1.30.2009

Flashback Friday: Free for All

It's time for My Tiny Kingdom's Flashback Friday.

With Super Bowl Sunday upon us, and my love for the Steelers, I thought I'd flashback to the Steelers 5 Super Bowl Victories. (Since it's a Free for All, I'm making the rule that it doesn't have to be something I actually remember, seeing as how I wasn't born for the first 3 and was only 9 months old for 4).

So, with the help of Google, cbsnews.com, and YouTube, here are some Flashbacks to some Steeler Super Bowl Victories:

Super Bowl IX:
1975 New Orleans, LA
Steelers 16 Vikings 6
MVP Franco Harris


Super Bowl X:
1976 Miami, FL
Steelers 21 Cowboys 17
MVP Lynn Swann


Super Bowl XIII
1979 Miami, Fl
Steelers 35 Cowboys 31
MVP Terry Bradshaw


Super Bowl XIV
1980 Pasadena, CA
Steelers 31 Los Angeles Rams 19
MVP Terry Bradshaw


Super Bowl XL
2005 Detroit, MI
Steelers 21 Seahawks 10
MVP Hines Ward


And a little fun to get ready for Sunday too:

1.25.2009

On Eagle's Wings

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

January 25, 2004. I said good-bye. I shed tears. I thanked God.

I shed sad tears and I thanked God for His Mercy.

I shed selfish tears and I thanked God for His Wisdom.

I shed tears for time lost and I thanked God for years of togetherness.

I shed tears for a year of fighting and I thanked God for working swiftly and gently.

5 years ago, I said good-bye to my Grandfather, my Pap. Not my first Grandparent to die. The first I walked the journey with, almost to the very end.


Tonight. I shed tears. I thank God. And I smile.

I shed tears for my loss. I thank God for the 24 years of memories burned into my memory. I smile as I remember those memories.

I shed tears for my Nan. I thank God for the strength he has given her these last years. I smile at this strength and I pray some of it is hidden somewhere in me.

I shed tears for my Mom. I ask God for strength for her, please Lord, this is still so hard on her. I smile because I see moments of strength that she does not realize.

I shed tears for my Pap. I ask God to hold him in His hand. I smile because I know he runs without weariness and walks without being faint.

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1.23.2009

Flashback Friday: This Makes me Giggle

I'm participating in Flashback Friday, a Blog Carnival (huh?), over at My Tiny Kingdom. This week's topic is: This Makes Me Giggle. I headed to old files of old pictures and found this:



At first glance, it may look like an ordinary bag of groceries junk food. Look again, notice anything strange about the bag of chips? Yep - open. How they got that way is what makes me giggle (at least now it does)....

In June 2003, I had lived in Los Angeles for a year attending graduate school at USC. It was time to head home and my Dad volunteered to fly out and drive across country with me. I packed up my car, my very small car (a Toyota Corolla) full of my belongings and snacks, leaving just enough space for my Dad's bag and Dad himself. I picked him up at LAX, hit play on "Country Roads" by John Denver, and we started our 3 1/2 day trip West.

We were on our 2nd day of travel and heading along I-70 in Colorado through the Rockies (NOW I know why "Purple Mountains Majesties). We were heading up a Mountain, and BANG!

From my perspective, this bang is accompanied fear and a burst of air in my face.

From Dad's perspective - he was driving - it was accompanied by fear and a quick survey of the dash.

Upon finding no lights aglow and experiencing no control issue, he rules out major engine trouble or a flat tire. Which, I must say would have been BAD, emptying the car, I shudder to think of the pile of my belongings alongside the road and then repacking??? No thanks!

Anway, jst about that time, and simultaneously, our eyes meet and I breathe in...."Potato chips?" I say, confused. I then look down to discover the source of that burst of air, and aroma of potato chips...yep, our BANG! was nothing more than a bag of potato chips bursting open from the pressure change because of the elevation.

Not such a giggle as it happened, but looking back, a favorite tale of ours.

1.20.2009

AFC Champs and an Unexpected Surprise!

I intended to make this short, but I want to remember it ALL, so just bear with my rambling and hear the excitement in my voice growing as it goes on :)...

Well, The Man and I knew we were looking forward to a great day from the time we decided to spend the day in Pittsburgh yesterday. We just had no idea how great it was going to be. Ok, so The Man has to live a bit vicariously through me, but I think he's ok with that. Anyway, our day....

We woke up to a snowy day, but had plans to head north to Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship Game. After a brief discussion, we decided that we were going - regardless of weather. Tickets to the game were out of the question - $200 a piece, face value, for way way in the upper deck, on the corner of the endzone, in the COLD - so we were meeting up with friends to soak in the atmosphere and watch the game at a restaurant a bar in Pittsburgh. Hey, what would football be without beer?

And speaking of beer, we started out at a place called Fat Heads Saloon. They had over 40 beers on tap, wings, fried pierogies, and more - what's not to love? Well, $5 per draft, just to start...and NO specials. Hmmm, this day is going to get very expensive.

So, my friend Stacy and I head out in search of a place her hubby assures us is on the same block called The Locker Room. He even gives us the building number. We head down the block. There's the #, but no Locker Room. Hmmm. Instead, we see a place called South Side 86. We check it out. Quiet inside, but hey, it's only 1:45 and kick-off isn't until 6:30. Oh yea, and beer? $2 domestic bottles - ALL day. (A side note, in West Virginia you can't buy Yuengling, so I'm very excited to learn I can enjoy my favorite lager for $2!!!) So we grab a GREAT table, give the bartender a 'heads up' that we'll be there for a while and I head back to gather the men from Fat Heads.

Stacy's hubby was a bit skeptical about this "quiet" place, but after checking with the bartenders and other early-comers he was assured that the place would liven up. We pay our tab at Fat Heads and make our move.

As promised, the place starts to fill and by the NFC Championship Game at 3:30 it's pretty full. $2 beer, good food, good friends, and football...what a great Sunday afternoon!

Finally, the AFC Championship Game starts! Here we go Steelers, Here we go!



As we are enjoying the game, at some point, we learn that not only does the bar we are in carry Hines Ward's number in it's name - but is actually owned by him! We are very impressed with our find and make a plan to come back on Super Bowl Sunday (because OF COURSE the Steelers are going to win today).

The Steelers are, of course, winners and crowned AFC Champs! Excited? Just a bit....


(Our apologies to Hines for standing on his furniture. We do promise to try to be more polite for the Super Bowl).

So, have you figured out that we have not yet reached our unexpected surprise? Yes, it was nice knowing we were in Hines Ward's bar and all, but it gets better! As the game ends, there is an announcement that Hines is on his way - yep, Hines Ward, in the flesh, is coming. HERE. Where WE ARE. For real! They close the upstairs for The Official Hines Ward VIP After Party and a big, burly man positions himself at the bottom of the stairs. We notice that girls who have been in the bar with us all day getting to go up the steps...they have little ticket like things. We are saddened to learn from our waitress that the bartenders pass out these coveted tickets; they pass them out only to girls (the 4 guys with us were not helping our case); and the tickets are gone. sigh.

Well, if you know Stacy and me. We don't just take 'no' for an answer. We want something, we go after it. So, we send The Man to ask the bartender for a sharpie and try to snap some pics of Hines as he comes in and heads up stairs, no great pics and we really didn't need that sharpie :(. But we're not quitters, so we make our way over to Mr. Big Burly Man. Surely, the fact that we have been here since 1:30 will mean something. Surely, the fact that we leave the guys at the table will give us a better chance....

Seriously, the next thing I remember is being at the top of the stairs, walking into The Official Hines Ward VIP After Party!!!!!!! Armed only with 2 cameras and a sharpie (no money for a drink, no cell phones to let the guys know what we are up to) we do our best to not look like fools, as we are SO excited!!!

I mentioned The Man will have to live a bit vicariously through me? Yep - photos with Hines!!!



And that Sharpie? That jersey I'm wearing? It's The Man's. It now has Hines Ward signed on the 8 on the back. The Man can have his jersey back after The Super Bowl...because I am just a bit superstitious.

1.17.2009

Prayer Request

**Update**
Harper has opened her eyes! What a joyous day for Kelly and Scott!

**Update**
Harper continues to be in critical condition, but she is stable. For the latest update go here . Also, Angie at Bring the Rain has found a wonderful scripture (how I long for the day of knowing just where to go in the Bible) to pray over Harper.

Please pray for Kelly, Scott, baby Harper and their entire family. This is someone I've never met, I came to her blog through the blogs of others I've never met. The first lesson I've learned from the blogging world is that through all of the technology and ways we have created to NOT connect with one another, if you choose to, technology can connect you to others in ways that you never imagined. God, please be with Kelly and her family through this time. Bring them strength to continue to praise you in this storm.

1.13.2009

Pets

Kristen at No Small Thing tagged me for a pets meme...and it's my first meme :).

1. What is the first pet you remember?
Muffin. A black and white cat. We got him when I was little and had him until I was in grade school. He got stuck in a tree, picked a fight one night, and ended up with only 1 eye. A few years later, Dad took him to a 'farm' to live on and to this day, I must say, I still cling to the thought that he really did go to the farm. It wasn't until after teaching for a couple of years that I ever even learned what parents are really doing when they take the family pet to the farm....

2. How many different kinds of pets have you owned?
Muffin. a black and white cat.

Buddy. A hamster, who died mere days after the arrival of the next cat, Mittens. Coincidence?

Hobbes. A black and white cat who lived at Dad's. He was my weekend cat. We took long naps and played with string together. Then he freaked. We still don't know what happened. He put 4 holes in my Dad's wrist with his teeth and was NEVER the same. I know what happened to him, and it was for the best.

Mittens. An orange cat. My first pet that I actually wanted, pleaded for, begged for. She was the runt of a litter, and is stil alive today. Although she was the one thing I was not allowed to remove from the house when I went to college. Though she is diabetic and gets insulin shots twice a day, she leads a FAT, happy life at Mom's.

Pumpkin. A tortoise shell cat with orange sploches throughout. She was a gift from me to The Man around Halloween in 1998. A truly unique animal. One of the most outwardly giving creatures I've ever met - she truly lived to love her humans. More on her later.

Max. A GIANT tabby cat. He tops the scale at 23 lbs. And he's not fat. He is so sweet and thinks any set of hands are there to pet him and any available lap is for him to sit on. Oh, and make sure his food bowl is full. At. All. Times.

Kali. My FIRST puppy! She's a mostly black Shar-Pei Dalmation mix. Not a 'real' designer breed, but we like to think she was designed especially for us and call her our 'Sharmation'. If you ask The Man, I stole his dog. He was the one who wanted a dog, wanted a Shar Pei. I was the one who saw the article in the paper, called, and made the arrangements to go and get a MALE dog. We arrived, and there in the cage were 2 tiny little puppies. 1 brown. 1 black. 1 with very short, coarse fur. 1 with fuzzy fur. 1 boy. 1 girl. Before asking about gender, I fell in love with the black, fuzzy one, I picked it up, fell in love with the dark brown eyes and was then told, that's the girl. It was too late. She had peed on me, marked me, and I had fallen in love. I looked at The Man and said "but, I want this one." From that very moment, she was mine. I was always a cat person....until Kali.

Finally, Mice. Lots of them. See Nightmare Pet below.

3. What was your strangest pet?
No strange ones for me - unless you count the dead frog I didn't know Kali was playing with in the back yard until I asked her to 'drop it' into my hand....

4. What is your dream pet?
I wouldn't trade Kali for ANYTHING. She was my first dog, and with first dogs come mistakes. Mostly in socialization. She is my dog, has no desire to be friends with anyone who isn't a permanent frequent fixture, and really wants to eat hates dislikes little dogs. My dream pet would be all of Kali's good points (smart, clean, EASY to house train, loving, loyal, and fun) without some of her bad (territorial, Alpha, and nervously reactive). Her bad that I take FULL credit for creating :(.

5. What is your nightmare pet?
Ah, the Mice. Sadly, I have lived the nightmare pet. In my defense, I did not know I was a pet parent of a family of mice or I would've just let them be. You see, they had taken up residence in the garage. Where I had unknowingly and stupidly provided them with a food source - Kali's food. One evening about 11:30 pm, I decided to fill up Kali's in the kitchen food container. Went to the garage. Picked up the bag of food. Started to pour food into container. And out came 5, F-I-V-E, mice. I leapt, seriously, leapt onto my breakfast bar and SCREAMED! The Man was 2 1/2 hours away, and I was TRAPPED. To make a long story short. Pumpkin ate a mouse. Max ate a mouse. Kali chased mice. I ran out the door and spent the night with a friend. The next morning, the Pest Control Men came and rid my home of all things rodent. I don't keep dog food in the garage anymore...

6. Your best/funniest pet story...
Oh, this is hard.
To avoid retelling one very good pet story, read Kristen's over at No Small Thing about her dog Coco, change the team to Mountaineers and the dog to Kali (oh yea, and erase the 'before kids' part, we're still childless :)). She just did it this weekend as we were getting readyd to go to Florida.
Now for my own story:
Kali loves to be outside. She loves hot days, cold days, and especially snowy days. The one thing she does not like is rainy days. While she'd NEVER turn down a walk, going out to use the bathroom on a rainy day created a challenge. She knew she had to go. She knew not to go in the house. But it was raining. At every door. Yep, she'd scratch at the basement door. I'd let her out. Rain. She'd turn right around and come back in. Then we'd go to the deck door. Rain. Right back in. Then we'd try the front door. Rain. Back inside. Then she'd huf and pace for a little while and try the cycle again. Even closing the door on her only resulted in pushing herself against it as small as she could get. She'd do this for hours. Poor girl. Eventually, when I can only imagine she was ready to explode, she'd go out, go quickly, and come right back in. Now we have an apartment. Only one door. She still won't go out in the rain.

7. Tell your worst/saddest pet story...
So recent. So raw. The hardest thing I've ever had to do. The right thing to do. Releasing her pain. Wanting her to be better. Knowing she was better. Knowing she was gone. Wanting her back. 8/13/08. Pumpkin.

8. Did you ever have a scary animal experience?
Max does not travel well. Max does not like change of ANY kind. Max is a bit OCD (and I mean that truthfully). We had just sold our house and everything was out. I TRIED to get Max to drink milk with dramamine in it. He KNEW. He wouldn't. He had to stay awake. 15 minutes into the drive, he had what I know was a seizure. It was not even a month since Pumpkin. He could NOT die too! We were 20 minutes from the nearest vet in either direction. I BEGGED him, WILLED him, PLEADED with him, DO. NOT. DIE. Somehow, through the Grace of God, he snapped out of it. He made eye contact with me. He settled down. He made it!

9. What was your favorite pet?
I was ALWAYS a cat person. Never thought I'd own a dog. Ever. Then Kali came along. There is just something about her....

10. What did you really want to tell us about pets that didn't fit into the other questions?
While there's just something about Kali - maybe it's that she's my first puppy, maybe it's that I was a dog person hidden in a cat person's body, or maybe it's just that I didn't know what I was missing - our Pumpkin was an amazing animal. The Man and I have tried to put into words what it was about her. I believe animals are put here on this earth to teach us things about life, about ourselves. Pumpkin's purpose was to love and to teach love. And she fulfilled it better than any other animal I've ever met. She connected with us and we with her. Somehow it just doesn't seem she got all 9 lives. She is the reason, I'll never have another cat. It could never live up to her.

I'm supposed to tag 4 people for their own Pet memes. I'm new to the blogging world, so I've got 3 for you....

Mommy's Time Out

Have you Been Outside Lately

A Spring of Joy

1.12.2009

Bits of a Long, but good, Weekend

1. Thursday was the first time I saw clear blue skies in what seems like weeks. I only had to drive south for 400 miles to see it - every mile was worth it.

2. Ok, so I wasn't driving just in search of blue skies, but rather heading to Orlando, Fl. for the annual PartyLite Mini Conference. I love these 2 days to focus on my business at the start of the year, it really 'fills my business cup,' so to speak.

3. Rather than drive straight through, The Man and I stopped near Charleston, S.C. to see one of my dearest friends. It's been 3 years since we last laid eyes on each other, but it was like no time had past. I LOVE that! We had wine, laughed, cried, and stayed up too late - what more do 2 old girlfriends need? I left with a promise that I would see her again this summer, 3 years is just inexcuseable.

4. 75 and sunny!

5. The most rewarding part of my job as a PartyLite Leader is watching consultants on my team experience the amazing company that is PartyLite: A hug and encouragement from the President of PL USA, dancing with "The Guys", and realizing, "Yes, you CAN achieve your dreams!"

6. We went to sleep with the hotel room door open. In January.

7. I made it through the entire conference and did not bite my nails. Not. One. Single. Time.

8. Saturday, we were treated to a presentation by Dick Hoyt. We all have obstacles, but this man will put it all in perspective for you. An amazing father who would do ANYTHING to let his son's "disability disappear". Check them out at http://www.teamhoyt.com/.

9. We had our first trip to "The Melting Pot". De.lic.ious!

10. The drive home was LONG. We drove through the night Saturday to make it home in time to get Kali from the kennel, pick up the beer, and be seated on the couch in time for kick-off of the Steelers-Chargers playoff game. Breakfast at iHop with another good friend in Charlotte (and seeing this same friend SO happy with her new guy) was just what we needed to energize for the last leg of our journey.

11. An AMAZING conversation with The Man on the portion of the drive from Charlotte to Morgantown.

12. Finally, the Steelers WON! Next up: The AFC Champtionship Game.

1.06.2009

Sleet, One-Tired-Me, Fog Lights, Hot Tea & a Granola Bar, 12 Deer, and 10 Minutes

What do these things have in common? My drive home last night.

Sleet - what it was doing when I stepped out of Stacy's house at 11:30PM to drive 2 1/2 hours home last night. Weather.com assured me that my drive would be sleet free, so I set out with a promise to come back if it didn't clear up quickly.

One-tired-me - how I was feeling as I pulled away as I was running on about 5 hours of sleep from the night before, followed by a long day, a 2 1/2 hour drive, and a meeting.

Fog lights - my entertainment for the first leg of the trip as I appreciated how well they lit up the right side white line when a truck passing in the other direction and I met on 522 N.

Hot tea and a granola bar - My sustenance for my drive. Stacy always makes sure I've got something caffinated and warm to drink and a snack for my drive home - thanks! I drank the tea throughout the drive, but the granola bar was my 'reward' for staying awake for the 1st 1/2 of the drive - had I known just how yummy it would be, it never would've lasted to Cumberland. Gotta make a note to get some of those.

12 deer - yep, 12! The good news - not a one came in contact with my car. They were ALL spotted in the last 1/2 mile before home on the road to our aparment. I think I'll teach Kali that it's her mission in life to rid the apartment complex of these creatures.

10 minutes - The time I shaved off the arrival time given to me by my GPS! This ultimately proved to be just that thing to keep me awake for the last part of my drive. How fast did I have to drive much time did it take to shave a minute off the arrival time?