Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Appreciate the handy work

There are women in this world who are more creative than I. Heck, probably everyone reading this blog entry is more creative than I. My creative skill set is well not developed, I am truly a right brained person. Sadly, I much prefer staring at spreadsheets, playing with numbers and problem solving a client's issues. That's right, I am unexciting, uneventful and I have no life. Maybe I should have been an accountant...nah, too much right brain thinking.

But this doesn't mean I don't appreciate and stare in amazement at the crafts of those who are very creative. In fact, below are two women who constantly astound me with their ideas and creative flare. And as an added bonus, they each are giving away several of their creations to lucky readers who choose to follow them and appreciate their gifts.

While many of my readers I'm sure are all aware of these two ladies, I thought I'd help by promoting their awesome work to those few readers I have who haven't been exposed to their creative abilities. Good luck everyone and happy fall!

1# - Jannypie Crafts
A scientist by day a blogger/crafter/digital scrapbooker by night.

In honor of her blog's 2nd birthday, she is giving away a slew of fun Halloween items to anyone who starts following her blog, her on Facebook, or her on Twitter.

Click the image and follow the link to more details about her fun give-away.

#2 - Mada's Place
A work from home mom who excels at amazing things with fabric.

To showcase her latest creation, a rockin Coloring Tote, and reward all the love she's been receiving lately, she is giving this item away at random to a lucky person who starts following her blog, her on Facebook or on Twitter.

Click the image and follow the link to her blog entry about her contest.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Be warned; Buckeyes are poisonous to Wolverines

[scrape] [scrape][scrape]



People. I am getting out my soapbox and climbing aboard. I need to vent and this is the only place that I can effectively reach the masses to satisfy my displeasure.

The husband, unfortunately has become immune to my bitching, probably due to over exposure, and he is not an acceptable alternate vehicle to voice my concern. Besides, he's a Penn State fan and could care less about my thoughts.

Now, where was I. Oh yes...

People, IF you choose to live in the college town of one of the largest universities in the country, you must accept two very obvious facts:

#1 - This town has THE most loyal fans known in college sports


#2 - These loyal fans are OBSESSED with college football, specifically Ohio State Football.
Now that we're all clear of my intended subject. Lets get down to business.

Fans from up north, are not welcome, in our town. And for those of you readers who aren't familiar with who I mean by "the team from up North" brush up on your OSU football history HERE.

The only day in the entire year that we allow fans from up north to penetrate our borders is on the last game of the season of alternating years. And we only allow this to occur, long enough to stuff the football down the throat of Rich Rodriguez' and send them back on their merry way.

Our rivalry is deep seeded. We do not like each other, this is a plain fact. We do not take kindly to locals offering their loyalty to the enemy. We view them as traitors and secretly hope they will move North and take their dirty favoritism with them.

So after all of that, if you still chose to live in this town and worship the enemy, do not. I repeat. Do not harass an avid Buckeye fan, in her town. You will lose.

Certainly do not trash talk with the loyal Buckeye fan the day after we shut out a Big Ten team who cost us dearly the year before. Especially coming from you, who barely escaped embarrassment from the perennial last place team in the Big Ten.

Do not threaten to not ring up the Buckeye fan's purchase just because she is wearing an Ohio State t-shirt. Do not claim that you are unable to touch her purchases just because she is wearing said t-shirt. Do not attempt to start a debate, at the convenience store, regarding her loyalty. If you are working at a convenience store, chances are her purchase is your livelihood.

And certainly do not joke, laugh, bob and weave like a gangster just because you are a fan from the team up North. This does not make the Buckeye fan idolize you, it just makes you look like a blithering idiot.

Enough said.

Thank you, I am finished.




Friday, September 25, 2009

Bissell: Deep down clean

Kids put the strangest things in their mouths. Boys especially.

I know a gal who's son has a fascination with eating mulch. Every time they're outside. Poor gal can't even get a moments peace without a little munching. Sadly, this is also the same kid who horked a dead baby bird. His mother was beside herself.

My son is no exception. He has an unhealthy obsession with vacuum cleaners. It's like Christmas every time I get the Dyson out with it's clear tornado like dirt chamber and all of it's fun attachments. This inevitably leads to him bringing up his play vacuum cleaner to push along side me. Which he received as a gift from my bestie who thinks his love of vacuum cleaners is hysterical and could not resist the opportunity to torment me.

But yesterday, the mother of all vacuum cleaners came to visit. A behemoth of a carpet shampooer, courtesy of my father. He felt my house smelled a bit too much of dog/cat.

Gee thanks dad, passive aggressive much?

Well, now that you mention it and since you went to all that trouble, there are a few areas that could benefit from a good cleaning.

When I was finished, due to my lack storage space and the sheer heft of the machine was too much for me to lug anywhere else, I left it sitting in my living room; where Tyler was sure to see it when he came home from the sitters.

And as exactly as predicted, when he came home, he freaked.

"Waz at? Momma, Waz at? WAZ IZ AT!?!" He squealed as he danced around it, pointing.

"A carpet cleaner, do not touch"
But after about 2 hours of walking by it, seeing it out of the corner of his eye, and not being able to touch it, the temptation was just too much.

He kissed it.

He bent over and planted a big ol' sloppy kiss right on the front of the carpet cleaner.

I nearly fainted.

When I had finished shrieking the laundry list of unsanitary complications of his actions, he giggled back at me and kissed it again.

This was too much for ME. I had to sit down.

Tyler, detecting my frustration, scurried over to console me. He presenting me with an equally sloppy kiss on the lips. Now we were sharing the dirty carpet cleaner germs. Aww, how nice.


I shook my head. I suppose a dirty kiss is better than no kiss at all.

But just to be safe, Tyler and I marched right upstairs to brush our teeth.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yes, this is my poker face.

Convincing a toddler to do anything can be an uphill battle.

Let's put on your shoes. No!
Let's take off your shoes. No!
Let's brush your teeth. No!
Lets pick up your toys. Silent treatment.
Let's go get a bath. Runs screaming in the other direction.

The exceptions in my house is if the request involves ice cream, Noggin, Elmo or choo-choos. Then anything is possible.

These tiny daily battles leave me feeling defeated, unproductive and relatively exhausted.

No, your right, it shouldn't take me 15 minutes, 3 laps around my house, a wrestling match, and a quick game of pick-up what I drop mommy every morning to get socks and shoes on my child, but it does. And yes, this qualifies that as my cardio for the day.

But I have a confession; one I am ashamed to admit out loud. Sometimes I yell, and sometimes it actually works.

However, as became demonstrably clear the other night at bath time. I apparently yell more than I'd like to believe.

Tyler, for the third time, has jumped up and slammed his bottom down into the tub causing a tide wave of water to slosh against the side of the tub while he flings his washcloth like a whip sending a spattering of water onto me and the wall adjacent to the tub.

Me [snapping]: "Tyler! Stop that! Look what you've done!"

Probably louder than I meant to.

Tyler [pointing]: "Ooooh, Mommy you mad"
I froze and looked at Tyler puzzled. He giggled back at me as I launched into a hysterical laughing fit and fell off the toilet. Which he also thought was pretty funny.

And this is why I am a pathetic excuse for a parent when it comes to doling out punishment.

Because I can't stop laughing long enough to keep a straight face.


Monday, September 21, 2009

She's got legs

More things I love.

These Christian Louboutin heels. They are fabulous. These are the kind of shoes that I day dream about.

In my day dream, I'm a svelt 20 something with impeccable taste and style. No longer the little girl who plays dress up in her mommy's clothes and heels. I am a fashion icon.

I spend my days shopping and my nights dressed to kill out to see and be seen. There is no work in my day dreams, and money is just a credit card swip away.

I'd wear my dream heels with this dress, minus the tights. Because in my dreams I could totally pull this off.

I imagine myself all dressed up for a great party, with the perfect purse and killer accessories. I pull up to my destination. I swing my great legs out, unfold myself from the car, take one fierce step away from the car, snag my toe on a rock and face plant into a puddle in the parking lot.

This is my subconscious trying to tell me to wake the hell up and come back to reality. Supermodel I am not. Rightfully so, but doesn't mean I wouldn't try to wear these shoes.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Forward Friday - New State Slogans

New State Slogans

Alabama: At Least We're Not Mississippi

Alaska: 11,623 Eskimos Can't be Wrong!

Arizona: But It's a Dry Heat

Arkansas: Litterasy Ain't Everything

California: As Seen on TV

Colorado: If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother

Connecticut: Like Massachusetts, Only Dirtier and With Less Character

Delaware: We Really Do Like the Chemicals in Our Water

Florida: Ask Us About Our Grandkids

Georgia: Without Atlanta We're Alabama

Hawaii: Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru
(Death to Mainland Scum, But Leave Your Money)

Idaho: More Than Just Potatoes... OK, Maybe Not, But The Potatoes Are Real Good

Illinois: Please Don't Pronounce the "S"

Indiana: 2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free

Iowa: We Do Amazing Things With Corn

Kansas: First Of The Rectangle States

Kentucky: 5 Million People; Seven Last Names

Louisiana: We're Not All Drunk Cajuns

Maine: We're Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster

Maryland: A Thinking Man's Delaware

Massachusetts: Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden's

Michigan: First Line of Defense From the Canadians

Minnesota: 10,000 Lakes and 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Mosquitoes

Mississippi: Come Feel Better About Your Own State

Missouri: Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars at Work

Montana: Land of the Big Sky, the Unabomber, Right-Wing Crazies and Very Little Else

Nebraska: Ask About Our State Motto Contest

Nevada: Whores and Poker!

New Hampshire: Go Away and Leave Us Alone

New Jersey: You Want a F**kin' Motto? I Got Yer F**kin' Motto Right Here!

New Mexico: Lizards Make Excellent Pets

New York: You Have the Right to Remain Silent, You Have the Right to an Attorney...

North Carolina: Tobacco is a Vegetable

North Dakota: We Really are One of the 50 States!

Ohio: We Wish We Were In Michigan

Oklahoma: Like the Play, Only No Singing

Oregon: Spotted Owl -- It's What's For Dinner

Pennsylvania: Cook With Coal

Rhode Island: We're Not Really An Island

South Carolina: We Have Never Actually Surrendered to the North

South Dakota: Closer Than North Dakota

Tennessee: The Educashun State

Texas: A Whole 'Nother Country!

Utah: Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus

Vermont: Yep

Virginia: Who Says Government Stiffs and Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix?

Washington: Help! We're Overrun By Nerds and Slackers!

Washington, D.C.: Wanna Be Mayor?

West Virginia: One Big Happy Family -- Really!

Wisconsin: Come Cut Our Cheese

Wyoming: Wynot?


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Turn it like this, stand on your head and close your eyes

I am not a geek.

I am not technologically savvy, I do not subscribe to wired magazine, I do not drool at the latest windows whatever release, I do not contemplate the efficiencies of a dual monitor workspace, I do not know the difference between a digital coaxial audio cable and a RCA cable, and I certainly do not know how to make a TV work without the remote.

I know just enough to get by. Which is to say, just enough to convince myself I can fix things and then proceed to royally screw them up. It's a gift.

So when our purchase of a new flat screen HDTV included a complementary visit from the "Geek Squad" to set up, unpackage, install and make everything all pretty, I all but squealed of excitement.

The guy came, he fixed, he left. Relatively uneventful.

The next day, the husband comes home, brushes a kiss across my cheek and deposits himself in the recliner in front of his new TV. Sometime later than night between re-runs of Backyardigans and watching a new episode of Ghost Hunters (excellent show by the way) the remote stops controlling the TV.

We try everything. we power off everything, reboot the receiver, change the batteries, switch remotes, switch boxes, switch positions and stood ridiculously close to the receiver, but nothing works. We were stuck with a brand new giant TV and a remote that isn't even worthy of being a paperweight.

I called AT&T technically support 3 times in 3 days. Every time, I spent 30 mins chattering with someone who's probably half way across the world, getting the scripted answers to my problem and no solution. On the third attempt, I finally talk with someone who actually speaks English as their native language and seems as if he just might be geeky enough to solve my problem.

I run through my issues and he stops and ponders what I've just said.

"Sounds like it might be an issue with your backlight"
really? that's what I thought [eyeroll]

"Ok, your gonna think I'm crazy..."

doubt it

"But my buddy told me about a trick to try."

I love it when geeks have buddies, they always have the answers.

"Turn the TV away from the receiver, put the receiver behind the TV, and try putting a blanket over the screen"

your right, I think you're crazy
But it was worth a shot.

So there I was, cordless phone perched on my shoulder, the TV sitting whopper-jawed on the blanket chest, a waffle weave blanket draped over the screen, Tyler vehemently protesting against his ability to sit within a foot of the TV and watch Diego, the dog barking at the commotion, trying persistently to point the remote and make the menu button work, and the AT&T techie barking directions over the chaos.

Then it happened. The menu popped up.

My hands instinctively raised above my head in my own personal celebration. I had never felt more satisfied. I fixed something! Hallelujah!

I was giggling as I relayed my success to the techie on the other end of the phone. He congratulated me, requested that I respond favorably to the "customer service survey" I'll receive via email, and hung up.

Then it hit me. One can't possible watch TV with this set up.

What the hell am I going to do now?!?

By now, Tyler had figured out that he could stick his head under the blanket, lean on the blanket chest and watch Diego even closer. I pulled the blanket off his head, scooped him up under each arm and plopped him down about 3 feet from the TV.

"Stay" I motion to him.

I turn around to survey the situation and took a deep breath.

About 3 hours later, I had unstrung, unplugged, restrung, plugged in and shifted just about every component in our entertainment center and finally had a working system.

It looked like a hillbilly trailer park mess. Wires hanging everywhere, speakers propped up, nails punched into the walls and a plastic ficus tree attempting to hide a power cord. still worked.

I felt invincible.

Tyler and I celebrated my success with a bowl of pretzels and a cold glass of apple cider.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Take a stand

September is National Ovarian Cancer month, and as many of you are already aware, Ovarian Cancer is something very emotional for me. It pains me that there is no effective screening method for early detection, and that nearly 22,000 women this year alone will be diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, and 15,000 of those women will die from the 5th deadliest cancer to women (1). Every woman has a 1 in 67 lifetime risk of ovarian cancer.

Non-profit organizations such as the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) have made it their mission to fund research, raise awareness, promote education, improving the survival rate and helping women cope with their diagnosis. So in order to do my part to help raise awareness, I've listed ways for you to get involved. Regardless of your level of commitment, there is something for everyone, because this is a disease that "whispers, so listen"

Ways to get involved:
1) Visit the websites of OCRF or NOCC to educate yourself on early signs and detection.
2) Visit Loreal Color of Hope, share your story or purchase their Color of Hope collection - $29.99, $5 of which will be donated to OCRF
3) Visit Kelly Confidential during the month of September to make a $5 "text" donation, send virtual t-shirts or purchase a Kelly Ripa designed t-shirt.
4) Visit Seventh Generation's Let's talk period website and register - $1 will be donated to OCRF.
5) Donate directly to OCRF or NOCC
6) Participate in a walk to support ovarian cancer research - Central Ohio 2009 Strides for Hope
7) Volunteer at any number of local organizations.
8) Search out your own way to get involved.
9) Ask your gynecologist to evaluate your risk factors and openly discuss prevention methods.

1 - Loreal Color of Hope website - "The Facts"


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The untitled

For some time I have kicked around the idea of writing a fiction novel. Not really for the sole purpose of getting published, more so to see if I could actually do it. If I could actually write something of that volume and have it make sense and keep a readers interest.

I love writing, but often struggle with what to write about, so the problem for a long time was what an idea. I didn't have clue 1 what this "novel" should be about.

Below is my current idea. A novel told from a male perspective about a man, who after the death of his mother, struggles to grasp reality, cuts ties, leaves town, ventures half way across the country, is haunted by memories of his mother and then realize his life is missing the one thing he was running from; family.

I thought I would put a section of what I've written so far and see what you think. Boring, bland, unoriginal, read-it-all-before? Let me know! I really, truly would love to hear what you think!

It’s at Christmas time that I miss home the most. Probably because Christmas time always reminds me of my mother.

The smells, the sounds, how the tree lit up the darkened living room, the way mom would make everyone sit, nestled together on the sofa, quietly listening to the Garth Brooks Christmas CD she loved so much over and over again, all while “appreciating” the soft glow of about 25 strands of multi-colored Christmas lights on a 7ft tree. It was a miracle every year the tree didn’t go up in a ball of flames. She would tell us spending moments like these as a family brought us closer together and we should feel blessed.

For my brother Parker, and me, we were close enough sitting next to each other on the sofa. It would take an immense amount of self restraint not to poke, prod or whack the back of each other’s heads.

But my favorite memory of my mother at Christmas was her cookies.

My mother would spend an entire day baking, and rolling and pressing, and decorating. She would make pies, and cakes and cookies and candy. All the while my father, a notorious cookie hound, would wait patiently for the first batch of cookies to be ready. He’d find reasons to walk by the kitchen to check on their status. He’d peer around the corner of the hallway and look for a batch cooling on the table. Then he’d wait until her back was turned, cautiously sneak into the dining room and pluck a cookie off the wax paper. The crinkle of the paper would always give away his position and my mother would come round the corner covered in flower and shoo him away.

Spending an entire day baking required proper planning. So she would gear up for the “great day” about a week before. She’d start washing her cookie sheets and cooling racks and checking her pantry inventory. She’d alphabetize her recipe cards, pulling out new cookie recipes she wanted to try. The night before she’d bundle us kids up and load us into the car for a trip to the grocery store for supplies.

She’d diligently write down every item that needed purchased, she was meticulous like that. Parker and I always wanted to help so we would each get our own lists of items she needed. We’d make a contest out of who could complete their list first, running up and down the aisles, grabbing bags of sugar, cans of condensed milk, and jars of peanut butter as we rushed by. We’d lap back around to the cart and deposit our items when our arms got too full for one more item.

I was 21 when my mother passed away in her sleep.

My aunt called at 8 the next morning. The phone rang while I was dressing for my morning class. I heard her words, my mouth fell open, and words failed to form. The phone dropped to the floor.

Aneurysm; the doctors would later tell us. No way could anyone have seen this coming. The abruptness of their declaration felt cold, impersonal. As if to say her death was inconsequential to them.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Losing my mommy gold star

So it's been awhile....

Andrea, meet your readers. Readers, meet Andrea your blogger who fell of the blogger wagon and got road rash.

Even the husband was questioning why I haven't written in a while. That's when I knew it was time to light a fire under this extra wide booty. So I promise to find something to write about this week.

But my absenteeism isn't without good reason.

First there was my extremely busy two weeks of work. Deadlines, proposals, meetings, etc.

What do you mean I don't paid to sit around and blog all day?!? Whatever!

These two weeks were probably the busiest I've experienced since joining the company back in February. And no, don't ask me to explain what it is I actually do. I've been trying to explain that to the husband, sister, father, stepmom and besties for 6 mos, and they still don't get it. My sister has admitted she just stops listening after I say "ancillary revenue sharing programs".

We'll just call me a "consultant".

But to make the two weeks even more fun, Tyler, sprouted hives. Everywhere. On Sunday morning the husband and I thought chickenpox. [Insert freak out episode here] But when the tiny red dots started merging into huge red patches on his arms, legs, chest and feet, we knew it wasn't chickenpox.

Is it bad we were almost relieved? Reason #1 why I've lost my mommy gold star.

So off we went to the doctor Monday morning. The doctor checked a few things, examined the patches and explained it was probably just a reaction to a virus. Nothing to be overly concerned about, that it should clear up in 5-7 days, and advised that we should provide Benedryl every 6 hours and Zyrtec every 24 hours.

So Tyler spent the better part of 5 days in a pharmaceutical drug haze. Fiending for his next fix, and making "slurp-slurp" noises when ever I mentioned his medicine. They really shouldn't make the stuff bubble gum flavored.

Reason #2 why I've lost my mommy gold star.

But the sicky gods didn't feel I was juggling enough, so they topped off my hell week with a cherry when Tyler started having "digestive issues".

It was days like these that I'm glad my 2 1/2yr old was refusing potty training and was still in diapers. Whew! Dodged a messy bullet there.

Aaand reason #3 why I've lost my mommy gold star

By the end of the 2nd week, Tyler and I had our poop commands down. I'd inquire if he'd "bad pooped" and he'd look at me deadpan, reach behind him a pat his diaper.

Hold that thought, let me break out my bio-hazard suit.

He looked like he was auditioning for Pepto-Bismol's open audition for macarena rejects commercial.

Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea!

Ya, like there's any reason to get excited about explosive diarrhea, blech!


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