Category Archives: Just for Fun

Vanity thy Name is…..your child?

Here in the US we have the option of getting vanity plates – license plates for our cars with our own custom word or saying on it. The number of characters you can use, and cost, varies from state to state. I actually enjoy deciphering vanity plates when I’m out driving and really appreciate when someone shows a sense of humor. There is one car I see often which has “TI 3VOM” on it. When you see it in your rear view mirror it makes more sense…..

Back when I was young(er) and childless with nobody to take care of but myself and plenty of money to burn (oh, the memories) I had a second car, just for fun. It was a cute little red Mazda Miata. It was almost 10 years old when I bought it – I didn’t have that much money to burn! But I did decide to get a vanity plate for it. I made a huge list of possibles and took it with me to the DMV where they could check on availability. I was thrilled when my first choice, HAKUNA, was available. Don’t get it? Hakuna Matata, it means no worries! (Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Miata – get it now?) Anyway, it was fun for me and occasionally I would get comments on it. Of course when I sold the car the plate expired. Ironically, or coincidentally, both HAKUNA and MATATA are on huge trucks that live on the street next to me. I guess they must be big fans of “The Lion King”.  For the record, if I had a Miata today I would go with my second choice of plates, “SPF 0”.

More often than I would expect, I see plates with the name of the car on it. A BMW will have a plate saying “BMW”.  A Corvette will say “MY VETT”. I don’t get this. The model of the car is usually on there from the manufacturer – why would you pay extra for a license plate to say the same thing? It’s like they wanted to be creative with a personalized plate and then froze when it came to an actual idea. If you are a person who has done this, could you explain why? I’m not trying to offend, just to understand the appeal.

An even more disturbing trend I’ve noticed during drop-off and pick-up at Belle’s school is the ever increasing use of a child’s name as the license plate. At first it was just one car. Over the last two years I’ve noticed more and more parents who have put the name of their child on their license plate. Why?? This seems crazy to me. Why would you advertise your child’s name on your car? It’s like the lack of creativity of your car’s name plus lack of privacy boundaries by exposing something supremely personal.

I don’t know – am I the crazy one? Does anyone else think this is odd, or am I on the nutty side? Would you have your child’s name be your license plate? Why or why not? Go ahead, I can take it!

Books: a non-weighty subject

Ever since Amazon came out with the Kindle, I’ve been lusting for it.

For anyone who doesn’t know, it’s an e-reader, allowing you to purchase and download books (wirelessly!) to be read anytime, anywhere. It can hold up to about 1000 books, which makes it an ultra compact way to store your library, and super convenient if you travel and like to take along a book or ten.

It’s kind of pricey though. It’s dropped considerably since I started watching it, but it’s still an awful lot of money. As a big user of my local library (where the books are free!), I have had a hard time justifying the cost to myself. After all, it’s not just the cost of the Kindle itself, but then the cost to purchase all the books I want to read on it. So I’ve held off. But still I lust.

But you know what? I bought myself an iPhone in December. Which I adore, by the way. And as much as I do adore it, that’s not specifically what I want to tell you about. There is a free Kindle app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. I downloaded it, and then downloaded a few free books to try it out. It seemed OK, but the free books weren’t really anything I was all that excited about reading. A friend passed along his copy of Stephen King’s new tome, “Under the Dome”, which I’ve been reading, but let me tell you, with my limited time for reading it is taking me a good bit of time to work through all 1074 pages. We were going away on vacation last week and I really wanted to bring along a book, but not one that’s 4 inches thick and weighs a few pounds. So I decided to buy the Kindle version of Mr. King’s latest.

Let me tell you – I absolutely loved reading it on the iPhone! I thought it would bother  me to “turn the page” so often on the small iPhone screen, but it did not. I loved that I could bring along a huge book without the bulk and weight, and it remembers where you are when you leave the application to do something else. No bookmark to get lost or played with by little fingers!

I’m still lusting for that Kindle, but in the meantime, my free iPhone app is filling the bill quite nicely.

Weekend Post Mortem

We had guests this past weekend!

I’m not usually the one who hosts. I guess I got that from my mother – she was, and still is, a reluctant host. I love to get together with friends, but I’m much more comfortable on someone else’s turf than having everyone invade my own. Just because I do feel a little invaded – my home is my get-away and I like to feel enclosed in it.

But these were good friends and we were all looking forward to seeing them at our house! They arrived two hours past the planned arrival time on Friday night due to rain and heavy traffic, with my friend not feeling 100%. No matter, we had a nice dinner (pork roast with a soy and peanut butter dipping sauce and roasted broccoli which everyone devoured) and we even had cake in honor of my friend’s birthday, which is next weekend. Also? I made mango margaritas, which has become our traditional drink when we get together. By the end of the weekend I no longer had to consult the recipe – and the final batch was the best yet! We let all the kids have a “dip” where we let them dip their finger into our drink and lick it off. Hey, I have a rather suggestive photo of myself at around age 4-5 sucking from my father’s beer bottle.

I meant to take photos of all the food I served, since that was such a cause of angst when I posted last. The pork was a big hit and the next night I did a pasta dish with roasted tomatoes and garlic, which everyone also liked. The last night we did make-your-own pizzas on pita bread crusts which was perfect since by then she and I were exhausted and just wanted to get the kids fed and into bed. Mission accomplished!

We did a lot of shopping, since our state offers a no sales tax buying experience which my friend can’t get where she lives, but we also managed to squeeze in an apple festival to appease the kids. Here are some photos from that:

From left to right are Belle, G, Krystal and K:


Here is a better one of Krystal alone:


One of Belle which captures her “Belle-ness”:


And finally, my favorite of the two of them together:


We all had a great time – next visit, on their turf, probably the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Bye for now

Well, the drama has come to an end. more more accurately, time has run out on it. The lice appear to be under control (please, oh, please, oh, please) and even though I’ve had an incredibly busy week at work, I have finally put everything into as good a state as I can. My boss was even very pleased with what I handed over to him at 4:30 this afternoon that he told me about at 10:30 this morning. I’m pretty proud of that. Not really what I was planning on spending my day doing, but it all worked out (it nearly always does!).

We are flying out early tomorrow morning, meeting friends in Florida, and then going on a 7 night cruise in the western Caribbean. These are our dear friends who we vacation with every year. Between our two families there will be 10 of us – Belle and Krystal are the same age as my friend’s two youngest daughters, and then she has 3 teenagers (and a husband). The cruise should be a nice combination of family and adult time for me, since kids’ activities are built into the cruise prices, and we all love food! Krystal is particularly excited about eating whatever she wants – both my kids are fairly adventurous eaters and I expect they’ll be ordering from the adult menu . They have no idea how big this ship will be though! We were visitng my mom who lives near the ocean a few weeks ago, and had lunch in the harbor. When the boats would sail by they’d ask, “Is that how big our boat will be?” and I had to laugh at the sailboats and dinghy’s they were pointing at. Trying to explain it will be like a floating hotel is just not clicking with them!

I’m relaxing with a beer while I flip between the Red Sox (currently beating Toronto) and pre-season Patriots (they’re losing, but so what, it’s pre-season). Bed awaits soon, since the alarm will ring very early tomorrow.

Wishing us a Bon Voyage, and be back in a bit.

Closing out with some photos, just cuz.




pierced ears

That’s Krystal on the right with her friend (who will be on the cruise with us), just after they got their ears pierced two weeks ago. Don’t they look beautiful?

Things That Don’t Suck

I got inspired for the title and concept from Janet, who was inspired by Sock Girl, who apparently started this idea. I hope you don’t mind if I take a stab at it too.

Today, on this turned-glorious-day, I’m going to tell you about some things that don’t suck.

Working at home, wearing shorts and flip-flops. I love that I have the flexibility to do this, pretty much whenever I want. My commute is negligible even when I go to the office, and I still have to take the kids to camp, but being able to come home gives me some much needed peace and serenity. It really doesn’t suck that I can have some alone time in my own home, even if I’m working.

I’m getting my hair cut today! I’m going to a beauty school, and it’s going to cost me $7. I’m really excited about that! I’m bringing a photo of myself from an expensive cut I had done about 10 months ago so we’ll see how well the student can replicate it.

We have a family vacation starting in 3 weeks! More details to come, but we are all really looking forward to it. We vacation with another family every year so there will be 10 of us in total. We always have so much fun together!

Shopping for back-to-school supplies. I don’t know what it is, but I love shopping for pencils, pens, erasers, notebooks, pencil sharpeners, rulers and all the other school accompaniments. I am happy to have a school-aged child to use as my front in my shopping expeditions! But even if I didn’t, my employer participates in a “Backpacks for Kids” program wherein they collect school supplies to provide fully stocked backpacks to kids in our community who cannot afford it. I am happy to buy extras of everything we get to help out there too.

Ice cream. Ice cream definitely does not suck, though sometimes I wish it did. We have been eating more than our fair share of it around here. Chocolate Peanut Butter cup is my new favorite from a new-to-us ice cream stand. Ohmygoodness, they really chock it full of chopped peanut butter cups – so decadent, so yummy!

Awkward Family Photos

I have had a few ideas for posts floating around for the last few days, but seeing as it’s Friday, I thought I’d go light and share a site with you. Someone told me about this site a few weeks ago and I read every entry in the course of an afternoon. I checked it out again today and have been laughing ever since.

Really – please go here to check it out. I’ll wait.

Do you have a favorite? I laughed at so many it’s hard to pick just one. While I generally prefer the photos to the stories, it was an email that had me laughing longest and hardest. See if you don’t agree.

Please share your favorite from this site, or any other funny places I should check out!

And to Jim – thanks for the tip on finding my funny – I’ve been giving that a lot of practice in my head. Which I suppose makes me sound a little crazy. Nutty, even. Oh well. I may try my hand at something next week.

Kick Start

I’ve been very neglectful of this blog of late, and it’s because I can’t quite think of things to write about. So, in order to try kick starting the creative juices, I am giving the Thursday Thunks meme a try today.

1. What is your least favorite candy bar? Hmm, it’s hard for me to think of a candy bar I don’t like. Anything malted. Do they make malted candy bars? Well, if they do, that’s my least favorite.
2. If I were to call you, what would you say? Hello? Really, that’s pretty much how I answer every call.
3. What is your favorite type of leaf? Leaf? Favorite leaf? I don’t know, birch came to mind first, but I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s a little different?
4. When was the last time you….
– had sex? I decline to answer on the grounds that it will make me seem even more pathetic than you probably already think.
– swam in a lake? About 9 years ago – the guy I was dating at the time had a family place on a lake and we were there all the time. Pools and the ocean since then, though I’m more of a dipper than a swimmer. And a kid island.
– went barefoot outside? Last week. On the deck though, not on the grass.
– ate peas? Just plain peas? No idea. Sugar snap peas I eat all the time. As in yesterday even.
5. Since Father’s Day is right around the corner, tell us about the person that you are celebrating. My own father passed away almost exactly 12 years ago. We may do something symbolic for my girls’ birth fathers, who are unknown to us.
6. Were you dropped on your head as a child? Not that I know of! But I did get locked in an abandoned refrigerator in our basement. That probably explains a lot.
7. How often do you clean your toilet? Yikes. Whenever it seems like it needs it? Which probably works out to every couple of weeks.
8. Have you ever been sunburned? Tell us about it. I have, and it’s not fun. When I was a kid there was no such thing as sunscreen, or at least no one used it. We were all trying to get color. I would actually try to get a mild burn, because I knew it would fade to a tan. Oh, the damage.
9. On average, how many hours a sleep do you get a night? Usually around 7-8. Which doesn’t sound bad, does it? Thing is, I’m one of those people who truly need more like 9-10. And my 7-8 hours are never uninterrupted. These days it’s the dog around midnight and again around 4 am, but it could be a kid (Belle usually) as well. Oh well, we all take what we can get, don’t we. I could get more sleep if I were willing to give up some (awake) alone time. But I’m not.
10 How many hours did you get last night? Last night it was only about 6. Stayed up way too late.
11. Take a picture of something. Post it. This is a dozen eggs my friend gave me. Her own chickens laid them. They are all a different shade of white, cream, tan, ecru, you-name-it, and all a little different size. We had them for dinner tonight. Fresh eggs are yummy!

12. Are the bottom of your feet dirty? Ewww! No!
13. Do you know the names of every member of the family who lives next door to you? Nope. Isn’t that awful? But I do know the names of everyone in the two houses directly across the street. Do I at least get some points for that?

If you read this far, please let me know! Thank for stopping by!

Fairy Houses

Yesterday the girls and I attended an event for building fairy houses. It was hosted by Tracy Kane, the author of a series of books about fairies and building houses for them.

Belle’s house was mostly done by me, in relatively short order, in the crook of a large pine near the pond. Here she is modeling her finished project:

Belle's Fairy Houses

She had a lot of fun digging in the dirt in front of her house building large swimming pools and fire pits and playgrounds, while Krystal worked on hers.

Krystal chose a spot on the other side of the same tree. You can see in the photo above how close we were to the pond (a not-small-pond either), and it was a rather cool and windy day for late May (see the sweaters?). The wind was quite insistent off that not-small pond, and it caused angst in the way of structural challenges for Krystal. I lost count of how many times her work would be demolished by the wind, and we were both getting frustrated.

And then I suggested a design change, and while there were still some wind issues, it came together much more quickly.

Krystal Fairy House

I don’t expect Krystal to be a structural engineer or architect, but I think she does have an eye for detail:

Fairy House Interior

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but there is a couch on the left (the pine cone is the cushion), across from a TV (where she got the idea for the twig rabbit ears I have no idea, since her generation has never seen them!), a fireplace in the middle, and in the back a stone bed with a leaf coverlet.

Her big surprise though, was this:

FH Welcome

Even the photographer making the rounds was delighted with that. He said we may be on their web site by mid-week. How exciting!

FH Photographer

I think this is something we’ll do at home – both girls had a lot of fun, and I loved the creative aspect.

Twlight Schmilight

That’s right, I’m here to talk about the phenomenon known as Twlight, meaning the series of books written by Stephenie Meyer.

WARNING: This post will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books and plan to, you may not want to read further. Also, if you have no interest in the series you may not have any interest in the rest of what I have to say. Consider yourselves warned.

When I first heard about “Twilight” I assumed it was for teenagers, and had no interest. Then a bunch of women I “know” on a message board I frequent started talking obsessing about it, and I paid a little more attention, even though I was still not particularly interested. Recently, my dearest friend started reading the books and she could talk of nothing else. She would go on and on about how romantic it was, and how Edward is the man we all wish we could have, and how the books  make you feel like you’re 15 again (she meant that in a good way, believe it or not). And so with that kind of endorsement, because who ignores your best friend when she can’t let go of something, and who doesn’t want to feel 15 again? Wait, who doesn’t want to feel in love with the perfect man? There, that’s better.

So I bought “Twilight” which is the first in the four-book series. It’s a quick, easy read, and I enjoyed it. I won’t tell you what it’s about, since I assume if you’ve read this far you already know. But let me tell you some of the questions I had as I was reading it (and the following 3 books).

Why the hell are the Cullen “kids” enrolled in school? This never rang true for me. Everything we learn about the Cullen family, in this book and the subsequent ones, says there is no way they would be mingling in a school. Since vampires don’t age and they appear to be school-aged, the cover story should have been that they were home schooled, if that was necessary. When I mentioned that  to my friend, she said, “But then how would Bella and Edward meet???” Well, that’s not my problem, that’s the writer’s challenge, but there are plenty of other, more believable ways, they could have met. One possibility would be to accelerate Bella’s job at the sporting goods store (which doesn’t happen till “Eclipse”, I believe) and since the Cullens are such avid “hikers”, they could meet there. Just an example, but I think something that kept in character with the family would have made the book that much stronger.

Please, tell me, what is the attraction between Bella and Edward? I never felt it. Bella thinks Edward is the most beautiful creature she has even seen, and she is mesmerized by him physically. I think we can all agree that an attraction can occur. But the love? I don’t understand how (or why) she fell in love with him. Or he with her. He was attracted to her by the scent of her blood, which he had to overcome just to be around her. Okkkaaay. But tell me again how this translates to the “can’t live without you” love that supposedly grew between them? I know I am the minority, but I never got the Edward-love. Some of his behaviors were outright cruel and abusive, while others, later in the series, struck me as parental. I don’t feel he ever saw Bella as an equal partner. They don’t ever talk to each other! And don’t even get me started on the way he treated her after their “first night”, which occurs in “Breaking Dawn”.

Let’s talk about Jacob. I loved Jacob. I always thought Bella and Jacob made a great couple. Bella even said, more than once, how Jacob was her best friend, and being with him was as easy as breathing. Hello??? Sounds like love to me! And love with a lot more substance than watching someone sleep! (which is all Edward and Bella ever seemed to do together) Jacob and Bella had shared interests, common family values and an attraction. All Edward and Bella had was the attraction. My friend could never understand how I could feel that way about him, but knowing I loved him said that I would be happy with how it was all wrapped up in the end.

Friend – I AM NOT HAPPY WITH HOW IT WAS WRAPPED UP IN THE END! I hated hated hated how the whole imprinting on Renesmee happened (which I saw coming a mile away). I thought it was creepy and gross, honestly.

My last big bone of contention was Bella’s desire, very early on, to be transformed into a vampire. OK, I know this is fantasy people. I get that. But c’mon! Bella is by all reckoning a bright, sensible girl who loves her family. And yet she is willing, even eager, to toss everything aside, at age 18! to join the ranks of Edward and his family. It reminded me of “The Little Mermaid”, which is another story I’ve always hated because it has a woman giving up her home and family to be with a boy she has decided she loves because he’s cute!

Other issues: Alice’s insistence on throwing birthday and graduation parties for Bella, even though she is clearly uncomfortable with that. Is that what a friend does? For that matter, Bella’s reluctance to have any attention on her just seemed weird. Edward bribing Bella to marry him, even though she is 1) only 18, and 2) has some very good reasons for not wanting to marry so young.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had thought of this story and written it. Stephenie Meyer is clearly a gifted storyteller and hit a niche and will never want for anything the rest of her life. I enjoyed the books, as light entertainment, right up until Bella got pregnant in “Breaking Dawn”. After that I had to force myself to finish the book.

Have you read the series? What did you think of it? What is so great about Edward? I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree with me nor not. Just know that I won’t be changing my mind!

This made me cry and I don’t even know why

If you have 4 minutes, please check out this video. It made me cry (the good kind!) and I want to share it with everyone I know!