Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WPA - Day One

Jeez, I don't know where to start.  I was just going through my pictures, trying to pare it down to just a few for posting.

The day started with a little snafu with the shuttle busses; too many people, not enough butt space on the shuttle.  The people who had cars started rounding up others who needed rides and in short order we were all delivered to GTCC (Guilford Technical Community College).  What struck me was how nice everyone was - my friend H and I didn't know the people who we rode to GTCC with, but the commonality of the WPA drew us all together.

Though there were a couple hours dedicated to registration, it took no time at all.  The volunteers from High Point Library had everything organized beautifully and it took less than five minutes to negotiate it, which gave H and I time to walk around.  When registration closed, the free-for-all began.  The sheriff's department graciously allowed its equipment and specialized units to set up and talk to us.

The Hazardous Devices team brought out the "bomb robot" that they use to remotely handle devices.  It has tracks to help it up inclines and is directed by the orange fiber-optic cable you see on the right side of the picture.

This device is commonly called a "water cannon" by the media and it is essentially the barrel of a Remington 870 shotgun that is filled with water which is forcefully propelled into the suspicious device.

The SERT (Sheriff's Emergency Response Team) team brought out the big guns - literally.  That beautiful piece of machinery in the foreground is a Barrett .50 rifle and can reach out and touch someone a long, Long, LONG way away.

H and I wandered around looking at all the displays, asking a ton of questions and listening to the questions other writers had.  I took pages and pages of notes that I'm sure I'll be able to use at some point.

After roasting ourselves on the blacktop, we headed inside to listen to Dr. Bill Lanning's lecture, "Why People Kill".  Dr. Lanning is a charming gentleman who obviously enjoys his job.  Again, I took pages and pages of notes.  I'm not sure that it's right to have so much fun and laugh so much while learning why people kill.  I followed most of his idioms, but one got me..."eat a six pack of biscuits and drink a Diet Pepsi."  What?  Bothered me for days until I asked my boss this morning.  Apparently it means to "get over yourself".  Who knew?

Following Dr. Lanning's presentation, H and I went back out to the demos and spent some time talking to a Technical Support Team member (code for Hostage Negotiator).  We were told that we needed to check out the "Magic Bus" - the Mobile Command Center - which truly is magic.  The things they can do from that bus is astounding.  My head was spinning just looking around the bus.  No way would I ever be smart enough to work even one of the components in the bus.

~~Y'all getting tired yet, 'cause we're just getting started on the afternoon festivities.  No?  Okay, we'll keep going. ~~

We opted not to do the EMS demo.  Instead we tagged along with the fire recruits and poked around the burn house.
This is the bottom floor of the maze that recruits must negotiate.  The beginning is fairly easy, it's just moving forward, but then they have to make that left-hand turn you see in the picture.  Oh, and they have to do it in full gear and in full darkness.  It's a good test for claustrophobia.

Yes, this picture is oriented correctly.  It's the second level of the maze and is much more difficult.  The recruits have to work their way back and forth between the walls and up an incline.  There are escape hatches along the maze so that if a recruit loses it, the instructor can get them out safely.  If there's a recruit who may be nervous in the pitch black, the instructors can add "play smoke" to up the ante a little bit.  A claustrophobic firefighter is a dead firefighter.

In the classroom with the handheld thermal imaging devices.

View through the imager.  I had placed my hand on the table for just a few seconds and then removed it; this is the ghost image left-over.

Not very clear, but you can see that I'd moved my hand around on the table and you can see overlapping heat signatures.  Devices like this allow firefighters to "see" through the thick smoke of a fire and search for victims more efficiently.

Done playing with the thermal imagers, we headed over to listen to Dr. Jonathan Hayes' Autopsy Seminar.  Dr. Hayes is a delightful man who takes his job very seriously.  He's Senior Medical Examiner in New York City, as well as being a well-known food critic and author.  Anyone who has read Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series will understand how seriously he takes his job.  He treats every body with respect and demands that everyone else does as well.  He explained the difference between a Medical Examiner system and a Coroner system.  There are a lot of differences, but the main one is that a Coroner is an elected politician who may or may not have forensic training, whereas a Medical Examiner is a highly trained medical professional who, in addition to completing medical school and residency, completes further forensic training.

The autopsy room is beautiful (if you can believe that - maybe it's just the lab geek in me).  Each table has a negative airflow frame (for lack of a better word) surrounding it that draws potential airborn pathogens down into it and away from the staff.  How cool is that?

~~Still with me?  Good, because at this point we hitched a ride back to the hotel for dinner and a brief break.~~

Back at it for the Wine and Cheese reception, where they had the Silent Auction items set up for bidding and the raffle baskets set out.  I did my part and pitched in my $5.00 worth of raffle tickets.

Jeffery Deaver was gracious enough to come and hang out with all of us.  Very classy, even if I was tongue-tied and couldn't thing of a darn thing to say.  Luckily (or not), not everyone was tongue-tied and he was often engaged in conversation with several groups of people.

Lee's presentation "A Wilted Rose: the Tina Mott Story" was almost unbelievable.  All of the twists and turns were nothing compared to the associated ghost story.  Having been raised with ghosts (go ahead, unfollow if me believing is ghosts is a deal-breaker.  I'll wait.  No?  Still here?  Okay.), I can fully believe that both Tina's house and the house across the street is haunted.  The grossest thing about the whole presentation was that Tina's "landlord" moved into her apartment and didn't bother to clean up the blood in the bathroom.  To this day, there is blood-stained grout surrounding the tub. 

And the most disturbing part of the story?  That Tina's son is being raised by her in-laws, the same ones who raised her husband, who ultimately killed her and flushed most of her down the toilet.  The poor boy's mother was viciously murdered and his father has been in prison for most of his life (but will probably be getting out soon - his sentence was only fourteen years).  While I believe absolutely that there are some people who are just plain evil, as Tina's husband was, there are also things that parents and caregivers do that enable and nurture the skills needed to murder someone, chop them into pieces, flush parts of them down the toilet, cook them up on the grill and throw the remaining pieces near a waste treatment plant.  What chance does Tina's son have when he's being raised in the same environment and being taught the same skills his father was?  What chance do the future women in his life have?

~~And, on that note, it's bedtime.  Only 11:30 pm, up and at 'em and at GTCC by 8:00 am.  See you then.~~

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TST: Author Encounters

I told Rachel that I managed to not make a major fool of myself at Writers' Police Academy and that I didn't think I'd have a TST this week.  However, I thought I'd share - instead of embarrassing myself - some of the cool people I got to meet.

I'm finally back from the Writers' Police Academy and ready to bore you all to death with stories, so I thought I'd start with my celebrity sightings.

Terry O'Dell, romance and mystery author, from the blog Terry's Place.

The ever-gorgeous Sophie Littlefield, who was kind enough to let me review A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY.

Jonathan Hayes, NYC Senior Medical Examiner, Food Critic and Author (and my friend H.)

Lee Lofland of The Graveyard Shift, Organizer Extraordinare, and Author of POLICE PROCEDURES AND INVESTIGATIONS.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


9:00 - 11:00

Debriefing - A panel of experts will answer your questions.

11:01 - ?
Nap time!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


8:00 a.m.

Assemble at Public Safety burn building for a real bang! A police pursuit ends in a standoff with a killer. Observe a real SWAT team as they do what it takes to bring in the bad guy. The team will be assisted by patrol officers, K-9's, firefighters, and EMS personnel.

Photography is encouraged. You'll want to remember this one!

9:00 - 10:15

FATS training - ongoing - Jerry Cooper

Crash Investigation - Eric Holloman

Pepperspray (O.C. spray) - Andy Russell

Handcuffing Techniques/Take Downs - Certified Police Defensive Tactics Instructor

Fingerprints and Impression Evidence (Crime Lab) - Susan Pons

ATF presentation TBA - ATF Special Agent Rick McMahan

Scenarios - ongoing - Andy Russell, Rick Brewer


GunDiva et al reports to FATS training

10:30 - 11:45

Toolmark and Trace Evidence (Crime lab)

Police Tools and Equipment

Jail Searches (In actual jail cells)

Arson Investigation

scenarios - ongoing

1:00 - 2:15

Crash Investigation

Pepperspray (O.C. spray)

Handcuffing Techniques/Take Downs

Fingerprints and Impression Evidence (Crime Lab)

ATF presentation

Scenarios - ongoing

2:30 - 3:45

Toolmark and Trace Evidence (Crime lab)

Police Tools and Equipment -

Jail Searches (In actual jail cells) - Deputy Catherine Netter

Arson Investigation- Jerry Coble, Guilford County Asst. Fire Marshall

scenarios - ongoing - Andy Russell, Rick Brewer

4:00 - 5:00

Ask The Pathologist

A one hour session with M.E. Jonathan Hayes. Bring your questions! Moderator - Lee Lofland


Banquet with Jeffery Deaver. Book signing immediately after banquet. We may even be able to convince Stacy to play and sing again.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I thought I'd share my schedule for the next few days - it's going to be a ton of fun and I know I'll come home with a ton of blog fodder.

9:00 a.m.

- Registration begins at GTCC

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Police Department Demos

Local police and sheriff's departments demonstrate tools and equipment

- K-9 demonstrations

- Police vehicles on display

- Fire equipment, trucks on display

- Ambulance and other EMS equipment on display

- Motorcycles

- Dive team


- Emergency Response Team

*This is your chance to sit behind the wheel to see how things really work. Talk to the officers, firefighters, and paramedics. Have your questions answered.

10:30 - Noon

Why People Kill - Bill Lanning, Associate Professor of Criminology - GTCC faculty

- A fascinating workshop about why and how criminals justify their behavior, and how they choose their victims. Learn why the killers sometimes say:

The devil made me do it.

I can't help it, I was made that way.

I come from a broken home.

Everything I do, I learned from you.

If you call it a duck enough times it will quack.

Why me, Lord?

1:00 - 2:15

EMS workshop - Randy Yow

A first responder's take on murder scenes. Learn what they do, and how they do it. Do they have to wait for a detective's okay to enter the scene? Find out who's in charge, the M.E., the paramedic, or the cops?

Yes, you will be loading a body into the vehicle.

Fire Station Tour

Visit a real working fire station. See how the firefighters prepare their life-saving equipment. Meet the instructors who train the recruits.

3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Autopsy Seminar

Dr. Jonathan Hayes - Senior NYC Medical Examiner

Details TBA

7:00 - 9:00

Wine and cheese reception (cash bar)

Entertainment by Atlanta recording artist/author Stacy Allen. We may even talk Jeffery Deaver into bringing along his guitar to join in on the festivities!

9:00 until...

Night Owl Session with Lee Lofland

A Wilted Rose: The Tina Mott Story

A story of love, death, and dismemberment. A walk-through journey of a real crime scene. Meet all the players - the loving victim and her friends, the killer's family, the couple's child, the tireless investigator who never gave up, a psychic, and the killer who thought he was too smart for the authorities.

Bring plenty of tissue. This one's a tear-jerker. Oh, you might want to leave a light on in your hotel room, too, because you'll be viewing real crime scene images.

- D.U.I. monitoring/alcosensor demo ongoing throughout the evening.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis

I had a couple of questions the other day about Digger's disease and I realized that I had never addressed it head-on here, just mentioned it in passing in a couple of posts.

All of my kids have an inherited disease called Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis (HypoKPP) which they inherited from their father, who inherited it from his father, who inherited it from his far back as anyone can research.

It affects 1 in 100,000 people statistically (unless you happen to inherit the lucky gene) and causes signs and symptoms ranging from periodic extremity weakness to full-on paralysis, sometimes involving the respiratory muscles.  It's what's known as an ion channelopathy, specifically affecting the sodium/potassium and calcium channels in the cells.  Potassium must be pumped out of the cell and sodium pumped in.  It's all a very complicated way to maintain homeostasis (or balance) within the body.  Calcium is the necessary ion for muscle contraction, without calcium to activate the troponin and tropomycin, which then allows the actin and myosin heads to be released, no contraction can occur.  When those channels don't work, it throws a monkey wrench into, well, pretty much everything.

In a family with HypoKPP, each offspring has the following chances or not of inheriting the disease:
  • 25% will inherit the trait and will exhibit signs and symptoms
  • 50% will inherit the train, but will not exhibit signs and symptoms, but may pass on the trait to their offspring
  • 25% will be home free; they won't inherit the trait, won't show any signs and symptoms, and won't pass it on to their kids
I knew that my husband had the trait (and exhibited all signs and symptoms) and expected that if I had kids, they would probably have the disease.  The degree to which patients are affected varies.  For example, Digger has mornings when he wakes up a quad, but Ashinator's disease manifests itself via muscle weakness and drop attacks.  Ash tends to recover faster from attacks than Digger, who can take days to fully recover.  Monster complained of muscle weakness when he was younger, but no longer seems to exhibit any signs or symptoms.

It's much, much worse in puberty, but can be brought under control in adulthood.  Digger currently controls his with an assortment of prescription medications designed to help control his potassium balance.  Ashinator and Monster have such mild attacks, that they don't take any daily medications and will take prescription potassium only during an attack.

I worry about him living so far away with his roommates because I've seen the worst of his attacks and they're not pretty.  However, he's managing them pretty well for now.

We've developed a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing - in fact, Digger's got about a 10 minute routine in which he re-counts the story of the day Ashinator tried to move him from his bedroom to the couch using a skateboard.  If I can get him to let me film him telling it, I'll be sure to put it up.

Monday, September 20, 2010

True Story Tuesday - Pardon?

It's back!  Boy have I missed True Story Tuesdays, the laugh-a-thon hosted by Rachel and Mr. Daddy over at Once Upon A Miracle.  Head on over there to link up and read more stories of hilarity or plain embarrasment. *Potty mouth alert*

I think that I've established that Sunday was not the best driving day ever, what with the bicycle thing and all.  Even when I got back into town on Sunday evening the stupid drivers were still out and I swear they were out to get me.

At one point some idiot darted across a four-lane highway in front of me, which was mildly irritation.  What was down-right infuriating was the second idiot who decided to scoot across behind the first idiot.  In a little alien green bullet traveling fifty-five miles an hour, I was not a happy camper and hit the brakes while fumbling for the horn.

I stabbed what I thought were the horn buttons with both thumbs and nothing happened.  In frustration, I yelled "where the fuck is the horn?!" not realizing that I'd pushed my bluetooth button and Ripley was waiting for instructions.  You know, simple instructions like "call Lodge", not cursing because I couldn't find the horn.

I finished my outburst, still not realizing I'd activated my bluetooth.  There was a pause, then, very politely..."Pardon?"

I thought Monster was going to pee his pants he was laughing so hard at the absolute perfect timing my mild mannered car had.

Flyin' The Coop

Digger's moving out today.

I haven't decided if it's a good thing or not.  He is 19 and by the time I was his age I was married.  Of course, I thought I was a grown-up, being married an all, but I was so unprepared for real life.

I hope I've prepared him for the real world - that's all a parent can do, right?  Keep them safe, nurture them, and hope that they turn into the good humans we all want our kids to be.

He's got a job.  He's got a place to live (with two roommates, Lord help us) in Wyoming.  And he has switched to on-line classes so he can continue with school (which he'd better not screw up or I'll kill him - I swear I will).

He's going to live life a little bit.  I know there will be parties; drinking, pot (that's as far as the drugs better go) and women.  I know there will be times when he has to live on the Ramen noodle diet.  I know, with his disease, it's going to be hard when he has an attack and only has his roommates to help him.

But I hope he knows that home will always be here for him.

Stay's going to be a ride, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why Yes, You A-Hole, You're Welcome

I was driving along today, thrilled at the clear blue sky (finally smoke-free-ish, another fire in RMNP this morning), not even caring that there were bicyclists on the road.  Typically, their mere presence raises my blood pressure and drives me to homicidal rage.  It's not that I hate all bicyclists, per se, but I definitely hate the ones on Highway 7.  There's no shoulder to speak of and the typical Hwy 7 flock of cyclists likes to ride several abreast, failing to yield to cars.

However, today was just glorious and I was just enjoying the ride up in Ripley.  About halfway up the canyon there were two cyclists riding up, side-by-side, but still as far in their lane as possible.  The line of cars began passing without incident.  Suddenly the minivan two cars in front of me swerved into the bike lane and slammed on his brakes, essentially blocking the cyclists and leaving them no place to go.  I passed the minivan and watched in my rearview mirror to make sure the cyclists got around without a problem.

The car behind me passed the minivan.

The car behind that one passed the minivan.

The driver of the minivan stuck his head out of his side window just as one of the cyclists made his move to go around it.

The lead cyclist cleared the minivan just as the second made his move to go around, but didn't have enough room and - BLAM! - hit the minivan at roughly forty miles an hour.

I watched the cyclist part from his bike and launch ass-over-tea-kettle.  He was just a mass of flailing arms and legs in my rearview mirror.

Luckily there was a pull-out immediately ahead of me and I slammed on my brakes, skidding into it.  The two cars behind me continued on, oblivious to what had happened behind us.  I grabbed my jump kit out of the back of Ripley and headed back to the accident, expecting to see much carnage.

To my surprise, there wasn't a body plastered on the road like I expected, so I rounded the minivan and saw the cyclist sitting on the side of the road, his biking partner standing over him.  No visible blood and all parts seemed to be attached and working the way they were supposed to.

I squatted down in front of him, made eye contact and introduced myself.  Asked if he was okay and if he needed anything.



No acknowledgement that there was anyone in front of him, invading his personal space.

I looked up at his friend for support and looked back, making eye contact again.  Again, I asked if he was okay, told him I saw the hit he took and that he took a bad spill.  He very pointedly broke eye contact and looked away.


I can take a hint.  He didn't want my help, but some form of acknowledgement or even a "get the hell out of my face" would have been nice.  From him.  From his friend.  From the driver of the car he hit.  But no...I got...nothing.  I did not exist in their world.

I picked up my jump bag and headed back to Ripley getting angrier at every step at the ungrateful bastard.

So, because I'm a woman and I have to have the last word...

You're welcome, Asshole!  When you bleed out and die tonight, it won't be on my conscience.

PS - I know he was probably in shock from his "incident" but there was no excuse for his friend's lack of manners.  Bastard.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Five Days and Counting...

Remember this?  When I took the leap way back in February and registered for the Writers' Police Academy, it seemed like it was forever away.

Now it's just around the corner and I'm starting to get excited/nervous about the trip.  One of my co-workers who is also a writer is going, too.  I even decided to ante up the money to go to the dinner with Jeffery Deaver.  You know, just me and the hundred other people who also forked out the money to dine "with" him.  I'm not sure I'd like to be in his position - you know, up on a pedestal with people watching my every move, asking the same questions everyone else has asked a million times and having to be "on" all the time.  Yet I still paid the money just so I can say that I dined with him (and the other hundred people) and had him sign my books.

I've been waffling about whether or not to take my laptop.  In my blogging heart I know I should, but my physical body says "oh hell no, that's just one more thing to lug around the airports".  So, the laptop stays.  I'll be off the grid for about five days starting on Thursday, but after looking at the schedule we're going to be following I'm pretty sure I'll be too exhausted to even open the laptop anyway (much like I recently have been).

I'm going old school to the WPA - I bought some ultra-fine tip multi-colored pens and a spiral notebook.  It's been a long time since I took notes by hand, and they may not be legible, but they sure will be pretty and colorful :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Apologies, Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

I apologize for blaming you for our wildfires.  It wasn't your fault.

While I'd love to see some moisture to help with the wildfires, I understand why you allowed the fires to burn so quickly.

People are stupid. 

One fire was started by a volunteer firefighter and the other by two people burning brush without a permit.  I get that people are stupid and screwed up, but do you think that we might have some rain to help put the fires out?  No sense continuing to punish the people who had nothing to do with their neighbors' stupidity.

She Who Puts Her Foot In Her Mouth

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Really, Mother Nature? Really?

Dear Mother Nature,

We had an agreement: once Labor Day passed, we were home free as far as fires go.

This year, we made it all through the summer without one. single. fire.

And then came Labor Day.  I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking we were out of the woods.

Boy, was I wrong.  The Fourmile Fire burned (and is continuing to burn) 6,400 acres; it's only 73% contained and has burned 166 structures.  I'll give you the Fourmile Fire, as it started on Labor Day, and our agreement was once Labor Day passed we were home free.

Today, however, was completely uncalled-for.  700 acres west of Loveland and not a bit contained.  Really?  Today is *clearly* a violation of our agreement.

Who the hell peed in your Cheerios?  Can't you just smite the person who pissed you off and get on with it? 

The rest of us are tired of breathing in smoke and worrying about how fast the fire is moving and which of our friends is next to be evacuated.

So, really, just smite the person you're pissed at and be done with it already bitch.

Fed up with fires already

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just another perfect day(te)

The Denver Zoo welcomed quadruplet tiger cubs earlier this year and released them from the nursery on August 31.  As soon as RCC saw that he decided we needed to go see the babies at the zoo.  We made a date to go.

I got off of work early Thursday evening (meaning I'd only worked 9.5 hours) and we decided to go out to dinner and then a movie at the three dollar theater (boy do we know how to live large!).  Lucky me, our date started a whole twelve hours early.

I cancelled my standing shooting date with Tara for Friday and off we went to the zoo to see the babies.  We were pretty much lazy bums and didn't get to the zoo until early afternoon where we got a pleasant surprise - because the zoo had a fundraiser that evening and would be closing early, we got in for half price!

We saw Lions....

...and tigers...

...and bears...

...and the cutest darn ocelots on the planet...

...and the coolest upside-down reflection ever...

...and then we went back and saw more tigers...

I could have stood and watched those cubs all day.  Only six weeks old and already larger than some dogs.  Finally, being jostled by all the little kids who wanted to see the babies got old and we decided to continue our date at Casa Bonita.

Now before y'all get excited about us going to some romantic place, go check out the link for Casa Bonita

It's okay, I'll wait.

You get the gist?  It's as romantic as you can make it with all the kids running around (blessedly few since we were there so early), but it is perhaps the most fun restaurant anyone can go to and is a Denver landmark (even though it's technically in Lakewood).

Of course, our date wouldn't have been complete without a cheesy picture at the fountain in front of Casa Bonita.

Just for you South Park fans, here's a little video of Casa Bonita for you (no, it's not us in the video).

What do you think HCRers - should we build a trip to Casa Bonita into our schedule?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Sky Is Falling!!!

Well, not exactly, but a good portion of the mountains south east of the Lodge is on fire.  Over 7100 acres have burned, including 92 structures and one fire truck.

This is what I fear every year - wild fires.  I thought we were almost out of the woods without one single fire in our little piece of paradise until yesterday.  The Fourmile Fire has grown like crazy and there was another, smaller fire in the Tahosa Valley, just a couple of miles from the Lodge.

The smoke from the Fourmile Fire is visible on satelite...

Scary stuff...

Monday, September 6, 2010

True Story Tuesday is Back!!!!!

After summer break, it's time to bring back True Story Tuesdays courtesy of Rachel and Mr. Daddy over at Once Upon A Miracle.

Thank you to Crazy Texas Mommy for giving me the idea for this post - I'd almost forgotten this story.

Five or six years ago, my friend Angelina and I decided that we wanted to BBQ one night at her place.  Her husband was working in another state and all we had was one of these things...

Now, I was a single mom for a very, very long time and Angelina was a military wife.  We were pretty self-sufficient, so we thought we could handle one small charcoal grill.  Pretty simple, right?  Pour in the briquettes, spray on the lighter fluid and drop in a match.  Jeeeeeeeeezzzz, if guys can do it certainly two smart women can do it.  Right?

We bought the briquettes...

Sprayed on the lighter fluid...

And added one of these...

No big whoosh, no big flame.  So far, so good.  So we waited for the charcoal to be ready.  We'd been careful to move the grill away from the house just in case of big flame, but it appeared our caution had been unnecessary.

And we waited.

And we waited.

And we got hungry.

And impatient.

So we did what any male would do.  We added more of this...

And we waited.

And we waited.

And the kids got hungry.

Now, we had two hungry women and three hungry children and the coals still weren't ready.

We'd tried what we thought any male would do to make the coals heat faster, but that wasn't working so we started thinking like women.  The coals were putting off a little bit of heat and were taking their time turning gray.

I'm not sure who had the idea to add more heat to the grill, but we suddenly thought it would be a brilliant idea to hit it with a blow dryer.  Angelina ran upstairs, got her blow dryer and plugged it in.  We aimed it at the coals - but not too close - and let loose.  After a short bit, the coals started glowing and we finally got to eat!

After we stuffed ourselves, the kids went off to play and Angelina and I hung out waiting for the coals to die down.  A couple of hours passed and I had to take the kids home to put them to bed.  The coals still hadn't died down.  We put the lid on the grill and closed the air vent to suffocate it; we didn't give it another thought.  The heathi and I went home and Angelina went to bed.

When Angelina's husband came home three days later, those darn coals were still smoldering!  We might have over-done it a wee bit on the charcoal thing. 


Monday Minute - Labor Day Edition

This week our guest host is Evonne from Jules Out Loud.

1. If you could interview any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you ask?
I have no idea.
2. You have to give up one thing for a month. What would it be - car, guilty pleasure (ie. food, drink, fav. tv show), or sex?
Favorite TV show.  I've had lots of practice at that with my work schedule, so I think that would be the easiest.

3. Is there a word/phrase you say that you are made fun of for? If so, what is it?
Not that I'm aware of.  Who knows, my co-workers could be making fun of me behind my back and I don't know about it.  Hmmm...

4. Which is a stronger emotion: Anger or Love?
I think Anger is easier to hold onto than Love, but I think Love is stonger.

5. Where was your first job?
Glen Echo Resort - I was a waitress.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Is This Not The Sweetest Thing Ever?

So far this Labor Day weekend has been pretty darn good.  Went shooting with Tara, took Monster up to the Lodge to work this weekend and got to shoot in a Defensive Pistol competition this morning.  I'd say this weekend has been fabulous!

Monster is my problem child; he's not always easy to get along with and has a huge chip on his shoulder.  He's my skater boy, attitude and all, has been in and out of trouble and chooses to live with his father's mother-in-law.  No matter what, he's my baby and I love him (even when there are times I'd like to kill him myself).

Then there are things like this:

...and this...

...and especially this...

...that make my heart so happy.

Estes has claimed Monster as her boy.  Monster can do no wrong as far as Estes is concerned - whatever he asks, she does.  When we arrived at the Lodge Friday night and walked over to tell the horses hi, her head popped up, ears forward and she made eye contact with Monster and nickered.  My horse barely nickers at me, but she was just beside herself to see Monster.  I ceased to exist Friday night.

In fact, watching the two of them, I felt the bond that they have and offered to let Monster ride her.  So here's the thing - Monster doesn't ride.  He's not much of a horse guy.  But he's definitely an Estes guy.

None of the other kids have ridden Estes - they've not been interested.  Monster, though, couldn't wait to get up on her...

Yup, that's my Monster up on my horse.  I had to borrow Bill's horse Ranger to go out.

Really, there are good days. 

And there are really good days.

And then there are perfect days.

Love you Monster and Estes - thanks for taking care of each other.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Goodbye Dashurie

Photo courtesy of Rachel

It is with a very heavy heart that I say goodbye to Dashurie,
Ashinator's beautiful pricklepig hedgehog.

She hadn't been eating well and had become a little anti-social, so we assumed that she was pouting about her new temporary roommates, Ashinator's aunt's bird and fish.

The minute Ash came home with "other" pets, Dash began pouting.
When I took her up to the lodge for HCR, she was one happy little hedgehog and spent the weekend re-arranging her room at the lodge.

She came out to poop on Momma P's shorts play with Momma P, Rachel and myself and was just a happy little critter.

Dashurie, enjoy your new life across the Rainbow Bridge and know that for the short time you were with our family, we loved you.