Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Wreck and Devastation Caused By That Hussy Irene

I took some before, during and after pictures so you'd have an idea just how bad things got after Irene blew through here.

BEFORE.  This tree is my nemesis.  I love the look of it, how easy it grows and the fact that 20 years after hurricane Bob, it has grown this tall from the stump of its "parent". But I hate that it's right beside the bedroom.  And that it fell over in hurricane Bob in 1991.  It fell away from the bedroom, but still.  Every time we have wind, I worry it will fall right on us.
AFTER.  Yeah, nary a scratch on the house from this baby.  It lost some leaves.  Whoopee.

During.  I swear.  This was at 12:30pm.  Bright blue sky just as Irene was supposed to be coming in with a vengeance.
During.  This is the river.  There is usually green grass out in the middle of this river.  And we never see white caps like this.

This is normally the view.  No boats or grass during Irene, though.  And we don't usually lounge around on this fence all day.

During.  Do you still see that blue sky?

During.  This is high tide.  It wasn't anywhere near as high as they kept saying it could be.  It was higher than normal. 

During.  Still blue sky.

During.  Oooooh lots of water.  Did I mention that this was DURING the hurricane?  When it should have been dark, nasty, and scary?

During.  Ok, this is kind of scary.  I don't like it when the water covers a dock.

After.  Irene had a little issue with the lushness of my garden, it would seem.

After.  So, she had the final word on my corn, sunflowers and tomatoes.

After.  The greenhouse handled itself very nicely.  No problems at all.  And now I have to bring all of those plants back outside so they don't cook!

After.  This is my only sunflower that remains.

After.  The squirrels had already started helping themselves, so I cut off all of the broken heads and hung them to dry in the greenhouse.  The heads of the sunflowers, not the squirrels.  Although, I'd like to hang theirs too.

After.  Garden #1 was better protected, but she did destroy all of the corn in that one too.  And what she didn't knock over, some animal came in and stripped the corn from anyway.  

So, as you can see, we can barely clean up from the wreck and carnage left by Irene.

It's a very emotional time for us right now.  We had such a devastating storm, you know.

Please bear with us.

If you'd like to reminisce about the lush life we were living before Sunday, please click here and here and here.

Still Kickin

I realized that I posted on Saturday about Irene and her mean behavior and then I disappeared.  We got so little damage here it's ridiculous.  I have some pictures of the "storm" that I need to put up, so I've been lazy about my posting.

No umbrellas through the windows.  No chairs battering the doors.  In our actual yard, we didn't even have any branches come down.  What a waste of time.  Elsewhere I see it was bad, but not where I live! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good Night Irene, You Bitch

So, what really butters my biscuit at the end of the summer?  Meteorologists getting all excited about hurricanes and getting the entire east coast in a LATHER over a storm.  Here's what happens around here when they start crying about the upcoming hurricane.

Sure, the greenhouse really looks like a greenhouse because I was afraid too much hard rain would ruin my plants.

And the campground emptied because people feared being flooded out, their units toppling over or that they wouldn't be able to get over the bridge if we really get the storm they were saying we would.

Nothing makes people just evaporate faster than saying a hurricane might be coming.

Especially when you keep telling them that it might hit here at the exact time that an astronomically high tide will also hit which will cause major flooding.

And that you might close the bridges if the wind reaches 70 mph.

And that they better have a plan in place for days without power or water.

And that they better look into what their hotels will be doing about refunding their money if they have to leave early.

For several summers now, we have ended August with the threat of a hurricane and each time, it's not really much of a storm.  So it makes the natives ignore the warnings.  And get complacent.  And that's not good either.

But, because I don't want to be the last fool that didn't put everything away and now has to run around in the pouring rain and wind and try to secure everything, I decided to do it today.  They have downgraded this storm so much in for our area, it's amazing that I'm even doing anything.  But God help me if something of mine goes sailing through the air and breaks a window.

So, k-ster and I hauled every single potted plant into the greenhouse.  And I went around securing stray things in my gardens.  To a point.  There is only so much you can secure without putting a giant tarp over the entire thing and I certainly can't do that.  K-ster brought all sorts of things inside and threw away things that have been lurking all summer.

The patio is completely clear.

Everyone's decks are empty.  It looks like October in the campground because everyone put just about everything away.

And the sad part for me is that for many who do not live here year round, this was the closing up for the season.  They won't be back.

I don't love tourists because they put a crimp in my style.  But I would be foolish to believe we could survive here without them.  And seeing all of those buttheads from other states who can't negotiate our rotaries lets me know that summer is here.

And you might have read a post or two about how much summer means to me.  And how much I love summer.

So, Irene, when you started stirring up shit in the Caribbean, I wanted to ignore you. 

It was OK until you hit the Bahamas.  And then those damned weathermen started getting all excited about how many tracks they could create with their stormtracker data.  And then we couldn't avoid seeing and hearing nothing but news about this potential storm and the devastation you will likely cause.  We get half hour updates now.

You know I have relatives all the way down the east coast, so now I've been thinking about what your visits will be like to each of them.

And over the past 4 days, you've had all sorts of tantrums and fits and now your eye has all broken up and you've lost some power.

But, you're so greedy, you took up tons of air space and even got the ocean involved, so you wreaked havoc all the way up the east coast before you even made landfall.  You made beaches here close yesterday because of rip currents.  That really sent the tourists packing.

You made people run home to states that don't get hurricanes, thereby damaging our final days of financial gain this summer.

You've created such fear and that makes me so mad.

Worst of all?  You made people put everything away so it doesn't look like summer anymore.  But you've turned up the heat and humidity so that just moving across the lawn causes us to drip with sweat.

I've never met an Irene I like and you're putting another nail in the coffin as we speak.

Duke says predicting the path of a hurricane from the Caribbean up the east coast is like trying to shoot a rifle 5 miles.  I wish I had a rifle and a dark alley to meet you in, Irene.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Feel Good Friday

It's a quick Feel Good Friday today.

My little, 3 year old ipod nano croaked during the week and I became a little frantic.  I use it for all of my fitness classes and though I still have lots of CDs, my gym does not have a CD player anymore in the spin room, just an ipod dock. 

I've always thought putting all of your music in one spot was stupid.  See?  I was right!

I did everything I could find online and nothing worked, so I called Apple and the girl told me to do all of what I already did and admitted that for $29 I could have them walk me through some steps but that they would be what I already did.  Sigh.

So, I hoped that the battery would die and that would be the miracle cure.  It wasn't.

I hoped that a couple of days would pass and it would resurrect itself.  It didn't.

So, I went online and they don't even make this ipod anymore.  The new version is a touch screen.  I don't know what you do with your ipod, but if you've never had the pleasure of trying to touch it while you're sweaty and in a hurry, you haven't lived.  I can barely control the scroll thing on the one I have.  No way can I handle a touch screen.

I'm not ready for a new phone and still don't know that I would buy an iphone, even if I was ready.

What to do, what to do.

I figured I would check out BJs and see if they still sell such an old version.  Because I need it fast.  If not, then I would somehow hobble along this week, carrying around an old fashioned BOOM BOX and look for something on ebay.

Lo and behold, my sister e-ster was like "I don't use mine anymore, you can have it if I can find it"

HAVE IT?   Whoa.

She is super tech savvy and has an iphone, so the ipod is probably beneath her.

My only requirements were that it had to have a screen, so no ipod shuffle, and it had to be able to scroll through songs.

Oh, did I mention that mine was 4 GB?  I never filled it because I only put the songs I use at the gym and the occasional audiobook.

E-ster's is 30 GB!!  THIRTY!!!????  I could fill that thing and never get out of my hammock again!

She found it, and gave it to me, complete with over 1000 songs!  It was fun listening to some of them, but she has a mac and I do not, so I can't steal her songs.  I have to wipe it out to put mine on there.  And it's sooooo much bigger than mine.

But it works, and she said I can have it.  She's so nice.  I should probably be nicer like that.  I always give people my time, but never things or money.

So what was your week like?  Tell us about your feel good moments.  Grab the button on the right and get typing!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Duking It Out

A few months ago, I told you about Primrose Jim. I was sure this would catch on and everyone would call him that this summer, but it just didn't stick.  I guess we really are not nickname people.

Yesterday, I was reading about how baby boomers who are now grandparents are not using the typical grandparent nomenclature with their grandkids.  The article went on to say that grandma and nana are out for the ladies and papa and gramps are out for the men.  I guess they are afraid that one utterance of nana makes the hair instantly white and they will age like 50 more years.

They say women are asking to be called things like:


And that men are asking to be called things like:


Wait, did someone just say DUKE?


Oh you know that's going somewhere.

My friends, I have found my auntly calling.  I will see to it that this child calls her grandfather Duke, if it's the last thing I do.  My sister a-ster seemed to think Duke or Captain are OK.  I don't know, something about Captain just isn't right.

There will be no end to my coaxing of her to address him as none other than Duke.

Forget Primrose Jim, he's on the next ship off the island.

Duke just arrived and he's here to stay.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I've seen a thing going around, where you videotape yourself saying a list of words and answering some questions.  It's supposed to show us your crazy accent and local words you use for everyday things.  I just listened to running backwards in high heels and she's southern and it was such a trip down memory lane from my college days!

I will spare you the videotape and the list, but suffice it to say it has words like aunt and route and other things that no one outside of New England can say right :)

Instead, I will just answer these questions and then you can do the same on your blog and let us know what crazy things you say!

What is it called when you throw toilet paper on someone's house?
It was tped or toilet papered.

What is the bug that when you touch it, it rolls into a ball?
Water bugs.

What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?

What do you call gym shoes?

What do you say to address a large group of people?
Everyone, you guys, guys

What do you call a spider that has an oval shaped body with extremely long legs?
daddy long legs

What do you call your grandparents?
grandma and grandpa

What do you call the wheeled contraption you carry groceries at the supermarket?

What do you call it when it rains while the sun is shining?
"it's like Florida out here"

What is the thing you change to tv channel with?
the t.v. control

I'm adding this one because it's such a summer thing here:

What do you call the golf game that kids love to play, where you usually hit the ball through windmills and around corners?
mini-golf, miniature golf

Isn't it amazing that we all speak this language and have such crazy names for things?  Now tell us about what you say!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Old Cheerleaders Don't Die

They go on to organize Flash Mobs!

I have not participated in one, but I LOVE the idea of them.  I can't help it!  I better find one soon so I can get it out of my system!

So, our new principal was at the high school where I graduated, for all of her career.  She just got moved over to our school.  If this is the kind of thing she's bringing to my school, SIGN.ME.UP  She organized this one and it's awesome.  It's so funny to see kids that I taught just a few years ago, standing in front of their peers just dancing away.  HYSTERICAL.

Where were these when I was in school????

Check it out here .  They disabled the embedding so you have to click the link and go look.  I think it's worth your time.

I see lots of flashing in my future.  Wouldn't this be the BEST way to have our opening district meeting with teachers on Sept. 1? 

At least I know that there's a future for me and my wannabe choreographer skills!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Made By Me Monday Times 2

I haven't linked up to these in a few weeks, but I've got two things that I've recently finished, so here we go.

The first is a two piece set for the shower or the kitchen. It's a wash mitt and a wash cloth/face cloth/wash rag, whatever you call it.I've been using this yarn for my kitchen cloths and I continue to be very happy with the quality of it!  The little nubs made by the stitch I used are great for scrubbing pots or they feel really nice in the shower.  Depends on what you're using it for.

The second is a set of 4 coasters that I made and have no use for.  But I hope someone will like them and need them!

You can see them both here on my etsy. Even purchase them, if you like!

Linking here:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feel Good Friday- Sparkling's Booty

It's time for Feel Good Friday and it's time for you to participate!  Grab the button on the right, go to your blog and write about what made you feel good this week and then come here and leave a comment so we can find you!

So this week is all about my booty.

No, not that booty.

Booty of the garden variety.  As in lots of things my garden is producing right now.  These pictures are from the last week or so, not just one day, but things are looking pretty good out there right now!
CORN!!  I've got corn!  Someone said it looked like "professional" corn!
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A few missing rows, but mostly not bad.

My sunflowers look great and then it's time for them to keel over so the seeds can form and dry.  They look awful when they are keeling over.  This was just before this one breathed it's last day of glory.
That tall sunflower there has got to be more than 8 feet tall.  The one on the right that is bending over was 8 feet and I am certain this one is taller.  And I kind of like the smaller flower on something so tall.  It's not screaming about what a giant it is. 

Well, I tend to grow tomatoes that might be considered in appropriate in some parts.  I think of that appendage there as a nose, while you may see it as a little man part.  Whatever.    I keep saving seeds from a particular type of tomato that I grow and I called them my "Secret Disaster Tomatoes" because each generation is different from the first and there could be a real mess if I'm not careful.  It's all sciency and involves words like hybridization and cross pollination and purity and whatever.  Psshhht I say.  Just save a seed and plant it!  The key is to make sure no other variety of tomato is nearby so there isn't cross pollination.  But I haven't always been good about that, so I don't even know what I've created.
The main characteristic of the Secret Disaster Tomato is that it was once a Brandywine and therefore is more square and pink.  See the bigger kind here?  Those are my Secret Disasters.  The little one is an organic Roma that is new to me this year.
One of the traits (see, I can be sciency!) that I do not like in my Secret Disasters is the cracking you see here.  They are fine to eat, but look ugly.  I saved seeds last year from the ONE tomato in my whole crop that did not crack, but alas, some are cracking this year.  yes, I understand that the parent tomato may not resemble the offspring tomato because of cross pollination and yes, I know about Punnet squares and genes and recessive genes.  But I like to be ignorant in the garden.  It gives me so much more to complain about! 
I'm a stickler for trying to make things work, so I just can't stop saving seeds and replanting the next year.  I think this year's crop did well, compared to last year's.  Not a lot of blemishing (see, I can talk gardeny too!) and they are relatively all the same.  Here you can see the pinkish color compared to the orangey red (I'm so cool I can speak arty!)  of the Romas.

I put this on in, because this is that zinnia that was destroyed by slugs.  While her counterparts have all made taller stalks with one or two flowers, this little sucker bushed out and is blooming like you read about.  Hmmm, maybe I should use my not so sciency brain and save the seeds from this one?  But I'm not sure if that means the next generation would all be one color only.  Yeah, I will have to save some!
Here, I wanted to show you my newest tomato plants.  I planted these really late, in buckets, because I want to see if they will still ripen, once I bring them into the greenhouse and it gets cold.  They are just about to flower.  I have no idea which type these are.  Secret Disasters, most likely, and possibly "mortgage lifter" which are ENORMOUS. 

I would like to think that this is the year I will begin canning.  I suddenly had a lot of green beans.  I hate canned green beans, so why would I take a risk with canning and can them, of all things?  I know that freezing them directly is not good, so I read about how to blanch them for freezing.  So, I took this batch, did what all of the websites agreed you should do, and put them in the freezer when I was done.  Hopefully we will have good green beans later.  I plan to do this more because I've planted more beans and expect more until it freezes in the fall.

This is the biggest experiment of all.  These are watermelon plants that I didn't even start until August.  I know that is purely ludicrous because we can't even get watermelons very easily in the parts when we start them on time.  But, the greenhouse gets SO HOT right now, I thought these would love the heat and maybe still grow.  They are about to flower, and I think I might have to put them out for a few days to make sure they get pollinated.  But then I theorize that with the insane heat and lot of water, I will still get watermelons.

Sometimes, I think about what I think is fine to do in the garden, despite all of the "rules" that I read about, and I wonder if I am really D-U-M-B or if all of that writing is just the result of  what some people experience some of the time.  Like, I don't usually tell people what they HAVE to do in the garden because really, I break just about every rule and have decent results.  Maybe it's magic.  Maybe I'm on to something.  Who knows. 

But now I have a greenhouse to further my insane forays in the world of gardening and making my lists of dos and don'ts.  

And some day, you'll read about me and my famous gardening techniques.  They will be filed under what not to do in the garden.  How one gardener poisoned herself with her Secret Disaster tomatoes.

Anyway, these pictures made me feel good this week.  What made you happy?  Go write about it and get back here and post a comment so we can share in your happiness!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Rigorous Life

Being locked up in school for the past 3 days, I've had some time to think about things because those darned presenters keep making us work.  Today's whole discussion was about RIGOR.  How can we add more rigor?  What is rigor?  What do you see in a classroom that is rigorous?  Every year has a catch word or phrase and this is this year's.

Today's presenter had a chart, because that's what people do when they talk to teachers, they have charts.  It's a circle divided into 4 and in each part of the circle, there are words that people use when giving directions.

The "easy" directions that don't impart rigor are words like define, draw, repeat, recall, tell, use.

The "hard" directions that impart the most rigor are words like design, connect, synthesize, apply concepts, critique, analyze, create and prove.  These words make you go beyond a quick answer and actually make you learn and prove your learning.

We are all supposed to start making kids do things in the "hard" part of the circle, things, that good teacher should already be doing.  He agreed that it's hard to do this all of the time and that most people want to live in the "easy" part of the circle because there isn't a lot of higher level thinking.

Clearly this man has never read my blog.  Because I think if you read me on a regular basis, you would probably say that most of those "hard" words define my blog posts!  I think many of us  DO live a rigorous life, creating, critiquing, applying concepts, analyzing, etc.

I think we tend to call it ADD.  The brain that will not rest. 

Why else would there be so many people posting crazy things on their blogs about how to repurpose just about any item you've ever seen, or how to can your own food, or how to make things with just a hammer and a nail?

Read many of the blogs I follow and I think you will see that I am not alone here.  I think there are more of us living rigorous lives than you realize. 

I also tend to think that many of us are teachers and were drawn to the profession because of the need to do a hundred things at once and never stop thinking.

So, when I'm dead, please be sure my tombstone reads as follows:

Here lies Miss Sparkling.
She told you there was something wrong with her.
But you didn't believe her and now she's dead.
At least she lived a rigorous life.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just When I Thought I Was Safe

From reading and writing and 'rithmetic, it's time to back to school!!  Do you remember this commercial for back to school supplies?  It sure wasn't one of my favorites.  And they would start it like July 4th!

Ok, I don't have to go back to school yet, but everyone else in the blogosphere seems to need to tell us about their first days back, so I have to start thinking about it, a little bit.

And I'm trapped in the high school all week, at a team leader training, so the wheels are beginning to turn a little.  But we're all like caged animals.  As one person said "this is the first time I've been in the same place for 2 hours since June!"

My friend the confessor posted a list of things to say and not to say to teachers just before school starts.  Go check it out here. It's so very true.

I'd like to add a few of mine own to her list of things to stay away from when speaking to teachers.

Well, just two more weeks/1more day/6 more weeks/one more night.  

I know what the date is.  When you're on vacation, do you like it when people give you the countdown until you go back to work?

You're so lucky you get the summers off!  
Hmm, must be nice to have your summers off.
I bet you sure like your summers off!

Well, everyone has a choice in what they do with their lives.  Maybe you should have chosen to be a teacher if you think summers off is the best and only perk.  This is the #1 question I am asked.

Oh, do YOU work in the summer?(You must say this in the most disdainful way, making every teacher feel that they must defend any an all hours that they work or don't work.)

Does a teacher's brain ever rest?  Doesn't a teacher spend her entire life trying to figure out how this or that can work in her classroom/become a tool for education/serve as an example? Oh, is that just me?

When does school start?

You really shouldn't start asking that question on June 22nd.

But here's the BEST question I was ever asked.

So, what, do you like, collect unemployment for the summer?

Yep, that's what me and my teachers friends do all summer.  We can't get jobs because we stand around all morning in the unemployment line.  Holding our Starbucks coffee in one perfectly manicured hand while we balance our Coach bag on the other, trying not to fall out of our Blahniks.   (I can't even spell them because they are so out of my price range!)

C'mon all you teachers- what's the question people ask you over the summer that makes you want to beat them senseless?

Winnie the Pooh Ended My Summer

It's ironic that I've chosen to spend my life in school when I spent most of my first grade year determined to hate school and wanting to go home.  I was a nervous wreck as a child, and going to school each morning pushed me over the edge for a while.  If I were 6 years old today, they would label me school phobic and my parents would give in my hypochondriac self and I'd never go to school and I'd be a loser.

Good thing my parents had no patience for my histrionics and made me go every morning, even though I was sure that I was going to drop dead just by opening the door.  They were such hardasses.  Remember the 'self soothing' method from the second Fockers movie?  I think my parents invented 'self soothing.'

Once I was there, I was fine.  As with most things, it's the anticipation that kills you.  And do you know what that anticipation was that was killing me?  That we might have a fire drill.  How ridiculous is that?  Do you know how much I look forward to fire drills today?  10 less minutes with a class?  Beautiful.  Except for the year of the 20 minute drill in the rain.  But that's another story.

And the irony?  My father was a firefighter!

After 1st grade, I lost of my lunaticness and fire drills weren't so bad.

However, the thing that still traumatized me, and sort of still does today, is going back to school in September.  Yes, for all you southerners that go back to school in like, July, I've never had to go back to school before Labor Day.  Now that I'm a teacher, I have to go back a few days early, but school technically still does not start for us before the Wednesday after Labor Day.

I LOVE summer.  There are so many things I love about summer, I can't even make a list.  But the one thing I have always loved most about summer is the freedom.  Freedom from the weekly routine of school.  Freedom to develop a new routine that is totally summer.

When I was a student, it was the freedom from homework, projects, getting up with the alarm every day, having to go to bed at a decent hour.

Today, it's really not all that different although k-ster has to go to work, so we still do set the alarm.

It's not like I sit around eating bonbons, the way people think teachers always do.  "Must be nice to be a teacher and have your summers off!"  Yes, it is nice, but I choose to stay busy.

It's just a different kind of busy.  I teach more fitness classes.  I mow the grass in the campground.  And I work in my garden.  And yes, I sit in my hammock a lot and read books.  Lots of fun books, if I can.

Usually, I also take a grad class, which is usually a week long class.  I hate to give up a whole week and sit inside, but the credits are nice.

However, this is the first summer that I have not taken a class. I'm as far over on the payscale as I can be with my credits, and I don't need any for recertification right now, so I decided not to give up a week and sit inside in a class I didn't really need.

That also means that for the first time, I have been completely disengaged from school.  Well, that's not entirely true.  We spent a good deal of July texting about all of the changes taking place, mostly that we have a new principal and assistant principal.

This week, I will spend the week trapped inside with other team leaders and we will begin preparing for the year.  And I will begin to get my head back in the game.

So how did Winnie the Pooh end my summer?

Because every summer, as August started to wind down, my nerves would start to wind up.  Every time someone mentioned going back to school, my intestines would churn, because that's what I do when I'm distressed.  And I also walk around a lot.  And wish whatever change was coming would just go away.

One summer, we got the Disney Channel added to our lineup.  Remember when you had to pay extra for Disney like you did for HBO?  This was way before all of the choices we have today.

So, that summer, we watched the Disney Channel a lot in the morning, before we went out to play for the day. I was old enough not to watch the little kids programming, but I'm not sure how old.  Maybe 9?  My sister would watch Welcome to Pooh Corner which had the most annoying theme song that I am actually singing in my head right now.  It just won't go away.

That August, as we were winding down to the end of summer, and I was wandering around with churning intestines, that damned song would play over and over and over again in my mind.

And it still does today.

As we hear about nothing but back to school specials and end of summer things, I start to dread the return to the normal.  It's not that I am nervous. This is old hat by now.  It's giving up the freedom to do what I want after my one hour class is taught or my day of mowing is finsihed. 

 Going out and reading in my hammock when I feel like it. 

Eating whatever is in my refrigerator at lunch time instead of planning it at 6:30am. 

Making supper at 7pm and not being so starved that I might kill k-ster if the grill doesn't cook faster (I'm always MUCH hungrier during the school year and supper often becomes life or death in my kitchen).

I've been seeing a lot of blog posts about how to get your kids excited to go back and all of the ways parents do the countdown to the start of school.

The construction paper gumball machine that loses a gumball for every day that we get closer.

The paper strip chain where you take off a strip every day as we get closer.

Adding marbles to the jar every day and when it's full, school will start.

Do you know what that would have done to me as an elementary school kid?  Seeing that chart on the wall or the jar or whatever?  That would have killed me.  Dead.  I would have avoided that very place in the house.  It would have been nothing but torture.

I sure hope k-ster doesn't read this and get any ideas about how to push me right off the edge before fall arrives!

Winnie the pooh, winnie the pooh, willy, nilly, silly ol bear.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Well, Shut My Mouth

Sometimes, it's the simplest things that I overlook and I love to make my life so complicated.  Recently, I discovered some things that I feel the need to share, to educate my readers, so you can simplify your own lives.

First, I discovered that the little memory card in my camera can go in my laptop so I don't have to hook up the camera to download pictures.  GENIUS.  No more cajoling the battery into believing it has just enough juice left to connect so I can download.  No more looking for the cord.  Brilliant.

Second, thanks to the infomercial, I can now move my Dyson with a little less aggravation.  I still don't love my Dyson, but I learned that I can carry it using the lower handle so I don't have to hurt my shoulder. 
This is what I used to do to move it and it's hard for me because I'm short!
I thought this handle was just to carry the cup to the trash to empty it.  I had no idea it was to carry the whole thing!  It's so much more ergonomically appropriate!
I still the the Dyson is full of ergonomically inappropriate options and it's just an injury waiting to happen, but I am happier that I can get it out of the closet easier now.  Amazing what you can learn from 2 seconds of an infomercial.

Third, when I use the outdoor wash stall to hose down Tucker after my lesson, I FINALLY figured out that since the left side floods, I should do the left side first so I don't have to stand in water when I finally get to that side.  Brilliant, no?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Feel Good Friday- The Party

Here we are again, another Friday, another chance to share the good things.  Pretty soon, I wont' know when it's Friday because we are going to a 6 day schedule at school.  Days will no longer exist and it will be all about day 1, day 5, etc.  Maybe by then, thegirl will be back and she will do Feel Good Friday and then I'll know it's Friday in the real world!

Alas, if you haven't been on a Feel Good Friday trip before, squeeze in and come along for the ride.  Your goal is to go to grab the Feel Good Friday button and go to your own blog and write a post about what made your week.  It can be one thing, 3 things or a dozen.  It can be small or gigantic.  It's all about what made you smile, especially if your week was the worst week EVER.  There will always be something you can think about that made your week.

Even if it's as simple as your favorite candy was on sale.

Then come back here and tell us where to find you so we can share in your feel goodness.

So, here's mine.  Last week, I wrote about the upcoming party.  My parents celebrate 40 years this year, so we knew we had to have a party.  And it would have to be in the summer so we can carry the tradition of having some kind of party every summer now that we've started it! 

We had a big surprise party for their 25th and it was truly a surprise, right down to the last few minutes.  I still don't know how we pulled it off. No one told them. Everything went smoothly.  They were truly surprised.

And in those days, we didn't have home projectors that hooked up to laptops so we could show powerpoints or slideshows.  It was 1996.  Did you even use the internet then?  Somehow, I managed to get a ton of pictures from friends and family and took them to a photo place where they put them on a video tape.  I know, a VIDEOTAPE.  Then, we borrowed someone's tv and VCR and showed it outside on the deck.  It was small, it was afternoon, so people didn't really see.

This time, there was no surprise.  In fact, my mother ended up planning the whole thing, which was not my intention.  She seemed to have fun doing it, so how could we stop her?  We each ended up with one task.
Mine was to get a banner.  I went online to vistaprint and made this and it was super el cheapo for a 2 ft by 4ft banner.  I was able to upload pictures for possibly free, I can't remember, or maybe like $1 each.  I completely manipulated this the way I wanted it and paid a little extra for faster shipping and was very pleased.  I can't remember if this was the indoor/outdoor vinyl option or just indoor.  We've had it up for a week and had some torrential rain and it's fine, no smudging or tearing.  If you're looking for banners, I swear this is the way to go.

A-ster was in charge of "the booze" because they brought a lot of beer for their own wedding two years ago and now they've been given the title of In Charge of Booze forevermore.

E-ster was in charge of the no dairy cake.  A friend of a friend of hers makes them and did not disappoint with this one.  I can't believe I didn't get a picture of this cake.  It was a fairly large cake, yellow, with lots of flowers for decoration.  I am not a cake fan and don't usually eat it if it's not chocolate, so I have no opinion on this one.  People said it was great.

I knew we could pull out all the stops, what with modern technology being what it is, but really, where do you stop?  We could have done crazy things, but we already had paid entertainment coming, so I decided to something a little old school.

Since we had done the whole "pictures from your childhood until today" thing for their 25th, I decided to do all pictures of them and the 3 of us since 1971.  And I copied and printed them and arranged them in a big 4 0 on a board so everyone could go up and look.  I had seen this somewhere online and thought it was a neat idea and much less difficult than some of the things I was cooking up.

At the last minute, I decided to paint on the words and I am no artist, so it looks like a 6th grader did it.  People enjoyed the pictures and it was fun to reminisce with some, like Carol, our babysitter from the time e-ster was 8 months old.  In fact, she was able to help identify a couch that I have no recollection of!

My mother had been up to something that none of us knew, in addition to making all of the arrangements for her own party.

She made one of these for each table and then cut hydrangeas from her yard and put them in a glass.  It was nice and made it more festive.  I debated the whole "theme" thing and cutesy kitsch for decoration, but decided since it was outside, it wasn't worth the effort if the wind blew it all away.  This was perfect and with the white tablecloths, it made it classy.  And a smart man once told me my mother is "a classy lady". 

My parents have a great yard for a party, and as you can see, everyone worked very hard that afternoon.  The tent people put the tent up on Thursday even though the party wasn't until Saturday and then on Saturday afternoon, my aunt s-ster (I have two aunt s-sters and soon they will both be from Florida, so you will never know who I am talking about), uncle b-ster and my parents set everything up.  Uncle b-ster hung up these lights which were a great touch.

They looked great at night, more colorful than you see here.  There were also a couple of strings that had scallop shells around the lights.

We had it slightly catered.  These guys did the meats and some salads and a clam chowder that I actually liked.  I'm picky about the saltiness of clam chowder and this was really not salty at all.  We had them for my father's retirement party and they did hamburgers and hot dogs, but we thought something other than hamburgers and hot dogs would be good.  So we had chicken, steak tips and pork.

Freddie and the Maybellines are a local group that plays fun music.  Freddie lives just down the road and I taught his kids and I know I taught all of the kids of at least one Maybelline, possibly all of them.  They played for my dad's retirement party and said they loved the deck and the atmosphere and they were thrilled to return.  People were excited when they heard they were coming.  They play a lot of 50s and 60s hits but I heard some more modern tunes in there too!

They played for at least an hour, then changed their outfits and took a break and came back for at least another hour.  During the first part, people enjoyed the music while they ate dinner.  It was almost dark after the intermission, and people were done eating, so they got up and danced.
Uncle b-ster and aunt s-ster dancing.  Nice job with those lights!

My mother, l-ster, e-ster, g-ster and another b-ster hiding on the side.

There really were a lot of guests at this party, but it looks like the same 6 people danced to all of the music!

 After Primrose Jim wore himself out dancing to that one song, he spent some quality time with a solar light.  We thought it was funny that he was hanging out by the porta potty, so I had to put this one in.
It was a great time, we saw lots of people and enjoyed good music.  Stay tuned for next summer's Bauer Barbeque and see what we cook up for fun!

Now go write up your Feel Good Friday post and come back and tell us where you are!