A Holiday Helping Hand

Monday, December 11, 2017

This time of year can be tough for many under normal circumstances. But for others, times are extraordinarily bad. These two families are facing the extraordinary. One family I know personally, the other is new to the neighborhood. Both need a helping hand...if enough donate $5, it will add up. Please consider reading their stories and helping if you can. Regardless, please share their tales.

Thank you...

Imagine losing your job of fifteen years just before the holidays. But that's okay, you think, you have a home paid for in another state. A home that was planned for retirement. Not ready to retire, but now a place for a new start. You pack up your family and move from New Jersey to Tennessee, ready for a thankful Thanksgiving with plans for a joyous Christmas. But it was not to be....your dream house had been vandalized beyond recognition.

Then toss in ending up in the hospital for several days due to issues with her diabetes. If that's not enough, one contractor has stopped work until he is paid - paid for something that isn't' passing inspection. All your credit cards are maxed between hotel bills and sheetrock & drywall that is slowing going in to help make the house a home again. You're heating up lunch, soup in cans on top of the kerosene heater you're running - remember, no electricity in the house.

And don't forget, Christmas is just around the corner.

I visited Sunday and took them groceries, a couple of Christmas things for their eight year old daughter and dog food. Please read their story and possibly help...
 Please read their story and maybe help...
The second family's story started several months ago and unfortunately today, it's an all too common one. Cancer strikes, once again. She's forty-one years old. Married. Has a teenage son. And, as you now know, is battling cancer. Her family recently moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina, so they don't have a strong connection to the community. Ellen's parents live on the west coast and fly back and forth, staying with Ellen as long as possible.

Ellen's son, Tyler, is a champion high school wrestler and I've been a long distance supporter of him for several years. Ellen's father, Lee Lofland, is a personal friend, a former police officer, a writer and the founder of the Writer's Police Academy (which I attended in 2014). He has spent his life helping others, now we have the chance to return just a small portion of that help. Even with insurance, the medical bills mount. And they don't begin to cover the costs of driving back and forth for treatments and other appointments. The financial toll is staggering (and I know this from personal experience with my late husband). Please read Ellen's story and all the updates and maybe you can help.

 Please read Ellen's story and see if you can help
Ellen and her husband at one of Tyler's winning wrestling meets.
Thank you again....and Merry Christmas!

Ciao for now!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Now that it's December, I wanted to put up some Christmas decorations. Our decorations were semi-sorted into three groups. First was anything we have bought since we moved into the house. That stuff was stashed in the guest room closet. Next were the larger items that had been stored in the RV, things that wouldn't fit into the red or green totes bought just for Christmas items. Third was, obviously, the red or green totes.

Well, that was the plan and we all know about Murphy and his laws. I found one red and one green tote, unpacked them and uh-oh, a major portion of our ornaments were missing (including a similar to this stuffed Christmas tree that I bought specifically for the RV).

I suspect they are buried in one of the dozens of totes stacked in the garage. So I settled for the new decorations and things I recently bought online (like these great pillows tossed on the sofa and the ceramic lighted Christmas tree I found at Kohl's online for under $30 but got free with Kohl's cash). The runner came from the Dollar Store (along with a few things in the kitchen) and the handmade creche scene was bought from a new local friend.

Here is the tree lit up - I've wanted one since my twenties....and now I have one and love it.

We have red bows on the mailbox, a giant reindeer head in the kitchen, a giant Santa hat on the front door and few other miscellaneous things scattered around.

I haven't started baking Christmas cookies yet, that will be later next week, after we get back from out final-for-this-year Dollywood visit. But I did bake a nice loaf of Blueberry Banana Nut Bread. Yum!

We plan on peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, with the peanut butter stored in separate tins in case anyone has a nut allergy. They'll go to our mailman, our vet's office and our doggy daycare/grooming/boarding folks.

We got a little snow today - enough to dust the deck (more arrived after dark) and encourage the dogs to lick it up. They are loving the cool weather, staying outside playing most of the day.

Tonight they proved there was more than a light dusting outside in the yard....LOL!

"Jeremiah was a bull frog..."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Introducing a new addition to our family - Jeremiah Jeep, aka JJ - a 2011 Jeep Patriot Latitude X 4x4 70th Anniversary Edition. It was a one owner car with less than 59k miles. These are photos from the dealer's website.

Here are some of the main features:
  • 4WD/AWD
  • AM/FM Stereo with Navigation system & SiriusXM
  • Adjustable Steering
  • Air Conditioning
  • Anti-Lock Brakes
  • Cruise Control
  • CD/DVD Player
  • Fog Lights
  • Front Air Dam
  • Heated Mirror 
  • Heated Leather Seats
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Leather Upholstery
  • Power Brakes
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirror
  • Power Driver Seat
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows
  • Premium Wheels
  • Rear Wiper
  • Second Row Folding Seat
  • Security System
  • Stability Control
  • Steering Mounted Controls
  • Tachometer
  • Tinted Glass
  • Tire Pressure Monitor
  • Traction Control
  • Trip Computer
I am in LOVE! It handles like a dream, steers beautifully (remember, I've been driving a pickup since 2012. This is a dream car with room for the dogs in the back and still plenty of room for groceries in the back seat. Oh yeah, and regular gas instead of diesel and better gas mileage.

Ciao for now!


Monday, December 4, 2017

We all have friends - close friends, work friends, childhood friends, church-hobby friends, distant friends, etc. But a true friend will be there regardless of what is happening in their or your life.

Some of us are lucky enough to have several true friends, but we are blessed if there is just one. That one who will be there in the bad times as well as the good.

Are you being a true friend?

Ciao for now!

How did it become December already?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

I turned around and suddenly it was December? Where did the rest of the year go? How did this happen? LOL! Life continues on here...just to show you how exciting things have been, here is a partial list of what we've been up to lately.
  • Stu finished winterizing the RV, well, except for our washing machine. So we continue to run the electric heat pump, keeping it 55 inside. He also winterized the washing machine stored in the barn (for his eventual pole barn)
  • Stu put fuel stabilizer in the lawn tractor, lawn mower and Freddie.
  • Stu started putting an insulation blanket around our water heater (under the house) and insulation wrap around all the pipes. He ran out of material so hopefully will finish it on Tuesday before the REALLY cold weather moves in next week.
  • We took advantage of the great sales, mostly online. Stu got some tools, I got some decorations as well as clothes and a few other things.
  • Stu hung a few outside decorations - red bows on the mailbox, Santa caps on the outside lights and stockings on the porch railing. That's pretty much the extent of what we will do outside this year.
  • Entertained friends at home and were then entertained at their home.
  • Cooked our first Thanksgiving dinner in our new home.
  • We went to Dollywood with friends and plan to go back again the middle of December. The decorations are always so great!
  • Went to a couple of movies, took the pups to doggy day care for play and grooming.
  • Went grocery shopping, did laundry (lots of laundry), cleaned house - all the usual stuff.
  • Cleaning nose prints off the front and back doors!!!
See? Not much exciting in our lives. The biggest thing has been to prepare for the winter weather. Here is our forecast for next week. Eeep!

The weather for the last week has been beautiful, mostly sunny which made it feel much warmer than the 60-65 degrees the thermometer read. The pups spend most of their day outside, playing, especially enjoying it when Stu is in the shed (converted to a woodworking shop).

Here's a little video I shot when Stu was out winterizing the lawn tractor and lawn mower.

We did get out for a short motorcycle ride and stopped in for lunch at Mac's Diner in Jamestown. What a treat! We will be back, good food, reasonable prices and a fascinating owner to chat with. You can see more photos here.

They have started work on the property across the street from us. We heard rumors they were putting in an RV site but we're not positive. Time will tell. In the meantime, I am enjoying our late fall/early winter sunset view. I'm afraid we may be losing it next year.

The #2doods enjoying watching them out the front door while they work. Or maybe they're waiting for mail delivery...LOL!

Murphy is in a growth spurt, his legs getting longer. We will get them weighed on Monday at the doggy daycare/grooming. They still eat separately but Murphy has good manners about it, even when he finishes first.

Now for a little fun. If you have an iPhone/iPad with Siri or one of the devices like the Amazon Alexa - ask them what they want for Christmas. Here is what Siri told me....

Ciao for now!

#2Doods Eating & Growing Up

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thought it would be fun to share a couple of photos to show how much both pups have grown. Cooper is probably close to full size but Murphy has several more months left to grow.

This is Cooper's first week at home, just over 3 months old.

Compare him to the half gallon milk jug he's playing with.

This is Cooper now, over 7 months old. He's grown a LOT in those 4 months.

Now for Murphy. He came home at just under 3 months old, this was his first week.

This is Murphy now, he's just over 4 months old. He's put on a lot of weight but hasn't grown quite as quickly in height.

Here is another comparison. The first night Murphy came home, he fell asleep wrapped around the water bowl.

Here are the two of them with Cooper laying on the floor eating (water bowl behind him). Cooper looks small from this angle. LOL!

And here is Cooper eating off his new table Stu built for him (water bowl underneath).

But this is still my favorite and fairly recent photo of the two of them...

Ciao for now!


Monday, November 27, 2017

There is a lot I could say on this topic, but the quote says it all. Every action has a reaction. Think about it...

Ciao for now!

2 Funny Doods - #2doods

Friday, November 24, 2017

As you already know, the Doods can sleep in some odd positions, especially Cooper. His nickname is Inkblot or Pretzel. Here's an example...or two...

Murphy sleeps a little more traditionally...well, a little more.

Here are the two of them...

Look closely....

A couple of funny things they have done lately but I couldn't capture a photo of...wish I had! Cooper now has a feeding table with a hole for a water bowl and one for a food bowl. We also have their old water bowl underneath for Murphy. The food bowl is only there when he's eating. Imagine our laughter when we saw Cooper drinking water in the bowl UNDERNEATH the table, through the open hole!

As I just said, we keep the old water bowl under the feeding table, mostly for Murphy. Not to be outdone, Murphy has taken to standing with his front feet on top of the table to drink from that water bowl!

We love our doods!

Ciao for now!