You’ll find the pictures at the top of the page now change quite a bit and are linked back to the photo album. If you use WordPress (for blogging) and Picasa (for photos), it is pretty easy to set up. There are several Picasa plugins for WordPress. I’m using PicasaWeb. Here’s the code snippet I used to add it to my template:

<div id=”toppictures”>
<? picasaWeb(array(“username”=>”jaytricia”, “showRandomAlbum”=>true, “random”=>true, “num”=>5, “size”=>160));?>

That “toppictures” id has some critical attributes when applied to images. Here’s how it is defined in the stylesheet:

#toppictures img {
padding: 0;
border: 0;
margin: 0;

Picasa can only feed thumbnails of a certain size, and the landscape versus portraits don’t align well. On top of that, I need the images to be exactly 150 pixels wide (times 5 images equals the 750 pixels of width I have to work with). So I start with the 160 pixel size image via PicasaWeb and then max the height and width to 150 pixels. That “overflow” attribute is critical. It says, “hide any part of the picture that exceeds the height and width”.

So with those few lines I have a random assortment of pictures, some portrait, some landscape, all cropped to 150 pixels by 150 pixels on the fly.

More on that surgery

Here are some events in my life that were worse than the experience of this past week: malaria, spinal meningitis, spinal fusion, staff infection in my heel bone, 3 of my 6 reconstructive foot surgeries. I’m pretty sure something just got displaced from my top 10 bad experiences list… somewhere around number 7.

And it wasn’t on account of the pain, though there was that. As it turns out, I cannot sleep if I’m not breathing through my nose. Most nights passed in a blur of pain and confusion broken up by 15 to 30 minute intervals of sleep. I think I maxed at about 1.5 hours of sleep for the first 6 nights following the sinus surgery on the 14th.

Briefly, I had my septum relocated, my inferior turbinates shaved (not hair but flesh), and a general roto-rooter job done on my sinuses to reshape them, clear impediments, and open them up. But all that was really quite manageable, except I couldn’t breath through my nose. It turns out a tasteless world of no sleep is no fun.

I did have exceptional support. As Tricia mentioned, I convalesced for the first 3 days and 2 nights at my parents, which was a tremendous boon. I came home to a wonderful welcome and more wonderful care from Tricia.

And yesterday, I got my nose back. Here’s what they pulled out after removing some stitches (they were stitched together through the septum)… and after cleaning them up (they were gross).



The removal procedure was uncomfortable but manageable. What came next as I had my sinuses cleaned out with a suction shall not be mentioned, but I ended up taking as many narcotics yesterday following the procedure as I had taken the previous few days. I had Nicolas along to watch, so I got to show him Daddy being tough, no whining or complaining, just a tear leaking out of the eye that felt like it was being sucked back into my skull as I sat perfectly still in the chair.

Anyway, I slept for six glorious hours last night, and am breathing more freely now than I did before the surgery in spite of the ongoing bleeding and post-surgery congestion. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and concerns.

More Surgery…

It’s been quiet here at House of Horne – not much to write about, because last week the Daddy had a big ole sinus surgery. On Valentine’s Day of all days. Highly romantic! (Poor Jay!)

Many of you are aware that Jay has an alarming propensity toward sinus infections, and gets sick quite often despite many precautionary measures and allergy meds. Well, after ongoing consultations with an ENT, it was determined that Jay had a deviated septum, among other issues. Last Wednesday, the surgeon went in to remedy that, excavate his sinuses and do a bit of other work, which perhaps Jay himself will detail for you later.

Post-surgery, Jay went to the wonderful guest quarters at his folks’ home to recover. While the children and I missed him for those 3 days, he was comfortable (as comfortable as someone who has had major sinus surgery can be!) and cared for at John/Ruth’s, and we are convinced it significantly aided in his recovery. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) The doctors wanted Jay to move, bend, DO as little as possible after he got home. Any tiny movement those first few days served to increase the bleeding post-surgery. So, being in a place with lots of quiet, and no bouncy, albeit loving little children around, served to help in healing.

Anticipating Jay’s return home sometime this weekend, we set about preparing a surprise for him: I used my time in the evenings after the children were in bed, and some of the daytime, to prime and paint our front entry hall, which was an interesting shade of brown when we moved in. We wanted to brighten and lighten it up. Here is the way it used to look.


The children worked very hard on a homecoming sign for their Daddy which we strung up in the freshly painted hall, to greet him as he came through the front door. At his request we took no pictures of the surgery patient, but here is what he saw:


And here is a shot of the door with that same little boy standing in front of it!


After the moldings/door are painted a fresh white and the light fixture is replaced, we will be all finished in the hall!

We’ll keep ya posted on the patient’s recovery. It is wonderful to have Jay home again, though we are sorry he continues to have really hard nights with little sleep achieved. All the kids are eager to “help” make him feel better, so they are thrilled to be able to see him all during the day. For now, we are limiting visits, and saying “please be gentle!” quite a lot! But readers, I must close: I think I need to bring our patient some yogurt!

In Costume


Why do you suppose I am wearing this clever getup? I’ll give you three answers, from which you may choose your favorite:

1 – I just needed a fresh new look – after all, I’ve been wearing the same “Suburban Stay at Home Mommy Garb” for over 8 years now.

2 – Having way too much free time on my hands, I am off to a daytime masquerade party for other Mommies with Way Too Much Free Time on Their Hands.

3 – I am doing my best to protect my eyes, nose and mouth as I prepare to sand the mudded ceiling in the boys’ bathroom as part of the ongoing remodel.

If you guessed “3”, you were right on the money. The sanding went ok, though I admit I had a great deal of difficulty breathing, as I perched high on my ladder with dust raining down on me. Bleck. But, I got the job done. Here is what I looked like when I finished:


Very classy indeed!

We are making great headway on the bathroom project. Hopefully we’ll have pictures for you soon!

Brrrrrrr…Mommy, I’m freezing!

It’s been almost a year since my last rant on this site, so I figure I’m due for another. No, actually, circumstances which happened yesterday are the reason for this ranting post, not because I feel I must portray some level of angst to my gentle readers at least once a year!

For those of you who reside in Dallas, you know that it snowed here yesterday. The children and I returned home from school around 3pm and while they ate their afternoon snacks we enjoyed watching the pretty flakes through our breakfast room windows. It was really lovely. And cozy inside…for a little while.

I was in the midst of slapping 7 different paint colors up on various walls of the home (in the “pick and choose colors” phase of our painting) and given the running back and forth and all, I must have stayed warmer than the kids who all began to complain that they were very cold. The baby, who always feels the need to take off his socks (the better to enjoy his cute, chubby toes) had feet that felt like ice. So, I looked at the thermostat, which though set to a temperature of around 68 degrees had fallen to 63. Not good.

I called Jay, double-checking that this was indeed bad news (duh?) and began to analyze the situation. Not knowing how to check the pilot light, I ran some water in the kitchen, and determined that not only was the heat off, but our hot water was gone too. So…with a sinking feeling I called our local gas supplier and asked to check on our account. And guess what they told me??

“Um, Ma’am, yes, well, it looks like…..the service to that residence was shut off today.”

Continue reading “Brrrrrrr…Mommy, I’m freezing!”