Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ahhhh, Butt Sniffing!

Guess who ended up coming home after all.

Guess who isn't fixed. 

Guess who spent the whole evening last evening sniffing butts. (And trying to "make friends and influence other 'male' dogs.")

Guess who had to explain the joys of butt sniffing (and other male dog behaviors) to her children. 

Guess whose children think butt sniffing is a great way to go. (They're undecided on the other behaviors.)

Guess who drinks out of the toilet.

Guess whose children think drinking out of the toilet is a great way to go.

Guess who is about to go swirly herself to make it all stop.

(For the rest of Walter's story you can visit the Zoo later today.  I'm sure there will be plenty to write about!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I've been having some interesting conversations this week.

Yesterday hubs and I were sitting in the living room flipping channels and I asked him what was wrong.  He just looked...well...bored.

"I'm bored.  With everything."

I've been whining about that for two weeks now but I was blaming my boredom on the fact that the kids are going back to school 11 days later than usual this year. 

Then Neighbor came over for dinner and he asked me why hubs was sitting on the couch like a zombie. 

"Because he's bored.  With everything."

"Yeah?!  Me too!  I go to work; I go to the gym; I eat at your house; I go to bed.  I'm bored too!"

Today, I visited with the other half of The Jammin' Divas to make mint and onion-garlic jelly - which by the way does not taste like garbage breath wrapped in a sweaty gym sock - and guess what?  She's bored too!

Did I mention that even while I'm typing this my children are fussing abot being bored?

So here are the theories we have right now.  Our summer from release to restart is 11 days longer.  Ooor...The widespread intense heat has been just beating people down and sucking all ambition out of folks.  Ooor...The economic tide has REALLY caught up and no one is doing anything because they just don't want to spend the money.  Oooor...It's just that time of year.  Ooor...(Insert your reasoning here.)

In the meantime, I've found a solution for Neighbor's boredom.  He can cook dinner for me!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grapes and Golightly

Ok, I'm going to throw it out there.  These are just books I have always wanted to read.  I didn't know jack about them before I opened them except for their main theme.  And of course anyone who lives on this planet has seen Breakfast at Tiffany's.  But let me tell you something else.  These two were WEIRD!  I don't mean that the were thinkers weird.  They just ended oddly or in the case of The Grapes of Wrath didn't end at all, really.

Book #34 The Grapes of Wrath.
I guess it's because I didn't know anything about John Steinbeck or maybe it's because I kept seeing Henry Fonda in my head as the lead character.  But whatever caused it, I really expected to be more satisfied.  The imagery of the tale once again carried me away.  I would look up from the pages to say something to one of the wee people running the house and I would hear a strange drawl come out of my mouth.  It was as if I had actually digested the vernacular of the book and it was coming back out in my words.

Each character bent into me and pried out a little space for him or herself always revealing little bits of me and making me wonder if I would have been as tenacious.  But that's the point of a great book isn't it?  To make you reflect on yourself and try to measure your own perspective and sometimes to even defend your own stance.

Well done Mr. Steinbeck.  You certainly provoked thought with that one.  But I would have appreciated one or two more chapters.

Book #35 Breakfast at Tiffany's (and three other short stories)
What can you say about Mr. Capote?  Twisted, angry, sad, pessimistic little man?  I mean how can one have such a great start on a story and then end it in a dark or distressing way every time?  I'll say this for him.  The modifications he allowed or blessed or raged against for the making of the movie probably saved this for him.  I cannot imagine how anyone who had read the book before the movie would have recommended it.

That's not to say that it's a bad story.  It's a fantastic story with vivid characters and plenty of emotion.  But without our great Ms. Hepburn and Moon River it's just not the same.

Of the other three stories in the copy I procured, all I can say is that there was a dark and almost morbid side to Mr. Capote.  I have always understood that he wasn't a mainstream author, but this was not at all what I was expecting.

So more progress has been made toward the finish line of this marathon.  I still don't think I can slice out 17 more books before my 30 days are up but then again Breakfast at Tiffany's only took me 24 hours.  What do you suppose are my chances with The Canterbury Tales?  Of those 17 I only have seven on hand anyway but Barnes and Noble is just a hop skip and a jump away so that isn't a huge issue. 

And with that I press on.  One page at a time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Brain Junk and Tidbits.

Ok so here are a few crumbs I have collected this morning as I have speed cleaned my house.  Why I'm in a hurry, I have no idea because I have pretty much nada to do for the rest of the day.

I guess I could sew some.  I have some lunch bags to make.  See, I'm taking (and issuing) a zero waste lunch challenge.  Can you pack lunch for your children (and yourself) this coming school year without using things that have to be thrown away?  My pal Fer the wonder seamstress shared a link with me way back in April for nylon reusable sandwich bags.  I'm going to try this.  I think if I combine the nylon lunch bags and the refillable juice box shaped water bottles I should be REALLY close to the zero waste lunch.  My only glitch is the daily yogurt and cheese stick.

And speaking of going back to school...We are only 3 weeks away!  Can I just tell you how stoked my kids are?  Tuck is crossing off days on the calendar to count down.  Mo is just ready to see her friends again.  And Munch?  She is ready for some peace and quiet.  I'm ready for the grocery bill to drop again.  Holy Smokes!!  These kids have been vacuum cleaners this summer!  And they've grown about two feet collectively. 

But the back to school means time to go shopping and I think we all know how I feel about shopping.  Thankfully shopping for my children is not nearly as devastating for me as shopping for myself so it won't be that bad.  And who doesn't love new crayons?  This year we are filling a third backpack for a local charity.  With the economy being what it is, I'm sure there are some kids staring down the calendar wondering how they are going to face that first day of school.  I hope we can help at least one of them. I strongly encourage you to search out your own area for a charity that may need the same kind of help.

Which leads us to the concept of "new."  Remember way back when I chopped off all my hair in a fit of "I'm so sick of this being in my face!"? Yeah well, now I'm ready for the bangs to grow back out because they are in my face.  I have that dorky split down the middle flipped up thing going on and it's driving me bajonkers.

And I tried a new swimsuit top yesterday.  A bikini for the first time in my life.  I've had two pieces but they have been tankinis so there was no tummy showing.  I'll be going back to that, thank you very much.  My stomach is resembling a cooked lobster right now.  You know how people say they look like a lobster?  Well when you consider that a lobster is brown, that's not such a bad idea.  It's the cooked ones that get ya.

While we're talking about cooking, I'm going to brag a little.  My Christmas presents for my teachers are almost done.  My tag teaming pal and I have been working the last few weeks on mini jars of various jellies to create neat little assortment baskets for our teachers for the holiday.  You can be jealous because so far we have blueberry, strawberry, peach, blackberry and cherry and we have tasted them all and they are FABULOSO!!  We are still adding some mint, grape, fig and savory onion garlic to our repertoire along with some apple and pumpkin butter.  Tell me you don't wish you were a neighbor or a teacher right now and I will call you a big ole fibber.

Which leads me to my last little snippet.  What is up with the fibbing?!  Mo has entered the fibber phase and I am really not "down" with that.  Will someone please tell me that it is a phase and that I am not raising a criminal here?

By the way, it looks like the other Max will not be joining us after all.  I believe that he has found a new home without our help so I may have dodged a bullet there.  The kids have joined Daddy's dog campaign though so I have probably already been out voted.  I might as well start looking at breeds I will tolerate. 

Hey, thanks for letting me brain dump.  I'm sure you're a bit dizzy from all of that and wondering how it all fits together and I'll just let you know...It doesn't!  Have a great day!

(By the way, I just thought the picture was really neat!  No political commentary or deep meaning - although I'm sure I could come up with one if I thought on it.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bizarre News Wrap Up!

What would my triumphant return week be without a little T.B. Maid reporting?  Again if you have just joined us since my hiatus, this is the part of the blog where I go in search of all the absolutely absurd news I can find and make fun of it.  Brace yourself - this is when it gets (not so) good!

Here's a little tidbit I found today - Wacky crimes: The best of police blotters from Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast
This is perfect!  It's an end of the month round up of all the loonies and their antics.  And the paper does it EVERY month.  How great is that paper!  You have to read through a few of these blurbs.  I think my personal favorite is the guy who ratted out his own weed operation - IN THE BUFF!

Here's a reason to clean out the car. - Bear crashes in runaway car
How do you explain that to your parents?  "I swear Mom! I parked the car right there!  Oh, look!  There it is...and a bear is eating the interior."  Better yet, how would you like to be the adjuster assigned to that claim?

This just strikes me as a bit gross. Churchill's dentures fetch nearly $24,000
Why in the name of dental floss would anyone want a pair of 60+ year old dentures?  Yes, Mr. Churchill was a fantastic man.  Sure World War II artifacts are cool.  Not sure this one is one of the cool ones.  But the bigger question is, how exactly does a pair of dentures correct a lisp?

And this one gives me some inspiration to keep working out.  Florida great-grandma takes a bite out of crime
She is 73 years old!  Not only does she have the gumption to bite the bad guy but she hangs on to a (I have to assume) speeding truck as it tears down the highway.  The last line got me - she almost lost a tooth.  Take that Churchill!  You're fancy pants bajillion dollar dentures can't do THAT!

And let's wrap up with one from right here in the neighborhood (ok, across town but when you read this you'll know why I'm ready to let them STAY across town).   Armored escort for Snellville's snail ornament
First we protest the snail as a mascot.  Then we buy Sunday liquor sales by telling folks they can have their snail if they pass the ordinance.  Now we will be providing an armored transport for snail ornaments to get to a...farmer's market?  Look at that Es Car Go!

So there you have it..all the news that SHOULDN'T have been reported!  But before I go, let's get a photo of the week, shall we?
Yes, those are safety pins but don't worry.  They're just glued on.  I have yet to figure out why but if anyone knows Lucy McRae of Australia, perhaps they could ask and get back to me.

This is T.B. Maid reporting.  May your water stay blue and always go down!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And the Point is...What, Exactly?

Ya'll are going to have to help me with this one.  It's truly beyond even my imagination.

Organic.  The point is to eat foods that are free of chemicals and in their purest form, right?  I mean, no pesticides, no steroids, nothing that the Creator didn't put here to begin with.  In turn providing a healthier diet and, in the end, promoting over all physical wellness.  Did I miss the point?

So explain this to me.


I live in the 'burbs of Atlanta, home of Pemberton Place, The World of Coke, the biggest Coke bottle on the planet, the headquarters of this marketing giant.  And I understand that it is total sacrilege to speak against an American institution like this.


Really?  Does it rot your teeth slower?  Does it make your weight gain more attractive?  Does it make your caffeine buzz a little more mellow?

Organic sodas.  Can I get in on the organically fried french fries?  I bet those are cooked in organic lard which comes from the super healthy organic hog that also provides the fantastic organic fat back for my organic collards wallerin' in some organic butter that are playing vegetable side to my slab of organically basted baby back ribs. 

That meal definitely calls for a wash down with some Organic Coke!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And my Beliefs are Justified

I do not believe in garage and yard sales.  I don't have them; I don't frequent them.  I don't see the point of moving my stuff around the neighborhood or moving my neighbor's stuff into my house.  I'm sure I'm wrong and that there are probably plenty of things at other homes that I could use.  Like those mason jars I've been stalking the entire metro area for...anyway...

A few weeks ago there was a story about a LeBron pendant that a lady found at a flea market and bought for $5.  Then she had it appraised and found out that it was worth $10,000.  And when the news hit the LeBron camp, they started bullying her until they could got it back and now it's all tied up in legalities.

Yesterday the news hit that a fellow used $45 to pick up a collection of glass negatives that are believed to be part of Ansel Adams early work.  Now the family is disputing that they are authentic and again we have legal issues surrounding a garage sale find. 

I just don't see how a "great find" at a garage sale is panning out for these people.  Sure, they found something that may or may not have great value, but by the time they wade through all this legal nonsense, will they really have anything to show for it?

The way I see it, garage/yard sales are really just a way for folks to get money for their unwanted stuff and turn your life into one big legal struggle to find value in that same stuff.

So I stand by my conclusion - garage sales are a big pain in the tuckus.  But if you have some Mason jars?  Call me!
Or Not!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Siren's Call.

You know how I just went and made an "investment" in a top of the line vacuum yesterday?  Well, today I started taking measurements and pricing flooring for hardwoods.  There is a very good chance my hubby's head could explode this week.  That's what he gets for trying to take over my kitchen!

On the upside, the vacuum handles all floor types so it won't be a complete loss.  And we're not doing the whole house; just the main rooms and the hall.

Anyway, looking at the hardwoods online got me started again.  It's all tongue and groove.  Couldn't I tackle one room at a time and install it myself?  I can wield a hammer and I got power tools for my birthday.  I don't think this is beyond me.

But then I realized that there is no way hubs is going to let me tackle that project.  So what is my counter project that I use to still be allowed to do home improvement?  The boy's room is in need of some real work.  Here's the plan.  I tell him he has two choices; I can take on the hardwoods or I can paint Tuck's room.  I figure Tuck's room will get done because it's definitely less expensive and there won't be power tools involved.

If all else fails I'll put re tiling the kitchen on the list.  At least then he'll have to stay out of the kitchen!

On a side note, we are not the proud parents of Max the poodle yet.  We're still waiting to see if the dog is officially up for adoption.  I have also learned that Max has a mohawk.  You can only imagine my delight at that information.  Maybe making my hubby's head explode isn't such a bad idea after all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh For the love of the Vacuum!

Lil' Red (our vacuum) blew up.  I mean smoke belching, dirt flying, sparks crackling blew up.  That was a month ago.  Today I finally went out and replaced her.  No, I have NOT been letting my house go "Hoarders" on us or anything but I am tired of traipsing over to Neighbor's to borrow his. 

And if you have to buy a vacuum, why not just bite it and go for the Dyson, right?  So I did.  Hubs is not a fan - but then he didn't realize that Red was kablooie either.  So after much discussion we have made peace with a new vacuum.

But somewhere in there between frustration over having or borrowing, or getting something cheaper that may or may not handle that death trap that is the playroom, he slipped in, "So if I could bring home a year and a half old standard poodle, would you be ok with that?"

You know that point in a "discussion" where you just surrender and say "yeah, sure" to just about anything?  Man, does he have timing.  On top of that, do you know what this dog's name is?  Max.  As in the same name as the Jack Russel that is already in residence.  And it's still in puppy phase.  And it's a poodle.  A big, black poodle.

I need to have my head examined.  The only saving grace in this right now is that we are coming to the end of summer so it would give the children something to do for the last four weeks before school returns and I would have time to work with it in training when they go back.

But it's a poodle.

All I wanted was a new vacuum!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

And Another Book Down.

I was sitting by the pool today listening to my children protest the rumbling thunder that was keeping them out of the pool and somehow I managed to read the last 15 pages of my book.  That makes 33.

I have learned something about myself through this process.  I am drawn to books that are full of imagery.  Under the Tuscan Sun (yes the Diane Lane movie) was one of these books.  By the way, the movie was not at all "based" on the book.  The story line is not even remotely the same except for the fact that it was a newly divorced woman renovating a Tuscan villa while learning to cook authentically Italian.  As for all the romance?  Yeah, not so much.

The book is more of a memoir of the renovations and life in Tuscany but what drew me in and stole my heart was the language of the imagery.  The colors of the sun rising against the house.  The hues of roses planted along the front walk.  The depiction of the vines rambling over abandoned wells and terrace walls. 

And then the food!  Oh, to be able to cook with olives pressed from your own trees!  To have such a diverse collection of cheeses and pastas and varieties of vegetables to grace your table.  Did I mention that it was a rustic "fixer upper"  in Tuscany? 

If we have learned nothing about me in the two on and off years I have been blogging, we have established that I love home improvement and cooking.  And she is a professor of the written word as well?  This book was written for me!

So I guess if I was reviewing a book this would be a five star, but I don't review books because I really feel that every book has to be read with your eyes only.  No one knows your likes, dislikes and passions.  No one knows your story and back story.  How can they say that the book they adored would be perfect for you?  No.  Every book and every recipe in life must be tried and tested by individuals without the coloring of other people.

Books and recipes are not paint with water books.  They colors aren't already there.  You have use your own paints and brushes.

(Coming soon: The Grapes of Wrath)

Friday, July 23, 2010

High Five for Eloping!

My hubs and I have a tradition.  At some point during every wedding we attend, we look at each other and share a high five.  We eloped so we didn't have to deal with all the lunacy that goes with planning a wedding.  This week's news story about "Lois" has me high fiving him daily.

Surely you've heard about Lois!  The Texas corpse flower that is about to burst forth any minute?  That's right people.  This is a gigantic (apparently gorgeous) flower that smells like a rotting corpse.  And it is about to bloom in the middle of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
And what does that have to do with weddings, you ask?  Well, a darling couple booked a small, intimate wedding amidst the delights and beauty of the butterfly garden.  Which is...?  Right next door to Lois.  So not only is the museum open 24-7 so that people can witness this "magnificent" bloomin' event (so much for small) but they get to deal with the stench of a rotting body at the same time (how's that for intimacy?). 

I know that you all think I make these things up sometimes but here is your proof.  I am linking you up to the WEBCAM of Lois.  That's right people!  They have a webcam so we can watch Lois show her stuff.  And if you really want to see the original news story you can check my facts on that too.

So now; you tell me.  Don't you think I owe it to the world to give my hubby a high five right now?

The BTB Fad

The notion of "from scratch" yesterday started my wheels turning (imagine that).

A friend and I tag team teacher gifts every year so that we can do something creative without breaking our banks.  The past two years we have done jar mixes in baskets - a neat little collection of breakfast breads, soup mixes or snack mixes.  last year we even threw in some hot cocoa mix.  It struck me as odd because everyone said, "Oh how creative!" but I found the recipe book at the supermarket checkout line.  So how is that something that is so incredibly creative?

This year we knew we weren't going to be able to pull of the jar mixes for another year so we started brainstorming for something new.  Then I went on vacation and made raspberry jam with my mom.  Ah Hah moment!  We decided that we would but fruits in season and make mini jars of jam and give collections. 

Now in the process of doing this I have of course made jam and jelly for our home and have given away a few jars to neighbors and friends.  Everyone is astounded that I can do this.  But I don't understand why it is such a big deal.

Between the "organic movement," the recession, and the rise in home gardening, I'm wondering why it's such a shocker that someone would want to put up their own food.  I mean isn't it logical that one would lead to the other?  Or are you just growing it for now and letting the rest rot?

I grew up this way.  If I had space I would live this way all the time.  I remember picking how many billions of acres of potatoes, beans, zucchini, cabbages, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers and peas every year.  I sacrificed many tomatoes and apples to my mother's Victoria food mill for the sake of homemade tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, and applesauce.  We trampled miles of trails to gather raspberries and blackberries. 

It's just the way life was.  So I wonder why all of a sudden it's a great novelty to get "Back to Basics." 

I have a theory.  I think people are just sick of running.  People don't want to rush and scurry and be constantly convenient.  I think deep down folks are starting to realize that maybe taking a little time to work for their own creates a much more satisfying meal; a deeper apreciation for the earth that everyone is so frantic to save.  I think perhaps the world is finally starting to notice that maybe there is a fuller life available outside of the almighty dollar and "stuff."

I can't say I'm disappointed.  I think getting Back to Basics might lead to some more friendly communities, more caring neighbors, and maybe even a kinder world in general.  But then I also think I should take off these pink shades and give them back to Hollywood.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

From Scratch

If you had the opportunity to start over, right where you are; I mean simply stop everything, pivot and go again, would you? Would you change your system, your method, your thinking, your approach? Would you embark on something entirely new? Would you continue your course with a new outlook?

This is where I sit with blogging. I have left it for almost a full year and while there have been days when I have thought, "Gosh that would be a pretty funny post if I could put it down" I can't say that I have missed it.

Blogging is a beast. Some people (ok, me) become addicted to the comments and the numbers and the "potential to influence." Some people (ok, me, again) feel the need to perform at their peak and put out the best they can produce as often as they possibly can. Some people - who am I kidding? - I have, and probably will again, burn myself out to the point of ashes blowing in the wind.

But as I have said before. I need to write. I need to take the insanity that is my swirling brain and sort it out. You get to watch the swirling water from the sidelines and maybe laugh at it from time to time. For me it is essential to staying balanced.

If you are concerned, I have made it through 32 books on my reading list. I only have 42 days so the chances of me reading a book every two days is slim (not that I won't give it a good run!). But I had fun. And I read a lot of books that I might have never even looked at twice (Sense and Sensibility being one at the top of that list!).

And as for news commentary, I'm sure you will understand when I say, "Bleah!" The ridiculousness just keeps churning out not the least of which is Lindsay and the recent Agriculture debacle.

The kitchen has exploded twice since I last talked to all of you so I've logged more hours under my sink and behind my fridge than I care to recount. But my hubs is loving the ability to call his friends and say things like, "Did I tell you that Sarah fixed two leaks in the irrigation system, diagnosed a burnt cellinoid in the back of the fridge, replaced the garbage disposal and still had a delightful full baked chicken dinner on the table when I came home?! Oh, and here. Have a jar of her homemade peach preserves."

The children have kept it together and have actually made progress in spite of me as far as education is concerned this summer. Mo is reading at a mid-term first grade level (per her Grammy's assessment). Tuck is reading at a late kindergarten level. And Munch...well, she has lived up to both her Hollywood and Munch nicknames by donning her shades and eating me out of house and home. They have completely reaffirmed by belief that I will be the shortest person in the house within the next 6 years.

And with that you are caught up. And I am starting from scratch. Sometimes from scratch is the best way to go. The ingredients are there waiting to be mixed. It's up to me to do it right this time.