Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Am So OVER Comforters

Does anyone else have this problem? The comforters are nice, fit the bed perfectly, lay just right - but those frakin' bedskirts! They slip, they slide, all of a sudden they are hanging down more on one side than the other and you can see the white part that is supposed to be hidden under the mattress. I HATE that. And there is no way to fix it without completely taking the bed apart and straightening it under the mattress. I had the complete bed design. The requisite six pillows. Which I didn't even know met the requirements of a perfect bed design until my daughter nodded approvingly when she saw how many pillows I had propped up on it.


But that bedskirt - dust ruffle, whatevah - had done that one too many times. I was getting rid of comforters. I was switching back to bedspreads!

Hey. You know what? Nobody SELLS bedspreads anymore. Not Walmart, not Target, not any department store at the mall. You can buy them online but not at any store that I can find. What's up with that? Who made the decision that we will use comforters and only comforters and this is absolutely the only accepted bed cover? I would have thought I was completely crazy because when I mentioned this quandary to my daughter and my nieces the other day, they just looked quizzically at me and exchanged looks that were just short of twirling their fingers beside their heads. Bedspreads? How TOTALLY 1980's.

But then I had lunch with my friend Sallye the other day and she nodded sympathetically and in COMPLETE AGREEMENT when I raved about this topic and, even if she was just mollifying me? I don't care. A big shout out, Sallye. You are a true friend.

So I got to thinking. And I remembered that I had an old, cream colored crocheted bedspread packed away that had belonged to Tom's mother and possibly his grandmother. I'm thinking his grandmother because of the way it doesn't exactly fit a full size bed but was probably designed for an antique, smaller bed. It was so pretty I didn't want to get rid of it even though I couldn't imagine ever using it. Well, here was the time.

I got out my plastic tub of handmade quilts and that crocheted bedspread and carried my new bed cover upstairs. I honestly don't know if one of them made it and Tom doesn't know either but I don't care. I like it anyway. It was so loosely woven that I needed a cream blanket under it, so I ran and bought one, soft as velvet. I made up the bed and that's when I realized that bedspread was not nearly wide enough for my bed. So, if you come to my house? Don't walk around and look at the other side of the bed. Because that bedspread hangs beautifully on one side as long as the other side is sorta hiked up.

So, the other night I turned down my beautiful crocheted bedspread and lay down under the sheet and my new, cream colored velvety feeling blanket. And about froze my butt off. I didn't realize how warm that thick comforter was. So I went back to the plastic tub in the storeroom and got out one of those lovely patchwork quilts which had been handmade by Tom's mother. And remade the bed with that quilt hiding under the cream blanket.

So. In essence, I am a grandmother sleeping under a homemade patchwork quilt and a (possibly) homemade crocheted bedspread.

Tonight I plan to heat up some bricks and put them at the foot of the bed. And then I might possibly go out and shoot a bear for dinner. Just possibly.


I am confused about tipping. I know how to tip when I am traveling. I know you are supposed to tip the guy who carries your suitcases from the curb at the airport and I know you are supposed to tip the guy who carries your suitcases into your hotel room. That's one of the reasons I bring Tom along. I don't have to tip him at all.
Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"I'm A Travelin' Man" Uh. I Mean Woman.

One of the most exciting times in my writing career was when I was able to write the post about talking to my editor, which resulted in me writing a blog for the local newspaper. But the other day I had something even more exciting happen.

Most of you know that I am planning to retire in the spring after twenty years as a library media specialist in an elementary school. There are a lot of things I want to do when I retire, but first on the list is to TRAVEL. Tom and I want to see the world, preferably from the deck of a luxurious cruise ship, reclining in deck chairs, as someone brings us fabulous chocolate desserts on a silver tray. And I want to write about all that. But I got to thinking how nice it would be if someone would actually, you know, PAY me to write about travel and, in a lovely and ideal world, PAY ME TO TRAVEL. So. I designed a blog (with quite a bit of help from my graphic designing daughter), came up with a presentation and approached a local travel agency. And whadda ya know? They actually like the idea.

They are not quite ready to pay me a huge salary and send me on a cruise around the world but they are ready to give me a chance and that's all I ask. We are tentatively talking about putting me on some sort of commission basis. I just hope this is not like the time I worked for McDonald's and I was giving out samples of Chicken Nuggets because, yes, they were a NEW PRODUCT and I am EXTREMELY OLD and we were supposed to get a credit for every person who ordered chicken nuggets, based on our recommendation. Since I was actually the only one giving free samples of this luscious new product, I technically got credit for everyone who ordered them. This did not make me popular in the break room. There may have been some hair pulling. Some ketchup packets squirted in my direction. Some french fries left in my locker.

Oh, not really. But there totally COULD HAVE BEEN. Wouldn't that have been a much better story if there had been?

And can't you see what a great travel blogger I will be when I am so easily distracted from my story about the great beaches of Thailand by a story about working at McDonald's?

I know you can't wait.

Check it out here: http://thetravelauthority.blogspot.com/

And let me know what you think.

And if you are the teensiest bit interested in writing about that fabulous trip you took or sharing videos or photographs from it? Contact me. I might be able to use some of your stuff.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream

One Sunday, a couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a quick, easy and fun dessert to serve for our weekly family night. I was browsing through the freezer aisle and found these.





Are they not the CUTEST things you have ever seen? In case you can't tell, they are tiny little (3.6 ounces) servings of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. They even have a cunning little plastic spoon hidden in the lid so in case you have an ice cream emergency? You are TOTALLY COVERED.

I know it would be cheaper to buy a gallon of ice cream, but where's the fun in that? I filled a large bowl with several different flavors (Cookie Dough, Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Brownie and Cherry Garcia were the only ones I saw) and set it on the table. My family was delighted and it was just fortunate that I had a variety of flavors because everyone grabbed a different one. We didn't actually use the plastic spoons. But they were there. Just in case we needed them.

Apparently, other people think these are equally fabulous, because I actually found a video extolling their wonderfulness.

Check these out and let me know what you think.

In my library, the 500's are absolutely the most popular section. And, for those of you who did not memorize the Dewey Decimal system when you were in school, that is the science section. The section where the books about animals are located. Although you can also find books about domestic animals and pets in the 600's.
Why, yes, I am a total geek librarian. Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It Comes Full Circle, Doesn't It?

Tom has a new camera. I had nothing to do with the purchase of said camera. He researched it, he went and purchased it and he has been learning how to use it. I wanted something roughly the size of a credit card that I could tuck in my purse and use with one click of a button. He bought a big black monstrosity with a lens the size of Mt. Everest. He went in and out of the house the other night half a dozen times to determine exactly WHY it was not taking 4.5 pictures per second, as it was supposed to do. Wrong lighting. Hmmm. Can only take 4.5 pictures per second outside. Good to know. Just in case I ever want to take 4.5 pictures per second. Like that will EVER happen.

One of the things the new camera will do is take video. He brought it over to me to show me a sample video he had made, just messing around, filming the family room, etc. When it first started, I honestly assumed he had our son Mark do the narration. And then I realized that was Tom talking. Not Mark. Sounded EXACTLY like our son.

Full Circle.

He has decided he wants to learn even more about the camera. He used to have a passing interest in photography years ago but it was pushed aside by a budding interest in the new-fangled invention they called a computer. So he announced he wants to take a photography class. He wants to be a better photographer. Downstairs in the storeroom, we have boxes of pictures that his dad took. Really professional looking pictures that he developed in his own darkroom. He even entered a photography contest one time and was disqualified because the judges said his pictures were obviously taken by a professional. So. Tom wants to take pictures like his dad did, many years ago.

Full Circle.

Life is a strange and wonderful, nonending circle, isn't it?

Friday, January 23, 2009

For Fun Friday January 23, 2009

If you can't remember CRAP (I'm right there with ya) send yourself a text message. To the FUTURE.

http://www.callthefuture.org/

A REAL bionic man. As long as that arm doesn't start thinking for itself...

http://www.wimp.com/bionichands/

Who else remembers this sound?

http://www.sonnyradio.com/dialupkid.htm

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Not So Free After All

A couple of weeks ago, we got a free 2-liter of Diet Pepsi with our pizza order. I guess it was not TECHNICALLY free since we had to pay for a pizza to get it but we had paid for the same pizza in the past with no bonus gift so it was, in essence, free.

It sat in the fridge for a while because we didn't drink it that night and didn't have a reason to open a whole 2-liter drink until I finally opened it the other day to have with my lunch. I reasoned that I could drink some with lunch and we would polish off the rest later with a snack or dinner.

I sat leisurely eating my lunch, leafing through a magazine and pouring a few ounces of Diet Pepsi now and then. Then. I absently reached for the bottle, my fingers slipped, it tilted, I grabbed for it and squeezed a little too hard in my exuberant attempt to keep it from spilling.

Diet Pepsi rocketed out of the bottle, spewed on the wall, the table, the floor and all over my arm and the sleeve of my shirt. I set the bottle down and sat there, dripping. I grabbed a couple of wet paper towels and began cleaning the entire area, then had to change my shirt and put the Diet Pepsi-drenched shirt in the washing machine so the sleeve would not turn a permanent, streaky, blotched color. It took me about 15 minutes before I could get back to my lunch.

Maybe that drink wasn't actually free after all. After all the TIME it cost me.

I'm not sure what is more pitiful about this story. That I just shot Diet Pepsi all over my kitchen and my arm. Or that I IMMEDIATELY went to my computer and wrote about it.

Did anyone else see the article in the Herald-Leader on Monday about cruising and how the prices have plummeted as one of the many effects of this tumultuous economy? I already knew cruise prices had dropped drastically because I have been doing a lot of travel research lately in preparation for possibly starting up a travel blog, but this article just reinforced my long-held belief that EVERYONE should take a cruise. Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Have A Bladder The Size Of A Gnat

You know how sometimes you get all ready for bed and brush your teeth and pee and then you remember you wanted to check one thing on the computer like the weather or maybe your email or you just want to see if anything has been added to your Google Reader and then you want to quickly check your work email and THEN you are all ready for bed and you go in your room and start to go to bed and you realize.

You have to pee AGAIN.

You know how that happens?

Oh.

Me either.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Granola Bar Taste Test

I am a big fan of Granola bars. I realize that probably sounds like a contradiction for someone who is a big fan of Pop-Tarts, toaster strudels and iced sugar cookies, but it's true. They are quick and tasty and easy to eat in the car with one hand as you race to school because you had to have just 15 more minutes of sleep but you also needed extra time to style your hair because it's grown enough now that you have to blow it dry with that round brush and that takes FOREVER. So. They are a staple around here.

I have tried several different kinds, including the infamous Fiber One bars, which I refuse to link to because even though they are moist, chewy and delicious? They cause one to have...how to put this delicately and in a ladylike manner... a bit of an issue with expelling wind. Which could possibly cause your husband to sit up completely on the couch, turn to you and ask if you are having some sort of ISSUE this evening. SO. We don't eat those anymore.

My favorite so far has been the Nature Valley granola bars which are sweet, chewy and quite fabulous. I like them all but my favorite is the fruit and nut one. For a change of pace (why, yes, changing the kind of granola bar is an exciting CHANGE OF PACE for me. Shut up.) I'll buy the flat, crunchy ones which are also delicious. Recently, I decided I should once again try one of the Kashi products because they are lower in calories and actually healthier, blah, blah, than the Nature Valley bars. This is even though I KNOW the Kashi crap products taste pretty much like someone has taken a cardboard box and carefully cut it into lovely and creative shapes, packaged it and placed it on the grocery shelf. All those ads you see in the magazines about how they try so hard to make their products healthy and DELICIOUS? Lies. All lies.

Because I bought them again recently since they also had a fruit and nut granola bar and I had a taste test. And now? The Kashi crap product is in the trash can. And the lovely, lovely Nature Valley bars are nestled safely in my pantry.

Do your own taste test. Let me know. I'm really interested. Does anyone actually EAT the Kashi crap products?

Oh. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

An EXTREMELY special day. Oh. The inauguration? Yeah. There is that. I guess that's PRETTY special what with the first African-American president evah and the economy plummeting downward like an errant, runaway airplane and our high, high hopes for some big changes in the next couple of years. Yeah. There is that. But that's not what I'm talking about. Did you forget this blog is about ME, ME, ME? Don't worry, I won't ever let your forget. Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

"I Love Trash"

Well. I don't exactly LOVE trash, but I am pretty darn excited about my new trash can. I mentioned my new trash can purchase as an addendum to my post about a rather unexciting shopping trip and now I feel a little guilty because THE LOVE I feel for my trash can should be extolled in a post all of its own. So here is that post.

I LOVE my trash can.

It's so new. So shiny. So. Totally. Fabulous. For years - seriously, YEARS. At least...um...15?...no really. I had a kind of beige plastic trash with a lid that flipped up. Perfectly acceptable. But I really wanted a nice stainless steel one. What I didn't realize I wanted until I actually owned it is a trash can with a lid you can flip up with one touch of your foot. Hands full of trash? No problem! Flip the lid with your foot! Hands all covered with meat loaf fixings? No problem! Flip the lid with your foot! Hands...well, you get the idea.

So, I just cooked dinner and flipped the lid on my trash can several times and then I realized I just had to share the fabulousness that is my new trash can with you. So? The fact that I have a new trash can that I love?

Is totally fabulous.

The fact that I am this excited about a trash can?

Is a little disconcerting.

So, if you need a little excitement in your life? You can get one here. Just like mine. And you can also listen to the "I Love Trash" song here.

In fact. You COULD listen to the song WHILE putting trash in your trashcan.

If you are COMPLETELY wild and crazy like me.

Friday, January 16, 2009

For Fun Friday January 16, 2009

The awesomeness of this picture is somewhat dimmed for me by the size of that rather terrifying spider.

http://www.darrenhoyt.com/2008/09/01/all-the-way-down/


Great videos to learn how to do ANYTHING from cooking to dancing.

http://www.expertvillage.com/

Can you keep your little guy from getting squished? I can't.

http://www.jellyjumper.com/

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"How Much Is That Magazine Because I Threw Up On It?"

"The magazine you checked out? You...threw UP ON IT?"

"Yeah."

"Uh. Well. HOW did that happen?"

"I was running. And then I threw up. On the magazine."

"Well. It's $3.50."

"OK. I'll bring it to the library tomorrow."

You KNOW you TOTALLY want my job, don't you? Hey. He didn't throw up IN the library. Could be worse.


So I was reading a blog post the other day that started "Back when I was cool..." and I thought I should TOTALLY write a blog post that started that way.
And then I realized. I could never do that because I was NEVER cool. Seriously. I am not cool now. I was not cool in college. And I was absolutely not cool in high school. Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Admit It. I Wore Sleeping Pants To The Grocery Store.

So, I had to go to the grocery a couple weeks ago on a Sunday. We were both heading back to work on Monday after our Christmas/New Years holiday (and, seriously. How can that many days fly by in what seems like about 36 minutes?) and we had no food in the house. I had put it off as long as possible. I would have to actually LEAVE THE HOUSE. I went in the bedroom to remove my sleeping pants and slip on some jeans and then.

I reconsidered.

They didn't actually LOOK like sleeping pants. They didn't have little moons or sleepy puppies on them. They were navy and white. I had them on with a navy t-shirt. I could just put on tennis shoes and a ball cap and a jacket and nobody would even know they were sleeping pants! I could TOTALLY get away with this. It's not like I was wearing my slippers.

So I went. And I don't think anyone even noticed.


And even if they did?

Based on the number of OTHER people who were wearing sleeping pants, I think it's just a matter of time before the entire world wears sleeping pants EVERYWHERE.



I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Try It Tuesday: L'Occitane Milk Cleanser


Man. The things I do for you. I certainly hope you appreciate it.

And I KNOW you do because I got an email from my friend Maquel the other day who reads my blog and admitted that she ADORED toaster strudels so much that she actually had to keep them out of the house or she would eat them every day and then she was even inspired to tell me a little story about some friends who had stayed with her and they were from Australia and they LOVED toaster strudels so much that she gave them toaster strudels every single morning and then she had to swear them to secrecy so their mother would not know she had given them toaster strudels every morning. And this guile absolutely WARMS MY HEART. And also lets me know that someone other than my family actually reads these recommendations. Because she totally bought the face cloths I recommended and LOVES THEM.

And this is precisely why I just spent 30 minutes trying to locate information about this completely FABULOUS new face cleanser that I bought last week at Sephora. Because even though I LOVE and ADORE it? The label was in French. And I had some difficulty deciphering what the actual company was that made the stuff. Because even though I like to pretend that I remember those three years of French in high school? It doesn't help much to know how to say "Sir, a goat has eaten my shoe" when you are trying to translate the information about who made the milk cleanser that is a gift from the Gods. Finally, I managed to persuade my friend Google to locate this fabulous substance.

I have literally six different face cleansers lined up in my shower and, until now, every single one caused my face to look like I had just spent a week in the Sahara. Dry and flaky and tight. Not at all a pleasant sensation. And this is quite the contradiction to the way my face USED to be in high school which was so oily that I often had to SHAMPOO my bangs because my forehead made them so oily. Yes, indeed. I would lower my head over the sink, get a teaspoon of shampoo and shampoo my bangs. Then fluff them dry. And then apply some white eye shadow and a Bonnie Belle lip smacker. Ah. The good ole days.

But now. Now I have L'Occitane Ultra Comfort Cleansing Milk. Or, as the bottle says "Lait Delicat Ultra Confort" which, strangely enough, has nothing to do with either goats or shoes. But is indeed fabulous. After I use it, my face is as smooth and creamy as a baby's butt. And, as you know. That is pretty DARN smooth.

Try it. Let me know what you think.


I have to be honest. I had never heard of Julius before I received these books to review. Curious George, yes. Julius, no. Apparently, I have been living in a cave because Julius seems to be quite the phenomenon with everything from clothes to bicycles available. But I have to say, now that I have read a couple of books about Julius, I really like him. Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Couch

You already know that Tom and I have our own set places when we watch TV together and they cannot be changed. He settles on the couch. I curl up in the recliner. And life goes on.

But the other night I was not feeling well. My head was aching and no amount of medicine seemed to have any effect, even my migraine medicine. It was starting to make my stomach hurt too. I kept shifting around in my chair, rearranging my pillows and blanket, trying to get comfortable and realizing that I was going to have to give up and just go to bed, when Tom spoke up. "Do you want the couch?"

People. I was STUNNED.

Perhaps you don't realize what a big sacrifice this was for him. He loves his couch. He adores his couch. The couch is his favorite place to be in the whole, wide world. And he was offering it to me.

I accepted instantly, without reservation. He moved to the recliner. I piled up two pillows for my head, covered myself with a soft quilt and, apparently, went immediately to sleep since he said later he talked to me for a while without getting an answer before he gave up.

The couch was quite lovely.

The fact that he gave it up for me?

Quite fabulous.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Could This Recipe BE Any Easier?

As I said last week, I never intended for this to become a cooking blog but I keep finding cool things I want to share with you and also? As an added benefit? I can totally drive my husband crazy in the process.

When I told him a couple of weeks ago that I had a new recipe to try, he asked with trepidation "It doesn't have Velveeta in it, does it?" And I assured him with an evil cackle that, yes it did! And perhaps he should take me out to dinner instead. So he did. And here's the thing. It didn't actually even have Velveeta in it. I was just messing with him. But I guess I won't be able to do that again now that he has read this. Uh. Hi, babe! Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

You're Invited To A Party. Make Sure You Wear New Underwear.

So, I went shopping the day after Christmas. I KNOW. I'm totally a breakneck adventurer with a desire to dance THIS CLOSE to death.

I got some great deals. But here's the problem. I bought socks at one store because I totally needed some cute new socks (I did not.) and then I went to another store where they had socks EVEN CHEAPER so I bought some more because I was truly in desperate need of socks (I was not.). Then I went to a store that was going out of business and they had the bras I love so I bought three because I desperately needed new bras (I did not.). Then I went to a store that had 33% off their sleeping pants and then an extra 40% off which, even though as you know I am the FURTHEST THING from a math wizard, is a great deal, so I bought every color they had. Except the pink. Which was regular price. And who pays regular price on the day after Christmas? Not me. So I put them back. But I bought the others because I desperately needed sleeping pants. (I did not.)

So. Are you keeping track? Why not? You didn't DOZE OFF during my recitation of the items purchased on this shopping trip, which did I forget to add? Took ALL DAY. So. Socks. Underwear. Pajamas.

Basically, nobody will even know that I bought something new. Except Tom. Who, when I ask him how something looks, will turn to me, slightly squint his eyes, which apparently aids with helping to remember, God help him, that he should diplomatically answer "Does this make my butt look like a Mack truck?" with "Looks good."

So, just for your information, I am having a party. Where I will wear my new socks, underwear and sleeping pants. And some sort of top. God. Get your mind out of the gutter.

And everyone will tell me how great I look and is that new and those socks are DARLING and what a great shopper you are!

You're invited. Make sure you wear your new socks. And underwear, of course. I WILL be checking.

Updated to add: I went shopping again. I bought a new TRASH CAN for my kitchen. I know. The excitement in my life has reached UNPARALLELED HEIGHTS.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Boston Cream Pie Toaster Strudel

So. The holidays are now over, everyone is back at work and I am on a strict diet and exercise plan.

Yeah. You KNOW that is a lie. I might possibly have cut back on the Christmas candy and cookies but that's only because I already ate them all. So, in deference to the non-diet, I introduce you to my new favorite food. Toaster strudels. In particular, these toaster strudels. Boston Cream Pie. BOSTON CREAM PIE. Can you think of a more inappropriate, more calorie-stuffed, more unhealthy morning meal?



Me either. You want one?

Seriously. Pop-tarts PALE in comparison to these hot, flaky pastries which come with their own little icing packet. And, really? Any item that comes with its own little icing packet? Is good for me.

Let me know what you think.

I have now visited that location where individuals, apparently assigned to specific areas and clad entirely in black, wander around talking to each other about all the other individuals not dressed in black using tiny, unobtrusive microphones. Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

But What Will I Do For The Other 364 Days?

So, I have accomplished my one resolution. What now? Because, obviously. If I spend this much time at my desk. Exercise is COMPLETELY out of the question.

Before.



After.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

You Had Me At York Peppermint Patties

I never intended for this to become a cooking and recipe blog. Seriously. I am the kind of cook who thinks a delivered pizza is the height of haute cuisine and that dried onions are just as good as freshly chopped ones. I have spices in my pantry that are older than my children. I have been known to take the baking soda that is absorbing odors in my fridge and use it for a recipe. I have taken used french fry oil from my cupboard and put it in a brownie recipe. Also, I have approximately 6 cans of baking power in my pantry because I can never remember if I have it so I buy another one. Read more at my Herald-Leader blog here.