Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Downton Abbey Costume Party

Monday evening, the girls and I got together for our first ever costume party. Normally this time of year I attend the Ladies' Night Out costume party at the church I used to attend. This year, however, I had a change of plans as Kendra decided we should have our own costume party and it was a themed party as well. I actually think I may have mentioned it in a previous post. We decided to have a Downton Abbey costume party. The best part of all is that we all managed to keep our mouths shut and not tell the others what character we were going to be. Jackie and I knew who each other was playing because we hit the thrift stores together a while back, but as for everyone else, I had no clue until they arrived at the soiree on Monday.  

The party was at Erika's and it started at 6:00 p.m. I went as the Dowager Countess and my costume was awesome if I do say so myself. It gave me a large laugh and I was so excited about going to the party and showing it off. The dress came from the thrift store for $5. The hat was a find on eBay at $20 and the gloves were also procured from eBay for $6. So, for $31 I had the perfect outfit. The shawl I already had and I borrowed the walking stick from my supervisor at work. Candy thought for sure I would come as Mrs. Padmore or O'Brien, both of whom I love and could have easily pulled off (maybe next year?), but the Dowager Countess was the first choice for me and I did not look back!  
Jackie went as Lady Mary. She found her dress, top, and shoes at the thrift store for a total of about $15 and she also bought her gloves off eBay for $6. So, her total amount spent was $21 and she totally looked the part. She tucked her hair in at the back and topped off her look with long pearls. She looked great! Erika pulled off the look of Lady Cora complete with some dazzling jewelry and long gloves and also high heeled boots which looked fabulous.
Candy also came as Lady Mary and wore a red dress with a jeweled choker in her hair as a headband. She carried with her a framed picture of her late husband, Matthew Crawley which made us all laugh. Kendra came as Lady Sybil and wore a picture of Branson around her neck. Everyone looked amazing! I guess we all wanted to dress up in fancy clothes because none of us came as maids or the men from the show for that matter. I think we all could have used a Branson because it's not easy driving oneself about while wearing fancy clothes!
Erika's neighbor was kind enough to come over and take some photos of us with our cameras and phones so that we could post pictures to Instagram so our friends at home could laugh along with us. We feasted on finger foods which were super delicious and just generally speaking had a great time. It was seriously one of the best ideas for a party and we had a fabulous time together as always. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trunk or Treat and Fun Fest 2013

Sunday was Mayfair's annual Trunk or Treat and Family Fun Fest and it was such a fun afternoon! Jackie and I had decided a few weeks ago that we would participate in the Trunk or Treat this year instead of helping out with the games. In years past, we have always hung out with her kids, but as they have gotten older, they have also gotten more independent, which I guess is the point in growing up.

The Activities were slated to begin at 3:00 p.m. and the trunk or treat people needed to be set up around 2:45 p.m.. I pulled into the parking lot about 2:30 p.m. as did Jackie and soon we were decorating the back of my car with all manner of banner and bowls of candy and other trinkets.  

We had bought around 700 pieces of candy to hand out and the children came out en masse to pluck candy from the hands of us adults. Troy and Ashlyn headed off for fun and games while Jackie and I passed out candy. We started wondering if we might run out. There were young children and old children alike with bags in hand. A lot of people brought their dogs, including me, who brought Pippa along for the fun and games.Pippa was a big hit. She wore a devil outfit that Jackie had bought for her a while back and she was petted and loved on by tons of children and adults too. She got a lot of compliments on how sweet and pretty she was. I think she enjoyed all the attention. 

Around 4:15 p.m, we were starting to get really low on candy. Some of the ladies from church were walking around making sure everyone still had enough to hand out and so we got some pieces from them to hold us over. Troy was handing out the candy at this point and also some of the local food trucks had arrived; so, Jackie and I left Troy to man the car and candy and we headed to the food trucks to get some dinner. I had chicken tacos from On-On and they were pretty good if I do say so myself.  

After eating, Pippa and I headed home. We were both worn out from such a fun-filled afternoon. She actually fell asleep on the way home and then slept most of the evening while I watched TV and all through the night. The next morning after I let her outside, she came back in and went right to the chair to lay down. She also slept while I showered Monday morning. In other words, she was tuckered out from all the petting and loving she received. 

It was such a fun afternoon and I am looking forward to doing it again next year. Although, if we have as many kids as we did this year, I'd better start stocking up on candy now!

I didn't get a good picture of The Pip in her costume. This is the best one I have.  

 A nerd and Percy Jackson!

Big crowds! 

Greer, my cousin Lauren's little boy, or cowboy I should say. 

The decorated car

 Troy passing out candy

The tuckered out Pippa

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Dogiversary That Never Was

Today (Monday) would have been mine and The Tide's 11th Dogiversary. It's written on all my calendars for 2013 and it's bittersweet when I see it in big bold print with an exclamation mark. It's an anniversary that was anticipated but not celebrated.  

Like this year, October 28, 2002 was on a Monday and like this year, it was a dreary day when I picked The Tide up from the Pitt County Animal Shelter in Greenville, North Carolina. Just like 2002, it was also a Monday after Alabama had put a whoopin' on Tennessee. 

I often tell people that The Tide forced me to grow up. She made me responsible for something other than myself. She came to me at a time when I was living away from my family and often feeling sad and lonely and she filled my heart with much needed love, happiness, and companionship. 

In the months since her passing, she has been greatly missed. I still feel like there is a gaping whole in my heart from her ever present absence; some days are worse than others. I'm certain I will always miss her. She was, after all, an integral part of my life for 10 and a half years. 

So, here's to the dogiversary that should have been but apparently wasn't meant to be and to my best friend and beloved companion, The Tide. I hope dog heaven has awarded her the fastest legs and hips around. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Michael Buble In Concert: Nashville 2013

Time flies when you're having fun they say and I guess I've been having so much fun that I am posting about things long after they happen, or at least it seems that way. 

Last Wednesday, I left work early to drop Pippa off at the vet so she could stay the night in preparation for her surgery (she got fixed) and soon after that, Jackie met me at my house and we hopped in the car and headed north to Nashville. Many months ago, Michael Buble announced his 2013-2014 World Tour and as luck would have it, he had a show scheduled for October 23 in Nashville. As you may or may not know, I am a lover of the jazz and adore Michael Buble. I wanted to see him about three years ago when he performed in Nashville, but I had just had foot surgery and couldn't drive and there were no willing parties to drive me to the show. So, when the tickets went on sale this time around, I logged on to Ticketmaster as soon as they went on sale and shelled out a ridiculous amount of money because there was no way I was going to miss it again. 

When I decided to order tickets, I asked Jackie about being my plus one. She's not a huge Buble fan, but she does love music and we always have a good time together. I told her my intention would be to get a date (because let's face it, Buble would be much better with a date) but if I didn't (and clearly I didn't) would she go? She said she would go and so I bought two tickets and circled the date on the calendar. 

We left Huntsville about 4:00 p.m. and met Jackie's sister Melissa at Chuy's in Nashville for dinner. We made good time as we were going against the flow of traffic and there were no problems along the way. I had never eaten at a Chuy's before, but had heard wonderful things about it. The dinner was great and the company was even better. Chuy's has a really yummy jalapeno dip that is almost like ranch and quite addictive. I think I could have drank it! It was so nice to see Melissa and catch up with her. Jackie and I need to try and go up to Nashville for a whole weekend sometime soon. 

After dinner, we drove to downtown Nashville and found a parking spot pretty easily. Another friend of Jackie's had recommended a spot and it worked out beautifully. We walked to the arena and found our seats and got settled in for the show. The opening act was Naturally Seven, a group who does not use instruments, but instead makes instrumental sounds using their voices. They sang for about 30 minutes and were really quite impressive. They sang covers, the best of which was "Fix You" by Coldplay. Jackie shot some video with her phone. I did not because I apparently don't realize I live in 2013 and can easily do this with a touch of a button.After Naturally Seven completed their set, there was a 30 minute break and I headed to the bathroom (shocking I know).

Michael Buble took the stage right at 9:00 p.m. opening with "Fever" and some exploding pyrotechnics! His second song was a favorite of almost everyone's, "Haven't Met You Yet." Meri and I had been singing it at work earlier in the day and so it was appropriate that it was the second song of the night. The stage was amazing with great backgrounds and it also moved up and down and the band was on moving platforms so sometimes they would be towards the back and sometimes towards the front. There was also a stage at the back of the arena (to our left) and we wondered if he would walk back to it and perform. Sure enough, towards the end of the show, he strutted down one long aisle singing away and did some songs with Naturally Seven in the back. Then he strutted on back to the front to close out the show. 

One of the last songs was "All You Need Is Love", made famous by the Beetles and when he was singing this song, red and white confetti hearts were blasted throughout the arena. It was a like a large party. For the encore, he changed from his tuxedo into a lounge type jacket than shimmered and sang "Cry Me a River" (with a very theatrical ending I might add) and then ended with "A Song For You" which he finished up without a microphone. He seemed very humble and it appeared that he even got a little teary-eyed at the end. I like it when performers are emotional and appreciative of their success. 

The only bummer of the night was that the couple next to me decided to use the concert as their own personal make up/feel each other up session which made me rather uncomfortable. Other than that, the night went off without a hitch. We were even able to get out of downtown in a timely manner which was a miracle in and of itself. It was such a fun night and I'm so glad Jackie and I were able to get out of town and enjoy this show. It was an amazing performance and I will definitely buy tickets again the next time he is close. 

 Naturally Seven opening up the show

Apparently I take terrible concert photos with my phone, but that is Michael Buble.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Service Day: Family Fun Fest at New Hope

This past Sunday, the church I attend (Mayfair Church of Christ) had a service day. Various groups throughout our congregation picked out service projects to work on and after worship that morning we left to go work on those projects.The class Jackie and I attend as well as the children's ministry staff decided on a project in the New Hope community. We helped New Hope Church of Christ with a Family Fun Fest and it was such a fun and successful day!
The church at New Hope is very small (around 30 members) and most of the folks there are older and therefore it is more difficult for them to put together something like a fun fest. At the same time, they are looking for ways to help and reach out to the community so this was a perfect way for us to allow them to reach out to the community without it being too much work or overbearing for them. 
I picked Jackie up and we headed out to New Hope and got there right about noon and helped get things set up. Jackie and I had signed up to work the popcorn stand so soon after we started getting things set up, we started popping popcorn. I must have eaten 10 pounds of it throughout the day. In addition to the popcorn, there were various carnival games and inflatables and face painting. 
About 175-200 people from the community came out at some point during the two hours of the fun fest and we stayed busy all day long. I don't know how many bags of popcorn we handed out, but we probably popped 12 rounds or so of popcorn. Each station stayed busy but it was a steady busy and none of us were swarmed with kids. 
After the festivities ended at 4:00 p.m., there was a devotional for those who stayed led by our associate minister. Some of us were able to start breaking down things and get started cleaning up during that time. Then, at 4:30 p.m., we served dinner to those who stayed. We had hot dogs, chips, and a dessert. I have no idea how many hot dogs were prepared, but I'm sure they were all eaten. One little boy went though the line at least five times. You could tell that a lot of the people were probably hungry and not accustomed to getting three meals a day. When you are around this type of environment, it will really make you appreciate all the amenities and luxuries we are afforded in our daily lives.  
It was a really great day and we were so thankful the weather was nice and that we had a great turnout. It warmed our hearts to be able to serve this community. God is good, y'all! 
 Face Painting!


 Ring Toss!

 Serving Bags of Popcorn!

 A lot of people stayed for the devotional, which was great!

 Serving dinner

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Good Neighbors and Stolen Pumpkins

​I​ had planned on mentioning this last week, but then the week got away from me and next thing I knew it was the week was over and I had not said a word about it. Last Monday (the 14th) I walked out my front door only to discover that the two large pumpkins on my front porch had been stolen. I was not happy. I have had pumpkins stolen before, but usually that happens on Halloween night, long after I've snuffed the candles out of the jack-o-lantern and forgotten to bring it inside. This was the first time that two whole and un-carved pumpkins had been swiped. 

Look, here's how I feel about the situation... if you want some pumpkins for your house and cannot afford the luxury, then just knock on my door and I will give you some cash for pumpkins or even the pumpkins off my porch; just don't steal them though. In reality, it was probably some kids  who stole the pumpkins and they stole my friend Amberly's pumpkins too (she lives about a block down the street). I kept looking in the streets for smashed pumpkins and finally saw one (or two) on Sunday on a road close by and Amberly saw some a few days before that so it seems that the pumpkin thief is up to mischievous ways.

I did buy a new (even larger) pumpkin over the weekend and placed it close to the door so that perhaps it would not get stolen. So far so good.

Totally unrelated, but also not because this too involves Amberly...

Last Saturday after napping because I was worn out from puppy training class, I woke up and checked my email and saw that Amberly was having some people over for the Alabama game and our friend Nevin was going to be cooking up some sliders. Since I had no idea what I was going to make myself for dinner, I sent her a text and told her I was going to come on down. 

At this point in the day, my foot was hurting so badly that I could hardly put pressure on it at all, but I managed to hobble down the street and I'm glad I did. Amberly had made Buffalo Chicken Dip and some delightful spinach dip and also brownies and fruit punch and Nevin started working on those sliders soon after I arrived. The food was delicious and really hit the spot. Midway through the second quarter, I decided to head back home. I really just wanted to spend the evening laying on the couch and being lazy because I had a big day ahead of me on Sunday as well. So, I told everyone goodbye, thanked them for the food and hobbled back home.  

I was so thankful for the invitation and yummy dinner from Amberly. I'm thankful she is right down the street and so glad we have gotten to know each other and have become friends. It's really nice to have neighbors who are also great friends!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Second Class

After the first week of puppy training, we had a week off because the trainer was out of work for "vacation" when really she had some kind of surgery. So, after a week off, we all gathered back in the training circle at PetSmart this past Saturday to have a review of "sit" and "watch me" and also to learn and practice loose leash walking. Try saying that fast three times.   

We arrived a few minuted before 1:00 p.m. which is the time our class starts. Sophie the Dog and her parents were already there. We were told that Little Bit and her owner were not going to be joining us because of a conflict for the next four weeks and then told us that it was okay because Little Bit needed one-on-one training anyway, which was not surprising to me. We did, however, have a newcomer named Latte. Latte is a deaf Matipoo with an extremely loud bark. Poor Latte probably doesn't realize how loud he is. Latte and his owner had already completed one class and so they were on the same schedule as the rest of us. I'm not really sure how it is that Latte had completed one class and then got moved to our class, but nevertheless, he is now a part of our Motley Crew.  

We had a quick review of "watch me" and "sit" and Pippa did great. Those two commands she has down to a fine art with the exception of when there are a lot of people around and she doesn't want to pay attention. Then it was time for loose leash walking. We went to the back of the store to learn this. Linda (the trainer) worked with Sophie first and took what I thought was a lot of time with her. We were able to see what we are supposed to do when teaching the pups to walk with a loose leash. Each time Sophie would pass by, Pippa would want to run over to her and it was taking all my energy and strength to hold on to her. 

Then it was Pippa's turn. The Pip did great with Linda and Linda didn't have to spend as much time with Pip as she did with Sophie. When it was my turn with Pippa, she did okay but not as good as she had done with Linda. Of course, Linda has been doing this for years whereas I have not. We practiced for a while more while Linda went to work with Latte and soon it was time to corral all dogs and humans back into the training circle.  

When we were back in the training circle, we practiced going up to each other and asking if we could pet their dog. The point of this was to try and get the dog to sit so that the person asking could pet the dog without being jumped on. Poor Pippa. She did not do very well with this exercise. It took me a long time to get her to sit so she could be petted. Linda also told us all about a walking harness that is good for dogs and of course suckered us all in to buying one. Let me tell you, going to PetSmart every week is not easy on a girls' wallet.  

At the end of class, Sophie's parents mentioned they would be out of town this coming Saturday and could their son bring Sophie to class. I mentioned that Pippa is getting fixed this Thursday and asked if she should come to class. Linda said she doesn't like for dogs to come back to class so soon after being fixed because they have stitches and might be sore. So, long story short, Sophie's parents are going to try and arrange for her to get fixed this week as well and then we can make up the missed class together next week.  

By the time the class was over, I was exhausted and Pippa was too. I made a quick stop to get a handful of things from Target and then we headed home. Pippa even laid down and started sleeping on the way home, which she never does. Usually she stands up with her front paws on my shoulder. When we got home, we napped for almost two hours and Pippa even spent the rest of the night being less than rambunctious. I think this is the thing I love most about training class!  

So, we are to practice out loose leash walking for now and in the meantime, I will be scheduling a make up class for the one we are missing on Saturday.  

I'll keep you posted on the puppy training progress, but so far things are going along smoothly.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The 10th Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run

I had a busy, busy weekend full of activities, friends and fun! Friday night I actually had the night at home and it was nice to just sit and do nothing after a very stressful and chaotic work week. I caught up on some TV shows and dozed in and out of consciousness and thankfully Pippa kept herself occupied and didn't mind me being too exhausted to stay awake all night.

This past Saturday morning was the 10th Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, and if I remember correctly, my fifth year in a row to participate. This year the place where I work put together a "team" if you want to call it that. Some of us signed up under our company name and if the others were like me, they probably thought someone might actually put together a team shirt or something, but that did not happen. In fact, our team "captain" was also supposed to pick up our race packets and she didn't do that either. So, Thursday after work I drove by Fleet Feet to get my packet and also the packet for my co-worker Maria who had asked me to walk with her.   

Saturday morning about 7:30 a.m., Maria came to my house so that we could ride together. The race started at 8:00 a.m. and since we were walking, I figured we would be finished about 9:00 a.m. and had made tentative plans to meet some folks from the church I used to attend for breakfast. This year, the race organizers lined people up according to the following categories: Runners, Joggers, Walkers, and Strollers. I actually thought strollers meant casual strollers, but it meant people with strollers; yet another blonde moment in my life.   

Maria and I arrived plenty of time before the race started and lined up with the walkers. We had grabbed a banana before lining up which wasn't really the best idea because there were no garbage cans to be found. I finally just placed our trash on one of the scissor lifts that the cameras were using. I don't typically litter, but due to the lack of garbage cans and the massive amount of people I was having to fight to move one inch, I just gave up and decided the scissor lift would be a nice spot for the disposal of my banana peel. 

The race finally got underway, and as expected, it took me about an hour to finish. I saw lots of friends, co-workers, family members and acquaintances throughout the morning. The Liz Hurley is one of the biggest races of the year and there were 6,500 entrants this year. As opposed to years' past, this year both men and women raced together. There were, as always, tons of supporters along the way which is always nice to see.

About 1/4 mile from the finish, Maria decided to pick up her pace, but because of my aching foot, I could not and I had a bad feeling about her heading on down the road. My gut feeling was right and I could not locate Maria after the race. In fact, it was nearly 9:40 before I finally caught a glimpse of her bee-bopping along and eating a slice of pizza. I think it goes without saying that I did not make it to my breakfast appointment which was disappointing because I really wanted some bacon, grits and biscuits!

There were tons of great team shirts and outfits again this year, although I didn't get any pictures of them. One team, The Painted Bra Project, all had on bras that were painted and bedazzled - both men and women - and those were the greatest outfits by far. The atmosphere was just as electric and fun as it is year after year and it's a great way to spend the morning for a great cause. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Doing It The Old School Way

​I mentioned in my last post that I do not currently have a computer that will hook up to my wireless service at home. I had let my parents' borrow my primary computer on which I have my iTunes account. Long story short, I switched them my secondary laptop for my primary so that I could download two albums that were released this Tuesday. I had been counting down the days for months until the release of these two albums (Pearl Jam and The Avett Brothers) and was so super excited about downloading them on release day.

Sunday night I went to log on to my computer and the dongle I need to connect to the router in my house was MIA. I called my dad and it was sitting on his desk and he said, "No, I'm not going to bring it to you." Thanks a lot, buddy! So, to make another long story short, the sole reason for me getting my primary computer back from my parents was basically moot since I could not even get online. Side note, in addition to not returning the dongle, the computer also is not starting up properly. Yes, I know my mom reads this blog, and no, mother, I will never let y'all borrow a computer again; but, I still love you both.

Moving on... I was in a bit of a conundrum because I desperately wanted the two new albums and had no way of downloading them and then all of a sudden, it came to me in a vision... I could actually go to a real live store and purchase a CD that could be held in my hands! What a concept! I couldn't tell you the last time I bought a CD, an actual CD. If I had to guess, it was probably the Michael Buble Christmas CD, or maybe Wasting Light by the Foo Fighters, needless to say, it had been a couple of years. I was once a person who vowed never to buy only downloads and now, well, now all I ever buy are downloads.

So, I checked the Target ad, and low and behold, both albums were listed as being on sale starting Tuesday and so Monday night I made plans to rush to Target as fast as lightning to get the two CDs and then import them onto my iTunes account and then to my iPod. Tuesday afternoon I left work and went straight to Target before an appointment I had and bought both CDs. It might have been one of the happiest moments of my life, and it fondly brought back memories of rushing to the record store to buy a new Pearl Jam release way back in the 1990s.

I didn't play either album on the way home because my plan was to just download them to my iTunes first. Of course, when I got home and tried to do the download, I was reminded once again that the internet is required for pretty much everything in life and downloading the albums was/is a no go until I get a dongle for the computer.

This morning on the way to work, I popped in the new Pearl Jam CD and folks, I'm here to tell you that listening to Eddie's voice is just as magical at age 36 as it was at age 14. I think I smiled all the way to work and that in and of itself is a modern day miracle. I've only made it through the first three or four songs on the album, but I'm loving it and I've never been more grateful for that old technology known as the CD.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Costume Has Been Found

Please allow me to apologize in advance for how sparse the blogging will be this week, and really has been in general for that matter. Things at work have been so busy that I hardly even have time for a bathroom break and I don't have a computer at home that will hook up to the internet at the moment (long story) so that rules out trying to post anything from home. So, I will try my best to post a little something here and there when I might have a whole minute to myself.
This past weekend was rather low-key and also rather unproductive as I got little to nothing done around the house, but that's how it goes sometimes I suppose. Pippa did not have a training class as the trainer was on vacation and so that left the afternoon open. Jackie and the kids came by around 11:15 a.m. and we made a trip to The Way Thrift Store on University Drive. For those of you who live in the area, they are now in the building that was once occupied by LifeWay and the store is very clean and organized. I had some items I wanted to drop off (and probably have a ton more that need to be) and Jackie and I also wanted to shop for our Downton Abbey Halloween costumes. The kids also perused the shelves for various and sundry items. 
As luck would have it, both Jackie and I found great outfits to wear for our party. I would tell you who we are going as, but the other participants read this blog and I think it is supposed to be a surprise because I have no idea who everyone else is going as. Rest assured, however, that come the night of the party, I will be taking photos of everyone and posting them on the blog. It's sure to be a fun night! I had a few accessories to buy to accompany the bargain from the thrift store and found those items on eBay so I'm all set with the exception of one item which I hope to borrow from a member of Jackie's family. Jackie found almost her whole outfit at the store and is in need of just a couple of items and I think she was going to look on eBay for those as well. I really am so excited about this party and cannot wait to tell you all about it! 
After our adventure at the thrift store, we stopped downtown for some lunch at Sam and Greg's. Troy wasn't keen on pizza and so he got a burger from Three Skillets which he did not enjoy. I've heard good things about Three Skillets so I was surprised his burger wasn't good. It was a nice sunny afternoon with a slight breeze blowing and we enjoyed our lunch outside while watching people pass through the streets of downtown. 
Once we were done with lunch, we headed back to my house where the kids played with Pippa for a while before heading home. I spent some of the afternoon doing laundry, but most of the time was spent napping. Saturdays has apparently become the day I try to catch up on all my lost sleep from the week. 
That evening I went over to my Aunt Linda's house to watch the Alabama game with her and my cousin Chris. It was just the three of us and it was a relaxed evening and was a good time for us to catch up on this, that and the other. We had Moe's Bar-B-Que for dinner and Nothing Bundt Cake for dessert and it was just a really enjoyable time with two of my favorite people. I left a little before the game was over so I could get home and let Pippa out to run around for a while before bedtime. 
So, it was a fun and low-key sort of Saturday spent with friends and family. Hope your weekend was good as well!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

As I was driving around town on Saturday, I happened to notice a couple of signs and for whatever reason, those two signs have made an imprint on my brain. So, despite these signs being a small portion of today's rambling on, they prompted the title of this post. 

The first was as I was driving Pippa to PetSmart. I saw a person dressed as a clown on the side of the road holding a sign. I looked over and the sign read, "Honk if You Love Halloween!" and since I do, in fact, love Halloween, I gave a honk and then I gave a little laugh because I thought it was hilarious - it clearly doesn't take much to amuse me. 

The second sign I saw was after we left PetSmart and were on the way to pick up a pizza. I saw a lady on the side of the road waving a sign. She was standing in a driveway and there was what looked like a yard sale that had taken place earlier in the day. I figured the sign would say something about a yard sale but was surprised when I looked over and saw that the sign said, "Free Stuff". So, either there had been a yard sale earlier in the day and the lady had decided to just give the remaining things away for free and if that was the case then the people who bought stuff at the sale earlier in the day got a raw deal. The other thought that crossed my mind was that perhaps this lady got mad at her husband or boyfriend and decided to drag all his stuff out and offer it for free. I doubt this second scenario was the case, but thinking it might be gave me quite the chuckle. 

I finally got around to decorating for Halloween over the weekend. I was wondering how it would go with Pippa trying to be all up in the decorating business, but it actually went okay. I only had to chase her a few times when she grabbed paper that various items had been wrapped in. I purchased some pumpkins and mums and got those all set out on the porch. I am officially ready for cold weather and changing leaves as well as ghosts and goblins. 

Speaking of Halloween, some friends and I are having a Downton Abbey costume party later this month and I am very excited to see what kind of costume everyone comes up with. It's sure to be a fun evening and I will definitely be sharing some photos. 

Monday night I got into the baking spirit and made some pumpkin cookies and brought them in to work the next day. They are actually more like little cakes, but they were very good and the recipe can be found here if you are interested. The weather has been cool at night and so I also decided on tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner. It's a classic and I love it! It's perfect for cool fall nights!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The First Class

Well, this past Saturday was Pippa's first training class and I'm happy to report that she was, in fact, the star student. The class started at 1:00 at PetSmart in Jones Valley; but, before we went into the store, I needed to pick up three things from Target (next door) and left Pippa in the car and was basically running through Target. I had only left her in the car once before and that was the first Saturday I had her when I ran into Star Market for one item. Since her personality has blossomed and she's wild as a buck, she has not been alone in the car so I was terrified that she would start eating the car seats or something. Thankfully by the time I got back to the car, everything was intact and she seemed a-okay. 
I dropped the Target bag in the car and hooked up Pippa to the leash and went inside to PetSmart. They were having a pet adoption outside and I was afraid Pippa might start acting a fool around the dogs outside (The Tide did this sort of thing) but thankfully she didn't and we went right on inside with no problems. I had to purchase a non-retractable leash before the class started because the only kind I had was retractable and that is not the kind the trainers like to use in the class; so, I made the purchase and we headed to the training area. 
The trainer's name is Linda and she is very stern with her training, which is fine because Lord knows Pippa needs some sternness. There were two other dogs in the class as well. The first is a Corgi named Sophie who is the same age as Pippa and the other is Little Bit who is a two-year old teeny tiny dog who belongs to an elderly lady. The lady just recently became Little Bit's owner and is apparently having some issues. 
The class got started a little late and began with a basic introduction and description of what was going to be covered in the class. Then Linda started working with the dogs on "sit". She worked with Sophie first and then Pippa. Sophie had apparently been practicing "sit" at home and was able to do it fairly well. Pippa learned "sit" from my dad weeks ago and is an old pro by now so she did a great job. Little Bit on the other hand....well, she didn't do so great. She would not sit at all and her sweet owner also had a difficult time understanding what action to use to help Little Bit learn "sit". I must admit, it was a frustrating process to watch. Linda eventually got tired of trying and moved on to the next exercise which was "watch me".
Once again, Linda started with Sophie who did okay after a few tries. Pippa, on the other hand, was also already familiar with "watch me" from her Poppa (my dad) and was a star student. She was even called a "show off" by Sophie's parents. I assured them that she would probably not do so great in coming classes as she already knew "watch me" from my dad. Little Bit...well, once again she didn't do so great. Linda hinted that Little Bit may need to have one-on-one lessons and that she would be able to determine that for sure after the next session. I've got to tell you, I tend to agree with Linda here. I think that all the attention that is being spend on Little Bit is not really fair to Sophie and Pippa and it's also frustrating to watch. So, I'm hoping that Little Bit will get the boot and we will be able to continue on with just Pippa and Sophie. That sounds kind of mean, I guess, but I want to make sure we get an adequate amount of time with the trainer for the money I paid. 
The class was supposed to last an hour but because of the late start, it went a little short. Pippa and I headed home and she slept most of the rest of the afternoon and evening with the exception of waking up to play for a few minutes here and there. She also slept through the night which was nothing short of a modern day miracle. Apparently training at PetSmart will really tucker a young pup out.  
Next week we do not have a class because the trainer is on vacation, so we will pick back up on the 19th. I'll be sure and keep you posted on everyone's progress and on the impending fate of Little Bit.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Winner Is...

The winner of the Graham Blanchard tote bag from my recent book review and giveaway is...

Comment #3 - Jackie. She might be my best friend, but I promise, it wasn't rigged. Congrats to Jackie on the win and thanks to all of you who commented. Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 4, 2013

5th Annual Huntsville Area Rainbow Omega Dinner

Thursday night was the 5th annual Rainbow Omega fundraising dinner at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, and as always, it was a great event for a worthy cause.
Jackie's dad usually is able to come down for the event but because he had a vacation already scheduled, he was unable to attend. He still helped sponsor a table, along with Jackie's mom and step-dad, and they all graciously allowed me to join them. Since Jackie was flying solo, she came by the house and picked me up for the event. I knew she was going to be at my house around 6:30 so I took Pippa outside a few minuted before so that she would be all situated for the next few hours. Well, of course, she would take this opportunity to crawl under the fence and run around like a wild child in the neighbor's yard. So, I went after her, almost tripping and falling on my face in the process. Thankfully I had some treats in my hand and was able to lure her in with the smell of tasty treats. Jeff from across the street came to help too probably because he saw I was all dressed up and chasing after that crazy pup. She's gonna be the death of me, y'all! 
I managed to get Pippa in the crate and soon after Jackie arrived and we were on our way. The parking lot at the Davidson Center was packed which was a good sign. The entrance was different this year than it has been in the past and our friend Christa quickly found us and told us which table was ours. We saw a ton of people we knew, including the most important guest, Jackie's cousin, Little Mickey. Jackie's Uncle Mickey took a photo of all of us, but I, unfortunately did not get one. We visited with various people and then found our seats and the dinner was soon underway. 
For dinner we had a salad, chicken with a mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes and vegetables and for dessert there was a decadent chocolate cake or raspberry cheesecake. The food was really quite good. After dinner we received a brief update of the past year at Rainbow Omega and then watched a video about some of the residents there. After the video presentation, the keynote speaker, Dr. Benjamin Carson, addressed the crowd. He was very soft spoken but really had a lovely, inspiring, and honest message and I think it was one of the best speakers they have had at the dinners. 
The Lieutenant Governor of the great state of Alabama was there and also spoke about her personal affection for Rainbow Omega and presented Dr. Carson with an honorary award. The night was a huge success. Jackie's step-dad who is on the planning committee said it was the largest crowd they had ever had at the Huntsville dinner. I am not sure how much money they raised, but I hope it was a lot because it is such a worthy cause.  
Jackie and I left right after the event was over. She had to relieve her babysitter, and I had to relieve the pup...or something like that. It was such a wonderful night, one of the best from the past few years. I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Carson and I think everyone else did too. If you are looking for a great cause for which to donate, please consider Rainbow Omega where I assure you, your funds will be put to good use.

 Jackie and Me

Jackie and her mom

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Troy's Bowling Birthday Party

Saturday morning, after finally catching a few elusive hours of sleep, I got up, bathed and headed to the hair salon. I had some red highlights put in my hair and also had my hair trimmed up. A few people have noticed the red  this time as opposed to last time when no one did; so, that's been nice. The appointment at the salon lasted about two hours and I could have laid down on the floor and napped I was so tired thanks to Pippa staying up all night.
After my hair appointment, I went by Firehouse Subs and ate a sandwich before heading over to the bowling alley for Troy's birthday party. The party started at 2:00 and I arrived a little beforehand. There were 10 kids at the party and I think they all had a lot of fun! They each got to bowl at least two games and there was also bowling alley pizza and birthday cake to be eaten, what more could a kid want? The cake was chocolate and was so good! 
After the kids ate, Troy opened his birthday presents and was the recipient of a lot of gift cards and cash! He's a good saver so I'm sure he will add it to his stockpile and buy something he really wants later on. I got him a plaid shirt and some khaki pants which he wasn't too thrilled about, but the kid's gotta wear clothes.  Once the eating and present opening was complete, the kids went back to bowling and some of us adults were able to bowl as well. Allow me to say that bowling can really give your torso a good workout. 
The party wrapped up around 4:00 p.m. and I left a few minutes after. Pippa had been in the crate for about six hours and that is the longest amount of time I am willing to let her stay in there at this point, so I wanted to get home and let her out for the bathroom and some freedom. Jackie came by soon after so that we could watch the Alabama-Ole Miss game together and we feasted on a very adult dinner or Rotel cheese dip and chips. 
Jackie left after the game and I attempted to watch some of the television shows I had stored on the DVR. I think I managed to get through half of Revolution before realizing I desperately needed to go to bed and try to get a decent night's sleep. So, I did just that and watched the second half of the show before leaving for church on Sunday morning. 
So, the two birthday parties were a huge success and I think Troy may have inspired me to have a bowling birthday party of my own come February. Of course, I could change my mind, but that's the way I'm leaning right now...time will only tell.