Sunday, December 17, 2006

Update on Jon, I'm hermiting

Update on Jon: He's doing about the same. He has a CAT scan scheduled for Wednesday morning the 20th, the pain hasn't lessened much so he's on pain meds to allow him to eat so he's kind of loopy, but at least he isn't losing any more weight. We're supposed to go pick him up for leave sometime Wednesday so he'll be around until after New Years. Thank you again for everyone's wishes and prayers, and I'll keep you posted. As for me, I'm officially hermiting until after the Holidays. I have tons of things to get done and I don't seem to be getting anywhere near what I need to do within each 24 hour period done so I'm dropping out of Society for awhile to at least get the business issues taken care of and to get some house cleaning done prior to Jon coming home for leave. The picture above shows just how deeply I have been sleeping with exhaustion after the days of late are done. Of course, orders are first priority as always and everything is getting out very promptly, I'm just trying to catch up on paperwork, packaging, inventory, ordering, and organization! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Remembrance Day Ball Redux

This is a catch-up post about the Remembrance Day Ball in Gettysburg, November of 2006. The portrait that we had taken at the Ball just came to us in the mail so we thought we'd share it with our family and friends. It uploaded to the blogger very dark, my dress was a light pine green. And notice the brand new Sergant stripes on Mark's uniform after his promotion in October at Cedar Creek. :) Remind me to make the next ball gown out of a lighter fabric (no, I didn't make this one).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hard to believe but true

I know it's hard to believe for anyone that has ever seen my office, but I managed to clean my desk off this week. I took a trip off without pay to try to catch up on paperwork with the end of the year coming and orders...I probably should have taken a before picture as well so you'd know the extent of the piles of paperwork waiting to be processed! I was particularly motivated and efficient as I was trying to keep my mind occupied so that I didn't worry as much about Jonathan. His condition hasn't improved much since he was in the hospital and I've been very worried about him. As you can see, I'm also starting on that "favorite" of holiday chores, the cards. I got quite a few done already this morning with many more to go. Now to start on the pile of fiber in my living room that needs to be weighed, measured, bagged, labeled, and put away! With the desk done, there's no excuse, right? Oh yea, I have to go to my "real" work today, I'd better start getting ready...Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Update on Jon

I just got home last night from the adventure to Portsmouth and Norfolk. Jennifer and Laura went along as well, we spent a lot of time with Jon who is doing a little bit better than he was on Monday when he was taken from his base to 2 ER's and ended up in the ICU at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center. He was discharged from the facility yesterday only to go back to his company and end up spending the night in the ER at the local hospital. He has a raging sinus infection, Acute Pancreatitis which is resolving, and something is going on with his lymph nodes in his stomach which is expected to resolve as well. He is on bed rest and trying to keep down enough food to take his medicine for the monster sinus infection he's been fighting for a couple of months. He might be issued leave to come home and be pampered (Mom's chicken soup can work miracles!) but we won't know until Monday. Thank you for all your prayers so far, and in advance for the future, we're all hoping for him to make a speedy recovery. :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thank you all...

...for your prayers for the safe return of my son-in-law, Michael Lightner. We are awaiting hearing from him, but he should be safe on American soil again. This picture was taken before he left for Iraq.

I am asking for prayers for Jonathan who is in the hospital on IV's in Norfolk with an infection, he should be fine but some positive prayers won't hurt, that's for sure! He was taken from his base this morning to the Medical center where he will be for at least a few days.

Table for 20?

We just got back from our wonderful Thanksgiving trip to see Nanny and Poppa and the family. There were 20 for dinner and the usual house full of family that we so love and don't get to see often enough. The whole gang went to the photography studio to have a family portrait done as we hadn't had one done in 5 years. We had single family shots done as well as the whole group. Jonathan flew in from Ft. Eustis which is outside of Newport News, Virginia for the holiday and to introduce his Fiance, Laura to the family. Jon brought a present for Poppa, a set of ACU's with his rank patches on them so that the military kids could get in a picture with their Grandfather. Even Jenn's dog Nutmeg got along with Bandit, Nanny and Poppa's dog. Next year we hope to get another military picture with the addition of Nick to the Air Force, and the return of Michael from Iraq. (He should be on US soil today!)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A weekend in Gettysburg

We spent our Saturday with the 1st Maryland Calvary in Gettysburg at the Remembrance Day parade. It was a cold morning but we had a great turn out for the event. There were more reenactors in the parade than I'd ever seen before (I'm sure it was in excess of 6-7000 people that marched). Here are a couple of photos our getting prepared stage in the morning as well as one from the parade itself.

(From the National Park Service Gettysburg National Battlefield Park Website) November 18, 2006
Remembrance Day Parade
Annual parade of Civil War living history and reenactment groups through Gettysburg to the battlefield park. Sponsored by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the parade begins at 1:00 p.m.
You'll notice that the Gentleman in the background is wearing a three cornered hat. He is wearing the Uniform of a soldier from the Maryland Line that fought in the Revolutionary War. There were also folks in attendance from the WWII era, in fact they looked just like my Dad in his dress uniform pictures from that Era. There were so very many people, it made me proud to be a part of the history of this event.
After a fun lunch at a local resteraunt for 15 hungry marchers from our unit, Mark and I went back to town to change clothes and get ready for the Evening's festivities. We attended a Dinner and Ball at the historic Gettysburg Hotel in the room which you see in this drawing. It was, except for the old style curtains, just as you see it here. We danced the night away to our favorite Victorian era music, ending our evening with the Virginia Reel. We very much enjoyed the company of our friends at dinner and at the dance, and we look forward to next year! I got to wear my new ball gown, though we did have our portrait done, they will be mailed to us later on so I can't post it here. The dresses were exquisite and the men looked very handsome in their uniforms or civilian period suits.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A happy day in South Carolina

It was an emotional but happy trip to South Carolina for Jon's Basic Training graduation. We had a family day with him on Thursday when we were able to get some things he needed at the PX and just spend time talking and hanging out, and the graduation ceremony was Friday. We were glad to bring his girlfriend with us on this trip. He had a big question to ask Laura on Thursday, complete with a beautiful new ring! (And she said yes, not to worry!) Graduation was Friday. It was a blustery day outdoors in the stands, but the nearly 1500 new soldiers looked fantastic in their new dress uniforms in formation. It was a great ceremony and we enjoyed it immensely. We were able to pick Jon up and have his portrait made, then we all went to (what else) a National Park after we fed him a "real lunch"!On Saturday after a big breakfast, we drove down to Ft. Eustis, Virginia which is right outside of Williamsburg. He will be doing his advanced training there through March or April. His company is called the Alpha-Gators and their mascot is the Gator...they have all kinds of Florida Gator stuff all over the place. I felt so at home! lol

Sharing pictures of my baby girl's weekend

This weekend while we were driving to South Carolina, Jenn was driving in a Humvee north into Pennsylvania to do her periodic requalification at the rifle range. These are some pictures she sent me of herself that really came out nicely!

We were sorry that she couldn't join us for Jon's graduation, but we completely understood that she couldn't reschedule the weekend's activities. Still, we talked quite a few times and she successfully requalified. She's in the Military Police, and we're very proud of her. (I'm sure that you can tell!)

Saturday, November 04, 2006


If you've ever traveled I-95 near the NC/SC Border you've seen the hundreds of signs advertising South of the Border. I begged for years when my parents were driving us up to SC to spend the summers on their farm for them to stop.

Needless to say, we had to turn off before reaching it and I never got to go to this horrible but wonderful tourist trap during childhood, and since then, I've only driven past it in the middle of the night. I begged and whined this trip too, and on the way from SC to Virgina today with Jon and Laura we finally stopped and I took some pictures of the place for proof that I finally made it there. I'm sure my mom and dad are rolling their eyes and smiling at the thought that I finally made it there during business hours! As you can see it's full of circa 1950's roadside kitsch and the shops are full of tourist tees and other junk, but it was a lot of fun!

Monday, October 30, 2006

What a weekend!

Friday brought us two surprises, a good one that our daughter, Meghann was coming unexpectedly to visit, and a bad one that we found a serious flood in our basement. We made an appointment for a plumber to come and look at the problem and he told us what the issue was (it wasn't pretty) and after an estimate on Saturday, we have an appointment to get the problem fixed and get our water back on Monday. They're going to have to excavate our yard and replace all the pipes from the water main. sigh. But Friday, we made a trip to New Oxford, PA to pick up an order of salt-glaze pottery for the business and had Korean food (a favorite of us all) for dinner. Saturday was the Florida/Georgia game in Jacksonville, Florida. Since my absolutely favorite son-in-law is a huge Georgia fan, we had to wager on the game. Nothing too huge, but fun none the less. Mark and Meg and I went to Buffalo wild wings to watch most of the game on the huge TV's and then returned home to finish while Michael and I and Mark talked about the play by play via messenger. That's a picture of him, he's presently in Iraq. Needless to say, the Fighting Gators won the game and made me smile. Sunday was quiet, we went to Gettysburg to take care of ordering Mark's new Sergent stripes and had dinner there.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cedar Creek weekend

This past weekend was the reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek which happened on October 20, 1864 between Winchester and Middletown, VA. The countryside was gorgeous and it was the largest event that I'd been to so far, with over 5300 reenactors, not to mention the civilians and support people, and there were definitely more horses than I'd seen before at an event.

This was a mostly cavalry battle in 1864, and our Unit is the 1st Maryland Cavalry Battalion so it was perfect for our portrayal. We had a huge turn out and everyone enjoyed themselves, despite the cold temperatures in the tents at night. We enjoyed eachother's company and the jokes of our Unit commander around the campfire, and generally renewed our friendships as well as doing the living history aspect of our hobby.
I was very proud to introduce my daughter Jennifer to the unit as well, she was able to join us on Sunday for a day of battle watching and shopping at the sutler's shoppes as well as a delicious lunch together. As with everyone, the unit welcomed her with open arms.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Flannel Dress #1 finished

Oh my GAWD, this dress is finally finished. When I had the supposedly smart idea to get some nice quality flannel to make a couple of dresses out of for Cedar Creek which is always a very cold reenactment, somebody should have grabbed me by the ears and told me to try to anticipate how difficult it was going to be to make a period dress in a thick fabric. Now, mind you, I have another one that has a bodice and one sleeve finished already and the 2nd sleeve is ready to go on. The issue is the skirt and putting it all together. The skirt on this dress is 5 yards of fabric, so double and triple pleats had to be taken to pull it all together. Yikes. Talk about thick! Now, it's going to be warm, that's for sure. And yes, I know now that they didn't have cotton flannel in the 1860's, they would have made the dress from wool or wool and cotton, but I couldn't find any that would be suitable so here I am. I'm already dreading finishing the other flannel dress, but I'm going to so that I have 2 warm dresses to wear. The rest of the stash of flannel is going to become pj's and nightgowns. I'm looking forward to going back to thinner and workable cottons again. :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I've been hermiting again

But for a good reason. I've had a run of days on broken only by days that I've had things planned, appointments, classes, events, and such. This past weekend I took a class at the Genteel Arts Academy on Victorian period sleeves. That's right, Saturday and Sunday for 9 hours each, our class examined CDV's and photographs of period dresses with the emphasis on making the sleeves imaginative (within period correct bounds) and beautiful. We studied, worked on our own creations, listened, bonded with one another, and were helped in all of our questions by the very gifted teacher, Carolann Schmitt. We were supposed to bring a bodice that had already been made in order to make sleeves for the dress. I made the sleeves for this dress as well as sleeves and a bodice for another over the weekend.

I really learned a lot and enjoyed the class. Now I can make my dresses different than everyone elses' that uses the same types of patterns. This dress was partially a class project on the sleeves, and I'm working on a blue dress also with different than the pattern sleeves. There are always a few projects awaiting my attention in the sewing room, there are actually 3 dresses and a wrapper started right now that I hope to complete in the upcoming weeks.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I took a walk in OKC

I'm here on a layover in Oklahoma City today. I haven't been here since they took the Federal building down, I had layovers out by the airport that year. We're downtown now, and I walked down to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. So soon on the heels of the 5th anniversary of 9/11, it was a very somber visit. The buildings around where the Federal building once stood still show the damage from the blast, and there are actually still a couple of areas where they've preserved some walls from the original building.
The memorial is very beautiful, there is a museum and beautiful grounds that are very peaceful. Especially somber is the field with chairs, each marked with the name of a person that was lost that day. Some of the chairs are small, to represent the children that were in the day care that day and were killed. I overheard another visitor say to one of her group "isn't it horrible that terrorists think it's a good thing to kill innocent people that are just going to work". It so struck me that she was so very right, but also right about the flight crews on 9/11, the passengers, the workers in the buildings, the responders (police, firemen) and basically everyone that perished. What a different ideology the "bad guys" must have to go after people that were completely innocent. The people that were killed in each of these acts were not the ones that determined policy, that sent arms to the "other" side, or that did whatever it was that enraged the terrorists. These people were innocent bystanders, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sigh.

Mailing address for Jonathan

Here's his address in Basic training for those of you that want to send a hello:
PFC (you know the last name, I don't want to make it public), Jonathan
3rd Plt, Shadow dwellers
F Company, 1st BN, 13th Infantry
Ft. Jackson, SC 29207

Of course, it never ceases to amaze me at the childish behavior that I have had to endure with "the other house". It's no surprise that the address sheet sent by my son was was dated 8/31/06. It was only mailed to me (snail mail in the age of phones and email) by my ex on 9/11...mailed rather than my getting a phone call or an email immediately with my son's address. Hmmm, what is that, about 11 or 12 days? I have to believe in Karma, because that kind of selfish behavior deserves a cosmic return.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hanover Living History Weekend 2006

We spent the hot and humid weekend in Hanover, Pa with the 1st Maryland Cavalry reenacting the battle of Hanover which actually occurred before Gettysburg and delayed General J.E.B Stuart from reaching Gettysburg until the 2nd day of the battle there. The Hospital in Hanover has begun this now annual weekend to benefit its programs. The Cavalry, Troopers and Artillery of our unit performed the battle for quite a lot of spectators on both Saturday and Sunday, and the Army Old Guard's Fife and Drum Corps performed twice on Saturday which was a fantastic treat. The city had a ladies tea for us as well as a dinner Saturday. Jon had to wear his hat all weekend because of his green hair until "one of the Moms" scalped him Sunday morning and now the green mohawk resides in a ziplock bag. The spectators also toured our camp and were treated to a mock trial for treason along with a mock execution after the trial, and the ladies put on a sketch for them as well prior to a night firing of 3 of the Mountain Howitzers. Mark was the one who was "Framed" for the event and I hear from our Chief of staff that there has been an appeal to President Davis that I get a widow's pension since he was the victim of the mock-execution. He ended up dying in battle both Saturday and Sunday and once during the execution so we think it would be a good idea to keep an eye on him so he breaks the habit in the coming days!
I had to add the pictures after the post was done as there were problems on the blogspot server today.
This one is me in front of the Revolving Battery Gun on Sunday after my migraine had gotten a bit better. Mark picked out the fabric for my skirt which goes so well with the red Garibaldi blouse that I made. I am in the colors of the artillary just like the red shirts that they wear.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My unexpectedly emotional weekend

In true Jonathan style, my baby boy called me Friday afternoon to say "guess what?". By 4pm on Saturday I took this picture at the Military Entrance Processing Center, he'd decided to join the Army. While I know that going into the military is what he wants, and he did get a great job which should keep him behind harm's way at least a little bit (Aircraft electronics and electrical), I'm still a Mom, so I've been emotional on and off since it sunk in. I'd known since High School that he was thinking of it, he'd gone to a Millitary program to finish High School and really enjoyed it, and he had talked to my Father-in-Law who's a retired Lt. Col. about it, so it wasn't a complete surprise. I had just said to him last week that I wanted to get a picture of his Green Mohawk before it faded or got shaved for my blog, I just didn't realize that I was going to be sharing this picture of it! Mark and I took Jon's girlfriend, Laura, and his Scoutmaster, Mr. Charlie with us to the center to wait for 5 hours so we could see him sworn in. It was worth every minute to be able to share in this momentus moment in his (and our) life.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The 2006 Bix7 Race

These are just a few of the pictures I took of the race in Davenport, Iowa that Mark ran in. Jon and I were there to cheer him on and enjoy the folks that had participated n Costumes! We're planning on going next year. Mark finished really well, and survived the 2 big hills on this 7 mile course with no problems at all! We had a fantastic time and a great weekend visiting. :)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Half-Thanksgiving Visit.

Our family used to celebrate "Half-Birthdays" because both kids' B-days were right around the holiday season. We always said Happy Half Birthday to them. So this visit to Hubby's Mom and Dad's was our Half-Thanksgiving. We plan on trying to make it an annual journey because going home once a year just isn't enough. :)We had a wonderful dinner on Saturday night with even more loved relatives, it was fantastic and worth every moment of the drive!Here's Nanny making Mark's favorite Potato Salad in her new kitchen at the New House. Of course, it has NO eggs in it because although he loves the potato salad (it is truly the best I've ever had), Mark doesn't like eggs.
Here's Poppa sitting in the Kitchen at the Breakfast Bar in the new house. The house is beautiful and they've done a fantastic job decorating it and making it feel like home.
Jonathan was able to fly in Friday night as he had to work Thursday and Friday while Mark and I were driving in. His very kind Auntie Lisa picked him up from Ohare and brought him all the way to Moline with her as he wouldn't have gotten on the flights to MLI due to some weather problems the day before. That's Jon still in his suit from the flight and Aunt Lisa sitting next to him with Ellen on her other side.
These are my two very favorite nieces from Chicago, Sarah and Ellen. I don't know for sure, but I hear that Sarah had something to do with Jon's newly green hair, and I'm sure that Ellen helped, or at least urged him on. :)
Here's Allison, who has made the Alleman High Freshman/Sophomore cheerleading squad. She was so kind to put on her uniform so that I could take pictures of her. She had cheerleading camp last week so she had her uniform with her when Poppa picked her up. I didn't get a picture of her sister and brother, we'll leave it for another blog entry.
And here is the real King of the house, Bandit. He's asleep on a chair waiting for Nanny and Poppa to come home so he'll get extra loving. We plan on making the running of the Bix an annual trek for at least Mark and me. I'll have pictures of the race up shortly.