Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lifestyles Of The Rich & Political

Even though I am a registered independent, I've been naturally drawn to most of the Democratic Presidential Candidate coverage. Don't get me wrong, I pay attention to the Republicans, but I go out of my way to build knowledge on the Dems.

Overall, I feel disenchanted with politics in America. I just can't envision the Republicans offering up something new and progressive, unless it's helping the rich get richer -for example, "i'll do away with income tax & the I.R.S.". To me the overwhelming majority of the candidates are all the same, Good Ol' Boys, with a small tweak in political philosophy in a desperate attempt to set them apart.

I happened upon this web article on the candidates lifestyles. It delves into their homes, net worth, and cars of choice. I still haven't figured out why I am so surprised by the information, but I guess it's just very telling when you see it in black and white.

If Bloomberg decides to enter the race, he'll make all the other candidates seem like paupers with their measely multi-million dollar net worth. If you don't know, Bloomberg is the mayor of New York City and worth an estimated $11.5 billion. Talk about being able to buy an election.

Now, now that's not very democratic of me.

See how your frontrunner lives their "out of the candidacy" daily life. You may just be surprised.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Makes Me Different Vol. 4

So, aiming for the 25th of every month to do my W.M.M.D. But alas, it's January and I am bringing it back, just a few days late. You'll forgive me right?

What Makes Me Different, Or So I think!

  • I would rather receive a bouquet of wildflowers than roses.

  • My biggest distraction at night is Bravo's reality television shows.

  • I still feel like the last 2 Presidential Elections were UNFAIRLY won.

  • I feel an overwhelming sense of nurturing when I cook for others.

  • My good intentions are sometimes overshadowed by my lack of motivation.

  • I am currently volunteering as a Board Member for the year in MOMs Club.

  • I yearn for a President that is progressive and will be the J.F.K. of my generation.

  • I borrow cookbooks from the library before deciding if I must absolutely own them.

  • I want to become proficient in Bento Lunch making before Sj starts school in August.

  • I love watching J and Sj dancing to the Ariel Soundtrack, it makes me smile to see the choreography they have down!

  • I've become content hanging out most days with the girls, rather than running around from place to place like I was accustomed to the last few years.

  • I can't wait to live in Italy someday!

As always, if this post has sparked something in you, I would love to hear it in a reply!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One Month Down- Conscious Spending!

Part of my resolve for the New Year is to become a conscious spender. Eek. I think it was back in November, I started loosely throwing around the term, budget. I still don't know if a budget fits into our lifestyle, but an outline for spending sure does. Honestly, we took a look at the money coming in, obligatory payments, and where the rest of our money goes.

We definitely love to eat in our family, sometimes we categorize ourselves as foodies, which ultimately leaves us spending top dollar for our groceries. We've done a fabulous job this month of eating home. I have a difficult time preparing all of our meals at home when J is out of town (which was 13 days out of 29 so far). But I have stuck to easy to prepare foods or meals that will stretch over a few days, like the Corn Chowder.

Then, we come to days like this past week. My freezer has been the go-to for lunch and dinner. Sj had waffles for lunch yesterday before school. Our dinner this evening consisted of fresh steamed broccoli and carrots, accompanied by mac n cheese, and some frozen Morningstar Farms fake chicken nuggets. Yeah, sounding pretty foodie to you, isn't it? But I have the time of the month to blame. Pay day isn't for a couple of days, so I have a strong inner voice convincing me to not go to the store at all costs. Heck, we have the extra food, why not eat it? Right now I am not sure if I should be ashamed or proud.

On the upside of this conscious spending, I've fought my inner "Target" demons. Every time I have needed to go to Target, I entered with a list in hand and stuck to purchasing only the items on my list. Now that mind you, may be the finest sign of discipline I have ever exhibited. Looking over previous months spending, I must admit Target is most often the culprit for my spontaneous purchasing habits. I wish they made a patch to help cure that ill. I'm working it out, one visit at a time.

It feels good to have a month under my belt. I hope February proves to be just as promising for my conscious spending. I'll be checking back in, as this one is to be continued.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Taking The Plunge

My decision happened rather abruptly, although I would not go as far to say that it happened on a whim. I am hardly the type to make life altering changes on a whim, but I suppose it could happen. After spending loads of time visiting elementary schools for Open Enrollment, I realized my time had come. I decided to apply to go back to school.

I mulled it over in my head for a few days. I perused the University Of Colorado, School of Education website in the middle of the night. I looked over the check list for Graduate School requirements and realized there was close to nothing holding me back from getting my Masters Degree in Literacy. The application deadline was February 1st and I decided to apply, oh around January 14th. Two weeks, plenty of time. Luckily, in this whole decision came the good fortune of not having to have taken any entrance exams, if you had a minimum G.P.A. Thank goodness, surprisingly I did.

I've considered Grad School many times over the years, but I never really had the courage to apply. At one point I almost convinced myself to go back to school for my M.B.A. Now, I would love own a business, but could I really see myself rubbing elbows in the classroom with a bunch of suits-by-day?? Probably not. I knew I wouldn't back out this time from applying, if I called my references and discussed my decision with them. They were all so supportive, I knew it was my time to go for it.

I am going to start slow. Technically, if I get into the program I have four years to finish it. Although I don't want to lengthen my time back in school, I feel hopeful that the program allows for non-traditional students to participate in the program. By the time I am done with the program, GL will be entering Kindergarten or close to it. Sj will be in third grade. Wow, third grade. The time will be just right for me, to ease my way back into the classroom or if I chose as a literacy support staff position.

I haven't received the details on the admissions process after submitting my application. At this point I am unsure of when the decision will be made, but I will be patient. Gosh, my mail man has a very important job in the month coming. Sj's Open Enrollment decision and my Graduate School admissions letter!

I suppose in the mean time I should get plenty of reading for pleasure in because soon enough i'll be up to my ears in professional articles and textbooks. Imagine that!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Healing Mountains

I always seem to connect something small to a larger picture. Generally speaking, I feel like our universe seems to speak to us in ways we can choose to tune in or tune out. Obviously I prefer to tune in, read in between the lines, so to speak. Maybe it's silly or maybe I'm onto something.

Last week proved to be a very difficult week for us. We were dealing with loss and on top of it our family was separated.

Thursday night a friend called and unexpectedly invited us to the mountains (Winter Park) over the weekend. I imagine with out that call we would have never taken the opportunity to pick up and get out of town ourselves. Although, the mountains proved to be exactly what we needed.

We laughed a ton playing Apples To Apples. A game, I had never played before, but am tempted to run out and buy this very second. We cooked and ate together. Sj and J skied two days in a row, how amazing for them! I knit to my hearts content. Sj played and laughed with GL and her good friend, whom she hadn't stayed up late with in a long long time. Our friends embraced us in a way I needed more than I knew.

So, maybe it was a coincidence they called the weekend we absolutely needed to get away. Or if you are a believer like me, it's kind of funny the way the universe whispers when we most need it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Declining Moral Fiber

From that title, you may be thinking I am on my soapbox, having been recently converted by a Presidential candidate some where further right than normal, maybe Huckabee or Romney? Don't worry folks, I am headed in a completely different direction.

This week our family was touched by a tragic accident that resulted in the loss of life. This person was living out a childhood dream, living life passionately. Millions of people don't seize the opportunity to live their life in such a manner. Maybe this is where my inner turmoil comes into play.

Often during times of crisis, I find myself turning to the web, for coverage. When I happened upon articles in various forums from reputable newspapers to message boards, I honestly was appalled and even haunted by the words written by people. I wonder why on earth would people go out of their way to write hateful and slanderous things about someone that has passed away?

I believe it's a reflection of the state of our society and even more pointedly, our declining moral fiber. I would define morality as one's ability to decipher between right and wrong, acting morally would be favoring the side of goodness, kindness. The fiber of course comes into play because it's one strength in character to act in the way they see right. I'm leaving it at that, for my own moral fiber waxes and wanes on any given hot topic. But I believe in the greater good, I believe in honoring life.

So why the loss of sleep? I am wholeheartedly saddened that people choose to use a tragedy as an opportunity to put others down. Why is it acceptable to write unfounded bullshit about someone you don't even know. Is this stemming from our society's ills and discontent? Is a guy in east bumble upset because he's stuck in a cubicle all day, commuting to a suburb, to come home to his wife in sweatpants, and hamburger helper on the dinner table? Did he once have a dream to become a race car driver or newspaper editor or a toy developer and never quite aspired to that dream? Now, he sits behind the anonymity of his computer and just looks for opportunities to express resentment?

Maybe I am being ridiculously slanderous myself with those assumptions. I am just trying to understand why. What makes another human tick? Why go out of your way to be angry? Yes, of course have passion enough to disagree, but have dignity and respect to move on. I can only think of this young man's mother happening upon an article only to find such disrespectful words. I guess that's what sets us apart, I linger on my thoughts, I ponder how they will affect others.

Our lives are struggles and celebrations, I hope our society can get to a place that recognizes tragedy and mourns the loss of life, whether we agreed or disagreed with the way someone's life was lived.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Door to Door Bounty

We've been having Door To Door Organics deliver produce to our home now for about 8 months. It's always a mini celebration in our house the day the box arrives! We like to do the vege dance, we open the bounty, take a close look at everything and enjoy it's beauty. Best of all, I walk straight past the produce department when I enter the grocery store.

In the past we were not exclusive organic fruit and vege eaters. We preferred to buy organic, but quite honestly sometimes the price just drove me away from particular organic items. With D2D we eat about 95% organic produce now, we occasionally have a craving or recipe that needs an item we didn't get in our delivery. Most weeks, we make due with what we have and avoid running to the market for a lemon and walking out $50 bucks later. I hate that, it drives me bonkers.

Here's the deal with D2D, you pick what size box you want, from itty bitty to large. If you want fruit, veges, or mixed. Then you decide how often, once a month, weekly, or bi-weekly. We purchase a medium box every other week. I do find on the off weeks, we have to supplement, but I keep it to a minimum.

In the summer, D2D is brimming with local variety. Our box felt like it came fresh off the farm. The quality is fabulous and if there are ever any problems, they take care of it with a phone call or email. No trekking back to the store. Love it!

Unfortunately it really put a damper on our visits to the Farmer's Market. In my opinion, the past couple of years i've had a hard time with the over crowdedness of the market. There's been a big uproar about moving the market to a different space and I think I am the only person in favor of it! It has definitely outgrown that block between Canyon and Arapahoe. I remember the good ol' days, wandering the market, being offered up all you can take deals for $5 bucks at the end of the day. Now you basically need a small loan to shop there. There is a chance we may revisit doing a CSA, if so, we'll stop the D2D for those months.

For those of you that are curious, I've taken some pictures of this weeks bounty!

Yesterday I whipped up a corn chowder to utilize the veges that arrived in the morning. Enjoy.

Easy Corn Chowder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 potatoes peeled and diced
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium onion chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
1/2 red 1/2 green bell pepper seeded and diced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon combination parsley, paprika
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups vege or chicken stock
4 cups milk, I used 2%
3 cups corn kernels

Heat in a Le Creuset (you must own one!) oil and butter. Chop vegetables and add to pot. Add the bay leaf and seasonings, please add in whatever seasonings your family prefers! Saute veges for 5 minutes. Add in flour, allowing flour to dissolve, stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and combine. Then add the milk, combine well. Bring soup to a bubble. Add corn and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste soup for flavor, add more spices if necessary.

Top with cheddar cheese.

** While I was enjoying this, I was really craving some green chiles in it, so add in whatever extras you like. Top with bacon, or add crab to the soup.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Two young talented men lost their lives yesterday. They were both 28. The media has already caught wind of both tragedies and are running with it. To me, lost in our media craved world are the stories of their life. Talent, vision, passion, loving what you do.

May their passions shine on in their legacies.

Directed by H.L.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Politically Charged Good Music

I'm not endorsing anyone at this point, but just passing along some information on a local event that is backing Obama, whom I consider to be a pretty damn good contender. Free @ Fox Theater, Boulder.

We Need Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a National Holiday. I've seen banners and heard comments reducing this day to a free pass from school or work. Maybe to some people it is. I believe today more than ever we need MLK's words to re-ignite the passion our country has lost under our current Presidential Administration.

Martin Luther King spoke to Civil Rights and unrest in our country in the 1950's and 1960's, but his message is universal. I feel his words offer the inspiration to bring our society out of the darkness we have succumb.

Here are five quotes from Martin Luther King Jr, that I feel speak to our current national unrest. What a brilliant man that truly deserves the honor he has been bestowed every third Monday in January.

"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."

"The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one."

"The time is always right to do what is right."

"Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows."

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Confessions of a Yankee

My husband and I moved to Colorado way back in 1994, we are just a smidgen away from being considered natives. That's a joke really, people in Colorado take their "native status" way too far. I'll always be proud to represent New York. My girls on the other hand will have the Colorado native badge to wear proudly, if they choose to.

So, what do two Yankee parents do on a wintery Colorado Sunday? Why, they take their chitlins down to the National Western Stock Show. For a moment, I almost had the foresight to back out, but I decided to not let my preconceived notions ruin our experience. To top it off, I have a slight anxiety issue with large crowds, I prefer to avoid them, but yet again, I let it go.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. Of course, I knew there would be lots of animals of the stock variety, cowboys, belt buckles, ironed Wranglers, plaid shirts, big ol' hats, and some pungent odors to fill the air. I knew I had nothing in my closet to even try to pull off the ranch gal look. Although I did dig out my corduroy shirt to wear with my 7 jeans, haha!

We finally arrived at our destination after a few parking detours. The area was just loaded with cars, people, John Deere's pulling folks in a wagon, animals, trailers, and big big trucks. We lucked out and caught the wagon ride right to the front door of the first venue. It was already a hit in Sj's book.

Breathe deeply. You are about to step out of your comfort zone.

Experiencing something so steeped in tradition for the first time, when you are comfortably into adult hood is quite unique. I swear I had the wide eyed curiosity look of a 4 year old. We casually roamed around the Events Center Horse Show, Pony Trails, Lower Paddock Areas. The girls gently pet dozens upon dozens of beautiful horses. We watched young girls braiding the manes, grooming their horses, and we felt the pride that comes with owning a such a gorgeous animal.

We ventured off into the Expo areas and took in so many new experiences. GL never moaned for a minute, she rode on J's back in the backpack for a couple of hours. The girls were just delighted with all the animals, sights, and sounds. We watched in awe as Rancher's spray painted their Angus Bulls and groomed them like they were beauty queens. I kid you not.

What a great day. The crowds were so mellow, much better than I expected. I was delighted to even feel a strong "Brokeback Mountain" presence. Giggle, giggle.

Maybe the Colorado way of life has influenced me more than I would care to admit. See you next year at the National Western Stock Show.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Sauce Cravings

In the summertime when all my windows are wide open, my neighbors will sometimes ask me what I have cooking. I laugh and tell them I am making a pot of sauce. It's always when my Le Creuset is filled to the brim they can smell the aromas out my kitchen window, wafting into their yards even across the street. I believe it's the love that goes into the process of making sauce, that sends delight through the air.

Growing up, my mom made sauce what seemed like every Sunday or pretty darn close to it. The tradition in our family is to start making the sauce and meatballs in the late morning, so dinner can be on the table by 2 pm. Recipes are another thing. My mother grew up watching her mother make the sauce and meatballs every week. In turn, I grew up watching my mother make it. Who needs a recipe when life gives you the experience, the first hand knowledge. I have the closest thing to a recipe written down, but you won't find any exact measurements. It's basically an outline to keep all the ingredients in harmony.

We can't pop in on Nana making sauce because she is 1,800 miles away. I am ready to bring back Sunday dinners to my family. My cravings for sauce are most innately connected to a longing for tradition, a longing to gather those I love around me, and my familial instinct to feed en masse until all bellies are content. A Sunday meal making memories.

So Sunday's shall be graced with a warm cooked Italian meal and friends around the table. Maybe, just maybe if I'm lucky, Nana will be visiting and she'll do the cooking.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Two Blocks of Wood & Some Rope

Santa really did a good job this year. Of course the blocks of wood and rope weren't an instant hit, with things like a scooter fighting for play time. But Sj came around and they are a blast. Mom likes to use them, too. They take me right back to my Romper Room days, but mine were green plastic.Sj is still working on mastering the art of wood block walking, so for now I've encouraged her to use them on their side. Of course in about a day or two, she'll be walking with them in the more adventurous way!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Little Explorer

In the past I have inferred that my second child is sprinkled with a bit of mischievousness, at the tender age of one. She truly explores every inch of our house with such delight. Sometimes I wonder what exactly is in store for me when she's a bit older, a bit smarter, and more in tune with being sly.

These photos are from the last couple of days. Her sister abandoned some french toast topped with blueberries. As you can see, she was happy to have her big sister's left overs.

It almost prompted me to submit my photos to Fridgewatcher a website I frequent about once a week. People from around the world submit photos of their refrigerators, and of course I am most intrigued by the European links. I can always tell hands down when it's an American refrigerator, mainly by how stuffed to the gills it is! Just take a peek for humors sake.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cassanova or Testosterone Induced Idiocy?

Last month, I caught a moment on the Today Show about a serial dater. This Harvard educated bozo, Paul Janka actually had a spot talking about his conquest of women. He was confident in his discussions of being a modern day casanova, complete with a spread sheet. Unfortunately this poor soul has convinced himself, he isn't hurting anyone, and that his lifestyle is innate to what men really need.

So, yeah. I've been dwelling on this whole notion of a modern day casanova for far too long now. For some men, the idea of being with one woman for the rest of their lives goes against ever fiber of their being.

I completely disagree, that probably has to do with the lack of testosterone cursing through my veins, and the obvious differences in my genitalia- for I think with my brain. With all their banter and commentary of carnal desire, blah, blah, blah, these men are missing the boat on the huge upside of monogamy.

Did I just say, upside of monogamy?

Yes, one night can be insane and passionate, but years, can be even better. When you truly know someone inside and out, a relationship can be taken to levels that they clearly don't even know exist. For the sake of anyone that knows me closely and reads this blog, I will leave any sordid details for you to conjure on your own. Your welcome.

Am I alone on this one? It's awful that society feeds into these cultural norms pertaining to men and sexuality. My advice is for the Today Show to ditch the single brain celled men and provide us with some real entertainment. As I am sitting here right now, I can think back to only a handful of times since December i've watched morning television. That connection makes me feel even better and I am so glad I can get this subject out of my head.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Full Circle Moment

Last night we ordered out dinner. Old Chicago won out because we had a gift card and they have curbside pick up. On top of having someone prepare my dinner, I also wanted them to bring it out to my car. It just makes life so much more pleasurable to skip the going inside with the girls, hungry girls no less.

The parking lot is always a zoo at this location. Of course, when I roll up all three curbside pickup spots are taken. I park on the curb right out front and run in to tell them my name and that I have arrived. The curbside attendant was in the middle of something, so I was trying to get out of there and back into my car as soon as possible. I finally had the attention of the hostess and I gave her my name.

The hostess looked awfully familiar to me. After my frenzied state settled a bit, I took a closer look at the young girl behind the big wooden podium. Then I noticed her name.

It was one of my former fifth grade students, from about seven years ago. She lives in the same town as I do now and she attends the local high school. We chatted for a few minutes. I had to rush out because I left the girls waiting for me. I can't wait to return and see where life is taking her in the next year.

I am always amazed at how the universe seems to speak to us, if we just take a closer listen. I've been preparing the application to return to grad school to get my Master's in Literacy. I've made phone calls, have people all over writing me letters, faxing, photocopying, and digging up transcripts. Just in the past week, I've been thinking about my future and how I really do want to return to the classroom.

Seeing her, visiting with former colleagues, and physically being on site at a variety of schools just make it so real for me. All those little moments just add up to know what my heart wants is very on track with where I will be in a few years.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Open Enrollment Showdown: School Choice part2

Well, the touring has ended. Being an educator with first hand knowledge of some schools in Boulder, I really had an eye opening experience through out this entire process. Officially it is not over until I receive my letter stating YES, you have a space in your first choice school!!!

I toured five schools in total. All of the schools look superb in print. Awards, achievements, high test scores, Boulder is the mecca of outstanding education. But then, after visiting the schools, I could see what sets them apart. How they are all so unique and diverse in their offerings.

The two neighborhood schools, which are not focus schools that I toured have a seal of approval from the school district to parents to kids. One of the tours was led by two fifth graders on the student council. Obviously their perspectives are very relative to being 10 years old, but the problem was could I relate to a 10 year old, is that the perspective I needed from a school tour? I am not sure if a tour by two kids was the best choice, although it did offer a bit of variety from the usual, "here's the music room, gymnasium, kindergarten". Even with their laundry list of accolades, I felt like the two neighborhood schools were missing a little bit of magic. They seemed way too down to business for my taste.

Now, if you know Boulder or have visited Boulder, you would agree Boulder marches to it's own rhythm. You would expect from Boulder, new, unique, innovative. That's exactly what I saw in the other three schools I visited. The "other" schools were focus schools, which means they have a particular focus for example Montessori or arts based, and one was a charter school. A charter school is an independently run school that uses BVSD funds, but they are not required to meet BVSD standards.

With all that said, these three schools in particular had it down in the passion and vision department. They recognize and visualize a different path for education. They don't see lines of desks, students quiet, and text books piled up. They see arts integration, outdoor education and caring for the earth as part of the curriculum, community service, and know educators can spear head change at the classroom level. Amazing.

Even though I am a bit overwhelmed by this entire process, I feel renewed in my love for education. Being in the company of such passion reminded me why I wanted to teach years ago. My last job before having Sj, made me disenchanted by education and it was all due to the path I had chosen. After leaving one school last week, I knew I would be back, touching student's lives once again.

Off goes our application today, off goes our 3 top choices. Sj's future is in the hands of a computerized lottery system. Now I wait patiently for the second week of February when the first round of letters go out. I promise to not stalk my mailman. I will be calm and let fate arrive in first class mail. Once again, to be continued.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Make Me Melt!

It's funny how a 4 year old can just melt your heart. As we were settling in and the girls were about to fall asleep, this came out of no where.

Sj: Do you know what my favorite word is?

Mom & Dad: No, what is your favorite word?

I'm preparing for Princess, Christmas, Birthday.....

Sj: FAMILY, because it makes me so happy. I love my family so much.

I mean does it get any better than that?

Good Night!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Maybe My Day Isn't So Bad...

I've got a bad case of being overworked. I mean, not like I've been digging ditches all day and didn't get a bathroom or lunch break. More like, I went to Boulder to check out schools three times this week, my hubby has been away for a week, and all that rolled up into one makes me ready for the weekend. Plus the girls are anticipating some daddy time to expel some pent up, mommy has been in control all week energy.

Then I happen upon a peculiar blurb when I am reading my email. And I realize my week hasn't been so bad after all, both my children are safe and in my house with me. Pat my back, I think I deserve a good mom medal of honor.

Girl Left at Chuck E. Cheese for 2 Days!!!!

Here's the short of it, whatever clueless idiot that was in charge of this poor 2 year old girl, left her at C.E.C. The police picked her up on a Saturday and finally the dad called the police when he saw her photo on the news on MONDAY!!! Yes, it's true, full article here.

Now, this did happen in Texas, the home of our brilliant leader. Honestly, I don't think my four year old can play for a single minute with out a call out from me, checking in on her. I am constantly hovering around my children in public places. I can't really wrap my brain around leaving a public place with out one of my girls.

How can this be? Please Child Protective Services, save this little girl from the terrible circumstances she was born into. There are thousands of parents that could give her the love she deserves.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Second Edition

Thirteen More Reasons To Smile:
  1. Walking into a school that feels like home.

  2. Hot water on demand.

  3. Not one runny nose under this roof (knock on wood).

  4. A friend that cooks you dinner, takes your child to a movie & dinner, and watches her yet again-so I can neurotically tour a gazillion schools while my hubby is out of town.

  5. Email notification my book on hold is waiting for me at the library.

  6. Tomorrow is Friday.

  7. Watching Sj & GL actively engage in play together, today it was cooking in their play kitchen.

  8. The gorgeous orchid I received for my birthday is still blooming.

  9. A new baby boy in our family.

  10. J is coming home from the east coast tonight!

  11. I actually envisioned myself back in the classroom teaching again.

  12. My daily chai tea.

  13. Curbing spending, ten days going strong. Gosh, I hope that's not premature. Ha!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Yes, You Are Definitely Mine!

Having a 4 year old, I feel many whispers through out the day, which are like subtle reminders convincing me that the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree. Let's take for example her recent phase, where Sj is consumed with a particular doll or stuffed animal and their accompanying accessories. She makes up a ziploc bag of accessories, with play food, ribbons, adoption certificates, and toys for her toys. Trust me she knows exactly what is in each bag. It's rather odd to me.

But then I realize, I don't even get to the Post Office with out toting an armful of things myself. I mean, how could I possibly run through the drop off box with out 10 wipes, 3 diapers, a water bottle for each of us, snacks, and a change of clothes. Or if it's cold, the mandatory extra gloves and hat in case are car breaks down (my 2004 car that is). You know the Post Office is about a half mile from my home in the center of town. But none the less, I tote things around like I was traveling to Europe. Apparently my daughter enjoys doing the same for her make-believe friends.

Which really leads me to bedtime. She has been restricted to just taking the American Girl Doll or Stuffed Animal to bed because I can't handle seeing her curled in a ball to make room for her various pile of junk in the twin bed beside her. Instead, every night Sj lines up her favorite things/accessories of the day, neatly on the couch. Which is getting very old, considering it is one of my favorite nightly rituals to sprawl out on every inch of the same couch, after the girls are fast asleep.

Last night Sj was searching around for about 5 minutes downstairs, while I was patiently waiting to read her some bedtime stories. I could hear her becoming more frantic and with each step becoming further removed from a bedtime reality.

Me: Sj what in the world are you doing?

Sj: Looking for Samantha's purse, It must be lost!!!

Me: It's bedtime and if you don't get up here, I'll be asleep before you. Which means no stories tonight.

Sj: Runs to my side, Mom it's ok, tears welling up in her eyes, I'll find it in the morning.

Yes of course, I got up, found Samantha's little velvet purse, containing a doll size hand embroidered hanky and a penny. I knew Sj would never settle in with the thought that the purse could be lost somewhere.

Me: Are we better now?

Sj: Mom you're the best!

See one of the big moments for me is that I can not comfortably rest if a series of tasks have not been completed and quite honestly more times than not, even double checked.

My mental list goes something like this:

All lights off, except for the wall sconce and front porch light.

Double locks in place on front and french doors.I fear Sj will slip out the front door, as she can undo the lower lock, while I am hob-nobbing with Hollywood Royalty in my sleep.

The humidifier must be on, with the tank filled, and the filter flipped.

And lastly, but most neurotically, if by chance I took off my wedding rings during preparation or clean up of dinner and set them on the counter, I must put them back on my fingers or at least have them in the same room with me. My biggest worry is that they will be stolen in the middle of the night by a black cloaked bandit. My theory is if they want my rings, they must take my fingers as well.

Makes you exhausted doesn't it? I wonder why I fall asleep by 8:30 on nights when J is out of town. What a mental marathon my brain is jogging. At least some part of me is getting exercise.

Monday, January 7, 2008


It's shortly after dinner, we are beginning to settle down for the evening. The girls are about to get into their pajamas. I wishfully look forward to some alone time, after the whole bedtime ritual as I head up the stairs. But as I am turning down the upstairs hallway, I give a quick glance back downstairs.

A surge comes through me. My voice disturbs the calm that was just upon us moments ago.

I loudly call out, "NIAGRA MOHAWK!"

I notice all of the lights that have been carelessly left on, after our departure from that space. Dining room light, Kitchen- main light, pendant light above the sink, stove light, living room floor lamp, wall sconce (with compact fluorescent- wipe my brow), hall light downstairs, bathroom light downstairs. All these lights were on two other floors of the house. What a waste.

My husband leaves lights on in our house like a trail of bread crumbs leading a path through the woods. I can tell you exactly where he has been and what types of activities he's been up to. Guest bedroom light on, hubby was doing some laundry! I will pat myself on the back for installing the compact fluorescent in the garage as well, after coming home numerous times to it being left on for no apparent reason. Well, the reason is, he went in there for something turned the light on and then left. No flip of the switch OFF, just on.

I think I get so irate about it because I have just a little-itty bit of my father's temper in me. Growing up, I can not tell you how many times I would hear his voice rattle our house, "Niagara Mohawk!" Then a loud flick of the switch. For those of you wondering what in the world I am talking about, Niagara Mohawk was the power company in New York for years and years. It's name has changed now, but Niagara Mohawk is still the official mantra for YOU ARE WASTING ENERGY in our family. I like it, it makes me long for home.

Yep, I am OCD about the lights being on when it's not necessary. We have a manageable energy bill and maybe that OCD is to thank.

If you are feeling like your family is wasting too much energy, give NIAGARA MOHAWK a shout out, it may just make you smile.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hanging Out with Tom & Katie

"Wow, I think this is the most spectacular view I have ever seen, and no less it's from your walk in closet," I chimed with delight. The grounds were immaculately kept and as you would imagine the hills were rolling off into the distance. It reminded me of Tuscany. I could almost smell the flowers up into the third floor closet, in this palatial estate.

The feeling inside was a bit frenzied. We were getting ready for dinner out on the town. Katie was sitting in front of the mirror, giving her beautiful self, a quick touch up and adorning herself with some pearls. My brain was working over time to estimate the size of this closet I was standing in, which off I hand, I would have to approximate the size of my living room or better yet, the size of my entire living space main level.

Oh and by the way, yes-Katie, as in Katie Holmes-Cruise.

Katie asked me to hand Tom a blue light weight corduroy shirt that was just pressed by the butler, it was in arm's reach. I walked into the master suite and handed it to Tom that was just ending a phone call. He was in jeans and a white t-shirt. Very well put together. I casually handed him the shirt and added, "nice choice, huh?"

Tom smiled, "Katie has impeccable taste, wouldn't you agree?"

I walked back into the ginormous closet to continue my school girl conversation with Katie. I noticed something rather unusual this time around. Suri's dresses, or more formidably considered a two year olds' gowns, were all hung upside down. I thought to myself, well that is rather odd, I wonder why they are hung in such a manner? I didn't bother to mention it to Katie; after all, I didn't want to seem out of place hanging out with my pals, TomKat.

The phone rang and Tom picked up the multi-line receiver. The driver is here, let's get a move on.

Then I heard a whisper, "Mom, Mom, wake-up!"

It was Sj, at my ear, and the clock actually read 7:38.

How bizarre, I had been dreaming.

Which I must follow up with this:

NOTE TO SELF: If we should use valuable dream time to escape, I would hope you would consider a beach location, where I fit into a string bikini like Gisele Bundchen. I wouldn't also mind, if you feel the need to throw in celebrity or two, a re-acquaintance with my ex-Leonardo DiCaprio. Although, I would not be disappointed if it was Ben Harper whom was rubbing my back with s.p.f. 45 right before he bust out into some oceanside serenade. Please leave TomKat for tabloid magazine fodder. Thanks so much, your conscious self!

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Good Omen, Indeed!

I had a really strange experience with this bumper sticker in September. It was everywhere I turned, Berry Patch Farms, a red light near my house, and on the car in front of me at the bank drive through. It even prompted me to write this, Bumpersticker Omen! Now, I can agree, it was an omen, a good omen, indeed.

Fast forward to January and the political scene is blowing up. I love all the hoopla in a presidential election year. I am personally disappointed in myself that I have not re-registered as a Democrat. I've always been registered as an Independent.

I am going to miss out on Colorado's Primaries Caucus (I stand rightly corrected), which really bums me out.

Although I still don't have a personal front runner for the Democratic Party. I just know deep down, anyone other than a white man would be a refreshing change.

And more realistically, anyone other than a intellectually challenged Texan, would be a really refreshing change.

Take it or leave it, for what it is.

I am thrilled to see Barack did so well in Iowa. Good for him, now I really must get through The Audacity of Hope, I've owned it for 13 months. Sorry, Barack, I can't get past chapter 3. I promise to re-start the book tonight, for the third time. That Oprah, really does turn whatever she touches into gold, we can't forget her part in all of his success.

Being a native New Yorker, I think the east coast may create a bit of an uproar for those newly named front runners. New Hampshire is not known for their Evangelicals. Here's an interesting post on Mike Huckabee. I loved the timing of his Christmas Message with the subliminal cross in the background, seems like the whispers from a Karl Rove type.

Most generally speaking, I am not going to get too political around here. But, I can't just sit back while such excitement and change is on the forefront for the United States. This will be an election I will not miss, hopefully you'll realize how much your vote counts come November.

Fyi: Caucus Vs. Primary Lingo.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Back Country Dish Duty, Anyone?

Alright now that I am back in my body, my haven't showered in a few days body, here's the update on the situation. My darling-dear-fabulous-wouldn't-trade-him-hubby, pushed back his flight one day. Amazing what 24 hours will do for relief in the I can't get any more stressed than this department. Although, I think he secretly feared I'd be shacking up at the St.Julian in Boulder and getting room service galore! Instead, we all stayed home and dealt with the problems at hand.

We called in three plumbers, to give us their professional opinion on the situation. The estimates ranged greatly, as well as the options for what to do. Only one of the guys had plumbers' butt potential, so I immediately left the vicinity when he was about to kneel down. Ha!

Anyway, the short of it is, we need a new water heating system. Our current system has been phased out because it was deemed hazardous, oh about 10 years ago. Yeah, not sure how that news makes me feel still. Have we been ducking a time bomb for 5 years? Yikes!

Good news is, we are going to have a super cool water heating system. It's tankless. Compared to the other scenarios, tankless seems to be the best route, and as you may imagine, the priciest. We have tons of extra cash laying around the week after Christmas, don't you?

This time tomorrow, I am going to be running both showers, the washing machine, and dishwasher at the same time, just because I can. Just kidding, we are water misers around here, but I could if I wanted to. So there!

Through out the day today, we were reminded that there is humor in every situation, good or bad. I haven't missed the hot water too much, except when I glanced at my hair in the mirror. Greasy, stringy, pulled back, but untamable hair. Heck on a positive note, I didn't do a load of laundry, but I did load the dishwasher. When I was doing the dishes, the water was bone chilling cold, it reminded me of washing the dishes when camping. You know that feeling when the creek water is running over your hands and you fixate on a dirty stuck-on spot, forgetting that your fingers are going numb? Then you just want to get it over with as fast as possible. After, it takes about thirty minutes for the red to leave your hands. So while washing the first plate by hand, I remembered why we always play rock-paper-scissors for dish duty in the back country.

I just realized I haven't mentioned the leak I found yesterday coming from the upstairs bathroom into the downstairs bathroom. Yeah, that's a whole other can of worms. But lucky for me, I'll have a professional plumber at my disposal tomorrow, so that disaster will also be a distant memory.

Let's make it official. Happy New Year! When life gives you lemons, add a shit load of sugar, some water, and a smile!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Not So Happy, New Year!

Yesterday my brain was busy racing with ideas for my fist post of the new year. I thought it would contain grandiose resolutions and be brimming with feel good notions, so I could welcome 2008 on a positive note. I imagined casually lingering over my thoughts, typing away, with a hot chai in hand, the girls busy with their dad!

Instead, when my dear hubby was putting our new artificial tree into the crawlspace, he found some water on the floor....

Not just a puddle, but a good amount of water. Enough to soak the orange shag rug remnant that was left in there years ago.

Turns out our water heater has been leaking for quite sometime. Well, at least a week or two. And guess what today is? A National Holiday. Everyone is home, enjoying the weekday off. And me, not enjoying the stress.

On top of the holiday and NO hot water (which isn't sooo bad-for now!) we have an unusual size water heater. It's in our crawlspace, so we can't just walk into Lowe's or Home Depot, pick out a shiny new one and order a plumber to install it. This is where we mumble, special order- 2 weeks or even better yet, they may not make those anymore, they've been phased out!?!

We have to wait. I have to cry. And, I have to hope this month will turn around as soon as possible.

So, considering the above situation, not knowing when it will be fixed, we may be staying in a lovely hotel. I'll be back, just not so sure when. Did I mention my hubby is headed on a business trip this week on top of it.

Yeah, not so happy new year around this place!