31 December 2011

My last first kiss

Twenty years ago, on December 31, 1991, I had my last first kiss.  Did I know then it would be the last first kiss I would ever have?  Subconsciously, I think I did.

John and I had met about four months earlier when I was hired as a file clerk/fill-in receptionist in the radiology department.  In those four months, I saw what a wonderful, kind, generous person he was, and I began to look for reasons to go back to the control room in the department.  Do films need to be hung?  I'll do it!  We're out of film jackets.  I'll go get them!  Can somebody bring the film jacket for Mr. Smith?  I'll take it!  Even though it might mean only catching a glimpse of him, I wanted that glimpse.  If it was a slow day, it might mean a couple of minutes to talk.  When we were busy, I was constantly listening for his laugh.

One thing I noticed not long after I started working in the department is that John was always giving out hugs.  Oh, he wasn't just walking up to women and accosting them with hugs.  (That would be sexual harassment!)  They were coming to him and asking for hugs.  Techs, nurses, clerical...One day, after one of the other file clerks asked him for a hug, I told him that I needed to know what was so special about his hugs, so he gave me one.  And I learned that when John hugs you, he gives you a REAL hug.  His hugs aren't those one-arm-kinda-pulling-you-to-him hugs.  He envelopes you and you can tell he is sincere. 

Right after I was officially hired at the hospital, I moved out of the slum apartment I was living in and moved into a MUCH nicer (and less expensive!) apartment.  It had a washer/dryer hook-up, but I didn't have a washer or a dryer.  It turned out that one of the ultrasound techs had recently moved, and the house she bought had a set.  She had her own and didn't need them, so I bought them.  (Well, Mom bought them for me.)  Somehow, John was volunteered to move them for me.  I remember him standing in my kitchen with a glass of tea after he'd gotten them in and hooked up.  As he stood there in his overalls, I thought to myself then that I really wanted to kiss him, but I didn't.  I mean, I didn't want him to think I was this incredibly forward girl, did I?  That was around the end of September/first of October.

Fast forward to New Year's Eve 1991.  Vicky, the full-time receptionist, had volunteered John's house for a small gathering.  (Funny how John gets volunteered for a lot of things.  LOL)  I started the evening with a little adult beverage before I got there, and then I indulged in a little more after I got there, so I was just a touch...tipsy.  I had gone to the kitchen to refill my wine, but I ended up breaking the cork, so John came in and got the rest of the cork out.  After refilling my glass, we were standing face to face, and I really wanted to kiss him.  In just a matter of maybe two seconds, this is the conversation I had with myself and my good/bad consciences.

ME:  I really want to kiss me.
Bad Trina:  Go ahead!
Good Trina:  NO!  You can't do that!  He'll think your being too forward.
BT:  Oh, shut up!  It's New Year's Eve!  Nothing wrong with a little kiss!
GT:  You do this, and you will REGRET it!
ME:  Oh, what the heck!

So I kissed him!  (And he kissed me back.)  And that was my last first kiss.

It was a couple of days before we both worked at the same time.  I remember being so nervous about seeing him again.  How was he going to react?  Was he going to ignore me?  Pretend it never happened?  Was he going to think I was this slush who went around kissing guys?  I was afraid to even look at him, but I shouldn't have been.  Over the next few weeks, I began noticing that he was making his way to the front part of the department a bit more frequently that he had been before, and he always came through before he left for the day.

About a week and a half after "the kiss", he called and asked me out.  By Valentine's Day, we were "unofficially" an item. In mid-August, we were engaged, and on December 20, 1992, we were married.  Sometimes I think it would have been neat to have had our wedding on New Year's Eve since that was when our love story really started. 

Sometimes I still feel so amazed that out of all the people in the world, John chose me for his wife.  I look at him, and I realize how very lucky I am to have such a kind, loving, and supportive man to share my life with.

Twenty years ago, our love story began.  I can't wait to see what the next twenty years holds!

27 December 2011

2011 was a difficult year

As 2011 winds down, I can't say I'm sad to see it go.  This has been a very difficult year for so many people who are so important to me, and I'm ready for them to have some happiness and joy.

This year has had some extremely wonderful moments.  We were blessed with a new grandson.  Layton is such a joy, and I thank God each and every day for bringing him to our family.  Our good friends Amy and Stephen were also blessed with a sweet son.  Preston is a doll, and I know they have enjoyed each and every minute of his life.  Three of my co-workers welcomed new babies.  So yeah, 2011 has been good, but the tears outweighed the smiles.

Our school family was hit especially hard.  My precious friend Karen lost her mother, her cousin's husband (Amanda has always been like a sister to Karen, so Randy was like a brother-in-law), and her best friend, Mary...who was one of our much-loved science teachers and a dear friend of mine as well.  Another dear friend, Don, lost four relatives and his girlfriend.  And he had a guy break into his house and commit suicide, AND Don went in for surgery to have a cyst removed from his kidney but ended up losing the entire kidney.  We lost another precious member of our school staff when our registrar, Patti, died.  We had a student who was severely injured in a bizarre accident with her horse (but thankfully she survived.  She has struggles, but let me tell you...she is a true inspiration!!)  Another student drowned not long after school was out for summer.  A former student was killed in a car accident.  Several other faculty and staff members lost loved ones.  It has been a year we're all happy to see in the rear view mirror.

So, as the new year approaches, my wish is for nothing but smiles and laughter, happiness and joy for my family and friends.  May God bless you and your families.

11 December 2011

Vest Family Christmas 2011

We had our family Christmas yesterday in Hartselle. Danny, Linda, Allen, Will, Landon and Lance weren't able to join us for various reasons, and we missed them all, but the rest of us did have a wonderful time enjoying each other's company.
It was a fun year with all of the "little" kids. The great-grandchildren range in age from 11 years to 5 months.  Of course, Gavin and Layton weren't all that interested in what was going on, and Zac is getting older so his excitement is more reserved now, but Sam and Maggie had a blast.  Sam got some tools, and Maggie got make up.  Sam is all boy, and Maggie is all girl.  (Ask her and she'll tell you she is the princess at her house, and her daddy and Will are the Prince Charmings.  LOL)

Poor Billie continues to decline.  She had a hard time keeping Amy, Katy, Libby, and Jessi straight, and then add in their kiddos, and it gets even worse.  I wanted to make sure I got a picture of her, John, Katy, Jessi, Sam, and Layton.  I don't know if it was harder to try to get Sam or her to look at the camera and smile.  Sam wanted to play and to eat his M&Ms (what 3 year old ever wants to sit still for pictures?), and she couldn't remember.  Amanda (Luke's fiance) said we could easily put the pictures on Awkward Family Photos.  I think I'll give you an example of what I mean...

And this is just one example.

This one cracks me up because Sam is so over sitting her, and Billie is looking away, but at least you can tell she's smiling. 

After we finished, I sat down next to her and showed her the pictures.  She pointed to herself and asked, "Who is that woman?"  I told her it was her.  She looked at the picture again, and then she looked down to see what she was wearing.  Once, she said something to Katy or Jessi one about "my husband, Carl."  She doesn't even remember that her husband was their grandfather.  Sad, sad situation!

We're doing our Christmas here next Sunday.  I've got the menu pretty much planned.  I still want one other veggie, but I just can't decide what.  Something will pop into my head between now and then.  :)

I guess that's about it for now, but before I close out, I want to leave you with one more picture.  This one is of Billie, the grandkids, and the great-grandkids. 

Have a GREAT day!

08 December 2011

2012 can't arrive soon enough

I'm not wishing my life away, and I'm not even wanting what is left of this year to hurry by because of the BCS championship game.  I just want 2011 to be over, and I pray that 2012 is filled with many more smiles and much fewer tears.

Our faculty, staff, and students have been hit with so much tragedy and sorrow this year.  More than what one school should ever experience.  Actually, the hard times go back several years.  If I counted correctly, the number of deaths that our faculty/staff has experienced in about the last four years is close to 20.  A spouse, parents, other relatives, friends...Sure, we have a around 75 employees in our school, but even still, that is a lot of sadness in such a short time.

In addition to that, one of our students drowned over the summer. Back in the spring, another of our students was seriously injured when her horse fell.  Looking at Kathryn, although she faces some struggles, we can see the goodness of God in sparing her.

Just about a month ago, we lost our registrar.  Patti had been sick, but things were beginning to turn around. It looked like she was on the mend, but then there was a setback, and we were shocked to learn she had passed away.

Today, we lost another of our family members.  Mary had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during the summer, but the prognosis looked good.  Her cancer was supposed to be fairly rare and slow growing.  After spending about 3 months in the hospital, she was finally released, and the plan was that she would return to work after Christmas break.  She had not been home long when we went to the ER because of extreme back pain.  The diagnosis was not good.  The cancer had spread to her spine, and she was given two years...best case. 

My phone rang at 5:45 this morning.  Nobody ever calls at 5:45, so I knew.  I knew when I looked at the caller ID, it would be Karen.  It knew when I said hello, she wouldn't have good news.  I still said a quick prayer that she was calling to tell me she'd been up sick all night and wasn't going to be at work.  (Sorry for wishing illness on you, Karen, but I know you understand.)

I met Mary in January of 1993.  John and I had just gotten married, and I was unemployed.  Mary was a part-time rad tech who worked for John and a full-time teacher.  Because of her, I learned about a special education teacher who was going to be on maternity leave in the spring of 1994.  Mary put in a good word for me, even though she knew nothing about me!  Talk about going out on a limb for someone, but that was Mary!  For several years, Mary and I taught next door to each other.  Many were the days when I'd go to her room to ask a special ed question, see if she had a copy of a form I could NOT find (she always did in her disorganized organization), or to vent.  Mary had the most awesome giggle for a laugh.  I loved hearing it.  She had the best sense of humor.  She was a wonderful person and friend, and so many people can say their lives are better for having had her in it.

Thank you, Mary, for allowing me to be your friend, and I know I'll be seeing you again.  I love you!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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