Category Archives: Life

Random Picture of the Week #2

Weekend before last we went to the Pecan St. Festival in downtown Austin.  It was several blocks of vendors, artist, and performing artist along with food, petting zoos, and bounce houses.  We met up with our friends Goeff & Elizabeth and their friend Stephanie and wandered our way through the maze of amusements to be seen.

I wanted to share some pictures of the street performers we happened across.  They were extremely talented and humorous but kept it at a family level.  The pictures below are of them:  the woman juggling fire torches while standing on the man’s shoulders while he hula hooped and they both simultaneously  rotated in a circle.  You don’t see that everyday.  We left a tip.

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And here they are knocking a bread stick in half while in the mouth of an innocent bystander.

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Can’t Imagine…

…what the woman who had the face transplant is going through, day to day, or what she has already endured.  Today on the news, they showed how she looked after 30 reconstruction surgeries before the transplant.  That’s 30 surgeries!  I’ve had 3 in my entire life, all relatively minor, and loathed them all.  The anxiety while waiting, not knowing, and the recovery are all unpleasant to say the least.

She had her face basically blown off by her ex-husband with a shotgun in 2004, survived, suffered through the recovery and I am sure, the stares of countless people.  Now she has several more surgeries to go through and has to come to terms with the new face in the mirror.  She will never look like the face she was born with.  Her identity forever changed by one person’s evil, self-serving desicion.

Her name is Connie and she has two children.  Her ex-husband received a seven year sentence for what he did.  Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Random Picture of the Week

Since we bought a decent new camera, Tony and I decided we should put it to good use and have a picture post every week. They will be random and about whatever we like or find interesting. It will be a good way to keep friends and family updated on what we are up to, as well. Not that we lead terribly exciting lives but it will be a way to stay connected with those we miss back in Paris. I am probably not organized enough to keep it on the same day of the week either, adding further meaning to the title “Random..”.

So this first picture is of one of my favorite places to eat since we moved to the Austin area, Home Slice. Best Pizza Ever! It is very much a small, very popular,  hole in the wall place with some inside and outside seating. Very casual, you can watch the pie makers fling the pizza dough high up over their heads from the small and some what dark interior. You can order the entire pie or by the slice, which will mostly fit on the paper plates they serve it on. They have great salads, too. Just be sure you know the difference between the half and whole order. I had the half order of the outrageously delicious pear gorgonzola salad with a slice of margarita pizza and had to ask for help to finish it! Tony graciously obliged. Hope you all can come try it one day with us.

The second picture is of the awesome graffiti outside this place, too.  I love the look of it.

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Posting Funk…and not the good kind.

I have really fallen behind on posting.  We have been busy but every time I start to write I go completely, blank so I will do what I do best:  ramble.

The house is starting to come together and yesterday I finally got to hanging things on the wall.  I dearly love this house but it is “builder vanilla”  right now.  The walls, carpets and fixtures are all off-white or neutral and I am not up to painting 10 ft.

ceilings yet.  I want to paint the walls and ceilings the same color but Tony is not sold on it yet.  Maybe he’s right.  I bet that would make a mess!

Matthew and I did manage to plant some flowers in the front of the house.  It looks better, at least like some one lives here.  The previous owners let everything the builder landscapped die,  even the two trees in the front yard.  It looks strange that every house in the subdivision has two trees out in the yard but not ours.   Makes us look like tree haters instead of tree huggers!  I do not know what kind of tree to plant.  I just want something that I do not have to constantly pick up after.

Tony is killin’ em at his new job.  He has the ability to make things run so much more efficiently that I think he has improved some people’s quality of life.  He is happy and he is awesome.  I am so proud of him.  I hope to get back to being productive myself some day.   Maybe if things go well I can get back to school in the fall!  Here’s hoping!

I have been reading my friend Dee’s blog a lot lately.  She is a talented writer and and interesting person and I love how she tells a story, too.  There is a link to her site on ours.  I suggest you stop by and read sometime.  It always brightens my day!

Matthew is growing by leaps and bounds lately,  physically and mentally.   He is only two feet shorter than me now (I’m 5′ 8″) and he has been blowing Tony and I away a lot these days because he is reading words on his own.  He has been able to memorize word spellings for a while now but he is now reading and sounding out words on his own that he has not been exposed to.  He looks over Tony’s shoulder while he is on the laptop and tells Tony words he sees on the screen!  Mommy and Daddy are impressed!  He also has shown to be a very good kid when it comes to interacting with other children.  He can be very gentle with younger kids and probably waaayy more patient with difficult kids than I can be.  He must get that trait from his Daddy.  It will serve him well in life.

On a somber note, I was heart broken to hear that the body of the eight year old girl from Tracy, CA was found in a suitcase in the middle of now where.  That poor family.  I saw the mother on the news today and she could not even talk she was so racked with grief.  I can’t imagine some evil person taking my child.  I have no idea how any one could do such a thing but it seems to be happening more and more now a days.  Infuriating, heartbreaking, so utterly wrong that the most evil acts are committed against the most innocent of our society.  The family has my prayers.

Guess my mind was not as blank as I thought it was.  I just had to post this picture of Matthew.  It makes me smile every time I see it.   He didn’t want to wake up and the sun light was bright through the window.  He put the blanket over his head and I had to pull it up.  I know he is four be I am still afraid that he will suffocate!

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What to do now…

Tony is at work. My family just left. Now I have to figure out what to do next. There is so much that needs to be done, I have no idea were to start. But I guess I could just forget it all and go shopping. That wouldn’t be very productive, would it?

Maybe I will go work on Matthew’s closet…

MONEY Magazine’s Top 10 Best Places To Live In America

I found this article on the Round Rock city website about MONEY magazine’s 2008 Best Place To Live In America.  Round Rock landed no. 7 on their list of America’s most livable cities. This definitely makes me feel better about our recent home purchase. Don’t get me wrong, the house is pretty much my dream home and I could stay there for a very, very long time, if not forever but lately all the news goes from bad to worse considering the economy, job loss and real estate markets and just about everything else.  It was making me nervous about the house we just closed on. As much as I LOVE the house and feel we got a terrific deal, I found myself asking Tony if we did the right thing financially.

It was nice to see a positive article about the community we hope to put down roots in.   All the media negativity, as much as I try to put it in perspective, can leave you with a sinking feeling. I am thankful that Tony’s job is very secure. We are very blessed. Now I just need to convince all my friends and family to move here as well!

Here is the complete list.

Top 10 Best Places to Live in America for 2008

1. Plymouth, MN
2. Fort Collins, CO
3. Naperville, IL
4. Irvine, CA
5. Franklin Township, NJ
6. Norman, OK
7. Round Rock, TX
8. Columbia/Ellicott City, MD
9. Overland Park, KS
10. Fishers, IN

Matthew is so happy about his future cousin!

And the rest of us are extremely happy too about the future addition to the family. My sweet sister-in-law, Leia, and her husband, Jonathan, are expecting their first born in November! WooHoo! This is such great news and we want to congratulate them on their upcoming journey into parenthood. They are a great, happy, sweet couple so we know they will have a great, amazing, happy child (or two-twins are a possibility). After all, that runs in the family, if I do say so myself.

Here is a picture of the happy parents-to-be. That is going to be one beautiful baby! Tony and I can’t wait to be and Aunt and Uncle again.

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I also have more great news that I don’t want anyone to think I forgot of but I need to get permission to post it first. It never hurts to ask first. So check back tomorrow for an update.

My insurance company thinks my condition is a myth!

That is what my doctor told me yesterday. He apologized over and over but I told him it was not his fault. I could not be upset with him, just at the insurance company. They have decide that sacro-iliac joint dysfunction does not exist and that all of us that have it are just whiny patients who either just want the pain meds or are just plain crazy.

I cannot begin to tell you how insulted I am. Up until a year ago I was the type of person who would forgo motrin and just work through typical headaches and muscle pain. I hated medication (still do) and didn’t want anything to do with it. The insurance company also wants to ignore the established fact that ligaments have less blood supply than other part of the body so the body is limited in being able to heal them on their own. Ligaments also have a high concentration of nerves so the pain is relentless and very real.

I have lived with this pain for over a year now. I have been seen by over eight medical doctors and physical therapist and other professionals. It is constant, unrelenting pain. My MRI’s were perceived as normal in Paris and Sherman even though they were not! I had diagnostic laparoscopy to rule out endometriosis. I was told several things by doctors that were hard to hear. Anything from, “There is nothing wrong with you.”, “It is all in your head.”, “You will have to learn to live with it.”, “You best put off having children indefinitely.” and “We can try to make you comfortable-for the rest of your life.” I was 31 when this happened, way to young to give up on a normal life. Chronic pain is brutal. It is there when you finally get to sleep at night. It is there when you wake up 2 hours later because of it. It is there when your 3 year old baby needs you. It is there when your sweet husband comes home and can bear to see you like that anymore. Pain medication make you sick, depressed, exhausted or not work at all. So you put on a smile and go on, day by day, as best you know how. It wasn’t fair to me or my family.

If we had not moved to Austin, I have no idea what would become of me. My doctor here walked in to the exam room after viewing the MRI films that I had brought with me from Paris-the ones that were “normal”- and after three minutes of examining my low back knew what was wrong. I wasn’t crazy and it may take some time but I can be healed. I well up with tears just thinking about it. I was so relieved, so happy that he didn’t tell me he couldn’t help me. It gave me the hope I so desperately had prayed for.

Those insurance companies should be ashamed of themselves. I know there are some individuals who abuse the system but their numbers are small compared to the people who seriously need help. We are lucky. Even though insurance will not pay for my treatment, we will be able to pay for it ourselves. It will not be cheap but we can swing it. It saddens me to know that some people will not get the treatment they need because they cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket. Why would this insurance company think that this condition is a myth? My guess is to help their bottom line. Trust me, no one would go through months of painful treatments that consist of multiple injections deep within the ligaments and joints and grueling physical therapy if it was all in their heads. Trust me, it hurts.

It is not right that we can pay our insurance faithfully and they have the right to pick and choose what they want to pay for. It is cruel to keep people suffering for their profit.

I had to get that out.