Bittersweet Birthday Week

At my age, birthdays should be celebrated in the length of a week!! And this year I have been doing just that thanks to my wonderful friends! However, my birthday week holds bittersweet memories of my family.

My brother and I were exactly one year and two days apart. I only knew my birthday as “Our” birthday. Growing up I never had a birthday cake that was my own, or my own birthday dinner, or birthday party. There were definitely times in my childhood years that I wished and hoped for my own special birthday. But now that I no longer have my brother, I truly miss having him to share our birthday. My fantastic friends always seem to make my birthday special and my own, but I still miss the days of a birthday cake that reads “Happy Birthday Kim & Kevin”. I totally miss the birthdays we shared as adults where I would undoubtedly smear frosting on my brother’s face and have him do something much worse to get even.

I also share a birthday with my Aunt, actually my brother was born on her birthday. We usually call each other on our special days, two days apart, and sing an off-key version of “Happy Birthday”!! And we certainly share the bittersweet birthday week. Many years ago, my Grandmother, my Aunts Mother, died but they hooked her to life support for a day only to disconnect her on my Aunt’s birthday.

And now, this week also marks the anniversary of my Dad’s passing. It’s four years now, although it seems like yesterday. Dad was still struggling with my Mom’s passing just six months earlier, in fact he was quite miserable to be around. He didn’t even call me on my birthday, he called a day or two later in an awful mood taking his sadness out on me which was fine, I certainly understood his depression, but right after that call he died in his sleep.

Soooo, my birthday is still fun, and exciting, and exhausting, AND I am very thankful for my fantastic friends! Along with the fun celebrations this week, there are lost loved ones to remember and cherish as well.

Cheers everyone!

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Resolutions vs Goals

Resolution vs goals, or as I see it, Pressure vs Direction.

We are 6 days into a New Year!  It’s refreshing to have a new start at life but, we can do that at any point in our lives.  We don’t need January 1st for that to happen, yet many of us seem to wait for it.  Silly isn’t it.

So, how many of you created your New Year’s Resolution list?  Not me!  I used to create that list but I have goals I set for myself, it’s easier and has less pressure.  And if at any time I wander or stray I gently guide myself back on track.  Sometimes it may not be so gentle as I may need a swift kick in the ass, but hey, I’m flexible.  I can give myself a swift kick and good talking to!!

My long term goals are, for the most part, pretty easy for me to stay on track.  Minus the extra winter coat or new pair of heels I may occasionally buy that digs into the money that I wanted to save.  But the short term goals, now that’s my challenge.  For instance, here I sit blogging instead of starting that new scarf, or putting some things on Ebay.  My photo album from the walk in October needs to be put together and my own personal photo’s need printed, dated and put in albums.  But , here I am, on the sofa, on the computer, and watching a movie.   It really doesn’t matter that I spent most of the day cleaning, doing laundry, packing away Christmas decorations, grocery shopping and making chicken soup for a sick friend.  No, I have to remind myself that there are several other things that need to be done NOW.   Thankfully I have one more day to cram all that stuff in.  Ahhh yes there is always tomorrow to finish my honey-do list!

I am already planning my day tomorrow, minute by minute, chore by chore.  And a huge pot of coffee.  I also have a promise to not put too much pressure on myself and just enjoy the day by relaxing, breathing, prayer, meditation, yoga, cooking, knitting and walking the dog.  Anything else I can accomplish will be a bonus!!

PINK OUT, Women’s Cancer Fund

As I do every spring, I attend the Pink Out Women’s Cancer Fund event.  It is a night that is filled with fun, friendship, food and awe.  Money is raised for the Pink Out Fund, information is  HERE.  Please make a donation!

The mansion is a beautiful piece of architecture and design in itself but it is totally decorated in pink for this event.  The girls in the committee are all dressed in a theme outfit and we are greeted at the door by Jane Rice with a hug, a hug that is one that you would give your best friend as she enters your home for a girl’s night.  The committee women’s husbands wearpink polo shirts; they direct the parking and offer you a ride to the mansion in golf carts.  There are tall pink flags waving in the evening breeze as you drive up to the mansion, gorgeous pink flower arrangements are placed throughout the rooms (donated and crafted from plastic bottles and bags and painted), tables are adorned with pink fabric and ribbons, and beautifully hand-blown glass hats and purses dress the tables outside in the backyard.  The drinks for the evening are of a pink nature of course, made with cranberry or pomegranate juices, pink plates and napkins, pink food ~ pasta with a pink sauce and salmon, even the salad dressing had a pink hue to it! 

The entire place is filled with women in pink, it looks like a pepto bismol bottle exploded!  It’s one the most wonderful things you can experience.  The sister-hood, the love, the caring.  And then you are humbled when you see someone that is obviously undergoing chemo treatments.  I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time.  She had no hair and my heart instantly ached for her.  She told me that she shaved her head for her daughter-in-law who has breast cancer.  LOVE

Volunteers for the evening, also in a theme outfit but different from the committee girls, are walking around all evening collecting your empty plates and cups.  There is also a  silent auction and raffle drawings. 

Then Jane speaks, her story of surviving cancer is amazing and makes me tear up every time.  A guest speaker spoke last night, a young woman; I could not move from where I was standing.  As she was introduced by her friend, it was mentioned that she was a tough cookie; she also mentioned a t-shirt that this young woman wore, it read “hey cancer, you picked the wrong bitch”.  And cancer did.  This young woman’s story was shocking and heartwarming and I couldn’t help but cry.  She had a doctor appointment, had her breast exam and was given a clean bill of health, in a matter of 2 months I believe; she did her own breast exam and found the lump that changed her life.  She talked about how she wanted to “feel” what cancer was like so for a few days she didn’t take some medicine, which she said looking back was probably not a good thing, but she still wanted to feel it.  After a treatment she was so sick but still went to work, had to excuse herself and then went back to work.  She did then take the meds, and she said that she really couldn’t explain why she wanted to do that but she did.  She also told us how she would have a treatment and then go home to put on her bikini, hop on the John Deere and mow her yard.  Yea I think she might be a tough girlie!  She told us though, she was still depressed and sad BUT she was not going to let cancer live her life, she was going to learn to live her life with cancer. 

After she spoke and walked away we were asked if we remembered a young bald girl 2 years ago in a pink fluffy dress, a lot of us agreed that yes we did, that was her and she will be celebrating 2 years of being cancer free this month. 

Next, Jane asked all the women in the room that had breast, ovarian or uterine cancer to come forward.   Women from all corners of the room walked up, some beside me.  I just cried.  They held hands and stood around a tree that was decorated with names of those being remember or honored with women’s cancer.   It was so moving. 

At the end of the night as you walk outside you are greeted by the husbands in pink polo shirts again.  They help you down the steps, hand you a gift and escort you to your car in the golf cart.  They use lights to guide you out of the cart and walk you to your car, open your car door and get you in the car safely.  And finally, they tell you “get home safely”.

People that care. Friends, family.  Amazing.  Please make a donation, this is a wonderful organization.

Ladies, do your breast exams!!!

Did you ever try to trim a cat?

After several suggestions from several friends that I should write about my experience the other night, I decided they are right, I should share this story.  Maybe save a life.  One of my very loved friends said that if I should attempt this little episode in my life again, she wants to video it.  She is sure she’ll win the top prize on that show about the funniest home video’s.  And she’s right, she would win.

I have this adorable cat that loves me so much.  His name is Gibson.  And Gibbers.  Or BooBoo.  I love him too, most of the time.  When he insists that he sleep ON me, all 20 pounds of him, I don’t like him very much.  Or when I leave a very clean and very black sweater on my bed and come home to find he slept on it all day, I don’t like him then either.  The shedding is the worst for me.  I can almost tolerate the teeny little pieces of litter that are scattered around my house, but the cat hair, hell no!!!  I hate it.  Cannot stand it!!

So I started taking him to the groomers.  At first I was a bit concerned that he would go into crazy cat mood as soon as the trimmers were turned on.  He did not.  In fact he turned into a cat that I didn’t know.  He sat on the groomers table, like a good boy.  I scruffed his neck but I probably didn’t really need to.  He left me stand him up on his hind legs so his belly could get buzzed, he was not fond of that but he did not put up a fight.  He wasn’t too fond of his tail being buzzed either, or his butt, but the deed was done without incident. 

After the second trip to the wonderful talented groomer, she decided it would be bath time on his next visit!  I pretty much told her she was nuts and that this absolutely would not be tolerated by him.  Gibson proved me wrong again.  Understand, he was not happy about it, but he did not fight it.  He meowed at the top of his lungs.  He looked at me with the most pathetic eyes I have ever seen.  But he stood in the tub and was shampoo’d.  I was amazed.  And I was disappointed that I didn’t have my camera.

So after three times to the vet, I decided I was tired of dishing out $60 a visit for this cat that manages to bother me but also has a soft spot in my heart.  I get the bright idea that I can do this myself.  How difficult can it be right?  Off to WalMart I go, I buy a cheap trimmer and head home for the experience of my life.  Seriously.

After I unpacked the trimmer, I found the smallest guard and put it on the trimmer.  Sat on the floor, plugged it in and turned on.  Gibs couldn’t wait to come check it out .   He wasn’t afraid of it at all.  I made a few swipes down his back and he was in heaven.  He stood still, I didn’t have to hold him, he stretched against the trimmer with every swipe down his back.  By now I’m thinking this is a freakin piece of cake!!!  Except the guard was still too long, I really wasn’t getting too much hair.  So I took the guard off.  Made one swipe down his back and Gibson stretched into the trimmer again and I made a bald spot.  Shit!  I’ll be more careful.  Umm…I did it again. 

Now he starts batting the guard across the kitchen floor and he’s chasing it.  I eventually get him back make few more swipes and a few more bald spots.  He runs again.  By the time I bring him back the third time, he’s starting to show a slight sign of  low patience with me, and a temper.  He runs again.  I gave him a little break before scooping him up again.   This is when all hell broke loose.  I stood him up so I could get his belly.  Stupid on my part apparently, he was pissed.  Started growling at me.  Tried to run. But I had a grip on him.  Which he didn’t like as he demonstrated by biting me.  So I kinda held him closer to me, thinking I could calm him and I started making short fast swipes to get as much as I could.  I never saw such a temper!  He bites me again.  I switch sides, this time using my left hand.  Which was completely hilarious on my part, I couldn’t manuever the damn trimmer to save my life.  Literally to save my life, because Gibson had enough, he was DONE.  It was an all out fight!  He dug his claws in my legs.  The meowing was hideous.  Okay, now I’m done.

I’m covered in cat hair, remarkably I have no blood from the bites, and only a few claw marks.  Funny thing is, tonight when I picked him up, well, he’s still pissed.  Although he did snuggle up to me last night while I was sleeping.  I felt so bad for him that I didn’t make him move, I just rubbed his pissy little head.

So, my lesson learned was, I am not a cat groomer.  Never will be a cat groomer.  And should never ever entertain the thought of changing careers and becoming a cat groomer.  My cat looks like he has the mange. 

Trip to the groomer=$60, Trip to WalMart to buy human trimmers=$10, Thinking I can groom the cat=PRICELESS

Cheers!

Women Over 50

This was sent to me in an email, I love it and had to share it!

 

“As I grow in age, I value women over 50 most of all.

Here are just a few reasons why:

 

A woman over 50 will never wake you in the middle of the night & ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.

 

 If a woman over 50 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She goes and does something she wants to do,

& it’s usually more interesting.

 

 Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant.

Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you,

if they think they can get away with it.

 

 Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved.

They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.

 

 Women get psychic as they age.

You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 50.

 

 Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier

 than her younger counterpart.

 

 Older women are forthright and honest..

They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk or if you are acting like one.

 You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

 

 Yes, we praise women over 50 for a multitude of reasons.

 Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal.

For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 50,

there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself

 with some 22-year old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize.

 

 For all those men who say,

‘Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?’

 Here’s an update for you.

Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage.

Why?

Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig

just to get a little sausage!”

Vodka Pasta with a Berries and Cream Cheese Dessert

All I can say is YUM!  I love this dish!  And the dessert??? Heaven!!  I invited a girlfriend over to catch up and share this meal with me.  Here’s what I do;

Toss a little olive oil in a large sauce pan cause you’re going to want to share this meal with someone I promise.  Lightly saute some minced garlic and onion.  You could also substitute garlic and onion powder if you wanted.  Then pour in your favorite tomato sauce, simmer on low until it reduces and thickens slightly.

Go ahead and start to cook your pasta, I like to use penne pasta for this sauce.  To the tomato sauce pour in some light cream.  I can’t use heavy cream as most recipes call for, my tummy doesn’t like heavy.  I also stir in a big spoonful of ricotta cheese and sprinkle in a good parmesan cheese as well, grated works best.   Keep a close eye on the sauce, stirring often, on a low heat.

I then plate the drained pasta, pour a delicious amount of sauce over the pasta and top with parm cheese.  And proceed into the ymminess of this sauce. 

okay, now for the dessert.  In a food processor or blender toss in some raspberries and about a tablespoon of brown sugar. Puree until a luscious purpley sauce.  Wait, dont faint yet, there is more.  Pour the sauce into a separate dish.  Back to the blender add blackberries, ricotta cheese, softened cream cheese and a dash of vanilla, puree *sigh.  Now comes the fun, layer in a champagne glass or some other beautiful stem glass.  Start with the blackberry cheese mixture, then the raspberry sauce, then the blackberry cheese mixture, you get the idea.  Top with a  dollop of whipped cream and a berry. WALA!   Sorry to say that I have no picture of this dessert.  I made the dessert and we both dove into like we were starved!  I may make this later in the week, I still have ricotta and cream cheese left over.  If I do make it again I promise I’ll take pictures.

Cheers!

Super Bowl Taco Dip

Need a quick snack idea for tonights game?  Here you go!  I checked a few recipes in cookbooks, looked up my taco dip recipe and went with my daughters.  But they were all pretty much the same.

Spread refried beans in a 9 x 13 pan.  Mix softened cream cheese and sour cream, add taco seasoning

Spoon salsa over the cream cheese sour cream mixture, then chopped shredded lettuce.

Top with your choice of shredded cheese.

Next time I’m trying guacamole anc chopped tomatoes.

Enjoy!  GO STEELERS!