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Archive for the ‘2007’ Category

Year in Review

Every year Dave Barry does a Year in Review. I decided to do one too only mine isn’t nearly as wittily crafted. Since time was so elusive for me this year I wanted to remember the things that happened in my life. I meant to write more often but the unimportant things constantly got in the way. I am always amazed that the years go by so quickly and yet so much happens.
January
…started off with a bang. Instead of eating the traditional corned beef, cabbage, and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, I feasted on Gatorade, Sprite, Jello (not red or purple though) and lovely Halflytely Bowel Prep solution. January 2 brought a colonoscopy to check for signs of Ulcerative Colitis which I was diagnosed through blood test the previous October. I was told I was much to young to be there to which I responded, “all right, can I go home then?” No such luck. I started to wake up during the procedure and recalled a very unpleasant sensation down below and voices saying to knock me back out. After coming back to earth, I received wonderful pictures of my innards as the doctor explained everything to me and my husband as my mind wandered. She told me everything looked good and I wasn’t currently showing signs of Ulcerative Colitis. The first words out of my dopey mouth were, “OK, can I try to get pregnant now?” She told me she wanted to do an upper GI series so coming off my BCP would have to wait a few more weeks. At the end of January I quit my BCP.
February
…was fairly uneventful, I mean how can you top a colonoscopy? We visited my younger brother, sister-in-law, and nephew up north for my nephew’s first birthday. Their small town hadn’t changed at all since we were last there for their wedding the previous year.
March
…marked 10 years of togetherness for Brandon and I. Later we ventured to the hill country for a family camp out.
April
…my partner in crime at work left me for greener pastures. I was tossed around from office to office. I was ignored. Then they realized how much work she actually did, realized they couldn’t keep up and stayed permanently in panic mode. My mood started to dip.
May
…I realized that I needed help to get out of the disaster that was becoming my life. I researched counselors while all I really wanted to do was crawl in a hole. I found sympathetic friends who understood what I was going through. We flew out to Phoenix to visit my older brother and his family. It was a welcome distraction and then back to my crap-tastic life.
June
…I started counseling. She told me to see my doctor. My doctor put me on drugs. (Yippee!!) I bared my soul. I learned that I needn’t call my self stupid.

July
…I paid off my student loans 5 years early, I was no longer a slave. It was cooler than usual. It rained a lot, which was nice. Our bills were cheaper and the weather matched my moods. I was starting to feel better, I no longer begged for God to take me home.

August
…after spending a good deal of money fixing something on his 1990 truck, my husband killed it on the way back from picking it up. Somehow as the coolant exited as he drove the short trip back. His truck overheated and he blew the head gasket. I was glad to get rid of the POS although we planned to replace it in October and not August. Weeks of searching for a new (used) car ensued as we took turns driving each other to work in the opposite direction each day. My other younger brother got engaged.

September
…we were still searching for a car. We finally found a 2002 in good condition and paid cash for it. This brought lectures on how we should have taken out a loan and invested the money we spent instead. (Talk about Stupid Tax) This really brought Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover into perspective. He said people would think us crazy and he was right.

October
…I came to the startling realization that I needed to quit my job. I wasn’t getting anything out of my job except for endless hours of banging my head against the wall and stress. I made plans for a departure at the end of the year. I needed to take a sabbatical and seek God’s direction in my life. Surprisingly this left me feeling strangely optimistic (clearly the Lord at work) instead of the trepidation I felt months earlier when I “knew” I was stuck where I was and couldn’t quit my job without having another lined up. I also informed my counselor and my doctor that I was quitting my antidepressants. My partner in crime who left for greener pastures decided to return from said greener pastures for a much higher salary. I questioned her sanity.

November
…brought the start of the preparation for the hectic holiday season. My older brother who in years past always waited until Christmas Eve to do all of his shopping informed bragged to me that he was almost finished with his Christmas shopping. We attended our couple friend’s destination outdoor wedding which turned out to be rainy and nearly freezing. We were of course attacked by the “pregnancy paparazzi” all weekend. The house we shared with another couple and college friends (mind we have all been out for years now) turned into an all night frat party complete with booze, stripping, and guys banging on my door in the wee hours. I got lots of sheepish I’m sorries from my husband who had assured me when making the arrangements that his buddies had all grown up now. Apparently they never do.

December
…I announced to the head of my department that I was leaving for personal reasons. Everyone thought it was a huge joke. I later found out that my boss was let go that same day because her husband who also works with us announced he was leaving to work for a competitor. Seeing as we had been in panic mode since April, it was now stepped up a notch. I told them I would leave in January to give them adequate time to replace all of us. I was subjected to horrible group sales meetings in a clear attempt to motivate me and show me all the excitement I would be missing if I left; all of the “oh-we-are-just-too-busy-Rachel-is-faster-just-give-it-to-her-even-
though-it-isn’t-her-work-and-she-is-overloaded-too,” extra work; the hours of working late so I couldn’t even attempt to do Christmas shopping; and keeping up with my extra-curricular holiday obligations. Luckily our company shuts down between Christmas and New Year’s and I was told the Friday before Christmas that if I finished all of my work I could go early. Even more fortunately my counterparts in the eastern office had their lines of communication go down, so before they could send me anymore of their BS work I hightailed it out of there. The weekend before I spent helping everyone else get ready for all the festivities. Christmas found us united with my brothers who live out of town and a week jam-packed with family togetherness.

And now on this last day of the year I am sitting peacefully relaxing with my wonderful husband with no commitments and no where to be but right here. The year has had it’s ups and downs. I have laughed and cried and I have learned. 2008 is a year of change for me. I’m starting the year by finally taking some time for myself. I am going to seek God’s direction and purpose for my life. I am excited for the possibilities. Who knows what the year will bring for us? A career change? More growth? A new title of mommy? Bring it on!

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Congratulations !!!


…to my little brother Matt and one of my good friends Jess. May your life be filled with joy always! It is so nice that my brother is marrying someone that I have gotten to know as a friend before they started dating. I’m glad you are going to be my sister.(What’s with this kid and pictures, must be his middle child-ness coming out. Oh well, gotta love him.)

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Today we left to drive even farther north to the Grand Canyon. I naively believed the Grand Canyon wasn’t all that great and definitely wasn’t on my list of must sees. Oh how wrong I was. Pictures definitely don’t do it justice. (So now I will post some pictures.)Going out to the edge of the rim I was blown away by the expanse
of it all. I never expected it to be so big. You look over the edge and are at a complete loss for words. It did kind of look false to me, like it was the backdrop on a movie set. It’s just completely unreal.When traveling to the Grand Canyon you must take a few days to truly see everything that you want to see. You can not see everything in one day. There is a bus tour that takes you to different photo spots along the rim which you can only see on this bus ride. We did a bit of hiking down one trail. I only went about halfway down because Jessica started to get a bit winded and I didn’t want to make anyone else turn back. I was amazed at how different the same spot could look at different times during the day. Brandon and I have decided that someday we want to go back and take a backpacking trip down to the bottom of the canyon. It is the only way you can get to the bottom as it takes several hours to get down there and twice as long to get back up. I was also surprised to hear that if you want to take a mule down you have to book it a year in advance.In the picture of Ali to the left click on it to see if you can find some local wildlife. Unfortunately we didn’t get very many good picture of Joseph and Noe was particularly elusive it seems.I believe in Grand Canyon National Park I saw the greatest number of foreign tourists I have seen in such great concentration anywhere in the US. We came across quite a few Germans and saw a great many Asians.

All in all it is a definite must see on the list of places to visit before you die. Now go book some tickets, I’m sure it’s not at all busy during the summer.

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On the Road Again

Today we woke up bright and early and headed north to Slide Rock State Park. It was definitely nice to see some trees again. Slide Rock was pretty cool. First we hiked around and climbed the rocks a bit because the water was super cold. A couple of the kids were brave enough to take a slide but I’m not that nuts. When I finally did get in it was breathtakingly cold. I mean it was so cold that you feel like your insides are growing numb. We did have a blast. I didn’t take the big plunge though. There is a big rock cliff under a bridge that makes boys into men. It’s a good 40 foot jump. Many climb to the top and look down in fear. They sit on the top trying to psyche themselves up only to climb back down in shame. My nephew Joseph decided to become a daredevil and took the jump quite a few times. There would be all of these trash talking guys standing up there calling each other wusses (and far worse) and here comes this skinny little twig of a 12 year old who doesn’t hesitate and runs clear off the end. If I learn how to post video I will add one of his jumps. We spent most of the day there and moved on to Sedona for a bit of site seeing. It’s a very artsy place with lots of big houses and resorts. I got to test my parenting skills when we went into a “glassables” shop. My SIL Jessica sent her three boys to sit outside as there were plaques throughout the store reading, “You break it, you buy it. Turns out I should have sent my “boy” out too. He was admiring a glow in the dark glass cube and decided to show it to Kat. When he was setting it back on it’s precarious corner on it’s pedestal it fell off onto the shelf with a loud thump. Yes, he broke a great chip out of it and ended up having to buy it. The store owner was very nice and only made him cover her cost of it (about half) and sent him on his way with it. I kept my cool and didn’t yell at him because it was only an accident. He said to me later, “Why couldn’t I have chipped a neat looking one. Instead I get stuck with an ugly cube.” Oh well.We stopped at Ann’s favorite, Cracker Barrel before heading to our hotel to get some much needed rest.

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Arrival

We arrived in Phoenix this morning to visit my brother and his family. Boy is it hot here, I don’t want to hear anything about it being a dry heat. It’s still hot! As we pulled into the gate and waited to get off the plane I caught sight of this and Brandon convinced me to take a picture. For some reason I thought it was hilarious, Brandon thought it was too so at least I’m not alone. The first thing that stuck me as we drove around town is how bright it is outside. I mean, we have full on sunshine here but it is nothing compared to there. We were told to keep our sunglasses on while outside so that we didn’t burn our eyes. We were also informed that we needed to carry water with us at all times so as not to get dehydrated. When my sister-in-law Jessica first started working outside soon after their arrival she had to go to the hospital for heat stroke. Her doctor informed her she needed to find a job working indoors.Another thing I noticed was the lack of trees. You can see cactus and hills for miles but no naturally occurring trees. I would miss that if I lived there, and changes in weather, sometimes having a cloudy day is nice.That evening we went to the baseball game. It just so happened that our home team was playing there. We were treated to a complete slaughter, thanks Astros. They have a swimming pool out in right field which I have never seen at a ballpark. I was unimpressed when I actually saw it. I expected something more than a dinky little pool. They pulled out all the stops on that one.

My nephew Matthew was the only one of the three kids who was interested in going to the game. All he needed was his bag of was roasted peanuts and he was all set. He cheered on his Astros to the bitter end much to the amusement of the adults sitting near us. They were impressed with his enthusiasm and told him they would do better next time. After the game was over we headed back. Time to get some much needed sleep for our early start tomorrow.

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