Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 18 - 24, 2009


On Sunday, Norm and I went to the theater and saw Gran Torino with Clint Eastwood. What a great story of redemption. There are so many similar elements to John Wayne's last movie, The Shootist. I highly recommend it!

Monday, the kids and I didn't have any school because of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, of course, although Norm had to work. The furnace repairman showed up and cleaned the flame sensor to the tune of $100! In the course of trying to figure out what the problem was last weekend, Norm had cleaned out some of it, which improved the situation. Oh, well! At least now we know what to do in the future, and we're enjoying having warm, consistent air flow again.

Missy's boyfriend's mom had knee surgery a week ago Friday and Monday I brought over my famous Spicy Potato Soup along with some sour cream and potato chips. It was a definite hit!

I had four students at my Beginning Online Genealogy class at the Spokane County Library Thursday evening. It was nice to have a few more. I also discovered that I can get a county library card for free, and I was able to pick up They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins by Loretto Dennis Szucs. I want to see if I can enhance the Immigration and Naturalization lesson in my Intermediate Online Genealogy class I'll be teaching beginning in February.

Matt and I had our yearly dental exams on Friday, with clean reports except for a soft spot on one of Matt's teeth. It's not yet a cavity, so he has to be sure to keep on brushing and also rinse twice a day with fluoride. We wondered as we drove home if dentists and dental assistants ever tell their patients, "You're brushing too much. You need to cut back." Ha!

Missy went to Winter Camp with her church youth group up at Chewelah Peak Learning Center. Sounds like she had a lot of fun as usual and got quite a bit of scrapbooking done. She's really been enjoying learning how to do scrapbooking for her senior culminating project.

My shoulder has really been giving me grief for about 10 days. I had seen my physical therapist mid-week last week, and she had suggested cutting way back on my exercises, which I did. In fact, I didn't do anything except some light stretches each day, plus I started wearing my sling to work. I was getting to the point where I was really worried that not only had I plateaued, but perhaps had regressed. It was very frustrating and the pain and stiffness were starting to get to me. Finally, this morning, I woke up and was able to do not only my stretches but all my exercises in the shower with the warm water cascading over my shoulder and upper back. I am encouraged and looking forward to going back to therapy tomorrow.

Did you know that Goodwill has its own auction website, similar to eBay? Looks like some great stuff here! I discovered this through one of the genealogy blogs that I read. I've been eyeing the teapots up for bid, because I think I want to get a few more. My aunt gave me two strawberry decorated ones years ago, to match my kitchen decor. One, the smaller one above left, is a two-cup teapot and I've been using it a lot lately for tea for both Norm and myself. Our favorites are usually the Stash brand, both black and decaf. I am looking for a good, quick, easy teapot cozy crochet pattern for free online, but haven't run across anything I like so far...believe me, I've looked! I might have to just make up my own.

Speaking of crocheting, I haven't added anything this week to the afghan I'm making for Missy because I was too sore this week. We'll see what next week brings!

Our yucky stagnant air will hopefully be going soon. The hoarfrost on fences and trees is just beautiful, but the gray skies and gray and brown frozen berms of snow everywhere are not. Just to the west of us, in Lincoln County, the hoarfrost (fog that freezes in feathery patterns of heavy frost) has brought down power lines all over the county and with them the poles, both wooden and metal, that hold them. School has been out for a few days in those districts and the local power companies' crews have been working 18 hours a day to get the lines back up and the power turned on for the thousands of unfortuante families in the area.

And that's a wrap!

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 11 - 17, 2009


The big news of the week is that my sister got hired as a nurse at an area hospital! I'm so excited for her! We've celebrated all the milestones: getting her LPN degree, passing her LPN state board exams, graduating from college with her RN degree, passing her RN state board exams, and now this!

I worked a full 30-hour week this past week for the first time since the week of November 2 - 8 (I worked a four-day/24-hour week the next week, but had surgery that Friday). Boy, was I tired! And sore! When I went to see my physical therapist, she was really worried about my muscle pain and told me to back way off my exercises. I have done so, and while there's still stiffness, it isn't so bad. It does make me worry that it will take a lot longer to recover than I originally thought. The shoulder doesn't hurt; it's the muscle that comes diagonally across my upper back from my spine across my shoulder blade to the shoulder.

Thursday night was the first evening of a four-week Beginning Online Genealogy class I'm teaching at the Spokane County Regional Library. I had only two people show up; the weather is keeping them away, I'm sure, because the library did a great job of advertising. Oh, well! Maybe more will come next week, and I'm just as committed to the two that came as to a class of 20.

We have had furnace problems on and off for several months, and Friday morning I woke up to a freezing cold house. Fortunately, we all have electric blankets, so we slept well, but getting up and dressed in the cold was no fun. I called a repairman, but unless I wanted to pay an arm and a leg and another arm, I had to wait until Monday. Norm did some cleaning of the electronics board and found a loose wire and fixed it, which improved the situation some. It'll run and run and run, shut off for a few minutes and run and run again. Or it will not come on at all. Sometimes it brings heat, and sometimes it just blows air.

I started crocheting an afghan for Missy at her request. It's a zigzag pattern with black and shades of purple from very dark to very light, giving it that Amish quilt look of bright colors against black. The pattern is from a Seven-Day Afghan book my aunt gave me for Christmas some years back. The original color scheme called for shades of rose and white, but I like this one better (Missy picked out the colors herself).

I decided I wanted to keep track of the books I'm reading again this year, although I didn't do a very good job last year. Right now I'm reading three: A Week in Winter by Marcia Willett (I'm so happy to discover another British novelist!); Discovering the History of Your House and Neighborhood by Betsey J. Green; and Heritage from Heroes by Dorothy Rochon Powers, written about the famous and interesting people buried in Spokane's cemeteries. The last two books are for genealogy; the Green book is for a project I want to do later this year on my main genealogy blog and the Powers book is to educate myself so that I can do a good job on the Graveyard Rabbit blog I've recently started.

Matt was ill with that same nasty cold and cough I had, and missed school two days last week. Seems he is having a hard time, health-wise, getting back into the swing of things at school. Hopefully next week, he'll attend all week. My cold is better, though I still have an occasional cough.

We've had fog all week, gray overcast clouds and chill temps. It's supposed to be sunnier next week. I'm getting awfully tired of gray skies, gray snow, gray ice, and gray fog. I need some light!

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 1 - 10, 2009

January by Jo's Blinkie Obsession

Part of my New Year's resolutions was to blog more frequently at this site. I planned to do this Sunday afternoon, but this weekend, I succumbed to a pretty nasty cold that I've had for a week. I'd done a lot of blogging on my genealogy blog, AnceStories, on Saturday, and Sunday my kids clamored to use the computers; Missy needed the laptop for a school project and Matt wanted to play some Runescape on the desktop as he had not been on at all on Saturday, having a friend over to hang out with. Between feeling exhausted and the computers not being available, I had to delay my writing for a day.

New Year's Day we finally got together with my brother-in-law's family to do "Christmas." Between the awful weather, family members' work schedules, and his visiting daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters being very sick with bronchitis, we kept having to change our get together date. As it turns out, we never got to see Norm's niece and her family before they had to return to Illinois. Hopefully, they'll be back in the spring. Anyway, we had a nice dinner at my brother-in-law's, then opened our gifts from each other. Everyone seemed to enjoy the calendars I'd created, and one gift we received and especially liked was a printed book of my brother-in-law's photography.

Saturday the 3rd, I attended the annual luncheon of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, held at the Spokane Club. After being served our delicious meal (my choice was cedar planked king salmon with a fruit sauce, wild rice, and steamed broccoli in cheddar, along with a teapot of Earl Grey tea), we listened to a fascinating presentation by Ian Chambers, Professor of History, University of Idaho on "Pirates of the Caribbean: Why Pirates Matter to History." Despite the weather, there was a pretty good turnout, and I'm sure no one was disappointed in either the food or the presentation!

This last week was an odd one. We were supposed to return to school on January 5th, but the weather and many unshoveled sidewalks made dangerous conditions for children walking to school. Instead, we started on Tuesday, but many parents were up in arms, as the snow (75+ inches) had begun to melt, and roofs of commercial and residential buildings all over the county had been collapsing; 60-something, at last count. School closed again Wednesday and Thursday, and reopened Friday.

I saw my surgeon for my post-op exam on Tuesday, which was about five minutes long. I'll see his assistant in March. All is going well, which was confirmed by my latest session with my physical therapist, who continues to be pleased with my progress. Each week, I'm given new range-of-motion exercises, and now I'm doing resistance moves to improve strength. I'm supposed to progress to resistance bands and maybe half-pound weights next.

Over the weekend, as I said, I got bogged down with this cold. It just made me feel exhausted every time I exerted myself in the least way. I was worried I would have to take a sick day off work today, but I woke up feeling all right. Matt now has a bad cough, so I'll give him some cough syrup before bed.

Speaking of Matt, he had his 15th birthday on Thursday. His favorite gift, he says, was getting the day off of school. I felt bad, because we didn't really have anything special planned for him; Norm had to work and the roads were not that great, so I wasn't comfortable taking Matt out to do things. He wasn't giving me any ideas; said he didn't want a big fuss, plus I know he doesn't like cake. I felt better when he called me after school on Friday and asked if a friend could spend the night. Of course, I agreed, and since I was out getting grocery-shopping right after work, I picked up his favorite chips and dip and some soda, Scrubs (2nd season) on DVD, and a couple of pizzas from Little Caesar's to kind of make a "party" of it for him and his friend.

Saturday, we heard some sad news. Ann Hoke, a former co-worker of Norm's that had worked with him at Telect and Logan, had passed away on Friday. She had requested that Norm be a pallbearer. Her daughter-in-law called us to let us know about it all. She had been ill for years, so it wasn't a shock, but still, Norm was fairly upset. The upside of it was, he connected by phone with a couple of former co-workers that he hadn't seen in years. We still haven't heard when (or if) the funeral will be.

That's a wrap up of the first week and a half of 2009!