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Habitat for Humanity

I have wanted to volunteer on a habitat for humanity house for many years. Each year something comes up that prevents it from happening. This year I decided it wasn’t going to happen. I was going to make sure that it gets done. My girlfriends, Mel and Jen, and I did our first day of construction labor on Saturday. We had the best time. We are planning to participate again.

We installed laminate flooring in the bedrooms of one of the houses. Mel was assigned the job of cutting the material. Jen did the running. I did the measuring, marking, and laying. They told us our job looked very professional. It was so much easier to do in a house that doesn’t have trim and doorways in the way.

I was the only one on the crew that had experience laying laminate flooring. As I watched the others I could tell they felt very empowered during the whole process. Bob, the house leader, was very hands off. He didn’t hover but he was there if you had questions. With the majority of our team being women, I think that approach gave them the confidence to do something new and often labeled a “man’s job.”

Feb. 17th, 2012

Today I am in one of those moods. I shouldn’t be. I have so much to be thankful for and positive about. I have great kids (Yes even when they need attitude adjustments), wonderful friends, two great kitties that entertain me to no end, and a fabulous guy. Plus I have experienced some wonderful things already this year. Yet today my emotions are in turmoil.

My kids have been doing fairly well. We had a great game night last night. Played two new games: Fact or Crap and Pass the popcorn. I enjoyed both of them and was completely surprised at how many answers I knew. Sabrina is playing volleyball. She is doing fairly well and I like that she is getting some exercise. I will enjoy watching her play in the tournaments. I have been teaching her to embroider. She is coming along. Cody has been having friends over. I think that is great too. They both worry me a little with the attitude that they have lately. They seem to forget the respect thing. I am not sure if they have emotions or thoughts they have talked to me about, if it’s just a phase, or if they just think a smart mouth is cool. Kids are hard to understand sometimes. Either way I find it very unacceptable and they are learning that I will not tolerate it.

I know I tell you guys all the time how wonderful my friends are. It’s true. I spend quite a bit of time with them. Already this year we have played pool, learned a new craft (quilling), seen the Monets and the DaVinci machines, attended ice carnivals, basketball games, seen a few bands live, and are getting ready to work on a habitat for humanity house.

Jumpin Jack Flash and Peppermint Patty are definitely positive additions. They are so affectionate and constantly make me laugh. It’s been a long time since I have gotten attached to an animal; since my teenage years to be exact. When I am gone for a day or so and they hear my voice, they both come running and purring up a storm. They have one more round of kitty shots then they can get fixed and declawed. Since they are strictly inside kitties, I don’t want them stretching their paws on my furniture.

The more I am with my guy I find out more about him that I like. I am almost finding that we have more in common too. He really is fabulous. We had a blast in Memphis. I will tell you about that in another post. Valentine’s day was perfect. We planned to go out to dinner. When I got to his house, I could see how tired he was. He has been working a lot lately. I suggested that instead of going out to dinner that we just get pizza and he added rent movies. So that is what we did. We got pizza from this great Italian place. The sign on the wall made me laugh. It read: WARNING: There are real Italians working in this kitchen, at anytime you may observe yelling, bickering, screaming, biting, and various other normal activities associated with Italian cooking. We took the pizza back to his house, cuddled on the couch and watched Real Steel and the Scorpion King III. Perfect night.

Anywy just not sure why I am in a funk. Just one of those days I guess.

Writer's Block: You’ve Got Mail!

How many times a day do you access your email account?

My email comes to my blackberry so I have constant access. Now that doesnt mean that I read my emails instantly.
What is your answering machine away message? If you don't have one, you can make it up!

Hi! I am so glad you called. What you want to talk to Stef? Oh. She isnt here. This is her voicemail. Yeah I will take the message...beep.

Jan. 25th, 2012

Four weeks into 2012 and it is already shaping up nicely. I seen the Monet water lilies and the globetrotters, learned a new art (quilling), learned a new thing about my camera, spent time with some of my best friends and kids, and its only getting better. 9 days til the first road trip of 2012...heading to Beale Street for some fabulous blues music with wonderful friends. Habitat for humanity’s house is on the calendar too. First meeting is tomorrow night.

I bought the first set of blocks for my first quilt too. I have never quilted so I wanted simple to learn the basics . I bought precut squares and now I just have to sew them together. I would like to have my first one done by March 17 National Quilting day. I was telling my girlfriend about it and she talked me into getting one to raffle off for the Susan B. Koman Walk we are doing in June. My guy said his mom quilts so he is going to make arrangements for me to talk with her about getting started on them. I hope to meet with her this weekend. Last weekend I also started an afghan with this most wonderfully soft yarn. It’s about three quarters of the way finished. I ran out of yarn. Hate it when that happens. Yesterday I finally got to the store to purchase more. While there I found these really pretty embroidery quilt blocks. I haven’t embroidered in years. Yeah I went ahead and bought them. I think they will make a great blanket to donate. My goal is to make twelve blankets, quilts, or afghans to donate to project linus this year. Sunday my kids and I worked together and made three tie blankets. They are really simple for kids to do. Basically you have to pieces of soft flannel material laid together. You cut a five inch by five inch square out of each corner. Then you cut fringe, one inch wide by five inch deep, around the outside of the material. Then tie the top material to the bottom material and it’s done. They turned out pretty cute actually. I will post pictures later. Plus it was a good family activity.
Last week was a very busy but a highly successful week at work for me. It was spirit week . Yeah I know we are adults but it’s ok to have fun too. I had more employees participate in this week than I have ever in the last 10 years. Monday was wear your pjs to work day. Tuesday was crazy hat and hair day. Wednesday was our most successful day. It was the Chili cookoff and sports day. We had 11 employees competing for best chili cook and we raised $140 for the Heart walk team. Thursday was twin day. Friday was the company spirit day. Everyone wore their favorite company logo shirt. Some of the shirts I haven’t seen in years. They must have dug deep in the closet for them.

I really want to set up a facebook page for the facility. 80 percent of our employees are on facebook. It would be a great place to remind employees what is happening at work. Things like special events, flu shots, mammogram visits, remind them of special programs, etc. I can post all these pictures from the events that we have too. Employees can comment and share ideas for new events or ways to improve the ones we already have. It is also a great way to keep records of everything we do and show how working here is fun as well. I am waiting on the legal department to get back with me.
Sunday I tried a new recipe for Minestrone soup. It was really good with lots of flavor. I have posted my version of it here. Of course I changed a few things from the original. Don’t we all.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
4 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can Cannelloni Beans, drained 1 (15 ounce) can green beans
1 bag baby fresh spinach, rinsed
3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
1 green pepper, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup seashell pasta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
for topping
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery, green pepper, and carrots, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better.
3. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.
4. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Spray with olive oil and serve.

My guy and I are doing fabulous. I think we are getting a little closer. I think I am good with this. That’s all I have to say about it at this time.

Writer's Block: National Hugging Day

Who is the last person you hugged?

I made it a point to give my guy a special hug for National Hugging Day.
"Do you remember that time we built a house together and...". After this year my friends and I are going to be able to start of a story with that beginning. We have signed up to help on a habitat for humanity house. I am really excited. Its been on my larger life list for a long time. My friends and I are going to help a family get a new home. What a great feeling that is going to be. We go for the first meeting next week. I will keep you posted.

Jan. 16th, 2012

My weekend was fabulous. Seriously one of the best. Friday night I went with some of my friends to see the Monet Waterlilies. Wonderful exhibit! I would love to see his home and garden when I travel to France. I have added it to the must see list. It wasnt long after we got back to the house when my guy called me. I was surprised because we weren't going to be able to see each other due to plans we both had made. Any way, I answered the phone and I hear, "I am really missing you." Made me feel mushy and of course I had to smile. I spent the rest of the evening cuddled up watching movies with him.

Saturday Mel, Jen and I were going to the ice carnival in the loop. We had so much fun. I learned a little more about my camera. I got some fun pictures too. We went back to their house to warm up and Jen taught me to quill. January is National hobby month. Quiling is a relatively inexpensive hobby with a lot of room for creativity. A basic tool, a guide, glue and strips of paper is all it takes. Its not hard. My fingers felt really big as I worked with the small strips of paper.I cant wait to teach my daughter.

The rest of the evening was pretty quiet. Some time in the wee hours of the morning, I got a text from my guy. He wanted me to come to one of our friends house for a while. I texted him back saying I didnt want to intrude on "guy time". He called and said everyone wanted me to come. So of course I did. We had so much fun laughing, singin, dancing in front of a fireplace. Around 4 am I fell asleep in front of the fireplace.

Sunday my guy spent the whole day with me. We didnt do anything which was just what we needed. Movies, cuddling, napping, and watching the Green Bay Packers lose to the New York Giants made up our day.

Now I am back at work recouping from another awesome weekend.

Jan. 16th, 2012

Mel, Jen, and I went to the Ice Carnival over the weekend. I had so much fun and got to play with my new camera. I took some of my first macro images too. Here are a few of my favorite pics from there.

Dunk Shots, layups, and laughter

From the time I was a small child and seen my first commercial about the Harlem Globetrotters, I had always wanted to see them play. The excitment, the control over the spinning ball, and the laughs just made me want it more. Years past and I never seen to make a show. This year was the years and I was going to share it with my kids and a few friends. We got tickets on the court so close you could feel the air movement from each dunk shot. Our seat were second row under the hoop.

Everything about the event inspired laughter and fun...the nicknames of the players, the referees, the interaction between members of the team and the fans there to watch them. The tall guy was Tiny. The shortest player was Too Tall. During the show, one player told the ref "make another call like that and I am taking you back to footlocker!" Another time the player was patting the ref's belly and asked him what he was going to name the baby. The tricks and control over the basketball were fabulous. Dunking, four point shots, and great layups were throughout the game. They would interrupt the game and do different routines or bring kids out from the audience. The interaction kept things light and fun.

As far as the game itself, I have seen better games. For a men's game it was actually slowed down a lot to be able to put on the stunts and comedy acts. There was definitely not a lot of great defense or aggressive ball palying. Entertainment purposes the show was fabulous. There was something constantly going on. You could tell the players truly had fun with their job. Sharing this even with my kids was worth the wait and the memories made together.



Note From The Writer

Thank you for reading my journal. I hope you enjoy the snapshots of my life. It is my hopes that you can relate, maybe get a chuckle, or realize that your not alone in the world.

I welcome all comments, ideas, complaints. It's ok to disagree with me. Just do it respectfully. Ideas and inspirations are always welcome. There is really no method to my madness. I just write about what comes to mind. So if you want to know more on something, just say so.

Happy Writing

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