Friday, April 29, 2005

I fell in love with a new kitten today

I was up at the pet store as I needed some cat litter and food for my "kids." I never ever go past the adoption center when I'm there but today for some reason I just had to go by there. And he must have been why. This little guy is beautiful! His name is Knight and he's 6 months old, already neutered.

Anyone who's known me a long time knows I've always absolutely LOVED Siamese cats. Nothing more beautiful for a cat then a Siamese, except maybe a black (which of course I have already. LOL) Anyhow, this one is half Siamese snowshoe. He's got the brilliant blue eyes of a Siamese and the pale colored coat. On his face, just on his forehead, he has some brown striping, like a regular tabby. I couldn't see his paws to see what color they were but he was beautiful!

I am SOOO tempted to buy him, even though I've got two already. I even went so far as to call the store after I'd been home a little while to ask about their adoption program. They work with a local shelter to place cats so I'd have to apply for adoption and go through the organization. I don't know how much it will cost, probably about $60 which I'm not so sure I want to spend on a new pet I really don't need but just really WANT. LOL

I decided though I'm going to go back up there tomorrow and see if someone can take him out so I can hold him. I want to see how friendly he is. Which can be bad. If he and I take to each other right away I won't be able to resist buying him! I so know I shouldn't do it but I may do it anyhow. I figure there had to be a reason I was compelled to walk by there today and since I found him, he must be why.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I got a General's coin!

Now anyone who is not in the military or working with them probably won't get the significance of this but I'll try to explain as best I can. General's coins are special awards of a sort. Only a small quantity are made but the ones that are are very solid (ours are bronze toned) with a message along the lines of "for outstanding service" and an icon on one side and on the other they have the logo for the General's command. They are also enameled in full color so are quite an attractive item. Very few of these are given out and the coins are something that a lot of people with the military hope to get at some point. At least from my experience where I work. I don't know if that's the same everywhere.

Anyhow, we had a visit yesterday where I work from our commanding general, a two-star. The location I work has gotten to be pretty high profile within our command because a TON of work is ongoing to turn it into a large complex with a high number of soldiers and civilians working there or coming there for different things. I've been there for almost two years and the change in appearance and quality of the complex has improved drastically and it is really turning in to a gorgeous place. Anyhow, the general came down to visit and see what had been done and since the building I now work in was the most recently remodeled and occupied, he wanted to hold the meeting there. I stayed out of the way while it was going on, working my little tail off in my office. After the meeting was done I was given my chance to meet the general. (For me this was a big deal because I've been working for the Army Reserves for 7 1/2 years and had never met one before.) So I came out was introduced, talked to him a few minutes and then he gave me my coin as a token of appreciation for my hard work. Actually, our whole office got one, but since that is only about 5 people, it's not a lot. LOL

So I was thrilled to death to get one and it is a special award that not everyone is given. So I was pretty proud to be one of the few awarded those.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Insurance companies are horrible! A rant...

I'm convinced they are out to do nothing but make life more difficult for us. I've had nothing but grief from mine since the break in. I talked to my insurance adjustor yesterday on my renter's insurance. And it was less then satisfactory. I pretty much found out that I'm screwed. I totaled up the dollar amounts of what was stolen.. WAY too much, and about 98% of the value was jewelry. And what do I find out, but that the policy will only pay up to $500 towards stolen jewelry! That won't even cover ONE ring! I found out that oh you have to have an "ADDITIONAL" policy to cover jewelry. And on top of that, you have to have photos of every single piece covered under that policy. Oh and don't forget receipts for EVERYthing! Even clothing bought 5 or 6 years ago... or more. My response to the agent was "do YOU keep receipts of every single thing you purchase in your life, cash or charge?" Of course they don't, but WE are supposed to. So needless to say, I think I'll be lucky if I get even a couple thousand back from them.

AND my insurance agent I bought it from initially misled me. Now I knew the company I went through was not the best as it was a state mandated option because the other places I tried weren't writing policies two years ago. And why... mold! The sudden influx of mold issues over the past few years and the discovery of all the problems it causes caused a lot of insurance company to stop writing renter's or homeowner's policies for a few years. And of course no one bothered to tell me that you have to buy separate policies for jewelry. I even read all the paperwork on my current policy and don't recall ANYwhere it says the max towards jewelry is a measly 500 bucks. And any burglar who has half a brain knows jewelry is the way to go in a theft because it is so bloody difficult to track. I'm not a burglar and even I know that. Yet it never occurred to me to look into insurance on that more. I guess the whole "it will never happen to me" mentality.

So now I'm SOL on most of this stuff, and I doubt they'll catch the person who did it.

Lesson learned? EVERYONE who has any amount of jewelry of value, go get that darn jewelry policy! Take photos of every thing covered by it and put those, and all the receipts and warranties and whatever somewhere safe in case you are ever victimized.

For electronic equipment, make a list of everything you have and the model numbers, and serial numbers if they have one and put that somewhere safe with all your receipts for it all. THAT way your insurance agent can't screw you too if you are ever victimized like I was.

It's atrocious actually. You are already a victim and dealing with the knowledge that you were violated and your private belongings tossed and taken, which is NOT pleasant by the way, and then the insurance companies take you for everything you have left! And give you a hard time about giving you even a fraction of all the money you've funneled into their company by paying on your premiums. All that money to pay for insurance that doesn't do ANYthing!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Scarborough Faire

Dusty and I went to the renaissance fair this weekend. he had to work Saturday and I had my book club meeting, so that left Sunday for us to go. We headed down to get there in time for opening ceremonies for the day and stayed till it was almost over. We saw several shows, walked a lot, ate bunches of food, did some shopping (well I did anyhow. LOL). It was a gorgeous day and we both got a healthy dose of sun. Funny thing is walking around seeing all the costumes, it amazed me how many women have their bodices so tight I'm amazed they didn't fall out of them. Let's just say, some were only being held in by a wish and a prayer. LOL I remarked to Dusty I should not be even slightly self conscious about my appearance compared to some of those women! And the whole time my mind is whirling as to how I can dress in something of a costume next week with what I have. I ordered some bodices online but have heard nothing about them yet so I'm hoping the order actually went through.

We spent the whole day there and still didn't see everything. We've already decided we're going again this Sunday for the whole day. last weekend it was all me buying everything since his paycheck was gone and this weekend he gets to pay for everything since my paycheck is gone. LOL We have season tickets so at least that part s already taken care of. But it is easy to spend a lot of money there. But it's only for two months and I doubt we'll get there every weekend, but at least every other until it's over for the year. I got the feeling this was his first visit to a Ren Faire, but he seemed to really enjoy it.

The horror - Victimized!

yes indeed. I was. My apartment was burglarized.

I discovered it when I got home from PA last Monday. It started because I noticed a few things out of place that Dusty repeatedly told me he had not touched. (I must have asked him the same questions about 15 times.) So I started looking around and noticed many things missing. I don't want to go into details of what is gone since the investigation is still ongoing, but let's just say a LOT was gone.

The bad part on top of all this is they tried to hide what they had done by putting everything back, hanging clothes up, etc. I only noticed because I'm so anal about how all my clothes are organized in my closet and dressers. So I could tell immediately things were out of place. I was pretty freaked out to say the least. And Dusty was totally shocked by it all and the more I discover that was touched, the weirder it gets. This was definitely a personal attack. Nothing random about this since they took their time going trough everything and didn't touch the electronic equipment and take some really strange things you'd not expect a burglar to walk off with.

I've already notified the police, my insurance company, the leasing office. My locks have been changed, extra locks put on the windows. Police are investigating though they told me jewelry is very hard to trace and likely they will not catch the person or recover what was stolen. I've been working up a list of everything I've noticed gone over the past week.

The whole thing had me scared. I'm still extremely jumpy after that and only the past few nights was I able to sleep all night with out nightmares or tossing and turning non-stop. I hope they'll find the person though I suspect it's unlikely.

So I've been understandably distracted the past week.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

My trip home - Sunday

Sunday I slept in a bit as I needed it. Jackie picked me up about noon and we went to the mall to hang out and catch up since we haven't talked in a long time. We met up with Marcy, Jen, Mike, and Ben at Eat N Park at 1:30. Ben is getting so big (Jen and Mike's baby). Last time I saw him he was three months old and now he's 19 months! He's got such a cute face and bright blonde hair. After we ate lunch, we all went to the park, where Marcy's husband Tim, and their dog Gidget met up with us. We spent the afternoon there, playing bocce ball, which I had never played before. Fun game. I lost but that's OK, we had a blast just hanging out and talking.

After the game was over Jackie took me home since I wanted to be home for Sunday family dinner. It was left overs from the party and some good steaks! Then I got all my laundry done, relaxed with Mom and Dad all evening, then went to bed.

Monday I flew back to TX.

Party Day!

Two of Dad's friends were in on the plan and took him golfing, meeting him for breakfast at 9. So Mom wanted us all there by 9:30. As soon as we arrived we were all hustled into getting things ready. Amy and I moved all the furniture in the living room and dining room and I moved some stuff in the kitchen. Then we had to put out all Amy's lawn chairs and the tables we borrowed from friends. And don't forget the decorations! We had thos to put up too. Joey had picked everything out decoration wise and he did a pretty good job considering he had no idea what he was picking for. LOL Several neighbors came over to help set up too.

We finished up early enough to relax a little before all the guests started to arrive. Mom had told everyone to be there by three since Dad was expected to get back around 3:30. It was funny because I didn't realize Mom had told no one so all the relatives and friends were really surprised to see I had made it in for the party. Like I'd miss dad's birthday? No way! LOL So it was doubly nice for everyone since I got to see all my relatives there since I can't make either of my cousin's weddings this year.

The plan was to have me hide inside when Dad was close to being home because I was an extra special surprise. So a couple of my aunts were voluntarily on watch duty in case they saw his car I could duck inside. well I of course missed the initial surprise since I was inside, but they said the look on his face when he pulled up was priceless when he saw all the decorations. I came about about 5 to 10 minutes after he got home and was standing next to him for 5 minutes before he realized it. Then all of a sudden he saw me and says "Kelley! You made it home too!" I said surprise and of course the emotional person I am, got teary eyed when I went to give him a hug and kiss. I really miss my family when I'm not home. Dad was shell shocked for a while at first but it wore off eventually. And since dad is a twin, it was actually a double birthday party, for he and Uncle Dave.

We lucked out and had an absolutely gorgeous day for the party. Sun was bright, weather was warm, and I got sunburned. LOL Everyone who made it had a wonderful time and Dad was really pleased at it all. So that of course was icing on the cake.

I was glad too because I got to see my cousin David who I haven't seen since Dec 2003, right before he got sent to Iraq. He got back in January and this was the first I'd seen him. I'm so glad he made it home safely. (Moment of silence for all of our brave soldiers who did not make it home, and their families....) Thanks your soldiers when you see them for how they bravely do their duty for our country, strong and proud. They don't get as much respect as they deserve, even as much as they do get. Never forget that they are out there protecting our home and helping the world live in peace.

Well, we partied on well into the evening, until the out of towners had to leave. But all the neighbors stayed late as we all just relaxed in the garage.

My trip home - Friday

We were up and on the go early Friday since we had to get Joey to daycare. He was excited because I was getting to see where he goes to school. And I was glad I got to see it a little bit. After we dropped him off, Amy had TONS of laundry to do so off to the laundromat we went so she could do it all at once. Four hours and about 13 loads later, we finished up there. Yes THAT much laundry. LOL

We had some errands to run again and some things to buy then we went to the nail salon so Amy could get her nails done. I was beat and I actually fell asleep on the couch there and slept the whole time she was there. After that we headed home so she could get a shower and get ready for work.

After she left I got on the computer for a little bit to go through some e-mail then I laid down on the couch and slept till Dave and Joey got home. Joey I could hear as soon as they arrived, but I pretended to be asleep to see what he would do since I could hear him talking about me sleeping on his couch. He comes over and smacks my leg and when I sat up he was giggling like mad. it was really cute. Then we went outside and played superheroes while Dave cleaned up the yard and hosed off some lawn furniture. We switched off being Superman and Batman, and even the "bad guy." And Socks the dog was "super dog." So we ran around a lot and had fun playing till Dave was done.

After Amy finished work she picked me up and we headed to the bar to meet a friend of hers for a coupe drinks. I was exhausted but we stayed a couple hours and I tried a new drink. Don't know if it even has a name but it was a combination of Parrot Bay Mango, pineapple juice and cranberry juice and it was YUMMY!.

Then we went home and went to bed.

My trip home - Thursday

Now I can post about it since I've been back several days and the surprise is past. LOL I flew home a week ago today for Dad's surprise birthday/retirement party. The only people who knew I was coming were my sisters, mom, and brother. None of the relatives new and most definitely Dad didn't know. Amy didn't even tell Joey because he'd not have understood it was to be a secret. Amy met me at the airport, which was a comedy of errors. My flight was a little early getting in but they never changed the flight status on the arrival monitors. So Amy was sitting upstairs waiting for the notice the flight had landed and I was down in baggage claim waiting for her. Finally someone realized the flight had probably landed so she came down and there I was, as I had been for half an hour! The same amount of time Amy had been upstairs. I didn't call right away, figuring she got out of work late so was going to wait a bit before I tried her. And here she was there the whole time!

After she picked me up, we ran errands for the party then met Tommy for dinner at Outback, where Tanya was working. It was slow that night, so she sat with us most of the time we were there. I had brought the baby clothes I bought them with me into the restaurant so she could open them up. She and Tommy both loved the two outfits I had bought.

After dinner I was exhausted and ready for bed already. We got to their house and of course Dave had let Joey stay up till we got there. Joey was THRILLED to see me and came running over and jumped into my arms for a big hug and a kiss. Which of course made my heart just melt because I miss him so much when I don't see him. So he had fun playing with me until bedtime.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Since Sunday...

I posted about part of my weekend but not the rest. Sunday is once again my typical lazy day of the week. Now that it has warmed up here, I can take advantage of the swimming pool again. Yes, warm enough to swim in the beginning of April. I lazed around all morning and into early afternoon like my usual summer Sunday. About 2:30 I headed down to the pool and spent my usual two hours. Any more then that and I look like a lobster. LOL Anyhow, so I was down there till about 4:30 and enjoyed the break time to read my book uninterrupted. Being lazy indoors never works because I try so hard to do it but I'm always finding something to do like laundry, cleaning, whatever. At the pool I am forced to do absolutely nothing but relax. Well I came in and yes folks, it's official, I got my first sunburn of the season. But once I get back into going every week, I'll build up as much of a tan as I ever get.

Monday I was back at the office after over a month out. My computer is finally fixed (YAY!!) and I can now work AT work. I never thought I'd see the day I'd be begging to go back to the office. LOL But I feel like I'll never catch up after being out of the loop for so long there.

And speaking of flowers...

I have gotten almost all of mine planted now. I already talked about the ones I got done this past weekend, on Saturday. I had three huge clay planters on my porch and had room for three more. I planted the ones I had but needed to pay my bills before I could see if I could buy the rest of my planters and flowers. Well bills are paid and I actually had a little extra floating this pay check. So today I made Dusty go with me to the nursery after work today to help me get what I wanted. He wasn't so keen on going, but I needed him to help me carry the heavy bags of soil. I promised him it would be a quick trip though so he didn't have to worry, because I already knew what I wanted. I only had enough for soil, plants and two pots, so the sixth one will have to come next paycheck.

I got one more hibiscus since three didn't fit in a pot like I thought they would, so I had one lonely one by itself. I got a second today so I could plant them together in a pot. I also had bought some stargazer lily bulbs (one of my absolute favorite flowers in the world) and planted those today. Six to a pack and all in one big pot, I hope they don't crowd each other out. My last planter will be just bedding plants I think, like impatiens or something. They look so pretty when they spread and fill a pot.

I can't wait till everything is growing and I have a profusion of color on my porch. The hibiscus are already blooming and they are a beautiful pale orange with a pink center. Sound strange I know, but they are beautiful. I've always loved hibiscus, but can't plant them up north. LOL

Now if only I can keep my plants alive this year... Last year I think my dahlias got drowned due to the extreme amounts of rain we had in the spring. Hopefully this year will be better.

The blue bonnets are blooming!

Yes the roads are again adorned in their seasonal best. Beautiful blue bonnets everywhere you look. There is nothing quite as gorgeous to me as to be driving down the highway and seeing waves and waves of blue as far as I can see. They are apparently early this year. Last year I was told they were early as they normally burst in to full bloom in early May. Last year's were at their peak mid April. And this year, even earlier, End of March and they were already everywhere. We can thank Lady Bird Johnson for this seasonal beauty as she's the one who encouraged the planting of them many years ago. It's easy to see why they are the state flower.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The weekend so far

NOTE: I tried to post this yesterday through e-mail and it dind't work. But I was too lazy to go through and change it to refelct it is actually going up today, Sunday and not yesterday, Saturday, so keep that in mind while reading.

Well I got home about 2:00 yesterday afternoon and unloaded the computer so I could e-mail my ratings for a RWA contest I was judging. Talk about down to the wire! The results were do yesterday and that was when I turned them in. LOL I was home for all of two hours before I headed up to the Northern end of Dallas for the annual Dreaming in Dallas book signing. I met up with my book group at 5 for dinner and then we drove over to the hotel where the signing was. I had taken a TON of books (two tote bags full) to get signed and got all but 5 signed. I probably could have gotten those last 5 too, but it was already a half hour past the end time for the signing and I didn't want to make the author stay any longer then necessary. So I got a BUNCH of Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor books signed, all of Catherine Spangler's books, all but one of Sandy Blair's since I don't have the one, and both of Gena Showalter's books. After the signing my book group met up for dessert at the hotel restaurant and there we stayed till we were thrown out. This is a common occurrence for our group. We stay and talk and talk till the place closes. I got home about 11:15.

When I got home I woke Dusty up, who had fallen asleep on the couch, since of course he was at work while I was home yesterday afternoon.Today, he had to work so was up about 7. I woke up briefly then but was tired so fell back to sleep till about 10. I took it easy this morning and went through some e-mail and stuff before heading to the library to pick up a couple audio books. I stopped at the plant shop on my way home to get some flowers to plant in my big pots on the patio. I bought three hibiscus plants, only to find only two fit in the pot together. So the third is in it's own pot still. They are really pretty, a golden orange color and I can't wait till they are in full bloom. I have three pots to fill and can fit three more on my balcony. I bought some Stargazer lily bulbs for one of the pots I'll be buying. I got some pretty deep purple dahlias for one pot and some orange and red canna lilies for another pot. I still need to buy three more pots and figure out what to put in the last two. But I got everything planted and now my porch is pretty again. I still haven't even unpacked though, which I need to do this weekend sometime.

Tomorrow it's supposed to be really nice out so I'm hitting the pool for the first time this year. Yay!!!

California trip Wednesday and Thursday

Not as much to talk about these two days. We had the briefings for all of the committees all day long, for everyone to update on the status of their committees duties. I was SOOOO tired that morning. I got up Wednesday AM and was halfway through getting dressed when I decided I was just too exhausted. I guess the jet lag and time differences caught up to me. So I ended up going back to bed for an hour and went in to the conference about 45 minutes late. My boss busted me, but he's pretty good about some things and didn't say anything to me about it. He knows at these things we all skip some parts here and there. But that was all I skipped the whole week. I sat through all the briefings and then the other briefing topics once those were completed.

Wednesday night I went out with all my old coworkers, and my current ones, and a few friends for dinner. Since my birthday was two weeks ago, to the day as it turned out, some of them wanted to take me out. I'm a Hard Rock cafe junkie and go to them wherever I am that I can get to one. There is one in La Jolla, where we were staying so we went there for dinner. Nice big group too. Pam and Chris, who I work with now came, and Dennis from Hawaii came with us too. From the old office Michelle, Darlene, Spriggsy (Ray as most know him), Jeff, Diane who is new there and wasn't there when I worked there, and I'm pretty sure I'm missing some people too. Chris wasn't feeling well so he went home early, and Darlene and Spriggsy were tired so they left early, but the rest of us went to a local bar, Jose's after dinner. There we met up with several friends from other places... Lucy, Ingrid, Rob, and Ravi from New York. There were others there too I think but I forget who. LOL

Thursday was the last day there and I was beat by then, as I always am by the end of these trips. We had the rest of the committee briefings and then a few briefings on other things. We were having a colonel come in to talk in the afternoon but we finished everything up way early. For whatever reason, he would not do his talk early so we had like a 2 hour lunch and had to come back for his talk. I REALLY didn't want to, I wanted to go to the zoo, but I didn't feel right skipping since this is a pretty high guy in my work food chain. LOL So I went. And we did NOT finish early though we were told we'd finish early. I was seriously bummed because all I wanted was to go to the zoo since I've heard all about it and I never managed to get there.

Thursday night we met up at Happy Hour and then a bunch of us ended up going to a brewery restaurant down the road a couple miles. Thursday night we didn't do anything after dinner since we were all so tired. I packed up and then went to bed. I had a flight home at 8 AM Friday.

California trip Monday and Tuesday

Well I was in San Diego this past week for work. Note to the bosses... NEVER schedule one of these conferences for right after Easter again! Security at the airports was atrocious, and parking wasn't much better. And our chiefs missed out on Easter because they had to fly on the holiday to be there bright and early Monday morning for a meeting. The rest of us didn't have to be there until late afternoon for a "mandatory" icebreaker social. (read, a chance for lots of free food and alcohol. LOL)

It is nice though because I get to see all my friends from other states that I only see a few times a year, if that, at these meetings. A few of them weren't there this time, but most of them were. And a lot of new faces this year too, surprisingly enough. I also got to see all of my old office mates, from where I used to work. I was especially happy about that because one of my really good friends form there I haven't seen in at least two years because his contract hadn't been renewed. But now he's back and has been for a year, so it was great to catch up with him.

Tuesday the real meat of the conference started. We had the usual "welcome speech" in the morning before we got into the breakout sessions for all of our different committees we have between all of us. My committee, I've been the chairperson for the last three years. My term was up though and I stepped down as chairperson and new blood stepped in. I was ready. As much as I like being involved in it, I was ready to stop running the show in there. We had the breakout sessions all day long until about three when we all reconvened for a status briefing on one program we all work with in Environmental.

Tuesday night I got to meet one of my internet friends for the first time. We've known each other online for a couple years or more but had never met in person. Marie lives near where we were all staying for our conference so she came by after work so we could go to dinner. We had a ball! She picked me up about 6:15 and we went to Roy's, a local restaurant specializing in "Hawaiian Fusion" food. The food was wonderful! We both ordered sushi rolls made up of rice, spicy tuna, avocado and I'm not sure what else was in it. That was wonderful and then we had dessert. I think our waiter was mad at us because we were there for THREE hours! and all we ordered was appetizers and dessert, plus a couple drinks. I had a cheesecake for dessert that was positively sinful and Marie had sorbet and fruit. We talked up a storm, never stopping the whole time, until she realized it was time for her to head home and go to bed. LOL She had a picture taken of us and as soon as I get it I'm going to post it here.

And if anyone can tell me how the heck to post pictures into the body of my posts, please let me know! I tried doing that Hello Blogger Bot thing but I can't figure out how to use that except to send pictures as a post. I thought I had it figured out how to host pictures for me, but it ain't working right. Also, I thought I had it set up so I could send posts through my e-mail but that ain't working either.