29 May 2013

Tidying Things Up

Tidying Up Some Loose Ends...

Nothing from my list again. Just thinking about some things (that's dangerous) and tidying up some others.

First: Results are in for Miss Bunny.

After 7 weeks, a strep test, mono test, TB test, ultrasound, CT scan, needle biopsy, surgery along with a second biopsy AND about $4000.00 (and counting) we finally ended up at an infectious disease specialist.  She reviewed EVERYTHING and looked at us and said "Mono. It has to be."  
Apparently the first test was done too early. We toddled off to the lab for yet more blood work and  guess what?!
Bunny has/had mono. She's recovering.
They drew blood for the CT scan, for the needle biopsy AND before the surgery. No one ever noticed something amiss with her blood work?
Modern medicine.

No more of this, thank goodness.


I am tickled/thrilled/ecstatic to announce that I ended up with over $700.00 in donations under my name to the One Fund Boston from my Charity Walk.
Again, thank you everyone.

And an article I read recently has gotten me asking everyone this one question.

Which ear do you put a phone up to for listening? 

I listen with my left ear and assumed EVERYONE did.  It makes sense to me because if you hold a phone with your left hand to your left ear, it leaves your right hand free to write or whatever. Perfect if you are right handed, which I am.

And I CAN listen with my right ear but I really have to concentrate. The right ear is harder for me to process language. My right ear also hears better- I know this because at night sometimes the bubbling turtle tank will wake me up. If I turn on to my right side, covering my right ear and leaving my left ear to "hear"- I can't hear the bubbling. If I am on my left side with my right ear uncovered, I can hear that tank. I'm losing my hearing and more in my left ear than my right.  Getting old sucks.
Never the less, I can only talk on the phone with my left ear.

So now you are picking up a phone and checking which ear you use, right?

Turns out the majority of the population uses their right ear.

Santa and I both use our left ear. 
We're special.

Right ear usage is tied to left brain dominance. The left side of your brain specializes in  “processing language and producing speech, carrying out sequential processing of information, focusing attention, and inhibiting negative emotions."*

The right side of your brain is tied to  “simultaneous processing of information, attending in a broad or diffuse way, forming and using spatial maps, and expressing intense emotions.” *


I'm a right brained person, there is NO doubt.  That spatial mapping thing? I'm a pro at that. 
I've been told I'm creative- some days more than others. 

And I just asked Steve, the left handed brother which ear he listens with and it is his left.
And most lefties process language on their left side (along with the righties) , although about 20% of them process with the right side of their brain.  

What does any of this mean? I have no idea. But it certainly intrigues me. 
I love brains. 
Use yours today. 

26 May 2013

Memorial Day 2013

May 27, 2013  
Memorial Day

I think every house needs a flag. 

Our flag flies from our gate on holidays.

Today is Memorial Day and before you head off for your Bar B Que or beach adventure, take a moment to let your  flag fly. 
And if you have questions on flag etiquette, here are the answers. 
I am your PSA for the day regarding the U.S. flag.
This is what Congress advised for the use of the U.S. flag in a joint resolution dated June 22, 1942.
  • The flag of the United States is the emblem of our identity as a separate nation, which the United States of America has been for more than 200 years. Therefore, citizens should stand at attention and salute when their flag is passing in a parade or being hoisted or lowered.
  • The custom is to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on flagstaffs in the open, but it may be displayed at night upon special occasions to produce a patriotic effect.
  • When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window or door the Union (blue) should be to the observer's left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union (blue field) should be to the observer's left.
  • The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
  • It should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement.
  • It should be displayed, weather permitting, on all holidays: New Year's Day; Inauguration Day; Lincoln's Birthday; Washington's Birthday; Armed Forces Day; Easter Sunday; Mother's Day; Memorial Day (half-staff until noon); Flag Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Constitution Day; Columbus Day; Veterans Day; Thanksgiving; Christmas; and state holidays and admission days.
  • It should be displayed at every public institution and in or near every polling place on election days, and at schoolhouses during school days.
  • In a procession the flag is to the right of another flag or, if in a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
  • The flag should not be displayed on a float except from a staff, nor draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.
  • When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis.
  • No other flag should be placed above the flag of the United States or, if on the same level, to its right.
  • The United Nations flag may not be displayed above or in a position of superior prominence to the United States flag except at United Nations Headquarters.
  • The flag displayed with another against a wall, from crossed staffs, should be on the right (the flag's own right), and its staff should be in front of the other staff.
  • It should be at the center and the highest point when displayed with a group of state flags.
  • When flags of states, cities, etc., are flown on the same halyard, the United States flag should be at the peak.
  • When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height, and the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last.
  • When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union [upper inner corner] should be at the peak of the staff.
  • When it is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out; or so suspended that its folds fall as freely as though the flag were staffed.
  • When displayed over a street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, or to the east in a north and south street.
  • On a platform, it should be above and behind the speaker, with the union uppermost and to the observer's left.
  • When displayed from a staff in a church or auditorium, the flag should occupy the position of honor and be placed at the speaker's right as he faces the audience.
  • When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to half-staff position. It should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. Half-staff is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag must be flown at half-staff on all buildings on the death of any officer listed below, for the period indicated:
    • For the President or a former President: 30 days from the date of death.
    • For the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives: 10 days from the day of death.
    • For an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Cabinet, a former Vice President, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives: From the day of death until interment.
    • For a United States Senator, Representative, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico: the flag should be flown in the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia, on the day of death and on the following day; in the state, congressional district, territory, or commonwealth of such Senator, Representative, Delegate, or Commissioner, from the day of death until interment.
    • For a Governor: Within the state, territory, or possession, from the day of death until interment.
  • When the flag is used to cover a casket, the union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.
  • The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.
  • It should never be displayed with the union down, save as a signal of dire distress.
  • It should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
  • It should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  • It should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
  • It should never be used as covering for a ceiling.
  • It should never have anything placed on it.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose, nor embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs, printed on paper napkins or boxes, nor used as any portion of a costume.
  • When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
Have a lovely day off. 
And remember why you have the day off.  
Thank a Veteran. 

22 May 2013

Things that Make me Smile on Thursday

Things that are Making me Smile this Thursday:

No challenges, no stress, just some things that make me smile today.

The world can be a scary and stressful place. Sometimes just something happy is all I can handle.

First off:

It makes me smile that it is so easy to donate to the Red Cross for the Oklahoma tornado victims.
Text "REDCROSS" to  90999 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone.  I don't know about you but my cell phone bill is so ridiculous with four Smart phones, texting, web-surfing, teens talking and TAXES that another $10.00 won't be noticed. Do it now. It's easy and the Red Cross really knows what they are doing.  You'll have an extra $10.00 charge on your cell phone bill.

Friday is my 27th wedding anniversary.  
It makes me smile that I will once again don my wedding dress for the 27th time and greet the hubs when he comes home from work. I have done this every year- even that year when I was five months pregnant and had to be pinned into the dress. I am no longer 5 months pregnant but I am also no longer 105 pounds so I will have to be pinned into that dress again tomorrow. 
And not to worry.  I do not wear the dress anywhere. I just put it on, make him laugh, then change and we go to dinner. 

Thank goodness for Lasik. 
LOVE those glasses.
And that prego belly.
Can you tell I got married in the 80s?
SUCH an 80s dress.

This photo I took of my girls last weekend really makes me smile. It is such a perfect image of the two of them with their heads together plotting over some Tweet/Instagram/Vine.

Belle and Bunny

Also, I promised a pic of Belle in her prom dress and it certainly makes me smile. She looks so beautiful and grown up and just amazing.  She is with her grandparents that live across the street and it makes me smile that they can share in little moments like this so easily.

My dad, Belle and Jean Mom

And this makes me smile: What I want to be when I grow up. An adult.
That will probably be in another 20 or 30 years or so.  No rush.

I think I'll be the one in blue.
Blue is a good color on me. 
Although pink hair would work, too.    *

This pic of puppy Carlos makes me smile so much  I put it on my credit card.
Isn't he adorable and tiny?

Carlos-3 months old

And this baby- OMG- she makes me smile.  What a face!

Baby Bunny in her Cozy Coupe.
The Cozy Coupe is the best selling car in the United States.

What's making you smile today?   

Happy Thursday.

20 May 2013

No. 42: Do a Charity Walk

No. 42: Do a Charity Walk
The One Fund Boston 2013 5K

As mentioned here and here I signed up to do my first Charity Walk.

I'm not a runner, never have been, never wanted to be so I never even entertained the idea of a marathon.  I wanted something do-able and rewarding and this walk seemed to fit the bill.

You can read my reasons for choosing this walk here.

My extremely generous and kind boss also had our office signed up as a sponsor so that made the walk even better. I had fun people to hang with and walk with during the event. (My own family was not in attendance, so the work family filled in.)

My rigorous training technique centered on walking Carlos the amazing (and very strong) dog every day for a few weeks before the event.  Carlos likes to pull me along and all of my dog training efforts have been to no avail in stopping him. That worked to my advantage because an eager dog walks quickly so I was up to a pretty brisk two miles every day. 

My trainer.

Fundraising consisted of me shamelessly begging from all of my friends and family by email and Facebook. 
If I was going to walk, I wanted to make it count.

(And it isn't too late if you still want to donate, but hurry!  Click HERE and look for my name: Bartley)

My walk number was amazing:

Yay me! 
Little did I know there was a reason I got this number.
And it wasn't because I registered first.

Over 600 people registered overall.  Race day was gorgeous and there was music, a crowd, food and wonderful volunteers. A street party!

Here's me and my boss, Sonya, handing out snacks 
and water bottles before the race.
(Ok, maybe we are just posing here.)
WTG Mirvana Acupuncture for being a sponsor.

At 9:00am we were off. 

I like when the instructions are clear!

I walked and talked with this lovely lady which kept us both at a snappy pace and made the 5K/3.1 miles go quickly.

My morning walk partner.

Final walk time:  47 minutes and 24 seconds.  A pretty brisk 3.1 miles. 

Final fundraising total from my fabulous friends and family donated in my name: $628.00

Biggest surprise of the day:  I was the highest individual fund raiser of the walk.  
My name was announced, roses were presented, I was embarrassed. It was perfect and amazing.
It was because of my generous donors that I got Number One.  Thanks guys!

Who knew harassing your friends 
could get you flowers??

Here I am almost across the Finish line: 

VoilĂ ! Almost there.

There will be an official photo coming soon which I will subject you to, also. Sorry.

No. 42: Fun and DONE!

Thank you to everyone who donated on my behalf.

16 May 2013

Follow Up Friday: Results, a Walk and What's Ahead

Follow Up Friday: Results, a Walk and What's Ahead

Well, the results are in on Bunny's biopsy.  (See original posts HERE and HERE.)

Once again it is our favorite diagnosis: Inconclusive.

They did NOT find any lymphomas. That is a cautiously good sign. The ENT is still wanting to take out a lymph node to make absolutely sure she is cancer free but we are weighing all of our options first.  Possibly a visit to an oncologist to review all of the results so far.  Maybe some more blood tests to see if we missed something the first time around.

We really don't want to carve our kid up unnecessarily.
We also don't want to miss a cancer diagnosis because of vanity.

So....wait and see and maybe test some more and wait and see and hopefully someone somewhere will eventually be able to tell me why my 15 year old is exhausted and looks like a chipmunk some days and has swollen lymph nodes that hurt all the time.

Always with the phone.

I will say that she was the most fun kid ever while recovering from her anesthesia. Endlessly entertaining.
She was the sweetest, most polite child.
Also the saddest thing ever because she did not have a red marker to color Ariel's hair in her coloring book. I had to make an emergency run to the store for markers to quell the tears. And it didn't even work because just the memory of not having the marker earlier in the day would set her off.
She also told me and everyone else that she "tasted like a flower". And even she admitted she had never eaten a flower, but still.  She was sure she tasted like one. Bless her heart.

Marigolds are edible.
So are violets, roses and pansies. 
And a whole bunch more that I never dreamed of. 
Click HERE for a list of edible flowers.

And my walk is coming up.  This Sunday I will be doing a 5K for the One Fund Boston. I have met my goal of $200, my goal of $400, my goal of $500 and now I am trying for $600.  If you are so inspired, please feel free to sponsor me. I will walk the most ferocious 5K ever.
Click HERE to donate, look for my name "Bartley".
I promise you will receive a thank you note for donating. (No. 26)

School is almost out for my girls. Prom is Friday night and I will probably have to post a picture of my daughter. She is going with a friend that is a Senior.  I had heard that the average family spends $1100. on prom per kid. I thought that was a ridiculous amount but I wouldn't be surprised if we were close.  Fortunately Princess Belle is funding some of this ridiculousness.

Once June rolls around we will head to Colorado for FIBArk.
That will give me a chance to fulfill No. 54.
Also, I may work on No. 58.

Our favorite part of FIBArk.

Mostly I am going to work on not having a schedule. Isn't that what summer is all about?

Have an awesome weekend!

15 May 2013

No. 60: Hit Five Restaurants in Houston that I Have Never Been To

No. 60:  Five new restaurants in Houston: Restaurant No. 4

After the Art Car Parade, we were hot and tired and hungry.

Friends that were with us suggested BRC GastroPub for an adult beverage and some snackies.
Perfect, another restaurant to help me fulfill No. 60.

We were all over that.

In my haste to get to that adult beverage I did not tarry outside the restaurant and look around. Instead we plopped down at a table and got to ordering.   Since we arrived between 2:30pm and 5pm, they were only serving appetizers. And beer.

There was a magnificent beer list.

I had some sort of Pale Ale that was perfect, although after walking about 15 miles in a crowd of thousands, possibly any beer would have been perfect. And maybe it was only 2 or 3 miles and a crowd of, well, probably that was in the thousands.

But anyhooo.

The Pale Ale hit the spot and I'm sorry I don't remember what it was.

We ordered Brisket Queso and Cheddar Biscuits.  I wasn't really sure what to expect with either of those. I certainly wasn't expecting Heaven.

But pretty much Heaven is what we got.

The Cheddar Biscuits came up with some Smoked Butter and some Bacon Jam. Seriously. The combination of those two on a flaky biscuit....I was hearing angels sing.

The Brisket Queso was equally celestial. A lovely smoky queso dip with chunks of brisket dropped in and home made tortilla chips to dip with.  The waiter almost lost his hand when he tried to take the chips and bowl prematurely. I guess he wasn't expecting me to lick the dishes first. Fool.

Here's the photo of our appetizers:

Hmmm. Looks like an empty bowl and a few broken chips PLUS some very empty beer glasses.
Which is exactly what it is. We were so hungry and the snackies were so good, I didn't have time to snap a photo.

After devouring our food I had a moment to look around and admire the multiple framed chickens on the walls and the lovely down home design.

Chickens, right? Maybe not.

Then I entertained the waiter and our companions alike when I innocently inquired "Exactly what does BRC stand for?"

A big grin came over the nice waiter's face as he replied , "Big Red Cock".

Why, of course.   And if I had spent more than a moment looking around outside I would have noticed the restaurant mascot. Who's the fool now?

Because, while I totally saw this giant BRC on top of the building....

...I somehow managed to miss this enormous scarlet rooster out front. 

BRC.   Can't wait to go back for more. 

14 May 2013

No.3 : See an Art Car Parade

No. 3: See an Art Car Parade

This past weekend we went to the 26th Annual Art Car Parade in Houston.

Art Car: vehicle that has had its appearance modified as an act of personal artistic expression.

It was everything I hoped it would be and then some.

The cars were amazing and creative and weird and festooned with all sorts of unexpected objects.

The people were amazing and creative and weird and festooned with all sorts of unexpected objects.

The weather was just amazing.  May in Houston is not known for cool days or low humidity and we had both. AMAZING.

Because there had been rain forecast and we had a lovely gully-washer of a rain the day before, the parade had its time pushed back two hours. This meant a little rearranging of the day and also that we did not get to see the parade actually moving.  Instead the cars were lining up and posing for pictures while they waited for the official delayed parade start.

No worries.
We saw all 260-something cars and had the bonus of getting to sit in some, snap pics with others and chat with some of the artists and/or owners.
This may have been better than actually sitting on the sidelines watching.  Certainly more exercise. 260+ cars cover a lot of ground and we walked it all.

And now for the fun part....
the pictures:

A broken down brain thing- fortunately they got it working in time for the parade.

What can I say?  An homage to Thomas Crapper.

A bottle cap covered jeep.  How many bottles of beer were consumed in the name of car art?
I'm guessing LOTS!

And this one- guess what it is covered in?

A toddler's delight! BAND-AIDS!

The low-riders were really cool.  A-maz-ing paint jobs....

 ...inside and out. This is the trunk. With a custom-painted gun. It is Texas after all.

And this is the interior. Wow!

Lots of people doing trick photos under this one. 
"Look, mom! I'm lifting the car off of sister."

I made some new friends.  This guy quacked me up.
He was quilted. 

And in Texas you always have to have a cadillac with some long-horns.

Also in Texas you have giant cockroaches.

This is a face that haunts my dreams. 
I'm pretty sure that cockroach I killed in my entry way last week was this big.

This was one of my favorites. It looked like a lace car.

 It was entirely laser cut.

And my other favorite. These are singing/dancing fish. And singing/dancing lobsters.
I have a little Vine where I TRIED to catch the action:
I got the singing but did not catch the dancing. 


(If the sound isn't working here, try this link:

You may have to click on the volume button on the upper left hand corner of the video.
Annoying but worth it.)

There must have been a contest to see who could use the most bizarre objects.

 Partial dentures? Teeth? Where do they get this stuff??

Bunny would have loved this one-. She used to have a rubber rat family.

Carlos's idea of Heaven. A whole truck covered in tennis balls to chase.

I always suspected these things would last forever. 
Peeps.  All Peeps.  All over this truck.

And this is the only one I really wish we had gotten to see moving. 
It breathes fire.  Or at least smoke.

The people watching was easily as entertaining as the car watching.

So the 26th Annual Art Car Parade was a big success as far as I was concerned. Can't believe this party has been going on for so many years and I had never been.  

Thanks No. 3.

Even better, we finished off the day at another new restaurant. 
I'll tell you about it later this week.