My 15 minutes of fame

I’ve been following Arash since I started blogging and it’s been inspiring to read his journey. He was recently part of an Al Jazeera documentary about the use of the Ekso skeleton as part of his recovery. It’s a great blog and please take time to watch the video!

Arash Recovery

Just a couple days before I went to Ekso Bionics for the first time to walk in their exo-skeleton, they asked me if I would mind talking to “some friendly British guys doing a short documentary” about my initial experience. A few hours later, they called me again and asked if the British guys could come to my house and ask me a few questions before I actually walked at Ekso. I agreed to everything, assuming these guys were doing some esoteric, low-profile documentary project that no one would ever see.

The British guys showed up at my house (and indeed they were very friendly), they explained that this was actually for Al Jazeera English, a very well reputed international news channel with a growing influence and a viewership in the hundreds of millions worldwide. I was STOKED. I’d been reading and watching the shows on Al Jazeera for years…

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My Emails Sound Exhausted

I’m not kidding – Karaboo emailed me today that I “sound just so exhausted”.

I scrolled back through and looked at previous emails – they seemed peppy, I mean, I used exclamation points frequently, and exclamation points aren’t exhausted – they are the epitome of excitement!

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See how excited he is? How peppy?

So, I had to know how was I typing that I sounded so exhausted?  I mean really, that’s kinda cool.

To which Karaboo replied that “Maybe I’m exhausted reading everything you’re doing.”  Later in the email she exclaimed “Tedious!”  and went on to tell me that little words like that are what make my emails sound like I’m tired.

So, here I was thinking I would get points for using my grown-up words, and instead, it makes me sound exhausted.

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From now on I shall use small words and make them rhyme; then I will sound peppy all of the time!

I’m going back to using my normal speech pattern of dude, awesome and greatness.

So yeah, that happened, I was told my emails made me sound exhausted.

By the way – she was right, I’m pretty exhausted.

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Welcome to Isabella Kathleen

So, on Friday, I talked to a couple of people, and told them, either I’m forgetting something important – or I actually have a free Saturday.  I finally decided that I had a free Saturday and that if I had forgotten something, they’d have to just forgive me.

I proceeded to make plans with my friend Karaboo.  I mentioned to her that since I had a free Saturday, my sister was going to have her baby.

Sure enough, I got the call at 2 am Saturday from my nephew “uh, Aunt Kate, mom’s water broke so we are going to the hospital.”  Does she want me there now or closer to time? “Up to you”.

I went back to bed.  Of course, I failed to set an alarm, but ended up waking up about 6:30 and jumping up and showering – didn’t have time to do my hair so I left it natural.  Threw on some makeup while downing a cup of coffee and was out the door by 7:30.  It’s an hour drive, and mom told me at 7:30 “she’s at 4 centimeters.”

I hit the gas.  My sister tends to deliver within 20-30 minutes after she hits four centimeters.  Sure enough, 30 minutes later Isabella Kathleen arrived!  Since it is an hour drive, I missed it.  I’m not upset about this – I was there for her last birthing and oh-emm-gee, you can’t un-see something like that.

Isabella came out just as fast as the last – and that was too fast.  Apparently there is a whole symbiotic thing that is suppose to happen as the baby is exiting the birth canal, and because my sister pops them out so fast, it didn’t happen with Isabella, and the result is that she got a big gulp of fluid before she came out, so her lungs are a little wet – and her entire head is bruised.  I mean bruised… like purple… and enough that every single medical professional commented on it “Wow, we almost never see this!”.

Beyond that, baby Bella is just awesome!  She’s eating like a champ (again, the nurse said “wow, normally babies only a day old don’t eat this much!”).  And the fact that she’s eating means that she has become a pooping machine! She’s also already lifting her head up (again, she shouldn’t be doing this – but she is!).

Now, because I’m a really proud aunt – please enjoy!

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About an hour after birth, getting our measurements taken.

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All bundled up getting ready to move to a new room.

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A few hours later with her favorite Aunt Kate. Here you can really see how purple her face is!

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2 days old sitting with Aunt Kate again! My sister is apparently an expert negotiator and came home from the hospital a day early, so we are at her house for this picture.

Since Amy convinced everyone to release them both a day early, my mom stayed in Dallas yesterday with them and this morning took Bella to see her doctor.  Just a bit of jaundice, which is fairly normal, and now they are all back in FW at mom and dad’s place.  Amy and the kids will stay there a few weeks.  (Amy has the 13 year old twins, Jayman and Samantha, and 2-1/2 year old Joshua, and then now baby Bella.)

Which means I get plenty of time with baby Bella!

As a side note – her middle name Kathleen – is a combination of my first and middle name, so technically, she’s named after me! 🙂

I’m Getting Too Old For This Stuff

This week was the lunch lady convention.  It has a better name; however, lunch lady convention sounds better!  This is a state conference that has any and everything to do with lunch ladies.  There are classes and lectures, vendor areas and networking.  It’s my favorite conference! I’m not a lunch lady, but I do deal with the huge equipment they cook on, so I actually learn a lot at this conference.  The conference is held at a different major city each year, so we get to see different parts of the state and have different adventures each year.

I’ve been in Houston all week.  Houston weather is hot (which I can handle) and very humid (which I cannot).  It takes not time at all before you are leaving puddles behind you when you walk the block to the convention center.  I ended up having to straighten my hair at the end of every day before the evening activities began.  It was not fun, I’m not that high maintenance!! I had no choice, the humidity combined with my seemingly excessive sweat kept making the roots curl back up!

That was a problem, but that wasn’t the primary problem.  I’m getting older.  I’m not getting OLD, I’m just getting OLDER.  Big Difference!

There was the dinner and bar Sunday night.  Cause you know, we can’t stop after just dinner and drinks, we have to go search out the bar with a couple of guys with guitars, you know, that’s just how we roll.  Never surrender!!

never surrender

Up early Monday to set up the booth.  Which I didn’t really have to do, but I still had to be there, so it counts!  Monday night are when the major parties happen.  Several of the food brokers and equipment reps all throw parties.  We normally spend about 10 minutes on Monday afternoon plotting our route.  What do we want to hit first? What do we want to hit last? What is the most effective and efficient way to attend all the parties?  I’m not kidding, we map them out.  And then you proceed to go from party to party to party.  All of them have free food and most of them have free drinks.  Needless to say, you have to pace yourself!

This year I was on my own.  I had no one going with me.  Even my boss stayed behind.  This severely limited what I can do – cause I don’t know how to take a taxi by myself.  It scares me, there are all of these weird numbers and beeps that happen in a taxi.  It’s overwhelming.  Plus, I am insanely shy.  It takes every bit of willpower I can muster up to walk into a new place by myself.  I mean, I really have to psych myself up in order to do it, I repeat to myself  “Self you can do this.  You can walk in there. You can do this.  Take a deep breathe.  You got this.”

You think I’m kidding.  I’m not.

But I did it!!! I ended up only attending the parties that had a shuttle bus.  The bus would pick me up and drop me off at my hotel.  I can handle that!  And, it worked out that the two parties I picked to attend were just across the street from each other!  🙂

Those were fun!  Did I mention the free drinks?

cape cod

Up not as early Tuesday, but still too early, and off to learn.  Spent the day walking the show and learning from my various reps.   It is good to see and catch up with people, plus, I really do love my job and I love being able to learn about the new products out there!

Tuesday night is the banquet, and after an appearance is made, then we take off again.  It was the play-offs, so naturally we hit a bar to watch the game and nibble and drink.   Then we walked over to a different bar to end the game and then we ended up back at the hotel bar to end the evening.  Have I mentioned that we tend to drink? Can you tell yet that we also tend to miss out on sleep?

Up not as early on Wednesday to finish walking the floor and following up with people, and then it’s time to load back up and hit the road!

I had a friend and work peer, a guy that was with me most of the trip, post this on his Facebook earlier this week “I’m getting too old for this s#!+”  Naturally, there were several Lethal Weapon quotes that followed in the comments; however, I knew right where he was coming from!

GTOFTS

Third Time is NOT a Charm

Okay, so Mr. T is in Oklahoma at church camp.  He has really enjoyed these trips over the years and growing up I remember how much fun I had, so I’m glad that we’ve found a church that we both like and continues the great Youth Camp tradition.

I like traditions.  I like that there are some things that are sacrosanct and must be repeated each year.  I have an ornament that always goes on the Christmas tree first.  BA and I have lunch at “our place” each year for his birthday (and when I take other sales reps there, I just don’t tell him.  If he catches me, well, then I play the honey-it-didn’t-mean-anything card.  There are only so many times your best friend will believe that line tho!).  Every year I know we will have a Diva Camping trip – girls only.

So, maybe I love traditions!  I love old ones that have been passed down for generations and that we continue, and I love new ones that I got to start with Mr. T.

One tradition I don’t love, though, seems to always occur when T is at camp.

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Two years ago I got a call:

“Mom, my glasses broke.”

“Can you wear them enough to get by the last couple of days of camp?”

“Yeah.”

When he got back into town, we replaced them.

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One year ago:

“Mom, I dropped my glasses in the lake and they sunk to the bottom, they are gone.”

“Okay, let me overnight you a pair.”

That cost an arm and a leg – and when he got back into town, we replaced them.

This year, we got smart, he took his athletic glasses to wear while swimming.  Now, the prescription is a couple of years old; however, he wore them this weekend camping and it seemed to work well.

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Then I got THE call:

“Mom, my glasses are breaking. The screw is coming out and I have to be very careful wearing them.”

“Then you better very carefully go to the office or nurse and get some duct tape and tape that all up to get you by!”

Okay, I may have not phrased it like that, I may have actually been nice and sympathetic you know “well, baby, can you get some duct tape and wrap that up to hold it together until you get back and I can fix it?”

Or, I might not have.

All I know is that this is the third year of camp and apparently the third time is NOT a charm! I had a girlfriend ask me the other day “So, any word from T? Does he have his glasses?”  Now, I know she was joking, but she died laughing when I told her what happened.

So, yeah, that just happened, third time to camp and the third pair of broken glasses.

That’s How We Roll

I went camping this weekend.  I’m sure you didn’t know that because it’s not like I’ve mentioned it in every post for the past couple of weeks!

We had so much fun!  It felt so good to get away, enjoy the fresh air, play in the water and hang out with friends.  My Amy and Scott ended up going a day early – and I seriously considered it, but I really had to work the next morning; however, I did wrap up early and get there a few hours sooner than expected!

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The girls of the trip

Of course, getting wrapped up took a bit of time! I ran to my parents house to drop off my dog and pick up dad’s truck and then ran by Pam’s office to fill my cooler with ice.  Then, Mr. T was awesome and loaded up the truck.

Mr. T has never loaded up a truck, but by the time I got out there, he was all but done.  I hated to tell him how he messed up, so I just told him that we had to go by Walmart to get some straps or a spider bungee.  I really didn’t want to spend money, so we pulled into the Walmart parking lot and I told T “Let’s just see if we can rearrange a bit.”  It only took three items and we had the truck properly done.  He was upset a bit that he didn’t do it right – but when I reinforced that he’d never done it – and it only took us about 3 items in order to fix it – that was pretty darn good!

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Mr. T getting ready…

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Aiming…

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Fire! And I’m sure it was the winning shot!

We arrived at camp and unloaded the truck and set my tent up – and then we set up T’s tent.  His own tent.  He was not staying with me.  It was weird – but I gotta tell ya – I had so much room in my tent!  That was pretty darn awesome! 🙂

We helped everyone else set up as they arrived and got camp situated.  Then there was the trip to Walmart.  I’d forgotten an extension cord and surge protector for T’s tent.  It happens, even to the best of us!

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We make roughing it look easy!  Here is our cooking area.  We set up a table and Karen’s way cool camping table (that does include a kitchen sink – 0f sorts!) to the side of the primary picnic table, that way, when we are done cooking, the table isn’t full of camp stoves and grills.  You can’t see it, but there are a couple of grills and a huge fryer to the left.  🙂

We grilled burgers and dogs Friday night, made eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns for Saturday breakfast and due to the fact that one of the group had a ton of frozen catfish, we had a fish fry Saturday night.  Yummy!  Fried catfish, french fries, fried okra and hush puppies!

Later that night, we made peach cobbler.  Over the camp fire.  No kidding.

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So, maybe the picture doesn’t do it justice, but I gotta tell you – it was pretty cool!

We spent time hanging out, many hours in the lake.  We all went fishing. We even had some really cute guys come over from another camp to play horseshoes with us!

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Kevin and Scott talking trash during the game of horseshoes

Sunday morning, about 5:30 am I woke to a flash of lightening and the boom of thunder.  I’d been dead asleep – and we’d only been in bed about 4 hours!  So, I was a bit disoriented.  I did get up and grab my sleep pants, I know I need to go help because half the camp hadn’t put up their rain guard.  All I could think about was the instructions you receive on the plane: “In the event of an emergency and the cabin loses pressure, put your mask on first before helping the children and those around you.”  I figured that had to apply, so I zipped my windows up first.

I heard and then saw Karen putting the rain guard on her son’s tent and Brian, her husband working on theirs – but I had to go see Mr. T first!  I went over and unzipped his door and woke him up – bless his heart, he was so tired and zipped up his windows as far as he could reach without getting out of bed! LOL.  I leaned over and finished getting his windows closed.  Then I went and helped Brian – well, tried too – again, I was pretty disoriented! Soon enough we were done, and not a moment too soon.  I went back to bed and listened to the rain plop on my tent and the thunder roll by. I love nature!!

The next morning it was windy for several hours and then the storm was all gone and we were left with muddy tents and everything blowing away on us!  Once the wind stopped though, it was easy enough to pack up – and since we knew we had to come home and set the gear up to wash and dry it – we weren’t all that concerned about things being neat!

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That tent was down to it’s last stake before we went and took it down. There was no point in righting the chairs, they’d just blow back over in the wind!

All in all – it was one of my best trips yet.  I had such a good time and really enjoyed hanging out with my friends and playing and just getting away from it all, even if it was just for the weekend.

Cold Front is Coming

It’s Wednesday! It’s the last day of school and it’s a half day! I’m just as excited for summer as Mr. T is!  I also have a headache today – but I think it is sinus related.  We have a cold front coming through, and I think the change in barometric pressure is messing with my head.

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See – look – a cold front! It is on it’s way now and my head can feel it!

The cold front is coming in a bit earlier than expected, but the good part of this is that they took the chances of rain out of the forecast for the weekend.  That really excites me because, if I haven’t mentioned it enough yet, we are going camping this weekend!

This weekend a couple of friends and I were talking about my first couple of trips with them, and how reserved I still was.  While I had gone camping as a kid, the trips were few and far between, so I didn’t have much experience.  And thankfully my friends are all awesome and they’ve taught me how to put up my tent and they’ve taken it down for me when I’ve run into a spider and was afraid to touch the tent afterwards.  I’m so much better now – and I do say that with a tremendous amount of pride! I worked hard to learn how to do this, and in doing so, I’ve given my son the love of camping, and opened his world up even further!

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A line of tents, ready to go!

We always get a site with water and electricity.  Cause, we aren’t crazy you know! And there are extension cords running from the post to all of the tents!  Almost all of us use air mattresses that have to be aired up, plus, hello, 90 degrees, we all have fans! (Just FYI, for the middle of summer camping when the temps are over 100, we do have A/C units for our tents, too.  Likewise, we have heaters for the cool nights during fall camping.)

This is the first year that Mr. T won’t share my tent.  This saddens me and makes me so happy at the same time.  I’m sad that he is growing up, but I’m so glad that I’ve raised him to be independent, and yes, kinda happy that I’ll have my tent to myself!

There is also power that runs to the communal picnic table, cause the Christmas lights that go up need power!  Pam brings the mini fridge and table that goes over it.  Amy brings the coffee pot (for the longest time we used the standard percolater over the hot coals, but, duh! why wait when we have power!)  Karen brings the kitchen sink.  Not kidding.  She had the coolest table that sets up, and has shelves underneath, racks above and under the flat surface, a sink! We’ve never actually used the sink.  Pam has a basin that we take over to the water faucet and wash our dishes over there, but still, we have a kitchen sink!

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Mini fridge, table, and the ever present radio!

By having all the extra tables, we are able to set up multiple grills and the occasional crock pot, off of the table, so that as soon as we are done cooking, we don’t have to clear the table off in order to eat.  Amy is always in charge of the fire, and she does a great job.  In addition to the camping grills, we still cook over the fire pit at almost every meal.  And roast marshmallows almost every night.

The nice thing about the group trip is that we all don’t have to bring everything.  If one person doesn’t have it, another one does.  I almost never take pots and pans and such, because we already have so many – but I do keep us supplied in paper plates and plastic utensils!

The primary camping gear stays stored in it’s own tubs, and this year Mr. T and I got new tubs.  I like them so much better! I’ve been playing a mental game of Tetris, though, trying to figure out how all of this is going to fit in my compact car.  I will continue to play that game, cause as soon as I think I have room for everything, I realize that I’ve missed one of the food tubs.  Or the pee bucket.  Or my air mattress.  In the meantime, I’ve called my dad and asked to borrow his truck for the weekend!

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Here is a picture from last years Diva trip (girls only). Obviously we get into so much trouble together! That little gold car in the middle there – that’s mine.  My camping gear has outgrown the car!

I’m looking forward to the time with friends, fishing, kayaking, hiking and so much more! Food just tastes better when cooked outside, and the air is always a little sweeter!