Monday, November 30, 2009
Usually Dale and I send about 20 to 30 holiday cards, but this year we decided it was important to send cards to all the friends, family and loved ones in our lives. It is a lot of work, but it is a small price for hopefully bringing 150 smiles and letting 150 people know you care and are thinking about them during the holidays.
If you want a card too, please send me an email with your address. I am happy to spread tr love. Happy holidays!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Here are few favorites so you could share in the joy too.
I spent a good portion of yesterday and today getting the house decorated for Christmas. Everything is done except putting up the Christmas Tree. We have a lot of Christmas decorations and although it is a ton of work, it is great to see all the house done up for the holidays. I snapped some photos of a few of the decorations, so everyone could share in the festivities.
Photos above: These are all shots from the Family Room. This year since we have a new mantle I can actually fit a bunch of Dale’s Department 56 houses across the mantle. They look beautiful all lit up tonight. I put up 12 of the 50 houses because that is all the mantle could fit.
Photos above: I love that even our new Keurig Coffee Pot got into the holiday spirit with some Christmas decorations and of course the cookie jar has to be a Santa because he is the man who loves cookies.
Photos Above: One of the most beautiful items in the Dining Room for the holiday is the Nativity Scene. It is a gorgeous white porcelain. This year our snowman collection relocated to the Dining Room window. I am worried that much sun may melt them.
Photos above: I collect the Hallmark Musical Snowmen (this year it is actually Charlie Brown rather than a snowman), but this year the snowmen are welcoming everyone at the front door. I think it is a great hello when you first walk in the house.
Photos above: And the guestroom bathroom cannot be neglected from some holiday cheer. I love the Santa toilet seat. It is like Santa is eating my poo.
Photo above: And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hopes that St. Nicholas would appear. Even Millie and Zoe have their own stockings, plus a stocking our dog, Sassy who passed away in 2006 still hangs as a reminder of her spirit. You will notice Dale has two stockings this year.
I wish I had time to photograph everything, but I figured this would at least give you a sense of the holiday cheer at the Gl-ittaker house. To see the rest you will just have to come over I guess. Merry Christmas!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
So what do you think? Did you like the orange or prefer the gold better. I included what it looked like once the painting started and what it looks like now. Dale was painting too fast to get a before shot. We will be decorating the mantle tomorrow for Christmas.
Once I find the icicle lights I may add those around the top of the porch. It was too dark in the backyard to get a good shot of the multi-colored lights.
- Fat guys should not hang Christmas lights. Going up and down the ladder might had killed me had I not taken a few breaks.
- I need to get in better shape so I can go up and down more ladders.
- It makes me want to kill myself when a strand on Christmas lights works when I test it, but then stops working once I have hang it.
- I am afraid on mediums. Yes, mediums. I can go to the top of a 100 story building or a ferris wheel with no issue, but put me on a ladder and I am freaked out. So I do not think I can claim being afraid of heights, but more like mediums.
- I love hanging outside with my dog Zoe. Having her wander around the yard with me brings me such joy. She is the dog I always dreamed of having in my life.
- There is no better time of year than the time around Thanksgiving & Christmas. There is just a magic in the air that cannot be described. It is a lot of work and crazy, but it is so worth it.
- I love cooking soups. I do not know, but the smell of soup cooking through the house is just plain heaven to me.
I started my blog on October 22, 2007 as a way to post pictures from our Halloween party that year. In just over two years, I have posted 2,500 times. Scary, huh? Yes, I know. I need to get a hobby. In case you are wondering that is:
- 766 days of blogging
- 2,500 blog posts
- 3.25 blog posts per day (don’t tell Dale)
I told Dale my goal for 2010 is to learn to cook like I an not feeding an army.
If you have never played or heard of Mexican Train Dominoes, you should check it out. It is a fun family game. Here are some more details from the good folks at Wikipedia:
Mexican Train, also known as simply Trains, is a game played with dominoes. The object of the game is for a player to play all the dominoes from his or her hand onto one or more chains, or "trains", emanating from a central hub or "station". The game's most popular name comes from a special optional train that belongs to all players. However, the game can be played without the Mexican Train; such variants are generally called Private Trains or Domino Trains. It is related to the game Chicken Foot.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Funny Simpson Voices - Click here for more blooper videos
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tonight, Dale started reading more of this 325+ cards. I tried to record on Facebook and Twitter as many of them, so everyone could be a part of the amazing experience. Here goes:
Tom loves that Dale is back to reading cards again. It is so wonderful to hear the beautiful words.
Dale received the cutest card from Brent & Becki's Dilworth’s daughter Lily. It was so beautiful.
Tom thinks the award for hottest card has to go out to Frank Curtis with the doctor in a bathing suit on the front. Woof!
Tom is reading a card from my high school friend, Fran Andrelos Lockwood that brought tears to both of us.
Tom loved the card that Dale received from Jill Shea-Feury...such fun memories of college that made me smile.
Dale is crying again. Beautiful and touching card from Laura Ling and Rob Dixon.
Dale just listened to Dale read the sweetest card from high school friend Sandy Dickinson. It brought bad fun memories.
Dale is reading the funniest cards from Jeffery and Clyde Breen, who are my friend Sean's husband and dog. They made Dale laugh.
Dale got the funniest card about the reality of doctors from my friend Jon Chetwynd and family.
Dale just read a card from my high school friend Gidget and her husband Moon Doggie. So sweet!
Okay, now Dale is balling...he read back to back cards from Becki and Brent Dilworth, which were truly incredible. Amazing.
Pete Williams sent Dale the best card ever. We both laughed for 10 minutes. He send a photo of himself with a caption that reads "I'm sorry. I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."
Tom loves that Sean Breen included a photo of him and Jeffrey with his card. So cute!
Tom just read Dale a beautiful card from college friend Greg Kuehn and his wife Mimi. Wonderful and kind words.
Dale got a big chuckle out of the jokes that my friend and former co-worker, Laura Robertson included in her card.
Dale is taking a break from reading the beautiful cards everyone sent to enjoy A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
I honestly wish that I could transpose each and every card we received and post them here online. You would be amazed at the love that comes through in all 325+ cards. Some are funny, some sentimental, some inspiring and some a mix of all three. Completely incredible!
Over the past three weeks I have asked neighbors, friends, family and co-workers if they would send a Thanksgiving Day card to Dale, since he would be receiving chemotherapy today and not spending Thanksgiving in a more traditional way. I had hoped and prayed for 100 cards, but was overwhelmed to receive 306 cards and packages for Dale. The outpouring of love and support was amazing!
This was the message I sent to everyone:
Dale will start his 4th round of chemotherapy the week of Thanksgiving. Since Dale gets chemo five consecutive days, that means Dale and I will be spending a fair portion of our Thanksgiving at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. I want to try to make Dale’s chemo Thanksgiving as special as possible and thought it would be great if I could get a bunch of you to mail greeting cards to Dale to help make his Thanksgiving a little better.
You can send any type of card and write anything you’d like in it, whether it be your favorite thing about Thanksgiving or just simply wishing him luck on his treatment. It does not matter if you have met Dale or not. It can even be a hand drawn turkey on a piece of paper. Just knowing people are out there supporting him is what he needs. I plan to surprise Dale with all the cards at the cancer clinic on Thanksgiving and figure reading them will be a great way for him to pass the time that morning, plus let him know so many people out there are cheering him on.
I tried to write updates on Facebook and Twitter so everyone could share in the joy that you brought Dale. Here are those updates:
Dale is overwhelmed and keeps crying with each card. He does not know what to say. I am so happy for him to know he is so loved. Thank you all.
It has taken 20 minutes for Dale to get through the first 12 cards. Everyone's words of love and hope are incredible. Dale is overwhelmed.
Tom is in awe. The cards for Dale are such a poet mix of humor, sentiment, love and good wishes. It is truly the most incredible outpouring.
- Dale is reading the cards made by the 1st grade class in my friend Pat Dee's school. The cards are so funny and sweet.
- Right now Dale is putting on his Spiderman tattoos from Evan and Aiden Lawlor. So funny!
- Dale received the most beautiful card and angel from our neighbor the Messinghams.
- Tom loves that my friend Cathy in Phoenix sent Dale copy of Sixteen Candles on DVD and explained her love of Jake Ryan.
- Dale cried for a few minutes reading Sam and Anjanette's card. Simple, but the words were so sincere.
- Dale is about 40 cards into the 306. Everyone's words have been so full of love. We are truly blessed.
- Tom’s friend Becki Hoffman Hill shared the most amazing story in her card about cancer screening and cancer gene carriers. Amazing.
- Tom wishes he could share all 306 cards here, but sadly Dale reads faster than I can type. Please know all cards are being read and cherished.
- Tom is thinking that Hallmark is probably thrilled this year with the huge surge in Thanksgiving Day cards.
- Tom is happy to report that Dale is 3/4 of the way through the first box & just read a glorious card from the gang at Denver Botanic Gardens.
- It is such an amazing mix of emotions for Dale. He has been crying & laughing for over an hour as he reads the cards. 74 of 306 so far.
- Tom loves that Dale keeps playing with Jill Zeto Kaiser's card and thinks it looks like our friend Michelle Spidell on the cover.
- Tom is reading a touching and beautiful from friend and former co-worker Mark Robie. So touching and inspiring!
- Tom loves that Jamie Streib Nicolson said in her card that she is sure that Dale is a sexy bald man. It made Dale laugh out loud.
- Dale reading a card and letter from my friend and former co-worker Todd Heller. The letter was amazing.
- Dale just read me the most beautiful card from my former Budget co-worker Jaun Panzardi.
- Tom is watching Dale read 3 very funny and 1 touching card from friend and former co-worker Andrew Fox.
- Dale opening a beautiful package from my friend and co-worker Paul Oetjens and family. So incredible and kind. The most beautiful gifts including a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on DVD. Dale is in tears from the kindness.
- Dale is opening cards from Aimee Charlton & her friends from all over the world. They do not know Dale but their letters are so touching.
- Dale just opened the most delicious cookies from Dean and Maggie Burney that came from Maggie's family bakery in Baltimore. So kind.
- Dale is reading the cutest cards from the Kennedy kids. So sweet.
- Dale is reading a beautiful card from everyone at the Bridgeline Boston office. I honestly work with the most amazing people.
- Dale is reading Terri Hill's card and crying. Lots of tissues today. Lots. But also lots of smiles and laughs.
- Tom not surprised that the funniest card from my college friend Beth Verderosa Lacey. She sent a hilarious Mother's Day card. Hilarious!!!!!
- Just listened to Dale read the most beautiful from our friend Doris Boardman. It made us both cry.
- Tom is laughing out loud at a card from Erin Quinn and Mike Minton's dogs to Dale. Woof, woof back!
- Dale read me the more heartfelt and touching card from my best friend in college, Wendy White Paul. She shared the most amazing news.
- Dale is listening to read the most touching story from my college friend Wendy Fitzgerald Fried, which made us both cry.
- Dale just opened a t-shirt from Shannon Spencer that made him smile ear to ear. A cancer survivor shirt with a superman logo. Great!
- Dale received a wonderful Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul from former co-workers and friends Dave & Summer Langley.
- Dale is crying again. His brother, Dean's boyfriend made him hats to keep his head warm. So very kind of him.
- Dale got shea butter soap and lotion from Aimee & Steve Braybrook. He loves it and just keep smelling it every few minutes.
- Dale is reading the most adorable cards from Daisy Troop sent to us by our dear friend Nell Herman Stetson.
- Dale is loving the tea that our friend Bridget Hallock sent.
I so wish I could have written something about each and every card and package as they were so amazing, touching and funny. Each touched Dale and was so appreciative. My thank to everyone for all the support, love and kindness you have shown Dale today and all days since his diagnosis. You are all a blessing to us both.
And on a side note, the final count of cards is over 325. Several of the envelopes contained multiple cards. Amazing support, just amazing! Dale still has about 50 cards to read & open, but is taking a break to eat our turkey dinner. He has been opening for about 5 hours, so I can understand the need for a food break.
Thank you all for helping to make this the most memorable Thanksgiving in our lives. You are all so wonderful.
While we were at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center this morning, our wonderful, wonderful neighbors came into the house and set up a full Thanksgiving dinner for Dale and I. We walked in to the smell of turkey cooking and our table already set. We truly are blessed to have the most incredible and caring neighbors in the world. They are such dear friends and have made this one of the most memorable Thanksgivings ever.
Here is the note we found on the counter:
Dale & Tom -
First, Happy Thanksgiving and congratulations on being more than 1/2 way done!!
As you can smell, the neighborhood has pitched in and made you guys a Thanksgiving meal. So, here are a few instructions.
The turkey went in at 9:15 and should be done around 12:15 (the time is set). At 12:00 please remove the foil covering, baste the turkey and allow it to brown. at the same time you can put all your sides in on the top rack to warm.
You will find a few in the fridge as well. Like pistachio salad, cranberries, and soda.
Following is a list of what we have prepared for the two of you:
- Turkey, stuffing, gravy and creamed spinach – The Krout Family
- Sweet potatoes – The Kennedy Family
- Mashed potatoes and rolls – The Davis Family
- Pie – The Walters Family
- Green beans – The Messingham Family
- Pistachio salad and flowers – The Kenner Family
- Center Piece on Table – The Frederick Family
- Cranberry Salad – The Dunivan Family
- Soda – The Baltz Family
P.S. – Mother wants you to keep the cranberry dish.
P.S. – Giblets are in the fridge.
We love you!!
Dale and I were both so overwhelmed, we both just stood there crying. We are so blessed and so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our lives. Each of these families truly made a Thanksgiving that should have been rough, one of the most memorable of our lives.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I am thankful for Dale. He is my love, my partner & my best friend. He brings love to my life every day. I am grateful for each day together.
I am thankful for my family, who have always supported & loved me unconditionally. I know a lot of gay men are not so fortunate as I am.
I am thankful for our dogs, Millie & Zoe for their unconditional love, wagging tales and knowing the days that Dale & I need to be snuggled.
I am thankful to have so many wonderful friends in my life. Whether from high school, college, jobs or online, I am blessed by each of you.
I am thankful for Dr. Brunvand & the amazing staff at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center for taking care of Dale & showing him such love.
I am thankful to work for a great company like Bridgeline Software that puts a priority on employees & their family. Plus my co-workers rock!
I am thankful to have incredible neighbors who care, support & love Dale and I, especially during a difficult time. They are a blessing.
I am thankful to Facebook for helping me reconnect with so many friends. I am blessed to have so many dear friends back in my life again.
I am thankful for music and my iPod. I know that seems odd, but over the past few months music has brought me serenity & a sense of peace.
I am thankful for simple things that bring me so much joy and for unexpected smiles.I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love and a glorious start to the holiday season.
Yes, those are both her front paws to the right of her head, which to me looks horribly uncomfortable, but I guess not since she lied like that for quite a while. To me it looks like she is saying her nightly prayers before going to sleep.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
As a child, Thanksgiving meant three things to me - my Mom, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and giblets from the turkey. My Mom was truly an amazing person, who made the holidays so very special.
My Mom would start Thanksgiving for me with a nice breakfast and get me situated watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I always loved the parade. It seemed so pure and magical to me. To me, it is amazing that an 80+ year tradition continues to live on. In a time of technology and interactive media, it is nice that little has changed in the parade. It is still filled with love, singing, dancing, marching bands and cartoon character balloons. My favorites were always the balloons from the Peanuts comic strip.
Looking back now, I also realize the Parade also started my love of Broadway theatre and musicals too. I would see the actors do their songs and dances in the parade and would long to see their shows. Once I was in college, trips to see Broadway musicals became standard and continue to this day.
By the time the three hour broadcast of the parade was almost winding down, my Mom would have my turkey giblets ready. I know most of you see the giblets in the turkey as something you simply throw away with disgust since they are the heart, liver, gizzard and neck. Your loss, as they are truly delicious. You really should give them a try. None the less, I love them and I always felt special that my Mom would save them for me (even though My Dad liked the giblets too). It was something that she did for me.
The day then usually involved playing games with my family, watching movies and napping before the highpoint of the day - my Mom's Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom was not one to love cooking, but there were a few things she cooked so well, that I have never found anyone to surpass her abilities. They included her homemade chili, chicken noodle soup and Thanksgiving dinner. To this day, there is no stuffing that will ever compare to my Mom's stuffing.
After dinner usually came more napping, several more trips to the kitchen for desserts and more fun as a family. Best of all, it usually kicked off the start of the Christmas season. We would start pulling out the Christmas decorations, so we could start decorating the next day. My Mom loved Christmas, so she always wanted the decorations up as soon as possible. To this day, Christmas is just a special time of year for me because every decoration, holiday light, candy cane and present is a reminder of my Mom, her love and joy she held in her heart.
Thanksgiving Day was also the day we read all the newspaper circulars and planned our Friday shopping spree. We always went shopping the Friday after Thanksgiving. This was more my Dad, than my Mom. The man loves a challenge, bless his heart and he loved the rush of shopping at 6 AM the day after Thanksgiving. He worked retail at K-Mart in his 20's, so I think he always had the retail bug in him and loved the door busters and discounts. So he would wake my Sister and I up (or some years try to), so we could tag along. When we were older and had driver's license, he would give us our assignments and we would each be at different stores at 6 AM with our lists. We would be racing for $20 VCRs or $40 portable DVD players. The day after Thanksgiving or Black Friday, will always remind me of my Dad and to Dale's frustration, I keep this tradition alive each year, hitting Kohls and Target before dawn. I also love the excitement of it all, more than anything.
My Dad now lives in Pennsylvania and I know he will be out tomorrow hitting the stores starting around 4 AM, searching for great deals and door busters that will bring smiles to everyone on Christmas Day. He is probably the most giving man I have ever met. All he wants to do is make everyone else happy and ensure they have anything and everything they need. He is a great man and although we do not have as much in common as I would like or talk as much as we should, I am proud he is my Father.
So now I make new traditions. I have Dale, who I love and I am blessed to have spent the last four Thanksgivings with and will be sharing all my future Thanksgiving. He brings such joy to my life and for him I am truly thankful. He is my best friend, my love and the person who I share all of my life. Words will never express the love I feel for him.
We spent this morning making four pies (thanks Heather Sharp for the great recipe), shared a wonderful breakfast and have settled in together on the couch to watch the parade. We are headed to my sister, Rachel's house this evening to share the holiday with her, her husband, my four nieces and my nephew. It will be a fun reminder of my past as we play some games and share dinner. It will never compare to my Mom's Thanksgivings, but it is a close second and I know she is looking down from heaven and is very happy that my sister and I, no matter how different we are, still find a way to keep each other in our lives.
So those are my memories of Thanksgiving. A day each year that always held a special place in my heart and I hope always will. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Monday, November 23, 2009
I know some people are probably thinking I should NOT have blogged about all of this yesterday and today. Some may be thinking if I was truly doing this for others, I would not have told anyone. My reason for blogging about it was two-fold. Firstly, I blog as a journal. My blog posts will one day serve as a way for Dale and I to look back on our life and remember times like tonight. Secondly, I hoped others would see my post and want to help people in need in their community this holiday season. I am ecstatic to report it did. My friend Nell in NY placed her own ad on Craigslist today and found a family to bring a meal to. She made it a family event and wanted to show her children there is more to Thanksgiving.
Most of all, I did all this to give back. Dale and I have been blessed this year with the love and support from family, friends, co-workers and neighbors in a way we never expected. It has made me truly thankful and appreciate Thanksgiving more than ever. I wanted to return that love and kindness to others. I wanted to pay it forward of sorts and share the love. Hopefully, I did.
I am heading out in about 30 minutes to go deliver the 4 Thanksgiving meals to the families that responded to my ad on Craigslist. It started as 3 families, but I found one additional email in my SPAM folder from a very kind woman whose family moved here to Colorado after being out of work in Texas for 1 1/2 years. She started a new job two a few weeks ago, but the costs of moving have really hurt them, so they did not plan on a Thankgiving dinner. She told me her family is really living off little food. I could not say no, so went to the grocery store again and put together a fourth meal. we had a great recommendation from Sandy from Rocky Mountain Cancer Center about using laundry baskets to transport everything, so I went to Dollar Tree and purchased 4 laundry baskets. Everything is prepped and ready to go.
I am delivering to two homes, another family is meeting me at the mall and the 4th family is meeting me near one of the homes I am delivering to. My neighbor Sam has kindly agreed to make the deliveries with me. Hopefully all goes as scheduled tonight and four families have a happier Thanksgiving. I took a snapshot of the baskets and Dale added the hand towels, which I think was a nice touch.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
…under the “stuff for free” section of For Sale in Denver. The ad read:
We know times are tough for a lot of families this year and some may not have the means to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a good dinner. We want to help a family in need and provide the ingredients for a full Thanksgiving Dinner. The ingredients will include:
- 20 pound turkey
- stuffing mix
- gravy mix
- cranberry sauce
- pumpkin pie
If you are a family who could use a helping hand or know a family who could use help, please respond to this add. Tell me a little about yourself or the family and why this dinner would help you out. We really want to help a family in need, so if you are just someone looking for a free meal, who could afford it, please do not contact me. We will deliver the meal before Thanksgiving.
Dale and I are so blessed and these past few months we have seen the generosity, love, support and kindness of so many people in our lives and we wanted to pay back some of that love by helping a family in need.
We received three responses in less than 30 minutes. Here are the responses (minus any person information).
Response #1 – Darlene
Hello. My Daughter is in need of a dinner, she has 4 children, and she does not have a turkey, or any of the trimmings, and I know she would really love to cook for her children. She lives in Westminster.
Response #2 - Catherine
I am a single mom of 5 kids. I just lost my job and have no family or anything to help. I would so love to give my kids a thanksgiving. Please. God bless.
Response #3 - Dawn
I am interested in your offer. I have a family of 6, and both adults out of work. Husband just got a job offer that will not start until the first week of December so better times are coming. He works day labor and odd jobs for now. I am at final leg of unemployment. We have 4 children, 16, 13, 9, and 2. They have been troopers thru it all often missing out on things and going with less than they wanted due to financial issues. I would like to have a nice holiday to celebrate our good fortune. I am interested but not in the area you specified. That being said I can come to you or close to you to pick up so you are not any more inconveniences with your generous offer.
I decided to remove the ad before we got a ton more stories that would break our hearts and drive us crazy because there is no way we can help everyone. We originally planned to help one family with a Thanksgiving dinner, but there was no way we could say no to any of these families in need, so Dale and I agreed that we would help all three families.
Tonight around 7:30 PM, I headed to the grocery store bought three 20 pound turkeys, plus all the trimmings we mentioned in the ad. Tomorrow night with the help of my neighbor Sam, I will be delivering all three of the meals to these families. We hope our small gesture makes the difference in the lives of these three families, who need a helping hand.
If you are fortunate and have the opportunity, please try to do the same thing in your community or donate to one of the local shelters or food back. Please give back, if you are blessed and have the means to give back. Small gestures can make a big difference in a tough economy. Happy Thanksgiving.
Dale and I are not cooking a full Thanksgiving Day meal this year, so we want to donate a family the full ingredients for a Thanksgiving Day dinner that is in need. We are not cooking the food, but want to provide a family the ingredients for a delicious meal, which will include:
Does anyone know a family in need this year that would benefit from the help? I prefer if they were in the Denver, Westminster, Arvada or Broomfield area. We will deliver before Thanksgiving. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Thanks.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Yesterday, Dale and I were in Bed Bath & Beyond (in the Beyond section) and came across Shrinky Dinks. I remember these fun toys from when I was a kid. Don’t know what Shrinky Dinks are?
Shrinky Dinks shrink to approximately 1/3rd their original size and actually become 9 times thicker. Simply place the Shrinky Dinks piece you created into a Home Oven or Toaster Oven for 2 magic minutes. Watch as your creation gets smaller and smaller. It's "magical" and it's so quick and easy to do!
Looking back I have to wonder, who the hell thought a toy that involved using the oven was a good idea? I mean kids and ovens are the perfect combination, right? And the name “dink” is another winning idea. None the less, I did like them a lot as a kid. For some reason the shrinking did seem magical.
Interesting fact from Wikipedia about Shrinky Dinks that I did not know:
Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973 by Betty Morris and Kathryn Bloomberg of Brookfield, Wisconsin, as a Cub Scout project with their sons. The first kits were sold at a local shopping mall and became very popular.
Now if they just started making Stretch Armstrong dolls again I would be in heaven.
…by the movie The Blind Side, which stars Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. I know that sounds corny, but it is true. I expected the movie to be a little emotional, but I did not expect to cry several times (even though my friend Terri Hill told me she heard it would make you cry). Yes, I am man enough to admit I cried. What can I say, I am a complete cry baby when it comes to unselfish acts of giving and true human compassion. That is what this movie is all about. It is about giving of yourself to help another. It is about helping someone in need. This movie is amazingly touching, endearing and at times very funny.
For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, here is the blurb:
The Blind Side depicts the remarkable true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher's presence in the Touhys' lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.
I was blown away and cannot recommend this movie enough. In 2008, my favorite movie was Gran Torino. The 2009 award goes to the Blind Side. I think Sandra Bullock gave a superb, award winning performance and Tim McGraw excelled as the loving, husband. If I had to find a fault with the movie, it would be the lack of back-story on Sandra Bullock’s character, which I think would help explain her tough, no nonsense, protective mother demeanor. Even without that, the movie still shined for me. I also liked the lack of swearing (worse curses are ass and bitch), nudity, adult-themes, etc. To me, this is a genuine story timed perfectly for the holidays that you could take a tween or teen to proudly as a parent and all walk away with a good life lesson on compassion.
I was joined by Dale and our friend Barb today and they both loved it too. Check it out!
I figured since we were not making a turkey for Thanksgiving this year, I could at least bring some holiday cheer to the porch with our giant inflatable turkey. And yes he is giant as he is 6 foot tall.
I should be sleeping
But I am not
Debating getting out if bed
My dog Zoe is wrapped along side of me
She seems content
I can hear the chiming of the Grandfather's clock downstairs
It is 10 minutes late or 5 minutes early
Dale never sets it to the exact time
The clock is more of a general reminder of time
I can hear Dale breathing next to me
I like the gentle pace
Light is starting to break through the edges of the curtains
It is soft and pink
I have already checked Facebook and Twitter
On my iPhone
Running out of distractions
To keep me in bed
May need to get up soon
Start my day
I am hungry
There is gingerbread downstairs
And a dishwasher to empty
The heat just kicked up
I can hear it blowing through the vent
My other dog Millie is moving around on the bed
Finding a new spot
She is now tucked in next to Dale
I am watching the ceiling fan spin
More light fills the room
Everything moves from being a shadow
And is now recognizable
A sign to get up
Accept the day has started
And go have some gingerbread
I think Dale ate some yesterday
So there may only be enough for one
Dale would want me to have it right?
Dale, breath one long breath for yes
And two short breathes for no
It was one long breath
Gingerbread for me
Unless he ate it all yesterday
Which means I may come back
And smother him with a pillow
It is good gingerbread
There goes the clock again
Friday, November 20, 2009
I had perfect skin at 17, but at 37 I finally get pimples? Stupid face. It is not like I have a ton of acne, but the past few months it is a pimple here it there that go away in a few days. Not a huge deal, but still annoying.
I named him Peter Pimple. Now I know most people try to hide their pimples, but Peter is a star and wants to be in the spotlight.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Firstly, let me say that I imagine it is not easy to raise children, especially with today's recession and other pressures. I commend you for being parents. Unfortunately, Dale and I have never been blessed with a child. I have to assume he is not fertile and has issues with his ovaries, but we are blessed in so many other ways. Anyhow, back to you and specifically your children.
This morning on my walk to the bus I passed a bus stop with 5 middle school kids. I was horrified to see 3 of the 5 kids were wearing short-sleeved shirts with no jackets and shivering in the cold. One was even in shorts. I was horrified because it was 35 degrees this morning. Yes, 35 as is 3 degrees from the temperature where water can freeze. 35 degrees as in, look I can see my breath.
Now, this is not an isolated occurrence. I pass this bus stop every day I walk to the bus and see this type of thing all the time. Now you may be thinking maybe this just happens in my neighborhood. No! If I drive to work I pass a middle school and see hundreds of kids in the winter dressed like they are heading to the beach.
Now, I know kids wants to be cool. I am not expecting them to wear a winter parka, but for goodness sake, I think something like a sweatshirt or a hoodie that covers their arms is appropriate. I will not even mention gloves and a hat as I do not want to push my luck.
Personally, I do not blame the kids. They are stupid. I know. I was an idiot at their age. I am sure my sister or father are more than happy to validate this claim. I blame you the parents. You are the adults. You should be the voice of reason. When you see Sally 7th Grader or Ethan 8th Grader walking out the door in Colorado when there is still snow on the ground think to yourself and say, "Huh? Snow happens when it is cold, but my child is wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Something is wrong with that. Maybe I should recommend this sweatshirt sitting on the floor instead of hanging in the closet. Maybe."
I will get the next excuse out of the way. Yes, the weather in Colorado is wacky. It will be warm this afternoon. You are right. Point for you. So what! It is cold now and that is your kid standing at the bus stop freezing his or her niblets off. I think they can carry the stupid sweatshirt later if needed and let's be honest at an expected high of 50 degrees it will not be that warm.
My Mom would never let my sister and I out of the house dressed in a t-shirt in the winter. Why? She had common sense and loved us. She was willing to argue with us and tell us we were idiots for not wearing a jacket. She was a parent, not our best friend. She took care of us. Part of me thinks that is the problem. Too many parents either do not care enough to argue with their children or do not want to be the nag. It is okay to be a parent and not be cool. Even if you are a cool parent, take my word on this, your kid still finds you annoying. All teens find their parents annoying, useless and lame. It has been that way since the dawn of time and never changes.
Do yourself a favor, be the voice of reason and tell your kids to put on a jacket. They will love you for it when they are in their 30s and 40s and that is what matters. Who cares what your kid thinks of you now. It only matters if they like you when they are at an age when they can put you in a nursing home.
Thank you for listening and good luck when your kids start having sex because if you can't get them to put on a jacket, you have not shot on a condom. Think about it.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I live for to-do lists. They keep me sane. They keep me organized. They keep me calm. Weird, huh? Most people hate to-do-lists, but for me, there is nothing more satisfying them crossing an item of my list.
Dale and I keep a to-do list of household items that needs to get done on a dry erase board on our refrigerator. As you can see, our lives are fairly exciting, huh?
- pick up prescription
- do mail order prescription
- make oil change appt black mini
- cancel True Green Lawn
- use drano in tub + Dale’s sink
- update address book
- get x-mas cards
- birthday cards
Now all these things may not be exciting, but they all need to get done. How do you keep track of the chores in your life?
I think the third movie should be called Daylight and be 20 years in the future. You see Bella, fat and tired sitting at home watching Oprah. She is married to an Accountant named Ken, who wears dockers and unflattering sweaters. They rarely have sex anymore or even speak, other than to discuss their two sons, Edward and Jacob.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
…combined our address books into one. I guess that means we have to stay together forever because you can’t split your address in two. Plus I love the guy to pieces, so he is stuck with me.
On the back cover of Dale’s old address book, which looks like he has had it for a very long time was the cutest thing ever (photo left). I had to take a picture of it. It is hard to read, but it says “Long Distance is a cheerful companion for your quiet moods. Pick up the phone and go visiting tonight!”
I love that slogan. It is so cute and I am not surprised Dale would have an address book with something like this. It is so Dale and I loved it so much I cut out this page and taped it into our new address book. It is just too retro to part with.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Anyhow, Dale hired us a cleaning lady, actually two cleaning ladies. It was the most amazing gift ever. Their names are Hilda and Magda and they are sweet, kind and cleaning goddesses. They came and cleaned for 8 hours on Saturday. Yes, 8 hours! They scrubbed everything. They washed the baseboards, the windows, the doors, the counters, the floors, the ceilings and everything in between. It was pure heaven for my anal retentive self.
Now, for those of you who know me, know Dale and I keep a clean house. However, Hilda and Magda take it to a new level. So yes, I now have people who clean for us. I am at a new level socially. I can now join a country club and drive a BMW. If I can convince Dale to hire someone to bath and dress me, I can move to the next level, which I refer to as the Oprah level.
Anyhow, Hilda and Magda will be coming ever two weeks and maintaining the sparkling house they cleaned. It will be nice and if you ask me, it is worth every penny. They were referred to us by our neighbors Mark and Christy Yeaman, so my thanks to Mark and Christy for introducing us to heaven.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Don't get me wrong, Shel Silverstein is a genius and I learned a lot about him from this book. but the author did not do a great job of making his life seem very interesting and his life actually was quite unique and well-rounded. I only know Shel as the children's author, whose silly poems made me love reading. I knew him as a photo on a jacket cover, but he was so much more. He was a cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, while in the Army, became famous creating cartoons for Playboy, was friends with Hugh Hefner and lived in the Playboy Mansion for years, wrote travel stories, was a jazz singer and a folk singer, was a songwriter and a playwright, composed musical scores for several movies and was a father. From his book jacket photo, I expected him to be some hippie Dad who wrote cool poems. I expected a guy who spent time with and really understood children. He understood them, bit never really spent time with children. He never lived with or raised his kids and never married the mother of his children. He was a free-spirit and actually wrote more adult books, than for children. Who knew?
I guess as much as you can't judge a book by its' cover, you can't judge an author by his jacket cover photo. If you love Shel's poetry, stick to his books and don't worry about this biography. It will not change your life. Happy reading!
- It is almost 9:00 AM and Dale and I are still in bed (well except for a quick run downstairs by me to let the dogs out and get some hot beverages).
- We lie snuggled in bed all nice and warm together.
- The dogs are asleep at our feet.
- Hot cocoa and coffee sit steaming on our bedside tables waiting for the occassional sip.
- We look out the window watching it gently snow outside.
- We listen to Christmas music play on my iPhone. The music reminds of Christmases past. Of loved ones who have passed. Dale gets a little teary-eyed when the song White Christmas plays. The song always pulls at his heart and I love him for that.
- We talk about our Christmas lists, which really just consists of each of us saying all we want for Christmas is each other.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
If anyone is looking for an amazing house cleaner let me know!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
- Who would come to my funeral?
- What would someone say for my eulogy? Would anyone want to speak?
- How will I be remembered? Good, bad or what? I try to be a good person, but cannot say by any stretch I have been perfect.
- Do I want to be buried or cremated? The idea of being in a box scares me.
- Where do I want my eternal resting place? I know it will be with Dale, but where?
- Should Dale and I be making arrangements for the future, so it is handled?
- Is there life after death? Or do I spend eternity rotting in a box or as ash in an urn.
- Will I get to see my Mom again? I hope so.
I do know I want the songs What Matters by Randi Driscoll and You by Jim Brickman & Jane Karakowski played at my funeral. Both songs have special meaning to me. I think I would also like River by Jone Mitchell played. I am not sure why, but I always feel like I would pass on in the winter and the song is hauntingly beautiful about winter. Is that weird?
Do other people think about these things too?
I do know that my friend Brent Dilworth did an amazing job giving the eulogy at his Dad's service today. His words were beautiful and honoring of his Dad. He was so strong. Part of me wishes I spoke at my Mom's service, but I was not strong enough to do it. I have always felt bad that the preacher who spoke never met or knew her. She deserved more, but I know she would understand.
I guess the worse part is the fact that death is scary and comes with no real answers. It is all unknown and I like knowing. I like having the answers, but don't we all.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I am so annoyed. On three occasions today, I saw smokers throw their cigarette butts on the ground out their car window. Cigarette butts are litter. Just because you are a smoker does not mean you can litter. Do you think your cigarette butts magically disappear? They do not.
- Get a clue!
- Find a trash!
- Think about others!
- Think about the environment!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Their level of compassion, care and support is truly inspirational. We are so blessed to live in this neighborhood and have these wonderful people in our lives.
Thank you all! You all rock.