Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Belated Letter

Well, I'm sure many of my readers know that usually every January I send out letters.  I don't do Christmas cards, but New Year's cards/letters.  This year it's just not going to happen.  I got the letter written a week or so ago, but I normally try and get it in the mail by the 15th, and here it is the 27th.  So, not gonna happen this year.  But, it would seem a shame to waste such an exercise in summing up the year in one page, so I figure I might as well just post it here.  There are a few people I owe letters to, as well as updated Boo pictures, so some fortunate few may still be getting mail from this family sooner or later.  (That and I figured my loyal reader could use something new to look at and I should try and improve over my once a week posting of the past few weeks...)

We hope this letter finds everyone in good health and good spirits as we begin not only a new year, but also a new decade.
This past year has been a mixed bag for the Brady family.  Overall it was a good year, but, as with most people, there were some big grey clouds looming on the horizon.
The best parts of this past year all involve watching Boo grow and learn so many new things.  In April he learned how to sit up on his own and by the end of May he was cruising around on whatever furniture he could get his hands on.  His Nana came out to visit in time for his first birthday, on June 1st, and the wonderful party we had for family and friends at Quakertown Memorial Park.
At the end of September the three Bradys and Amma, Boo's name for Addey’s mom, headed down to Bobbie’s beach house for a short week.  The newly walking Boo thought that sand is just fine for playing, but not so much for walking, and the waves could be fun too.  Addey and Gak made a little time to celebrate Gak’s birthday with a nice dinner and a moonlit walk on the beach.  It was very nice to get down to Delaware again and catch up with Bobbie and Jay, not to mention Addey got her fill of Grotto’s pizza.
The end of the year wrapped up with the normal holiday celebrations including a small gathering at for Addey’s birthday the week after Thanksgiving.  Christmas and Hanukkah were very small celebrations this year, as Jon and Becca stayed in California due to Jon’s recent layoff, and the Bradys couldn’t afford to go to Oklahoma.  It was hard to get into the spirit of things with the family so spread apart.  Our family may be small, but we love them.
Addey has changed jobs a bit.  She’s still with the same company, but no longer training manager, but back in customer support.  This means little to no travel any more.  Gak is still working at the UPS store, which is good in the fact that it allows him to spend the mornings with Boo, who is learning new things every day and continues to amaze his parents regularly.
Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2010.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week? Where?

Well, here it is and I’ve let another week go by without updating.  I’d love to day it was because we were off having the most wonderful of exciting adventures in the most interesting of locations.  But that would be a lie.
Instead, it was another week filled with work, home and general every day things.  Don’t get me wrong, I like it when things aren’t hectic and all over the place and down right calm.  But… every now and again, that can get a little, hmm, mundane? Routine?  Boring?
Oh well, I shouldn’t complain, it could be so much worse.
As usual the end of the week was the most interesting.  Friday I had a doctor’s appointment, which I’ll talk about in a minute, Saturday was just plain gorgeous and Sunday we had friends over for a Vampire game.

Saturday was a pretty fun filled day.  As usual we started off the day doing laundry.  We had a fun surprise there.  We have a new field service manager, EH, who just started.  Well, it turns out I’d met him before he started working here.  I’d run into him at the laundry mat a few months back and struck up a conversation with him because he was looking at a topographical map and planning a trip.  So, of course I couldn’t help but bring up orienteering and DVOA.  It turns out he has been a member in the past and we probably ran into each other in the woods.  Well, now he’s working with my company.  Talk about a small world.
After Boo’s nap I took full advantage of the beautiful weather and we headed over to the park for the first time in a couple of months.  As you can see from the pictures, we had a good time.  Boo was much more into exploring and walking all over the place.  He wasn’t so intimidated by the stairs.  He even climbed up and down a few places I wasn’t so sure he could.  We had fun on the swings as always.  The slides weren’t quite so fun because they had a fine coating of ick and therefore weren’t very slippery and just didn’t slide well.  I’m not sure who needed out more, Boo or me.  I think we played out there for a good 45 minutes before picking up Gak from work.  After that we went up to Whitehall to the mall so Gak could pick up some paint for his Warhammer miniatures and we could return a shirt he got from JC Pennies.  We had a decent dinner at this odd little deli in the mall.

Sunday we had Scott and Stuart over to start a Vampire game.  I like my character, she’s very different from what I normally play and I think I will enjoy her.  Unfortunately, the game didn’t go as well as we’d hoped.  Or, more like not quite as bad as I’d feared.  You see, Stu is going through all kinds of things (a lot of which are self inflicted) and is just really pulled back into a shell and just disconnected with everyone and everything.  He could have played a key role in a couple of situations, but no… “I go stand by the wall”.  It was very hard for me to try and work my character into the game and the whole thing just wasn’t moving.  It wasn’t as horrible as it could have been, and I did enjoy myself, but it wasn’t as fun as it could have been either.  I was really impressed with Boo though.  He actually let me play, for the most part, and even finally went down for a nap for about an hour of the game.  That made it more enjoyable.  I was wondering how I’d be able to play and wrangle a boy at the same time, both require a lot of attention.

Ok, so back to my doctor’s appointment on Friday.  It was with my OB.  And no, it’s not because we’re expecting number 2.  Back at the middle of December was my fun-filled annual appointment.  Well, a couple weeks back I get a call from the office saying that something was “abnormal” with my Pap.  Ok… now what?  So, last Friday I had a culposcopy.   Let me tell you, I think the only other time a doctor would spend that much time poking and looking at my private bits would be if I ever gave birth vaginally.  The procedure is very similar to a regular Pap, except it takes what seems like a million years longer.  Yeah, I’m not going to go into detail other than it’s mildly uncomfortable and doctor’s offices always seem cold.  Anyhow, my doctor took 3 biopsies off my cervix and a week from Friday I’ve got another appointment to go over the results.  He really wasn’t worried about it, so I’m not.  Apparently this is fairly common and usually results in something to maybe keep an eye on, or maybe not.  Sometimes it’s more, but… like I said.  My doctor isn’t worried, so I’m not.

I did get some unhappy news at work Friday though.  One of the guys who’s been in the department about 5 years or so now, R, got some bad news.  He’d fallen a couple of weeks back, but still wasn’t feeling better and was in a lot of pain.  So, they did an ultrasound and well… it’s liver cancer. We’re all just hoping that they found it early.  I know he’s got more appointments and more tests and things scheduled.  It just makes me mad though.  I mean, if anyone “deserves” liver cancer, it sure isn’t him.  I mean, the man has never taken a drink in his life.  He’s pretty healthy, but was earlier this year was diagnosed with Diabetes.  He’d lost a lot of weight and his sugar was under pretty good control.  And his grandson turns one in March.  (And has been the recipient of many of Boo’s hand-me-downs.)

Well, I’m typing this up in word while I wait for things to happen at the site I’m dialed into.  I guess I’d better get back to it.
Peace to all and may your weekends be fun and your health news good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chaos Weekend Edition

Well, the weekend wasn't total chaos, but it came close at a few points.
And before you ask, no, I don't have any pictures.  I was a lame momma/aunt and only took a few Saturday morning of my boy and the camera is down in the car, where it's been most of the weekend.  Yes, I know, bad momma.
Saturday morning was a good morning.  Gak and I woke up before Boo, which is a change on weekends.  We got out the door pretty early for a change.  Laundry went well and Boo was a pretty happy and content little guy.  We came home, we played.  He ate a little lunch and took a little nap.  Around 1:00 Joan and the kids show up while Boo is napping.  Even though we were being quiet, he must have this 6th sense that someone new has shown up and within about 10 minutes was awake and wanting to play.  He even blew Aunt Joan kisses and gave her a hug.  This is big news in his world considering the fact that for most of the first year or so of his life he's wanted nothing to do with her.  So, all three kids and I hung out for a bit before picking up Gak from work and doing a quick grocery run.
The fun part of the day was Allen and company's house warming.  I'm horrible with names (see my previous post for verification if any doubt exists) so I won't even try and say who all was there or which kids belonged to whom.  Anyhow, it was quite a fun evening.  I got to catch up with people I don't see much for various reasons.  Boo got to see his cousin Zoe and say up waaaay past his bed time.  Ant and Mel both found kids their own age to hang with.  Of course, Mel wasn't having such a hot time while the "girly girls" were there, as she is anything but.  (Not to mention the "girly girls" she has to deal with at school are the ones making her life miserable there.... so she's understandably gun-shy when meeting new girls her age...)  In the end Mel ended up spending the night at Allen's as well as all day Sunday.  She was very glad to have the time "away".
Sunday everyone in this house slept in.  Anthony actually volunteered to make breakfast (brunch really) around 11:00.  He did a very good job of making French Toast.  Ok, so he forgot the vanilla (which I only ever add half the time...) and the eggs were a bit sloppy all over the stove, but it was still yummy.  I had the much easier job of making bacon in the microwave.  Ant even willingly helped me clean up the mess, which is good because I wasn't going to be the one to scrub the egg off the stove.  Of course, about a half hour after we finish cleaning up, I get a text from Kat that Andy and Zoe were heading over to the diner and did we want to meet the three of them there.  Oh, sure.  I'll just have something to drink, but it'll be nice to hang out.
Well, an hour or so later after munching on some apatizers as "lunch" and Boo polishing off an entire grilled cheese sandwich and most of his French fries, we head home.  Only, Any is heading back to his place, Kat's heading to hers and I have Boo, Ant and Zoe.  To say it was chaos was an understatement.  Zoe's been banned from the Wii and all other electronic games for the week due to a minor school infraction... more for the not listening than the actual infraction.  But... it was rainy and icky out so I couldn't take the kids over to the park to burn off the extra energy that they always have when together and were bouncing off my walls.  So, I compromised and we played Wii bowling and let Zoe play one round of tennis.  Yes, I bent the rules, but I let Kat know and she said rammy and Wii Sports was acceptable.  Of course, once I made them turn off the Wii, they were quick to find something else to do, which was the whole goal.  Boo never did nap on Sunday, but then again, he didn't wake up until after 9.
Sunday evening we picked up some pizza and herded everyone over to Kat's house.  We hung out for a few hours and then picked up Mel from Al's on the way home.  So, yeah, it was a bit chaotic.
Yesterday was just a bit of a low key day mostly.  Most of us got up by about 8.  (I'd gotten up for a bit around 7... but that's another story...)  I made pancakes, at Boo's request even!, around 9.  Ant was awake by then and joined us, but Mel was doing her level best to ignore the world.  She was up by 10 though.  We all just kinda blobbed around the house doing various things until it was time to take Gak into work.  So, we drop Gak off at work, the kids and I do a quick Target run (but I forgot about 80% of what was on my list...) and come home.  I take the lazy way out for lunch and had chicken nuggets and boxed mac & cheese, but I knew everyone would eat all or at least some of it... so not all that bad.  Then there was a little more blobbing around and Boo taking a nap until Aunt Joan came to pick up the kids.
Yeah, I'm tired.  It was a long weekend.  I really wish I'd gotten some pictures, but I just wasn't feeling very inspired. *sigh*

Anyhow, off to a 4-day work week in the middle of reporting month.  Should be "fun"... or at least not boring.  Maybe I'll be able to catch up on some quiet?

Peace to all and may your weekends be full of good times.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Preview

Well, it's Friday again.  I should have a fun weekend lined up.
Tomorrow afternoon Joan is dropping Mel and Ant off for the weekend and will come get them sometime Monday.  Everyone (except Gak) has off Monday due to Martin Luther King Day, so that just makes it a bit better.  I like 3-day weekends.
Anyhow, Saturday evening my friend Al is supposed to be having a get together at his new place which was originally supposed to be the week before Christmas, but it snowed.  We'll all go over to that, as the kids adore their Uncle Alan.  (He is a bit of a charismatic fellow... and quite a bit of a kid himself...)  Hopefully his daughter Alaina (which I never can spell right... and doubt I have this time either *sigh*) will be there.  Al, why did you have to give your daughter a name I can't spell?  Your daughter and her name are beautiful, but I can't remember how to spell it to save my life, and that makes me feel like a bad aunt.
We don't have much planned for Sunday.  We'll probably keep it pretty low key.  Mel and I might escape for a few without the boys, even if it's just to wonder around Target and "window" shop.  She's been having a rough couple of weeks and some downtime without her mom or brother would do her some good.  That and I love spending time just with my Little Bug (who is now bigger than me... so not little anymore I guess...).
Monday at some point Joan will come and collect the kids.  I hope it's a restful and enjoyable weekend for all three of them.  They all need a bit of a break from each other.  I'm just glad I'm able to help a little bit now and again.  Like I said before, their lives are all very hectic and they all keep getting the short end of the stick, which sucks.

This week has gone well enough for me.  We did great this quarter with getting our contractual reports out on time, early even.  That makes me feel good.  What makes me feel bad is the fact that once my reports were done any and all focus I had is gone.  I've been muddling my way through the week with a mountain of work on my plate.  At least Tuesday I was able to close more than was assigned to me, that made me feel good for about 24 hours.  I know a lot of this focus issue has to do with my quality and lack of sleep.  I really, really, really hope the sleep doctor can give me some kind of help.  Unfortunately, the first appointment I could get was February 4th, so I've got a few weeks yet. *sigh*

Well, it's just after 6 now and it's Friday so I really need to get my butt in gear and out the door.  Oh, and speaking of my butt we had our second weigh-in for the weight loss challenge at work.  I'm down 4 lb according to the scale.  I don't believe it's any loss in fat though, more like I'm drinking enough water again and my kidneys are catching up.  I have been good.  Becca and I have been talking a lot and we've put together a few small things to change to get this whole thing rolling.  Will I win the challenge? Probably not, I'm dead in the middle of the pack right now, and that's fine by me.  Just so long as I don't end the challenge heavier than I started, that'll be good.  Like I said, my goal is about 10-15 pounds by the middle of April.  Anything better would be bonus.

Anyhow, I'd best wrap this up.
Peace to all and may your weekends be full and your goals achievable.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


It's Tuesday....
This weekend was pretty low key.... for the most part.  Saturday was just your normal run of the mill Saturday.  Laundry, Gak worked and then we ran a few errands.  Nothing major.
Sunday we were going to go down to the mall and exchange a shirt Gak got, but instead Stu came over.  You see, Gak's going to be running a Vampire game for a few of us and Stu wanted to create his character.  So, Stu comes over around 3 (he said he'd be over around 2... but this is normal for our crew...).  Stu has been going through a lot lately, and well... I'm not sure he even knows which way is up any more.  I mean, he's always been a bit off and odd, but in some ways he was almost non-responsive, almost a zombie.  I worry about him, but I doubt there is anything I can do.  Gak sees him most Monday's for Warhammer and they're not sure they can help him.
I'm also worrying about Mel.  I love her dearly and don't want to see her hurt.  Social things have gone from bad to worse in many ways.  I really feel for her... She's been going through an emotional hell.  I'm so glad the Internet didn't exist when I was in High School, or I'd probably have been in her shoes.  She's such a tender heart and wears her heart on her sleeve.  She has the "family" curse of caring too much and too quickly.  She's been hurt a lot and had a lot of bad things going on in her online life recently, and her mood is dark.  I keep sending her hugs and trying to give her support, but I don't know if she's hearing me.  I do know I'll get a chance to spend some time both with her and Ant this weekend.  Of course, real life hasn't been easy on Mel either.  She's going through some tough times with her mom, and her mom is going through some tough times of her own.  It's just a mess, and I don't want it to turn into a train wreck.
So, yeah, there's been a lot on my mind with friends and family.  I'm just thankful that my own life is somewhat stable and my boys are doing well so I can spend the time I need to with Mel and Ant.  I love them, and Joan, so much.  Yeah, I may not always agree with Joan, and there are some things I'll never be able to discuss with her, but she's a good person and a true friend.  Her kids are my oldest "niece" and "nephew". (Well, Avery is my oldest "nephew" being 6 months older than Mel, but I haven't seen or heard from him or his mom in way too long... I miss them.)  It hurts to see their lives so full of pain, disappointment and outright tragedy.

Oh, I have an appointment with the sleep doctor February 4th.  It was the earliest I could get.  I hope the doctor is nicer than the office staff... they were just shy of rude.  Oh well.  I just want some answers as to why I'm not sleeping, or how I can get better sleep.
And, speaking of sleep, I'd better turn in.  It's after 9 now (this post took a long time to write for how short it is..) and it's an early day tomorrow.
I have new boy pictures to post to Flickr, but they'll wait.
Peace to all and may your family be happy, healthy and safe.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Low Key Week

Well, another week has gone by.  I must admit, reporting month has gotten off to a fairly good start, one of the best in a while.  Now if only I can actually close some of the tickets that are waiting for the customers to say "yep, that worked!".
Anyhow, not much is happening in this little corner of the world.  Other than the fun of getting together for football Monday, not much has been going on.  It really has been a week of work, home, sleep (or try) and repeat.
Boo continues to amaze me though.  His vocabulary is growing at an exponential rate it seems.  We're up to well over 50 words that he can say (not that he does all the time..) and that's not counting the random letter or number he'll throw out there.  No, he can't say his ABC or count  to 10 yet, but then again, I really haven't tried to "teach" him these things, at least not directly.  I mean, I count things all the time and do the ABC song some days and expose him to letters and numbers all the time with his new magnets and foam bath toys.  He'll get there, I'm so not worried.  (Can you tell I'm not one of those flash-card wielding, my kid must read by age 2, teach them 3 languages I don't even know kind of moms?  I've ran into a few of them and they scare me.)
I really need to get the video I shot Christmas morning off the camera and edited into something presentable.  I mean, I've just got one of those little digital video recorders and my brother has all the skills when it comes to editing video, but I've got a few minutes of cuteness to share.  I hate shooting video though, it totally removes you from the event.  I mean, taking pictures is bad enough some days, but when you're shooting video I feel like I miss out on being involved with the whole thing.  That's probably the biggest reason I don't use the video camera as much as I thought I would.  Thankfully I didn't pay a whole lot for it, and I do enjoy using it from time to time.

On another note, my work is doing another "Biggest Looser" contest, and yes, I signed up.  More for accountability than the hopes of actually winning the thing.  It goes by % of starting weight lost.  My goal for April is 10-15 lb.  If others perform like they did last time, I'll be in the running, but won't win.  Which is a shame, the pot is at $140 to start and will probably get a bit bigger by the end.  I know Gak says I don't need to loose the weight, but I say I do.  I had made it down to my pre-Boo weight by last December, but by the time he weaned back in August, I was back up about 15 pounds or so.  Sure, I'd love to get back to my high school senior year weight.  That'll never happen.  I really want to drop a couple of pants sizes and get in better shape over all.  Not sure how that's going to happen with no money and no easy way to get the time without Boo before he goes to bed... and I'm way to tired to even think about doing something physical at 8pm.  It can be done, it must be done.

Well, I'm beginning to totally ramble, so I think I'll wrap it up.  Oh, I have an appointment with the sleep doctor February 4th, that was the earliest I could get in.  (Which is somewhat fine by me, as January is reporting month and taking time off isn't a good idea...)  We'll see what the appointment brings.  With my new health insurance, I really don't relish the idea of seeing a specialist and having it not work, or spend lots of money (about $1800!) on a sleep study with no results....  I mean, I've got to pay "out of pocket" for everything up to about $3500 I think... although the company actually covers about $1000 of that.  (It's weird, I know... it hurt my head while I was trying to make decisions back in November...)

Anyway, I'm off on this slightly snowy morning for one last day of work.  No big plans this weekend.

Peace to all and may your weeks be good and your weekends relaxing.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Football and Friends

Yesterday was a good day.  Well, maybe having to go to work wasn't great, but it was a good day at work.
No, what was good was after work.  You see, over the weekend I got an email from my friend Steve who's over in Iraq.  The USO and Tostitos did something really cool.  On New Year's Day a bunch of former NFL and college football stars went over to play and coach a football game with the troops.  No, Steve didn't play (although back in the day he was an asset to the Marauders....).
Steve got to meet a bunch of the guys and got to talk for quite a bit with Brian "The Boz" Bosworth and talked about the rocket attacks the night before and that they would be honored to give a piece of the shrapnel to him if he wanted.  Well, it turned out that he did and that he and his guys got a call to go to the "hotel" where the guys were staying (an old palace of Saddam Hussein's).  So, they went and he got to chill and talk with Ty Detmer, former Eagle.  Yes, you can immagine the ego swelling and the boasting that's going on with that. *Laugh* I don't blame him.
Well, they were airing  the game (or a summary at any rate) during halftime of the Fiesta bowl (which was a good game).  So, Boo and I headed over to Kat's for the game.  We had no idea who was playing, or really cared all that much.  It turned out to be a very good, close game.  We watched the halftime show, and I was kinda dissapointed by how little of the game in Iraq they showed.  It was very late by this point, so we all headed home.  (Ed and Gak showed up after they were done at Scott's with Warhammer.)
Anyhow, I've got an awake boy needing my undivided attention and I've got to get ready for work.
Peace to all and may you get some fun times and some fan times.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy 2010?

Well, 2010 is here and 2 days old.  And my son is 19 months old.  How did that happen?  Isn't he looking so cute and big sitting there on his dragon?  He was actually being surprisingly cooperative yesterday when I was taking these pictures.
I'm trying to figure out exactly how I feel about the new year.  Actually, I'm trying to figure out how I feel about the whole holidays this year.  I was so very excited to see them come around this year, mostly because I knew Boo is getting big enough to understand and actually be "present" for the festivities.
But, throughout the last few weeks I never really felt the "glow" that I usually feel with the holidays.  I enjoyed my time off from work, that wasn't the problem.  I really did enjoy spending so much time with my boy.  There has just been something a bit "off" this year.  I'm not sure why either.  Of course, it could have something to do with my brother and Becca not being here for the first time in a couple of years.  Or it could have to do with the fact that for some reason I've been missing Gram more than usual lately.  Also, we didn't have our "usual" New Year's get together with Michelle because she's in Canada, so it didn't really feel like New Year's Eve anyhow.  But, those are only part of it, or symptoms of it, I'm not so sure.
2009 was a mixed year for me.  There were the good moments, like seeing my two best friends from college at the same time and to celebrate my son's first birthday.  There was the fact that I kept my job through the year even in these tough times, especially for my business.  There were all the amazing things I got to watch my son learn and achieve this year.  There were even some good times with friends and family.
But... the financial thing this year has been bad.  I think we're a little less in debt now than earlier in the year, at least the truck is closer to being payed off.  The whole situation at work has varied from horrible, to downright scary, to uncomfortable to definitely performing my best to holding my own.  It really wasn't a great year for me work-wise.  I mean, I'm very glad we were able to move things around so I am not the training manager any more, but I still feel a lot in limbo and like I haven't really been giving it my all.  I know there are others on the team that will say otherwise, but from my side of the desk... well... not so great.
Health-wise it's been a good year.  Only 1 or 2 colds that needed a doctor's attention for me and Boo.  Gak has successfully fought off his demons for a while, but that's not a fight I'm looking forward to having to watch or fight any time soon.  My foot is feeling much better now that I'm taking better care of it and trying to take better care of myself over all.  So, over all, not a bad year from that stand point.  It has had it's ups and downs, like the depression for Gak and the not-sleeping bit for me... but not too bad.
I think the biggest reason that the holidays didn't seem "right" was because of all the uncertainty that I've got going on right now.  I truly don't know how my job stands and I'm not sure what I want to do about it either.  I think we're getting a handle on our debt, but it is still a huge mountain that looms over every single decision I make, and it's getting tiring.  I don't even know if we're going to stay in this apartment come June or not.  I mean, we really can't afford the rent to go up again (which it will) but I'm not sure we can afford to move either.  We'd have to find something else within walking distance for the boys or something a ton cheaper so we could afford a second vehicle.
So, yeah, 2009 was ending under a huge gray cloud of uncertainty, and 2010 is looking almost as murky.  I'm trying to be optimistic about this year, but I'm having a hard time with it.  There is no sense of a new beginning or rebirth or anything that I'll often feel at this time of year.  Instead, it still feels like more of the same  bleak landscape I've been traveling through the past year.
Well, I've got my boys, so that's a great thing.  And Gak and I both have our jobs, so that's a good thing too. Currently all of my friends (except my brother) are employed and have places to live and food on the table.  We're all doing OK considering where we could be....
So, happy new year to everyone.  I hope the clouds of turmoil that are covering so many futures right now begin to clear and that we can see the rays of hope again soon.