Mother of the Bride Spot

Random thoughts on being a Mother of the Bride...although since we are now past The Wedding, perhaps this would be better titled Random Thoughts On Life In General...

Monday, June 13, 2011

C'mon Over to Grammie's Awards...and More

Decided since I was no longer the MOB (nor even the MOG), I would start a new blog and see if I could keep it going. So come visit me at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shopping for the MOG Dress

I found the perfect dress. In my favorite "dressy" catalogue. Of course, I knew I couldn't get it until Susan orders her MOB dress so we don't get the same color....but my friend Carol suggested I order it anyway -- can always return it -- just in case they run out.

Good idea.

I've looked at this dress for several days. Yep, I really like it. Showed it to Tim -- he thought it was OK (what did I expect -- raptures???). Bob thought it was *nice*. Linda liked it. Torrey thought it really pretty.

So, pulled it up online, and then before clicking the "order" button, decided to check on the size of the last dress I ordered from them just to make sure I was getting the right size.

Raced upstairs and checked out the last dress.

Looked at it very carefully.

Came back downstairs to the computer and looked at my newfound MOG dress -- very carefully.

Canceled the order.

It was the same dress I had as my MOB dress for Torrey's wedding in a different color.

It was the same dress Linda had as her MOG dress for Adam's wedding -- which was in the same color as my MOB dress.

No wonder we all liked it.

Back to square one.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And the List Goes On...

Here's the Groom 2 B in his finery with niece Laura and nephew Deven at Reuben's wedding in Mississippi....

Left a message with the person I'm hoping will be our caterer for the dessert reception on July 30. Left a second message with two restaurants in Montauk to chat with them about the rehearsal dinner. Made the guest list. Which is double the number -- both of invitations and potential attendees -- than I told Susan originally. I'm sure it must be Tim's fault. He says, "no problem." But then what does he know? As I pointed out on Facebook, he's only the groom.

Got Tim's suit. Slight problem there -- they were going to have to order it from their catalogue -- didn't have the right size or style pants (NO PLEATS!), and they didn't have the jacket in the right size either. Tim needs a 40 extra long, but evidently you are not allowed to be an extra long unless you are at least a 44. You could fit two Tims in a 44. The tailor said he thinks he can give us another inch on the sleeves. Salesman said, "no problem getting the suit in -- will be here in 3 to 5 business days." I said, "Problem. Tim leaves the country on Thursday and won't be home until 2 weeks before the wedding." Tailor said, "No problem. We can get it done." Type A personality Jan who wants everything done in a timely fashion is still muttering, "problem, problem." Especially since we won't have the swatches of material to send the groomsmen so they can get jackets in a similar color. At least for a while.

I did tell him it was just a bit more fun getting the girl's wedding dresses than deciding between a navy and a charcoal suit. On the other hand, I'd rather shop for a suit with Tim than have, say, a root canal.

He got a couple of white shirts. They actually look fabulous. And if he is going to wear a tie (he is), then he needs a 15 1/2-36.

Where am I going to find a shirt that size in a regular shop? You aren't allowed to be a 36 in sleeve length unless you are an 18 in the neck. The shirt he got with his tux for Reuben's wedding had sleeves that were made for an orangutan. They came past the tips of his fingers. I was wishing for the old fashioned garters men used to wear around their upper arms so we could adjust the sleeves, but I didn't even have a rubber band.

With all the focus on obesity in the US of A, you think the least they could do is make clothes easier to get for the tall and slender. OK, extra tall and skinny.

Dressing the girls was never like this....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MOG Duties -- Not So Much Yet

So far, as the MOG, I've not done much. We have our rooms booked at The Crow's Nest, and that is about it. Oh. I've made a list. Finally dawned on me that I probably needed to do that as I am a very listy person -- added it to my current list of things to do which incorporates all sorts of other things as well -- books I want to read, birthdays and anniversaries, upcoming speaking, a year long calendar to just list things I know are pending....and even a list of "things to do when there is nothing to do" which includes updating our will.

Anyway, I know Susan is working much harder than I am on this event. In fact, she even has to help choose the place of the rehearsal dinner, which is turning out to be a bit more problematic than we originally thought. I'm sure the perfect place will come through though....Tim wants it casual. I'm sure he'd love it if we could replicate Jill's at Pal Joeys with plenty of pizza.

But I don't think there is a Pal Joeys in the East Hamptons!

I do have the Commons reserved for a dessert reception for the MC (married couple) -- currently they are just the EC -- engaged couple on July 30 when they get back from their honeymoon. It will give them a chance to meet folks here in Wheaton that aren't able to make it to the coast for the wedding. I should probably start thinking about getting a caterer for that -- Diane at the church gave me a few suggestions. So my pink file folder, tucked between the color printer and "Breastfeeding and Human Lactation" is getting fuller.

Meanwhile, this weekend is Reuben & Albrey's wedding in Jackson, MS. I'm excited about that as the entire family (nearly) will be there. Jill is coming with Deven & Laura (Derrick has to work), Torrey & Chris will be there, Tim is in the wedding, and Lyn and I are going to set out luminaria for the rehearsal dinner. Reuben is 5 months older than Tim. It is only fitting he get married 5 months earlier than Tim. I'm looking forward to meeting his bride. And looking forward to seeing my sisters -- and my brother if he is able to come, along with all my nieces & nephews. It's going to be a great family reunion.

Wish Annabel could be with us.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Let The Planning Begin!

Linda, Carole and I do most of our work by e-mail. We have long and impassioned conversations about breastfeeding, lactation, Vitamin D supplementation, when we should go to the beach, what kind of collars Annie & Zoey (Carole & Linda's black labs) need to get, can we fit yet another Certified Lactation Specialist course in the 2010 calendar, and so on.

Such discussions extend to wedding planning. Tim's will be our collective seventh, though Jill got married before we were working so closely on these sorts of thing. None the less, Linda has married off Adam (Biltmore Estates, Ashville NC), Andy (Seattle Tennis Club), Carole has had two fabulous weddings at the beach in Avon, NC -- one son, one daughter. My two were a bit more prosaic, being that they were at College Church in Wheaton!! But a good time, none the less. 6 months and 5 days, not that I'm counting, it will be my turn again -- this time as MOG. The three of us, who are SUPPOSED to be finishing up our lectures, have spent the day on the rehearsal dinner. Never mind that none of us has ever stepped foot on Long Island, let alone East Hampton, or more specifically, Montauk. Not knowing where we are going or what we are doing has never stopped us.

We have a theme....we even have decorations!

Watch out, Tim & Annabel -- the Wonderful Wedding Wizards are coming.....

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Goodbye Christmas, 2009

Yesterday we took the tree down, put the ornaments away, put all the rest of the decorations in the basement, and pulled apart the 1000 piece puzzle that Torrey, Chris, Bob and I put together over Christmas weekend.

Today all the Christmas dishes were put away. BUT this year -- something new. Life is too short to save the "good" dishes so I moved the Christmas dishes into the china cabinet in the dining room, and instead of putting out the inexpensive stoneware we had been using, I got out what we purchased nearly 40 years ago as our wedding china.

Actually, it isn't the wedding china I CHOSE. I only got two salad plates of that. It's one Bob and I picked out well after the wedding, and it has been put to good use every time we eat in the dining room.

Which about now is once a year. For Thanksgiving dinner. For which I use the Christmas china.

But now -- it is in the cupboard in the kitchen, and it is going to have a useful life.

New Year's Resolution: Don't save stuff to use for "good." Use it NOW.

Goodbye Christmas. Hello good china!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Welcome 2010

I promised I would blog more and do something else less. Whether that is Facebook, read, play silly computer games -- I'm not sure. Anyway, here's blog 1 for 2010.

First off, we have a wedding date -- July 17! Which just happens to be the 198th day of the year, not that I'm counting. Which means I have 198 days to save for the rehearsal dinner, get thin, and get beige. And keep my mouth shut. This is day 1. 197 to go.

New Year's Day is an interesting mix of old and new. Sort of a catch-up day. All new calendars -- I love taking the old calendar down and putting up the new. Starting a new section of my journal. Speaking of which, the journal goes from 2004 to 2014 -- when I bought it in 2004, one of Torrey's friends wryly noted that he thought I was quite optimistic. It's so fun to keep, that I bought one for each of my sisters this year. Evidently "As Time Flies" thought Lyn was extra prolific. They sent her two.

Anyway -- so that's the new. The old is doing the year end finances -- seeing how much was spent all year, figuring out where to cut next year, and how better we can do on saving -- all that sort of thing. Sort of a financial housecleaning if you will. Also new check registers, and new spreadsheets...

This year I started reading a new Bible as well. Last year I read the "Chronological Bible in a Year" which Torrey had given me for my birthday. It's really fun -- puts Job in the middle of Genesis! Anyway, this year I decided to get the Chronological Study Bible -- I find that trying to read the Bible through in a year ends up focusing more on the dates and where I am and how far behind I am rather than on the Bible itself. Looks as though the chronology is different, and it is the New King James Version (don't think I've read anything in the KJV except Luke 2:1-22 since The Good News Bible came out -- or maybe it was Living Letters). But this was the only version this came in, and so far, it's great.

The picture is of Torrey and Chris. I kept trying to upload it to Facebook, and FB would have none of it, so it's on this instead. I took it for our Christmas letter on the day after during our lovely snow which was 24 hours late. I think it is an amazing picture, quite frankly....

Bob is working on finances too -- though he's trying to figure out how much we need to have to retire. Frankly, thinking about that gives me the heebie-jeebies. So much so I think I'll go play Jewel Quest III.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell to 2009

Not that I've posted much in said 2009. I've already blamed Facebook for taking up too much time. And then there is Jewel Quest III. I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually periodically play this really dumb computer game. At least my friend Linda relaxes with something a bit more erudite like Mahjong. I can't seem to get past level 2 on level 2. Very frustrating!!

But my "resolution" for 2010 is to blog more and Quest less.

And this year I'll definitely have something to blog about! You notice that this is the "Mother of the Bride Spot." Well, while I'm not going to change the name of it, it will now become the "Mother of the Groom Blog."

In Wheaton -- Before

Well, I THINK I'll have something to blog about. Maybe not. The mother of the groom traditionally wears beige and duct tape. Maybe I could wear beige duct tape?

So perhaps I won't have too much to say.

This much I can report:

1. Engagement took place on the beach in East Hampton on Christmas Eve.

In East Hampton -- After

2. Wedding date still to be decided.

3. Groom headed for home and then on to Portland OR New Years Day.

4. Bride headed for Jordan tomorrow. That's 10 time zones apart, in case you are remotely interested.

5. That leaves the MOB on the east coast and the MOG in the midwest to do whatever MOBs and MOGs do.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cooking.....or not....

Yikes. It has been forever since I've blogged. Blame Busyness....blame lack of inspiration....blame Facebook... I do think about it on occasion, but don't seem to actually GET to it. And yet.

Tim is home. He's been living in Portland since he moved there the beginning of September, but was in Indy for a wedding. We brought him home as he is flying to the Middle East on Thursday for a couple of weeks -- a vision trip -- to see if that is where he would like to serve next.

Cooking is interesting when the Timster is here. First off, you have to understand that cooking for me is the 21st century version of what my esteemed grandmother did which was "apply heat to food." I apply microwave to food.

When it is just Bob and me, it's really simple. You buy in portions that will serve 2, and if you purchase them in larger sorts of packages, you break them down to portions that will serve two. Unless you are my dear husband who just throws them into the freezer regardless of portion size.

Hence the package of 6 frozen pork chops which I'm sure Bob bought because they were 20 cents/pound cheaper if you bought them in quantity. Good idea. If they had been broken down into three servings of 2 chops each.

Ahhhh!! but Tim is home.

"Tim -- are you home for dinner tonight?" "Yeah, I think so. Yeah."

OK -- pork chops out of the freezer.

An hour later:

"Uh, hey, don't think I'll be home for dinner. Going out with Michael."

Pork chops back in freezer, hamburger out -- can try that new hamburger helper I bought and see if we like it.

Several hours later: "OK, so you are going out with Michael for dinner tonight?"

"Uh, no. We went out for lunch. Guess I'll be home for dinner."

Too late to get the pork chops back out. Guess he'll eat hamburger helper with the two of us.

Dinnertime: Seems as though there is someone else here --

"Tim, is Sam staying for dinner?"

"Uh, yeah. Is that OK?"

"Sure -- HH stretches. Hope he likes it."

Sam is charming and grateful.

The hamburger helper is awful. The peas were -- well, peas.

Note to self -- don't buy Asian "mongolian beef" HH ever again.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Cleaning Drawers

Funny how Facebook seems to take up blogging time. Hmmm....that should be noted as a danger....

Anyway, cleaning drawers. Evidently I am a packrat -- at least about some things. And I have a pen fetish. I wish I could count the number of pens I have found -- and they are wonderful!! Lots of colors, glittery, not so glittery, fountain pens, gel pens, ball point pens, markers, highlighters.....the list is endless. Not to mention my drawer is full again (plus I have 4 pen holders full....)

Tonight I found our first recorded budget from August 1, 1971. We had been married just over a year:

Bob's check was $850/month. Mine was $580/month.

Our house payment was $265, car payment for Bob's Cutlass (does anyone know what that is anymore?) was $90. Mine for my Kharmann Ghia (OK -- that's a blast from the past) was $180. We were helping to pay back my parents for their contribution to my Wheaton College education by contributing to Rosie's college at $75/month. We gave $150/month to the church, Missionary Internship, and Winning Women. Water was $5/month, Electricity $15/month, Phone $20, Gas for the house $10. Yikes!! Our "allowances" (Dave Ramsey would be pleased) were $40/month each. "Entertainment" and "Living" (which must ahve been groceries and eating out and movies or whatever) added up to $170/month.

As of January, 1973, Bob's check was up to $925/month, and mine was $625. Heady earnings for a young couple with not children in that day. We were putting $500/month into savings. Food was only $70/month. What on earth were we eating?

I have a note in April, 1973 -- "leaving $190 for fun, frivolity and EVERYthing else!" And at that point we weren't saving quite as much either.

In January of 1975, we have a total of $2170 in savings and our debits -- we owed Wheaton College $550 and my parents $750 for a total of $1300. Plus, of course, our mortgage on our little house on Edythe.

We were rich then.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Goodbye, Beast

Bob has been looking for another car for me for ages. He's checked the Tribune every Saturday, kept an eye on various internet sites, and finally narrowed it down to a 2004 or 2005 Lincoln Town Car with no more than 75,000 miles AND at a price we could afford. We really do NOT want to make car payments again.

Saying goodbye to the Beast is tough. It's so distinctive that I never have any difficulty finding it among other cars in parking lots. It's big -- it seats 6 in the car and 4 in the trunk. It has a cassette player so I can listen to all the old books that aren't on CDs.

But at 204,000+ miles, Bob was ready for me to trade up so he wouldn't worry when I was on a long trip.

On Saturday, August 8, we said goodbye.

And purchased the "Beastie Boy". It's a 2004 Lincoln Town Car with 60,000 miles and enough bells and whistles (including both a cassette player AND a CD player!!) to even make me happy.

I don't have any pictures of it --- because --- it just looks like every other car on the road.

But I do like it.

I just don't LOVE it.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

It Happened Again....

I don't believe it.

But it is true.

It happened again.

The occasion was Andy's wedding in Seattle last weekend.

For the rehearsal dinner, I wore the dress I bought for Soren's wedding in the Outer Banks, but didn't wear because Linda was wearing it.

For the wedding, I wore the same outfit I wore for Soren's wedding. No one else had it. So far, so good.

But no one had seen Carole's dress -- or Linda's dress. Linda is the Mother of the Groom. In pink, which is appropriate for one welcoming a daughter to the family....

See what I mean???

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Timster is HOME!

Well, he's been home for awhile....since July 1, actually. But for some reason it seems as though my blogging time has been taking up by that other time-consumer, Facebook. So, the blog has been sadly neglected.

It has been wonderful having him home, and he seems to have made the transition fairly smoothly. Things like air conditioning (not that we have needed it very much), microwaves, long hot showers, fast internet, regular electricity and refrigeration have been very welcome. He's not missing the sandstorms and flies, the dearth of a toilet in his house -- especially in the middle of the night (!!), the pallet on the floor of his little cement hut that was his bed for the last 18 months or the holes in his roof so when it did rain, everything turned to mud. Sanitation too is just expected here -- there, not so much. He doesn't miss the food -- the camel hump, the sheeps' unmentionables, the goat. And he's learning all over again how to eat slowly and savor the food (even his mother's cooking which isn't something that particularly warrants savoring!)

He's been busy, and his first week at home has gone by quickly. Lots of friends to see and catch up with -- lots of places to go and things to do.

We too have enjoyed having him here -- sitting out on the deck, enjoying a leisurely dinner and just chatting before he runs off to see someone else. Last night we were discussing some of the things he wants to talk about when he speaks at College Church on August 30. I've been making a mental list of some things that he "just can't forget!!" Guess I better put things down on paper for him. It's so easy to think of them now, but will he remember them all in 6 weeks if we don't write them down?

-- The daily prayer times their entire team had together -- DAILY -- for at least an hour a day, with two hours on Wednesday and an evening prayer time on Thursdays. No wonder they were seeing so much fruit in that area!

-- The Marabout (Islamic teacher) that wondered aloud to Tim why "followers of Jesus" would leave everything behind and come and live with them to feed, teach, and care about the little boys from the desert

-- The differences between the Puulars and the Moors

-- What "incarnational living" is all about and how it impacts the lives of the people around them

-- The men he became close to and discipled as a "shadow pastor"

-- The deep relationships he developed there. Americans don't have such deep relationships. We don't spend much time just listening. Africans are very good at listening. Especially just sitting quietly, listening to God

There is more, much more, and I'm sure things will come out over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, he's gearing up to go away again -- three weeks or thereabouts in Thailand in August for their every-four-year international conference and some traveling.

What's next? At this point, only the Lord knows for sure, and so far, He isn't telling!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

39 and Counting....

We celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary by doing a day trip into Chicago -- train (only way to go into Chicago on a Saturday when it is the Taste AND the Cubs and Sox are playing -- each other!!). Walked from the train station to where we were going to see Jersey Boys and then wandered around looking for a restaurant that was open for lunch. Decided on the Italian Village which was only about a block away. It was wonderful -- incredibly cute and quaint. It actually has three restaurants: Saturdays, Sundays and holidays you are sent upstairs to "The Village." We were put in a little booth that actually was a BOOTH -- little door, tiny window, and almost completely cut off from the rest of the restaurant. If it wasn't for little Johanna in the other half of the booth who screamed most of the way through her lunch -- she did want pasta, she didn't want pasta, she didn't want to share her pasta, she wanted would have been terribly romantic. The building was built in 1927, and I didn't have any trouble imagining Al Capone and his cronies brokering deals in that same little booth.

Then we went to Jersey Boys. The theater was amazing. Built 102 years ago, it seats 2400. As soon as I found out it used to be called the Schubert, I remembered I had been there before -- as a freshman (?) student nurse, we were given tickets to see Carol Channing in "Hello Dolly." Same nosebleed section -- but oh, it was fantastic!

We really enjoyed this musical. Warning: the language is a bit rough....but the music is SO our era! The story is about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons -- just one of the more than 10 or so names that the group was called. Remember songs such as: "Oh What a Night", "Silhouettes", "Earth Angel", "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Walk Like a Man", "My Boyfriend's Back", "Dawn", "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You", and "Rag Doll." ?? They were all there, and more.

Standing ovation -- the roar of the crowd -- great way to celebrate!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What are the chances???

Linda and I did it again. This is the second time -- hoping it will be the last.

Carole's son Soren got married this past Tuesday. It was a lovely beach wedding which requires slightly different attire from your normal evening church wedding -- especially since we had to scramble down the dunes to get to where the waves were lapping dangerously close to the wedding party. In fact, the guitarist had to make a hasty move to dry ground when his loudspeaker got a bit damp. But I digress.

Needless to say, there was lots of discussion about clothes, and exactly what DOES one wear to a beach wedding, shoes and so on.

You might remember, back in the days of yore when I really was the MOB, I had chosen a MOB dress from one of the zillion catalogues that keep the post office in business. It was a lovely evening gown, long, beaded, and eggplant. Linda's son Adam got married two weeks ahead of Torrey, and for her MOG dress, she chose -- yes, the same one.

She bought the purse which we both carried. OK, so it wasn't the same day, and we weren't wearing it at the same time, and only Linda's and Carole's families overlapped the two weddings. But it was a but humorous, none the less. Linda is about 5-2 if she stands on her tiptoes, and I am close to 5-9. One would not think we would choose the same dress.

But we did then, 3 1/2 years ago -- and we did it again. This time we were both guests at the wedding, sitting next to each other. It would simply Not Do to appear in the same sage green, crinkle cotton lace dress. Since she got hers first, I perused the catalogues and found something that would be very nice -- and not at all like Linda's.

Good thing I did get something different. Her's arrived.

Mine is still wherever they carry stuff that is on "back order."

If it comes in time, I think I may wear it for Andy's wedding (Linda's other son) which is in Seattle on August 1.

Weddings are SO fun!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Box Number 25....

This afternoon I packed up the last box we'll send to Tim in N. Africa. We made a special trip to Target to get him the power bars that he likes, and picked up a DVD (for cheap). Bob will make sure it gets out by the end of the week while I'm teaching in Southern Indiana and Georgia.

By the time he gets home on July 1, he will have been gone 25 months. He spent three months in Canberry, France learning French. We may have sent one box there. He then spent just over 3 months in Fez, Morocco learning Arabic. We sent him a couple of boxes there, and took ourselves over as well. We've sent 25 boxes for the 18 months he has been in "Narnia" (called so because it isn't....), and taken ourselves there as well.

It will be interesting going to the grocery store with just an eye to what is on our shopping list and not "what would Tim like...." What was challenging was sending him things he could eat that didn't require electricity to fix, and could be done over a one burner kerosene "stove." Do you know how much of our food requires microwaving? I couldn't send anything that needed refrigeration after it had been opened, and nothing that contained pork.

Heavy on the list has been protein powder from GMC the last 10 or 12 boxes because he's been losing so much weight. Power bars, cereal bars, candy (none in Narnia) -- emphasis on Swedish Fish and Mike 'n Ikes. I sent a couple of cans of soup early on, only to have one of them explode in the box. Now I know why they say, "no materials that are liquid, hazardous, flammable, dangerous..."

Well, I've sent liquids -- shampoo, liquid soap, and a few other things, but I'm much better at packaging them now. No more explosions have occurred.

I've sent books, and a few DVDs. I hid an 8 GB flashdrive in his protein powder, and have sent a few DVDs that I've not mentioned on the customs list. I did once, and the box was opened and the DVD stolen -- along with 2 of the 5 power bars I sent -- and the dishtowel that Tim needed.

I've sent battery operated fans and battery operated LED lights that he could stick to the walls as well as a great little battery operated lantern that has lasted the entire 18 months. He has enough batteries to open a small store -- but he'll give them to his friends in the little "subdivision" where he lives.

I've sent presents for the children, and one of the boxes I sent was all Christmas gifts for the four families that "hosted" us in October last year.

Only two of the 23 boxes Tim has received have been opened by the "Narnian" postoffice -- there are two more to get there. We've been really fortunate, as there is nothing to stop the folks in the PO from opening them and taking what they want.

Shipping the boxes has cost more than the contents of the boxes, but it has been a labor of love. I'm grateful to the US Postal system that they have international flat rate boxes, and I've learned to pack them compactly to get the most in a small space.

I'm feeling just a bit nostalgic over not sending him any more boxes....but -- we don't know where he end up or what he will ultimately do for his life's work -- or as he says, "for the next 20 minutes or so..."

If I were to hazard a guess, I suspect there are more boxes in my future -- and in Tim's.

At the rate postage is going up, I better start saving....

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Governments Strapped for Cash???

I sent my taxes to the appropriate places -- IL, IN, and the Feds -- on April 15. The feds cashed my two checks -- owed taxes for 2008 and estimated taxes for 2009 with alacrity. IN cashed my estimated tax check quickly as well.

It's been nearly a month and IN hasn't cashed my check covering my owed 2008 taxes. I mailed all the envelopes at the same time in the same mail box. LEC taxes AND our taxes. A total of 6 envelopes.

Did I not mail the IN taxes? Did they get stuck in the post box? Are they going to charge me exhorbitant interest for late taxes?

I e-mailed and within 5 hours got a response. "Wait three bank statements and write again if still not cashed. Don't send a replacement check at this time."

Um -- that is THREE months!!

Linda's husband Will actually called and talked to a real live person. Evidently their check hadn't been cashed either. (LEC is an Indiana-based company).

He was told.....

Are you sitting down????

"It will be another 6 weeks. We don't have anyone to open the envelopes."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Remind Me That I Love Traveling....

I was blithely humming along I-55 on my 3 hour trek to Decatur IL, listening to my current audiobook, when a thought slowly began to take form.....I didn't remember putting my suitcase in the trunk.

Pulling over to the side of the road, I checked it out. The trunk sported our LCD projector, a wrench, a gizmo to take the nuts (bolts?) off the tires and -- nothing else.

Turn around, go back another 40 minutes, thank Jesus that I hadn't gone any farther than 50 miles, and head for home. The suitcase was politely waiting for me where I had left it, by the door of the garage. I heaved it into the trunk and set out again.

Dusk fell, and so did the rain....poured!!! Rainmakers -- here we are again. Just ask us to do a program wherever there is a drought. We'll take care of it.

The hotel was a new Hawthorn Suites. I got our key, went up to the room, turned right around and went downstairs to the desk again. "Carole and I are really good friends, but we would REALLY like to have two beds please." "Oh," said the rather geeky attendant, "there is a pull out couch as the second bed. It should be all made up for you."

Yes there was a couch, and yes it was made up. It was miserably uncomfortable. The combo of the pull out couch and the refrigerator that cycled LOUDLY every hour or so wasn't exactly conducive to restful sleep. The room was also a handicapped room. If you have never been in a handicapped room, they are wonderful for people in wheelchairs. I hung my dress on the ironing board holder. The sink was tiny and had the only mirror in the room. This is for two women trying to get ready for a professional program at 6:00 am???

We always try to get to where we are going at least 20 minutes early to make sure all the AV works and everything is in order so we can start promptly at 8:00. At 8:15, we were still working on the recalcitrant AV equipment. The wireless keyboard didn't work. Neither did the clicker. They gave us a mouse to switch the powerpoint slides, but it only worked sporadically. I finally went out and got our projector and hooked up our computers. Ahhhhhh......

We got back from lunch for the second session (we do two of these programs each day), and evidently it was the day to test the fire alarm system. It was a very loud DONG - DONG - DONG -- right in our room, 28 dongs every 5 minutes for 40 minutes.

Carole did a magnificent job of yelling through it.....and finally it stopped. Until the afternoon shift came on, and it started again during our video....

Next week this will all be funny.

Meanwhile, remind me why I travel for a living??

Oh yes, by the way -- today we are at another hospital (where the AV is working perfectly and there are -- so far -- no fire alarms) and received an award for "Making a Difference" in Breastfeeding Education for our Building Bridges program from the Illinois Department of Health.

Combat pay? Maybe this is why I love doing this....

Yep, it is.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Beast -- Wounded, but not Fatally

Last Friday, a week ago, I was on my way to make rounds at the hospital, where about 1 1/2 blocks from home there was a horrible, grinding and scraping sound as the Beast came to a sudden halt. I gingerly got out of the car, and amid a horrid smell, there was the right front tire, deader than the proverbial doornail.

I called our favorite car-fixit-place, and gave them my name and said, "My car just died." "Oh," he said, "The Lincoln?"

You know you've taken your car in waaay too many times when all you give is your name and they know the car.....

So they took it away on a flat bed -- evidently you don't just *tow* a Lincoln, and Chris drove me home -- you also know you've been there waaay too much when they know exactly where you live and don't need to ask directions any more.

Called me back later with the news. The good news: it's fixable. The bad news: not until Monday afternoon -- and I was leaving for Springfield on Sunday. The worse news: it was gonna cost me....

But the really good news was -- I was only one block from home, and not on I-55!!

The ball bearing that does something funky with the tire on the left side had shattered and punctured the tire. I had had the right one replaced already (I think this is sort of like knee replacement surgery -- or maybe hip replacement -- in a person), but had had plenty of warning with the Beast just dying in the middle of the road for that one.

So -- I rented a car to go to Springfield. It was a nice, 2009 Toyota Camry (30 miles to the gallon!!).

But it wasn't the Beast.

She is home now, and driving just fine, thank you very much. But the verdict is that it might be time, just might be time to start looking for a new car.

I'm going to rent a car to go to Vincennes this coming week -- Bob is nervous about me taking TB on a long trip.

Another car?

I'm not ready.....

I need a bit longer.

Of course, when I have to actually pay the bill for this last surgery, I might be a bit closer to readiness.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Saga of The Beast

September, 2003. I fell in love. Bob and I were walking by the funeral home parking lot when I saw it....and fell head over heels in love with it.

IT was a 1997 Lincoln Town Car -- cream colored body with a blue top. It was the top of the line which meant it had all the bells and whistles for 1997. It also had 140,000 miles on it....

But....BUT -- it was only $4500!

We checked with our limo company who said that these cars were designed to go at least 250,000 miles if you took care of it.

Within hours it was mine. We figured if it would last until Tim graduated from Taylor in May, 2006, we'd have found ourselves a bargain.

This morning on the way home from the hospital, The Beast turned 200,000 miles.

I still love The Beast. I don't want to give it up. It still drives like a dream.

I figure if I keep it much longer, I can enter it in Old Car night on Front Street in Wheaton in the summertime.

The Beast's license plate?


Sunday, March 15, 2009


It's funny how good it feels to be home.


I'm not traveling nearly as much this year as last -- perhaps that is why I am relishing being home as much as I am.


Sure. We get up in the morning, and I go off to the hospital to see moms and babies....have lots of stuff to do in the office when I return, but there is something about being ... home.

Although if I were traveling I wouldn't be facing a root canal tomorrow.

Valium, anyone?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Yearly Physical....

Had to go in to see Marie for the yearly physical.

Doncha just love them? No matter how nice your doc is -- there are just some things that Are. Not. Fun.

This is one of them.

But I did get my chuckle when the nurse, dutifully filling out the computerized history form, asked me what I was using for birth control

"Um.....Old Age?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Visit to the ER

I spent yesterday in the ER with chest pains.....had had them since Sunday night -- all day Monday (but were faint enough that I could fob them off).

Tuesday morning I woke up at 12:30 am and couldn't go back to sleep. There they were. Definitely left sided pains, radiating down to my left arm. No elephant sitting on my chest feeling, no huge sweats, no feeling of impending doom, just a pulse rate that was out of sight, and the pain -- front, back, arm. Hmmm.

At 4:45 I got up, showered, dressed, and told Bob we needed to go to the ER....

He showered and dressed while I stocked computer, book, Bible, contact lens case, glasses -- all the "just in case stuff", and, of course, put on makeup. You think I'm going to show up in the ER with last night's underwear and no makeup? Not me!!

12 hours later I was discharged with a clean bill of health. At least whatever I have in the chest is not my heart. (I will NOT listen to those TV shows that discuss how women's heart attacks do not have the same symptoms that men's do. The fact that my father died of a sudden coronary after being given a clean bill of health at exactly my age may have something to do with my paranoia).

My chest X-ray was normal. (Evidently they don't count fat as abnormal). My cardiac enzymes (blood work) was normal. I talked them into ordering all the other blood work my doc wants for my yearly check up which is next week....and then I had a nuclear stress test.

Uh -- don't do that. Not fun. Took about three hours. And I'm still, I guess, glowing in the dark. Not to mention the walking on the treadmill part. The walking isn't bad. The speed -- not so bad. The INCLINE??? BAD!! I will not tell you how many minutes I lasted. Suffice it to say I might have made it through two auditions on American Idol complete with Simon's caustic comments.


But the little donuts that demonstrate my blood vessels evidently are all clear. No clogging with Doritos, onion chip dip or chocolate.

Bob was most thankful that my chest pains happened on Tuesday and not today because he really has a very busy schedule today, including having breakfast with our new senior pastor. So glad I could accommodate him. Especially since Torrey was born on a Wednesday against his express wishes.

Memo to self: Avoid Wednesdays for emergencies or childbirth. Doesn't make Bob happy.

Oh yes, the day of Torrey's birth, he managed to leave my bedside in the labor room to go to his Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee (P&T) meeting.

Grateful to Jill -- born on a Sunday, and Tim -- born on a Thursday.

But I digress. However, keep in mind that my "emergency" did occur on a Tuesday. Whew!

Anyway -- I'm here, safe and sound for the moment. And truly thanking God that there was nothing that showed up. I'm still not sure what the chest pains are all about, but the ER doc assured me that all they needed to do was make sure I was safe to go home, it wasn't my heart, and they didn't care beyond that.... Evidently they worry about lawsuits in which they declare the chest pains a figment of an old ladies' imagination (especially if she is wearing lipstick and bringing her book to read) and send them home to drop dead within 24 hours. Not good for the corporate image.

But as to really what CAUSED the chest pain? Let's leave that to Marie to figure out when I see her next week. (Marie being my long-suffering *real* physician).


Sorry no pictures -- too bad they won't let me have a snapshot of my amazingly clear arteries. I'm sure you would all be quite interested.

Um, not.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Last -- and Favorite Stop -- Malta

After another wonderful day at sea - amazing how much there is to do....we got into Malta about 1:00 in the afternoon. It was wonderful. Of all the places we visited, this is the one I want to re-visit. Carole and Bob were right -- this is exactly what they said too. The ship pulls up right into the port of the city, so you can walk right into the heart of the main town -- or you can wait for a bus -- or you can take a tour with RC -- or you can venture out on your own.

We opted for a "venture out on your own" which wasn't too difficult as that required walking up a bit of a hill and then a bunch of stairs into the main "downtown" area. Valleta is one of those places you could spend a long time, particularly if you don't have a tour guide hurrying you along to the next stop. It isn't all that fact, if you had a full day or a bit more, you could rent a car and drive alll along the coast.

The next time I would do what Carole and Bob did -- go on a bus to the M'dina -- the old walled city of Malta, and tour there. They said it was truly wonderful.

Coming into port was a fabulous view. The advantage to coming in at 1:00 in the afternoon is that You. Are. Awake!!

We started out with Linda and Will, but they opted to take a bus, while we opted to walk. (I'm the total martyr here, and plan to play it for all it is worth when I have to see Marie for my usual check up in February....)

Up the stairs....

Well, dang, I didn't take any pictures of the stairs. Sigh. They were there -- trust me -- my thighs do!!

The picture of the Lipton's Iced Tea is for Linda and Carole who refuse to drink any tea but Liptons. Yet another reason to return to Malta.

We visited THE Cathedral -- St. John the Co-something or other. Yikes -- I can't remember -- I'm sure it wasn't the co-conspirator, but of course, that is what comes to mind. In any case, it was absolutely beautiful -- well kept, geared to tourists in that we each got a little doodah that took us around the cathedral with audio lectures on each stopping point. It was truly amazing. Unfortunately most of my pictures turned out totally blurry (having not a clue as to how to take them w/o flash), and needing to really go to the bathroom. Finally found one, waited a really decent length of time in front of the woman's room, only to be a tad disconcerted when a man walked out of it.....

A toilet is a toilet is a toilet -- and if ya gotta go, well.....

True confessions:

1. I wanted to spend more money here than anywhere. Malta had the BEST stuff to buy. I resisted jewelry, but did get some things for everyone else -- my girls, and a bit for me as well. I have the prettiest vases -- Malta is known for its glassware. Truly lovely.

2. I had positively, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt, the best capuccino I have ever had in my entire life. Right across the street from St. John the Co-whatever....

We met up with Linda and Will at that point, and after extracting many promises from Tim as to what time he would arrive at the ship, we let him go find an internet cafe from whence he could chat with friend Jen.

I LOVED Malta. Did I say that before? My pictures do not do a bit of justice to the little town we were in....up hill and down dale (though I'm not a bit sure of what "down dale" really is....)

Y'gotta have your MacFix....

We had, of course, go to St. Paul the Shipwrecked church. They wouldn't allow picture taking in the church, which was a pity -- but they also didn't charge us to go through it. That was obvious. Rather than the shiny gold, copper, and silver objects of arts that were in St. John the Whatever church, this church was smaller, dingier, and certainly nothing was polished.

Except for the statue of Paul the Apostle in the front of the church in a glassed in box. There he was, as, I suppose, they thought he arrived in Malta. Do go to the story in the Acts of the Apostles to read about Paul's arrival on Malta. Shipwrecked, they came into harbor with the ship gone, but not a soul lost. Paul and company are making a bonfire on the shore when a viper comes out of the brush and latches on to Paul's hand....he shakes it off into the fire, and since he suffers no ill effects from the viper's poisonous bite, the people of Malta declare him a god....well, it goes on from there -- you have to read it for yourself. Wonderful story - especially if you are visiting Malta.

So there is the statue of Paul -- replendant in green and gold robes, holding what looks to be a Bible which would have been printed in at least the 15th century. A snake is slithering up behind him....

It was gorgeous. A bit out of character as to what I THINK the whole scene looked like, but oh, how fun....

Carole told me that the M'dina had a lot more dedicated to Paul as they think that is really where he landed and lived for some time....


Anyway, we meandered a bit more through the town, taking pictures, buying souveniers, and finally headed back to the ship....

I absolutely cannot wait to go back to Malta. What a wonderful island!!

I'm hoping my dear sister will weigh in on this post -- she and Tim (her dh) spent a week here on one of their much needed, but not-frequent-enough breaks.

Maybe someday....

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Camels, Michael Jackson, Pyramids, and the Sphinx!

Due to a storm that was headed our way, the captain chose to skip Cyprus so that there wouldn't be any danger of our not getting into port in Alexandria. That gave us an extra day at sea before our really long day in Egypt. For this one, we opted to go on the Royal Caribbean tour rather than getting one of our own...

Up early and eager, we got our number (19) and got on our bus.

Only to discover we had all been put on the wrong bus. This one wasn't going on the Nile cruise -- it was going to the City of the Dead in Cairo instead. Oops.

It was a long drive from Alexandria to Cairo. Our tour guide was hot into selling things -- T-shirts and cartouches which she promised if we only ordered Right Now we could get it at the end of the trip.

First stop was an old mosque. It wasn't terribly impressive, but it did have 365 lights in it! Poor February 29 gets left out again.

Next stop was lunch on a cruise on the Nile. Wasn't exactly what I expected. Evidently Moses wasn't born near Cairo -- there wasn't a bulrush to be seen. There were, however, lots and lots of buildings. Looked just like any old city anywhere. We even waved at TGI Fridays! The Nile is brown, in case you needed to know...

Tim looks thrilled with the food, doesn't he? It wasn't the best -- though I LOVED the ice cream!!

Now here is the kind of boat I thought we would be on...

I think I was expecting the Egypt of the old Agatha Christie mysteries, or Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody books....not the Egypt of 2009....

In fact, seeing the pyramids behind the city was a shock. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't this:

The pyramids were surrounded by lots of um -- sales people and camel vendors. Will and Bob (Peterson) think they could market the place a lot better and perhaps do an Egyptian Disneyworld -- perhaps "Sphinx R Us" or "Pyramidic Planet". I do think they need help...

I digress.

I wanted to ride a camel. Another one of the 101 things to do before I die is now crossed off the list....Tim was an unenthusiastic passenger with me -- I didn't want to do it on my own, and there was no way I was going to get Bob to go! So Tim graciously decided he would accompany his old mother...

Our little camel boy spoke lovely English -- told us the camel's name was Michael Jackson. I told him Michael Jordan would have been a much better fit....which brought on a lovely discussion of basketball. He was quite impressed with Tim's command of Arabic....I too, am very impressed with Tim's command of Arabic. Despite having learned several phrases in Morocco, I'm left with la shukran. (No thank you).

The Great Pyramid -- the one the three of us are standing in front of -- is the only one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World that is still standing. The pyramids, however, are not the oldest man-made structure on the earth. That honor is given to a stone gate in Malta. (This took up a full breakfast discussion the next day...) And you can't get into the pyramids -- Evidently you can if you go to Luxor, but maybe on another trip....

Then on to the Sphinx... This guy -- well, you can't get up close and personal with him. He is surrounded by a fence which is probably just as well. That way the only thing that will make him crumble a bit faster is the acid rain and pollution from the 15,000,000 folks that live in Cairo and its environs.

The last stop of the day was one of the many "Papyrus Institutes" where we were treated to a lecture on how papyrus is made, and then encouraged to spend many euros on beautiful pictures painted on the papyrus. I opted to take pictures of the pictures instead....much to our tour guide's disgust because we are quite sure she gets a commission on all that is sold. Maybe Royal Caribbean does too....hmmm....

We finally headed back -- sleepy -- a bit disgruntled at spending so much time in the last shop rather than more time exploring the wonders of Egypt, and hungry....

The line was LONG to get back on the ship. And it was COLD.

The next time I go back to Egypt, I'm going to Luxor, and I'm going to find some bulrushes. I think I'm going to go with Agatha Christie, because I want to visit the Egypt of the past. I think it's much more romantic than the Egypt of the present.