Thoughts, out loud, that probably should of been left inside my head....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Into the Wild

Good news! Dad is being released from the hospital today! What a Happy Thanksgiving afterall. He should be home sometime this afternoon. Yahoo!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

This years Thanksgiving we will be detouring from our normal path of stuffing ourselves full to the point where we might pop; from spending hours playing board games and catching up with extended family and close friends; from watching tv and football games until we fall asleep in our chairs, gluttons, but happy gluttons nonetheless.

No, my friends and family, this year we will spend this day of thanks merely being thankful. Thankful that my father avoided what can only be described as a near hearattack; thankful for the doctors and staff at Methodist Hospital here in San Antonio for taking fantastic care of him; thankful to our close knit family and friends for supporting our family when we needed it the most; and most of all thankful to God.

Change is a tough bite for us all to swallow. And it never goes down easy. But the time has come for this family to make one - and I think at this point we are ready. The events of this past week have opened our eyes, more like pried open our eyes, to the importance of taking care of our bodies. This body. This one body.

We need to take care of this body - give it the exercise it needs to stay healthy and most importantly feed it the things it needs to run efficiently and effectively. Problems now, if not corrected, will only lead to larger problems later.

I am no poster child. I have my own addictions that need to be broken. But I'm awake now. Wide awake. And I'm sorry my father had to be used to set this example to us. But it worked. And I'm listening.

Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget to hug the ones you love.

Another Anniversary

One year ago today we bought our house! I can't believe it's already been a year. Time has flown. We've done a ton of projects around this place, and I still have quite a long list left.

I know it's not a huge deal, but I'm quite proud that we have successfully paid a mortgage for 12 consecutive months.

And to think back about how nervous I was to buy this place!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Strangers in the Night

I think one of the most interesting and amazing aspects of any crisis is the ability to bring people together. If you've ever had the experience of spending a lot of time in a hospital waiting room, you'll understand where I'm going with this.

The faces inside the room are ones that become more familiar every day. You share their happy news and your share their disappointment. This past few days has been a wave of emotion in this respect.

There was very large family that was in the waiting room on Friday, the day of dad's surgery. They were loud, and obnoxious and a bit 'uncivilized' if you want my honest opinion, but they were a family none the less. And they did not have it easy. There father was recovering in ICU (operation unknown) and apparently he wasn't doing well. They were having difficulties with the doctor and his treatment and there were a lot of anger and tears flowing. On Saturday morning, we found out that their dad didn't make it. We didn't see that family anymore.

Another woman and her family were occupying the back corner of the waiting room. Again, I'm unsure whom their relative was and what they were in for. But we got to see the doctor walk over to the family and tell them in so many words that "Let this be a lesson to everyone to take care of themselves." This woman was in the waiting room every time I arrived and she was there every time I left. The doctor had also mentioned how unhealthy it was for her to set up camp in the room. She needed to get out of there and get some normalcy. She still stayed. And as of this evening, she was still in there when I left.

My father was the first one in to surgery on Friday morning, but while we were waiting, they wheeled another man in. Probably in his late 60's, but the family was obviously European (I'm thinking Swedish or somewhere around those parts). We kept crossing their paths in the ICU when we'd go to visit Dad. This morning Jeff and JR rode the elevator with the daughter and got the scoop. They have been in San Antonio on vacation and were at the pool when the father blacked out and collapsed. Apparently he stopped breathing and his son-in-law (we are assuming) had to administer CPR while the ambulance was called. She said they even used the defibrillators on him. He underwent a bypass surgery as well, but he had SIX blockages. I can not imagine how they are feeling. In a foreign country and having this come on so unexpectedly. However, good news reigns. There father is doing excellent in recovery as well and he's expected to be moved out of the ICU shortly. Great news!

And to the saddest, and happiest, story of them all. As soon as Dad was rolled towards the surgical room on Friday morning, we took ourselves to the surgical waiting room to wait for news. There was a man sleeping on the chair, he looked very uncomfortable, but he was snoring away. He continued in the position for at least 2 more hours. I didn't think much about him until we rode with him in the elevator later that day. He was going on his 6th week at the hospital. His son, age 14, was undergoing his 4th surgery in as many weeks and this last one was a full blown heart transplant. Can you believe it? Age 14. I was shocked. On Saturday morning, as we were celebrating Dad's speedy recovery, we saw the 14 year old being wheeled back into the ICU. He'd had some bleeding that morning and they had to go in and see what was wrong. In the midst of this, his gall bladder erupted and they had to do even more surgery. By mid-day, by way of family member conversations, it sounded like he was going to have to have a kidney transplant. I was so upset by this kid. It made me so sad to think about all the normal 14 year olds out there living life, taking things for granted and this kid was struggling for life. His family was in and out of the ICU all day checking in on him. It hurt me to look at their expressions. I prayed so hard for that kid on Saturday night. When I went to the hospital this morning to visit dad, I expected the worst. But good news greeted us. His heart and kidneys were both doing better and I think they are postponing the kidney transplant. What great news! I was relieved. Don't' get me wrong though, he's still very critical and anything can still happen. I don't know this kid. I don't know his story. I just know that a 14 year old deserves a chance at life and that he needs all the prayers he can get.

And now, a quick update on Dad. He's doing fabulous! He got orders to move to the 6th floor this morning, but as of this evening they were still waiting on a room to open up down there. Apparently, transfers take a while *sigh*. They removed his chest tubes around 3pm and after that he said he felt even better. It was almost like he was back to his old self today. It was great to see. However, I have a definite feeling that the grouchiness is fixing to break the horizon. Boredom is fixing to set in! Maybe it's a good thing that I head back to work in the morning!

*Pic depicts me pinching Dad's oxygen tube shut :)

Movie Review: Twilight

If I could sum this entire movie up in one sentence, here's what it would be: Read the books and stop there.

This movie was horrible. Horrible. What a complete and total flop and an utter disappointment from a semi-Twilight fan.

I was so excited to go see this movie. We had some downtime yesterday in between visiting hours at the hospital, so Jeff took me to see an early showing since he knew that I'd been anticipating this movie for a few weeks. If I knew then, what I know now, I'd of saved myself the $14.

I tried to go in with an open mind. I know from experience that movies don't follow their books to a 'T' and I was prepared for that. Two things were positive. One. Robert Pattinson was cast perfectly for the role of Edward. He fit the description and I think that if he was to have been given a decent screenplay, he'd of acted the part better as well. I also thought that Kristen Stewart was the perfect Bella. Sometimes, her delivery was a bit 'iffy' but I think as far as looks go, she was cast perfectly.

That's where the praises end. To start, the character development is very poor in the film. You'd have to read to book to completely understand each one of them. You hardly get to know anything about the extended Cullen family, and there was hardly anything about their special talents. Billy Black and Jacob were portrayed horribly (not to mention the disturbingly horrible hair extensions on the actor who played Jacob - it's like they threw a mullet on him).

I also felt like the director was trying to do too much. She obviously wanted this to appeal to teenagers instead of the masses, which was her mistake. I think if they would of listened to any research polls, they would of found that their fan base extended well into 20-somethings and even 30-somethings. What about appealing to us? She also tried to go for the humor factor way too much, which fell completely flat. Cornball would be a good word to use here.

Flash back scenes and story lines were terrible. It's like it was a bad made for tv movie at points.

And the soundtrack!! Who commissioned this music?! I read that the soundtrack was selling like hot cakes on itunes and I came *this close* to buying it. Boy, I'm glad I didn't make that mistake. It's hard to explain it in writing, but if you make the mistake of watching the movie, just pay attention, you'll see what I mean. I doesn't fit the time, it doesn't fit the scenes, it's completely off.

Jeff also mentioned the lack of action. I was too wrapped up in analyzing the movie, I didn't realize to a non-Twilight reader what they might think. This is something I had mentioned in my book review, the lack of action. Well guess what? It looks like that translated on to the big screen. Surprise.

To be quite honest, I almost wanted to leave half way through the movie. I was embarrassed to even show that I had paid money (hard earned money at that) to go see this piece of crap.

Shame on you Catherine Hardwicke for not speaking to all the Twilight readers. And shame on you, Stephenie Meyer for allowing your book to be portrayed this way.

I heard they made enough money to do a sequel. If it's anything like this movie, I'm boycotting.

Please, please, save your money. It's not worth it and you'll lose your appetite for the books..

Friday, November 21, 2008

Road to Recovery

Dad pre-surgery*

My father (my father!!) under went quintuple (oh no, I did not stutter) bypass surgery yesterday morning. Thank God, everything went well and he is on a fast mend!

Today he was able to sit up in a chair and he even got to eat. Even if it was just a liquid dinner of chicken broth, tea and cherry slush. He looks great considering the circumstances.

His only complaint is that his throat is raw from where the breathing tube was shoved down. That and he's extremely sore. I asked him if he was in pain, but he said on a scale of 1 to 10, he was a 3. I think that's great considering he was less than 36 hours out of open heart surgery, don't you?

Tomorrow they are going to try to walk him and if he's doing well enough, he'll get moved out of ICU either tomorrow evening or Monday morning.

We are so blessed to have such fantastic friends and family. I thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers and ask that you continue to pray for my Dad's speedy recovery.

You can also check out Mom's site for updates.

*only my family would take pics at a hospital :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book Review: Breaking Dawn

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!!

I finished the series! In less than 3 weeks, I managed to read all four books in the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I went into this series of books with only this question, "What's all the big deal about?" As mentioned in my prior posts, I found out about the movie before I heard about the books. So, as any good critic would do, I headed down to Books-A-Million to start with the source. I think because I went into this series questioning the interest, I was probably reading with a more critcal eye than most. See my prior book reviews for more info.

So without further ado, I present my last Twilight Saga book review....

Book 4: Breaking Dawn
I was looking forward to seeing how the story would end. And at the same time, not looking forward to the ending - much like I was sad to see the Potter series finished (but this was on a much smaller scale). Would Bella and Edward actually marry as teenagers? Would she become an immortal to be with Edward? How would the tension with Jacob be resolved? So many questions ran through my head before I started the 750-page novel.

In the fourth book, Meyer is forced to close a lot of storylines. It is apparent that she has a lot on her plate, which I guess attributes to the amount of pages in the last novel. She also addresses a lot of issues that I'm not quite sure are for a teenagers eyes.

To start the novel (turn back now if you are not wanting the spoilers) Edward and Bella end up getting married. Yes, she did it. She married them off. I was a little disappointed in this, to be honest. I thought that logic would set in (it's 2008 for goodness sake) and that Meyer wouldn't write about teenage weddings, but she gave in and Bella and Edward said their 'I do's'. If that's not enough, Meyer advances the story further when she introduces the next twist...

Pregnancy. This threw me for a loop to be honest. Not that it was a shocker, but I felt this was something that didn't need to be brought into the story line. She would of obviously had to created a different storyline, as the rest of the novel was driven by the results of the pregnancy, but I just didn't feel this was necessary.

To add to this part of the story, Meyer finally gives in to the readers wants and Bella is made to be immortal. Here was my biggest let down of them all. I had prepared myself, and I feel that Meyer prepared her readers for disappointment on Bella becoming a vampire. There were so many reasons for her NOT to become immortal. Sure it would of been a bit wierd (especially after introducing Renesmee) but she had been going that direction for the past three novels and

I feel in this book she was just like, "Okay, fine, here you go. Bam. She's immortal." What about Charlie? What about Renee? What about everything else? Because she had a child, that makes it okay? Maybe for me it wasn't about her becoming immortal. Maybe for me it was about the way they made her immortal.

I'll be honest. The moment the baby was introduced, I was on the defense. Especially after Jacob's reaction. I could of guessed that one from a MILE away. And talk about wierd. That one was really bizarre and never had closure at the end of the fourth novel.
Is Meyer planning on writing a story based on Jacob and Renesmee? What happens if she stops aging at age 7 like the other half-breed introduced in the novel!? This just doesn't make sense, Meyer!

The fourth book was by far my least favorite. She tried to appease too many readers and at the same time rushed through some endings and introduced bizarre twists. I was left dissatisfied and questioning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

10 years ago today…

I met Jeff Koenig. Aggie Bonfire 1998. A friend from high school was in town with a buddy from college and needed a place to crash.

I admit, I tried to sneak them in to my dorm room. But I had a hardcore RA and we didn’t get away with it.

I still remember meeting him. He was shy, quiet and blonde. Yes, blonde. But he had these cute dimples when he smiled.

We didn’t have a lot of conversation – he probably thought I was insane. Hell, he thinks I’m insane now. I had on my Aggie overalls and was probably as obnoxious as I always was (…am.)

There was a lot going on that night, so after we parted ways, that was that.

Who’d of thought I had just met my future husband!?

Come back on December 5th for the rest of the story.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Left Brain vs. Right Brain

Left Brain: Logical, Sequential, Rational, Analytical,Objective,Looks at parts
Right Brain: Random, Intuitive, Holistic, Synthesizing, Subjective, Looks at wholes

A sequence of events occured yesterday at work, that have left me pondering...

I have always struggled with an inner balance of thought known as left brain vs. right brain. If you were to ask me how I define myself, I would consider myself to hold both characteristics of a left and right brain personality. Is this possible? Must we be on a "side" or can we express traits of each?

Right Brain. I'd like to consider myself a logical person (even if I am passionate and opionated). I love problems and I enjoy the challenge of finding solutions. Numbers speak to me - specifically when it comes to finances. My obsessive compulsive nature and control freak tendencies seems to fit comfortably under the left brain ideology. I do my best work under tight deadlines and if you say it can't be done, specifically if I, myself, can't do something, I will work and work until I prove you wrong. It's a competitive thing and I enjoy it. To a point.....

Left Brain. Please do not consider me egotistical when I say that I think I'm creative. My brain is constantly running 150 mph and rarely slows down. I have, at minimum, a hundred (*wink*) cool ideas that cycle through my thoughts on a daily basis, but little if none make it to fruition. I enjoy writing, a random event that occurs only when my mind and the stars align in a perfect unison with the universe. I love photography - something that has been a recent discovery and something that I am working on nurturing. I love design - whether it's web design or something for print.

Could all of this attribute to my indecisive behavior in life? What I want versus what I need? This inner balance, more like an inner struggle, is constantly battling inside me. The logical versus the random. The rational versus the irrational. Just ask Jeff, I'm sure he'd be the first to agree.

I know I have it in me to be creative - I know it. But my rational side fights with me so that I don't give enough devotion to that side of me. Why? Is the world going to stop turning. Will Jeff and I squander everything and live like paupers? Hardly is my answer. So why am I so hesitant?

It's time to start refocusing....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

To all who have served and continue to serve our great country. My father, my grandfathers, my friends and extended family. Thank you. You have not and will not be forgotten.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Here's a cute pic of our niece, Clara in the tutu and wings we got her for her bday! I found the outfit on Etsy, my new favorite website. All unique handmade items for one-of-a-kind gifts. Check it out if you haven't been already. I bought this particular piece from Hannah's Tutus, whom I totally recommend if you have a little girl or a cute, adorable 3-year old niece like us!

Needless to say, I'll be trying to do most of my Christmas shopping on Etsy this year.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Book Review(s): New Moon & Eclipse

More book reviews from the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer.

Warning!!! May be spoilers!

Book 2: New Moon
Going into the second book, I was looking for more action, considering my disappointment in that arena from the first book. I was also apprehensive on how Meyer would develop the relationship between Bella and Edward when the obsession level in the first novel was so high. Where could this possibly be going? But Meyer delivered by throwing me for a loop that I, perhaps a bit naive, didn't see coming. Without giving away the story, this so-called-loop kept me turning the pages for most of the novel.

The second book also develops the friendship between Bella and Jacob Black, her father's best friend's son. To progress the story, Meyer introduces, perhaps the most well known foe of any vampire - think Underworld - you guessed it! The Werewolf. Don't worry, friends and fam, if you know me and my 'issues' with werewolves (yes, I know they are not real). I survived this aspect of the book, because Meyer takes a differnt angle with the wolves - one of protector.

To get back to the story, the relationship between Bella and Jacob progress to deep friendship and a crush, at least on one side. However, no happily ever after at the end of this book for these two. This book kept my attention with the twist offered at the beginning and kept me turning the pages eagerly all the way into Book 3.

Book 3: Eclipse
The third book in the Twilight Saga introduced the cliched love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob. At times, I must admit, this got on my nerves as I thought Meyer was a little hung up on this and could of advanced the conflict in the book a little bit sooner.

However, the action scene in this book was by far the best of the entire saga, even though I'm not quite finished with the fourth book. The concept of newborn vampires was very original and kept my interest during most of the scenes.

In the third book (and here comes the spoiler) Bella and Edward become engaged. Trying to read this from a tweens perspective, I thought this to be a bit out of the norm (at least for today's kids). And although Edwards is technically 108 years old, Bella is only 18. She seems less concerned for any 'life' other than the immortal and more excited to become one of the Cullens. I know it's presumptive, but I thought to myself while reading this, I hope some emotional, unstable tween girl is not reading this thinking that this is the best path for them. Aside from the vampire part, I'm talking more of the obsession to belong to a guy. It had me a pit skeptical.

But if I put my pessimistic attitude aside and just enjoy the writing and story (and also forget the targeted audience), Meyer again delivers an original story that will keep the readers attention.

I'm almost finished with the fourth novel and will post my review soon!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Word to My Mother

Today, my beautiful mother, Patricia, celebrates her 58th birthday (sorry to rat you out Mom). Not to copy my cousin, Em, but just a few quick points about my mom.
  • She's done a wonderful job raising me and my brother. We may be 'quirky' but at least we're not boring.

  • She has been a best friend to me in my adulthood, but always conscious not to cross the 'mother line'.

  • She's the most hardcore Republican I know. No seriously. Read her blog. But I love her for it!

  • She has successfully lost 65 lbs in one year. Words can not express how proud I am of her because of this.

  • She has put up with my stubborn ass father (and I can say this since I'm his duplicate) for over 38 years! That says something about her patience.

  • She is the best daughter anyone could have. I have watched her over these past few years having to take care of her parents. Difficult would be an understatement to say the least. She made sure my Papa was taken care of till he passed away last December and she's making sure that Grandma gets the best care that she can.

  • She has taught me the art of 'what they don't know won't hurt them' when it comes to marriage. For instance, I buy a book, hide it for a few weeks. If Jeff says, "When did you by that book?" I say, "Oh, a long time ago." Thanks, Mom, this one has come in handy SO MANY TIMES :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Book Review: Twilight

Last week I saw an ad on tv for a new movie coming out at the end of this month, Twilight. It continued to reappear on website ads and banners. So my curiousity got the best of me, as it usually does, and I did some investigation. I mean it has vampires in it, and although I'm hardly the most 'sci-fi' of my immediate family, I still can't completely suppress the gene.

Turns out the series is aimed at the 'tween crowd, no big surprise there. Originally printed in 2005, the Twilight saga is comprised of 4 books. I had my hesitations going into it. I figured it'd be a very easy read and a little hokey for the teens.

Overall, it was a pretty easy read. While the story line isn't the most original, there are some differences in these vampires than any I've read in past novels (or seen in any movies for that matter). This first book is based completely on the obsession between Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Although I love any romantic story, I can be the first to recognize when it goes overboard. I think the book is a little to engrossed in their romance and needed a bit more to the plot. The main antagonist doesn't even bear his head until you're almost 2/3 of the way done with the book. Which led to a quick and hasty ending. Not that I was disappointed with the way it ended, only that it was a bit rushed.

All-in-all, I liked the book. But I forwarn any future reader, don't go in with super high expectations of the story. It's for the 'tweens, not adults - but that's not to say it won't entertain you. I made the mistake of telling Jeff about the movie coming out in the next few weeks. He rolled his eyes and laughed.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bro!

Today my brother, J.R., turns 32! Happy Birthday, bro. Miss you!