Sunday, November 30, 2008


I am home at last. Chel is home at last. We are both very happy to see each other.

My travels home were smooth. It was a little foggy and we were delayed for about 15 minutes in Sacramento, but it was smooth sailing after that. I was up and out today for an 8AM soccer game - which was a real struggle. My throat was burning like it was my first game of the season...jeez! After that, I spent most of the day running around like a nut case. The most important stop? The recover the children. I told the people in there - I need three trips, one for each dog and one for all their CRAP. The little labbies were WOUND up...they were trying to climb all over me as I was driving, one butting the other out of the way. El's daddy was waiting for her at my house, and she ran out and jumped right in the car. Chel is a little restless and is absolutely exhausted, it will definitely take us a few days to get back into the swing of things..starting tomorrow when I get up and go to work...

Glad to hear everyone seems to have had a great thanksgiving and has made it home safe. Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

My blessings and things to be thankful for are too plentiful to count. When constantly searching the path for greener pastures, I always remind myself my little patch of pasture is a nice lush, green (maybe because of my irrigation system?)

Happy thanksgiving to all of my readers. I am truly thankful and blessed to have each and every one of you in my life. Enjoy this special day of thanks!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Safely Arrived in No Cal

After spending the weekend in Reno with the Tuckers, I have finally arrived in my final destination of Vacaville. For those of you unfamiliar with where exactly that falls on the map, it is 50 east of SF and 35 west of Sacramento. The weather here uis UNSEASONABLY WARM thank god, so I will have the next 6 days to thaw out..literally.

My uncle and brother drove out to Reno to pick me up, because he wanted to go to this sporting goods store called Scheels...Jodi, can you even calll it that? This place is INSANE, you could wander around for hours - and we did, for about 2. I got an OSU sweatshirt for $20 (STEAL), some training bumpers for my bug a bean...and most importantly, FUDGE!!!! Yes people, they make their own fudge. Jodi and I got 6 squares and halved them and took them home...on the way to Scheels, Jods took me to In N Out Burger...omg was it good.

The drive thru the mts was spectacular. We came thru in the daylight and it was pretty clear and it was just awesome. We arrived home to a yummy taco dinner (and fudge for dessert!) and just hung out all night. Signs welcoming me to California were waiting...Amanda has graciously given up her bed and room for me. Today, my other cousin and her 2 kids are coming, and we are just going to have a big old hang out fest here for the whole week. Exactly what the doctor ordered.

I will take some pix and post them later in the week...Amanda (age 12 - remember my very pregnant cousin that sat in the bleachers when we played in Sacramento? Yeah, that baby!!) is CLEARLY taller than I am...Jen age 10 is not quite there yet but not far good to be here...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hanging out w/ Dolan

So my month of insane travel is concluding with a trip to Reno to visit the Tucker's before heading over to Sacramento to spend Thanksgiving with my aunt and her family. I got in on Friday and we hung out all was a rough night in the Tucker household because little Dolan James has croup (see He is doing much better today, Saturday than he was yesterday. Poor little guy was definitely having some breathing issues, but was in SUCH a good mood for feeling so crappy. It may be hard to believe, but he is cuter in person than in pictures - and his pictures are pretty darn cute.

Getting ready to go to dinner...and getting ready for the big game with his "poop on Michigan" onesie.

He pulls himself up on everything. I was sitting on the recliner and he was moving between the couch and the chair.

Bonding with Dakota, who is currently laying on his mommy's lap in the recliner napping.

Playing shy...I love this picture.
We are in business out here...the score of the game is 42-7 and we are quite happy. Up until a few minutes ago, watching this game was its annual nerve racking experience. It was awesome to see Boeckman come in and fire off a touchdown. The score also contributes to our opportunity to win some money, as we sent James to the local casino to place our bets. The rest of our day will consist of PSU vs MSU (GO SPARTANS!!!) and then Texas Tech vs Okla. Perfect in our is so good to be here and hang out with Yodi...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where in the world is NP??? Reno, visiting James, Jodi and little Dolan! Poor little Dolan does sound awful, but for a sick baby, he is in a really good mood. We are just hanging out...just catching up. I am sure there will be pictures coming. I am so excited to be here!

Most importantly...GO BUCKS!! BEAT MICHIGAN!!! We will be up bright and early to watch!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sad morning....

This morning, I said goodbye to my very beautiful and gorgeous baby angel...for nearly 2 weeks!!! Uncle Joey was taking grammie and grampie to the airport this morning, and will be by to pick her up on his way back to Marysville as I leave for the lovely metropolis of Pittsburgh in the morning, and then head out west for turkey day on Friday morning (more so like the middle of the night on Friday, given my flight is at 7AM or something ridiculous like that) . She watched very closely last night as I put together nearly 30 bags of food, packed up some toys and brought her bed up from the basement. I put lots of instructions in her bag for the people at the kennel - including a brand new jar of peanut butter, 12 plastic knives and 2 freshly washed kongs out of the dishwasher...I mean, everyone needs a treat, right?

I have again avoided being the "bad guy" who drops the doggies off at camp - I love how I shove the dirty work off to other people (mainly my mom and brother) and then get to be the hero when I pick them up. I hope she behaves herself...when we went to Myrtle Beach last summer, she barked herself hoarse - came back and she had this really pathetic bark. I will have the camera handy when I get back, because it is pretty funny and sad all at the same time. I know she will be fine, but still hate leaving here little velcro dog. It will be very strange not to have her there with me tonight.....

Maybe I can start a biodegradable waste bag movement at the kennel???

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How have YOU gone green?

Long post...sorry. But I think it is important - and I hope you all respond with lots of other things for me to do as well!

I have seen a lot of posts lately about going green...and have definitely been making an effort to go green myself - however, I do draw the line at biodegradable waste bags given their cost and the amount of you know what I clean up after you know who...

So....I am interested in knowing...what have all you out there done to become more green? Here is a list of some of the things I have done...

1) Programmable thermostat - easy as pie. Warm/cool when you are home, consistent use of HVAC. Program it once and forget about it - all you have to do is flip the switch from hot to cold based on the season. Bottom line can be seen in utility bills.

2) Reduce bottled water consumption - Not to say I don't have any bottles in my house, but I purchased a few rubbermaid bottles and have been using those. They work great - they fit in my lunchbox (barely) and I keep 2 in my refrigerator so I always have cold water. In addition to helping the environment, it also helps the wallet.

3) Recycle - Unfortunately, Columbus has not yet reached the "green" phase yet. I pay for my own recycling and recycle everything I can. Boxes of all kind (mostly of granola bars, cereal, frozen meals) cans, glass, all the junk mail after I shred anything with my name on get it. I pay something like $20 every three months, so it is not too bad. Makes a big difference in the amount of garbage I have, no doubt about that!!

4) Installing irrigation system - now, this may be stretching it...however, keeping the curb appeal of my house at top notch requires watering. The irrigation system is on a timer, and comes on literally in the middle of the night, when it is best for the grass. Less water is wasted than before I had it installed because they are positioned to more effectively water the grass and not the sidewalk - seems like a "duh", but I always felt bad about how much water was being wasted to get to certain spots in the yard. A luxury, I know, but there is definitely less water on the sidewalk than there was before. I gotta do what I gotta do to keep my property value as high as possible...

5) Light timers - I have set the light timer on the microwave so I do not have to leave lights on for Chelsie all day now that it gets dark at 5PM. It is set to come on at 5PM and go off at 11. Additionally, I have installed a timer switch for my porch light to have it come on at 5PM and go off at 7AM, for safety reasons. I intend to install the same switch for the back deck light as well.

6) Solar light - installed on in my guest bath, it has no window. The solar light lights not only the bathroom, but the entire hallway - it lets in so much light that it is not necessary to turn the light on while in there during the day. In the spring, I will be treating myself to another one in the pantry - it is pitch black back there because I have poor lighting in the kitchen, so I am hoping this will help with the light in the kitchen as well.

7) Turning off lights when I leave a room - just more aware and making a better effort to be better about it.

8) Insulated garage/insulation in general - makes a big difference, esp in the winter. Helps keep the rest of the house warm as well. I also discovered in the whole termite mess that the insulation in the basement was not great, so being as there is already 6 feet of drywall missing from the office, I will rip down the remaining drywall in my office that covers walls to the outside and properly insulate it. I also replaced the basement windows, which has made a big difference as well (and is another safety thing - anyone that tries to kick one in will only succeed in breaking a limb)

Also, with the cool weather coming in, I keep all the blinds closed so as not to let too much air in from the outside. Replacing the sliding door has made a huge difference as well - the doors that were there when I bought the house allowed a serious draft to come in. Not this thing...this is a custom made, double paned door - custom made not my choice, but because a std door is 6 feet and my other door was 5 1/2 feet. Go figure. I will spare you all the heartache of what that translated into from a $$ perspective. Anyone who tries to kick this in will also end up with a broken limb. The orchid room has one more little insulating factor - one of those things you put by a door to stop the draft on the window in that room. The blinds have to stay open for light, so that long, sausage-y looking thing is on the window in front of them to soak up the cold.

9) Funky light bulbs - not crazy about the light they emit all the time, but I am sure technology will help with that eventually. Not ready to put those in my ceiling fans yet. :)

10) Running Errands - so I do have a big SUV (Pilot) and love it. I did not love $70 to fill it up over the past few mos, so I have worked on being much more efficient with my schedule/errand running. For example, our night at Dodd typically coincides with agility because we are already halfway there by going to OSU and then on to agility. During the summer, Wed night soccer was the same way - it was halfway to Gahanna, so we just did it all in one night. A lot in one night, but it saved about 45 miles round trip - a lot of miles when you get about 350 to the tank.

I am sure I can do lots more little help me out. Hopefully, I have helped you out with some easy ideas to be nicer to mother earth!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where in the world is NP???

Good question, my body has absolutely no idea what time zone it is on. :)

I am in Las Vegas this week, coming home Wednesday. This place is incredible...glitter, glitz and excess are the three words that come to mind. I walked into the Bellagio tonight to meet someone for dinner, and became claustrophobic upon seeing the number of people in there...I guess that means I am getting old!

I have been really fortunate to do lots of fun things over the past few weeks, and am seriously behind in blogging and posting pictures. Unfortunately, my fun things have been outside of Columbus and have kept me away from home and of course, my very beautiful and gorgeous baby angel...I miss her so much. She is holding down the fort with gramma and grampa and has been having lots of play dates with her cousin. Mommy misses you very much Belle, and I hope to see you Wed night! (assuming no issues, my flight does not arrive until 11:30 PM....any problems out of Vegas and I will be spending the night in Chicago, so she may be staying an extra night with them...)

Pictures to come soon, I promise!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Winter Wonderland

So last night on our walk, I note 2 houses with Christmas lights. No mistaking it, there were wreaths in both light exhibits. On the way to the doctor this morning (my poor little toe is still infected) I heard Christmas music on the radio. Does anyone besides me think it is too early for that? I mean, I am just trying to make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas stuff is out. It has been out at Macy's since before Halloween. MADNESS!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Heart Stopping Moment

Last night, after we got home from agility, Chelsie was doing her usual tour of the front yard while I was unloading the car. As I opened the door to the house, I saw this black animal of some sort going flying by - and then saw Chelsie chasing after it. I screamed her name and immediately slammed the door to the house closed...for fear that she was playing with a skunk again. At first glance (and smell) it did not appear that she was, but you can bet I checked her out THOROUGHLY before letting her in the house. Her penchant for playing with skunks seem to come late at night, but thankfully that was not the case last night. Scared the dickens out of me though - cleaning up skunked dog at 10:30 was definitely not on my agenda!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Witnessing History

Well, it is probably pretty clear that they type of history I am witnessing is not the type of history I had hoped to witness, but I cast my vote, as did the rest of America and our country has spoken - loud and clear. I truly believe the first day the bottom fell out of the market was the day the nail was hammered into McCain's coffin.

We will see if Barack is a talker or a doer. It also appears the Dems will be in control of Congress...I just hope that someone keeps control of the checkbook and does not start giving them blank checks. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to all of this - according to my financial advisor, the markets tend to respond more favorably to a Republican than a Democrat...I have already watched my hard earned money decrease in excess of 10%. Although everyone says "you won't need that money for a long time and it will come back" it is definitely discouraging to see it continue to fall - esp because I have been very disciplined about saving a fairly significant portion of my paycheck for retirement.

So for all you Obama supporters, congratulations - we will see if your man walks the walk as well as he talks the talk.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Traveling is hard work

I have forgotten how much traveling wares me out. I have come back to the hotel for the last 2 nights and have napped before dinner. Yikes!! This upcoming weekend, I am headed to Cali to see Adrienne before going to Las Vegas for a conference for work, and the thought of getting on a plane is not my favorite right now. Hopefully, the ride home tomorrow will not be bad - we were able to come here to Indiana on the Corp Jet, but have to fly home from Midway (my company HQ is about an hour away from Midway Airport in Chicago).

I know, I know, you all can get your violins out...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Agility Weekend

Hello everyone,

Well, after a not so great start to my weekend, I rebounded to finish with three straight Q's! My fellow competitors and I had some difficulty with the first jump of the weekend on our standard run on Saturday - I did not just tick the bar with my little toes, I barreled through it. I told mom not to fill the dirt in behind the first jump, but to dig it out, so I had some traction - filling it in gave me no traction to be able to jump. Jesus lady - in all those years you played ball, did you ever fill the batters box? I think not - I do believe you dug it out. Thank god mom is a fast learner - she made sure there were not dirt piles for me to run through to get to the first jump today.

I am now two Q's away from earning my MX and MXJ, my last titles before my MACH. I earned one dbl Q and 19 MACH pts for my efforts this weekend. Mom forgot treats this morning, but thankfully my friend Webster's mom shared his treats with me. I also got banished to my friend Grant's house after the competition was over, so mom could go shopping. I got to play in Grant's HUGE backyard with him and his sister Sandy. Mom FINALLY came and got me, and FINALLY took me home for dinner.

Thankfully, my old lady is going to work tomorrow. I have to rest from all my hard work this weekend. Have a great week everyone!!

Very Sincerely,

Chelsie Belle

PS From Mom - bad news for you my little bean. Grammie is coming to get you in the morning. Mommy's suitcase will be coming out tonight!! :)

All the Republican in me...

Its probably crystal clear what my political position is, and I normally would not post something like this, but I laughed pretty hard at this. What even funnier is who it came from - it came from this guy my mom used to work with, and I can totally picture him sending something like this. Enjoy - and join me in thanking God that it will be over on Wednesday. Be sure to cast your vote on Tuesday!!

I seriously just had this conversation?

Be warned...this is a shallow post, probably more like a rant than anything.

My new favorite store (even after this incident) is White House, Black Market. I had a coupon that expired today, and was in search of this beautiful shirt I loved, just not at the full price it was when I tried it on. It had gone on sale, so I called the stores here locally and they said they sent it to the outlet. I call the outlet, they have it, they hold it I go down there - to find a huge sale. One item on sale was this pair of black pants - I have a pair I paid full price for, and have absolutely zero regrets about, because every woman should have a pair of black pants that make her feel this good. They don't have my size, no big deal. But as I got further away, I decided I needed to have them see if they could find another pair, because they were only $30.

Like I did before, I called the store and told them I was there earlier, they did not have pants in my size and could they call the other outlet to see if they had them? This is what the girl told me:

"We don't answer calls from other stores on weekends because we might be too busy. You have to wait and call the other store in the morning."

I was dumbfounded - I asked her what they did if a customer was standing there and wanted something they did not have. She repeated the above. I said, fine, whatever, and that I found that incredibly hard to believe given the high level of customer service they have always provided when I have been there.

Please, gentle readers, tell me you think the nature of this conversation was as crazy as I do - especially given the current situation for retailers in this economy!!! I still can't believe it. The next time I go into the store here at Easton or UA, I am going to say something to the manager about this. I find it absolutely astonishing that this would indeed be the policy from this store.

It should be noted that I got 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, a dress (that definitely challenges my comfort zone - but is "sh*t hot" as my friend Diane would say) and 2 necklaces for $162. I had a coupon for $50 off $200 or more, plus my White House member discount (that 5% adds up!) I also FINALLY found some decent turtlenecks that were not $70 at the Ann Taylor outlet...thank god. If anyone can tell me where I can find a black winter cardigan type sweater, I would greatly appreciate it - I need one that is a little heavier than I currently have, given that my office has an entire wall of windows...

What night for college football!

Wow! The end of the Texas Tech/Texas game was amazing!!! Can anyone explain to me why Texas kicked off and gave the Red Raiders a chance to run it back with a minute and 30 seconds left??? They ran it back over halfway down the field!!! What a game!

I am sure you have all noticed the songs I have added to the blog...I couldn't help it. I mean, its fall and I live in Columbus, Ohio!!! For all my softball girls out there, I hope hearing these songs brings back special memories of fall and football. I got chills just hearing them as I loaded them sure to listen to the Carmen Ohio version I have on here...I love it, it is so, so awesome.

For all you non OSU grads out there, my play list is a list of songs that are near and dear to every fan's heart. The one missing song on here is Script Ohio, there was a load problem with it from the playlist website. You have not lived until you have come to an Ohio State Football game and seen Script Ohio!!


Growing Up so Fast...

So, as you all probably read on Belinda's blog, I went up and handed out candy last night. Bryce and Teagan were just too darn cute all dressed up in their costumes!!!

It had been about a week and half since I had seen them, and as I was driving away last hit me how much they had changed just in that short time period. About the only notable physical difference I can call out is the little curls that suddenly have appeared over Teagan's ears, but Bryce seemed just all of a sudden seems to have just really grown up...all in a week and half.

I better watch out...a few weeks from now, he may be driving something other than his trains on the floor in the living room. We love coming to hang out with you Bryce and Teagan!!! (and I guess you too Mark and B! :) )