Monday, February 27, 2017

Learning To Say Yes



Have you ever wondered how many times we say, "No, thanks" on a daily basis? Well, I surprised myself recently by saying "yes" to things that I normally say "no" to.

It all started a few weeks ago when Mom's car was in the shop and I was volunteered to give her a ride for the next days. She was starting a new dog sitting assignment and I was going to drive her out to her client's house. Well, midway through the trek it became apparent that this house was a bit off the beaten path. The road went from nicely paved, up hill and down, to thickly graveled, to lightly traveled and into dirt; we crossed one creek and on into deeply rutted and no-chance-in-hell is my Mustang coming back out here land.

When we finally arrived at the cabin, it was sitting on the side of the mountain and had four cars crammed into three parking spots.  I was less than pleased, I had just put new brakes on the car and the brake pedal was going to the floor. How it the world did they get turned around? Mom must have heard me talking to myself because she asked the same thing: "I wonder how they turn around?"

At that point, an older gentleman came out of the house and greeted Mom with a big hello. "Nice looking car you got there. Want me to turn her around for you?"

Now, I've only let three people drive my car, but something about this situation: the location, the brake pedal and the fact that my nerves were already shot from the drive up the hill and the genuine offer of help from this old guy made me slowly nod my head with acceptance. "Watch the brake pedal," I said. "I just got new brakes and it's going to the floor."

I guess his years of driving experience were a big payoff because within a few minutes he had turned my car around. "That was fun!" he said. "I'm glad you said 'yes' because the last two folks didn't and  backed off the side of the mountain. We had to call in the wreckers and everything. It was a hot mess!"

I'm learning to say "yes" to lots of things:

Wanna help me out with my groceries? Sure!

Can I hold the door for you? Yes, thank you!

Did you want a to-go cup? Definitely!

Would you like to try this sample? Okay!

Would you like to try our 30-day free trial.....? (No, thanks) I still can't say "yes" to telemarketers.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Just Singing Along



I had the radio blasting the other day and was just singing along to one great song after another. Some days the radio people get it right and they seem to play all of my favorite songs.

I really don't like the sound of my own voice. I can carry a tune in a bucket, mind you, but I like to impersonate the voices that I hear. Whether I can sing high or not usually depends on the weather. If it is low humidity and no rain I can scream with the best of 'em. (i.e. Axl Rose, Aretha, Janis and Garth Brooks to name a few)

All of this got me thinking one day as I was midway through Kenny Roger's The Gambler: Do artists sing along to their own songs or do they turn the station? Do they critique themselves? Do they like the sound of their own voice?

I don't really know any famous singers personally, but there might be one reading the blog. Maybe one of the readers knows somebody. Either way, if you'd like to leave us a comment and let us know if you sing along, that would be awesome!

Until then, "It seems like we'll be cruising just as fast as we can now..."

(Sorry, gotta go. The Beach Boys just came on.)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Craving Cupcakes

I feel like Homer Simpson. Let me explain...

I'm on a low carb diet. Is there anything worse for a meat and potatoes girl like me? For my whole life, it's been about the white stuff.

Flour.

Potatoes.

Pasta.

Sugar.

Bread.

Did I mention potatoes? Mashed potatoes are my favorite food and I usually eat some form of potato every day. (Must be the Irish in me.) After nearly two months on this plan I've yet to find a suitable substitute for my Mr. Potato Head fetish.


One new food that I have discovered is flax seed, mainly flax seed flour. Yep, I said flour. It has a different kind of taste and texture to it. I've made flax seed bread that looks like Focaccia flat bread. I've made banana and raisin bread and apple flax seed muffins. I substituted Splenda for the sugar, and of course, flax seed flour for the regular white flour. The banana and raisin bread is really good.

I've already cut most of the sugar out of my diet, I'm pretty sweet without it anyway, at least that's what I've been told. But every once in a while, I get a serious craving for a cupcake. I was watching one of those cooking shows on PBS and they made homemade chocolate cupcakes complete with the white squiggly icing on top.



Talk about drooling...


They look good, don't they?

It might just be easier to go buy a single cupcake at a bakery somewhere instead of making a batch from scratch. The idea of flax seed chocolate cupcakes doesn't really sound appealing to me at all.

Sigh.

If only that picture of the cupcakes was scratch-n-sniff...my cravings might just go away!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Skunky Valentine's Day



I was looking through Valentine's Day cards the other day trying to find just the perfect ones to give to family and friends when I became totally disgusted at how expensive they were--five bucks for a card--I don't think so. Anyhow, being the somewhat intelligent and extremely clever person that I am, I remembered getting valentines when I was in school for everyone in my class and they all came in one box.

Voila!

What a great idea! They each came with their own envelope and were generally large enough to be sent through the mail. The sayings might be seen as childish, but others might think they were cute and I could always insert a heartfelt hand written note inside. Plus, there were usually thirty cards in a box and they came relatively cheap. It sounded like a good idea...

...but?

...but?

I didn't know it would be so damn hard to find a box of ordinary old-timey valentines. Geesh! Here I was at Wallyworld and the only thing I could find was Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers and iCarly, and they weren't even regular valentines; they were stickers and activity sets. No, thanks. You can keep them! I left there and went to another store, then another and finally ended up at Dollar General, where I struck gold, or, so I thought.

They had boxes of valentines but the cards didn't come with any envelopes. Crap. I reached further down into the display where the cards were and I pulled out the very last box of valentines that had envelops. I was excited that something had finally gone my way, made my purchase and tore into the box of valentines as soon as I got into the car. It wasn't too long before my excitement began to fade as I realized that all of the cards had the same picture on them: A skunk.

Have you ever received a skunky valentine?

If I remember correctly, the skunk valentine was given to someone that you didn't like and for some reason I received quite a few. What does that mean?.

Do my family and friends really want to receive a Valentine's Day card that says "I love you...and...you're a stinker too?"

Happy Valentine's Day!


...Stinky!

Monday, February 6, 2017

What Do You Do With Childhood Trophies?

I've lost track of the trophies that I've won over the years. I do remember that they were from a variety of events and not just one particular specialty.

There were the numerous sports trophies, with wins in basketball, softball and track.

I played baritone in the band and have a trophy or two for that.

I won the ping pong tournament at school one year and got another shiny piece of metal.

I won a tennis tournament at church camp (Not sure how I managed that one; the other player must have been really bad because I could barely hit the ball over the net more than one time in a row.) and received a small trophy for that.

One fall, at one of the local town festivals I entered the greased pig contest. And won! And yes, I received a handsome trophy with a shiny silver pig on the top. (Dad was especially proud of that one.)

I was also in 4-H and had the Grand Champion fair rabbit my senior year of high school. Rainbow was a French-lopped rabbit with the biggest ears and feet you've ever seen; he was big and had a great personality. I received another shiny trophy with a rabbit on the top. (I think that was my favorite of all of them.)

I know I won a few more, several for academic accomplishments and I think even one for bowling.

In a lot of situations, the kids grow up and move out of the house. Their childhood room remains pretty much the way they left it, filled with mementoes and memories until they are well into adulthood.

This wasn't the case for me. I graduated from high school and my mother moved out the next day. She had lost her job, but still managed to get her youngest child through school before heading off into the sunset. Dad moved to Georgia a few months later and left us three kids, plus a new sister-in-law alone in the old house on Cherry Fork Road.

The first thing my new sister-in-law tried to do was redecorate the house in a style that fitted her tastes. And the first thing she decided to decorate was the mantle in the living room. Guess what was sitting on the mantle in the living room?

My trophies.

Now instead of my trophies filling up the room with all of my glorious accomplishments, there were candles and knick knacks. Bric a brac, whatnots and plain old crap--not a trophy in sight. "Where are my trophies?" I asked.

"I wanted to redecorate," she said.

"I don't care what you change, but the trophies aren't going anywhere," I said and proceeded to remove all of the junk. "The trophies are staying," I said again. "Where are they?"

"I put them in a box," my sister-in-law of four months said.

It wasn't a very smooth beginning to our relationship.

Over the next two years, the mantle started to overflow as I continued to achieve successes in various events. When it came time for me to move south to further my education, I remember being saddened as I now packed my trophies into a box to move south. This part of my life was now over--the part of coming home with a new trophy, showing it to mom and dad, and having mom place it on the mantle.

We didn't have a mantle in the house in Georgia. For a few months after I moved south, things were so busy getting me off to school, plus all of us working lots of overtime hours, the trophies continued to sit in the box in which they were moved. One weekend, when I came from college, Mom took me in the spare bedroom and showed me a wonderful surprise. She had built two shelves along one side of the room and they were filled with all of my old trophies. I was delighted. Elated, to be more precise.

Over the years, the trophies remained there as I went to college and then off into the work force. I never really lived with my parents in the new house--mainly through college breaks and sometimes in the summer.

It was a small house, only two bedrooms, and when my brother (minus his wife) moved to Georgia, he took up residence in the other bedroom. I'm not sure how long the trophies remained there but I know it was probably a dozen years or more. One day I came to visit and they weren't there any longer. "I'm thinking about doing some remodeling," mom said. "I put your trophies in a box. I hope you don't mind."

"I don't mind. Maybe, I'll take them and put them up in my house," I said.

More time passed and eventually the trophies became forgotten. Mom and I were sorting through some old boxes and came upon the old box filled with my childhood accomplishments. "I thought you took these with you," she said.

"I forgot all about them," I said. We looked through the box and reminisced about Rainbow, the rabbit, playing in the band and wrestling a greased pig. "What should I do with these old trophies?" I asked.

Mom thought for a moment, "Well, you can take them if you want too, but they aren't hurting anything by sitting in this box. I'll just clean them up and put them back away. It's too bad you kids didn't get to stay around where you grew up. It would have fun been keeping your rooms the way they were. We did it backward, didn't we?" she asked.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, you kids grew up and me and your dad moved away," she replied.

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