Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Allison and Micah Hershberg are wonderful friends that I don't make time to see nearly often enough. Allison's birthday was December 28, and I missed her party while I was flying back to LA from my visit home for Christmas. So we decided to get together Tuesday night for a visit. I haven't seen them since this summer, which is completely embarrassing because they only live about 10 miles away!!
Their little boy Jordan was born in March, so he's now almost 10 months old, and is one of the most adorable babies ever! Allison and I had a blast sitting on the floor playing with him for a couple of hours. He was particularly entertained by Allison's birthday balloons, squealing when I pulled them down from the ceiling then let them start floating back up.
The thing that makes Jordan so fun is how easily he engages you. He'll look straight into your eyes and smile! Just melts my heart! And he loves the camera. Every time he saw the flash light go on, he would look straight into the camera and flash a gorgeous smile. What a little angel!
While we were all having some dinner, Allison was opening some boxes of stuff she ordered for the upcoming family trip to St. Maarten. One of the things she received was a new sun hat for Jordan. Isn't he adorable? And ready for some fun in the sun!!!
Safe travels kiddo! We'll play more when you get home...
Monday, December 29, 2008
Then around noon, everything started to change. Nadine e-mailed me to say she might get stuck at work and miss the game. "Stay optimistic!" I told myself. "She hates missing games."
She called me later to confirm we were still on...good news! Then the real problems started. She got stuck in over 2 hours of horrific traffic. I parked in a new lot ($5 vs $15 and only one block farther away), and the lot attendant pissed me off by leaning on my car. When Nadine finally arrived, the lines to get in were crazy. Just when we scanned our tickets, we discovered she brought the wrong ones....back out of line to the Kings customer service window (and waiting in another line) to swap them for reprints of the correct ones. Back through another long security line. Missed the puck drop for the first time this season...crap!
Hard fought game, but unfortunately another loss, to a team we have absolutely OWNED so far this season. AARGH!!!! Damn Blue Jackets....
Here's the video of the offending goal that lost us the game, despite Drew Doughty's best efforts on defense.
And unfortunately no additional wins for Drew in the Lucky Jersey contest, but he remains in the lead with 2 wins to Sully's 1.
Let's hope we have better luck Saturday against the Flyers...
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The Board of Education was Mom and Dad's punishment tool when we got too out of hand. Now lest you think my parents beat us silly as kids, I can tell you that absolutely wasn't the case. I only recall getting spanked once, and after that the threat of feeling the board on your butt was enough to make you behave. The funniest part about this picture is how small it is...I always remembered it being the size of a baseball bat!
We did, however, get the privilege of carving our names in it once it got used.
The funniest thing about the Board is how the legend continues with the current crop of Jarrell's. My brother David has told my nephews about his experiences with the Board, and let them know Mom-Mom (my mother) still has it. They asked to see it, and when Mom brought it out their eyes got huge....their Daddy wasn't kidding!
Needless to say, they've never misbehaved enough to put it in use. The threat still works!! I guess some things are timeless...
So when my friend Lillian suggested getting a group together during the holidays, when many of us were home visiting family, I signed on right away. Most of the folks who came are still living in Delaware, many still in the Milford area, and it was a small but merry group. We all had so much fun reminiscing we're already planning a get together sometime this summer when I make my next trip back.
Here's the gang, left to right around the table....Scott, Lillian, Tammy, Lisa, Chris, me and Doreen.
We went around the table and everyone shared updates on what they've been doing for the last 15 or so years, sprinkled with fun memories of our years at Milford High School. A few of my favorites....
- Chris recalling our English teacher, Ms. Ferrari, botching his first name so much (she had a very heavy Italian accent) that he finally made himself a name tag so she would quit marking him absent. He got sent to the Principal's office for that one! Very funny, since he's now a teacher!
- Everyone failing our rock identification test in geology class. Sandstone or limestone? Who the heck knows!
- Lillian recalling yellow permission slips we took home, which if signed meant our parents gave the school permission to spank us if we acted up. Mom remembers signing that one right away!
- Lisa having all the other science teachers tell her she wasn't guaranteed a good grade just because her Dad was part of the science faculty!
- Everyone commenting on how hard it was to be a kid in a small town...."Aren't you _____'s son/daughter?" Which apparently still happens all the time to Doreen and Tammy's kids!
(The guitar player in the top photo on the far left is Mike, my brother's friend)
It was a late night, but a great one! I can't wait until my next visit home...we're already planning to get together again. MHS 4ever, ya'll!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Will loved his iPod....
And Mike is too cool for school with his laptop (toy version...I'm not that crazy)...
And we even got some good family photos. Here's a great one of my sister Liz and her hubby Dave.
And my Mom's neighbor Sue was kind enough to come over and get a group photo of the Jarrell clan. Left to right: Dave Brown (brother-in-law), Liz Brown (sister), Me, Will (10 year old nephew), Barbara (sister-in-law), Mike (5 year old nephew), Dave Jarrell (my brother) and Marion, my Mom.
Hope your Christmas celebrations were as fun as ours!! Happy Holidays everyone!
My little sister Liz...
And of course me! (Thanks to Will for taking a great photo!)
Anything with wheels means prime video opportunity, so here's a great one of Will and Mike, including a massive wipe-out by Will at the end. Don't worry, he's OK. Like all Jarrells, he has plenty of posterior padding!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Dinner included this festive cake! Nice design work, Barb! Too bad Daisy (the family dog) got into it when no one was looking...
Despite his busy schedule, the boys had been good enough to earn a visit from Santa himself!
Michael (5 years old) was a little overwhelmed at being woken from a deep sleep with the help of Santa's sleigh bells.
Will (10 years old) was super excited about the razor scooter Santa brought this year. He's going to try and teach me to ride it.
And the highlight of the evening was Santa's present for the entire family - the Rock Band II video game!! Even Barb was excited about that...I think she's ready to start a girls group with her fellow mommies!
The fun continues tomorrow, with Christmas brunch at my Mom's house. Michael was already asking tonight if there would be more presents at Mom-Mom's, and I assured him Santa stopped at her house after he saw us so they would be ready and waiting for him.
Now it's time for all good girls and boys to go to bed!
Here's a little snippet of John Mayer's "Good Love is on the Way."
And because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I also got a command performance of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" by my 5 year old nephew Mike.
If you're in the Lewes, DE area, stop by and we'll start a sing-along, Partridge Family style!
I know a lot of people, including myself, that do little things to try and help make the world a better place. I sponsor friends in charity walks, buy tickets to events, and put a little change in collection jars from time to time. That's the easy stuff, and while it's needed, it only scratches the surface of really making change happen. Then there are people like Nadine that make bigger sacrifices and do the right thing even when it's hard or inconvenient.
This holiday season, Nadine's passion for helping animals has motivated her to perform miracles for two lucky dogs. The first happened the week of Thanksgiving, when she got a call from a friend with a rescue group. Someone threw a litter of 9 Newfoundland puppies into a river and left them to drown. Another motorist saw it happen, went to a nearby vet, and an amazing vet tech ran to the river just in time to rescue the puppies. When her friend called, she was looking for foster families for the puppies.
Nadine and her husband John already have another dog, a 150 lb Pit bull-Mastiff-Great Dane mix named Bailey (photo below). He's a handsome boy, and the biggest lap dog on earth!
Bailey suffered a stroke earlier this year, shortly after their other dog Lucky passed away after 15 great years of companionship. He is finally doing much better, but Nadine and John had been starting to talk about getting another dog since Bailey's seemed kind of lonely. Fostering a dog would be a great way to see how Bailey would handle a new addition. But when they went to pick out the puppy they would foster, John fell in love. And so little Sasha became the first new addition to the Donat household.
How anyone could look in that beautiful little face and think about throwing it in a river, I have no idea! She's already almost twice the size of these photos, and driving everyone in the house crazy with the bounding and bouncing that only a puppy can provide. John has her spoiled rotten already!
About a week later, I was checking my email before heading to work in the morning, and got this message from Nadine....
6:55 AM on 12/11- and now there are 3- i was in east la @broadway and 87th- stopped 3 thugs who were kicking a puppy and throwing matches on her, I hit one of them- grabbed the dog and fled. the dog had gasoline on her- was filthy and had blood on her. i took her to a groomer after she slept in the car all day- i am her hero- she has joined our expanding brood- john named her Porsche- she appears to be 100% mini Schnauzer- bailey loves her-
I applaud her effort, but John and I read her the riot act on this one. She's in a gang-filled neighborhood grabbing a dog off the street without regard for her personal safety! But for Nadine, all that mattered was stopping that poor little creature from being tortured. Most people would have driven away thinking what a sad scene they had just witnessed, or maybe called the police. But this little dog found her guardian angel, and trust me when I say this little cutie is just as attached to Nadine as Bailey is. She's doing so well, racing around the house playing, that Nadine re-named her Ziggy. I think they were meant to find each other.
As you prepare to celebrate Christmas and your thoughts turn to angels and saviours, just remember there are a few of those angels living among us. And many thanks and blessings to my sister-friend Nadine for being one of them.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I frequently get comments on my bows in particular, so I thought I'd oblige everyone who's asked me "How do you do that?" in the past year with an instructional blog on how to create a gorgeous bow for your package. And to anyone who thinks I'm a wrapping genius and figured this out on my own, not so...I think I read it in Southwest magazine while cruising at 30,000 feet somewhere.
Anyway, here goes! And for any of my trainer friends that are reading, I'd appreciate your feedback on the effectiveness and clarity of my directions. Because as we all know, feedback is a gift!
1) Start with an attractive wire edged ribbon. The wire is critical because it helps the bow hold it's shape. Cut a length long enough to wrap around your package once in each direction. Start with the package face up, and lay the ribbon across the center of the package.
2) Holding the ribbon in place on the sides, flip the package over, and twist the two sides of the ribbon together to form a cross. It will look like this:
3) Once you've tied the cross on the back side, flip the package over again and do the same thing in the front.
4) Hold another section of ribbon up to the package and measure with your hand so you have a length almost as wide as the most narrow part of the package. Cut another piece of ribbon 6-10 times the length of the portion you measured.
5) Fold over the new piece of ribbon several times until you have an accordion of ribbon the same width as the narrow part of your package.
6) Lay the accordion over the center of the cross on the top side of the package. Tie a knot across the accordion using the free ends of the bow wrapped around the package.
7) After the knot is tied, use the package sections of ribbon to tie a simple bow on top of the accordion.
8) Spread out each section of the accordion to make individual loops. Twist each section if needed to make the loop face the desired direction.
9) When all the loops are open, give the bow a final fluff and you're done!!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Mom keeps it pretty simple, since she ultimately has to take down everything I put up. How rude of me to decorate and leave! And since she's transitioned to small trees now that she's a grandmother living on her own, I like to decorate several different ones with specific themes. Here's a sampling....
The Wooden Ornament Tree
All the ornaments are hand made, many by the father of a friend of Mom's. I love the Santa's done in non-traditional Santa shapes...the star shaped Santa is probably my favorite.
The Pre-Fab Tree
This is one of those completely decorated, plug and go numbers, so it was already up when I arrived. I do get credit for the positioning of my nephews' photos, the Christmas bell and the gilded mini tree.
The Sparkle Tree
So named because practically every ornament is shiny, glittery, or otherwise eye-grabbing. It appeals to the glamour girl in me. And I just love how it glows when the lights are low.
And finally, the mantel. Definitely the biggest challenge from a balance and composition perspective, since it really isn't wide enough to hold anything very tall. The mantel theme this year is Old Country Christmas. Most of the decorations are hand-painted wood, and they have a really cozy, homey kind of feeling. Although the mantel decorations are always anchored by my Mom's Hummel nativity figures. The gold box they're stored in is practically as old as I am, and the figures themselves are collectors items. Once the nativity is up, we're ready for Christmas.
So now that the decorating is done, tomorrow will be about gift wrap! I feel a bow blog coming...
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thanks to the wonders of Hertz Never-Lost GPS, I made it to my first Virginia stop without incident. My college friend Mike Lindsay had agreed to give me a bed for the night so I wouldn't be driving 3 hours to my moms that late. Plus, I always have a great time catching up with Mike. The bonus this time was seeing Michelle, who was also stopping en route from Jersey to her parents place outside Fredericksburg, VA. We opened a bottle of wine, had some pumpkin roll for dessert, and watched the end of the Cowboys-Ravens debacle. As Redskins fans, it was a pleasure to see Dallas end their reign at Texas Stadium with a loss...GO SKINS!!
The next morning, Mike was headed to the airport to join his wife and son in Iowa for Christmas, and Michelle and I headed out to beat the Christmas shopping crowds and knock the last few things off our lists. But of course there was time for a photo first....
Less fun was the task of defrosting the car, which was covered with frozen sleet from the night before. Luckily the roads were OK....
After Michelle and I finished up and got her on the road to her parents, I drove over to Tysons Corner to meet two more old friends for a late lunch at Cafe Deluxe. Merry Beth Hall (center in photo) and Kristin Elson (right) have been my buddies since freshman year at JMU. We were all in marching band together, and Kristin and I were both communication majors so we were in other classes and clubs together as well. We spent almost 3 hours talking about everything from college memories to current whereabouts of our mutual friends and acquaintances. It's amazing to me how little we've all changed, and our visit was like continuing a lovely conversation that's been going on for years. My goal for 2009 is to continue that conversation on a more regular basis, and I hope the girls hold me to that.
After my wonderful lunch visit, it was time to head north towards home. Luckily, my friends Kris and Cathy Rutkowski live just outside Annapolis, MD, which is right on the way up the shore, so I was able to visit with them and their new baby Rose!
Rose is absolutely precious, and already trying to talk up a storm (she takes after her Mommy on that one)! Kris and Cathy are both adjusting well to parenthood and everything that goes with it. Cathy worked at Progressive prior Rose's arrival, and decided recently not to go back and try out the full time mom thing instead. Kris is also enjoying a break from work (unfortunately due to intestinal surgery, but he's doing just fine) and will be back after the first of the year. And I was thrilled to discover Cathy was up to her usual holiday cookie baking, so I got some snacks for the road!
Then it was time for the last 2 hours of the journey over the river and through the woods to Casa Mama in Lewes, DE. Boy am I tired, but seeing all my friends was worth it. Now I'll see what's on Mom's to-do list....
Saturday, December 20, 2008
In fact, this same scenario has happened before every vacation I've taken in recent memory. Which makes me start thinking about the statistical odds of this happening. And somehow I recall my hated days as a high school sophomore studying geometry, and start remembering how much I hated doing proofs. Proofs, as I recall, lead to theorems. Hence, the "Last Minute Drama Before Vacation" theorem was born.
Theorem, as defined by Wikipedia.....
In mathematics, a theorem is a statement proven on the basis of previously accepted or established statements. In mathematical logic, theorems are modeled as formulas that can be derived according to the derivation rules of a fixed formal system.
In this case, the previously established statements are my direct experiences on the day before every vacation I've taken in the past 10 years. No matter how well I plan, how far in advance I pack, how many checklists I have, something always blows up the day before I leave and sends me into a tailspin. I suppose I should actually start looking forward to it, like some kind of bizarre confirmation that my vacation will in fact be happening. Or maybe, as is the case this year, my years of experience remind me to focus on what has to get done and not worry about the rest of it, because no one else will know the difference.
So I update my "Out of Office," decide the Christmas card message will be in my blog this year (I'll describe it as my attempt to "Go Green"), and go to bed, resting easier knowing that my stress is just a result of mathematical certainty, not a personality flaw.
Now let's just hope I hear the alarm....
Monday, December 15, 2008
The Kings took an early lead, 2-1 at the end of the first period. Sully got an assist on the first goal, extending his assist streak to 5 games. Here's the video - you don't completely see his pass go to defenseman Matt Greene and Greene make the subsequent shot, but you get a rough idea.
We played a solid game in the 2nd and 3rd period, but unfortunately one puck took an ugly bounce on Drew, onto the stick of Sharks center Patrick Marleau, who then scored shorthanded on a breakaway. The Kings kept it tied through overtime and the game ended in a shootout. Sully scored his second shootout goal, but we ultimately lost 3-2. But we got a point in the standings and are now tied for 8th position in the Western Conference, the last spot that would get us in the Stanley Cup playoffs. So basically, if we keep playing the way we are right now for the rest of the season, we have a playoff shot!!!
With the loss, Sully still trails Drew in the Lucky Jersey contest. Drew 2, Sully 1.
And I mentioned Patrick Marleau earlier....in addition to being an amazing goal scorer, he's also my choice for opposing team Hottie of the Night. Not sure why I'm gravitating towards captains lately....
This was my last Kings game until after Christmas break. Bummer...guess I'm going to have to find something else to write about.....
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Maybe Kopi can't score without Sully feeding him the puck...
Maybe Sully's shot is finally coming back....
Maybe the other teams are just banged up and not playing well....
Maybe my Facebook karma is finally starting to pay off....
Who knows!! All I know is that I like this winning thing and hope we keep it up! Another great game this afternoon against the Minnesota Wild, ending in a 3-1 victory for the Kings. Plus Sully and Drew each racked up another assist.
The video of the night is a dirty hit against Sully, with some quick punishment to the offending player dished out by Kings defenseman Peter Harrold. You'll see Sully in the top portion of the frame getting pushed into the boards and falling down, then Peter going after the offending player and knocking him down in the middle of the ice.
Personally, I think the Wild player should have received a boarding penalty for this. For those of you unacquainted with hockey rules, here's what I mean....
Checking (shoving) an opponent so that he is thrown violently against the boards.
Official Signal: Pounding the closed fist of the non-whistle hand into the open palm of the other hand.
The refs (in my opinion) suck and Sully didn't get the call. Instead, when Peter came to his defense, he got called for roughing. Here's the definition, courtesy of Wikipedia....
- Pushing and shoving or throwing punches that are not severe enough to be considered fighting. Also called in non-checking leagues when an illegal body check is made.
Unfortunately no Hottie of the Night for the opposite team. Since Nadine and John didn't make the game due to other commitments, I had to make the rounds and say hello to all our section buddies and ushers, so I got a little sidetracked.
For those of you following the Lucky Jersey contest, Drew now leads Sully 2 wins to 1.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I love to sleep. My bed is probably my favorite piece of furniture in the entire house. It has 4 main pillows, plus 6 other accent pillows I pile in a corner at night, then reassemble in perfect order when I make my bed the next morning. I have an oversizes pink teddy bear I cuddle with since no one else is sleeping with me. When it's cold, I like to have the sheets and comforter pulled up tight under my neck . In the summer, I still like to have something covering me, but I poke one foot out from under the sheets on the side because if my foot feels comfortable, the rest of me doesn't feel hot either. I enjoy sleeping so much, it takes 3 alarms, multiple snooze hits and at least an hour to get me out of bed in the morning.
You see, my problem is not actually sleeping, it's deciding to give up and go to bed. As my mother will tell you, I've resisted going to bed ever since I had a determined "bedtime." When I was little, I always wanted to stay up late. Since I was the oldest child, I argued I should stay up later than my brother and sister. Even after they went to sleep, I would creep down the stairs to see what my parents were watching on TV, and hide in the shadows until Mom or Dad invariably caught me and ordered me back to bed. Always afraid I was missing something....
Even now, I'll be lying on the couch nodding off, but if someone suggests going to bed I'll always say, "I'm awake" or "In a minute." Most of my various roommates and friends have left me on a couch, chair, or floor at some point, covered by a blanket. When I stay in hotels alone, more often than not I fall asleep with the TV on, and have strange dreams which I realize the next day were portions of my REM sleep being disturbed by gunfire or a car chase from a 3 AM movie of the week.
So why the issue? Sometimes it's stress, a simple case of too much to do and not enough hours in the day. If I can just stay up a little longer, I can get something else done. The problem is that I'm too exhausted to get it done, and I sit there fighting with myself thinking that if I just went to bed and attacked the problem in the morning I'd do a better job. Sometimes I feel like I can't turn off my brain. It's still coming up with ideas, but the rest of my body doesn't have the energy to catch up. And sometimes, I get involved watching a movie that I've already seen 50 times but can't turn away from. Like right now....
So I'm exhausted, I have a ton of things to do this weekend (my last before I leave for a trip home for Christmas), and I'm sitting nodding off during "A Few Good Men" on Bravo.
Someone please cover me up.....
Thursday, December 11, 2008
My featured video is a fight between Matt Greene (Drew's roommate) and the Blues' Brad Richardson. Greene is 6'4" and Richardson is 6'5", so they were pretty evenly matched. Unfortunately Greenie lost this one, but he got involved to defend an ugly hit against a teammate, so he's still a winner in my book.
Our opposing team "Hottie of the Night" is #4 - Eric Brewer, also the Blues' team captain. A little more clean cut than I usually choose, but a cutie nonetheless....
And I couldn't resist posting some pictures of the Blues' backup goalie - #30 Ben Bishop. He relieved Chris Mason after the second period. Simply put, he is the biggest goalie I have ever seen! At 6'7" tall, the goal post only comes up to his hip!!!! Granted, it didn't help him stop our offense, but he's young (only 22) and will be dangerous when he gets some more playing time under his belt. You definitely can't miss him!
Updates from the contest front.....tonight I wore Sully's jersey, so he and Drew are officially tied 1-1 in the Lucky Jersey Contest.
Next up, the Minnesota Wild on Saturday afternoon. GO KINGS!!!