Suzy & Spice

a pinch of this, a dash of that

Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Thankfulness, Day 6

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 19, 2010

Today I’m thankful for two things: The Cinnamon Stick and music. Tonight those two things came together in a fun-filled, family friendly evening.

The Cinnamon Stick is a new coffeehouse and sandwich shop in downtown Batesville (a couple of doors down from the Melba Theater) that features local bands and all kinds of neat stuff. Tonight the bulk of the worship band from our church (Fellowship Bible Church of Batesville) played and sang. They did some Beatles, a few other oldies and some worship songs. Sean Roulier on a jazzed-up, Jars of Clay version of “It is Well (With My Soul)” was surprisingly enjoyable! (I say surprisingly because that old hymn is one of my top 2 or 3 favorites, largely because of the story behind it, and I was afraid I wouldn’t like “Sean’s version” – I have never heard Jars of Clay’s rendition, but Sean’s mom says it’s great.)

Randell, Tommy, Angela, Sean and Becky

Last night at the Stick, the Fellowship kids had karaoke night (check out our pastor’s rendition of “Ghostbusters” on my Facebook page), played board games and shot some pool. (I wasn’t there, but I have seen the videos.)

Bruce and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE music and are especially fond of supporting locally owned businesses. And when great food is involved … well, what more could you ask for?

You must go to The Cinnamon Stick. Immediately. Next time you need an iced coffee, instead of McDonald’s, stir up some friends and visit the Stick. Try the Loaded Baked Potato Soup and a hot tea or latte. Bliss!

The Cinnamon Stick is open on Saturdays. I may be there when they open tomorrow. Got to start trying their hot teas – one by one.

Won’t you join me?

Come on downtown and support your local coffeehouse. The Cinnamon stick is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Posted in Batesville, friends, fun, giving thanks, God, inspiration, music | Leave a Comment »

Happy birthday, Lynn

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 7, 2010

I don’t even know where to begin.

Which means you may get a lot of random thoughts in this post. I’m just going to start with what’s on my mind at this very moment:

We had a party yesterday.

Lynn, Suzy and Salsa

Yesterday was Lynn’s birthday, and because she and her son Jacob were driving down for Friday night’s season-ending BHS victory (Go, Pioneers!), we decided we’d finally have our “housewarming” party and combine it with birthday cake.

We had an incredible time, and Lynn took a few pictures (I didn’t even get our camera out). Jacob shot a multilingual birthday video for our friend Becky (sorry, it’s Rebecca now), who lives in Nashville and couldn’t be here. Rebecky’s birthday is today. We told her Happy Birthday in at least four languages (thank you, Desiree, for the Pig Latin!).

Bruce had worked diligently to hang the family photos that had been leaning against the wall in our hallway. I don’t think anyone even looked at the photos during the party, as we didn’t do a “home tour.” People just started coming in and sitting around the music area, chatting and then eventually pickin’ and grinnin’.

We had everyone but Lynn and her boys out of here by Razorback game time (they had an hour’s drive home, so they missed a good bit of the first half). Mom called just as they were leaving and invited us over to watch. So after the kitchen cleaned itself up (not!), we went to Mom’s. I was nearly numb with tiredness (I’d say exhaustion, but it wasn’t quite that severe – Bruce may dispute this, but I didn’t stress out as much over this party as I have with previous ones). And Mom hadn’t been able to come to the party because she wore herself out cleaning out her storage building.

So we went to Mom’s to watch the Hogs beat South Carolina. Go, Hogs!

I could barely walk by the time we got home, and I went straight down the hall toward the bedroom to turn on the electric blanket and the heating pad. I noticed that Bruce had hung all three of the framed photo collages that had been leaning against the wall. I had barely noticed because I had already warned our potential party guests that there was so much to do at the house, we might not have pictures hung.

Bruce, nevertheless, worked to get the hallway done.

And last night, as I walked to the bedroom in my bleary-eyed state, I happened to look at all his handiwork so I could thank him for his hard work. The last one on the left, just before the bedroom door, was one of the aforementioned collages.

I said something like, “You do know that this last photo collage is of people chosen by the photo-frame manufacturers?”

“What?” he said, walking down the hall toward me.

“These are pictures of people inserted by the makers of this frame and collage.”

“Oh. I thought they were your nieces and your childhood friends and relatives.”

I had bought Mom the collage several years ago, but she was expecting me to fill it with family photos. I never got around to it.

At least it’s not cluttering the floor in the hallway anymore.

Posted in family, food, friends, fun, home, moving, music, sports | 1 Comment »

Who says you can’t go home?

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on April 27, 2010

After 24 years away, I’m taking my hubby and my puppies and moving home to Batesville!

Jon Bon Jovi sums it up for me …

I will tell you more about our plans after the semester ends (May 8th) and the CCFA walk is over (May 15th). There will be lots to tell!

Posted in family, friends, home | Leave a Comment »

Capers in Cambridge

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on January 18, 2010

A year ago, I wrote about reconnecting with Lynn, a friend I grew up with. Reconnecting is a sweet pleasure, and I’m grateful for blogs and social sites (even though I don’t use the latter) for allowing me to renew friendships.

Last week I reconnected with Dianne, one of my college roommates. The only e-mail address I had for her was one at her husband’s work, so we never really e-mailed each other, and because of the magic of cyberspace I have become terrible at letter writing (even my handwriting has deteriorated), so we hadn’t kept in close contact. Dianne’s Christmas letter contained an e-mail address just for her (and a note that they were going to spend four months in England), so I e-mailed her with a brief update. I also made a brief reference to her in my Jan. 10 post.

Tonight I logged on and had an e-mail from Dianne, along with a link to her new blog, Capers in Cambridge. Check it out.

Dianne is probably the funnest person I’ve ever met. She is always looking for an adventure – not so much for adventure’s sake but so that she can expand herself: her mind, her understanding of people, her empathy and her ability to serve God by serving people. This also makes her one of the kindest (maybe the kindest) people I’ve ever known. She’s also really smart, funny, literate and well traveled, so you will gain by getting to know her and her family. Check out her blog. I’m adding Capers in Cambridge to my blogroll at right.

Posted in friends, fun, God, humor | Leave a Comment »

Random thoughts 09/12/09

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 12, 2009

I got e-mail from my cousin Teri tonight, and she mentioned that she still checks my blog for news occasionally. I’m surprised anyone still checks, because I haven’t been posting much lately, mainly because I don’t have a lot of time to devote to one particular subject.

I’ve had a lot of ideas but none that could be summed up briefly in a post that wouldn’t put you to sleep. So tonight I’m just going to share snippets of what’s been going on in and around me lately:

  • My good friend Lynn’s husband, Doug, died this week. He was only 41 and left behind a wonderful wife and two kids, Doug and Jake. They’re still in shock; pray for them. (Lynn’s mom died last year, so this must be doubly devastating for her.) Lynn and Doug would have celebrated 19 years of marriage next month. Bruce and I had only just met Doug six months ago, when Jacob was in the state spelling bee (he took 7th place). Bruce had met Lynn only once – at Dad’s funeral in 1997. But when we got together for lunch after the spelling bee, we all hit it off, especially Bruce and the kids. The boys are very smart, and it was obvious their dad was very proud of them.
  • Two couples from my church family lost sons this week. One died in a car wreck, and I’m not sure about the other, as that family had begun attending Fellowship in Little Rock and I had lost track of them. Losing a child comes with its own special kind of pain – pain that I can’t even imagine. Pray for the Holaways and the Carltons. Another friend from church lost a sister. Pray for the Palmers.
  • My high school typing teacher, Mrs. Seibert, died this morning. She was a unique character and well loved by her students. If you were on her good side on a particular day, you were a “dumplin’,” but if you messed up you were a “donkey.” No matter which name she called you, you knew it was a term of endearment. I can still hear the way she said it, in that throaty voice with a Southern twang. Click here to read a tale one former BHS student told about Mrs. Seibert last year. (You’ll have to scroll down a bit to find his March 12, 2008, post.)
  • We had to pony up $2,100 on car repairs this week, and the guy who fixed it recommended another repair that will cost at least a few hundred more. ARRGH! On the bright side, this was the first major repair we’ve had to have done on this car, which is eight years old (we’ve owned it for three). And a repair bill sure beats monthly car payments.
  • I haven’t posted about this because life was too hectic at the time, but I started working on a second degree this summer. My hope is to get a bachelor’s degree, or at least an associate’s, in business (so I can find a job in Batesville and we can be near my mom, brother and lots of other family). I took Accounting I at the local community college, and I enrolled in Accounting II but had to withdraw the first week of classes because …
  • In early August I started experiencing some heart problems related to my October 2008 diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse. They strapped a bunch of electrodes on me for 24 hours of EKG monitoring, but that didn’t tell them enough, so now I have a monitor that I keep with me for 30 days and record any “event” that I deem significant. Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you consider that they charged me more than $900 for it the minute it was in my possession), I stopped having the major pounding episodes within 24 hours of getting the 30-day monitor. I still have a couple of weeks to go, but the worries have stopped. All my “episodes” the past two weeks have been mild – no worse than the usual ones I’ve been having for a long time. I think most of the recent symptoms were stress related, partly because …
  • Bruce has been fighting a urinary tract infection and prostatitis for the past couple of months. We spent a few hours in the ER on July 3 (because it was a Friday before a holiday weekend and all his doctors’ offices were closed) after his temperature hit 103. He’s been taking antibiotics and another new drug (new to us) ever since. He’s been having to give blood and urine samples every couple of weeks.
  • One of Bruce’s maintenance meds, Cimzia, may soon become a thing of the past for us. We had been getting it at no charge because after he lost his job our income plummeted and we were considered a charity case. Now that he has started drawing Social Security, the drug company may drop us from the program. But even though our income has gone up a bit, we won’t be able to afford the once-a-month injections, which cost $1,800 (yes, $1,800 for one shot in the stomach once a month!).

I guess that’s enough depressing news. What’s something cheerful I can tell you? Um …

  • I’ve been baking again. That makes me happy! 🙂 (I have to tell you, I feel a little guilty about the happy thoughts, in light of all the sad news around me this week.)
  • Bruce’s birthday is Tuesday (9/15). He’ll be 50! Mom, J.T. and I pitched in and got him a 12-string guitar. He’d been wanting one for a long time, and we gave it to him early. He’s been so happy playing that thing; he has played it just about every day since he got it. And I found the perfect T-shirt to go with it. It has a little stick man playing the guitar and smiling hugely, and it says “Life is good.” The shirt came in just one color: green, which is Bruce’s fave. And the skinny little stick man looks just like him!
  • On the recommendation of my cousin Pam, I checked out a great book from the library: “Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces.” It’s the sequel to “Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens.” It has made me start thinking about growing plants (both flowers and vegetables) that I’ve never grown before. I went to the local garden center first thing this morning and just walked around and took notes, then I went to the library and checked out some gardening encyclopedias and I came home and started doing some Internet research. Oh, but before that I bought a couple of pretty pots and a couple of new mums. I bought a pretty little pot and a little bronze-colored mum for the kitchen, and it looks so sweet in there, because …
  • We got new kitchen counter tops this summer. Yes, after 10 years of looking at those 1972 green counter tops that we had been planning to replace ever since we bought the house, we finally had the money to do it, because …
  • We refinanced the mortgage and used a little bit of the equity to make a few home improvements. We not only replaced the counter tops, we bought paint. Bruce is painting the kitchen cabinets white (before-and-after photos to come, but not until it’s all finished and beautiful), and we painted the laundry room, because …
  • We got new linoleum downstairs in the laundry room, spare bathroom and hallway. Maybe I’ll post before-and-after pictures of the laundry room when I’m not so tired. It looks great down there, too. The old flooring was also from 1972 (gold and dirty). The laundry room was yellow, and now it’s blue (my favorite color) and white, and it looks so clean and bright. I replaced the really old curtains with a nice, crisp white pair. I love it!
  • Our women’s group at church is starting a new Beth Moore Bible study on Monday. I’m so excited, because it’s about my favorite book of the Bible: Esther. The last Beth Moore study I got to participate in was on Daniel, and it was awesome! I can’t wait to dive into “Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman.”

And that is where I’m going to end this post – on a happy, positive note. Because, despite all the hard things that have happened this year, I know I can still put my trust in the One who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

God is good.

Posted in baking, Crohn's disease, flowers, friends, God, health, home, medical, music, reading | Leave a Comment »

Simon sings

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on March 28, 2009

Sometimes when I’m too busy to write everything I want to write about, I cheat. I simply link to other blogs. You must listen to Alison’s 2-year-old singing his favorite songs he learned at Bible Study Fellowship:

Here’s Simon!

Posted in friends, God, inspiration | 3 Comments »

Random thoughts

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on March 22, 2009

My fans (all three of you people who read my blog) have been admonishing me to publish something. I haven’t posted in a while, but not for lack of wanting to. I’ve just been extremely laz — err, busy.

So, while I wait for my mom’s tax return to finish printing, I’ll grace you with some of the fascinating things I have been doing, thinking or saying lately:

  • After two weeks of working on it in spurts, I have finally finished Mom’s tax return. No, you cannot borrow money from her. Because she helped her children so much last year, there is nothing left to loan. Thanks, Mom. We owe you.
  • I chopped off my fingernails the other day to get better at the little game on my new cell phone that I am obsessed with (the game, not the phone), and it didn’t make one bit of difference. Even with nails cut to the nub, I am still pitiful at batting a little ball with a paddle at a bunch of electronic bricks.
  • I make up little songs, sometimes to amuse Bruce, sometimes to amuse myself. Frequently these little ditties are about the dogs. Almost all of them are about what I happen to be doing at the time I sing them. If Bruce isn’t amused, he doesn’t let me know it. He makes up random funny songs, too. We’re weird together.
  • I would love to be in a musical. Like South Pacific, The Music Man, Oklahoma! or my favorite, Camelot. Or how about The Sound of Music II: Suzl, the Forgotten von Trapp? I would be great in that! Not that I can sing.
  • Although Saturday night was an exception (I went to bed at 7:30), I have been staying up until nearly 10:30 lately! (I don’t think I’ve adjusted to daylight saving time yet.) Still, unless you’re my mother, my brother or my husband, or you’re bleeding from both eyes, don’t call me after 9 p.m., even on weekends. I will be mad at you.
  • It’s spring! And I pulled weeds this weekend (both days). And when I got tired of pulling the little suckers, there were still a BUNCH of them left. Today after I got tired and decided not to pull any more weeds, two neighbor boys rode their bikes up to my driveway and asked me if I had any work for them. Now I’m $10 poorer, but my rose bed looks a lot better. They want to come and mow the lawn in a few days. I think I’ll let them. (Note to self: Restock the Popsicle stash.)
  • I LOVE seeing kids take some initiative and get out and earn some money instead of sitting on their bee-hinds in front of the TV or a computer.
  • The dogs finally got baths today. This hadn’t happened since (don’t tell anyone) November. Salsa didn’t like it, but she didn’t bite me once!
  • My friend Lynn, whom I wrote about a few weeks ago (yikes, it’s been nearly three months!), is going to share the Basket-A-Month with me this year. Next weekend is the pickup. SPRING VEGETABLES! FARM-FRESH EGGS, HOMEMADE PASTA! SOURDOUGH BREAD! I’M YELLING BECAUSE I’M DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY!!!!! And Lynn said she’d bring me some of her asparagus and a couple of good recipes. Double happiness!
  • Baseball season is almost upon us, and I’m thinking of Travelers and sunshine. And hot dogs, which absolutely must be consumed at baseball games, no matter what.
  • I’m reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which I started reading in college but never finished. My favorite journalism professor recommended it, although it was not required reading. I didn’t do a lot of extracurricular reading in college. I was too busy with the school newspaper and reading for classes. But I’m enjoying this book once again, and I’m determined to finish it this time.
  • I have new flip-flops. They’re black. Well, they’re sort of brown now, because of the weed-pulling.
  • I’m supposed to be making a blackberry-jam cake for my neighbor, who’s going to pay me for it, but she didn’t give me a deadline and I keep putting it off. It’s the pressure. She had one at a friend’s out of town, and it was to-die-for delicious, and I’ve had to Google to find a recipe that seems to approximate what she had. So, pressure. Which makes me procrastinate.
  • More pressure: My church is doing a 25th-anniversary cookbook, and I’m supposed to provide a recipe for my “signature” dish, and I can’t decide whether to share my recipe for carrot cake, which I make money from, or be selfish and keep it to myself. My other cake recipe that gets rave reviews is from Paula Deen, and I want to make sure we won’t be violating any copyrights before I share it. It’s called White Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Filling. It’s lick-the-bottom-of-the-pan good. I don’t think I’ve shared photos of it that I took when I was making business cards year before last. So let’s end this on a happy foodnote:

white_chocolate_cake1

Click the comment button to share some of your own random thoughts.

Posted in baking, baseball, books, dogs, flowers, food, friends, fun, home, nature | 4 Comments »

Reconnecting

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on December 30, 2008

I’m supposed to be reconciling seven months of bank statements tonight (got a little behind when my bank “improved” its Web site and my statements started showing up too blurry to read, but that’s a whole ‘nother post).

But when I turned on the computer, I found something way better – an e-mail from one of my dear friends from high school. Last time Lynn and I saw each other was the day of my dad’s funeral, 11 years ago Dec. 26.We had e-mailed a few times since then, and talked on the phone once or twice, but I lost all of my contacts in the great computer upgrade a few years ago. (Ain’t technology great?)

This year Lynn’s mom died, but my job prevented me from driving up for the funeral, and I had asked my mom to get her current address so I could offer my condolences. She had changed her e-mail address since last time I tried to connect wirelessly, so I had neglected our relationship. And then Mom didn’t get around to procuring the new mailing address, and I kept forgetting to remind her.

Isn’t it too bad that we take such precious things for granted, sometimes until it’s too late?

I’m happy to say that it wasn’t too late this time to reconnect with my dear friend.

Sunday night I signed on and discovered a brief note from Lynn. It said she was just checking to see if the e-mail address she had for me was still good. I replied, giving a brief update and telling her she could fill in some of the gaps by reading my blog. I ended with the exhortation to update me on her life.

And, boy, did she.

I thought my life was filled with drama. Besides her mother’s health problems, her husband had a humongous health scare last year, a tornado blew away most of her workplace, and “then we had 2 ice storms, a record snowfall and 2 hundred-year floods – all in one winter!”

She talked about suffering and hope and cliches that now mean something to her after the past two years of trauma and drama.

When we were teenagers, our biggest problems were acne, part-time jobs and does-he-like-me?

Now it’s decades later, and those “problems” are a lifetime away, having made way for real and true suffering.

When your friends are friends only during the happy times, they’re not true friends. A true friend knows she can share all the scary, gut-wrenching stuff of her real-life drama and you’ll stick around. A lifelong friend is someone who knows all your nicknames, and you know hers. And it feels good.

I haven’t been called Sue-Bee in years.

I love you, Lynnie Red Small.

Posted in friends | 3 Comments »

think. pray. live.

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 11, 2008

I’m always stealing links from Sarabeth’s blog (this is the second time this week) but she finds some really good ones, so I don’t think she minds. This one is from Quinn Cummings (who is also listed under “Blogs I visit” at right — you’ll have to scroll). I read Quinn because she’s hilarious, but this one is more thoughtful. I hope it makes you pause, too — especially as we stop to remember what happened seven years ago today.

Posted in friends, inspiration | 1 Comment »

Tuesday hospital update

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on August 12, 2008

The anticipated CT scan hasn’t happened yet. In fact, the doc hasn’t been in yet to order it (it’s nearly 11:30 a.m.).

With the big bag of “food” on his IV pole, Bruce’s blood sugar shot up last night and they had to give him insulin. The second time they checked it, it was OK, but the pharmacist was in a few minutes ago and said that if it shoots up again, they can inject the insulin directly into the bag. Oy.

What’s worse (in my opinion) is the pain when he goes to the bathroom. With all the undescribable things going on down there, he said that when waste tunnels through the fistula (yes, he has another fistula), it feels like acid being poured on his skin. Down there. The nurse was telling us about her hemorrhoid surgery several years ago and commented, “Can you imagine how painful it is to have a shot in your rectum?” And Bruce replied, “As a matter of fact, I can.” (Several times a day, he can.)

Yes, it is extremely painful. And it’s really scary. He also thinks another abscess has formed, and that’s not the same as a fistula. Different problems, both difficult to treat. And he has ulcers in his mouth, not to mention a yeast infection (also in his mouth — thick, furry coating on his tongue, causing him to eat less) brought on by antibiotics used to treat infections. Some of the medicines he takes are ones that counteract other ones. All a big fat hairy scary mess.

So please keeping lifting him up in prayer. We thank you for all the prayers you’ve already said for us.

On a side note, Bruce wanted me to say something we’ve been wanting to tell people for several months. We have thanked you face to face or by proxy at times when you’ve given us food, money, visits, lawn mowing, TLC to our dogs (Mike Tyler especially loved on our furbabies during his visits), etc. And we’ve e-mailed you in groups or individually to say thanks. But we haven’t done what Miss Manners would have us do, and that’s send actual thank-you notes — through the mail, not electronically.

It took us a long time just to get most of the notes written, but we still haven’t gotten to the next step and addressed the envelopes. They’re sitting on the table downstairs. It’s not just a matter of having the time to do it, it’s that anything nowadays is an emotional (and physical) drain. Both of us have fought low-grade depression, mental and physical exhaustion and the accompanying inertia, and have put off way too many things in the past several months, although I suppose that’s a subject for a post on another day.

But to those of you who have helped, in ways big and small, know that your thank-you has been expressed in our hearts — even written on a card — and someday we might actually mail it.

Suzy and Bruce.

Posted in Crohn's disease, dogs, friends, God, health, inspiration, medical | Leave a Comment »