Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winter Returns

It's winter around here....again. The tall snow banks were nearly melted, there were large patches of grass in the front yard....and now it's white again. And a cold stretch is predicted into next week. Temperatures 20 degrees below average. Ugh. The winter that never ends. Woohoo.

Tuesday started out dark and rainy. I had a trip to make to the eye doctor, then the grocery store....otherwise I would have stayed home! Red tulips from the grocery store called my name. They were straight when I put them in the the time I grabbed the camera they had headed south. Can't blame them.

It was raining pretty hard and was really windy by Tuesday evening. I came out of the gym after our volleyball match to be slapped in the face by sleet. The rain was freezing and the roads were slick. I'm thankful that I have 4-wheel drive...but even with that I was sliding around all the way home.

By morning the ground was covered in white once again. It was blowing and snowy all morning. I was too unmotivated to find something to take a picture of, so I took one of my office window with the white stuff outside. I'm ready for spring, not more snow.

To top off the cold snowy day there was another letter from the IRS, they want more information from us. What? I really had thought we were done. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Why dig so deep for a "random" audit? I need to remind myself to be grateful that we don't have anything to hide. I can't imagine how scary this would be if we had things to cover up. I just really don't like to have someone digging into our personal business like this. It makes me cranky.

But that was yesterday. Today is a new day. The tulips have decided to stand tall and so will I. A few red tulips, a hot cup of coffee and a Cinnamon raisin bagel to start the day. Life is good!

The IRS and this unending winter aren't going to ruin my day. I've got stuff to do!

Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Over Flowing

Gratitude is so important....and focusing on all that there is to be grateful for can change everything in your life. When you focus on the good, the not so good things take a back seat. Simple, but true. Works with photographs too. See, I focused on the flowers and now you can't even see the finger prints on the refrigerator behind them. Heck, you can hardly see the refrigerator!

I had a pair of purple finches at my feeder last week. They haven't been there all winter, they must just be passing through. I'm glad that they stopped though. Sorry my camera wasn't ready for their visit!

I needed to take a little trip to the country on Friday. The horses were past due for their farrier appointment. Two are mine, two are boarders, all are looking for food when ever anyone approaches the gate. The ugly, muddy part of spring has hit the farm. Green will be a welcome change.

I noticed the big, beautiful moon while I was there, it wasn't quite full. I didn't know at the time that it was a special moon, the next night it was going to look bigger than it has in 18 years because of it's path around the earth. Glad that I snapped the picture when I did, the night it was the biggest was cloudy and the moon couldn't be seen.

It was nice to spend the day and the night at the farm. Good to see mom and good to get 16 hooves trimmed. I'll pay for a pedicure for my horse....but I've never had one for me....and I'm just fine with that!

We celebrated Billy's birthday a couple of days early this year. Eric's folks, my mom, the boys and our friend Bob went out for dinner to celebrate. Then we came to our house for cake and ice cream.

This was Billy's reaction to the trick candles that kept re-lighting. He hadn't noticed that they were different. It's fun to be able to still pull one over on the kid!

My slow to bloom Amaryllis has made up for lost time. 4 big blossoms. It fell over the other day, so now it's propped up and not looking quite as regal as it did at first.
We had thunder and lightening on Saturday night....the snow is slowly melting. A robin landed just outside my window too....signs of spring all around.

Billy had a big day for his birthday. We let him go into school late so he could take his Driver's test. He passed! Two points off for not signaling when he parallel parked. Other than that the instructor told him he was perfect at parking. I told him I don't want to hear about any girls telling him that he's perfect at parking. Darned kid is growing up. After school was baseball try-outs....which last all week. He's going to be one tired boy.

Two teen aged drivers in the house now. Glad that hair color is cheap...the gray is getting more populated. Billy's been getting a lot of the attention around here lately, what with the chicken suit at the hockey tournament, then the birthday and the drivers license....but lots of changes are on the way for Brian with graduation and starting college and all that....and I'm not sure that I'm ready. But the good news is that he is ready, and excited about it.

One of my birds is testing his wings, the other one is getting ready to leave the nest. If I hang on too tight they won't be able to's tough to be a momma bird sometimes....but it sure is worth every minute.
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hockey Craziness

We've been going to the Minnesota High School Hockey for a lot of years. I wrote about it here and here and here and finally here. Gosh, I used to blog a lot more often! Anywho, March 10-12th was Hockey Tournament time....and anytime you get a bunch of High Schoolers and hockey fans in a building together, it's going to be fun! And loud. And a little bit crazy. First are the school bands. This one is from Edina. The hornets.

Here are some folks in their fan section. Look...a green dude. Wow...that was brave. Apparently there were red dudes just like him for another team. Yikes.

This fan section was from Duluth East. They were holding up signs that said "The love is on for Rachel". Their classmate Rachel is battling cancer. Gotta hand it to the kids for supporting her.

You can see a lot of strange things at the Hockey Tournament. Just look at those blonds in the horn section. Goldie locks!

There was a tutu spotted in the Edina fan section....

...and a hornet....which makes sense since their school nickname is the Hornets.

Sometimes you see things that don't make much 3 gorillas and a banana. Well, it makes sense that the banana is with the gorillas...but why are the gorillas there??

The kids are loud, the bands are loud, it's a lot of noisy fun! The Duluth East kids also had signs that said "We Believe". Then they would jump up and down and chant "I believe we will win" over and over.

Then the Goldie locks played their horns. Isn't it little boy blue that is supposed to blow his horn? Oh...never mind.

Only two of the teams had cheerleaders with them. The Hounds from Duluth East. One of their cheerleaders was a real dog. Oh wait, it really is a dog. A grey hound. Heh, heh.

The cute girls don't seem to want to play with the dog. Poor dog.

The other team that had cheerleaders was our schools team...the Eden Prairie Eagles. And look...they can even skate! Crazy that the only school with cheerleaders had the same school colors and happened to be cheering for the teams that made it to the championship game. The cheerleaders do make a difference after all!

Our school also brought it's mascot...the Eagle. Hello Eagle.

Oh dear, the eagle and the grey hound are duking it out before the game. Anything for the cameras.
There was a lot to see in the stands. They were giving away paper hockey helmets, they were everywhere. Don't these two look cute?

Where's Waldo? Wait, what? Really...I think I saw Waldo!

Oh dear...what in the world is that? It looks like a giant chicken! A giant chicken giving some innocent kid the stink eye. I'd be scared!

Look...a close up of the chicken. He was cheering for the Eden Prairie Eagles...just like us!

See his claw....Eagles are # 1.

Chicken...take off your mask, show your face, who are you? What? It's our very own Billy? Hey chicken little, how did that happen? A dare? If you got 30 "likes" on facebook you said you'd wear a chicken suit? 46 likes later and we have a 6"3" chicken accompanying us to the hockey game.

We were very proud parents...can't you tell? A friend of mine said, "and they're afraid that we'll embarrass them!" Actually, he wouldn't let me come up to the student section to take his picture. That would be too embarrassing. Really? You are a giant chicken, your mom taking your picture would be more embarrassing than that? Sigh.

It all made for a fun game. A friend emailed me this picture during the game of Billy the chicken on TV clucking on his team.

Oh, and then there was that hockey game that was going on. Our team was ranked #1. The other team wanted to prove that they weren't. We were down by one, then tied, then down by one, then tied....and tied.....and tied....and tied. The Eagles won in the 3rd overtime with an amazing goal....what a game!

State Champions for the 2nd time in 3 years. Pretty special for the players....and the fans!

And it was pretty special for this guy in the chicken suit too. What a fun night. Billy was on TV 5 or 6 times that night. He got a hug from the real mascot, the eagle.

But he said one of the best parts of the whole night was doing the chicken dance with a little boy in the stands...he said he was the cutest kid ever. I think I might disagree with that, I think my chicken boy is pretty darned cute himself. Happy 16th Birthday Billy. You keep us guessing, and we love it! Cluck Cluck!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Behind Us

Our stinking "random" tax audit is thankfully behind us. What a horrible feeling. It's like the feeling you get when you are followed by a police car. You know that you haven't intentionally done anything wrong, but feel like they are just waiting for you to slip up. We were told that the audit was random, done for data collecting purposes to see how tax forms can be done in a better way. I'm skeptical about that, but what do I know.

Our meeting was 3 hours of going over paperwork in a hot conference room. We weren't offered water, coffee, a chance to use the bathroom. The IRS man was pretty much a doofus...trying to crack jokes that weren't funny but we had to laugh. Comparing the income he and his wife make to ours....seriously? I bit my tongue. He said that his wife was a dentist. The two people that no one really wants to see...a dentist and an IRS guy. I bet they get invited to a lot of parties. Or not. Enough said about that. It turns out there was an error on our taxes...they owe us a little bit of money. Not enough to pay for the therapy that we need after preparing for it and for sitting through it, but it's better than having to pay. And I am grateful.

But mostly relieved. And hopefully we'll never have to go through that again. The end.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marching On

I have to say, life has been a little overwhelming for me lately and blogging has taken a back seat.  5 or 6 weeks ago Eric and I both got letters from the IRS saying that we were randomly chosen for a tax audit.  It took weeks for the guy to call us back to make an appointment with him.  Tomorrow is the big day.  I will feel a whole lot better when this is all behind us.  We haven't done anything wrong that we know of, but it feels like we are being accused of something....and I don't like it.  Hopefully it will all be behind us after tomorrow.  Onto my daily pictures and some things to be thankful for.

My grand-niece Avery had her first birthday on March 6th....and we got to go to her party.  What a little sweety pie.  I think her favorite gift was this tunnel...she was chasing her cousins in and out.

What a blessing to have a little one in the family again.  It's only been 16 years since the last baby...that would be Billy and he's not so little any more!
I usually go into Mondays with great expectations of starting the week with getting some things done.  I usually don't get as much done as I hope too.  

But this was a Monday where I actually checked a few things of my list.  And then added a few more things to the list.  Maybe I should start a new list instead of adding on, that way I could feel like I'm done once and a while.

I have an amaryllis that has taken a really long time to sprout...but look at it now.  It's getting ready to flower and to welcome spring.  Me too.  :-)

On Tuesday we went to a meeting regarding the college that Brian will be going to.  He's getting really excited about it....and that is really nice to see.  Thinking about him leaving home is a little bit hard for this old mom.

It's still wintry here....see all that snow!  The days have been warmer but there is a lot left to melt.  I'm eager for spring, so is Penny.  She doesn't know what to do with herself.  She wants in, she wants out, she wants in....and she has been following me around the house wherever I go.  To be honest, it's starting to get on my nerves.  I took this picture through the screened window.  She's outside, but she's staring at the door wondering if I'm coming out or not.  Sigh.  We need it to be spring.
I needed a new swimsuit for spring break, I ordered one on-line. I like shopping for swimsuits about as much as I like IRS audits.  It came in a day, it fits, I'm done...the end.

On Thursday the High School Hockey tournament started.  We went to the afternoon games, it was a lot of fun.  The bummer was that our school's team was playing in the evening session.  We had volleyball so had to miss it.  Billy texted us updates.  The home team won.
One of the perks of working from home is that my schedule is flexible and I can take off to do things like watch hockey games.  Trouble is, we are thinking that it's my home business that flagged us to get audited.  Sigh.

Since our home team won on Thursday night, so they played again on Friday...and we did get to see that game.  I'll do a post about the hockey tournament in the next few days.   This picture is of the team rallying around the goalie before the game. 

The win on Friday night put our Eagles in the championship game on Saturday.   How fun is that?

Brian's not into sports...he didn't go to any of the games.  He used part of the weekend to catch up on his sleep.  Molly had joined him for her 3rd or 4th nap of the day.  I thought that they looked pretty cute.
The rest of us went to the hockey game.  What a nail biter.  The Eden Prairie Eagle won the championship in the 3rd overtime.  Talk about exciting.

Billy ended up being on TV quite a bit during the game.  I'll explain why when I do the hockey post.  If we're facebook friends you'll know why.  It's something about a big chicken.

We had planned on visiting our folks on Sunday, but with the daylight savings time switch, this stupid audit that we've had to prepare for, and from being tired after all the hockey excitement we decided to stick around here.
I made a quick run to Kohl's and was pleasantly surprised with some fantastic deals on summer clothes for me.  Summer is coming, I know it is.

My amaryllis is getting closer to budding....a few more days and it will be glorious.  The days are feeling more spring like...
...and the forecast is looking warmer every day.

In honor of spring I bought some bright yellow tulips at the grocery store.  Where would I be without my grocery store bouquets?
I hope that you treat yourself to touches of beauty when ever you can.  You deserve it!

And on that note, I'm heading for bed...and hopefully not tossing and turning with nasty audit thoughts running through my head.   I will sleep better once this is behind us, that's for sure!  Thanks for stopping by.