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2007 Yr in Review

Monday, December 31, 2007

Apparently this is a tradition at LAMLand. I'll post the questions here for your perusal. I might fill them in eventually.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? For the first and probably the last time, we went to the holiday lighting on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. It was friggin' cold standing out there with the crowd as we wait for the boats to parade by.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I can't remember whether I even made any resolutions. I don't plan to make resolutions for 2008.

3. Lose anyone this year? I suppose I did. I attended two funerals.

4. Where did you go that you haven't been before? Denver, Colorado

5. What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? none. nada. can't think of any dates. can't think of any event that may be seared into memory.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year? surviving the year

7. What was your biggest failure? I can't seem to consistently get to work by 8am.

8. Hardest decision I made: to "get up and go" each morning

9. Best decision I made: to "get up and go" each morning

10. Compared to this time last year, how did you think the year went? About the same, I suppose, except that this year I can take vacation time during the holidays. Last year I had just started on the job.

11. What do you wish you'd done more of? reading, bicycling

12. What do you wish you'd done less of? being so irritable

13. Did you fall in love in 2007? goodness, no

14. What was your favourite TV program? none

15. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? no

16. Mistake I won't make again next year: attend a Dominican event and not seek out my Dominican Liason to at least say "hello"

17. Personal change I am proudest of: Uh, I am not aware of any change. There's still plenty of room for improvement!

18. Who did you miss? hmm...not anyone, I don't think. There may have been moments where I miss some of the Sisters I've met and my pastor. Oh, yeah, I did miss my dog at times.

19. Who was the best new person you met?

20. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:

21. Most difficult situation I resolved:

22. Strangest moment of the year:

23. Insight of the year: Silly of me to even consider "disappearing" until such time as I am ready to enter the Dominican community. If I am to discern at all, I need to discern WITH the community and not away from them. That was made very clear to me in a dream (just an ordinary dream) I had.

24. Top News Stories That Caught My Eye This Year: Daniel DiNardo = Cardinal! You da man, Dan. I love you and I look forward to your leadership.

25. New Year's Resolutions for 2008: same as always: don't make promises I can't keep (that includes not making resolutions)

Never having to say goodbye

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You never have to say "Good-bye" to Jesus.

bible in a year

Saturday, December 29, 2007

For those who are thinking about reading their bible in one year, that link there is a possible plan. It doesn't go straight through the bible as if it were a book that you can read front to back, cover to cover. Instead, it has Psalms or Proverbs included daily--you do not want to read those books straight through. Good Luck. and no, I never said I would attempt it.

Another, more sophisticated way to attempt it is to read "themes" -- where OT readings tie in with NT and yet still maintain continuity (unlike liturgical daily readings) ... not sure that exists, actually.

If any of you have a recommendation for a good audio bible (NRSV preferred), please let me know. And no, I don't want the "Faith Comes by Hearing" version.


Monday, December 24, 2007

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S to all!

lesson learned

I learned something new: vegetable oil CAN go bad. And here is a suggestion for everyone else: when a dish (like cornbread dressing) does not come out right for Christmas dinner, don't turn to the cook and say, "Can we have [that dish] for New Year's?"

Our vegetable oil is very old. So old, in fact, that it no longer has its label on the bottle. I suspect that it's more than ten years old. All I used it for was to oil the pan. It made the cornbread yucky. I suspected that the final product would be yucky as well, but went ahead and added the finely diced bell peppers, celery, and onions to the mix and hoped for a miracle. I didn't have time to make another cornbread. Alas, no miracle on the cornbread dressing. Out to trash it goes.

Maybe I'll attempt it again for New Year's, but I have to get over this one first.

As for the oil, it will go to trash at the next trash pick up.

Else dinner was fine with ham, mustard greens, and sweet potato casserole.

We did go to a mass at my parish earlier. I was working it so I didn't take communion. Except for one hiccup, I think I did well and had fun. Oh thank you so much, Holy Spirit! I did get to see my pastor and we gave each other a big Christmas hug.

Now Gumby and I are off to the cathedral for midnight mass.

getting into Christmas a little

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Skip got moved to a better hospital room. See, I told you Guppy is a squeaky wheel.

Yesterday the morning was spent at a rehearsal for one of the Christmas eve masses. Then the afternoon was spent running from one store to another, looking for things to get for skip and things with which to decorate skip's hospital room. I got slippers, gripper-bottom socks, and cotton crew socks for skip.

For the decorations, I bought 4-ft Christmas tree with lights (finally found after checking three other stores), a wreath with Santa sitting in it and with a "Merry Christmas" sign across the top, small red ornaments for the small tree, and a foot switch to turn the tree lights on/off. It pretty much took all afternoon to get all the stuff. It's Guppy's ideas, but I did the running around.

We went to the hospital last night and put up the decorations and try the socks and stuff. The slippers will need to be returned. Else everything seems ok. So over all, things are well on that front.

Today after mass I went grocery shopping for items for Christmas dinner. Since I don't know how to keep mustard greens fresh, I worked on them the minute I got home. So I'm finished with cooking the greens. I've just finished putting up the lights outside (just the shrubs and around the door). I won't decorate inside. I need to bake some cornbread for the cornbread dressing next. I'm just taking a breather here.

it's been an odd week

Friday, December 21, 2007

To my handful of faithful readers, I hope that you have enjoyed the lack of posts on this blog as it means that you can skip right over it onto another blog. The holidays are so busy, it helps to not have to stop and read.

Guppy has been at the hospital looking after someone, henceforth referred to as "Skip." Guppy had taken Skip to the hospital Sunday night, stayed all night in a wing that had no heating on a night where the temperature outside dipped to freezing. The next morning Guppy was enjoying some friendly sparring with Skip. After lunch Guppy suggested that Skip get some rest so they settled down. Minutes later Skip mumbled something, reached for Guppy then passed out cold--as in gone, no vital signs. Guppy went banannas, yelled for help, ran for a doctor who was at the time on the phone. Guppy slammed the phone and dragged the doc. Long story short, Skip was rushed to ICU and was rescuscitated. I was at work but left after Guppy called for me to come. Skip is okay now.

Skip was moved out of ICU on Wednesday, and moved again today to another hospital for acute care. Anyhow, Guppy has spent many hours at the hospital with little sleep or poor sleep, and hardly any food, only what can be bought from the vending machine. I was there Monday night and Wednesday evening. Guppy is not home at the moment, but hopes to be home tonight. Guppy hates the hospital room for Skip, saying that our cats have better amenities. Skip has not had dinner since the transport folks came at the same time as dinner. This other hospital brought soup and crackers for Skip after Guppy informed them of the situation. In the meantime, the fire alarm has gone off and the hospital is in lockdown; the air has been turned off. Also, the admitting papers are not yet done. This is the stuff that happens when you're poor and old. But I suppose we ought to be grateful that hospital care is even accessible.

Oh, and yes, Guppy is definitely a squeaky wheel. Do not think that things go unsaid. The broken heating was worked on the next morning. The non-working TV in ICU waiting has been replaced. Guppy has visited the CEO of the hospital. The machine that they had to beat to make work will not be used on Skip. But this new hospital is a different story, it's another battle. They did the move late in the evening (right at dinner time) after saying that it would be mid-morn, and then again that it would be mid-afternoon. Getting to the hospital late, on a holiday weekend, who is there to handle complaints? Nobobdy. And it will be nobody for the next several days. And that's probably how they planned it.

We do our Christmas cards together. This means that the cards are not done at all. It'd be a miracle if they get out by Christmas.

I know that Guppy wants me to get some PJ's for myself. I went to Target since they had some on sale, and also Kohl's since I still have a Kohl's card with some money on it. I have yet to find anything at Kohl's that I'd want to buy. I did see a PJ set I liked but the sizes start at "large." I did not see anything I wanted at Target. Flannel PJ's are nice, but here in Texas we have more Summer than Winter. So as is typical of my solo trips for clothes shopping, I came home with nothing. Really, I sleep just fine in t-shirt and shorts.

my 2008 Saints

I finally got around to picking up my Saints:

Sts Cosmas & Damian

Pray for pharmacists’ & physicians’ right to conscience

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Mt 5, 10]
Thank you, Lucy.

moving bicycles

Sunday, December 16, 2007

There's a charity in town that gives away thousands of bicycles each year. Last week I headed to town to help them build the bicycles. However, when I got there, I never even got a chance to so much as touch a tool. Instead, they needed to have the hundres of bikes that are already built arranged properly--this is called "staging." The bikes had to be arranged to facilitate inspection/readjustments and truck loading. Well, so much for having some fun.

Anyhow, I was there to help so if that's what they needed, then ok. That's unfortunate that it was so inefficient. Had they set it up when they started, then the bikes would've been staged as they were built. Furthermore, the volunteers were scattered about in separate pockets ... so it turned out that the rows of bikes neatly arranged behind me just minutes before was eventually moved forward and rearranged. That's called "rework" meaning "time and effort was wasted." I was part of the arranging minutes before. The guy in charge was part of the moving the bikes forward. Well, it's all volunteer work.

no poison

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It rained pretty hard this morning. I decided not to go to mass. But on the other hand, the morning rain was good for what I wanted to do later: remove poison oak from among my shrubs.

I put on long pants, a long sleeve shirt, a shower cap, and two layers of latex gloves. I also treated my face with Tecnu before heading out to look at the shrubs. I dug around in the "flower bed" in which the shrubs grew, going from one end to the other. Thank God it wasn't super long; I think it's a row of 4-5 shrubs.

I didn't see anything that qualifies as poison ivy or posion oak. I did remove three regular oak seedlings; two by the roots. The third one had a surprising large root, approximately 1-inch in diameter though its growth above ground were small. It grew right up against the shrub trunk, so close in fact, that I wondered whether it may have grafted itself. I was unable to remove the root and resorted to cutting it about 2 inches below the ground.

I know nothing about maintaining a "flower bed." But I tried to disturb the idyllic existence of the weeds there. I dug into the ground and tried to turn over the top layer of dirt. I think farmers to that to their fields; for what reason, I don't know. I hope to kill off the weeds. I hope too that the shrubs are strong enough to not be affected.

So I guess it wasn't poison ivy or poison oak that got me. Maybe I'm allergic to the sap from the shrubs themselves. I do trim the shrubs (I did today), but I usually don't handle the cuttings. Anyhow, it doesn't really matter. I'm plenty happy that there is not poison ivy or oak growing in the yard.

don't you hate it when...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

arrrgh. The tool set that I purchased at a sale price of $10 at Radio Shack was seen at Wal-mart today for $5. The only difference, as far as I can tell, was that it didn't have the snazzy Radio Shack packaging (a card-paper box with color photo).

Patron Saints 2008

Seen at LAMLand: "The Pious Sodality of Church Ladies blog has offered to select patron saints for the coming year for all who request them"

Swing on by and join the fervor!

slow progress

Monday, December 10, 2007

Since last summer to now, I've paid over $10K towards my student loan. It has reduced the principal owed by approximately $8K. Sigh. I've many miles more to go. God willing, I'll step up the progress a bit more next year. Dear Jesus, thanks for the job, but I sure don't like my job and it's a struggle just about every day to keep it up. Grant me the grace, Lord, to be more appreciative.

Christmas cards

Sunday, December 09, 2007

OK, I didn't get to the poison oak. I was hardly at home at all yesterday. So the evil in my yard gets to live at least another week.

Guppy and I spent quite some time looking for Christmas cards. I suppose we're being picky again. We'd like for it to look good, of course. But primarily it has to say "Merry Christmas" and it'd be nice if it said "Happy New Year" too. The huge selection was mainly "Season's Greetings," "Happy Holidays," or something benign like "Let it snow!" or "chill."

Finally yesterday evening I was in a Christian store (read, "protestant"). I had never been there, had never even thought to look for one. It just so happens that they were a few doors down from a Hallmark that we scoured. Lo and behold, there were some candidate cards. As expected, the verses, when present were from KJV or some similar version. That's ok. I grabbed a design with three kings. Side note: the Bible never said there were "three" kings. There was also one box of some sort of collage that Guppy really liked. Unfortunately, there was only one box so I grabbed that one.

I never thought it'd be so difficult to find Christmas cards.

gift shop

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shopping for Christmas giving? Don't forget the Hunger Site. There's a gift shop there too with unique items.

bobble head

Although I don't own any, I like bobble head figures. Preferably mini bobble heads. I don't like them too big. I came across this site that seems to be giving away free bobble heads (one per address, while supplies last). You can even choose a Jesus bobble head or Pope Benedict XVI bobble head. I opted for the Pope and eagerly await the goods.

There also exists a Pope Innocent III action figure (not necessarily on same site -- you'd have to do an internet search for it). It looks very well made.

much better

Day four since my encounter with poison oak and my welts are almost imperceptible. In fact, if you didn't know it, you'd think it's my normal color. Yesterday I awoke with a slightly swollen face. Who needs botox when you can just use poison ivy? Pink cheeks and full (puffy) lips overnight! Guppy said I looked as if I had a stroke. Naw, I don't think it was that bad.

Guys have it worse. You see, as you shower, that stuff flows downwards. And sometimes it touches the family jewels. And when those things itches, I imagine it's pure hell. I don't know guys, maybe coat those things with vaseline before you shower twice with Tecnu?

I was fortunate that it never developed into weeping sores. I attacked it with everything I had. Tecnu to wash it off (twice the first time, again the next day). Calagel to coat it and ease the itch. One capsule of Benedryl each night to limit the allergy reaction. Day three I scrubbed with St. Ives apricot exfoliating scrub. It makes sense that if that stuff locks onto skin cells, then try and get those skin cells off. I was much redder after scrubbing but it sure felt good to scratch the itch.

This weekend I plan to don some plastic and attempt to remove the offending plant. Maybe I can spray the shrubs with dish detergent afterwards to try and wash the stuff off.

poison stuff

Monday, December 03, 2007

Poison oak, poison ivy, or sumac, whatever the case, I seem to have been in contact with it. Saturday evening, after my shower, I went outside to take some clippings from our shrubs to have something green for our advent candle holder. Later that night, I started itching but didn't pay it too much attention. Before going to bed, I saw that I had welts. hmm. Was it reaction to detergent on my fresh clothes? Was it something I ate? Anyhow, I took a Benadryl, applied some Benadryl gel and headed off to bed.

Sunday morning the welts were still there, in fact, they seem to have spread. While brushing my teeth, I'm thinking, "maybe it's poison ivy." I have no experience with the stuff. I slathered on some Benadryl gel and ran off and did my usual Sunday things. Later at evening mass, I was just itching all over. Guppy said I better get something for poison ivy at the pharmacy.

So we stopped at a pharmacy. After some browsing, I opted for Calagel packaged with a sample of Tecnu. It turns out that the poisonous oil is potent and persistent and cannot be easily removed from the skin. Just a little of the plant residue is enough to cause a breakout. I hope I had not spread it to others from my hands at the sign of peace. Getting home, the clothes and the bedding went to wash, the greenery that I brought in yesterday went to trash, and I worked on scrubbing the stuff off of my whole body.

Further reading on the web today indicates that these lovely itchy welts are going to be a 2 to 3 week experience. Oh boy. The Tecnu is most effective within the first 8 hours of exposure; I didn't get it until more than 24 hours later. The best thing at first exposure is to wash, wash, wash. Well that didn't happen because I went out AFTER I had had my shower.

Day 3 and some of the welts have gone down. I had been relatively itch-free until this evening. Even after applying Calagel (after another shower with exfoliating scrub, dry off, apply Tecnu, rinse Tecnu off, dry off again). The gel dries on and then flakes off like lots of dandruff. The exfoliating scrub was supposed to go with spermicide (n??-9). From reading on the web, the spermicide might do the trick. I have no experience with spermicide and didn't see any at the grocery store that I wanted to buy. Oh well. I took another Benadryl. Let's see how things look in the morning.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

I've been stressed out this week with deadlines at work. I brought some work home and hope to find motivation and energy to do it for a Monday deadline. I dislike being micro-managed and it's more difficult being that I dislike my job. Ok, end of whining.

I was at a Dominican event last night. That was nice. I enjoyed seeing the OP's. I didn't linger afterwards because I was tired and ready to leave. So wonderful that we are all capable of being pleasant for a few minutes. I don't know if we all would be that pleasant the next hour. :)

The Dominican events continues this Saturday morn but I was not able to attend due to other obligations.