Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dandy Candy

Candy has a superb way of rustling up memories from childhood. When I was younger, it was a treat for my brother and I to walk to the liquor store and pick out some candy. This was pre-Target, and 7-11 days when the liquor store had the best selection of candy and it didn't have a layer of dust over the packaging like candy in the liquor store does now days.

My favorite candies were Abba Zabba and Big Hunk. I chewed endless amounts of bubble gum and, before there was Fun Dip or Baby Bottle Pop, used to open a box of Jell-O Gelatin, lick my finger and dip it into the sugary goodness.

Although I am extremely partial to ice cream, chocolate chip to be exact, and slightly melted, I have been know to grab a fun-size candy bar from my always-stuffed candy jar. I am particular to Baby Ruth, Reece's, and if I can find the fun-size bars, Fast Break by Reece's. As I write down my choices, more continue to pop on my brain. I like Big Kat Kit Kat bars, and peanut butter M & M's. As you can tell, I am all about the chocolate and peanut butter.

I am not a fan of fruit candy while my husband and children live for Skittles, Dots, Starburst, and Nerds. Oooh. Those are a waste of calories in my opinion. Gummy and chewy fruit candy do nothing for my taste buds, but I'm sure that I am the minority.

Since we are on the subject of sweets, I am on the lookout for the most gooey, moist cinnamon roll, without raisins, and not from Cinnabon, on the earth. Cinnamon rolls are delicious.

Saving Worms

I am in the business of saving earthworms. It is not a serious business that was handed down from my great grandfather but more of an adopted business. I don't get paid, but I enjoy doing it.

Whenever I see an earthworm writhing on the warm cement, unable to escape to the nearby grass or dirt area I stop, pick it up, and throw it in the grass. I feel sorry them. I realize that they are stupid, but I assume the death of drying up on a cement sidewalk in the mid-day sun has to be excruciating. They have family.

After the rains, there were three earthworms under my porch mat. I joyfully tossed them in the grass. I know that they were grateful. I could tell by the look on their faces. Actually, I can't tell if it is their face or butt.

So, I'm a little on the odd side of life with my saving worms, however, I don't freak out if I accidentally step on one either. My life saving motive is not so strong that I have a bumper sticker on my car stating, "Save the earthworm" That would be weird.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Eating Plan

I have recently discovered the very best thing to follow a salad topped with grilled chicken and feta cheese. A bowl of cereal. I don't choose just any cereal. I had a sweet tooth and poured myself a small bowl of my most favorite cereal ever, Lucky Charms. My sweet tooth was still tugging at my shirt sleeve so I poured myself a small bowl of Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries. Delicious. I used skim milk of course which is a lot like eating french fries and diet soda.

I had a strong desire for another small bowl of Lucky Charms, but with the tad bit of self-control I had, I neglected the sweet tooth tug. I am eyeing our candy jar though.

My husband has cereal for dessert almost every night. He usually has an eclectic mix of Life cereal and Kellogg's Frosted Flakes or blends Rice Crispies with Raisin Bran. I don't think that he ever has a bowl of cereal with just one type of cereal.

We have seven different boxes of cereal in our pantry which get eaten often. Although the kids usually have other choices for breakfast, cereal make for a delicious snack or dessert. We have never been the type of parents who insist that their kids eat fiber laden cereals, or those high in cardboard taste. One of my joys is strolling down the cereal aisle at Target, smiling at the low price tags, and allowing them to choose any box they want. On the very weird side, I never let them get Cookie Crisp or Reese's Puffs. I have my limits. Not many, but some. I told you it was weird.

Go have a bowl of cereal, I insist.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Misjudgement

After indulging in a so-so dinner from Outback Steakhouse I decided to walk over to CVS Pharmacy with the kids while my husband paid the tab. They were tired and antsy, so, being the fun mom that I am on occasion said, "Let's go get candy!" I was hoping to purchase a super-size drumstick ice cream cone from the self-serve freezer for myself but they did not have one. I was bummed out. Candy can never replace ice cream, even in a pinch.

I had all four of them up at the counter trying to purchase Valentine cards and candy. They had a hard time deciding, so I waited. My husband took everyone out to the car while I finished paying, and the cashier man asked, "Are they all yours?" With a stitch of pride I announced, "Yep!" He watched as they exited and then commented. "You must have the patience of a saint." Oh, did he have it all wrong. "No, actually, I have very little patience. Ask anyone who knows me."

His observation and comments which followed caused me to actually feel a little more patient than I am able to give myself credit. "I have worked all night. I don't have any kids, in fact, I don't have a wife. I see you just waiting while they decide on candy and you are so calm. I would be going crazy waiting for them to decide then change their mind and decide all over again." "Oh" I say, "That doesn't really bother me." He shook his head and I sauntered out the door.

Although I'm not getting the "Patient Mother of the Year" award, I guess that I am patient in some areas of my life, not many, but some.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

You're Arrested!


Today the younger boys gathered the other younger boys in the neighborhood for a raucous game of cops and bad guys. Dressed in full police guy regalia, they were armed with Nerf guns, tickets, and pepper spray.

While other homes smell of sauteing onions, and freshly baked cookies, mine smells like "pepper spray." The can is marked "AXE" and the flavor is "vice" the bad guys are in jail, and they wreak with manly scents.

My garage smells manly as well. I suppose it could be worse. Normally it smells like cat urine. We do not own any cats. When I walk to the garage to get into my car I am hit with a gust of musky delight. I think my garage served as the jail for all of the bad guys that were stunned with "pepper spray."

The boys have switched careers and are now professional snowboarders. My coffee table is a ramp and the entry way is the starting point.

Tomorrow they will be firefighters and the next day motocross racers. I just wish they were able to collect a paycheck for the myriad of careers they hold. Then they could help with the house payment.

You're Arrested!

Man Stuff

When my daughter is away the family dynamics change considerably. It is just me and four males. They have no plans other than to eat, and watch whatever man type event is on the television. Even the younger ones seem to slouch in the couch more and grunt, or else they engage in a unexpected round of "Let's play American Gladiators!" This event is noisy, disruptive, shirtless, and loud.

I grabbed my bowl of ice cream, usual evening, post dinner fare, sat with the "puppies" and watched the "Winter X-Games." My preference would have been E.R, Cold Case, or House, although not appropriate for puppies. The X-Games happened to be highlighting snow-moto which was dreadfully boring and my husband agreed. We switched to a recorded movie, "How to Eat Fried Worms" which was better, but I still felt out of place.

Eventually the puppies went to bed and my husband and I were able to watch a DVD we had rented, "Mr. Brooks." It was odd, entertaining, I was tired, but we had a great amount of husband and wife hang time which is always perfect.

I don't like when my daughter is gone. What will I do when she moves out for college? Okay, that is at least four years from now, but I need a plan, either that, or learn how to act like an American Gladiator and join in on the chaos, however, I refuse to take off my shirt.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Round and Round


I never thought that I would be able to decipher the meaning of your kid going in the first, second, or third round. You see, the little league has finished their draft, and the eleven year olds are placed on teams. The hum of who is going where has ended, and I have completed discussions with my husband pertaining to what team our son will end up on based on his try out, and who gets what pick in which round of the draft. I am now an expert.

Talk about any draft for any team, and I can now tell you if they are a good player or great player based on when they are chosen during a draft. The best players go first, in the first round, and the teams with the worst records get the best players. I don't assume that you are totally enthralled with this information so I will move onward.

With three boys in tow we figure to be on the little league field for the next six years, give or take a year, bringing the grand total to fourteen years of little league. They should have a walker with my husband's name engraved on the back by then.

Baseball season is approaching quickly. My daughter will work the snack bar while the boys play, minus the youngest. He still has to wait one more year. I will be wearing shirts from two teams: Go Angels, and this year, go Red Socks...oooh, that is going to be hard to say. I'm extremely partial to our Angels.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rain Woman

When I set out on my run at 9:00 this morning, threatening rain clouds hovered near my house, but I took my chances anyway. The ground was drying up from the early morning storm and I was prepared with gloves and a baseball hat.

At mile two I was still dry. By mile three the rain was coming down in large, sporadic drops, the type which leave dark circles on the sidewalk but are spread apart far enough to dodge while I am jogging. Call me agile. Okay, maybe it just feels like I am dodging them. Don't call me agile, you'd be lying.

When the rain started coming down at a more rapid rate, I wasn't bothered. It's just water. One man, walking his dog, seemed concerned with my rainy run and commented, "You're getting caught in it!" to which I retorted, "It's only water, right?" He gave me that "humph, she's right" look.

Adults seem afraid to get wet. I am typically one of those adults. Give me an unexpected rain storm after I have coiffed my hair perfectly and have my mascara applied just right and I will get upset, even if I have an umbrella handy. I never have an umbrella handy.

Children love to get wet. My son asked if he could put on his bathing suit and go out in the rain. I told him "no." The little kids are riding their bikes in the rain. I am indoors, with the heater on, and a cup of fresh brewed coffee sitting close by.

Even though I don't mind running in the rain, I prefer to stay dry, and warm, unless I'm in Hawaii. The rain is beautiful and warm in Hawaii. Life in general is warm and beautiful in Hawaii.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thank You Loretta Stamos


"Odd title" I'm sure you are thinking, but it has extreme relevance to what I have to say:

Dear Loretta,
Thanks for finding my blog. Thanks also for forwarding my request to John. Thanks John, for having Marc get in touch with me. Thanks also for the signature and updated head shot. Thanks Marc for making it happen, a great thing to do and definitely a fun story!

Okay, so Loretta Stamos found my blog regarding the photo I found with John Stamos and I in the 80's when he was on General Hospital. I mentioned that I would love to have him sign my photo. John's mom, Loretta, Mrs. Stamos, found my blog and sent the link to John. He forwarded the request to Marc, who is friends with John and also works for St. Amos Productions, and I sent the picture off for an autograph. Whew! Now, that brings us to today. I received the photo via FedEx. As you can see, he has signed it and was gracious enough to send me an updated photo. John wrote on the original picture, "Linda, Long time no see. Peace and Love, John Stamos. He's very clever! (and yummy. Yes, my husband is aware that I just wrote that).

Announcement Tea

I was delighted to attend a debutante announcement tea for my girlfriends daughter. After appeasing our appetites with finger sandwiches and petite pastries, we drank coffee and enjoyed some "girls only " conversation. The men were not invited, and, were thrilled to be staying home to enjoy the football games on television.

The announcement followed lunch, and each girl and their mom had to stand on a stage in front all the attendees. The announcer plowed through a litany of accomplishments each girl had achieved while the proud mom stood by as a support.

We giggled as the embarrassed teens listened to words deliberately chosen to describe them. Many are involved in sports and volunteer for several organizations. All of them are off to college in the fall and are looking forward to their summer plans of, "spending time in Fiji with family" or "hunting white-tail deer." Seriously.

I created my own "announcement" as I sat listening to the great achievements of the girls:

Linda is an avid jogger since she needs a mental release each day. She is rarely patient and always in prayer. She drives many miles each day, yet rarely leaves her city. Her couches are thrashed, and her carpet is stained, but her children are always clean. She excels in Spray and Wash application, dressing small children, and locating misplaced items. Her specialty is brownies from a box with frosting from a jar. Her hope is to go on a date with her husband in the very near future. Her summer plans included purchasing her first new bathing suit in four years.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Run Down

I love to run, however I do not like to run downhill. I know that running uphill is great for my legs, heart, and over all well being, but running downhill has consequences. When I move to the down hill side of my jog, my entire body rattles, as if I am wearing metal wheeled roller skates on an old asphalt road filled with gaps and pebbles.

If I could find a way to run uphill without coming back down, that would be ideal, impossible, but ideal. For now I'll stick to my flat surfaces, where unfortunately muscle memory kicks in resulting in not much development, but my body doesn't jar and shake.

Sometimes I prefer the easy route. I have have plenty of hills in my daily life, where coming back down doesn't hurt.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Three Puppies

Having three boys is like having a gaggle of puppies. In addition to chewing my stuff, they take my shoes, bury things, and have insatiable appetites.

Many items in our home have been destroyed by our puppies including couches, chairs, books, blankets, and lamp stands.

Like puppies, they dribble when they drink, bark often when they are left alone in another room, sit on my lap when I am trying to post on my blog, need to be walked around the block twice a day or they will hurt each other, and fall asleep in the car.

Our puppies eat food off of the floor, hop up on our bed at night, stick their heads out of the car window when we approach our street, sometimes pee outside in the bushes, and get excited when they see other puppies in our neighborhood.

Our new dog purchase will have to wait. For now, I am dealing with three puppies who happen to have ton of energy, a very short attention span, and require constant training.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Time for Retakes

After taking a good look at my driver's license picture I have decided that I need a re-take. Although very few people actually see my picture or care to take notice, I do.

My photo was taken sometime in the 90's after my first round of highlights. The highlights that weren't so good. I have a pouf on my head as a result of my attempts to add volume to my limp strands of hair. Since I have not had a ticket lately, the DMV just keeps sending me a new license with the same photo attached.

I know a guy who is almost completely bald. The photo on his drivers license was taken when he was 17. I can't imagine that the state of California thinks that having an old picture on your driver's license is acceptable. People change. Highlights get better. Weight comes and goes. Body parts shift.

I'm sure that the vain process of trying to change the photo on my driver's license is not worth the time and energy. I know that when I am 65 I'll appreciate having a circa 1995 picture of myself on my license, that's the good news, oh, and the fact that I am wearing a good coat of mascara.

Speeeh Therapy


My son got in trouble for taking too much during speech therapy. Isn't that the point?

I was also told that he needs to talk more at home than in his kindergarten class. Trust me, he talks plenty. I think that the therapy is working.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Special Delivery


If I were to change careers I may consider becoming a pizza delivery girl. People would always be happy to see me.

I was very happy to see the pizza delivery guy last night. He has good pizza and his presence means that I don't have to think about what to cook for dinner.

I'm glad that I don't have a career where people are sad to see me. I don't deliver court papers to anyone, and I'm not a dog catcher wondering why you never paid your dog's license fee. I don't sell magazines door to door either.

I'm a mom and a wife, and I trust that my family is always happy to see me, especially when I am carrying a box of pizza.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just Wait


I'm not upset, I just don't understand. I scheduled a mammogram over a month ago. They asked me to arrive 15 minutes early in order to complete paperwork. I rushed everywhere, school, WalMart, Trader Joe's, home, back to school to deliver forgotten goods, skipped a shower, recruited my mother for noon pick-up, and, miraculously was on time, 15 minutes early, as requested by the schedule makers.

I sat. I waited. I sat for thirty-five minutes past my appointment time, plus the 15 minutes pre-time, equals 50 minutes of waiting, for a SIX minute procedure. Six minutes.

If I had known that I was going to be sitting, waiting, I would have been late. You know though, if I were to arrive late, they would have been on time. I would have had to reschedule, and repeat the entire process all over again.

I'm forever under the control of the mammogram technician folk. I don't think it's fair. I shouldn't be old enough to need a routine mammogram. I should have been waiting for the next available pedicurist instead. They have better magazines. I feel younger there.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Car Wash

My car needed a wash. I thought it would be fun to take the little ones to get the car washed after lunch. I drove to my first choice of car wash establishments and the crowded appearance caused me to pull my car into the driveway and drive right back out the exit. I figured that the wait would be too long with little ones. I figured that I would be out at least ten bucks spending money on candy and junk from the attached store while enduring the long wait.

The second car wash that we drove to was not nearly as crowded as the first, and I was able to pull right up to the hanging vacuum hoses. I was immediately approached by the man holding the tickets. "Just a wash" I stated as he drew up the ticket. When the ticket was handed to me I dropped my jaw looking at the price-fourteen dollars! "Never mind" I said to the man handing the ticket back to him, and off I went to my third car wash in ten minutes.

I contemplated washing the car myself, having the little ones help me, and quickly turned into the right lane to try my third and final choice in car wash stations dismissing the do-it-myself idea.

With number three the price was right, $7.50. There was no mini-mart where needless amounts of money would be thrown into a pit of soda, candy, and chips, and, my car was second in line to be washed. The cashier told me that my car would be finished in 25 minutes so I went ahead and had my car washed.

FIFTY minutes later my car was finished. It sparkled like no other 11 year old car, but fifty minutes? Wow. I entertained the boys by finding pine cones that they could smash with rocks. No, I'm not for hire.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lucky Me

My California, multi-subject, teaching credential expired last January. Eleven months after the date that I was supposed to renew, I remembered, that I forgot, to renew.

Under the current circumstances, this is not good. Since I oversee six student teachers from Concordia and Vanguard University, it is imperative that I keep my credential current. Professors from the university depend on me to be up-to-date with my professional documents. That is not too much to ask.

In a panic, I sought guidance from our local school district personnel. They advised me to email the state department, who is responsible for issuing renewals. I took their advise and sent off an email stating my grave situation and impatiently waited for "the powers that be" to reply with a solution. I was ready to not only send my required payment with accrued penalty, but made offers to hand wash the cars of the decision makers, and bake a batch of cookies if need be. I make terrific chocolate chip cookies.

I received a reply. My credential expires in 2012. I already renewed it in 2006. I am so efficient, very forgetful, but very efficient.

Growing Up

I'm going to New York on business. Not really. I'm going to the dentist for a teeth cleaning. Boring. Going to New York on business sounds so disguished, so grown-up. I guess that I'm not quite grown-up yet. I'll get there eventually, when all of my kids have moved out on their own, then, I'll be grown-up. For now, I'm still making macaroni and cheese for lunches and cleaning up lego pieces. New York can wait.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bun Picker

My husband and I had the thrill of a date afternoon. We were able to run a few errands and then have an early dinner at a restaurant where we actually held the menu in our hands, instead of staring at a board above the cash registers.

As we sat eating our dinner, I noticed the wait staff meandering through the kitchen which was located in the open, for all of the nearby customers to see - an open air kitchen. As they talked and checked to see if their food was "up" I couldn't help but remember back to when I waited tables with a similar kitchen.

One night the manager called me over to the side area, away from the kitchen. I was a nervous since he seemed like he needed to discuss something with me in private. As he began, his voice lowered to a whisper and he said, "Some customers just told me that they were uneasy with the fact that when they looked into the kitchen, they saw you scratching your behind." Ewe!! I was shocked! I told him that they had the wrong person.

At that time I wore dark blue, men's, 501 jeans, with the back pockets carefully removed with my mother's seam ripper. That was the cool thing to do in order to be unique. They were so tight that I had to lay down on a bed in a horizontal position, in order to button all five buttons. The customer told my manager that the girl they saw, picking her seat, had a brown ponytail, guilty, and was wearing blue jeans with flaps on the back pockets. Not guilty!

He let me off the hook after I proved the customer wrong, and my friend Regina was guilty as charged. Whew, narrow escape, but an escape none the less. I only pick my seat when I am at the movies.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Banishing Books...Some Books

I have a section of my cupboard that holds books. These books have already been read, and now just sit. I have trouble throwing books away, but I have no trouble giving books away.

I know that there are certain books that I keep for reference, "What to Expect the Toddler Years" and of course Bible commentaries etc. and there are other books that I read, or my husband reads once, and then the book sits on a shelf never to be read again. Why is it then, that we keep these books that we will never open again?

Some folks build additions to their homes in order to create a library to house all the books they have accumulated. Noble indeed. I however, think that books should be shared and distributed to others, so as not to clutter the mere smatterings of space I still have open.

Garages are a great place for books. But what then? If books are sitting in cupboards, or in boxes in the garage, or on shelves in a room, what good are they if they are not being read?

Children's books are in a category by themselves since they do get read over and over again to the point where they are embedded into my memory. I donate the ones that are too babyish and the tattered and torn books get recycled. On occasion I deem some children's books horrible written and sneak them into the donation pile after nightfall, when no one is looking. I don't like to edit books while I am reading them out loud. I'm crazy.

Tomorrow is the day I go through the book cupboard. I need more space. I always need more space.

Just Be Quiet


There are no bag lunches to me made, a full pot of coffee sits, uniforms are still in the hamper, and everyone is moving slowly. That is the beauty of Saturday.

I know that the momentum will pick up and the chaos will arrive shortly, but for now it is quiet, for now.

Even though I woke up to four children screaming, it is quiet right at this moment. Since everyone is eating their mouths are occupied. Perhaps I should just feed the kids constantly to avoid the arguing. I'll try that technique when the screaming gets out of hand once again either that or rent myself a pack of performing dogs. That would keep their attention for a while. Does anyone have a phone number?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Oh Neill!

I first need to give you a quick recap before I continue:

My Current Soapbox told the stroy of how I inadvertantly purchased a shirt for my 4 year old which bore the graphics of naked women. The shirt was produced by O'Neill Clothing.

Ryan was my most recent post which told of how the head of the men's apparal department for O'Neill called me and apologized for their mishap and the fact that he was sending me a care package for my son.

Oh Neill!! The package arrived today. In addition to a hand written letter by Ryan, apologizing again, my son recieved a pair of jeans, a brown hooded zip-up sweatshirt, a long sleeved t-shirt, and five short sleeved t-shirts. Oh my. I forgive, and forget. Way to go by O'Neill.

Don't Be Stairs


A quote from Plankton, of the Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoon, worth repeating:

"You're just like stairs. You let people walk all over you!"

So...don't be stairs. Don't be a shovel either. Shovels hurt.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Failing Fluggs


For $20.00 I was able to purchase a pair of fake Ugg boots, Fluggs as I like to call them. With our not-so-tough-winters, I have probably worn them a total of 30 times. In my opinion, they should still be in great shape, dirty, but in great shape. Well, a hole has formed on the big toe section and the leather is tearing. I hate cheap stuff.

I would have paid six times the amount for the real Ugg boots and they probably would have lasted six times longer than my Fluggs.

Sometimes it's better to pay full price for an particular item and for some things you should never pay full price. One of those things is cereal. Yes cereal.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Scraping Scrapbooking

Thankfully I found the hot picture of me in sixth grade, donning my ever-so-cool hand-made purple, frog shirt. I wanted something funny to attach to my profile. I cannot locate my jr. high picture. That is the one I really wanted. I know that I have a personal "baby book" that my mother handed down to me recently, but I cannot seem to locate it.

Since I am the second born there are a total of four baby pictures then the snapshots go straight to when I was seven. After that we jump to high school and then my wedding pictures. The total number of pages in the book equals 8. My older brother's baby book is bulging with so many snapshots that it cannot be shut. I'll be in therapy later I'm sure.

In my attempts to locate the baby book I came across some pre cut, ready to glue on to scrapbook pages, photos of my oldest children. This was an indicator of when I got too busy to scrapbook - eight years ago. I don't want to be one of those people who in their sixties, finally has the time to place pictures in a photo album however, I'm not seeing any large gaps of free time in the immediate future, to complete the task.

I know that if I would just put them in a book right away, the problem would be eliminated, but I cannot seem to do that either. I'm hopeless, but at least I have pictures of my children, somewhere, in boxes, in some cupboard, for now, safe, with no semblance of order.

Oh well, I'm a writer. That's what I do. So, I'm scraping scrapbooking. Unless of course, someone wants to place all my photos in books for me. I don't even need the fancy scrapbook paper and 3-D ribbons and stickers. I'd pay big bucks - if I had big bucks.

Multi-Use Pajamas

I worked out today in my pajamas - old baby blue, maternity stretchy pants, with holes, and a long sleeved t-shirt that I purchased at Old Navy for three dollars. I was too cold to put on anything else, so I grabbed my running shoes and hopped on to my stationary bicycle.

It was a little embarrassing when I decided to pick up my kindergartner in the same outfit so I flung my daughters scarf around my neck in hopes of making the outfit appear deliberate. Conveniently the multi-colored scarf was sitting on the passenger seat in my car and conveniently I just had to drive through the pick up line instead of exiting my car, dressed for bed.

I tried to coerce my four year old to join me in wearing pajamas in the car, but he would not. Perhaps if I was delivering PajamaGrams I would have a legitimate excuse for my bedroom attire.

I am still wearing my pajamas. I'm still cold.

God's Favor

This is a must listen to. Give yourself three minutes to grab the essence of this awesome podcast by John Waller regarding God's favor. Extremely cool stuff!
Click here!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hot Cheese

Our family recently visited an eating establishment called Fuddruckers. I had the distinct pleasure of ordering a plain hamburger. I was then able to "dress" my hamburger with whatever my heart delighted, from a terrific section of the restaurant called the "Toppings Bar."

The first item offered at the toppings bar came in a metal box with a convenient pump attached to the top, and a caution sign which read, "HOT!" With a few pumps I was able to fill three portion cups with hot, gooey, cheddar cheese. Yum. If I wanted to, I could have filled seventeen portion cups and dipped in every food item ordered, in addition to my hamburger and steak fries. On a dare, I would have poured the cheese directly into mouth. I'm not sure if that would be socially acceptable, but when a dare is involved social manners fall by the wayside. The toppings bar lent itself to many other delicacies, but I was obviously overwhelmed with glee by my cheesy experience, and pickles and lettuce are now very boring.

Since I see no hope of ever getting the red Vespa that I have asked for on every gift giving occasion, I am choosing to add the hot cheese machine to my list. I can only imagine the possibilities.

Monday, January 7, 2008

So Long Self-Control


After a long jog, push ups, and lunges, I drank a protein shake (pear slice, half a banana, ice, peach juice, and a scoop of protein powder). I was still hungry so I had eggs whites with ham and cheese. I wasn't hungry, but noticed the tin of Pirouline cookies that I recently purchased for my...ahem...daughter. I ate six of them. I am no longer hungry. Big surprise. They are extraordinary.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Brownie a la Mode

I am smitten by sweets, sweets mixed with ice cream in particular. When I ordered the brownie a la mode I pictured a heaping mound of ice cream atop a dense, chocolaty, brownie topped with whipped cream. What I got was a child's size scoop of ice cream with a poor excuse for a helping of whipped cream. At least the brownie was substancial.

After I had adjusted to the fact that I would probably need two desserts in order to satisfy my desires, my daughter sauntered over and looked down at my plate. "Can I have some of your ice cream?" This request came after she had already eaten a hamburger, french fries, her brothers french fries, some of his chicken, and practically drowned in a large Coke. "Sure" I replied bitterly. What choice did I have? Was I supposed to tell her "No, it's my dessert and I'm not sharing!"

She proceeded to pick up the plate, take it over to her section of the table, eat all of the ice cream and whipped cream off the top of the brownie and then bring back the plate to me with just a brownie and left over juice from the ice cream. The audacity! Frustrated, I went to the cashier and ordered another scoop of ice cream plus an extra scoop just in case other people became suddenly starving for some ice cream.

My daughter requested more, believe it or not, and my six year old wanted a share of the loot. I had a smidgen, which turned out to be enough, but I'm still trying to get over the narcissism which reigns in our home. It may take a while.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Light as a Feather

There is nothing, and I mean nothing like leaving the hair salon after a good cut and color. Okay, maybe a sunny day at the beach with my hubby, no children, and a stack of magazines is good too, but, in the winter, with clouds everywhere, and the heater set at 68 degrees, I'll take the hair salon.

I indulged in my latest Today's Christian Woman magazine, ate two handfuls of nuts (provided by the salon) and sat to my hearts content. Two hours of bliss and a light, fresh, haircut, and color to boot.

They gray is gone, my hair is manageable once again, the little ones are napping, church tonight with a special guest, Charles Colson--life is good. Now, I just need a generous slice of banana bread and hot cup of coffee...ummmm.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ryan

So Ryan called. I was thrilled. I wasn't home when he called, but he left and fantastic message. Ryan works for O'Neill clothing which is based here in southern CA. He got word that I had inadvertently purchased a t-shirt from Tilly's for my four year old which had naked women on the front design. If you missed my blog about the indecency, you can read about it here.

Ryan apologized profusely. He was truly sorry that such an egregious error occurred in their design department. He informed me that those people who designed that shirt have all left the company to work for a competitor. He was embarrassed. He felt bad for my son, and, he is sending me care package to help us get over their wrong doings. Perfect.

I was impressed with O'Neill and Ryan. I'll be even more impressed when I uncover what lies inside the care package. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Video Chatting

I don’t see how technology can get any better. My new, fancy, laptop came equipped with a video camera. Within a few minutes, I downloaded Skype and was video chatting with my brother 3000 miles away, crazy, really. He has a MAC and I have a PC, so figuring out a way for the two computers to talk to each other took some time, but we figured it all out.

Phones have cameras, kids can watch television on their iPods, people can video chat thousands of miles away—what can be better? The only bit of new technology I have not adopted is the iPod. I continue to use my circa 1990 foam covered headphones and AM/FM compact radio while I jog. I only listen to the radio on Sundays since our Christian radio station plays worship music, commercial-free, for six hours, otherwise I pray and think for my entire jog. I have no need for an iPod. Call me crazy. Call me old fashioned. Call me retro. Call me old school.

For now, I am glad to be using a computer that I can type on quickly. From what I understand, it can also play music, DVD’s, and a myriad of other things that I am too non-technology savvy to figure out, so, unless I can figure out a way for my computer to make the beds and clean the house, I will stick to checking my email, and typing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Managing Memories


We have started, okay, my husband has started, and nearly completed, the daunting task of cleaning out the garage. Although our garage is not out of hand, and we can still fit one car inside, along with several ride-on toys, the cupboards and storage areas needed organizing. Isn't New Year's Day the perfect time to organize?

Not only was this winter-clean-a-thon a small trip down memory lane, it caused me to seriously evaluate what is worth keeping. Do I honestly need the t-shirt from my senior year of high school with every one's name silk screened across the back side? No. What am I going to do with 5 baby blankets and personlized burp cloths? Really?

I tried on my cheerleader skirt from college. It did not fit. My husband was optimistic, but I had an inch or two remaining between button and button hole.

I came across a fantastic, with a capital "F," photo of my girlfriend and I interlocked at the waist with none other than John Stamos, circa 1981. We were leaning against his limo in our cheer outfits, thrilled out of our living minds. We had just finished a fundraiser game of donkey basketball where we actually rode donkeys in the gym and played against celebrities, a crazy game of basketball. This was popular in the 80's. Yes, really. I am dying to send him an email and ask if he would be willing to autograph the photo-for kicks. The trouble is, I don't have his email address. Silly me.

We had an entire box of video tapes of who knows what. I presume they were recordings of television shows and football games from years past, however, I was not about to pop them into the VCR and watch every one in order to discern whether or not they needed to be saved or smashed. We saved the wedding video. That one was marked.

My obsolete box of teaching materials from the past 15 years was tossed. Back in the day we had to create everything on our own as teachers. All of my tests and worksheets were hand written - so 90's.

I tossed the 80's clothes. I have been saving them for my kids when they have 80's day at school, but decided they can always visit the thrift store. I am still hanging on to the bread machine. I don't know why. Gratefully I am donating our very last car seat. The smallest in the family are in booster seats...yea!

2008 will bring more "stuff" I am sure, but at least we now have the space.