Monday, January 30, 2012

Poppity Pop Pop Pop - Can't Stop!

Raise your hand if you adore Bubble Wrap.

It's irresistible, isn't it?

That is why this fun-filled, cushioned packing material has it's own holiday - today!

Yes, It's National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. Woo Hoo!

Bubble Wrap (which is a brand name by the way, like Kleenex is to tissue, Coke is to cola) was invented more than 50 years ago by Al Fielding, an American engineer, and Marc Chavannes, a Swiss inventor, who set out to create a textured wallpaper of some sort, but ended up with a very popular packaging material instead. Go figure.

The only bad thing I can come up with about Bubble Wrap is that if we happen to have some in the house from a package or what not, there needs to be enough so each child gets their fair share. If you have children, you know what I'm talking about.

Bubble Wrap is just plain fun!
That's a good thing, and so are these three things, too.

2. It is useful. Stating the obvious. If you are packing and shipping something fragile, it's a must-have. It also can be used to insulate windows during the cold winter months. Hmmm, perhaps we should try that?

3. It sparks creativity. You can get your craft on with Bubble Wrap. You can paint with it or on it, you can create weird and wacky costumes or clothing, or you can whip up some fanciful decorations.

1. It is a stress reliever. A recent survey revealed that just over one minute of popping Bubble Wrap provides stress relief equivalent to a 33 minute massage. Wow, that's interesting. Perhaps I should have T pick me up a giant roll to keep on hand at all times. Or I can just try this little box.

If you're looking for some Bubble Wrap time-wasting fun, click POP! You can thank me later.

Happy Popping!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Three good things during a not-so-good week


This has been one long, helluva week filled with . . .

Not 1, not 2, but 3 doctor's appointments

Not 1, but 2 wakes for 2 good men

and 1 sick child!

But it's Friday, so here's what's on my good things list for today:

2. First Place: Always the proud mama, I have to brag about Miss O who earned first place for her division at her gymnastics meet on Sunday. Her level also took home the first place team trophy. Way to go O!

3. A Cosmo: After saying goodbye to a very dear pulmonary rehab buddy who recently passed away, myself and some of the rehab gang went out for a bite and some drinks. I just had a drink - a yummy Cosmo! Bonus: It was $5 martini night. Double bonus: One of my favorite people treated me to my "sexy" drink - hey, that's what she called it. Thanks, Donna! Here's to you, Jimmy!

1. Cream cheese as a verb: I know weird, huh? But this morning A asked me if I could "cream cheese" his bagel for him. It made me chuckle, and it made me feel needed.

and that is just what I needed after this long, helluva week.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not just good, but great little escapes

As a person living with a chronic illness that is especially troublesome during the winter months, in the freezer section of the grocery store, or anywhere inside or out where the temperatures are below the mid-70s (I'm talking to you restaurants where I need to dine with my coat on!), finding a warm and cozy escape is essential to my health and well-being.

Luckily, I do not have to look very far for such places because I can find them in my home, and that's all good, no?

2. A warm bath with lots of lovely-scented bubbles. Enough said.

3. A cozy bed with my electric blanket, down comforter, and T by my side. (Well, it's better when he doesn't disrupt my sleep by taking over the bed and all the covers, too!)

1. A snuggly sofa with T, the kids, and me under my fleece blanket all cuddled up watching our favorite TV shows or movies. (This is best when the kids refrain from wiggling or talking in squeaky stuffed animal voices and there is actually something worth watching!)

A warm bath with bubbles, a cozy bed, and snuggling with my family - three great ways to escape the cold. What are yours?

Monday, January 16, 2012

SNOW much fun!

It's that time of year. Cold temps, fluffy white stuff falling from the sky, forecasters predicting the worst. Yep, it's winter in Chicago, and out east, too.

I'm not really a winter person - big surprise, huh? I much prefer sunny, 70-degree days with a warm and gentle breeze, but as a Midwesterner I have no choice but to take the good with the bad, and I've invited Brian, now a Northeasterner, to jump into today's timely topic right along with me.

ahem, drum roll please . . .

Three Good Things About Snow!


2. Sights: I like watching the flurries gently falling from the sky. I like how the sparkly snow covers the tree branches and bushes, the grass, the streets, and the sidewalks, and even the kids when they go out to play.

3. Sounds: I like the crunch-crunch sound of walking on crisp, new fallen snow. I like to hear the kids laughing outside as they "frolic and play the Eskimo way." You know, build snowmen and forts, pelt each other with snowballs, make snow angels, and so on.

1. Sport: Although I can't take part like I did back in the day, snow offers all sorts of fun for T and the kids like sledding, snowboarding, skiing, and shoveling - HA, that's not really a sport, but clearing the snow is something that needs to get done that I don't have to do (and that is a good thing indeed!)


I'm completely jealous of Sue's snow. If you look very closely at the image to the right, you may see the tiny flecks of snow amidst the water droplets. That's the snow that I had waiting for me on my car Friday morning, while Sue got a winter wonderland.
Now, the good things about snow.

2) Snow Days! - the snow here is almost enough to close schools, my office and create a state of emergency in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The windy, curvy, hilly roads are dangerous enough on a normal day without a little slick added. Drivers, inexperienced in navigating the snow make it all the more dangerous. The lack of a robust snow-removal system does not help.


1) After Snow Beverages - cocoa, coffee or cider - it makes no difference. As long as it's warm and wet, it's comforting after working outside in the cold.

* Bonus: books, movies, music and more snowy good things . . .

"The Snowy Day" a picture book by Ezra Jack Keats, the 1963 Caldecott Medal winner

"Snow Day" the 2000 film starring Chevy Chase and Chris Elliot

"Let it Snow" the 1940's hit song performed by classic crooners Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Andy Williams, just to name a few

Friday, January 13, 2012

Just a Car

This is the story of the MirthMobile.

Garth's little blue pacer showed up first in Wayne's World (1992). You may remember the guys singing along with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" while driving around Aurora.

In 1993, I took delivery on this little beauty, the Eagle Summit Wagon. My friends immediately dubbed it "The MirthMobile" and I had no problem with that. I eventually got a MIRTH license plate, and registered in 1998.

In 2001, the blue PT Cruiser took the Summit's place and got just a little Mirth-ier. The little guy made it to PA when I moved in 2008.

The 2006 Toyota Rav4 took over on New Years Eve 2009. This version had 4-wheel drive and an awesome sound system. One day it started making an awful noise. I got it checked out and they couldn't find anything. Then it got worse. They couldn't find the cause and suggested I drive it until it got really bad. I disagreed.

Rather than let it fail, I traded it on New Years Eve, 2011 for this mid-life crisis. A 2000 Mercedes hard-top convertible. It was really fun to drive until I realized that it really wasn't "me" - and had no back seat - AND couldn't fit my bass amp in the trunk. Back to the dealer it went.

I drove away with the exact opposite two days later. This 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid was the nerdiest of the MirthMobiles. I contemplated painting it blue until I took a road trip. My butt hurt. I'm sorry, but it did. It wasn't my back, it was my butt, and it hurt. I took it back.

And then the 2012 Nissan Juke. It's a good fit. It's fun to drive. It's mirthy. It's the end result of 4 cars in 8 days. How's that?
  • Rav4 12/31
  • Mercedes 12/31
  • Honda 1/2
  • Juke 1/6
That's how!
But now you're saying, Brian, what's so good about 4 cars in 8 days? I'm so glad you asked.
2) First of all - the trades from Rav4 to Honda were even trades. I came out ahead on the Mecedes and back where I started with the Honda. Trading that up to the Juke did increase my debt, but not by much - AND - I'm getting a refund on the extended warranty so it's even less. I don't like debt, but I feel OK with this.

3) Second - I can say that I owned a Mercedes convertible once. Ok... that's pretty vain, but I'm going with it.

1) Finally, I'm back in a real MirthMobile. The Honda? - no. The Mercedes? - not really. Even the Rav4 was not so mirthy. The Juke... well... the name says it.
ta da.

Now... should I get the flames magnet?

Anyone want to give me the $35?

Juke: Football
v. To deceive or outmaneuver (a defending opponent) by a feint; fake.
n. A feint or fake.
[Middle English jowken, to bend in a supple way.]

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Uncles are cool

This week, I became an uncle for the second time.

My brother and his wife had their second son, Luke, on Saturday night. Oddly, they are New Orleans Saints fans and at the time of Luke's birth, the Saints were losing to the Detroit Lions in what looked to be a major upset. Then, one more Saints fan was born, and the tide turned.

I absolutely adore Luke's older brother Nathan, so I'm sure I'll have all kinds of love for Luke too.

This of course brings me to the point of today's writing, 3 good things about being an uncle.
I have no children myself, so being an uncle is about as close as I can get right now, and that's good. Why? What's so good about being an Uncle?

2) Obvious - I get to have all kinds of fun with the nephew(s) and then I go home. It's rare that I have to deal with a young Mr. Cranky Pants. Not that these angelic perfect children are ever upset in any way mind you, but it's not part of the deal.

3) Sweet - I get to teach him about guy stuff that his dad might overlook or be edited by the boy's mother. Things like: "Pull my finger", "Watch what happens when I do this" and the ever popular "have you seen what I can do with my thumb?"

1) Being Jesus - ok, I'm a lousy example, but I do know the guy. Luke and Nathan might not think Jesus is cool, simply because their parents do. I might be the cool uncle who also taught them that Jesus is awesome. I could totally live with that.

I can't wait to see them!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Good Giving

Well Charlie Brown, the Christmas season is just about wrapped up with the exception of the Epiphany, or the day of the Three Kings, which is this Friday, January 6. Most of us know the story of the Magi - they came from the east by following a star to bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus.

While I didn't give any of those three things as Christmas gifts this year, I do believe I did present some good gifts to some special recipients. Here are three of my favorites:

3. Giving Tree Gifts: Each Christmas, we choose two tags from the Giving Tree at our church to provide gifts for families in need. This year, we chose a five-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl. We bought some toys on each of the children's lists, and we also purchased warm and cozy pajamas for them both. I believe all kids should have a pair of warm and cozy pj's for our cold Chicago winters.
* A bonus good thing about this year's Giving Tree tags - Miss O designed the winning tag for her age-group.

2. A handmade ornament: Because I like to think of myself as kind of crafty, I made an a special ornament for my friend and blogging partner, Brian. I wrapped it all pretty-like, enclosed a thoughtful message, and sent it off in the post. I do believe he liked it, no loved it, a lot! Well, maybe not as much as the Giordano's pizza delivered directly to his door, but just as awesome without the calories.

1. 2012 Calendars: Another gift giving tradition. Each year for quite some time now, I have made photo calendars of the kids for the grandparents, the aunties, T, and me, too. The photos feature the kids with witty captions, and generally capture the kids in all their cuteness during the 12 months prior. It's my hope that the calendars will make up for the fact that in the past decade I haven't completed the kids' baby books, nor have I documented their lives in creative scrapbooks and/or photo albums. (Don't judge me . . . you too, most likely, have photos tucked away in boxes, or since the dawning of the digital age still stuck in your camera.)

Giving tree gifts, a handmade ornament, and photo calendars . . . three good gifts this holiday season. Did you give or receive a special gift this Christmas? Do share in the comments section.