Monday, July 20, 2009

Entertainment Without Leaving the Kitchen

Happy Monday!

Sure, me doing pretty much any kind of cooking would indeed be good kitchen entertainment, but this was this was the sort of fun that you can only get from some low-level stalking out your back window .... watching the neighbors put in a large above-ground pool and all the hi-jinx that ensue. Let me first tell you, these are the kind of people that not even Jeff Foxworthy would would be able to categorize (just what IS three steps below the famed Redneck?) or own up to. I thought about getting out the video camera because you just KNEW this was going to be Funniest Home Video material. Then I thought better of it because if something bad did happen, I didn't want my camera to become Exhibit D in the court case.

They started with the little motorized digger do-hickey thing at the CRACK OF DAWN (all right, so it was 9 a.m., I can't help it the day breaks a little later for me on a Saturday!). I doubted they'd get the pool in that day, or even by the end of the month, with the smoke breaks every 10 minutes. Their progress did surprise me, but what caught my attention was their kids' contribution to the project -- the dire need to chop down the NEIGHBORS' tree. Why you ask? Who knows. One guess is that the long-dead 30-foot tree of unknown origin was a threat to their pool, but more likely the kids had already blown up or set fire to their own toys (Happy Meal freebies included), and were BORED and looking for bigger and better game to hunt. I have to tell you I have never chopped down a tree, but I've seen it done quite a few times. I can say, without hesitation, that I have NEVER seen a tree chopped down with the primary tool of choice being a tire iron. Really, a TIRE IRON! Well, to be exact, a tire iron AND fire crackers. You read it here first, folks .... it can be done! Who woulda thought?

If you're wondering where the parents were during this, your guess is as good as mine, but I could have sworn I heard someone yell, "You 'kin do it, son.... keep at it!"

Either way it was an excuse to park my backside on the counter for a few hours, armed with Oreos Double Stuf and a diet Coke and enjoy the show from the privacy of my own home (and yes, the diet Coke DOES negate the calories of the cookies.... complicated scientific formula I'm sure you wouldn't understand so I'll save myself the keystrokes trying to explain it).

All right. Until I figure out how to get the clothes in the washer to sprout legs and climb into the dryer, I better get to it.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Berry Good


Today was our annual summer trek to the local blueberry farm. Right now you're either jealous of all the exciting summer fun I have OR you are thinking, "GET A LIFE!!!!!" Today was the perfect day for it.... the clouds worked in our favor and the june bugs knew it was July (gotta love a bug-free day in the blueberry patch!), so off we were. I had to laugh, though. I spent 10 minutes before we left convincing my daughter that it was best to wear socks and shoes, not flip flops... safety, comfort, blah blah blah. And you KNOW what happened, right? The first family we saw (mom, dad and three young daughters) were all wearing flip flops, and to add to that, they were Amish. Boy, did my daughter give me a look! You can't win them all, I guess.

What's kind of cool, in an offbeat sort of way, is that this place is also a Christmas tree farm in the winter, which makes it neato to see the trees in their "teen" stage, ready for the holiday rush. Let's hope they get their looks in time for Santa's arrival because they were some of the sorriest trees I've ever seen! Oh how awkward those teen years can be (even for a tree)! :)

We netted just shy of 10 pounds of berries, most of which are still sitting on my counter. I've Googled a bazillion recipes.... jelly, jam, cobbler, coffee cake, smoothies, etc. Even as I drooled on my keyboard, I realized I wasn't fooling anyone, least of all myself.... they'll all go the old-fashioned way--rinsed and put in a bowl for quick snacking. I have lofty intentions for the tasty fruit, but first-grade baking skills, and that doesn't make for a good combination. But hand me a brownie box mix, some, oil, eggs and measuring utensils and I can have you halfway to chocolate heaven. Nothing to be ashamed of there!

Time to bag and freeze the berries.... viva la summer!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Throwing It All Away/Joys of Summer Cleaning

Hello again,

Turns out I'm a season off... but what's new?! Spring cleaning slipped right by me (oh, darn!), now I pay .... SUMMER CLEANING HERE I COME! I realize from the get-go that I am hampered by my town's garbage ordinance.... only two bags outside of what will fit in the garbage tote, but they never said the lid actually had to close, so later on I'll be creating a curbside version of the "leaning tower" to get the most bag for my refuse buck.

I've been chipping away here and there around the house, largely avoiding the worst areas. I doubt any of you out there would blame me for that, right? After all, wouldn't want to get cleaning burnout on Day One, now would I? My favorite part was the bathroom closet. It's huge, and after about 10 years of living in this house and me shoving stuff in there and saying, "OK, I'll deal with that later" it turned into a true "hard hat" zone.... open the door at your own risk! I'm still trying to figure out why I had so many pillow cases and wash cloths. If you sewed all I had together, end to end, they'd circle the earth twice (don't you love when people say stuff like that? Anyway, I don't sew, so it's not happening). There were diaper rash ointment samples from when my daughter was a baby, and she's 12 now. I found THREE bath water thermometer gauges which are little doodads that are supposed to tell you when the water is "just right" for baby's sensitive butt (and assorted baby parts). It might tell you just what kind of mom I am when I let you in on this juicy little secret ... all three were still in their original wrappers! And somehow, she survived a babyhood full of baths without them. Amazing!!!

One shelf left to go... the shelf that has all the little hotel-sized giveaway things... conditioner, shampoo, lotion, soap, mouthwash, etc. I had to laugh at the shoe polishing cloth. Does any traveler really use that? Seems like nothing some spit and a few squares of toilet paper couldn't fix. Then again, I buy most of my shoes at Target and WalMart so what do I know? Maybe it's different for real leather, huh? I'll get to that at some point.... probably....

Anyway, time to water the plants..... catch y'all later....


Road Trippin'?

Hello again,

Sorry about the disappearing act! Spring was not kind to us here, healthwise, but we weathered the storm with most of our limbs intact, and who can ask for more than that? My sense of humor has returned (strangely enough it coincides with my return to caffeinated beverages... coincidence? I think not!), so here I sit, sofa under butt, ready to blog.

For the most part, the only time of the year I can travel is the summer. I'm not one to take kids out of school, thanks to bad childhood memories of my grade school principal, Sr. Gertrude, scaring me three-quarters of the way to death over missing school for anything short of a true emergency. Too bad, too, because travel can be much cheaper in early October! Anyway, I've been auditioning trips we can take that don't involve air travel, though I still plan on charging the kids $10 for each bag they bring... gotta make the money where I can, times are tough! My problem is that it has been so long since I've done a "real" road trip, my mind is short circuiting on how I want to do it. If it's going to be five hours, do I pack a cooler full of sandwiches and drinks, then strap Depends on the kids and myself? Or do we stop every hour to enjoy every ball of twine and semi-historic birthplace, only to turn right back around once we get there because our week is up? I don't know. Thanks to Mr. Apple and the invention of iPods, the trip will be enjoyable for me either way because I can jam to Huey Lewis and Bananarama and no one in the car will care.... rock on Cindy's mix CD! LOL.... I digress. But truly, if half the fun is getting there, what the heck is the other half? That worries me ... a lot!

I suppose I'll find out soon enough... happy summer.... talk to you soon!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Do You Really Want To Do With Your Life?

Yesterday, my son had "career day" at his high school. He had selected his main areas of interest (making sure to tell me he had not chosen any of the four cosmetology options), and was actually looking forward to getting a first-hand account of the selected professions he signed up for. I warned him to take what he heard with a grain of salt. I mean, if you get a disgruntled pharmacist (scary, scary, scary if you think about it), he or she will highlight the bad parts of the career and downplay the good ones. Similarly, if you get a "everything is rosy 24/7" physical therapist, you might go blazing into the field only to feel really cheated when it's not QUITE how you pictured it. Objectivity is key! He really has no set idea what he wants to pursue, career wise, (once I burst his bubble that playing XBOX 360 for a living doesn't exist in the real world), so I was looking forward to his take on things. 

When I saw him after his volleyball practice, I was all excited to see what he thought... if anything had clicked. Much to my disappointment, all he got out of the experience was, "I know I don't want to be a speech pathologist." When I asked why, he told me he didn't know, but he knew it wasn't for him. Talk about bursting my bubble! One down, about ten million careers to go.... guess ya gotta start somewhere. Until he figures it out, I suppose I'll continue selfishly leading him down career paths that would most benefit me now or in years to come, namely psychiatrist, geriatric physician, chiropractor, massage therapist, personal trainer, auto mechanic, plumber and electrician. One of those ought to take if I try hard enough! A girl's got to look out for herself, right? 

Hugs to all... have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nurse Mom

I'm not sure if I should put a quarantine sign on my front door OR if I should just run out in the street in hot pursuit of my sanity... or BOTH! My son started getting sick about 6 weeks ago, and we'd been riding that almost-bronchitis roller coaster. Finally it hit the fan last week and we ended up in the ER.... now THAT one happy place, isn't it? And where are the hot doctors? Where are the eager interns? Not at our hospital, that's for sure, and believe me, I was looking (nothing else to do for the hours and hours we were stuck back there!). Then they admitted him overnight to pump him full of stuff.

We get over that hump (at least I'm hoping at this point!) and then my daughter starts with the sickness on Sunday. The child who missed one day all last year has been enjoying a three-day vacation from the throes of sixth grade (I don't even remember sixth grade, but I'm sure it was a blast!). And yes, the 11-year-old drama queen has moved her theatrics into high gear, and I expect she will receive an Oscar in the category, "Best Effort in Whining," pre-teen category. Then again, this is the girl that thinks split ends could pose a true risk to her physical well-being.

While I don't know if I am coming or going, I'd gladly take on their sickness. Their suffering is my suffering (in more than one way!). Time to run to Target to hang out in the medicine aisle for a while. commiserating with other sick-kid-weary moms. 

Flu, flu go away.... don't bother coming back.... EVER!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

From Marcia to Carol

Waking up is hard to do. Today, I decided my best option was to wake up to reruns of The Brady Bunch on TVLand. Part if it is simple--it takes me back to when I was a kid and livin' was easy... a nice memory. Part of it is that the remote is on the other side of the room, and I ain't gettin' up for nothing, swaddled in my polar fleece blanket, cup of joe in hand (I am thrilled to give in to every last one of my lazy genes before noon on a Saturday when I don't have anything else to do). 

But what's funny, watching The Brady Bunch as a 41-year-old mother of two and not an impressionable 11-year-old, is that I realize that I've officially crossed the threshold -- I have moved from dying to be the beautiful, stylish Marcia to envying the life of Carol. I WANT TO BE A CAROL!!!!!!!! Why wouldn't I?? And you know the number one reason why? ONE WORD -- Alice!!!! I want to be a Carol and have an Alice! Anyone who has ever watched the show knows how unrealistic it is (matching sets of perfect kids, handsome dad, awesome house ... for the sake of this blog entry let's forget all six kids shared one bathroom.... kind of ruins the picture of perfection), but that doesn't mean a girl can't dream, right? Carol had it so good. I wonder if she really ever appreciated Alice? Carol never worked, yet she had Alice to cook, clean, look after the kids and dispense invaluable wisdom (the kind of wisdom that really never TOLD you what to do but caused YOU to think and sort out the answer for yourself..... all too often lacking in today's world, if you ask me). Maybe best of all, Alice had Sam, the butcher boyfriend who hooked the family up with the primest (not a real word, I know, but I like it so it's OK.... creative license) cuts of meat at what I'll assume was a discounted price (not that the Bradys ever worried about money). That Carol was a lucky, lucky girl.

Now that I've come to terms with another facet of growing older, I can enjoy the rest of my weekend..... climbing that mountain one step at a time. Who knows, maybe one day I will have it all figured out (doubt it, but it keeps me thinking until lunch).

Here's hoping one day my ship will come in, and my Alice will be on it! :)


Friday, March 6, 2009

Five Bucks for WHAT????

You've probably heard, but just in case you haven't, European-based discount airline Ryanair (I will admit I have NEVER heard of this airline.... and I'm probably not alone) is considering a $5 fee to use its airplane bathrooms. I would say this is the craziest news story of the week, but calling 9-1-1 because you didn't get your Chicken McNuggets probably takes the prize. I'll save that one for another day, as it is just CRYING for me to mock it via blogdom!

But seriously, does the airline realize the ramifications of charging for using their airplane lavatories? Forget the fact that airplane bathrooms are usually creepy, if not plain gross (but please believe me, if you don't already know for yourself, they are model-home wonderful next to those on commuter trains.... still an experience I bear bone-deep scars from). But what are your other options if you decide you don't want to spend $5 for this "luxury"? Are there cans, jars or buckets available free of charge? You just know there will be a wise guy (or girl) who will threaten the flight attendant with a "what if I don't pay" scenario.... what then? If I was a flight attendant, I would not take that chance, even if it came out of my own paycheck!

I guess it's a sign of the times... we seem to be paying for more and more of life's taken-for-granted freebies. But aren't some things sacred? Charge me for the ketchup packets, plastic grocery bags and the rubber band around my newspaper, but don't mess with the queen's throne! Some people will never get it.... 

The plus side of it all? Look for stock in the Kimberly-Clark corporation to go through the roof. Why? Because they make Depends adult diapers, of course! Ah, the bright side of things! Gotta love it....

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PARTY -- At Your Own Risk!

Work and technological difficulties have kept me from blogging, but you can't keep a good woman down! I'm back to amuse you all! I'm sure this last week wasn't the same without my musings, huh? (DON'T ANSWER THAT!!). 

Recently, each of my kids was invited to birthday parties that came with a LIABILITY WAIVER attached to the invitation. WHAT? Now, when I was a kid, you partied at your own risk. No one cared if you came out with the same amount of fingers or toes as when you went in. And what's more dangerous than a pinata? It doesn't get much more chaotic than a bunch of blindfolded 8-year-olds  swinging bats and broomsticks in a roomful of kids (if you've seen Funniest Home Videos pinata accidents are a regular segment!). 

My son's invitation was for a paintball party, and my daughter's was for a gymnastics party. On my own, I wouldn't have thought much about dangers related to either party. I know the parents. If the parents feel it is safe enough for their kid, it's safe enough for mine. But when I saw the waiver I thought WHOA... WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!! And as I started reading the waiver, I started GETTING worries I never had to begin with! One line says I will not sue them for "negligent rescue operations." Seriously? So if my daughter falls off the balance beam and breaks her leg, it's OK for the party hostess to keep her feet propped up on her desk, munching Cheetos while watching reruns of "Dog, the Bounty Hunter" and not call 911? Ugh!!

I know, I know.... we live in a litigious society, and these things are a facility's attempt to CYA. I get it. It's just another stark reminder of how different things are from back in my day (you know, like how we all chewed happily on lead toys and car seats were a luxury?). 

I'll sign the waivers... after all, I don't want to be THAT mom (and I know you know what I mean!)....

Enjoy the day!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Baby Boy's 17th BIrthday

Hard as it is for me to believe, my "baby boy" is 17 today -- and a Golden Birthday at that! I'm not sure what is the most amazing thing about it, but I think it's the simple fact that I managed to feed and water him enough so that he didn't shrivel up and croak like most of my houseplants. Then again, while he has turned into a fantastic kid, it would have been hard to ignore him those first half-dozen years... he was a HANDFUL (have you seen the movie Problem Child? It was loosely based on my son). 

I saw it coming the night he was born. A week late already, he came into the world on President's Day, 1992 (also Michael Jordan's birthday.... big shoes to fill... LITERALLY!). As is my luck with many things in life (now remember this was long before the popularity of swanky birthing suites), they were doing construction on my side of the maternity floor so I had no access to the bathroom in my room. I had to haul my (VERY SORE) butt down the hall and around the corner to use another patient's bathroom (seriously, I swear). Here I am, stumbling down the hall back to my room, arms full of "necessities," when I glance into the hospital nursery. I swear there must've been a thousand babies in there, and the place was lit up like Polish Cathedral (I have never seen a Polish Cathedral, but it's a big saying around these parts so I'll just safely assume it's darn bright). I look at the babies, all snug and sleeping peacefully. Then I see one, a parent's nightmare.... arms flailing, blanket all askew... screaming its head off... ONE BABY out of the whole bunch. I remember actually saying out loud to myself, "I feel sorry for that poor mother." Then it hit me... I pressed my nose against the glass to get a closer look at the name tag on the bassinet.... and, naturally, I saw my own last name staring back at me. Oh, crap..... I am that poor mother. I shuffled back to my room and cried for a good half hour. 

Things got better from there, slowly..... VERY slowly. If I had the pay the price early, so be it if it means "easy" teen years. But don't blame me in 10 years if your rotten toddler turns into a rotten teenager.... I make no guarantees! And it ain't over yet for me, either, but may the gods of the teenage years keep smiling on me!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

She Bangs

It might not be in the category of world peace or fixing an ailing economy, but it is "Decision No. 1" on top of my list -- should I get bangs or not??????? Ugh! I really don't know, but I swear I wake up at night in a cold sweat over it and keep obsessing over it... looking at women around me who have them, dying to ask them if they like them, but it's a weird question from a total stranger... "Hi there. Isn't it cold outside today, and do you like your bangs?" 

I had bangs most of my life, but I got sick of them and let them grow out so they are now very long, easily tucked behind my ears. I am afraid if I become a "banger" again, I will hate it and then have to spend two years trying to grow them out again. My problem (no, not my only one... I WISH!) is that I have a high forehead.... I could rent billboard space up there! I think I need something to take the edge off of that acre of skin lying just north of my eyebrows. 

Another worry I have with it is that bangs=maintenance. I am one to get a haircut every 3 months. If I get bangs, I will need more regular trims... again, the price we pay for beauty. Do I want to dip my foot in the "high maintenance" end of the pool? I think not, but since I couldn't cut a straight line if my life depended on it (I DID try to cut my bangs ONCE... BIG MISTAKE), I will have to leave it to the professionals. 

We'll see, but this could be the week, and if it is, I'll post a picture. See, I have to keep you all coming back for more... keep you interested.... keep you guessing.... WILL SHE DO IT? WILL SHE TAKE THE PLUNGE? Oooohhhh.... can't stand the suspense, can you?

OK... time to surf the Net for pictures of bangs (better be careful how I phrase that, huh????).... 


Thursday, February 12, 2009


Seeing that it's Friday the 13th (you knew that, right?), I started thinking about superstitions. I like to think that I am NOT a superstitious person, but the truth is, I am! I don't mean those internet e-mails that promise certain death and dismemberment if you don't send them along to 10 people. I am talking about the REAL ones.... walking under a ladder, having your path crossed by a black cat, breaking a mirror, etc. I have broken enough mirrors to earn me a lifetime of bad luck, and if the bad luck can carry over into any future lifetimes (of which I am SURELY to either be a princess, of course), I have enough for that one, too. But have you ever heard some of the bizarre superstitions that are out there? Let's see:

1.) "Spit on a new baseball bat to make it lucky" -- Lucky? Maybe just wet and disgusting (or maybe a way to ensure that no one else uses your bat!)
2.) "A loaf of bread should never be turned upside down after a slice has been cut from it" -- Uh, who does that? I think it makes you more crazy than unlucky.
3.) "If you say goodbye to a friend on a bridge, you will never see that friend again" -- yeah, especially if it's a drawbridge and it's open (this one makes sense to me!)
4.) "Three butterflies together mean good luck" -- not for the butterflies if there's a kid behind them with a net!
5.) "If your cheeks suddenly feel on fire, someone is talking about you" -- but check first... you could actually BE on fire.... that would be bad... don't take chances if you ever feel body parts "on fire."
6.) "For good luck all year, wear new clothes on Easter" -- we live in rough economic times.. I am changing this to "clean clothes" on Easter... or maybe even "recently Febreezed clothes"
7.) "It's bad luck to say 'pig' while fishing at sea" -- Right. But I would like to hear the conversation that involves the word pig while fishing at sea... could be interesting
8.) "A white moth inside the house or trying to enter the house means death" -- Yes, death for the moth. Those things are nasty and are never on my guest list.
9.) "A red ribbon should be put on a child who is sick to keep the illness from returning" -- Hmm, that's one idea. I, personally, believe in doctors and medication.
10.) "Rosemary planted by the door will keep witches away" -- Rosemary who? She must be something if she is keeping the witches away!   

There you have it... I could go on and on, but I'm sure that's enough to digest. Fun, stuff, huh? Gotta go... I need to find a four-leaf clover!


Just a Number

It's funny how when you go to different places, the age cutoff for certain "benefits" so widely varies. To be considered for a kids' meal, you can be 12 and under, 11 and under or 10 and under, etc. To be considered a "senior" it can be 70, 68, 65, 62, 60, 55, or even 50. Why is this all over the board? The kids meals are usually a sweet deal (PUN INTENDED) because often they will include some sort of dessert. So while you are sitting there resisting dessert, your kid is sitting there with a cupcake or ice cream (that's the point when I usually send her off to the bathroom and take a couple bites out of the ice cream and then reform the scoop into a nice round lump... she does check.... I'm pretty sure she's on to me!). What I was wondering... do they ever CARD kids? I know some kid have passports or State ID's, but it's not like you carry them around with you to grab a burger. I always picture an 11-year-old ordering the "circus burger" (example that likely does exist somewhere) off the kids' menu where you must be no older than 10, and the server carefully assessing the child, daring to ask, "Let's see some ID." What would happen then? And most parents have actually gone so far as to INSTRUCT their child (yes, yes.... shockingly enough I have!) to tell the person asking that they are in fact an age younger than what they are. To be honest, that always makes me feel kinda dirty. How is that for an overactive conscience? Here in my house, we file that under the "white lie" category (and we all know those don't count) and get on with our lives. 

Maybe if Congress finds some extra time on its hands, it could regulate senior and kid status so we all know where we stand. If I ever run for office that will be my platform — I'll leave foreign affairs and economic crises to someone else. I might even add a new category ... "Midlife Crisis." That's where I fall, and if you are in that boat, too, you know a little financial discount, just to be recognized, isn't a bad thing. 

Enjoy your day....


Monday, February 9, 2009

Laundry: The Real Mystery

There are many mysteries in life, one of which is laundry. Of all the laundry-related issues I could blog about (and oh boy, aren't you excited at that prospect!), the most amazing to me is the multiplying powers of dirty clothes. The hamper starts the day empty, ah, what a sight! An hour or two later, there are a few socks, a pair of underwear and then a t-shirt. Somehow, magically and mysteriously, these few manageable items tell two friends and they tell two friends and they tell two friends (you get the picture) and VOILA.... we've got a full load. But seriously, how does that happen? During the day, for the most part, it is me, the dog, parakeet and hamster. And even if you have never owned one of those pets, you can probably guess that they don't exactly spend a lot of time picking out their clothes. So what is it? 

I was thinking of putting a video camera on the hamper for a day.... maybe uncovering the evil spirits that haunt my hamper... maybe I'd catch a glimpse of the culprit. Then I realize that it's NOT a great idea to put a video camera in the bathroom (people are weird about that sort of thing). So, other than camping out on the toilet (come on, lid down, not actually GOING..... you didn't really think I'd do THAT, did you?) and keeping my eyes peeled, I am not coming up with much. And as interesting as the idea is to spend an entire day in the bathroom staring at the hamper, I think I'll pass and resolve myself to a life of laundry residing permanently on the daily to-do list. 

Don't even get me STARTED on the mystery of the disappearing socks. My hunches tell me it's the same force in action. But will I EVER truly know? Maybe, maybe not.... won't stop me from remaining hopeful.....

Gotta get back to the dryer.... we have a standing date after dinner.... oh, rapture!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

When you are a freelance writer/editor like I am, the work comes in bunches.... or it doesn't come at all. Doesn't seem like there are many in-betweens. Right now, I am living smack dab in the middle of the fast lane (and getting run over by traffic!). Can't complain, especially in this economy (but the work is seriously cutting into my afternoon nap time, and without an afternoon nap I am CUH-RAB-BEE!!). 

The worst side effect of the busy-ness is that it totally squashes my sense of humor! Can you believe that? My funny bone feels like it is in a sling, hanging on by a thread to the transplant waiting list (you live in the same world I do, so surely you've noticed funny bones are in short supply). Sometimes I start feeling a little giddy, but I think that is just the delirium talking. I will try to pick myself up by the bootstraps (what are bootstraps? I've had quite a few pair of boots through the years, but I don't really recall the straps) and jump start that small part of my brain where my sense of humor resides (amidst the cobwebs and useless memories like my poor clothing choices in grade school.... blue argyle socks do not go with red plaid skirts... note to self). 

This, too, shall pass. Then again, maybe I don't want it to.... me likey money!

Have a great "rest of the week" ...


Friday, January 30, 2009

My 50th Entry

Well, what have we here... my 50th blog entry! I had no idea. I signed on with the intentions of blogging off the top of my head today (washed my hair this morning, so we're good) then saw that I had 49 entries, prior to this one. WOW! It's hard to believe. It's been so much fun. And if it wasn't for some serious computer issues over the last month or so (RIP Mac PowerBook G4, 2004-2009, aka the SECRET KEEPER), I would have had a lot more. I am a die-hard Apple girl, and these PC's just throw me for a loop... I can't find anything. Needless to say, it's lowered my already non-existent productivity level.

The good news is that one day next week my customized MacBook should arrive. I would sit and stare out the door 24/7 and wait for its arrival , but now with all this fancy tracking business, I don't have to! I can track it's every move across this great land of ours. There's something about ordering a computer online that makes me uncomfortable, but heck, it has to get to the store somehow, right, so what's the difference? And yes, I was very careful to ask, "They won't just leave it on the porch if we're not home, will they?" The guy thought I was nuts (I get that a lot), but what do I know? Once I had the USPS deliver an empty, damaged Priority Mail box EMPTY, with a note that stated, "Sorry about the damage. We hope this doesn't cause you any inconvenience." Hmmm. Let's see. INCONVENIENCE? I ordered something, the sender put it in the box, you guys damaged the box and the item fell out. You sealed up the box, and then slapped a "we're sorry" note to it. I received a smashed, empty USPS box. Where would the inconvenience be? Just think of the hours of fun that box provided!!!!! (yes, that was written with about fourteen tons of sarcasm attached).

The funny thing is, I did get an e-mail that the Microsoft Office software I ordered to go with it HAS shipped. In a world where companies should be looking to cut back costs, here is one that is shipping me the software before I even have the computer. Great, one more thing to keep track of (you really would be surprised at the things I lose... I shock even myself sometimes).

It is fun to have something to look forward to getting in the mail (and since payment is not due until the end of March, more time for that money tree to sproud in the backyard).

Have a great weekend .... talk to you all soon!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can't Help But Laugh


There are a handful of things in life that make me laugh, even though they probably shouldn't. One that has always been a problem for me is when little kids say a bad word. It's very wrong to laugh, I know that, but there are few things I find funnier. Don't get me wrong.... I know kids can't go around swearing (teachers really hate it, can you believe that?) like sailors, but it's usually so random and unexpected that it catches me off guard and tickles my funny bone. It's especially funny when they use it in the RIGHT way... you just know they've seen that somewhere, even if mom or dad assure you that a choice word has never passed through their lips (likely blaming it on television or grandma!).

When my son was a toddler, he had a hard time saying the word "fork." I'm sure you can read between the lines as to what it sounded like when he said it. It was just the funniest thing, but there I stood.... do I laugh and encourage it or do I break out in a hard and fast lesson in how to annunciate? The problem came when we were out in public. He had a habit of screaming for what he wanted (I promise you that he has outgrown this issue!). Oh the stares after a chorus of "Fork! Fork! Fork!" What was a laugh riot at home became an all-consuming embarrassmant in the company of strangers. You know I was getting him that fork FAST... even if it meant taking it out of the hand of the person at the next table!! Can't afford to get black-listed from my favorite eateries now, can I?

Guess you can't help when you laugh, can you? It's just a lot easier when it's not YOUR kid uttering the offensive syllables. And no, I rarely swear. In fact, the other day when I was bringing my daughter and her friend home, driving on the interstate, the car directly in front of us had a tire blow out at 65 miles per hour. I screamed, "Holy Bleep!!!!!" I actually said BLEEP. They thought that was about the funniest thing. Guess you don't need the choice words to get a laugh after all (but it's still hilarious!).....

Time to go... have a great (FILL IN THE BLANK) night!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Passing the Crown

What a country!! Only in America could we elect a new president and crown a new Miss America in the same week. Go Miss Indiana (Midwest ... REPRESENT homegirl!)! Through the years it's been fun to watch the pageant morph from a big event on network television to something they squeeze in on a cable channel (I knew one day society would come around and get bored with all that beauty). Note... I did NOT say talent. Most of them did an average interpretation of a Broadway showtune (and really, who can't pass up a good Broadway showtune cover?) or some type of "interpretive" dance. I was particularly taken by the contemporary ballet and jazz interpretation. Basically, it gives you a free pass to not stick to any traditional rules and kind of throw yourself all over the stage. That's my kind of talent!

But as scary as the talent concept is to me, you know where the true horror emerges... THE BATHING SUIT COMPETITION! Gasp! All of the finalists looked great (don't get me started on wearing high heels with a bathing suit.... then again, you just know those suits aren't seaworthy.... get them wet and they probably instantly dissolve). The one girl said her suit "looked like lighthing and that's why she liked it." Yes, there is not a more soothing concept to me than poolside lightning (thankfully, she did not win).

And once again, of course I am just jealous (DUH!!!). Most of my posts here are motivated out of jealousy or hunger, but I'm OK with that. Those are two very intense forces --why fight such a high power over which I have little (OK, zero) control? Life is way to short to be kind to the pretty and the skinny.

OK. I'm off to drown a donut in some hot chocolate. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The New Guard

Today is the day a new U.S. leader has officially taken the wheel. Looks like it's gone well. Hopefully it can stay that way! I can't help but get a little silly watching some of this, like picturing me being sworn in and my kids texting on their cell phones and/or listening to their iPods the entire time (I checked the Obama girls carefully.... no electronic devices detected... GOOD GIRLS!).

It was kind of funny that President Obama stumbled over his lines when being sworn in. I can relate. In 6th grade, I had ONE line in the school Christmas Program .... "I am the Spirit of Christmas, here I am." I think it came out something like, "Show me some Christmas spirit, and pass the ham." All I know is that I blew it. Can you imagine if the whole world was watching ... not just a handful of parents? I've long known I am a "behind the scenes" kind of girl.

Now it's off to parades and balls. The Obamas are expected to make appearances at TEN inaugural balls. Is that even possible? Personally, I'd be having a big ol' house party at the White House. What more can a guy ask for... it's got a bowling alley, swimming pool and putting green... and best of all TWENTY-FOUR HOUR CHEF SERVICE! Next time I am running for that perk alone. Someone to cook for you, drive you around and clean your house all for FREE. Wait... wait just a minute.... my kids get those perks! I don't remember them winning any election! Darn. Duped again.

Better start preparing my campaign now. Best wishes Mr. Obama!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bon Jour!

Bon jour... hello in French (you all knew that, right? Come on!!!). I took two years of French in high school. Why? Well, our choices at the time were French, Spanish, German and Latin. Any of the other three would probably have been better choices, but for the same reason a lot of people chose French, I thought the food would be good (when we got to the eating section which ended up being a total crock because it was just Crescent rolls and French bread....) and I thought it sounded cool. I never did get the hang of it. Foreign language was just not my thing, but we did have some fun with it and I do remember plenty of useless facts. I remember the first dialogue in the first chapter my freshman year (how does the brain work like that, when you can't remember your kid's middle name half the time?):

Phillipe: Bon Jour, Alice.
Alice: Bon Jour, Phillipe.
Phillipe: Ca va?
Alice: Oui, ca va, et toi?
Phillilpe: Pas mal.

To loosely translate it for you (like you probably couldn't have figured it out yourself), it is Alice and Phillipe running into each other asking how each other is doing, then saying, "Not bad." I have no idea why that sticks in my brain matter, but I can't get rid of it no matter how hard I smack my head against the wall. I also remember a lot of the words for furniture and car parts. To this day I am all set should I go to Paris and furniture shop or fix a car. Now, while the odds are TEENY TINY that I will ever go to France, they are even smaller that I will furniture shop or fix a car while I am there. Why do they teach that stuff? I couldn't find a doctor or bank, but I could get a sofa and new windshield. Shame on the American education system (Mr. Obama is really going to have his hands full, can't you see that now?). 

Probably the highlight of any foreign language class in high school is when someone comes in with the "underground" words.... the BAD words! I imagine a clueless American would hear those often if he or she actually went to France, and would want to identify when they are being told off (I know I do!), so really, they are very useful. We had Philippe and Alice saying all kinds of juicy dialogue once we got our hand on those sentence enhancers (again, thank you SpongeBob for letting me borrow your phrasing... where would I be without that little yellow guy?).

Still, if you need a travel companion to France, and are picking up the tab, I'm your girl (that's me, a giver, 24/7)!!

Stay warm and have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Don't Know What You Got ...

When was the last time you actually appreciated electricity? If you're anything like me, probably not often enough. But now when those e-mails start going around in November asking what I am thankful for, electricity is going to be at the top of the list, no question about it (health will be a close second, and at the rate my kids are going, they will not even be making the top ten... there's still time for them to work on their ranking, but I don't think the possibilities are good... but that's a blog for another day). 

Let me first note, I am a LIGHT sleeper. At about 3:15 this morning, the power went out. Now, on a normal day, no huge deal... a few obstacles. But when it is FIFTEEN DEGREES BELOW ZERO, huge deal, very huge deal! I went through my ten-second panic mode because the carbon monoxide detector was blaring when the power went out (not sure why, but I was imagining all kinds of symptoms.... my hypochondria was in full swing.... within the first minute I was sure I felt signs of frostbite!) and then gathered myself (sort of... I don't do nothin' too fast at 3:15 a.m.).... I found the flashlight, got my cell phone, turned the faucets on to drip so the pipes would not freeze up and then called the power company. I could see from first glance it was the whole neighborhood (not that I wish my neighbors the same fate, but you know, you're just thankful at least it's not just your house because then you know it's someone else's fault!!). The Com Ed robot (automated power company voice) said it would be up by 6 a.m. That's TWO HOURS-plus! I was contemplating my next move (finding a 24 hr. WalMart, going to White Castle.... ) because I knew calling anyone at that hour of the night (or is it morning??) would set off immediate panic mode (come on, we all know those  middle of the night phone calls are nothing but bad news). Just then, the power came on. WHEW!!!!! 

Needless to say, I have a newer appreciation for electricity. I would have been a terrible pioneer (for the electricity issue and MANY others)! Just for fun I think I'll go flip a few switches ... ain't life grand!

Talk to you all soon! Oh, and pictured above is our house and all the fun snow, BEFORE we got the final three inches!


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Lost Art of Bathroom Graffiti

The other day, the song "867-5309—Jenny" came on the radio. My daughter was in the car and she was asking me what it was about. Well, if you don't know the song, it's a 1980's hit about a guy singing about a girl whose number he got off of a bathroom wall. I started to explain it to her, and then it hit me. No one really writes on bathroom walls anymore, so of course she would have no idea what it is! What a shame! I mean, sure, it's WRONG, but not THAT wrong (I'm pretty sure I never actually did it, but I am not 100 percent sure.... my brain gets fuzzy at certain moments..... protection mode, most likely). 

I can't remember the last time I read some good graffiti while answering nature's call in a public restroom. I used to love following others' relationships.... Karen loves Brad... scratch that.... Brad was a dork... Karen loves Mike.... scratch that.... Brad apologized.... Karen loves Brad again. It was kind of like a weird (but legal) peek into lives of total strangers. You couldn't help but think.... what the heck did Brad do that got him scratched off a bathroom wall etching? Sometimes there would be a phone number, but that was before the days of cell phones, so who wanted to risk a couple of dimes on a total stranger (when there was a perfectly good Centipede and Pac Man game in the waiting area begging for your change)?

Why has this become a lost art? I'm not trying to encourage bad behavior, but you know what they say ... "If that's the worst a kid is going to do......" Guess it's just another one of those simple pleasures of days gone by that I am going to have to live without. Unless.... no.... I couldn't! OR... COULD I!!?!?!? :)


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stick to What Works

As if the world isn't confusing enough, Domino's Pizza is making sandwiches, Dunkin' Donuts and Subway are making pizzas (pickles on a pizza -- gotta love it!), McDonald's is turning into a specialty coffee shop, and the dollar store really isn't (then again, they don't say how MANY dollars, do they?). 

Not being in on the top-level marketing meetings that hatched these great plans (I was busy that day, but they DID want me there... uh huh), I would guess that it has something to do with capitalizing on the latest trends.... sandwiches are popular, so are thousand-calorie coffee drinks. BUT, my concern is that they are losing their focus! Say for a sandwich place, work on making better sandwiches or adding to the types of sandwiches you sell (Jared, if you're reading this, it's a not-so-subtle hint to add corned beef to the menu... did you notice how I did not mention the sandwich place in question, but pretty much all of you know exactly where I am talking about?). If it's a pizza place, work on putting more than four pepperoni (pride in workmanship!) on the pizza. Last time I thought I would need a side order of microscope to find the mushrooms. But ah, take comfort--they make one heck of a chicken philly! Whatever...

Next thing you know, KFC will start selling meatball subs. Hmm, maybe not so bad as long as they work in the Original Recipe somewhere in there (secret herbs and spices... come to mama!!!). Remember... you read it here first! 

Hats off to this new week ... let's make it a good one!


Friday, January 9, 2009

So THAT'S the Problem!

I'm making an honest attempt to lose weight, but as I struggle through each day, I keep wondering why I find a temptation in just about everything... EVERYWHERE! It's awful. BUT, the good news is that I think I've finally found the root of the problem! My SHOWER!!!!! I know, I know..... I should not blame defenseless bathroom fixtures (but that would mean taking the blame square on MY shoulders.... I'm no fool!!!), but it's true!

Let me explain. Every morning I get in a shower full of hidden diet dangers (don't roll your eyes, I'm just being honest!) — my three bottles of bath wash! Their names will make it clear. I have (very large) bottles of Cinnamon Bun, Frango Mint and Candy Cane. How can I get my day off to a skinny start when I'm lathering in that? Plus, one of these days I might just gnaw off my arm (BAD idea for a writer!).

I've come up with an idea. I need to trade in the sweet suds for something Jenny Craig would approve of.  What do you think about bath washes like cottage cheese, celery and fat free cheddar? I see it as a win-win. I get to start my day off temptation free (nothing kills my morning appetite like health food), and, since no one will want to be within 8 feet of me, lots of alone time! Yes! See... it's a WIN-WIN (and yes, I work from home.... and you know with all the things dogs put in their mouths, Lizzie will still find me strangely attractive!). 

Time to start working on my formulas.... when I open my online storefront, you'll all get a discount (not that you'll want one.... ) HAPPY WEEKEND!


Thursday, January 8, 2009

What Goes Up

OK. I am trying to figure this out. Why is it that food prices and miscellaneous other prices went sky high with the increasing gas prices, but now that gas is way down, food isn't? 

Have you shopped for hot dogs lately?? It's not as bad as car shopping, but at this rate, the car might be cheaper ... SOON! I was going to make a family favorite for dinner -- Crescent dogs. I know, I know, how do we stand all this healthy eating (it is a sacrifice). If you've never had them, you take a hot dog, cut it partially, the long way, then gently place (shove) bits of cheese in the opening, wrap it in a Crescent roll, then bake. We hadn't had them in a while, so while I was at the store, I thought I'd pick up the necessary ingredients. Usually there is one package or another of hot dogs for under a dollar, or close to it. NOT ANY MORE! The cheapest I could find that day were $3.89!!! And that was the cheapest! Seriously? Aren't hot dogs made of the scraps from just about every other meat out there? You know, the kind of food where the less you know, the better?? I GRUDGINGLY bought a package. VERY grudgingly. And wouldn't you know it, they are STILL sitting in my fridge. I have developed a DEEP resentment toward them and cannot bring myself to cook them. Hopefully soon (before the expiration date or before they turn green, whichever comes first) I will get over it and fulfill my family's wildest culinary desires (that really doesn't say much for the menu around here, does it?).

I suppose I should focus on the positives... gas prices are under $2 still. I just wish hot dogs were! 

Have a great day!


Monday, January 5, 2009

A Regular Schedule (sort of)

Here we are, vacation is over for one kid and soon to be over for another (Tuesday). Heaven forbid they keep it simple, you know? Because my son had a snow day the last day before Christmas break, he has the last day of finals to make up tomorrow. The next day will be an adjusted (and partially shortened day) with the first full day of classes on Thursday. While it was nice having them home, I'm looking forward to things getting back to "normal." I've put so much stuff on the back burner there's no room to cook (if you know what I mean ... and I think you do!)

Please note that I am not saying I was looking forward to getting up at 5:50 a.m. to get the school day started. "Mr. Nocturnal," our hamster, was still wheeling away. He gave me a dirty look as if to say, "Hey, lady, this is my time. It's still dark. Go back to bed." I wish I could honor that request JoJo (did I ever mention that he's named after Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers?? NOT my idea... OR WAS IT?????), but the school bus waits for no one (it really doesn't), so up we were. 

I did get one (EXTREMELY grumpy) kid out the door. I can't wait for tomorrow when my other one, who isn't exactly a morning person (his non-school day starts with a 1 p.m. wakeup), needs to rise and "shine" (by shine I mean I walk in and say "get up" and he says, "whaaaaattttt?????) by 7 a.m. 

Wait.... didn't I say I was looking forward to this week? Scratch that. I've officially talked myself out of it. How long 'til spring break? I'm serious..... 

Hold on tight. It's gonna be a bumpy ride! Hope YOUR week goes smoothly!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Winners and losers

The other day I was in a discussion about luck and winning, and it got me to thinking about the time I won $500 from a radio station. I was on my way to work, and one of the local stations was doing a contest where they play a song, and tell you it's the song of the day. If you are the "such and such" caller later in the day when they play the song again, you win $500 when you identify the song. Seeing that I am one of those people that is constantly changing stations (so my chance of actually knowing the song of the day is slim to none), it wasn't a contest that ever interested me much. One day, the stars aligned (the truth probably was that I had a 44 oz. Big Gulp in my dial-flipping hand and got stuck on that station), and I actually heard the song. I got to work, and told my coworkers in the community college PR office that we HAD to listen to this lousy FM station so I could hear the song. My friend Kim sat by the radio, so I told her what the song was, and if she heard it, to let me know, and I'd split it with her (don't ever do that.... just offer to buy lunch... believe me, it's gonna be less than $250). Sure enough, I was off in la la land (computer solitaire can be SO addicting!!) when the song came on. Kim alerted me, and I dialed. You could've knocked me over with a Post-It note when I got through as the collect caller and won the money. I was kind of hoping Kim would forget, but darn her good memory! I kept my word, and told her when the check got here, I would cash it and split it with her. 

But wait... there's more!!!!! About an hour later, I get called into my boss's office. Not a huge deal. He was a cool guy (after all, he hired me!) so I wasn't worried. I get over there, and he asks me to shut the door. OK, then I was worried!! He says that he heard from one of the secretaries that I was on the radio and that I won $500. Naturally, I am ready to accept his congratulations on my newfound wealth (back then, $500 could get you a lot more, remember). WRONG!!!!! He says that since I won it on work time, that he COULD ask me to donate it back to the college's Foundation. WHAT? Good one, boss. Right. Oh, he was NOT joking. I'm thinking... YOU'VE SEEN MY PAYCHECK, come on! Then, as if he was doing me a huge favor, he said THIS TIME he would not ask me to do that, but to note that I should be careful next time. Ah, yes... the next time I win $500 from a radio station. Umm hmmm! I would have a better chance of hitching a ride on the next Shuttle mission than winning that jackpot twice. I assured him that yes, indeed, if he was kind enough to overlook my error in judgment, I would promise not to win money on work time. It did make me wonder how the office football pool factored into that scenario, but I kept my mouth shut (plus, I was already down to $250... I needed to cut my losses). 

What's the lesson here? Disguise your voice and give a fake name (wasn't that obvious????). Enjoy your weekend..... talk to y'all soon!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Genius of Fudge

As I come down off my weeklong Marshmallow Fluff fudge binge (I eat fudge like most people eat popcorn), I have a much clearer head to ponder the greatness of that recipe. Can you imagine the moment that someone stood in her (you KNOW that concoction could only come from a woman's mind!) kitchen and said, "Hmmm. I've got a bag of chocolate chips here, and a jar of Fluff. Let's throw it in the pan and see what happens!" Viola ... fudge! Oh, sweet rapture!!!!! I hope that person is living the sweet life (pun INTENDED!) off of all that Fluff fudge money because genius like that deserves to be rewarded in grand fashion. Heck, if the person that invented the pet rock can make seven figures, Fluff fudge ought to be worth Oprah money .... at least!

Then again, if you ask me, Fluff in and of itself is worth its own aisle in the supermarket. Don't even get me started on the Fluffernutter sandwich--YUM (and I am offended that my computer spell check does not recognize the word Fluffernutter) ..... or the only other food item that can add to the sheer perfection, floating dreamily atop my mug of hot chocolate (first came the marshmallow, then came the Fluff). But let me tell you, I was SO offended when they started putting FLAVORS in it. Yuck. Strawberry Fluff? It makes me gag just a little to even think of it. Why mess with perfection? Would you give Brad Pitt a makeover? Would you add a new verse to "White Christmas"? Of course not (and if you answered yes to either of those, you're just being a wise guy so cut it out!). 

Sad to say, it's only a Christmas treat for me, so soon, Fluff fudge will be just another holiday memory (but one my thighs won't soon forget). 

Wake me when it's Christmas 09!