"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Guest Post: Young Readers Day

Hi all!
Kristin is going to BlogHer (lucky duck!) and asked if I would do a guest post. After squeeing and feeling pretty good I worried about what to write. After I looked through what was in draft on my site and found NOTHING that I wanted to share. Finally, I decided that I wanted to share this post that I wrote way back in 2008 about a bizarre holiday called Young Readers Day. Confession, when I started blogging I didn't know WHAT to write about so I found a few websites and a calendar that shared weird and crazy holidays and had at it. Now I don't write about these crazy holidays so much. I miss it. Here is one of my favorites.

Today, November 14th is Young Readers Day!

Who exactly is the Young Reader?

Well, according to the library conference that I recently attended, FEMALE young readers will give anything a go however MALE young readers are almost non-existent choosing to skateboard and play video games and other non-reading booky type of stuff.

My house is full of bibliophiles ($5 word!) and we loves our words. As a young(ish) reader, a person who tends to view book related business with rose colored glasses (a library type) and, in an effort to be fair to all, let me spotlight the young readers that I know.

Arli, age 3 and a half.
Picks out Corduroy by Don Freeman.
"Can you read me this book?"
Demands to sit on lap and "helps" to hold the book.
On page 5 (this book starts on page 5) questions why the little girl in picture has one leg. Also wonders why people on escalator has no facial features.
Page 6: tells me that the little girl will buy the bear.
Page 12 and 13: Shrieks as Corduroy goes up the escalator.
Page 15: Asks if I'm tired when I see all of the beds. Picks out the one she likes best and demands I do the same. Pouts when I choose the bed with heart shaped frame and informs me we will share.
Page 17: Tells me the button Corduroy tries to pull off of a mattress is not his.
Page 21: Asks why the guard is fat.
Page 25: Pretends to sleep like the characters in book. Snores softly for extra emphasis.Page 29: Asks if the little girl lives alone.
Page 30: Points out Corduroy's bed. Tells me she wants one for her dolls and bears.
Page 32: Read it again!

Dylan, age 7.
Although he could possibly be classified as one of the elusive MALE readers I am happy to report that Dylan likes to read. While his tastes in books are quite simple, he picks them out and reads them over and over and over again.
His favorites include dogs solving mysteries, mice on motorcycles and mice running newspapers (Jack Russell Mysteries, Beverly Cleary's Ralph S Mouse series and Geronimo Stilton). His vocab is now peppered with his sister TERRORIZING him, and how CURIOUS things he doesn't understand are. He likes to INTERROGATE his sister if he thinks she is in his things (she usually isn't) and wants to CRACK the case when he feels wronged.
His desire to read was sparked in part by a competitive streak from his cousin, my daughter:

Madison, age 8.
Madison: Does your library have Bone?
Me: (excited because it is not a Rainbow Magic book!)Uh, our copy may be out but I will order one for you.
Madison: OK. (Spies large print copy of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald) I am going to read this. The print is large enough that I don't need my glasses.
Me: Read this first page.
First page read.
Me: Do you understand what you are reading?
Madison: No, but I am going to try it anyway.
Me (trying to remember the plot. Wasn't there something about affairs, murders and various other illegal activities?): Let's find another book. What about this mermaid book?
Madison: No thank you.
Me: Dear Dumb Diary?
Madison: No, I read that one.
Me: Baby Mouse?
Madison: I read them all! (Eight year old attitude now!)
Me: [crickets]
Me: OK, circle the words you don't know and we can go over them together.
Madison: OK
Some time the next week.
Me: How is Great Gatsby?
Madison: I can't find it so I'm gonna read this: Pulls out a Tinkerbell book.
Me (silently): Yes!(out loud) no more Gatsby?
Madison: You found it? Yeah, I still want it.
Me: D'oh!

Gloria, age 13Gloria has just discovered interlibrary loan at her local library (this despite the fact that her aunt is a library type-go figure!) and has discovered that genre called Urban Fiction. She was reading through all of the Drama High and Imani Tru series (both could be considered Urban Lite for teens) but has since discovered True to the Game by Terri Woods. She and her friends are devouring these books!
Her mom is all a twitter: "I hate these books! How many ways do you say the same thing: She had on bling, bling, and met a baller?"
Me: Teens and 'tweens are drama queens and like to read about people similar to them.
Sister: (in a major hissy)Whatever!
Me: [crickets].

I am of the mindset of at least she is reading for pleasure and SHE IS READING! After speaking with some people who know way more about everything, we come to the conclusion that this is a fad and will change. After Gloria met with some other teens, who also write as she does, she is venturing into Science Fiction, and those coming of age stories her mom describes as plot that has a sad teen growing up too fast or too slow.
Me: What's that book about (gesturing towards an Avi book)
Gloria: (visibly excited) It's called Curious and proceeds to give a very, very VERY descriptive and flowing book review.
Me: Best day of job!New reader!

Me, age 35
So many books, so little time.
Bookmercials, of the last few books that I can remember off the cuff, in 15 words or less:
Casanegra by Blair Underwood with Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes: Hot and Steamy whodunit.
Shining City by Seth Greenland: Toy maker turns pimp.
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian: Pictures cause a young woman to obsess. Refer to Great Gatsby.
The Abs Diet by David Zinzenko: Can't type, tummy hurts!
Faithless by Karin Slaughter: Small town gets ripped apart by murder!
Flabby Tabby by Penny Mckinley: Fat cat loses weight so that he can keep up with young kitty.
Exit Music by Ian Rankin: The last Rebus. [sniff!]
So there it is. A few of my favorite young readers with how they like to read and what they are reading.
Enjoy your day!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

TastyTuesday on Thursday: Cookies (temp added)

...more specifically (until I come up with a better name) Coconut Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was playing in the kitchen last weekend and honestly meant to post this on Tuesday but life got in the way. I think this recipe may need a little tweaking but it's pretty damned delicious as it is.

Coconut Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 box of cheesecake pudding
3 cups flour
2 cups coconut
1 bag (12 oz) of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside. In separate bowl, mix soda, salt, pudding mix, and flour. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture, mixing thoroughly as you go. Fold in coconut and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Can yield up to 5 dozen cookies (it all depends on how much dough you eat while making them).

These are really a delicious variation of our old favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. They really deserve a better name than they have. Anyone have a suggestion for me?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

50 cal, 357 magnum, 45...

in other words, Random Bullets...
  • Came down to my parents on Monday so Gabe could join in swimming lessons and Joey could help out with them.
  • Drove Marty home from my parents' house Tuesday night (got home at 11:30pm) so I could get him to church to leave for his 3 day volunteer trip at 8:15 this morning. The high school and middle school youth groups are doing volunteer work at a Lutheran Services for the Aging facility.
  • After I dropped him off, I took a moment to go by Joey and Gabe's school to fill out the form to be an approved volunteer again this year. 
  • Did I tell you Marty is going to be in the Naval ROTC program at his high school this year?
  • OMFG, high school?!?!?! How did that happen?
  • Gabe is swimming...not very far but he is swimming. Trip to parents' for swimming lessons SUCCESS
  • Joey has been helping my mom teach swimming this week. He's also helped mow the lawn and clean up a rental house they own. He is definitely earning the moolah my mom promised him.
  • Need to get home and sew. Have to finish a few things before I leave for BlogHer in a week...eeek, I'm so unprepared.
  • I leave for BlogHer in a week...squeeeeeeeeeeeeee
  • I'm traveling to BlogHer with two of my best friends in the whole wide world...can't wait!
  • While in San Diego, I will get to see one of my best friends from college and meet his wife for the first time.
  • I miss my husband when I'm not with him. I miss him right now.
  • I should be in bed but I'm writing this and then I have a book calling my name.
  • I may need a nap again tomorrow.
What's your week been like...random bullets please!

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Gabe to the rescue...

    I'd like to introduce you to Super Gabe, finder of small kittens and rescuer of the same. We are down at my parents house this week and early today, before lunch, Gabe, my mom, and I took her dogs out for a walk in the woods. When we got back to the house, it was raining. We heard a very loud meow but it sounded like the meow of a very small kitten. My mom and I took the dogs in and asked Gabe if he could find the *kitty. Gabe came in and said "I found it. It's stuck on a stick. There's a string coming from it and it's tangled around the stick." I had some horrible vision of what could be wrong and, when my mom asked me to go check, I told her to come with me because it didn't sound good.

    Well, Gabe gave a very good description of what was going on. We found a very young kitten with its umbilical cord and placenta still attached. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the stick about 6 times. There was no way that poor little thing was going to get free by itself. While I untangled the little one, my mom got a towel. When we brought the little one in, I had to tie off the umbilical cord and cut it. My mom put together some "orphan formula" that we've fed orphaned kittens in the past and, despite it's extremely young age, the kitten enthusiastically sucked the formula out of the eye dropper. As the kitten dried off, you could start to see some brownish patches around the face. I think the baby is going to be a calico. Gabe checked around outside and didn't find any trace of the mommy cat or any other kittens. We figure the mommy cat was a young one and, when she was moving the babies, this little one got tangled. In order to save/move the other baby(ies), she left this kitty behind...or that's our best guess.

    The question now became what do we do with the baby kitty. While we were trying to figure it out, we wrapped the baby in a heated towel (boy do microwaves come in handy). It was obviously a little survivor and had a hell of a set of lungs on it. It was eating and trying to climb out of the towel onto me. We called my parents' vet and they suggested we call the cat adoption center and see if they had any nursing mommy cats. It turned out that the adoption center had several nursing mommy cats and luckily one of them adopted the little fighter. I was very relieved because that meant I wouldn't have to worry about it when I leave town for BlogHer.
    Super Gabe, kitty rescuer

    *Someone dropped some kitties in my parents' neighborhood and my mom feeds them until she can catch them and take them to the local animal rescue.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    My Fellow Americans

    We live in the land of the free and home of the brave, the great Melting Pot, a country that espouses religious freedom and tolerance for your fellow man...or that's what we're suppose to do. Since 9/11, I've watched and I've seen. I've seen things that make me incredibly proud of who we are as a country and what we stand for. I've also seen things that have made me want to weep because of the hypocrisy and narrow minded assholery they display. I knew it was time to say something (past time really) when I saw this piece over on Cecily's blog and recalled a conversation I had with a relative who should know better. This relative informed my that Obama was really a closet Muslim and he lied to us abotu it because the Koran says it's okay for Muslim's to lie to non-Muslims in order to advance their cause. This relative further said that ALL Muslims who truly believe in the Koran believe in the violence perpetrated against our country because the Koran espouses those actions. If such a well-educated and supposedly open minded person can hold on to such warped, wrong headed ideas, then anyone can and that scares me. Please, please watch this and remember that you can't judge a book by it's cover or, in this case, you can't judge a patriot by their name or their religion.

    Learn more and please pass it on.

    Where do you stand on this issue and has anypne you know an d love surprised you with something they've said?

    Once upon a time there was a beanstalk...

    I recently discovered eBeanstalk.com when Shelly from Momfiles.com told me about them. eBeanstalk.com is a truly fabulous online store with a large selection of entertaining and educational toys for kids. According to their website, they have toys and games for babies up through 12 yr olds but, in the 12 yr old category, I found things that even my teenager would enjoy. eBeanstalk.com has an incredibly wide range of products. They have super cute bead kits that I might just have to buy and play with. I saw some awesome shape sorters that would be a perfect 1 yr old gift. eBeanstalk.com even has a nice selection of art books. But, I think my all time favorite toy I ran across on the eBeanstalk website is the DNA by Science Whiz. This fabulous kit teaches your child all about DNA and even teaches them how to extract DNA from fruit. How cool is that? I can definitely foresee some shopping sprees on eBeanstalk.com

    I found the eBeanstalk.com web site easy to navigate and it seemed that the toys and games were placed into age appropriate categories. My only complaint issue with the web site is there were a number of items that were listed twice in the same category...same item, same link, double listings...but, this relatively minor issue can be fixed easily. All in all, I think eBeanstalk.com is a pretty awesome place to shope for any of the children in your life.

    *I was compensated for this review but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    ALI & Friends Get Together/Lunch at BlogHer

    Hey y'all, if you are any part of the Adoption, Loss, & Infertility community, or if you just wanna meet up with any of us, let's plan to have lunch together. It could just be part of the actual BlogHer lunch. We could share a table or take our lunches out in the lobby. Please (using this link) email me ASAP and we can discuss which day to have it and exchange cell #s so we can text each other if we are running late. I'll also continue the list Mel started here so you can see who is planning to be there.

    ALI Bloggers & Friends Going to BlogHer List
    (* connotes that they’re not going to the conference but live in the area)

    Anyone else? Bueller? Bueller?

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Friday Night Leftovers: a second mashless edition

    Welcome to Friday Night Leftovers hosted by the fabulous Danifred of Sippy Cups Are Not For Starbucks...
    • The other night Joey was reading to Gabe. He was reading Skippyjon Jones, Lost In Spice. There is a line in the book that says Skippyjon Jones is nuts about Mars. Well, thanks to the slang Gabe has learned from his older brothers, Gabe changed that line and said "Skippyjon Jones is balls about Mars."
    • I was watching the news and a report made me wonder where they get some of the bond numbers they give to people. I mean why issue someone a bond of $270,000. Why not $250,000 or $300,000?
    • Gabe struck again. He and Joey were talking  the other night and Gabe asked Joey if a T. Rex was a real animal. Joey told him it was and T was short for Tyrannosaurus. Gabe looked at Joey and said "So, T.Rex stands for Tyrannosaurus Sex?" Joey died laughing and Gabe had no clue what his brother thought was so funny.
    • My 10 yr old Joey painted this in art class towards the end of the last school year.
    • I think Gabe has created 80 million pictures of vampires, Pacman and Ms. Pacman, and the Pacman ghosts over the past week or so. I really think I could wallpaper our bathroom with them,
    • Saw the cutest personalized plate on a chocolate brown van...CHCLTLVR
    Head on over to Danifred's for more leftovers and stop in to congratulate her.

    A Rose By Any Other Name

    Day 21
    What names would you NEVER name a child or pet? Shakespeare said "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I know the Bard had a finger on human emotions and motivation but I beg to differ with him on this idea. Marty, Joey, and Gabriel are all perfectly wonderful names for my boys in my book. And, I love the names (even the goofy ones) that all our pets have. While there are many other names I considered when choosing names for my children, there was one name I told Vic we could never, ever use if we had a boy. I could NEVER name a boy Ralph. Why is the name Ralph taboo in my house? I bet you'll be surprised by the reason. It actually has nothing to do with the fact that ralph is slang for puking (although that would have moved the name way down the list). No, the name Ralph was stricken from my list because of a book. I was in 6th grade when I read Judy Blume's book Forever. Forever is the coming of age story of Katherine and includes her relationship with Michael, the boy she lost her virginity to. Michael has a name for his penis and that name just happens to be Ralph. Since then, I have never been able to hear that name without thinking of the book and the connotations therein.

    What name do you wish you had been named? Honestly, I have never wished to have a different name.I love my first name and my middle name is the same as my aunt Kathy's middle name.

    Do you like the name of your blog? Way back in the beginning of 2009, I gave my blog a makeover. It gained a new look and a new name but kept the same url. The more geeky of you might have noticed that my blog url is very different from the name. The url stems from the original name of my blog, The Fertile Infertile. When I first started my blog, we were in the hell of secondary infertility and repeat pregnancy loss. Even after we finally had Gabe, I left the blog name alone. Part of that was because I wasn't blogging that often and part of it was I just didn't have a better idea. By early 2009, I had been back to actively blogging for about 6 months and I knew it was time for a change. You can read a little bit about what the name change meant here and here (question 2).

    Weigh in with your thoughts on these questions and join the fun of Calliope's Bloggity Summer Camp.

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    The Power of Our Love

    There are moments in our life when we see something happening and we feel moved to do something, do anything. That happened earlier this year. Earlier this year, my dear friend St. Elsewhere was faced with something no one should have to face. She lost her beautiful baby daughter after only 2 days of life and a long battle to have her. I knew I couldn't make it better. I knew I couldn't remove the pain. But, I felt I needed had to do something to show her we, the whole ALI community, would never ever forget her daughter. I wanted it to be something tangible, something that could carry our love to her, something others could contribute to, something she could wrap around her when she needed a hug. In short, I wanted to make her a quilt. I put the call out and asked for people to contribute in any way they felt moved to...fabric, notes, prayers, or money to help with supply costs and shipping costs. Y'all, I was literally OVERWHELMED with the response. There are truly too many people who contributed to list them here. My email in box was overflowing and, shortly, my mailbox was overflowing. Packages and letters came in from all over the world. I received so many beautiful pieces of fabric that I could only include small amounts from each one and still have the quilt be a normal size. This is the final product...
    For those of you who have read my blog or visited before, yes, this is the quilt I attributed to my friend Sheila. It was the only way I could share the progress without letting St. Elsewhere know what we were up to. Due to a long trip overseas and circumstance beyond her control, St. Elsewhere didn't open the package until very recently and SHE POSTED ABOUT IT TODAY. I am truly honored that I got to participate in something that means so much to her. I honestly feel my roll in this was small. Without the love, support, and generosity of the ALI community, this quilt could not have happened. Thank you everyone for helping me do this. I'd like to send out one final tribute to both St. Elsewhere's baby and everyone who helped with this. Here is the slide show I created to go along with the quilt.

    Two small notes...1) because of the music that goes along with this, a song by Michael Jackson, the viewing of this video is blocked in many countries. If you can't view it, use the email link in the right sidebar and I'll see about getting you a copy or link that will allow you to view it. 2) the third slide showing fabric has the name Helene K on it. She is the one who shipped the fabric, not the blogger who contributed it. I can't find the email with the correct name. Please let me know if it's from you.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Lifted Up With Kindness

    Welcome back to the coolest summer camp around, Calliope's Blogging Summer Camp. Today, Head Counselor Calliope posed the following question for Day 20What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? Did you repay the kindness? Did you blog about it?

    This is a really hard question for me to answer because I have had some really phenomenal things done for me during my life. When we were in the depths of infertility hell, the fabulous ladies of the Cross Stitch Crazy board made me a quilt in memory of all my lost little ones. I had two wonderful, lovely friends who dropped their lives, packed up their kids, and came to take care of me during that same time frame. I have had other people do wonderful, helpful things that I simply can't discuss here. When I haven't been able to repay the person directly for the amazing kindnesses they've done me, I have always made sure I paid it forward.

    Day 13
    Tell us about the best job you ever had, and the worst. Do you ever quote or reference blogs while at work? Other than being a mom, the very best job I've ever had was when I volunteered as a paramedic. I think at some level, I'm an adrenaline junkie and, oh man, did being a paramedic give me that fix. I got to see the weird of the weird and I got to help people who really needed it. I have stories to last a lifetime and, if the hours were more family friendly, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    The worst job I had was working as a weekend residential counselor at a group home. Here in NC, the type of group home I worked at was known as a Willie M home and was for emotionally disturbed children with violent tendencies. I know the kids were emotionally disturbed. I could have dealt with it better if I had a decent boss but our boss was a raving bitch who never supported her staff and was more than willing to throw us under the bus if she thought it would advance her position. She didn't back me up when I had a financial claim because of the damage the kids did to my car. It was truly a job from hell.

    Do you ever blog or read blogs while at work? Considering my current job is being a stay at home wife and mother, that's the only time I have to blog and read blogs.

    Day 14
    How do you typically dress to run errands? Do you think bloggers dress better or worse than “regular people”? I dress very casually most days...some might even say a bit sloppily at times. I adore beautiful clothes and would LOVE to be able to afford nicer clothes but our budget is limited and most of it goes to the kids. Such is life. I think bloggers have the same variations of stylish vs casual or sloppy dressers that the rest of society has.

    So, tell me about a kindness done for you or your best/worst job or maybe your style of dress. I wanna know all about you!
    Don't forget to stop by my Summer Block Party and enter to win.

    In Which I Became A Peacock...

    Yesterday, I went in to get my hair dyed. Last year, when I went purple, I did it myself with Manic Panic UltraViolet...
    I loved the look and thought it turned out well (I certainly got compliments) but I wanted to do something a bit different this year. Since the purple had long since faded and my hair had grown out substantially,
    I had to start by bleaching out my roots (yes, all that hair growth is in the past year). After all, if I'm going to rock some color I want it to be bright and bold.
    Since I decided to expand my color palette this year to include both Manic Panic UltraViolet and Manic Panic AtomicTurquoise,
    I decided to go to a hair salon to have it put in and I made an appointment at the fabulous Salon Jon Clay here in Cary. I bought 2 jars of UltraViolet and 1 jar of AtomicTurquoise and took them to my appointment yesterday.

    It was kind of funny how much attention my dye job attracted. Kim, my stylist, said she had done streaks of color but had never done a full head of such an unusual color. The other stylists kept stopping by to see how it went as Kim progressed with the dye job. My original plan was for almost all of the hair to be purple with a few streaks of turquoise. It was all going swimmingly. My turquoise streaks were in, my hair was over halfway done, Kim and I were chatting, and she turned to get more dye on the brush. She commented that it looked like we would have just enough purple to do the job. As she turned back, I heard a rather loud crash followed by a loud "Shit" from Kim. Generally when your stylist says SHIT, it isn't a good thing. As she turned back, something knocked the remaining purple onto the floor and we lost about 2/3 of what was in the bowl to splatter. Poor Kim was so upset but I laughed and said "Just do the underneath back with the turquoise. It's not like I'm going for normal and we have enough left." Well, it turned out that the spillage was a serendipitous mistake. In the back, the purple merges into the turquoise and the turquoise fades towards the ends. It totally looks like it was done on purpose and I told Kim she should claim it was planned. The lady having her hair done next to me commented that she wished she was brave enough to do something like that because it looked really cool.

    So, this year I'm sporting a peacock look just in time for BlogHer. Hopefully, I can find some clothes to match.
    So, do y'all like it? Would you ever do something funky with your hair?

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Day In And Day Out

    Hey y'all. It's me, the slacker camper here. Still trying to catch up with my Blogging Summer Camp schedule...but, I'm beginning to think it's hopeless..well, maybe not hopeless but it's taking a hell of a lot longer than I thought it would.

    Camp Counselor Calliope posed this question for Day 19...How do you (and your partner if applicable) feel about PDA? Does your husband/wife/partner know that you blog and, if so, are they involved? I'm not a big fan of PDAs. Hugs, little pecks, walking arm in arm, all those things are ok but I find it extremely distasteful when people go at it in public...totally without class. My husband does know I blog and reads off and on. In fact, I got him blogging (sporadically) at The Warped Musings of My Inner Self.

    Day 11
    How are you different from your parents? How are you the same? Well, except for my curly hair, I look very much like my mother. I am a little shorter and probably (sadly) a bit heavier than my mother. I got my skin coloring and lack of height from my dad's family. My sense of humor is a lot like my mom's and sometimes it drives my dad off the deep end (he doesn't appreciate our risque humor). Politically, I seem to fall in between them. My mom still thinks she's a raging liberal democrat but, when you can get her to talk issues and not parties, she isn't quite as liberal as she thinks she is. My dad is a dyed in the wool Republican. The joke in our family is that the only time he voted for a Democrat for president was when JFK ran and he only got my dad's vote because he was Catholic. I definitely consider myself a Libertarian which means I'm stuck being registered as an Independent.

    Do your parents and/or family know that you write on-line? Even though they all know I blog now and probably all have the link, it didn't start out that way.

    Day 9
    What is the most important lesson you learned from your own mother (or other primary caretaker)? I have learned more than I could ever begin to explain in one post. I learned compassion and I learned how to help others in any way possible. I learned that a woman can be the strong one when it's needed. I learned from my parents that "For Better or For Worse" means exactly that and you don't cut and run when you run into trouble. I learned that giving of my time is just as important if not more important than giving of my money. I was truly blessed to have the parents and family that I have.

    What do you imagine the name of your Grandmother’s blog would be and what would she write about? I think my maternal Grandma's blog would be called The Military Wife and she would talk about the experiences she had being married to a career military man and volunteering with the Red Cross during war time. I think my paternal Grandma's blog would be called The Butcher, The Baker, and the Newspaper Taker. During their life together, she and my Grandpa had a small butcher shop, she baked for her family, and they delivered newspapers to the entire community. I think she would write a little bit about everything.

    Day 8
    If you had to teach something, what would you teach? (If you DO teach, when did you discover your love for teaching/the subject?) I think if I ever went into teaching, I would love to teach a hands on art class and maybe venture into sewing, quilting, crocheting, and cross stitch. It would be so much fun.

    Do you think blogs can play a role in education? I definitely think blogs can play a role in education as long as kids are taught to question and research everything they read. Blogs can also be a great place to practice writing skills.

    Soooooo, to wrap it up, PDAs - thumbs up or thumbs down? Similarities and differences from your parents? Lessons learned and Grandmother's blog names? And, finally, tell me about teaching? Pick something and spill it!

    It didn't stand the test of time...

    I got into my van this morning to take Marty to cooking class. As I cranked the engine, the dulcet tones of Peter Cetera wafted through the van and I started singing along...

    You are my love in my life
    And you are my inspiration
    to self...why are you singing? It isn't that good...continue singing with the song...
    What is this dreck I'm singing  (Just you 'n me, Simple and free)
    These songs really did suck badly (Baby you're everything)
    Nothing I've ever dreamed of (I've ever dreamed of Yeah, yeah)

    Give me a break from this shit (Give me your own special smile)
    Promise me it will end (Promise you'll never leave me)
    Just give me rock and roll, (Just you 'n me, Simple and free)
    It's so much better for my soul, oh man (Life is so easy when you're beside me, Oh girl)

    So, I didn't make it through the whole song before we got where we were going...but, you get the idea. What song do you think could use a makeover?

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Catch Me If You Can

    I have been a bad, bad summer camper. My attendance has been haphazard and I'm going to try and do a little catch up today. I hope head counselor Calliope will forgive me.

    Day 18
    Our question today is How do you feel about astrology? What’s your sign, baby, and do you think it matches your personality? I don't take astrology seriously but I do have fun with it. I'm a Sagittarius and, baby, I'll claim all the good qualities of a Sag...
    "Sagittarians have a positive outlook on life, are full of enterprise, energy, versatility, adventurousness and eagerness to extend experience beyond the physically familiar. They enjoy traveling and exploration, the more so because their minds are constantly open to new dimensions of thought. They are basically ambitious and optimistic, and continue to be so even when their hopes are dashed. Their strongly idealistic natures can also suffer many disappointments without being affected. They are honorable, honest, trustworthy, truthful, generous and sincere, with a passion for justice. They are usually on the side of the underdog in society they will fight for any cause they believe to be just, and are prepared to be rebellious. They balance loyalty with independence."
    and I'll just avoid the bad vibes given off by the negative qualities. Definitely don't want to harsh my mellow.

    Day 17
    What is your favorite thing about the weekend? Do you take a break from blogs or is this when you catch up? I love getting to sleep in. I love that, on weekends, we usually don't have a set schedule and we just get to go with the flow. Sadly, with my husband's work schedule, the weekend is not a guarantee of us having more time together. As for blogging on weekends, I don't necessarily take a break then but I guess that I'm a bit more likely to take a break on the weekend.

    Day 15
    What was your college experience like? Were you involved in any clubs, groups, etc? If you did not go to college what was your experience like after high school? College was a really incredible experience for me. I think I finally came into my own during college and really gained a lot of self-confidence. Since I was willing to talk about anything and everything, I somehow ended up giving sexual advice to the people on my floor. I ended up gaining a reputation as the Dr. Ruth of my freshmen dorm. I also helped re-establish the Duke Democrats (I'm an avowed Libertarian now) with a dear friend...who I get to see in San Diego when I''m there for BlogHer (Hi Mike!). I also hung out with my friend Mike and his fraternity brothers. I got to go to most of their semi-formals which was incredible. I was vice-president of the Duke Equestrian team and spent one year as the treasurer for my dorm. I also was a member of the Lambda Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Omega - a co-ed service fraternity. And, speaking of dorms, I lived in the coolest dorm on campus. I guess the "popular" groups might have considered us a group of weirdos but we always had fun. We hosted a yearly "Come As You Aren't" party. We were a bunch of sci-fi geeks and Duke basketball fanatics. We hosted High Tea & Croquet on The Lawn. It was a fucking AWESOME place to live. And, OMG, DUKE BASKETBALL...getting to go to games in Cameron Indoor Stadium, camping out in Krzyzewskiville, face painting, and screaming ourselves hoarse.  Can you tell I loved my college years?

    Sigh, I was going to try and catch up all the way but I have truly been a slack ass camper. I guess I'll have to do a few more multi day posts.

    So, thoughts on astrology, tell me about your weekends, and what was college like for you? Spill it y'all. Inquiring minds want to know.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    What I Like About Me

    Over the past few weeks, I've noticed a lot of beautiful women being angsty. They're worrying about what to wear and will what they wear be good enough and "OMG, what if I get there and don't fit in with anyone" and what if I don't get an invite to the party. What it all boils down to is they are wondering "What if I'm not good enough?" I think watching all these fabulous women stress over an event (BlogHer '11) that's suppose to be fun is what has made me want to participate Ciao Mom's Things I Like About Me even though I'm sneaking in just under the wire.

    So, while you are reading my list of things I like about me, I'm going to challenge each and everyone of you to think of at least 2 things you can truly and genuinely say you like about yourself. Women tend to be far to harsh on themselves. It's time to stop that and time to start celebrating the fabulousness of us.

    1) I like my fabulously curly hair. There was a time in my life that I didn't like it. In fact, I could safely say I hated it when I was younger. I desperately wanted hair like everyone else. Now, I love that I have a head full of ringlet curls that never ever go away. They curl, they twine, they bounce, and I love them no matter what color they happen to be.

    2) I like that I'm secure enough in myself to have fun with my hair. I no longer limit myself to normal colors. Manic Panic is my friend.

    3) I love that I can talk to anyone. I've struck up conversations in some of the unlikeliest locations and some of those people are friends to this day.

    4) I love that I look and sound like my mother. Until a few years back, I wasn't aware how alike we look. Now, I can't see how I missed it. I think I am very lucky because at 66, she can pass for someone much younger.

    5) I love that not only do I look like my mom but I've inherited her wonderfully witty sense of humor, her brains, and her desire to help anyone she can help. I was raised by an incredible woman and, if I grow up to be even half as wonderful, I'll be in good shape indeed.

    6) I love that I am honest and open about how I feel. You will never doubt where you stand with me.

    7) I love that I can tell someone to go to hell in such a manner that they don't even realize what they've been told and gladly do it.

    8) I love that I see the good in people. I give my love and loyalty freely and I will bend over backwards to do something for someone I care about.

    9) I love my eyes, my lips and my boobs. Yup, I have a pretty fabulous rack and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

    10) I love that my artist's eye can pick color combinations that may seem unlikely at first but look fabulous once put together.

    11) I love my artistic nature. I've never met a craft I don't like or one I can't at least become competent at. There are quite a few crafty things I excel at and a host of things I'm at least passably good at.

    It's amazing how hard it is to be complimentary to yourself. I found myself questioning and second guessing my words. Will I sound like I'm bragging? Will I sound obnoxious about it? But, damn does it make you feel good when you finally put those words on the screen...These are the things I like and love about myself.

    Take a moment and spread the love...share the warm fuzzies. Tell me my dear friends, what do you like about yourself? I challenge each of you who read this post to chime in in the comment section with something you genuinely like or love about yourself.

    Since it will probably be too late for you to join in CiaoMom's wonderful event (entries close the night of the 18th), I'm going to offer a prize of some sort...created by my crafty fingers...to one of the brave women who step forward and tell me what she likes about herself.

    Thanks to my dear friend Kir for bringing this to my attention.

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Confessions of a Social Media Junkie

    If you had talked to me 10+ years ago, I never ever would have imagined the world of social media as it is. I never would have imagined being as immersed in it the way I am. I blog. I tweet. I'm on Facebook. I probably spend far more time online than I should really admit. I have to admit I'm more than a bit addicted to it all. I get antsy if I don't have access to blogging and I feel the compulsive need to read everything and catch up if I separated from my precious online connection. Hell, 10 years ago I wouldn't have called myself a writer and now I find myself so addicted to writing that I can't imagine going more than a couple of days without writing.

    The question posed on Day 16 of Calliope's blogging summer camp is...

    "How many friends of yours blog/tweet/actively facebook? Has social media helped or hurt your friendships?"

    Honestly, since I don't differentiate between friends I've made online and friends I've met in my everyday life, I would have to to say that a majority of my friends are involved in social media. Now, if you talk about the people I physically interact with on a daily basis, I would guess it's a much smaller percentage.  But, I feel that social media has overall helped my friendships. I have friends who don't blog who read my blog regularly and it has allowed them to get to know me a lot better.  And, my involvement with social media and all forms of online interaction has brought a bunch of people to my life, people I probably wouldn't have met otherwise, and these are people whose friendship I treasure. I've also reconnected with friends from my past, people I lost touch with when we moved on to college or moved on due to our significant others. Some of these people from my past will probably pass in and out again but I've become closer to a large number of them and feel we'll stay good friends.

    Sure, I waste some time with the apps and games available on facebook. I've spent more time than I care to admit playing Farmville...placing little fake animals on little fake farms...but I never let those games or apps keep me away from the things that really matter,

    If you're reading this, you are already involved at least a little with social media. My only question is just how involved are you? Do you tweet, blog, or facebook? Do you do all three?
    Don't forget to stop by my Summer Block Party and enter to win.

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Welcome To The Summer Block Party

    Welcome, welcome, pull your chair up to the barbeque and let me tell you about the best damned opportunity in our little corner of the blogosphere. Before we start, grab a cold beer from the cooler or maybe a mojito from the pitcher on the table. It's too hot to be without refreshments. Now, y'all have to agree that the best parties have door prizes, right? Well, this fabulous party has some truly amazing door prizes for y'all to win. See, this little block party here is sponsored by 6 amazing bloggers and one of the coolest companies I've heard about, AboutOne.

    Let me tell you a little about AboutOne. When you have an account with AboutOne, it's like you have a cross between the most amazingly stupendous file cabinet you could ever have and the sharpest, most savvy personal assistant anyone could ever want. AboutOne allows you to keep everything important in one location. Let me repeat that, IT ALLOWS YOU TO KEEP EVERYTHING IMPORTANT IN ONE LOCATION. Seriously guys, for those of you still dealing with infertility hell, you can scan all your medical records in and have them available any time, anywhere. You could use the calender to track all your doctor's appointments and even your medicine schedule. And, for those of you with children, the advantages of AboutOne just multiply. You can track anything you want, growth, medical records, shot records, scan in artwork, upload videos, and more. The thing I am most excited about is being able to track everything about my oldest son's high school years. Marty is starting high school in the fall and AboutOne will let me track his grades, his extra-curricular activities, any volunteer activities, and test scores. I can also scan in copies of any awards he receives and keep track of the starting and ending dates for all these activities. I truly wish something like this had existed 14 years ago when Marty was born because I suck at writing down all the milestones in a book but I totally ROCK at keeping things updated online. Just imagine what a boon an AboutOne account can be to all of you. What's more my dear friends, AboutOne is also PERFECT for childfree couples or couples whose kids have grown up and moved out. You can keep copies of all receipts and tax info in your AboutOne account and track job opportunities or recognition in addition to all the other features mentioned. I am truly amazed at the platform they have developed over at AboutOne and I can't wait to use it as they continue to expand what it does.

    Now, what you've all been waiting for. Here's the scoop on the amazing prizes and how to enter.


    The giveaway is open to US residents only and you must provide a valid e-mail address. The giveaway starts right now and runs through July 31st. Each winner will have 72 hours to respond. If you win the cookies, don't worry about sending me an address. I'll eat them for you.


    • MANDATORY ENTRY: Check out AboutOne's site and leave a comment telling us what feature looks the most interesting to you

    • Follow me on Google Friend's Connect and leave a comment telling me the name that shows up with you on GFC

    1 Bonus Entry: answer one and only one of these questions in the comments (try looking in the personal trivia category)
    1. What celebrity do I have a mad crush on?
    2. Where was I born?
    3. What happened to me only 1 week after I got my driver's license?
    4. Name one thing I collect...
    5. What Greek organization was/am I a member of?

    Sign up for AboutOne's totally free trial using this link and leave a comment letting us know you signed up. You will be making a huge, huge mistake if you don't at least try out this fantabulous service.

    Now let's get this party started!!

    You can increase your chances of winning by going to the other Summer Block Party Neighbor Blogs and playing along there too!

    I was given a free subscription to AboutOne in exchange for reviewing their product. Any and all opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    A laugh a minute...

    It happened again. Remember my post yesterday...laughing when you know you shouldn't...it happened again today. We have a huge number of kid's books and one of our favorites is the Sandra Boynton book Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaur!
    As you can see, the book truly is well loved. The corners are peeling. The spine is worn on the edges. But, it's been through three boys and we read it a lot.

    This morning, Joey and Gabe were in the living room. As I came down the hall I heard them laughing and Gabe was saying "Don't tell mom. Please don't tell mom." Well, y'all know there is no better way to get a parent's attention than to say don't tell them. So, I asked. Joey cracked up and said "You know that book Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaur! Well, Gabe was reading that page Dinosaurs singing a dinosaur song...
    but instead, he said said 'Vagina-saurs singing a vagina-saur song.'" I knew I shouldn't laugh but I did. I laughed long and hard...and, Gabe now has his "song" on an unending loop.

    Any clue how I can stop laughing when I shouldn't?

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    I knew I shouldn't

    There are times you can see the train wreck coming and, you just can't help yourself, you have to give in...you have to laugh your ass off or give in and say something...even if you are going to pay later. Sadly, that internal censor between my brain and my mouth loses it's fight for self preservation far too often. My long time readers have heard about my epic fail of my internal censor that led to the naming of Damn Duck. Go ahead, go read the story and get a good laugh at my expanse. I'll wait for you to get back.

    TV Themes - Jeopardy Theme Tune (Think Music)

    Powered by mp3skull.com

    Ok, are y'all back? Good. Now, on to another story about the failure of my internal censor or maybe I prefer to think of it as the victory of my sense of humor over stick in the mud adulthood. Let's hop on the wayback machine and take a trip to the spring of '03.

    It was early morning (but not too early) in the spring of '03. I had Marty, his friend Will, Will's sister, and little (at the time) Joey in the van. We had just picked up Will and his sitter and were headed to school. All I could hear from the back seat was whispering, giggling, and something that sounded vaguely like Yankee Doodle. In an effort to be a good mommy, I asked the kids what they were talking about and they said "We're not talking. We're singing." Well, of course I had to ask what they were singing...I should have known better. This is what they were singing...
    Yankee Doodle went to town
    a-riding on a *Sam
    stuck a father up his butt
    and called it macaroni.
    I knew I shouldn't.

    I knew it was wrong.

    I knew I would pay for it seriously...but, I did it anyway.

    I laughed my ass off.

    The payback was that I got to listen to their version of Yankee Doodle for months and months on end.

    That wasn't the first time my internal censor failed and it certainly wasn't the last. I'm also sure there will be many more censor FAILS on my part.

    Have you ever said or did something you knew you shouldn't but just couldn't help yourself?
    In the spirit of things we shouldn't laugh at but do, here's the video of my mom teaching Gabe her version of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (you can read the whole story here)...

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    When was your first time?

    When was your first time? My first time was during the fall semester of my freshman year in college. I had just started at Duke on an Army ROTC scholarship. A few of the guys in my platoon just happened to be members of the DKE fraternity and they invited all of us to their first kegger of the year. That's where it happened. That was my first time. No, not THAT first time. It was my first time having too much to drink. Honestly, there wasn't much
    special about the party except for some awesome swing dancing with my ROTC buddy. There was lots and lots of beer and a few quarters games going on. I found out I had an aptitude for quarters as long as I was aloud to launch them off my nose. Sadly. although I had an aptitude for quarters, I had no tolerance for beer. Boy, oh boy did I pay for it the next day.

    ©1996 Jim Wallace/Duke

    The next day, every single ROTC member had to be at the Duke Chapel at 2pm in FULL dress uniform (can we say tight collars much) for the Veteran's Day service.I made it there on time...barely And, I managed to stay upright...barely. But, Kristin was NOT a happy camper. Trying to appear compose and polished when the room is spinning and you feel like your head is going to fall off is NOT a good thing. Tight collars combined with the gag reflex a hangover induces is also NOT a good thing.

    Like most college students, the drunken revelry was not a one time thing but it is definitely a thing left to the past While I enjoy a drink now and then and a good party can really rock, I'm too damned old to party like that anymore.

    When was your first time? Spill it in the comments or, if you participated in Day 12 of Calliope's blogging summer camp, leave me a link to your post.

    Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Fresh Veggies

    Welcome to both  Day 10 of Calliope's blogging summer camp and the latest edition of Tasty Tuesday.

    One of the things I LOVE about summer time is the wonderful selection of fresh veggies available. And, one of my favorite ways to prepare them is also one of the easiest.

    Roasted Fresh Veggies
    This can be made with any type of fresh veggies...sweet potatoes and potatoes are also good options.
    3 zucchini
    3 yellow squash
    2 large onions
    1 cup baby carrots
    4 cloves of garlic
    olive oil
    soy sauce
    a little salt

    1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2) Cut veggies into large chunks. I quartered the squash and zucchini lengthwise. Then, I cut them into chunks about 1 inch thick.
    3) Put all the veggies into large baking dish
    4) Mince the garlic and mix it with the veggies
    5) Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and soy sauce
    6) Mix it up thoroughly and lightly salt
    7) Roast veggies for about 35 - 40 minutes

    I love to eat these veggies either on their own or over rice.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Better Late Than Never

    I've been debating a lot about writing this post because, after all, the subject of Casey Anthony's guilt or innocence has been done to death. But, the more I thought about it, the more I decided I had to weigh in on this.

    Although I followed the trial a little bit, I didn't follow or watch it obsessively. I'm sure there are things I missed. However, I am comfortable saying that I believe what Casey Anthony did was unforgivable and that karma will bite her in the ass someday. Either Casey killed her little girl and covered it up or her little girl died a tragic, accidental death and she lied about it and went on partying and living life. In my book, both acts are equally incomprehensible. I simply can not wrap my mind around an outlook that would make either of those acts ok.

    Having said that, I MUST also say that I believe the jury did the right thing given the evidence they were presented with. My gut tells me that Casey Anthony is guilty as hell but, if I had sat on that jury, I believe I would have had to vote not guilty also. Our standard of law demands that, in the face of reasonable doubt, you must vote not guilty. The prosecution in the Casey Anthony trial could NOT present a cause of death. They could NOT present a murder weapon. All they could present was a lot of circumstantial evidence and one lying bitch. The smell of death and a few hairs in the trunk of Casey's car do not prove she killed Caylee. It does prove the body was in the car but it does NOT prove murder. The jurors who have spoken have all said it made them sick to their stomach to vote not guilty but they were following the letter of the law.

    While I believe Casey Anthony deserves to rot in hell, I Must give kudos to those jurors for having the moral fortitude to follow the letter of the law.

    What do you think about it all?

    Saturday, July 09, 2011

    Free/Cheap Romance Books (and others)...

    I hit the jackpot yesterday. I headed over to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books last night to check out the name of the latest book in their Summer Reading club. I'm not sure if I should consider them a good influence or a bad one because, while I didn't end up buying that, I followed a few links and ended up with a TON of other romance books for very little money. I had a couple of requests to spread the news about how and where I got them so here goes.

     So, with the book I added today, Some Kind of Wonderful,I got 11 books for only $16.28. Hurry and check these out because the discounts and freebies are often for a limited time only.

    Here are a few links that will help you feed your reading habit...

    I am sadly still e-Reader deprived so I have the Kindle for the PC app on both my desktop and laptop. Any serious book lover needs this. The access to free books is FABULOUS. I also have Adobe Digital Edition on my laptop and desktop. This is also a free download and allows me to open ePub and secure digital formats.

    So, do y'all have any good eBook tips or good sources for books?

    Books with a * following the price had a sales tax that kicked in. Don't know if it is because of where I live or some other reason. The sales tax is reflected in the price I have listed.

    Friday Night Leftovers: the non-mashup edition

    Sadly, this week you are deprived of the brilliance of a mashup post. I have nothing to mash the leftovers into because there is no Photo Friday...and blog summer camp doesn't mash together well with Friday Night Leftovers from the brilliant Danifred.
    • I wasted 40 minutes laughing hysterically over damnyouautocorrect.com ...40 inutes that I could have been blogging or writing or editing or whatever.
    • It's all Kim's fault...Kim and that damned Steve Wozniak...oh yeah, and the founders of Twitter because a tweet made me go there.
    • I wouldn't trade those 40 minutes for anything because I spent those 40 minutes laughing uproariously with my 14 yr old. It was priceless.
    • I spent the week teaching leading vacation bible school kidlets from event to event. It's amazing how tired such a simple activity can leave you.
    • Or, maybe I'm really tired because I stayed up way to freaking late most of the week.
    • My son says I'm not allowed to appear within 5 miles of him if I am wearing either this shirt or this shirt.
    • He says he won't even let me where this one around him.
    • It just makes me want to buy one even more.
    • By the way, if that third tee shirt doesn't make sense, go read this post by The Bloggess. Seriously, go read it. It is one of the funniest things I have ever read...even on the 30 millionth reading.
    • BTW, when I was threatening to buy and wear a Beyonce the Chicken t-shirt, Marty pushed the button on Joey's clone trooper helmet and it said "Get ready to turn those clankers into scrap metal." 
    • If you don't understand why that's funny, you obviously didn't follow my instructions to GO READ THIS POST.
    • Marty cooked dinner last night. He made Mexican Chili Chicken. It was awesome.
    • I'm sensing a chicken theme here. Does it mean something?
    • I guess technically it was two nights ago since it is technically Saturday.
    • Marty said it isn't morning until you get to 8 am. I was going to say it wasn't morning until you wake up...but what if you don't wake up until 12 pm or later? That would be a serious time paradox.
    • I think I am a little punchy...slap happy...or as Gabe would put it ridicleeeous. Lack of sleep and multiple nausea inducing migraines (fucking summer thunderstorms) in one week destroy my tenuous facade of a productive and sane person.
    • Shhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone.

    Thursday, July 07, 2011

    What's new?

    Welcome to Days 6 and 7 of Calliope's blogging summer camp. The thunderstorms are still hanging around my part of North Carolina and my head is still causing me to call it dirty names. Migraines suck and vicodin is my friend.

    For Day 6, Calliope asked "When was the last time you tried something new? What was it and what was the result? Have you ever done something just so that you could blog about it?" Hmmmm, the last time I tried something new...
    • I helped Marty try a brand new crock pot recipe tonight. He did a pretty good job and it was nice not having to make dinner.
    • I'm deconstructing (a first) a dress and think I'm making it into a skirt I can take to BlogHer.
    • I've decided on a little twist to my purple hair color...definitely new...can't wait.
    • I played a most excellent new game (a big thanks to Mel aka Lollipop Goldstein) called What's Gnu? It's a super cool spelling game for kids.
    • I don't think I've ever done something JUST so I could blog about it but I frequently think "Hmmm, that would be a hell of a lot of fun and it would make a good story."

    Today, on Day 7, Calliope asked "What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do you read food blogs or would you ever consider writing one?"
    • If time and effort weren't an issue, I would love an omelet with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, sausage and cheese...heavy on the veggies...for breakfast.
    • I can't say I really have a favorite lunch. Wraps with lettuce, tomatoes, some kind of meat, maybe a little spicy mustard, and a little cheese are good. Some days I like cottage cheese and mandarin oranges does the trick.
    • Dinner is also something that I don't have a clear favorite food for. Time and, sadly, money influence dinner selections a lot. I love experimenting in the kitchen and I also love cooking some of the classics every now and then.
    • As for food blogs, I have a few I read. One of my all time favorites is She's Becoming DoughMessTic. She's funny, seriously talented, and a really sweet person on top of it all. I don't know that I have it in me to write a food blog all the time but it might be cool to contribute to a group food blog.
    So, tell me all about you...what new things have you tried and what are your favorite foods?

    Wednesday, July 06, 2011


    I'm sorry for the lack of substantial posting and commenting the past few days.

    I have a wicked headache today...not quite a migraine but not going away either.

    I'm tired...stayed up late doing laundry last night and still had to go teach vacation bible school today.

    And, my 14 yr old almost drove me off the deep end this afternoon. After dealing with his teenage behavior and my head acting up (damn those thunderstorms), I just can't focus on writing coherently.

    I promise to do better tomorrow.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    Celebrate with Me

    Welcome to Day 5 of Calliope's blogging summer camp. I just squeaked in under the wire...another few minutes and it would have been Day 6. Sorry about being so late but I got shanghaied into teaching at Vacation Bible School at the last minute. Between staying up late on the 4th and teaching at vbs today, I've been dead to the world.

    Our assignment today is to talk about what we prefer to do on our birthday. Around le casa de Cruz, what I'd prefer and what I usually get to do are two vastly different things. See, November and December are major family celebration months here. In a 21 day period, we have 3 birthdays, our anniversary, and Thanksgiving. In my fantasy world, I'd get to sleep in as late as I wanted and there would be no squabbling to wake me up. I'd wake up to a clean house (I'd say spotless but that ain't gonna happen even in my fantasies) and a lovely champagne brunch in bed. I would be free to read or create or shop all day long and my husband and I would get to wrap it up with a romantic dinner for two. Presents are nice but that isn't the big deal for me.

    In reality, I usually get a lovely little family celebration sometimes in tandem with a kid party and occasionally alone. My mom or my family always makes sure I have a cake and I usually get a few nice gifts. On the really lucky years, my mom and dad entertain the kids so Vic and I can get a night out together. Honestly, I love my birthdays just the way they are and my fantasy birthday would be so foreign that it would probably seem a little cold to me. The chaos and noise and love of my family is the perfect birthday celebration for me.

    Monday, July 04, 2011

    Surprises In Life

    Welcome to Day 4 of Calliope's blogging summer camp. Our assignment today is to talk about what has most surprised us about being an adult? What have we learned about ourselves through blogging?

    When you are little, you have a very skewed view of what it's like to be an adult. I know I use to think being an adult meant you could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted...and, as we've all found out, that is so far from the truth. So, I guess you could say that was the first surprise I had about being an adult...that all this extra responsibility came along with all the freedom.

    I was also surprised to find out how much like my mom I turned out to be. I will never forget the day I turned to a kid and I could hear my mother's words coming out of my mouth. It stunned me. Not that what I was saying was anything horrible...but, I just never thought I'd pick up the same phrases and responses the way I did.

    I was also very surprised by what I ended up doing with my life. When I was younger, I was convinced I would have some kind of high powered career and just knew I would never, ever want to be a stay at home mom. Here I am, 41 years old, and not only am I not in a high powered career but I'm a stay at home mom and I love my life. I love being able to volunteer in schools. I love my kids knowing I will always be available for them. I can't imagine living my life any other way.

    Another thing I've been surprised by is something I learned about myself through blogging. When I was younger, I never thought of myself as a writer. Now, not only do I acknowledge that I am a writer but I also have come to realize I am pretty good at it.

    What has surprised you about life as an adult? Do you identify with any of the things I mentioned?

    Happy 4th of July

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful 4th and take a moment to remember what a wonderful country we live in. If you don't have a chance to go see a fireworks display, check out any of these three links that let you create your own fireworks display online...
    Create Your Own Fireworks Display #1 (this own plays the 1812 Overture)
    Lady Liberty Fireworks

    Sunday, July 03, 2011

    My Guilty Pleasures

    Welcome to Day 3 of Calliope's blogging summer camp. Today, we're talking about our guilty pleasures. I'm not really sure if I can claim to have guilty pleasures because I don't feel bad or guilty about liking any of these things. However, there are things I absolutely love...
    • I adore good chocolate...sinfully rich, absolutely decadent chocolate.
    •  I love to read and can lose myself in books. I read everything from romances to biographies to history. If it's good, I read it.
    • Give me a really good bottle of champagne and I'm a happy camper...pair it with some of those decadent chocolates from number 1 and I'm in heaven.
    • I truly love to sleep in. The feeling you get when you gently wake up without kids yelling or alarms blaring is amazing. It's too bad it happens so infrequently.
    • I LOVE shoes. I love flats and sandals and boots and sky high heels. If space and money weren't an issue, I would gladly have a walk in closet filled with with nothing but shoes.
    • I really love high thread count sheets. They feel soooooo good on my freshly shaved legs.
    What are some of your not so guilty pleasures?

    Saturday, July 02, 2011

    High School Me

    Calliope's Day 2 of blogging summer camp is the perfect topic for me. With my oldest son starting high school in the fall, it's had me thinking a lot about what I was like back in high school. I was much more reserved and kind of quiet in new situations. With groups I felt comfortable in, my louder, wilder side came out but most of the time I came across as the good girl.

    I was involved in a ton of things. I was in Girl Scouts through high school. I earned the highest award in Girl Scouts, the gold award, part of the way through high school and was an assistant leader to a Brownie troop during my junior and senior years. In addition to Girl Scouts, I was involved in a bunch of school activities. I was part of the drama club. Drama  club was kind of a big step for me because I wasn't very comfortable getting up in front of people. I was far to concerned about what people would think of me to ever be a good actor at that age. I know I wasn't very good but I had a great time with it and one of our members is still acting today. I was also on the Flag Girl squad for two years which was a lot of fun. I rounded out my activities with being on the yearbook staff for two years and was the assistant editor my senior year. The really funny thing is that despite being able to write a kick ass paper for English class and despite being on the yearbook staff, I never thought of myself as being a writer. In fact, until recently, I never thought of myself as being a writer.

    Even though I was involved in a million things during high school, the only times I ever really felt like I belonged was when I went away to summer camps. It's taken a number of years for me to truly become comfortable in my own skin but I really like who I've  become.

    What were you like in high school? What groups did you participate in?

    Friday, July 01, 2011

    Photo Friday Night Leftovers

    The mashup tradition continues here at the Lair...once again brought to you via Calliope's Photo Friday and Danifred's Friday Night Leftovers...
    • Photo Friday's theme this week is vibrance. The first thing I thought of when I heard the theme were the vibrant colors of summer flowers...but, I was a slacker this week and all of a sudden it was Friday and I didn't have any new flower pictures. So, I looked through the pictures I've taken recently and this picture said vibrance...the beautiful colors...the striking design...I love it. 
    • I have a high school student now. Marty has officially registered for high school and I'm wondering how in the hell more than 14 yrs have passed since I brought that baby home.
    • I think Calliope stole my mashup idea. Check it out. The link to her Photo Friday also takes you to her Summer Camp post.
    • I think I need to bathe my dogs in Nair hair remover. I vacuum the floor and, less than 2 hours after I'm done, there is more dog hair on the floor.
    • Did I tell you I have a cat on allergy medicine? Twice a day I have to give Joey's kitty, Butterball, an allergy pill. It's not much fun but it works. He's no longer sneezing and slinging snot everywhere.
    • The funny thing is the cat takes the exact same allergy pill as I do. Yes, I share meds with the cat. The medicine of choice for nasal allergies in cats is the same medicine I've taken for my allergies since I was 6 yrs old.
    • I'm watching Joey at Tae Kwon Do sparring class right now. Two of the adults have already injured themselves. I'm glad kids are more elastic and bounceable.
    • Late last week I hat 10 boys in my house at once...and my house and I both survived. The testosterone overload was almost unbearable though.
    What kind of stuff is going on with you?

    My Blogging Space

    Welcome to 31 Days of Blog Juice courtesy of Calliope at Creating Motherhood. She says "Think of this as summer camp in the blogosphere. We’ve all been dropped off at a month-long camp with fantastic cabins and great wifi. Each night we gather at a looooooooong table over a yummy meal. And as the fireflies dance outside someone puts on some sweet sounding Bessie Smith and we talk about something. We get to know each other better."

    Like all summer camps, this one has a schedule. Today's assignment is to show a photo, sketch, or dramatic rendering of the space where you normally blog. Here's mine in all it's messy glory...
    This is also the chair I sit in when I'm crocheting, cross stitching, knitting, or repairing things. So, I have yarn and patterns and clothes waiting to be fixed and a stuffed animal with a hole all waiting for me to get to it. Even when the rest of the room gets cleaned, my chair and my corner rarely get neater than this.

    If you want to join in on the fun, head on over to Calliope's and check out The Big List of Campers and add your name.