Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pegged Me

Will has 2 other interns that share the office with him at his 8 to 5 job this summer.  One of them is a guy who knows how to read a person's horoscope.  I should say, he knows how, is still learning and likes to practice.  So Will has given him a lot of practice by giving him our family members information. 

Some would say "horoscopes" are dark, evil, worshipping other gods.  Whatever.  I worship one God.  I am not in a cult.  I never read my horoscope (used to).  But, if you know me in person, you will find this reading below is quite freaky in that it describes me very well.

Will wrote down what his friend said as he was reading aloud how the planets and stars were aligned on the day I was the time I was born....and I assume as my life progresses.  I really don't know the details...this is the wadded up, stained paper that Will gave me from his backpack.

I have struggled my whole life with control in having to be in control. Duh, if you know me.  I have been called "judgemental" by a family member a time or two.  I refer to it as "observations."  I do not give up easily.  I experienced a sudden event surrounding education within the past year...when I resigned the job I loved and moved on.  I was very mature when younger.

Attracted to younger spirits?  Yes.  Five year olds are my favorite people in the whole world.  And lots of my best friends are way younger than me.

I could go on and on about this.  It just pegs me.

The last one intrigues me....
Change in self expression coming up? 

Karaoke, perhaps?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Brought To You By The Letter A... in Ants and Aspartame.

We've lived in this house for about 13 years.  The previous owners had a monthly extermination service but we have never had it exterminated.  I think it's mostly because we just haven't had problems with bugs but also because my father was a chemist and impressed on me how harmful the chemicals are that are used by exterminators.  He felt the chemicals were way more harmful to humans than the bugs were.  Bugs....a nuisance?  Yes.  But worth the risk the chemicals cause?  Nope.

Gross alert:  When and if a cockroach makes it inside, one of the dogs will usually play with it awhile, then eat it.  So while there may be some screaming and squeeling, the bug doesn't make it long in this house.

But this summer we have ants!

Actually, they are more like ants!

 If  you can call the small moving brown dot an ant.  Seriously, this has to be the smallest creature God made.  Part of me stares at it in wonder....amazed that something that tiny has a brain and the inherited drive to find water and sugar and grease.  But the biggest part of me is being driven crazy by this intrusion....right by my coffee pot. 


You can't see them? 

See it?

Do you see it now?

There on the edge?
I told you they were tiny.  They are constantly on the move....and as you can see my granite is like camouflage for these things.

So I spray vinegar.  I spray bleach.  I spray Windex.  I spray water.  I wipe 'em up.  I squish them.  But they always come back. 

About a month ago, I put out a plea on fb to see if anyone had any tricks...and of course, a poisonous chemical is the solution.  So we finally bought the stuff.

I circled the ants in this picture because as you can tell, they blend in with the brick and granite.  The only reason we see them is because they are moving.  And my latest pasttime is to take a wet paper towel and wipe the counter....then looking at the towel to see how many ants I scored.  Sad, really.

You put the drops of Terro on squares to put out.  The stuff attracts them...they eat it and go off to die. 

We're hoping we got it far enough away from Harry. But nothing is really ever out of his big, long reach.  Couldn't resist putting a sweet picture of him on here. 

The ants are still here this morning but there seems to be fewer.  Somewhere in my walls, there's probably a funeral procession taking place.

And now about Aspartame.

My middle child is fair like me.  And like me, her skin is prone to be sensitive.  We sunburn.  We itch. We react to laundry detergent and makeup at times.  We even experience hives now and then.  But this year, she has had a couple of very scary episodes of hives followed by her heart racing,  trouble breathing and feeling like her throat is closing up.  She has gone to the ER and followed up with her doctor and seen an allergist.  She has an EpiPen and had to use it recently...which always requires an trip to the ER.

This is so scary for her...and for us.  The allergy tests show that she is allergic to a lot of trees, pollens, molds, dust (oh, dear God) and such but only a few foods...strawberries being one of them.  The allegic reaction she is having has to be from something she ingests. We are doing a lot of detective work on our journaling and reading see if we can pinpoint just what is causing this.  And what the common food was during these two scary incidences.

This morning, she put in a piece of gum and immediately started feeling like her throat was closing up.  She spit it out, rinsed her mouth with water and then drank some warm tea. She felt better and started reading the label on the gum.  The gum was full of ingredients that were mostly chemicals.  And after googling a lot of seems Aspartame may be the culprit.

It's in Diet Coke and that was something she had had both times before when she had such a bad reaction.

And ME?  Well, last summer, I drank Crystal Light Ice Tea by the pitcher fulls.  And I was always itchy.  Like clawing my legs.  I assumed I had dry skin and would lotion up....then go get a big ol' glass of Crystal Light Ice Tea....with NutraSweet....Aspartame. I didn't put two and two together until one night, after 2 huge glasses of the thirst quenching stuff, I started having a weird sensation all over my face and my heart was pounding and pounding fast.  I took my blood pressure and it was so high and my heartbeat was 120! 

So then comes the old friend from my 20's and 30's...which rolled over me and made it impossible to take a deep breath.  Was I having a heart attack?  Was I having an anxiety attack?  Would Chuck remarry if I kicked the bucket or had I ruined women for him? Does poor Chuck think I'm crazy?  We all know the answer to that one.

I didn't go to the ER that night because I forced myself to lie down and try to ride it out...but I went to my doctor first thing in the morning.   After an EKG...they determined I had not had a heart issue...but after much talking back and forth, decided it was probably the NutraSweet! It can cause your heart to race....and lots of other scary stuff.  Sweet poison they call it.

Google it.  It. Is. Scary.

 I'm just putting this out there for any one of you who may have had the same reaction. Read your labels.  Those chemicals are in everything it seems.  I have never been a Coke...or any carbonated drink....drinker.  But I have lots of friends who drink Diet Coke.   I have been on a diet (or coming off of one or going on to one) my whole adult life and use Sweet n' Low in my coffee and tea.  I'm giving it up...even though it is saccharin based which our bodies don't digest.  It just can't be a good thing.

Chemicals...our friend, our enemy. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Food, Chicken Foot and Rain

Chuck cooked ribs for Saturday evening...and it's an all day affair.  I had prepared some of the side dishes and dessert on Friday so he could have the kitchen to himself.  Some of us slept in, some of us went shopping, some of us sat around, while one of us worked on the  My kitchen hasn't seen this much action in a few years.  The meal was great, then we played Chicken Foot.

Chicken Foot is a dominoes game much like Mexican Train.  It's played with special dominoes and a center tray.  It's a great game for a group of people....I would say ages 8 to 88.  There were a lot of competitive, strategizing, serious players at the table.  And then there was me.  And guess who won? 


If you ever play Chicken Foot, let me tell you a trick.  Get rid of the dominoes with the most dots first.  That's it.  I never look at the board until it's my turn...which I have to be yelled at "IT'S YOUR TURN!"...and then I look at my hand of dominoes and find the one with the most dots and see if there's a spot to play it.  If not, I look at the domino with the next most dots....etc.  If you play like this, you will drive the others crazy...which really is a fun game in itself.

Jordan and Chris left Sunday afternoon.  We woke up to a dark, rainy day and it stayed that way.
Lots of laying around in the dark...only getting up to eat leftovers now and then.

Back to reality for all of us.  It was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Boxwoods, Astronauts and Babies

More from Jordan and Chris' visit...

Thursday's hightlight was lunch at Tiny Boxwoods.  First, we headed downtown to tour Chuck's office and the downtown tunnel.  Chris has never been downtown so Chuck was extremely happy that someone was eager to tour it.  Will worked half a day, then joined us for lunch.  After much confusion with a navigation system, a male driver with no sense of direction and 2 people under 30 yelling out driving directions from their IPhones...we found this adorable place.  I'll be back soon. 

A cute place with great food in the "city."

Tiny boxwoods decorate the tables and there is a nursery right outside of the restaurant where you can buy a tiny well as lots of other beautiful plants.

This is the one I brought home. Hoping I can keep it alive and trim it in a perfect sphere soon.

Friday was a big day for Chuck. Jordan has met some astronauts through her event planning work. In fact, she has become friends with one in particular and his wife. They knew her hometown was Houston and encouraged her to let them know the next time she was in town and they would give Jordan and her father a private tour.....behind the scenes at NASA.

This is a dream come true for Chuck...who still has the scrapbooks he made as a boy, following all the latest news of the astronauts and space exploration.

He now has a hundred or more photos and a video of his private tour...but the grin on his face in the one above says it all.

Jordan with her friends, NASA Astronaut Clay Anderson and his wife Susan. They will never know how much their gift of time meant to Chuck.   Houston is so proud to be the home of these fine men and women in the space program.  I hope that space exploration continues in some way. 

On a sad note, condolences to all the astronaut families as they lost one of their own this past week, Alan Poindexter, who died in a watercraft accident. These families are trained to prepare for the worst when it comes to their missions in the military or as astronauts...but this was just an accident while enjoying time with family. None of us are immuned.  Alan will be missed by his own family and those like Clay, his NASA family. 

Friday evening, Jordan's friend Casey drove down from Dallas with her two baby boys. One is 8 months old and the other is 29 months old but when my baby is 21 years old, a 29 month old is still a baby.  We went out to eat at a crazy busy, noisy Mexican restaurant nearby and I played like I was the grandmother.  Loved it.  Casey and Jordan have been good friends since their freshman year at Texas A & M and they still keep in touch.    It was fun to have her and her babies around.  Check out her blog...she is a great writer and wonderful photographer.  And there are some great recipes on there as well.

 I've said it before, I'll say it again....what I would give to have had a blog when my kids were little.  You young moms out there need to blog...if nothing else just post pictures. One day, you won't remember.  I promise. 

This house is ready for the legos again...


Jordan and Chris flew in on Wednesday and left this afternoon.  It's been a fun few days.  Quality time spent with the oldest and her husband...something we don't get much of as they live in Phoenix and jobs and such get in the way of more visits.

We went to our church, Faithbridge's big event for fireworks.  It was impressive and organized and free.  I have to admit I'm not really into fireworks and the whole getting there, waiting, waiting, waiting, and then boom, it's over.  But this was fun.  Probably because I had my girls with me and there was a breeze.  And there was....

waiting with a band...

waiting with lots of ice cream... 

waiting with a cute people wearing red, white and blue...

waiting while event staff handed out freebies...

 waiting with a beautiful sky at sunset...

waiting while not climbing a rock wall...

waiting in chairs...

 waiting with my girls...

waiting with popcorn... 

waiting with snow cones...

waiting to ride charter buses that took us to and from provided
parking lots so we didn't have to fight traffic...

 wating and eating hot dogs, chips, watermelon...

waiting and drinking lots of water and looking at the bouncy stuff for the kids...

waiting and listening to patriotic music...

waiting with time for photo ops...

and finally the  fireworks...

and when the fireworks were over, the best light in the sky all night.

Then we took our sweaty selves home and got our pj's on.  Jordan and Chris had some bonding time with Harry.  He's never met a stranger he doesn't like.  In fact, he enjoys jumping up on and licking strangers.  He doesn't understand why we yell at him about this. He's just so dang happy to see anybody.
I mean, look at him.  He only met Chris that afternoon and has only been around Jordan one other time.  We should all love like dogs love. 

Next time I see you...I may just jump on you and lick you.

Hope your 4th was fun!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Affirming Words

After my post yesterday, Chuck and Jordan took the test and gave me the results.  They both scored highest in Words of Affirmation for their Love Language.  Gosh, I wish I would have known this 28 years ago....I could have been a little more vocal about my love for them. 
Instead I was cleaning and cooking....showing them my love. 

Still not sure about the other two kids...but I feel confident that they don't
receive love with Acts of Service....
while I'm the poster child for that Love Language.

Today is my day off and I have been washing bedding and
 working in the back yard in preparation for a visit from Jordan and Chris. 
While the laundry is going, I have been in and out of the backyard off the porch, trimming the crepe myrtles, moving a potted plant. 
 I was feeling very productive until I accidently
 set the pot down too close to the edge of the spa. 

Yep.  It went in.
  And down fast. 
 I got in and pulled it out as fast as I could
 but the damage was done.  To the clean spa anyway. 
I think the plant loved it. 

So knowing my husband feels love with Words of Affirmation, I sent him this email:

You are the best husband.

Now you might want to take off early tomorrow afternoon because I was moving a plant and it fell in the spa.  I retrieved it but there is a lot of dirt in the spa now.

You are so handsome. 

Love you, Julia

His reply:

Go to the back of the garage and open the spa timer box.  Remove the pins on the timer wheel that turn on and off the spa motor.  Do not let the spa motor come on.  It it is on, push the silver lever to off.

Well, he does know I love Acts of Service I copied this email and took it outside to do what he said. 

Not what I had planned for the afternoon...
I was going to do a little floating
 but instead did some skimming.

On another subject...Harry is calming down a lot. 
 But I take that back in case it jinxes anything. 
 He is the most lovable, affectionate dog ever. 
The only time he does any damage is when we leave. 
 We're calling it an anxiety disorder. 
 The drill around here when we leave is to make sure nothing
...and I mean left out. 

 Well, of course the patio furniture is left out. 

Our reaction?  Just let him chew it...we'll look in to
 buying some wrought iron furniture next year. 
 We are going to make the best grandparents!
  Spoiled like my own children never were.

He's always very sorry for any damage caused. 

But then he's back to playing and even sometimes chewing on legal items.

Happy 4th of July Week! 

May you have a safe week!