Tuesday, May 30, 2006

When the guys are sent to buy pants...

Welcome SITS friends, to my little corner of the blog o' sphere. I'm very excited to be selected as today's featured blogger. I look forward to sharing a chuckle or a perhaps an emotional connection in which you might say to yourself, "Are you kidding me, I look at the world in the same twisted way!" I know I've had that feeling reading your blogs and am continually amazed over all the things, we perfect strangers have in common.

Last night the whole family went to 'Kohl's' to get the kids something dark and formal to wear to the graveside service for my husbands Aunt. If this were just any graveside service I wouldn't mind if the kids just wore a pair of clean jeans and a nice dark shirt but this is at 'Arlington National Cemetary'... Where the guard that protects the Unknown Soldier has every inch of his uniform inspected before He can report for duty!

My kids don't get a lot of opportunities to dress in formal wear. We don't attend church... We don't 'gussy' up to frequent the likes of places known as 'The Club'... 'The League'... or 'The Marina'... We enjoy 'The Theatre'... However, considering the price of a ticket we're just as happy taking in a show performed by high school students or the community playhouse... Both of which don't mind if you wear jeans.

So the point is... Every time we have a dressy event to attend, the kids need new clothes. It's a shame that these formal events can't be all lumped together before the kids grow into another size but considering this is a funeral we're attending, perhaps I should be careful what I wish for.

When we got to the store I pointed the guys in the direction of 'Young Men's Dress Slacks' and my daughter and I hit the 'Young Ladies Department'... It didn't take long for us to find a simple black dress. We finished up at the girls dressing room and crossed a couple of aisles over to 'Young Mens' but couldn't find my husband and son anywhere. My husband had mentioned that he might look for some slacks for himself so we ventured to the other side of the store where the 'Men's Department' is located.

When I found my husband he was standing there with my son and both of them had the biggest grins on their faces. It looked as if they'd just pulled golden tickets out of a 'Wonka' bar! OR as I was about to confirm... Made a hasty yet poor decision on a pair of pants for my son. They both looked at me and said, "Found the pants! The VERY FIRST PAIR he/I tried on!" Now, I've been pants shopping with my son and I KNOW the chances of finding a pair of pants that fit after trying on 10 pairs is slim to none (which is pretty much a description of his waist size.) SO, I did what any Mom would do. I said, "Oh yeah, go try 'em on for me." Of course I got the, "But I told you they fit!" and the eye roll as he lumbered over to the dressing room. It wasn't long before my son returned wearing a pair of pants that while long enough to adequately touch the tops of his shoes, had a crotch that ended somewhere just above his knees. "No way Bud!... Let's go back and look for a pair of pants that fit!" More eye rolls and long drawn out sighs... But we did eventually find him a pair of slacks that were issued with the strict instruction that he couldn't grow any taller in the next 48 hrs.... After that it's likely he won't have another reason to dress up until that pair with the long crotch fit him perfectly.

*2 yrs. have gone by since I posted this and I STILL don't trust either of them when it comes to buying clothes. Of course, if it wasn't for my they'd never shop and would probably look like hobos.

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What happened to Spring?

I'm really not one for extremes... Extreme Sports, Extreme Make-Overs, Extreme Cold and I'm really not good with Extreme Heat!

Where did my Spring go? One day I'm out mowing the lawn in 65 degree weather and the next I'm complaining that the switch for my air conditioner must be faulty because the upstairs bedrooms feel like saunas. My husband set the thermostat at 78 degrees... 78 degrees? Why even bother turning ON the air-conditioner? Why don't I just fill the upstairs bath with cool water, set a tub of ice next to it for chilled drinks and have an indoor jacuzzi party? (He's not going to appreciate that I wrote that... sorry hon!)

I'm grouchy this morning because I was so hot last night that I found it hard to sleep comfortably. It doesn't help that we have a pillow top mattress that has the nasty habit of storing body heat and radiating it all back at you throughout the night.

Today the temperature is supposed to climb to 90 degrees... I think I'll spend my day hunkered down in the cool basement... Either that or invite some friends over for a master bath jacuzzi party.

UPDATE: 2:30pm EST
I take back what I said... After standing in a hot parking lot, loading and unloading groceries in 97 degree heat... A thermostat set at 78 degrees feels like a cool dip in a fresh mountain stream... ahhhhh!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Lavender seems like such a boring color...

you are lavender

Your dominant hue is blue, making you a good friend who people love and trust. You're good in social situations and want to fit in. Just be careful not to compromise who you are to make them happy.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the spacefem.com html color quiz

Stress Dreams...

We all have them... We all wake up the following morning like we didn't have a moment of rest. Mine result in aching muscels and a nagging headache. My husband says that his stress dreams usually involve trying to play golf... "It's a beautiful day, I pull the golf cart up to the first hole and go to pull the driver out of my bag and that's when I realize I have no clubs and no bag... Then I spend the rest of the dream running around trying to find my clubs so I can have some FUN playing golf!" After a dream like this he usually wakes up frustrated and moody.

The dream I had last night (yes, I believe it lasted the ENTIRE night!) involved my efforts to get to the airport on time. The thing was, it wasn't even the day of the flight. In the dream I was planning ahead... I guess I was being ultra-organized by running around busy city streets checking out bus schedules to get me to the airport a 'freakin' 2 days before I had to actually fly anywhere!!! I was stressed because I repeatedly stopped people to ask them the bus schedules and I kept getting the wrong information. I considered calling the bus company to ask for the schedule but I couldn't find a phone book on a busy city street! So I continued to walk up to every bus I saw and ask them if they went to BWI. In the dream I kept getting false information. The bus driver would say, "I don't go there but see that bus up the street? Check with him, I think that's on his route!" Then I'd run, hell bent for election up the street to the next bus just to have it pull away before I got there or find that the driver had no idea what BWI even is... Oh my God, what was I going to do? I ONLY had 2 days!!! What kind of an over organized freak am I to sweat over getting to the airport when I still have 48 hrs. to work out transportation plans?

This dream all makes perfect sense as the reality is I just booked a flight for my son and I to travel to Los Angeles to visit my sister for a week. I haven't travelled to California without my husband since my son was 19 months old... And that was a trip from hell! We missed a connecting flight through Dallas, we're supposed to fly into Burbank and they re-routed us into LAX and put 10 of us on a bus to take us to our final destination... All this while carrying my son, 2 very large suitcases, a pack n' play crib and a car seat! My son is 16 yrs. old now and he's fully capable of carrying his own luggage but the reality of things that could go wrong always make me nervous about travel... I've always been fully aware of the fact that I'd NEVER make a good candidate as a contestant on 'The Amazing Race'... I'd drop dead of a heart attack if I had to deal with the stress of that kind of travel!

So here's the deal... I don't have to worry about taking a bus to get to the airport!... We're not even flying out of BWI we're flying out of Philly and both flights out and back are non-stop! The truth of the matter is this: This is a 'bonding' trip for my son and I. We're going out alone together so we can spend quality time with eachother. Whatever life brings us will add to that adventure and no matter what we're gonna have a great time! So I'm going to tell myself tonight before I go to sleep not to stress about it.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Wasting Time...

It's so difficult to find the motivation to do something creative when I know I'll have to stop what I'm doing and throw in a load of laundry or pull together a meal for the family... So instead I just sit here waiting until my next 'To Do' and look at other blogs... What a waste of a holiday weekend!

Friday, May 26, 2006

More on Vacuums...

After two weeks of foot traffic and dog hair build-up I finally vacuumed. I borrowed a 'Dyson' from some friends to try out.

You can read about my the demise of my old vacuum under the heading:
What I'd give for a vacuum that doesn't SUCK!... Or should I say, One that does...?

I've heard WONDERFUL things about the 'Dyson' from a few of my friends and was (believe it or not) really anticipating the vacuuming experience I'd have with it. Frankly, it left me underwhelmed... Which is actually a HUGE relief considering the price of a 'Dyson'... I guess I was thinking that if you spent $500 on an electronic instrument it should feel at least as durable as a childs 'Tonka' truck... The 'Dyson' was more comparable to a set of 'Duplo' blocks. It sucked up stuff but not in the manner I had pictured a $500 vacuum would be capable of... I guess I expected a $500 vacuum to have the capability of leaving a deep groove in the area of carpet it just covered.... A veritable parting of the 'Red Sea' from the clean area vs. the matted dust and dirt ridden areas... I was disappointed there weren't any REALLY visible vacuum tracks.

The one thing about the 'Dyson' I DID find truely satisfying was the cerimonious emptying of the dirt collection bin. Emptying the canister on my old vacuum involved snapping it out of it's housing... Unscrewing the lid... Pulling out the filter cartridge which was matted with all matter of disgusting things! Then I'd have to turn the bin upside down over a trash can and shake out the contents... All this whilst clouds of dust and all the crap I recently removed from the floors swirled around my head and settled back upon the floor and surrounding counters and table tops. With the 'Dyson' it was a simple remove the canister, walk over to the trash, push a button and the bottom opens and dumps it's contents into a neat little pile in the bottom of the trash bag... With the 'Dyson' I didn't feel like I needed to shower after emptying the dirt bin.

So the 'Dyson' did have it's good points... But now I'm considering going back to a vacuum that uses bags to collect the dirt... Of course that would involve making sure I always had new bags in stock... Not something I'm known for. I can see myself now, pulling out the vacuum just before I'm scheduled to host a party for the 'Queen of Ginovia' and I've completely run out of refill bags for my vacuum. Betcha' had no idea that the 'Queen of Ginovia' and myself were good pals who hung out a lot together... Thinking about it that way makes me think she wouldn't really care whether or not there was lint on my carpet.

Seriously though, I think before I decide on anything, I'm going to try the 'Rolls Royce' of vacuums and take 'Oreck' up on their 30 day trial offer... I have one question though? The model I try for 30 days... Did somebody else use that in their place?... And if so is it possible for any of their dirt to leach out into my carpet?... Call me a snob but I think there's something kinda' gross about having the dirt of a complete stranger whirling around in my house.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I think it looks like a 'HE' so I've named him 'Robbie'

This morning I was witness to a phenomenon that every parent has to go through at some point in their lives... Having their babies grow to the point that their ready to leave the nest. I guess those parents that haven't gone through it either don't want it to happen and make the nest so comfortable that their babies will hopefully never wish to leave or quite the opposite, they just can't find a big enough prod to dislodge their young'un from the comforts of home. We're not quite there yet so I don't know which type I'll be.

I wish I had a way of knowing the circumstances that led to this particular baby birds venture out into the big wide world... Was it his first flight? Did he leave because with 3 other siblings and their expanding size the nest was just getting too uncomfortable? Did he leave because someone pushed him out? And if so was it a brother... a sister or his very own mom or dad? Did he leave because another sibling took off first and he wanted to see what he was missing? Or maybe, all the other siblings were taking off and he didn't want to be labeled the 'chicken'? I wonder if he stayed in that one place on the BBQ for the entire hour I spent in the kitchen this morning because he was afraid to venture any further. Maybe he sat there because he could see his parents worriedly flying from tree to tree, keeping a constant eye on him and just wanted to show them how incredibly brave and independent he could be even though the lady in the window just a few feet away kept pointing a camera at him? I really wish I knew.

I just stepped outside to check the nest and all that remains in it is 1 baby bird... He/She looks pretty comfortable and pleased with the roominess his home has taken on... I also noticed that Mom is right there in the yard looking for worms and keeping a very close eye on me and my proximity to the nest. I'm not sure if the baby currently in the nest is the same little guy from this morning, but I kinda doubt it. That baby robin on the BBQ looked for all the world like he had tasted freedom and was ready to 'FLY'

Gotta love the little tufts on the side of his head!

One of his sibling came up to the deck to check things out but grew bored
and in a rather stumbling manner flew off.

A concerned parent kept a vigilant eye on her little charge from a nearby tree.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Infinity Squared Times 2...

Welcome SITS friends, to my little corner of the blog o' sphere. I'm very excited to be selected as today's featured blogger. I look forward to sharing a chuckle or a perhaps an emotional connection in which you might say to yourself, "Are you kidding me, I look at the world in the same twisted way!" I know I've had that feeling reading your blogs and am continually amazed over all the things, we perfect strangers have in common.

I'm not sure when it all started but my daughter and I have a little ritual... When we say "I Love You" to eachother, the other will reply with "I Love You Infinity squared times two, can't get any higher!" I do remember how it started... You probably know the game, I love you... I love you too... I love you three...

You see, the Blystone family finds deep gratification in always trying to one up eachother (my kids get it from their dad who's always engaging his sister in the game of 'Anything you can do, I can do better' and I myself, have picked it up through years of observation) As for my daughter and I, our particular 'game' eventually evolved into 'Infinity squared times two' as the end all be all of highest attainable numbers... But just in case you're not sure if it's the highest number the "Can't get any higher!" was added to remove all doubt.

Our little saying used to be a really sweet sentiment but lately it's turned into a competition... As in not too long ago one of us would say "I Love You" and instead of saying "I Love You too"... We'd immediately in rapid fire unison nearly shout, "I Love You Infinity...etc." Now that's all well and good except we'd end with an argument over who said it first or who cheated and just uttered part of the phrase (usually me)... I tried for awhile to just concede by saying, "Me too!"... But my childish nature took over and I found it hard to take the gloating looks my daughter would toss my way as if to say, "I am SO superior and you can never best me!" So the "Me too!" line just doesn't provide me with much satisfaction.

Lately I've taken to saying the phrase as we wish eachother goodbye when I drop her off at school in the morning... I say it before she can even gather her things and begin to exit the vehicle... I say it because I don't like the feeling of being 'bested' by my thirteen year old. She usually follows up my sing-song phrase and my 'see, you can't beat me' smile with a furrowed brow, a slight frown and little or no reply depending on her mood.

So I ask myself... Why am I acting like this? Why can't it just go back to the sweet phrase uttered with real affection? Why am I letting this become a competition? I can only guess it's because my little girl is growing up, 'my baby.' I want to keep her small but on the other hand I want her to become a strong, independant young woman. On one hand I think I'm challenging her to be better, work a little harder... On the other hand I feel like I'm telling her, "I'm still in control and don't forget it!"

This morning when I dropped her off at school and she leaned in to kiss me and say goodbye I automatically said, "I love you infinity squared times two, can't get any higher!" She replied with, "I hate these car rides!" Most likely because it's the one time of day I'm able to win the 'game'... I've been up hours longer than her and am therefore thinking much quicker. Any other time of the day she wins... And I guess I really hope that she continues to win because a thirteen year old who wants to best her mother at telling her how much she loves her is more than I could've ever hoped or wished for.

*I wrote this post 2 yrs. ago. My daughter is 15 now. We don't play the game anymore but we still say I Love You every day.

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'Mow' is me...

(Excerpt from a previous post.)
There's something so therapeutic about mowing the lawn. Especially if you've had a stressful day. Just thinking to yourself about all of those little heads being lopped off of each blade of grass in one fell swoop releases a heck of a lot of tension... And after you're done you've got the added bonus of a nice looking yard!

...And other times mowing the lawn is just plain work!

Oh, and another thing... Little yellow flowers, while quite pretty, are never a good thing to find growing in your yard.


My husband has been reading my blog... 5/16/06

Yesterday he threw his dark red sweatshirt over his shoulder and in his best 'Rainman' impersonation said, "Red, definitly Red... It goes in the 'Dark Color Bin'... definitly, definitly the 'Dark Color Bin."

I knew this 'blogging' thing was a good idea but I had no idea on how many levels.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


This past weekend my family travelled to Virginia for a funeral. We spent Sunday walking around Falls Church (My husbands home town) taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

Earlier that morning we sat around discussing photography with my husbands cousin who is also an avid picture taker. We were lamenting the various draw-backs of our current cameras. My camera could well be considered a dinosaur having reached the ripe old age of 5 yrs. It's an Olympus C-2100 digital that is still capable of taking Wonderful pictures it just has the very annoying drawbacks of 1) Taking 'Freaking' Forever to power up. 2) Taking an equally frustrating amount of time to actually take the picture from the moment I push the shutter button... And 3) Should I wish to take another shot in short succession? Well, fahgettaboutit! I have a 2 1/2 yr. old niece that I haven't been able to get a decent shot of since before she began to walk.

So his cousin and I sat and fantasized about the camera we'd LOVE to own... We're both in agreement that the Canon Rebel EOS is the end all, be all of digital cameras. Every time I bring it up my husband sings the praises of my current camera and the quality of the pictures it puts out. Then I counter with it's 3 major drawbacks. We go back and forth like that until my husband says something like, "Sell enough cards and you can purchase it with the money!" The Canon Rebel EOS at $1,000.00 price-tag means a hell of a lot of cards... So the conversation usually ends there.

Anyway, back to our walk around Falls Church... As we were meandering I looked up and saw an amazing sight! An F-117 was flying overhead, fairly low and at a slow coast. I was so excited I said, "Look, Look!" but it came out more like "Uh! Ah!"... Luckily I pointed while I said it and my husband caught sight of it too. To two former Lockheed employees this was like seeing the 'Holy Grail' dance above our heads... It was 'Our Plane.' That's when my husband said, "Marge, Camera!"... Oh ya, I had my camera hanging right around my neck and completely forgot about it... So I fumbled to turn it on and waited an interminable amount of time for it to fire up and brought my eye to the viewfinder only to see blackness... THEN, I removed the lens cap and THEN, waited an eternity for the shutter to open and close after I pushed the button. The picture you see above is of the F-117... It's that little black dot above the tree line. I told my husband, "See if I'd only had the 'Rebel' I could've gotten an incredible shot... That's when he reminded me that even the 'Canon Rebel EOS' comes with a lens cap.
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Friday, May 19, 2006


The neighborhood where I live is one under a continual state of construction... They're currently working on the last 2 phases. You might not believe this but I'll be sad when they're finished. When I walk I derive such pleasure at seeing the day to day progress on each home. When the empty lot gets cleared for a basement... Then the huge metal basement molds go in... Then the molds are stripped away to reveal cement walls... Then the frame begins to take shape (I love looking in and seeing the grand staircases and imagining what each room will be and how it will be decorated.)... Eventually windows get put in... Siding and facade are added... Driveways, Walkways and Yards are laid out... It's a marvelous transition to behold.

The other reason I'll be sad to see the construction end is due to a little old latino man who greets me with a warm smile and a cheerful "Good Morning!" I met him roughly a year ago while he was working on another phase of the construction. Once we stopped and chatted for a brief time while he petted my dog 'Anna' and told me his ex-wife's name was 'Anna' so it wasn't his favorite name and we laughed. I hadn't seen him since that phase of construction was completed. So imagine my surprise when yesterday, as I was walking with my neighbor I ran into him again after roughly 5 months. There he was again with his bright grin and "Good Morning!" I told him I was glad to see he was working on 'This' project! He speaks very broken english and even though I was raised in Southern California I know much less spanish, so I'm not sure if he understood what I meant.

This morning as I headed out the door for my walk it began to sprinkle and by the time I made it half way through my walk there was a steady rain coming down. I ran into my latino friend twice during the walk. Once early on before the heavy rain hit... And a second time when he drove up and said, "Why you walk it's raining?"... "Do you umbrella!" I think he was offering me an umbrella and I said, "Oh No! It very refreshing!" He looked at me confused and I said, "It's Good!" so he smiled and waved goodbye and drove off to another of the houses under construction. So my question is this... Can anyone out there tell me what the word for "REFRESHING" is in spanish? I know that 'Much' is Mui or Moo-eee... But I'm stumped on Refreshing.

I guess it would also be a nice thing to finally introduce myself and find out what his name is. I figure if I know what his ex-wifes name is I should at least know his.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Not Complainin' Just Explainin'...

You know how you start off the week with a clear calendar, thinking about all the relaxation your going to indulge in throughout the week?... And then 'round about Tuesday your week doesn't look so free anymore?... By Wednesday you can't understand how you imagined you'd have free time... Then by Thursday you can't even wrap your head around the idea that so many things could need to be accomplished all in the same week?

Well, this has been my 4th week in a row like this and I'm just wondering???

When's it gonna let up?... Maybe next week. *sigh*

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

For Aunt Muriel...

Peace be with you.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Laundry Catch-up... Not Catsup!

I think I've finally found the bottom of all the dirty clothes bins in the house. I guess I'm kind of OCD when it comes to laundry bins. Let me explain... There's a bin/hamper in each room... There's a Deluxe hamper in the master bedroom... By 'Deluxe' I mean it has 3 separate bins, one for 'Whites'... one for 'Light Color Clothes'... and one for 'Dark Color Clothes'... It's very simple really and Oh, so organized!

If you're like me and organized laundry really makes your day complete than I'm sure you can relate when I tell you the following story:

Yesterday I was on my 3rd or 4th load of laundry when I went to fill my laundry basket with the clothes from the 'Light Colored Bin'... I had just loaded the 3rd and last load of 'Dark Colors' into the dryer (there were a damn lot of jeans!) It's stupid but I take such pleasure in seeing a completely empty 'Bin' it's because I know that part of the job is complete and I can prove it. SO, imagine my horror as I lifted the 'Light Colored Clothes' from their bin and found that my husband had included his BRIGHT RED POLO SHIRT to the LIGHT COLORED CLOTHES!!! He was working from home yesterday and it took all my willpower not to run down the hall to his office and smack him in the back of the head during his afternoon conference call. I can't tell you how many times I've made him stand next to me in front of the 'Deluxe Hamper' while I explained to him how the clothes are supposed to be sorted. I'm really not a very demanding wife... All I'm asking for is a little bit of assitance when it comes to sorting laundry... 3 bins, all together in a row... It's NOT THAT DIFFICULT!!!

Of course I HAD to pluck the RED shirt out of the 'Light Colored Laundry' (or else everything would've turned a hideous shade of 'Pink') and drop it into what would no longer be, the EMPTY 'Dark Colored Bin'... The 'Red Shirt' sat there and it mocked me saying, "You haven't really caught up on all the laundry, I'm still here!"... I wish my husband could understand what it feels like to have the laundry mock you... 'Cause if he did I think he'd be a little less careless with where he throws his dirty clothes.

By the way: I washed that red shirt today... Because after one day, the 'Dark Colored' bin was half full and the kids dirty laundry added up to a full load... Which means the 'Red Shirt' was right... I'll never really be caught up with the laundry.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rainy Days and Mondays...

After a lovely weekend in Virginia I've come home to lousy weather, a heaping pile of laundry, a messy house and a complete and total lack of energy. I sure hope tomorrow has something more interesting in store.

Friday, May 12, 2006

You've just got to look for it...

This morning as I was engaged in my morning walk a Bluebird flew down and landed in the street a few yards in front of me and sat there for several moments even as I approached. He eventually took off but I was struck with the thought that he made his appearance as a reminder to me that 'Happiness' is right there in front of me all I have to do is pay attention.

Later, on my walk I came upon a woman walking up the street dressed in her bathrobe, wearing a Brittany Spears microphone headset, talking animatedly with one hand while she struggled to hold her bathrobe closed with the other... She was making a trip to the mailbox to send a letter. After witnessing this I was simply reminded that 'Goofiness' is right there in front of me and I should remember to 'Laugh.'

Note: The bird pictured above is not the same one I saw this morning (or maybe it is... they don't wear name-tags. Either way, I typically don't carry a camera on my power-walks.) This pic was taken near the feeder on our deck.
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Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's a little early but Happy Mother's Day!

Not long ago a dear friend of mine out in California entered the 'Amazing World of Motherhood.' We've been passing e-mails back and forth and she's been sharing all the details of her new role with me. I've enjoyed so much reading and reminiscing about what it's like to become a Mom for the first time. In honor of 'Mother's Day' I thought I would post an e-mail I sent to her that she seemed to enjoy. The following is that e-mail:

You sound So blissful, So Happy, So In Love... I'm SO Thrilled for you! Now, at the expense of sounding like the 'know it all' big sister... It's NEVER going to be this easy again!!!! Easy you say? This is SO hard.... I'm tired, I need a shower, All of my clothes have spit-up on them and Damn it, I'm TIRED!!! Okay, maybe you're not exactly feeling these things but from what I can remember of that time I sure did! But believe me, THIS is the easy part!

Just wait until...
Stage 1: Mobility
Oh sure you can't wait for the little guy to roll over so you'll have proof of what a Genius your boy is... But after he rolls, he scooches and after he scooches, he crawls and after he crawls, he toddles and after he toddles, he *gasp* WALKS!!! Each and every one of these milestones is fraught with peril... I can't tell you how many times I've issued this silent prayer heavenward, "Please God, just let me keep him in one piece until pre-school!"

Stage 2: Vocal Ability
Those little coos can melt the heart of the abomidable snowman and few things in life are more rewarding than hearing 'Mama' for the first time... However, hearing Mama for the 92,000th time in one day can get a wee bit grateing... That's when you'll keep reminding him of another new word 'Da-Da'... Oh, and the other word he'll learn seemingly without even being taught is 'NO'... Actually you did teach him this word without realizing... It was during Stage 1.

Stage 3: Socialization
My advice is join a playgroup! It's not so much because it's important to give your son the chance to socialize but because after awhile you're going to CRAVE Adult Conversation!!! But be warned... The first time one of those other obnoxious children make your sweet baby cry you're going to lust for the sweet taste of revenge... However, it's important to keep in mind that it's unwise to hire a hit-man to wipe out that little 4 yr. old bully. It is extremely important though for your boy to grow up learning how to stand up for himself.... This, yes THIS is the REALLY TRULY heart-wrenching part of raising a boy. There is such a fine line between teaching your boy compassion and understanding... Yet also instill him the idea that he shouldn't have to take any Crap from bullies! Good luck, I'm not sure I got it right... Our son went through so many bullying issues and my emotions went from wanting to throw my arms around him and protect him like a mother grizzly that went off her prozac... To wanting to kick him in the butt and tell him not to be anybodys doormat! In hindsite I wish I'd been more of a grizzly.... Because my son is and always will be the more compassionate type.... When he used to get picked on in public school he'd come home and ask me the heart wrenching question, "Why would they want to do/say that to me Mom?"... Fighting back tears I'd explain that sometimes kids come from bad environments and that's the only way they know how to lash out is at someone seemingly weaker than the person they receive that same kind of treatment from... That's when he would reply, "Gee Mom, I feel so bad for Him/Her."... And then I'd quickly say, "No, NO... They're bullying YOU, don't feel bad for THEM!".... My son just is, and always will be one of those really sensitive individuals and I'm proud of that BUT there were times I just wanted to get him to stand up for himself a little more!

Gee, I've really rambled on... Sorry for acting like such a know-it-all... Sometimes you just want to tell all the advice hounds to go to hell... Which is good because, truth is we all go through this totally blind... Each child is completely different, there are no formulas except to love them with all of your heart and don't let a day go by without letting them know it!

I really thought I'd never get the opportunity to see you become a Mom... and I'm SO glad you did! I look forward to hearing all about the Joys, the Trials and the sheer Terror and Excitement of the whole process.

Much Love to You and Your Family,

Stress Reliever...

There's something so therapeutic about mowing the lawn. Especially if you've had a stressful day. Just thinking to yourself about all of those little heads being lopped off of each blade of grass in one fell swoop releases a heck of a lot of tension... And after your done you've got the added bonus of a nice looking yard!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wednesday in the park with Mel...

I've just returned from a morning in the park with one of my favorite people. We spent the last couple of hours taking surveys from strangers regarding the community project we're involved in.

In a word... I'm 'Psyched'... Not entirely because of the project and the feedback I received but mostly because I just achieved a monumental fete and that is... Stepping outside of my 'comfort zone.' To most of you, walking up to a perfect stranger and inquiring whether they'd be interested in answering a few questions might seem like a trivial thing. For me however, it's equal to lying in the street and waiting for a car to run me over. Don't get me wrong... I'm a people person... I do enjoy meeting and talking to new people. My big problem is with rejection. I take things far too personally. If someone has negative comments I'll automatically assume they're aimed at me. Then there's the issue that I'm afraid I'll say something stupid and folks will assume I'm an imbecile... I don't think I am, I believe I just spent too many years of my childhood being made to feel that I wasn't very bright and I wouldn't accomplish much in life.

So there I was today... Taking a giant gulp of PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) and jumping in with a big smile and a hearty "Good Morning!" and I found myself saying, "Can I walk with you a moment and ask you a few questions?"... Nobody seemed annoyed with me. In fact I made several people quite excited about our project and that made me feel Great!

So for today I'm quite proud of myself and frankly I'm looking forward to going back out there again next week! Hooray for me and thanks Mel for giving me the opportunity to break through another barrier.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A short addition to yesterdays Blog...

It seems I'm not the only one with Vacuum issues... I spoke with my friend (R) today and she came 'clean' by sharing with me that she had a veritable "Vacuum Graveyard" in her attic. I loved her comment of: "It's as if they're all lined up like soldiers in a row. One asking the other, "What did you do to get in here?"... The other answering, "I didn't Suck!"

I look forward to more of you sharing your hopeless vacuum stories here.

By the way (R) I picture them more like prisoners than soldiers.

Grinding Away...

In a nutshell my teeth have always looked like crap. I just wasn't blessed with beautiful, straight, radiant white teeth like both my Mother and my Father. So much for winning that fragment of the genetic lottery.

Yesterday I went to my dentist for a routine check-up and cleaning. It was then that I learned I had yet another broken tooth (What is this with all my teeth breaking now that I'm over 40??? Damn, this aging thing really stinks!) Anyway, I went back to the dentist again today (2 Days in a row at the dentist... Woo Hoo, my social calendar has never been SO exciting!) and mentioned to my dentist that I was curious why one of my front teeth appeared to be sporting a fang. I never outgrew my buck teeth with the lovely gap in the middle and now it seems I was also becoming a vampire. After shoving a needle in my gum he said, "We'll have a look at that after I freeze you up!" 10 minutes and a sagging lower lip later he came back into the room and said, "Okay, let's have a look at that front tooth!.... A-huh!... Now bite for me, not your regular over-bite but bring your bottom teeth forward... Ah-ha!" Seems I wasn't growing a fang but grinding away half of my front tooth and leaving a fang in the process... Lovely! I thought it was only my husband that grinded his teeth at night... Seems I also make a hobby of it.

My dentist informed me that I could go to the local sports supply store and buy a bite guard like the football players wear to halt the grinding... And if the low cost solution didn't work I could have him make me a 'bite guard'. Either way I have this picture in my head of me crawling into bed to snuggle beside me husband and driving him mad with desire as I smile sexily at him with my plastic bite guard. Maybe I should finish off the look with a 'Breathe Right' nose strip and a couple of smudges of mascara under my eyes. Perhaps I should start buying my sleepwear in the mens sporting goods department and wear a jersey with the number 41 on it (the age I was when I began wearing a bite-guard.) I could even step it up a notch and start calling out play numbers before I fall asleep... 33, 42, 78 - Zzzzzz!"

Well, at least I don't have the fang anymore. My dentist filed it down into a nice straight line with my other tooth. I actually feel a bit sexier now. I wonder though, if I pass on wearing the bite guard how long will it be before my front teeth get filed down so far as to be shorter than the rest of my teeth... I bet that's gonna look attractive!
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Monday, May 08, 2006

What I'd give for a vacuum that doesn't SUCK!... Or should I say, One that does...?

Last September I purchased a new vacuum... I remember, because it was the day after I bought it that I discovered the joy of 'blood poisoning' all because of a hang-nail (but that's a story for another day.) The old vacuum wasn't 'sucking' well and being fairly a dinosaur at 3 yrs. old it was ready to be retired... I think the life of a vacuum is equal to dog years... Or possibly more equal to the life of a tse-tse fly.

This latest vacuum lasted all of 8 mos... Not even a full term pregnancy! I should clarify... It's not exactly 'dead' yet! It still runs... In fact, I doesn't want to stop running... Let me explain...

Last week I was vacuuming the upstairs and as I was doing so I noticed that the handle of my 'Eureka Boss' (ya, who's the Boss?) was becoming quite hot. Initially I chalked it up to my working so hard as in, "Look at her go! Man, she's really burning up the handle of that vacuum!" But then I went to turn off the vacuum (oh let's just call it 'The Boss', from here on out, shall we?)... So I went to turn off 'The Boss' and *click*... It wouldn't turn off! *click-click*... Still running!.... *click-click-click-click-click*... Still going! Okay, this is where it gets funny! For those of you who don't know me... I'm one of those people who isn't ever quite sure of herself. I automatically assume that if something doesn't work correctly that I must just be doing it incorrectly... Mostly because that's usually the case. So here I am standing there with my vacuum (which is still running!) and I'm wondering to myself, "Gee Marge, maybe you're just not turning it off correctly?!" That's when the other voice in my head says, "For God sakes Margie... There's only one way TO turn it off!" So I continue to click the switch back and forth a few more times and 'The Boss' continues to mock me with it's motor running at full power. I'm ashamed to admit this... In fact I didn't even tell my husband this part... But for an instant I stood there in terror wondering how I was going to silence 'The Boss'... Would it continue to run until my husband got home and could figure out a way to 'kill it'? And if he didn't get home soon enough would 'The Boss' turn on me and eventually suck me up too? That's when I cam to my senses and silenced my rabid imagination and the thought of unplugging the sucker finally sunk in. I lunged for the outlet and was relived when 'The Boss' quieted... And yes, I was relieved to know that my husband wouldn't come home to find me trapped inside a lint, dirt and hair filled canister pleading to be released.

After unplugging 'The Boss' I went over and grabbed the handle to move it and that's when I realized that the handle was REALLY HOT!!!... And I don't think it was because I was working really hard either. So, I made a decision right then to call an expert! Yes, I called my husband at work and said, "I couldn't turn the vacuum off and the handle is really HOT! Should I continue to use it? (I'd finished all but 2 rooms of the upstairs.) And you know what he said? You couldn't turn the vacuum off? Did you try the switch?... Like I've never vacuumed a day in my life!!! Uh duh, didn't think of that... Gee, thanks! (See why I didn't tell him about the 'unplugging' part?) So he asked me what kind of 'switch' it had... "I don't know, a clicky, toggle sort of thing... Does that make a difference?" I said. He advised me not to use it and said he'd look at it when he got home. So I busied myself with a couple of other tasks and eventually thought to myself... "2 Rooms, just 2 rooms left to do and then the whole house will be free of carpet grunge!" So I went over and grabbed 'The Boss' (by now the handle had cooled of course) and it roared to life as soon as I plugged it in and I finished up the last 2 rooms (before the handle could get hot again.) I tried to turn it off the 'Regular' way as soon as I was done but 'The Boss' still had a mind of it's own. So yet again, I pulled the plug! And you know what happened??? When my husband got home he plugged the bastard, uh I mean, 'The Boss' back in.. *Clicked* the switch and it turned OFF!!!! Now my husband can't understand why I want a new vacuum.... Eventually though, as he continued to mess with it he got the same glitch (Thank heaven, I'm NOT crazy!) He says he wants to find a dealer to fix it... As for me, I'm on the lookout for a better vacuum... Preferably one that doesn't suck!... or One that does suck!... Oh, WHATEVER!!!!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Thought for a quiet Sunday Morning...

(picture by Margie - Sunset over Elk Neck Creek - Taken from the deck of our friends home.)

In the quiet of this day,
may you know the greatness of your spirit
and may your hopes
fly on the wings of possibility.

-Mary Anne Radmacher
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Saturday, May 06, 2006

"Amazing Marge"

WARNING: The following post is rather narcissistic.

Last night we were invited to dinner at our friends house... Mmmmmm Delicious! And a major benefit is, I didn't have to cook!

My daughters best friend (CB) had informed me the previous day that she had learned to play 'Amazing Grace' on her guitar and I told her I looked forward to having her play it for me when we came over to dinner on Friday night.

It came as a complete surprise that she had changed the lyrics and written the following song for me:

Amazing Marge

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wrench (wretch) like me
I once was lost but now I'm found
was blind but now I see.

Amazing Marge how sweet she is,
lucky to come across a friend like this,
with hair so curly and a mexican face
Ms. Marge Blybake belongs in this place.

Twas Marge that was our first true friend,
I hope the times with her won't end.
As silly as this song may sound,
We are glad that Marge came around.

Don't worry this song does have it's stop
just watching your face expressions drop
I know your glad this song was sung
One more verse and this wong will be done.

Amazing Marge you'll wanna friend like this
Look how red she now is
But don't worry I know, we're red too
But heck this song still goes out to you!

(For those of you that know me well... You can now insert your finger in your throat... I however will continue to sit here beaming with pride!)

CB had the song typed out and gave me a copy... The first verse makes me me smile when I read (saved a wrench like me, tack that up to our kids combined religious experience... But, how cute is that! She and her mom sang the song together for me and I just couldn't stop grinning. What a WONDERFUL feeling to know that there's a family that enjoys me with all my faults and foibles so much that they'd let me know in such a sweet and goofy way... It's nice to be a member of the 'BlyBake Family'... And thanks so much CB for making me feel so special... Here's another BIG HUG for you!
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Friday, May 05, 2006

We like to refer to them as 'Glory Clouds'

My daughter took this picture a few weeks ago. Seeing this picture again leaves me with this thought for today...

"Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child."
-Ron Wild
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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Going Postal...

Yesterday I had to get cards off to a client and HAD to make a trip to the post office so I could have the package weighed in order to be assured it had the proper amount of postage on it.

Let me put this plainly... I HATE going to the Post Office... Not just our local Post Office... ANY Post Office... I've been to several and they're ALL the same. It's my impression that the folks who work in these facilities are cloned from one another. Either that or upon hiring they attend a mandatory course (or should I say 'coarse') on "Customer Relations." I'm sure the course involves lectures on such topics as:
- We gave you a uniform, Now act like a drill sargeant... ("Did I call on You?, Then STAY behind that line sir!")
- How to maintain that look of utter contempt for everybody you wait on.
- Postal Rage - 10 ways to let it fester.
And my favorite:
- If this job doesn't work out for you, there's probably an opening at the DMV.

I had 1 (one) thin envelope to mail... When I arrived I was the second person in line and the person in front of me was called up after just 2 minutes of my standing there. I thought, "This is gonna be GREAT!, I'll be outta here in NO time!"

I stood in line for (no kidding!) 25 minutes!!!

Out of the 3 employees I could see behind the counter I never once saw even a hint of a smile out of any of them. I guess I can understand why... As the minutes ticked by my smile was getting more and more difficult to maintain. To the point that when I made it to about the 23 minute mark I probably looked rather dimented.

Why did it take so long? Well, even though there were 3 (lovely) women behind the counter only 2 of them were actually waiting on people. #1 had a gal off to the side filling out paperwork, turns out the gal was getting a passport, understandably a rather time consuming process. At least employee #1 waited on the person in front of me while the gal took care of her paperwork. Employee #2 had a customer with a rather large box she was shipping to a foreign country. However, the lady with the large package
a) Couldn't see well enough to read the forms she needed to fill out.
b) Needed 'some' stamps (not a roll, not a book... She wasn't sure how many!?)
c) When she got the stamps she needed she decided they were printed too small for her vision and asked for a 'bigger' type of stamp.
d) Her oversized package needed to be measured and (Wouldn't you know it!) the postal employee DIDN'T have a tape measure on hand and had to go to the back and search for one!!! (insert virtual head smack here!) - Let's just take a moment and examine this one element of the whole event... Now, I can see why, when I'm at home and I need to measure something that I might have to go on a prolonged search for a tape measure... I don't have a need to measure items all that often... BUT!!! You'd THINK that in a Post Office they might need to measure a package say every now and again!!! SO, why don't they keep a damn tape measure at every booth?... It just boggles my mind.

On with the story... EVENTUALLY, the nearsighted lady in front of me finished her transaction (Hopefully heading off to a nearby 'LensCrafters')... And that's when you'd think I'd FINALLY be waited on... BUT NOooooo! Time for Postal Employee #2 to close out her station and I don't know... Go on break, Head home for the day, Take a bathroom break in order to reapply a fresh look of scorn. I was wise though, I knew not to step over the line until I was called (I'd been reprimanded at lesser Post Offices in the past for just such an offense... I still flinch at the memory... "Lady, YOU haven't been called on yet! - Stay BEHIND the line until you're called!") Finally employee #3 (not sure what she's been doing all alone down there at the end of the counter all this time) carried her little money box over to the empty station and spends roughly 4 minutes getting herself adjusted to her new position (much like a hen getting situated on a fresh nest.) and looks up at me with a bored attitude and says, "Next!"

Should I have maybe expected a "Sorry about the wait." ????... I didn't, because I know this is the Post Office, they don't engage in such pleasantries... Another question, Isn't it always the employees that 'Go Postal' on one another? I'm surprised there aren't more customers 'Going Postal'... Then again, maybe it's because they have to deal with so many near-sighted ladies sending large packages overseas? Of one thing I am certain... If I'm going to have to be mailing out cards to clients then maybe it's time to invest in a postal meter for my home?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Not the only Artist in the family...

My daughter is going to be so surprised and proud that I'm posting this. As you can plainly see I'm not the only Artist in the family... My sketch work was never this accurate or detailed. She enjoys drawing fantasy creatures and has been working with a couple of the artistic staff members at school to learn how to draw the muscular definitions of horses... Even going so far as to head for the stables with her sketch pad. I think she's doing an amazing job! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Time for some more artwork!

I did say this site was for showcasing my aftwork. I'm currently filling orders for cards but here's a piece I did a few years ago on commission... I'm in a bright mood today, having purchased some flowers to plant, so this piece kind of spoke to me.
The text reads:

Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like no one is watching.

Which reminds me... I purchased a new dance-along exercise dvd that I'm going to have to toss into the player and try to follow along. I enjoy having a mighty laugh at myself every now and again. Not long ago I tried out a yoga tape that my husband had purchased for me a few Christmas' ago (yes, it stayed in the shrink wrap THAT LONG!... Along with the yoga mat that came with it!... And believe it or not it was something I actually put on my Christmas list... What was I thinking???) Anyway... This was no ordinary 'Yoga Video'... It was an entire series!!! 3 tapes to be exact, each claiming to work on a different area... Strength, Balance and Flexability... So I decided I could do with some Flexability training and popped in the tape. I was READY... Wearing my Flexible pants and EVERYTHING!.... While following along to the warm-up exercises I realized I had to remove my socks because I was slipping all over the carpet... Not a problem. Then the guy on the tape started maneuvering his body in positions I couldn't even HOPE to achieve... I'd definitly put in the wrong tape! It's then that I realized the tapes were in a numerical order.... Oh, I thought... I just needed to start with Tape 1 and that was the one marked 'Strength'... Undaunted I popped it in the VCR. Once again I started with the warm-up... Struggling to contort my body into the positions that 'Mr. Yoga Man' didn't seem to flinch over. Once he was past the warm-up phase he began balancing his entire body off the mat using just his arms.... WHAaaa? And he was able to hold it there in place for an ungodly amount of time!!! Eventually I just sat there on the floor watching in amazement at the control this guy had over his body. My yoga workout involvedI reaching for the video jacket to confirm that yes, the title for the video was "Yoga for Beginners"... Geez, I'm sure glad my husband didn't get me the 'Advanced' version. Eventually, 'Mr. Yoga Man' made it to the 'Cool Down' part of the session. This entailed laying flat on the floor, letting my body relax and sink into the earth and feeling my 'Chi'... I was ALL ABOUT the 'Cool Down' and finding my 'Chi' until I opened my eyes and caught a glimpse of a discoloration on my bedroom ceiling... "Ack! Was that from a leak in the roof?"... Oh my gosh, we'd better not have a leak in the roof... this is a new house! At that point I completely lost my 'Chi' and I haven't engaged in yoga since... That's why I thought the dance tape would be a better bet... We'll see!
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Monday, May 01, 2006

I told you...

Didn't I tell you that this site would be quirky? Okay, maybe I didn't use that exact word but... How cute is this picture!!! I took this the day before my daughter turned 13 and every time I look at those mucky hands and the frog carefully clutched in the middle of them I smile. I smile because I'm confident she's never going to grow out of her absolute passion for all things slimy, wet and amphibious. Oh sure... Initially I wanted the 'Girly-Girl'... I looked forward to buying Barbie dolls and dresses with yards of tulle and large pink bows tied up in the back... I'll also admit to being repulsed early on by the frogs, toads & salamanders (and an occasional snake every now and again.) However, now I can kind of see what she enjoys so much about these docile little creatures... And because they make her so happy they make me happy too! Posted by Picasa