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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More visitors and more veggies!

Okay, for two straight weeks in a row we have had guests. We went months without guests then our house was a flurry of activity. Luckily, they were back to back so I didn't have to clean all that much. I also worked on Saturday, so poor Tom has to do some cleaning. I think I like that! But fat chance it will keep happening. All I can say is I need a cleaning lady.

Oh and I had more squash and cucumbers. A lot more squash and cucumbers. Too many squash and cucumbers. I think I better learn how to make pickles or something because we have cucumbers coming out of the ying-yang.

Our guests this week were Tom's friend Martha, her hubby Steve and their son, Aidan. Tom, Martha and Steve have known each other since their days at Carnegie Mellon. That is probably over 25 years or more.

There were no horrible incidents involved in this visit as there were last weekend when I almost died. This weekend was tranquil compared to that. So after work, I ran to the grocery store and came back and finished cleaning the house.

Martha and Steve were actually in Asheville because Steve invented a game called Askew. He designed it and made some and was selling them in Asheville. Asheville has a street fair of some kind and people go there and sell their wares. So Steve had been there a few weekends in a row and doing quite well. This weekend Martha and Aidan came along and so they decided to see us since we are only an hour from Asheville.

I actually was super lazy and recreated the meal from last week. We had steaks, grilled zucchini and squash, tomato, cucumber and onion salad (onions and cucumbers from the yard) and I cheated and bought potato salad from the store. Yeah, sue me but it looked good and fresh so I decided to be lazy!

After dinner we hung out and chatted all night. Next morning, The Salzman Bed & Breakfast served up a tasty breakfast. Well, I served up a tasty breakfast because Tom didn't do a thing. (I am going to be in so much trouble for writing that, hee) And then the guests were off. Since Aidan is about the age to go college shopping, Tom took them to tour Western Carolina University.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing nothing except making dinner. I got on the computer and then watched TV all afternoon. Tom actually did more gardening but I was too lazy to help!

That was it folks. Next weekend, I am left to my own devices which will include a lot of being lazy and hopefully there will cake involved. WOO!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPI!

I know my dad doesn't read my blog but I know my sister will make sure he knows I blogged about him. Today is my dad's 83rd birthday! Holy smokes!! So I wanted to post a birthday wish for him. Feliz Cumpleanos Papi!




Sunday, June 27, 2010

Holy Fresh Veggies, Batman!

I had to work on Saturday and so that meant Tom had to pick the veggies this weekend. Holy smokes, look how many we had. I am thinking it might be time to share the bounty.





Saturday, June 26, 2010

Let There be Light - CSN Stores Review

A few weeks ago, I told you that I had the opportunity to review a floor lamp from CSN Stores. I decided on a floor lamp because I really needed one for my office at work. The thing is I really don't mind having a dark office, I actually like it dark and cave-like. But I do need some light to work. I had a little lamp and although it gave off light, many times I needed more. So when I got the opportunity to chose a product to review, I decided on this lamp that has 2 settings. I use one light all day but sometimes when I need more light, I can turn on the reading lamp. As promised, I am posting some pictures of my little and messy office. It's messy because I work so hard!

I actually have 2 windows in my office but I keep the blinds drawn and have only low lights on. I spend a lot of time in my office so I like it comfortable. People who have worked with me before know that I act like a vampire. I like the dark. I shy away from the sun. I hate florescent lighting of any kind. I like low lights and tranquility. That's what I have at my office now.
Since they had never had a Director of Development before and this is a school, there wasn't a really good place for me except for an office in the the library. I really love being in the library. I am surrounded by books, not only in the library area but in my office. I like that because I love books. The librarian is really sweet and we have become fast friends. We also have a little closet where we have our own mini fridge and microwave. That is so handy because I don't have to trek to the other building to heat up my lunch.

It is basic but suits my needs. I have a small desk, a small file cabinet and a giant shelving unit where I can store my supplies. I have a little cork board for my notes and a great view into the library and out the front windows. When school is in, the library can be noisy and there are kids all around. Now in the summer, I am the only one there and I love it.

It is creepy sometimes but if I am the only one on campus, I lock the doors and feel safe. I have the whole place to myself and I like it that way. Now the kids come back in August but by then I may need a little noise and chaos in my life.

I want to thank CSN Stores for my new floor lamp and for showing me the light. If you haven't heard of CSN Stores, it is an online retailer based in Boston that started out in 2002 with two employees and one online shop. CSN Stores has now become one of the top 3 online US retailers of home and office goods with over 400 employees and 200 online stores. They sell stools, cookware, toys, furniture, rugs and you can even find a bathroom sink! Remember to check out CSN stores! They have great items.

So there you have it. This is my little cozy office that I love. Hope you enjoyed seeing where I spend my days now!





Disclosure: I received the floor lamp for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ Tuckasegee River

After my harrowing adventure on Sunday on the Tuckasegee River, I decided to post pictures of the part of the Tuckasegee River directly in front of our house. This is how I like to be on the river, right on the riverbank looking down.




Tuesday, June 22, 2010

F-U Grim Reaper or This is the post where I almost die!

I try not to curse on the blog because my mom, mother -in-law and several good friends read it so I try not to offend and be good. I am usually good about not being a potty mouth but this is not one of those times so WARNING this post contains graphic language.

This weekend started out pretty good. On Saturday, we gardened and I got a great bounty from the garden. Later we did our usual stuff like go to the dump and then the grocery store. The rest of the day was spent cleaning the house because we were having guests on Sunday. I am all about having a clean house when guests come. So we cleaned the whole house and it was spotless. We did tons of laundry and Tom did the windows. For dinner, I made a fresh squash casserole and baked chicken. The meal was superb! Overall Saturday was great.

Sunday began early because our guests were coming in the morning. So we ate breakfast and did a little more work outside (well Tom did, I just walked around looking at the yard but even that is a miracle). Then we relaxed until our guests showed up. Our guests were Tom's good friend Mark and one of Mark's friends, Sean.

A little background on Mark. Tom and Mark met doing a show called Bogart in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Tom was the stage manager and Mark was the production manager. They have been friends ever since, probably over 25 years. I will be honest, Mark is crazy. But good crazy not like insane crazy. I guess the best way to describe Mark is that he lives life to the fullest, the very fullest. Nothing stops him and he does his own thing. I don't think I have ever met someone who just has so much fun.

And although he is a little out there, he is also very charming and just an overall nice guy. I remember he found out I loved Stevie Nicks and one day, out of the blue, I received a Stevie crew t-shirt in the mail from Mark. He also sends me birthday cards. It's those kinds of things that make you love Mark although he can also be a bad influence as was the case on Sunday.

He actually came to our house because he drove down south from Pittsburgh alone on his motorcycle. He ended up in Robbinsville, NC about an hour west of here visiting other friends. That is after many other stops around the East Coast. His friend Sean flew down to NC from PA to meet him. Sean is a hardcore fisherman and he came down to fish for a couple of days. Since one of the best fly fishing rivers is across the road from our house, Sean was in hog heaven.

They showed up a little late and after a little small talk and a few beers, they wanted to go fishing. Now I like fishing but I have never tried fly fishing so I thought it better to stay and hang out in the house that has air conditioning. Yes folks, that's how I roll. Anyone who knows me also knows I HATE the outdoors. So they went fishing and I stayed in the house tweeting, facebooking and watching movies. They stayed out for a few hours. I actually wanted them to stay out longer since the next part of the visit involved us going down to a river rafting place and going floating.

Okay folks, I heard floating. So I figured, cool get in a boat and float down the river, easy peasy lemon squeezy. I really didn't want to go but Mark is one of those people who convinces you to do stuff you don't want to without you knowing it. Sean and Tom were also very convincing so I was like fine, how bad could it be, right? So against my better judgment, I went.

The river rafting place is like a few miles down the river in Dillsboro. We arrived, signed up and then I started freaking out. I think it was when the outfitter guy was telling us about the rapids and how to navigate them. Rapids? I was like, as Whitney Houston would say: Hell to the no, bitch. But you see it was too damn freaking late to back out. Sean had already strapped a smelly life jacket around me and the boats were in the water. I was once again convinced against my better judgement to go on the adventure. Little did I know the journey would become a journey through hell and that my life would be hanging in the balance that fretful Sunday afternoon.

See, back when I had the smelly musty B.O. smelling life jacket strapped to me and saw this teeny tiny rubber boat, is when I should have ran screaming toward the car and driven back home, put on my jammies and watched a bad horror film, but NO I was stupid and stayed.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: I have to stop here and say that I have never ever ever been rafting or kayaking in my whole freaking life. NEVER! So I was clueless and, worse yet, ill prepared to get in the boat. But like an idiot, I got in. END OF MESSAGE

Okay, I climbed into the boat and it was fine. The first part of the ride started out slow. I tried to remember all the tips I was given by the kid at the outfitter's shop. Of course, the lesson was all of freaking 2 minutes so it wasn't very good. At this moment, I couldn't remember crap. Plus, I had no clue how to paddle. I could hear Sean talking about how to back paddle and other stuff but I kept thinking that sooner or later this calm water was going to turn into a churning mass of liquid where I could die.

So here we are floating down the river and it was quite beautiful, on calm water. There were also places that you looked around and could hear the banjoes from Deliverance playing but oh well. Then after a very short while, I heard the rapids. Now according to the kid who gave us a "lesson", I was to find the V shape in the rocks, keep the boat straight and cruise right on down. It would be easy, he said. Well, that shit didn't happen. What they fail to tell you in the 2 minute "instruction" is that you need to know how to paddle and actually have the power to paddle to navigate through a tiny opening or your fat ass will get caught in the rocks and you might die. I didn't hear that from the guy at the outfitters.

So suffice it to say, my fat ass got caught up in the rocks. I tried to keep the boat straight. I tried to paddle but when your whole experience of "floating" down a river is at Disney's Blizzard Beach Lazy River and the only obstacles are little kids on inner tubes that can be easily kicked out of the way, it won't help you in real life. Disney is not a good learning ground.

So let's talk about getting caught up in the rocks. Apparently, if you get caught you are to rock back and forth and try to get loose from said rocks. You can also use your paddle and pray to Baby Jesus but all that didn't help one freaking bit. I must have got caught in the rocks like 4 freaking times. Luckily, Tom, Sean or Mark would come by and push me or pull me and I would rock back and forth and try to get loose. There were at least two times, I actually had to get out of the boat on the rocks to get loose!!!!! It was freaking frightening!

One time I got really jammed up because lets face it people, I had no freaking idea what I was doing. At this time Sean and Mark had gone on ahead and it was Tom who had to try and get me loose. I was jammed pretty good and I couldn't move so I started crying. Yes, call me a big fat whiny baby but don't judge people, don't judge. I cried because I was fed the hell up with this bullshit. I couldn't take it anymore and we weren't even halfway down the River of Hell and I knew that. Now it totally freaks Tom out when I cry but I tell him not to freak out because sometimes I just need to have a good cry. So I cried. I wanted to jump out of the boat and walk home but that was NOT an option. So after a few minutes of crying like a little girl, I wiped the tears away, put on my big girls panties on, and rocked and pushed until I got loose from those evil rocks from hell. After that, someone was always behind me in case I got caught again. Tom didn't want the tears to flow again.

I was fine until more rapids came and I would be petrified all over again. I wanted to cry and curl up in a fetal position and think about pixie dust, fairies and rainbow unicorns but that shit wasn't going to happen because I knew the only way to survive this hell was to keep going down the river. I had to reach the bridge where we would be picked up or I was going to die on the Tuck. So once again, I sucked it up, prayed to river gods and kept going.

I kept following Sean or Mark and watching what they did. Of course, they are reckless thrill seekers so that didn't help me one bit. Then it didn't help that at times when I was following Sean or Mark, to go down the way they went, they would turn around and snap pictures of me as I floated down the River of Death. WTH??? I was not amused peeps, not amused one bit.

Tom was ever vigilant behind me probably cursing the minute I stepped onto that floating death trap. It was just scary and like I said before, once or twice, I had to get out the boat and then start all over again. It was hot, too sunny and I wanted to get off that freaking river. I felt like Meryl Streep in The River Wild except I didn't have a gun to my head but I was still trapped like a rat on the Tuckasegee River. I tell you, it was horrifying. Horrifying!

The worst part came when we hit the largest of the rapids on the river. These babies were like going over Niagara Falls. Okay, I exaggerate but it was terrible. I was following Sean and he went through okay but then all of a sudden I got caught up in the water. I tried to paddle but the water is was too wild and although the guy at the outfitters said lean into the rocks, I forgot that little nugget of wisdom and didn't. This is where I almost died.

I saw it coming. I saw the rock. I tried to go left, tried to paddle right but because I have no upper body strength and am totally clueless about rafting, the boat turned sideways and hit the rock and I went flying up like 20 feet and dropped into the water. Since this happened in a millisecond, I had no freaking idea what the hell was going on. I went in and it was scary as hell. I was under for what seemed like 10 minutes although Mark, who was behind me, said it was no more than 2 seconds. Whatever, Mark! Like he was timing it or something, geez. The problem with being pitched from your boat by evil river water and evil river rocks is that you have no time to react, you don't get that time to actually catch your breath before you go under.

So after 10 minute (in my head) of being under the water, I popped up because of the smelly life jacket and I think the girls, thank god, also added to my buoyancy. Anyway, I popped up took a breath and went right back under as I rode the rapids on my butt. It's not fun because you are under the water trying to get up. Luckily, I tend not to panic when I am about to die so I said: Carolyn, just relax and get through this.

Sean was in front of me and I could hear him yelling at me to float on my back and to not try to stand up. I also remembered the guy at the outfitters saying hold on to your paddle. Well let me tell you, when you are drowning and being pulled under and pulled down river, it's not easy to hold on to the damn paddle. But guess what, I did it. Anyway, I didn't panic and started floating until I finally ended up in a calmer pool of water. Sean, bless his heart, kept trying to tell me to swim to shore.

Easier said than done because the smelly life jacket rode up over the girls and wouldn't allow me to swim properly. I was kicking my feet and trying to swim but to no avail because of the stinky life jacket. So I got on my back and tried to float to shore. In the end, I was able to get to a place where I was able to grab Sean's boat. There was a little beach area and because I held on to that stupid paddle, Sean was able to pull me into shore.

Luckily, my glasses didn't fall off, I didn't drown, break a bone or crack my head on a rock. I was in one piece and totally soaked. I have to admit this was the best, most fun part of that horrifying trip from hell down the Tuckasegee River. The river was cool not cold and very refreshing. Of course, it would have been better if I just hadn't been thrown 50 feet after hitting a rock but oh well.

Sean pulled me in and I could finally stand up. As, I touched the bottom of the river, I looked up and there was some guy drinking a beer on the hill, watching the whole thing go down. He neither moved or tried to help. He was sitting there lounging in his comfy chair and guzzling liquor. Sean, who talks to anyone, said hello and asked if we could stop on this bit of shore and he said sure go right ahead, every one does.

After a while, he said a lot of people fall out of boats in that certain spot and it is very entertaining sitting there watching as clueless demented people like me almost die in front of his house. Well, screw you buddy! Now I cursed him but deep down inside I was longing to be that guy. Any other day, I would totally be amused watching idiots hitting rocks, go flying and almost die but not that day. I wanted to be in that chair with a beer in my hand and mocking the stupid but alas, I wasn't. There was still a long way to go before my horror would end.

Somehow I got up, got back into the boat and prayed to the river gods to get me out this hellhole. Luckily, the guy I entertained with my near death, said this was the last big rapids but, of course, there were more scary places (not as bad) to navigate before this trip would be over. After more miles of hell, I saw the bridge where we needed to stop to go back home, I tell you I almost cried once again. It was beautiful and my heart raced as I knew my horror would be ending soon and I would be back on land away from the River of Death.

It was ugly folks. Ugly and terrible. And I can safely say that I will never ever ever do that again. It isn't going to happen. If some guy puts a gun to my head like Kevin Bacon did to Meryl in The River Wild, I would say: "Bitch, shoot me in the head now because there is no fucking way my ass is getting in that boat. EVER!"

People who do crazy crap like this are always so happy they did it. It's like they achieved some wonderful goal or had the chance to live life to the fullest. It's a thrill for them to cheat death. Oh and they always want to do it again. Well screw them and the boat they rode in on! Me, I hated it and if I had never ever gone down the Tuckasegee River in that demented boat, I would happier. It was terrible and horrifying. It is something I will never do again. I don't need to look for adventure when I can watch it on TV in the comfort of my own home with surround sound and with my jammies on.

But it was over and I survived to live another day and write another blog post about my adventures. So F-U Grim Reaper, I escaped your bony hands of death!!

When we got home, I took a shower to get the smell of death and the stinky life jacket off me. I do have to say thank goodness for that life jacket although it stunk like a dead rat. I might have died in the river if not for it. Then I made dinner ~ Steak, baked potatoes, grilled fresh zucchini and yellow squash, a salad of tomatoes (store bought-UGH), red onions and fresh cucumbers from the garden! Yes folks, I had to actually cook after almost dying. What the hell is up with that? But dinner was delicious! And then I got to watch True Blood because Sean and Mark went back to the river to do a little more fishing. Like I said, Sean is hardcore fisherman.

In the morning I awoke sore. I could barely drive to work because my hands were sore from holding on to that paddle for dear life. My legs are sore. Luckily, work consisted of me sitting in front of the computer all day working.

Overall, it was a nice visit though. I love Mark but he is banned from the house now. And his friend, Sean, was so nice and laid back. But I think he might get banned from the house as well. As for Tom, he is an evil accomplice in all this because he knows I hate doing outdoor stuff that might kill me but he let me get on that damn boat and float down the river. WTH? He could have said "no don't" but he didn't and I almost died. Now that we are married, I might have to be a little more vigilant against death plots. Okay, sure it's paranoid but you put two and two together. Hmmm, food for thought people, food for thought.

I did learn some very important lessons though. Rafting sucks big hairy balls and when I feel like running away screaming, I should do it. Oh and nature is best enjoyed from the front porch of your house with a glass of sweet tea, in the comfort of your car as you are cruising down the road or on a big screen TV.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I would wish Tom a Happy Father's Day but we have no kids. He is a father to our kitties but they don't work, have no money and sleep all day so I highly doubt he is getting a present from those freeloaders. And I am certainly not ponying up any cash to pretend the cats care about their dad.

To my dad, I want to say Happy Father's Day. My dad is a good guy. He is a little kooky and I think I got a lot of that kookiness from him. What I love about my dad is that he supports whatever we do as long as it makes us happy. He is non-judgmental about everything and I like that. He doesn't read my blog but I would still like to say: I love you papi!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Harvest Time!!!

The first yield from the garden!! Tons of mutant yellow squash and zucchini. There are also some cucumbers that I am making into a tomato, cucumber, onion salad for tomorrow. Tonight's dinner: baked chicken and squash casserole! Oh so good.





Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ Fresh Veggies!

The garden is growing by leaps and bounds. I took these pictures last night. It looks like we will be having fresh squash for dinner tonight! Maybe in 2 weeks we might be having tomatoes! WOO!