it. You never know, he might be happy and feel more normal to be doing things around the house.

Oh, I almost forgot. I got my anthropology final exam grade Thursday afternoon. I made a 91, A! So according to the professor's grading policy that means I made an 88.75 in the class BUT I went to a museum for two extra credit points. Which means I made a 90.75 in the class. That's a A! I'm so happy about that. Now I have to wait until Tuesday after 8:00 p.m. to find out what I made in my history class. When I think about it, I get nervous. So I try not to think about it. But I have to make a C or better in that class. I really don't want to have to take it again. I've had enough of research papers for a while. I don't want to have to do that again until I go to grad school. So I'm begging, please pray for me to make a C or better in that class.

So the museum I went to with my dad was the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. I was really impressed. I was quite surprised with the collections they had and he and I really enjoyed it. Our other choice was the Houston Museum of Natural Science, but I couldn't afford to lose a whole day, three hour drive there and three hour drive back, at the time. I'd love to have gone there, but I needed the time to work on my paper. I can still go but I'd like to go soon since they have Lucy, the "missing link" according to evolutionists. I don't really care too much about seeing Lucy, but I've learned from past experience not to miss out on any opportunity that comes across my lap. I wish I wouldn't have listened to everyone else when they said, "Don't waste your money going into the Great Pyramid. It's not worth it." when we were in Egypt with the Army. I could seriously kick myself for not going into the pyramid. Even if there wasn't anything in there, I could still say I've been in it instead of just saying I've been there. Lucy's only going to be in Houston for a short while and only in a few museums in America so I'd like to see her if I can help it.

As you read in Roger's post from Friday, he got his PEB that morning but was unable to get any questions asked and therefore no answers. I still can't believe two offices whose sole jobs are to be there for the soldiers in these moments were completely out of the office on Friday. I worked for state government for six years before I moved to DC and we were never allowed to all go out at the same time. There always had to be a "skeleton crew" as they call it. I guess federal government is a little different. I mean, I basically knew that from my prior Army experience and with the history of what Roger's experienced so far at WRAMC, I'm not really surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. Roger will probably have a very hectic day tomorrow trying to get answers in order to make the best decision. He's planning to bypass formation at 0730 and go straight to getting those answers before he starts packing to fly home on Tuesday. Please pray for him. I can imagine it becoming frustrating with the Army and WRAMC's history. So please pray for the Lord to be with Roger tomorrow and help him deal with the answers he receives and for him to get great advice.

Thanks all. Sorry this is so long. That's what happens when I wait to post. I'd say I'll try to be better, but you know as well as I this isn't the first time and it surely won't be the last. One more day and a wake up and Roger will be home. I can't wait. I'm very excited. I know he is too.

Dec 14, 2007

PEB Results Questionable

I got my PEB results back today, but they only rated me at 30% on TDRL. I can’t get into specifics right now, but I am not sure if I should go along with this or contest it. There are two organizations here, the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans, who help answer questions we have regarding our PEBs. Unfortunately, they’re all out today at a Christmas party at the headquarters office. All day?!? Well, whatever. I left them all voicemails and slid letters asking for help underneath their doors, so I should get my questions answered Monday.

I have a list of questions ready to go and will add to it all weekend. I just want to make sure that I completely understand what is going on here. In the meantime, I have to stew all weekend long. I apparently haven’t learned enough about patience, so the Lord is teaching me another lesson. Please pray that all my questions are answered Monday so that I can make a decision soon. I have until Dec 26th, but I don’t want to have to wait that long. And please just pray for peace for me over the weekend and that this does not drive me crazy. Thanks and have a great weekend.

Dec 12, 2007

Finals Are Over!!

Finals are done and the semester will be officially over December 18th when grades are available for continuing students. But we should get our grades for the anthropology exam we took today sometime tomorrow to which I can calculate my grade in the class. It was actually a fairly easy exam. There were a few questions I had concerns about but answered with an educated guess. Hopefully they were the right educated guesses. Now I get to start my list of things to do before Roger gets home next Tuesday like putting up Christmas decorations, taking boxes of garage sale leftovers to Goodwill and many other fun, fun chores. I have a list!

The funeral for Mrs. Fore last Friday was nice. It was like a reunion in Smetana. Every one's lives are so busy these days, that it takes a funeral or wedding for all of us to see each other. Father John gave a very endearing homily about Mrs. Fore during the funeral mass. He used 1 Corinthians 13:13 to describe her which was perfect because faith, hope and love epitomized her life. I have to think about it to realize she's really gone. It's obviously going to be hard for many to imagine her not in our lives.

Roger has been extremely busy lately with the usual stuff like physical and occupational therapy but he's also had a lot of MWR trips, meetings with the VA and shoots for the newspaper lately. He's been meaning to blog about all his adventures of late, but has been too busy to do so. He even got all our Christmas cards out last night. (Don't tell him I said so, but I'm so glad he did those this year.) Hopefully soon he will blog and let you know all about the cool things he's been doing and interesting people he's been meeting. And post some pictures too. Only five more days and a wake up until he's home. I can't wait. This is going to be another memorable Christmas for us this year.

Maybe I'll post some pictures of my red velvet cupcakes from tomorrow night. Check out the post below. Until next time, Au revoir.

Dec 10, 2007

Studying For Finals

Well, after a weekend in East Texas at my sister's for my niece's 5th birthday party, a small town Christmas parade my nephew's class had a float in, shopping with my mom, sister and her neighbor, witnessing a freshly shot deer being skinned & butchered and eating lots of bbq and cake, I'm home studying for my only final this semester on Wednesday. I'm getting more and more excited about the semester ending. I have a ton of stuff I'd like to do before Roger gets home on the 18th which I can't start until after my final.

To celebrate the end of the semester, Thursday I will be baking an enormous amount of red velvet cupcakes from scratch with homemade cream cheese icing. And you're invited to come taste one, or two, at Ten Thousand Villages in SoCo Thursday night next to Continental Club. I will be there from 5:00 pm-9:00 pm volunteering for VSA Arts of Texas Holiday Benefit. There will be live music, delicious holiday treats and great shopping. 5-15% of the evening's sales will be donated to VSA to support their programs and services. Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade gift store with colorful, beautiful and unique items from all over the world which provides vital, fair income for artisans in Third World Countries, helping to build sustainability in their communities. VSA Arts of Texas strives to create a society where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts.

So come out if you can. You can see all their beautiful products on their website. Or just listen to the live music and enjoy some yummy treats. I hope to see you there!

Now back to more reading. :(

Dec 6, 2007

Regina P. Fore

August 29, 1933 – December 4, 2007

Regina P. Fore passed away on Tuesday, December 4, 2007, at St. Joseph Regional Health Center with her family by her side. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 6 at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan with a rosary at 6 p.m. Funeral Mass is set for 9:30 a.m. Friday, December 7 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bryan with Monsignor John McCaffrey officiating. Burial will follow at Smetana Cemetery.
Regina was born in Smetana, Texas, on August 29, 1933, to John Jacob and Elizabeth Nemec. She was a lifelong resident of the Smetana community. She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and was a member of the KJZT Association. She attended Stephen F. Austin High School of Bryan. Regina met and later married the love of her life, Daniel Ray Fore, on January 25, 1951. They were married over 56 years. She was always an active homemaker. She worked for Texas A&M University's Agricultural Extension Service Riverside Campus, where she retired.

She really had fun working in the home, making quilts and cooking her special dishes and desserts. She will be remembered for her outpouring love and affection for her family and friends. She was always there to give a helping hand and practice her Christian faith, which could be seen by all who knew her. If she was not at home, you could find her at the cemetery working or tending her Longhorn cattle that she loved so much. She served as the Democratic chairman of the Precinct Four, member of the Brazos County Sheriff Auxiliary, KJZT Association, past president and Board member of the Smetana Cemetery Association and she was a member of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America.

She was preceded in death by her parents, John Jacob and Elizabeth Nemec, and brother, Steve Nemec. Survivors include her husband, Dan Fore; three children, Gina Pavlas and husband, Darrell, of Bryan, Danny Fore and wife, Patti, of Hover, Ala., and Danete Pribilski and husband, Don, of Tomball, Texas; four grandchildren, Tim Pavlas and wife, Lori, of Bryan, Ashley Fore, Trey Fore, both of Hoover, Ala., and Matt White of Bryan; and two great-grandchildren, Paris Pavlas and Michael White, both of Bryan. Pallbearers will be Tim Pavlas, Trey Fore, Matt White, Joe Allen, Donald Ray Allen, Raymond Fore and Duke Singer. The family would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Berigan and nurses, Lynn Harkey, Sherri Moore, Johnnie Walton and Lori Brockette, for the special care they gave Regina.

Donations can be made to the Smetana Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 3133, Bryan, Texas 77805. Obituary can be viewed at

Dec 4, 2007

Update on Mrs. Fore

Mrs. Fore passed away this morning at 3:02 a.m. I think it's going to take a while for it to sink in that she's not around, ready to help out at a moment's notice. She will truly be missed. Please keep the Fore family and friends in your prayers. I found these great pictures of my mom and Mrs. Fore in June, 2005 participating in a maze at the Prater John Deere County Fair. I know, so Texan and country. My mom drove blindfolded while Mrs. Fore gave her directions. It was a hoot. They tore up the course. Mrs. Fore obviously had no fear.

Funeral arrangements have been made for the dates and locations below. Interment will follow the funeral at Smetana Cemetery with lunch immediately following at the Smetana Community Center.

Rosary: Thursday 6:00 p.m.
Memorial Funeral Chapel
1515 S College Avenue
Bryan, TX 77801
(979) 823-8125

Funeral: Friday 9:30 a.m.
Saint Joseph Catholic Church
600 East 26th Street
Bryan, TX 77803
(979) 822-2721

Turned In Research Paper & Last Day of Class

Well, I just turned in my research paper, again. It's kind of funny now, but of course I was freaking out inside at the time. I submitted my research paper this morning at home. I had gone over it several times to check for, well, everything! I uploaded it to and as I was about to hit the submit button I prayed a little prayer. Actually I prayed a big prayer. I was so nervous about hitting the submit button, but I did anyway. I finished getting ready to leave for campus and thought about something. I ran to the office and grabbed one of the library books I used for a secondary source. I opened my final paper on the computer and found one of the references I used from that book then I checked the end note. My hunch was right. I put the wrong book title and author for it. Yes, my first thought was, "Crap!" I went straight to to see if I could resubmit my paper, but of course, I couldn't. I got the pop-up error stating until the earlier submission is deleted by your instructor resubmission is impossible! So I emailed my professor explaining what I wanted to do and what I needed her to do. I finished eating breakfast and checked my email again before I left. Nothing. I knew she would be in the office today but wasn't sure what time. She has a young child and sometimes gets in later than planned. I had already saved the document to my thumb drive so I would have it with me where ever I happened to be when I was able to upload it. I also emailed it to myself at my school email and my personal email, just in case. So I drove to B-CS and went straight to the library to check my email. The first email listed was from her stating she deleted my first submission. Thank the Lord! I checked it one more time and submitted it. Yes, I said another prayer. Talk about relief. I'm still a little gitty inside but I know this will go away soon enough.

Today is my last day of class. I am really happy about that. I actually only have one class today, anthropology. My history professor gave us the day off to work on our papers. She's wonderful like that. Obviously I needed it. Sometimes I just put my head in my hands and shake it at myself. The rest of this week is work, catching up on reading for anthropology and outlining all the reading for the final next Wednesday. Then Friday I'm picking up my mom on the way to my sister's in Huntington for my niece's 5th birthday party this weekend. My dad will drive up Saturday for the party and my mom will ride back with him. I'm also going to try to test drive a vehicle or two this weekend with my sister and probably some of her kids in tow. Roger & I are trying to figure out what vehicle to buy when he gets home for good, hopefully in January or February. We'll need two vehicles when he returns since I'll have one semester of school left. I'm thinking a compact SUV and Roger wants us to also check out cross-overs. I figured out I don't want a car as I thought I did before. I've been driving our truck for the past four and a half years and have gotten used to the power and being higher off the ground. I've driven a couple of friends' cars in DC the last few times I was there and it drove me crazy. I do not like being that low. I also like the power in our truck but prefer fuel economy. So we've been reading Consumer Reports for recommendations and checking the government crash test ratings. It can be overwhelming. But I've been praying for the Lord to help us make the best decision and I have complete faith He will. If you know anything about Roger's purchasing habits and my research habits, I'm pretty sure the Lord has equipped us with the ability to make a good decision.

It's weird. I've been looking forward to this day the whole semester. But so far it's not the fireworks and champagne popping kind of day I thought it would be. Maybe after this class is over or next week after the final. I kept thinking I should do something to celebrate like indulge in a kolache for breakfast. I know, pretty lame. But I'll control myself and celebrate with birthday cake this weekend. Off to read...

Dec 3, 2007

Prayer Request: Mrs. Fore

A very dear family friend, Mrs. Regina Fore, had a stroke this afternoon (Monday, Dec 3rd) and was taken to St. Joseph's hospital. Mrs. Fore is a friend, sister, mother and grandmother to our family. She and her husband, Dan, are institutions in the Smetana Community. My mom and sister-in-law went to the hospital this afternoon and were able to see her and Mr. Fore and their daughter Gina. It may be too early to know a prognosis yet, but an MRI revealed a lot of blood on her brain. I will keep you posted on her condition. Please keep the Fore family in your prayers, praying for the Lord to meet all their needs during this time. Thank you.

Dec 1, 2007

Feeling Better

After meeting with a writing expert at the University Writing Center Friday morning, not only am I almost finished with my research paper, but I feel a lot better. She helped me rewrite my thesis to match my research and understand how to expand my qualitative analysis which were my two largest issues. Thursday night I was able to go through the whole document and correct the easy stuff. It wasn't a lot but I didn't want to waste time with her over silly things. It's funny, for a "writing expert" her spelling was awful. I didn't want to correct her out of respect but she finally mentioned her spelling was really bad and she depends on spell check. Reminds me of most accountants and their dependence on a calculator. But she was really nice and helpful. She's a graduate history student from Del Rio or somewhere close to the border. And of course, there was a fire alarm during my appointment so we had to evacuate the building. But while we were standing there waiting to be allowed back in, she & I talked about how she came to be in graduate school (couldn't get a job as a teacher) and her thesis topic (something to do with how home economics in schools affects people as adults and parents), which I thought was very interesting. Although most of my appointment time was lost to the fire alarm, she stayed as late as she could, but what we did get through helped me figure out the remaining questions I had planned to cover with her. I greatly appreciate her help and the fact that the university even has a writing center. More people should take advantage of it. The writing center consultants attend trainings for their position. I think it would be good to attend some trainings like that not just for future graduate school plans but also for work. Any improvement in writing would be beneficial in many areas. I'll look into that after I graduate next year.

But I am happy to be feeling better and not so worried. Now I can catch up on my anthropology reading and study earlier for my final so I can get an even better grade. I'm excited to be able to finally have the time to get to some personal reading also. I've been wanting to read Nehemiah for about two weeks now, but I might have to push it aside to read 1st Corinthians. Austin Stone is starting a new message series tomorrow so I'd like to read ahead a bit to be better prepared. Any Bible reading would be good for me.

Roger is at the 108th Army-Navy game today in Baltimore. Go Army! I hope he has a great time. He deserves it. And I hope he stays warm. It's 41 degrees with 27% humidity which feels like 36 degrees according to They were supposed to wear their uniforms and he was concerned because he does not have all the new ACU warm weather gear yet. But they were told yesterday that they could wear civilian clothes and they were getting some kind of jacket. I hope it's not another one of those huge leather Army jackets like he got when he was in the Navy hospital last year. It was way too big for Roger plus it's not really usable here in Texas. And I know this is ungrateful, but it was ugly. It was like a large leather high school letter jacket with really big appliques. I could see it in the inner city, but not in Austin, Texas. I think we may still have it in the tub of winter clothes in our attic or we gave it away to someone. I can't remember.

But he took his camera with him so he will probably get some great pictures and I'll ask him to post some. I don't know if this is also a Stripe assignment for him, but I'm sure they wouldn't mind some great pictures of the WTB (Warrior Transition Brigade) soldiers at the game. I was able to meet all the Stripe staff while I was there during Thanksgiving. They are really nice and care a lot about Roger. I'm glad he had them to lean on during this time and a productive, therapeutic way to spend his time there also. He's learned a lot and of course, his photography bug bite got deeper while he was there. I brought back a whole stack of newspapers with his pictures published in them. Although being separated from him this past seven months was hard at times, it really was a blessing for Roger to get more precise physical and occupational therapy and continued medical care. Plus all the cool things he got to do, people he got to meet and opportunities he would have never received. And it was a blessing for me to be able to concentrate on school this semester since it was a tough one.

Okay, enough sappy stuff. I'm off to run errands I haven't been able to do in weeks and months. I have a list! The best one of course is to return all my library books I used for my research paper. I'm really excited about that. Then I'll drive down the street and pick up some paint color samples for our spare bedroom. I'm really excited about that. I can't wait to paint the samples on the wall to help figure out what color we like best. I want to live with them for a while to see what grows on me. If I can wait for Roger, he'll have a say once he gets home for Christmas leave.