Sunday, September 14, 2014


This is my new friend Murray.  

Murray and two of his siblings were left at our shelter this past week.  
All 3 pups are scared to death, shaking like a leaf.

Murray even bites.
Grown men have resorted to using welding gloves to handle Murray.
Really Murray?

I talked to Murray today and told him I needed him to stop biting.  
I told him that he really needed to be a nice fella and take his wormer, Bordatella, and vaccines so he could stay.  

Murray was pretty nervous before, during, and after our chat.  
But, he didn't try to bite me. 

Guess who got designated to give Murray his meds?
Oh yeah. 
Guess who's never given anybody or anything a shot before anytime, anyplace?
Mmm Hmm.
Guess who let me give him a shot??
You got it.
Guess who let me hold his snoot and shoot the Bordatella right in his precious nostrils?
Spot on.
And, finally, guess who let me open his snappy little mouth and squeeze in the de-wormer?
My friend Murray.

I gave Murray his meds.
And now I feel like Wonder Woman.

It's really just the little things, y'all.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day 2014

Today was slow...just like a Labor Day should be...
wrapped it up with a 4.5 mile run/walk...
kid on a bike
dog on a leash

I really miss this place, and I'm hoping to be back more often :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A New Beginning - Days 4-7

The middle daughter and I are still going strong on our Advocare 24 day Challenge.  
We've had a couple of tight spots over the last few days, but so far, when I'm weak, she's been strong, and vice versa.

One of the keys to a successful change in eating is being organized, I think. 
I'm an organizing wannabee, but the middle daughter is an organizer all the way. 
She clips coupons, finds recipes, makes lists, buys deals like shampoo for .49 and deodorant for .29.
She creates excel spreadsheets with our meals, supplements, snacks, etc. so there's nobody has to ask, "What's for supper?"
It's like having a personal assistant.

I swear I will fall apart when this girl goes to MSU in the fall.
Who will tell me when to eat my snack??

On Day 4, I ran by the animal shelter where I volunteer and am on the board.
I had been on vacation the week before and Kids College after that, so I hadn't visited in over a week.
A beautiful Chocolate Lab (the staff appropriately named Hershey) was found while I was on vacation.  She looked to be very either very fat or pregnant.
Our manager took her to the vet who "diagnosed" her as 7-10 days away from giving birth.
The day I visited was 7 days from when he said that.

You may or may not know that there are no maternity wards in animal shelters.
As a matter of fact, puppies under 6 weeks old are not allowed in shelters at all bc of risk of infection.
They have no immunity when they're first born and have to get that through their mothers.
Not to mention that our shelter is and always is slam full.
We are of the no-kill variety, so there always seems to be 15+ other animals to take the slot when one animal is adopted.
I know it's too late to make a long story short, but Hershey could not stay at the shelter.
One of our other board members volunteered to take her but could not do so until she returned from a weekend trip...11 days after the vet's prognosis.

Ok, so surely you know by now that Hershey is at my house, right?

We have no puppies, but today is Day 10.
I've got a birthing spot fixed up for Hershey just in case.
She rests in it sometimes and re-arranges the towels several times a day.

She is the smartest, sweetest dog y'all.  She knows basic commands, is very obedient, and gets along with Hermione and the cats.
She has had a few accidents, but she is potty trained...I just had to figure out what her cue was.
She loves, loves, loves people, and it is very obvious that she was a family dog.
What we don't know is if someone lost her...or if someone dumped her when they realized she was pregnant.
Because, you know, getting pregnant and all...well, that's Hershey's fault...she shouldn't have been so promiscuous.
*&**%% (insert curse words here)

We've been posting her pics and keeping the communication lines open should someone come forward.
Unfortunately, we're all jaded enough to know that she was more than likely dumped.
Dogs don't wander when they're pregnant.
In the South, for whatever stupid reason, a lot of people still don't spay and neuter their pets.
It's why we have such a pet over-population problem and other areas have shortages.

Don't get me started.

On a more positive note, the middle daughter and I finished C25K Week 1 and started Week 2 today.

In the past I preferred to run alone...or with my Layla...and earphones with music blasting.
Now I enjoy being with my kid.
We don't converse much...except short spurts now and again, but we do pump each other up when needed.
This is my 2nd time going through C25K so I'm doing most of the pumping right now, but that's ok.
She lets us know when it's time for a snack :)

Till tomorrow...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Supreme Macaroni Company - TLC Book Review

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)

  • Summary from Amazon:

  • For more than one hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides a twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the schoolteacher-turned-shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret.
    But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Confronted with painful choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: "A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything." Now the proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves—the bitter and the sweet of life itself.

    Golden Lines

    "The big Christmas Eve moon appeared out of nowhere, like the diamond on my hand.  From the roof of the Angelini Shoe Company, as far as I could see, it seemed the world had stopped spinning." (1)

    "You would think after the Feast of Seven Fishes, sweet timbale, cannolis, and cookies that we wouldn't have any more room to stuff down one more bite.  But our family wasn't done eating until the overflowing nut bowls, nutcrackers, and silver picks had been placed on the dining room table.  Somehow, there was always room for nuts." (42)

    "I hope I wasn't too rough tonight.  I can be a little opinionated," Feen said in a rare moment of self-examination.  "You know I live alone and don't have anybody to talk to day in and day out, so when I get an audience, I don't modulate." (55-56)

    "I've noticed that in America you think you can have everything your heart desires on your own terms."
    "Isn't that the definition of happiness?"
    "In Italy, we look at things with a little more common sense.  A sense of reality, if you want to call it that..." (103)

    "It's in you, like it was in your grandfather and your grandmother.  Sometimes we forget that talent is a gift and we take it for granted.  But it's important.  You have a gift, and you should always be a guardian of your art." (136)

    "If that's what you want, then leave me now.  I don't want to be your butler, or your cook, or your tanner.  I want to be your husband.  For me, that means that I guard what you hold precious, I stand with you, I work with you, I make sure you have rest when you need it, I open the books and we figure out the finances, I build a space where you can create and I can help you get your creations out into the world." (163)

    "There.  He said it.  Italy was home.  Not Perry Street, not Youngstown's Main Street - but Arezzo in Tuscany.  He couldn't tell me how much he missed being in Italy, but he didn't have to - I could see it, I could feel it.  My husband wanted to take Angelini shoes back to Italy, but he wanted it to be my idea." (191)

    "What kind of factory was this?" I asked.
    "They made pasta.  It was called the Supreme Macaroni Company." 
    "I like it," I said. 
    "But you're not making macaroni, Valentine." 
    "It doesn't matter.  It's a place, not a product.  Besides, I like macaroni." (209)

    "...I have no desire to go anywhere else or do anything else ever again."
    "If only you meant that."
    "I do mean it."
    "Until your American ambition comes rushing back like a fever."
    "You think my ambition is a disease."
    "No, I'm proud of you.  But sometimes it overtakes you."
    "Not when I'm looking at the Mediterranean Sea." (242-243)

    If I had to go back and pinpoint the moment I fell in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, I know it was for sure when I saw him press leather for the first time.  His hands smooth and drape leather skillfully.  He has a command of the delicate - he can do the smallest detail work - and yet he can lift and cut and press and roll with strength of purpose.  He's an artist. (274)

    Once family, always family.  And once a wife, forever one, even in divorce.  I had to share Gianluca with Mirella.  It was the Italian way. (304)

    "The only time I let go of the pain is when I'm creating." (319)

    What I Liked

    Culture - food, family, language, customs, dialogue, humor,'s here...all of it and more.  There were several times I laughed out loud at the dialogue.

    Aunt Feen - she reminds me of Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur...very opinionated, crazy, and verbal.  

    This family - they are what Trigiani does so feel as if you're at a family reunion...and that you've actually met these people!

    What I Didn't Like

    predictable - I felt like I'd read this story before...or at least parts of it :(

    wedding stuff - there were lots of chapters on wedding prep, honeymoon, and baby stuff ...meh

    The Ending - the house, the Bret foreshadowing, how everything seemed to fall together so smoothly despite enormous challenges?

    The pace - one of the fastest through the years books I've ever read.  I needed more...more detail, more time, more build up.  

    Overall Recommendation

    Because The Supreme Macaroni Company is part of a series, I certainly wouldn't skip it...but I'm not so sure it's one that you can read and feel a connection to the characters if you haven't read the others.

    The Author

    Other Stops on the Tour

    Tuesday, May 6th: More Than Just Magic
    Wednesday, May 7th: Bibliotica
    Thursday, May 8th: nightlyreading
    Friday, May 9th: Literary Lindsey
    Monday, May 12th: The Infinite Shelf
    Thursday, May 15th: Books, Books Everywhere!
    Monday, May 19th: Books on the Table
    Monday, May 26th: Calico Critic
    Monday, June 2nd: Open Book Society
    Thursday, June 5th: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!
    Friday, June 6th: Peppermint PhD
    Monday, June 9th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A New Beginning - Day 3

Day 3 was a more ways than one!

Middle daughter and I started our day off just the same...with her dragging me out of bed.  
Every year I question my sanity for signing up to teach Kids College, which means I have to get up early the 2nd week we're out for the summer.  
I'm a late sleeper from way use pretending otherwise.

We finished off our supplements, Spark, and Meal Replacement Shakes, packed our perspective bags, and headed to the college, me with my PE coach's whistle and middle daughter with her Accounting book.  

After quite an eventful morning...a kid caught in a rolled up cheerleading floor mat and a bat in the gym, we played basketball until 12:30.  
Sure did.

I snacked on a banana and some grapes while slurping my water as instructed by the middle daughter.  
I felt a little yucky this morning; I think that fiber drink is doing a number on my belly...Oy.
Cleaning out the toxins ain't a lot of fun.

For lunch I ate a spinach salad with carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, 2 boiled eggs, and homemade vinegar and oil dressing.
Supplements, water, yadda, yadda, yadda.

After a quick nap, shortened by the 10 year old and 20 year old yelling at each other about a Harry Potter wand (don't ask),  off we went to a nearby city to get the middle daughter a new pair of running shoes.  
No more Chacos!!! (for running anyway)
I took my Spark with me :)
Runner's High is a locally owned shop where you can get a gait analysis and one on one talk with the owners as far as your needs, your activity level, your history...etc.  
This couple also participates in and encourages community events, races, celebrations, kids activities (this weekend they're having a Tri-Athalon camp for kids!!), and running groups.  
A small store with a lot of character and the best customer service ever!
Oh, and the shoes are fantastic!!!  
I'm sure they talk about me when I leave...the lady who's too busy looking at the pretty colors to pay attention to what she actually needs :p 

Home again and fixed a simple Asian type marinade and threw some sliced pork loin into the bowl...threw that into the fridge, and put on our running shoes!

Today was a little tougher for the daughter.
New shoes always hurt my calves the first couple of times I run in them...and hers did too.
We kept moving, and I preached the old mantra, "it doesn't matter how slow you are...a 16 minute mile is the same as a 6 minute mile."
She was very tired afterwards but I think very proud of herself for being so strong. 
A good long soak in the tub and water, and she was talking about our next meals and workouts again.
This kid inspires me. 

The pork loin was fan-freaking-tastic...
At my house, very seldom do I fix anything that everybody likes.  This recipe made it into the record books at our house, so go on over and take a look!

We served this with fresh veggies (corn and limas) on the side.
Supplements and Water...yeah, yeah.

My snack tonight was a rice cake with natural peanut butter.
I've given rice cakes a hard time in the past...I really have.
But, y'all, with peanut butter, they're not half bad!!

I needed a little time to myself tonight, so my Layla and I set off on our own.  
I wrapped her leash tightly in a loop/pulley type way around my waist (sorry if that makes no sense).  
We've been having to work on pulling again, and I know that I need to reinforce to her that I am in charge.  
With a calm but assertive mind, I walked her at a heel all the way around our biggest block.  She was exhausted (in a good way) when we returned, and I treated her to a quick swim and then sitting in first dark for a bit...just she and me.

I have to carve this time out for myself. 
I have to take care of myself and my kids.
I have to keep my mind busy, and focus on the positives in life as much as humanly possible.  
This old world will drag you down in a heartbeat if you let it.  

I'm ready for Day 4 :)