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Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

Caption Contest Winner! This week's winner is Tanya with her, "Ron Jeremy IS the hardest working man in the industry!!" To mirror Holy's response, after reading Tanya's caption, I, too, spit my coffee out!
Weight Watcher's Update: Well, just as I suspected, my body figured out what was going on and decided to stage a mutiny. After having lost nearly 10# in two weeks, I was only able to lose half-a-pound. But, it's still a loss so I'll take it.

Start: 258
Current: 247.5
10%: 233
Goal: 220-ish
Yet another wild weather weekend, and frankly, I'm getting tired of the violent weather. The wonderfully cool temperatures and low humidty is great. But what we experienced Friday I don't ever have to experience again.

We were going to Des Moines for the weekend and there was a 60% of rain during the day and into the evening. I watched the clouds slowly build throughout the afternoon. And watched them get increasingly darker.

At last word the storm was traveling around 60 mph. We figured once we got on the road we'd out-run in. But after my mom called me twice in less than two minutes with a panicky message of, "The storm is moving at over 80 mph. Get off the road now! You'll get blow off!"

I watched the storm in my rear-view mirrors get closer and change from dark grey to sickly mint-green. Steve found a you-scrub-it car wash with some empty bays and we dove in about 5 minutes before the brunt of the storm hit. I called my mom to let her know we were off the road and described the white front of the storm as it rotated due to the massive wind sheer. Then


The wind hit full-force and I scrambled back into the car as the back end got pelted with pea-sized hail for almost 2 minutes. If there was ever a time that you could have a complete white-out due to rain, this was it. No lie. There were some trees about 60' in front of us that just disappeared. This was more than mere sheets of rain. Visibility was maybe 20'.

We hunkered down to wait it out for 20 minutes. Kudos to Steve for scouting out the car wash. Normally when we go to DSM we take 680 North instead of I-80 through Council Bluffs; much less traffic. However, we picked the girls up from daycare on our way out so we took 80 through CB. Had we been on 680 we would have had no cover, no protection. So I thanked God things worked out as they did.

However, not everyone was so lucky. We later learned of two teens from CB that were instantly killed when a tree fell onto their car. The pictures showed that the tree pretty much cut the car in two. If you have the time check out our local online news station with stories, video, and pictures of the storm.

Our house didn't sustain any damage, just some plant damage. But on the other side of the block where I grew up a 40' blue spruce just toppled over in the wind. My mom saw it happen. The ground is so saturated that the roots have nothing to hang on to.

132K people were without power after Friday's storm. As of this morning 32K still had no power and some may not get it back until this weekend. The last storm that knocked out this much of the city was in 1997 with the October Snow Storm. I have to drive through one of the older neighborhoods to get to daycare and work and the trees are HUGE; 70' tall, well-established monsters. Many of them completely uprooted or with major limb damage. The offical wind speed was 115 mph and has been classified as stright-line winds. This is similar to tornadoes as far as wind speed but there is no rotation and the path is much wider whereas tornadoes have a very narrow path of destruction.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Caption Contest!!

Not much planned this weekend; going out to Des Moines as it's my MILs bday and her would-have-been 45th wedding anniversary. Planning on getting Mal's 9m photos taken this weekend as well. Today kicks off the Summer Arts Festival and the Olympic Swim Trials begin Sunday and run through July 6th. So more stuff a-happenin' in The Big O.

So I shall leave you with this week's installment of the Contest. This week's contest is HEADLINE. Have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What A Series!!

Fresno State, the ultimate Cinderella team EVER in NCAA history clenched the Men's Baseball National Championship as the lowest seeded team in any NCAA sport; 86th. They lost the most possible post-season games to get to Omaha, and lost games at the CWS.

This is the second National Championship for Fresno State - ever. In any sport. In 1998 the Womens' Softball won a National Championship.

Whodda thunk this scrappy team would set the most CWS records and rewrite NCAA and CWS history?

A hearty Omaha CONGRATULATIONS to the Bulldogs of Fresno State; 2008 CWS National Champs.

Celtic Horoscope

You Are A Maple Tree

There's not anyone in this world quite like you.

You are full of imagination, ambition, and originality.

Shy but confident, you hunger for new experiences.

You have a good memory and learn easily.

You are sometimes nervous and always complex (especially in love).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Quiz!!

Ok, I dunno 'bout y'all, but I'm tired of the same quiz thingie that goes around wanting to know what time you started and finished the quiz, whether or not you eat the stems of broccoli or what your favorite smell is. WHO CARES!! I have compiled a quiz from the book entitled "The Little Book of Stupid Questions" by David Borgenicht. This quiz will contain some very insightful questions geared at revealing your inner self. Have fun!! And as the theme these days is getting to know one another, here's my version. -Kristi
1. If you ate your foot would you lose weight? Not at the moment, but give me about 12 hours.....

2. Is it weirder for you to make love in your parents' bedroom or for them to make love in yours? I would think having my parents in my room. It goes back to that whole "envisioning my parents even DOING it without yakking" thought.

3. What vegetable to you most resemble? Butternut squash - it's about the only vegetable I can think of that has an hour-glass figure. Or at least hips.

4. What would the name of your band be? Nocturnal Bovine

5. Do you consider yourself to be more of a head-butter or a groin-kicker? Go fer the groin!

6. If you had a theme song what would you pick? Hendrix's "Foxy Lady"
6a. What if the song were played every time you entered a room or walked down the street would you change your mind? Probably not.

7. If you could have one superpower what would it be and how would you use it? The ability to fly so I wouldn't have to drive. Especially with gas prices as they are....

8. Which of the Brady sisters would have been most likely to have gotten pregnant as a teen? Cindy - sure she was cute with the pigtails and all, but there was that gleam in her eyes.....

9. Do animals think we're magical gods or just plain nuts? Nuckin' futs!

10. Who would drive you crazy faster - Barney, Urkel, Mr. Rogers, or The Nanny? Tough one, but I'd have to say the Nanny - it's the laugh!

11. Who's smarter, dogs who chase their tails and drink out of a toilet - or cats, who lick themselves until they cough up a furball and chase shadows? Both are easily entertained in some degree, but I'll have to go with dogs.

12. Do you think the first time corn ever popped it scared the hell out of the Native Americans? More than likely.

13. What sort of margin of error do you work with when it comes to the expiration date of food? A week? Is that too long?

14. What dead person would you least want to be haunted by (remember: how they died would affect how they look as a ghost)? Hands down - Elvis. He was fat, bloated, on the can with his pants around his ankles. EW! Then again, thinking about the plane crash that killed Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and The Big Bopper, those guys would be all smooshed together so you'd be haunted by all three in the same body or have each others body parts. Or you would be haunted by lots of Little Boppers as surely he wouldn't be in one piece when he was found?

15. Which celebrity's butt would you most like to squeeze? Oh, the choices.....Pierce Brosnan
15a. Which celebrity would you most like to have squeeze your butt? Oh, the choices.....Mel Gibson

16. What mail order cataolog would you be most likely to model for? HA! Yeah right...."Freak of Nature Dot Com"

17. If you could have an extra appendage what would it be and where would you put it? Some days having an extra arm would be really handy. I would probably put it on my back between my shoulder blades

18. What would your name be if you were a goodfella? Kristi "Damnable Reach" Farrington

19. Which cartoon ability would you rather have - the ability to paint a hole on a solid object and go through it - the ability to be run over by a steamroller and "shake it off" - or the ability to fall hundreds of feel off a cliff to your certain doom and be back in the very next scene?
Perhaps the paint option - for as often as I walk into doors and walls having this ability would come in handy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

Caption Contest Winner!! This week's winner is Nadine with her, "I'm so gorgeous I have to lick myself....yum!" I chose hers because she then informed me that she did, in fact, lick herself.
Weight Watchers Update: Well, Week 2 is done and in the books. So far I've dropped 9.4# in two weeks!! Lemme tell ya, it's much easier to walk and I can almost fit into pants that are three sizes smaller. Steve is doing this with me and he's dropped 6-7# in two weeks. This is my third or fourth try; this is his first. It helps having someone else participating.
Start: 258
Current: 248.6
10%: 233
Goal: 220-ish
What a weekend! First, the weather has been spectacular the last few days. A couple of storms but much quieter than in weeks past. The past week I've been slowly working of a landscaping project that is, oh, about 6w behind.

Steve and I bought the girls a swingset and the area that we wanted to put it needs to be graded a bit and I wanted to edge it in brick for mowing. So here's the finished product:and

This is on the N side of the backyard. Round about where Mal's red swing is there used to be a Western White Pine tree. That is, until we took it down last spring. The area where the tree was was a temporary zinnia bed, for I had other plans but needed color in a very green and virgin landscape.

Because of all the rain my project was pushed back; WAAAAAAAY back. The total project is only about half done as it is now too late to effectively transplant anything. So I'll wait until this fall when it cools off before I'll finish. And I'm ok with that.

As much as I want these project completed I have to keep telling myself that at our old house it took me the better part of 10y before the landscape was to my liking. Why do I expect myself to get this done in two or three seasons? Because that's who I am.

Anywho, next to the crab sandbox is a little garden that isn't big enough for a whole lot, so I planted 6 Double Knock-Out Roses. In the past I've tried regular roses; they looked great the first year. The second year? Not so much. Then someone informed me of Knock-Outs. Haven't looked back since. This little rose garden leads right up to the NE gate.

The play area, as you might guess, is huge. This is a huge chunk of the backyard gone; less for me to mow! Saturday we bought 3 cubic yards of oak chips which are especially for play areas as it doesn't splinter like regular mulch. We even got a trailer and hitch free for two hours. And that's not the best part! The trailer was HYDRAULIC!! Didn't need to shovel off! Pushed a button and it all slid out! Not surprisingly all of the mulch has been used. For those not "in the know" a cubic yard is, essentially, the amount contained in one bulldozer scoop. Times three. That's a lot of mulch. And we have half a wheelbarrow left.

The bare spot in the corner will be my vegetable garden. I have two pumpkins coming up and I need to get my herbs in the ground. I still need to get some more chicken wire and fence it off so wayward bunnies and dogs don't destroy it.

Grilled this weekend; last night was some steak and chicken thighs for the rest of the week. I grilled some asparagus spears drizzled with sesame oil and Montreal Steak seasoning. Good eats.

Tonight is Game One in the CWS Championship of Fresno State against Georgia; the Bulldogs against the Bulldogs. Fresno isn't even ranked and defeated #3 North Carolina. I believe this is Fresno's first trip EVER to Omaha, so of course you have to pull for the underdog.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Caption Contest!!

Once again, Friday is upon us. Do you realize that the 4th of July is in a mere two weeks?? Gads....

Anywho, this week's contest is HEADLINE. Have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lookee What I Found!!

Found this l'il guy (or gal; too soon to tell) last night. I think praying mantis are the COOLEST insects ever, and that's saying a lot because, as a whole, I really dislike insects save a few harmless ones like ladybugs and butterflies. I think this is one reason (and quite possibly the main reason) why I never majored in biology. I would have had to take entomology and that just doesn't quite blow my skirt up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Thanks Nadine!!

Here is what to do if you would like to create your own mosaic:
Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
Using only the first page, pick an image.
Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name? Kristi
2. What is your favorite food? Sushi
3. What high school did you go to? Westside
4. What is your favorite color? Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Denzel Washington
6. Favorite drink? kahlua and cream
7. Dream vacation? Ireland
8. Favorite dessert? chocolate
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Veterinarian
10. What do you love most in life? Steve
11. One Word to describe you. Tall
12. Your flickr name. Ventilator

Here's mine:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

Caption Contest Winner!! This week's winner is Steve with his, "The trendy areas of Moscow are currently enjoying a 70's Renaissance, as rock star Boris Dylanovich demonstrates."
Heh. Boris Dylanovich......nice one, Steve!
Not a bad weekend to report...Friday I took the day off *cough* and got a bunch of nit-noy things accomplished sans family. I wasn't moving too well by the end of the day. My sister came to town from KC to help celebrate my uncle's 50th. Mom and Joni came over alst night to help celebrate Father's Day. They brought all the food and I grilled. Not a bad trade off. Earlier Saturday morning Jen, Mal, and I went over to mom's so Joni and Jenna could work on Steve's cake; a shirt cake with candy-studded tie. Very cute. For our gifts there was a definite theme; popcorn. The boy loves his corn.

However, we both started Weight Watchers last week. I lost 4# last week; most of that is water, but hey! I'll take it! Though popcorn in and of itself is fine, it's the oil that gets you in points. So I ordered a hot air popper. Granted the popcorn is dry but if it satisfies his need for popcorn then it will have to work. The girls "painted" a popcorn bowl for him:

Complete with a couple of footprints from Mallory!!

Yesterday we didn't do much. I wanted to get more done outside but, apparently, my body told me otherwise by giving me a nice headache. So I took a nap in the spare bedroom where it's cool and dark. I grilled a bunch of stuff last night, too, which consisted of chicken boobies, marinated turkey boobies, and I tried my hand at plank smoking some salmon filets. The jury's still out on plank smoking; will have to investigate this further.

Looks to be a great week for the CWS; sunny, dry, and in the high-70s to low-80s through most of the week. Great news from Saturday; both Florida teams got SPANKED!! Most of you know how much I despise any Florida team, regardless of sport. There's a pitcher on the Stanford team that is an Omaha native and went to my high school. Yeah, they slaughtered Miami 16-5, I believe. 11 of those runs came in the 9th!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Caption Contest!!

A quiet night last night, thankfully. And tonight is the opening ceremonies of the College World Series; kicking off 12 days of traffic congestion. Locals know better than ot drive on the interstate towards the ballpark if there's a game either starting or wrapping up. If you haven't already, refer to my previous two posts to catch up....

In any case, it's Friday so that means it's time for the contest! This week it's CAPTION. Have a great weekend and I'll you on Monday!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where to Start??

This has been an unbelievably violent and destructive spring for our area. Wide-spread flooding and almost nightly tornadoes continue to ravage.

Last night was no different.

We were warned pretty much all day yesterday that storms were going to form, again. I watched the NE part of the state get continually dark and the thunderhead flatten out. Lightening flashed and thunder rumbled in the distance. It was pretty windy throughout the day; gusting to over 40 mph.

For three hours we were under tornado warnings. The bizarre thing I noted about this storm as I was glued to the TV was that it kept growing; getting longer and wider. It was a slow moving line that continued to dump rain and amazing rates. Our house received 2.5" of rain in less than an hour. Our house had about 2 minutes of pea- and marble-sized hail.

The rainfall and storm conditions were described as a true tropical storm; huge drops, sheets of rain. The kind of rainfall seen, typically, along the Gulf. Our states are so saturated that the extra rain has nowhere to go but out of rivers and streams.

You think food prices are high now? Farmers can't get into their fields and if anything at all was planted it is more than likely washed away. Farmers are so far behind schedule and there's not one thing they can do about it.

Then this news story and later this article found on pretty much every major news station across the country came into the picture. A huge tornado touched down in Little Sioux, IA (about 40mi N of Omaha). There's a Boy Scout camp and there was a Leadership camp going on this week. 93 Scouts and 25 staff were up there this week. With little warning the tornado formed. Most sought shelter but a few were out hiking.

All buildings were destroyed.

48 injuries reported; 42 of those hospitalized at area hospitals in NE, IA, and SD. Creighton received four victims. Four teens, unfortunately, lost their lives when a brick shelter collapsed. The uninjured Scouts quickly mobilized into action, breaking into a storage shed to get an ATV and saws to start clearing away the debris and tending to those that needed medical attention. Iowa Governor Chet Culver hailed the Scouts as the true heroes.

I just found out that one of our Pulmonary nurse's had one of her sons at the camp. He's fine; incredibly shaken up, but, apparently, unharmed. Needless to say she didn't come into work today.

This afternoon I found this video on The Weather Channel.

Donate to the Red Cross; they are quickly running out of resources with all the storm damage in the region in the recent weeks.

And pray.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome to Omaha!

Things will be getting pretty busy for our fair city in the coming days and weeks. To kick off our summer of fun is the annual pilgramage to The Road To Omaha; that's right, the NCAA College World Series.; an Omaha tradition since 1950. Nowhere else can you see baseball as it was meant to be played; from the heart. These kids put everything they have just to make it to Omaha with the possibility of only playing two games before going home. I found this article and gives a good run-down of Rosenblatt and CWS history. The Series kicks off this Friday with a concert and activities for the family. Games start on Saturday the 14th and concludes the 24th or 25th, depending on if a third game is needed for the Championship.

Adjacent to Rosenblatt is the world-renowned Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha's pride. Here you can find the world's largest enclosed rainforest, the world's largest enclosed desert, new butterfly exhibit that opened this spring, aquarium with shark tunnel and IMAX, the nation's largest cat complex, and many other fantastic exhibits. Dr. Lee Simmons has plans for the Rosenblatt property when it moves to its new location in North downtown next to the Qwest Center in 2010 with a 25-year contract with the NCAA. Take a look and you'll see why it's one of the premier zoos in the country.

After the festivities of the CWS are over a few days later in central downtown is the Summer Arts Festival, a 34-year Omaha tradition which showcases local and regional artisans in a 3-day outdoor mall setting from June 27-29.

As the Summer Arts Festival wraps up, Omaha is host to yet another sporting event and a first for Omaha. From June 29 through July 6 Omaha is hosting the Olympic Swim Trials at the Qwest Center. In just 3 weeks the Qwest arena had an Olympic-sized swimming pool constructed with fire hoses brought in to fill the pool with 1 million gallons of water. Check out this article and watch the movie clip and you'll see the three-week construction of the pool.

If all this wasn't enough to keep you busy, there are some sites outside Omaha. Drive west on I-80 about half-way to Lincoln and at Exit 426 is the Wildlife Safari, a drive-through park featuring elk and wolves. Also at this exit is Mahoney State Park, as well as the Strategic Air and Space Museum, formerly the SAC Museum located at Offutt AFB. This facility is truly spectacular. When you walk in you are greeted by this:A Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, by far my favorite jet. This aircraft is on permanent loan to the museum. It is awe-inspiring to stand within 4 feet of this beauty. There are permanent displays as well as temporary displays. Also housed in this 300,000 sq.ft. (yes, you read that right) is a restoration wing where old planes are reassembled, stripped down, and repainted in the original colors. Among the museum pieces are a Peacemaker, U2, B-1a, B-52, B-17 Flying Fortress, even a MiG fighter.

So there is plenty to do in Omaha. We really are pretty civilized around here. Don't take my word for it. Just click on the post title and you'll find out all kinds of information about Omaha.

Just remember, we have a spare bedroom if you want to visit....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Attention Hypochondriacs!

Working in the medical research arena I am privvy to "what's new!" and what drugs are coming down the pipeline. I thought I'd do my community er, public service by letting you know what may soon be available.

First off is this one, then this one. I don't see myself taking either of these medications but I'm sure there's one just for you!

However, upon further inspection, this one might offer some promise.....

**Disclaimer: These are jokes, folks.....don't get all excited.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

Caption Contest Winner!! This week's nod goes to Daisy with, ""In desperation after her analog television gave out, Raja tried a new type of antenna."
Zowie, what a's been since 1975 that a tornado hit Omaha. I was only about a year-and-a-half with this tornado and it went up 72nd Street; I grew up on 74th Ave, a mere 2 blocks away. My dad wasn't allowed to go home that day so it was my mom and us two girls. She stood in the driveway and watched the tornado travel up the street. Do check out the site; I just found it yesterday. There's a great Google map that highlighted the tornado's path and areas of damage. Our current house received some damage back then.

Saturday was incredibly thick and hot and the clouds just threatened severe weather. One major line went south of us in the early evening. There there was the other line in Kansas for later one....

At 0230 Sunday I was awakened to sidways rain on the windows and sirens. I turned on the TV in the living room and a tornado was confirmed in Millard (a SW suburb of Omaha; about 7 miles from our house). Normally when the sirens go off we watch the weather radar and usually it's north of Omaha. But there was something about the wind that didn't agree with me. It was a fast-moving supercell. Within 10 minutes it was already in Iowa. The radar showed additional rotation of the clouds at Dodge St. and I-680; that's about 2 miles away. The path of the storm literally went right over our house.

I was dressed and grabbed the lock box and was ready to grab the kids for the basement. Again, I have never felt the need to do so but there was a nagging feeling I had, an urgency to get downstairs. After about 20-25 minutes the storm was past us. Then the news reports came out yesterday. Homes and businesses were either damaged or destoyed but thankfully, no one was killed.

The Plains hve been getting pummeled by tornados and flash floods here lately. I think for June alone we're up around 5-7" of rain.

I would still take a tornado over a hurricane any day.....

Friday, June 6, 2008

Caption Contest!!

It's Friday so that can only mean one thing; The Contest!! This week's contest is HEADLINE. Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Being a Mom

Could have used this on Mother's Day....
We were sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of starting a family. "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking, "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral. "I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Can someone enlighten me on how to get a slide show to work here? I have two albums in Flickr and Photobucket but I can't figure out how to get them from there to here.

KWIM, Vern?

Monday, June 2, 2008


I've discovered something about Blogger that I don't like already; when you save something as a draft to post later, the date you publish is the date you ORIGINALLY wrote the piece, not when it gets published. I just posted some items from Spaces so I can do sidebar stuff, so the previous few posts are reruns if you read them on Spaces.

Things You Probably Didn't Want To Know About Me

1. I'm 6'2"
2. It's a curse, really
3. I have a 34" inseam
4. Refer to #2
5. My nickname is Tree
6. No, I didn't play sports in high school
7. I was a band geek
8. I was born on Christmas
9. It wasn't my choice
10. Please don't ask me what it's like to be born on Christmas
11. I love the smell of Play-doh
12. I'm a Respiratory Therapist
13. So is my mom
14. I really did go away to college for two years
15. My original plan was to get my degree in Japanese
16. That obviously didn't pan out
17. My mom was one of my instructors in school
18. No, it wasn't easy
19. I love being a mom
20. I broke my pelvis in two places after being bucked off a horse in 1999
21. I still ride
22. And still delivered my first daughter vaginally
23. I've had two sexual partners in my lifetime
24. Ok, that's a lie
25. There was a one-nighter when I went back to college to visit friends
26. Ryan was drunk and I was paranoid
27. I'm sad when the NFL is in off-season
28. I think the West Coast offense is too advanced for college
29. I still don't like LED Christmas lights
30. I used to weigh 262 pounds
31. I've lost 55 of that
32. Now I'm back up there after Mallory being born
33. I need to work on that again
34. I love my husband
35. I'm discovering Christianity
36. I think I'm a bit OCD
37. And bi-polar
38. And paranoid
39. I like a good German wine
40. Along with a slab of Nebraska beef on the barbie
41. My husband doesn't know how to operate a charcoal grill
42. Therefore, I am the grill seargent of the house
43. I enjoy gardening and landscaping our yard
44. I'm also the groundskeeper
45. I don't really think I'm that interesting
46. I'm trying hard to not become my mother
47. I've made progress in some areas
48. I've always wanted to be a veterinarian
49. I love working for my boss
50. I actually look forward to coming to work
51. I prefer winter over summer
52. I used to play the trumpet
53. I was a DJ at my college radio station
54. My dad committed suicide December 13th, 2004 - two days after my daughter's first birthday party
55. He was dying of lung cancer
56. By the time it was found it had already metasticed to his brain, liver, kidney, and adrenal gland
57. I like to flirt
58. I like to listen to Classical music
59. I like to listen to Eminem
60. I like to listen to Smooth Jazz
61. I've seen Garth Brooks in concert
62. I've met Mandy Patinkin
63. I will see pretty much any movie that has Morgan Freeman in it.
64. I like sushi
65. I love the smell of my girls after their bath
66. I lost a friend in a drowning accident in 1987
67. I was the last one to see her alive
68. I still blame myself for her death
69. I have the memory like a beartrap for pointless trivia
70. Thanks dad!
71. I have one older sister
72. She made the rest of look bad as she completed her PhD
73. I support our troops
74. But I don't support President Bush
75. I'll probably get a wire tap now as I'll be deemed a terroristic threat
76. The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies ever
77. Monty Python was genius
78. Legos rule
79. Hockey is more interesting to watch in person
80. My dad and daughter look the same at about 10m of age
81. My dad and daughter have the same eye color - grey green
82. I don't punch like a girl
83. I'm stubborn
84. I let my pride get in the way
85. My parents divorced when I was 8
86. I don't think kids ever "get over" a divorce
87. Meredith Brooks' "Bitch" is my theme song
88. I'm glad my 20s are over
89. I have 3 tattoos
90. They are all in non-private areas
91. Two of them are the Blake and Farrington coat of arms
92. The third one is a tree with the Chinese symbol for "tree" underneath it
93. This last one was in the process of being lasered away
94. It really hurts to have it lasered
95. I don't ask for help enough
96. I hit a car full of nuns
97. One of the nuns knows my mom
98. I can't stand a dirty windshield
99. At the pump, the dollar amount has to be in whole dollars, no change.
100. Refer to #34
101. My dream car is a '57 Chevy Bel Aire
102. I was held up by gun point at my part-time job when I was 16
103. I very much remember seeing 6 silver points of the bullets pointed at my gut.
104. I'm a wood worker, of sorts
105. All my shop machines are MINE, not Steve's
106. I make pens and other things that can be worked on a lathe
107. But pens are the main thing
108. I took French, Japanese, and Russian in high school
109. I'd like to learn how to play the cello
110. I'd like to learn how to play the bagpipes
111. I'd like to learn how to fence
112. I think I enjoy Dove Dark Chocolate more than Hershey's
113. My daughter and I were baptised on May 21, 2006
114. I've been bitten by a toucan.
115. I've been peed on by a snake.
116. This list is longer than I had thought it would be
117. I still don't think I'm that interesting, even after this list

Dying With Dignity

This was written on December 13, 2005, one year after my father's suicide (in 2004)...
The following is going to be me rambling on so there might be a lot of bouncing around as I try to get my thoughts out with no real continuity. I've been dreading this day for quite a while, trying to decide if I should blog this or not. Well, here's your answer. Just bear with me....

It was one year ago today that my dad was found dead in his condo, just two days after Jenna's first birthday party. He committed suicide with his shotgun that he methodically sawed off the barrel for the better part of 3 weeks. He was dying of lung cancer. He was 66, far too young. I only had 30 years with him.

I've been quiet all this time, telling people that my dad died of cancer, wanting to protect his dignity. And not wanting people to look at me differently because my dad killed himself. There is such a sigma that goes with suicide. We know why he did it. Everytime I saw him he was becoming more and more a ghost of himself and I know he saw that in my eyes. He was trying to protect us. He didn't want us to watch him waste away. He knew his time of independence was running out and he didn't want to be a burden. In his case suicide was a noble, yet cowardly, act. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. I didn't get a chance to tell him it was okay if he wanted to die. I was getting ready to.

My dad and I didn't have the greatest or closest relationship. My folks split when I was 8. Sure I saw him every other weekend, but it wasn't the same. I tried to distance myself from him, tried to convince myself I didn't need him. Case in point - my wedding 8 years ago. At the rehersal dinner dad presented me with our wedding gift and a manilla envelope. In the envelope were his funeral plans. The gift? The cordless phone we asked for. Ok fine. He signed his card, "Call me, Dad." Not "Congrats, Dad" or "I Love You, Dad" but "Call me, Dad." So those two things really set the tone in my head. Now comes my wedding. Here he wants my sister and I to sign onto his bank accounts should anything happen to him. For my sister, I could understand as she lives out of state. But wait a couple of weeks for me, this is my wedding!! His gift card was his idea of a very poor joke. He got us a phone so "call me." I didn't see the humor in it until much later. This was the way my dad was. Once he got an idea in his head, the blinders came on. He sense of timing was about as poor as his humor. This was when I started to back away and to distance myself from him. And this began the process of discovery as to why my parents split.

Then when I found out I was pregnant, I had mixed feelings. I knew my dad would be back in my life.

I had called in sick on the 13th after a mild bout with GI crud. My mom came over the night of the 13th to tell me dad had died, but didn't tell me how. My first thought was "My God, he died alone." Even though we weren't close, I didn't want him to die alone and afraid. I remember telling my mom that dad couldn't kill himself, that wasn't like him. She just looked at me. After asking her three times she finally told me how. I was in utter shock and disbelief. I still can't comprehend the desperation he must have felt. I'm sad that he felt he needed to do it this way. And that he was sucessful.

After a bit I went to email everyone that my dad had died. Many of you may remember that email. There was no mentioned of how he died. Most of you knew he had lung cancer, so I left it at that. Knowing I wasn't going to be at work the rest of the week I decided to change my voice mail message. There was one message on my phone. From dad. From the morning of the 13th at 1041.

"Kris, I want you to call the police. By the time you get this message I will have taken my life. You have no idea the pain I've been suffering. You have no idea what it is like to walk in my shoes. I'm so very sorry. Goodbye."

I have never made noises like that before. Steve came rushing downstairs to find me with the phone my hand, hyperventilating. That was his suicide note that the police couldn't find.

After going through his desktop calendar, he had written "Today" on the 13th.

What would have happened had I been at work and answered the phone? Or if I came back to my desk minutes after he called me?

I found out later that he bought a box of shotgun shells just before he went back into the hospital right before Thanksgiving and after he got out a receipt was found for a hacksaw. He was found in the bathtub in his underwear with the shower curtain closed, to minimize the scene. Unfortunately his girlfriend, Kay, saw enough to know what happened and called my mom after the police. Why her? Because Kay wasn't physically able to call me. I'm sure the police found that odd - the girlfriend and the ex-wife hugging and consoling at the crime scene.

He toughed it out until Jenna's birthday. It saddens me that with everything she accomplished in her first year, he wasn't here to see her second year.

I had his condo cleansed before we sold it. Even though his death was planned it was still tragic and often time spirits get caught in between here and there. I needed to make sure dad was where he needed to be. So with the help of my good friend, Dawn, she helped me release the energies of him. In his bedroom was a test shot from his gun into the outside wall.
Yet, I still feel that I didn't do enough for him, to visit him more, to go to his doctor's appointments. I should have done all these things instead of feeling obligated to be at work. Maybe he would have been on some better pain medication and he didn't have to resort to this.

I never liked his oncologist, Dr. Lemon, at Methodist. But my dad liked him and had his trust so I couldn't do or say anything to break his confidence. But at the same time my dad grew up at the time where you don't question what the doctor tells you. Hindsight is 20/20 and it blows.

His death certificate didn't say enough. "Cause of death: Shotgun wound to the head." It didn't say he was dying of cancer. It didn't say that his death was related to smoking, just that he died from a shotgun wound to the head.

I went through a period of deep guilt and had to go through counseling. I'm still not satisfied with my actions and I'm not sure if ever will be. It felt disrespectful to get on with my life after he died, like I was abandoning his memory. I feel that today, being here at work.

We had a memorial on December 18th. He final wishes were to be scattered in northern New Mexico along his favorite scenic train line, the Cumbres & Toltec out of Chama, NM. Dad would spend 1-2 weeks volunteering his time to help refurbish old train cars and restore the line to its Glory Days. I didn't appreciate his enthusiasm 10 years ago. Now I wished I had paid attention.

In August 2005 Steve and I met my sister and her BF in Chama to scatter him like he wished. I had been in contact with the train line as well as the volunteer organization, The Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec. Dad had a favorite engine, 488, that was being restored all the years he had gone down there. Turns out she came out of restoration this past spring and got her scheduled to pull our train up to Osier, CO.

The Sunday we were there Steve and I decided to walk to the yard to meet up with some people to finalize everything. We were coming down the driveway of the yard when I literally skidded onthe gravel. There, right before me, was 488 getting ready for her task in the morning. I've never seen her, other than in pictures and in pieces. I don't know why I didn't expect to see her there. I instantly teared up.

The morning of the ride we also got a paper cup and put some of dad's ashes in there, then tossed them into the firebox. What better tribute is there than to be blasted from the stack of your favorite engine up the valley? I tied on some roses to her as a tribute. It had been 20 years almost to the week since dad first brought me to Chama to ride the train.
It was a gorgeous day, sunny and 70s. Chama is usually dry in August, being of higher elevation. But there had been some recent rains and everything was green and blooming again. Cumbres Pass is a routine stop for water. We detrained to scatter his ashes with some wildflowers, then toasted him with Champagne. Joni and I tried to send him off the best way we knew how. At the half-way point we had lunch and the second train from Antonito CO, met us there. The two engines then swapped trains, so 488 kept on to Antonito and 487 took us back down to Chama. The last image of that day was seeing 488 across the valley steaming away, having done her job. It was one of the hardest, yet uplifting, days of my life. I've included some photos from the trip in the slideshow.

It's gotten a little easier, but there are days when it hits me out of no where. Dad has come to visit me at least once that I know of. He's visited Kay at least once and my mom about 5 times. Thank you for your time and for letting me get this out. And thank you for your understanding.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

Caption Contest!! This week's winner is Stacy with her, "Why didn't I listen to Mr Wonka? He told me not to eat those candies."
Good weekend to report. Saturday mom came over to watch the girls whilst Stevie and I went to a movie. *gasp* I know! Alone, even! We saw Indy IV; good movie, a bit far-fetched. I left feeling a bit empty. I didn't think there was enough action compared to the other three. Eh, but we did have a good time....ALONE! WOOT!

Lisa (my SIL) is having surgery today for her cervical cancer. Steve went home this afternoon after church and will be back Tuesday sometime. So yesterday while Mallory napped Jenna helped me hang more chicken wire on the deck for the clematis to grow on. Then we brushed out Thursday and trimmed her nails, all of us took a walk, I scrubber out Jenna's pool and got it ready for the summer, grilled some chicken and turkey, gave Jenna a bath, put Mal down at 1900, played Candy Land and read to Jenna; left her room at 1930.

I think my arse is leaving skid marks! Should've taken some ibuprofen....

Now I'm in a conumdrum. Spaces has let me back into their graces. Here's what happened. I did a caption contest back on APril 18; old, over-weight topless woman with angel wings. Not pretty. That's what got me booted off; partial nudity. I figured they'd let it slide as it wasn't pleasing partial nudity. But alas, I was, once again, wrong. I get this little nervous tic with the term "investigation" gets tossed out. I deleted the posted, said I'd read the Terms of Use again (ha) and my site is back up. Now I'm not sure what do to; keep Spaces or Blogger. I'm still trying to figure out what I can do wtih Blogger whereas I know Spaces pretty well and I like my set-up with Spaces.

Perhaps I'll post something quick on Spaces and re-direct people here......