Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting ready!

I just removed myself from filling Easter baskets, as I was dancing a little too close to the sugar shocked flame. I am pleased to announce that I only ate one peppermint patty, in the past thirty minutes, but there was no telling how long that willpower was going to last.

As a distraction, I started to panic a little bit about how dangerously close April is. On Monday the A-Z challenge will begin, whether I am ready or not. Last year I signed up at the last minute and flew by the seat of my pants. This year I started to see folks talking about the challenge back in February, and when I went to sign up I was hundreds of people down the list. I read so many posts talking about the plans and writing people were doing, and realized it might be a bit much to consider that throwing havoc to the wind a second year in a row would yield positive results. So, I did what I do best...I panicked!

I decided to take my inspiration from some recent eighties' ballad serenading that has gone on between the fabulous Marianne and me. When I coupled that  with my recent perusal of material for the My So-Called Teenage Life blog hop, I was able to come up with a theme, sort of...kind of...I think so...(drumroll) Angsty 80's Songs! I started middle school, graduated high school and went off to college in that about feeling anxious. I have a list of songs that were part of the soundtrack in my mind back then jotted down on paper...A to Z. I have changed several of the letters a few times. I also have another few songs that run through my head most days, and are forgotten before I can write anything down. There are some that I have texted to my email as reminders that I swear I will get to.

Here is a gem to get things rolling. I wrote this "song" in March of 1990, but I think it pays a decent homage to the angsty eighties...

A Love Song
I was waiting to see you
Hoping to want you
Now memories stab me
And painfully haunt you
I'm hanging by this piece
Much thinner than a string
Choking on the thought
That I meant everything
So why don't you tell me
About your new found friend
You must have known
I'd find out in the end

I never planned
To find out this way
Surprise, surprise
Is this my lucky day?
Thank you for nothing
Simply said and done
Congratulations baby
I give up, you won

You barely look at me

No trace of laughter in those eyes
The icy touch of your fingertips
Is one I don't recognize
Was it too little time together
Keeping too much empty space
Did you ever think my eyes
Would belong to a stranger's face
Now it's not a matter of love
If it was things would be fine
The question lied in whether or not
You had the strength to draw the line.


Tell me-is she pretty
Tell me-is she smart
Tell me-does she realize
She helped you break my heart

(sob, sniff, sob)

Phew! Now that I got that out of my system (and my flannel covered book), I can laugh and turn to the (often big-haired) megastars for the actual hits I will use for the challenge! I hope you'll stop by to visit and sing along!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Random ramble

I am going to jump right in with a story I just saw. We have cnn as our home page, because I like a little shock and awe, mixed with a few moments of terror, every single time I log onto the internet. How else would I know that the z-pac antibiotics for my annual sinus infections cause heart issues? Or, that a sign at an airport fell on a family, killing a child? Absolutely tragic. How can I be satisfied worrying about the modest list of concerns I have running thru my mind every single day when there is so much more awful stuff out there? 

Anyhow I have been trying to limit myself to only clicking on one or two stories at any one sitting, so tonight's lucky gem was slightly lighter fare (unless you are the celebrity in question). Dionne Warwick has only $1,000 left and is filing for bankruptcy! Do you think any of her friends on THE network saw that coming? Oh Dionne, thank you for singing with that beautiful voice that, in 1979,  truly made my ten year old self wonder if I would ever love again...since you absolutely would not. I thought I could sing like you, just because I knew the words.

I was assigned such a simple task this morning at Meals on Wheels that I actually scoffed, thinking I would be done in about ten minutes. Apparently I forgot that the amount of time it takes to prepare a food item is in a very delicate proportion to just how many servings are involved. It took me two hours to make 160 servings of creamed spinach. Plus, the 55 gallon drum of fresh spinach that I started with cooked down to about eight gallons. Moreover, I think I might have compounded my vacuum arm (sort of like tennis elbow, but not nearly as sporty), with a dash of stirring strain.

I hosted a baby shower here this past weekend, and my house is very clean. Yes, this is big news these shiny spots in our home. Certainly the rest of you have had those moments of "Huh, that does come clean afterall. I'd have tried sooner had I known." No? Just me? Liar.

Hmmm...I feel a little untethered without my stash of photos to guide me thru the random.

Oh, here's one...We were at the kids' orchestra rehearsal tonight when my friend's purse dumped all over the floor amidst the auditorium seats. I had a moment of panic, as I had some flashback to when we actually were jr high aged, as I feared for what might have hit the deck. Oops, just her grow a boyfriend...
That seemed to amuse the woman in front of us. As an extra bonus, she found a full size candy bar that we shared.

As I was wrapping a gift the other day, I was using some curling ribbon. I had a very fond memory of the first time my kids ever saw me curl ribbon, using only my bare hands and a pair of scissors. They thought it was some sort of magic. I am sorry to say that I haven't been that fascinating in a long time.

Maybe Stacy has some tricks up her sleeve...

Monday, March 25, 2013

My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop - Part Deux

Today's the day, and this is just one of the places! See the list below for other blogs participating in the hop.

After much deliberation, I decided which poem to share. Let me just type it up here before I chicken out...

8/5/87 (just 2 1/2 months shy of my eighteenth birthday, and a couple of weeks before we left for college)

Love...hmmm... (a catchy title even)

A catchy word in
A convenient phrase
I love you, I love you
And so starts the maze

A web of confusion
Diverse meanings the thread
A merry-go-round illusion
Twirling about in my head
When the midway lights grow dim
The carnival infatuation fades
Into more subdued colors
Of less confusing shades
At the exit sign we pause
A moment to reflect
Then realize from fantasy land
We must defect

A catchy word in
A convenient phrase
But why do I love you
Here ends the maze

A base of trust formed
By mutually respecting
Sharing comes from us giving
Not constantly expecting
No helpless dependence
Neither of us guiding too much
You're a positive supportive hand
Instead of a carrying crutch
Through times of trouble
I know you'll always be close by
With a firm shoulder to gain strength from
Not just a cushion on which to cry

Together we are one
Happier I couldn't be
For we still exist as two people 
You've given me the courage to be me!

Yep...feel free to use that gem for that special someone in your life. Sorry that you didn't have it in time for Valentine's Day. I cannot decide which is more surprising...that the lucky recipient of this outpouring of love and I only dated another two and a half years...or that this guy dated me for more than another two and a half minutes after letting all of this emotion wash over him.

Senior Ball ~ June 1987 
(and yes, the song "Lady in Red" was already out)
That corsage deserved a name and, a dear friend just suggested, its own zip code as well

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blog hop reminder!

I am sitting her on the couch with a book...the book...the one with the angst and sticky sap of teen poetry dripping from its pages.  On the inside cover, under the line with my name, it simply says "Tender Years" homage to Eddie and the Cruisers. Oh how I loved that movie, but was even more over the moon with my cassette copy of the soundtrack..."please don't go tender years", indeed!

I am afraid this book could swallow me whole if I kept it to myself. I am looking forward to Monday when one of these gems gets put out into the blogosphere for all of us to see, and laugh at! It is so hard to pick a "favorite". Who on earth was that girl?

Please join us, and let your sappy teen flag fly! Grab those journals or tear-stained poems and celebrate your so-called teenage life with us! (Even if you didn't write it down, you certainly still must have a tale to tell. Just make sure to use your teenage voice!) Click on the photo below to sign up for the hop.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Random counter clutter

This is what a two hour delay looks like in Central New York. However, that is not the important part of this picture.  You see, I registered a complaint awhile back regarding a lack of attention given to our snowy driveway on a similar morning. When I voiced some concern this morning regarding any role I might have had to play in clearing the driveway, the husband muttered some sort of inquiry as to the forecast for tomorrow. Seriously? I am not sure that you can get a good sense of how deep the snow was, (and you certainly can't tell how heavy it was, so trust me) so keep in mind it was enough for school to be delayed. It was garbage day, as you can see, so apparently it was believed that we just needed a path for the trash can to wander down. Forget that we have a son who needed to get to the busstop, and the cleared path ended at the garbage (not the road). Our front walk is also under that fresh blanket. Suffice to say a better route was shoveled...and now my back hurts.

I shouldn't pick on the husband. After all, he did bring back this super awesome chocolate crocodile from Florida.
This just rubbed it in that he had ventured to warmer climates.

Hmmm...let's see what else is on the kitchen counter...
I nagged my daughter for not wiggling her baby teeth more to get them out to accommodate her braces. After the dentist pulled them out, we saw why they were so stubborn. Yikes!

Speaking of the daughter, she brought home her Poop Quiz today! "Poop to Profits", a delightful romp about how to turn manure into money...
I didn't think things could get better until I saw the name of the company...Dairy Doo!

One more tidbit from my daughter this week. Do not try to claim her calzone as your own because, yes, it does have her name on it.

I don't want my son to feel left out, so here is something else that appeared on our counter...
As you can see, he clarified the labels on the items he brought in for chemistry class.

Let's not leave the kitchen yet, I decided to go with a turtle cheesecake as a consolation prize for our basketball family friends. It was hard to hand that one over, so I stopped by later to have a piece. (Hey Tina, thanks again for the pecans!)

I want to put an end to any thoughts you may have that my kitchen is some sort of organized and together kind of place. This is what was going on while I was making my first foray into flooding icing on cookies. (Flooding alright.)
Some color did make it onto the shamrocks...
and the counter, and the floor, and the...

Go visit this cookie and she what random she's got going on!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Traditional and comfort food

I dug out my shamrock socks and pulled down a green sweater that might seem a little snug for everyday use, but was certainly acceptable for St. Patrick's Day. I felt compelled to have a slab of corned beef cooking, but refrained since I still would have had to cook something else for the other people I live with to eat for dinner. I can't really complain, since I do not recall if I am truly a big fan of corned beef dinner. My friend and I typically grab a reuben at some point in the month of March and call it a holiday. 

In an attempt to raise the family level of holiday food consumption beyond shamrock cut-outs, I zipped through the golden arches and bought my son a shamrock shake...the first one I have ever purchased. I had a small taste, and while it wasn't my favorite, I can see having a craving for one in a month when they are not available. I can't really think of anything that I can only enjoy once a year. (Please note: Those Cadbury chocolate little eggs with the candy coating were out at Christmas in red white and green oval shapes. Uh-oh, it will be a bit of a wait, so, note to self to stock up on Easter clearance.) Those crazy Peeps? They deck themselves out all the time now!

Sorry, I got distracted by sugar. It seems like I had a point I was headed for. Let me look at the title and see if it comes back to me...Ah yes, traditional comfort food, and the comfort of traditional food. There are certainly foods that I look forward to eating, but there are also plenty of times I find myself blindly guiding food to my mouth just because I am caught up in the moment. Truth be told? I don't really care for cut-out cookies all that much, but you can bet that I have eaten more than my fair share of every shape and colorfully decorated design presented in the name of celebration. 

As my grandmother has started cooking less and less, I have tried to make sure to get some of her recipes so we can still enjoy some of our favorites. There are some dishes that I have a general sense of direction for, but cannot seem to replicate how I remember her version tasting. I also realized that there were a couple of cakes that she tended to make often, but nobody seems to miss them. I keep wondering if I need to track down those recipes just for tradition's sake. Will a chocolate vinegar cake with sticky sweet white frosting or a fruit cocktail cake provide comfort, even if we don't cut them? I seem to recall my mother mentioning that gram used to make creamed tuna on comfort there, thanks.

I used to really enjoy dunking bread in milk. No, those were not prison days for me, and I do admit it sounds pretty gross right about now. Now graham crackers dunked in milk? Yeah, I'm going to have to go get some now...

Talk amongst yourselves, and to me, about some of your least favorite traditional foods that you eat anyway. Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Hi (cough, cough) Sorry (cough, cough) Excuse me (cough, cough)...must be all of that black smoke from them not picking a new pope yet. 

I thought I was onto a grand news item when I found my daughter's current grades for Home and Careers on the counter yesterday...
I giggled several times throughout the day, and may have texted this photo to a friend because I just couldn't wait to share. My daughter met my dumb grin with a straight-faced response that it had been a manure to money quiz. She did not recall any specifics, as the quiz was nearly a month ago. After some pleading, on my part, she did look through her folder but could not find the elusive poop quiz...disappointing, even with the 100.

The husband is away on business (or so he says), and I just got this email titled "Yes, there's a story" with this picture...
No story was included, nor was there any guarantee that it will be a good story, let alone anything amusing enough to make up for his absence. So, I guess I have that phonecall to look forward to.

It is so gloomy here today. This morning I seriously pondered why the superintendent had not called a rain day, or just a general lack of interest delay. How were parents supposed to effectively drag their children out of bed when we ourselves could barely grunt three syllables? So very sleepy...need some energy. This is one of those times when the whole why-can't-my-body-be-happy-with-caffeine thing really stinks. Surely there is something...

Hey, we haven't talked about cookies in awhile! Yeah, you're right, we have talked about them a lot though...soooo, how about CAKE!
Made from scratch Hershey's Chocolate Cake...yum! My daughter made this cake the other day, and required no help from me. (sniff) I hid out in the basement after giving two, which was two too many, tips on frosting. Luckily, she still let me eat some!

You know what's better than cake? More cake!
This is one of the three mini cheesecakes I made for our friends' daughter to celebrate her team's  victory in the Regional basketball game. Oops, we in the stands thought they won, but the other team called a timeout and got two seconds put back on the clock in a two point game...eeek!
About one minute (and several fried nerves) later...
We are not traveling to Albany to see the State championship game this weekend, and I don't know what to make to step up my game if they win!

Cake, poop and fish? Really? I thought I had more...or better. Maybe next time! In the meantime, you can go visit Stacy to see what random she's rocking this week...

Friday, March 8, 2013

My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop!

You're invited to join the
My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop
Part Deux

March 25, 2013

Hosted by Amy of The Big Green Bathtub, Christa Desir and yours truly of Maybe It's Just Me.

We couldn't get enough of this last time, as I mentioned to Amy on more than one occasion. I am so excited that they have agreed to do the hop again, and to even let me co-host. The teenage girl in me feels like I am getting to sit at the cool lunch table! (Now if I can just keep myself from cracking up with a mouthful of milk, thereby sending it spurting all over the belongings of the cool girls like I did in eighth grade...)

Here's how the blog hop works:

  • Step One: Sign up on the linky below
  • Step Two: Dust off those old sappy diaries bursting with teenage angst or high school notebooks filled with bad poetry*
  • Step Three: Skim through them until you find something share-worthy
  • Step Four: On Monday, March 25 POST IT on your blog
  • Optional: We all love seeing old photos, so if you have one lying around of you as a teen, post that, too.

We'll all be hopping around peeking into each others private teenage lives on March 25. C'mon! What else do you have to do?

*Didn't write in a journal or compose poetry as a teenager? Have no fear! Counterfeit entries are welcome! Pretend you're a teenager and write whatever you feel. Just make sure you're using your teenage voice.
And if you're still a teenager, hey, you're going to basically rock this blog hop.

Sign up below!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 52

Here it is...week 52! 
It has been so much fun, for the past year, to always have "what's making me happy" in the back of my mind. Each week I reflected on what had gone on, then had to see what I managed to take pictures of. There was always happiness, and there were always pictures, and sometimes the two things even coincided.

The varsity girls' basketball team won the New York State Section III championship, at the Carrier Dome, this week.
It made me so happy to get to enjoy the game with my family and our friends (they have a daughter, who is a senior this year, on the team). The game was a nailbiter for the first half with only four points separating the teams at halftime. I admit to being kind of happy that nobody in our house was on that court as my friend commented on her upset stomach. The second half was a bit different, and the team won by 29 points in the end!
It was a fantastic season of games, and the four of us had something we enjoyed doing together that broke up some of the winter cabin fever. Regionals are this weekend! Go Stars!

Perhaps you remember last year when the team won the state Federation title, and the coach followed through on his word and let the girls give him a reverse mohawk? Well I couldn't help but notice that he shaved his hair pretty short a couple of weeks ago.

Thank you to Leigh at Leigh vs. Laundry for hosting such a fun year of smiles!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rays of random

I saw the sun today...phew! All of my big talk over the past few months, celebrating the glory of winter, came to a screeching halt last week when I had finally had enough. The only snow that is welcome at this point had better be enough to warrant a snow day, or at least a delay. Without the benefit of getting to sleep in, the only new activity would be shoveling, and I am finally over it. So there is the weather update. I am not checking the forecast for tomorrow. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs? (At least I wouldn't have to figure out dinner!)

Speaking of children's books, I saw a new one today while visiting some fun folks. I thought this page from "Monsters Eat Whiny Children" was hilarious...
Thanks for sharing your books, guys!
Such a cutie AND he had cookies!
Sad because he had no cookies.

Speaking of my field trip, I had the van to myself (gads, "car" would sound so much cooler), which meant the music was under my sole control. Time flew by on the way there, as I sang my lungs out to 10,000 Maniacs. I swear I hit at least five correct least! I was a little bit tired on the way home, but luckily I had something to keep me alert...
This is seriously the selection I grabbed heading out the door.
ABBA GOLD!!!! I swear I saw a disco ball when track one fired up - Dancing Queen. The only thing missing was a pair of happening rollerskates...the kind with the giant red stopper under the toe. Take a chance, take a chance, take a chance...knowing me, knowing you it's the best I can do! You're welcome for any ear worms that provided! The winner takes it all!

Let's talk about the a-z challenge for a little bit, shall we? You may have noticed some new flair over there on the right side of my space. (Click either badge to learn more.) Typically when I say I am up for a challenge, that means that I am basically cowering in a corner eating m&ms, waiting for the sugar to kick in...then it's go time! After surviving some seriously silly samplings of alliteration in last year's a-z challenge, I figured I might give it another whirl this year, but wanted a little more on my plate to justify my computer time requests around here. I joined a team of minions! (I have always wanted minions, but since I wasn't getting anywhere, I thought becoming one was surely the next best thing.) You can head over here to see my coronation crowning introduction, complete with my kindergarten class picture!

I am still cracking up over this latest use for duct tape that we spotted at the floor hockey game...

Not sure why I haven't got rid of this yet. Maybe because it is one of the healthiest plants in the house?

Martha! Get dressed...
...and go visit Stacy...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 51

After that salad I fed you last week, I have something with much more substance this week!

This. This right here...
...made me so incredibly happy this week! My brother was on the Hudson Valley floor hockey team, that played at the Special Olympic state games in Rochester. So. Cool.

Sometimes I like to pretend that I have complete control over my enthusiasm in any given situation. When we arrived at the venue, I started to feel that inkling of worry about how hard it would be to find our guy. As I pondered out loud, my son had already spotted him. I turned and saw my little brother (ok, so maybe he is going to be 25 soon) walking towards us with his fabulous grin, I yelled and flung my arms around him. I was so excited! (And not just because I hadn't seen him in two months.)
Exhibit A: His smile for the fans
Exhibit B: Me, not masking my enthusiasm

Our dad...chief funseeker and fan club chairman
There were four courts/rinks/fields (we never did decide what to call them) set up in the banquet room of the convention center. (The fancy chandeliers were hoisted high up at the ceiling, and just the sport lighting was lowered.) There were quite a few people milling about checking out the games. One of the things that became apparent was that there was not a person there who did not want to be. The enthusiasm was palpable! The venue also felt safe, not just in a personal wellness way, but more of a judgement-free zone. There were no labels, just athletes, spectators, friends, family and volunteers all there to support each other.

My husband wandered off first to check out one of the other games, while we were waiting for my brother's game to start. He was quickly engaged in a conversation about the game by an athlete he just met. I shook hands with a man who asked my birthday, and when I saw him start to ponder, I had a feeling what was coming next. Adolf informed me that my birthday would be on a Wednesday this year. (Yes it will.) 

We arrived with enough time to spare to meet several of my brother's teammates, as well as the coach and his wife. By the time the game started, we had become invested in team, and could cheer them by name. It was awesome!

This was not your old school gymnasium floor hockey. That disk on the ground was very light and made of something like a dense felt. Sometimes they flew up over the sides, and it was hard to get used to the fact that nobody was going to get hurt by the flying object. The sticks were like broom handles, and two just barely fit in the hole at once.

There were a lot of fist/glove bumps amongst "rivals" as they got up from falls or reset after penalty calls. There were many displays of personal pride and enthusiasm, quickly paired with congratulatory gestures from teammates. There were also many moments of reassurance for temporarily disappointed teammates.

Even though the Knights did not win their first game, we were able to celebrate the comeback they had started in the final few minutes. Their win in the second game sealed their spot as the bronze medal winners for their division. It made me so happy to see this face after the game...
It also made me happy to hear Mousey's talk about her first goal ever, Will's lamenting over his rough one minute stint in the penalty box followed by a few goals and assists, and Billy's ability to overcome the tiredness he felt to have some incredible saves as goalie.

Due to the distance some of the teams travel, there are not necessarily a lot of family members able to make the trip. I was so happy that this event just happened to be less than ninety minutes from our house! It made me happy to see many volunteers had come to the event. Did you know that one of the things you could volunteer to do was simply be a fan? They had large pieces of paper and colored markers for sign! I highly might make you happy! I look forward to looking for other opportunities for our family to get involved volunteering with Special Olympics. I am so happy that my brother's participation this year provided us the chance to get a peek into the competition.