Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Just keeping swimming....

We chose to celebrate our Memorial Day yesterday by sending out thank you e-mails and texts to veteran (and active) friends of ours, and then we decided we needed to take Grimm swimming.

Last August Grimm surprised us.  After seeing his precious "Ball-ee" (squeaky tennis ball) float farther into the pond at our rental cabin, he focused in on it, and in he went - swimming as if he had always known how to (though never did before!) It was at that moment that Grimm, our now 99 lbs. German Shepherd, realized he LOOOOOOVES to swim!  Throughout our vacation at the cabin, we had to enlist the assistance of a firm recall when he would approach the pond before we headed out to eat in town.  We had to keep the doggie door closed so he couldn't escape for a quick dip.  If Grimm had his way, he would have spent the night swimming laps.

Memorial Day + Lake = Bad Idea.

At least we realized the above mentioned equation before we set out on our adventure.  After packing the towels, slathering sunscreen on me, filling water bottles, and all of the other items, we loaded up and headed north to Lake Allatoona.  Of course as soon as we approached the park to where we were headed, and we saw the cars parked along the road (versus the plethora of parking areas,) we made a U-turn and listened to the whines of an impatient German Shepherd from the back seat.

Andrew had remembered another spot to try, and onward north we went.  We drove all the way back to that recreation area, and we saw that the beach had been "permanently closed." *sigh*  Just when we were about to lose all hope, a kind older man flagged us down and told us where to go to get some swim time in.  Following his directions, we found a small hidden spot leading out to the lake.  Unfortunately........he had told everyone else, too, and there were no beachy places for us.  THAT IS UNTIL..........

Through the trees about 30 feet away from where we were was a small 5 ft. wide by 3 ft. deep "beach" with a gentle slope into the water.  Deciding against the onslaught of poison ivy, we maneuvered our way through briers and tree limbs and voila! "beach"

Grimm immediately went in the water followed by Andrew and me wading.  Grimm was ecstatic until two events occurred:

1. The wake of a large speedboat came rolling in our direction, and it caught Grimm off-guard.  He popped up, ears flattened to the sides, turned around, and swam back to shore. 

2. "You can't stop swimming, bud!" Out Grimm went (towards Andrew who was acting as a doggie lifeguard) to get his ball when his legs hit a tree trunk submerged under the water.  As soon as he felt the trunk, he stopped swimming.  His horizontal body went vertical, and then he started to sink.  Once Andrew realized what was going on, he grabbed him, turned him around, and sent him back to shore. 

When a disheveled Grimm came back to shore, I told him, "You can't stop swimming, bud!"

Even though it wasn't the best swimming spot, we had a good time.  It was a much needed relaxing and cooling break. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

EASY Summer pie :)

You can substitute the Jell-O for sugar free, and the Cool Whip for Lite or Free.  You can also use whatever Jell-O flavor (exclude the lime juice though.)

1 x 3 oz. box of lime Jell-O
16 oz. Cool Whip
1 x 10.5" graham cracker crust
2/3 c. boiling water
2 TB. lime juice

Pour 2/3 c boiling water over Jell-O in a bowl, and whisk for two minutes.  Add ice to water in a measuring cup to equal 1 cup.  Pour ice/water into bowl, and mix until cubes are dissolved.  Add in lime juice and Cool Whip, and stir until smooth.  Put mixture into the refrigerator for twenty minutes or until the mixture is REALLY thick and can be mounded into the pie crust.

After putting the mixture into the pie crust, refrigerate 4+ hours.  We put ours in the freezer to make a frozen pie :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's alive!

Maybe not, but our tomatoes have grown as if we were injecting them with steroids (we're not!)

Our Bush Goliath has a cluster of five tomatoes growing together, but our Better Boys are alive and kickin', too.

We had our first pest run in: whiteflies.  Gross little paper-thin suckers that covered our tomato plants.  I went to buy Elementals Insecticidal Soap, but the store was sold out.  Instead, a Bayer representative introduced me to a replacement insecticide safe for fruits and veggies.  It took quite a bit of time to ensure my plants were thoroughly covered.  Now the plants are covered in whitefly carcasses.  I'm keeping an eye on things though to make sure I got them all.

All in all, the City Picker Patio Garden Kit is a great buy!

A picture progress report?  Okay!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Huzzah, Ren-Fest!

 I can now post about the Georgia Renaissance Festival (well...now that I have the pictures uploaded!)

First of all, here is a link to all of the photos:


We met with friends of ours at the Georgia Renaissance Festival on Sunday, May 15th.  It was Highland Fling weekend, and since the other couple was Scottish, it seemed like a great time to go.  An additional perk was that a friend of ours from Charlotte, NC (whom we met at Amanda and Robert's wedding) was also coming down to the Renaissance Festival.  Yep - we saw Sarah...twice....and met her sister, brother-in-law, and Sarah's adorable niece all dressed up to meet the fairy queen.

I would have to guess that The Tortuga Twins and Aerial Acrobats ("Jayna Lee" - Jana Colgin) were the two highlights of the festival :) The weather held out nicely so we had mostly cloudy skies in the beginning, and then cold wind settled in (BOOOOOOO!)

Here are some lovely shots from the festival:

The Atholl Highlanders Pipes & Drums based out of Stone Mountain, Georgia

Us...being goofy

The phenomenal Jayna Lee ("Aerial Acrobats"!)

The hilarious Tortuga Twins (their last show of the day is R-rated - va-va-voom!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So you think you're getting an AWESOME deal

You see them on Facebook.  You see them on other websites.  75% off! 90% off! 95% off!  They're supposedly "great deals" on various services or restaurants in your area.  They go by several names: Groupon, LivingSocial, and more, but ARE you getting a great deal?

I saw an advertisement recently from Groupon.  It went something like this: 80% off horseback riding lessons!  I immediately recognized the stable, and I laughed:

Special through Groupon - BUY NOW! 80% horseback riding lessons at Suckers R' U Riding Stable! Regularly priced at $150 per 1/2 hour now only $70 per 1/2 hour!  Only fifteen certificates left!

Wait a minute.  I just saw Suckers R' U Riding Stable's website a few weeks ago.  I pop on over, and sure enough...very clearly...it says "$50 per 1/2 hour lesson."  You'd actually be paying MORE through Groupon.  Of course, the write-up is so intoxicating that you'd think, "oh yes! I must get it now!"  (Great marketing, guys) However, you're getting screwed!

How about this? Another coupon for $20 ... Buy One Get One Free dinner from Chain Italian Restaurant (with the purchase of a $30+ entrée in teeny tiny print.)  On Chain Italian Restaurant's website...there's a FREE coupon for Buy One Get One Free dinner entrée (with no purchase amount.)

I'm not certain how the coupon sites work, but I would imagine that these websites offer ad space of sorts - put your deal here for this much money (and hey - jack up the prices and get an additional kickback!)

But when it comes to these "awesome" secret coupon sites, remember the saying, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tomato Progress :)

At this rate, we will be eating our first tomatoes in two weeks :)

Dear female driver in the grey Buick....

Dear female driver in the dark grey Buick sedan,

Good Morning. I hope that your drive in was much less annoying than mine, but seeing as you chose to do an entire makeup regiment while driving, I would venture to guess your morning isn't annoying. I don't know where you learned to drive, and I don't know if anyone has told you, but applying a full face of makeup while driving is a "no no." Some things I noticed are as follows:

1. You almost rear-ended my car several times. We were only moving at approximately 10 miles per hour. There's no reason to zoom up on my rear bumper to the extent that I couldn't see your windshield wipers. I had to constantly check my rear view mirror to ensure you weren't going to hit me which only made my drive "awesome."

2. Foundation, pressed powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, eyelash curler, lipliner, lipstick, moisturizer, and then starting at oneself in your mirror is supposed to be performed at home or when you get into your office...in the restroom.

3. You cut off two people to the extent that they had to slam on their brakes to avoid you and prevent you from clipping their front right fenders when you darted over to the fast lane. I don't know if you noticed the gentleman in the SUV flip you off as you did so as you were too busy putting finishing touches on your lipstick.

While I would have loved to obtain your tag number and report you for reckless driving, the drive out tag your vehicle had was so old that the dealer name and information was faded, and the adhesive residue was dried and brown. Something tells me you were supposed to have gotten a tag many months ago.

Leave your cosmetic application and home, and DRIVE!


The [accident-free] female driver ashamed to be lumped into the same sex as you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I hate thieves.

I ordered something for Andrew and I as a wedding gift.  It wasn't anything terribly expensive, and it can be replaced.

In my excitement for it to arrive, I checked the tracking information almost obsessively.  When I left work yesterday at 5pm, it had not yet arrived, but it showed as "in transit to destination."  By the time I got home yesterday, I checked the mailbox: a RedPlum coupon flyer.  I checked the back door - nothing.  I checked the front door - nothing.

Andrew had been home all day.

I logged onto usps.com, and I entered the tracking number:

Delivered - 11:29 a.m.

I went back outside on a scavenger hunt with Andrew, and we looked everywhere including the yard, etc.  Nada.

This morning I called our post office.  He took down my information, researched it, called me back, and said, "your carrier said he put the item in your mailbox at the bottom of the hill yesterday."

This is not the first time someone has stolen our mail or packages at our home, but it will be the last.  From now on, any UPS packages I receive will be sent to my work.  Any mail will be sent to our P.O. Box. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Best news....

My brother informed us this morning that he is coming home in June from Afghanistan instead of December.  Why is this particularly awesome news?  This news means he will be attending our wedding in August!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Feeding my addiction (or feeding others with my addiction :) )

The 5 Most Dangerous Dogs


Undoubtedly it’s going to be controversial. Without fear of chicken counting, it will receive a lot of traffic. And without any element of doubt, it might cause ripples but it needs to be out there, for the public to know. We’ve decided to publicly name the five MOST dangerous dogs on the planet.

The Most Dangerous Dogs in the World

in reverse order....
5. Badly fed dog.
Badly fed dog is the animal who’s been fuelled up with a diet fit for an Olympic weight lifter, but who only ever gets to expend about 20% of the calories he takes in. He’s got lots of energy and his mismatched diet can manifest in bouts of sudden energetic rampaging. Badly fed dog would ask you to consider; how you would feel spending your day in an office when every inch of your body is throbbing and twitching as you crave the opportunity to actually use up some of those excess calories. Badly fed dog would be happier and safer if his diet reflected his lifestyle.
4. Never had any friends dog.
Otherwise known as ‘totally under socialised dog’.
He was a little naughty when he was a puppy, so his owner decided he’d be better off being kept away from all other forms of animal life. He now spends his days obsessing over what it would be like to chase other dogs around and, by George, one of these days he’s gonna actually do it!
Never had any friends dog is going to present his owner with a lifetime of problems, he has no social skills and has never had a chance to learn natural interaction through the teachings of his own kind. He’ll meet new dogs and will be about as socially adept as a 45-year old virgin at a Playboy mansion party. He’s going to blow it. Big time.
3. Shouty.
Shouty is the dog who has spent most of his life shouting at folks or being shouted at himself. He sees people on his street, he shouts at them. In turn, his owner shouts at him. Shouty presumes being shouted at is a recognition of his excellent work. In fact, hearing his owner shouting in response to his own shouting encourages his assumption that they’re just as upset, anxious, nervous, angry as HE is about the audacity of other people/dogs/pigeons to walk past his window. Shouty is relentlessly encouraged and endorsed in his shouty behaviour and, a bit like no friends dog, shouty spends his days imaging how good it will be when he FINALLY gets his chance to get face to face with the objects of his ire.
2. House proud.
House proud dog is SO touchy about people coming to his digs unannounced, he’ll happily maim you for your insolence in trying to visit his abode without obtaining the correct visitation paperwork.
House proud dog does a line in dishing out injuries to posties, meter readers and delivery people. Fortunately for house proud dog, his owners absolutely REFUSE to believe he is capable of violence, so leave him completely unattended to dish out his own brand of justice to anyone brash enough to consider entering his domain.
1. Spoilt dog.
“That’s mine and these are mine, those are mine, I’m entitled to that, I believe that I saw that first, I lay claim to those, I own all of these, I’m the rightful proprietor of this…”
Welcome to the world of spoilt dog. Quite simply, he believes everything he wants, he can have. Woe betide anyone to tell him differently. His timid owners have never had the heart to let him know that in the human world, simply showing your teeth and growling doesn’t constitute a legal contract on the ownership of goods. They let him off and, worse, they let him keep his spoils, which he’ll gather up and place in his own corner of the world.
Sadly, spoilt dog is, one day, going to meet someone who is unaware that he has previously laid claim to every possession on earth. Unfortunately, unlike spoilt dog’s owners, this person is going to have to find out the hard way just how deep spoilt dog’s sense of entitlement runs. Really hard luck if it happens to be a youngster, blissfully ignorant to the fact that the shiny ball on the floor is spoilt dog’s most prized possession (at that VERY moment). A few stitches and a spell in hospital ought to serve as a permanent reminder though.
[What? You didn't think there was a such a thing as a list of 'dangerous dog breeds' did you? Pffft.]
PS: End bsl.
You know it makes sense.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Losing my religion (or finding a new one, rather...)

Yesterday, my fiancé and I headed up to North Georgia for a meeting with our minister.  While on our drive, we had a conversation about "religion."

Some background: I was raised Catholic.  My fiancé was raised Southern Baptist.  To put that into perspective for non-Christians or people who don't follow religious differences, Catholicism on one end, Southern Baptists on the other.  It's just like that.

I never really had an issue with the Catholic faith.  I loved my church [in New York.] I had some qualms with some of its teaching (including, but not limited to: birth control is bad and the Bishops' and Pope's word is it, and The Bible, that's it, too.  No interpretation.  No questioning.  Just "abide.")

I'm not a big fan of Southern Baptists either.  Yes, I've been to several services "back in the day," and I wasn't impressed.  There's just something about constantly being told you're going to Hell with the whole fire and brimstone sermons that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  You're supposed to love a God...and fear a God...and constantly be concerned that you're going to Hell: have a nice day :)

My fiancé has been to one Catholic mass.  He was confused.  Of course, no one ever gave him a First Communion playbook on how mass operates so how was he to know other than watch everyone else? Kneel.  Stand.  Kneel. Stand. Sit. Kneel. Sit. Stand. Walk. Kneel. 

We came to this conclusion: We can be respectful of other peoples' religions without claiming to be "spiritual," but we wanted to find a Christian religion to which we both could "belong."

Where to start?  We knew what we both believed, and we both wanted to find a religion where we didn't have to give up our beliefs.  For example...birth control.  Yes, please.  We're steadfast on that.  We'd prefer a religion that says "it's okay" versus one that says "it's not okay," and do it anyways. 

We meet with our minister yesterday.  He's a spry older Irish fellow.  He strikes up a conversation with us, and he asks us what religious backgrounds we have.  We tell him, "Catholicism" and "Southern Baptist."  He looks at us and says, "whoa.  Talk about 'different!'" I tell him it's funny he should say that, and I relay our conversation in the car (not only is he an ordained minister, but he also has a PhD in psychology.) 

After speaking with him about our beliefs, our backgrounds, etc. we *think* we have found a church (or rather religious following) we would like to pursue as a couple: episcopalian/anglican.

When I told my mother this on the phone, she said, "you know who in our family was episcopalian, right?"  (No.)  "Pop...and all of Pop's family." 

With our new information, we set out to find an Episcopalian Church or two.  We found one in Marietta and one in Smyrna.  We're going to try a service at both and go from there.

Obliterate: to remove or destroy all traces of

When you see the images from the tornadoes on the news, you say "Oh my gosh! How awful!"

When you see the images from the tornadoes firsthand....you're speechless.

The above photos were taken in the White/Pine Log area of northwest Georgia.  The road in many of these photos is Richards Road, a [formerly] pastoral area with rolling pastures, old barns, and beautiful homes.  This location is about three miles from my in-laws' (to be) house (in-laws are okay!)

Photo #3 above is what we considered our "dream home:" a house with a horse barn attached to it.  All that is left are the tattered matchstick remains of a few horse stalls.

Photo #6 is a house we were considering buying.  Fortunately, it remained uninhabited.