Saturday, December 29, 2007

It's not Times Square.....

Ever since I can remember, I've always wanted to be in Times Square for New Years Eve. Being among the crowd as the ball drops and confetti litters the air, and it has to be cold and snowing, at least in my version of the evening.

Every year I host a NYE party for a small group of family and friends, nothing extravagant. This year will be no different. Only a party of 7 will ring in the new year here in our new home.

Nicks younger brother Joe and his lady friend Linda will be our NYE guest this year. Since they have yet to see our new house, this holiday is a perfect time for them to visit and celebrate. We also have friends, Gennie and Eric, from Columbia SC flying in Sunday morning. They made a surprise NYE appearance a few years ago and we all had a blast. They'll be leaving on Tuesday, just enough time to catch up and celebrate. And of course my best friend and Christopher's Godfather, Eddy will be in attendance. We've never missed a New Years Eve celebration together since 1982.

The menu will have a holiday favorite I made famous several NYE's ago, sausage roll. Never heard of it? Well you must try it some time it's real easy to make and it'll become a favorite around your house too. All you need is a 1 pound roll of Bob Evans sausage, American cheese and two packages of Betty Crocker pizza crust mix. Fry the sausage and drain the grease. Mix the dough and flatten on a greased rectangle cookie sheet. Put the sausage in the middle of the dough and top with 4 or 5 slices of cheese. Fold the ends of the dough in and then the sides. Bake for 30 minutes or until the bottom is brown and the dough is cooked. Slice and serve, it is YUMMY! I'll take pictures so you can see the finished product.

I'm also baking a half a ham, ranch potato salad and whipped sweet potatoes. I made an extra tray of lasagna when I assembled our Christmas Eve dinner so I'll bake that as well. A vegetable tray with dip. Cheese, crackers, pepperoni and sliced summer sausage will round out the snacking food. Everyone should be fat and happy come midnight.

I'll post pictures of the cast of characters and the spread before it's devoured. With the fire blazing and our Christmas lights all aglow, I'm sure our slipper clad guests will enjoy themselves, just like Times Square.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yuletide celebration

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas holiday.

Nick and I spent Christmas Eve together at home. He had to work and I had to make an emergency trip to Cleveland, nothing major. Sunday evening I broke my dental bridge and the post tooth was exposed. I called my childhood friend, Doctor Elmer, and he was able to see me at 10am Monday morning. He was supposed to be on vacation this week, but he made an exception and opened the office to make me a new bridge for the holiday.

The roads were clear and at 8:15 in the morning, I was practically alone in my travels. I made great time and arrived at the office at 10:00. An hour and 45 minutes, not bad. The trip home was even better. A cruising speed between 80 and 85 MPH got me home in record time, and hour and 38 minutes. Seven minutes may not seem like much, but when you make this trip monthly, every minute counts.

Anywho, we planned to spend Christmas Eve watching movies, after dinner, while munching on Christmas cookies. Before I left for the dentist, I put my lasagna sauce on to simmer so all I had to do upon my return was fry the ground beef, let that simmer a while and assemble the layers and bake. I fried the pork butt and put that in before I left. I normally take it out after a few hours but it had begun to shred in the sauce so I left it in and used it in the layers. It was quite tasty.

Nick got home around 6:00, and I was just starting to assemble the lasagna. We ended up eating at 7:30 and because of the massive kitchen clean-up, we missed the first 30 minutes of It's a Wonderful Life. But we soon caught up and settled in for a relaxing evening in our nammies.

Christmas morning brought a us both a bit of sadness. Christopher worked Christmas Eve and planned to visit my parents when he got off work at 7:30 Christmas morning. Nick dropped all his presents off at my moms on Saturday when he traveled to Mayfield Heights to see his mom and dad. The 2 big boxes of gifts were opened when Christopher got to his apartment while we listened on speaker phone. As you can imagine, it just wasn't the same. After he got a few hours of sleep he planned to spend Christmas evening with my brothers family.

I prepared a turkey breast with all the fixing's and my best friend, Christopher's Godfather, Eddy was our guest. He brought his dog Marcus along so he could spend the night and not worry about getting a dog sitter. Hershey and Marcus are old friends and were well behaved. We ate around 3:00 and again, after the massive kitchen clean-up, we settled in to watch movies and munch on Christmas cookies.

We did a little after Christmas shopping Wednesday afternoon. The 20% off sale at Half Price Books saved me $17.49 on the 18 books I purchased! My birthday is on the 8th, so this was an early gift. We picked up some take-out and watched The Wedding Crashers and Munich. Eddy and Marcus left about 10:00 and he called me when he got home.

I almost forgot, Nick got me a Tim Horton's coffee mug and coffee, a $100.00 Victoria's Secret gift card and a Bluetooth for my cell phone. Eddy (and Marcus) got me a picture for my dinning room and something else that he forgot at home in his rush to leave. Nick got some Meguiar's Liquid Wax, an Armor All Gift Pack, a few sweaters and a Columbus Blue Jackets jersey.

Even though we missed our son greatly, we truly enjoyed our holiday.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours,
Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Christmas. And maybe one of those gifts you receive will be something you really want.

As we gather with family and friends to celebrate our Saviors birth, remember our service men who can't be with their loved ones this holiday season.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Canadian honor killing is now called domestic violence

Following the murderous attack of Aqsa Parvez, CAIR Canada is urging a zero tolerance for domestic violence.

Why is news worthy you ask? It seems to be virtuous endorsement, right? It would be if the underlying details weren't so appalling.

Muhammad Parvez, 57, was arrested after the teen was found unresponsive. Friends of the victim say Aqsa had been arguing with her father over her refusal to wear a hajib. Her brother has also been arrested.

CAIR Canada came out with a statement, "Muslims and Canadians of all faiths need to reflect on the realities of domestic abuse and take concrete steps to eliminate violence against women," said CAIR-CAN Board Member Selma Djukic.

The Islamic Social Services Association also opined, "There should be zero tolerance for violence of any kind against women or girls," said ISSA President Shahina Siddiqui. "The strangulation death of Ms. Parvez was the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to colour or creed."

I wish someone would be brave enough to call this what it is, an islamic honor killing. To equate this 7th century practice with domestic violence does a disservice to the victims of honor killings. The refusal to separate the two eliminates the reality that exists only in the muslim world. Simply renaming this practice performed by the humiliated muslim males does nothing to save future victims. An islamic reformation is needed now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ready for Christmas, almost!

Do you remember this? That sunny June day when I returned to find our new puppy had a taste for living room sofa. Well, after much procrastination over whether to have it fixed or purchase new living room furniture, we decided to have it restored.

The upholsters picked it up last Tuesday, made the repairs and had it back to us on Wednesday. They were able to save the cushions from which the material came for the repairs. So, if you're in the central Ohio area and need upholstery work, Begley Upholstering is the company to call.

On to the Christmas decorations now that I have a complete living room.

This is the nativity set that was handed down to me from my paternal grandmother. You can also see some of the nicely wrapped gifts. All of them are Christopher's, the others are up stairs under the family room tree.

Here's a look at our new gas fireplace and the real 9 ft tree. Let me tell you, it was no small feat in bringing it home. We recently traded in our Jeep Grand Cherokee for a Dodge Caliber. It would have been wise to wait until we brought the tree home to make the purchase.

After picking the tallest tree in the nursery we proceeded to the rear of the building to have it loaded. I won't go into details, but the movie Christmas Vacation came to mind as we drove home, slowly.

This is our fake, family room tree with the colored lights and homey decorations. Next year we're going to have only one tree. It's a bit to much work.

While we waited for the "fresh cut" on our tree, I spotted this lighted wreath above the check out counter. I really liked it, but not for $39.99. Once the cashier told us it was only $20 I loved it and took it home!

The lighted garland used to be around the family room ledge of our Cleveland house. I think it works well hanging from the banister.
All I have to do it arrange the furniture and put out a few more nik-naks and I'm finished. I'll post pictures of the other nativity sets with better decoration photos once the sun comes up and we get a little more natural light in the house.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Decorations; Part One

I made it home Wednesday, despite the seasons first snow storm and "newbie" drivers on the road the same time I planned to make my way south. Lake effect snow fall is common for the Cleveland area. It's what every kid goes to bed hoping to see in the morning, that and your schools name scrolling across the bottom of the TV. A January birthday ensured my ability to navigate the salt trucks and 4 inches of snowfall on the pavement. I must say, I'm a great foul weather driver even in a rear wheel drive car.

At 9:30 Wednesday morning I left the doctors office and entered 271 south. Certain the traffic would be light and the further south I drove the better the driving conditions. It turns out I would have to drive to Covington Kentucky to find clear pavement that morning.

Unaware my destination was under a level 2 storm warning, I continued to travel 60 to 65 MPH waiting for the flurries to cease. They didn't. The closer I got to Columbus, local forecasters informed me of road conditions, temperature and (lack of) visibility for the route I was taking. Overnight the city received 4 inches of snow, and it was still snowing, with more south and east, which is where I was headed (I-270 south, exit 49).

All in all I still made great time, only adding 45 minutes to the normal 2 hour drive. It was nice to see snow and it made the pictures of the decorated house even more beautiful.

I told Nick we need more lights!
Maybe 3 or 4 hundred more. I'm going to purchase them at the after Christmas sale when they're at least 50% off.

We had enough to trace the garage and circle the post on the porch. Next year I'd like to decorate the maple tree and I hope the 2 pines we planted will be big enough to put a string of lights on them as well.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

CAIR opposes NYFD & DHS anti-terror partnership

For many years now, CAIR has been very outspoken in their claims of patriotism. They can be seen and heard touting the concerns of the muslim community on every social issue. The latest crisis for the unindicted co-conspirator just so happens to involve New York city firefighters and the department of homeland security.

Since 9/11, mailmen, meter readers and cable installers have been asked to report anything suspicious. It's the unofficial post 9/11 edict "if you see some thing, say some thing". Well this too could be hampered by law suits if CAIR believes a "John Doe" fireman insulted islam because he reported seeing bags of ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel in the living room of a Brooklyn apartment.

CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper agreed firefighters should report on anything they encounter that's clearly illegal. "But you don't want firefighters as spies, so to speak, who are using almost warrantless searches to enter homes and to look for things that they're not really supposed to be looking for," and "You have to be able to trust firefighters, that they're not coming there to do you harm, to spy on you. They're coming there to save you. And this policy could break down that link."

Who, in the islamic community, will be afraid to call the fire department after this policy is fully operational? Law abiding citizens, be them Jew, Christian or muslim, have nothing to fear if you're playing by the rules. We already have laws in place to punish those who discriminate or bring false charges. CAIR peddles the victim-hood mentality, Jesse Jackson style. What CAIR and Hoop seem to forget is America's a nation of laws, unlike the tyrannical muslim states in the middle east.

I hope the Michael Savage lawsuit against this terror front group can put a dent in their ability to terrorize our efforts to safeguard this great nation.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas old and new!

This is a little something to hold you, my loyal readers, until I return. I'm off to Cleveland for my monthly orthopedic/pain management doctor. As a special bonus, I have a dentist appointment with my childhood friend, Dr. Elmer. Upon my return I will write my 400th post which will include Christmas pictures of the house all decorated for the holiday. For now I'll leave you with a Christmas photo from 1972.

Here we have a 6 year old Janice and my 5 year old brother Steve, whom I've often refereed to as "Happy" and from the look on his face you can tell why. I believe he was concerned about my untied shoe when this picture was taken.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

CAIR responds to the Sudanese teddy bear

The religion of peace? CAIR believes the west needs to be educated about islam!

I'm sure you've all heard the news story about Gillian Gibbons. Miss Gibbons is being held in a Sudanese jail after her students voted to name the class teddy bear, Mohamed. The punishment for "insulting" the prophet of islam, (yawn) as Miss Gibbons did, is 40 lashes. World attention played a big part in commuting her sentence to 15 days in jail and deportation, to which Miss Gibbons is grateful.

I ask all of you who believe in God, do you ever leave Saturday or Sunday services, with sword in hand, and take to the streets looking to avenge your religion? I know me and my fellow Catholics don't. Never once has our Priest worked the congregation into such a frenzy. But I digress. Following Friday prayers muslims converged on Khartoum's "martyrs square", near the presidential palace, and began calling for Gibbons' execution.

Again, I find myself looking for even one women's group to speak out on Gibbons behalf. None are to be found. Not a shock there.

CAIR however has weighed in with an op-ed by Ibrahim Hooper. The 691 word article dedicates a meager 40 words to Gibbons plight. Stating an "inappropriate use of Sudan’s legal system" to settle a "disagreement between parents and a teacher". Compassionately, Hooper ends his op-ed with this non-condemnation, "Ms. Gibbons should never have been charged. She should be released immediately". That's it! Where's the outrage Hoop? Where's the condemnation for the Sudanese government and the Sudanese muslims themselves? Hooper's op-ed is fraught with koran and hadith quotes. Educating us on the prophet's "restraint" when dealing with insults and abuse. Well I'm sorry Hoop, the koran and hadiths are full of examples of the prophets vengeful savage manner when dealing with those who offended him.

The Sudanese, Dutch, French and Palestinian muslims are only acting the way their prophet has, they learn this from the imams who preach it in the mosques.

Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR are on a crusade to educate the wrong people. All the publications CAIR has made available to the American public need to be sent overseas. Every time a muslim uprising occurs, ship a pallet of books and pamphlets to those rioting in the name of islam, let them know "What Mohamed Would Do". Those of us living in the 21st century know what to do, and it's a bit different than what those rioting muslims are doing!