Peaches Prattlings

PSM kicked me out of the house…to Colorado to go ski! He’s so harsh! Ha Ha! He knows what it means to me and with my new job, I can do it, serious work/life balance. Besides, sometime in the next few months, he’s going to do the same to me, take off work and disappear to parts unknown. Works for me.

I packed up the car with my ski gear, it all fits in the car! and cleared out the fridge and freezer of al the things I knew PSM wouldn’t eat, I didn’t want it to go bad, besides, this helps me not eat out every meal, win-win. Even had the leftover ovo-vegan lasagna from Thanksgiving, it’s been in the freezer, and it’s still good! Here we go!

It was 59 degrees out, you know what that means! Yup, sweatshirt on, butt warmers on, drop the top! It was gorgeous! Eventually the top had to go up as the temperature dropped, which was alright, I could hear people on phone if they called and eventually it would be too cold for the top down. It was a good thing too, NM told me there was a snowstorm coming to Denver, it wasn’t predicted earlier in the week, I checked the weather. Ok… we could do it. I don’t know if you remember me telling you that we, Annie II and I, drove through the a bit of a snowstorm a few weeks ago coming back from Denver. Now…we’re getting on going to Denver, oh joy!

Annie II is a beast! I had her when I lived in Colorado years ago and she drove through the snow all the time, she even had to do some snow and ice driving in Atlanta when I lived there. So the snow started somewhere in Kansas, it is a very big state! I know it was after Topeka, but I couldn’t tell you where I was, only that it was Kansas.

It started as just snow coming at the car, then it progressively got stronger, slicker, and started to build up on the ground. I was able to keep driving in my Chucks for a long time, there was cover at the gas stations, and I would have to start kicking some of the snow from the wheel wells. Eventually, as I was driving through Denver, people were starting to skid out, the work trucks and snow plows were out in force. I had a few moments of “don’t use the break”, “go with the skid” nothing major, but I remembered my experiences while I was growing up in New York, driving, even learning to rock a car out of a snow bank, driving in Western New York, learning what to do when you start to skid. The skid warning light or traction control indicator came on a few times, but we were fine, just go with it.

One of the last time I stopped to get gas, I had to put on my wonderful, furry, winter boots, love them! I got out and got A LOT of snow from the wheel wells, that’s the only thing I worry about, it builds up so quickly and can mess with your driving abilities. As I was getting back on the highway, we spun a little, slowly, but we spun, not sure if it was lucky, but the snow was thick and soft, we righted and got back on the highway.

By now, the roads had cleared and it was just me, Annie II and the work trucks and snow plows, that was kind of interesting. Eventually, we got to Dillon, we made it to the house and into the garage, safe and sound. The trip took a little longer than it should, 13 hours turned into 15, but…

My car, my little beetle bug convertible, a car that is not known for driving in the snow, conquering the skids, mounds of snow, and slippery roads, but…Annie II is a champ and seems to love it, so…don’t tell her she doesn’t have 4-wheel drive, why crush her dreams!

Ok, so….I have to correct myself…sort of…I just looked up Beetles driving in the snow, and I had forgotten all about this and now I la la la love my car even more and know why she is a champ! She has front-wheel-drive, this gives her a natural advantage for dealing with snow and ice, it’s the weight distribution. Go Annie II! Oh yeah! Could I love this car any more?!


{February 23, 2021}   A ladle…a vets tool?

Earlier in the week, Bee and Ruby to the vet for their annual everything. I’m so glad they don’t mind going to the vet, so different than a cat!

So, the annual everything includes heartworm, flu, Bordetella, rabies, I’m sure there are other things, I can’t remember, but they got it all. We got good reports, happy and healthy dogs, I have another post to tell you about, that will make you laugh, but this is all about the ladle.

A day after we took them to the vet we got a call that in their bloodwork, there was signs of something they wanted to test further, a blood and pee test. Ok, no problem, let’s book an appointment. Only issue, sort of…they need the first pee of they day, they open at 8a, no problem, we’ve left them in the crate until almost 8a before, no, the problem is…some of the staff they need aren’t in until 8:40a, what? I don’t know about you, but I know what I’m like first thing when I get up…

When we go to yoga early, sometimes the dogs realize we’re up, but we leave them in the crate, then take them out when we get home. The longest we’ve actually left them in is 8am, they start stirring about 7, maybe 7:30a, then the whining starts about 8am. At one point there was a yelp and a bark, someone stepped on someone else, I had to tell them to quiet down. I don’t know who this morning was harder on, them or me!

I waited as long as possible, 8:35a, luckily we only live a 5 minute drive from the vet’s office. I got them out of the crate, leashes at the ready and luckily they love to get in the car, so I very excitedly got them to the car, let’s go!

5 minutes and I’m dialing as I pull into the spot. Whoever answered the phone I told what spot we were in and she said someone would be out shortly and I said sooner, they need a pee test and they haven’t been yet, that seemed to work! The dogs were looking out the window, well Ruby had her nose pressed against the window and they were both starting to whine…Here come the techs! I noticed they had ladles in their hands. Ladles? Really?

They grabbed the dogs and off they went to the grass. I didn’t see anything after that, well, I saw one of them holding or trying to balance the ladle while wrangling my dog! Ha ha. Um… how are you going to hang on to the ladle’s contents?

As they were walking back, I saw it…a giant syringe looking thing. Ok, that makes sense. And while I was waiting for them to come back out, I watched another vet tech trying to collect pee with a ladle from a much smaller dog, it was funny, she kept bending down thinking the dog was going to…well, go.

Whew, they got what they had to, go girls! And when they brought them out, they told me how great our dogs were, honest! They told me we had two very lovable dogs and Ruby just wants belly rubs! We love that!

{February 19, 2021}   We are the Champions Part III

Aren’t you glad I broke this into 3 parts?! It might have taken you longer to read it all in one post rather than binge watching all 6 episodes! Well…here we are, finally! We are the Champions Part III! Still fantastically funny! And, what hasn’t changed: Netflix, Rainn Wilson. Just a reminder!

Episode 5: Dog Dancing. Yes, I said Dog Dancing. The IMDB description is better than anything I could come up with: Powerhouse trainers and their prancing pooches go for gold at a prestigious competition with hip heelwork, fancy freestyles and dogged determination. Yup, that about says it all.

This episode focuses on the Russian Dog Dancing Team, yes, that’s what I said. The episode opens, slightly deceptively, if you weren’t paying attention to the name of the episode, because we follow a ballerina as she runs through a mansion and then puts on her toe shoes, and then her dance partner walks in, a fluffy, furry dog!

Be prepared, all the dialogue except for the narrator is sub-titled. We meet the leader of the Russian team who’s goal is to win the O.E.C., Open European Championship, according to the episode, it is the most important competition in the world. Polina Ilina is the captain and in charge of the team of dog dancers. There is heelwork and freestyle. Heelwork is more formal and freestyle is a little more fun, costumes and all!

You should see the medals in this woman’s studio! The only one left…you guessed it, O.E.C.! These styles came out of the traditional dog shows when Mary Ray and Kizzy set the heelwork to music and the rest is history! This team is the most successful team in history…no pressure! Just watch it, you’ll be amazed what these dogs can do! Wow!

Now, on to the last episode, and it’s a hopper! Let’s just say…the joint was jumpin’! I’m so sorry, I couldn’t resist! Have you guessed yet? What if I toad you it was frog jumping?! This episode is all about a frog jumping competition. And not just any frog, but the American Bullfrog. The competition was inspired by a short story by Mark Twain, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and has been going on since 1928!

As with each episode, we feature several competitors, or jockeys. But first, the rules…each competitor’s frog is allowed three jumps in a row, the distance of each jump is combined for the total score. The current record, set in 1986 by “Rosie the Ribiter” and jockey Lee Giudici, is 21 feet, 5 3/4 inches: 7.16 feet per jump. Just wow!

Jon Kitchell, who, at the time of the taping, has yet to win, others in his family have won, like his wife Laura Kitchell, and Riley Kitchell, but he personally, has not won. Then we move to the Gustine Frog Team, headed by Bob Fasano, and we meet Justin Fasano, his son, a champion jockey. Lastly is the Busch Family twins. And just like some of the other episodes, there are competitors we never meet, until the competition.

We see how each team/family goes out to catch their frogs for the competition, some are secret, they actually black out the name of the canal, classic! They all seem to go out at night on flat bottom boats with flashlights and nets, not sure what the science is behind it, but…it was interesting to watch.

Next, we see how each team trains with their frogs, in the backyards, in the streets ‘CAR!’ both watching the frogs jumping and how the jockeys train, there’s a lot of jumping, the people, not just the frogs, yelling at the frogs, I think they’re trying to scare them! Made me jump.

Then…we get to the actual day of the competition…This is stressful, watching them jump their little froggy hearts out! The jockey’s too! Not sure if the frogs truly realize what’s happening, but the crowd does, and we are sitting on the edge of our seats! Can they do it?! Will they win?! Will the frog jump straight of off to the side! Oh my, the stress!

The winner…gets a trophy and belt buckle! Talk about the swag! I’m in, I so want to go and get at least a t-shirt! I don’t need a belt buckle, but the bragging rights seem to be the real prize!

Six episodes, six competitions, dozens of competitors, millions of fans! Now, go forth and champion! What, you thought I would go an entire series of Champion posts and not give you a taste of the Queen classic?! Hmph!

{February 17, 2021}   We are the Champions!

O M G! You MUST watch this show! Well, as always, that is just my opinion, but oh my, it was hysterical!

It’s called We are the Champions, it’s on Netflix, narrated by Rainn Wilson. We watched Season 1 and by gawd, I hope there’s a Season 2! This show is fabulous! It’s six episodes, each one documenting and exploring the world of a different competitions. I saw the preview for the first one and it immediately went on my watch list!

The first episode is Cheese Rolling. Yes, I said cheese rolling. The name of the competition is Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, it takes place at Cooper’s Hill, near Glouscester in England. This event was traditionally held by and for the people of Brockworth, now, there are competitors from all over the world. The way it works is the competitors line up at the top of Cooper’s Hill, then they roll a Double Gloucester Cheese, they release the cheese roll and then they are off! Running or attempting to run and end up rolling, flopping and flipping, stumbling down the hill. No one actually beats the cheese, the winner is the first person to cross the line after the cheese!

Here’s the crazy part, if this entire thing is not crazy enough! The earliest documentation of cheese rolling is 1826, what?! Yes, I said 1826! You have got to check this out! No one is actually ‘officially’ in charge since it was cancelled in 2009 due to injuries, can you imagine?! Injuries, ha ha.

There is a men’s race and a women’s race, they start at teenager and go up. During the episode, they feature a few key competitors, as well as villagers and the local law. These people are passionate, and funny, and serious, wow are they serious. I SO want to go to see this in action, even though I watched the actual race squinting my eyes, some of the tumbles looked so painful! Some of it was like watching one of those shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos or one that films people doing stupid stuff, I look away most of the time! Bless ’em, they want to do it, more power to ’em!

Each episode is only 30 minutes, but they pack so much into that 30 minutes! I couldn’t look away I was laughing so hard! And intrigued! I wanted more!

Next, Chili Eating. What?! This, my friends, is not for the faint of heart! This episode is about chili pepper eating contest, oh my word! Even PSM thought these people were nuts and he has no taste buds! This competition watches the competitors eat the hottest peppers in the world! The content is sponsored by the Puckerbutt Pepper Company, owned and run by Ed ‘Smokin’ Ed’ Currie, the Willy Wonka of Chili Peppers, who created the hottest pepper in the world, the Carolina Reaper, which was declared the hottest pepper in the world by Guinness World Records in 2017! If you know anything about hot chili peppers, and I know a little, it is measured by the Scoville scale [SHU – Scoville Heat Units], which determines just how hot the sucker is!

The format is similar in each episode that you get to meet a few of the main players, not everyone, and sometimes there is a surprise thrown in. The folks in this episode you get to meet, you start to root for, in the short time you have watching them. There’s a science teacher from the UK, Sid Barber, Johnny ‘the Savage’ Scoville, Dustin ‘Atomik Menace’ Johnson, Bella ‘Heat 101’, just to name a few. These folks, with their fellow competitors have to eat the chili in front of them, round by round, no thank you!

The rules: 1. Eat the pepper. Kind of a no-brainer, you would think. 2. Do not drink the glass of milk. 3. Do not throw up. After Rule 1, if you complete the other two, move on to the next round.

Let’s just say, some of them don’t make it very far, those peppahs are h-o-t hot! Each round, the peppers get hotter and hotter and to watch the contestants, some of them, I cannot believe it! Some of the champions from other contestants make it only so far, fan favorites, disappointment from the crowd and the contestants themselves. They talk about the burning, stomach cramps, so many fun outcomes from this very strange contest. And when I say strange, that is 100% my opinion, if it’s your jam, and I don’t mean pepper jelly, ha ha, then have at it! this is not one of those contests I need to see in person, just watching from the comfort of my couch was painful!

There are six episodes in total, I’ll tell you about two more tomorrow. Enjoy!

Come on, line up! I’m kidding of course, but seriously, who else?!

I am quite proud of the fact that I am 49 years old! Can you believe it, this year, I turn the big 5-0! I rocked the silver, for a minute, I’ve gone blue, purple, aqua, pink, green. I ride a motorcycle, I still wear my collection of Chuck Taylors, I laugh until I snort, which makes me laugh more, and quite often I forget that I’m 49, which started around when I turned 43, I can’t always remember where I am north of 40!

As a consultant, I work with a lot of people who are a lot younger than me, some just out of college. Since we’re colleagues, I don’t think about the age difference until they say something and I have to look at them and think…how old are you?

Today, on a call, someone said they were old at 41. Wait, what? I messaged my boss “Did he just say he’s old at 41?!” Her response “I still feel young and I have him beat by a lot”. Yup, same here!

Tonight at yoga, it was 90s themed. I didn’t know what that meant until the instructor told us that every year, in honor of her birthday week, she always plays music from the decade she was born. What?! She was born in 92…I was in my junior year of college. I give up! Ugh… did I just hear my bones start to creak? HA HA

No one can make you feel old and most of the time, I definitely do not feel old, but every once in a while…

The cure…crank the music waaaayyyy too loud on the way home, so loud the mirrors shake, oh yeah! Don’t forget…if the music’s too loud…you’re too old!

{February 8, 2021}   Damn you Ryan Reynolds!

I say this with all the love and affection in the world. I think he’s hysterical, talented, goofy, yummy, among other things, but he’s a pusher! Let me ‘splain!

About 7 or 8 years ago, I used to play these 4 “Free Fall” Disney games. Each one came out after the movie premiered, these included Frozen Free Fall, Maleficent Free Fall, Inside Out: Thought Bubbles, and Cinderella Free Fall. I absolutely loved those games, to the point when I was getting a new phone and transferred all the apps over, I refused to reset the old phone until…I had confirmed my four games transferred over, with all my levels successfully. For those of you who are not gamers, this might not make sense, but for anyone who is a gamer, thank you for nodding your head! Hey, I had spent months, even years playing these games, getting my points, stats, and levels to where they were, I wasn’t about to lose and start all over again!

Now…that being said, when I get a new device, like a tablet, I love starting over, it’s so much fun! Because I have played these games so much, I know the moves and what to do, that when I start on a new device, I can usually play for hours without losing a life! And for anyone who has done this, wah to the hoo!

Unfortunately, those games, while still on my phone, hit a wall and there were glitches that I could not get past and I haven’t really played them much and if I have to start over, I’m ok with it, one I even really enjoyed, but when I got to the same place and hit the same wall, the joy has run out.

One of the things with pc games, even when you play on your phone, unless you pay to not have ads, there are ads, great…commercials on my phone while I’m playing a game. Normally, I don’t watch them, I find they get in the way, but about 4 years ago, one caught my eye…and that brings us to my post. This was an ad with Ryan Reynolds for Toon Blast and I was hooked at the first Toon Blast commercial! I found and watched them all! I think my favorite is still the one when he gets a tattoo of the last level he made!

I immediately downloaded the game and started playing and I kept playing, and kept playing, and kept playing, o m g! I was hooked. It’s fun, as advertised ‘The Funniest Cartoon Puzzle Adventure” and it is! Every level is something different. I will say, there are some levels that seem like they repeat, but I’m ok with that, I’m on level 2408, it’s bound to happen. There are three characters, Cooper Cat, Wally Wolf, and Bruno Bear, and after 50 levels are achieved, an episode is unlocked. Pirates, boxers, travelers, adventurers, dessert, chemistry, they even get dressed up for different holidays. It really is a lot of fun.

The thing I like about the game is that you have five lives per turn and if you complete a level, you move on to the next, if you don’t complete a level with your five lives, you have to wait 25 minutes to play again. I play for as long as it takes to go through five lives, sometimes, depending on the level, it’s quick, then other times, I can play for a loooonnnggg time! Something they started recently is one free hour of play! OMG! I love those times, I can play, and play, and play, and it doesn’t run out, well, for an hour at least, then I don’t feel so bummed if I don’t finish a level.

Every day, you get to pick a card, so to speak, and you get an extra something, could be coins, could be lives, could be something to help you in the game. The last one I don’t care as much about, I am very stubborn, in case you didn’t know, and I almost never use the game aids, I just like to play. Every 20 levels, you get to open a Star Chest, there are extra treats, and at certain levels, you get a Toon Chest, more treats! How can you go wrong!?

One of the things I really like about this game is the graphics, they are clear and inviting, like the colors, and I like the strategy of trying to win the level. Sometimes, when a level is hard, and they can be, I have struggled with some levels for days or even weeks, I say out loud, and I know this is silly ‘This level is driving me nuts, I’m going to quit this game’ and miraculously…I beat the level…sometimes!

I just looked it up and there are 4000 levels in Toon Blast! O M G! I’m on my way! When you get to the end, you get in a Champion’s League. I am SO there!

This leads me to the next game…Toy Blast. This is the other game, by the same company, Zynga, who also publishes Words with Friends2, we’ve talked about that one, Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells, might have to check that one out! and others. I enjoyed Toon Blast, as you know, so I looked for other games, since I could only play 5 lives, I wanted something similar and I found Toy Blast, here’s a very cute Toy Blast holiday commercial, which will only truly make sense if you play.

When I first started playing, when I got into some higher levels, all of a sudden, I would get 30 minutes unlimited, then 1 hour unlimited, then it even went to TWENTY FOUR HOURS!!! O M G! I know we’ve talked about the fact that I don’t sleep, so…there may have been one or two days where I did nothing but play Toy Blast! It is entirely possible, not during work hours, this would be a weekend! At the very least, every time I played, it was free! And that was what propelled me farther in this game than Toon Blast, even though I’ve been playing it longer. I’m on level 3637 and it turns out there are 4150 level…what will I do then?!

One of the big differences between the two games…when you want to play extra lives, if you don’t have any left, you can buy some with your coin bank. Toy Blast is 25 coins, reasonable, Toon Blast is 100, seriously? Also…if you don’t complete a level, you can buy 5 extra moves, those cost either 25 for Toy Blast or 100 for Toon Blast, I only click that button by mistake!

There is so much more I can tell you about these games, but if you don’t play…go download them! If you do play, you already know what I’m talking about! I gotta go…my lives just replenished in both cames!

Damn you Ryan Reynolds. and thank you!

Um, yeah, what? Let’s see…

Today started like any other Sunday. We went to hot yoga, crazy…8am! We didn’t have to get up before the sun to go to yoga, wahoo! The class was a little crowded, I wasn’t crazy about it, it felt cramped. The odd thing about this location is that you don’t have to wear a mask in the studio, I think I’ve told you about it. PSM and I both wore our masks, but with the current state of affairs, it’s odd to see people put their masks on leaving the yoga studio to walk into the lobby. It is what it is.

After yoga, we needed to go to Costco, but since they weren’t open, we went to breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake and Dinner House, open 24 hours, and nice enough, no wait for a table. They were definitely observing social distancing, it was nice. We definitely enjoyed ourselves this time more than the last time. The food is good, but it’s the service really, they have a great and friendly staff. The food is simple and tasty, what more do you want?

After brunch, we headed to Costco. Gas first, you know the advantages there, renewed our membership, walked into the store and realized that since it’s Sunday, the pharmacy is closed, no bueno! Oh well…back to the house to get some stuff done, PSM had to prep to head out of town for work this week. After a bit, before it was time to go, we had lunch, yummy leftovers from last night’s dinner.

When it was time for PSM to head to the airport, I took the pups for a w-a-l-k, have to spell it out, they understand the word walk! ha ha. And for those of you who have kids and no dogs, you thought you were the only ones who had to spell in front of the wee tots! nope! We spell lots of words, w-a-l-k is one of them, t-r-e-a-t or g-o-o-d-y is another. And…I know that as you’re reading this, you actually spelled out the words! CLASSIC! I took them for a w-a-l-k for two reasons…to take them out and make it easier when PSM leaves, so they don’t notice and whine! Smart!

Shortly after we got back, and PSM was well on his way to the airport, I put the girls into the crate and headed out. This year, virtually, I am participating in the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15k. I started doing the race in Atlanta and even though I did the race twice in Denver, I still did it in Atlanta, same year, and I travel back to Atlanta to do the race. It’s an opportunity to participate in the same city I started in, and 2013 was the inaugural run in Atlanta. I started doing the 5k and eventually moved to the 15k.

This year, just like almost everything, it was virtual and you could do it wherever you wanted. I checked the distance and decided to walk to the park that PSM and I like to go to and now take the dogs to. It was about 3 miles to the park, then about 3 miles around the lake, then 3 miles home and next thing you know… I walked a 15k! 9 miles. Go figure.

Let’s just say it was c c c c c c cold! 16 degrees when I headed out. I was layered up, leggings, jeans, Cuddle Dud layer, Hot Chocolate sweatshirt, their swag really is the best!, my favorite winter coat, long and quilted, and my winter boots. I was nice and toasty! Headphones in, off I went. The boots kept my feet warm, but not the best for distance walking, well, with keeping a steady pace anyway.

The walk to the park was ok, not a lot of people on the road, I passed a few people actually walking in the park, so I wasn’t completely alone. There was snow on the ground, it was so quiet, at times you couldn’t hear anything and other times, all you heard were the ducks and geese. It was serene, peaceful, and beautiful.

After I walked around the lake, I walked the path to get back to the main road to walk home. Let’s just say, by the time I got to my neighborhood, which is about the same mileage I always start to question my decision to do this race! HA HA Every year I promise myself that I’m going to start training for this and this will be the year I actually run it and every year I forget that goal and promise to myself, oh well. Maybe one year I’ll listen to myself!

I got home, immediately put on my pj’s, I wasn’t going anywhere else! I let the dogs out of the crate, we played, they had dinner and I collapsed on the couch! Let’s just say right now, my body is questioning my sanity and I don’t think I’m going to argue with it! Hot yoga in the morning and a 15k in the afternoon? Sure, why not!

Did you know it’s Groundhog Day? Hopefully when you wake up tomorrow, it will be Wednesday, February 3rd! Fingers crossed for all of us!

Let me back up! Today is Tuesday, February 2, 2021 and it’s Groundhog Day. This is the day that Punxsutawney Phil, the official groundhog in Punxsutawney, PA, comes out of his hole, the temporary home he has in Gobbler’s Knob, to tell us if Winter is here to stay, well, for at least 6 more weeks, and today…Groundhog Day 2021, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and we will have 6 more weeks of winter folks. Oh joy…

“We have passed the darkness of night but now see hope and morning’s bright light. But now when I turn to see there’s a perfect shadow cast of me. Six more weeks of winter there will be!” club vice president Tom Dunkel read from the chosen scroll.

This event, which is more of a festival and celebration now, has been going on annually since 1887! Can you believe it! Well, more to the point, can you believe that this is the same groundhog that has been making a prediction since the tradition started? Yup, that’s right folks, well, that’s what the “Inner Circle” or Phil’s “Inner Circle”, identifiable by their top hats and tuxedos, want us to believe, isn’t that fabulous!

Whether or not Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are true or not, it’s still a fun tradition to keep up and behold. This year, in keeping with Covid-19 rules, the ceremony was held virtually, well, not by everyone! Phil was there, along with his inner circle, hey, someone had to verify if Phil saw his shadow and read the proclamation. And…except for the three intimately involved…the guy holding Phil, the guy reading the proclamation, and the guy with the microphone, everyone else had a mask on, no, not Phil, duh!

I’ll be honest, as a kid, I knew about the groundhog and Groundhog Day, the tradition of the groundhog coming out and predicting the 6 more weeks of winter, or not, but I didn’t know it was such a BIG deal until I saw the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, who plays a self-absorbed weatherman who ends up living the same day over and over and over again, well, until he gets it right.

The movie had a great cast, including Andie MacDowell, as his producer and eventual love interest, Chris Elliot is his goofball cameraman, Stephen Tobolowsky an old classmate of Billy Murray’s character and an insurance salesman with two of my favorite lines in the movie “BING!”, I know you have to watch it, and “Watch that first step…it’s a douzy”. Then, there’s Billy Murray’s brother, not movie brother, but actual brother, Brian Doyle Murray, a great character actor, Angela Paton, she’s one of those actors I don’t always remember her name, but I like seeing her. Rick Overton, who plays one of the guys in the car when Phil Connors, Billy Murray’s character drives off a cliff, Michael Shannon, who has a small role and I always forget that it’s him because had such a baby face in the movie, he was playing a teenager or just barely out of his teens and then, Harold Ramis who co-wrote, directed, and had a small role in the film.

The fun part is to watch Bill Murray’s character grow into an actual human being with all the experiences he has. He starts off, when he realizes that he’s stuck, is to do all the things we might think about doing, since he can’t get in trouble, or trouble that lasts past midnight, when the clock or day resets itself. Then he starts to take life a little more seriously, while still enjoying it. The day resets, but he doesn’t, so he has no choice but to grow. On the last day, well, the day that doesn’t reset itself is the day we get to see the new, maybe who he really was all along, just buried, Phil Connors. Who knows.

The hard part is to watch him try over and over to get out of this day and then you sit there wondering ‘just how long was Phil Connors stuck?‘ Harold Ramis said “It takes at least 10 years to get good at anything,” said Ramis, “and allotting for the down time and misguided years he spent, it had to be more like 30 or 40 years.” Just ouch!

Before I leave you…a bit of Groundhog Day movie trivia before I say farewell. The movie takes place in Punxsutawney, PA, but actually, it was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois! But JJ, how do you know that!? Well, first, if you look up the movie, you can find that out, but…I happened to be in Woodstock, Illinois for a project and the people at the office told me that the town square, about two blocks away, was where they filmed the movie! OMG! Of course, I had to take a stroll. How cool is that!

Well, here’s to 6 more weeks of winter and I’m hoping the radio doesn’t wake me up to I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher. If it does, I’m going back to bed. What would you do?

{February 1, 2021}   A new adventure starts today!

Today I started a new job and that means a new adventure! And what a day to start! And what starts! A new month, first day of the new month, and the first day of the week of the new month. What are the odds. What a way to start!

I had been looking for a new opportunity, something different from what I had been doing for the past several years. Now, by different, I mean the products and media that I use to create, not a different career path. I was on the lookout for an Instructional Designer and/or Software Trainer, two roles I am incredibly proud of. As a Software Trainer, I absolutely love explaining how a product or application works. I always say that an application is an application is an application, and by that, I mean it doesn’t matter to me what it is, I want and can learn it and turn around and teach it to you. I don’t even need to understand it completely to teach it, I have to understand it and be able to help you understand how to use it in your day to day job. As I teach, I learn, meaning that no matter how many times or how many years I teach something I learn something new every time I teach!

I didn’t know for a long time that being a good trainer was not as easy as I thought it was. I found out, years ago, that I have the ability to learn an application in a short amount of time and be able to turn around and teach it. I’ve been brought on projects and put in front of a class in a week or less. I would prefer to have more time to prep, but I am always up for the challenge. I really do live for it, I have the best time in front of a class, could be in part, not only my love of teaching, but my gift of gab, which I had way before I kissed the Blarney Stone! I have said in the past, I get a runner’s high when I teach, I do! When it’s a good or great class, I thrive and float, my feet sometimes don’t touch the ground for a few hours after I am done! I absolutely love seeing the look on someone’s face when they get it! I can see the proverbial ‘lightbulb over their heads’!

I will also take the time to explain something to someone until they get it, I want them to understand. I am also very honest that when I teach, I have the patience of a saint, but personally…I have the patience of a gnat! No patience, none, if a website hasn’t started in 3 seconds, I’ve started over! It’s true! Ask anyone who knows me! But for you, in my class, I have all the time in the world! Let’s dance! I am, after all, the product of two amazing and gifted teachers!

On the opposite side, when it comes to writing, I’ve always been a good writer, at least that’s what I have been told! ha ha! It must be true, for some reason you keep coming back to see what I have to say! I didn’t enjoy writing as a kid, I could write a book report, but I’m not sure it gave me the joy I get now. Now, reading, that I enjoyed, and I could tell a story, just didn’t feel much like writing it down. Later, in college, I got high marks on my stories, very descriptive and inviting. I remember writing a paper about my grandmother’s house and my professor said they could see it clearly in their mind and wanted to go and visit.

I started blogging, as you know, and that seems to be going well, ha ha. I’ve updated or written resumes for people, hopefully it has helped. I’ve written dating profiles, those I really enjoy! I even wrote one for a guy I was dating at the time! It helped him meet his current wife, go figure! And…four people have gotten married from the profiles I’ve written! I’ve even written them for people I didn’t know, my favorite was someone I met on a train. It was pretty good, if I do say so myself!

When I got into writing professionally, it was really the same way I fell into training. It started with “We got this new application, teach us how to use it” huh? Ok…then I was in one position and I knew I was going to be out of the office for a bit, so I wrote instructions on how to do my job and when I got back, the person who was filling in had no questions and was able to follow everything as if I was walking them through it step by step. Then I started getting jobs as a writer, sometimes updating existing training materials, sometimes building new materials and then one job or project led to another and here we are.

When I write training materials, I really get into what I’m doing, when I know how to start. Sometimes, I have to sit and look, and look, and think, and look, and think before my brain clicks and I think…oh yeah, this is the way we’re going and we’re off and running! If you know me, you know I don’t turn something in until I am proud of it, I’ll work through the night, hence the 80-120 hours I got in trouble for submitting sometimes! I love testing a product every which way to see how it works, if I click this, what happens? If I click that, where does it take me. Can I break it? How do I explain this so it flows just so. How can I write this so the trainer can teach it, even if it’s not me, and the student can understand it. Where do I add a screenshot? Oh man, I do love a screenshot! I’m being serious! How much is too much information? How many details derail the point or the materials? On my last project, I built a lot of the materials I was teaching, based on the data given to me, and some of the materials I had updated what was given to me. As I was teaching, I realized that some things just didn’t flow right and I rearranged things, moved things around, made them flow better and I have to tell you, when I was done, I was so very proud. And that was at 4 o’clock in the morning, I’m not kidding, I was driven and I was going to turn in something I was happy with. And…I’ve heard that others were happy with it, it made more sense, and that to me was everything!

So…as I mentioned, I was looking for something different, not in the role, but in the software, I had been writing and teaching the same product for the last five years and it was time for a change. And that’s where we are today! Today I started with a new company and it’s a whole new ballgame! I am going to be updating some existing materials and building brand new content, I am so ready to jump in and get started. What I really love about writing assignments is that each client has different mediums they want to use. Some use Word, at this point, I’m an expert for building training materials! some use PowerPoint [PPT], I have since become quite the PPT aficionado, it doesn’t intimidate me anymore!, some Adobe Captivate, I’ve dabbled, some Articulate, I’ve experimented, RoboHelp, it’s been a while, and now, with this new job, I’m getting to use two new mediums, Skilljar and Genially, and from what I’ve seen when I investigated them, I’m excited!

As I get more into what I’m doing I’ll definitely share! I know you know that! For now, Monday, February 1st, new adventure! Liferay, here I come!

I really am trying to get home! As much as I didn’t want to leave Colorado, I almost never do when I visit, I did want to get home to my family. Apparently Mother Nature thought it would be funny to make my 12+ hour drive a 14+ hour drive, not funny.

I actually slept later than I had all week, go figure! Every day that I had wanted to sleep past 7/7:30am, no dice, this morning, I got up at almost 8am! And…this is the day I wanted to leave a little earlier, maybe by 8am so I could take advantage of the daylight for driving. I didn’t set an alarm thinking I kept getting up early, but no dice. So…the plan was to leave between 8:30 and 9am, just like I had when I left St Louis for Denver.

I got on the road, no issue, then…apparently it had snowed, and snowed a lot, outside of Denver, the entire state of Colorado, then Kansas, and if you’ve ever made that drive, you know both states seem to go on fore…ever!!! There was snow on the ground, in the fields, it was white, white, white! There were some places I couldn’t see ahead of me or on either side of me, then it would clear, ahhh.

I filled up my gas tank and it was just slushy, but when I pulled into the first rest stop along the highway, not only did I inch my way up to the house, I actually had to put on my waterproof winter boots with the fur because the snow was at least 6 inches in some places and a foot in others. Pretty to look at, not fun to walk in, with Chucks on!

Some of the roads had snow and some ice on both lanes, other areas it was clear on one side, where the trucks had been driving over the road. I loved when cars or trucks would go by and slosh my car with wet, grey snow, thanks a lot! This was a drive that had to be made carefully for a lot of it. There were a lot of electronic warning signs up along the highway.

There were some areas that were absolutely beautiful and some areas, well…even snow couldn’t make it pretty!

I have to say, I’m glad I didn’t wash my car after skiing on Friday or even Sunday. I knew I would be driving and thought about getting her washed before I headed out this morning, really glad I didn’t. Almost every rest stop and gas station, I was getting the packed snow out of the wheel wells, washing the windshield and wiping as much of the ice from the car doors. Fun! Bottom line, she will be getting a bath this week in St Louis!

Now, you’ll love this…or maybe it’s just me. And that was pure sarcasm…At some point during the week, the driver’s side washer fluid nozzle seemed to stop working…the passenger side is fine, driver side, not so much. So…if I crane my head to the right, I can drive looking out the passenger side! HA HA! I did a lot of window washing, let me tell you! Then…somewhere around Topeka, KS, I turned on the wipers, they swished and the driver’s side wiper FLEW OFF! really?! I promptly found an Auto Zone and $70 later, I am now the proud owner of a pair of Rain-X Quantum Wiper Blades, huh? I don’t remember them being so expensive, but they are! And really expensive for something that only lasts about a year and a half! But…I really like the Rain-X brand, and they are on snug as a bug in a rug, so I am quite happy and when I got home…they are still on! HA HA

I was tired of the food I had been munching on for the week and decided to stop for some grub. There aren’t a lot of options for me, but I know I can get a sandwich at Subway, I have always liked their veggie patty, and then I started to want one. I stopped at no less than FIVE Subways along the road, the first…the toaster was out. I would have asked about the patty, but you have to cook it, so no dice. The next location had just closed, and they just started closing earlier the day before. The next two locations didn’t carry the patty and the last location, the girl behind the counter had no idea what I was talking about. Sigh…vegan ham and cheese it is! At least my stomach stopped grumbling!

Back on the road, munching on my sandwich and listening to a podcast or some comedy on Pandora radio, I didn’t get tired until about 11:30p, I had effectively been on the road about 12+ hours at that point and I had about another 2 hours to go. I was doing alright and didn’t start to get tired until about midnight and at that point, I was so close to home, I wasn’t getting a hotel. I did, however, stop at almost every rest stop and every few gas stations on the way!

Best part…pulling into my driveway, walking into the house, peaking in on the fur babies, who had noticed that I was home [I had to ignore the whining! SO hard!], putting on my pjs and crawling into bed, pulling up the covers and…zzzz…

et cetera