Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

As my soon to be 19 year old snoozes - I'll be surprised if he is up by 2:30 pm today, I have already worked out to a new exercise video (Denise Austin - sent by a relative but new to me!) -- and now, time to update this relic of a blog: Despite the carnage at the manger,
caused by you know who...
We had a lovely Christmas Eve.... And we took what we thought was the most amazing photo, until I finally got a look at it a few hours later...
um, yeah....tie tied in a very unusual manner, mass of extension cords, a stunned Pumpkin and barely visible crooked tree... So, a typical photo for us ;-) Hope your holiday was just as lovely!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

For Those Who Are Curious..

..if cats recognize someone they have not seen in many months, in this case 4 months. Here Pumpkin is with my son who is home from college. Took video of when she first saw him walk in the house, but this is even cuter :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

My New 'Do

A hair stylist straightened my hair the other day and I was blown away!!  Picked up a straightening iron and I am going to do my best to see if I can get it to look even halfway as well as she did! My hair hasn't looked this shiny since I was 5.


Monday, December 1, 2014

It Can Get Very Addicting!

I am speaking about my newest hobby, loom knitting. My bloggy friend Rebecca, understanding that I was unable to knit the regular way, recommended loom knitting to me. She has created a monster!

After a first failed practice session


I was on my way to making a knit hat.


It came out quite nicely.

If someone like me, who is horrible at following patterns, is able to complete a project like this, anyone can do it! I am now working on a scarf to go with my hat. If you have carpal tunnel or other hand issues, it's best not to go all out gangbusters on it.

Added bonus: I find that the repetiveness of it makes for a  good distraction to the daily stresses of life once you get in the zone. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Little Commercial I Had the Opportunity to Be a Part Of

I obviously don't put everything that I am up to on this blog...and sometimes it is due to non-disclosure agreements being involved so you won't be finding out until after the fact....

That was the case with this commercial that I had the pleasure to be involved with on a piping hot day this summer.

A Guiness Record was involved so that made it all the more exciting.

You can see me in the commercial at :09 (sunglasses gray dress)  :22 right side lower right corner back to camera :38 far right next to domino  :47 at the end with hands up to mouth



...and in the behind the scenes video, where I am recognizable at :39 leaning over the table and :55



added bonus: got to get my photo taken with the handsome director when the shoot was completed :-) 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Above and Beyond What Should Be Expected

Currently discussing on Facebook the ridiculousness of this recent ruling

Parents being required to pay for their estranged 21 year old daughter's college tuition? They SHOULD be outraged....

What a bad precedent is being set by the courts. Since when is having your tuition paid for a RIGHT???? Even if the child is well behaved and you on on good terms, it is still not the obligation of the parents. We are more than happy to pay for VC's tuition and he covers all of his other incidental expenses, eating out etc., but then we are close to him and he is a respectful kid.

In this case, I'd be "sorry babe, you are on your own - especially since you are not speaking with us!!!!!!"

I wish the parents well with their appeal of the case, of course by then they will have paid out the same amount in attorney's fees and the daughter will probably have graduated..... What are your thoughts?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dr. Oz - WTH Happened???

Poor 'ole Dr. Oz has been taking a drubbing lately, most recently on Twitter yesterday when he asked for questions under the hashtag #OzsInbox.

This was the question/tweet he proposed: What is your biggest question for me? Reply with and I'll answer my favorites on http://
DoctorOz.com .
He probably was not expecting the responses he received, some questioning him remaining to be a doctor in light of some of his endorsed treatments/products.

Some of the responses were quite clever, such as "I just read that my new detox regimen might be toxic. Can you recommend a detoxification to detoxify my toxins? You can read more about it here.

Here is are just a couple of the ridiculous items that I have purchased on his recommendation:

What have you purchased that the good doctor has endorsed??  How did it work for you?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Uncommonly Good Products: A Review

You know that you have found a fun new addition to your home when you are out and about and your husband calls while he is home mowing the lawn to ask what the new doormat says ;-)

I had the opportunity to partner with Uncommon Goods, a unique company, featuring unusual items, many that are not seen elsewhere . Half of what they sell is made by hand and most of their products are made here in the USA :)

The excitement started building the minute the box arrived....


.,..and out came of of the thickest, plushest door mats I have ever seen, the Guard Cat doormat. Even Pumpkin was impressed!  (the mat reads: I guard this house - in French) Luckily I had the cat inspector on hand:



The mat looks super snazzy at our front door! Seriously, observe the thickness!



The package arrived just in time, as we were readying the house for a pizza party this past weekend. A party which provided the perfect opportunity to test another Uncommon Goods product- a steel pizza cutter..

MB's brothers and their families were both in town so we ended up making 16 12-inch pies (they need to be that size to fit in our outdoor pizza oven). Often when you have a pie loaded with lots of toppings and you try to cut it with a regular pizza cutter - the toppings get pulled off into a big blob as you cut...

This type of steel pizza cutter is specially designed to sidestep that problem. sidenote: I was thrilled to discover that many of the products at Uncommon Goods, such as this one, are made from recycled products, in this case, recycled steel. It was handmade by a blacksmith in Vermont.



we had many perfectly cut pizzas!


From the minute our guests stepped on our welcoming new door mat, to the well-cut pizza dinner, I'd say the party was a big success!

To learn more about Uncommon Goods, click here.

Disclaimer: I received products for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The New Bad Dream



In a recent dream, someone I knew was talking to someone who I felt was bad news so I was trying to alert my friend not to get too cozy with this other indivdual. Not wanting to have the discussion in person, I was feverishly trying to send a text, which was no small feat since I type with one finger, something VC teasses me about. (Apparently I look like a "noob" when texting with one finger. In my defeinse, it is very difficult to type with two fingers on my Samsung keypad.)

Have you had a dream like this too? Where you need to get out the text quickly and it just isn't happening fast enough? 

This is the new age of bad dreams....

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get Out and Vote!!!

I was kickin' back thinking I would head out to vote around now when a facebook friend alerted me that the best time is around 10:30 - so I threw myself together and headed out the door with my ballot in hand.

Although it is a mid-term election, there are so many issues to be concerned about and to have a say in.

*above is my serious "I voted" face. With election peeps all around, I thought it was best to avoid a goofy grin. So I maintained some decorum....

Remember to pack your own pen to avoid the germy ones they have at sign in ;)

It took all of about 35 minute since there was a bit of a line, but part of the fun is bumping into neighbors I rarely see - and this one is a fun guy who is the same party affiliation as I am - his wife is not. So he joked that he told her to vote tomorrow....

For what is likely the 10th year in a row, I also signed up to be a poll worker. I do this every time I vote yet for some reason have never been called despite sometimes being the only one on the list...hmmm...my party affiliation perhaps...

or maybe demographics. I noticed today that most of the poll workers at my venue are a good 20 years my senior. Maybe I need to give it another 20 -- that shouldn't be a problem, I'm known for my determination......


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Project: Stop Excessive Blinking

I have tried some obscure things over the years and this one is right up there.

Those of you who read my post a week or so ago about the excessive blinking that is making me uncomfortable in my film class - when I have to watch myself back on film...It is bad.

Seems that i have developed this nervous habit over the years and it gets exacerbated when I have to remember lines on the fly and am hoping I do not screw up - or just in general getting stressed due to being evaluated by the instructor.

Bottom line is that my eyes are blinking uncontrollably and uncomfortably.

I came home from class last week, where, by the way, I had a semi-breakthrough and was halfway decent!!!  - anyway, so I came home and googled, "how to stop excessive blinking."

At which point I came across a hypnosis mp3 download promising to help with my problem.

So I ordered it, and a second one too (on a different topic), since I saved $6 by ordering two ;)

I have listened to the download 3 times already. The first week you are supposed to listen to it every day. Had to skip one, but I am back on track.

The hypnotist has a British accent and he is very whispery. He draws out words such as "urrrrrrrgent" I don't think I've been in a hypnotic state but it is very calming, barring the constant phone/facebook interruptions....and my husband coming in and out of the house etc.

30 minutes is a lot time to devote to listening to a download, but if it will be of help, I am going to make the effort.

Will keep you posted on my results. If I can move beyond this my life will change considerably in terms of my confidence level.....

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Joke's on Me

Those of my generation will recall Candid Camera, the show hosted by Telly Savalas where a camera is hidden and hilarity ensues when unsuspecting people find themselves in bizarre situations.

Well, this time the joke was on me, although I'm not certain whether or not there was a camera involved. I was too afraid to look.

Yesterday I went out for one of my 8 mile strolls and I was a little over a mile into it when I happened upon some change on the sidewalk.

Here is an actual photo:

...and the reason I was able to take the photo over an hour later (on the way home) was that the coins are glued to the sidewalk. Not that I bent down to try to pick them up or anything ;-)

I didn't dare look around because I had no idea if this was being taped and the last thing I wanted was to get my face and dorky sun hat on camera.

I have had several suggestions on facebook, including bringing some nail polish remover the next time I am out to dissolve the glue.

It's not that I am desperate for change, but it does bring up that people do not value change the way we did back in the Telly Salvalas days. I was raised very frugally and it is difficult to get away from that mentality. Add a handful of change to another handful of change and before you know it you have a dollar. And dollars are nice....

I'm always harping on VC to use the change that is floating around his room when he goes out instead of constantly "breaking" dollars. And a friend of mine discovered her son tossing change into the GARBAGE CAN! What is up with that?

If we can teach kids the value of change in one's pocket adding up over time, it will make an impact. Which reminds me of the Prudential commercial I was recently an extra in - you may have seen it....the one with the dominoes :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How to Tell You are Having a Bad Day?

When you find  yourself at 9:41 pm googling "I suck at everything." Yep. That's me...

As part of my "expand my comfort zone" project, which isn't really a project, I signed up for an acting class. Two weeks ago we recorded with a partner and today we got to see the play back.

Holy blinking eyes!!!

You have never seen so much blinking.

Now, I am a long term contact lens wearer with dry eyes, so I normally blink a lot, but when I get nervous, it exacerbates the problem.

Let's put it this way, when the only comments the instructor had to make about my tape were about my excessive blinking and that I did not connect with my partner at all...

it was clear to me that I suck at something new!!!

Out of the 18 students, my tape was the absolute bottom of the barrel. Still 5 more weeks to go in the class and it will be hard to drag myself to class. But if there is anything I normally do, it is to stand by a project to completion.

It is going to take all the strength I can muster to stick with this when all I want to do is run.

And dig a hole and hide in it during the next critique.

Is there anything you've ever tried where you were so bad it was clear there was no point in continuing? Did you stick with it - or bail?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Selfie-Challenged

You know all those fabulous selfies your friends post on facebook? The ones where they actually look good??? I swear I cannot pull off a decent selfie. It's not like I am taking them everyday like some folks do. I just take one when I need a picture, such as when I wanted to show my friend I chopped a few inches off my hair.

Disaster ensued.

Although VC has showed me a couple times the proper angle to hold the camera for the best photo, I get this ridiculously weird look on my face, especially if I try not to give a big goofy grin - example below:


Comes out looking like a WANTED poster.

I can never seem to get my eyes to look normal -- compare to photo of me taken by VC roughly 2 months ago. It is not like I changed that much in 2 months....or did I???
I am about to give up on selfies. I will begin pestering my family more when I need a headshot for something....They like it when I interrupt them to do that ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Miss Pronunciation

I have been substitute teaching a lot lately. And let me tell you, pronouncing names is not what it once was in the decades of Susans, Joes and Mikes.

A teacher in the lower grades suggested for an activity, that I sit the kids in boy-girl order around the table and handed me some placards. Would have been easy but I couldn't tell from many of the placards if the name was a girl's or a boy's name :D

Would you believe I pronounced one girl's name, spelled "Lila" as "Lee-La" - not once but twice (on another day). Of course, it is pronounced as "Lay-La." - and one girl whose name ended in "ine" - I pronounced it "eeen" - that was good for an unintentional laugh :(

Kailey - is it "Kay-Lee" or "Kyle-y" ?

I could go on. Suffice it to say, sometimes I come across like the crazy substitute in this Key & Peele video on YouTube:


 My parents came back from a visit with my son at his college in Utah. He has a new friend, and my mom mentioned if we meet her, to make sure we pronounce her name, which is spelled "Alicia" as "Alee-c-ia" - not "Al-eesha." Which is very prophetic, because just the week prior, I typed an email to my friend with that exact dilemma. My exact words: "So now I need to figure out if her name is pronounced A-LEESH-A or A-LEE-SEE-A"

But, back to substituting, I am thinking of switching to calling attendance by last name the next time I sub. Or, better yet, a sign in sheet!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

PajamaGram: A Review

Back in my high school days/early 20's I used to wear some cute PJ's -- Then that look slowly morphed into my bedtime "uniform" of oversized T shirt for over a decade. Recently I started to realize how nice comfortable pajamas can feel, as well as the emotional boost of knowing I didn't look like I pulled my bedtime wardrobe out of the laundry basket!

It feels nice to know that even if the world is not seeing my pajamas, I can feel pretty as I lounge about the house. Therefore, I was excited to partner with PajamaGram for this post.

My PajamaGram arrived in a keepsake gift bag. Pumpkin instantly came over to investigate:


I couldn't wait to take a photo of me in my new jammies. So I set the camera to "auto" and look who joined me in the photo! Since it was not yet bedtime, I was going to change back into my street clothes but once I realized how comfy they were, the jammies were on for the rest of the evening.

I am as stickler for comfortable fabric and these are super-cozy.
As the holiday season fast approaches, and you are left scratching your heads for gifts - I encourage you to give PajamaGram a look: the assortment is incredible - from sexy silk to playful cupcakes, which is the lounge set I selected. If Pumpkin wasn't so finicky, I'd order the matching cupcake pajamas for cats - seriously!

I have a friend who purchases matching pajamas for the entire family (all 6 of them) - every single year. If this is a tradition you would like to begin, PajamaGram offers plenty of family pajama sets!

...and now I am off to lounge in style :-)

Disclaimer: I received a product for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

18 Years in the Making!

After a flurry of activity all summer, we have successfully sent our one and only off to college!  He is attending college almost clear accross the country.

Aside from Calculus II class - he seems to be adjusting quite well. He doesn't communicate as much as we would like (understatement) - So we decided not to text him for a couple days after we got home - and that prompted him to check on us and finally send us some texts. You gotta do what you gotta do ;-)

The campus is beautiful.





And so are the surroundings. 



Hope your summer was splendid!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Did I Tell You About the Time

My husband got pulled over on roller skates?  Somehow in my last post I forgot to mention the most ludicrous "traffic violation" our family has encountered to date. And as you can tell, we have unfortunately had our share of tickets....

Here's how it unfolded. Occasionally my husband - a certified "rink rat" during the 80's - heads off on his roller skates with outdoor wheels to skate about 8 miles on a local greenway.

In order to get to said greenway, he has to skate a mile through town, which I already mentioned is a police zone.

Well, he came home a few weeks ago to tell me he had gotten pulled over - yep - pulled over - on roller skates - and by the Canine Unit so there was a dog barking loudly and viciously the entire time.

What was his infraction? Was he blocking traffic? Nope. Not wearing a helmet? Nope. Jayskating? Nope.

He was skating facing traffic!!!!!!  Yep, so he could see on coming traffic and not get hit, he was skating facing traffic along the very wide shoulder of the street. Can you believe this? Apparently he must skate with the flow of traffic, possibly because he has "wheels" -- he is considered a "vehicle???" I need to do some research and find the law. He got off with a warning LOL.

If this is not an indication our local cops have too much time on their hands, I don't know what is....SHEESH!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I'm Back -- With a Vengeance LOL

Thanks to those of you (erm one of you) who have noticed my absence :-)  Once school let out, I got bombarded with all sorts of things and neglected the blog. For shame!

My latest mission is getting traffic ticket issues resolved. We live in an area with a strong police presence - where there is not much criminal activity - which means lots of ticketing for minor traffic violations. It is hazardous to drive a few blocks without risk of getting a ticket.

Well, sad to say, last night VC got his first ever ticket :-(  for an alleged "roll stop."  Sure, it is right of passage, but it is a lousy one to have to make...

Since he is still categorized as an "inexperienced driver" - we need to get this wiped out - STAT. Which means I may be going with him to meet with the ADA this week to plead his case. He is a safe driver. Doesn't speed. Not a troublemaker (well unless you include making trouble for mom having to get involved with this kind of fun) - so please wish us luck.  He only has 1.5 months before going across the country for college.

He will be riding his scooter up until then.

And to think, last night he said to me, "Should I take the scooter?" and I said, "No, it's safer to take the car."

At least he did not get injured...Gotta start looking at the positive...

To add insult to injury, on the town's facebook page today, there was news of a newly scheduled "Family Night Out" in August in part to form a "comraderie" between police and citizens. Leave it to devious me to post the following comment: "will the cops still be ticketing during those hours? If so, I will arrive on foot."  So far no one at the town has "liked" my comment. Gotta give it time ;-)

Hope your summers are off to a great start!

P.S. Pumpkin is still all sorts of adorable :)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Props to My Son!

Who graduated from High School on Thursday - Class of 2014. Those of you who have been following this blog since the beginning - will recall that he was about 12 years old at the time!

This is not the best graduation picture, but it captures his playful side.


Graduation was extremely sentimental - since his is the first graduation class at the charter school he attended. As each child's name was announced, teachers did a "standing ovation" - reading about each child, their personalities, activities, etc. Of course, his mentioned juggling....

Now, onto the logistics of getting him out to Utah in August. I spent 4 hours yesterday comparing/booking flights...and just think how many times I will be doing that over the next 4 years!

Congratulations to those of you who also have graduating children. The local Hibachi grill put on quite a celebratory lunch for him - complete with gongs and singing, hat made out of a bag - and ice cream with a candle in it. It is an excellent option if you haven't made plans yet...

 Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Does It Seem Like Kohl's has been Hiking Prices - or is it just me....

Last week I stopped into Kohl's to pick up 1 pair of swim shorts and 1 pair of khaki shorts for VC. Armed with my $10 off anything over $10 coupon and a 15% coupon, I was expecting to leave with a deal.

So I was shocked when the total - after discount and $10 off came to $36 (for 2 items)...especially since the swim shorts were Kohl's own Sonoma brand.

Very disappointing - and I'm glad I did not pay the extra $17 in order to reach the $50 limit to get a $10 off coupon for the next week. I have always wondered if prices are jacked up before those "special" weeks. However, I should be rest assured because my receipt showed a "total saved of $56.02" circled by the cashier ;-) . Do you mean to tell me the actual cost of a swimsuit and pair of shorts is $92!!!!

Looks like Kohl's has been investigated for price jacking in advance of sales in the past although this practice is denied. **CBS conducted an investigation in 2012. Click here to see the surprising results.

I have been a Kohl's shopper for years...but me thinks I may be done.

Oh well...I was happy to avoid Kohl's and stopped in at Ross today to find a tie for VC's graduation ceremony - so he will look spiffy under his cap and gown. Picked one up for $7.99 - a Pierre Cardin ...now that's more like it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Week One of "Pine Mouth" is Complete

Do you eat Pine Nuts (aka pignoles as my Italian grandmother referred to them)?  Do you know that there is such a thing as "Pine Mouth."

There is - and it appears I may have been afflicted with Pine Mouth for a full 7 days as of today.

It started last Wednesday when I made a salad topped with an ample heap of pine nuts. Then, I repeated the salad on Thursday.

Since then everything I eat tastes like Metal!!  Yep, as in metal metal. It is a horrid bitter taste. It has not stopped me from overindulging (aka binge eating) - but it is making food unpalatable.

I do have some sinus issues which may be making things worse, but you can imagine that a lightbulb went off when I was googling my symptoms and came across this article  on epicurous.com.

The culprit appears to be Pine Nuts from China -- figures!!!!  Such as the ones I buy in bulk at Sam's Club...although my mom had some from the Fresh Market - that were 3x the price, but also imported from China.

If you enjoy  your pine nuts as much as I do, you may want to avoid going overboard...or prepare for Pine Mouth.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Top 50 Mom Bloggers in the U.S. - Oh really....

I noticed an email update from Twitter showing "what's trending now" by some of the accounts I follow. I rarely pay much attention to this type of email, but what stuck out was a post made by a blogger indicating she had been chosen once again as one of the 50 Top Mom Bloggers by Cision, whatever Cision is.

You can view the list here.

Kudos to the winners - among them are some recognizable bloggers, but then there is the #1 pick which, quite frankly, seems an odd choice considering there are ZERO comments on most posts and most seem like they may be sponsored posts with text links, yet there is no disclosure as such.

I may be wrong, of course...Maybe this is what qualifies as a Number One Mom Blog these days...A blog with ZERO participation and what seem to be canned sponsored posts? It probably has to do with numbers and ranking, but one would think actual blog CONTENT would be taken into consideration.

Click through to view the list, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the number one choice.




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cat Grass = My Nemesis!!

I never claimed to have a Green Thumb, but one would think I would be capable of growing GRASS!!  Sadly, that is not the case. After my second attempt to grow some indoor grass for Pumpkin (it supposedly helps with preventing hairballs and is good for the cat) - I have officially given up :(

Here is my first attempt (back in January) - fizzled rather quickly...

In April, at my mother's encouragement, I gave it another go - this time with a different kit. Look how luxurious this grass looked on April 5th!!


..which brings us to today, May 7th...

I think it may have been a case of over-watering. Pathetic!  Poor Pumpkin will have to do without grass....

Who knew growing grass would be this tricky!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dress Codes - Cry Me a River

I can't believe the woman who was allegedly kicked out of Planet Fitness because her pregnant midriff was exposed is still front page ABC News. Also can't believe how distraught she is. C'mon. Cut me a break. Is it really that earth shattering???

Years ago - back when I was 25 or so, I had a lovely cotton jumpsuit that was navy that I wore out to a club and dressed it up with heels. Guess what? I was refused at the door because I was wearing "jeans." Seriously - and this was a classy outfit that I had purchased from Spiegel. Nevertheless, I had to leave and drive home alone- and the club was about an hour away from home - while my future spouse stayed and partied I might add :D :D

That's how it goes..

I cannot wear my piercing when I go on medical assignments, so guess what? I put in a retainer. Disappointing, but no biggie.

Same when I substitute, but out of my choosing, so the kindergartners do not ask me again what is in my nose...

Sometimes you just gotta suck it up and comply - and not call a lawyer!!!!  OK. I'm done now.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Has Anyone Ever Made Money with CafePress?

Going on 6 years now, having not made one cent. Occasionally it pops into my mind to google things such as this, to see if anyone is actually making money. There are several similar sites, but I have a feeling it is only 1/100,000,000th of the people who ever earn anything from them - and then your designs are out there for people to pilfer. That is a huge drawback.

I often wonder this about MLM's as well. Seems it is the early adopters who make all the money - the rest - not so much- except this one local gal who has a ton of people working for her and keeps being profiled in local publications...MLM is not my thing.

...not that I am counting on making any serious money online, mostly curiousness on my part. Putting things out there to see what happens. And, in this case, nothing much is happening ;-)

As I googled the very question I posed in my title, seems there are many others in the same boat. The profit margins are so ridiculously slim anyway, that one would need to sell a boatload to even make $50.

I would love to hear your experiences!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

#TBT

Just posted this on Facebook but figured I'd share it here. Me: 1993 (St. John Virgin Islands)

and here is me taken a few days ago:

...back to that theme of time again. As in Time is Cruel!

But I've got my health so it's all good :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life Marches On...

I was approached recently about doing a review of a parental control software to protect children on the internet. Looked like a great program, only problem being that my 18 year old already thinks I monitor his activities too much, as is. What can I say? I am an EXCELLENT micromanager much to the dismay of my family.

Now that VC has turned 18 I guess I can no longer claim to be a "mommy blogger" although that was a label I never much applied to my blog in the first place. Too constrictive. I see this blog as more of a "slice of life blog" and  hopefully it will continue to move along as I enter the lonely world of the empty-nester.

Here we are on probably our last time dyeing Easter eggs together:


*you can see that my Instagram account gets plenty of activity ;-)

What have I been doing?:

(1) "training" for a 5K - and I use the term "training" loosely. Since running is so hard on the knees I mostly continue to take fitness/strength classes and do an occasional 1.5 mile slow jog. This "training method" worked the last time I raced and will protect my knees in the long run *fingers crossed*

(2) doing some crocheting. Another crooked baby blanket in the works ;-)

(3) reading! My current book:
The Husband's Secret - Oh My GOSH - this is a page turner. I had planned to read it when substitute teaching later this week if I have time, but let me tell you - it is a good one so I have been staying up late reading it. Will probably finish it before I get to the classroom. Liane Moriarity is also the author of A Hypnotist's Love Story, a book I read last year. Also excellent. If you are looking for a beach read, I highly recommend both books.

(4) doing some work as an extra. I cannot divulge the details but it is a lot of fun. You may recall I did a day working as an extra last year - and ended up on the cutting room floor. Maybe I'll get lucky this year :-)

(5) Substitute teaching - mostly high school and middle school.

(6) doing some medical work on a per diem basis. Still unsure if this is the career direction for me.

(7) still whining that I have not yet found my passion in life :( If you follow the Humans of New York Blog and Facebook page, you will see a woman who is in her seventies who was also lamenting this earlier in the week. She is me fast forward 25 years. Working to change that...

(8) Continuing my real life crime drama addiction by watching Dateline and 48 Hours religiously.

(9) Trying to get all the Easter candy out of the house now that I have consumed the mini Cadbury Creme Eggs...I have ZERO willpower.

(10) spending lots of time with my sweet kitty Pumpkin. There is so much joy a pet can bring into your life. Had no idea how much I had been missing out on for 40+ years of my life. She is my feisty little companion...

(11) Trying to stay positive in general. I gravitate toward glass half empty even though I have so many good things in my life. It is silly. I truly think you are born with a certain set of behavioral characteristics and some are difficult to change, but can be changed.

(12) Continuing with the blogging even though a lot of my mojo was zapped when I lost my domain name. Still bugs me.

That about sums it up. I am grateful to all who still visit my little corner of the blogosphere. Wishing you nothing but good things to come!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tortellini Soup - YUM!

You may have seen a variation of this recipe floating around Pinterest and Facebook. Not being much of a cook *understatement* I decided to give it a go, and let me tell you, it is a great recipe! Even my teen loves it.

Above is a photo of the final product - after it cooked in the slow cooker.

What you will need:

2 Packages of  frozen tortellini (I made more than the original recipe calls for) - enough to last for 2 dinners
1 Box of Vegetable Broth (I used Rachel Ray's 32-oz veggie stock)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Package of cream cheese (to make lower fat, I used neufchatel cheese)
A couple handfuls of spinach (I used frozen spinach and cooked in microwave before adding)
Dash of Pepper
*add water if there is not enough broth to sufficiently cover the tortellini*

Toss these ingredients in the slow cooker (after cutting up the cream cheese)

Cook on low for about 5 hours (the original recipe calls for 6 but the noodles fell apart). Keep an eye on it as the time gets close so as not to overcook.

Enjoy!





Thursday, April 10, 2014

What Do You Fear?

When I have a day off, I  like to take a strength class. Well, it looks like today was our instructor's, (who resembles an unber fit Barbie) final day teaching. She reassured us that she would still be around though, teaching a paddle board class on the lake. Well, that's not gonna do me any good with my TOTALLY IRRATIONAL FEAR OF DEEP WATER!!!!

In my 40+ years I have never learned to swim well. I can float for long distances on my back and do the lame side stroke and a makeshift doggie paddle, but that's about the extent of it.

I realize if you can stay afloat in shallow water, you should conceivably be able to do the same in deep water, but if my feet cannot touch the bottom, panic sets in.

VC assessed my doggie paddle at the local swimming hole a year ago and said it wasn't half bad. If you recall, he is an incredible diver. No idea where those genes came from but I can safely say they were not from my gene pool.

Maybe one of these days I will tackle this fear. If only I didn't despise pools and bodies of water....

In the meantime, you will not spot me on the lake doing this - or even on dry land for that matter:
What is it you fear?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beans and Coffee, Edamame and Magical Childhoods!

Just when you thought I was done dwelling on intestinal issues, I'm not!  Today I learned a very valuable lesson: Do not eat the equivalent of a can and a half of black beans, guzzle some coffee and then go on a scheduled mall walk with a friend.

This is a REALLY BAD IDEA!

All that walking was just churning the big ball o' bloat...

I had to sit down at mile 3.31, and I never sit down during a slow mall walk...

I am a idiot when it comes to food. Sometimes even an idiot at identifying food. I was substituting with 7th graders all week. One day I was sitting with a group and a student had a bunch of what looked like pea pods or beans (who the heck knows the difference ;-) ) on the table.


We were getting ready to go outside so I wanted the kids to clean up. Noticing that one of his bean pods was on the floor, I said, "and please pick up that bean thingy" from the floor, at which point he replied, "it is edamame." So this is the kind of healthy food the kids are bringing for lunch these days!!  I frowned when I thought of the BLT sandwich I had made for VC that morning for his lunch. Not quite the same health value as edamame. And this is why I will not be receiving any Parent of the Year awards.

Speaking of which, did you see this blog post on the Huff Post, "I'm Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical."  It is recommended reading. I am so glad VC made it through his formative years, before there was facebook, Pinterest and the constant documentation of every move he made and pressure to be Uber Creative Mom. The parents of today would be aghast to learn that my son has made it to age 18 without ever having had an XBOX, Playstation, Wii, Gameboy, etc. etc. It can be done...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 2014 is Here!

Ultimate Blog Party 2014 It is that time of year already - Ultimate Blog Party time - the one party I participate in every year!

Welcome to my blog. You can find out all sorts of neat things about me here.

How would I describe myself and my blog? It is a slice of life blog (begun in 2008) brought to you by a fortysomething mom - a soon-to-be empty nester as my son heads off to college practically clear across the country in the fall.

*cue nervous breakdown* ;-)

Luckily I have this little cutie to help with the loneliness. Our rescue cat, Pumpkin:

Horrible photo of me, but Ms. Pumpkin looks great. You will notice I am not picking her up. Pumpkin does not like to be picked up or held. Maybe someday she will be less skittish, but until then, we are more than happy to get down to her level :-)  She has brought us so much joy!

Here is how she wakes me up in the morning. I believe she is actually nipping me in the first few seconds...but then she does the gentle pat...Pumpkin errs on the feisty side...



I'll admit that I was one of those people who scoffed at people posting pics of their pets ad nauseum on Facebook...until I had a pet.

Now I feel compelled to check out every cat video that shows up in my newsfeed.

Yes, that is, in fact, a nose piercing on a middle aged woman. Done after giving it plenty of thought 4 years ago, yet I mostly can't wear the piercing due to my jobs - so I just put it in during the summer months. Do I worry that people are thinking "is that middle aged chick going through a midlife crisis or something?" Sure, but life is short. If you want to do something - do it!

I'm sure you wanted to know all this ;-)

Anyhoo, enjoy the party. Looking forward to visiting your blogs...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Skip the Monk Fruit

In my never ending quest to reduce my sugar intake, I came across Monk Fruit (just typed "monkey fruit" by mistake) extract in the sugar substitute section of the grocery. I pulled out my phone to do some quick research on it's safety and saw that it got the Dr. Oz stamp of approval. (although sometimes I am quite skeptical of products he endorses) - further research was completed - and it seemed to be a safe product.

The particular brand I purchased was Skinnygirl Monk Fruit, simply because it was in a tiny container so I could try without going all in...



Eager to taste it, I came home and brewed some coffee (the old-fashioned way - no K-cups here) - and put in a couple splashes.

I can't even begin to describe the taste, but it was no match for sugar. Currently, I cannot drink coffee without putting in a teaspoon and a 1/2. Much too much, especially considering my concern about fatty liver infiltration. Not kidding...

It was extremely bitter and perhaps very remotely sweet. BLECH.

Not to be daunted, I tried it again the next day, this time putting in 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 splashes of Monk Fruit. MEH. Only slightly better - and I was still consuming sugar, so that defeated the purpose.

And then the past couple days I noticed awful gas pains in my lower abdomen. I wasn't eating anything out of my ordinary relatively basic diet. Other than......Monk Fruit extract!!!!  The pain was very sharp during the night prompting me to get up and google "Monk Fruit Extract and excessive gas" - and what do you know...many people have trouble in that it can ferment in the digestive tract and cause bloating and gas.

This may be a case of my digestive tract getting more sensitive with age, and maybe you will try and and have no problems....but for me, it was not a good sugar replacement.

Trying to stay away from anything aspartame-related, I have already tried and put the nix on Agave.

Which brings me back to sugar and the fact that I may need to bite the bullet and just cut back on my sugar intake without focusing on finding a healthy replacement. This may require some gritting of teeth but I can do it. Or can I?

Friday, March 28, 2014

It Can Be Addicting


Those of us who semi-dread our 2-3x weekly visits to the gym might not believe that exercise can be addicting....but it can. Earlier this week I made the following post on FB:

Well the "obsessive exerciser" was in class with me again today. This is someone who is always working out. I don't go often (down to only 3x this month) but every time I go she is there- constantly having to do weights even when we are in resting mode. Always having to add extra exercises. If she is 90 lbs I'd be amazed. Very very sad. I guess no one who works at the gym is permitted to take her aside and ask her if she is addicted to exercise. When you get to the point that you look like a lollipop it is alarming. She is very pretty but would be much prettier with 20 lbs added imho. But I am going to keep the lip zipped....

I have been very concerned about this individual; luckily she is not yet near the extreme case I saw on GMA this morning. However, it is a slippery slope...Before class she is busy on the exercise machines and then after an hour class she immediately cuts out to work out again on the exercise machines.

As I was flipping channels while on my leisurely elliptical stroll, I couldn't believe there was a segment about a girl who was in a similar situation and the "angels" at the Y who arranged for an intervention to get her the treatment she so desperately needed. Click here to hear her story about the intervention and her subsequent recovery after months at a treatment center.

I am curious why no employees at the place I workout have said anything to this compulsive workout-er. Maybe it is legal reasons? It is a tough territory to tread on...

Have you come across an exercise addict and had the courage to intervene?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Utah, Vegas and more!

Hello Friends!
We just returned from a fact finding mission to Utah to research a possible university for VC.

What am amazing corner of the country. We rented a "sweet" ride and drove 900 miles - ending up in Vegas on our last day.

Here I am in Zion National Park. The memory chip on my phone got corrupted - so we drove back the next day to re-take our photos - typical...


and then Vegas! Caesar's Palace - where I played some video poker - always a fun time!


Here we are inside the Bellagio - next to a spectacular piece of live artwork:

Lots of planes, shuttles and driving during our four day excursion...

I am not big on flying - so considering one leg of the trip on the way to/from was on the dreadfully small "Embraer" - (only three seats wide - one seat on the left; and two on the right) I was not looking forward to it.

And then the morning of our flight - which was scheduled to leave at 5:50 am - the plane had to be de-iced and then the pilot came on to notify us that the plan was having mechanical problems - which he described as the switch that controls the pitch of the nose of the airplane not working on his side, which meant an hour delay while a new switch was installed. Which lead to us arriving at the Gate in Chicago with only 6 minutes to spare!

I don't know about you, but when the mechanical problem is this type of mechanical problem, I'd almost rather NOT know what the problem is!!!!!

Anyhoo, we made it home safe and sound .

P.S. You are all so polite not mentioning all the spelling errors I had in my previous post on the decline of education standards LOL :D  just now figured out there is a spellcheck on Blogger so this post should be error-free!

BTW, there are more photos from our trip on Instagram (carmasez) if you would like to see them and/or follow my Instagram.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Where Will It End

Two recent educational develoments have caused me to do the raised eyebrow.

First, the lowering of 3rd grade reading requirements in the state where I reside, although "State officials have said the new scores so not reflect lower standards" - very puzzling. It would seem that the new scores do reflect that.

Secondly, the revamp of the SAT, which includes elimination of the writing portion and difficult vocabulary words. Again, this is supposedly not seen as lowering standards.

I am so grateful that VC  has been accepted to all of the universities to which he applied and I am fairly certain it has a lot to do with his excellent SAT scores.

Why not strive for excellence instead of celebrating mediocrity?



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Do Not Ask Me if I Want to Play You in a Word Game. I Do Not.

I am starting to get a big complex. Recently a few friends have hit me up to play Words With Friends and Word Trick.

They are very into it - and good at it. Even when I form a word worth 40 points, I still end up losing games though. (That 40 point word was a fluke - but is a good example to illusrate my point plus I can brag)...

When I started playing WWF. I thought I was all "Alec Baldwin"- but the allure has quickly diminished...

As of today I have lost at least 10 games - and won ZERO.

I have always prided myself as being a "Scrabble Wiz" - but maybe that is because my competition here at the house has not been that challenging. Should have realized this when MB put a "P" in front of "Drum" to form the word "PDrum" ;-)

You know when you think you are smart, but then you have an awakening that maybe you are not all THAT smart.

Yeah, that's where I'm at. As long as I am no longer smart, I can end a sentence with a preposition....

...but please, no one else ask me to play a word game!!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tiny Size Me - What Happened to Girl Scout Cookies????

Last week a sweet little girl from down the block rang the doorbell and I was excited when I opened the door and saw her wagon filled with Girl Scout cookies - meaning my Tagalongs had arrived!!

Excitement turned to disappointment when, after freezing them for a hour - if you do not freeze your Girl Scout Cookies - this is something you may want to consider - I opened the box and furrowed my brow as I realized how downsized these cookies were from the thick Girl Scout Tagalongs of yore.

Here's what I saw:


Ohhhh...I forgot I first ate one sleeve - and MB the second sleeve, so all that remained by the time of the photo op was the third sleeve - VC's. As you can see, I divvied everything up fairly...

What you need to notice is how thin and tiny the cookies look.

Of course, I couldn't resist inquiring on FB as to whether everyone else had noticed this shrinkage issue. It quickly turned into a debate about whether it is best when ordering to calculate the per unit cost. My cost conscious relatives (it's in our blood) had calculated that, in this case, it is best to go with the Thin Mints.

Had I only taken the time to do that before ordering my puny Tagalongs, which came in at roughly .26 cents a cookie.

Did you order Girl Scout cookies this year? Were you pleased when you opened the box?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Laziness Pays Off !

I really need to be lazy more often. I was filling out an application - and once I uploaded my resume, it appeared I needed to re-type the resume in more detail with starting/stop dates, salaries, etc. and three job references. So of course I bagged it  Then today someone contacted me since they were still able to see my resume even though I hadn't completed and submitted anything else - and they attached a simple checklist for me to complete and bypass the rest if I was still interested! Kids: Laziness pays off! 

On a semi-related note, I have just finished reading The 4 Hour Work Week. It was recommended by a childhood friend. Although some of the concepts would be difficult to implement - or, should I say -not difficult, more "impractical" - such as getting a vitural assistant in the Middle East, many of the tips can be adapted and I did take away some ideas worth exploring further.

Mr. Ferriss has a good thing going - spending life in a series of semi-retirements, learning and doing things that he enjoys, while reducing work hours to the bare minimum.

Of course, if I was to try doing this and live off my blog I would be dead of starvation in three days ;-)

One thing that I feel the the need to get to the bottom of - is a letter that was written by someone who practiced the 4 Hour technique and was splitting time between NYC and Colombia. When I went to check out his website, it appeared he died a tragic death shortly after the book was published but no details are available anywhere. May be a cautionary tale, or something totally unrelated but the fact that there is no information available is very circumspect!

Oh, I have also finally been selected by a blog review company to do a review- problem is that the review is in someone else's words and not related to my blog :/ I would feel like a total sellout to publish it, but I won't rule it out just yet hee hee. After all, how am I going to get to a 4 Hour Work Week if I continue to pass things up????

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Delightfully Catty errr Witty Guilty Blog Reading Pleasure

Not sure how it took me this long to discover the Get Off My Internets blog, but I have to say I am getting a kick out of it.

The blog pokes fun at self-absorbed navel-gazing, uppity bloggers who make/do ridiculous things, and those who perpetrate internet hoaxes.

I have been blowing too much time reading the blog/comments and looking at the sites discussed. The author offers very keen insights into the life of these bloggers - and the commentary is a hoot.

Another interesting blog I stumbled upon is a blog featuring blogger's final posts as they close shop on their blogs. Ironically, the blog is no longer being updated, without a final blog post ;-)  You can find it here.

If I wasn't afraid of copyright infringement, I'd pick up where they left off. This is something I find especially intriguing, the last blog goodbye.

In other news, the turd who is now using my domain name for a sh*tty spam blog tried to register it on Blog Catalog and the rejection notice came to my email. Take that blog loser! *Please do not visit the blog as I do not want to give him any traffic...

...and this is how I spend time while the Superbowl is on. That and working on taxes. I posted re: the taxes to facebook "Q. Who works on taxes every year instead of watching the Super Bowl? A. Someone who has a cute cat, crochets, is Keith Morrison's #1 Fan, is having a midlife crisis, annoys her son and drives an Element. In other words no one you know"

and a friend wisely pointed out: "That's a special kind of sad." LOL

Are you watching the game? or doing taxes instead? ;-)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ahh, the Joys of Parenting (5% of the Time)

VC (my teenage son for those who are not familiar with my blog) has proclaimed (with a smirk) that 95% of the time when he is unhappy it is due to me. Which means I am not responsible for the other 5% - WOOT!! (He made a pie chart to illustrate his point.)




Monday, January 27, 2014

If You are a Vegetarian, BE a Vegetarian!

Yes, this is one of my gripe-y posts.

I am tired of people claiming to be vegetarians, yet they are far from vegetarians.

In which case, do NOT claim to be a vegetarian. It is that simple.

I know of someone who says they are a vegetarian, yet recently I have witnessed them eating pepperoni, ribs, bacon and tunafish.

Does that sound like a vegetarian?

It is like claiming to be gluten-free and eating wheat bread for gosh sake!! *slowly steps down from soapbox*


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Is Winter Over Yet?????

Even in the South, the temperatures here have been brutal. 17 degrees F in the mornings this week. BLECH! It is interferring with getting together with my walking buddies.

After three days of substituting at the High School (exhausting!) - I was ready to walk on Friday, but we were down into the teens again.

Gosh, could this blog post get any more exciting ;-)

For me, walking is my therapy. I try to meet up once a week with a friend. By the time I walk to her house and then we walk through town and on the greenway, I have logged in 8 miles.

Yesterday another friend and I did some mall walking. There was a guy from a modeling agency outside Dillard's trying to get people to sign up for a chance to win a free modeling photo session to be the face of the big "city" - He didn't say anything to us for the first 6 laps or so but then since no one else was stopping, he finally asked us: two middle aged women. Could you see as as the "face" of the metropolis? We might scare people away from moving here. Not exactly energetic, twentysomething partiers...

VC has been finishing up with college/scholarship applications. Glad this will soon be over and done. We still need to make the trip cross country to visit his #1 choice.

It will need to wait until the regional and state dive meets are over. It is making me nervous to wait so long to visit. He has decided that he hates the cold and in the 11th hour has decided to apply to a unviersity located on the coast. Nothing like centering your college experience around the climate. Can't blame him though. I despise the cold.

My puffy quilted vest is becoming a regular wardrobe staple. If the guy at the mall had seen me wearing it there is no way he would have approached us ;-)

To think I originally went to school for a degree in Fashion Merchandising. You would never know it to look at me now lol.

I did get some snazzy new eyeglasses though!

....and I baked some chocolate chip cookies following a recipe I saw in InStyle magazine, so maybe I am still using what I learned in fashion school. lol.  The cookies were advertised as soft and chewy, but you know by day two they were relatively firm. I was bummed about this as I thought the soft and squishy would be a permanent state. Not complaining though. They were delish.

What have you been wearing and baking?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

No Need to Worry About Putting Out Stellar Content

It is very troubling when I look at the stats for my most frequently visited pages, especially when the first or second position usually goes to a post I did about spanking - that features a blurred photo of a guy spanking another guy (I used the photo as a joke to illustrate my point) :-(

That will give you a good idea about what people are looking for when they surf the net.

And makes me wonder once again about the demise of blogging.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Purpose

I recently stumbled upon this quote: "Where purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable." Powerful. And not in an "abuse" abuse way. To me, abuse includes self-loathing..

As many of you have read over the years, I am on a constant mission to find my purpose. I know that I am smart and am still able to do complex algebra ;-) but I have never gotten anywhere careerwise, and that just continues to eat away at me.

A year spent in medical assisting school did nothing to solve the problem. I do work related to my diploma on a sporadic per diem basis. Do I truly enjoy it? sometimes. Has it given me a sense of purpose? probably not.

I am also substituting on a regular basis. That is semi-fulfilling especially when I receive a compliment from a student or teacher. I am quickly becoming one of the "go to" subs.

All is well with that except I know there is so much more that I could be doing :-(  lack of proper degree keeps getting in the way and I have no intention of going back to get another degree as I am rapidly closing in on age 50 and do not need the extra stress..

Do you feel fulfilled in your purpose as a wife and mom - without having a purpose outside of that? Is this something I can ever come to terms with?

Seeing people who are not necessarily the brightest in positions I know I have the intelligence to do - exept that I don't have the right degree makes me want to scream. (my degree is in Business Admin - very broad - too broad!)

It is probably time to cut back on Facebook. Sometimes I'd rather not know what people are doing. I believe in those studies where there is a correlation between time spent on Facebook and an increased downward mood spiral!

Will my frustration with my lack of accomplishment continue to eat away at me? Will my self-loating always be a constant in my life?

Does anyone else feel the same way?


Monday, January 6, 2014

Burpees? Uh, Not for Me

A local gym came up in my FB timeline today - and they were promoting a photo of a guy doing burpees. It is one of those Old Skool gyms, you know the ones, where you do weights and old time-y exercises and use kettleballs?

I get exhausted just thinking about it. I was taking a Kickboxing/Interval class on a fairly regular basis at the Y until I pulled some muscles and genuinely felt like crap and decided I might have been in better shape BEFORE I started exercising in earnest.

The interval part. I dreaded it. Because we did sets of burpees ad nauseum. When it came burpee time, I would slowly saunter over to where my water bottle was located - against the side wall and slowly sip my water and then saunter back and do a few burpees. My burpees did not include the excited JUMP UP at the end. That was too taxing ;-) I mean isn't it enough to do 20+ burpees in a row without the burst of energy at the end of each one?

What are your thoughts on these new gyms that are springing up everywhere? There is one in our town and in every town surrounding it. I did some research and discovered this is because the owners of these gyms (known as 'boxes') pay $3,000 a year for the use of the name, as opposed to becoming a franchisee. Not a bad deal.

Not sure that I believe enough in the grueling workout to ever go to one myself. I'll stick to avoiding burpees at the Y. Have you started up an exercise program for the New Year? Does it involve burpees?
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