December 30, 2012

2012 a Year in Review

     I always think that these type of posts are so similar to the letters you receive in holiday cards.  OOooo we did this, we went there and look how incredible my kids are. Yea not so much.  What I thought I would do is actually just look back through the year at what it really was...  an incredible roller coaster ride.  FYI Stroke survivors aren't supposed to ride roller coasters.

December 27, 2012

The Holidays' Three R's

Wrapping~ Relatives ~Religion
 Now before anyone gets their panties in a know and fusses that Wrapping starts with W and not R I remind you to think about the three R's of education Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.  OK moving on...
     Could you imagine this season without any of the three?  I recently read an article that compares the season to a Three Ring Circus.  I have to agree sometimes it gets crazy enough that you would think Barnum himself was behind it all.

What to do.....

     Let's just be honest right up front.  We all get gifts that we wish we hadn't.  I sincerely believe that everyone who gives a gift believes they have chosen well.  Before we get into my take on unwanted gifts I think we need to look into the psyche of those who bought you that weird thing.  Gifters I believe fall into four distinct categories.

December 26, 2012

So ...What'd you get??

     Remember being a kid and running to your friends in the neighborhood the day after Christmas?  All anyone could talk about was what they got.  Of course at the bottom of the list and actually very rarely talked about was the obligatory socks and heaven forbid underwear.

December 20, 2012

I Always Keep My Promises

 If you recall last month in my post Alabama Just S**ks and it is my fault  I was so disappointed at my inability to attend The University of Mobile's Christmas Spectacular performance.  WELL............

     Fox News has fallen under the spell of The University of Mobile's talent.  First shared by Fox Radio News personality Toddy Stearnes  on his blog the clip then aired on their programs  Friends First, Greta Van Susteren, The Five, Fox News & Commentary. and posted online on Fox Nation. They are calling the school's rendition of Carol of the Bells "Jaw-Dropping"!! It starts off with the Chamber Singers singing and playing hand bells then the orchestra takes over finishing with dueling guitars.  You can see Emily in the Chamber Singers on the right side, she's  playing two bells. Currently on YouTube The Carol of the Bells has over 50,000 hits since its post Monday.  An annual favorite performance during Christmas Spec is The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Fox News is calling this year's performance "An Epic Politically Incorrect Carol".  Each year the twelve men give a twist to the carol; this year included Chewbacca among other unexpected oddities.
     In addition to the airings on Fox News the performance can also be seen on WALA-FOX TV10 at 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Christmas Day. WHBR-TV33 will show it at 7 p.m. Dec. 22, 2 p.m. Dec. 23 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 24; and it will be shown “at various times” on the Trinity Broadcast Network. It also will be aired internationally throughout the season on satellite stations Cornerstone TeleVision and The Walk TV [formerly Legacy TV).
 WOO HOO we're going Viral :)

December 12, 2012

We're going DEFCON (Squirrel Wars part 2)

It seems that I named Nadia appropriately:
 Nemesing* Animal Destroying Innocent Agriculture
Last week I shared how Nadia had attacked my Broccoli and Lettuce crops.  Well it seems she hadn't quite had her fill.  As you can see in the evidence presented here:

She not only ate all the leaves but actually scarfed down more than half of the plants themselves.  
With this last assault on my innocent vegetation it is clear the time for being nice is over.  In response to her first attack last week I covered the shelves with a frost blanket to keep them safe, unaware of her ability to burrow through the fabric to get what she wanted.  I received some interesting advice last week from my friend Sherri.  She told me about motion sensitive sprinklers that she uses to protect her yard from deer and other unwanted dinner guests.  Upon research I've learned there are a variety of choices, styles and of course price ranges.  The one I particularly likes is called the Scarecrow from Contech Inc.,.  This company actually has the profile of a menacing crow as part of the design which I find very entertaining.  Of course I had to search YouTube and find video proof of animals fleeing after activating the sprinkler which you can also giggle at.  This handy little soldier at the moment is most definitely on my wish list.  

What I also am not understanding is why NADIA is only assaulting my broccoli and lettuce.  Right around the corner is the last tomato plant of the season.  There are four glorious tomatoes slowly ripening.  Oh maybe that's it she doesn't like green tomatoes?  Picky little thing she is.
My plan is to cover the shelving unit with screening.  I'll glue the screening to the side supports, back and top.  For the front I'll glue the screening to the top triangle only and attach the rest to the side supports with clips so I can get access the plants. HMM considering the framing is metal maybe I could somehow electrify the frame as well (insert evil laugh).  With my luck I'd shock myself every time. Unfortunately it poured here yesterday and everything is soaking wet ~ thank heavens though all my rain barrels were empty!  So for now I am  just going to cover them by laying down screening on them weighted just enough so it won't blow off.  
Bring it on Nadia!!

*I know that this is not an actual word but it fits perfectly and remember this is MY WORLD :)

December 11, 2012

Rise of the Guardians ~ A Must See Even if you don't have kids

    For years the Muppet's Christmas Carol has been my favorite Christmas Movie, that title is in serious jeopardy!   If you haven't guessed I absolutely love Dreamwork's Holiday Release:

     Based on series The Guardians of Childhood by Academy, Emmy and many other award winning author William Joyce, this movie has something for children of all ages.  The premise is that The Man in the Moon has created Guardians (Santa and such) to protect the innocence of children.  Each of these Guardians are special in their own rite and come together to fight against any attempt to take away the hope and dreams of childhood. 
   We attended the movie on November 23, the first Friday after its release.  Making our viewing even more enjoyable was the very young children in the audience.  There were times when I believe I was watching the reaction of the toddler sitting next to us rather than the screen.  
     I'm always surprised with reviews of animated movies.  Very often they are trashed with complaints of the story line and character development.  While I do believe that all movies should be held to a certain standard I also believe it is important that reviewers remember who the target audience of a movie is.  With the sad quickness that children outgrow most of the childhood innocent fantasies so many of us embraced for years I absolutely love that this movie reinvented all of the main characters. Is this movie going to convert Santa non-believers? NO of course not, that is not the movie's purpose. This Santa is not the "bowl full of jelly" that is usually portrayed.  North, as Santa also called,  makes me think of a retired Marine or a viking gone soft; someone who seems rough and tough on the outside but will get down on the floor and play with a child.  You'll find Sandman, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy all reworked and just as endearing as Santa.  The Villain in this is Pitch, whose goal it is to make all the children of the world no longer believe in the Guardians.  I love how Joyce visually worked night-mares by actually having them be dark horses charging into children's dreams.  
     The cast for this movie was phenomenal : 
  • Chris Pine ~ Jack Frost 
  • Hugh Jackman ~ Bunnymund (E.B.)
  • Isla Fisher  ~ Tooth Fairy
  • Jude Law  ~ Pitch
  • Alec Baldwin ~ North (Santa)
     My favorite throughout the movie was the Elves.  Like many "extra" characters before them The Elves absolutely make this movie.  It was actually the previews with them that made me even more excited to see Guardians.  They provide so many of the burst-out-loud laughs that the movie would be incomplete without them. 
     I am quite confident that this movie will be a Christmas tradition for years to come.  Actually we'll probably be playing it as Easter as well (like I need an excuse).

December 10, 2012

Drive-throughs ~ Why don't I just give up

As Leo Getz from Lethal Weapon says: They always get you at the drive-through.  Ok he wasn't as PG when he said it. I am soo tired of it.
     Really how hard is it to get an order right?  It isn't as if you have unlimited choices when you order off a marquee and shout into a box!  Without fail I can guarantee you that my order is wrong 50% of the time.  The sad part is I order the same thing at every McDonald's so I can't blame it on a specific store.
    You would think I was ordering a burger cooked a special way or fries with no salt.  Nope it isn't anything that complicated.  The order that seems to completely baffle the employees is... UNSWEET TEA NO ICE.  That's it ~ a drink for heaven's sake.  Unlike my son who on occasion will ask them to make his Power-ade with half water, all they have to do for me is put the cup under the correct spout and pull. I can't blame the order taker because it shows on the screen when I confirm my order.
     I now have a ritual for making sure I get the right drink.  When I pull-up to the window I always smile and say hello.  As I am handed my drink I'll ask: That's UNSWEET right?  Now all I can think of is that there is a camera watching to see if they've made a mistake because no matter what they have put in my cup they always assure me that my order is correct.  Maybe they think that I'd prefer Sweet Tea if I'd just try it?  Well no matter what they say before I pull away I take a sip.  This of course means I have to open the straw first so precious seconds are ticking away.  Why they're surprised when I give them back the wrong Tea I just don't understand.  Usually they're very quick to blame the order taker even though they just told me it was Unsweet. Another quick response is that they gave me the wrong drink order ~ I really giggle at that one when there's no one behind me in the drive-through.
     Half the time it isn't just the drink they can't get right.  Not putting ice in a cup must send some kind of electrical shock through their system.  I can usually plan on my tea being nice and cool at room temperature, the worst that could happen is that I get (OH-NO) warm tea.... that works for me as well!!  Every now and then the window worker will tell me they just brewed the tea and asks would I like some ice.  On those rare occasions I call the store and compliment the employee; yeah I'm one of those people.  Now I get that there is no way for me to be able to tell if my Tea is Sweet or Unsweet but people come on~~~anyone and I do mean anyone who is able to hold their cup can tell if there is ice in their drink.
     Seriously I am not making this stuff up ~ Life is way too entertaining to need to do that.  Just today I went through and ordered a Happy Meal, one large UNSWEET TEA no ice and one Sweet no ice.  I'll deal with the Happy Meal issue in a minute.  I was talking with the guy as he handed me my food.  First drink handed over ice tinkling and I asked is this Sweet or Unsweet?  The look on his face said it all.  That's one Sweet the next one is Unsweet.  I can tell he's not thrilled as I start searching for the straws...BIG SURPRISE both were sweet.  Meg was OK with the ice in hers.  I hand him back mine and heard the usual excuses.  As I handed it back to him I ask him please remember no ice. I'm really hoping his inability to follow simple directions will have no bearing on his SAT scores.  I point out that he's handed me a drink with ice and his reply was "that's OK there's just a little".   At least this time it was Unsweet~ you know I checked it before I drove away.
     Onto the Happy Meal issue.  This is a pet peeve of mine and well while it may seem insignificant I think it is just plain rude and false advertisement.  My kids are way past the age of eating Happy Meals so if I am ordering one you can be sure it is because I WANT THE TOY!!  That's right the toy.  Currently McDonald's is advertising that with their Happy Meals you will get a toy from the new Christmas Movie Rise of the Guardians.  (Review on that tomorrow)  If you haven't seen any commercials, the elves are just adorable and I want the toy.  Now I understand that they run out of toys so I have no issue with that.  What bothers me is that they leave the signs up advertising the toys that are included in the Happy Meal.  Where's the truth in advertising?  Do they think a little girl is going to be happy with the left-over Power Ranger toy or a boy with a My Pretty Pony?   Where's the humanity????
If anyone wants the Power Ranger toy that came with my meal today let me know :(

December 6, 2012


 I've decided my Holiday issues are all President Roosevelt's fault!  Why he had to mess with Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation I just don't understand.  Lincoln had it right when in October of 1863, you know what he said it better than I can: "to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise".  In 1939 Roosevelt, succumbing to pressure from retailers wanting more than 24 shopping days before Christmas, moved the date that year from November 30th to November 23rd. People were in such an uproar that only 23 states moved the date, 23 states stayed with the 30th and 2 states couldn't decide so they actually celebrated two Thanksgivings that year.  Finally in 1941 Congress passed a law declaring Thanksgiving to be the 4th Thursday of every November.
     You might be wondering why did I just give you a history less some two weeks after Thanksgiving?  Because I am so behind on everything this year!! You'd think that with Thanksgiving being early that meant there would be extra time for Christmas preparation~ have you ready any of my blogs???  I had serious issues with the holiday being so early. It seemed they were playing Christmas music as soon as we turned the calendar to November.  The Christmas Tree Lots were up and running while turkeys were still defrosting (like a tree might really live long enough if you buy it before Thanksgiving).  UGGH the whole thing just put me off my game.
     So here it is already the end of the first week of December and what have I gotten done for the holiday???? NADA  That's right a big whopping zero.  Outside of a few gifts bought early on I haven't even done any real shopping.  OK my kids are all teens (oops sorry one twenty-year old as she keeps reminding me) and they basically just want gift cards BUT STILL.  Cards aren't signed, decorations aren't out, baking hasn't started, I'm just totally off my game.
    I firmly believe that the reason Roosevelt moved the holiday from the last to the fourth Thursday of November no longer holds any water.  The idea of retailers needing more shopping days is absolutely CRAZY.  If they respected the idea that the Christmas shopping season started AFTER Thanksgiving I might give them some credence however I dare you to find me one box store that doesn't start putting out Christmas decorations before the Halloween candy has been grabbed up by  trick or treaters.  Macy's Parade and the idea of escorting Santa in on Thanksgiving day is wonderful ~ had the Christmas songs not started before we all voted.  FYI according to a poll done by SOASTA 78% of Americans also think stores should refrain from playing Christmas music til after Thanksgiving.
    With all of that being said......

Royal Decree of 6 December 2012 concerning the return of Thanksgiving to the last Thursday in the month of November.
We BREN, by the grace of God and continuous medication, Lady of ALL, wife, mother to three children, two dogs and chickens
Believing the World would run better following my opinions and the Proclamation of the United States President Abraham Lincoln dated October 1863; 

Have approved and understand that:
 Article 1 
Starting with the year of our lord 2013, the American holiday of Thanksgiving shall be permanently moved to and celebrated on the last Thursday of November regardless of whether there are four or five Thursdays in said month
Article 2
Retailers shall acknowledge the consumer's ability to continue with their holiday shopping regardless of the music playing or the store's decorations.  Therefore said retailers shall refrain from the playing of holiday music as well as the displaying of candy canes, snowmen and any other holiday paraphernalia until Black Friday shopping commences
Article 3 
This Royal Decree will become active on the day after its publication and the inevitable acceptance by the United States Congress

The Royal Place in my Mind,
6 December 2012


December 3, 2012

Fun and games are over ~ this means war!!

     Last week I shared the antics of a  backyard squirrel Nadia.  To refresh your memory I commented on how much I fun I had sitting in the backyard watching the animals enjoying our treats.  I thought it was so cute watching one specific furry little rodent attack the sunflower.  Well that little love fest is over and I'm out for blood!

    Today while I was out watering our plants I discovered that my generous offering of sunflowers and feeder corn wasn't enough for the local furry thieves.  The only excuse I can up with for the attack they've launched on my greens is that after all the protein they need some ruffage (or roughage depending upon where you live), or maybe they're on a diet.  Remember my beautiful pots of lettuce and how proud I was that we'd have salad greens for weeks on end~ NOT ANYMORE!!
What I don't understand is that they didn't eat from the full grown leaves but rather attacked the baby lettuce :(  They even munched on my one and only spinach plant.  If you look closely you can see the teeth marks.  With that I could get a forensic odontologist to get the exact furry little thief. Why they would feel the need to completely eat some roots and all is beyond me.
    It gets worse! The lettuce wasn't even enough.... they attacked my freshly re-potted broccoli as well.  I don't even know if the attacked plants will continue to grow now that their crowns have been attacked.  The broccoli they ate wasn't even mature as you can see by the ones they left untouched.   I really don't want to transfer them to the greenhouse as it isn't necessary and I think it would actually hurt the plants.  Tonight I am going to throw a frost blanket over the entire frame and hope that will keep the critters away.  UGGHH  I thought this container gardening would mean less critters.  I didn't realize I was creating an all you can eat salad bar!!
    Any advice?  In the meantime here's the solution I'm pursuing: