Monday, January 31, 2011

Finger Lickin' Good

I posted the other day that I was supposed to be in Erie on Saturday. The freezing rain kept me away. Aside from missing my family obligations, I missed other plans as well.

Ruth and Jeff in Ripley NY have been my friends for MORE years than I'm willing to admit! Actually, they are more like family to me than friends. Ripley is just about 30 minutes west of Erie so as long as I was that far, I got ahold of them to see if they had any plans or if they'd be willing to have some company. Ruth offered to make dinner and we'd just spend the afternoon catching up and having fun.

After we turned around and came home Saturday, I figured I'd wait for a more reasonable time to call them since I didn't want to wake them up at 8 in the morning on a Saturday. Well, little did I know that Ruth was a busy bee already at that time of the morning.

She called to check on my progress sometime around that time. I told her weather made us stop our trip and I'm sorry but we wouldn't be making it that day. Unfortunately, she already had a turkey in the oven! DANG! She KNOWS it's one of my favorite things in LIFE! Aargh!

So, I'm sorry you went through all that work and I missed it. I was thinking about that turkey all day and while it wouldn't be feasible to mail it to me, I made dinner in your honor. Here was MY supper Saturday night.

The George Foreman'd chicken breast was as close as I could get to turkey and while I love brussel sprouts they are no where near as good as stuffing! At least I was thinking of you guys.

I love you guys! Get another turkey ready, I'll be there as soon as the weather clears. Can we do a do-over dinner?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

PhotoPhun Challenge: Fun

Ok, perhaps this wasn't the best week to have "fun" as a challenge, but here we go. I promise that my future turns at picking a challenge, will be better! I hope!

Let's see what kind of fun I had this week.

First of all, at work there are four of us. Three out of the four are Pittsburgh Steelers fans! We've been doing a little illegal gambling on the playoff games every week and to be honest, my $1 win each week has probably put me in a new tax bracket! But, busting his chops every week has been priceless! He claims to be a Cleveland Browns fan but truth be told he's just an anti-Steelers fan. Hence, why he's lost so many dollars over the course of the playoffs.

So, messing with him is FUN! This artwork is my brother Mike's, but messing with a fellow employee is a group event! Stairway to Seven, baby!

It's been a tough week but playing with Benny always makes things better. Playing with him is FUN. He doesn't care what you're doing, as long as you're paying attention to him. He loves his toy!

Lastly, it's FUN just following my little guy around with a camera. He is a photo op waiting to happen, even if he's just napping in the bathroom sink! He looks small here but this picture was taken a week ago and as of Friday, he's up to a whopping 6 lbs 2 oz!

Please make sure you go and check out Lisa and Mark's blogs. Hopefully they were able to have some FUN this week as well!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rest In Peace, Aunt Helen

My Aunt Helen passed away this week after a short illness.

Aunt Helen was my Mother's sister. My Mom and Aunt Helen were attached at the hip for as long as I could remember! A big Friday night was Aunt Helen and her daughter, Michaelene, coming to pick up me and Mom. We would head out somewhere like roller skating where Michaelene and I would spend the evening skating and having fun and Mom and Aunt Helen would stay in the car, drink their coffee and tea and smoke cigarettes. That was their idea of a fun evening! If it wasn't roller skating, we would be found at that small amusement park on 8th and Peninsula. Again, Mom and Aunt Helen in the parking lot, talking about everything sisters talk about and me and Michaelene playing and hooting and hollering to our heart's content. As a side note, I walked up those gazillion steps to go down that huge slide on a dirty ass piece of burlap more times than I can count. I can't remember the name of the park any longer and my brother Jim was also having a brain fart on that matter, but it is a great memory. Too much fun.

I have been thinking a lot about Aunt Helen this week and I've come to realize that I have gotten more from her than I thought. For example, I know I have this mannerism that I do. I don't know why I do it, but I feel myself doing it. The last time I saw Aunt Helen was in October. As we were sitting at Aunt Mary's visiting, I saw my mannerism! That's where I got it from, Aunt Helen does it!

Moving on, as with any large family, and boy are we a large family, things happen over the years. Slights happen, arguments happen, family sides with family, people stop talking, hurt feelings, blah blah blah. We're no different than any other family.

I have a few philanthropic activities that I've been involved in for years. They have always been important to me and when I look to get involved in any charity, there are certain organizations or activities that I truly believe in and support wholeheartedly. I learned these from Aunt Helen. The two biggest charity works I support I learned from Aunt Helen. It never hit me why these are so near and dear to my heart. But, looking back on it, I see both of them came from Aunt Helen. I spent years watching her support the same types of charities. I learned from her and that was a great thing to learn.

Unfortunately, it takes a death in the family to motivate you to reexamine yourself. Maybe I'm just getting to that point in my own life where I'm also feeling my mortality. Whatever the reason, I've had an epiphany this week. I felt an overpowering urge to mend some fences, to build some bridges, to make amends. I felt I really needed to be there.

Ron and I headed out this morning before 7 am to make it to Erie for the 10:00 Mass. We got as far as Avon and the freezing rain that was falling this morning was making the roads treacherous. The farther we went, the worse it got. I kept telling myself if I could only make it to downtown Cleveland we'd be ok. Then I remembered that the east side of Cleveland is always worse than the west side. So I amended my way of thinking. If I could only get past Cleveland, we'd be ok. Then I remembered that the Ashtabula area is the worst along the lake front. Geez, it wasn't looking good.

I finally made the executive decision to turn around and come home. The roads were horrible and I didn't see it getting any better.

I think Aunt Helen knows I was there in spirit. For now the fences must remain unmended, bridges must remain unbuilt, no amends for now. To my family, I am sorry I didn't make it in. I spent a day of "what if's" and "I wish I woulda's". I wish I woulda been there to lend my support, to grieve with the family, so say my I'm sorrys.

To Aunt Helen, thank you for all you've taught me, whether I knew I was learning it or not. Rest in peace.

Monday, January 24, 2011

She Kicked My Butt - And I Thanked Her For It!

Not only did I thank her, I paid her $5 for the pleasure of having my butt kicked, too!

My friend Linda heard about this new exercise craze called Zumba. Well, it may not be new but it's new to us! She wanted to try and asked if I'd go along. I thought what the heck, the treadmill is beyond boring and easy to get fed up with, so I'll try it. Hey, I'll do almost anything once!

Last Thursday, Linda and I met up at the old YMCA in Lorain. We walked in to our first Zumba class! If anyone out there doesn't know what Zumba is, from the flyer it fuzes hypnotic Latin & International rhythms and easy to follow moves to create a dynamic fitness program that will BLOW YOU AWAY!

So far, so good. I went to class last Thursday and again tonight. I don't know about the mumbo jumbo I just copied from the flyer but I will tell you, this is the most fun filled hour of my week! The music is LOUD and POUNDING and if that alone doesn't make you get up and dance, nothing will. Don't know the steps? That's ok, follow along and do the best you can. It's too fast for you? It's ok, slow down and go at your own pace. I have found out that I have less rhythm that I thought I did but I don't care and neither did anyone else there.

A wide range of people take these classes. There are older and younger than me as well as in much better and in much worse shape than me. People are too busy following the instructors and hooting and hollering and having such a great time to pay much attention to the fact that I don't always know my right from my left.

Does this class kick your ass? Absolutely. Is it fun? No doubt about it. Will I do it again? I sure hope to get in two classes a week! Does it hurt? Well, right now I'm having a little trouble controlling the pain level. As long as I don't move or walk I'm fine! But this is only my second class. After my first class, I felt the same way the night of the class as I do right now but I was much better the following morning. What the heck, my back and foot hurt every day anyway, so I figured this isn't going to do me any harm and I might just have myself a little fun.

If you're interested, check out this web page. This much fun should be illegal! I know it's only been two classes, but I'm telling you, if you don't join me in Lorain for some Zumba, do a web search and find some Zumba classes by you. I promise you, you won't be disappointed!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

PhotoPhun Challenge: Free For All

And last week's winner was . . . (drum roll!)


The unofficial scoring was:

Mark - 17, Icicle
Ree - 2, Carving
Lisa - 2, Saw

We had a great time with that challenge! We hope you all did too! Thanks to all who voted! And again, way to go, Mark. You deserve this challenge's bragging rights!

On to this week. This week was a free for all. Sometimes I think those challenges are even harder! Due to the inclement weather this week, my happy ass was not willing to go out much for picture taking or much else. I did have a challenge in mind for a future PhotoPhun challenge but decided to use it for my theme this week. My free for all is titled: Pets! Yeah, who knew ME of all people would have them!!

First is Penelope. We have a strange relationship. When she wants fed, she comes to my porch. If there is not food out there ready for her, she will come to my door and look in, waiting for me. As soon as I open the door to take food and water out, she high tails it off of my porch until I go back in the house! Ok, it's not a close relationship, but I still feel she is now mine, even though all she wants from me is food and water! See how trainable I am? Come to my door, I'll feed you. Here is Penelope, as seen through my dirty front door.

Next is my fish. As you know, I've tried countless times to take pictures of my fish in the fish tank. It's really hard to get them to stand still and say cheese long enough for a photo! However, the other night when we came home, Fred, our plecostomus, was front and center in the fish tank. This rarely happens! He's about a foot long, easily the largest fish in the tank and usually the hardest to find in the tank. I had to take this opportunity to snap a picture of my beautiful Fred. He's the only original fish from the tank left in the tank. Here is my Fred!

Poor Fred has been having a rough time in the tank lately though. I bought some tiger barbs who I knew where fin nippers. I never thought of Fred's big dorsal fin as appetizing to the tiger barbs but they thought differently. I waited to buy the tiger barbs until we no longer had angel fish but I should have done a better job at protecting Fred. His poor dorsal fin has been nipped to shreds, my poor baby. I need to take those barbs back to the store.

And of course, the new love of my life, Benny. He is so hard to get pictures of because it is rare that he is not in motion. Here I was looking at my camera and he climbed up on my lap to help me look. Is he the cutest or what! I love that one long white hair that comes out of the top of his left eye!

Benny as he was sleeping on Ron's chair. Poor Ron, every time he got out of his computer chair, Benny was up in it!

And, here is the price I pay for loving my Benny. As you're looking at my eye, just to the left of my iris, you can see the bubble on the cornea. This is what Benedryl is for and just as I took my dose last night.

It's ok though. Benny is so worth it!

Make sure you check out Lisa and Mark's blogs to see what is in their minds for a free for all! Lisa said it's my turn to pick a challenge for this week. The only thing I can think of is warmth since it's 12 freakin' degrees, but that was just done recently. So, let's go with FUN! Show me something FUN! And, have FUN taking pictures of FUN!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday To ME!

*** The voting above has to do with the post "PhotoPhun Challenge: Ice". Please go see that post and vote for your favorite picture!! ***

Oh, happy birthday to me! Anyone that knows me, knows this is the biggest holiday in my year! So big in fact, that I celebrate ALL of January and starting February 1st, I start counting down to next January 16th!

Yes, yesterday was my 48th birthday. I'm not sure how I feel about the number, but I know I love to celebrate regardless of the number.

Yesterday was a great birthday celebration day, aside from the overflowing coffee pot that I had to clean up to start my day. Taking that 10 minutes out of my day, it was a great day! Ron and I started off by going to Pete's for breakfast. Ok, you'll find us there most weekends for breakfast, but THIS breakfast came with a candle in my blueberry pancakes AND singing! Save me a table, I plan on going back next year for my birthday breakfast as well!

Then, we met up with some family and friends for an early dinner at Steak on a Stone in North Olmsted. I've blogged before about this place, and it's awesome! A little pricey, but the service is top notch and the food is fabulous. When you go, ask for Ed. He was our server last night and I'm telling you, there is nothing he could have done better. He made a great night even better with his service. Thanks, Ed! You will see my new buddy Ed later in this blog!

Ron, Phil and I went over to Nick and Sally's for a little appetizers and wine before dinner. They are the life of any party and I'm sorry I didn't get pictures at the house. My brother Michael and his wife Mary Jane met us at the restaurant. They actually showed up a little early to do some birthday party decorating! Nothing like walking into a party you planned to find surprises waiting for you! Score!!

This party had it all. Beads, balloons, family and friends! As for the beads, of course I had to wear the most. I WAS the birthday girl after all!

The balloons were a nice touch! And, this one was just in case I didn't remember when I received my first one like this. Nice!

We must have stolen some one's fun, because we had way too much! Here is Phil, with a rare smile!

Ron and Mary Jane:

Mike and Nick:

Nick and Sally, who by the way were the life of the party! Sally told such great stories, she had us in stitches most of the night!

My new buddy Ed was nice enough to snap a group photo of this motley crew!

We started with a couple of the saganaki appetizers. This alone is worth the drive to North Olmsted! This is a piece of kasseri cheese (Greek) which is doused with brandy and set afire. Then, lemon is drizzled over the flames. Holy crap is this good! They give you some warm, fresh bread and you spread this cheese over the bread and that is a meal in itself. Wow.

Here is a video of Ed flambeing our saganaki. Opa!

On to our dinners, we had Phil enjoying his steak:

Me enjoying my steak:

And, if you did it all right, here is what is left:

Trust me, we all did it right! I was so stuffed when we got out of there! To top it off, I also had some birthday cheesecake with strawberry sauce that Ed promised me had no calories! There is never calories in birthday cake!! Or birthday cheesecake!

And then, there was presents. I have mentioned before that our family is a little unstable at times? This might have been one of those times! I received a nice, eclectic mix of gifts that will come in handy!

So there you go. Another birthday in the books. It was a great birthday! Thank you to all that came to celebrate with me or even sent well wishes for my big day. That's what's it all about.

Forty Eight. Dang. I remember so well the days of when I would say "I'd rather be dead that be 30". Yeah, what the hell did I know at 20? Forty Eight. 48. I don't feel 48, whatever that's supposed to feel like. Regardless, happy birthday to me!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

PhotoPhun Challenge: Ice

Here it is! Our bragging rights PhotoPhun challenge!

The three of us PhotoPhunners went out yesterday to the Ice Festival at Mill Hollow in Vermilion. A great time was had by all! We each chose our best picture and they are posted on all of our blogs. Up above, please vote for your favorite picture! I know which one I'll be voting for! Anyway, the voting will remain open until Wednesday at midnight. This is for bragging rights, people!

First, our contest entries, in random order:

Photo 1: Icicle

Photo 2: Carving

Photo 3: Saw

Vote! And vote often!

Now for some other ice pictures that are just from the festivities yesterday. We did watch them carving some ice. That really was a heck of a sight. To see men wielding chain saws to make some fabulous sculptures was amazing.

As Lisa had pointed out yesterday, it's hard to take pictures of clear or white ice against a white background! These pictures really don't do the carvings justice.

The one above had a lot of people sticking their heads into the hole for photos! It made a cute shot but my cold butt wasn't getting any closer to the ground than I had to! Even for a cute photo!

This was a work in progress. I forgot to go back and see who this turned out. He had a pattern drawn on the other side so the bottom of this was going to be totally different, like the tail of a shooting star.

Now for a guest submitter! My friend David who watches over me through my blog, wanted to join in on our reindeer games on the ice challenge! Here is David's submission of how ice looks in San Diego. Yes, my friend, this is a winner! I am all about THIS kind of ice!!

Please check out Lisa and Mark's blogs as well. They will have the same three photos listed for voting and I'm sure a whole lot more of what they saw at the Ice Festival!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ice Festival

I had way too much fun today!

Ron and I did go over to Mill Hollow over in Vermilion and enjoyed the festivities of the Ice Festival. They estimated that 800 of us cold souls turned out to enjoy the day. Those of us that braved the cold were well rewarded! Like I said, I had a blast!

Let me first give a shout out to the ranger that stood at the entrance. This poor guy has to tell 90% of the cars that there was more parking down the road. Once we walked back from parking, this guy's job was to stop traffic and get every one across the street safe and sound. It sounds like a crappy way to spend a very cold day but this guy was awesome! I'm sorry I didn't get his name for this shout out but he stood out there in the cold and just had fun with everyone! So, thank you for working today and making sure everyone was safe. Awesome job!

We met up with my fellow PhotoPhunner Lisa and her husband Chuck. I also got to finally meet our other PhotoPhunner, Mark! While the guys were camera shy, Lisa and I mugged for the camera.

My dumb ass never thought of wearing boots to an wintertime outdoor activity. To say I froze is an understatement. Well, not all of me, but parts of me such as my poor feet. My feet and my hands froze. Oh well, I still had a blast and by now I am finally thawed out.

First, over by where we parked there was a bunch of people sled riding. Of course I had to stop and watch that for awhile. It brought back great memories of sledding at Wilson Middle School. At least back then, they had the stairs back there that made getting back up the hill much easier!

The pictures of the ice sculptures will be posted for tomorrow's PhotoPhun, but I can share the other pictures today.

We went to watch the ice harvesting. This is where crazy men stand on the ice and cut blocks out of it! Ok, if it was warmer, this might have been fun. But have I mentioned that it was darn cold out?

They had this crazy ice saw that they would let bystanders go out and cut the ice. Personally, I thought that sounded a lot like helping them white wash a fence, so I stayed standing in the snow where it was nice and cold but without chance of falling through that ice. This brave young man in the red jacket made it look easy though. A fast course on how to use the saw and he was off and running. He did a great job!

They offered free horse drawn carriage rides. Ok, this was awesome! Ron, fellow PhotoPhunner Lisa and I went for a spin. Here is what the horse drawn carriage looked like.

They would fill up the carriage and take a fast spin. It was actually kind of fun until some one's dog got loose and decided to chase our carriage. Yeah, I panicked! Lisa and Ron protected me and the dog didn't get into the carriage. Luckily, his human was a pretty fast runner himself and was able to catch up and grab the dog. Whew!

Once we got off of the ride, I took a picture of our drivers. I think the one on the right was smiling at me!

This was my personal favorite shot of the day. Who doesn't love a nice butt with a bow!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cough Cough

It's been quiet around here for the last few days. Nothing much going on.

Phil is just getting over a case of the creeping cruds. Ron is in the midst of the cruds and I feel like I'm just starting it.

Whatever it is, we need to get over it FAST. I have way too many plans this weekend to be sick.

Speaking of this weekend, we have a new twist on our PhotoPhun challenge!

Lisa picked the topic of "ice". Great topic here in northwestern Ohio in January! Um, or are we northeastern Ohio? I know I got the north part right! Ok, it's a great topic here in northern Ohio! (I suck at directions!)

Well, Vermilion is having their Winter Days Festival at the Vermilion River Reservation at 51211 North Ridge Road in Vermilion. Please read about it here and on Mark's blog here. Well, we have decided that the three of us local PhotoPhunners are going to meet up at this soiree and start on an even playing field. All of us taking pictures of the same thing at the same time!

We will post all of our photos on one blog, without tags as to who took what picture. Then we're going to ask y'all to go and vote! Vote! This is for the PhotoPhun bragging rights! Ok, I'm just anxious to sit and be able to chat with my fellow PhotoPhunners! That should be a blast!

And, there may be a few surprises thrown in for giggles on Sunday. I guess you'll have to check back and see what it is! Don't you just hate suspense?!

So, if you're in the area, join us all in Vermilion on Saturday for the Winter Days Festival. Dress warmly and come have some fun with us. If you're not in the area, then check out our blogs on Sunday. This should be a blast!

In the mean time, I need to go and try to get rid of my case of creeping cruds. There is too much fun to be had this weekend to be sick.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Benny Update!

We had another vet appointment today!

Benny is a whopping 4 lbs 8 oz!! That's HUGE!

One eye is totally cleared up from his ulcers but the other eye has just a little bit in there yet. So, we need to put gel in the one eye for maybe another week yet.

The inside of one of his back legs, he has a little parasite yet. The ring worm from his face is gone but he has this little spot on his leg. I just need to put some cream on his leg for a little while and he'll be fine!

Dr. Denise was thrilled with the weight gain and she thinks he looks great! Ok, I already knew he looked great, but it's good to hear someone else say that. We are to just keep doing what we're doing with him.

Benny used to like to sleep in his litter box. To entice him away from that comfy spot, Phil had cut down a box for Benny and we put a clean fluffy towel in there for him. At first, the new "bed" was next to his litter box. After a few days, he figured it out and would sleep in his bed instead of in his litter box. Duh, it just dawned on me the other day to move his bed out from by his litter box! So now his bed is in the office next to me, and yesterday afternoon he was curled up napping. How can you not love this little guy??

And, the best of all, I finally got a couple of videos of Benny playing fetch! Ok, I'm no cinematographer, but you get the idea! He is so damn cute! I think I'm gonna keep him!!

Enjoy watching us play a little fetch. Trust me, he could do this ALL night! He gives out before I do!!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

PhotoPhun Challenge: Trees

Trees! I love them. Truly, I could look at them all day long. I hate to say that they talk to me, but I definitely get different feelings from being around different trees. I think maybe I was a druid in a former life!

One of the things I really miss about living in Texas is the live oak trees. These things are breath taking. But, since I don't have pictures of the majestic live oaks of Texas, I give you trees from Lorain Ohio!

This first one is from my archives. I took the picture when I was taking pictures for the "Somewhere New" challenge. This was from that cemetery where I wasn't supposed to be taking pictures! But I loved this tree. The top looks like he's suffered some abuse, but the tree is still beautiful.

The house that's next to Pete's Diner's parking lot has a lot of pine trees. I love their property! This is one of their happy pine trees.

Here is a cold, lonely little tree, watching out over the Lake.

This tree lives on the boulevard between Dayton and Lexington. I love the movement in the limbs. This is what I'm talking about when I say there is poetry in trees.

This old man must have stories to tell of the things he's seen. I think he's seen better days, that's for sure. The first time I noticed this one, there was a storm blowing in and the sky behind this tree was very dark and ominous. It was a perfect scary movie shot! That's the day I decided to always have my camera on me. I missed that shot, but I still look at the tree every time I drive by.

This maple tree is right in front of my house. Every year, it drops most of its leaves, but these from the bottom stay on. When the spring new growth starts, it pushes the rest of the leaves off. So, I have a mess in the fall and another in the spring. Good thing I love this tree!

Lastly, our poor plum trees. I had a landscaper come in last summer and trim these way down. We haven't had fruit in quite a few years as the trees were full of disease. My landscaper, Kevin Raymond of Raymond Landscaping thought we might be able to save the trees if we cut away all of the disease down to the healthy trees. He must have cut a good 8-10 feet from them, but I can see the disease is back. I hate the thought of cutting these poor plum trees down, but I don't know what else I can do with them.

Trees. I hope you can appreciate them a little bit more now. Trees always make me happy!

Please check out Lisa and Mark too. I bet they found some beautiful trees in their worlds too!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

It Wasn't Mom's Chicken Soup

But that's ok, dinner was great anyway!

When I cook chicken, 99% of the time I cook chicken breasts. But, when I want chicken soup, 100% of the time I buy the dark meat. Nothing makes soup as good as the dark meat, at least in my opinion.

I have had a hankering for some of my Mom's chicken soup, but with a twist. I guess really, the only way I know how to make chicken soup is the way my Mom made it. Lucky for me, I like it that way! But, in my mind, I was visualizing Mom's soup, with a twist. I was seeing a lot of veggies in there and I even got out the barley. I wasn't sure what it was going to end up like, but it was going to be chicken soup. The last time I was at Giant Eagle, I even bought a big package of chicken quarters, just for soup.

I defrosted the chicken yesterday, knowing today was going to be soup day. I told the guys it was soup day. Well, stuff happens and I had to turn to plan "B". Y'all know how I love a good plan "B"!

Actually, I was just too dang lazy to futz with soup today. I looked at the chicken, I looked at my soup pot, back to the chicken and then said the heck with it and got out the crock pot.

I didn't do soup, but I did put those chicken quarters along with a lot of onions, some salt, pepper and a little chicken bouillon and cooked it for four hours. For side dishes I made a little buttered noodles and a lot of asparagus and let me tell you, mmm mmm good!

Poor Phil came home from an afternoon out and all he could say was "aww, I thought we were having soup!" Well, it wasn't my Mom's chicken soup but it was good. However, I still got a hankering for that soup.

Maybe next weekend.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Why Cats Are Better Than Dogs

You know, I'm really not a pet person. I never pictured myself with a pet, but if you gotta have one, a cat is the way to go. Dogs look like a lot of work!

There is a dog in my neighborhood that is absolutely gorgeous. I see him walking with his human now and again and I am terrified and amazed by this dog, both at the same time. He's HUGE. In my mind, his name is Rufus! Don't ask me why, but that name just jumped in my head the first time I saw him.

Anyway, Rufus has a huge square head and a big barrel chest. He's mostly white with a couple of spots of color. I have no idea what breed Rufus is, but this dog is all muscle. There is not one ounce of fat on him. Granted, when I see him and his human coming down the street, I head for my door since the dog scares the crap out of me, but I love to look at him from the safety of my home. I think he's the most beautiful dog I've ever seen.

Now to why cats are better than dogs.

I walked outside this morning with a bowl of food for the outside cat when I saw Rufus and his human across the street. In the cold and the snow by the way, while Benny was happy and content in the warmth of the house. Anyway, there I am standing on my porch when I see Rufus and his human just stopped. I look a little up the street and I see two little girls carrying a blanket, trying to run down a six month old (I'm guessing) puppy! The puppy was free and it looked like they were having a heck of a time catching him.

Rufus was told to sit, and the human was trying to give the girls a chance to catch their puppy while he kept his dog away from the fracas. Of course, the puppy was making a beeline for Rufus and it really didn't look like Rufus was impressed. The girls were panicking, worried that Rufus was going to eat their dog! The human assured them that Rufus was NOT going to eat their dog but to be honest, I was with the girls. The puppy looked like the right size snack for Rufus!

Keep in mind, I was watching this all from the safety of my front porch with one hand on my door ready to run back in! Rufus' human did a great job staying calm and keeping Rufus calm while the girls tried to throw the blanket over the poor puppy. Eventually, the puppy turned and high tailed it down the street, having fun at the game of watching his young humans try to catch him.

So that was my entertainment at 7:30 this morning. That's a lot of drama having dogs. I think I'll stick with my kitten who right now is sleeping at my feet. I do hope the girls were able to catch up with their little puppy and get him home safe and sound.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor Was Wrong

Remember Tool Time? All he wanted was "more power". I'm here to tell you he was freakin' wrong!

Tonight after dinner, Ron said he was going to snow blow the driveway. Since I still haven't learned how to use the snow blower, I thought tonight was the perfect time. After all, last time it snowed, I shoveled it all by hand. With an 80 foot long driveway plus a 20 foot by 20 foot (give or take) parking pad, that's a lot of shoveling. More power HAD to be better than that!

I learned how to set the choke, set the throttle, how when you pull the string and nothing happens, how you can plug it in and just push a button. Duh! Fine. Press one handle and it makes the blades spin. Pull another handle and it will go forward or backward. When I say backward, I MEAN it. I almost ran myself over just getting out of the garage! Going forward wasn't much better. I about had to run to catch up to it while fighting to walk in a straight line. It's been a long time since I gave the neighbors that much to laugh at. I did a couple of swipes and let go of all the handles and just walked away and left the blower in the middle of the driveway.

I grabbed my trusted shovel and did it by hand. Ron took over the snow plow and I did my part by hand. Personally, I think my part was much neater. But whatever. And my shovel didn't try to run me over. Perhaps that joker that stole our last snow blower was actually doing us a favor.

Yeah, screw more power. I'm much safer with just a shovel. It may take me twice as long, but I get the job done. And, I give the neighbors much less to laugh at.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

That's How We Roll

There are many traditions in my family. One that has been around longer than I have is returning some one's dish. If someone brings you food in a dish, whether it's a piece of cake on a plate or a casserole or a pot of stew, there are two rules to returning said dish.

1. The dish must be cleaned
2. The dish must not be empty

Ok the clean part is a no brainer. That's just tacky to give back a dirty dish. But, in my family, you never give back an empty dish. If you give back an empty dish, you might not get it back filled up! So, if you got it with something in it, you return it with something in it and hopefully you will get it back again!

We've never traded casserole for casserole. But you have to put something in the dish. A common item in a returned dish is a few pieces of candy. We have been known to be off the wall in my family, so when you get your dish back, you never know what is going to be in there.

For the family Christmas dinner at Mike and Mary Jane's, we took two dishes. I made a candied corn (which was FABULOUS!) and a layered dessert (thanks, Ruth, for the recipe!!). Both were so NOT good for you but were SO delicious. When we left Mike and Mary Jane's, the left overs stayed behind. Mike said he's bring my dishes to work. And, that he did. Of course, he also brought treats in the empty dishes.

No one would believe me if I just told you what was in those dishes, so I thought I should show you. This is what I found when I opened the bag.

A little closer look will show that my treats consisted of cayenne pepper! Be wary of any dinner invitations from us in the near future!

Three oranges and a nectarine.

A head of garlic!

And, in the bowl was two tomatoes and two Twizzlers! SCORE!

I gotta tell you, it was like Christmas all over again! Now that's filling empty dishes with treats!

Yeah, that's the way our family rolls.