Wednesday, December 31

New Years Travel...Idaho to Michigan to Maine

4:45 a.m. came really early. The borrowed dog of my sister-in-law laid between my husband and I. This is a better scenario than last night, going to bed with the dog wrapped around my husbands head while I got the butt end of him...oh no, that was not going to work. Paralyzing my legs, Sandler plopped down, a big sigh, snuggle-snuggle, kick-kick and off to sleep. Doggy slumber.

We are heading to Maine to bring in the New Year with my husband's sister, father and spouses. I inconveniently forgot my ski jacket...luckily there is a Patagonia store in Freeport where we are staying. Hint-Hint...Wink-Wink.... not like I have been eying this coat or anything. :D Serious mistake if my plan falls through, a seriously cold mistake.

I saw the blood drain from my brother-in-laws hands while clutching the arm rests fearing for his life. The high winds slapped against the windows and rocked the plane. His fear of flying is my humor outlet. Sadly, it is like seeing someone fall or trip. Of course, I offer assistance while stifling my giggles. Popping Zanny... like tic tacs hasn't touched his anxiety. I overheard him talking to the couple next to him. When they asked where he was going without a pause he said “the bar” forget Maine, his next stop was to belly up. While he and Jack got reacquainted we tried to enjoy our $72.00 breakfast served on plastic plates. I thought for sure there was a mistake, then I thought about my limited options for payment due to the plastic I was unable to wash the dishes.

Now, my blood stained eyes are fluttering from fatigue as we wait for our second flight. The cold Cleveland winds bluster through the doors as passengers depart. Humm, no winter coat. I am wearing sensible shoes, does that count for anything?

We're here! My sister-in-law just said her belly hurts from laughing and eating too much....


Sunday, December 28

It's Sunday...I think

All the wrapping paper and fancy bows have come and gone. The love from my family being near still keeps me warm as they depart for a New Year. My fingers on the key board will once again carry my words.

The hummm of the computer tickles my brain. With a giddy little jig I find my way to the wooden chair and high speed Internet. Having limited time causes anxiety...
I reach for the notebook that's recorded my days only to find that it is not with me.... This living out of a suitcase is frustrating sometimes. Inevitably,I pack a lot of what I do not need and forget the stuff I want.

This is what I know:
-It was terrible hard to leave Idaho and the weather made it worse.
-Walking into my parents house with a numb butt and blurry vision after 4 days of driving couldn't have felt better.
-Watching my nieces and nephew open gifts from Santa brought me to tears.
-Piling my plate up of "mom's" food also brings me to tears. I'm avoiding the scale and getting seconds. :D
-Listening to my sisters belly laugh is so fun! Watching the tears roll down their face with laughter....priceless.
-Getting good-night hugs from the kids was the hightlight of each day, and the morning hugs were just as sweet.
-Sitting on familiar couches and listening to stories of months past gives me warm fuzzies.
-Finding a lonely bag of Chex mix that I could keep company is so rewarding.
-Going to church with my parent and our Sunday out to lunch reminds me that my actions speak so much louder than my words, but what I say is also important.

Happy Sunday! Off to sit on a couch in my husbands arms, watch a movie and think about nothing.... (I'm sure to sneak in and read a few more blogs before the end of the night, maybe even post again. ;D)

Friday, December 26

The Winners are.....

I am struggling to find Internet service faster than a snail, so my post will be short and sweet...

The Winner of the super good smelling candle is, wait I'll tell you in a minute. Just kidding. Who won the candle? By random drawing,
Blue Violet!!! Congrats, I hope you enjoy your new candle. Big Thanks to Kelly for making such amazing candles and taking part in this gift-a-way.

The winner for a little bit oh butter, Body Butter that random drawing......The Downs Gang. I couldn't and wouldn't pick based on my personal opinion for a lot of reasons. The number one reason is that I am so happy there are women like you willing to post about a cause. The world is a better place because each of you want to make a different and try. I am hoping to highlight each issue that you wrote about...I want each of you to have a voice here on my blog. Until then, THANK YOU!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for checking out my blog.

Wednesday, December 24

SPT= Self Portrait Tuesday Peace

Third day in the car (13 hours today)...the best weather we have had, so we were able to hold hands. Truly Peaceful. (Tucked into a hotel for the night. Comfy.)

***Last day to enter this "gift-a-way (12/24 @ 11:59 pm) Last day to enter this "gift-a-way (12/25 11:59 pm)

Monday, December 22

Um...that is enough snow, thank you!

As the truck pushed through the newly fallen snow I took one last look at the "mobe", then one last look at the lodge, slowly the mountains faded.

The roads continued to get worse and the knuckle got whiter. It wasn't until my husband had to get out of the truck to help orchestrate a group of men to get an ambulance out of the snow bank that my nerves got the best of me. I contemplated tinkling in a options where limited. Unbelievably, I was able to use that mind over matter technique. With three hours parked in the middle of the highway or at a slow crawl, complete white out conditions, wind strong enough to pick my husband up (it really did) and 4 more days of driving ahead of us, a sigh was all I could conjure up.

(I would love to post pictures, but this connection is super slow...maybe the high winds, blowing snow conditions....have effected the internet as well. A long version of the highway from #$@@ still to come.)

Saturday, December 20

What is Real?

From where I am perched..behind this computer I hear the voices of angels. Each click beneath my fingers, into your blog, impacts my next thought. If I open my mind and listen, the truth is heard from all of those speaking. It's what they say and how it is said that everyone is captured. Sorry... follows the truth that unfolds only to become silent again. This comes from a person with a closet of pain and a voice that wants to carry. If it's the key pad that talks than a step has been taken...never to be hushed again.

This is how I feel when I read your blogs daily. I love to see the silence unfolding, read as the strength is growing and setting someone free. Some are happy and some are mad, but the sad always say, sorry. If it wasn't for those of you who have the strength to speak someone else might always feel alone. I admire "real" people. This time of year isn't easy for all, but the festivities always go on. It is also the time of year that I think more and more about what is "real" to me. Many years ago my heart was captured by the words written within a book.

The Velveteen Margery Williams

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

I want to talk all of you who read my blog. It's a little funny, a little silly, a little dreamy, a little dumb and a lot of "real".

Now, go have some fun and sign up for my " here and click here. :D

Wednesday, December 17

Giveaway...madness! Actually happiness because it is so much fun!

Tis the season to be jolly......we're gonna have another gift-a-way! (Meant to be sung.) Two at one time....yippy!

How about those cute Dollar Store reindeer...worth the entire $1.00?.?. I'm so hanging them from my rear view mirror on our long drive back to Michigan. Fuzzy dice have nothing on my glittery reindeer.

Back to the give-a-way.

These little containers of heaven are from The Body Shop. Body Butter! Butter is right...smooth as butter. I will be giving away 4 body butters, scents may vary from the picture, but do not worry...there isn't a stinky scent. This is coming from a highly sensitive sniffer. I promise you that.

I like the concept of The Body Shop, that is why I started selling it a couple years ago as an, at home consultant. What they do that I like: community trade, campaign to fight domestic violence, no animal testing, recycled shipping/packing material, invest in renewable energy projects... (just a few BIG things) In some ways supporting Kelly Williams(see other contest) is like backing the founder of The Body Shop, Anita Roddick. It is all about vision...just making it happen. I love girl power!

Do you have girl power? What do you believe it so strongly that you would stand up and shout at the top of your lungs, if anybody was listening? Even it no one was listening and you silently support a cause....what is it?

One lucky, soon to smell good or a least better, blogger is going to get 4, 1.7oz Body Butters... Here is how to do it:
1.)Leave a comment on my blog telling me what you truly believe in...even if you do not have the time to go out and support it...what is it you would support if time was more plentiful? (And sleep wasn't necessary.)
2.)For an additional entry, just start to follow my blog. It's a good idea to do that, you can always be "in the know" of my give-a-ways. *Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

*Extra important stuff.
This Annonandon sponsored contest is open to United States peeps only. The final day to enter is December 25,yup Christmas. I will then e-mail the lucky one. You will have only 3 days to claim your prize before I move on to the next winner.

Yippy, another gift-a-way! Did you sign up for both? Than go to it....HERE...I'll help you out.

What? Another giveaway! Yippy!

Another give-a-way has ended..BUT...another one has started.

Kelly Williams, has the biggest smile and the best laugh. It's a toss up who is the nicest....her or her mother. I have had the pleasure of working with both of them here at the South Fork Lodge.

I found out that Kelly makes all these fabulous smell goods and started harassing her for candles, candles and more candles. I got some candles! They are amazing! Now, it's your turn to check it out and pick out your favorite scent.
I have to warn you...there are a gazillion, o.k. maybe not, but there are over 150 scents to choose from.

If candles aren't your thing what about diffusers, lip gloss, bubble bath, body lotion, hair care and/or soap. She really has it all and makes it all! I have to tell you that she also 70% responsible for my weight gain over the last few months. The other 30% is the flippen ice cream that I had to walk by all day long. Just today my husband and I were wrestling over the last bite of a Kelly made, cinnamon roll. He won. I totally thought I had him....

Here is how to win "approximately" 60 hours of burn'en love (aka) a candle:
1.)Leave a comment on my blog. Let me know what purrty scent you would choose? I know the choice is difficult, so if you have to list more than one I totally understand.
2.)If, you purchasing an item from Miss Kelly you get an additional entry and/or start to follow my blog. (Let me know if you already follow.) If you do both fill me in, bonus points. *Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

*Extra important stuff.
This Annonandon/Crouch Candle sponsored contest is open to United States peeps only. The final day to enter is Christmas eve. I will then e-mail the lucky one. You will have only 3 days to claim your prize before I move on to the next winner. *Due to the handmade nature of this item it might take additional time for processing. Thanks!

I think...Yes, it's a fact.....there is another give-a-way starting tomorrow. Tomorrow, tomorrow...I love ya tomorrow.

Helicopter, Elk, GIVE-A-WAY oh my!

(This one is for Jill)
Up...up....and away! With black and blue hiking boot marks...I am kicking myself. So, what is it that I did? I said "NO" to going in the helicopter with my husband. To start with, last week he went up in the single engine plane. I do not do single engine planes. When the topic came up about the helicopter it was almost a no-brain-er. Until, I got there and realize how cool it was. Unfortunately, I wasn't dressed warm enough (because the window is open or the door is off) and the pilot didn't bring gear for me. Shucks, darn, poop! I got some photos of lucky boy....

What was he doing? So, he has elk collared. We need to find these elk and get the collars, hypothetically before this Saturday. We have located some of the elk by using the GPS systems built into the collar. Problème numéro un, the collars are not working properly. Leading to problème numéro deux, we can not connect. (Radio to animal)

Connect...using this really cool little computer thingy (base station) as well as, a telemetric device, all kinds of antennas, wires and other sciency things to locate the animal. The collars are programmed to fall of this Saturday. Then we have a five hour window to find thousands of acres. Working in the air makes locating the elk faster so we know where to start. Some collars have passed on (died) with out any possible way of retrieving them because they died before we could get a fix on where the elk are.(Expensive problem) Then, we have the ghost signals, the bounce signals and the what the hell signals. (Using all the sciency things together they "talk" to each other, that is a signal.)When we connect, he is able to get the data from the collar, without the collar, no data. Hello 5-6 years of graduate school and then I'll be looking for the nearest sky scrapper... Even with other professionals helping, the consensus is that the collars are not to standard. A day late and triple digits short we have to do whatever we can to get the collars back.

If you really didn't follow that it is probably because I left out so many details, but the idea of talking science on my blog really freaks me out. It freaks me out that I know what I know.... on to more important things........

WHAT ANOTHER GIVE-A-WAY!!!!!!!! Next post. I can not combine that would be way...wrong.

Contest Winner...Congrats Crystal

67 amazing ladies talked about their favorite Christmas song.... 67 that is a lot! Thank you for sharing. Who knows, maybe next year I will put all those songs on a c.d. for listening pleasures and think of you. One entry hit the right note...made the song come alive...

The winner: Crystal
Here is what she had to say....

"Oh Holy Night....the stars are brightly shiiiiiiiiining. It is the night of the dear Savior's birth"

I love the power of this song. It starts out so soft and calm....and by the chorus "FALL ON YOUR KNEES....OH HEAR THE ANGELS VOICES...." The strength of the words and the volume of the singing has overtaken your body. No longer are you just a listener to a song with lyrics, suddenly you're a part of something AMAZING!

This song always gets me. I love all the cutesy Christmas songs....but this is THE SONG that touches my heart in remembrance of the true reason for Christmas.

SPT= Self Portrait Tuesday..,No internet...Oh NO!

It was a tragic internet. I had a list of blogging to do By the time I got home from work my post would have sounded something like this, "Tired I so, not can blog tonight." Needless to say I went to bed. My body would not move, but my mind was racing. I already have a problem with writing and skipping words, so I decided not to attempt emptying my mind. NOW, I am off to assist in a helicopter take off and landing. Something I do almost biggie. Right! This helpful gesture is actually getting me out of riding in the helicopter. I will sit with the fuel tank while watching my husband dart in and out of Ponderosa the bird. We have just a few days left to find those elk and get our collars back. If you want a better understanding of what I mean just let me know, I can get you the 411 on our mission. :D

So, Happy Tuesday. (Pretending yesterday did not happen.) SPT=Comfort

I could run out of space talking about my comfort...there a just a few:

What can be more comforting than leaving a place and knowing they are excited for your return. Comfort, the Christmas e-cards my mom has been sending me everyday for almost the last two weeks because this Christmas season hasn't been very Christmasy for me. Walking to walk without my bear spray. (I forgot it and didn't turn around to go get it. I am either making strides or I am getting stupidly comfortable.) Comfort, holding a dog, hugging a dog and seeing a dogs tail wag when you call their name...even when you saw it 5 minutes ago.

When I get back from the chopper it will be Wednesday....sound good?

Sunday, December 14

Throwing needles and getting a loom....

Somewhere deep within the Boise National Forest, sat a girl twirling her thumbs. Gazing out the window she wished upon the first star of the night. Softly, the snow was falling to the ground. After a long sad sigh, she looks over at the dusty knitting needles that were aggressively placed on the shelf some days earlier. She turns slowly, wincing a bit, while eying the needle holes in the wall behind the couch. Just weeks ago, after hours of meditation and reading she was once again ready to knit one, purl two....surely she had no idea when she hurled them across the room they would actually stick into the wall.

Rest in peace aluminum hell sticks....

The magical moments of her desperate cries echoed across the land and into the sky. The tender wish whispered into the ears of the lady who holds R&R in the palm of her hands, Mother Crafter. Sister to Mother Nature, who was hard at work with global warming.

Seated by her sewing machine, saddened by this young, skinny (o.k. healthy and not that young) girls desire, a tear drop fell down...down....down to the poor craft less girl. Gently, a diaphanous glow filled the room. The feeling of despair was slowly, silently,then forcefully lifted. It was really stuck on her. Dashing a little more of her nurturing water and the goo of despair could no longer hold on. Screeching through the darkening sky the spiteful emotion set off in search of another woman with unused knitting needles or perhaps a blank white sheet of scrapbook paper.

Scratching at her ear and slowly shaking her head back and forth, she had that "what the ... just happened" feeling. Reached over and turned on some Christmas music a jolly feeling was flushing through her. "I really can't stay....Baby it's cold outside..." the Brian Setzer orchestra spilling the Christmas spirit into the quiet mobe. She paused in her festive tracks as the phone interrupted this truly special moment. "A loom.... a loom you say....maybe I could give it a try. Sure, I can be there in two shakes of a lamb's tail...". Turning to dash out the door, she looked in the mirror to see if somehow she turned into a 80 year old, internally asking herself why did she use such an elderly idiom. With no worries or despair she gleefully skipped down the road. (Bear spray, MP3 player, knife in hand... see this post to understand.)

I have to say the rest of the story is all rags to rugs....seriously RUGS. Oh, and a happy ever after. Nothing close to perfection, but what is perfection to the grateful eye. Night after obsessive night you can find the young, skinny girl (I know what your thinking, just let me pretend...) wrapping scraps of material around jute, humming to the music and silently thanking Mother Crafter and not screaming at Mother F'er any more. I heart my rag rug.

See...I really did it. (99% done)

Hey, did you sign up for the
give-a-way....why not? Click here, it's that easy.
Don't worry it's not one of my new craft creations...It's something from the eau de toilette queen herself, Estee Lauder.

The Secret Is in The Sauce.... Saucy Blog Sunday.

Are you stirring up some saucy blogs?....If you haven't already check out
The Secret is in the Sauce blog. They are whipping up some amazing give-a-ways, dashing it with a little to do and a lot of what's going on. Hundreds of well fed ladies (and a few good men) gather to find out what is the secret in the sauce. I have met some really talented, funny and exceptional people in my short time blogging. Take a'll be happy you did. Welcome SITS! If your here, make sure to enter for my give-a-way...

Thursday, December 11

100 Things about Me #4 ...No More Tubular Meat

It started somewhere between blotting slimy, wet, ham on my Subway sandwich ("Most people prefer moist lunch meat, phosphates' water-retaining ability actually helps the product hold together", ummm. Can I get an oh ick?) and reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Maybe, it was driving by the mass production chicken farms (so against them) and seeing deranged birds wobbling on underdeveloped legs, walking into the side of the barn...over and over. Run chicken, run! Even through the daring escape, blinded by the light, they were not in the right mind to seek safety. Chickens are odd, this act of odd far exceeded any random coco bird.

Now, tubular meat is an entirely different story. Peeks and butts, yes...and sometimes fingers. (Fingers, this is a totally ridiculous thought from 1920's meat packing plants.) Total drama on my part and somewhat unfair to those who produce American's number one, grilled to plump perfection, tubular meat products. It's almost un-American to not like hot dogs. No flag burning here. Is it not a little strange to you that so many people like mushed meat encased by pig skin or casing? My friends at the USDA can help you with tubular facts. Happy Reading. Moo, squeal, snort and cluck.....

Anthropomorphism has really screwed with my ability to casually nibble on gummy bears and gold fish crackers. I do anyway. Except, listen to this poo, as gummy bears are typically made with either bovine or porcine gelatine, they are usually not suitable for vegetarians. What? How frustrating is that?

Over seven years ago I made a pledge to the animal world that I would no longer gnaw on chicken bones and chew the ever lasting veins. (You have had that happen once in your know when you could continue chewing on the chicken because there seems to be this gum like effect to it. Do not fib, you have too.) I would no longer bite into a pig casing nor would I graze on cow meat. All in all, I have no real problem with meat eaters, like meat eaters should not have a problem with me. More meat for you. I'm not a member of PETA, I wear leather. Mostly my a$$le$$ leather chaps while playing dress up...joke. I have even owned a few fur products, most of which have been given away at this point. Due to my little bit of princess-wanna-be problem (Not a huge problem....just a little one.)I like glitter, sparkles and now faux fur...not all the time obviously. My Carhartts are seeing more action than my shiny bangles these days....

Which leads me to my hunting, fishing...killer of a husband, who I have a lot of respect for. (I really heart my hubby.) If he kills it he eats it. Then I cook it...yes, I (not all the time) cook meat. I am the Esref Armagan of cooking. He can not see, but he paints. I can not taste my cooking, but I cook.

I bid you farewell, as I am off to saute some an elk and cook me some grub. :D

****Click HERE to enter my least check it out!****

Tuesday, December 9

Freebies, Give-A-Ways and Good Stuff...Another Give-a-way

My first contest came to an end....sadly. I didn't want it to because it was so much fun getting to know so many new people. I loved all the stories about your favorite Christmas/Holiday decoration. Drum roll...The winners (picked by a trusting panel of friends and family...this was way to personal for random number picker computer thingy) Nicole- A Mommy Musing~ Stacy- Roll with it~ Candid Carrie *Congrats to the three of you....


I heart Christmas music. I received in the mail a tear dripping, toe tapping, hip swinging CD of random artists singing the spirited must haves. A big, personal bubble busting, heart felt, warm hug of thanks to the Good Mail Queen, Jill....

What is your favorite Christmas song? Who sings it? If you're as bad as I am at naming the tune feel free to type some of the words or describe the singer....just have some fun.

The winner will receive a fan-tab-u-lous....."Estee Lauder House of Fragrance"

11 pc Set of Perfume Collection for Women in a Jewelry Box
Youth Dew.Azuree.Aliage.Private Collection.White Linen.Cinnabar.Beautiful.Knowing.Pleasures.Intuition.Beyond Paradise
Do you like to dab on some smell so purrty stuff? Or, do have no idea what to get Aunt Barb for Christmas...and this would be the perfect thing.... Here is how to win:
1.)Leave a comment on my blog. What Christmas tune moves the junk in your trunk, makes you sway with your honey or shake the bah hum bugs away...?....?...
2.)If, you want to enter twice, start to follow my blog. For the most part you won't be sorry.(Let me know if you already follow...)
3.)Needing additional luck, enter a third time by posting about this give-a-way on your blog and linking it back here. *Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

*Extra important stuff.
This Annonandon sponsored contest is open to United States peeps only. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 15th. I will then e-mail the lucky one. You will have only 3 days to claim your prize before I move on to the next winner.

My fingers and toes are crossed for you.

SPT= Self Portrait Tuesday "JOY"

Joy....getting gas station food for lunch, climbing 1500 feet VERTICALLY (no switch backs) to observe elk, wearing a multitude of layers causing great mental issues as well as physical, climbing, tripping, sliding on a mountain of rocks covered by snow... Is that ringing the bell of joy?

Panting. Sweating. On the verge of tears realizing this just isn't my "thing"... something I realize every time I am climbing, tripping, sliding on a mountain side....but continually find myself doing over and over again. (Why?) No "joy to the world" tune being sung at this point.

Siting next to my husband on a snow covered mountain as the sun begins to set. Watching carefree elk calves frolic while listening to the girly elk mewing (a uniquely beautiful sound made by the ladies)....Natural behavioral observation. So Cool... and yes, that is "JOY"

Sunday, December 7

December 20th fastly approaching....Departing Idaho

The days of Idaho are coming to an end. With a constant effort to just be thankful sadness sneaks in. The dark clouds lightly sprinkle sorrow. In this mountainous place my happiness soars. Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir proving neighborly protection as the Payette River sings me a comforting song. This sparsely populated area has felt like home since the first full breath taken.

The love for this land and the people will remain forever. Upon my return I will dance once more.

Now, comes the time to pratiquez mon français...practice my France. Those dark clouds return with thunderous fright. My adjustment to the European-esque city will far exceed my efforts here. One hundred and forty five days after departing la ville du Quebec my feet will walk the cobbled streets and ride the bus once more. Observation of non-verbal cues directing my actions and fill my wordless days. The beauty will once again grip my desire to explore, learn and grow.

Laying my head down at night with the roaring engine from public transportation singing a city lullaby my thoughts will drift to the silent nights of Lowman.

*Remember that my contest ends tomorrow here to participate.

Thursday, December 4

100 Things about Me #3 Twitterpated or Caffeine...

About two and a half years ago...I got a little jumpy. My heart started thumping a lot faster than it should. At first I thought it was just a side effect from being Twitterpated. Then I realized it was evils of caffeine. As the horns were blowing, Taps my caffeine swirled down the drain never to cross my lips again.

Wednesday, December 3

Freebies, Give-A-Ways and Good Stuff

Do Not Forget to Participate in my Give-A-Way.... Free Stuff is So Much Fun! On My December 1st post!

Wordless Wednesday

I spy.....

Don't forget to check out my Holiday give-a-way...

Tuesday, December 2

SPT= Self Portrait Tuesdays

Love... on the morning of December 2:
Laying next to my husband listening to the rain tapping on the roof of the mobe.
A phone call from a friend back home.
The stack of Holiday magazines sent from my mom.
A warm fireplace.
Reading the newspaper and seeing the ads for the first time in two months.
Looking at the "Good Mail" package Mona sent me.

Monday, December 1

First of Many... Holiday GIVE-A-WAY

This is actually the first time in my life that I really want it to snow. (That can not be true considering I was once a kid and there was nothing better than SNOW DAYS...) Unfortunately, the snow we did receive only watered the lawn, which will delay our departure closer to the 20th of December. All of this leading to the sad fact that my over abundance of Christmas decorations will feel the dank basement blues once more.

But, I still have the Christmas spirit. I bought these sparkly deer at the dollar store and they are propped up proudly in the mobe. A little bit pathetic, but a whole lot of $1.00 fun, darn it.

What is your favorite holiday knick-knack, special something, that provides viewing pleasure in your home over the holidays?

I want to share with THREE lucky, fellow blog buddies, one of my favorite non-holiday must haves in my home. That's right, it is give-a-way time...

From none other than the wondrous Body Shop, I am giving away a beautiful, completely fabulous... Natural Soapstone Oil Burner with a Mango home fragrance oil.

Did you know in India the Mango is symbolic of love? Well, I didn't.... but I love me some Mango. I also love a house that smells fresh and clean. Combining the two ='s Mango-licious, good smelling, love a stirring, house of yummy smells.

Do you want this home fragrance burner and love me Mango scented oil? All you have to do is:
1.)Leave a comment on my blog and an email (for the first comment). Tell me about one decoration that you proudly display over the holiday season. What is it? Why do you like it? Who gave it to you? Where did you get it? Feel free to give a snippet of an answer or fill me in with your thesaurus using, word dazzling details.
2.)If, you want to enter twice, start to follow my blog. For the most part you won't be sorry.(Let me know if you already follow...)
3.)Needing additional luck, enter a third time by posting about this give-a-way on your blog and linking it back here. *Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

*Extra important stuff.
This Annonandon sponsored contest is open to United States peeps only. The winners will be announced on Monday, December 8th. I will then e-mail the lucky three. You will have only 3 days to claim your prize before I move on to the next winner.

My fingers and toes are crossed for you.
If you are a relative of mine....and you finally make a will receive a special little something just for stopping by. When did you-all become so non-vocal? No kin of my is ever this quiet. (Hee Hee)
Posted on Scribbit, check it out.

Sunday, November 30

Black Friday

I'm dancing in the mobe, spinning some Christmas tunes, hugging perfect strangers...Why! I'm not in retail!!!

For almost 20 years of my life I couldn't truly relax on Thanksgiving. I knew that within hours of my head hitting the pillow my dreadful alarm would jolt me awake. Starting my intro vinous coffee drip, I would find the most comfortable heels and festive suit while cursing that jolly old St.Nick.

It's the dead of the night and I'm driving to work. After parking a half mile away, I make my way into the store. Signs start flying, the sick line is ringing...where the (bleep) are those little elves. One final pep talk to 80 cranky workers while anxious (somewhat obnoxious) customers start to bang on the door. Inevitably, one woman is pointing at her watch complaining that it reads 5:31. Moving cautiously to unlock the door I swiftly dodged the glazed eyed, elbow throwing...gotta have it customers.

12 hours later, with only a minute in my bed, I'm back at work to do it all over again. Merry Flipp'en Christmas!

(Either I am insane (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results) or I am truly a retail, I hate to say it, junkie. The truth is I loved what I did. I just wanted a change.... You can take the girl out of retail but you can not take the retail out of the girl.)

Now, here I sit wondering, just a little, what is going on in the retail world. What are the items that crazy people like my mom and sisters got up at 4:30 for...?
Give me the down low, fill me in...what was it like on Black Friday? Did you get up early? Tell me about your experience.

*Have you checked out the Freebies,Give-a-Ways and Goof Stuff.* I added a few new items.
Hold your horses....I am going to be starting a super-cala-fragalistic contest...very soon!

Thursday, November 27

Thanksgiving - 100 Things About Me #2

Today, most of us will sit around the table passing the stuffing while eying the pies, looking forward to the comatose turkey nap. During the day thankful thoughts and special words will fill the room and those within.

A sigh of contentment and that special feeling within, will only come with hearing my nieces and nephews say, "Aunt Annie" or "Aunt Ann", will do, but certainly to follow is "I miss you".

They have my love, my friendship, my wisdom, my shoulders and whenever possible my wallet. :D Happy Thanksgiving- Sophie, Taylor, Claire, Paige, Grace, Emma, Chase, Molly and Ashlee. I love you all very much.

#2 I love my nieces and nephews more than words can express.

Wednesday, November 26


One fabulous-o day of mail.

Super, sassy, crafty Pay it Forward Gift...from Oh-so-cool Kate. Have you ever seen a more spectacular presentation? Buttons make everyone happy. Cute:D Cute:D Cute:D

My sister sent me fashion forward, girl power, luxury reading material. What a great surprise to see she cares enough to keep me well informed on the tres chic outside world of apparel. Perhaps she was worried I was getting to comfy in my Carhartts.

It was the hand written note that melted my dad sent me mail. Peanuts for protein, jerky for my man and coffee to keep us going. I know he reads this blog but never posts a note so, Thank you Dad for being the very best father a girl could ever ask for.



Another quiet day at the lodge with a few travelers finding their way home through the mountains of Idaho. As the man in the suit sat down a wonderfully rich conversation filled the room. The two of us started to talk like old friends.

Mike has always been involved with the education system, as well as serving some time in the military. Now, he holds the superintendent position in the area. He told me his story: It was the late 70's somewhere in Oklahoma.

Putting on his tight red shorts (Ohhhh no!) and striped tube socks was the way he started every school day, as a gym teacher in a small town.

Within every school there are the jocks, the smarty pants, the socially challenged, the trouble makers and the kids that fell between the cracks. Toby was sitting in the office possibly for the last time. The principal was getting ready to kick him out of school just four weeks before graduation for fighting. Mike made a deal and Toby was able to stay in school under his supervision. Mike knew Toby had potential, but school wasn't his thing. The kids inspired Mike to coach and teach, Toby was no exception. After four difficult weeks, as Toby crossed the stage, Mike knew that one positive pat on Toby's back might have made a difference in his life. He was right.

Toby Covel was always talking about this one teacher who changed his life. He wished he could tell him how much he appreciated what he did. After years of searching for Mike and finally finding him, Toby's wife and manager planned a special reunion. Less than a month ago, on election night, Toby was receiving the Will Rogers Spirit Award in Tulsa. Mike and his wife were invited to attend. It was a special reunion. A memory Mike will talk about for the rest of his life. Ultimately, this relationship will positively affect many kids. Mike is back in the school system for the same reasons as many years earlier.

Some years after school Toby started to go by the name of Toby Keith and made his way into the country music world. Today, he is still that tough and still a little naughty, hard headed kid from Oklahoma that Mike inspired to stay in school.

As Mike finished his omelet, our conversation came to an end I felt equally inspired to be a better person. There are a lot of Toby's out there never getting that chance in life. There are kids that grow up to be adults, never getting that encouragement, love or support that is needed. I have met a lot of people lately that could have used a "Mike" in their life. I can see them struggling and still looking, maybe even hoping that he/she is still out there. I hope I'm a "Mike" to someone in my lifetime. Don't you?

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 25

Monday, November 24

The Art of Knitting

I am outwardly jealous of those who can knit and/or crochet. I long to sit by a crackling fire, the dog at my feet, soft music playing, sipping a hot toddy, home spun yarn in my lap and the delicate sound of my clicking needles.

Stomp the Ground. Punching fists in the air. Arg.

I have been staring at this misleading book my husband bought me two years ago. "Learn to Knit in Just One Day" Right, I think they left out a subtitle, "Unless your an Idiot and/or Left Handed". There's that left handed thing again. I am not even going to place the blame. I just can not knit...or crochet and it saddens me. Sigh. I then went on line to watch someone instruct the challenged. I even tried to have my grandma teach me. She laughed off my "silly" attempt. I am sure she thought I was just kidding, but I wasn't. The usual jokes were spewing from my lips to conceal the hidden disappointment in my skills. The light at the end of my tunnel doesn't have knitting needles and I just can not except it. I toss and turn through countless nightmares with taunting knitting needles and yarn.

I solved part of the problem Saturday. I went to a local Holiday Craft Show. The bestest (not a real word) part was that it was at my place of work. So, I got to spend 5 hours picking through, pining over and paying for my obsession. I secretly stalked Helga, one of the craft masters, as she chatted in her thick German accent to merry customers while crocheting. The room was full of cackling hens catching up with one another. I was filled with delight. "These are a few of my favorite things...."

By 4:00, I had emptied my pocket of "tip" money and purchased enough items to fill my backpack. Gleefully I began my trot home to the mobe. Once there, I wrapped my self in my new scarves (that's right plural) and hats. Not until beads of perspiration started to roll down my neck did I pull the garments off.

Now I sit here once again with that $#@&ing book in hand ready to face my short comings. I went to a motivational website to pump up my thoughts. I need that "can do" attitude.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it. W.C. Fields Ummmm, Mr. Fields that is not going to get me a handmade scarf.

On every thorn, delightful wisdom grows, in every rill a sweet instruction flows.
Edward Young....right back at you Eddie! Now that's more like it....I'm off to stare at my book.

Can you knit? Or crochet? Do you wish you could? What would you make?

Friday, November 21

Freebies, Give-A-Ways and Good Stuff

For some reason the less money I make the richer I feel. This should not be confused with a desire to live in a cardboard box, pushing a grocery cart around as eternal bliss. What I mean is.....we made a decision to attend grad another country.....where they speak another language. Hmmmm. We understand that these might be the rough, not so smooth or easy years(Monetarily not love). I came to terms with the idea that when my husband finishes school I'm going to need some nips and tucks, perhaps a cane. (Ha.) It's important for a cougar to keep up with her Tom. (Name of a male cougar not my husband.)

Last year a little Betty C. and Martha came out in me. I became Betartha. The whole idea of shopping for groceries took on an entirely new meaning, i.e. Bargain Shopping. Now, I have done this for years with my clothing. No ooh icks from the audience. It has it's rewards and adventures. I'm not picking up used Disney sweatshirts with coffee stains. Last time I went I found Ralph Lauren, Patagonia and cute Gap items. They didn't have stains, holes or smell like mothballs. Anywho, I started price comparing, buying in bulk and day old-ing it. Not so creepy, right? I even utilized my pumpkins that were never carved by making soup and muffins. Yummy!

Through all of this I have come to realize that free food tastes better and cheaper items give me a little pep in my step. How does this relate to anything? It doesn't I just wanted to tell you....kidding.

It is the holiday season and I think everyone is feeling the pinch. I don't know about you, but when I open my mail box and there is package within, I am instantly a little happier. Even if it is a diaper sample from Pampers. I find a way to use the darn thing because it was sent to me...and it was free. With a little blog surfing I realized that there are a whole bunch of people out there who feel the same way. One super pretty and obviously talented lady won an amazing Poppy painting for writing a cool post.

Let's have some linking fun. Let's see who can score a new flashlight or knee socks.
Most of the links you will have to look at the blog, read it and make a sincere comment. If you are like me, (I'm sorry if you are :D) I think it is fun to read what others have to say. Check it out daily... If you know of any let me know so I can spread the word. Links are in gadgets on the right: Freebies, Give-A-Ways and Good Stuff.

Thursday, November 20

100 things about me... #1

Somewhere between exiting the womb and my first crayon I decided to take the road less traveled. Or, maybe it is because I carried the LRRMT1 gene. In 2007, this was the first gene linked to increased odds of being left-handed. I do know that I have struggled with scissors, three ring binders and just about every sport that requires hands. If you ask me directions I have to hold up both my hands, one makes the cute L, from that point I can navigate you just about anywhere. If you do not see me doing this it is because I've mastered the fine art of this hidden skill to alleviate snickers.

For those of you who know me I also have my left hand to blame for my mostly illegible, curly and slanted written words. Some say it is beautiful and artsy. The reality is, I do not like to lift my writing utensil off the paper once it hits causing this van Gogh-esque penmanship. Ultimately leading to "what does that say".....

I am 100% convinced that being left handed has caused me great distress and somewhat anti-social behavioral problems in Quebec City. You know how the French (French Canadian) kiss on both cheeks when greeting one another? On many (awful) occasions I have started in the wrong (or same) direction with my personal bubble busting acquaintance. I quickly (yet unsuccessfully) try to rectify the lip to lip traumatic encounter... to no avail. It's seriously awkward......Total

Here are some Left Hand facts:
-Give or take a little, 13% of the population is left handed
-Left hand means, "weak" or "broken" (Anglo-Saxton-"lyft")
-With both of my parents being right-handed, there was on a 9% chance of having a lefty. They ended up with two. My oldest sister is also a lefty.
-Party,Party....every August 13th it is International Left-handers Day. Raise a glass to us...with your left hand!

Southpaw signing out. :D

Wednesday, November 19

100 things about me...

I have seen this on a few blogs and thought it would be fun to do. So, if you want to get to know me a little more then read away... Then, every Thursday I will talk a little bit about each one, in order.

100 Things about me...

1.I write with my left hand.
2.I love my nieces and nephews more than words
3.I only drink decaffeinated liquids
4.I do not do tubular meat. e.g. hot dogs-pepperoni, it all freaks me out even though they say it isn't made with beaks and butts anymore.
5.I like to use ….. a lot..................
6.I had a dog name Albert and when he died I fell to my knees and cried. I still miss him.
7.I told a lie and it saved my life.
8.I can not leave the house without a bag or two or three...a lot of just in case items.
9.My grandpa's name is Oscar Meyer (see #4, ironic, eh)
10.I love to take long drives in the car.
11.My friend Mona is one of the nicest people I have ever met.
12.I am really afraid of snakes.
13.I have wanted a great dane for over 10 years....I'm still waiting.
14.I use to be a very bad driver or really accident prone, however you want to look at it.
15.I love getting pedicures...going to a spa.....
16.I am a very indecisive person.
17.I work really hard to have routines but it never works.
18.I love cold pizza for breakfast.
19.I fell in love with a mule name Burley.
20.I was an assistant manager for a $20 million dollar store.
21.I sleep on my stomach, side and back.
22.I was the “unsung hero” for volunteering as a rape crisis, domestic violence advocate in MT.
23.I have not eaten meat in over 7 years.
24.I did the make-up for George Foreman, Larry Merchant, Jim Lampley, and Michael Buffer for a HBO boxing match.
25.I would love to have a farm with a garden and animals.
26.I have always wanted to own a B&B.
27.I really do not like shopping. (Maybe bargain hunting here and there.)
28.I love to see my sisters and brother laughing together, it's usually my brother doing something funny.
29.I was at the home of the artist formally known as Prince, now Prince again, hanging on his electric gate when it started to open.
30.I am a bad spelter, oops I mean speller.
31.I love Hello Kitty.
32.I really want to go to the Ellen DeGeneres show.
33.Charles Barkley told me I had nice legs.
34.I think canning is fun.
35.I am jealous of people who know what they want to be when they grow up.
36.I wish I could have braces again.
37.I have the coolest 86 year old grandma who is more active than me. She lives by three C's: chocolate, cheese and Coca Cola.
38.I am going through menopause and it sucks.
39.I want to travel the world.
40.I have to take a sleeping pill to sleep at night.
41.I have ornate handwriting that is hardly legible. Nevertheless, I handwrite notes because I think they are important.
42.I wear my heart on my sleeve ~I wish I didn't.
43.I lived on a ranch in Montana and worked through three calving season. It was one of the best experiences in my life.
44.I get migraines.
45.I always have a fan on at night for the noise and because I am a hot sleeper.
46.I was at a party with Hulk Hogan.
47.I have a hard time going to bed with a dirty house. (especially dirty dishes)
48.I listen to country music,R&B just about anything other than punk.
49.I wish I had more hobbies.
50.I do not like the spotlight....anymore.
51.I wish I was thinner.
52.I love maps.
53.Every time I see a chipmunk I laugh. Just ask my husband....
54.I do not desire to live in the south...
55.I work really hard to see both sides of a story.
56.I am obsessed with making sure the doors and windows are locked before going to bed.
57.I like to purchase second hand clothing.
58.I really dislike the song “Red, Red wine....”
59.I like sectional couches and putting my feet on ottomans
60.I like water over milk (do not like milk)
61.I can not eat cheese without a cracker.
62.I love the idea of school but hated going.
63.I am not a good lier.
64.I do not like to read out loud.
65.I like to sing, in the shower, in the car, around the house....and dance. Not with a pole or on tables ;)
66.Deep down I really want to trust people, but I struggle with it. (poopy people in my past.)
67.I get sad that I do not fit in the mommy world...perhaps some day.
68.I could eat Mexican food at least once a week.
69.I wish I could go horse back riding everyday.
70.I want to volunteer more in the US and overseas.
71.For some reason I always look at the clock when it is 12:34 (1234)
72.I often struggle with the noise of people eating around me. Like in the movie theater when everyone is eating popcorn, chomping, spit mixed with food thing....
73.I spend a lot of time writing a book in my head.
74.I am thankful for everyday that I get.
75.I'm afraid to die. The whole subject creeps me out.
76.I love animals.
77.I wish I could remember “things” better.
78.Living in the mountains has made me a better person.
79.I love to have candles lite throughout the house, all the time.
80.I protested at a KKK rally.
81.I love to send mail and get mail.
82.I am the youngest of four.
83.Family's the most important aspect of my life.
84.I'm an at home consultant for The Body Shop.
85.I own Carhartt pants equipped with a knife and bear spray.
86.My husband is 7 years younger than me. Yes, that makes me a cougar.
87.I like to read the newspaper, but hate the inky residue on my fingers. It has the same effect as many experience with nails on the chalk board.
88.I use to ride in a milk truck to get to school.
89.I heart Neosporin.
90.I am slowly learning French and quickly forgetting it.
91.Sometimes when I am riding my bike to work I think I hear circus music...da da dada dada da da dada dada....because I feel like an elephant on a tricycle.
92.I love to drink club soda, sometimes I add a little white wine or fruit juice.
93.I care what people think and I think if people say they don't they are not being truthful.
94.I have not slept in my bed as of today for 97 days and I won't for another 46+ days. SIGH.
95.I enjoy reading and watch movies.
96.Mean people freak me out. (Not that I am angelic...)
97.I like high heels but have been seen wearing “sensible shoes” lately.
98.I am grateful for my parents love and support, through good times and bad.
99.I don't use adjectives when I speak, but apparently my husband has learned 300 variations of the word “thing” or “thingy” and always knows what I am talking about.
100.If you got this far then you know me better than most. :D

Tuesday, November 18

Pay it forward.

I was checking out other blogs and stumbled on this idea at From The Green Grass Grows All Around blog. I love the idea and want to keep it going.

Here is the deal - I will send a small gift (handmade or purchased), to the first three people who tell me that they are interested.
The catch is that you then have to grab this picture and Pay It Forward on your blog!
(right click)

Just a recap, the first three people to show interest will receive a little (but thoughtful) gift. Then those three people have to do the same on their blog. My friend would call this..."Good Mail". :D

SPT= Self Portrait Tuesday

Under the weather...

Monday, November 17


I am laying in bed silently cursing at my sleeping husband for gifting me his cold. It feels like I've been snacking on sandpaper and someone filled my head up with water. With every sneeze I expect to see fluid spouting out every orifice of my head. I'm leaving out painful details of the Mack trucks that are illegally parked on my shoulders. Before Jaige fell asleep he wanted me to read him some stories from the blogging world. I suggested that we write a blog together... He started..."There once was a lovely wife", my turn,"who was hoping her husband would go to the bathroom and find her some sinus relief". As he walked to the bathroom I heard, "The End". He is sawing logs and I am spitting in a cup to alleviate the pain of swallowing.

Today, we went for a nice hike searching for elk 989. I put on my confident hat and started my strut through the woods. Using the telemetry unit, her signal (the elk) was taking us along a narrow ridge that quickly opened up into a maze of ponderosa pine. The trees were filled with chirping birds and the ground showed promising sign of wildlife. Poop. Foolishly, I even laid down, dangling my head over an edge that dropped down 30+ feet so we could take a "fun" picture. No, that was not my idea but if Jaige was willing to pose I was willing to get dirty. If it hadn't produced the most unflattering double chin image I would have proudly displayed the risk taking outcome....but no way. Just the thought of it makes me want to get out of bed to erase the pictures. Since I am making a conscious effort to document our excursions I am refraining from such actions. (And, I'm pretty comfortable.)

We decided to hike back to the truck and drive along one of my favorite, freakishly thin roads just wide enough for a super models catwalk. Never mind the fact that we were driving a truck that 140 models could fit in... I stayed focused on my week old, already read People magazine to avoid the raring of an anxiety attack. When we finally parked to "glass" the mountain side I grabbed my bag of Ann things.
Glass: take binoculars, section out the land, s-l-o-w-l-y look for the animal.
Bag of Ann things: bear spray,eye lash curler, mascara, pad of paper, glasses, miscellaneous reading material, mirror, Cliff bar, hand lotion, bronzer and a few knifes....

Together we sat side by side feeling the mountain breeze and the fall sun. I took that opportunity to read the typed sermons from my parents church. So close to heaven it seemed like the perfect place to read his words.

Another Sunday in Idaho...