Monday, February 27, 2012

I Got A Feeling....

Chuck has a conference to attend in Newport Beach, California and I am tagging along.  He went to the same place last year and insisted I go this time because it's so beautiful there.  The difference in this year and last year is I was working at a school last year and it is incredibly hard to ask for a week off.    This year, I have a new job with a very understanding boss.  I asked way in advance so they worked me out of the schedule.  Love my new job for more reasons than one, but that is a big one. 

In getting ready for this trip, we decided to board Harry and our neighbor will be staying here with the other dogs (and the alarm system). Today, I was doing some last minute laundry and set the timer for one hour because that's when I needed to leave to take Harry to the vet's office.  As I sat down to check on a couple of blogs and fb, I had a feeling.  I thought I should call my friend Debbie.  We have been wanting to "talk" but keep missing each other.  And the fact that she lives in Atlanta and is on a different time zone plays in to us missing each other.  And the fact that we can't just talk for a few minutes makes it harder for either of us to pick up the phone.

But I did pick up the phone....knowing the timer would go off and I would have to say goodbye. 

But she didn't answer.

So I waited a few minutes and dialed again.

But she still didn't answer so I sent her a text.  Told her I had some time to talk but I would call later...that I was going to be in Newport Beach this week with Chuck.  Talk later.

She text me back...she was at a doctor's office so she couldn't answer her phone but text me that Chip (her husband)  was in Newport Beach also this week and he had wanted her to make the trip but she didn't.   

Several texts later, she booked a flight for Tuesday morning and I have a 3 day Play Date with my best friend!  I am beyond excited.  What are the odds that we will be there, I called her (that feeling to call her then instead a few days from now), her husband is already there and was willing to fly her out (he wanted her with him so it's a win/win for all of us)?  So glad I acted on that feeling. 

Me and Debbie...last summer in Destin.  I thought I was really tan.  I will see her tomorrow.  Still can't believe it!  There will be no tans or bathing suits involved this time around.  It's in the low 60's in sunny southern California right now.  Thank goodness. 

On another note.....after taking Harry to the vet, I came home and mopped the muddy, muddy kitchen floor.  The other dogs are looking for him.  I think they may be a little excited he's gone...but also a little scared they're next. 

Harry chewed one of my tennis shoes and a windowsill yesterday. This list of damage is pretty long.
  When I called Chuck to tell him about the windowsill, I thought he would be so mad. 

He said, "Well, I guess I'm going to have to get good with wood filler."

Who is this guy? 
The old Chuck would have been frustrated
and angry about damage in the house.

This dog has Chuck wrapped around his big ol' paw.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy 24th on the 24th!

 Happy Birthday Cameron!

She is 24 today on the 24th.  I've always heard that your magic birthday is the one when you turn the same number as the date of your birthday.  I hope for her it is magic.  Or at the very least, a wonderful day and an exciting new year full of great things. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Gift of Nothing

Working at a gift shop, we do lots of gift wrapping.  In fact, it's something we ask customers if they would like.

 "Would you like this gift wrapped?"                      "Can we wrap this for you today?" 
                                  "Is any of this a gift that you would like wrapped?"

On any given day, there's always a lot of gift wrapping going on.  It's all hands on deck and we help each other check customers out, bag up their items and wrap gifts.

On Saturday,  I stepped in and helped sweet Ally find a box for a necklace that was to be wrapped.  She had one box already but asked me if I could see if there was a better one. I looked to see and brought out one that I thought was bigger.  I placed the necklace in the box then went to pick out the gift bag and tissue.

The customer waited patiently while I wrapped.  I handed it off to her when I was finished and she was out the door. 

About an hour later, Ally came up to me with the box that had the necklace in it.  About a second went by before I realized what I had done. 

UH.  OH.


Yep.  There were 2 boxes on the gift wrap table.  The one Ally had tried out and the one I brought out.  Apparently I put the necklace in the box then laid it down to go get the gift bag and tissue.  When I came back I picked up the empty box and wrapped it.  ONLY.  ME. 

The next several minutes I went into panic mode and scrambled around to get the customer's name pulled up on the computer so I could get her phone number.  Only there were other people on the computers checking out customers so it felt like hours!  I had to wait for a computer to be freed up....hours and hours (well, probably only a minute really).  I was picturing the customer already at lunch with the gift recipient and watching with pride as her friend opened the gift.  PANIC.

I found the number and dialed it.  Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.  Answering Machine.  DANG! I left a goofy message and told her what I'd done and please call me back asap!  I may have even said we had a 911 situation here. 

I let about 10 minutes go which I could accomplish nothing because I was thinking about the gift of nothing being opened. 

I dialed the number again.  This time she answered!

Me:  Hey, it's Julia at......

Her:  Yeah, I got your message.             (her tone was flatline)

Me:  I am so sorry.  So very sorry.  We have your gift wrap........   (my tone was syrupy)

Her:  I'll be up there in a little while.      (put out)

So I wrapped the real gift and wrote a note of apology for the inconvenience I caused her....and then hid when she came back to get it.  I am here to tell you, this bothered me a whole lot more than it did her. 

Slow down.  Slow down.  Slow down.  My mantra for the rest of that day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ten Hundrededy Five

Jimmy Kimmel gets it. He gets how pure and naturally funny kids are. Pure. Funny without trying.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I remember being a very young child and feeling like I was a good girl....even when my mouth got me in trouble.  It was never the plan to get in trouble.  I just had a big mouth.  I never could keep my mouth shut.  I would suddenly end up in trouble and honestly couldn't remember how I got there.  It always happened that fast.

What?  What'd I do?  What?  I talked back?  Really?  I was just telling you how I felt.

Words have always come tumbling out of my the point that those around me know just exactly what I'm thinking....sometimes that's a good thing...sometimes not so much.  Phone calls were made to my mother from my teachers about my constant talking.  Report cards reflected my inability to stay quiet at appropriate times.  And as I grew older, relationships have definitely been affected by my voicing my opinion...whether it was asked for or not.  And there have been plenty of times that even I surprise myself by what just came out of my mouth...OUT LOUD.

Did I just say that?

I can tell I'm growing up (yes, I'm 54 and still growing up) because I have gotten a little better about controlling my mouth.   A.  Little.  Better.  But my mind is constantly racing with thoughts and I always seem to have an opinion...although I admit not always an educated one. 

I mean well.  I really do. 

So I will ask you how you are and probably not wait for your answer.  But I really do care how you are.  My brain has just fast forwarded to the next thing. And I will interrupt your story because I relate it to a time it happened that way with me and the words just spill out of my mouth even though you are still talking.  And I will probably irritate you with an "I told you so" because I did tell you so. 

I may even have a very strong opinion (you will call it judgemental) about your husband who you told me has physically beaten the point you separate and move to the other side of town to get away from him...then go back with him right before the holidays...and I tell you he is not invited in to my home because I have daughters (who you talked about this abuse in front of) and I do not want them to ever think it is okay to be physically abused.  And this will put a huge wedge in our family.  But I had good intentions.  I really did.  I just couldn't keep my thoughts in my head and pretend I felt otherwise. I had to voice them.

A child like me, today, would be diagnosed with having A.D.D. and then be medicated.  I could spot those kids "like me" when I worked with kindergartners.  As long as their lack of impulse control doesn't harm anyone physically, they are usually just active, creative little beings.  So, I hold off being put on medication and pray hard to God to help me keep my mouth shut. 

Some days I excel.  Other days, not so much.

But as only God can do, he put me with a guy who doesn't talk much.  Most of my friends will say...."he probably doesn't have a chance to say much with you around".  Nope.  He can sit for hours and not say a word.  I've tested it.  And when I ask him what he's thinking, he says "nothing."  And he means it.  I've tried to think "nothing" but that never happens.

Thank goodness, one of us talks.  And thank goodness one of us can say nothing for long stretches at a time.

And you know what I've been worried about lately?

What if I couldn't speak?

How could I tell my kids how proud I am of them....and how much I love them....and how happy they make me?  And that good ol' quiet boy I married....he might be lonely if I couldn't talk.  

Yep.  Even when I'm not talking, I'm worried about not talking.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eye Am Good

I had my eye check-up yesterday and all is healed...from the laser surgery for the retinal tear part of it, anyway.  There is still some residual stuff in there causing the cloudy floater but it will take a while to go away...if it even ever goes away completely.  Eventually, I will not notice it so much....they say. 

When I walked in to the doctor's office, the first face I saw was Chuck's.  I was completely surprised. He was supposed to be at work.  This was 10:30 in the morning.

Me:  What are you doing here?

Chuck:  I wanted to make sure your eye is okay.

Me:  Oooookkkkkkaaaaayyyyyyyy.  Well, you may be awhile...because they'll call me back to dilate my eyes and then it'll take about 45 minutes to be fully dilated.  I may be here a long time.

Chuck:  That's okay.  I want to stay around to hear the results.

So we waited together and played Words With Friends....and then he came back with me for the examination.  It was really, really sweet of him.

Or it could be I have made him feel guilty for not taking this "eye" thing seriously enough.  I mean, I did go through the laser SURGERY alone. I may have said that a time or two the last couple of weeks.  I excel at "milking it."

The doctor told me I could ease back in to bending and lifting.  I asked if I could just say I had to continue no lifting or bending...because it did get me out of a few chores.  He said for me to do whatever works for me...and then gave me a wink.

So I am easing back in to bending and lifting.........unless, of course, it is a laundry basket or groceries.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Super Bowl's On....

...but I'm not watching it.  I tried to watch a little of it...but I just can't sit still for football.  I did however make a delicious dip for our Super Bowl Party of 2.  

Back up a little....on New Year's Eve, we were at my brother-in-law's deer camp in Mississippi.  There was a potluck dinner served with lots of dips and desserts.  One dip was so good that I had to get a second and third helping.  I could tell it was a cheese based dip with bacon...but there was this sweet sauce on top that was making the whole thing delicious.  You know it's good when you wake up thinking about it the next day. 

On the way home from our trip, we stopped at a store that sold The Delta Magazine Cookbook.  The Delta Magazine is a magazine published in Cleveland, Mississippi....Chuck's hometown.  My mother-in-law always has a stack of magazines on her coffee table and this magazine has become one of my favorites.  It's like a Southern Living, Junior....home decor and wonderful recipes.  So when I saw the cookbook, I had to have it.  All those recipes published over the last 50 publications compiled in one book.

Looking through the cookbook on the long drive home, I came across a recipe for Captain's Cheese Bake.  Reading the ingredients, I began to taste the recipe you do that?  Well, I do...and it was that dip!  Reading the ingredient Captain Rodney's Boucan Glaze is what made me realize it. 

As soon as I got home, I googled Captain Rodney's Boucan Glaze and ordered a bottle here.  And tonight I made the dip.  It cost 12.99 plus shipping for a 13 oz. bottle which should be enough to make the dip twice.




Here it is!

I used a 1/2 cup of Real Bacon Bits and did not grease the pie pan because it was glass....and because hello?....cheese is grease.   And I used more like 10 Ritz Crackers to cover the top.  It was just as delicious as I remembered it. 

You will have to order this glaze online...but I promise you, it will be so worth it.  Trust me. 

On another note....Chuck and I went to see The Descendants last night.  If George Clooney had just stared at the camera, it would have been enough for me.  But he did way more than that and I loved the movie. 

It's somewhat of a dark subject matter as it takes place during the 15 days after the wife's accident on a motor boat, leaving her critically injured and in a coma unable to breathe on her own.  George's character is a busy lawyer who is so uninvolved in his daughters' lives, he has no idea how to even talk to them. While there is certainly sadness in the air, there is just enough humor for relief.   The characters are quirky, real and honest.  I want to see it again.  And I rarely feel that way about a film.

Beautifully acted, gorgeous cinematography and directed by Alexander Payne...who directed About Schmidt and Sideways.  I think it's a must see in the theater. 

And because I haven't mentioned another dog besides Harry lately, I thought I would show a before and after of Maggie...who was taken to the groomer today because Chuck thought she stunk.  If I had known that's all it took for him to take the initiative to take her to the groomer, I would have made her stink on purpose long ago.   


One eyed bandit.


Two Bowed Cutie.


She's ashamed.


She feels pretty.

Eye check-up tomorrow.  Hoping all is healed.  This no bending and no lifting is making me lazy.  I mean, if you can't bend or lift, you might as well just sit.

And because I think you should see just how sweet Harry can be (when he's not eating important papers and uncooked sweet potatoes off of the kitchen counter)....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bending...or NOT Bending

Two weeks ago, I tore my retina.  I should tell you that it never hurt, I didn't feel anything ...only a huge cloudy floater showed up in my eye and then I saw a couple of flashing lights in my peripheal vision. But in the last two weeks, I've had a lot of people ask me how my eye is doing....and there have been a lot of people watching me like a hawk. 

You see, I was given strict instructions to NOT bend or lift for 2 weeks.  My follow up exam is on I am still not allowed to BEND or LIFT until then.  Apparently, the laser surgery around the tear (rhymes with bare) will create a scab and adhere the tear back down but it takes awhile.  So no bending or lifting until they check me out on Monday.

I have never needed to bend and lift as much as I have in the last 2 weeks.  I bend to wash my face, I bend to load the dishes, I bend to give the dogs their treat, I bend to pick up the million things a day that I drop.  I bend to get a bag for the customer's purchases.  I bend to dust the lower shelves.  I bend to put my shoes on.  I bend to..............oh, you get it. 

And I lift to help Maggie on the bed.  I lift the laundry baskets.  I lift the clean dishes out of the dishwasher.  I it?

I have been in mid-bend position several times and been yelled at (endearingly) by my co-workers.  Like I said, they've watched me like a hawk. 

I've tried to bend like this........with my head/eyes kept at a level position....

But sadly, my automatic...go-to....bend position looks more like this........

So, while I've done my best to NOT bend or lift....and the girls at the store have done their best to "police" me (thank you), I have slipped up a time or two.  Here's hoping my eye has healed. 

By the way....those are just images taken off of the internet...but didn't that artist nail "cellulite" in his painting?  ha.