What? Like I wouldn’t?

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Saturday was mom’s 85th birthday.  Not only is it a milestone, but who knows how many birthdays she’ll have left.  I wanted to do something different, something totally bizarre to make a lasting impression.  After all, at her age you can really only give her memories and laughs.  My brother took her out for chinese food the day before her birthday and she said it was ‘nice’…. I wasn’t going for plain old nice and easy, I wanted the WOW factor.

My original idea was to hire an acappella band, or Barbershop Quartet that played the oldies.  I figured the elders would love the old style music and could even dance a little.  Not an available band to be found.  Everyone was booked through the summer.  Crap.

Still going for the WOW factor, I thought long and hard and decided on a stripper.  What???  Yep, I was going to find a stripper that was age appropriate, respectful and not offensive to the elderly.  I knew I couldn’t have anyone in their 20’s or 30’s as all the elders have grandson’s in that age bracket and it would be distracting as they compared one to the other.  So I needed an ‘old-guy’… After days of calls, research and choices, I finally landed on an available 44-year-old (who tells everyone he’s 38).  We agreed he wouldn’t strip down to a G-String, just briefs, if the crowd allowed.  He wouldn’t touch the ladies, gyrate in front of them, or offend them with any sexual maneuvers.  I talked it over with my son who agreed this could go either way, but if it went the way we wanted, it would be a big hit.  We decide to go with a Policeman uniform and I have to say, he could have won an Academy Award.  I recorded the entire show. 

Knock, knock:  Enter PJ the stripper, dressed as a Policeman looking for the head of the household.  Everyone is shocked with a Police officer at the door while we’re celebrating mom’s birthday.  He went on to say he was looking for my mother who fled the state at the beginning of the year.  Her birthday on file was Saturday, so they took a chance she’d be at my house, the last recorded address for her.  As soon as she heard her name, she perked up and started talking.  The officer explained there are several unpaid handicapped parking tickets.  She was furious and started raising her voice.  He asks her to calm down or he’s going to have to handcuff her, as he pulls out the cuffs.  Perfect!  She went wild and he asked to speak to her alone in the living room.  I kept thinking if he can live through the next 30 seconds without her killing him, we may have a chance of pulling this off.  Once in the living room, she saw all the chairs set up horse-shoe style with a single chair in the center for her.  I bought boa’s for everyone and made mom a crown and even went out and got her bling for the occasion.

PJ was respectful and delightful.  Everyone enjoyed, and participated in the show, including stuffing dollar bills in his briefs.  My uncle was a good sport, and the only man in the audience.  My son was taking pictures, giggling the whole time.  My mother had so much fun.  She couldn’t stop smiling and laughing the entire time, she didn’t want him to leave.  He actually stayed longer than an hour as hired.  He stayed an additional 20 and he looked like he was having a ball. WOW factor achieved!

Happy 85th Birthday Mom!

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Time Passages

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Well here it is, the end of another quarter.  Working in a sales environment, end of month, quarter and year are always crazy busy and stressful.  It’s all about the money.  In my role as Sales Operations Manager I’m pulled in many different directions and this quarter was no different.  Morphing from first quarter to second quarter is most significant.  It’s winter into spring and days are longer.  The dry, old air is replaced with fresh air and we lose the winter coats, hats, gloves and scarfs.  People seem happier and nature comes back to life.  Second quarter is full of weddings, graduations, grills and repairs.  Alas, better hair and skin days as well.

Because my career is focussed around calendar quarters, I tend to plan my life around calendar quarters as well.  Before I schedule any time off, I’m always looking to see where the month or quarter ends on the calendar, and I plan accordingly.  I don’t agree, or even like, that it should be that way, but if I want continued success and monetary freedom, I choose to oblige.  The irony is when I finally decide to work for myself, my days will be non-stop, round the clock every day… but I’ll be my own boss doing something I love… cooking!  I have lots of steady customers now and plenty of people inquiring.  I think about it a lot.  Getting ready for the big leap of faith is no small task.

Then there’s Lizzie.  She continues to be challenging to say the least.  This dog has a mind of her own, probably from roaming around in the woods and fending for herself for so long.  I change my strategy every time there is a mishap with her.  One thing is for sure, I love the dog and won’t give up on her.   It seems the black crows in the yard taunt her because they know she can’t get off the leash.  God help them if she ever breaks free… they’re first on her list; I can see it in her eyes.

Here’s hoping your Winter shrug is replaced with pleasant Spring things.  Second quarter, come on in!

 Stick Figure Baker

Spring?

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Welcome to the first day of Spring, 2013.  Yesterday and overnight last night, the East Coast was pummelled with snow.  My house received 12 1/2 inches of snow and I heard other towns farther North received as much as 16 inches.  With another storm threat looming in the background for next week, we can only hope the warm sun and mild temperatures melt this storm’s dump before the next one.  Let’s hope the next storm is the end.  It’s been a full year of snow clean up.  That makes for a long-ass winter.

New baby deer are populating the neighborhood again.  Lizzie and I get so close to them, it amazes me how fearless they are.  If Lizzie wasn’t on a leash, I bet they’d play… until momma deer stepped in.  They couldn’t be any cuter.

Last weekend I had a birthday party for my uncle.  I prepared all week between cooking, shopping and cleaning.  At the last minute I started to get the eggplant parm ready and the eggplant was rotten.  Jeez, off to the store Saturday morning when they open to return the rotten eggplant and buy ingredients for Plan B – Calzone.  Thank gawd I had prepared the other dishes ahead of time.  I made four Calzone’s and no one even knew it was my back up plan.  Uncle was delighted that all the important people in his life showed up to celebrate him.  It was a good day!

No more storms, pahleese…

Bring on Spring!

Spring 2013

Spring Ahead

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What a fabulous weekend!  After a sneaky back-end storm last week, my son and I decided to just do minimal shovelling on the driveway since the forecast mentioned 50 degree days ahead.  It’s always a risk because the weather prediction has been known to be wrong, and if it stays cold and the snow isn’t shovelled, you get crunchy, dangerous ice.  The risk paid off and the driveway snow melted nicely.

There’s something about setting the clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time.  I’m always genuinely surprised that it’s still light out at 6:00pm, just like I’m genuinely disappointed that it’s still dark at 5:00am (for a while anyway).  It teases you into thinking Spring is here, but then yanks you back into winter with the cold nights and dark mornings.  It’s OK though, we all know Spring is right around the corner.

The weather was gorgeous this weekend and we took every opportunity to get out and enjoy it.  While walking on the frozen lake we couldn’t help but notice the edges starting to melt.  Lots of the ice shacks have been removed, but a few still remain.  The dogs love running wild and free on the ice and in a short time we will have to confine them so they don’t fall in.

Pictures were taken yesterday on the lake.  Lizzie and Baby J taking a break from running crazy all over the lake.  They are so happy!  Could they be any cuter?

Lizzie on Lake

BabyJ on Lake

March On

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Every month has a feel to it.  Although October is my favorite month, March definitely is a transitional month and has more of a feel to it than any other for me.  My birthday is in March.  My favorite Uncle’s birthday is in March.  Taxes get submitted, car registrations, car inspections, changing of the weather (in like a Lion, out like a Lamb) and Easter, sometimes.  We move the clocks up and turn the thermostat down.  Buds on the trees start to emerge, and tiny sprigs of green start to pop through in the woods and in the yard.  The first day of Spring is celebrated and the birds are singing like crazy!  Red Cardinals and Robins every where I look… a sure sign of Spring!  March is the month I put feelers out for my annual Cousin’s Weekend at the lake in August.  Amazingly, everyone agreed on a date and preparations have begun.  Then there’s St. Patrick’s Day.  Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.  HA!  This year Easter falls in March.  Just before Easter is Good Friday and Palm Sunday.  Easter is a big deal in my family (for most of us), celebrated with dinner and fancy china.  I’ll probably host it, as usual, as no one else steps up.  I like entertaining and cooking, and I do it better than anyone else in my family, so it’s better off that I host it anyway.  I take advantage of the fresh ripe vegetables that are brough to market in March.  There’s Spring Break and March madness.  I remember when my son was in school, March madness basketball was always a big deal.  Last, but not least, today is International Women’s Day.  Celebrate the woman in you!

Yesterday while walking Lizzie I noticed all the snow had just about melted.  Today, I was walking Lizzie through 6 inches of snow in blizzard conditions.  What a difference a day makes.  We’ve had a lot of snow this year and frigid temperatures.  After coming off a hard winter like that, 30 degrees seems warm to me.  The only thing you can count on in March, weather wise, is no bugs.  They don’t come out until April.  The skunks are all fat with babies ready to give birth anytime now.  The deer are everywhere and Lizzie loves to track their scent.  It’s easy to track them in the snow.  We see a family of five most days on our walks.  The babies are adorable, frolicking around while the parents try to corral them in to the woods.  Lizzie is dying to play with them and they seem curious to play with her as well.  It seems the snow keeps people in.  That gives Lizzie and I more freedom on our walks. No school buses, no cars, no kids and no other dogs out.  Most people in my neighborhood just put their dogs outside in the yard.  No one really walks their dogs.  I guess laziness is everywhere and sadly those dogs will turn lazy by no fault of their own.  I carry a pocket full of treats when we walk and we visit all the dogs stuck behind a fence.  We know and love them all.  They never get out of the yard and they’re dying to play.  I see the look on their faces when we leave, they follow us behind their fences untill they can’t see us any longer.  A few random barks, then nothing.  Breaks my heart.  There’s one dog that has dug a hole so deep under the fence that I’m surprised she hasn’t gotten out… yet.  I’m totally expecting to see her running around some day.  Because of that I carry a spare leash in my pocket.  I notified her owners, but the hole is still there, getting bigger and bigger as the ground thaws.

As the first week of March leaves us in winter storm fashion, there’s no panic, no worry.  We all know we’re over the winter hump and no matter how much snow we get, it’ll all melt soon enough, because it’s March!

Happy Spring!!

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Another Year Slips By

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Every year (on my birthday) I reflect back to any and all the changes that have occurred over the past year.  This year’s reflection had lots of changes. 

Yesterday was my birthday.  It’s not a big deal, doesn’t require cake and presents, but it does represent another year of life gone by.  Did I accomplish anything over the past year?  There was betrayal, loss, challenge, risk and isolation.  There was also joy, happiness, success, promotion and love.  I take the good with the bad and leave things I have no control over.  That includes people and their bizarre behavior.  It amazes me how lazy some people can be.  Not me, I’m a do-er.

This year will be quite interesting.  I’m planning on implementing some major things in my life.  I’m excited and nervous all at the same time… and exhausted just thinking of all the work involved.  Change is good and it’s my time to shine.  There will be many obstacles along the way, but I’m up for it.  A leader by nature, I embrace every day. 

I’ve done my due diligence… It’s time for me .

Spring Ahead Naturally

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With February nearing an end, all the sights and smells of Spring are vying for surface time.  With yet another messy storm looming in our immediate future, these signs will once again be squashed for a day or two.  The good news is, sooner or later, they will stay for good!  This morning while walking from my work parking lot to the entrance door I saw a family of skunks.  At least I think it was a family.  Two adult skunks and two babies walking directly in my path.  Something must have startled them earlier because the smell was so pungent I could taste it.  One of the adults, I suspect the mom, was trying very hard to keep the two babies in line while the other adult, dad, was just going about his business getting from point A to point b.  Very cute and a sure sign of Spring.

Earlier this week while walking Lizzie we ran into a family of deer.  Last year I realized that deer, like humans, have their offspring all year-long.  I always thought they only birthed in Spring, but nope, I’ve seen babies all winter.  This year is no different.  The new babies are just making their debut in my neighborhood and they are smaller than my dog.  With speckled white dots all over their backs, they just want to play, play, play!  With all the snow, it’s easy to track them in the yard and it seems they come around my yard in the wee hours of the morning.  I don’t see any buds on the trees and my garden is completely buried in snow, but there’s something that’s surely attracting them.  They provide great entertainment for our daily walks.  I bet if the parents weren’t around, the babies would play with the dog.  I have to chuckle when the parents nudge the babies across the street.  They’re so curious about the dog and of course the dog just wants to play and chase them.  Very cute.

The ole homestead feels different this year with mom gone.  The house is too big and the property is too much to maintain.   It’s funny, for such a small person, she commanded a lot of room.  It’s time to downsize.  The amount of work ahead is a bit overwhelming, but there’s no rush so I’ll just take my time.  It exhausts me just thinking about it.  My basement and garages are filled with boxes that haven’t been looked at in many years.  There are lots of repairs to be made and before you know it the lawn will need cutting and the garden will need planting.  Oiy…

Thank gawd for nature’s distractions along the way.

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