Interstellar Adventures

April 11, 2008

Showering Sweet Raehan

Filed under: Family & Friends,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 6:00 am

It’s a baby shower for the eternally radiant Raehan! Along with Leanne, Kimberly, Vicki, Aka Monty, and Angie, we here invite you to drop by Ms. Raehan, admire her beautiful belly, and give her well-wishes on her new bundle of joy.

For those of you that don’t know Raehan, she is my idea of the essence of motherhood. Her two girls, Rachel and Hannah are two angels waiting to welcome their new sibling. They are both intelligent and happy girls. They say the funniest and most profound things for such young girls. And that can only come from a mother that encourages their creativity and playfulness.

In just a matter of weeks, their family of four becomes a family of five. The beaming glow of pregnancy will transition to the beaming glow of new motherhood. And I can think of no one better suited to that honor than Raehan.

So pop over to see her! Now, Go!

And if you would like to contribute to a gift for her sweet Baby #3, please go donate over at Petroville.

March 13, 2008

Progress

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,Mom Life,Mr. Wonderful — by InterstellarLass @ 2:10 am

There’s all kinds of progress going on around here.

Pop is making good progress with his therapy. He has a couple of ladies come a couple of times a week. One works his arms, the other works his legs. He’s more steady on his feet now, and can walk a little further than he could before.

Elle is making progress at school – with her new testing accommodations. A test that was administered in January was readministered in a more isolated setting just a few weeks later, and she increased her score by 20 points. TAKS scores come back week after next. Hopefully there was progress there too.

Elle is also making progress in soccer. She’s playing goalie fairly consistently, and improving her skills there. According to her team manager, she made many tough saves in last weekend’s indoor championship game, helping her team win. Friday night she and I are going to a district match between two of the area’s top high school girl’s teams.

Zed is making progress – growing up. Every day he looks more like a teenager. His grades remain great, he’s doing well in band, and he’s even making progress in athletics. He’s increasing his weight-lifting poundage capacity.

Zed is also making progress in the fantastic kid category. Of course, I’ve always thought he was fantastic. Most of the time. But he’s becoming more responsible and more helpful. And his dad finally noticed. For which I am glad, but I also throw huge kudos to Nick. He’s an amazing step-dad to my kids.

Nick is making progress on de-cluttering the house. The man is truly great at laundry, and when he sets his mind to it, he can clear a room in a matter of minutes.

Nick and I are both making progress on the house. After this weekend, we hope to have the house listed and a sign in the yard by Monday or Tuesday. Nope, I can’t belive we finally made it either. In the triangle of project management there are three keys – scope, cost, and time. They all impact each other in some way when one or another becomes a constraint. Don’t have the time? Better have lots of money and a little scope. Our constraint was cost. Therefore timeline extended. Ah well. Can’t change physics or the space-time continuum. It is what it is.

I’m making progress at work – when I’m not being pulled in four different directions. I’m finally loving my  job again. It’s keeping me busy, and even when I get a breath, new network configurations keep me from visting anyone that doesn’t have their own domain. Sigh.

And, despite my lack of updates, I’m making progress in the workout arena. Last week I was down 4 lbs. A drop in the bucket, but progress where I was seeing none, despite my effort.

Hopefully after we list I’ll have time to make progress and come around and visit a few people soon.

February 29, 2008

Photo Crazy

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 12:12 am

Breaking through the cobwebs here with a post of photos I’ve taken here and there lately. Or not so lately (is Christmas still ‘lately’?). I’ve been super busy with work. I’m not sure where the last two months have gone. This is the best job, best project team, best position, and best professional growth opportunity I’ve had in the last 3.5 years. We also have two weeks to get our house listed. We’re t.h.i.s. close to being done. The outside is being painted this week. Then it’s all onesy-twosy little things that irritate.

So here are some photos to entertain in lieu of interesting content.

My mom and her sister. They look nothing alike, right?

One night, Zed started a puzzle, out of boredom. He asked for my help. And we had so much fun doing the puzzle together, we decided to get another one. So a couple of nights a week, we spend a few hours talking, puzzling, laughing, and just spending good quality time together. The Garfield was our first. The pastoral scene is still in progress. It’s much harder.

 

When Nick and I took the cabinet from our bathroom, we found more velvet wall paper. This time it was green roses. I managed to tear it off the wall and keep it all in one piece. Pop thought it was ‘nice’, so I think I’m going to try to frame it for him. I can’t imagine an entire bathroom in green velvel wallpaper. There was very similar yellow velvet wallpaper in the guest bath. This house must have been the ultimate in 70’s hotness at one time.

 

And, finally, Zed at his Winter Concert last month. He was First Chair, and he had a solo in one of the three pieces they played. YAY! I was super proud of him. Sniff, he’s growing up so fast!

February 7, 2008

The Afterglow has Faded

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Hobbies,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 11:59 am

Maybe I’m one of the few people that watched the entire Superbowl start to finish. Granted it wasn’t a super exciting game between the Giant’s dominating opening drive and the fourth quarter, but I stuck the whole thing out.

Yes, the commercials were lame. I did like the half-time show though. I think Tom Petty rocks. I have several of his songs on my Shuffle for running, and growing up, my Aunt Judy was a Heartbreakers fan. I also like how the Superbowl continues with their sexually suggestive imagery. Janet Jackson’s boob, Prince’s guitar solo behind the curtain, and now the arrow piercing the heart cleavage. Subtle…not.

It hit me yesterday that football is over. This is one of the first years that I’ve had that realization hit me and actually miss watching games. I guess I’ll have to fall back to my old first love…basketball. The Mavs won last night. I need to follow up on a trade plan I heard last week that kind of shocked me. But maybe it’ll be for the best.

No update yet on Zed’s SAT scores. I’d heard that we were supposed to get them in a few weeks…faster than I remember getting mine.

Elle is about to be involved in 3 soccer ‘seasons’ between 2 teams. GOAL!

I’m working my butt off and am happier work-wise than I’ve been in a long time. Viva SCRUM.

Hang in there y’all. Spring is around the corner.

January 12, 2008

If this is

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 12:04 am

If this is what the year has in store for me, I’m in trouble. I took off the weeks of Christmas and New Years, and so Monday was my first day back. The last five days have felt like a month. Why I’m not consuming mass quantities of alcohol right now, I don’t know. I should be.

Elle got her palate expander on Thursday. It looks like this. The key turns the wheel rod and pushes the plates outward. I have to turn the rod once a day. Check out this creepy video that shows what it does! And it hurts her every time I turn the rod. Which if I don’t turn completely, will get stuck and we’ll have to go to the ortho to get it unstuck.

My poor baby cried when they put it in. She has a sensitive gag reflex and between the choking, and the crying and the tightness of the expander, she was quite upset once it was done. Since she’s on soft foods, she ate mac’n’cheese for dinner. But the macaroni noodles kept getting caught between her palate and the expander. And she broke down crying, asking me to take it out. She’s also having great difficultly talking and being understood, which is frustrating, and she also gets excessive buildup of saliva due to this device, so she’s slurping and drooling. Supposedly she’ll get used to it. I hope so. It’s going to help her tremendously in the future, and that’s what I keep telling her.

This weekend I get to (unexpectedly) go help my grandparents pack to move. My grandmother’s heart condition has gotten worse, and under doctor’s orders she and my grandfather have to move out of their 2-story condo. They bought a single story house, and rather than moving at the end of the month, the guy who owns their condo (that they’ve lived in for 17 years) gave them til the 16th to move out. A couple of 70-somethings, one with a bad heart, and one with diabetes, and they have less than two weeks to pack and move. Not what I wanted to do with my weekend.

And to top it off, the fantastic dinner I had planned tonight went all to hell. The crab cakes burned, the salmon didn’t cook right, the glazed parsnips caramelized to the pan, and my spinach cheese puff wouldn’t set.

Time for me to take a deep breath and hope that next week brings brighter news and events.

January 9, 2008

Ambigous Title Here

Filed under: Adventures,Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 3:01 pm

I get so tired of trying to come up with a catchy title, and more often than not, they suck. Like when I used to have to do last minute copy-writing for these travel emails I used to send for an old employer. No more than 25 characters, but I had to promote at least 2 travel packages and be cute and snappy. Cute and snappy are not two adjectives I choose to describe me.

Zed got braces last week. It was bad enough that he was starting to get that ‘hey you’ve got something on your upper lip oops not really it’s just darkening peach fuzz’ thing going on, and that he has been coughing, clearing his throat, squeaking, sounding hoarse and all that stuff that happens when boys’ voices change. But now. With the braces, he looks like a Genuine Teenager. And he is only a mere 5 months away from turning 13. Where’s my rewind button? He can’t possibly have just suddenly grown up. I must have missed something in between when he started kindergarden and last week. I’ve actually started having those anxiety pangs of ‘omigosh he’s actually going to be leaving me in just a few short years’. I’m hugging him too much, telling him I love him constantly, and looking at him and getting stupid grins on my face that embarass him.*sigh* My baby. I think it must only hurt worse from here on out rather than get better with time.

My other baby is getting a palate expander tomorrow. Whereas Zed has plenty of space between his teeth, Elle has a small, crowded mouth. Funny, she talks so much! So for the next ten months I get to use this little tool to turn her expander to give her a bigger mouth. Our orthodontist is making out like a bandit on us right now! Thank goodness for Health Flex Plans.

Also, I’m giving this whole running thing another go. In my right sidebar I’ve got a little RSS feed setup for easy access. Because I know you want to spend your whole day with me.

Pop’s arm is doing better. He’s got a brace on his arm and a new hospital bed so he can get in and out by himself and doesn’t have to sleep in his chair anymore, and no less than 3 nurses that come visit him once or twice a week each. And they all have to check his bloodpressure and take his temperature every time they come see him. Why for a broken arm, I don’t know. He’s slightly resistant just because he’s so old and stubborn, but we have seen a dramatic improvement in his walking strength and balance, so it seems to be working.

Nick is having fun being Pop’s nurse and the Housekeeper. Hey! I just realized, I’m having an affair with my Housekeeper. How thrilling! I just hope he’s not getting addicted to soaps! And that he doesn’t look in my bottom drawer. 😉

January 7, 2008

Bittersweet Surprises

Filed under: Blast from the Past,Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 10:14 pm

I spent several days over my Christmas break combing through the Ancestry.com archives, researching family lines on what seemed like every branch of the tree. On my mom’s side of the family, my great-grandmother had done much geneology work before the technology age. My grandparents have her white leather-bound book somewhere in their stash.

On my dad’s side of the family, I didn’t know much except for my great-grandparents names. And I managed to make it at least 7 generations back on a couple of lines.

I knew that my uncle had been working on rescuing a scrapbook from my great-grandmother, and so after I completed a fair bit of work, I put together a tree for him and emailed it to him last night. But did I ever receive a surprise today! My uncle sent me a CD in the mail, chock full of pictures of my grandaddy from just after Christmas, along with photos of him as a baby, his family, and lots and lots of WWII memorabilia. I knew that my grandaddy had captured a few Nazi soldiers as POWs, but evidently he sent some souveniers home, including a pair of German field glasses, some medals, and what appears to be a wallet/pouch of some kind. The letters of an Army Infantryman are fairly amusing. Complaints about weather, food, an infected toe and all kinds of stuff. Evidently, my grandaddy planned to flatten the German mountains after the war so he never had to climb over them again!

Also included were some photos of my grandaddy and my cousins.  But then I found IT. The Video. And boy did I ever get a good laugh. My grandaddy sat in the back yard, watching my cousins play on the jungle gym that’s been there for well over 30 years at least, probably longer. The youngest cousin that was there is 8, and the oldest there is in his twenties. And they played side by side for a good while. Then the oldest cousin and his brother-in-law started in with some wrestling (that’s rasslin’ for you northern folks). The part that made me laugh the most though is when the two of them stopped shortly into the bout to remove their knife sheaths from their belts, lest someone get stabbed in the tussle. Told y’all I’m ‘highbrow Hillbilly’. Two of my uncles also made special appearances on camera, being silly for a few moments between my cousins flipping like gymnasts on the monkey bars.

Between the old photos and the digital video, I had laugher, tears, smiles and sighs. Some of the memories I spoke of before were there in the photos of pages of my grandaddy’s US Army sponsored walking tour of Europe and in the letters home to his mom, usually signed, I love you mommie, Bub. He traded her Singer sewing needles, procured from who knows where, for packages of cookies and handkerchiefs. He missed a battle where many men in his unit were killed or wounded because he was laid up in the field hospital with an infected toe.

I especially love the photos of my grandaddy with his sister. Their dad died when they were toddlers, and the two of them were very close growing up. All of the pictures of the two of them together in my Nana’s (their mom) scrapbook show them with their arms around one another. I have to beg and bribe my kids to hug like that.

With all that my uncle sent, I now have quite a bit more to update in my family tree.

 

December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 11:52 am

Merry Christmas Eve and Day to all of you. I hope your celebrations are enjoyable, stress free, and memorable. May your children have smiles of glee and be thankful for the gifts they receive. May your dinners be flavorful, your firesides warm, and your wine glasses never empty.

December 17, 2007

If I could turn back Time

Filed under: Blast from the Past,Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 10:45 am

I’d hope that I could be as hot as Cher in her little floss-tape fish-net outfit thingy. Just a little humor to get you started you know.

My cousin graduated from college this weekend. So, I had planned to go to her party down in Houston, and at the same time visit my grandaddy, whom I haven’t seen in too, too long. I knew he wasn’t in good condition mentally, but I knew if I didn’t go see him, and he passed away, I would regret it forever. I know, because I experienced the same thing with my great-grandmother eight years ago.

My plans, however, were slightly delayed. Saturday morning Elle came banging on our bedroom door at about 7:30. “Pop fell and I think he’s hurt.” she said, calmly. Nick, not so calmly, bolted out of bed, and ran out to his dad. I, still confused, took longer to react. But by the time I got out there, Nick was pacing, Pop was sitting on the floor like a dazed toddler, telling us not to touch his right arm. After a few, we managed to haul him up off the floor, not without inflicting some pain, unintentionally, and deposited him in his recliner. I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to safely get him into the car to go to the hospital. Which, by the way, he did not want to go to. “It’ll wait till Monday.” and then “Give me an hour.” No Pop, I don’t think so. I can be more stubborn than you. We finally called the non-emergency police line, hoping for just an easy ambulance transport. They still sent the ambulance and fire brigade, lights blazing, to our house.

Fortunately, we were the early accident of the day and the ER wasn’t crowded at all. We were there less than 2 hours I think. X-rays confirmed Pop has a 2 cm fracture of his humerus. So for now he’s slinged and on hydrocodone until we take him to the ortho tomorrow. He will probably have to have surgery to pin it, and I’m actually very concerned about an 87 year old man going under anesthesia.

After getting the kids settled to their dads, and Nick and Pop settled at home, my sister and I headed south for the weekend. Saturday was largely unremarkable, the graduation party rather awkward, and my grandmother blowing my bloodpressure through the stratosphere. I won’t talk about that.

Seeing my grandaddy on Sunday was hard. It’d been about two years since I’d seen him. My own fault for not making the time. I knew from reports by my uncle that grandaddy’s mind was going. I’d hoped that it wasn’t as far gone as he turned out to be. I’m fairly certain he doesn’t have Alzheimers. I’m 90% certain he recognized my sister and I, but he never called us by our names. We were just ‘two pretty girls’. In his living room, there is a collage of pictures of all the grandchildren. He saw me looking at it and said ‘Those are all my grandchildren.’ I told him, ‘I know, and I might be one of those grandchildren.’ He said, ‘Yes, I know you are.’ And later, I looked, as I have many, many times in my life, at his right index finger. When he was about 5, his house caught fire. His finger was burned, and they used a strip of skin from his chest to repair the burned skin. Amusingly, when he got hair on his chest, he got hair on his finger also. When I touched his finger, he looked at it and said ‘When I was a small boy, there was an accident, and they had to fix my finger.’

We visited with him for about two hours. And except for the specifics I mentioned, the rest of the conversation was dominated by admiring the ‘two pretty girls’ that came to see him, wanting to take us down to Luby’s to show us off, and wanting to go to Luby’s because that’s where they call him ‘Hungry Henry’. He repeated this about every 15 minutes. And then, when he knew we were leaving, he kept repeating how he was going to cry and cry when we left because he doesn’t have pretty girls come see him that often.

I managed to hold it together while I was there. I don’t know how. My heart was in my throat the entire time I was there. I was choking on it as I tried to come to terms with the fact that my grandaddy’s stories are gone. He had a story for everything. He was able to experience so much in his life that it would be impossible to write it all down. He was an engineer in the early days of computers, technology and oil exploration. He has visited every country that ever produced a drop of oil. And he’s probably the one that helped them find it all. From the early 50’s to the late 80’s he traveled the world. He spoke 4 different languages fluently, and many others marginally. He was in China when I was born. Even back in the 90’s, he was still being contacted as a special contractor and traveled back and forth to Canada, consulting on their shale oil projects.

And now, he is a small, frail old man. He can’t buckle his own belt. My uncle said he’s lucky to remember to put on pants. And underwear. Last week he caught him wearing two pair of pants and no underwear. His hair is wild because he won’t let my uncle comb it. He now wears a beard because he can’t shave himself anymore. He watches TV all day, sitting in his worn leather recliner in the living room. He used to read constantly in his office, sitting in his worn leather recliner. He is still sweet. Still smiling. His voice has the same timber that it used to. He still seems to have a sense of humor. But the gregarious, social, outgoing, bubbly man that he was is gone.

And the same is true for Pop. Something so simple as going out to get the paper, and he now seems so small and helpless, sitting with his arm slung across his body, eating peanut butter crackers and drinking tea, propped up in his electric recliner. He used to be a master welder, carrying acetylene tanks up towers and building missile launchers.

We think we have all the Time in the world. But Time is not fair. It is cruel and hard and a thief. Both Pop and my grandaddy were men of a different era. They were strong, brilliant, capable. It pains me to see them wither away. Fortunately, Nick has the memories of his dad. And I have the memories of my grandaddy. I hope I can write them all down before Time takes them from me. I’d better start now, before Time catches up with me too.

November 29, 2007

Lame, But With House Photos

Filed under: Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 1:38 am

That’s me. Eleven days since I updated this thing that used to be a blog.

When I last left you, I was painting and staining my little heart out. I didn’t finish everything, but I did have the cabinet doors, door hardware, and lighting panels installed before Thanksgiving day. I went to bed at 2 am Thursday and was back up at 6 am to cook the stuffing and stuff the bird, which I feared was still slightly frozen in the middle. This was confirmed when I had to cold-rinse and pry the neck out of the turkey.

The fortunate thing was I had assigned out a lot of the side dishes. I had turkey, stuffing (or dressing, whichever), cranberry sauce, appetizers and rolls. I actually got to sit, briefly, before everyone arrived. All 17 of ’em. Thankfully Nick & Zed to Pop to see brother-in-law Bubba for the day. That was 3 less mouths to feed.

Happily, the bird turned out perfect, juicy and brown. The gravy was delicious, and I managed to have seating for everyone thanks to the miraculous appearance of additional folding chairs.

I didn’t go to bed until after 11 pm that night. And then on Friday, I slept. A lot. I didn’t pry my ass out of bed until 2:30 pm. Over 14 hours of sleep, after about 14 hours total Sunday – Wednesday. I think I’m still at a deficit though.

It was back to work this week though. This phase of my project is closing out this week, and we’re gearing up for the next phase. I’ve been in a windowless meeting room all this week and the week before Thanksgiving. It’s been ‘casual week’ all week, which has made it easier to quickly get ready for work. And I’m taking off Friday. Something to do with candles, cake, cards, and getting another year older or some such nonsense.

I leave you with long-promised photos. Before and after pictures of my poor kitchen. Which is now my almost-happy kitchen. Finishing touches include baseboards and completing the grouting of tile backsplash. I’m pretty happy with how it’s all turned out. The photos have lots of notes. Check out the befores and afters!

Before:  

After:

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