14 December 2008

Brief pregnancy update

I had an OB appointment this past Thursday and things are going really well.

I gained ten pounds in one month though!!! I attribute this mostly to Ruth's fantastically good cooking that I could not stop eating over Thanksgiving. :D It's all right though, the baby really wanted all that good food! I have come to the realization that this is one time in my life where I am not going to worry about my weight. So that makes 21 pounds altogether that I've gained since I got pregnant. I weigh more now than I ever have in my life, at 120 pounds.

My hands have started to maintain an almost constant swelling, mostly in my fingers, which is really uncomfortable. I can still wear my wedding bands though, so that is good news.

Sophie kicks like crazy a lot and she has figured out how to get up under my ribs, which can be rather uncomfortable at times. You can watch her move around in my stomach and it's pretty neat. I'm planning on trying to get a video of it sometime.

Mike and I are going over to Marilyn's in a few minutes and she's going to take some pregnancy pictures for us. :D I'll try to get some of those posted before Christmas. :)

Jack the new kitty

Well, it seems Mike and I may have acquired a new kitten (about 9 or 10 months old). On Thursday night, we were watching Battlestar Galactica on DVD together and I heard a tiny little kitten cry outside. Being the compassionate cat lover that I am, I immiediately put on shoes and a sweater and ventured outside to make sure all was ok. I followed the tiny little meows and this little black cat was searching around for food. I beckoned him over and he immediately came to me, so I scooped him up and he burrowed into my neck. He was so cold and thin, so I took him upstairs and remained outside with him while Mike brought out some food and water in a dish. He was so incredibly hungry. He ate and ate and finished the whole bowl. Mike brought out another scoop of food for the night and we were going to leave him out there. As soon as we closed the door, my heart felt like it dropped to my feet. That poor kitten, all alone on the cold cement, with hardly any body fat or fluffy fur to keep warm. So I asked Thomas if he minded if we kept the kitten in his room for the night, since he always keeps his door closed. He didn't mind at all, and went outside and picked the kitten up and took it to his room. We have a second litter box, so we put that in his room also, along with some food and water. When I checked on him later (the cat), the kitten was curled up in Thomas' lap while he played on the computer. (Awwww).

On Friday morning, I called the office manager to see if anyone had reported missing a cat or if anyone on file in the complex had a cat with his description. No one had either. I called the vet's office and scheduled an appointment for him for later in the afternoon.

Everything went well at the vets. He's been previously neutered, and I got a FIV/Leukemia test on him, which came back negative. So he got his shots and he's good to go with a nice, clean bill of health.

We pretty much kept him seperated from Eowyn and Missy all day and when we went to Bible study that night (we kept in Thomas' room with the door closed). Saturday we let him out with Eowyn and Missy. There was lots of growling and hissing on the part of Eowyn and Missy, but the kitty pretty much ignored them.

Mike and I did go to PetSmart to see if anyone had posted a missing notice and we posted a found notice, in case someone was looking for him. We also drove through the neighborhood behind our apartment complex to see if there were any missing signs, which there weren't. We tried to see if he would like to live with Marilyn and Jason and their two dogs too. The dogs were fine with him, but he was definitely not okay with the dogs, so that didn't work out. Becca and Jim couldn't take him in either.

This is a picture of me with Jack; he's trying to burrow into my hair and is making little biscuits on my shoulder. He is definitely one of the most affectionate kitties I have ever seen.

Eowyn and Missy are slowly getting used to him. I've been praying A LOT about that. Missy is pretty much okay with him, but hasn't quite worked up the courage to play with him, although it looks like she wants to. Missy and Jack both slept on the bed with us last night with no problems, so that was really neat.

Eowyn on the other hand has been sulking, growling, hissing and snorting quite a bit when Jack is around. Although she is no longer isolating herself under the bed and refusing to eat, which is good. And as of this afternoon, she'll venture into the living room with him present too. I'm taking that as a great sign.

So, if Mike and I aren't able to find him a good home, it looks like we'll be keeping him. :D

He does like the Christmas tree though. Earlier, I looked over at Mike because he said something to the kitten and jumped up from the couch. I followed his pointing over to the tree and Jack was in the middle of tree, perched on a branch! He hadn't even made a noise when he did that. The tree didn't fall down and nothing got broken as Mike retrieved him from the tree. I thought it was pretty funny since you could barely tell he was in there. Nice hiding place I guess! (When Eowyn and Missy have tried this in the past, they've knocked the tree down.)

18 November 2008

Pregnancy and Cooking

I find that as I get further along in my pregnancy (21 weeks today) that my cooking level skill is inversely proportional with how far along I am.

It's getting a little annoying: I burn myself more often, I drop things more often (like a pan of meatloaf into the sink), I forget to cook half the meal if the main part is in the oven, I have a harder time multi-tasking and I just plain forget what I'm doing in the middle of doing it.

Does anyone have any suggestions for this?

I have heard that it doesn't get any better. Also, a few theories have been proposed: that this is due to sleep deprivation; that this is due to brain cells being produced at a lower rate because they are going to the baby; that my mind literally has other things on my mind: the growing baby in my womb.

I can understand sleep deprivation. I haven't slept all the way through the night in I don't know how long. There are a lot of nights where I just can't get to sleep after my mid-night rendevous with the bathroom, and I lose a lot of sleep that way.

The brain cell thing I need to do research on. The source I got that from is not a scientific peer-reviewed book, so all the information in it might not be completely accurate. Now to find the time to do that . . .

Anyway, just thought I'd share . . .

Unhappy people watch more TV: study

By James Hibberd James Hibberd – Tue Nov 18, 4:45 am ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – An extensive new research study has found that unhappy people watch more TV while those consider themselves happy spend more time reading and socializing.

The University of Maryland analyzed 34 years of data collected from more than 45,000 participants and found that watching TV might make you feel good in the short term but is more likely to lead to overall unhappiness.

"The pattern for daily TV use is particularly dramatic, with 'not happy' people estimating over 30 percent more TV hours per day than 'very happy' people," the study says. "Television viewing is a pleasurable enough activity with no lasting benefit, and it pushes aside time spent in other activities -- ones that might be less immediately pleasurable, but that would provide long-term benefits in one's condition. In other words, TV does cause people to be less happy."

The study, published in the December issue of Social Indicators Research, analyzed data from thousands of people who recorded their daily activities in diaries over the course of several decades. Researchers found that activities such as sex, reading and socializing correlated with the highest levels of overall happiness.

Watching TV, on the other hand, was the only activity that had a direct correlation with unhappiness.

"TV is not judgmental nor difficult, so people with few social skills or resources for other activities can engage in it," says the study. "Furthermore, chronic unhappiness can be socially and personally debilitating and can interfere with work and most social and personal activities, but even the unhappiest people can click a remote and be passively entertained by a TV. In other words, the causal order is reversed for people who watch television; unhappiness leads to television viewing."

Unhappily married couples also watch more TV: "(Happily married couples) engage in 30 percent more sex, and they attend religious services more and read newspapers on more days," reports the study. "While those not happy with their marriages watch more TV."

Yet there may be good news here for broadcasters. Commenting on the study, co-author John P. Robinson said the worsening economy could boost TV viewing.

"Through good and bad economic times, our diary studies, have consistently found that work is the major activity correlate of higher TV viewing hours," Robinson says. "As people have progressively more time on their hands, viewing hours increase."

Concludes the study: "These points have parallels with addiction; since addictive activities produce momentary pleasure but long-term misery and regret. People most vulnerable to addiction tend to be socially or personally disadvantaged, with TV becoming an opiate."

All I have to say about this article is that I don't watch TV and I consider myself to be a "very happy" person with life overall. And Mike and I are having a baby because we couldn't stick to the rules in Natural Family Planning . . . draw your own conclusions from that one. . . .lol. :)

16 November 2008

God has a sense of humor

Yesterday I attended the Women of Faith conference at the Ford center with Linette and Sarah (more on that in a seperate post).

After the conference, Linette's dad was unable to pick her up as planned, so I volunteered to take her home.

I had driven Mike's car that morning because he was going to use my truck to take Thomas' couch to Jake's to give to him. Now Mike's car is a somewhat "matured" car and occassionally has a problem or two. Mike had failed to tell me the latest problem with his car before I left.

Anyway, I drove Linette home. Now Linette lives on the northwest side of the city, on the northwest side of Lake Hefner. It takes about 35 minutes to get to her house from where Mike and I live, and that's with 85% + highway. Mike and I live on the far southeast side of Oklahoma City in Midwest City. It didn't take that long to take her home from Bricktown (center of OKC), but I'm just trying to paint a picture for those who aren't familiar with Oklahoma City.

Linette and I had a wonderful conversation on the way home to her house which we continued in her driveway. Since it was really cold outside, and I didn't really know how long we would be talking, I left the car idling in the driveway as we talked. According to the gas gauge, there was over half a tank of gas.

After we ended our conversation, I headed home. As I turned out of her neighborhood onto Hefner Road, I was leaving a voicemail to Mike letting him know that I was on my way home. The car seemed to have a hard time going forward when I pressed on the gas, then all of a sudden would surge forward. This was weird, and I thought that it could be any number of things. After it would surge forward though, it was fine. Then I would stop at another red light and when the light would turn green, I would go and it would be really sluggish for a few seconds and then surge forward again.

Okay, this is weird. And not really good. It's dark outside, cold, I'm all the way on the otherside of the city from where we live.

Now, Linette and I had just been talking about God's faithfulness and placing complete trust in God in all situations and how the Lord answers prayers, if you ask Him. Plus I had just left the Women of Faith conference where the speakers had also stressed these points.

So I prayed and asked the Lord that I would make it home safely that night and that there wouldn't be any problems with the car.

As I continued to drive along, I was going to stay in the right line, "just in case" the car broke down.

But then I saw that as doubting the Lord, so as if to prove my trust and faith in Christ and how He answers prayers, I moved into the left lane, you know, in the middle of the road.

At the next red light, I rolled to a stop and the car died.

Okay, this is not God answering my prayer. That's okay though, God has a plan, I'm not doubting. So I try to restart the car.

Rrrrr-rrr-rrrr. Then nothing.

Okay, try again. Rrrr-rrr-rrrr. Then nothing.

Hmm. Not good. Car is not starting.

By now the light is green and people who are behind me are honking.

So I look for the hazards switch. Where is the hazards switch??? Cars are really honking impatiently now and I frantically search for the hazards switch.

I hardly ever drive Mike's car, so I'm not all that familiar with it. Plus it's dark and I don't know how to turn on the inside light to see where something might be.

Ahah, I have a cell phone. I open the cell phone to use the light from the display to scan the dashboard and steering column for the hazards switch. No such luck.

Cars still honking. Light is turning red again.

I did try to roll down the window to wave people around, but Mike has electric windows. Did you know that electric windows don't roll down when the car isn't turned on?

So I call Mike:

"Where are the hazards?" in a slightly frantic, but still somewhat calm tone of voice.

"The what?" is the bewildered reply.

"The hazards. Where are the hazards?" The pitch in my voice starts to rise. I'm just trying to get out the words as fast as possible.

"The lights??" is the reply from my bewildered husband.

"The HAZARDS. Where are the hazards??" is the now really high pitched, edgy, frantic response.

"Oh, they're on the side of the steering column, on the right side."

"Okay, thank you". Find button and engage hazards. Impatient honking behind me dies off.

I explained to Mike what happened and asked what he thought it was. He asked if it was out of gas. "No, the gage says its full." "Well, the gas gauge hasn't been working." "I see, when did you last fill it up?" "Last Sunday" "Last Sunday? You failed to inform me that the car might need gas before I took it this morning." (Not that I could blame him, he was asleep in bed.) I told him I would call Linette's dad since I was just a few miles from her house where-as Mike was 30 minutes away and at dinner with Jake at Steak-n-Shake.

So I called Linette's dad (after calling Linette and getting no answer and calling Sam and getting the home number) and asked for help. We talked for a few minutes and it was decided that he would bring me some gas in a gas can and we would see if that helped. I thanked him and sat and waited.

Did you know that Hefner and McArthur is a really busy intersection on a Saturday night? And that there are a lot of people who don't know that a parked car with hazard lights isn't going to be able to go when the light turns green?

So Linette's dad and Linette arrived and went to the gas station.

The one right across the street.

Did I mention I broke down across the street from a gas station? Yes, just across the intersection. I spent quite a bit of the time I was sitting in the car looking at it.

We put the gas in and I tried to start the car.

It started right up. Of course. So I drove the 50 feet to the gas station and put gas in the car.

I was very grateful to Linette's dad for helping me out and gave him a hug, which I think he was not expecting. Linette had come with him, so I thanked her and gave her a hug as well.

And I drove home.

While I was driving the rest of the way home, I thought about my prayer to the Lord and how He had indeed answered my prayer. It had not gone unheard. He just didn't answer it the way that I wanted him to answer it. I thought this was all very amusing and also viewed it as another testament of God's faithfulness.

Yes, I viewed breaking down as a testament of God's faithfulness.

Truly though, He did answer my prayer and I was very grateful and thanked him when I arrived home safely. And the car didn't actually break down, it just ran out of gas. The gas gauge does need to be fixed though.

Anyway, I hope that the readers I have can apply my lesson to their lives. I also can apply it to my life. Just because the Lord doesn't answer our prayers the way we want Him to doesn't mean that He isn't answering them. Sometimes He just has a little trial on the way. We just have to see a situation for what it is and realize that the trial isn't a "no", it's just a test on the way to "yes". And keep communicating with Him. God is faithful - always. We just have to trust in Him - always.

10 November 2008

New Feeling

On Friday night at Bible study, I held Josh for a few minutes before he went to bed. (Josh's one year birthday is coming up too!)

As I was holding him, this warm, motherly, loving feeling just washed over me and filled me. It's kind of hard to explain, although I bet all mothers know exactly what I am talking about. I have never, ever in my life felt this feeling before, or anything close to it. Though it was a new and unusual feeling, it felt really nice and made me feel excited to hold and love my own baby.

I am beginning to see how God causes us to fall in love with our babies when they are born. Slowly I am beginning to get more and more excited about meeting Mike and I's little creation and holding him/her and taking care of him/her.

I like to feel the baby kick too; I can make out it's little foot pushing against me and it just feels so precious and tiny. I can picture putting a little booty on that foot when it emerges from my womb. :)

Oh, Mike have finally made our decision on a name: Timothy Edward if it's a boy and Sophie RoseEllen if it's a girl. Unless we change our minds again before the baby is born. I think we're pretty decided though. I think. Edward would be after Thomas (which he objects to, but I have always wanted to name my first son after him and Mike doesn't object) and RoseEllen would be after our mom's, although we're only using half of my mom's first name. It's a really hard decision naming a human. It's hard enough to name an animal, but a human will bare that name for their entire life and I have always been of the mindset that a person's name is something that helps define who that person is and influences their life. Lots of responsibility there.

Fall rains

It's a beautiful day today - lots of beautiful rain falling, with a strong northwestern wind causing the rain to blow in almost sideways. I got really bundled up for school this morning, left with my cup of hot chocolate and headed to school.

While I was walking through the parking lot, I was reviewing a conversation in my head from Friday night between Michelle, Sarah and I about winter foot apparel. Michelle had said that her winter boots were really just for cold, and weren't good at keeping out rain or wet or anything. I was thinking about this and how at least my boots that I used to wear to work, which really have a more dressy look, though they don't keep out the cold all that well, do keep out the wet. Just as I was thinking this, I had to walk through a little stream of water crossing the parking lot about an inch deep. There was no getting around it, not that I would have tried or anything. So I just walked right through.

And then I felt that dreaded feeling of water seeping into your boot from a loose seam or a whole near the ball of the foot, soaking the sock right in the toe area.

Not good.

I do not like having wet feet. And now my boots, which are already showing signs of wear (they have no heel left on them since I walk really hard on my heels) have leaks in them that have not been there in previous seasons. This should not be happening! They are only four or five years old! And I only wear them for half of the year!

I can see that I will be buying some winter boots along with other winter clothes before going to South Dakota. Mike and I decided that since I have virtually no winter clothes (especially ones that fit now that I'm pregnant), I am going to buy a few things with student loan money. It will actually be the first time I think that I am buying winter clothes. Usually I just layer my summer and fall clothes and wear a heavy coat (yes, I am that cheap/thrifty).

Well anyway, I have to get going. I can't wait to get home and change into some dry socks! Maybe I should carry an extra pair of socks with me now . . .

06 November 2008

Snowy article

This must have been what Pam was talking about in her blog . . .

And this is where Mike and I (and hopefully Thomas) are going in three weeks . . .

Wintry conditions wreak havoc in northern Plains
Thu Nov 6, 5:52 pm ET

RAPID CITY, S.D. – A wintry blast of punishing wind and more than 3 feet of snow in places pummeled the Northern Plains on Thursday, knocking out power to thousands and forcing highways to close. As much as 40 inches of snow fell in higher elevations of western South Dakota's Black Hills as the early season blizzard caused havoc. Drifts as deep as 6 feet covered roads in Spearfish.

"It's a raging blizzard out there," said Jeff Schild, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Rapid City.

Weather problems halted or disrupted traffic on Interstates 80, 90 and 94 in the Dakotas, Nebraska and Wyoming.

In Rapid City, a wind gust of 78 mph was measured late Wednesday, and gusts of 60 mph were still being reported Thursday morning.

The snow came down — sideways might be a better description — at a rate of 3 inches an hour overnight. It slacked off to 1 to 2 inches per hour late Thursday morning, Schild said.

More than 10,000 customers lost power at some point in Nebraska and South Dakota.
In North Dakota, parts of Dunn County received about 9 inches of snow, the Weather Service said.

"The wind is blowing so hard it's hard to tell how much snow we got," said Terry Sarlsland, street superintendent in Bowman, N.D. "We got 4-foot drifts in some places."

Sharon Gjermundson, a postmaster in Taylor, N.D., said that about a foot of snow kept her from punching in at work Thursday, and that she and her husband were worried about their livestock.
"We hope all the cattle are OK," she said.


My first attempt at making bread! I think it turned out really great too. Mike and I got a breadmaker for our wedding and I have finally started using it. I know, I know, I'm the ultimate procrastinator. I had wanted to make bread since we got it, but it just seemed like it was never the right time. Mike and Thomas really love it though, and it is so incredibly easy. (A LOT easier than I thought it was going to be.) All you have to do is put in the ingredients, which right takes me about five minutes because I'm so meticulous, and then it just does everything else itself. So I have stopped buying bread at the grocery store and am just going to make bread instead. It's a huge money saver and it tastes one hundred times better than any store bought bread I've ever had. And it takes about two minutes to clean it after you're done.
Tonight I'm making cheese and cracked pepper bread, at Thomas' request. The breadmaker came with recipes for about three dozen or so different recipes, even some gluten-free I think.
Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas??

The Neighbors

Mike and I have a family of birds that lives in the tree right outside our living room window. The parent birds actually moved in and made house sometime in late winter, early spring. Sometime around that time, I decided to start buying wild bird seed at the commissary and filling the previously abandoned birdfeeder that hung from a branch stump about eye level (if you're Mike's height). I had to do some minor repairs first, but now it's good as new.
Later that spring, we heard lots of baby peeps. I liked to sit and watch at the window (along with Eowyn and Missy) and watch the comings and goings of the very busy parent birds as they brought food back to their new little arrivals. It was a nice distraction from studying. :)

I remember "flying lessons" day. Each bird fledgling would kind of hop out to the edge of the tree, test his wings for a few seconds and soar back into the safety of the branches. Gradually they moved to the roof, flying from the roof top to the tree and back.
Now the fledglings are all grown up and look identical to their parents. The whole family, all seven of them, live in the tree together. If you look close enough, you can see all of the little tunnels they have carved through the branches. It's such a delight to be sitting at the window and watching and all of a sudden a little brown head will pop out of the branches, look around, and pop back in or fly out.

Occasionally, you'll see more than one bird doing this at at time. How many birds do you see in this picture (above)? Right before I took the picture, there had been over five I think, but they get skittesh when I get too close to the window, so it was tricky to take pictures of them. I'm glad my zoom is really great! (I do need to wash the windows though!)

Lake Thunderbird and Pregnant Pics

As I had written in a previous blog, last Sunday after church, Mike and I went to Lake Thunderbird with Sarah and James after lunch. Mike and I both had a really great time hanging out with James and Sarah. And Sarah brought her camera, mostly because I forgot mine (even though the plan was to go to the lake after church to take pictures and hang out with Mike), so she got some really pictures.

We walked along the lake shore for a little while, taking various pictures, then headed down a trail at a nice, slow walk. You know, so the pregnant woman could keep pace.

This is me at 18 weeks, in regular jeans. I have the top button buttoned in this picture, but it's not in the other pictures.

It was such a magnificent fall day: it wasn't too hot, there was a wonderful breeze (actually it almost capsized one of the sail boats on the water), and the trees were the most beautiful golds, reds, oranges, yellows and browns. So beautiful. Definitely my favorite time of year. But why clot the beauty with simple words when you can just look at the pictures. :)

I know this picture is a little devious and naughty, but I wanted to post it anyway because I love it. I think it just shows some of the passion of being married (especially to a tall, strong, handsome man like Mike!)

Here's Sarah and James - so in love! They are so cute together.

Ahh, happiness . . . :: sigh:: I love Mike so much!

Here's one of Sarah by herself. I really think she could be a model. Mike agrees with me.

Peanut Butter and Procrastination

Well, I should be writing my exegetical exposition right now, which is due tomorrow, and I have all my resources on the table here next to me, but I just can't seem to get the motivation to get going on that. It's only over four verses, so it really isn't too terribly hard. I'm just tired and I have other things going on right now . . . .

. . . like making dinner . . . .

. . . and baking bread . . .

. . . and pining for Mike even though he's at work right now and I saw him earlier today and he'll be home in just a few hours (2300). . .

. . . and eating peanut butter . . .

Yes, peanut butter. I was eating it on celery, but the celery was hindering the creamy deliciousness of the peanut butter, so now I'm just eating it straight from the jar. Yum! I've never done this before, however, Baby apparently REALLY wants some peanut butter. It's so good! Michelle, I really wish you could partake of this treat. And since WIC gives me a new jar every month, I can eat all I want! Yippee!

So anyway, it was a really hectic day of running around. I had a dental appointment, and from there I drove up to school with enough time to spare to look up some information, copy the pages I needed (using my last 40 cents) and rush back to Family Expectations to meet with Tequia for our office visit. And since Mike's schedule had unexpectedly changed, he was able to join me! :D At the last office visit, Tequia took a picture of us and made the picture into a puzzle. On the back of the puzzle, which we started working on today, we are going to put together some goals of how we want our family to be 20 years down the road. So we figured out our goals and in the next few office visits, we'll be working on those on the back of the puzzle.

Our goals are:
  • better our communication with each other
  • get out of debt
  • learn to manage our finances better
  • there was one more financial one, but I can't remember what it is right now
  • work on our time management for we can more family time together
So anyway, I think we're off to a good start. Both of us pretty much have the same goals, so at least we are like-minded in our thinking.
Then after Family Expectations, we drove home (in our seperate vehicles since we had come from opposite directions), I ate a sandwich very quickly and then had to leave for the Red Cross. I've been helping Susan work on some data entry projects the past few weeks, which has actually been a blessing in disguise, because I can just sit at a computer and work and I don't have to expend a whole lot of energy. Today I was helping her get some backlogged data entry done in a really important report. And I also created some excel spreadsheets for the all the schools that have the Masters of Disasters Program. The MoD program is really awesome - it's a free kit that the ARC sends to schools and the teachers can incorporate disaster education into their curriculum year round (a little at a time in various subjects). A lot of schools are really happy to utilize it, especially since disaster education has been proven to save lives in Oklahoma during Tornadoes. The Red Cross has literally been able to reach thousands of kids through this program, which is really cool.
Then I came home and rushed right into getting dinner ready, doing the dishes, starting a loaf of bread in the breadmakers (LOVE IT!!!), and starting on my paper. Maybe after things calm down a little bit I'll be able to work on my paper.
Oh, in case I never follow up from my blog on Monday about the gushing fluid and stuff - I went to see the midwives (my midwife was off) and I was seen by two other midwives (at the same time). They actually thought my water had broken and that was what they were testing for. (Scary thought!!) It turns out my water had not broken (Praise the Lord!) and I had an infection, which apparently can cause the same type reaction. My first thought was gross!! But anyway, I got some antibiotics to take for a week and then everything should be great. :) While I was there, I did get to hear the baby's heart rate, which was in the 140's and strong. It was really great to hear that. And the baby was really moving around a lot! The midwives were actually surprised at how much the baby was moving! So apparently I am giving birth to a wiggleworm . . .
I want to post some pics, so I'm going to close this post. :) ta ta for now . . .

05 November 2008

October 31st

On Halloween, Steph and Jeremy hosted a Halloween Party at their house in Del City. They said dressing up was required, but Mike and I protested, so we didn't get dressed up. There was lots of good food and it was a pretty fun time.

Jeremy was a rockstar, although I thought he looked more like a punk pirate. Steph was Goldie Locks or Alice in Wonderland. Josh was a Vampire. (Poor Josh! He looks so sad!)

Michelle and Betsy were 80's girls. I thought it was pretty cool how well they matched. Joe and Kyle were both TDY, so they missed all of the fun.

Marilyn went as an 80's Rock Star, aka Madonna. Jason was the Joker from the latest Batman movie. He looked so much like the Joker, it was just unreal!

Sarah was Oscar the Ostrich (very cute) and James went as a redneck. I thought he looked a lot like Joe Dirt.

Thomas also showed up in no costume. (We never celebrated Halloween growing up and don't believe in celebrating it now.) So Steph and Jeremy put a cowboy hat and belt on him. Here in this picture we see a very rare sight: Thomas is smiling!

And here is Mike and I. I am 18 weeks pregnant at this point and I was extremely uncomfortable that night.

Like I wrote earlier, we had a good time hanging out with our friends. Jackie and Ryan weren't able to make it, and Linette and her sister Sam weren't able to make it either. :(

One Year Anniversary

Mike and I's one year anniversary was on October 14th. :) We made it to one year! Because Mike was on an exercise, he got recalled at 0400 and didn't home until after 1900. I knew he would be really tired, so I had dinner ready when I got home.

I had gotten dressed up for him before I started cooking, and I bought the flowers and cleaned the dining area for him. I made his favorite dinner for him: steak with yams, acorn squash, green beans and muffins. However, I burned my hand taking the steaks out of the oven, so I couldn't finish cooking everything. Thomas however came in and saved the day and finished sauteeing the mushrooms, and even added some onion (which turned out really wonderfully), and finished cooking everything else for me and even made the juice for me. (Yes, it's not wine on the table, it's a type of grapejuice.) Mike arrived home just in time and really enjoyed the food. He was pretty surprised. I wish I could have gotten a picture of his face.

We had a really romantic time, although Mike had to cut my steak for me because I couldn't hold the knife in my burned hand.

We had wanted to return to the Willow Way B&B, but this year it just wasn't feasible since he had an exercise and we didn't have the money. Nonetheless, we had a really great time together. It was actually our first candle-lit dinner at home together, which helped to make it really special.

Air Force Ball

Yes, Mike took Thomas to the Air Force Ball on September 19th. They had a great evening of dinner, laughter and dancing at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum. Thomas went with the casual look . . .

Just kidding . . . .

Mike and I went to the Air Force Ball together and we had a great time together. I bought a new dress and even lipstick and shoes to match. I had wanted to get a dress that would go well with Mike's uniform, but Ross had three to choose from and this one looked the best on me. Mike really loved it though. :) The food was awesome! We didn't stay for the dancing because by the end of the night my feet were so sore I could hardly walk back to the car. There were some other women from PWOC there, so Mike got to meet them and I got to meet their husbands.
Overall the night was really great and I didn't have any morning sickness! I can't remember how far along I was, but I think it was 13 weeks or something.

04 November 2008

Election Day

I voted today!

Did you?

Exercise your right to vote . . .

03 November 2008

Catching up

I haven't posted for a while, mostly because I've been pretty busy with schoolwork and stuff like that. I think I've had more papers to write this semester than any other semester since I started college! I just have three more to write before the end of the semester though, so that's not too bad. And a few tests.

I'm getting bigger and bigger. Especially from the morning to the night. It seems like everyday I wake up and I just have a tiny little bump, though definitely noticable, at least to me. As the day progresses along, my belly seems to literally double in size and is quite uncomfortable! I'm not really sure for the reason behind this phenomenon, but oh well. I also crave water! I can't get enough. My constant thirst and dry mouth is driving me crazy! Anyone else have this problem? I hope I don't have gestational diabetes.

Mike's TDY got canceled, so he won't be gone for the month of November and we'll be able to go home for Thanksgiving! Yay! I've been really looking forward to going back up to South Dakota to see Ruth and Paul and Pam and family for a while. I really hope that Mike and I will be able to see Pam and Joel's new house. From their blog, I can tell they've been working so hard and it really looks great. I hope also that Thomas will come up with us. He's been invited but is making excuses as always. Very frustrating . . .

I have an OB apt this afternoon at 1600 because I've had some gushing and leaking of fluid, and some of other stuff. Hopefully it's just a false alarm, although everyone I've talked to about has appeared to be quite alarmed. And I read one article which really scared me, so I decided to keep living in ignorant denial.

Sarah, James, Mike and I went out to eat for lunch at Alfredo's yesterday after church, which was really tasty, then went out to Lake Thunderbird and took some pictures and walked around the trails for a little while. It was absolutely beautiful. I think this fall is probably the most beautiful fall I have seen in Oklahoma. The trees everywhere are beautiful, brilliant reds, oranges, golds and browns and the wind hasn't been that bad, so all the leaves are taking their time falling off. Usually we have a lot of really bad storms and all the leaves are gone within days. I hope to get some pictures of the trees at school before we get some bad weather.

I do have some pictures to post, but I'm at school at the moment, so I have to wait until I get home and download them from my camera before posting them.

Mike and I have started our Family Expectations workshop, which has been really wonderful. We've learned communication skills, anger danger signs, the importance of friendship in marriage and other things. It really has been such a blessing. Two weekends ago they had a marriage panel come in that we could all ask questions and someone asked what the number one thing in their relationship was that helped them to "make it work" for as long as they had been married (one couple was 42 years). Both couples answered: Jesus Christ! What an awesome testimony to His faithfulness!

The morning sickness has pretty much disapated, which is such a relief. I do have an occassional day or part of the day where I feel pretty sick, but it's not constant like it was.

I have also finally broken down and put on a pair of maternity pants. Yes, I'm 19 weeks (tomorrow) and I'm just now putting them on. I was down to two pairs of pants that I could wear and I had to unbutton the top button on both. So you can imagine, after wearing the same two pairs of pants every day of the week . . . . Anyway . . . they are really comfortable!

I honestly haven't written very much about my pregnancy because I'm pretty scared about so many different facets of what's going to happen. The baby isn't even here yet and it has put a strain on Mike and I's relationship - at least in the sense that the "fantasy" glasses have come off. Which I was not happy about. We're working through things with help from mentors, but it's been hard. I just feel so lost, without a dream, which is very disconcerting. I have never not had a dream for my life. For as long as I can remember, I have had something "in the future" that I was looking forward to or working towards, and now there is nothing. Except an unchangeable reality. I know the Lord is working in my life and molding me and shaping me; it's hard though, and uncertain and I know I just have to keep trusting in Him. I cling to Jer 29:11 because I no longer have a plan for myself, I just have the Lord's unknown plan for me. It would be easier if I knew what His plan was, but I know that would underscore my trust in Him, so I have to continue to trust until I find out that plan is.

One of the hardest realities that I have come to face is that now that I am having a child, I am certainly no longer a child myself. I know I'm an adult and have been for some time now, but I still have what some might consider "childish" things in my life. For example, I have my collection of Breyer horses, which I have collected and cherished since I was 8 years old. I only let one other person play with them with me when I was a child, and that was my best friend Sam because she knew how much they meant to me. And now I look at them, and in some respects they have become a symbolic of something that I can never return to: the carefree days of childhood where there is no responsibility like there is in adulthood. This pregnancy in some ways has become a seal of adulthood. Something that in some ways I'm not ready for. I know this probably sounds really weird, but this is the first time I'm trying to put these feelings to words. I feel that I am losing the inner-child inside of me. That it's finally time to grow up. For good.

And there's no going back.

Well, I'm out of time and have to leave. I will try to post the pictures this week.

09 October 2008

Heart Beat!

I had my first visit with my OB today, Shana Thomas, CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) at OU Physicians, which is apart of OU Medical Center. Immediately after being called back and meeting her assistant, Iesha, I was so glad that I chose to switch OB's. Iesha was really patient and assuring and she gave me a huge packet of information with a book about pregnancy put together by OUMC, information about health and diet, information numbers to call with questions, samples of different things like diapers, and so on. I met Shana a little while later (I actually didn't have to wait nearly as long as I have for Dr. Martin), and she was really nice. She went over my medical records, which there were some errors in Dr. Martin's records that needed to be corrected, and then a doppler was done.

I got to hear the baby's heart beat for the first time!! It was truly amazing! My mom told me that my heartbeat on doppler sounded like a horse galloping on the beach and I had been wondering what my baby's heartbeat would sound like. It sounded like a heartbeat on a doppler to me. Healthy, strong, maybe 140 BPM, which is a little slow for baby, but still good. Shana didn't seem worried about anything.

She also took the time to answer all of my questions and was very reassuring. I am really glad that I switched practioners now.

And, for the first time, I think the realization that I am really having a LIVE baby has hit me. And I'm excited about it! I think that for the most part I was intellectualizing it, plus in the first trimester I was feeling really sick most of the time, so it was hard to be excited when you're so nauseous.

There really is a tiny little life inside of me, that Mike and I have created. And it's growing everyday!

I'm definitely showing now - I've actually gained almost 2 pounds this week alone and it's all belly. I like that I'm showing. It helps remind me that I'm pregnant, not getting fat.

So far this pregnancy I've gained 5 pounds altogether and I'm 15 weeks and 2 days today.

Mike has been really supportive and puts his ear to my stomach quite often to see if he can hear the baby yet and kisses my belly a lot too. I think he's pretty excited about having a baby.

Of course we're both pretty scared about having a child too, although most of that has to do with financial woes more than being good parents at this point.

The Family Expectations Study that we are apart of has definitely been a God-thing. Tequia, our "counselor" for the study is a Christian and she has been so supportive of us and really helped us out and encouraged us. We start our parent workshop classes next Saturday, so we're both looking forward to that. And we're going to a financial workshop later in the month and Mike is going to a "Dad Boot Camp" class later in the month as well. It's a "for men only class" about being a new Dad. If I hadn't blogged about Family Expectations earlier, it's a study sponsored by the government and to be eligible you have to be over 18 years old and either be expecting or have had a baby within the last three months. Basically the study is trying to prove that two parents raise a baby together than two parents seperately. So they are equipping soon to be parents and new parents with tools that will help them stay together. This are things such as: communication skills, financial management, learning about raising a child or children together, etc etc. And since this month is our anniversary month, they are sending us to a bed and breakfast for a weekend! :) The new parents also receive up to $800 in "crib cash" to spend at "the Crib" which is basically a store with a ton of baby stuff in it. Michelle and Joe got their glider there and I think their high-chair or stroller. The only requirement they have is that both parents come to the office visits and workshops together, if at all possible.

That's it for baby news. I'll have to take some baby bump pics and post them. :)

Stock Market Article

Dow plunges 679 to fall to lowest level in 5 years

By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer 20 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Stocks plunged in the final hour of trading Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down 679 points — more than 7 percent — to its lowest level in five years after a major credit ratings agency said it might cut its rating on General Motors Corp.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index also fell more than 7 percent.

The declines came on the one-year anniversary of the closing highs of the Dow and the S&P. The Dow has lost 5,585 points, or 39.4 percent, since closing at 14,198 on Oct. 9, 2007. The S&P 500, meanwhile, is off 655 points, or 41.9 percent, since recording its high of 1,565.15.

U.S. stock market paper losses totaled $872 billion Thursday and the value of shares overall has tumbled a stunning $8.33 trillion since last year's high. That's based on preliminary figures measured by the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index, which tracks 5,000 U.S.-based companies' stocks and represents almost all stocks traded in America.

Thursday's sell-off came as Standard & Poor's Ratings Services put GM and its finance affiliate GMAC LLC under review to see if its rating should be cut. GM has been struggling with weak car sales in North America.

The action means there is a 50 percent chance that S&P will lower GM's and GMAC's ratings in the next three months.

S&P also put Ford Motor Co. on credit watch negative. The ratings agency said that GM and Ford have adequate liquidity now, but that could change in 2009.

GM led the Dow lower, falling $2.15, or 31 percent, to $4.76, while Ford fell 58 cents, or 22 percent, to $2.08.

"The story is getting to be like that movie 'Groundhog Day,'" said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. He pointed to the still-frozen credit markets, and Libor, the bank-to-bank lending rate that remains stubbornly high despite interest rate cuts this week by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks.

"Until that starts coming down, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone getting excited about stocks," Hogan said. "Everything we're seeing is historic. The problem is historic, the solutions are historic, and unfortunately, the sell-off is historic. It's not the kind of history you want to be making."

The Dow ended the day at its lows, finishing down 678.91, or 7.3 percent, at 8,579.19. The blue chips hadn't closed below the 9,000 level since the June 30, 2003.

Broader stock indicators also tumbled. The S&P 500 fell 75.02, or 7.6 percent, to 909.92, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 95.21, or 5.5 percent, to 1,645.12.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 47.37, or 8.7 percent, to 499.20.

A wave of fear about the economy sent stocks lower in the final two hours of trading after a volatile morning in which major indicators like the Dow and the S&P 500 index bobbed up and down. The Nasdaq, with a bevy of tech stocks, spent much of the session higher but eventually declined as the sell-off intensified. Still, its losses were less severe because of the relatively modest drops in names like Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

On the New York Stock Exchange, declining issues came to nearly 3,000, while fewer than 250 advanced.

The sluggishness in the credit markets that triggered much of the heavy selling in markets around the world since mid-September appeared little changed Thursday following days of efforts by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to resuscitate lending.

Libor, the bank lending benchmark, for three-month dollar loans rose to 4.75 percent from 4.52 percent on Wednesday. That signals that banks remain hesitant to make loans for fear they won't be paid back.

The Fed and other leading central banks this week lowered key interest rates to help unclog the credit markets and promote lending to help the global economy. While a rate cut can take up to a year to work its way through the economy, the move was aimed as a boost to investor sentiment.

"We're stuck in a morass and I think it's going to take quite some time to come out of it," said Stephen Carl, principal and head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group.

Demand remained high for short-term Treasurys, a refuge for investors willing to trade modest returns to protect their money. The yield on the three-month Treasury bill, which moves opposite its price, fell to 0.51 percent from 0.63 percent late Wednesday. Longer-term debt prices fell, with the yield on the 10-year note rising to 3.79 percent from 3.65 percent late Wednesday.

Investors across markets were mulling a plan being considered by the Bush administration to invest in hobbled U.S. banks as a way to stabilize the financial sector. The $700 billion rescue package signed into law last week allows the Treasury Department to inject fresh capital into financial institutions and obtain ownership shares in return.

Britain rolled out a similar plan, though no U.K. bank has received any investments. In Iceland, the government now has control of the country's three major banks as it struggles to contain the troubles there.

Wall Street is also looking for any effects of short selling now that a three-week ban imposed by regulators has expired. Short selling is a technique in which investors borrow shares in a company from a broker and sell them, hoping to buy them back later at a lower price. Essentially, it's a bet that a stock's price will fall. Short sellers can lose money if they have to repurchase the stock after it has risen.

Some analysts believe the unprecedented ban on short selling — an effort to bolster investor confidence — did more harm than good at a time of historic market volatility. They contend that short sellers help the market rally by covering their bets and creating demand for stocks.
"I think the market's way oversold. But I can't stand in the way of this falling knife — I'd get sliced open," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors. "Investors are just saying, get me out at any price."

He also said that with the short-selling rule back in play, hedge funds might be shorting again to make up for their forced liquidations.

The tech sector saw less selling than other parts of the market after IBM Corp. affirmed its forecast.

IBM fell $1.55, or 1.7 percent, to $89. Meanwhile, Intel fell 65 cents, or 4 percent, to $15.60. Microsoft fell 71 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $22.30.

Energy names were among the biggest decliners as the price of oil fell. Exxon Mobil Corp. fell $9, or 12 percent, to $68, while Chevron Corp. fell $9.10, or 12 percent, to $64.

Light, sweet crude fell $1.81 to settle at $86.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest closing price since October last year.

Trading volume on the NYSE came to 2.04 billion shares.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.50 percent while the Hang Seng added 3.31 percent. In Europe, Britain's FTSE-100 fell 1.21 percent, Germany's DAX fell 2.53 percent, and France's CAC-40 declined 1.55 percent.

23 September 2008

Researchers Identify Regional Personality Traits Across America

Very interesting article I found today. I had trouble clicking on the interactive map so I could see where Oklahoma stood though.
The United States of Mind
Researchers Identify Regional Personality Traits Across America
By Stephanie Simon

Certain regional stereotypes have long since become cliches: The stressed-out New Yorker. The laid-back Californian.

But the conscientious Floridian? The neurotic Kentuckian?

You bet -- at least, according to new research on the geography of personality. Based on more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, the study maps regional clusters of personality traits, then overlays state-by-state data on crime, health and economic development in search of correlations.

View Interactive
The Geography of Personality ~View an interactive map of states' personality profiles, with details on each state's rankings in all five categories.

Even after controlling for variables such as race, income and education levels, a state's dominant personality turns out to be strongly linked to certain outcomes. Amiable states, like Minnesota, tend to be lower in crime. Dutiful states -- an eclectic bunch that includes New Mexico, North Carolina and Utah -- produce a disproportionate share of mathematicians. States that rank high in openness to new ideas are quite creative, as measured by per-capita patent production. But they're also high-crime and a bit aloof. Apparently, Californians don't much like socializing, the research suggests.

As for high-anxiety states, that group includes not just Type A New York and New Jersey, but also states stressed by poverty, such as West Virginia and Mississippi. As a group, these neurotic states tend to have higher rates of heart disease and lower life expectancy.

Lead researcher Peter Jason Rentfrow, lecturer at the University of Cambridge in England, said he was startled to find such correlations. "That just blew me away," he said.

Psychologists unaffiliated with the study say it's intriguing but limited. There's no way to unravel the chicken-and-egg question: Do states tend to nurture specific personalities because of their histories, cultures, even climates? Or do Americans, seeking kindred spirits, migrate to the states where they feel at home? Maybe both forces are at work -- but in what balance?

Another issue: The personality maps may reinforce stereotypes and tempt us to draw overly simplistic conclusions, said Toni Schmader, a psychologist at the University of Arizona. Knowing Arizona ranks low in neuroticism, Ms. Schmader said, she might conclude that sunny weather makes for sunny dispositions. But if the data had turned out the other way, the sun could just as easily be blamed for high neuroticism -- for driving Arizonans stir crazy by keeping them cooped up in air conditioning.

"We tend to reject information that doesn't agree with our stereotypes," Ms. Schmader said.
Cross-cultural psychology was all the rage in the 1930s and 1940s, driven by a craze among anthropologists for comparing child-rearing practices in modern and pre-industrial societies. But the discipline fell out of favor, partly because of concerns that the comparisons were driven more by value judgments than standardized assessments.

In the past decade, the field has been reinvigorated by the development of a 44-question personality test that evaluates five traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness. Some psychologists disagree with this matrix; others would add traits such as honesty. But the assessment, called the Big Five Inventory, has been widely used in scientific research.

Mr. Rentfrow came to the field full of questions gleaned from a life spent hop-scotching across America. Why were his neighbors in Texas so relaxed, so courteous, so obsessed with sports? Why did New Yorkers seem so tense and inward-focused, often brusque to the point of rudeness?

Eager to dig deeper, Mr. Rentfrow turned to a huge collection of psychological tests administered online from 1999 to 2005.

The assessments were linked to each respondent's current residence, so there was no way to tell if a New Yorker was a New Yorker born and bred, or had just moved from Kansas. But that suited Mr. Rentfrow's purposes. He wasn't trying to gauge how life in New York had shaped any one individual. His goal was a psychological snapshot of the state, and for that he needed to include even recent migrants -- who may, after all, have been drawn to New York because the big-city bustle suited their personality.

Mr. Rentfrow said his sample was proportionate to the U.S. population by state and race. Though it underrepresented the extremes of poor and rich, that shouldn't skew the results, he said.

While the findings broadly uphold regional stereotypes, there are more than a few surprises. The flinty pragmatists of New England? They're not as dutiful as they may seem, ranking at the bottom of the "conscientious" scale. High scores for openness to new ideas strongly correlates to liberal social values and Democratic voting habits. But three of the top ten "open" states -- Nevada, Colorado and Virginia -- traditionally vote Republican in presidential politics. (All three are prime battlegrounds this election.)

And what of the unexpected finding that North Dakota is the most outgoing state in the union? Yes, North Dakota, the same state memorialized years ago in the movie "Fargo" as a frozen wasteland of taciturn souls. Turns out you can be a laconic extrovert, at least in the world of psychology. The trait is defined in part by strong social networks and tight community bonds, which are characteristic of small towns across the Great Plains. (Though not, apparently, small towns in New England, which ranks quite low on the extraversion scale.)

The findings pleased Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, who said it was nice to have scientific proof that his state is super-friendly. "That's the Nebraska I know," he said.

But Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman can't understand how Nevada got ranked so low in agreeableness. "We're probably the most agreeable folks in the world, because we have to treat visitors with a great deal of kindness ... to get a big tip," he said.

In Florida, meanwhile, tourism official Dia Kuykendall groped to explain her state's high "conscientious" ranking. She was having trouble reconciling that with, say, the party scene on Miami Beach. "Conscientious of how they look?" she wondered.

The research did give Ms. Kuykendall an idea for a new Florida tourism pitch: "Come visit us, we're not neurotic!"

Social scientists suggest other applications for the research as well. In the Northeast "stress belt," health officials might consider programs to help folks relax. In the Midwest, a dutiful state like Kansas might look to woo more innovative personalities, perhaps by nurturing an artists' enclave or encouraging young chefs to start restaurants, said Richard Florida, an economic development analyst who has written extensively on geography and psychology.

"Most cities are still trapped in the idea that they can recruit a call center or build a big stadium" to spur revitalization, Mr. Florida said. "This is a big wake-up call for policy makers."

It's also a wake-up call for proud residents of the great state of wherever -- some of whom aren't fond of the findings. Mr. Rentfrow said he's had to help some of them feel better. Yes, North Dakota and Wyoming rank quite low in openness to new ideas. But why label them narrow-minded and insular? Say, instead, he suggests, that they value tradition. New York may be neurotic, but he offers another way to put it: "It's a state in touch with its feelings."

Or take a cue from Ted Ownby, who studies Southern culture at the University of Mississippi. His state came up highly neurotic -- and he suspects his neighbors would be proud.
"Here in the home of William Faulkner," Mr. Ownby said, "we take intense, almost perverse neuroticism as a sign of emotional depth."

17 September 2008

Yay for the switching sides!!

Top Clinton fundraiser backs McCain over Obama
By ANN SANNER, Associated Press Writer 26 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A top Hillary Rodham Clinton fundraiser threw her support behind Republican John McCain on Wednesday, saying he will lead the country in a centrist fashion and accusing the Democrats of becoming too extreme.

"I believe that Barack Obama, with MoveOn.org and Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean, has taken the Democratic Party — and they will continue to — too far to the left," Lynn Forester de Rothschild said. "I'm not comfortable there."

Rothschild is also a member of the Democratic National Committee's Platform Committee. She said she would be stepping down from her position on the committee but will not switch political parties.

Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said in an e-mail that the New York senator disagrees with Rothschild's decision to endorse McCain.

"Senator Clinton has been criss-crossing the country and doing whatever she can to make the very clear case that the Obama-Biden ticket represents the new ideas and positive change we need right now, and the McCain-Palin ticket does not," Strand said in the e-mail.

Rothschild said she was excited by the prospect of a woman being in the White House, even though she and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin disagree on issues. The Alaska governor opposes abortion except in the case of a threat to the mother's life. Rothschild said she supports abortion rights.

"I believe that the McCain-Palin government will be a centrist government," Rothschild said. "It's not going to be an ideological government."

Rothschild is a member of the DNC's Democrats Abroad chapter and splits her time living in London and New York. She was one of Clinton's top fundraisers, bringing in more than $100,000 for her presidential campaign. She built a multimillion-dollar telecommunications company before marrying international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

Rothschild said she has not discussed her support for McCain with Clinton.

"I'm sure she is not pleased with what I'm doing today," she said. "But you know what? I have to do what I believe in."

My impressions:

Finally a Democrat that sees how wrong and left wing some of the Democrats, such as Obama, are. There is hope finally for the Democrats . . . Finally someone who can see through the lies of Obama and discern for themselves that now is not the time for someone like him. He has no proof, no record to back up what he says in speeches and platforms and websites.

Stock market down over 400 points today

Stocks tumble after government bailout of AIG
By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer 8 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Wall Street plunged again Wednesday as anxieties about the financial system ran high after the government's bailout of insurer American International Group Inc. and left investors with little confidence in many banking stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost about 450 points, giving it a shortfall of more than 800 so far this week.

As investors fled stocks, they sought the safety of hard assets and government debt, sending gold, oil and short-term Treasurys soaring.

The market was more unnerved than comforted by news that the Federal Reserve is giving a two-year, $85 billion loan to AIG in exchange for a nearly 80 percent stake in the company, which lost billions in the risky business of insuring against bond defaults. Wall Street had feared that the conglomerate, which has extensive ties to various financial services industries around the world, would follow the investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. into bankruptcy. However, the ramifications of the world's largest insurer going under likely would have far surpassed the demise of Lehman.

"People are scared to death," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management. "Who would have imagined that AIG would have gotten into this position?"
He said the anxiety gripping the markets reflects investors' concerns that AIG wasn't able to find a lifeline in the private sector and that Wall Street is now fretting about what other institutions could falter. Over the past year, companies including Lehman and AIG have sought to reassure investors that they weren't in trouble, but as market conditions have worsened the market appears distrustful of any assurances.

"No one's going to be believing anybody now because AIG said they were OK along with everybody else," Stone said.

The two independent Wall Street investment banks left standing — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley — remain under scrutiny, as does Washington Mutual Inc., the country's largest thrift bank. Morgan Stanley revealed better-than-expected quarterly results late Tuesday and insisted that it is surviving the credit crisis that has ravaged many of its peers.
Lehman filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, and by late Tuesday had sold its North American investment banking and trading operations to Barclays, Britain's third-largest bank, for the bargain price of $250 million. Over the weekend, Merrill Lynch & Co., the world's largest brokerage, sold itself to Bank of America Corp. in a quickly arranged plan to sidestep further slides in its stock.

"It's still uncertain ground we're treading. We just have to move on a daily basis," said Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank.

The Dow fell 449.36, or 4.06 percent, to 10,609.66, finishing not far off its lows of the session. On Monday, the Dow lost 504 points, the largest tumble since its drop following the September 2001 terror attacks. On Tuesday, it rose 141 points, after the Fed decided to leave interest rates unchanged.

The index is down more than 7 percent on the week, its worst showing since July 2002. The blue chips have fallen more than 25 percent since reaching a record close of 14,164.53 on Oct. 9 last year.

Broader stock indicators also fell sharply Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 57.21, or 4.71 percent, to 1,156.39, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 109.05, or 4.94 percent, to 2,098.85.

About 200 stocks rose on the New York Stock Exchange, while nearly 3,000 fell.
The stock market is likely to see heavy back-and-forth movement as traders continue to assess the flood of news that has poured in over the past several days.

Short-term Treasurys moved sharply higher as investors sought a safe place for at least the near future. There was heavy buying in T-bills, which range from three months to a year in maturities. But the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, slipped to 3.42 percent from 3.43 percent late Tuesday as longer-term debt fell.

Tom di Galoma, head of Treasurys trading at Jefferies & Co., characterized the mood of the bond market as "sheer panic." With turmoil in markets such as credit default swaps, which are essentially insurance policies against bond defaults, investors sought out alternative short-duration assets, he said.

The dollar was lower against other major currencies.

Commodities prices that have slumped in recent weeks amid growing signs of economic weakness, soared because of the appeal of hard assets.

Gold for December delivery shot up as much as $90.40, or 11.6 percent, to $870.90 an ounce in after-hours trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after jumping $70 to settle at $850.50 in the regular session; that was its largest ever one-day gain in dollar terms.

Crude oil that had also skidded lower since midsummer $6.01 to settle at $97.16 a barrel on the Nymex after the government reported a drop in domestic crude and gas inventories. Oil dropped by about $10 a barrel on Monday and Tuesday.

The government took other measures Tuesday to help alleviate the turmoil in the markets. The Treasury said it will start selling bonds for the Fed to aid it with its lending efforts, while the Securities and Exchange Commission said it will strictly prohibit naked short-selling starting Thursday.

Short-selling occurs when traders borrow shares of a stock they expect will fall and sell them. If the stock does indeed fall, the traders buy the cheaper shares to cover the borrowed ones and profit from the difference. Naked short-selling occurs when sellers don't actually borrow the shares before selling them; it's a practice some say is partially responsible for the huge drop in the shares of investment banks like Lehman, Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns Cos., which JPMorgan Chase & Co. bought earlier this year.

Among financial names getting hit, Goldman Sachs fell $18.51, or 14 percent, to $114.50 and Morgan Stanley fell $6.95, or 24 percent, to $21.75. AIG fell $1.70, or 45 percent, to $2.05.
Many of the investment banks are now being forced to pair up with regular banks, whose solid deposit base can provide ballast in a turbulent market.

"People are afraid of the unknown and they don't know what's on the books of these companies," said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading. "The first reaction in a situation like this is to sell."

Saluzzi noted that surging gold prices and other measures of investors jitters indicate that anxiety is building.

Indeed, the Chicago Board Options Exchange's volatility index, known as the VIX, and often referred to as the "fear index," jumped nearly 15 percent to its highest close since 2002. A widely followed measure of financial stocks fell to its lowest close since mid-July.

Saluzzi is somewhat optimistic that the nervousness could be nearing a crescendo, which could squeeze out more investors and then clear the way for a snapback rally.

But the woes of the financial sector could also exacerbate problems facing other parts of the economy, given that individuals and businesses rely on the nation's money centers.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that home construction fell by 6.2 percent in August to 895,000 units, the slowest pace since January 1991. Slumping demand for houses, sinking home prices and mortgage defaults have been the catalysts behind Wall Street's turmoil — and the risky mortgage-backed assets held by the nation's banks are not apt to regain in value until the housing market turns around.

NYSE consolidated volume came to a very heavy 9.23 billion, little changed from Tuesday's 9.25 billion.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 1.2 percent after AIG's rescue, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 3.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 2.25 percent, Germany's DAX index fell 1.75 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell 2.14 percent.

My first impressions:

Why the heck is the government bailing out a business, even though it is a giant insurance company? This only further fuels my belief that all insurance companies are evil and are not out to help their customers in any way, shape or form. They are out to make money. That included health insurance, car insurance, home-owner's insurance, etc. I would rather have a hefty amount in savings for the event that will probably not happen to my house than to continually, month after month, pour out money just in case something happens. Think of all the money that goes to insurance companies - if that went into a personal savings account, you could be saving that money, making interest on it, etc. Of course, I'm sure a lot of people will not agree with me, but it doesn't really make any difference because it's the law to have insurance (at least car insurance).

I was also informed that Clinton started this whole fiasco when he demanded that mortgage companies give mortgages to people, even if they weren't qualified. So then when those people couldn't pay their mortgages, the company suffered. The government under Clinton would have penalized the company if they didn't give them mortgages, so they were in a rock and a hard place. Just another thing Clinton did to screw up this country. I will not even go into all the horrible, disasterous things that have happened to health insurance since HMO's came into effect under Clinton. If people aren't qualified to own a home, then they shouldn't own a home. I'm sorry, but that's why you can rent. It's would be nice if everyone could own a home, but if you don't pay your bills and your credit gets bad because of it, then you have no business owning a home. If you can't afford a home to begin with, you have no business owning a home. What could change financially now that you "own" the home? Do money trees grow there that a person can suddenly afford all those bills even though they couldn't before they bought the house? There are reasons why it's called "the American Dream". Mike and I cannot afford to own a home right now - so we don't own one. We rent. We dream of owning a home one day, when we can afford it and not before.

Anyway, the whole thing just got me really angry. (The part about the govenment loaning them $85 billion and now owning 71% of the company.)

Why don't we just usher in communism right now??? What kind of example is the government setting? What kind of standard will this become? Another giant business starts to go under and the government, which is already in major debt, will bail them out too??

And of course people will think this is Bush's fault and blame him, just like people thing he creates hurricanes and sends them to destroy cities of poor, impoverished [black] people . . .

Lots to post

It's my 26th birthday today and I have lots of intriguing things to post today. I know that I usually do a year in review on my birthday, but there is that lack of energy that I've got going on right now . . . So that will come later. The only two things I'm going to post are news articles from yahoo.

I just don't really feel like writing, that's all. :)

ta ta for now . . .

12 September 2008

Remembering Galveston 1900

On Sep 8, 1900, a massive hurricane took the jewel city of Texas by suprise when a massive Cat 4 hurricane struck Galveston, killing around 10,000 people (reports vary).

When looking at a map of the storms track, put together by meteorologists based on verbal stories, the track follows almost the same as Hurricane Ike. See the following link: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/history.shtml#galveston for a picture and a brief history.

The most tragic story is the orphanage with 10 nuns and 90 children that was swept out to sea. I think 3 children survived.

A storm of 8-15 feet inundated much of the city, washing away many bodies, which resurfaced on the beaches for months to come.

The website www.1900storm.com also has the history of how the city rebuilt itself, along with a huge natural sea-wall after the storm.

I would like to write more on this, however, I have to get to class. I researched this storm many years ago and it is a fascinating history if you have the time to really dig for the information.

Gearing up for Ike

Hurricane Ike, currently a strong Cat 2, is scheduled to make landfall in South Texas in about 10 hours. They are already feeling the outer bands of the hurricane. A Cat 2 hurricane has winds from 96 - 110 mph, per the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Ike is at 105 mph currently with pressure at 954 mb per the latest reconnaissance mission by the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron out of Keesler AFB, MS. I was going to post some pictures, but I'm currently at school and the school computer will not allow me to save a picture to the computer (which I can then post here.) So that will come later.

SE Oklahoma, SE Kansas, Missouri and southern Illinois are said to also expect the flooding rains from Hurricane Ike after it makes landfall and moves north into the country, provided it doesn't stall out, which it doesn't look like it will. Southeastern Oklahoma can also expect some tropical storm force winds, not including OKC.

I think that winds and heavy rains in the afore mentioned states would only happen because the hurricane is so massive. Looking at a IR satellite of Ike, it seems to take up most of the western half of the gulf. Tropical storm winds spread 275 miles from the eye (that's only one half of the size). Doing the math, that means that the hurricane is about 550 miles across.

The prep slideshows on www.weather.com shows how big the hurricane is and what other things to expect such as how far inland major sustaining winds will reach. 25-32' maximum height waves are expected in the Galveston area, with 16-24' max height waves west to Brownsville (on the Mexico border) and east to the MS/AL border, including all of the LA coastline. Not only will winds be a huge threat from Ike, but flooding rains will as well. Locally the Houston area down to the gulf can expect 5+" of rain with up to 12+" locally, with 3" possible through most of east central TX, including the Dallas area. Hopefully the storm won't stall out over Texas.

Information above taken from www.weather.com (various articles, slideshows), www.nhc.noaa.gov (various multimedia) and http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080912/ap_on_re_us/eye_of_ike.

What does this mean for Oklahoma? Well, we'll probably be getting lots of evacuees again from the Hurricane. Last week, the OKC shelter set up for Hurricane Gustav evacuees had between 2000-3000 people for about 5 days. When I was at the Red Cross yesterday, there were many meetings going on between TX state officials and the OK Red Cross disaster preparedness team. Currently the Red Cross is on standby with the shelter ready to take in 4000 people immediately. All volunteers, including myself, are on standby from yesterday through the end of the next week.

I did get a call on the way to school this morning to work in the Call Center on Sunday, and since I got assigned to the Call Center instead of the shelter, I am guessing that means that they did open up the shelter to incoming evacuees from south Texas.

Dallas usually has a major shelter operation set up, however, if Dallas can expect severe flooding or wind damage, they may also be in emergency crisis mode, and will not be able to deal with evacuees because they will be assisting their own citizens. Hence sending them to Oklahoma.

Tulsa is also on standby to receive evacuees.

How could this also directly impact our little group down here in Oklahoma? Well, the AWACS guys (Joe, James, Jeremy and Kyle) will probably be flying reconnaissance/support again as they did in Gustav. Mike has already been told of having the possibility of going to Haiti for two months to assist down there; this is a remote possibility though. Not so remote would be going to Texas to assist down there, which he has almost been tasked with as well. If this does prove to be a major disaster simply because of the size of the storm, then he may be doing down there for several weeks.

So, it's going to be another busy week for Oklahoma, a scary week for Texas and Louisiana and possible Mississippi. Everyone is going to need lots of prayers.

28 August 2008


Okay, I think the big news personally for me is that I am officially tired of being pregnant. Well, tired of the constant nausea that keeps me from participating in life. I've been putting up with it for 5 weeks now and it's getting old. I think that it's only because I'm pretty much nauseous constantly now - from waking too sleeping.

I also feel like I am eating constantly, but not really eating at all. I snack A LOT to keep the nausea at bay (crackers, fruit, fruit granola bars, pretzels, candied mints, etc), but then at mealtimes, I can't eat anything. It's really frustrating. Plus there's more to add to the food aversions list. Like water, for example. Yes water, the only beverage that I can now drink and the one thing that I need the most of.

Enough whining for now . . .

I had my OB appointment on Tuesday. It was an interesting visit.

I still have not gained any weight and am weighing in at 99 pounds. I was 103 pounds at the beginning of the summer. And 115 pounds at this time last year (pre-mono).

Mike was running late but arrived just in time for Dr. Martin to do the doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat. Lots of searching, no finding. So she does an abdominal ultrasound. Lots of searching, no finding of baby on the ultrasound screen.

That's not good. Worry.

She says she wants to do a transvaginal ultrasound to make sure that everything is okay. So she leaves the room so I can get undressed.

The minutes tick by.

Worry. What if the baby died and my body won't get rid of it? What if I have to go to the hospital?

More minutes tick by. Ten. Fifteen. Twenty.

Worry. What if I have Gestational Trophoblastic Disease and have to have to surgery and get chemo? Way more worry. In case you're wondering what that is, it's basically what starts off as a pregnancy, and the fetus turns into a malignant tumor, complete with teeth and hair. Basically it's cancer.

Now on the verge of crying, I begin to wonder exactly what was taking so long. Dr. Martin finally walks in. She had forgotten we were still there.

Turning the ultrasound monitor away from me (never a good sign) she does the ultrasound. Finally she finds the baby. She turns the screen so I can see it.

She pointed out the flicker which was the baby's heart rate. She said that I was exactly nine weeks along. And then the baby waved its' arms at us!! It actually waved both of its' little arms up and down as if to say "Yes, I'm here all right!"

I was incredibly relieved. She printed a picture for us. Mike was just awestruck and beaming from ear to ear with a wonderful twinkle in his eyes.

I had quite a few questions, which she answered. Everything is pretty normal.

Afterwards, Mike and I went to Pho on NE 23rd street for dinner. It was pretty good, but the next day I was really sick, so I'm not sure if I'll be eating Pho again while I'm pregnant. Actually I was so sick this morning (not just morning sickness), I couldn't go the Red Cross to volunteer. :(

Just on a side note, the due date is now April 2nd.