Friday, August 29, 2008

Spring Cleaning?

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. ~John Wooden
Yes, I know it's not spring.... but in anticipation of the mad dash of moving that's coming up right when we get back from Beijing, I have been "cleaning out" this week (after my morning study session that is...). We have only lived in this house for just over two years... how in the world did so much junk accumulate?? I swore when we moved here from our blue house that I would remain organized and neat, which I didn't do too badly at, but man, where did all this other stuff come from? I do know where the majority of the problem lies... the mailbox! When you sign your life away to medicine, you get a LOT of mail. Most of it is junk that gets ripped up or shredded and then thrown away, but where they get me is with the journals and other educational paraphernalia. When I'm working, I do not have time to read 8 different journals per month!! I feel guilty if I don't keep them though, so I usually flip through them, looking at the pictures, and skimming anything that is fascinating and/or applicable to me, and then the pretty little journals get stacked up on my shelves. This is all well and good, until it is time to move! And this move in particular is heavy on my shoulders since we're moving now just to move again in six months or so. Ugh! Anyway, so farewell little journals... I'm paying by the pound here, and ya'll don't make the cut!

Another thing that isn't making the cut... quite a few clothes that haven't fit now for a few years. Yes, like all delusional women out there, I was hanging on to a closet full of stuff that I can't squeeze into anymore, hoping that one day I would be able to get back in them again. Brutal honesty? Though I will continue to try to slim down to my high school or early college "fightin' weight", those clothes are out of style anyway, and none of them were expensive! They moved to the Preserve from the blue house, but I am not gonna pay for them by the pound again! The maids came (one last time) while I was knee deep amongst clothes in the closet... I ended up giving it all to my favorite little maid! We use a maid service run by a friend of ours, and usually we get the same team come out... a young tiny one, and an older tiny one. They are very sweet and do a fabulous job. I can always tell when a team other than them does our house. Anyway, I was gonna go to Goodwill with all the clothes, but when I saw the little maid, I though she might want to go through the stuff and take some home. Well, she didn't want to go through it...she just wanted it all! Some of it will fit here, but alot of it will be too big...she is TINY!! Anyway, made me feel good, and saves me a trip to Goodwill....

I feel like I'm on Mission:Organization or Clean Sweep! Other than my half of the clothes closet, I have gone through my craft closet, my article file thingy, and the junk drawer in the kitchen. Man, is that all I've done?? I need my mom to come help me! Mom?? I know you're reading this.... :) I still need to do the linen closet, my bathroom vanity, my (other) craft closet upstairs, and the attic. The attic scares me... there's so much stuff up there! A lot of it is Christmas decorations, but there's other stuff too... I may just ignore it! Ron can figure that one out. He told me last night that he was sad. He said that when he left, he didn't really think about that we wouldn't really be living here anymore once we got back from China. I did! That's why I cried all the last night, dum-dum!!

Anyway, time's a wastin'.... I'm gonna go do one more area before calling it quits for today. I'm going to the Auburn game tomorrow (Waaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Eagle!) and dropping some stuff off at the little house...I'm excited to see it again! Until then...

Most of us can easily do two things at once; what's all but impossible is to do one thing at once. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gearing Up

Life's problems wouldn't be called "hurdles" if there wasn't a way to get over them. ~Author Unknown

Well, things are getting busy around the Williams' households... yes, all three! Here on Preserve Drive, the cats and I have been starting to try to decide what will be making the move to Auburn, and when. Most everything will be going, but a few select things will be going this weekend, including the little bed from upstairs, some type of night stand, a tupperware full of work shoes, and at least a week's worth of work clothes. Also making the first cut will be a few pots and pans, our old microwave (so glad now that we took it out of our blue house!), towels, a shower curtain, the mini-fridge, and the little TV. Basically, the stuff that I will need for the first few days of living there before the movers bring the rest. When we get back from China, it's gonna be crazy!!

Turning now to the action at the blue house (our old house that kept as a rental)... Despite our attention to at least three sickly trees on the property over the past five years, Hurricane Faye brought down part of another one! This one seemed fine, so we're upset about it! The renters called/emailed Ron, and the info relayed to me was that the back porch of the house was smooshed. Ron asked me to go up there and take some pictures for the insurance claim, so I did... but interestingly enough, the porch is fine! There is half a tree (it split somehow) down in the back yard, but the porch looks like it always has. There had been a power line or phone line or something that came down, but that was fixed by the time I got there the next day. Hmmm. Well, that was all good news, except that it might have been nice to have a new porch paid for by the homeowners insurance. Now we ourselves have to pay to have the rest of that tree taken down. Oh well... it could have been so much worse... the tree could've fallen on the roof of the house, or worse yet, someone could have been hurt. So I'm glad for that, but man, there are not very many trees left on this property! My favorite tree (oh, I don't know what kind it is, but it has beautiful pink blossoms on it in the spring....and it's not a crepe myrtle....), the one that was influential in our buying the house initially, almost got taken out by the garbage truck that first summer. I was so sad. Anyway, that's all for the blue house.

Now for the little house (in Auburn)... not much to report, other than that I've been on the phone all morning trying to get the utilities converted over to my name. It wasn't too bad, but not much fun. Ron usually does all that stuff! For that, I am so grateful!

Speaking of Ron, I've been missing him lately... I had wanted to go visit him in Colorado, but had planned to try to go this week. Yeah, tickets to Denver are pretty expensive this week, with all the Democrats there and all. I should've researched that a little better. Next week, the tickets are cheap, but Ron will be in his final few days of training and trying to get out of there (leaving next Wednesday--oh gosh, that's one week from today!), so it just didn't work out. The upside is that with all that he's been doing on his website, I still get to see him everyday! And of course, I talk to him multiple times a day on the phone. Our phone conversations go a little like this:

Me: Hey! Whatcha doin'?
Ron: Just got off my bike. Going to eat lunch/dinner. What you doing?
Me: Studying.
Ron: What are my Buddies doing?
Me: Sleeping in my lap. Here, talk to them! (Hold phone in cats' ears)
Ron: Hey Buddies... I miss my Buddies! Tell your momma to feed you your wet food!
Cats: Purrrrrrrrrrrr
Ron: Well, gotta go.
Me: Ok, bye. Love you!
Ron: Love you too...Bye.

Yeah, fascinating, right? We have nearly this exact conversation several times a day! The only variable is what meal he's about to eat, or at night, that he's about to go to bed. Gotta love those one minute phone calls!

I've said it before (and I'll probably say it till I'm old and gray), but I am really proud of Ron. He has sacrificed a lot to be able to do this again, and will give it his all in the races. He will be representing himself on September 12th and 13th, as well as me and the rest of our families, his friends, coworkers, our country, and most importantly (yes, I do believe this is more important than representing his country...are you shocked?), he will be representing every person out there with a disability. Ron's disability is so minor in the grand scheme of things, but it goes to show that all challenges can be faced, and that many can be overcome. Whether you have dylexia, mental retardation, autism, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, or just one leg... whether you were born with your challenge, were somehow injured, or developed it as a result of an illness- including cancer- you are not defined by it. The Paralympians figured that out a long time ago, but not everyone has. Not everyone sees a person and not a prosthesis, a wheelchair, or a red-tipped cane, but they should. The Paralympics are a way to continue teaching these truths, especially to our children. I wish wish wish that the Paralympics got more TV coverage here in the US, not because I want Ron to be famous or get the Visa commercial or be on the McDonald's cup (though that would be cool!), but to be an example to all of how to accept what may seem to be unsurmountable challenges and work hard to overcome them. Every single one of these Paralympians (not just mine), deserve to be on that Wheaties box....

Ok, long emotional post done for now... I'll get back to my goal of trying to make sure I'll be board certified come October 27th!

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. ~Thomas Alva Edison

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shrimp Boil Surprise

The best things in life aren't things. ~Art Buchwald

Earlier last week, my dad had told me to mark my calendar for last Friday night...he was having a shrimp boil! Of course I was excited... I love shrimp, and though I have been getting out more than I thought I would with Ron being away, I still need all the social interaction I can get. My job was to bring bread, so I ventured out to Publix (by way of the Gap Outlet, just one last time!), bought the only three french bread loaves they had, had the nice bakery man slice them up for me using his handy-dandy bread slicing machine, and showed up at Dad's. Neighbors soon started showing up, and to my surprise, they started bringing me presents! Huh? The sweet Evans' who used to live catty-corner to us (who now live a few streets over) gave me a pretty tray tied up with a bow along with a fun bottle opener. Mrs. Evans said it was my graduation gift... How nice! It got better though...she also brought a cake (chocolate buttercream from Edgar's!) with "Congratulations Brooke" on the top! I was super confused when I saw it, but I finally figured out that my dad had planned this whole party not just as a casual shrimp boil for the neighbors, but kind of as a celebration for me finishing residency, and as a good bye party! Don't know if he's celebrating that or not! :) Sweet Mr. and Mrs. Salter brought a card and bottle of New Age wine (that is a good luck present for Ron... they know he loves it!)... and everybody said congrats and goodbye... I was really shocked! I''ll have to get my Dad back for this one! I don't really like this goodbye business, but parties and dinners sure are fun! Thank you Daddy! I love you!

I'm not worried about moving away from my Daddy... since we're moving to Auburn, I think I'll see him more than I even do now!! We both love our Auburn Tigers... he will come and visit me often, I know!

Now that I have a place to live, the fact that we're moving has become more real. I'm excited, but I think I'm still in denial. With studying taking up my days, Olympics taking up my nights, and planning a trip to Beijing taking up all other unclaimed pockets of time, I have barely spent any time at all preparing for this upcoming move. I'm really glad I have had all this time off, but I'm not sure where it has gone! I start work in less than one month, and so much is about to happen in the meantime...

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.
~Dr. Seuss

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Team Williams takes the gold!

Just in case ya'll missed us on the NBC's coverage of the Olympics, I have linked our performance. I haven't really been studying all this time...I have actually been training in secret for my Olympic debut... we won the gold! Click the link below to see Team Williams in action...

Our Olympic Debut

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Deal of the Century!

Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out. ~Art Linkletter

Well, I did it... I negotiated the deal of the century! Well, it may not be that good, but it's gonna save us $550 per month from the house that I almost signed up for yesterday! Times twelve months, that's a lot of money saved! Also, with this house, I only had to commit to 6 months! It's owned by a young couple who, like us, had to move out of town for a job... it has been on the market since May (they're giving up so soon?!), and they were happy to have us come in and live in it for a while... they will re-list it for sale in March. At that time (after our 6 month commitment), we will hopefully have sold our Birmingham house and can move move to a more permanent home in Auburn! If not, we can live in this little house until it sells, then we'll have to start over. Hopefully that won't happen!

It's got 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, a large living room, a dining room, kitchen, laundry room, porch, carport, and deck. It also has quite a bit of yard, more than we're used to, but luckily, grass-cutting season is nearing its end. Downside? No jetted tub... and the kitchen could use updating, but it's not too bad! Definitely livable for 6 months!! I never thought I'd be excited about a 1969 rancher, but ya know... I am excited to have a place to live! It finally makes this move seem a little more real, even if it means a temporary downsize. Want pictures??

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else. ~Winston Churchill

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Late breaking news...

To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing. ~Eva Young

So after a flurry of phone calls, I have a lead on another house in Auburn... this one is an older house (no problem for us as long as it's in good shape), is in a good location, and (here's the best part) cheaper than our original budget!!! Wow! I was about to mail off the deposit on the other house too! So, back in the car I go tomorrow, but this time I'm dragging Dad along with me. I have a good feeling about this one! And the money issue is huge!

Anyway, more tomorrow, hopefully!

Success is 10% inspiration, 90% last-minute changes. ~From a billboard advertisement

We almost have a house!!

Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place. But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around. ~E.L. Konigsburg

So, yesterday I spent 12 hours in the car all alone... drive one bazillion miles, filled up the gas tank 1.5 times, made thousands of phone calls, all in the name of finding a house to live in in Auburn. I did not anticipate that this task would be difficult, but it was actually much harder than I thought it would be! But.... I think I found one! The trick was finding a decent rental (yes, we're having to rent since this beast in Birmingham still hasn't sold, despite showing three times last week!), that was not trashed by previous college students, that didn't cost an arm and a leg, and that was in a fun location. Yeah, not so easy. I persevered though, and found a cute little house that is really really close to downtown and even closer to the Auburn location of our clinic. I'll only work there for a day here and there, but I could walk there from this house! We also may be able to walk to the stadium for games... woo hoo!! The house itself is cute...not super nice, but doable for the time being. The major downside for me was that it doesn't have a garage or very much storage space, and of course the rent was a little higher than we'd wanted, but in the end, I think we're gonna go with it. I'm almost positive about it!

Here she is....


We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements in life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about. ~Charles Kingsley

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Farmer's Market Frenzy

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.
- Lewis Grizzard

So I ventured out of the study cave this morning and went to my beloved farmer's market at Pepper Place. I looooovvvveeee Pepper Place (or any good Farmer's Market I guess)... and despite the fact that I am eating solo while Ron is away, I went a little nuts and bought just about everything!

I bought my usual cucumbers (which are almost as good as the ones from Susan's garden, but not quite), mixed green lettuce, white acre peas, silver corn, tomatoes (this time I got cherry tomatoes), blueberries, peaches, and a baget from the Continental Bakery stand.... I get all that just about every time I go.

This time though, I also scored some white goat cheese (yes, pasteurized...I'm not crazy!), a huge bunch of fresh basil, and, prize of all prizes, the very last carton of scuppernongs!! Oh how I love those! On my way home I was wishing for a red light so I could rummage though my big canvas tote bag and find the scuppernongs, which, since they were my first purchase of the morning, were waaaaay at the bottom. I couldn't believe that I made it through about 10 lights before, finally, at the last one before the entrance ramp to I-65, the light turned red and I got to dig for my treasure. Like "a watched pot never boils", "a light never turns red when I need a second to get to my scuppernongs"... :) Thank you, last red light before the interstate... the scuppernongs are delicious!

The basil was a new purchase for me this time too, and it smells so good! I will have to go get some Buffalo Mozzarella and make myself a Caprese salad... that brings back memories of Italy! And you know, eating Caprese salad while in Capri must be pretty close to what heaven is like... Anyway, I can't wait to experiment with the basil...I'm not much of a chef, but I like to play!

Well, I'm making myself hungry, so I'm gonna go have a fresh and delicious snack! The hard part is deciding which yummy stuff to eat first!

Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can't taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie. ~Astrid Alauda
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Spit-Shine Sprint

I think housework is the reason most women go to the office. ~Heloise Cruse

How much housework can one do in 60 minutes? That was my question after I got a (rare, unfortunately) call from Jamie, our realtor, saying that someone had called and wanted to see our house... in an hour. Now, our house has been on the market for about 5 months now, and very very few people have looked at it, especially when it's not an open house, so of course I hopped up and the challenge began. I've been keeping it pretty neat, but let's face it, I never expect anyone to come look anymore really, so I've stopped making the bed as soon as I roll out of it, and there are times that dusting wouldn't hurt. That's not to mention all the papers, pens, highlighters, books, notebooks, index cards, and other study paraphernalia that is taking over all available tabletops as I try to get all the information to take over my brain... so anyway, in 45 minutes, I succeeded in the following: clearing off a dining room table and coffee table full of the afore mentioned study material and stacking it nicely in my closet, making the bed, taking out 3 trashcans of trash, scrubbing the bathtub, stashing most of the stuff on my bathroom countertop in it's drawers, changing out the hand towel, putting my used towel in the hamper and squishing down all the laundry so as to make the hamper look less overflowing, hanging up some clothes that had been draped over the rod instead of hung properly, moving the cat litter box and food and water bowls out of the laundry room and into the garage, sweeping and vacuuming the laundry room floor, getting a new air freshener out and plugged in, opening every blind in the house, turning on every light in the house, lint rolling the navy blue couch upstairs that the cats have claimed as their personal lounging spot, rearranging the pillows on the upstairs bed, made a neat stack of the (not very many) papers on Ron's desk, wiping down the sink, cleaning off the chalkboard and washing it down, stacking the mail neatly and then hiding it, throwing out the last sliver of the strawberry cake and cramming the cake stand in the (almost full already) dishwasher, trimming the dead flower remains off my plant that died outside, wiping the dirt and pollen off the outside table and chair set, sweeping off the side porch, sweeping the front porch and front walk, lighting two candles, and putting the TV on one of the quiet background music channels. And a partridge in a pear tree.

If you read all that, you need a rest, cause I sure did after doing it all... and all for naught, cause in the end, they.... one guess..... wanted a bigger yard. Listen people, this is a cottage with a courtyard. It says that on the internet MLS site, it says that on the flyer, if you've driven by, you can SEE our lack of yard... and in addition, if you'll scroll down and read my post from a few weeks ago, entitled "The Grass is Always Greener" you will see that a big yard is overrated and way too much work. We have plenty of space in the courtyard and small (but quite sufficient) yard to exercise your green thumb and let your dog go potty, and this neighborhood has several playgrounds, a gym, a swimming pool, a lake, miles of hiking trails, boulders to rock climb on, and plenty of activities to keep you otherwise entertained. What more could you want?? We'll give you a good deal!

So anyway, now I'm back to sitting on my couch with my buddies, contemplating just what we're gonna do if this house never sells... other than cry that is.

Silver lining? My house is lookin' good!!

They're sure housework won't kill you, but why take the risk? Author Unknown

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A New Day

The Olympics are a wonderful metaphor for world cooperation, the kind of international competition that's wholesome and healthy, an interplay between countries that represents the best in all of us. ~John Williams

So I'm getting excited about going to Beijing now! Up until this point I haven't really been all that thrilled about it... China is never a place I had thought about visiting before. But yesterday, prior to the Opening Ceremonies, I started delving into the two books on Beijing I had bought months ago... and now I'm excited! Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Lama Temple, Beihai Park, shopping at the Dirt Market and Silk Alley, taking a pedicab tour through a hutong, eating Peking Duck, going to the Beijing Opera, Tienanmen Square, and of course the Great Wall... I think there will be enough to keep us busy! It is gonna be a cool trip... And that's not even counting getting to watch Ron race against the best ("disabled") cyclists in the world! His biggest competition will be, like in Athens, Jiri from the Czech Republic, and Roberto from Spain. A new nemesis has come up through the ranks in the last four years though... a Belgian named Yuri (I think). Now, Ron loves him some Belgian beer, but this new kid may not be our favorite. He's apparently pretty darn fast. We'll see... those are three of the reasons Ron is now at camp doing the whole train/rest/train/rest routine. Much more on that to come, in this blog and in Ron's own ( Speaking of his site, as I type, it's being converted over from the old to the new-and-improved. Take a peek... he's pretty committed to keeping it updated with blog entries, including videos! Fun stuff, this technology. Both of our blogs from Athens 4 years ago are on there, and I've enjoyed going back and reading them again... it's getting me all fired up!

So the Opening Ceremonies last night?? Very cool! From the 2008 drummers to the 2008 tai chi performers, from the little girl kite flyer to the little boy earthquake surviver, I was glued to the TV. The block thingies, the torch lighting, the fireworks (including the footprints to the stadium) was all so well done! Despite this symbolic opening of the Chinese country to the world, this morning I saw on that two Americans were stabbed (and one killed) by a middle-aged Chinese man who then leapt from the drum tower to commit suicide. The Americans were family of the men's volleyball coach. What a tragedy, and after such a beautiful and hopeful first step yesterday... It will be interesting to see the media's response to this. Hopefully, they will step up security everywhere, not just at the venues. It's too bad really...

Finally before I go get on the "study bus" for my morning session, Ron is gonna be on the news tonight (NBC 13 in Birmingham at 6:30). It will be from the footage he did earlier in the week, and the interview he did at Media Day at Lakeshore Foundation last week. I've got my TiVo set... if it airs on the internet, Ron should be able to get it up to his website for all to see!

The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
- from the Olympic Creed

Friday, August 8, 2008

Going Going Gone...

Adieu! I have too grieved a heart to take a tedious leave. ~William Shakespeare

So sadly, I am now on my own for a while. In yesterday's post I wrote that I wasn't a blubbering mess, and I'm not this morning, but last night I had one of my usual "come aparts". This time it feels's not just the separation, but it hit me last night that this was the last time that we'd really be living together in Birmingham. As soon as we get back from the Paralympics it will be a mad rush to get down to Auburn to start work. We went to Sol Azteca "one last time" and I just lost it on the way home. :( I got it all out last night though, cause this morning I didn't cry one bit when I dropped Ron off at the airport (at 6:30!).

That boy has a lot of stuff! My dad is the chosen one who has been shuttling Ron to the airport over the last few years, but he has been conveniently out of town this week, leaving it up to me to be the taxi. It actually worked out fine this time though, cause since Ron isn't doing the track racing this time around, he only had one big bike bag, so we were able to fit everything in my car for once. It was full though...

So, he's gone. I hope that the next few weeks will go by quickly, and that during this time I will be able to get a lot of studying done and have some fun along the way. This too shall pass...

Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it's one day further from the last time you saw each other, it's one day closer to the next time you will. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Getting Sad

Where is the good in goodbye? ~Meredith Willson, The Music Man (Thanks, Thomas)

Well, tomorrow has been creeping up on me, and not really slowly either. Tomorrow I will take Ron to the airport and probably will not see him again until sometime after I arrive in China. Yeah, that's four weeks from now! Sad! He's gone ALL THE TIME anyway, but he hasn't had such a prolonged stay away since the last Paralympics. I'm not a blubbering mess like I used to be with these absences, but I'm just dreading it... cause I'm kinda isolated here with my study books since I'm not working right now. Not that I want to be working yet, but at least that got me out of the house! I'm planning on making an effort to get out and see people, including heading down to Auburn at some point to get myself acquainted at the clinic, and to hopefully find a decent house to rent when we get home from Beijing. Cause our house STILL hasn't sold... shocker. I'm gonna try to go visit him in Colorado too, hopefully. I'd love to fly out there for a few days and hang out in Denver or Boulder (Colorado Springs, where he'll be at the Olympic Training Center, is not that exciting anymore...). He said he has to wait and see what his training schedule is before I try to plan it.

I don't mean to be so negative... that always happens when Ron leaves...I end up ruining the last few days of him being home by my bad attitude. So, let's turn that frown upside down, Brooke! I think I'll take him to Sol Azteca tonight, for a final adios dinner at his favorite restaurant in the world!!

Speaking of bye-bye dinners, we went out to Ocean last night with our friends Dan and Becca. It really feels like bye-bye to them, cause as soon as we get back from China, we'll be moving to Auburn. the next day. Anyway, we went to Ocean, and I must say, though I enjoyed it very much, I can't say that it is my favorite restaurant anymore. We had to sit at a table on their veranda, which the reservations lady assured me wouldn't be too hot since the doors stay open and there are several fans, but oh... we roasted! Dan even had to shed his undershirt (in the restroom of course!). Hot yummy food just isn't quite as yummy when you're sweating. We haven't eaten there since we moved out of Southside, and the menu has changed some too... I was a little disappointed. The company, however, was excellent! Dan and Becca have been great friends to us (they were the first of Ron's friends that I met when we started dating), and I will miss them so much when we move.

Oh, almost forgot... Ron met with some reporters and photographers from NBC13 this morning; don't know when he'll have a story, but hopefully soon! The newspaper has expressed some interest in him again too, but they want to wait to interview him after he gets to China (via phone). I guess they'll have to use some of their old stock pictures of him?? They do have some!

Well, I promise I won't post anymore "Woe is Me" blog entries, even if that's the way I'm feeling! I only hope and pray that this will all have a happy ending... Ron sure has worked hard to achieve his dream of Gold!

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I love my husband!

Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold. ~Zelda Fitzgerald
So, this is not a big funny post with pictures, but I just wanted to record that I love my husband! As I sit typing on "my couch", he is sitting in his chair (with at least one cat in his lap of course), typing a list of things he's thankful for. On the eve of his departure for the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to put the final touches on his training for Beijing, he is making this list to post on his new and improved website. The web address will remain the same (, but is currently being worked on to make it more easy to use and to add a few new features, such as "The List". Anyway, the site will go live in a few days we think, so be sure to check it out. The List made me tear up a little bit. Ron is a good man... most of the time! :)

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard

Friday, August 1, 2008

Adventures in Cake Baking

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. ~Ernestine Ulmer

So I have discovered a new talent.... that I don't have. Our good friends Dan and Becca invited us over for dinner, and since I've been on a baking roll lately with my nectarine cheesecake and my Famous Chocolate Strawberry Trifle, I volunteered to bring dessert. I went to Publix, but wasn't feeling any of the probably delicious already made goodies in the bakery, so I ventured into the baking aisle. Looked at the selection... and decided that, in honor of Ron leaving for the training center next week, I'd make his favorite dessert- strawberry cake! I picked up the mix and the frosting, and came home and started whipping it up. Somewhere in the middle of this effort, I realized that I don't think I've ever baked a cake before all by myself. And it has been years since I helped my mom bake one... she's no Betty Crocker either, unfortunately! (Love ya Mom!) Anyway, I chronicled my cake baking adventure in pictures... Enjoy!

First you gather all your materials...

Then you grease and flour your pans...

Combine all the ingredients...

Use your mixer if you're fancy!

But keep your eye on those buttery pans!

Busted! See the flour on his nose?

Bake in the oven, then cool cakes on a wire rack!

Start icing the cake... if you want, you can hide some presents in between the layers for a nice little surprise!

Flop the second layer onto the bottom layer (this is the hardest part!) and glob as much icing as possible on it! Top with a cherry (or a blueberry!) just like on the cartoons!

Ta Da!!

So I'm a little anxious about my contribution to Becca's nice dinner... but I had fun! Hopefully Ron will enjoy his special Bye Bye Berry Cake!

UPDATE- So on the way to Dan and Becca's, Ron says, "You messed up my favorite really is yellow cake with pink icing." Well dang, he's right. I remember! So much for trying to be sweet... it didn't stop him from eating it though...he may now have a new favorite! It actually was delicious, especially the surprise blueberry layer! Maybe I am an OK baker after all!

Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not! ~Author Unknown