Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Random Relief

Here in Central New York we were spared almost all of Sandy's wrath. The reports from my family and friends from the downstate area are a little soggy and without power in some cases, but all safe. I admit to burying my head in the sand a bit as far as news coverage is concerned. I hope that people are able to work together for the best rescue and relief effort possible in all areas affected.

Well, my birthday week if officially behind us, and while I did not get Babu, Leila or Lulu, don't cry monkey tears for me. You see, my dear friend made an incredible showing to prove to me that she actually does read my blog. This was in my gift bag...
It is so beautifully creepy and ugly that I almost wept. I am still stunned that she bought it like that (minus the diaper, obviously), but that thing was just sitting on a store shelf somewhere. In fact, there are probably more of them! Eek! He is truly priceless.

I am pretty well supplied with Halloween attire, except for shoes. You know, sometimes you want something festive, but dressy, that is vaguely reminiscent of the hiking boots some folks wore in the 80's?
 I had a moment of panic when I thought my foot was stuck, as then I would have had to buy them AND wear them home!

I also considered getting some festive colored side dishes, but couldn't decide between the raison and the raisin...

Time for just one more cookie pic before National Cookie Month is over...

I am a huge fan of fresh autumn produce, but this is REALLY fresh produce...(wakka wakka!)

Tonight we happened to notice the ditto that my son had for homework and wondered if the teacher was using something from her own youth...
What font is that? Old schooly typewriter? Nice lines, and the smudge is adding some pizazz. I wonder how many times a new copy of an old sheet was made to reach this level of craftsmanship.

I agonized over sharing the next item with you, but dammit, it's funny...

Hello, my name is Andrea, and I woke up this morning with this hickey. Let us not confuse this with the great kettle corn incident of 2010. I mean it's a totally tasteful hickey...wait, isn't that an oxymoron? I called my husband to tell him how classy he is, and to thank him for making me feel like a teenager again. He seemed taken aback. Maybe another perk of getting older is having more delicate skin, and the slightest smudge leaves a mark? I ran to the store where I bumped into a friend of mine. Lucky for her she is one of the few gals I would have immediately felt compelled to share my flair with. She was a real champ about hiding her envy and just sharing in my own moment of glory! I did several hair flips while we were chatting, just because. 

When I gazed glared across the dinner table at hubs this evening, I completely bursted out laughing. Luckily, there were enough shenanigans going on that the kids had their choice of what I might've found so amusing. When I did my hair flip walking past him, he responded with a "meh", and indicated that it could be anything. Oh no, this may not be the dark purple soon to turn yellow bruising I witnessed in the halls of my high school, but it is something that knocks at least six years off my age! Of course I may have negated any classiness I had working by going out in public wearing a too big rain jacket over a sweater that hung out the bottom, all in a questionable color montage...oh I am bringing sexy back!

While I am fully loaded with power, Stacy currently has none, but we can stop by and let her know we paid a random visit!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy? Is that you?

Well, the wind is picking up a little bit, and some rain is falling. This is sort of what I expected, which is a little less dramatic than the Halloween stealing, ten days without power that I saw on the local news website yesterday. Ah, yesterday, when I made my weekly pilgrimage to the grocery store. I saw some of my favorite regulars there, but wondered who the hell the rest of those people were and why they were buying so many bottles of water. I quickly realized they were the folks who had faith in the weatherman. We were pretty much out of groceries at our house, but I had a hard time justifying loading up a refrigerator that had been predicted to lose power. I grabbed four cans of soup as I figured we could heat them on the side burner of the gas grill. Yes, I had no doubt that my husband would not only be able to start the grill in the middle of a hurricane, but also would want to stand waiting for soup to boil. I have to admit that my first thought for heating the soup was to just use the microwave if the stove wasn't working. Admit it...you've had those moments of temporary insanity regarding power outages. I made sure I had bread and peanut butter, and there ended my plan.

I returned from the grocery store and promptly started trying to tie up the deck furniture, in the rain I must add, but of course used the wrong tarp and had basically fashioned a little umbrella that would've lifted off as soon as the wind hit 25 mph. Luckily the husband got home earlier than expected, and we were able to easily rectify the situation, or so we told ourselves.

The morning newscasters looked terribly disappointed as they broke the news that we were most likely only going to get a bit of wind and wet, and the rain would be done by Wednesday afternoon. I spent much of my morning today wondering if the gyn office was going to close early, enabling me to tone down the anxiety until another day. I also pondered the protocol for the power going out during a pap smear. Speaking of which, am I the only one who practically skips out of her yearly exam? Yahoo! 52 weeks off from awkward groping...at least on an uncomfortable table...well, at least...ok, enough of that. I took off put on my big girl undies and was at least partially distracted by my doctor's unbuttoned to chest hair shirt and gold chain. Seriously when in the past 13 years did he make this transformation?

The daughter came home announcing that she did not have school tomorrow, but it was just her school. Since I know how utterly hilarious she can be, I doubted her. However, it is true. The middle school she goes to is closed tomorrow, and here is part of the text of the email explaining it to us:

The district made the decision to close the Gillette Road Middle School building as part of their State-approved wind monitoring plan, which calls for action when notification is received that wind speeds are expected to be equal to or greater than 50 mph.

The district created the wind monitoring plan as a safety precaution in 2011 upon being notified by their architectural firm, that some exterior walls at the Gillette Road Middle School building were improperly installed when the building was renovated in 2005.  The District was advised that due to the improperly installed exterior walls, there is the potential for the safety glass to become unstable (in excess of 75 miles per hour winds) in specific areas of the building.

The district is currently involved in litigation with the architects and certain contractors to remedy the defect. As a precaution, the district along with independent experts will inspect the building thoroughly on Tuesday after the building has been exposed to high winds from Hurricane Sandy. Once the building is inspected and cleared on Tuesday, school is expected to resume on Wednesday. Information and updates will be posted on the district’s website at www.nscsd.org.

I am sort of speechless on this one, but not surprised as, after all, these are the same folks who made the semi-formal rules.

Once that task was accomplished I came home to ponder what other preparations I could make for whatever weather might come. When my son got home, we each had a frozen yum yum out of the freezer, you know in case the power went out. I watched a spider web on the porch taking some abuse from the wind, but decided it was not my responsibility to protect arachnohomes. Now that I see other stuff blowing around a bit out there, I realize I could've done more. The husband asked if I wanted to move any other stuff...um, no...it's raining and chilly out there now. Plus, I had this post I was working on before the power goes out. Oh, I probably ought to get to my overachieving attempt to provide dinner as well!

Be safe everyone!

**Oh, and the husband has a 4:30 a.m. teleconference tomorrow morning to find out if his office is closing...really? What do we think the chances of him doing that quietly are?**

Thursday, October 25, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 33

Over the weekend, I decided that my unread pile of books had decreased to a size that permitted new purchases. I didn't want to find myself completely overwhelmed, so we skipped the bookstore and went to Target. I wasn't as wowed by the selection as I usually am when I have myself on book lock-down, but believe me, I managed. As much as I loved having the company, I began regretting my decision to bring my daughter along when she told me I could not buy two books so close to my birthday. She tried to convince me that she had already purchased the selections I was wandering around with. I was then forced to search some more, even though I seriously doubted her story. I think she realized she was just prolonging our journey, so she agreed with the next title I held up. It made me happy to go out and buy a new book.

I was happy to sit, in the one room of our house that rarely gets messy, curled up with my book.
I didn't even mind that I had to share the ottoman. Nor did I concern myself with what was going on through that doorway...
I was happy that my daughter and two of her friends were having fun decorating cookies. I was happy when my daughter told me they did not leave a mess behind as they headed outside. I was happy to continue reading.
The daughter's not messy workstation.

My book waited quietly for me to return when I finally decided to go tidy up whatever was left. My daughter told me she was kidding when she said there was no mess, and asked if I knew her. I was happy that we both have a sense of humor (regardless of how good it is). 

OK, I also have to include this one because it made me very happy...

This was taken, with the cute little red pocket sized camera I got from the hubs and kids for my birthday, right before we had cake.

Stop in to see what fun and happy things are going on over at Leigh's place...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random links

Sure I woke up older this morning, but am still closer to 40 than I am to 50...unless my husband is on the couch next to me, then I am very close to 50. I am now hiding out in the office to avoid doing any housework - just a few more hours to go. 

Don't be jealous, but I have my very own cheerleader now...

This week's cookie (so far) is Peanut Butter Heath...
I would share cookie joy with you, but I just don't know what kind you like...well, except for Marianne, at We Band of Mothers, as my birthday gift from her gave a not so subtle hint as to what she might like to find in her mailbox...
***P.S. Marianne, he heard about Mr. Hooper and he is not pleased. Look out!***

My mother and I took a rainy little ride to visit my cousin and his family today. Look what was on the counter when we arrived...
...um, yeah, so those are rice krispy treats with...wait for it...Nutella...N-U-T-E-L-L-A (oh, and chocolate and pecans on top). This is just one of several reasons I wish their kitchen was within walking distance (you know to justify the calories consumed by those burnt getting there).

As if the company and refreshments weren't enough of a reason for our trip west, ta-da...
Happy Birthday to me, indeed! Three bags full!

The uses for duct tape really are limitless. While a small challenge to open, at least these things were protected from all of the rain today.

Late October birthdays=costume parties. This was my fourth birthday party, and I am the witch on the right (this is probably not the only time I have been pointed out with those very words). 
My dear and hilarious cousin, Kelly, is on the left. She has finally started her own blog, kook, and I am so relieved as I don't get to see her often enough to get my fill. She also will be performing her one woman show in NYC this November. Check out her website for more info on the show and to watch the trailer...you won't be sorry!

Time to figure out the Chinese food order, as I am not cooking, nor going back out in the rain. Number 43...that's Lobster Lo Mein. I might need a different system for choosing. Hmmm...husband just walked by with what looks suspiciously like bakery boxes..as in more than one!!!!!

Stacy's hosting a whole bunch of random over at her place, but I'm not sure if she has cookies!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 32

This week marked the end of another soccer season for our daughter. This season was different than the seven that came before, as this was my first year not coaching. I am sure it is no coincidence that this was her first time to be part of a team that had an overall winning season. Make no mistake, we did have a lot of fun, but I am happy she had this new experience as well.

It made me happy to stand on the sidelines and cheer...and relax! I enjoyed watching my girl play the game.
I was also very happy that the defense was strong, and she did not have to touch the ball during her first time wearing the goalie shirt.
I was also happy that it did not rain, as it did for the past 4 out of five Saturday mornings!

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Random crumbs and morsels

As you can see, this whole National Cookie Month thing has still got me riled up. I admit to doing absolutely no research into what it's all about, yet remain firm in my own beliefs. We are celebrating this week by bringing cookies together, from trays away from each other, to cool on one rack...
Snickerdoodle meet my friend choco-chocolate chip, made with Hershey's special dark cocoa.
I made the Snickerdoodles with the 1/4 cup scoop following the recipe, and kept the others small, as I figured it would help limit my consumption. Considering that I don't really like Snickerdoodles (or thought I didn't...I let the son choose two from the Cookie Palace menu that I scribbled on a notepad), I thought this was an excellent plan. That was absolutely delusional, as I had to sample (a giant cookie), only to find that they are in fact yummy. I did have to ward off a covert attack, as the daughter (who also claims to not like Snickerdoodles) asked for a bite of my cookie and lunged in for the middle bite! The bite I had been practically suffering through the edges to save for last. Then those other cookies were so small (possibly only by comparison) that I had to have two. That's three...THREE cookies...ah ah ahhhhh! That was so yesterday though, and since the oven is still a little warm from dinner, it won't take much to fire it back up and bake up some more chocolatey cookies...um, because I already ate a Snickerdoodle for my afternoon snack.

I suppose another self proclaimed aspect of Cookie Month is the incessant need to talk about cookies! Here is what I saw on the grocery store shelf today...
I can see that these are heart-shaped cookies, but the gingerbread ones next to them were not called "a lover's treat", nor were they "spiced with passion". Yikes, I was just trying to reach a loaf of bread. I don't need to be accosted by sultry baked goods...not in public anyway.

Cool, yes?
Maybe that is why there are so many songs about rainbows. Truth be told, and you can almost sort of see it up in the left corner, this was a double rainbow, but I didn't want to completely blow anyone's mind.

There is no segue I can come up with for what I saw at the red bulls-eye today. (I don't want to call any stores by name.) I fully understand that sometimes you just want to quickly try on a sweater to see if it fits without the hassle of finding a dressing room. However, that is not what was going on here. 
For starters, when I first glanced over I was pretty sure the woman was putting her shoes back on, leaving me stunned, as I pondered the possiblity that she had just tried on pants. She had half of her cart filled with every color in the same two styles of sweater (and I am not convinced I didn't see pants). She was also taking up valuable real estate, since the mirror she found was right near the clearance rack. She had all kinds of time, as she held each top up under her chin to check for her Color Me Beautiful match. I was fascinated (obviously) and lucky, since her process gave me at least ten minutes - time for three walk-thrus to figure out how to snap a photo, and from what angle. I decided being behind her in the mirror reflection was a bad idea.

Let's see here, since we already covered cookies as an October happening, what else is left to discuss? Hmmmm...Oh, just that my birthday is now one week away! I find it hard to believe that it is just coincidence, but you will not believe who showed up in the coupon section this past Sunday...Baby Babu! It was October fourth last year when I first showcased her on my blog, in hopes of unwrapping her on my special day. Is it the $149.99 price tag that keeps her and Lovely Leila from me? (I appreciate Marianne alerting me to that possibility.) Brace yourself, I just looked Baby Babu up online and she is sold out...SOLD OUT!!! Those coupon clipping people are crazy for their monkeys. I am speechless (almost). That other creepy adorable Little Lu Lu does not show up on their website anymore! At least I will always have their pictures (cue some sort of bittersweet music)...
Well the sugar is wearing off, but the timer should be going off soon!

See what's happening over at the Queen of Random's place!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Gooda gooda

There is a chance this post might get from point A to point B (or possibly C), but it might get there via point wheretheheckdoesthatfitin. There always exists the other possibility, that I might tell a rambling sort of story that doesn't really go anywhere. Hopefully the tunes I am including help you enjoy the ride, nonetheless.

My family has a very rich Italian heritage. Three of my grandparents were full blooded Italian, and one made his journey here to the States from Italy when he was nine years old. I was a very fortunate girl in many ways, one of which being that I had all four of my grandparents in my life, before losing one at age thirteen. In fact, I also had three great-grandparents, until I was seven, two of whom had also been born in Italy. Can you imagine the historical and cultural traditions I was able to embrace? Can you believe I never even tried to fling my arms around it? That's the country that's shaped like a boot, right? Is that where that almond nougat came from? Yum. I'll just have butter on my pasta, thanks. That was the extent of my geographical interest. 

I had some bullet points, but never sought to develop the ideas. In my defense, the grandmother I spent a great deal of time with was the one non-Italian out of the bunch. I didn't realize until I was older that she was actually cooking authentic dishes she had learned from her mother-in-law. I didn't really see anything as ethnic per se in our world.  A recent trip to a little Italian gourmet shop nearby opened my eyes to the possibility that many of "those things" I saw in various grandparents' kitchens weren't as random as I might have thought.

Buon Natale and Buon Pascale to you. There you have the extent of my Italian language skills. That really left 363 days a year that I didn't know what else to say in this beautiful language. I realize that I could go take classes, but that isn't what I long for. I regret not learning to say anything (useful) from the people in my life who actually spoke Italian. 

My father and I never drove around in silence, in fact, we still don't. Back when I was too young to hold up a decent end of a conversation we sang...oh did we sing! There was rarely a radio in the car, so we built our own play lists. Here is where a little cultural flair was introduced. Now we didn't always have the correct words to whatever decade of hits we were belting out, but we sang loudly and proudly. Considering that we managed to miss the mark on a few of the English lyrics, I can only imagine how imprecise our Italian probably was. I am sure I could not separate out one single word, but ran it all together like small children do with lmno. We had a vague idea of the topic our chanting revolved around, but no actual word for word translation, and certainly nothing I could work into casual conversation. I googled a couple of my all time favorites, after having them rattle around in my head the other day. I have to admit, that I was completely overcome when I actually heard them being sung as I hit play. The crisp recording brought me right back to my passenger seat with such clarity. I grinned until my cheeks hurt, then laughed until tears ran down my face.

For your Italian lesson today, this song called is Eh Cumpari! It's basically a guy talking to his buddy about some instruments and what sounds they make, according to Wikipedia. I think we were under the impression it was a child talking to his music teacher.  Anyways, we used to be so out of breath by the end!

Here is another, called Lazy Mary. I laughed so hard as I saw the actual words, with actual spaces between them. There was even a pronunciation key! Rest assured I will be printing that out for the next time my father and I are out driving around, with plenty of extra copies for whatever poor souls are with us.

My paternal grandfather's mother arrived in this country when she was thirty, and still was not speaking English on any sort of regular basis by the time she was in her eighties. Reports say that she spoke friendly English the first few times she met a person, but stopped after that. I would hear my grandfather talking to her in Italian, but do not recall ever asking him to teach me any of the words. I didn't realize that she understood English, since my child's mind did not comprehend that she had been here over fifty years, and had robably picked up a thing or two. My grandmother had decided that if my great-grandmother was going to refuse to speak English to them, that she and her children were not going to speak Italian to her. This was recent news to me. I guess thirty-five years ago I just thought that people either knew another language or they didn't, and you couldn't just learn...or ask. Although I thought I picked up a little something from my great-grandmother, as I called this woman Good-gooda Grandma...because she told me I was a gooda-gooda girl.

My four grandparents standing, and Gooda-gooda Grandma holding me.
Can't leave out Ernest and Caroline, my other great-grandparents. I may be cute here, but they are adorable.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 31

We drove for two hours, passing beautiful scenery down the east side of Seneca Lake (one of the Finger Lakes if you aren't familiar with these parts...in Central New York if the former wasn't helpful)...
...that made me happy!

Then we had a picnic at this little park, complete with sketchy playground equipment, right at the southern tip of the lake...
Unfortunately, there was no mud for me to re-enact one of my traumatic childhood memories for the kids.
Am still not sure which of these faces I trust more to not bounce me off that thing.
As I slowly realized what the kids meant by this slide not really having any support...(click) "GET DOWN FROM THERE!"
...that made me happy!

We traveled just a few more miles to Watkins Glen, our final destination...


...that made me happy!

The kids let me take as many photos as I wanted...

We are all smiling AND have our eyes open...
The lady who took this didn't move the camera even further to her left...
Their sense of humor, and agreeing to more pictures...
...these things all made me so very happy!

Stepping away from our normal routine, getting outside, leaving (most) electronics behind, enjoying each other's company and nature...

...that made me happy!

Don't forget to visit Leigh!