Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Random Tuesday-It's only Fair

So summer, as in vacation, is really close to over. Meanwhile, my daughter keeps reminding me that summer, as in the season, still has some life left in it. I just know that today is a much more chipper day than NEXT Tuesday will be in this house. I have an eleven year old girl who is happy to declare her readiness for the new school year to begin next Wednesday. I have a fourteen year old boy who refuses to acknowledge the impending scholastic doom. I am in a wee bit of denial myself, as I really hate the quiet after they both leave. I usually can't get out the door fast enough myself. Don't get me wrong, I will adjust.

In the meantime, it is time for me to reorganize the clutter in my mind, and unload a few odds and ends. Thankfully, Stacy is hosting a place to store everything! Stop on over when you are done here to see what Stacy has going on, as well as links to some more good clean randomness!


Well, my husband donated plasma again yesterday. It was like he somehow knew that we might not want to discuss the matter over dinner. Granted he did test the waters by letting us know what movie he watched this time. OK, maybe I shot one tiny little dagger out of my left eye at him. He made reference to his bandages later, and the three of us could not shout our disapproval fast enough! The Red Cross showed him lots of love with an Edible Arrangements chocolate dipped fruit free coupon, cookies and a t-shirt. He didn't really need kudos from us, right? I guess I was just miffed that he couldn't empty the garbage here, but was off doing even better deeds elsewhere. Maybe I need to offer better swag than just dinner every night and clean clothes!

I have had a canning season just like every other so far with some hits and misses. The salsa is the one thing that I never have a problem with. (I can say that because there are twenty-four 2011 sealed jars in the basement already, and I don't think I can jinx myself all the way into next year.) The strawberry jam was foamy and separated-generally unattractive and unsuitable for gift giving. I then moved onto hot pepper relish, and in a moment of distraction made an error that might've been accountable for the product not setting. The blueberry and raspberry jams went fine. The peach jam looked super fantastic (both batches since I accidentally peeled twice what I needed), until the jars sat in their boiling water bath for ten minutes. That seems to have softened the set just enough for the peach pieces to start traveling upstream. There was so much peach though that the jars still look pretty swell. The grand finale for this month started yesterday morning when I went out to the fridge to get the cucumbers for my bread & butter pickles. Someone had cranked up the dial on the fridge and whatever cukes I had put in the veggie bin were frozen...solid. Luckily I had apparently bought twice what I actually needed for a batch, and only threw half in the bin. After slicing what I needed, I began to fret over the several frozen cucumbers looking at me, so I ran in to google "uses for frozen cucumbers", then immediately realized that might not have been search words I wanted to string together in parentheses. Luckily everything on page one was rated G. I decided I wasn't up for a new culinary adventure in the middle of already making pickles.

Today was our obligatory visit to the New York State Fair. I want to love it, but I don't. I have tried bringing family from out of town in an attempt to see the Fair thru less biased eyes. That sort of works, plus I get the bonus of their visit. Historically, the event has always put too many variables that I am not particularly fond of in one place: 1) heat, 2) crowds, 3) food that runs a huge risk of upsetting my stomach leading to 4) a line for a nowhere near private bathroom experience. I really thought we were taking our time today and making an effort to be decent fair-goers. Then we were ready to leave, and I realized we had only been there just under four hours. However, I didn't hate it. My neighbor was surprised to see us home so early as she was at the Fair for twelve hours, in one day, last year. OK, then I really felt like an underachiever!

Here are some of my favorite highlights!

It only cost $2.50 for the son to find out for himself that deep fried Kool-Aid is not a good idea! That is batter with Kool-Aid powder that gets deep fried and then drizzled with a sort of Kool-Aid reduction. (Aren't they always using reductions on those fancy cooking shows?)

Just in case the cage wasn't unpleasant enough, a little dose of color adds insult to injury here!

Who doesn't want to win this version of Michael Jackson, complete with bad surgery scars and outrageous jawline with caucasian skin? Let him rest in peace!

These statistics make our state proud every year I think. What's it like to be the mullet sporting guy (or gal, as one of the five today was) walking by that causes them to get out the eraser and marker? Just as a benchmark, these were the numbers at around noon on day six, out of twelve, of the Fair.

No, I didn't try it, but have to admit that for $2.00 I might've been in. The curiosity was almost too much!

My visit is never complete without a stop to admire the butter sculpture. I have to work hard to suppress the little voice that tells me it is a waste of product. Then I just want toast.

I did not get my palm read, have my name engraved on a piece of rice, or try any of the varieties of meat on a stick available, but I did not throw a hissy fit in public either.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Random Tuesday...Road trip edition!

Well, we hit the highway for downstate New York this past weekend, and apparently every other citizen of the state with a driver's license thought they should head on out and join us. Granted, we were only traveling from Central New York, so this was no grand pilgrimage, in terms of miles. You would think that we would've had the force with us considering the breakfast...
...clearly we swayed more to the Dark Side. By the way, my griddle does not defy gravity, but these are sketchy enough right side up (didn't read the part about spraying the molds until later...much, much later), so I thought I'd better flip the photo.

Getting there:
As we were heading east on the Thruway, we got caught up in some rubber-necking traffic. I do not really understand this phenomenon, but whatever. The spectacle was the result of a Family Dollar tractor trailer that was losing dollars worth of goods to the fire that had broken out in the trailer portion. The traffic jam was not assembling in a neat trafficky order. People were mostly pulled slightly at an angle in each lane. Folks were out of their cars, taking photos and making new friends...for miles.

I envied their willingness to accept the situation. The slightest hint of any tie-up when I am driving makes me feel anxious and eager to curl up into a fetal position.
Some of my angst comes from my inability to appreciate the journey...gotta get THERE! The other issue I have relates to some past experiences in traffic involving bathroom issues, crying children, vomiting children, risk of running out of gas, missing holiday festivities and general fatigue. Maybe if I could plan for a traffic jam a bit better, I could enjoy it more. I will work on that.

They did not open a single lane of the Thruway in that spot for almost two hours after we passed it. Yikes!
We hit some more traffic in our own direction, and I uttered the same inquiries as usual. We were treated to this gem of a work truck. I am not sure if you can make out the message on the back, as the good camera was packed too far back for the minions to reach. It says "Let us check your shorts!" Luckily we had the opportunity to safely pass, as I had to know what the business was, since that message is all that was on the back. Any guesses?

It was an electrician! Love it!

Being there:
We arrived, relatively unscathed, at my folks' new home. It is such a nice place! Well actually it's great, and I know this because of some of the items they received in their welcome basket.

My favorite is a tie between the calculator and the notecards, that display a reasonable likeness to one of the units in the compound, but not necessarily the unit one has just moved into. I think any gift arrangement that blends Italian olive oil, coffee and a calculator has covered all bases.

We went out to dinner, and luckily the parking lot was fairly empty.
I have no idea what route one takes to get to this alternate dining establishment, but before I'd drive six minutes, I am fairly certain I would just hit the P.F. Changs across the street. However, I might not be able to get this kind of Florentine omelette there...
WITH spinach you say? Hmmm, intriguing, yet I have no idea what is in their Western omelette. (So I did have the Florentine.) I also have to wonder if this was really the most effective way for them to show their omelette offerings, as opposed to just a grand way to make that section a full page long, as this is such a small portion of what they had. It also serves to make one ponder the ever so slight price differences between various items. (Swiss cheese thirty cents more than American? Must be very fancy.)

Being here:
We arrived back home to an empty refrigerator and general messiness. I am not sure why I was surprised, as it was no more likely that fairies were going to come in to pick up while we were gone than it was that fairies were responsible for trashing the place and consuming all of the milk and bread in our absence.

After tending to several other matters, and some general procrastination, I finally hit the grocery store late this afternoon. After putting all of my items on the belt, I realized that the people in front of me were not being moved along very quickly, then I spotted the cashier's name tag...and in a not so quiet voice, I said "SHIT!" This was the person who took twenty minutes to ring up my friend's order last week. It was hard to pinpoint one specific reason for her lack of speed. Could've been the sightseeing, or the several mental pictures being taken of various angles of each item, or how many different things she wondered if I needed bagged (I get it for milk, but yeah, I'm gonna want my frozen pizzas in a bag, as to not just be throwing random groceries all over the back of the van), or just how many items she felt compelled to sticker.
I am unaware of there being a big circle of housewives making off with over $100 in groceries they've paid for, while trying to swipe some $1.99 skim milk...carried in their cart...un-bagged,as to not raise suspicion with the armed guard I don't recall seeing. I wonder what my receipt is for, as I always felt confident that it could serve as proof of payment.

It is almost past my bedtime. Hopefully I will be able to sleep now that I cleared out some random. Thanks to Stacy for tucking us in and continuing to host the Random Rebellion!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What happened to Monday?

I obviously misplaced yesterday, or passed out when it raced by pushing me off the road, and I missed it! Geesh! Well, no matter. I know that it's Tuesday and the force that guides me says it's time to fling some random around. When you're done here you can click on the wineglass and see what fabulous ditties other folks have to share today!


By noon yesterday I had gone housecleaning, leaving my own hovel behind, picked up food for dinner, and cut the lawn at the family camp. I sat down later with the woman whose house I had cleaned and told her I felt like I had accomplished nothing. She felt as though she had done a lot because she knew her house was clean. My mother was glad that he lawn had been mowed. I wonder if I would feel that glory if someone else cleaned my house while I read a good book off site? Either way, it might be worth a try, as the house would be clean without me doing it.

I keep asking the kids what they want to do with their day, and am being told "nothing". Either the question is too open-ended, or they really know how to relax. Or maybe the Game Show Network is the same sort of vortex that Mtv was for me all those years ago. Of course, then I feel anxious, as I take full responsibility for making sure they reflect back on a super swell summer.

How long after I walked away do we think someone decided they wanted one of these dishes and caused the whole precariously stacked display to fall?

Poor Peter-dog was trying so hard to use the force to get that water bottle to cooperate, or to get the humans to realize he'd like a drink out of something more canine-appropriate.

Oh, to clear up any possible confusion caused by my previous post...yes, that mosquito blood cleanup conversation did happen, AND my husband still did not manage to get the spot out!

Well I once again stepped gracefully out of the workforce that was the coffeehouse...about as gracefully as one can step out of dog-doo that is. The owner was "not necessarily" happy that I quit, and it doesn't get much warmer or fuzzier than that. Perhaps there will be more on that topic, AFTER I pick up my final paycheck.

So how are things looking WAY out there where you are?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Maybe I dreamt that

For whatever reason, our home survived toddlers and young children very well. Maybe it had something to do with meals at the table, boring dry snacks and sippy cups beyond the recommended age, but hey, nobody was terribly unhappy or malnourished. My fabulous organization skills (yes, let's call it that), helped to make sure the toys kept all of their pieces. We were certainly not "never removed from box" folks, but Polly Pocket and the Littlest Pets, as well as numerous Playmobil sets are still fairly complete.

When we got puppies a few years ago, I was unprepared for the disruption to my surroundings. I was not well educated in how to best get a stain off the rug, or cope with damage to a wall. I did understand that the dogs were not concerned with the value of their own toys, or any others that crossed their paths. I was able to keep the dogs out of the areas of our home that I did not want to have to police them in.

The children, on the other hand, continued to roam free. They also apparently got their own ideas about acceptable snacks and beverage containers, as well as when and where these breaks should occur. Nothing completely unreasonable seemed to be going on, and meals are still at the table where gravity defied them and their clothing on a nearly nightly basis. Recently, however, I have found myself having to utter phrases for the first time. Things like "Are these spots on the couch melted chocolate?" "What is this on the rug?" and general inquiries into who left the whatever wherever.

As I sat down last night, I saw a spot on the ottoman. The daughter mentioned that she had gotten a bloody nose, and I guess I was impressed that the only trace was the one spot. I can't quite fathom the route she took from the couch to the tissues, but she is a champion veteran with the bloody nose thing.

OK, so here is the part I might've dreamt, and will have to wait for more personnel to wake up to confirm...I am fairly certain I fell asleep in bed at around 11:30 last night. At 11:40 my husband was in our bedroom doorway possibly telling me that he killed a mosquito and there was blood on the couch. When I groggily mentioned that there was already a bloody nose spot on the furniture, I believe he inquired as to what he should try to clean the mosquito issue with. As I tried to fathom the size of the bug and how many pints of blood we were talking about, I suggested soap and a dish towel, dishcloth, washcloth...holy moly find the word in your sleep already woman!

I am sitting on the couch now unsure if I am poised between yummy melted chocolate or Type A positive. I see that no magic potions were applied to the ottoman, so that part of the evening really happened. I hear cereal being munched behind me in the kitchen, so I guess the suspense ends here...the inquiry...a slight snicker...

Skeeter Beater: I did that.

Me: Had you lost your mind?

SB: You hadn't gone to bed long before so I figured I would go check, and ask you if you were awake.

Me: But I WAS asleep

SB: But you popped your eyes open

Me: Yes, because I thought there was a child with an actual issue coming to the door.

Will he never understand momsleep (or lack thereof)? Some days I think I am sad that we didn't have three children. Most days I realize that I do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I originally mentioned this item in my usual Random Tuesday Thoughts post, but then decided it seemed inappropriately placed with the nonsense I was rattling on about. Plus, this thought is not random at all, as he crosses my mind every single day. According to the calendar, my grandfather passed away five years ago today. I can't decide if that seems like really long ago, or not. It is amazing to me how time has helped happy memories fill in the spaces that were so painful when I was initially trying to say good-bye. He is everywhere in my world.

Anniversary dates of peoples' passings just mark milestones of time for a day nobody really truly wants to remember. Five always seems like a monumental number (along with every multiple of it). Birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones we've lost give that chance to reflect on past celebrations, and there is a place for cake, which never hurts. I feel like I want to say something today, but am not sure what, so I dug out the copy of the words that I spoke at his funeral. (Yes, that paper I could find with a minimal search effort, but the items I cannot account for are mind boggling). Here goes...

I know my grandfather is here with us-approving of the fine craftsmanship of his final resting place. Well-sanded pecan wood, medium satin finish, and he would've balked at the price and made it himself.

I'd like to thank you all for coming. My grandfather would be so touched to see so many faces. Touched and appreciative. It didn't matter if you spared five minutes or three hours to visit with Grampa-he was always just happy and thankful for the visit. The smallest gestures never went unnoticed. The five rolls of Lifesavers I bought him last summer from the [hospital] gift shop were accepted as if they were the best item of the day.

Grampa was not a man of too many words, but the ones he chose mattered. They were always kind words, as he didn't see the point in talking ill of anyone. He also kept optimistic and didn't dwell. Occasionally he would comment that he didn't understand something that was going on, or something he was working on. No anger, frustration, or complaining, just simply the admission "I can't understand" or "I can't figure out..."

He was unique in his subtle ways. He was genuine in a manner you could always count on. You could tell he was interested in you, and he would carry on conversations about so many different topics, depending on the audience-but always with true enthusiasm.

I remember how much I enjoyed cutting the lawn on the old red tractor. The best days were when I was still small enough for us to ride together. I felt so safe and important. About six months ago, Grampa and I were driving back from a doctor's appointment. I looked over at the man who was probably a bit shorted than his driver's license stated, and thought "We've come full circle-now I get to drive." That is what I told him when he thanked me for the ride.

I hope he realized it was we who are thankful. Blessed with the amazing memories we have of a grandfather, great-grandfather, father, brother, uncle, husband and friend.

As we mourn his loss, let's also celebrate his life. Share a story, a laugh, and when need be, a tear.

In his memory, take pride in what you do, take time to do things to your satisfaction (no matter how long it takes), and appreciate what people have to offer.

For as long as I can remember, any time I stopped by, no matter what he was working on, which machine was running, or how high on a ladder he was, his response to my "I don't want to interrupt you" was always "It's ok. I was just about to take a break." And then he'd stop to visit.

So he's taking a break now-getting ready for his next project.

Rainy day randomness

I love a good rainy day, and it has been a long time since we had one...not just a passing shower...I'm talking about a rainy, DAY long extravaganza. The problem is that I am a little bit grouchy and I think my sinuses might've just imploded, so I am really not enjoying the rain as much as I would like to. Why am I grouchy? Well, I am not positive to be honest with you, and that doesn't help. Did you ever have one of those times when it feels like things aren't quite going the way you want them to go, even though you aren't really sure what you were wishing for to begin with?

I am fairly certain that sweeping some random out of the crevices of my mind, along with stuffing my face with cookies, will set me on the right track. Time once again to thank Stacy for hosting the rebellion, and contributing to my random well-being!


I have been a little obsessed at times over the past couple of weeks wondering what the hell bit me, when did it happen, and holy moly is it dead?
Due to my inability to see the affected area, I had to rely on my family to describe any changes or other fascinating bits of news regarding my wound. After a few days, I realized that some photographic evidence might be more helpful, or panic me more!
Oooh, a photographer just walked by so I have the most up to the minute status report on my neck. I am not impressed. If you or someone you know has had a situation just like this, and then lost all of his or her hair, and twelve warts grew, and sap oozed out...do not tell me! Although, I am sure I have imagined and mystery diagnosed a condition equal to, or far worse than, any scenarios you have conjured.
I have a mysterious combination of psoriasis and eczema on my feet that I feared had tried to corner more real estate on my body. I can manage socks just fine when I need to cover up that in-shoe situation, but am fairly certain that I am not a year round turtle neck wearer. Sometimes I think my feet get aggravated by stress (in other words-often), so then I wondered if my neck was stressing out, then I started to feel anxious....yeah, we see where this is going...moving on...

We went to a local arts and crafts festival on a rather hot day. I actually felt more sorry for the canine friends that had been dragged to the event than I felt for myself. (Hey, that says a lot!) For one thing, it seemed highly unlikely that any of those pooches were going to find the artwork of their dreams. A larger issue appeared to be that some of their owners left any dignity at home, presumably on the kitchen counter. This doesn't even count as taking the dog for a nice walk, as the dog IS NOT WALKING! Maybe neck flair is part of the dress code in the fairy land they just flew in from (sorry that you cannot see the long ribbons hanging from the woman's wreath of goodness on her head), but please...not here...
Remember how I said it was HOT? Well in case dog hair isn't toasty enough, look at this little friend. If clothing was essential, how about a smart lightweight tank top and shorts? Something more Richard Simmons'ish.

In other four-legged friend news...no need to ask me how happy I was that this cat does not live at my house. His strut across our entire backyard was fun to watch, but I was very glad that this isn't the place he was headed with that little treasure. Keep walking Mister Whiskers.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to feel young, like a kid, again. That does not mean that I want to wake up with nosebleeds, or just randomly have them occur while I am watching television. I was hoping for something a bit more fun and carefree.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday IS funday!

I considered posting this weekend, but we were with my in-laws in Buffalo pretending to not be bothered by the 88 degree heat and 92% humidity and lack of internet access. OK, everyone else was pretending to not be bothered, while it was no secret how I felt about the temperature situation. By the time we settled into our hotel room at 10:00p.m. Saturday (or should I say our second hotel room, as the television in the first one didn't work), I was delighted to find a 9% charge left on my ipad...no wonder I hadn't heard much from my daughter that day, as she was obviously very busy. I was even more delighted to find that the charger had been left at my mother-in-law's house! I had enough power to check the weather for the next day, and was promised a major cool down.

The four of us in one hotel room was really not the optimal place for me to start blogging, or at least not without saying things I would possibly later regret. I also had no real sense of how much longer the pretty lights would continue to glow. We all fell asleep rather quickly by 11:15. beginning one hour later, I proceeded to take full advantage of the cool hotel room air by being wide awake most of rest of the night...ick. I am sure many of you have found yourselves in that situation of being the only one awake, and completely paralyzed for fear that any slight movement might wake someone else up.

When we all went out to greet the new day, we almost melted on the short walk to the car. Those lying weather bastards!

Anyways, by the time I was safely nestled back into the air conditioned butt cheek imprints of my very own desk chair last night, I had limited brain power left. However, I was so amused by this week's Freakshow Friday over at Leigh vs. Laundry that I managed to string a few words together, and....TA DA!!!!!!


It is only 10:30 a.m., but I am going to go out on a limb and predict that this may very well be the highlight of my day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Grab yourself a snack and head on over to Stacy Uncorked and Wordless Wednesday for links to more wordless posts. Thanks for stopping in (and thanks to the gardeners who shared their harvest)!

Can't hide from the random

Thank goodness it is time to air out the random around here. For one thing, I am unable to finish any coherent thought on a single topic. In a related story, this whole house needs to air out in general. Luckily I don't have to put a lot of effort into cleaning up the place and being a decent hostess, because Stacy takes care of that duty for us...thank you!

The fresh air (or at least as fresh as whatever the central air is pumping out) is needed to eradicate the cooties that took over the girl child's body just after midnight last night. (Or is that this morning? Not sure when the changeover in describing the day takes place. I had been asleep for over an hour, but the husband hadn't gone to bed yet.) It's never a good sign to see one of your children paying a middle of the night visit, as I have never been awakened to be told anything warm and fuzzy. By 1:30 a.m. (morning yet?), she was free from any pains in her tummy after a two-directional complete body flush had taken place.

We climbed into my bed to watch some television, after I set the husband up in the spare bedroom. There was much better television on than there was eleven years ago when I was up alone nursing my sweet girl in the wee hours. My joy over finding that Family Ties was on was quickly displaced when, during the opening sequence, there was the final picture frame of that blonde little boy who wormed his way onto that show. I don't think I even watched it much anymore by the time he arrived. By 3:00 a.m. we had watched both episodes of the very special story of Alex P. Keaton and Courtney Cox dumping each other...bleah! When Wonder Years came on, I had to really push myself to look away from the glowing screen and try to fall asleep. What if Winnie and Kevin were going to kiss?!

I like to pretend that after spending some quality bucket holding time with either of my children, we should be a gross-free zone for a small period of time. Here are a few gems that occurred today while I was busy pretending...in random order (of course)...

* I was met with a clogged toilet (duh!) when attempting to tidy up at least some portion of our bathroom. (I was certainly under the impression that the plunger was not a tool I should've had to use today.)

* I grabbed slightly moldy bread when I tried to make my toast this morning. (I totally believed I deserved my usual toast with peanut butter breakfast.)

* I found an open freezer door when I went out to the garage. That is where we keep our frozen yum-yums, so not only was the situation icky, but sad as well. (I absolutely expected the opportunity to enjoy a creamsicle at some point today.)

* I dropped our last two eggs on the floor when I tried to take the carton out of the fridge when I was making dinner. One escaped its shell completely, and I was momentarily paralyzed by exactly how to get that off the kitchen floor. (I was so pretending that the kitchen floor we cleaned earlier today was going to stay clean at least until tomorrow... Oh, and why did we clean that sticky floor? Last night when I was making dinner, I knocked a small open cup of someone's leftover 7Up on myself and the floor. By the way, regular 7Up gets crunchy in your hair when it dries, as well as sticky on the floor. Don't bother trying it, you can trust me on this one!)

* My husband still had to go out of town until tomorrow night. (I hoped there was a vomit clause in the employee handbook, or at least special time home when one's wife is exhausted.)

* My son asked if he could go to a friend's house for hide & seek in the dark tonight with a 10:30 p.m. pick up time. (I figured we were going to sit in a circle singing Kumbaya together until we had officially weathered twenty-four hours. Or I at least thought he would respect my plan to be in bed by 8:30.)

* My inadequacies as a maid were highlighted when it was brought to my attention that my son was wearing two pairs of rather thick mesh basketball shorts because he was out of clean underwear. Seriously, I just put two clean batches of laundry in the hall a couple of days ago, but with the heat, bug spray and tennis camp, he has thrown in an extra shower here and there that were not accounted for. Apparently my girl assisted him in choosing the order of his layers by pointing out the longer shorts. (I could pretend that I am not amused by this story at all, but in my heart of hearts, I know this is just one of many reasons why I love those two people so!)

Oh, my son also pointed out the snuggie fuzzy royal blue socks he wore to tennis today, because he was out of clean socks as well.