"Any arbitrary turn along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different." ~ Frances Mayes

After losing 112 pounds in almost a year and a half, I have come to realize how very much I was missing. I may be Late to the Party, but I am doing my best to catch up in my own unique way!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Confession Friday - Magical Mayhem at My House

"Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter. 
  Lullabies, dreams and love ever after.
  Poems and songs with pipes and drums.
  A thousand welcomes when anyone comes.....
That's the Irish for you!"  ~ An Irish saying

It's Confession Friday AGAIN!

Another St. Patrick's Day has come and gone.  It just happens to be one of my fave days of the year. What's not to like about a hearty meal consisting of corned beef, new red potatoes, cabbage, and Spotted Dog  (that's a slightly sweeter version of Irish soda bread that has raisins in it) and scones, wonderful, glorious scones. Being of Irish decent helps make it special, too.  I sometimes ponder about my ancestors from across the sea.  What brought them to America - the potato famine, religious freedom, or something like escaping the law?  Were they from the rural areas, from Dublin or some other Irish town?  Whatever the reason, they and other Irish who immigrated along with them over the years carried one thing with them that brings a smile to my face....wee ones, little people....otherwise known as leprechauns!

Ah, I sense among my readers "The Doubtfuls."  "No such thing!", you say!  "Leprechauns don't exist."  You are so very wrong.  Of course Leprechauns are real!

You have to know about the wee people to fully appreciate them.  The name for Leprechauns comes from the Old Irish word "lurchopan" which means "little body".  In the un-Americanized version of Irish folklore, leprechauns do not wear green.  In fact, their coats are red.  They might wear a vest of green, if they are so inclined.  Leprechauns are wonderful shoe makers.  Almost all of them own a pot of gold.  If you are ever get close enough to catch a leprechaun and hold him, be careful!  He has to grant you three wishes OR give you his gold, but you CANNOT take your eyes off him for even a split second because he vanishes instantly.  And it would be wise to not listen to what the leprechaun is saying, as they have the gift of gab and can confuse you to the point of frustration so that your choices of wishes aren't the wisest.  I, for one, have never been close enough to one to catch him, but my advise would be to pass him by, should you get the chance.  Somethings just aren't worth it.  Oh, and leprechauns shouldn't be confused with elves, fairies or imps.  Fairies are woodland creatures with wings; elves are smaller and not quite as mischievous as the wee folks; imps - the leprchauns' German cousins -  are little devils.  The pranks that imps play are much more damaging and destructive.  Leprechauns shun them like crazy!  They get along well enough with elves, even though they think the elves are goody-two-shoes and sometimes play tricks on them that are relatively harmless. I know, I know, you are still somewhat skeptical, right?

So last night was like most St. Paddy's Days at my house.  Olivia and Carson of The Fab 5 fame, along with their mom, came for supper and we ate ourselves sick.  Every couple of years or so, the kids will spend the night here in the hope that the leprechauns will come and visit.  I tried to tell them that the little people don't come very often to the same house, to no avail.  Almost eight years old, Carson went to bed convinced that they would come. Olivia wasn't so sure, nor was I.  So off we all went to bed.  And this is what we woke up to.....those fun-loving leprechauns!  Just look for yourselves.....

The drapes were the first thing I saw when I came into the kitchen.  Look really hard and you will see a bunny in the chair, not his normal resting place!  Naughty leprechauns had moved him in the middle of the night!

The leprechauns wrangled a whole bag of yarn balls down from the upstairs craft room!

They proceeded to string it ALL through the house EVERYWHERE!

This poor little elf was forced down from the top shelf of the bakers rack and "tied" to the top of a chair!

Another little elf got hung on the light fixture over the breakfast table!
The leprechauns plunked this shy elf into the middle of the flowers on the breakfast table!
Oh, my goodness!  Our poor little elf was poked inside this bunny head first!  I am sure he spent a very uncomfortable night!
Next stop was the kitchen where they got into a bag of pink and white marshmallows!
The leprechauns took some of the marshmallows into the guest bathroom.  Some were half eaten!
Someone left a bag of chips on the kitchen desk.  Big mistake!  They got into it and made a big chip mess!
A full piece of apple pie before we went to bed.  The half eaten remains in the morning.  They turned over the sugar bowl, put black pepper on the pie, and left a little green shamrock inside the sugar bowl!

they spelled out a message with Ed's toothpicks!

Up on the breakfast bar, the mischief continued.....by opening and half chewing sticks of Key Lime Pie gum!

A roll of packing tape attached to the top of the bakers rack over to a chair and then over to the tray in the center of the breakfast table served as a conduit to get the elves.  I am sure they had fun using it as a slide!
The yarn misadventure continued into the living room.  ALL over the living room!  They upturned a footstool in the process of  hanging the yarn over a picture.  What you can't see is all the pillows from the couch and love seat in the floor!
In leaving the marshmallows in the bathroom, the soap bottle got knocked over!
You can't even imagine the excitement at 6:30 a.m. when we all came out and saw the mayhem!  Proof positive that wee folks had played their mischievous tricks in the wee hours of the morning. 

I confess - I am so glad that the leprechauns chose my house to visit!  Sometimes magic and mayhem go hand in hand. It's all in your perspective.

If you weren't so lucky as to have the leprechauns come to your house, there's always next St. Paddy's Day! 

And if the end of this post finds you still an unbeliever, my deepest sympathies.  Magic and leprechauns and two wee ones' excitement is the PERFECT start to a day. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


FORTY FOLLOWERS!  4/5ths of the way to 50!  Just 10 more and the chocolate will be in the mail to a lucky winner!  Thanks to all who follow!  You will hear me whooping it up when I reach the magic 50!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Word of the Month - Champagne Wishes

Here it is the middle of March and I haven't posted a Word of the Month until now.  So here goes!

“Champagne makes you feel like it’s Sunday and better days are just around the corner." ~ Marlene Dietrich

In commemorating the celebratory events in our lives - engagements, weddings, births, New Year's, new homes, beginning of a cruise, etc - . people all over the world mark them with the pop of a cork on a bottle of champagne.  Not just your average, run of the mill wine, but champagne!  Glorious champagne!  Let's take a closer look, shall we?

"I only drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad.  Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone.  When I have company, I consider it obligatory.  I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am.  Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty." ~ Lily Bollinger

According to Epicurious, certainly a foodie's source of information, "true champagne comes only from the Champagne region in northeast France.  Most countries bow to this tradition by calling their sparkling wines by other names, such as spumante in Italy.....", except for the United States, of course.  We're like that sometimes, thumbing our noses at European traditions.

 "Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!" ~ Dom Perignon

Dom Perignon is hailed as the inventor or discoverer of the bubbly.  But actually, he just perfected the production.  He was a monk, a cellarmaster in the 17th century, and was charged in finding a way to prevent the casks and bottles from exploding.  Over half of the wine was being lost to the wine containers exploding as the fermentation process took place.  He learned how to blend varieties of wine to create a champagne of outstanding qualities, as well as using thicker bottles.  The way he kept the corks from exploding was to tie the cork down on the bottle!

"A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration.  The nerves are braced; the imagination is stirred, the wits become more nimble." ~ Winston Churchill

Champagne is usually more expensive than regular wines because the makers use the very best grapes.  The sweetness of a champagne is determined by the amount of sugar that is added just before the final corking.
You can buy champagne that is less sweet called Brut, with which most of us are familiar. Other sweeter champagnes are usually considered dessert wines.

"In a perfect world, everyone would have a glass of Champagne every evening". ~ Willie Gluckstern

Because of its association with the crowning and anointment of the French kings, champagne became to be known throughout the world. As the word spread, more royals in Europe sought the wine and thus began its relationship with those in power and of wealth. Its popularity climbed within the ranks of royalty and European wealthy all through the 17th, 18th and 19th century.  The wineries and companies developed the mystique of champagne by catering to the royals and nobles, thus creating an identity and history for their product. As the industry grew and became more sophisticated in its advertising, they ensured that the association of champagne with power and luxury, grand occasions, parties, celebrations and "rites of passage" continued and grew.  As the popularity of champagne grew as a celebratory wine, so did the middle class that wanted to emulate those of a higher class.  Champagne became a symbol of  "moving on up", so to speak.  Now, just about everyone can afford to buy champagne, albeit good champagne can be really expensive.

"If life brings you troubles, drink some champagne, then your problems will just become bubbles...." ~Unknown

But other than that, what is it that makes a cold glass of champagne so appealing?  As any woman can tell you, it is the bubbles, those wonderful bubbles that rise to the top of the glass and burst.  The bubbles are the "sparkling" part of this wine, produced by the second in-bottle fermentation that other wines do not go through or produce.  This second fermentation causes a type of carbonation, yes, the same carbonation that gives soft drinks their fizz, but champagne bubbles are different, more refined and delicate than that of a Coke.  The bubbles from champagne are caused after the pouring of the wine into a dry glass by the imperfections in the wine glass, forming along the sides and bottom and breaking loose to rise to the top.  This process is called EFFERVESCENCE. - the March word of the month, by the way!  The official definition of  effervescence is "the escape of gas from a liquid and the foaming or fizzing that results from a release of the gas."  And that my dears, is what makes champagne bubbles and why we LOVE champagne.

"Auntie Mame is a froth of whipped cream and champagne and daydreams and Nuit de Noel perfume.  She' s not mortal at all."  ~ Patrick Dennis

So what does this have to do with anything?  Well, let me tell you.  Just as champagne has effervescence, so do we.  We all know those people that we want to be around, who make us laugh, who have have a zest about them.  It is though they have a secret formula about living. When it comes right down to it, we would LOVE to be like them, right?  Their sparkle- their effervescence - is visible, contagious and worth emulating.  But instead of just acting like them, we have the ability to be just as effervescent as they, in our own unique way.  We are all like a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne - the contents on the inside of each of us like the fine wines that have been blended over time.

And just like the finest bottle of champagne, our own effervescence can only be released if we allow ourselves to be uncorked, allow ourselves to pour out the contents. To be open to the possibilities that surround us.  It is only by this action of letting go that our best selves can rise to the surface and produce the bubbles of spirit which is within us all!  The imperfections of our lives and those around us, just like the imperfections of the champagne glass, can only add to our effervescent quality.

"Begin doing what you want to do now.  We are not living in eternity.  We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake..." ~ Francis Bacon, Sr.

So what are you waiting for?  Life is short.  Celebrate it!   It's time to open up and live!  Even a good bottle of champagne can sit too long on the shelf, lose its effervescence, and turn into vinegar!  I can't think of a sadder thing than to wait for the perfect moment to open up our bottle of life and never getting around to the delightful bubbles on the inside. You've been sitting on the wine rack long enough!  Grab the champagne glasses quick and drink up!


"Mirth is the sweet wine of human life.  It should be offered sparkling with zestful life unto God." 
~Harriet Ward Beecher

Great giveaway at Me and the Little Rascals!

I love to look at all the blogs and the giveaways that these creative bloggers can come up with.  This one's a good one.  Go enter HERE and have the chance to win some fabulous scrapping stuff!
Good luck!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Sad Tale of A Swap Flaker and a Kindle

You all know by now how much I love to swap things with ladies from other blogs. In fact,  I signed up for a Book and Chocolates swap in January.  Sounds like fun, doesn't it?   Well, a swap indicates that you have a partner to send something to and they, in turn, send something to you.  In this case, it was obviously book(s) and chocolate(s).  On her information form, my partner, Amanda, requested e-books from her "wish list" on Amazon.  I bought her 2, because I like to be nice and the price was right!  She claimed them from Amazon within 30 minutes of my paying for them.  A few days later I sent her Ghirardelli chocolates.  Sent her two emails stating that I hoped she enjoyed the books and then later that the chocolates were in the mail.  I tracked the chocolates via the US Postal Service and paid for OVERNIGHT delivery so they would get there in a timely manner.  The books were purchased and claimed on January 29th.  The chocolates were delivered on February 7th.  The deadline to mail was Feb.7th so that our partners would receive their packages by Valentine's Day but I made sure to buy/mail mine to Amanda with time to spare.  All that was left for me to do was wait for the surprise coming to me from her.

But guess what?  Some surprise! My partner didn't send me my books and chocolates by the deadline! It wasn't until the swap hostess sent her 7 to 8 emails, which my partner never responded to, and then I sent her an email asking if I was ever going to get something, did she return my email saying that she had never gotten my name as her swap partner and had been meaning to contact the hostess as to this problem.  Really?  Two weeks after the swap deadline? So I sent her the information form with my personal preferences on it and then, after contacting her AGAIN, did she send word that she had finally ordered me a book.  It did come finally. And I promptly sent her an email stating that the book had arrived and I was already enjoying it and thanks and was anticipating getting the chocolates.  But, alas,  there has been no chocolate package arriving at my door, even though she assured me that they were on the way, also.   Now I have contacted her two more times and there has been no response at all.  Nothing like getting half of the swap you signed up for.

You want to know what the kicker is?  She never even had the decency to tell me thank you.  Or to say she might be a little late in sending the swap items. Or that her grandmother/dog/pet parakeet died and she forgot.  She claimed the books for her Kindle fast enough, has received MY chocolate gift to her and I really, really hope she enjoys it all.  But, I too, would like to receive the remaining item that I THOUGHT I would receive when I signed up for a swap.  I've never been flaked out on in a swap before, but I guess there's always a first time, even if it is a half-flake!

So, Amanda, you have flaked out on half the swap to me.  Nice and classy, really classy.  In return I can only tell you something that you probably won't learn in grad school.  Take it from someone who is more than twice your age:  Karma's a bitch, Amanda, Karma's a bitch.  Put that in your Kindle and read it!

Confession Friday - FIFTY!

I swear that Fridays come around faster every passing week!

So what's the confession for the week?  Hmmmm.....

Life is good. Very, very good.  Not perfect, mind you.  Still, all in all, pretty damn good, despite lack of money, lack of time, lack of sleep.
But there are other things that more than make up the "lack of's".  Great friends, loving family, too many interests to count, hearth and home, wonderful husband, closet full of clothes, good car, plenty to eat.  Yes, I am blessed.

At 58 and counting, 115 pounds lighter than 2 years ago, most days I don't physically feel like I am closing in on the BIG 6-0.  And inside my head, I feel like I am still in my 30's.  You do know, don't you, that 60 is the "New 40" and I guess that is where I am. 

My sister, De, put me on to this and it pretty much expresses who I am today!  Enjoy:

I'm FIFTY!  Ok, almost SIXTY!  Isn't it great?  Life is sweet.  Life is short, just like this blog today.  But I just had to share.  So, to De...thanks for idea!  We are the O'Malley sisters!  Just in time for St. Paddy's Day, too.  Hope you feel as good as we do!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 7, 2011

39 Followers and counting....

35  36 37 38 39!!! and counting.........7/10ths of the way to 5012 11 more to go! We are getting closer to the 50 and The Great Chocolate Giveaway!  Thanks to all who have become followers.  And to all who read this and aren't, please click that follower button on the side!  Hopefully, I can give this bag of sweetness away SOON.  Wake the kids and call the neighbors and get them to join, too!  Stay tuned........

Friday, March 4, 2011

Confession Friday - What if my last name was Chapman?

Where, oh, where does the time fly?  It seems like it was just yesterday that I confessed and here it is Friday again!  Time for me to have another go at confessing.... let's begin, shall we?

As you go about your everyday life, do you ever ask yourself  "Is this all there is?"  Well, of course, you do!  We all do - that's part of our human nature, to wonder what the unknown would be like.  What if I had a million dollars?  What if I lived in London?  What if I never met my spouse?  What if I had a different job?  I think most of us think about our lives in these terms, especially on Monday morning as we make the conscious decision of going to work or calling in sick.  Don't pretend it doesn't!  Just after the alarm goes off and before you pry your eyes open, you can't say that the thought of never having to go into work again doesn't make a brief appearance in your head!

Since we spend so much of our waking hours at our jobs, some of which are mundane and boring (not mine, mind you....I love my job) and some are stressful and all-consuming, what-if's can be a wonderful way to dream.  I have imagined myself as a bridal consultant, an inn keeper, an entrepreneur, Martha Stewart, a TV screenwriter, a Broadway actress, a famous author, a politician (it comes with the territory), a movie critic, a motivational speaker, a college professor, a newspaper columnist....and the list goes on and on.  Some of these are not a far stretch for my personality.  But then there are the professions that just don't quite mesh with who I am and what I feel.  For the most part, I am a chicken.  I want no part of being a policeman, fireman, soldier, a tightrope walker, trapeze artist, or anything that places me in dangerous scenarios.  Until.....

Picture this:  I am sitting in the relatively safe confines of my living room or bedroom flipping through the channels on the boob box with the remote.  You know how it is.....you're bored, you don't have a clue what you're looking for, you are restless but lazy.  Then, as you are racing through the stations, something catches your eye and it takes a moment for your brain to process that this might be interesting.  By this time, your thumb being quicker than your mind, you have to back up to find what exactly it was that fired up your brain cells.  And so that's how it happened......

I found Duane Chapman.  Got hooked on Duane Chapman.  Couldn't stop watching Duane Chapman.  (It was an AE marathon.)  I began to think about what it would be like to have his occupation. The more I watched, the more I liked Duane. I developed a weird sort of crush on Duane Chapman. Ah, Duane, you intrigue me.

Duane Chapman - that name might not mean anything at all to you. But maybe you might know Duane's alias.  Duane Chapman is the DOG.

Now, for you Georgia Bulldog fans, that is not the same as the UGA mascot.  Nope, this was no football game I was watching. This DOG is of the human form.  DOG, as in DOG, the Bounty Hunter. Dog, the mullet-sporting, leather vest and chain wearing, cuss word- flinging, tattooed reality television show star.  And before I knew it, I was thinking about what it would be like to be a bounty hunter.  In Hawaii. With Dog and his family.  Me, a bounty hunter with the last name of Chapman.

 Here - let me introduce you to my TV show fam:

I know, you might just have to watch it the second time to get the full effect.  Makes me want to strap on a gun, a pair of hand cuffs, a big-ass belt and go to the nearest tattoo shop!  However, I do draw the line at getting my hair cut in a mullet.  I'd rather shave it if I just had to get a bounty hunter hair-do.

Just so you know, Beth, his wife (my imaginary sister/aunt/stepmother/new best friend) has had a breast reduction, lost weight, is hard as nails but has a heart of gold. Baby Lyssa is married and bounty-hunted even when she was pregnant.  Duane Lee, Baby Lyssa and Leland are Dog's children from previous marriages - notice this is plural, as in five total.
There are younger children and they sometimes are on the show.  No, they don't take them on a chases...yet... but that might make for interesting television.  Maybe they could take them hunting down school kids playing hooky.

These are salt of the earth folks.  I love the fact that before they go out to catch a criminal, the family gathers round, holds hands and prays to the Lord for a safe chase, a good outcome, God's blessings.  And then Dog says something to the effect of "Now, let's go catch this bleepity-bleep-bleep slime ball!"  Duane freely admits he has a penchant for cuss words.  I think it comes with the territory, all that leather and chains and all.  But, he just as equally admits that he needs to work on that part of his faith.

So off they go to catch the bad guys that come in the form of drug dealers, car thieves, robbers, rapists, sometimes even killers.  Once caught, the punks are either resigned or defiant.  And depending upon the nature of their crimes and possibility of reform, Dog and Beth witness to them, tell them they are capable of changing their lives, express their own faith in God.  They know whereof they speak.  Dog is a former gang member, a really bad guy.  He served time in "the big house" for accessory to murder. Even his nickname is a remnant of his past.  A fellow gang member christened him with Dog, god spelled backward.  Beth, too, has been in jail for shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, disturbing the peace.  And if you follow my blog at all, you know by now that I am an absolute sucker for tales of epiphany, stories of people that make those 180 degree turns in their lives, find their redemption, save their souls and, in doing so, save others as well. Color me hooked.

And if that's not enough, the music that is featured each week ROCKS.  I'm not a huge fan of hard rock.  Except, of course, when I am watching Dog and then it just seems the only music that would make sense for his show.  I shudder to think what some of the lyrics are in the uncut versions of these songs. Ignorance is sometimes a good thing.

And that just about sums it up for this week's confession.  I am not a bounty hunter in real life, but it might be fun to play one on TV.  And if you see me wearing leather or sporting a wicked tattoo any time soon, just know that I either couldn't help myself or I have a new career.  And Dog,  I give up......you caught me! .