Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vacation

So I'm sure it's understood why I had to take a small vacation from the blog world. It was just too much of a reminder and I had to get my head on straight again. Had a wonderful summer full of great zoo days, long motorcycle rides, adventurous hikes on the North South Trail, and a fantastic beach vacation with my family. Made some wonderful new friends whom I feel I've known forever already and hopefully have moved a step closer to my husband starting off on his own line of work blending contracting with flipping houses (believe me we know the risk, we are being very smart about it and also praying for a dose of good luck).

Just wanted to get the blog ball rolling again, ease my way back in :) I'll get some pics up from some of my summer journey's, hope you had wonderful summers as well!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Best friends with four legs...

I hope all of you have had the chance to have a best friend with four legs. The love and devotion is completely unique, and the pain when you lose that friend is as real as if you lost a family member. My family and I lost our beloved best friend of 11 years, Maggie, on 5/16. This is a tribute to her, she meant the world to us, brought us joy every minute of her life, and will always always be remembered with a smile.


So quiet this house, without you around,
the jangle of your collar was such a comforting sound.
Click clack went your nails as you paced across the floor,
waiting for the sound of someone you loved at the door.

The whining and snuffing when you welcomed them in,
Was your way of demanding the hugs and kisses never end.
The thump of your tail let us know you were content,
“Thwack Thwack” could be heard even when you were spent.

Your mission was to please, you always had a smile.
As long as we were happy your aches were all worthwhile.
No whine escaped your muzzle, never once did you complain.
We tried so hard to keep you here, but all our efforts were in vain.

You left your mark on all our hearts, dear Maggie it is true,
Our lives will never be the same without our beloved Moo.
But lessons we have learned, to appreciate today,
for tomorrow is not a promise, and there’s no more yesterday.

We will live each day to the fullest, with peace because we know,
outside the gates you patiently wait for each of us to show.
We’ll run and play and greet those we missed; we’ll see you again,
there is no such thing as eternity without you our beloved friend
.




Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sweet pea

Uncle PJ, Maddie, and Maya ---- nap time :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

I've ZORBED, have you?

Since I had so much fun posting the pictures last time, I figured I would introduce you all to one of my all-time favorite vacations in a little collage :)


Last year in April, my husband, sister, her boyfriend, and I decided to take a road trip. It all started when we saw a commercial for a truck, and in the back of the truck was a giant bubble ball (see the Superbowl commercials do pay off!). We had to know what it was so we looked it up online and were introduced to the craziness that is Zorb'ing. A company in Australia created the Zorb ball, and there are only a handful of locations throughout the world, the only one in the US being in Tennessee. So that is where we were headed. After a brief stop in Washington and some artsy photo ops, we were off for the 10 hour scenic drive to Tennessee!







We stayed in a beautiful log cabin in Pigeon Forge, but of course the hot tub was the best feature!



There was lots to do in Pigeon Forge and surrounding towns like Gatlinburg. We hit up it seemed like every shop on the strip, each with an old western store front, and of course the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum!! It had this awesome green-wall we spent about an hour in front of, it would take your picture and capture your shadow! And you can't forget all of the majestic views and trailways of the Smokey Mountains!
















And the highlight, the very reason for the trip, was to have our ZORB adventure. As we pulled up to the Zorb center, this is what we saw:




Oh that's right, the whole point is to get in the ball:


















And roll down the hill :)






It was the best ride of my life!!!!! With water (just like a water slide):

video





.


And without (this was quite the bumpy ride, you actually register G-Forces!):

video






Aaahhh yes... what would a vacation be without rolling down a backwoods hill in a giant bubble ball. It was a dream come true :) And sadly, it was time to leave before we knew it, though we had to stay a night in Gettysburg and drive through Ahmish country on the way home in order to truly call it a road trip.





Vacation or not, remember to be silly, enjoy life, and always remember how to get home.












Monday, February 23, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Truly the only good thing about Monday's is the Not Me! Monday. Otherwise you give up the rested and stress free day full of possibilities for a chaotic day full of the drone of work, with the dream of another care-free day as your weekend alter-ego sadly over 5 days away. So here's to Monday :)


No I did not spend another entire weekend on the couch watching movies and coming up with excuses not to leave the comfort of my living room cave. Me, being a wonderful friend, would never put off visiting one of my oldest friends in the hospital after she just had her first baby, a sweet little girl, because my husband said he needed new clothes and I needed an excuse to hide. And I would never therein convince him to buy more clothes to make him spend the same amount I wanted to spend so I wouldn't feel guilty.


No, my life has not become that pathetically apathetic and boring that this is all I can come up with. Not much fodder when all you do is lay about. This week will be more exciting, though it should be pretty easy to top last week. I hope I can get back to rock climbing and the zoo (if all goes well today), and there's never a dull moment when my mom has my life by a rope and can't remember how to tie it to the anchor, or when Spanky the porcupine tries to climb my leg while Frida the saki monkey simultaneously pees on me. Oh the good life... I miss that....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Consumer Woes

Gggrrrr.... I am compelled to do a little bashing of a particular matress manufacturer, and for purposes of anonymity, we'll refer to this company as STEALY (wink and a smile). I purchased a STEALY mattress just over 5 years ago. The mattress has a 10 year warranty against sagging and body impressions. Only 2 years into our relationship with this mattress, we were having issues with pretty bad body impressions (this is where my husband can't move to close to my side of the bed for fear of falling into my particular crevice and crushing me to death - the best thing about weekends is when he is forced to go sleep on the couch due to intense back pain, and I get to sleep on the "hump" in between our two crevaces). The reason we think they are so bad is because we got a super-soft pillow top. The way they test for whether this meets the warranty?? Honest to goodness, they put a piece of wood across the bed, and measure the space between the wood and the pillow top. Mind you, they have to measure from the highest point, as there are indents from the quilted texture of the pillow top. For starters that is not fair in my mind regardless of the fact that ITS A PILLOW TOP. How do you really tell how bad body impressions in a bed are by just measuring the pillow-y surface??? Needless to say we were denied.

Three years after the fact and I have to put in another claim or we are honestly going to start sleeping on the floor, my back would hurt less and I'd probably sleep better. Apparently the company I bought the mattress from no longer handles the warranty, I have to go directly through STEALY. I called, requested a claim form be sent to me (you have to leave a message, there's no other choice), never got it, tried again and this time tried the "Claim Status" option, and the woman says, Well that method of requesting a form doesn't always work. ??????? Anyhoo, I finally get the form, fill out more information than when I bought my house, and submit the claim. On January 29th. Today I called for a status, because its 3 weeks later and I haven't heard anything. The woman on the phone today says, Oh, we haven't even gotten to that week, we are still working on January 21st. I sat in stunned silence, and she said, Hello? I said, I'm here, I'm just trying to digest how a company can operate with those metrics as the acceptable standard. I mean, you expect a little delay, but honestly, she said it will be at least 3 more weeks! Which means that STEALY mattress company expects you to submit a claim and as a standard wait 6 weeks before they even touch it. At which point the only thing they do is schedule an inspection, probably for another 6 weeks out, where the inspector comes in and with his advanced "stick" technology will again try to tell me the impressions are not deep enough. I will ask him to sleep on it for even just an hour (warm milk, blankets, and a story will be provided) and tell me what he thinks then. I think they are trying to wear me out, but I will win, if I have to call every single day for the next 5 years I will get a new mattress. I don't want anything fancy, I'm not looking to scam them, I just want my warranty to do what it actually says its supposed to do. Why why why do companies have to be so dishonest and unloyal?? I will never get it. So, the moral of the tale?? DON'T BY A "STEALY" MATTRESS!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Moment of clarity

Its been a while as I've been having a lot of trouble thinking of something to write about. I kept hoping for something positive to come up or for something to strike me as funny that I could comment on... I've got squat. I'm sure things have come up, my brain just hasn't retained any of it. I seem to have lost the ability to make any sort of decisions for myself as well. Unless someone says, Do this, I just sit on the couch and watch TV, I'm absolutely pathetic and I've gained 10 pounds in 3 weeks (apparently the one thing I can decide is that I'm hungry, all the time). It twill get better I know, so for now I'm just hanging in there and hanging very tightly onto my tub o'ice cream.

I believe I have figured out the key to happiness. Odd timing in my life for this particular revelation, I know, and a little random, but stay with me. I don't think happiness is a life without sadness. Somewhere I picked up this ideal that life can be the bowl of cherries, if I only accomplish a little more, get one more project done, earn one more dollar, help one more person, figure out one more of life's lessons, then I will get it. I will have figured out how to live my life stress free, how to truly be happy and live in the moment. But its not realistically sustainable. Sadness happens. It devastates the stress free, living in the moment life. It seems to me, to truly find happiness is to experience the lows (sadly its where the lessons are learned), lean on those you love (its where the relationships are made), and enjoy the happiness in between (the living in the stress free moment). I heard it put this way the other day, when your heart is broken it only grows back bigger*. And you have to go through that, through those trying experiences in life, the ones that test your resolve to the core, in order to be able to love bigger and appreciate the beauty and tranquility. Happiness is accepting the sorrow, the alternative is constantly being disapointed in the ying yang balance. Happiness is learning to live stress free, in the moment, knowing that the happiness you experience today will be offset by tragedy tomorrow in the karmic circle of life. But knowing that you will come out the other side to happiness again.

Then again, I think happiness is different for everyone, so sleep well even if this makes absolutely no sense to you, its the mindless rant of a couch potato.

*I figured out where I heard this before, and I must attribute this particular theory to John Cusack, the one and only, courteosy of Must Love Dogs. :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Passing Time

Hope, a fertile seed, a blooming rose,
keeps the candle burning.
Flame, ablaze in the heart, like
the glowing embers of a ceremonial pyre,
carries the desire for understanding.
Agony, is this waiting, unable to move.
Hardly breathing for the turmoil
compressing my very spirit.
But for my love, surely this adventure would
be my end. Forever by my side, locked in spirit
and heart, we will walk through the fire.
Unknown are the obstacles we will confront.
Without doubt we will face them together.
And today's sorrow will grace us
with tomorrow's hope.
~ From Beans, with love, to Cakes ~

Friday, January 30, 2009

Beautiful smiles

Somewhere in my profile I believe I mention that I live for the "Aha!" moments in life. I believe I heard a teacher somewhere along the line refer to these as Aha moments and it just stuck as it fits, so that's what I call them. I do my best to try to incorporate these revelations when I have them, as I believe they truly help us grow. Sort of like a word of the day where they say if you try to use a new word in conversation it will stick in your mind. One of the earliest I can remember is driving through my neighborhood in my late teens, and seeing this little old man just standing in his front yard observing the world, perhaps reflecting on his own revelations. As I drove by, he graced me with the loveliest smile. It was a genuine smile, the sort that makes you feel sunshine on your soul, and I can still remember his face to this day. In that moment I felt compelled to stop and tell him how I felt. I didn't think about it, I just reversed, rolled down my window, and said, "You have the most beautiful smile, I just had to tell you. Thank you for sharing it with me." He gave me a wave and I drove off with a warm heart. It was a simple interaction, but it had such a profound impact on me. I don't know if he remembers me or that moment, but many times I reflect on that day and wonder. Did I have any impact on his life? Did I make his day a little brighter? What was going on in his life at that time, did he have trials and maybe I made those trials a little easier because he could smile through them and know that when he does he's adding beauty to the world? Perhaps not, perhaps he was hard of hearing and never even heard what I said! I hope that he did. Either way it changed my outlook. Small gestures can be so powerful. I greet everyone with a Good Morning and a smile, I try to find something positive to pass on to people, whether it be as simple as a compliment on a piece of clothing, or helping someone with their groceries. Even just letting someone into traffic or not flipping out when person in front of you is driving 20 miles an hour, you do not know what their lifes journey is, perhaps it is someone's grandfather driving to a hospice to visit his dying wife of 55 years as happened to my grandfather. Maybe someone just found out they are pregnant and is a little distracted and that's why they cut you off. Or perhaps letting someone into a line of traffic is the difference between that person making it through the day and breaking down over life's struggles. Sometimes it doesn't take much to tip the scales either way. And perhaps that small gesture will make such an impact that the stranger will remember you and your act of kindness, and your kindness will carry on a legacy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History in the making....

Today is no doubt a historical day. The first black president will be sworn in to office, and I for one am excited. Even if you don't like Obama, you have to be celebrating the fact that BUSH IS GONE!! Hopefully never again will we have to hear a bumbling speech or listen to him talk about things he has no idea about. Though I am an Obama supporter and have been since mid-way through the election when I finally made a decision on my candidate. I think Obama can inspire, I think he can bring the nation and the two parties together as hasn't been done in many years, and I am sincerely hoping he will be a path to change. Because this country needs a lot of change, change in outlook, change in perspective, change in culture, change in attitude, change in tolerance, in policy, education, health care, you name it and it needs to be fixed. I think he can envelope the younger generations into the world of politics and hopefully unite generational gaps and differences. And let's hope he can bring a little honesty back to the world of politics, maybe make it actually about the people and not the big companies or the politicians wallets or the plight of the upper class. I don't want to hear one more person argue with putting higher taxes on the upper class and lightening the burden on the lower class. Don't they get enough breaks in life?? This is not a meritocratic society, yes there are opportunities for those born without to rise up and make a name for themselves based on hard work and determination, but in 9 out of 10 cases its just not possible, more often than not you end up with Paris Hilton's or Miley Cyrus's. Their good fortune was helped along by the fame of their parents. Can you honestly tell me either would have made it where they are, or could make it to where they are, if they hadn't had a leg up? And at least Miley does something for her fame, Paris doesn't even have that to say for herself. She had a leg up to the bar counter so she could dance on it and sing karaoke to her own songs that were only recorded because she had money (meritocratic or unmeritocratic?) This is getting off track and bitter, back to topic!

The thing that I find appalling is the attitudes and comments I hear from people who obviously were not Obama supporters. Its amazing how negative people can be. I've heard people say that any democrat would have won, which is absolutely not true. If you have a problem with Obama beating McCain, there is no one to blame but McCain himself. If he hadn't picked Sarah Palin, ANYONE other than Sarah Palin, he very likely could have won. I was going back and forth on Obama vs. McCain myself and I was about as anti-Bush as they come. Its almost as though people want Obama to fail so they can say "Ha! Told you so!". I actually saw one blogger say she would be continually tracking and blogging his failures. So in essence she can't wait for him to fail. Does she realize a failure is another blow to the US economy? Another person I saw said, "Today is just another day, you couldn't pay me to watch". Honestly? You are that petty that you can't celebrate the day the first black president will take oath? I certainly hope this is the minority.... you have to get behind a new president and support his efforts even if you may not agree with everything he says or does. If he does fail, then so be it, by all means blog all you want, but at least give the guy 6 months before passing judgement! And at least don't knock today, this is a day of history, how can you not support that and get caught up in the excitement? These are the moments where you really feel like a united nation, revel in it while it lasts!

Quotes from MSN:
The TV reporters keep saying, 'Look at all the blacks here today.' Give it a rest!
—Jesse
Go get 'em, Obama!
—Dave, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
You are not in this alone. The country is behind you. Lean on us, President Obama.
—John, Sycamore, Ill.
Obama is just a rock star right now. Reality starts tomorrow.
—Pam, San Antonio
It is amazing to see a man of color embraced by the world.
—Edith, Columbus, Ohio
Obama's giving people false hope, and they will be disappointed in just the first year.
—Marnie, O'Fallon, Mo.
Maybe middle-class America will have "golden years" after all. God be with him and his family.
—Willie, Dumfries, Va.
It's all right to be bitter.
—Felicia, Jackson, Miss
I'm from Louisiana and did not support Obama, but if he can help the country I love, so be it.
—Raymond, Baton Rouge, La.
I pray that Obama will not be a celebrity but a leader. Good luck and God be with him.
—Darrin, Montpelier, Ohio
Give the guy a chance to work before deciding what will happen.
—Jaci, Blooming Prairie, Minn.
A very historic and important day for our country. I hope he lives up to the hype.
—Missie, Abingdon, Va.
A united America, a new era begins, under a new leader. Let's all work together toward prosperity!
—Susan, Springfield, Ill.
Today is truly an inspiration for everyone to DREAM BIG. This movement's infectious.
—Courtney, Phoenix
I am thrilled to be an American today. History is being made!
—Sandy, Springfield, Ill.
I am 45 years old and overjoyed for Obama! I wish my dad was alive to see this.
—Anne, Oklahoma City, Okla.
People need to be careful on whom you worship, Obama or God? I choose God.
—Ralph, Fargo, N.D.
Time for hope to morph into action. God bless America!
—C., Henderson, Texas
How long before America knocks this latest hero off his pedestal?
—Marie, Trinidad
I'm very excited about today. Obama will bring change and a touch a class to this country.
—Bethany, Euclid, Ohio
Would like to have seen the holiday for MLK changed to today. Then all children could watch.
—Paul, Selma, Ala.
Go, Obama!
—Casey, Menasha, Wis.
President Obama, I am so sorry for the ignorance still in this country. God bless, America.
—Terri, Dallas
America needs President Obama. Set aside your prejudices for the good of the country.
—Daniel, Miami
I feel like we are celebrating his color instead of the event.
—Lee
The media already has him walking on water and restoring Stevie Wonders sight! Enough already!
—Matt, Victoria, Texas
Obama is a MAN not the MESSIAH. Quit worshiping him.
—Renee, Phoenix
I wish my grandmothers had lived to see it. I'd love to see and hear their reactions.
—Cynthia, Alpharetta, Ga.
Traffic, shut-down bridges, too many people in town. I hope it snows to drive people away.
—Scott, Arlington, Va.
This is the first step in restoring and returning the U.S. to its former world-class reputation.
—Jamie, Concord, N.C.
Obama is treated like a superstar. He hasn't even done anything yet.
—Michael, New York City
This president will hear our voices. This country has come a long way.
—William, Woodbridge, N.J.
I will be there with my 14-year-old daughter to celebrate and share in this wonderful event.
—Mary, Buffalo, N.Y.
Politics as usual, with a left bent. Hold on to your pocketbook. Yawn.
—Bob, Las Vegas
I couldn't care less. Not because I do not support Obama. I am just ready to get down to business.
—Nette, Jacksonville, Fla.
History-making, reminds me of the "Camelot" years. Bringing hope to millions.
—Sue, Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.
I want to hear what this new president will do, instead of talking about his color.
—Nancy, Katy, Texas
I am taking the day off work and having an inauguration party.
—Sara, Des Moines
It's a complete waste of money.
—David, Manhattan, Kan.
It just means another circus is in town; same old clowns doing the same old tricks.
—Bennie, Lewiston, Idaho
It's history and proves that anything is possible in America, the land of opportunity.
—Mike, Tulsa, Okla.
Obama probably has a more difficult job at this time than anyone for the past 40 years.
—Steve, Concord, Calif.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just a drag...

Quitting smoking really sucks. Its funny how easy "just a drag turns" into half a cigarette, into a full cigarette, into one in the morning and one at night, today was a bad day so one in the morning and one after work and one more at night, and next thing you know you're at the store buying a carton again. My biggest regret in my short 27 years of life is starting smoking. All told, I've spent over $13,000 on cigarettes since I started 10 years ago, give or take. That's more than a new car!!! Combine that with what my husband has spent and its at least $30,000 between the two of us, which is a down payment on a house. That's disgusting.

In any case, its one day at a time. I went to my sister in laws ultrasound last Friday and got to see little Madison (sigh...). She's beautiful even in black and white one dimension. :) She's not due until 1/31 but I'm hoping she'll come NOW because I can't wait to hold her! And I'm only her auntie, I can't imagine how her mommy feels!

I've always said I do not see myself having kids, I didn't grow up around children and honestly feel like I will still be fulfilled even if we never end up having a baby. Its really weird, almost like I have two personalities now, one is still adamant that I have no intentions of having children. The other has an obsession with pregnant woman (not the 'I want to steal your baby' kind, but the 'I know I'm a stranger but can I feel your stomach 'kind) and believes that my purpose is solely to pass along my values and outlook to a child. Depends on what day you catch me, and whether or not I'm at the mall because I don't think anyone can go to the mall and still want children... I apologize if this offends anyone but the tweens and hormonal teens at the mall frighten me sometimes. Not to mention they make me feel way older than I should at 27 because I find myself making"Kids these days..." remarks. Which in and of itself I feel I am too young for since I'm only 10 years removed from high school myself. A lot changes in 10 years, is it changing faster these days or did anyone else feel this way at quarter life?? Am I becoming a crazy old cat lady before I've even gone completely grey?? I need to go pretend I'm smoking a cigarette...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sleeping Beauty...

That is what I will be, come Friday. I have every intention of sleeping 12 hours every night, wasting away the days in my PJ's on the couch, and eating take-out for every meal. I feel as though I haven't stopped since November, and I can't wait to take a break!! It went like this starting at the beginning of November: Goodwill Auction event (I was on the auction committee), Anniversary, raking 34 bags of leaves, Thanksgiving, raking 19 more bags of leaves, Goodwill annual meeting, putting up Christmas lights, PJ's mom's Christmas party, shoveling 2 feet of snow THREE TIMES, sending out baby shower invitations, sending out Christmas cards, work Christmas party, redo the living room and dining room, Christmas decorations, get Christmas gifts and Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve party, Christmas day dinner, day after Christmas dessert night, host my high school friends for game night, New Years Eve party at the neighbors, host my sister and a mutual friend and her husband for another game night, sister in laws baby shower. And I managed 24 hours at the zoo in between. You'd be tired too!

Anyhoo, Christmas was a lot of fun, we decided two weeks before Christmas to redo the living room and dining room before we had everyone over Christmas day. It was just paint and fixtures and accessories but its surprising how long just paint and fixtures and accessories takes, and how expensive!! But I LOVE it. Its warm and comfortable and will be very conducive to my slug fest this weekend :) Christmas day went by in a blur of turkey, apple pie, and Wii, which I couldn't get my family to turn off. The house looked great, the food was fantastic, everyone got what they wanted, and it was a very cozy day. Thank god its over and I don't have to worry about it again for at least 11 months ;)

And finally, Sunday was my sister in laws baby shower which went well! Its surprising how competitive a game of baby shower bingo can get, some of those ladies were not leaving without a prize! A couple were genuinely upset that the rules of the game were not more structured and I feared for my life at one point. But Tiff really enjoyed herself and I'm so happy for that because she needed a little joy right now. Of course, I managed to fall, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. I almost took out an 18 month old baby in the process, I felt horrible because I'm pretty sure I stepped on her foot, but we both made it out alive and with minimal tears.

THREE MORE WEEKS TILL I MEET MY NIECE!! I woke up this morning with baby fever again so she'd better get here soon, my resolve is weakening :)