Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homestead Ballroom Gold - By Valspar Paint

It's not quite official yet, but when I saw the color of the newest prototype plush toy for Faith, and saw that it was too yellow, I had to do something. I explained to Norma, my good friend who is handling the production of the plush toy through Cher Marketing, that we really needed a more accurate match. That's when I got the idea to literally take Faith to the local Lowes store and have their expert paint person do the best he could matching a card or twenty up against Faith's backside.

As one might expect, the top of the dog is not the exact color as the bottom of the dog. For that matter Faith's saddle or back area is a completely different shade of golden brown than her underside. What was really funny is that her ears are actually a little darker than the rest of her, but when Norma's company presented the first prototype with darker ears I was so quick to nix the color difference. Wow, I guess I don't spend enough time staring at my dog! She's so normal in that aspect! The project assignment turned out to be quite the little adventure.

Laura and I simply walked Faith through the front doors of the Ardmore, Oklahoma Lowes just off I-35 and Exit 32 South. We found the nearest handy-dandy associate which happened to be Kelly. We explained the situation to Kelly, and he took it from there. Now, naturally you just can't ordinarily walk a dog through the front doors of a business like Lowes without permission, but Faith is a bona fide Therapy Dog so she gets a few special perks for being so. She was admired by dozens of patrons and of course recognized as well. Camera phones came out and she was "on" again; she felt at home.

Kelly introduced us to Rocky Black, the man behind the paint counter. I suppose it works out well for Mr. Black to be in paint! His name embodies EVERY color possible! He was tall, handsome, sweet, and young, and completely up for the assignment. He got RIGHT on the job AFTER he took a few pictures of Faith for his fiance PFC (U.S. Army) Rachelle Higgs of Lone Grove, OK. Rocky said she'd be thrilled to know he not only met Faith, a contemporary Army buddy, but also that he was the one who helped us find the RIGHT color to send off to Norma to get over to the stuffed toy company so they can do another prototype with the new adjusted colored fur. Not that having a very yellow Faith toy is bad; but it should be as accurate as possible, right? LOL

Faith did her best to stand still, but she was a little leery of what Rocky was trying to do. We started off with the more famous brands; Laura Ashley, Eddie Bauer, and even Olympic, but wound up choosing a color from the Valspar paint collection called "Homestead Ballroom Gold". For those of you interested in seeing it online you would be better served going to Lowes and asking to see it in person. The online version is too light and seems a bit matte to me. Nevertheless, here is the link that will take you to Valspar's sight and to the color itself.

Upon deciding which color best fit the mutt -- allowing for shading, and a bit of vanity touch ups from the aging white hairs coming through her admitted golden tone, we feel pretty good about the match. It isn't perfect, but Faith isn't all that perfect either actually - - just most of the time. I tried matching up my own skin tone too and found that I'm more of a fair to beige boring than anything else. I would love to find a darker freckle on my pale pasty skin and claim it as my overall shade; but alas I am dull. LOL

There you have it. I have e-mailed Norma and given her the go-ahead to send the Valspar's Homestead Ballroom Gold color numbers to the stuffed animal company who will remain anonymous for a little while longer - - believe me, we will shout it from the rooftops when it is the correct time to do so. Not only that, we're hoping to get a commercial out of Lowes now - - wouldn't that be fun? Maybe we can do it in connection with a charity drive and have fun with that. My mind is just going in all directions. By that time PFC Higgs will be married to Mr. Rocky Black and maybe we can get the two of them involved with the filming if the director allows it. Why not? We can dream - - and in color apparently.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Whey It Is!

So, I have this task-master type for a son, right? I allowed him to move back in with me after he got out of the Army and since then he's been great to have around the house for the most part -- but I do actually remember the quieter, less abrasive household. It was nice - - it's gone now.

At least he lets me sleep in to 7:00 a.m. before demanding that I cook up a half dozen eggs and get his protein shake going. I wouldn't ordinarily do his bidding but I'm actually helping him eat the eggs and drink the shakes now. According to my personal Jedi I have to take in about 130 grams of protein each day to build muscle so that the muscle I'm now building can burn off the fat that's been hanging out in my gut for these past few (OK many) years. He's the expert on all things protein so I tend to listen to him. He's being kind and letting me off with an even 100 grams of protein, give or take since I'm also eating almonds, peanuts, and eggs during the day. His choice of protein shake is 100% Whey something something that he picked up at GNC. Me, being the Mom that I am, I am now doing internet research for cost effective comparisons and have found the same brand, the same size, the same exact product that HE bought at GNC for $64.99, at for $38.99 with .99 shipping. So, for $39.98 I'm getting the EXACT same thing he's getting for more. See, he's all about the protein, I'm all about the savings. He'll come around to my way of thinking next time - - what do you want to bet? LOL

We have cookies and creme, we have chocolate, vanilla, and now strawberry swirl. I put bananas and skim milk in mine in the morning, he pours in a couple of eggs and uses water - - but he's a monster and I'm just a monster's mom trying to lose 23 pounds and tone up. I think my son thinks he's Somalian - - he's not, but I think he thinks he should be - - he's almost got the war dance down to a T. (I should YouTube it) Protein makes muscle, muscle gets ripped and repaired constantly at the gym, and then breaks down and destroys all the fat inside of me.....YEA!! Can't wait. I have simple goals -- he's helping me meet them. One squinted-eyed, overbearing barked order at a time. God, I love my son. I'll actually miss him when I move to Chicago - - he won't come visit me. I don't know what it is about Reuben and large cities, but he doesn't do them. He was afraid they'd send him to Baghdad when he deployed to Iraq -- lucky for him they had him outside the rim of what could even be considered civilization - - his F.O.B. (Forward Operating Base) was one of the most remote camps in the country - - so far out it was closer to another country. He's not much into urban living.

He's threatened to fly into Chicago and have me pick him up and take him to a football game - - those types of crowds thrill him; it's the people on the streets, the big buildings, and rushing traffic that bother the kid. He'd rather be in the country driving a tractor over miles and miles of grain, or chasing his pig around the back 40. He complained the other day that he didn't actually have a "style" so he didn't fit in with the bigger city population. I looked at him; sized up his plaid torn shirt, loose jeans, old ball cap, scuffed up boots and beard and thought out loud "No Reu, you have "style" but they call that Red-Neck." For that I was given the approval of the smile - - the awe-shucks Mom look, and then it was RIGHT back to the lifting, the curls, the cardio, and the swimming. No rest for the weary - - or the fat!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday's Child

What about the Woe-factor? I think about it and I believe it goes back to what we're told. I told myself I was born on a Wednesday, and according to the poem I must be full of woe. Therefore, I eventually became full of woe, or had my fair share of them. Is it real or is it conjured? I'm not sure, but it was there!

The poem is a little tattered, but it goes like this:

Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child works hard for a living
Saturday's child does all the giving
Sunday's child is blessed of these, this child sees the best in threes

So, according to the poem Caity and I are doomed. Reuben gives everything away, and Laura gets all that she wants in triplicate. How unfair would that be? LOL

I think the world is everyones marble and if we choose to play we will be both hurt and blessed. We will learn, we will dance, we will laugh, we will cry, we will participate in just about every event and we will be that much stronger because of it. If we choose not to play we may feel or believe we are safer than most, but in reality, the man in the cave is the one that truly suffers. Plato's prose on the people in the cave was straight forward - - read it sometime, but suffice it to say that people who have ventured out from their safety zone and seen the unforgiving, harsh, and true illumination of life (the light) have a much more difficult time returning to the darkness or even the safety of a cave that holds no adventure.

Full of woe? No. I'm going to choose to say full of experience. Full of life. Full of do-it. Full of being! This awakening is nothing short of miraculous if you have it in you to reflect both honestly and with a big enough light to see all the ugly cob-webbed corners of your life. Giving up any thing, and anything that is negative in order to break out of the pattern of a spinning downward spiral is not only necessary it is essential for upward movement - - growth.

One of the things I decided, and yes, I MEAN decided to do in 2010 is to choose to smile. CHOOSE to be happy. CHOOSE to reroute my thinking. CHOOSE to think before I ask, and CHOOSE to ask with more heart and more insight rather than just asking for the sake of asking. An example would be: a person you know puts their hand through a drywall and comes to you bleeding. You don't have to ask "What did you do?" You know that they did. A better question, a more production question would be "How can I help you?" followed by "You must be really upset about something to do something this drastic." The words, though hard to spit out in a moment of confusion for your friend, are the CHOICE that you make to communicate. Think first.

Thinking, giving thought, making an image in your mind really does set the wheels of creation into motion for your moment. You only have the moment. You are not guaranteed the next, and the last moment - - is gone. Plan, yes, by all means make plans, but do so with deliberate thought.

Wednesdays - - great days!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Brody Needs a Home

LOOK AT HIM!! We named him Sir Henry Wallace Broderick, but we call him Brody. Brody came to our family about 3 months ago as a rescue from an irresponsible breeder. He's a full blooded Jack Russell Terrier, but we believe he may have been somewhat inbred. He does not respond or react as rambunctious as a typical JRT. He's so very kind, so very gentle, and rarely chews on anything! That's just not typical for a JRT, but it is GREAT news for anyone wanting to adopt him.

Brody came from a litter of 8 and was the biggest of the bunch. His sister Teagan (the yellow and white dog) is 8.5 pounds to Brody's 12. There were NO other dogs in the home or yard, so we have to assume he is from the same father and mother dog that were used over and over again to breed.

Brody was given to a young girl in this part of Oklahoma but she didn't get permission from her parents to keep him. She left him with me to foster and to find a good home. We've been feeding him Precise dog food and have gotten him 2 of the 3 shots he needs for rabies and parvo. He could also use a neutering. He's right at 6 months old now, and completely healthy and happy. He plays, runs, jumps, loves, and just steals your heart. He hasn't learned to go outside 100% yet, but he's working hard at it. He sleeps with you, and he is a definite lap dog. His coat is thick and the markings, as you can see, are amazing.

Brody has been raised with other dogs and cats. He has been roughed up by kids, and loves to play! He has never bitten or snarled, and he's staring at me right now because he knows I'm talking about him. He's pretty smart.

We have an interview process, and you would be responsible to come get him or pay for his journey to you if you were outside of Southern Oklahoma. We're willing to find him the best home possible, and hope that could be YOU. Please write to me at: or call my cell at 405 251-0210 if you're interested in giving Brody a forever home.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

54 Degrees and Falling - - INSIDE

That's right, I woke up to a house that was 54 degrees Fahrenheit! OMG - - I realize it's freaking cold outside; (about 20) that's why I let the pipes stay open a bit. It didn't matter that I did, the water in those pipes froze anyway and now as of 9:00 p.m. we have no heat and we have no water. The heating issue is being taken care of; there's a man in my attic now looking at the LACK of insulation. I wondered why my electricity bill was out of world, and now I know. The VERY good news is that I'll be able to negotiate with my landlord over the issue. The VERY bad news is that I don't know that the man in my attic will be able to do anything tonight. Oh well, we have six dogs...3.5 if you add them all up into one big ball of dog and sleep with them. King helps out, he's an even 100 pounds, but Teagan, who is on the other side of the weight issue, only tops the scales at 8.7 pounds. She's virtually worthless and has thin short hair -- she's got to go! LOL

The water became a problem early on as one would imagine. It didn't matter, I said to myself this is a good day and I'm going to be happy anyway! I stuck to it, and I'm happy. I'm waterless, and I'm wearing 3 sweaters and 4 pairs of socks; 3 on my feet and one on my hands, but I'm happy!! If my fingers miss the keys while I'm typing this you'll understand. Thank God for spell check. (Or as it looked before I used spell check: thkgiuyl sgo forh dusghte cke.)

The man in my attic tells me that the people who bought the house should have put insulation up in the attic before renting it. He's right. After all, we need insulation for the air conditioning too. My electric bills have been higher than they should have been all along - - negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. That's my middle name tomorrow!

I went to the gym to take a shower today and to use the facilities for other purposes. I also found myself looking at the inside of the bathroom stalls at Lowes and Starbucks. I hope the exterior heat (God's work) becomes a bit warmer soon so that I'm not standing in line both at the bathroom and to buy coffee...I'm not sure which I would actually find more important. That's really sad when you think about it. I bought an AC filter at Lowes today - - figured that may have had something to do with the air not coming through the house - - it didn't, but still I needed a new filter. I like it when I learn new things so buying the filter was great. I found out that 24x24x1 inch filters are uncommon, they're more expensive, and come in 2 brands where as the longer filters can be purchased anywhere for less but hey MY filter can be put in from either side! It's square! Somehow that made me feel good. I don't know why.

My daughter was so amazingly cute when she said "Oh hey, I bet if we wanted to we could make one of these." I don't really know what we would start with, or how we could fold it, wire it up, border it with the right size of cardboard, or even make it fit, but it was a great idea for a summertime project maybe. I say summertime because I'll be living in Chicago by then and can call her to see how she's coming along with that process. She really is cute sometimes.

I just heard the man in the attic - - sounded as if he was about to fall through the living room. The thought occured to me that he's probably frozen. I could probably offer him something to drink - - but that would mean driving to Starbucks again. Oh well, this is a great day and I'm going to smile about it. WHY? The man in the attic is actually rather cute! My imagination is simply popping at this point! LOL

"REUBEN" Translated : "Surprise!"

There he is - - just another great kid, an American soldier and.... apparently a criminal. (LOL)

For the past few days our family has been enjoying the return of my first born, my son Reuben. Reuben was in the U.S. Army for about 3.5 years and spent a year in Iraq - - with what I may say, a great level of success according to his "war stories". I'm sure I need to record them now as they will no doubt grow and become rather exaggerated as time goes by. (Actually I look forward to that, my Grandpa had the wildest stories of when he served in the Big War of 1918. It was many years before I found out he was never in that war! LOVE that man.)

Here's another good Reuben story for Aunt Tammie!

Just before he was to come home on January 1, 2010 -- JUST BEFORE he was to get on the plane and come home to his MOTHER, my son was arrested or at least he was detained. Here's the story:

It was New Year's Eve and he had just celebrated the beginning of the brand new year, ringing it in with his good friend Chelsea at her family's home. They were kind enough to let Reuben drive their car to the airport or wherever it was he needed to go to get to the airport, but the CAR was missing a tail light. Reuben didn't know the car was missing a tail light - - but the officer thought it was important. Coupled with the fact that the car's license plate was partially covered in snow, the officer couldn't make a clear decision about the car and decided to pull the driver over. This particular moment was interesting in and of itself.

Reuben said he was thinking "NO! No! I'm about to fly out of this place! NO way he's stopping me. I wasn't drinking, I'm not speeding!" Reuben rolled down the window and presented his military license to the officer who asked him about his state license. Reuben is from the Sooner state, so he pulled that license out and handed it over as well. A few minutes passed and Reuben was asked to step out of the car for what he was certain would be a passable sobriety test - - it wasn't. The officer quickly hand-cuffed the boy and had his friend's mother's car impounded. Fun times!

While waiting in the backseat of the cop's car Reuben found out that his Oklahoma (Go Sooners) license had been suspended for non-insurance. HELLO - - he has been in the ARMY for 3.5 years. Surely someone figured that out when they went to renew and couldn't reach him. NOPE - - in Oklahoma if you don't HAVE insurance you get your license suspended. It happened to me once when I switched from Progressive to State Farm. Progressive didn't bother mentioning to the State Departments that I had simply dropped them, they told them I was no longer insured. I WAS insured but not with Progressive. Apparently it is MY job to tell the State Department of Public Safety when I switch insurance companies. REUBEN was in the ARMY. The fact should have been registered somewhere - - and it was, but the State Department of Public Safety doesn't really care.

It was 4:10 a.m. my time, and 1:10 a.m. his time. He was to be up and at the airport in 4 hours but was stuck - literally stuck, to a bench in a Fairbanks, Alaska police precinct for having a suspended Oklahoma license for non-insurance. This too should pass - - but would it pass quickly enough for the boy to make his 6:50 flight out of the great frontier and back home to his mom who was laying in bed minding her own business remembering how very lucky she was to be leaving the GREAT state of Oklahoma soon - - Go Sooners. I can say that much for our state...GO SOONERS! I won't go so far as to say I admire the laws or the procedures in the big offices downtown or on the Capitol's grounds. There are many issues to address in the Oklahoma legislature. ONE WOULD THINK that if a man or woman could show evidence that they stood in Iraq or Afghanistan for about a year holding a gun to protect the state's citizens that a waiver would be in place if they just happened to NOT tell said state they were going off to protect said state! BUT no....$350 to reinstate the said state's license. Is that fair? I don't think so. (maybe they found out my son likes to go curling. I'd charge someone extra if I found that out)

It took just under 5 hours to process my son. He was released and someone, someone very sweet and kind, drove him to the airport where he was LITERALLY the last person to board the plane, and then only after they were announcing his name for the very last time before considering him a no-show. THANK YOU Jesus - - and very sweet person who drove him to the airport.

HOMEWARD BOUND...and determined to follow his mom in a few years and move to a state with a bit less rigid rules and regulations. One that perhaps allows you to buy wine in the grocery store. Oh, wait, you didn't know that about Oklahoma? Well, all I can say is - - we have a HELLUVA football team!! ONE HELLUVA football team down in Norman! Go Sooners!

Hurry Up and Weight!

Oh, sometimes I just make myself laugh - - like today. I went online to get the free trial special for the Acai Berry thing coupled with the total body cleanse thing right? You only pay shipping and supposedly they give you a month's supplies worth of the next miracle pill(s) out on the market and you lose all the ungodly weight you have been packing on for the past several years. It's a good deal right?

I made the call. When I did a recording came on telling me that the call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes. Well, let me tell you - - the Acai place wouldn't take my secured debit card (a money card rebate VISA) because they say they couldn't verify it. I offered to send them a money order but they explained they couldn't take that form of payment either. When I asked why I was told they needed to be able to VERIFY that you are the correct person who has ordered the pills. WRONG ANSWER - - in my opinion the ONLY reason someone would refuse to take a valid form of payment, either through a real live debit card, money gram, or money order, or even a personal check, is because they're probably wanting to RECHARGE you on that bank card VISA after such time you choose to withdraw from the "program".

I explained to the very sweet woman on the phone that I was not interested in a "program" but only the free trial. She went on to explain to me (in very rehearsed verbiage) that it was the "program" that facilitated the free trial. If you didn't continue purchasing the product through your bank card VISA, the order could not be completed. Apparently the "quality purposes" gods were not happy when her explanation and our conversation was terminated. GONE. She must have said too much. I can only imagine now that Eugenia is receiving a bit of "program" training now. OOPS.

After being rejected I decided to make my way to the very local but helpful health food store in my tiny town. I'll be happy when I can make this same trip in Chicago and have a bit of a better selection. To my great pleasure and surprise the health food store had at least 3 products to choose from. Each product contained 500mg of Acai extract per pill and suggested using 2 pills or 1g of the extract on a daily basis. When I revisited the online site it wasn't clear how much Acai extract you were being given so I recalled the 800 number and pretended to be a new customer. The amount you would receive if you paid for it online would be - - wait for it - - 200 mg per pill. Wow, and they charged $18.00 per bottle and you had to buy two bottles at a time, and shipping. I think I paid $12.00.

The other part of the online "program" mentioned using a total cleansing product such as the one I use now, "Colon Clenz" by Body Gold. The amount suggested was the same amount I use daily now, so no changes will need to be made. I just had to laugh a little at my initial naive thought process. Did I really think for a second I could get something for next to nothing that would work? Maybe I'm still an optimist after all these years of being batted around in the real world - or maybe I just haven't decided to accept the real world and try to make mine a bit more pleasant. That's got to be it!

The "program" mentioned that the average person on their testimonial site lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks. They had pictures and everything - - everything including the fine print that states that these particular people had weight loss that wasn't typical. OK - what is typical? The overall research I conducted rendered 4 pounds in 2 weeks. THAT was after you coupled it with a good diet and exercise. OF COURSE you can lose 4 pounds in 2 weeks if you eat right and have a good exercise program! So, what is the Acai and the total cleanse for? Well, breaking it down I would say for antioxidants and waste.

Bottom line - - eat right, exercise, poop, and be nice to everyone you meet on the streets and in life; they all have issues and my not be feeling their best. A smile is always a good gift.