Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Friday, December 2, 2011

A New Look

LadyBug has undergone some drastic changes over the past year, the least of which is a new pair of glasses. In the accompanying photo, you will see them, along with her new hair, and renewed energy that has been missing for quite some time! Not much left to say, just glad she's almost done!

SO "TIRED"

Our youngest, ZeldaPrincess had quite the experience tonight, while on a trip to Wally World, on icy roads, she lost control of the car and slid into the curb. We thought we were looking at a new car purchase for awhile, but even though we could not be there, since Kissa has the truck, a friend and some family helped get the spare on. We will see, but right now, it may simply mean a new tire and rim, if not two. Better than the cost of a new car, but not as good as paying off some bills, which was the plan for next week. We do have some blessings coming next week, and the Lord was obviously watching over ZP tonight. To show just how bad it COULD have been.....


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eye, Eye, Eye!

A milestone was reached in my life. I finally broke down and bought reading glasses! Mine aren't this nice, but they look a little like this:
   
  
They are only +1.0, but it is a step I have been putting off as long as possible. It seemed like my arms were either getting longer, or weren't long enough! Reading is easier now, and I can't wear them for anything else, but it still feels like my body has let me down! Alas! I guess I am getting older after all, despite my best efforts!

The Next Project

We've wanted to do this for some time, so I finally broke down and did it. I don't know if you can see very many details, but we think we'll like it!

The End of the Road (Almost)

LadyBug had her final reconstructive surgery on Thursday, and was released on Friday. The surgeon told me to expect a 2-4 hour procedure, and the nurses said, and that would be AFTER 30 minutes of prep! So I went to lunch. Granted, it was a long lunch, but even so, I figured I was getting back to the hospital with PLENTY of time!
   
When I got back, I asked the nurses at the desk where I should wait to talk to the doctor. They told me he had already left and LadyBug was in recovery! The surgery lasted only 1 1/2 hours, MUCH shorter than expected! The doctor called me while LadyBug was still in recovery and said things went much better than expected, and he felt she would have a speedy recovery.
  
One of the nurses showed LadyBug her scars before she left the hospital, and told her they were the cleanest scars she had ever seen! We feel very blessed through all of this, and greatly appreciate all your prayers on our behalf!
   
Compared to other operations, LadyBug has felt very good. She even went with me yesterday to a town to the south of us to buy some needed things. It has been a long road, and we aren't quite at the end, but we can see it from here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not Much More to Say

Before/After. And the first isn't even me at my heaviest! All I need to say!

Friday, August 26, 2011

LONG Overdue!

I have been thinking lately about things that need to be done YESTERDAY. It's an interesting phenomenon. We went to our mechanic the other day for a full oil change / lube service, and when done, he commented that we needed new brakes. I asked when we needed to get them. He replied, "Yesterday." Needless to say, since we just had our inspection earlier in the month, this came as a surprise. We left our van at his shop and picked it up the next day.

In late Spring, when our daughter Kissa came home from college, she brought my
truck back with her with tags that had expired MONTHS previously. Our son StarGazer was the one who noticed this fact. We took it in, and had it inspected, then registered it. Last night, our youngest child ZeldaPrincess was  pulled over in her car (previously belonging to Kissa) because we had failed to notice that IT'S tags had expired months ago!!! She now has about a $40 fine to pay! THEN she still has to get it inspected and registered.

This made me think about all the things that should have been done "yesterday."
Our roof still needs to be replaced. We got a bid on it, which we turned in to our insurance agent. A $6,000.00 bid. Our insurance will cover all but $1,000 of that, but we don't know if they will cut a $5,000 check to the person who placed the bid, or made to us, so we can buy the supplies ourselves and save labor costs. We just know that it needed to be done before today....

My "lawn" also sits ready for me. We have been on the go lately with different
family occasions, doctor appointments and the craziness of getting everything set up for school to begin, so i haven't been able to mow my "lawn" for a couple for weeks. I use the term "lawn" loosely because there is very little actual grass anywhere in sight. It is a former alfalfa farm / cornfield / barnyard, so it hasn't been the kindest place for delicate little blades of grass. We get some very pretty colors in the spring, though, with all the various weeds and other plants that pop up. As soon as I have both time and money for gasoline, I will mow it. It will take me a bit of time, though, because I need to have my mower tuned up.

LadyBug is also waiting for approval for her Disability application. Several
months ago she called to see when she could expect a decision. They told her they needed some info, so it would be a couple of weeks. She has called several times since then, including last week. They told her it would be a couple of weeks. This was a process which, by law I believe, is supposed to take no more than 120 days. We passed that deadline quite some time ago. She will call again either today or sometime next week. I expect one typical answer: It will be a couple of weeks. If they approve it, it will pay retro-actively all the way back to November of last year. If they deny it, we can appeal, re-appeal, and re-re-appeal, etc. No big deal. I'm sure that will only take a couple of weeks.

We now find ourselves in the place where we are needing to get the truck
inspected again. Before that can happen, I have to replace a tail-light assembly. I hope I know how to do that, but we bought one on eBay at 25% of the cost at the local Automotive Supply store. It should hopefully be here before next week is out, or ZeldaPrincess will be walking everywhere. Kissa already is. StarGazer and SkiTl, our two sons, are living and working in a town in the northern part of our state. SkiTl has been waiting for his taxes to be finished for months now. We just got them the other day (the accountant had filed for an extension). Now he hopes he can get that money so he can pay what he still owes from the previous year's "Return."

I also just started the school year, and have been scrambling to find enough
students to continue eating and driving and such. This is always a bit of a struggle, but this year we reached a point where if I couldn't find at least three or more students at both the high school and the college, I would not be able to afford to continue teaching! So I have been doing some recruiting this week that would have been much simpler if it could have been done BEFORE the school year started. Unfortunately, for the college that is not possible. For next year at the high school, I will make sure to do some more advertising for the class that always has enrollment issues!

I have been meaning as well to go see a massage therapist. The tension in my
neck and shoulders has reached the point where it is affecting my VOICE! I had never thought about it before, but I am sure that this tension is at least one of the main contributing factors to my voice problems. I even have a couple of former students that are licensed massage therapists, but that has to wait until some of the other things get done yesterday. Like getting a haircut. I also have some former students who have licenses for that, but there is just never enough time to get it done!

And. of course, I need to rewrite my book, finish rebuilding my bike, and get
back to losing the last five pounds I need to reach my goal. But those things are all on back burners until other things get done. Like cleaning up around the house, doing dishes, cooking dinner, sorting and changing laundry, getting rid of SkiTl's dog, or even THINKING about installing bookshelves in my room, Shampooing the carpet, replacing the carpet, painting the walls, scrubbing the shower door, replacing the kitchen faucet, ripping out the deck and putting in a stone patio, and painting the shed.

And none of that takes into consideration the poems I still want to write, the
music I still need to finish, or any of the other things that I have planned for years but never completed.

It all reminds me of a poem I wrote as a senior in high school, titled,

"Skydive."

When troubles build and threaten

To collapse upon my chest,
When all the worries of the world
Are trite cliches, at best,
When hoping counts for nothing,
And wishing follows suit,
In find that I can never have
A working parachute!


Whew! I tell you, it's a good thing time doesn't move in reverse! Because if
Yesterday came after today, with all the things that need to be done Yesterday, when Yesterday comes, Tomorrow would be SO busy!



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Death in Wyoming by Choral Responses

A post of a poem from my brother Twist reminded me of this poem I wrote in 2008:
   
When I die, let me die in Wyoming,
'Cause from there, there's no way to go but up!
Yes, when I die let me die in Wyoming,
But please don't bury me face-up.
Y'see in winter, the blizzards will freeze you,
And the summers will bake you bone-dry.
Y' say you don't want to die in Wyoming?
Well, on second thought, neither do I!
No, don't let me die in Wyoming!
And it's not that I hate heat or snow,
But when I die if I make it to Heaven,
There'll be such an awfully long, long way to go!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The End of Summer

So it's finally here: the end of Summer Vacation. Finally. I never thought I'd say those words, but this year they are all TOO true! I will always be thankful for the job I had this summer, and how it helped us through what would have been more-than-thin months, but I am SO ready to get back to school.
  
I have been scrambling to find a few students to fill spots that will be vacated by others who cannot take a class, or are moving, so next week will be a full week for me, especially since the teachers start their contract year on Wednesday, but I am very excited to get moving. 
    
We have a new choir next year that is going to be the closest thing we have ever had to a show choir. And no, I am not a fan of Glee, and have actually been quoted in professional publications on my views on shows like that. But we will sing, we will dance, and we will have a blast!
   
What really has me excited, however, is our plans to produce (with whatever help we can wrangle) the quite wonderful and famous Songs of Sanctuary by Karl Jenkins. If you have ever heard it, you know it is very cool, and if not, then you should listen to it as soon as possible! It sounds like it is in another language, but it is all nonsense syllables that the composer made up and threw together to sound good! It has a very World-Music sound that I am excited to teach, and the local college director has the DIGITAL ORCHESTRAL ACCOMPANIMENT on a Click-Track that he is going to loan to me! Plus, my daughter Kissa is going to choreograph the whole thing and we are going to turn this into a HUGE production (I hope!)!
   
Everything else this year is just going to be getting LadyBug back to herself. Of course, that also means that I will be teaching as many private students as I can handle at the college, but the director there is really looking out for me. We are down one (possibly two) other instructors, and he has told me he will make sure to get me enough students. It amazes me how much the Lord blesses us through others!
   
Well, it is almost 1:00 a.m., so I guess I should probably go to bed. Of course, now that my job is done, I plan to sleep in tomorrow!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

V

(Preface: No, this is not completely about LadyBug, so don't get scared!)

She Is        by Choral Responses

emerging from eternity,
grasping for life,
breathing the new world,
unfamiliar with strife,
her name is Baby,
and she is Loved.

shining in shadow,
dancing through years,
smiling the sunshine,
defiant of fears,
her name is Daughter,
and she is Loved.

standing with strength,
living her life,
giving herself,
becoming a wife,
her name is Woman,
and she is Loved.

Bearing her children,
acquainted with tears,
nurturing the future,
banishing fears, 
her name is Mother,
and she is Loved.

discovering an ailment,
seeking a balm,
receiving harsh answers,
finding her calm,
her name is Patience,
and she is Loved.

enduring the treatments,
receiving support,
living for tomorrow,
calling on the Lord,
her name is Survivor,
and she is Loved.

returning to eternity,
receiving new life,
escaping this world's bonds,
released from all strife,
her name is Beloved,
and she is Home.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring....

We have a thunderous downpour happening right now, so it isn't helping, but here are pics from our swollen river earlier today....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Few of My (Least) Favorite Things....

Living here for 16 years, I have acquired a healthy DIS-LIKE for several residents. They are annoying and revolting, and I would be perfectly fine if they would just LEAVE our town and go someplace else! And every one of them can be found in my back yard! Here they are:

If you don't know what these critters are, consider yourself LUCKY! They are three of the things I consider Banes of My Existence! And there are very few ways to get rid of them!

Friday, July 1, 2011

An Early 4th

In our town, we celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks on whatever day is Friday. Then we have our parade on Saturday. Always. Every year. Even if it means we're celebrating the 4th on the 1st or the 5th or whatever. It works, though some here complain about it not being "true" 4th of July celebrations!
  
One of the best things about this is the fact that every year on Saturday, the civic library has a book sale. I always pick up between 1 and 10 books for around 25 cents each. I am already excited about tomorrow's sale (even more than the parade!)! The second is that they do the fireworks in the field BEHIND OUR HOUSE! We get to sit on lawn chairs on the back porch and just look almost straight up! Here are some pics I took tonight:


Also, on my way home from work today, I snapped some shots of the river as it is flooding nearby fields:
This last is outside a house down the street from us. They have been pumping water out of their basements there for WEEKS!

I will post more as it happens!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No More

LadyBug had her LAST RADIATION TREATMENT TODAY! I drove her up to make a special day of it. The office gave her a certificate of completion and a bottle of sparkling apple/cranberry juice. Kissa went with us, since she had the day off from work. We went to see Skitl and StarGazer, who took us to lunch at Applebee's. 
  
This was the perfect day for this too, since I was able to stop off at a town between here and there and pee in a cup for the drug test required by my new job. I go in tomorrow morning at 8:30 to complete the last of the paperwork, then I start in full-time! This job will work out to a part-time job once school starts, and I will continue until that salary is no longer necessary. Could be awhile. I'm sure if they'd double my current salary as a teacher, I'd be happy to work just for them.... No, I guess not, since I am more than halfway to retirement. Now AFTER retirement....
   
We are also only a month away from our Relay for Life. We have been trying to raise money for our team's pledge, but it has been slow-going. We are having a 20 mile bike-a-thon, and a karaoke contest, then on the night of the relay, we'll sell S'mores and hot cocoa. Around 2 a.m. that should be fairly welcome.
   
Right now, though, it is time to cook some spaghetti and enjoy an evening with the family (and the Scottish soccer coach we are hosting!). Take care!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Take 2!

So I submitted my book to Cedar Fort Publishers. They are not as well known as some of the big publishers, but they have some very nice books, and their vision statement is in line with what I want. They received my book yesterday. I know my brother Twist also sent his book to them. If Stick sends his in, maybe they'll give us a bulk deal?
   
A few of the things I really liked about this publisher is that 1) they want to deal with new authors; 2) they are looking for books that have higher values; and 3) even though most of their books are church related, they have some fiction & fantasy books already published! I really feel my story, and especially my protagonist will please them. Now I just have to find out whether or not they like my writing style!
    
I also have a couple of updates. First, I had my interview with a company just north of us that I worked for last year. There were four computer-based assessment tests, along with a video conference interview with about a half-dozen corporate members. I've never had this big a deal for an entry-level job in my life! Even for my teaching job I only talked with a few people.
  
Lastly, LadyBug finishes her radiation treatments TUESDAY! We can't believe there are only two appointments left! Afterwards, we still have however many months of reconstruction, but we are THIS close to at least being done with treatments. A lady in our town has been battling MUCH longer than us, and is losing her battle. I saw her daughter at the post office today. I can't believe the strength her family has in the face of such a devastating loss! They are truly inspiring to us.
  
We truly appreciate all the prayers on our behalf. There isn't a day that goes by where we don't feel the blessings from them! We may have trouble, but as we have seen, not only could things be worse, but they also keep getting better!

Monday, June 20, 2011

More From the River...And IN It!

A few more pics from our river, down by the main street bridge. What you CAN'T see is the walkway that normally goes under the bridge! You can see a line or two where it SHOULD be!



Saturday, June 18, 2011

If the Creek Don't Rise

Today we went to the wedding reception of a student who just graduated from high school. She was planning on attending college right up to the point where she met and started dating her husband. Now he will finish massage school, and she will go to Cosmetology school. He is about 8 years her senior.
   
After, we decided to drive to the river crossing nearest our house. Several years ago, they put in  a little bridge. You can't even see it right now from the flooding. I snapped a couple of pictures and decided to post them here. We have cooler weather this weekend, which annoys some people, but hopefully will keep the snow in the mountains from melting any faster.
   

   
I then sent a resume for a job here in town working in assembly for a company that manufactures carbon-fiber products such as prosthetics and such. It is an evening shift from 4 pm until midnight. I rarely go to bed before midnight right now, so that won't be a problem. The pay is good, so I hope something will come of it. It is also advertised as a temporary position, which has potential to be permanent. If hired, I'm not sure if I would stay once the school year starts, or go back to my college voice students. I know which I'd RATHER do, but will have to see what happens.
   
Tomorrow I will also speak with the manager of the grocery store where the rest of my family has worked. They have a 4 am shit that goes for a few hours unloading freight. I could consider even doing both jobs, but I would end up sleeping away most of the day. I have to balance providing for my family with whether or not I work myself into an early grave!
  
Well, I'll figure out something... Lord willing, and if the creek don't rise....

Friday, June 17, 2011

On the Hunt

I find myself in a situation I have not been in for years. Starting tomorrow, I will be ACTIVELY seeking a job. Not to worry, I am not leaving my career, nor am I leaving this school. But I can no longer just wait and hope the Temp agency will call me.
   
Two times now, I have applied with this particular agency, and they have found me work within days both times. This year, however, it seems not as many people are hiring temporary employees. I will not point political fingers, but this economy is just not where it was even a year ago! And it was bad enough then!
   
Anyway, the gist of the matter is that I was speaking with my bishop tonight, and he told me I need to look at this as a situation that may possibly become permanent. If, for some reason, LadyBug is unable to EVER go back to work, it will be up to me to make up her lost income. 
   
This statement was one of the most frightening things I have heard. I have always held onto the hope that LadyBug will be able to eventually return to work. The truth is, we just don't know. And with all the bills that have piled up over the past little while, if we don't find a way to stay ahead, we will quickly be buried.
    
So, I will stop thinking of this job-hunt as a quest for a one-month gig. I need to see this as a renewable resource for the future. Once the school year starts back up again, I will return to teaching, and that includes my duties as a member of the adjunct faculty at the nearby college. Those students will easily save us, especially since no part-time job can compare with the hourly wage I get as a collegiate-level instructor!
   
The one thing I will hold to is my refusal to work Sundays. I know this puts me at a disadvantage, but I have to believe that if a job is the one I should get, the Lord will provide a way for me to obey his commandment of keeping the Sabbath day holy. I will not pretend to be better than those who have worked or now work on Sundays, but as long as I can remember, I have been able to find the jobs that allow me to stick with this tenet of our faith.
    
Other than that, I don't care what I do. A very humbling matter that has come to me is the fact that even with a Master's Degree, I am not qualified for most labor-related jobs. While all those who have getting-your-hands-dirty work experience were learning different skills, I was working in a telemarketing cubicle. While some were getting life experience in garages or farms, I was getting more classroom experience in summer classes, or retail sales experience.The crux of the matter is that most companies that are looking for help are looking for EXPERIENCED help, and will not look twice at someone like me.
   
So again we are asking all our friends and family to keep us in your prayers. LadyBug is doing very well thanks to all the prayers on her behalf. Now we ask for your faith for us to find a good job for me. 
   
One thing I have been very selfish about thus far is the fact that a job with any potential to help us would mean I would not be able to spend much time (if any) with my family this year. I know there have been years where others have not been able to come for various reasons, but i have never missed a family reunion. It is one of the things I look forward to most all year long. This summer, however, I may just not get much of a summer after all. I hope that things will work out. In whatever way the Lord will allow, regardless of what that means. We still are looking at options, but for now I will also be clipping the proverbial Help-Wanted ads.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

$$$$$$$

I am going to use this as a sort of forum right now. I have one question. 
   
What are your opinions on "Debt Management Programs?"
   
We are looking at some options for finally getting rid of the elephant in the room. Just wondering how everyone feels about all of those.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lemonade Stand

As a teacher, I sometimes get to see students at their absolute worst. But I also sometimes get to see them at their absolute best. Today was one of those days.
   
The girls across the street are still in the elementary, so i get to see them every week in "Singing Time." Yesterday and today, they have been running a lemonade stand. They have a picnic table set up, with cups and a big jug of the refreshment. They stand out by the street every time a car drives past with a sign advertising their wares. 
   
I saw our former city Pageant Queen drive past, slow, turn around and come back to pay the 25 cents for each girl that they were charging for only one cup. They were excited just to see her turn around, and they chattered as they got ready for her.
   
I had only been mowing my lawn for a little bit when I heard a sound behind me. I turned to find the girls with me in my back yard, holding a cup. One of them was holding it out to me.
   
"Here," she said, smiling. "This is for you. It's free."
   
I thanked the girls, finished mowing the lawn, then got 25 cents to go across the street and buy another cup! Between the free cup, and the cups that got blown all over the yard by the wind, it's a good thing the girls made some money, because mom & dad probably paid more for supplies than the girls actually raked in!
    
Even so, it was a sweet gesture, and renewed my faith in the next generation!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Painting Ideas

I am still stripping the old paint off, but here are some preliminary plans. let me know what you think....
   
A
B
C
D

50% and 93%

As of this week, LadyBug will be 50% done with her radiation treatments! She so far has only gotten a little tired. No other adverse side-effects from the radiation. In another three weeks, she will be done with ALL her initial treatments, and can focus on the reconstruction surgeries.
   
And, as of today, I am down 65 lbs.! That means I am only 6 lbs. off from my "Target Weight." I am confidant that by the end of summer, not only will I have reached my target weight, but I will have passed it, reaching a weight I haven't seen since before moving here 16 years ago! Now my only problem is finding new clothes! I have a couple of boxes of clothes that are now WAY too big on me! I will take them this summer to my family reunion, but I will also be prepared for a yard sale, just in case!
  
The bike is coming along steadily, if not speedily. I am in the process of stripping the paint. After that, I will coat it with automobile-quality primer, and repaint it. I'll post more photos once I have something worth posting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

DIY Fun

So I think I may have found my next project. It combines a couple of my hobbies and passions: biking and creative fun. Here is my find as I brought it home today:
   
  
It needs new tires and tubes, most likely a new chain, possibly new gears, new handlebar grips, and who knows what else! I will take my time doing this. It may not be finished until this time next year, because of the parts I will have to buy over time. In the mean time, I will strip the paint off of it and repaint it. I already have a seat for it, since my old bike seat fits it quite nicely. Eventually I will replace that as well, since it is my OLD seat for a reason! Here is what the bike looks like now (this takes two photos...):
   
   
    
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last One.... I Hope

I will just post the photos. I've made better projects, but at the least, this one works.


Now to find something else on which to focus my creative needs....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Sound of Silence

I have been having trouble with my larynx lately. They checked my thyroid. Fine. They checked a couple of other things. Nothing. Then I saw a laryngologist.
   
He said I had some inflammation at the back of my larynx. He said it was most likely caused by reflux. I already take a proton pump inhibitor, so we also elevated the head of our bed (THAT took some getting used to!), and I try to avoid eating after 8:00 p.m.
  
  
 
I think there is more going on, however. For the past month or so, I have had terrible tension in my shoulders and neck, and pain going throughout both. I think this tension has been translated into my larynx. I have started physical therapy to try to overcome this tension. LadyBug went with me because her left arm hurst and she can't straighten it. Quite the pair, aren't we!
   
I am about ready to try a 10-day vocal silence. I did this once before, several years ago. It is not an easy thing, but is preferable from always feeling like something is stuck in my throat. I am trying to get a summer job, though, so I'm not sure how this will work. I may just have to do vocal rest instead, and just take it easy on my voice.
   
For now, I will just say, "                                    ."