Jan 31, 2008

Cathedral and News from a Friend

You know that sometimes I go on trips to get me the heck out of Walter Reed during the week. I saw that there was one going to the Washington National Cathedral this past Wed and I had to go. I have already been there several times, but the place is just so darn beautiful. Every time I go I find a different aspect that is just calling out to me. This time it was the light coming through the stained glass windows. The past few times I have gone in the summer, but this time it is winter. And the sun lays low in the sky for most of the day. From the time we got there until we left, the light shined through the stained glass and painted a heavenly and just beautiful splash of color on the walls and floors. I just could not keep my lens off of the resulting splendor.

We started off the trip by having lunch at this place called Booeymonger. I ordered a chicken cheese steak with light mayo. After a few minutes, they yelled that a cheese steak with light mayo was ready. Well, I didn’t order that, so I waited. Next they got on the sound system and started yelling. Since people that ordered food after me got theirs, I figured they screwed up and I’d better go up there. Sure enough, my name was on the receipt for the cheese steak (why didn’t they just call my name?). I clarified that I wanted a chicken cheese steak and I sat down. But then they kept calling out the cheese steak! I started to wonder if they were ever going to make it right and they did. They called me up and I got my sandwich. But then they called out for the cheese steak with light mayo again… sigh. The sandwich was pretty good and then we headed over to the Cathedral.

We were in a big tour bus and the driver was concerned that he was going to have to park on the street like usual, but they just finished constructing an underground bus lobby, as they call it, with enough room for about 15 buses. You get off the bus and get right on an elevator. They also completed a new underground parking garage. They claim that the Cathedral, which started construction in 1907 and has been continuously under construction, was finally completed in 2007. 100 years of construction!

As I said before, the Cathedral was as beautiful as always. This trip was organized by the Walter Reed Pastoral staff and so we attended a short service (the Cathedral is Episcopal). It was very similar a Catholic service, but easier to understand and follow, IMO. Then we were treated to an explanation of how the huge pipe organ there works and a recital. I wandered around close to that area and snapped some pictures. When the recital began, I wandered away but was still able to hear the organ as its rich sound filled every cavity of the Cathedral. It was quite amazing! After that, a docent gave us a tour of some of the features of the Cathedral and told us some of the history behind it. She focused a bit on the War Chapel and then took us around the Cathedral. After that, it was time for tea!

We made our way up to the 7th floor observation deck and enjoyed some very nice tea along with small sandwiches and other sweet goodies. We really had a great time. I took quite a few photos of everything and they can be found here on Flickr: Washington National Cathedral.

Moving on, I have a few birthdays programmed in my Outlook and I noticed that today was my friend Yoli’s birthday (Jan 31). On my drive to run an errand, I decided to give her a call to wish her a great day. Yoli and I met in the 8th grade, back in 1988, so I have known her for 20 years. She is one of a few people that I still have kept in touch with after all these years. Throughout High School I remember Yoli was one of the only people our age that had a job. She worked at a Christian Bookstore. At the time, I thought that was neat. I also remember how she always seemed to glow... She just has this happiness that made an impression on me and I secretly yearned for. We never talked about it and in 1993 we graduated. I moved to Texas and I stayed in touch with Yoli. One time when I went back to LA to visit, Yoli invited me to church with her. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited to go. I remember asking her questions about church and it was then that I realized what it was that she had that I was looking for, the Lord. I mean, I knew who God was, but I didn’t really understand Christianity that well. Shortly after I got back home to Texas, I got a package in the mail. Yoli sent me a bible… my first and very own bible. I still have it.

We didn’t talk that much more for a few years but we did still keep in touch. I don’t remember what led to it, but she and her husband Matt and daughter Kailee came to visit Holly and I during the summer of 2005 when we lived in Arlington, VA. And then Matt was in town in Nov 2006 and came to visit us again for dinner. We had a great time and we have stayed in touch since then. Fast forward to today… Yoli shared with me that she was diagnosed with stage 3b breast cancer about two weeks ago. They are going to treat her with chemo first to see what happens and then most likely perform a mastectomy and go forward from there. She had her first Chemo treatment this past Monday. I don’t want to get into all the details because you can find them here at Yoli’s blog. She’s a sweet gal and I know that she’s going to pull through this. Being a cancer patient myself, I was able to understand some of the feelings she’s having, so that was nice. I prayed for her on the phone and offered to lend my ear to them whenever they might need it. It just breaks my heart to know that they are now going through this trial. Yoli was the first person to put me on the right path to accepting Christ into my life… thank you so much Yoli. I am asking all of you to please pray for Yoli and her family while they go through all of this.

Jan 30, 2008

Finally! The Attic Is Done.

Well, I finished the attic today. It took me half the day, including the hour I sat up there laughing and looking at stuff in boxes from high school and early college years. I found stuff I can use for my graduation party and Roger's MRI's from when he was 13 in California. He and his neurosurgeon have been wanting to see those. I don't know how they can be in good condition from being up there all these years without being covered or in anything. I looked through them and didn't see any thing in the area where his tumor was, but I'm not an expert. I don't know what I'm looking at. I got to a point when I realized how close I was to being done and I decided to just keep going until it was finished. I nailed down the plywood I previously put down Saturday then moved everything from under the eaves over to that area. It filled up the entire space plus I finally put the Christmas tubs up there. Talk about a pain in the you know what. I really shouldn't have put those tubs up there by myself, but if I wait for help, nothing will ever get done. I did think once or twice, "You're going to hurt yourself Holly," but that didn't stop me. You get to a point when you just can't take it anymore and you have to do something about it. That actually happens to me a lot. That's how I find motivation to clean my house. Ha! Sad, but true.

Back to the attic. Moving all that stuff revealed a couple of pieces of plywood up there already so I used those and cut some leftover pieces from this project to cover almost all of the area under the eaves. Then I proceeded to move all our stuff around in a more organized manner. Only short term organized manner. When Roger gets home for good, he's going to help me go through every single thing in that attic. We have boxes of stuff from our lives before we got together and we seriously need to get rid of more than half of it. I think there were about twenty empty boxes from every electronic, appliance or set of pots or dishes we own. I understand the reason to keep them for ease of packing for our next move, but keeping all those boxes goes against every grain of sense in my body. I really don't like clutter and all that stuff up there kills me. But I have some patience to wait to toss or recycle or freecycle it all.

Oh it feels good to be done. Of course I'll feel even better once we go through everything up there and the other boxes left in the garage. I could move them to the attic, but they can wait for Roger's return. I can finally give my dad his pneumatic nail gun & long hose back. I'm sure he can use it. You think by owning a home there's always something to do. Most of the stuff there is to do on modern homes is stuff we create for ourselves to make our lives easier or more pleasant. On a farm, there really is always something to do, to fix, to repair, to make, to make bigger, etc. You get my drift. And my dad's fresh egg business is growing so much he added onto the chicken barn recently only to realize he's going to have to do it again. Demand for your product is not a bad thing. But with my dad's health issues, it would be easier to need to expand if he could work every day. He actually went to the doctor today. He was going to come to Austin with me yesterday and stay until I went back to A&M on Thursday for class, but he wasn't feeling good. I'm glad he didn't come after all. I think I would have had to take him back to Bryan after all. His knees were swollen this morning so my mom called and made an appointment for him this morning and they gave him a bunch of medicine. I don't know if it has to do with the usual fluid movement issues he has because of his hardened blood vessels, if he has gout again or if it's something new. And when he's going through all this junk, he doesn't feel good so he's not the most pleasant person either. Sometimes he can really fit the bill of an old, ornery, stubborn cowboy. If you've seen Lonesome Dove, think Woodrow.

Anyway, so I'm done for the day. I'm starving. What else is new? I'm going to eat a snack before I jump in the tub because I can't stand myself. I had to take my clothes off in the garage before I came into the house because I was filthy. It's easier to scoot around on your butt & knees up in the attic so I was covered in dirt and dust. I'm going to work a little bit after my shower then get ready for class tomorrow and yoga before I go to bed. My back in sore and I'm stiff. I seriously have been doing yoga every day just to stay flexible and not get stiff from all this work and all the swimming. I am really enjoying swimming. I could tell yesterday that my endurance is increasing. So I'm looking forward to being able to do my workout plan completely. Right now I'm doing a modified version of it. I'm still swimming an hour, but not exactly the same as the workout. It's all building endurance. I will eventually have to swim longer. And once the semester ends and I no longer have to go to A&M anymore, I'm going to start looking for a gym here with a great indoor pool for Roger and myself to swim. I'd like to swim at least three days a week.

Roger had a photo shoot early this morning for the newspaper then he went to the National Cathedral on one of those field trips they set up for the soldiers. But of course, he takes his camera so the newspaper can use the photos if they need to fill space or decided to do a story about it. I really hope he blogs about it because it was a tour and tea. I can't wait for him to talk about the finger foods they had at the tea. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. No, actually I wish I was there. He said everything was delicious and the tea was stronger than he expected. He went to a Washington Wizards game last night. These field trips make it possible to get away from Walter Reed and forget the crazy stupidity that goes on there for a while. Okay, enough for today, I'm off to grab a bite. Oh, check out the pictures of the finished product in the Flickr set House Work. Later!

Jan 26, 2008

More Work On The Attic

After sleeping in late, cleaning the bathrooms, eating breakfast, checking my email and starting some laundry, I worked on the attic some more. I finished the other side except for nailing the boards down. Since I started late in the afternoon, I decided to call it quits when I realized it was 8:00 p.m. I notched four joists for electrical wiring, cut the piece of plywood that was already up there, cut another piece from the left over plywood I used on the other side and used a left over piece of MDF (that's medium density fiberboard) from a project three years ago to make a patchwork floor. I don't really care how it looks as long as it's sturdy enough to hold junk. When I finish my homework assignment, I will nail the boards down and move more boxes and stuff from under the eaves to the newest area with flooring to get ready to put more plywood down under the eaves for more storage. I'm about to eat some dinner, I'm starving! And then I'm going to start working on my homework assignment before I catch the new Trading Spaces on TLC with the return of Paige Davis as the host. I might have already missed it, but it will show again in an hour. I posted more pictures from today in the House Work set in Flickr. Enjoy!

I had to run an errand before I actually starting notching the plywood. It gave me a chance to go through the car wash. It was such a beautiful day today. High of 71 and sunny. I was able to open all the windows and air out the house. It was way too nice to be stuck inside. Lots of people were outside today in my neighborhood. Of course, there are those people who always stay inside their house no matter how pretty it is outside. I just have to give up on those people after a while. I spoke with my doctor's nurse yesterday afternoon. The x-rays of my jaw were negative for fracture or anything like that. But since I am still having pain, she is referring me to an oral surgeon just to be safe. Hey, I don't mind. Ever since Roger was diagnosed with brain cancer, every worst nightmare runs through my head when I have strange pain or symptoms. I think things like, "I wonder if I have bone cancer or a tumor growing near the joint." I don't mess around anymore. And when people tell me of some strange thing going on with them, even the littlest things, I'm like, "You better get to a doctor ASAP!" Don't wait too long with pain or strange symptoms. The sooner you get it checked out, the better for treatment and ease of mind. Okay, enough rambling. I'm hungry!

Jan 25, 2008

Religiously Transmitted Diseases

I drive to Texas A&M every Tuesday and Thursday listening to my favorite local radio station, The River (102.3). And when I lose the River, I switch over to KLOVE (92.1, 97.1 & 106.3). Sometimes I can switch back to the River but if I can’t, I move over to a Houston radio station, Country Legends (97.1). I love that station. It’s my favorite country music and I wish I could get it all the time. When I can’t get any radio stations, I turn to my MP3 player, a CD or for two more months, XM Satellite radio. XM is nice when you can’t get a decent radio station. But I’m frugal and will not be subscribing to it when my free three month subscription runs out. I already have a 4GB MP3 player, which holds more than enough music for me. Why would I throw that kind of money away? I only listen to a few channels as it is.

Anyway, Tuesday morning I switched over to KLOVE and the DJ was talking about a book he is reading called Religiously Transmitted Diseases by Ed Gungor. The title is misleading and it’s supposed to be. It is targeted to the church or believer who has lost “the joy of their belief” as one reviewer stated. The DJ spoke about one chapter in particular regarding judgment and giving people second chances. It sounded really interesting and funny. I wish I could read it, because I know I experience periods of “spiritual disease” and would benefit from this book. But as the semester has begun and I already have another book I’m trying to finish, I must add this to the list. I found a really cute article regarding his book plus a test you can take to see if you suffer from an RTD. Some of the diseases he lists are humorous, like spiritual elephantiasis, evangelistic rabies, afluenza, last days flu (I know people with this one.), sovereignty shingles and inferiorphobia. Most of the reviews said it was funny. I can’t wait to read it. I’m sure I’ll be suffering from some of those viruses then too.

Yesterday was the one month anniversary of my new car. I have already put over 1200 miles on it. And I still love it. But I need to wash it. I keep forgetting to call my doctor about my jaw x-rays. I'm going to do it now. The muscle relaxers aren't helping with the joint jaw pain, but they sure are helping with menstrual cramps.

Jan 23, 2008

Half Way Done

Wow, I'm bushed. I just finished putting flooring in half the attic. After I worked a little bit this morning, I cut my pieces of plywood. What was great was I didn't have to cut them down anymore to get them to fit through the attic stair hole. That was a relief. And using my dad's pneumatic nail gun made securing the plywood to the joists so easy. I moved all the tubs, boxes, luggage, leftover tile and bags of grout over to the side with flooring to get ready to work on that side of the attic. I wasn't sure what I was going to find under the piece of plywood that was already there, but it turned out to not be so bad. I only found a small Christmas decoration of fake holly, some kind of decorative wicker racket thing and a bottle of light beer. Although I'll never know for sure, I bet it was left behind by the construction workers when they built the house. I've been around construction my whole life and I know they drink a little beer. There was something else under that plywood I knew was going to be there, electrical wiring. Although I'm calling it quits for today, my next step is to cut some notches on the top side of the joists for the electrical wires to fit into so the plywood lays flat across the joists and doesn't kink the wire. Don't want to create a fire hazard. When I'm finished with that and putting more wood down, I will again move more boxes and stuff from under the eaves into that area. Then I can assess if I need to put more flooring down there just for storage.

It was really cold outside (34 degrees) when I was doing all this. So I pulled my car out of the garage and shut the doors. I pulled a fan we have to the doorway so it would pull warm air from the house into the garage. Since I knew the circular saw and nail gun would be loud, I wore my drummer's ear plugs while I was cutting and nailing. I did eventually warm up a bit with all the moving and carrying heavy items around. I even broke a sweat. I'll need to do some yoga tonight though for my back and from swimming an hour yesterday. All in the name of good health.

Now I am going to grab some lunch because I'm starving. Then I will start some anthropology homework and reading. We were given an assignment in class yesterday that's due next Monday. It's only worth five points, but anything will help in the end towards getting an A in my class. Actually I added up all the points each test is worth plus this assignment and you can technically make 105 in the class. So there's no excuse for not making an A. Okay, I'm off to eat lunch. Oh, I almost forgot, I posted pictures from today in a set in Flickr that has more house work pictures. Enjoy!

Jan 22, 2008

The Holy Land

Okay, my class, Introduction to Biblical Archaeology is starting to get interesting. Now that I’ve starting doing the assigned readings this weekend, my interest has been perked. The readings start with understanding what Bible Archaeology is by understanding the geography of the area which also affects the political (and religious) aspects of the region. And we’re also getting into the history of the region. I’ve never understood completely the conflict with Israel, Palestine, Jordan, etc. I mean, I understand they are fighting over who should own Jerusalem because it is a holy city to three faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But I’ve never been able to keep it all straight. So I think this part of the class is going to set it all straight for me and help me to finally understand it all. I wasn’t a huge fan of going to the Holy Land before, but since becoming a Christian and learning more about the Bible and where it took place, I’ve become more interested in it. But I can feel this class is really going to enhance my interest in it and I am becoming more and more intrigued with going to see the places I read about in the Bible. I do think it would be really neat to stand on the land looking at the exact places some of the stories of the Old and New Testament took place. I wonder if there are any walls of Jericho still standing. I can’t wait to get further in the readings. I’m glad we have four weeks of introduction. I’m going to need at least four weeks to keep it all straight.

As for what’s going on with Roger’s case, I’m hoping he will blog sometime this week with the latest updates. He has spoken with his assigned attorney and will meet with him twice before the hearing on Feb 13th. But I’ll let him go into detail. Please keep him and his case in your prayers. Thanks!

Jan 21, 2008

Weekend Update

Well, I didn't get much done this weekend except some laundry and homework. I watched way too much TV. I decided to take my meds and not try to cut any plywood. I did manage a 3 mile walk which was so nice. I wanted to keep going once I got to the park, but since I forgot to put on chapstick and it was so windy out, my lips were already burning and I had a mile and a half back to the house. Plus I didn't bring any water with me, thank goodness there's a water fountain at the park. But it was sooo cold, it was hard to drink. I got to see the beginning of some kind of medieval sword or jousting group. I wanted to stick around and watch but they were still gathering and setting up. Their costumes were really neat, some more elaborate than others.

And I also made it to the 7pm service at Austin Stone to the excitement of Chris Tomlin leading worship. Man, that guy is full of the Spirit. Of course, if you didn't know who he was or what he looked like, you'd have no idea who he was other than a lead worshipper. And as usual, the message was good. I won't go into too much detail about the message since you can listen to it here, but I love that I learn many new things about the Bible and God's word every Sunday. And Matt, as usual, was funny. The surprising thing about service this Sunday was the church is now using the entire gym for all four services. It was weird when I first walked into the gym and the new set-up threw me off at first. Then I realized why, they were using the whole gym. Matt announced that he didn't want to have to go to five services on Sundays so to have enough room for everyone they pushed the stage back. Even though I don't particularly care for large or mega churches, I don't get that feeling once the worship and message starts. Another funny thing was during announcements, one of the elders was discussing some of the more interesting classes they are offering this semester and I thought about checking one out. It was called Transitions and it was geared toward senior college students or students who just graduated. So I grabbed a class schedule after service ended to read about it and quickly decided it was not for me. It kind of made me laugh. The description reads, "Graduation brings many changes in your life. This class will look at persevering in Christ and practically preparing for life after college. Topics include finding and investing in a healthy church, handling finances in a Godly way, redemptively engaging your work place." It sounds like a great class and I'm sure there a lot of "kids" who would benefit from it, but after being married for almost five years and in the workplace for fifteen, I don't think I need it anymore. We've experienced enough changes for a while.

So I completely forgot today was a holiday which means my doctor won't get my x-ray results until tomorrow. I hope there's something that can be done for my jaw. It's still hurting and the meds aren't really helping much. I stopped taking the Tylenol with codeine completely. All it did was upset my stomach and make me feel whoozy. The muscle relaxers aren't doing much either. I can't tell if my jaw ever stops hurting. But of course, you know I'm not missing any meals. Nothing will come between me and food. I'll puree it and suck it through a straw if I have to.

Jan 18, 2008

Let The Jokes Begin

Well, today was an interesting end to a good start. I started school on Tuesday. I’m so stoked, my last semester of school. The semester just started and I’m already excited about graduating. I even have a cap and gown already. My mom’s friend Tribbie is letting me borrow her cap and gown from her master’s graduation at A&M this past December. All I have to do is buy a tassel. I tried it on Tuesday night and it’s perfect. That will save me some money. Thanks Trib. We know the graduation will be either May 9th or May 10th. Once the university goes through all the graduation applications they receive by the end of this month, they will know how many students are graduating from each department of each college and will create a schedule to make it all fit into four ceremonies, two on each day.

As for school, my class, Introduction to Biblical Archaeology, so far has been interesting. I’m not as impressed with the professor as I hoped to be. He doesn’t use any of the available resources or technology the university has created to make his life or the students’ life easier, except for electronic course reserves at the library. Those are old hat if you ask me. The class is packed and you have to be in the room at least 15 minutes before to get a decent seat. You know I like to sit in the front and so far I’ve had to sit about half way up. It’s hard to hear him even with a lapel microphone. I’m going to have to start getting there earlier. Even though we got the “this isn’t a Bible study” lecture the first day of class, he mentions specific scripture and stories from the Bible often. He’s even mentioned Jesus a few times. So for me, it is a Bible study because I’m learning things about the Bible I didn’t know previously. For the next four weeks, we are covering the introduction to Biblical archaeology before we get to specific times periods. We will cover 10,000-8,500 BC to the first century AD. So far we’ve been given a 45 page reading assignment. But of course, the textbook for the class isn’t in the bookstore yet, so the prof (actually his teaching assistant) had to scan the pages in for us and post them on the library electronic course reserves. I don’t think it will be in when the bookstore says, (not surprised) so I ordered mine from Amazon.com (saved $7) and it is already on its way to me. I bet I get my book before the bookstore gets them in.

As for swimming, Thursday was my first day to actually swim. It was great. Everything came back to me, breathing, head placement, arm and leg movement, torso twisting, a few strokes. But I’ve decided to take a stroke clinic or two depending on the cost so I can get further instruction and correction. I was tempted to attempt a flip turn on Thursday, but decided to wait a few weeks. I did a workout I found online. It’s part of an eight week program, but I plan to spread it out since it’s been two and a half years since I’ve swam regularly. The pool was set up for 25 meter lanes. I swam for a total of 45 minutes to one hour with a short 15 minute break in between for a fire drill that required the entire rec center to be evacuated. Turns out workers in one area of the rec center smelled gas so the staff decided to be better safe than sorry. I can appreciate that since I was in an area closer to the boilers and natural gas and heat don’t mix well. It was disturbing to my workout and the cold outside didn’t help. We weren’t allowed to go into the locker rooms to grab more clothes or anything, just evacuate.

So there we were soaking wet only in bathing suits and they are telling us we have to go outside where it is 41 degrees. Yeah, we were happy about that. I had one towel already and they gave us as many towels as we needed plus these huge insulated parkas the swim team uses. I was happy to see those. They helped a lot but it was still cold. We finally went back in and I resumed my workout with a short warm-up. I wish I had some kind of abacus or counting frame to keep up with my laps. I swam about 200 meters before we had to evacuate. That was a 9 minute warm-up and the start of a 9 minute skill refresher. Then I did a 22 minute main set plus a 5 minute cool down. I think in total I swam 700 meters which is about 0.44 of a mile, almost half a mile. Not bad for my first swim in two and a half years. I was starving after that and my legs were slow. My right hip hurt a little also, but I have been doing some yoga hip openers to help with that. I’ll be doing yoga everyday to combat the pain I’ll feel from all this swimming. The time of day I swim isn’t busy at all. I plan to continue swimming at that time. It also gets me in a locker room shower before a swimming conditioning kinesiology class gets out filling up the locker room.

As for the title of this post, two weeks ago I started having pain in my left lower jaw. It has progressively gotten worse, but slowly. I have no idea what I did to my jaw. (Here’s where the jokes begin.) There has not been any popping, grinding, ear pain or headache, just pain near the joint when I chew (more jokes), but not any when I talk (even more jokes). Around Tuesday of this week it actually started getting a little stiff and was tough for me to open. So on Wednesday night I decided I better go to the doctor before it gets worse and I can’t open my mouth at all. (Insert more jokes here.) How would I eat? I’d starve! I did some research online about jaw pain because I wasn’t sure if I should go to the dentist or my PCM. The census online was to go to a TMJ specialist, but I am not comfortable with my dentist at all and on Thursday morning I made an appointment with my PCM. By Thursday evening, thank goodness after dinner, the pain started moving up the side of my face and giving me a headache. I did not feel well. I had previously tried Tylenol and Advil but neither helped. At my appointment, my doctor examined the area externally and internally (which wasn't pleasant) and decided to send me for x-rays. She also gave me prescriptions for a muscle relaxer and Tylenol 3 with codeine. I went straight to the lab for the x-rays hoping they’d be able to get the results to her the same day. After a 30 minute wait in the lobby and ten x-rays in different positions, I was informed the results wouldn’t get to her until Monday. So I have to wait to see what’s going on.

I turned in my prescriptions and ran all the rest of my errands before picking them up to go home and take them. I was planning to work when I got home, but that was before I found out I was going to be prescribed those meds. I wanted to get them in my system as soon as possible. I ate a small meal as to not have an empty stomach then took a half pill of the muscle relaxer and one Tylenol 3 with codeine as the pharmacist recommended. I waited a while and felt nothing. So I took the other half of the muscle relaxer and that helped. I was actually able to chew with no pain. I started to feel a little woozy when I stood up from the Tylenol 3 with codeine and decided I better stay down for a while and that I didn't need the second one yet. I think it has worn off a little, hence being able to blog, but I can’t take anymore for a bit. Darn.

My plan for tomorrow was to go for a long walk in the late morning as it warmed up to 52 degrees and cut plywood for the attic in the early afternoon. I’m not sure how I will feel tomorrow when I wake up, but I can’t drive or operate machinery on either medication. So I have two options, go with the pain until after I do those two things or take the meds and not do anything at all. I probably shouldn’t go for too long of a walk on muscle relaxers and Tylenol 3 with codeine. I wonder if I could walk at all. I was really hoping to be done with one side of the attic this weekend. Oh well, they say when you own a home you never run out of things to do. So putting that off a little longer won’t make a big difference. It will also give me time to hit my family up for help. :)

Jan 14, 2008

Project Gutenburg

I came across this article, "Peruse the world's best public library" and thought I'd share it. It's about Project Gutenburg which you can download 22,000 classic books for free. And they are adding more every day. I recommend reading the article first so you can get an idea of how and why the project began before you jump over to the website. I think it's a really awesome thing they are doing to save great literature, but I also think it's a great way to read books without having to buy them or if you have transportation issues getting to a library to check them out. Also imagine riding the subway and reading a classic on your palm or smartphone or whatever device you have. You wouldn't have to lug a huge book on the subway, save space and stop getting dirty looks from other passengers because you're taking up so much space because you have to turn the pages while you read. Yes, the DC rush hour riders can be that nit-picky. You should see how they act when you're trying to read the Express which is regular newspaper size! I hope many of you partake in this great service.

I had a relaxing but productive weekend. I got a few things done on the house that Roger & I didn't have time to do while he was home. I was able to get all the Christmas decorations down and packed into tubs, hung some decorative metal gates on the front porch, got rid of another box in the garage by putting all our photo albums in a basket under one of the end tables, and started working on the attic flooring by nailing boards across the inside of the exterior walls for the plywood to sit on since the joists are flush with the wall and the plywood doesn't have anything to rest on. It felt good to get those done. Now I start the rest of the list on Wednesday. Wednesday I plan to cut the plywood pieces I need and place them in the attic. I know I will have to cut them in half to get them up there through the attic stairway hole. If I have time, I will also nail them in and move stuff from another area to that area and start working on the flooring in the next area. I borrowed my dad's pneumatic nail gun and man, what a life saver! No pre-drilling or manual hammering. It took me a whole five minutes to get those exterior wall boards put up. Pneumatic tools are a life saver. Thanks dad!

Today is going to be filled with work related tasks and getting ready for school tomorrow. Texas universities officially started today, but my class is on Tuesday/Thursday, so tomorrow will be all about school. I'm also going to start swimming two days a week before class since I'll be there anyway and the Natatorium at A&M is unbelievable. I have to pay the Student Recreation Center fee anyway, so I might as well use it. By the way, my dad helped build the Student Rec Center that holds the Natatorium many, many years ago. I'm hoping to figure out a time when the lap lanes aren't busy so I don't have to circle with anyone. Indoor pools are rare here so they get packed at certain times. Before I moved to Virginia, I used to swim at the downtown Austin YMCA's indoor pool and after work the lap lanes were crazy busy. I usually had to circle with three other people. That's not fun, especially when only one person may be a trained swimmer and the rest of us aren't. Fast swimmers throw my whole workout off. They push me harder, but that tires me out faster. So we'll see how crazy the university pool is and I'll let you know how it goes.

So as you can see, I didn't do a whole lot this weekend, but I am really happy with what I achieved especially all the relaxing. I went to the 5:00 p.m. service at Austin Stone last night since I worked in the morning on the attic. It was a really good message. We're still going through 1 Corinthians and yesterday Pastor Matt covered 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 and his two points were 1) we must remember church leadership does have authority in our lives and we must honor the leaders of the church, but our loyalty is to Jesus Christ and we must never submit to the point that it defames or dishonors Jesus and 2) our hearts need to be in love with the message not the messenger because God moves and works through men. The church in Corinth was doing both of these. His over all point was if there is ever a situation or time where there is a division or argument or quarrel in the church, he hoped we would be the one to stand up for unity. The church was all a buzz because all the new classes, trainings, forums, etc are starting up for this semester. They have a lot of different classes to offer. I read through all of them and there are many I'd like to take, but I've decided to stick with the one day forums this semester. The thought of a 5-10 week study is more than I want to handle right now. But there are some good ones. The message was good and funny, so if you get a chance you should listen to it by clicking on the link above. And of course, the worship was moving, like always.

Jan 11, 2008

Boogie Back To Texas

Well, I boogied my way back to Texas today. Even after taking off late because of an approaching storm and turbulence all along the way, it flew by thankfully because it was a non-stop and I was preoccupied with a great book (Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge). Roger drove me to BWI for the flight and dropped me off at the curb. I wanted him to come in with me, but I knew if he came in I would cry. I was already feeling it well up inside me as we were driving up the beltway and I didn't want to cry. Plus I didn't use waterproof mascara this morning and knew if I cried I'd feel and look miserable the whole way. And I hate the feeling that I look like something's wrong. I don't want to look like an emotional wreck. I miss Roger a lot already. He was home for two weeks and I got so used to him being here. I guess that's why I avoided going to bed for so long tonight. Even when I started to head to bed, as I passed our bed walking into the bathroom to get ready, my first thought was, "My first night in bed without my husband again." I hope this next two months goes by really fast and he doesn't have to stay longer, again. We had a great additional week together. Although it's tough staying at Walter Reed and I was happy to come home, being there with him through all the things he has to do everyday made me wish I didn't have anything to do and I could stay with him. But we both know me being here is best. I'm finishing school and taking care of our house. I'm glad I was able to drive back with him and spend some additional time together. I'll take any I can get. You know how people take their spouses for granted? Yes, everyone does. I feel like there's no way I could take Roger for granted after all this. But I know, as human as I am, I'm sure I will as time goes by. I hope over the years I'm reminded not to. Maybe we should hang his radiation mask on the wall instead of sitting on a closet shelf. Hopefully how we have both changed through this and what we've learned about our love and God's love for us will remain in our hearts, always.

Jan 5, 2008

We Made It!

Thanks for the prayers. They worked. We made it safely to Walter Reed in DC about 9:30 p.m. We arrived later than expected due to the above. Lovely DC traffic. Can you believe that at 9:30 on a Saturday night there is traffic that bad?! We found out later a car accident was blocking three lanes on the beltway. In that same traffic report we heard something about an airplane down on a roadway. We were like what the heck?! We thought the bad drivers on the interstate was crazy but this takes the cake. After unloading the truck, Roger checked in with the CQ on duty, we ate some dinner while watching the end of the Steelers/Jaguars game, then got ready for bed. So finally after driving 1560 miles I can say, "Good night!"

460mi to DC

We left Nashville an hour later than planned... We sat down for a bite with Justin and Molly around 8am and all of a sudden it was 9! Anyway, we're doing well. It is cloudy today and it sprinkled earlier. We just got on I81 from I40 and we should be in DC before 9pm due to the time change. I am about to take the helm.


Sent from my AT&T Tilt mobile phone

In Nashville

We pulled in to our lodging for the night a little after 8:30pm CT and after 800 miles.

A few months ago in VA, I stayed at Ryan's house one weekend and met Kyla, who is pictured above. I could tell from my short time around her that was very spirit filled. I knew she was moving to Nashville in the future and we kept in touch. When I knew for sure that we were going to be driving through TN, I contacted her to see if she could help us find a place to stay. Long story short, she hooked us up with a fabulous couple, Justin and Molly, who are taking care of us quite nicely. And I got to see Kyla again! Kyla, thanks for your help.

Tomorrow we make the last push of just over 600 miles to DC. It should take us just over ten hours. Thanks for your prayers!

Sent from my AT&T Tilt mobile phone

Jan 4, 2008

Half way there

It is just about 2pm and we have driven 427 miles and the GPS says we have 447 to go. We left the house around 0730 CT (later than we planned) but if we're about half way I figure we should be there close to 2100 CT.

We're about to stop for a bite, stretch, visit the facilities and get back on the road. Weather has been great and the drivers not too stupid. More later!


Sent from my AT&T Tilt mobile phone

DC or Bust

We're on our way to DC. Please pray for our safety. Thanks, Roger & Holly.

Jan 3, 2008

Christmas 2007 Photos

Before we leave for the drive back to DC, I better post all those pictures I've been promising. Because you know if I don't do it now, I'll forget or not do it at all.

And since everyone has already received our Christmas card this year (Joy, your's was returned so it's on its way now.), I'm starting the set with that picture because Wal-Mart over-exposed our Christmas cards and frankly, I don't like the result. So I want everyone to see the real picture and know it is much better than the Christmas card.

So click on the picture below or the Flickr link to the right so see all our adventures while Roger was home on leave for Christmas. Happy New Year!

Jan 2, 2008

Roger's Christmas Presents

I mentioned in a post about a month ago that I was working on a personal Christmas present for Roger but I couldn't say what it was because he would find out. Well, it's after Christmas and he knows what it is now, so I'll share it with you all. Since Roger has had many photographs published in the Walter Reed post newspaper, The Stripe, our stack of newspapers was getting quite large. And I started to think about what the heck we were going to do with all of them. He wanted to keep them for memories and proof of his published photos but there had to be a better way to store them. Not to mention every time he wanted to show someone his handy work, they would have to strum through pages of pages of newspapers to find only his photos. So I thought about it for a bit and decided he needed something he could just hand someone kind of like a model's portfolio. Then it struck me, duh, photographer's have portfolios also. So I did some research online for a few weeks then went to our favorite local photography store, Precision Camera to see if they had the supplies I would need. I wanted to also see the items in person before I had to order online. It would give me a better idea of what I wanted or needed to order. But of course, they had exactly what I needed and cheap. As soon as the semester ended, I organized the newspapers in date order and the Sunday before Roger flew home, I printed blank pages with the citation for each article one of Roger's photographs were used in. It took me all night. I didn't realize how many of his photographs were published. Especially since the Stripe doesn't have a photographer on staff at all, Roger's used as much as possible. I almost filled up the entire portfolio which has 24 pages, front and back, so 48 pages total. And some pages have several photos on a page. He had many photos published on the front page. I was quite impressed with his work. I took some pictures of the portfolio to give you an idea of what it looks like and I will post those tomorrow with all the other pictures from Roger's Christmas leave. There are only four pages left in the portfolio and I know it will fill up soon. Now that he's going back for at least another three months, I'm sure the newspaper staff will take full advantage of him. And many of his photos have been published in other periodicals and brochures, so those will go in there as soon as Roger gets a copy of them. Some of his pictures are being published in a USO brochure. I'll probably have to buy another portfolio. That's not a bad thing though.

So his other Christmas present, although he's estatic about it, is for both of us, but really for me. We normally have five remotes to control the TV, cable box, dvd/cd player, stereo receiver, etc. And it drove me crazy. So I got him one of those universal remotes. Not the simple, easy ones. This one is a bad, mamma jamma. Roger had to download software to the computer and program all our devices into it and program all the settings for each possible activity we would do. And no, I did not pay the price shown on that link above. I did my research and found it way cheaper. It controls up to 15 devices and can even control your lights and curtains if you have those wired too. Of course, we don't but it is so nice to push one button on one remote and all the devices you need to turn on and go to a certain setting do it. I definitely don't miss all those other remotes.