Posted by: Amphitryte | 03/15/2014

Trapped in the phone – a photo backlog!

Little update before all the pictures:
I now have insurance (thank you Mr Obama!) and will be seeing a doctor for my heart on the 26th. I promise to let you all know how that works out as soon as I’m able! I also can see my gynecologist again, as it’s been 4 years since my last checkup there; he’s expensive, but quality, and not the type of doctor I want to change often. I’m seeing him early in April, but unless something is seriously wrong, I won’t mention it again :)

Now! Onto the trapped pictures – I have a bad habit of taking too many to keep up with, so I dump the phone every so often and forget to go through all the pics until it’s been a year later, and I’ve forgotten a lot about the surrounding events. So today, you get captioned photos!
Enjoy :: ~ namaste~

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My newest tattoo : stylized claddagh, just like my engagement ring!

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Just like an actual bracelet, I wanted this to go all the way around my wrist.

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360° tattoo!

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Mom got me an ankle bracelet for my birthday too!

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I tried to build my own bonfire, but one of my cousins (henceforth – Mr Survivalist) was the winner in building this beauty. He said, “it was so painful, lol, to watch [me] fail so hard. xD “

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Bro was kind enough to fix the off-kilter axle for us, no charge! 'Call it your birthday present from me, Sis.' Thanks, man!

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Bro and our cousin NW (not the fire-building survivalist, but his brother) kicked back to start the party.

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Never been one for wine, but my cousin Mr Survivalist suggested that I might like the taste. He was right, it is pretty good stuff! Shared this bottle with all the adults in attendance.

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Mom has a hammock in her fancy gazebo. One of my favorite places to laze when we visit in warm weather!

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Mama wrote a sweet, touching message in my birthday card. Being a member of the adopted branch, I always tear up when I think about how lucky I am having her in my life! I *am* her nieta <3

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It was bugging me.

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So I had a few inches lopped off!

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I made this little purse for Miss Hurricane, an extra little 10th birthday gift.

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She can use either side as the front but the zipper is on this side.

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I have named this little mixer *Snow Cream* because it tastes exactly like the snow cream Mom made for us when we were kids. No measuring but about 1:3 Amaretto to Almond Milk, over 3 ice cubes. I stir it with a chopstick ;)

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My baby is TEN now!

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Make a wish.....

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My baby girl is almost my height already!

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Growing up, we always played Hide & Seek in this cemetery, but hardly ventured into this old zone in the back after dark. This was taken at dusk, just when my cousin (red shirt) snuck up behind and startled Lurkey - just a little ;)

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Lurkey setting up the dessert table

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Hadara lighting a sparkler for one of the littlins

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This is how you play Tag after dark! Wearing glow bracelets and necklaces!

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Easy way to keep an eye on the kids after dark!

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Ardeo gets some sugar from Mister Twister and Miss Hurricane after they gave him his presents.

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Ardeo needed these and would not have bought them for himself, so these are his gifts!

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Just some chicken legs

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Grilling some burgers, zucchini, and tomatoes.

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Finished burgers, zucchini, tomatoes, and onions

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Chicken, green pepper, pineapple, carrot, and some kind of sauce. Ardeo made this and it was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.

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We built a neat console from an IKEA Expedit bookshelf, adding drawers, doors, and feet. Love it!

Posted by: Amphitryte | 02/13/2014

Heart Disease Awareness Month: February

But really, shouldn’t it be every month, or every day? Regardless, there is one reason I’m bringing this up today. I know I haven’t been around, but the reason for that is simply, work. I’m just coming off of a short vacation and have some time to focus here, and it fortuitously coincides with Heart Month.

Back in March of 1999, I was going on 22 years old and just diagnosed with a mild heart condition. My doctor back then said that it was a mild, but common, issue; my risk factor was higher though because of family history on both sides of the family, and in the end he told me just to ‘keep an eye on it’ and keep track of oddities or instances as best I could – he knew that Mister Twister was only 7 months old – and to let him (any) physician know about at future yearly checkups.
I was in good general health back then. I worked at the airport and so was very active 5 days a week, so that was great as far as exercise goes. I ate pretty well too (balanced fruits & veggies with meat consumption), didn’t drink or do drugs, but I was still a smoker. I knew then as now that smoking would be bad overall but specifically for my heart. My doctor suggested I quit smoking, and I told him I would – but I didn’t until years later. Full disclosure here : I did quit in the fall of 2010, but life got the best of me a year later and I started smoking again in September 2011. Eleven months isn’t bad but obviously I can do better, and of course I know now that I *can* quit. It’s on my very short to-do list!
That doctor visit in ’99 was the first indication in my life that I could have issues earlier than an average woman, both because of the family history and my smoking habit. Dr. V had listened to my heart, heard a murmur (similar to Mom’s, and we were both patients of his at the time), and hooked me up to a 24-hour Holter monitor. When I went back to discuss what, if anything, the monitor found, he said that my issue had a name – premature ventricular closure, or PVCs. If you click that link, you can see that this is fairly common, but usually not noticeable in day-to-day life. Also usually not discovered at such a young age…. but, for me, there is was in black and white. Dr. V didn’t feel it necessary to give me any sort of medication or put me on an aspirin regimen or ask me to follow any specific exercise routines, which was totally fine with me. He only asked that I not donate blood because it could cause my blood pressure to drop dangerously. (This was the most disappointing thing he could have said – I’m O+ so I used to donate often!)

In the last 14 years, my heart has ‘skipped’ only a few times each year that I know of, and never with any indication that it would happen; it also seemed to happen “just whenever” it wanted to, and I could be doing anything from watching TV to walking to dancing in the kitchen. It didn’t seem connected to any activity or lack thereof. Only once can I remember feeling a skip, and it made me think I was going to pass out. Especially scary at the time, because I was home alone with newborn Miss Hurricane and didn’t have a vehicle – Mister Twister was at school, and Ardeo was at work, and it was around 9 a.m. – and leading up to the skip, I was literally watching a TV show and crocheting while waiting for the baby to wake up. Since that day, I promised myself I would be more aware and vocal about this heart condition, and I kept a paper updated quarterly with information about it, myself, family history, Mom’s phone number, everything I could think of. And since that day, I probably have had less than 50 skips total.

Until about two weeks ago. I truly have no idea what may have changed, but I was at work one Saturday and noticed that in the first two hours of my shift, I felt 5 skips. I told my closest coworker about it, since she and I would be off by ourselves but working together that day. The rest of that day, nothing else. I thought it was just me overworking or something.
The next day, Ardeo and I went grocery shopping, and I felt one ‘long skip’ while driving. I told him when it happened (he knew the above history) and that there was no pain; I hadn’t yet had any pains accompany any of these heart skips, ever. Just for my own peace of mind, that night I found an app for my phone that would allow me to keep track of everything associated with it. This condition is the reason I keep my phone on my person at work, even though upper management frowns upon that (I’m not a teenager, I’m certainly not using the phone while I work, ffs.).
Monday, Feb 3, I went to work as usual and was able to note each skip throughout the day. Looking now, I see that I wrote down 5 skips between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. and noted what I was doing at each time. Tuesday, 5 skips again, but I was off work that day and didn’t notice (or track?) any skips until dinnertime – the first one I have down was at 5:38 while I chopped some celery.
Wednesday, off work again so I cleaned up some fallen branches in the yard. No skips while I was out there, but 4 ‘big’ skips, the first one being 2 hours *after* I came inside. So …. not during strenuous activity.
I won’t bore you, but suffice to say that it has gotten worse in the last week. I’m tracking at least 20 per day, and every so often there is a very mild pain. Still, each skip is only enough to make my breath catch and never lasts more than one second.

I have not had insurance since my baby was born – she turns 11 in May – and I have only kept up with my gyno visits because his office allows me to make payments, so I can take 3 months to pay the bill. (Side note: I also have sketchy family history here. Mom’s mother, aunts, and sisters have all had something or other go wrong with female parts, up to and including cancers. Not so much on Dad’s side, but I have talked to his sisters about medical history too, so I have all of that on file with my gyno.) Not having insurance is what has stopped me from seeing a cardiologist or even finding a PCP. I have been looking over all the things that go along with the Affordable Care Act and will finally be able to sign up this month. I will quit smoking too, and soon, but have not yet set a final quit date. I do have nicotine gum in the house though, so that’s a start!
All this to say that I am truly worried (and, don’t get me wrong, pissed too!) and a little scared regarding my heart health right now. I know I have made stupid choices that exacerbated this issue, but my kids are still young and dammit so am I! I am not finished living and I am a little afraid that I’m running out of time.

Take care of your heart. Seriously.
I’ll update again when I can, but until then, namaste.
~Amphitrite~

Posted by: Amphitryte | 10/16/2013

Just a quick note!

I have been away, working and hanging out with the kids over the summer, visiting distant family, and just trying to unplug a little more than I used to do. Over the last few weeks, I realized that my blog name (Musings from Amphitrite) didn’t quite sound right, so I’ve spent some time thinking about the name and general sea-faring theme I want to project here. Tonight it finally came to me! For the same blog and filled with the same stories of life in my little sea trench, this blog is changing its name to Reflections from Amphitrite. I’m so much happier with this title!
As mentioned, I’ve been busy with work and family, but since my birthday at the end of May, I have plenty of pictures and a few stories I want to share. Ardeo had a computer issue over the summer, which added to the delay in storytelling, but that is all straightened out now and I have access to my pictures again – so, if you’re still interested, keep an eye out for a post or two in the next week.

Namaste, my friends!

Posted by: Amphitryte | 07/27/2013

Summertime 2013

Sorry I’ve been so quiet – around here we’ve been rearranging things, both in-house and online, so that’s taking up most of my time spent not working. I still work 40 hours weekly so it doesn’t leave a lot of downtime once I’ve rested for a full day!
I do have 3 solid posts in the works, possibly 4 total. In the moving of computer-related stuff, I’ve had to check behind Ardeo’s work to make sure all of my things got moved over to an external hard drive and then onto the laptop correctly. So far, so good! I haven’t lost anything in this move! (The last time we did this, I did lose a few things, but thankfully none were super-important or gone forever. I have a few important things stashed in Dropbox as a backup.)
I see it’s been just over 2 months since my last post, which is why I’m putting this up today as an explanation of sorts. Since my last post, the kids and I have done some visiting, and I had almost 1000 pictures trapped on my phone – they are now dumped in a folder on the laptop, awaiting my edit attention and organization. I also got another tattoo, so that may be a separate post with its own photos! As I said, I’m working on it, but lately I’ve done a lot more reading than anything else.

School starts for the kids in about 2 weeks; we have my family reunion coming up just before that, and Mister Twister is about to turn 15. There will be plenty more pics to come but in the meantime, I’m going to take the next week or so to go through what I already have so I can write a bit more here. I’m having a hard time believing that my oldest is almost an adult!
Can someone slow time down for just a minute?! ~* sigh *~

See you soon :)
-Amphitryte

Posted by: Amphitryte | 05/20/2013

My first tattoo

Recently I realized that I’ve never posted a picture here of my tattoo. It’s still the only one I have (although I’m getting another soon), and I thought about and toyed with the design for many months before perfecting it. Ardeo gave his blessing for this tattoo as my 33rd birthday present, so I got it on June 1, 2010, at a shop here downtown*. It only took about an hour from start to finish, and I am still absolutely pleased with the look of it. It is just what I wanted and I’m so glad I had a great artist who copied my drawing to perfection!

This is the Celtic knot of motherhood (which I found via a Google search – I knew that was what I wanted from the beginning) and within it are my kids’ zodiac symbols. [For years I've owned this astrology book, and I believe our horoscopes and planetary/star alignments can have an influence and offer some guidance throughout our lives.]

On the left is my son, the Leo; on the right, my daughter the Taurus:

My very first tattoo!

My very first tattoo!

This work of art is directly between my shoulder blades, so it’s easy to hide if I need to for work, and that was also a part of my plan from the beginning. I started thinking that I might have it colored, but after just a week or so of seeing it in the black outline, I decided I like that look better. Colors can fade more quickly than the basic black, so I’ve kept it as is. I also have let Miss Hurricane color it in with washable markers a few times, so it made for a neat little coloring page when all I wanted to do was lay down and read sometimes! That was handy ;)

I have my 36th birthday coming up on the 27th, and Mom and I are going to get tattoos. She’s buying, so how could I say no? Honestly, I have 3 ideas in mind, but over the last month I’ve narrowed it down and chosen (and perfected) the one I’m going with for this birthday. I’ll have a picture and story for you in a couple of weeks – I’m not going to ruin the surprise, although my cousin Lurkey knows about it! She is a fabulous artist and helped me draw and perfect the knot I have; having her own tattoos, she also has given me advice on coloration and locations and that sort of thing while we’ve talked about the few ideas I had in the works.

One of those ideas is a tattoo honoring my adopted grandparents, who I mentioned in a post last year.** As it says in that post, Mama is from NM and Papa is from KY, so the two states are a part of that tattoo. I’ll most likely have it on one of my calves, but since I’m still in the planning/deciding stages, it will be a while before I have it done. And off the top of my head, I can’t even remember exactly what my other idea is, but I have it either written or drawn up somewhere!

So, it’s a little late, but I wanted to share the art with you! I uploaded my picture to Pinterest about a month ago, and it’s actually gotten a few repins :) I’m rather proud of that, so I wanted to stick it here so it can actually be linked as well.

Thanks for dropping by today! I hope to have more stories and pictures for you soon, as summer is upon us and the family parties are all happening within the next few months.

-{ Namaste }-

*If you see me in person, I’ll tell you where, I just don’t want it/where I live to be public information!

**{Papa’s sister Margie passed away recently :( We all miss her, and I hope to visit Pat and the gang soon.}

Posted by: Amphitryte | 05/19/2013

Happy 10th birthday, Miss Hurricane!

People, this child is my youngest. My baby. And she’s a big 10 years old now! I can hardly believe it. I was and am ready for it, but it did kind of sneak up on me. This morning, while mixing up the cake batter as she slept in the room next to me, I remembered the day she was born. This kid was just over 2 weeks ‘late’, and so labor was induced because she was a big baby! But, even at that time of day ten years ago, she still hadn’t made her grand entrance – oh no, she was a dinnertime baby, being born right before 6 p.m.
Since I think I’ll get a little teary, I’m just going to throw some pictures in here, both from her younger years and from today. I really didn’t think this would affect me so much – I knew even then that she would be my last birth – but it is a little difficult for me to grasp how she’s growing into a woman already. Sometimes when I look at her, I can see the woman inside showing on her face even though she’s still a little girl. It takes my breath away! She has always been a pretty child and I know she will be a beautiful woman when she’s older. Inside and out.

First, a picture of myself at the end of my first pregnancy – Mister Twister, born in August 1998:

End of first pregnancy: July 1998

End of first pregnancy: July 1998

And now, my last – Miss Hurricane, born in May 2003:

The very last picture I'll ever have of my being pregnant! In the hospital on the morning of May 19, 2003. We were just hours from meeting her finally!

The very last picture I’ll ever have of my being pregnant! In the hospital on the morning of May 19, 2003. We were just hours from meeting her finally!

Me and my baby girl, May 2003. She's just a couple weeks old (maybe), and I'd just had my 26th birthday too!

Me and my baby girl, May 2003. She’s just a couple weeks old (maybe), and I’d just had my 26th birthday too!

Oh, this melts my heart. Summer 2003, she wasn't even crawling yet. And that handsome hunk is my awesome husband!

Oh, this melts my heart. Summer 2003, she wasn’t even crawling yet. And that handsome hunk is my awesome husband!

Miss Hurricane's first Halloween! The sunflower of 2003 :D

Miss Hurricane’s first Halloween! The sunflower of 2003 :D

This is still my favorite picture of just her. I think she's about 7 months; we were playing on the floor and I kept taking pictures! (2003)

This is still my favorite picture of just her. I think she’s about 7 months; we were playing on the floor and I kept taking pictures! (2003)

Somebody figured out how to climb on the toilet and sit in the sink so she can see herself in the mirror! (2006)

Somebody figured out how to climb on the toilet and sit in the sink so she can see herself in the mirror! (2006)

I got this one from my MIL - she looks to be around 3 or 4 years old here? So, sometime in 2006-2007, at my in-laws' house.

I got this one from my MIL – she looks to be around 3 or 4 years old here? So, sometime in 2006-2007, at my in-laws’ house.

Playing in the leaf pile: October 2009

Playing in the leaf pile: October 2009

Wondering what this thing does if you throw it on the ground! 7-4-2010

Wondering what this thing does if you throw it on the ground! 7-4-2010

Taking a snack break during a day at the nature sanctuary here in town: 2010

Taking a snack break during a day at the nature sanctuary here in town: 2010

Somewhere near her 8th birthday - she's just showing off her outfit for that day!

Somewhere near her 8th birthday – she’s just showing off her outfit for that day!

She always looks stylish when she needs to kick butt.

She always looks stylish when she needs to kick butt.

See how fast kids grow up?! Always believe it when a parent says that to you. It is so true.

Now she’s 10:

Blowing out the candles of her first double-digit year

Blowing out the candles of her first double-digit year

And, even though I’m in 2″ heels, she’s almost as tall as I am (5’5″) :

Just me and my little lady :) She's so tall already!!

Just me and my little lady :) She’s so tall already!!

Checking out the goodies from Nanna and Pawpaw

Checking out the goodies from Nanna and Pawpaw

Showing everyone her card from Nanna and Pawpaw

Showing everyone her card from Nanna and Pawpaw

I made her a little bitty purse, with a zipper on the front (other) side. She'd been asking for this for months now! I finally got it made last weekend!

I made her a little bitty purse, with a zipper on the front (other) side. She’d been asking for this for months now! I finally got it made last weekend!

She asked for the Luigi's Mansion DS game - she loves the Mario Bros. series and all the characters!

She asked for the Luigi’s Mansion DS game – she loves the Mario Bros. series and all the characters!

Playing her new Luigi game even before Nanna and Pawpaw left to go home!

Playing her new Luigi game even before Nanna and Pawpaw left to go home!

Now, someone hold my hand through her upcoming teenage years ;)

Happy birthday, my sweet daughter!

Posted by: Amphitryte | 04/28/2013

March 2013. I don’t have a better title, sorry!

You may be wondering what the last month has brought. Not much, honestly, but I was thinking about this blog today and remembered that I promised to write more often! What’s stopped me is a new schedule at work, which has been a typical retail ‘all-shifts’ kind of schedule. This is finally coming to an end, and in a week I get to go back to my old department (receiving) and my old schedule – the Mon-Fri, 7-3, perfect for a mom kind of schedule! I will also get my daily workout back, and I love that part of this job so very much! So, over the last two months I have been out on the sales floor and pulled a few closing shifts; luckily, upper management was able to work it out with me in giving me the closing shifts on Fridays or Saturdays more often than not, so I haven’t had to miss bedtime snugglings :) I enjoy hanging out with the kids before bed, and being able to talk to them about school (and life in general, especially with the mancub) in the evenings too!
A few days ago was the first time in 10 years that I had to miss a school function due to work. Miss Hurricane and her class have been learning about, and recreating their own, Greek and Roman architecture pieces. The art teacher had a “museum night” on Thursday, and a few of the kids volunteered to act as tour guides for the evening; the school had a few classrooms set up as exhibits, and they had prepared speeches to give to each group as they walked through. Now, I did know about this museum night about a week ahead of time – too late to request that night off, but I was under the impression that my kid did not *have* to be there, initially. I was already scheduled to close and went about my days as usual. I walked home with Miss Hurricane after school, and on the way here she mentioned that she needed to be at school at 6:30 that evening.
*blink*
Um, what?
Okay, deep breath. So we get home and I pulled out the flyer from a week prior. There was no mention of her necessary attendance (only a “we hope you can attend!” form letter), and I knew I hadn’t seen a permission slip or anything along that line that would have requested she be there to perform any duties as mentioned above. So, Ardeo and I were talking about it and looking over the flyer, but ultimately made the decision (with the kid involved) to skip because I needed to be at work. Truthfully, I *almost* called in for the night. ALMOST. But I did go into work, albeit a little upset because I knew that Miss Hurricane was mildly disappointed that she (or we?) couldn’t be there. Regardless, in the end, it didn’t count against her in any way so everything worked out for everyone. I did have coworkers tell me that I should’ve called in and they would have understood! LoL – another great thing about where I work, I have a fantastic bunch of coworkers, many of whom I’d consider friends :)
In the way of school news, that’s the good stuff that has happened! As far as Mister Twister is concerned….. well, he was failing two core classes. Much like his mother (lol) he forgot to hand in quite a few homework assignments, and this was the cause of a midterm grade of
(1) a 60 in Government, and
(2) 45 in Science.
Yikes. Not good for a Freshman who enjoys the summer vacation – those grades, had they remained the same, would have caused him to have to take summer school! Those two teachers did send home a note telling us about each grade, and to call or email them with any questions. Luckily, in this digital world, we have the Infinite Campus a click away! I logged in to see what was going on with his grades and assignments; without going into too much detail, he had equally half-finished and finished assignments just chilling in each class’ folder, and after finishing a few and handing them in:
(1) Government came up to a 78, and
(2) Science came up to an 83.
We have told him, and still do, that we and everyone else knows that he is absolutely smart enough to do the work – but son, you have to *give it to the teacher* rather than hide your brilliance in the back of a folder! :) I’m sure he knows this but sometimes – again, like his mother! – he needs a reminder or five. He was initally grounded from his computer and video games until he got those papers all turned in (two of which were rather weighted essays), and yesterday he was granted reaccess to the games. His computer needs some sort of magic geekery, but I happen to have a wonderful I.T. guy living here too, so that will happen this week sometime!

That’s most of the news of the month. I’ve done some reading, a little bit of sewing, and a lot of reorganizing my sewing area as well (which I’ll go into more next time). No pictures right now because I’m writing this post on my ipad and still haven’t figured out (i.e. bothered to learn) how to insert any pictures where I want them to appear inline. I also normally hyperlink things, but again, can’t do that from the ipad as far as I know! The only missing link here today is for Infinite Campus, but I’ve mentioned it before and a quick Google search would show you anything you want to know about it.

Now for the small bit of bad news.
This only affects Ardeo and me, and a lot folks we worked with in the five-year period surrounding 9/11/01. Again, mentioned previously in The Story of Us, we used to work at a major airport; yesterday we got the news that a coworker from those days died. Ardeo and I both had the pleasure of working with Larry for about a year each (different departments, shifts, etc.) and he was one of the most hilarious people I have ever worked with! He called himself “SpearChucker” anytime he spoke of himself in third person. He also taught me how the play the card game Hearts, and we played quite a few Euchre games together, both as partners and opponents. Yesterday Larry was helping a friend and had a heart attack from which he never came back. :(
I only knew Larry and one of his sisters from my days working with them, but it’s still a little hard to believe. He was so young – about my dad’s age, married, and had kids, maybe grandkids too. My heart just breaks for his wife – this is one of my top three most terrifying thoughts and I just cannot imagine how she must feel. And his kids too, I just want to figure out a way to hug them all and give them my shoulder among the countless others they will surely be offered.

May your soul be at rest, SpearChucker, and I wish your family and friends comfort, love, and peace.

Hell of a way to end an update post, but he was a hell of a guy, so there’s that. :)

~{ Namaste }~

Posted by: Amphitryte | 03/27/2013

Time to play ketchup!

Do you pronounce the phrase “catch up” as ‘ketchup’? I think I do sometimes, unintentionally. Plus, it made you look ;)

So, it’s time for another long overdue update on life around here:
- My schedule and department classification both have changed at work. Where I used to be in Receiving with a regular 7-3 Mon-Fri schedule, I am now out on the sale floor and my days off tend to change every week; I also have to work some nights. Although on that end, I have requested that my night shifts be on Friday or Saturday, just so that I can still hang out with the kids while they’re awake! And, my manager has given that to me starting next week! This Friday will be the end of having to close the store on a school night and I am actually totally okay with this. I truly miss working in the back – especially the built-in workout that came with it! – but on the other hand I completely understand why my manager made the personnel moves he did. He’s not the top dog for nothing :)

- I still get myself up early enough for a morning round of the Sun Salutation. The stretching always seems to make me have a better day too, whether I work that day/night or not. I do nap after the kids are at school if I had been scheduled the night shift! I also use the first minute of this yoga time to think about my family and friends, and especially so if they need a spiritual boost. I feel more centered now that I have dedicated a few minutes each day to myself while also taking a bit of time for others. Maybe that sounds odd or ‘hippie’ to you, but it does wonders for me!

- Spring Break is coming up for the kids, starting this Friday after school. As mentioned above, my schedule change comes into play regarding any visit up to see my folks. I have a plan but I won’t mention it here (just so it isn’t jinxed!). My MIL is also on Break next week, so the kids are going camping with them at the end of the week while I’m working. Sometime in April I will make time to post again, and will have pictures of anything good that happens!

- Our 11th anniversary was about a week ago, on the 21st. Nothing exciting this year… we had hoped to go hiking or overnight somewhere, but the weather looked like it was going to rain all weekend* so we didn’t make solid plans (i.e. reservations). That Saturday ended up being a gorgeous 70 degrees! So we did go out to eat lunch at our 2nd favorite Chinese place in town, and then did a little window shopping and some grocery shopping. Exciting stuff, I know.
* The kids had gone on a long weekend trip with my in-laws on the 15th, 16th, and 17th, so I requested that weekend off so we could do whatever for our anniversary without worrying about finding someone to keep the kids for a night or two.

- I have had a harder time finding the energy to do any sewing (due to my new schedule) but am going to get back at it tonight. I’ve already cut some fabrics and have some things planned out, as well as my ever-growing and always changing WIP* list! I think I might just post that list here and keep updating it as I finish the projects! Not tonight, but possibly with the next post.
* WIP = works in progress!

That’s really all I have for now. Both kids are doing very well in school, and are ready for the break coming up. They both are still learning Japanese and now can study together and quiz each other just a bit! I do require they watch selected videos from YouTube to earn extra video game time on school nights – I found a series called “Chi’s Sweet Home” that is made up of 2-3 minute cartoon episodes, all in Japanese. It’s more for younger kids, but I think that’s the best way for them to get listening practice as it is spoken a little more slowly than an average tv show for an audience of their own age range. Hell, in relearning Spanish, I have been readin Dr. Suess books in Spanish! I already know many of the stories, so to say and hear it aloud is beneficial, and it reinforces the words and phrases. Learning any language, including one’s native tongue, begins in this manner so why should it be different for learning a second language? Just my opinion :)

See you next time!
~{ namaste }~

Posted by: Amphitryte | 01/29/2013

Thoughtful weekend.

This weekend sort of sneaked up on me. With the new year, I actually did make a list of things I wanted to start doing rather than call them resolutions, and it was a short list. None of the typical ‘exercise, lose weight, eat better’ blah blah blah. My mind does not remember that sort of thing! It does however remember things I have physically written on paper*, so I made a list in a new-to-me journal during the first week of January.
That said, this weekend was one I had written in my journal as one of remembrance, reflection and meditation. On 1/25/06, my Papa left this life for his next; 1/27/11 was the same departure for my other Grandpa. Then there was my aunt & cousin, who died in a car accident just hours before the Challenger incident in 1986. My original plan was to spend some extra time on Friday and this morning for meditation and sending love to my family still here. Friday came and I was nearly exhausted when I got up for work! So I thought, “well, I’ll skip the yoga and just remember Papa and everyone else today, and send them mental hugs” – so I did that, thinking that since I had a Saturday morning meeting at work, I’d make up my Sun Salutation before the meeting. You guessed it, I was up late Friday and slept in a bit too much Saturday to do that. Hey, it happens, right?!
So during the day on Saturday, I popped in on Facebook and found out that a friend of mine, Sam, had lost her father earlier in the day. I immediately closed my eyes for a minute and reached out to her and her family, and I will be keeping them in my thoughts.
Today I really have no excuse or reason for having skipped yoga, but I know that I feel it in my body and will in the morning too! But I did continue with the meditative thoughts and sending my love out to my parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins and Mama too. Sometimes, living far away has its downside but I make that up when and where I am able. With love in my heart and my family on my mind, I spent today doing and making things:
- a small charm-quilt style placemat to use at work (need to finish the back, then I will share pics!)
- a hemp necklace for my emerald pendant from Ardeo, to replace the chain that broke a few weeks ago** (I’ll share the finished picture once I get it from my phone!)
- fixed the hem of a shirt by hand (just an undershirt I wear to work/bed)
- a honey ginger cayenne cough syrup – found on Pinterest!
- helped Ardeo make dinner, which included mashed potatoes. We do not have a masher or a mixer, so they were good and lumpy like Grandma used to make!
And during all this, I actually wore a skirt all day. I’m not one who usually wears skirts – the long ones I like tend to get in my way! – but for some reason, today, it made me feel connected to my grandparents.

It is now almost time for bed, and I am going to sit and meditate like a yogi for a little bit before I climb into bed. One more anniversary of a passing is later this week, and again I will sit with the family in my mind on that day. For years to come, I think the end of January will be a full week for me as I remember my ancestors with love and fond memories.

Love to you and yours. Namaste.

*(e.g. I have a list of UPC numbers to pull every morning at work, and having written them {using the last four, like 1251} on their home boxes, I can remember some items by looking at the box, or can tell someone else if I have it in stock based on the number. I know, it’s odd, but true!)

**(Ardeo got me the necklace for Christmas 1999 and I have sooo missed wearing it)

Posted by: Amphitryte | 01/13/2013

Christmas 2012 ~ LOTS of pictures!

Happy New Year 2013!! As I get older, it feels as if time is passing super-quickly. My baby girl is almost out of the single-digit birthdays and my eldest will be driving within 2 years. How can I be this old already?! But, I have enjoyed every moment of my life thus far and have great intentions of doing so henceforth. For years, I have only made “resolutions” on my birthday, but the new year brings about a time for reflection and change as well; my only goal for 2013 is this – be present, be grateful, be healthy, and be myself. I will adjust this a bit at the end of May, when my own odometer ticks over to 36 years on Earth! For the most part these will stay the same, but with so much time between now and then, it could change or I may add to them.

Let me start at Thanksgiving, since I still have pictures on my phone from that weekend. We were blessed with a visit from my brother-in-law and his family, so we had two Thanksgiving dinners this year! We finally got to meet our littlest nephew Xavier – he is a fantastic kid! So much fun to be around little boys again (as my own is a teenager, I sometimes miss the days of little boy fun with Legos and cars!) and I enjoy chatting with my sister-in-law in person whenever we can. Of course my local sisters-in-law were there too, so the house was a-hoppin’ with grandkids!
{It is interesting to me to think that I am right in between that stage of wee nieces/nephews and having my own grandkids; on one hand, I wish my kids were still so little like my nephew, yet on the other, I’m ready for the stage of hanging out with kids that I can send home with their parents. LOL}

Miss Hurricane and her MI cousin playing Connect Four, while Pawpaw wrangles the baby X-man. He was jumping, so he's a little blurry!

Miss Hurricane and her MI cousin playing Connect Four, while Pawpaw wrangles the baby X-man. He was jumping, so he’s a little blurry!

Look! I caught him standing still for 5 seconds! LOL but this kid is *fast* and always on the go!

Look! I caught him standing still for 5 seconds! LOL but this kid is *fast* and always on the go!

Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be complete until the grandkids help decorate PawPaw's Christmas village scene. They're making it snow!

Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be complete until the grandkids help decorate PawPaw’s Christmas village scene. They’re making it snow!

Next up was my FIL’s birthday on the 15th:
My MIL had a pizza party! After everyone ate, FIL got to open his birthday gifts – a giant grilling spatula from us, which really is about 1 square foot in size. From his eldest daughter, a picture of the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard, which she had autographed by Ben Jones (the guy who played Cooter – she met him at some point in the last year)! And from his baby girl, a framed picture of his favorite cheerleader – our niece! She didn’t autograph it though, she’s only 5. ;)

My FIL with his birthday gifts: an autographed Dukes of Hazzard photo, a giant spatula for grilling, and a picture of his favorite cheerleader (our niece)!

Happy Birthday, Pops!

~ And now, Christmas 2012 for my family ~

Christmas at home: This year, we each bought things for each other (so everyone had to buy 3 gifts – we used our money, but the kids chose what they got for their 3 people), Santa brought some very wanted items, and Mrs. Claus brought me a delicious box of cordial cherries!

Thank you, Pinterest! Did you know? It's difficult to find any Christmas trees (live or not) on December 23rd. Ardeo happened to love this idea I found on Pinterest, so we made it happen! We already have plans to do the same, yet add some to it, next Christmas.

Thank you, Pinterest! Did you know? It’s difficult to find any Christmas trees (live or not) on December 23rd. Ardeo happened to love this idea I found on Pinterest, so we made it happen! We already have plans to do the same, yet add some to it, next Christmas.

(Picture source: here – Pulling ideas from this search for next year!)

0836, Dec 25: The kids are still sleeping, but it looks like Santa dropped by overnight!

0836, Dec 25: The kids are still sleeping, but it looks like Santa dropped by overnight!

0837, Dec 25 - Santa found our tree!

0837, Dec 25 – Santa found our tree!

Mister Twister got a new watch! He really likes it - nothing beats a good old analog Timex with indiglo and a comfortable fabric wristband. So I'm told.

Mister Twister got a new watch! He really likes it – nothing beats a good old analog Timex with indiglo and a comfortable fabric wristband. So I’m told.

Mister Twister got a fantastically fun Princess Peach race car for his sister. It's the kind that you pull back and let go! So much fun on wood floors!

Mister Twister got a fantastically fun Princess Peach race car for his sister. It’s the kind that you pull back and let go! So much fun on wood floors!

This is actually me - the lamp gave the previous pictures an odd look, so Ardeo asked me to turn it off and open the blinds. As I opened my gifts, this is the best picture he could get. He got me a sweet new nightgown + slippers!

This is actually me – the lamp gave the previous pictures an odd look, so Ardeo asked me to turn it off and open the blinds. As I opened my gifts, this is the best picture he could get. He got me a sweet new nightgown + slippers!

Christmas with my in-laws: The grandkids were spoiled as usual. My MIL asked for lists a few weeks before Christmas, and she got a few things for each kid from those lists. My FIL made a mini tool box for us (as well as my SIL & BIL, and my SIL & her fiancé) filled with gifts that make a marriage strong. These tool boxes came with letters for each the husband & the wife, describing the tools used:

The tools a husband uses in his marriage.

The tools a husband uses in his marriage.

Tools for the wife to use.

Tools for the wife to use.

From my ILs each couple also got a sweet baking pan with lid; the lid has the “Coffee Heaven” design with our names underneath, and the actual pan has our names engraved on one side. (They bought them from thatsmypan.com.) The pan was filled with homemade candies and fudge to boot! Thank you both for the super sweet gifts – everything was awesome and has been used & eaten!

Our marriage toolbox. FIL made the tiny toolbox and scarf, then filled it with the other goodies!

Our marriage toolbox. FIL made the tiny toolbox and scarf, then filled it with the other goodies!

(This is my MIL on the back left of the picture. My newly-engaged SIL and her fiance {center} are opening their pan too!)

Yes, I'm blurry, but I was laughing! Opening one of our gifts from Ardeo's parents: turned out to be a lovely baking pan with a lid, engraved with our names, and full of homemade chocolate treats!

Yes, I’m blurry, but I was laughing! Opening one of our gifts from Ardeo’s parents: the fabulous and full baking pan!

Christmas with my mom: My dad was out of town for the weekend, but it was the best weekend for us to visit, and again the kids were spoiled with fantastic gifts. We also got to see two of my three nieces! It was a short visit (since she lives a few hours north and I work weekdays, currently with no vacation days available to me) but always fun being there. Mom also got the kids’ lists early in December and pulled from it. I’m very glad that Mom and MIL are friends, as they usually contact each other to ensure each set of grandparents get different gifts for the kids!

My mom (the Northern Nana) showing what she got for Ardeo & me: Amazon, Starbucks, and iTunes gift cards. Exactly what we'll use!

My mom (the Northern Nana) showing what she got for Ardeo & me: Amazon, Starbucks, and iTunes gift cards. Exactly what we’ll use!

Miss Hurricane got an iPad Mini from the Northern Nana!

Miss Hurricane got an iPad Mini from the Northern Nana!

I GOT MONIES!! When the only grandson asks his nana for $100, he typically gets it - for Christmas and his birthday, each year! (Not bad!)

I GOT MONIES!! When the only grandson asks his nana for $100, he typically gets it – for Christmas and his birthday, each year! (Not bad!)

Bro’s baby girl, Miss LuLu, has inherited her daddy’s Spiderman skills. I can’t even begin to count how many times I saw him do this exact thing growing up, so when she showed me how she could ‘climb the walls’ I told her I had to have a picture! Then I told her that her daddy used to do that all the time, and Nana yelled at him for it. She said she doesn’t get yelled at for doing this! LOL

Just like her daddy - climbing the doorways with ease!

Just like her daddy – climbing the doorways with ease!

One last picture from Mom’s – before we left for home, I gathered my kids and my nieces for a photo op. Each kid here has their own special place in my heart!

Surrounded by beloved heatherns - clockwise from the boy: Mister Twister, Miss Hurricane, Miss LuLu, and Miss Sunshine.

Surrounded by beloved ‘heatherns’ – clockwise from the boy: Mister Twister, Miss Hurricane, Miss LuLu, and Miss Sunshine.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back in July, when we visited Mama and my bonus cousins, I got the idea to make a little quilt for Mama for Christmas. Browsing Pinterest one day, I came across a Scrabble-themed quilt – and it hit me.
The *perfect* gift.
Since a project in middle school, I love family trees. Growing up, any time we visited Mama & Papa, the was always a Scrabble game in progress between them, and we cousins played all the board games with them and each other too (as well as cards! The parents played among themselves and it was always a great time, no matter the games!). So, my idea was to incorporate the family tree into a Scrabble game.

**Thank you, Ivory Spring for your photos; thanks also to Red Pepper Quilts for your Postage Stamp Quilt tutorial. I combined these two ideas into my special Christmas present for my Mama!**

In looking through my fabric stash I found enough fabric for all the colors I would need, so I got out my graph paper and set about putting everyone’s names in the right place while following the rules of the game:

The beginning stage of assembly - you can see my pattern and math all worked out on the paper. I highlighted each portion as I went along to keep myself in the right areas.

The beginning stage of assembly – you can see my pattern and math all worked out on the paper. I highlighted each portion as I went along to keep myself in the right areas.

The whole time I was putting this together, I couldn’t say anything about it on Facebook – I’m friends with all my cousins there! I wanted this to be a surprise, and also wanted to give myself wiggle room in the event I couldn’t finish it in time for our Christmas visit. So, when we went to Mom’s on the 28th, I told her that I would need to use her sewing machine. In between working a shift of 0400-1230 for the previous three weeks, I was usually too tired to work on it until the weekends, so I still had to out the backing on and get it quilted by the afternoon of the 29th. We were going to see her the night of the 29th, and I had already stayed up late on two worknights to get the front finished! I was deliriously sleepy for a few days, but also excited at how well the quilt was coming together (it is my first true quilting project, and I was giving it to a woman who has been hand-quilting for over 50 years!). I was a little nervous, but I got it finished around 7 p.m. on the 29th:

Quilting lines on the back of Mama's little Scrabble quilt. This was taken right before I finished completely (note the pins on the left side) and attached the tag.

Quilting lines on the back of Mama’s little Scrabble quilt. This was taken right before I finished completely (note the pins on the left side) and attached the tag.

Just after calling to let her know we were on our way, I was finally able to upload a picture to Facebook and let the proverbial cat out of the bag!

I tagged it on the back with my real name, and the date of 12/25/12, so I blacked out my name for use online. We got to Mama’s house at about 8, and when we walked in I told her I had something for her. She laughed and said, “Oh, I said no gifts! It’s gift enough that you are here!” (Have I mentioned just how awesome she is?!)
So I told her that this ‘something’ was made especially for her by me, and she decided to go ahead and open it:

Mama is reading everyone's names while complimenting my work :)

Mama is reading everyone’s names while complimenting my work :)

She loves it! She did call out my machine-quilting (LOL) but said that it looked wonderful, and she loved the idea of it. Then she laid it on her chest freezer to get a good look at the whole thing and declared the freezer to be its new home. And that’s when I got another great hug from her!

Mama laid the quilt on her freezer to look at it, and said, "Oh! It's like you made it just for this spot! That's where I'll keep it!" Beautiful happy accident! And, everyone enters her house through the kitchen anyway, so it is on year-round display <3

Mama laid the quilt on her freezer to look at it, and said, “Oh! It’s like you made it just for this spot! That’s where I’ll keep it!” Beautiful happy accident! And, everyone enters her house through the kitchen anyway, so it is on year-round display <3

During our visit there, the 4 of us played a good game of Uno while we talked and snacked on chips and pretzels – just like I always did growing up. We chatted to catch up, she chatted with the kids about school, and we all had some good laughs while playing! These are the things that make excellent memories, and the biggest thing that ‘made’ my Christmas this year was how much Mama loves her family Scrabble quilt.

Mama with two great-grandkids, and a wee pokemon too!

Mama with two great-grandkids, and a wee pokemon too!

Me and my Mama - how I love her :)

Me and my Mama – how I love her :)

Officially the best Christmas to date.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope your holidays went just as well where you are! This year – as I’ve probably said in years past – I’m going to write more here as I can. I do still work almost 40 hours weekly, and that shouldn’t change too much. I also have some projects that need finishing (most are at least a year old already!) and some new ideas that I want to make into real objects, so when I’m not reading the social sites I intend to work on those things. And as usual, I will update you on the kids and our family life in general here and there! I feel like I have ADD, which is actually just more ‘too many thoughts connected in oddball ways’ than an inability to focus on a task, but it definitely means that I have an average 5 things happening all at the same time. Which in turn means, things get halfway finished, then left to sit (or “cure”?) for a while before I get back to it. I’m always working on that aspect of myself!

See you soon!
Namaste ~
Amphitryte

(P.S. I can’t find the link to my old fancy signature, as my laptop died and I am sharing the family computer with 3 people. I still have the text file somewhere, but not much time to look for it! I loved it and it should come back as soon as I find it and make it quickly accessible.)

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