Monday, October 27, 2014

"Life Changing"

I just read a Pinterest pin about crock-pot mashed potatoes.  She said that they were "literally life changing."  :tipping the head:  Am I misunderstanding something?  I mean, I love a good mashed potato.  I've just never found them or the variety of other foodstuffs on Pinterest to be life changing or "a life changer."

What would life changing be for me?  Allow me to give a list of my personal life changing things:

1.  Meeting and later marrying my husband.
2.  Bailey.
3.  Meeting and later adopting our daughter, K.
4.  Being adopted by my then stepfather (now father) at the age of 15 and having a legal name change.
5.  The deaths of many people in my life.
6.  The births of many people in my life.
7.  The purchase of our home.
8.  To learn just this past week that the health hiccup that my mom had was just a hiccup and that she was fine.  Life changing?  Yup.  Mama is okay and I asked that she never smoke again.  She promised she wouldn't.  My life is changing because my mama decided to change hers in a positive way.

There are a lot of other "life changing" moments in my life.  Some squished up root veggies aren't life changing for me.  They are tasty though.

What is "life changing" to you?  Feel free to belt out a list in the comments or if you choose to do your own list of "life changers," leave the link in the comments so that we can come visit!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Tale of Two Kitties

Smudge was our first cat.  She was our Maine Coone trial child.  She was 14 1/2 when she died.

She was a chewer.  She chewed through brand new head phones (not even a day old.)  She chewed through an answering machine cord (only about a week old.)  She chewed on the "twinkies" on Hubs' weight equipment.  She ate a diamond earring.  (No, we were never able to recover that one.)

She was not snuggly.  Every now and then, she'd lay on the couch with me and hip scoot just so that her kittyness would be touching my humanness.  Never one to climb into your lap though.

She was a biter.

She could be nasty.

She was a peeper.  (As in the sound.)

She was afraid of people.  She would hide around things and attack Mike when he came to take care of her when we were on vacation.

She hated K.

She was a park dump and adopted by Hubs when volunteers reported that they saw her scooped up by a hawk and dropped back down.

Leia is our second cat.  We learned a lot from our first cat.

She is a climber.

She will squirrel away in tiny places.

Curiosity will, in fact, get the best of her. We blame her polydactalness. ;)  Those THUMBS!  She uses them for good and for bad.  (Not evil, of course.)

She knows no, but will not always put it into practice.  (She's only 1 1/2 after all.)

She is snuggly.

She loves scratches.

She's a lover.

She's a talker.

She thinks that K is better than sliced bread and would follow her off the edge of a cliff.

She will hide from people.  Mike never saw her once when he was taking care of her when we were gone camping.  We found her hiding in the joists of the basement ceiling.

So a chewer or a climber?  We loved Smudge because she was ours, but we often said that if other people owned her, they probably would have put her to sleep.  Yes, she could be that nasty.

Leia is a different kitty altogether.  A rescue up for adoption, she was labeled as "wild/feral" at the pet store. No wonder why she was kitty-in-a-box for 4 1/2 months before we came along.  The food that they were giving her gave her a bellyache and awful digestive result.  A quick switch of food and months and months of trust building allowed us to have a kitty who is happy to live with her humans.

She is a vacuum cleaner, though.  We swear that she is a dog in a cat body.  Boy, after dinner she is under the table hoovering anything she can find.  (Hubs and K can sometimes lose control of their crumbs and whatnot.)  Sadly, Leia has moved to wanting to hoover the counter and after kitty drunkenness over the mama's cereal milk, I've been put my foot down.  She never was counter kitty until now.  I will not have a cat on my counters.  I will not have a cat on my table.  She hasn't tried the fridge yet, but I'll tell you that I won't have that, either.  She will have to abide by those rules.  A few kitty rules, but those are not flexible ones.

So, kitty owners, have you had cats so completely different?  If you've had counter kitties and chosen to resolve that issue, how did you do it?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Silly kitties can't be having the milk.

The other day, I placed my cereal bowl on the counter and walked away to do something for a quick minute.  K brought Leia in and said, "I found this kitty on the counter, drinking up your cereal milk."

Rule #1-  No kitties on the counter or table.  That's gross.

Rule #2-  Kitties can't be drinking the milk.  Kitties are lactose intolerant.

I had K immediately take her downstairs.  I knew what would come from a kitty who got milky drunk on mama's sugary cereal milk.  (For the record, I eat frosted mini wheats and I don't drink milk.)

We'll just say that kitty-kitty had a belly ache.  Kitty-kitty was confined to the basement so that she could deal with that.  By the evening, bounce had returned to her step and she was running and playing once again.

I have started calling her "Milky" tough.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Confessions of a Germophobe: Ebola was in my airspace.

I live in Ohio.  I live in Northeast Ohio.  While I won't divulge my exact locale, I will tell you that my region is under the Ebola Scare due to the second nurse's visit to our corner of the state.

At this point I should tell you, I did not visit with her.  I do not know her.  I wish her well and pray that she heals and that her family and this ENTIRE community is kept safe from the scourge that is Ebola.

It is now that I start on my rant.  I'm probably saying nothing new.  First, my parents live less than a mile from her family home.  My father had a fit.  That isn't going to transmit Ebola to my parents, but it is a bit unsettling to think that it was that close.

The amount of information, conflicting and readjusted information is getting to the point where I almost can't stand to know anymore.  Let me start with today's revelation.  She felt tired and "funny" on her visit to Ohio?  Really?  So you are feeling a little punky and while that wouldn't normally be reason for concern other than figuring that you are coming down with something, she just cared for (heroically, I might add) a gentleman who arrived in our country, came to the hospital for care and passed away as a result of the heinous disease that he contracted before his time here in America.  Hmmm.  He had a horrible disease that he brought from a 3rd world nation.  That disease is killing 70% of the people who get it.  Could it be Ebola?  :insert sarcastic face:

I would never wish Ebola on anyone.  I feel horribly that the healthcare workers who did their best to provide care for this gentleman contracted it.  However (and this is a big however) if I had been caring for someone in his state and under such stringent biohazard needs, I would probably have-- let me state this as clearly as possible-- stayed home to monitor my health and well-being rather than go on a commercial airliner, TWICE!

Yes, I realize that she had permission.  Those people who gave her permission were clearly smoking crack.

We're talking common sense here.

This story is not really at all relatable, but it is the only relatable tale I have.  Let's keep it that way, yes?  When my people have something such as the stomach virus or even when Hubs had rotavirus, we treated the house as if a hazmat tent had dropped overtop and no one was permitted in.  No one was permitted out.  When Hubs had rotavirus, K and I steered clear of the bathroom, utilized the camping loo that we have, took sponge baths and all because until he was done, the bathroom was off limits.  (We're a one bathroom house and we made do with what we had.)  I then suited up, covering my face, and bleached the entire bathroom down.  It took an hour and a half and you know what?  Though K had it and was over it by the time we got back home from Chicago (oh yes, fun filled weekend it was) I didn't get it.  Still, we hung out until it seemed all was clear.  We returned to normal lives, but we had waited.

My point is not to say that the nurses weren't careful because I'm sure that they were and they worked with what they had.  My problem is that the nurse didn't have the common sense kick in to say that since she was still in the time of self-monitoring, she should have stayed home.  We have someone floating on a cruise ship with God knows how many passengers.  They are self-quarantined.  I think that is great that they are doing that, but WHY are they on the boat to begin with?

I understand that the CDC hasn't been all on top of it.  The WHO has also claimed responsibility in not tending to things as they should.  President Obama today appointed an Ebola Czar.  I'm not starting a political debate because that is not where I want to go and I have turned comments off to avoid backlash over the post in general, but why would you appoint a lawyer as a czar over a deadly disease situation in your country?  I'm sure that we have more than enough and willing medical professionals who could have filled that position.  I am democrat and proud to say that I am blue through and through.  :shakes of the head:  I just don't get that one.

We have a well-known bridal store in our area-- a mom and pop-- that is closed for right now.  Having worked in the bridal industry for years of my life, I know that October is like June.  Busy with brides getting married and homecoming.  You also have brides for other weddings, but it is a big, busy month.  How exactly are they going to be compensated for their loss of business?  Will people trust their business?

You have many workers that are off of their jobs-- with pay-- from companies such as the Cleveland Clinic, Metro Health, Aultman Hospital, teachers and at three schools, folks from an area utility  along with all of her bridesmaids, a few of their children and a husband.  Her stepfather can't leave the house.  Police are posted outside of their house.  Who is going to pay for the loss of money?  I know that a lot of the people are being paid their salary, but are they all being compensated?

Planes were decontaminated, but they are on a daily basis.  However, Cleveland Hopkins Airport was decontaminated.  3 schools were decontaminated.  I don't know what they'll do with the bridal store and the hundreds of thousands in merchandise that may be damaged in decontamination.  (They didn't say that would happen, but knowing the nature of the fabric and industry, I have to guess that is a concern.)

You have 7 flights of people that need to be tracked down.

In the industrialized world, disease knows no borders.  We can move too quickly.  Disease can, too.

We've had an all call from the school.  We've had e-mails from the superintendent.  We've gotten a letter with an Ebola need-to-know information sheet attached.

God bless, Dr. Kent Brantley.  He has donated blood to Ebola victims, but he only has so much blood.  When you have a virus, it knocks your immune system down for a bit, doesn't it?  How wonderful of him to be so selfless, but we can't drain him dry.  I'm certain that after this health crisis is over in their lives, the nurses would probably do the same if they could.

In sum and to clarify, I appreciate all of the work that these nurses did for Mr. Duncan.  They did everything that they knew to do.  I can say with certainty that they did everything that they could to protect themselves from Ebola.  My issue is with permissions to travel and the consideration to even travel given the gravity of what they had been dealing with and that self-monitoring hadn't been lifted.

I don't know what the answers are.  I wished we would have had the horses quite a bit of a distance ahead before this came to American soil.  We didn't and that is very sad given our nation's capabilities.  Could this be worse?  Absolutely.  Let's hope that it doesn't get to that.  In NE Ohio, I'm hoping that we all get to Election Day (and beyond) Ebola free.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pearl Jam 10/1/14: Tales of rail and wine.

My man and I went to see my favorite band.  I've never had the opportunity to see the boys live.  I was so excited.

This adventure started a while ago.  A long while ago, Hubs and I kind of discontinued going out on dates because, well, we did the kiddo thing.  I know, I know.  We didn't need to stop living life.  We didn't, but we were ignoring being able to go out and have a fun time together as a two-piece instead of a three-piece.

Lightning Bolt came out last fall and the tour ran right when my busy season at work does.  There would be no way.

Christmas came and it was a very PJ Christmas.  Hubs bought me some merch from the band website and set me up with a bunch of stuff that I didn't have.  (Lightning Bolt-- I was waiting because I knew I'd get it as a gift.  PJ20 DVD and CDs among other things.)

Rumors were afoot about PJ doing another tour.  I signed on to the fan club. I should have done it a long time prior, but life happens.  The tour was announced.  A pre sale lottery would be held at the end of May for any of the Ten Club members.  Plunk in the venue you wish for, the type of seating that you'd want (1st & 2nd choice) and you sit to wait for the lottery magic to happen.  Magic happened!

Thank you, Discover Cash Back, for helping to offset the cost of our date.

Hooray!  I won!  What did I win?  GA tickets.  For those not in the know, GA = General Admission, AKA the pit.  :insert anxiety attack:  "Holy crap!  We just won PIT!"  Hubs wanted pit.  He said that the reserved seats on the floor would be bad for me.  We couldn't see.  :deep breath:  I came to a conclusion, I'm going in.

Over the next few months, I prepared.  I read.  I asked questions.  I wanted know what to do when the day arrived.

We dropped our kiddo off to school and made arrangements for her to be picked up and cared for that evening.  We arrived in Cincinnati at noon.  We made a beeline for the General Admission (GA/pit) line.  I hung out for a few with Hubs and headed on upstairs to stand in line for merch.  They were supposed to have a merch trailer on the street in front of our line and a tent upstairs.  We didn't get the trailer, but the tent was a 20x10 Easy Up.  The line was long.  It took an hour and a half, but we were standing in lines anyhow.  Hubs and I texted each other back and forth.

I got my merch (a poster/tube, a shirt, 2 buttons and three stickers) cruised back down and showed it to Hubs.  (Thanks to my in-law's for the birthday money.)  About 15 minutes later, I got a text from a PJ forum friend that the will call lines were starting and that they were getting long.  I dashed back up there to hang out in will call.  That took about another 1/2 hour.  I texted Hubs that I got the tickets and wrist bands, but was on the hunt for the loo.  I handled all that, then sent him for a scenic tour.  He needed to get out of line and stretch his legs a bit.  He did that twice and on the second time-- all hail the last bathroom stop, the line starts moving.  "RUN!"  I had no idea.  Crap.  What would we do if I end up getting sucked inside before him.  I could stand out of line, but that trashes standing in line all day.  Turns out that people collapsed their chairs, took their coolers to their cars and that's why the line moved in.  Hubs got back in time. :whew:

We had to go through a security check point.  The band requested that everyone be wanded and patted down before going in.  Eddie made a few people mad earlier this summer with comments he made about the fighting around Israel.  A few of us think that may be why they had heightened security.  It didn't take long.  We had to show our wristbands several times, but then voila!  We were in.

I had done a lot of reading.  I knew what I wanted, where I wanted and how this was going to play out.  (At least in my mind.)  People were clotted on Mike, Jeff & Ed's part of the stage.  Poor Stone.  He is the last place to fill up.  There was a hunk of rail (the barrier between the people and the band) open and WE GOT RAIL!  For someone short, this is far more important than most people would know.  We were near the end.  There was a stairway that led up and out.  We weren't corralled into a giant play yard like I thought!  Claustrophobia subsided.  It would be good!

Our rail spot before the show.  The security guards behind us?  The coolest security guards ever!  (And for whatever it is worth, my husband was crouched down a little when they took the picture.  I guess he didn't want me to look that short.)

My man told me to turn around.  He wanted to get a picture with the boys and me.  :)  You can't see Boom, but you can see everyone else!  Since we were in front of the speaker stack, we did wear ear plugs.  Hubs wore two.  He said that wearing one had him off balance.  I wore just on in the right-- the ear that was 7' from the speakers.  My left was fine.

During the concert, Eddie went to the side stage and started pouring wine out into people's cups.  Security went running with a sleeve of cups.  One security guard came around the corner and was standing in front of me with 4 cups of wine.  I reached my hand out.  He looked at me for a minute and said, "But you have to pass it."  I shook my head in agreement, glad that I had the cup before 100 lips were on it, then he said again, "But you have to pass it."  I took a big gulp to prove I wasn't hoarding it (dribbled some down my chin, too) and passed it to Hubs.  He had no idea what was going on, so he passed it on.  It was tasty.  A red wine and I have no idea what I was drinking.  I was the first one at it and it came from Eddie, so it was all good.

The big guy beside me?  That would be Sean.  He and his girl, Elizabeth, were getting married that weekend.  Sean had been a security guard at US Bank Arena.  I was, at that point, the shortest one in a line of much taller people.  He sandwiched Elizabeth between him and Jay, her rail mate.  He sandwiched me between him and Hubs.  He told me that they would keep us girls safe.  They did!

Hubs watched out for me the whole time.  That's the kind of man he is.   :)  The next day, he asked, "Did you realize that the woman behind you was playing with your hair the whole time?"  Weird.  She was doodling with my backpack, too.  It was a stiff string backpack, so if she tried to get into it, I would have felt it.  Her friend weedled her way in next to Hubs and was smooshed up next to him the whole time.  Welcome to the GA pit! 

The concert was 14 ways of magical.  Truly.  The best. concert. ever.  (Trumps Pink Floyd at Cleveland Browns Stadium in 1994.)  The set list as posted by Sea, our fearless PJ Forum Moderator:

Pearl Jam
US Bank Arena
Cincinnati, OH
Set List
October 01, 2014

01. Pendulum
02. Nothingman
03. Of The Girl
04. Mind Your Manners
05. Lightning Bolt
(Notes how long since they last played Cincinnati and is glad to be back)
06. Corduroy
07. Spin The Black Circle
(“that goes out to the fine folks at WKRP”)
08. Got Some
09. Even Flow
10. Sirens
11. Love Boat Captain/Jumpin’ Jack Flash-(Jagger/Richards) {with new intro-similar to outro jam}.  Jumpin’ Jack Flash was one verse during the outro jam section
12. Present Tense
13. Daughter/Keep It In Motion-(Pollard)/Another Brick In The Wall Part 2-(Waters)
(Ed discusses the band rooming situation in the early days and playing at a local club called “Bogart’s” where the guy Ed was sharing a joint with “bogarted” it.)
14. State Of Love And Trust
(a story about Keith Richards’ knife)
15. Waiting On A Friend-(Jagger/Richards)
16. Jeremy
17. Comatose
(Ed introduces the next song and talks about the great band Guided By Voices)
18. Setting Forth
19. Porch (Ed stands on the barricade and sings)

Encore Break 1

20. Sleeping By Myself
(Ed talks about certain truth’s that the band are in agreement on like Climate Change and some sort of gun control.  There are many injustices in the world and while not as important as some, not having Pete Rose in the hall of fame is an injustice.  The next song is for Pete’s son as well as Pete)
21. Man Of The Hour
22. Parachutes
23. All Those Yesterdays
24. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town-(played to the people behind the stage)
Ed asks for the lights to brought up so he can find and thank Gerry.  She is a nurse that works with patients suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). 
25. Given To Fly
26. Unthought Known
27. Do The Evolution
(Ed dedicates the next song to his friend Sean (sp) and his wife Mandy.  “It doesn’t apply but I wanted to dedicate a song to them.”)
28. Better Man/Save It For Later-(Charley, Cox, Morton, Steele, Wakeling)
(Ed smashes his white Gibson SG at the end of the song)

Encore Break 2

29. Black
Dedicated to The Who and the families that had to live on with the terrible tragedy that happened in this building 35 years ago. Ed acknowledges that they have some experience with a tragedy like that and the guys from The Who reached out Pearl Jam after Roskilde.  Ed comments that is great to see so much positive energy here tonight.  “This is the last song they played that night.”
30. The Real Me-(Townshend)
32. Alive (Mike goes into the audience during the solo)
33. Rockin’ In The Free World-(Young)
34. Yellow Ledbetter/Star Spangled Banner
For 3 hours and 15 minutes, I danced, sang, bounced and jumped.  I left knowing that I gave PJ everything I had to give.  I was exhausted.

Again.  We'll go again.  We had a great time.  We keep talking about it.  Hubs, good with PJ but definitely not the intense PJ fan I am, seems to have turned a corner.  He is becoming a bit more and more PJ interested.  :)  Not a bad thing.  And yes, we will be purchasing the Cincy bootleg the day that PJ releases it.  I have a bootleg credit with my fan club membership & that will come in handy!

ETA:  The Cincinnati bootleg will be available 10/28!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

5th Grade Harps

Today is a new day in our house.

"Mom, it was so great!  I got to touch the strings and everything!"

K was accepted into the 5th Grade Harps program.  It is the only elementary school harps program between Cleveland and Canton.  She had to apply.  She had to have good grades and fairly impeccable attendance.  Then she had to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

A few weeks seemed like an eternity.  Last Friday was THE day.  She got the long letter.  She got mornings.  What does this all mean to you?

Well, K gets 25 minute harp lessons before school starts 4 times a week for the cost of-- wait for it . . .

. . .  $30 for the ENTIRE school year.

Practically a steal.  We've spoken about harps ever since we heard about them.  I do admit presenting it to her when was much younger as, "It is certainly up to you.  I'd love to see you try.  When in your life will you ever have the opportunity to learn how to play a harp?"

She talked to the music teacher in 3rd grade.  "Nope.  Too young.  Come back at 5th grade."

4th grade was waiting.

5th grade started with waiting.  She needed the application.  She needed to wait to hear.  She DOES want to learn how to play harp and not because her mama really wanted her to.

I love it when we accidentally land on the same page!

So, we have a child studying the harp.  :shakes of the head:  What a cool thing.  How I would have loved that opportunity at her age!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Prayers for Mr. H

K's teacher ended up having chest pains today.  They had to call an ambulance to have him transported out.  The children were moved to the library, but they saw their teacher wheeled out.  It greatly upset them all.  At the moment, Mr. H is undergoing testing and is currently admitted to the hospital.  I'll update as I know more.

ETA:  He's out of the hospital with no heart attack, though he has lost one brother to a heart attack years ago.  He's still not back in class yet, but anticipates returning by the end of the week.  The kids miss him.