Monday, February 25, 2008

A Diversion

It's that time of year again...

The time of year when I look at areas of my home and I get notions of redecorating. Rather than actually taking the time to clean, I think to myself, "Hmmmm, how can I completely change this area?" Because cleaning is just SO BORING! Why not add a heap load more work into the mix? And of course later regret ever starting the project.

This weekend I informed my husband that I'd been thinking about the space in our basement, namely what I like to refer to as 'My Studio'. Truth is, it's less a studio and more a place for all my crafting stuff but it sounds so much more idyllic to call it a Studio. Sort of an affirmation of whatever artistic ability I might possess. Anyway, my ideal 'Studio' would combine miles of open table top with loads of built in shelves and cabinetry. Bright light would flood the space and it would always be neat and organized so I could locate whatever I needed with little effort. And in this perfect world of unicorns and rainbows I would forever be happy and content.

In what I believe was an effort only to appease me (definitely not a plan to actually buy things), my husband and I went to the local home improvement superstore and scouted out counter tops, cabinets and lighting. Ultimately I ended up alone in the paint department, selecting colors for our master bedroom and bath, both of which have yet to receive any color other than the contractors white they had when we moved in. My thinking is this (since I knew there would be no purchasing of counters, cabinetry and lighting)... Why not decorate the upstairs whilst it's still cold outside ie. warmest part of the house in the winter... Then when the heat of summer hits, I can while away the hours in the coolest part of the house, the basement, which is always freezing in the winter.

So over lunch today my husband and I begin discussing changes we'd like to make to the master bath. I'm thinking, a coat of paint, some sort of window treatment and new lighting. Whilst my husband draws up a layout of the bathroom and begins moving around doorways, walls and adding a new larger size tub. Ordinarily I would get excited at the notion of completely 'refurbing' a room. But I know my husband pretty well after nearly 25 yrs. of marriage. He throws out ideas with absolutely no intention of ever following through because, eh... In the end it's just too much work, not to mention expense. It didn't stop me from looking at bathtubs online... Namely, this beauty for over $11,000 from Kohler...

Even if we were independently wealthy, the truth is, if we had something like this I can bet we wouldn't share it. We'd never be able to look that relaxed knowing we'd spent over $11 Grand on a bathtub AND we'd NEVER get anything done... Needless to say that awesome basement space I've got in mind.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cee Dub's Dutch Oven

Cee Dub, a man of few words.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Weight Training...

So I'm at the grocery store today, as the checker finishes scanning my order she asks for the THIRD time, "Are you sure you don't want any help out?" to which I replied, "No really, I consider loading groceries as part of my minimal exercise routine."

I left the checker laughing and hopefully brightened her day a little.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Confessions of a Slob...

It takes a lot of guts for me to come out of the closet and admit what a slob I am. This post is for those of you who've come to my house when I've 'staged' it... You know who you are... Yeah Amy, I'm talkin' to you!

A lot of my friends are all, "I can't let you see my house... It's too dirty and yours is always so clean.!" Well that was the old days folks. You see, when we first moved here the house was only 2 yrs. old... Imagine ONLY 2 yrs. worth of dirt? And the former owners were a yuppie couple with no kids, which translates to - Nobody home! Nobody to make a mess! I imagined if I were really diligent I could keep this house looking as pristine as the day we first lay eyes on it. Then things like LIFE got in the way and well, I guess I just found more important things to bide my time.

I'm wincing showing you this picture but the truth has got to be told...
Here's my kitchen counter after 2 or 3 days without clutter management:

Perhaps you have a spot like this in your home? You know, the place where EVERYBODY sets EVERYTHING down as soon as they walk in the door! You'll notice the baskets I use, in order to TRY, to organize some of this crap... They're both filled with shit so old it's probably obsolete. You might also notice the tiered rack with paper goods (for easy access of course) and nearly dead bananas which I keep promising to use in either muffins or bread... But look! There's an entire package of bread in a bag on the counter... Uh, 2 packages in fact and if I keep eating bread (in MY opinion the most essential of the food groups) I doubt I'll be able to roll my fat ass off the sofa any time soon. That weird looking red gun on the counter? It shoots smoke rings... We don't smoke so how else are we supposed to amuse ourselves? For the record, I haven't touched it, that's why it's sitting on my kitchen counter! Magazines, notebooks, books, cards, mail, old newspapers... And that's just the counter, you should see my desk. On second thought, maybe it's better you don't. This counter is just one of my many, MANY messy secrets but I'm just sticking my toe out of the closet today.

Truth is, I don't feel like doing much of anything except playing with this:

Meet 'Godiva'... She's my brand new baby! She's chocolate and she's sexy... I got her from my husband for Valentine's Day... Well, actually I got her for 'Belated ChrismaKwanzaNewMardiGroundhogValPresident's Day' and an 'Early St.Pat'sEasterMomMem4thLaborBacktoSchoolBirthday'... If you want to get right down to it.

Yep, I don't think too much cleaning is going to be getting done around here anytime soon.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In Memory

For Aunt Carol,

With the fondest memories of...
Walks on windswept Carolina beaches,
Who let that baby cry?
Only the BEST paper napkins will do,
Lively discussions around the dining room table,
Watching the kids play on the dock,
Basking in the warmth of sisterly companionship.

Your spark burns bright in the lives you touched.
You are greatly missed.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Should'a Had Pizza

The other night my kids had a couple of their friends over from school for a sleep-over. Their mom is currently trying to get a house ready to sell in North Jersey so I rather forced her into letting me keep her kids for the night.

It's rather unlike me, but I stressed a little bit about what to make for dinner that night. I considered just bringing in a pizza but thought I could put at least a little more effort than that into feeding everyone. James had been over before and as a growing teenage boy it doesn't matter much what I feed him, just as long as I make enough of it. This however, was going to be the first time I'd be feeding his little sister Hannah and I thought she might be pickier about her food choices... I'm nothing if not accommodating (to children other than my own.) So I asked my kids what they thought I should serve... "HOT DOGS!" Okay, hot dogs it is... And I'll try to add something healthy to go along with them.

So we picked everyone up from school and that's when we learned Hannah had NEVER had a hot dog!!!! I think Hannah is 9 or 10 yrs. old and I find it unfathomable she's never had a hot dog in her WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE!?! I think my kids suckled hot dogs along with their breast milk... Okay, maybe that's stretching the truth a bit, but I can clearly remember cutting hot dogs into teeny tiny pieces so they wouldn't choke. I gathered the reason Hannah had never had a hot dog is because the very idea of a meat like substance being ground up and stuffed into a tube kind of disgusted her... And you know, thinking about it that way, it kind of disgusts me too... So I didn't eat a hot dog that night. Hannah did though! I guess she was really trying to be extra polite or something, but you know what? She liked it! She liked it even though there weren't any buns to put it on. Yes, I planned a meal in which I didn't have all the staples I needed on hand... Because what's a ground up tube of meat without a tube of bread to put it on? Too lazy to go back out to the store, I polled the kids who told me it didn't matter. It's okay though, my back up to the hot dogs was a delicious tray of oven fried, seasoned red potatoes (something my kids really like)... Part way through cooking time my husband and I got to watching some inane 6 min. long video on You Tube showing a dominoes like set-up in a foreign grocery store... So I burned the potatoes. Then I realized I was all out of frozen vegetables. So I pulled out some spinach dip from our Super Bowl party and threw some cut veggies in a bowl. About this time I'm wondering why I didn't just order the damn pizza!

My husband and I later laughed about how truly dreadful dinner was for our young guests. The next morning I took everybody to breakfast at McDonald's, to try to make up for the crappy food from the night before... Or perhaps to just enhance it. That's when we learned that neither James or Hannah knew what was on Mickey D's breakfast menu... ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

I imagine when they finally saw their mom later in the day they'd share how Mrs. B wasn't a very good cook and for extra measure they might add, "She walked around in only her bathrobe, with a cigarette dangling from her bottom lip and downed martinis at 9:00am instead of taking us to school... Oh and she kept grumbling to herself saying, Damn Kids!"

Speaking of food... Over at Whiskey Marie's blog she has an EXCELLENT commentary on what inspired her to become a chef. I can't even, put into words how happy her post made me. Who wouldn't love lines like these:

Well, it makes you happier than Paris Hilton in a hall of mirrors.
Your body will feel like you were dragged behind a dump truck on a logging trail

I could ONLY dream (for obvious reasons) of being a 'Foodie'... Someone who's daring in the kitchen and just tries things without trepidation. Thanks WM for giving me a glimpse into that world... The Good, the Bad and the Deliciousness!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks...

I'm taking classes...
I'm allowing myself to be taught...
I'm opening my mind... Expanding my horizons...
I'm learning MATH!

For most of you this may seem quite benign... Big deal... math.

NO, you don't understand... This IS a big deal! Math abso-freakin'-lutely terrifies me. My nightmares often involve going an entire semester of never having attended class, yet sitting down to the final exam and realizing it's MATH class I was skipping all those months and the problems look like a foreign language.

I'm a product of the California Education System. I'm not saying it's all bad. I'm just referring to the place I managed to skirt through with my winning smile, good nature and knack for wrapping teachers around my friendly little finger.

Math in high school consisted of something known as The Phase Program. Some misguided school board members idea of educatin' teens their numbers. Book 1 of the Phase Program consisted of Addition & Subtraction... Book 2, Multiplication & Division... Book 3, Fractions... Book 4, Percentages and Book 5, Geometry. At the end of each semester a student in the Phase program would be tested on Books 1-5. If the student didn't pass any portion of the test in any of the five areas they were sent back to the that book to work all the way back through again. I ALWAYS failed long division. All those numbers swimming around in my head confused the hell out of me. So even though I'd work my way up to the Geometry in Book 5 throughout the semester, at the end I'd take that damn test and place all the way back to Book 2 again. Did it make me any better at long division? NO! All it did was make me hate math all the more. Finally after 2 1/2 yrs. of bouncing around the damn Phase Program, I finally squeaked out by a teacher who took pity on my situation or more likely just got sick and tired of seeing me in his class semester after semester. Mr. S tore up my Geometry test and proclaimed me to be educated. Did I ever learn how to determine just how much fence I would need to enclose that oddly shaped backyard? Nope, nor any other fence I might have to erect in my future. Thankfully, I've got my husband, should I ever decide to fence our yard.

Anyway... So here I am, 43 yrs. old and I'm challenging myself to finally learn this stuff. There's another reason for this interest in math. I'm also currently studying 'Transactional Analysis' using the book 'I'm Ok - You're Ok'... It's fascinating, and my adviser is not only patient but incredibly adept in the art of conversation. I'm learning SO much about how to better communicate with my family and friends. My adviser tells me the math is important because I tend to dwell a great deal in my emotions. Learning Math helps me 'step out' of the part of my brain run by emotions and practice using the analytical part of my brain. Therefore, as I exercise my analytical brain I can remain level headed and thoughtful as I converse... Even during stressful interactions... Hey, I have issues and I'm working through them... That's cool, I'm excited AND I'm doing math without freaking out.

It's all good and I thought I'd share.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Name is Al... Al Dente

Meet my buddy Al, Al Dente... I got him for Christmas and like any true sicilian he knows when the pasta is cooked to perfection. Seems Al crossed the wrong don and as a result, the family cemented his legs in a barrel. Plunge him into boiling water along with the pasta and when it's ready Al starts playing italian opera tunes, with which I can hum along... 3 different tunes, 3 different variations of cooked noodle... Hey, it beats throwing the pasta against the wall to see if it'll stick!

Al makes me feel like a cross between Tony Soprano and Giada De Laurentiis

Though in a look-alike contest, folks would most likely refer to me as "Hey Tony!"
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Monday, February 04, 2008

Hey, Wait... Where ya goin?

You're in the right place!

Welcome... Enjoy the new ambiance... If you take a deep breath you just might be able to sweet smell the gardenia blossoms blooming in the corner.

This evening the boy genius and I swept away the old Blogger Sand color and replaced it with the lovely teal and chocolate you see before you... And if for some reason the new look offends you... Well, it's all about the witty repartee... And if you find the blogging to be sub-par... Well, what the heck are you doin' here?

I promise to write something interesting soon... Until then, enjoy the new style of my little corner of the blogging world.