Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our Best Reads For February

Gerard's Favorite book in February is:

For the Thrill of It: Leopold Loeb And The Murder That Shocked Chicago Jazz by Simon Baatz (20 stars) Don't think I will read anything better this year! This will be hard to beat! This book that takes place in 1924 is just riveting. It tells the story of the killing of Bobby Franks by Nathan Leopold and Richard Leob. What makes the book so good is that you feel like you are right there while all this is going on! The writing is that good. This book grabbed me from the first page and held me to the last. The first part of the book is especially good, focusing on the planning that went into the so-called perfect crime and then picks up again in the courtroom. You will keep turning pages with this one. It is hard to put down! It would make a very good movie. Well done, Mr. Baatz. Do yourself a favor and read this book.

Karen's favorite for February is:

Leading With The Heart--Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life
by Duke's basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski

Helpful book about coaching. Every coach should read this one because there are so many practical tips that Mike shares and solid principles to follow. After each chapter is a summary of the main points. Mike shares from his experiences to illustrate his points in a very interesting way.

Some key points Mike gives on coaching that stood out to me:

1. Recruit players with character who respect their parents, willing to be part of the team and are coachable.

2. Do not have a bunch of rules that limit you, it's better to just have one rule: "Don't do anything detrimental to yourself."

3. Use plural pronoun's such as "our," "we," "us" so it's the player's team and not just the coach's.

4. Always look your players in the eye and tell the truth.

5. Share the goals with the players.

6. Lead with confidence, show your players what they need to see.

7. Imagine the loose ball you're chasing has your name on it. It belongs to you.

8. Stress honor in all things.

9. Set goals that revolve around playing together as a team, never the number of wins. Define your own success.

10. Five fundamental qualities that make a team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride.

11. Win or lose together--don't play the blame game.

12. Address the little things you may encounter in a real situation.

13. Be positive about all things that happen to the team. Look at nothing in the past as failure. Learn from every game.

14. Plan but be flexible.

15. Believe you can win, but don't assume you can.

16. Always respect your competition.

17. Set up some team traditions.

18. Maintain a good sense of humor--having fun reduces pressure.

19. Show strength, hide weakness.

20. The only way you lose is if you don't try your best.

21. When people achieve something that they've really worked hard for, it makes them feel great, superb, wonderful.

22. You have to work at staying in contact with your friends so that the relationships will continue and live on.

23. Is something isn't working, try something new and different. Never give up, find a way to win.

24. Spend time with your players outside of practices and games to get to know them and become friends.

25. At the end of each season, thank the team for their hard work.

I'll be pulling for Duke more than ever now in the March Madness tournament since I read this book.

We really read a lot of books this month as you might have noticed if you check our 11 yrs. of marriage widget at the top right of our blog. It was very hard picking just one, but we do post reviews on all the books we read on our Zemeks' Updates blog at http://karen.pnn.com if you are interested.


Friday, February 27, 2009

9 Things I Learned in Week 8 of 2009

Fitness


I learned a couple new things at Fitness 19. My trainer showed me a new shoulder exercise called iron cross that I didn't know before. It's good because it works your whole shoulder and varies the movement enough that I don't get so tired.
video

You weigh about three pounds heavier after you work out than when you start. It's crazy!

Help Available--Virtual Assistant


At Dwayne Dot Com I found out about a virtual assistant. I wish I had found this before I wrote "My Funny Dad, Harry" so am listing it here for anyone who may be interested in getting a virtual assistant to help with writing, proofreading, research, planning events, marketing, etc. (yes, I am going to contact her about helping me market my book online). You can visit her website at www.girlfridayservicesofmaine.com.

Twitter


I learned more about how to use Twitter and some tools that are available from My Tweet Plan of 2009 at Karlana's World. I learned you can schedule tweets and create some auto-welcome messages using www.tweetlater.com. Another cool tool that was mentioned in a link in this post was www.peoplebrowsr.com where you can search for a word and it lists a bunch of tweets that have that word and you can reply or follow right from there. UPDATED 4/17/09:I think www.search.twitter is easier. Whoa, there is so much to learn!

Decorating


I learned about a great decorating idea for rec rooms and at the same time making good use of games with missing pieces at Your Fun Family. Just use velcro and hang the game boards on the wall around the room.

Blogging


In Entrecard's general chat forum, I learned from Selcom60 from What's On My Mind that even if you spend 30 minutes reading a blog, unless you click on something while you are there, it counts as a bounce. Now I don't feel so bad if I just drop my Entrecard and move on.

Cat Facts


From Daisy, the Curly Cat I learned cats have pockets! the slit on their ear is called a "Henrey's Pocket."

From my cat calendar I learned that Persian cats don't like to jump or climb but prefer to stay close to the ground instead. I found that to be interesting.

In The News


A sauce pan can be an effective weapon for protection. She should have locked her doors though! She'll tell you all about it on this video and you can also read about it at www.cleveland.com/plaindealer
Judge's wife serves up justice


Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Kind of Cat Breed Are You?

Since I like cats so much, I just had to do this one and it said I'm a Maine Coon!


Here's my results:
You Are a Maine Coon Cat



You tend to be loving and playful around your family and friends.
But when you're around strangers you tend to be a bit reserved.
You are intuitive. You understand human emotions well.
You do best when you are around people. You don't like being left alone (Unless I have access to a computer which in that case, I could easily spend all day on).
I like my results--I think Maine Coons are great cats!

Please share your results with us in the comments.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Little Lent Humor

I got this in an email so don't know where it originated from but I did not make it up myself.

Each Friday night after work, Bubba would fire up his outdoor
grill and cook a venison steak.

But, all of Bubba's neighbors were Catholic..And since it was
Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Friday.

The delicious aroma from the grilled venison steaks was causing
such a problem for the Catholic faithful that they finally talked to
their priest.

The Priest came to visit Bubba, and suggested that he become a
Catholic.

After several classes and much study, Bubba attended Mass...and
as the priest sprinkled holy water over him, he said, 'You were born a
Baptist, and raised a Baptist, but now you are a Catholic.

Bubba's neighbors were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived,
and the wonderful aroma of grilled venison filled the neighborhood.

The Priest was called immediately by the neighbors, and, as he
rushed into Bubba's yard, clutching a rosary and prepared to scold him,
he stopped and watched in amazement.

There stood Bubba, clutching a small bottle of holy water which he
carefully sprinkled over the grilling meat and chanted:
"You wuz born a deer, you wuz raised a deer, but now you is a
catfish."

Perhaps this struck me so funny because I had just finished reading "The Longest Trip Home" by John Grogan that told about his Catholic family in a humorous way.

NOTE: I think there was a problem with the commenting verification thing yesterday and the day before so I removed it. I really thought the video I posted yesterday would have received more comments . . . it's funny, did you watch it?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gerard and Spunky Doodle Playing Together

We posted this video for your enjoyment. I hope you will take just a couple minutes to watch to the end. We enjoy playing with our pets and our pets seem to enjoy it too.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Time For A Movie . . . and A Book Too!


A couple Saturdays ago I actually got away from the computer long enough to relax and enjoy watching a movie on Showtime with Gerard. I had seen part of it before but not the whole thing. It was called "Freedom Writers" and is about a first-year high school teacher who made a difference and had a passion for teaching.

The movie is about first-year teacher getting class to teach English to tough kids in L.A. that were into gangs and got them interested in learning and made a huge difference in their lives. Teacher worked two other part-time jobs so she could personally pay for books for her class since the head of the English Dept. wouldn’t let her use any of the good ones they had in stock. She bought them copies of Anne Frank and they identified with it and started writing journals of their own. Became a close knit class interested in doing the right thing and learning. It was interesting how she got the different races in her class to get over their prejudices and come together as a group willing to learn and make a difference in the lives of others.

I love movies about successful teachers and this one actually inspired me to read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. My cat, Manny, liked it too! He laid with me on the couch for the whole movie! The Diary of a Young Girl (A definitive edition) is unique because it is a real diary of the Jewish girl, Anne Frank, that she started at age 13 and stopped when she was 15 during the time she was in hiding with seven other people. This is a historical document from the Holocaust. Reading this gave me a real sense of how the Jews lived in fear during that time and how unfair life was. Anne writes all about her feelings about the people she lives with and the day-to-day struggles and fears she lived with for two years. The ending was very sad. It was her father though, who took care of her most treasured possession--her diary and shared it with the world to carry out her wish.

I found this to be an amazing book and am glad I finally read it. Anne Frank had a strong desire to have good character and become a journalist. She shares her dreams and insights of human nature based on the group dynamics she observed during her two years of confinement.

Gerard got the "Freedom Writers Diary" from the library after seeing the movie and said the book was even better so I'm reading it too.

What type movies do you like? Does anyone know of any other good movies about teachers? I can think of a few: Bells of St. Mary's (my favorite), The Ron Clark Story, Coach Carter, Mr. Headmistress (comedy), and there's another one about a police officer who decided to start a special class to help kids whose parents were in jail but I don't remember the name of it. Anyone know what movie that was?


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Let's Be Friends Award

Rene' at Designer Frog News gave me this award. She was the first blogger to read me book and review it. She too is an author of the first book in what she hopes will be the "Sonshine Girls" series called "Summer Secret." It's a great book for young girls that deals with bullying, cliques, peer pressure, forgiveness and friendship. Even I enjoyed reading it.

The “Let’s Be Friends” Award represents:

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Mountain Woman: A dear lady who has helped me with blogging tips, Facebook and is my best book promoter. She promotes the blogs of others as well as the things different people make and sell.

Kathy at the Junk Drawer entertains me with funny stories on her blog and leaves comments on mine as well. She has become a real friend who lets me know I'm not the only one who does stupid things. We shared some of our elementary school horror stories with each other.

Ana at Chica & Pumuckl and Chica & Pumuckl Blogger Designs
has been very nice to me. Out of the blue one day, I got an email from her with a sample new design for this blog which I immediately took her up on her offer. Several months later, I asked her to do one for "My Funny Dad, Harry" blog as well and she did a great job for that one too. She patiently walked me through step-by-step telling me what I needed to do. Her blog was one of the first ones I visited when I joined Entrecard because of those two cats of hers on her EC card. I immediately was impressed with her blog, with the cats actually touring Egypt and now Germany.

Daisy, the Curly Cat, her mom and her brother, Harley have become our friends too. She is so amusing and entertaining but also a very nice cat who blogs. Her mom helps at an animal shelter and also enjoys watching "The Bachelor" like we do.

Sandee at Comedy Plus feels like a real friend just because I've learned so much about her through a post she wrote about her mother and is a regular commenter on my blogs. It seems we have a lot in common and I also enjoy her humor blog.

Abelle at Only In Silence lives in the Philippines and was the winner of my book give away contest. She was so patient in waiting for the book to arrive and then read it immediately and wrote a very nice review on it (See for yourself at "Contest Winner, Abelle, In The Philippines Reviews "My Funny Dad, Harry". She often leaves kind comments on my blog.

Tina, Creative Nerd, was one of my very first blogging friends who was kind enough to creative both my EC cards for me because I didn't know how to get them to be the right size. I wanted something unique and original with my blog name on it and she was very gracious in making them for me with the pictures I emailed to her. We are both readers and are friends on several sites.

Polly at Random Ramblings was another blog I visited when I first started and who has become a friend to me. She is the one who finally convinced me to join Twitter and sent me several detailed messages about it. She also gave me a "star dropper" badge which I really didn't feel worthy of and had so many awards that I did not post it. I explained to her I didn't want to post it and she wasn't mad.

It's hard to just pick eight to pass this award on to because I've made so many friends through blogging. I am tempted to go ahead and list all their names here at least, but it would be a long list and I know I would accidentally forget someone and they may have their feelings hurt so I'm going to refrain from doing this. Just know that I do consider many of my readers online buddies.

I know these things take a lot of time to do and if any of you do not wish to accept it and pass it on, I understand. I'm sure the longer you've been blogging, the harder it would be to choose your eight.


Friday, February 20, 2009

3 Things I Learned in Week 7 of 2009

At Word Journey I found out this week that GodTube has been replaced by Tangle. Here's the link to the post about it if you're interested: GodTube Becomes Tangle Expands Purpose.

I learned about a Blog Award site from Justin Germino. He even made an instructional video showing how to vote for your favorite blogs and you have a chance at winning some money when you vote and comment. Check out http://blognetawards.com and find some great blogs!

Happy Hoodie-Hoo Day! It's always on February 20. This morning I just learned about this holiday at Marge and Edna's Basement. In the Northern Hemisphere, it's a day to chase away winter and bring in spring by going outside at noon, waving your hands above your head and chanting "Hoodie-Hoo." This is hilarious to me and I am so sick of winter, I just might do it!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

5th Picture Meme


I helped myself to this photo folder game meme from My Spoiled Mutts:

Open a document or file folder,
click on the fifth folder
and then the fifth photo.
Post the photo and describe it.
Then tag 5 other bloggers.

Here is the photo I found: Spunky Doodle at the Roses

This big rose arrangement was from my firm for my dad's funeral. I brought this one home because the red and white roses were so beautiful and it was such a big arrangement. Spunky Doodle liked hiding behind them and chewing on the leaves very much. We enjoyed them for a whole week. Our dining room table was the only place big enough for them.

I'm tagging these:
The Shutterbug
Linda at Life On a Colorado Farm
Ratty at Everyday Adventurer
Tahtimbo at Everyday Living
Three Country Cats
Red Pine Mountain Photo Blog
and anyone else who would like to do this--feel free


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When Are You Going To Empty Your Wastebasket?

Gerard is just super about cleaning our house and always on the ball. He empties all our wastebaskets and takes out the garbage several times a day. Usually, this is a good thing, but not always. At work, I am used to having a basket for recycling which is nice because sometimes, after throwing something away in my "File 13" I realize I need to refer to it later. All I need to do is fish it out and there it is.

At home though, on several occasions we threw something away and by the time we discovered we wanted it back, it was already mixed in with the garbage or even on its way to the dump! After about the third time this happened, I asked Gerard if he could just let me have one basket that he wouldn't empty until I gave the okay. He was agreeable so I chose my big Browns can next to my computer desk. It'll only be a quarter full and he'll ask, "Can I empty it yet?" I say, "No, not yet." Then at halfway full, again he asks, "Aren't you going to empty it now?" I'll say, "No, there's still plenty of room yet." Finally, when it reached almost to the top, I told him he could empty any time he wanted now. I guess he didn't hear me because a day or two later he asked me again, "Can I empty it yet?" I said "Yes, I said you could."

I don't understand why it bugs him so because it is a high basket so it's not like stuff is sticking out of it like it is at my work one. It just seems that as soon as I empty it, that's when I'll need something back that I threw away. That is why I empty it as little as possible. My work one is very small but you'd be surprised how much I can stuff into it!

How often do you empty your wastebaskets? Who are you like: Gerard, who wants them to be empty at all times or me, who likes to fill them to capacity and only empty them when absolutely necessary?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gerard Went Dog Sledding!


Last Sunday the Siberian Husky Rescue people brought some dog sleds and their dogs to the Metropark in Strongsville by the Chalet and charged $3.00 to ride on a sled pulled by two Siberian Huskies. They set up a fenced in circle area and a dog handler ran alongside of the dogs. It was fun to watch. I chickened out because I wanted to get a video of Gerard doing it and I was a little bit afraid I'd fall and didn't want to chance my cameras getting wet, or my pants either for that matter. Watch close, because it's over really quick.
video


Monday, February 16, 2009

Don't Tell Me God Doesn't Exist--He's My Joy and Strength!!

God is so good! The morning I discovered my dad was dead on my way to work two years ago today, I had a very special devotional time that morning. Both my cats joined me which was very unusual. Usually, it would just be Spunky Doodle up on the table while I would read my Bible but that day, Gerard brought Moe up too and Moe stayed on my lap and let me pet him as well which NEVER happened before! At that point, I was expecting a nice happy Friday donut at work but then just an hour later, my world crashed.

I used to always stop by my dad's on the way to work, to visit a little bit with him and his cats. He'd be up and have the door unlocked for me. When it got there, the door was locked which triggered a bad feeling. I used my key and went in and all the lights were out. I looked for dad. I found him on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet with his head on the tub, dead. It was awful. It was the day I knew would come some time, not then! Not this soon! He was 89 and had lived a very good life, and died on his terms--at home, on his own. That's the way he wanted it.

When I went upstairs to feed and take care of his cats for him that day, they too acted strangely, as though they knew something was wrong. Normally, they came running to the kitchen and couldn't get the Whiskas fast enough. That morning, they just laid in their beds under the table. I cried with his cats. We shared our sorrow. Then everything got really crazy. It's a morning I'll probably never forget--the worst day of my life!

I wrote a little more about the other things that happened that day on my other blog, "My Funny Dad, Harry" which I won't repeat here. If you'd like to hear more, check out . Just a week later, during my quiet time, I decided to write a book about him in his memory. This is a excerpt from my journal just a week later:
I know this is all coming from the Lord, because I never planned on doing anything like this, but boy, I know I can do it. First thing I did was look up the reference of that verse in Micah that I want to include in my book. It is Micah 6:8, but as I was trying to find Micah, a verse in Nahum just “popped” out at me. Nahum 1:7: The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in Him.

Through the next few months, God was strengthening me and helping me through the difficult tasks that had to be done. I saw first hand how good God is. I took off that whole week from work and after that, only went in two days a week for about six weeks so I could focus on getting the house cleaned out and began my book right away. How God helped me through this time is included in my book as well.

I wanted to write it while everything was fresh so the emotions would come through and I believe they did. I wrote from my heart and was determined to get it published before the end of the year, which I did. I don't generally promote my book on this blog, but today is the second anniversary of my dad's death so this is naturally on my mind. He was a wonderful father and husband, a truly amazing man who I want the world to know. Here is the link if you'd like to order it: www.outskirtspress.com/myfunnydadharry. By the way, if you are a blogger and read my book, please let me know and I'll add your blog link to my list of readers.


Friday, February 13, 2009

3 Things I Learned in Week 6 of 2009


In Sunday School, I accidentally used a Sharpie marker on the whiteboard instead of the dry erase kind and the boys showed me how to get it off very easily. All I had to do is color over what I wrote with the dry erase marker and Presto! It all came off!

On Wren's Wings: Writer-Artist-Gamer I learned about another fitness game option besides the Wii that sounds like it's very good with a trainer that is nice and tailors the workout according to your needs in My Fitness Coach vs. Wii Fit. This is definitely something I would like to check out.

I just joined Twitter yesterday (kzemek) and found a post by Misadventures of Lee Ann asking for help in using it. The comments were very helpful so I learned that jendrsjournal (on Twitter) is willing to answer questions about it and you can have your blog posts automatically link to Twitter by signing up at http://twitterfeed.com. I tried registering my blog feed but couldn't get it to work and became frustrated with the whole thing.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tagged for 25 Random Things About Karen

(Me with some of my stuffed animals.)

1. I am very blessed having had Christian parents who were very loving and wise and a wonderful husband.

2. I am a Christian and seek to please God in all I do by always doing my best.

3. I used to be on a Bible Quiz Team as a teen and then coached some.

4. I started wearing glasses in first grade. My teacher noticed I couldn't see the board and that's why I was having trouble learning to read. I read a lot now!

5. I greatly enjoyed the following classes at Malone College--Psychology of Coaching, Psychology of Personality, Creative Movement.

6. I took swimming at Malone College too, but did not enjoy it--swimming for me is hard work. I think I forgot how. I don't enjoy it because I can't see at all without my glasses so I get a headache.

7. I was baptized the day the U.S. astronauts first landed on the moon which was when I was in 11th grade because I kept putting it off due to me fear of being dunked in the water.

8. I like all animals, even reptiles. I remember asking my mom to read to me from our Book of Knowledge encyclopedia set about snakes before I could read. I enjoy petting and playing with my two cats, Spunky Doodle and Manny very much!

9. I do not drive downtown because One way streets, no left turn signs and paying for parking really bug me.

10. My dad got me interested in photography and someday I plan to take a class or two. I enjoy taking pictures--I learned long ago if you are taking the picture, then you don't have to be in it! I never used to like having my picture taken.

11. Checkers was one of the first games I learned to play. I like playing games--all kinds! I prefer playing with humans, but video games on www.pogo.com are the next best thing. Favorites on Pogo are Aces Up, Yahtzee Party, Word Womp, Scrabble, Canasta, Jungle Gin, Poppit, Checkers, Bowling and Bingo Luau.

12. I entered a typing contest and won a prize to a fancy French restaurant that I never used. I don't like fancy restaurants or dressing up.

13. I took German in high school and was at the top of the class, but only remember a very little bit.

14. I know shorthand--do they even teach that anymore?

15. I like things neat, but handy.

16. I've been in many bowling leagues over the years and even have some 1st Place trophies. I took bowling lessons at Carousel Lanes (torn down now) when I was a kid. Games used to cost 25 cents at the Bowl-o-drome where I actually started a church league. The first year, it was all teens with only one adult--it was a blast! I also like to play tennis and golf.

17. I worked for an insurance company for 8 years where a group of 5 of us used to play Pinochle at lunch M-TH and then go out to eat on Fridays for a 2 hour lunch. (We had a great flex time program there).

18. I love playing softball and played on work teams at Softball World. I also used to keep softball stats for the Wednesday night youth group pickup softball games and for the Men's church softball team.

19. I also was on a sand volleyball team from work that played at Softball World and won a 1st Place trophy in the Parma Heights Baptist Church volleyball league.

20. From the time I started attending church which was when I was in the nursery, I've missed maybe 4 Sundays that I remember and two of those were when church was canceled due to snow storms. The others was because I was sick.

21. I took piano lessons and my piano teacher told my mom that I could be a concert pianist--LOL! I have no passion for it at all and no natural music ability. I don't know what she was thinking. I never even liked playing for other people, just enjoy playing for myself sometimes.

22. I used to think it would be fun to be an actor in a soap opera.

23. I would like to visit Covenant House, Boys' Town, AWANA headquarters and a child I support through Children International one day because I donate regularly to these things.

24. I would like to be a volunteer at an animal shelter and maybe the zoo or after I retire. This is also when I plan to coach softball.

25. I wrote "My Funny Dad, Harry" in memory of my dad right after he died in 2007 and self-published it through www.outskirtspress.com. It's available on www.Amazon.com and www.bn.com. You can check out my other blog to learn more about him at www.karenzemek.blogspot.com

I'm not tagging anyone in particular because this is quite long, but if you wish to do it, go right ahead. I was tagged twice for this on Face Book so thought I'd post it on here.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fun In The Snow--Tobogganing/Sledding (Writer's Workshop)


Enough shoveling already! Time for fun . . .

First we had to dust the cobwebs off the toboggan which hasn't been used for several years. It was one of those things I left at dad's when I got married and only retrieved it when he died and I was going through his garage.

Gerard (as we were leaving): "We're too old for this. This is kiddie stuff."

Karen: "No we're not. As long as we can sit on the ground and still get up, we can do this!"

Gerard: The last time I went sledding was a long time ago with my sister when I banged into the tree.

Karen: Well, that's why you're a little scared. This is wide open, no trees!

We went to the Ridgewood Golf course nearby our house and were surprised to see we had the whole hill to ourselves! This was probably a good thing because we didn't have to worry about running into anyone or anyone running into us. I did think someone would be there that could take our picture, but we managed ourselves as you can see from these shots. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot but I don't know where all the people were that owned them. We saw one guy putting away his skis as we were leaving. I was just happy we didn't run into the water off to the right and neither of us got hurt--it was fun! The temperature was up in the 40s today too so we had a perfect day to go.

Afterward our conversation went like this:

Karen: This is fun!

Gerard: I had a good time. I had fun too. Thanks for taking me. This was a good idea you had.

Karen: We'll just leave the toboggan in the van so it's ready for next time when we want to go.

Gerard: I'm sure we'll get some more snow before the winter ends.

Take a look at the short video to see how much fun we had. Then we stopped at the Mall for a Valentine's gift for me and then off for lunch at Stake-n-Shake where we each got a free hot fudge Sundae and Gerard got a free Coke!

This sure beats shoveling!



UPDATED 2/19/10: I linked this up to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop because one of the prompts this week was to write about a February picture from another year. This is one of my favorites!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

25 Random Things About Gerard


1. I love all Boston Sports teams.

2. I used to play shortstop in little league.

3. I work at a warehouse, the same place since I got out of high school.

4. I was Catholic before I married Karen.

5. No one ever thought I'd ever get married.

6. I like yard work, especially growing flowers.

7. I have a pen pal in Boston who I lost contact with but who tracked me down through something Karen put the Internet.

8. I like to shop.

9. I like to clean and like everything to be neat.

10. I like animals, even stuffed ones.

11. I used to have a bird but it died shortly after I got married.

12. Other than watching sports, my favorite TV shows are The Bachelor, Seinfeld, The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie.

13. I admire Joni Erikson Tada.

14. I love to read non-fiction books.

15. I like knowing what's going on in the world.

16. I enjoy working out.

17. I want to go to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game some day.

18. I would also like to go to an Ohio State football game one day.

19. My parents both died before I got married. I wish they would have been able to meet Karen.

20. I used to be fat in high school and was always teased.

21. My favorite sport to watch is hockey. Love those Bruins!!

22. I would like to have a dog one day so I could take it to the park and play with it and take it for long walks.

23. I have lots of sport team hats and jackets.

24. I am a cookie monster--never met a cookie I didn't like.

25. I like routine and am an organized person.


Monday, February 9, 2009

A Visit To The Cleveland Zoo in Winter

When I wrote about a familiar place, the Cleveland Metropark Zoo, on Mountain Woman's Red Pine Mountain blog, I realized I didn't have any winter pictures of it even though we have gone in the winter. So, the last Saturday of January, since it warmed up to near 40 degrees, we went to get some winter pictures. Waterfowl Lake was frozen and the ducks were out on the ice with some holes in the ice for swimming.


Australian Adventure was closed so I had to take a picture of the Wallaby through the fence, but we did get to go into the Koala Hideout to see the Koalas and the tree kangaroo (he's sitting in the tree slightly right center of the picture if you look at the slide show).

The water fall for the bears and tigers was frozen. Here you can see what a nice open area the bear has with no bars which is very different than how it used to be a long time ago. Visit "My Funny Dad, Harry" blog to see some pictures of how the bear exhibit looked years ago.

Unfortunately, we couldn't see the new Mexican wolves because they were all hiding way in the back by the fence in their wooded area.

Of course, the Rain forest provides a nice break from winter since it's kept at 80-85 degrees in there year round.

Waterfowl Lake was particularly beautiful with all the snow but we didn't sit on any benches like we do in the summer. As you can see, the snow was sort of blocking them.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

We Thought This Was Funny--A Little Church Humor

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names and small American flags mounted on either side of it. The six-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, 'Good morning Alex.'
'Good morning Pastor,' he replied, still focused on the plaque. 'Pastor, what is this? '
The pastor said, 'Well son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.'
Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque.
Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear asked,........

"WHICH SERVICE ? THE 8:30 OR THE 10:30 ?


Saturday, February 7, 2009

What Does Your House Tell Others About Your Personaltiy?







What Your Home Says About You



You come across as somewhat intellectual. You can be quite insightful at times.
You have amazing hygiene, and it shows. You are sparkling clean!
You are not a domestic person. You're lucky if you can boil water or sew up a hole.
You are not a nurturing person by nature, but you can easily take care of someone you truly love.
You feel settled in your life. You have enough time to focus on little details.
You are not a very self sufficient person. You depend on others more than you realize.
Your friends see you as honest, humble, and responsible.



Life Is Grand Award from Stay At Home Mom


Sue at Stay at Home Mom gave me the Life is Grand award. I am supposed to list 5 reasons why life is grand and then pass it on to 5 other bloggers.



1. We do not have any debt--our home is paid for and we both still have jobs.
2. God is good and is at work in our lives.
3. We have two nice cats that I enjoy immensely.
4. We attend a good church.
5. We are in good health (even without that yucky green tea!).

The 5 blogger's I am passing this on to:

Simple Married Life
Zoo Crew
Cheaper By The Half Dozen
Mountain Woman
Mom With The Brownies


Friday, February 6, 2009

3 Things I Learned In Week 5 of 2009



While visiting Random Ramblings, I learned that bamboo isn't just for Panda bears--people can eat it too! Read more about this at Bamboo.


I discovered there is actually a place that sells hoodies for Dachshunds. I found this at Ollie Day.com. Apparently, other doggie clothes do not fit Dachshunds well because of their long bodies and short feet. Here is the site where you can order these from: PPE Pet Supplies.


Michael J. Fox is the actor who played Alex Keaton on the family sitcom show, "Family Ties." I loved to watch that show because I liked Alex, the character. The premise of the show was about parents who were former hippies raising a teenage boy and girl and a preteen girl. Alex was the older brother who loved money, was insensitive, very conservative and very funny! I don't know many actors, but I did know Michael J. Fox played Alex Keaton. He made him likeable in spite of his faults. As a browsed the library shelf, I came across "Lucky Man" which is Michael J. Fox's memoir and just finished reading it this week. It was very interesting and I feel like I know the actor now. Here are some things I learned from reading his book:

1. His middle initial is not really J. He just picked it because in the actor's guild, there was already a Michael Fox so he had to use something else.

2. He is a Canadian! I didn't know that.

3. He had a drinking problem but thankfully, quit and overcame it with help.

4. He had a very close relationship with his grandmother who always called him "Michael" because she didn't like the name "Mike" and predicted he would be famous one day as Michael.

5. He was often at odds with his dad because of his poor grades in the important subjects. He got As in the electives that were along the lines of creativity and art.

6. He married the actress who played Alex Keaton's girlfriend on the show in about 7 episodes. I was glad to learn that his marriage was solid.

7. He got Parkinson's disease way earlier than normal. He was in his 40s and had to deal with the disease most people don't get until after 60.

8. He survived brain surgery!

9. His passion is to help raise money for Parkinson's disease research because scientists believe a cure could be found within a few years if they had the funds to proceed. Michael founded an organization to do just that and is an advocate for Parkinson's disease research--his passion.

I enjoyed reading this book very much because he shared about his childhood, his family, his career, his challenges and his own family. I didn't really know much about Parkinson's disease until I read this book. It not only talks about the physical symptoms of the disease but also the mental and emotional aspects of dealing with it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Michael J. Fox and wants to learn more about him or to anyone dealing with Parkinson's disease or who knows someone who has it.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thinking Thursday Q & A Interaction Game: Friends

The game is easy! I will ask a question about a specific topic. The first person who comments will answer my question, and will leave a question for the next person to answer about the same topic. This next person will answer that question, and leave a question for the next person to answer related to the same topic.

For example, if the topic is PETS, all questions should relate to that topic. What kind of pet do you have? What is your pet's name? As much as possible, let’s not repeat the questions for added fun! You are also welcome to play more than once.

This week's topic: Friends

The first to comment answers my question which is this:
What do you think is the most important characteristic or quality a friend should have?


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How To Save Money On Lunches

I know some people who work go eat out for lunch everyday but that's not me. (I save that luxury for Saturday.) The cheapest sandwich I can find is a hot dog for $1.25 but I am not big on hot dogs and they certainly do not fill me up. The next cheapest is a $3 sandwich. Salads are just as much, but I'm not big on salads either. Pizza is high too, $1.00 for just one slice (it may even be more than that by now.) Domino's Pizza has a pretty good deal--small personal pizza and pop for $3.00; however, I don't like to drink pop regularly and that pizza really is small--like 8 bites in all but it's good! Restaurants in downtown Cleveland are way too expensive for my budget-$8-$10 is the cheapest, plus I don't want to spend my whole lunch hour sitting and eating when I already practically sit all day at a desk.

Buying lunch out every day adds up to quite a bit so I take my "sack" lunch to work. A sack lunch is one you take it in a bag each day in case you are like Gerard and don't know what that is (he laughed when I called it that one day). To save money, we don't buy lunch bags. I reuse bags that are that size that we get from other places, such as the brown bags from Octane Cafe' where I buy our protein bars, Malley's bag from our Christmas candy, Dunkin' Donut bags from work on Fridays, and any fast food bags we get on Saturdays. These bags, if folded properly, last 1-2 weeks. I have to make sure I am the one to put them away though, because otherwise Gerard just bunches them up and they take up so much more space that way! Gerard packs his lunch in one of those lunch cooler containers so the bags are all for me.

Another savings tip is to order pizza on the weekend, but do not gorge yourself on it. Save some for lunch through the week. On Mondays and Tuesdays every week I bring two slices of our leftover pizza in a tupperware container for my lunch and heat it in the microwave we have at work along with Dannon's Light-n-Fit yogurt. I also bring a fiber bar or protein bar too those days for snacks. It makes a very good lunch. Sometimes, I'll even throw in a banana or an orange for a morning snack. Once the pizza runs out, I settle for a sandwich.

I have given in and started buying the protein bars from Octane Cafe' since I started working out regularly again, but they are not cheap so I don't eat them every day. They are very good though and give me some additional protein in my diet for my muscle toning. I just wish they didn't cost so much (Over $2 each--they raised the price of them last year)!

What do you usually eat for lunch? Do you reuse bags too or am I the only one who does this? Oh, by the way, I also fold and pack my garbage neatly before throwing it away when I eat at those fast food places on Saturdays--it's right up there with making the bed--see if you missed it.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Drinking at Sink by Spunky Doodle


Spunky Doodle told me to post this on my blog too so here it is. Hope you enjoy watching this short video by Spunky. Be sure to turn your sound on.
video


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thanks For Commenting In January!

If you made a comment on here during January, you should be listed. If you aren't it is just an oversight on my part and not intentional. Please let me know if you should be listed and I will add you on. Although I thought this was a nice way to acknowledge my commenters, it does take extra time and it seems I'm getting more and more each month. Consequently, this will be my last post like this. I do appreciate all my readers and especially like reading your comments on my posts.

Commenters on BOTH our blogspot blogs:
Mountain Woman at Red Pine Mountain
Beaded Tail
Sandee at Comedy Plus
Day Photo-Linda at Life On a Colorado Farm
Cindy at Fenced In Family
John B at EZ Great Life, Family, Fitness & Finances
Sue at Stay At Home Mom
Liza at Moms...check NYO
Sharon (Furkidsmom) at Friends Furever

THIS BLOG

Daisy (a cat)Daisy, the Curly Cat
Bryan Karl at Bryan Karl
Jodi at Jodi's Journey
Tracey at I Am Me
Kim at Life With kim
Health Nut Wannabee Mom
Tony Cathey at I'm a Blogger
Lady Java at Lady Java Life's Pages
Alan at Tech Chalet and Alan Gay and Straight
Jade at Jewelled Ramblings
Jade at Smorgasbord of Delights
Andra at Basketball Basics
Danny Thornton at Mortgage and More and Totally Tennessee
Carol at A Second Cup
Mike Golch at Rambling Stuff
Lovely
Carole at Carole's Thoughtful Spot
Modern Mom
Mary Ruby at Mother Knows Best
Doylene at A Gracious Home and Christian Woman Keeper of the Home
AttyNorris (Davida) at Glue 4 Families
Justin at Dragon Blogger
Robin at Heart of Wisdom
Mom811 at Great Ordinary Happenings
Amelia at Amel's Realm
Jude at Mature But Not Senile
Peanut at Life Through Peanut's Eyes
Ratty at Everyday Adventurer
Mrs Bear at Outnumbered Two to One
Nyanko at Rain Cats and Dogs
Lina at Life In My Own Backyard
Tina at The Zoo Crew
Jane Jane at Viewpoint Publication
Chuck at Secondary Roads
Kathy at The Junk Drawer
Mike Foster at Live Life 365
Three Country Cats
Julie at Julie's Daily Inspirations
Signe at Signe Says
Jolene at My Absent Mind
3 Cat Blog
Wildcatsthree/Chris at Our Dog Log and Ramblings Around The Water Cooler
SueDonim16 at A Pilgrim's Journey
Purr Prints
Michelle at My Crazy Life With a Toddler
Unfinished Rambler
Ruthi at A Carpenter Wife's Tool Box and Ruthi's Breathing Space
A Few Good Cats at What A Good Cat

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MY FUNNY DAD, HARRY BLOG:

East Coast Life
Pam (Ga. Farm Woman) at Life On a Southern Farm
Cactus Jack Splash at The Journeys of Cactus
Abelle at Only In Silence
Heidi at Thoughts of Peace
Cats at Of Cats
East Coast Life
Lyla at Mom To Tweens and Chatty Chica
Chris at Living Well-Naturally
Lynne at The Sewing Mom
Jennifer at Quiverfull Family
Purple Green Pops at Paul's Health Blog
Anne at Small Town Mommy
Gracie at Learn Love & Laugh Through Blogging
Maria at Life's Sweets and Spices
Tahtimbo at Everyday Living
Andrea at Finding Sirius
Tashabud at Tasha's Take
Zoe at Why Kan't Doc Zoe Write
Fay at Blogging Women
Aisha at The Holley Herald
Andrew & Carmel Suarez
Windmill at WindMill on the Hill
Yee Okee Hui at Enjoy Work as Leisure and Mutual Love
NathanKP at Imagination Manifesto
Keisha