Sometimes the seemingly random firing of my brain synapses come up with an idea that surprises me. Today? I was sitting in my place of deep thought (a.k.a. The Bathroom) and my thought train derailed with this:
Tyler John and Max. TJ and Max. TJMax. OMG! Was I thinking of the retail chain somewhere in my subconscious when I named my boys?! Nah. I never shop there...
See. Told you I was weird.
So, shifting gears... I experienced an extra special convergence of the Scalzi Law of Internet Invocation last week. Apparently some ex-students of a former teacher of mine were conducting an internet search to try and locate the aforementioned teacher (something about a reunion invite) and they came across my blog entry from a few years ago.
When they finally located my former teacher, they also remembered my blog post and decided to send him a copy. They let me know via a comment on a recent post (to my shock). Then I got a comment from my former teacher with his email address (to my even greater shock). So I sent him an email. Today I got the nicest email in reply. Turns out my former teacher liked my post about him so much that he read it to his kids and grand-kids over Thanksgiving. How about that! Not only does HE know how much I appreciated him, but now his family does too. It doesn't get much more special than that.
Hi Mr. Maxwell! I just hope my kids have a teacher some day as wonderful as you were. Keep in touch.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Sometimes the seemingly random firing of my brain synapses come up with an idea that surprises me. Today? I was sitting in my place of deep thought (a.k.a. The Bathroom) and my thought train derailed with this:
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Max! Lunch time! Look what Mommy made for you (from Taco Bell). Mmm! Soft taco! All cut up in nice bite size bits. Yummo! Here you go. Try it! [try to put morsel in child's mouth]
Max: Uhhh! [turns his face away]
Come on sweetie. Here, you feed yourself. [place plate in front of child]
Max: Uhhhhhh! [pushes plate away forcefully and shakes head]
Awww Maxie...it's really good! Just taste it for Mommy... [try again to get morsel into child's mouth]
Max: UHHHHHH! [grabs bite from my hand and throws it on the floor]
Fine. I know you are hungry. I'll put this plate on the table and you just go eat it when you are ready. Mommy is going to eat HER taco now (and her burrito too).
Max: Uhhh? [climbs up onto sofa beside mommy and reaches for her taco]
Honey, this is Mommy's. Yours is over there on the table. It's the same thing. Honest.
Max: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! [mouth wide open, reaching for my taco]
Alright already! Here, have a bite. OK. Have another bite. More? You like Mommy's taco, eh? You know it tastes the same as Max's, right? Fine. You eat Mommy's. I'm going to eat Max's. [nibbles on tiny taco tidbits and sighs]
p.s. Thanks to my darling husband, I got my driver's license renewed yesterday (and the chance to stop at Taco Bell on the way home). He did some research and found that we could go to the court house or municipal office in the jurisdiction where we got married to get a copy of our marriage license. So he went to Montville and they gave him a copy right on the spot (for a fee). Yay! I don't know what we would have done if I had to wait 4 months for a copy from the state department of vital statistics.
And my photo didn't turn out too badly. I look like I typically look on an average day when I get the chance to shower, comb my hair and put on street clothes. :-) OK, so that doesn't happen all that often.
Posted by Becky at 6:31 AM
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
We avoided "Black Friday" like the plague and took the boys to the Crayola Factory instead. It's nice when the whole family does something together. Not too exciting, but a sweet video about our day:
So, did you brave the Mongol Hoards and go shopping today? Get any good deals?
Posted by Becky at 7:47 PM
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I don't know who stole my sweet, easy-going child and substituted him with this clingy, whiny and willful child; but they'd better bring him back PDQ! Once upon a time Max would wake with a grin, eat what ever I put in front of him (with relish!) and then play happily on his own or with me (he was good, either way) for hours until he would finally ask for a nap.
Posted by Becky at 11:13 AM
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The last thing I expected yesterday at dawn was a automated phone call from Tyler's school announcing a 2 hour delay. The forecast was for RAIN!
Rain, my ass! This video was from 6:30am. It was still snowing. An hour later I took Max outside to play in the snow (his first time), and it was still coming down. All told, I think we got about 7 or 8 inches.
Max in the snow. I don't think he likes it. ;-)
Honestly, I think he was just ready for a nap. We'll try again with the next snow storm. Tyler got to play in the snow when he got home from school yesterday, but this morning the snow is almost gone already. And it's raining. Oh well.
Posted by Becky at 12:07 PM
Time to renew my drivers license. Time to get a mug shot. Time to look like hell in yet another photo. Joy!
I know I have cosmetics somewhere in this house, darn it! I can't find any at the moment. I find myself debating with myself.
Self? Why put on makeup? You never wear any. You won't look like YOU in that photo, and you know it!
I know, I know. But shouldn't I try to put my best face forward?
Get serious. You've been sick for 2 weeks. The DMV patrons are lucky you even took the time to shower. Just look like you always do. Like a tired Mom of two boys.
Fine. FINE! I'm going.
As soon as I comb my hair. I can do that much at least. Wish me luck.
I'll be back later with videos of the HUGE snowstorm from yesterday.
Argin fargin DMV!!! Grrr! Apparently my vast collection of IDs and shite aren't good enough. They want a certified copy of my marriage license from Vital Records. Gah! Website says it will take 4 months. My drivers license expires the end of this month. Do duh math. I is screwed. I think it will be faster to renew my passport.
Off to ask my hubby to take a fugly passport photo...
Posted by Becky at 10:20 AM
Monday, November 19, 2007
I spent some time tinkering with my blog template tonight. Yeah, it's easier to just use the canned template that Blogger provides...but it's so blah. I feel generic. I've been to a number of new Mommy Blogs in the last week or so and I have blog envy. Most of them have cool custom graphics...so I made a small attempt to personalize my header.
I also updated my profile pic. It's a step in the right direction, but I'm still not satisfied. I need to jazz up the header some more. I think I'll go blog jogging again and look for more inspiration. Maybe being sick the last 2 weeks has just sucked all the creative energy right out of my body.
Posted by Becky at 12:12 AM
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I read a funny (well, funny to ME but not to HER) post the other day. It reminded me of the first time no one asked for my ID when I ordered a mixed drink. And the first time some teenage clerk called me "Ma'am". That Ma'am still gets to me a little, but I'm finally starting to get used to it. The post also reminded me of my mother (not that Ladybug Carol is ANYTHING like my Mother Carol, mind you).
Many of you will think she is just a product of her generation (it is impolite to ask a lady for her age), but you didn't live with the woman for 20 years. My mother is OBSESSED with aging. Remember the movie Terms of Endearment where the Shirley MacLaine character won't allow her grandchildren to call her "Grandma" and insists they call her Mrs. Greenway? My mother agreed with that sentiment for many years. She tried to train Tyler to call her "Nanny" instead Grandma. She has mellowed a bit on this point. Probably because *I* have been calling her Grandma for 6 years now.
I've mentioned her multiple plastic surgeries and her weekly trips to the hair salon (heaven forbid any gray should ever appear...she hasn't seen her own natural hair color since 1968.) And yes, my brother and I tease my mother all the time over the fact that she looks half the age of our Dad. I guess he likes having a hot, young looking wife; but where do you draw the line?
Personally, I think plastic surgery is over the line. Hair color is OK. Thousands and thousands of dollars each year on various beauty treatments, creams, lotions, ointments, oils and other devices? That is over the line. Altering your birth certificate/birth year and lying about your age to friends? Over the line. Lying about the ages of your children and where they are at in life (I think I finally got out of college a few years ago. My brother is still there. He is 36.) Over the line. I think you get the idea.
Now for the funny part. About 10 years ago (maybe longer) my mother received a welcome packet from AARP. When you are old enough to join AARP, you can get all kinds of cool discounts and stuff and their magazine is full of great information for retired folks. My mother? She went BALLISTIC! She accused my brother and I of playing a joke on her and signing her up. I do admit, I wish I HAD thought of it. It's a good joke! But it wasn't us. We swore up and down that it wasn't us, but she didn't believe it.
I think it took about a year for my Dad to work up the courage to tell her HE signed her up. He was annoyed that she was well past the age of eligibility and she wasn't taking advantage of all the discounts (my Dad is a chea...er...frugal man). Not to mention the fights they've had at the movie theater because she wouldn't take the senior discount. Restaurants too. My Dad would ask for the senior special for both of them and my mother would shriek that he was fibbing.
She won't act her age even to save a buck. I'm waiting for the day when she starts telling people she is my Dad's oldest daughter (instead of his wife). It's only a matter of time.
I'm thinking I'm going to add my mother's name to a few mailing lists in the coming weeks. Memorial companies and cemeteries, I think. It's about time those two got a couple of plots. It's the grownup thing to do once you reach a certain age, right? Maybe I can time the arrival of the catalog from these fine folks to arrive right around Christmas. I'd love to be there to see her reaction to this mail delivery.
Gosh I'm evil. ;-)
Posted by Becky at 11:59 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Unintentionally Funny -
"Mommy? My butt itches. Can I take a bath?"
"Uh, sure Tyler. I can't have you running around with an itchy butt."
Intentionally Funny -
"Mommy? Does your butt itch?"
"I don't think so. Why?"
"Because you really need a bath too." [said with saucy grin]
Honestly, I really could use a shower. They forgot to put a chapter in the Mommy Handbook about how we are supposed to squeeze an occasional shower or bath into our crazy daily schedule. Especially with a 13 month old running around with a raging bout of separation anxiety...because it's SO much fun showering while your toddler thrashes on the floor, screaming and crying to near puking levels of drama.
Totally off the topic - I got curious just now. I went to Amazon to see if there was such a thing as "The Mommy Handbook". There isn't, to my amazement. No one swipe my idea. I might just have to write it. There is a "Parents Handbook" but that's not the slant I would want to take. Maybe I'll do a Daddy's Handbook too. This could be fun.
Posted by Becky at 4:15 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007
Posted by Becky at 9:31 PM
Well, last night I think I participated in the most unusual use of YouTube I've ever seen. I was IMing with a good friend of mine (hi Kim!) and sharing in the woes of parenting sick children when she shared with me how concerned she was about her son's breathing. I am blessed by the fact that, so far, my kids have never been seriously ill. Kim has not been so lucky. By late last night, she had already administered a couple of nebulizer treatments to her little boy, but it didn't seem to be working very well.
We talked about whether or not a trip to the ER would be necessary. She just wasn't sure. It seemed a simple decision, since she works in a doctors' office and could get her son seen first thing in the morning, but should she wait? His heart rate had finally slowed enough for him to drift off to sleep, yet Kim hovered and watching his breathing with deepening concern.
Finally, she made a video recording of the rapid rise and fall of his chest, uploaded it to YouTube and asked me to watch it to get my opinion. This is not her first time on this carnival ride (how many folks do you know who keep a portable nebulizer at home?) She's made too many trips to the ER in her two kids' short lives. Another hospital bill at this stage of the game would not be a good thing...but that worry falls to the bottom of the list when your child is in distress. One look at that video, even knowing the hardship it would cause, and I didn't hesitate to voice my opinion. Bring him in.
Luckily another friend who is a nurse also logged on about that time, saw the video and agreed with me. A second opinion from a medical professional always helps and she agreed with me. So off to the hospital they went. Sure enough, the baby was admitted. They suspect pneumonia.
I wonder if the developers of YouTube ever thought about this particular use of their service when they designed it. It's nice to be there for a friend, even from 7 states away. Oh, and please keep my friend Kim and her baby in your thoughts. They could use some positive vibes right about now.
Posted by Becky at 11:07 AM
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Once again, everyone in the house is ill. Max is full of the snot and coughing. He's been that way for about 5 days now. I got the snot and coughing about 2 days ago. Tyler appears to have a stomach virus that has stuff shooting out both ends. John has mentioned a generalized feeling of malaise with a touch of nausea. It's a sicky party!
Anyone want the cooties? I am ready for them to leave us alone now.
In the meantime, John was nice enough to run out last night for some of my patented "cold cure". That would be Indian food. Mmmm! Nothing like a shot of chicken curry and veggie biryani to get the snot flowing and free up those nasal passages.
Ahhh! Much better. I just had leftovers for lunch.
Next up, sushi for dinner. Extra wasabi. That works nicely on those pesky nasal passages too.
Posted by Becky at 4:27 PM
Friday, November 09, 2007
I just got a new toy today.
Posted by Becky at 2:17 PM
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Weekend Assignment #190: Share some of your favorite boredom-alleviating tactics from when you were a kid.
I wasn't often bored when I was a kid...just a little on very cold snowy days. Not that I was easily entertained, mind you. I just think my mother was an expert at keeping the kids out of her hair. There always seemed to be a ready supply of new coloring books, fresh crayons or new packs of markers, paint-by-numbers, big ready-to-color posters and other assorted craft projects.
I used to love making jewelry (I had a rock polisher and various plastic cord or bead sets). I also made clothes for my Barbie dolls. I could play with my Barbies for hours. My mother didn't sew worth a darn, but she would go through phases where she would try. From that, I had access to a sewing machine and assorted scraps of fabric. There was also the large assortment of old cocktail dresses my mom had given me to play with. Dress up was WAY more fun when you had heels and outfits that could have come from Marilyn Monroe's closet to use.
When I wasn't in the mood to be arty, crafty or God to my Barbie universe...that's when my mother would shove us out the back door and say, "Be home when it starts to get dark." We had a nice swing set in the yard, this merry-go-round thing that seated 4 people and you pumped with your hands and feet to make it spin, a tire swing and woods to explore.
There was a shallow stream not too far back in the forest that was perfect for polliwog and frog hunts. We would also flip rocks looking for salamanders and earth worms. Then there were wild Concord grapes and blueberries for the picking. There were these other berries that we all seemed to instinctively know were poison, but we would improvise a mortar and pestle to crush them and make this vivid purple "ink". We would make primitive drawings on large boulders with a slender twig dipped in our ink. It was amazing how long those drawings would last. It was also amazing how permanent those purple stains were on our clothes.
Those boulders became props in endless games of "Let's Pretend." I always seemed to be the ring leader and would make up the story line. One of the larger boulders also had an adjacent tall tree full of thick vines. We would yank one loose and play Tarzan until the vine snapped from all the swingers. Fun stuff!
Riding our bikes, skateboards or big wheels up and down the street...playing ping pong in a neighbor's basement...helping the lucky kid who's parents encouraged his model rocketry hobby...drawing elaborate hop-scotch boards in chalk on the driveway... I could go on and on. Even just listening to the radio and dancing with my friends. There was hardly ever a dull moment.
Sadly, I haven't been very successful in imparting this "how to make your own fun" mentality to my oldest son. He frequently says he is bored. I guess having access to over 100 video games just isn't enough. I need a stash of projects tucked away somewhere like my mom always had. Unfortunately - where I would happily take an item and run off to do it - my son won't. He has to have someone do it with him. That doesn't help me get the house work done. :-/
It's a different world now-a-days. I can't just kick the boys out the front door and tell them to be home by dark. They don't have many opportunities to meet the neighborhood kids and make friends. Most other parents work full-time and play dates need to be scheduled during their precious free time. TV, video games and computers are a major distraction that is hard to fight (Super Mario Party on the Game Cube or a coloring book. Hmm. Yeah, right!)
I know the boys would be much happier if our yard were fenced with a nice swing set jungle gym thingy out back to play on. Hopefully we can work on that in the spring.
Posted by Becky at 3:15 PM
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
On Halloween last year we ran out of candy by 7:30 PM. Not good! So this year I bought extra. A LOT of extra. Too much extra. So, naturally, John and I have been eating a lot of sweets over the last few days.
Every year I tend to get the same kinds of candy...kinds that *I* like (just in case of leftovers). I always get KitKats, Snickers, Milk Duds, SweetTarts (or Smarties), and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Sometimes I get Almond Joys too (the kids almost never take those). When I let the kids pick their own candy, the SweetTarts and Reese's seem to go the fastest. So it's been a couple years since I had leftovers of those.
Am I crazy, or has the peanut butter cup recipe changed? The chocolate seems softer, paler and the peanut butter center seems...dryer. Not sure how to explain it. In my memory, the chocolate on the cups was a tad thicker on top and more "crisp". There was a snap to it when you bit into the cup. Now they seem soggy. I remember a sheen of oil in the bottom of the paper wrapper if the chocolate on the bottom was a tad thin. I assumed it was peanut oil leaching out. I never see that anymore - like the peanut butter isn't as oily.
Has anyone else noticed a change in peanut butter cups? Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that I don't like them anymore. I guess it's not a bad thing since I don't NEED to eat them. I'm better off if I don't. But it still makes me sad.
Posted by Becky at 12:35 PM
Monday, November 05, 2007
Posted by Becky at 1:41 PM
Saturday, November 03, 2007
This weeks Round Robin Photo Challenge was thought up by yours truly, so of course I have to participate. The challenge is to use one of those funky settings on your camera that you've never tried. You might not even be sure what it does. Time to experiment!
OK. Now I know my camera has a "panoramic" setting on it, but I've never tried it. Since we are going to a local farm to pick pumpkins, I think today will be a good time to try it out.
Success! I think. I probably should have read the manual for my camera before we left, but oh well. I had a pretty good idea which little icon on the control dial was the "panoramic" one. Yay! I lined up my shot and took the first frame. The little LCD screen on the camera showed that shot with a funky arrow and a blank frame next to it. OK? Time for frame 2. I used the screen to line up my next shot, trying to marry the edges together and took the shot. Right! Uh oh. The camera was now on frame 3. Frame 3??? I was under the impression that a panoramic was only 2 frames.
Fine. I lined up the shot again and snapped frame 3. The camera asked for frame 4. Oh crap. Now I needed to swivel my body around a bit to rotate and get the next shot in frame. The camera asked for frame 5. I was starting to see a trend. When would it end?
On frame 26, I'd come full circle and was tired of the whole process. Then I noticed the tiny words under the frames..."Set?" Duh. I hit the "Set" button and finally the panoramic started over with frame 1; ready to go again. Whew! OK, I've got it now. I can take as long a panorama as I want to, even a full circle. Cool!
Too bad I'm not too familiar with Quicktime tools - I've seen those rotating panoramas before where you can take a 360 degree look around. That would have been cool. Maybe another time.
I took a few other panoramas and then moved the dial on to the next setting. I think it's a type of action setting. Very fast shutter speed so you can take several photos in a series. I never got the rhythm down, but I did channel my pal Karen and took some interesting shots out the car window on the way home.
First, the panoramas:
This is the first 3 frames of my 26 frame series.
This is a 3 frame one.
This one is 2 frames.
And finally, a 3 framer. I really like this one.
When I first installed the software for this camera, I vaguely recollect a special program with "auto-stitch" that puts the panoramas together. Uh, yuh. No dice. I couldn't find it. So I had to stitch the frames together manually. I've discovered that I make a horrible tripod. I had to do some creative editing to get things to line up. Can you find the seams? [Click the photos to see bigger versions over on my Flickr album.]
Next time I need to remember to bring my Joby.
Now for those "action" shots. Heh.
Cruising through the "German District" of Long Valley. Hmm. That looked clearer on my LCD display.
Interesting. I thought that house was neat.
Getting clearer. But what's with that wonky angle? I could correct that in photochop, but I think it lends interest.
You get the general idea. I need some practice taking photos out of a moving car, I guess. But it was fun to experiment today!
Linking ListKaren - POSTED!
Janetfond of photography
Nancy - POSTED!
Nancy Luvs Pix
Vicki - POSTED!
Suzanne R - POSTED!
New Suzanne R's Life
Steven - POSTED!
Carly - POSTED!
Friday, November 02, 2007
Woo hoo! I finally got the video put together! Windows Movie Maker SUCKS! I finally gave up on it and put Pinnacle Movie Studio on this PC. Works much better!
I did a Halloween report last year, and again this year...so I guess it's becoming an annual tradition. It's worth watching, if only for the Max cuteness at the end. ;-)
Posted by Becky at 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Every once in a while the universe sends me a message. The latest was, "You are meant to have this rug." How was the message delivered? Oh, it was OBVIOUS! You be the judge...
Frequently my family room carpet will catch my eye and make me cringe. White berber...what the hell was I thinking?! So yeah, it looks pretty bad. Every time I "see" the carpet (when I'm not too busy ignoring it), I get the urge to shop for a nice rug to cover it up. [It would be a major pain to replace the carpeting in here, so camouflage is the only option.]
So I window shop. I've been looking for just the right size, pattern, colors, etc. for over a year now. A couple months ago I found THE rug. It was GORGEOUS! Turkish... wool... expensive... totally unaffordable. Then it went on sale. Even at $800, it was out of our reach.
Oh how I wanted this rug. Do any of you know how hard it is to match a plaid sofa???
Then a couple weeks ago I got an email from one of my favorite internet bulk bargain websites. They had just acquired close-out stock from a major carpet retailer and it was all on sale. Right. Like I was going to find a rug for this room in some internet bulk bin...but I went to look.
There it was! THE rug. Turkish... wool... gorgeous... and under $200!! Holy crap! I put it in my shopping cart on the website. I agonized over it for a few hours. I watched the ticker on the site steadly go down. "35 left in stock." "23 left in stock." "16 left in stock." "Hurry, only 7 left in stock." Eeeeeeeeee! Then my husband walked in with good news. Something about sales numbers and commissions and blah blah blah he'd be getting a good pay check this month. What, what, what??!
I hit CHECKOUT and bought the rug...with only 1 left in stock. MINE!!!
I unveiled it today. ~Squeeeeeeee!~ It's perfect! Max loves it too. He's spent ages today just running, spinning, and rolling on it. Hee hee! See? The universe really likes me.
Posted by Becky at 8:54 PM
Photos from Halloween are here (that should go right to a slide show, with any luck). It was hectic, but fun! I took video clips through out the day, but Windows Movie Maker is giving me FITS right now. It keeps crashing and messing with my creative flow in a major way. Grrr!
I'm going to keep trying to make WMM do what I want. With any luck, I'll post my video blog here later.
Posted by Becky at 8:37 PM