Friday, October 31, 2008

Leaving for Cali today...

I will be leaving for California today around noon. I've waited to visit my Dad until he and Ingrid felt it was time. A few weeks ago Ingrid finally said she thought I should come. I wanted to go this summer but they somehow felt that my coming would mean there was no hope that my Dad would recover, that I would be coming to say good-bye.
Sadly, his condition has worsened in the 3 weeks since I made my airline reservation and yesterday he was hospitalized after a fall. Ingrid has her hands full as she has made herself completely responsible for his care and I'm sure it's quite overwhelming.
From what Ingrid has told me he is in quite a bit of pain though won't take anything stronger than Vicodin. The masses in his chest are now pressing on his bronchials so it's become hard to breathe and also pressing on his esophogus so he can't really eat, only drink. He sleeps much of the time but still keeping fighting. His will to live is strong, considering he's been battling this lung cancer, already at Stage 4 when diagnosed, for 15 months now. It' so sad. He's only 74 years old and up until a few years ago seemed so strong and full of life.
I'm only staying for the weekend and will fly back to Michigan on Monday. I usually love going to California. I'm sure this visit will be quite different.

My Dad and I, a few years ago during happier times...

Have a safe and happy weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Dear Andy!!!

Today is Andy's birthday! This picture was taken when he and Amber last visited Michigan, back in September. Since Amber was driving Howard's new toy, Andy folded himself up and climbed into the back seat. Thankfully the top was down so his head was free of the low roof line.

I'm sure he will be enjoying his special day even though he will be working most of it. He'll be receiving calls from his wonderful family and opening up all his cards and gifts!! Yes Andy, the package is in the mail! I hope it gets there in time!!!
Have a happy day!


P.S. And just so you can add even more joy to your day, I couldn't resist including these:

"Happy Birthday Andy!"

"OMG, I totally forgot to mail your card!"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dreary, chilly, rainy, windy

This is how the weather looked most of Saturday. Just gray and it was cool.

We managed to get the pups to the park for a little frisbee. Friday night we had bowling so I wasn't able to take them after work. They were ready for some exercise on Saturday!

I forgot to mention that I took Zoe to the vet Friday before last. She just needed her rabies and distemper shot, heartworm check, etc. But the truly amazing news is that she's lost 9 pounds since last year! She's down from 38 to 29 pounds! The vet was impressed and said her coat was shiny and she looked like she was in great health.

There's not much else to tell. Howard spent most of his weekend working from his easy chair. I did a little baking (bread). I attempted another pizza but the results were disastrous! I couldn't get the stupid pizza off the peel and it resulted in an awful mess and no pizza for dinner. Guess I'll have to do a little more research.
Today I went to Kohl's for a little retail therapy. I needed some new pants for work. I hit the jackpot and found 3 pair! Later in the day I took the pups to the field again. We had rain this morning for quite a while but most of it had soaked in so I didn't have to worry about them getting all wet.

What would this blog be without some pictures of them getting big air. Although lately my camera doesn't seem to be able to focus like it used to. Many of the pictures are blurry. But you get the idea. Charlie is getting better and once in a while he will actually beat Zoe to the frisbee and go for it! He seems to be a better tracker than she is. She starts out, loses focus, and that's when he swoops in!

I have no idea what was happening in this picture. I can't even see his head!!

Here's Charlie, all snuggled up in his bed with his football. It's a dog's life!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another lovely Fall weekend...

This is always such a beautiful time of year. The weather is cooling off, the sun is bright, no clouds in the sky, brilliant blue skies, gorgeous trees with all their Fall colors. I took the pups to the high school soccer field yesterday and the trees around the pond were just beautiful. They played and played and didn't want to stop.

Look at the color of that sky!! And isn't Charlie so handsome??

Last week at school was exhausting! We are into our first week of taking the MEAP which for those who aren't from Michigan might not know, are our standardized tests of achievement. Since I now work in special education I have a whole new appreciation for these tests. When I was working in kindergarten and first grade it was our job to wish the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders good luck, write them a couple notes and maybe give them some candy. Now I have to help proctor the tests or else entertain those who aren't able to take the test. On Tuesday I was in the computer lab with 4th and 5th graders who (Thank God) were able to take the test via the computer. The computer basically read them the math questions which, well, I can't even tell you how helpful that was. Then Thursday I had to entertain the ones who aren't "able" to take the test. That was a challenge in itself! Basically 4-5 adults had 20 children contained in one small room with varying degrees of ages and either behavior problems or other diagnosis. Thankfully Friday was a developmental day and even though we had to work, the kids had the day off! We have another week of MEAP coming up and then it will be over.

I got a haircut on Saturday and then worked in the yard for a while. I pulled out all the tomato plants and other flowers that were done. I think we got a pretty hard frost last night so I will have to pull out the rest of the flowers sometime this week or next weekend.

Howard finished staning the deck. Hopefully it will be protected now for what's to come (like snow and winter).

We decided Charlie could behave without having to be crated since he's been doing it since summer so away went the crate and I got both dogs new beds. They are both making good use of them. In fact, they are in them right now as I write this!

This afternoon we went back to the high school and played some more. Howard came with us today so he tried throwing the frisbee towards me so I could get better pictures. Twice Zoe was so focused she ran right into me!

A couple more cute pictures for those dog lovers out there!

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hello Fall!

While it's officially Fall, we are just starting to see a few signs around here. I snapped these trees on the way home from the park with the pups.

The pumpkin stand at the neighborhood church is now open. Usually I get mine there as they have a really good selection and are such nice people.

It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend; warm, sunny, perfect. And since the weather was so nice Howard decided to take on this project.

It's been a couple years since he's power-washed and sealed the decks and this was the perfect weekend for it. He worked hard all weekend on this project even with a killer tooth/gum ache. Apparently he has gotten something under the gum and even though he visited the dentist on Friday it is now worse and today it was very painful. He'll have to make another visit to the dentist tomorrow, probably for some type of antibiotic as he thinks it might be infected now.
We also had bowling Friday night, took 4 points!! I came within 4 pins of winning Ladies High Game! I guess I can't complain since I did win $24 in the mystery game. After bowling we surprised our friend Cheryl, along with about 50 other people, with a surprise 50th birthday party back at her house! She arrived thinking her kids were throwing a party and wasn't too happy about it all at first, until she realized who was at the party!
On Saturday I went with my friend, Sandy, to a craft show. I bought this really cute reversible table runner. On one side it's these cute ghosts for Halloween and on the other side it's Fall leaves. I also bought the pups new I.D. tags, smaller and quieter! Zoe got a purple star and Charlie got a blue paw print.

I baked a couple of loaves of bread this weekend; one olive oil and rosemary and the other a white/wheat combo. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.

I also baked pita bread again.

Since the weather was so nice the pups got to go play at the high school both days. Charlie is getting so much better at catching that frisbee. Zoe plays and plays until she is ready to drop! She gets to panting so hard!

After all that hard play they sleep like little babies!

We even had a little time for a ride in this baby! Isn't it pretty? Howard reports that he still loves it! He'll be able to drive it for another day, at least, as tomorrow is supposed to be gorgeous too!

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where do I begin...

One of my hobbies lately has been reading other people's blogs. Some of the blogs have to do with gardening (real gardening, not just tomatoes in pots), people who own horses (not sure why, maybe because I always wanted to own a horse and never really have), people who live in interesting cities, like Albuquerque, people trying to live a greener life and who like to share their ideas, blogs like that. As I read them I usually find them interesting and sometimes entertaining. It makes me feel that I really don't have that much to say. Life here is pretty mundane. Sure, we do lots of stuff but none of it really seems that interesting. But I do have to keep my 3 loyal readers up on the day to day (or week to week) activities of The Mitchells here in Michigan. So, here we go.
Last weekend Howard and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. There were beautiful roses: a red for each year and a white one for the year to come. Then we drove to downtown Detroit to have dinner at Andiamo's. A couple months ago Howard had received a nice gift certificate from work so we decided to use it. Dinner was delicious. They had a special of two glasses of wine and two five course dinners for only $49.95!

Amber and Andy have finally found their new home!! The contracts have been signed, inspection conducted, contractors (for new floors and countertops) contacted and they will have their closing in just a little over a month from now. It's a condo in Falls Church, only a short walk to the metro which is a must for Andy as he takes that to work every day. Hopefully Amber's drive will be a little shorter too. I know Amber (and I'm sure Andy) will enjoy making this place into a home of their own. We are so happy for them and can't wait to visit!

Tyler is very busy with his classes and hasn't had much time for work. Apparently he's so darn busy he can't even manage to take one picture with the camera we so generously gave him for Christmas last year! He calls us on his way to the bus stop occasionally. I can't wait until we visit him in a couple months so I can see all the places he goes and exactly what he does do there living in paradise! We have a house reserved in Kailua for the 10 days. Tyler tells us that is a nice area, away from the tourists and crowds. The house even has it's own pool which will be nice!

Scott has also started his fall classes. He has classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and starts early. Because of the rush hour traffic he has to leave the house by 7:15 to make his 8:00 o'clock classes. He says it's worth it to have class on just 3 days and to have two days off to work on homework.

Howard is enjoying these last few weeks (when it doesn't rain) of driving his convertible. He won't take the car out in the rain if he can help it. He managed to take an afternoon off the play golf last week too!

While it seems my life is boring, I have been busy! School is off to a good start. I work in almost every grade on any given day, except 3rd, though I do work one-on-one with one third grader. As of October 1 I'm a permanent employee and am now eligible for benefits! For the first time in the 14 years I have worked at this school I get insurance if I want it. If you don't take it they give you cash. What a great deal! I was never one to believe in unions but I guess in this instance they can do some good. I bought these new tennis shoes today because my feet are killing me! I'm hoping these babies do the trick and I can walk without pain soon.

I did manage to do some baking this weekend. I'm still working on perfecting that perfect loaf of rustic bread. This one sure looks closer to what I'm aiming for but the proof will be when I slice 'er up. This recipe is for a "no knead" bread that's been altered a little with rosemary and olive oil. At least it looks pretty. I baked this one in my french oven. It makes the crust nice and crunchy.

This is my famous (ok, not famous but at least much talked about since I took it to school last week for a pot luck lunch and some people raved about it while others, including one of my closest teacher friends, complained that she didn't even get a bite) Rosemary Focaccia Bread. I felt so bad that she didn't get a piece, especially since earlier in the day I promised to save her one and then promptly forgot, that I decided to make another one and bring her the piece I promised her, plus pieces for other people who said they heard it was wonderful but it was gone by the time they got to lunch! It's so good that several people asked me for the recipe. While I would like to give them the recipe this is one of those dishes that you can count on that no one else will bring so if you give everyone the recipe it's no longer special as now anyone can bring it! What should I do? Give them the recipe? Hold out?

Here's Zoe and Charlie waiting for their breakfast of eggs and toast.

The weather was nice so we took them to the high school field both days this weekend. We hadn't been able to get out in a few days because of rain so they really needed it.

We also made a trip to the pet store for some new toys as Charlie has pretty much ripped the stuffing out of all his old ones. They just don't make them tough enough for him. At least he's chewing toys and not chewing the wood on the stair case or chewing up my rugs.