Friday, February 28, 2014

Olympics, Oscars, and Johnny Weir

Johnny Weir going for Silver!
I typically enjoy watching the Olympic Games, summer more than winter, but they both provide good entertainment.  I especially enjoy the personal interest stories and the tributes to the Olympic athletes and their moms.  Moms are pretty special.

I was not thrilled with the Sochi Olympics.  I think all of the controversy before the Games even started turned me off.  Continuing with the "turned off" theme, I could have done without Bob Costas' pink eye episode.  I don't know why he always gets the Olympic gig.  He annoys me, sorry if you are a fan of Bob Costas.  And, why would any TV network subject millions of viewers to a broadcaster with pink soupy eyes?  Ratings?  Thank goodness Matt Lauer was able to swoop in and save the day!?!

I surprise myself every four years with how much I enjoy watching the ice skating competition.  Who knew?  I love the outfits, the interaction between the skaters and their coaches (who seem very scary), and the drama around the scoring, but the only skater who blew me away this year was Johnny Weir.  He reminded me of a younger version of Pee-Wee Herman.  A little bit, right?

I tuned in to the broadcast just to see what Johnny was wearing, and despite looking like a drag queen he was an excellent commentator who really knew his stuff.  (Note: I'm not making a statement about drag queens and I think Johnny probably likes to be called a drag queen.)

Johnny Weir is going to be a fashion commentator at this Sunday's Academy Awards, one of my favorite TV nights of the year.  Yes, I am that person who loves all things celebrity.  It's true.  I do.  I actually buy some of the tabloid newspapers to read on the beach.  My husband just shakes his head when he sees the National Enquirer sticking out of my beach bag, but I don't care.  Some of it's true.  They were right about John Edwards and his love child.  Remember?

What's also interesting about my "rag" papers is that everybody that we sit with on the beach, regardless of gender or education level, reads the trash except my husband.  Too bad for him because he can't participate in our scintillating conversations.  I don't know why he gets so annoyed about my reading junk papers, it's only a summer/beach thing, and it's not like I believed the story about the 3-headed baby I told him about.

This year I am prepared for the Oscars, as I've seen many of the nominated movies.  It was a good year for movies.  My favorite movie was Philomena and I thought Judi Dench was outstanding.  However, she could use a little cosmetic filler around the mouth area.  She's a true professional allowing all of those close up shots.  Spoiler alert: If you went to Catholic school, there's a mean old nun in the movie who might seem familiar.

I did not love American Hustle and don't get all of the Oscar hype around this movie.  Spoiler alert:  Didn't you wonder why nobody ever came after Christian Bale and Amy Adams for the scam they were running?  That storyline did not go anywhere.  I know there's a film term for plot lines that don't ever get tied up, but I don't like that.  I like closure.

I like to be entertained by movies, and for me that means buttered (or whatever comes out of that pump) popcorn, Junior Mints, a bucket of Diet Coke, and not having to figure things out.  I like all issues resolved by the time the credits roll, and although I enjoyed August: Osage County I was left a little hanging at the end of that movie.

I thought Dallas Buyers Club was excellent and Matthew McConaughey, whom I never really thought of as talented, was outstanding.  Does anyone else think he has a big head relative to his body?  I do, sort of like Kelly Ripa.  Anyway, he lost a ton of weight for the role he played and he looked downright scary with his ginormous head.  Jared Leto who played a drag queen in Dallas Buyers Club absolutely deserves an Oscar.  If he did not have that stubble on his face I would have believed he was a woman.  He was that convincing.

Wow, two references to drag queens in one post.  I'm so modern for a 50-something housewife.  You might recall I've already used "vagina" in two earlier posts.

Ellen DeGeneres is hosting the Oscars, which seems like a safe choice after last year's hosting debacle with Seth MacFarlane.  I liked Seth as the host, but apparently many people did not care for his edgy humor.  He is the writer of Family Guy, a TV show where every episode ever aired has been totally inappropriate, so it's hard to understand why anyone was surprised by his performance.  I am proud to say that my son has memorized every episode of Family Guy.  He's been very busy at college.

Enjoy the Oscars, and be sure to check out Johnny Weir's red carpet fashion commentary.  And, don't worry if you miss the Oscars because People magazine will publish a recap of all of the highlights from the night including, fashions, acceptance speeches, winners, losers, pre-parties, post-parties, etc.

I love all things celebrity!  I admit it.  Sorry, I'm not an intellectual.  I admit it.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Can't Talk Right Now!



No Hello.


Oh, did I telepathically communicate with you and instruct you to pick up the phone?  NO.

So, why then did you answer your phone with I CAN'T TALK RIGHT NOW?

How am I to know that YOU CAN'T TALK RIGHT NOW when you answer your phone?

Does this ever happen to you when you call someone?  Do you snarl, "If you can't talk right now then why did you answer your phone?"  Tom says he picks up the phone only to make sure I don't need him for anything, but I'm still confused because if he was concerned that I needed him then why answer the phone with I CAN'T TALK RIGHT NOW?

Tom will generally call on his way home from work to say he's sorry that he could not talk earlier and to ask, "What's up?"  Unfortunately, I'm usually making dinner when he calls, so I politely inform him I CANT TALK RIGHT NOW!

We're all sooooooooo busy!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Give Me a Sign

Thanks, Nan.
My mom fed the squirrels around our house old bread, an act that was very out of character for her.  Nan's squirrel feeding was a point of contention between us, as the squirrel population around our house seemed to be growing.

Nan would tear up the bread and toss the pieces out the kitchen window.  Whenever I looked out the kitchen window it was not uncommon to see a squirrel sitting on the fence staring back at me.

One Saturday, I walked into the kitchen to find brownie crumbs all over the kitchen table and floor.  I assumed that the boys had helped themselves to the brownies sitting on the kitchen table and left the crumbs for me to clean up.

I picked up the brownie crumbs on the table and the floor, eating them as I went along.  Then I noticed a hole in the window screen.  It took me a few seconds to put all of the pieces of the scene together, and when I did I knew Nan's furry friends were the culprits and not the boys.

Yes, I ate the crumbs, all of the crumbs, from the brownies handled by the squirrels.

The Squirrel Standoff reached a crisis level and I insisted that Nan stop feeding the squirrels.  Nan did not like to be told what to do, but went along with my request, reluctantly.

Not long after Nan passed away, I was standing at the kitchen sink looking out the window.  A squirrel appeared on the fence and stared directly at me for about a minute, it then turned around, bent over, lifted its tail, and flashed me its rear end.

I had been praying for Nan to Give Me a Sign that she was okay.

I think that was the sign.  She's fine.  And, she's still mad about the squirrels.

Thanks, Nan.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Your Pictures Will Be Ready in Two Days

Paris 1989.
Remember taking your rolls of film to the store to be developed and anxiously waiting for when your pictures would be ready to be picked up?

The photo above is from a trip I took to Paris in 1989 with my husband and two friends.  The person on the left is my good friend Joe.  I have no idea of the identity of the man on the right.  I kept the photo for reasons unknown to me and when I came across it the other day it brought me back to that trip all those years ago and gave me a chuckle.

I remember that night well.  Joe was the stereotypical "ugly American" in Paris who, as you can probably see just looking at the photo, had too much to drink that night.  Joe was laughing hysterically as Tom and I helped him from the bar, and as we were trying to hail a cab Joe fell down and hit his head.  He was still laughing as he looked up at us with broken eyeglasses and blood running down his face.  When Tom bent over to pick up Joe he split his pants, sending Joe into another fit of laughter.

Now, if this trip took place during the age of camera phones I might have known who the stranger in the photo was because I would have looked at the photos on my phone the next morning and jogged some memory from the previous night.  I also probably would have deleted the photo.  So, I'm happier having the photo with the unidentified man because just the existence of the photo brings back great memories of an adventurous trip with friends.

On this same trip we drove from France to Spain, and my friend Joe was in charge of teaching me some basic Spanish to help me get around.  We abandoned the project shortly after I learned that when I thought I was asking, "Where is the bathroom?" I was actually saying, "I have a pain in my vagina."  Wow, that's the second post where I've used the word vagina.

Joe and I still laugh hysterically when we talk about that trip.  In fact, Joe and I laugh hysterically about most things when we are together.  We have no choice but to embrace new ways of doing things, but it's good to have old friends with whom we can share a laugh, and fun to remember the anticipation we felt with the words Your Pictures Will Be Ready in Two Days.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Yard Work Pays Off

Just call me, please.

I don't like to communicate via text messages with my boys.  We often miscommunicate and they usually think I'm mad at them.  They tell me that my text messages are too formal, and using complete sentences with caps and punctuation means something is up.  I didn't realize that was the case.  Did you?

Anyway, here's an example of a typical text exchange gone bad:

Me:  I'll pick you up at 10.  Be ready.
Connor:  wats up?
Me:  I'll be there at 10.
Connor:  sure???
Me:  Yeah, I'll be there.
Connor:  are u sure ur ok?
Me:  Yes, why?
Connor:  u seem mad
Me:  Okay.  See you at 10.

Then we have the text exchanges where it's clear your kids are not paying attention to what you are saying.  For example:

Me:  Yard work pays off.  (I meant to say "Hard work pays off.")
Taylor:  yea
Me:  God lick.  (I meant to say "Good luck.")
Taylor:  u2
Me:  Okay, talk to you later.
Taylor:  good luck with the yard

Hmmm, what about the God licking?

I really believe we would all communicate so much better if we just picked up the telephone and talked to each other instead of lobbing text messages back and forth.  I feel that way about emails too.

However, I do think sending pictures of the dogs with clever texts to the boys is still a good idea.  It's just all of the text messaging I could do without, because I like to hear my boys' sweet voices.

And, it is true that Yard Work Pays Off.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

When Nanny was the Sheriff in Town

Nanny with her boys.
Where to begin.

Nanny (my Mom) lived with my family from the time Taylor was a baby until she passed away in 2007.  I worked full-time and Nan was my wife.  She took care of the boys, cleaned the house, food shopped, shuttled the kids to school, cooked, did the wash, made my bed, and bought my husband a bottle of Scotch every year for his birthday.  She was the perfect wife.

Nan made it all possible.

I will need to apologize, on Nanny's behalf, to the women my boys eventually marry because she ruined them.  She peeled the grapes that she packed in their school lunches, she had Wawa slurpees for them when she picked them up at school, she bought any food they requested, and made them any dinner or snack they desired.  She bought them every video game system ever made, and the guy in the video store would call her when any new games came out.  She never missed a school event, gave them presents for every holiday, and cards with money on the first and last days of every school year.

She let them build forts with the seat cushions from her couches.  She delivered drinks and snacks to them when they called her on the phone from the TV room when she was in the kitchen making dinner.  She let them watch cartoons before school while she struggled to get their uniforms on them as they lounged on the couch.

It was the most ridiculous situation and things were worse when they stayed at the shore for the summer because the few rules she had were completely abandoned.  The boys took complete advantage of Nan, and she loved it.  They could do no wrong.  She was the perfect Nanny.

Connor is almost 7 years younger than Taylor, so he spent a lot of time alone with Nan when Taylor was at school and Tom and I were at work.  They adored each other and were inseparable which became a problem when it was time to go to school.

Connor has an August birthday, so I was able to justify pushing off nursery school the first September after he turned three, but the following September is when the real trouble began.  He lasted two days at the first nursery school because as Nan tells it, "That little boy was mean to him.  He can't go back there."  He lasted a week at the next school, same situation, different person.  Finally, I gave in to the co-conspirators and agreed to try school again the following September.  

Connor did not seem to be disadvantaged by Nan's home schooling of soap operas and crime shows.  In fact, I attribute his excellent problem solving skills to all of the detective shows he watched with his Nanny.  Connor was 5 years old and had been to school for a total of 7 days.  An intervention was required.  I told Nan and Connor that the gig was up and if he did not go to school I was going to jail.  I enrolled Connor in a 3-day a week, full day Pre-K program at the same school where Taylor went.

It was a disaster.  Connor cried every day, and although his teacher assured us that he was fine once he was dropped off, Nan doubted that was the case since he was crying every day at pick up too.  This situation created months of tension in our house, as Nan refused to understand "why we were putting him through all this stress when he's fine here with me.  He prefers to stay home with me."  I don't know anybody who would not want to stay home with Nanny on her "comfy couch" and be catered to non-stop, but as I stressed to Nan, "Connor has to go to school.  It's the law."

Despite his slow academic start, Connor is an excellent student and loves school, so maybe Nan was right and all toddlers should watch As The World Turns and Law and Order instead of going to nursery school.

What's so ridiculous about the situation with Connor and school is that Nan never let any of us stay home from school unless we vomited, and she had to witness the actual act of vomiting.  And, even then you were not assured a pass to stay home because "maybe that was all you needed." 

So, sorry in advance to the women my boys eventually marry because When Nanny was the Sheriff in Town she spoiled the boys and thought they were perfect.

Lucky for them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Countdown to Memorial Day Weekend: 95 Days

Lobster Fight

Come on, that's exciting.  It's less than 100 days until the unofficial start of Summer, and the way time flies by it will be here before we know it.  I'm trying to be positive since my son pointed out to me that I complain about the weather about once an hour.  Is that all?  That's less than I thought since the bad weather is constantly on my mind.

If Memorial Day is too far in the future to get you excited, focus on Spring.  Spring will arrive on March 20th, that's a month away.  Just one month!  Now, that's exciting.  Ah, Spring!  The season of increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna.  And, even if we still have crappy weather at least we can say it's "Spring" and not "Winter."  That's something.

I checked the Farmers' Almanac to see what type of weather we can expect in the Northeast this Summer and Caleb Weatherbee, the official forecaster, predicts "unseasonably hot and dry" weather for the Eastern states.  I'm okay with hot.  

If you think "Weatherbee" is a strange last name for the forecaster at the Farmers' Almanac it's because "Weatherbee" is a pseudonym used by the forecasters to conceal their true identities.  Seems a little cowardly.  After all, our good friend Punxsutawney Phil sticks his neck out (literally) every year to make his prediction.  Regardless, I won't push the issue since I'm happy with Weatherbee's forecast.

I'm going to try and be more positive about the weather and I'm definitely going to focus on the Spring and Summer countdowns.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Do We Embarrass Our Kids?

That's a serious question.

Honestly, I don't even know when I'm doing it, and I am constantly surprised when I learn something I've said or done has embarrassed my kids.
Some examples:
  • Saying hello to a stranger while walking the dogs.
  • Asking a waiter their opinion about an entree.
  • Complaining about anything to any service provider.  
  • Singing.
  • Saying more than "hello" to their friends.
  • Making a fuss about a baby, or worse twins.
  • Asking someone if I can pet their dog.
The list is endless, and as you can see I am a complete embarrassment to be around.

Now, had I known that everything I would say would become so offensive and embarrassing to my kids I would have kept a better record of all of the times my kids embarrassed me.  

I'll use the generic "you" as not to embarrass my darling boys, but here are a few of the moments I consider legitimately embarrassing.

When the family was dining at an expensive restaurant in Maui and "you" burst out laughing when our bald waiter introduced himself to us.  Apparently, your father and I did not notice that the nice gentleman serving us had one ear that was the size of a lima bean.  We did not enjoy one minute of that lovely dinner because it was not enough that "you" laughed when the waiter first approached our table, but "you" laughed every time he returned.  At least one of "you" was old enough to know better.

How about the time when we were in a crowded elevator at a Disney World hotel and "you" pointed to a stranger and asked in a loud voice, "What is that on his face?"  The "that" was a very large mole on the tip of an elderly man's nose, that really should have been addressed by a dermatologist.  In any event, your cousins (boys) burst out laughing and we had to endure the longest elevator ride of our lives.

Then there was the time when I asked the pediatrician what was different about him, thinking he'd lost weight, and "you" said, "It's his beard and mustache they're bushier than usual.  They need to be trimmed."  I'm certain that every immunization the doctor gave to "you" after that comment hurt more than it needed to.

Finally, if we live to be 100 years old and are completely incontinent, Dad and I could never embarrass "you" as much as "you" embarrassed us with your diaper and public bathroom escapades.

I could go on.

Why Do We Embarrass Our Kids?  Because "you" deserve it, and some!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Winter Blues

#5 Avoid Binge Drinking
The extreme winter weather has taken a toll on most of us, and the "winter blues" that some of us our experiencing are very real.  I read an article on that identified the following 10 ways to beat the winter blues:

1.   Exercise
2.   Eat a Healthy Diet
3.   Get Some Sun
4.   Act on Your Resolutions
5.   Avoid Binge Drinking
6.   Treat Yourself
7.   Relax
8.   Embrace the Season
9.   Get Social Support
10. Get Some Zzzz's 

I'm good with #6, #7, #9 and #10. 

I think it's pretty clear I'm going to need to embrace some of the other helpful tips in order to SNAP OUT OF IT!  

How are you doing?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

They Didn't Get That From Me

A few years ago, the boys started a new tradition of ruining family photos.  They will assure me that they won't do anything to screw up the photo, and they appear to be true to their word until the millisecond after I push the button.

This is the "zombie" face.
We have photos from vacations where every photo is ruined by their antics.  In fact, on a weekend trip around the Christmas holiday to New York City the boys appeared to be sleeping in every photo - - - the train ride to the city, lunch, Broadway Show, Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, dinner, the return train ride home, etc.  I could not find those photos, I guess I deleted them because I was so annoyed.

The boys have a variety of faces, and they don't bother to warn the other people in the photo that they are about to "bomb it."

This is the "Oh my God" face.
This is the "sad" face.
This is the "monster" face.
This is the "leave us alone" face.

When I was growing up, whenever I said or did something that displeased my mom, she would say, "You didn't get that from me.  That's from your father's family."  Nice, right?  While I don't believe every negative trait I possess is the fault of my Dad's ancestors, I do believe there are definitely some behaviors that are passed along from our parents.

Apparently, the boys got their photo antics from their Dad, as evidenced in the photo below, where I am blissfully unaware of what's going on.  

This is the "Googly Eyes" face.

Tom does not have a variety of faces like the boys do and pretty much sticks with the "Googly Eyes" face when he wants to ruin a photo.

Teaching his niece the "Googly Eyes" face.

They Didn't Get That From Me.

Say It Ain't So …. More Snow!!!

Get the Booze!
I can't think of one funny thing to say about the impending snow storm.

Like just about everybody else in our neck of the woods, I'm over it.

Good Luck and I hope you all stay safe and warm.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to Avoid a Speeding Ticket

I don't like to drive with my husband.  I don't think he's a bad driver, I just find him to be aggressive and sometimes he drives too fast.  That actually sounds like bad driving, right?

A few years ago we were driving to the shore on the Atlantic City Expressway.  No leisurely ride for us on that hot summer night with the start of the Phillies game looming.  You see much of our schedule revolves around game times for our local college and professional teams.  Tom doesn't realize I've made this connection.

On this particular night, I felt I was on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, this is how my sister describes her husband's driving, and was concerned for the safety of our family.  Tom was definitely speeding, and after warning him several times to slow down I put my book aside to monitor the speedometer.

In fairness to Tom, I read my eBook in the car and when I periodically lift up my head to see where we are I am sometimes startled by our proximity to a nearby car, but as Tom will point out to me, if I had been observing where we were going all along I would recognize that he had things under control.  That was not the case here.

As sometimes happens with these marital exchanges, Tom dug his heels in, or in this case the accelerator, and whined, "I'm going the same speed as everybody else."  Hmmmmm, so why are we all alone in the left hand lane with nobody in front of us, to the right of us, or behind us?  Much to my delight, a State Trooper spotted Tom and jumped on the highway with his lights flashing.

I was so mad at Tom that when the State Trooper came up to the window and asked Tom if he knew how fast he was going, I leaned over and screamed, "Yes, he knows how fast he was going because I've been telling him to slow down for the last 25 miles.  He's driving like an ass because he wants to get to the shore in time for the first pitch, so please give him a ticket.  Go ahead, give him the biggest ticket you can!"

The State Trooper did not say a word to me and calmly asked Tom for his paperwork.  He walked back to his car and checked out Tom's license and registration and when he reappeared at Tom's window he said, "Tom, you need to slow down.  I'm not going to give you a ticket this time because you clearly have your hands full with her."

Score:  Tom - 1.  Patti - 0.

That's How to Avoid a Speeding Ticket.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Half Full or Half Empty?

It depends on your outlook.
I'm not sure how I've avoided this civic duty for 53 years, but I have jury duty today.  Jury duty will require moving around some of my normally scheduled activities, but I am choosing to look at jury duty as a "glass half full" situation since I am certain I will get lots of good stuff for the blog.

My brother-in-law is the ultimate "glass half full" guy.  He owns his own business, has five children, his wife works two 12-hour shifts a week as a nurse, and he always sees the upside of any situation.  He's the guy who shows up two hours late for a dinner reservation and says with a smile, "Hi, Lloyd, reservation for 7 people.  We're here."  It does not occur to him that a table will not be available.  He'll just nod and say, "Go ahead and check.  We'll wait."  He's also the guy who goes to every home Villanova basketball game with more people than tickets and somehow it all works out.

Honestly, I would crawl under the bed if I had some of his days, but he absolutely does not ever let any situation get him down or dim his enthusiasm.

Lloyd reminds me of my son Taylor, who travels through life with "hope" as a strategy.  Unfortunately for us, things usually work out for him so we have few teaching moments.  Uncle Lloyd and Taylor abandon all concept of time in their pursuit of the next adventure.  They really believe that there is time in the day for everything to be accomplished and there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome.

For example, on a typical Saturday at the shore, Taylor will suggest at 3 in the afternoon, "Let's do 18 holes of golf, and then let's go fishing, and then out to dinner, and then maybe check out a band."  And, Lloyd will chime in, "Yeah, and how about some mini golf and then we'll head over to Ocean City to go to Mack and Manco Pizza and the rides."

And, they actually believe it's possible to do all of those things!  Tom and I describe Uncle Lloyd and Taylor as the "Party Never Ends" people.  They are exhausting!

It's actually not a bad thing to have people in your life who push you to make the most of every day even if they are exhausting to be around.  So, thank you Uncle Lloyd and Taylor.

Half Full or Half Empty?  I'm going with Half Full.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Has the Internet Ruined Family Lore?

My Dad.  Looks like Connor, right?
My Aunt Mary (aka Aunt Mimi), the matriarch of my Dad's family, passed away last year.  Aunt Mary was my Dad's aunt and was a constant presence in my family's life and the lives of my cousins' families, too.  She was at every family event in one of her pastel pantsuits, from her seemingly endless inventory, sporting a Monet pin on her lapel, wearing her engagement ring, and toting her camera.

When we were kids, Aunt Mary gave me, all of my siblings, and all of my cousins $5 for our birthdays and for Christmas and wrote x's and o's after her signature on our cards.  On our Christmas cards she alternated her x's and o's with green and red pens.  You probably had an Aunt Mary in your life, if you were lucky.

A few weeks ago, my sister hosted a get together for all of the different families to look through Aunt Mary's photos and to take the ones that they wanted.  There were many great old black and white photos dating back to the early 1900's, and as we looked through the photos we were reminded of the many people and events in our lives that were now just memories.

I came across a photo of Aunt Alice, Aunt Mary's older sister who had died at a relatively young age.  Although my siblings and I did not know Aunt Alice we were well aware of what had happened to her as a young girl.  As our Mom told the story, Aunt Alice's back was injured when a neighborhood kid dropped her on her head, and as a result had lifelong health problems and died at a young age.  Whenever my siblings and I picked up someone, or were picked up by someone, my Mom would scream, "Do you want to turn out like Aunt Alice?"

As we sat around the dining room table at my sister's house, my siblings and I laughed about how our Mom had us so paralyzed with fear about dropping someone or being dropped that we used the same "Do you want to turn out like Aunt Alice?" line with our own children.  Upon hearing that story, my cousin Dave, who was also sorting through the photos said, "My mom told me that Aunt Alice had tuberculosis of the spine and that's what caused her health problems."  "What?" we all chimed in unison.  "First of all, is there even such a thing as tuberculosis of the spine?"

My cousin Meg, representing yet a third family, then revealed that although she could not recall what her mom told her about Aunt Alice's back, she knew it was not either of the stories my family or Dave's family had been telling and retelling for 50+ years.

So, three families, three "oral history" versions of what had happened to Aunt Alice.  What we concluded was that our respective mother's told us whatever story they felt would stop us from doing whatever it was they did not want us to do.  In my case, that would be lifting someone up or being lifted up.  I have no idea what cousin Dave's mom was going for with the TB story.

We also realized that we don't know the truth about what happened to Aunt Alice and never will because anyone who might have known the real story is no longer with us.  You realize the scenario I just described would not happen today because I could verify my Mom's story by simply Googling: "Girl dropped on head by neighbor sues family for damages." Or, "Girl dropped on head by neighbor succumbs to injuries."

Has the Internet Ruined Family Lore?  Do we really need to know all of the facts and details of everyone's lives?  I personally am grateful for the version my Mom shared with me, as I am certain it has kept my boys and me from being dropped on our heads.

I would, however, love to know the story behind the engagement ring my Aunt Mary wore her entire life, as she was never married.  Too bad I can't Google: "Woman left at altar?" Or, "Woman discovers fiancĂ© has two wives?" Or maybe, "Catholic woman forced to break engagement after parents discover fiancĂ© divorced?"  I guess I'll never know and will just have to create some romantic story to tell my boys about Aunt Mary's mysterious engagement ring.  I'm up for the challenge.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mug Shot: To Smile or Not To Smile

Dangerous? I think not!
If I ever have the occasion to get a mug shot, I've decided I will smile.  I think the smile gives the impression to whomever is looking at the photo that the person is smiling because they know there has been a big mix up that will be sorted out shortly.

That's what I thought the other day when the local paper featured Mug Shots of the "Most Wanted" individuals in the county.  As I glanced over the photos, I automatically assumed the worst about the people who were scowling at the camera, but I found myself grinning back at a woman who had a big smile on her face.  What could she have done?  She looks like a ton of fun?  Turns out you don't get on the "Most Wanted" list for doing "fun" things.  Apparently, she has been very bad, but she still does have a super smile.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Snow Puppy

Charlie Brown

Boys vs. Girls

Bella, being "interested!"
I've observed the differences between boys and girls over the years, but it has only been since we've had Bella that I've seen firsthand how different girls can be from boys.  Bella is nosy like me, although I prefer to be called "interested."  She's in our face all the time wanting to know what's going on, while Charlie hangs back and does his own thing.  Bella is constantly under foot wanting attention and being needy, and whenever I sit down she is immediately in my lap.

Since my boys started dating girls I've experienced a little bit of what it's like to have a two-legged girl around.  It's actually very nice, and very different for a mom of boys.  Girls are actually interested in details, details like:  "Where are we eating tonight?"  "What should I wear?"  "When are we leaving?"  "When will we be back?"  "Who will be there?"  "What did you say?"  "What did they say?"  "Who is that?"  My boys have no interest in the Who, What, When, Where, or Why.

This past Saturday I observed an incident that was not funny at all.  In fact, it was quite disturbing.  I was stopped at a red light at a very busy intersection at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  Broad daylight.  A young girl was operating the car in front of me and in the back of the car was a boy with a girl straddling him, so she was facing me.  I'm not kidding!  It took a few seconds for what I was seeing to register, and when it did I instinctively tried to honk the horn.  Like always, when I try to honk the horn I didn't hit the right the spot, so no noise.  Connor was in the car with me and told me to stop trying to honk the horn.  I then tried to take a photo of the car's license tag, not sure for what purpose, and Connor also told me to stop and to mind my own business.

I should really insert a video demonstrating my reaction here, but I'll try to describe.  I made eye contact with the young girl and yelled,

"Your nasty."  
"That's dirty."  
"I'm telling your mother."  

I also jabbed my finger wildly at the girl while I screamed,

"Your nasty."  
"That's dirty."  
"I'm telling your mother."  

I repeated that mantra until the light changed and the car sped away.

I was shocked by what I had seen and did not understand why Connor was not as outraged as me.  He indicated that he agreed it was ridiculous and inappropriate, but it wasn't his business and didn't understand why I was making it my business.  To which I responded, "I'm an adult, I am a mother, and that behavior is so over the line it needs to be stopped."  "Responded" is not the correct term; I would say "Screamed at the top of my lungs" would have been more like it.  In fact, I actually had a headache for three hours and a sore throat from all of my screaming.

The next day I went to my niece's baby shower and I described to my sisters-in-law and nieces what I had seen the day before.  They had the same reaction as I did and my one niece went on to say what she and her mom would have done in the same situation, "We would have taken a photo of the license tag and videotaped what was going on.  Then we would have followed the car and tracked down that girl's mother!"  

Damn it!  I should have followed the car.  I didn't even think of that because I was so busy defending my reactions.  I definitely could have used an "interested" girl as my co-pilot that day.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Nothing Says Summer Like … A Cool Dog

Chuck Brown
Fourth photo in the "Nothing Says Summer Like" series.

Here in the Philadelphia area we are experiencing more winter weather, today it's ice and rain.  Schools are closed and the sirens are non-stop, as trees are falling down under the weight of the elements and knocking out electricity for lots of people.

A bit of good news, when I was at the Giant food store last night patio furniture and umbrellas were on display.  Spring and Summer are definitely still on the calendar.  The better news about my trip to Giant is the Haagen Daz Sea Salt Carmel Gelato that I bought.  They are cute little one serving cups, and I think they will make me happy.

Good luck.  Stay warm and be safe.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When Good People Use Bad Judgement

The assault on the lawn.
I had no idea of the drama unfolding outside on the front lawn this morning until I looked out the window and saw Charlie Brown sitting on the lawn.  If you've been reading the blog then you know enough about Charlie to know he should not be outside unleashed.  Charlie seemed to know this too, as he looked at me when I went outside with a face that said, "I know.  I don't know why nobody has said anything yet!"  After getting Charlie back inside the fenced in patio I went to investigate.

Apparently, Tom's car was stuck on the lawn.  Connor who just got his permit two weeks ago, and has not yet driven, was sitting in the driver's seat of Tom's car.  Tom, dressed in a suit, was crouched in front of his car pushing it and screaming, "Connor, gas it! Gas it!"  Yes, standing directly in front of the car screaming for a child to accelerate.  What's really unbelievable about what Tom was doing is that he has a car that has a "wand" for a gear shift and so you push buttons for the direction you want to go making it easier for a beginner to push "Drive" and not "Reverse."

I removed my son from the situation and went inside to call someone to come tow the car off the lawn.  As I was doing this, Tom got the bright idea to use my car to pull his car out of the mud holes that he had created. The electrical extension cord (below) was used as the tow rope.

Electrical cord used as a tow rope.
Lucky for us, the extension cord was readily available because it was connected to the Santa that was still on the roof.  I won't judge him for that part of the story, as you know I too am slow at taking down the Christmas decorations.  As you might have guessed, as soon as Tom accelerated the electrical cord snapped.

Santa watching the scene unfold.
All is well that ends well.  I sent Tom to work in my car and waited for a tow truck to come pull his car off the lawn so I could drive Connor to school.  With all of that excitement, Connor was only two hours late for school.  He actually could have gotten there sooner, but since he did not want to arrive in the middle of a double period of Latin we went out for bagels.

I've not heard from Tom since this morning's scene, but I imagine he is busy applying his problem solving skills at the office.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What's the Point?

I'm Busy.  I'm a Blogger.

"What's the point?"  "What's the point of your blog?"  That was the question put to me by my son, Connor.

"I don't know."  "Does there need to be a point?"  "I'm having fun."  I responded.

But, the question did get me thinking.  "What's the point?"

Well, one of the reasons for starting the blog was to prove to my boys that other people think I am funny, even though they don't see it.  And, they still don't.  Okay, what else?  I wanted to poke fun at the trials of daily life which I think I've done, but I've also discovered something I did not contemplate with this blog and that is that finding the funny in everyday life is very therapeutic.  I've always had a good sense of humor, but since starting the blog I now view all situations and people through my "funny lens" and often find myself grinning.

The reaction to the blog has been very positive and I've received lots of good feedback.  So, thanks for that.  It seems many of you can relate to the nonsense I write about.  Thanks also to those of you who gave me a laugh by sending along your 5th Grade photos, but sadly my class photo was by far the "most awkward."  And, I like many of the post suggestions that have been sent along.  I can't believe I did not think about all of the opportunities around "Proms."  I submitted my 5th Grade photo, but I'm not brave enough to show the prom pics.  I'll leave that to someone else.

My sister's (I have 3) wonder what Nan (Mom) would have to say about the blog if she were still here.  Here's what I think Nan would say:
  • What's the point? (Connor, after all, is her clone.)
  • I should not spend any time writing the blog if my baseboards are not clean.
  • If I have time to write that blog then I should find the time to iron Connor's school shirts and not buy those no-iron shirts because you know there's no such thing as a "no iron" shirt. 
  • Why are you telling everybody your business?
  • When did you get too good for my Acme Lancaster Brand meats?
  • I didn't raise you to talk about vagina's like that.  That's fresh.  
  • I'm 79 years old and I've never said the F-word.  
  • Don't you write anything about me on that blog. (Sorry, Nan.  It's coming.) 
Despite what would appear to be negative feedback from Nan, I also believe she would have secretly laughed at the blog posts because she too had a good sense of humor.

When I researched how to successfully launch a blog one of the pieces of advice was to initially have a lot of posts so that people become interested in your blog.  So, I've tried to do that, but as a result I've slacked off a little here at home.  The other day Connor complained about a piece of clothing that had lingered in the laundry longer than usual, and I declared, "Sorry, I'll get to it.  I'm busy.  I'm a Blogger!"

I worked for 20 years at a consulting firm in a very demanding role, and when I stopped working 8 years ago my daily life changed dramatically.  Notice I did not say "stopped working outside the home?"  That's because I don't work much inside the home, remember, my Christmas tree is still up.  When I worked, I found work to be "hard" and I found it "hard" to balance work with everything else in my life.  For me, to stay home is not "hard," but some days it can be a little unrewarding and thankless.  Ouch, does that sound bitter?

So, I think the answer to the question "What's the Point?" might be that I've found something that I like to do, that's not "hard," and it's just for me.  My sister's are rolling their eyes right now wondering, "What about the tennis 3 times a week?"  "Who's that for?"  There's nobody like your sister's to call you out!

What's the Point?  Just to laugh, and you are all forewarned that when you are in my company anything you say or do is fodder for the blog.

Who's Ready to Burn Their Winter Coat?

I'm Tired of the Plaid.
Me. Me. Me.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Oh How We Love Our Sports Teams

Dallas Sucks!

Too bad we won't be headed to the Meadowlands tomorrow to cheer on our Birds.  Oh well, next year?

There's been a lot of talk about New Jersey being a bad choice for the Super Bowl because of the cold weather, but I don't think the weather matters if your team is in the Big Game.  Poor New Jersey is always getting a bad rap for something, and there have been worse locations for the Super Bowl, unless your team was playing there.

We went to Jacksonville when the Eagles played in the Super Bowl in 2005, and despite it being Florida the weather was not that sunny and warm and Jacksonville did not have much to offer its visitors.  Our hotel accommodations were not great and we could not get a decent meal because there weren't enough nice restaurants to handle the crowds.  In fact, we ate one of our meals at a Waffle House where Chris Rock was also dining, while his limo idled in the parking lot.  Most of our meals were from street vendors, and since I was not as adventurous as the rest of my family I ate a lot of french fries on that trip, and exclaimed at every meal, "I'm going to turn in to a french fry!"  My (jerky) boys to this day, lovingly refer to that as my "french fry joke."

Sounds awful, right?  Wrong.  That trip was one of the best our family has ever taken because we are Eagles' fans and that trip was the ultimate adventure.  Everywhere we looked it was a "Sea of Green," Eagles fans at every turn and it was as though we were in Philadelphia with the number of people we saw from back home.  We were walking along the street and saw a person wearing a t-shirt that read "Sea Isle City Beach Patrol."  It was our seashore neighbor.  We saw my brothers-in-law and their friends, and my nephew who snuck away from college in South Carolina just to be around the excitement.  People from our offices and families with whom my kids went to school were there.  It was crazy.  We did not drive to Florida, but people who did told us that there were hundreds of decorated cars headed south on I-95 full of fans sporting Eagles jerseys, hats, and waving flags.  Many of the people we met did not even have tickets to go to the Game, but they just wanted to be in Jacksonville and hang outside the stadium.

The only problem I see with New Jersey as the location for the Super Bowl is that it's on the other side of the country from the teams who are playing in the Game.  I'm sure there will be lots of fans from both teams at the Game, but many fans will not be able to participate in person because it's just too far away.  There will probably be some fans who drove across the country to be near the fun, but not nearly as many as if the game were being held on the West Coast and the Eagles were playing in it.  We are, after all, the most desperate fan base to win a Super Bowl.

I personally am going cheer for the Broncos because I want Peyton to have the same number of Super Bowl wins as his brother, Eli.  I just feel like it will make family gatherings less stressful for their dad, Mr. Manning.  Plus, I've been taught by my husband that we don't like the Giants.  Actually, I think I'm supposed to hate them, or is that the Cowboys?

Oh How We Love Our Sports Teams.  Happy Super Bowl Sunday.