31 July 2008

What I've Learned...

Let me just share with you something I learned yesterday. Nothing terribly profound, but useful just the same... Pizza Cutters, at least really GOOD pizza cutters like one might get from say - Pampered Chef - are sharp.

Really REALLY sharp. Like a knife. Only round. So if you fail to remove the protective shield they provide in the correct way you might, oh I don't know, slice your finger, for example.

And it might hurt.


That is what happened to me yesterday. I was so excited to show Ron the new ergonomically correct, gimongous pizza cutter that I went to remove the plastic protector (In a way inconsisyenet with the intention of the manufacturer apparently) and in one split second there was blood. EVERYWHERE. Nice. Like a papercut. On steroids. Ouch.

26 July 2008

Finally... William has wheels!

My son, William is eight. He is super-cute and quite smart in his own quirky unique way. He also has some rather significant gross motor challenges that have, up until this point, prevented him from really riding a bike. At.all. Of any kind. A little more than a week ago a physical therapist suggested we get him a trike. That's right, a big giant tricycle. At first I was reluctant - worried about someone making fun of him - but the PT reminded me that his friends will not and the other kids will likely just find something else to pick on him about. The value of him developing leg and ankle muscles and self-esteem and just feeling the thrill of propelling himself through space will outweigh any potential teasing.

So - after many many calls to different bike shops we found one that had one in stock that he could try. He was a little reluctant to get on it initially - he has severe gravitational insecurity and worries about falling - doesn't like to be up high at all - but once we convinced him to try it, that the trike was just like the tricycle that we had to pry out from under him last year because he looked like one of those clowns that ride tricycles he took to it instantly and loves it. It is fabulous to see him so happy peddling around, quite pleased with himself.

Bravo, William! We are so proud!

25 July 2008

So - where's all the reports of the good news?

I know it isn't nearly as appealing to read something uplifting and postitive. I realize that as a society we are more than happy to soak in the bad news but I just have to say... yesterday I paid $4.05 per gallon for premium unleaded gasoline. I was so happy I wanted to hug the young man who filled the tank (i'm in NJ - we don't pump our own gas here).

Where are all the reports on the falling gas prices?? All these people willing to bitch moan and complain about rising gas prices... I paid $0.07 less per gallon this week than last week. I happen to think that is pretty darn great.

Am I the only one??

21 July 2008

Memory Lane and Silk Pies

Here, my patient friends, is the ninth installment of Rebecca's Saga. If you are new here and want to catch up, please see the side bar. Have a comment or complaint? Feel free to post it here... Someone at some Ivy League school is likely doing a thesis on the direct connection between lots of comments and feedback and the speed at which stories are completed... motivation and all that... so - feel free...

Rebecca and Becky sat on Garrett's grave for a while - sometimes talking sometimes not. Rebecca thought it interesting that Becky talked so freely to her considering she was basically a stranger. She looked at Becky when she could remain conspicuous, trying to find some trace of Garrett - but couldn't see it. She could hear him though, in the things she would sometimes say.

"My Daddy always told me not to look for trouble where there wasn't any. I never knew what he meant when he told me that, but I think I figured it out last week at band camp." Becky said and she continued with a story about a drummer who said something about a certain flute player who was a bit of a rival of hers.

Rebecca was reminded of a time when she and Garrett were walking into town together as they often did. It was a warm summer day not unlike this one and they laughed and talked easily as they always did. Why hadn't she appreciated that more? Maybe it was because when you are 15 years old you don't yet know how rare it is to find someone with whom you can be so easily "yourself". That particular day she was complaining that a certain football player hadn't returned a call she had made and she was listing the possible reasons she was being "blown off".

"He doesn't like me, or he thinks my nose is too big, or maybe my butt or may..."
"Maybe he is just busy Rebecca" Garrett countered. "Did you know football practice started this week?"
"Oh". Rebecca replied in a much smaller voice. "I am looking for trouble again, aren't I?" she knew where he was going with this.
Garrett smiled and put his arm on her shoulder "Wouldn't expect anything else from you."

He had been right of course. The football player WAS busy. And exhausted from long practices. Eventually, he did call her and they did go out - in fact they went to the homecoming dance that fall. Where he promptly dumped her for a cheerleader, as cliche as that was... Of course Garrett pulled her through that too.

"Rebecca?" Becky was shaking her shoulder to startle her back to the present.
"Yes? Oh - sorry, Becky - what is it?"
"I wanted to know where you were going when you stopped to talk to me?"

Rebecca didn't want to tell Becky that she was going to research her father's accident. She felt it might make the girl sad. She lied and told her she was just out for a ride.

"It's almost lunchtime, want to grab a bite?" Rebecca offered.
"Sure" Becky took her up on her offer. They walked together to the diner talking about the incredible chocolate silk pies they had there and taking turns pushing Rebecca's bike.

At the diner they sat at a booth. Becky looked forwardly at Rebecca and said "I can see why he loved you." "Who?" Rebecca asked. "My Dad - he told me you were beautiful and funny and smart. That was why he had named me after you. He wanted me to be that way too."

This sort of candid truth stunned Rebecca and for a moment her own curiosity erupted from her mouth: "What about your mother, Becky? wasn't she beautiful, funny and smart too?" Rebecca's eyes grew wide shocked at her own sudden brush with brusqueness. Becky's answer echoed in her ears: "I don't have a mother... well - I never knew her anyway."

I need to brag...

My friend Fred is an amazing, gifted artist. You can see his work HERE. I have always felt a little like I know a celebrity since whenever I go to the grocery store I see his artwork on packages of flatbread Fred is a retired graphic artist and incredibly talented. Now it seems, he is becoming internationally famous as well...

He is featured in the current issue of Corel Painter magazine (Issue 18). The magazine is printed in England and the USA market is always a month behind the issues sold in the UK and Europe. The magazine is available at Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores, and perhaps at other magazine retailers, if you would like to drop in and take a peek.

He also has a featured gallery at the official Corel Painter Magazine Website. Fred- I once again stand in awe of your talent. Thank you so much for sharing!!! Your work is just amazing and you so very much deserve this honor!

20 July 2008

OMG - How cute is THIS?

Scene: I am sitting out front on our steps supervising while William rides his (small electric) dirt quad out front. I hear him stopping periodically, but don't look up for quite a while. FInally he stops right in front of me. I look up. He grins...

William: Bet you don't know why I keep stopping!

Me: Nope - no idea - why DO you keep stopping?

William: Just to smile at you.

OMG - I so love this kid!!!

Does size matter?

The Par-tay... How'd it go, Froggy wants to know... Well, actually, it went quite well. It occurred to me that my stressors at my parties are largely brought on by my own personal neurosis. Interesting... SO when I am talking to a group of people and glance across the room at another group of people, I worry that they think I am blowing them off. Ron reminds me that this is called mingling. You aren't expected to be everywhere at one time. Good thing too since I have yet to master bi-location (Froggy - keep the cheeky comment to yourself... ;) ) So I must work on this madness. Apparently everyone had a good time. I am close to the $800 mark for the show so it was successful...

The mix of people was great but there was not a lot of interaction BETWEEN these groups. I really think I like a smaller group - but Ron insists that larger parties are better because people in uncomfortable situations have an easier out... I don't know... How about you? Do you prefer to host a larger party or a smaller one? Do you prefer to attend one kind over another?

19 July 2008

Today's the day...

Well - today is the big Pampered Chef BBQ. When I say big, I mean big. We are having ribs, Kabobs, hamburgers, hot dogs, cold veggie pizza, deviled eggs oh - and a chocolate fountain. I got up early to put the ribs on - they cook for about 6 hours or so. Expecting about 20 people. I am so tired. Hoping for a big burst of adrenaline. I went to Martial Arts Fitness last night and let me just say that TaiChiInstructorFriend worked us very hard. At least it felt like that for me.

My fridge is gorgeous now, BTW - sparkling shiny clean... And my granite counters are too! OOooooo - Ahhhhhhhh. :D

So - that's what's new here - very busy. Oh yeah - and if anyone wants or needs Pampered Chef, please let me know. I am closing the show on Monday. And then Karate Camp starts on Monday. I have a rant about the bowling alley forthcoming on that front... stay tuned...

14 July 2008

Pretty Pink Birthday Gift

William and I are invited to his friend's house this evening for cake and ice cream for his little sister's birthday. We had made a little "Playing School Kit" for William's friend back in May and I wanted to do something along a similar vein for his little sister. So I bought a canvas bag, ironed on a design and personalized it with paint. Inside is a tiara and wand to be decorated with sparkles and bows and then two larger foam pieces to be used with Princess Tea foam stick ons. Hope she likes it!

12 July 2008

Okay - so we are obviously home by now...

And I have been negligent in my blogging duties. Hope everyone is doing well. I am getting ready for a Pampered Chef extravaganza I am having next weekend - lots of work. I am having a Co-Ed Pampered Chef BBQ. We are expecting nearly 20 people. Should be pretty good - An interesting mix of people too! People Ron works with, my mother, TeacherPirateFriend and family and even TaiChiInstructorFriend! Oh - and if anyone needs or wants anything from Pampered Chef, please let me know this week - did you know they ship direct now?? Coolness!

So - I must seriously clean my kitchen. Including (dumdumdumdum) the FRIDGE!!! Scariest of scary places!! What is up with the fridge anyway?? I can organize pretty much everything but the fridge is a mystery that eludes me still. Things routinely get shoved to the back - and are lost forever! If anyone has any special tips for keeping the fridge from being so damn scary - I would LOVE to hear them!

Other than that we are trying to keep William busy - He has one more week of the rec program and then Karate Camp starts... we have a birthday party on Monday and have been trying to touch base with Wiliiam's BFF and her family as well! I am also in a super snarky mood right now. Blaming it on PMS. Marvin - no posting about VW's this week - okay? I just can't take it!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! Please - when you stop by - leave a comment. Don't make me beg!

09 July 2008

Hi bloggy friends! Off to a slow start this morning. Headed out later for a nature walk & to pick up trash.

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08 July 2008

Gone Camping...

Okay - so there is no tent and I have my very own bathroom - but it is still camping. If it will make all you hard-core granola bar types feel better, you can call it "glamping" (that's glamorous camping, 'case ya didn't know). In any case we are off but we will be back sometime on Thursday.

Why do this? I haven't a clue. Other than William is so excited he can barely breathe. It stopped being fun for me quite some time ago. But that's what parents do, isn't it? We suck it up for the precious few years that our kids give a crap about us and actually WANT to spend time with us. So off we go -

See you in a few!

07 July 2008

Aldi Favorite of the Week (volume 3)

So - Okay... before I go off camping, I thought I would share with you a product that may not be MY personal Aldi favorite, but it sure is William's! They have these fruit snack thingies there, meant to be like fruit roll-ups. Seriously, I think they taste a little better - the catch is that there is really only strawberry (that I have seen so far). Lucky for me that is William's favorite anyway, LOL. They also won't put weird tattoos on your tongue. I never got that marketing gig but then again, I'm not eight. In spite of how I act. (I heard that snide remark - you know who you are...)

William put it best "Deethze ar awthome, Muhm" with a nice big stripe of red practically dangling on the floor. Like a little red carpet he said. Oh so VERY attractive.

There are 8 in a box. 70 calories per roll. A fair amount of vitamin C for candy. Yours for the low price of $1.89. Every day.


Have YOU gone to Aldi yet???

Bus Nazi


Let me set the scene here for you just a little bit. William is in the township recreation program this year. He was in the township recreation program last year. This means I am not new to this. There is, in front of the school, a bus loop and a regular loop for parents to drop kids off. This is not a regular school day - at best there are two or three short busses to drop off some kids with special needs. They don't arrive at the same time every day, so usually it is just one bus dropping of at a time. This means that some parents like to park in the bus loop - but we all know to leave PLENTY of space for the busses. It is a huge bus loop. Probably accomodates 7 -10 full length buses every school day at one time - get the picture? Lots of space.

This morning - and mind you - hormonally speaking, I am a big exposed nerve right now so someone says the wrong thing at the wrong time and well - let's just say I use everything I have to stay calm. So this morning I pull into the loop like I did all last year and all last week. Far back. Away from the school (I just don't like the chaos of the other loop and I like to walk WIlliam to the door. Trust me. I have my reasons). This aid says to me "This is a bus loop. we need this space for the busses for the special needs students." I said "Yes, I know." she pushes it "You can't leave your car here." I keep walking and remind her that there is plenty of room and that I will be out of there in less than a minute. She keeps taunting me about it. I keep ignoring her. After I leave Wiliam at the door, as I turn around, I see a short bus pull in. Guess where?? The small chaotic bus loop. They do that too sometimes, but this one apparently is new to the rec program and just doesn't get it. So as I walk past her this time I raise my eye brow and just sort of snicker.

Get over yourself already. This aid is super-snarky. I have seen her before in the schools and she never smiles. ALWAYS has a scowl plastered onto her face. I feel like telling her that her face is going to freeze if she keeps it that way. Hmmm. Perhaps it already has. Can't wait to see what she says to me this afternoon when I park in the same place and tell her "ooops. I must have forgotten." And keep on walking right past her snarky butt.

06 July 2008

Cemeteries, Bubble Gum and Daisies

So - here is the eighth installment of Rebecca's Saga. If you want or need to catch up, see the sidebar...

Feel free to comment, complain, suggest, request - whatever! I like input! :D

Vince talked about Becky - how she was a good student, smart, well-liked and talented with a trombone. He was - actually - gushing. Rebecca heard pieces of what he was saying but her mind was still trying to figure out where this poor girl's mother was.

"Where did she go, Vince?" Rebecca asked.
"Where did who go?"
"Her mother. Your sister."

Suddenly the Da Da Da song blared from his cell. "Interesting ringtone, Vince." she thought and raised her eyebrow.

Vince took the call in the house. He was gone for a few minutes and Rebecca returned to the kitchen shortly after. "No Becky. No. I'm sorry. No. Stay put. I am coming home." He flipped the phone closed and looked at Rebecca.

"Sorry. She wants to go to a party. I have to go - make sure she stays in." Vince said. He grabbed her shoulders and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "maybe lunch tomorrow?" He asked.

"Maybe" Rebecca replied.

The next morning, after coffee and a bit of weeding, Rebecca headed to the library. She knew it was a long shot - the accident was so long ago, but she wanted to read the truth. She hopped on her bicycle and headed out. She decided to cut through the cemetery since that shaved a good half mile off the trip. As she turned the corner she noticed a girl sitting on a grave, stretched out, almost relaxed. In an instant she knew it was Becky - she recognized the wiry red-brown hair peeking out of the back of a baseball cap. As Rebecca coasted around the corner, Becky looked up and waved.

"Hi Miss Rebecca" she said. Rebecca waved back.
"Good Morning, Becky" she replied.
"My daddy liked daisies. I bring him some once in a while. He always said that you can't look at a daisy and not smile."

Rebecca could feel the lump in her throat again and remembered that Garrett had told her that same thing on any number of summer afternoons that he spent trying to make her feel better because she had trusted some dumb ass who had let her down. "He was right" Rebecca managed to squeak out. She had parked the bike and walked slowly to the grave.

"Is your last name Stoya?" Becky asked through cracking gum.
"Yes - well - it was."
"My daddy named me after you"
"Oh." Rebecca suddenly felt that all the clever things that someone could say at this point just could not find their way to her mouth. Instead she smiled weakly and said "I am so lucky then."
Becky smiled back and patted the ground for her to sit. "It's nice here" she said "quiet - you can think here."
Rebecca sat down realizing that she wasn't so sure she wanted to think. Becky handed her a daisy and blew a monstrous bubble.

What's been going on?

So - I have been very busy with - well, life! Apparently there is a LOT you can do in the summer when you aren't struggling to avoid a nervous breakdown and pulling your hair out.

I have loosely been following the flylady's schedule/plan (she and I part company on the shoe issue. I don't even HAVE shoes that tie, but I DO have a shiny sink!) while William has been going to the recreation program sponsored by the township. In the afternoons we have been going for walks and to the library and to Johnson's Farm and just hanging out watching a LOT of movies in our little theatre. Oh yeah - and board games and card games oh my!

William and I drove to Wildwood Crest to visit my mother at her beach house for the fourth. We had a great day, visited the boardwalk, rode the tram car and even spent some time at the beach. We came home the next morning because Ron wanted to change the oil and rotate the tires on the Murano.

Last Thursday we went swimming at Atsion Lake - what a tremendous deal that is! $5 for a carload for the whole day. The water is cedar water so it looks like you are swimming in a big vat of iced tea. We went with BlackBeltRecProgramCounselor and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We will definitely be doing that again! No doubt about it. I did burn though - in spite of my best efforts.

This week coming up we are going camping. As far as I know there is still no WiFi there - so there will be no posting, except possibly by cell phone. So everyone enjoy yourselves - I will try to get an episode of Rebecca's Saga up before I go.

02 July 2008


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More help to talk to humans!

Thanks to Eric, fellow mac user, who was kind enough to share his new site - so new he hasn't even sent out press releases - with us:

Customer Service Numbers

Something I really like about this site is that it gives users a chance to comment - LOVE that!

Eric promises a forthcoming widget for bloggers to add to their sidebars and assuming the widget will not be ridiculously huge I will add it when it is ready!

Thanks Eric!

01 July 2008

I just want to talk to someone!!!

Every have that? When you are calling a company and your question or concern doesn't fit their neat little automated choices? I found a place that helped me get through to a human being at UPS today... Here it is! GetHuman - Bookmark it now! You just never know when you will need it.

Incidentally - I found the service at UPS to be much better than FedEx (I can't imagine why I can't find my rant on FedEx - liars that they are - but they seriously ticked me off a few months back!) Someone actually called me back when they said they would! Even a smidge before! Love it!