Friday, January 29, 2010

Flashback Friday #12

I debated whether or not to post about this for Flashback Friday... so I'll give you the abbreviated version--which is still kind of long (Sorry).

My dad has a towing business in my little hometown. He has met many different "characters" throughout the years while out on the road helping people with flat tires, wrecked cars and any other crazy thing you can imagine that would happen. Unfortunately, he has also had to be present at a few wrecks that resulted in fatality. *yikes* But for this particular post I would like to tell you about the lady who broke down with a trailer full of animals. I don't know if I ever knew her real name... but we called her "Mrs. Noah" (you know, like Noah's Ark). She was traveling from somewhere on the North East Coast the whole way across the U.S. to get to California. Along the way her trailer was giving her issues... and I think she got duped by someone who "fixed" it before she ended up breaking down again near my town. Now, when I say that she had a trailer full of animals... I'm saying... it was FULL! I can't remember everything that she had... but basically she was relocating her little farm of goats, chickens, geese...even a chinchilla and also a beta fish in a glass bowl! The animals I remember most though, were her dogs. She had a couple of Great Pyrenees... big, white, fluffy, sweet dogs! We helped house her animals at our neighbors barn until her trailer was ready to get back on the road. Since she had been scammed earlier in her travels and didn't have much left for the rest of her trip (and she wasn't even a quarter of the way there yet)... my dad didn't charge her (he's nice like that)... although he did joke about taking one of her dogs as payment. They laughed and she said that they were her family... but when she bred them in the fall, she'd send us a puppy. Can you guess where this is headed?? Of course, my parents thought, Yeah Right... we'll never hear from this lady again! But not too many months later, my dad gets a call. Mrs. Noah's dogs must've gotten a little busy on their cross country adventure.. because she had a litter of puppies on her hands quite a bit earlier than expected! They worked out the details... and Mrs. Noah actually flew the pup to the Pittsburgh Airport for us! I can still remember the day my mom picked me up at school a little early in my grandpa's convertible (it was probably the only reliable car we had available for the long trip to the airport). We had the top down and cruised in the sunshine to the airport. I don't remember much about what happened at the airport... but I do remember when we brought her home and let her out in the yard... she was the biggest, whitest, fluffiest puppy I'd ever seen. And her face... was beautiful!! We tried to decide on a name... and finally ended up with "Cali" (because she was from California).

Life went on through the years... and Cali was always a pretty good dog. She grew to be pretty huge! She was a bit of a nuisance at times... she could reach the table and counter--so many a loaf of bread or batch of cookies was devoured when we weren't paying attention. She also had very sensitive skin and had to be treated... but yet, it still took a toll on her beautiful white fur. And oh, did that fur ever shed too! It was a constant battle with the vacuum... I honestly can't tell you how many vacuums my parents have gone through in the past ten years!! Anyway, I finished high school (which ended up being at home with Cali since I homeschooled 11th and 12th grades). I went to college for a semester... moved back home... then eventually bought the little house next to my parents where I lived until last year when Cory and I got married. So even though I didn't live with Cali for a number of years... I was still there quite a bit.

Fast Forward to Wednesday, January 27th, 2010...

I was getting ready to make the hour trip to my parents place for the day. It was the day they were putting my grandma into the Alzheimer's Unit at a local nursing home. My mom called a few minutes before I was about to leave to tell me that my dad had taken Cali to the vet to be assessed. She had developed tumors over the winter and they seemed to be getting pretty bad. They may have to put her down... but they were going to see what their options were. So, I got in my car and headed to the vet's office, which was on my way to town anyway. I figured I might make it there in time if they had to put her down... but when I got there, my dad was gone. I felt a little relief until I called to see where he was and he said that he was on his way back to work... he had left Cali at the vet's for the assessment. So, I went in and spent the day with my parents (at my dad's business)... and a little before 1PM, my mom got THE CALL. Cali had breast cancer and most likely, it had spread to other parts of her body. They could do surgery (for an outrageous price)... but they couldn't guarantee anything... and... she was old. 10 years is pretty old for a big dog. My parents made the heartbreaking decision that it was time to put her down. So, my mom, having said her goodbye to Cali earlier that morning (and not being sure she could face her again), stayed at the garage while I drove my dad to the vet. I tried to keep myself composed... but it's hard to lose a pet that has been a part of your family for 10 years! My dad didn't say much on the ride over... but at one point he said, "It's pretty bad when you have to put your mom in a home and lose your dog all in the same day." Let me tell you... I had to hold it together after that. My dad is not one of those guys who tries to be all tough... but he does hold his emotions inside. That statement reaffirmed to me that his heart was breaking probably more than any of the rest of us. At the vets office, we were sent into a room... and they brought Cali in. I swear she was smiling. She just walked around and we would pet her and talk to her. They gave us probably 15 mins to say goodbye. It was NOT easy... you know... she was walking around like any other normal day! She didn't seem to be suffering... however, she had those awful tumors that would only get worse. She would only end up suffering in the end... so it was the right thing to do. Again, with the heart breaking moments... my dad got down on his knees and hugged Cali around her neck telling her that he loved her and that he's sorry it had to be this way. I should've just brought the box of tissues from my car inside with me because I was blubbering like an idiot. Finally, the vet came in with a shot of pink stuff. I had to leave. I couldn't bear to watch the life drain out of her.... so I waited in the car and called Cory and told him what was happening through my outbursts of tears. About 20 mins later, my dad and 2 of the vet people brought Cali out on a stretcher and we took her back to my parents house where a couple of guys that work for my dad came out to bury her for us.
That day was one of the hardest days I've had to go through in a long time. Losing a pet is seriously like losing a member of the family. I can still see Cali's pretty face... I wish I had a better picture of it to post here. Unfortunately, I also have a vision of her face as she was lying lifeless on the stretcher. Not something I really want to remember, but it's seared in my mind nonetheless. Losing loved ones (pets or people) is tough... but it's all a part of the circle of life. I just hope that God has a special place in heaven for our pets to find us again one day!! Rest in Peace Cali-bear!

Oh, and if you were wondering... I also visited my grandma at the home that afternoon. She is a little overwhelmed, but I think she will get settled in just fine.

For more Flashback Fridays... visit Christopher&Tia's Blog.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What am I Dippity Doin'?

I am a mess in the kitchen. Not only do I not get measurements right... I constantly am slicing my fingers. My husband had a full weekend of these escapades... and luckily, he was willing to bail me out... and bandage up my injured pinky!! I must say though, I am quite embarrassed. If any of you have ever heard of National Hip Hop Recording Artist JOHN REUBEN... well... let me just tell you a quick little story:

This Saturday, we hosted a concert at the teen center in my hometown. Even though I live almost an hour away, Cory and I still try to help out when we can... which is usually when there are concerts. This particular concert included, above mentioned, John Reuben. Funny guy. Well, earlier in the day I was cooking some Chicken A La King to take to the center for dinner (we feed the bands). I get it all made (Cory was so lovingly doing the dishes as I went, to keep the stack of dirty dishes down)... and I grab a couple of spoons so we could try the finished product.

MMmmm Mmmm mmmm... tastes like.... BUTTER?

Crap. Cory grabbed the recipe card and glanced at the ingredients. The recipe makes 6 servings. I was trying to make 24 servings... so I had quadrupled EVERYTHING. Everything but the butter. I accidentally OCTUPLED the butter! (Yes, that is a word, I looked it up!). OH BROTHER. So the panic began as we tried to right our wrong and add the correct ingredients to even things out. (I was never good in math). Luckily, we were able to get it figured out... and the food was a HUGE hit.

(*wiping my brow and breathing a sigh of relief*)

To add to the chaos though, before the place opened, Mr. John Reuben had asked if we could make him some coffee. Cory and I are not coffee drinkers. We always cringe when someone asks for some because we KNOW that we aren't skilled in this department (aaand... I have poor kitchen skills anyway... not a good combination). So we turn on the old BUNN coffee maker and start reading the directions on the coffee container. There was a 2 Tblspn measure in it. WHAT!? Who does that!? The directions are talking in ONE TABLESPOON and half cup increments! This 2 Tblspn thing was just confusing! (I admit, I looked up a conversion online... I didn't trust my converting skills coming from my own brain). So.... we get the coffee going... yes, it took the two of us... and John came out a little later... so I set out the coffee "fixin's" on the counter and then grabbed the finished pot and set it out for him. I would've poured it... but I didn't know if he wanted a little or a lot (you know, some people like to leave room for creamer). So... he came over and got his cup.

He drinks it black, in case you cared.

I put the pot back in the coffee maker thing and set about my business. A little while later, John and a few of his band mates came back out to the lobby area... so I thought I'd be polite... "would you like a bottle of water, maybe a soda...?". John hesitantly walks up and gets this look on his face. I think it was a look of uncertainty. Should he say it... or keep his mouth shut? Finally he says... "Well, I'd really like a cup of coffee (*as I begin to reach for the pot we'd made earlier*)... the last one was good... it was just.... cold. Think I can get a hot one?".

People. I served him COLD coffee.


How idiotic can I be? How did I NOT know that it wasn't hot? The lack of steam coming from the pot didn't tip me off?? Needless to say, I could feel my face turning many shades of red... and I profusely apologized. Cory and I exchanged glances and then met in the kitchen to see what the malfunction with the pot was! Yes, it was plugged in... it had been turned on. Why in the world didn't the coffee get hot!? So, we dumped out the cold pot... and started making a fresh one.... which luckily turned out HOT and was much appreciated by John and the band guys.

But no matter... because I was totally embarrassed. Not to put these guys, especially John on a pedestal... but part of what we do when we have bands is try to be accommodating and make a good impression. The last thing I wanted to do was make a cold pot of coffee for anyone, let alone these guys!! Luckily, John joked around with us about it... so it wasn't as traumatic as it could've been.... but I still feel like a butt. Now Cory and I are wondering... what did he do with the cold cup? Dump it out... drink it? ...We may never know...

And for the record, another one of the volunteers later told us that the lovely coffee pot takes like 15 mins to warm up. (Think it's time for a new pot?)

Maybe I'll just stick to handing out bottles of water and soda. And, if you're ever at my house and want a cup of Joe... you may want to make it yourself!

The concert was a lot of fun though!

(Yes, that's foil)My sister's kids love him!
It was a long night for J though!! He zonked out!
Check out John Reuben... he is definitely a lot of fun... and has a great message!
(And don't ever ask me for a cup of coffee unless I'm ordering it from Starbucks--although that might not be a good idea either... better fend for yourself!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flashback Friday #11

This Flashback Friday is very special to me... it is my cousin Meghan's 26th Birthday!!! In honor of her birthday, I put a little slide show together from our years as cousins... and friends. It's not super long... and I won't bore you with any stories (although I do have some good ones!). Enjoy! And Meghan... HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And thanks for many great memories!!

Check out more Flashbacks at Christopher and Tia's!

If you don't follow my blog... I just wanted to let you know that my sister is having a give away... check it out at THE COUNTRY BLOSSOM!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

If you don't already follow my sister's blog... THE COUNTRY BLOSSOM... you better get on over there NOW!! She is giving away a brand new purse... and 2 Tshirts (Though, be warned... the Tshirts are size L... but I swear they are Youth because I have an XL and it fits me like a glove ... REGARDLESS... Get your butt over there! It ends Sunday!!!!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Addiction...

Doesn't TV seem so complicated these days? Like we don't have enough drama in our own lives.... we watch these shows that go on for week after week... season after season. Don't get me wrong... I like some of these new fangled TV shows... did anyone else watch "Life Unexpected" on Monday night? I had seen the commercials and forgot it was coming on... so I missed it... but I looked it up online and watched it for free that way. It seems like a show I'll want to follow... at least so far. I also am embarrassed to admit that I am a follower of One Tree Hill aaaaand... Friday Night Lights. Back before I got married, I didn't have cable or dish... basically I got one fuzzy channel and it depended on where in the living room I placed the TV as to which channel I would get (and which way I had the rabbit ears pointed!). During the winter, when I couldn't be out and about and I was stuck inside... I decided that I was tired of reading... so I borrowed some DVD's of OTH from my cousin and that's what started it all. In the evenings, when Cory didn't come over (he was sweet enough to watch Gilmore Girls - EVERY SINGLE SEASON - with me over the months when he came to my house to hang out)... I would make some dinner and pop in a DVD. When I ran out of the DVD's... I looked the episodes up online and watched them that way (I even watched them while I pedaled my recumbent bike! LOL). I finally watched EVERY SINGLE EPISODE and now I DVR the new episodes. I also looked up Friday Night Lights and watched all of those episodes... and I DVR the new ones. I'm pathetic. However, at least when I DVR... I can fast forward through all of the commercials so it doesn't take as long!! I guess that's my way of justifying it. LOL! I kind of miss the shows from the good old days... things like A-Team, Alf, Miami Vice, MacGuyver... and my personal favorite... AIRWOLF!! I know you can still get them on DVD and watch them online (and sometimes TV Land)... but it's just not the same. Today, TV is splattered with reality shows and every kind of drama you can think of... I miss the shows of a simpler time. Maybe it just seemed simpler since I was so young. How about "Zoobilee Zoo"... and "Fraggle Rock"... "Saved by the Bell"...?I hate TV... but it's so addictive! Curse that remote control!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Potato Printing!

For Christmas... my husband got me this book:I've been dabbling a little bit with linoleum block printing. I need to get some more supplies... so in the mean time, I figured that I would try out what my book calls "Potato Printing". I thought that some of you might be interested in trying it yourself... so here is a mini tutorial that I put together! (I wouldn't recommend this for kids who aren't old enough to handle a knife... however, if you want your kids to draw a design, you could always be the designated potato cutter and let them join in the printing fun!)

For this project I used:

*Felt Tip Pen
*Water Color Paints (the real kind... not the kids kind on the little plastic palette)--you can also use tempera paint, it just needs to be water soluble
*Relatively sharp knife
*Paper Plate (use as your paint palette)
*Scrap Newspaper (to use at your workspace for easy clean up)
*Paper Towel
*Paint Brush
*Small cup of water (to rinse brush)
*Note cards/Paper

First, use your felt tip pen to make a simple design on a piece of paper. I made a heart, however something like a star might be easier. I didn't take a picture of this... but cut your potato in half and dab the juices on the paper towel... then press it onto your design. (The design should transfer fairly well).

Use your knife to CAREFULLY cut out the design about 1/4" deep.

Next, use your paint brush to paint on your desired color.

Then, press your potato onto your note card or paper... being VERY careful that the potato doesn't slip and slide.
Very carefully pull your potato off of the paper.

Repeat the process, wiping the potato in between on the paper towel (so that the paint and potato juices are wiped as clean as possible). Make sure to clean the brush if you are changing colors!

I also did a couple of other hearts on another potato and added it to my prints.

Here is one of the finished products! Quite easy and fun!

Let me know if you try this! I would love to see what you've come up with!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Flashback Friday #10

I realized that most of my posts are only on Flashback Friday... but I guess it's the only thing pertaining to blogging that actually seems "scheduled" with me... so oh well!! If you missed my last Flashbacks over the busy holidays (and feel like browsing)... go HERE and HERE.

This week, I chose a picture from a scrapbook. It is not great quality... but you'll get my drift. The year was 1999. My cousin and I, pretty much inseparable around that time... happened to befriend a couple of guys in 11th and 12th grade. We all hung out on weekends and somewhat at school. I believe that the guys had crushes on us... yet... we just liked the attention aaaaaand strung them along as "just friends". (I know, horrible)!! Well, we ended up getting asked to the Prom, which in my case ended up being a nightmare!!! My cousin's date, though odd in his attire (tux SHORTS instead of PANTS) was on the ball with tickets and plans, etc. My date on the other hand, though odd in his attire as well (Korn meets... the Leprechaun???), was getting in trouble for STUPID stuff up until the DAY of prom. Not only was it totally immature... but it was annoying. He got tickets at the last minute (which I think I paid for actually)... and he was, as I was in those days, fond of the JNCO brand jean and did NOT want to wear tux pants (which, you know, might actually look NORMAL). I didn't know this until the day OF and I actually saw him when he came to pick me up. Meanwhile I had found a dress and was hoping to do at least a little of the primping (even though I wasn't much into fancy hair and nails at the time--not that I am now). But anyway. He got in trouble the day before prom and was almost not allowed to GO. I think the principal gave him a break because of the fact that I was planning to go and I couldn't go if he didn't go because I was only in 10th grade. So he had to sit through some detention where he decided to CARVE IMAGES (of God only knows what) into the desk... where he proceeded to get into MORE trouble. UGH! Needless to say, I couldn't make a hair appointment due to the fact that I didn't know if I was even going to the prom at that point. The day of the prom came and we, in fact, were able to go... although I was not a happy camper and pretty much was embarrassed the whole evening. (#1. My date's outfit & #2. I wasn't able to get a prom 'do and looked like a complete slob.... oh, also... my date smelled like B.O. all night too). Now don't get me wrong, the guy was a nice guy--I guess it was just a bit disappointing. My cousin's date, on the other hand, got PROM KING. LOL! Oh... the memories.

How Embarrassing!!
(I obviously had my eyes closed for a reason!!!)

Check out more flashbacks at Christopher&Tia's!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Flashback Friday #9!!

I almost forgot about Flashback Friday! Today seems like a Saturday!

For today's post... I wanted to share a picture from 4 years ago. But first, let me give you a brief history.

Back in the mid to late 90's... when I was about... ooooh.. 14 or so... I knew nothing of cell phones, let alone texting (was it even around then??)... and had just recently been introduced to the internet. I had a little thing called ICQ... and later AOL IM... but in between my upgrade from ICQ to IM... I would go online to the Yahoo Chat Rooms. As weird as it seems to me now... since there are such things as Myspace, Facebook and all of that rot... I thought that Yahoo Chat was REALLY COOL. I ended up meeting a few people on there that I still keep in touch with today! One of those people... was dear Miss Julie! We randomly found each other on chat and... well... chatted! Eventually we started to email... and I don't even remember how... but we decided that it'd be fun to be penpals through the good ole US Postal Service instead of the internet. Let me tell you.. WHAT FUN! It's so funny to look back on some of those letters (yes, I still have some)... and to remember the things she would write to me about. School, Friends... Boys. She was (and IS) super smart and always seemed to be winning academic awards and such. Meanwhile, I was the homeschooling cheerleader listening to punk rock and pretty much counting down the days until I was DONE with school (even though I did enroll for that one torturous semester at college). Anyway... through the years we kept in touch... and as I read all about her love life unfolding with a certain someone... I knew that when she announced she was getting married... I wanted to be there!! We'd never met before... and seriously, I'm not an outgoing person! But... there it was, the invitation for Dec. 30, 2005... and I made all of the arrangements to fly to Oklahoma for her big day!! It was quite the adventure... flying (a 5 hour layover at the Detroit Airport.. UGH!!)... renting a car.... and then driving to her hometown to find my hotel and later, the church where they were serving their rehearsal dinner. (They were sweet enough to invite me there!)... I guess I should mention that I had never heard of a GPS... even in 2005! LOL! So, I had to try to follow directions... and let me tell you... I am NOT very good with directions!! Anyway!! The day of her wedding, I went with her to lunch so that we could finally chat face to face... just the two of us... and then I also went with her and her bridesmaids while they got their hair done. It was a really nice time, even though it passed in the blink of an eye! The wedding and reception was in this really awesome Theater place (Sorry Jules, I don't remember the name of it)... and it was all just beautiful!!! Despite feeling a bit out of place since I knew Julie and no one else... it was such a memorable time! We still write letters to this day (thanks goodness for her friendship!!!)... and she was even able to make it out this past May for my wedding! I thank God for sending Julie into my life! Even though we don't hang out like normal friends do...I still consider her a good friend. I look forward to her letters each time I walk out to my mailbox to send her a letter of my own.

Happy 4th Anniversary Julie & Sean!!
(a couple of days late)

and Happy New Year to you all!!

To check out my Flashback from last week... go HERE.