Tuesday, December 30, 2008

HOME at last....THANK GOD!

So, what an adventure the last two days have been! I got lucky in Galesburg, as it was only a one level train, so I only had 3 steps to hop up. However, when I got to Chicago, what I thought would be a 9 hr wait turned into a 10 1/2 hr wait because we were delayed due to "the train not being released from the yard," whatever that meant...seemed a bit crazy to me.  Anyway, we finally got underway about 2045 last night and got into DC around 1500 today. I made the last trek to Baltimore and got home around 1730. It felt so good to FINALLY walk in the door to my house! Now, I'm loving the thought of sleeping in my own bed for the first time in 3 weeks!!! YAY!!!

A huge "Thank You" to my family and Barb who helped me through the last 3 weeks! I couldn't have done it on my own, so I truly appreciate all of the assistance I received!

God Bless you all,

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Time at home coming to an end...

Well, tonight is my last night at home and then I start the fun trek back to the east coast to Maryland at about 0600. Then, I get to sit in Chicago for about 9 hrs at the Amtrak station to wait for my train to head to DC tomorrow night. That should be tons of fun. Wish me luck that I can check my luggage and have one less thing to worry about. lol

Well, I've enjoyed spending time with my family this trip, but didn't get to see Mom very much. Unfortunately she got sick and couldn't come out much and I am not very mobile, so a trip to her house didn't work until the last day after the rain had FINALLY cleared out some of the snow and ice. I guess she'll just have to come to see me when it warms up! :-) Not being able to drive anywhere or get around has made it impossible to see any friends, either. Stacy probably thinks I've completely abandoned her since I haven't seen her and Brandon and Rebecca the last two trips home. I still love ya, Stac! It's just been a tough couple of trips! I promise next time we'll get together. Baylee wants to play with Rebecca again, anyway, so I promised her we would in the Spring when I come to get Sasha.

As for the rest of you, sorry I didn't get to see you all! Hopefully we'll be able to do a get together when I'm home in the spring so we can all catch up! In the mean time, take care of yourselves and let me know what's going on in your lives!

Love to you all,

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day after Christmas...

So, today was mostly spent online - I downloaded, and still am downloading, TONS of music from amazon.com.  They are having a pretty good year end sale and there were 25 free Christmas songs that I got too - only downside is it's EXTREMELY SLOW in downloading! iTunes is so much quicker...but more expensive, too!

Well, Dee had to work today so I hung out with Baylee all day. She played with her stuff from Santa and cleaned up her room - with a little prodding! lol She's pretty good when she wants to be! We had a pretty good day, though, and now I'm finishing up with the downloads from amazon. I also got some new books for my kindle, which is the best thing ever! I love having it and having a ton of books to choose from right there at my fingertips. It really is a pretty awesome little gadget!

So, tomorrow is our family Christmas with Aunt Fay and Uncle Larry and everyone. I'm going to go down with Mom and Pops so I can go see Grandma Irma, too. That will be nice since it's been forever since I got to see her. I sure hope the weather stays better and Mom is feeling up to going! She's been sick for the last couple of days. The weather has been ABSOLUTELY INSANE since I've been home. It's been so cold and snowy/rainy/sleety/icy.....etc........that it's hard to get anywhere. I'll be glad when I'm 100% done with the crutches so it will be easier to get around! This is beyond annoying now and I'm tired of them! lol

Well, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying some down time! Drop a line and let me know how things went for you!

Hope to hear from you soon,

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Just a quick note to tell everyone Merry Christmas!!! I hope you all have a blessed day with family and friends. Enjoy them!! For those of you who are far away from your loved ones right now, know that you are thought of with love and that very Merry Christmas wishes are being sent to you! May you, too, have a blessed Christmas!

With love to you all,

BTW - I'm back at Dee's and Santa has been here, so I'm sure Baylee will have us all up at the crack of dawn! I better get some sleep or it's going to be a LOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG day tomorrow!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Staying at my sister's...

Well, after staying at Daddy's for a couple of days, yesterday I got to go see Gram for a while on the way to my sister, Dee's. I'll be here for a couple of days now before going back to Gladstone. Getting up the drive here yesterday was lots of fun since it was covered in ice! I abandoned the crutches and gave them to Daddy and held his arm while my niece, Baylee, held my other hand and I hopped up the hill on my good foot! That had to be a comical site for the neighbors! lol Once we finally got inside, I headed to the couch, which has become my latest hang out. My adorable kitty, Sasha, who has been staying with Dee and Baylee since I went to Ethiopia, has been here with me most of the time! I miss her!

It was really great to see my niece and sister again since it's been a few months! I always spend as much time as I can in both Davenport with Dee, Baylee, Mom and Pops and in Gladstone with Daddy and Jayne when I come home. Baylee usually goes wherever I go as long as she's not in school. Hopefully she'll go back to Gladstone with us tomorrow. Then we'll be there for a couple of days and then on Christmas Eve we'll come back up here for a couple more days and then I'll finish out my trip back in Gladstone so Daddy can take me back to the train on the 29th. It's always lots of back and forth when I come home.

Yesterday was a pretty lazy day, as I read a lot of the day and then Baylee and I played Connect 4 for what seemed like hours last night. Then I watched Notting Hill a couple of times before falling asleep. I just love that movie! Then, this morning I have been on the computer trying to catch up on some email and other stuff. I figured I'd drop in and leave an update on things for everyone. By the way, the foot seems to be doing pretty good. I've been walking on it a little each day and it hasn't been hurting, so that's a good thing. Tuesday I get to finally take the big bandage off and go to a smaller one for a while. That will be nice!

Well, I'm gonna go for now and get some more stuff done online. Hope you're all enjoying time with family and loved ones!

With love,

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Well, I haven't been around in a while because of getting ready to come home and then the insane trip home. When I arrived in Galesburg last night all I wanted was something to eat and a bath! Then I crashed. So, I just wanted to drop in for a quick update of the past several days.

When I went back to the doc on Monday, she was pleased with the reduction in swelling and bid me a fond farewell for the holidays with her blessing to take my trip home the next day. So, after an adventure on AMTRAK - long story short, crutches and upper level on the train aren't a good combination. A word to the wise, REQUEST LOWER LEVEL if you ever need to take the train and aren't very mobile! Apparently when the nice gentleman on the phone told me he had taken care of everything I needed for my trip, he forgot about the fact that you had to request lower level and have it put on your ticket! So that was tons of fun! Then when I got to Galesburg, thank God Daddy was where I could see him because I had to motion him down to help with the luggage because the only "assistance" in Galesburg meant the man behind the ticket counter had to close the window and come help - no luggage cart, no wheelchair, nothing! So, Daddy helped with the luggage and I walked VERY SLOWLY on the ice covered sidewalk to get inside the train station! Fun, fun, fun!

Anyway, I finally got in the truck, we grabbed McDonald's since I hadn't eaten in about 28 hours and headed home so I could take a bath! I finally got a pretty good night's sleep for the first time in a week and woke up today feeling rather refreshed! (I hadn't slept much on the train thanks to the man behind me that decided to snore VERY LOUDLY so I couldn't sleep on the train! lol)

Then, today I went with Daddy to see his doc who put in the stents and tell him thank you for taking care of him. The doc said everything was fine and gave the go ahead for life as it was to do whatever he wanted. Jayne said it was a good thing since he'd already been doing that! After that, we went upstairs to see my aunt who is in the hospital, and my uncle. It was great to see them after so long and get a chance to visit for a bit. After all that running around, we came home to await the storm that is supposed to be headed this way. So far, just a little rain and some sleet, but nothing too bad yet. We'll see what it looks like when I wake up in the morning!

Niters all,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tired of being lazy.....

OK, so for a while I thought it was going to be nice to have a break and have to just rest and relax.  Now, I'm going crazy not being able to do anything! If only I'd thought about it before tonight, I could be watching Oct or Nov episodes of OLTL. However, since I didn't think about it, I'm still in Sep! I don't think I'll ever get caught up! lol

Well, I had originally (for a couple of months now) been planning to go to New Jersey today and stay with my friends, Steve and Barrie. We were going to go to an event to see Kamar and then just spend time together hanging out and relaxing at their place. Then when I found out I was having surgery last week, I didn't think I was going to be able to go, but still hoped it might work out. Unfortunately, after my pre-op appt for surgery, the doc brought me back to reality and I knew that wasn't going to be an option. Plus, now with the swelling in my foot it certainly wouldn't have been a possibility. 

Barrie called and told me that I didn't miss much and it was a good thing I didn't make the trip. She said they only talked with Kamar for a few minutes and she sent him my well wishes and he told her to tell me that he said hello and hoped I'd be on my feet again soon, or something like that...lol..... Too bad I couldn't join them and then hang with them. Hopefully I'll be able to go see them early next year and we can spend time together then.

Well, I'm heading off for now and hope you all have a terrific weekend!

With love,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Progress.....or not.....

So I went to the doc today and she changed my bandages. She said my foot is much more swollen than she'd hoped, so she said more elevation and ice. That's all I've been doing, so not sure how much "more" I can do. I guess I'll leave the ice on longer than originally recommended and see if it helps. Good news is she doesn't think it is anything to prevent my trip home. I have to go back to see her on Mon morning and then hopefully the swelling will be down where it should be.

All I saw when she re-wrapped it was an "icky purple fat foot!" lol So, I'm really hoping when it heals, the scar isn't too bad and it goes back to it's normal size. OK - enough of that - I don't want to make everyone sick! ;-) 

Better news, I should have my cool new phone on Monday!!! YAY!!! I can't wait to play with it on the train! It might even make me text more with a full keyboard! Gotta love technology - sometimes, anyway! lol

Your technically and walkingly challenged friend,

OK - so I know that's not a word, but it works better that way! ;-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Up and movin' around...a little, anyway....

Well, after staying in bed with my foot up all day yesterday, I decided to go to the recliner today. I needed a change of scenery, I think. lol I still can't believe how lucky I am to have a friend like Barb, who is willing to help out so much. I don't know what I'd do without her. Having her help me also puts Mom at ease, so she doesn't worry so much. Thanks so much, Barb!!! You and Bill are the best!!!

So, I've decided to upgrade my cell phone and step into a new world. I'm getting an HTC Touch Diamond. Hopefully it won't take me the entire next year to figure out how to use it! lol It's a pretty neat little contraption, though! I can't wait to get it and start playing! Yippee!!! I guess it will help pass the 24+ hours I'll be on the train!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day after surgery...

Howdy all! I just thought I'd post a quick note today. Surgery went well and I'm resting at my friend, Barb's house. She and her husband, Bill, have been so good to me and I could never thank them enough! I'm so blessed to have such wonderful and caring friends! Plus, now Mom doesn't have to worry because she knows Barb and what a great friend she is to me. 

I've been sleeping off and on since yesterday after surgery. I fell asleep on the way home from the clinic and missed lots of excitement, apparently. There were lots of traffic issues everywhere and the driver of an 18 wheeler was running from police. Thank God that we weren't on that part of the beltway! He ended up running his truck into a tree and they got him. There's always something crazy going on out here, that's for sure.

Once we got home, Barb got all of the stuff brought in and helped me in, too. Then we just relaxed downstairs for a while and had dinner. Shortly after dinner,  I decided to head to bed and get some sleep - the meds were starting to kick in and I was dozing in the recliner! ha

Today has been much of the same - dozing off every now and then. Hopefully in a little while I'll be awake enough to get out of bed and venture downstairs. Who knows? It depends on how my foot is feeling, I guess. I haven't experienced any pain yet, to speak of, but because of the angle that my ankle is at from all of the bandages, it's starting to ache a bit. So, I just keep repositioning my foot to alleviate the strain.

So, all is well for now! I hope you are all well, too, and have a great day!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Last one for a few days...

Hi there everyone! I just wanted to pop in and post a quick note. I go in at 9 in the morning for surgery, so this will be the last blog until I am coherent enough to write again. I don't expect that to be before Thursday, but I'll do my best!

Today was a pretty crazy day at work for me, as I was trying to wrap things up so there wouldn't be any issues while I'm out for the next 3 weeks. Also, I had promised to help another instructor out with his class this afternoon, so I did that for a couple of hours, too. Just that little amount of time made me really miss being in the class room every day! Teaching is truly my calling, I believe, and I look forward to the day that I can get back to it full time! It really defines job satisfaction for me and I don't think I can ask for much more than that out of a career! So, as soon as I finish this career path, that will be my next!

Well, I better get to bed and get some rest so I'm ready for tomorrow. Wish me luck!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Baby It's COLD outside...

Well, I had some errands to run today and visited with a couple of friends in the process. Then I decided to go pamper myself and get a manicure and pedicure since it will be at least a few months before I can do that again. I also did a little bit of shopping, which I hate, and was pleasantly surprised by how few people I had to deal with. The parking lots were nowhere near full anywhere and I didn't have to fight for a spot! YAY!!!

So, now I'm back in the house out of the COLD, and decided I'd blog. Two in one day, since technically when I got home from my crop last night it was today. lol  Now, I have to get my stuff together and get ready for surgery now. My friend, Barb, is kind enough that she's taking me to surgery and then taking me home with her for a few days so I have someone to help me out. I'm not sure I'll be up to blogging for a couple of days after surgery, but I promise I'll post something as soon as I can and let you all know I'm OK. Then, on Fri I go back to the doc for my follow up and will hopefully find out then when I can start walking again and when I might be able to drive again. As long as everything is good to go, I'll be on the train headed back to Illinois on the 16th. Home for the Holidays!!!!! Yippee!!!!! I can't wait!!

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

End of the day....somewhere...

Today I got to see a bunch of friends that I haven't seen since before I deployed. I headed to Lexington Park for a crop that my friend, Kristie, organizes. It's a crop that raises money for phone cards and care packages to send to deployed troops. It's a pretty awesome organization that Kristie and her friend, Julie, co-founded and it really makes a difference. Visit their website, www.scrappingforsoldiers.com and check it out. They have raised an amazing amount to support the troops! It always touches me to see all of the work that the ladies there making cards and bringing in donations for care packages. They truly care and it shows in their actions! They definitely put others before themselves. It truly means a lot to us when we're deployed and away from our family and home to get something from back here. It means more to us than many will ever know.

Serving with Pride & Honor,

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Weekend is Here...

I realized last night when I went to bed that I forgot to blog yesterday. You didn't miss anything, though. It was a pretty boring day with nothing exciting to blog about.

So, I'll be taking the train from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. to Chicago to Galesburg. I leave one day around 1:00PM and arrive the next day at 4:30PM. I guess I'll have lots of time to read and stuff on the train. Hopefully the weather is good and I can see the scenery from here to there. That would be nice.

What is everyone doing for the holidays? I'd love for you all to post comments and share your plans. Maybe I'll be able to catch up with some of you while I'm home!

See you soon ,

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Life's little curve balls...

So, I'm having surgery on my foot next week. In my perfect little world, I thought I'd be fine to drive a few days after and be ready to fly home for Christmas. Well, the Doc brought me back to reality today at my pre-op appt! lol So, I guess I won't be driving for a while after surgery and I have to have a "baby sitter" for the first 72 hrs after surgery. YAY!! lol

The good news is - I will still be coming home, but on a train instead of a plane. Complications could arise from flying so soon after surgery, so I had to come up with another option. A different trip, for sure, but I still get to come home to spend Christmas with my family - and the "Gold" ones -  that's all that matters! So, let me know what everyone's plans are for the holidays. I'd love to see as many of you as possible! Drop me a line or leave a comment.

I'll be home for Christmas....
You can count on me!
Please have snow.....ok - forget it - don't really need that! lol

See you soon,

And here's a cute little quiz you can take that a friend had on their blog! See what your family is like!

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.

Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Busy day....

Well, today was a pretty packed day, so not much time to write. After work I met some of my "silver" friends for dinner then we went to a terrific seminar by Ilene Meckley who does motivational speaking. What an incredible story she has and speech she gives! It was a great night spent with friends! Thanks ladies!!

Sweet dreams all,

Monday, December 1, 2008

Silver and Gold...

You all probably know the old song, "Make new friends, but keep the old - one is silver and the other gold." OK - actually I think it's a girl scout thing, but anyway.....I've started my blog talking about the things that matter to me the most - my family and friends. Today I was pleasantly surprised by an email from an old friend - one who goes all the way back to grade school! Amazing, isn't it! lol Anyway, I was thrilled to get that email and then when I logged into the blog, I see that another friend who I've known since my early Army days has been around, too! Thanks bunches Ray and Theresa - my blog is doing exactly what I wanted it to do. My Mom even stopped by and left a comment, as have Tina and Barb, who are the ones who inspired me to start this little meadow - my place to frolic and play and stay in touch with the important people in my life! BTW - for those of you who don't understand the name I've chosen for my blog, in time you will.

Actually, for those of you who think you've already figured it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you think it means. Add a comment and let me know!

So, today I am going to simply reiterate how much my family and friends mean to me and how lucky I am to have them all in my life! Everyone be sure you take time to tell those you love how much they mean to you. Life's too short not to and you never know what tomorrow may bring!

God bless you all,

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Now what?

Well, I promise today won't go as long as yesterday did! I guess I just can't help it when I talk about my amazing family. So, today I just want to post a short and simple appreciation for another wonderful group of people in my life - My Friends!

After 17 years in the Army I have developed some terrific lifelong friendships. The environment we live in tends to make your friendships closer than most normal situations. I have been blessed with some very special people in my life, some that I have know since my first couple of years in the Army. Some of them are no longer in, as they have separated or retired and moved on with the next chapters of their lives, others are stationed throughout Europe and the US, while, unfortunately, others are currently in Iraq (be safe and take care of you) and Afghanistan. Regardless of where you are all located, you are always in my thoughts and prayers and I am so very thankful to have been able to share parts of my life with you.

The wonderful friendships that have developed through my travels are also very special to me. I have some wonderful friends throughout the States that have had a huge impact on my life, as well as the person I've become. I will soon (in the April timeframe) be heading back to the wonderful state of Texas, to San Antonio, for what will likely be the final chapter in my Army journey. I am thrilled to know that some of those awesome friends won't be very far away and I'll be able to see them again. I'm sure some road trips to San Angelo will be in order! I also always look forward to heading back to the wonderful state of Florida and seeing friends there. I'm sure one of those two states will be my home in retirement, and I will be looking forward to that chapter in a couple of years.

Of course, with each move there are more friends that must be left behind as I embark on the next phase. I will truly miss the wonderful friendships I have developed here in Maryland and will look forward to future visits! So, I just want to say to all of my amazing friends that you, too, have helped to mold and shape me into the person I have become and for that I am grateful! You all mean the world to me and will forever hold your own special places in my heart.

With love,
aka Menny-Jay ;-)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Very First Blog

Well, after spending a couple of days with a very dear friend who recently started blogging, I think I've been bitten by the blogging bug! I figured it was time to just jump right in and get started. Why wait - there's no time like the present, right?! ;-) 

So, my goal is to do daily updates, but reality says that likely won't happen. I will aim to do it and hope you'll understand if I miss a day or two, or three....lol....here and there.

So, for my first post, I just want to focus on the things that truly matter to me the most - my treasured loved ones - my wonderful family. At this time of year as the holiday season begins, having just enjoyed Thanksgiving, it seems fitting to say how thankful I am for my amazing family. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a supportive, understanding and very loving family behind me.

My Mom is my best friend and the best Mom in the world and my Daddy is a rock - I will always be a Daddy's Girl and I'm very proud of that fact! Pops and Jayne are the best step-parents anyone could ever ask for. They are both very supportive and loving and treat my sister and I as if we were their own children. Speaking of my sister, Dee is an inspiration to us all as she has built a nice little life for her and Baylee. Dee has become more than a sister, but a true friend and I treasure our time spent together. As for that darling little niece of mine, Baylee, she is the light of my life. She is why I do what I do - she makes serving my country mean so much more to me and puts so many things into perspective for me. She has been "my little angel girl" since the day she was born and will forever remain that special little blessing for us all.

Then, giving us all a wonderful example to follow, has been Gram, who is one of the greatest people in all of the world. I will forever cherish the times spent with Grandma and Grandpa as a little girl, and continue to treasure each moment I spend with Gram when I'm home. I am a very lucky girl to have two terrific women rounding things out, Grandma Irma and Grandma Roxie have both been huge supporters and wonderful additions to our family, too. 

I was lucky enough to grow up living near Mom's only sister, Aunt Fay, who along with Uncle Larry and Debbie, Tim and Cindy have always been a very special and close extended family for us. Dee and I are very blessed to have been able to grow up in such a close and supportive environment and we owe it all to our terrific family. Of course there are lots of others, but unfortunately, distance has made it difficult to really know a lot of Daddy's side of the family. I know enough, however, to know that growing up in a family with 13 children makes for lots more wonderful family members and am blessed to know some of them very well. I only wish we all were closer growing up instead of being so far away from each other.

So, ultimately, I am proud to say the reason I am the person I've become is because of all of the truly inspirational and loving and supportive members of my family who have shown me the person I wanted to be. I continue to work towards that person each day and hope to one day achieve the dream and make them all as proud that I am a part of their family and life as I am that they are all a part of mine! I love you all with everything that I am!

Always and forever,
Your Soldier girl