Saturday, May 31, 2008

I Rocked 'Em

My house is in a row of townhouses and our back yard faces the back yard of the people who live behind us. The fences don't meet and there's quite a bit of space between for kids and dogs to run and play (there's even a playground). We usually go outside for a bit each night to hang out and chat. It's nice and certainly gives off that neighborhood vibe which is cool. Last night I made a couple of desserts and took them out to share. One was a cherry cobbler made with fresh cherries (second one I made this week) and the other was a sopapilla cheesecake which is divine although, personally, I am partial to anything with fresh cherries.

My sweet little neighbor Liam, who is six, had this to say to me:

Liam: "Miss Rachel, I really loved the cheesecake dessert you made."

Me: "Oh, Liam, I'm so glad you like it. That makes me happy. You know, I'm really going to miss you when we move." I really will miss him; he's a very fun and funny kid. If I had had a class of students like him when I taught kidergarten, I might have enjoyed it.

Liam: "Yeah, well it was really delicious. It really rocked me."

Me: "It what?"

Liam: "You really rocked me with it, Miss Rachel."

Me: "Um, great, thanks!"

Apparently everyone was more rocked by the cheesecake than the cobbler because it was gone quickly. If you make it and serve it hot, it goes really well with vanilla ice cream.

We ended up hanging out until almost midnight. It was fun for the whole family...our dog had a great time playing with all the kids and other dogs. Tonight we're going to a movie and dinner with Liam's parents and I need to hop in the shower. Hope you all are having a rockin' weekend, also!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Take the Time

In honor of my 100th post, I would like to share with you the most hilarious blog I have ever read.

Tales from Labor & Delivery

If you do not have time to read the entire blog today (seriously, this will be a huge loss for you), take time to at least read this post. Tell me you didn't laugh until you cried...or peed!

Hot, Angry Lady Rants

And when I say "hot" I don't mean in a Maxim cover girl kind of way.

Did you know that in Themiddleofnowhere, Germany they do not believe in air conditioning? 'Tis true, my friends. There is a thermometer on my bedside clock which registered 85 degrees Farenheit when I got into bed last night. Heat does indeed rise and our room is on the top floor. As an added bonus, the windows in our room are on the slanted roof and do not have the outside metal shutters that can keep the sun out.

In the end, I slept okay (althought tonight I do believe I will suggest we move to the guest bed) but I woke-up to see the US news which aired a segment that really ticked me off. The network had asked people to write in and tell them what alterations had been made to their Memorial Day plans this year [in light of the economic situaiton]. I *hope*hope*hope* some people had meaningful things to say but those were cast aside in order to spotlight only the selfish jerks because this is a summary of what was said:

"We will be foregoing our usual rib eyes, ribs, and brisket for homemade hamburgers and fries due to the rising food costs. The meat was purchased several weeks ago and frozen for the holiday."

"We will not be able to take our usual trip to the lake for boating due to the high costs of fuel [for the boat and camper] and the increased cost of campground fees."

There were others that I cannot remember and, take my word for it, that's a good thing right now because my blood pressure is rising as I type. I don't even know where to begin! How about this: I am terribly sorry you cannot feast on three different kinds of meat in one meal while there are millions who maybe have meat once a month. Millions of people cannot plan meals weeks in advance because finding food for today is the only objective. Your selfishness disgusts me! Oh, and the family that cannot go boating and camping? I want you to just sit back and think about the totality of your statement. Indulge yourself as you meditate on the emotion you feel when you think about the hardships you must endure. Done? Okay, now think about the people who do not have money to buy fuel to go to work. Consider those who are homeless and do not have even a camper or a tent to provide them shelter. Their day just *might* be worse than yours, don't you think? Ahhh, yes, that's right you did work so very hard for things you have. You make a good point.

Now let's get back to what we were originally discussing: Memorial Day celebration plans. That's right, the one day of the year that is set aside to remember those who have fought and sacrificed for our country. For your freedom, for my freedom, for the freedom of all Americans, and all future generations. [And just to clarify, I do not in any way categorize myself as one who has sacrificed for our nation. TOIAW has proudly served since his college graduation but even he realizes his sacrifices are small compared to many of his peers and many more before them.] Memorial Day is not about your three-meat smorgasboard. It's not about boating on the local lake. It's not about buying a plasma television on sale at the local electronics box store. It's about remembering and being thankful for those who, from the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq, have selflessly given of themselves.

I wish the question the news network asked had been something like, "This Memorial Day, as you reflect on those who have defended our liberty, what is the freedom, right, or opportunity for which you most gratful?'

If I were asked the question I would say that in the United States of America anything is possible and I would use this story to illustrate my point. In the US hard work and dedication are the only thing standing between you and your dreams.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Conspiracy Theory

I think blogger and my computer are conspiring against me because I cannot get my Spain pictures to upload. In blogger's defense, everytime we open pictures, the computer protests. TOIAW thinks its the hard drive. I've had this laptop for a year and a few weeks. The hard drive on my previous laptop had multiple hard drive crashes/failures and was replaced three times in a year. I'm not kidding.

In any event, I haven't posted in the past week so I'll do an update and postpone the Spain post yet again. I've spent my day researching housing, volunteer opportunities, and Russian classes in the D.C. metro area. That's right...we're moving to D.C.! I know you were all on the edges of your seats with curiosity. Yesterday I determined my current locale is my sixth city of residence in the same number of years. I could have some serious street cred with the Bedouin. D.C. will be the seventh followed by a city to be named later because I may or may not be following TOIAW to his assignment after D.C. It all depends on what happens with the baby thing.

Speaking of which, Friday we had our second appointment with the new and improved fertility specialist. After our first appointment, I told TOIAW I thought maybe we had made a big mistake in not getting a second opinion sooner. After the second appointment, I knew that was definitely the case. Ugh. I can't think about it though. We have a delightful commercial on the Armed Forces Network where Julia Roberts says, "I don't believe in regrets. It doesn't change anything." Wise words, Julia. (I must say, it always strikes me as odd when people say they don't believe in something that clearly exists. Regrets are not a tangible thing, I know, but neither are they a matter of theory. Nevermind, I've already lost interest in this tangent.) Regretting not having investigated other options last year doesn't change anything. I didn't know what I didn't know about RE's...but now I know! New RE had the head of the practice call Old RE to discuss my history and then New RE and the head of the practice determined my blood should be tested for everything. ELEVEN vials were taken. Out of my hand...because that's the only place they could hit a vein. After two unsuccessful attempts, the head of the practice--who doesn't speak English--was called in to find the vein and as he left, he patted me on the head like I am a dog. He's very nice and grandfatherly but, seriously, a pat on the head? Note to self: Wear more make-up and look more sophisticated at my next appointment. TOIAW also had blood taken for genetic testing purposes so we looked so cute with our matching bandages. Oh, and I cannot forget to tell you about the ultrasound. You know, I've heard that many doctors in Europe do not provide gowns for their patients. I've always had at least a paper sheet but usually a gown. That all ended Friday. There we were: me, New RE, her nurse, and TOIAW...only I was the only one not wearing anything from the waist down. The really cool part was when I settled into the exam chair (picture sitting in a chair with your feet out, not laying down with the traditional stirrups) and looked up only to realize I was directly in front of TOIAW. He did buy me lunch afterwards but don't some people make big money for doing shows like that? The ultrasound did show a good ovarian reserve--which has been determined before through other tests--but that doesn't determine egg quality...not that I'm going to go down that road again. Everything else looked normal which means we were able to proceed with the diagnostic testing. The next appointment is in three weeks (on TOIAW's birthday!) and I will do a glucose tolerance test that day. I'm glad this is going slowly because I can tell I still need some time although the care and attention I am [finally] receiving is going a long way to address my concerns.

I just cancelled on a function I was supposed to attend tonight. I don't really have an excuse, either. Oh well. I've been asked to do a short devotional tomorrow at Bible study and even though I have some ideas, I need to sit down and write a short outline. And I need to clean two bathrooms so there you go...I have so much to do I couldn't possibly take time to attend a function this evening. I hope your Monday isn't as busy as mine ;)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mercy: Give a Little

We've been home since Saturday evening and I'm just now blogging. Suffice it to say I've been a bit resistant to getting back into the swing of things. I think the worst is behind me, though, and I have gotten quite a bit accomplished around the house. I've begun the purging process that accompanies every move (we're shipping our things in July and flying out in September) which I find very theraputic if for no other reason than I am whittling down the number of items that will need to find a place to live in our new place to live.

Emotionally I'm doing pretty well. Obviously I am forced to deal with things more at home than I was on vacation but I am much more relaxed and recharged which helps. Mothers' Day was kind of hard but I attribute that more to my first miscarriage being two years ago on Mothers' Day. I did have a bit of a cry yesterday, however. I'll tell you the story: There are two blogs I read that are written by women who have lost their babies. One woman lost her twins when they were born early and the other lost her daughter when she didn't wake-up from her nap. Both happened quite recently so they are still very much in the throes of grief. I've never said anything to anyone about these blogs (maybe TOIAW but there's only a very slim chance that he was paying attention) but in my head I've always judged one harsher than the other because her blog is so bitter and I am--I hate to use this word, but I think it fits--angry at her for not being thankful for what she does have rather than spending her days focusing on her loss and what she would have, could have, should have had. Harsh? I know. The other blog, by contrast, is filled with faith, grace, and a joyful spirit. I know she is hurting, duh, but she trusts God and draws great comfort in her faith. Okay, so yesterday I was in the car and I once again thought about how thankful I am to have my faith. I didn't think, "Thank you, Lord, for giving me faith," I thought, "Well, thank goodness I have faith." Big difference. About ten minutes later a song came on, Natalie Grants' Held. God spoke so clearly to my heart during the opening lines of the song. He told me to have a little mercy and compassion. I had to pull off to the side of road while I weeped for both of these hurting women and for myself. It was the first time I've really cried since the night my mom called and told me Grandma had died. It was raw and it felt so good. He hold us. He holds all of us who are hurting and even though not everyone embraces Him, He is still there. Praise Him!

I really do have some good blogging stories for you. Once I get my chores done, I may find time to write one or at least a Spain recap with some pictures...like I promised the last time we went to Spain but I never delivered. Speaking of promises, I promised TOIAW homemade blueberry muffins for tomorrow (since he leaves at 0530, they'll have to made today) and pecan pie for dessert tonight. That's me, the Happy Haus Frau...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hola!

Buenos dias from the Costa del Sol! This holiday is just what the doctor ordered; it has been amazing! In fact, I've reached the point where I'm in complete denial that we'll ever leave.

We've been on two day tips to two very unique locales: Gibraltar and Ronda. The monkeys on Gibraltar were great and yesterday we hired a fabulous tour guide to show us around Ronda. Today we are taking it easy just relaxing on the beach and/or by the pool. Both are a little chilly for swimming but just fine for laying on a chaise and reading a book. The resort does have two indoor pools, one for families and one that is for adults only although yesterday when we tried out the adult pools (there are also separate outdoor pools) I felt like I was in a library because it was so quiet. I suppose we could venture over to the "Zona Topless" if we really need to spice it up...or see some National Geographic-style porn.

I highly recommend the Costa del Sol if you're in Europe and looking for a beach vacation. There are parts that remind me of south Florida only with more culture and less Spanish speakers. I'm now going to resume my vacation but I wanted you to all know I'm "back from the brink" thanks to the terrific Mediterranean sunshine and my wonderful TOIAW.