Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in Arkansas

Have you missed me?! I've missed being able to blog, so I'm glad to be back. My mom, younger sister Chandra and I went to Arkansas for Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my sister Annette and her family. The drive wasn't too bad (except for the bumpy roads) and it took less than seven hours to get there.

My brother-in-law Joseph made a big fire and although it wasn't all that cold, I was chilly and I enjoyed sitting in front of the crackling fire.
Our Thanksgiving meal was really yummy. Check out these great pics that my sister Chandra took!
The best part about the trip was seeing my niece and nephew. I think my nieces and nephews get more fun the older yet. My niece Rebecah is almost 2 and she's so cute! She is downright terrified of me, though, and she won't come near me for a hugs and kisses. However, she must like me at least a little bit because she would walk around the house saying, "Hever, Hever, Hever!" My sister told me that since we left on Saturday morning Rebecah has been asking about me, so I think there's hope for the future! Here are some more fun pictures from the weekend:
We went to the lake on Friday and we were hoping to be able to take some pictures of Annette and her family, but it was extremely windy by the lake. We tried again later that afternoon and the pictures turned out pretty well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Film Projectors: Out with the Old

When I went to the movies last weekend I found out that the movie theater I go to had just switched over to digital movie projectors. Do you know what that means? No more filmstrip! It's mind-boggling to think of movies without filmstrip, but it seems as if the filmstrip days are quickly coming to a close.

It's kind of sad, isn't it? I think so! I don't blame movie theaters for keeping up with current technology and switching to the next big thing, especially since digital movies are far superior in their sharpness and clarity, not to mention the fact that it's a lot easier (you literally just push "play"), but I think it's sad that projecting movies through film is quickly becoming a lost art.

When I first started my job at the movie theater in 2000, I was amazed when I went to the projection booth on the second floor of the movie theater and saw just what a process goes into movie projection. It's quite a production! I wish I had a video to show you of everything it entails because it's definitely something to behold. Wait a sec, let me check YouTube to see if I can find a video showing how a film projector works. Okay, I found one. The film projector in this video is very similar to the ones that were used at the movie theater I worked at. (Go ahead and skip to one minute in to the video, to the part that shows "lacing up.") It's pretty fascinating, isn't it?! Now you know why I think it's sad that film projectors are becoming a dying breed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Teenage Cinema

On Friday I went to the movies with my friend Lacee and her friend Monica and we settled in for a double feature. The first movie we saw was Footloose – a remake of the 1984 dance flick starring Kevin Bacon. I've never seen the original movie, but I thought the remake looked fun, so that's why I wanted to see it. The movie was really fun and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The criticism I have with the movie, however, is that it's geared towards teenagers, but quite a bit of the content (like language, innuendos and some suggestive dancing) is questionable for young teens. I'm pretty conservative and I don't think I would allow my teenager (especially a young one) to watch this movie. Teens are so impressionable, and I know they will find out about the ways of the world soon enough, but that doesn't mean I have to be the one to expose them to it. It's too bad when a good movie is tainted with things like excessive swearing. Gratuitous swearing is one of my biggest pet peeves in movies! Heather's rating: 6/10 stars

Like I said, I've never seen the original Footloose, but after watching the remake it inspired me to get on YouTube and look up some of the iconic, well-known dance scenes from the original movie. I thoroughly enjoyed watching a very young Kevin Bacon strut his stuff!

One difference I noticed while watching my side-by-side comparison of the Footloose movie clips was that Kevin Bacon's character (a senior in high school) was smoking in the original movie. I know lots of high school kids smoke, but thankfully, you don't see nearly as much smoking by teens in movies today. (Movies made in past decades had a lot more smoking in them.) I'm glad people have started to wisen up to the fact that smoking is not only a disgusting habit, but one that will kill you. There are still way too many people that smoke, but I think it's something that is fortunately on the decline.
The next movie we saw was  Breaking Dawn, pt. 1. I didn't have a strong desire to see this movie in the theater, but my friend Lacee really wanted to go, and since she and I have watched all of the other movies together in the theater I thought, "Why not?!" I admit it, I have read all of the books, as painful as it was. Since I've read all the books I like to see the movies to see how the movie portrayals compare to the books. The first movie was downright awful, but each one has progressively gotten better, partly due to the fact that there's a bigger budget for better special effects.

I thought Breaking Dawn was actually pretty good, as far as the Twilight Saga goes. Granted, the acting is pretty laughable, especially by some of the actors/actresses, but the movie was pretty good. The movie was pretty true to the book, but that's largely due to the fact that the final book is split into two movies. Heather's rating: if I'm rating this movie based on the other Twilight movies, then this would get 8/10 stars, but if I were rating it compared to movies in general it would only get 6/10 stars.

Here are my major hangups with the books/movies: #1) the writing style of the books is awful! I'm sorry Stephanie Meyer, but you seriously need to work on your dialogue! In my opinion, for a book to be classified as "well-written," the dialogue needs to sound natural. Some authors really struggle with writing natural sounding dialogue, and it ends up sounding contrived or "too perfect." I'm not really that tough of a critic when it comes to books, but phony/cheesy dialogue is a definite dealbreaker!

#2) the main character, Bella, is one of the most annoying, whiny characters I've ever come across in all the books I've read in recent years. It would be one thing if Stephanie Meyer were intending the character to be annoying, but she's not. I find many of the characters in the Twilight books to be annoying in some way or another, but Bella is by far the worst of the bunch!

#3) the actor and actress that portray the main characters, Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) are not very good actors, at least in the Twilight Saga of movies. It's almost painful watching them interact because they have awful on-screen chemistry. Just my humble opinion, of course, but there you have it!

#4) the plot, relationships and interactions are all so unrealistic! Yes, I'm aware that this is a book about vampires and werewolves, but I think it gives such a slanted and unrealistic portrayal of what love/life is really like.

Why did I read all of the books and why do I keep subjecting myself to the movies, you might ask? Well, let's just say I have a love-hate relationship with the Twilight Saga. What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment, but I like to see something through to the end once I start it, for better or for worse. I guess that can be blamed on my loyal side! So, yes, I'm sure I will be going to see Breaking Dawn, pt. 2 in the theater next November. (Especially if Lacee has anything to do with it!)  ;)

So, what did you think of Breaking Dawn, or what do you think of the Twilight books in general?

My friend Kate had this picture on her blog and I thought it was hilarious!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Few More Thoughts

Thank you to all of the wonderful people who left a comment on my previous post as a "second birthday" present to me. I love comments, and it made my day to read them!

I had to go to the hospital today to have my cardiac pacemaker checked (since the company that had been doing the telephone pacemaker checks recently stopped doing them). Driving 50 minutes each way to the hospital for a 10 minute EKG really wasn't the way I wanted to spend a good portion of my day, but at least the weather was beautiful (albeit quite chilly and brisk) and the sun was shining, and I was with my BFF, (Mom).

Although I wasn't out doing anything exciting, or at home working on my computer (one of my favorite ways to spend my time), I just "rolled with the punches" (no pun intended) and enjoyed the ride. ;) I was grateful that on this afternoon of November 17, I was only at the hospital for something minor and at the end of the day I was able to go home.

Around 4 PM my mom was working on my bath and I jokingly asked her if this afternoon was a better afternoon than the afternoon of November 17 in 2003. She said, "Yes," as she sighed and wrapped her arms around my shoulders and laid her head on my chest. (That's the way we hug these days.) As she washed my face she said, "Eight years ago I couldn't do this [wash my face] for you. Your neck was so big and swollen and you had all sorts of tubes connected to you." I thought, "poor Mom!" as she said that because I can't imagine what that day must've been like for her. (If you want to read more about that day and what my family and I went through, click here and here. (I must admit, it's a pretty interesting story, if I do say so myself!) ;)

I'm so grateful for the gift of joy that my Heavenly Father has given me. That gift is truly what makes my life bearable. I give all the credit for my joy and other accomplishments to the Lord, because I know without Him I would most likely be a sad, bitter and angry person. Hooray for life and for all of the things I can do, however small they may be!!

One last thought. When I was leaving for the hospital today I told my younger sister Chandra to kiss me goodbye in case I got in a horrible accident. She said, "Aww… don't say that… that's so sad!" I said, "You never know, I just might come back walking!"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/17 Remembered

Well, today is November 17, or as I like to call it, my "second birthday" since it's the day my old life ended and my new life began. It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone since that day eight years ago that will forever live in infamy in the hearts and minds of my family and friends. Although it was a physically traumatic day for me, I had it pretty easy compared to everyone else since I missed out on all of the emotional trauma since I was unconscious and off in my own little world. I'm sure the emotional trauma that my family and friends endured was absolutely heart-wrenching as they waited to find out if I would live or die and what my fate would be if I survived, Would I be doomed to a life of paralysis?

At the time of my accident my life was so averagely normal. I'd never even broken a bone or had stitches, let alone had any accidents or major health problems. I was a teenager and I, like most teens naturally assumed that that would always be the case with my life. I never dreamed that I would become one of "those" people – you know, the kind of person that everyone looks at with at least a small measure of pity and thinks, "thank goodness that's not my life." Ironically, I used to be that kind of person who would thank God for being normal when I saw someone who was either mentally or physically handicapped.

Who would've ever thought that this would happen to me?! Sometimes I'm just in awe that this is my life. I can't move and I can't even breathe on my own. I have to rely on my diaphragm pacemaker to make my diaphragm contract so that I can inhale. (Speaking of my diaphragm pacemaker, today also happens to be the anniversary of the surgery where electrodes were implanted on my diaphragm.) That was in 2006 – three years after my accident – and it's been one of the best things to happen since my accident so that I don't have to be on a ventilator any more. Ditching the ventilator is something I never thought I would be able to do, and it's been a huge blessing.. Sure, I still can't breathe on my own without the assistance of some sort of machine/device, but the diaphragm pacer is much more healthy, portable and convenient than being tied to a ventilator.

Try to take the time to truly enjoy life, to not take things for granted and to look for the positive in all situations, even in challenging ones. Life is too short to waste not being joyful! (I love getting comments, so if you want to make my anniversary extra special, leave me a comment!)

Monday, November 14, 2011


I had a get together this past Saturday evening to celebrate the eighth anniversary of my accident which is coming up this Thursday, November 17. I like to have a get together every year to celebrate the fact that I'm alive, happy and well. It's a fun excuse to visit with friends, play games and eat yummy food.

This year I asked my mom to make rocky road tart – one of my favorite treats that I was introduced to by my sister Kristin who is an extremely talented baker. I also recently found a recipe online for Reese's peanut butter cheesecake brownies. The picture looked so enticing, and since I love Reese's peanut butter cups, cheesecake AND brownies, I thought the recipe looked like a "must-try!" They were WONDERFUL! The rocky road tart was amazing, too. Check out these mouthwatering pictures:
I'm so grateful to still be alive after being involved in such a horrific accident. It was so severe and it's a miracle I survived. I really should have died, and I'm positive that God had a hand in saving my life because I'm sure I wouldn't have survived otherwise.

It was a wonderfully fun night and I'm so grateful to have such nice friends to celebrate with!

Friday, November 11, 2011


As cliché as it sounds, I AM one of Anderson's biggest fans! Admitting that makes me sound pathetic, since he's someone I've never met in person, but I can't deny it… I really like him! Anderson has a gift for being able to tell other people's stories in a way that other people can relate to. He's down to earth, relatable and hilarious in a witty way. All of that in conjunction with his willingness to laugh at himself is so endearing and it makes me laugh right along with him.

He's a talented journalist and I appreciate his objectiveness when delivering the news. He doesn't editorialize with his personal opinion, he just presents the facts and lets you draw your own conclusions. If there were breaking news in the world I definitely want to get the scoop from AC because he's definitely a credible, trustworthy source.

Here's a dirty little secret… well, it's not a secret, and it's definitely not dirty, but I take a bath with Anderson every afternoon! Anderson's new talk show is on at 4 PM, and that's when we do my afternoon routine which includes getting me back to bed, undressing me, giving me a bath, repositioning me, etc. Having "Anderson" on is just as much a part of my routine as everything else and it's something I look forward to each day.

Anderson isn't your traditional celebrity or superstar, but if I could have my choice of meeting anyone in the world, Anderson would make the short list of people I'd like to meet most. This is just another feather to stick in my the cap of dreams.


Today's one of those unique dates that only come around once every century where the date and time will be exactly the same for two perfectly palindromic seconds in the day – one second in the AM and one second in the PM.

At 11:11:11 on 11-11-11, the date/time will be all "1's." Pretty cool, right?! Like I said, this phenomenon only happens once a century. The last time this phenomenon occurred was November 11, 1911. That was the day of what is now known as "The Great Blue Norther" which was a cold snap that affected much of the central United States. Many cities broke record high temperatures early that afternoon, but by nightfall these same cities were dealing with single-digit temperatures. This is the only day in many Midwest cities' histories where the record high AND low temperatures were broken in the same day.

Temperatures in Kansas City had reached a record high temperature of 76°F (24°C) by late morning before this cold front moved through. By midnight, however, the temperature had plummeted to 11°F (-11.7°C – a 65° difference) in only 14 hours. In Springfield, Missouri, the temperature difference was even more extreme. Springfield was at 80°F (26.7°C) before the cold front moved through, but two hours later, the temperature was 40°F (4.4°C).

Well, just be aware that at 11:11 (and 11 seconds) something truly unique will be occurring. If you blink, you'll miss it! And if you're old enough to be reading this, you'll undoubtedly be dead the next time this phenomenon rolls around (November 11, 2111). Who knows, the Second Coming might've happened by then.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Money Bags" follow-up

Yesterday I wrote about wishing I were rich and that I had a stockpile of money so as to have unlimited funding for all of my wants and needs. As I've thought about that post over the past 24 hours, I have a few more thoughts to add to it. First, I'm going to start by sharing a quote that I recently saw somewhere and liked:

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we DON'T have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we DO have."

There wasn't a lot of money to go around when I was growing up since my parents raised our large family of nine (seven girls plus Mom and Dad) on a single income (my mom worked as a stay-at-home mom). I often remember wishing for more – more clothes, more gadgets, more "things", more opportunities. There were so many things that I thought would be fun to do, but when opportunities came about I didn't even give it a second thought if I knew it cost money. But what I never stopped to realize and appreciate at that time was that I always had everything I needed. I didn't have a lot extra, but I had everything I needed. I definitely didn't have all of the things that some of the people I knew had (especially families that only had a few kids), but I'm sure I had a lot more than many people I knew.

When I was 16 I got my first job. I loved working because I could buy myself many of the things I wanted. I'll share one example. When I was 18 I bought my first (and only) car*. In high school a lot of my friends had their own car, but their parents either bought it for them, or helped them make the payments. At the time I thought how nice it would be to have a car just given to me by my parents. However, after buying my own car I realized how much more I appreciated it since I bought it with my own money. I'm so glad I had to work for what I wanted. I don't think most kids have to work enough for what they want these days and they get sucked into the "entitlement trap" where they think they are entitled to the best of the best because that's what "everyone" else has.

Looking back, I'm so grateful that I grew up not having all of the things I wanted because I now appreciate things so much more than I would if I'd grown up always having the best of everything. So when you're a parent, what do you do when you want to give your child everything, but you know it's not good for them?

*Someone recently left a comment on my blog asking me what kind of car I was driving when I had my accident. In 2002 I bought a 1998 Chevy Prizm. Although the brand of the car was Chevy, it was Toyota made, so my mom and I felt good about buying it knowing it was a Toyota made car. 

You know, I had my car for almost 18 months and I never even took a picture of it. I wish I would've! The only pictures I have of it are post accident, but I'll post a few of them anyway:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Money Bags

Oh how I wish I were rich! I don't need to be filthy, stinking rich – I'd happily settle for just being "well off." :) It would be nice to have an unlimited stockpile of money to buy all of the things I need and most of the things I want without having to worry about where the money to afford these things would come from.

I'm incredibly blessed and I have a lot more than many people in the world, so I can't/won't complain. However, I would love to have the funding to be able to give back and pay it forward. I think one of the responsibilities of the wealthy is to share their wealth and abundance with others. It seems like a lot of times  those that have the most are the ones that are the least willing to share what they have with others.

I know that wealth is no guarantee of happiness and at the end of the day things are just things. Actually, there have been scientific studies conducted that show that the people who have the least are actually the happiest and most generous people. I guess when you know what it's like to want for something you're more inclined to share what you do have (no matter how small) with others.

Speaking of generosity… I'm a very generous person. (I'm not mentioning this as a way to boast; just more stating a fact. I know it's important to keep your humility in check, but at the same time I don't think there's anything wrong with mentioning a positive characteristic we possess as long as we don't take it too far.) I LOVE buying gifts for people! When people talk, I listen and I remember. It brings me so much joy to pick out gifts for people as I remember the things they've said they like. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I wish I were Santa Claus because bringing joy to others is so gratifying and truly a gift in and of itself.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Book Club Birthday

My book club met last Tuesday and it was special because it was the third anniversary of when book club started. I started it three years ago since I love to read, and also as a way to be able to socialize with some of the different ladies from church. We always meet at my house (since most people don't live in handicap accessible houses) and it's just fun to be able to discuss books and chat while eating something yummy. My mom always makes a yummy dessert which is nice because any social gathering is better when there's a sweet treat to be had!

My book club isn't too large (there's usually an average of 8 to 12 of us, depending on the month) but I enjoy getting together each month. We always spend at least a little time discussing our current book, but then the conversation tends to branch out to different topics, some of which have been very interesting.

Since the book club is small, I pick the books about half of the time, which on one hand is fun when I have a book I'm excited about, but on the other hand, sometimes it gets difficult trying to line up a new book each month. Oftentimes there are books that I would like to use, but I never choose books if I don't have access to at least several copies. (I don't want the club members to feel like they have to spend money on a book if they want to participate in book club.) We are fortunate to have a library system close by, but it doesn't have as large of a selection of books as I would like.

If anyone out there has read a good book that they think would work well for my book club, let me know! Suggestions are always very much appreciated!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Super Hawkins Bros.

Last year two of my sister Kristin's kids dressed up as Mario and Luigi from the Super Mario Bros. video game. My sister's boys love playing Mario Kart on the wii, so this year her entire family dressed up as different characters from the game. Kristin's family lives in California, so I had to settle for seeing pictures on Facebook. :(  Everyone looked adorable, so I just have to write about it on my blog and post some pictures. I know I might be partial, but I think they're all so cute!

Kaleb () is Luigi, Ethan (6) is Wario, Jared (almost 4) is Mario, Aaron (21 mos.) is Toad and Scott, their dad, is Waluigi.
The Mario Bros. and the bad guys:
Mario and his and his antithesis Wario, Luigi and his antithesis Waluigi:
More cute pictures:
My sister went to a trunk-or-treat at church and she decided to decorate her van in the Super Mario Bros. or Super "Hawkins" Bros. theme. If you're familiar with the videogame, then these decorations will make sense. (They even carved Mario Bros. themed pumpkins.)
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