Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Old Friend with a New Look

I've been spending time with an old friend lately. I met her during my Home Economics class in high school.

Perhaps you know Betty. She's written a few books.

I made a Quiche Lorraine for breakfast yesterday morning and Chicken Paprikash for dinner tonight. And while I love (LOVE) a good quiche, Chicken Paprikash was fun to make just because it's fun to say. Paprikash!

While googling for a pic of Betty, I was surprised to see the transitioning images of her over the years.

I come to teaching from a background in advertising, so media trends and target audiences have fascinated me since the days of Darwin making pitches to clients on Bewitched. It seems that "Betty" has grown younger over the years (and much kinder looking than that 1936 school marm version). Isn't it funny how the 1969 version looks more modern than the 1972 version?

The new Betty seems ambiguous in many ways. She has the image of having been a soccer mom but at an age to have just outgrown those carpooling teenaged athletes days (because some of us aren't 56 when that day comes). Fifty-six. Paprikash!

She's also racially ambiguous, Caucasian but with a strong hinting of ethnicity. Being racially ambiguous is highly marketable. I learned that watching America's Next Top Model. (Educational programming has many definitions ;)

However, what stands out most to me about this newest morphing of the "Batter Queen" is that in this newest age of technology, she looks purely computer generated and thus far more fake than any earlier version. I don't understand why they would not chose to use a real model versus a Sim's neighbor. The "ambiguous" identity does not make me feel any more relatable to the marketing brand. Odd.


Quiche Lorraine

  • Pie Crust
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (6 ounces)
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour


1. Line pastry sheet with a double thickness of foil. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 4-5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

2. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 2 Tbsp drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside. Cook sliced onion in reserved drippings until tender but not brown; drain.

3. In a medium mixing bowl stir together eggs, milk, salt and nutmeg. Stir in the crumbled bacon and onion. Toss together shredded cheese and flour. Add to egg mixture; mix well.

4. Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent over-browning. Pour egg mixture into hot, baked pastry shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Paprikash

  • 2 - 2.5 lbs of meaty chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 large chopped onion (1 cup)
  • 3-4 tsp Paprika
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or white cooking wine)
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour


1. Skin chicken. Rinse chicken and pat dry. In a 12-inch skillet, cook chicken in hot oil about 15 minutes or until lightly browned, turning to brown evenly. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

2. Add onion and paprika to skillet; cook until onion is tender. Return chicken to skillet, turning pieces to coat with paprika mixture. Add broth and wine to skillet. Bring to boiling then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Transfer chicken to a serving platter and keep warm.

3. For sauce, skim fat from pan juices. Measure 1 1/2 cups of juice, adding water if necessary. In a mixing bowl, stir together sour cream and flour; gradually stir into pan juices. Pour into skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.

4. Spoon some of the sauce over chicken. Serve with hot cooked noodles or rice.

Monday, July 30, 2012

It Sucked and then I Cried

It Sucked and then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita by Heather Armstrong

Heather Armstrong is the blogging phenomenon better known as dooce. She lost her job for writing about her co-workers long before blogging became the "thing to do," and has since become a self-professed "professional blogger." (They live well. How is this possible?) I have read dooce's blog on and off since I discovered it many years ago after the Blogher controversy during which another Mommy Blogger referred to her as the "mythical troll" of blogging, which was taken very offensively by her fans (go figure).

When I saw on her web page that she had written this book, I tried to get a copy with no luck. Then, I found one at the fill-a-bag for $5.00 library book sale in our neighborhood. (Perhaps that should have been a hint?)

The tone of this memoir was similar to that of her blog, which I enjoy. However, it was a bit much to continuously digest over 253 pages. Have you ever talked to someone who is always trying to build up to the laugh? That's what the narration of this book felt like. There was definitely humor. There was humor safely cocooning dark subjects, namely postpartum depression (including a brief visit to the psychiatric ward). But there was always humor.

For example, her commentary on Morning Sickness:
I come from a long line of Southern women who were sick then entire nine months of their pregnancies, my mother and sister included, and although I was the first woman in my family stubborn enough to reject the whole notion of pantyhose, I suspected that I would be forced through defective genes to suffer forty weeks of incessant gut-churning, face-contorting, Nacho Cheese Doritos-laden vomit.

Expectantly, the novel also includes several jibes at the Mormon religion, which both Heather and her husband were raised in... and left... then moved to Salt Lake City... UTAH. It borders offensive but doesn't quite reach there, much in the same way only a black comedian can get away with some jokes.

In ironic retrospect I would have to say that reading the novel was like pregnancy, or giving birth. It was a bit painful. I wanted to finish it, but I just couldn't get through it fast enough. Reflecting back on it now though I can appreciate it more than during the actual experience of reading it. Foremost because it had this directly non-fairy detail demystification of, 'You may think you know what this is  going to be like, you may have read all the important books, you may have all kinds of people giving you advice in your life, but they're all lies. Lies. All of them. Here's the real deal.'

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Button & Ribbon Necklace

Yesterday while the men were a'fishin and the baby was a'sleepin, Momma went a'craftin and made this funkalicious necklace! I love all things BUTTONS and have a fondness for ribbon too. I had become recently frustrated working through various tutorials with another necklace project, so I
decided to just "wing it" and come up with my own lil' creation... which I love!

Keep three things in mind with this supply list and some of the directions:
#1- I have a large neck.
#2- I like to wear my necklaces long (or find myself claustrophobically clawing them away from my neck).
#3- I have a pretty big button collection to work with.

So, you may want to make adjustments anywhere along this process to fit your tastes, supplies, and needs. 

The materials I used were:
- 12 inches of chain (You want it to be a bit heavier and bigger to handle the weight & appearance of buttons. I used some from a 7 yard spool I bought at Michaels; Brand name is "Bead Landing.")
- 4 pieces of a light gauge wire, each cut to 4 inches in length. (I used 24 gauge.)
- 9 mm jump rings ( I used 25 of these.)
- A tool to open & close jump rings (I used my 3-in-1.)
- Buttons! (also used 25 of these)
- 2 pieces of ribbon, 9 inches in length each
- Toggle Closure
- Beading Board (optional, of course)

And... This is what I did:

After having already sorted my mountain of buttons by colors with an earlier project, next I sorted through the red ones for this project.
(Obviously this isn't an important step to the non-OCD tinged of us.)

First I chose what would be the center button for the necklace since that would the "statement piece." Then I chose to build it symmetrically on both sides.
I thought a Beading Board was a frivolous purchase, but still got one when I saw them 50% off at Michaels and I had a coupon and I
 get a Teacher's discount, so it ended up being 75 cents. I'm really glad that I did now.
It helped in visualizing the lay-out much more than just positioning them on the work table would have.

Using the 9mm jump rings, I attached the buttons to the chain. I wanted an "intentionally cluttered" look. So, I chose to work with the larger buttons first and spaced them with three open chain links between them. This was my first time working with jump rings, so a few went to waste, but it was pretty simple & quick once you got into the groove. (I only used my teeth to close few of them ;)

Next, I chose the smaller buttons to fill in the gaps between the ones already attached.

Having left three empty links between each of the first set of buttons, I then went back to the chain and added one smaller button
between each of the larger ones. The pattern this created in the end was big-skip-small-skip-big-skip-small-skip-big-etc...

I varied the pattern on both ends by finished with two of the smallest buttons on the necklace.
It gave it a nice graduated look, as if tapering off.

Next loop one piece of the ribbon through the end of the chain. Then, wrap one piece of wire around the two-ribbons, about 2-fingers width from the chain to secure them together, and the ribbon to the chain. This one is wrapped about 11 times and then I cut off the excess. Be mindful of where you are cutting to make it pretty or make it hidden! Also, use your needle-nose pliers to wrap! It is much cleaner than just using your hands to twist. (I just figured this out and am trying to sound experienced here.) Of course you are going to repeat this entire process to the opposite side of the necklace.

Next, I used a small wire to wrap the top of each ribbon in the exact same fashion as before. For this necklace I left enough wire at the top of the wrap to attach the toggle closures. Next time though, I will attach the wire to the closure first and then wrap the ribbon. So, I suggest trying that way instead.

This photo was taken before I used a lighter to singe the edges of the ribbon just a bit to clean it up.

And there you have it, you're own funkalicious button and ribbon creation!
I am going to try some other colors and variations of this- will post pics soon!

DISCLAIMER: "Funkalicious" was not a word in my vocabulary prior to this post... but feel free to use it as your own!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Toddler Fingerprint Stencil

The big boys went to the Eastern Shore for a fishing excursion today (all three of them, lol).
While they were away, Benjamin and I had lots of time to play- crafty play that is.

I have seen several of these Toddler Masterpieces on Pinterest (where else?).
So, we decided to give one a try, on a smaller scale than some of the massive murals I have seen done.

We started with a small canvas, 8x10. I used black vinyl to cut a stencil with the Cricut.
Specifically for this project, I cut a 4" (real size) B with the Roly Poly font on Plantain Schoolbook.

I affixed the vinyl letter to the canvas and covered the kitchen table with a plastic tablecloth that I use for messy projects.
(Pick these up after holidays at Wal-Mart for 50 cents. The always come in handy! Way cheaper than tarps.)

For paint, I used the every day craft paint, I think "Apple Barrel" brand, that I had on hand. I stripped Benjamin down to the diaper (because I would never have him running around in the house in just a diaper already, nooo), and plopped him up on the kitchen table. I squirted a little paint on a styrofoam plate and just let him play. Take note of how he began very meticulously dotting the canvas with his fingertips.

It didn't take too long for him to realize that playing in the paint was as (more?) fun than painting on the canvas.

Each time he would swirl a new layer of paint on the canvas, he would throw his hands up in the air and shout "TA-DA."
(He was quite confident in his artistic ability apparently.)

He would announce the color each time he used it too... or maybe I should say announce "a color" each time he used it. Because we worked with such a small canvas, I decided to stick with the yellow-orange- red pallet. According to the prism, all the colors of the rainbow make white... but in finger painting, they make MUD.

Clean-up for the project was pretty easy too!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Project Runway- Week 2

Ahhh, the Unconventional Materials challenge. Haven't we done candy before? My initial thought was making a "chain mail" open vest with Life Savors. Of course, that is probably heavily influenced by the jewelry that I have been working with lately.

In the biggest news this week, Ven is Vindicated! I really think he was cheated out of a win last week. During the working stages, I wasn't too confident that his dress was going to have the "wow factor" this week because of the muted colors, but the design, outlined in black licorice really pulled it all together.

He still remains my favored designer. I accept his arrogance (Confidence in talent gets such a bad rap in our falsely humble society.) However, I was a little disappointment with his announcement that he graduated top of his class at FIT and unprecedentedly won all four of the awards given to the graduated class. That bristles against my romantic notion of the show discovering a novice. I also question how long ago that was... because why hasn't that already gotten him somewhere in the industry?

I think the great snub this week went to Dmitry. He, rather than Gunnar, should have been in the top three.Gunnar's dress, although well-coordinated with his hair, was falling apart on the runway. The styling of it was "cute" but the construction was not Top Three standards in my opinion. Dmitry's dress had great movement. The other designers commented that it looked like beading. I would see that dress on the street and possibly not even realize it was adorned with candy. In the creator's own words, "It's the perfect balance between fashion and candy."

I must also give a nod to Sonjia. I didn't like this gal at all last week Despite the Smurf-doo, I thought she was going to be a "Play It Safe" designer, at best. However, I think everything about her nautical-hued dress this week was surprisingly adorable, especially the gummy shark bib- which could have gone either way. The reverse blazer opening to the back of the dress was classy and well-tailored. It was overall just a very clean-cut, nicely detailed, well-tailored piece. She may be able to pull off being the "fun" designer without going to ridiculous extremes... like SOME OTHERS! (I am not even going to give Kooan blog-space this week.)

Lantie going home was definitely not any lost to the creative flow of the show. Her apathy was too much to deal with another week. She is going to complain about the lack of time the designers are given being her detriment when, #1- she was given just as much time as every other designer (that made creative and well-tailored looks with the same supplies), and #2- she was walking around the shop EATING candy rather than planning how to use it for her look! She described her own look as "girlie with an edginess to it." There is nothing edgy about her look. More like a "laziness" to it. I am well aware with the editing schemes of reality shows to villainize characters, but Lantie was flaunting excuses from her arrival to her departure... such as blaming her boutique failure on the "market crash." Oh, and she lost this challenge because it was "nothing like what she normally does." As if the other designers sat around on Friday nights making Barbie dresses from Fruit Roll-Ups?

Lastly, for this episode, I will just add that although I am not at all Buffi fan, she did endear herself to me just a bit when she said about the critique, "I did actually poop a little up there." Yes, I know, only I would be moved by self-proclaimed flatulence.

Big Brother: Eviction #2

How great was this week?

Russell Jr. is gone in a wave of more self-imploding drama than I could have even scripted.
And, let's take a moment to reflect on this "fight."

Jason's comment to me during this scene was if he fought like Joe, I would divorce him. I replied that obviously I would have to kick the butt of whomever he was fighting with first! I have to admit, I do wish Willie got in one good punch before he was ousted. That "fight" was more lame than a Baby Daddy Brawl on Maury. Hantz is obviously "bad boy" enough... since he was arrested for intoxicated driving just days after his premature house exit. Besides, that new "I'm so effing cool and not the old man" 3-inch long soul patch Joe is growing only adds to the reasons he is too annoying to continue suffering.

Ian's mommy obviously orchestrated a plane to fly over and drop his bottle of Ritalin tied to a lil' parachute into the Big Brother compound, because this week he went from the pestering freak back to the adorable geek. In searching for a picture of Ian in his cute lil' bow tie, I came across instead a pic of Ashley getting undressed after their date... in the Have Not Room... with Ian sitting on the "bed" behind her. What's up with that?!

Bye bye JoJo. Her lack of irritability factor is only due to others in the house being far higher on that scale. For me, evictions this week were a toss up. It didn't change the game for me much regardless of who left. She was a bit too hung up on being the caricature of a New York girl though. The only benefit of keeping her was the potential battle lines that could be drawn with her/Shane vs. others. (Aligning themselves with Willie will be like Herpes. He may be gone, but the effect of having been with him will keep coming back to haunt his weak alliances.) There's no hint of a great house divide yet. That will be inevitable when the alumni (unsurprisingly) join the game.

The ironic chain of HoH winners! Willie stabs Frank in the back, then Frank gets the next HoH. Frank puts Shane on the block, who saves himself, and then wins HoH. Retribution is the featured entree on the Big Brother menu so far this season. And Boogie suggesting that they backdoor Shane (not put him up for eviction but use him as a replacement nominee)? Even Rocker Chick (who I still despise by the way) knew "Pawns always go home!" Yes, granted, that would have worked given this week's scenario... but not if Shane wasn't on the block and therefore competing for the Veto to save himself. That is such a rookie mistake Boogie... tsk, tsk.

Showmances! How quickly did the budding affection between Shane and Danielle end when she was put up for eviction against JoJo? He did not even TRY to fake empathy towards her! Yes, he may have proposed an alternate plan to Frank to keep her off the block, but once she was pitted against JoJo, he gave her the cold shoulder. Antarctic Baby! Then, he was the ONLY vote for her! It will be interesting to see in this upcoming week if he will be overcompensatingly nice to her given his safe position.

And of course, we cannot mention the summer camp phenomenon that is Showmances without one more nod to Ian and Ashley!

I would say "my two favorite players" hooking up... but Ashley's attempts to prove what a dingbat she was this week were disappointing. Unfortunately, even though she has proclaimed "flying under the radar" to be her strategy, I don't think it's an act. She was so bad at that "Nacho Menu" memory game that she made Janelle look smart.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

I am not, in any way, a "foodie" or "food snob." However, I loathe canned sweet potatoes. We had a bounty of sweet taters left over from our visit to the Farmer's Market on Steroids, so I chopped them all up and steamed them to make tubs of puree to freeze for a quick grab in recipes... like this one (that originally called for canned yams, yuck!) Chopping sweet potatoes and steaming them for about 15 minutes is a quick and easy way to use fresh ones in your recipes... because baking them takes for-eva!


  • One 16-ounce can sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
    Candied Pecans, recipe follows


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcakes pans with liners (for 24 cupcakes).

    2. Puree sweet potatoes in food processor, and set aside.

    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg.

    4. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs.

    5. Add flour mixture (#3) to egg & sugar mixture (#4).

    6. Whisk in the sweet potato puree.

    7.  Fill each cupcake liner in baking pan with 1/4 cup of batter.

    8. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, then let cool.

    Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

    • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 3 sticks butter, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    • 6 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    1. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until creamy.

    2.  Add the butter and beat until well incorporated.

    3. Add the light brown sugar and beat until fluffy.

    4. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until well incorporated.

    5. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

    Candied Pecans

    Consider these an optional adornment. There is a narrow margin of time & talent between creating candied nuts and burned nuts. Considering the expense of nuts and how iffy this process was, I would just skip it next time. The frosting  is just so good that this isn't needed!
    • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 pound chopped pecans
    1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. Beat the egg white in a bowl until frothy; whisk 4 teaspoons water and the vanilla extract into the egg.

    3. Stir the sugar, cinnamon and salt into the egg mixture.

    4. Add the chopped pecans, stir to coat completely. Spread the pecans onto the baking sheet.

    5. Bake the pecans, stirring about every 15 minutes and stir. Bake pecans an additional 15 minutes. The original recipe called for repeating this process every 20 minutes for an hour, but the nuts burned horribly so I wold suggest tyring this modification instead.

    6. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

    This recipe was adapted from one created on a 2011 edition of Cupcake Wars!

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    It's a Zoo in there

    Usually, blogging is my day-ending activity. The boys are long asleep, or hidden in a dark room with movies or video games mimicking nocturnal behaviors. Tonight though, I am becoming highly doubtful that I will outlast them and be in bed before even Benjamin. So, I am blogging much earlier than the norm.
    A 6:30 a.m. wake-up time do not complement a 3 a.m. bedtime very well. Actually, I went to bed several hours before that last night knowing I had to get up early this morning. (Ok, I actually went to bed at my summertime 1 a.m. norm.) However, I stayed awake thinking about "First Day" lesson plans. Yeah, that's how I roll... back and forth in the bed all night long.

    We had an early wake-up call this morning because we had to take Benjamin to Norfolk for a 6-month follow-up appointment with the ENT that put his ear tubes in back in December. The last appointment led to wrestling a very tired and cranky toddler into being perfectly still and quiet for an auditory test. Didn't work so well. So, I made this appointment as early as possible to try and avoid nap time conflict. We instead had a very rambunctious and curious toddler today.

    This is how most of the waiting time in the examining room was spent, until the doc came in, then he was a seated perfect angel. I suppose that is more desirable than the inverse. However, when we had to go from doctor check to auditory testing to doctor follow-up, it made for a very long morning. Of course, the one toy that I brought to the office. The one toy that I had replaced the battery and hidden away for today's appointment... didn't work.

    Benjamin is the first boy to get ear tubes. The older boys had a few infections over the years, but nothing abnormal. With a history of deafness in my family, and over 13 years since having a child just starting to talk- thus not being sure what is "normal" Toddler-ese and what he should be hearing and pronouncing better- I try to stay on top of the ear issues.

    After the doctor appointment, Jason & I took Benjamin to the Norfolk Zoo. For the coolest day of the week, it was still a very hot day to be out and about. He was a bit wore out from the morning activities... Benjamin, not Jason... well, mainly Benjamin. So, we did the fast-forward trip through some of it (think Lampoon's European Vacation, museums scene). Thankfully, we went ahead and got the family membership today (since it cost less than 2 family trips), and we knew we would be back soon.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012


    I am not an Austin Powers fan. I have only seen a few clips from a few movies.
    However, I could not rid my mind of this lil' chant today.

    In my quest to be more pro-active about my health, I went to a Dermatologist to have a Mole Check. I had been advised to do so several times when I had my yearly exam but never did. Shortly before Relay this year, I began to feel a bit guilty... maybe ashamed is a better word. Here I was stepping into a position with Relay for Life to be one of the "faces" of our local committee, as well as working with the high school kids to raise money for ACS, and I wasn't practicing basic life-saving cancer screening.

    So, today I did.

    I remember in my early twenties counting how many moles I had and the number was in the thirties. I remember years later counting again and the numbers were in the high sixties. Now, it would not even be feasible to count how many there are. In part, because there is such confusion between what is a mole and what is a freckle.

    When I think of "mole," I think of the large hairy appendages  dangling from a cartoon witch's chin.

    And, when I think of "freckle," I think of cute red-headed kids.

    Pippi Longstocking! Do you remember Pippi? Oh, how I loved that rambunctious lil' tomboy!

    But, what about all those other markings that are neither?
    Are they freckles or are they moles? Can a freckle become a mole? Do all moles have the potential to be dangerous?

    Seriously, why hadn't I gone to the Dermatologist before? Both the older boys had seen Dr. Buckley- for moles(!)(oh how we mothers take care of our children, and not ourselves!), warts, and acne- so I was comfortable with him and the office.

    Although, as I waiting, I did think it was rather intimidating to keep this big red (but transparent!) jug FULL of used needles right there in the room. For me to look at. While I waited.  I guess I am more used to being at the Pediatrician's where they don't exactly display the needles so kids start crying long before they have to get a shot.

    What they did have was this thing though...
    Which takes your blood pressure on your WRIST! It was awesome. I abhor having my blood pressure taken. I don't know if it's because I'm overweight that the nurse always feels the need to crank that arm cuff to tourniquet level despite having a history of good bp readings, but I am always moments from ripping the the thing off before she starts letting air out of it.

    Anyway... the doc checked me over, told me that the two blips (because mole is such an ugly word) on my nose were of no concern, and referred to most of what was on my back and shoulders as "sun freckles." He did, however, want to remove one from my back to send for a biopsy. I know this is standard procedure so I wasn't too freaked out by it. However, my zen-breathing techniques (as opposed to calling it frantic hyperventilating) had him concerned that I wasn't "ready" for this today. Well, I don't know that I would ever be "ready" for a razor blade to slice a piece of flesh off my back... I just hadn't come to the appointment thinking I would be leaving with a little less skin than I arrived with.

    But I did. The only thing I felt was a little burning from the numbing injection. (After which I had the recurring thought that I do following all shots... I could totally get a tattoo... with a lil' zen-breathing.) And I have a one-inch circle band-aid protecting the battle wound, trooper that I am.

    I almost asked to see the hacked off little piece of flesh in the lab cup.

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    I probably shouldn't say this...

    ... but that rarely stops me anyway.

    Today is one of those days when I should not blog. However, I think back to an afternoon many... many... years ago when I went to the YMCA and there were two young ladies on the piece of torture equipment next to me that said, "Going to the gym is like going to church. You don't feel like going but once you get there, you're glad you went."  (Not that I was creeping on their conversation... no, not at all.)

    I agree with what was said. Very similarly I would also say that church and diet/exercise are something easy to fall away from if you fall out of habit. Miss one Sunday, miss two. Skip your walk one night, turn week, turn month. I think this universal truth applies to blogging too. (Obviously as my seven years of intermittent blogging would show.)

    So tonight, I blog.

    Today, my only creative efforts involved Pinning ideas for future creative efforts. My only culinary adventures involved chocolate pudding in a pretty glass with a dollop of Cool Whip on top (although, don't pretty glasses just make everything fancier? I have a whole cabinet of them I need to use far more often. Would you like some popcorn... in a pretty glass?) Alas, the crux of productivity today was posting items on the local FaceBook sales page (and selling several, shoulder self-patting commencing).

    I guess what's on my mind today is mainly the news. I unashamedly admit my conscious effort to stay unaware of current events.
    I like to stick my fingers in my ears, sing "lalala" and bury my head in the sand.

    For my husband, future history teacher that he is, who reads the paper, watches the news, and even listens to talk radio (gag!)... all that responsible citizen stuff, I am sure this is quite frustrating. Here is the gist of a near-daily conversation in out house:

    He says: "Did you hear about____?" (fill in any current news event)
    She says: "Nope"

    Occasionally there are news stories that are so devastating that they can't be avoided... even if I don't log onto Facebook for the day. The latest of this type of story is, of course, the Colorado shooting at the Batman premier. Events like this disturb me on so many levels. It's stomach-churning to think that things like this can happen in our world, or society, our backyard.

    I find the aftermath of these events just as disturbing though. Now, lawyers, and psychologists, and journalists will all clamor to create the most sensationalized explanation for WHY he did this. We have such a hard time accepting the fact that by the very definition of a "senseless act" of violence, there is NO way to make sense of it. Well-educated and highly reputable citizens with a childhood enveloped in love and reassurance can just as easily perpetuate a horrific crime as the jobless guy that flinches at the idea of even being hugged after such an abusive childhood. We want to create a logical explanation for illogical behavior... because it make us feel safe. It makes "that" person an "other"- not our family, our neighbor, our cashier at the grocery store.  I have never watched the show "Snapped," but I think it is likely to be the only scenario of these kind of stories that speaks the truth.

    The District Attorney has already announced that she is "considering pursuing the death penalty against Holmes"... before the investigation is finished, before any psychological testing has been done. That too just causes me to be more disturbed. I do not believe in the death penalty. In any case. Under any circumstance. Trust me, I know that is not a popular opinion and I am okay with that. It is what I believe. I believe in the sanctity of human life, from conception to death. I do not believe that any human should be given the god-like power to end human life. I think it creates a scary society when man is given this power to deem who deserves life and who deserves death. I don't want that power, and I don't want another human to have that power either. I can empathize with those who believe in retaliatory punishment, meaning killing he who kills. What's the result? Does extreme punishment deter others from similar behaviors? Apparently not. It does achieve removing that cancer from our society... but so does prison. I'm not going to diverge into the topics of prison reforms and costs here, for now. We do not live in a classless society. Equal justice for all is a Utopian concept, and allowing man to "legally murder" has led societies down some dark tunnels in history.

    To those of you checking into my little chaotic world, I half-hearted apologize for the heaviness tonight. I am not promising that I won't go back in the upcoming days and delete half this post as I have been prone to do with Facebook conversations that leave me saying, "Maybe I shouldn't have said that." It's definitely not the fodder of Mommy Blogs or Crafting Blogs, but I'm just not willing to pigeon-hole myself in that kind of niche right now... and this is what's heavy on my mind tonight.

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    The Children's Museum of Virginia

    Today, the boys and I went to The Children's Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth. I would not consider is a large museum, but every square foot of the two-story building is jam-packed with adventures for children of all ages to enjoy. Seriously, all ages- see photos of my 19, 15, and 2 year olds below! Yes, I thought the older bros were going to help and play with Benjamin, but they had to be given play time limits and pulled away from many activities themselves.

    The day began with bubbles- big bubbles and little bubbles, lots and lots of bubbles.

    Then there was a "ride" on the HRT Transit bus. I have seen several poems on Pinterest lately about being a "Mom of Boys." However, this picture sums it up for me much more than rhyming prose on bugs and muddy footprints on the kitchen floor.

    It is easy to spend three hours in this museum and still not see everything, because it is such a hands-on environment. We found several new adventures this trip that we didn't see last visit. Benjamin discovered the chickens. And he discovered that chickens laid eggs.

    And more eggs. And more eggs. Thirty minutes with the chicken and the eggs!
    Oh, and did you know, chickens lay EGGS!

    Curious George is the summer exhibit at the museum. George was Benjamin's first friend, although he is probably feeling neglected in the days since the boy discovered shoo-shoos.

    See previous comment about being the Mom of Boys... at least they waited until Benjamin couldn't see them.

    Justin wanted to do a little "Improv Theatre," which would warm this mom's heart... had he not kept announcing "Show starting in five minutes" and parents actually try to bring their kids in for the show!

    Should there be be any doubt that Benjamin can't hang with his teen bros, this should dispel that notion. He watched the Pirate... and his rebelling First Mate... and the arrival of his Fair Damsel... before Benjamin threw on a tiger mask and chased them all around the stage to add a little more action and danger to the plot.

    And, of course, there were shoo-shoos- two visits to the massive train room with tunnels leading to observation bubbles in the middle of all the intersecting tracks.

    In the Veterinarian Clinic, Benjamin made my PETA-loving heart proud as he took each DOG(!) from their crate checked them with the stethoscope and threw them out the doggie door to set them free. (Is this not the.most.adorable.picture.ever?)

    Mom of Boys... 'nuff said.

    It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt... or CPS is called. Ha! Wouldn't this be so much easier than dealing with a car seat? Kiddding! Actually, Benjamin did not want to come out of the crate and I had to bribe him with shoo-shoos to let me open the door... crazy kid.

    And finally, from the rear view mirror driving home, I saw the universal image of a day well spent with fun being had by all.

    The End