Month: March 2009

  • I stalled it as long as possible but it finally happened...

    Dmitry got his driver's license.


    Since he had successfully completed the Sears' course all he had to do was take paperwork up, fill in a form, I plunked down $24, he got thumbprinted and photographed and he was handed his temporary license, permanent to follow in about three weeks.

    Had to pull over into another parking space prior to leaving the Lake Worth DPS office for a brief weep, since his father's not here for the occasion.

    But then I pulled myself together and we made a detour for half a dozen Dunkin Donuts.  e-ghost

    Dmitry's so different from all the other kids.  Is he begging to be allowed to drive somewhere or other now he has his license?

    Nope.  He walked Max and has settled down at the computer with Age of Empires III. 

    Works for me.  e-nogood

    To be fair to him, though, last night after I'd picked him up at Carolyn's I suggested that, due to the severe storm bearing down on us, he might put his car in the now-vacant spot in the garage.  Trouble is, any car there needs to be far to the right to allow room for the van (dumb packed garage!).  I usually have to back out again and pull in again.

    By jingo if he didn't sweep into it in a masterful fashion, getting it right the first time. 

  • Well, I think that can be accurately described as an abortive trip. >:^<

    Dmitry and Carolyn's second anniversary is coming up and he wants to take her to see "Carmen" down at the Bass Hall.  Last night I tried to purchase tickets on-line but no matter which browser I used I got an error message, so this afternoon I decided to go down to the ticket office in person.

    Hesitated between going by way of 7th Street or freeway, and chose the latter.  Exiting at the Cherry St./E. Lancaster exit, I drove over the bridge and continued north on Cherry.  Nice three-lane, one-way street they built there when the freeway was rebuilt several years ago.

    Whereupon a police officer over on the right side of the street pointed his radar gun at me and waved me over.  e-fingers_ears

    Turns out at some point - at the top of the hill, he said - the speed limit suddenly drops to 30.  I was clocked at 48.

    He and another officer were doing a brisk business, I'll tell you that.  Pulling us over one after another.  Who knew that was a THIRTY?  Three lanes?  One way?  Okay, had he said it was 40, I'd understand, but 30?  And if there's a sign I've certainly never noticed it. 

    Back down to the courthouse I go.  Never in my life have I had two tickets working at the same time (that was interesting, BTW...this guy said nothing regarding whatever it was for which I was ticketed when I was rear-ended on January 15, even though nothing's changed).  Can't recall the last time I got a speeding ticket.   e-mggrumpy

    Signed for it then proceeded grumpily to where the Bass Hall is located.  Found a parking spot a couple of blocks away and put in a quarter for 15 paltry minutes, then another quarter.  No change.  Still 15 minutes.  Tapped the meter to no avail.  Plunked in a few dimes to get up to 33 minutes, and in a state of some dudgeon stalked off to the Bass Hall.

    To find the ticket office closed.  It's 2:30 in the afternoon on a weekday and the ticket office is closed!  e-arg

    So I came home without the tickets I wanted but with a ticket I certainly didn't want, and a quarter to the bad.

    Snarl.... e-tantrum

  • Well!  I wasn't the only one in the family with an eventful weekend.  Matt (Kirstin's husband) and Benjamin went camping at Lake Whitney, where Matt is confidant it reached freezing ( said the low was 33, but they were in a low-lying area so he's giving him credit), thus earning the coveted Polar Bear badge (Don took Jonathan on a Scout camping trip once and by jingo if they didn't earn the Polar Bear this area it's not that easy to get).

    Matt says Benjamin is a great camper, nary uttering a complaint.  (Nothing like his Gran, who would have been griping and whining the whole time....I hate tent camping!)

    Here's a photo of Benjamin with the fire he made this morning:

    Ben by campfire-2

    Isn't he the cutest thing? 

    And here he is in front of  Lake Whitney as he and Matt were heading on home:

    Ben by the lake-1

    This brings back memories, so it does. 

  • That was a difficult venue in which to take photos.

    Tried both the digital camera and the cell phone, but big ol' places seating 10K simply are hard for my cameras to handle.  Still, I tried.  Got there quite early - around 11:10 a.m., twenty minutes before the doors opened and when they said 11:30 a.m. they meant it.  Stayed in my car and ate a pastrami-on-pumpernickel sandwich I'd brought, as there wasn't any food allowed inside, then ten minutes later joined the few hundred people waiting.  Turned out the line I got into was the same one as Jana and Dave, the friends through whom I got my discounted ticket.  Here's Dave waving from the seats they'd bagged:


    As I'd said in a previous post, it was held at The Potter's House, which is T.D. Jakes' establishment.  It's huge, seating 10K!  And only two small restrooms on the upper level where we were (the general admission area).

    Here's a photo of both Dave and Jana.  Dave was one of Don's best friends, and spoke first at his memorial service, with Jana speaking too:


    Tell you what, Dave Ramsey's fans tend to be on the fanatical side!  You'd have thought he was Elvis and Frank Sinatra and the Beatles all rolled into one, based on the uproar when he appeared on stage.  He does give a good program, and I was wishing heartily that the kids were there to hear him.  The man speaks sense.



    Of course, being in the equivalent of the coach section of an airplane, I mostly watched him on the big screens, as he was an itty-bitty figure on the stage.


    There was much hawking of his books and classes, etc. but I didn't purchase anything.  The basic program is really pretty simple:

    1. Save $1000 for an emergency fund.
    2. Pay debt down by the "debt snowball" method, i.e. pay off the smallest loans first, then work on the larger ones as more money's freed up to do so.
    3. Save the equivalent of 3-6 months expenses, aka: fully funded emergency fund.
    4. Put 15% of your income - and when he says 15% he means 15% - into Roth IRA's and pre-tax retirement.
    5. Set up college funds (if applicable).
    6. Pay off mortgage.
    7. Invest in mutual funds and real estate, and practice philanthropy.

    That's it.  Presumably the latter steps can get more involved, but the beginning steps are fairly simple.  You're supposed to hold garage sales, get a second job, whatever is required, to get those first three taken care of.  And those steps are in order.  FIRST work on getting the $1000 set aside and only then move on to the debt snowball.  When an emergency arises so the fund gets dipped into, forego the debt snowball until the $1000 is back in place.  Once all debts except the mortgage are paid off, then work on the fully funded emergency fund. 

    Anyway, it was quite a valuable afternoon.  I learned a lot.  ;^)

  • The chandelier I want!

    Found it at the florist shop where we got the corsage for Carolyn. Fell crazy in love with it. Isn't it a charming piece of whimsy?

  • It's clearly been an uneventful week.

    Not much going on since I last posted, but this is about to change as much as the weather did.

    We've been in the 70's, but now it's in the 40's, due to drop to
    near-freezing, with a possibility of snow flurries, and the high
    tomorrow hovering around 50. 

    And will I be snug and warm in my house tomorrow?

    Heavens, no.  Tomorrow is the Big Dave Ramsey Event at the Potter's
    House  -   that's T. D. Jakes' establishment  -  over in Dallas.  I've
    never been there and have been stunned to learn it seats 10,000 and the
    Big Event is almost sold out!  Parking is expected to be, in a word,
    Difficult.  The doors open at 11:30 a.m. and apparently the smart
    people will try to arrive early.  Trouble is, there's no food or drink
    permitted, and while bottled water might be for sale, that seems as if
    that's about it.  The Big Event is from 1 p.m. till 6 p.m. with two
    twenty minute breaks.

    I have grave concern about the, um, facilities, if you ladies get muh drift.  Grave concern, indeed. 

    Turns out a friend of mine from Christ Chapel - she's the wedding
    coordinator  -  is going, as is Beth's mother, Anna.  Found that out
    when I emailed her to see about getting together for dinner, and it
    turns out she's going as well!  So we're going to meet up afterward and
    go get Mexican. 

    Then on Sunday afternoon is the second in the series "The Norman Conquests" at Stage West.

    Dmitry has his own affair this weekend, as he's escorting Carolyn to
    the ROTC Military Ball tomorrow evening, which reminds me I need to
    iron his shirt.  And be sure to pick up the corsage first thing
    tomorrow morning, seeing as how I'm going to have to leave earlier than
    I'd planned for Dallas.

    Ugh.  Dallas.    Sure hope Dave Ramsey is worth this effort. 

  • Like my Grandpa - Mom's father - did, I do enjoy live theater!  This afternoon Mom and I went to Stage West to see "Table Manners," the first of a trilogy called "The Norman Conquests".  It's in the classic English comedy style, so was very amusing. Over the next two Sundays we'll see the remaining two plays in the trilogy, which feature the same characters.  Thanks for the treat, Mom and Dad!

    Here's the stage set (for no particular reason except I'd been trying to get Mom's camera to send a photo, so did one with mine to see if it'd work):


    The door on the right can be banged shut quite loudly, BTW.  The whole play took place in this dining room.

    When the character Norman first came on stage I was momentarily taken aback, thinking it was Austin Hines, who is in the improv group "Curtis Needs a Ride."  I figured his mother, Kathy, would have said something had he been starring in a Stage West play, and in any case it clearly wasn't him upon closer inspection, but still....the resemblance was marked. 

  • Emotional land mines abound for the bereaved.

    Earlier this afternoon I looked at one of the inserts in the worship folder, which is an order form for lilies for the Easter services.

    "I need to order one for Don," I thought.

    Then was immediately overcome by the thought of our going to Easter service together last year, and how when I'd idly cast an eye over the honorees for the lilies, there wasn't the slightest suspicion that the very next Easter my Don's name would be in the "In Memoriam" list.

  • Happy 20th birthday to Joe! ;^)

    This morning I was up and out (comparatively) early, collecting the dresses (I dreamed about them, can you imagine?  that they were put back out and had been sold), going to Target to get paper plates and such, then to Bluebonnet Bakery to fetch the chocolate fudge cake I'd ordered for Joe's birthday.

    Got everything ready then.....waited.  Finally at 11:15 a.m. I caved and knocked on Dmitry's door, waking the boys up as I plaintively pointed out I needed to leave for line dancing before long so could they get up already?

    They did. 

    Here's a photo of no-longer-a-teenager Joe with his cake and present:


    Isn't he handsome?  e-aw

  • Maybe I'll take up collecting Pop Culture Barbie dolls.

    Who knew Barbie....which I recall when it was first released, black-and-white striped swimsuit, painted pony tail and all....had branched out in so many directions?  Yes, I knew about the Disney Barbies, but these came as a complete surprise to me:


    I also remember when The Flintstones premiered on Friday evenings.  Wilma and Betty to the life!  Um, so to speak.  

    Here's one I'd rather like to have....the Wicked Witch of the West:


    Don't recall the witch being so attractive, however.  It's still a jolly nifty doll.  But here's the one I really want:


    "The Birds" Barbie!  That's one of the best Hitchcock films, by jingo.  Wish they'd work to make one of Whatshername in "Rear Window"....the character played by Grace Kelly.  Perhaps with her in the gown she wore when she had dinner from 21 delivered?

    I'd buy it.