Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dairy Queen Disasters

  It is cold and has many flavors. It can be ordered either hard or soft. One can find this in many different places from restaurants to little stands, in the city or country. It doesn’t have many boundaries. It is popular with both young and old. It goes great with cakes, pies, or cobblers. It also does great as a standalone. It is popular at parties. It’s also popular with the more depressed crowd. It doesn’t care. What is IT?

  We’re talking ice cream today! Yes, me. I say I don’t eat too many sweets, but I always find a way for ice cream. It is my downfall, my drug. I can’t say no. It has been a weakness to me my whole life. (Personally, I think I inherited it from my mother!) I cannot remember a time that I declined a scoop. Or two. Or three.

  Ice cream is just a feel good food to me. When I eat it I feel better. Really. It’s kind of like some women love chocolate, or cookies. No matter what life deals us we have our go to food. And speaking of chocolate… If I am eating custard ice cream I usually will have chocolate, or sometimes a mix of both. But if I am eating hard ice cream I like mint chocolate chip. Or peach. Or black cherry. Dang it, I am developing a hankering for some right now.

  Why am I talking about ice cream today? I have stories that have accumulated. Amazingly they all stem from one store known for their ice cream, Dairy Queen. A few years ago the Charmed One and I set off on a trek. As we drove through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains we stumbled upon a DQ. Needing to stretch our legs we figured it was the perfect opportunity to do so and get a little snack. We stood in line patiently waiting our turn. When we finally stepped to the counter the Charmed One ordered a small vanilla. Attention turns to me and I order a small chocolate. This is when my world turned upside down. The young girl behind the counter states, “We don’t have chocolate.” Huh????? I don’t understand. You are an ice cream business that operates on two flavors. How can you not have one? Like the most popular one? I stood dumbfounded for what seemed an eternity. I even think the Charmed One had to pick my jaw up off the floor. All I can remember saying is, “Wait until I tell my mother.”

  I don’t know if I ever fully recovered from that trauma. I still think of it to this day. I also think of it as my luck that I would actually find another one that didn’t serve chocolate. That’s right. I found two Dairy Queen’s that didn’t serve chocolate. The second was in the bottom of Georgia. When they told me they didn’t serve chocolate I turned around and walked out. Sometimes I feel sorry for the Charmed One.

  How many DQ stories could I possibly have? One more. This past Friday we went to our local DQ. For fun we’ll call it Podunk Dairy Queen. The Charmed One wanted to go. I think it was an attempt to make me feel better over the epic house failure. I must say just mentioning it did lighten my spirits a little. We drove up, ordered two medium twists. There were a couple cars in front of us. When we finally got to the window the young girl working stated… “Our ice cream isn’t frozen. I could give it to you in a cup with the cone on the side.” Yes, you read that correctly. I sat with my jaw clenched. The Charmed One was dumbfounded. The conversation sort of went like this…

Charmed: “I don’t understand.”

DQ Worker: “We’ve been busy and the ice cream maker can’t keep up.”

Charmed: “What are you telling me?”

DQ Worker: “The ice cream is too sloppy for a cone. We can give you the ice cream in a cup, with a cone separate.”

Charmed: “What?” Looks at me. I shake my head.

DQ Worker: “Well, you’ll have to wait for the ice cream to freeze.”

Charmed: “No I won’t.”

  We took off and went to the little ice cream shop about a hundred yards away and got hard ice cream. I would like to know how she thought the driver could eat ice cream out of a bowl and drive at the same time. And what were we supposed to do with the cone? Scoop the sloppy ice cream into it? I don’t understand how this can happen. It wasn’t like it was 90 degrees and everyone was clamoring for ice cream. No. It was near 60. I think I have finally learned my lesson with that company. Honestly I don’t know how they are still in business.

  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Do you have a certain food that is your downfall? Have you found any DQ’s that don’t serve chocolate? Have any ice cream stories to tell me? Do you have cake and ice cream on your birthday? Today's my big day. I can almost guarantee I'll at least have ice cream!

W.P.I. - I have started over 200 plants the past couple of days. I had a late start because I thought we were moving. Now I plan to make up for it. Ideally they should have been started last month. If you keep seeds warm it encourages germination. Also once the seedlings sprout turn them daily to encourage stronger stems. Add a little love and you should have flowers and vegetables in no time! 

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Life's Highs And Lows

  We've all had days we just want to put behind us as soon as we can, but have you had a whole week you wanted to forget?  I understand, life throws you curves. It keeps you on your toes. Don’t even think about becoming flatfooted because as soon as you do something happens to throw you off kilter. To me it’s like you move along in life, handling small ups and downs, then wham-o, someone somewhere decides it’s time to throw you for a huge loop causing your whole life to change.

  When I first started writing this blog I knew I had to put certain parts of myself out there for people to see. Normally I am a very private person, but IF, IF I ever become an author of any substance I have to be out there at least a little bit, right? Well… I put myself out there in telling you about selling the house, etc. Today I will tell you why last week was a week from hell, exposing myself a little more, and then I am going to change my ways. There are a few reasons why I am doing this, but after you read my ramblings hopefully you will get an understanding of my reasoning.

  *Takes a deep breath trying to inhale calm*

  When we accepted the offer on our house our realtor said, “They are pre approved by a lender that I trust.” Tuesday morning the realtor called me. Some of her words included, “I’m sorry, bad news, wife employed by a fraudulent employer, and we’ll put your house back on the market.” My next words to her were, “Take the house off the market.” If you read the blog Bitter Sweet I stated it was kind of a risk to move when we were. After the deal fell through I felt there was no other choice than to remove it. It left me reeling, unable to concentrate, and hating everything around me.

  The next day the washing machine bit the dust. A couple days later a repairman came to tell us it was not worth fixing.

  Friday I went to pick up my niece for the weekend. Imagine my excitement to find my ex sister-in-law decided to bring her new boyfriend. That was classy, and that is all I will say about the subject.

  Friday night while talking to my mom I learned that my dad has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Now, he has regular checkups so I hope and pray that it has been caught early. The Charmed One’s father and stepfather both have fought that type in the past and have been declared cancer free, so my fingers are crossed. I wish I could say that he is the only family member dealing with health issues, but I can’t. Prayers and positive energy are being sent to my family members in need.

  So there you have it, my week from hell. Here’s hoping this week is the start of bigger and better things. Believe me I know it was a bad week but it also could’ve been worse. I thank the heavens above they weren't  and I’m real sorry for the people who did have to deal with situations that outweighed mine.

  Because I have told you guys things and now have to turn around and retract them only a few weeks later I have decided that from here on out I will only tell you  news after I'm sure it is true. Once we put the house back on the market and it sells, then I will tell you! Once one of my books is picked up, then I will tell you! Even with all the bad happening I truly believe that dream will come true.

  Have you had a bad week recently? What about month or year? I have to tell ya 2013 can go away. Like yesterday. What do you do to combat situations that seem out of control?

                                                         Care to find me elsewhere? 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Routine Or Obsessive Compulsive?

  It’s almost six o clock in the evening. No matter where I am my dog Savannah finds me. If I’m busy, or ignoring her, she will just lay down by my side. That will last a few minutes then she will get up and pace a little trying to grab my attention again. Why does she do this? Six o clock is when they eat. If there is one thing that is true about us it is that we are a house of routines.

  It isn’t just at six this happens. Somehow eight o clock became time for a treat for them. Now instead of them getting a treat at that time we give them carrot sticks instead. I don’t think they appreciated the switch but I scratch my head trying to figure out how that routine got started anyways. When I sit down to eat breakfast they somehow believe they need Cheerios too. How? Why did this start?

  Sadly it isn’t just the dogs that have their routines. I am a huge routine person. The Charmed One is too, but with more flexibility. I sit at the same place at the table every meal. I sit in the same chair every night. I get up, have coffee, and check blogs every morning. Then I take a shower and get on with my day. When six o clock at night rolls around, after I feed the dogs of course, I turn the television to CMT to watch numerous episodes of Reba. (I've seen them all, but I turn it on to lighten my spirits. I can read and write while that is on. Other shows I can’t really do that with.)

  Pretty much every afternoon I put on a pot of decaf coffee, in which I use amaretto creamer for my first cup and peppermint mocha for the following ones. I never fold clothes immediately after they dry. I have to turn the dryer on for a least a few minutes longer before I fold. Routines? How do I function without them?

  Are you a creature of habit? Do you have crazy routines? What about your pets? Care to share any? Do you think maybe I’m obsessive compulsive instead? Hmm.

Weekly Planting Information (W.P.I.) - Did you know that a notch in a tree will remain the same distance from the ground as the tree grows? Or that the California redwood - coast redwood and giant sequoia - are the tallest and largest living organism in the world? Here’s an interesting fact I think… George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew cannabis sativa (marijuana) on their plantations. Those were some fun facts I thought you might like!

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Green Vs Pink= Potential Disaster

  So I probably mistakenly named this blog A Day in the Life because strange or funny things happen to me. Or so I thought. It seems when I started this most funny or crazy things abandoned me. Or some things did happen that I couldn’t really blog about. Sometimes crazy happens to my mom and I would love to tell you about it, but she doesn’t really care for me to tell the world about her misfortunes. Imagine that.

  And finally something happened that I have to share. I really do believe that things like this happen to me because I see the big picture and not all the little things around it that make that picture what it is. What am I rambling about? I’m going to tell you a story about two colors, pink and green. Those are two colors that just don’t go together, so don’t try to mix them!

  Months ago I blogged about getting tickets to see one of my favorite singers, P!nk. I saw that she was going to put on a concert in Charlotte and jumped on tickets as soon as they came out. Did I think about the date she was going to perform? NO. There starts the problem. The date to the concert was March 16. Eerily similar to my favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day.

  Did I ever tell you I’m not big on crowds? I can do a concert every two or three years. I did one St. Patrick’s Day parade years and years ago. Of course Charlotte’s parade was the same day as the concert. You can see where this is going, right? Yea.

  We arrived into the hustle and bustle of the towering buildings, mass transit, and sea of green about an hour and a half before the concert. As soon as we parked we realized our hopes of all the St. Patty’s day people being drunk and home was just a pipe dream. There was a pub crawl put on and everyone that joined in got these t-shirts. If I counted them it would've been in the thousands. All we wanted was a drink or two before the concert and that proved to be waaay to hard. People hovered in doorways and rooftops of every restaurant and pub for blocks and blocks. And blocks. Parched is a word that comes to mind.

  Finally relief came when we found a restaurant with a small bar and even smaller minded bartender. Alas we grabbed a drink. We’ll leave the poor barkeep out of it, that could be another blog topic altogether. The place was packed but we enjoyed a beverage and headed to one of the best concerts I have seen in quite some time. I had thought of P!nk as one of the artists I most look up to. Now I truly idolize her. And I’m too old for that! She put on a great show highlighting her true vocal and acrobatic talent. She just proved to me what I thought all along, I think we would be very good friends! Her stage presence was powerful, her personality undeniably magnetic. She rocked, she rolled, and she brought tears to my eyes with a powerful version of one of her songs stripped back to just her and a guitar. I can’t begin to explain how great the concert was. It made me forget about the drunken zoo just outside the arena.

  So there it is. Something I looked forward to for a long time clashed with another one of my favorites that I enjoy more from afar than up close. It could have been a recipe for disaster, yet I couldn’t imagine it turning out any better!

  Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Have you ever gone to a St. Patrick’s Day parade, or a pub crawl? Do you think there should be an age limit to idolizing someone? 

Care to follow me elsewhere? 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Go Green Holiday

  The time has come. My favorite time of year has crept up on us and I haven’t even mentioned it once. Until now.

  That’s right! It’s St. Patrick’s Day, my favorite holiday! The holiday where I remind my family that I’m not sure of their heritage, but I know I’m 100% Irish.

  Since I had to be in my soon to be home city of Savannah earlier this week I took advantage of some of their ways to celebrate the great day. It seems that most of the Historic District celebrates in one way or another. Why? Savannah hosts the second biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the U.S. So let me show you some different things I ran into, or one might see on any given St. Pat’s Day.

Fountains flowing green.

Green illuminated buildings.

All green Christmas tree lights strung on live oaks.

Men pretending to be leprechauns.

And men in kilts.

Then there's this...

That is River Street. And that is why I will probably celebrate the holiday in my home!

Here's hoping you all have a great St. Patrick's Day! Whether you drink green beer, eat corned beef and cabbage, or ignore it all together, enjoy. Have fun my lads and lassies, from the top o' the mornin til the little leprechaun shuts your eyelids!

 What is your favorite holiday? Do you celebrate St. Pat's Day in any specific way? Would you celebrate with this crowd or stay in the confines of your own home?

W.P.I. - Did you know that Ireland is free of garden menaces such as Japanese Beetles and snakes? Don't you think that is a good enough reason to move there in and of itself? It is in my mind! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

To Hell And Back

  A few years ago we took my mother on a cruise. We made it for mid February so she could get out of the snow and cold of western New York. Needless to say we had a blast and compiled many memories that will keep smiles on our faces for quite some time.

  We set sail on a Norwegian Cruise Liner from Charleston, South Carolina and headed toward the warm sun and fun of the Cayman Islands. I knew it would be a good trip when we started the process of boarding and the ticket agent points to another woman and says, “You need to see that woman. Her name is Balkys. She’ll be your concierge.” We all looked to each other with raised eyebrows.

Apparently that upgrade included things we weren't aware of! Good things. J It included staying in one of the better rooms on the ship, drinks with the Captain (I don’t know if this is really a good thing or not,) and the great chance to be one of the first to exit the ship when we tendered somewhere. JJ That alone made this cruise a great one!

  We hit Cayman and everyone was ecstatic to get off the boat. I think it was two days we were at sea with no stops. Pulling into port I quickly realized I would love the island. I watched fish swimming happily along in the crystal blue waters. When our feet hit land I noticed the streets were immaculate. There was not a piece of trash anywhere but in trash cans. The people were friendly and beautiful flowers were blooming. First we hit a turtle farm, where I got to hold and pet a beautiful sea turtle. Personally I love turtles to no end. I just think they are an adorable creature. I inhaled the other native wildlife the farm had to offer and left with a smile on my face.

  After that the next stop on our tour was Seven Mile Beach. The white sand and clear blue water was simply breath taking. I must say to see beach as far as the eye can see is one of the most mind clearing, stress reducing sights I have ever experienced. It kind of makes one forget about everything else going on. The crashing waves are mesmerizing and tempt one to get a physical taste. It was all I could do not to dive in, but we only had a few minutes.

  We climbed back onto the small bus and headed to our next destination, Hell. That’s right. If there is a place in the world named Hell you better bet ya Kelly will find it! J Hell is one of the most unique places you could ever see. It is about the size of half a soccer field, and is made of small, short, black limestone formations. It reminded us of burnt stones, and was a really neat experience. And did you know that Hell even has a post office? We purchased post cards that had a picture of the limestone field and stated, “We've been to Hell and back!” Of course we had to do the cheesy tourist thing and buy them!

  Now we did hit Cozumel, Mexico, and Key West, Florida as well, but I might save those stories for another blog.

  What do you do if the weather gets you down? Have you ever taken a cruise? Where is the best place you have vacationed? Ever been to Hell? J

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bitter Sweet

  On July 8, 2011 my close friend and brother passed away. It took us by surprise and left a hole in our hearts that doesn’t seem to heal. He was 45 years old and found lying in his yard. The cause of death was ruled a heart attack. At times I think that I am slowly getting over his passing, and other times I feel like all the air has been taken from me.

  I live about 45 minutes away from where he did. Seven months before he died the Charmed One and I bought this house in the town I lovingly refer to as Podunk. It had certain things I was looking for. I didn’t want neighbors close. I've always been more of a country girl who likes her space. It had nice land. I envisioned doing a lot aesthetically to the landscape. After so many years working with plants I couldn’t wait to plant at our own place. The house itself is beautiful too. At least in our eyes!

  The last time I saw my brother he came over to help cut up a big limb that had fallen in the yard. He showed up at nine a.m. sharp because anything later it would be too hot to be working outdoors. Afterwards we went to the garden and I showed him what was growing. We talked a long time about different things including our mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary that was just a few short months away. Even though we were the two farthest away it looked like we were going to do all the major planning.

  Here’s the thing though. My brother was dealing with some major stress in his life. I had watched his hair go from red to gray in just a short period of time. I tried to be there for him as much as I could. That last time I saw him he offered me a Guinness, to which the Charmed One wished him luck in getting me to drink before evening. I just am not an afternoon drinker. Well… It was Guinness! We’re Irish. We don’t say no to a good Guinness, right? We had a beer together, and we ate a lunch that included a squash casserole that he fell in love with. We talked about his stresses and I begged him to make up his mind about what he was doing. I told him about a friend I had from high school who just passed away two weeks before. She was 39 years old and had suffered a heart attack. He looked up at me with surprise. When he went to leave the Charmed One gave him a hug. He turned and his big sad brown eyes fell on me. I just gave him a smile and watched him get in his truck and leave. That was the last time I saw him. Two weeks later I got the call.

  Why am I sitting here crying my eyes out and writing this?

  After he passed it was pure hell. My family came down from New York, and three of his closest friends from high school made the trip to say their goodbyes. For a month after that my family considered having a memorial for him in New York. Many friends and other family wanted the chance to pay their respects. In mid August we gave them that chance. For about a month and a half it was like we couldn’t move on. So as soon as the wheels of the plane hit the tarmac coming back to Charlotte I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. I know it may sound strange, but it’s true.

  The next week is when I visited Savannah for the second time in my life. We spent a couple of days walking the streets, tasting the flavors, and inhaling the southern charm of the historic city. For the first time in a long time I felt like I could take a deep breath. I felt my stresses fall away with each historic square, each clickity clomp of horses hooves on the cobblestone streets, or each hospitable greeting from a complete stranger. I finally felt a sense of happiness again.

  It was at that point we decided to move there. We had some things we had to clear up first here, which we did, and most of you know the house was put up for sale.

  As of right now the house is under contract with new buyers. Barring anything going wrong we will close in April.

  With that news I am extremely happy and overwhelmingly sad. All of my worries come to the front burner now. Two months ago this was a good move, but due to personal reasons now we’re not sure. It is more of a risk now than before. There will always be the lingering thoughts of, “Is this the right thing to do?”

  Other thoughts flood me as well. I almost feel like I am saying goodbye to my brother all over again, if that makes any sense. It still pains me to go near where he lived. If I cross over the lake I think of all the times we went fishing together. But if I have learned one thing from this whole ordeal it is that life is short. Way too short. If we don’t grab this opportunity now then we may not get another chance for a couple more years. I personally think that the longer I stay here in Podunk the more miserable I will become. Then of course I wonder if I am being selfish.

  I just feel like I’m in a holding pattern on my life. The plane I’m on makes big swooping circles around Charlotte and Savannah. That plane is sputtering and about to run out of gas though. It looks like we’ll be landing in Savannah. I’m scared about living a city life, although I've thought about nothing other than that life for quite some time. I’m ready for a change, and this may be just the thing that will alter our sails in the right direction.

  Yes I’m happy. But the tears that keep forming in my eyes remind me of other happy times too. This is one time I can really use the term bitter sweet and mean it whole heartedly.

  What’s a hard decision you've made lately? If you could move anywhere where would you choose? Do you take risks or like to stay safe?

W.P.I. - In Victorian times, certain flowers had specific meanings because the flower selection was limited and people used more symbols and gestures to communicate than words. I think I will get my niece (Shawn’s daughter) some Forget-Me-Nots, Larkspur, which means beautiful spirit, or Pansies which mean loving thoughts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sleepless in Podunk

  For some reason sleep is not my friend anymore. I don’t understand why it up and left me. I have always been more than kind to it, and NEVER cheated on it. I respect sleep. I cherish sleep. I NEED sleep. Lately though sleep has become a tease. Sure it comes to see me every night. It just makes a game out of how long it will visit. I don’t know when we had this misunderstanding or how long it will last. Hopefully we can come to some kind of truce, and soon. The Charmed One tells me I should think about having an alcoholic beverage before going to bed. Sorry dear, but I've tried with and without alcohol. It didn’t make a difference either way. L

  I go out of my way to meet up with sleep at various times. Days off I have a standing appointment with it mid afternoon. My mom always calls them power naps. That little ten to fifteen minute zap sometime during the afternoon that is just enough to give you the energy to make it through the rest of the day. Come on, you know what I am talking about right? 

  Since I have been having this love/hate with sleep I try to rest more. I try and find that happy place called relaxation. So I started thinking. Many people relax in different ways. Some do yoga. Some garden. Some read. Some work out. Some get massages. Em. That would be nice. I can feel my muscles ease just thinking about it.

  Well, I like to garden, but it isn’t the right time of the year here. As far as I know they are not familiar with yoga, or exercise, here in Podunk. ;) So yes, I read. I like to sit in my recliner and pop open my Nook. There was a time when I used to only read for about an hour before I went to bed. Now I give myself more time. I try to get at least an hour and a half or more of quality reading in. I tend to think the stresses of the day ease out of me when I escape into someone else’s mind and words.
I could really relax with this chair!

  I think that’s true until I wake up after only a couple hours of sleep. I lie there and try not to think of the things that stress me, but why is that the time when your mind concentrates on everything you don’t want it too? It will think about things going on personally for me. It will think about that one little part of that book that I didn’t like. It will think about how mad I am at it for not being able to think of anything else. *sigh*

  So, do you take power naps? What do you do for relaxation? Is sleep your friend or enemy? Do you have any special tips for getting back to sleep? No sheep comments, please!
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