Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute: Canon SX10IS

Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.


Today, my tribute goes out to my new camera! I am a neophyte in my ability to use it, but I already know am going to love this thing. This camera puts you on the cutting edge of advanced technology, with an incredibly powerful 20x Optical Zoom, 10-megapixel resolution, and new DIGIC 4 Image Processor for high-performance face and motion detection. See, I sound like I know what I am talking about, don't I? Well, I don't. I copied that from the Canon website. I know 10.0 megapixels is good and makes for sharp pictures. I know it can make a video that lasts one hour. After that, I depended on reviews and my techie husband to say "Yep, it's a great camera" when I was doing research to pick one out. Here's what I do know:

It can do this, which really all cameras can do since this is a normal picture.

and this: Sepia

and this: Black and white

and this: Color accent

and this: Vivid red (you can also do vivid green and vivid blue)

and this: It may not look like a big deal, but I was sitting on the bench and CJ was out in the field playing. Well not really playing, rather he was trying his glove on to see if it was a good fit for his head. It was quite a distance. How far? Not sure, but I tried to yell for his attention to tell him to stop jumping on another player and he didn't hear me. Oh, wait, that probably had nothing to do with the distance, but the "selective hearing" gene kicked in. Anyway, it was far and you can see there is no blur or fuzziness!

and this: Again, you could be saying big deal, BUT ...
this above picture is four pictures merged together to form one panoramic photo! So cool. They call it Stitch Assist. See, I am learning the Canon lingo.
And finally, this: (you didn't really think you would get away from here without a video, did you?)

Ignore the two women talking in the background. I had no clue the microphone would pick up so much. These two women were a good 15-20 feet away from me and I really didn't even hear the conversation until I watched this video at home!

video

Monday, March 30, 2009

I am still bitter

While I have a steal trap memory, according to my husband, I am not one to really hold a grudge.  I do my best to say what I have to say and then not bring it up in the future unless it is VERY relevant to a situation.  Notice I said "I do my best"?  I don't always succeed.

I have admitted to myself that I am still bitter about my MIL and my SIL not letting me know they were reading my blog.  I don't think I realized this until recently.  My MIL is now on Facebook.  MG and I were talking about this and I told him if she invited me to be FB friends, I would have to decline, for the same reasons I don't invite family members to this blog.  I don't want to have to worry about what I am saying.  I don't really put much on FB, but that's not really the point.  My husband said "all my mom really wants is to have a connection to you, to be friends."  He means in real life, not in FB world.  It took a few minutes for my hubs to understand.  When I explained it from the standpoint that I would not invite my HS, going off to college, nephew to be an FB friend, it came to light for him.  Would my nephew really want his auntie to know about his conversations with his friends, even though it's usually just silly kid stuff?  Probably not.  At that point, he got it. 

And then I thought about the "friend" thing and I have to say I totally disagree.  If she wanted to be friends with me, would she have eavesdropped on my conversations for over year?  And that's what it was, or at least that's what it feels like - eavesdropping.  If I had been saying out loud what I was writing in my blog, say on a phone conversation with a friend, I would have hoped she would have cleared her throat or done something else to make her presence known if she walked into the room.  Likewise, happening upon my blog, I would have hoped she or my SIL would have dropped me a note or comment "hey, I found your blog.  It's really cool you are doing this," or something similar.  Instead, they kept on reading and discussing it between the two of them.  At the point they found the blog, there was nothing overly personal on here, just day to day ramblings of how our relocation was going, how the kids were adjusting, what we were doing.  There was really no reason to not say something at that time. 

Several months ago, I was talking to my MIL about some things I was doing and she said "Oh, I didn't know that!  Show me how it works" when she could/should have said, "Oh yeah, didn't I tell you I found your blog?  I read on there you were doing that and I wanted to ask you about it.  Show me how it works."  That would have been the perfect time to let me know.  Over time I have talked about family on this blog.  It's not anything I wouldn't say to them given the opportunity or if the topic came up.  I am pretty honest and not afraid to speak my mind.  What I blogged about though, were not things I would just blurt out to them and I would have done my best to say it a little more politely.  This blog is the perfect place for me to purge those thoughts and move on without worrying about how I say it.  Little did I know, they were lurking.

I just dont' think I would do this to someone I consider a friend.  The only people I would do it to would be people that I wanted to snoop around on, get good gossip about, have reasons to talk about, etc.  Not a friend and not a respected family member.

It's nice to have a space that's all my own.  To say what I want, when I want, how I want.  To clear my head and have you all POLITELY straighten me out when I am off base on something (which, of course, doesn't happen, because I am, well, I am never wrong, you see.  What?  You didn't know that?  Now you do.).  To have a space that is not under the critical eye of people who will judge me.  I have learned after all this blogging time that my "blog friends" don't judge.  And if they do, who really cares because I don't have to look at you across the dinner table and I am not responsible for raising your grandchildren and your darling son.  (However, I would LOVE to look across the dinner table and see your smiling faces, so if you are ever traveling to SW Ohio, drop me a note and I will whip up an awesome dinner for you and whomever you are traveling with!)

So I am bitter.  My space has been invaded.  My privacy has been breeched.  My trust has been broken.  Not because this blog was READ by them, I have always known that was a possibility, but because instead of giving me a shout out, eavesdropping seemed to be more fun.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stellan

If you have noticed that picture up on the left of that adorable baby boy, please click on it.  He is having a hard time and he could use your prayers.  So could his family.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I survived...

...without needing any alcohol or prescriptions drugs.  Yes, I chaperoned a 6th grade social last night.  The 6th grade class has 850** students.  Thank the heavens above, not every single kid was at this event, though there were tons.  One of my jobs was to keep the kids in a "holding" area until the social actually started.  It is necessary to do this because parents drop off their kids anywhere from 1/2 hour to 15 minutes or so early and the volunteers are still setting up and getting their shit together.  So there I am, along with a few other moms and thankfully a big strong dad who stood blocking the doorway, with 100s of kids, many of whom are taller than I am.  Once 7:00 hit and we let those kids loose, it was like The Who, 1979 (a tragic event that took place here in my lovely city).  I slinked up against a wall to keep from being trampled.

From the death pit that was the holding cell area, I went to sell raffle tickets.  We were raffling off a big basket of candy, a basket of gift cards to local venues that kids like and the apple of everyone's eye, a 16GB Apple i-Pod Touch.  Whoa.  You would have thought we were giving away heroine and clean needles at that table.  I don't know why a parent would send the amounts of money they sent there kids with to an event like this.  Drinks and snacks were only .50, and the games/races (there were super sized tricycle races and several blow up type obstacle courses, lazer tag, etc.), photos, tattoos, face painting, karaoke, etc. were FREE, but there were kids carrying more money than I carry on any given day and they were spending it all on raffle tickets.  With what some kids were spending, they could have paid for a good chunk of the i-Pod Touch and not taken the risk of the raffle.  I see some kids with a serious gambling problem in their future.

All in all, it was a great success, no chaperones were injured, we made one hell of a killing selling raffle tickets and I came home with ringing ears and a dizzy head.  In addition to that, after chaperoning this event and through other school involvement, I am starting to recognize, and know by name, many parents of kids Big E is not friends with AND I am starting to recognize several kids who are not in my son's classes, which is quite an accomplishment when there are 850 kids to get to "know."

**This makes it sound like I live in a rather large suburb, but I don't. My quiet little burb has about 30,000 people. About 11,000 kids attend the school district. Our schools, however, do not have small feeder schools that feed into larger schools as the kids get older. We have a campus of school buildings. Basically, when you start kindergarten, you start in an Early Childhood Education building with preschool, kindergarten and 1st grade.  ALL kindergarteners in the district start together at that school and they move through their entire education with their entire graduating class. This is much different than when I grew up and much different than when we lived in Overland Park, KS, which had a population of 150,000 but feeder schools.  My kids elementary school there was preschool-5th grade and had a total student population of 450 kids!  Our school district works well, though, and we are currently ranked 4th in the state for quality of education.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Fragments


Welcome to Friday Fragments, the day you get to see the tiny thoughts that are running around my brain!  Check out Mrs. 444 for more...
  • Big E has discovered his inner Brit. He is frequently talking with a British accent. And his mum finds it quite lovely. Bangers and mash, anyone?
  • Why, now that it is spring, are my kids getting sick?
  • I am thinking about scheduling a visit to the orthodontist. All of those pictures I have been taking of myself has made me realize how my front teeth are slipping back to how they used to look. Not nearly as crooked, but I can see hints of how they used to look. What about it? How would a 41 year old momshell look with braces? Maybe I could do that invisalign thing. I don't think I would have to wear them too long and insurance will pick up a portion of the expense...
  • I had some crazy ass dreams the other night.  I mean wild, can't shake it kind of dreams.  And they were all linked together.  I swear, when I woke up, I was like "shit, what the ..." and then I would realize it was a dream.  I'd go back to sleep and it was like the dream continued.  I did this all night long.  I basically wrote, produced and directed an epic movie in my sleep!  And thoughts of the dream lingered with me all day.  Maybe it was the three muscle relaxers I took before bed.  (I have some NASTY pulled muscles in my back - all along the inner side and top of my right shoulder blade.  It hurts too much to even go have a massage to work it out.  Hopefully, I can do that next week!)
  • There has been a lot of talk about "sexting" here in my quiet part of the world.  Is that a topic all over?  A local mom was even on the Today Show a couple of weeks ago trying to get some legislation in place after her daughter committed suicide last year when some nude photos of her were texted throughout several school districts by her disgruntled boyfriend.  Another local school district recently had their own issue with it and it has been all over the local news, too.  Not really sure what the answer is, but it has been interesting to watch and read about.  I have already talked to Big E about this and he doesn't even have a cell phone!  (Editor's Note:  I typed this on Thursday and then late Thursday night I watched Private Practice and they had a girl on there sending nudie pictures on her phone.  It appears this might be a huge problem considering it was the storyline on a prime time show.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Denial

I am really good at denial.  It works for me.  Or maybe it's just my gut instinct telling me when I should take action and/or worry and when I shouldn't.  I do have a sort of sixth sense.

Denial/instinct has come in handy for me on many occasions.  In 2006, my husband came down with a diagnosis of pneumonia.  As things went on and he didn't get better, further tests showed a mass in his lung.  We were being prepared for a lung cancer diagnosis and he was scheduled to have part of his lung removed and biopsied.  Lots of plans were being made, including checking into all of our insurances, medical care, etc. etc.  We talked to our kids about his surgery but did not discuss the cancer aspect.  However, there were other times discussions came up and my only response was "we don't need to talk about that right now."  Was it denial?  Maybe.  But I also repeatedly said that this whole fiasco wasn't adding up.  There were some things that just didn't make sense and until that surgeon walked up to me and said MG's biopsy was positive for cancer, I wasn't going to believe it.  This approach allowed me to sleep at night.  It kept me from crashing and burning.  There were just some things along the medical timeline that didn't make any sense.  And I know disease does not often make sense and doesn't follow rules, but I just refused to believe it until I had to.  There were only two times that I was not able to use this approach, one was when Big E asked if "dad was going to die."  Thankfully, I was able to control myself until he was not in the room.

Other forms of denial have been kicked into action as needed.  During complications with one of my pregnancies, during my two brain surgeries, during an illness with Big E that had him in the hospital with a potentially fatal illness.  Denial as a form of self preservation.  And thankfully, all of these situations have turned out well for us.  The mass turned out to be a rare fungal infection in my husband's lungs.  Big E's illness ended up being some weird virus that was attacking his body, and more seriously, his blood, and passed after several weeks.  My complicated pregnancy resulted in a perfectly healthy, full term baby boy, CJ.

And though I don't consider myself a worrier, thanks to this ability to deny until forced with a situation that can no longer be denied, sometimes things happen that cannot be denied any longer.  I am a strong person.  I can handle quite a bit.  And I do handle it when faced with issues that have to be dealt with.  But for those things that I cannot get out of my head?  I have Lexapro for that.  To ease my anxieties, to overcome the verbal and visual tape that runs through my thoughts repeatedly, to help fight off the helplessness I feel about not being able to save the world. 

So I am not sure what this entry even sums up.  Denial?  Instinct?  Inane blabbering that adds up to one chaotic blog post?  Really, it's something I have been thinking about, even if not coherently.  Denial, instinct of knowing when things will turn out ok and how I handle it when life comes crashing down around me. 

What do you do to get through the rough and scary times?

(PS - all is well here.  There is nothing major going on directly in my life that provoked this post.  There is a lot in the news though and also in bloggy land that has had me thinking.  Maybe it's time to toss the paper into the recycling bin and turn off the computer for a while!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Are you a Momshell?

Apparently, "momshell" is the new, G-rated term for MILF, and is the term used to describe bombshell moms.  The momshell link will take you to MSNBC article.

Are you a momshell?  Do you want to be a momshell?  For me, being a momshell sounds pretty good, as long as it is other adults, men or women, I'm not picky, who are saying "Wow, that Mrs. Under the Influence is a real momshell."  However, as a mom to three boys, I get a little weirded out when I think about IF any of their friends would talk about me that way.  It really weirds me out if their friends are talking about me in that way now being that my boys are 11, 9 and 5!  I am thinking more into the future, when they are teenagers.  What would I do if I overheard one of their friends saying I'm a "hot mama" or "she has a nice rack" or something similar?  (I should clarify, I have a lot of surgeries work to do if anyone is going to say those things about me!)

I'm totally happy not wearing mom jeans.  In fact, if you ever see me in mom jeans, please knock me out and steal my pants.  I like to look modern and trendy, though I don't always manage it.  I think What Not to Wear should occasionally focus on people like me - women who have it together most of the time but struggle with shopping and what looks good on me.  Women who need that extra "oomph" to take them from "does pretty good" to "vavava-voom".  Oh, and the $5,000 helps quite a bit, too.

I don't really do frumpy, at least not on purpose, though there are times when I feel very frumpy.  On those days, I color my hair, buy some new lipstick or paint my toenails.  OR, I crawl on the couch, under a blanket and don't surface until I am forced to.  If that could be the definition of "momshell," I've got it made.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bras

I am always in search of a comfy, supportive bra.  If it looks pretty, that's an added bonus.  I don't mind paying for quality, but when I can get a deal, well, I love that.

Back in the fall I wrote about the awesome red bra I bought while shopping in Chicago.  I wish I had thought to buy more than one, because that bra rocks.  I should have bought it in every color.  I have not been able to find another bra like that one.  I even searched Natori brand bras online with the style number and cannot find it.  Since I have an aversion to department stores, I have not made it to Macy's to check out their Natori line.  Nordies opens soon here in my neck of the woods, so maybe I will venture out when that happens.

In the meantime, I have been checking out bras wherever I can that does not involve a department store.  I was online at Land's End the other day buying some duds for my boys.  They were having a great Spring Fling sale and I happened upon the intimates link.  Wowza, they have a lot of bras.  And if I bought two, they would each only be $11.00.  Now when I think of Land's End, I don't think of intimates.  And when I think of $11.00, I don't think quality bra.  However, at $11.00 a bra, I figured if they didn't work it certainly wasn't the end of the world.  So I bought two bras, each a different style.  What can I say, but I am in love with these bras.  Especially the t-shirt bra.  It is so darn comfortable and makes my 34Ds look like they are supposed to, which is something of a magical feat unless I decide to have a boob lift.  (Three kids, breastfed for a year or longer and these puppies just aren't what they should be.  Or maybe I should say they aren't WHERE they should be!)  It's very plain and doesn't even compare to my racy red bra, but man, do I love it.  The other bra is comfy, too, but not quite the same.  However, I won't hesitate to buy another brazziere from Land's End, unless of course, I want a racy red bra, then I will have to go elsewhere!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SOLD!

A while back, I wrote about posting items on Craig's List.  We had a little SNAFU with that whole thing and did not sell our car.  I posted our beloved German engineered vehicle, which has lived a long but pampered  life with us, on Craig's list yesterday late afternoon.  By noon today, it was SOLD.  Cash in hand.  Title signed and notarized.  Yipee!  Now my kids can go out into the driveway to play basketball without having to have me or MG move the car.

What are we doing with some of the money?  I am buying a new camera.  My hubs is having his BELOVED German engineered motorcyle repainted.  See, I keep telling you my family is NOT to blame for any of this recession stuff and this is just more proof.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fragments


Visit Mrs. 4444 for other Friday Fragmenters.
  • Let me start by saying HAPPY SPRING!  I have been waiting not so patiently for winter to be over and now it finally is.
  • This morning, I bought tickets to see Coldplay!  Again.  (Notice the music changed?)
  • Check out the new MTV reality show "Taking the Stage."  This show is being filmed at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts here in my lovely SW Ohio metropolis.  Nick Lachey, who graduated from the SCPA, (so did Sarah Jessica Parker) is leading this project.  This school also recently experienced the loss of one of their students after she was murdered over a week ago.  I touched on that in last week's Friday Fragments (last bullet).  I used to live within walking distance of the SCPA.  It's the inner city and I LOVED every minute of living there.  I am convinced the burbs were never really meant for me.  If interested, read more HERE.
  • When is the fog going to lift.  Like so many others, I'm finding it hard to find interesting or insightful things to blog about.  You know what else?  I am experiencing the same thing with meals.  I can't come up with a decent lunch or dinner idea.  All of my recipes seem so BLAH!
  • No one will be able to blame the recession on my family!  I have done my share of shopping recently - from clothes to hair appliances and products to bar stools - and this week we paid a college student to paint the kids' bedrooms.  Three rooms in less than a week.  Yipppeeeee!
  • I did something I have NEVER done before.  With my new red hair, my almost black eyebrows were just standing out too much.  So off I went to Walgreen's to by some facial hair bleach.  Yep, I did it.  I bleached my eyebrows.  I saw this on What Not to Wear.  You just leave the bleach on for a few minutes, not the full amount of time needed to bleach hair white.  I have to say, it worked perfectly.  My eyebrows are now a dark brown shade and look much better with the new haircolor.
  • Here's the recipe for the Kentucky Spoon Bread a few of you asked me about.
    Kentucky Spoon Bread
    1 stick butter
    1 8 oz. creamed corn
    1 8 oz. whole kernel corn, drained
    1 pkg. Jiffy Corn Bread mix
    1 cup sour cream
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    Melt butter and combine with Jiffy mix, corns, sour cream and eggs. Pour into butter casserole dish. Bake at 350 until done in the center, about 30-40 minutes.

    Another version that has a little kick:
    Festive Scalloped Corn
    1/3 cup chopped green onions
    3 eggs
    1 15 oz. can creamed corn
    1 11 oz. can corn with red and green peppers (mexicorn)
    1 8.5 oz package corn muffin mix (jiffy brand size)
    1 cup sour cream
    2 Tbsp butter or margerine, melted
    1/8 tsp ground red pepper
    Preheat oven to 375. Spray a casserole or baking dish with cooking spray. It is not quite enough to fill a 9X13, so go a bit smaller. It calls for the pampered chef oval baker, but I use a pyrex 2.5 Qt. oval casserole dish. Wisk eggs and add chopped green onions and remaining ingredients. Mix until well blended. Bake 35 -40 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Yield - 10 servings.
  • ENJOY!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where's my bailout?

I am still a little unclear about why I am not receiving a bailout.  I manage our money fine, we didn't spend more than we can afford on a house and I haven't run any corporation into the ground.  Doesn't that deserve something?  Can I really only get a bailout if I buy a house that I know will never fit into my budget just because "I deserve it" or "I want it"?  What about if I become the CEO of Under the Influence Corp., help people lose millions of dollars, not to mention the time they spend reading when they could be working?  THEN can I get a bailout?  Apparently being responsible and living within my means (most of the time!) gets me ... well, it gets me nothing.  Oh wait, it gets me more taxes to cover the bailouts of all the idiots who can't control their personal financial lives and to pay the multi-million dollar bonuses to the executives who are supposed to be "the best of the best".  As Joy Behar said the other day on The View - "if they are the best of the best, give me the worst of the worst!"

Damn.  I would just be happy if the government would send me a nanny and a housekeeper a couple of times a week!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New hair color!

I went super red now!



And can I tell you how happy I am to not have anywhere to go this evening.  Sous Chef has swimming lessons after school and then MG and Sous Chef are going to Math & Science night (cool stuff going on there, all kinds of scientific and futuristic things, including rides on a hovercraft!).  Where will I be after swimming lessons?  At home, doing nothing but hanging out, cooking and eating dinner.  No work, no social function, no meeting of any kind.  Added to this non-scheduled bliss is the fact that it's going to be about 75 degrees today!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute: A unique link

Tuesday's Tribute
A Jay and Deb Production.

Depending on how long you have been reading this blog, you may or may not know I have had two brain surgeries.  My first in 2001 and my second, and hopefully last, in 2004.  I was born with a Chiari Malformation that went undetected until I was in high school, in the early-mid 80's.  Not that I was without symptoms all my life, but it wasn't until then that I complained enough that some testing was done.  I was diagnosed as best as you could be based on the technology available.  In 1993, however, thanks to MRI's, I was officially and correctly rediagnosed.  As time went on and my body got older and more battered by childbirth and life, my symptoms were to the point it was imperative I have surgery.  You can read about that here, if you are interested.  I talk about it in item #3.  I wrote that entry on my 40th birthday, which was almost 1.5 years ago.

Now that you have that tidbit of information, what I really want to focus on is finally meeting another adult who has had so many experiences like mine.  Carla (check out her blog Carla Schauer Designs, she's very creative!) is in my moms group, which has about 60 women.  We had never met but she recently found out she has this same birth defect.  She started searching online for information and found my blog.  While reading my blog, she put two and two together and realized I was the same person she had seen on our online communcation loop and she contacted me.  It's a small world.  It's so cool to talk to someone who understands.  Someone who knows what it feels like to sneeze or cough or stand up too fast or turn your head too fast and feel like you are going to lose consciousness or collapse from the excruciating pain that invades your head.  To know what it's like to never hear silence because there is a ringing in your ears that never goes away and is intensified after being somewhere that is loud (parties, concerts, bars).  To choke and cough uncontrollably when taking a drink of water or even just swallow a little oddly.  For both of us, all these years, we thought that everyone did these things.  We laugh that we could never understand why people enjoyed running or being on track and field.  How did they stand the head pain, the tunnel vision, the dizziness, the tightness in the neck?  How can that be fun?  In reality, while others were getting endorphin highs, we got nothing but pain and discomfort.

It's funny how it all makes sense once you are diagnosed.  How you can read through the symptoms and have those "aha, that's exactly how I feel" moments.  But better than that is being able to talk to someone who KNOWS, who understands.  Someone who totally gets it.  Carla, today's tribute is for you!  I am thankful she found me and I hope I can help her through what lies ahead for her.  I am thankful for my surgeries and that I feel a gzillion times better than I ever thought I would.  I am always thankful when I sneeze or cough and I am reminded what a success my surgery was.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Search

Before I get started on my post, the Slumber Party '09 was a success.  There ended up being 19 women, ten stayed all night.  One who planned to stay all night ended up just coming for the evening and one who had not planned to stay all night ... well, the whiskey sours and margaritas started flowing and there was no way she was going to be able to drive home!  Unfortunately, the fun we had meant none of us thought about taking pictures!  And I can confirm what I have always known - 4 hours of sleep is NOT enough for this 40 something chick!

So on with my post.  Things are pretty dull here in the Under the Influence world, so I thought I would give a brief rundown on some of the searches that are leading people to my blog.  I haven't done this in a while, so here it goes.

1.  The number one search leading people here?  under the influence mg.  I am not sure what would cause a person to search under that title, but there it is.  Since Jan. 1, that search has brought someone to my sight 43 times.  If you are that person or if there is more than one of you, I'd love to hear what you were originally seraching for.  Or did you hear about my hubs, MG, and were searching for him and this blog?  Hhhhhmmm...  Give me shout out.  I am curious.

2.  Dew Mouth.  I think these words were left in my comment section by Tanna Banana.  Seems there is some interest out there about this dental phenomenon.

3. "a pulse and facial hair" bob susan.  I don't know about this, it sounds like it could be a little naughty...

4.  barry manilow's secret wife.   What?  He has a secret wife?  Is it a man?

5.  creamed milfs.  I think I put that one with #4 - NAUGHTY.

I do enjoy seeing what kind of searches take place.  What are some odd ones that have led people to your blogs?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Girls Night Out

Tonight I am having a slumber party, just like the ones from when I was a kid, except there will be alcohol.  Picture 17 women, most of whom are staying all night, eating, drinking, playing poker (yes, we are going to be playing poker!), watching movies and who knows what else.  All in our PJs.  If you can envision that, you can envision what my house is going to look like tonight.

My neighbor wants to come and film us for a "Girls Gone Wild" kind of video.  Actually, I guess it would be more along the lines of "Cougars" or "MILFs" gone wild.  Though I am not sure everyone would qualify for the cougar age range.  This is a group that will range from late 20's (cougers-in-training) to early fifties (definitely cougar material!  Grrrrr....).  I assured him nothing that exciting would be taking place, but he is thinking he can get rich quick off of a video of this party.  I guess there is a market for everything and anything.  I'll let you know...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fundraising Galore

I love being a part of things that help others.  I have been part of a team that raised over $42,000 and walked for 60 miles - TWO DIFFERENT TIMES - to help raise awareness about breast cancer, mammograms, etc.  I even have a tattoo to remind me of this accomplishment.  I am not an athlete, not even close.  So walking for three days for 60 miles (you do the math - 20 miles a day and sleeping in a tent each night), two years in a row, once just six months after having brain surgery, is quite the accomplishment for me.

But this really isn't about me.  Honestly, this is about someone else!  This is about Jay.  He is participating in the St. Baldrick's 2009 Contest for the second year in a row.  He is raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer.  He's not walking 60 miles, he is not sleeping in tents during rainstorms.  He's doing something that will outwardly show his passion.  For an extended period.  He is SHAVING HIS HEAD.   Bald.  As an eagle.  He'll be a cue ball.  You get the picture.  I have never met Jay in person, but I do know he is a good guy.  My family has personally experienced the loss of a ten year old little girl to brain cancer.  MK was a good friend to Big E and her mom is a good friend of mine.  I am thrilled that Jay is "shaving the way to conquer kids cancer" so that no parent will ever have to say good-bye to their child due to this nasty disease.

So go check him out and throw a few bucks his way!

Friday Fragments

Visit Mrs. 4444 for more fragmented Fridays.

  • Don't forget to check out the Legs for Lyman video and see how you can help CF stand for Cure Found!
  • One night this week I asked CJ what he wanted for dinner. He said, "Oh, the usual," as if he was bellying up to the bar and responding to his favorite bartender. I think I have a clear vision of his future college days.
  • I ate an entire casserole dish of Kentucky Spoon Bread. This is basically a corn casserole of sorts with all the good stuff - creamed corn, kernal corn, cornbread, eggs, sour cream and a stick of butter. I am guessing this does nothing for losing the extra I can just feel the fat clinging to my face and thighs as I type. The dish made 4-6 servings and over the course of three days, I ate the entire thing.
  • Navy blue pants, no matter how cute or trendy they are, always end up looking like some weird uniform pant or like I am about to go sailing off somewhere on the East Coast.
  • I'm fed up. And it seems everyone else I know or come in contact with is, too! So if the majority of the people are tired of hearing about it, why is the press and people like Dr. Phil still talking to and about Octopussy? Who are the idiots (sorry if I just offended any of you bloggers!) who are still following this lame ass story? She made a stupid and selfish decision that has resulted in putting 14 precious lives at risk, puts stress on our already stressed out social services and public aid systems and takes money from the budget of those systems when there are others much more in need who are making good decisions but are struggling some at the moment. Blabbering about her selfish stupidity all over the television is a waste of time and only allows her to benefit from the situtation she created. Someone needs to take charge of her finances and daily operations to make sure those kids are taken care of and she does not abuse any of the money she receives, whether it be public aid or private donations, and let her fend for herself. No more nose jobs, lip plumping or IVFs. And while I am on my tirade, same goes to any other parent/would-be-parent who is planning on, or maybe not planning but sleeping with baby daddy #5, having more children when you can't take care of the ones you already have!
  • I am not a proponent of the death penalty, but there are people in this society that have most definitely lost the privilege of and the right to a life on this earth. There are some who should be taken out of this world in the same manner they have chosen to take out others. If you are so inclined, for more details, read here. (EM, prepare to go under your rock never to resurface. I personally am in the corner in a fetal position sucking my thumb and rocking back and forth.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shopping and cleaning. How are they alike?

Shopping for me falls almost into the same category as cleaning.  I know this sounds weird, but it's true.  If I am in the mood to shop, I am like a whirlwind - trying on clothes, shoes, jewelry.  If I'm not in the mood to shop and I am forced into a mall or retail store of some kind, there better be shots of vodka and some seriously good music playing if I am going to interact with anyone who wants to keep all of their fingers and hair attched to their proper bodily location and fully functioning.  Cleaning is the same way.  If I get a burr up my butt to clean, I am a cleaning machine.  If not, it's all I can do to even THINK about cleaning.  Unfortunately, my heightened mood to shop happens more frequently than my heightened mood to clean.  My house and bank account will attest to that!

I recently went on a shopping spree.  Off I went to buy whatever.  Nothing specific in mind, just some things for spring.  After two clothing stores and a shoe store, I.HAD.NOTHING.  I couldn't find one damn thing.  Who can't at least find a damn pair of shoes?  It is almost unconscionable to me to walk into a shoe store and not find AT LEAST one pair of shoes I can't live without.  I went home with one shirt that was on clearance.  This was not what I had in mind.

I was determined though, and the next day my neighbor and I hit the mall.  Clearly, that was my day!  I came home full of bags and feeling good.  And as if that was not enough, the next day I bought my very own carpet shampooer.  What a great way to mingle my shopping and cleaning moods.  Yep, I am a multi-tasker.  Now, if I could just get the cleaning burr up my butt and get that shampooer out of the box and actually doing it's job!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute: The Middle Place

Tuesday's Tribute
A Jay and Deb Production.

I love a good book. Reading is one of those things I can do for long periods of time when I am dug deep into a story, whether it is fact or fiction.

Right now I am reading The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. It's well written, funny and honest. It's her life story of that timethat most of us have or will experience. It's the middle place - that point where you are a parent and still a child yourself.

I pride myself on being pretty damn indepndent. But even so, I think most of us, including me, can admit to experiencing the middle place. I continue to drift in and out of the middle place. As I get older, and especially after living far away from all family, I find myself physically out of the middle place more than I am in it. Emotionally, though, I am not sure we ever leave the middle place. I know at any given moment, I can count on my parents to do whatever needs to be done to help. It's THAT knowledge that keeps me in the middle place. Even if I don't make that call for help, it's good to know I can. As my parents get older, I do realize the day will come when I won't be able to do that. But I will always be Bob and Sandy's daughter, their child. And that means I will never 100% leave the middle place.

If you want to watch the trailer for The Middle Place, it's just a couple of minutes. You will need to pause the music at the left.

Monday, March 9, 2009

We make a good team.

Our subdivision is having a war of sorts with some local government entities. It involves a lot of technical stuff like utility easements, water runoff and drainage systems, collapsed pipes, ownership and more. One of two results is likely to take place. One is that the local government and all neighbors involved, which is where we are currently having an issue, play nice and we each pay $300-$600 and the local government board picks up the rest of the cost and lays the groundwork so we don't have this situation again in the future. The other is that a small amount of people, including me and my hubs, split a $400,000+ repair bill.

I am kind of staying out of it and letting my husband and the other neighbors handle this tedious and time consuming situation. Believe me when I say this makes me a good team member with MG. He is so much better at keeping his emotions, or really maybe their just emotions I would show under the circumstances - rage, anger, fear and more - under control. This allows for reasonable and logical adult conversation.

I, on the other hand, am better at the smackdown. Need someone to come in and ruffle feathers? I'm your girl. Need some namecalling, some big picture scenarios, maybe a pounding fist on the table - all riddled with profanity? I'm in. Need someone to send the bullies running in the other direction? Call me. Ask me to stay calm and collected in a situation that needs a lot of technical details and facts? A situation that may result in not only what I see as an unjust decision but one that would put a huge financial burden on our family? Hhhhmmm...I think you better call someone else. I would suggest you call my husband.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Feedburner

I don't totally understand the whole Feedburner thing, but I used to have 60 subscribers. At least yesterday I did. Today I have two. What does this mean?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Legs for Lyman

When my family lived in Overland Park, KS, a suburb of Kansas City, I made some of the best friends a girl could ever have.  We have affectionately named our little group of friends "The Ladies' Lounge", which was a name created during one of our many lake trips about 15 of us take several times a year (though my visits have become less frequent due to the 600 mile separation). 

During our few years living in OP, my friend Shelley, and her husband Merrill, had baby #2.  His name is Lyman and he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis before even coming home from the hospital.  During that diagnosis, Merrill was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and now needs assistance to walk.  (You won't hear them talk much about that, though, because they focus mostly on Lyman and their older son!)

If you are interested in learning more about Lyman and his amazing family and what you can do to help, please watch the following video their family put together.  Thanks! (You will need to pause the music on the left hand side.) You can also visit their website at Statonville.

And if that isn't enough for you, here are some pictures of Lyman and the Ladies' Lounge kids on a vacation we all took together last summer.

Lyman on top, Big E and Sophie.














The LL kids!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Fragments

Oddly enough, I am not sure I can come up with many fragments this week because, well, I don't seem to have any THOUGHTS, coherent or incoherent, this week!  I bet if you check out Mrs. 4444's FF site, you will find more thoughtful Friday Fragments!

CJ has said some funny things this week, including:
  • Are you going to park where that car is parking out? (There was a car pulling out of a parking spot that I was waiting to pull into.)
  • I know what kind of turtle doesn't swim. A box turtle. (Then we had a long discussion about how he knew this. Thanks, preschool!)
  • I would never pull your hair because your hair is too pretty to pull. (I love this kid!)
  • I love you more than the number of houses in the whole world! (Did I mention I love this kid?)
I sent both of my boys to school in shorts today.  It was almost 60 degrees at 7:00AM and dammit, I'm pretty sure if I keep dressing them for spring, I will force spring upon us!

I am enjoying Facebook.  Just this morning I was reconnected with a college roommate.  Thanks to Big E asking about break-ins and robberies, I shared my story of my college house being broken into and how my roommate, a guy, chased the robber out of the house and down the street.  I slept through the entire thing, including the boogey-man pilfering through my bedroom while I lay passed out soundly sleeping.  Big E wanted to know where that roommate is now and I told him I would look the guy up on FB.  I did and I found him!  My roomie wanted to know if I shared the passed out part with Big E.  No, I did not, but when he is much older, I will be happy to recount that part of the story.

Thanks for visiting.  This may be the most boring FF ever!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Triple Threats

On the Today Show the other morning, they had an know it all expert on about products that are GREAT.  So great, they titled the segment "Triple Threats for Under $30."  Now who wouldn't be lured in by that segment title? Well, they had me at "threat," because I have an "inner bully."  (Apparently, "double duty beauty" products are so a thing of the past!  Who knew?) 

So the product I was persuaded to try is called Frizz (pronounced No Frizz).  When it comes to defying frizz, I think I have tried everything.  Some things work better than others but nothing I use has been simple or 100% effective.  According to the woman on the Today Show, Frizz "is a life changer."  THAT is quite a statement.  I could use some life changing events about now, so I'm in.  It's only $24 and I ordered on-line (free shipping) or you can buy it at Sephora.  What is the "triple threat" this life changing product offers?  It gets rid of friction, which is what causes the frizz.  It repels dirt and being that I don't use shampoo on my hair, I guess I could use some dirt repellent.  (Don't worry, I do wash my hair, I just use a cleansing conditioner instead of a shampoo!)  And the third threat?  It cuts your drying time in HALF. I am all for that.  My hair is very thick and as it gets longer, the drying time increases. 

I went online to Living Proof, the company for Frizz (wow, my strikethrough is getting a real workout with this product name!) and read about the product.  They make six products: three for curly/wavy and three for straight.  I purchased the straight making for medium to thick hair.  If it works, I will probably give the curly/wavy a try, too, since I do wear my hair wavy quite often and occasionally I leave it curly.  But the real test is if it can straighten my hair the way this "triple threat, life changer talking Today Show consumer products guest" says it will.  I hope to receive it and try it out before Tuesday, making this "triple threat, life changing product" my Tuesday's Tribute!

I did some searches online and everything I read about this product was good, except a few said it smells funny until it dries.  It was created by some MIT super brains and the molecular make up is similar to what is put on CD/DVDs to protect them from being scratched.  Hey, any MIT super brain who can improve my hair situation is a winner in my book.

If you're interested in hearing about this "triple threat, life changing product" it is the first one in this video. Check it out and if you want to hear the rest of the products, just keep on watching.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bachelor, cont'd.

In the midst of playing Find the Mii, Tanks and also Billiards on Wii Play with my five year old and trying to get us both ready to get out the door and get him to school, I totally forgot the one other thing I wanted to say about the Bachelor.

I assume all the negative response is NOT because Jason broke up with Melissa.  I mean really, who thinks any of those relationships are going to last?  Trista and Ryan are a total fluke and I don't think we will see that happen again.  I think everyone can agree that the last thing anyone wants is to see another marriage entered into that is going to up the divorce rates.  So based on that, I can only assume the outrage amongst viewers is that this happened on national TV instead of in private.  I did notice that ABC edited and controlled the conversations and questions to not include anything along the lines of "Why did you do this on TV.  Why didn't you break up with her in private?"  Jimmy Kimmel did ask him that and he basically said the network would not allow him to have any more contact with Melissa once the network found out there were relationship "issues" and that was the first time he had seen her to discuss ending their relationship.  Agreed, he still could have handled it differently, but don't forget, I think this was all just part of the plot that everyone agreed to.

And if it's true that not all of this was part of a ratings scheme, I agree, it's pretty shitty.  But I still stand with my opinion that when you go on shows like this, you need to be prepared to go home totally humiliated and knowing you just helped the television network rake in the big bucks at your expense.

The Bachelor

I am almost embarrassed to admit, I watch this show on a regular basis.  It causes a lot of eye rolling from my husband.  I don't know what about it sucks me in, but it does.  It's like a train wreck.  Maybe it's because I know I could never be on this show as one of the 25 girls.  The fact that I have called them "girls" explains why I couldn't be in that group of 25, not even when I was in the correct "age range" for the show.  They are almost always in their early to mid 20's.  They are all giggly, squealy, whiney types.  The exact type of person who grinds on my last nerve if I have to spend too much time with them.  Really, when you were dating, how often did you go running to your date/boyfriend, wrap your legs around his waist and squeal and yell like he just came home from a war?  Give me a break.  Add to it the fakeness of those girls and I am at a loss for what drags me in.  It's these type of people who make me want to run screaming from a room.

With all of that said, I think I COULD be the Bachelorette.  Twenty-five men fighting for my affections.  Oh yeah.

But on to the real reason for my post.  With the exception of once or twice in the distant past, I have not blogged about this show.  A few blogs I follow do blog about it and I cannot even compete with their highly entertaining posts recapping each week.  However, with the recent turn of events on this show, there are a lot of unhappy people who will be boycotting in the future.  Here is my two cents:

When I first read the spoilers for the show, I thought I would probably give up watching in the future, too.  How could they be so cruel?  But then I thought about it and realized, every week, girls get broken up with in front of millions of people and go home "heartbroken" because "we had a connection."  That one gets me every time!  They go home in that limousine crying and saying things like "I'm going to go home and get my electric toothbrush and French kiss my dog."  Gee, and that bimbo wonders why she got sent home.  So the fact that Jason broke up with Melissa on television just goes along with the theme of the show.  Although after reading the spoilers, I did comment from the beginning to my bloggy friend's, this finale was going to be a little too Jerry Springer for me.

The spoilers also revealed that this was all planned by ABC and contractually, Jason was required to handle it this way.  Not sure why, since none of the other breakups have been on television, but my guess is because those other breakups took place AFTER the Final Rose shows, not before/during.  At first I thought "Shame on them."

After watching the Final Rose shows, I have surmised that the entire thing was planned and scripted.  They all sounded like they were talking from a script and my, what bad actors they are.  The emotions were not nearly as heated as they would have been had this not been planned.  Baby Molly was the only one who I thought even remotely "acted" her part well.  They all knew what was going on, they all planned it and no one was nearly as unhappy as they TRIED to make them seem.

My other final thought is, IF this was actually the way it really went down, when you go on a show like this, you need to expect to be embarrassed, hurt and humiliated.  Your reputation, good or bad, will never be the same.  The shows first priority is NOT to match make, but to make ratings and money.  And anyone who goes into it expecting anything but that should not be there.  (And again, I don't think hurt and humiliation is what happened here.  I think we were watching a show that was no different than any other fictional drama.  It was Jerry Springer all the way, just as I thought it would be.  Drama that is scripted and planned in an attempt to make it LOOK real.)

So, I will admit.  I will be back next season to watch Jillian (yay, Jillian!) meet the love of her life.  Or if not, to at least get some good ratings for ABC.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kiss me, I'm Irish!

Congratulations to Suburbia Steph who won the "what's the theme" for the music.  All the bands you are listening to this month are from Ireland.

Deb at Dirty Socks & Pizza also got the answer.

Several others made good guesses with spring, summer, sun and warmth.

Thanks for playing!  Stop by and visit Steph...

How old do you have to be to have this conversation, over and over again?

The music contest is on until this evening.  E-mail me what you think the theme is.  The first to get the right answer will have their avatar posted with a link to your blog for the month of March.  There have been several guesses so far, but I am still looking for the correct answer!

I have noticed over the years, my mom's conversations with me have evolved from "I saw in the paper so-and-so got married" to "I saw so-and-so's mom and she told me that so-and-so had a baby (or baby #2, etc.)" to "I read in the paper that so-and-so got divorced" to "So-and-so got remarried. I think she married so-and-so's brother." You get the idea.

Well, things must really be boring in my hometown or more likely it's just that everyone is getting older because now our conversations are like this:

Mom: "Our friend was just diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer."
Mom: "Our friend died recently of that mesothelioma disease. You know, that cancer disease from absestos exposure. You know he worked all those years rehabbing his rental properties."
Mom: "Our friend was diagnosed with ___________ (fill in the disease)."
Mom: "I read so-and-so's son has had four surgeries in four years for a brain tumor." This conversation just took place this last weekend. She went into all of the details of the surgery and the tumor. She then told me that the dad, who is a HS friend of my brother that my brother no longer keeps in touch with, is divorced. My response? "I guess I didn't know he was even married." Then she had to go on about "oh yes, he got married long before your brother did," etc. etc.

More often than not, I know the people she is talking about, but sometimes I have never met the people she is telling me about. In many cases, when she is telling me about someone I went to high school with, the news is VERY OLD or I really just don't care. I still have quite a bit of contact with many friends I grew up with, so I hear things often, via e-mail, Facebook, telephone calls, etc. Those I don't hear about I am probably not overly interested in hearing about (not to imply that I wish bad things upon anyone, but I just don't need to hear all about it considering I have no relationship with them or anyone they know.). And it's very likely that if she is telling me the story, it is the 1,000th time she's told it to me or if it's the first time I am hearing it, I can guarantee, I will be hearing it for the next year. I dread to wonder how many times I have to hear about the above kid's brain tumor and his surgeries.

My mom is only 66. My dad will be 72 next month. They are very active. It's not like she sits around all day reading the obits and scanning the papers for bad news. But when she hears bad news, she retains it like, FOREVER. Is it that as you get older, you realize more readily how fragile life is? That mortality is getting a little closer? Or is it just they have exausted all other topics of conversation over the years and this is what is left?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Take a listen - UPDATE

UPDATE: I am leaving the contest open until Monday evening. See below for the details.

Did you notice I have some new music playing? Do you know the theme? Be the first to e-mail me (you can find my e-mail address in the PROFILE link up above) with the correct answer and I will put your little avatar with a link to your blog in my sidebar for the month. Yay - "free" advertising. (I guess you can leave your guess in the comment section, but I don't want to discourage anyone from "playing" if they think someone else may already have posted the correct answer.) Oh, and you need to be a follower. What? Come on, you didn't think I would give such an awesome prize to someone who doesn't follow me, did you? Ok, ok. I know this prize is not very exciting compared to some of the great giveaways I've seen here in blog land, but hey, there's a recesion and I have to save my money for overpriced hair electronics and accessories!

I will announce the winner this evening some time.

While we are all paying attention and "noticing" things, did you see I have FIFTY followers? Yay!