Wednesday, June 27, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 16

This is a peek into our game closet. 
Most of the junior versions of games have now been replaced with regular ones, but some we hang on to just for sentimental reasons. The question never used to be whether we would play a game, rather which one(s) it would be. As the kids get older, it is difficult sometimes to lure them away from all things electrified.

I was so happy this week when board games started making their way off the shelves. There was so much laughter among friends. Eventually the husband and I got called on to play as well. Never mind the fact that on some occasions we were just seat fillers for the required number of players. I was still happy to be at the table.
It made me happy to see the developing senses of humor that both children have. So much giggling...from me especially!

Stop by Leigh's place to see where other people found happiness this week!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Random return

First, I would like to thank you for your show of support and solidarity for teen poetry and the angst it conveys. The sixteen year old girl who still lives in the corner of my mind was very appreciative, but then she got sort of cocky from having her ego fed. I think I have things under control now. The flannel book still sits here on the desk, but I cannot subject you all to another round just yet, regardless how random.

I was at my volunteer gig this morning, where I was once again blessed with the privilege of pulling cooked turkey off the bones. I am supposed to feel special I guess, since the director said I was just one of two people she trusted with this task. Hmm, so maybe that means she doesn't see how I will grab any passerby to help me. I considered throwing in a bone or two just to assure I wouldn't get this job again. She also told me to include the dark meat...from the turkey breasts? I am not sure who exactly cooked the birds yesterday, nor what they thought constituted fresh herbs...
Um, is that grass? Was chopping considered, or do the stems have extra special flavor?

The day finally came! We were low on toilet paper, but instead of writing it down on my grocery list, I decided it was time to get our tests rolls ready. (See here also.) With all of the joy those two boxes of toilet paper brought, I somehow missed this gem. 
Remember, 165 sheets and 500 potential usage boxes to check!
The medical emergency phone number!? Is that only for toilet paper medical emergencies? Is 911 not good enough? OK, I just called the number and the person who answered said "product safety"...I don't know what else to say on this, but am sure there should be something. I will say that I am not impressed thus far with the product. We have not gotten to the diary roll yet, (and yes, I still call it the diarrhea roll) nor the survey, so there could still be much fun and fodder in store!

This was a sad attempt by Fozzie to show his sea legs, which proved to be very shaky and super scaredy! That is as far out onto the dock as he made it, and then he was too frightened to turn around to get back to the safety of the sea wall. He crouched down really low and waited for rescue.
Note how he has his paws spread out for maximum gripping capacity.

I chose to go walking outside this evening so that I could breathe the allergen infested air. The hubs opted for the elliptical, and is clearly feeling the music, as he keeps shouting "Hey!" at the top of his lungs. Two things: that is not singing AND every window in the house is open and other people are trying to enjoy peaceful walks outside that do not involve wondering if they are being shouted at. Oh geeze!

Well Stacy is out driving across the country, but she is being kind enough to let us ride along! Stop by to see where her latest stop is!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My So-called Teenage Life Blog Hop

School is officially over, as of less than two hours ago, the temperature is creeping past ninety, and each of the three of us is working on forming a butt groove in our chosen seat. In an attempt to be the most productive of our lot (and because I picked the room without a television or PS3), I turned to the interwebs. (Yes, I said productive.) Lo and behold something caught my eye over at My Pet Blog...
Hosted by Christa Desir and Amy L. Sonnichsen
The general idea? 
Dust off those old sappy journals or high school notebooks filled with bad poetry
Skim through them until you find something share-worthy
On June 21 POST IT on your blog

I found my journal of poetry not that long ago. I giggled quietly to myself as I read just a couple, while remembering how certain I was that I'd be a published poet someday. Oh the angst of it all! There are seventy-seven gems for me to choose from. I'm not sure if I should aim for the best, or the worst (or if the best IS the worst). There is a page in the back where I noted who or what each poem was written about. I see that one was for a friend's yearbook in 1986. Oh sweet Jesus, yet another reason to skip the reunion! 

OK, I just have to pick one...

4/4/86 (Making me 16 1/2)

The tunnel is long
The tunnel is dark
There is no lantern
There is no spark
Of light
Just fright

Walls are jagged
Cutting fingers that touch
Wounds heal slowly
Aching ever so much

The light I saw
The light I knew
Had to be a dream
Could not be true
Anger growing
Keep going

Now the air is warming
Cold and dampness turning
There seems to be a light
A small flame burning

The walls are moving
The space is clearing
Light now shining
Better life nearing
   Dreams I've made

I too sometimes move in circles
Fighting with all of my might
Trying to sort dreams from reality
Distinguishing wrong from right
You're a dream , but yet reality
You - are the light!

Go ahead, take a moment to let yourself succumb to the shear envy for whoever this was written to. Unless you actually are the person noted in my index. There is a particularly edgy (in my own mind I am sure) breakup song that I just might save for another day.

If you're still reading all the way down to here, thanks!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 15

I remember the first time I ever drew up my baby girl's hair into one of those top of the head ponytails. She is twelve now, and her hair is pretty much off limits to me, unless she wants me to make another one of my valiant attempts with the flat iron. 

She has a lot of hair...a lot. Sometimes it seems like a sore spot between the two of us as she yanks it into that strained ponytail holder every morning. Her hair does get a bit of attention from people, and I was never quite sure how to gauge her reaction, or lack thereof. I don't know what to do with my own hair, nor how to use any styling products (including hair dye if you recall). However, I held out hope that she would appreciate the beautiful head of hair she has someday.

It made me so happy this week to find out that day had come (without me ever knowing it). It also made me happy that she shared this writing piece from the first day of school...

She also let me read what she wrote for the very same assignment a few days ago...
The funny thing was that a lot of the kids didn't remember doing the assignment before.

It made me so happy to be invited into her world. It made me so happy to know this little thing about her. It made me so happy that she was willing to be playful, and let me take these pictures to share with you. (Truth be told, it took a small bribe, but there was much laughter.)

Stop by to visit Leigh and see what made other folks happy this week!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Random treats

Stacy (Queen of the Random Rebellion) truly is the hostess with the mostess...hospitality AND wine!!!! I can barely control my giddiness when I see a hand-written real envelope in our mailbox, so imagine the joy when I saw a Priority Mail box on my front porch, from Stacy! And then...then...look what was inside (prepare to be envious)...
I am willing to share, as soon as I decide which one to open first!
You can treat yourself to some at!

The sun was hot for strawberry picking and the berries were small...really small. I got an attractive itchy rash on the pasty white part side of my forearms (as if the other side is sporting some exotic tan). However, I did find Minnie Mouse...

The house was much quieter yesterday after I silenced the leftover strawberry shortcake that kept calling me. I had put some mini morsels in the batter to make sure the hot fudge knew it was not needed and could mind its own business, as I was only back in the refrigerator for the whipped cream.

I flipped Mother Nature the bird today by closing our house off from the increasing heat and mugginess and baking some cookies. You would think I had the air conditioning chugging, as I thought I did as well. Thanks to the chilly day yesterday, it just felt a little bit warmer than I expected when we got back from the store. I thought I had just eaten too many cookies until I  checked the thermostat to find that the A/C was off.   Suffice to say the cool air is flowing now though. 

Anyhow, I felt a little flat after watching these chocolate chips deflate...

Instead, I found love in the peanut butter cookies as I spotted this one coming out of the oven...

There were some oatmeal raisin cookies too, but they know their role was just to pretend to be health food, so they avoided the paparazzi.

Thanks for stopping by to share these random treats!
Don't forget to visit Stacy too!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Buckle up

Sometimes when I meet people amidst a lot of activity, I am sort of distracted and may not catch their names. If the interaction does not prove to be a favorable one, I don't give much concern to whether I properly filed any pertinent data. The faces may look vaguely familiar at a later date, and require no more than a pleasant smile of acknowledgement. One face in particular though, for some strange coincidence, seemed to constantly appear at the worst times. I could barely muster up a happy visage, let alone any conversation. I might hear a voice, but pretended to not think it was directed at me, so I could continue about my business of fretting over this and that.

One day recently, I sat down to rest for a few minutes. I noticed someone headed for the last vacant chair next to me, but was too tired to execute a proper look away and dodge maneuver.

"You don't recognize me, do you Andrea?"

"I'm sorry. I know we've met, but..."

"Let me reintroduce myself, as I am not surprised your memory is failing. I am Yermid Lifecrisis."

"Oh, I barely recognized you, your hair looks..."

"More gray?"

"Uh, and your outfit.."

"Doesn't fit quite right?"

"No, noooo, that wasn't at all what I was thinking. I, is that a wine bottle sticking out of your purse?"

"Don't judge!"

"No, I was just wondering if it was any of those new kinds I like."

"Oh honey, wine and hair dye aren't going to help you make friends with this crisis."

"Well, then what do you suggest?"

"Laundry and housework. That ought to do it."

"Are you serious?"

"Serious, no. Hilarious? Yes." (Gets up to leave.)

"Wait! What's this you're handing me?"

"The only thing that might help. A seat belt!"

What a bitch! No chocolate for her.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 14

 It made me happy that my daughter overcooked her microwave s'more, as I had a feeling she wasn't going to want to eat it...
I usually put the halves side by side instead of stacking, but she wanted to try fully assembled zapping.
Oh my gooey goodness!
...and I certainly couldn't let it go to waste. 

I must've looked really happy because she decided to make hers the same way again, just cooking it for a little less time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Random Orthodontics and then some

 I was feeling pretty decent about my latest wogging endeavor...until...By the time I got back from the grocery store Sunday morning I had deemed it too warm out to do much more of anything, so I set about considering some relaxation. That was right around when the husband left for a two hour bike ride. The kids washed the van, and I attempted to scrub some of the siding on the house clean. A little bit later in the afternoon, we decided to take a quick drive out to our family camp two miles away, and the husband was suddenly pulling out of the garage on his bike again. We hadn't been sitting around long at the lake when the husband offered to cut the lawn out there. Seriously? Can a girl get some lazy time without having to feel all guilty about it!? Then I had to worry that he was losing his mind as we watched him set out mowing wearing his bike helmet. I quickly realized that he was protecting his head from sunburn (not wayward blades of grass) in the absence of a hat, but please. I asked my son to take a quick picture, but he just informed me that he didn't get around to it (phew, someone lazier than me). Oh, and then he rode his bike back home.

In addition to finding wood you can afford, there was this offering...
You can buy it, but don't you dare try to test it for comfort first.
How do I know our orthodontist is cool? This is prominently displayed in his waiting room.
Aren't busy waiting rooms where you display things you don't want anyone to touch? And now that you had a special sign made telling me not to touch, I want to sit on it!
We were told that we are entitled to free toothbrushes for my daughter whenever we need them, since the braces wear them out quickly. Hmmm, $4700 for the orthodontic work, so I figure over 1,000 free toothbrushes should make me feel better.

Please note the hard foods my daughter is not to eat.
The lego cities are safe, but now where will she get her US RDA of plastic?
While the girl is not supposed to chew gum, I was disappointed that this pack was empty by the time I got to it!

I think that is all I have for this week's installment, or at least this is what I can remember until five seconds after I hit the publish button!

Thanks to Stacy for hosting the random rebellion! She's starting a batch of wine, so swing by the visit...  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A birthday and a bat

I got it in my head that I wanted to tell this tale in honor of my grandmother's 90th birthday today. Once I got the idea in my head to share, it wouldn't go away. It may not seem like a very touching story, but it is real and true and us, and I guess sometimes that just means something...

There are some stories that are so significant because of the role each person plays, not necessarily because anything truly fantastic happens in the end. I had an incident with my grandmother a few years back that has become one of my favorite tales. There is no real hero, nobody is portrayed in a very flattering light, but I learned that I could take a stand if something was important enough to me. It just so happens that what is more important to me than I realized is a fear of bats, especially when they are inside the house.

My grandmother and I were in her kitchen when I noticed something furry clinging to the top of her wall. The words questioning my grandmother about this finding came out of my mouth a few seconds before I realized what I was looking at. The exchange that followed went something like this:

“What is that?”
“Well Gramma, it seems to be a bat.”
“No, it can’t be a bat. It’s one of those other things.”
“A squirrel? No it is not a squirrel.”
“No, the other little animal that crawls around and goes up trees.”
“That is a bat!”
“That doesn’t make sense that a bat would be in here. I think it’s one of those other things.”
“A chipmunk? That is not a chipmunk. How would it have gotten all the way up there?”
“So you think it’s a bat?”
“Yes, it is a bat!”

I still do not understand why it was more logical, in her mind, for a chipmunk to have found his way in than for a bat to come visiting. At some point she did suggest that the open kitchen window, that had no screen at that time, might have been a possible entry point. Possibly.

I grabbed the phonebook and went out to the garage to make some calls. I called my mother and aunt to alert them of the situation and solicit some advice for how to proceed (while hearing my grandmother in the background still second guessing our decision that it was indeed a bat). My justification in bothering both ladies at work was that this was their mother I was dealing with, and as I was living the insanity, they were going to at least hear about it. My next phone calls were to animal control and pest removal companies. Animal control was not getting anywhere in a timely fashion, and it would’ve cost about $100 to have her new guest escorted out. Luckily the bat was exhausted and a sound sleeper, as the deliberations that followed did not cause him to stir one bit.

My grandmother was not interested in paying to have the little bat removed, and suggested that we should be able to take care of it. I told her I was not dealing with it. I also explained that if we bothered him, he might fly to some other part of the house where we might not be able to keep tabs on him. My grandmother commented again on how he was “just a little thing”. I was still not interested.

I was no more interested when she pulled a kitchen chair over, climbed up on it and started gesturing toward the bat with a one cup capacity strainer. I was certain that this was her version of playing chicken with me, figuring that seeing my eighty-four year old grandmother up on a kitchen chair, wielding kitchen utensils against a bat, would cause me to spring into action. When I did not offer to get on the chair with her, nor get the ladder we would need to actually reach the ceiling with the twelve inch long strainer, she suggested that my cousin would be able to help if he was available. Again, I felt she was calling my bluff, thinking maybe I’d want to outshine him. She thought wrong again, as I suggested she come down and call him, to which she replied that he might be working. I told her she could call his wife too, and it would be fine by me. I also mentioned that her son would probably also be able to handle this situation. The reality was that she was not going to call anyone, and the phone calls I had made didn’t deliver any help to the driveway either. It was just the two, well three, of us.

I decided to go next door to ask the elderly neighbor’s son, whom I had never met before, if he could come help us out. His first order of business was to confirm that it was a bat. He told my grandmother that he could get rid of the bat the easy way, or the hard way. I mentioned that I did not think we should use any method that could involve the bat flying around the house, and my grandmother agreed possibly unaware of which method we were by default selecting. We got a broom for our new recruit and he got to it. Bats are not silent suffocatees, which was unpleasant, so I headed to the basement to look for a box to put the corpse in. Once the job was done, the two elders took to examining the bat. My grandmother shouted down for me to come look at it.

“No thank you.”
“Oh come and see it. It’s just a little thing.”
“I don’t want to!”
“You’re such a baby!”
“You can call me names, but I am still not coming to look at the dead bat!”

(Another phone call to update those lucky enough to be at desk jobs of my new status.)

They decided the bat could just go in the garbage, after they spent some more time looking at his teeth. I returned upstairs, but kept a good distance as they still marveled over the animal in the garbage.

I did not capture the bat, I did not kill the bat, I did not look at the dead bat and I was just fine with such.  I wondered if the bits if sanity I lost that morning would have been worth protecting by ignoring the bat, or chipmunk with spiderman like tendencies, who was clinging to the top of kitchen wall. Maybe there was some flaw to my plan of announcing the situation, and then not following through with fixing the problem. In the end I guess I really felt this was not my responsibility to manage single-handedly. I did provide a solution, regardless of whether it was an unfavorable one in many ways. 

We have not spoken of this event with each other since. I still stick to responsibilities more suited to my abilities like setting up holiday decorations, doctor's appointments, errands and trimming bushes (or as I like to call it, crimes against nature).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 13

Wow! I just realized that at week 13, we are 1/4 way through the 52 weeks. (Yes, pardon me and my stellar division skills!) Moving right along...

Plain and simple as to what made me happy this week...Ben AND Jerry! This flavor is so yummy. I am not under any false impressions. It is not health food, and that is just fine with me. It is still a dessert item, but since I only eat about 1/4 cup at a time, it is well worth the 100 calories (oh, and 3 grams of protein). I know it is wayyyyyyy less dangerous than anything else in the snack shack I might shove in my face. Oh, and if you did eat the whole container for a grand total of 800 calories (and 24 grams of protein), it would still be better than some options.

Mmmmmm...happy, happy, happy!

Stop over to see what made other people happy this week!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Random signs and such

We just got back from the ninth grade awards convocation (I guess you have to be a good student to know what that fancy word is all about). I just want to mention a few high- (or low-) lights: one department head quoted Colin Powell and Dr. Seuss in the same 90 second speech; and, there was a three way tie for highest average separated by .002 points and they did not acknowledge who second and third place were. That is all on that topic for now as it's late and I'm, I know. 

I noticed the sign at McDonald's yesterday said "Always open for our customer", and thought maybe there was someone special like Jared is to Subway. (Speaking of Subway, our local ones say "Under New Management", what sort of changes should I actually expect to see? I bet the food is way different now. Phew because that last manager really teed me off!) Just the one customer? I was not even certain it was a 24 hour location. Anyways, on my way back through town I noticed that the Burger King sign across the street from the golden arches said "Closed during remodel". Uh-oh, the BK lounge is just not there for me like good old Ronald, who stayed open during his recent renovations. McDonald's is concerned about where I get my daily salt and fat intake, while the king clearly is not. Another point I had to ponder was who really gives a crap what interior decorating updates take place inside a fast food restaurant? Still got a Whopper? Great, thanks. I am not sure I took in much of the scenery the last time I was hoovering my fries. 

The sign at Dunkin Donuts was proudly announcing their new burritos. Excuse me? What's your name again? Why must they try to be overachievers? No doubt these are delicious morsels of food that will stay in my digestive tract at least fifteen minutes-just long enough to get home. (Hopefully, but you know what? That is just not a risk worth taking.) I am going to be really annoyed the next time I run to the border and find out they are not serving donuts!

Remember those sexy wood floors? Well look, now wood is available to everyone at great prices I guess...
Perhaps not so sexy, but affordable!

I started wogging (walk/jog type of arrangement) with a friend of mine recently. She is the perfect companion for me because, in addition to being super swell to chat with, she has an injured knee. No overachieving risks. I don't know what the hell I am going to do when the cortisone shots she got today kick in. I guess I will have to be some sort of shady character lurking around the orthopedic center looking for new exercise buddies.

I think I may have exhausted my current volunteer gig. I am fairly certain I should feel good about myself when I leave each week, but instead I seem to feel like a bad person for one reason or another. Sometimes it is in a who-did-I-wrong-today vein. Other times the lack of organization, communication and direction just brings out the worst in me (often leading to the former, I guess). So if you are local and have deemed yourself a worthy charity, I will work for fact, I will even bring the cookies!

Why can't I get caught up on reading all of your blogs? Why must you all have such fascinating and/or funny things to talk about? I don't know when I fell so far behind. I think it was the one night in Toronto with no wifi...yes, I know that was over a week ago, but you know it's a slippery slope. Somehow the weekends in general seem to trip me up at times. I can't imagine what I was doing instead. I know for certain that it wasn't cleaning my house. I am trying (to get caught up AND clean this place). One place to start might be to end this ramble!

Thanks to Stacy for hosting the random rebellion...with her award winning winemaking skills, no less...head on over to congratulate her! She's even telling us how to make you're moving...

Monday, June 4, 2012


Remember how I mentioned that my son had decided not to attend this year's ninth grade dance? 
I remember the decision quite well, as it withstood several inquiries into whether or not he was certain he did not want to go...several. It couldn't possibly have had anything to do with the complete mockery we had made of the list of rules. If anything, I thought the guffaws he and I shared would make him more eager to go witness the spectacle for himself. Portions of the letter to parents were posted in a few different blog posts, but to get everyone up to speed, here are the main points...

Boys should wear a button down shirt, dress pants that must be buttoned and zipped and worn appropriately, not sagged down exposing undergarments. Boys should NOT wear velour pants with the matching velour jacket. It is not necessary for the boys to rent a tuxedo. Canes and top hats must be checked in the coatroom.

Girls should wear a dressy dress, either long or short. Students are not allowed to wear tube tops, garments that are completely backless or below the bra line, see-through clothing, dresses that are to be worn braless, tops that are too low cut in the front, and any clothing that exposes any of the midriff or the belly button. Skirt length should be the same that is appropriate for school. Strapless dresses and spaghetti straps are allowed

Although we would like everyone to have fun, there is a style of dancing that is unacceptable at the Junior High dance. Students are not allowed to dance in a style that is sexually explicit, suggestive, provocative or simulates any sexual act. We will not allow grinding, moshing, or slam dancing.

It is also not necessary for students to arrive in a limousine. As adults, we must recognize the fact that the students attending this dance are only 14, 15 and in some cases, 16 years old. Although a lot of fun, limousines and tuxedos may be more appropriate for older students and for adults. If we allow our children to indulge in these pleasures too early, what will they have to look forward to in the future?

Top notch kill joys, no? It does make you wonder what was happening to require that some of these gems be written out. Full commentary on these topics available here, here, here and here. Moving on...

Maybe he was just disappointed that he could not shop for matching velour AND a cane to ride around in a limo wearing. He actually said there would just be so much drama, and he'd rather avoid it.
As I poked my head into the boy's room at 9:20 to say good-night last Wednesday, I told him there would be the usual fun Friday night stuff to do in lieu of the dance. You know, to sort of put the whole thing to rest. The response? "I am curious and think I'll go if Cam will go." Yes, this is part of the grouping who had grand plans to attend this fete three months ago. Ugh! The last day to buy tickets was the following day (of course), so by 6:55 a.m. on Thursday we had confirmation that it was a go.

Ticket was purchased, dress shirt selected, and thank goodness it was finally Friday. That is until I got a text at 2:00 that afternoon to inform me that everyone else was wearing all black and he did not want to feel awkward. Oh boy! The retail gods shined down upon us as the shirt he liked happened to be marked down to $3.98, so I let him get a new tie too. $15.00 later and he was good to go! (The orchestra concert clothes from two days earlier covered the bottom half, since I actually had items that were his and fit properly this time.) We made sure to belt his pants to better adhere to the no undergarments showing rule. Now that you have the abbreviated tale of how he found himself on his way to the dance, we can proceed with the debriefing...

Did you feel safer knowing the extensive rules that were in place?


Did you, in fact see any matching velour.


Any canes or top hats?

One, and it was checked. The coat check consisted of throwing coats on a table in the cafeteria.

Were the dancing rules followed?

No, all of them were broken, except for the mosh pit.

What did your $20 ticket get you?

A chocolate fountain, candy, fruit, water...basic party needs.

Were there rules for the chocolate fountain?

No, there were supervisors. 

What was the most outrageous thing?

Some of the date pairings?

Was there as much drama as you anticipated?

Two girls cried, that's it (almost sounding disappointed). One's date left her standing on the dance floor and the other one's reason is unknown. 
We ran into another dance goer's mom at Target yesterday. I asked if she thought her son might be up for a few questions about his experience, since she had eluded to some new information (including a girl who was almost turned away due to the shortness of her dress). I saw what was getting out of some cars, and was not surprised. So here's Diddy...

Were you well briefed on the rules for the dance before attending?

No. (This is unacceptable as his mother is a follower here.)

What was the most outrageous thing you saw?

A chocolate fountain just randomly sitting there.

So you were not aware of the rules regarding what kind of dancing was acceptable? (I filled him in.) Did you see any of these kinds of dancing, or witness anything unusual?

Oh, a friend got hit in the balls while dancing and started puking, so he had to go home.

How would you describe the dancing he was partaking in?

Slam dancing.

See now why you guys should've read and followed the rules?

I was also reassured that I did not need to feel badly for Diddy's ladies' man of a ten-year old little brother. He had a jolly good time at the pre-dance photo shoot he took part in "sniffing all the girls...and they smelled good".
A good time was had by all! (Well except for those two girls and that boy.)