Monday, November 30, 2009

A-Z Mondays, "F" is for My Four Furry Friends

Four Furry Friends indeed! (Especially when there are treats involved!)

Heavy emphasis on the fur! (This was the result of a little grooming I did on the pups a couple of days ago. I think I could knit a sweater from this stuff!) If you'd like to see what other bloggers are doing for A-Z Mondays be sure to stop by Jen's blog!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Beginning to Look and Feel a Lot Like Christmas...

Yes folks, it's finally time for it to start really looking like Christmas! It's not August anymore, so it's actually acceptable (at least in my book) to see Christmas trees and decorations starting to pop up.

Black Friday was awesome! Although Hubby and I didn't get our super early start on shopping like we have in the past, we still got out there nice and early and scored all of the items we wanted to get. I'd tell you some of the killer deals we got, but since I know that Bear, AJ and Pickle occasionally browse through my blog, I'll have to keep that to myself. Suffice to say, "we done GOOD!"

After a break from the shopping to visit the hospital with Kona for our regular visit, it was back out to brave more crowds. (While I was gone at the hospital Hubby and AJ put up all of our outdoor decorations. Sweet!) This time when we headed out to shop though, we took the kids with us. Everyone was off of work and school, so it was fun to do a little something out of the ordinary. We bundled up, and headed out to the Viejas Outlet mall, about 30 miles or so east of where we live. It was a brisk evening, in the low 50's (which, you know, is like FREEZING for us Southern Californians!) and it felt nice and wintery. They had a gorgeous Christmas tree set up, surrounded by an outdoor ice skating rink. It made for a mini winter wonderland!

The kids are at ages now where they actually enjoy getting new cloths for Christmas, especially if they can pick them out, and make sure they fit. We had a really fun time, scoring great deals at the Tommy Hilfiger store, the Gap store, Nautica, etc. We stretched every dollar and didn't buy anything that wasn't on sale. And, boy or boy, did they have some great sales! I got a pair of Gap jeans for myself for 70% off - only $15.99! What a bargain! I'm going to wrap them up and put them under the tree!

Saturday was a fun day too. The kids got all of their home work caught up while Hubby and I finished off a little shopping, and a few errands. We've been him-hawing around about getting a new refrigerator too, and finally gave in and bought one last night. Our current one (13 years old) is still hanging in there, but we both have the feeling it won't last much longer. With the current great sales that were going on, we felt that it was the opportune time to get it. (But when in the heck did refrigerators get SO dang expensive? Holy Moly!) I would have rather have had a new couch I've had my eye one....but a couch can't keep the milk cold. Oh well. The new frig gets delivered on Wednesday, and I'll consider it an early birthday present.

We had a great family night last night, and played several different games, which we haven't done in a very long time. After the expenses of the last couple of days, (especially that frig!) we wanted to do something fun and FREE! We all had a really good time, and it was nice to remember that sometimes just doing simple things can make for the best times together. After games we made some popcorn and settled in to watch a silly, quirky movie, called "Death at a Funeral." It came out in 2007, but I'd never heard of it before. It was on HBO for free and we gave it a try. Other than the raunchy language, it was a pretty mild movie, with a funny plot. You might want to give it a try if you come across it, but it's a dark British comedy - so just keep that in mind...

Also on Saturday, we experienced something really out of the ordinary...RAIN! It had been 164 days since there had been any measurable precipitation in San Diego county. That's a long time with no rain! Needless to say the news stations were in a frenzy, finally having something to put in the weather report. Flashes of "Storm Watch 09" filled the airwaves...gimme a break! We had about a half inch in our part of town, and in the nearby mountains they got about an inch. Whoopee! Sure it was better than nothing (although I did have to cancel a scheduled Golden group meetup, which was a bummer) but it certainly wasn't worth getting into a tizzy over.

All in all, it's been a great couple of days. I've enjoyed having everyone home and spending the time together. Even Hubby had 5 days off, which has been great! Bear had a few days off from her salon, and we've all gotten the chance to spend some quality time together. Sure it's fun to shop, and give and receive gifts over the holiday season, but in the long run, spending time with those you love is the best gift of all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It was a Great Night!

An incredible feast, a full tummy, surrounded by my family, and the company of a great friend. What more could a girl ask for?

(Well, other than Brad Pitt hand delivering a winning lotto ticket to me...)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Very Thankful!

Today I've found myself reflecting on this year. Admittedly it's been one of our roughest years in recent memory, on many different levels - financially, health wise, emotionally, you name it. I've mourned the sudden loss of a friend, I've for grieved over the deaths of friends' pets, and witnessed a family say goodbye to a loved one that was hours away from passing. Some dark moments for sure.

But today, more than anything else, I find that I have so very many, many things to truly be thankful for.

I am incredibly thankful that I will be enjoying a Thanksgiving feast with my parents this afternoon. Both parents. I am blessed beyond words.

I am thankful for my family. They stand with me every day, support me, listen to my complaints, my silly ideas, my dreams, and my disasters. My children are the best children a woman could ever hope for. They are strong, intelligent, loving, beautiful, kind hearted and soulful beings. My Husband is the yin to my yang. He is with me through the laughter and the tears, and everything in between. He makes my life complete, he really does. I feel so very lucky to have found my soul mate.

I am thankful for my brother and his beautiful family in Fort Worth, Texas. Although we aren't able to see each other often, I know he is just a phone call away, and is always there for me. It wasn't always like that between us, but I'm sure glad it is now.

I am thankful for my dogs. They have brought more joy to my life than I thought was possible. Because of them I have stepped out of my comfort zone by organizing the Golden group. Because of them I've met some incredible people with a shared interest in Goldens, and I know many of these new friends will be life long friends. Because of them I started this blog. I felt that I would have something to talk about on at least a semi regular basis, and have few fun things to share with others.

I am eternally thankful for this blog. Seriously! It has given me something to do when I've been bored. It has opened my mind to an entirely new world. Through this blog I've connected with people all around the world - and made even more wonderful friends. Simona and Marco, Valerie, Najia, Chris H., Monika, Miche & Bill, Chris and Mackenzie, Curt and Duncan, Kim, and Bogart, just to name a few. I love you all, and you have added so much to my life!

I am thankful for my oldest friends. I was fortunate to be able to spend a few hours with a very special friend this week, Doug. I've loved him since the first day of 7th grade in September of 1976, and I love him still today. He will always hold a very special piece of my heart. (He is in the checkered shirt) Shirley, I've known you since the 3rd grade and you are the closest thing to a sister I will ever have.

I have a lot of people in my life that I've been friends with for a very long time, and I am thankful for each and every one of them. They've each enriched my life beyond measure. You know who you are, and I hope you know how much I love you.

I've also been lucky in the last few years to welcome some new friends into my life. These people may have only known me for a short time, but have come to understand me and become very important to me. I am thankful for each and every one of them too.

Another thing I am thankful for this year is FaceBook. I know that may sound silly, but over the course of the last year I've been able to reconnect with long lost friends that I would have never, ever been able to find without it. Just two days ago I received a friend request from someone I hadn't heard from in over 10 years! I was thrilled. Yes, I'm thankful for FaceBook.

I am thankful for having realized some of my true passions in life. Not only my family and friends, but things that touch my heart in unexpected ways. The Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk, participating in Dog Therapy, my Golden Group, and photography all sit at the top of my list.

The last few random things I'm thankful for today are Susan Boyle (I love her, what can I say?), the nurse that let me and Hubby into my friend Merrill's hospital room last night, when we probably shouldn't have been allowed in, and the fact that I only had to make green bean casserole, and deviled eggs for our Thanksgiving feast today (Mom is handling the rest!)

My life is full and I am richer with life's rewards than most people can ever hope to be. For that and so much more, I am thankful.

3 Day Wrap Up

I wanted to share a couple more of my favorite pictures from this past weekend's 3 Day walk.  There were SO many, it was hard to decide which to pick. The enitre 3 days were full of heartwarming moments and special memories. It felt, at times, as though my heart would burst from the shear emotion of being there. What an incredible feeling!

Running into our old friend from previous walks "Mr. January" of the 60 Mile Men organization. What a wonderful man with an incredible heart! 

Pickle was there to cheer on Bear's friends Ashley and Heather too! How cool is it that these 2 young ladies made the decision to walk for this fantastic cause, dedicated themselves to do the training it would take, and raise so much money. It made my heart happy!

Pickle at the finish line with one of our favorite faces we saw along the way each day.  At one point he'd yelled at Hubby to "shake his money maker..." and Hubby yelled back for him to "shake his bunny maker" - needless to say, that little volley continued each day every time we saw each other.  It was a lot of fun!

Shirley greeting our friend Raellyn at the finish line.  This little lady is one of the toughest cookies I know! This year she walked with a screwed up knee, and still had a smile on her face for every step of the 60 miles. She is a heck of an inspiration.

My turn to hug Raellyn, my mentor from my first walk, in 2006.  When we first started training together she was 61 years old and could run circles around me...she still can!  What a powerhouse! I just love her beautiful spirit!

Mr. January up close and gorgeous, inside and out.  This is one hell of a guy.  Check out what he does on

 This lovely woman recognized Hubby from the walk last year, and remembered all of the support he gave her - at one point even walking with her for a while to keep her spirits up.  We first ran into her on Saturday morning, and she greeted him with a "THERE YOU ARE!!! I look for you all day yesterday!"  It was like a mother and son reuniting after not having seen each other for a year.  Totally one of tthose moments when I thought my heart would burst!  It was so touching to Hubby to realized that his being out there REALLY does make a difference to people.  Awesome is an understatement.  We saw her all along the route this year, and I was so happy to capture these images of her as she crossed the finish line and saw Hubby standing there. I think these are my very, very favorite pictures I've ever taken at the 3 Day. The joy was overwhelming. I've got her name and address and I'm going to send these to her.

The Smartie was in action all weekend too!

It was fantastic to see so much support out along the route. 

All in all, the Breast Cancer 3 Day, 60 Mile walk continues to be one of the best things I partake in each year. It reminds me, year after year, of the goodness in people, the strength and the fortitude people of all ages, sizes and shapes have.

It reminds me that the kindness of strangers can move mountains, that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff, and in the long run, it's all small stuff.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Melon Men in Action!

This past weekend, the Melon Men were out in force at the San Diego Susan G. Komen 3 Day 60-Mile Walk! They cheered on the walkers all weekend and brought smiles to the faces of thousands! There were literally hundreds of people that stopped for pictures - here are just a few of them.

Although we (my team and I) didn't walk this year, we were out there all weekend supporting the other walkers. We all wore our "60 Miles for our Melons" shirts, and were surprised at how many people remembered us (well, at least the BOYS) from last year. It was such a fun weekend, and so heartwarming to be there. We cheered for strangers, high 5'd hundreds, offered encouraging words to those that needed them, and hugged our new-found friends.

Yup, random acts of kindness make you feel pretty darn good. Try it sometime.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A-Z Mondays, "G" is for Gorgeous Goldens

Jack (this photo is courtesy of Andrew Grant)Come on now...there was never any doubt on what I would post today, was there?

If you'd like to see what other bloggers are posting for A-Z Mondays, visit Jen's Blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pink Gloves

In honor of the 3 Day - 60 Mile Breast Cancer walk that took place in San Diego this weekend, I wanted to share this fun video I received from a friend.

Pretty cool!

I've got lots of pictures from this weekend to share, but I'm just too pooped to download them right now. Suffice to say, it was AWESOME!!! My hands are bruised from clapping, my throat is hoarse from yelling and "whoop-whooping" and my face is sun burnt from being out on the route cheering everyone on for over 21 hours this weekend. I don't know when I've felt better! I can't think of anything I'd rather have been doing, other than walking along with everyone.

Big thanks to Emily (MacInnes) Somers, who created, directed and choreographed this in Portland last week for her Medline glove division as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness and allowed me to share it here with you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The 3 Day is Back!

Yes! It's that time of year again! Time when thousands of people, dressed predominately in pink, take to the streets and walk for 3 days and a total of 60 miles to raise funds to help find a cure for breast cancer.

As most of you know, I walked in 2006 and 2008. I wanted to walk again this year, but I was pretty sure that I was going to have to have surgery on my left foot...well, the good news is that I didn't have to have the surgery after all, the bad news is that by the time I figured that out, it was too late for me to try to raise the funds, and start my training...

So, instead of being a "street walker" this year, I am a "Walker Stalker" - meaning I'll be out there all 3 days cheering on my friends that are walking, and the 3,800 new friends I'm making! I remember distinctly the warm feeling I got when I was walking and random people along the way cheered, high-fived me, and clapped. I wanted to give these walkers that same good feeling, so Bear and I got up at the crack of dawn, pink ribbon signs in hand, jumped into the Smart car, and headed west. The route on the first day follows the coast from lovely Del Mar, through La Jolla, and on to Crown Point. We found a spot to park near the beginning of the route, got out of the car, and preceded to say "Good Morning" and "Thanks for walking!" to about 3,800 people. When the majority of the walkers had gone by, we hoped in the car, moved south, and found another spot to park. Rewind, repeat. Lots of high-5's, lots of clapping, and lots of emotion.

It's hard to explain the kind of emotion I feel when I am among the walkers. Whether I am walking or cheering, I feel a strong bond, and I would almost say that it's like being a part of a very special sisterhood - only there are men, and lots of them, that are walking too. They walk in honor of their wife, their Mom, their sister, you name it. So I guess if it's possible for men to be a part of a sisterhood, these men are. It is an incredible, heartwarming feeling! I longed to be on the road with them this morning, and as Bear and I were talking about it (we walked together last year, along with our lifelong friend, Shirley), we both agreed that if there was any doubt about us walking again next year, this morning cleared that up!

Here are just a few of the images we caught while we were out there today.

This is a bit blurry, but you can still get a feeling for the sheer number of people participating in this incredible experience. Trust me, once you are part of the 3 Day family, it will always be in your heart!
I met up with my friend and mentor from the 2006 walk, Raellyn. This was her 10th walk! Talk about dedication! She is one heck of a spitfire! (Yeah, I look like "Gigantor" next to her, but it's because she is super petite...honest!)
Bear found her friends too!
Every shade of pink you can imagine, for as far as the eye can see!
A friend from my Golden Group was walking this year!
Gotta love the tutus!
The organizers gave a pair of "Energizer Bunny" ears to each walker, and this guy took the bunny idea to the next level.
I am looking forward to the next two days more than I can put into words. If you live in San Diego, and are looking for something to do this weekend, why not come out and cheer with me. I guarantee you'll come away with a new appreciation for these dedicated walkers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Serious Randomness

This post has no rhyme or reason to it...Hey, remember, my blog is called Random Ramblings for a reason!

I thought I'd share a couple of random pictures that I've taken in the last day or two...

First, my Pulmerias... I thought it was a bit late to get blooms on these babies, but I was pleasantly surprise to see these beauties when I was in the backyard yesterday.

Gorgeous colors, and aroma too!

Next...we've all heard of "security blankets" right? How about "security shoes"?? I think Kona has a little fetish going on...whenever I am out of the house, he goes in search of one of my shoes to keep him company...such a silly boy! And last, but not least, a picture of Harley, taken last night that made me smile...she had perched herself on the couch and was sleeping hard when I came up with the camera. Her sleepy face is adorable, and I could just kiss her!

By the way...I've posted a new favorite quote of the moment, in the upper right hand corner of my blog...if you're interested.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday - The Life Saver

These pictures just go to show that there are wonderful people in the world. This is one lucky dog!

(What a great young man to help this poor pooch and his Momma!)