I Supported Small Business Saturday…But I May Not Be Asked To Come Back!!

So, since my hubby is off shooting at Bambi, the girls and I had a girls day in Havre de Grace to support Small Business Saturday.

Let me tell you, we had the Best. Day. Ever.  But we don’t know how to act in public.  So we may not be allowed back…LOL

First, we hit up the Cannery in Havre de Grace which is full of antique dealers.  OMG, we laughed so hard at some of the things we saw.  Aside from some of the most gorgeous antique pieces of furniture, there was some stuff that just made you go, “ummmm…”  Of course, we had to model some of them…Like this freaky angel…

Or this wrap – um, I’m sorry, but this is just freaky – it STILL had the paw pads on it…

My girlfriend Karen found this awesome hat…

And seriously, who can resist a little J. Giles Band with Magic Dick…

After the Cannery, we headed over to the Rampant Lion – a place where local artists can display their crafts.  We were in search of The Susquehannah Knitting Company – and OMG did we find her.  Best. Yarn. EVER.  I got some gorgeous chunky yarn that I’m going to use to make some handwarmers, and Karen got the same yarn and some gorgeous sock yarn.  We also met a woman that wraps cheerios in silver and fires them in her kiln to make silver cheerio beads.  Gorgeous.

From there, we headed over to Chiparellis for lunch.  Besto Pesto Penne with chicken.  NOM.

After lunch, we headed over to Andy and Bill’s.  They have a great antique store, but they are going out of business and everything was 50% off or more.  Karen and Heather and I totally couldn’t act like grown ups in there, but honestly, who can when the first thing you see is a skull wearing a sequinned cap?

And then we saw a stained glass image of Jesus.  Now, not to be blasphemous or anything, but I didn’t know Jesus was so ripped…he picks things up and puts them down…

We were laughing so hard, people actually came upstairs to see what we were having so much fun with.

And then we saw this….I don’t even know what this is, but honestly?  It looks rather phalic, don’t you think?

We ended our day at Jana’s Java laughing hysterically over coffee and wondering why we don’t spend more time together.

I love my girlfriends!



Dedicated to Our Troops

 I was listening to an old Kraft Music Hall Radio program on my XM Radio this evening from December 24, 1942.  In it, one of the sponsors read a letter J.L. Kraft had written to his employees at  Christmastime.  The letter stirred me, and I felt its relevance still today.

During World Wars 1 and 2, American families who had a son in the wars would hand a service flag in their window.  I’m admittedly uneducated about service flags (which we can liken now to our yellow ribbons) so I naturally googled it.  Here is the answer I got:

“The Service Flag is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for display by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces during any period of war or hostilities the United States may be engaged in for the duration of such hostilities.”  This was from USFlag.org.

I was so stirred by the letter and its relevance today, that I found the radio program this evening on Youtube and copied it down.  Here is the text, and I’d like to dedicate it now to my friends and family who have served this country, continue to serve, and my friends and family who have dear ones serving now in Afghanastan, Iraq and around the world.

“To my friends,

Each weekday morning, as I walk into the Chicago office, the first sight that greets my eyes is our great service flag  – a flag whose stars are ever growing in number.  More than eight hundred blue stars are there, emblazoned on a white field in this December of 1942.  Almost every morning there are a few more added to the luster of the flag.  On Sunday mornings, when I go into my home church, I am greeted by another service flag with more than two hundred represented there.

Walking along the city streets wherever I go, I see more and more windows lighted with a glory that was never there before.  As I see the service flags which mean so much to us personally, I’m reminded that the meaning of each star is two-fold.  Each service flag in a window means not alone that there is a member absent from that family circlej, but is a symbol that the enduring light of home still shines for him, and that it shall not be extinguished.  That it is for his home and the multitude of homes that make up the United States of America that he fights around the globe today.

This Christmastime, when we turn our thoughts and hearts to our boys so far away and their thoughts are warm and strong enough to reach around the Earth and back to us, the light of this sacred birthday is a lamp unto our feet, bringing us all home in thought, and love, and faith and rekindled devotion.  The stars on our service flags take their light from a holy star, that one which lead the wisemen of old.

May the abiding glory of Christmastime be upon you and upon yours where ever they may be.  May it be our constant prayer that before another Christmas dawn shall break, the everylasting light may have overcome the darkness of the Earth.


J.L. Kraft”

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, please please please remember to pray for the safety and well being of our troops overseas.  Thank a soldier.  Hug a soldier if you can and remember that for every service member who is within your reach, there is another separated from family and home and all they love this holiday season.

A sincere thank you to all who serve.  May this holiday find you safe, warm and with family and friends.

A Celebration of Life

This weekend, I had the honor of attending the memorial service for my friend Drew’s beautiful wife, Donna.  It was held at my home church in Delaware, and many of the people I had grown up with were there (Delaware is a small place – if you grew up in Delaware you are either related to or KNOW someone who is related to someone else, and everyone knows everyone).  It was pleasant to get to see old friends even if I didn’t have the time to say hello to them.  It was most pleasant to see Drew again – the wonderful man he’s become.

I was very emotionally moved by Donna’s service – so much so that it has taken me a day or two to compose my thoughts about the service.  Drew has posted the eulogies that were read in Donna’s honor on her Caring Bridge site and even this morning, after reading them again, I tear up. 

I was not close to Donna.  I was friends with Drew through the Wesley Foundation, and Drew and Donna were a package deal, but she was older and already working when Drew and I met, so though she attended many functions with him, Drew was the person I got to know and love.

Drew has a kind heart, and a generous nature that you desire out of everyone you meet.  He is genuine and kind, funny and playful, and no matter what, he makes YOU feel good.  Even as I hugged him on Sunday when I saw him in the lobby of the church, he made me feel good.  Drew is that kind of person that just makes you feel good to be around.  If only there were more people like that on this earth.

I went to Donna’s service for Drew.  I felt I needed to go.  I did not expect to get so emotional, but it quite honestly brought back memories of my sister’s memorial service 10 years ago.  But what really truly moved me the most was the outpouring of love for both Donna and Drew and their son Josiah that you could feel the moment you entered the sanctuary.  At what should be such a horrible time, Donna’s memory was celebrated with laughter, and with song.

Can you measure the prosperity of your life with the outpouring of love you received at your funeral?  If so, Donna’s Memorial Service showed that she was most definitely loved to the moon and back.

Do This in Remembrance of A Life Taken Too Soon

Some of you have seen my posts here before requesting prayers for my friend Drew and his wife Donna. Donna was diagnosed in July of 2009 with a gioblastoma. When she went in for the biopsy, they knicked her brain and caused seizures. Donna has been either hospitalized or in hospice since.

Donna and Drew met when we were all in college. Drew was home from California visiting his parents and was home to sing in his father’s choral program. He met Donna at a Thanksgiving party that weekend, and he never returned to Cali. It was love at first sight, and with Donna’s help, Drew realized his calling and became a Methodist minister. They were married before we were out of college, and 10 years ago had a beautiful son, Josiah.

Drew and Donna were that couple. The couple everyone aspire to be. You could see the light in Drew’s eyes when he looked at Donna and Joe. You could feel their love for each other at all times. You could feel their love for the world around them, and for God.

Donna took a turn for the worse in August or so. They stopped treatments in October. As of Friday, they were administering nothing but pain killers and anti-seizure medicines.

Donna passed peacefully last night, with her husband and son holding her hands. A celebration of Donna’s life will be held at our college church later this week.

I can only hope that Bob and I exude half the love that Drew and Donna had for one another and for life. Please keep Drew and Joe in your prayers and thoughts this week as they deal with grief and passing.

Paula Deen…You Are The Devil

This woman…I don’t know how she doesn’t weight 4,857,740 pounds.

Since I promised Bluz I’d make him cookies for bailing me out in a sticky situation last week, I decided to try a new recipe.  Paula Deen’s Five Layer Bars.

Of course, I couldn’t use Bluz as my guinea pig, so I used my husband.  I made some tweaks to the recipe.  For my husband’s batch, I made them with vanilla wafer crumbs instead of the graham cracker crumbs  He also requested that instead of butterscotch chips, I use hershey’s mint chocolate chips.  So for his, I used one and a half cups of mint chocolate chips and half a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  So, here’s what went in his…

2c of vanilla wafer crumbs mixed with half a cup of butter…

topped with 1 1/2 cups of mint chocolate chips

1/2 c of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup of chopped pecans…

1 c. of shredded coconut

and a can of sweetened condensed milk

I baked them for 30 minutes and then had to keep Bob away from them for the next couple of hours.  When I finally let him have one, his eyes glazed over with glee and he started to twitch.  He said they taste like a thin mint macaroon.  He’s in love with the cookies.  I think even more than me.

When I made them for Bluz, I tweaked the recipe again…using 1c. of reeces peanut butter chips…

and a cup of the semi-sweet morsels in place of the 2 cups of chocolate morsels that I used in my husband’s recipe.

They definitely came out just as rich looking…but I guess time will tell how they really taste.

Come to the dark side…we have cookies.

Goodbye, Mr. Green

If you hear of our company  completely falling apart or burning to the ground tonight, it is because of the departure of Mr. D. Green.  He is the glue that holds our department together.  He is a great man, the keeper of our file room, the calm in our storm.  And he’s leaving us to move to Louisiana.

D. and I are the last remaining original QC department members from when I started back with the company in 2001 (after a brief instance where I lost my mind and worked for another un-named finance company who has since gone out of business *hfccoughhfc*).  D worked for me as the sole file room attendant.  D grew his position and his file room to its own empire.  He is well respected and everyone knows that nothing is going to be the same around him now that he’s going.

D – it has truly been a pleasure working with you these past nine years.  The next company that gets you is going to be so lucky.  Best wishes to you, your beautiful wife and two handsome sons.

But you are leaving me in a pickle.  Who am I going to call now when I’m going to be late in the morning?  No one else is here as early as I am.  Who is going to help me when I need answers regarding the 8300 process?  Who is going to talk with me about football, or sports, or pop culture (no offense, Bluz, but you are a few floors away).  Who is going to RUN THIS ASYLUM???

D – we love you.  We’ll miss you.  Oh so much.

Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

I have met a wonderful group of women (and one wonderful man) who have quickly become very close friends and the perfect support group.  I met them all through Obesityhelp.com.  We have gotten together a few times (they were the ladies who took me to tea before surgery) and we got together yesterday for a lovely lunch at the PA Dutch Market over in Cockeysville.  These wonderful people keep me sane, give me encouragement, keep me laughing, and have quickly quickly won my heart and now, they are family.

One of the things that happens when you have weightloss surgery is that you speed through clothing sizes very very fast.  I have gone from a size 30/32 (on the top and bottom) down to a size 18/20 on top and a size 20/22 (depends on the brand) on the bottom.  Buying clothes, even at thrift stores, will break you quickly.

Thanks to these beautiful women, I have had to spend very little on clothing.  When I hit the 22/24s , the lovely Tia gave me 2 huge lawn and leaf bags of clothing – gorgeous clothing – back in December.  These are now too big, so yesterday, I took them back to her (she’s hoping to re-use them).  And the lovely Angie gave me three big bags of smaller clothes – which all fit.  I’m now the proud owner of 12 new pairs of pants (both jeans and dress slacks) and 27 gorgeous blouses and shirts.  There were an additional 7 or so shirts that were too big, and two pairs of pants and two shirts which are still one size too small.  But I’m well outfitted.

Clothing exchanges are a wonderful way to give support for each other.  It’s encouraging, but at the same time, exciting to get new clothes without having to spend a ton of money.  And what’s better, is that it creates and even bigger bond to these wonderful people who have gone down this road before you (and in a lot of cases, you are paving the road for the “losers” who come after you). 

I am greatful for my surgery for many reasons, but the biggest reason next to the health implications has been gaining such a wonderful group of friends.  It’s so nice to share your hopes and dreams, your frustrations and fears, your WOW moments and your Not-so-wow moments.  It’s a family and you all build me up so much.  Your advice, encouragement, and love have meant the world to me.  I LOVE YOU ALL HARD!!!!!

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