We lost. Here’s a consolation prize. {a giveaway}

Since I have nothing good to say right now for obvious, Sunday’s-big-game-was-spectacularly-craptastic reasons, this seemed like the perfect time for a giveaway. You get the goods, and I get away with not talking about the heartbreaking display of 3 turnover sucktitude. Moving right along…CSN Stores has provided me with a gift certificate for $40 to give away to one lucky reader. This credit can be used at any of their over 200 websites, where they sell everything from modern office furniture to cute cookware to chic lighting.

To enter, leave me a comment here and tell me your go-to smile guarantee. What cheers you up when you’re feeling down? Gets you out of a funk? Remedies your broken football dreams heart?

Drawing will be held on Wednesday, February 16th at 12 pm EST. One entry per comment on this blog post. If you’d like an additional entry, you can tweet about the contest (I am @hopelessnflawed on Twitter ) or post on Facebook about the giveaway, using the Facebook comment link below. Up to 3 entries per person.

Forty dollars of free shopping people – you know you want it!

* Contest open to residents of the US and Canada. Shipping not included.

The fine print:

I was not given anything to write this post. Well okay, technically I am being given a gift certificate but that’s for you, not me. I personally gained nothing but the pleasure of hosting a giveaway. And the opportunity to provide retail therapy for a disgruntled Steelers fan. If you were rooting for Green Bay…stick it.

Just kidding.

Sorta.

No not really.

————————————————————————————————————-


Update: The winner is #15 – Shel! Congratulations, and I will email you the details of the gift certificate. Thank you to everyone who entered!

No, I did not forget.

The Makeover Monday that I promised? Not happening.

And not because I didn’t try.

I made a rockin’ Steelers table runner for Caren.

I took pictures.

I mailed it out in plenty of time to arrive before the big game.

But the blogging? Notsomuch.

Technical difficulties in that I am unable to upload pictures.

Stupid WordPress.

I have my people on it and will be back with pictures as soon as the glitch is resolved.

In the meantime, I can only link to other people’s pictures, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to say that I must have this cake for Sunday.

Better get busy with the fondant.

Yinz won!

Thanks to everyone who entered!  The girls drew names out of a hat, and the winners are…

Grand prize – Caren – Crazy Catch

Crayon rolls – Mandy, John, and Jenny
I have emailed all of the winners requesting addresses. Caren has already responded and said that she’d like the table runner to use as a hostess gift, so I will be sending that out to her tomorrow. I will share pictures here tomorrow, too. Makeover Monday has been on hiatus for far too long.

Thanks again for entering, and Go Steelers!

Swag. I gots it. I’s giving it away.

Why yes, actually I am still alive.

The pneumonia/bronchitis/laryngitis/evil virus of destruction has [mostly] left my body and I am able to breathe and eat and walk upright the majority of the time these days.

After a near death experience, I always like to celebrate with a good giveaway. This one is going to be very short and sweet, too, because we’re in a time crunch.

As I certainly hope you know, the Super Bowl is next Sunday. And I am oh-so-ready.

Jerseys for the whole fam – check. Terrible towels all around – you bet. Menu planned – of course. TV of embarrassingly large proportions that I only appreciate on game day – ready and waiting.

The only thing that could make the big day better for me is to share the love (and decorate the cheering section in your home.)

Therefore, a giveaway.

One grand prize winner will receive an item of their choice. Options are this terrible towel applique – I can put it on a t-shirt for you or your child, a burp cloth, a bib, a place mat…whatever you’d like, within reason.

Patchwork! I can do this in a twirl skirt for your little cheerleader

Or as a table runner to beautify your game-day buffet (or to give as a hostess gift for the party you attend!)

(imagine the Steelers fabric in place of this Valentine’s pattern)

Or a pillow with your child’s name – or Steelers, or Troysus, or Earl of Gross… your choice of lettering.

In addition to this, 3 other names will be drawn to receive Steelers themed crayon rolls – something’s gotta keep the little ones quiet so you can enjoy the game, right? I even have cute Steelers coloring pages I’ll send along.

Again, you’ll just have to envision the Steelers fabric in place of the bumble bees – I’m working on a time crunch so I have to roll with the pics I have on hand.

Winners will be drawn on Sunday, 1/30 at 1 pm EST. A valid email address is required to enter this drawing, and winners will need to supply their mailing address ASAP for pre-game delivery.

Because we’re on a tight schedule, this is a very short, 2-day giveaway. I need to get these things shipped out early next week to arrive in time for the big game, and I have to make them after the winners are drawn. Therefore, please enter only if you will be able to check your email on Sunday!

Open to US residents only.

To enter: leave a comment here with your favorite Steelers memory. For additional entries, you can post on Twitter, Facebook, or your own blog about this giveaway. Please leave a separate comment for each entry, 4 possible entries per person, and provide a link showing where you posted about the giveaway.

Good luck and GO STILLERS!
Added: For easy tweeting, you can use this link http://tinyurl.com/4tn2bpz

And I am @HopelessnFlawed on Twitter

Suck it up

The football thing?  Turns out I lied.

I had intended to talk about football.

James Harrison, in particular.

I’m kinda bent about the whole thing.

But then, I don’t know…I just got kinda sick of it all.  I’m over this conversation.

His crybaby ‘take my ball home and quit playing’ declaration might have fueled my apathy.  (Apathy can totally be fueled, by the way.  Totally.)

So I’ll just summarize.

He’s a big, bad scary man.  It’s his job.

Of course he wants to hurt people. Duh. Find me a linebacker that doesn’t want to hurt people.  Except perhaps those that play for the Bears, since clearly they’re lacking.

But I digress.

Hurting people is part of the game, folks.  There is a difference between hurting and injuring, and what a bunch of Nancys we are if we fail to comprehend the difference.  You put the hurt on someone to show them you are a big, bad, scary man not to be messed with.  What exactly would football be without physical intimidation?  It would be baseball.  And seeing as how baseball doesn’t work out too well in Pittsburgh, let’s not go there.

Harrison is being fined now because he ran his big fat stupid mouth.  I’m fine with what he said, don’t get me wrong, but his timing was lousy.  The public was up in arms crying for his head on a platter, and he didn’t do himself any favors.

The hit in question?

I don’t believe it was a dirty hit, because I don’t believe it was intentional.  I won’t go so far as to agree with Harrison, who later said that there was a three foot shift.  I’m not seeing three feet here.  But there is definite movement, and I think that made the difference.

Harrison: “I’ll tell you right now, if I’m running blind and I don’t see the guy coming at me, by NFL rules, if he was to go and shoot at my knee and blow my whole knee out, that is a legal hit. All day. If you see me running blind and I don’t see you, please hit me high and knock me silly. I’ll pay your fine for you. Just don’t hit me in my knee and end my career.”

Amen.  Those guys stood up and walked away seconds later.  You don’t walk away from a knee injury.

[cue the cacaphony of emails telling me that you don't walk away from brain injuries either.]  I get that.  Except these guys did walk away.  Yes, they were fortunate – it could have been much worse.  But accidents do happen and there is risk involved when you choose to make your living getting hit.  It’s part of the game.  Accept that or get a desk job.

And if nothing else, how about the other supposedly dirty hit from that game?  Harrison nailed Cribbs and Cribbs isn’t crying about it.  In fact, he came out in support of Harrsion.

Ok, I did manage to generate a little passion there.  But it’s still negated by the retirement talk.  Good grief, dude.  Grow up.  Crap happens.  Move on.

And put the hurt on someone Sunday.

It is, afterall, your job.

And to all the pansies freaking out over this – have you ever seen rugby?  With no
pads?  Now those are real men.

Come to think of it, maybe Harrison could start a new career if he decides to leave the NFL.  Something tells me the Silverback would be effective on the rugby field as well.

Flawed, I tell ya

It’s been a week.  I can’t say good or bad, necessarily – it’s been typical.  Crazy.  Snafu.

So what have I learned?

~ Don’t ever count on a stomach bug being completely gone.  Sometimes they like to rear their ugly heads a second (or third) time.

Yes, I do realize I just used ‘their’ incorrectly. His/her (or simply ‘his’) just doesn’t seem proper in reference to an illness. ‘Their,’ although wrong, seemed…less so.

Thoughts?

~ Setting your clock ahead 5 or 10 minutes is not a good plan for me.  I can’t handle the stress.  I never know what time it actually is, and I live in a constant state of anxiety thinking I’m late/early/on time.  It does work, though.

Okay I don’t actually feel anxiety over that.  I’m pretty chill.  I’m late and I really don’t care.  If we’re going to be friends, you’re just going to have to accept that and plan on me being 5-10 minutes late for everything. I know it’s rude and I’m very sorry.

~ Even at thirty-something, I still laugh at the same juvenile things that would have cracked me up in junior high.  Big. Dork.

~Speaking of Thirtysomething, it’s on Netflix Instant Streaming.  As soon as I wrap this up I’m off to watch [again] and see what I remember from the first go-round.  Which, incidentally, was in 1987. How old does that make you feel?  Weird that I am now one of those thirty-somethings.  I wonder how it will seem different as a mature responsible adult.

~ Even though I have no neighbors that live behind me, and in fact I have trees directly behind the fence line, and even though there is no way that someone would be behind my house, I should probably just assume that someone might be there and wear a shirt at all times anyway, just in case. Because if I were to, say, rush to catch the ringing  phone fresh out of the shower with no regard to my shirtless state, there is a chance I could [awkwardly] discover someone behind my house.

~ Just FYI, when the power company decides to trim trees on your property, they don’t give you any advance notice.

~ I don’t do well without my phone, and I hate this about myself.

~ You should always check out your daughter’s brand-new Brownie uniform out in advance.  And by ‘in advance’ I mean more than 24 hours out from a big event.  Because if someone ordered her the wrong one, you might discover that Girl Scout stores are not open on Saturdays, and then you might find yourself scrambling to make one the night before said event.  Which is even less fun that it sounds, if that’s possible.

~ I am also one of those jerks that checks football scores from her [then-functioning] phone during her child’s big event, which was unfortunately scheduled smack in the middle of the game.  It didn’t stop me from doing it, but I did feel bad about it, for whatever that’s worth.  And I only checked twice.  The game was a blowout anyway.

~ Come to think of it, I did this in Disney last year, too, while we were enjoying the Hoop-De-Doo with Darcie and family.  Maybe my jerkiness is not new this week.

Bygones.

~ And just because I really hate to have a post without a picture…

I love that man.

3-0 Baby. Go Stillers!

Eric and Football, my two great loves

~ I learned that Eric is a very sexy name.  Eric just sounds like a knight in shining armor on a white horse, right?  Like the kind of guy who can swoop in and save the day and make it look all effortless.  Eric is a name for a smart, masculine, studly dude.

~ Not coincidentally, Eric is also the name of the Hostmonster tech support guy that made the techie stuff on my blog work again.  He also didn’t tell me what a moron I am for being so completely baffled by something that was, as it turned out, insanely easy to fix.  You know, if you’re not a moron like me.

~ Hooray for working comments!

~ I may or may not have added Eric to my list.

~Okay I think this was actually a couple of weeks ago, but since I didn’t tell you about it yet, it counts as this week.  That’s how I roll.  I learned that my most common typo involves the letter o.  And therefore also usually i or p as well.  Something about those fingers just doesn’t work well, which, I believe, is also the reason I can’t seem to grasp the guitar playing.  My reach needs some work.

~If you are about to point out to me that this is the opposite hand, then shut up.  It made sense in my head for a minute and I’d like to keep it that way.

~ Beef Stew before and during stomach virus?  Pretty much looks the same.

~ In a family with more than 1 child, more than 1 throw-up bowl is necessary.  Trust me.

~ A sense of humor has helped me weather many childhood illnesses, both my own and those of my children.  I feel bad for people who can’t laugh freely.

~ Sprint totally has the best cell phone service.  Not that this is new this week, but it was reinforced this week.  We’ve used them for years and they rock.  I’ve never experienced more helpful customer service.  Yes, things do go wrong, but they always fix them and do so in a big, above and beyond kinda way.  I’ve yet to be let down.

~ I rearranged sofas in the house, bringing the one from the family room into the formal living room, and moving the hideously uncomfortable one from the formal living room into the family room.  The coffee table  moved as well, which really opened the room up.  It looks and flows better.  However it’s leather, which is also hideously uncomfortable to sleep on.  An unforeseen complication.  Drat.

Talking football now and I’m sure few of you care. Indulge me.

~ No one has faith in Charlie Batch like I do.  What’s up with that?

~ I found a Polamalu children’s book that Annie is so getting for Christmas.  She’ll be thrilled.  She adores him, and while I’d normally discourage my child from loving anyone in the public spotlight, I feel pretty confident that he won’t let me down.  Don’t know him?  You should.  Even if you don’t care about football <gasp!> Troy Polamalu is an incredible human being.

~ He’s also a really awesome football player.

~ I really, really love football.  This isn’t new information or anything, but I’m just so deliriously happy to be enjoying football season again that I felt the need to reiterate.  Football makes my heart happy.

Happy Tuesday y’all!

I choose Joy – no matter what

As many of you know, my Grama died last week.

Part of me is devestated. She was like a second mother to me. An amazing woman that I just adored, admired, loved more than words can convey. And seeing her with my daughters was such a blessing. She was so patient, so kind, so FUN. Just as I remember her from my own childhood. So yes, part of me is mourning the loss of her presence in our lives.

But most of me is celebrating for her. She is without a doubt in heaven right now. She is with her Savior, and nothing is better than that. She is reunited with my grandfather, which is what she longed for every day for the past 5 years. She is in paradise, and I am happy for her.

I believe that happiness is a choice, and I choose to be happy. Some days you have to choose it more than others. Some days I have to remind myself over and over (and over) again. But regardless – I choose happiness.

So I have joy in my heart today, even as I miss my Grama. Praise God for allowing us to know there is a bright side to everything, even in mourning. Praise God.

Although it was not easy, I chose to speak at my Grama’s funeral to try to capture and honor the amazing woman that she was. I’d like to share that with you, again to try to share this great woman. Our family was so blessed to have her. She made our world a better place…

Thank you all so much for coming here today. It is a difficult time for our
family, and we truly appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have been
shown over the past few weeks.

And since you are here, you probably already know what an amazing woman my
grandmother was. The mold was certainly broken when God made her. I have been so honored, so blessed, so privileged to have her in my life. There could be no
better example of God’s love.

In thinking about what I wanted to say today, the words that would best sum
her up…what I came up with is ‘classy’. Mary Roberts was a real class act. She
looked the part, she acted the part – she lived the part.Pap used to laugh about
the time a girl in our church told him that he looked like an oil baron. And he
did always look very polished. On Sunday mornings especially, my grandparents
were as regal a couple as I’ve ever seen. But for those of us who really knew
him, we can attest that he looked that way only because my Grama was laying out
his clothes for him. She very carefully coordinated her dresses to his ties, and
always made sure he had a freshly pressed suit to wear. Grama took great pride
in their appearance and it showed. Which made it all the more amusing the time
she realized she accidentally wore two different shoes to church!

My grandmother-in-law first met Grama at my wedding shower, and they were
fast friends. Granny told me just a few days ago what a true lady my grandmother
was, and I have to agree. She was always a lady, no matter what. So when Pap and
Grama decided to cut tomato stakes, and Pap’s plan for cutting the rebar instead
sent Grama flying off the porch and onto her bottom in the driveway, despite the
pain my Grama’s immediate reaction was to say, “Oh, I hope none of the neighbors
saw that!” Our family admittedly has a sick sense of humor, and we all tend to
laugh when more sensitive people would probably not. Needless to say, that
anecdote has gotten a lot of mileage over the years. Even in pain, Grama was a
lady.

But she was not prim and proper by any means. Grama was never afraid to be
silly. I will never forget the time we went out to eat and Grama whispered her
order to the waitress. Everyone had their food and we were concerned about hers
taking so long…only to look up and see an enormous banana split coming her way!
My Grama knew how to let loose. We rode bikes, played frisbee, threw lawn darts
(which I’m pretty sure are now outlawed in all 50 states). Grama was fun.

As children my sisters and I spent nearly every Friday night at their
house, for just that reason. Mom and Dad weren’t going out (as you may know,
there’s not a whole lot to do in Rices Landing) We went to their house only
because we wanted to be there, to be with them. And who wouldn’t, really?
Breakfast in bed, all the coco wheats and bacon a girl could want. Even a drawer
full of twinkies. It was paradise up there. We had trips to feed the ducks and
get ice cream, and Grama played games like Trouble and Sorry. And of course we
watched the Price Is Right. Even my daughters love to watch The Price Is Right
now, thanks their GG.

My Grama never had a bad word to say about anyone. Ever. Even when they
deserved it, even when it was understandable. Her ability to hold her tongue was
enviable, and a trait that I unfortunately did not inherit. Chris can attest to
this. But I do aspire. If I could be even half the woman my grandmother was, I
would be lucky. Never have I known anyone as disciplined as her. When Grama had
back surgery, the doctors gave her a list of exercises to do, and she did them
faithfully, first thing every morning. Every morning. When she was told to avoid
red meat, she didn’t touch it for years. Her willpower was amazing to me.
Thankfully the doctors never told her to avoid chocolate, or we may have seen a
great woman stumble.

It’s hard to squeeze in everything that I want to say about Grama. She was
so amazing, and I don’t know how to edit that. She loved to sing. She taught me
silly songs at home (Jonathon, Joseph, Jeremiah) and belted out hymns on Sunday
mornings. She never complained. She liked to go out to eat, and to go for a
ride. Grama knew every road in the county, and many beyond. She had perfect
posture. She loved to dance, and taught me to waltz for an elementary school
play. She was a great audience. Always patient, always kind, always encouraging.
She went to great lengths to ensure that her Christmas gift-giving was exactly
equal for everyone. She loved to brush hair. I remember her sitting in her
rocking chair, brushing our hair when we were little girls. Years later she sat
in that same chair and brushed her great-granddaughters’ hair as well. She knelt
beside her bed to say her prayers. The image of my Grama, on her knees and
praying, is one I will carry with me forever. I was with her the night that Pap
died, and just as she did every night, she knelt and thanked God for His
blessings. Her faith is an inspiration to me.

My Grama blessed hearts. A conversation with her always included at least
one, ‘Bless his little heart,’ especially when talking about her
great-grandchildren.

Grama rarely missed Jeopardy, and she never ever missed a Steelers game. I
spoke with my sister a few days ago, and she asked me to be sure that Grama was
buried with her terrible towel. I’d never have expected Grama to leave us right
before a big game. I wonder if she and Pap will be bickering over the plays in
Heaven, just as they did here.

Almost exactly five years ago I stood in this same place, paying tribute to
my grandfather. It was a very difficult thing to do. Even though I knew he was
in a better place, I hurt for those of us left behind. I hurt for my
grandmother, who spent 62 wonderful years with the love of her life, and now had
to find away to live without him. Today as I stand here, I still mourn our own
loss. But far more than any sadness I feel, I have joy in my heart. I know that
Grama is in a better place; she is with her Savior, and reunited with Pap. This
has been her hearts desire for the past 5 years, and I am happy for her –
because I know that she is finally at peace. Finally whole again.

When Grama fell ill last week, I was faced with the task of telling my
young daughters. I prayed for God to provide the right words, the right message,
when I knew that my own explanations would be inadequate. And as I told my
5-year-old daughter Annie, I watched her eyes turn red and fill with tears. I
worried about her reaction, and what comfort I might provide. And slowly she
turned to me, with a smile spreading across her sweet face, and she said “I’m so
happy for GG, that she gets to be with Jesus and Pappy again.” Amen little girl,
Amen.

So please, please do not focus on our loss. Please hold in your hearts and
your minds the image of Grama and Pap together again. Whole again. Happy again.
Because they are happy, I guarantee you that. They were truly meant to be
together, and praise God, we know that now they are.

xoxo I love you Grams.

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