Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus, and whatever else you may celebrate. Hope everyone has a festive season, and stays sage out there!!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Why didn't I think of this before???

My good friend, (and a fine Concierge as well), Kirk started a project a few years ago called the Green Bean Challenge. You can read all about it HERE. It's an impressive food drive for a single individual, and even amongst setbacks, he perseveres! I wanted to help, but wasn't sure what I could do, since I'm not as involved in the restaurant side of things as he is.

He told me once at lunch that the Foodbank of Southeastern VA can actually make a complete meal for one person for 29 cents. 29 CENTS! So a dollar donation will make 3 complete meals!

Can you spare one dollar????

If you can spare a dollar, please donate! If you can spare more, please do! I know it's a tough time for all, but even if it's just one dollar, you are feeding 3 people complete meals. Won't it feel good to do that?

Please know, that 100% of the money that is donated on this site will go directly to the Green Bean Challenge.

AND - I will match the contributions up to $500!

Don't delay! The challenge ends this Friday, December 18th.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Guy Fieri Road Show

I LOVE Food Network. A couple of years ago I didn't think it was possible, but now I'm totally hooked. I can (and do, sometimes) watch it all day. I don't usually cook anything that I see on there, but I certainly enjoy the shows. I even did a post earlier this year about one of my favorite shows HERE featuring Guy Fieri.

Well, he decided to create a roadshow, and came here to our town! We had to go see. What was his show like? Hmm... Well in his own words "It is food, rock n' roll, and everything they won't let me do on TV!" And it was a BLAST! We were allowed to take pictures, as long as we didn't use a flash, so most of them didn't come out very well. But you can get the idea...

This is actually the picture from his website, and ironically, almost exactly how the evening looked!

Here we are ahead of time. We bought these great "Flair Hair" hats that looked like his hair, and wore them to the meet and greet. Everyone else there asked us where we got them, and then started asking Guy's t-shirt vendors if they carried them!

I think this is a pretty good look for me. Don't you think?

At the meet and greet, he signed our books, and then right after this picture, he picked up a silver paint pen, and signed the bills of our hats! He loved them!

We ended up with front row seats (which we didn't know ahead of time), and this was the view! When Guy came out on stage, he saw us in the hats, came over and said "There's my sistas" and gave us a "knuckle-bump"!

The opening act was a flair bartender from Australia. He moved so fast, it was hard to get any pics of him at all. This was the best one.

Of course, the action shots are all blurry, but it didn't diminish the fun!

Guy claims to have ADD. Since he didn't stop or even slow down once, and became easily side-tracked while telling a story, it was easy to confirm his claim.

This was Six. That's how he was introduced, and how he was referred to throughout the evening. He followed along with a camera and projected onto the screen so you could see better!

Guy also did an "American-Idol"-ish thing with members of the audience. Some were good, and some not so good.

But this young man, Jordan, STOLE.THE.SHOW. He was extremely shy when he first got up there, but by the time he was done, Guy had offered him a spot on the TOUR! Such a charasmatic boy!!

He sang and danced! When he was done, Guy was so impressed that he gave him the sunglasses off of his head! They are a big deal to Guy! He doesn't go anywhere with sunglasses!

We also had the pleasure of meeting Brian and his folks. Brian has just gotten back from Afghanistan and is a big cook and Guy fan. When seats got shifted, Brian ended up in the front row as well!

You could tell that Guy whole-heartedly supports our troops, and was thankful for their service. He had given Brian samples of some of the food and drink, and then pulled him up on stage!

Brian's parents were beaming with pride. I'm just sorry my pictures didn't come out better than they did.

I don't really know how to sum up this evening. It was unlike any cooking demonstration I could have imagined. It was pure entertainment for the better part of 3 hours. If you are a Guy fan, then you should definitely try to see this if he comes near you.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Montpelier Hunt Races

The first weekend in November (yes, I'm really behind!), we went to the Montpelier Hunt Races in Orange, VA. We were invited by our good friends R&E. I think the easiest way to tell you all about this weekend is to do it with pictures. Of course, this doesn't even begin to do the weekend justice, and the amount of fun we had, but it will give you a pretty good idea.

We stayed at "The Farm". This is a family-owned farm, although no one lives there year round. It is a working farm, but the owners use it as a vacation spot. And who can blame them?! It's gorgeous and peaceful, and huge!

We took the camper, because although the house is a large farmhouse, it was BOOKED for the weekend. I think there were about 25 people already staying there. So we opted to bring our own housing...

The view was amazing, although on Friday night, it was COLD! Down into the 20's. Even with a space heater, I had trouble staying warm (not that unusual....), but at least Saturday night was a tad warmer!

This is the view from the back of the house. Large, and plenty of parking!

On Sunday morning, we took a walk, and took the camera so we could soak it all in.

I just loved this old barn on the farm. They still use it for shelter for the cows. I just loved it on the top of the hill!

And speaking of cows, we walked out to the pasture where they were. We could hear them "moo-ing" in the morning. So we went out to say hi. They were very curious, and watched the closer we got. So we didn't get too close.

Then is was off to the races!
The races were held at the Montpelier Estate, home of James Madison. I don't know very much about horse racing, but these were Steeplechase races with both flat track and hurdle races. Our tent was one of the ones above, and was on the rail of the hurdle races.

This was our tent! Full of Food, Friends, and FUN!

Here's M have a drink and a laugh!

And what's horse racing, without a fancy new hat? D&V were in the hat store, trying things out...

Here's D and I with the new hats that we bought. I was told on the way home that night (by a very drunk friend) that mine was a "Bob Hope Hat". Whatever... I LOVE my new hat. Bob Hope and all!

R&E held a silent auction for some of the pottery that R has made over the last year at her pottery class. All of the money went to the Carma Lee Lewellyn Scholarship Fund at Mary Washington University.

D with one of the pots she really liked a lot! She wasn't the winning bidder on this one, but did manage to snag two others!

As the sky shows, it was a beautiful day! Snapped this one while waiting for the first hurdle race to start. I didn't know what to expect!

The went by so fast, that this was the best I could do on first shot! Yep, that's just a small piece of a horse's tail, out of the whole pack!

Actually, this one was my first shot, but it's funnier to say that the other one above was. The one above was actually my second shot.

The horses came extremely close! And FAST! I know there is probably not a foot between my camera and these horses!

And here is a better one from the day. You could hear them coming about 20 seconds before they came over the hill. And then they were gone in a flash!

It was an amazing, fun weekend! I'm so thankful to R&E for inviting us! We met some really neat people and got to hang out with some of our other favorite folks as well. Can't wait until next year, and do it all again. Next year, though, I'll be better prepared to know what it's like and what to expect.


Friday, October 30, 2009

My dog pooped her pants!

WHAT? How can that be, you ask? Ok - here's the back story...

This summer - Casey had some skin issues, and was chewing herself raw. You can read about it HERE, but to sum up: the one thing that kept her from chewing was a doggie diaper.

So you can see where this is going......

She's had another round of chewing herself raw, it getting infected, and being on all kinds of medicines. She stayed at the vets on Monday, D worked from home Tuesday and was home with her, and on Wednesday I putted the doggy diaper on her. No problem.

Now mind you - this isn't because she's in heat, or incontinent. It's just a deterrent so she doesn't chew on her wound.

And she didn't.

But Thursday, I got home, and she RAN.OUT.OF.THE.HOUSE. I had to run after her to try to get the diaper off of her. And when I did - yep! Full of poop!

My poor girl had pooped her pants!

Somehow, there was none on her. She was clean as could be.

I felt absolutely awful for her, for having to deal with that all day (or however long it had been), but it was so funny, I couldn't help but laugh!!

Gives a whole new meaning to the nickname "stinkbutt"!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Street Corner Vets

Sorry about the poor picture quality, but a picture from the phone is the best I could do...
This is a scene I see every day. Coming off the interstate on my commute home, this man is standing in the same spot. Every day. With the same sign, same bike. His sign says "Disabled Vet. Needs Help"

I have no doubt that he's disabled. What you can't see in this picture that I saw every day throughout the summer, is that he has a prosthetic leg. The right one, I believe. In the summer, he wore shorts every day, no doubt to send the message home that he is disabled.

Most days, I see several people hand him money.

I truly have mixed emotions about this.

I do feel sorry for this man and his circumstances. I do wish I could help him. I'm sure others feel the same way, and thus give him money.

But I don't know his true circumstances. His sign doesn't claim that he's homeless.

I can't afford to give him any money. Not just because I don't have any extra to spare (which I truly don't) but also because if I do it once, I feel like he'll expect it again. Since I see him everyday. I can't help but wonder when he sees my car, if he thinks to himself, "I know she won't give me anything. I see her every day, and she never has."

There's the whole societal dilemma as well... Most local cities discourage people from giving the homeless money. You always hear that they'll use it on alcohol. I don't know if that's true or not, and it's not my place to decide what he's going to use the money for.

But I also can't help but wonder how much money he makes. He's on a good busy corner. Places himself there during rush hour. Holds up a compelling sign. And waits for people to hand him cash. Every day. And they do. Every day. He's obviously intelligent enough to know the best times to be there.

And he's not the only one. Being very close to a Veteran's Affairs hospital, there are these images on many corners near the interstate within a few miles.

It's obvious that I'm better off than he is. I have a car, all my limbs, a job and a home.

Should I feel guilty that I don't give him any money? Should I feel uncomfortable when he looks at me as I wait for the light to turn green? How do you all feel when you see people like this on the corners? How do you handle it?


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Non-bowling update

Well - I decided not to bore any of the viewing public with weekly bowling updates. Suffice to say there were good games, and bad games. And there will be more good games and more bad games. I jinxed Denise when I penned a whole post about great she was doing, and her being a superstar! She's done well, but no more 190+ games. Now she can back to that...

So, I'll have to think of some other meaningful things to post about. So far, I've got nothin....

I'll think of something soon, though!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Ever have one of those days?

Yesterday was one of those days for me.  It was a Murphy's Law day, to be sure....

It started when I jumped in my car to head to work, and it wouldn't start.  I was about 90% sure it was the battery, because we'd been saying for months that we were gonna check to see how old it was, and replace it if it was near it's expiration.  You know how that goes, though...  Time gets away and you don't check until there's an issue.  Like yesterday morning.

So, I decided to take the Jeep.  Which is still dressed for summer (the top and windows are off), and I knew it was gonna be a chilly ride, but I was thankful to have a spare car at the house.  First I had to get the cover off which had filled with a TON of water from the rain.  I was already dressed for work, and didn't wanna change, so I used a bucket to get most of the water out before removing it.  Only got a little wet, so it wasn't that bad.

Made it to work, only about 1/2 hour late.  But as is usual for the last two weeks, my computer wouldn't start.  It finally started and stayed running about 3 hours after I got there.  I've had this issue for a while, and was offered some IT support recently, so I took them up on it, only to find out that the IT guy was out for the day.  Oh well...

I made it home without incident!

I stopped by our local mechanic shop to talk about the dead battery issue, and David gave me a battery pack to take and jump my car.  No problem.  As I'm standing in front of my car to hook everything up, I realize I'm standing on an ant mound, and they are crawling  all over my legs!  YUCK!!!

Got the car jumped, take it back to the shop, and confirmed that it was, in fact the battery and not the alternator.  David suggested I run up to Advance Auto, since it would be cheaper and they would install it for free.  It's only a couple miles up the road, so off I went.  I turn off the car to go in (not in the best neighborhood) and proceed to buy a new battery.  The service guy said he'd be right out.

I went outside to wait, and that's when I realized that sometime that afternoon, my bra strap had broken, so there I was hanging out (literally) with one boob covered and one boob uncovered under my t-shirt.  And my strap was hanging out the bottom of my t-shirt.  I have no idea how long it was like that...

After 30 minutes of waiting for the guy to "come right out", I went back inside.  Seems he had forgotten about me.  Nice.  He made it out, and 45 minutes after buying my new battery, I was on the way...

I made it home again without incident, and proceeded to dress the Jeep for the winter.  Put the top, doors, and windows all back on.  This was extremely difficult to do with one person, since everything had sat for most of the summer rolled up.  So it wasn't expanded for easy installation.  It took almost all my strength to get it all attached, but I got it done...

I sat down for a few minutes to check my email real quick, and hadn't been sitting for 2 minutes, when the dog decided that was the best time to go ahead and get sick.  On the carpet.  She's usually pretty good, and will go toward a room with no carpeting, but not today.  So of course I cleaned that up.

In the meantime - D was at the doctor for right shoulder-ish pain.  Turns out, there is probably a touch of pneumonia in the right lung.  So we made the decision to cancel our weekend away in the OBX since the doctor said to REST, REST, REST.

Finally getting a few minutes to chill out, the front door bell rings.  It's our new next door neighbor stopping by to introduce herself.  I can't even imagine what she thought if she noticed that my bra strap was STILL hanging out  of the bottom of my shirt.....

Hopefully it will be a relaxing weekend and it will be what D needs to start feeling better soon!

And the next time I see "Murphy" heading my way, I'm gonna run over him with my car!  New battery and all!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's all about Denise H.

I mentioned last week that my teammate Denise had done really really well.  Well, folks, she's on a roll!

Each week we get a weekly recap of all the teams, our standings, and all kinds of stats.  On the "Season to Date Individual Achievements" - Denise's name is on every list for the females!  EVERY LIST!

Average - 5th one listed with 160
High Series Scratch - 3rd - 516
High Series Handicap - 2nd - 729
High Game Scratch - 9th - 197
High Game Handicap - 4th - 268

And that is partly what has help our team remain tied for 1st place!  

Ok - technically, we're in 3rd, but with points won and lost, we're in a 4 way tie!!  And since we won all of our games last night, I'm hoping we stay there for a little longer!!



I done good...

I actually did quite well and was even consistent last night.  I bowled 132, 131, 128.  pretty impressive, huh?  My average is officially 111, but was listed on the sheet last night as 116.  We'll see where it goes from there...

Stay tuned shortly for a special bowling feature!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Great Horned Owl

While on a recent camping trip, I had the opportunity to see a Great Horned Owl.  Up close and personal.  This isn't something that happens everyday, so I was pretty excited.  

I was driving to one of the picnic shelters when I passed the pump house, and noticed him/her sitting in the open, on the ground, in the middle of the day.  I did a double take, turned around, looked again to make sure I was seeing right, and went to the ranger's office.  I let the head of the park know (who is a friend of mine) and he grabbed a couple of guys to check it out.  I went back to the camper to grab my camera, then headed back... 

This is what we saw:

As you can see, we were within feet of him/her.  The owl was obviously not healthy, as he/she could have clawed our eyes out simply for being too close.  It was lethargic, but did manage to watch us as we moved about.

The park officials called a rehabber that specializes in owls.  While waiting for the rehabber, they were able to drop a blanket over him/her, and put him/her into a box in the nature center to keep it secure.

Later that day, we got an update that the owl was a juvenile, probably born in January or February.  It was malnourished (so not hunting well) and was infested with "flat flies".  Several days later, it was determined the owl couldn't be saved.

Sad as it was, it was incredibly awesome to be able to see such an amazing creature up close.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bowling Begins

Did you miss the bowling updates over the summer?  I can honestly say that I didn't miss bowling over the summer, although I did miss seeing everyone every week.  I did get see some of the folks a couple of times, though.

Bowling actually started a couple of weeks ago.  My first week was pretty rough, although overall I made my average.  My games were 137, 87, 109.  Yep a 50 pin spread between two games.  I think I should get a patch for that.  I can't remember, but I think we took 3 games.

I missed the second week, because I was sick.  My team won all of the games with me not there.  Hmmm...  That's a sign.

Last night, I bowled 121, 102, 128.  I was pretty happy.  We won 2 games plus totals.  

But the real star of last night was my teammate Denise!  She bowled a 193, 15osomething, and 193.  Two 193 games!  For ANOTHER 500+ series!  Impressive!  I hope to be able to do that one day........

Until next week (unless something exciting comes up between now and then...)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Interesting Combo...

Not the best picture quality, as it was taken from the phone. But it was taken in the parking lot of where we had breakfast this morning.

Apparently, there was a political breakfast for local supporters of one the candidates for governor. The stickers on the vehicles didn't speak to us nearly as loudly as the two license plates. Check them out!

One says: "PRY4US", which we took to mean "Pray for us" and the other one said "BE NUDE".

Interesting combo, we thought...


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's a Paul's thing...

I decided to do a picture story today about one of our favorite places to eat!  Paul's Restaurant in Pheobus.
We're always on the lookout for the mom&pop style places to eat.  Down home places.  Some folks call them dives.  We LOVE dives, so it's a term we use affectionately.  Paul's is such a place!

This is Paul.  He usually moves so fast, we can't get a good picture of him.  This was the best I could do while he was cooking our breakfast...

Paul's is open Monday through Saturday for Breakfast and Lunch.  He's also open for dinner on Friday only.  That's why he's a little late on Saturday mornings...  ;)

He has a full bar and will serve you a drink anytime you want it.  If you want a beer with your breakfast, this is the place.  I personally can't drink that early, but have seen a few of his patrons do it.  But we do enjoy sitting at the bar for breakfast!

The dining room shows that this place has been around a while, but it's comfy enough, and seat about 70 or so, I think.  Only once have I eaten at a table here....

A quick peek at the menu front.

The inside of the menu.  And below - the most important part:  Breakfast!

I'm pretty sure this is our breakfast cooking.  Pancakes, hash-browns, bacon, eggs.  YUM!

His pancakes are hands-down the best pancakes I have ever eaten.  Make no mistake - I've eaten quite a few pancakes.  But his are the best!!!

And the rest is yummy too!  He makes each order to order.  So you know your food is fresh!

Oh, and we know he's up to no-good when the hat gets flipped to the side.  He's a mischevious one, so we watch out when the hat goes sideways!  

And you never know who'll you'll meet while you're there.  This past week, we met Captain George (with waitress Michelle) who claims to be 105 years old!  He ordered a beer, and Paul made sure he got a warm one.  He knows his customers, and knows that Capt George started drinking before beer was refrigerated.  And knows he likes it warm.  That's customer service!

Michelle moves at the speed of light, too, so pictures of her are often fuzzy.  We all must have been carefully watching something?  I know we couldn't have all been watching this poor fellow eat!?!?
And here is a quick "behind the scenes" tour.  Really, that's it.  

And here's where we get him into trouble, by getting him laughing at something.  We truly enjoy coming in here on a Saturday morning and starting our weekend with Paul!

Stop on by if you get a chance.