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From country to city, From farm to fireworks…Through marriage & children, Through employment & ownership, Life continues to be an amazing journey…

Wednesday, January 31

Help Send My Student Ambassador To Europe

Last year, my son was fortunate enough to have been selected as a student ambassador to travel with the People to People organization. Thirty Five students from this area traveled together in a diplomatic delegation to China for 17 days. The learning experience for him was amazing and really a life changing experience.

Dwight Eisenhower began this program 51 years ago in accordance with his hope for and belief in world peace. Every president since his reign except one has kept this program going. It was his belief that if people from foreign worlds were together for a long enough period of time, we would all realize that from one end of the globe to the other, for the most part, we are all a lot alike and share the same dreams and hopes together.

My son was interviewed and selected again this year to travel as an ambassador alumni. It’s his senior year, and a trip to Europe in the summer will finish a wonderful high school experience with more world travel and learning. While it’s an honor and a privilege to be accepted into this group, it isn’t cheap at all. The trips cost $5500.00.

I have had many friends and relatives inquire on how they could help Quaid attain his goal for this trip. I’ve had several blog readers state to me in e-mails that they would like to help as well. My goodness, if everyone that logged onto this blog in a few months just gave a tiny bit, my son would have most of his fund-raising done in no time at all. Because so many have been so generous to ask, I have placed a “PayPal Donate Button” on the right sidebar of this blog. Any and all donations will be gratefully appreciated, and my son has vowed to thank each of you personally. I also intend to post regular updates on his fund-raising progress, and should he be lucky enough to raise enough money for the entire trip, I will remove the donate button on his behalf.

Thank you in advance for your generosity, I know I find it’s always a pleasure to help the kids. If you have a son or daughter (even in grade school) that would like to get involved in this magnificent program… PLEASE CLICK HERE for a link. I wish I would have known about this program when my son was in junior high, he could have seen so much of the world with that many years to participate. Below is the itinerary for this year’s European Discovery. Good Luck student ambassadors!

Depart for France Day 1

Greet your fellow Ambassadors in your departure city before boarding your international flight to France.Paris, France Day 2Bonjour et Bienvenue en France! or a dazzling first impression of Paris, head to the top of the Eiffel Tower (899 feet), built for the 1889 World’s Fair to commemorate the French Revolution. Explore the magnificent Château de Versailles, built during the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, and the seat of the royal court from 1682 to 1789.

Paris, France Day 3

Set out with your French guide for an orientation of the city Ernest Hemingway called “a moveable feast.” Marvel at the white Basilique du Sacré Coeur, who’s dome is the second highest
point in Paris. Experience one of the most unforgettable places in Europe, the Notre Dame Cathedral, a building that took two centuries to complete. Find Point Zéro, the spot from which all road distances in France are measured, in the courtyard of Notre Dame. Visit the historic Montmartre area, a haven for artists and writers before World War I.

Reims, France Day 4

Take a guided exploration of one of the most important art collections in the world, the famous Louvre. You will visit the principal parts of the museum — including a look at Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, "Mona Lisa." Au revoir Paris! Journey to Reims and spend the night.

Strasbourg, France Day 5

Cross the rolling plains of the Northeast to the region of Champagne, known for some of France’s finest landscapes and its fine wines. Alsace and Lorraine, regions containing many charming medieval towns, have changed nationality four times since 1871. Explore Strasbourg with your delegation.

Zurich, Switzerland Day 6

On the way to Zurich, make a stop in the medieval city of Lucerne. Stroll along the picturesque Kapellbrücke, the wooden bridge spanning Lake Lucerne, and have a look at the Lion
Monument, dedicated to the Swiss soldiers who died in the French Revolution (1792). Buy some famous Swiss chocolate for your friends and family back home.

Salzburg, Austria Days 7-8

Innsbruck (“Bridge over the Inn River”), the capital of the region of Tyrol and home of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, will be your next destination. Enjoy lunch at the “Villa Blanka” in Innsbruck and try baking your own dessert — the famous Austrian Apfelstrudel. Continue through scenic Austria to
Salzburg, the city of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the
world’s greatest composers. Journey to Hallein, where you will visit the famous salt mines.

Home Stay or Guesthouse, Austria Days 9-11

Visit the concentration camp Mauthausen to learn the dark side of recent European history. Head to Vienna and enjoy the Prater Amusement Park. Meet your host family to experience life in Austria, meet the locals and make lifelong friends.

Vienna, Austria Day 12

Explore Vienna by bicycle. Take part in a discussion with a survivor of a concentration camp, a unique opportunity and a true honor for Student Ambassadors. Attend a concert at one of the famous concert houses of Vienna.

Sirnitz, Austria Day 13

Depart for the small castle town of Friesach, once important for its key location on the Venice-Vienna trade route. Enjoy a rousing medieval lunch at the Friesach Castle and a formal welcome by the residents and town officials of Sirnitz.

Jesolo, Italy Days 14-15

Before leaving Austria, stop to visit a mill and farm, and work with the local residents to gather all the necessary ingredients to make your own lunch. Continue on to Italy. Enjoy a typical Italian beach town, including a swim in the Adriatic Sea. Explore Venice: the bustling alleys, quaint bridges, narrow canals and one of life’s great pleasures, a ride in a gondola. See a demonstration of Venetian glass blowing in the factory, Veccia Murano.

Montecatini, Italy Day 16

Leave Venice and journey through the Tuscan countryside to Florence. Visit the Accademia Gallery and view Michelangelo’s colossal statue, David. Leave Florence and continue your drive to
Montecatini, where you’ll spend the night.

Rome, Italy Day 17

Travel to Pisa and discover the Square of Miracles and the Leaning Tower. At Volterra, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding Tuscan hills, you will learn about the old tradition of Alabaster arts and the many uses of the beautiful stones.

Rome, Italy Day 18

Visit the capital of Catholicism and the world’s smallest
state, the Vatican. Marvel at St. Peter’s Basilica, which contains hundreds of works of art, and the Sistine chapel, containing perhaps the most amazing frescoes in the world. Attend an educational meeting with a priest who will speak about
Catholicism in Italy and life in the Vatican, or with a nun who will explain her life in Rome. Have a rockin’ and rollin’ good time
at the Hard Rock Café.

Rome, Italy Day 19

Visit to the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Piazza Venezia, and explore the city center. Collect information about the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.

Depart for the U.S. Day 20

George Bush - Pardon The Border Patrol Officers

Dear George Bush:

PARDON YOUR DUTIFUL BORDER PATROL OFFICERS! What part of, illegal alien criminals have NO CIVIL RIGHTS do you not understand? “Your in our country illegally, you have $1,000,000 (over 700 lbs.) of marijuana in your possession and are attempting to traffic said drugs in the USA illegally, and assaulted a border patrol officer and then ran…YOU HAVE NO CIVIL RIGHTS HERE!”

Malinda Campbell
Legal Citizen / Nevada

Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila
was in this country illegally and had a million dollars worth of drugs on him. After already assaulting one officer, he ran, and officers Igancio Ramos and Jose Compean were in pursuit. The officers believed as the fleeing perpetrator ran, he turned to aim something at them, they believed he had a gun. In the foot pursuit, the officers shot at him multiple times. They say he ran back over the border, and they did not know that they had hit him.

Now, the officers then picked up shell casings and failed to properly report the incident, however, according to them…there really wasn’t an incident…they did not know the man had been hit. Here’s the part that absolutely BLOWS MY MIND!

The freaking DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY sent an agent TO MEXICO to find this creep and drag him back to the USA to TESTIFY AGAINST THE BORDER PATROL AGENTS. An army doctor took a bullet out of his ass and even though ballistic tests weren’t 100% conclusive, the patrol officers were tried and convicted of violating Davila’s civil rights and sentenced to 12 & 11 YEARS IN PRISON. Now, if that’s not appalling enough, the criminal was known to have been in the country again with 1000 pounds of drugs again, yet wasn’t chased down and prosecuted. He is now filing a $5 million dollar lawsuit against the government.

Meanwhile, both Ramos and Compean are rotting in prison when they should have received a medal, and their families are desperately trying to survive. One family has already lost their home and both families are all without any health coverage and barely enough money to get by.

It was also one month from the time of the “shooting” that criminal illegal Aldrete-Davila was “fetched” by Homeland Security to come back to the USA. Many believe that it was highly possible he was actually shot back in Mexico for not delivering his million dollar load properly.
The investigation goes on while two men are in prison. Mr. Davila should have been shot in the head, but instead got shot in the butt. Perhaps the agents broke some rules and should be punished in some way, but 12 years in prison is excessive. I really hope our government WAKES UP TO SEE THE LIGHT…we need to protect our borders. Everybody knows that it’s illegal to enter this country, especially with several million dollars worth of drugs in tow. We must protect our borders and protect our citizens from drug lords and terrorists. I can’t even believe this happened. I thought Homeland Security was all about protecting the HOMELAND…NOT CODDLING THE ILLEGALS THAT VIOLATE OUR LAND. No wonder our country is going to hell in a hand basket one day and one incident like this at a time.

Blue Balls & Red Nutz - The Perfect Gift ?

I absolutely COULD NOT pass up this opportunity to post this sponsored tidbit. As my regular readers know, we own and operate a Big-Rig Truck garage, and a Pickup garage. YES… people DO ASK FOR THESE…THEY DO INQUIRE ON WHERE THEY CAN BE PURCHASED! I’ve seen them on trucks before, but we don’t sell them in our shops, and I never knew where they could be attained.

Well truckers, bikers, and sand lovers…I’ve found your place. YourNutz.com is proudly encouraging folks to give blue balls or red nutz for Valentine’s Day. They have products with the Valentine theme among many other choices. I’m still cracking up at the irony that I stumbled across this site. These are available for trucks, cars, motorcycles, quads, and any other vehicle you might imagine. I suppose you could even put them on your bicycle if you wanted. Your Nutz will most definitely become a topic of conversation, and probably the result of a few honks as you breeze down the freeway “free-ballin” in the wind. Your nutz can light up, and are available in any color you wish.

Go on over and give this site a look-see. Gift shipping is available. Give the perfect prank gift to your favorite jokemeister.

Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves

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Boy, the Indian people back in their day were a very soulful people and had the right ideas on so many things. Perhaps we’d be better suited to find a really old Indian Chief to sit in the White House :) I like the following Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Tuesday, January 30

My First Photos With New Camera

Lasting Winter Berries
Lasting Winter Berries

Clinging Winter Leaf
Clinging Winter Leaf

Persian Sucks Thumb
Persian Sucks Thumb

I have had hardly any time to really learn about the awesome camera my husband bought me for Christmas, but I managed to snap a few shots. I uploaded them to Webshots.com and lo and behold it seems that a few folks liked them too. I was so excited, 41 people have already downloaded my little photos for a screensaver or wallpaper. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up (and my other macro lens to come in) so I can get out and really get into this photography hobby more. If you click on a photo, it will get larger (I think :) )

IncParadise.com - Incorporate In Nevada

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Many businesses are moving their corporate headquarters to the state of Nevada. We now have some very large companies located here like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. It’s a prime location to own a business. Why Nevada? Well, besides the fact that we have NO STATE INCOME TAX, and there is NO TAX ON INVENTORY, there are many other reasons to choose Nevada. Check out this Small Business Blog to find your reason to incorporate in Nevada. IncParadise.com makes it easy to incorporate and start your business right online. They also offer advice and news for entrepreneurs and small business owners. This post sponsored by IncParadise.com.

Monday, January 29

Evil Men Have Hearts Too

Remember when you were a kid… and there was always one old scary mean man that lived somewhere in a run down house… and NOBODY EVER WANTED TO GO THERE OR TALK TO HIM because he WAS the “Scary Man”. Well, now even into adulthood, some business owners have that sort of reputation too…and so goes it with a man down the road from my shop.

I own a pickup garage, and this company is a new business for us…only open since May 2006. There is another diesel shop just down the road from me, and the owner has the “scary man” reputation. I’ve heard horror stories from customers that state they will never step foot in his shop again EVER. Well, I’ve never met the man, even though we are technically competitors. I’ve never believed as a business owner to ever bad mouth another similar business; it just doesn’t need to be done. It’s unprofessional and only would lower me to that level. So, when I’m ever bombarded with another bad experience story of this man, I simply state, “I’ve actually never met him. I’m sorry you had a bad experience there, we will certainly do our best to serve your repair needs professionally here.”

Well, wouldn’t you know it… a few days ago one of the dealerships delivered some of his parts to my shop in error? My manager came to me and asked me how I wanted him to handle this. I stated that this would be the perfect time to finally meet this man and offer a hand of business friendship. I instructed him to hand deliver the parts to his shop and let him know what happened, and to offer him a business card and tell the man that if we can ever be of any service to him, just call. My manager looked at me with that perfect expression of a child that is about to be dared to knock on the “Scary Man’s” door. I told him not to worry…that rumors are usually exaggerated and he’s probably not that bad. So, off he went.

A short time later, my manager came back and told me this…”I did what you asked and how you asked because I respect you and my job. However, if I ever see this man again I cannot be responsible for what I might say or how I might treat him. He is the BIGGEST DICK I’ve ever had the displeasure to encounter.” I asked him what in the world happened, and he told me this story.

He showed up at the guy’s shop with parts and invoice in hand (actually in both hands). The business owner was on the phone literally SCREAMING at someone on the other end, and with the same breaths was SCREAMING at one of his own mechanics. My guy determines that he’s screaming at the dealership about the whereabouts of his missing parts. He says, “Oh, here’s a guy now…it better G__ Damn be the parts!”, and slams down the telephone receiver. He jerks the parts out of one hand of my manager and throws them at his mechanic and yells at him in a very condescending manner and demands that he finish the job RIGHT NOW. My guy is still standing there (mostly dumbfounded) because he hasn’t yet had an opportunity between Scary Man’s outbursts to let him know who he was, and how we came by his parts in error. Scary Man jerks the other parts out of my guy’s other hand and just flings them out into his shop hitting the floor with a skid. My guy is still standing there with an invoice, and Scary Man then jerks the paperwork out of his other hand and throws that on his desk as papers fly and rudely lets him know that “he could go now…what are you doing just standing there?” My manager quietly offers a handshake and a business card and lets him know who he actually is. My guy says you could see the color leave Scary Man’s face. My guy left feeling like every rumor he’d ever heard about this fellow was more than true…and a little disappointed inside that try as he might, his manners didn’t overcome the man’s natural rage and fury at the world. He came back to the shop with this story, and I almost felt bad about ever sending him there in the first place. I told him to consider the source, and if a similar thing ever happened again, we would let the dealership pick up their own parts and re-deliver them to the rightful place.

Then…lo and behold…the sun rose the next morning to a new day, and guess who came walking into my shop? Oh my goodness, it was Scary Man in the flesh. He came in to see my manager to apologize and give him a gift certificate to Wendy’s for some free lunch. He was in and out so fast; I did not even realize who he was. After his departure, my manager came up to my office and asked me if I saw him. I said, “I saw a guy come in and immediately leave, but he did not speak to me other than to ask for you.” He said that was Scary Man and told me of his kind gesture.

I immediately penned (typed) a short letter to him stating that I was the owner and was sorry we did not get formally introduced but that I thought his gesture of kindness was commendable and I appreciated his effort. I again offered a hand of business friendship and sent the letter off in the mail.

I doubt we will ever have much if anything to do with him in the future, and I have no idea if he received his letter or not, but it was nice to see evil have a kind face if only just for a moment. So, here’s hugs to Scary Man…may he be blessed with kind thoughts and a reconsideration of attitude.

Friday, January 19

Congratulations Quaid Sterling

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Yesterday was a very proud day in our household, and yet another small moment for Mom’s “eye to leak”. It was a perfect Kodak moment like you’ve seen on TV before and as usual…I didn’t have the “Kodak” out.

After work, I beat the husband home by only a few minutes. My youngest son Quaid was already home, and his girlfriend was over. We were visiting in the kitchen as within a few more minutes like with every day…husband comes strolling in with the day’s mail. He joins in our benign conversations as he doles out the daily mail to each recipient accordingly. He nonchalantly hands my son Quaid his envelope, and as with a typical teenager…he doesn’t even really look at the envelope, he just turns it over to open it up as we all continue gabbing.

A strange silence comes over him as he reads the words on the page. I noticed that he had stopped talking, and we look over at him and ask, “Son…is everything OK? Who is that letter from?” With a priceless look of some shock and some pride, he just silently handed me the page in his hand. With just a bit of trepidation, I took it and began to read…

“Congratulations Quaid on your acceptance and admission to the University of Nevada Reno…blah blah blah…we look forward to having you on campus in the fall…” Being the sappy mother I am, and not really expecting this type of letter when he handed it to me…my silly eyes watered up again as I managed to squeak out a voice broken “Congratulations Son!, you’re making Mom’s eye leak again”. My husband immediately took the letter from my hand and read for himself.

It was a really touching “man’s moment” as I watched my husband stretch out his hand and shake Quaid’s hand in congratulations and then give him a big hug as he said, “I’m proud of you son.” Thank goodness he added some humor to break up Mom’s little over-emotional moment as he said…”Just think honey… it looks like someday we will get put in a good home after all.”

Good for Quaid. We are all proud and excited. Boy, those little moments that literally only come once in a lifetime, and how precious they are. Good luck to all our local college freshmen next fall.

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Birthday Fun

Find out all kinds of neat facts about the day you were born. This is a very informative and fun little site. CLICK HERE to enter your birthday and find out about it...

Tuesday, January 16

Public Forum on Urine Drug Testing

I don't know who this guy is, but he's my HERO! AMEN Brother, you're preaching some good stuff!

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Monday, January 15

America's Victory '08

My readers may have noticed that some of my lengthy political posts have fallen by the wayside as of late. There is a reason for that, but it doesn't mean that I have completely quit writing what I believe to be some quality posts. I was recently invited to be a contributing author on a great new site called America's Victory '08. This site is unique in that while it is a highly CONSERVATIVE website, it ISN'T NECESSARILY ABOUT Republican or Democrat. It is a website that offers a new perspective on the desperate need for our country to come back to its original conservative values. It promotes the need for us all to read important views and factual documentation regarding what our nation needs to do in order for conservative values and candidates to win back our government in 2008.

If my readers should like to read the articles that I have published there and comment on my beliefs of the conservative perspective, I highly encourage you to check out these links. Please comment there if you find something you like, it would be nice to see that some of you have found the site and I know you've read. There are some really good writers there, and I'm honored to be considered worthy to be published among them :)

Benign Hypersensitivity May Be Real

Common Current Eents - Proof of Demise of Conservatism

If I Did It

Jewish Leaders Consider Openly Gay Rabbis OK

Lack of Repercussions - The Demise of Conservatism

Home Grown Terror May Be Beginning

Thursday, January 11

Barbara Walters Down The Toilet

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Barbara Walters, you are not only on the toilet (a PhotoShop doctored photo of course), you are in my opinion now in the toilet and officially flushed down the toilet as far as my attention toward you will ever be given again. I cannot believe that our society has gotten as bored, or stupid as a whole that we even give “news” like the Rosie O’Donnell vs. Donald Trump “war” the time of day. But some have, and it continues to amaze me that Americans have nothing better to do than give credibility to idiocy. And here I am writing about it too…eeekkk!

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I’m writing this post though to Barbara Walters. Rosie O’Donnell who is in my opinion a big mouth left wing nut job started this whole thing, and while I admire Donald Trump for making some statement to the fact, even he has carried this too far. I am most disappointed in Barbara Walters.

I have long defended Ms. Walters as a highly respected journalist, business woman, and an asset to the news community. I grew up watching her and although the old Saturday Night Live TV show was great, I always thought it sad that the original cast of that show picked on her as Baba Wawa. Well, maybe after all these years, it’s been proven that they were correct. Maybe the late Gilda Radner saw the true Barbara Walters.

Barbara Walters was one of the first businesswomen I remember noticing as I was coming of age. I always admired her toughness, her apparent honesty, and her dedication to excellence. Multitudes of special interviews with her questioning some of the most famous and even most dangerous personalities in the world have graced all of our televisions in times past. Later in her career, she launched the show The View. In its inception, it was a really good show. I always liked Star Jones on that show; in fact she was one of my favorites. Some rumble ensued when she left the show, and at least for me, I never really knew the real reason. I work full time, and rarely got to watch anyway.

Then, of all things, Ms. Walters chose Rosie O’Donnell to take her place. I was shocked then, and it’s never stopped. Rosie is nothing but trouble and a complete shit stirrer. I caught a few episodes here and there, but after Rosie joined the line-up, the show just declined. Even Joy Behar has morphed into something less than she used to be after Rosie came on board. It’s really sad.

In one of the latest rounds of banter between Donald Trump and Ms. (or Mr. as she acts) O’Donnell, when he sent her the letter…the show The View only had one response, “Be sure to tune in tomorrow”. Now, I thought in that letter, that Donald Trump sort of threw Barbara Walters under the bus so to speak. However, she had it coming. But, I was still remembering the Walters that I “knew”, the one that I thought highly of, and the one that would NEVER LET HER PRISTINE REPUTATION BE TARNISHED ANY FURTHER. I thought possibly that Ms. Walters would do the right thing and come on the show and in her usual class and flair quote the famous Trump and simply say, “Ms. O’Donnell…you’re fired.”

Boy was I WRONG! Ms. Barbara Walters sold her soul to the ratings devil for money and hype. She flushed her entire career down the toilet to stand behind a woman who exudes a trailer trash diva personality. She could not even look up at the camera when she made her comments.

Ms. Walters, you of all people…who have spent YEARS “appearing” to stand for the right thing and “appearing” to be a woman that would tell the absolute truth hell be damned, have lowered yourself to the level of the scum around you. Yes, you DID get the highest ratings the day you called Donald Trump a poor pitiful man and lowered yourself to “high five” your “girlfriend” Rosie on national television, but you need to realize this…

The viewers and people that have admired you all these years were average people, elite people, educated people, and people of high character. While your admirers came from all walks of life, they all were people of moral aptitude. Your high ratings and success now will come from the likes of folks that break open a cheap beer and crack a bag of stale discount potato chips to glom in front of the TV to hoop it up over “quality broadcasts” like the Jerry Springer show. Congratulations Barbara, you have truly risen to the “top”. I hope it works well for you.

As for me, I’m done with Barbara Walters. Your balls are gone, and your brass ovaries have turned to tin. You embarrass us all with your lack of ability to really tell the truth…and for what? Whether or not you actually told Donald Trump not to wallow with pigs, we’ll never know…none of us were privy to that conversation. But you have lied with fleas and you have finally been bitten. You can now proudly rank yourself at your late age with the likes of the other celebrity divas like Paris Hilton.

Harry Reasoner is probably rolling over in his grave Baba Wawa. Hope you’re happy spending your money earned at the cost of your character and reputation.

My Wonderful Holiday Season 2006

THANK GOODNESS the holidays and all the business and clean-up afterward is over! We are especially busy during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. Those two holidays sneak up on each other, even though they are a month apart. So many parties and extra business duties come for us during this time. My birthday is December 30th, and my husband follows me on January 6th. And then, after that…it’s a rush to get year end paperwork together for three businesses, and in the middle of getting ready for year end taxes, the last quarter’s due diligence is demanded by good ‘ole Uncle Sam by January 15th. I am happy that I’ve completed my duties for the quarter, and can get back to more quality writing finally.

I know I’m late (later than most), but still want to share my happy holiday stories.
I got incredible presents this year, and like a child…I am still enjoying my new Christmas toys. My living room was filled to capacity with the ten of us that shared Christmas together, and we had a great time. There was much giving, but I must highlight my favorites…

Husband gave me a gift more precious than diamonds. I received from him a most beautiful Canon EOS Rebel XTI digital 35mm camera. It is a 10 pixel camera with an amazing zoom lens, and he bought me a 75mm – 300mm large zoom lens, and a 60 macro lens for my birthday. It has so many functions, I will probably have to take some classes in order to learn how to use it, but I will have some amazing photographs in the end.

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My in-laws gave me a wonderful set of really heavy duty pots and pans that have been a lot of fun to use and try new cooking with. My old light-weight non-stick pans that flake and contribute to brain damage (according to some experts) have been tossed away.

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My oldest son gave me a robe from Bath & Body Works called the world’s most comfortable robe. Now, while one might think a bath robe is just another usual Christmas gift…trust me on this… If you’ve never put one of these on, you must put it on your list next year. I don’t know what magical fabric this thing is made of, but if I could teach it to cook or clean…the husband would no longer be needed :) I put this robe on when I awoke to go to the bathroom after Christmas celebration, and could not bear to remove it afterward. I just wore it to bed, and then when I woke the next morning, I realized that getting up would actually require taking it off…bummer. If Bath & Body Works sells these again next year at Christmas, you should all consider giving one as a gift, you’ll be a hero!

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My youngest son got the award this year for making Mom cry. His gift was simple, but absolutely PRICELESS! As my readers know, I’ve spent a lot of blog posting time bragging on his ten year football career. He is a senior this year, and it was his last year to play. He played both sides of the ball on every team he ever played for, and his high school football career was successful, and he was a team captain this year. He played for Coach Ken Dalton, the most winning Nevada high school coach in many years. His coach has led this team for 25 years. His high school is a prominent one in the Reno area, and lots of photo ops are available. Well, I guess a local professional photographer had done an amazing photo of Quaid, and it had been hanging somewhere in the athletic department of my son’s high school all year. His coach let him have it at the end of the season, and he managed to hide it from me somehow until Christmas. He had it framed for me, and even autographed it. It looks just like something that is done for the NFL. When I opened this package, emotion immediately took me over and the tears just came. This photo is of him making a very nice tackle, and it will be cherished forever. I proudly have it hanging in my office at work.

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Soon after Christmas, came my birthday. We have a big rig truck shop where 17 employees live. My husband runs that business, and when we bought our smaller company this year (pickup garage), I left the home company to run the smaller one full time. I have a great crew of just four guys. It’s just my guys and me each day growing the new company. My guys surprised me at work for my birthday with a little party. My shop manager's wife came in with their adorable toddler, and she gave me flowers. One of my mechanics is actually an accomplished chef on the side, and brought in an entire meal. Honoring my redneck Texan heritage, he brought chicken-fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes and a homemade cheesecake complete with homemade raspberry-chocolate puree to drip over it. It was a meal to die for, and it was such a nice surprise. Thanks guys, you are a great team and we are lucky owners to have such caring employees. It’s a pleasure to sign your paychecks each week.

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My birthday was actually Saturday. My day started in fine fashion with my husband and my youngest son taking me out to breakfast. Afterward, we took a drive around my husband’s favorite dream area for real estate and he dreamt of the possibility of living there one day. We took some photos, and enjoyed the nice day. My youngest son’s girlfriend was out of town for the local university’s football bowl game in Idaho. She used to live in that area, and was visiting with girlfriends. My cell phone rang, and it was an odd number on the ID. I answered, and I could hear a small choir of young excited women singing happy birthday. Then, I realized who it was, and was so moved that she took the time from her fun time on a football party weekend to call me and have her friends that don’t even know who I am, join her in singing me happy birthday. My day didn’t end there.

My husband actually of his own volition made dinner reservations for me on my actual birthday at my favorite restaurant. If any of you ever travel to Reno for fun…Sterling’s Steakhouse at the Silver Legacy Hotel-Casino is in my opinion one of the very best restaurants in the city! Their crab cake appetizer is the bomb, and rivals any I ever had when I lived in the Deep South. We arrived at the casino early by some hours to have fun before dinner, but stopped to confirm our reservations on our way in. We showed up at the restaurant on time, and were a bit miffed that the host sat about three couples before us. When we were seated, there was confetti and glitter on my table, and a birthday card. I told my husband how sweet he was, and he declared that he wished he could take the credit, but he did not tell the manager it was my birthday when he made the reservations. Then, out of the blue…the waiter just showed up with a frosty 7 & 7 (my poison of choice), and the exact beer that my husband loves. Now…we are really confused. I again told my husband that he was lying…he had to tell someone something. Now we gamble, but we aren’t high rollers by any stretch. I do use a player’s card when we gamble, and about once a year I accumulate enough “points” to maybe get a free nice meal, or free concert tickets or the like. But in a restaurant like Sterling’s, I certainly don’t rate that kind of attention due to our play. I was a casino dealer for 20 years, and I know how much money one has to spend to get carte-blanch attention like I was getting. I asked the waiter how he knew what I drank (we maybe eat there three times a year), and he just grinned and stated it was just the magic service one should expect at a fine dining establishment.

I enjoyed my crab cakes, an incredible filet-mignon, and vegetable sides of broccoli and shredded butternut squash, several cocktails and bread that will knock your socks off. We left and went downstairs to continue our little private party and had a blast. Later, while playing my favorite type of video poker and such my cell phone rang. It was my youngest son calling to see if I had a special card and my drink delivered to the table. He’s only 17, but he managed to call the manager of the restaurant and give instruction to make sure they made over Mom at dinner. My oldest son was in Denver to attend a folk concert and celebrate New Years with friends, but soon after, my phone rang again, and he knew about the plan too, and interrupted his good time at age 23 with his girlfriend and other friends to take a moment to share love and celebration on my behalf and in my honor. I have wonderful sons, and they have no idea how the smallest gestures can mean so much. I truly am blessed, and my holiday season was blessed this year due to my wonderful family.

I hope all of you had a great holiday season as well.

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I have been so very busy since before the Christmas holiday that I have neglected my favorite hobby terribly of late. I even have to wish myself a belated birthday, that’s pretty bad :) Yesterday was actually the blog anniversary.

I have had a great time with this blog, and have met some incredible people that have turned into regular readers. Now that the New Year is in full swing, I hope to get back to a more regular posting schedule. 21,153 kind folks have stopped by this blog in the last year; I hope that number grows in 2007.

Thanks to those who read, and continue please to grace this spots presence with your time.