Saturday, November 21, 2009

Family photos

We had family photos done last Sunday afternoon. My friend Katherine's brother Mark started a nationwide business called Family Tree Photography and they have recently franchised with Costco.

Family Tree wanted some families to help them kick off the Nashville area, so we gladly agreed. Here is a preview of the photos taken that day. In addition to our family - it shows the Martino, Spears and Gossett families. . As you can tell, Emri's forehead was down to a purple bruise by Sunday. Also I'm thankful I had an apple in my bag, or we would have never gotten a shot of her. She is about to turn two years old and wasn't really excited about standing still for photos. She was much more interested in gathering rocks, leaves and exploring the park.

We know several great photographers in the area, in addition to Family Tree. Here are a couple I recommend:

Of course I can't say this without mentioning Jenni and Bryan, who are also amazing photographers, although they do more nature and inanimate object photography.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bruce Springsteen

On Wednesday, Joyce and I went to the Sommet to see Springsteen and the E Street band. The show was fantastic. The band still has so much energy and soul. It's hard to believe that Bruce is 60 years old and sings and plays full-out for almost 3 hours. Also Clarence, post bypass surgery, is still amazing the crowd with his saxophone every night. Of course, then I have to stop and remind myself of how old I am and then they don't seem so old at all.

Springsteen's music is part of the soundtrack of my life. I can't hear Pink Cadillac without thinking of summer camp and the year that song was released. We must have played it a thousand times - probably on our cassettes or 8 tracks.

At the end of every show Bruce takes requests from the audience. Here is his rendition of Santa Claus is coming to Town; it is one of my favorites.
Thank you Joyce for being an awesome friend and for a fabulous night out!

Mammogram recommendations

I've had several people ask my opinion on the newly released recommendations for mammograms. I say IGNORE them! There are so many women who are alive today because of self-exams or mammogram detection of their cancers. The task force that is making this recommendation does not even include an oncologist.

The American Cancer Society, MD Anderson and many others are already voicing their opposition to this recommendation. My advice is keeping doing those self exams, having mammograms and seeing your doctors. It saved my life, and it could save yours too!

Here's the article from CNN:


Just to reassure those of you who were worried; Emri is ok. By the next day it was only a purple spot on her forehead. She was watched closely and is fine.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family photos?

We are hoping to get some family photos done tomorrow. It is so hard to get all of us together in one place and coordinating time and clothes for 8 makes it even more of a challenge. Friday, all seemed to be falling into place. I found a day we could all work into our varied schedules, everyone has coordinating clothes ready - it was all looking pretty promising.

Then I got a text from Chassi with a photo of Emri who had just fallen and hit her head. She hit the edge of the living room chair and has a pretty big knot. Oh well...7 out of 8 people will be fairly bruise free.

Trip to Henderson

I took Friday off from work and headed to Henderson with Linda and Lisa. We attended the Alumni banquet where Dad received the "Henry and Ruby Dodd Award". This award is given to someone who has dedicated their lives to service to the school and community. My Dad fits that bill perfectly; he has over 50 years of service to Henderson and Freed. The Dodds were friends of his and my Mom's for many many years. Their children were very happy to see Dad get this award, and of course we were very proud of him as well. Love you Dad!

On our way out of town this morning, we stopped at the Pied Piper 40th reunion. We watched a Piper show and got to see Kell Lee, her precious daughter and husband. After the show Kell was telling stories about growing up with the various Piper troops. Her Mom, Joy, was my pre-school teacher and her Dad, Hank, ran the theater department when I was growing up - they were fabulous people.

Dinner with Henderson girls

I had dinner with Joyce, Elizabeth, Angeline and Linda at Cheddars the other night. We do not get to see each other nearly enough, so when we do we have a great time giggling and catching up on all craziness in each others lives. I think we may have to start monthly girls night out!

Just a cold...

This has been a long week. I had a bad cold most of the week, but I was very thankful it was just a cold and not the flu. I worked from home on Wednesday and stayed in my pajamas with my kleenex box beside me all day. Thank goodness my conference call did not have video. I tried to get plenty of rest and fluids when I wasn't working and that seemed to really make a difference. I am feeling much better already.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cold and Flu season

I woke up feeling tired and achy this morning. Bryan and I have both had a cold this past week, but we were attributing that to the weather change and sinus. Since I've been exposed to the flu twice recently, once at work and then again with Jenni, I decided to go get checked out. I went to the minute clinic in Franklin before dinner tonight. The NP there said I could be having early signs, so she gave me some tamiflu to have just in case. I am supposed to get plenty of fluids and rest. If I start running fever, then it is the flu and I have to take the meds and stay home.

After the minute clinic, we went on to dinner with Josh's family, and I kept my distance. They had just returned to town from a weekend of hiking and camping the Cumberland trail. The girls were very excited and had lots of stories. Emri had stayed with Chassi's sister and she was glad to be back with her sisters.

Quick trip to Chattanooga

I headed out Friday afternoon to Chattanooga. Jenni was diagnosed with the flu on Wednesday and was feeling awful. They told her it was too late to give her anything except cough meds, she just had to ride it out with Tylenol and rest. I did Jenni's grocery shopping, changed her sheets and made her some spiced tea and cookies. Her fever is gone, and it will just take her a while to get her energy back. I felt better just seeing her, and I think she was glad to see me as well. I headed back on Saturday. It was a beautiful drive to Chattanooga and back, the leaves are changing and the traffic was not bad.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thrive dinner

Tuesday we had my workout group and their families over for dinner. Everyone brought a delicious dish and it was great to celebrate our accomplishments. Each one of us made great strides in our 10 week wellness program. I can't believe no one thought to take pictures.

I had lost most of my upper body strength after my surgery last year, so the fact that I can do push ups at all is pretty amazing.
Here were my end results: lost 7.3 lbs of body fat, gained lean muscle mass, increased my push ups by 13, dropped my BMI by 1.3, my resting heart rate improved as well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sad day

I grew up with Tina and Brad Graves, they were high school sweethearts - grew up, got married and had two beautiful children Mallerie and Heath. Their daughter Mallerie was a beautiful 17 year old girl, and looks like the perfect blend of her parents. She was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and has been at St. Jude since March. In April she received a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor. I've been keeping up with what is going on through Mallerie's caringbridge blog and through Judy, one of her cousins. Mallerie has had a very tough time and Tina has not left her side since she was admitted. Brad has been going back and forth and trying to keep things as normal for Heath as possible. I am sure neither of them have had a restful nights sleep since this all began.

Early this morning, Mallerie lost her battle with this disease. I am heartbroken for Tina, Brad, Heath and everyone who loved her. I know Mallerie is in God's arms right now, and she is ok. I also know God will take care of everyone who loved Mallerie, but it will be a long journey ahead. Please keep this family, and everyone who loves them in your prayers.

Great Fall Recipe

5 cans rinsed navy beans
15 oz. rinsed hominy
14 oz. salsa verde
1 onion,

chopped1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Tabasco or to taste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), baked in oil, salt & pepper, and cumin @ 350˚/20 minutes . . . cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup sour cream
Garnish : cilantro, pico de gallo and avocado

In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened. In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Tabasco, salsa verde, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper and half and half. Add beans, hominy, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir sour cream into chili.
Serves 4 to 6.


Annual Halloween at the Spears

It's become an annual event to celebrate Halloween with the Spears. Mike morphs into Uncle Gerald at some point and entertains us with song. This year Geritol (aka Sophie) joined him for the night. Elijha made the perfect Harry Potter, Anna was a ballerina and Morgan was a chicken. They trick or treated in the neighborhood and came back loaded down with candy.

As usual we were well fed with Sandy's usual fabulous ground beef chili, and this year she also made some white bean chicken chili that was delicious. We also had jalapeno cornbread, grilled cheese, hot dogs and some sinful desserts.
We missed Jenni this year, she and Molly went to a music festival in New Orleans. She's dressed as Pebbles Flintstone - hopefully I'll get a photo.

Dad and Sherry arrived home safely

Dad and Sherry have been on a cruise to Italy and other ports in the Mediterranean for the past couple of weeks. They arrived safely back in Nashville on Friday evening. Actually they arrived about 3 hours earlier than their bags did, so I took them some dinner and Dad and I went back to retrieve the bags while Sherry rested. They had a really good trip and I think Sherry even got blessed by the Pope, while Dad was out trying to get their Vatican tickets.

Saturday all of us that could, gathered at Cracker Barrel to welcome Dad and Sherry home and hear about their trip. Sherry's daughter, Kim and her family joined us as well. It's always a bit of a circus when we are all together, but we had a great time. We are all glad they are safely back home in America.

Halloween at work

Friday we had a Halloween contest at work. Belinda already had planned on being Glenda the Good Witch, so the rest of our department joined in to round out the theme. There were a lot of great entries. Our department won 2nd in the best group category. I'm really not sure how much work actually got done that day, but I think everyone had a great time.