Monday, December 27, 2010

Second Visit Hope for the Holidays

Yesterday we made our second visit to the homeless camp. My mom had given us some money to buy a few more things and we wanted to get the propane tanks over to Pops so he would stay warm in this little cold snap we were having. We were almost there when we saw the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles.
When we saw that it was a man down on his bike we pulled over and Vic walked over to see if it was one of our homeless people. The man was okay, and not one that we recognized from the camp. They took him by ambulance to have his leg checked out. Vic said the police man was lecturing the biker on how dangerous it is to ride his bike by such a busy road. I think sometimes they forget that if the man had his choice he would most likely choose to be in a car and not on a bike on such a cold day.

As we walked through the woods to the camp we noticed more tents than were there last week. We didn't see people but saw the tents scattered along the path back to "Pirates Cove". As we got closer we noticed a large American Flag flying in the breeze that was flying proudly in the camp. As we walked in , three voices from one of the new tents called out to us. Pops, Tony and a new man named Leathered invited us over to the new tent. Pops seemed very happy to see us and even happier when he realized we brought the propane tanks he needs to keep warm.
Leathered introduced himself. He is a Vet and is the newest member of Pirates Cove and as Tony explained , one of his oldest and dearest friends. The flag was a gift from him to Tony with a much deeper story behind it. As tears streamed down their faces we knew it was a heartfelt story that we'd have to hear on another day because they were not talking.

Pops said that they had many people come out and bring food for Christmas and it was the best Christmas he had seen out there. I'm sure the newspaper article has touched other people the way it touched Vic and I. It is comforting knowing there are other people reaching out and helping too.

There are two dogs that stay at Pirates Cove. Mask and Stripes. One is 7 months old and all puppy, and the other one is 6 years old. There are toys strewn all over the place. I played with the puppy for a bit , throwing sticks for him to bring back. One of them peed on my leg before we left. My dogs did not much like that when I got home..but I guess I belong to all of them now. :)

We left with more requests for radios,lanterns and batteries on our next visit. And of course big hugs again from all of them. Pops even called me Holly Baby and kissed me on the cheek!

I didn't get pictures again because I felt strange asking if it was ok. Our dear friends in Sacramento did make it out over Christmas, passing out the sleeping bags and supplies they had gathered for "hope for the holidays" and got some great pictures that I will share. We love you Sue (and family) and are so happy that you inspired us to do this!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ho Ho Ho

I hope that everyone out there had a very merry Christmas!!

Our family always celebrates together on Christmas Eve. We went to my older sisters house around 3. My brother in law fried a turkey for sandwiches and we had other yummies to munch on. I brought the crack candy , mom made her delicious spinach dip and brought some new pumpkin pie dessert that Vic and I ended up bringing home. My niece Mallory made chocolate chocolate chip cookies and Steph made party mix (yay!).

Once we all were there we played a holiday version of Bingo. The winner of each game got a lottery scratch off ticket. My sister Britt and  her son Brandon were the big winners..they won three lotto tickets and when scratched Brittany ended up winning $ go girl!  Greg (mom's beau) won a card too but he didn't scratch it last night. I spoke to her this morning and she didn't mention being new millionaires or anything so I'm guessing he didn't win big.

Some of my favorite gifts were..a frame that mom and Greg made Vic and I. I love it because they made it, and that it has my moms handwriting on it. The picture of us was one we took earlier in the year when we came to visit them for a crab boil.

My sister, Steph, had some glasses made for Vic and I with pictures of the furchildren on them..It was so touching that Vic and I almost teared up a little when we saw them!

All in all it was a lovely Christmas. We were home earlier than most years (6:30 ish) but still didnt manage to get to bed until after midnight. I think we were laughing to Hank Hill  on TV right before I fell asleep.

We are heading back to the homeless camp today with the propane that they asked for a few days ago. Vic also picked up some oranges, veggies, canned soups and coffee with money that my mom donated. Right now  we are being lazy enjoying a quiet Christmas morning watching movies and munching on some of the food we brought home from last night.

Vic made me cry this morning with a very sweet card and gift bag full of yummies. We were not going to exchange anything because we got our gifts for each other earlier ..but Vic didn't follow the rules. I'm secretly glad...because I LOVE my card!! I have some lotto scratch offs to do  in a bit too! I'll be sure I'll tell you if I win BIG! :)

Here are some pictures of my sisters fur children from yesterday...I hope that you all have enjoyed your holiday as much as we have.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The video is from last year..but we still wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hope For The Holidays In Action!

Today after work as planned we packaged up our goodies and headed out to the homeless camp.
I did not know what to expect and was a little nervous but excited at the same time.
As we entered into the woods we saw tents on both sides of our path but heard voices further in the woods so we kept walking until we were met by a man on a bike. Tony was his name and he welcomed us in and gave us a verbal tour of how the camp was set up  and who all was there. He was heading out to buy cigarattes but we would see him again.  He asked a few gentlemen up front to escort us back to the back camp but they declined so Vic and I followed the path and the voices until we reached the main camp that they call "Pirates Cove".
Tonys wife Carol was there along with Pops and a young lady named Annie. They came out and gave us hugs and talked with us for a while. We were told that 8 people live back there now and that the newspaper article has brought them attention and help. Local organizations were out and coming back with more things tomorrow. We asked what they needed so other people could help too. Pops said propane. Tony explained that Pops uses heaters and they are run by little propane tanks. We promised to see what we could do about that.
While we were visiting , the mayor of Pirates Cove, as they call him (Joe) pulled up on his bike with bags of ice and food he had gotten from the church and with food stamps. They were having chicken tonight. Joe is the cook. He was so nice to talk with us and you could tell , a proud man.
When it came time to leave we were given hugs , Pops gave me hugs twice! And Tony escorted us back up to the truck. He thanked us and told us about moving to the camp this past year after losing his job. His unemployment ran out and he could no long afford his mortgage so he and Carol and their kids (two fiesty dogs) made pirates cove "home".
I wanted to take more pictures but felt intrusive by asking so  I didn't. I found a slide show on the newspaper link that shows the camp and the is the link PHOTOS
What stood out to me the most is their smiles. They had three Christmas trees up, and even joked about one of them being a charlie brown Christmas tree because it only had one ornament.
I feel more blessed tonight in knowing these people..and look forward to going back again and getting to know them better.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hope For The Holidays

Sometimes things just fall  into place as if putting together a puzzle. Since before my partner and I started living together we have talked about things that we wanted to do together. Helping the less fortunate was one of the things we talked about but just never found our "people". As I often do with things that are meant to be I didn't worry about it because I knew when the time was right it would all just happen. My entire life has been that way..why would it change now?

A few weeks ago Vic's very good friend Sue was facing another huge battle with cancer and admitted to the hospital back in Sacramento.  For the past year we knew that the time would come when Vic would need to go back but tried to keep the positive thoughts flowing and not think too much about it. Saturday morning as I was reading new status updates on facebook I saw where Sues daughter, Krista, had written that she felt so f'ing helpless. I shared that with Vic and within a few minutes a text message came across telling Vic to come to California. By that evening Vic was back in California sitting by Sues side in the hospital.

For the following week Vic stayed near Sue's side and would call me at night with the updates from the day. Some good days, some bad but mostly just sad. The conversation that made me cry the most was a story Vic told me. Krista had gone to pick up some mashed potatoes and gravy at KFC for Sue and she saw a homeless man sitting on the curb. She picked him up a sandwich and gave it to him before she left. She was nervous but felt a strong pull to help this man out.  When she came back to the hospital and told her mom about what had happened  Sue said that her wish for the holidays was she wanted to get sleeping bags and take them around to the homeless people that they see around where they live, not drop them off at a shelter but actually go out on the streets and find the people that they would be helping. Sue's excitement about this spilled over and she shared her wishes with the nurses and friends that would come by the room to visit with her.

Later the  next  evening the sisters (it was a catholic hospital) brought up five sleeping bags that someone had left at the front desk for Sue and her children to deliver over the holidays. There was not a dry eye in the room.

The kids made a flyer and created emails telling what their plans were and asking other people to do the same thing in Sues name this Christmas. Vic and I even posted our plans to do the same thing back here in Florida.

On a side note, while Vic was in California there was a fire in the woods not to far from where we live. It was a pretty big fire and I was stuck in traffic because of it. It would become more important later. A sign if you may.

Since Vic came home Sue also got out of the hospital and is starting a new medical trial this next week. We have not talked much because Vic has been under the weather and with the time difference we don't always know when she is sleeping but from the looks of her facebook status she had a great day at church yesterday!

This weekend in our local paper they did a two part series on the homeless people here in Venice! The story was about a "camp" if you will, of homeless people that live in the woods that were on fire while Vic was in California! As if two days of this story wasnt a big enough lightbulb moment today a man came into our office taking donations for the local homeless. We are still not sure if it was a scam or not but we donated a few bucks and just tucked it away as a nudge.  On our drive home we talked about all the signs. We have talked about doing something for the homeless for a while but didn't really know where the homeless in Venice lived or stayed and now we find out they are so close to our house. We stopped by the woods where the fire was and Vic got out and walked a ways into the woods to see if she could see the tents or anything. She did. We found our people!  We came on home and made a plan to go back out and shop tonight but not to stop by the camp at night because they are probably already scared of having to move because of the article , we would put together bins of goodies and bring them by during the day when we could meet them.

We stocked up at the dollar store and then at walmart with sleeping bags, lanterns,canned goods, socks, toothpaste, razors, soap, etc...It was hard not to go too far over our budget!  I hope that this touches you as much as it did us and this Christmas you will find a way to add some hope for the holidays!

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 11-18

This week was a  pretty full week for me. Since it is the week before Christmas it is surprising how little holiday activities played a role in my time.

This week I ...
  • Went to the doctor and got back on my meds for my asthma.
  • Had my hair it! Thanks Heidi..Venice Day Spa is the BEST!
  • Ate at Peach's and had the yummiest four cheese quiche..twice!
  • Had Friday Night Date night with Vic and went to Ivy's Steakhouse and then out looking at Christmas lights around town.
  • Got my first order for my new business!
  • Talked to my BFF Steph and realized how much I miss her!
  • Felt like I lost my bubbawoo.
  • Filled up my jeep, gas is now $2.94 a gallon...yikes!
  • Celebrated as DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) was repealed today.
  • Caught up on All My Children from last week and this week.
  • Found some new great blogs to follow after this weekends Lady Blogger Society Tea Party.
  • Actually made a youtube video after slacking for so many months.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

I have always had dogs. Growing up we had a beagle mutt named Toot. She was born the same month I was and lived until new years day in our 15th year. She was so cool, her trick was to sing happy birthday whenever we sang that song.

 When I moved out on my own I got a Dalmatian named Engine One, and then because you just have to have two , got his girlfriend Oreo. They  had several litters of puppies and i was in the puppy business for a little while. Did you know dalmatian puppies are born white and get their spots later? As there are many losses in divorce I had to say good bye to my spotted friends.

After having my heart broken by saying goodbye to a foster baby that I had fallen in love with it was time to take on a baby that I could KEEP! It just so happened that a lady that my mom knew was having to place her yellow Labrador "Scout" in a new home because she was moving. Of course I would spoil him rotten (see above first b'day picture..tux, doggie cake and b'day party!) I would have been happy with just one furchild but then came Dakota..another yellow Labrador in need of a forever home.

I love the labs..they are so smart and have kept me company on more than one or two  lonely nights. I did stop dressing Scout after Dakota came around because she would not stop making fun of him. He is very sensitive and was getting a complex.

Last year Vic and I went to a football party at our friend Marcia's and we met Brandy. Brandy was a long haired dachshund and it was all she wrote for Vic. We talked about dachshunds all the way home. We looked online for rescue sites and talked about what it would be like to have a lap dog around.

I can't remember which one of us found Crystals website first but she is a local breeder and was in need of placing some of  her adult dachshunds. We looked thru the pictures of all the dogs and Vic fell in love with a little long haired black dachshund named Dexter.
We went to visit him and of course brought him home. The labs didn't quite know what to think. I was thrilled because I had a dog I could dress again!

Right before Christmas last year I got back on Crystals website and realized that Dexter had had two puppies before we adopted him. The girl was already sold but his son was available! I knew we just HAD to have Dexter Junior (AKA DJ)

So that explains how we have two dachshund's, and two yellow Labrador's. Also known as The Littles and The Bigs.
I could easily have a houseful of dachshunds! I don't know what it is about those little dogs but they worm their way right in your heart and you just can't get enough of them. Everyone I know that has a doxie seems to have multiples!
From our babies to yours...Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

ahhh to dream

In my dream world I would be sitting in front of my fireplace admiring my beautiful Christmas tree while drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas songs.   I would be very proud of all of the gifts that had been wrapped under my tree because that would mean I was finished with my shopping. Each gift would be unique and just what the receiver wanted.

My dogs would all have on their Christmas collars and smell fresh and clean. There would be no accidents, no barking and no torn up toys cluttering my floor.

My house would be spotless and smell like gingerbread cookies because of course I was baking and had a full counter of assorted holiday candies and cookies to give to everyone. The sugar cookies would have frosting and look like the ones you see in martha stewart adds.

My front porch would host poinsettias and the Christmas lights would be hung on every corner of the house. The wreath on my front door would be freshly cut and smell even better than the tree. My mail box would have a bright red bow tied to the post. Anyone walking by would have to smile and feel the spirit of the holiday just by being near.

I would have to cut this blog short because it was time to bake the dog treats..and stuff the cats stocking with cat nip...ho ho ho ...oh what it is to dream!

Christmas Memories of my family thru the years

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy holidays?

Am I the only one that just can't get in the mood this year? I have not put up a tree..have not shopped until last  night and that was only because we need to ship a few things out..think it is too late for the CA gifts? I hope not!

We thought that we were going to make fudge again for all of our friends but that isn't happening either this year. My emotional, give a damn , jar is too close to empty and not really getting the energy it needs to be refilled.

I have enjoy the hallmark channels constant Christmas movies since before Thanksgiving! While Vic was away last week i caught up on  tons of them that I have missed over the years. Total chick flicks.

Vic and I did our personal gift exchange earlier in the month because we needed/wanted things before Christmas. :)  I'm loving my new PINK laptop and my new blackberry cell phone!

As I am typing I have on the holiday music channel on tv but alvin and the chipmunks singing christmas tunes is about to make me barf.

here is hoping that your holiday preparations are going better than mine! merry christmas!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

5 Question Friday 12/10/10

1. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
I don't have children but my sisters do. As an entire family we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and open everything to each other. Then on Christmas day they have Christmas with just their kids-husbands and the rest of us come over later for brunch and hanging out.

2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie (or candy)?
I don't think I could pick just one...I love them all!

3. What's the worst Christmas gift you've ever received?
My ex gave me a bike rack to go on the back of our SUV one year...We were not big bike riders and it was hardly ever used.

4. Christmas song that you love?
Again,  I love almost all of them...Silent night, Holly Jolly Christmas, etc.

5. How many trees do you put up?
just depends..this year none.