This throw back Thursday is in honor of my baby cousin who turned 30 (GASP!) this week! He’s not so baby anymore, but I sure have had a lot of fun with him over the years! Love you Matt!!!
Wow, who’s been lax about posting pizza Fridays? (Arm raised as high as it can go.)
In looking through my blog, my last pizza Friday post was from May 16th. How can that even be possible? That would mean I have 3 pizza Friday’s to report on! Oh, heavens . . .
Let’s start with tonight. That’s the easiest one to remember! I had to pick something up around the old Westland Mall, so I looked for a pizza place around that area. I ended up at Santinos Pizzeria.
I like that they have the choice of thin or hand tossed crust, and I was feeling like thin crust tonight. Santinos cuts their pizza in pie slices which I learned tonight is Philip’s preferred pizza cut. Almost 16 years of marriage, and I never knew he had a slice preference? Of course, I could care less about how it is sliced just as long as it is T-A-S-T-Y! I am happy to report Santinos met the qualifications! The toppings were good and plentiful, and there was a seasoning sprinkled over the pizza that really added to the flavor.
Last week, we shared our pizza night with our buds Lee and Shirley (shout out!). On the way to their house, we picked up pizza at Cottage Inn Pizza. Back when we started this adventure, Atania (shout out) recommended Cottage Inn. Great recommendation, Atania! The Wheelers and the Days all agreed – T-A-S-T-Y! Philip’s only complaint was that he didn’t get enough! That was my fault. I bought a large pepperoni with extra cheese and mushrooms on half (like normal) and a chicken cordon blue in hand tossed. Well, Lee and Philip both prefer pepperoni and thin which meant two growing boys only had half a pizza to share. Even with me picking mushrooms off, Philip wanted more. That’s the risk you run when you get good pizza!
One last thing about Cottage Inn – their crust and dips! I guess that’s two! They offer several flavors of crust, and we went with garlic butter Parmesan. As for dips, they have the normal garlic butter and marinara. What blew me away was their garlic cream cheese. Oh . . . my . . .! I would definitely recommend the hand tossed for this dip. The thin crust doesn’t give ya enough dough for the scoopin!
Last but not least, May 23rd, and one turd of a pizza. This was another “stay in and get delivery night”. Thanks to my rule of no repeats, we are running pretty low on delivery options, but I found Bella’s Pizza on Demorest. While it wasn’t as bad as the cardboard pizza we shared with my mom and step-dad, it was pretty bad. I will let the picture speak for itself. If that is extra cheese, I would hate to see normal cheese.
Almost three weeks ago, I started the Advocare 24 day Challenge. I had originally purchased the program to do with a coworker (shout out Deanna!) back in January. Just when we were starting, I got sick. I made it through the first day, and I had a terrible cough. As the first 14 days is a cleanse and I had a terrible cough, I decided to wait until I was well. This decision came late that night as I was laying in the bed coughing my head off while tightly clenching my butt cheeks together to keep from shooting my liver out my backside! How’s that for a visual?!
Fast forward to May. Why did I wait so many months? Have I been sick all that time? Well, I have been sick on and off from January to May, but the main reason was my mind just wasn’t into it. That’s the plain and simple truth.
What I like about this program is you’re not as limited in what you can eat. Some cleanse programs have you drinking just their shakes. Others have you drinking 2 shakes a day with a really, really low cal dinner. This program varies slightly from day to day, but you can have real food for every meal! Breakfast is a fruit, protein, and complex carb. Lunch is a protein, vegetable, and complex carb. Dinner is a protein and vegetable with a complex carb if needed. You also have snacks in between each meal and after dinner.
So what does the program provide? The program consists of Spark which is an energy drink that you have 30 minutes before breakfast and 30 minutes before lunch (if needed). It is a powder like Crystal Light, and you just add it to water. It’s pretty tasty! There is an Herbal Cleanse with consists of a fiber drink (more on this later) and a couple of different cleanse supplements. There is also supplements specifically designed to support your system and replacement meal drinks if needed.
Now, let’s talk about this fiber drink. When I first mentioned doing this, I had a couple of friends ask me what I thought of it; and Deanna warned me about it. Deanna’s advice was to drink it as fast as you could because the longer it sits the thicker it gets. Yum.
Here’s a shot of it before I did any stirring. It looked like someone put sawdust in my water glass, and stirring it didn’t improve the view.
I was afraid . . .
. . . and I should have been! This stuff is nasty with a capital N-A-S-T-Y! Day 1, I got it down but didn’t like it. Day 2, I puked up the last gulp. (Sorry, but I’ve got to be honest) Day 3, I did some fantastic dry heaving with the last gulp but managed to keep it down. I was eternally grateful to see days 4, 5, and 6 as you take a break from the sawdust drink! Then came day 7 . . . ugh . . . how was I going to do this . . . I stood over the sink with my sawdust water quickly congealing in my hand. I tried to steady my breathing. I tried to pump myself up. I tried to psych myself into drinking it – just 5 quick gulps and you’ll be on your way to a cleaner colon!
In the end, I decided, “I eat enough fiber!” If anyone is interested in trying the fiber drink, I have 4 packets sitting at home that will NEVER be used, and I do mean NEVER! Actually, never might be too soon!
Until next time, happy dry heaving!
This throwback Thursday is all about another important figure in my life – my Aunt Faye!
You’ve already heard some snibbits about her. She is the youngest of my dad’s brothers and sisters, and she was the one that would “wander” over to my mom’s house and stare out them through the fence while they played. She lived with my grandma and Aunt Duke in the house they all grew up in; and like my Aunt Duke, she worked hard to spoil me rotten!
Mamaw, Aunt Duke, and Aunt Faye were always a trio; and they came to every major event of my life. Graduations, weddings, concerts, plays, they were always there. When dad passed away, Aunt Faye and Aunt Duke were in the car and headed to Ohio within a few hours. One of the best gifts they ever gave me was making sure my mamaw made the trip to Ohio for our wedding.
Aunt Faye can also be blamed for my biggest obsession! During one summer visit, she showed me this cassette tape she had bought by this new group – New Kids on the Block. I can remember staying curled up in their papasan chair for hours listening to it over and over and over. She also helped me cut the clothes off the Jordan Knight doll she got me for Christmas so we could see what was going on under them! Notice the t-shirt – it’s New Kids!
We would talk clothes and jewelry and boys for hours (mainly boys), and we’ve had more laughs than I can even count. Like the time we went to Michigan for my cousin’s wedding. I got us a swanky hotel in downtown Detroit via Priceline; and every time someone would ask us where we were staying, we would get, “DETROIT?! Why would you want to stay in DETROIT?!” That was also the time we nearly lost it during the prayer at the reception. (I can now make fun of it publicly because my cousin NOW knows what a psycho is ex-wife and her family were!) As her uncle was blessing the meal, in the most drawn out, high and lofty voice, he started with, “Dear Lord! Take the curse from this food!” I nearly fell off my seat! I proceeded to smack at Aunt Faye’s leg through the rest of the prayer. Since we had eaten a chocolate bar before the prayer, as soon as the prayer was over, I asked in a very worried voice, “Oh my goodness! What’s going to happen to us?! We ate that chocolate while it was still cursed!” Then I asked if that’s why I was fat? Was it because I’ve been eating cursed food for my entire life?! Barry, if you’re reading this, sorry; but that was just too weird.
She has always loved and supported me no matter what; and no matter how bad my hair style was, she always made me feel like the most beautiful girl in all the world. (Don’t miss the stylish, stonewashed jean purse/backpack!)
It can be extremely easy to become wrapped up in the fun of Memorial Day – a day off work, cookouts, games, parades, etc.; but Memorial Day is more than that. It is a day to remember those who have lost their lives protecting our freedoms.
Today, I want to honor the men and women of our military; but I also want to remember and honor the loved ones I’ve lost. I am who I am because of them. I live my life to make them proud. There’s a little of each of them in me, and I am proud to be part of their legacy.
Willie Lucas – My Dad
Looking at this picture, I can’t help but smile. Dad was such a trooper. If you knew my dad, you knew he was a t-shirt and sweatpants/sweat shorts kind of guy. Wearing a tux with a vest and bow tie? He would only do that for his little girl! He’s was so funny at the reception when he asked me if he could take off the jacket. Upon hearing the word “yes”, you could see true relief in his eyes!
Dad was a City of Columbus police officer for 30 years. For a large part of that time, he worked the west side area where we now live. Growing up, he would call me every night without fail. Even if we only talked for a few minutes, we talked. When I was older and could drive, I knew where I could find him. If he wasn’t on a run, I could find him in the parking lot of a church at W. Broad and 70. Every day, I pass that church, and I still look at the lot expecting to see his squad car.
My goofy humor, my love for travel, my adventurous side, the silly little songs I sing – I got that all from my dad. Some of the best memories I have come from the summers where we would travel all over the US. We saw some amazing sites, visited some amazing places, listened to a lot of Ray Stevens! Every time Philip and I visit one of those places, I can feel dad’s presence. I can see him standing by a sign. I can hear him telling me to “watch for snakes”. I might be nearing 40, but there are still days where I wish my dad were here to beat some people up for me!
Marie “Duke” Lucas – My Aunt
There’s never been anyone like my Aunt Duke, and there never will be. When I think of her, I think selfless, smart, giving, kind, funny, dedicated, hard working. Her nephews and niece meant the world to her, and we were blessed to call her aunt. Her house was a sanctuary. When you went to visit, you knew there would be fun, lots of laughs, good food, and memories to last a lifetime.
My wackiness, my perfectionism, my love of math, and so much more come from her. The older I get, the more like her I become. I couldn’t ask for a better role model. Every time I look in the mirror, I see her staring back at me only with better hair! Those of you who knew her know that isn’t an insult; and if she was here, she would say the same thing!
Mabel Lucas – My Grandma
I never knew my dad’s dad. He passed away when the youngest of dad’s brothers and sisters was just 9 months old. That left my grandma alone with 8 children. She worked as a teacher and mother raising 8 children on here own. She was a Godly woman who remained active in the church until she was no longer able to attend due to her health.
Raising 8 children alone in the hills of West Virginia, you would think she would have plenty to complain about; but you would never have known. When I think of Mamaw, I think of how she loved her soap operas and how she would get me addicted when I would stay with them during the summer. I think of how she loved to tell the story of when she got a blood clot in her leg and had to be life flighted to the hospital. I think of her diligently writing down the country music videos on the countdown each week and comparing them to the week before. I think of her pestering me to death when I had my tonsils removed – wanting me to just eat something. I think of how she loved my mom and treated her like her own daughter even after my parents divorced. She was truly an amazing woman.
Bill Gillenwater – My Papaw
If you look up “ornery” in the dictionary, you will see a picture of my papaw! Him and my dad were two peas in a pod. Mix in Philip’s dad, and the world would explode from the orneriness! When I told papaw that Philip and I were engaged, the response was classic.
Amy: Papaw, guess what I got mom for her birthday!
Amy: (Showing him the ring) A future son-in-law!
Papaw: You’re shittin’ me!
Amy: No, papaw, your too big!
Papaw: Come on, Pooh, let’s go hawk that thing and buy something nice!
Papaw really did love Philip. The would talk about the stock market, farming, the news; and papaw said he never saw two people with bigger smiles than he saw when Philip and I were married.
Papaw loved his garden, he loved to hunt, and he loved just being outside. Cancer took him from us and took him out of the outdoors he loved so much. Remember when I blogged about my Origami Owl necklace and said papaw was represented by a red bird? Here’s why . . .
For the last months of his life, papaw was confined to his bed. His only link to the outdoors that he loved so much was the window in his room. One day, the biggest red bird he had ever seen landed on the window sill and sat there for the longest time. This brought papaw so much joy, and he just lit up when telling people how the bird came to sit in his window.
Towards the end, thing were really bad; and papaw spent most of the days sleeping. One day, when he was awake and mom was tending to him, mom said a little prayer. She prayed to God that the red bird would return for papaw to see. Within a few minutes, her prayers were answered; and the red bird returned to the window sill! Mom’s prayers were answered, and papaw was able to enjoy was last moment.
I’m so blessed to have each of these people in my life – to be able to call them dad, aunt, mamaw, and papaw. I know they’re all up in heaven right now and watching over me. Knowing that I will one day see them again gives me the peace and the strength to continue through this life.
Where oh where oh where do I begin?!
Today Philip, Shirley, Frankie, Sweet Pea, and I went to our first Ohio Pug Rescue reunion! Held annually, the reunion attracts over 100 pugs and their loyal servants. Besides all the pugs, there’s a 50/50 raffle, close to 100 raffle items, concessions, a HUGE bake sale, contests and tons of other shopping all to benefit the rescue! It was sensory and puggy overload!
Frankie, Sweet Pea, and I arrived at 10:50am. The sellers were getting set up, and the pugs were starting to arrive.
This little one was really enjoying the warm sun. Look at that tongue! It puts Piglet’s tongue to shame! What a sweet Puggy!One of the contests was a group costume contest where Frankie and Sweet Pea placed 3rd as the pirate and pirate wench. The fact that there were only 3 contestants? Yeah . . . we’re not going to mention that! The clincher was Philip’s shirt which said, “My pug is a pirate.” I was thinking that meant the pug only had one eye, but I couldn’t find anything online about it. We just went with it!I can’t complain about the groups that beat us. Second place went to the Mickey Mouse Club – how could I be mad about that?! First place went to the Pug-a-saurus group. Just look at their costumes! Their momma made those! It fit their faces perfectly and even had a spot in the back of the tail for their tales to stick into! After seeing them, we knew they would get first place. They were just too cute!
There was also an individual costume contest. All I know is I would hate to be a judge! How do you choose?! They are all so cute! In the end, I don’t remember who got third place, but the little old lady (look at her walker!) got second place. The big winner was the little black clown. This little pug was ridiculously cute! She was as long as she was tall. She was just a little bit of a thing!
. . . curliest tail, tallest pug, most talented, oldest . . . I think that’s everything. We were more than happy to take care of this sweet one while his momma and brother participated in curliest tail. It was all Philip could do not to run off with the sweetness!
Mom and dad ordered it off of Amazon. They are going on vacation soon, and Baby can’t get around as well. They thought they would order it and try it out at the party. Baby seems content and happy as can be! They drew quite the crowd of attention. How could they not?! Baby was so stinkin’ cute! Strapped to daddy’s chest like a human baby, and no one could resist!
Then there were these two . . .
Look at all of those wrinkles and that little sweet girl! The first two pics are the same pug. I just LOVE the wrinkles! They both come from the same home where there are a total of 13 dogs and 2 cats. (At least I think that was the count!) We loved on them a lot. It started when I held their leashes so their mom could fill out her raffle tickets. It was a terrible job, but someone had to do it!
Check out this little lady! I think I heard them call her Zsa Zsa which would be fitting. We love her pearls!
Last but not least, I have to share some pictures of Shirley. She was so excited to go to the reunion and proudly told everyone that would listen (and even those that didn’t) how she was the world’s greatest pug aunt!
We are hoping that this time next year she’ll not only be the world’s greatest pug aunt but also a pug mommy! Ever since she was bitten by the pug bug, she’s been wanting a black pug. While she made over all the pugs, there was one pug that she was particularly drawn to – Puck. She just loved everything about him. As we met him and talked to his mom, we learned she was his foster mom and not his mom mom. Puck is around 8 years old and has some problems/weakness in his legs. His foster mom was explaining that he’s about to go to another foster home that doesn’t have steps. Once he’s off his antibiotics, he should be ready for adoption. The more we learned about him, the more it seemed like divine intervention. He’s calm, gentle, and lovey. He has no problems with cats (Shirley has 4). He needs a home with no stairs (Shirley has a nice big ranch). Oh, did I mention, he seems to be in love with Shirley? Look at that smile!
Well, this puggy momma is just beat. I think I’m ready to do what the pugs have been doing since we got home – snore! Good night all and may you dream of smooshy faced, curly tailed little angels!