Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Musical Indoctrination

I think I have established with my regular readers that I love music. I had high hopes when Tyler was born. I played music for him all the time when he was a baby/toddler. Some songs would inspire him to dance (and he was quite good!) He seemed to love classical, traditional kid's music, cartoon theme songs and other various tunes from my MP3 collection. Suddenly, about the time he decided he no longer liked most kinds of food, he also decided he didn't like music.

I could have cried! So, I've been waiting patiently for what I HOPE is a phase to pass. Every now and then I catch Tyler doing a little dance to music he hears on TV (typically kid's music on one of his favorite TV shows) so I quickly try to locate an MP3 of that song so I can play it for him. The last instance of this was while Tyler was watching an episode of Sponge Bob that utilized an old Tiny Tim song (Living In The Sunlight, Loving In The Moonlight). Tyler heard the music coming from my PC, ran over, and let out a frustrated "AWW!" when he didn't see Sponge Bob on my screen. Nope, the song is no good unless the cartoon is there too. *sigh*

Over the weekend, I was sitting in my office at my PC when I heard music coming from the living room. *GASP* Country music!!! Eww! "John? Are you listening to COUNTRY MUSIC down there???"



"I like country music - the current stuff. And Tyler likes it too. He's even dancing to it."

Oh Lord, no. Anything but that!

So fast forward to today. Tyler was puttering around my office and he helped himself to a CD from the rack full on top of my file cabinet. "Mommy? What's this?"

I grinned hopefully and told him it's some of Mommy's music. "Do you want to listen to it?" At his affirmative nod, I popped Volume 1 of Living in Oblivion (an 80's greatest hits collection) into my CD player.

His reaction was immediate. "Mommy! Turn that off! I hate that!" *sigh* I talked him into listening to song after song until he finally said he liked the song Guilty by Classix Nouveaux. Figures. It's heavy on the video game sounding synth. I could play the theme from Super Mario Brothers at my desk all day and Tyler would LOVE it.

Well, at least he liked ONE song. Maybe I can indoctrinate him slowly, over time, into having some musical TASTE. We'll try volume 2 tomorrow.

"Honey? Please don't play Jesus Take The Wheel again. Ugh."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I have a confession to make...

I have an addiction that has plagued me since childhood. NO it's not food! Well, ok, yes, that's a problem too, but that's not what I'm talking about this time.

I love musical instruments.

There! I said it! But seriously... It started with my Fisher Price xylophone. Then I had maracas. Next came a fife, a recorder, and a piccolo. Then the violin, a mouth harp, kazoo, bongos, various keyboards, a trumpet, more violins, a harmonica, a ukulele...whew.

Most of these I can play simple tunes on (except the trumpet). But I haven't purchased a new instrument for myself in a number of years. (I've purchased several for Tyler, of course, and he's pretty good with the harmonica.)

We've been trying to be conservative with our spending since our savings has gotten alarmingly low. Then John sold the car and almost simultaneously I got the HSN (Home Shopping Network) value of the day in my email. LOOK!

*GASP!* It's a signed, limited edition, Esteban signature acoustic electric guitar (complete with cord chart and DVD lesson series). On SALE!

hummana hummana hummana hummana...

All reason flew out the window. Look...mother of pearl and turquoise inlay! Real rosewood fingerboard! Built-in pre-amp, Fishman pickup, and a 10-watt amp!


I had to have it.

It should arrive the second week in June.

(Hey Coy! Looks like I'll be learning guitar now too. Do you think I'll be able to play some carols in time for Christmas?? Heck, I'll be happy if I can pick out Stairway to Heaven.)

I'm such a dork. Do they have a 12-step program for musical addictions?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Look Out World - Another Teen on the Road!

John sold the old Taurus today. Not too bad, considering it was just listed in the paper on Monday. Once again we sold a car to a concerned parent buying a first car for their teen. Last time, we sold my old car (a cute and sporty Contour) to a young girl headed off to college. This time, it was a boy just finishing his first year at college. He needed reliable transportation to get him to his summer internship. His dad insisted on "safe" while, I'm sure, the boy wanted something fast and hot looking. Dads can be real party poopers in cases like this, thank heavens.

Although I remember MY dad was more concerned about the "cost" than the safety and reliability of the junkers he helped me purchase in my teen years. Man, I had some real shit-boxes that frequently left me stranded. Perhaps parents didn't worry as much about their teenaged daughters walking home late at night after a car breakdown back in the stone ages of the 80s. Were there less freaks, perverts and rapists back then? Perhaps.

It makes me feel good that we are becoming quite the resource for young, first time car owners. We are purveyors of quality, well-maintained, used automobiles.

Be safe out there, young man. Don't drive like I did! *cough*

Friday, May 26, 2006

School Photos Arrived Today

So, when did schools start asking for payment in advance for school photos? Back in my day you got to look at a series of proofs first, picked the photos and package you wanted and THEN paid. I knew immediately when I had to pay, sight unseen, that there was going to be a problem.

What's wrong with this fantastic photo, you might ask? Before I scanned it in and worked my digital magic on it, Tyler had dried snot around his nose and ketchup all around his mouth and chin. *sigh* Couldn't someone have taken a damp paper towel to his face before they took the photo?!?! Eeesh! Besides, the photo session was supposed to be in the MORNING, before the kids got messy on the playground and at lunch. So I paid for all those prints for nothing. Now I'll have to order fresh copies from Shutterfly.

Oh well. I'm just happy I know how to fix things like this.

I experimented with a mouse-over here. So you all can see the before and after. I tried to embed the javascript in this post, but it doesn't work.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Reflections

This is an 11th hour submittal for tonight's Round Robin. I almost forgot again! I've enjoyed participating in the past and hope to get back into the habit.

John recently got a new car so I went out one afternoon to take photos of the old car (so it could be listed for sale). I couldn't resist snapping some photos of John showing off his new baby too. As he was walking back to the house he saw me turn for one last shot. I liked the way the sunlight was glinting off his shiny new Impala emblem. As you can see, I also caught John's grinning reflection and my own hand (in the window) holding my camera.

I like his new car. A lot! Driving that thing sends me on a time-warp back to my reckless youth...driving around with the windows down, the radio blasting, and feeling those G-forces as my body is slammed back into the seat when I accelerate out onto the highway. Woo wee, that car is fun!

Round Robin Linking List:

Cheryl... "Welcome To My World" and "Life Through My Lens"

Karen... "Outpost Mâvarin" Posted!

Carly... "Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly" Posted!

Valorie... "Retrospect USA" Posted!

Sachin... http://sacworks.blogspot.com/ **Welcome, New Member!**

DesLily... "Here There And Everywhere 2nd Edition" and "Here There And Everywhere" Posted!

Kimberleigh... "I Shaved My Legs For This?" Posted!

Erika... "Stealing Time"

Nancy... "Nancy Luvs Pics" Posted!

Julie... "Julie's Web Journal" Posted!

T.J. ... "Every Picture Tells A Story" Posted!

Suzanne... "Suzanne R's Life" Posted!

Derek... "Through My Eyes" Posted!

Tammy... "The Daily Warrior" Posted!

Connie... "Moments To Remember"

Steven... "(sometimes) photoblog"

Deb... "SassysEYE"

Dorn... "Through the Eyes of the Beholder" Posted!

Steve... "PAPARRAZI BY PROXY" **Welcome, New Member!** Posted!

Betty... My Day, My Interests Posted!

Duane... "sotto voce" and sotto voce USA Posted!

Tess... "First Digital Photos" Posted!

rRose... "WAIT-NOTYET" Posted!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Further Adventures of Chicken Chaser

We ignored the threat of rain and headed off to Waterloo Village today. They were having Farm Animal Fun Day so we had the chance to meet all the new arrivals. Ty also got the chance to chase some chickens. That kid gets such a kick out of making birds squawk and run. Boys!

He also had a good time feeding hay to the goats. I was pleased to see how friendly and gentle all the farm animals were. That's a sign that they are well taken care of.

You can see photos here (check out Tyler's new haircut! He's all set for summer.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mother's Day Wrap Up

I am finally feeling like my old self again. This infection trifecta really kicked my butt! Double ear infection, sinus infection and an infection in my throat. My poor family needed hazmat suits! The last time I had a sore throat this bad, my voice was permanently affected. If I start talking much lower I'll be able to do a spot-on Darth Vader impression.

Tyler was his usual adorable self over Mother's Day weekend (while I was far far less than MY adorable self.) On Friday at school, the kids made special presents for their Moms. You can see Tyler proudly displaying his handiwork in the first photo. The message in the bottle was a cute Mother's Day poem and a photo of Tyler holding a large heart that said "I love you Mommy!" So sweet!

Then on Saturday, Ty and his dad made a trip to the local ShopRite for a special event. The bakery had an area set aside just for the kids to decorate these adorable heart shaped cakes for Mother's Day. Once again, you can see Ty is quite proud of his efforts...although the photo they took at the store is a bit smeary. Those little frosting covered fingers didn't help the photo quality much, I guess.

I loved my presents, baby! You did a terrific job! Maybe THIS weekend I can get my special dinner out. Tyler decided we were going to Red Lobster. I am hoping to change his mind to Chilis. I've been dying for some fajitas for weeks now.

In the mean time, I still have a nice chunk of pound cake left with boatloads of sweet icing and sprinkles on top. Mmm!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Can I got back to bed now?

Just want to wish a Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

This hasn't been a good weekend for me, tho. Friday night I came down with a fever that just steadily got higher through Saturday and into today. My ears hurt. My throat is on fire with that sensation of being sliced by razor blades each time I swallow. Maybe that vague sense of unease Friday morning was my body's way of warning me that I was getting sick. Who knows?

I should stop typing now. I tend to blather on incoherently when I'm feverish and sleep deprived.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Ever have one of those days where you feel this gnawing sense of foreboding. Something is going to go wrong and you are just waiting for it to happen...but it doesn't. I feel that way today; but so far this morning I haven't so much as hit a red light while taking Tyler to school. That, in and of itself, is weird. I ALWAYS hit the red lights. Every one of them!

OK. Now the husband is requesting my attention. Be right back...

30 minutes later: That was different. I almost never get lucky at this time of day. Hmm.

Now where was I? Oh yes. Foreboding. Hmm. Yeah, not feeling it so much anymore. If something weird happens later; I guess I'll come back and update this entry.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Everyone's a Critic

I had an interesting discussion with John the other day. I was trying to verbalize a sort of internal conflict I've been having with myself for a number of years. I asked him if he thought I had "taste". You know...the somewhat indefinable quality that some people have that sets them apart from the rest. They know when something looks, sounds, feels good and they can use that skill to show others the difference between quality and crap.

Specifically, I was talking about books and movies. You see... I seem to like almost everything. The critics - the so-called experts - will say a movie is crap or a book isn't worth the paper it's printed on. But I'll see it or read it and LOVE it (or at least like it enough to give it a 3 star rating on Netflix or Amazon). What I am left wondering is...do I have low standards? Am I just too easily entertained?

Here's an example. Tonight I watched "The Punisher". Now this film was totally panned by the critics. It bombed at the box office. You know what? I liked it. I laughed. I was entertained. OK, yes, the acting was really bad in spots. Some of the actors seemed very stiff and the story had an unnatural flow at times. But how important is it, to me, that these things be perfect in a film? Not very. Yes, I can sit back and point out all the problems with the film, but in the end the only question I ask myself is, was I entertained? If the answer is yes, then the movie (or book) gets at least 3 stars from me.

So what does this mean? Yes, I am easily entertained. Is that a bad thing? No. I'm the kind of person the authors and film makers WANT. I'm the bread and butter customer for their products. I spend a ton of money to be continually entertained. I guess my problem lies with my perceived responsibility to the people I recommend these films and books to. I tell a friend that I loved a certain movie, they watch it, and then they think there is something wrong with me. So, yes. After all the talking with John, he helped me realize that once again, it all comes back to my fear of rejection, guilt, and the desire to have everyone like me. Wow. My desire to be liked pushes me to be likeable which, in turn, has me looking for the good in everyone and everything so I always find something to like.

*cough* bullshit *cough* *cough*

What I have really figured out is everyone has taste, and everyone's tastes are different. And yes. I am VERY easily entertained. Anyone seen any good movies lately?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Picnic in the Park

I decided to play hookie with Tyler yesterday and we went for a picnic at the state park up the road, rather than head off to preschool for the morning. It was BEAUTIFUL out in the morning but was down right HOT by mid-afternoon. (I found myself cussing out my husband by nightfall because he left town and the air conditioner unit is still winterized...so sleeping was not so great in our very hot house last night.)

I love watching Tyler on the playground equipment. He is such a little monkey! That is, until he got his head caught under the gap in the railing when he tried to slide backward off a 5 foot high platform. Not sure how he managed it, but he was hanging by his head for a couple seconds before a friendly nearby mom grabbed his feet and rescued him from his predicament. He cried for less than a minute and was fine. Me? I was slowly making my way down the steep embankment to join him and wasn't close enough to help immediately. He flies down that hill at Mach 5 ahead of me... Thank goodness that other mom was there! My poor heart was beating out of my chest! I swear that kid has taken years off my life with the stunts he's pulled. He's all boy!

You'd think with a beautiful water front park like this that we'd be taking advantage of it all the time (it's a 5 minute drive). But no. I think I'll have to remedy that and plan to visit there a few more times before the really hot weather sets in. I don't do HOT.

It surprised me how many people were laying out in beach chairs by the water. The beach isn't officially open yet and it was the middle of a work day. It was nice to see so many families with kids there. I don't know if you can make them out...but there is a cute family climbing out on the rock jettie in the photo above. (A lot of detail is lost from my photos when they are resized by Photobucket for use in my blog.)

Changing gears; I've had a couple comments in the last week about previous entries. Yes, those are mountains in the distance in my backyard photos. The Poconos, to be exact. The view in the winter time is amazing (no leaves to obscure). As for my MIL's new cabinets? They aren't oak. I believe she told me they are maple. Not sure what kind of stain, but they have a sort of pinkish mauvey peach cast to them. Not sure how well that shows in the photos. It does remind me somewhat of pickled oak (my bedroom furniture is whitewashed pickled oak). I'll ask her next time I speak with her.

Again, off the topic, but the kitten is driving me bonkers. In the last week alone he has found and shredded two rolls of toilet paper (it looked like 2 inches of snow had fallen on the bathroom floor), pulled all the stones out of the little water fountain I have on the bathroom counter and was playing hockey with them on the tile floor at 3am, pulled my ceiling mounted net canopy down while trying to climb it in the bedroom, yanked down my roman shade in the living room, knocked a flower arrangement off the fireplace mantle (how the HECK did he get up there...it's like a 5+ foot high leap), chewed clean through the neck strap of my digital camera, tipped over the kitchen garbage can, and left teeth marks on my laptop power cord. Yikes. I think I should change his name from Spartacus to Dennis the Menace...or Demon Seed...or something.

Monday, May 01, 2006

If a tree falls in the forest...

It was very noisy here, for a couple days. We had "Joe Tree" in to do some work. Our backyard is, er, multi-level? We have about a 12 foot wide stretch of grass, then a row of substantial boulders, followed by about a 5 ft. drop-off to a lower level which, until last week, was heavily wooded. While I loved the privacy this stretch of forest provided, that lower portion of yard was about half our property. Tyler is getting bigger and it's about time he had more space to play.

I'd love to get him one of those HUGE cedar climber swing set thingies. But while Joe was clear cutting the trees and underbrush back there, I was sitting at my desk wincing with guilt every time I heard the chainsaw and resulting CRASH. All those poor saplings...turned into mulch. TIMBER! Ouch. The Sierra Club is gonna revoke my membership.

So what do you think? Big difference, right?

Yeah, now we can see the neighbor's houses over on the next street. It was nice not really being able to see their backyards for 3 seasons out of the year, but oh well. There are still SOME trees back there. I want to plant a row of tall flowering bushes, of some kind, in the very back of the yard. I think that will add back some measure of privacy (plus it will look really pretty).

I sometimes wish I were more of an outdoorsy type. I'd love to get out there and plant a flowering tree in the front yard, plant some flowers around the mailbox and in front of the house...yadda. Yes, I want the house to have more curb appeal. But eh. I'm not gonna be the one to do it. I am still hoping the husband will change his mind about my front walk and back yard oasis plans I worked out with a local landscaper. I know how great this house COULD look. I just don't have the wherewithal to do it myself.