Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I Walk...

I walk for my girls. I walk so they will never know the fear of a lump. So they can grow old and wise and know their grandchildren. So that by the time they are old enough to know what a mammogram is, there will already be a cure for whatever it may show.

I walk for my girls. As an example to them that when life kicks you in the pants, rolling over and playing dead is not acceptable. That you have to work towards your goals -- even though they may seen unattainable. Even if the outcome is uncertain.

I walk for my girls. That someday they will be able to tell their grandchildren about how I took on a task bigger than life to fight for something I believed in. That they will have a story to share about how a little team grew and grew and grew to a point where, as of today, we have raised over $171,000 in three years. That story will be a part of our legacy.

I walk for my girls. The two most amazing children I know. Two children who are still heart-broken at the loss of their Granny. Two children who lost someone so very precious to them long before it was time.

I walk for my girls.

One Look Says it All.....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tips by Kait

(Picture Kait: Head slightly cocked. Right hand in the air. Pointing index finger up. Unbelievably cute.)

"Here's a tip: Never go potty in your dream because you go potty in real life, too!"

Three guesses who had to wash sheets today.

Why I Walk....

I walk for my Mom. And I can't think of a better picture to use of her with Halloween only hours away. She loved this picture!!! Milton went as Juan Valdez, the coffee guy, for Halloween. Mom was his donkey. And she loved every minute of it!!!

That was my Mom -- the woman who could really score when it came to Halloween costumes. The earliest I remember was a polka-dot clown suit when I was in Mrs. Moore's Kindergarten class. There was the giant pumpkin she made for M'Lys one year. And the year she and Dad went as Red Riding Hood and the wolf (Dad borrowed the Borden County Coyote suit for that one.)

What a hoot! I tried to keep up.... Abbie's first Halloween she went as a ladybug. Then a butterfly a couple of years later. That was the year Amber and I drove down to Trick or Treat with Mimi. We made it all the way from Dallas without a hitch, only to have Abs throw up all over the backseat of Amber's truck as soon as we pulled into Mimi's driveway. But we were there!

My Mom loved seeing pictures of the girls more than just about anything else. So for her, here are the Biggs Girls and their Halloween pix.






D'Lyn's Note: Biggs bought the girls' costumes in 2006 while I was walking the 3-Day for the first time. If you'll remember, that was the summer we built the new house in McKinney, moved four times, I walked the 3-Day the last weekend in October.... And we closed on our house the next day. There was no way I was making costumes!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I Walk....

When we shot the 3-Day commercial last fall and met Stephanie and David Gaworski, we soon realized that the story we would take away from that experience would be the honor of being a part of their story.

Steph had been given 10 months when they discovered her cancer had metastasized. By the time we met her she was on month 9. The cancer was in her bones and liver. When Steph was dying last spring, I really struggled. My Mom's death was still too new, still too fresh. I was so scared for Steph and her husband John, for David and Jennifer.
John just forwarded one of Steph's emails to Amy Stoker and I. The subject line of his email was simply, "Why You Walk."

It is such a deeply personal email, from her heart, that I just can't share it with you. It was a private moment between Steph and her Pastor. But in it she admits something she never shared with us.

She was afraid. She was afraid of dying.

And yes, we knew that. Few people aren't. But it wasn't because she ever said so. It was just that we "knew."

When I looked into Steph's gorgeous eyes last spring, it was like she was trying to memorize my face for forever. She had this strong, strong look. She wanted to hang onto that. And I was the same way. I can still see her face, those eyes.

Steph, in answer to a couple of the questions you posed to your Pastor.....

Yes, I know in my heart God embraced you with open arms and a huge smile. He looked into your beautiful eyes that are as deep as oceans themselves, and he said, "No worries, Stephanie. My child, everything will be okay."

An American Businessman's Letter to Obama

I just got this from a friend.... It's well-written and stresses many of points I've been trying to make!

An American businessman's letter to Obama

Mr. Obama,

Given the uproar about the simple question asked you by Joe the plumber, and the persecution that has been heaped on him because he dared to question you, I find myself motivated to say a few things to you myself. While Joe aspires to start a business someday, I already have started not one, but 4 businesses. But first, let me introduce myself. You can call me "Cory the well driller". I am a 54 year old high school graduate. I didn't go to college like you, I was too ready to go "conquer the world" when I finished high school. 25 years ago at age 29, I started my own water well drilling business at a time when the economy here in East Texas was in a tailspin from the crash of the early 80's oil boom. I didn't get any help from the government, nor did I look for any. I borrowed what I could from my sister, my uncle, and even the pawn shop and managed to scrape together a homemade drill rig and a few tools to do my first job. My businesses did not start as a result of privilege. They are the result of my personal drive, personal ambition, self discipline, self reliance, and a determination to treat my customers fairly. From the very start my business provided one other (than myself) East Texan a full time job. I couldn't afford a backhoe the first few years (something every well drilling business had), so I and my helper had to dig the mud pits that are necessary for each and every job with hand shovels. I had to use my 10 year old, 1/2 ton pickup truck for my water tank truck (normally a job for at least a 2 ton truck).

A year and a half after I started the business, I scraped together a 20% down payment to get a modest bank loan and bought a (28 year) old, worn out, slightly bigger drilling rig to allow me to drill the deeper water wells in my area. I spent the next few years drilling wells with the rig while simultaneously rebuilding it between jobs. Through these years I never knew from one month to the next if I would have any work or be able to pay the bills. I got behind on my income taxes one year, and spent the next two years paying that back (with penalty and interest) while keeping up with ongoing taxes. I got behind on my water well supply bill 2 different years (way behind the second time... $80,000.00), and spent over a year paying it back (each time) while continuing to pay for ongoing supplies C.O.D.. Of course, the personal stress endured through these experiences and years is hard to measure. I do have a stent in my heart now to memorialize it all.

I spent the next 10 years developing the reputation for being the most competent and most honest water well driller in East Texas. 2 years along the way, I hired another full time employee for the drilling business so that we could provide full time water well pump service as well as the well drilling. Also, 3 years along the path, I bought a water well screen service machine from a friend, starting business # 2. 5 years later I made a business loan for $100,000.00 to build a new, higher production, computer controlled screen service machine. I had designed the machine myself, and it didn't work out for 3 years so I had to make the loan payments without the benefit of any added income from the new machine. No government program was there to help me with the payments, or to help me sleep at night as I lay awake wondering how I would solve my machine problems or pay my bills. Finally, after 3 years, I got the screen machine working properly, and that provided another full time job for an East Texan in the screen service business.

2 years after that, I made another business loan, this time for $250,000.00, to buy another used drilling rig and all the support equipment needed to run another, larger, drill rig. This provided another 2 full time jobs for East Texans. Again, I spent a couple of years not knowing if I had made a smart move, or a move that would bankrupt me. For the third time in 13 years, I had placed everything I owned on the line, risking everything, in order to build a business.
A couple of years into this, I came up with a bright idea for a new kind of mud pump, a fundamentally necessary pump used on water well drill rigs. I spent my entire life savings to date (just $30,000.00), building a prototype of the pump and took it to the national water well convention to show it off. Customers immediately started coming out of the woodworks to buy the pumps, but there was a problem. I had depleted my assets making the prototype, and nobody would make me a business loan to start production of the new pumps. With several deposits for pump orders in hand, and nowhere to go, I finally started applying for as many credit card as I could find and took cash withdrawals on these cards to the tune of over $150,000.00 (including modest loans from my dear sister and brother), to get this 3rd business going.

Yes, once again, I had everything hanging over the line in an effort to start another business. I had never manufactured anything, and I had to design and bring into production a complex hydraulic machine from an untested prototype to a reliable production model (in six months). How many nights I lay awake wondering if I had just made the paramount mistake of my life I cannot tell you, but there were plenty. I managed to get the pumps into production, which immediately created another 2 full time jobs in East Texas. Some of the models in the first year suffered from quality issues due to the poor workmanship of one of my key suppliers, so I and an employee (another East Texan employed) had to drive across the country to repair customers' pumps, practically from coast to coast. I stood behind the product, and made payments to all the credit cards that had financed me (and my brother and sister). I spent the next 5 years improving and refining the product, building a reputation for the pump and the company, working to get the pump into drill rig manufacturers' product lines, and paying back credit cards. During all this time I continued to manage a growing water well business that was now operating 3 drill rig crews, and 2 well service crews. Also, the screen service business continued to grow. No government programs were there to help me, Mr. Obama, but that's ok, I didn't expect any, nor did I want any. I was too busy fighting to make success happen to sit around waiting for the government to help me.

Now, we have been manufacturing the mud pumps for 7 years, my combined businesses employ 32 full time employees, and distribute $5,000,000.00 annually through the local economy. Now, just 4 months ago I borrowed $1,254,000.00, purchasing computer controlled machining equipment to start my 4th business, a production machine shop. The machine shop will serve the mud pump company so that we can better manufacture our pumps that are being shipped worldwide. Of course, the machine shop will also do work for outside companies as well. This has already produced 2 more full time jobs, and 2 more should develop out of it in the next few months. This should work out, but if it doesn't it will be because you, and the other professional politicians like yourself, will have destroyed our countrys' (and the world) economy with your meddling with mortgage loan programs through your liberal manipulation and intimidation of loaning institutions to make sure that unqualified borrowers could get mortgages. You see, at the very time when I couldn't get a business loan to get my mud pumps into production, you were working with Acorn and the Community Reinvestment Act programs to make sure that unqualified borrowers could buy homes with no down payment, and even no credit or worse yet, bad credit. Even the infamous, liberal, Ninja loans (No Income, No Job or Assets). While these unqualified borrowers were enjoying unrealistically low interest rates, I was paying 22% to 24% interest on the credit cards that I had used to provide me the funds for the mud pump business that has created jobs for more East Texans. It's funny, because after 25 years of turning almost every dime of extra money back into my businesses to grow them, it has been only in the last two years that I have finally made enough money to be able to put a little away for retirement, and now the value of that has dropped 40% because of the policies you and your ilk have perpetrated on our country.

You see, Mr. Obama, I'm the guy you intend to raise taxes on. I'm the guy who has spent 25 years toiling and sweating, fretting and fighting, stressing and risking, to build a business and get ahead. I'm the guy who has been on the very edge of bankruptcy more than a dozen times over the last 25 years, and all the while creating more and more jobs for East Texans who didn't want to take a risk, and would not demand from themselves what I have demanded from myself. I'm the guy you characterize as "the Americans who can afford it the most" that you believe should be taxed more to provide income redistribution "to spread the wealth" to those who have never toiled, sweated, fretted, fought, stressed, or risked anything. You want to characterize me as someone who has enjoyed a life of privilege and who needs to pay a higher percentage of my income than those who have bought into your entitlement culture. I resent you, Mr. Obama, as I resent all who want to use class warfare as a tool to advance their political career. What's worse, each year more Americans buy into your liberal entitlement culture, and turn to the government for their hope of a better life instead of themselves. Liberals are succeeding through more than 40 years of collaborative effort between the predominant liberal media, and liberal indoctrination programs in the public school systems across our land.

What is so terribly sad about this is this. America was made great by people who embraced the one-time American culture of self reliance, self motivation, self determination, self discipline, personal betterment, hard work, risk taking. A culture built around the concept that success was in reach of every able bodied American who would strive for it. Each year that less Americans embrace that culture, we all descend together. We descend down the socialist path that has brought country after country ultimately to bitter and unremarkable states. If you and your liberal comrades in the media and school systems would spend half as much effort cultivating a culture of can-do across America as you do cultivating your entitlement culture, we could see Americans at large embracing the conviction that they can elevate themselves through personal betterment, personal achievement, and self reliance. You see, when people embrace such ideals, they act on them. When people act on such ideals, they succeed. All of America could find herself elevating instead of deteriorating. But that would eliminate the need for liberal politicians, wouldn't it, Mr. Obama? The country would not need you if the country was convinced that problem solving was best left with individuals instead of the government. You and all your liberal comrades have got a vested interested in creating a dependent class in our country. It is the very business of liberals to create an ever expanding dependence on government. What's remarkable is that you, who have never produced a job in your life, are going to tax me to take more of my money and give it to people who wouldn't need my money if they would get off their entitlement mentality asses and apply themselves at work, demand more from themselves, and quit looking to liberal politicians to raise their station in life.

You see, I know because I've had them work for me before. Hundreds of them over these 25 years. People who simply will not show up to work on time. People who just will not work 5 days in a week, much less, 6 days. People always looking for a way to put less effort out. People who actually tell me that they would do more if I just would first pay them more. People who take off work to sit in government offices to apply to get free government handouts (gee, I wonder how things would have turned out for them if they had spent that time earning money and pleasing their employer?). You see, all of this comes from your entitlement mentality culture.
Oh, I know you will say I am uncompassionate. Sorry, Mr. Obama, wrong again. You see, I've seen what the average percentage of your income has been given to charities over the years of 2000 to 2004 (ignoring the years you started running for office - can you pronounce "politically motivated"), you averaged less than 1% annually. And your running mate, Joe Biden, averaged less than ¼% of his annual income in charitable contributions over the last 10 years. Like so many liberals, the two of you want to give to the needy, just as long as it is someone else's money you are giving to them. I won't say what I have given to charities over the last 25 years, but the percentage is several times more than you and Joe Biden. combined (don't you just hate google?). Tell me again how you feel my pain.

In short, Mr. Obama, your political philosophies represent everything that is wrong with our country. You represent the culture of government dependence instead of self reliance; Entitlement mentality instead of personal achievement; Penalization of the successful to reward the unmotivated; Political correctness instead of open mindedness and open debate. If you are successful, you may preside over the final transformation of America from being the greatest and most self-reliant culture on earth, to just another country of whiners and wimps, who sit around looking to the government to solve their problems. Like all of western Europe. All countries on the decline. All countries that, because of liberal socialistic mentalities, have a little less to offer mankind every year.

God help us...

Cory Miller

just a ordinary, extraordinary American, the way a lot of Americans used to be.

P.S. Yes, Mr. Obama, I am a real American...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is it Snowing in Purgatory??

Not quite, I'm sure. But close.

I agree with Campbell Brown. For the second time in one day. This never happens. Maybe twice in one year.... But in one day?? YIKES.

The first time is here.

The second time is here.


A Deciding Factor in the Election??

You know what? Maybe the election shouldn't be decided on who has more cars or homes or the funkiest accent or the best lineage or any of that other stuff.

Maybe the election should be decided solely on the who has the best plan for paying teachers more.

Because I can tell you, they are not paid enough.

I've been subbing the last couple of weeks. I have a teaching degree, so I get $90 a day. I'm not complaining -- it's $90 more than I would have otherwise. And I'm more grateful for the social aspect than anything else. But that's about $12 an hour for teaching (hopefully) a room of about 20 friends.

My baby-sitter gets $8 - $10 for watching just my two children. And we don't ask much more of her than that they are alive when we get home.

Now.... I know I'm just "subbing" and I make far less than a real, live, under-contract teacher makes. But I don't have nearly the workload they have, either.

I get to stroll into a classroom in the morning, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Ready to hit the ground running. And much like a grandparent, I can enjoy myself -- because I know I get to give my friends back at the end of the day.

Not so for my teacher friends. My real, live teacher friends have to do plans and grade papers and stress about testing and monitor for learning issues and emotional issues and keep an eye out for child abuse and make sure children who learn to hit at home learn not to hit their friends and make sure the peanut-free kids are at the right table and deal with accidents when their friends don't make it to the potty and teach manners and make sure everyone gets home at the end of the day and the list goes on and on.

I think every parent, and more importantly, every political candidate should have to spend a few days subbing. My, how eye-opening that would be. And I'm betting that if that happened, my teacher friends would find out that they aren't just appreciated in a "Hey, you taught my kid something" kind of way, but in a financial way as well.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hey Obama, Why don't you give some of YOUR money away???

Carla Venette just tuned me into this....

As someone who spends a ton of her time trying to raise money for breast cancer research, this just royally hacks me off. We've been hearing for months about how Obama wants to redistribute wealth with his Socialist plan. (Yes, Socialist. Call it what it is. Put a monkey in a red dress and you've still got a monkey.) Give hard-earned money of those who earn it to the "lower middle class" or "poor" or "income-challenged" or whatever.

And then I find out that he doesn't practice what he preaches. NOT AT ALL.

Without Obama sticking his nose in my financial business, I already strive to tithe (as we church-goers call it), or give 10% of my pre-tax income. It's the whole first-fruits thing. We're taught from an early age that we're blessed if we give to God first. And it's simply the right thing to do. When we remember to give our girls their allowance, 25% of it goes into their "God" cup, 25% to "college" and 50% to the horse / webkinz / whatever fund.

Obama obviously never learned that. And I'm not sure what ticks me off more. That he doesn't give much of his income -- and thus doesn't practice what preaches. Or that he wants to take that freedom to choose away. Or that he wants the "rich" to hand off more of their income -- in addition to what they would already be tithing. (Yes, there are "rich" Christians!)

My Friends (I've been listening to McCain), whether or not you tithe or give your money to charity or whatever is entirely your business. It's not mine and I'll not judge you either way.

BUT.... If Obama is asking me to give my earnings away to "redistribute the wealth," then what he does with his money is ENTIRELY my business. And if he isn't leading by example, what gives him the right to demand that I follow his Socialist plan??

The quote that really gets me is this one:
"As new parents who were paying off their large student loans, giving $10,000 to charity [from 2000 to 2004] was as generous as they could be at the time," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Horse-hockey. There are plenty of young parents out there with student loans to pay off. That doesn't stop them from tithing. You know, in the fund-raising game, I've seen lots of people donate. Many of the largest donations have come from some of the most humble people. Hard-working people who don't have a lot by the world's standards. But they know what a toll cancer takes, and they open their hearts and pocketbooks to find a cure.

Many of them live modestly.

But while the Obamas didn't have much to give to charity, they haven't had any trouble buying a $1.65 million house, have they? Oh, but wait. That wasn't until 2005 when they gave a whopping 4.7 % of their annual earnings to charity. (A substantial part of which went to that little church led by Jeremiah Wright.)

Oh! And he obviously made enough money to run for the Senate along the way -- even if he didn't actually work once he got there (but that's another rant entirely, isn't it??)

We work hard for what we have. And whether or not you agree with this whole wealth-redistribution thing, surely you agree that we're only as strong as our leaders. Assuming Obama becomes our President, how can he ask us to make sacrifices he isn't willing to make?

Seriously, look at all this money he has raised!!! I can think of a bajillion places it would do more good than funding a 30-minute network prime-time Obama commercial. Do you have any idea how many mammograms that would pay for? How far we could go towards finding a cure for cancer? Or MS? Or any number of the diseases that are out there?

To whom much is given, much will be required. Pony up, Obama, our 3-Day team is about $30,000 short of our goal. You need to be leading by example and have a lot of ground to make up!

Update: Because I think it's important to compare Apples to Apples, John McCain gave 27.3 - 28.6% of his income to charity in 2006-2007. With his being so far above the national average, why is it so wrong for him to spend what's left on real estate investments?? See more here. And here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prayer Warriors Needed

My heart is heavy with two prayer requests today, and I need to ask my prayer warrior friends to join me in lifting these to God.

My college roommate, Doyce, had a miscarriage this week. Doyce and I aren't exactly spring chickens, and this was her first foray into Mommyhood. When she called me a few weeks ago, she was so excited about this new chapter in her life! Please pray for Doyce, that she'll be covered in a blanket of peace and will heal quickly. Pray that she and John will be able to have a child -- they have so much to offer a little one!

And please pray for April as well. On Friday, April was sentenced to 65 months in prison. She has three little boys ages 7 and under. Please pray for stability for the boys, as their future is uncertain. Please pray also that April will get the help she needs while in prison, particularly for her bipolar disorder. And please pray for the rest of her family as well.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

I am My Mother's Daughter

If you were blessed to know my Mom, you know she could sew just about anything. She could look at a dress in a store and make it. She had true talent -- and an eye for detail. Seams were perfect or they were ripped out. White eyelet in some formed graced many of the things she made. And the thread always matched the fabric -- exactly.

That's not quite how I sew. I'm not a perfectionist. Sewing for me is a way to be creative and calm and not in a rush at all. Sewing for me is kind of like therapy.

But for the last few weeks, I've had to rush through projects. After making all those poodle skirts for Sock Hop, I had to come up with costumes for Biggsy and I to wear on Friday night. Being in poodle mode, I opted to go with the 50's theme. I stayed up way too late every night working on my skirt. And this wasn't exactly the week to do that. Our girls had soccer every night, I subbed 2 1/2 days up at school. Craziness.

But I did it. And even thought it was crazy and on a deadline and more than a little stressful, it was a blessing as well.

I hear my Mom when I sew.

Now, don't go calling Big Spring or anything. But I do feel her with me when I sew. Especially with projects like that one. Where I don't totally have a pattern for what I want to do and am having to wing it. Or when I'm attempting to turn an unbelievable amount of tulle into a ruffle. Or when I'm not sure what to do next -- and then all of a sudden, I know exactly what to do and how it will work.

All of these are gifts from my Mom, the woman who stood over me with a seam ripper through countless 4-H projects. The woman who borrowed a friend's serger, so I could make a formal for my 4-H my Freshman year. The woman who took two daughters to State Fashion Revue (not me!) and Make it Yourself with Wool.

What a gift and what a blessing to have something that I shared with her on such a level, and worked on with her so very much, that even with her gone I still feel her presence while I do it.

Of course, she'd be going nuts over the seams that aren't perfect or the fact that I don't always care if the thread matches the fabric perfectly.

But if she could have seen me on Friday, she would have smiled. Because, just like Mom, I ran out of time before I ran out of project. My poodle wasn't quite finished when I left for Dallas, and I had to run through Hobby Lobby to get more pom-poms.

I burst into the hotel room armed with a hot glue gun, bags of pom-poms and a poodle skirt with a rather hefty poodle on it (she hasn't missed a meal.) Biggsy asked what I was doing, I told him, and he just laughed. He married my Mother's daughter.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

They're Taking Over the World....

We ran up to Dallas this weekend. Well, Biggs went Thursday evening for a meeting all day yesterday. I cruised up yesterday for a Dresser Halloween party. We had planned to stay the weekend, but it just didn't work out that way. So we cruised back today.

And I realized something. Buc-ee's is the Stucky's of this century! They're taking over the world!

When I was 16, I got to go to Washington, D.C., on the Rural Electric Youth Tour. Seventy-seven of us loaded on two Greyhound buses for the trip. It was great -- I couldn't tell you enough about it. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And we stopped at every Silly Sticky Stucky's Stop between Austin and D.C.

But Buc-ee's is the new Stucky's. Get ready!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Get my Boobies Squished, Yes I Do! I Get my Boobies Squished, How 'Bout You???

All clear on the home front yesterday! No more Mammos till I'm 40!!! Whoo-Hoo!

Actually, it was High Drama. Because Biggsy is the "One Who Works," I asked him how long it would take me to get to my 7:30 a.m. appointment. We agreed that two hours was probably an accurate time, allotting for traffic and all that jazz.

If you know me well, you know I am NOT a morning person. I'm convinced that people are not supposed to get up until the sun does. Getting up at 5:00 a.m. is never an option.

But I did.

And I left the house at 5:20 -- just ahead of schedule. And didn't hit my breaks until I pulled into the parking lot! At 6:00! There was one other car in the parking lot when I got there. So I took a little nap and went in about 7:00 to get checked in. My idea: the sooner I check in, the sooner I get squished, the sooner I get home.

Not so, Joe.

They didn't have the films that we had ordered from Dallas. The receptionist informed me that there would be no squishing until the films arrived from Dallas. I would have to reschedule.

Oh no. I informed her that I'd gotten up before the crack of dawn (She didn't look a bit sympathetic -- seems she does that ever day.) Left my home way out in the country at 5:20 so I could sleep in her parking lot for an hour. My husband had to get the kids ready for school, etc.

She said she'd keep looking. I suggested she check with my doctor's office. They didn't open until 8:30.

When they did open, they did have the films, and we did get going. And I'm all good.

And here's the "God Part." I really hadn't told anyone about this mammo because of "the thing." I didn't think it was a big deal, but really just wanted to make sure. My doctor didn't think it was a big deal, either. But I didn't want it all blown out of proportion, so I kept it quiet..... Just blogging about it to my four readers the night before.

But ya'll know Suzi and I have this connection. And last night she called to say I'd been on her heart since 6:30 a.m. (While I was asleep in that parking lot.) That she'd been praying for me and a scripture had kept coming to mind. Isn't that cool? Because the whole time I was down there, I didn't feel one bit freaked out. I was calm, I did what I needed to do, and all is well.

So now it's your turn. Go check your chi-chi's.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thanks for the Mammaries.....

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You'd probably have to be living under a rock to not know what the pink ribbon stands for. I think it's great that tons of companies "go pink" for October.

I had a friend recently point this out -- that everyone knows about breast cancer. She didn't see the benefit of a Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She seems to think that Peppridge Farms and Cheerios should go all Halloweeny instead.

But that's not it at all. Sure, a lot of people are aware of breast cancer. But even though we've jumped that particular hurdle, the game isn't over. While we're all "aware" on some level, we don't all know that:
  • Men can get breast cancer, too.
  • You don't have to be an old woman to get breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer isn't always a lump or bump -- sometimes it's a spread-out spider thing. With inflammatory breast cancer, your breast or nipple area most often just looks "weird."
  • Breast cancer often spreads more quickly and effectively in younger women.

And there are tons of other facts. THAT is where the awareness comes in.

So it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What are you doing? Are you checking your chi-chi's on a regular basis? When was the last time you had a mammogram?

I have a mammogram scheduled for tomorrow at 7:30. And my first ultrasound thingy. (Don't you just love my technical jargon?) I have this "thing" that we're going to check a bit closer. My doctor thinks it's of the fibroid cystic nature. But she understands my fear of the other option and we're going to check it out once and for all. I'm glad.

So while I'm down yonder getting my boobies squished, please remind your loved ones to knead their knockers. It's the only option.


I kind of just deleted that last post / comments. I needed to edit my own comments, but deleted it before I cut and paste it all to a holding pen first.

This is Day 2 in Kindergarten Land. Maybe I could blame it on that???

Above all, I apologize to my dear husband who, I'm quite sure, was very proud of what he'd written.

I'm subbing today and just taking a quick break to run home and do a couple of things while my friends are at PE. No time to write a huge, long post. But we do need some more "meat." So here is something to gnaw on....

Why do they call them apartments if they're all together???

Seriously, I'll be back this afternoon. I've got some more ideas dancing in my head -- I've just got to get back up to the school.

Big Hugs,

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crazy Times....

What a Weekend! And this week already promises to be just as crazy!

The Sock was a blast! Kind of a trade-off for Abbie, though. We let her run around a bit with Hannah, but that meant she's not in nearly as many pix as Kaitlyn.

Abs is doing great at soccer. She's a defensive player and very centered on the ball. When it comes her way, she's extremely focused. She even took out a big girl this weekend -- that girl was in her way, and when Abbie kicked the ball, she kicked it so hard it took big girl's feet out from under her!

After the game, we kid-swapped and took Abs and Kat to the Rice game. We discovered the balloon lady and the face painting lady, and the girls were decked out!

Of course, no game would be complete without a visit with Sammy!

Rice beat Southern Mississippi 45-40 on Saturday. Rice has now beat two teams that beat Arkansas State. Arkansas State beat A&M. And that is part of the reason why Rice is now ranked higher in the polls than A&M. YIKES!! RICE!!! While I'm all for rooting for Rice, it's largely been because I've always considered them the underdog -- and let's face it, their games are a lot of fun. Not crowded. We get to go up to the R Room. We have great seats on the 50-yard-line about 30 rows off the field. We can go on the field before the game. The list kind of goes on and on.
But seriously! They aren't EVER supposed to be ranked higher than my Aggies!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sock Hop!

Today is Sock Hop -- what has to be my favorite day of the school year! We had to get some silliness out of our systems at the bus stop, but after that the girls were ready to get going!

Here's the Bus Stop Bunch...

They Made Like a Cow Patty....

And Hit the Trail....

Gudrun thought that was a hoot when I that to her! (Incidentally, I found out we've been misspelling Gudrun's name for oh, about 37 years. How sad is that??)

We really had the best time while they were here. Biggsy was in Chicago until late Wednesday night, so he really didn't get the full experience. But he did get enough time with Mike & Gudrun to determine that Mike is like a man-version, albeit older, of me. He's constantly got great ideas and really should be cloned for the good of society -- because there is no way he can accomplish all he wants to. I can definitely understand that!

Mike had bought a saddle off of Jane for his horse in Germany. He goes on these long 2-week trail rides all through Europe staying at little Bed & Breakfasts that cater to trail riders. It sounds so cool! But we spent some serious time trying to get that saddle shipped back to Germany. We went to the Post Office -- no idea they no longer do surface shipping. (At every stop, we'd get the big box with the saddle out of my truck, load it on the little red wagon and drag it in. We were a sight!) Mike has a deep-seated desire to avoid sending anything UPS, so we headed over to FedEx. They only wanted $411 to send it. YIKES! So they hit the trail with the saddle on board and are looking for another plan along the way.

I took Gudrun to HEB -- also known as Mecca. Here she is with the German offerings.

Have you seen RV? With Robin Williams? Well, that's kind of how I felt sending them off into the wild blue yonder in their big, rolling billboard. I'm sure the neighbors thought it looked great sitting in front of our house!

Hannah, Abbie & Kait were all set to hop on board for a trip to Florida!

It was sad to see Mike & Gudrun go, but we're thrilled to know they'll be back next spring with their own RV! How cool is that??

Oh My Hell!

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE Facebook???

Last night while glancing through the bajillions of people Facebook thinks I should know, I found none other than Steve McBride!

Oh My Hell!

That was his favorite saying and I can't tell you what a smile it brought to my face to have that run through my head the second I saw his picture!

Steve is the most gung-ho Aggie fan you could ever meet. He befriended Doyce and I our Freshman year. He's the only person I know who had an actual shrine to Jackie Sherrill in his apartment. When election time came around, he went around College Station removing Ann Richards bumper stickers and replacing them with Clayton Williams. He's a hoot.

And he's on Facebook!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Such a Big Day!

We've had a huge day today. We started out by returning Mike & Gudren's rental car at the airport -- a much bigger deal than we had expected. To begin with, we had to drive through a rainstorm that only Houston can offer. The Gulf of Mexico turned upside-down and dumped itself on Houston! Then, we got to the airport rental car return. That area is not at all user-friendly for droppping someone off. And they had put 5,000 miles on the car! Since September 3! YIKES!

We left there and checked out their RV that we're picking up tomorrow. It's all the way over in Kingwood -- quite a trek from here. But that's nothin'.

We left there and headed to the Creek. My plan was to take them to Dido's for lunch on the San Bernard. It was closed for lunch but the sign out front said it opens at 5:00 Monday - Friday, so we decided to go eat a bit of a snack and then come back for a very late lunch / early dinner. We took a few pictures before leaving... Isn't it beautiful??

We left Dido's and headed for Sargent. The plan was to stop at the Sargent grocery for something we could eat. Well, we ended up with a summer sausage and a loaf of bread. Once we got to the Creek we were lucky to find some crackers to go with that. And a refrigerator still stocked with sodas. Good thing.

Mike couldn't resist the water, though. Before I could even open all the blinds and get the AC turned on, he was in the Creek. He wasn't exactly skinny-dipping, but close! I love that reckless abandon that he has! And if you'll remember, there isn't exactly a dress code at the creek. The neighbor boys swim in the buff, and that guy that lives down by the snow cone stand wears his skivvies outside to hang his laundry out to dry. So what the heck?

After Mike's swim, we all sat on the dock to enjoy the sun and breeze.

I love this picture of Gudren!

This pelican was hanging out by the swing bridge. I think he thought it was a beautiful day as well!
The day wasn't all roses, though. I wanted to show Mike and Gudren the beach -- or should I say beach area. The beach is gone. I had heard it was gone, but I wasn't expecting this. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't to have it look so barren. I got rather choked up over it. It's just that we have such happy memories of time spent on the beach. It's never been an incredible beach or anything -- we've been to some really amazing places. But it was our beach, and that was what mattered.

The Krusty Pelican building is there, but it's not going to be reopened. The owner of the property has backed out of the lease and is selling to investors. We don't know if there will be another restaurant open up, but that one is gone.

While Mike was scoping out the revetment and lack of a beach, he got attacked by a wave. His shoe was soaked. So into the back of the car it went, and we headed back over to Dido's. But when we got there, there was a sign on the door that they would not be open on Tuesdays through the winter!!!!!

Sooooo.... We came back to Houston, ended up eating at Carl's BBQ -- and Mike carried his wet shoe in. The sign may say, "No shirt, no shoes, no service." But it doesn't specify exactly where those shoes have to be!

Tomorrow we pick up the RV..... Hang on to your hats!

A Few Pix!

Here we are at NASA, getting ready to go through their ultra-thorough screening process!
This is mission control from all the Apollo era up through about 1996.

This is where the astronauts train in the International Space Station modules.

The very latest in astronaut fashion!
The girls checked out the shuttle.
Here they are with Gudren in front of the Saturn rocket. It was huge!

The "Moon Series." Some of these aren't in focus, but you get the drift!

Here they are with Obi Wan's fighter from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.