Thursday, December 2, 2010

my reappearing act

So I've been toggling with the idea of deleting my blog.  I just didn't feel as thought my life had anything exciting and appealing to offer any followers/readers.  It's similar to the feeling I get when people ask me, "so, how are things??" & I always respond good...married life is good, the dog is good, friends and family are good, still truckin' along with my job.... booooooring.  

I got discouraged when I wasn't seeing comments or more followers, but then I thought, well, I am not commenting or following anyone in the daily way that I used to, so I needed to stop complaining.

So here goes...a second shot....and I will try oh, so hard not to become discouraged or burnt out.

One thing I have been doing a lot of lately is cooking.  I was telling my hubby the other night that we have come a long way from shake-n-bake chicken and bags of flavored instant potatoes.  Now don't get me wrong, I am perfectly content with a dinner of those, but I started to be a little brave...and not be intimidated with recipes that had an ingredient list longer than...four or five items, ha!  And now if I don't feel like using something, I won't, and if I want to add something in, I do it.  I will never learn unless I try and I have discovered that I actually enjoy doing it!

I made this soup a couple of weeks ago and we loved it!

Chicken Tortellini Soup
9 oz. pkg. frozen cut broccoli, thawed
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
Parmesan, grated (optional)
6 1/2 c. water
3 (10 oz.) cans chicken broth
2 c. chicken, cooked and cubed
1 c. carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 oz. pkg. cheese tortellini
(it also called for onion, basil, and oregano..but I left those out)

In large pot combine water, chicken broth, soup, chicken, carrots, & garlic. Bring to a boil; add tortellini.Simmer covered 30 minutes. Add broccoli and simmer an additional 5 - 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Serve with cheese. Ten (1 1/2 cup) servings.

So that'll be all for today...short and to the point, but hey, it's an effort :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2 treats and a trick

Halloween consisted of:


Jasper goes to doggy daycare around 2 or 3 days a week and they had a costume day on the Friday of Halloween weekend.  When I dropped him off, it was entertaining to see what others were dressing their pooches as and it was funny to see the looks and laughs we got and we saddled up and went inside!

Friday night our friend Skye had a fabulous Halloween party!  Her house was decorated so creatively and there was definitely an array of costumes.  Just like we always do, we waited until just a few days before Halloween to go get costumes...I wasn't too thrilled with being Wilma Flintstone at first with my Casper-like complexion since I'd be sporting a white outfit, but as we started getting ready the laughs started and I just went with it.  I was satisfied with our choice and only wished we could have found a Dino costume for Jasper! 

We found a cyst on Jasper's bottom lip this past weekend and he had it surgically removed on Monday.  We are waiting on the results of the biopsy to see if this was just a random spot that showed up for some odd reason or if it could be canine oral cancer which I had never heard of and should have NEVER come home and googled.  Just send good vibes and thoughts our way because I need my little mini-horse to be around for as long as possible!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

all knotted up

For the past several months I have had pain in my neck that seems to be coming from a knot on the back right side of my neck...and that knot triggers pain that shoots to my right temple.  Rubbing/massaging the knot doesn't seem to fact it almost makes the pain that shoots to my temple even worse.  I thought perhaps our pillows needed to be tossed, so I went out and bought new pillows.  No solution.  I thought I was sleeping on my neck wrong, so I started sleeping on my back.  No solution.  Tylenol, Aleve, Advil, you name it and I tried taking it during the day and before I went to sleep and even if I had to get up in the middle of the night for the bathroom, drink, etc. I would take some.  Still no solution.

One day at work I was almost to the point of tears and made a doctor's appointment.  I was finally starting to think something would change.  I explained to her that there was a ping pong sized knot in my neck and that the pain it was causing not only in my neck, but in my head as well, was starting to be unbearable.  She jotted down some notes and told me that it was just muscles that were tense in my neck (while NOT even feeling the knot) and that they were tension headaches caused by stress.  I will admit, there are days that my job stresses me out, but those days aren't stressful enough to be causing this constant pain.  She wrote 2 different prescriptions and gave me a chiropractor's business card and peace out, holla, she was gone.  I sat there REALLY hoping that this knot is not something serious, seeing as though it's as the base of my skull and she didn't bother to examine it, and hoped for the best with the prescriptions.  Well that hope was crushed when it crushed my wallet and all the pills did were make me sleepy.  $81 dollars later and still hurting is where I am.  I am hesitant to go to a chiropractor because I'm concerned that any pain I have from here on out will require a visit to them. 

Can anyone shed any light on any similar experiences with these pains or any results/visits with chiropractors??  I'm open for any suggestions whatsoever!

they have a passion, yet we label them.

One thing that I have seen consistently throughout life is that when someone has a passion for something, they seemed to be labeled as result of that passion.  These labels often include: nerds, extremists, freaks, weirdos, and you can come up with some you've heard or witnessed yourselves.  I am guilty of this labeling crime and it hasn't been until recently that things have been put into perspective....and I've stopped and asked myself, "who am I to judge?" 

You know, if magic/sci-fi books allow someone to enjoy an evening to themselves by just reading and having some popcorn, then it does NOT mean they're a nerd....if someone quotes bible verses in their facebook status or has one in their email signature, it does NOT mean they're a religion extremist....if someone enjoys a certain style of music, relates to the lyrics, and paints their fingernails black, it does NOT mean they're a freak.  Don't let anyone ever criticize you for what truly brings a smile to your face....don't let others point and laugh because they don't understand your hobby/interest.....don't ever allow yourself to feel ashamed because you are a needle in a haystack. 

In my case, most people will never understand that when I've had a bad day and I break down in tears, a wet nose nudging my buried face can instantly slow down those tears.  In my case, most people will never understand why animal abuse cases literally make my stomach turn and cause my heart to hurt.  In my case, I will always hear, "but why?  they're just dogs" accompanied with the "she's one of those" that they mutter under their breath.  In my case, I got the eye rolling when a college assignment was to make a documentary and I made mine on the dire need for spaying and neutering while videoing the forgotten faces inside my local humane society.  But that's my case...and if people are going to label me, I'm proud to wear that label.

I am a living, breathing, contributing member to society.  I donate money to my local food bank, I donate stacks of clothes to Goodwill, but I just so happen to feel as though my purpose and calling is through helping animal shelters/rescues & less fortunate animals.  I find it unfair for anyone to judge me because I'm unable to shrug it off and not let it bother me when I see a stray dog running through a parking lot...or unfair for anyone to judge me because the links I share on facebook are powerful stories of people who haved saved these 4-legged lives.  When I realize a person isn't an animal person, I don't shrug them off by any means, I understand it's not for everyone.  But man, is it sure hard for some not to shrug me off.

The way I see it is at least I wake up each and every day with a passion for something.  At least I know there's something that will allow me to feel as though I can make a difference.  At least I know when I help out, hungry dogs are being fed and sick dogs are being nursed back to health.  At least I know that someone, somewhere is smiling when they adopt that dog that was saved from being euthanized and that 4-legged soul will bring them many memories for the years to come.

So perhaps maybe we should turn those labels into positive traits.  Instead of nerdy....try intellectual.  Instead of extremist....try faithful.  Instead of freak....try free spirit.

I'm proud to be a needle in a haystack.  And so is he....

Thursday, September 30, 2010

cotton candy, school buses, & yard sales

There are people in life that you always have connections with for certain, "oh I know a guy who works at such & such and can get you a discount" or "let me ask around with some people I know, I know that one of them will know how to get it done..."  Well, I am learning what I have to offer as connections...they're random, but they have proved to come in handy.

1.)  Cotton Candy:  and it doesn't stop at just that...that just seems to be the most requested item.  With Male Hale's concession/food vendor business of *Fun Time Foods* we have been the "go-to" people for friends who are helping out with school and church carnivals, friends/family members with children's birthday parties, etc.  We even decided that cotton candy would be something that people would see and say, "oh that's SO them!" and used it for one of our wedding favors!

photo courtesy of happily ever after

We've made candy apples for several people as their wedding favors and and also set up shaved ice at various functions.  I absolutely love the feeling of knowing we have helped someone out so much at the last minute and we've been able to provide something that may be everyday business to us, but is an out of the ordinary treat for others.

2.)  School Buses:  My father-in-law owns his own school bus and drives for our local county's schools, and also transports various football teams for their games, drives students for field trips, and uses his bus to shuttle people during our county fair.  A friend asked me last week if there was any way she and a group of friends could rent a school bus for an evening.  I read her text and thought to myself, out of all the times I've heard him talking about having a bus trip, I had never even thought about that!  She and a large group of friends were going to a wedding atop a windy-roaded mountain here in town and they wanted some safe transportation for the evening and she thought to ask me.  Turns out it is possible and a driver was more than willing to accept the offer!  I was so glad it worked out and no one in that group would have to worry about how they were going to get to where they needed to be afterwards!

3.)  Yard Sales:  To say I like having yard sales would be an understatement, I LOVE having yard sales. You throw a couple of signs up and find yourself with extra cash and less clutter!  Imagine the letter H....the two lines that make up the sides of the H are 2 extremely busy roads and the street I live on is the little line in the middle of the H...aka the motherland for yard sales.  Several weekends ago, I had 4 friends team up with me for a yard sale at my house because I'm always up for having one and I'm always promising the friends that they'll have a good crowd.  From 8-1 we chatted with people, rearranged our items, haggled over prices, and rolled our eyes at some who were convinced we were robbing them blind by asking 50 cents for something.  In the end, a good time was had by all and no one was complaining about the amount of $ they went home with.  So now more and more of my friends are realizing when they start gathering stuff together and begin to wonder what they're going to do with it, they think of my little street and all that traffic that will see our signs.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

about me:

That section is always on profiles, surveys, etc.  I got to looking at that section on my FB profile and this is how it reads:

I honestly love my life. I am married to an incredible guy who makes me happier than I could ever, ever express through words. Making people laugh is one of my favorites along with getting flowers and a good, long nap. I’m a little too obsessed with birthdays and if I find out your address, watch out because I love sending cards year-round. I black and white pictures a little too often and I'm convinced Great Danes are the best dogs ever. If it wasn’t considered insane, I’d start decorating for Christmas as soon as fall rolled around if I’m not too busy cheering for the Gators. I feel confident that I could eat Mexican food every day of the week and I live for road trips. Rain and drama can ruin a perfectly good day, as well as a crappy season finale that you’ve waited so long for. I’ll never learn to unpack as soon as I get home and you’ll always find me running in the opposite direction of birds and clowns. Keep your feet away from me and don’t lie to me & we will get along just fine!

We put so much thought into what we cram into that little section that sums us up.  But I stopped to think what people would never learn from reading my about me section.....

(Making people laugh is one of my favorites)...but when I can't make people laugh, it makes me extremely uncomfortable...I seek humor as a way of fitting in.

(I black and white pictures a little too often)....because sometimes it's the only way I can look at a picture of myself and not hate the appearance of an extremely pale girl who has ruined her chances of ever being able to safely be in the sun.

(drama can ruin a perfectly good day)....and I am all too responsible for that drama from time to time.

(I’ll never learn to unpack as soon as I get home)...maybe because I'm surrendering to being back to the grind and having to deal with weekly trials and tribulations, when all I really want is to be away again.

(I’d start decorating for Christmas as soon as fall rolled around)...even though Christmas is always a time when I miss my dad so, so much.  He filmed every Christmas morning until he passed away...I can still hear his laugh in my head.  I still sit and watch those videos sometimes and smile, laugh, and cry all at the same time.

I just found it interesting that there was a counterpart for the things I so easily put out there to tell people about me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Late Labor Day

but all in all, a perfect day.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

oh lovely Fall, where art thou?

It is just about that time to break out the crockpot and start making stews, chili, & pot roast with veggies.

It is just about that time where I need a light sweater every day and can start wearing boots.

It is just about that time for the county fair, kettle corn, & ribbon fries.

It is just about that time for me to turn 26......sheesh.

It is just about that time to go through my decorations and get out the pumpkins, turkeys, and pilgrims.

It is just about that time when I can actually start finding mixes to make cider.

I could ramble on and on, but I think you get the picture that I am ready for....

Friday, August 20, 2010

Made it to the top 10! Help me w/ a vote!

Ok fellow bloggers, I am in need of some help!  I advanced to the top 10 in the photo contest I entered with a local radio station and need your vote to help me reach the top!  Just follow the link below and be sure to enter your email address in order for the vote to count.  I am picture number 10 when it asks for your favorite photo.  They won't send you any emails as long as you check "no" to receiving promos, concert announcements, etc.  Follow the link below and cast your vote!  THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

home again, home again, jiggity jig

Well, the time came just like it always does, to return to normal everyday life.  With our bags a little heavier and our pockets a little lighter, we would soon be back in the South.

We got home that night and could hear Jasper the second we got in the driveway because he definitely had heard us.  I opened the door to a very excited pooch and proceeded to take him to take backyard where I immediately noticed something different.  We bought a new patio set several months back so we could accommodate more people when friends came to visit, but we said we'd wait on buying the big umbrella that went with the set.  Well lo, and behold, there was our matching umbrella with a card taped to it and I instantly knew that my mom (who housesits and dogsits for us) was responsible for this anniversary surprise!  As I was saying "oh my gosh, look honey, look" she came out the door with a big smile on her face.  What can I say...she's pretty much the best!

She had set out our wedding cake topper to defrost so we could eat some for the traditional first anniversary ...and I have to admit, it really wasn't that bad.  A little freezer burnt, but I expected that.

I should have known better...
There's almost an identical pic
of this on our wedding day
I couldn't resist!

And as for those stuffed animals we won at Circus Circus...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our First Wedding Anniversary

was definitely one for the books!  We woke up that morning, well late morning, got ready and headed out for lunch at Pink's.

It's a famous hot dog shop that started in Los Angeles.  When we walked in, there was a wall to the right of signed pictures of celebrities who had visited there and some of the variations of hot dogs were named after them.  There was a Kim Kardashian dog, a Holly Madison dog, and my selection, the Mel B (taking it back to the spice girls) hot dog.  This selection had chili, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, guacamole, and jalapenos and for a girl who loves toppings and condiments, it was right up my alley!

From there we set out to visit Madame Tussaud's wax museum at The Venetian.  The camera flashes really do take away from the statues, because when you're standing there looking at them, they honestly look as though they could come alive at any point!  Here's just a few pictures from our visit...

Me with Justin Timberlake

 The Rock is the one on the right :)

the mayor of Las Vegas and 2 showgirls

maybe he was meant to be w/ George Clooney
our Jerry Springer moment

We were going to see Blue Man Group that night.

After we were finished at the museum, we met up with one of our friends who went to high school with Male Hale who happened to be in Vegas the same time we were....small world, huh?  We gambled with him for a bit and agreed we'd hang out later that night, but only after our celebratory dinner and show of course :)

Before we left Aria to go to dinner, we gave each other cards.  His anniversary present was a new Xbox,  but he got it about 2 weeks early because his completely bit the dust.  A new model recently came out and I knew I wanted to get it for him...because even when his old one was still functioning, I had heard how much better this one would be.  I didn't want him to go out and get one, so he was really surprised to come home one night before the trip and move a blanket off of his chair to find that box under it!  I asked him repeatedly to tell me something else so I would have something to give him on the actual date, but he told me that he loved his gift and didn't care if it was early and not to bother with anything else.  To my surprise when he slid my card towards me, there was a small white jewelry box with it.  I honestly felt as though the vacation was a big enough gift and he knows how I am about greeting cards, and how much I love them, so that was all I expected.  I opened the box and found...

I couldn't believe it.  An additional band, I was elated.  I slid it on my finger and looked at the guy I unconditionally love and felt like the luckiest girl alive to be with someone who makes me so incredibly happy, to be on a trip that we both had always hoped to take, and to know that I had the rest of my life to  not only cherish these memories, but make oh so many more!

He had made reservations at Tao which was an incredible Asian restaurant in The Venetian.  I absolutely love asian soups, sushi, cuisine, etc.  This is a summary I pulled from the website.

"TAO Las Vegas, located in the Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, is Las Vegas' hottest restaurant and lounge, all under one roof.  Considered to be one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas, TAO Asian Bistro blends great food, music, and people-watching to create the hippest "vibe dining" in town.  TAO Las Vegas is frequented by celebrities on a regular basis, such as Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Tommy Lee, Britney Spears, Jamie Foxx, Janet Jackson, Bono, and Madonna.  The Pan-Asian cuisine of TAP, which is prepared by Master Chefs, is coveted the world over."

The setting was dimly-lit, romantic, and posh all wrapped into one.  We kept an eye out for those celebrities, but sadly, no sightings to report!  We then headed over to the Blue Man Group Theatre that was also located  in The Venetian.  We gave the gentleman our tickets and he replied, "Umm, I'm sorry these tickets say Saturday August 7th".  Um, say whaaaat?  We had specifically told the concierge 2 days before that our anniversary was on the 8th and we needed tickets for a show on the 8th.  My mind was already going 100 miles an hour of what I'd like to say to her but we were then directed to someone who was much more attentive and understanding and breezed past that error!

waiting for the show to start
afterwards in the lobby of The Venetian

We weren't allowed to take pictures during the show, but I don't think my knee ever stopped bouncing or some part of me wasn't moving in my seat!  The way they are able to play their own material, and even songs that you and I both know, on things such as drain pipes to making neon paint rise and fall with every strike of their paddles, it was definitely a sight to see.

We took full advantage our last night in this non-stop city!  It poured down rain just before we went into dinner and when we came out of the show, the temperature had dropped to honestly what felt like the 70s.  We didn't break a sweat when we walked out, our shoes weren't melting to the pavement, so we walked...and we walked...and we walked....we saw so much that night!  And when I say we took full advantage, I mean we were climbing into bed as the sun was beginning to rise.  You can always sleep on a plane, but this was Vegas baby!  I hated to see the trip come to an end, but so glad that we were there for a special occasion and I loved watching the hubby just become overwhelmed with sights and sounds as soon as we stepped out that first day on the strip.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vegas - Day 2!

I have been to Vegas twice before.  Once when I was 7 or so, when my dad was still alive, and again for my 21st birthday.  When I went when I was younger, we stayed at Circus Circus.  While one parent was gambling, another was with me since I wasn't allowed in the gambling area.  I vividly remember playing all those midway games with my dad and ending up with so many stuffed animals we honestly had no clue how we could pack them in order to take them home!  My dad was one of those guys who cannot stand to lose, so if he didn't win the first time, he'd keep on until he could hand me that oversized pig or monkey and see the excitement in my face.  Needless to say, I wanted to revisit Circus Circus and see if it was still the same.  It took me back about 18 years when I saw that it was!

Me trying to hook a ring on top of a coke bottle

Knocking over some milk bottles

with a few of our winnings :)

caught him in a great pose...this one resulted in the biggest prize

Later that night we experienced a horrible mexican restaurant...which I couldn't believe even existed!  I am obsessed with mexican food, but was extremely disappointed in this place.  But our night quickly got better when we discovered a nightclub called "The Mix" on the 64th floor of Mandalay Bay.  This place had an amazing atmosphere and an unbelievable view!

from the balcony area

we're a little hung up on self portraits

Next we moved on to Luxor which is the big pyramid in the background.  I didn't take any pictures in there, except these two which just show how much more energy the hubby has than me into the wee hours!

I am throwing in the towel

He's still witty as ever and
wanting to be a pharoah guard
Adjusting to the 3 hour time difference was no challenge for him and by this time I knew I had to get it together!  My next entry will be Day 3, our actual anniversary, and it was definitely my favorite day!  Hope I'm keeping you entertained :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

that's what you get for waking up in Vegas! Day 1

365 days of love, tears, budgeting bills, folding clothes, washing dishes, lazy mornings, romantic nights, road trips, knockdown dragouts, endless laughter and I wouldn't trade this first year of marriage for anything in the world!

We set out last Friday for our anniversary trip to Las Vegas!  And after about 4 hours of flying we looked out the window and saw...

(granted the strip doesn't look cool from afar in the daytime, but we still got antsy!)

I kept telling him that there were even slot machines right where we would enter inside the airport...and he thought that was such an unbelievable thing.  I mean how are all those people on delayed flights gonna kill their time?  Needless to say, I didn't waste any time...

We then headed to baggage claim where we saw the tiniest man holding a sign that said "Hale" who proceeded to talk about jumping out of planes the entire time we waited for our bags.  He was such a tiny guy he couldn't even carry our oversized bag!  We watched him drag it for 5 seconds before the hubby stepped in and threw it up on his shoulder and gave me one of those "is he serious!?" looks.  When we got outside, little man directed us towards our limo and we were headed to the heart of it all!  I thought we would have been headed out in a cab, but he kept telling me how he wanted to make this trip special :)

I had told him all along that I didn't want to know where we were staying so I could be surprised....and well, as we were pulling up, heck, I still didn't know where we were staying!  I had never seen this place when I had been to Vegas before, yet I could tell we were on the strip.  Our hotel was called Aria and it had just been completed in December.  We were between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo and this is a picture I pulled from the internet of what it looks like.

These rooms would make you never want to get out of bed or the bathroom, haha!  The room was surrounded by curtains that would all pull back at the touch of a button.  From the tub or the bed or the living room area, we had an incredible view of what all was going on.

The touchscreen controls on the nightstand for curtains, temperature, tv, etc.
This was the toilet area...and that control pad definitely says "rear cleansing" and "front cleansing" as options!

Our tub

Our living room at night (sorry, it's blurry)

Living Room
Ok, ok, sorry, I got stuck on the room!  We set out to walk around and I am telling you it was HOT!  Our flip flops were sticking to the lie!  There wasn't any humidity, but it was such a dry hot heat.  I felt like the city had a heater turned on and pointing towards us. 

On our way to check out the MGM Grand

In front of the lion exhibit at MGM

"I put a dollar in, I won a car. I put a dollar in, I won a car."
- Vegas Vacation

First night out - this one is in Bellagio's flower garden

Bellagio's fountain and light show

 right after the show with
Paris' eiffel tower in the background

We went out after this to a nightclub, but this seems to be the only goofy picture I snapped....

Haha!  Giving our kisses to Vegas!  Day 2: Circus Circus and exploring more nightlife to come....