Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mom Gets a New Knee... and Dad Semi-Retires! (Armageddon must be comming.)

As many of you know, Mom went in for a total knee replacement just under two weeks ago. Her surgery was on Jan 18 around noon - and they had her up and walking the next morning (using a walker, of course). We took her home just two days later. She's doing incredibly well. She's getting around with her walker with ease, she's doing well keeping on top of the pain. I was just up there on Sunday and she looks great.

As always happens though - it couldn't possibly go smoothly. She's been putting this surgery off for years and finally agreed to have it done. Recovery from a total knee replacement is a pretty big deal and you need a lot of help - so Dad has to take care of her and help her get around and feed her and all of that good stuff. Sure enough - the week before her surgery something goes wrong. An ice storm came through and killed the power. Which means Dad spent three or four days running up and down the stairs keeping the woodstove burning and going up and down the hill chopping ice for the cows (there's an electric heat element that keeps their water from freezing in the winter).

After all of that activity, his leg got so swollen that he could barely walk or bend his knee. We were concerned there for a little while that it was DVT (deep vein thrombosis - a blood clot), but it wasn't - it was a ruptured Bakers cyst. The cyst probably developed in a wrestling match he had with a cow last year - but we won't get into that... Anyway, he got sent home to keep his leg up and ice on it and Mom's surgery went forward. By the time she got home, he was able to be mobile again and assume his nurse-maid duties.

But in the meantime - he retired from the cattle business! He's been talking about it for a few years, but I never thought I'd see the day. He sold all of his cattle and rented off the pasture rights to Busch Farms for one year to a neighboring farmer. And he doesn't miss it - he says it's nice to sit in his recliner and look at the thermometer reading 12 degrees, and see someone else out feeding the cows.

So now she's got a new knee and he's semi-retired. They've decided that they're going to start spending a month or two of their winters in a warmer climate and enjoy themselves more. I'm amazed. Like I said - Armageddon must be upon us.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Amazing News!

Friday afternoon, one of my coworkers walked up behind me at my desk and said, "Go to kmov.com right now, you're not going to believe this!" As I did I heard gasps and various people around me expressing shock and disbelief as they found out themselves. It was amazing and wonderful news...

On Monday afternoon a young boy, Ben Ownsby, was abducted from a small town near St. Louis. An Amber Alert was put out and all week this week we've been bombarded with pictures of Ben and the information that a white Nissan truck with dents, rust and a camper shell was seen speeding away by a fellow student. Whenever a child goes missing it's absolutely heartbreaking. Ben's parents and sister were were on the news and the Today Show asking for help from the public.

And then yesterday afternoon the most amazing thing happened. They found Ben in an apartment in Kirkwood (suburban St. Louis). But even more amazing than that they also found Shawn Hornbeck in that same apartment! Shawn has been missing since October of 2002. His parents have been very active in a foundation for missing children they created in Shawn's name and have been on the news on the anniversary of Shawn's abduction every year reminding the public that Shawn is still out there somewhere. And he was!

I was glued to the news all afternoon yesterday as the story unfolded and have been crying my way through breakfast this morning watching the grateful and happy families thanking the police, FBI and public in press conferences.

I won't type out the whole story here, it's all over the news so you've all seen it - and if you haven't, here's a link:


Needless to say, I think everybody in the area is elated. As I walking to my car yesterday from work, everyone around me was on their phone talking about it. We went out to dinner and it was the topic of everybody's conversation. Miracles do happen.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My Party Shuffle

Someone emailed me and asked that I publish the Party Shuffle on my iPod. For those of you that don't know, Party Shuffle just randomly chooses 15 songs from your iPod and lines them up to play. So here it is:

I Can't Tell You Why (Live) by The Eagles (Hell Freezes Over)

Drinking Champagne by George Strait (Ten Strait Hits)

Paper Moon by Natalie Cole (Unforgettable With Love)

Fat Man by Jethro Tull (M.R. - The Best of Jethro Tull)

The Way You Look Tonight by Billie Holiday (Sixteen Most Reqeusted Songs)

O, Bury Me Not (Introduction: A Cowboy's Prayer) by Johnny Cash (American Recordings)

Sin by Stone Temple Pilots (Core)

The Night Is Young and You're So Beautiful by Dean Martin (Everybody Loves Somebody)

Lady I Can't Explain by Jimmy Buffet (Volcano)

Waiting In Vain by Bob Marley & The Wailers (Legend)

That Bug Bit Me by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Let's Face It)

Saturday Night Daddy (King Anthology of Risque Blues)

Put Your Records On by Corrine Bailey Rae (Corinne Bailey Rae)

The DJ's Out To Lunch by The Dempseys (Radio Friendly Hits for Your DJ to Play)

Oh Yeah Yai by Terrance Simien & The Mallet Playboys (The Big Easy Soundtrack)

So there you have it - my party shuffle. I'll try to remember to post the party shuffle every few months. And feel free to email me yours. I love looking at other people's iPod lists - I always find something that I'd like to have!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We're Famous!!!!

A beautiful pictorial about our wedding was just posted at www.stlouis.wedding-club.com. My wedding planner is one of the editors at the website and asked to interview me as a featured wedding forever ago. After several months went by, I figured they'd decided not to use us and I had completely forgotten about it! I believe it was just posted yesterday. The link to the pictorial itself is http://www.stlouis.wedding-club.com/couples/weddings/20041106-heather-jeremy/. So feel free to go check it out. They definately picked some of my favorite pictures, it's very nice and I'm terribly flattered that they've chosen to highlight our wedding.

Hunting Is Easy

Hunting is so easy. I really don’t know why hunters make such a big deal out of it and spend so much time on it. Seems incredibly simple to me. Let me explain…

Jeremy is a hunter, specifically a deer hunter. He’s all into it. He washes with No Scent soap and wears camo and gets up at 4:30 in the morning to go sit in the cold, all by himself without talking or moving, to watch the sunrise and the squirrels chatter. And then he comes in and warms up and goes out again for sunset. Apparently deer are nocturnal animals, so the best time to hunt is sunrise and sunset. Whatever.

Last weekend we went up to my parents’ place. Jonas and Shaina (BIL and SIL) went with us, so Jeremy and Jonas could bow hunt. They went Saturday morning, Saturday evening and again Sunday evening. Didn’t come home with any deer. So Sunday afternoon we drove down to the river (near where they hunt) to do some target shooting. We spent about an hour and a half shooting – and we had plenty of different guns down there, so it was very noisy. Everything from a little .22 handgun to a .44 Magnum (which is LOUD, people).

We finish shooting and Mom and Dad hop in their truck to leave. Jeremy wants to check the sites on his bow before we leave, so he has his bow out and is shooting at his practice target. We’re all chatting and suddenly one of us realizes there’s a SPIKE BUCK STANDING RIGHT BY US!!! Seriously, there was a nice big buck standing about 15-20 yards away just staring at us.

So I say, “Holy sh*t, there’s one right there!” You know, just to make sure everyone else saw it too and knew that they should be excited. So everybody looks. The deer is still standing there, still staring at us. Jeremy had his bow drawn, ready to shoot again at the target – so he swung toward the deer. The deer is still standing there, still staring at us. I think Jonas, Shaina and I all said something along the line of “SHOOT IT!” And the deer is still standing there, still staring at us. But there was some brush between himself and the deer, so he stepped toward it to clear his line of sight. And it took off. Now I can tell you, I think he’s going to regret that decision for the rest of his life.

However, that being said… hunting is easy. You don’t have to wear camo, you don’t have to be quiet. You don’t have to get up at 4:30 in the morning – this was 1:30 in the afternoon! You don’t have to wash with No Scent – I had on Ralph Lauren’s Hot perfume (you guys out there might wanna try that instead). You don’t have to be patient or even go looking for them – they’ll come to you! It’s so easy.

I’d already decided that I was going to try my hand at hunting next year. I thought I was going to have to wear ugly camo and get up early. Turns out you don’t have to do any of that. As a matter of fact I’ve been hunting for years and didn’t even know it!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Good Riddance 2006 and Welcome to 2007!

Good Riddance 2006 and Welcome to 2007!
We had a very low key New Years Eve, went over to Jam and Michelle’s house and just hung out for the evening. We were home and in bed by 2 a.m. Oh, how the years have changed us!

Jeremy and I were please to see 2006 end. It was a very rough year for us, marked with a lot of pain and sorrow. We both lost several people that we loved and miss dearly.

Jeremy’s aunt, Laurie Schroeder, passed away at the beginning of February – less that two months after cancer was found in her liver. Laurie had battled cancer twice before and survived, this time it just couldn’t be done. Laurie was in her early fifties and was just hitting her stride. Losing her was devastating for Jeremy’s whole family, but especially for his grandparents. Without having children of my own, I can’t imagine what they must feel – but I know that nobody should ever have to go to their own child’s funeral.

Shortly after Laurie’s death, Grandma Busch’s health took a sudden and serious turn for the worst. It wasn’t long before we knew that she would die soon, so she went home to die with her family around her. It was both a heartbreaking and amazingly uplifting experience to spend those last weeks with her. Her mind was fine, and she was ready to let go – we all had the opportunity to spend time with her and with one another at Grandma’s house. Jeremy and I went up there after work every chance we got and every weekend as well. We’d all been taking turns sitting with Grandma in the last few days when she slipped into a coma and wasn’t responsive anymore. Dad and I spent her last night with her. We sat up, just the two of us, talking about life and death, Grandma and Grandpa Busch, Dad’s childhood, living without regrets, etc. Just hours of talking about the things you should talk about, but don’t. Dad, Jeremy and I decided to go home the next morning to catch some sleep. It’s only a ten minute drive home, but as soon as we walked in the door, Mom called to tell us to come back. Grandma was gone before we got back. I honestly think she waited until Dad was gone to let go. She was 93 years old and lived a very long and very full life. Her funeral was huge, she was loved and respected by the entire community. She was an amazing and strong woman and I miss her every day.

In July, our friend Andy Polcyn passed away quite suddenly. I posted about Andy and his life and the impact he had on all of those around him. (Please see my post from July 28, 2006 -

In the fall, one of my mother-in-law’s closest and oldest friends passed away. Cindy had also battled breast cancer before and survived, but wasn’t able to do so this time. Cindy and her husband had been stationed in Germany for a while when Cathy and Jay (my in-laws) were stationed there shortly after being married. Cindy and Cathy became close and fast friends and their children later formed similar friendships. Cindy was there for Cathy through some very difficult times. Jeremy used to spend summers in Iowa with Cindy and her family. Their son, Jeff, used to in turn come to St. Louis and stay with Jeremy’s family. Cindy’s passing was very hard on both Jeremy and Cathy.

And just last month, we suffered another loss. Laurie’s husband, Fred, passed away. Fred had been an absolutely devoted husband to Laurie and he was devastated when she died. His last year was a very difficult one and many of us honestly believe he died of a broken heart. In his eulogy, we were told that he even said on the way to the hospital that it would be okay if he died – because then he could be with Laurie. Their son, Adam, is now left to piece things together and go on without them. But he has the staunch support of a very strong Broad family. And I can’t stress enough what a smart and sweet guy he is.

In the midst of all that, Jeremy had an appendectomy, and I’ve been dealing with some sort of joint problem that has eluded diagnosis so far. (They can put a man on the moon, but a stupid sore toe, and it’s x-rays and MRIs and prescriptions and blood tests and grumble, grumble, grumble, grrrrrr.)

However - there were also some wonderful things that happened in 2006! As I mentioned in one of my very first posts, Jeremy became a small business owner and is now his own boss. Along with a friend, he bought Azar Automotive and it’s going amazingly well. It’s not easy and it’s a lot of hard work and long hours – but they’re making a success of it and I’ve never been so proud of anyone in my life.

I switched jobs and am now working at Express Scripts, Inc. The change in my stress-level and personal sense of satisfaction is astounding. I knew I was stressed out and unhappy – but I don’t think I realized how bad it really was until I made a change. I am happy and healthier and more content all day, every day. It’s not an exaggeration for me to say that my absolute worst day here is still 100% better than my best day at my previous job. Plus the increase in salary is certainly nothing to sneeze at!

Jonas (my brother-in-law) and Shaina got married this year. It was a long time in coming, but the wedding was absolutely gorgeous and so much fun! They got married at Busch Farms (my parents’ place) last fall. It was an outdoor wedding and the weather was amazing. The leaves were at the height of their color and the whole place looked amazing. There were flowers and lights everywhere, the bride was gorgeous (of course!), the cake was delicious, the toasts were touching and funny, and the drinks were flowing! It was a welcome bright spot in the year and something I’d really looked forward to all year. I think everyone had a wonderful time. I’ll post some pictures from the wedding as soon as I get some…

And then, as I mentioned in my last post – we ended the year on a very bright note with a wonderful holiday season. We had two great Channukah celebrations and a lavish Christmas as well. In spite of the rough year we had, we know we are very blessed with the friends and family that love and support us and are very grateful for all that we have.

This year is looking bright and there is a lot to for us to be optimistic about. We are slowly but surely making progress on the house and by the time we sell it I may even like it! Azar Automotive will undoubtedly continue to grow and succeed. Mom is having knee replacement surgery soon – which means after her recovery, she’s going to feel better and fitter than she’s felt in years. There will be some fun vacations in there, even if I have to kidnap my husband and force him to go!
Happy New Year to everyone – it’s going to be wonderful 2007!

What a Merry Christmas!

(I wrote this a week ago and forgot to post it – so I’m posting it now, but it was written on 12/26/06.)

Jeremy helping put up the Christmas tree at Mom and Dad's house...

What a wonderful Christmas! I’ve had many a merry Christmas and received great gifts and given great gifts in the past, but this year was one for the record-books. Quite possibly the best Christmas we've ever had! It was so nice to have a full 3 day weekend to spend at Mom and Dad's, there was no rushing around and it was just perfect. Jeremy went bow hunting early every morning and at sundown every day - got a shot off at a huge 12 point buck, but either missed it or just wounded it. So that really lit the fire under him to get a buck before bow season ends. The food was killer - we had lobster (live lobster that we boiled ourselves) and fried catfish for Christmas Eve lunch and then turducken for Christmas Eve dinner (if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it – yummy)!

The presents this year were just ridiculous - and wonderful. To me, the best kind of present is the one that takes time and thought and effort. Not something you asked for – something you didn’t even know you wanted until you got it! Mom went over and above this year for all three of us - but the best one was Dad's present. She got him a Polaris Ranger EFI. Jeremy did the research and some friends picked it up, and other friends took it to our neighbor's place on their flatbed trailer and hid it at our neighbor's place. So before we opened gifts Christmas morning, Jeremy and I snuck out to get it and parked it just outside the garage. After the rest of the gifts were opened we took Dad outside - and he was completely beside himself. Couldn't stop smiling and laughing and was so surprised that so many people were in on it and he had no idea. It's really neat to see Dad so excited and pleased about something - that NEVER happens. He took it for a spin - it goes up to 40 mph - and loved it! She really got him good this year, so that was easily the best part of the weekend.

Mom got Jeremy a professional digital camera (not just the point and shoot kind) and some accessories and Dad got him all kinds of hunting stuff. Jeremy gave me the Crate and Barrell sideboard I wanted for the kitchen - I was very surprised and pleased about that! He also gave me a bow to practice with, he and all the Broad's are pretty stoked about my getting into hunting... Mom gave me this amazing laptop computer-compatible embroidery/sewing machine I'd expressed interest in months ago as well as a nice bluetooth headset. And then plenty of little things, stocking stuffers, etc - we go so overboard with Christmas it's stupid. Mom also gave us $$ for a new oven/hood/whatever we end up doing about that situation - so that was wonderful as well.

We spent a lot of time with the extended family yesterday afternoon, which was awesome. Jeremy got into a contest with all of my cousins - trying to shoot a potato with an arrow at 20 feet. Dorks. It's so cool to see how well he fits into my family (better than I do most times) and how they accept him and the level of comfort after all of these years.

Sigh - I'm still on a high from such an amazing holiday season. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Channukah as well.
This is Jeremy with one of his biggest fans, Chloe. Chloe is the daughter of good friends of the family and is madly in love with Jeremy. Although recently, he's been replaced by her new love - our nephew, Caleb. He'd been working on the puzzle in front of his for two days - about an hour after this picture was taken, to Jeremy's dismay - Chloe totally demolished the puzzle!