Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The fun never ends!

How I wish that I really meant that!  I have had a rather exciting couple of days, to say the least.  Friday I left work a few hours early to take Isabella to her Open House at school so that she could meet her new teacher and see her classroom.  Michelle couldn't leave work and Jim was working, she had asked if I would take her and I happily obliged.  But it was not to be so.  On my way home, I encountered a bit of difficulty.  I was on the highway coming to an area of construction, the vehicles in front of me and myself we all tapping our brakes to slow down, and we were averaging about 35 mph at that time.  The vehicle ahead of me was a commercile van and I could not see around it, he put his brakes on and released again and suddenly I realized that he had hit the vehicle ahead of him, but it was too late for me to stop in time and I then hit him!  It turned out that it was a line of six vehicles that were involved and I was the last one in the line, so I only sustained damage to my front end, none of the vehicles involved deployed air bags.  Most of the vehicles were trucks or large vehicles, the first in the line was a car and then mine which is technically a cross-over.  The van that I hit, his rear bumper had a slight dent that the driver said he would probably just bang out.  This is what my car looks like:
It is TOTALLED!!!!!
Because it is considered a total loss, my insurance company will only authorize a rental for three days.  The good news is that because another person who was in the accident has the same insurance carrier as I do, my deductable is waived.  That is one of the benefits of my insurance company.  So, I'm going to be buying a new car.  Just what I didn't want to  be doing. 
Got to sit along side of the highway for two hours while the police and the EMT's and the firemen and tow trucks sorted everything out.  It was a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon.  I'm sure all the other commuters liked it as well!  My car was not drivable, wouldn't even turn on.  So, Michelle called Shawn and he came and picked me up.  (Cue the music. Ahhhh-haa)  Love that boy!  He earned major, major brownie points from me.  Might just have to order M & M's with his face on them for him to show him the love!  Anyway, he came from work in his commercial van and it's BIG.  He practically had to help me get into the darn thing.  So he pulls into the driveway and I'm just so glad to be home at this point I just want to get inside and take a shower and maybe cry a little, you  know normal stuff.  So I go to get out of his van but I forgot what kind of vehicle I was in and just got out, and fell flat on my arse on the driveway and then smashed my head in the garden-luckily a lantana plant was there to cushion the blow.  Shawn was so stunned he just looked over at me and said 'Are you okay?' and started laughing, then he came around to help me up.  I was cracking up and couldn't even think of how to get up.  It was just too much!  When I finally did get inside and in the shower, I had flowers everywhere, in my hair, all over my back, in my bra-don't even want to guess how they got down there!  What a mess! 
Luckily I wasn't hurt too badly.  Just sore and stressed and SORE and a hell of a headache!  I slept most of the day on Saturday, as I could hardly move, and by Sunday I was feeling somewhat better.  Went in to work on Monday and my insurance company called to say the adjuster was going to go out to see the car.  Then the adjuster called to tell me that the car was totalled and I felt worse again!  Ha!  So I had to traipse up to Jefferson to the storage lot and get everything out of George (my car) and take the licence plates off, which was no easy feat let me tell you-I had to get the guy from the service station to help me and he had to use a hammer and a chisel to get the rear plate off.  Anyway by the time I was done I felt like I'd gone through the ringer.  I was hot, tired, stressed out and grumpy to boot.  So, I did what any red-blooded American woman would do-I went for a mani-pedi.  Boy did I feel better!
Because I was in the house all weekend though, I did get a few cards made.  Bella's first day of school was yesterday and I wanted to make something that she could take in for her teacher.  She and Aiden had made a little container of chocolate covered animal crackers for their teachers and I made them a tag that read ' Looking forward to a year full of Wild Adventures!' and they signed them.  But I also wanted to make something else for the teacher so I put together these:

Just a little something.
So that's about all for now. 
Guess, I have to start car shopping, I'll let you know what I find.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where Were You?

Historically, this question has come up on a number of times.  Where were you when:
  • JFK was shot?
  • The first man walked on the moon?
  • Elvis died?
  • The space shuttle disaster?
  • Ronald Reagan was shot?
  • John Lennon was killed?
  • On 9/11?
These are moments that for many of us, have imprinted themselves on our memory.  Moments that time will never take away, no matter how hard we try.  I remember being in the multi-purpose room at my school, crowded in there away from the classroom.  The excitement in the air was palpable, mostly the adults were excited as first graders sitting on the floor, we were just hoping that no one threw up.  We all waited, and watched the one small screen, knowing what was about to happen, but not really sure that it would.  But then he appeared on that little ladder and put his foot down on that bumpy surface called the moon.  We didn't know just what it meant, but we knew it was big.

I was eight months pregnant, sitting on the couch while my four year old played on the floor at my feet.  Folding laundry as I watched the Challenger take off, it was a beautiful day in Florida for a shuttle launch.  Then only 73 seconds after liftoff, disaster struck as the shuttle exploded and all seven crew members aboard were killed.  A  young mother by the name of Christa McAuliffe was the first member of the Teacher is Space Project was a member of the crew that day and the media coverage was especially high.  I remember it so well.  I just couldn't believe it was real.  A photograph forever imprinted.

There are others, so many others.  Good and bad, happy, not so happy.  Joyous occasions and ones filled with sadness and loss, lonlieness and tears, love, hope, anticipation, pain, sorrow and fear.  These are the moments that make up are lives, the moments that stand out in time.  The snapshots, that frame by frame, help to define who we are.  Right?  Are you following me?

Stay with me here, because I do have a point.  For many of us, especially those of us who live in the Virginia/DC/Metro Area, Tuesday was a 'Where were you' kind of a day.  Tuesday, August 23, 2011  will now and forever more (most likely) be known as the day a 5.8  Earthquake Shook the Pants Off the Politicians in the Pentagon.  Or something equally as catchy, but maybe without the aliteration.  Here is a picture of how it registered according to the VT seismogram.
I can say two things with certainty: I was at work and People are crazy!  Or stupid.  Or both.  So I'm on the third floor and we feel it rumble a little, then the rumbling grows and my computer begins to shake and the next thing I notice my chair begins to roll away from my desk.  I look up and the ceiling is shaking and the noise is really LOUD!  Now the fire alarm goes off and most of my co-workers begin to exist the building.  I say most, not all.  Later after we were cleared to go back in the building I returned to my desk to retrieve six voice mails from co-workers asking if the fire alarms were real or if it was a drill and what should they do.  Really?  Do they think I could make a drill that good that I could make the building shake and sway?!  I mean, I know I threaten them with my super powers but I didn't think they really believed me! 

Bottom Line:  All fine.  No damage.  Excitement I don't need to go through again.  Thank you, but no.

I do have 2 cards to show you.  And if you have lasted this long, I should have made a Congratulations!  card for you, but I didn't so you'll just have to live with it.

First up, a birthday card:
This was for Mom's birthday.  Only problem is she was 72 not 73!  I just hate it when I do things like that.  She didn't mind though, she just said she'd save it for next year because she liked the card.  How's that?
This is for my friend Durinda.  She makes the most beautiful cards I almost hate to send her mine anymore!  A thank you for making Bella's visit so extrardinarry!  By the way, my little almost Southern girl is now saying tomatoe like she is from Britain .(ta-mah-to) Ha!
All supplies from Papertrey ink.

So, that was my excitement.  Tell me about yours, I'd love to hear it!  Did the earth move?  Did you feel anything at all?  What did you think?  Chime in!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hershey, Clean Carpets, Fish, Headaches, etc.

Randomness...that is what I've been up to it seems.  I've been busy, yes.  Nothing terribly new or unusual about that.  Nothing too specific either. 

Tuesday we took the kids to Hersheypark.  Tim was not able to join us and that made me sad, I miss him.  Things have changed so much for our family in the last year.  It's not a bad thing, and I am so happy for the changes in many ways, but it also makes me sad too.  I miss the way that our family was.  The times when we would just say to the kids that we were going to take them somewhere and they would just say 'Great!' or something akin to that.  Now I have to schedule dates with my kids.  It's just different.  Anyway, Michelle and Shawn, Bella and Aiden were able to go and Shawn's parents Della and Rex met us up there.  On the way up it began to drizzle a bit and looked as though it might really downpour, so we were pretty lucky in that it was not terribly crowded at all and it didn't rain.  Michelle, Shawn and Rex rode all of the roller coasters while Jim, Della and I escorted Bella and Aiden on rides that were more suited to them.

At the Boardwalk.
We saw a couple of shows, the kids rode lots of rides, made their very own candy bar, visited Chocolate World and barely made it back to the car.  It was a LONG day and we didn't get back home until 11:45 or so and then I had to be up to get ready for work at 5 AM and that came very early!  It was fun though and by Friday, I was about recovered.

Friday we had all the carpets cleaned in the house.  Yipee!  They sure needed it, especially since Roxie our seven year old lab has recently decided that she is suddenly not housebroken anymore and has choosen to use the dining room to relieve herself!  I am praying that we have cured her of that problem and payed extra to have a black light pet urine treatment done in that room.  So, I spent a good part of Saturday putting the house back in order as there was styrofoam or slips of plastic under all the furniture, and smaller pieces of furniture on top of the larger pieces, curtains were tied up, and the dining room has been blocked off all weekend as that room required 48 hours of drying time.  In other words, the house has been a shambles!  The good news is the carpet looks good and feels great on my feet, the bad news is that according to Michelle and Bella the house has had a 'chemical' odor to it since Friday.  I can't smell it, but I think that it has been affecting me because I've been battling a headache all weekend that worked itself into a full blown migraine by late yesterday morning.  :(

I had intended to get up and go to church Sunday but from what I've been told, I was wandering around the house late Saturday night in more nocturnal ramblings and meanderings and I wound up oversleeping.  When I did get up Bella announced that she and G-Daddy were going fishing and asked if I wanted to go, so I got dressed, grabbed my camera and went along with them to capture some of these precious memories on film.  School is just another week away and she is anxious to go back but says that she is going to miss her 'dates' with her Grand Daddy.  I don't doubt that one little bit!
It was a great morning for fishing and she just kept pulling them out of the lake, one after the other!  The two of them have such a great time together, they are so much fun to watch. 
The sun had gotten to us all a little and Bella had asked to lie down when we got home, but after a rest, a bite to eat and something to drink, she and Grandaddy were both ready to go.  By now Shawn was over, so I could duck out and they would still have a foursome, so that is what I did.  So next on tap was miniature golf, followed by go carts, a bouncy house and a water slide.  I was tired just from hearing about it!

After dinner, we had a visit from our nephew Justin and his sweet wife Carrie.  We haven't seen them in forever!  It is terrible because they live about 20 minutes away from us and yet we hardly get a chance to visit with them.  I guess life just gets in the way, but we are going to have to make time to rectify that situation.  Their son Austyn is playing football and hopefully we will be able to make it to a couple of his games this fall, but regardless, it was really good to see them!

So, that is a catch up on my week.  I am really hoping to be able to get into my room since I have been able to clear the desk top off so that now I can see the desk.  I would love to be able to get to work on something creative, especially since I won a new set of stamps!  That's right I won a set of clear stamps from Inky Antics along with two packages of their Honey Comb paper.  I love their adorable images and stamps and have been dying to try the honey comb paper w/the stamped images and now I can.  I promise to post a picture as soon as I can...

Monday, August 15, 2011


Do you dream?  I know that everyone has dreams for their future, their childrens future, wild dreams, fantasies, that kind of thing.  But those are not the type of dreams that I am speaking about.  I mean the type of dreams that you have when you are asleep.  Those kind of dreams.  Do you remember them?  Are they vivid?  Do you believe that they may forshadow something of the future? 

Many different cultures have different beliefs regarding the meaning of dreams.  Ancient Romans and Greeks believed that Gods visited you in dreams.  Native Americans often belive that dreams are a kind of shayman to your soul.  Others have even more specific beliefs, spiders are a symbol for death, Freud first believed that dreams were a motivation of wish fulfillment, he later came to believe that they were more our repressed desires, while Carl Jung relies more in the belief that dreams may contain ineluctable truths, philosophical pronouncements, illusions, wild fantasies, memories, plans, irrational experiences and even telepathic visions.  Others still believe that a dog is simply a dog, a horse merly a horse and not metaphors for any hidden meaning. 

And me, what is it that I believe?  Well, I believe that I if I believed in the interpretation of dreams then I just might have to be committed.  That is what I believe.  This pronunciation comes not without a lot of forethought and quite frankly consternation.  Because I dream-a lot!  Not that a lot of dreaming is all that unusual in and of itself, but from what I've been told I act out my dreams in my sleep.  That may not come as a surprise to those of you who know me as I always have had a flair for the dramatic. 
Let  me give you an example as to what I am talking about though.  Early Sunday morning Jim woke me up, I remember looking over at the clock and seeing that it was 3:00 AM.  and I remember talking to him, but I don't remember too much more than that.  Shortly thereafter he got up to get ready for work and I slept fitfully, often waking myself up by calling out in my sleep.  I heard someone yelling 'My head really hurts!'
I woke only to realize that it was me who had been yelling.  So enough of trying to sleep, I got up and showered. 
Later in the day, after Jim got home this is what he had to describe to the family about our encounter at 3 am:
He awoke to a loud CLUNK and to me softly moaning.  He looked over to my side of the bed and saw that I was not in the bed, but had fallen out of the bed and was he thought, standing next to the bed covered in the bedding.  Thinking he would help me out, he pulled the bedding off only to discover that my feet were sticking up and I was head down.  Once he pulled the bedding off I toppled over completely.  KERPLUNK!  He then asked me if I was going to get back in bed to which I replied 'I'm trying, but I'm stuck under the bed.'  He asked me what I was doing and I told him that I was trying to get my camera, it was falling in the ocean.  Asked why I needed my camera, I told him that I wanted to take a picture of Timmy because he was kissing a blowfish!  When he asked where my camera was I told him it was in my saddlebag, and I knew it was going to sound strange but that I was riding a horse.'   That's the only thing I found strange about the whole scenario!  And my family?  Timmy just said that he was sorry that he was the cause of my pain.  ( I had a terrible headache all day.)  Michelle laughed all day and wanted to know what made me think my camera would work?  Really?  What made her think I was thinking?  I was dreaming!!!
Shawn.  Well, he just can't even stop laughing and he just thinks this whold sleep talking stuff is hysterical anyway.  And Bella?  That darling girl?  She said 'Well GaGa, if you were in the ocean then you were riding a Sea Horse.'  She is the sole beneficiary of my will.

That is just one instance.  There have been others.  PLENTY of others.  I could write a book.  Actually, my husband could write a book.  I don't really remember anything.  He woke up once to me standing on the edge of the bed, one hand on the post of the bed the othe stretched out towards the open air, my foot pointed out the same way reaching, reaching... He asked me what I was doing.  My reply?  Trying to get the boat?  We don't have a boat!  We do have a window very near to my side of the bed though.  Jim is beginnig to think about putting bars on the windows or a railing on my side of the bed.  I think I might have to look into sleeping with a helmet on for my own safety. 

And you wonder why I'm so tired?  You'd be tired too if you were as active as I was when you were sleeping!  Ha!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Birthday Party the Wouldn't End!

You may remember that Isabella's birthday was back in June.  Well, at that time our very dear friends called Isabella before hand to speak with her about her party.  You see, Bella fully expected them to be at her party because they were always at her birthday parties.  Always!  But this year, as Durinda explained to Bella they were pressed for time.  They could come for the party but not for the weekend.  If that was okay, the would still come for her birthday but if she preferred, Bella could come to their home in Williamsburg for a weekend and we would celebrate then.  Well there was no hesitation and she choose the weekend! This past weekend was the first time we could get away and Jim and I took Bella down to Williamsburg.  (Michelle was supposed to go but at the last minute, work got in the way.)
I thought that Durinda would sing Bella Happy Birthday, give her a gift and make her a cake and play a game or two with her.  She always makes her feel special.  Silly me.  She sent Bella an invitation, inside were several questions that Bella had to answer that gave hints as to what was in store and asked her to bring the card with her when she came.  The excitement was growing.  All the way down in the car, Bella talked about what was in store for her.  What would Durinda make for dinner, would Andy take his silly pills, what about the 'treasure map' that Durinda hinted about?  She just couldn't wait! 

We arrived around 4:30, just in time for happy hour.  Here are the appetizers that were waiting for the little miss:
Sushi, made from pound cake, rice crispie treats, sweedish fish and other candies!
A little exploration around the house led Bella to find the dining room table set for dinner, this is what it looked like:
She was the Queen of the Seas and you guessed it, we were her Guppies!  Boy did she play that one to the hilt.  Saturday we took a field trip to the Va. Beach Aquarium, just Durinda, Bella and me.  We had a great time.  After we were done there, we made a side trip to the beach itself as Bella had never seen the beach or the ocean.  She was so cute.  She was totally enthralled by the ocean, loving the waves.  Jumping right into the water and pulling me in with her.  She had shorts on and was just supposed to go in to her knees but she just couldn't resist the pull of the ocean and dove right in, fully clothed.  She asked me "GaGa why didn't you ever tell me it was this much fun!?'  She wanted to stay there all day.  Standing there with her feet in the water facing the waves, she said it felt like the whole earth was just falling away beneath her feet.  So cute!  I just love that kid!
Bella, feeling the earth beneath her feet
Me and my girl.

Bella and Durinda-what a special relationship they have!
Ready for more!
After we got back to the house, Bella had to answer her questions and for each question that she got correct she got a piece of her treasure map.  The map was a picture of the backyard and there were fish stickers placed on the map to indicate where 'treasure' might be hidden.  The treasure that she found were wrapped gifts.  What fun!  Then came the hard part, she was made to wait to open the gifts until after dinner.  Dinner was superb, and Bella loved seeing us all in our special hats and threatened to send us to the dungeon if we failed to wear them.  Ha!  After a desert of pufferfish cake, we retired to the family room where Bella opened her gifts which included books and cards, games and clothes, we were finally able to get her to bed.  The four adults were all pretty worn out!
Sunday we went to some of our favorite shopping places at the birthday girl's request.  Yankee Candle, The Christmas Mouse and of course Towne Square in Olde Towne. While at Yankee Candle, Bella ran into an old friend of hers, one she hadn't seen in quite a while and was surprised to see in August.  She was a bit shy a first, thinking that this friend might not remember her but when he proved her wrong by telling her how tall she had grown and calling her by name, she warmed right up.  Here's a picture of the two of them together, you just might recognize him too.
Yup, that's Santa in his Hawaiin style shirt with snowflakes on it.  He was working on his Naughty & Nice list and taking a break from the cold up North.
It was a wonderful weekend and I can't tell you what it means to me to have my dear friend love my precious Granddaughter in the same way that I do.  It is such a blessing for all of us! 
Our time together was so special and memorable, it is something that we will never forget.
Thank you just seems like not nearly enough to express our gratitude for all that you've done but,
Thanks, D-We love you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Pictures!

Pictures Courtesy Kelly Hahn  Photography
Isabella, Me and Rocket, isn't he adorable?!

Look at that tongue reaching out for his favorite treat!  Bamboo, not Bella!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm a Rocket Fan

I am still struggling.  It has been a very rough couple of weeks and an especially tough weekend.  My pain level was at an all time high for this time of year and I was just out of it.  I barely moved all day on Sunday, just went from the couch to the chair and once in a while made the trek down the hall to the wc for a change of scenery!  Last night after Jim gifted me with a 1/2 a banana split that was made with coconut custard I began to feel somewhat better.  The healing power of ice cream! 
Anyway, I wanted to post about what we did last Thursday.  It was an amazing night and I didn't want it to get away from me.  So, while it is still somewhat fresh in my mind I want to write about our experience.  Jim has been a member of the Catoctin Zoo for several years now. It is a somewhat small, privately owned local zoo in Thurmont, Md.  and is only about 20 minutes away from us.  Seeing that Jim and Bella love the zoo so much, Jim became a member and has gotten Bella a membership as well, sometimes I get a membership too, but as I don't go as often as they do I don't always get a membership.  This year, Michelle has introduced Shawn and Aiden to the wonders of this local resource as well.  Anyway, often the zoo will do special events for its members and families and Thursday was one such event.  The event was prompted by the arrival of the zoo's newest member- "Rocket".  Rocket is a 2 year old Giraffe.  Members and FB fans of Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo met 2 year old, 12 foot tall giraffe named “Rocket” during a special fundraiser event on July 28, 2011. 
Rocket is very comfortable around humans, especially if they are bringing him some bamboo to eat, his favorite treat.
Rocket is on loan to the zoo through October 2011. So the zoo held an invitational fundraiser because the costs of bringing Rocket to the zoo, housing  him and feeding him will cost the zoo at least $60,000.00 in the next four months.

Bella and I had our picture taken with Rocket and were also able to feed him.  What a treat!  He was so sweet and so personable.  He even nuzzled my head!  He was really cute and I can't wait for him to be on permanent display so that everyone can share in this wonderful creature.  We were not able to take pictures with our cameras of us with Rocket as that was part of the fundraiser, but they didn't mind at all us taking pictures of the guest of honor at all.  So here he is:

Showing his handler some love!
Having a bite of bamboo.
Being led out to the crowd on a new leash.

You too can be a Rocket Fan!  If you live near the Washington Metro Area, be sure to visit the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo and go meet Rocket, take a ride on their Safari Ride, get up close and personal with the camels and the Yaks, see a warthog in person and see the baby white bengal tiger and the baby camel.  You won't regret it!