Friday, December 31, 2010

Video of Non-Traditional Christmas

Here's the animated version of the post about our Christmas celebration. Enjoy!
video
The quality of the video is not the best, the file was so large that I was having trouble uploading it... so I had to save the video in a lower quality in order to make the file smaller... learning as we go. learning as we go.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Closed due to Inactivity

I just tried to make an online purchase on a credit card (that I don't use often). I entered the card number and all information on the website, clicked "process order" and got a message that said card information was invalid.

So I called the credit card and listened to the recorded lady that gives account information: amount due zero, balance zero, available credit zero.

I immediately press zero and speak to the operator to find out why my available credit was zero. She casually says "my records show this card was closed due to inactivity". I paused, collected myself and said "was I notified of this?" She calmly says "No, Citi did not notify customers of card closures due to inactivity". So I politely gave her my two cents and asked her to pass the information along to the appropriate people. She said she would.

What if this was my one and only card that I had for emergencies? What if I were to find myself stranded somewhere and this card is the only way to get help, so I try to use it and can't because I was not notified of it's closure and therefore was not able to make alternate back up plans? No consideration. No consideration at all.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Non-Traditional Christmas

This year we had an awesome 4-day Christmas weekend! Most of our celebrating was non-traditional. Although it involved a lot of cooking (which is traditional):

And of course going to Mass for Baby Jesus's birthday. Christmas Eve we all packed up the car (with the food) and our spending the night gear (which involved inflatable mattress and sheets) and drove to Pablo's parish. 
 
We had "Christmas Eve" dinner at Pablo's house (a.k.a. rectory). Non-traditional Christmas Eve dinner - we had Butifarra. Those of you currently reading who have had this sandwich that is never disliked by anyone who eats it, know what I'm talking about. For those of you who are reading this who have not had the privilege to eat what I'm talking about, I guess you could click here and read about it. That will have to do until you actually get to eat a butifarra.
 P.S. if you clicked on the link, the "Salsa Criolla" looks something like this:
After waiting until midnight, toasting, sleeping, waking up, having breakfast on Christmas morning and driving back to our house, we got home and were greeted by Pellet & Cali!
 Then we moved on to our non-traditional Christmas meal which was: "Pasta Fest"! It involved three sauces below: pesto, meat sauce and walnut sauce.Yes, walnut sauce. Just like I said to the butifarra people, if you haven't had walnut sauce, click here and read about it. Your life will be changed if you ever get to have this sauce. My personal favorite.
 We ate and we were merry.
Then - around 4:00pm on Christmas Day - we finally opened our presents. Our dilemma was that we all needed to be together to open presents... Pablo was not able to get to the house until about 2:30pm (he had to celebrate Christmas Day Mass), once he got home, we were all hungry, so we decided to eat, then open presents (while the pasta rested before going to Dessert Fest at our friends Kerrie & Eric's house to eat desserts and drink hot buttered rum).
 
 The next morning we woke up to snow (non-traditional)


I hope everybody had an enjoyable Christmas Weekend and were able to celebrate it and enjoy it to the fullest like we did in this neck of the woods!

Note: We got a flip video camera for Christmas (thank you Melissa!)... I'm working on a Christmas Weekend Video Montage... stay tuned.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cookies Anyone?

 Anyone up for Christmas cookies?

 Better stay off Pellet & Cali's Christmas cookies!
The cookies actually do look great and smell good. It's taking me every effort possible to keep Pablo away from eating them himself...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Days of Eighteen Feet

This past week Melissa and cousin Nick came to visit (Pellet and Cali's cousin Nick). We enjoyed their visit - Pellet and Cali were very interested by Nick. You see, Nick is a tiny poodle, he is an old man too (I think he's going on 10 years old, which is in the 70s in dog years).

After the initial greeting, which apparently involved Pellet about to eat Nick, we found out that Cali was actually the one that would not leave the poor old man alone. Typical scenes involved this activity:

As well as this activity:








So Nick, in his wise years figured out a spot where he was safe from the beasts:








Believe it or not, one of the nights we all went out to dinner and Pellet and Nick stayed loose in the house and both survived!
Here's one picture that never fails. No matter what citrus fruit is being peeled in the kitchen, Pellet and Cali can smell it no matter what their whereabouts are. The harassment doesn't stop until they get some of whatever the citrus fruit being peeled is.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Almost Comical

Today I had to go to my local Super Center to pick up an online order that was shipped to store. I got there with my piece of paper in hand and went to the Customer Service desk (because this is the first time I've gone through this process and didn't know where else to go, the instructions on my piece of paper where not quite clear either). I get there and there is one person applying and one staff person behind the counter. As the staff person is typing things in the computer, she keeps glancing up at me. I smile a couple of times and then I get tired of the lack of acknowledgment. I ask casually:

Fern: Excuse me, is this where I need to be to pick up an order that was shipped to the store from online?
Staff [in Eatonton accent]: na, that in back of sto
Fern: Ok! Where about?
Staff: in back of sto!
Fern: sure, but to the left, or to the right, the back of the store is big.
Staff: strai ba!

So I go straight back and find the "Site to Store" counter - which was employee-less. So I walk a little into the back area and find a manager-looking person and I ask for help. He says nods and walks away. Confused and with no-one out to help me, I chase him back to Electronics.

Fern: Excuse me sir, is someone coming out to help me?
Manager-looking person: yes

I go back to the counter area and wait. A friendly and happy girl comes to help me. I smile back at her and try to get the two previous experiences not affect my interactions.

Happy girl: wha name on order
Fern: Fernanda Aldredge (spelled out)
Happy girl: tha not pullin
I give her the second name (spelled out)
Happy girl: tha not pullin nothin eithe
I give her the third possible name (spelled out)
Happy girl: no su why tha not pullin up
Fern: how about trying pulling it up by the order number?
Happy girl: ahight, that work!

She goes and gets a helper to assist with the retrieval of the boxes (which are a 42" and a 32" televisions). They get them out, I sign the paper and happy girl asks.

Happy girl: you go this or yo need help taken them to yo ca
Fern [after a several second pause, in a calm and collected voice I reply]: I am going to need help getting them to my car. Thanks.
Happy girl: calls for a 99 with a cart

Finally the 99s get the huge boxes into my car, I drive away and on my way home I pass the "Western Motel" that is advertising "Truck Parkin and Rooms with Interent"

I love this town.

Everybody and Their Mother

Except Eric’s mother because she’s on the other coast.

Last night we had Mom Dinner at the house. We took advantage of Melissa’s [Norm’s mom] visit and Nora [my mom] being on her way back to Augusta and invited Kerrie and Eric and Pam [Kerrie’s mom].

My mom and Norm’s mom obviously know each other. And Norm’s mom and Kerrie’s mom had met earlier in the summer. The last that needed to meet were my mom and Kerrie’s mom. So now finally all the moms are acquainted with each other [except for Eric’s because she’s on the other coast, but hopefully one day soon she’ll get to meet the others].

I have no pictures of Mom Dinner – we got to eating (lots) and chatting and laughing (loudly) and drinking wine and rum and I totally forgot about the camera. We had a great time indeed.

I know I can speak for the other 3 friends when I say: we are thankful for having our moms and each other’s moms around and therefore, Mom Dinner!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Find it Funny

My friend Marti shared this blog that I find absolutely hilarious. In particularly two posts (the posts are long, so I need some time to sit and read them) that I have read so far. One. Two. I laughed borderline tears with both. I think the fact that I can clearly relate with Pellet and Cali might have something to do with it.

From what I've gathered in the last 24 hours, the writer doesn't only write about dogs, she write about all sorts of other things. I can't wait to start following it!

P.S. - Marti shout out: Norm has kindly brought to my attention that I always refer to you as "my friend Marti".

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jingle Bell Run

Today my friend Kerrie and I ran 5k in the Jingle Bell Run. It was fun! When we registered we received a Santa hat and a jingle bell (that we attached to our sneakers) so we were very spirited (along with everyone else) during the run.

We came in #4 and #5 at 39.03 (that was Kerrie) and 39.05 (that was me)! In reality we came in 166 and 167, but 4 and 5 in our age group... Dreadfully the 40 - 44 age group had way better timing than we did.

We did see two ladies in the run (who actually passed us) and I pointed out to Kerrie that they were us in about 30 years... One of them was wearing a fanny pack (hopefully that won't be me in 30 years).

When I came home I attached my jingle bell to Cali's collar... we now have a jingle horse in the house... or a reindeer. Turn up the volume and listen closely:

video

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Evening with Anthony Bourdain

Last night we had an opportunity to go see Anthony Bourdain speak at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.

You can go here and learn/learn more about him. He talked for two straight hours that seemed more like 45 minutes. He was engaging, funny, crude, rude and told it like it is when it comes to food television, cooking in restaurants and travel.

My favorite part was of course when he got to the travel part. He did touch on a few points about traveling that are very true - I think he might have delivered it as advice. He touched on points such as:
1 - be thankful that you are traveling with an American passport
2 - be grateful for the opportunity to be away from the day to day routine
3 - observe local customs
4 - be respectful
5 - eat and drink what you are offered, because it's through food and drink that locals share their history.

Of course he had very colorful stories to tell with each of the above points. It was an awesome night. And the fact that we were able to share this experience with our good friends Kerrie and Eric (who are also in the food and beverage industry) was even better!




Sunday, November 14, 2010

Picture Time!

Cali is so sweet how she curls up in a little ball and sleeps. Look at her feet... she's holding her back foot with the front food (which she has as a little pillow underneath her head!). So cozy.


We went to Trader Joe's last week. That store is so neat! #1 - they have awesome prices on beer and wine. #2 - they have neat products like lemon grass, peppermint, spearmint tea and candied ginger and the best dark chocolate covered espresso beans ever.

Due to fact #1, we purchased an amount of bottles that they gave us a box to transport them in. When we got home, we put the wine box by the trashcan (as usual) and Pellet took it over:





Then Cali came along and they started playing tug of war with the box (which is not conducive) so the box disappeared.

No Title Post

We are two weeks into November - what is going on? Where are these last months of 2010 going? I guess the fact that it's 60 degrees outside at this moment makes things a little more tolerable in coping with how the days are flying by right before our eyes.

I had to take Pellet to the vet on Saturday. I'm not going to elaborate on this subject because it grosses me out (hence why I have not taken a picture, which is very unlikely of me). His diagnosis: sebaceous cyst. Basically he had this lump on his back for a long time and Friday afternoon it decided to erupt - leaving a wound that looks very similar to a gunshot.

He's not in pain or uncomfortable, but it is quite odd to see him walk around the house with this gunshot-looking sore. He's on antibiotics for 14 days (that will bring us to the end of November... aaahh!!).

The good news: he's lost weight, he now weighs a light 97.5 pounds! So proud of him!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cleaning

This weekend I cleaned my house. Not cleaning like dusting and vacuuming (I do that every weekend) but cleaning like dusting, vacuuming, ironing, taking apart the fan in the living room and running the glass globes through the dishwasher, along with the glass globes from the dining room light fixture and all the glass globes throughout the house that I could reach (with help of the ladder of course).

Cleaned every nook that had a spider web. Cleaned the oven and the drawer at the bottom of the drawer (which was quite gross... I don't think I've ever cleaned that). Another thing that was quite gross was the cover over the fluorescent light in the kitchen - talk about greasy! Not to mention laundry, mopping and sweeping outside.

I guess because seeing the nice clean floors and shiny surfaces throughout the house (brighter house, may I add) wasn't enough, I spent this afternoon cleaning out the cabinets underneath the bathrooms (why do we collect so many bottles? I found an empty rubbing alcohol bottle at one point).

Just like pulling weeds, I find cleaning almost therapeutic. Back-hurting, labor intensive cleaning. Yesterday I cleaned with music blaring and I sang along. Today I cleaned in silence. Call me strange - I'm OK with that.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fur-Children Parenting

I think Norm and I might be failing at fur-children parenting. Pellet and Cali have been out of control in the last few weeks - what has happened?? Are we slacking? Apparently...

They have been doing things like:
- getting on the bed at 5am for no reason at all
- jumping on the window screens
- getting on the couch and knocking over the pillows
- jumping up on people constantly
- getting on the bed on the guest room the minute I open the door
and worst of all: POOPING BY THE FRONT DOOR!!

We are certain Cali is the one pooping by the front door - in the middle of the night. So we started logging the time we fed her (maybe we were feeding her too late?) and the last time she went out and whether or not she had an accident the following morning. Here is the chart:

As you can tell, she finally stopped having accidents - so we stopped logging. We decided that she had to eat in the 6 o'clock hour (although if you really pay attention to the log, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to why she was pooping - notice 10/22 and then notice 10/27...).

So what did Cali do last night and the night before? POOP BY THE FRONT DOOR. And what time was Cali fed last night and the night before? at approximately 6:00pm. And what time did Cali last go out last night and the night before? at approximately 11:00pm.

I don't get it. All insight and possible solutions are welcomed.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

Yesterday we dressed up and went trick-or-treating with Eric's boys. We had so much fun dressing up - I had not dressed up in years (since high school when four of us went as the decades and I was 1980). It is amazing the stuff you can pull out of your closet...

Michelle was "Birthday Girl" with a balloon and all. Juan Ma was a mad scientist (notice the radioactive sign on his suit and the crazy hair). Norm was some sort of hunter and I was a gypsy.




Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jacki-O

Earlier this week we carved a pumpkin. We are calling her Jacki-O!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Family Portrait

I was nominated to be on the member website at work. This section of the website is dedicated for the employees to give thanks to the members for their contributions to the Christmas bonus - each employee gets a week where they are featured (personal information, work information, what you did with the money, etc.). The section has one head shot of the employee (taken at work) and then there is another part for a personal picture. I wanted to submit a "family portrait".

So this morning Kerrie came over and was our photographer...





I'm submitting this last one.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When We Witness History

It is always surreal to me when we are able to witness history in the making... do you remember what you were doing when you got the 911 news? How about when Princess Diana died? Where were you when you were watching the videos of hurricane Katrina victims lining up to get on the school buses to leave New Orleans?

Tonight the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for 70 days was finalized - they all made it out alive and in good spirits and reasonably good health. It is impossible to not get chills as I learn more and more about their stories (because I have no idea where I've been for the past 70 days... I just found out about all of it this morning so I've had to do a lot of catching up).

I am overpowered by joy and thanksgiving for these miners and their families. The hard work of the rescuers, and the solidarity of Chile and helping countries is so powerful.

I am sure in the next few years we will probably read these men's testimonials of hope, faith, trust, and team in books (which will eventually become movies).

Friendship Awareness

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." Albert Schweitzer

Earlier this week I came across this quote at work (I am working with a member who is planning a birthday party for his wife, and he wanted this quote printed on the menu cards).

Although I don’t necessarily agree with it on the spiritual side of things, I do think it’s a beautiful quote when seen under the friendship light. Every friendship touches our lives in different ways. Are we aware of that? Are we thankful for it?

Some friendships allow us to laugh, others to cry, other friendships serve as role models, others allow us to grow spiritually, grow as a person, others to grow externally (due to eating, mainly), and others help us enjoy the everyday life.

This quote has increased my friendship awareness and I am thankful for each one of my friends (who some happen to be my relatives!) – they are all a part of who I am today.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Proud Owner of a Karaoke Machine

Yes, you read that correctly - my good friends Kerrie and Eric gave me a karaoke machine for my birthday - AND I LOVE IT!

I ordered one of those box sets (volume 1 of 4) that has four CD's, one for the 60's, one for the 70's, 80's and 90's. The box set came in the mail today (had to order it online because they don't sell them at the local Wal-Mart).

After dinner I put it in... and sang... for one hour; and my dear husband listened to me... for one hour. He sang along too on a few of them.

I am so excited. I can't wait to sing more and sing with all who come over! The world of karaoke CD's is amazing, there's one for jazz standards one (on my wish list) and one for Christmas songs (also on my wish list). The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Garage

I remember growing up my mom had this thing about the garage that she always wanted it to be clean and in order. Although I never saw the point of it growing up, I find myself cleaning my garage now (yes, because I actually take time to organize and clean the garage). As a matter of fact my mom is about the only person that notices, and actually comments "wow, your garage looks so nice!" One of her most common phrases when it comes to garage cleanliness is "you should always shut the garage door right away to keep bugs, dirt, leaves, etc. away"

So I just spent the last two hours cleaning one half of the garage. I consolidated boxes, swept, put items back where they belong (like the ladder on the ladder hook, which actually fell off the wall, but at now least the ladder is over by where it belongs). Then I started coming across items to be donated and found lots! I also came across items that should be donated, but won't, like:

The white plastic trash can:

I can't get rid of it... I never know when I'll need a white plastic trash can.

The Christmas tin cans:

They come in so handy to put cookies in (because we keep cookies in the house 24/7... NOT)

The Igloo coolers:

That haven't been used since 1993 when we used to go out on the lake when we lived in Augusta. But they are so handy, can't get rid of them.

Now these following items are just plain trash that should be thrown out, but we all know that the minute we throw them out, we get stuck in a situation that goes something like this:

I really need a _______. (shoe box, big box, etc.)
I know! I have some in the garage (as you walk out to the garage to get the item needed)
Oh no! I threw them away two days ago!!! I had forgotten...
Now you are stuck looking for the exact box that you once had and now need.


Or glass jars... they always come in handy for old grease, diluting things, etc. (but do we really need this many of all shapes and sizes?).


Although I sometimes wish I had no space to store items such as the above and I would have to force myself to donate them or throw them away (right away), I truly am thankful for my garage (especially during the cold winter when I don't have to worry about defrosting my car and for whenever we get those random hail storms in March).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Celebration

Birthday Day, Birthday Week and Birthday Month came and went. I don’t think I have ever (for as long as I can remember) celebrated my birthday for A. such long period of time or B. so intensely.

Michelle made a good point during Birthday Week – she said: Hay ciertos cumpleaƱos que hay que celebrar en etapas!! Which means: There are certain birthdays that have to be celebrated in stages!! And that is exactly how I finally welcomed this birthday – in stages. I say “finally welcomed” because for a while I was very disturbed about turning 30. Finally I came to terms with the fact that I’m old (joke!).

From Erik’s slip and slide party early in September (it was his party, but I celebrated the beginning of Birthday Month), to a dance party co-celebration with Jessie a week later at Kerrie’s, to a beautiful birthday dinner surprise the night before my birthday (which involved a trip to Athens for a casual night dedicated to lots of good food, good wine, good conversation, lots of laughter and friendship), to being attacked by silly string at work, to casual baked ziti and movie night during Birthday Week. Followed by family celebrating time with Juan Ma and Michelle that involved outdoor dining (yeah!!) the weekend after Birthday Day. Can’t forget to mention the several calls from my mom all throughout Birthday Week!

Thanks to all my loved ones (I just had to throw that in!) who made turning 30 more bearable.

Believe it or not, this is the only decent picture I have for Birthday Month:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Balloon

Today I brought my birthday balloon home from work. As usual, I unloaded all my stuff in the living room and went in the kitchen to check the mail. Out of the blue Pellet starts barking like a mad dog and I can't figure out why. I tell him to hush and he won't.

So I go in the living room (which is where he is at) and I find him barking frantically at the poor balloon. I took a video of it - he obviously is barking in this video, but he also makes other funny noises when I tell him to hush. I apologize to your ears in advance - enjoy!

video

Strange note: Originally I was having trouble uploading this video. I kept getting a message saying to contact support. After trying to figure out how to contact support I gave up and realized I had both the title of this post as well as the title of the video labeled "Balloon Harassment". I changed the title of the video to just "Balloon" and I kept getting the error message. I changed the title of the post to just "Balloon" (completely removing the word "harassment" from everything) and the video uploaded just fine... interesting...

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Effigy

Our friends Kerrie and Eric are always going on mini hikes to the Rock Hawk Effigy. Finally this afternoon Norm and I got our act together and went on a mini hike ourselves... with the pups of course!

This place is literally right around the corner from our house (no wonder Kerrie and Eric go all the time) and it's so neat! We walked all through the trail in the woods and made it to the effigy (love that word, I've been repeating it all night) and went up the lookout tower (dogs and all - Cali was unbelievable going up the stairs, she jumped them in twos).

This was Cali taking herself on a walk before we left the house. She loves the leash:


Here she is at the top of the lookout tower:


Pellet at the top of the lookout tower. Norm was reading all about the effigy [ :) ]


The EFFIGY!


Walking down the trail - this one was more like a road. I'm sorry for the blurriness - it's hard to hold Cali still on one hand while trying to take a picture of beautiful nature with a cell phone on the other hand:

Family Picture 2016

Family Picture 2016

Family Picture 2015

Family Picture 2015

Christmas Picture 2011

Christmas Picture 2011

Family Picture 2009

Family Picture 2009
Thanks for reading! Come back Soon!