Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meme Wednesday

I borrowed this from MP, even though she didn't tag me. Meanie. :)

Four place I go to over and over:
Maddy's daycare
Home Depot

Four people who e-mail me (regularly):

Four places I would rather be right now:
Shoe shopping
The beach
Asleep in my bed

Four TV shows/programs that I watch over and over:
Friends reruns
House Hunters
Designed to Sell
Looney Toons Cartoons

Four things I have for breakfast:
Diet Pepsi
Special K Breakfast Bar

Four animals I like best:

Four beaches I’ve been to:
Mamora Beach, Antigua
Longboat Key -Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida

Tagging 4 people:
I will let you tag yourselves. Tell me in the comments if you do this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Whip It Up - Week 8

I can't believe it's over. Maddy and I had a lot of fun with this project.

Since it's the last week, Chef Maddy will do the honors. Take it away, Maddy!

Hi, I'm Maddy. My mom and I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites. When she makes chocolate chip cookies, I sneak into the batter when she's not looking. But then she tells me it's not safe because of the raw eggs. I think if she ate it all those years, and she's okay... well, maybe that explains a lot.

Anyway, my mom found this recipe for egg-less cookie dough that you mix up, chill in the refrigerator, then cover with more chocolate. These are easy to make, because you don't have to turn on the oven.

Here are the ingredients. I was so excited to make these we didn't get to take a picture of the ingredients. But we did take lots of other pictures.

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (we used fat-free)
2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 package chocolate candy coating

Combine butter and brown sugar until blended. Add condensed milk until creamy. Add flour and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for abut an hour or until hard.

Melt candy coating in the microwave. You can either dip the whole ball in the chocolate or just brush it over the tops, like we did. Place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set the chocolate.

Was it easy? Very easy. I'm 9 and I could do it. My mom did help a little.

Was it good? I said yum! Mom said holy cow. Mom says they're really rich, and taste just like cookie dough.

Would I make it again? Mom said these would be good for a pity party. I asked her what that was, and she said when you have a bad day and need chocolate.

Full set on Flickr.

Monday, August 25, 2008

How I Spent My Lunch Hour

It has been absolutely beautiful weather lately. Today for lunch I walked over to Hardees for a mushroom swiss burger (heaven on a bun, I tell ya):

Tanned my toes (color is OPI I'm Not Really A Waitress):

Listened to the fountain:

And just enjoyed the scenery of this lovely city:

What did you do?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Working for the Weekend

It's Friday. Finally. It feels like this week should have been over yesterday. We've got another jam-packed weekend, and our next three are busy as well - camping over Labor Day, NASCAR, then a golf tournament. I won't have a free weekend until mid-September. Oy.

I like being busy, but sometimes I feel like we're so overscheduled. However, my weeks are not as busy now. Maddy has soccer practice only one day a week, and we won't start gymnastics until after soccer is finished. I think we can handle that for now. It's nice to be able to go home, put on my comfy clothes, and even be able to sit down and watch some TV. I can cook some decent meals, we can get homework finished, showers taken, lunches made, and not feel all rushed.

She's been getting out of bed faster this week, ever since I stopped Tuesday night and bought Krispy Kremes for breakfast. About 10 seconds in the microwave freshens them right up. I've been known to wave pancakes under her nose to get her out of bed, too. Whatever works is my motto.

Wouldn't that be a great alarm clock? One that gives you coffee, or diet Pepsi, or pancakes as it gently awakens you with daily affirmations of "you are fabulous, now get up and show the world what you're made of."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Whip It Up Wednesday - Week 7

This week's suggested theme was salad, which was perfect timing in my quest to lose weight and eat healthier. I've got a wedding or two to look good in, you know!

Maddy recently fell in love with baby spinach, and I'm always up for a cool salad on a warm summer day. I wandered through the grocery store, and grabbed what I thought might be good, and that Maddy would eat. We put together this salad, which we have dubbed Kitchen Sink Salad (based on the "everything but the kitchen sink" saying).

Kitchen Sink Salad

1/2 bag pre-chopped salad greens (I used a lettuce trio mix)

1/2 bag baby spinach

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/4 c sliced mushrooms

2 oz gouda cheese, cut into small pieces

3-4 T shredded italian blend cheese

6-7 pieces of frozen pre-cooked fajita chicken, heated OR one grilled chicken breast, sliced

Croutons, bacon bits, favorite dressing to taste (I used Kraft Light Zesty Italian)

Mix the greens and divide among shallow bowls. Top with vegetables, warm chicken, cheese, toppings and dressing. Enjoy!

Was it good? Very good. For a salad, it was quite filling. Maddy said we should eat it more often. We probably should eat more fresh vegetables anyway. I'm glad she's a kid that will try things and then turn up her nose, instead of just outright refusing to eat anything new. She tried a raw mushroom, without much success. She did like the chopped red peppers.

Was it easy? Very easy. Most of the prep time was chopping the vegetables. Prepackaged salads are a fabulous invention, just make sure you look it over carefully for brown pieces before buying. There's really no way to screw this up, unless you accidentally drown it in dressing.

Would I make it again? Definitely. I will add more vegetables, like radishes or carrots. I might also try it with cooked shrimp. I might also use almonds to top it instead of croutons.

Pics on Flickr.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Marriage 3.0

I created a new blog, Marriage 3.0, for those of you who would keep up on the wedding planning progress. I didn't want to turn this blog into a blow by blow of dress shopping and cake tasting (mmmm, cake).

Pop over occasionally, check it out, and feel free to leave comments.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Love The Smell of New Crayons

Maddy's first day of school was last Friday, for two hours. Why two hours? Anyway, today was her first full day, complete with PTA membership money, Time for Kids subscription money, lunch money, and 7000 forms signed and filled out.

Last Friday she hauled her new backpack to school, crammed full of "supplies." I use the term "supplies" loosely, because every year the list gets longer and more ridiculous. Does she need permanent markers, thin and thick line? Dry erase markers? 10 reams of notebook paper? Two white washcloths? What the hell?

I get that teachers spend a lot of their own money on their room decorations and even supplies. I know that there are kids who can't afford their supplies. However, if the 10 reams of notebook paper are getting put into a community closet, and there are 24 kids, that's a lot of paper. Is there any left over from last year? Do we really need to send 10 reams on the first day?

So, being the rebel parent that I am, I don't send it all to school with them. I buy a lot of paper, pens, pencils, folders, crayons, glue sticks, etc., at the beginning of the school year, when prices are dirt cheap, and keep them at home. On the first day, she takes the minimum - one ream of paper, two pencils, two pens. That way, in three months when she needs something, we have it and I don't have to run to Wal-Mart at 9:30 at night, since that's the designated "oh I forgot to tell you" time in my house.

I remember taking crayons, scissors, glue, pencils, paper - you know, the basics. I never had to take colored pencils, dry erase markers, permanent markers, glue sticks, washcloths. (I need to ask her exactly why she's bathing at school). I don't mind sending paper towels and boxes of tissues with her, but still. Where exactly are my tax dollars going?

Yes, I know teachers are underpaid. Yes, I know taxes go for more than just school supplies. It just seems to get more and more absurd every year.

Was there something your child needed this year that made you say WTF? (Lynn, I'm looking at you and the orange folders!)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Whip It Up - Weeks 5 and 6

As I was lounging in the sun last week, I am combining my Week 5 and Week 6 Whip It Up contributions this week. Enjoy!

Week 5 - Homemade Macaroni and Cheese.

Craig's grandmother makes wonderful homemade mac and cheese. We invited the parents and grandparents over to his house last Sunday to tell them our big news. We bought fried chicken, and I made all the sides. I decided to try to make homemade mac and cheese instead of having her bring some. She ended up bringing it over anyway, which was really nice of her. Mine turned out pretty good, and I was looking forward to all the leftovers, until I broke a glass on the counter right next to the container, and had to pitch it because of the chance of broken glass. Damn it!

Here's my recipe, adapted from one I found on I love that site.

Homemade Mac and Cheese

8 oz macaroni noodles
2 T butter, melted
1 small onion, minced
1 T flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 C milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded colby/jack

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes, until the onion softens and turns translucent.

Sprinkle the flour, salt, pepper, and dry mustard into the onion/butter mixture. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Simmer, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, a cup at a time, until the cheese has melted.

Mix macaroni and cheese sauce and bake at 350 in a greased 13x9 pan until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Was it easy? Yes, it was. The cheese sauce came together quickly, and didn't have the flour taste like my previous queso attempt.

Did it taste good? Yes, it was nice and cheesy. The original recipe called for topping it with buttered bread crumbs, but I opted to leave that off. I also added a cup more cheese than the original recipe, and used a mix of cheddar and colby.

Would I make again? I will make it again and experiment with the cheese mix. I might use a swiss/cheddar mix, or a colby/pepper jack mix. I like spicy!

Week 6 - Sauteed Mushrooms

I like grilled meat. Steak, burgers, pork chops, even italian sausages on the grill. I also love mushrooms. So earlier this week, when we grilled bacon sizzler burgers (hamburger and bacon chopped and made into patties, available at Kelly's 4-o in Troy), I decided to make them into mushroom swiss bacon burgers by sauteeing some fresh mushrooms.

My goal is to duplicate the Hardee's mushroom swiss burger sauce, but I'm still working on it. This is my latest attempt - I added worchestershire sauce and pepper. It's not there yet, but getting closer.

Sauteed Mushrooms

1/2 c sliced or chopped fresh white mushrooms
2 T Olive oil
1 T Jarred chopped garlic
Splash of Worchestershire sauce
Fresh cracked pepper

Heat oil and garlic over low heat; add mushrooms. Sautee gently 5-7 minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Add splash of worchestershire sauce and season with pepper to taste.

Use to top steaks or burgers, or add to pasta.

Was it easy? Very easy. I usually turn the pan on low while I cook the meat, checking the mushrooms every few minutes.

Did it taste good? I love mushrooms so it was very tasty. I ate some right out of the pan, but just to test the flavor. This wasn't close to the Hardee's sauce but the worchestershire gave it a kick.

Would I make again? I'm still trying to duplicate that Hardee's sauce, so I will make this again and keep experimenting with the taste.

**Pics here

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Me and the Customs Agent

I couldn't tell you my other story until I broke the news of the The Rock, as it plays a part in this little travel anecdote.

After leaving St. Maarten, we landed in Charlotte, (finally!), and had to go through Customs. I only bought perfume so I put that on my customs form. (Theirry Mugler's Angel for $56 - what a bargain!) We line up with everyone else in the world and patiently wait our turn.

Our customs agent was a nice lady, and she seemed to have a personality and a sense of humor - yay! So, when she asked how the vacation was, I said "it was great, I got engaged!" and showed her The Rock. She immediately stopped smiling, looked at Craig and said "did you take that into the country with you?" I thought, oh fan-freakin-tastic. We're going to get arrested for illegal import of jewelry. All I wanted to do was tell someone my happy news, and now we're going to jail.

He explained that he did bring it with him and she asked if he had his receipt. Of course we didn't bring it, but he should have brought it, because he should KNOW that I am an idiot. Then she asked where he bought it, and I chimed in with that information and offered to show her the box with the jeweler's name and address, which thank GAWD was in my carry-on bag.

She mulled all this over, and then said to Craig "it seems like you had this planned, so I believe you. But if you ever do this again..." and he interrupted with "uh, no way in HELL am I doing this again..." she told us to make sure we declared it from the get-go and brought the receipt, just in case. She also said if we bought loose stones, as long as they weren't set, they could be imported duty-free. But if you buy set stones, then there is a duty. Who knew? Well, you do now, so let that be a lesson to you.

She let us go and we quickly walked away. Craig just looked at me and shook his head. I felt soooooo horrible. After all the water and aloe vera gel incidents, he had told me "if we make it back to STL without getting arrested, I'll be surprised." And then I go and get all girly 'oooh I'm in love' on the Customs Agent. *headsmack*

The moral of the story - don't travel with me. Or if you do travel with me, don't stand near me, just act like you don't know me. It won't hurt my feelings. All I ask in return is that you please answer your phone when I'm in airport jail and need to be bailed out. Danke.

Conversations with Maddy

Driving home last night, Maddy showed me a bump on her hand, and asked me what it was. I said "hmmm, I don't know. How long have you had this?" She replied, "since I was three." Oookay, so it's been bothering you for six years?

Recently we were following a pick-up truck, and the driver threw his McDonald's bag and cup out the window. Maddy said "pull up by him! I want to tell him 'the world is not your trashcan, moron!'" Good point, kid, but I don't want to get shot.


This morning, she was having a slight meltdown over a bad hair day. I was trying to flatiron her hair, when all of a sudden, she looked in the mirror and cried "where are my bangs?" Uh, right where you left them, dude.


On a daily basis, that kid cracks me up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In other news...

See if you can figure out my other news from my vacation:

Okay, not exactly. But I did get this as a souvenir:

I like it better than a t-shirt.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Antigua Pictures

Here are the pictures from our trip. I ran out of clever titles, but enjoy the sights.

More stories from the trip coming soon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Me and the TSA

Hi there! I'm back from Antigua, we had a fabulous time, and will definitely update you once I get all 339 pictures uploaded and sorted, and the laundry done, and catch up at my real job. Until then, here's a little anecdote from our trip to tide you over.

My carry on luggage got busted not once, but twice, for liquids. Craig got busted once.

The first incident was the last-minute addition of the aloe vera gel to my carry-on suitcase instead of my checked suitcase. I didn't realize I'd put it in the wrong bag but the TSA agent at Lambert sure found it. As soon as my bag set off the beeping I realized what I'd done. I apologized profusely, convinced him I wasn't a threat to national security, and he pitched it.

The second incident was in the St. Maarten airport. We had to take a puddle jumper plane from St. Maarten to Antigua. The screener made Craig pitch his brand-new unopened water bottle. That didn't make much sense to us, considering we'd never left the airport and he had bought it not five minutes before boarding the other plane. Consistency doesn't seem to be the motto sometimes.

The third incident was on our way back, in the Charlotte airport. I had bought an extra water bottle at the St. Maarten airport (because USeless Airways charges for everything). I put it in my carry-on, and forgot I'd have to recheck my bags for my connecting flight to St. Louis. So, my carry-on stops traffic on the x-ray belt. As soon as it started beeping I said damn it, I did it again. I told the TSA screener what I'd done and asked him to just pitch it. Well, of course he was in the middle of training new agents so they had to go through the whole shebang of removing my bag with a crane, donning the hazmat suits, and shutting down the airport. Not really, but that's what I felt like. Of course everyone behind us is backed up now because of my low tolerance for dehydration. I was not the most popular gal in the line, let me tell you.

Craig said "If we make it back to St. Louis without going to jail, I'll be surprised." Of course, I had an incident at the Customs Desk, but that's a story for tomorrow. Stay tuned....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Six Things

Today's guest rant is brought to you by Cookiebitch. She is bawdy, opinionated, funny, loves shoes and tequila, and is the woman I aspire to be when I grow up. Enjoy!


Six Things That Piss Me Off:

1. Pedestrians. Buy a fucking car. Stop moseying across the street willy nilly, paying no attention to what's going on around you and thinking that it is everyone else's responsibility not to hit you. Also, wipe that stupid idiotic grin off your face and concentrate on actually MOVING. My god. My grandfather could move faster, and he lost both his legs to the gout. You may not be in a hurry because you have no life. I'm in a hurry. Get the hell out of my way.

2. Strangers - most of which are grown women - who feel it necessary to call me "hon" or "sweetie." I don't know you - don't particularly want to know you, and feel quite certain I'm not your "hon" or your "sweetie." By calling me that you make me feel like my IQ level just dropped 50 points - and that your IQ level is non-existent. Just give me my fucking double latte and stop trying to "bond."

3. Store clerks who will tell you something looks good on you, when you really look like a retarded person who just threw up on themselves. Seriously. And don't say those pair of pants fit "perfectly" when it really looks like I just took a dump in them, or I have such a serious case of camel toe that an Arab man is trying to ride me. You may really want the sale - but I'm not going to buy squat from a lying bitch like you. Just be honest. It will get you further - trust me.

4. People who will see my office door is closed but walk in anyway and ask "Are you busy?" Yes, dumbass. That's why my fucking door was closed. This person is in the same category as people who call you and when you are too busy to answer, call you AGAIN, right after their first call, and continue to call you over and over until you break down and pick up the phone in a homicidal rage. Then, when you ask them what's so damned important that they had to talk to you RIGHT THE FUCK NOW they say something completely inane like - "I was just wondering what you were doing today" or "they just made fresh coffee in the break room." One day, I will kill these people. And I won't be sorry.

5. People working at the drive-thru window at fast-food restaurants who CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH. It shouldn't be a huge mental stretch that a person who can't speak or understand English shouldn't be put in a job whose main requirement - besides making change and putting ketchup packets in paper bags - is to COMMUNICATE in English. Add the fact that their broken, poor English is being further distorted by the crackling of the cheap-ass speaker in the sign, and you've got one PAINFUL experience on your hands. I always deal with these situations by raising my voice and talking louder, thinking that if I shout at them they will suddenly be able to understand me better and I will be able to understand them. But sadly, this doesn't work. Yesterday I ordered a chicken sandwich with a side salad - shouting it no less than 82 times at the poor, confused man. What I got was a double cheeseburger and an apple pie. WTF? I think he secretly DID understand - but is just trying to kill me.

6. People with rabid facial hair. This includes people with eyebrows that literally take over their entire face, looking like an Ewok has Velcroed themselves to their forehead. Or there's my other favorite - people whose eyebrows grow not just together, but OUT in spider tendrils that look like they could grab you at any time. The good news is you can see these people's eyebrow hair come into a room before they actually appear, giving you time to hide. And don't even get me started on the sideburns and the beards that look like a family of squirrels could store nuts in there. There is no good reason for this. People like this are just fucking lazy. Go see a barber. Get a wax. Buy some scissors and tweezers. Make an appointment for electrolysis. But for the love of GOD ... do SOMETHING. Because you're making me want to barf up the apple pie I didn't order.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Future Glance

Today's guest post is Kelli from Roaring Through my Twenties. I found Kelli from Andrea, and even though she roots for the wrong baseball team (kidding!), she's a pretty cool chick. And she spells her name like my Kelli did, so how bad could she be? Enjoy!


When Kim first emailed me about guest posting a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance. For one, I like Kim. She’s kind and funny and sincere and possesses so much strength I’m not quite sure how to even begin to measure it. Normally I pour my thoughts and musings out over at my own site, Roaring Through My Twenties… but today, I am dwelling in Kim’s domain. And these are some pretty nice digs if you ask me.


When I was a freshman in college, I remember telling my roommate that I imagined I’d be married at age 25 and have my first baby at 28. Seeing as I’ll turn 29 in September, and have yet to be married, there’s no way either prediction is going to come true.

Of course, when you’re 18, 25 seems eons away. And 28? That’s light years beyond your current dorm room existence.

Since that afternoon, when my roommate and I planned out our future lives rather than study for that Psychics test, I have graduated from college and gone back to school for a master’s certificate. I have lived and traveled abroad, moved more times than I can remember, switched jobs almost as many times as I’ve moved, crushed on too many boys, fallen head over heels in love once, had my heart broken more than once, lost some people near to me, and gained other people I now couldn’t imagine life without. I’ve made some really great decisions just as I’ve made some pretty terrible ones.

One night, not too long after we’d all graduated from our respective undergraduate institutions, one of my friends and I sat nursing our beers at the lone bar in my hometown. We’d all moved home post college, were trying our best to figure out which end was up in the real world and all feeling nostalgic for something none of us could quite place. I remember Andy telling me I wouldn’t mind so much not knowing what the heck I’m doing with my life if I could just know that I’d end up happy. That’s all I want. To be able to get a quick snapshot of myself ten years down the road and know that whatever I’m doing, wherever I am, I’m happy.

I can’t lie to you. There’s a part of me that worries I will never fall in love again, will never marry, will never have my own children. Some days I see the clock running faster and faster in my life, tick, tick, ticking away. Silly as it may sound, I worry I am running out of time and one morning I’m going to wake up and realize it’s too late. My child-bearing time is up, everyone I know is married, and I will forever live in the one bedroom apartment I’m currently calling home. Maybe you think it’s irrational. Maybe it is. Still, it’s a fear that I keep buried deep within my brain, willing it to stay put. And to me, it’s very real.

And yet.

I don’t want to settle – I won’t settle - for anything less than I deserve. I’m going to travel the world, have my fun, and learn all that my brain will allow. There are two sentences that I repeat over and over on those days when I can’t tell right from left or up from down. (You have those days too, right? Maybe I can share these lines and you can use them as your little mantra too if you feel the need. I find they work quite well, honestly.)

Here they are:

"Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

“Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.”

As I type this, at 28, I’m sitting on my porch watching the sky turn a brilliant pink as the sun sets. I’ve got a glass of iced tea next to my chair and I can hear one of my cats crunching away, eating his cat food dinner in the kitchen. Once she walks away from her dish I can hear the cicadas, my favorite sound of the summer.

So, no. I’m not where I thought I’d be ten long years ago. But that’s really quite okay. That girl I was at 18? I think if she had the chance to get a quick glimpse into her future like my friend suggested? I’m thinking she’d find that the future her was pretty darn content and doing okay for herself after all. Seems maybe things really are unfolding just as they should.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just Say No

Today's guest blogger is Kelly from Kellyology. I met Kelly when she interviewed me for The Great Interview Experiment. Enjoy!


So when Kim asked me to do a guest post while she was gone I thought awesome! No problem! I’ll just whip this out in a matter of minutes. For when has Kelly ever been at a loss for words?

Then life took over and I got this friendly “reminder” from Kim this week saying, “Yo! Where the heck is my post you said you’d write Be-atch?” (OK. She really didn’t say that. It’s what you call dramatic effect. Like it?) And really, I intended to get this to her long, long ago. But I’ve been spending all of my extra time working on a few volunteer projects, which have really taught me the important life lesson of “Just Say No.”

Just say no.

Just say no when your friend calls you from a high school reunion meeting and flatters you with, “I knew that if anybody could do a great video, you could!”

Just say no when your husband says to you, “Can you take over dealing with the contractors. I’m just so busy with this job change.”

Just say no when your friend turns to you at a cheer meeting and says, “I can’t coach alone. You have to help. I promise. It won’t be that much work.”

Just say no when another friend from high school says to you, “Hey. Can you help with the picnic? I need some bodies.”

Just say no when your husband says, “Hey. I’m losing the company car because I turned down the one job that would finally get you out of this God forsaken town. So, can you go test drive everything under the sun and pick something that is a complete downgrade from what you’re used to driving because I’m giving up half my salary, (so that I can stay in this God forsaken town) and we have nooooooo money?) ”

OK, OK. I really didn’t have a choice with that last one.

And really now I’m off topic and have gotten to the point of pure griping.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

Just say no.

Yeah, Nancy Reagan really didn’t realize the power she was giving us when she coined that phrase. Sure she was talking about drugs. But couldn’t we ladies steal it, and use it for a much better purpose? You know, use it to maintain our sanity?

Sound good to you?

It sounds really good to me.


Now that’s better.

And now I can get back to doing things I really writing, and blogging, and guest posting.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Hidden World of Blogging

Today guest post is by Frogdancer, an Australian mum of four boys. She's an avid knitter and quilter; teacher of English and blogger of high caliber. Enjoy!


Bloggers are creepy. It’s true, you know we are. I mean ‘creepy’ in a good way. (Come on, I’m
sure ‘creepy’ can be a compliment. Work with me ….) Think about it for a bit. We expose selected bits and pieces of ourselves on the internet, (and rumour has it that it’s a world wide thing nowadays), and then we burrow into the lives of other people and read selected bits of their lives, we comment and then….

we go out amongst the General Public and we look just like everyone else…. except far more attractive, of course.

We’re a real life version of the Harry Potter world. We’re like the magical people living among the muggles. Here we are in plain sight, but our bloggyness is hidden away from the sight of most of whom we come into contact.


Think about it. We could be formulating a post on anything. At any time. Maybe right now….. and how would people know? Maybe a vague look might cross our faces, or pupils dilating might give it away too. But they’re subtle things that could be explained away by a myriad of other things. So we walk amongst the population. Silently noting. Photographing. Documenting.


Think of the actual word “blog’. That’s not a sexy word. You can’t tell me that the first time you heard the word ‘blog’ you felt an instant magnetic pull towards becoming a ‘blogger’. It’s a bit of a turn-off, to tell the truth. And how brilliant is that? Who would ever suspect that someone as scintillating and witty and drop-dead gorgeous as you are could possibly be one of those … (whisper)…Blog People? Aren’t Blog People nerds who are incapable of dealing with real life people so they hide behind a computer screen and blog instead? What a brilliant facade blogging has! And so we are able to weave the magic of our words in peace, going about our day to day lives and indulging in our bloggishness when and where and how we please. Oh the power.

I really wish I’d discovered blogging when I was trapped at home with small children for 10 years before I went back to work. Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty fond of my boys. They can’t help being ugly and a little slow. They did the best with the genetic material they had to work with, and I applaud them for that. But that decade was very isolating. There’s only so many episodes of Playschool and Sesame street a grown woman can watch before she starts acting like a teapot at the most inappropriate times. Those years were difficult financially. I didn’t have the cash to pop into the indoor play centre and do coffee like a lot of mums did. I had to turn down a lot of invitations. I’m sure that those years would have been easier if I’d had access to the humour, support and sharing that bloggers so generously pass around.

It’s true. Blogging may be a creepy (but totally hip and cool) thing to do, but what a vibrant and generous lot of people we are. (Well… you guys are. I’m just nibbling at the edges.) There are so many people out there who are amazing writers. They take their lives and thoughts and shape them in ways that can make me LOL (as daggy as that looks) or make me weep. (That has happened. Not often, but it has.) Or they describe something that happens in such a way that they absolutely nail it, and I find myself nodding in total agreement, saying, “Yes. That’s exactly what it’s like.” Or… (and in some ways this is the best one) they write about things that I’ve had absolutely no experience about at all, and windows are opened in my mind about what it’s like to live in another kind of reality. After all, what do I know about being a guy? Or a midwife? About parenting a child with autism? About surviving a childhood of horrific abuse? About being creative enough to try dying wool with food dye to make fabulous colours? And what about all of that snow that people on the other end of the world live with? Are they crazy? No wonder they’re always knitting. They’d all freeze to death otherwise. Imagine having to shovel snow from the driveway every morning before you go to work. That sort of weather just isn’t civilised.

We (creepy) hip and happening bloggers have deep, unseen connections with people from all over the place. We connect with people from everywhere and almost every socio-economic level. If we see something we don’t like, we simply slip away and move onto the next blog. No fuss, no drama. I love it. I wrote a bit about this on my 100th post. I love the fact that so many different aspects of my life are fed by blogging. Every day I read mummy blogs. Teaching blogs. Reading, knitting and quilting blogs. I read blogs by people far more intelligent than myself, (yes, such a thing IS possible. But only just…) and I love the insights they give me. I’ve become far more conscious of my photography and my son now has his own photo blog, which would never have happened without having his imagination opened up by seeing the work of others. There are also really fun things to do like The Great Interview Experiment where bloggers take turns passing the baton and interviewing each other. Though seriously, aren’t the comments almost the best fun of all?

And all of this activity and creativity happens sight unseen. We look normal. Little do people know what boundless things we explore and friends we’re making while we’re busily tapping away on our keyboards.


but in an excellent way.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Meet Me In St. Louis

Those of us that live in and around St. Louis have it pretty good, we just need to be reminded sometimes. With gas prices being absurd, and airlines raping us for every little fee, a lot of cities are promoting themselves as vacation spots for their residents. St. Louis is a prime example of a lot of attractions for not a lot of money.

As far as free attractions, we have a world-class zoo; the Anheuser Busch brewery tour; Grant's Farm; the Art Museum, free seats at the Muny, and Forest Park. I'm sure I'm leaving out some - feel free to remind me in the comments.

Yesterday, Maddy and I took advantage of a couple of hot spots our town is known for. We started with the Arch. I took Jessica up there about 10 years ago, and I forgot just how cool it really is. Of course, it was a little overcast so our visibility was limited, but we still got some great pictures of the Gateway Mall and the downtown skyline. I tried to prepare Maddy for the "clothes dryer" experience of the tram, and she didn't really get it until she got in there. She did fine, and was amazed at what she could see from the Arch windows.

Then we headed to the City Museum. I had never been there, but Maddy went on a school field trip. We are definitely going back. It is a photographer's dream, and of course I forgot my camera. However, my phone took some pretty nice pictures.

The City Museum is just phenomenal. The sculptures, slides, tunnels, mosaics, caves - all just too cool for words. The pictures don't really do it justice either. There is a wall made entirely of steam table trays bolted to the wall. The staircase rails look like old shocks that have been hand painted. Kids are encouraged to touch and explore, unlike stuffy museums.

We finished our day at Joanie's Pizza in Soulard. It was too hot to sit on their patio, so we went inside and had their delicious pizza (pepperoni and bacon for Maddy, sausage and mushroom for me) and finished our meal with a mint chocolate chip truffle. Yum!

Get out and re-discover your city. You'd be surprised sometimes at what you find in your own backyard.

Check out Flickr for the pics.