Sunday, July 31, 2005

Harvest

Another bit of Day Out photo journalism...



We had a nice visit to our favorite farm to do some berry and peach picking. It was a little too hot for me, so after taking some photos, I made a bee-line for the picnic tables (under a nice shady tent). It was fun to sit and people watch while the boys were picking berries.

It was a veritable United Nations under that tent! Every table had friends and family speaking different languages...Japanese, Chinese, Hispanic, Russian, French and one family who spoke a language I had never heard before.

The Japanese family left one new mom and her baby girl under the tent as they went off to pick fruit. I couldn't help but grin and stare longingly at her adorable baby. She was so cute in her little pink sundress and soft sandals.

I also watched as a woman, wearing a peaked Chinese rice farmer's hat, led her two beautiful Chinese daughters into the field. She was not Chinese...so the story in my head told me she had adopted her girls in China (and picked up the hat while she was over there). I started wondering why we had decided not to look into adopting from China. I'll have to double check. They may have an age or weight limit that disqualified us. I don't quite remember.

When the boys returned with a full container of black berries, Tyler announced he wanted ice cream. So John went off to pick raspberries on his own while Ty and I had an ice pop break. Frozen treats cooled us both off nicely! Then it was off to the peach tree grove to look for ripe peaches. It was a long trek up a steep hill, so I took my time with it. Took some photos of the flower fields along the way and John pulling Tyler in our borrowed red wagon.

It wasn't easy to locate peaches ready for picking. The trees had many unripe ones, but all the ripe ones on lower branches had been picked over well. When we were finally satisfied with our haul, we headed back to market to pay for our pickings. I think Tyler ate his own weight in raspberries!

Last night we had a lovely dinner with John's Mom and shared our peaches with her. Not surprisingly, Ty ate nothing. He was probably stuffed to the gills with berries.

All in all, a very nice day out.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Getaway

AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!


I am sooo frustrated! My parents have been bugging me for a while now to drive up there to spend a weekend at the Cape (that is Cape Cod, MA for those who are unfamiliar with the area). We have the perfect scenario worked out. John has a class up there he can go to so we can spend a couple days on the Cape and then Tyler and I can hang out for a couple days with his grandparents. Perfect, right?


No. My Dad has a work conflict. Now John is running out of vacation time for this year (we already have a trip planned in October and we want some days left for Christmas too). So the only thing we can do is limit this trip to JUST a weekend thing. Fine. So where shall we stay? My parents are insisting on this place:


Chatham Bars Inn, Grand Oceanfront Resort, Cape Cod


Would I like to stay there? Hell yes! If I were a Rockefeller or a Kennedy. The room rates at this place are outrageous!


So I go on a mission to find a "nice" place with a pool that we can afford. Our definition of "nice" and my parents definition are not in sync, apparently. All the places I suggest, they turn up their noses.


So...would I be out of line to give them an ultimatum? If they are so all fired to go to this place, how about they pay for both rooms and we pay for meals?


I am trying to work up the nerve to suggest it...


In the meantime...does anyone know of a nice place between NJ and MA to spend a weekend? LOL It has to be upscale to satisfy my mother's champagne tastes.


@@ (me rolling my eyes...)


Other places I would love to stay; in my dreams:


Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, New England’s finest Cape Cod Hotel


Crowne Pointe Historic Inn, Provincetown, Cape Cod - they don't allow kids! Wicked...


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ignorance

I think everyone has those "light bulb" moments in life. Your eyes get big, you inhale sharply, and you think; "Oh wow...I can't believe I never realized that before."

I was thinking about a couple of those moments in my life last night. The first came when I started 7th grade. Back then, that meant a whole new school (Junior High) and a whole new pecking order. In my first week of school, I was feeling pretty lost and overwhelmed. It was a big, multi-storied building and I was still figuring out where to go. This was also my first time having different teachers for each subject rather than staying in the same classroom with the same teacher for everything, all day long.

They encouraged us to use the bathroom between classes, but if it wasn't possible to wait, you could ask for a hall pass. My first time needing to use the facilities, it happened to be in the middle of class (and no, I couldn't wait). I was given a pass and I set off in search of the girl's bathroom. I didn't realize that I had selected a time when the janitor was cleaning the rest rooms and he had propped open both doors so the signs that said "Girls" and "Boys" were not visible.

The choice seemed obvious. The bathroom with the bluish green colored tile must be the boys room, and the one with the pinkish orange colored tile must be the girls. Right? Makes sense?

Wrong.

I waltzed into the Boy's bathroom and froze. My eyes grew big, I inhaled sharply, and thought; "Oh wow! I never knew the boy's bathroom was DIFFERENT than the girls before! What the heck are those???" I studied the urinals for a moment and had a second thought occur to me. I was in the BOYS bathroom and someone could find me in there at any moment!! I fled in terror to the girls room and then returned to class, somewhat flushed and breathless.

No harm done. No one saw me. BIG lesson learned that day.

The other light bulb moment I was thinking about last night actually stemmed from a conversation I was having with an online friend a week or so ago. We were talking about the perils of foreign travel and I said, in passing; "...and isn't it weird that while we call Germany Germany, that isn't what the Germans call it?" There was a long pause, and the return IM said; "What do you mean? They don't call it Germany??? What the hell do they call it then???"

Ah ha! Another ignorant American. I don't mean ignorant in the negative context! If a person is never taught something, never exposed to something, never known something is true...they are ignorant of that knowledge. Plain and simple. I blame my parents and the schools I was taught in. How could you not teach a kid this very important tidbit?? Are we really that ethnocentric? It's no wonder Europeans have such a low opinion of us at times.

I tried to pinpoint the exact "ah ha" moment when I learned that the Germans, in fact, call their own country Deutschland. I am pretty sure I was in my later years of high school and I was doing a report on Nazi Germany. I was watching a tape of one of Hitler's speeches in the library. He was speaking in German, of course, and he frequently mentioned Deutschland. I nodded my head, turned to the AV librarian and said; "He must be talking about invading Holland." She stared at me blankly. "You know...Deutschland? The Dutch? Holland?" She started laughing.

I am NOT a stupid person! I have a relatively high IQ and got very good grades in school! But man, I felt dumb. Did you know the Japanese call their country "Nippon"? And that is only a close approximation of the sound of the name because the Japanese language uses a different alphabet. Greece is Ελλάδα. Don't get me started! Italy is L'Italia. OK, that one is pretty close. France is France. That one is easy. Spain is España. That one is pretty close too. OK, you get the idea.

Did you ever have a light bulb moment in your life? Where everyone else seemed to know about something and you found out the hard way? By saying something ignorant? Let me know.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Busted!

I thought Tyler was downstairs playing his video game for a few minutes. I attempted to sneak one of my Godiva chocolates out of my secret stash and I heard a little voice behind me...
"Can I have one of those, Mommy?"
I gave him a piece of dark chocolate (thinking that would be the end of it...too rich for his taste). He LOVED it.
Dammit!
Now, every few minutes he is asking, "Can I have another one of your yummy chocolates, Mommy? You love to share with me...don't you Mommy? Can I have that square one? What is that white one? Can I try it?"
Grrr! and *sigh*
On the plus side, he did eat something ELSE new today. His first peanut butter sandwich. Hell...this was his first sandwich, period. I was so proud! But dammit! Why did he have to catch me with my Godivas!? LOL

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dance

So You Think You Can Dance?


A reality show on Fox is currently asking this very interesting question...and most of the time the answer seems to be NO. But I have been laughing more in the last 2 hours than I have in the last 2 years combined!


Favorite moments: Judge (and Executive Producer) Nigel tells a contestant that she spins very very well...but so does his wife's electric dryer. And the "rap off" between the Chicago construction worker and Nigel the rapper/break-dancer..."Wearing your FuBu and lookin' like DooDoo..." Oh my GOSH, I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe!


I LOVE this show!! Off to set my Beyond TV to record the rest of this series...


PS - I went off in search of more info on my favorite dancer of the night (Nigel Holt...the rappin break-dancin fellow I mentioned above in my favorite moments). I started a thread about him on the Fox message boards (yes, I am the one who suggested that Fox should give Nigel his own sitcom). One of his "crew" replied with a link to his blog/home page on MySpace.com! There I found a link to a video cap of last night's rap-off and both the construction worker and Nigel's dance auditions. It's even funnier watching it the second time around! Here is the segment, for your viewing pleasure.


I just love how they call him "cocky" and "the ego". It's obvious, at least to ME, that it's a put-on for comic effect.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Brownies

I got to sleep late on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend (thanks Hun!) When I woke up yesterday I wandered out looking for the boys and heard voices coming from the kitchen, but I couldn't see anyone. Imagine my surprise when I came around the peninsula to see this little tableau on the kitchen floor:



John and Tyler made brownies together! And Jello! It was a really nice surprise and Tyler had a ball cooking with his Daddy. You can see John fishing egg shells out of the measuring cup full of eggs while Tyler moved on to mixing the chocolate.


Today we had another minor melt-down and crying jag on the way to camp. Tyler finally admitted that the main reason he doesn't want to go to camp is that he misses me too much. Aww! His teacher sat him down at a little table to start an art project, but he turned around to look for me and saw me headed out the door and wailed "Mommy, don't leave meeeeee!"


Ouch. Rips my heart out!


Stopped for gas on the way home. First place I saw was $2.39 a gallon. I decided to chance it and headed for a place closer to home. $2.35 a gallon. Ouch! It was $49 to fill up the van. I'm glad I don't drive very much. That's insane!


Later, I promised Tyler we would stop at the little country store that is on our way home to get an ice pop. He loves that little store. That should cheer him up from all the camp trauma.


I still haven't started reading my new Harry Potter book. I am prolonging the anticipation, I suppose. LOL

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Muggles!


So where does your average 39 year old housewife and mother go on a Friday night? Why, to The Midnight Magic Party at her local Barnes & Noble booksellers in Ledgewood, of course!

This was a first for me. I usually pre-order my books and they are delivered on release day. This time, I wanted to be part of the Harry Potter madness. I was completely unprepared! The first thing I noticed when I arrived was a long line outside the store. Huh? Apparently, the store was filled to capacity (according to local fire codes) and we all had to wait just to get inside.

While in line, a friendly mother with her 3 kids in tow asked what the number on my "wrist band" was. Huh? Wrist who? Apparently, the folks who were smart enough to PRE-ORDER the book with free in-store delivery were issued a wrist band earlier in the day. Uh oh! I said to the woman, "I didn't pre-order and I don't have a band. Am I totally screwed?" She assured me that I was probably fine, but I would have a long wait.

*sigh*

At least the people watching was primo! I was unsurprised at the number of 5-13 year olds. I was down right stunned at the large number of 13-20 something year olds! And in costume, no less! I felt horribly under dressed in my shorts and t-shirt. I found myself wishing for my burgundy witches wig and pointed hat. And a wand! I want a wand!

I am such a child...

Luckily I didn't have to wait outside in the sweltering heat for long. The party started at 10PM and I was inside and looking through the stacks by 10:25. B&N must have made a killing tonight. I spent $115 dollars on BOOKS. Smart people having us all wait until one minute after midnight before the book could be sold. What else do you do in a book store for hours while you wait? Shop!

I found a couple of books to read, a couple of books for Tyler (who I am glad stayed home...he would have run out of patience within 10 minutes of waiting outside in the line), and a special coin collector's binder in which to put our State Quarter collection.

I then found myself a prime people watching spot and plopped myself onto the floor. All the chairs and benches in the place were long since occupied and no one was giving up their seats. I snapped a few photos, read a few pages in each of the books I had selected, flipped through some random books off the shelf close to the floor in the young adult fiction isle where I had planted myself; but mostly I watched the kids and listened to their conversations. Kids are so funny.

Two trios of girls particularly caught my eye. One trio looked to be about 13 or 14. The other group were more like 16 or 17. All were dressed in appropriate wizard and witch apparel. So cute! I stuffed down my shyness and asked the younger girls to pose for me, which they happily did. I include that photo above. The other group I basically stalked at various points throughout the store trying to snap a candid shot of them.

I also took in the various crafts and activities that had been set up for the kids...make and decorate your own wand, win candy and stickers if you can answer book related trivia question, have your photo taken and placed in a special folio, have your face painted and temporary tattoos applied...fun stuff! Oh how I wanted to make a wand, get my face painted, tattoo'd, and win some prizes. But I restrained myself.

Finally 12:01 arrived and the loudspeaker announced that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was ON SALE. A loud cheer went up from the crowd and I felt a surge of joy. The joy faded as the hoards of wristband wearing patrons lined up as their numbers were called. First yellow wrist bands numbering 251 to 600...then orange. *YAWN* I was getting pretty tired and my legs and feet were aching.

At long last, the isles were beginning to clear and I was able to plop myself into a cumfy arm chair wedged between religious fiction and the home improvement section. MUCH better. My eyes were growing heavy and my yawns more frequent. Ah! All the idiots who didn't get a wrist band can now get into line! I struggled out of my low and squishy chair and hobbled to the back of the store. I was second to last in the line...but the line moved swiftly!

I had my purchases and was out of the store at 1:25AM. Whew! When I got home, I eagerly emptied my bag on the sofa to snap a photo of my booty when I spotted them. YAY!!! All the cool prizes they had been giving away all night? All of them were tucked into my bag. Harry Potter style eyeglasses, a temp tattoo, stickers, a wrist band like all the teens are wearing to promote various causes and a poster. I squealed like a pre-teen, tore off my boring eyeglasses and tried on my Harry spectacles. NEAT!

I am such a child...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Family?

We heard from our adoption agency. Apparently, our portfolio has been shown to two perspective birth-mothers (and family members). While we were not chosen, our agency does ask everyone who looked at our portfolio for feedback. What did they like, what didn't they like, what was missing...that sort of thing.


Both groups said basically the same thing. They like our portfolio, but they think we need more photos of extended family; specifically group shots.


This has me baffled. Here is our portfolio (click on the pic for a larger view):



See, I have photos of the grandmothers, grandpa, aunts and uncles...but who cares how many cousins we have?? Do I even have "group photos" of family?


After some thought and some searching, I have come up with 3 possibilities. Our wedding, a family reunion and wedding we attended in Hawaii, and Tyler's baptism.


Here is the family reunion:



Um, yeah. I have a few blanks to fill in here. I have forgotten a few of the spouses' names. Sorry guys.


Here is Tyler's baptism:





And finally, Wedding Day:



What do you all think? If I fit these all on one supplemental page for our portfolio, do you think that will satisfy the lack of "group family photos"?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Baby

Got some sad news today. John heard from his co-worker about her 15 year old pregnant cousin. They thanked us profusely for the adoption info, but they have decided to keep the baby.


Ah well. It's disappointing but not unexpected. 


I have actually been very lucky throughout my life. VERY lucky. I think, actually, I am luckier than most. Things just tend to go my way, when I least expect it. But that is the key. As soon as I EXPECT things to go my way, they don't. I can't take advantage of my good fortune too much.


Sounds a little crazy, but I think I have a guardian angel or something looking out for me, as long as I don't get too cocky. I don't rely too heavily on my luck, because you also have to make your OWN luck in life.


 


Anyway...to finish my thoughts from the other day:  The Ice Cream Man!


I have such fond memories of the ice cream man. He used to come down our street when we lived in Bedford. Just hearing that music would make my mouth water.


One of my best friends at the time, Jane, lived right next door. Her mother told her that when the ice cream man played his music, that meant he was OUT of ice cream. Evil mother...trying to either save a buck or save her children's appetite for dinner. So wrong.


Yes, the ice cream man came around at 4pm each day, to the irritation of the neighborhood Mothers. That was back in the days when dinner was on the table around 5pm every day...in everyone ELSES house except ours. My mother was so disorganized in her time management, we would be lucky to have dinner by 8 o'clock at night. We would be STARVING. To shut up our whining about being hungry, my mother would happily hand us some spare change when we came screaming into the house, "THE ICE CREAM MAN IS COMING! THE ICE CREAM MAN IS COMING!!!"


Ahhh the choices...Cannon Balls (tasty raspberry sherbet with a gum ball at the bottom of the cone shaped cup), Bomb Pops (red white and blue and shaped like a rocket), Hoodsie Cups (chocolate and vanilla ice cream with a cute little wooden paddle shaped spoon), Strawberry Shortcakes, Push-Ups, Fudge Pops, Italian Ice...mmmmm! If we were short on money, we could get a simple ice pop for twenty-five cents. That was the cheapest item he carried.


Seeing that white truck and hearing the music meant that summer had officially arrived (even if he did start coming around before school was out for the year).


I think my brother and I were such good customers that the ice cream man would follow us. At least it seemed that way. He would also make an appearance every day at the swim club on the Air Force Base at 2pm. Swimming and ice cream...what a perfect way to spend the day.


My mother never knew we would spend our allowance on ice cream at the base pool, then come home and beg her for money so we could get ice cream again before dinner. (heh heh heh!)



Monday, July 11, 2005

PA

We're home! It's very late! I think my cat is trying to kill me! Really!


As I was making a bee-line to the bathroom (long drive and no stops), Sasha rushed ahead of me, flung himself into the bathroom, and stopped dead just out of sight. I rounded the corner, saw I was going to step on him, and barely caught myself on the sink! I can see my tomb stone now:


Here Lies Becky...she was pussy tripped!


Ahem. Anywho...we had a ball this weekend. Dutch Wonderland was wonderful! I uploaded about 1/3 of the photos I took to Shutterfly to share (it's nicer than AOL's YGP). Click Here to see my album. The photos tell the story.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Update

This son of mine is something else. When I arrived to pick him up today, Tyler was sitting in a little chair in a row with other kids; avidly watching The Incredibles. He turned when the teacher whispered "Tyler, your mom is here..." and he gave me a disgusted sigh.


"Mommy! We're trying to watch the movie!"


*sigh*


He was fine. LOL


Time for a little summer fun at Dutch Wonderland! Photos later!


 


Summer

Today is Day 2 at summer camp. The drop off did NOT go as smoothly this time. The teacher who met us at the door was not the same one as Wednesday and this one didn't have the "magic" that the other did. Tyler saw us going out the door and just lost it. He flung himself into his Daddy's arms and clung on for dear life while he cried, "No! Don't leave me!"


Oh boy.


Hopefully he has recovered by now and is having fun.  On the way back home, we decided to stop and grab a sub at this little country store I spotted at the entrance to one of the lake communities. Cute little place. It reminded me of a couple places I used to bike to as a kid to buy penny candy and ice cream.


My Mother would have killed me if she knew some of the places I used to ride to on my bike. But thinking about the freezer case full of ice cream brought back another memory.  I'll share that one later. It's almost time to pick up Tyler and I think the huband has been hinting about us taking off for the weekend.


Have a good weekend everybody!


Thursday, July 07, 2005

67

Weekend Assignment #67: Bad Movie Marathon! Share your favorite bad film of all time. Tell us why you love it so.

Extra Credit: Your favorite quote from the aforementioned film.


This is an easy assignment for me. The first movie that pops into my head is Showgirls. Kyle MacLachlan is a total babe and the love scene in his character's swimming pool? Whew!


The acting in this movie is amazingly bad, but I love the dance numbers, the costumes, and the glitz of Las Vegas.


Baaaad movie...yet, strangely hypnotic and entertaining.


My favorite movie quote from this film is...well...actually that is too dirty to put in my family friendly journal, so I will go with this instead:


Cristal Connors: "I've had dog food. Long time ago... Doggie Chow. I used to love Doggie Chow."


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Camper

He's home! He did GREAT! No crying. I asked him "So, did you have a good time?" He said, "No. It was bad." Bad?! "Bad because you and Daddy weren't there with me."  Awww!


He really did have fun. The teacher reports that he did very well. Just one minor comment on a behavior correction. He was apparently acting out some Nintendo moves and needed to be told to calm it down so he didn't accidentally hit the younger children. That's my monkey boy.


He was very happy to be home (no I didn't cry this time...but I was VERY relieved to have him back in normal routine).


Yep. I am very happy to have him home again. Worst 3 hours of my life, so far. Whew! LOL


We get to do it again on Friday...


yipe!


 


Camp

This has been a very strange day. Mixed bag, really.


1. Up before dawn with my brain in overdrive (as seen in previous post).


2. Scrambling to pack up Tyler's new back pack because today is his first day of CAMP.


3. OMG...I left Tyler with total strangers at CAMP.


4. The cat barfed a mixture of hairball and cat food on my friggin' KEYBOARD. Gross! Ewww! That was fun to clean up.


5. Tyler is out on his own at CAMP!



Ty looking a bit pensive and nervous as we walk into the main building at his new summer CAMP!


6. John took me out for a nice lunch after we dropped Tyler off at CAMP! It was a nice distraction since I started crying as soon Ty was out of sight following his new playmate Cosmo and his new teacher. Teacher seems very nice. Ty only clung on to Daddy for a few minutes before she was able to coax him into the other room to play.



Very nice pub. Great food. Nice distraction. OMG...Tyler isn't here. He is at CAMP!!


7. The house is too quiet. I am starting to cry again. I think this day has been way more traumatic for me than it will be for Tyler.


8. Thank goodness. It's time to go pick up Tyler from his first day at CAMP!!!

Smoking

"Do you know how to blow smoke rings?"


Chris's eyebrows shot up in surprise at my question from out of the blue. She had just finished teaching me how to smoke.


"Yeah. I do."


She grinned and pulled out her hard pack of Marlboro cigarettes. She carefully slid the cellophane outer wrap down about half way off the box, creating a sort of clear chamber. Confusion must have been written all over my face.


She took the lit cig from her lips and carefully tapped and scraped off the ash from the burning end, exposing the red-hot cinder. Using a gentle touch, Chris melted a small hole in the center of the cellophane box.


Returning the butt to her mouth, she took a long drag...drawing smoke into her lungs. She paused dramatically and then lifted the box of smokes. She pursed her lips and placed them gently over the hole she had made and blew smoke into the little cellophane chamber.


She lowered the box quickly, returned the cig to her lips, and began gently tapping the untouched side of the cellophane.


I watched in awe and wonder as small, perfectly formed smoke rings wafted slowly upward from the hole she had made.


Excellent.



It's funny the memories that creep into your head when you wake in the pre-dawn hours of the morning and can't fall back to sleep. I also had a vivid recollection from when I was 5. We lived in Las Cruses, New Mexico. It was hot and dry in the desert, so my parents purchased a large, free-standing humidifier to pump some moisture back into the air in our little 3 bedroom ranch home.


The humidifier was a huge brown plastic "box". The brown plastic was supposed to look like wood and impressed into the front of the unit were faux "doors" to make it look like a piece of fine furniture.


Uh. Yeah. Fine Sears craftsmanship.


Anywho...the top of this box was actually a vented, hinged lid. Inside was a large water wheel covered in a thin layer of brown foamy sponge. There was a place off to the side where you were supposed to pour water, filling the bottom of the cabinet. The water wheel would turn, getting the sponge covered wheel wet and inside the wheel was a fan. The fan would blow air through the wet sponge wheel and out the top of the vented lid.


Ta da! Moist air. More importantly...COOL moist air. I used to stand in front of that thing on hot days and lay my face on the vented lid. The cool moist air blowing out of those vents was sheer heaven.


Smoke rings and humidifiers... I am so weird.


ps: NO, I don't smoke. I went through a "this makes me look cool" phase until I was 20 or so and then I stopped for life.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Coy

As you may have noticed from my Florida entry, I got to meet Coy of "Dancing in the Rain" fame while we were on vacation. Since all I've done is a quick photo post about our trip and didn't include any details; and since Coy beat me to it...here is how it went:


http://journals.aol.com/coy1234787/Dancingintherain/entries/1339


Talking with her was like chatting with an old friend I hadn't seen in a long time. And what better place to "catch up" than while treading water in a gorgeous resort swimming pool?


I really want a pool. Really really.


Monday, July 04, 2005

4th

Happy Independence Day Everybody!

(and for my friends in the British Isles...uh...sorry about that whole Boston tea party thing.)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Florida