Friday, May 25, 2012

Taking a Break...See You Soon

The writer's block is hunkering down for the long haul. I had been playing with the idea of taking a month-long break from social networking. Not having a clue how to jump this hurtle is just what I needed to confirm. It's May 25, 2012...I'll catch ya' up come June 25, 2012. I am actually quite interested to see if I can abstain from blogging and facebooking...I am a craft addict so I think it would be too much to include Pinterest. :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oh No! Fly Forrest Fly!

I was sitting at a red light in the intersection of Audubon Tollway and Drive Crazy Road yesterday when I saw the most delicate of yellow butterflies ping-ponging off the tufts of scalding pollution. I thought to myself, "Well, Forrest (I named him Forrest...don't judge), this does not look too good for you." Then I wondered how a butterfly comes to find its way into concrete and carbon monoxide hell. I had always been under the assumption that butterflies couldn't live in an area where there is pollution.

Not knowing where I had heard that little tidbit of information, I went in search (I SAID, "Don't judge!" I am a geek, always in search of learning more). The Hamilton County Department of Environment Services in Ohio has a kids page with a boat load of intel on Forrest and his peeps. HCDE wrote, "Butterflies are one of the most sensitive barometers of the entire environment! Their presence around our homes and gardens indicates a vital, healthy ecosystem; their absence indicates a serious decline in that ecosystem's overall health."

I found a ton of fun facts at as well. Forrest's top speed is 12 miles per hour (moths are twice as fast at 25 mph), and the little critters cannot fly if their body temp is below 86 degrees F. The most interesting fact I thought was, "Some moths never eat anything as adults because they don't have mouths. They must live on the energy they stored as caterpillars." I don't even want to imagine a life where I spend my teens and adult years living off the cocoa pebbles and mac and cheese I consumed as a wee one. Poor Forrest. To read more about stories I know about butterflies, read this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

To Darling Daughter

Me and Girl Child when she and I
became part of "we" in 2007.
Two-thirds of "we" in November 2011.
A Poem for My Darling Girl Child turned little woman...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yellow and Gray...anyone else digging this combo?

I have been digging this combo for a while now...
here is some meaning behind the colors....
pretty even if you ask me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

DIY Wedding Invitations--No Set Pattern

In 1994 when Hubby Dearest and I met at 19, his youngest sibling, LaLa, was only 8 years old. You can imagine that her getting engaged last October and setting the date for this next October makes both of us feel quite old. I try not to focus too much on it since we adore her groom to be and pray they will be happy. Neither here nor there to today's post.

LaLa and I mesh on pretty much everything when it comes to weddings and such so I wasn't surprised when she said, "I pretty much want to remake your wedding." There are little differences here and there, and I am sure as we go more will arise. I have to say that the invitation idea is spectacular!
LaLa, Mom-in-Law, BridesmaidJ and I all gathered together yesterday to make invitations. LaLa brought sunflower stamps, a fall colored scrapbook stack with her chosen scheme of orange, country blue and browns, stamp colors and markers in the same hues, some ribbon, and various add ons from my plethora of swag. The best part was that LaLa just told us to go nuts. No two invitations will look alike. You would think that would cause an issue but as I watched the ideas unfold and everyone trying new things, I saw a collection of beautiful pieces of art being created.  

The down side of this is that everyone eventually ran out of creative juices. We have 15 down and around 85 more to go. At this rate we should finish the first week in August...that's about right for leave time, right? The kicker is that I also need to be getting the shower invitations together as well. That bad boy is August 11 so I may just make them all the same.

Hubby Dearest did have a pretty inspired idea of his own. He was joking with us about just sending an e-vite and being done with it. I remarked that with all the "green" initiatives, we could probably get away with it without too much "That's tacky" fall out. He also suggested that we could use the Bump-It App and bump the wedding programs onto everyone's smart phones as they arrived at the venue. These are not bad ideas if you have a pretty tech savvy guest list. Oh the world to come...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Family Night: New Puppy Love

I know I said just a week ago that I wanted to wait a
while to mourn the loss of our Hope before we rushed
 out to get another puppy. However, I am a pushover for
 Hubby Dearest and Darling Daughter and just could
not tell them no. They have been so broken hearted...
I have too. This is Angel...full name Angel of Hope.
I look at her and see the baby Hope was just three
 years ago. I look at Angel's belly and am relieved
 there is no umbilical hernia. I hold her to my ear and hear
 only the strong thumping of a good heart instead of the
rubbery wet slugging of congenital heart disease.
We thought about naming her Do-Over...we will see.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Writers Block Continues...a list of my wild ideas

I've hit a wall, y'all! It's almost a full week since I have been able to write anything. About the only thing I can share is a list of the crazy ideas that have popped into my head ...

What would you do if you could not fail? I would spend the rest of my life being a speaker for distracted driving awareness, and I would live on a not-for-profit farm where unwanted/abandoned dogs could come to live until someone came to be their forever-mommy/daddy. We would call it "A Farm in the Country" so people could tell their children that their beloved puppy love had gone to live on a farm in the country with a clear conscience. We would work on donations and have a vet and a groomer on retainer. I would let wayward youth spend their community service hours walking and washing the animals. I would have to draw the line at dogs though because I am deathly allergic to cats.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DIY Journal

Writer's block has been plaguing me since we lost our sweet puppy, Hope. I was looking for writing or journal prompts and found a tutorial on making your own journals. Of course I saw this on pinterest!

I chose one of my favorite scrapbook papers and trimmed it to 8.5" x 11" to match my printer paper. I suppose you could use scrapbook paper throughout to make it funky fun. After the papers are all lined up, I creased the book down the middle so I had a line to follow with my sewing machine. You don't want to make it too thick so you don't break a needle. One seam down the middle and ta-da! DIY journal!

I began with a self portrait of myself
and then a make-shift bio.
Writing in different directions made
me feel more creative. The OCD in me
made me have to balance each page
with the same number of colors
and writings.

To give myself a little push each day, I selected a sheet of sticker sayings from my plethora of scrapbook supplies and randomly stuck them on the pages of the newly minted journal. From there, I made sure I had a handful of colorful pens.

My Inspiration...

I've been fighting with a case of writer's block recently. I hope it's just like a cold and will mosey on out as easy as it moseyed on in.  My inspiration on most days is Ellen for sure!

"I want to be clear and here are the values that I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me those are traditional values. That's what I stand for."

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Duchess of Hope...

Rest in Peace my beautiful baby Hope.
Nov. 2, 2008 to May 11, 2012

In December 2008, a freak tornado blew through Plano, leaving our back gate standing open the next morning. Our beautiful Giant Champagne Poodle Sophie, who loved to chase bunnies, took off after a critter and took our sweet Miniature Schnauzer Ellie along for the run. Chad and I were desperately searching the neighborhood for them when I saw Sophie dart into traffic. We ended up losing both of our girls that day. Our heartbreak at losing them both led us to seek out and purchase our Chocolate Poodle Hope at the end of that same week.

Faith and her big sister Hope meeting for the first time on
July 22, 2009.

On Friday night, we drove to Willis Point and picked up Hope, also known as Hope-a-lopicus because she was so much like Snuffaluficus sometimes. I was captivated by Hope's green eyes and dark curly tufts. She was so tiny that she fit into the kangaroo pocket of my sweater, and that is where she remained for the first few weeks that she lived with us. Maybe this is why she was so easy to house train. I am sure it is the explanation for how she could play so rough with her daddy and be so gentle with me almost in the same breath.

Hope-a-lopicus loved playing in the snow.

After Hope had lived with us a couple of weeks, I took her to her first puppy wellness visit. I was absolutely devastated when the doctor told me Hope had a pretty significant heart murmur. I asked her what caused something like that in a puppy, and she told me it was probably because of in-breeding. At that I was furious but as much with myself as with Hope's breeders. Puppy mills bank on the emotional attachment of others. I for one wouldn't have changed having Hope in our lives either way. We would still have wanted to give her the best life possible even if we had known in advance.

Hope's first trek into the White River, June 2009.

Hope's heart issues had a plethora of challenges associated with them. For one, it made it impossible to have her spayed because we feared she wouldn't wake up from the surgery. Additionally, it required that she take twice-daily medication, an expensive endeavor each month. From everything we were told and everything we read, our Hope would have a very stunted life, probably not making it to her first year but definitely not making it more than four years. You can imagine that each November 2 that rolled through found us high-fiving and thinking that it was our love alone that kept Hope with us.

Hope and her big sister Darling Daughter resting
after our vacation in 2009.
My favorite memories with Hope-a-lopicus are immense. Besides living in my pocket, there was the first time she ever put her feet into the cold water in the White River in Arkansas. I thought she would run away but she dove right in and frolicked for what seemed like an eternity. I love the picture of her and Darling Daughter cuddling in the back seat on the way home from that trip. Teaching Hope to fetch her ball was all my doing. I was saddened when she couldn't keep going and eventually just stopped chasing the ball.

Sosie always says Hope's eyes
are too human looking. I think they
are the reason I thought of her like a human.
By far I will always love my girl for her keen sense of unconditional love and unending cuddles that she bestowed upon me when I lost my sister last year. Hope would crawl up next to me on the couch and just lay her head across my legs. If I was standing, she would come lean on me, putting her full weight against me so I knew she was there holding me up. If I was crying or if she thought Hubby Dearest was getting onto me, Hope always came and stood between us as if to protect me.

We lost the Duchess of Hope on Friday, May 11, 2012. I had spent the last few years just telling her that whenever she got ready to go, that she need only tell me, and I would make sure she was okay. Friday morning, Hope followed me around while I was getting ready for work. As always, I would pet her and talk to her as if she understood me. Something seemed off, but I was in too big of a hurry to take the time to really check her out. I gave her and Faith a cookie and promised them baths this weekend. I reminded them that Spanky and Froggy were coming to visit too. When HD called me at 1 p.m., he told me with tears in his voice that Hope had decided it was time. I rushed to meet him at the vet and held Hope as the doctor gave her relief from the fluid in her lungs.

Hope you were a very, very good girl. Know that we love you so very much. We will have to work on not throwing french fries in the floor for you.

NOTE: We are not crazy this article in Phsychology Today to better understand attachments between humans and their pets.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Four eyes is more eyes than I've ever had...

I don't even recognize me...
Yesterday, I picked up my new glasses and was amazed at all I could see that I had been missing. When I got home, I was shocked to see the actual texture in our carpet (along with its desperate need to be shampooed). I spent the afternoon reading labels from afar ("Ant Killer" and the clock in the kitchen). The best part was this conversation that took place between hubby dearest and myself as he moved the sprinkler and I stood out in the yard with him.

Me: Oh wow! I can see all the stars and they don't have halos around them.

HD: Oh, Baby...I can't even imagine how blind you've been. The stars are not supposed to have halos around them.

Me: Holy all things that glow! There's an airplane. There's another one. Oh my God! They're everywhere! How long have we lived this close to the airport?

I turn around because he's not answering me. It's because he's doubled over shaking with silent laughter.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mr. PRESIDENT...I think I love you!

I read this email from our president and felt like I was hearing Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I'm so proud to have cast my vote for this man!!!

Jaimee --

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,



Friday, May 4, 2012

Family Night--Movie and Hot Dogs

Thursdays are family nights because Darling Daughter's school has deemed Fridays as Nothing Due Fridays. In the beginning, we were all gung ho about doing things big and special on Thursdays. Now we tend to just relax and be lazy together...I am okay with that since we are still together. We made it simple dinner night too with off the grill hot dogs with chili and cheese.

However, yesterday was a pretty rough day for me so I tried to cheer myself with window shopping. I ended up renting a couple of Red Box movies instead. I say the dog Snowy in The Adventures of Tin Tin make that movie a fun family adventure...two thumbs up! Everyone should own this one (see the link below to help me with my Amazon addiction). Also as much as I love me some Justin, the movie In Time was "meh!" in the words of Darling Daughter, and I have to agree even if I don't know what it means. It was worth a $1 rental, though I wouldn't pay any more than that or the $3.99 digital download from Amazon if you want to save time and gas money of having to remember to return it (DANG IT! I FORGOT TO GRAB THEM THIS MORNING!).

I still whole-heartedly recommend Super 8 as a family adventure that you talk about for a long time. I need to own that one come to think of it (Read my review!) Don't mistake it for the uber gory 8mm with Robin Williams as a serial killer (eek!)--not family friendly or kiddie appropriate (notice no link...). Y'all have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Peaches! Peach Jam! Aunt J-Me's Jam part 2!

Taking a page from our adventure in jam making way back when, I am going to modify the recipe for strawberry jam to make it peach jam! The blue birds and squirrels have been ravishing my peach tree this year (first year, nothing but blooms and no peaches; second year, blooms, grape-sized peaches, tornado knocked them all off; this year, early bloom, early peaches, all look almost burgundy in color but are the size of golf balls).

Last night, Hubby Dearest and I harvested 20+ peaches that were small but almost ready. We had to chunk quite a few that had been pecked to pieces or fallen from the tree and were covered in ants...Hope eats all that are ripe and Faith thinks they are balls to chase. I swear, we can't be all home-grown and farmy for all of mother nature taking advantage of us! Nevertheless, I have put the less than ripe little gems into a brown paper sack to ripen and will use the following recipe to make them into gold.

Recipe for Homemade Peach Jam
Makes: about 10 cups (about 10 half-pints)

Prep: 45 minutes

  • 3 quarts fresh peaches, pealed and de-seeded
  • 1 1 3/4-ounce package regular powdered fruit pectin
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 7 cups sugar
Directions: Place 1 cup of peaches in an 8-quart heavy pot. Crush peaches. Continue adding peaches and crushing until you have 5 cups crushed peaches. Stir in pectin and butter. Heat on high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Add sugar all at once. Return to boiling; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam with a metal spoon.

Ladle at once into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars; cool on racks.

Tip: Jam may need to stand for 1 to 2 weeks after canning to become fully set. Also, if your fruit separates from the liquid in the jars, invert the sealed jars once or twice a day. Continue inverting until fruit is well distributed.

OH...and so you can JAM! get it? ;-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Write on Wednesdays: Sunshine Writing

Write On Wednesdays
It's been a while since I participated in InkPaperPen's weekly meme Write on Wednesdays, and I have missed it! Gil brings us an awesome prompt this week:

The Prompt:
Take the first line of whatever you last read...Magazine Article. Blog Post. Newspaper. TV Guide. Doesn't matter what. Write the line on a piece of paper. Take that piece of paper outside. Leave your screen behind. Wait until you have been outside for at least 15 minutes (an important part of the exercise) and then use your prompt to begin writing. Choose to write a 5 minute stream of consciousnesses or take it slow and write a 500 word piece.  

For my long-time readers, you know that I have been in search of happiness for a while now. In my search, I stumbled upon The Bloggess and have begun to think she and I are besties who've just never met. If you haven't read her, you need to search for Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken...get ready to laugh so hard you might wet yourself. Once you have read Jenny's blog, then buy her book (link from amazon at the bottom of this page to support my amazon habit, please!), Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir). If you only read the chapter about "Stanley, the Magical Talking Squirrel", then it paid for itself in the endorphin rush that will engulf you from your hysterical laughter.

Here we go: "When I tell people that my father is kind of a total lunatic, they laugh and nod knowingly."

I can only think of the stories that paint my parents as heroes, saving toddlers and old women. However, when Darling Daughter gets grown, she too will have funny stories to tell the world about her lunatic parents. I can only imagine what stories we will create for her in the coming years. Currently, she can tell her friends about how every time Hubby Dearest and I have time to ourselves, we tend to find ourselves up a log-jammed tributary with paddles and no boat motor as the sun is setting. Or she can regale them with her Daddy's "The Time I Sunk The Boat" story. She can recount the yearly camping trips to Arkansas and our staying up all night to fish and sleeping most of the day. She will receive sympathy for all the backwoods, country sayings that I plant in her brain. I think the one that will get her the most sympathy will be how her J-Me went on a crocheting frenzy to stop smoking and how she feared she would have to wear all the crazy things I made for her. Most of all, I hope she will remember this last weekend when she told me off. I was doing my normal self-bad-mouthing, and from the backseat DD practically yelled, "Will you please stop! You never let anyone else beat themselves up. You need to stop being mean to yourself!" I have never been more proud of her and ashamed of myself. 

Buy this book and then tell me about the lunatic you love the most...