Monday, December 11, 2006

Office Christmas Party

First off, I have to say: the daughter-in-law gets big bonus points for coming to her mother-in-law's Christmas party for the coworkers. She hadn't met many of them prior to the party, and she was the "lone younger generation represenative."
( One of the husbands commented that this is totally an "estrogen party!)
Anyway, I had the girls that I work with over for my 2nd Annual White House Christmas Show viewing party on HGTV this past weekend.
For those of you that have never watched this 1 hour extravaganza about the White House being decorated for Christmas, I highly recommend it. (Well, only if you are female and get into that kind of thing, but it truly is interesting.)
Last year when I issued the invitation to "come watch TV with me", I had a few invitees thinking "What in the world?..but maybe there will be good food there..." (The husband made lasgane and it was pretty darned good-I can say that since I didn't make it!)
The show is really interesting because every year the First Lady picks a Christmas theme and has the White House decorated in that theme. You get a background view of the preparations (which are massive!) and you get to see the "reveal", when all is done.
The first year that I had the girls from work over to "watch TV", I think everyone was surprised that they enjoyed the show.
I decided to make it a tradition because I certainly enjoyed having my coworkers over for a little Christmas cheer and I'm a big fan of the "history" part regarding the White House.
Getting ready for a Christmas party is always alot of work, but I work much better under a dead line and that helps me get decorated in a timely fashion.
I am always amazed at the amount of decorations they use at the White House and by the fact that they only take 3 days to get it all done. I guess having a lot of volunteers makes a big difference!
One of my friends was a little appalled at the expense of the decorations each year, but we decided that maybe it provides some work for some folks. We also questioned what they end up doing with the decorations once Christmas is over.
Anyway, after the fact, I realize that massive cleaning of the house prior to a party, worry about getting all the Christmas decorations up, and getting everything ready to eat should not be such a big deal...the most important part of the party is having great friends, family and a wonderful daughter-in-law to share this holiday time with.
We sometimes get so involved with the small details of getting ready for Christmas that we forget the really important things.
I'm thankful for all my family and friends and hope everyone has a great Christmas this year!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Decorating season

I can't believe that it is almost December and we are already into the Christmas season.
Thanksgiving was great. We had two celebrations over the last couple of with my mom and all the 3 guys and one on Thanksgiving Day. It was really nice to have all the boys take a weekend to get together away from our normal weekend routines. (laundry, cleaning etc.) The only problem was that the weekend went by way to quick, and before you know it you're back into the work routine again.
There is just no way to leave the Thanksgiving table without eating too much. We always end up with tons of left-overs and since the guys are splitting time with their in-laws and girlfriends, they didn't eat as many leftovers as they normally do. There is only so much turkey a person can eat !
I spent the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend starting to put up Christmas stuff. That is a real love/hate kind of job. I love when the house and trees are all decorated because it makes everything look so festive but I hate putting the stuff up and taking it back down when all is done.
At the Thanksgiving meal, we discussed having houses built with special doors that store the decorated trees, and all it would take is a push of a button to mechanically open the wall and voila! ....A Fully Decorated Tree moves into place!
It is amazing to me that more and more folks are putting up Christmas decorations weeks before Thanksgiving. One of my friends started the day after Halloween!
When we were last in WV, there was a house completely decorated with a ton of outdoor lights.
I was commenting that it was pretty early in the decorating season to already have that many lights up. Then the thought jumped into my head that maybe all they had to do was flip the light switch...they could have been one of those year-round-lights-up-kinda-folks! (or tree-up-all-year-kind of folks! That's know who you are ...newlyweds are allowed idiosyncrasies and it really was a nice conversation starter!)
Sometimes when I have all the decorations strung all over the house and it looks like a bomb went off...I can really appreciate those year-round-decorators...after all there is only so much time and I want to enjoy those decorations while I can!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Greenbriar Story

While watching one of my favorite shows recently, specifically Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, one of the stories was particularly interesting. It was the Dorothy Draper the Designer story.

In the Dorothy Draper story, they mentioned that she had redesigned the Greenbriar Hotel in good 'ole WV. That brought back some interesting fun memories for me because The Greenbriar is where my husband and I spent the first part of our honeymoon.

We were only 18 and 21 years old when we got married and basically had minimal travel/hotel experience between us. We were given a three night honeymoon at the Greenbriar as a wedding present from my parents. We arrived late and the valet directed us to a cottage that was separate from the main part of the hotel. (In hindsight, this was probably a very good thing because it was not as lavishly decorated and was not as “busy” as the rest of the hotel. The cottage had a very nice sitting room with a fireplace and front porch. The cottage type setting worked pretty well for us.)

When we walked into this little cottage, the first thing the husband said after he looked around was, “I’m going to kill your father!” This was said because there was not a double bed in the room but TWIN BEDS! He was less than pleased that he had twin beds on his HONEYMOON! (In my Dad’s defense, we later learned that he had no idea that all the cottages only had twin beds. The husband still talks about how his father-in-law “really got me on my honeymoon.”)

Well, being the young, industrious, honeymoon couple that we were, we moved the beds together. It really did become quite humorous that for two nights, we would move the twin beds together, and then every morning when we came back to our room after the maid had cleaned up, the twin beds would be separated again. This provided a good deal of conversation between my husband and I. Finally, on the third night, the maid actually made the beds together and we had a good laugh about that when we saw them together!

Anyway, I digress…The show about Dorothy Draper was pretty interesting because she was the “Martha Stewart” of her time. She had a well known decorating style and was pretty original, both for her time then and even by today’s standards. They mentioned in the show that the Greenbriar recently had a “Dorothy Draper weekend.” I thought this was interesting, but I really enjoyed noticing that almost all the members at the lecture were the “well to do, draped in jewelry, even white glove wearing, older set.” (There were not many men at that lecture that I could see.)

When they were showing the pictures of the interior of the Greenbriar that are so lavishly decorated, it reminded me that my first impression when my husband and I walked into the main lobby was: “We are definitely out of our league here!” We were just so very young when we got married and pretty darned naïve.

There are two memories from our stay at the Greenbriar, (other that the twin bed situation) that were also memorable:

The first goes along with how naïve my husband and I both were. They have a fabulous, lavish dining room (decorated by Dorothy Draper, I might add) at the Greenbriar, with a world renowned chef school.
The first night that we dined in the dining room, we were given a complimentary bottle of wine. Now, neither one of us are drinkers and therefore, we had never had the experience of the ritual of wine tasting. We were just barely legal to drink.
The waiter prepared the bottle of wine with great ceremony, even down to the classic white towel over the arm move. He showed the vintage to the husband and of course we just stared at him. He continued to proceed through the ritual and handed the husband the small sip to taste for approval. My husband just looked at him, without a clue, and the waiter calmly leaned down and whispered in his ear, ever so unobtrusively, and said, “You need to taste it and nod if it meets your approval.” That was the quickest taste and nod you ever want to see. The husband could have been tasting vinegar, but that nod was coming, regardless! We do laugh about that now, but at the time, we just didn’t have a clue. I think we gave that waiter a few good laughs during that dinner!

The second funny incident was when we were taking a horse drawn carriage ride around the grounds. There happened to be this older lady and her husband riding with us. She was dripping in jewels and designer clothing and was looking a little snobbishly at my very plain dress. ( I thought I looked beautiful in that dress, even if it was homemade. Don’t judge me harshly because I had no clue ...I was young, in love, and on my honeymoon, so I didn't really care what I was wearing!)

Anyway, being the gregarious, outgoing people that we are, we engaged this couple in small talk. (I don’t think they were all that enthusiastic about our conversation, but since it was a confined space and they really couldn’t get away, they had little choice but to respond.) The husband and I had been discussing what would be appropriate to wear to the “high tea” that is a daily tradition at the Greenbriar. I leaned over to the lady and admitted that I had never been to a high tea before. Showing no pride, I flat out asked what might be appropriate dress for high tea and what do they actually do at high tea? She got this opened mouthed, embarrassed look on her face and quietly said in a mumble that she wasn’t sure because she has never been to high tea either. I was pretty surprised by this because she certainly had been coming off as the well cultured, “I’m much more cultured than you” kind of person. The subject was quickly dropped, but I can still remember thinking that the lady wasn’t too happy that we “exposed her”, so to speak. We never made it to the “high tea” during our stay, which was just as well, because I don’t think the husband is the “high tea” type!

Anyway, the husband and I have talked about scheduling a stay at the Greenbriar again. We have never been back since the honeymoon. We drive by it everytime we drive home to WV to visit the family.

If we ever do make it back, I know I will appreciate the whole experience and the decorating much more now that I know a little bit about the Dorothy Draper history.

One thing is for sure, the second half of our honeymoon was worlds away from the Greenbriar and the Dorothy Draper decorating experience...we went camping!

Monday, November 06, 2006

One month and no new blog

So my husband pointed out to me the other day that it had been a whole month since I wrote anything on my blog. I was truly surprised about that because it doesn't seem like it has been that long.
Probably because I have been writing on a couple of drafts and just can't seem to get them done.
Late night is my favorite writing time but...
Sleep vs writing??????
I don't think I need to do a quiz for you to figure out that Sleep has been winning.

Since I last wrote I have done quite a few things to keep me away from the blog:
1. Entertained some new friends that were visiting from Australia with a couple dinners at the house, a couple of dinners out, a trip to Gettysburg for a tour around the battlefield (maybe sometime later I'll write about was pretty awesome), a walk around the town during the "Fall Jubilee", and a trip to price club that my Australian friend couldn't believe was so big!
2. Cleaning the house for the dinners at the house with the Aussies, mowing the lawn and mulching leaves because it's fall and that's what you have to do at this time of year.
3. Trip to WV to see the new great niece since the adoption was finalized...FINALLY! She is a doll and the trip was totally worth it...but tiring!
4. Work, work, work
5. Making some new bead jewelry that took a little time since I have never done this before.
6. Some maintenance health visits that are totally time consuming but necessary. ( I'm trying to be a more compliant patient since I am daily complaining about "non-compliant patients" in my job.)
7. Reading my romance novels and watching reality TV....yeah I know...this is so shallow but it is sooo relaxing!
8. Celebrating 2 of the guys birthdays with a family dinner. (The Italian chicken was fabulous and the funfetti cake that was requested by one of the birthday guys was pretty good too!)

Anyway, it has been pretty hectic around here this last month and I don't really see it slowing down anytime soon. We plan a family trip to WV again before the holidays since we may not have the time or good weather to travel during the actual holiday season. Then, time to put up Christmas decorations and SHOPPING! My closet has been calling to me that it needs a little maintenance, we are still trying to finish the outside painting before the weather really gets bad, the middle son bought me a new tree to replace my fallen tree and that will take a bit of muscle to get planted....And so the list goes....

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Quiz on the "3 Guys"

How well do you know the “3 guys”? Test your knowledge below:

1. Which son had to be picked up at mother’s day out because his mom got the following call? “Mrs. O, we usually don’t call the mothers to come pick their children up, but he is getting so hoarse from crying, we felt it would be better.”

2. Which is the only son to cut his own hair the day before pictures at his preschool?

3.Which is the only son to draw on the wall with something other than crayons?

4.Which son sings in the shower? (This may be multiple choice.)

5. Which son got in trouble when he was in elementary school for calling the girls in the lunch line by a part of the female body? This required a call to the parents from the principal. (In his defense, it was a perfectly medical/anatomic term! It might have been better if we had actually discussed the appropriateness of calling boys and girls by their anatomic differences. I guess you live and learn as a parent!)

6.Which son had his school picture taken the day after he did a face plant down the driveway from a fall?

7.Which son has the nickname “Big Toe”?

8.Which son sang in a talent show when he was only in the sixth grade?

9. Which son responded to his friend telling him that his dad was Santa Claus by saying: “ My dad can’t be Santa Claus because he doesn’t get up that early”?

10.Which son is the only one that ever was suspended from elementary school for fighting?

11.Which son made a trip to the emergency room for getting hit in the head by a sprinkler?

12. After a discussion about traveling out of the United States and the need to have a visa to enter some countries, which son said: “Well if they (meaning countries that sometimes don’t issue entry visas) don’t take visa, do they take American Express?

13. Which son’s favorite expression when he was very little was “Read the Book”?

14. Which son is the only one to break a bone?

15. Which son had a car accident in front of the church revival camp and was asked to “come join them for church sometime”?

16. Which son is on his fifth cell phone because he has either lost or destroyed his other ones?

17. Which son sucked his thumb?

18. Which son had a special “fuzzy blanket” that he picked the fuzz off and gave away pieces of the fuzz like they should be treated as if they were gold?

19. Which son said at the end of his first soccer season, walking from the field: “ I am never playing that game again”…His parents asking : Well, why not?…“BECAUSE I HATE TO RUN.”

20.Which son got a home run in t-ball because the right fielder lost his shoe and sat down to put it back on before he threw the ball back?

ANSWER LEGEND: O=Oldest Son, M= Middle Son, Y= Youngest Son

1. O-We thought we might never get him to stay at mother’s day out, but eventually he did.

2. M-He cut off a big chunk right from the middle of his bangs…no hiding that!

3. Y-Enough said.

4. This could be a multiple choice: Give yourself the point if you picked O or Y.

5. Y-Give him a break, he was only 6.

6. M- He had the ability to always pick the day before pictures to do something.

7. M-He can’t help if he got his pawpaw’s big toe.

8. Y-He was pretty brave to be up there singing by himself in front of all those people when most of the other “talent” was just singing along with the record.

9. O-He was dead set about this.

10. M-He really shouldn’t have hit the guy, but the guy jumped on him first and actually broke his glasses before Middle son ever swung back.

11. Y- He looked pretty pathetic with gauze wrapped around his head and blood all over his shirt. For those of you that don’t know what a professional sprinkler looks like, think size of carburetor and heavy. The sprinkler head came flying off into the air and Youngest Son took off running to “get out of the way.” If he had stayed still, it wouldn’t have hit him but what are the chances of that!

12. O- He always was very cerebral.

13. Y- I know this is a surprise that he actually liked to read. The Middle son is the reader now.

14. M-He broke his collar bone at JMU while snowboarding, while a blizzard was going on. Mom could not get down to JMU due to the weather and that was not a good thing for the motherof3guys. Older son was on hand to "help".

15. O- This was a real story. He was picking his brother up as a favor to the parents. He had installed a supped up CD player in the glove compartment of his old Opal. He decided mid-drive to take the key out of the ignition to open the glove box to change the CD, WHILE HE WAS DRIVING. He quickly learned that taking the key out, shuts down all the functions of the car. They were lucky that crossing the other lane of traffic, jumping over a big barrel of flowers and ending in a ditch was all that happened to them. The police officer didn’t issue a ticket but did say that this story moves to the head of his “dumb stories to tell.” Just glad they didn't get hurt. The only casualty was the OPAL.

16. M-He has a little trouble with losing items and dropping cell phones into cups of beverages.

17. NONE of the Guys-this was a trick question! No points for this one and no penalty!

18. O- He carried that fuzzy white blanket around for what seemed like forever! His mamaw still has a small bunch of Fuzz that he lovingly gave to her.

19. Y-I can still see him stomping his feet and declaring that he was NEVER playing soccer again.

20. M-He was the youngest player on that team that year and was the only player to not have a homerun so when this happened, it was smiles from ear to ear. (His mother yelled RUN!!! The whole time he was rounding the bases. The other team were all yelling to the poor kid in right field to “Get the BALL.”)

SCORING: (One point for each question that you answered right.)

15-20 Way to Go! You must have lived with one of the 3 guys or are a member of the family. (This group may be large because many people have lived in the “Hotel” that has been in operation for 32 years. OR you happen to have lived with one of the 3 guys at college!)

6-14 You made the honor roll. You’re not part of the family but have probably been around the guys a bit.

1-5 Needs Improvement- Better spend a little time with the guys!

0 YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING- Even guessing you should have gotten 1 right!

Let me know how you do!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reasons I haven't written a blog for a while

Ok, so here are the reasons (make that excuses) why I haven't written anything lately in the blog:
1. Laziness- it just seems easier somedays to just sit on that couch and vegetate.
2. Trying to keep up with my celebrity trash reading- I'm a little ashamed to admit that I have not one but TWO subscriptions to trash magazines. It takes a little bit of time to read them weekly.
3. The new TV season (ie. reality shows and other favorties) I admit I like to watch my Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, Grey's Anatomy, and House... to name a few.
4 The grass is growing more now that it is not so darned hot and that means twice a week lawn mowing.
5. Trip to WV- It takes a little time to get back in the swing of things after a long weekend travelling.
6. Romance Novel Reading-(Don't make fun of this until you try it.) ..I'm not the only one in America that reads this junk and I freely admit that it is fluff reading...that's why I like it.
7. Housework and Work Work- There never seems to be enough time to do everything on the weekends and forget about starting major cleaning/organizing jobs...that's out for now. Work has been exceptionally busy in a random fashion, so just when you think you're going to get out on time, something comes up to delay you.
8. Bill paying-a job I hate but one that has to be done.
9. Surfing the net just for pleasure and reading the news on the internet-Guilty!
10. Spending time with family and friends instead of time in front of the computer- It was good to see Justin & Cara, Tommy & Becky over the weekend!

Ok I'm sure there are other excuses for not writing something new but I am working on a small piece...It is just taking a little more time than I thought...It will be Coming Soon......

PS. Can't believe i am actually writing a blog because I used to hate writing in school-What's up with that?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Reality TV Junkie and the new TV season

So the new TV season is getting ready to start.
As most of you know, I am a reality TV junkie.
I’ve been trying to improve, but still I am embarrassed to say that I watch reality shows.
Some of these shows are really so stupid but my problem always comes when they “hook” me. I just want to see “what happens next.” In my defense, there are obviously other “reality junkies “ out there or these shows wouldn’t be on.

I will admit that I really enjoy the dancing shows because I am awed that people, with little training, can get up in front of millions and do those dances. I enjoy the music and the dancing…I don’t enjoy the commentary from the husband and sons if they happen to be around!

I felt like I was making progress on not watching reality TV, until I watched a few Big Brother all stars shows this year. (I know what you’re thinking but it’s just that there didn’t seem to be anything else on TV that I was the least bit interested in…and it just happened to be on!)
I always wonder what makes people decide to participate in these shows.
The people on the big brother show have already done this once, and I would love to know if it really is the money or the “fame” that they want. I personally wonder what they think when they come across not so favorably to millions.

When I first started watching Big Brother this year, I didn’t know many of the all-star players because I had only watched the first and the last seasons.
It was my first time seeing some of the players. One of the previous winners from season two was a doctor of dermatology. As I am watching all of his shenanigans, I wondered what his patients are thinking.

My sister thinks he is a real genius because:

  1. He had to be really smart to be a dermatologist. (For those of you that don’t know this, dermatology is one the hardest areas of medicine to get into. Dermatologist are usually at the top of their classes in school.)
  2. He knows how to manipulate and play Big Brother. He is a master player for getting others to do what he wants.
  3. He is smart to use his TV fame for marketing. My sister said that he had people from all over the US calling for appointments after his last big brother appearances.
    I’m not so sure that having “Big Brother Contestant” on his CV would inspire a lot of confidence in my mind.

He is an interesting character and has made the show funny, but I would really like to see how he lives “out of the house.”

I am a diehard Survivor fan and am interested in seeing how the “new concept” of dividing the tribes into races is going to play out. Already I am a little tired of the comments referring to “highlighting of stereo types”. Come on people, it’s just a game.

When I watch survivor, I am constantly saying : “there is no way I would ever be a contestant on this show.”

You may ask why I don't think I would cut it as a survivor contestant?:

  1. I hate bugs!
  2. Mosquitoes love me and I would be one big giant bug bite.
  3. I am a picky eater with a weak stomach that would never tolerate bugs and such.
  4. I’m a grouch when I don’t eat!
  5. I would miss my baths!
  6. As my middle son says: I like to clean too much.
  7. As my husband says: I like to be in control and would probably be voted off pretty quick because I am too opinionated!
  8. I also wouldn’t be able to do the swimming challenges because as I’ve gotten older, I don’t swim much.

All moot point because I don’t plan on trying out for Survivor.
I guess I’ll just be a reality show junkie and watch what happens next…

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Walmart = Money Spent

Having a Walmart almost within walking distance is really not the best idea for your budget .

I admit that I love to do a little Walmart shopping every now and then. Since the Walmart near us has groceries too, it's a good excuse to stop and take a little look see, PLUS avoid the grocery store.

If you ask the husband, he will invariably tell you that I call him weekly on my way home from work to say, "I'm just going to stop real quick at the Walmart and pick up a few things."

I have a real problem with just "wandering around" the store JUST TO LOOK. I waste more time "wandering" because I get in that store and think "maybe they got a new shipment of"... sandals or flowers or whatever happens to pop into my brain.

I was looking for a receipt to take something back the other day and my husband happened to notice all the many receipts I was searching through. (Here's a news bulletin: I'm a bit compulsive and have kept all my receipts for the last couple of years.) He was giving me a hard time about that and asked why I needed to keep several years of receipts.

While I had them all lined out on the counter, it became obvious that when the Walmart was located on the other side of town, I didn't frequent Walmart much.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Receipts from Walmart within walking distance:
Receipts from Walmart across town

Now I know there are some out there that do not and will not support Walmart because of some of their policies. We have one friend that Hates Walmart and will expound on why we should not support it. I agree that they could improve on some things. I know from my experience of filling out disability paperwork and return to work notes for some of my patients over the years that Walmart does not make it easy for their employees sometimes. One time I had to write a note saying that one of my pregnant patient's needed to take a bathroom break every so many minutes/hours and the same for getting drinks of water!!?? That is ridiculous that a person needs a note to get a drink!

It doesn't stop me from enjoying wandering around and "finding a deal".
I had a few errands to run the other day, and Walmart was on the list.
When I came home, I was talking to my husband and I said that I hadn't stopped at Walmart.
He very calmy said, "I know."
I said, "How did you know I didn't stop there...I just got home."
He said, "You weren't gone very long!"

Unfortunately, Walmart = Money Spent and I would definiately have more money if the Walmart was still located across town!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Chocoholic dog

I've just got to accept that we have a chocoholic dog!

Lucy is the BEST DOG IN THE WORLD except for perhaps a little neurosis and a nose that can find matter where it is!

Lucy is now 12 years old and I'm surprised that she has managed not to kill herself from all the chocolate she has eaten in her life. She is really smart and can sit, dance, bark, sneeze, rollover, go to her bed, shake, grin, and bow. Most of the time on command, but some of the time, when she is not sure...she will go through all of her tricks all at once, to get her treats.

She is getting a little, shall we say...Plump? avoid hurting her feelings. As my husband says, he has a happy dog and he doesn't care if she is fat or not! Her being chubby is not from eating chocolate, but if she had her way, she would like more of that substance any chance she gets.

Because she is so smart, it has long been established that you cannot leave any sweets (mainly chocolate, but also gum) down in her space.

Most of the time, we remember not to leave stuff in her range, but it never fails that we occassionally forget. Christmas and Easter are usually a given that some form of chocolate will be left where she can get to them. This has been going on since we got her and I can guarantee that every Christmas and Easter, that dog gets her chocolate! For years, I reminded the boys to "keep the candy away from Lucy," and for years, someone always forgot.

She has, on one occassion, even managed to get into the pantry and pull over a bag of chocolate chips. That experience was almost the deadly one, because she really got sick from the dark chocolate. My understanding is that the darker the chocolate, the more lethal it is to dogs.

The other chocolate occassions are usually random occurrences, but there are many stories of Lucy unzipping my purse, pulling out everything in the purse to get to a chocolate mint that I had forgotten about. Almost every visit that mamaw makes to our house results in Lucy getting into her purse for the ever present gum!

She is pretty amazing when it comes to UNZIPPING backpacks. There are numerous occassions that she would manage to get ahold of left over chocolate bar or gum or whatever else she smelled in the boy's backpacks that they had long forgotten about.

Last week, the backpack unzipping dog struck again and below is the evidence:

Jeffrey had left his backpack down on the floor and that little devil unzipped it for the M&M's she smelled. Jeffrey did not even remember that those were in there, so there's no telling how long they were in that front pouch.

She is smart enough to know she is not suppose to get into things. When I came down the stairs, she was cowering on the stairs. I couldn't figure out if this was because of her normal "neurosis" or for some other reason. I though I better have a look around before I started working. As I walked around, she was like that game of hot/cold. When I went toward the real response from her. (colder) When I went toward the living room (the scene of the backpack), she cowered more.(hotter!) I happened to be working from home that day, and she stayed away from me all day.

She always gives herself away with bad behavior because she won't come to greet us when we come in. One day she stayed upstairs for over an hour, before she would come say hello. You would think we beat her or something, but she is just neurotic and really doesn't like to be yelled at...if only the boys had been that easy when they were little!

Even being a chocoholic, she still is the best can you not love that look on her face?

It pretty much says: I know I've done something I shouldn't but I'm too cute to not love!

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Another OBB has now come and gone.
This was the fourth annual Owens Backyard Bash (OBB).

For those of you that don't know, we started this tradition as a “wouldn’t it be fun to have a party with all our friends” before the kids return to college.

That first year it actually became Tommy & Becky’s wedding celebration.

It was quite the surprise when they said, “all our friends have RSVP’d that they are coming for the OBB, so we were thinking it would be a good time to get married.”
That was just two weeks before the first OBB and let me tell you that that was a pretty BUSY two weeks!
Tommy finally had to write on the e-vite that “NO Becky is not pregnant!” because they got asked so many times if that was the reason for the quick wedding.
The real reason was that they were buying a new house and had been engaged for almost a year and were just READY!
All the numerous details involved with weddings were quickly whittled down to bare necessities and the wedding and OBB wedding celebration turned out great!
As someone said, and I agree, “If you have one year to get ready for a wedding, it takes one year…if you have 2 weeks for a wedding, it takes 2 weeks!”

We have continued the OBB tradition because everyone seems to really have a good time getting together, drinking, and enjoying the music.

Now out of those reasons, my favorite is always the music (since most of the music is my boys!)and getting to see everyone.

Being the “I know someone who died like that “ kind of person, I always worry about the drinking part. Fortunately, most of the guests try to abide by the drinking rules: No drinking and driving. A lot of the guests do sleepover and that really is one of the fun parts of the OBB.

People always ask if we are going to do the OBB next year, and the answer to that is always conditional on the outcome of each party. If there is a “drinking problem”, that would be one way to cancel future OBB’s in my mind. I guess that means that future OBB’s are dependent on the current guests.

I was a little nervous this year because of our short visit last year from the city police. They had a complaint about “loud noise and band.” The funny part about that visit was that they had a little trouble finding a parking spot out front due to all the parked cars. By the time they found a parking spot and located the “responsible party” (that would be my husband and I), the band had already broken down. They were very nice and didn’t stay but about 5 minutes. Some of the party guests didn’t even know they were present. They left stating that if they got another complaint, we would have to move indoors but both officers indicated that they did not see any problems. We didn’t have any visits from the “city’s finest” this year, so I would mark OBBIV as a success.

I understand that the tentative OBBV is already scheduled for Aug. 4, 2007. Check out Jerry’s blog with the official OBBV countdown. Jerry’s parents were saying that he rated the OBB right up there with Christmas and Thanksgiving and that he definitely would not want to miss it.

This year the OBBIV started out pretty quiet. We have discussed moving the start time later since the 11:59 AM time makes for a long day. The majority of partygoers usually come around 4:00-5:00. I really enjoyed the quiet start this year and the early start allows the band members get a chance to eat before they perform. The time detail will be discussed prior to OBBV evites going out.

This year I thought the music was very eclectic and, for the most part, pretty good.
When I say “ for the most part”, I mean that there always are those request songs that the band hasn’t really practiced much. I am always amazed that the band can perform those requests “off the top of their head” and still sound reasonable. Phish, Alison Krauss, Indigo girls, Dave Mathews, Justin songs, Johnny Cash, “the Boss”, the Beatles and many more were all represented musically. (Gee Justin…that’s a pretty good group to be listed with….)

The OBB is always a time for many performers to join the OBros and this year was no exception.

We didn’t get a performance with Uncle Gary this year on the drums and I’m not sure how that happened. Uncle Gary was the first drummer to ever play with the boys, many years ago.

I personally always love the Fri night before the OBB, because that is “Practice night”. It is always a blast to see all the Owens family, (Dad & uncle included) playing music together in the basement.

I said a couple of times during the OBBIV, “OH, I have to listen to this song…this is one of my favorites”.
One of the partygoers said to me later in the night, “I have heard you say that more than once today.” I guess most of the songs the boys play would be “my favorites!”

OBBIV was a record breaking moment….It was Michal’s debut singing venue. That was pretty fun to see him joining in the vocals and it looked like he had a great time!

The weather this year could not have been more perfect!! It was much better than the 90+humidity that we had last year.

The OBBIV had the traditional flip cup game and the traditional “WVa hot dog” fixings. Pretty soon we may have a lot more converts to the WVa way to make a hot dog. (This is a hot dog with homemade chili and topped with cole slaw. )

Finally, my 80+ year old neighbor that I traditionally take cookies to after the OBB for tolerating the OBB once a year, said she enjoyed watching the action from the comfort of her home. She is pretty cute with her comments.
One year she asked “what the kids were doing around the tables?…it looked like they were playing a game.” I then had to explain flip cup to her…that was kind of surreal to be explaining a drinking game to your 80+neighbor!
She said that she could remember when her parents were not too thrilled with the jitterbug and “new music.” This year she commented that it looked like the kids were growing up…more babies present…slightly less wildness.

It is always a lot of hard work both before and after the OBB. It was a couple of days off work that involved yard work, food shopping, and house cleaning. The poor lady that kept trying to shop around me and my flat dolly at Price Club definitely didn't like the OBB preparations. The day after is always a pretty long day cleaning up after all the "Fun." Fortunately, the boys and Becky help with the clean up. I missed getting a picture of the "morning after shot" and the husband in the kitchen...that was a lot of cups, bowls, etc to wash!

But the OBBIV= 102+guests, 8 kids, 4 dogs, 96 hotdogs, 40 hamburgers, 2 loins of barbecue, 2 lbs macaroni, 2 lbs potato salad, 6 dozen cookies, 2 batches of brownies, rice krispie treats, 3 kegs of beer, 1 bottle of tequila, 0 police.....All in all: PRICELESS!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Still Here...Barely!

Just a quick line to say the blog topic about the OBBIV will be coming soon and that I am still here...barely!
I caught what I am referring to as an OBB cold and my stamina is about nil after preparing for the OBB, cleaning up after the OBB, and returning to work after the OBB.
I keep telling myself I will write a quick synopsis of all the fun, but haven't really had the creative juices available to do it justice.
So...coming soon....the OBBIV review and hopefully pictures.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Time Flying By

Have you ever felt like you've been really busy but you can't really say HOW you're busy?

I feel like I've been busy over the last couple of weeks but I can't seem to come up with anything out of the ordinary that should make me feel that way.

We spent some time in WVa and saw our families, played catch up at work AFTER the vacation, had the OBros practicing weekly for the OBB4 at the house, had a few family dinners, mowed the lawn, shopped some, read some, and did the always present laundry and house cleaning, but it seems like time is just flying by!

All the stuff I've been doing is just routine day to day "Stuff". Nothing special (other than the travelling.)

Certainly, my lengthy commute takes some time out of the day. I'm fortunate that I don't have to commute daily...only 3 days a week. Sometimes, I wonder how much time I actually spend in the car commuting. The only good thing about the commute time is that I use that time to catch up with my family & friends on my cell phone. I know all the statistics say driving and talking on the phone is dangerous, but sometimes talking helps keep me awake during all the stop and go traffic.

Of course the infamous OBB4 is just a few short weeks away and that always takes a little time and planning. I'm looking forward to it but hope the weather cooperates this year. It was a boiling heat wave last year!

Maybe things are in the "calm before the storm" mode...there hasn't been all that many things that have peaked my interest to write about lately.

I have enjoyed spending time living vicariously reading my favorite bloggers (see links). I have really tried to imagine how it would feel to quit my job and venture out for a month doing fun things with my friends but more importantly, doing something you've always dreamed about. (Cara's blog) I'm not sure I really ever had a desire like that so if is a little hard to imagine. I give big kudos to her for proceeding with her goal now , while she can. I have also enjoyed reading Justin's blog about his adventures while Cara is gone. Bobby's blog is always witty and interesting and I am constantly amazed at his celebrity sightings and his interesting job.

I figured I would set a goal of writing something at least weekly on my blog, but I really enjoy writing the blog entries that "seem to write themselves". They usually are the topics that I am excited about and that I don't really think much about.

In the meantime, I guess time will keep flying by and I'll keep trudging along doing my "normal" things, working, enjoying my family ....and FEELING BUSY!!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Men, Women & Weddings

Weddings & Men....Weddings & Women....Totally different ideas and outlooks from those two groups!

I have been thinking on this topic for some time now because it is hard to miss the differences in how men & women look at weddings.

Having lived with 3 guys and 1 husband for many years as the only female, I was really outnumbered. (until Becky joined the family),

This became obvious early on when much of our early family life was centered around sports. Even now, there is always a discussion about some current sporting event, most recently the World Cup.

I am still teased by my family regarding the memorable question: " Who pitches for the Dallas Cowboys?" After they quit laughing over that question and wiped their tears, my husband gently told me it wasn't a pitcher but a quarterback. I also tend to ask what inning, or half, or period it is and usually say the wrong term for the sport we are watching. I am immediately corrected with the correct term, usually in unison.

I have learned alot about male sports over the years, and I do enjoy watching some of the many games that are on our TV. I always enjoyed watching the boys play any of their sports when they were little, even though I was not the best spectator when they played. I have come to understand how important, their "sport stuff" is to them.

The same can NOT be said about how they view weddings.

Let's face it, women dream about weddings most of their lives and men spend a good bit of their time trying to avoid them.

I got married very young and had never been to any other wedding, but my own, when I got married. It was a nice small wedding with a very small reception in the church hall. I was just too young and dumb to realize there were lots of options for weddings and receptions. Since we had the reception in the church, this made it impossible to drink or dance....what were we thinking???? Even though it was simple and small, I loved my wedding and honeymoon and I certainly wouldn't change the groom!

There is one thing that all brides have in common, no matter how much planning, expense, or money goes into the weddings. That would be their wonderful happy faces!

Recently, we have attended a few weddings of friends' children and weddings of the boys' friends. It seems like the boys have attended MANY weddings in the last couple of years.

Wedding Season has provided me the opportunity to ask many questions about the weddings and/or engagement parties being attended.

Becky and I have spent enumerable hours discussing wedding colors, dresses, ideas, settings, flowers and all the lovely things involved in the weddings. She never gets upset if I ask questions about the weddings she and Tommy attend, and she always has the answer to my questions. Even if the question is as ridiculous as : what type of shoes did the wedding party wear? She is after all a girl!! And girls get into weddings and all the tiny details....that's part of the wedding experience. I'm betting that most guys would never think about the programs and who actually tied that nice ribbon on them and how long that took to do that little job!

Talking to any of the "GUYS" (husband included in this) usually results in much frustration. They just don't get the fascination about weddings!

As I was told by one of my sons, who shall remain nameless, he said a good wedding had lots of alcohol.

Questions to the guys usually result in something like this:

Mom: Did the bride look pretty?
Son: Yeah she looked nice.

M: What kind of dress did she wear?
S: Just a wedding dress.

M: What color were the bridesmaid dresses?
Son, answer #1: Just a dress, I wasn't paying that much attention.
Son, OR answer #2: Low cut dress in the back(or front), ______ looked good in it.

One son was actually getting together with his out of town friends on the weekend that the "bridesmaids" where getting their dresses fitted. In his defense, he didn't actually go to the fittings, but he was with the whole group of girls/bridesmaids the whole weekend. He couldn't even begin to tell me a thing about the dresses! Not the color, not if they were liked by the girls...nothing. Now if that had been a daughter, I would have known, down to the last button, what the dresses were like!

He has gotten a little better about sharing some details of the weddings he attends because he knows I will probably ask him something. He has even volunteered some information, if it was memorable to him. He mentioned one time that the location of one of his friends weddings was "pretty incredible and it was one of the best weddings he had been to." He even described some of the scenery and was really impressed with how beautiful the bride looked. That particular wedding was on top of a mountain at a winery.

I guess there will always be that difference in how men & women look at the wedding thing.
My boys will continue to get the "20 questions " about the weddings they attend because I really enjoy hearing about the details. They will continue to get annoyed at those questions, in most cases, just cause they are of the male gender.
Becky and I will continue to discuss all the details. We probably will have these same communication issues when all those weddings result in babies!

I can hear it now:
Mom: When is the baby due?
Son: I don't know....sometime...

M: Do they know if they are having a boy or girl?
S, answer #1: I don't know. OR
S, answer #2: Yes ...( and nothing more)

M: Do they have any names picked out?

I can't hardly wait!??!!!

As my husband says about weddings: They are just 20 minutes and a piece of paper. (At least he didn't say 20 minutes and a lifetime of grief!)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Blah, Blah Blogs

Today I was watching one of my favorite shows (Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood) and the topic of blogging was a featured clip.

Just a few interesting facts that I found interesting in the story:

1. Bloggers are usually highly educated, middle aged, and have a high income.
( I'm thinking : Two out of three of those aren't bad.)

2. Bloggers tend to be: trend setters, and are highly opinionated.
(One out of two of those aren't bad.)

3. Sarcasm sells on blogs. As they said in the story, it is easier to tear down than to build something up.
(I don't think I'm too good with the "snarky" comments...their term, not mine. That's not to say that I couldn't be sarcastic in the right circumstances, but I don't consciously try to be controversial.)

There were other parts to the story, but I found it interesting that some of the bloggers actually were offered jobs from people reading their blogs.

I have no fear about that happening to me....I definiately fall into the "let me tell you about my dog" category of bloggers.

"They"said that most bloggers write to connect with family and friends...I would agree with that. I like to see what comments my family and friends make about my entries.

I'll keep blogging as long as I keep having fun with it...even though there are still those out there that say "What's a blog ?? and Why are you doing that???"

Technical Difficulties

I had great plans to write a blog today about my vacation...sort of reminds me of that first day of school back from summer vacation when the teacher asks you to write that essay on "How I Spent my Summer Vacation".

Unfortunately, my blog had this little glitch that made the links show up at the bottom of the page.

I tried a few things and even went on the blogger assistance site to see if I could get the links back up to the beginning of the blog...hence the new format.
I'm not sure I like this format but I'm afraid I will really screw things up more to switch back. (Those of you that know me know how I hate change!)

In the process of trying to straighten things out, I lost part of one of my entries.
That one is lost for good because I really messed that up royally. I also figured out that I really hate not being able to read instructions and not understand much of the directions. Reading that blogger assistance stuff with all that computer lingo is enought to give you a headache.

I finally resorted to calling in my computer expert, but he said he "didn't do blogs".
He hates to disappoint me so he sat down and read the computer lingo and helped fix the problem and also backed up my blog.

I don't think it would be a big loss to lose this blog, but since I have invested some time into it, I feel a little better with the back up.

I was so frustrated with the whole technical mess, that I lost my desire to write anything but this venting about technical frustrations!
Hopefully, sometime this week I will write about my vacation to good 'ole WVA.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Rain, Rain, Everywhere

Well, we have had quite the rainfall around here for the last week.

Since I love obscure facts:

Our area received 11 inches of rain in 6 days! That is 1/3 of theYEARLY rainfall in just 6 days.

I also heard that Hurricane Katrina had 12 inches of rain during that catastrophe...considering that is only 1 inch more than we had...I thought that was pretty amazing. (Obviously, that 12 inch total did not include storm surge and disclaimer here that our area was as bad as Katrina..not anywhere near that.)

Our back yard looked like a lake for a while but no water damage, just the afore mentioned tree.
We were actually quite lucky in our area because many in Maryland had to be evacuated due to possible dam break. Some of the federal buildings had to be closed, (National Archives, IRS, Museum of Natural History, and Museum of American History to name a few.)

We did have a small sump pump crisis for a few minutes, but the husband took care of the stuck float and all worked well after that. We were both glad that the sump pump stuck in the ON position and not the OFF!

We have been gradually doing the yard clean up and sweating in this horrible humidity. The weather outlook looks better so that is the good news!

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Tree has Fallen

It blew up a big storm last night and the casualty was:


Not only did it take out half of my redbud tree, but the wind also took down my twenty year old, silver maple tree in the front yard. That tree was around 30-35 feet tall and really provided a lot of shade for the house. It is a sad day around here.

The good news is that the silver maple didn't land ON the house and really didn't do too much damage...other than to our pocketbook to have it removed!

It was one heck of a storm all over this area and many folks got little to no sleep due to the horrendous thunder and lightening, the hail, and the wind. We surprisingly did not loose our electricity or our direct TV signal ( which is amazing considering that the rain was horizontal!)
The last time I saw a weather map that looked like it did last night, was when we had the tornado in the neighborhood. It is never a good sign to see ALL RED on the weather map.
A lot of folks have been without electricity for almost 18 hours.

Maddy, Tommy's dog was not liking the storm at all and was reportedly shaking like a leaf and hyperventilating. She finally settled down some when Tommy let her crawl into Becky's dark closet and hide. Becky was out of town and was unable to comfort the puppers. They were without electricity for a while last night.

Traffice this morning was horrific due to traffic lights being out. The happy campers of the day were the tree companies that began knocking on doors to drum up business for tree removal.

I had to work but Tom captured the action of the tree removal pretty was pretty amazing how the guy climbed the tree to take it down.

I was not totally bent out of shape about the loss of the silver maple tree...I'm more upset about my redbud tree.

(DUE TO TECHNICAL ERRORS...I lost the rest of this post and there is no way I can begin to remember where this story was going ...sorry if you missed really wasn't that great of a story anyway! Sometimes technology sucks!)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Spaghetti Dinner

I've written in the past about the difficulty of deciding "what's for dinner" but there is always one meal that is a great favorite at our house.

It tends to be the dinner choice that is suggested first when it comes to a weekend meal when the whole family will be in attendance.

I'm talking about the infamous Spaghetti & meatballs dinner.

My husband was raised on spaghetti and it was almost a tradition to have spaghetti every Sunday when he lived at home. He could eat pasta just about every meal and never gets tired of it, even now.
In fact, his "fall back dinner" is what he lovingly refers to as "red sh** and noodles". This is his slang for Ragu out of a jar (traditional style with meat...not any of those other varieties) .
I like his homemade, special recipe spaghetti and meatballs, but I am not a big fan of the "red sh** and noodles" senario. (I much prefer peanut butter sandwich and chips as my "don't want to fix anything or go out to eat meal".)
He told me not too long ago that he was going to always suggest his "red sh** and noodles " for dinner so it would force me to choose what's for dinner since he knows I won't eat Ragu ( only under duress and extreme laziness.)
He was a little upset not too long ago when there was a study released that had people rate jar spaghetti...I forget what was the winner, but Ragu was at the bottom of the survey.

Today, all the boys (& Becky) came over for dinner and of course the menu was spaghetti. We had a very enlightening discussion about the actual pasta being served. The discussion centered around what kind of pasta was everyone's personal favorite.
The oldest and youngest sons chose: angel hair pasta ( which was served today and had raves from them today!)
Becky prefers: rigatoni or any of the "tube like" pasta's. ( She said she likes a more substantial pasta.)
The husband votes for : linguini
The middle son stated he had no particular favorite...he likes them all.
I hadn't really given it much thought to a favorite but I would have to say I know I don't really like regular spaghetti ( too thick). I guess if I was pressed to choose a favorite it would be capellini.

Anyway, eating spaghetti is a pretty traditional weekend meal for our family.

When the boys all left for college and began doing some cooking, they all made the call to dad to get his recipe for spaghetti. (Much like my sister's and I did when we all called mom at Thanksgiving to see how to cook turkey.)
They all got the proper instructions for his spaghetti sauce and meatballs with visuals included!

Now, all the boys can make Tom's famous spaghetti and meatballs. The only question now usually is whether we should have a meat sauce, or meatballs, or to make lasagne. They all are delicious but the boys usually choose meatballs.

It was a particularly good batch today...maybe because it has been a while since the whole family was here for spaghetti. The husband has not figured out how to make "little batches" of spaghetti, so care packages went home with them all.

Nothing like second day spaghetti...just makes it that much better!

Monday, May 29, 2006


Bear with me on my hodgepodge of random thoughts today....for those of you that REALLY know know my mind does tend to ramble around...Too bad the males in my life can't seem to "keep up" with that random thought process.
I can sometimes talk about several things at once with Becky and she can follow, but not so with my 3+1 guys. My husband will respond to me: "That comment makes no sense...I thought we were talking about so and so." Oh, well, another of those "Mars/Venus" things I guess.

It seems like I have been really busy with not much time to sit down and write lately, but when I think back on what is keeping me so busy...I can't come up with anything real specific.

I have been working in the yard a good bit...It's like therapy. I enjoy being outside and like the exercise. All my hard work :

This photo especially for my "professional " lawnboys, that taught me how to mow: "Just look straight ahead, Mom, to where you are headed and your lines will be straight!"

I used to tell my mom all the time that her compulsion to hang clothes on her clothes line was her "Therapy." She was here for a few days and was helping with my laundry. She misses her clothes line and always comments that she "would hang this on the clothes line, IF I had one."
I do understand why she likes to hang clothes outside, but it never was "my cup of tea", so to speak.

She was flying to my sister's to see my nephew ( her grandson) graduate from high school. She usually drives up to my house to drop her dog, Tasha, off for us to dog sit when she travels.
Tasha needs her own suitcase for all the "special" food, treats, and medicines she needs. I guess that is only normal with a 14 year old dog.


It is an experience to take care of her now because she is partially deaf, has always been a little stubborn, and just wants to do her own thing. That is ok in most cases, but when you have to leave for work at 6 AM and the deaf dog wants to sleep can make for an interesting morning! It really isn't a big problem but you have to plan ahead a little bit. (Not my area of expertise.)

We are also dog sitting, Maddy (Tommy & Becky's dog), this weekend. She is a trip and is like having a little kid around. If she gets quiet, then it's time to find out what she is doing. She likes to drag out all of Lucy's toys all over the room. She barks at all the neighbors when she is outside because she thinks she is "protecting" us. Because she is still a young dog, she is full of energy....she played by herself, throwing her toy in the air and then chasing after it, for a solid hour this morning. (Unfortunatley that hour was 6-7 AM on a holiday!)

Last weekend was busy because we were helping celebrate Dr. Joe's graduation from med school. (That is our ex-neighbor's son and Tommy's first year college roommate) It was a great accomplishment for him and we were all very proud of that accomplishment!

The boys provided the entertainment for Dr. Joe's graduation celebration. The weekend was taken up with "practice " on Sat. and the "performance" on Sun. (I enjoyed the extra time the boys were at the house practicing.)

Joe's parents did a lot of work on the party and a fun time was had by all. (Except for the one audience member who thought the "band was too loud!" I was told to take that comment with a grain of salt and remember the source, so I will!) Actually, I think the rest of the party goers enjoyed the band and the boys were even asked "Do you do Bar mitzvah's?"
Not sure they are up for that...
All I can tell you is that it definitely takes a lot of equipment hauling to do a gig, that's for sure!

Today, the boys will be coming over for BABS....that's their accronym for :
We will also have the requisite hot dogs with chili and slaw...
the good ole WV way!
Our friend, Chris, will be coming for the cook-out and to spend the night. He rode his Harley up to DC from Ohio for "Rolling Thunder". He'll visit with us tonight before he rides home. Can't wait to hear his tales on that... He said that the ride from the pentagon to the wall would have near half a million bikers in it. Can't imagine that, but he lucked out and was suppose to be in the first third of the bike pack. He said one guy last year didn't even leave the pentagon until 4:30 and the ride started at 12 noon! Maybe more on that another time.

Better stop this hodgepodge now...can't stand any more!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood

It's becoming a tradition around our house to watch Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.
I am a big fan because it has such an eclectic variety of stories that appeal to my personality trait of liking obscure facts.
It annoys me to no end that I can remember the weirdest, dumbest statistics or facts, but have trouble with names!
Becky has said in the past that it cracks her up when I pull some dumb fact out regarding sports because I'm not even a big sports fan.

In all honesty, I don't really remember all that many facts or statistics, but some of those unusual, obscure pieces of information appeal to me. I like to learn and the more unusual the info is, the better I like it in most cases.

NONE of my family likes to go sightseeing with me in DC because I like to read all the interesting info at the museums. Sometimes when I take friends and extended family members to DC, they actually appreciate some of those obscure facts that I expound on like a tour guide...but not my immediate family....they have heard them all before and politely but adamantly REFUSE to go to DC with me.

So the Sunday Morning Show is a good fit for me.

Where else can you see stories aobut medical misdiagnosis (right up my alley with my profession), the history of skirts (with the required pictures of designer Prada skirts), collectors of teapots ( there were thousands of them is all different shapes. Since I'm a tea drinker, that was pretty awesome that so much time and attention has been devoted to making tea pots!), and trains...all in one show?

The train story was interesting because I never realized ( or really gave it much thought for that matter) that there was an area in the US that ALL trains going to Florida have to go through. They said that over 70 trains in a night go through Folkston, Georgia. They have set up a viewing platform, and get people from all over the WORLD coming to watch. Granted there were some pretty "far out train watchers" profiled on the show, but there was also just the people who came just for FUN. Just people watching would be an experience!

One comment that stuck with me was "it was like birdwatching....but easier!" So, this story could appeal to a train conductor, a bird watcher, a people watcher, or to someone like me that never thought about trains that much!

Anyway, if you have never watched Sunday should give it a try. Sometimes it is not as interesting as other days, but there is always at least one really good story on the agenda.

Maybe in another blog I'll expound on medical misdiagnosis. I could really get into this topic but my family is not a big fan of me giving my opinion about medicine. I keep telling them that I am a valuable resource when it comes to their health...they just aren't totally convinced yet!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Honey, I'm home

Happy Anniversay to my wonderful husband!

It is hard to believe that we have been married for 32 years!!

When I think back to when we got married, I am amazed that we got married so young and that my parents actually "let" me get married at 18! Our kids just seem so young, and we actually had a baby at the age our youngest is now!

One of our good friends said to us at the time that we may just be dumb enough to make it last...and even though that wasn't all that complimentary at the time, it probably was true!

I 'm not writing a long blog about how wonderful my husband is because he "hates reading long blogs" but suffice it to say that this blog about him COULD be a lengthy tome otherwise.

We have had some really good times and some bad times together, as anyone who goes through life has, but we have been so fortunate to always have each other and be able to depend on one another. He is my rock and I love him dearly! ( He says I am spoiled and he is right about that because he always puts me first in his life and takes great care of me!)

He was making a joke yesterday when he came home, about how he comes through the door and says, "honey, I'm home". He joked that I got all excited about him being home...this said in a sort of sarcastic tone because I was busy working. I have to say that it is no joke that I am still happy to see him, happy he is home, and happy that he is my busband...that's pretty good after 32 years!

So, Love and Kisses to my wonderful's to many more years... and "Honey, I'm home" is music to my ears!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nice Mother's Day

So I had a very nice Mother's Day yesterday. We went to Tommy & Becky's for dinner and had wonderful food. That Becky can really cook and it still amazes me that Tommy does some work in the kitchen, too! (It was like pulling teeth to get him to do much kitchen work when he lived here!
We had a really great shrimp appetizer that was similar to one of the appetizers at Bonefish Restaurant. I think I ate about 1 lb of the 2.5 lbs of shrimp they had. Fantastic!

We also had margaritas and chicken enchiladas that were tasty too!

More importantly, we had a really nice time with the whole family there. It is less frequent that all our schedules allow us to get together like that and I really enjoyed it.

#3 Son got me a 12 foot tree trimming tool...he knows I really get into my garden equipment, and he noticed a few branches on the backyard tree that are in the way of the horseshoe pit.
#2 Son is planning on supplying me with a bunch of firewood for those cold days next fall and winter. That is always heavy labor for him and I appreciate it.
My hubby took care of my mother's day, anniversary and birthday all in one and got me a top of the line DVD/VHS/memory recorder. (This will be neat if I can ever figure out all the instructions. I may need to go back to college to figure out how to work it! He is my little technology geek!)
So I thank all my family for all their hard work and thoughtful gifts I received... they are the BEST!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom!

M-Is for the many wonderful times she has been there for me and all the times she supported me. If I tried to list all that is wonderful about her, the list would go on for a long time and probably be pretty boring for anyone BUT my mom.

O-Is for how original she is. She is definitely an original person and knows no strangers. Many stories come to mind for her originality but I always tell the story about her train ride to VA from WV. This was about a 7-8 hour trip and she was riding with Andy, her youngest grandson. When they got off the train in VA, the female conductor was standing at the open door, waving goodbye, and yelling to me, "I love your mother......" and that reframe drifted off as the train pulled out.
My coworkers still comment about her wearing black leather pants to my Christmas party: "She looked darn good.. and not many woman her age could pull that off!"
Most of the boys' friends also think she is pretty cool and many of them have taken their valuable time to go visit her in WV.
And last but definitely not the only original thing about my mom: How many grandmothers do you know that will go to a Dave Mathews concert or a Bare Naked Ladies concert with their grandkids...and really enjoy it? (Michal said that he had to be on his better behavior when she was with him but it was cool that she went.)

T-is for the trying times that she has helped me through and all the tears she has shed over the years for me. She has always been there to listen and support me through thick and thin.

H- is for her huge heart and all the happy times we have shared. We have travelled a long road together : ( from Italy to Mrytle Beach , Florida, Texas, Chicago and more). I remember when we were in Italy and she was able to be happy and upbeat, while I was laying on the hotel bed lamenting: I just want to lay here and pretend I'm home for a while. ( This after a long trying day travelling, worrying, missing our dinner meal, and being accosted by the gypsies. )

E- is for her easy going attitude and ever present smile. She has a way of walking through life with a positive attitude. That rubs off on those around her. She is one of those people that everyone wants to be friends with. I will again say thanks for EVERYTHING she has done for me.

R- she is my rolemodel. I think after having children, you really appreciate your mom so much more. This is not to say that people don't appreciate their moms if they have no kids of their own, but I think it really" brings it all home." That old saying that I hope you have kids"just like you" takes on new meaning when you are a mom yourself. I only need to look at my mom for help, assistance, and guidance because she is a real rolemodel for me.

Put them all together they spell MOTHER and that's what you mean to me!

I am grateful that I have the wonderful mom I have and hope she knows how much I love her.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Finals and a trip down memory lane

Jeffrey is in the process of his finals at Va Tech and it brought back memories of finals when I was in nursing school.

Before I go there... Study hard Jeff ... I know you can do it!...Ok... had to get my mother worry mode out of the way...

One of the major classes we had to take in nursing was anatomy and physiology. This involved both class work and labs. The professor that I had was one of those really intense, brainy kind of guys that loves science. ( think Justin.. for those of you that know Justin).
This professor really got into his work and actually loved to dissect anything.

Our animal for dissection was a cat. Now, I know you cat lovers out there won't like to hear that but I didn't have any choice what animal we dissected.

All of the nursing students really disliked the lab dissections, mostly because of the smell and partly because not many of us were any good at doing the dissection without ruining what we needed to dissect. You could smell the lab well before you reached the classroom and you could continue to smell the lab on your clothes and hands after the fact! There is nothing like formaldehyde!!

We had to use the same cat for the whole semester and to work through all the body systems. (Talk about a smell that does NOT get better with time.)

We all learned early on that if you asked the professor for help, he would get all involved and actually end up doing most of the dissecting for you. It was a race to see who could ask the first question so the professor would come "help".
Obviously, he could only work on a couple of cats a lab period, so some of those cats were pretty butchered up by the end of the year.
Some of those lab groups really had no idea what they were doing. You can also imagine a whole labroom full of young nursing students with only the token "science major "student interspersed. As I look back at the professor now, I can see why he did a good bit of the dissecting himself and I wonder how he stood all that estrogen!

At the end of the year, we had to complete an anatomy lab final. This involved the professor setting up lab stations with little flags stuck in the cats for the student to identify the body structure. In the final, this could be anything from a vein, artery, bone, muscle, or organ.

Trust me when I tell you that some of those structures didn't look anything like they were suppose to because of the poor dissections, so it was pretty important that you had a good knowledge of the anatomy.

My 2 other lab partners and I were pretty worried about the final. We decided that dedicated study was the only way we would ever pass that blasted final. (This line is also dedicated to Jeffrey!)

We were allowed to "check out our cat" for "home study." Now let me tell you that this was real carry around a semester old, badly dissected, formadehyde cat in your car!!!
We had a study-a-thon and all of us were pretty sick of that @#%$ cat by the end of the weekend.

(Now I'm a little ashamed to admit what happened next, but Michal actually likes this part of the story.)

My lab partner had a neighbor that was a real grouch. They evidently had had some run-ins in the past. She decided, after a weekend with very little sleep, that it would be "funny" to leave our poor dead, formaldehyded cat in the neighbors mailbox! Well, no sooner than it was thought than it was done. We made the laughing, running in the dark, mail deposit and off we went.

I think back now that it was a pretty DUMB thing to do...I'm really surprised we never got would have been a real shame if we had been thrown out of nursing school because of that stupid stunt. I guess when your young, you always think "it will never happen to me."
(Aside to all those younger folks that may be reading this, because you know I can't miss an opportunity: ...just because I didn't get caught, doesn't make it right!)

My lab partner went on to be a great nurse and ended up working in a high stress, cutting edge heart hospital. I do have to laugh when I think of her. She ended up working in that heart hospital and could have her hands "dripping in blood," but if she even scratched herself and saw her OWN blood....she was out like a light!

I often wondered what that neighbor thought of finding that cat??
The good news was that the extra study paid off and we all passed that final with flying colors!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mom's Beautiful Redbud Tree

So I've had a little writer's block lately and haven't really had too much to write about. I'm not sure if it's because of lack of time or just laziness. I have been busy with Easter, travel to WVA and work but the main reason I haven't written is because nothing really jumped out at me to write about.

As many of you may know, I love to work in the yard and garden.
I have started mowing the lawn and I can already tell that the grass this year is going to be tough to keep up with. I got a little carried away with the grass seed last year. My yard has pretty thick, nice, green grass.... for the most part. There are still a few "problem" areas but they will have to continue to be a work in progress for a while yet.

I love the spring with all the spring bulb flowers and all the blooming trees. Living near DC gives you a special dose of "Cherry blossom trees". The tulips around the White House at this time are also especially beautiful. Even though I have lived in this area for many years, I have only offically gone downtown to see the Washington Cherry Blossoms only once. The traffic makes it a miserable trip in most cases.

One of my best days in DC was when my friend and I got to go on the spring White House garden tour to the see flora and fauna there. They only open the gardens up twice a year in the spring and the fall. I really enjoyed seeing the gardens but I think part of the charm of that day was that it was a spur of the moment decision to even go to the White House. It was a real fluke that we got in, didn't have to fight the masses of people, and that the weather that day was perfect. (My friend, Mary Ann, was not as enthusiastic about that tour because she had to listen to me go on and on about all the different, wonderful types of flowers. She managed to enjoy herself by being fortified from the Guiness she had been sampling at the "Taste Of DC"! I still give her big "friend points" for doing that with me. I can only hope that she gave me a few "friend points" because I went to the taste of DC with her! )

Anyway, I digress, as usual....

As I was enjoying all the wonders of nature in the springtime, it's hard to miss my beautiful redbud tree that is in our backyard. I say "my" redbud because it seems most of my family are not fans of the tree.

The reason that my boys all dislike my beautiful redbud tree is shown below:
When we first moved into our house 20 years ago, we had a cement patio poured out back and the above basketball hoop installed at the same time. The idea was to have an area for our outdoor table AND to give the boys someplace to practice basketball. Well, the outdoor table was always pushed off to the side, out of the way, and was rarely used for the purpose it was intended. The brand new patio soon had the required foul line painted on the concrete and it was rarely not in use. We always had a group of kids out back on "the basketball court", now never called the patio.
All the kids who used to play here knew that the number one goal when playing basketball out back was to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the house and/or windows. ( On vinyl siding that basketball sounded like thunder when it hit!) If too many occurrences of the ball hitting the back of the house meant that Dad would come out and end the game.
When we used to live in Texas, I used to love the redbud trees down there. I told Tom when we first moved in that I wanted to get one for this house. He was not unsupportive but his advice was that it not be out in the middle of the yard "so he had another obstacle to mow around." ( This was way back before I was doing the yard work.)
Since there was this small indentation at the edge of the patio, he suggested I plant it there for the above reason. **Now in a little aside here, he will deny that this conversation ever took place...especially since all the boys hated the placement of that tree!****
As the tree started growing, it became a real problem for the three point shot. The branches made a few of the shots almost impossible. It was always an argument with the boys regarding pruning that tree. If I turned my back too long, there would be branches mysteriously gone. They always were fussing about how much they hate that tree and how it is in the way of their game!
If I had a dollar for everytime they complained about my tree, I would be rich today.
The basketball hoop finally bit the dust, due to rust. Thank God no one was hurt when it fell because a game was in progress when it finally gave way.
I think the boys all miss the basketball hoop but now that the tree is so much bigger, it really would have made the basketball area very small. There definitely is no place to shoot a three point shot.
I think they are a little stubborn to admit that my redbud tree is a beautiful tree now. They still can't help but complain about the "basketball days" and how the tree was so annoying.
I should remind them that that beautiful tree provides a good bit of shade for the OBB and for keeping the kegs in the shade for the OBB!
I will always call it my beautiful redbud tree and they will always refer to it as that @#*$ tree- but it is definitely all a matter of perspective!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

2 Minutes Until the Movie

Tom & I were watching Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood today and one of their stories was about a new Drive-In Movie theater opening in Texas. (By the way, Sunday Morning is a great show if you have never watched it.)

This brought back a host of memories about drive-in theaters because my paternal grandparents owned "The West Drive-in" in Buckhannon, WV, for many years.

My dad and his siblings all worked at the drive-in, in some capacity, while they were growing up. My dad actually ran the projector to support his growing family all through his college years. Most everyone in the family, at one time or other, worked in the snack bar, sold tickets, or did upkeep on the grounds. (I won't go into the fact that some in the family were never allowed to work in the snack bar...that is another story all by itself.)

I thought it was really cool back then that we were allowed to go into the snack bar and eat just about anything we wanted, but we always had to "mark down" what we ate so my grandfather would be able "to do his books."

I always thought I was so special as a kid because my grandparents owned the drive-in, the only indoor theater in town, AND the town public swimming pool. My dad used to tell stories about the indoor theater and how "Shirley Temple kept my dad in business during the depression" and how "we used to have a Christmas show where Santa Claus came to distribute toys on the stage in front of the screen at the theater." (Sorry, I digress ....back to the drive-in story....)

Anyway, my grandfather was pretty forward thinking and had his house built up on the hill behind the drive-in movie screen. He actually had those horrible speakerphones in his bedroom with a huge window so anyone in the house could watch the movie from the porch, his bedroom, and a family room that was located on that side of the house. I guess at the time it was what you would call his own "surround home movie theater." Granted, the sound really sucked in those speakers but still pretty ahead of his time.

I remember that as kids we were not allowed to go in the projectionist's area while the movie was running because my grandmother was afraid the projectionist would get sidetracked and miss the correct time to "change reels." When this happened, it was a white screen and most of the cars would honk their horns until the movie started again.

When I look back now, I think of all the hard work it took to run the drive-in. My grandparents always started working early in the evening to get ready for the nightly movie/s. The phone at their house was also the business phone so it would start ringing early afternoon so people could listen to the nightly features for the week and see what was playing. There was always a double feature on the weekends and they held special events on holidays.

On July 4th, they always had fireworks and my grandfather, dad, and other friends and family would "set off the fireworks". It was a tradition that the last big finale firework would have a little parachute guy in it and anyone who found the parachute got a free admission to the drive-in.

When I think of my grandmother, I always remember her in her little ticket booth. She was the main ticket seller for as long as I can remember. I can't even imagine how many tickets she sold over her lifetime but she continued running the drive-in for many years even after my grandfather died.

One of her jobs was at the end of the night when she had to drive around the movie yard and wake up patrons that had fallen asleep in their cars. I would be dosing in her car and can remember the stops and window knocks. At the time, I didn't realize the significance that most of her window knocks were for cars in the last two rows of the movie yard. Thinking back on that, I later understood the "fogged windows" and why she never let any of the grandkids do the window knocking.

After my grandmother died, my aunt ran the drive-in. When drive-ins slowly went out of fashion and she stopped running the drive-in completely, she let the locals hold flea markets on the property.

When my kids were younger, there was a drive-in located in the town where my parents lived in WVa. We always tried to have a drive-in movie night when we went to visit. All the aunts and uncles and cousins that lived in the area, would go. I forget how much it cost to get in, but it was usually by the carload. We would take stuff to sit on, blankets to wrap up in, snacks to eat, and bug spray. The kids would usually run around and play at the playground until it turned dark. Most of the kids would be asleep before the movies were over. It was always fun and very nostalgic for me. That drive-in has been out of business for many years now.

I was surprised about the number of drive-ins during their peak. 4,000 in the nation, with 388 located in Texas. I thought it might have been more nationwide but Texas dropped down to 11 drive-ins in 2000. That number is now 21 drive-ins in Texas. I have such fond memories of drive-ins that I wish everyone had the opportunity to give them a try.If you get a chance don't pass it up to go to a drive-in!

As they say: Come to the snack bar for delicious snacks...and 2 minutes until the movie!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cleaning the Garage

NEW is possible to get your husband to clean out the garage, in 45 minutes no less, if you have "possible large hail and tornado watch" in the weather forecast.
Having a clean garage is the bane of our existence and for the last 20 years we have intermittently gotten the bug to clean stuff out of no avail most of the time.
Tom's goal when he bought his new car (about 3 years ago) was to park it in the garage during the "snow season".
He has threatened to make me park outside so he didn't have to scrape his windows on cold mornings.
We actually had both cars in the garage sometime last test it out to see if they both fit...and before you know it...there were tables from the OBB, car seats removed from the van, golf clubs and other junk that slowly made their way to HIS side...
Should have a lottery as to how long it will be before HIS side is again a mess...but for today...BOTH CARS ARE IN THE GARAGE!
I need to take a picture....
And so far if our luck holds tornados or hail!