Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Random in a seasonal sort of way

OK, to make sure I do not forget my manners this week...Thank you to Stacy for bringing the wine, and giving us a home for Random Thoughts. Click on the cartoony lady and check out what she, and other folks, have on their minds today.


**We are not checking in with my so-called friends from the world of horticulture today, because they have spited me! While I enjoyed a slight taste and peek of what was to become of their beautiful selves, I do not appreciate them showing all of their glory before the shower I am hosting here this weekend. They are being all flashy-look-at-us, and I can just tell that they are going to have themselves good and spent by 2:00 on Saturday.

I have two shamrock plants on my windowsill that were completely done about three weeks ago. I was thrilled to see them sprouting new green, but was a bit taken aback when they saw the outdoor splendor and jumped right in with more white blooms than they have ever displayed before. It is also 90 degrees here today, so it is far too hot for me to even get outside to enjoy the display for myself. So harrumph on that topic.

**There are other reasons I have been thwarted in my efforts to enjoy the front porch this season...about four reasons to be exact...devil birds! Perhaps you've had a chance to check out the fun the barn swallows provided last year...here, here, and here. I hate them. There, it is as simple as that. I am feeding a festival of goldfinches in the backyard, and admiring cardinals and the occasional blue bird. I have nothing against feathered friends as a species. But, I hate barn swallows.

I decided to start early this year in my quest for total porch domination. The scrap beginnings of their nest were very small, as was the pile of waste they were leaving in the corner when we sprung into action. I made the pilgrimage to Home Depot for the wood, that my neighbor so kindly cut at just the right angle to keep them from nesting...just like he'd done for his porch...or so he said! His porch is just dandy for the second year running, while the birds have decided that cliff-side living is the real estate they desire one door down at our house.

Granted the tin foil did work last year, but I was going for something a little less, um, how shall we say? Unattractive. Mission not accomplished, as once the building started, the husband pounded another random piece of wood into the mix. That just provided the birds with the option of double-decker styling. I headed out with some emergency tin foil to just reinforce the corners. (Mind you, this was accomplished as my children took turns swinging baseball bats all around to keep the dodging and swooping ticked off birds at bay, so that the ticked off mommy didn't get attacked!)

As I was talking to my neighbor a couple of days later, two birds were literally bringing in their supplies, and working on the nest while we stood eight feet away. Much progress was made while we were away this past weekend, so this is what things looked like after the husband risked life, limb and eyeballs taking the mud nest down. (Please note: this photo is not to highlight how badly my windows need to be cleaned.) I really needed the beautiful flowers to distract guests from what is going on up there!

**I was chatting with a friend today who was working on cleaning out her garage. I was so envious of her project, that I had to head out to my own garage. I am fairly certain that I could've found something...anything...more pressing to attend to. I could've been blogging for goodness sake! (Instead of sitting here now hoping dinner cooks itself!) I guess I just can't find productivity in my day without getting rid of stuff! Four cubic feet of the garage look better than they did this morning. The fridge out there is cleaned out, filled with beverages, and turned on. Returnable bottles are bagged up and ready to go. That is enough justification for my garage cleaning envy issue. Luckily, I had at least gotten the groceries for the shower earlier in the day, so I had something relevant, to what is actually going on, accomplished.

**How come the days I visit the grocery store for a weekly shop rarely leave me any better equipped or interested in cooking dinner than any other day. It's as if the mere fact that I have entered the wondrous walls of Wegmans is enough thought on its own, as if the groceries will just gather themselves and band together into something yummy. In some ways I was better off running to the meat market on a semi-daily basis to grab something for dinner.

** I am reading this memoir written by a cleaning woman. Glamorous, I know! The thing is, I don't think I like her very much. I have read a lot of memoirs, and have never really felt like that before. Her tales are somewhat amusing, but I kind of want her to shut up sometimes. Yes, I could stop reading the book, but no, I actually can't. It's this thing I have about once I start a book, I feel some need to finish it. I read one of Oprah's early "picks", and kept thinking it must've been me, and that any moment I would realize what a fabulous novel I was in the midst of...nope...didn't happen.

Hope you are someplace cool and dry...with snacks!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ew, was that Tuesday I just stepped in?

Let's start right in with a couple of things that I found distracting today (before I lose my train of thought again). The first customer that caused me to lose any sense of decent service skills, had lost track of one of her children who I found happily sucking on one of those candy sticks that he had grabbed off our display shelf. Oh, and the stick was still wrapped, and he had some more in his other hand. I was not so much concerned with the possible tainting of goods, due to the low cost associated with them. Rather, I was concerned that he might have been on the brink of an unscheduled tonsillectomy resulting from the extent of his prodding. I am sure that my face was doing screwed up things for at least one or two fleeting seconds as his sister went to join in his discovery. I know I had to ask her three times if the daughter's croissant was to be toasted, and quite honestly still couldn't remember when I conveyed the order to my coworker. My hope was that she was equally distracted and would have better things to concern herself with by the time she got everyone back in the car and to their final destination.

The second distraction came from the woman whose dentures were falling out of place as she was chatting (and chattering) with me. Of course she was very chatty, and unfortunately rather hard to understand. It is not easy to ignore something going on with a person's face when they are less than three feet away.

Speaking of work, a friend of mine texted me this message the other day: "I know you have a 'real' job now, but can you work for me on Saturday?" Unfortunately I was at work at said "real" job, and did not have the time to respond in quite the manner I would have liked. She is a very hard working woman, and has been since we met at age eleven. That being said, I never really felt like she truly understood how I filled my days as a stay at home mom, nor believed that it wasn't eating bon-bons while watching countless hours of soap operas and Oprah. However, I worked nearly full time at a preschool for the past two years, but somehow my coffeehouse gig is the one that classifies as a "real job"? Fascinating.

Moving on to check in with this week's horticultural adventures...
The orchid is still absolutely beautiful, with more blooms to come. Let's move outside though to see if we can find out what these tulips are looking at...must be something over to the right...

Oh, it's probably Iris! She is just lovely, isn't she? My great-grandmother had these in her garden, and they have traveled down to me from my grandmother's and mother's gardens. They are my favorite smelling flower, even though my grandmother says they have no scent.

It amazes me every year how she pulls herself out of there looking so good! So similar to when I drag myself out of my covers every morning..so very similar in an opposite sort of way.

In less dramatic, yet still intriguing, floral news...my aunt gave me this Plumeria twig she bought on QVC...
...let's just keep this one in the back of our minds and hope for the best.

I went on a girl scout camp out this past weekend. There were 18 girls, 6 adults, and 1 part woman-part snoring monster. Those four hours of sleep I did get, laying on the cushion equivalent of a potholder on top of a wooden bunk, were fantastic. The rest of the accommodations were equally as luxurious, including this "sink"-yes, two basins without faucets are better than one...

...and this outhouse (Because really? What's the one thing missing when you are in a hurry to get out a smelly latrine? Yes! A friend to chat with! I can see that you have a square to spare...I can literally SEE you!))

There were also signs that were very helpful to navigate around the park...

If you haven't watched the Justin Timberlake and Lady Ga Ga Saturday Night Live from the other night, do so...'nuff said there. It seems like there was something else I wanted to share...hmmm...oh well, maybe less is more! Wait! How rude...I almost forgot to thank our gracious hostess. I wonder if she brought enough wine for everyone, as I see she has her glass now!


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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Retail details

Yesterday started like any other day...well any other bad day, that is. During my second round of wake up calls, I noticed that the dog was standing next to the puddle he had just left on my new bedspread. Ugh! I debated shoving the comforter in the washing machine, but was intimidated by the "dry clean only tag" (why didn't I notice that sooner, as it might've been the deal breaker when I was trying to decide if I wanted to keep that purchase to begin with).

The good news was that I now had enough reason to finally go to the dry cleaners, as the small pile of cloths on the bedroom floor had not been significantly inspiring at any time over the past month. Despite the fact that all of my coupons had expired, I decided to try the one day dry cleaner very close to our house. I secretly held out hope that If I looked pathetic enough, they would provide me with some secret discount. Nope. After entering all of my information into the computer, the girl told me my things would be ready after 4:30 on Friday. Huh? It was 8:00 Wednesday morning. I asked if the one day service was extra, was told it was not. Then she asked if I wanted my stuff today, but I declined, for fear that there would be some secret fee. The name of the place include the words "one day dry cleaning", so it baffles me that they don't feature that service a bit better. However, they are very thorough when describing any issues and the dog owes me $25.

In an attempt to dispute a $2.00 fee on a bill, I went to the department store involved (hey every little bit helps). I had the April bill I had paid, in full, the day before it was due, in hand, as well as the May bill that had a mysterious $2.00 charge. I explained the issue to the cashier, and he told me that he was sorry to report that I would have to call customer service and navigate their prompt system. I told him that once I got home, all hope would be lost of a phone call getting made that required such patience. He used his phone to get someone on the line.

I explained the issue to the woman on the other end of the line. She was very concerned about explaining the late charge of $18.00 plus another $2.00 interest charge incurred for paying my March bill late...yeah, I owned that, no problem. I tried to explain again that I didn't understand where the new $2.00 fee came from on the May bill. We danced around each other's explanations of different issues for a few more minutes, until she announced that she had credited my account the $20.00...um, sure, let's go with that. I asked the gentleman at the register what he thought I was disputing, and he responded "$2.00". We both had a good chuckle when I told him the end result of the phone call.

Now if I can find three more dollars in loose change hanging around the house, I will break even from my trip to the cleaners. I will then consider putting an end to the dirty looks I have been giving the dog. The rest of the day swung more in my favor. I got some great deals at one of my favorite stores to browse in because the salesperson's supervisor was rude! Bonus, as the woman hadn't been rude enough to ruin my day, and the $20.00 off more than compensated me for my three minutes of trouble. AND I crossed some things off my list...or at least did some things I will add to the list, and then promptly scribble out!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's the big to-do?

I found myself having some difficulty focusing on any one matter at hand, so I forced pen to paper and made a list of things that needed to get done. Well, sort of...see there were a few things that were just general thoughts of things that should happen. These items are so vague or simple that they are very easy to ignore. The belated birthdays were still on the list, and then I realized one of the gifts had actually been purchased quite some time ago (as in long before the birthday), so it was dug out and now is sitting on the counter. Actually, in an attempt to make some progress, the gift is residing in a box...on the counter.

The items that actually have some importance and true deadlines are the ones not making it to the list, for fear that I will absolutely freak out if I see it all in writing. I have also not written anything obvious on the list. We all know that people need to get fed and that the rest of the mulch needs to be spread. We also need clean clothes, but last night I determined we could make it another day or so? Then, my daughter boycotted the three new clean shirts in her closet and wore something out of her hamper to school today...1. Ick 2. Not a battle I was fighting at 7:30 am.

I just keep spending my ever decreasing free time trying to justify whatever I feel like doing as a potential list item. Oh, I also spend a lot of time eating cookies. I did not see it written anywhere that I should be making rational choices when it comes to snack time, or that there should actually be a snack time...not the all day buffet. I think the eating might be stress related, but even that excuse seems fairly inexcusable.

I put some errands on the back burner today because the price of gas led me to the conclusion that I should wait until tomorrow to do any errands that would be in the direction I was already planning to head in. I guess I thought if I could justify my procrastination that maybe it could be reclassified with a more positive and practical spin.

I am halfway through a great book, and my rationale for curling up on the couch to read this afternoon (aside from being exhausted) was that I will feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish the book. Why can't I hold myself to task anymore (aside from the fact that it's no fun)? Who will do it for me? Where can I turn with all of my random stuff?


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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Random Thoughts Shakedown!

It's allergy season! I guess now that the rains have finally stopped, there is a bunch of crap that has been waiting to drift gently through the air. You know that feeling when you feel like you need to scratch the inside of your throat...ew, I hate that! I am not particularly fond of the weighted sinus curtain that is putting me in a fog either. There also seems to be a little bit of random stuck in my head that I need to shake free! When you're finished here, you can click on the lady who sacrificed a nice glass of wine for that cumbersome Random Tuesday Thoughts sign, to see what some other fine folks have to say!


Let's start with the orchids, shall we? The photo on the left was Sunday, and the right one is today!

Moving on...
Dinner was delayed a few nights ago because three people at the table could not stop laughing at the butter. I am certain that at this point in the game I do not need to tell you which of the three of us were involved.

I wish I had realized that our friends' garden gnome was so bad-ass BEFORE I kidnapped him! He's up to shenanigans in our garden. All of my garden flair say forget the ransom, and return him already.

I am not sure the dog has a full understanding and appreciation of the game hide-and-seek, or he just sucks at it! Perhaps he thought it was his turn to be the seeker and he's counting?

Ten pounds of elbow macaroni sure is a lot of pasta...especially if you accidentally make twenty pounds of it (I thought they were 5 pound bags). We were up to our elbows in elbows...had to be said! Honcho, from volunteer land, could barely look me in the face as she rattled off which shapes of pasta came in five pound bags...after the fact!

So I saw a fellow volunteer out in the real world, and apparently he has a full head of hair in that alternate universe. Now we do all wear baseball caps in the kitchen, but I am fairly certain that the masterpiece that was laying on his head would not fit under a chapeau, nor would he want to risk denting it. I guess I don't really bust out my good clothing or hairdos for a morning of slaving away in the kitchen either. I just felt like I'd seen the wizard behind the curtain. Speaking of bad hair, I am always baffled by the older women I've seen at the grocery store with their hair all in rollers. What other outings do they have planned for when those curlers come out?

Just got back from the middle school orchestra concert. It was fabulous! Wonderful entertainment with a batch of rice crispy treats as my cost for admission..fine culture, I tell you! Plus, I got a chocolate chip cookie for myself. Yum!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Well, I just got up from the breakfast table where I caught a glimpse of my daughter trying to yank a loose tooth out of her head. I am relieved that she is old enough now for me to let on as to how gross that was, without having to worry that I've hurt her feelings. My son finally broke down and brought me some orange juice, and then resumed his uncertainty over how to proceed with this day that did not seem to be revolving around him. I am also relieved that he is old enough to recognize his current teenage lot in life, and is not easily offended when we point out his general laziness.

Of course I miss the days when these two children of mine would curl up in my lap. I miss the crucial issue of the day being how long to let them drink out of sippy cups, as opposed to trying to figure out what rules to impose on all electronic media. I look back fondly on the days when I could sing, draw, brush hair, and cook really swell (in their opinions). I am grateful that my children are getting old enough to know that I need them to pretend sometimes that I still wear a sweet super hero cape! (Except when it comes to hairbrushing...then I am always positively pure evil.)

Happy Mother's Day to you moms and moms-to-be!

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Whoops, first things first, I just hit the wrong button and posted a blank post. I guess it doesn't get much more random than that! Now I am editing that which I did not write to begin with!

So sleepy...while operating under my self-proclaimed title of stay at home mother/housewife, I somehow managed to clock in thirty-seven hours at a job I guess I actually do have, plus over two hours of cleaning outside of our home, since last Tuesday (which was my last day off before today). I obviously need to have a chat with myself to bring it to my attention that I am not really staying at home. I also feel a slight twinge that my mother of the year award is running the risk of being downgraded to a mere participation ribbon. As for wife, yeah well I didn't pay any of the dues to keep my club membership activated, and am just one step from a "final notice" postcard ending up in my mailbox (after which I can only assume I will receive 5 more mailings with subsequent lower fees).

There was a line from the last episode of Raising Hope that I watched. I don't know what night or channel anything is really on, or I would encourage you to tune in. I just sit down around 9:15 every night, and my husband hits some buttons on the magic remote, and some shows come on. Usually this preempts whatever dude stuff he was watching while I was dispensing with goodnight kisses upstairs. I don't know how he can just flick off something he is watching to put on something completely different...maybe he does love me more than I realize! Anyways, back to Raising Hope...I love Martha Plimpton's character with her same surly voice and attitude she had as Stef in the Goonies. In response to her husband's complaint that she wasn't sharing any glory with him, she said "I'm a maid. I have no surplus glory I can share." That might just be my favorite new quote of all time! Can you leave a "hell yeah!" comment if you've ever felt like that...cleaning lady or not...stay at home mom or not!

Let's keep tabs on my orchid plant, shall we? I'd have posted a photo from when it was in full bloom, but that is how I received the plant, last October. I thought it might be more impressive if I showed that I not only kept the plant alive, but it bloomed again (or at least that's what I'm reeeeeeeally hoping is going to happen). I am rather fascinated by the magic I assume is going on behind those curtains of petals!

I went to the dentist today. I don't really have anything to report on that, but included it in the spirit of randomness.

How come no matter what time I try to send my kids to bed, they aren't actually IN bed until around the same time every week night. The whole thing is just becoming an exercise in how long I want to nag for. If they notice it is on the early side, I guess they move much slower. Is there perhaps some comfort in my droning that lulls them to sleep as part of the routine? Some nights they are spared my mantra because I fall asleep on the couch while trying to give them a five minute head start up the stairs.

I have had the same to-do list for about two weeks now. Even when I am trying, I can't seem to get anything crossed off. I have made store returns, but then just came home with new items that I decide to return. There are some belated birthdays to attend to on the list, but now they were so long ago, that what's one more day, week....oops! I asked the kids if they both had clothes to wear to school tomorrow, and they did--giving me no reason to rotate the laundry (and that task never even made it to the list).

Well it's time for bed, and I have a good page and a half of reading I intend to do before zonking out. The husband is out of town, so the television will not do its magic for me. If I am lucky, I might be able to remember what channel Comedy Central is on in case I wake up in the middle of the night.

Click on the pretty lady with the sign to check out some random thoughts from other folks!


Monday, May 2, 2011

What do you want? A medal?

My daughter chose to participate in the annual solo festival in our school district this year. There is always a slightly festive feel to the event with all of the various singers and musicians buzzing about. However, seeing as how each student's solo is performed in a classroom, in front of one judge, with the door closed to everyone else (and with no cotton candy or other sidewalk treats to enjoy while we wait in the hall), some of the merriment slips away. I am proud of my daughter for mustering up the courage to hold that violin up and play (while the son stayed home with his viola pretending that junior high students weren't invited).

The information sheet that came home regarding solo fest had a new section this year, with regard to medals. In years past, the kids who performed at a certain level received medals...nothing Olympic, mind you, but a small pin/ribbon/medal type of arrangement that absolutely served its purpose. However, this year, "students earning outstanding excellent or good ratings are eligible to order a medal"...for seven dollars...in cash "in an envelope with your name and rating on it". I completely understand that these are trying economic times for the schools and especially the arts department, but this seems a little much. I think I had to pay ten dollars for the pleasure of my time standing in the hall, and whatever butterflies my daughter was able to have in her belly to keep her company for the day. I am wondering what kind of medals these will be, as the previously mentioned ones from years past did not look like they should've cost more than three bucks. I think the judge's rating sheet and some sort of certificate printed on some cream card stock would've sufficed. Instead, later this week, we will receive our rating, and then what? DECIDE if we purchase the medal. How big of a troll would I feel like asking if we really had to order one?

I wonder what other feel good tokens of achievement I can purchase. I am thinking about handing out some score cards to people I know, and maybe if they rate me high enough, I can order myself that "Mother of the Year" medal I've had my eye on for the last fourteen years now.

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