I Heart Presents!!

I said earlier that I had some things to say that weren't depressing and whiny... well, I didn't lie.  I do have some!  I have actually been getting some things done that don't involve laying around moaning about my teeth and going to the dentist for dental work I can't afford.

I was talking to Melanie last weekend over Y! Messenger.  Our writing group was canceled due to some unforeseen work scheduling issues, but we were chatting anyway and I was expressing to her my unhappiness with going out to eat all the time.  It's so expensive!  Anyway, she ran to do some cleaning and errands, but when she hopped back on a few hours later she said she wanted to come over, that she had gifts for me!  She went out and bought me something.  So, I rushed around and cleaned up so she didn't see my house messy (not that she really cares), and when she got here she had these...


Not only did she have them, but trust me when I say, they were heavy!!  I have no idea how she opened the door to knock, or carried them up the stairs into the house.  Aren't they pretty?!  She picked that wrapping paper specially for me!  I almost didn't want to open them, they're just too pretty!!  She had a knack with wrapping, much like my daddy, so I had to get some pics of the boxes.  They were simply too pretty to pass up.  When I did finally bring myself to unwrap them, this was what's inside...



There's a bit of a story to this, actually.

1) Friday (July 23rd) is my 32nd birthday.  Writing it like that looks weird... 23rd, 32nd.  Ha!  So, she didn't just buy me presents out of the blue.  That said, she already bought me a present a month or two back (you remember the awesome pink handbag?), so I didn't expect her to get me anything.

2) The whole purpose behind these particular awesome gifts is that my stove is dead.  I haven't been able to cook anything on it in months and it's pretty frustrating.  Since I can't, just yet, afford to replace the stove, I was cooking on my electric griddle, foreman grill and with my electric fondue pot.  No fun at all!  Now, with the double burner hot plate, I can cook with my pots and pans again and make anything I could have made on the stove top!

3) The interesting part about Melanie buying me a crock pot (which I love, by the way) is that several years ago, while grocery shopping together, I was talking about making something in the crock pot and she told me she didn't, nor had she ever, had a crock pot.  I gasped in horror... yes, I actually gasped!  It was onamonapia at it's finest!! (Oh shut up, I'm dramatic!!).  I told her she had to have a crock pot, it was just not natural not to have a crock pot!  She did end up buying one and she uses it quite frequently.

Fast forward about two years to 6 or so months ago.  I was cleaning out a cabinet in the kitchen that had been taken over by mice.  I use to keep all of my dry goods in that cabinet, but after the mice destroyed a lot of food and made houses out of the boxes, I decided it wasn't such a good idea.  I was also keeping my crock pots (yes, I had two, one round, the over oval) in that cabinet.  The mice had utterly destroyed both crock pots.  I was on the verge of tears when I had to throw them away, they were just irreparable.  So, for months I've not had a crock pot and it's been pretty depressing, especially when my stove went out!

So, for Melanie to show up here last Saturday with not only a crock pot, which is funny since I gave her hell about not having one and here she was buying one for me, but also an electric hotplate... it was just awesome!!  I've since used both things, the hot plate quite frequently.  I'm going to make Kristine's Mac & Cheese again soon, even without an oven.  I figure I can just mix it up and put it in the crock pot to finish cooking.  The only thing I'll have to adjust is how cooked the noodles are because if they're too done before putting them into the crock pot, it'll turn them to mush.  I figure it won't have to be in there that long. I can't wait, it's been too long and I'm having awesome food withdrawal!

So, I know I said so on Saturday, but thanks for making my day Melanie!  Much love!

On that note, I'm off.  I didn't realize how long this would go (again) so I'll save the rest for later.  One topic per blog post, I suppose.  I don't seem to be particularly good judging how long these things will run these days.  Good night.

I'm here... I hurt, but I'm here...

I'd like to apologize for the relative silence over the last few weeks, but I hate apologies, so I'll spare you.  I don't seem to be particularly good about updating this summer, do I?  I love working from home, but writing every day and the fact that I'm not feeling well have made it impossible for me to want to write here.  I woke up last Wednesday with a horribly abscessed gum on the bottom left side.  It looked like someone had pushed a small marble under my gums and while I hoped it would go away, or the swelling would go down, I knew by the end of the day that I needed to go to the dentist.  Matt made me an appointment and they got me in first thing Thursday morning.  The dentist and his staff were all really nice, they took x-rays of that side and said that not only did I have an abscess, I needed to either have a root canal or have the tooth pulled.

I had a really bad experience with a root canal a few years ago, so I'm having the tooth pulled.  Well, the bad root canal and the fact that I don't have dental insurance so I can't afford a root canal, let alone a crown, have made getting the tooth pulled the only real option.  I'm on meds right now, Amoxicillin for the infection, and it's taking it's sweet time working.  If it hasn't done its job by the end of the week, I'm going to call them and try to get something else.  I was looking at it today and it looks smaller, so I'm hopeful that the meds are doing something... and I think you know how hard it is for me to be hopeful about anything.

They also gave me Lortab, but I learned this weekend that I cannot take it.  My tooth was killing me on Saturday night, so I took one Lortab with a glass of milk and went to bed. I had eaten late Saturday night, so I didn't take it on an empty stomach.  I woke up so sick on Sunday morning with horrible dizziness and nausea.  I slept half the day, got up and parked myself on the sofa where I remained.  I had plans to work on novel prep for a story idea I had, Matt and I were going to write together Sunday, but it didn't happen.  I felt horrible and couldn't focus on anything.  So, no awesome pain killers for me.  Honestly though, I didn't expect to be able to take them at all.  I gave it a shot, but I'm not particularly surprised by the response.  When I had my gall bladder out I couldn't take the Vicodin because it made me nauseous and dizzy.  So yeah, this is old hat for me, even though I hate it!

Anyway, I have an appointment on August 10th at 4 p.m. to have the tooth pulled out.  I'm also going to get two fillings on the tooth next to it, because I'm going to be numb anyway so I might as well.  They're going to give me conscious sedation, which will just make me so calm I won't care what they're doing.  I think that'll help!  I'm just a little bit worried about being able to take pain killers after the tooth is out and the numbness is worn off.  Guess I'll either just stick to the Ibuprofen or get them to give me something I can stomach.  I don't know.  What I do know is that I woke up feeling miserable again today and I'm tired of feeling bad!  I just want to spend one day not hurting somewhere.  It's starting to get really frustrating.

Okay, enough bitching.  I had some other things I wanted to talk about, more positive things, but I this post is more than long enough!  I'll post about the other stuff later.  It's time for me to be off to work.  I hope y'all are having a better week/weeks than I am.

4th of July Weekend

We had an amazing 4th of July weekend!!  Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays, for a lot of reasons, and this weekend I had the opportunity to celebrate it twice, for the first time ever. My feelings about American history are mixed, but my favorite time in American history has to be the American revolution.  The caliber of people alive during that time, our amazing forefathers, with their amazing flaws, they forged for us a country that, while far from perfection, exists as a completely unique state.  They were able to do something for us that has never, truly, been done before.  Revolutions happen, but none happen quite like ours did. I love the meaning and symbolism in the whole affair.

So, on Saturday Matt and I went to Melanie and Joey's for a BBQ.  We hung out, ate, and played games.  We banged out a game of Trivial Pursuit in record time playing teams and when it was just the four of us, we played about 10 hands of Spades.  When darkness started to fall, we trekked the mile to the park and got a good seat for the fireworks.  Melanie and I shared a funnel cake and when the fireworks were over we trekked the mile back to their place.  The fireworks were shorter here this year than usual, only about 10 minutes, but they did this little fireworks thing during the National Anthem that would have been awesome had it not been for the fact that it got a little out of hand and drowned out the woman singing the anthem.  I felt a little sorry for her; can you imagine getting up the nerve to sing in front of hundreds of people only then to be drowned out by explosives?  How embarrassing!  She was pretty good, too!

I forgot my camera on Saturday, so there're no pictures of our local thing.  I was really, really unhappy about having forgotten it, I'd have liked to share a bit of our small town charm with you.  I was even more unhappy when I realized that I hadn't forgotten it, it was in my purse.  In my belief that I had forgotten it, I didn't bother to actually look to see if I had forgotten it.  Then, Sunday morning when we were getting ready to leave for Phoena's, I went to put it in my bag and realized it was already in my bag.  Double, holiday, fail.  The moral of the story has to be "look before you assume."

Sunday we got up and around and headed down to Killeen.  Phoena invited us to go to the Freedomfest thing at Ft. Hood to see the Seether concert.  It was awesome getting to meet and hang out, especially since we've known one another online for several years.  They live fairly close to us (about 2 hours), but it's a really easy drive.  We got a little lost on the way there, but that's because I clearly can't follow instructions.  I fail. We ended up in Lampassas, which was a bit farther than we were supposed to go.  Either way, it worked.  It's a fairly straightforward drive from there.  I made it harder than it needed to be.  Their place is even really easy to find once you know where you're going.  Next time we'll definitely be able to find it without instructions.  This is the point where I point out that the GPS on my phone is what really saved us.  Thank you GoogleMaps App for Android!

Anyway, Phoena made us awesome food and we had a nice time chatting, then they took us to the base and showed us around a bit.  I've never been on a military base before, ever, so I was really interested to see all the buildings and housing and everything.  We went to the commissary, which was fun because I always hear about it, but up until yesterday it was a sort of fantasy place in my mind.  My father-in-laws, and grandfather-in-law, when he was alive, would go to the commissary and bring us things like toothpaste and shampoo, but I'd never been to one.  I'm probably the only person alive that can be excited by something like that.

After the tour, they found some pretty amazing parking and we went into the stadium for the festivities.  We managed to stake out a small patch of lawn and put up chairs (I need to get myself some of those chairs).  Everyone was packed in like sardenes, but it was a really fun atmosphere.  It was an absolutely beautiful day, warm with a cooler breeze thanks to the hurricane blowing some nice air our way off the gulf...


The people who crammed in behind us were rude, but we ignored them.  They were upset that we were sitting so close, even though half of their group didn't arrive until after we did.  Besides, they could have spread out when they took down the barricade and they didn't, so it was their own fault.  Ah, the barricade, it was there for the festivities, including:

The parachute jump...



They said this was his 2,301st jump and the last before his retirement.  I was very, very impressed.  I've never seen anything like it.  Matt and I were both amazed at the amount of control they have over their jumps.  It was breezy and he drifted all around, but he landed right on the orange target markers they laid out in the field.

The Color Guard...


The Airforce Flyover...

Yes, that's the back of the plane and I know that the photo is blurry, but blurry is the absolute best I could do. That plane was bookin!  It was loud and flying low, and again, I was impressed!

The 50 Gun Salute...

When they say "gun" what they mean to say is "cannon!"  I tried to catch a picture of the cannon firing, but my camera's not that fast.  They fired those cannons 50 times, one for each state.  It was really neat.  They called the state's name, slogan, and date of entry into the union, beginning with the first state to enter the union and ending with the last.  It was crazy loud and cannons have a very distinctive scent and I couldn't imagine how smoky it would have been on the field were it not breezy.

After the starting festivities, we had funnel cakes and I got a few good pics of Matt (finally!)...




That is the best and most recent pic I have of him.  God, he's good looking!!  *drools & swoons* I love him!! Okay, enough mushy stuff... Matt and Phoena's husband stood in line for those funnel cakes for an hour!  They were well worth the time invested, they tasted amazing!

After the intermission and funnel cakes and pictures of Matt, Seether played.  Let me just tell you, Seether is an amazing band and they are equally amazing live.  Some bands sound great on recorded tracks but sound like shit live.  Watch footage of live Black Eyed Peas if you don't believe me. Seether sounds exactly like they should live.  I was absolutely blown away and so was Matt.  Absolutely blown away!!  Oh, and let me add that Shaun Morgan, their lead vocal/guitar/songwriter is as sexy live as he is online (I caught a peek over the heads of the mobs of fans, lol)... then again, I'm a big fan of the sort of grunge-esque look.  Not on many men, but on him, hells yes.

It was easier to take pictures of the JumboTron...


The Seether concert went about an hour and 15 minutes or so.  There was an encore, where they did one more song.  Apparently, that's there MO. Overall, the concert was amazing!!  I would definitely pay to see this group, but the fact that I didn't have to made it that much more awesome.

When the concert was over, we were treated the most amazing fireworks I have ever seen.  I suppose we shouldn't have expected less from the largest military base in the country (the world?).  It was nothing short of breathtaking.

I snapped a few shots...



I have a nice point-and-shoot camera, it's 10.1 megapix, but it's no more capable of capturing things like cannon-shots or fireworks than any other point-and-shoot.  The first shot was taken in auto mode and it's the best one I caught.  The red fireworks in the second shot were shot on a night-time setting, but my hand's shake and with the long shutter time, it came out blurry.  The third shot of the gold fireworks is one of my favorites, even though it's shaky.  I took it with the fireworks setting on my camera and like the night setting, fireworks has a long shutter time so my shaky hands couldn't hold it still enough.  They would have come out better with a tripod, but I don't have one and even if I did, I'd not have lugged it down there.

The fireworks lasted 30 minutes and were, like I said, nothing short of spectacular.

After the fireworks we packed it back to their car and headed out. This drunk guy a few spots down from us backed out, nearly backing over the cars behind him, and turned against traffic.  Cars were swerving out of his way, but in so doing made a path out of the parking lot going against traffic, so we followed and were out of there in record time.  There was a lot of traffic.

When we got back to Phoena's we headed out.  She loaned me her copy of Twilight, so now I can get brave and read it. Ha!!  They also loaned us the first season of 'Oz' and she, *ehem* loaned me *cough* some music.  On the way home, we were going through Evant (shitty little town) when a group of teenagers were throwing fireworks out onto the road at cars.  Where do teens get the money to waste on blowing up other people's stuff?  I was so pissed, I nearly called the cops and reported it.  The only reason I didn't, I wasn't immediately sure where we were, and we were in a tiny little dead-zone, so didn't have cell service.

Matt and I had a nice drive home overall, with a few very notable exceptions, like when he skid to a stop at a light in Killeen and nearly into the intersection.  He said he couldn't see the line. Sheesh!!  My greatest fear about night driving, other than the fact that neither of us see well at night, is that we'll hit an animal.  There is an unbelievable amount of roadkill by the side of the road along Texas highways, especially in the summer.  If we hit a deer, even a small one, going 65 miles per hour, we'd be fucked.  Even a small animal could cause us problems, and I really don't want to kill helpless animals if I don't have to.  So, it's a fear, but it's something I try not to worry too much about since I can't do anything about it one way or the other, really.

We got home about 1:30am and went straight to bed.  It was a very long weekend and we both feel a bit worse for the wear, but it was well worth it.  We usually spent our weekends at home, doing nothing, so to be so active over a weekend isn't something we're very use to.  It was a great weekend, though, and we both had an amazing time over all.  It's nice to see (and meet) friends. We're looking forward to getting together with Phoena and her husband again in the future, which will be easier now that we know where they live!

If you made it all the way to the end of this extremely long entry, thanks for your amazing attention (teach me your secrets)!!  I hope you had as much fun this weekend as we did!!