Monday, April 30, 2012

week 4: teaching an old dog new tricks!

My best friend and I took a training course or how to fetch and do other great tricks! Not Marc, my other friend, Rico.
I had always wanted me and Rico to visit the local dog park, throw the ball around and all that fun dog suff. I figured he was old enough to hang out with other dogs and run free. Got a brand new ball and everything for us to play with. It didn't quite go as well as I expected.

I guess I expected Rico to just know how to fetch...I mean he is a dog. Cats just know how to use the litter box. You don't really have to teach them, just show them where it is. I thought it was the same way with dogs and fetching.

Yeah, I was wrong about that. He had no problem catching the ball...

 That was the fun part for him. It was bringing it back to me that he didn't down with. So we took a training class at the Pet Co in my neighborhood. The instructor not only a dog whisperer, but he apparently spoke cat and horse fluently, too! There were certificates all over his walls from all kinds of shows and proving he could do everything from raise, breed, show and give first aid to anything but human-kind! He was a modern day Dr. Dolittle!

After the 2 day indoor class and 2 days with the instructor implementing what we learned. I was amazed at how Rico picked up on the tricks Cedric gave me.
Anyway, a little about Rico.
We hit it off the moment I saw him. He had the cutest little face.
Now at the ripe old age of 2, he is truly a great dog and a good friend.

According to Cedric, his human students were the problem not the canines. Our canines can’t speak verbally so we have to learn to understand their body language and the cues they give us so we’re both happy with the results. Rico and I went home to practice the skills I learned in school.

Today when Rico and I go to the park, he catches and brings the stuff back to me, too!
Hmm, it would seem that you CAN teach an dog new tricks! J


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

week 4: Do you know your manners?

HI everyone!
Dana Littlejohn back with you to ask if you know your manners? I found out that if I took an a communication class I could add a whole .15 to my pay at work. Since there is soooo much I can do with .15 I decided what the hey! I might learn something I didn't know. LOL

The 3hr class I found promised to teach poise, communication skills, consideration and table manners. I figured it had the communication skills in there so I was good! The rest was just a gimme. LOL

Anyway, The woman giving the class went on about the history of etiquette and how it wasn't just for upper-class families or preparing for a debutant ball. It was intended to prepare young folk how to treat others with with respect, value integrity and teach the expectations of society. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that stuff your Mama and Daddy are supposed to teach you? It would seem rich folk paid someone else to do that!

Since there were a few guys in the class, we were separated for the next two sections so they could be specific to male and female. My next section was poise. 

We learned how to carry ourselves with poise. We also learned the benefits of good posture, how to sit and stand correctly and walk with grace. Next we tackled table manners. At this time she went kind of fast because we would go into more detail when we practiced at the dining table. ( I was like, huh? but okay, whatever)

We met back up with the men to go over communication skills. They went over tips to feel more confident when meeting new people, during job interviews and public speaking as well as how to introduce yourself, shake hands properly, the importance of eye contact and how to respond to invitations. They even went over phone etiquette since everyone has a cell phone and whoever is calling will get you directly.
Now, I don't know about you,but Mom and Dad didn't sit me down for this one. LOL There was some stuff in there that I simply didn't know.

The next section was showing consideration, the art of putting others first. You should have seen the stunned looks on the men's faces when they were learning to pull chairs out and open doors for the ladies. They even looked a little stunned when the instructor reminded them it was courteous to let others pass when going through a door in a public place and someone was coming at the same time. O-O
Again, it might just be me, these are things that should have been taught at the table or just idle chit-chatting around the house. But, okay, whatever. 

Once all the sit down and learn something stuff as done, we went into the dining etiquette. First she asked us to set the table like we know how. I was like, okay I can do that. So this is my table.

Not bad right? Okay so then she taught us what a proper table should look like and why. And this is what my table looked like when I did it again.

Better huh? All that stuff was there the first time, I just didn't know to use them. LOL

At the end of the three hours I felt enriched. I will accept the little .15 they give me, but I think what I learned will be worth so much more down the road. )


Friday, April 20, 2012

week 3- Health First!

This week I had the opportunity to try a full body deep tissue massage "SMILE"
If you have never had one, I urge you to get one ladies and gents alike.

This was my very first time ever doing this!
I'd been dying to go to Massage Envy for quite sometime but on this particular day they told a group of friends and I that they didn't have any walk ins today. Disappointed we thought we'd try the 10 minute in the chair massages at the mall. The place here is called HEALTH FIRST Raleigh Massage Center

But when we got there we found out they had full body massages upstairs and we jumped at the opportunity to give it a try. 
So off we went to get 4 full body massages "My daughter Sintaja, my Sista Pump'kin, my Niece Shaniqua & I"  Pump'kin and I got the same room and Sintaja & Shaniqua got the same room as they had double massage tables. We were told to undress and lie down on the massage tables. 

Lol we acted like a bunch of giggling school girls stripping down to our undies before the Masseuse could leave the room and get the time clocks and oils. Giggling and laughing calling from one room to the other to check on each other.I thought it would go very fast but I must say they massaged the whole body, your face & scalp uhm, mmmmmmmmm and it took forever to be over lol.When we left we were giggling laughing leaping and swearing we'd be back again soon, lol.I would definitely do it again & we also tried to out tip each other LMBO, so much fun.

So on that note Massage Envy eat your ♥ out I won't ever be using you, you blew it.

Next time I want to treat myself, a family member or friend you can guess where I'll be. 
"Health First"


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Week 3: I can paint? who knew!

So here we are at week 3!

I gotta say finding new stuff to try is hard work! LOL I really is, but I have incorporated a few friends to help. I haven't figured out if that's good or not yet, but I will keep you posted. They have lots of good ideas, but some of that stuff I'm like...hmmm.

This time I dragged my husband out to a place called Wine and Canvas. Their website says it has locations in a few cities around the country. They even have a kid friendly version called Cookies and Canvas. 

A calendar is posted monthly on the 20th of the month. It shows you what picture you will be panting, where you will be (Indy has 2 locations) and what times they start. It even shows if the class is already filled so you can plan ahead.

You choose the date, time and picture by scanning the calendar. Once you have the one you want you schedule online, pay online and your ready to go when you get there.The cost per person was under $40! Cheap by today's standards.

Basically you're paying for a painting class and and all your supplies, however, they do offer--how did the hostess put it? Oh yeah!-- liquid motivation, in case you need some. :) Of course for the non-drinkers and DD's in the crowd they had waters and sodas to buy as well.

The class was so much fun. The teacher was very knowledgeable at her craft and extremely patient even when the 'motivation' started to really flow. We took a Friday night class that ran from 7-10pm.  The instructor used simple, easy language with a step by step method.

I was amazed at how the picture came together as we added to each section.

And viola! The finished product is hanging in my living room :)


What did I think of the new thing I tried?

I loved it! And for the record, so did my husband. Under the right circumstances I had painting skill I knew nothing about! The wine was really good too. I mean...I was highly motivated to keep painting. :) (pssst! they carry a really good Moscoto) 

I will definitely be adding this into my rotation of things to do.

Until next week! TA!


Monday, April 16, 2012

week 3: Playing in clay.

Hi everyone!
Carson back at you with another new notch added to my belt. This time I heard about a sculpting class they were holding at the community center for only cost $25. Since that amount was right in my price range I decided what the hey. LOL This was a project class lasting 2 hours. Mrs. Norton, the main teacher and her helpers were very patient as they walked us step by step through the process. It turned out to be easier than I thought, too.

We had to cut our own hunks of clay from a block so we could work with it.

When we had it, we had to mash and pinch it softer so we could work with.


Once we had our lumps, we were ready to choose what to make and head to the wheels. There were pictures hanging on the walls near tables. After you chose, Mrs. Norton sent her helpers out to the wheels to give you personal direction. They were the ones guiding us during the creative process.

I decided to do a tall coffee mug. It started out great! My cup was forming nicely, but unfortunately I couldn't keep the sides from collapsing. Looking back, I realize now what I was doing wrong, but, of course, hindsight is 20/20.
As I looked around seeing how cool everyone else's cups and bowls were coming out, I squeezed mine into a ball and tried again. Time was going by. With my cup not coming out the way I planned, frustration forced me to change my mind. I flagged down a helper and pointed to the picture I wanted and she helped me make it happen.

At th end of the class, we had to leave the stuff we made with Mrs. Norton. Now that our part forming the clay into bowls, trays, cups or whatever was done, Mrs. Norton would take them be fired so it would be all shiny and we could use it in real life. So, instead of showing you the clay I molded into something I will show you the finished product. My first sculpted creation!

A week later, as I was in line I saw a few of the people that were in my class that day.

This was the cup I was trying for when I started out. The lady at the next table did a great job. She mentioned she had done this thing several times before.

The guy on the other side of me did this bowl. Not a bad job don't think he'll be able to eat out of it, but if he smokes it'll be a cool ashtray. It was his first time also.

Do you see now why I was getting frustrated? Mine was not coming out like either of those. 

Anyway, without further adieu here is what I ended up with :)

Sure, I may have got him from a picture on the wall held over from the kids class earlier in the day, but hey, I made something with my own two hands. He was much easier to make than the cup or bowl. I call him Howard the Duck, Jr. I gave him to my niece Nicki and she loved it, too.

What did I think of my experience?
I liked it. It was fun once I decided to make Howard. I think I will do it again now that it's not a totally foreign concept. LOL

See ya next week...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Week 2: Fondue? Huh?

Hey everyone!
 Dana Littlejohn here to continue week 2 with a question for you: Do you fondue?

Had someone asked me that a month ago I would have said: what's fondue? A few times a year restaurants in our city get together and lower the prices of meals. The proceeds from those meals go to specific charities. Usually the restaurants in question are very expensive and my husband and I don't usually get the chance to go, so when these things come up we try to take advantage.

We went to the Melting Pot. It is a fondue based restaurant just outside Indianapolis in Carmel Indiana. I had never had fondue, but I had heard it was like a melted cheese thing. My brain went straight to queso. I like queso I kept an open mind, although I had no idea how you could build a whole menu around melted cheese. Our server Bonnie walked us through the whole experience. She was very patient and extremely knowledgeable with all of my never ending questions.

The appetizer was absolutely fantastic. The server made the cheese fondue at the table. When it was done she brought the bowl of veggies, the chips and apples for us to dip in.

The main meal was delicious! Bonnie took away the cheese fondue and brought back a pot of already heated broth. Our food came raw. I had surf and turf; lobster, sirloin pieces and shrimp. John had carnivore delights; filet Mignon chunks, pork slices, seasoned lamb and chicken pieces. We were to add the sides first, pieces of potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms and asparagus and let them boil for at least ten minutes before adding our entrees.

 I ordered the specialty drink, a Romance martini. Those are strawberry slices floating on top. I had a few of these so I don't really remember what was in it. I just know it was delicious. :)

Our dessert came moments after dinner was complete. In the fondue pot this time was white chocolate and bananas flambé. Bonnie added a few shakes of cinnamon and sparkles jumped off the blue fire. It was amazing. To dip in the melted chocolate we had a variety of delights! Strawberries, rice krispy treats, bananas, brownie and red velvet cake chunks.

What did I think of my new experience?
Well...there were two minor things that poked at me. I thought it was a lot of work and a little expensive for me to be cooking my own meal, and then there was the snafoo with the carrots. As we ordered our meals, I asked our sever not to garnish any of the main dishes with carrots because I am allergic. We wanted to taste each others food and having an epi-pen situation would kill the mood. Alas, my husband's meal still arrived sitting on top of a very pretty julienne carrot garnish. Thus I could not taste anything he had.

Now, having said that, my visit to The Melting Pot was a unique and pleasurable experience. The music, the ambiance and design of this place was wonderful. Perfect for date nights. No wonder they had so many awards for best romantic restaurant on the wall as you entered!

The meal was a crescendo of deliciousness! Each part was better than the next. I absolutely loved everything that was served...well except the asparagus. Having never had it I didn't know if I liked it. Now I know: HATED IT! :) but everything else was absolutely amazing.

I will definitely repeat this experience and if you have a Melting Pot ( in your city you should check it out too! Hey! I liked it so much I'm thinking of putting it into one of my books! :)


Monday, April 9, 2012

week-2 ocean delights? NO!

Hi everyone!
It’s Monday again and time for me to share what new thing I have done. This past week my friends and I took a trip to Savannah. Weather was great and because they are close to the shore finding seafood places to eat are easy for me. I guess I’d be considered a semi-vegetarian. I don’t eat land animals at all, no pork, beef, fowl, lamb, goat, none of it. Visiting my uncle’s farm as a kid traumatized this city boy so bad. I saw stuff I had no busy seeing at the tender age of 8. I never ate meat again! But, that’s another story.

Anyway, my friend took me to this Italian restaurant known for its octopus entrée. Now okay, just because I don’t eat land creatures doesn’t mean I eat everything from ocean. But you know what he said, don’t you? Of course you do. He hit me with the ‘how do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it?’
So, we’re at the restaurant and the server is telling us all the wonderful things about the rich history about the food. Although octopus isn’t served in a lot restaurants all over the US, it is apparently very famous in Italy. They offered a dish in all 3 courses, soup, chopped on a salad and an entrée with a sauce made of parsley, lemon, olive oil and red hot pepper. My friend ordered the soup and I ordered the one with the special sauce.

Now when the server slid the bowl in front of him I almost couldn’t take the picture. My mind immediately went back to that scene from Indiana Jones’s Temple of Doom. You know the one I’m talking about? When the kid and the singer were with Indy at the palace and the food they were offered freaked them out because it was all bugs and animal parts? Yeah. I was freaked just like that….but not as much as when my plate came.

See what I mean! I couldn’t even take the picture you’re looking at. My friend did! How do you eat something that looks like this??? I couldn’t even look at it without wanting to hurl!
Well, since I had too, I put on my big boy pants, closed my eyes and cut a piece off. It was rubbery...and chewy and my stomach was pissed that I swallowed it. It’s only saving grace was the sauce and there wasn't enough of it to trick me into thinking I was eating something else.
It wasn’t the best tasting meal I ever had, let me tell you, but it didn’t kill me. My friend and I did end up switching meals because I just couldn’t do it. The octopus soup, wasn’t too bad. If you can get pass the big glob of tentacles in the center of the bowl to eat the soup you would find lit tolerable. It kind of reminded me of a spicy Manhattan chowder.
What did I think of my experience?
Well…you know, I paused here for a long time looking for some politically correct way to explain it, but I can’t. The bottom line is I was freaked out so much that I can’t tell you what my dish even tasted like. As for the soup I mostly closed my eyes and slid my soup down the sides of the bowl as I ate!
Trying to eat octopus gave me the willies. There is no way I’m eating that again. There’s lots of other stuff for me to eat.
Man, I hope the next 50 weeks are better for me because this journey ain’t starting off the good foot for me. LOL Maybe I'll try bungee jumping next!

Until next week!

Friday, April 6, 2012

week 1- Tennis anyone?

I'm a very down to the minute person so I had no idea what I wanted to shoot and post until today.

I took my granddaughter "Ms. Monnie" Out to the park to play a game of tennis, 
she's never played before and she's only five. LOL

She had been loosing from the very beginning but a great sport none the less as her uncle Dream'z had her running all over the court.

When all of a sudden she drops down to her knees clasps her hands together and started to pray, I don't know about any of you but this is the very very first time I'd ever seen that done by anyone before. It was hilarious!
LMBO Enjoy ":0}...


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

week 1: Midget wrestling? Who knew!

You read that ticket right!
There I was packing up to leave work on Friday night looking forward to a few drinks and watching my Indiana Jones four pack, when I got this text: Midget wrestling, tonight, 8 seconds, wanna go?
I wasn't one that got into wrestling. I mean yeah, I used to make it a point to watch when The Rock was in the ring. Seriously, I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to see The Rock in a pair of ting black panties and nothing else. :) So, with no Rock in the ring I was a bit leery about the whole thing, but for the sake of doing something new I answered the text with one word: YUP!
I'm so glad I did! It was so much fun! I wish I could have gotten my phone to work so show you the actual fighting. It was full of the hype, fanfare and drama that regular wrestling has. They had the crowd pump, screaming and hollering for the favorite fighters. These guys were tossing each other around the ring jumping off the ropes and everything!
 Here I am with the winner, "Sampson" and two other wrestlers-- "Huggie Cub" on the far left (he tags himself as Huggy Bear's illegimate son) and "Meatball"  in the center.

Although I had a difference event in mind to share with you for my opening post, I knew this had to change it to this. It was a great experience and I had a blast! If they come back to Indianapolis I will definitely go back. If Hulk Hogan's Micro Wrestling stops in your city be sure to check them out. They put on a good show and you will have a great time!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Week 1! woo hoo!

Hi everyone!
You might wonder why we're doing this. Great question. Here's the answer. My friend Shelia's sociology teacher told the class that people were afraid to leave their comfortable zones. 

"Most folk didn't venture out of their 'norm' to experience anything new once their zones were set. They ate the same foods, drank the same drinks wore the same clothes all with little or no change in color, size shape or tastes,"  said Mr. Hertz.

His idea was to encourage them to be open to new things. When she came back and shared that with me I was like, dang. Am I like that, too? After some thought I decided that if I am, I didn't want to be anymore. I would run from stagnation and make a conscious effort to try new things. So to make sure I don't fall off the wagon I invited a few people to get in on the challenge with me and voila! This blog was born!

I will blog each Monday to share the new thing I have tried. To kick off the blog I will share my experience with a new drink I tried in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Even though I'm not Irish *tapping chin in thought. No, no Irish in there* I went to hang out with everyone else that was celebrating.  I went out with one of my buddy's and we had all the drinks they were drinking on St. Patrick's Day. Nothing we never had before really, green beer that turned out to be tinted Bud lite, Jägerbombs, shots of Bailey's, stuff like that, but there was one I heard someone order that I had never heard before. An Irish Car Bomb. 

Have you heard of it?

They used a tall tumbler and filled it halfway with Guinness stout and Jamison Irish Whiskey then they dropped a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream into it. It made this weird kind of beige foam that oozed over the top. As I watched the bartender make the drinks for someone else, I heard my friend say, give us two of those. I'm so glad he didn't pull out his cell phone and take a picture. I know my face was twisted by the way he laughed when I turned to him!

The bartender made the mixture again then slid the two glasses in front of us. Somewhere in the back of my head my warning light flashed so bright my brain should have been cooked from the heat. But...w
e picked up the glasses and just before the glass reached my lips the bartender said: "Take it like a shot, man. It doesn't taste that good."

I was like, damn...and did my best to gulped down the drink until it was gone.

What did I think about it?
The bartender's warning was a gross understatement and I do not use the term loosely. It was the worse drink I ever had! It is should be called TRAIN WRECK because that's how it made my mouth feel. I wanted to wipe my tongue of with my napkin but I didn't think the torn up pieces of tissue stuck to my tongue would have helped. I don't know if it was the Guinness, the whiskey, the Bailey's or the combination of it all, but it was a nightmare. It was hours later before I got the taste out of my mouth. And believe me, I tried! I had a huge Jack Daniels bacon cheese burger at TGI Fridays, a couple of shots of Ciroc and a Bud after that. :)

So, although I had a great time and I tried a new drink, it was a unique experience that I will NOT be repeating. LOL

until next week!