Friday, December 12, 2014

Just a little something extra

Whether you bow and pray at a Nativity...

Or a miracle of Light is what you see...

If Mohammad or Buddha guide your way...

Or Nature and the Earth bring purpose to your day...

We are all children of the Universe, of that we cannot stray...

So let’s strive to exists in Peace and Harmony.

No matter what your affiliation, I wish you joy, good health and prosperity, and may 2015 be your best year ever.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Happy 500th Blog Post. That’s insane. It feels like I just started the blog, and today is its 500th entry.
My Nemesis 

I started this morning off with another heart attack. Last Monday, I was not quite awake when I went outside to wait with Dani for her bus, and I opened the family room door, stepped into the garage, and then hit the garage door opener. When the door started to open, a bird in our garage flew into the house, where he remained for there 26 hour.

For the past week, in the mornings, I have been opening the family room door just enough to squeeze my arm through, reach out, and hit the garage door button, quickly retract my arm, and close our family room door to where I can peek out to watch the bird(s) fly out. It has been working well, that is until this morning. One of the little beasties, flew in through the less than two inch space, brushing my cheek as he passed. E.E.E.E.W.W.W.W.W!!!
On the prowl...

I kicked Colby out and closed the family room door. Then I started chasing my cats around so they wouldn’t have bird for breakfast. I grabbed Mikey and shoved him down the basement and slammed the door, then scooped up Sebastian and tossed him in the bathroom and slammed the door, all while this crazy bird is dive bombing us. I shut off all the lights in the house, opened the back door, flipped on the back porch light, and went out the garage to spend some quality time with Colby, praying the buzzard would leave on his own.
I wish I looked this cute
in the morning...

Mind you, I just woke up, my hair is standing on end, I’m in my nightgown with my coat thrown over it, and I haven’t had my coffee yet. I only lasted ten minutes in the garage – it’s cold out there. I THINK, the bird has vacated the premises, but I’m not 100% sure. The cats are still acting a little weird, but that may just be the aftereffects of having a bird flying around them earlier. Let’s hope. There should be an unwritten law that you’re not allowed to get traumatized before you’re fully awake.

So that’s how I started my morning, how about you? Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Hanukkah is less than a week away, and Christmas is in two weeks.

TWO WEEKS – Oh bother!

I don’t think I’ll be getting cards out this year, well at least not photo ones. I don’t know if I have enough time. I haven’t even begun to write the Christmas letter yet. I don’t have a single gift wrapped, I haven’t even sorted them out yet to see what I have and what I still need. I know I have at least seven more gifts to shop for, because I don’t have ANYTHING for those family members yet. The tree’s still not decorated, and now there’s a string of lights out on it, so the few ornaments that did get on the tree, need to come off again. The house does not have any decorations, inside or out. How did I get so far behind?

Crachunik on Left
Crutsanik on Right
What’s worse is, next week I leave early Tuesday morning, don’t get back until late Thursday night, and will probably be shot all day Friday after driving 1,100+ miles again. The week before Christmas is when I start all my baking, and the Crachunik and Crutsanik are all dependent on weather conditions. If it’s too cold or raining, the dough won’t rise, so I need to find the mildest sunny day, in the Northeast, a few days before December 25th, to make the traditional Slovak breads.

They looked sort of
like these
I really hope that day isn’t next Tuesday – Thursday, or I would have missed my window of opportunity. If that day is Friday, it just might kill me, but I’ll do it anyway. I am the only one who bothered chasing my Baba around the kitchen so I could learn how to make everything she made, well almost everything. She used to make these spareribs, only on Christmas, that were amazing. All I remember is she cooked them in a pot, and they came out dark brown, fall off the bone, garlicky and delicious. So if any of you out there come from Slovak, Ukrainian, Polish, Russian or Hungarian heritage, and someone you loved made these types of spareribs at Christmas, and you know how to make them, PLEASE contact me. I’d love to be able to make them again.

Okay, I’m off to do one more sweep of the house to make sure that dang bird is really gone. The last thing Dani needs, when she wakes up, is to get dive bombed by a bird. She’s home, sick in bed, and I have to go to work at ten, so I’ll probably be gone before she wakes up. Never a dull moment around this place, I swear.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

I’m running out of room…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Class of '84
(obviously not all of us)
Good Morning! I have been seriously remiss in making blog posts lately, and I have a bunch to share with you now. It also didn’t help that I noticed I never posted the one from the 29th. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I posted it Sunday morning on the blog site if you’re interested.

So, the 30 year reunion was a blast. I got to see a bunch of people, but I really couldn’t catch up with many because the music was too loud to chat. The common consensus was, four hour was definitely NOT enough time. We all wanted more.

The Committee
Back Row: Vinnie, Karolyn, Rebecca,
Bob, Mike, Laura, Gary
Front Row: Amy & Me
I think, in 2016, we are going to hold a 50th birthday party for the class. We had some money left in the kiddy after the reunion was over, and we are throwing around the idea that, for the people who were there, it will be free, and for the folks who couldn’t make the reunion, there would be a nominal fee of $25 to attend. Now the reunion committee has an excuse to get together in under five years. It’s going to be great!

Yup, in PARK on the
At ten in the morning, following the reunion, I began my drive south to bring Lys and her friend Max back to school. We decided taking Route 81 back would be much better than attempting Route 95. The best laid plans… It turns out there was a major accident on 81 in Virginia early Sunday morning, and traffic never quite recovered. We passed a dozen accidents, and if it wasn’t for this app Max had, we would have been sitting in more traffic than we did. All in all, the trip took 13 ½ hours, which I guess isn’t too terrible considering at one point I had the car in park on the highway, and we took several breaks and a 45 minute dinner.
Bumper to bumper on
Route 81

I crashed at Lys’ that night, and before I left, we had one errand to run. You see, for the past month, Lys has been getting cyber bullied, so our errand was to the police station to file a report. We had thought they would be able to subpoena Yik Yak to have them trace the IP address of the person doing the harassing; but even though the anonymous posts are disturbing, they do not cross the line into threatening, so the police’s hands are tied. They can’t do anything. The same holds for the college itself.

Because of this, Lys has elected to part ways with High Point, and return to Champlain. She would rather deal with a cranky Mother Nature than a psycho in the human form, and I can’t say I blame her. This means, next Monday, I will be driving back down to North Carolina to pack her up and bring her home. Then, in January, I’ll be bringing her back to Vermont, and setting up her new room up there. Never a dull moment. To be honest, I’d rather have her safe and only six hours away, so I’m not heartbroken that things did not work out at High Point. It would have been better if my daughter wasn’t traumatized in the process, but, live and learn. She’s a strong woman, with a good head on her shoulders, she’ll be fine.

The drive home was considerably better. It only took 11 hours, and that was with multiple stops, including a 45 minute one when it was pouring. The weather and traffic was terrible, and I was exhausted, so I pulled off at a rest stop, climbed into the back seat, and took a power nap. When I woke up, I felt refreshed, the rain had stopped, and the traffic had dissipated, so it was a beautiful thing.

I did not have my radio interview the Ron Shaw Show on ArtistFirst Radio Network on my drive home. I got the dates mixed up. My interview is actually tonight at 8pm. Ron told me my last interview had over 30K downloads, which completely shocked me, but he has the reports to prove it. Now that’s not the people who listen to it the night it aired, these are actually folks who clicked into the link after the fact, and listened to the hour long show. That’s mind boggling to me.

I have to make sure my phone is all charged and ready to go. I also have to figure out where I can do the interview. Last time I did it sitting in a chair in my driveway, because that’s where I got the best reception. That’s not exactly an option for a December in the Northeast interview, especially with a Nor’easter on its way. (There will be a special announcement on tonight's show, so, if you are available, please tune in.)

At least it’s a rain event, not a snow event. That’s all I would have needed. LATE Tuesday night, I am driving to Philly to pick up Dani’s boyfriend and his family from the airport. They have been down in Florida for the Cheerleading Nationals, and their flight comes in at 11:30. If this Nor’easter was going to be a snow event, I would have had them make other arrangements to get home. Then again, if it was snow, the flight would have more than likely been cancelled and I would have to pick them up on Wednesday.

Of course the lights on the
pre-lit tree wouldn't work, so
Paulie had to string more.
Saturday, we had our annual tree decorating party. It was over a week early this year. We usually do it as close to the first night of Hanukkah as we can, but Hanukkah is on the 17th this year, and I wasn’t going to be home.

The 17 year old tradition started with one of my dearest friends, Rebecca, who happens to be Jewish. She loves decorating Christmas trees, but for obvious reasons, she did not get many opportunities to do so. I had invited her over to do ours with us. She would spend Christmas with us whenever she was in town, so why not have her help decorate the tree? By accident, not design, it was the first night of Hanukkah, the first year we did it. I had felt bad that on her holiday, she was helping us prepare for our holiday, so I made potato pancakes for dinner that night…and the tradition began.

3 dozen ornaments and
more lights out. The tree still
needs serious work!
Now, every year, I make a vat of potato pancakes (10lbs – roughly 200 - 250 pancakes), and a bunch of people come to my house and decorate my tree. With the exception of Rebecca’s son Noah, who placed more ornaments than everyone else combined, they did a sad job. I was too busy cooking to supervise, but I can just about guarantee, everyone else put exactly one ornament on the tree. I think next year, I am going to withhold the food until the tree is done. LOL.

Well, this had gone on long enough. I told you I had a bunch to tell you. The next blog entry will more than likely be next Sunday. There’s just too much to do this time of year, that I can’t find the time to blog as well. Sorry. I hope you have a fabulous day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

November 29th Challenge

OH BOTHER! I'm not quite sure what I did, but I never posted this. So here's the 11/29/14 post. I'll give it a little while before I post the one I have for today.

Hi, it’s Christina –

My sister-in-law Cindy
with the cake Lys made
Good Morning! So has everyone recovered from their food comas yet? I haven’t because our feast was a two day event, and today isn’t going to be much better.
Obviously on Thursday we pigged out on the traditional Thanksgiving fare – turkey, mashed & sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn, cheesy vegetables, creamed onions, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, cranberry bread, and apple, cherry, pear raspberry & pumpkin pies. Yesterday we celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday (a little late, but she wanted Lys to be home for the celebration), and my mother-in-law cooked. We had ham, more mashed potatoes and corn and sweet potatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, and birthday cake (which Lys made).

My High School Senior
Tonight I have my thirty year high school reunion, so we are going to be stuffing ourselves yet again. It’s so hard to believe a little over a year ago we were starting to plan the event, then there was a huge push these past five months, and now the day is finally here. Thanks to advances in the internet, we were able to locate more classmates this time around than ever before. Unfortunately many will not be able to make it, but we will have around a hundred people, so it will be a fun night.

One good thing is, the folks who cannot make it are now connected through a Facebook page we have dedicated to our class. For the past few weeks the page has been exploding with posts of old photos, and comments. It has been amazing. Hopefully, even though the reunion will be over tonight, folks will keep posting photos and stories between now and the next reunion. I’m also hoping we can persuade the classmates who are not on Facebook to join, just so we don’t have to lose our minds next time around trying to track them down again.

Carol, her husband, and her 5 kids.
Aren't they a beautiful family?
One of my friends, Carol, just started a thread, on our class page, where we are to post where we are now, what we are doing, and a recent family photo. The replies are starting to come in, and it’s nice to get the updates. I will admit, I am a little jealous of Carol. She has five kids, including a set of thirteen year old twins, and she looks more beautiful now than she did in high school.

I wish she was able to come to the reunion, but travel on Thanksgiving weekend is so cost prohibitive, I think that is what kept many of our classmates from being able to attend. This was the first time we held the reunion on Thanksgiving weekend. I think our mindset was classmates would be visiting their families anyway for the holiday, so they would be in town. It turns out that many of the families have also moved away in the past thirty years, so it kind of back fired on us. I’m pretty sure, next time, we are going to shoot for late September – early October to have the reunion.

Okie-Dokie, I am off to Kohl’s to return a sweater for Lys. She bought it when she was home for fall break, wore it once, washed it, and it fell apart. I’m hoping Kohl’s doesn’t give me a hard time about it. All I want to do is exchange it for the exact same sweater.

BTW – I probably won’t be posting again for a few days. I’m fairly certain I will be driving Lys and her friend Max back to NC tomorrow. It’s a twelve hour drive between my house and Lys’ college. The kid she drove home with made it in just under nine hours. He was driving between 95 and 100 mph most of the way. YEAH, I am NOT letting my daughter get back in the car with him.

The ride home Monday should be interesting. I am scheduled to do a radio interview with Ron Shaw on ArtistsFirst Radio Network at 8:00 pm on Monday, and interview I will be doing via Blue Tooth in my car. It should be interesting. Please tune in.

Okay, I really have to run now. I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge:

Let the insanity begin…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.