I Got You Babe ♪

February 2nd is Groundhog Day

February 2nd is Groundhog Day. February 2nd is Groundhog Day! Whenever this day rolls around I always think of the movie by the same name. It’s where Bill Murray plays a weather man and every morning he wakes up to the same day (sorta) over and over and over again… and Sonny and Cher are singing “I got you babe” on the radio… “Just put your little hand in mine… Just put your little hand in mine… Just put your little hand in mine.”

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I don’t know about you, but I sure hope the weather on February 2 is not a repeat of the last couple of days, that is, with snow on the ground. I must say; however, that things are looking up, the sun is out right now this second. But wait a minute… that’s not a good sign is it? The legend of Groundhog Day is if Phil, the groundhog, sees his shadow when he comes out of his hole (in other words, if it’s sunny) there will be six weeks more of winter. Please let it be cloudy. Please, Please, Please! Let it be cloudy on Groundhog Day!!!

Have a Happy Day! Always with Love… Never Without

♫ They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you ♪

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We Are Marshall!

Today is Anniversary of the Marshall University Plane Crash

I was almost 9 years old when Dennis Blevins died in that plane crash, alongside with almost the entire Marshall University “Thundering Herd” football team and coaches and the flight crew, fans and supporters. I vividly remember that fateful night, November 14, 1970 – watching the TV with my family to see if Dennis’ name was included in the list of those who had died. I remember the names scrolling by, one by one and praying that his name was not there. I remember the sadness that I felt once I saw his name.

Dennis was a great friend of the family – you could say he was “one of the family” as he seemed to always be at our house. I am sure that my brothers and sisters have many more memories than I do, but I remember that he was nice to me and played with me. He treated me like a “little sister” and was my brother’s best friend… and I remember those matching shiny jackets that he and my brother wore to their high school (Park Central) prom — I wish I could find those pictures! Dennis was the reason I decided to attend Marshall University.

The last time we went to flower the graves of our dearly departed loved ones on Memorial Day, I noticed Dennis’ grave near my father’s grave and sister’s marker – it seemed fitting that he was so close… as we laid a flower next to his name. Remembering you Dennis, especially today, but Always with Love… Never Without!

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God Bless Our Troops

Today is… Memorial Day!

A lot of folks celebrate Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries, some by flying the U.S. flag, and others by having barbeques, picnics, family get-togethers and attending firework shows (or any combination thereof).  The swimming pools open — it’s the first sign of summer!

But when and where did the holiday start?  After doing a little digging, it seems there are several claims to the “first” Memorial Day. I’ve known for some time that Memorial Day is a commemoration to all who have died defending the United States of America, but, here’s what I didn’t know. During the Civil War, the Washington Race Course in Charleston, SC was converted to one of several Confederate camps for Union prisoners of war.  Where men died and were buried in unmarked graves. In April 1865, “freedmen” (freed enslaved Africans) exhumed the bodies from the mass grave to give the men a proper burial.  They built a fence around the burial ground, with an arch reading “Martyrs of the Race Course.”  On May 1, 1865, thousands of freed slaves, children, and Union soldiers made a procession to the cemetery. They laid flowers on the graves, and picnicked on the grass — they called it “Decoration Day”.  There was also a separate day to honor the Confederate dead created for those who did not want to celebrate the honoring of the Union dead.  During the mid-20th century, all of the celebrated days were merged into what is now known nationally as Memorial Day.

As we go about our the day with Memorial Day picnics, barbeques and other celebrations, let us also honor and and remember all of the men and women who gave their lives in service to this nation.  And God Bless Our Troops please, Always with Love! 

Have a Happy Holiday — And if you are one of the 34.3 million travelers this year… safe travels to you!

© 2011 Preservation Society of Charleston 
Courtesy of The South Carolina Historical Society

To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings
By David W. Blight – Yale

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Back to the Future

Today is March Forth and Do Something Day!

Are we really going back to the future? Today, individual states are passing strict voter ID laws that are undoubtedly designed to disenfranchise the poor, people of color, the elderly and young people. No longer will folks be able to show utility bills and other items as a form of ID for voting. This may discourage some people from participating. Instead of making the process easier, some are working hard to find new ways to suppress the vote right before our very eyes.

On this March 4th, folks are once again marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, just as many did in 1965, where blood was shed and some died. They are literally marching forth and doing something today! 

The Reverend Al Sharpton/National Action Network, along with congressional leaders, activists and everyday citizens will start at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 4th and will march at least 10 miles per day, stay in tents along Route 80, convene rallies and teach-ins along the way, and finally gather in front of the Alabama State Capitol on Friday, March 9th.

In 1965, African American men in the United States had already possessed a “theoretical” right to vote for almost a hundred years (see 15th Amendment of the US Constitution). But, by the 20th century, new constitutions were adopted disenfranchising African-American voters. Black citizens attempting to exercise their constitutional right to vote encountered many barriers that they often found insurmountable. These included poll taxes, literacy tests, clauses that limited voting to people whose ancestors had voted in the past, and party primary elections that were limited to whites.

Today’s march is to not only commemorate those marches made in 1965, which helped to rush Congress to enact the legislation called The Voting Rights Act; but to also shine a light on what is happening today with voter rights laws. The rules are changing. Some of which include: tougher voter ID requirements, getting the required ID will be harder; making it harder for groups to register others to vote; eliminating same day registration; reducing the number of days for early voting; and more. Further reading can be found at Brennan Center for Justice website “Voting Law Changes in 2012”.  

What can you do?  YOU can March forth and…

  • REGISTER TO VOTE (it’s real easy to do on-line)
  • Check your registration status
  • Find out what the deadlines are to register and to vote
  • Know where you are supposed to vote
  • Find out what ID is needed to vote
  • Make sure that you have the right ID to vote

Folks died for you to have this right… and most importantly, Regardless of your political affiliation, March forth and exercise your right – REGISTER and VOTE!

Always with Love!


Amendment 15
United States Constitution
Ratified February 3, 1870
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.


Source: The Rev. Al Sharpton – National Action Network

Source: Selma to Montgomery – March 1965

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All the Single Ladies

Today is Leap Year Day (a.k.a. Ladies Day)!

Actually… this is to all the single gents out there. It’s Leap Year and February 29th is known as “Ladies day”. You know what that means don’t you? It’s the day when traditionally women can propose marriage. Back in the day when there were courtship “rules” (and when one only spoke of opposite sex marriages), the women were allowed to pop the question to a bachelor on one day only — every four years. That fateful day was February 29th. It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait so long for a man to propose. According to the legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year. Any bachelor who declined was subjected to penalty such as buying the lady in question twelve pairs of silk stockings.

And for any of you young bucks who don’t know about… ain’t never heard of Sadie Hawkins, let me school you. There was a comic strip called Li’l Abner that ran for 43 years, (August 13, 1934 through November 13, 1977). In this comic strip, they had a fictional holiday called Sadie Hawkins Day. This too is a day that women chased after any eligible bachelor and if they caught one, they could marry him! Although the celebrations are kinda the same, Sadie Hawkins day is celebrated in November.

So, be careful out there guys… run… don’t turn around… she might be right behind you!  LOL! You better be on the look-out for those Sadie ladies!

Happy Leap Year Day / Ladies Day!

Always with Love!

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It’s Chili!

Happy National Chili Day!

Boots' Bluefield Chili

I don’t know how I let National Chili Day slip by me! This year it was February 23rd. When I woke this morning and looked out the window, it had snowed… again! So I thought to myself — this is a great day for chili! And today is just as good a day as any to celebrate that down home goodness of Boots’ Bluefield Chili (“BBC”). Oh the spices, the aroma, the taste! After trekking to the grocery store in 30 degree and blustery snow (OK… I drove, and the snow was not blustering. But the wind was blowing hard and we did have a few little flurries… AND it was 30 degrees… brrrrrr… chilly), I made, with mom’s assistance, some BBC (except I used ground turkey instead of ground beef with shredded cheese on top!) — See actual picture, right before consumption.  I also recommend saltines on top, but I’ve given those up for lent.

I suggest you make some of your very own.  Or, if you live in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky or Florida, visit one of my favorite’s – y’all know what I’m talking about. It’s Skyline Time for some good ol’ 4-Way Chili! My sister has promised to bring me some from Cincinnati the next time she visits. Although I could just order it online, or buy it in the grocery store, it just wouldn’t be the same!

P.S… if you twist my arm I’ll give you the BBC recipe, with mom’s permission of course.

Anyway, Happy National Chili Day – a few days late!

What TODAY will Tomorrow be?  “Open that Bottle Night” — Hey, maybe I’ll celebrate that one a day early… A nice bottle of Riesling will go perfectly with my Chili!

Always with Love!

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February 20 is Hoodie-Hoo Day!

Bluefield, WV (February 20, 2012)

Just in the nick of time to celebrate Hoodie-Hoo day, winter showed up!  It snowed in Bluefield, WV on February 19, 2012 — expected accumulations up to 6 inches by the time it’s all said and done. It’s not very much compared to the typical winters in the lil ol’ town of Bluefield, yet it’s the most snow seen here this winter… so far.  But, we ain’t out the woods yet!

So on this curiously warm winter, but snowy and cold 20th day of February 2012, join me outside, wherever you are, at high noon. And let’s all wave our hands over our heads and yell “HOODIE-HOO” and scare winter away. Come on spring… I’m ready for ya!


Always with Love!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

On this Valentine’s Day, 

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
(And speak from the heart to be heard.)


Hold these words close to your heart, no matter where you are, no matter who you are with. Even if you’re alone, you can be your own classy Valentine. This is a time for love, yes, but it’s also a time for reflection. Remember — Love thyself most and best! 

Today as you go about, know that YOU are being thought of …

Always with Love  Never Without!

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Only 22 Days Until Christmas?

It’s less than a month til Christmas and if you are still thinking about whether or not to mail Holiday Cards this year, here are some things to consider as to why you should.

Holiday Cards can add that little “extra” something in keeping and growing your relationships (both personal and business). Maybe there’s someone you haven’t talked with in a while, or maybe it’s been years since you sent them a Christmas card. Remembering them with a special holiday greeting can break the ice. You can reconnect and let them know that they are special to you (still). Or, maybe it’s a new acquaintance and you want to make a good impression. You remember the old adage right? … you never get second chance to make a first impression.

Paper card vs. E-card? I think we all know, and it’s been well documented that people ignore more than half of the emails they receive on a daily basis. Unless we are specifically looking for an email, or something is being offered that we want or need, the email gets a glance over (if the sender is lucky)… more often it gets an “I’ll go back and read it later”. But, if you are like me (and I know you like me), we never seem to get a round to it. Where is that round-to-it by the way? Will somebody please get me one for Christmas??? And yes, sometimes it just simply gets deleted. A printed holiday card that comes in the mail, however, is always opened and enjoyed! These cards are proudly displayed in homes and offices for all to see.

What better way to convey your special message and to honor traditions that make Christmas an important part of our lives than to send a card? It’s a personal way to say to friends, family and colleagues, “I remember”! I remember the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, I remember all of the smells… of pine, of snow in a can, and mom’s baking. I remember the parties, and I remember the music. I remember the anticipation of Christmas morn. I remember the good times. I remember the reason for the season… and, I remember you!

Although the days, hours, minutes and seconds are flying by until it’s Christmas, there’s still time have your own personalized holiday card designed just for you. It’s an easy way to express your thoughtfulness and appreciation to those you care for and value in your life, both personally and professionally. Contact AWL by December 8 and have a special card designed just for you… just in time to mail for Christmas!

Always with Love!

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Mandolin Slicer – My favorite thing (rnts)!

My Favorite Thing — Right Now This Second!

… is my Mandolin slicer! It’s the best thing since sliced… well, EVERYTHING! I am now a slicing fool! You name it… I’ll slice it (vegetables and fruit that is). Cucumbers, Potatoes (white and sweet), Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Cabbage and even Celery … and my favorite all time thing to slice (because of what I do with the slices) is Apples. I baking some Apple Chips (although baking Potato Chips (especially sweet potatoes) is a fav too!

I have never been one to do much cooking or baking, so I had never heard of (or at least paid any attention to) a “mandolin” until watching a segment on the Food Network (see my blog re: Kale Chips). None of the cooks in my family have ever used any type of slicer. They still do it the old fashioned way — with a knife (whichever one they can find in the knife drawer). Not me — never again. I like the modern life.

My slices are now identical in thickness, which I imagine is important for cooking foods evenly and consistently. The mandolin comes with attachments to slice thick, thin, medium, or julienne (which I’ve not tried yet). Most importantly, at least to me, evenly sliced items make a lovely presentation. In my book, it’s ALL about the presentation. If you make it look pretty, people will be more likely to eat it, buy it, read it, use it, etc. Last, but definitely not least, is using a mandolin takes much less skill than cutting with a knife, and slicing can be done very quickly — I saving time in the kitchen.

If you don’t have a mandolin already, I highly recommend purchasing one… and trying my simply yummy Apple Chips recipe below!

Apple Chips

1 Apple per large cookie sheet (I like Fugi applies)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cinnamon to taste (no need for sugar!!)


  1. Preheat an oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. Wash apple(s).
  3. Slice apple(s) as thin as possible (I can get them paper thin with my mandolin slicer).
  4. Grease cookie sheet with Olive Oil.
  5. Arrange single layer of apples onto the sheet and sprinkle generously with Cinnamon.
  6. Bake @ 45 minutes, then turn.
  7. Bake for another 30-40 minutes (check regularly… my oven is crazy and hot).
  8. Cool and enjoy the crispy goodness!

Buying a mandolin has been a great investment — saving me money and time. No longer do I pay extra for a veggie or fruit tray. Now, I do my own slicing! How did I ever do without one?

 ♥  My Mandolin is My Favorite Thing … right now this second!  ♥

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