Friday, February 25, 2011

Shuttle Launch. Best. Thing. Ever.


It was....the best thing ever. Top 10? Try TOP 5! Or top 1 right now! I'm too tired for the whole saga right now...but the short version is that if you "youtube" shuttle launch videos? The crowd acts all "oooh....ahhh..." and REALLY WOWWED!? And you think....why do you act like a 4 year old with sparkly things...is it really THAT cool? Well friends....yes. YES IT IS. Perhaps the those that have seen it on a daily basis (my exaggerated way of saying "once before") think it's "neat"...but it took my breath away, I mean, I'm snapping pictures one minute, and CRYING THE NEXT! Maybe I didn't know I was that excited to have seen it? Ah. MAZE. ing. Seriously...lived up to every drop....and SURPASSED! It was too busy...too short of a span! I didn't have time to watch, film, take pictures, AND absorb the sound! Just...WOW! Here is a video...until it lifts off the screen...but alas...
video

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sweat the Small Things!

In life...sometimes it IS the small things! You know that book/cult...."Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff"? I get it...pick your battles, and CHILLAX! BUT, sometimes it's the "small stuff" that makes your day! AND LET IT! I walked into the Sheraton on my last tour, into my bedroom, and there it was...a MINI SPONGE! I don't travel with mesh sponges....I don't know people that do...and I might be inclined to make fun if I did! (That said-there may be excusable circumstances....) I also don't use them at home, because they idea of it sitting in the shower, never fully drying...? Is not appealing to me! BUT...if I could have one NEW every day? I'd be in! So, this little guy? PERFECT! 3 nights with me, and then he's trash! It was a treat to use a sponge, and more of a treat to use one on a TOUR! Dear Sheraton....THANK YOU! (And the rest of the stay was also enjoyable, minus the little rug rats from the Mt. Laurel Hockey team, whose parents thought it best to have them run up and down the hallways screaming whilst they talked loudly in their rooms with the doors open...that is, IF they weren't at the bar. IS THE ART OF PARENTING DEAD!? YOU ARE CREATING MONSTERS!!!!!! That, is a prime example of "not sweating the small stuff" I think!) I say, revel in the small stuff, if it's a mini mesh sponge in your hotel room!

Clay High School 2011

A great trip to DC!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

6 degrees of our small world!

There IS just ONE moon, and just ONE golden SUN! And a smile DOES bring friendship to EVERYONE! Though the mountains divide-And the oceans are wide-It's a small small world!!!

It's a song for a reason! Wow. I seriously can't get over it! Just today, on the precious world of Facebook...a friend that has been in my life since I was born-and I love her dearly, she's been my mom's besty since they were 11! ELEVEN! Well, we have a mutual friend, that we never knew about! NOR WOULD WE HAVE! Thank you FB! When I did my two week training for one of the companies I work for....I met this fabulous lady...and we don't work full time with the company we trained with anymore, and our paths NEVER cross, and I haven't seen her since that one time meeting of 2 weeks in a row...but FB has kept us in touch?! Well, turns out SHE met my mom's childhood friend back in the 80's they were neighbors then....in Missouri, and then AGAIN in the 90's in Hawaii! Already they shared a small world...and then? ENTER ME! Well, I'd been entered I guess....but it's really incredible. God keeps us small huh!? Granted, what I do for a living, makes my world smaller...I mean I run into people in the strangest of places because of what I do...but this...wow!

And for fun!? Well, last fall, I ran into a friend at the Eiffel Tower that I'd met in San Diego 2008, then I ran into him in NYC last April, WITH....another girl I didn't know he knew, that I'd met in LA in November of 2007....amazing, but that's touring. That...friends...is the norm!!

What's not NOT normal? In 2006? I think?! I went to Budapest...read prior blog, I mentioned it in there I think. Anyway, not really a planned trip, then we randomly decided to head to Slovenija with my friend Jana, we spent 2 nights...got in late, spent the night, TOURED for one day, spent the night, then I headed back up to Budapest? In that ONE day of touring? We were productive...and went out the Postojna Caves? We did other things too...and ended our day with a visit to her mum in the country side, and dinner in Bled! Amazing, by the way, amazing. ANYWAY, we're at these caves, and waiting for our tour, so we hop into the gift shop, and I hear English...but American English, and it's weird to hear familiar, when in foreign...more so in some places than others. I mean Slovenija isn't this huge country, and certainly this little place isn't riddled with American tourists...I look up, and low and behold? I KNOW THE GIRL! She's Lisa, from my gym! (Yes, when I HAD a gym, and when I would actually go, duh, this is so not now! lol) Anyway, small SMALL world...and I do NOT believe in coincidence! She was just finishing the tour we were waiting on! Amazing!!!

And most recently? I was in Paris this October, and it's departure day...I'm taking my gaggle to the airport, and we are leaving the hotel....or TRYING! And this van is parked and blocking us....my driver is NOT happy about this! So, we finally escape, to be cut off by a taxi, and then? The local bus headed to the airport is parked crooked so that we don't fit to pass....my driver is now LESS happy! And then? He taps me...and points...and people are FRANTICALLY WAVING AT US!! And well!? It's friends from a trip that I did in June to LA! AMAZING! They were on vacay, staying at a hotel in the neighborhood of mine! And were just headed out for the day, and he saw the bus, and saw ME! And since we were stuck we had the time to recognize, open the door, hug, and say TEXT ME! Amazing amazing amazing!!!

It's encouraging to see love on the road! To see people that you've met, in parts of your life, and to see them and you, out of your normal element! Unexpected bursts of happiness is what that is!!!!! That said....be nice to people...especially strangers! YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE YOUR PATHS WILL CROSS! Once, I had a customer come into the store, we had a conversation, he was memorable....low and behold, the next day, he's on my flight to Miami! I was headed off to Peru...him to visit his folks, I think...anyway, he was sitting 2 rows in front of me! And, I saw him a year later at a Thai restaurant-that's another story. lol. But that KICKER of him, is that he's not from around here...he lives in WYOMING! So....be nice to strangers, love on God's people. And from the lesson side of things? If you ever get annoyed with that other driver? Be assured they'll park next to you, or go to your church. Or if you are in an airport? Guaranteed they will be sitting next to you!

Love on all...that's your lesson! And Love on our small world! God is so big, and so orchestrating the small things!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grammy's Re-cap

Grammy's. Meh. Sure....I love music...but I may love the WRONG music. I mean I watched more OTHER things last night, WHILST watching the Grammy's! Sure....the 5 "divas" singing was impressive...though...Yolanda...bores me. And I did feel bad when Christina fell, though, I'm always just surprised more don't. Gaga did her weird thing....that's fine...and then? Martina Lambert came on, put people to sleep, Bob Dylan was a hot mess....or maybe technical jacked it all. It was error after error I felt. Yes, of course I'm perfect, how else could I comment like this?! Then angry Eminem, which is always a good time because of Momma Bear's M&M comment...hahaha. And Dr. Dre. Special place in my heart because my brother and I met him, WAY back in the day...like 1991. He was sitting in front of us at a Knicks game at the Garden. My brother knew who they were...I, did not. Ed Lover & Dr. Dre...apparently they had a show on MTV then? I don't know....but anyway, I remember it, my brother barely did, and I'm very sure Dr. Dre does not. Back to the Grammy's....as I'd flipped away....and the Kris Kristofferson was a train wreck, back up-so was P. Diddy (or is it just Diddy), oh, yeah. so was Jamie Foxx. BUT....Barbara Streisand. UGH. I don't like her anyway, but I thought I'd give her a chance. YAWNER! Back to "Criminal Minds" I went. Better a repeat of THAT than listening to Barbara. So then...this ATROCIOUS band comes on...Arcade Fire? AND THEN THEY WIN RECORD OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!! To which, I rolled my eyes and went back to "The Holiday"...where things made more sense. Am I getting old? What's going on? I like hip music....I mean I'm not THAT old! Pshhh. Whatever. Kudos out there to Lady Antebellum....I like them, hint of normalcy...and am secretly glad Beiber didn't win a Grammy, but I do wish Usher would take care of his velcro he's passing off as "hair". Thank you....and good night.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Not so Imperial March...

I'd changed my ringtone to the "Imperial March"...in honor of Mini-Darth-Cutie....but as it turns out...it scares the LIFE out of me whenever it rings. So...I've changed it back to Super Mario Brothers...that said? I still love you Mini-Darth-Cutie!




Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, GO AWAY!

I'm not real big on bugs....I mean, I can't STAND them in house. Outside? Well, meh...fine. This year....however, those STINKIN' BUGS!!! I mean that LITERALLY!!!! STINK BUGS! I've yet to be offended by the odor, and now having said that, I will be, but I just killed one in the bathroom....which is where I kill them the most....but I've certainly killed my fair share in other rooms of the house too. Banner night was when I took out the air conditioner in the extra bedroom....ELEVEN! And while it may be my favorite number? I didn't like counting ELEVEN dead little bodies! It's hard for them to "tell their friends" when I kill them, as they are then dead.....so do I wound one to send a message or what!?? They are SLOW as all get out...which makes me feel better, at least I can catch them to kill them....but I'm still convinced they've crawled in my mouth during the night. YUK-O! Anyway, thanks Pennsylvania....we appreciate them....thanks so much. On a positive note? It's not a bed bug, yet. So for now, I'll be thankfully annoyed! ;-) And yes, another ode to NONUMENTAL!

Below is some info about the bug....you've probably seen tons this year...if you are around these here parts. BOO! Happy hunting!!

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Halyomorpha halys

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an insect not previously seen on our continent, was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania. It was first collected in September of 1998 in Allentown, but probably arrived several years earlier. As of September 2010, Halyomorpha halys has been recorded from the following 37 counties, although it is probable that they are in all counties:

Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Snyder, Washington, Westmoreland and York

It is also recorded from many other states such as:

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia

This true bug in the insect family Pentatomidae is known as an agricultural pest in its native range of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Recently, the BMSB has become a serious pests of fruit, vegetables and farm crops in the Mid-Atlantic region and it is probable that it will become a pest of these commodities in other areas in the United States.

BMSB becomes a nuisance pest both indoors and out when it is attracted to the outside of houses on warm fall days in search of protected, overwintering sites. BMSB occasionally reappears during warmer sunny periods throughout the winter, and again as it emerges in the spring.

Description

Adults are approximately 17 mm long (25 mm = one inch) and are shades of brown on both the upper and lower body surfaces (Fig. 1). They are the typical “shield” shape of other stink bugs, almost as wide as they are long. To distinguish them from other stink bugs, look for lighter bands on the antennae and darker bands on the membranous, overlapping part at the rear of the front pair of wings. They have patches of coppery or bluish-metallic colored puntures (small rounded depressions) on the head and pronotum. The name “stink bug” refers to the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax.

The eggs are elliptical (1.6 x 1.3 mm), light yellow to yellow-red with minute spines forming fine lines. They are attached, side-by-side, to the underside of leaves in masses of 20 to 30 eggs.

There are five nymphal instars (immature stages). They range in size from the first instar at 2.4 mm to the fifth instar that is 12 mm in length. The eyes are a deep red. The abdomen is a yellowish red in the first instar and progresses to off-white with reddish spots in the fifth instar. Protuberances are found before each of the abdominal scent glands on the dorsal surface. The legs, head and thorax are black. Spines are located on the femur, before each eye, and several on the lateral margins of the thorax (Fig. 2).

Brown marmorated stink bug (adult)

Figure 1. Adult brown marmorated stink bug.

BMSB on Trumpet Creeper

Figure 2. BMSB nymphs on Trumpet Creeper

Life History

This species probably has a single generation per year in Pennsylvania depending on the temperatures. Warm spring and summer conditions could permit the development of two or three generations. However, in parts of sub-tropical China, records indicate from four to possibly six generations per year. Adults will emerge sometime in the spring of the year (late April to mid-May), and mate and deposit eggs from May through August. The eggs hatch into small black and red nymphs that go through five molts. Adults begin to search for overwintering sites starting in September through the first half of October.

Damage

In its native range, it feeds on a wide variety of host plants. Fruits attacked include apples, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus fruits and persimmons. This true bug has also been reported on many ornamental plants, weeds, soybeans and beans for human consumption. Feeding on tree fruits such as apple results in a characteristic distortion referred to as “cat facing,” that renders the fruit unmarketable as a fresh product.

Stink Bug Apple Damage

Apple Damage

This insect is becoming an important agricultural pest in Pennsylvania. In 2010, it produced severe losses in some apple and peach orchards by damaging peaches and apples. It also has been found feeding on blackberry, sweet corn, field corn and soybeans. In neighboring states it has been observed damaging tomatoes, lima beans and green peppers.

Stink Bug Damage

Peach and Sweet Corn Damage

These insects are not known to cause harm to humans, although homeowners become alarmed when the bugs enter their homes and noisily fly about. The stink bug will not reproduce inside structures or cause damages. If many of them are squashed or pulled into a vacuum cleaner, their smell can be quite apparent.

Management For BMSB In Homes

Before Bugs Enter a Building

Mechanical exclusion is the best method to keep stink bugs from entering homes and buildings. Cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia and other openings should be sealed with good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens on doors and windows should be repaired or replaced.

Exterior applications of insecticides may offer some minor relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. Applications should consist of a synthetic pyrethroid (i.e. deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, sumithrin or tralomethrin) and should be applied by a licensed pest control operator in the fall just prior to bug congregation. Unfortunately, because insecticides are broken down by sunlight, the residual effect of the material will be greatly decreased and may not kill the insects much beyond several days or a week.

After Stink Bugs Have Entered the Structure

If numerous bugs are entering the living areas of the home, attempt to locate the openings where the insects gain access. Typically, stink bugs will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. Seal these openings with caulk or other suitable materials to prevent the insects from crawling out. Both live and dead stink bugs can be removed from interior areas with the aid of a vacuum cleaner - however, the vacuum may acquire the smell of stink bugs for a period of time.

It is not advisable to use an insecticide inside after the insects have gained access to the wall voids or attic areas. Although insecticidal dust treatments to these voids may kill hundreds of bugs, there is the possibility that carpet beetles will feed on the dead stink bugs and subsequently attack woolens, stored dry goods or other natural products in the home. Although aerosol-type pyrethrum foggers will kill stink bugs that have amassed on ceilings and walls in living areas, it will not prevent more of the insects from emerging shortly after the room is aerated. For this reason use of these materials is not considered a good solution to long-term management of the problem. Spray insecticides, directed into cracks and crevices, will not prevent the bugs from emerging and is not a viable or recommended treatment.

Warning

Pesticides are poisonous. Read and follow directions and safety precautions on labels. Handle carefully and store in original labeled containers out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock. Dispose of empty containers right away, in a safe manner and place. Do not contaminate forage, streams, or ponds.

Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate

(Thank you Steve Jacobs for letting me use this article...even though I don't think you knew you did....THANK YOU!!!)

M&M's and Momma Bear

Mom
"So, everybody was talking about the M&M commercial during the Super Bowl..."

Me
"What M&M commercial? I don't remember that one...not surprising, since I'm still obsessed and only focused on mini Darth, what was it?"

Mom
"Yeah, well, it's this guy, and a car, and a stage, I watched the whole commercial and didn't see one M&M the entire time...turns out it's the name of some person...I didn't get it..."

Laughter.

Me
"Mom, the guys NAME is "Eminem", and he was actually that "guy" in the commercial...and that was his song playing in the background."

Mom
"Yeah, well, I didn't see one M&M in the whole thing."

(Understand....I'm uber proud that my mom doesn't know who Eminem is...her cool points just shot through the roof!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nonumental.

Matt Lauer-Nonumental. I'd have named the blog that...but I didn't feel he deserved to be IN a title on my blog.....my blog where I normally write of things I love! Well, I'm not his biggest fan....who are we kidding...I'm not a fan at all. I don't watch the show, for one thing, I'm never home-and if I am-I'm sleeping, eating pancakes, or watching HGTV. For another thing? He drives me SO SO SO bonkers!! I watch as little of him as I can...but the other day, when googling the Darth cutie, as he'd been on tv all day and I missed it, I saw a snippit of ML interviewing said cutie...and he (Matt) seemed just SO FAKE! And really....a little jealous. Sounds silly...but I betcha it's true. And then last I caught him was with McCain I think. I don't care how you feel about McCain...but Lauer goes after every interview with his own agenda...and generally...it's to find a weakness and stick a knife in it. He didn't get the memo in the 5th grade that making others look bad to make yourself look better wasn't cool-in fact it was almost textbook definition for "bully". Oh, let's not forget his penchant for interrupting....and then, his finale, of speaking softer and pretending he cares.

My word of Nonumental...well, it's "Not Monumental". I am, in fact...."nonumental"...to the reader that stumbled here, not knowing me, I'm just a great blogger, funny, interesting, you kind of want to be me, but you read my Green Grass blog, so you know to wish for other things, etc. That said? I'm MONUMENTAL....to those that love me. So perhaps....and I do hope...that Matt Lauer, is in some way..."M"onumental to someone....just not me. Be nicer Matt Lauer.

Oh...and since you have the thought of Matt Lauer in your head, let me lighten the mood and turn that frown upside down...here are some gems of the "Making of 'The Force' Commercial"!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

STUFF!!!

ARGHHHH!! I don't know who lets me out of the house with money...I shouldn't be allowed to buy anything....ever....because it exists...in my BASEMENT! Bath & Body Works is officially the death of me! Working there, getting stuff close to free....I NEED HELP! lol So....I'm obviously mucking out a little. There is so much to be done....SO MUCH! My goal is to have a method to the madness though....Christmas with Christmas, Kitchen with Kitchen, etc.....so we'll see. We still have Grams stuff in the garage, and she had NOTHING compared with what I feel I have!! And then we (and by "we" I mean not me) emptied the attic to the basement, so there is THAT to go through...and all I can think about is what if I died tomorrow? My poor mother is stuck with all that BURDEN!! So....I'm making a bigger SELL pile, and trying to pitch and condense the rest. And I'll just say this...holy candles batman! YIKES! So, dear readers, quit buying, and start purging. HEAVENLY TREASURES!!!!!!!! And? In time, if you must buy, make sure it's from my ebay store! ;-)

And? Now...because I can't stop watching it, and don't think you should either?

Monday, February 7, 2011

LAUGH!!

I'm big on laughing....I do it a lot...and I'm a sucker for when other people do it too. PLUS? It's healthy to laugh! I googled....and got this top 10 list....(I stole it, so give me no credit.)

1. Laughing 100 times roughly equals 15 minutes on an exercise bike? Vigorous laughter increases the heart rate deepens the breathing rate, and uses muscles in the face, stomach, and diaphragm.

2. Aside from improving our moods, laughter can reduce stress, help fight infection, and reduce pain.

3. The levels of two stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine which suppress the body's immune system, will actually drop after a dose of laughter.

4. Laughter causes positive changes in brain chemistry by releasing endorphins, and it brings more oxygen into the body with the deeper inhalations.

5. Laughter releases anger, fear, guilt, anxiety and tension.

6. Laughter encourages concentration on "right" attitudes rather than "wrong" attitudes.

7. Higher levels of an antibody (salivary immunoglobulin A) that fights infectious organisms entering the respiratory tract were found in the saliva of people who watched humorous videos or experienced good moods.

8. Researchers found after watching an hour-long video of slapstick comedy that the "natural killer cells," which seek out and destroy malignant cells, more actively attacked tumor cells in test tubes. And these effects lasted up to 12 hours.

9. The 1998 movie Patch Adams told the real-life story of a nonconformist doctor convinced that fun, play, and clowns are important in improving patients' quality of life in a grim hospital atmosphere.

10. Planning enjoyable activities for the future will reduce the stressor hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.

Now....with that said....laugh with me....there are 3 videos that have made me laugh out loud in the past two days....they MUST be shared.....you must laugh! Two I saw on Facebook, one, was played during the Super Bowl.....here we go!

The first...is DARTH! I could watch this one over and over and over again. When his mom pushes his sandwich at him....he's so defeated.....it's so sad....and then....well, just watch it, I don't want to be a spoiler! (Thank you Kim & Kim for "liking" it! I wouldn't have seen it so soon!)


My next prize....was posted on Fitzy's wall....and it's a RIOT!!!!! (Let's try it on ORANGE! HAHAHAHA)

And the last gem!? The BEAVER from the Superbowl! Remember the Geico squirrels would high five when they made a car wreck? At first-I thought it was along those lines....but BEST ENDING EVER!!!!!!!!!!


GOOD TIMES! Now...LAUGH!!




Friday, February 4, 2011

JUST SAY NO! (To Scoops)

It's official....scoops are NOT the chip of choice. It's never been with Tammy and I...but we let JP decide tonight, and he was NOT down with the scoop! ( I mean look at his face! OBVIOUSLY he doesn't like them!) He'll also agree that it cuts up the roof of your mouth. So be considerate....don't bring them to parties...especially since this Sunday is a big chip day. Think of others. We realize you can "scoop" up the goodness....dips...salsa....whichever, but really? In order to "scoop"? You have to plunge it in there, and your thumbs get all messy, plus...it's gross, I mean have you been washing your hands after every "scoop"? No! And? It's SICK SEASON! Buy the bite size....everybody wins....you can fit them in your mouth, AND fit dip on them, and most importantly? NO HARM DONE!!!!!! The roof of your friends mouth will thank you for it. Hmmm....why isn't that a t-shirt. A picture of scoops with a red circle stamped on it, and then "Just say no, the rooves of your friends mouths will thank you for it!" I like it (Is "rooves" a word?!). And really? We're not saying down with Tostitos....love Tostitos....just hate scoops. So...fight for the right to eat "Hint Of Jalapeño" in normal form-not mouth hurting form. This last picture, is of JP standing up for non scoops....we're getting him a onesie made. And? Just to clarify? Mrs. Corti must also agree...I mean she's got a chip ON her shoulder for the love! (Had to be said friends....had to be said.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

American Idle (not a spelling error!)

I can't hold it in any longer. Steven Tyler is a mess on American Idol. J Lo-well, she's fine, but that's all...fine. And Randy, I've never been a big fan, but this year, his teeth got whiter, and I'm over the "dawg" bit....though, I never really was down with it. Do I watch American Idol? Not really. I made it through one season till the end-the one where Fantasia and her big flat tongue won., and then one season till the last three, and then I bailed, but I do like the beginning rounds...where people get to "go to Hollywood" (dawg)....but this year? YAWN! I mean Steven Tyler's face doesn't move....I'm okay with plastic surgery, and hey, I'm okay with botox, but his face is the same, happy, sad, scared, annoyed, hungry, whatever, the SAME! J Lo-meh. She's just "Jenny from the Block"....plain boring Jenny. Sure, they do her up, put her in some tramp shorts, play with her hair, whatever, but in the end? Booorrrinng! And? I think she could actually be funny under the drama of "Glamour" or whatever it is. And well, Randy, he was the short stick with Paula and Simon anyway, and now? He's the hot stuff...compared to THOSE two....perhaps. Ryan Seacrest, however, still continues to be great.. I like him, there seems to be a little bit of normal in him, he, is the glue. So when all is said and done...I miss Simon...I loved him. Paula, well, I missed her too, she was consistently true to who she was, and Randy? I'd like to be missing you. Idol, needs a break, and Steven Tyler....goodness....two words. Hot Mess.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!

If you know me, you know I heart me some groundhogs....see really old blog from May of 2008. And I have a stuffed pet one that I got for Christmas a few years back, sometimes, he calls me on skype when I'm away for long periods of time-true story. Though, he doesn't do it alone. Brenda is usually with him...Brenda...is my teddy bear...duh. :-)

So this year, I had BIG PLANS for seeing the Groundhog live and in person. I was trekking over to Punxatawney to see Phil, but alas, that silly "winter storm" got a hold of the mid-west, and I did not. BOO! So, turns out he did NOT see his shadow this year, and rumor is that "spring is just around the corner"....we'll see...that could also mean that my front lawn may make an appearance in 2011. Wow. So, back to the blog. Everybody knows it's February 2. Right? Well, everybody except "Viktor" (who also swears that nobody in Texas....NOBODY...knows when Groundhog Day is-poor Texas missing holidays.) February 2, is also my 6 month birthday, equally as important! :-)

So why February 2? Why the Groundhog? Well, READ ON! According to Al Gore's internet, it all started with "Candlemas Day". This day originally came from the Germans and was the mid-point between the first day of the winter and the first day of spring. Legend said that if this day was fair (sunny), then the second-half of winter would be stormy. In their native land of Germany, the Germans looked at a badger to see if they could see his shadow. When they settled in North America in Pennsylvania, the local Indians had a great respect for groundhogs so they substituted a groundhog for the badger, and really...badgers sounds meaner-sorry Wisconsin fans.

What, for the love, is "Candlemas Day"? The 2nd of February is an ancient festival that marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox. In olden times, many people used to say that the Christmas season lasted for forty days - until the second day of February. (So you slackers with your tree up, can feel justified, but ONLY through TODAY!) So why call THAT day "Candlemas"?

Well, apparently it was was the day of the year when all the candles, that were used in the church during the coming year, were brought into church and a blessing was said over them - so it was the Festival Day (or 'mass') of the Candles.

Candles were important in those days not only because there was no electric lights, but also some people thought they gave protection against plague and illness and famine. For Christians, they were (and still are) a reminder of something even more important. Before Jesus came to earth, it was as if everyone was 'in the dark'. People often felt lost and lonely. Afraid. As if they were on their own, with no one to help them. Then came Jesus with his message that he is with his followers always ready to help and comfort them. As if he is a guiding light to them in the darkness. Jesus IS 'the light of the World' - and candles are lit during church services to remind Christians of this.

Some Factoids?
-It was a Gopher in Caddyshack, not a groundhog.
-Groundhogs whistle when courting...which seems sweet...until you learn that boy groundhogs take off before the babies are born...leaving it all up to mom.
-IF a woodchuck could chuck wood? He'd chuck about 700 pounds. (Groundhogs are not beavers, but the joke is IF a woodchuck could chuck wood-beaver do chuck wood!) They are not so adept at moving timber, but some will chew wood....(According to a wildlife biologist once measured the inside volume of a typical woodchuck burrow and estimated that -- if wood filled the hole instead of dirt -- the industrious animal would have chucked about 700 pounds' worth. Thanks Cornell University for that!)

SO THAT, my friends, is why the 2nd and why the Groundhog. Perhaps NEXT year, I'll see Phil live and in person, for now? I'm celebrating my 6 month birthday AND Chinese New Year! I went to my Chinese Restaurant today to pick up sushi (yes again, something IS the matter with me, I can't go 24 hours without raw fish!?) Anyway, I told the girl Happy New Year! She got all excited, and asked me if I celebrated. Um...sort of-I support you...and your Chinese Restaurant...by ordering Japanese food?! Taper off.... And then I said, year of the Rabbit huh!? And she got more excited! YES!!! Finally! Should be better!! She says. I said Oh? What was last year? Her face got all serious...and she said....the year of the tiger, the tiger is hard...the rabbit should be better. So there you have it folks....the groundhog didn't see his shadow and it's officially the year of the Rabbit and you have 6 months to find me the perfect present. :-)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love in the mail!/Lovin' the mail!

I love me some mail, but really some hand written notes, old school. But what I really REALLY dig? Christmas Cards from my passengers. It warms my heart. I'm not just saying that...this is my blog, I don't have to say anything!!! Today....came an envelope from one of my companies that I work for, and in it? TWO, T-W-O cards from passengers I had this fall on one of my "France Magnifique" tours. I have over 700 passengers a year....I'd say...just an average....I've actually never counted!? Anyway, for the most part, my memory can be jogged, but some? Just stand out...chances are...if you've ever been a passenger of mine, and your reading this, you stood out. Some for better, some for worse-(you non-tippers....I know you who are! lol) Of course it's not about the tip that I remember the good ones, it's about their heart, or their visible love, or their sense of humor, or sometimes, for the atrocious things that happen on a tour! Viva Italian bus drivers!!! Well, today, is my dear passenger Jackie Keeton's birthday...so happy birthday Jackie, and I met her and Chybo, WAAAAaaay back in the beginning of my touring days, with Miss Stacy from Lawrenceburg...Tennessee Tuesdays in DC...oh good times (Also good Johnny Fleeman Sauces and SODA! What was that goodness called again!?!). Today also came those two cards, and I knew from the names on the return address labels, and both made me smile. Sure, you get letters from your friends, you know exactly who they are, but imagine you have new friends every week for only a week! What I'm saying...is these ladies stand out. BOTH, made me laugh, a lot on their tour....and to hear from them?! Glorious. One of them, included a picture of her husband...holding a certain mug. I'm not saying how he got that mug, but I am saying that I smile when I think about it. :-) Thank you Miss Cil, and Miss Helene (Helene-do you remember that sign above? From that restaurant we ate at in Sainte-Mère-Église? How true it is! lol), I am honored to have received holiday greetings from you both....truly I am....and yours...is in the mail. Yes, I know it's February....but I still have like 60 New Years cards to get out! It's why I certainly don't do Christmas Cards! I do Happy New Years cards!!!! Next year...may be Valentine's Day cards!!!!! SO, go send your friends Valentines....tis the season, and I promise, they love mail just as much as I do....and if they don't? Well, mail ME those Valentines!!!!!! XOXO (And? Hugs to Mary and Darlene!!!) And? Update?! That soda goodness was called SUNDROP! Thanks Miss Jackie!

RABBITS!!!

Today...is February 1. So if you've jacked your New Year's Resolutions already, it's your chance to start over. NOT that any of you/(read I) would. lol Today...is also "RABBITS"! And...for me...it's a "camp thing" My FAB FAB FAB ranch in Montana that I worked at for 5 summers, Clydehurst Christian Ranch, had a thing.....where every 1st of the month...you had to say "RABBITS" to the other person....before they said it to you! So....July 1, and August 1, were VERY big days. My mom and I do the same, generally I forget, and then mutter when I get got.....BUT...I do try to win on the big one...January 1, of the new year. I got that this year....but then WHAM...this morning....at midnight...."RABBITS" was yelled down the hall. MUTTER MUTTER!!!

Why "Rabbits"? Well, in googling....(love that "googling" is a word!) It's a UK thing, that had spread to Massachusetts!? It initially was for good luck, which, I think luck is bogus, I'm quite sure I need more than luck-God's got that, but now it's become for fun. I'm reading where it says to say "white rabbits"? What about all those wild BROWN rabbits! lol

Wiki, the legit source of all, says this....
  • "It is believed that saying "Rabbit Rabbit" on the first day of the New Year will bring year long good luck." (So....I got that....because when I called my mom-to wish her a Happy New Year.....I started with "RABBITS"....but her clock hadn't turned...so I kept saying it until it did! lol)
So then, RABBITS to you!!!!!

(Did you know that a rabbit can reproduce at 1 month old!?-see what you learn when you blog!?)