Monday, November 28, 2005


After many years of listening to my husband curse and complain as he tried to wrestle our enormous artificial Christmas tree up from the crawl space into our living room...we decided to go out and buy a smaller, more manageable tree. One fast trip to Treasure Island later and we had our new 6.5 foot "narrow" tree sitting on the living room floor ready for assembly.

Tyler had fun helping his Daddy put the tree together (pre-strung with lights and MUCH lighter and easier to handle). Then Spartacus joined in the annual tradition of all the cats in our family...the taste test. Sparty seems to like his first Christmas tree. He doesn't seem to like getting sprayed with the squirt gun as I try to discourage him from nibbling and playing with the decorations.

The good news is, with the new smaller tree, my decorations fill it up quite nicely. (The old tree ended up looking a tad naked.) The bad news is...the new tree is SO much smaller that it looks odd to me. I'm used to my entire front window being filled with tree. You couldn't see the window or my end table at all. In fact, you could barely walk into the living room because the tree extended out so far and blocked the path past the end of the sofa. LOL

What do you think? Big difference, no?

Hmm. I think I'll go make a fire, plop myself down on one of my new floor cushions, and stare at the tree. Maybe it will grow on me with time.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Can you say "emotional breakdown"? I knew you could.

Wow. To say this weekend was hell would be an understatement. I managed to keep my cool, not have an anxiety attack or sob-fest until today after my parents left. It was soooo hard to put on a happy face when all I wanted to do was cry. I think everyone bought the act (including my poor husband who caught the brunt of my meltdown today...sorry hun.)

I won't talk about my history with my ---. Most of you already know it. Having my parents there made it even harder since I've been biting my tongue since last Wednesday when they arrived. Highlights of the weekend:

- My mother telling me I'm not cut out to be a mother and I should return to work ASAP.
- Mom handing me several articles she's been collecting about gastric bypass surgery and telling me every chance she got how I looked like hell and that I should go get the surgery.
- Mom's passive aggressive way of telling me I married the wrong man by asking if I still "love" a former boyfriend I had years ago (the only one she "liked") or if I have any regrets.
- Mom's confession that she lies to all her friends about my age, education and appearance. She's ashamed of me.
- Dad starting a fight with me over my memories of the day I got my driver's license. He takes every opportunity to contradict me and start arguments.
- Dad bitching that he was "bored" and feeling neglected the one morning John let me sleep until 11am.
- Mom telling me I'm a horrible housekeeper. (This one I already know and agree with, but I don't need to hear it 10 times a day.)
- Mom digging through my linen closet for other towels and wash cloths because she didn't like the nice NEW set I had put out for them. (This one is petty, I know. But it still pissed me off.)

There are loads of other examples of my parents being hyper-critical, passive aggressive, and down right annoying...but I'll quit now before I freak out again.

I almost hate this time of year. There is too much stress. Too much to plan. Too much shopping to do. Every year I tell myself I'm going to get an early start and not leave everything to the last minute. Today I finished all the toy shopping for Tyler. I always seem to do that by myself year after year. Yesterday, I picked out and got his birthday present too. I usually make the party plans, wrap birthday and Christmas gifts for everyone, make and send the Christmas cards... anything to do with the holidays except lug the Christmas tree up from the basement and hang the lights outside. I think after seeing my meltdown today, John has a better idea of how much stress I've been under.

I'm just sad that Tyler had to witness a full blown anxiety attack. I've managed not to break down like that in front of him before. He was a tad freaked out. Poor kid.

I'm feeling better now. We had a nice family birthday party for Tyler over Thanksgiving weekend and John had the brilliant idea of taking him to this new family resort in the Poconos that has a huge indoor water park, for his birthday. Tyler is thrilled and the pressure is off for me to try and put together a party with his classmates. I'm just going to bring cupcakes in for his class on Friday.

[inhale deep cleansing breath...]

All is well. We got a new Christmas tree today. It's a tad shorter and narrower than our old one. I am hopeful this will end the annual cursefest when John has to bring up the tree from the crawl space. ;-) It's even pre-strung with lights. One less thing for him to curse about.

If anyone is interested in photos of Thanksgiving/Tyler's birthday, you can take a peek a them here.

p.s. We found out John's cousins are adopting from China too! AND using the same agency as us! They are much further along with their dossier and stuff, so there is no chance we can travel together. That would have been cool. But now it's like we'll have a scouting party going ahead of us. LOL

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Thanks to Stacy (thank you Stacy!!!) I have a cool video in my blog now. I know, I know...every other "My Space" home page you come across has these. But I've never been able to embed video in my blog before! It was verboden on AOHELL.

So...I'll have Godsmack be my musical selection of the week. Next week? Pussycat Dolls! Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Well, dontcha?

Hey Lisa Jo! Come join us on Blogger! Look what song YOU can have in your journal!

Join us....jooooooin us! LOL Now can anyone tell me which entry has screwed up my sidebar? Hmm.

*runs off chanting "One of us! One of us!"

Monday, November 21, 2005


Your Monday Photo Shoot: Your Collection

Have something you collect? Then this is the Photo Shoot for you:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Let us see your collection of whatever it is you collect. Thimbles, NASCAR collectibles, Star Trek figurines -- what it is, let's see those tchotchkes!

I have a few collections...I have a nice book collection, a collection of key-rings from every place I've ever visited, a collection of interesting cobwebs on my ceiling and other hard to reach places, a collection of funky martini glasses (I don't drink), a large comic book collection...but I thought my collection of food related memorabilia tins was interesting enough to show off here. I have a vaulted ceiling in my kitchen with a lot of open space above my cabinets. These tins make a nifty addition to my cabinet tops. They add loads of color to my otherwise plain white with green trim kitchen.

Click my tins to see them larger and in greater detail...

Monday, November 14, 2005



Another historic face-to-face has happened in J-Land! I got to meet Margo of MagogoS's Musings on Saturday! She was visiting her parents at their cabin in the Poconos. That isn't too far from my house, so off I went to meet her for lunch!

I love the Pocono mountains. What a beautiful area! The cabin is modest and charming. (What a great place to spend summer vacations as a kid, Margo!) Margo's parents were also charming. It was a pleasure sitting and chatting with them.

After sitting a spell, Margo and I went off to explore the Pocono Lake Preserve. The views around the area are just breathtaking. I could have sat and stared at the water for hours. Margo is great company and we chatted avidly about life, relationships, children and the differences in our respective childhoods.

I never had the experience of a cabin or vacation home when I was growing up. We never vacationed in the same spot twice. It's all a blur of endless road trips with my Dad behind the wheel of our old Thunderbird, my mother asleep in the front seat, and my brother, me and the dog battling for space in the back. A nightmarish blur of oppressive heat, stench, super-heated navy-blue vinyl seats that could melt flesh, flying fur, shoving matches, and dog drool. Add to that the endless stops at every battleground or military memorial on the eastern seaboard and the cut rate, flea-bag motels and motor lodges...ugh.

It was fine, once we finally REACHED our destination; it's just that the journey there was the stuff of nightmares.

Any way, I am rambling again. It was lovely to meet Margo and I look forward to hooking up with her again soon. Especially since I found out she lives not too far from the casinos! *very big wink*

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


In my quest for the perfect Christmas Card photo, Tyler and I paid a visit to Lake Musconetcong to feed the ducks, geese, swans and sea gulls. I wasn't intending to take pictures for today's Round Robin Photo Challenge, but happy accidents sometimes occur.

More Photos Here

A little background info about the lake... During the mid-1800s, the Morris Canal and Banking Company created Lake Musconetcong as an additional water source for the Morris Canal. Completed in 1837, the Morris Canal was an engineering landmark that relied on canals, locks and inclined planes to lift and carry canal boats from Phillipsburg on the Delaware River to Jersey City, the Hudson River and New York Harbor. The boats transported coal, iron ore, manufactured goods and agricultural produce. However, as the more efficient Morris and Essex Railroad was established, the canal was abandoned.

Rocky remains of the dismantled Morris Canal.

This lake, which is located four miles west of Lake Hopatcong, was deeded over to the State of New Jersey with the other parts of the Morris Canal System in 1924. Today boating, fishing and ice fishing are popular recreational activities on the lake.

In this relatively barren area of the shoreline, peaking out from the tumble of man-made boulders, I spotted a splash of color. It seemed so odd to find this bunch of wild flowers growing out of a crevasse at this time of year. The imperfect beauty of the hand-hewn granite coupled with the perfect simplicity of the little purple blossoms struck me. That's Wabi-Sabi for sure!

I got a bunch of great photos yesterday, but that perfect Christmas Card photo still eludes me.

Round Robin Participants

Coy...Dancing in the Rain POSTED!

Karen...Musings from Mavarin POSTED!

Sara...Photographic Memories POSTED!

Kimberleigh...Life As I Live It

Renee...Timeless Calligraphy Studio POSTED

Carly...Ellipsis POSTED!

Kat...From Every Angle POSTED!

Nancy...Nancy Luvs Pix POSTED!

Betty...My Day My Interests POSTED!

Deb...Sassy's EYE


Steven...(sometimes) photoblog POSTED!

Alan...F-Stop POSTED!

Tess...First Digital Photos POSTED!

Phinney...Paragon POSTED!

Marie...Photographs & Memories NEW POSTED!

Derek...Picture Of The Day NEW POSTED!

(Oh, and my apologies to the State Fishing and Gaming Authority! We didn't see the sign that feeding the water fowl is prohibited until we were leaving the boat landing. The sign is facing a little wonky and wasn't visible on the way in. We saw it on the way OUT. Oh well.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


After dropping Tyler off at school this morning and spending some time taking pictures of his class romping on the playground, I decided to try something *gasp* different for breakfast (yes, Sara, I am actually TIRED of sausage McMuffins!)

I cruised over to the trade center mall to see if Panera Bread was open for breakfast. I hoped they were. I've eyeballed their pastry a couple times when I've stopped in there to pick up some soup for lunch. This place is a pretty recent discovery for me. Until they opened this new one in the trade zone, I'd never even seen one before.

Heck yeah, they were open. The place was PACKED with coffee drinkers munching on muffins and whatnot. I spotted two things I wanted almost instantly. A spinach, bacon and egg souffle and a cinnamon roll. Wow, they looked amazing.

I raced home smelling warm pastry all the way. Once I got myself set up back at my desk (I am always eating at my desk), my new furry side-kick made an appearance. He was aware I had something good the moment I came in the door and was just biding his time waiting for me to leave my breakfast unattended. His chance came when I paused in my eating to comment on a journal.

He only got a few sniffs in. I snagged him (and some photos) while he was still in the exploratory stages. He did get a few bites of my souffle. Who could resist that face???

I know. I am only encouraging the marauder.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Eventful morning! Tyler came with me to Spartacus' latest vet appointment. Sparty received his last distemper booster and his first rabies shot. Poor kitty! He did well. Then we all went to breakfast at McDonalds.

Did you know that one McDonald's Deluxe Big Breakfast can feed:

* 1 hungry Mommy

* 1 hungry almost 4 year old

* 1 hungry kitten

* and about 10 hungry seagulls?

Tyler and I ate the hash browns and hot cakes...Spatacus and I shared the scrambled eggs...I ate the sausage patty...the seagulls ate the big biscuit with jam.

Why do seagulls hang out in so many shopping mall parking lots (so far from the ocean)? It's a mystery. But they sure do like buttery biscuits with jam.

Later today Tyler is scheduled to receive his first flu shot. He is NOT happy about this, but I think having him see Sparty get shots today too has helped his fear a little.

I've been meaning to post a Halloween wrap-up entry, but time seems to be slipping away from me since we got home from vacation.

Honestly, I didn't have a very good Halloween this year. Between rushing Tyler to school, running home to see if I had everything I needed for my costume, realizing I didn't, running out to Walmart, running back to pick up Tyler from school, taking him home for some lunch, putting his costume on him, running him BACK to school for their big Halloween party, running home again, realizing that the trick or treaters were ALREADY OUT in our neighborhood, scrambling to get Tyler's treat bucket ready and the rest of his costume found, running to fetch the big cauldron of treats...only to have the handle break loose and the 80 lbs of candy (slight exaggeration) go flying down the steps, trying to pick everything up as the doorbell is ringing, scrambling to get some of the glow bracelets assembled, glowing and ready to hand out....whew.

I just flopped into the chair in my entryway, waved goodbye to husband and son as they left to go from door to door, and could barely muster the energy to finish making the bracelets.


I never had a chance to put on the cool green makeup and purple eyeshadow I got at Walmart to go with my costume. My costume is still hanging in the bathroom waiting for me to put it on. Ah well. Maybe next year.

I did have a little fun when I put one of the green glow bracelets around Sparty's neck. He's so small it fit him an eerie collar. He is the first cat we've ever had that is brave enough to answer the door with me. My other 2 never wanted anything to do with Halloween. They hid. Which is a shame since my black kitty, Sheba, would have been a perfect Halloween cat.

What did Sparty do when he heard kids coming? THIS!

I swear I think he was trying to open the door for me! Then he noticed the cute bat chimes I had hanging from the screen. The kids got such a kick out of him and his glowing collar.

Sparty was also my candy guardian. Oh and here is a shot of my little Buzz Lightyear coming home from collecting treats. He got tired quickly this year (probably from all the fun and running around we did earlier in the day) so he didn't make it to very many houses before he asked his Dad to bring him home. So much for going out twice in both his costumes.

Lastly, I'd like to announce the arrival of Charles Samuel, first born of my friends Norman and Danit. Born on the 21st at 3:51AM (ouch) and weighing 9 lbs 7 ozs. Isn't he cute?! Norman has already given over control of the remote. Now THAT'S a good daddy.