Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday THANKSgiving Thirteen

OOh, it's been quite sometime since I've participated in the lovely Thursday 13, so today I give some reflection in the honor of THANKSgiving Day!

I'm thankful for...

1. Being home, listening to the laughter of my girls, kitchen brimming with delightful smells, dryer clanking, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television.

2. Homemade pumpkin pie, made yesterday.

3. Chris Martin's voice playing on my iPod.

4. This little blog, a place to say what I need to, connect in a way I didn't know possible. All my delightful blogger friends scattered around this country, that put a smile on my face everyday. How did I get so lucky?

5. My hubby being home more than away the last few months. I know the busy season starts up in January, but this time has been so wonderful. I have almost forgotten about the time he has to spend away.

6. Beautiful weather, we've had delightful sunny Autumn so far. A few precious little snowflakes fell earlier, just to warm my heart.

7. Tomorrow I am going to take out my Christmas decorations. The excitement that is oozing from my girls for the holidays makes it all worth while.

8. Online shopping. Enough said on that one!

9. Two more weeks of Graduate School and then winter break. I feel so accomplished and proud, I did it. One semester down, oh and 27 credits to go. Focus on the positive, right?

10. The festive season that is upon us. Birthday celebrations, dinners with friends, gatherings, wonderful live music, outtings, everything is all merrily, merrily, merrily Life Is But A Dream!

11. A huge heartfelt wonderful warmth is with us this holiday season, knowing the change that is coming to America. I wish I was traveling to DC in January.

12. My house is not immaculate and I'm okay with it. Seriously. (oh, and the DVD is still there, and I'm okay with it)

13. My family, even though they are thousands of miles away, today they are in my hearts. I will be recreating family recipes so they feel like they are here with me.

I wish everyone who reads this a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I hope you have a full belly and a warm heart today! Love You!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

She Happily Types As Chaos Ensues...

There seems to be a huge disconnect between the person I really am and the person I think I am. I think I am organized, on top of things, and like to run a tight ship. I love baskets to house things, everything in it's place, neatly organized closets, empty hampers, fresh sheets, empty kitchen sink, and sparkling floors. But in all reality, if you could look around my house right now, in this very moment, you would see the evidence of anything but the person I just described.

I believe it has been one day of running around and my house looks like I haven't picked up in a week. At least a week. Maybe longer. I happily piled the dishes in the sink this morning when making my pumpkin pie. Sort of in a passive way, pretending as if they didn't exist, merrily humming along to my blaring iPod and enjoying the aromatherapy from the pie baking. I emptied the dishwasher, but left it open and never quite got to all the dishes from the sink, before it was time to head out.

Even though I just put away three baskets of laundry on Monday morning, there are two folded baskets that have already replaced them. Neatly folded laundry, just sitting in a basket, not in a dresser drawer or closet, in a basket. In a basket that I can almost guarantee will be rummaged through within the next twelve hours for some crucial piece of clothing, possibly upsetting the nice folded nature of those piled high in the basket clothes.

In case you've been humored so far, by my reality of chaos in the home, I'll let you in on another secret. Sometimes, I purposely avoid doing a particular task around the house, just to see how long it would take for someone (anyone) to notice it needs getting done. Take for example the Baby Einstein Santa's Music Box DVD that's been sitting on my stairs, right in the middle of the third stair from the bottom, for about a day now. I can guarantee everyone in my family has passed it at a minimum of five times, but it's still sitting there. It's my experiment. How long will the DVD sit until someone moves it? Does anyone else wonder what in the world is a DVD doing there? Maybe I'll have a surprise gift for the first person that actually moves it. It can be anyone, even my 2 year old that is happily crawling by it with her swift motion down the stairs. I wait and wait.

Which leads me to tomorrow. We have some friends coming by. Not a house full, just a few friends. The kind of friends I don't exactly have to clean for, but given the evidence I have just divulged, the kind of friends I better clean for. So tomorrow, I'll spend the day in a whirl wind, pretending like my place was not a strewn and wrecked mess just moments before they arrived.

If only I could break this vicious cycle. I'll take advice at this point, I need it...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh Little Blue Box, You've Outdone Yourself...Seriously

Now that the eight political glossy mailings are no longer gracing my mailbox, there's a new culprit force feeding their products to me via mail. I am at the point where this is just darn right silly. Absolute hilarity. It involves a little jewelry store known the world over as Tiffany and Company. Now don't get me wrong, there's a whole dreamy side of me that likes girly sparkly things, complete with diamonds, platinum, and a little blue box wrapped with a white satin bow.

Typically a nice little catalog would come my way before the holidays every year. It's always a delightful smattering of realistic items (sterling silver) with a touch of the Tiffany's high end, touch I said. I would always browse the catalog, then place it in my husband's bathroom, as a joke. I really don't expect jewelry from Tiffany's. I just have fun thinking his regular reading has been replaced with a Tiffany's catalog while taking care of his business in the Loo.

For my tenth wedding anniversary, my husband made a purchase at Tiffany's for me. It was a bit larger than his previous sterling silver purchases, yes the item included diamonds and platinum. It's delightful and I smile whenever I put it on. I also constantly check my neck to make sure it's still there when I am wearing it, it makes me slightly nervous. I am a sterling silver kind of girl, but I am not going to balk at diamonds and platinum for a gift. EVER.

Now here's the funny part, Tiffany and Company has bumped up our catalog status, because of that one purchase. Weekly we receive a new HIGH END catalog in the mail. For example the soft bound catalog that just arrived had a $6,500,000 dollar ring on it's opening page. Bwah, ha, ha! The cheapest item in the catalog was a dragonfly broach that cost about two years of mortgage payments. I find this all very odd.

So, if the marketing folks over at Tiffany and Company happen to read this, I think we need to change our catalog status. You seem to have us confused with people who are dripping in money and drop hundreds of thousands on jewelry. Is there any chance we can get back on the sterling silver customer list?


Friday, November 21, 2008

Artist (check), Left Handed (check), Blue Eyes (check)...

Pisces (check), Sensitive (check), Sexy hands (check), Long and Lean (check)...

Sounds like my kind of man. But he's not my man. I adore my man, but tonight I'll be taking in all that this other man has to offer. And all of those attributes above Chris Martin of Coldplay shares with my husband. Funny enough. Although my husband doesn't have the musical side to him, I wonder if Chris enjoys going for a bicycle ride?

Now if I could only convince my husband to write me a love song, complete with lyrics and music. You'd be picking me up off the floor, seriously. I am sure my husband would follow with, if I could only be a waif like Gywenth and bring home an Oscar or a multi-million dollar paycheck. Guess we're stuck with each other.

There are so many things that intrigue me about Chris Martin, one especially being that he divulged in a recent Rolling Stone interview that he spent many years having lots of female friends, but no serious relationships. This man, who is married to one of the most beautiful women in the world, had women issues. Gotta love it. Kudos to the underdog.

Two epic concerts in 10 days, I have to admit life is good. I can't wait to escape into the fantasy that Coldplay will create tonight. Oh please woo me with the graceful elegance of a man's strong hands playing the piano and a voice belting out mellow dramatic lyrics, like only Chris Martin can do. I'm off...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How I Adore The Pilgrims

Motherhood has been a journey for me. When my first daughter was born, I spent close to near every moment with her or close by her for at least the first few months. Slowly I was able to let go and you would find me out at Target (five minutes away) for huge half hour jaunts. I never took my commitment to motherhood lightly.

Then came along daughter number two. My time with her wasn't so closely coveted. I knew she would be okay with her daddy or nana or the plumber that came to fix the toilet (just kidding, kind of). Seriously the second time around, I didn't feel like Momma Bear protecting my new cub. Granted we still spend almost every waking moment together, but I have come to embrace my independence.

Time is to be cherished, with your children and decompressing with out them. A few months ago, I happened upon a perfect situation. One morning a week, my girls go to a dear neighbor's house for a few hours, so I can get some time to myself. Now granted, I will be the first to admit that my husband is a full time dad, when he's not at his full time day job. He loves being with the girls, which allows me plenty of free time on the weekends or evenings. But sometimes it's nice to just get out during the day, run errands without all the in and out of car seats and complications of dragging children around aimlessly. Or maybe even a cup of chai with a friend. Or a visit to a private opening of a new store, that I was invited to.

My girls have such a wonderful time with my neighbor, that they usually ask to stop by there most days of the week. They do little craft projects, like the photo above. I feel content that my girls can develop relationships with other adults in their lives. I cherish my little time away and I cherish my time with them even more. To top it off, I have cutesy little crafts adorning my house, just in time for whatever holiday is up and coming. Oh, how I adore the pilgrims, they represent so much to me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tips: Thrifting

Through out my childhood, I grew up going to garage sales on Saturday mornings with my mom and her friend. We'd have a list from the newspaper and our hunts would take us all around town. I learned to decipher the nuances of what sets special things apart from the usual garage sale junk. Nowadays, I am sometimes tempted to pull over to the side of the road when I see a garage sale sign, but honestly it's not like it was back in the day. Now peoples twenty year old discarded items are mainly plastic or mainly overpriced, but there's nothing like the rush of a good find. Once a year, I always find a true garage sale gem.

During my teenage years, I discovered thrift stores. I became enchanted with vintage dresses and looks that you could only really find by digging though endless thrift store racks. I would say on average about ten trips to various thrift stores, I would walk away with only a few decent pieces. Thrifting for me became all about the hunt.

Thrifting takes patience and thrifting takes a good eye.

On occasion, I still get the thrifting bug. I don't particularly have the patience to hunt through racks and racks of clothing to find that one vintage t-shirt anymore or the vintage wool Campagnolo bicycle jersey, which all have made my true finds list. But I do have a few absolutely must scour racks, for each visit to a thrift store I make.

So what's my thrifting weakness?

Vintage tablecloths.

My love of vintage tablecloths began when I was handed down a few special pieces from a Great Aunt. I began to have an eye for them and vintage combined with floral is just my happy aesthetic. Most of my finds cost no more than $5.00. Typically the tablecloth section is overlooked. I also have a thing for vintage sheets, but they have to be in pristine condition, I use them around the house for drop cloths or to sit on in the grass, not on our beds.

Here's a glimpse at my collection:
(the bottom one, that Tiffany Blue with white stitched floral, is my Favorite!)

Here's the tablecloth being used right now:
(I don't believe in letting collections sit in a closet to gather dust, we use them!)

So why is this a Tuesday Tips? Because people discard and donate items for a variety of reasons. It's not just because they are old and worn out. Thrifting is a great way to save a penny, reuse something in good condition (usually many name brands), and make a donation to charity to top it off. Most of our thrift stores in the area are run by non-profit charities!

Check out your local thrift store, find a gem. You may just love the thrill of a hunt or the rush of a good find.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

He Chases Snow

When people ask me what my husband does for a living, I typically quip with "he chases snow". Sometimes that's enough for most people, maybe with a raised brow. But of course, there are always further inquiries. When my husband chases snow, it means he has to have skiers (aka talent), a camera man (or two), guides, helicopters, lots of fresh pristine snow, and just the right timing. Obviously that's the simplified watered down version, but it's true. My hubby has his hands in all aspects of the making the film from budget to post production. Hundreds of hours of film, turns into one feature length Warren Miller Ski Movie that tours the country right around now, every year.

Living in Colorado, everyone gets so excited when the snow starts hitting the mountains. We have a few resorts already open. But me, there's always a part of me, that feels sad when fall ends. I am sad because I know how busy chasing snow makes my husband. Even though it's been ten years, I still dread him being away. Off to Japan, off to Whistler, off to Austria, off to Utah. Off to chase snow. Another year, another movie to make.

Having just returned from our traditional Friends and Family Show in Boulder, the ski season has officially started. (Thanks to my friends that made the night complete!)

This year, it's Warren Miller's Children of Winter! Enjoy the trailer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Didn't Know How Lost I Was Until I Found You

Let's time warp back to December 1984, what would we find? Definitely a cassette tape of Madonna's Like A Virgin inside my Sony Boombox. I don't recall owning the album, you know I was high tech, going cassette all the way. Black rubber bracelets and potentially some big hair, maybe when no one was looking a faux mole above my upper lip and some of my mother's red lipstick, singing into a wooden spoon in the mirror of my bedroom dressing table. My bedroom was adorned with one Madonna poster, it was black and white and she was complete with the hair, lace, Boy Toy belt buckle, all of it. All of 1984 summed up in one poster.

Madonna was the first musician I looked up to. No wait, the first musician I IDOLIZED. I practiced her choreography from Lucky Star and Holiday over and over again. Wanting to get the pop of my feet just right. Although Madonna is quite the dancer and no matter how many thousands of times I watched the video, I could never perfect it.

I'd never seen Madonna live. Growing up in Upstate NY, Madonna never took her tour north of THE City. I am a firm believer in, I don't think I have truly lived with out seeing Madonna live. What a huge part of my musical history. I love seeing live music, so when Madonna came through Denver on her Sweet and Sticky Tour, I jumped at the chance to see her.

Tuesday night I headed to the Pepsi Center (for the first time!) to see Madonna. Considering Ben Harper is my favorite musician, it won't come as a surprise when I say I have never, ever in all my life seen such a production. I think we counted 20 tractor trailers in the parking lot. Twenty! Madonna had 8 major costume changes during the show. The production was beyond my wildest imagination. Madonna had a crew of dancers, support bands including a group of string players, amazing projection screens, insane lighting, conveyer belts, and a little jump roping.

Through out the entire show, Madonna rocked the guitar in between her choreographed moves in heels (HIGH HEELS!). Her body is beyond what I could dream of at 30 something, no less at 50. She's hot. She's sassy. She played old and new songs. My brain didn't hesitate to recall the lyrics to Into The Groove, Borderline, Like A Prayer, many of which she rocked out with a guitar for a new rock version.

If Sweet and Sticky rolls through your town, don't walk, Run. Go see Madonna, you won't regret it. And in case you were wondering I didn't see any highlighted hair, buff New York Yankees. 

What was life like before You Tube?
Her Political Driven, Get Stupid:

and for fun Like a Virgin:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One Black Trash Bag....Later

This past weekend, my house was brimming with house cleaning. Not just tidying up, but getting into closets, sorting toys, sheets, mounds of laundry being tackled! Oh how do I love a cleaning groove. But it was during this groove that I had a personal moment of clarity. 

When I am in the zone, I find myself calling out to another member of the family, usually Sj to bring me something I am in need of. Take for example my huge pile of discarded clothes from my dresser and closet, it out grew my shopping bag and a white kitchen trash bag. I needed someone to bring me in a big boy, a black yard trash bag! Oh that feels good, just thinking about it.

After moving into the girls' bedroom, I decided I needed yet another black trash bag. This time to conceal items that were disappearing from their room. Not necessarily permanently disappearing, just needing to be moved out of the current space. Sometimes I find it's easier to just remove things that are ready and sort into trash, giveaway, store for a later time, or move back to their proper place in another room. If Sj sees me with the black trash bag, normally her you better not be getting rid of MY stuff radar goes off in her head, so I decided to get the trash bag from the garage myself.

Enter break in the groove. My moment of clarity occurred when I realized it's actually very beneficial for me to ask for small assistance with such tasks as grabbing a new trash bag or else the groove ceases to exist.

For when I went to walk down stairs, through the kitchen, then dining room into the garage to grab a bag and walk back upstairs maintaining the groove, this sequence of events occurred instead. I walked downstairs, decided I was thirsty and that I should grab a glass of water. But I knew I had a glass going somewhere, so I walked back upstairs to my bedroom. Looked around, didn't see my water. Walked back downstairs poured a new glass of water, when I saw the washed grapes on the counter. I stopped to have a few.

Then the dryer beeped, so I went downstairs to switch out the laundry and fold the load fresh out of the dryer. Although I needed a laundry basket to put the clothes in from the bedroom. On my way back up, I poked my head into the office and sat down at my computer to just quickly check my email. Bwah ha ha ha. If you are reading this, you know for certain there is no quickly checking email, it's one of my greatest distractions. As I sit at the time warp, time in the groove is ticking away. After I get up from the computer, I find myself distracted from my original intent time and time again.

May I even share, I forgot about the trash bag I originally walked down the stairs to get. So now when I call out to a family member to help when I'm in the cleaning groove, I know I am not being selfish, but trying to stay on task!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Tips: What's In Your BOTTLED Water?

Bottled water is everywhere. If you really break it down, it's pricey to our budgets and more so to Mother Earth. So what's better bottled purified water, bottled spring water,  tap water, or filtered water?

If you don't know, us Coloradans take water consumption very seriously. A bottle of water is as important of an accessory as a cell phone or designer bag. But on a more serious note, hydration is crucial at our elevation (5,400 ft), not to mention the dry climate and blazing sunshine.

Recently I was sent a report from the Environmental Working Group about the quality of bottled drinking water. Considering there is a lack of regulation on the bottled water industry, I was shocked to find out what types of contaminants were found in major brands of bottled water.

Walmart's Sam's Choice bottled water was purchased in various parts of the country and then independently tested, by the EWG.  Hands down Sam's Choice Purified water, received the worst offender award. Everything from trihalomethanes (disinfection byproduct), bromodichloromethane (cancer causing chemical), and chloroform (known human carcinogen)! Wow! So people are choosing to drink bottled water, thinking it's better and safer than tap water, but they are actually putting known carcinogens and chemicals into their bodies. Shame on the FDA for not regulating the bottled water industry. I'm just floored by this.

Bottled "Purified Water" differs greatly from Bottled "Spring Water". Spring water comes from a natural occurring source. Companies like Eldorado Spring Water, Evian, and Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, are truly committed to a higher quality product. They use a quality control system to maintain a high standard.

Beyond paying to put toxins into our bodies, the plastic water bottle industry also pollutes the Earth. Here are some interesting Bottled Water Facts (from Reusable Bags):
  • Americans will buy an estimated 25 billion single serving plastic water bottles this year. Of which only 3 billion will be recycled, meaning 22 BILLION plastic water bottles are being buried in landfills this year alone. Gulp. 
  • 1.5 million barrels of oil are used annually to produce plastic water bottles just for us, bottled water loving Americans, which is enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year. 
  • Plastic water bottles don't biodegrade. They break down into smaller and smaller bits, contaminating our soil and water. Nice!

In our home, we use a Multi-Pure water filtration system. It's a unit that sits under our sink, but dispenses through a spout that sits next to our faucet, we placed ours where the sink sprayer would normally be found. We chose Multi-Pure because of their commitment to high quality in home filtration systems. Multi-Pure is certified by NSF which is a internationally recognized not for profit third party testing organization. NSF annually conducts testing to make sure Multi-Pure is maintaining their quality standards.

A Multi-Pure water filtration system is a Solid Carbon Block. The water is forced through densely compacted carbon, where filtration of a wide range of contaminants takes place. For example, cysts (cryptosporidium and giardia), VOCs (pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals), certain endocrine disruptors, Trihalomethanes, heavy metals (lead, mercury), MTBE, Chloramines, and asbestos. Interestingly enough natural occurring minerals are not filtered out. I am not sure what type of quality standards refrigerator companies (filtered in door water dispenser) or Pitcher water filter companies claim, I suggest a visit to their websites and see if they compare to Multi-Pure.

Our filter needs to be changed every six months, but it depends on the amount of water you consume in your home. I believe Multi-Pure claims their average customer uses one filter annually. Recently, I signed up for auto delivery, so I don't have to think about when it's time to change the filter. The cost turns out to be about .08 cents a gallon with our filter.

Not only are we doing our part to lessen our impact on the environment we are also saving money. If you are wondering what type of water bottles we drink our filtered water in, click here to find out. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

1 in 1,216,793 Wanting A NEW DAY

One million, two hundred sixteen thousand, and seven hundred ninety three people voted for Barack Obama in Colorado, and I couldn't be happier to be one of those. One of those embracing the importance of women's rights, fiscal discipline, ending the war, education, new forms of energy, and being progressive (gay rights, separation of church & state, proponent of Stem Cell research).

This is more than likely my last political post. Mind you, I still have what my father would call a "shit eating grin" on my face. I saw on Larry King the other night and was waiting for this song to appear. And it did over at my pal's Blog, so thanks for sharing.

I definitely feel like it's A NEW DAY.

This is the one day I wish I lived in Hawaii, where 72% of the votes went to Obama, largest margin in the USA, second place lovely Vermont with 67%. Election Facts, on cnn.

**In case you were wondering, 1,020,135 Coloradans believed McCain/Palin was the right fit for our country.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Insurmountable Joy

Exactly eight years ago, I became a bit jaded about elections in the United States. Hanging chads, voter fraud, and "my brother the governor" will rule me the winner of Florida. I still believe that election was unfairly won. Maybe it was or maybe it wasn't, but that's just how I was left feeling. Four years later, I was left feeling absolutely disenchanted by politics, staring at "too close to call", and once again Democrat's defeated.

The beauty of the United States is that we all are entitled to our opinion, sometimes driven by emotion or sometimes driven by fact, but most generally speaking for myself, always heavily driven by emotion. I believe the leader of the most wonderful country on earth should do what's best for the American people, the greatest good for the greatest number philosophy. Not what's best for corporations, destroying the environment in the name of widening the profit margin. Clearly we know who came out on top of eight years of Bush's policies, corporations. Oh and China, for they own hundreds of billions of dollars in our economy. Why doesn't that worry Conservative Americans, why, why, why???

Now I believe the time has come for people. Barack Obama has always captivated me. He's eloquence and intelligence were enough to reel me in from day one. Considering our current leader lacks both of those qualities, Obama is a fresh breeze coming through the window, clearing out the old stagnant corporate air, clearing out the lobbyist back pocket air, clearing out the closed door back room deal air. Barack Obama doesn't scare me. His middle name doesn't scare me, his resume doesn't scare me, and the color of his skin doesn't scare me.

Last night I shed tears of insurmountable joy, for the first time in years, I felt the vitality that Americans deserve. I felt the greatness that we once again can be known for around the world.

I felt HOPE.

Thank you to everyone that went out and exercised their right to VOTE. Democracy truly is a beautiful thing. And if today you are feeling left saddened, worried, or unsure, I have to say just give President Elect Obama a chance come January, to change your mind.

P.S. Colorado, excellent job. I've waited 14 years to see you go BLUE.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Feel Proud To Be American

Exercise your right to VOTE. It's a beautiful thing. Oh and one more thing, you won't be able to wipe the smile off my face when they name Colorado a BLUE state tomorrow, it's been a long time coming...* taken in NYC by me! Isn't it cool?

Monday, November 3, 2008

We Like The Straight To The Mouth Kiss

Have you ever felt someone squirm inside, when upon greeting them you embraced them in a hug? Or better yet, moved right in for a friendly kiss, feeling the other person's anxiety as you moved closer, then found a quick turn of the head. I completely understand the concept of personal space, an invasion of personal space, and the boundaries that some people feel too worried about crossing concerning their personal space.

See for me, I grew up with minimal personal space boundaries. As we, Italian Americans (yes, I am generalizing here), love a good straight to the mouth kiss when greeting someone we know. So from toddler hood, I anticipated a pinch on the cheek and a big wet sloppy kiss to follow the pinch. It's always been the signature move of elders in my community. Let me clarify, not only elder relatives, but family friends of my parents that I hardly knew. We love a good embrace, a nice kiss, distinctive signs of love and caring.

Living in Colorado, one can imagine the population is a real hodge podge of cultures and backgrounds. Let me just tell you how it is, Colorado is not the place for straight to the mouth kiss, even with old buddies. Colorado is definitely a warm hug kind of place, sometimes a handshake turned into the pat on the shoulder, a this is as close as it gets gesture. I can't tell you how many uptight friends i've seen move into, stiff body and slightly uncomfortable when they saw me coming. For they know, I am an overzealous greeter, full of defying boundary breaking personal space. Now I would like to clarify, I am not a straight to the mouth kisser with my friends (unless they are Italian in descent), but I certainly do enjoy a longer than necessary embrace. I little bond to show them I care.

So now, tell me, do you squirm when the arms of a friend approach or goodness be, a face pulls right in to yours, or do you embrace the love?