Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dogs and Balloons......

Some dogs love demonstrated in Maureen's birthday blog post and the picture below:

So, as you can see, Liddy is a big fan of the balloon. As you know, Lee's birthday was last weekend and there are still numerous mylar balloons hanging around in the house. This is what Farley does when a balloon comes near him:

Yes, he's hiding under our bed and wouldn't come out for a long while!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Cure for Juvenile Diabetes Invitational

About a month ago, I was asked to participate in a charity golf tournament through work. My company, Noblis, sponsored a foursome to participate in the tournament and the three other people in the group consisted of our CEO, our CFO and one of our HR folks. So, how could I turn it down. Better than that......the tournament was for The Cure for Juvenile Diabetes. As a lot of you know, my uncle Thom and my uncle Jim both were diagnosed with this disease when they were a lot younger. Thom passed away on December 24, 2002 from this horrible disease and Jim still struggles with it every day. So, this was the perfect tournament to be involved in.

The tournament was held at Lowes Island Club in Potomac Falls. Registration and lunch started at 11 and the shotgun start was at 1:00 PM. I am not one for being late, so after picking Farley up at the vet and picking up Andrew's percussion learning kit and book from Music & Arts in Sterling, I headed over to the club and arrived right at 11. Well, I got a call from one of the executive admins telling me the CEO and CFO had to attend a meeting and would not arrive until around noon or a little after. Our CFO lives in Lowes Island and belongs to this club so he is definitely familiar with the course.....worked in favor SOME of the time! Anyway, I was able to head out to the driving range and hit a few after stretching a lot.......yeah, that didn't help!

After I hit a few, I headed back to the clubhouse for lunch. It was pretty decent! I enjoyed an Arnold Palmer and some fruit and then the rest of the group showed up. We chatted for a few and then had to head over to the carts for our instructions. Here are the directions, as I remember them:

Format = Shamble (not to be confused with a Scramble)

Every player will hit a tee shot. The team will decide the best shot and all players will hit their second shot from that location. THEN, each player will play their own ball all the way to the hole. Each team MUST use each player's drive at least once and NO MORE than 9 times. Each player will record their own individual score. The best score will be used as the "team" score for that hole. HOWEVER, each player's score must be used at least once and NO MORE than 9 times. As if this wasn't confusing enough, each team is given a tournament ball that will rotate among the players for the entire 18 holes. A separate score will be recorded for the "game" ball. Geez!! Good thing we had our CFO there to figure all the numbers out!! Anyway, everybody was quite nervous when they had the game ball because if you lose it, you are out of the running for the game ball score prize. Lucky for us, it lasted until our 16th hole. Who lost it? Our CEO. SIGH OF RELIEF!!! Better him than anybody else!!!!

After we finished, we headed into the clubhouse for dinner. GOOD food. Shrimp, oysters, scallops wrapped in bacon, crab martinis with avocado, chicken satay, a carving table and made to order pasta!! Oh, and open bar!! So, I drank a beer with our CFO. How cool! Anyway, we didn't win a thing. Did I mention I played like CRAP???? It was horrible. I have a feeling I won't be asked back!!!

Well, all in all, it was a great and BEAUTIFUL day, so all is good!!

Lee's Birthday Weekend Part 2.....

After all the bottles were put in the recycling bin, the confetti was picked up off the floor, the BBQ was put away and we went to sleep, it was time for ROUND 2 of Lee's birthday weekend. We woke up on Lee's actual birthday and enjoyed coffee and breakfast as a family. Then, it was time to prepare the house for Part 2. This party consisted of family. Lee's family and my family all came over to enjoy some conversation, laughter, MORE BBQ and CAKE!! Yes, it was time to try the 5 hour cake! I was able to use our wedding cake knife and server to cut and serve the cake. It definitely was good, it was just a little dry, as most homemade cakes are (I am told). I am excited that it turned out well and everybody seemed to have a great time.

After having two parties to prepare for, I was EXHAUSTED. I think we all were! So, Sunday night was spent watching some football and just going to sleep!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lee's Birthday Weekend Part 1.....

Well, it's official....I am married to a 40 year old man!!! :) This weekend was just wonderful. Despite Hanna and her stupid rain downpour, tons of people came out on Saturday night to help celebrate Lee's birthday. Thanks to everyone for braving the storm to come party! We had roughly 40 people here on Saturday night....Yikes!! That's a lot of folks for our place, but we managed!! The day started with us waking up pretty early, taking Farley to the vet for the weekend and getting started on the cake. This was my first attempt at a "make it from scratch" cake. Lee LOVES chocolate cake, so, naturally, I made a chocolate cake! I started around 8:00 Saturday morning with the icing. That was the easy part. Even if I had to stand at the stove and stir the cream and chocolate chips for 35 minutes. Trust me, that was the easy part!! Then, I started on the cake. This was a triple layer cake. Well, I only have 2 pans....that was the beginning of the fun. So, I decided to go ahead and divide the batter as evenly as possible into two of the pans, leaving what I thought was an equal amount in the bowl. I baked those two layers and took them out to cool. Once they were cool enough to take out of the pans, I washed the pans and filled a third pan with the remaining batter. WOW....that's gonna have to be the base was HUGE! Oh, I baked it and cooled it and then I started to assemble and ice. The whole process took roughly 5 hours from start to finish. Ok, Betty Crocker DEFINITELY had a good idea with the boxed cake method! I wish I had pictues of the cake when it was all said and done, but unfortunately, Lee's computer sorta died and we lost the pictures that were on it. Oh well....just for a visual, it was a triple layer chocolate get the picture?

Ok, so then it was time to get the house ready for the guests. Unfortunately, the weather was NOT too fabulous. Tropical Storm Hanna came to visit us on Saturday. What a pain she turned out to be!! Although, she certainly didn't stop the people from coming!!! In the middle of the treacherous downpour, I had to go to my parent's house, pick up balloons in Leesburg and pick up the BBQ. So, I went to my parent's house to get a few things I would need for the evening and came back home. Lee really didn't want me to drive in the mess by myself all the way to Leesburg, so the three of us piled in the Element and headed to Leesburg. The rain was just crazy! He dropped me off right on the curb at Party City and I ran in to grab the balloons. I ordered 3 mylar and 12 latex balloons, so not a small bunch! When I came out the door, that was when the HUGE gust of wind came through and almost knocked me over and I had balloons pelting me in the face. So, I quickly backed up into the store and tried to figure out the best way to get these suckers into the car without any casualties! Lee ran out in the rain and helped me get them into the truck. Ok, they're in. Time to go get BBQ! We ordered 12 pounds of BBQ (6 lbs chicken and 6 lbs pork) from Carolina Brothers Pit Barbeque. We also got 6 pounds of baked beans, 5 pints of cole slaw, 8 pounds of potato salad, 48 buns and 3 bottles of BBQ sauce. Wow, that's a lot of food!!! If you've never been to or eaten food from Carolina Brothers....PLEASE GO. It is fantastic!!

After getting back to the house, it was time to start decorating! I placed the balloons around the house and put the table cloths down with confetti and all.
Sarah and Greg showed up a little early so they could help with the rest of the decorations while I got ready for guests to arrive. We truly were nervous that we wouldn't have a great turnout because of the rain.....boy were we wrong! I think we counted a total of 42 people, 10 of which were children ranging from 3 months to 10 years. Crazy!!! Because of all the rain, the party was pretty much held inside. After a while, the sky cleared up and people were out on the deck which helped with space!! We don't have a big place!

All in all, we had a great time, and most importantly, Lee had a blast. You only turn 40 once right? Here are some pictures that Polly took of the night's you can see what I mean by all the kids!!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Today's tunes.....

Crazy Love by: w/ Van Morrison

Tommy Can You Hear Me? by:

Evenflow by:

Hard Headed Woman by:

Tempted by:

Stupid Girl by:

Noah's Dove by:

I've Been Everywhere by:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Skin Issues......

So, about 5 1/2 years ago, I developed a problem with my skin that caused my whole body to itch all the time. There was never a rhyme or reason as to when I would breakout in rashes. I tried to see if it would happen during certain times of the year or when I ate certain foods, but I could never find a pattern. I went to a dermatologist who said I had eczema. I was prescribed a cream to put on the effected areas; mainly my arms and legs. This worked, but only for about 2 weeks. I continued to breakout after every medicine possible would run its 2 week course. That was the magic number. After 2 weeks on any medication my skin issues would return and I would be back at square one. I even went as far as moving into my parents' house over the summer of 2005 to see if I was allergic to my dog or something.....nope! (good thing for Farley)

Over the course of about 3 years, I saw roughly 20 different doctors. Some were dermatologists, some were allergists and some were just general practitioners. Just when I thought I had found some pattern or a medication that I thought would work over the long term, it would just sneak back up on me and ruin any hopes of ever finding a cure or even finding out what I had. I ended up at a dermatologist in Reston that was highly recommended by Washingtonian Magazine. I was pretty excited when he really acted as if he knew what to do. I tried some new medication and was doing pretty well, but then, BAM, it came back again. I went back to see him and he then suggested I see a specialist at Johns Hopkins. So, I did.

Lee came with me and we saw a dermatologist there who specializes in contact dermatitis. This is what all the doctors thought I had, so it only made sense. She sent me to the lab t0 have some blood drawn so that numerous tests could be run. We went home with some prescriptions and instructions on how to handle my skin. Again, these remedies worked, but they wouldn't last long.

Then, I got the call. The doctor from Hopkins called me on my cell phone while I was at work. She preceded to tell me that there was a slight possibility that I may have Hodgkins Disease. WHAT? Are you kidding me? You are calling me on my cell phone and telling me that I could possibly have cancer??? Wow. So, she told me to make an appointment with my family doctor to get a physical and have my lymphnodes checked and to also get a check xray. So, after freaking out and calling Lee to completely lose it, I called and made an appointment with my family doctor. I couldn't get in for a couple days, so I had to wait. It seemed like FOREVER but I made it to the doctor and had a physical. She said everything seemed completely normal and she gave me a prescription for a chest xray. I went right next door to the hospital and went right in for my xray. Of course, now I had to wait again. When I didn't hear anything I called my doctor who told me she hadn't heard but that she would call. I was a complete mess and was totally impatient, so I called over and over again. Finally, I got my test results and they were negative. THANK GOODNESS!!!! That was definitely a scary time but after all was said and done, I STILL didn't know what was wrong with me.

Over the past 5 years, I filled about 50 DIFFERENT prescriptions for different creams, ointments, tars, pills and even some "Egyptian Magic" vaseline type crap that some crazy lady, who called herself a doctor, convinced me to buy....what a waste. At one point, I was even on Prozak because they thought it would help calm my nerves and help me if stress was any part of it. That certainly didn't work either. The ONLY medicine that did any good at all was prednisone. As a lot of you may know, this is a steroid and will make you eat EVERYTHING in sight and also causes you to retain water and look like a beached whale. I have enough problems with my weight that I didn't really need another reason to gain weight, but it worked, so I took it when I could. However, there are long lasting side effects to this medication so doctors stopped prescribing it to me. So, again, I was screwed.

Lee was absolutely WONDERFUL through all the crying fits and frustration and just sheer madness. He even married me after all of it!! I was very nervous about the wedding because I had a sleeveless gown. I filled my last prescription for a 9 day dose of prednisone that I started taking a few days before the wedding so that I would clear up. It worked for the most part and then I was able to enjoy our honeymoon as well.

Lee and I moved into a new townhouse in April of this year in preparation for Andrew's arrival in August. It appears that since we moved, I haven't had ANY breakouts (KNOCKING VERY HARD ON WOOD RIGHT NOW). Could it have been something in the old house? Who knows. The bottom line is, I am doing SO well right now it's almost unbelievable!! I will say that mosquito's certainly like me and take ANY opportunity to bite me so that I have SOMETHING to scratch at all times!!!!!

Anyway, that is my skin story. I have the best friends and family anybody could ever ask for. Everybody supported me through all this craziness and I am very thankful. YIPPEE!!!!! Here's to a lifetime of ITCH FREE skin!!!

When you put EVERYTHING on an IPOD.......

So, when you have access to SO MUCH MUSIC, it's easy to get carried away with what you put on your IPOD. It's also a lot of fun. With my new work schedule, I drive myself to work in the mornings and Lee rides his bike (with handlebars). So, I am at the mercy of Lee's IPOD. When you can put 30GB of music on an IPOD, it's fun to see what's next when you just put the whole thing on shuffle. Today's mix included (but is not limited to):

I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by:

Sandy - John Travolta from:

Steal My Sunshine by:

Curbside Prophet by:

Night Flight by:

Yellow by:

Apologize by: