Blessings are reminders….

Good morning all you food drunk, retail exhausted people! Welcome to My Contradictory Life! I hope you all had an awesome holiday weekend, but it’s time to get yourselves back to work.

The furry support staff is particularly vocal this morning. It seems there is a stray dog (imagine that) running around loose this morning and has chosen my property on which to do his business. This has my crew in a tizzy trying to jockey for a good position at the front window to get a glimpse of the intruder. I can only imagine the view from outside with the Beagle on the bottom, Aussie in the middle, and the Weimaraner towering over top. My view is little butt, fuzzy butt, and large butt! The Corgi team is in the bedroom voicing their frustration at not being able to join the chaos, but trust me all the other dogs are much safer with them separated.

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I cannot describe the job felt by my entire family to have our mom home. My sister Robin, and my two brothers, Greg and Chad and I all pitched in to fix an amazing Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out beautifully. We were joined by our Grandmother Gladys and her husband Johnnie as well. Clean up went well and we were reminded by our mom not to make a mess on several occasions. After the dishes were done and everything was put back into its proper place, we all gathered in the sun room to share memories and laughter, just like old times.  It made me realize how much I missed my sister and how happy I am that she has come back into the fold. We all realize how blessed we are to have spent this holiday with our Mom. It is a reminder of the power of prayer and will that she is still with us. It’s a reminder that God is good and our faith in him should be what drives us every single day. Blessed is almost an understatement in my opinion. I have my sister and one of my bestest friends back, I have my mom, my hero, my mentor, my idol still here. Blessed, lucky, fortunate, whatever you call it, there is no question that God performs miracles and answers prayers.

Cody’s 2018 colt

My favorite Chincoteague mare, Cody 2 Socks has foaled! The above photo is her colt by Wild Thing. He has the most unique markings. He was almost a Medicine Hat, but these markings are so crazy it doesn’t matter.  He looks like two different ponies from each side.  I really hope that he goes to someone I know so that I can keep up with him. Her colt from last year went to a sweet young lady in California and she named him Bongo.  Cody has one daughter on the island named Doc Amrien. She is a beautiful bay pinto mare who produced her first foal this year. Cody herself is the daughter of the beautiful half Arabian buckskin stallion, the late Copper Moose. Copper was stunning when he was in his prime and at the top of his game.  A vicious, nearly fatal fight with another stallion left him weak and unable to sustain a band.  It was so sad to see.  He disappeared in late 2014/early 2015 never to be seen again.  Doc Amrien is the first photo below, it was taken at this year’s pony penning by me. The second photo is credited to Daisey’s Island Cruises and is of Copper Moose.

Doc Amrien
Copper Moose

So, I managed to survive another Thanksgiving and subsequent Black Friday weekend at Cracker Barrel.  Why don’t we just call it Black Weekend? Seriously, the sales start on Thursday and the ensuing chaos extends into Sunday. Why not call it what it is? I mean except for ridiculousness personified. Every year it becomes more and more foolish. Deals start earlier, decorations go up way earlier, and the tensions soar higher. How can anyone enjoy the holidays when they are embroiled in these battles to get the perfect toy for the perfect kid and the perfect time? I never, as a parent bought into the idea that my kids had to have the popular toy of the year. If, by chance, they got one, it was given by another family member. The idea of Black Friday and all the stress it beings feeds into the growing rudeness with which people are treating each other.  On Thursday I was assisting a guest with a lost and found issue. Another guest bullied her way through and began asking me questions while I was helping the other. No “excuse me” or “pardon me” was uttered, she simply butted in and insisted I answer her question. The first guest spoke up and said “excuse me I was talking!” The second didn’t skip a beat and just continued to talk to me about what “she” wanted. I tried to apologize to the original guest but to no avail, it was then and only then that the offender felt it necessary to apologize. From where did all this lack of respect for others come? I witnessed first hand, numerous incidents of guests verbally abusing fellow employees over this past holiday weekend.  I’m sorry, but that is absolutely unacceptable.  The folks who are working on the holidays are not with their families because they have to be there to serve the public. They don’t have a choice in most cases, as most companies block requests for holidays off.  I, myself, worked a short four hour shift on Thanksgiving day and then made haste to be with my family in Oriental.  On the way home Kayla and I decided to stop at the closest convenient store to grab water because we were both extremely thirsty. As we were checking out I asked the clerk if she had been able to spend any time with her family for the day. She replied that she hadn’t so that someone else would have the opportunity to enjoy it with family. Upon hearing that, I profusely apologized for having stopped and creating a need for someone to be there, even though I had worked that day, I felt bad for stopping.                   I saw two kinds of entitlement that day. First, was the kind in which the person felt as though something was owed to her. I’m sorry I owe you nothing more than respect that should be mutual. The other was the kind that chafes my butt the most and that is the kind in which the person deems himself or herself better than the people around him or her. I’m sorry but who died and made you a princess? Get over yourself! So, this one group came in and bulldozed its way to the hostess stand only to discover that here was a thirty minute wait on Saturday. The group chose not to wait and as they were leaving I overheard one member say, ” There is no way I am going to sit here and wait thirty minutes to eat some crap ass food!” Wait….wut?? So, you mean to tell me that were there not a wait, you would be perfectly willing to eat and pay for “crap ass food?” You are a special kind of stupid!!

Well now that I got all that off my chest I must get busy!  Oh don’t worry there is more to discuss soon! People make it easy!!

As you begin your week, please keep in mind that someone else is probably experiencing the same holiday stress as you, of not very similar. Little Johnnie or Jenny will actually survive if that “oh so, can’t live without it” toy isn’t available.

Don’t forget the furry ones as you blow up the internet on this Cyber Monday. The need lots of biscuits in order to get through this odyssey called “holiday shopping” with you.  Scritches and much love to them all! Santa better come see them!! I will be watching! Please comment with a photo of your furry support staff! I will put them all in a Furry friends gallery on my page!

Take care of yourselves! Would love to see all of your decorated homes and yards, so feel free to share. By the way, if you are looking for a charitable cause which to donate, please consider the Chincoteague Pony Rescue. My friend Deb Ober works tirelessly to make sure these ponies get what they need and your help, no matter the size would be greatly appreciated. There is a link on the My Contradictory Life home page. http://www.chincoteagueponyrescue.org  

See I told ya!

Santa is watching so…

Play nice ya’ll…

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Holiday Season is Upon Us!

Good morning my peeps!

And welcome to My Contradictory Life!!! Hope you all have awesome plans for your Sunday!  I ,fortunately, have the day off which means game day in this house!!! With a die hard Redskins fan and a die hard Eagles fan living here, game day can be quite interesting here.  I myself, could care less and pretty much just serve as a referee when things get a bit out of hand.  My plan is to not be here when the two teams play each other on December 30th. You know, self preservation and all!!

The furry support staff is up and moving around.  Beagle (Roo) is chasing his tail. It seems to be stalking him and he has about had enough of that. It does not want to cooperate at all, so he is giving it a good chase.  Occasionally, he gets dizzy and does a bit of a wobble when he comes out of an especially wild spin session.  It takes a minute to gain back his balance, but as soon as he does the pursuit continues. You have to admire his dedication! Bailey and Blankie (the Weim) are vying for a choice spot on the couch with Kayla. Bailey has seniority and he knows it, but Blankie loves him some Kayla and will not relent. Bailey however, is oblivious to his advances. The Corgi team and Minxy are asleep!  They spent a good part of the early morning outside patrolling the yard for any trespassers or passers by.  They definitely earned their keep this morning.

Things are finally beginning to look up around here.  We suffered a bit of a rough patch mid week, but we finally turned things around by the end of the week.  The big news is that Kayla finally found a job in her field!!! Woohoo!!! Thank you, Jesus!!! Patience and persistence are definitely virtues when job hunting.  Yes it is possible that you might have to take a job and is below your education temporarily, but eventually with a little perseverance it will come to you. Now with both her and Justin working, I will have a bit of relief from the bills and maybe some things can be repaired around here.  Lord there is so much to do!!! With a lot of faith it will get done!!!

 

I have been thinking on a topic all week, but it was escaping me until I worked yesterday.  Today is the beginning of Retail Hell Week! It actually started this past week, but S**t is about to get real!!! I understand that folks begin to get in a holiday frenzy and I understand that these are high stress days. However, if you are feeling like this, what joy are you getting from the holidays?  I have never been one to stress over the holidays, mostly because I start Christmas shopping for the next year the week after Christmas. I made the mistake of doing Black Friday once with my late mother in law Bertha Nassef.  I swore that day I would never take part in that holiday hell ever again and I haven’t.  The big deals are just not worth the stress of being knocked around, shoved, run over, and stomped on, plus I don’t have the personality or the bail money that would be required for me to take part in that annual chaos!! I prefer online shopping where I can order what I want, generally have it shipped free in the comfort of my own home.  People seem to be particularly rude during this time and especially towards the sales people in the stores.  Let me just say, someone being rude is not exactly incentive for sales people to be helpful.  We are trained to do whatever it takes to make the guest experience enjoyable at Cracker Barrel, however that doesn’t make it alright for the guest to abuse an employee. Thanksgiving day is the single most busy day at our store, but is also the most stressful.  We have never taken reservations and we never have, but I guarantee we will get at least 20 calls asking us to put someone on the wait list.  I’m sorry that will not happen.  We do have an online wait list for parties of six or less,yet at least one will say they have six but come in with more. That will only get you at the bottom of the list with the correct number of people. And one major hint….children count into the number in your party whether you bring them in walking, or in a stroller, or in a car seat. All of those count as 1 each in a party. That goes for anywhere you go.   What it all boils down to is that we have rules to which we have to adhere, those rules being changed for one person isn’t fair, nor it is wise, because then others will expect the same consideration.  Before you know it all the rules fly out the window and chaos ensues. Then things get really stupid!                    So please remember, the sales people in whatever place you choose to shop are people too. They don’t deserve to be abused or harangued. If someone tells you they don’t have the item for which you were looking, it’s not that person’s fault. No one can make an object magically appear just because it’s what you want. Most of the time they know exactly what stock they have in the stock room.  Asking more than one sales person to go look for what you want is not productive either.    

 Please, while you are out shopping this holiday season, try to exercise patience and kindness.  A moment of kindness can go a long way. We try our best to honor your requests, but it’s hard to be polite and nice when someone is being negative in your face. We are eager to please, it’s not only our job but as retail sales people it is also our specialty!

Well, that’s all for today….I’m sorry my rant went on for longer than normal, but it’s something that kind of sticks in my crawl. Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday.  It’s quite a beautiful day so if you aren’t watching a game, find yourself something fun to do outside. Take those furry friends out and spend time with them. You and they will be happier for it. Love and scritches to them and extra biscuits as well. 

As you head into your Thanksgiving week make sure to stop and take time to reflect on that for which you are truly thankful. I’m am thankful for all of you and my family, friends, and my furry support staff.  I am also thankful for my God given talent that has allowed me to reach so many more people and meet so many wonderful new friends.

So, even when your holiday shopping isn’t going as well as you planned, please remember…

Play nice Ya’ll…..

 

 

 

 

“Waiting”

Apathy=Self Preservation

Good frosty morning my friends! Wow what a difference a week makes!!!    Last week this time we were trying to find a way to keep cool without turning on the air conditioning. Today air conditioning is not necessary by any stretch of the imagination.

Yes I know it has been a while!  I made the mistake of letting life get in the way of what I really wanted to do.  So much has happened in the last months that I hardly know where to begin.

I will start with the furry support staff! Everyone is doing well and seem to appreciate these cold temps much more than I do.  I’m not sure if I have already introduced you all to the newest member of the herd, but we now have a rescued Weimaraner, named Merle. He is beautiful and much larger than I thought Weims to be.  He came to us underweight, very needy, and with a light and shadow obsessive, compulsive disorder. Not much is known about his previous life, but is obvious that he has suffered from neglect and some abandonment issues. I have seen improvement as he integrates into the pack here. His fit with the others is quite awkward, I’m guessing because of his size and exuberance. Having dealt mostly with herding breeds, I was not prepared for the need for constant companionship of a sporting breed. Thank goodness for the help and advice of friends who have the experience.  I have developed a bit of insight from them and the vet where Merle is concerned. We discovered that he is just at a year old, not approaching two as we were informed when he was brought here. So anyhow…we have a Weimaraner!

I went to Oregon in September for the opening of yet another Cracker Barrel.  This time it was in Medford, near the California border.  Let me just say, I love Oregon! It is a beautiful state. Little to no humidity and gorgeous landscapes make it one of my favorite places to visit! While there I had to opportunity to knock something off my bucket list that actually wasn’t on my list, but it was on my late husband, Jeff’s. I went to the highest point possible by vehicle to Mount Shasta.  It was the most peaceful, breathtaking place I have ever visited. The air was so clear and the lack of noise was incredibly relaxing. I didn’t want to leave! I kept thinking “on a clear day you can see forever.” And you could!!

mount shasta

I returned home from Oregon early upon news of my mom being in a coma. Her leukemia had morphed into lymphoma and it was bad.  As a result it was decided to administer an aggressive chemo regimen, which proved to be more than her system could take.  I have learned, without a doubt, that there is power in prayer.  At one point we were quite sure we would soon lose our mom, we all prayed for peace, we begged friends, family, and complete strangers to join in our prayers. I came home from Durham and within a few days received a message that she was awake.  Within a couple of weeks she was walking and talking, something none of us had thought possible just a few short weeks ago. This past week my mom came home! Yet another milestone no one expected to see at the beginning of October.  I want to thank everyone who supported us with prayers, calls, etc… Another moment of extreme joy has been reconnecting with the sister whom I have missed more than I was willing to admit. I will never forget one day when she was at my house…oh about 25 or 30 years ago, something struck us funny! To this day I cannot tell you what it was, but whatever it what was erupted into a giggling session that lasted a good ten minutes. When we finally were able to get our breath, my now ex-husband walked in the door and looked at us like we were mad! His perplexed look lead to an additional session that lasted another ten minutes. I have not laughed like that in a long time!

ROBIN

This past few months has been trying at best!  I am not going to go into detail on everything, except to say “UNCLE!”  I’m not going to admit that I am superstitious openly, but I did get rid of the $2 bill that was hanging in Justin’s room and the broken mirror that was behind the house. The loss of a friend who was basically an extended family member was extremely difficult to take.  My heart goes out to my “sissy” Teresa and Ray’s children and mom.  I want to also mention that my dear friend, Cindy became a first time grandmother! Little River was born with a slight defect that had to be repaired surgically shortly after his birth, but so far the little trooper is thriving! Congratulations to Cindy and her son’s family!! Yet another piece of good news, desperately needed, is in the photos at the top of this post, from DSC photography and Captain Dan’s Island Tours.  A medicine hat colt was born to the stallion, Wild Thing ,and the mare, Thetis on Assateague island, in Virginia. Medicine hats ponies are considered very good medicine in the Native American culture. These highly prized animals were thought to protect their riders and were sought after.  Often they were stolen by rival tribes that wanted to benefit from the powers the horses were thought to possess. This beautiful colt comes at a time when the herd is suffering from a swamp cancer that has claimed the lives of many and has affected several more. Maybe the birth of the little guy is a sign of better days for the herd.  Who knows? It won’t hurt to believe!

Did you ever feel so overwhelmed that you became calloused to everything around you? It feels almost like if you retreat into yourself things will slow down or somehow the effects will cause less damage.  You appear to be apathetic simply to protect yourself from the stress that would come from blowing a gasket. There is a fear that if you release the valve on your feelings or emotions that you will be deemed psycho, emotional, or even ridiculous. You are afraid to hurt someone else’s feelings so you sacrifice your own in order to prevent that from happening. This has been what’s happening in my world and in almost every aspect of it. Slowly, I have started to take back my life, my home, and my sanity. Though my plans for my future have been put on hold for a bit, I still intend to live out my dream!!

Well that is all for today. I promise not to be so remiss in my posting from here on out!  Love and scritches to your furry support staff! It’s the weekend, make sure you spend some time with them. You and they will be happier for it in the coming week.

Remember, I love you all most ardently! And remember even when it seems like things are crashing down around you and you can’t get a handle on things….

Play nice ya’ll….