I’m pretty good at guessing things that Dale has up his sleeve, but he really got me good today. I thought we were going out to shoot guns in the desert. We had a picnic lunch he packed with Barbecued chicken, cheese and crackers and some tasty beverages for our outing. He even tricked me by packing bullets in his nap sack that he made sure I saw. When we turned on this dirt road I said, “hey, look at that sign that says Lion Habitat.” I still didn’t realize we were going there until we turned into the driveway. I guess there was an article in the paper a week ago about this place opening to the public, of course I never saw this article because Dale “made it disappear.” This was an early birthday present, a prequel to my upcoming African Safari vacation that I’m going on in June with my mother-in-law Betty. A trip that is something I am truly excited about. I plan of taking lots of pictures and blogging often while in Africa.


Here are some photos from today at the Lion Habitat. These were the lions that were at an exhibit at the MGM Grand here in Vegas. They have over forty lions here at the habitat. Dale paid a little extra and we were able to interact with the cubs which was awesome. When we came home we hugged our cute little kitty but those cubs were, sorry Tip, but they were cuter.




I was starting to feel downright embarrassed about my multiple trips to Bed Bath and Beyond and my craziness about finding the perfect pillow.

It just wasn’t right!”  I was starting to feel like Bed Bath and Beyond would put me on some type of a black list, a pillow black list!  I was starting to feel like I would never find my “perfect pillow,” what’s a girl to do?  A sad girl without her pillow, I was desperate!

I was on my I-pad, yes,  actually doing google searches for at least an hour or so.   I can’t be the only person who has major pillow problems.  I was very happy to see there are a lot of us out there, I’m not alone which did bring me some comfort.  I swear I have woken up with a headache almost every morning for years it feels like.  It’s always at the base of my head where my neck is, sometimes these headaches will last for days.  It really is miserable…

I was telling Dale – why isn’t there just a “pillow store?” I started thinking about mattress companies and remembered the commercials for the Sleep Number Bed and how you set the mattress for your specific number that works best for you.  I wondered – Did they make a pillow for your particular needs?  I pulled up their site and saw they did have an adjustable pillow and there was a store very close to home  http://www.sleepnumber.com/.  It was like I was at the Indy 500 racing to what I like to call my “pillow store.”

I walked into the Sleep Number Store and was helped by one of the sales ladies.  I told her all my issues – position I go to sleep in, type of bed I have, type of pillows I’ve used, where my headaches are located.  And she said,  get this, “it sounds like you’re using the wrong pillow!”  Finally, validation!

I saw the adjustable pillow but was told it would be to firm for me, I’d still get headaches.  She told me you can customize your own pillow with Sleep Number.


I wanted to scream with excitement when I saw this display.  I can create my own “perfect pillow.”  I felt like I was at the Build a Bear Workshop for adults.

I spent a good portion of time selecting the perfect material for the outside portion.  I ended up with an “Alternate Down” outer, and a “Real Down” inner.  These pillows all have an opening where you choose your own insides – check it out!

I’m happy to say that I am in love with my new pillow.  If you have any similar “issues” check these pillows out.

Dale is crying now that he needs a new pillow too.

“I’m not a homeless person, I swear.”
Many times Dale and I look at each other on our weekends sitting on our opposite couches, our hair sticking straight up, the same clothes on from the day before and laugh at what an exciting reality show we would be. This always cracks us up, I don’t know why but it does. I like that we both have the same kind of humor, its one of the things I love best about “us.”
Tonight would be one of those amusing shows, titled something like “Sandy gets a new pillow.”

I have always had “issues” and I guess you could say “obsessions” with my pillows. I’m not ashamed to say that as an adult I have flown with my bed pillow on an airplane. I have attempted to be an adult and fly solo (no pillow) but have almost felt like crying when I’ve tried every pillow at the hotel and none of them cut it. They are too hard, too soft and never just right. Are you quick enough reader, did you get the comparison to Goldilocks and the three bears? I’ve also got issues with only sleeping on the right side of the bed, but that’s a whole different story.

I wasn’t going to post this picture, but shit, its funny. We are at Bed Bath and Beyond and I didn’t know Dale was taking this picture. I wanted to try out the pillows and all the beds had like 100 decorative pillows on them.
Me: “Should I just get on the floor here to try them out?”
Dale: “If you want to”
Me: “Are you sure no one is coming?”
Dale: “Who cares if they are”
Me: “Hey don’t take a picture I look stupid”
Dale: “No you don’t!” (laughing)

I was busy running around this morning getting the last of my suitcase packed up for my vacation that starts today, heading back East to see the family.

It was much earlier than I normally get up (around 5:15 a.m.) and as I glance out the front window I  see the dark clouds floating around the blue/black sky with the street lights casting a warm glow.  I’m not outside but I can feel the quiet and I’m transported back in time.

I’m 20 years old and in Air Force Basic Training marching around with my troop at dawn with the dark clouds and that same blue/black sky, the street lights casting their warm glow.  The air is so quiet and the only sounds you hear are a hundred pairs of combat boots hitting the pavement.

I marched out into the living room and shouted to Dale (*) Road Guards Out.”

I love that we have a shared history and he gets that, it made me smile this morning.

* This is something the Drill Sargent would yell out and two soldiers would run up to the upcoming street crossing with their flashlights with the Star Wars green laser covers so we could cross the street in safety.  The funny thing was there was never any traffic this damn early.

Have you ever been somewhere or in some type of an environment that just felt like it fit you?  It gave you a “warm fuzzy” feel.  You just wanted to kick off your shoes, take off your bra (that’s always a must), maybe throw a nice tasty alcoholic beverage over ice and plop down on that “come relax on me” overstuffed chair. 


This is how I felt when I opened the door to my local Pottery Barn Store – ahhhh, “Home Sweet Home.”

I found myself taking off my shoes and sox and climbing into my beautifully arranged bed with it’s rustic duvet cover.  I felt my eyes growing weary as I slowly turned off my nautical themed lamp on my distressed teak wood nightstand.  My hurricane vases looked so good on the dresser with their sand, seashells and candles,  I sigh with contentment.  God, I love my bedroom!


Imagine my distress when I was awoken from my slumber – Why does my mother always invade my dreams I thought, nag, nag, and nag.    “You’re not going out with your hair like that,” is usually what she taunts me with.  
“Mam, this is the last time I’m going to tell you before we call the police.  You are at the Pottery Barn Store and you must get out of that bed.”

Last time I’m inviting that “bitch” to one of my themed backyard barbecue parties with matching table cloths, umbrellas, strung up lights and as many cold beverages as you can drink in their 50’s style glass jars. 


I’ve been a little bummed because I feel like I have no time to write.  By the time I get home after a long day of work I’m usually too damn tired. 
I’ve known that the only solution was to get up earlier.  The house is quiet and I can have some peace and time to unwind.  So today I set my alarm for an hour earlier and although I was tempted to stay in bed from sheer exhaustion I felt my feet hit the floor. 
I can’t believe how much “shit” I got done with that extra hour.  I picked up the house, hung up all the laundry I did yesterday, cleaned the cat’s litter box, cleaned the kitchen, had a cup of coffee and actually had some time to write.  Go figure…

It always takes me a bit by surprise when my sense of well-being improves when I just get outside and let the sun shine on my face. 


I went outside to empty the trash and I could just feel something in the air.  My trees all have buds on their branches.  I noticed my neighbors Plum tree has one branch that had a burst of pink and white flowers that all opened up overnight.  I faced the sun and raised my arms as high as I could and did my happy “Spring Stretch.”
I needed to breathe some new life into my yard and get rid of all the dead.  Out came the leaf blower banishing all the ugly, brown, crispy remnants from my sleepy trees.  I sat on the ground pruning my bushes and smiled when I saw all the new, bright green growth just waiting for an opportunity to grow.   Why does it just feel good to dig in the dirt?

I sit in my recliner trying to think of  of ways to motivate myself to go for a walk.  You would think that stopping at the Cupcakery (it’s a cupcake store) and buying a red velvet with cream cheese frosting would do it.  Surprisingly, nope, that is not motivating me at all to hit the pavement.    I kind of felt like a criminal getting into my car with my purchase and looking for a parking spot that was a bit hidden so I could secretly enjoy my “sweet treat.”    I found a big tree and pulled into a parking space below it.  

Why did I feel so bad, am I a bad person, my heart was beating so fast.   I looked around to make sure no one could see me was as I tore off the cover holding my, my, my sweet treat, I guess I’d have to call it.  

Do you remember that scene in Shawshank Redemption when Red was sitting in the field under the big tree and opening up the box that Andy left him?  He heard a noise and looked over his shoulder.  He knew he was doing something that others might not think is right?    Today as I peeled back the paper on my cup cake, I was Red. 

But damn, that cupcake was GOOD!

Today my mother’s visit with me ended and she headed back to her home in Connecticut, my childhood home.  It’s all the little things she does around my house that make her so special to me.  Even my cat will miss her.  Sorry Tip (that’s his name) your litter box will probably not be cleaned quite so often, your moist food will not be left on the counter until it reaches room temperature before “you are served,” and the bedroom window will definitely not be opened each morning at the crack of dawn so you can feel the cool morning air on your face.  


Mom loves to play her penny slots at the small local casinos in my neighborhood and she has all these wacky theories and methods to her play, it’s quite mad.  I was amused one day as we walked into one of her favorites; it’s where she starts out each day.   “I usually get one good hit here each morning,” she says.  I follow closely behind as we weave through the casino, we maneuver in and out the narrow rows of slot machines.    I feel my breath quicken as I follow this women on a mission.  I didn’t know she could move this quickly.  I can sense her annoyance when someone is on the machine she likes to start on.  “You can’t play that machine,” she says as I tried to sit down next to her.  “That’s always the second machine I play.”  I get up actually feeling a little hurt, but I know she has her routine.  I start to wonder if maybe she is developing OCD.  I know people with this affliction must have a routine.  I mentally make a list of some of her other “casino quirks.”  
–  She must always play the third machine from the left
–  If three is not available it must be seat five from the left
–  If you get a good hit you must get up immediately  
–  Must order her drinks in a pirate voice, “Oy matey I’ll have another”
–  Never sit on machine that shows it just paid off
–  She must wear the same underwear everyday (kidding)
–  Wears her left shoe on the right foot and the right shoe on the left foot
–  Spin around three times before you sit at a slot machine
–  Put winning tickets in pocket, use cash.  
–  Always use ten-dollar bills in machines
–  And the most embarrassing thing is every time she hits a jackpot she shouts out across the    casino at the top of her lungs “Boo Ya.”  Who is this woman I ask.
I brought my Ipad with me to the casino because I had an idea that I was playing around with to do this blog and wanted some funny pictures.  I was like a famous Hollywood director shouting out the poses I needed.  I had a funny idea about how to compare her to Dustin Hoffman’s “Rain Man,” with her “routines/quirks.”  I couldn’t tell her what I was doing.  We were laughing our heads off though; I know I peed my pants.  I love that she’s such a good sport. 


Here I was trying to get the Rain Man’s head tilt.  Jeez, how hard is it to tilt your head, I mean really!

You’re really mad.   I’m telling you we are leaving and you’re very angry.  Yeah, lift your fist up.  I was trying to get Rain Man’s anger at being late for Judge Wapner. 


I miss her already!

I sit with my hands on my computer keyboard summing up my thoughts of my Mother on her birthday today. 

I wonder when the transition happens as it does to all of us when our parents, although still our parents, become our friends.  It’s a strange shift in the universe when that happens. 

I can remember being a kid, a pretty sensitive one who was a little afraid of my Mom.  She always spoke her mind and told you what she was thinking.  I’ve come to admire that quality in her.  I think it’s a trait I have in common with her.  I have no problem telling my husband, “your such a dumb ass,” (just kidding, honey).

My mother has always been my biggest supporter in every aspect of my life.  She’s taught me to how to put myself in someone else’s shoes, that whole, “How do you think that would make you feel… I still remember when I was pretty young and I bit my sister Cindy on the stomach.  I don’t think she bled, but I definitely left an imprint of my teeth.  I remember my Mom grabbing my arm and pushing up my sleeve and saying, “how would you like it if someone bit you.  I remember screaming – “no, no, no.”  But the lesson was learned and I don’t think I’ve ever bit anyone since.  THIS DID HAPPEN MOM, I REMEMBER, I STILL HAVE NIGHTMARES…. 

Laughter has always been the number one ingredient that binds my family together. 

I know how lucky I am to be born into this crazy, spontaneous, wacky clan.    It’s like I hit the lottery….

Happy Birthday Mom, you are one in a million