Monthly Archives: June 2007


Long ago, my mother instilled in me a duty to give blood.  She gave blood quite frequently.  I used to give blood religiously every 8 weeks — my friends and I even made an outing of it.  Fortunately, I lived in cities where there were blood centers — one could just walk in and donate.  That isn't the case here — I have to wait around for a blood drive or drive to give my blood.  heh.

Unfortunately, more than 10 years ago I received a letter from the American Red Cross informing me that I was no longer to give blood EVER because they had detected an indicator of a more serious problem that COULD be, but was not necessarily, hepatitis.  Even if my doctor were to confirm a clean bill of health, they said, they didn't want my blood.

I was hurt.  As type O-, I'm a universal donor, and my blood is always in high demand.  I knew there was nothing wrong.  I was just crushed.  I felt dirty.

A year or so ago, I received a letter from the Red Cross informing me that yo! their testing had improved, they re-tested my blood, and I'm all cool now.  I already knew that, having given at other centers in the interim.  I was a little miffed that they took so long, but a little impressed that they managed to chase me down through two marriages and seven moves.  Now that's power.

Today I went to give at a blood drive at the recreation center.  I took Laurel with me, because I want her to learn the importance of donating blood.

The drive began and 3 and we got there at 3:05.  We waited 2.5 hours before I even got in the chair.  Then we waited a bit longer while they hooked me up.  The actual donation itself, transferring blood to the bag, only took me around 5 minutes — I squeeze the hell out of those little thingies to make the blood go faster.

By the time we got out of there, it was 6:05.  THREE FRIGGIN' HOURS.

And they didn't even have a medium sized t-shirt for me, so I had to put my name on a list.

I'm happy that they were swamped with donors, I'm happy they had to call in reinforcements just to handle the volume of donors.  Everybody was very nice.  I'm just tired from sitting there for three friggin' hours.

But at least I wasn't at the doctor's office with Ethan.

Lemme Tell You ‘Bout Nasty.

So, Ethan has a habit of grabbing items out of the refrigerator and making off with them at top speed.  A previous example of this was the strawberry syrup.

This morning the warfare escalated.

This morning . . . it was the fish sauce.

Fish sauce is made of fermented fish.

When we, the policia, gave chase, Ethan threw the evidence in an effort to keep us from finding it — like any crackhead worth his salt.  The bottle broke.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, smells quite like an entire bottle of fermented fish sauce.  Not even Vinnie's impacted glands.

Poor Greg cleaned it up because I was trying to get Laurel to school on time.  I had to come back in after something, and although I don't typically have a weak stomach, I got the heaves.  Whew.

Fish sauce on the floor, my friends, is nasty.  However, I'm seeing this as a positive turn of events.  I think this could be an effective weapon against my enemies.

Young Love, Part Two.

Laurel recently begged me to help her send a letter to Evan.

She called Evan to get his address, I eavesdropped of course, and oh my god, the conversation was so hilarious.  Laurel has this voice she uses for Evan which just oozes an "I really REALLY like you" message.  They had a cute little conversation and she actually remembered to get his address.

Here's what she wrote (click to enlarge):


Patio Project 2007, Days Five through Seven.

Day Five

You already saw me on the Bobcat here.  Greg's coworker felt he was betraying mankind by allowing a woman to see how much 'fun' it is to run that kind of equipment.  I'd like to take this moment to remind everyone that, having grown up on a farm, I firmly believe that while it's nice to do something like this now and then for a change, I do not like to be on a tractor OR a Bobcat OR anything of that ilk for 8 hours a day.

Fortunately I didn't have to be.  Greg came running out the very second he was done working and worked on digging out more drainage.  This is necessary because we are blessed with a yard full of clay and boulders.  And nothing in between:

Ethan supervised again.  Here he is taking a break from his duties as foreman.  And yes, he seems to think the cup needs tilting in order to drink from a straw:


Day Six

We had lots of great help today.  Thanks to PawPaw, as always, and to Greg's cousins who came over and worked.  Those boys work hard and they are great company.  We got much of the wall and steps completed thanks to them:

Later we celebrated with some homemade pulled pork and coleslaw.  Yum!

Day Seven

Andy came over and helped A LOT — thanks, Andy!!

It was friggin' hot today.  We worked on the steps and wall some more, and I set some pavers in place on the steps to see how they'd look (they need some work before we'll be happy with them, but we'll get to that):


I found this cute guy playing with blocks:

And despite a judicious (for me) application of sunblock, at the end of the day I ended up an exhausted wreck with swollen feet.  But that's not all!  No!  I also have a vivid sunburn as a trophy for my labors.  Observe:

But we're SO MUCH CLOSER to completion.

Just One of the Reasons He Married Me.

This is another patio weekend.  Greg was really stressed with too much work on his mind, so I took over some Bobcat duties for the afternoon:


Yeah, I know.  High fashion, right?

Poor Greg gazed wistfully out the basement window while I worked on this.

I told him to get back to work.


Lookee What Laurel Found!

My mom is going to be SO thrilled with this photo.  I think I'll have it enlarged and framed just for her:

She found it in the rock wall behind our house.  Yeah, not the one we're covering with our new wall.  No, no, of course not.  The other one.

It has to be three feet long.


Wii Wii Wii.

One of these things is not like the other.  One of these things just doesn't belong.

har har!

Greg's boss and Laurel enjoying the Wii (yes, that is green paint on her shirt from her summer courses):

Speaking of Greg's bosses, here's a BIG thank-you to Sherwood, who showed up yesterday and worked until dark helping Greg with the wall.  He even brought us watermelon.  He brought us watermelon, even though HE was doing the work. 

Out With the Old, In With the New.

We are trading cameras.

Old Camera:  Canon PowerShot G3 (photo taken with new camera)

I know it's silly to have developed an attachment to our old camera, but I did.  More than four years ago, Greg and I were about to get married and we wanted a digital camera to record our honeymoon and the beginning of our life together.  We chose the Canon and were never sorry.  The Canon has taken us through so much, from our honeymoon to the weddings of our friends.  It has traveled with us on vacations, helped us purchase our first home, and recorded Vinnie's joining of the family.  It has seen my family through the destruction of tornadoes and the joys of the holidays.  It has preserved the faces of loved ones now lost to the passage of time.  It captured Laurel's all-too-quick growth from an untamed preschooler to a still largely untamed but damn fine 7-year-old, including her first airplane flight and her first day of school.  It was there the day Ethan was born and has faithfully served us in recording every milestone he's achieved to date.

Yes, I know it's silly to develop an attachment to an inanimate object, but this camera has meant something to me.  It has allowed me to go back and see a retrospect of my family.  It has given me fond memories and has seen me laugh and cry as it helped me recall the events of the last few years.

I'll miss this camera, this extension and prompter of my memory.

But as with many things, something new comes along to replace the old.  Something which performs better, jumps higher, runs faster.  It's time for the Canon to retire.  We're not sure whether we will sell it or train Laurel on it (I think she would be a fantastic photographer).  Though our Canon was a good camera, and still is a good camera, we felt it was time for something which would better catch the kids in action.   We needed something to take better photos in dim light.  And here she is:

New Camera:  Nikon D40 (photo taken with old camera)

We hope to have as many happy moments with her that we had with the Canon.  And I'm sure we will.


Fruitful Servers and Debit Card Crises.

I married a technological savant.

This is a great situation for me because that way I don't have to worry about stuff working.  If my computer goes down, I just stomp around shouting, "GOD!  I HATE this thing!  Stupid computer!  Argh!" (and we wonder why Laurel does that) until it gets fixed.  Which it does.  Immediately.

I've become shamefully dependent on Greg for this knowledge, and therefore have become pretty helpless when it comes to what we have.  Our basement is a complete mystery to me.  We have tangles of wires running hither and yon through our floor joists.  Greg's desk has at least three monitors on it right now, and computer parts are strewn across the floor like Ethan's toys.  When I open the door to peer down the basement steps, I'm assaulted by the persistent hum of the servers kept in the storm shelter, which I swear are multiplying at night while we're asleep.  I'm certain they're plotting against us.

Anyway, Greg's debit card keeps malfunctioning on him.  In the few years we have had an account at our credit union, I have had one card.  Greg has gone through two and is desperately in need of number three, though I can guarantee that I swipe my card more than he uses his.  His has stopped working much of the time, and he is SO ANGRY at Lowes right now because "THEIR STUPID self checkout card readers NEVER WORK, they NEVER TAKE MY CARD and the CASHIER IS SO UNHELPFUL, she just GAVE UP the other day and WALKED AWAY to watch a husband yell at his wife."

Whew.  This is serious business.

My opinion is that the multiplying servers downstairs are creating such a powerful electromagnetic field that his card is slowly just being erased.  Over time, they're sucking the life out of his credit card.  They're probably using the information gathered as part of their takeover plot.  Now, I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, but this time I think all the evidence points toward my theory as the truth.

So I guess I'll have to call the credit union again and request another card for Greg again and they'll deactivate the one he already has, rendering it even more useless than it is right now.  And poor Greg will be without his debit card while waiting a week for another.

It's those damn computers, I tell you.  And they're listening in as I type.