Friday, February 25, 2011

Free Dollar

No, really.  Yesterday at Target my sister spied a dollar bill wadded up in a bush near the parking lot.  I think our reactions said a lot about each of us as we determined whether it was worth it to dig into the bush to retrieve it (after I told her that there was probably a whole family of scorpions living in there):

She - "Do you think it's real or one of those fake bills?" (like the ones that say something religious on them)
Me - "What if it has drug residue on it?"

Such cynics. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Flash Mobs

I know, I know, flashmobs aren't exactly novel.  Still, I love 'em.  I love how the mobsters are having a good time and how the unsuspecting witnesses are so surprised and thrilled.  I love that they make me feel like crying to see all the warm fuzzies in the onlookers and the participants.  This one is extra good, since it's for a good cause.  A group of elementary and middle schoolers in Canada created this anti-bullying flashmob to Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Ares" at a mall to promote acceptance.  Good kids, good cause, good song.  (Sidenote:  Really, Bruno Mars??  Cocaine?  You're better than that.)  Found via Poppytalk.

Here is my other favorite:


Found Items

We (finally) bought a car this weekend.  In cleaning out the 2000 Saturn, I pulled out two jackets that have been in the trunk since approximately 2002 (you know, in case of a break down in bad weather).  Clearly I hadn't worn the jackets for a few years prior to stowing them in the trunk.  Here's what was in the pockets:

1.  receipt for video rental at Russ's Market.  Hope Floats, $1.48 (!!!).  Due Oct 27, 1998.
2.  mint from Vincenzo's Ristorante
3.  coupon for $.75 off a 16 oz. pkg of Carl Buddig Thin-Sliced Meats.  Expiration: 7-31-99.
4.  roster for a baseball tourney taking place on March 20 and March 21, 2001.
5.  application for a Russ's Market Privilege Plus card, oddly melted together.  (Is this how I scored that great deal on a video rental??)
6.  $2

This isn't what people have in mind when they put together a time capsule. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

A House Full of Crazy

So I've hesitated to write about our neighbors because I don't want to judge them too harshly, but seriously, that is one house full of crazy.  The sum of our encounters with the neighbors boils down to this:

- Something is off about the mother and three kids.  They're beyond strange.  They speak in very high, shrill voices and seem to be slow in a way that points to mental health issues.
- The 12 year old son scares me.  He stands too close, tries to touch us, and says creepy things that remind me of certain episodes of Dateline or Oprah. 
- The kids are home schooled by the mother, which is particularly alarming since in the past she's asked us what we mean by words like "sushi," "extension," and "pruning"
- BB caught the mother looking in our window. 
- On trash pick-up days, the whole family waits in the driveway for the garbage collectors.  If they're running behind, the family waits it out, and take turns walking to the middle of the road to watch for the truck.  I can hear the alarm in their voices from my office. 
- I've never seen the mother wear pants.  I don't mean that she's wearing skirts or dresses.  I mean that she's wearing enormous t-shirts.  Enormous, but still not quite big enough.
- One of the first things they said to us was "We're not prejudiced."  Good, but sort of a strange way to introduce oneself.
- Their hygiene is in question.

We avoid them when possible.  A little longer than two weeks ago I had the windows open and could hear someone's smoke detectors sounding.  I noticed again the next day, and the next.  It's been constant since then.  We have no vacant houses nearby.  Last night I was pulling some weeds between our houses . . . the alarms are coming from their house.  They've been living in a house with constantly sounding alarms for weeks!  How can that do anything other than drive them even further down the path to craziness??

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Improvements Catalog gets a gold star!

Before Christmas I placed an online order at Improvements for two Dynamic Artwork Frames for the grandparents to display C's future artwork.  In the process I located an online coupon code for a percentage off of any purchase over $40.  When I entered the code, a message came up saying something to the effect of you may or may not receive the discount.  Either way, you will not see the discounted reflected in the order summary, but it you receive the discount it will be shown on your billing statement enclosed with the order.  Seemed stupid to me.  I wanted them anyway, and they were on sale already, so I ordered the frames.  Weeks later I received a request for a review of the product and ordering experience.  I complained mildly about their weird coupon code system, and lo and behold today I received a call from a friendly customer service rep who assured me that they were working to improve that aspect of the order process, and told me that my order (since they were on sale) actually amounted to a few cents under the $40 threshold (excluding taxes).  Even so, she is going to credit my account the amount I would've saved!  Can you believe that?!  So, here I sing their praises, for excellent customer service, as well as excellent products (the frames I bought really are great - they hold up to 50 different pieces of artwork and look infinitely better than a fridge covered with stuff.  Plus, I figure when he's older, C will feel pretty special seeing his art framed on the wall in a place of honor.)  Kudos Improvements!

$24.99-$34.99 each in two sizes and two colors

Project 2011 February 15, 2011

Dinner - Turkey sandwiches, spinach salads

C's Dinner - Suddenly stubborn, C decided he would only eat that which he could feed himself.  Banana, graham cracker sticks, steamed broccoli. 

Accomplishment - finally bought the last of the supplies I need for C's birthday party.  Stripey straws, stuff to make a bd crown, balloons (they're ordered anyway), bd candles.  All that is left is deciding where we'll get lunch.  Oh, and baking two cakes.  Can you rent ice cream machines somewhere?   We don't have the cabinet space for yet another appliance, but it sounds so good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brutality in Celebration

I just heard about the brutal attack on CBS journalist Lara Logan.  We see it time and again - people going on destructive, violent tears while "celebrating."  In the US, it's often seen in professional sports.  If I ever find myself in a city with certain types of professional sports teams, I'll heartily hope they lose.  What would make fans feel like setting vehicles ablaze, harassing motorists, crashing through store windows, and looting following something like a basketball championship victory??  Is it a lack of morality?  Mob mentality?  Utter heartlessness?  Evil, even? 

Thank God for the group of women and soldiers who saved Ms. Logan. 

Project 2011, February 12-14

Dinners - Gnocchi with feta/spinach/chicken sausage and salad (Valentine's Day), ham and swiss panini, eggs with toast and fruit

C's Dinners - chicken with snow peas, berries and yogurt blend, baby chicken meatballs and acorn squash

C will now throw a ball back to me when I roll it to him.  It's best to be more than a couple of feet away when it happens.  The boy has an arm.  He also delights in any kind of peek-a-boo game.  Especially if he's the peeker and you act extremely surprised to see him.  Adorable!

We're almost done with the bathroom makeover.  Pictures forthcoming!  Next we're moving C to his own room now that he sleeps almost entirely through the night.  The other day he fell asleep in the living room and I was struck by how big he suddenly looks. 

Project 2011 February 3-11 Funding the doctor's vacations

Poor C's been sick again and I've been swamped with taking time off to take care of him and making up the time at work.  Two visits to the doctor and several late nights of work later, I think we're emerging.

Dinners I remember - salmon and fettuccini, chili and grilled cheese, french toast and turkey sausage

C's Dinners - he didn't feel much like eating, so I indulged him and fed him whatever he'd take.  A lot of baby cereal, bananas, steamed broccoli, and carrots.  Once he felt better he had a pretty tasty concoction of salmon, cous cous, and spinach.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Worst Gift Ever.

Meat.  Actually, a gift box of assorted meats. 

BB and I don't do major gifts for Valentine's Day, opting instead for meaningful time spent together.  Years ago, though, I received possibly the most terrible Valentine's Day gift (from a former boyfriend who should've known better after 4 years of dating), particularly since I don't eat much meat.  So, for today, here's my Valentine's Day gift don't:  Meat.

found these at the grocery store, $2.99, each.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Project 2011, February 2 - happy new year.

Dinner - BB was at a concert.  I had cold cereal and fruit

C's Dinner - Baby oatmeal and apricots, part of my apple, a tiny bit of whole wheat toast

Today's enrichment activity was supposed to be learning about another culture and religion. We were invited to a Chinese New Year celebration at the Buddhist Prayer Center down the block.  BB was going to be gone, but it seemed really interesting and would be a good opportunity to welcome them to our neighborhood.  C woke up from an impromptu nap at 6:00 and we headed over.  At 6:00.  Like the invitation said.  The two guys who met us on our way up the walk were very nice, but said that it didn't start until 7:00 with the dragon dance at 8:00.  I fumbled my way through an excuse for my early arrival without saying that the invitation said it started at 6:00 and probably seemed weird since I kept introducing myself and C to everyone there.  No one introduced themselves to us.  Awkward.  Anyway, they repeatedly asked us to come back for food and the dance, but C goes to bed by 8:00 and let's face it, I was embarassed. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Project 2011, February 1

Dinner - Cream of Wheat and toast (it was cold!)

C's Dinner - brown rice/applesauce/avocado/banana blend

Researched infographics for potential growth in my position at work.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Project 2011, January 31 - Goodbye splinters!

Dinner - Again with the soup.  Mrs. Grass.  Hello sodium.

C's Dinner - acorn squash, peaches, rosemary chicken and brown rice

So about 10 years ago I bought this large wicker chest to use as a coffee table, which I sold when we moved to LV.  Anyway, the chest came with two square wicker boxes inside that I've been using as end tables ever since.  When we got our kitty, he insisted on scratching them, and they're now really splintered and ugly (and unsafe for a toddler that likes to stick things in his mouth).  Yesterday we finally upgraded to this:

Avington Side Table, $89.99 (currently on sale for $69), Target
We bought two, but they're bigger than I'd expected, so we've only put one together.  Might take the other back.  Like the two other Avington pieces we own (TV stand and coffee table), it's very sturdy and was easily assembled.  Some of C's favorite hobbies are taking the newspapers and CDs out of the TV stand drawer and banging remote controls on the coffee table.  So far they've survived unscathed. 

In assembling the new table, I noticed a glaring difference between BB's methodology and my own.
He - believes instructions are just "one man's opinion" and feels nothing done without the aid of power tools is worth doing
She - reads and follows the instructions to the letter, including the part where it says NOT to use power tools and where it recommends counting all screws, etc, prior to getting started to make sure everything is there.

Of course I'm right, right?

Project 2011, January 28-30

Dinners - ho-hum.  Spaghetti, instant soup (BB wasn't feeling well), tons of appetizers (darts and football on Sunday night), this dip was good.

C's Dinners - pasta and veggie sauce (hated it and developed a mild rash), pork and apple blend, baby smoothie (mango, banana, blueberries, and whole milk yogurt), asparagus and peas, lima beans

For a minute I thought I'd accomplished a lot, but then I realized that the rug I bought was too small and the test cake I made for C's birthday was too bread-like.  Try, try again.