Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Results are In

Had a follow-up appointment with the colorectal surgeon for the results of the colonoscopy, and the results are that there is nothing wrong with me. No signs of any damage or disease (no crohn's disease, which is what they were concerned about).

And  I don't have to have another colonoscopy unless/until I have further issues, but the surgeon is confident that the only issue I have is hemmoroids and those I get to treat by upping my fiber and water intake.

Monday, November 21, 2011

These boots are made for . . .


Now that there is actual snow on the ground, I really need to kick the search for a pair of winter boots into high gear. So far, I've found these (they also come in black). They look comfy and warm, but since they're through an online store, I'm nervous about ordering them.  I would hate to go through the process of waiting for them to come only to find out they only LOOK warm and comfy.

Anyone have experience with Oakley boots? Or suggestions for good winter boots would be appreciated as well.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Decorate or Not?

The Christmas season has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Ever since I was a small child, I have loved the lights and decorations. One of my favorite traditions was getting the bag of peanuts and candy after the church Christmas program, then driving around in the car with the rest of the family to look at all the lights.

The last few years TheHusband and I have either been very busy/out of town for much of the time right before Christmas, or I have not had the energy to do much decorating. This year TheHusband has volunteered to help with the decorating (in the past I usually did the decorating when he was at work). So I guess that means I need to decide whether or not I want to decorate this year.

(images of past Christmas decorations)
Maybe if I look through enough pictures of how we decorated in the past I can get my Christmas spirit in the right place to do some decorating.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Snow

Clipart of a snowflake, Click here to get more Free Clipart at ClipartPal.com
Today we had the official first snow of the season. We've had a few brave flakes floating around in the air over the past couple weeks, but today was the first day it actually "stuck". It looks like there is about an inch to an inch and a half on the ground. I have to admit it's a little hard to tell for sure given the fact I've only looked out the upstairs windows.  We'll have to see how long it actually sticks around.

TheHusband was actually out in the car with students when it started. I think it's a good thing I didn't know how slippery it was. Turns out there were about 200 crashes between noon and about 3:00PM today, and about 114 of those were here in the Twin Cities area. Also a good thing I know TheHusband is a good driving instructor.

Anyway, it seems like winter has finally arrived. Now it's time to see how long it will last and how hardcore it will be.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I'll try not to bore anyone too much, because I'm only posting a bunch of words so that I have something posted today. I'm trying really hard to maintain my post a day for a month as part of NaBloPoMo.

It has been a busy week with the colonoscopy, work, award ceremony, and now it seems I am getting a head cold. Like I said, a busy week. I am very much looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow, or at least as late as TheAnnabelle will let me.

I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I am a "Star Performer"

I don't usually brag on myself, but today I'm taking the opportunity to brag on myself.

The plaque I received, now hanging in my cubicle.

Today I was honored to receive one of the University Services Star Performer Awards, and I am darn proud of it. I have been in my position for 12 years, and each day I strive to give my customers (the students, their parents, our managers, and all faculty/staff members) the best customer service I can. The kind of customer service I would like to receive, and that I would like my friends and family to receive.

It's not always easy, there have been many many days I have had to remind myself to do my best work for His glory (Colossians 3:17, 1 Corinthians 10:31). And while I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping our customers and trying to do my best work for God, it's also kind of nice to know that my hard work is also appreciated by others.

Here's how University Services (the non-Academic branch of the UofM) describes a "Star Performer":

Who is a Star Performer?
University Services has established values that enforce the University’s teaching, research, outreach mission and comprehensive academic plan. Our values are:
  • Excellence in our products and services;
  • Integrity in our actions with those we serve and with each other;
  • Accountability in the value of our work;
  • Stewardship of the University

In addition, Star performers generally exhibit the following:
  • Exceed Expectations – Star Performers go above and beyond the call of duty of their day-to-day tasks. They pay attention to details, seek solutions to problems, and provide a high level of commitment in their duties.
  • Customer Service – Star Performers take the time to understand the needs of the students, staff, and visitors to the University and to meet their needs consistently and effectively.
  • Initiative – Star Performers find innovative ways to save time, money, or other resources, either through new ideas or new ways to do ongoing tasks. They often act to solve a problem before it becomes a larger issue.
  • Reliability – Star Performers demonstrate a consistency in getting the job done right, on time, the first time. Star Performers don’t let their customers, or their coworkers, down.

All that to say, I must be doing something right! In the future, on those difficult days when I have to remind myself that I need to do my best for God's glory, it will be easier to remind myself that working for God's glory doesn't just help me get through the day, but helps others get through their's.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This is what happens . . .

whenever TheAnnabelle gets past the interior door.

She begs something fierce to get out, and we try our hardest not to let that happen. She actually did get past us a few nights ago, and ran to the nicest pile of leaves she could find. Little bugger is lucky she's so darn cute.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We are definitely not friends.

Yesterday during the colonoscopy the doctor had the nurse put pressure on different parts of my abdomen in order to, you know, get them to cooperate so she could advance the camera. And when I say "pressure" I mean A LOT of pressure. The kind of pressure that you can apply to something only by standing on a stool so you can  really put your weight behind it. And I know it's that kind of pressure, because the nurse actually STOOD ON A STOOL SO SHE COULD PUT HER WEIGHT BEHIND IT.

When the camera was finally where it was supposed to be, the nurse stepped down from the stool and asked, "We're still friends, right?"

I jokingly replied that I would let her know tomorrow (which is now today). Well I'm not joking any more, and if I could, I would most certainly tell her that "We are NOT friends, Ms. Colonoscopy Nurse".

Now I'm going to go find some Tylenol to see if that will help me feel like the cats have not been using my abdomen as a trampoline.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life As a Dinosaur: The Colonoscopy Edition

*Alternate title for this post is "The TMI Edition" - which means you may not want to read all the way through this. Although, it's not too graphic either.*

Several weeks ago I began having some issues with blood on my stool. My family practice doctor said it was probably just internal hemmorhoids, but because I've had some issues (a anal fistula - ouch!) in the past she referred me to a colorectal surgeon.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Taste of Dawn

Taste of Dawn

On weekdays after breakfast
I stood in front of the kitchen window,
and washed dishes before going to
school. While up to my elbows in hot,
soapy water, I watched lemon
scented suds slowly slip between plates
my brothers glued together with
Mrs. Butterworth's famous syrup.
Occasionally I glanced out
the window to see a single plate
of flaming crimson silently slide
from its earthen shelf into the cool
morning sky. Clouds would float by
as if God himself had blown them from
his fingertips, like I blew soap suds
from mine. Behind me, my brothers stabbed
each other with sticky forks until
mom yelled and they sent the forks flying
into my cooled dishwater. I would
open my mouth to yell only to
have the flying suds land on my tongue,
filling my mouth with the taste of dawn.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What to do when the lights go out?

I was merrily frittering away the day when all of a sudden the lights turned off. The power had gone out.  It actually took me a few seconds to realize it, because the computer I was working on stayed powered up.  Then I remembered it was running on battery power. (Yeah, I'm a little "blonde" sometimes.)  So I adjusted the power settings to get as much time as I could from the battery and finished watching the remainder of the episode of SG-1 that was in the memory buffer.

Once that was done, I worked a little bit on a project I've been mulling over for a couple weeks. I still had oodles of time on the battery, but decided that I would take advantage of the quiet. I grabbed my Nook and crawled in bed with TheAnnabelle and TheDexter. As I read, I could hear the sound of kids playing outside, which confirmed my thought that the power had gone out in the whole neighborhood.

Next thing I knew the phone was ringing. It was TheHusband calling on his way home from work. I had fallen asleep and so had the kitties. The power was still out so TheHusband and I decided to go to the laundromat. The power came on before we left, but we went anyway.

So that's what I do when the power goes out. How about you?

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Their Debt

When I was in the fifth grade I participated in (and, shockingly, won) the Modern Woodmen Of America speech contest. The topic we were given was "My Favorite Symbol of Freedom", and I chose to speak about the American flag. While I could have recited the speech in its entirety up through the time I graduated from high school, now I can only remember that I spoke about the history of the flag and its symbolism.

While there is debate about whether or not all of the symbolism currently ascribed to the flag was actually intended at the time it was originally created, here is what my fifth grade self said about it:

  • the stars: one for each state
  • 13 stripes represented the 13 original colonies
  • red: stands for valor and bravery, and the blood that was shed that enabled this country to be formed
  • white: stands for purity and innocence
  • blue: stands for vigilance, perseverance, and justice

The thing about my fifth grade self though, is that she didn't entirely understand what all those words actually meant. And to be perfectly honest, my 36 year old self doesn't always entirely understand what all those words mean. My 36 year old self would give a different speech though.

I would still talk about the flag and its symbolism.  I would also talk about how the things it represents are lived out daily by the men and women who serve our country and defend its ideals despite the danger doing so often puts them in. I would talk about their families who sacrifice so much and get so little (in comparison to what they truly deserve) in return. I would talk about the living, breathing symbols of freedom living among us. Here are a few of those symbols:

     David Martin - Marines                Roy Martin - Marines               Shawn Bingham -Navy

(TheHusband is not pictured because I don't have a picture of him in uniform, and because he's kind of on the private side and has previously asked not to be pictured on the blog. And my father-in-law isn't pictured because I don't have a picture of him in uniform either.)

I thank each of you, and all service members and their families, for your service to our country. We are in your debt.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

DST = No sleep

Daylight Savings Time (DST) is killing me. Or really the transition from DST back to normal time is wreaking havoc on me and the ATC household. I've always had problems with the transition to DST in the Spring. I'd have headaches and feel out of sync for a couple days, but then I'd be fine. The transition back to regular time has never been an issue.

This year things are different. This year there is TheAnnabelle and TheDexter. This furry duo, who are normally my partners in napping, have decided that their internal clocks are not getting reset like all the other clocks in the house. Nope, not this time.

TheAnnabelle has taken to waking me up at 3:00AM. Since I'm normally semi-conscious around that time (usually just enough to roll over to find a new "comfortable" position to sleep) it didn't seem like such a big deal at first. But each morning she has been getting more insistent that I actually WAKE.UP.ALREADY! purrrrr TheDexter has started to assist her in this mission. He wanders the upstairs meowing as loud as he can.

This morning TheHusband got up at 4:00AM because he just couldn't take it anymore. I followed him into the office at about 4:30. The office = refuge from the furry terrorists. *sigh* How sad is it that we have taken to hiding in our office to get away from our daily wake up "call"? Pretty sad, I know.

If anyone has any tips in regard to how to change the internal clock of a cat, the ATC house would be greatly appreciative if you would share your wisdom with us. We desperately need some sleep.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Electronics Fear Me!

Apparently, I am so good at my job that my mere presence can resolve problems with the electronics. Here are two examples:

1. My coworker, in the next cubicle, was getting an error message when she was starting her computer this morning. Also troublesome, was the fact that her normal array of desktop icons was not showing up. After attempting to reboot twice she asked if I could take a look. All I did was stand there and watch while she rebooted again, and everything worked perfectly!

2. About a half hour later, a manager from one of our dining locations called and let me know that their card reader was "completely dead". Turns out it wasn't powering up, and she wasn't sure if it was the power cord or the reader itself. I quickly reprogrammed a reader for her location and grabbed a power cord so I could test both possibilities. When I arrived at the location I plugged the original reader into the original power cord (for testing purposes) and it worked just fine. Both the manager and the cashier were baffled because they had tried three different power outlets (one on the other side of the building) and couldn't get it to power up. Yes, I did leave the back up reader and power cord there just in case, but it's been a few hours and I haven't gotten any reports of it being broken again!

You just have to love days like that, when your mere presence just makes things better. And now that I've jinxed my golden touch, all I can say is that I hope you are having a great day!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Letting my inner Betty out

In case you hadn't heard, yesterday was Betty Crocker's 90th birthday. I'd say the lady has aged fairly well.

(Image from the Betty Crocker website)

While I'd love to make the trip to Golden Valley to thank her for the dozens and dozens of her brownies I've had over the years, that just isn't going to happen. So, instead, tomorrow I'm going to let my inner Betty out and try a couple of recipes from the Betty Crocker website.

I'll be trying Rolled Italian Meatloaf and Broccoli with Sweet Red Pepper and Garlic. Well, I'll do my own variation of those recipes anyway. You know I can't NOT make adjustments. If we're lucky I'll have another blog post about the results on Friday. Which will herald the comeback of "Foodie Fridays"!

I sure hope these turn out delicious as they look!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Our Laundromat is Haunted

The laundromat TheHusband and I go to is haunted. Not in the scary poltergeist-y kind of way, because we would totally NEVER go there again if it were (because you want to have clean clothes after a visit to the laundromat and not, well, you know).

Casper's dryer is the one
with the sign on it.
Nope our laundromat seems to have a benign little ghost. We call him Casper. He likes to play with the dryers. Well, one dryer specifically. He'll turn it on and off even when there aren't any clothes in it. Mostly though he likes to play with the lights/exhaust fan in the bathroom. There can be no one anywhere near the bathroom, yet all of a sudden the light will pop on and the exhaust fan will start to run. Then just as suddenly the light & fan will turn off.

Now you may think that an overly sensitive motion sensor is to blame, but you'd be wrong. On several occasions I've seen people walk into the bathroom and nothing happens. And by nothing I mean the light won't come on until they actually manually push the little button to turn it on. I've even had it happen to me.

Faulty wiring or a playful ghost? You can judge for yourself, but now that I think about it nothing strange happened on Halloween while we were there. I guess Casper must have been out trick or treating.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Empties Speak

(A bit of a flashback from sometime during 1996 through 1998. This poem was written for a Writer's Workshop class taught by Phil Dacey.)

The Empties Speak

We were hand picked for what only we
could offer, a sweet innocence our
lovers drank to fill their bodies' needs.
They spent their money on us, for us.
For the price of a drink they wanted
us to open without protesting.
They found that we had built defenses
to protect ourselves from the world.
But they were patient and overcame
our walls. We had learned to trust and poured
our secrets out to them. We offered
sweetness on their lips and refreshment
for their souls. Time and again they came
to us for our pleasures, leaving us
drained of everything we had to give.
Now we sit here, empty, alone, void
of almost all value, to be kicked
around until someone decides
to pick us up and refill our souls.
We are the forgotten lovers left
in the garbage to be thrown away,
or recycled and used again.

(a syllabic poem)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Reigniting an old hobby.

Recently TheHusband and I have discussed me finding some things to do besides spending hours on the computer. Yes, I still work 5 days a week, but the pain from the spondylitis has been getting worse and I spend much of my time at home in my recliner (where I have the least amount of discomfort).

I do a lot of reading (my Nook and the internet), watch Netflix, and play Facebook games, but let me be honest, I can only spend so much time on any of those activities before my mind and/or body start to get fidgety.  So today I've been really thinking about what types of things I can do while sitting in my recliner.

I've decided that it's time for me to dust off the needlepoint skills I picked up as a young girl. I have all sorts of supplies in the basement and should be able to find a fun project or two in no time. In fact, I may just start with something like the emoticon coasters I found over at mrxstitch.com.

I think they are adorable and would probably make a great gift for someone. Perhaps I'll even start creating my own designs with the cross stitch program I've had for a while. Who knows what the future holds?

Friday, November 04, 2011

A Flashback

I was going through pictures on my computer and ran across this gem.  This picture was taken many many moons ago (late 2002 or early 2003 I think), and WOW has the office changed since then. When this picture was taken there were only four work areas in the room and the server for the meal plan system sat on a table next to my desk (which I'm almost certain caused some hearing damage).

Now the room is smurf blue, we have 5 work areas (trying to figure out how to add a sixth), and that pole in the middle of the room is gone. The cubicles are a bluish grey now instead of the brown-ish color in the picture.

Seeing this picture makes me think about how much some things change and others stay the same. For example, while I don't have the same "office" sweater in the picture, I do still have an "office" sweater, because this room can get crazy cold in the winter. And the meal plan system server is now under new management and lives somewhere else on campus now.

Also, Tony and I aren't so tight anymore. Seriously, a person can only scoop the litter box of a cat that size for so long before it puts a strain on the relationship. Know what I mean?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

For Annette

I had planned to post something entirely different and a little lighthearted today.  I had even started writing the post, but then my day changed. This afternoon I found out that someone very dear to me had passed away, and it's appropriate that I write about her today because she always encouraged me to write.

Annette was my grandmother's best friend. They grew up together, their kids grew up together (in fact my grandma's oldest son married Annette's daughter) and their grand kids grew up together. We would have family reunions at Lester and Annette's farm by the lake. They would set aside a specific area for tents/campers and our families would spend the days in the lake and around tables loaded with food. At night we would gather around a campfire to roast marshmallows, while the younger generation listened to the older generations retell stories of the exploits of their wilder days.

When I started writing, Annette was always very supportive. The first time my work was published by my college's literary journal she was over the moon excited for me and requested that I make sure she got a copy (and a copy of each year's journal after that). Any time I saw her she would ask if I was still writing and if I ever said something that would imply that I wasn't writing a lot, she would shake her little fist at me and tell me that I better keep writing and not to waste my talent.

Even though it's been several years since I've seen Annette I will still miss her presence in the world. And so, I dedicate this month of posts the her.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Mmmm, pizza

If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

For me it would be pizza. Preferably a Papa Murphy's cheese pizza on their thin crust with extra cheese. MMMM MMMM MMMM  Hot out of the oven, cooled down just enough so the cheese doesn't burn the roof of my mouth (because that would just ruin the whole thing and it's kind of tough to call a do over on your last meal).

I'd also have an ice cold A&W Cream Soda (or two) to wash it down and cupcakes (chocolate with thick frosting). Hey, it's my last meal, it doesn't have to be healthy!

What would you have for your last meal?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

My Favorite Part about Writing

What's not to like about writing? Okay, I know there are many people out there that find writing very difficult, but for me, oh my, I do love it. I've been thinking about this for a bit and I've managed to narrow it down to just a few things:

1. It's therapeutic. For me, writing is the best form of therapy there is. I can honestly say that even though I don't use my bachelor's degree in Creative Writing in my "day job" much, getting that degree was the best therapy EVER. Through my writing classes I was able to process and let go of a lot of things about my childhood that I had kept inside for way too long. Are there things that I still have issues with? Oh sure, but they aren't eating me alive anymore. Phew! Best investment ever.

2. It's musical. I'm not going to be modest here, I totally sing like a ROCK STAR! But only when I'm in my car, alone, with the windows rolled up. If you were to catch me singing anywhere else, you would know that even though I love music, I am a horrible singer. I'm okay with that though. Even though God didn't give me the gift of a beautiful voice or the ability to play a musical instrument He did give me a love of rhythm and tempo and writing allows me to indulge in that love without hurting anyone else's ears.

3. It's outgoing. I am, by nature (and partially nurture), an introvert. Even though I love people it is often difficult for me to overcome my introvert-ness and be "out" there. Writing allows me the ability to be more extroverted and share myself with the world through blogging and writing in general.

So that's what I like most about writing. How about you? Anything you like about writing (your own or anyone else's)?

To read blogs by others participating in the NaBloPoMo November 2011 event click on the NaBloPoMo graphic to the left.


That title is not a typo, and I'm not crazy (well, I'm mostly not crazy) either. The last couple of months have been incredibly busy for me at work and I've been terrible about blogging. When I came across this NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) event I thought it was the perfect way to get me back on track!

So for the next month you can expect to see a post everyday. I'll probably rely on the daily prompts from the NaBloPoMo for many of the posts, but I'm excited to get back to writing on a regular basis. I'm so excited in fact that you may find me making a couple blog posts some days. We'll see how things go.

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