Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Random Resolutions?

Seriously? There is more to be done? I thought it was time to relax and put my feet up for a moment before reveling in the fact that another joyous holiday season had gone by. Well, first I agonized over when to take the tree down, as well as undecking the rest of the halls, thereby calling the success officially complete. After hitting a minor roadblock, more like a pothole, I came to collect my thoughts here at the computer, and that is when I saw the first reminders...resolutions are coming!

After months of underachieving, and finally being satisfied with such, it is time to muster up the energy to try harder? I actually walked by the mirror the other day and thought "Hey, I don't look terrible." Well that will not be good enough come tomorrow. I will feel the pressure of the exercise and Weight Watcher point chatter. I will feel guilty asking people to partake in the candy overload we are currently experiencing. I will have to be a better person?

I already had a crisis over how to proceed with my day today. After kind of dealing with what we unpacked from the van last night...
...and going to the grocery store this morning, I tried to decide if I should go for a walk and then blog or vice versa. I knew if I walked I would think of ideas of what to say, but also knew I would forget half of them by the time I removed my coat. I also thought maybe I should save the jump back into walking for tomorrow to give the illusion that I was trying something new and improved.

I also considered just taking a few minutes to let all of the random thoughts into my head, in order to give me the opportunity to write them all out. I thought maybe that would be some sort of stress liberating activity. I nearly had a panic attack. I would have to discuss other random topics.

I have a vague recollection of last week, when I decided I would not seek out any post holiday deals, since I am still storing some fabulous bargains from five years ago. I was focused on the two colors of embroidery floss my daughter needed and the yarn my step-mother needed when we walked into the store yesterday. My willpower was gone before the automatic doors had even closed behind me, as I grabbed five rolls of Mary Engelbreit wrapping paper at $1.19 each. I did not even try to pretend that this was some sort of exception to my loosely and ill-defined rules.
Organization! That was surely what I needed.What if I took the time to put everything away in proper locations? How about if I started with my giftwrapping bin, long before I was out of energy and just started throwing things around like crazy? I was making decent progress, until the moment when I realized my awesome new wrapping paper did not fit.
(previously mentioned "pothole")
This was the level of fascinating news story that I had to run up from the basement to share with you. This was the straw that broke the random thought's back. This should probably be some indication to me that there may be room for improvement after all.

There are cocktail weenies and crescent rolls in my refrigerator, so another celebration must be upon us! Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve, and remember that I like you just the way you are...resolutions or not...and truly appreciate you stopping by this often cluttered place!

Stacy is taking a well-deserved break from her hosting duties this week, but I forgot to link to her Season's Greetings last week.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Random wrap-up

A couple of weeks ago my grandmother began to ponder the idea of sending out Christmas cards this year. She made mention of an age old list of addresses she used to use. In an attempt to deflect the conversation, and an impending search, I told her I would bring over a box of cards I had at home. She mentioned that her writing was not very good anymore, which we had started to notice awhile back. I considered the prospect of addressing the envelopes and having to sign my grandmother’s name inside each card. I was not impressed, so I began to look for some humor in the current situation. Maybe my ninety-one year old grandmother could send out one of those typed up “here’s what I did this year” newsletters. I detected an immediate problem in that my grandmother cannot really remember much of anything these days. The letter might be as informative to her as anyone else reading it. I suppose I would have to generate the correspondence...hmmm...I wonder how that would go…

Season’s Greetings!

I hope this letter finds you well, and am actually impressed that it found you at all based on all of the little scraps of paper sprinkled in between the cards of my address file. My granddaughter Andrea is here helping me today. She brought her thing with her that she has sometimes that shows pictures and she can type on it. I thought it was just for cooking information, but she said we could write my letter with it.

Andrea has been hanging around here a lot lately, as have my daughters. I am not convinced that they need to be here so often, as it is not that big of a deal when I misplace my glasses.  They sure have put a lot of holiday decorations out, and the place looks very festive. My Dickens Village doesn’t look anything like the photograph I offered as a display suggestion, but I said it has never looked better. In a similar story, I might have said that the overcooked thumbprint cookies were better than mine ever turned out. A cup of hot tea can make all of the difference.

I have heard some references to groundhogs lately, or maybe it was groundhog’s day? I do see a lot of animals scurrying around in my backyard, so maybe that is what they have seen. I don’t think it is time for that silly groundhog seeing his shadow business, so maybe those girls are just talking about something else I have never heard of before...again.

My decorations look so nice, and I had a great time putting them up. The place has never looked better. There is probably a lot more I could tell you, but it is almost 6:00, and I should be getting ready for bed. Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Greetings from so many seasons

My grandmother was not the type to just grab any old card to wish someone a happy whatever. The greeting preferably had to detail the specific relationship she shared with the recipient. In recent years this has meant asking someone else to pick up a nice card for her to mail. Just to reiterate, we needed the card, that she did not pick out, to be more personal than whatever generic ones she had laying around.

Let’s take that notion one step further, we are discussing a card picked out by someone else with words written by a complete stranger. Is that not in and of itself the antithesis of personal? Do you care enough to send the very best words that someone else wrote, but most directly reflect your feelings about the birthday girl? You could pen a message to tell someone how much you love them or how much they make you smile, but isn’t it really more meaningful if the words rhyme, and are in a jazzy font? 

I guess I had not come to fully appreciate what Hallmark, Gibson and the American Greetings crew meant to my grandmother until yesterday. I have been spending a bit of time with my grandmother this holiday season, helping to decorate her house and doing some behind the scenes organizing and purging. I knew there were some greeting cards stashed in the drawer of her hutch, but wasn't sure how to broach the topic of them possibly not being there anymore. Opportunity knocked though, when I found myself with a handful of flowered notecards less than six months old that she told me I could throw away. I did not want to appear hasty so I told her I would tuck them in the drawer for the next day's project. I thought I was exaggerating by using the word "project".

Ninety-five percent of the cards had nothing more than a one word sentiment and a signature. Many of the envelopes were hanging around as well. I did pause briefly at the pile of envelopes addressed in my late grandfather's pen to "Benchie", his nickname for my grandmother, Blanche. I was sitting with my grandmother, in the house that my grandfather built, surrounded by so many things time had apparently forgotten. I basically saw the cards as clutter that could go. 

"Gram, what year were you married? This card from me to you says 'happy forty-ninth anniversary'."
"Okay so this card is twenty years old."

I was surprised that I was not met with any resistance from my grandmother. I think this year's Christmas cards were providing the perfect distraction. I sorted the cards, pulling out any photos that were promptly filed in one of my other ongoing projects that has already outgrown its designated drawer. I carried two bags of cards to the door with no protest. I received a text tip from my mother that the desk in the back hall may be holding more excess paper. Sure enough, I pulled out another bag's worth of cards. These were mainly all cards from my grandparents' children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as those they exchanged with each other, for every category of special day.

I had asked a preschool teacher friend of mine if she could use some cards for any projects, She said she would gladly take them, but I did not think the stash I loaded into my van was what she had in mind. As soon as I got home, I brought the bags into my kitchen because the Christmas clutter I had  going on was not enough of an anxiety inducing mess. My first goal was to photograph the cards in a way that would capture just how many there were...
...How did I do? Is this better?
The other task was to pull out any that I thought preschoolers and their fabulous scissor skills could make use of. I started to actually pay attention to the cards, instead of just moving them from one place to another. I had to pull some out of their envelopes to make sure there were no gifts left inside. I saw dates of 1992, 1985, 1984. I read notes in Christmas cards to my grandmother from my grandfather telling her she was getting a floor lamp, and another trip to Karl's Clocks. I also saw that he forgot their anniversary one year, but still got a card to apologize with. Things were starting to get dangerous, as I began to wonder if we should keep all of the cards. It was almost as if, because I was in my own house with this haul, I lost sight of there being far better mementos to hold on to. I looked at each of those cards, mainly filled with words written by nobody we know, to find those few penned in snippets. I told myself that the shear volume of this collection did not make it any more important than it originally seemed to be. Now if our recycling could have just been picked up today, instead of next week.

Please note: This post was written by the person who just dealt with a over a decade's worth of Christmas cards last year. Oddly enough, my grandmother does not have a stash of this category...  or at least not one that I have found yet.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ringing random

I guess you could say that I feel more stressed than actually crabby...
This was not a small item. Trust me, if it was, there are many of you who'd have found this gem in your mailbox. At $4.99, I had a hard time walking away, and now, seeing its jingling delight again makes me regret my decision to try to capture the glory in this simple photograph. Do you think they sold out?

In other items from the "things that distract me from creepy monkeys" list, I met these lovelies at a birthday party over the weekend.
I believe their names are Catty (Somethingorother) and Laguna Blue. At least you won't have to wonder where your little girl's last nightmare came from. Yikes!

You know what's more fun than a barrel of monkeys? A case of bedazzled caramel apples!
I received this package containing twenty-four of these gems. I don't even have to eat them sparingly. Not only did this friend have my back in finding some random gems, but she had awesomeness delivered right to my front door!

Let's see, what else have we done to get ourselves in the holiday spirit? Oh, we attended my daughter's holiday orchestra concert. Not all string music is particularly jazzy, and I did hear my husband lean over and ask our son if the selection being played was the "Happy Holiday Death March". Their rendition of Feliz Navidad more than made up for whatever that other, still brilliant, piece lacked in festiveness.

We also took our annual turn bell ringing at the mall for the Salvation Army.
For the fourth year in a row we were greeted by bells that had their clangers removed and replaced with paper clips. Last year we planned ahead and brought our own bells, but sadly this year we forgot. We made due with some creative clanking. When the gentleman from the Salvation Army came to collect the bucket from our station, I inquired as to why the bells were so sad. His response was that it was part of their contract with the mall to remove the clangers to keep the noise down. I just smiled and nodded while thinking of all of the joyful noise we had made by banging two bells together for two hours. Those bells were brought together so hard in fact that the finish was rubbed right off of one set. I am not sure how many decibels the mall thinks a two inch diameter bell can make, but I assure you that what we came up with was far greater. Plus, you know how holiday shoppers hate noise, right? That is why they are out at the mall from 7:00-9:00 on Saturday nights.

Our location at the mall this year was right near floor to ceiling windows so that we could watch the snow coming down. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas AND like we were going to have a wild sleigh ride home. This is our street once I was in my pj's in the warmth of my room. There actually is a street in there somewhere.
Ho ho ho hmmmmm...one of the hardest parts of making cookies this year was finding the ambition to do so. I had some trouble with my gingerbread dough, so we ended up with some folks who were not fit for distribution. My daughter was happy to have fun decorating them anyway. Here are a couple of my favorites from the We Dunkin U swim team...
Seriously, the swim goggles on the right?

Mostly the ones I did were just sad about their substandard quality...

Well, I have presents to wrap, a dining room table to find and a panic attack just waiting to happen. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by. Keep calm and eat chocolate!

Stacy has everything under control at her place, so stop on by for a quick visit!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where my mind is at...

I wanted to blog yesterday. After all, it was Tuesday and certainly there must have been some random smatterings to discuss. Somewhere between the Meals on Wheels luncheon, where I think the operations manager might have started her speech by saying there was never a good time to say "thank you", a quest to find the perfect white shirt for my daughter's orchestra concert tonight (and by perfect, I just mean one she will actually wear), and crocheting, I simply forgot what day it even was until my rear end was so comfortably molded into the couch cushion that getting up for the camera was not an option.

I suppose I could have solved my problem of finding a shirt if I honed my renewed romance with crocheting into a line of apparel. The only way that will probably ever happen is if I stitch several dishcloths together and call them a shirt. I can only imagine the thrill on a thirteen year old girl's face when her mother brings out a rocking white cotton top seemingly crafted on a potholder loom. 

Let's talk for a moment about how my quest for that shirt panned out. The tried and true sports bra section of the red bullseye store looked as though the Grinch heard I was on a mission and snuck in to steal the entire display. The fixture was there, but with not even a crumb fit for a mouse. Panic. I started whipping winter white garments around, hoping if the girl layered them all together we would be in business. 

As I revealed my offerings to my daughter, I noticed a smile cross her face. My efforts had been validated! Wait, no, sorry, she just noticed a step before me that the fancy tank top undergarment I had purchased had a nice "nursing" tag on it. I knew it was the wrong item, but still pondered its potential effectiveness. The two white shirts that were apparently too see-thru, as white shirts tend to be, are now ours to keep because I was not charged for them.

So you see, as much as I would like to blog about some of the silly random things I have experienced and seen, I have to go somewhere, anywhere...I have no idea where...to get my daughter a shirt...a white shirt. You know, like those white shirts I have, but cannot wear because I have no appropriate bras. Yet somehow I was surprised to find myself in this predicament. 

You know, it's kind of nice to be back here just relaxing and chatting with at you. You've calmed me, and lulled me into a sense of security. Wait...FALSE, a false sense of security! You aren't going to be there tonight to explain to the orchestra teacher why my daughter is wearing ecru or cream, or better yet a nice thick white sweatshirt, are you? I'm off, on some random mission...

Stop by Stacy's to wish the hostess with the mostess a Happy Birthday Week!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Random leftovers

Hold on, it's Tuesday? Again? Already? December? That explains the hustle and bustle in my grandmother's village.

There is a rumor going around that this is the finest the scene has looked. It might be because I strayed from the "you can make it look different, but here are some photos showing how I like it set up" approach. There is another rumor going around that we have lowered our standards.

Excuse me? Did somebody say something about a seventeen-pound bird? I was much more interested in this seven-pound baby chick!

The leftovers have never been so orderly. I almost missed the scramble to find stuff.

Unfortunately there was no Nike ad being filmed at Grand Central Station on Black Friday, because my father, brother, kids and I were ready!

The shops at Bryant Park were so cool, but this was just creepy!

I have so many other things to tell you, but no pictures, and so many pictures that need words. Some of the photos are trying to convince me that they deserve their own posts. I know, we've been here before. This is the part where I say I will get my act together. The artichoke will get to tell its tale! For now I will just tell you it was delicious, and a shout out to my aunts!

I kind of feel like I phoned in this random post, as I shuffled past the computer on my way to bed. Really? You were thinking the same thing? I shall arm myself with charged camera batteries and a cell phone with out the "memory full" message blinking. I can do better! I will do better!

Thanks for hosting the Random, Stacy!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


So much to say, so little time before the strike of midnight and my random would be considered tardy! Okay, I really do not have that much to say. As a matter of fact, I am nearly speechless because.....
Now, since I have completed three of these lovely NaNos, who is willing to read through them to see if there is anything decent in those 150,000 words? You will be paid in cookies! Line forms to the left people, no pushing!

Now with that off my mind I can focus on getting my road trip on to go hold that new baby! (As well as getting myself to the table.) Are any of you serving these?

There is a rumor that we are partying like real pilgrims and the wi-fi and television are out at our feasting location. Just in case...let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Build great memories!!!!


Stop in to see Stacy, she has wine for the feast!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A random monkey has my back

First a shout out to my sister and her beautiful new baby! I would like to thank Miss NewBaby for joining the family a bit early, and doing her part to keep our annual Thanksgiving photo shoot from being outdated two days later.

And now, this blog post was made possible today by a friend who is more fun than a barrel of monkeys...
Her pint glass holder
Heck, sometimes she even IS a barrel of monkeys...
She showered me with joy last week when I was at her house. Apparently she knew I was pretending to be very busy doing several real and imaginary things, so she set aside some random delights for me. Let's jump right in, shall we...

Look what her monkey radar detected...I nearly wet my pants...
They may have been hiding for my birthday, but have arrived in time for the holidays, with their creepy soft vinyl skin and creepier soft wisps of hand-applied hair! Oh Double and Trouble you made me weep with joy. I know that even though you are fully poseable, you are not toys. I am an adult, who can be a collector...of creepy monkey ads.
So what do we think happened to Emma & Matthew in 2012? Twenty-five years and calling it quits, but nicely commemorating the occasion with a vase?

Warm wintry sweater, complete with monthly breast exam reminder?
I was so disappointed in the plain, mitten-free, pants this was paired with.

No need to worry about anyone else on your holiday shopping list...

And I have a few people in mind for these. The name alone is priceless!
Never mind the tuba blaring out your backside, at least nobody will smell it. The fact that they even cling to thongs confirms insinuates that women might pass gas, which offends me a little.

Thanks for having my back Monkey Lover!

Thanks for hosting the random, Stacy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A random visit from the dog

Who me?
 You want to hear from me?

Well, I suppose since Andrea is off not writing for her NaNoWriMo project, I can step in. (OK, maybe she did a little something, since you can see the update over there on the right.) She has really been asking a lot of me lately. For one thing, I am pretty sure I will be her side kick, a veritable canine wonder, as soon as my cape arrives. She says it will be here any day now, but she says it in that kind of weird voice she uses a lot of the time.

I have been pretty busy lately, with things like attending the orchestra. Can you believe how awesome my seat was?

I got attacked by a puppet which was terrifying...not that you would have know that by how hard some people were laughing. That's right, run and get your camera, and maybe I will still be alive when you get back.

 I got my hair cut last week at the Chatty K-9 and that is when I fell in love...
Her name is Dani, and she rocked red feet like no other. My blueberry facial was no match for all of what she had going on. I could not muster up the courage to speak to her, but have been grumbling ever since.

Please, just go away and leave me alone with my bear.

The blanket was a nice touch, but sadness remains.

This was exhausting.

Somebody had better feed me dinner now that I did this. The whole "daylight savings time" excuse is so not working. It is still 6:00 in my world. I must go sit by my dish and growl now.

Stacy and her other humans are over at her place rolling out the random!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Not in my hands

There is an undeniable sound when m&m candies are being poured. The light tapping of those candy shells on each other. It sounds like joy. The colors radiate happiness, or at least the classic ones do. I remember the blue taking a bit for me to get used to, but I have certainly come around. I cannot think of a time when I have ever said “Oh, m&m’s? No thank you.” Sure I have my favorite flavors, and sometimes that opinion depends on the day, but there are none that I would turn down.

I remember one semester in college, when I must have pooled all of my leftover change together, for a big bag of m&m’s. They were to be a study treat during final exam preparations. Way back in that day, there was no food allowed in our campus library. I smuggled those m&m’s amongst my books and such, hoping that the librarians had more menacing characters to be on the lookout for.

I did not have the finest of study habits as a general rule, and in hindsight am not sure the addition of candy was going to help me settle in. I am sure my theory at the time was that melt in my mouth, not in my hands delights would keep me awake while keeping my study materials clean.

Just when I least expected it, some faux librarian, on duty just to maintain the sanctity of study carrels and couches approached our area. He took my bag of m&m’s. I am pretty sure barely two handfuls had been removed. I wanted to cry out, but that would have been committing a second crime against the hallowed building. I took solace in the fact that I knew where that troll had been sitting, and I would just retrieve my goods on my way back to my dorm. I held onto that dream for about two minutes, until I heard the unmistakable sound of m&m’s being poured...into a metal garbage can...sadistic bastard!

I have never taken a bag of m&m’s for granted since. I savor each one as if it was the last. I ration them well, and I hide them even better.

Read, vote. Repeat. You get to pick your five favorites on the grid!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

That's "R" as in Random

I am sort of an organized chaos kind of gal. In order to not disturb the illusion of balance, I typically do not do things on a whim. You have seen me agonize over a box of hair color for fear that it may be a millishade different to what I currently have on my head, as if that is somehow a bad thing. I can barely just buy a new sweater because I like it, without reviewing a quick inventory of the styles and colors already in my closet. I'd like to just do something on a whim, but I just never really seem to take the time to plan it out...ah, see what happened there. Yet somehow I signed up for NaNoWriMo again this November.
50,000 words? Why not? I have ideas, and now will try to parlay each one into at least 1,667 words a day. You can see how that's working out for me by checking that little word counter in the upper right of this page.

I took a break from writing over the weekend to clip some coupons. No, I was not looking for monkeys, but did see that the cats are back!
I hope this hasn't given the Foz any ideas, although I do think he'd make a swell pilgrim.

Speaking of the Foz, I refuse to buy him cookies that look tastier than anything I am serving my children.

Moving on to the toy ads...Um, I'm just going to cut to the chase and ask what the hell is going on with Barbie's lady business? Is this for aspiring young gynecologists? That most certainly should not be where her heart is at.

I saw these at the grocery store the other morning and decided to just take a picture as it would last longer. It's true, every time I see it the craving is still there.

Before I go, here is a little friendly advice for any of you househunters out there. Don't succumb to any false illusions about a whirlpool tub in the master bathroom.
They should just call it a big hamper and clothes rack. Maybe I could turn those jets on and actually wash the clothes right there. Yes, they should install a drying rack right above these. (Please note: I am sorry to my Alma Mater, LeMoyne College, for displaying your name in the midst of such disarray.)

Stacy is making grand efforts to wage a war on her sinuses and bad internet connections to keep the random rolling, so the least we can do is stop by her place to say "hello!"