Sunday, April 30, 2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Funky Letters

Hey - I think I fixed it! Now ANYONE can post comments on my blog and NOBODY has to type those funky letters anymore. Sorry. Ok - so how about some input from those faithful readers who don't have a blogger account!!!!

Saturday's Snippets

Today was full of work and play... and these are stippets about our day!

Keith spent loads of time making piles of brush in front of our house. He chopped down one giant bush out front and dug out at least one of the root bases of the 3 bushes that USED to be out front under our living room window. He filled the hole in with soil and leveled it out. Only 2 more bushes to remove and that will be done. He also trimmed the flowering pear tree. Now it looks like a tree instead of a bush! It's wonderful. We might eventually remove it and plant a smaller variety of tree there, but that's down the road a while I think.

While Keith labored outside... making GIANT PILES of brush that need bound before the garbage man will take them. (We thought about taking them to Mom and Dad's to burn, but we don't want to add fuel to Mom's fire. :) Anyway... I did the weeks dishes. I don't always wash the dishes weekly. Sometimes it's even less!!! Ha Ha - just kidding! I try to keeep up with them as best I can, but this week was not one of those weeks. Needless to say, it is a good feeling to catch up. I can actually use the sink now... for something other than storing dirty dishes! Ahhhh... sigh of relief.

Then there was dinner. I considered making a roast, but that takes several hours and we had other aspirations for the day. So, I made fish. Yes fish. I don't like fish. My motto: "You shouldn't eat anything that smells bad." And I think that fish smells bad. (and so do bananas - and they are mushy too - YUK) Anyway sometimes I make Gorton's fish for Keith. He likes it. Marriage comes with some sacrifices... I wish he'd sacrifice fish... but oh well.

Today was also the weekly "Laundry Day." In our Kentucky house, the laundry room was IN THE BEDROOM. That was the best. Here it is in the basement - UGH. So every Saturday when I get up, I gather the laundry. Keith hauls it down to the basement... and thus "Laundry Day" begins. I also try to help Mom & Dad with their laundry. I love the smell of freshly cleaned clothes. Perhaps I will soon have a line to hang them out? Hmm... none of my neighbors do that. I wonder if that's ok? Anyway... I washed clothes pretty much all day and I am still washing them. Keith needed particular clothes for work tomorrow, so I'm doing those now.

What a more grand way to end the day than to go fishing? If Keith would have had his way, we would have started the day this way and done nothing but fishing... but I had more substantial goals for things here at the house. Anyway... after dinner we were off to Glade Run. The fish were NOT biting tonight. We could see them jumping, but none seemed to take our bait. We tried a number of different lures and also some night crawlers... no luck! Oh well. It was nice to just get outside, enjoy the sun and the spring breeze. The trees around the lake are sprouting their spring buds. Some have a red tint to them and others are green. The reflection of the sunset on the water was really beautiful tonight. It was an almost perfect evening... if only the fish would bite!!! I think those fish are over-fed by all the fishermen. Hmmm... I hope in the weeks to come that we can go to some other places to fish. I especially like Lake Wilhelm. The last time we were there we saw a turtle laying eggs! It was so cool!

Well, the day was good but is coming to a close very quickly. It has been enjoyable on many fronts. Now we must rest and prepare our hearts for worship in the morning. We are going to be attending another church close to our home this weekend. Keith has to work in the afternoon, so rather than skip church in Butler, we will attend a local service. That should be interesting.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Barring Any Unforeseen Circumstances...

Pray that it doesn't get changed again. OK. YIPPIE!!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Snippets of This and That

Again... there is not much to blog about. Let me see what I can dream up from the past couple of days.

I had lunch with Amanda and John yesterday. Amanda had an EMG test done at the Hospital, so they met me just before her appointment. She tells me that the EMG experience was "different." Apparently the results were borderline. If she wanted to pursue surgery for carpul tunnel, she could, but I think that's not quite what she's hoping for... yet.

I went fishing with Amanda and John last evening too. We went to old faithful... Glade Run. The breeze was rather chilly. The sun was beautiful. Pretty much only the crappies were biting, and not a whole lot. We each caught a few. I pretty much figure that the fish in that lake have been well fed lately with all the fishermen. John had a bucket of minnows and some GREEN worms! Excellent! The minnows worked better than I had expected. Oh and he has a new Diaper Bag... I mean tackle box/bag thing. Amanda calls it "The Diaper Bag" because it's got all sorts of nifty compartments. We had fun teasing him about it. LOL

Keith brought me a Blackberry Green Tea Frappacino from Starbucks last night. Mmm Mmm good. If you have not tried this... You should! It's awesome!

Speaking of Keith... I've hardly seen him lately. He's working late a lot of the time. Like tonight he works until 1130 PM. That stinks. But he seems to be doing well. He enjoys his job, his co-workers, and of course... the coffee. Now if I could just get him to drink decaf in the evenings! Then maybe he wouldn't stay up so late after work?

Work - what's a day without mentioning my work? We finally set a date to move to the new office. May 16th. YIPPIE! My boss is really going to miss me. I just know it!!! I have decided to weed out one small pile of STUFF every day. I have all this reading material and old miscellaneous stuff that needs filed and I just keep over looking it in efforts to do bigger better things. Guess what... it doesn't go away! Ugh. I used to do all my reading on the plane ride back to Kentucky, but now that era has past and I'm struggling to find the time and patience to do it. Anyway... I have lots of files to work on. The job is endless, which is not a bad thing. I am also trying to get ahead of things because I'm going to be out of town next week for a conference.

Ok that's enough jibber-jabber for now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mindless Chatter

Hmmm... things have been rather simple lately...

Last night we mowed the grass here for the first time. That was a chore, but so glad it's done now. There is a ton of yard work to be done here, but some of it will have to wait until later. We want to close on the house before we go crazy on landscaping and other remodeling.

I won a free "Pizza Buffet" meal at Cici's. I put my business card in for their weekly drawing and guess what? They picked me!!! Now do you really think they only pick one each week? I'm wondering if maybe they send those to everyone who puts their card in? Don't you think that would make sense? Who goes there alone? It's like passing out BOGO cards. They still make money!

I tried the new Dr. Pepper Berries & Cream. It's pretty good, but nothing spectacular. It's like a cream soda with raspberry flavor. Maybe I'd like the diet better? I'm not a huge fan of really sweet drinks.

We got a birth announcement in the mail for Brendon John Hiles. The proud parents are Jeremiah and Annsley (cousins from the West Coast). He's a darling little fellow! Congrats to the new parents and Grandparents!

Speaking of munchkins... We will be a new Aunt & Uncle again very soon. Keith's sister Denise is due on his birthday... May 2nd. Hmmm... I think it will be a boy, but they aren't telling. We are very excited!

A couple of my good lady friends and I have decided to start our own Girls Group Bible Study. I'm so delighted. I attended a weekly study with a precious group of ladies when I was living in Wilmore. I miss them dearly... and I miss the study too. Our first study will be the book of James. There is so much to be learned there. I can hardly wait!

I'm going to a conference next week to learn more valuable things about my job. That's always fun!

I'm going to a Chili-cookoff this weekend at my friend's church. It is a fundraiser including a talent show to raise money for mission work. My friend's daughter is planning a mission trip to Albania this summer. Bless her heart!

Well... that's about all I can dream up at the moment. The dullness of the moment is actually welcomed. Keith is working this evening so I'm just taking some time to drink in the silence. I might work on some files for work tonight... or I might just ignore them and relax. Hmmm... decisions decisions.

Mom - You Asked For It

Keith's weekly free pound of coffee is... COLUMBIAN. Mom has been asking "Can't I just have plain Columbian coffee?" The answer... YES, unless you don't count this as "plain." Ready for some more useless coffee knowledge?

The Columbian coffee cherries are grown and processed in the province of Nariño in Southwest Colombia - a precipitous landscape known for its breathtaking scenery and active volcanoes. Many Starbucks blends are enriched with Nariño's fine coffee.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Thought For Today

Putting faith into action cultivates trust in the Lord. As our assurance builds, our faith grows stronger, paving the way for God to use us in ways we never imagined.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Perfect Example

There is a PERFECT EXAMPLE to be recognized. When we experience the ups and downs of life, why should we share those with God? Simple. He can relate because he has "been there - done that." He has experienced life as we have. He endured child-birth. He walked the earth and interacted with many. He experienced emotion... happy and sad and in between. He endured torture and death to set the ultimate example. The best part of all of this... HE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO IT!!!! We can ask why for forever and a day and the answer will simply be "Because he loves us." Can we truly fathom the depth of this? I don't think so. So there we have the answer, yet we still wonder "why?".

Although the death of Christ is the key to the salvation of mankind, I think the example he has set is most profound. Christianity is the ONLY religion that recognizes such an example of God actually jumping into our shoes, walking a mile, and then paying our debt in full. Other religions may recognize a "higher power" but none of these other gods have endured life as we see it.

Why Ask Why?

Someone recently asked me... Why do people always ask "Why?"? Hmmm... if we actually know "why" does it really change anything? Personally, I think it is our human nature to do so. I also think that the reason "why" in all or most situations is simply that these things happen for growth and development. All circumstances are preparing us for times to come... in heaven or on earth.

Our experiences give us the opportunity to relate to others in similar situations. Think about it. If a married couple has a spat and you aren't married, but offer advice... Uh... how do you think it will be received? You would have no idea what you are talking about. Would it not make more sense to confide in someone who KNOWS the intimacy of marriage? DUH!

Some words on suffering:

Romans 5:3-5
...but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. An hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 8:18
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

Thursday, April 20, 2006

We Learned Something Today

Keith and I learned something today.

Every day, when we come together after work, we spend time venting to each other about our day's frustrations. Most of the time, we try to solve one another's problems. I suggest ways for Keith to study better and he suggests that I tell certain people this or that. The bottom line is that neither of us is looking for the answer. We just want to VENT. That's all. We don't want to analyze the situation. We don't want suggestions, at least most of the time. We just simply want to be heard and then let it go. We'll deal with it again tomorrow.

So... now that we have discovered this, we have agreed to work on this. We won't try to solve the other's problems unless a solution is requested. We will gladly spend time daily attempting to connect... and absorbing the details of each other's separate lives. Then we'll move on to "our time."


Slackin' Off

Finally... another deadline for my job has come and gone. I work all month long preparing files for review at one big meeting with my Credentials Committee -- That was on Monday. I think I had about 20 or so files this time. Some new some old. Some problems and some clean cut and simple. All in all, it went very well. I have some really great Committee members. Everyone on the Committee has served in a leadership role for the Medical Staff in the past and some of them are REALLY good at examining the material and making most appropriate recommendations. Anyway, the meeting went smoothly and that makes me and a few others very happy.

The day after my meeting I almost always veg-out. I don't know why I even come to work on that day. I may as well stay home, but I always drag myself into work and usually a little later than the norm. There must be something about going to work but not actually doing much of anything all day long that feels good. Usually I try to dig through some piles on my desk, reorganize the clutter, and determine the priority of the work that is left there.

I have the greatest boss at work - George. He's really easy going, always flexible, and very supportive of my ideas. Most of the time I think he wonders how to shut me up. I try to give him quiet time during the day, but some days I'm just full of chatter. The poor guy... we share an office. Should I say that again? The poor guy... Not only do I think out loud most of the time, I speak my mind. Whatever I think... look out here it comes. (especially if he asks) He's got a great sense of humor so he can take it. At the end of his first day he asked me "Jennifer, do you have any special words of wisdom to share?" My reply... "As a matter of fact I do... We women, we run this office. Even if we really don't... you let us think we do. Got it?" He's had a certain respect for me ever since. I love it!

So now that it is Thursday and we are "over the hump," I have had to dig back into my duties. I had a couple of requests for applications for new folks... minutes to type... a bunch of special projects waiting to be addressed... a month of applications to mail out for upcoming re-appointments... and two months of re-appointment applications sitting in a pile ready to be processed! Ugh... the mountain of paperwork never dwindles!!! I suppose one might call that job security? I call it "Can't find my desk." Needless to say, I'm chipping away at it little by little.

So much for slackin' off this week... It never lasts long, but even for a day it is a welcomed change.

Happy Birthday Aunt Jane

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Dear Aunt Jane
Happy Birthday to you!

Enjoy! Do something fun and exciting!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Dear Mom
Happy Birthday to you!

Enjoy the day, but keep the excitement to a minimum. OK? We don't want your birthday to 'go up in smoke." Ha ha!!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mom Gets The Prize

Today I'm not even going to TRY to make the most interesting blog entry. See my Mom's blog (link on the right) to see how her day went! It was WAY more interesting than mine. You might say that she was rather "Fired Up!"

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'm Taking A Survey

What are your three most favorite board-type games?

For the record, mine are:

1) Moods

2) Think Blot

3) Scrabble

Trout Fishing

Yesterday was opening day for trout season. I think Keith and I may have stumbled upon a unique Easter Day tradition of our own... trout fishing. I guess only time will tell if it catches on. Yep, we went fishing today. This is not the usual Easter Day festivities, but we saw that there are other families doing the same, although not entirely crowded.

We went to Glade Run Lake. We fished on the end of the
dam. You can see it in the picture. My bait of choice today.... a horse fly bumble bug. I caught two on it anyway. Keith used a spinner and caught two as well. I tried a minnow spinner and caught a third. We don't keep them. My philosophy... You shouldn't eat anything that smells bad. Fish smells bad. (To me anyway)

It's always fun to be a self-proclaimed "People Watcher" regarless of ones location. There is some prime people watching to be done while fishing. People do the darndest things. There were these two guys in a row boat. At one point they almost capsized. All I could think of was "DUH - ya can't be standing up in that kind of a boat!" The guy beside us was fishing with two rods and caught fish simultaneously. Keith helped him reel one of them in and it was H U G E! It had to weigh 4 or 5 pounds and was probably 20 inches long!!!! I was in awe! What a beauty. There were also some questionable type people there. Ones that use foul language. How annoying. He was with two children... even more annoying! Ah well, I suppose someone at the lake is watching us and saying odd things about us too.... Nah. That never happens.

We didn't stay long. Just long enough to catch a few and toss them back. What a beautiful day to be outside enjoying nature. We stopped over to the Blair homestead to check on Dad. He seems to be fairing quite well. (Note to self - Thank God for answered prayers.) Before we left, we visited shortly with Uncle Charlie and the Blair kiddos arrived for fun and frolic. What a high energy bunch they are. I scouted around and found an old bird feeder.... Shhhhhh... Amanda will never miss it. We also uncovered the bow saw. (Thanks Paul for leading us to the secret tool hideout) Uncle Charlie has loaned us a tool to cut brush and branches. Keith has already made a dent in the front shrubs and also in the brush out back. Go Keith!

So that's about it. We are in "relax" mode now... doing a little laundry in between. G'night all.

This Mornings Coffee

"Indonesia is the home of the world’s largest lizard — the Komodo dragon — and this blend of Asia Pacific coffees bears its name. Spicy, herbal and earthy with a full body, each sip of Komodo Dragon Blend™ evokes the lushness of Indonesia."

Keith came home bright and early this morning, 2AM... (maybe it wasn't actually so bright at that time) sporting his first free pound of coffee from Starbucks. I'm not usually a fan of "Bold" coffees, but this one is actually quite tasty with just cream in it. If this is what lizard tastes like... serve it up! Not bad!

Have you ever wondered if there is a "right way" to taste coffee? Now that we are becoming "Coffee Snobs" at our house, we are in tune to the particular methods that should be used when tasting coffee. It's like Wine Tasting, only non-alcoholic. (Also for snobs) I found the following tips at

Ultimately, tasting is comparing and contrasting. Tasting only one coffee at a time does not create any context. But if you taste two or three coffees, you can compare them in terms of your personal preference, but also in terms of aroma, acidity, body, and flavor. (A tip: When tasting more than one coffee, always taste lighter bodied coffees first and work up to fuller bodied coffees.)

Aroma is the first hint of how your coffee will taste. In fact, most of your sense of taste actually comes from your sense of smell - which is why coffee can taste so satisfying and sublime.

Acidity, in tasting terms, doesn't mean sour or bitter; it's a lively, tangy, palate-cleansing property, ranging from low to high. Think of the range from still water to sparkling water, and you'll get the idea.

Body is the weight or thickness of the beverage on your tongue. Body ranges from light to full.

Flavor is the all important melding of aroma, acidity, and body that creates an overall impression.

Inside Joke

Why can't Wizzy use the litter box? Give up?

Because it's "Crystal's Blend." LOL

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spring Has Sprung

Today is a glorious day. It is sunny and 68 degrees outside. The neighbors are all tinkering in their yards, tending their spring flowers, mowing the grass, and spreading fresh mulch here and there. The treees are sprouting green, a little more with each day. Some of the trees are in full pink blooms. It's gorgeous. Keith's mom informed me today that the weather in Kentucky is in the 80's most every day now. She reports that some rain has come over night for several days, but the daytime is unbeatable. Ugh... some days I miss my old Kentucky home.

The day began peacefully. I was up early and had a nice cup of coffee while enjoying the quietness of the morning. I accomplished a couple loads of laundry and washed the dishes. It always feels good to have some cleanliness in the home. There is still much to do though. Keith slept in as he was up fairly late last night. We were out for a short while a
nd now he is watching golf on tv - definitely not my cup of tea.

Amanda invited me to shop with her later this afternoon. She wants to find something special to wear for big day... She will marry on May 5th. They are not having a wedding, so she's not getting a gown. It will be fun to shop with her none the less. I can't wait to help her plan the big summer picnic where she will invite everyone to meet her new husband. It is sure to be a grand affair.

Things seem to be moving along in the home buying process for us. The seller called today to report that she thinks the sales agreement is being revised for the last time - we hope. Oh the joys of all the paperwork and this and that needed to secure this home. We hope to close on it by the end of the month. We shall see. Meanwhile, the realtor from the house we wanted in Butler left us a message today saying that the owners of the house there are wondering if we are still interested, and willing to negotiate a rent to own arrangement. Too late now. Sorry. It would have b
een nice... we LOVED that place, but... as it goes, we will be in this house in due time. That house may have been more work than it was worth anyway. Oh but it had so much character. Oh well. That's life.

That about sums it up for today. I have a window open... enjoying the spring breeze. I think I'll encourage Keith to change the blade on the mower so we can keep up with the neighbors. Perhaps Paul might bring out the gravely this week to mow the brush in the back? Hmmm... Ok - enjoy the spring weekend! Happy Easter everyone!!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Side Buster

For those of you who don't know... I have a fish at work. A Beta fish. His name is Oscar, although how does one know the sex of a fish anyway? As it goes, he has been with us for a couple of years. He sits on the counter at the front desk right beside the candy jar.

Today a doctor came in to sign some papers. He's one of those ADHD type personalities. He whirls in and, as always, swings right over to raid the candy jar. He bumped the candy jar against Oscars vase and busted a 3 inch long oval hole in the side. As I'm sure you can imagine, water gushed out straight at the doctor and soaked him from the chest down. Luckily, he was coming from the operating room so he was in scrubbs. It looked like he wet himself! I laughed really hard. As this is happening I exclaimed "My fishy!!!!" So he reached over and tipped the vase back so the fish wouldn't fall out the hole. Can you believe that half of the vase emptied all over this guy and the fish was still in it?!!! Meanwhile fish water soaked the counter and dripped down onto my coworkers telephone. Are you laughing with me yet?

So I found a small spare vase for Oscar to move into overnight, or until I can replace his home. In the meantime I had asked the doctor to sign some papers. I set them before him and he crys out in horror "Holy cow I'm bleeding!!!" and he was!!!! He had about a 1 inch cut on his finger. So he swipes it across the paperwork and with a giggle and a grin says "There, I signed it in blood!" Ugh!!! Now I have to reproduce it. In the meantime he laughes and decides that maybe a photocopy will suffice. The photocopy has a big ugly smudge on it. That's not going to work! He signed the rest of the papers and declined a bandaid. He left sucking his finger. DISGUSTING!!! That was fish water you know!!!

Oh my goodness, I have not laughed so hard in a really long time. I just wish that there would have been more witnesses for this catastrophe.

Needless to say, I think Oscar will survive. One time before he actually jumped out of his home and onto the counter... and then fell on the floor. For a fish, he must have 9 lives!

Another Easter Funny

The Barista

This is Keith's first week at Starbucks. He L O V E S it! His schedule is sporadic, odd hours, but that is okay. His first day he said he learned to make whipped cream, frappacino base, and cream base. His first hour's assignment... sit and soak up the atmosphere! Imagine that!

They gave him something called a passport, which has all the coffees and teas in it. He has 3 months to try all of the flavors with each of the pastries. As he does so, he makes some notations about it in his passport. Have you ever gone into one of these types of places and can't decide what to order? Need a suggestion? This allows him to make informed suggestions for pairing coffee and pastries that compliment one another. How interesting. I personally always just picked whatever looked the best to me.

He has a cool hat and a couple of aprons. He went to Pittsburgh for a coffee tasting seminar. He tried about 6 or 7 different types of coffees there. He learned all about the company and some of the interesting employment opportunities they offer. There is something called a VP of Coffee. This guy (or gal) travels to worldwide coffee plant farms to inspect/investigate growing practices. Neat!

Why does Starbucks coffee cost so much more than other brands? Give up?

1. They provide all full time benefits to any employee that works 20 hours or less including stock, 401K, health, medical, and dental benefits.

2. They are willing to pay more than the average cost per pound of coffee beans than other brands. Why? This helps boost the economy in the growing region of the farmer.

3. They invest in their farmers by offering low interest high risk loans. Also an interesting fact -- they will not support farmers who utilize child labor.

Keith has learned SO MUCH about coffee and the company. He is turning into a "Coffee Snob." He wants a french press for his birthday. That's the snooty way to make coffee if you ask me! They give him 3 free drinks, anything, any size, for each shift PLUS taste testing in between. He gets one pound of free coffee each month. He gets a 30% discount at all Starbucks locations.

A couple of full time people at his location recently moved on to bigger better things, so they plan to give him more hours than we originally thought. He'll be full time in no time. He hopes to be a shift-manager in about 6-9 months and he'll move on from there. This is just one small step towards bigger better things. Keith has a dream of owning his own coffee shop someday. His plan is to know the business inside and out so he can achieve this dream with the knowledge to succeed in it.

If you aren't sure what to get there... I suggest either Marble Mocha Machiato (hot) or a Rasberry Green Tea Frappacino (cold). They are both DELICIOUS!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Chocolate Bunnies

Remember... "Happy Easter Vern! I like to eat the eyes first! Know what I mean?"

Tribute To Jimini

If you read my Mom's blog... you'll be following along... This is my favorite Jimini picture.

Poor old Jimini. I had him since I was in college and he was 5 years old when I got him. A friend of Amy's gave him to me. Anyway... we became fast friends. He went straight to the top at our house. He ruled over the dog and sometimes even me I think. At this time I lived at the parsonage at Manchester RP Church. That has too have been almost 10 years ago now.

Anyway, I would bring him home with me every weekend to stay with my folks. He enjoyed the car rides and was very obedient in that regard. He was allowed to rest on the front seat beside me, and touch me with his paw, but he was NOT allowed to be under my feet or on my lap. I eventually moved back home with my parents and he took up residence there too. He brought a sort of fun side out in Charmin. He played with her and she would let out a "he's hurting me!" type wimper to which he would roll on his back beneath her and be completely submissive to her. It was hysterical!!! Charmin had his number!

Later Charmin passed on... and Jimini took over as the man of the house. When Booger arrived, he was not real pleased with the added intruder in HIS house. They played, but not quite the same as before.

Shortly thereafter I married Keith. Jimini let him know where he belonged.... if Keith did not hit the sack at the same time as me, he may as well get the couch. Jimini would growl and hiss at him for moving him from his comfy bedtime spot.

The last year that we lived at the farm house we had a mouse problem. UGH!!! One night I sat at the dining room table working on something and Jimini is just meowing under his breath over and over and over and over until finally I looked at him and said "What do you want?!?!?!" Then I noticed as he stuck out his chest... he was SO PROUD that he had caught a mouse and was bringing it to me. Y I K E S !!!! It wasn't even dead! He was just holding it for me!!!! He dropped it and I jumped and it went behind a boom box on the floor so I smashed it against the wall... and that stunned it!! Then I scooped it up in a can and gave it a toss outside.

That was only the beginning. He caught several after that. He never ate them... thank goodness!!!! But he always brought them to my attention. One night, in the middle of the night... I could feel him moving around at the foot of the bed. All I could think of was... he's old... he's having convulsions... he's gonna die... the poor guy. It was about 2AM. I sat up, leaned forward, and squinted as hard as I could to see him... when I realized in a fit of terror... "THERES A MOUSE IN THE BED THERES A MOUSE IN THE BED THERES A MOUSE IN THE BED!!!!!!!!" I was out of bed in a second flat!!! Keith was up, groggy at best. Jimini was oh so proud. He would set it down on the bed and when it would move he would pounce on it - and this is what I thought was him on his death bed!!! (he was pretty old) I can't remember exactly how I got rid of that one, but you can bet your last dollar that I was a pretty jumpy sleeper for weeks!

As it goes, my good old pal met his demise about a year ago or so. We were living in Wilmore, Kentucky at the time. He was about 15 years old, which is ancient for cats. He was rather ill and it was heartbreaking to watch him decline. We finally took him to the vet and that was a very sad day. We borrowed a shovel from our neighbor, Monty, and buried him in the back yard. What a sad sad day it was.

What's All The Buzz About???

Did you think that this post was going to be about the "Bride to be?" Well, I suppose it could have been, but really I had something else in mind.

Check out the bees!!! My dearest friend, Rene'e, has bees!!! I remember when she got her first shipment of bee stuff in the mail. She ripped open the shipment and proudly modeled her new bee attire. Anyway she set up the hive and got some bees. Did you know that they are sold by the pound? Imagine a pound of bees. Hmm....

I was wondering the other day... what do bees do in the winter? So I asked the expert... She tells me the following: "They stay here. They kinda hibernate however still active but very slowly. They have to eat all winter so you have to leave those 2 suppers from the picture full of honey for them to live off of. The queen starts in February laying a few eggs and it takes about 25 days for the egg to hatch. The new hatchling becomes a nurse bee for the other eggs while the nurse bees that took care of it, get their wings and become worker bees. The egg can become a drone, which does not work or anything of value except breed the queen. In the winter the hive will kill all of the drones so they do not eat honey because they are not needed because the queen stops laying about November. In the winter the hive goes from about 40,000 bees to around 20,000. They have been collecting pollen off of the trees for weeks now. I will get honey this year. They were a split off of another hive and it was a very late split so I did not get any honey last year. They just made enough to support themselves and that was it."

I wonder how much honey those bees will produce this year? Interesting stuff. How's that for educational? And... thanks Rene'e for letting me share these be-utiful pictures with friends and family.

Note: click on the pictures to get a closer look.

This Morning's Chuckle

For those of you who have the type of laundry basket as shown in this picture, you know that they are collapsable. When I empty one of these, I leave it open and usually on its side. Crystal LOVES these. She hides in them, especially when the little bag attached to the handle falls across the opening and provides added camoflage. Occassionally I will pick up the basket while she's in it and swing her. Not hard mind you - just back and forth. She sometimes rolls around a little in the bottom, but that is pretty much her doing. Usually when I set it back down she is purring pretty loud. I think that means she likes it.

ANYWAY - this morning she was hiding out... incognito... until Wizzy caught a glimpse of her eyes reflecting off the light in the hallway. He ran over and stepped on the opening of the basket. Of course, this caused it to partially collapse. When he backed off, it would open again and she'd sneak a little deeper towards the bottom of it. Wizzy, being the smart boy that he is, he decided to hold it down with one paw and beat her through the little side window with the other!!!! I chuckled to myself "Get a load of this!" (Keith was still sleeping) Wizzy was persistent and wouldn't let her out, so I scolded him and he vacated the premesis. Crystal on the other hand, did not want to come out of her safe haven basket, but she purred loudly as I reached in to pet her.

Well, they have now moved on to bigger better activities for the morning.... breakfast and birdwatching. Go figure.

I'm on to bigger better things too ... WORK!!! Ugh. Check back later this evening to see what's BUZZING!!! Have a great day everyone!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Another Day Another Dollar

Here we are. Another day another dollar. It was a typical Monday for me. I went to work as usual. This is "crunch-week" for me. I shall work some late hours this week for sure. Every month, the week before the big Credentials Committee meeting, I am on the rush to make sure everyone's file is absolutely perfect. Then there are those last minute files that HAVE to be processed on short order for whatever reason. Needless to say, I'm always glad to help out even if I have to spend a lot of extra time to get the job done. So far these types have expressed their appreciation for my extra work, so that makes it all worth it.

Good news. . . Keith started his new job at Starbucks today. This job is so HIM. He seems to love it already. He is excited about learning all about the business and really getting his feet wet. He says they will give him 1 pound of free coffee each month plus 3 free drinks for each work day. In addition, he will be entitled to 30% off at all Starbucks locations. Next year he will have stock options too. So far it seems like a pretty good move. The fact that he is EXCITED about the job is a huge plus! It has always been a dream of his to one day have his own coffee shop. This is just a start... a way to learn the ropes... from the bottom up. In a few months he should be a shift-manager. We hope in a few years that he will be managing a store or even a couple and thereafter he hopes to invest in his very own establishment. Who knows? It's exciting to have a start at it none the less.

Well... the truck isn't doing so great. A couple months ago Uncle Charlie said he noticed that it needed the antifreeze topped off quite often. I too have noticed it. Today Keith says it is getting worse. As we are trying so desperately to save every penny to cover the closing costs for the house, we have opted to hold off on repairs for a week or two. In the meantime we have borrowed Dad's car. Thanks Dad!!!

It is so great to have family close by. Although I must also add that when we were in Kentucky, we had some of the greatest neighbors ever. Ashley and Monty. They were the first to greet us as we were moving in. Keith was somewhat chummy with Monty, and Ashley invited me to join her Girls Group Bible study where I met some other really special gals. Oh how I miss that. Anyway, Ashley and Monty were also the last neighbors to bid us goodbye upon our departure. Having a precious new addition to their family, we were surprised that they arrived ready and willing to help load the truck and clean the house... sending us on our way. During our stay in Kentucky, we could always count on them for a ride to or from the airport when needed. Ashley and I spent a few summer weeks walking each evening and getting to know each other a little deeper. This was during the time that Keith was on the mission trip in Guatamala. I'll add more on that later. Anyway, my dear friend Ashley has a very tender heart and was such a welcome friend there. We miss them both and wish them all the best in their future.

Just a reminder for family.... Upcoming birthdays... Paul, Mom, and Aunt Jane. Happy Birthday folks!!!

I suppose it is time to call it a night. Rest easy everyone....

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Slide Slide Slippity Slide

Just thought I'd share this funny story with ya'll. This picture was taken a couple winters ago looking down the driveway of the old farm house we used to live in. Here is how the story goes...

We had a lot of snow, then ice, then rain, then ice, then snow... you get the picture. The driveway ice was at least 6-8 inches thick - NO JOKE. Anyway, we had just had another ice storm. It was evening and I was coming home from work. I am not quite sure what made me think that I could actually make it up the icey driveway, but I tried. I made it all the way to right about the spot where the picture is taken from. The car spun a little and there wasn't anything to actually grip on top of the ice, so I parked it and hoofed it to the house. I changed into old clothes and boots and made the trek back down, but the car was at the bottom of the hill. Hmm... I thought. Keith must have come home from work and backed it down for me. He's such a gem. So I carefully picked my way down the icey hill and met the landlord at the bottom of the hill. "Where's Keith?" I asked. "I haven't seen him" she replied. Both of our eyes widened. "Then who backed the car down the hill?" I said. Her eyes got even wider! She said that she had seen it backing down, but didn't notice a driver. Uh, that's because there WASN'T ONE!!!! Oh horror of horrors! It was just as I had left it... shifter in 1st gear and emergency brake on. It slid a LONG way down... across the bridge (creek underneath) and must have had enough momentum to carry it a ways back on level ground. To this day, I count my blessings on this. If it had slid while I was getting out of the car, it would likely have run me over. If it had hit a bump it likely would have ended up in the ditch or in the creek. WOW!

That night, and most of the next day, Keith and I spent quality time with a pick-ax and a shovels chipping away at the thick ice on the driveway. We chipped out enough so the tires could gain traction on the gravel underneath.

When we left this home that we dearly loved... Our landlord said that she wouldn't rent it out over the winters anymore. It's too dangerous.

Another side note - about answered prayers...

The day before this ordeal I was admiring the springish weather. I prayed for some motivation to get out and enjoy the change of the season and get some exercise... low and behold the exercise from chipping away at all the ice was an answer to prayer. I remember telling God... "Hmmm.. that's not quite what I meant." Hey - he's obviously got a sense of humor!

Ugly Ornament

As per my comment on Mom's blog...

Here is my last ugly ornament. I was slightly worried that it might win in the "prettiest" category for all of it's gold. The truth is... I forgot to bring it!!! Darn - it may have been worth a few bucks!

Who puts this kind of garbage on their Christmas tree anyway???

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Attention Butlerites

Check out my link to Butler County. Sign up for a free "Family Fun Card" good for discounts all over town.

CSI Stumper


Do you like to read a good murder mystery? Not even Law and Order would attempt to capture this mess. This is an unbelievable twist of fate!! At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, AAFS President Dr Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story:

On March 23, 1994.the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus, and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr..Opus had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide.. He left a note to the effect indicating his despondency. As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned. "Ordinarily," Dr Mills continued, "Someone who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide." That Mr.. Opus was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have been successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had a homicide on his hands. The room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously, and he was threatening her with a shotgun! The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife, and the pellets went through the window, striking Mr. Opus. When one intends to kill subject "A" but kills subject "B" in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject "B." When confronted with the murder charge, the old man and his wife were both adamant, and both said that they thought the shotgun was not loaded. The old man said it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr.. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, assuming the gun had been accidentally loaded. The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus. Now comes the exquisite twist.... Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window The son, Ronald Opus, had actually murdered himself. So the medical
examiner closed the case as a suicide.

A true story from Associated Press, (Reported by Kurt Westervelt)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Status Quo

Things in my world are pretty much status quo for now. The last couple of days have pretty much been uneventful. Well... today my office went out to lunch - Dingbats. It was nice. Not overly exciting, but any day that we can get out of the office is fun... especially on such nice days.

Tonight Keith and I went for a short walk around the neighborhood. I, for one, would like to see more of the neighborhood and walk a little faster, but I cherish the times that he will actually walk along with me. The doctor says he has bone spurs on his knees - ouch! Anyway, we enjoy checking out the neighbor's places. Some are dumpy. Some are pretty. Some have yards. Some don't. Some have funny looking trees and shrubs. Some have flowers. We haven't done much with the outside of our place. We are waiting to own it -- as we are for a lot of more expensive projects.

After the walk we went to Radio Shack and got a new cell phone. We got a nice rebate for a phone upgrade. Our old one was broken. Anyway it took like over an hour to make the sale. The sales guy was on his first day we think. Ugh. But we were patient. Oh - and the salesman actually has my same birthday only a year younger. Funny huh. Then we went to Home Depot and got a blade for the lawn mower. Hopefully we'll be able to mow some grass pretty soon!

We did paint the dining room the very first week we were here -- Keith and his Mom did it. Mom Hudson also bought us a brandy new stove, which we totally love!!! (Thanks Mom) A few weeks back Keith painted the living room... RED... deep RED. I didn't think I'd like it at first, but actually I think it is rather elegant. The grey couch looks great against it and we kept the white drapes from before. That's about it besides general cleaning.

Well, Keith awaits my presence. Some nights we watch tv together. Some nights we don't. Some nights we play games. Tonight the game is "Life." We like this one. So... I best get at it. Enjoy the evening everyone. I'll post again whenever something more exciting happens. OK.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Book Review

'Blind Eye' by James Stewart

A doctor’s trail of suspicious deaths goes unchecked

Sunday, September 05, 1999

By Steve Twedt, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Early in James B. Stewart’s book, one begins to sense how differently this true-life tale will unfold from most murder mysteries: The suspense comes not in wondering how it will end, but how it can possibly continue for 250 more pages.

Before the first cup of coffee is gone, we learn that the book’s central figure, Michael Swango, a resident physician at Ohio State University, has an inexplicable habit of being nearby when seemingly stable patients suddenly die.

The book makes a convincing argument that this is no coincidence.

Stewart interviews a nurse who noticed Swango walk into one patient’s room and empty a syringe into the woman’s central line. Seconds later, the woman has stopped breathing and the nurse is frantically trying to revive her with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while Swango passively watches from the back of the room.

That same night, a 59-year-old woman who’d undergone back surgery also suddenly stopped breathing. This time, the patient survived to report that a doctor matching Swango’s description had injected her, then had run from the room. Almost immediately, she felt “a blackness” overcome her, paralyzing her.

Since Swango’s arrival, nurses had noticed a marked increase in the number of patients who had suddenly stopped breathing -- a full year’s worth in just a few months.

Deaths had increased, too, but as troubling as their sheer number were the profiles of the dead patients: a young gymnast, a 21-year-old man, then a 43-year-old man.

None of the patients had seemed close to death. In each case, Swango was working on the floor when they unexpectedly stopped breathing.

The nurses and Swango’s fellow residents reported their suspicions. Surely, the reader thinks, a full and thorough investigation will follow and those in charge will make sure Swango is kept away from patients until his actions, and mental state, are checked. The thick fold of unread pages in my right hand tells me it won’t be so simple.

Therein is the horror behind the horror of Stewart’s account of Swango. As the body count mounts, obvious questions about his role in the deaths are either not asked or undergo only a cursory inquiry. Stewart describes sloppy investigations and denied truths, all driven by a wish to limit bad publicity, the fear of liability and the disbelief among other doctors that one of their own could coldly murder patients.

Stewart has produced an extraordinary book, but not one that will comfort anyone due for a hospital stay soon. Even more than Walt Bogdanich’s acclaimed “The Great White Lie,” Stewart’s book carries a sobering message:

You can’t always count on hospitals or fellow doctors to keep bad doctors away from your bedside.

Even as the deaths continue, Swango is allowed to move from one residency program to another, aided by hospital officials who refuse to share what they know with their counterparts in other states.

At one point, when police in Illinois ask Ohio State officials about Swango’s background, they are turned away. Even after Swango is convicted of poisoning an ambulance crew in Illinois, he later bluffs his way into a New York Veterans Administration hospital by claiming that felony battery conviction came from a barroom brawl. No one verified his story.

The trail of suspicious deaths follows Swango overseas, too. Fleeing a growing number of questions, Swango volunteers in a remote village in Zimbabwe. The townspeople’s initial gratitude that the handsome American doctor would forgo a lucrative career in his homeland for them soon turns to horror as patients under his care die shortly after he visits them with a syringe.

Stewart, who won a Pulitzer Prize at the Wall Street Journal, does not leaven his belief in Swango’s guilt (the book’s subtitle is “How the Medical Establishment Let a Doctor Get Away with Murder”).

As a matter of law, Swango has never been convicted for any deaths even though Stewart says the FBI believes he may have killed 60 people. Swango did serve time for the nonfatal poisoning of the ambulance crew, and he is currently imprisoned in Oregon for applying to the New York VA program under false pretenses, hardly a capital crime. He’s eligible for release early next year.

With his record, Swango should not be able to practice medicine anywhere in America again. But he’s shown that he’s willing to leave the country to find a hospital that will welcome him.

If he does, America’s medical establishment will bear some of the blame if Swango ever again lays a malicious hand on an unsuspecting patient.

This Only Happens Once Per Millenium

On Wednesday, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 am, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Gotta Love Mondays

We survived the weekend. It was relaxing. But here we go again... Gotta love Mondays. There is twice as much mail at work on Mondays. There are usually twice as many calls and messages too. People must sit around all weekend long dreaming up things to ask me about on Monday. If it's Tuesday, they must just think to themselves..."I think I'll save this one for NEXT Monday." Ugh.

Do you ever wonder what it is that I do at work? Ask different people and get different answers. Most anyone would say they aren't sure. The docs - they mostly love me, except maybe a couple. My co-workers... well... who knows what they might say. My boss... again could be questionable.

Well, just so you know... I'm a Credentialing Specialist. When doctors (and some other types of practitioners) come and want to work at the Hospital, I check their credentials. You know, so a foot doctor isn't performing heart surgery just because he has "MD" behind his name. Or, so an orthopedic doctor isn't delivering a baby... or an OB/GYN performing brain surgery! Imagine that! Anyway - they fill out some papers and tell me all about themselves. I verify that they are who they say they are and correspond with all the places they have worked and/or trained. I write and send letters to locations all around the world. Sometimes I can't quite interpret the response, but I try. I verify that their licensures and certifications are up-to-date and without disciplinary action. I look at their malpractice claims history and determine if there are any trends that might indicate a problem in their clinical abilities. I review their references and obtain evaluations from their peers and training directors. I gather piles and piles of information about them and give it to some key physicians who are serving in leadership positions at the Hospital. These guys are the ones who actually make decisions about what the newbies can and cannot do.

That is not all. Once a doc is permitted to join the Medical Staff, I do this all over again every two years! In addition, the Hospital collects data about physicians that shows the quality of their work. This information is collected by various entities within the Hospital who then compare each physician to his peers. All of this information is filtered into the Medical Staff Office. If and when a quality issue arises, we work with various entities to establish a plan for correction/improvement. All of this information is considered at the time of re-credentialing. It is quite interesting. We even track how many patient complaints each physician has! Neat!

While I'm talking about work, I might add that I will be moving my office location in the next couple of weeks. I'm completely crowded in my little hole of an office that I share with my boss. I have file boxes surrounding me on the floor, covering over half of my desk space, and filling the cart. Ugh. I have way too much stuff! I'm not set up so well to work at home as I was in Kentucky. So, my boss found another office suite where I will move and take all the files with me. Ahhhh... finally... some space!!! It will be more secluded, in a separate building. There is a reception area, two small offices - one for me and one for a spare, a file room, 2 closets, and get this... it's own bathroom!!! I will be sharing the space with our receptionist. Just the two of us... in our own little space. How nice will that be!!! My boss says we can "Fuffy-up" the bathroom since it's just us girls. Ha ha!!! Anyway I am excited about the move. For now, they are painting and replacing the carpet so the move is a couple weeks away.

I suppose that is enough for one day's chatter. I should spend some time with Keith. He starts his new job next week.

G'night all.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Today has proved to be only moderately productive. I think we had higher expectations at the start. This damp spring weather brings with it achiness all over. We've gotta snap out of it!

We did a lot of laundry today. Keith was ironing - YES ironing! Ha ha - the military did teach him something useful. I washed the dishes and tried out the new garbage disposal. It works! YIPPIE! The rest of the day was full of this and that and at times being rather lazy. I hate that.

For now... I'm preparing some dinner for Keith. Fish sticks - YUCK! Despite my motto "You shouldn't eat anything that smells bad." He likes them - so I suck it up and make him some fish every now and then. I think I'll just have veggies tonight. :)

Mom - you know that sheepskin you gave me? I brought it up to the living room this afternoon. Wizzy investigated and actually went into the bag and was pulling it out. So I layed it on the floor and he immediately claimed it. I'm not sure if this is good or not. He "kneads" it and then sprawls out on it and takes a bath. I think he might be bathing it too? Not sure??? Funny stuff. I guess I should be finishing the film on this, huh?

Tonight I think I'll help Rene'e milk cows over at the Mock farm. I enjoy the cows and it reminds me of old times. Dave doesn't name his cows like Ed used to. He calls them all by number. Well, all but a couple. There's an old one named "Grandma" and a fat one "Tubby" - well she just died. Anyway, my favorite is Number 57. I have named her "Heinz." Do you get it? Cause nobody else got it for like a day or so. Ha ha ha.

I guess that is about all for now. Have a great evening everyone. Enjoy!

Back By Popular Demand...

Miss Crystal Creeper

Here she is - hiding out. She LOVES to be under the covers! It's her security.