Friday, October 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Potty Pages won the "Name the Project" poll and so now you are stuck with The Potty Pages Project - or The P.P.P as I like to call it. Which by the way also works for the children because usually right after our reading, they all have to cycle through the bathroom on their way to bed. But how will I differentiate? That's easy! Over here it's The P.P.P - over there the p.p.p. See how that works? The big one and the little one!
Anyway here's your most recent update. At The P.P.P (this makes me giggle - a lot!) I have finished The Lost Symbol and have moved on to Erma's Family: The Ties that Bind and Gag. How's that for some whiplash? Serious, dark, mysterious, faith crunching read followed by a completely hysterical, gut busting, LOL-ing, "where are the hidden cameras" read.
So that brings our grand total to: Julie Julia; Marley & Me; Pygmalion and two other plays; The Lost Symbol and Erma. I have 45 books left to read in 48 weeks. This is looking very reasonable. But I definitely need a trip to B&N. The Count of Montecristo is up next and it's a bit of a cheat because I've read it once before but it's the next classic I have on hand. Unless of course I could do Pride and Prejudice and I'm just not feeling that yet. After The Count, I don't have anymore fluff books on hand so I think I'll be headed to my little slice of literacy heaven this weekend. Anyone feel like sending gift cards?
In other random ramblings...I think I learned how to get my way on the home improvement projects. I just price out a much bigger version of whatever it is I want to do and then Hubs tells me to go do what I wanted to in the first place. Example? Sure! I wanted to paint the bathroom. Hubs said no, he wanted to redo the vanity and the lighting and the floor before we did that. If we were going to do it we needed to do it all. So yesterday I took about 2 hours of my day and priced out the whole project down to the toilet paper holder. He looked at my plan and my pricing and said, "Why can't you just paint it? If you really feel like you need to do something just paint for now!"
I win! Next up, pricing out the playroom! You may all refer to me as The Supreme Evil Genius now.
What else? Oh yeah! I know you all probably don't pay a lot of attention to my blog roll over there, but today you should. There are some absolutely wonderful thought provoking posts out there today and I am loving all of them. As in I even commented! I've been in a serious writer's block funk lately (you may have noticed) and these posts today have been provoking enough to get the old creaky wheels turning again. I'm open to reading a few more so if you think you have something I need to read, leave it in my comments and I'll try to pop over today or in the next couple of days to read. I'm not a big giveaway person so you may want to avoid sending me those unless they involve a B&N gift card or awesome book.
I think that's all the rambling for today. I'm sure I'll be back with some more thoughts later though. Like I said the wheels are a creakin'. In the meantime, how's YOUR P.P.P. going?
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I'm just sayin'. We've had 10 days of steady rain and I'm about out of my gourd; 4 times that?! She should be sainted. Here at Zoo Suburbia we managed to avoid any severe impact from the disaster that is Georgia right now. We had a little water in our garage where the footer drains got overwhelmed but that was it. Our neighbors? About 4 inches of water in their basement. (The water that ran around the neighbor's basement)
(The water that was headed to the storm drain in front of Neighbor #2)
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The Potty Pages
Blue Water Book Challenge
The Reading Bowl
The Bathroom Bookshelf
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I love you!
And when you wake up in the morning
I'll love you even more.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Anyway, what ever you call it, the concept is simple. This is the randomness that couldn't be stretched into a full post even by me - the self proclaimed Queen of Fluffy Filler.
There is something about finding a recipe online or in some obscure cookbook and having the courage to tweak it to your own signature. Almost like vandalizing a neighbor's house on Halloween (not that I would know). There's always the chance that something will go wrong or someone will drive by and catch you. But in cooking it's the chance that a spice will go sideways on you or will be one of those "strengthens as it cooks" or "dried and ground is not the same as fresh grated" spices. And the whole world suddenly knows that you were the one who messed with the standard. And they never eat at your house again.
More proof that I am NOT a good person. I will not flash my headlights to warn people of the cop who is about to catch them blatantly speeding in a school zone. Call it tough love or discipline. But for the sake of my children, their classmates, and the school bus drivers, I want their happy lead feet to get busted.
I'm thinking that a lifestyle tweaking may be in order. Writing and reading into the wee hours of the night is leading to a disastrous home and a heavy dependence on caffeine and Hershey bars. At my current investment level, I should own Pennsylvania and Brazil by Christmas but they'll be buried under unfolded laundry and dirty mugs with coffee reheat rings.
As if having Facebook and e-mail on my Crackberry wasn't bad enough. Dummy me decided that I should add Twitter Berry to my repertoire. Stupid little blinking red light.
I forgot how much I love NPR. The music makes me feel smart; the personalities have sweet mellow voices and the news is actually pretty close to neutral in its politics. It's like a soothing oasis in the middle of media gone mad.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
I was sold.
You're familiar with that concept right? To be "sold" means that you are fed an idea and you take it so easily and eagerly that you never know you were just fleeced, taken to the cleaners and snookered all at once.
Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of a blog. I have met some really wonderful people through the blogging communities and I count them among my friends even though I have never actually met them face to face. And I love the idea that my words reach so far. Just last week I had visitors from France, Belgium, Sicily, Singapore, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Some of those people are return visitors; some found me by accident when they were searching for "pink sludge in the toilet" on Google. (I didn't ask. I honestly didn't want to know!)
But I hate the blog world some days too. I wish I had had the opportunity to get in early like Julie did with the Julie/Julia Project. Just looking at the simplicity of her blog makes me jealous. There was no nonsense about paid ads, reviews, ethics, blog trolls, who do we like this week and who can't we stand.
So why do I continue to keep the blog online? Because it IS my journal. At one point it wasn't online; it was just a word document on my computer that I picked at when inspiration struck. Someone (my sister) put a silly thought into my head that maybe, just maybe I could get published in a magazine. So I submitted an e-mail with my work attached and promptly got a "we are not taking submissions at this time" response. But there was a second line. "You may want to contact the editor of our online publication for consideration as a staff blogger."
And there was the big sell. You mean if I put this stuff together in a blog, there is a chance that I can get a writing gig that will reach the masses? I think I did a whopping 15 minutes of research before I hit up Blogger.com and started building The Zoo.
When I started I was simple like Julie. Then I started exploring the blogoverse and I started finding out about layouts, coding, keywords, links, traffic counters, traffic trackers. And that is when I stepped both feet into the quicksand that is blogging. I became so obsessed with those numbers and those visits and linking to the right people and having the right people linking back and making sure that I posted x number of times a day and tweeting and gaining followers.
I killed my writing. I effectively sucked the life out of it and smothered it. And that is when I took the summer off.
Now as I'm coming back into blogging, the why has come. Why? Because I want to write. I may never reach beyond the 10 visits a day and therefore may never make my way onto a "coming soon" poster in the Barnes and Noble window.
But I will write. Because it's what I am. Because it's what I do.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I personally don't think I've ever seen a true injustice done to a person. I've seen other children treat my children unfairly or rudely and I have intervened but I that's not what I'm talking about. I mean a real injustice. Someone who is accused wrongly. Someone who is treated unfairly in a public place.
I read Heather's encounter with bullies this week and I was heartbroken for her. But then I read her response. I read about her stand. And I was awestruck. I questioned whether I would have the courage or stamina to do what she did. I was impressed with her ability to take it beyond her own household and impact her whole school.
So Heather definitely gets a Gold Star today. But I want to give a Gold Star to anyone out there who has taken a stand for someone else. Remember the bus driver who got run over because he was helping people across the road? He gets this Gold Star.
So if you were awarding the Stand Up Star today, who would you give it too? Or can you keep it for yourself?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I've been reading a little of the book every night before I go to bed and I am now three days into it and completely hooked. She is a writer (*ding), who works as a temp and undertakes a blog (*ding) in which she chronicles her attempt to cook (**ding, ding!) her way through a cookbook in one year. I love this book and I'm only 60 pages in.
Last night I was reading and she was explaining her Julie/Julia Project to her mother. Her mother's response, "Buy why, Julie?"
It stuck with me. I dreamed it. I woke up and drank it with my coffee. I scrubbed it into the porcelain of my toilet and the granite of my counters. I've been itching all day to get back to the computer so I can chew on it and break it down for my own life.
"Why, Sarah? Why are you undertaking this blogging project?" In order to answer that I have to back up to a more basic question. "Why write at all?"
Because it's what I want. I've mentioned before that Erma Bombeck is one of my heroes. I love her humor. I love Patrick McManus for the same reason and one of my favorite books of all time is Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawles. Now I add Julie Powell and her quirky, wordy adventures to my list and I discover that I want to be on someones list. I want someone to see my name on a coming soon poster and be as giddy as I was when I saw Dan Brown's name on Sunday. I don't necessarily want the rabid, raving, borderline obsessives that J.K. Rowling has but the idea that my words could have that potential is what keeps me dreaming.
Because it's in me. In my head; in my heart; in my bones and in my blood. I have always been subject to flights of imagination. I think I took three completely unnecessary courses in college simply because I would "have" to write. There is something about taking a topic or idea and twisting it on its side or finding an angle that is overlooked that intrigues me. It's an adventure with words. It's a challenge and it can sometimes stretch my brain when I am paused searching the crevices of my mind for the perfect word to capture my ideas.
Because it is my sanity. You would never begin to know the number of drafts that go the way of the delete button simply because it is total brain junk that just had to come out. If my internet provider charged by the character we would have to take a second mortgage. It allows me to reach out anonymously to random and not so random people and add to their lives or impact them or make them think or simply entertain them.
Why tell you why I write?
Because it's what I've been thinking about. And after all this is THOUGHTS from the Toilet Bowl.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
1. People who repeat themselves repeat themselves repeat themselves. I heard you the first time and chose to ignore you. If I needed to hear you again, I would have asked you to repeat yourself. ONCE. Please note - it's not limited to children who repeat themselves, repeat themselves...well you get it. It's ALL people who do it.
1. Being inconsiderate of those around you. Please do not stop in the middle of the grocery aisle with your cart sitting cattywampus so that you can read the labels of 16 Progresso soup cans to see if they contain leeks. Pay attention moron before I V-8 you in front of your family and yo momma!
Me: Do I even want to know?!
B: Is it considered murder if someone bores you to death?
B: Reading my text books is like riding all the coasters at Six Flags by comparison.
Me: You know I'm going to blog this right?
B: Glad I could help out with the blog fodder. At least something good will come out of suffering. All things work together...
Me: Think N could use the chairs as torture training?
30 minutes later
B: It's a conspiracy! When you are done here they end up treading you for back injuries!
Me: **I lost this line somehow. I made some comment about an elaborate marketing ploy.
B: On the upside the quality of my doodles is reaching my precollege level. By the end of the day I should be at bachelor degree doodles if not graduate level.
Me: Should I call N and have him send rum to the house?
Friday, August 28, 2009
(So I was looking for an image of a calendar for this post and when I typed "Calendar" into Photobucket, I got this rabbit. How's that for random?)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
August 26, 1969 my parents were married. It was a simple ceremony with a justice of the peace in Maryland but what happened next is nothing short of phenomenal in my book.
I'm a lousy daughter because I haven't ever asked a lot of questions about my parents' early married years so I don't know much more than I have lived - a situation I hope to remedy. I know my mother dropped out of college to help my father finish his BA. I know my parents lived in the mountains of North Carolina where my father worked in a fabric plant. He lost the tip of his middle finger on a velvet shaving machine.
I know my sister and I were born in North Carolina and my parents had some dear friends there that we would stop and visit every time we went to visit my grandmother in Florida. I remember many nights falling asleep to the sound of my parents playing cards with their friends and laughing and loving life.
I know that when I was very small we moved back to PA because my grandmother was very sick and needed help. We lived in a small farm house that we actually rented from some friends in the community. I remember being lifted in the front loader of a backhoe to pick cherries from a tree in the back field.
My parents purchased land from my grandfather and built a house from the foundation up and still live in that house to this day. I think I was about 4 when we moved in. My sister and I were a mile and a half from our elementary school. My parents worked in a sewing factory in our town; my mother as a seamstress and my father as a mechanic and manager of the cutting room. My sister and I worked in the evenings sweeping up the factory.
I remember many nights on the living room floor doing family devotions. Many nights at the dining room table playing Aggravation or Uno or Parcheesi. I remember folding laundry as a family and the laughter we shared when my father became confused by the ladies undergarments. He threw one into the air in frustration and the whirling ceiling fan carried it and our laughter to the rafters.
I remember long summer days in the garden hoeing weeds, picking beans, and plucking strawberries for dessert. I remember planting potatoes by the acres for the whole extended family to share. I remember picking my fair ton of those same potatoes. I remember my father working at a neighbor's farm in exchange for a freezer full of pork or beef at butchering time. I remember my mother making all manner of homemade presents and clothes. I remember canning our own vegetables, making our own spaghetti sauce, the smell of fresh jam, and the shelves upon shelves of mason jars full of supplies for a full winter.
I remember going out to the woods as a family and cutting up fallen trees for firewood for our Goliath of a furnace. I remember many a day my sister and I spent at the woodshed stacking wood as a punishment for some recent quarrel we had subjected our parents to. I remember my sister breaking her finger when she smashed it between a piece of wood and the tailgate of my fathers green truck. Speaking of broken bones, I remember taking the least graceful swan dive off our deck and breaking my own right arm.
There were pets - 4 dogs and an untold number of pigs, cats and goldfish. There were sleepovers. There were barbeque's that my parents threw for my camp counselor friends. There were birthdays and Christmases; Thanksgivings and long summers.
But above anything else in my memory is the total overall love. There was never a lack of love in our house. Not between my parents. Not from my parents to my sister and I. And not from our house to anyone else's. I don't remember my parents ever fighting. I'm sure they did. But I don't remember it. My parents always showed us that family is forever. They showed us that the best way to improve the world is to give of yourself to other people. They taught us that nothing is impossible if you are willing to work hard, be patient, and persevere.
My mother went back to college at the same time I went for the first time. She scored a 4.0 and graduated with a teaching degree which she is still using 10 years later. It was the proudest day for me to say that I finished right behind my mother's GPA. My father took a job at a local camp when I was 15 and has been the maintenance director there for 15+ years. They are not wealthy people until you start to count up their friendships and the people they have touched over the 40 years they have been married.
So my gold star today goes to my mother and father. For being role models for not just me and my sister, but for the people they come in contact with every day and for young couples learning to be married. I don't know that I could find a better example. Happy Anniversary!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The healthcare system is in a hurt because A) we are unhealthy people who don't even try to take care of ourselves until we are already sick. In other words, we are lazy and selfish. We eat and do what we want to because we want to. And B) because some doctors, clinics, hospitals and insurance companies only care about the bottom line and making it as big as possible. Please don't start the "doctors have student loans and have studied long and hard" argument. I understand that and I believe that they should be compensated. I just know that there are some out there who think they are entitled to more than is actually fair.
But at the bottom of both of those reasons sits the same root. Selfishness and Greed. I'm not resolving the healthcare issue today. As most of you know my brain grabs random ideas from time to time and takes me on a tangent completely unrelated. Well, the selfishness and greed grabbed me.
Then I read through some of the headlines online this morning. This story popped out to me.
Fashion-forward Miamian helps homeless land jobs
Here is a Product Director for Johnson & Johnson - a normal every day guy by most standards - who is taking money out of his own pocket to help homeless people change their lives. For the better.
Maybe he makes more money than us. Maybe he doesn't. The point is that he saw a need and stepped out of his comfort zone to fill it. He did something for someone else. And not just his next door neighbor who needed his grass mowed. He did something for an "undesirable." Someone who was probably passed by a million times a day in Miami.
I had no idea who Frank Kelly was. And don't Google him. You'll hear about a 50 year old man who was arrested for DWI in North Carolina. This is Frank. He's a motivational speaker who puts his money where his lessons are.
Is Frank going to cure the ills of the world? No. If we act like Frank are we going to cure the ills? No. Does that mean we shouldn't try? No.
Gold Star today for Frank. Gold Star to you if you take even two minutes today to step out of your comfort zone to help someone else. You may not radically change someone's life but you may make an impression that causes them to pass it on.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Lost myself for a minute.
It was very entertaining last week to watch the interactions between our local law enforcement officials and the commuters of our community. Namely how quickly the officers were racking up and how light the commuter pockets were getting.
It's back to school season folks. How could you ignore the bright yellow flashing lights that have been inactive all summer warning you that you are entering a school zone? How could you not realize that the two slight curves on either side of the school provide the perfect zone for motorcycle mounted police to set up shop?
I promise there is no poetic license here. I sat in the carpool lane both morning and afternoon all week and watched at least 2 people a day get their fan mail from our local municipality. On Monday (the first day of school), I saw four! Ready to do some math?
The initial fine for speeding in a school zone is $215. Then you add $5 for every mile over the limit you were when you were caught. Now most of the people who were caught were right around 40 mph (I'm guessing from watching their cars - could have been higher or lower). But here we go.
$215 + (5 x 15) = $290!
Now figure that I saw at least twelve people get pulled over. If they all got tickets (versus warnings)? Our local municipality made roughly $3600 last week alone!
So here's the deal people. Slow down! Tis the season for children to be on the streets, school buses to hold up traffic, and cops to make their quotas. Be smart about it and maybe you can save some change AND lives.
All else fails, perhaps you can avoid this!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I woke up this morning feeling tired but otherwise ok. I got everyone out of the house safely and in a timely manner. Then I tried to do my workout and promptly got woozy, fell over from a Downward Dog, jumped up and heaved. Go ahead and laugh. I did while I brushed my teeth. I still haven't fully recovered so my day has been spent watching the Hallmark Movie Channel.
It's a veritable fountain of infomercials just screaming to be blogged!
There is so much to highlight in this one! For starters, the idea that a personal grooming product is referred to as a weapon does not conjure painless images in my head. Then you have the funky feet that they used to shoot this. Please tell me you were as grossed out by the calloused heel as I was. Maybe this is why I've been nauseous all day. And why exactly do I want two of these things? Do I really need to do both feet at one time? Somebody still has to paint the toes right? I studied the little attachment things and I didn't see a paint sprayer in there but I might have missed it.
But there's more! (Told you I've been watching all day.)
Boy I'm glad they included those other springs to provide different levels of resistence. I'm a little dissapointed in the bonuses. A carrying bag? That's it? But my hubby and I wanted his and hers. And how much can you put on a DVD to support a Thighmaster for your neck? Can you prop it between your shoulder and your ear to get an all around workout? Who wants to bet that the special cream is really just Vaseline intensive care lotion?
But call now and I'll double your order for FREE! Oh, and let's talk about that. They don't have to tell me "But Wait!!" I'm hanging on every word from the very start just to see what my bonus is at the end. It's like watching the roulette wheel. Am I going to get a double order or are they going to take money off? Are they going to send me a carrying case, video or special promotional umbrella made out of frog fur? The tension is palpable!
I remembered now why I don't watch daytime TV. Can't stand the recycled soap stories; don't feel like watching fake court and laugh entirely too hard at the infomercials.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
I love it when a headline from the Odd News catches my eye and sucks me in. It's like a mental train wreck and I can't help but stare. The real question is how do I get a job writing some of these articles? I mean this stuff is priceless and I have to think that laughing at the stupidity in this world would be one truly awesome job.
(I'm no Walter but I'll dedicate this coverage to his memory anyway - I hear he had a pretty good sense of humor.)
Here's the one that sucked me in.
Chinese bride trains eye on wedding dress record
I'm wondering how giddy this little bride is going to be when she realizes that a train that is 1.2 MILES long weighs a ton. And why in the world did they stop at 9,999 roses? Why not go for that one extra rose that put them at an even 10,000? Would it have really made that big of a difference? I love Mom's reaction "It's a waste of money." Just like a mom to look at the practicality of the issue.
Fans urged to drink whisky to ward off swine flu
I'm sorry but this made me laugh in a big way. They actually thought they needed to tell Russian soccer fans to drink? I guess maybe they had to announce the switch from vodka to whiskey. See if that had been Ireland there would have been no issue!
One dead in ear-cleaning salon attack
This one just freaked me out. First of all there are ear cleaning salons?! I am grossed out on so many levels right now. And how can a person get so attached to their "cleaner" that they feel the need to follow them home and stab them and their family?! You kill a person because of stubborn ear wax? That's a whole new line of defense!
Underweight team told to eat at least 15 eggs a day
I get it that it's a rugby team and you want them to be big burly guys and all. But aren't you even the least bit worried that they'll have heart attacks on the field? 15 eggs a day?! That cholesterol level has to be off the charts!
Kiss warning issued for rock festival due to flu
No real commentary about this story in particular. I mean I think the name of the festival is funny - Wacken Open Air Festival but that's not what got me. No, open this link and look at the picture that goes with it. Do you see the two senior citizens in the windsuits in the very front of the crowd? They're there for Napalm Death - I'm sure of it!
And now this last one. Nothing funny about it. Just sheer amazement and chin dropping.
Police find train "suicide" woman in bed
She got hit by a train. She made her way home. She went to bed. HOW?! I'm sorry but if I get hit by a train I'll be lucky if I make it back onto the platform. And she only had a broken arm?! I'm blown away.
And there's all the news that's fit to report today! From the Research Room this is T.B. Maid saying "May your water be blue and always go down!"