Friday, September 29, 2006

Master Manipulator

[Sounds of my two boys playing a video game together...]

Daddy? Will you get me a drink?

Uh huh...

Now? I'm really thirsty.

I'm a little busy right now Ty. You can get it...

*pause* [sounds of video game continue]

You know, Daddy, friends do stuff for each other.

Yep.

You're my best friend, you know.

I am?

Yes.

*pause*

I'm your best friend too, right?

Yes.

And I'm your only son and you love me...right?

Yes?

So you have to do things for me because you love me, right?

[sounds of video game being paused and a long sigh]

Are you going to get me a drink?

Yes, Ty.

Thanks Daddy! I love you!

[sounds of someone trudging upstairs and sounds of someone else gleefully stealing the spot in front of the computer...]


~ conversation overheard from another room. I think my son would make a good lawyer one day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What the...???

OK, do I have any nature buffs as readers? Can anyone identify the furry new neighbor I discovered eating grass shoots and acorns in my yard?

Ground hog? Gopher? Wombat? He was pretty fearless and didn't seem to mind me one bit. I was able to walk up quite close to him.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

School Daze

Last year I took a really cute photo of Tyler standing on the front steps, wearing his new backpack and ready for his first day of school. I decided right then that I wanted to make it an annual tradition...that front step, first day of school photo.

I missed it. Not because I didn't have my camera with me that day...but because my mind wasn't on his first day of official Pre-K. It was on where we were going AFTER school that day. Which was here:


Children's Hospital

We had to take Ty in for a follow up visit with the specialist about his kidney. They are still monitoring him, so no new news there. I was so focused on trying to make the visit as nonstressful and fun as possible, I totally forgot the first day of school photo.

Check out the cool exam room:


The bench seat in this one is orangey brown. The last time it was a different room and the seat part and cushion were a dark blue (way prettier). But I love how cumfy they made these rooms. Ty settles right in and makes himself at home. Plus he's got his blankie and favorite stuffed animal, Cow the cow, to comfort him.

The waiting room at this place is amazing too. They have a play house for the kids, a giant fish tank, a giant screen TV tuned into cartoons, kiosks with video games, loads of books...all in this adorable faux park-like setting complete with benches and artificial trees. They sure did a great job of making the whole "scary hospital" vibe go away.



So, no sweat. I could just take a photo of Tyler on the front steps on day 2 of school. Right? Pfft. No, I forgot again. But I did stop in to his old class room and ask his teachers from last year if we could take a photo with them. Ty LOVED his teachers and misses them terribly. They happily agreed and we followed them out into the playground with their new students and I snapped this quick shot (Miss Trina and Miss Jo):

Awww! I just found out that Miss Jo left the school and took another job too. So sad. She was so nice. I haven't mentioned that fact to Tyler. I think it would really upset him if he knew she was gone. He still tells me now and then that he wants to go back to his old room.

So, here we are at the end of week three of school. Finally, I took a front step photo.

He really didn't have that back to school excitement this year since he never really LEFT school. We was still going there every day, they just called it Summer Camp instead. Next year I think I will take him out for a month or two before he starts kindergarten. I think he needs a real summer vacation so that he can really appreciate the excitement of going back to school (and I can get that really cute first day photo).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Dream Homes"

This week's Round Robin Photo Challenge topic is Dream Homes. I had a specific home in mind, but a fever of 101.5 for the last 2 days and crappy rainy weather put a damper on my plans to take a photo jaunt to Denville. So...

Here is another dream home I photographed on our last trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It's a model home I fell in love with. Waaaaaaaay out of our price range, but hey - a girl can dream. I love looking at model homes. It takes that whole "Craftsman" style to an extreme.


I wish that white car hadn't parked there. It totally robs the photo of HOUSE impact.


Here's the pool in the back yard. I loved the gradual entry steps and the water fall.


I totally fell in love with this dining room furniture (just swap out the glass top table for a matching wood one).


This dining room window had a great view of the ocean in the distance, but I took the photo more for the bottles. I totally stole this idea and did the same thing with one of my windows here at home.


The breakfast bar area in the kitchen. I loved how the cabinets were double sided with glass doors. You could access them from the dinning room side or the kitchen and it let loads of light through (plus that awsome view).


Tyler loved the bathroom with it's HUGE clawfoot tub and the wide open shower with the nice built-in bench. The entire room was tiled - floor, walls, ceiling. A dream come true for a kid who loves to splash.


John really liked the huge den with it's pool table, hidden bar (note the sink, since the bar is closed) and the nice home office setup (you can't see that part off to the right).

The only room in this house I didn't like was the master bedroom. For most, it would be a dream with it's huge windows, awesome view, open access to the huge master bath and loads of sky lights. The room was flooded with light. We HATE that. We have only two windows in our current master bedroom, and that's two too many. We have blackout shades hung and a heavy curtain on top of that. John and I both love to sleep in total darkness. More like a cave, really.

I guess our dream master bedroom would be huge, but windowless. Maybe faux window murals painted on the wall to give the illusion of a great view.

I think most folks have pretty specific taste. They like a certain style of house with only slight variations on that theme. Me? Nope. I have a bunch of styles that I love. Here's a good example:




This was a house I looked at quite a few years ago. I wish I had higher res photos, but the pics were taken with the first digital camera we ever had (it was a door prize and a 1.5 mega-pixel, I think). Very contemporary! I loved the shower so much that I still dream of renovating and adding a glass block shower like that to our current house.

Go visit the other Robins...Linking List:

Gem
Journally Yours
http://journals.aol.com/libragem007/JournallyYours/
http://libragem007.blogspot.com/

Karen
Outpost Mâvarin - Posted!
http://outmavarin.blogspot.com/

Carly
Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly - Posted!
http://ellipsissuddenlycarly.blogspot/

boilyou
Percolation
http://boliyou.blogspot.com/

Suzanne R - Posted!
New Suzanne R's Life
http://newsuzannerslife.blogspot.com/

Nancy
Nancy Luvs Pix
http://journals.aol.com/nhd106/Nancyluvspix

Maryanne
Inside The Gilded Cage - Posted!
http://insidethegildedcage.blogspot.com/

Steven
(sometimes) photoblog
http://sepintx.blogspot.com/

Patrick
Patrick's Portfolio - Posted!
http://patricks-portfolio.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Party, Party, Party!

It's official. I have a four year old with a better social life than me. Ha! He has been invited to a birthday party every weekend this month. Who knew September was such a popular month to give birth in?!

So far, we've attended two parties (with one more next weekend). I haven't bought so many toys at Walmart all at once in a while. It reminded me of Christmas shopping, except I bought 4 of each thing. I was surprised how hard it was to decide on what to get. They are all 4 year old boys, same as mine...so easy, right?

No. I know MY boy, but I have no clue what these other kids are into. So I went with an assortment of things for each boy. Age appropriate card game, a soft foam ball for tossing around inside as the cold weather sets in, a pack of travel sized containers of play-doh, a Matchbox car, and a NASCAR branded PEZ dispenser.

I was always more excited to get lots of little gifts rather just one bigger one when I was a kid. I hope they liked what we picked out, since no one seems to open gifts during the party any more. Which leads me to the first of many observations I've made...

1. I have no idea what kind of gifts the boys received, because the gifts were opened some time later. I also have no idea if they liked what we gave them, since we weren't there to see the expression on their faces. I know it's easier on the parents if they don't have to deal with their kid (or others) wanting to open and play with the toys immediately, but I really miss the excitement of watching a kid tear into wrapping paper and the look on their face when they love, or hate something. LOL!

2. Hardly anyone around here has a simple home birthday party any more. Most opt for having it at one of the local play places. (The party this past weekend was held at a home, but the parents rented this giant inflatable bounce-around castle for the back yard and a full sized cotton candy machine. Very cool.)

3. I am totally nosy about some things. I fell in love with the house the last party was at and wondered to John, on the way home, how much they had paid for it (they recently relocated here from California). He popped on Zillow.com when we got home and told me the appraised value of the house is $678K. Ouch. No way we'll be moving to THAT neighborhood anytime soon. Amazingly, John really liked the house too and said if it were more in our price range, he'd move. LOL! I'll never figure him out.

4. I encountered my first instance of anti-SAHM sentiment. One of the mom's commented to the group how glad she was to finally be at a party with only working moms (I wisely kept my mouth shut.) She said she hated SAHM moms because they were "boring" and she has nothing in common with them. She was enjoying talking about after-care (some place to stick your kids once school lets out) and commuter woes with the other moms. Hmm. I made a mental note not to be boring, if I could avoid it.

5. It's insane how much it costs to put on these birthday parties. $135 an hour at a local play place and that doesn't include any food, paper goods, cutlery or goodie bags. Every party has served pizza to both the kids and adults, cake and/or cupcakes, goodies bags loaded with cool toys and prizes, drinks and even a pinata... We'd better start saving those pennies NOW if we have any hope of doing a party for Tyler in November or December.

6. Speaking of pinatas... since when did they replace the good old fashioned "whack it with a stick" kind with these new-fangled "everyone pull a string until the magic one releases the goodies". Feh! Give me a blind-fold and a broom stick anyday. I've got bottled up aggressions, dude!

7. And speaking of Tyler's birthday... it's the weekend after Thanksgiving. Will anyone go to a party that is so close to a major holiday? The weekend after that and we are starting to push a bit close to Christmas (those working moms will be using every weekend to get Christmas shopping done). Not to mention the risk of poor weather. I'm thinking we should have a party in early November, but I'm just not sure. At least Ty has our now annual tradition of a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate his birthday with just Mommy and Daddy to look forward to.

We've thought about having a party there...but paying for water park tickets for a dozen or more people (kids and adults)? OUCH! Plus who will drive for 50 minutes to attend a party, even if it IS at a cool indoor waterpark in the winter.

*sigh*

Saturday, September 16, 2006

TV Show MeMe

I'm not a big meme fan, but I couldn't resist one about TV shows...since I'm such a huge TV addict. :-)

Pat recently ran a meme about television shows you've seen which I picked up from Patrick's Place.

The instructions are simple: change the color and/or boldface the shows you've watched at least three complete episodes of, and Bold and Italicize a show if you're certain you've seen every episode of it.

You can add up to three shows to the list, but keep them in alphabetical order.

24
3rd Rock from the Sun
7th Heaven
Adam-12
Aeon Flux
A.L.F
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alias
Alice
Alien Nation
Allo Allo
American Idol/Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Idol
America's Next Top Model/Germany's Next Top Model
Angel
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: CrusadeBattlestar
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Baywatch

Batman
Beauty & the Beast
Beavis & Butthead
The Ben Stiller Show
Beverly Hills 90210
Bewitched
Bonanza
Bones
Bosom Buddies
Boston Legal

Boy Meets World
Brady Bunch
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Chappelle's Show
Charlie's Angels
Charmed
Cheers
China Beach
Columbo
Commander in Chief
Coupling
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI
CSI: Miami
CSI: NY
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dallas
Dancing with the Stars
Danny Phantom
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci's Inquest
Dawson's Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Deadwood
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Diff'rent Strokes
Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (series 1-26)
Dragnet
Due South
Dungeons and Dragons
Dynasty
Earth 2
Earth - Final Conflict
Emergency!
Enterprise
Entourage
ER
Escape From Planet Earth
Everwood
Everybody Loves Raymond
Facts of Life
Falcon Crest
Family Guy
Family Ties
Fantasy Island
Farscape
Fawlty Towers
Felicity
Firefly
Flamingo Road
Frasier
Friends
Full House
Futurama
Get Smart
Gilligan's Island
Gilmore Girls
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Green Wing
Grey's Anatomy
Growing Pains
Gunsmoke
Happy Days
Head of the Class
Hercules
Highlander
Hill Street Blues
Hogan's Heroes
Home Improvement
Homicide: Life on the Street
House
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Invader Zim
Invasion
Iron Chef (Japan)
Iron Chef (USA)
Ironside
JAG
Jackass
Jeopardy
Joey
John Doe
Kath and Kim
Knight Rider
Knots Landing
La Femme Nikita
LA Law
Laugh-In
Laverne and Shirley
Law & Order
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Law & Order: SVU
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire
Logan's Run
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Lost
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
M*A*S*H
MacGyver
Magnum P.I.
Malcolm in the Middle
Married...With Children
Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission Impossible
Monk
Moonlighting
Mork & Mindy
Murphy Brown
My Family
My Favorite Martian
My Life as a Dog
My Mother the Car
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Mysterious Cities of Gold
NCIS
Night Court
Nip/Tuck
Northern Exposure
Numbers
One Tree Hill
Oz
Parker Lewis Can't Lose
Perfect Strangers
Perry Mason
Picket Fences
Pirates of Darkwater
Pokemon
Power Rangers
Prison Break
Profiler
Project Runway
Psyche
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (British)
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
ReGenesis
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
ROME
Roseanne
Roswell
Samurai Jack
Sanford & Son
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Scooby-Doo Where Are You?
Scrubs
Seinfeld
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Sliders
Slings and Arrows
Smallville
Small Wonder
So Weird
South Park
Space 1999
Spaced
Spongebob Squarepants
Sports Night
Square Pegs
St. Elsewhere
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis - New season
Stargate SG-1 -Newseason
Superman
Supernatural
Surface
Survivor
Taxi
Teen Titans
Teletubbies
That Girl
That 70's Show
That's So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show
The A-Team
The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Bionic Woman
The Book of Daniel
The Colbert Report
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flintstones
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The Greatest American Hero
The Jetsons

The L Word
The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Monkees
The Munsters
The Mythbusters
The O.C.
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Outer Limits
The Pretender
The Prisoner
The Real World
The Shield
The Simpsons
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Waltons
The West Wing
The Wild Wild West
The Wonder Years

The X-Files
Third Watch
Thirtysomething
Three's Company
Top Gear
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
Upstairs, Downstairs
"V"
Veronica Mars

Wings
What Not To Wear (US)
What Not To Wear (UK)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Witchblade
Will & Grace
Wonderfalls
Wonder Woman
Xena: Warrior Princess
Young Hercules

If you wish to play along -- and if you're reading this, consider yourself so challenged, the easiest way to do so is to copy the list above to TypePad or NotePad so that the boldface or italicized formatting will not copy with it, then you can adjust as necessary on your own blog.

p.s. I added way more than 3 shows to the list. And could have added tons more. LOL!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Oh man, do I need this!

Susie is having a contest over at bluebird blogs. Here are the details:

Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and it's just right around the corner.
To celebrate the beginning of the season, I'm having a contest for 2 lucky
people
to win a totally free, completely customized blog design from Bluebird
Blogs.

Information on how to enter:
- Send an email with your name and blog address to
bluebirdblogs@gmail.com.

- Your name will be entered into the drawing.

- Entries will be accepted from 7:00pm EST on Thursday 9/15/06 until 11:59pm EST on Friday 9/22/06.

*Bonus*
- Mention this contest in a post on your blog and receive 5 extra entries into the drawing!

The winner will be announced on
http://bluebirdblogs.blogspot.com on the morning of Saturday, September 23rd, 2006 . Good luck to everyone!

I hope I win! My template here is hopelessly boring. :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

An entry from our personal X-Files...

So I've been asking myself lately "WWMD"? That is...What would Mulder do? Not long ago John was outside puttering in the yard (no, that's not the unusual event of which I speak!) and he witnessed a very strange scene. I won't specify which neighbor's house, but at a neighbor's house within viewing/hearing distance there suddenly appeared a score of police cars.

Both plain clothes and uniformed officers exited their vehicles and approached the house. Two officers broke away from the group and went around to the right of the house and two went left. (From extensive knowledge gleaned from repeat viewings of Law & Order and NYPD Blue, I knew they were covering all the exits to prevent the escape of a possible fugitive.) The remaining two approached the front door, waited a moment for the other officers to get into position and then rang the bell.

Our neighbors are a middle-aged couple with no kids that we know of. The husband answered the door. John heard the police ask, in a loud clear voice, if he was insert full name here and the guy said "Yes?" Unfortunately from that point the cops lowered their voices and John could only catch a word here and there. He was also aware that there is only so long a person can linger by the mailbox without looking like a busybody. After what seemed like a pretty lengthy Q&A session at the front door, the police left empty handed.

Naturally as time has passed, our already vivid imaginations have run wild. We haven't seen the wife in weeks (she was quite visible in the past, coming and going. They both work.)

Were the police looking for her? We don't know. But here are some of the theories we've come up with:

1. Husband reported her missing and police were sent to investigate. Since nothing has been on the news, we surmise she left him and went home to her mother. Or left him for another man (or woman).

2. He spends a ton of time working in his yard, planting and mowing and whatnot. He killed her and buried her in the yard.

3. She embezzled funds from her company and ran off to Las Vegas leaving her husband to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions.

4. She passed away under suspicious circumstances but the tox screen didn't turn up any evidence of drug overdose or poison. We don't read the paper, so we would have missed any obits.

Any other thoughts on this mystery?

Monday, September 11, 2006

I remember...

This day leaves me speechless. I've posted in the past my remembrances of 9/11/01...I think for today it's best to just link back to those entries.

Warning: The entries are long (2 parter) and I since my husband is a radio archivist, I have sound bites from the program I was listening to that morning. They are hard to listen to, even after 5 years. The recordings are from The Howard Stern Show, so expect that the mood in the studio was very light-hearted and joking at first. It took a while for the reality of that morning to sink in.

9/11 - Part 1

9/11 - Part 2 - not really related to THE events, but about what happened later that day for us, personally.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fun with MyHeritage.com

I've played with this tool several times before...but Cynthia pointed out the cool new collage thingy they added since I was last there. Like she mentions in her post, maybe it's because we were adopted, but I've always been fascinated with the whole "family resemblance" thing (since I look nothing like my family).

I decided to upload two photos, both recent, one with and one without glasses. The results were VERY different. I think because my dimples are more pronounced in one photo and because my face is less tilted, that made a difference too. I've always thought I looked a lot like Shirley Temple Black...so I was happy when her photo popped up on one.


Not so sure about these results. I think the second series is closer to reality. *cough* I'm just happy the program isn't bringing up a lot of male photos anymore. It used to. LOL

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Final Baby Guppy Count...

45!!! (We stopped counting and went to bed at that point. There could be a couple more even.)

Seriously! Guppies, anyone?

Round Robin Challenge: “Nostalgia”

I keep missing the challenges, but I caught an entry today early enough to jump on the bandwagon. Hope the Robins don't mind me crashing the party. I've had two distinct "nostalgic" moments this week. The first was when I came across some old photographs my mother sent me inside a card a year or so ago.

This is me, circa 1968 at Christmas (gotta love that my mom didn't take them to be developed until February). I was almost 3 years old. I love photos of Christmases past because that is about the only time you can view all a kid's favorite things in one place (before they get broken, left at a pal's or scattered to the 4 corners of the house.) I love toys. I've started various collections of things at various times, but in recent years I've just gotten practical. There's no more room here!

Check out my rocking horse! Or the cool desk with the chalk board top! How about my brand spankin new Raggey Ann and Andy dolls? My pink car with the surrey style roof (complete with blue fringe)? And what the heck is that thing I'm holding in the first photo...a Spelling Bee? Busy Bee? See-N-Say? I forget, but it was something like that. Point the bee at a letter, pull the cord, and you got very bee-like voice telling you the letter and a word that went with it.

Then there is my first baby doll with a real maple cradle and matching high chair. She had a bottle where the milk really vanished when you tipped it to her lips! I vividly remember how fascinated I was with that bottle. Where did the milk go?! And the baby doll would open/close her eyes and say MAMA when you tipped her. I thought it was funny to grab her by the ankle and let her body drop. That made her yell MAMA the loudest as I suspended her in mid-air. (OK, I wasn't a very good mama at age 3.)

My second moment of extreme nostalgia came yesterday when I saw a commercial on TV for TROLL dolls! I had no idea they were making a comeback! I had a couple of them back in the 70s. Goodness knows what ever happened to them. But I found them again in 1992 at, of all places, a gift shop that used to be located inside the AT&T complex in Bedminster, NJ.

I had just started working for the company, so naturally I had to get the Troll with the AT&T t-shirt on. The punk rocker Troll and the Ninja Troll were also must haves. My three hairy friends have spent the intervening years moving from desk to desk as I changed jobs and finally settled into a spot on my home office bookshelves where they've lived ever since. They always generated a lot of comments from co-workers and people just passing by. I've even had offers from people eager to buy them from me.

But my husband will tell you... I've always had a thing for scruffy looking guys with long, wild hair.




Check out other entries from this week's challenge:

Dorn
Through The Eyes Of The Beholder
http://journals.aol.com/dornbrau/ThroughtheEyesoftheBeholder/

Karen
Outpost Mâvarin POSTED!
http://outmavarin.blogspot.com/2006/09/round-robin-way-future-was.html

Chris
It's All About Me...I Think!
http://itsallaboutmeithink.blogspot.com/

Carly
Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly POSTED!
http://ellipsissuddenlycarly.blogspot.com/

TJ
Every Picture Tells a Story
http://tjexpressions.blogspot.com/

Nancy
Nancy Luvs Pix
http://journals.aol.com/nhd106/Nancyluvspix/

Julie
Julie's Web Journal
http://www.barrettmanor.com/julie/journal.aspx

boliyou
Percolation
http://boliyou.blogspot.com/

AscenderRisesAbove
AscenderRisesAbove Studio Updates
http://ascenderrisesabove.blogspot.com/

Suzanne R
New Suzanne R's Life
http://newsuzannerslife.blogspot.com/

Steven
(sometimes)photoblog
http://sepintx.blogspot.com/

Gina
Gina's Space POSTED!
http://journals.aol.com/rbrown6172/Ginasspace/

Valorie
Retrospect USA POSTED!
http://journals.aol.com/redbird914/RetrospectUSA

Saturday, September 02, 2006

24???!

Well, we've had some new additions to the family this evening. Princess Peach the mama guppy has given birth to 24 live young...so far. The small fry seem to be doing well, especially since John ran out in a panic at 8:30 PM to buy some additional equipment from PetSmart. He couldn't stand the thought of the babies being eaten by the larger fish. He's such a softie.

Now we have a net nursery area and a free floating birthing tank that has a grate on the bottom so the babies fall through into their own area away and safe from mommy (sadly, yes, she would eat her own young, given the opportunity.)

It's getting mighty crowded in our 10 gallon tank. I hear talk of a 28 gallon tank John has his eye on.

Lord help me. Anyone want some guppies? Free?