Wednesday, September 28, 2011

400 random things about me.

So, this is my 400th post.  That is crazy, huh?  So, I'm NOT going to post 400 random things about me.  But here's some random stuff anyways.  First, some other random stuff about the number 400, then a meme from Life Candy (thanks!).
  • 400 is the square of 20.
  • Prime Factors of 400=2x2x2x2x5x5. 
  • 400 is HTTP status code for a bad client request.
  • The 400th wealthiest person in the U.S. is Peter Lewis (O.K., he shares the spot with 3 other guys). Peter is in his late 70's, is chairman of Progressive Insurance, and spends his pocket change ($200K here, $200K there) on efforts to legalize marijuana. He smokes pot regularly to reduce pain from leg amputation.
  • "The Four Hundred" -- In the late nineteenth century Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor, the wife of William Astor, used her position as the heir and wife of a wealthy man to become the arbiter of New York high society and the protector of the status of family and old wealth against the claims of the nouveau rich. Her annual January ball was the social event of the year. In 1892 Mrs. Astor, finding that her list of guests exceeded her ball-room's capacity, asked Ward McAllister, a well-known socialite, to reduce it to four hundred. McAllister afterward boasted that "there were about four hundred people in New York society." The number had no significance because new millionaires soon received the social recognition to which, by American standards of conspicuous spending, they were entitled. Rather, "The Four Hundred" became a cliché denoting social exclusivity.
  • .400 (2 hits out of 5 at-bats) is a numerically significant annual batting average statistic in Major League Baseball, last accomplished by Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox in 1941.

 And now, a meme...

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you. Alyson Hannigan was born on the same exact day as me. Damn -- she even looks adorable pregnant.


2. What has been your favorite age so far? 29. I'm still 29. Oh, wait -- I was pregnant when I was 29. Doh.

3. Where did you meet your husband? My husband and I met by him asking to live with me. OK... he was actually finding out if there was space in the college co-op (where I lived), but the first way sounds so much better!

 4. How many children do you have? Two, unless you count the two fur ball kitties and our soon-to-be adopted doggie. We consider them part of the family, too.

5. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? I was in choir as a kid, and I've been dragged up for Karaoke under duress.

6. What’s the first thing you notice about your preferred sex? Shoulders. Unless they are wearing kilts. Teehee.

7. What really turns you off? People who walk like ducks. For real.

8. What do you order at Starbucks? I don't. I don't think I've been in one in years.

9. What is your biggest mistake? I don't make mistakes. Ever. Mwahahahaha.

10. As a child, what did you want to grow up to be? A teacher. But I tried that, and it wasn't for me.

11. Say something totally random about yourself. I have a comforting habit of rubbing my thumbnail. My thumbnail is very shiny.

12. Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows? Of course. I love iCarly, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Phineas and Ferb.

13. Did you have braces? Yep. And yet, my lower teeth are still all jammed together...

14. Favorite Social Network? I frequent Facebook, that doesn't mean I'd call it a "favorite."

15. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you? My hubby has done a lot of romantic things, but I'll just mention that he often brings me flowers for no reason.

16. When do you know it’s love? When you just know.

17. Do you speak any other languages? In theory, I'm "proficient" in Spanish. But I'm not.

18. Have you ever been to a tanning salon? Have you seen how white I am? That would be instant cancerous death.

19. What magazines do you read? The Week.

20. What is playing on your iPod right now? Nothing. I rarely pick it up. I do listen to Pandora, and it usually plays a mix of techno, hip hop, rap, trance, Bollywood pop, and anything else with a good dance beat.

21. Have you ever ridden in a limo? Yeah, it's not all it's cracked up to be.

22. Has anyone you were really close to passed away? My dog passed away in June. And yes, that counts.

23. Do you watch MTV? I don't even have cable.

24. What’s something that really annoys you? Whining. Especially when adults do it.

25. Which television show were you sad to say goodbye to? Detroit 187.

26. Can you dance? I like to dance, but that doesn't mean I can dance. My son usually says "Stop dancing!" whenever I start.

27. What’s your favorite place in the world? Where ever my family is. Aww... *puke* Or... my bed.

28. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room? No, but I have been rushed to the ER by my T.A. (teacher's assistant) in her truck.

29. If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be? Let's go with Cleopatra. Cuz it would be pretty cool to meet a woman from that long ago with that much power.

30. If you could change one thing in the world for your child, what would it be? No more asthma, thank you very much.

This post was ALSO prompted by "30 days of shamelessness." I'm planning to get through the whole list, in order, but not necessarily in 30 days. Enjoy. Feel free to steal and join in the fun.

1.declare your love for an uncool TV show.
2.look a fool.
3.eat. Whatever you feel like eating.
4.waste time.
5.declare your love for an uncool movie.
6.act “girly” or “manly” in a way you’d normally avoid.
7.share your efforts at something you don’t think you do well.
8.sweat.
9.expose something messy or dirty you’d usually hide.
10.declare your love for an uncool band.
11.dress to show some skin.
12.share about a health struggle.
13.speak up about something crap that was done to you.
14.hold yourself accountable — not guilty — for something crappy you did to someone else.
15.dress, walk, and act like you know you’re all that.
16.spend money on a non-necessity or share a financial struggle.
17.discuss the reality of your work situation.
18.brag.
19.share details about a bodily function or fluid.
20.talk about sex
21.express a strong feeling.
22.set a boundary.
23.air one of your secrets.
24.share a struggle you have yet to “just get over.”
25.ask for help.
26.make a mistake.
27.express a dissenting opinion.
28.discuss a failure.
29.look a fool.
30.name 3 more ways you can live shamelessly and commit to doing them…

Monday, September 26, 2011

Super-hubby strikes again.

Over the weekend -- Saturday specifically -- I overbooked myself. I had planned to have a table and sell stuff a "Mom-to-mom sale." For those who are un-initiated, a Mom-to-mom sale is like a giant rummage sale at a church or school; each mom purchases a table space (usually for about $25), and sells used kids' clothes, toys, etc. It's a great way to get rid of old stuff and make a little money. And a great way to buy used kid clothes at great prices!

Anyway, the first thing I figured out was that I was going to need help setting up at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. I have herniated disc in my lower back, and it has been acting up lately, so lifting is a no-no. Hubby said he'd come with the kids at the crack of dawn and help set up. Good hubby.

Then, earlier in the week, I found out I needed to attend a funeral for the passing of my friend's dad. And I wasn't missing that because of my mom-to-mom sale. I have my priorities straight! So, hubby said that he would arrive at the sale (kids in tow, again) at about 11 a.m. so that I could get home to change, then go to the funeral. Great hubby.
So, I considered this busy Saturday, but my hubby reconsidered these crazy logistics. He came back to me and said, "This plan doesn't make any sense. I'd have to come to the mom-to-mom sale TWICE with the kids. I'll just do the mom-to-mom sale by myself. Just drop off the kids before you leave for the funeral." Introducing... Super-hubby!



Yes, my husband ran a table at a mom-to-mom sale all by himself. And... he made MORE MONEY than I EVER made at ANY mom-to-mom sale (and I've done a LOT of sales!). He had the magic touch!

His friends wanted to know if he got any single moms' phone numbers...

He claims innocence...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mommytography 260-266

Doh! Life is really overwhelming me lately, and I haven't even picked up my camera in the past week.  That's OK.  I'll cheat, and you can enjoy some random photos that I've taken in the past couple of months -- ones that didn't make the cut for a previous Mommytography!

260: Friday is Mohawk Day!

That's official from my 4-year-old. He wants the spikes on Fridays and special occasions only.  The preschool teachers think it's adorable.
  
261: Hubby Rooster!

Hubby was showing my daughter some rock star moves... like the puckered lipped rooster.

 262:  Fountain in Marshall, Michigan

Pretty, huh?

263:  Rainbow clown

She's one happy gal.  From the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival.

 264:  Three lights

These were in a corner at a restaurant in Stratford, Ontario.  I just liked them.

265:  Doggie has a boo-boo.

My son's lovie needed some first aid.

266:  Jurassic glow

We played glo golf, and this was one of the holes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

YUM! City Chicken

So, Mama Kat prompted me to share one of my favorite recipes from when I was young.  I immediately thought of an easy comfort food that my mom made. This recipe is so simple and so yummy you just have to try it!  City Chicken.  And guess what?  It's not chicken!  It's pork that's cubed, skewered (like a shish kabob) and then dipped in egg and bread crumbs.  I like it pan fried, but it can also be baked.  Easy peasy and yummy, huh?

Boy, was I excited when I found prepped City Chicken at a couple of local grocery stores! 

A little history on City Chicken (sometimes called Mock Chicken) -- this dish is regional to what used to be call the "rust belt" -- Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan. (I'm originally from Ohio, and moved to Michigan as a teen.) It's a working class family meal that dates back at least to the Great Depression, when chickens were hard to come by in the city.  Hence the name City Chicken.  Here's an advertisement for City Chicken from 1932 in Pittsburgh, PA:

I was amazed that the description and preparation is exactly the same back in the Depression era, over 75 years ago (but not the price!).
This post was prompted by Mama Kat's writing workshop.

Mama’s Losin’ It

This post was ALSO prompted by "30 days of shamelessness."  I'm planning to get through the whole list, in order, but not necessarily in 30 days. Enjoy. Feel free to steal and join in the fun.

1.declare your love for an uncool TV show.
2.look a fool.
3.eat. Whatever you feel like eating.
4.waste time.
5.declare your love for an uncool movie.
6.act “girly” or “manly” in a way you’d normally avoid.
7.share your efforts at something you don’t think you do well.
8.sweat.
9.expose something messy or dirty you’d usually hide.
10.declare your love for an uncool band.
11.dress to show some skin.
12.share about a health struggle.
13.speak up about something crap that was done to you.
14.hold yourself accountable — not guilty — for something crappy you did to someone else.
15.dress, walk, and act like you know you’re all that.
16.spend money on a non-necessity or share a financial struggle.
17.discuss the reality of your work situation.
18.brag.
19.share details about a bodily function or fluid.
20.talk about sex
21.express a strong feeling.
22.set a boundary.
23.air one of your secrets.
24.share a struggle you have yet to “just get over.”
25.ask for help.
26.make a mistake.
27.express a dissenting opinion.
28.discuss a failure.
29.look a fool.
30.name 3 more ways you can live shamelessly and commit to doing them…

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Young fools!

My daughter and I dress as clowns for my younger brother's birthday party -- it was a circus theme.  Half the crowd came dressed as clowns.  I tried to convince my son to dress as a clown, too, but I found out he doesn't like clowns (who knew?).  Instead he asked if he could bring his light saber to the party and dress in his "Jedi uniform" (I just finished a new Renaissance costume for him that had a Jedi-like quality).  We let him wear his costume and bring his weapon; he proceeded to kill all the clowns at the party.  Hmmm... bad parenting choice?

Young fool... Only now, at the end, do you understand...
Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side.
Now, you will pay the price for your lack of vision!


This post was prompted by "30 days of shamelessness." This was Day 2: look a fool. I'm planning to get through the whole list, in order, but not necessarily in 30 days.  Enjoy.  Feel free to steal and join in the fun.

1.declare your love for an uncool TV show.
2.look a fool.
3.eat. Whatever you feel like eating.
4.waste time.
5.declare your love for an uncool movie.
6.act “girly” or “manly” in a way you’d normally avoid.
7.share your efforts at something you don’t think you do well.
8.sweat.
9.expose something messy or dirty you’d usually hide.
10.declare your love for an uncool band.
11.dress to show some skin.
12.share about a health struggle.
13.speak up about something crap that was done to you.
14.hold yourself accountable — not guilty — for something crappy you did to someone else.
15.dress, walk, and act like you know you’re all that.
16.spend money on a non-necessity or share a financial struggle.
17.discuss the reality of your work situation.
18.brag.
19.share details about a bodily function or fluid.
20.talk about sex
21.express a strong feeling.
22.set a boundary.
23.air one of your secrets.
24.share a struggle you have yet to “just get over.”
25.ask for help.
26.make a mistake.
27.express a dissenting opinion.
28.discuss a failure.
29.look a fool.
30.name 3 more ways you can live shamelessly and commit to doing them…

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hubby, daddy, Hollywood -- I mean Bollywood? -- stuntman!

My hubby just finished up some stuntman work over the weekend in western Michigan.  He played a mercenary bad guy in The Spirit of Mumbai. This film is a mixed Hindi/English action thriller about the kidnapping of a Bollywood star (starring real Bollywood star Pooja Batra).

My hubby can turn into a real bad boy, huh?




The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mommytography 239-259


Holy moly! I've got some catching up to do... Here's a bazillion pictures.  Enjoy.

239: Zombie party girl

My daughter decided we needed a zombie at my brother's birthday party.

 240: Did I mention it was a wake birthday party?

Oh, yeah.  My brother wanted a wake for his 40th birthday.  We obliged. I mean 35th birthday.  I mean 11th anniversary of his 29th birthday.  Yeah.

 241:  Zombies can rock it.

Our zombie just needed sunglasses, and POOF!  Instant rock star.

242:  Second generation Star Wars geek.

I pulled out MY Ewok (from 1984) after the kids finished watching the Return of the Jedi. They were smitten.


243:  Look what I do for my sister!?!?!

My big boy sits patiently while he is a guinea pig for my daughter's latest obsession -- nail painting.

244: Eek! Spider!

I visited the Fred Meijers Garden and Sculpture park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It it really a hidden treasure of Michigan and the United States.  If you are in the area -- CHECK IT OUT.

245:  Orange thing a-ma-bob

I don't know what it is, but it's orange.  Very orange.

246:  I speak for the trees!

Another sculpture at the Fred Meijers park.  I love how they integrated the sculptures into the surroundings.

247:  Now that's a horse!

The Fred Meijers garden is worth seeing just for this horse sculpture.  It is freaking huge!

248:  Trout hatchery

I stopped by Paris, Michigan.  They had a trout hatchery in a public park. Very cool!

249:  When in Paris...

Paris, Michigan that is!  Yes, they have an Eiffel Tower.  Who knew?

250:  Right across the kisser!

Daddy shows the big boy how to fake a punch. 

251:  Daddy P90X

Daddy gets in some arm curls.



252:  You let your son do WHAT with his hair?

Yes, that's a mohawk.  He asked if he could get it cut that way, and I said sure.  It's just hair.  He loves it.

253:  Rebel Jedi

I made my son a Renaissance costume this year, and he thought it turned out like a Jedi uniform.  He might be right.

254:  In remembrance of 9/11

At a local (Fenton, Michigan) firestation.  A beautiful tribute.

255: Giraffe face painting.

My daughter gets her favorite animal, a giraffe, painted on her face.

256:  Joust!

We watched the joust at the Michigan Renaissance Festival.  That's our knight in red.  He won!

257:  A Renaissance family

At the Renaissance Faire.  Ten points if you can figure out the symbol on my son's tunic.
258:  ARRR.  Turkey leg!

No Renaissance Faire is complete without my hubby getting a turkey leg.

259:  Clowning around

My younger brother had a circus themed birthday party, and we all came dressed as clowns.  Well, except for my son.  He said he doesn't like clowns.  So, instead he brought his light saber and killed all the clowns.

How a naked kid saved the day

It's bath night. I've already put my little guy to bed, and now I'm having some nice quality time with my 5-year-old daughter while she scrubs and splashes.

"Why do we have belly buttons?"

"Look ma! I can blow bubbles!"

"I want daddy to come home from his business trip NOW."

"I'm a fish!"

Interrupting our titillating one-way conversation, our dog jogs into the bathroom. This is rather unusual for her, since she dislikes the tile floor. Then I see that familiar stare, butt waggle, and tail going 40 mph. It's the doggy potty dance.

"Do you need to go outside?"

The dog does a doggy nod.

I hate "breaking the rules" and leaving my daughter unattended in the bath, but the dog is desperate. I tell me daughter I'LL BE RIGHT BACK (futile words). I'll just let the dog outside quick, then come back to check on my daughter (then go back to get the dog and come back upstairs... like my own little relay race... fun!).

I hurry downstairs, and let the dog out through the back sliding door. We have a fenced back yard, which is fortunate since our dog would love to wander the neighborhood given the chance. As the dog dashes for her favorite pee spot, I notice that the gate is wide open.

Crap.

I run outside in my socks, and close the gate. Then I realize my fatal error. We have a trick sliding door. If you slam it closed, the latch slips down and LOCKS.

Double crap.

I'm now locked outside with my dog, while my two children -- one asleep, one naked in the bath -- are inside. Both of the other exterior doors are, of course, also locked.

Holy crap.

And my husband is hundreds of miles away out of town.

Crappity crap.

I debate what to do. I can go to a neighbor's house, and ask them to call my parents or a friend that has a key to my house, or I can start banging on the door like a crazed woman and hope my 5-year-old hears me.

I vote for the crazed woman option.

After a few minutes (it felt like 20 minutes, but it was probably 3 or 4), I spot my naked 5-year-old wandering down the stairs. She sees me, and opens the sliding door.

"Why are you outside momma?"

She was not frightened, but a little confused about why I was so panicked. She said she heard the racket from the bath, and wondered what was taking me so long. I praised her up and down for coming downstairs. She was officially the hero for the day.

Our bath time hero.

------------------------------------------------------

The story was prompted by Mama Kat's writing workshop. The prompt was "Locked out."


Mama’s Losin’ It

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I remember...

So I took a short break from my blog because of a vacation, and well, a needed break. Life just caught up with me. Too much work, too much to do. But I'm back.

And it is September 11th, ten years later. Initially, as the anniversary approached, I didn't think I would post anything on the subject as there is already so much out there -- what do I have to contribute? But, then I thought about how we talk about the major events in history, and how everyone who experiences those events remembers what they were doing at the time. And I thought my experience was worth writing down. Though -- after ten years -- I wonder how much of my memory has been shaded by the events that have taken place since? Human memories are not something locked away in time, frozen. They are part of our living experience, and can fade and change over time.

But this is September 11, 2001 as I remember today.

The morning of September 11th, I went to work at my technology company (not my current company) in Southfield, Michigan. I worked in a small hi-rise in a small cluster of hi-rises in downtown Southfield. My husband had also gone to work in Dearborn, Michigan. He had just returned on Sunday night from a trip hanging out with his college friends in New York City. One of his friends lived in Manhattan; most friends had left on Sunday, but one friend stayed for an extended vacation.

While sitting at my desk at work, I remember someone saying that a plane had struck a skyscraper in New York City. I remember loading up a news website, and having a hard time keeping it up. My coworkers and I commented that the news sites were getting pounded with user traffic, and could not keep up. (This was my techie hat). Shortly thereafter, several of the news websites changed the formatting of their front pages to allow faster load times. They removed all the ads, and all extraneous stories. I was impressed at how quickly several of the news sites responded to the increased user traffic.

I remember commenting to a coworker that there was no way they could "fix" that skyscraper. It was too damaged. I remember discussing with coworkers about this bizarre accident, and commenting "That was no accident. A plane can miss a skyscraper. That was done on purpose."

I remember hearing about the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, and stating to a coworker, "They gotta bring ALL the planes down. NOW." I thought about the logistics of getting down all the planes currenting in the U.S. I thought about how many more planes in the air could be flying bombs.

I remember that they announced all the planes in the U.S. were being told to land immediately, and there were a few planes not "listening."

I remember calling my husband. He wanted to find his friends who were still in New York. He had not heard from either of them yet.

I remember looking out the windows of our small hi-rise (we were probably on the 5th or 6th floor) and saying "Someone needs to make a decision to send us all home." Shortly thereafter, some of our leadership announced that we should all go home.

I remember seeing the images: those little specs outside the towers an debating if those were really people jumping or falling (I didn't believe it), the towers coming down, and the thousands of dusty people walking out of the city.

I remember hearing about the Pentagon being hit. I remember thinking "That it. We are at war. Now, who is attacking???"

I remember hearing about the plane crashing in Pennsylvania, and the media announcing that they did not know if it was related, and I thought "Yeah, right. Of course it is related. Would the Air Force really shoot down a commercial airliner?" After hearing this was really an uprising from the passengers, I was very reassured. I was proud that other Americans would take matters in their own hands when they realized the stakes.

I remember my husband trying for many hours to locate his friends in NYC, and make sure they were OK. Finally, we had confirmation of their whereabouts. His one friend was a trained EMT, and had volunteered his services at the hospital where he worked as a researcher; the hospital was in the "quarantine" zone of Manhattan. In the end, his services were not really needed as there were not the huge numbers of injured expected (since the towers fell). His other friend, the visitor in town, had talked about going to the financial district for some tourist stops that day; fortunately, he never got out of bed that morning, and missed the whole thing.

I remember that we had a planned trip to Washington, DC the week after 9/11.  We were going to a friend's engagement party.  Several people said we should not go.  We debated what to do.  In the end, we decided that terrorists would not be stopping us from living our lives;  not even now.  We drove to Washington, D.C. We could not get within several blocks of the Pentagon, but we had a wonderful time seeing friends, and seeing the Capitol.

Here is a picture I took of the Capitol building from our trip to DC in September 2001, with the Capitol's flag at half staff.

I remember how quiet the skies were without commercial aircraft in the sky. I remember one evening a couple days after 9/11, and hearing a jet, and being very startled. After realizing it was an Air Force jet from Selfridge Air Force base, I knew things had changed overnight.

I remember thinking "Who is THAT?" when the names Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were announced as the likely masterminds of the attacks. When I understood this was a Muslim extremist group, I immediately felt protective and uneasy for my Muslim friends and Detroit-area Muslim community. I knew there would be small-minded people who would assume guilt by association, and want to take their pound of flesh. I wish I was wrong about that premonition.

I remember people saying that they didn't trust the world anymore, and didn't know what was worth pursuing. But this is not how I felt. I suddenly felt that we needed to pursue the important things, the good things. After years of people asking "when are you guys going to start having kids?" and me giving a standard answer of "5 years or so...", suddenly I was thinking "I wanna start having kids now." Our first child, our daughter, was born in 2003 (hey, these things still take time!).

Friday, August 26, 2011

I DO believe in fairies. And mortgage refinance.

Yes, after years of getting the run-around from my mortgage company, they actually contacted me (what?) and said I was eligible for a refinance.  Ya know that Obama-fied help-underwater-homeowners legislation that was passed ... um... years ago?  Yeah, they said I'm eligible under that, even though they wouldn't help me the other umpteen times I've called them about the same thing in the past.

At first, I was sure it was a trick, but last night we signed all the documents. And it only took two attempts to do the closing (those bankers are still sneaky).

I do believe in fairies.

Our closer said she is convinced that our mortgage company has gotten some kind of financial incentive recently, motivating them to allow all these refinances to go through. I tend to agree.

I DO believe in fairies.

To quote my mortgage broker, who was pleasantly surprised by our home's worth after the appraisal came back,

"I have hope for Michigan yet!"

I replied, "So do I... So do I."

I DO BELIEVE IN FAIRIES!!!


A Mommy's Sweet Blog Design Friday Blog Hop



Photobucket

Mommytography 365/231-238

231: This shark will swallow you whole.

The kids loved this bouncy slide at the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival.  My daughter said the shark kept throwing her up.
 232: Pizza Orange Dragon Love

The boy loves orange.  And now he has an orange dragon.  He named it Pizza Orange Dragon.  'Cuz it only eats pizza.

233: Pink feathers

My daughter heard about the latest craze -- feather hair extensions.  I'm not so keen on the idea for my 7-year-old.  So, we compromised with a feather clip.  Reminds me of the ones I won at carnivals when I was young.
235:  Flying boy

This is the boy's latest "fighting stance."  I call it flying preschooler.
236: I see you!

Our kitty Buttercup peeks out from behind a door frame.
237:  Master Shifu bows out

My martial arts boy bows like Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda.
238: Nail designs

My daughter shows off her design work on her nails.

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