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!