Monday Mumblings!

Greetings, fellow bloggers! I’ve gone a bit more than a week without posting, so I have some catching up to do. Here are a few of the topics that have kept me occupied in mind and body.

Shopping

I’m not notorious for loving to shop. In fact, I’ve been told that my shopping skills are similar to those of a man and a toddler. I tend to know what I want before I go, go directly to that item, and then buy it and leave. If I’m forced to shop beyond that point, that’s when the toddler behavior kicks in. I’ll complain about my legs hurting, that I’m hungry, thirsty, and that I need the potty. If that doesn’t work, I’ll cry and beg to be taken home. This behavior is especially disturbing to others when I’m shopping alone.

This past week I’ve shopped with my oldest daughter for her big move that’s occurring on Thursday of this week. She and I have similar shopping methods, so it wasn’t all that bad when we were shopping for things, like microwaves and coffee makers. It was the clothing shopping that felt like a one way ticket on the fast track to hell. She needed business professional and business casual clothing to begin school with. My jeans, t-shirt, and flip-flop girl did not enjoy shopping for these things, but luckily, thanks to the Prime Outlets in our area, she was able to find a basic wardrobe of appropriate attire without spending a huge fortune. (I didn’t mean for that to sound like an advertisement for Prime Outlets!) Shopping tip: Always keep a couple of waters and some Teddy Grahams in your purse for when the worm begins to turn.

Packing

I LOVE organizing things, so who better than good ol’ mom to help with my daughter’s packing. We’re saving money by not hiring movers or even renting a truck. I’ve created a very detailed plan for making this move work with our existing van (sans middle and back seats) and both of my daughters’ hatch-back Yari (the plural of Yaris, of course). Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re wasting time playing Tetris for several hours a day. It does come in handy when you need to maneuver an entire apartment’s worth of stuff in three vehicles!

True Blood

Now, that's just cute!

All of you out there who are Truebies know that HBO’s True Blood began its fourth season last night. This certainly kept my thoughts occupied as I counted down the days until I could gaze upon the sweet hot gorgeousness that is Alexander Skarsgard as Eric Northman. It was a celebration, complete with jalapeno and bacon pizza (my daughters’ favorite), strawberry soda, and blood-red velvet cupcakes. I realize that our late dinner would not be approved by the USDA’s dietary guidelines, but it was an evening worth breaking a few rules for!

 

Scrapbooking

My daughters and I have been scrapbooking like little maniacs in our free time. Both girls are chronicling our beach trip with their photos and writings. I’ve been working on a scrapbook that contains pictures of my mother and me and all of her handwritten and typewritten recipes. It also features recipes clipped from our local newspaper and from magazines of the 1960’s and 1970’s. I’ve titled it “From my Mother’s Kitchen; Recipes from Childhood.” I’m writing my memories associated with various recipes and photographs. (I’ve shed a few tears while doing this.) Some of my mother’s handwritten recipes are over 50 years old and are the only examples of her handwriting that I have. So far, I’m very proud of how things are turning out.

Blogging Honesty

 

 

 

 

Whew! Sorry, Tom! I’ve let you down with finishing my 31 Days of Blogging honesty! But, I am a girl who always keeps her promises, so here is Day 21!

Day # 21 Question: Someone, or something, I know I should have let go of a long time ago is…

Something that I should have let go of a long time ago is my belief that people will always do things to the same high standard that I’ve set for myself. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist in everything I do and I sometimes find myself disappointed when others don’t do things in the same way that I would have. I’ve especially seen this in various work settings that I’ve been in throughout my lifetime. I’ve worked in restaurants, a state park, a women’s shelter, and in schools. No matter what the level of job, I always performed it to the very best of my abilities. If I’m cooking your burger, it’s going to be one of the best damn burgers you’ve ever had. If I’m scrubbing your toilet, it’ll be as clean as you would expect it to be in your own home. If I’m lifeguarding your child at a pool, filling out a Family Protection Act for you, or teaching your child how to read, you can be certain that you’re getting the best of me. BUT, that’s the kind of person that I was raised to be and I have to realize that not everyone has the same work ethic or standards. Please don’t think that my streak of perfectionism renders me a complaining bi-otch every time something isn’t done in the way that I deem proper, because I’m not. I choose my battles carefully and politely and usually only complain if something is a health hazard! I forgive easily and move on. Still, I’m, at times, inwardly nagged when things aren’t as nice as if I would have done them and that’s what I need to stop worrying about.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

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Tom Asks Great Questions!

What is the one thing that you did as a kid that you wish it was still okay for you to do now, at your current age?…

This is a great question posed by my buddy, Tom Baker over at The Morning Erection, and since I’m up way past my bedtime, cranked full of caffeine, I’m all for the challenge of answering it! My first mental response was flagrant nose picking. Then I remembered my time spent in charm school where Mrs. Miles, my Uber-polite teacher, reminded me time and time again that nose mining is not an activity befitting of a lady. Now, after a few pleasant moments of revisiting the simple pleasures of childhood, I realize that there is nothing that I did way back then that would be forbidden for me to do now.

In my youth, I loved the outdoors. The majority of my free time was spent biking, swimming, and playing games of make-believe in the woods behind my house. These things are all still feasible. I have a perfectly lovely 10-speed in my shed, and while I may not have the same stamina, the same carefree schedule, or the same quick access to a pool and wooded area that I had in my childhood, a quick drive to a nearby park could easily fix that. I have no doubt that I could out bike and out swim any porky little kid who normally spends most of his or her time on a sofa, in a supine position, playing video games and eating endless sleeves of Chips Ahoy for dinner. And, when it comes to imaginary play, I’d have all of those little suckers beat! Look out park patrons, Sprinkles is playing Army just like she used to when she was ten! I might look a bit silly in the woods stalking my husband with a toy rifle in the same way that I would have hunted my brother years ago. I might even get questioned by the park police, but I’m sure, after a short explanation of how I’m revisiting my youth, I wouldn’t be banned from the park, taken to a psychiatric facility for observation, or placed on a terrorist suspect list, at all.

So, there you have it! My answer is a big old nothing. There is nothing I can’t do now that I did way back then (except touch my brain with my index finger via my nostril). No matter how old I live to be, my inner-child is always ready to pop to the surface for an appearance. What about you, dear readers? What activity calls to you from your youth?

Day 20: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty

 

 

 

 

Day #20 Question: The book that I read that has altered my perception of life is…

via hopeedelman.com

This is the question that I’ve had to put the most thought into. I am a voracious reader. Since January 1st I have read 32 books on my Nook and at least 10-15 non-electronic books. I feel like every book I read leaves me with something: a thought, a feeling, a lesson, an inspiration, or an answer. It’s really difficult to choose one book that embodies every qualification required to be life altering, BUT, since I have to pick just one, I’m going to choose, Hope Edelman’s, Motherless Daughters.

I read this book way back in 1994 shortly after it was published. At the time I read it, I had been motherless for nearly a decade. I lost my mother, when I was a junior in college, to a horrific disease called scleroderma. Returning to school after her death was a study in awkwardness among my mothered classmates who were unsure of how to address my loss. For years, I was unsure of how to address it myself. Outwardly, I remained my friendly, smiling, bubbly, responsible self, but on the inside I felt like an island with no bridges. In my early twenties, no one in my group of friends was motherless. I was an oddity, an outsider, who no longer had the gentle, guiding presence of a mother in my life. I smiled with eager, envious, interest as I listened to their tales of shopping trips, meals, holidays, and other excursions with their mothers. Those were things that were mine no more, and at times I burned with silent resentment, especially if they would forget and complain to me about some ridiculous fault that their mother possessed. To me, even a flawed mother was better than no mother at all.

Then one day, while browsing in the bookstore, I ran across Hope Edelman’s book, Motherless Daughters. Even before I’d finished reading the blurb on the inner cover, I felt my eyes brimming with tears. I bought the book, holed myself up in my bedroom for the day, and read the whole thing cover-to-cover. Edelman got me. Absolutely everything that I’d felt in association with my mother’s death was written on the pages of her book. Alone in my apartment, I think I cried to the point of dehydration that day, but when I was done I felt more whole, more healed and more understood than I had in years. I no longer felt alone; Edelman’s book built the first of many bridges that would reach my desolate island.

**On a more cheerful note: I’m heading to the beach tonight!!! I’ll be bringing my computer to check my blog, as well as my subscriptions. I may write a post or two if I have time. I might even post some pictures! I hope all of my readers have a safe and fabulous Memorial Day weekend and a wonderful week!

 

Day 19: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty

 

 

 

 

Day # 19 Question: The longest period of time I’ve gone without showering or bathing is…

image via nintendolife.com

When I was 17, I lied to my boss. I informed him that a dire family emergency made going to my job as a lifeguard impossible for me for an entire weekend, but in truth, I headed to the beach with four of my best friends. For the first two days, we ruled the beach in our string bikinis; sunning and funning and sneaking the occasional underage beer that my friend Laurie had brought along. Everything was literally going swimmingly until on the third and final day of our retreat when, on a simple beach stroll, we chose to ignore a sign that in bold, red, blaring letters spelled out “Restricted Area, No Beach Access.” “Screw that sign!” my friend Amy roared. “We rule this beach!” We all heartily agreed with her as we brazenly shimmied under the heavy chain meant to keep us out. “This part of the beach is freakin’ amazing,” my friend Beth declared. She was right; it was astonishing! The sky was bluer, the beach was cleaner, the water was clearer and the waves were wavier. We were just about to engage in an underage toast to celebrate our new paradise when we were captured by pirates!

Unfortunately, our captors weren’t the Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp type of pirates. These were buccaneers of the filthy, stinking, unwashed and very unattractive variety. Certain that their mission was to violate the five of us in unsavory and unspeakable ways we fought them tooth and nail, but their thick layers of filth made them impervious to our assaults. “What do you want from us?” I demanded as they dragged us to small, humid quarters located in the very bowels of the ship. “Arrr, we aim to make ye as filthy as we be!” one pirate snarled as he chained us to the wooden walls. “Well, that’s kind of ridiculous,” our friend Pam chimed. “Why don’t you just deflower us and let us go?” Pam was kind of a slut. “Shut up, Pam!” we said in unison. “Arrr, tis not yer young, nubile forms that we be a wantin’. We’re bein’ literal. We aim to make you as grimy and grubby as we be!”

True to their word, for 30 long days and 30 long nights the pirates pummeled us with dirt, garbage and unnamed filth. Finally, on the morning of the 31st day their ship was overtaken by a cutter of very attractive Coast Guardsmen. “Are you here to deflower us?” asked Pam wearily. “No, we’re here to rescue you. Your families have been worried sick, except for yours, Pam. Your mom figured that you met some guy and, um…well…” “Yeah, Pam’s kind of a slut,” Laurie added as she flexed her arms, now free of the chains. By the end of the day we were safely home, basking in the cleansing waters of our own bathrooms.

So, there you have it. I went for 30 and ½ days without a bath or shower. It was a grueling adventure and I definitely learned my lesson about ignoring restrictive signage. What? You don’t believe me? Alright, I’ll fess up! None of that really happened. (I know you’re shocked, because my tale seemed so very plausible!) I would have never lied to my boss at 17, nor would my strict parents have allowed me to go to the beach for a weekend without adult supervision! It’s just that my real answer of 13 days of going without showering or bathing, because I had mono, seemed so terribly boring!

🙂 Have a super fabulous and safe weekend, dear readers!

Day 18: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty

 

 

 

 

Day # 18 Question: The most outrageous thing I would do for a Klondike bar is…

I am extremely lactose intolerant, so my obvious answer would be that I would have loads of diarrhea for a Klondike bar. BUT, that answer doesn’t sound very nice, so let’s play pretend and imagine that I could enjoy the crunchy, chocolate shell and the cold, creamy, dreamy, center of a Klondike. Would an ice cream treat actually be something that I would engage in an outrageous activity in order to eat? I tend to think that it wouldn’t. Perhaps this is because my lifetime of explosive experiences with ice cream has formed a nearly Pavlovian response that forces me to avoid it at all costs, or perhaps it’s because my personal standards are so high that there are only a few things that I would do something outrageous for. Here are some of those things in no particular order of importance:

Things that I would do Outrageous Acts For:

1. Money: Long ago, before I had my student loans paid off, I told my best friend Donna that I would be willing to spend an entire year naked if someone would pay them off for me. That someone never came along, but I would do similar outrageous things involving nudity for large, life-changing sums of money.

2. Meeting Hugh Jackman: More than anything on Earth, I am afraid of moray eels, but I would be willing to swim in a tank filled with 10 large moray eels in order to spend one day with Hugh. Eleven eels; the deal is off!

3. A larger house: My current house is adorable, and it’s certainly filled with love. The problem is that it’s only 1,100 square feet and it usually has anywhere from 4 to 6 adults and two fat cats in it at any given time. I like my space, so for the gigantic home of my dreams I would engage in sewer swimming. Yes, I’m aware that I’m showing no pride of self or sense of safety with this response, but I am a really great swimmer, and I would be willing to swim several miles worth of sewer, in a bikini, for a 5,000 square foot home and a few rounds of antibiotics.

4. To star as Eric Northman’s love interest in the next season of True Blood: Sookie, be damned! Eric should really be with me and the best way to insure that is if I promise to actually drink real, unscreened human blood. Don’t try to talk me out of it; this is a risk I’m willing to take!

5. The guaranteed health of my family: This is a super important one so I would be willing to go pretty far. For this I would pull out all the stops and volunteer to be Oprah’s personal bathroom assistant. This means being there for all of her ups and downs and all of her ones and twos. There to hand her magazines, tissue, and towels, all while averting my eyes per our special contract. Gross? Yes, but for the guaranteed health of YOUR family you might do the same!

Well, there you have it! If anyone in the blogosphere has 10 eels, a large sewer, a random pint of human blood, or knows Oprah, AND can guarantee me wealth, Jackman, a mansion, Northman, or perfect health for my family, call me. I’ll be perfectly willing to be totally outrageous!!

Day 17: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty

 

 

 

 

Day # 17 Question: Given the choice between giving up sex for the rest of my life or giving up kissing, I would choose…

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Remember in the movie Pretty Woman when Julia Robert’s character, Vivian, told Richard Gere’s character, Edward, that she had a strict “no kissing” rule? In so many words, she told him that it was too personal, yet by the end of the film she threw her “no smooching” regulation out the window and played some serious tonsil hockey with old Eddie. As viewers of the flick, we knew that this was the point that Vivian had fallen in love with Edward. It was the moment when rules no longer mattered and she was willing to engage in an act that she believed to be far more intimate than sex.

At first, I was going to impulsively say that I would give up kissing, because who really wants to give up what most consider being the ultimate act of intimacy, sex? But then, my husband’s simple goodbye kiss this morning made me rethink my answer. A kiss can mean so many things that sex cannot. It can be the first greeting given or the last touch when you say goodbye. Remember when you were “sweet 16 (now days perhaps sweet 14 or 15) and had never been kissed?” Recall the awkward anticipation of lips against yours and the secret thrill of meeting a milestone when at last you engaged in your perfectly imperfect first one? A bride and groom kiss when they are pronounced husband and wife. Loved ones kiss the forehead of a friend or relative who had passed away, in a final goodbye. We kiss mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, friends, and even our pets. Sex could never replace all of the beautiful things that a kiss means, and if we tried to replace a kiss with sex, well, that would just be awkward!

Day 16: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty

 

 

 

 

Day # 16 Question: If I were given just one day to relive I would most definitely choose…

Bridal magazines are too expensive!

Lately, one of my favorite Friday night activities is watching wedding shows on TLC. Shows like  Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings give me a small glimpse into the lives of other women on one of their most special days. While I enjoy living vicariously through these brides as they plan their lavish weddings, I think that my own very simple wedding was perfect and it is the day that I would most like to relive.

If TLC were to make a show about my wedding it might have a title like Say No to Spending Money or Four Guests. My wedding was C-H-E-A-P, and that’s just the way my dear husband and I wanted it to be! Shortly after my husband asked me to marry him, we decided to add an addition to his existing home so that each of my daughters could have their own bedroom and my husband and I could enjoy extra closet space and a bathroom of our own. This was an expensive undertaking, so we decided that the best place to cut costs would be in the wedding department. After all, a wedding is one day, and a marriage is a lifetime.

Being a thrifty girl, I’m actually quite proud of the details of our big day. I wore a lovely, form-fitting, white, beaded dress purchase from a consignment shop for $25 and my husband wore a black suit that he already owned. My bouquet was a simple mix of flowers from our garden (free) and our venue was the county courthouse (free) with the justice of the peace officiating (so free that you’re not even allowed to tip the guy!). I splurged a bit on my daughters and took them to choose dresses and shoes from the mall. They both agreed on lavender, and all totaled with shoes and hair accessories I spent about $100. We had four guests; my ex-in-laws, whom I’ve remained good friends with, and two of my best friends who served as best man and maid of honor. Our rule for them was no gifts and no buying anything special to wear for that day. After the ceremony, we all went to lunch at a fancy restaurant with a bill of about $300. I guess we could have made things less expensive if we had all gone through a drive thru, but I thought that just seemed tacky!

The very best moment of our wedding day was when we’d said goodbye to our friends and loved ones and just the two of us were in our car heading to Rehoboth for our honeymoon. We were slightly tired from the excitement of the day and our fingers intertwined on the console as we quietly looked to the road ahead. I was thrilled, not just to be going on my first real vacation without my kids, but thrilled at all of the possibilities that our new life together would hold. So far, I haven’t been disappointed.