Month: June 2007

  • Happy 7th birthday, Brianna!

    Seven years ago this very day our precious Brianna made her first appearance on this earthly stage.

    Today also was the day of her birthday party....the first time the celebration has been on Brianna's actual natal day. She and some family and friends drove through heavy rain to get to the party site, an indoor swimming pool. Kirstin's still in Honduras (though presumably she's making the trek home now), so Don and I braved hard rain and impressive lightning to pick Bethany up at her other grandparents' house and take her to the party. Benjamin had also been invited but, assuming there would nothing but a bunch of girls present, he refused to attend (to the subsequent dismay of the ONE boy who did show up, solely because he thought Benjamin would be there).

    Here's a short video of the birthday girl:







    IMG_0573sm IMG_0574sm



    Jun 30 2007 - VID00025-3

    Happy birthday, Brianna!

  • THIS takes nerve!

    The phone just rang and when Don answered it was someone who wanted him to participate in a survey.

    He quite reasonably asked what the survey was about, to which the answer was, "I'm not at liberty to say."  e-browlift

    "Then I'm not at liberty to take the survey," he briskly replied. "Goodbye!" and hung up.

    They're not "at liberty to SAY"?  e-headscratch

  • Sunday summer afternoons are made for yard work.

    Well, that's what Don seems to think in any event.  

    Dmitry had gone to Carolyn's paternal grandparents' home in Brownwood today, but as soon as he was dropped off he was pressed into service.  Didn't even get to come inside first:


    There's some sort of ground cover up there that needed to be hacked back to a manageable level, you see.


    Wielding power tools!  Cool.  Gonna have to work, let it involve implements capable of cutting off human limbs as well as botanical ones.


    Don told me that the Bradford pear tree has pears on it!  I was quite excited and ran for my camera....


    Took me a couple of minutes to locate 'em.  I spy three in this photo, though.  They're just little green balls.  I suppose ornamental pear trees don't produce edible pears, more's the pity.

  • AARRGGGHHH! This is SO frustrating.

    So I was just at my home-away-from-home, SuperTarget, right?  Having recently set it up so that when I use my Target card Dmitry's school gets a cut, I figured it'd be nice to actually use it for a change.  I mostly don't.

    Darned if my whopping $40 purchase wasn't declined.  e-11_confused

    I knew it wasn't because of being behind on it, so came home, went to the Target site, enrolled in the online-account managing thing, and confirmed that there's no minimum payment due, and I should be fine.   I was also appalled to discover that I'd been "upgraded" to a Target Visa, along with a hefty credit limit, never mind the fact such an "upgrade" had been neither requested or approved by me.  I vaguely recalled receiving a communication from Target some months ago, advising me I'd been "approved" for their Visa, and to call some number or other to activate it.  Didn't want it, so I didn't.  Over the months I'd occasionally put a gift card or kids' birthday presents on it, no problem.  Make my payments via Bank of America, also no problem.

    Turns out they just recently went ahead and converted the RedCard to the Visa card, never mind my lack of approval, and when they did so it closed my RedCard, which is why it was declined.

    This simply drives me wild.  For years the Target salesclerks have tried to get me to switch to their Visa, but I was resolute in declining.  No, thanks.  No, thank you.  Thank you, no.  Thanks EVER so, but NO.  I don't want a high-limit credit card; my little old RedCard works fine.

    Target decided I was going to have their Visa, and that was that.  According to the customer service rep I spoke to a few minutes ago, it's automatic...after a period of time, all RedCards get "upgraded" to Visas.  The customer doesn't really get a choice, as I discovered when I wanted to be reconverted back.  No can do, or at least, no will do.  Once it's switched over to the Visa, that's it.

    Told the woman to shut it down, then, and I'll just pay it off.

    She did so, then brightly assured me in future I was certainly welcome to apply for another Target RedCard.


  • Update on the car-stereo stealing story...

    According to Jeanne, whose hubby works at the dealership, a call-in tip led to the arrest of the thieves, and it turns out that was a woman and her two sons....the one doing the actual stealing is a large teenager.

    Can you imagine?  Taking your kids to rob for you?

    Incredible. e-7_mad

  • Happy birthday to Beth!

    Even though Alex isn't there right now, hope it's still a good 'un, Beth dear!

    We love you and miss you, and can't wait for December. 

    Filched from her blog:

    Aren't they cute? 

  • View it....or read it....and weep.

    Here's a news report on a burglary at the car dealership at which my bro-in-law works; it features security video footage taken on Father's Day.

    Not one's usual Father's Day outing, since it shows a man breaking into trucks on the used-car lot so as to steal the stereo systems, with a woman and a little boy keeping watch. 

  • Good heavens, is it Friday already?

    My apologies for my unusual silence this week.  We've had the girls staying here while they attend Girl Scout day camp, and having to get them up and out the door at a frightfully early hour, combined with just the stress of having a pair of seven-year-olds (well, Brianna turns seven on the 30th....close enough!) in residence, has caused me to fall behind in rather a lot. 

    Not to mention which, there simply hasn't been a whole lot to talk about. Dmitry began summer school on Monday, and apart from his fears he won't be able to complete the two courses he's taking, he's actually liking it alright.  According to him it's surprising how much work he can get through when surrounded with peace and quiet, without the usual distraction of his friends, chatter in the classroom, etc.  None of his particular friends are there, and everyone who is, is present with the goal of getting through the course(s), so it's an environment conducive to study.  He's also been assiduous about working on the packs at home in the evening, too.

    Charles has been trying to find a job, and to give both him and Dmitry their due, they've managed to share Dmitry's room without causing a ruckus.  Of course, Charles spent the night at his friend, Aaron's, house the last two nights.  ;^)

    The other day I went to Stripling & Cox, a department store in the Dunlop chain, which is closing.  Sad, sad time.  Not a surprise, of the mysteries of life here in Fort Worth has been wondering how on earth Stripling & Cox managed to stay open at all.  The selection wasn't much, the prices weren't much, and the facility itself was tired.  But oh my....!  Back when I was growing up, Cox's (as it was before merging with Stripling's) was a primo department store.  By jingo, I remember when a department store was a department store, with a book department, toy department, millinery department, bridal department, and even a notions department.  That last is where my sister, Jeanne, had her very first job.  She was an excellent student so was able to get credit for working in the afternoons, and as she was also a skilled seamstress, she worked in the Cox's notions department.

    Ah, well do I recall her receiving her first pay check, and Dad's having to go through it with her in the dining room, explaining what all those deductions were for.  As is common when one first becomes employed, she'd simply multiplied her hourly wage by the number of hours worked and expected the check to match.  Ha.  That was a rude disappointment for her, as it's been for several of our children in their turn.

    Cox's is where we ordered my wedding invitations, and I'm trying to remember if I got my veil there, too.  It was the first place those of us living on the west side who got engaged went to register our patterns, and that's when you knew you were getting married....when you could go up to the china department, find your pattern and see the little card in front of it with your name and wedding date on it.

    These are hard times for department stores in any case, as Target has made depredations even into Macy's and Dillard's market share.  A mediocre store such as Stripling & Cox had become didn't stand a chance.

    I wonder if the locally-owned department store will ever make a comeback?  I'd love to see that happen, personally.

  • My poor Benjamin bunny!

    Y'all may have read about the ferocious thunderstorms that suddenly blew up and pounded the northern part of the area last night.  We had hard rain with some thunder but that was about all.  Mind, it was enough, but wasn't too terribly bad.  Not like up in Gainesville or Sherman.

    Or even Keller, where Kirstin lives.  She told me tonight that the storm was absolutely wicked, with almost-continual lightning and thunder, in addition to the driving rain.  To her surprise it appeared that both boys were sleeping through it.  Then a bolt of lightning hit right next to their house, shutting down the electricity, and basically "frying" a lot of their circuits.  The phone, TV, oven, garage door opener, I don't remember what all now don't work.  It shook the house when it hit and Kirstin decided this was could the boys possibly be sleeping through this?

    So she took a flashlight and tiptoed up the stairs, quietly opening the door to Benjamin's room which was, naturally, pitch black except for the occasional flash of lightning.  She softly approached his bed, as she certainly didn't want to awaken him if he were, in fact, asleep.  As she reached it she could just make out a still figure in the middle of his double bed, rolled into a fetal position, and she could hear raspy breathing; Kirstin whispered, "Benjamin?"

    From the huddled lump came a barely audible, thin thread of a whisper.  "!"  

    He was literally frozen with fear, unable to move or cry out.  She said she picked him up and when she did he stayed in a ball, and remained like that until she got him downstairs and on her lap on the sofa.  After a while he was finally able to relax a little bit.  It took a couple of hours until the storm had passed over and he was able to be tucked into their bed to sleep.  When he got up this morning....showing definite signs of his hard night....he solemnly told his mother all about how the lightning "got" his night light, and got the hall light, and got the bathroom light, etc.  The clear implication was that the lightning did its level best to "get" him, too, but somehow missed him.  He requested his favorite morning television show, but was reminded that due to the lightning the television doesn't work.

    He crumpled at this news.  "Will this nightmare never end?" his face clearly showed.  e-fingers_ears

  • Yesterday was the June celebration at Jeanne's house.

    We gathered together at 5:30 p.m. for barbecue, cards and conversation; here's Meredith greeting Dad:


    This is Mary and Dmitry in the forefront, with Charles holding Bethany in the rear:


    Jill talking with Bethany and Benjamin:


    Three of my favorite guys in the world:


    And two more! My nephews, Justin and Jordan (l. and r.):


    Elaine and Louis:


    Uncle Charles is a veritable Pied Piper of Poppets:


    Mom getting a hug from Meredith:


    I love this photo of Bethany:


    Here are Jessica and Dad:


    Matt giving Benjamin a push:


    Jeanne with all the kiddos present:


    It was a terrific party. Thanks, Jeanne! You had quite a crowd. ;^)