Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Glenn Beck's Personal Note on Gordon B. Hinckley

I found this clip on my sister's blog. It was so touching I wanted to share it with you (even though most who read my blog read hers as well). What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My Big Decision About Weight Loss

Okay, I've decided to get gastric bypass surgery. I know that some have different views on the subject but I have given this a lot of thought. I have listed the pros and cons.

  • I feel like it's the "cheater's" way out.
  • I'd have to give up Diet Coke
  • My insides would be all re-worked and out of natural order (kind of creepy!)
  • It's really expensive if my insurance doesn't cover it.
  • I'd probably throw up a lot and I HATE throwing up!
  • I'd have to wait another year to have baby

  • I'd lose weight quickly with major results
  • I'd be able to exercise without the aches and pains in my joints and feet
  • I'd look, act, and feel better about myself
  • I can go back to enjoying activities I can't do anymore, skiing, dancing, rollerblading.
  • People won't hate me on airplanes
  • I could hold William in my lap comfortably
  • I can be a healthy example for my kids (it's hard to encourage healthy habits when you are obese)
  • Sean will love having a wife that can keep up with him fitnesswise.
  • Unless I do something drastic, having a baby could be dangerous.
  • I won't be "the fat friend/sister/cousin/etc." anymore
I have only had a consultation with my doctor and had some blood work done. I go in next month to discuss my options. I really want to have this done and hopefully my insurance will cover it. I have to convince my doctor that I really need to have this done for medical reasons. I know I'm not morbidly obese but I'm stuck where I am weight wise and even where I am is uncomfortable, depressing, and dangerous. I'm sick of failing when I try to change things about the way I look. This is my chance to succeed, finally.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spittin' Image

I found Sean's old passport while going through some old files. He is three in this photo but I already see that William is the spittin' image of him. Everyone who sees William says he's a "little Sean." I guess here is the proof.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tag, Tag, Tag!

I know I've done the "Tag" thing already but this is a new one and I love my friend Krisha so I'm doing this for her.


~What is his name? Sean Michael Payne
~How long have you been together? 4 years married TODAY!
~How long did you date? 2 weeks in high school (1994), off and on during the summer of 1999 (not serious), then for 6 months in 2003 before getting married in 2004. Ten year span.
~How old his he? He is 29, and I'm the big 3-0!
~Who eats more? I probably eat more when having a meal, but he out snacks me hands down.
~Who said I love you first? I did. I was "ESP"ing him to say it first, but he wouldn't so I did. But he told me he fell in love first.
~Who is taller? Sean
~Who can sing better? We're probably even, although I could listen to him sing all day!
~Who is smarter? Definitely Sean. Although sometimes I think I have more common sense.
Who does the laundry? Me. Sean will load up the washer or dryer but I always fold and put away (unless I need help)
~Who pays the bills? Me, with Sean's budgeting advice.
~Who sleeps in the right side? I do when Sean's home. Right now, I spread out in the middle. Why not?!
~Who mows the lawn? When our lawn grows in, I will have to until Sean gets back, then it's back to being "Man's work."
~Who cooks dinner? Me, unless Sean wants to treat me and do it.
~Who drives? Sean. I hate driving.
~Who is more stubborn? It's a close one, but Sean is more stubborn. I'm usually the one to break when we have a stand off. It's hard to stay mad at him! But when something is really important, I will always stick to my guns.
~Who kissed who first? I'm embarrassed but I kissed him. It was his first!
~Who asked who out first? He asked me out. Quite the gentleman.
~Who proposed? Sean. He planned a very special night with candlelit lanterns in a playground and a blindfold.
~Who has more friends? Me, which isn't saying much. I only have a few close friends.
~Who is more sensitive? That's all me. I hate that I cry every time I am confrontational. I'm such a sissy!
~Who has more siblings? Sean for sure. His 7 to my 2
~Who wears the pants? If we're on a fancy date, or at church, he does. Otherwise, we both do.

Okay, since the last time I did the "Tag" thing there was a minor family drama episode. I'll keep this one to myself and if anyone reading this wants to be "tagged" then go for it!

Messy Messy!

I got home from shopping and put William in his high chair to keep him busy while I was unpacking. I gave him a spoon and some mixed berry applesauce. Usually, he's pretty good about staying clean. I'd have to wash his hands and definitely mop the floor, but I was totally not expecting to see this when I came back in from unloading the car. What a mess!

Family Home Evening With the Paynes

I know these pictures are almost a month old, but I wanted to write about visiting my in laws. William and I were invited to the Payne house for Family Home Evening. William loved being with his aunts and uncles and playing with Grandma and Grandpa. Especially when Grandpa took him "exploring" though the darkened house with a "coal miner's light" William wore on is forehead. We had a great time. I'm glad we got to visit them before they move to Idaho.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting

I love going up to Gainesville, Virginia to visit my sister and her family. So when she asked if I would come up and watch her kids while she and Peter went to Las Vegas for a few days, I thought it would be great. I'd get to be in a big, gorgeous house, sleep in a king sized bed, and soak in a whirlpool tub. Little did I know that I'd be in for it. A 7 year old, a 5 year old, and TWO 1 1/2 year olds! Oh my! It's been a madhouse all week!

Lauren goes to school for most of the day so I don't have much stress caused by her.

Natalie is a combination of bored and excited to have "Aunt Heidi" there so there is no down time because it's full of constant requests to play this game or that. At first I was fine with a game here or there, like Connect Four or I'd let her try her doctor playset on my "pretend" wounds. But I am getting burned out and I wish she could just understand that sometimes, "Aunt Heidi" just needs a little rest. I do hate to hurt her feelings.

At night, I do have a hard time getting the girls to go to bed. They run back and forth from each room. I can't get too mad because I remember doing the same thing when Robyn and I were kids. I hate it when they fight though, that's when I get upset at them for being awake late at night.

Now comes the stress. The babies. William and Ryan are definitely partners in crime, and getting into the pantry, and climbing up on the table, and getting into the cupboard, and the list goes on and on. If I'm not pulling one baby out of one predicament, I'm getting the other out of another. I swear they plan it! When one is in the high chair, the other will pull a chair up and climb up to "share" whatever is left on the tray. They are fascinated with the fireplace screens and will help each other pull them down if I'm not keeping my eye on them. The worst mess was when they got into the pantry when I was upstairs. I came down to find all of the packages of crackers, Capri Suns, and applesauces scattered everywhere. That was no big deal, because they are easily put back on the shelves. They had also gotten into the flour and had been scattering handfuls here and there. Ahhhhh! It took a while to clean that one up.

I don't know how people with big families do it! Especially people with twins. Twin toddlers is just too much to handle on my own. I hope I never have twins. I used to think it would be cute, but I know better now. I have one more day of babysitting. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Rockin' Out in Lisbon

Here's another letter from Sean, just so you can know what he's up to and what it's like to be a sailor. Oh, and I'm lazy and can't come up with any interesting stories that have happened in the last few days. Enjoy and happy new year!
We arrived in Lisbon, Portugal yesterday. The last few hours we were underway, a thick fog rose over the water and we could only see about 60 feet in front of the ship. We actually passed under a suspension bridge and did not see it until it was already overhead. Think San Francisco in the morning, and you'll have it about right, just with a smaller bridge.

Once we pulled in and were tied to the pier, we had a brief where the local Navy and government guys came and told us what we needed to know about Lisbon: where's good to go (a place called Las Docas, or "The Docks"), where to stay away from (a place called Buddha, which apparently is a really fun place where all sorts of illicit drugs and prostitutes are sold), and what's fun to do (listening to a form of music called've heard about it on the Travel Channel or Rachel Ray's travel show). I got to meet Mimmo, our husbanding agent, again, along with his youngest son, Alberto. I've already met his other son, Cosimo, and his daughter, Andrea, in Toulon.

After the brief, we had a decent onload of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and eggs. We had a little confusion over whether the rest of our food was going to come, but eventually determined that it isn't coming until Monday, so we packed away our food and let the all-hands working party go.

Mimmo and Alberto offered to take SUPPO, CSO, Airboss, and me out to dinner at 1900, so I really had something to look forward to. I missed going out with Cosimo and Andrea in Toulon, so I wasn't going to miss this. First, though, we had a farewell party for LCDR Pilewski, the old Operations Officer, who is going to work at the Pentagon. His title used to be OPS, but Zak calls him Sloppy OPS, or SLOPS for short, because he used to be a really tubby guy.

Anyway, the farewell party was at one of the Irish bars down at Las Docas, which is a 10-minute walk from the ship, so we walked out there at 1645. We stopped at the ATM, and I tried to withdraw some Euros from my Navy Cash card, but I'd forgotten to transfer any money from the chip portion to the ATM portion of the card, so I was the fool who couldn't get any money. I figured I'd just do what I did in Dakar, and pay my liberty buddies in U.S. dollars if they'd cover me with the Euros they got out.

The farewell party was kind of lame, because it was just a bunch of officers sitting around and drinking...not my kind of thing, but I had to stay there because SUPPO, CSO (Navy Wife), Airboss, and I were going straight to dinner from the party. Eventually, they did the "farewell" part of the party, with some lame-o gift giving and sentimental remarks. I regret now not having gotten to know POPS (I nicknamed him POST-OPS, because the replacement OPS already has the title of OPS...POST-OPS got shortened to POPS), but we never really worked together. He seems like a good guy now...oh, well.

After the farewell party was over, my Department Head libery buddies and I hopped in a cab and drove to the restaurant where we would have dinner. The place was called Casa Da Comida, or "House of Food", and it was in a plain white building with no windows and a very nondescript front. If you didn't know if was there, you'd probably never think there was a restaurant inside, except for a brass plaque with the restaurant name on it beside the front door. It's not a "just walk in" type of restaurant, either. We had to push a buzzer, and then they opened up the opaque door to let us in. Mimmo had already made reservations, thank goodness, because I'm sure we wouldn't have been seated otherwise. After seeing the exterior, the inside of the restaurant was a shock. They had a parlour-type room, with exquisitely carved antique wooden furniture, built-in glass-front display cabinets on the walls, with traditional Portuguese ceramics on the shelves, and very subdued lighting. We sat in the parlour for probably half an hour, while they brought us appetizers in the form of some nickel-sized balls of meat paste in a breaded shell, and some triangular things that were like egg rolls, only tastier. Mimmo and Alberto weren't there yet, so we just looked around at the decoration while SUPPO told us about Portugal. I didn't mention that he speaks Portuguese, at least enough to get around in Portugal.

At last, Mimmo and Alberto showed up and we greeted each other. They're both from Malta, which is an island near Corsica and shares a lot of the same culture as Corsica. Most of my emails to Mimmo are in the form of a, "How are you, hope you're doing well, and give my best to your family," greeting, followed by whatever business I need to conduct with him, and his are the same, so we feel very friendly towards each other. I like doing business with this guy and his family. So, we greeted each other like friends, which was really neat.

We continued to sit in the parlour while we (they) were served wine in these hugely long-stemmed wine glasses. More conversation, etc., and then we were finally moved to our table.

As with most high-class fine dining restaurants, the service was outstanding and the food took forever to arrive. We started off with toast points and butter, and I was totally sucked in by the fool's gold of the toast points. I ate a lot of them. Then, they brought out some various crackers and a couple types of cheese, one of which like a thick pudding and made me think of what you described as "Stinky Tofu Alley" - this stuff smelled like gym socks and offended my sense. I had several crackers with that cheese on it--it was tasty! The food was pretty pricey, so I only ordered an entrée...big mistake on my part, and I'll let you know why later.

After the cheese and crackers, the starters arrived and I began to regret not having gotten any. CSO got what the French call "escargots" (I don't know what the Portuguese call it), SUPPO got some raw oysters, and Airboss got some giganto-prawns. These prawns were seriously about 6-7 inches long. Fortunately, CSO was in a sharing mood and offered me a snail, which was as tasty as I remembered, all garlicky and snaily. Unfortunately, SUPPO offered me a raw oyster, and it was as slimy and yucky as I thought it would be. I didn't realize I needed to pour out whatever seawater was in the shell, so I got a bit of that along with the oyster meat when I slurped it down. Burrrrrrp!

(Keep in mind that the wine was flowing like red, rotten-fruity water this entire time...)

Our entrées finally arrived, and they were outstanding. I got a beef tournedo in brandy sauce, and it was served rare-to-medium-rare. It was literally soft enough to cut with my fork...think 5th Street Steakhouse in Chico, and the steak I got there. I wanted to savor it, so I took about 45 minutes just eating my steak.

Mimmo wasn't drinking much, and Alberto had stopped drinking, but SUPPO, CSO, and Airboss were like some kind of Department-Head-wine-sucking vacuum. We were at the restaurant for about four hours, and I think they had about five bottles finished off by the time we were ready to leave. Here's why I was a fool for not eating whatever I wanted: Mimmo paid for the entire meal, wine and all, so I could have had the snails or prawns or whatever...dang! Mimmo graciously called us a cab, and Mimmo/Alberto and we parted ways. I thought we were headed back to the ship, because it was already 2300, but these party animals wanted to keep exploring (read: barhopping).

The cab dropped us off a couple miles from the ship, not quite sure where, and we started walking. I basically played babysitter for three department heads for another couple hours. We stopped at a little café and they ordered four coffees, which in Europe means a tiny little cup that holds about an ounce of very strong coffee. I told them that I didn't want any, but they were so sloshed that they insisted that I have some. I took mine and just put it out of sight, confident that they were also so sloshed that they wouldn't notice my ninja-like maneuver. We walked out of the café a couple minutes later and they were none the wiser.

Next, we saw this little hole-in-the-ground bar, and they decided to stop for some more drinks. We went in and sat down, and once again they bought a drink for me. They toasted to something or other, and I wasn't going for it, so they clinked their glasses against mine, which was still on the table. Another toast, and they did the same thing, and then they finally divvied up my wine amongst themselves. Another round of port wine, and they were even more drunk, and it was around this time that one of them went behind the bar to get some napkins, upsetting the bartender. She basically said, "Here's the line you can't cross (gesturing with her hand)...if you need napkins, go to the other end of the bar."

Babysitter Sean told them that it was time to go, because we were upsetting the bartender (and they would probably do even more to upset her if we stayed). We got out of there and took a taxi back to Las Docas, where they convinced themselves that they needed another beer or three, so we went to one of the bars on the Docas. It was the Irish pub where SLOPS's farewell party had been. We went in, and there was the most awesome band there, playing everything from classic rock to oldies, to newer songs. There wasn't much of a dance floor, but CHENG and SUPPO were grooving right by the band, while I just kind of stood and watched in awe of how good this guitarist was. Afterwards I told him how much I appreciated his playing, and how cool he was. I'm some sort of guitar geek, apparently, the cool equivalent to a band geek.

We stayed at this bar until about 0130 and then headed back to the ship, where I promptly fell into bed and slept until Duty Section turnover at 0630.

He's having a great time out there. I'm very envious of his seeing the world and having fun adventures. I guess I had my turn and now my adventures will be potty training and Cub Scouts.

The Straits of Gibraltar

More news about Sean:

Here's a letter from about a month ago when he first crossed through the Straits of Gibraltar.

"More action this afternoon . . . The ship in front of us told us that they'd almost run over a rubber raft with some people in it, and to look for these people in their wake. So, our bridge watch standers kept an eye out, and we almost ran over the raft, too. I got the word from Zak, who was in Combat Information Center standing a watch, about these five people who were floating around in a small, three-man rubber raft, and he said that we needed to throw Food Service into overdrive and get some box lunches, toiletry kits, water, fruit, and blankets ready for these people. What eventually happened was that we baby-sat these people for a few hours with our boat crew in a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB), making sure they didn’t drift too far, while the local coast guard showed up. They ate the box lunches that we took out to them, in about five seconds. Apparently they were Moroccan refugees trying to row to Spain to find the Spanish Dream (like the American Dream, but with a cool accent and capering about in a Zorro costume). They either picked the wrong place to cross the Mediterranean Ocean (the best place would have been the Straits of Gibraltar, which is only about 12 miles wide), or the wind blew them waaaaaay off course. Either way, they were more than 25 miles from land, and they would likely have died of exposure if left alone. Initially, that’s what they wanted us to do, but then we told them how far away from land they were, and they wised up. Anyway, I got a couple pictures, although I wish I had a better zoom lens…or any zoom lens.

He still had hair then, although he's got serious "hat hair" going on. I like how this guy on the left has his gun aimed at Sean's crotch in the first picture and is aiming it at him as he takes the second. I know it's not intentional, but funny still. He was in Lisbon, Portugal for New Years and now I won't know until he reaches his next port. They are partying it up good in Europe.