Dec 31, 2008

Pits are vicious dogs

Here's proof. Check it. It's no secret that Michael Vick (I hate even giving him recognition by typing his name!) had a little tiff with the law after his kennel of pit bulls was discovered earlier this year. Soooo many people have the wrong impression of this breed.

While I don't have a pit bull, nor have I ever had one, I do feel a sense of responsibility to defend this breed. I think they are a beautiful, powerful, amazing breed of dog that deserve the same love as the Pug or Beagle (or the Nola!). Check out the link above and see for yourself just how vicious these dogs are. I especially love Calvin at the end. Little Rascals? I think so! My heart goes out to Frodo. It's obvious his poor little ears have been cut to the point of nonexistence for fighting. Bless him.

Go love on your dog, because not all dogs know what love is.

Oh, and by the way:

Top Ten Reasons Why Pit Bulls are Scary
10. They will steal your spot on the couch while you are up getting a soda.

9. They will take the treat you give them and bury in the back yard like a paranoid crack head hiding their stash.

8. They will jump on your bed with muddy feet. Making you do the laundry...again!

7. They will lick visitors with an uncontrolled passion only they understand.

6. They will cause children to smile.

5. They will make you feel horrible for not walking them by looking at you with deep sad eyes.

4. They will look at you like you committed a crime against them if you don't let them lick your ice cream bowl.

3. They will cause wide spread happiness in large group settings.

2. They will crack you up by shaking their butts so hard you think they are going to snap in half.

And the number one reason why you can't trust vicious Pit Bulls...

1. They will steal your heart like a thief in the night, showing you complete and pure love that only a Pit Bull can show.

Ht: SodaHead and Shout to my sister and her pit, Molly B

Dec 30, 2008

It really did happen

Long story: He's here! Seriously, pinch me. He's asleep beside me right now but doggonit, he's here! The flight left right after the last text. Whew.

We arrived at the airport right on time. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm rarely on time. I'm either early and irritated that I'm the only one on time or always late. But I was exactly on time this once!

Nola and I walked into the new terminal and it was actually NOT where we should have been. It was the ticketing area. It was quite a journey getting there actually b/c we had to cross this crazy busy street with people pulling their suitcases and other travel garb. Nola freaked but I reminded her that D was coming so she was somewhat with it mentally. We got into the inside area though and she lost it. As I was looking at the arrival/departure board that has the shiney colored digital letters she pooped. Right on the floor. I see her and wait for her to finish, open my bag, collect the poop, hold poop in one hand, use other hand to search for HandiWipes (best things ever), scour the floor, deposit poop and used HandiWipe into garbage. Now, I look up see ALL of the people in there looking at me so I sheepishly act like I'm really embarassed (which, for the record, I am not), I thoroughly cleaned that floor and was a well prepared dog mom, but I walked over to the patrol man and asked about the flight. I HAD to make up some reason why I was in there. All he said to me was, "Ma'am, dogs are not allowed in the terminal."

He helped me see on the board of shiney colored digital letters that the flight that I knew was here was indeed here. It was a sight. I was too proud to tell him I had NO idea that the baggage claim wasn't in the same place as it was on the opposite side and that I was lost and had no intention of being in the ticket area. Luckily, not too long after that D called and we found him. Needless to say, we won't be using that terminal again.

Short story: He's here, yippee!

Dec 27, 2008

You've got to be kidding me


D's flight should be arriving in about 30 minutes. Is it? Of course NOT. First, it was a 20 minute delay because the crew wasn't there. Then it was an hour delay because of something maintenance related. Now, heaven only knows what is going on.

The flight should have left at 8:30. Then at 8:50, then at 9:50. They haven't told anyone anything. What gives?

Delta is out, they messed up flights last week; American isn't showing any more promise after today, but let the record show that the JetBlue flight boarded and TOOK OFF at their regularly scheduled time of 9:30 AM. One day, I'll post about how much I love JetBlue. They always hook me up. And they have the best snacks. But most of all, they actually KEEP their schedules.

Text just in: We're boarding.
Well, we'll see what happens next. The fact that people are actually getting ON the plane is a good sign but still means nothing to me.... Maybe I'll make my way to the airport and see what happens in an hour and a half. I'll take a book and directions to REI. At least if it DOESN'T happen I'll be entertained for a little while. I could always teach Nola some tricks. ;)


Dec 26, 2008

Caveman Update

TOMORROW!!! Can. Not. Wait.

(Yeah, I know cannot is one word.)

Dec 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

We've been busy visiting family, baking, and enjoying time together. Sadie, my sister's foster dane who is deaf came to spend Christmas Eve with us. After a long day of eating, we're at home relaxing and enjoying an evening of movies, pajamas, popcorn, and chocolate santas!


Six month old [giant] Sadie came to visit!

Dec 23, 2008

Reminder

We are going to have Christmas on Sunday. That makes three days of Christmas for me.... Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Belated Sunday Christmas!

With everyone scampering around shopping and such, I'd like to offer a reminder of what Christmas is about... from none other than Dr. Seuss (well, and the Grinch).
"And the Grinch with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. And he puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from the store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." -Dr. Seuss

Dec 21, 2008

Saturday

Looks like it will be Saturday before D is able to get here. This means we'll have to keep our fingers crossed and prayers said that another winter storm doesn't blow through the northeast this week. All together now...

Dec 20, 2008

Not happening.

Flight was cancelled. Surprise, surprise. Haven't heard details on new travel schedule, most likely not until after Christmas. I'm sad. Bummed. Disappointed. Lonely.

Tomorrow is another day. See you peeps in the new day.

Waiting....

Bad weather + air travel + December snow storms = sad, sad travelers and sad, sad people-who-wait-for-travelers.

The flight that was supposed to have arrived last night has still not made any progress. What's worse is that there is another storm coming through tomorrow morning so if he can't get out of Boston tonight then it will be at least Tuesday before he could try again... and with that he says he would just wait and come the following week (what?!). Boo!

So I'm waiting... and it's not so fun. Anyone have fun things to do while you wait? At least I'm at home waiting but... I've already cleaned the house, washed everything that could possibly be washed (yippee thanks to my wonderful new pantyhose clad dryer!), run the dishwasher, vacuumed, wrapped presents, bathed Nola, wet-jetted the floors, called mom, knit three scarves, cleaned the counters, shredded old bills.... ugh. I have pay-per-view coupons but there aren't any good movies on.

Sigh.

I did find a neat article from AKC. Check it:

AKC Survey Finds Dog Owners Willing to Kick Caffeine Addiction for Canine Affection
[Monday, December 08, 2008]
- Current Economic Woes No Competition For Americans’ Dedication to Their Dogs -
A survey conducted this month by the American Kennel Club® shows that despite a tough economy, pet owners are willing to sacrifice many daily luxuries to provide for the needs of their canine companions.


[New text from D: "The flight attendant 4 flight isnt here until at least 1030 cuz of delays so they r trying to find another." This is good news considering! Now, back to waiting...]

Ok, re: the AKC article. If you have a dog, read it. I'm interested in your thoughts.

Dec 18, 2008

Good Things

I still have Christmas errands to run, bows to tie, cookies to bake, and antlers to find! Did I mention laundry to wash? Thanks to the Works-For-Me Wednesday series I learned about unhooking my dryer from the wall. Long story short, my builder is a complete and utter moron and my dryer vent takes too many 90* turns from the dryer to the exterior wall where it should vent. So... for the last 7 years my dryer has run ohhh about 8-10 cycles (yes, that's almost 11 hours) to dry ONE load of laundry because the dryer can't (no dryer can...) push the heat out so the condensation builds and thus the clothes stay wet in the dryer. Thankfully mom lives close by and I've been carting wet clothes to her house to dry them. But that's a pain when it's freezing or pouring down rain. (But thanks Mom!)

Thanks to Christine's brilliant post, I went to Lowe's, bought a bucket, patched the sides with pantyhose and made my own vent. And guess what, it makes my laundry room really cozy! So, thanks Christine!

I made sure to put lots and lots of duct tape around the hole in the wall though. We all remember the Mr. Squeakers incident. And by the way, I am not sure he really existed. I bought a live capture trap and filled it with cheese and peanut butter but no Mr. Squeakers. Never heard of again, no left over droppings, no more squeaking, nada. So... we're still on the look out but I'm hoping he left when he heard me scream. :) And that's okay with me. I like him better when he's away.

Be sure to think of me when you're washing and drying your clothes. You just don't know how good you have it. Meanwhile, I'm having to run the dehumidifier while the dryer vents in the house because I have poorly installed windows so the moron builder had to buy me a dehumidifier so mold wouldn't grow.... don't even get me started there. Just know that my house is super warm from the dryer vent and the huge dehumidifier that is running nonstop. If you're chilly, stop by, we'll warm you up in no time! And bring your dirty clothes while I'm still on the laundry high!

Til tomorrow...

PS, send some up and keep your fingers crossed... Caveman's flight is due tomorrow evening but an awfully big snow storm is heading its way to Boston so his flight may be bumped to Saturday (boo!).

Peace out!

Dec 17, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday - Crocs

So, I'm trying something new and am going to contribute to Shannon's Works-For-Me Wednesday carnival! I had so much fun with the Christmas Tour of Homes I thought this might be just as fun!

I'll start with something totally and ridiculously simple!

.... you know those shoes Crocs? If you're like most people (which you may not be, but if you are...) you either love them or hate them. Since I'm not actually like most people (haha) I am impartial. But if I had to choose a side, I'd say love. But only because of my use for them. I bought them because they were popular and everyone had a pair. Really, I hated them. They were too wide, too big, and no, they were not the "most comfortable things I'd ever put on" my tootsies. AND I tripped over them because of the material they're made of...

So why do I love them? Because, if you have a dog and don't have a fenced in backyard (like me!), these shoes make the best outdoor bedroom slippers ever!

They're perfect because I can wear my big comfy wool socks that don't fit into any regular sized shoes, they slip on and off easily, and they are easy to rinse off if I accidentally step into any doggy piles that someone didn't pick up. I wear my crocs when I take Nola out in the morning and evening so they stay by the door. Also, in case you're interested, they now have crocs with a winterized lining of fluffy fleecy stuff. I don't recommend the wool socks and the fluffy fleecy stuff, but maybe that's another Wednesday! :)

Next Wednesday is Christmas Eve... Merry Christmas!

Capt. Caveman!

In about half an hour (well, 15 minutes now), Caveman will officially be Captain Caveman!

(for the record,I heart Tony Blair!!!)
(in case we have any Toby Keith fans...TK performed in Iraq)


Dec 15, 2008

Voila!

I used to keep my hair short (short as in just under the ears)... then went through a three-year stint of long hair. But when it's long I have to straighten it in the morning or else it's just a big frizzy, messed up mess. I like it long and straight. Problem was, it was getting in my arm pit (gross, I know) when I dried it. So... after a long month of thinking about it, I finally did it. I took the plunge... Here's the before shot:


And the after shots:
Which is better???? I like both... apparently, I look thinner when it's short, go figure.

Dec 14, 2008

Decorations...most of them anyway




So I know I've posted my tree, but now I'm showing you ALL of my Christmas pretties. Well, most of them. I left out my giant stone Saint Nick and my soapstone nativity because they just didn't photograph too well... I'll try the nativity again because it's gorgeous and I got it in Africa several years ago... and I keep it out year round because yes, it's THAT gorgeous. Anywho...

To the left is my Charlie Brown tree I told you about. It's so sad but oh so cute! This photo had to be cropped since Nola's "waste" bags are kept here temporarily and it was cold yesterday (too cold to walk 30 feet to the dumpster... don't give me that, we've all been there!).











Finley didn't want to feel left out... this is his Christmastime hiding spot.

One of my favorite ornaments, no idea where it came from...

Nola's stocking
Luka and Finley's stocking

Be sure to check out some other great decorations! You're sure to see some beautiful sights!

Deer Antlers, yum?

Nola got an antler when we went to The Pet Cabaret in Boston last month. I wasn't sure if she'd like them but clearly, she does! I'll include this in our favorite dog toy post (that really is coming soon!). 'Til then, here are some pictures of my little beast eating her antler. She hid it yesterday and I have no idea where it is.





Dec 13, 2008

Christmas is when?!

Christmas is almost here! Happy Birthday Jesus! I think I will bake Him a cake this year. Why don't we do that? When it's tradition to bake a cake for someone on their birthday, why do we leave Jesus out? This year I will make Him a lovely cake and I'll make it a tradition. I like that. I think my friends will like that too! :)

My tree is purple. Well, it's green, duh -- but I realized that I have a lot of purple on it.


Last night I kept the lights on the tree plugged in while I was waiting for Britt to arrive. It was such a pretty glow from my bedroom with the sparkly ornaments. I loved seeing it in the dark. Britt's flight was due around 11:30 PM so I decided it would be a little after 1:00 AM before I saw her... it wasn't until 2 that she showed up. Geez. After we took the dogs out and chatted we finally collapsed at 3 in the morning. I got up around 6:45, took Nola out, came back in, and slept 'til 9:00. Oh it was so nice!

Nicer than that was having a single dog house again! I finally have my house back! It wasn't that bad but oh man are those doggies demanding! If they're not whining, they're eating something, if they're not eating something, they're pooping. Everyone is tired and happy!

I picked up my Christmas cards this morning and can't wait to get them out. Meanwhile, I'm freaking a little bit because it occured to me that Christmas is a little more than a week away. How on EARTH did that HAPPEN?! I ordered the last online ordering bit of my gifts yesterday and am just about done. NO idea what I'll get for the parents but I'm sure I'll think of something.

Did I mention I got my hair cut yesterday? Uh-huh, about 7 inches off! Our conversation went like this:

Hair person: "How much did you want taken off?"

Me: "About three inches."

Me: "Um, are you done cutting?"

Hair person: "Yes, did you want to go a little shorter?"

Me: "Could you?"

Me: "Hmm... "

Hair person: "More off?"

Me: "Yes please."

So... that's how 3" turned into 7" ... it's cute. A lot more layer than I'd anticipated but that's okay. It will grow. I keep forgetting that I've had it cut so when I go to look in the mirror for whatever reason I'm still a little surprised to see my reflection. This makes me laugh. But I understand if no one else does. :)

Dec 11, 2008

My Day

So I'm not even sure where to begin with my day. This whole week has been a whirlwind really. Of fur, of poop, and oh, by the way, 300lbs of dog. So it occurs to me that yesterday was the day Nola was due for her flea stuff. You know, that completely disgusting liquid you squirt on the back of their neck. Of course I forgot about it because I was out getting that ridiculously-expensive-piece-of-foam-strip and sheets, etc...

So, I wake up and after everyone had eaten their breakfast, had pooped (twice for some), and was settled, I grabbed the packet of liquid and headed into the bedroom with Nola. The bedroom is the only room in the house to have light in the mornings so it's where all of our getting ready magic happens. Nola had to get ready for the day too and that included flea stuff.

I opened the foil pack first. She hears this and tries to dart under the bed. I catch her and swoop her on top of the bed (it will be easier if she's not on the ground since I'm still only half awake). She starts shaking. Great. What's new... this is so typical, I lie there for a minute and enjoy the snuggling. As I'm trying to figure out how to do this without her panicking (again), I wrap my entire body around her. I first tossed my right leg over her back then slowly curled up on top of her. She realized at that point what was going on and started flailing about. Right. Stop! As I reach for the tube that is now out of the apparently scary foil pack she tosses her head up and it hits my chin.
.
As my chin is bumped it has forced my top lip into my teeth and I've bitten my lip. Thanks Nola. I could feel it swelling but really thought nothing of it. Her flea stuff had been applied and she was now enjoying apple treats.
.
Then I hear something coming from the sunroom. Roxy's crate. I open the crate door and see dog + black chunks. She's eaten her water bowl. Fabulous! Get dog out, clean crate, put dog back in, throw away plastic chunks, head to shower.
After showering and dressing and readying for the day, I hear another noise from the sunroom. Roxy is now throwing up pieces of water bowl that she ingested. Why am I surprised? Grab the vomit rag, baby wipes, and carpet cleaner. Clean the dog, clean the crate, clean the floor.

Head back into the bedroom to finish getting ready, lip is really swollen and red. Run to the kitchen, grab ice. As I'm standing there drying my hair sucking on this ice cube, Nola decides she needs the ice. Jumping dog at my mouth. Why is this so difficult?

I'm ready to go now.

Did I mention that it's been raining all day?

In the car, I check my lip; it's black. "Yes, I did get beat up, thanks for asking."
Finally able to relax at work (who says that?!) I start what feels like should be the end of a day.

You'd think the day would be over right? I headed home around noon thirty and started poop duty (or should it be doody?). One at a time (in the rain) we went outside. Everyone pooped, highlight of my day!!! Sad. Back inside I decided to make mini pizza for lunch. Bagels, check. Sauce, check. Cheese, got that too. Put those in the toaster oven and got water for each dog. Timer dinged, ran to get food, heard Roxy growling... crap, the cat. Burn hand trying to get food out before it burned, dashed to get cat away from dog crate.

Scarf down the food, call sister in Cayman Islands to see if she can come home sooner (now?). "Sorry, see you tomorrow." It was worth a shot. Driving back to work in the pouring rain I realize my finger hurt, must have cut it, feels like a big paper cut. Don't see anything on it. Decide it's my imagination or a weird nerve thing going on.

Back at my desk I remeber, oh yeah, I burned it. Sigh.

It's only 2:30. If anyone would like to doggy sit two cute little adorable puppies, call me! They come with crates, toys, and food. You'll have to get your own water dish.

Dec 10, 2008

Challenge Update

Why haven't I posted about the challenge? Well... let's see, Monday: great. Tuesday: Great. Wednesday: it all went down hill. See, I realized that Britt and Ben would be staying with me Friday night when they returned from the Cayman Islands and my guest room was a mess. (Read: DISASTER!) I didn't have time last weekend to get the ridiculously-expensive-piece-of-foam-strip that you put in between two twin beds to make a king sized bed, so I did that yesterday.

Well...then it occurred to me that I didn't have king sized sheets. Yep, went to Linens 'N Things and bought a set for $22.00 on top of my $14.99 ridiculously-expensive-piece-of-foam-strip. So.... safe to say, challenge is corrupt. It was a nice thought. And did I mention that I bought a Hershey bar at the grocery store? I needed a little pick-me-up after I realized I'd broken the rules.

I called D to tell him about my mishap with the challenge. His response, "Oh, well I had a coffee on Tuesday." WHAT?! Yeah... nice. Thanks for telling me on TUESDAY... After I so politely refused a homemade (HOMEMADE) cookie from the most awesome baker at our office.

Awesome baker: "Cookie?"
Me: "Can't, thanks."
Awesome baker: "Really, are you okay?"
Me: "Yeah, D and I are doing a $1/day challenge and we also can't have sugar."
Awesome baker: "Hm, well are you suuuuurrre, I made them last night..."
Me: "Uhuh... come find me next week, bring fudge."

So, yeah. I turned down only the BEST cookies ever and he had COFFEE?! Crap. It made me want to go find a coke. I'll wait. I do have some self control.

What we did realize with this little mini challenge though, is that we really didn't need to spend much money. I did buy some crackers for $.60 on Monday because I had a headache from the beastly puppies and needed something to take a giant 800mg ibuprofen with... otherwise, I spent no money.

We decided that we'll do a real challenge sometime in January and we'll limit ourselves to spending $10 at the grocery store on food for the week. Or something like that. It may change. Who knows...

Dec 8, 2008

My day

Did I mention that my house has been overtaken by two large beasts? My sister is on her honeymoon so I have doggy daycare til Friday. Whew. These are the most high maintenance dogs ever! Titan poops six (6!) times a day, Roxy has pooped in the house twice because she's used to being walked 15-20 minutes before she poops (which I don't do, sorry for having other things going on), and neither of them know what it means to settle down.

My sweet Nola on the other hand poops three times a day and has the smallest, perfectly shaped poop pieces, cuddles, plays on her own, and is quiet. Always. Roxy brought me a nightlight yesterday. She'd been chewing on it. Great.

Titan has destroyed two toys, luckily they were his own. I hid Nola's. I know him well. They bark if they hear anything and it's so loud that my head has been throbbing for the last three hours. These two beasts are also used to going out to poop (yep, again, that makes time #7 for Titan) sometime in between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 AM. That also does not happen at my house. Thankfully they have been wonderful in their crates at night, and they smell good because I gave them a bath yesterday. They are great dogs but when you're used to one, it's not quite a walk in the park.

***(One really great thing I've learned having Titan here is that because he was Nola's first buddy ever (aside from her littermates of course), she isn't food aggressive with him! They've actually shared licking a spoon and a bowl together! This is a HUGE thing!!!)

What I wanted to sit on the couch and enjoy tonight:

But that didn't happen because of Roxy's incessant barking (She's baby gated in the kitchen in case she poops on the floor again, and because Nola had had enough of her barking and was starting to become agitated. Not a good thing.).

The giant has been relatively good tonight (so far).

Meanwhile, poor Nola took refuge.

Dinner was homemade macaroni, Mmm...

Are you stretched?

It's Christmastime, a time of year that most people associate with giving. I'll be posting some alternative giving ideas all month to keep you on your toes and to stretch that dollar as far as possible!

I've mentioned Compassion International a few times but I don't think I've really discussed my involvement with them. Over the past fourteen years (yep, it's really been THAT long!) I've been sponsoring children. I've sponsored with various organizations (World Vision, Christian Children's Fund, Children, Inc., Children International, and some other small ones) but, Compassion is the one I've stuck with all of these years (my friend Elizabeth introduced me to them). I currently sponsor several children with Compassion and one with World Vision (because I've sponsored her since they were only $15/month!). I can tell you all sorts of positive things about each org and I can tell you some things that I like best about each. When it comes down to it though, Compassion is the organization that wins in all levels. Their commitment to the children and families with whom they work, their donors, and their integrity is far and beyond other organizations.

While I love each of "my" children, I'm closest to Hilda and Clara Mae. Hilda is from Guatemala and Clara Mae is from the Philippines. I've sponsored them about four years. I also write to a child named Princy from India. She has another sponsor but they are unable to write to her so I do that part. I've been writing to her since 2003 and have received over 50 letters from her! Hilda, Clara Mae, and Princy are my best writers and always ask lots of questions. Clara Mae recently wrote to me by herself for the first time. It was really funny because she said something about how she imagined my face when I read that it was her writing the letter. I thought it was so sweet!

I'll write a post about each child later... If you've ever thought about sponsoring a child, do it! (Want to read about other people's experience with Compassion?) Don't wait until you have more money, it will never be the "right" time. Do it when you feel you're lead to do so (like, now!). :) And spare yourself the homework, I've already done it! Although, do be sure to research whatever organization you choose as there are a lot of things to consider. Email me if you wish! (By the way, most organizations have photos of children waiting for a sponsor and you can search for a child by age, country, gender, birth date, orphan status, HIV/AIDS affected status, and more!)

So if you think you're stretched on money, think about others in our world. As I'm completing day 1 of the challenge (I'll post about that separately), I've been reminded of how stretched I think I feel sometimes, when in reality, I know nothing of what it is really like to be stretched financially.

Comfort

My co-worker's house burned down today. House fires happen every day and are a very sad and scary thing. Today, this touched me personally. While working at Red Cross several years ago, part of our jobs was to assist people whose homes had been burned. We provided them with a place to stay, food, clothing, and medical needs as necessary. We also helped arrange other assistance for them. When I learned this morning that Joyce's house was burning, I immediately wrote a check. This afternoon, I found myself humming the song "I will lift you up" (I don't remember what the song is called but it's really pretty!), so I decided to search for some scripture to send to Joyce. Here's what I found:

John 6.35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Psalm 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.


Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Psalm 22:19 But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

Psalm 29:11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Philippians 4:7 The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your heart and mind.

Psalm 56:11 In God I have put my trust, I will not be afraid.

Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you...for I am your God.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to those who are weary.

John 14:27 My peace I give to you.

I'm copying everything here because I think these are great passages to read for comfort and you never know when you'll be in need. Today I pray for Joyce and her family. They lost all of their material belongings. I can't even begin to imagine what that must be like. Thankfully, no one was home during the fire so they are all safe. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Dec 7, 2008

Challenge!

I've talked about it long enough... it's finally time! Tomorrow, we start THE GREAT ESCAPE: Keep in Simple Challenge!!! Here's the deal... me and the Caveman will be living on $1/day for a week. Beginning Monday, December 8th through Sunday, December 14th.

Here are the rules:

-Prior weekend grocery spending can be no more than $20.
-Gas, tolls, and regular monthly bills that are due, not included.
-$1/day can be just that or can be $3 one day and $4 for the remaining days.
-No coffee, soft drinks, or refined sugar allowed.

This probably doesn't sound so bad, and it may not be, but we're going to try a much more difficult challenge of $1/day in the next month or so that will be just that, $1/day. Mostly it will be food since neither of us are able to ride our bikes to work. This is a prep challenge to see how we can do. The idea is to familiarize ourselves with what the rest of the world faces each day. Since more people than not live on less than $1/day, we're going to put ourselves in the higher income bracket and assume we do indeed have $1/day. We'll be posting updates about how it's going so be sure to check back in with us! Caveman has some sort of training and an interview (yay!) this week so he may be a boring blogger but I'll get updates and post from him!

Join us! It should be a fun and sorta easy way to get in the habit of frugal living!

Dec 6, 2008

Christmas Tree!

My tree is finally done! I had to go out and buy new lights because *someone* (mom!) borrows a strand every year and I was down to only two strands. It's a small tree but it still needs lights! I also have a Charlie Brown tree by the front door. It was a pity purchase because it was the saddest little tree... at $8 I thought it would be cute with lights, so it's on the porch.

(I have *no* idea what is on TV and I make no comment about the basket full of Nola toys by the fireplace, which was on by the way, not sure why you can't see the flames. Oh well. It was a nice scene!)

Hope everyone has their tree up and decorated! Christmas will be here in no time!

(By the way, if you look very closely you'll see a blue sweater ornament that has fallen down, kudos if you saw it before I pointed it out! It's fixed now...)

Lost pictures from Connecticut

I decided it would be fun to take pictures in each state we drove through last week. Except, I forgot about it most of the time. Here are a few pictures from Connecticut and a couple from the New York bridge (sans the car gang).





Dec 5, 2008

We like to dance...

Happy Christmas everyone!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Dec 3, 2008

It's Christmastime...

This has been *by far* one of the best, most inspiring videos I've seen in a long time. It's short, to the point, and carries a strong message. Next year, be prepared to see Hope Aid's gift catalog feature "Giving Presence" - 'til then, enjoy! (And do something!) I hope it's as inspiring to you as it was for me!


Not much...

I don't have anything too insightful to chat about today. It's been an exhausting week with all that's going on for World AIDS Day [Week]. I did manage to make lasagna last night for dinner and I'm sooo ready to head home for lunch!

I have some things to post about soon... including The Great Escape: Keep it Simple Challenge (which, for the record, we've pushed back and are obviously not doing this week!) and my favorite dog things. Til then, bear with me as I ramble about my crazy week.

As a complete side note, last night when I ran into the mall to pay a department store bill, I was happily greeted by a person who was standing beside the door, ringing a bell and collecting money in a red pot. I hate this. Not because it's giving, because I enjoy giving. But I hate it because every time I walk past them, I feel like my lack of giving is being judged. I hate it because I feel guilty for NOT giving despite the fact that I still GIVE... just not to that particiular organization. I hate it because of the way it makes me feel when I don't give. It shouldn't be that way. Giving should be an enjoyable experience. I wish they'd find another way of fundraising. Maybe it's just me being selfish... yes, again.

Ok, I hadn't planned to get all serious today. I have a pile of paper on my desk that has to go somewhere, but instead of tackling that, I thought I'd blog for a bit. Now I have a string of thoughts going through my head but, lasagna calls so have a happy Wednesday!

Dec 2, 2008

Need a Christmas Gift Idea?

Buy a pair of Tom's!

Check it:



Why Ethiopia?



(I'll make it easy for you, just click here to buy your shoes!)

World AIDS Day [Week]

Hmm, where to start...

-Yesterday was World AIDS Day.
-WAD is an international day of awareness.
-I'll spare you the facts, Google "World AIDS Day and stats" to learn more.
-Instead of a day, we observe this event with a week of activities.
-Back in August (at our regional conference), we met DeVondia Roseborogh.
-She's amazing!

She found out she was positive at age 32 with a t-cell count of only 19 (normal is 500-1500). After only five years of being positive DeVondia founded her own nonprofit and has been changing lives all over the state through various programs and speaking engagements.

We had her come speak last night and she's awesome! We took her to lunch when she arrived and had a great time. She certainly has a story and a message for everyone. After the speaking part of last night we all shared a meal thanks to Sr. Santiago who made the most fantstic Puerto Rican food ever!

Today we passed out red ribbons, stickers, condoms, and tshirts on the university campus. We had about 300-500 students stop by, they had to answer one correct question in order to receive their tshirt. I was shocked by how little they knew about HIV and AIDS. I learned that I take for granted that I work in this part of public health and hence tend to know a lot about it... I wrongly assume that most people know at least a little bit. But all in all it was a great day (aside from the freezing temp!).

Tomorrow we have a panel discussion with four people living with HIV, a doctor, a church leader, and a person who is affected but is not infected with HIV. Should be an interesting night. We prepared goody bags for each of the panelists to thank them for their time, I hope they like them, they're fun!

Thursday, we'll be doing rapid testing on campus. This will be the first time we've incorporated testing in the week of events. We typically save big events for National HIV Testing Day [Week] or to do on their own so it should be interesting to see how many people we have come out.

I have lots more to write about but this will do it for World AIDS Day [Week] stuff... It's only Tuesday and I'm already tired... great week so far though!

And for anyone wanting to do something about HIV/AIDS around the world - check out Product Red. Just keep in mind that your dollars will go MUCH FURTHER by contributing directly to an organization as these products only send up to half of the amount to the cause. I think it's a great concept but I worry that the advertisting dollars to get the campaign off to a roaring start could have been spent directly on HIV/AIDS projects. We'll see how it all ends up in the long run. It truly is a great idea and I have a few Product Red things but only because I liked the product, not because I wanted to give. If you just want to give, give direct. If you want something to buy, but Product Red! :) Happy WORLD AIDS WEEK!

Dec 1, 2008

Contest!

Want to win a $500 gift card to Wal-Mart? Check out this blog for more info! What a great way to finish shopping for Christmas gifts!

Stay tuned for info about The Great Escape: Keep it Simple Challenge!

Nov 29, 2008

Teen Jesus?

Don't ask me why but at some point during this past week it occurred to me that Jesus was a teenager.


Why have we never heard stories of Jesus as a teen? Did those books of the Bible get lost along the way? I haven't yet taken the time to think about Jesus as a teen but I might just do that. Any ideas on what he was like? Lemme know...

Nov 27, 2008

Thanksgiving and Selfish Giving

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is a day where most every American gives thanks and spends time with loved ones. It's a wonderful day filled with turkeys, apple and pumpkin pies, and lots of laughter. Family may travel to see relatives and friends gather.

Earlier today, on the way to our Thanksgiving feast, we passed a truck whose tire had blown out on the interstate. A comment was made about how awful that was because the tire couldn't be replaced (something about the rim, I was lost but accepted the explanation). I said I felt like we should stop. We didn't. We were sure he had a phone, who doesn't? Did he? Really, what would we have done? The tire (according to the given explanation) really couldn't have been replaced and we didn't know this guy from Adam so it was doubtful we'd have given him a ride. If he was nice, would we have? It was Thanksgiving day.

After we'd long passed him, I felt guilty. Now, had I been alone I probably wouldn't have because being a single woman it just wouldn't have been appropriate, but I wasn't alone. And I wasn't a single woman today. When I put all of my thoughts together though, it occurred to me... did I want to help him because it would make ME feel better? Because I knew it was the right thing to do... Or did I want to stop and help him because I truly did want him to make it to his own Thanksgiving feast? Of course I did want him to make it to his family dinner, but I just couldn't shake off the guilt -my guilt- of not stopping just to check on him. On this day of thanks when I have everything in the world to be thankful for, we could have stopped.

As we enter into the holiday season that is often filled with numerous opportunities for giving, I'm reminded to give selflessly and not selfishly. While all giving is GOOD because it is helping someone else, doing it for the right reasons is also important.

Wishing everyone safe travels and good bargains tomorrow!

Nov 26, 2008

Go and do the same.

As the holiday season begins I am trying to keep myself focused on what is most important. God. I am trying to reflect more upon where I want to be in my faith and where I want to be in life as called by my faith. Over the last few months I have lost so much movtivation, but have prayed for renewal. I know He is answering my prayer. As silly as it sounds, even having this blog has helped me. It's a place where I can record my thoughts and follow myself, in a different way. It make not make much sense but it works for me!

I've been in Boston this week and have been enjoying some time taking a break from routine. It's been so nice! I have so much loved having Nola with me this time. Today we went to the cutest pet store called The Pet Cabaret. I'd seen it last month when I was here but it was closed the only day we could go. Today, fuimos! It was great! They had all sorts of natural products and... they had the earth orbee toy from Planet Dog that I'd refused to order because of the shipping charges. As we were checking out I also grabbed some turkey jerky things and a deer antler, oh and a bully stick. Let's just say, that deer antler... best. thing. ever. It's SO cool. Apparently, they don't splinter and well, I'll have to write a separate post about my favorite dog things because I could obviously go on and on about that...

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I'll spare you the long list of things I'm thankful for (it's long!). We'll be going to Caveman's old boss' house and I will tell ya how thankful I am to NOT be cooking a full meal. Tonight, I made three huge casserole sized homemade macaroni and cheeses, two lasagnas, and a candy bar cake and I would be fine not being in a kitchen for the rest of this year!

On Thanksgiving I'll be praying from 11:00-11:20 PM for people around the world who don't have food and safe water. I'm glad to be doing this as it reminds me of what Jesus would want us to do, remember those who aren't as fortunate as we are. We are so blessed to live in the US and to have access to all that we do... Luke 10:37 says, "Go and do the same." I'd like to think that on Thanksgiving, Jesus would have invited the sick, widowed, afflicted, and poor to his house for dinner. While I won't be able to do that, I can remind myself just what this season is really about.

(And about that list of favorite dog stuff, stay tuned!) :)

Nov 24, 2008

Nola in New England

Well, long story short, plans changed. (As always!) I'll resist going into detail but let's just say I have the best Caveman ever!!! We arrived in Boston at 6:00 AM on Sunday morning. It was a long but safe trip and for that, I am thankful!

Today we went to Cape Cod... and there was SNOW! It was so pretty! We knew it would be really windy at the beach so we'd gone to Petco last night to get a sweater for Nola. She looked so goofy in it and I'm completely opposed dressing dogs in clothes but with her short fur and the cold, windy weather, we felt like she'd be more comfortable. Here are a few pictures and video from today!








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Nov 19, 2008

Note to self

Today, I found a really great resource from Tom Davis' blog. It's something I look forward to working on over the next few weeks as 2008 quickly turns into 2009. I thought I'd share for anyone else who is interested. Enjoy!

Inspiring Video

Nov 18, 2008

Moms forced to pick which kids eat, which die

Did you know this week is World Hunger Relief Week? I know I've gone on and on about the global food crisis for the last week but the headline in the subject line caught my attention on CNN today. I remember a song I heard years ago (it was a song on a tape [yeah, that long ago!] from Compassion) called Ti Chape. In parts of Haiti children are not named until they are several months old because malnutrition is that bad. So bad that mothers may not even produce enough breastmilk to sustain their infant children. These babies are called "ti chape" until they are named. The article on CNN highlights Haiti and discusses the Wall Street bail out in comparison. Sigh. Check it out.

Why Hope Aid Rocks

It's about time I write about Hope Aid International and why it's an AWESOME organization.

-First, we are small and we are small intentionally. It's because of our size that allows us to know each of our donors. We are able to truly connect people to one another. One of our very first donors gave money towards an income-generating project. Later, we learned that this particular individual wanted to do more to help the family. Another project started, and soon, this beneficiary was able to live on the income from her business and support her family.

-We are transparent. Ask us anything about everything, we will tell you (or show you).

-We are in constant communication with our projects. David and Linda are in contact with not only our school projects, but also with our village projects way across the country. They know exactly what is going on with each person's project and they are able to assist when needed to insure the integrity of the program.

-We are honest, hard-working, reliable, and flexible. We are able to accomodate most requests since we are a small organziation. Need something? Just ask! We might be able to make it happen!

We have some great projects going on right now. First, there's the new secondary school (Hope Secondary School)! We have partnered with a group in the UK called School4Uganda. Elizabeth is the lead on this and she's been able to raise enough money to purchase land and they are currently working on funds for the building itself! This school will be directly across the road from the primary school (Good Hope Primary).

We're also working on a project here in the US to re-build Good Hope Primary School! This building is almost 12 years old and needs some repair work. We've decided to re-build it on classroom at a time. It will cost approximately $2,000 per classroom and we've raised about half of this to date. The new school is a work in progress but we have a great group helping us, Kids with Knowledge!

As if these building projects weren't enough, we are also helping a clinic in Fort Portal with their maternity ward. It's a small, rural clinic that only needs $2,000 total for the project. If anyone feels compelled to help, let me know!

Finally, we still offer school fee sponsorships ranging from $20-50/year. What's the difference? $20 only covers the basics for the child and $50 will cover it all (tuition, supplies, uniform, lunch). Did I mention that is is per year?? We do ask for the funds up front so the fees are covered but you will be able to write to the child who you're helping and you'll receive their photo and school report along with letters. Feel free to send them a special package too! Want to visit? We can help arrange that too!

Last but not least we also provide income-generating projects that range from $10 rabbits to $500 garden projects. Past projects have included rabbits, pigs, goats, cows, brick making, sewing machines, tomato gardens, and chickens.

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
-Anonymous
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub