Wednesday, May 30, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 12

The flowers on my front porch are making me very happy this week!

Bleeding hearts-actually in the yard, not on the porch.
Columbines! I am so happy I know what these are, after ripping them out before they had buds for a few years at our old house, thinking they were just weeds.
Pansies with their pretty faces make me smile.
Lilies. Oh sweet Lily. This one doesn't look at me like I am crazy like that other one who lives here.
Hens and chicks and other succulents hanging out in the shade with an impatien tucked in the basket as well.

Pretty petunias!

Visit Leigh to find out what's making other folks happy this week!

**Of course I have more random photos of our trip to Canada that also make me happy, even though my son accused me of being a stalker in the water park when I took them, and even though I had to beg both kids to cooperate for some of them. It seemed poor form to then post them all. Plus, I really do love these flowers!**

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

International random

As I sat with my bundle of nerves waiting for our turn at the customs booth, I was filled with anticipation for our first family trip to another country. There were so many sights and signs taunting us from just beyond the border, things we could do if that magical man in the booth would just wave us in...and find us a decent parking spot...and give us a few hundred dollars of extra spending money. This did not prove to be the Canada I remembered, where we Americans could walk around like some high falootin' big spenders with our thirty percent exchange rate. We could bawk at the prices because they were sort of make believe since our currency held the upper hand back then. Those were the days (um, for us).

Nevertheless, we were set for adventure! I thought I had accounted for everyone's amusement when I booked our first night at a hotel with an indoor waterpark, but then my son spotted this gem...
The fireplace held no allure, but a Dutch Indonesian fusion dining experience, while on my ipad, with a wedding going on?! And a value, at that?
Not only does Canada consider their elderly with regard to traffic alerts, but they perform construction on them as well?

A double rainbow? Don't worry, we kept our wits about us when we saw it.

The hubs was a stick and piece of gum shy from making some extra cash, thankfully. His fascination with the old weathered money that hadn't fallen in was slightly concerning

I'm not sure why they didn't want us to perform any stretching exercises, but believe me, I obeyed.

iPad? cool. The look of using it to photograph the Falls? Not so much.
That is my daughter's hair creeping in from the left
We could only assume that there is nothing good on stations with the number 5 in them, as the other numbers were pretty much worn right off.

Oh Kirby, I did get you a green Aero, but it was very warm out...and we were very curious...and was yummy.

Danelle and Stacy, I risked being detained because I could not resist the Cars version of the contraband eggs. I saw no signs posted that they were a forbidden item, plus my collector's item senses were tingling! I believe they are priced much better in Germany though (hence there only being one in this photo).

The science museum in Toronto was fabulous. They were building an incredible amount of structures in the city with several cranes sprinkled around. A good time was had by all...these were just some of the random items!

By the way, the heat and the mist from the Falls? My hair has yet to simmer down (plus the humidity here isn't helping)!

I am sure Stacy is over at her place just loving the weather as well. Go visit and leave her a random "hello"!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Oh Canada!

Do things seem different here? Besides the font? Is there an air of mystery, or an international flair? That's because we went AWOL, all the way to Canada. Yep, we made that 2 1/2 drive, and I survived customs with a minimal amount of panic. I felt just as nervous as I did all of those years ago when we actually were bringing beer back into New York, BEFORE we were 21. I can only hope we get back into the states easily. I do not intend to try to smuggle any of those chocolate eggs with the prize inside, so we should be okay. The hubs just ran out for snacks, and will surely land some Coffee Crisp bars. We can stock up on those to bring back home since they are not choking hazards (phew). The son and I have been thinking of all of you, and took a few photos to share when we get back. Wonders of the world, indeed!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 11

I had a hard time getting myself motivated to make the shells for these little mousse cups...

But I was SO happy when they were done!
These helped fulfill the chocolate part of our wine, cheese and chocolate party. Yummy...chocolate mousse, or white chocolate mousse, you pick. 

Here is something else from the party that made me happy...
Happy retirement Mom!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Random allergies

I thought this post would be titled Random Sinus Infection, but that is not what the doctor said when I dragged myself there the other day. I sat in the exam room with that same anticipation I used to have when I'd bring my son in for a sore throat. I would hope for a positive strep test so we could get that chalky Amoxicillin flowing, and have him feeling better in twenty-four hours. Granted the antibiotics I've had for sinus infections never seem to take hold that quickly, but at least they offer some hope that relief is on its way. But alas, I presented allergy symptoms, and was sent home to my fake Allegra. Before anyone suggests the netti-pot, let me just give you a little (well, actually it is too much) information, I am fairly certain that the saline solution I squirted up my nose on Friday evening was still draining out yesterday.

In final preparations for my mother's retirement party here over the weekend, I once again stuck to what was important when readying one's house for company. I hauled an old wooden school desk out of my mother's storage room, deciding I had the perfect spot for it...then had to paint it the night before the shin-dig. Mother Nature decided to make it too hot out on Saturday for any of the guests to go outside to enjoy all of the yardwork the husband felt compelled to do, and all of the flowers my mom had potted for the deck. The event was a success though, in that the attendees and guest of honor enjoyed themselves, AND I finally found some wine I could stand to drink. I would dare to say I might have even enjoyed them, at least in the tiny sampling sized portions I tasted.
A Riesling, Moscato and something red and sweet with berry...In other words, none of the ones that it seems real wine drinkers like.

My senior ball photo album was recently resurrected. The flood of faces looking up off the pages was almost too much for me to manage. My twenty-five year class reunion is right around the corner. I am at a loss for what to do with that information. I haven't been to any of the others, and didn't really bother much with excuses, but this time an old friend I reconnected with on facebook actually asked if I was going (well, more like she said I had better be going). feelings on that topic are probably another post on their own (or a therapy session). However, here is a little random high school ditty I thought was fun to class ring. 
The name engraved on the inside of my ring is "Andrea Jeanne". I went with my middle name because the ring company called me one afternoon to tell me that my desire to have my first and last name was not possible because it was one letter too long. letter. They asked if I wanted to just leave off the last letter, and since my name was constantly misspelled as it was, this did not appeal. They also suggested just my first initial with my last name, but that wasn't impressing me at the time either.

Oh, on another random note, I feel compelled to clarify a point on my post from yesterday. I have no issues with moms who stay home, I have no issues with moms who work. I have issues with myself, and my reluctance to accept that my mommy role seems to be getting downsized at an alarming rate, or at least the job description is changing. Then I went and threw in everything else...but the kitchen sink!

Hey Stacy! If you are serving your homemade wine at your Random Tuesday Rebellion, I will bring my leftover cheese and chocolate as a hostess gift!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cleaning house

When the kids were younger, it really felt like my title as a stay at home mother was a conversation stopper when I ventured out into some public arenas. I also felt, at the time, that if that was indeed my role, it seemed I should've been better at it. I really liked the fellow child-employed "coworkers" I had met, so I was in grand company. Make no mistake, I was not a housewife, as any visitor to our home could attest. The place was not necessarily as kept up as it should have been and the refrigerator was not typically stocked with foods befitting any adult mealtime guests. My job description was that of a mom, whose office happened to be this house.

For whatever reason, I have found myself very reluctant now to give up that stay at home title...the very same one that once gave me momentary inferiority complexes in certain company. Some of my cohorts were on temporary leaves from careers they loved, while others moved on to follow new aspirations. Maybe I just wanted some mad money, some way to feel more deserving of that $16 clearance purse and a tasty lunch with a friend at Panera...maybe even an occasional shirt that cost over $6 and didn't have an Old Navy tag. (No offense Old Navy, I do love you.) 

The reality is that my day job was being slowly, yet quickly, eliminated. There was no need for a mother to be stationed at this house all day long, while the kids were at school...all day long.  It was even harder to accept that my job description was not nearly as involved even when the kids were home. Instead of full acceptance, I told myself someone should be here in case there was a sudden need for something...homemade chocolate chip cookies-STAT! 

I worked at a preschool for a couple of years, and I think since I was home when the kids were I still considered myself an at home mother. Now I am wondering just how many hours of cleaning houses I have to rack up to relinquish my former title. Right now I am at eight houses. (Well, 8 1/4 if you count the paltry attempt I make to tidy up my own abode.) Perhaps I am struggling with the sheer glamour of saying that I am a cleaning lady. Here are a couple of recent reasons why...
  1. Upon arrival at a house for the second time, the owner told me she was going to show me how to clean her kitchen since she thought the size of it was a little overwhelming, and I had accidentally forgotten to clean the kitchen sink the first time I was there. She said she knew it must've been an accident because the rest of the house looked great. Maybe she thought it would help dilute the embarrassment I was feeling, by watching her twenty minute demonstration of how she cleans her kitchen...complete with a rehashing of the products used that was done at my initial visit. I asked if there had been another problem (that would warrant such punishment), but she said there was not. I am due to go there again this week, and either the third time is the charm, or three strikes and I am calling myself out of there.
  2. If you have a cleaning lady, and there are leftover cupcakes on your kitchen counter, leave a "help yourself" note. The same also applies for a box of Entenmann's chocolate donuts (every single time at one house, I swear). I think half the time the thought of indulging in such yum yums is so overwhelming simply because I know it is forbidden. Give me permission so I can get on with my life, being satisfied by the Luna bar in my purse.
  3. For some reason, getting paid in cash usually feels just fine. However, this made it feel like I had done something far more lascivious, but not in a good way.
I hope that wasn't anybody's lunch money.
Maybe when people ask what I do, I should just be honest and tell them it is all too fascinating and complex to get into at the moment.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 10

Computers baffle me, cell phones intrigue me (I am still impressed by cordless phones), iphones and ipads might as well be magic tricks. Sometimes I would like to have just a glimmer of knowledge about how such things work. However, I don't need to understand any of the technology to know that the ability to talk with loved ones, while seeing them on the computer screen, makes me so very happy.

Here is my sweet baby girl niece trying ever so hard to reach my dog, as she spotted him in the background...
(And there I am down in the left corner taking the pictures.)

And here is my handsome nephew humoring his aunt with his "cheese" pose...
(He was taking pictures too.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Random fog

The claritinique I was taking to combat this season's allergy storm proved to be rather ineffective, so today I tried faux allegra. I seem to be less symptomatic, but with the new feature of that medicine hazy fog. Of course there is the chance that it is not my senses that have dulled, but just my whole self...maybe I am dull, sort of diluted. I am kind of ok with that. I am tired of being tired and exhausted with my thoughts as of late. Perhaps shaking some of this random free will take a load off? Worth a shot...

Here is a random conversation from a typical night of trying to get a meal on the table:
Mom: (Picking up the box of hard taco shells the husband brought home when asked to get soft shells.) Why can't you listen to what I am saying when I talk?
Dad: I thought I was.
Mom: (Noticing daughter shredding wrapper from cheddar along with the cheese) Good help is hard to find.
Daughter: I am offended.
Mom: Then go be offended with your father.
Mom: Um, son, everyone else is over here getting dinner ready.
Son: (From the couch) I am over here not wearing pants.

After mentioning that I didn't have as much chicken as I thought I had made, the son announced (from the his boxers) that this was a disappointing return to Taco Tuesday.

Speaking of the son, I regret to inform you that he will not be attending the ninth grade dance. If you missed any of the details of that event you can find them here, here, and here. I asked him what I was supposed to do with the NON-matching velour outfit I was hoping he'd wear. So sad. He said a lot of drama goes on at the event that he would prefer to avoid. I did not see a special section of the letter to parents addressing drama, and I really thought they had covered everything.

Well, we know this menu item is addicting, but the rest of the information about it is rather mysterious. "You can't stop." 
You will be relieved to know that we did manage to stop, and I am still not entirely sure what I ate.

So what color wig is the most universally accepted for the workplace?

There is nothing that subdues a bully like advice from Dear Carolyn. 
Nobody can bully her husband...except her!
I had a perfect storm of self-loathing brewed up last week. The winds have settled down a bit, but I think there is enough debris left for its own post. I am sure the anticipation is killing you!

Thanks to Stacy, the hostess with the mostess (and wine, AND a crown)!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 9

I really enjoy the first few nice days of spring. The days when the kids are anxious to get outside and breathe the fresh air. They haven't had a chance to get bored yet, or get on each other's nerves. The cool breeze keeps the drama away. All it takes to make them happy is a box of popsicles and some hoops.

It made me happy that I got to sit in my chair in the shade, on the porch, watching the gang play some great rounds of knock-out. 

I know better than to try to photograph their faces these days, but nobody had a problem with me focusing on the net.

Check out what made Leigh and other folks happy this week!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wiping up the random

Remember how jealous you all were that my husband signed us up to be some sort of toilet paper testers? Well, the only thing better than getting a box of toilet paper in the mail is...
getting a second box? Now I am sure you can see how I missed this part of the directions that I highlighted for your viewing pleasure...
Suffice to say, we have not fulfilled the requirements to have opened the second box. In my defense though, it was not marked "toilet paper" anywhere that I saw. It could've been cookies! I definitely thought I heard cookies crying out to be rescued.
I just need to take a moment out of my girl giggling to get you caught up to speed on some further rules that were printed on the back of the page...
I'd like to invite you over, but don't want to put you through the stress of our toilet paper diary keeping!
I also must point out that the diary sheet (known forever here as diarrhea sheet...and we're back with the giggles) has spots for 500 marks. You have to mark the box each time you use the toilet paper for the designated purposes. There are 165 sheets of toilet paper on the diary (giggle) roll, so I hope I am not alone in being unable to fathom being able to check off any more than 100 boxes...if that! I am starting to think this whole survey has more to do with finding out how fast people go through toilet paper. I think I will just make one check and call it a day...a very rough day. Now I am concerned that we are going to be charged for the toilet paper because we have not CRACKED open the packages and done our DOOTIE DUTY (all puns intended)!

Moving on...(yes, there's more random)

My friend does not always know when her first grader has made off with her ipad, so whatever opponents she is playing games with get an extra treat (without realizing it), like trying to guess this drawing...
Maybe my friend just tells us her daughter took the ipad, and she really is just having trouble with still-life drawings of utensils.

I spent over 45 minutes at the liquor store today trying to gather supplies for my mother's retirement party next weekend. I thought I would go with a wine, chocolate, cheese gathering since it will just be for the ladies. Apparently there is a class that non wine drinkers should take before setting themselves free in such a place. There are a couple of kinds that I like, but I think actual wine drinkers don't even count them as real vino. I would be more well versed in hosting a party with several ginger ale and kool-aid flavors and brands, accompanied by various chocolate chip types baked in a variety of cookies. The woman who worked at the store was trying to be helpful, but most of her questions just raised more puzzles. In the end, I am confident that fun names and pretty labels make for the best selections! 

Look at Stacy here with her wine glass mocking me! Go see what kinds of random she has going on at her party today.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reflections on no particular letter

I am so glad that I decided (yes, that is what we will call that impulsive mouse clicking I did) to participate in this year's A-Z blogging challenge. Setting goals for myself is not a personal strength of mine, but I seem to do well joining in with challenges other people come up with (that do not involve running great distances, of over half a mile). Thank you so much to the hosts and hostesses! 

I am not very competitive person, which is not to say that I don't like to win things, but this is the second time I have pushed myself to achieve a blog badge. This amuses my kids. It probably also disappoints them as there is no tangible reward for them to try to steal share with me.

I got a couple dozen new followers during April, and hope they come back to visit on regular days. I tried to be methodical with visiting other blogs, and then I tried some more. After visiting amongst my fifty closest list neighbors, things just got all willy-nilly. At times I felt badly for judging blogs by their titles, when I decided where to point the cursor. The ipad was a little more random...such tiny font...such large fingers. I think I will actually map out a new strategy now, as hopefully the list will be up for a while still. I was fascinated by the ideas folks came up with for themes! So very creative.

I didn't originally intend to author alliteration avenue adventures (sorry), but for some reason the letter E just brought that on. It was kind of hard to stop, especially since when I asked my mom if it was a bit much, she mentioned she enjoyed it. How could I risk disappointing a number one fan? I used my thesaurus more in those thirty days than in my whole lifetime. It never failed that I would run across, or hear, a really great word within five minutes of hitting It was encouraging as other bloggers commenting started doing so using the letter for the day. It is funny how the end of the alphabet is so tricky...just as you're fighting to finish V, W, X, Y, Z?

Regrets? Not really. Oh, except when I was watching tv late last week and saw a Laverne & Shirley clip talking about "vo-dee-oh-doh-doh". That is letter V gold right there! I'd better write that down somewhere for next year.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Always a reason

Why am I blogging when I don't have anything in particular to say? Well, I guess it is to stop me from what I was doing, which was hiding in the corner of the kitchen, my back to the family, hoovering the one chocolate chip cookie I bought at the store today. Um, maybe I also wandered into the dining room at some point to slug milk right out of the jug. Yes, yes I did. I think it was my private way of marking my kitchen territory. It was no less ridiculous than how our dog kicks his legs in the grass a bit after he pees, to let us know this is his yard. (So why can't he deal with some of the maintenance?) 

The reason I was acting out? I had recently returned from soccer practice with the girl child to some substandard boxed macaroni and cheese. The hubs had once again done his part to keep some secret Heart Association vow, and left the butter out of the mix. I always tell him to just use less than called for, but no, completely deleted. Whatever. I was wandering around the kitchen a little bit later, and found the mac and cheese pan "soaking" on the stove. Maybe some butter would've helped it not stick to the pan so much? I realized this was quite the trend in dinner clean up this week. The husband issued an unspoken blanket rule that all pans should soak, until I walk by to deal with them. Argh! 

The reason I was pacing to and fro, was to avoid any direct eye contact with the hubs...platelet donor du jour. You see, any glimpse in his general direction seemed to be taken as an invitation for him to tell me a little more about his Red Cross experience. Oh Bloody hell! When he told me it took three tries, I thought I gave the appropriate look of empathy, accompanied by a sensitive request that he spare me any further specific details. Something about the way I gripped the back of the chair I was standing next to, did not give away my general sense of wooziness. More details were shared, with the only interruption being my request that it stop. I am going to proceed under the assumption that you do not want to hear any of the finer points that I heard. I'm sensitive like're welcome. However, if you are interested in the ins (three to be exact) and outs of it all, please contact my husband, as he is very eager to tell his tale. I'll be in the kitchen for one reason or another. 

**Note: We are all sitting on the couch watching last night's American Idol, as I type this. The singing is fantastic, but has been overshadowed a few times by the sound of bandages dramatically being ripped off of someone's many bandages. Please.

**Another note: I would link to other platelet donation days, but I can't find them. Good thing I only bought one cookie!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 8

Sometimes it is so bittersweet when the kids do things on their own that just scream to me how much older they have grown. However, I cannot deny the happiness that comes with a fresh baked batch of cupcakes, complete with frosting (that I didn't even have to get out of my chair to work on). 

Now if she would just take some interest in cleaning up her messes? OK, so maybe it does make me happy to still be needed for something.

It also makes me happy that I didn't even get in trouble for sneaking a piece of unfrosted cake. I love how she just frosted the rest like she didn't notice.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Plain old random

Thank you to those of you who visited while I had that case of Alphabetitis. I can't believe it lasted the entire month of April!

Let's jump right in by taking note of who is not going green. This is how many bags the alliteration friendly doughnut place gave me for two bagels, one doughnut and four doughnut hole type things.
I especially like how the bag on the left is barely even held open by its contents. Thank goodness my doughnut didn't touch my smaller doughnuts.

I am glad Amanda and Baxter had time to be on the lookout for the work their neighbor was doing on his tree...
He spent several hours filling it with spray insulation from small aerosol cans. What, wait, why?

OK, this is blurry, but you can see the peeing Calvin. I have seen these before where he is relieving himself on car brands or team names. This one says "My husband's X".
I couldn't help but feeling like this spouted more negativity about the driver, than it did about the ex-wife.

Aside from morning, is there any other kind?
'nuff said?

Thank you to Stacy for hosting the Random thought Rebellion. I don't know what I would do without a place to throw this stuff!