Sunday, November 23, 2008

As you may, or may not know, I'm a graduate from THE Ohio State University. It's a phenomenal institution known for it's medical research, agricultural breakthroughs, veterinarian college, countless exceptional programs and a little thing called Big 10 Football! As a girl from a small town in Rhode Island, I couldn't comprehend the greatness of this football team until I attended my first football game at Ohio State in the shoe. (it's now closed, but when I attended Ohio Stadium was a horseshoe!) It was awe inspiring. The fans, all 65-thousand of them, are completely out of control. (today the stadium holds more than 110-thousand!)Tailgating starts the night before and the alumni are far crazier than the students! And win or lose, Ohio State fans know how to celebrate or drown their sorrows. I've done my share of both! But regardless of how well the Buckeyes play, the entire season hinges on 1 vital game: Michigan!! Ohio State can lose every game of the season, but a win against Michigan erases all those losses. And vice undefeated season up until the Michigan game can be wiped out with a loss to the Wolverines. I was fortunate to watch Ohio State beat Michigan 3 out of the 4-years I was there....and craziness ensues. It's a feeling like no other, a rivalry unsurpassed by even Florida-Florida State..... .. This past Saturday, I plopped myself in front of the boob tube to watch my Buckeyes take on the blue and stops for every true Buckeye fan during this game....(as well as every Michigan fan!) The first quarter was tenuous and I was doubting my Buckeyes could pull off the win...but then the 2nd quarter started and it was all downhill for the Wolverines... The Buckeye intercepted, recovered fumbles, sacked their quarterback, ran back punts for 85-yards and just crushed Michigan. It was an incredible feeling for any Ohio State alumni...and of course, it gives all of us the most obnoxious bragging rights against any Michigan fan (sorry to my dear Michigan know who you are! ) The final score 42-7 doesn't really represent how well Ohio State played...or how badly Michigan played...but at least for the next few days I can gloat! To add insult to injury....The win not only clinched a 5th-shared or outright Big Ten championship for Ohio State under coach Jim Tressel, but it also was the 5th-consecutive win for Ohio State over Michigan – a first in 119 seasons of football!!!! Oh yeah, maybe I'll be an obnoxious Ohio State fan the whole week!! GO BUCKS!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Horse Heaven

For many years, my husband has encouraged me to do something for myself.....a release from the daily stresses, the children, my schedule, etc...For whatever reason, I have always ignored those urgings..maybe it's motherly guilt, Italian guilt....whatever, but everyone else has always come first....UNTIL NOW!!!! Call me crazy, but I have finally done something just for me. A release that provides exercise, fun, love and solitude (if desired). You guessed it...I got a horse!! He's magnificent! Black Jack stands 18-hands, (as you can see by the picture, that's extremely large. I'm 5'7" and he towers over me! The 2nd picture is of Black Jack with my youngest, Caroline!) He's as big as a barn, but as gentle as a lamb. In a word: perfect! I have always enjoyed riding, an activity I began when I was just 5 years old! But when I went to college, my favorite pastime fell by the wayside. After college it was work, than marriage, children and family. As you probably can relate, "life got in the way." But now I've decided to take the selfish approach. My children are old enough to fend for themselves and my husband tells me I need something to do besides clean the house!! Since Black Jack just arrived, I've only had the opportunity to ride him twice. He's like riding a cloud! His trot isn't harsh and jarring, his canter is as smooth as silk...and when it's just him and's awesome. No screaming kids, no barking dogs, no TV, phone or other annoying electronic device....just me atop this magnificent creature and the sounds of the world around us. It's solitude at it's finest. I have found my inner sanctum from our crazy world and it's big, black, white and loving. I'm in horse heaven and I think I'll stay here for a long while......

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Patriotism was overwhelming following the 9-11 attacks. It seemed almost every home in America proudly displayed the flag. But in recent times, you'd be hard pressed to find the American flag, unless you're passing a Post Office or a car dealership! This weekend, I had the opportunity to witness the epitome of airshow showcasing some of our military's finest aircraft, all to honor the veterans of our great country. (Kudos to the Visiting Nurses Association and its volunteers for presenting the airshow in Stuart) The runway at Witham Field was teeming with aircraft from every branch of the military: Navy, Air Force, Marines and Army. Everywhere you looked, you'd spy a man or woman proudly wearing his/her uniform, looking crisp and sharp, despite the South Florida heat and sunshine. And all those military personnel were eager to answer any question anyone sent their way. I attended with my husband Tim (a former Navy man) and my cousin, Michael (a military aircraft admirer). We managed to secure superb seats and parked ourselves for 4-hours of pure pride. From the Barn Stormers and parachutists, to the Wing Walkers, the F-4, the F-15 and the awesome was awe inspiring. There's nothing quite like the sound of an F-15 screaming past at 300 miles an hour, or an FA-18 climbing straight up to the heavens, full burners. Our military has some incredible aircraft, that when flown superbly, can only bring goose-bumps! The crowd loved every maneuver, every roar of an engine and every daredevil act. It was an event that made you feel proud to be an American. It was inspiring. So come on, this Veterans Day, show your patriotism and let old Glory wave its red, white and blue in your front yard.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Doggie Destruction

As you may know, I'm a huge animal lover. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, but somewhere along the line the "radio bug" bit me and I gave up on becoming a horse doctor. (no regrets) So to appease this inner dream, I have always surrounded myself with lots of date: 5-dogs, 2 cats and a pony (my daughter's). The pet in the spotlight today is our newest addition, Bella, a 7-month old Great Dane. I have endured many puppy antics in my life, but Bella apparently wants to be the record holder. Sure, she does the usual puppy stuff: digs holes, chases the cat, rough-houses with the other dogs, but in recent times she has tried to claim first place in bad behavior. In the past 3-weeks, Bella has gone on a 1-dog destruction path. It started with the leather couch in the family room. I came home to find it armless! Bella had eaten the arms right off the couch...right down to the wood.....not 1, but both arms. There were pieces of leather, wood and foam everywhere.. When she was scolded for her behavior, she looked at me with those big, brown, puppy dogs eyes and pleaded for forgiveness. I forgave her instantly. A few days later, she attacked my beautiful upholstered chair in the living room! Again, I came home to fine pieces of my favorite chair strewn around the house. And yes, again, Bella was scolded and disciplined for her bad behaviour. But being the softy I am, she was once again forgiven. How could I be mad with this adorable animal? One that's so loving and cuddly? Over the next few days, Bella continued her eating frenzy, munching though a leather love seat, 3-feather pillows, 2 area rugs, 3 shoes (of course the most expensive ones!) and a cocktail table! To date, our living room has 1-chair , the family room is down to 1-couch and I've replaced the other items. New furniture will wait until Bella grows up! So the question is: when is enough, enough? When do you say, okay, I can't handle this destruction're out of here!! I've pulled my hair out trying to train this beast and we've tried every method (I'm not a big proponent of caging an animal for 8-hours a day) to stop her from eating the furniture. There are chew toys galore in my house, ranging in every shape, size and material....she's played with constantly, she always has companionship from the other dogs and she's doted on by the entire family. And just when I think I'm at wits end, ready to ship her out to some other loving family, she comes and sits down next to me, puts her head on my shoulder and covers me with kisses. Or she lays down next to me in bed, snuggles up and cuddles like a small child. The ultimate in unconditional love. To me, that's priceless. I figure by Christmas, we'll be sitting on the floor because Bella has eaten the rest of the furniture. My Christmas wish list will then contain just one item......a big cage for Bella!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

OMG.....Cookie's Sudden and Tragic Demise

It was a tough weekend at our home....on Friday afternoon, when my youngest daughter came home from school, she discovered that her beloved hamster of 3-years had eaten his final alfalfa cube...Poor Cookie had taken his final spin on that squeaky, annoying wheel. She found him lying comfortably inside that little plastic wheel, the final resting place for our 4-legged puff of fur. I thought his resting place was quite fitting, since he had lived most of his life running wildly inside it from 12 to 5am every day! And I felt terrible about Cookie's, not because he passed, but because I felt relief when I realized he had gone to that big hamster haven in the sky....relief knowing that I would never have to hear that incessant squeaking again...relief that I wouldn't be the one cleaning out his cage (it could smell awful), relief because I knew I didn't have to be the one to place him inside his play ball and watch him run around like a psychotic animal in the kitchen, bumping into things, only to start his mad dash again.....relief because I knew I wouldn't have to check his food and water dispensers everyday.... But like all good mothers do.....I feigned remorse!! Yes, we took Cookie and placed him in a nice box filled with soft towels and buried him in the backyard. It was a lovely service...we all said our goodbyes and then gently placed him in the ground. We even made a makeshift grave marker out of colored stones and we all said a prayer. I explained to my youngest that Cookie was in a happier, peaceful place where there are hundreds of wheels for him to run on and an endless supply of hamster treats. She seemed to handle his death rather well, since 5-minutes after the memorial service she was out playing with her friends. But me...the Italian guilt set in and then I felt badly about my "no remorse" period. I actually realized I missed that little annoying as his upkeep was, he was always sweet, gentle and yes, loving. Every morning, he'd greet me at his cage door and step into my awaiting hand. He was always very friendly....he never bit me and never peed on me (that's a first for any hamster we ever had!) So today (Sunday) I found myself in the backyard at Cookie's grave site. I said a prayer and laid a flower on his grave. A small token of my appreciation for the little, furry pet who only wanted to love and be loved. Regardless of how annoying I may have found his upkeep, I will miss that little, furry guy...BUT not enough to buy a replacement!