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Alice Cooper Concert
Things to Do
Hello . . . Is This Thing On?
Thursday, 14 August 2008
Are We Done Yet?
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: The Incredibles - DVD
Topic: Things to Do

So my weekends have been very busy lately! The end of July I spent 2 1/2 days with College Bound Daughter at College Orientation. Then went to a wedding shower for the daughter of a close friend. Last weekend was 2 year old grandson's birthday and party at our house. Not to mention that Florida Son has now become "Moved Home" Son. He has a new job and has been getting used to the new (very early) schedule (so have I!). This weekend is the wedding of our close friends' daughter. It's also Texas Tax Free weekend so we will be spending time fighting the rest of the world cooperating with the rest of North Texas in the stores! The weekend after this is the last week of freedom for 2nd Grade Grandson and College Bound Daughter before embarking on a new year of school and a brand new experience in higher education. Sometime between now and then we need to go get another car.

And the weather - all this consecutive "over 100 degree" days are for the birds! At least we are getting some relief in the mornings.

Have you been following the Olympics? Our household is rooting for Team USA and of course, Michael Phelps, all the way!

I've also been doing some organization on my genealogy stuff (check out the genealogy blog - link on left - to see what I've been doing).

Oh & I also baked a chocolate, peanut butter cake yesterday & it was yummy!

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:26 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 14 August 2008 7:27 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 30 July 2008
CD Frenzy!
Mood:  irritated
Topic: music

(I'm still irritated - see the post below!)

But I'm excited about the new CDs!  Yesterday 2 of my favorite artists released new CD's.  "Along Came A Spider" is Alice Cooper's new one. 

Back to his roots of "horror" rock.  The theme concerns Steven (character from the "Welcome to My Nightmare" and "Goes to Hell").  You can go to to read more about the new CD. I won't post it here as I'll get all kinds of weird hits!  I think my favorite is "Salvation" which is more ballad-y and "Vengeance is Mine" - which is heavy metal.






Rick Springfield released "Venus in Overdrive" - which is being hailed as his best work ever.  The new single, "What's Victoria's Secret" (WVS) is being played and promoted everywhere!  Monday he was on Good Morning America.  He's also done "On the Record" and will be doing lots more radio and television promotions. The highlight (besides the CD being released) yesterday was one of his altar egos - Eli Love - singing the new single on General Hospital.  That was actually the first chance I've had to hear the entire song.  If you listen closely you can hear a couple riffs that remind you of "Jessie's Girl".  Head over to to hear some of these great songs and get more information!

Both artists are on tour right now so check your local venues. If either or both are headed to your town, make sure you get a chance to hear them live in concert.  Both have amazing personal concert experiences, and leave you wanting more.

If you are a fan of either (or both, as I am!) make sure you pass the word and urge them to buy the CDs or download them.

As of last night "Venus in Overdrive" was #13 on Amazon's bestseller list and "Along Came A Spider" was #18!  Let's all push them both up to the top!

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:40 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 30 July 2008 7:54 AM CDT
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No Water - sort of!
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: home
So out of the last 4 days, the drains have plugged up on 3!  That generally wouldn't be a problem. Hubby gets on the roof & snakes out the drains.  Unfortunately, he didn't have time this morning and Photographer daughter will be here all day. College Bound daughter will not be happy when I wake her up to go to College Orientation & she finds out that no showers or water running is not allowed.  What a way to start out the orientation day, huh?  At least she'll be in the dorm for the next couple nights & hopefully they have running water!  Think I need to get ready & run to the store so I can get some ultra-strength stuff to put in the drains & maybe get them moving before she has to get up.  Keep your fingers crossed that this will work or everyone will be miserable here all day.

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:06 AM CDT
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Monday, 28 July 2008
Loss of a "Sister"
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: PS2 - Pirates 3
Topic: family

Our family lost someone yesterday - my sister-in-law in Ohio.  Technically, she was my former s-i-l, but to me she was always another sister.  She was a member of the family even before I was.  Her smile and laughter would light up a room.  She was funny even when she wasn't trying to be. 

As a young child, she and my brother would have me over to spend the weekend with them many times (before they had a child).  I had such fun at their house.  Just hanging out, playing cards or games, watching her cook, being taken to the ice cream truck by my brother in the evenings, and the wonderful aromas of food baking and cooking.  As an older child, they took me with them to Cedar Point amusement park one year. 

My sister-in-law always made me feel as if anything I told her would stay between us and that she would never judge what I did.  She became a professional cake decorator for many years and also made candy and other treats. 

For three months she was my oldest two daughter's babysitter.  I would drop them off in the mornings with their lunches and bottles and she would love them as her own. 

Even after she and my brother were no longer married, she was still invited to all the family gatherings as my brother had since moved from that area.  I would always try to go visit her and my nephew whenever I was in town. 

Due to some severe health issues in the last few years, it was more and more difficult for her to get out to come to the family gatherings we would have.  I feel particularly lucky that I did get to see her the last two years I've gone home.  Unfortunately a few weeks ago when I was at my mom's, I wasn't able to see her. She wasn't in the best shape health wise. I did speak with her over the phone and urged her to hang in there.

So it was quite unexpected yesterday when my nephew called to tell me that she'd been hospitalized and the doctors feared that there was nothing else they could do.  Surely, after giving her the medicine needed, she would rally. Or so I thought.  Then my cousin called in the evening to tell me she had passed away.  There won't be any services (probably) and she didn't want flowers or anything.

So in lieu of a real obituary, this is my way of telling the world who she was.  Daughter who survived both her parents; sister who helped all she could; mother who loved unconditionally; aunt who enjoyed the help and assistance of her neices; an aunt who loved and took care of her other nieces and nephews.  Leaves behind a brother, 4 nieces, a son, a mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, 4 other nieces and 2 nephews, and a host of friends who will miss her deeply.

At times like these the guilt can rise up.  I should have made an effort to at least go visit her for a few minutes.  I should have written some real letters to her as she hadn't been able to use the computer.  I should have called her.  The should have's and would have's don't accomplish anything productive.

So I will continue to think of her as a member of the family.  To honor her memory by reflecting on her laughter, the way she filled a room with her voice and smile, the too humorous for words things she has done or said, and the love she had for her son and family.

I'll miss you, Phyllis.

Posted by wendylittrell at 1:47 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 28 July 2008 2:03 PM CDT
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Sunday, 27 July 2008
Vacation Part 2
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: grandson is humming something!
Topic: home

The first "episode" of our vacation is posted below.

Spent the first night at my mom's bringing in luggage, cramming a lot of talking into a short time and eating the dinner she'd heated for us (sloppy joes).  Husband spent time putting up the air mattress on a frame. This time we remembered the air pump!

While we were there, several of my cousins and families came over. We enjoyed a pot luck of sorts. My contribution was Kroger's Fried Chicken (which isn't all that bad!).  What we had left over, our Son mostly consumed during late night refridgerator raids or we ate during lunch the next day or so.  Cousin "J" (wow - most of my cousins that were there are Cousin "J"!) brought 3 pies which her grandson and College Bound Daughter ate with gusto!  There was some sort of pie eating contest the rest of us didn't know about and the two consumed 5 pieces of pie each!  They didn't want to be outdone by the other.  And the worst part is - I don't think either of them gained any weight.  If it had been me, it would have all settled in my hips and thighs.  But she ate my piece of Lemon Meringue pie! Wah! 

We attended Mom's church - the church I grew up in.  Was nice to see some familiar faces there.  The Youth Minister preached that day as their minister was in the hospital. Delivered a very good sermon.  Soon to be Second Grader even went up for the Children's time and then went back for Children's "Sunday School" for the remainder of the service.  Back home afterwards to eat the wonderful Pork Loin Roast that I'd fixed that morning.  Was even better than I remember making it at home!  Another of my first cousins - and another Cousin "J" came over with her daughter & 2 grandsons.  We yakked and yakked and College Bound Daughter and Cousin's youngest grandson had a great time.  Her oldest grandson and my grandson spent the whole time playing with a gameboy video game.

We treated Mom to some Frozen Custard from "Ritters" while we were there.  Too good to pass up and it is one of her favorites.

The morning's and evenings were cool and was wonderful not to be in the Texas Heat during that time.

Will bring you Part 3 of our vacation next time!

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:51 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Back From Vacation
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: nothing - it's quiet!
Topic: family

We left outta here the morning of July 10th for the Midwest and visits with family.  Two parents, two adult children, the grandson, and a dog!  Traveling up 35 through Oklahoma and Kansas actually went by fast - as fast as 8 hours can go!  Stopped in Emporia, KS (on the turnpike) at the McDonald's and service station for some lunch.  As always when we stop, someone needs to stay with the dog.  Got back on the road & headed toward Kansas City and then 2 hours beyond that to my in-law's farm.  My father-in-law had tried to tell us about the bridge being out (about 20 minutes from their house) but then went on about 435 or 35 being closed in KC so we were a little confused.  Hit Waverly, MO and over the Missouri River.  When we got to Route 24 we saw the signs saying there was a detour.  Unfortunately whoever posted those detour signs was a little confused as well.  We were going to go 24 East.  The detour sign was for 24 West.  No - it was for both!  So instead of going back to Waverly to detour, we went about an hour the other direction toward Chillicothe to get back toward where we needed to go.  That was extra time we hadn't counted on.

Pulled into the farm in the early evening and had a wonderful short visit with the in-laws before heading out the door about 7 a.m. the next morning for Southwest Ohio.  Let me tell you about Illinois.  Seems when anything happens on a trip - it happens in Illinois.  These are just a few of the past incidents: finding out our gas tank was leaking; leaving the gas cap on top of the van for hours between fill ups (& not losing it!), the fuel pump acting up and having to sit on the side of a very busy highway without a cell phone signal but getting through to the 911 operator who sent a patrolman out to make sure we were ok and wait with us until the van decided to get going again; NOT finding any gas stations when we needed to!  This trip through Illinois went much better!  Stopped in the Champaign-Urbana area for food.  Pulled into Mom's carport about 7 p.m. her time (we lost an hour between Central and Eastern Daylight Savings Time). 

Things we did while traveling: ate junk food (I'd packed beef jerky, Pringle singles, goldfish, snack packages of cookies and cheese or peanut butter crackers; drinking lots of water or coffee; read (wow, I actually was able to read part of a book while traveling!); play computer games on the laptop; text message friends; and sleep!

More from the Travels of '08 later!

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:07 AM CDT
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Friday, 4 July 2008
Independence Day
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: PS2 Harry Potter V Game
Topic: home

Over 200 years ago many of our ancestors or ancestors of our in-laws or someone else we might know were knuckling down and preparing to do whatever it took to gain their independence from England and King George.  Those courageous men and women could have ultimately been hanged as traitors if America hadn't become its own nation.

Yet how often in the last 30 years have I seen the battle for independence from something in my own life?  At 17 I found myself independent (more or less) living over 900 miles away from where I grew up.  I've seen other family members who have taken their stab at independence that just happened to fall on the 4th of July.  I've been in a group of grieving family members saying good-bye to a loved one on the 4th of July not too long ago.  I've been a witness to how things can spiral out of control on Independence Day. 

As fireworks explode over head to celebrate the birth of our country, I often wonder if that's what inner turmoil would look like if it was visible for all to see.  Would there be sparks of color jettisoned against a black canvas?  The duds that don't explode are they the whimper of our sobs catching in our throat?  The many rockets exploding at the end - the culmination of our anger, distress, sorrow and resignation - in order to feel normal again?

Being a mom is a lot like Independence day.  Sometimes the fireworks are so bright they blind you.  Other times they are so perfect in their exploding form, you see all the angles, each rivulet of fire streaking toward the ground, and more that you hadn't intended on.  It's hearing the distress in your child's voice and feeling as if your heart has broken into a million jagged edges cutting so deep that you wonder if the cuts will ever heal.  It's holding back the sobs that seem to want to spring from deep within your gut in order to remain that calm, strong person everyone thinks you are.  It's letting go of the hopes and dreams you had, and letting go of the hopes and dreams your child has had, and reconciling the person they are with the person you try to see behind their mask.  It's knowing truths that only belong to other people.  It's loving so hard and so strong that the one thing on earth you want to do is the one thing you can't - take away all the pain, hurt and despair.  To fit those around your own shoulders and take the weight off your child's.  Motherhood is feeling like soaring into the heavens in the joy of your child's laugh, their bright smiling eyes, and the way they see the world.  It's wanting to freeze moments so they can be plucked down from the shelf just to relive and remember.  It's wanting to share their happiness and excitement.  It's wanting everyone in the world to know how deeply you love this person.

Motherhood is a lot like independence.  The good and the bad.  But . . . the joy of being a mother never leaves and is especially deep in the bad.  My children and grandchildren - I love you more than you could ever imagine and I wish to you - Happy Independence Day!

Posted by wendylittrell at 11:22 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Summer Reading
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: still quiet!
Topic: home

I don't remember what I was watching the other day but there was a commercial for a movie that will run on the Lifetime Channel (did I mention I do not have cable, direct tv or satellite?) - called the "Tenth Circle" based on the novel by Jodi Picoult.  Yes, I'd seen her books but haven't bought any.  The trailer for the movie looked good & so I thought, well I can't see the movie but I can read the book.  I hit the local bookstore last Friday but that particular book was on order - obviously very popular. So I ended up with another Picoult book - "The Pact."  I'm about 5 chapters into it right now & have realized why she's such a popular author.

Then a genealogy blogger - Jasia - has two blogs: one for her genealogy & one for her digital scrapbook including genealogy.  She'd posted some stuff about the "Plum" books by Janet Evanovich.  So while I was at the bookstore I picked up the first one - "One For the Money".  As Jasia had mentioned - it's a pretty fast read & enjoyable.  Luckily she's written 13 more in the "numbers" series and a few Plum books "in-between" the numbers.  Think I know what I'll be reading this summer.  I also found some lists off the web on genealogy fiction.  Think I'll first see if the library has any of those.  Speaking of which - current books/CDs are due tomorrow but I doubt I'll be checking anything out since I'll be busy for the next few weeks & I have the Picoult book to read.  (If you want to see the Digital Scrapbook page Jasia made in honor of the Plum novels, give me a holler & I'll link you up.  Or go to my genealogy blog (link on left), find the "Genealogy Blogs" on the right hand side & click on "Creative Gene".  That's Jasia's genealogy blog - go to the right side & click "Creative Genealogy" - that's her scrapbook page.) 

What's on your summer reading list?

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:12 AM CDT
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House in Disarray!
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: nothing - quiet here - sort of!
Topic: home

So College Bound Daughter is fixin' to (that's Texas slang for getting ready to) paint her room.  She's been preparing for this for a few months weeks now.  Which is perfectly A-OK in my book - a very enterprising young woman, she is.  Now we're down for the actual painting part - which basically means - furniture is either in her doorway, in the hall, pushed to the middle of her room, her bed is full of stuff that has no where else to go during this "remodeling", the spare bed is full of stuff & her bed right now is the living room couch.  So every morning at 5 something when we are up, I know she'd rather be anywhere else but in the living room with all our clacking, clanging, swooshing, etc. going on.  Not only that but the dog thinks - "I can start whining & barking at whatever is outdoors now" because we'll let her out.  Doubtful the painting will be done anytime soon!

In the Land of TV news - or as I refer to it - what is NOT on because it's summer & I want to give all these "reality" show people a piece of my mind - I've been doing a lot of PBS watching.  At least "History Detectives" is back on for another season.  When I was in school, history was my least favorite subject - right up there with physical science & geometry.  Names, dates, places - UGH!  So of course it stands to reason that I am married to a history buff!  Except - lo & behold - he makes it interesting to me!  So over these 20+ years, I've begun to enjoy history.  Tap into what I've learned through my genealogy hunt & I'm actually getting something out of it!  Quite frequently on PBS Monday evenings is the "American Experience".  Last night was John & Abigail Adams.  Until last night I had very little knowledge about our 2nd President. 

So it goes to show that you are (or should I say "I am") never too old to learn new information. 


Posted by wendylittrell at 7:02 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 July 2008 7:22 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Still Here - Just Busy!
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Pirates of the Carribean - At World's End
Topic: home

So now it's Post - Graduation and you'd think I have time now to get things done.  Not necessarily so!  One of my goals through this summer is to document and scan in a lot of the old photos and letters and other documents I have in my possession.  Last week I managed to scan in about 100 photographs and 8 months worth of letters that my grandparents wrote to my parents from Germany. 

We also got to enjoy an evening with friends on Saturday evening.  There are a total of four of us couples who get together periodically -there used to be five.  We lost the wife almost two years ago and her husband passed away this past December.  So the few times we've been together since then, we always drink a toast or remember them in some way.  We've all been friends about ten years and have gone through many things together.  Things that have bonded us and made our ties to each other stronger. 

In weather related news - only one word - HOT!  At least when we got a little (& that truly is an understatement!) rain last week, it cooled things down for the evenings. 

In shopping news - I understand how easy it is to order stuff on-line.  But I really don't want to order clothing over the web. I want to see it, touch it & try it on first. Oh, I know it's easy to return items (for the most part) - it's just the effort you have to put in.  Re-packaging the merchandise, taking it to the Post Office, and usually paying for shipping.  And make sure you put all the proper paperwork inside as well. 

The grandsons played in the sprinkler on Sunday afternoon.  Photographer daughter bought the cutest sprinkler system.  The two boys had a great time!  They were so cute.  Unfortunately it was just way too hot to be outside for longer than we were. 

If I'm not here, I'm at the other place -

All My Branches Genealogy Blog. Come and say hi!

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:44 AM CDT
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