Thursday, June 30, 2011

Way to go O!

When a tiny pink-faced baby girl is placed in your arms after many, many hours of labor, you are overwhelmed with love, joy, and happiness. A decade later, when that same baby girl sets out to accomplish an amazing goal, and "sticks it" as they say in gymnastics, you once again are overwhelmed with that same sense of love, joy, happiness, and a whole lot of pride, too.

So for today's post, I step up on my soapbox and boast about my one and only daughter, Miss O!

1. Top vault score! In gymnastics, female athletes compete in four events: vault, beam, bars, and floor. During this year's regular competition season, the vault proved to be Miss O's nemesis, causing her a bit of apprehension and anxiety at each meet. With determination, she nailed it at Nationals, scoring 9.300!

2. All-around third place - Level 5/Junior. For her first showing on the National level, this was an awesome accomplishment. All in all, she ranked third in her group of 24 gymnasts, and 11th among 114 gymnasts at her level and age group. All those hours and hours of practice surely paid off!

3. Daddy's girl. Besides me, T is probably Miss O's biggest fan. He is secretary of her team's parent booster club, drives her to and from practice, and cheers the loudest at meets. He coined the phrase, "Way to go O!"

A bouncing baby girl.
An award-winning gymnast.
Two proud parents.
All good things!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Toledo Good Eats

One of the best parts of being on a road trip is finding good eats, and finding them off the beaten path without a GPS is even more fun and challenging. Not really, but we enjoyed some good food at these three places in Toledo last week.

1. Schmucker's. Not much to look at, but this 63-year-old diner served up heaping helpings of homemade goodness including one of our favorite desserts P I E!

The kids under the Schmucker's road sign. A enjoys chicken and biscuits. Coconut cream pie! T's Wimpy burger platter.

2. The original Tony Packo's. This place came highly recommended by Brian, who appears to be a connoisseur of fine hot dogs everywhere. Although I skipped the chili and the special hot dog sauce, the hot dog had a snappy, tasty bite.

And where else can you get a hot dog with a side of mashed potatoes or a chili dog with a side of chili? Extra touch: celebrity-signed hot dogs buns displayed all over the walls. T even got a souvenir beer glass, and Miss O licked her mac and cheese bowl clean. Now that's good eats!

3. Deet's BBQ - located south of Toledo in Maumee. We stopped at this restaurant on our way out of town. Yummy, tender pulled pork sandwiches with sweet BBQ sauce and creamy coleslaw. We loved the sauce so much we bought a pint to take home, and had it on some baby back ribs the other night. Messy, yummy goodness!

Homemade goodness, highly-recommended hot dogs, and sweet, delicious BBQ - three good road trip eats!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Really quick a minute

No time for anything profound.
Here are three animated GIFs of Animals being Jerks.
They are good things in my book.

Parrot being a jerk to a turtle

Lion cub being a jerk to this kid

Cat being a jerk... wait for it... twice.


1,700+ Gymnasts in the House

Or in this case, Fifth Third Field, home of the Toledo MudHens baseball team!

This post will feature Day 1 of our awesome trip to the YMCA National Gymnastics Meet in Ohio last week where Miss O and seven of her Flyers teammates "Rocked the Gym!"

After about five hours in the car, with just one brief pit stop, we arrived in Toledo just in time to check-in at our hotel, pick-up our meet passes and tickets, eat a quick bite (in the car), and head on over to the line-up for the opening ceremonies.

Here are three highlights from the opening day festivities:

1. The venue: Fifth Third Field. It's located right in the heart of downtown Toledo. The atmosphere was fun and festive with a steel band and the MudHen mascots entertaining the crowd before the spectator gates opened up.

2. The gymnasts: Aside from a torrential downpour during the middle of the march-in, it was awesome to see Miss O, her teammates, and nearly 2,000 gymnasts from 18 states parade into the stadium Olympic-style. (Please excuse the choppy video, and note how Miss O doesn't even notice that we are cheering for her - typical tween!)

3. An inspirational Olympian: 1984 Gold Medal gymnast Peter Vidmar gave an excellent key note address filled with enthusiasm, motivation, and appreciation. One of my favorite parts is when he asked the gymnasts to stand up and applaud their parents because "Mom could be doing something else" instead of driving you to practice.

Afterwards, Peter signed autographs and took photos with the gymnasts including Miss O. Awesome - especially to us as parents who strive to find good role models for our kids.

Three good things from one great day! More highlights of our road trip to come. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Living where I do

About two and 1/2 years ago I moved from a nifty little beach community on the OTHER West Coast (West Michigan) to suburban Philadelphia, specifically: Phoenixville.

When I picked the place, little did I discern the meaning behind the name of the town, taken from the mythical bird that arises from the ashes of its own destruction. It's been that way itself, and for me as well. Here are three really good things about Phoenixville, PA. Two out of these three come from events at the Colonial Theatre. I don't agree with the spelling, but I love the theater.

2) Summer: The Blobfest

The week following July 4th marks Blobfest. It's fantastic. This Festival held every July is dedicated to this true sci-fi movie classic THE BLOB. Starring Steve McQueen (as Steve Andres) and Aneta Corsaut (as Jane Martin). The Blob was filmed during the summer of 1957 in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas including Phoenixville by Valley Forge Films (Formerly Good News Productions). The festival includes a street fair, the Blob Ball, and of course showings of The Blob and other cult sci-fi classics. Don't miss the "running out" where the theater patrons escape the marauding ooze by stampeding their way out of The Colonial Theatre. Bring your foil hat!

3) Fall: Firebird Festival

So they build this big wooden bird. Then, local artisans make all kinds of stuff - mostly birds - out of clay - and they set fire to the wooden bird. The clay pieces are baked in the fire. It's pretty awesome. It's a great way to spend a lovely chilly evening in front of a great roaring fire.

1) Winter: Christmas at the Colonial Theatre
Showing It's a Wonderful Life in the rustic and historical theater is just about the nicest thing next to a warm comfy hearth.

There are lots of other good things I like about Phoenixville, but today - those are at the top of my list.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Funnies

It's Friday, and Friday should be fun. After all, Friday is an anything can happen day.

Sue is still out of town and her daughter Olivia is competing in her gymnastics events today, so we all want to wish her well!

Here are three good things for Friday Funnies.

2) Garfield Minus Garfield

Proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Garfield is stupid, but if you take the cat out of the comic, it's way funnier.

3) Happy Simpleton

My very dear old friend Dennis is a very talented cartoonist and I really love what he's doing.


This is a delightfully nerdy comic that's not always for everyone, but for the geeks like me, it's right in our wheelhouse.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Desert Island Classics

Today, my good things are going to be the three pieces of media I would want with me on a desert island. Before I list them, I'm taking my Bible with me and not counting it among the other three. It's the "Good" book after all, so I don't want to skip it, but I also don't want to quibble over whether it's with me or not.

2) Book

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

This compilation would keep me coming back over and over, laughing and wondering - what was Douglas Adams thinking?

3) Music

The Police: Message in a Box (box set)
Again - I'm cheating on the compilation - getting the entire catalog of The Police in one shot, but it's my list. You want to make the rules? Make your own list. I struggled with this one, because I find so much music beautiful, charming, inspirational, edifying or just rowdy. For me, this set has it all.

1) Movie

So I Married an Axe Murderer
Will I ever stop laughing at this movie? I think not. It's got everything! Action, romance, a Scottish wedding, poetry, The Pentavaret!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

Part of my healing process incudes taking an honest inventory of myself, how I can be a better person and how I can fully recover from loss. That includes listing out the things I have going for me, and things that I need to work on. So, since I'm kind of a polar extrovert, I might as well work those out right here.

These are all good things - even though the include areas where I'm struggling

2) Stuff I'm good at: (based on the Strengths Finder 2.0)
WOO (Winning Others Over)
People strong in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.
People strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
Strategic Thinking
People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.
People strong in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.

3) Stuff I'm working on:
After any break in trust, and I've experienced a lulu, you loose the ability to trust people, or more to the point, you can. I have to make sure that I keep extending myself to people, judiciously, carefully, of course.
Self Worth
Major hit against this here and it's something I need to find from God and within myself, not through other people. Though my primary love-language is words of affirmation, I can't place my self worth in the hands of another person. I do still need to hear the warm fuzzies, but as a part of feeling loved, not for my self worth.
Financial Confidence
Even a little bit of debt bugs the snot out of me. I've got some now and I'm working hard to eliminate it. This one is rather easy for me to address. It's just discipline to do the right thing and win back my confidence.

1) Therapy and Support group
The value of a good therapist and a good support group is incalculable. Having a trained professional who listens, provides 3rd party perspective on things and advises - it's so important to my growth. A support group can be people in the similar situation, and I'm in one of those, but at the same time, it can be friends and family. The more personal group can be rather biased though, so it's important to remember that my mom is going to take my side in almost anything. The first-name-only support group can be more constructive and direct.

All good things.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Road Trip Goodies

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My family and I will be leaving for a min-vaca really, really early Wednesday morning so y'all are stuck with Brian for the rest of the week!

Here are three good things about a road trip:

1. It's a change of scenery. Let's face it. I don't get out much. I visit places around my community like the bank, the post office and the YMCA. I go to church, pulmonary rehab, and I occasionally visit docs downtown. I need a change of scenery. We all do!

2. Tasty eats, and treats in the car. When we travel, T and I like to look for yummy places to eat that we won't find in our 'hood. And sometimes, T, who is very particular about his car, will even let us eat snacks and drinks along the way. T says I break this rule all the time, and he's right. I do, and if you are a passenger in the car with me, I will blame you. No kidding.

3. Memory-making with the family. I can't tell you what I got for Christmas in 1977, but I can share memories of our family vacations. Memories like getting a killer sunburn in Florida, riding a cable car in San Fransisco, or the trip to Colorado and the Dakotas when I had the mumps! Quality time spent with the kids is a good thing!

So see ya later gators, enjoy your week!


Today is Monday
I forgot to write something over the weekend, so I'll keep this short!

To some, that's not a good thing.

To some it's bearable.

Fortunately, there is the LOLrus. Everything is better now.

see... three good things on a Monday.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Marathon not a Sprint

Today is the day of a silly event I set up on Facebook called the half-half-half-half-half-half-half-half-half-half-half-half-marathon. It's a dead sprint from your couch to your fridge. If you haven't done so, sign up and get ready. Add your comments, tell us what you're doing to be successful. Today would be a great day to post your pictures of your own training regimen.

Official distance is 10.3 Meters
0.00640012328 miles

This event is not timed - it's all about finishing... well half-finishing anyway.

Three Good Things about this silliness?

2) I've met about 50 new facebook friends from all over North America and a few in other places. I love to meet and get to know people.

3) This has been a really fun creative outlet for me. I've had the opportunity to design the images for the SWAG, write about it, have fun with the community that's arisen and do some fun grass roots marketing.

1) It's just ridiculous. I think we all need a lot more ridiculous in our lives.

Considering all of that, it's really good to remember that our lives are run like a marathon and not a sprint. We have a major endurance challenge set before us and it's not finished in short-spurts of speed, but working on the long-term. That's particularly difficult for me, because I was actually a sprinter when I was more athletic and the mind-set really sticks with you. Having said that - I don't want to detract from our silliness.

Remember the motto of our Marathon!
No Pain, no pain.

3 Good Things about Daddy!

Today's guest bloggers are Miss O and her little bro A sharing three good things about their daddy, my hubby T.

#1 "I play soccer. Sometimes my dad cheers from the sidelines, and sometimes he helps coach." ~ A

#2 brought to you by Miss O:

#3 "Our daddy always enjoys doing things with us like going to the water park, taking us on vacation, ice skating, and riding bikes." ~ O & A

We love you Daddy!
Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Here's 2 Dad!

Daddy, Dad, Edd, Fred, Papa.

He goes by many names, but he is just one dad. My dad. Father of three daughters, grandfather of two cheeky monkeys he calls fric and frat.

With Father's Day just around the corner, here's a nod to my dad:

1. He's smart. Before his retirement, he was an engineer by trade. As a child, I thought that meant he drove a train for a living or that he could only explain math homework in a very confusing way. Now, I know better. He solves problems, fixes things, and reads extremely long books in a short period of time.

2. He's grumpy on the outside, but a softy on the inside. When we were kids, he would yell at us for playing on the grass, fighting with each other, or not taking out the garbage. But he also taught us how to swim, ride a bike, show respect, and take care of others especially our family and friends.

3. He's a super fan! Two busy grandkids keep him hopping. He cheers on Miss O at gymnastics meets, and roots for her little bro A at soccer games. He even wears the fan cap we made him for his birthday, even though he doesn't like to wear hats. He attends school shows and music recitals. He freely gives away dollar bills, quarters, and tasty treats like candy bars, doughnuts, or ice cream. He's good like that.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Love ya!

*Note to mom: Pass this along to dad, would ya?

Good Ole YouTube

Three good things today are all on YouTube.

1) Simon's Cat

This is how cats really are.

2) The Wilhelm Scream

You'll never hear this scream on TV on in a movie again without thinking, "Wilhelm!"

3) This Walmart Commercial

Time for Daddy to make some funny...

All good things.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hopeful Romantic

When you go through crud in your love-life it can turn you into a bitter person regarding the opposite sex.
Feeling hopeless is easy! You just let yourself go... giving into looking the way God molded you while you were sleeping... giving into feeling angry at, not just one person, but people you haven't even met yet... giving into sadness over the loss of a loved one. Overcoming is hard work. Hard work is good and worth it.

1) Get up every day, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, coffee, desk, work - breaks - lunch - stop working, do other things.
It makes you feel "normal" for whatever that's worth - it also makes you feel like you are presentable, and potentially available. That's a really good discipline.

2) Prayer. I know, I know I know.... blah blah blah - I don't feel like praying. But do it anyway. The creator of the universe is there, reaching out to you and hoping for real relationship with you. Prayer is just that conversation. "I'm worried about" "I'm happy about" "I'm sad about" "I'm angry about". It's being real. It's not just talking to yourself. He's really there. You've got that kind of audience with the absolute source of Love. Now that's good!

3) Remember the literature, the songs, and the movies. Since the dawn of time, people have painted, written, sung and told stories about true love. There's a reason. It's real. It has to be. Maybe, like me, you never experienced it for real. Maybe you settled for something that looked like it or seemed like it might be the real thing, but it wasn't. It's like wanting an Oreo, and getting a store-brand cookie... or a Hydrox. It's just not the same. Wanting true love, and choosing to disbelieve that it exists is the stuff that makes a hopeless romantic. But, believing that God really does have someone just for you, someone who was so worth waiting for - and then acting on that, with expectation, that's a hopeful romantic.

I choose to be hopeful, and hope is good.

Good things taken for granted

Pondering a post for today, I took a closer look at the world around me and realized that there are many, many good things right in front of my face. Things I use every day that are unavailable in many parts of the world. Things I take for granted, unless of course they're gone.

Take for instance . . .

1. Toilet paper. YES, TP! I don't know how many times I've entered one of the loos in the house to find an empty roll of toilet paper. This can sometimes occur more than once per day, and in more than one bathroom. If you have children, a spouse, a significant other, or a roommate, you know what I'm talking about. If you live alone, you have only yourself to blame!

2. Ice. I enjoy cold drinks cold - not lukewarm, not room temperature. Ice makes this happen. In our first home, we did not have an ice cube maker, unless you count T. So often, while reaching in for a few cubes, you'd come up empty-handed. Now we have a built-in ice cube maker. That's a good thing!

3. Electricity. Thank you Ben Franklin. Aside from the monthly bill, electricity is a good thing! It lights my world with a flick of a switch. It powers the AC, the TV, the PC, and so many other things I take for granted like the washing machine, the toaster, and the fridge that makes the ice. When it goes out, we sure do miss it and we have to go around the house and re-set all the flashing clocks.

TP, ice, and electricity. All good things!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More goofy good things

Three more goofy good things from me to you!

1. Josh Groban and I are Facebook friends! Not really, but because I "like" him on Facebook he sends me Tweets, status updates, and photos of him with his dog. It's like he's an old, personal friend, kinda like Bri, but much more famous!

All kidding aside, I do love Josh's voice and music. Besides being a very talented musician, he's funny, too. (Yes, Brian, I AM his demographic!)

2. Miss O's collection of t-shirts that feature food with faces. She has toast with jam, s'mores, mac and cheese, hot cocoa, peaches promoting peace, and many more. They are silly, and she just loves them. OK, by me.

3. The Forrest Gump voice. Ever since I wrote about how T makes me laugh with his Forrest Gump voice, he has used it relentlessly almost every day. Too much of a good thing? A little bit.

"But you still laugh," said Miss O's little bro A.

"Yes, that's why I keep doing it," replied T.

That's three goofy good things for Tuesday. I'm off to see what Josh is up to on Facebook.

good music

I have what you might call an eclectic taste in music.

It's much easier to say what I don't like, than to try listing what I do like.
Don't like:
Hip-hop, dance club DJ house or any of the senselessly repetitive stuff you might here in a place like that.
Heavy post-grunge guttural screaming.

But there are all kinds of music that add to my happiness.

1) Fun Happy Music. Barenaked Ladies is some of the most fun I've had listening to music over my lifetime. Now that's not to say that the wackiness of Weird Al, or Kip Adotta doesn't tickle me, but BNL makes me smile musically and lyrically.

2) The Blues. Now you might think that blues isn't an uplifting genre, but I'd say you're wrong about that from the same perspective that country music isn't all sad (train ran over my dog when my wife left and I lost my job) music. So much of it is just plain fun and so interesting to join in on. Examples include Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, ZZ Topp, Blues Traveler, Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, The Beatles, Dire Straits, and Lou Reed.

3) Big Band and Jazz. I could separate those, but I'm not gonna. Don't like it? Get your own blog. I'm talking about Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Gerry Mulligan, anyone with the last name Marsalis, Diane Reeves, Lou Rawls, Michael Bublé, and of course the Chairman of the Board - Frank Sinatra. But more fun has been listening to Paul Anka, from his album, Rock Swings. Here's one of my favorites.

Written by: Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, Alex Van Halen
First release: Jump by Van Halen on audio album MCMLXXXIV (1984)

Performed by: Paul Anka
First release: Rock Swings (November 2005)

How do you listen to that and keep from smiling?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good Sport

Among the good things in my life are sports.

I'm a huge nerd, kind of a dork, but I'm told it's one of my most endearing qualities. I'm also told that somehow I manage to pull of "cool". I'm really happy about that balance. One of the ways both of those come together is in sports. I'm a decent athlete. I tried my hand at Football, gymnastics, track, and volleyball in high school, and some in college. I still love to play softball and volleyball, and love to go to a baseball game and watch football. This weekend I was invited to play in a charity softball tournament. I had a great time.

My good things today are
1) I have the athletic ability to just pick up and play ball. I played Shortstop and Second Base, though I usually pitch. I made a few good catches and good plays, but several times I fell down. I was really sore later, but now, a full day later, I'm just fine.

2) My friends who came to watch in the blistering heat. I even got a hug when I was ridiculously sweaty. They didn't have to come, let alone stay there, deal with the heat, the humidity, the BUGS! It's so good to have people in my life who care about me and I can see that in their acts of service.

3) I'm not competitive in the traditional way. I'm not concerned with wins or losses, we lost all our games. I do hold myself to a standard and want to perform at a competitive level. I want to play well. When I don't, and I made a lot of hilarious moves out there, I get a little frustrated with myself. But back to my friends, helping me keep it in perspective, and laughing at me - it was good.

I feel like I was a good sport.


Well, sort of. I read about gardening to plan and design. I browse garden centers and nurseries to pick out plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs. I ask my mom or my sister for gardening advice. Then . . .

iDelegate. iSupervise, and iBoss my family around just a little bit to get the job done.

In the end, the pay-off is big. Bright, beautiful flowers, lovely trees and shrubs, and yummy fresh vegetables.

On Sunday, we had some time, and some sunny weather with just the right temps to finish up most of our planting for the summer.

Here are three things I enjoy about our yard and garden:

1. The $5 pear tree - A few years back at the end of the season, we snagged a pear tree on sale at a local big box home store. We planted it in our backyard centered in our picture window. It has beautiful white blossoms in the spring, and it graciously blocks the view of things we don't like to look at such as the broken screen door and the very tall grass of our backyard neighbors. BTW, T took the pic of the pear tree at night - isn't it cool?

2. Passed-down perennials: In our garden, we are lucky to have lilies from my mom, columbine from my sister, irises from my cousin, peonies from my mother-in-law, and hostas from our neighbor next-door. When these plants return year after year, they are little reminders of each special person who shared a bit of their garden with ours.

3. Tomatoes, peppers, and carrots - oh my! There's nothing quite like fresh produce. This year, we expanded our vegetable garden with the help of my sister. We planted lettuce, squash, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, red cabbage, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, basil, and cilantro. If we can keep the bunnies from snacking, we'll have a bountiful harvest to enjoy and share with family and friends.

Pretty views, precious perennials, and tasty, homegrown veggies - three good things in the garden.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The science behind the smiles

Think, think, think.
My husband says I think too much. So does Brian.

I do
and I think it's a good thing.

I also think it is a good thing to share how this blog came about, starting with an article I read in the Chicago Tribune about the science of happiness. You can find it here . To sum it up, the article states that researchers have found that people who list three good things every day actually become happier over time by doing so - imagine that!

Next, I had to convince Brian that this would be a good thing for us to do because we are both going through some trying times in our lives right now. That was the tricky part because I had to bug him about it - a LOT! After lighting a small fire under his you-know-what, he agreed, and perhaps now he's glad I did (maybe, kinda, sorta?)

Although I'm not sure if I can measure the happiness in my life, I do believe that scientists are onto something. Here are three good things about writing this blog:

1. Distraction: As a thinker (and a worrier, too) having to come up with three good things each day is a way for me take my mind off troubling things like the bills, the broken lawnmower, or my next doctor's visit.

2. Inspiration: I love to write. I was a journalist for a bit before becoming a teacher, then a mom. Sometimes I think I'm pretty good at writing, sometimes not. This blog inspires me to work on my writing skills. It gives me a stage, and hopefully an audience, too.

3. Connection: After 25 plus years, Brian and I have formed a new friendship. We are connecting with each other, and with others through this new-age medium. It's enlightening, refreshing, and fun!

or it's just as simple as two kinds of ice cream . . .

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Family is good

I have a family story.
It's really to long to go into here, but you can read the full version I wrote over the years it has evolved on Mirthmobile in the Adoption section.

Here's the short version:
I was raised by adoptive parents who were abusive.
In my early 20's I severed ties with them.
In my mid-30's I met my birth mother, my step-father, two brothers, a sister in-law, an aunt, uncle and two cousins and many, many friends of the family.
My birth-mother adopted me when I was 40. That made my biological mother my legal mother and changed my last name.

My Mom and Dad (the new ones) were just visiting me for a few days. It's good to have family. Most of this stuff, I'm still just figuring out.

1) They love me no matter what. That is a huge trust issue for me and I struggle with it. But it's really good.

2) People who are important to me are important to them.

3) I know that not all families are like that, but love should be like that, and I'm learning that it is.

They're on their way to visit one of my brothers now, and I already miss them. That, as it turns out is also a good thing. It's nice to miss someone.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Goofy good things

Sometimes life is simply silly. Here are three goofy good things of late:

1. J E L L - O! We had Berry Blue Jell-O with Cool-Whip for dessert last night which is always quite exciting for kids. "It jiggles! Watch how the spoon stays on top!" Of course, they like to squish it around their mouths before swallowing just like I used to do when I was a kid. Jell-O reminds me of my late Grandma T, who always made black cherry - my dad's favorite.

2. Adult humor inserted into movies for kids. For the gazillionth time, the kids were watching the movie "Cars" yesterday afternoon. I didn't sit down to watch, but I enjoyed listening to the dialogue while doing other things . . .

Lightning McQueen: I'm serious! He's won three Piston Cups!
Mater: [spits out fuel] He did WHAT in his cup?
Cracks me up every time.

3. Pink octopus slippers. Miss O had a few gift cards to use from her birthday last fall, so on a little shopping trip this weekend she bought pink octopus slippers. "They're so cute!"

I think so, too!

Wiggly, jiggly gelatin, wise-crackin' cars, and smiling slippers. Three goofy good things that make me giggle!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summertime, summertime . . .

sum sum summertime! Today marks the very last day of school for the year, which really is the less-than-an-hour, pick-up your report card day, but who's counting?

Two very excited kids! And one sort of excited, and a little bit melancholy mom. As a kid, summer seems to last forever. As a parent and a former teacher, summer can go by in a flash! One day you're watching fireworks or toasting marshmallows, then before you know it, you're at Target loading up on new school supplies and the latest fall fashions.

In honor of this day, I will note three good things about summer vacation:

1. Sleeping in. No alarms, no five more minutes, no catching the bus. With the exception of sports camps and other activities, we are no longer on a tight morning schedule. Ahhhhhhh!

2. No homework. No spelling tests or reading logs. No huge social studies projects. No notes to sign or papers to check. No multiplication facts, geometry problems, or Internet research. No nagging, "Did you do your homework yet?"

3. Sacking the sack. Lunch that is. No nightly ritual of packing lunches for the kids. Although we will still need to make and eat lunch, our choices can be much more flexible than sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, and a juice pouch. The kids can have hot foods like soup and mac and cheese, or cold foods like popsicles and ice cream. Hey, we can even go to Portillo's for hot dogs. Fancy that, Brian! ;-)

Summertime, ooh ooh ooh!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Play Ball!

It's my turn to talk a little bit about baseball. This weekend, my son went to his very first White Sox game with his daddy. Contrary to Brian's previous post, just my son is the Sox fan in our family. We somehow attribute this to his late great-grandpa who was a south sider. Who knows?

My guys had an awesome time at the Cell! Here's why:

1. Free Sox jersey! Let's face it, when you can get anything for free, that's a good thing. My son was one of 10,000 kids to get a free jersey when he entered the park.

2. Great seats! My guys had excellent aisle seats near the third base line. They were even featured on the Jumbo-tron, and they might have been on TV, too.

3. Quality time (and good eats!) The guys spent the entire day together. They ate hot dogs, drinks, Italian ice, and cotton candy at the ball park followed up by burritos and tacos on the way home.

The Sox lost the game 7-3 (boo!), but it was a winning day for a nine-year-old boy and his dad.

the loneliness of facebook

Facebook keeps me sane.
I'm almost 44 years old. I live alone. I work from home, alone. I have a couple of friends in the area who I see occasionally. Yeah, of course I'm lonely sometimes. Sometimes I can go for a whole day without seeing another person face to face. For some people, that's heaven. For me, a polar extrovert, it's awful.
No Pitty! What I'm trying to say is that it's the social networks that keep reminding me that there are other people out there. On the other-hand, it's difficult to develop a real, intimate relationship with someone in 140 characters or less. Regardless, here are my three good things about social networking.

1) Twitter
Short sweet and to the point. I try to be interesting and creative, and yet still keep things brief. It's a discipline, but I like the exercise.

2) Facebook
I populate my feed from Twitter, and try to post at least twice each day, morning and afternoon. I'm often struck by events or interesting nonsense throughout my day and I try to put that kind of stuff out there. You learn one thing as an internet writer or blogger, write for yourself first. I write about what interests me, and try to find the fun in everything. What's good about that? About 10 people seem to like it. The other 1300 are doing their best to ignore me.

3) The connections
My 25 year high school reunion was planned through social networks. On the one-hand, I was able to connect with almost 100 people from the hometown I haven't lived in since I was 16. On the other-hand, I've met a ton of really wonderful people just by them hearing I'm fun to follow. It's affirming.

Friday, June 3, 2011


It's funny how a four-day week looks inviting on the calendar, but when it's jammed packed with appointments, activities, and obligations, Friday can't come soon enough!

Here are some random good things from this week:

1. Wacky Hair Day! Please note: any similarity of these photos to a police line-up is merely coincidental.

2. Ooohhh, Ahhhh! Ooohhh! My daughter the divine Miss O performed a gymnastics routine to Katy Perry's Firework at her school's talent show. She was THE bomb!

3. One day, I had a root beer, fries,
and this for lunch:

and Brian did not!