Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's here! Christmas Day! All the planning, scheduling, shopping, baking, cleaning, the extra rehearsals and Christmas services... all worth it today. From Macaroni and Chicken Fingers, we wish you a very merry, joyous, peaceful Christmas. Hold close the ones you love. Forget about the things that trouble you. Rest, relax and enjoy the day. 

Much love,

Karen and Melissa

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


This is technically a guest post, although she doesn’t know that she’s posting. My sister, Margee, sent this to me the other day. I’m telling you this so that you don’t think that I, a Weight Watchers advocate, would pass along this advice. Let me say that again: THESE ARE NOT MY EATING TIPS!!! Nevertheless, they made me laugh, and right now, we can all use as many laughs as possible, so here is Margee’s guide for Holiday Eating:

10 diet tips to get through the holiday season:

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it’s rare. In fact, it’s even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can’t find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Happy Holidays – and happy eating!

Thanks Margee!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Most people are either Dog People or Cat People. I am a Dog Person, although I also have a cat. Her name is Sophie. I did not want her. Actually, neither did my husband. But we found her under a bush when she was only a few weeks old, and she was so dang cute, we all fell in love with her. Then she grew up into a cat, and that pretty much ended the love affair. Now we all just pretty much tolerate one another.

Here are Sophie and Bismark:

biz and sophie

See the size difference? Guess who’s afraid of who? Ha! Yep, my 100 pound dog is terrified of my (maybe) 12 pound cat. If she’s laying in a doorway, or on the steps, he’ll just stand there and wait for her to move rather than go around her. If she’s drinking water, he’ll wait until she’s done. But I can tell she deliberately takes her time, just to annoy him.

This video beautifully illustrates the difference between cats and dogs. It’s hilarious!

Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!

Oh, and by the way, I do love Sophie, just in a different, cat-like way!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Madness and Minutiae

We did a little bit of Christmas shopping this weekend. It's been good for The Hubs and I to get out together. Christmas is a team effort. It has to be. You see, hour-wise, musicians work year around. But it just happens that a LOT of those hours occur in December. Believe me, I'm not complaining. I am absolutely 100% grateful that I get to do what I LOVE and earn a paycheck. But The Hubs and I have learned to approach this season with military tactic and strategical planning. To underscore this mentality, he bought me one of my favorite signs while we were out as a pre-Christmas present:

The Hubs gets me. That's why I keep him around. ;)
Gotta love that man!

Yours, keeping calm and carrying on,


Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Madness- I admit it....

I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I don't know why. We have the entire house decorated. There are lights going up on the hour in my neighborhood. I have some Christmas shopping done (not nearly all of it, but some big checkmarks on that list!) and I'm thinking about baking. And then I think about sending out Christmas Cards and that's when I want to throw in the towel. Literally. I, the Year Round Christmas Planner, am ready to buy for my family only and go to one or two parties and call it good. After that, I will settle down for a loooooooooooong winter's nap. What is wrong with me?

Maybe it's the pressure of getting everything done and now that I'm working more, just keeping up with groceries and cleaning is an achievement. Maybe it's the fact that my kids no longer really want toys... they want electronics. We're having a lot of fun together, I just didn't think I was going to have to work my body that hard. (Oh yes- Just Dance on the Wii. It's, well..... let's just say we a white, white family. Mama can count and play and sing anything. Minor choreography, not a problem. Black Eyed Peas style? We'll stop with the visuals right there.)

Maybe it's the realization of how quickly time does pass. I don't know. Maybe I need to go light my Advent Wreath and reflect on hope (that's this week's candle). 

I know the detachment will pass. I hope it happens soon. And I hope that it comes with snow.

Yours, settling down for a medium winter's nap,


Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Funny- Warning! Contagion!

A few weeks ago, I was taking Z2 and a neighbor child to school. We passed a bus stop that was clearly for high schoolers. There were four teens waiting for the 7:45.

"Look at that," I remarked. "They're all standing ten feet away from each other because they can't take standing next to each other."

"Why are they like that?" asked the neighbor child.

Before I could engage my brain-to-mouth filter, my post high school reunion self said, "Oh.... it's puberty. Messes up your brain and thinking and you think you can't be seen with this person or that person and if everyone would just get over themselves and learn to accept people with their differences, they just might find out they could get along and actually like each other and can be pretty good friends."

His eyes got wide and he looked at me with great concern and said,"Is puberty contagious?"

If he only knew. But then again... he's about to find out! 

Yours, thankful to be over the contagion called puberty,


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It’s time once again to say THANKS to all of you, dear Readers, for your continued support over the years. Melissa and I love writing this blog in connection with our eBook series, The Caregiver Organizer, and we love knowing that we touch you a few times a week (when we remember to post!). Usually with our funny stories, sometimes with our outrage or frustrations, but always with our honesty. And we love hearing back from you. So keep those comments coming and let us know you’re out there and what you’re thinking!

Have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving. We’ll be back soon!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Madness-Where Have We Been?

So sorry for our absence, dear readers. I had a major fundraising event a week ago Friday, Karen's been sick (Pneumonia? It's going around!) and then there was the election. All of that to say, yes, it's been quite chaotic as of late. And from all of these activities we go straight into the holiday season, which for the musicians, means a whole lotta work right now and not much after Christmas. Not that I'm tweaky about it yet or anything like that. :)

But today, I'm taking a moment to breathe. I'm doing the 21 day thankfulness challenge. And even though today's thankful list includes being thankful for steam cleaners and the extra time to clean up that coffee spill out of the carpet right away and the fact that The Hubs was not there to see me do it (priceless!), I still have to admit, we live pretty good lives. Yes, we all have inconveniences. And heart-stopping moments. We have even experienced catastrophic things. But we're still here, still chuggin' along, still finding things to laugh about. And for that, I'm thankful.

So go ahead- I dare you. For the rest of November- heck, the rest of the year!- find something every single day to be thankful about. Bet it just might do you some good.

Yours, thankful the coffee actually came OUT of the carpet,


Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It amazes me how childish some adults can be, and what poor examples they set for their own kids at times. I’ll tell you what happened this past weekend.

My (11 year old) sons and I were at Target on Saturday. I was checking out while they were waiting for me by the door. Apparently, Adam was standing a little too closely to the electronic door, so when a man and his 2 daughters tried to walk through them, the door didn’t slide open right away. So what does the man do? He turns to Adam and says something to the effect of, “Thanks for messing the doors up, Jerk.”

JERK. A grown man called my 11 year old son a JERK because he unknowing stood too close to the door and kept it from opening correctly. He called my son a JERK in front of his 2 school-aged daughters. This is the example he wants to set for them? Because in my book, this man is one thing: a BULLY.

Did it make him feel like a big man to intimidate and scare a child? Because that’s all it succeeded in doing. Oh, I guess it got him to move away from the door as well. Good job, Mr. Bully.

All I can say is he’s lucky I didn’t hear him say this to my child. In the heat of the moment I’m not sure exactly what I would have said to him, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have been pretty. And I’m sure there would have been a lecture in there somewhere about setting a better example for his daughters. But I know this: It would have been something that my boys would have been proud of!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Madness- One Week Left

Only one week left. Most of you know of what I speak. The oncoming storm- and I'm not referring to Hurricane Sandy- rivals any other political campaigning week. And if you think it's bad in The Lou, you should try Chicago! Merciless does not begin to describe!

And the conversations on facebook- whoa. People are really beginning to get nasty about things. While I understand there is a lot to debate, I'd like to offer up a few points to consider:

1.) Debate, but don't get ugly.  I've seen true friendships ruined by political differences. There is no reason for namecalling, arrogance or slamming someone in the name of satire or whit.

2.) Did I say arrogance? Yes. People! Take the high road! Conviction is admirable, but when it comes off as an "I know so much better than you" attitude, well, I cease to listen.

3. Listen to what the other person is saying before you write them off. In our school district, all of the kids are learning the seven habits of highly effective people, one of which is: seek to understand, then be understood.  I wonder what would happen if we all did that with each other? I know it doesn't mean we are going to agree and life will be nirvana, but we might get a whole lot closer. 

4.) Discussion is key. See point #1. Discussion, not arguing, not lamblasting, not fighting. Discussion. 

And if you happen to be in the Northeast, hunker down and stay safe. You've got it going on on all fronts!

Yours, counting the days until the election is complete,


Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Funny- So much worse...

And the hits keep coming. We continue our foray into the land of middle school tween boy development. I was helping him through his agenda/notebook and noticed a fill in the blank worksheet that said: 

Pimples are overactive (sweat glands) that have become (clogged). How will I take care of them?

I was thankful that this week's health unit was on personal hygiene. And I think it was good for him to hear it from another person in an academic setting. 

Btw, did I mention his gym coach is an old high school classmate? No. Kidding. My kid is going to be getting facts of life videos from someone with whom I graduated high school. Somehow I didn't imagine it like this. (He is, however, a great person, it's just amusing to me.)

So Z1 comes home from school last week and walks into the living room, drops his bag and flops his skin and bones frame onto the couch. 

"How was your day, honey?" I ask gingerly.

"Mom, we saw another video today," he replied. And it's so much worse."

Thinking he was finding out about more of his own body changes, I stupidly innocently say,"Oh, it's not that bad. What did you see?"

"Oh yes it is. It's the worst one yet! It was on the female endocrine system!!!"

I couldn't help but laugh. Out loud. Poor kid. "Yup, buddy. I think you're right."

Yours, thinking he's wise beyond his years,


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Honey Boo WHAT???

So we’re flipping through channels the other night (and the fact that we have over 1000 channels and still there is nothing to watch is an entirely different post!) and we come across the show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.


Have you ever seen this? What am I missing? Because I REALLY don’t get it. If this little girl is supposed to be a “beauty queen,” then I should think about entering my son, because he could do better than her in ALL categories: poise, talent AND looks!

Okay, I really hate to be snarky here, but this must be a joke, right? The episode I watched (or as much of it that we could stomach before we just had to switch to another, equally stupid but less disturbing, reality show) was about one of her sisters, a teenager mind you, having her own baby. Yes, we’re watching a show about a child, with no boyfriend that I could see, having a child. There was no lesson to be learned here, no Dr. Phil moment, no motherly advice about how wrong it was. (Although there was a brief moment where Mom asked Daughter about how much pain she was in and said something like, “See what a bad idea this was?” Uh huh.) And throughout it all, Alana (aka “Honey Boo Boo”) is whining that she wants to see the baby (double thumbs and all!) and how excited she is. It was like a big party!

So back to Honey Boo Boo. First of all, what’s with the name? In fact, they ALL have weird nick names. Secondly, being in pageants is expensive, so how do they afford this? Have you seen their house? (Sorry, getting snarky again. But maybe they could put some of that money towards cleaning up their house and getting parenting and nutrition classes to clean up their family. Just sayin…)

And now Rosie O’Donnell wants to renovate Honey Boo Boo’s home for her. I have nothing to add to that. I’m stunned.

I’m all for seeing how a family less fortunate lives, and how they manage to keep it all together and make ends meet, etc. But I feel like if that’s the show, then help the family get ahead in a productive way. Don’t just put them out there for the world to laugh at. And I’m pretty sure that when people aren’t gaping with their jaws on the floor, that’s what they’re doing – laughing.

I think I’ll switch the channel now!




Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Funny- It's Gettin' Snarky 'Round Here!

Here at Macaroni and Chicken Fingers, we're feeling the need to laugh more than ever. Or maybe we just really like to laugh. Did you see Karen's last post? There are far too many of those with which I identify. (No. I'm not telling which ones. So don't ask.) I recently discovered this humorous rant. I thought it was BRILLIANT on the part of the company, Bodyform. Not that I want a company to get ugly with anyone, but I thought this response was one of the best comebacks I've seen when someone goes on a facebook rant about their product. 

Make SURE you watch to the end. Well worth the laughter! 

Click HERE to laugh!

Yours, thinking about the men whose illusions will be shattered, and helplessly laughing,


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Truths For Mature Humans

A little humor for your day…

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
15. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay. 
16. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
17. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
18. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
19. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
20. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
21. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974.That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.



Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Madness- Who Spiked Their Milk?

I'm watching the Cardinals play The Giants. Oh, my lovely Cardinals...

Who spiked your milk? 

Last night was beautiful.

Tonight, madness.

PLEASE, let's get focused before Wednesday evening. 

Let's make it 12 in '12!

Yours, hoping for them to pull it out of the ninth,


Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Funny- Leapin' Lizards!

So the Z1 has been trying to convince me he needs a new pet. As I have a severe allergic reaction, nay, rePULsion against reptiles, he can pretty much kiss his dream of EVER owning a Komodo Dragon goodbye. Not until he signs a lease on his own living space. God love him, it's just not going to happen. Not in my house. There's a whole lot of things I would do for that boy, but reptiles never have and never will make the list. 

He was on a pretty heavy campaign a few weeks ago. Talking about it every day. He even would show me this fake lizard he had, and how he would take care of it and blah, blah, blah. Finally, he realized I just wasn't buying it. He let it drop and I thought we were in the clear. 

After a very long day, I wearily climbed into bed. Snuggling down into the covers I could feel something. Something that did not belong. Something that was not quite right. I started to freak out a little and grabbed whatever it was to throw it when I realized I was having a heart attack over a plastic lizard. Mind you, it's somewhat realistic in size and feel, and if you're as tired as I was...

So in my stupor, after my heart returned to a somewhat normal pace, I decided to have a little fun. I picked that thing up and crept into his room. He was sprawled across his bed, sleeping on his back. I laid that lizard right on him so that it would be staring at him when he woke up.

I cannot pretend I did not roar with laughter giggle in my bed when I heard his startled wake-up ten minutes later. Mom 1, Reptiles 0.

Yours, still giggling,


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Decision Whether To Medicate Your Child

We all have an opinion about this topic. Well, most of us do anyway. On the one hand, ADHD is probably over diagnosed and therefore many children are needlessly medicated. On the other hand, if medication can help a child function better in school and in life, why keep that help away from him or her?

One of my very favorite bloggers, Dawn Meehan, wrote a really great post about this subject. She gives her personal experience, as a mother of 6 kids, then 10 pieces of advice to consider when making this decision. I found it very insightful, so I wanted to pass it along to you all. Enjoy!

ADHD: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? How You Can Decide
By Dawn Damalas Meehan

Just remember, whatever you decide will be right for you. Don’t let others influence your decision. And as Dawn points out, nothing is forever. If you decide to change your mind, that’s okay, too!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Madness- My Thankful List

In the midst of all the madness, I still have a lot to be thankful about. Here's just a few...

-The hubs still thinks I'm cute.
-Chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.
-Witty colleagues.
-Healthy work environment.
-A daughter who cleaned both bathrooms and helped with the kitchen WITHOUT BEING ASKED TO DO IT. (I do believe the heavens parted and angels sang!)
-A paper written by the Z1 listing his favorites. His favorite person? His mom. (Yes, I cried. Shush it, Karen!)
-A business partner who, when we started the business, we swore that we would stay business partners first and friends second. Yeah. Didn't happen. I'm glad friendship wins. :)
-Catching up on my paper mountain.
-Isight catchup with a good friend.
-A sale of something I've been obsessing over for 8 months. Buyer's remorse. A little. But I'm thankful it will go away as soon as the package arrives. :D

Yours, reveling in this crazy ride,


Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Madness- Introducing Humor

Typical Monday morning. No one wants to get put of bed no matter how many times I turn the lights on. The thought of going to school is unappealing. The thought of having to go to work even less than appealing. Who made Monday anyway? Oh, right. That would be a God thing. My Monday Moodiness is probably the least of His concerns at the moment, yes?

The Hubs and I have been doing something for the last year that has really made a breakthrough in our marriage, thus in family life. We laugh at things. We laugh at each other. We laugh at ourselves. We tick each other off by making fun at each other and laugh until the other person has to leave the room. This morning was no different.

He was fussy because it was Monday and he was taking The Lolanator to the vet. I had already gotten the speech the previous evening about it was not his dog, blah, blah, blah, and he doesn't know why, wah wah, waaaah,(insert Charlie Brown's teacher's voice here) wahh, wahh, and why should he have to blabbity blah blah. So this morning he announces he is taking my car (the one he prefers, nay, tried to con me out of by telling me how much better I looked in his car- FAT CHANCE BUCKO!) because he has to take the dog. So Z2 looks at me, rolls her eyes and says,"FUSS -Y!" to which he got even fussier. To which Z2 and I immediately pounced on and started making fun of him. So he had to leave the room. He comes back in to get Lola and sees that I have the pincher collar on her. She's not a bad or mean dog- she's a big teddy bear. But she doesn't realized her own strength, so the pincher just lets her know when she is going too far. I get lectured about that- how the vet always gives him a dirty look when she is wearing that collar.

I try to explain, but am promptly cut off mid sentence. So I change her collar. He makes it six steps out the door before she escapes and runs down the street. 

Yup. Sometimes you just gotta laugh!

Yours, thankful for humor,


Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Madness

Yes, it's Monday. It comes every seven days. Somehow, I haven't been able to get it to stop. I keep trying, but Monday faithfully shows up. Ahhhhh, Monday, if there is ANYthing in life I can count upon, it is you.

And with the usual Monday Madness came Book Club.We just finished The Kitchen House, a gripping tale with the right amount of sunlight to give you hope to hang on to the end. I really liked it. But even better? My Book Club Company. We had a wonderful evening. A night where I got to be just Melissa. Which is really nice when you are a musician and have a job where you interact with people a lot. You don't always allow yourself to be as transparent as you would like to be. 

Which got me to thinking about Friday night. Friday night I went to a dinner celebrating Karen's birthday. She took her closest "sister friends" out to dinner. (The Melting Pot was unbelievable! Although, my clothing smelled horrendous afterwards. Completely worth it!)

Two nights in the last 96 hours where I got to just let my hair down, not worry about much and not have to think about things. It's amazing what that can do for a girl, even with the Madness that was today (teaching, groceries, cleaning, dinner, lunch and breakfast prep, getting a wayward math student to school early, etc.)

Make time this week to just be you. Just be. Just indulge- in mind cleaning head-space cleaning breathing time. You'll come away feeling refreshed, alive, and remembering who you are. Best three hours you can spend. Consider it an investment- not only for you, but for those around you. After you come back, you are a better version of yourself, more patient, smiling and ready to deal with the Madness that is Monday.

Plan it. It won't get done any other way. It's hard at first, but I can promise you, you will be glad you did.

Yours, looking at next week's schedule to plan some ME time,


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


My kids don’t know how to lick a bowl clean. Apparently I never taught them. But isn’t something like that just in their DNA? That’s not learned behavior, that’s instinct. PICT0054

This is a picture of me at about age 7. Even at this age, making cupcakes, I KNEW that when it came time to lick the bowl, there would not be a speck of batter left. My mom could put that bowl away without washing it and nobody would know the difference! (Don’t worry, she wouldn’t do that, but still…she could!)

But today, the unthinkable happened. I made cupcakes for my friend and neighbor for her birthday and asked one of my sons if he wanted to lick the bowl. He jumped at the chance, of course. (Oh, and I don’t want to hear any lectures on how I’m not supposed to let them eat batter because of salmonella. I’ve been eating it for years and I’m fine!) He used a spoon, then he went to using his fingers, and then…oh, it’s too horrible to say.


I was so stunned, I couldn’t even move to go stop him. Why didn’t he go to the last step and use the spatula? Have I been remiss in my motherly duties and failed to teach him the proper techniques of bowl licking? (But again I ask, aren’t these lessons just KNOWN? Must they be TAUGHT?)

I don’t know if I’m more sad that he failed or more sad that I could have had that last finger-full of batter!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Madness- Brush With Terror?

When my friend sent me this email, I knew I needed to share it. Humorous and poignant all at the same time. Welcome guest blogger... Tricia Bartig!

Family night. We went to the mall. Ate at Cheesecake Factory. J1 was exhausted and had a headache and Hubby didn't feel good either. So J2 and I headed to the Timothy Green movie in the mall theater after paying the bill. Hubs and J1 headed home. When the movie was about to start there was a belabored video about reporting suspicious behavior and identifying where all the exits were. That creeped me out!  
I remembered the massacre at the movie theater in July. I knew that was the reason for the video. (I never felt unsafe in a movie theater until that moment. And it wasn't my imagination. I'm in shock that this is what our country has come to. People are so psychotic in our nation, you just don't know when or where the next senseless mass killing is going to occur. 
Anyway, 3/4 of the way through the movie we started hearing sirens vaguely in the distance. At first I thought it was back ground noise in the movie. When I realized it wasn't apart of the sound track I realized it was noise bleeding in from out side the walls of our theater. Was it the movie next door? I realized that the entire mall was going off in alarms except in the theater. How many minutes had it been? I had kicked my boots off a half hour ago, I began to tremble inside. Slipping my boots on and looking around, it seemed few had noticed. I grabbed J2' s hand; he heard the noise too. I instructed him we were leaving and for the first time in his entire life he was as compliant as a lamb!   
We edged our way past the sitting people in the aisle the way you imagine edging the ledge of a high building. And that's how I felt, like my world could topple any moment. My head was pounding! One other couple popped up after me.  With J2 in hand I didn't stop to wonder if I was being dramatic and over reacting. The rest of the audience barely seemed to notice. As we steadily walked to the hall the open lobby ahead was empty except for some movie employees clustered on the red carpet in the vast center wearing all black. One young woman who acted like she may have some authority urgently said to a blond  girl, also wearing black, " Tell them to all leave calmly and walk to the escalators and head for the mall exit doors. Eyes wide, the blond RAN past me and J2. I quickened our pace to the escalators. As we hit the top of the moving staircase a young man dressed like the other employees was running up the opposite escalator stairs to our level with a walky- talky in his hand with a scared look on his face. Oh crap! What is it, I'm wondering? A fire? A terrorist attack? Some other disillusioned , entitled, American thinking it would make sense to mow down a bunch of people because his life sucks? 
Below I see a mostly empty 2 levels of mall except for a handful of clusters of people obediently evacuating,  acting calmly (Text book! Or was it more like zombies? ) and moving toward the glass sliding door to the dark, cool outdoors. Through the glass I see a couple hundred people congregated on the concrete under the street lights waiting around to see what's going on- teenagers festively sitting on what shouldn't be sat on and standing on what shouldn't be stood on, with a few curious adults waiting around. I don't want to be a bad example but I start to walk-jog with J2 firm in my grip. As the alarms continued to blair I could smell a strange smell  that made my throat dry. I instruct J2 to cover his face with his shirt. I do the same with my knit shrug, knowing the DANG Thing won't help me against biological warfare anyway! (This is a stupid thought process I know, but nonetheless, It's what I thought!) We got through the doors in a real life race and to the Jeep. J2 and I high tailed it home as fire truck sirens and lights were headed in . Other emergency vehicles  had already arrived at the south end of the mall pulsing their red and blue lights against the walls. 
So far we have not heard what went on there. And it is probably nothing more than a kitchen fire. Like some lanky teen, giant hole in the ear, fast food cook's rubber slap watch falling into the chicken fryer! =)   
But I will say that I've thought about what I would feel about my life had my worst nightmares come true. It crystalized pretty quickly. First, there isn't anything I regret like I thought I did. I have given my all to my kids. Imperfectly, but passionately. I have faced my fears, not given up on my dreams, spoken the truth and loved till it hurts. I have enjoyed the best of life and pursued the process of forgiving the worst of it. And I discovered I have no questions because I already know the One who has all the answers. We'll see if I hear in the news tomorrow what happened. If not, I will be forced to concoct my own dramatic Hollywood worthy conclusions!  If it is a fry cook, I hope he gets fired for scaring the hell out of me ! =) 

PS- We later discovered it was a water pressure malfunction that was causing the fire alarm/sprinkler system to go off. So Fry Cook, we'll save your hangin' for another day. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I know a woman named Gayle who told me an amazing story the other day, and she said I could share it with you. I love this story. It warms my heart.

Gayle has a great group of friends. In the world of “haves” and “have-nots,” her friends are “haves” and while Gayle is far from being a “have-not,” she doesn’t have as much as her friends. I haven’t known Gayle long, but I can guess that this didn’t mean squat to either her or to her friends!

A couple of weeks ago Gayle and her family went on a long overdue and much needed vacation. While they were gone, 40 of her closest friends invaded her home and did a TOTAL MAKE-OVER. I’m not talking about just cleaning it up. They bought all new furniture, painted all the rooms, cleaned it top to bottom, organized everything and decorated it like a professional had been hired. Then they waited until almost midnight when the family got home to yell “SURPRISE!!!!!” as they came in from their vacation.

Can you imagine??????

Here’s the thing: not only was Gayle amazed at how much work went into remaking her home, and not only was she completely floored by the love she felt from her friends that they would go to the effort and expense to do all of this for her and her family, but she’s come out of this a changed woman.

She’s realized that these 40 people think she’s pretty special, so she must be! All of this love and support has given her confidence and strength she didn’t realize she had. She’s walking taller, smiling bigger and feeling GREAT about herself. And who wouldn’t? She’s feeling the arms of 40 people around her every minute of every day. That’s gotta lift a person up!

Here’s to you, Gayle!



Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Madness- The Day After

So Thursday evening was my nephew's rehearsal and dinner. Friday evening was my niece's rehearsal and dinner. Saturday, my nephew's wedding. Sunday, my niece's wedding.

I've gained no less than seven pounds. I'm sure of it.

And I did not go running this morning because I'm a little bit exhausted. But if anyone has any leftover wedding cake, I'm game, because that's the best cake there is! 

Just don't tell my thighs. Or my waist. Or Karen, because I don't want her to tell me how many calories I've consumed in the last four days. 

Yours, trying to keep it to myself,


Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Funny- I May Be Scrappy....

Helllloooooo Faithful Readers! 

So good to be back. Thanks for the break. I could tell I needed it. And I could tell it was time to return. I was beginning to have so much to write about. YAY!

I have a nephew that is getting married this weekend. Last night was the rehearsal and dinner. It seems the more time passes, the more I realize how precious each moment is. Last night was no exception. It was a wonderful evening, celebrating the impending nuptials and remembering when he was "only so tall". And then I learned the bachelor party was to be that evening. 

My "Auntie" antennae went up. As did the other auntie's who was seated with me. We looked at each other and decided a conversation was vital. SHE wasted no time. She called the best man over. He took a seat next to me. 

The best man is fairly big. About twice my size and half my age. (Good night! Did I REALLY just type that?) So I looked up and looked him squarely in the eye and began the interrogation. 

It's tonight? Yes.
Plans are made? Yes.
Designated driver? Yes.
The plans are??? Everything is within walking distance of the hotel room.
Our numbers are in his phone and you know how to access it just in case? Yes, ma'am, I do. 

It was at this point I looked him dead in the eye with The Auntie Look. I put my hand on his face so he would have no where to turn.

"Best Man," I said, "I love my nephew very much. You understand that right?"

"Yes I do," he replied. A look of trepidation came over his face.

"You will take good care of him?"

"Yes ma'am," he stated firmly.

"Good," I said quietly. "Because I just want you to know, that if anything stupid happens tonight, if one hair on his head is messed up, if he's hurt in any way, I will come find you, Best Man. And I. will. kick. your. #$!. Are we clear?"

The drop in his jaw and the look in his eyes let me know my point was crystal clear.My nephew is fully intact today. Recovering, but fully intact.

And that, my friends, is what the aunties do. :) My mission here is complete.

Yours, of to my niece's rehearsal and dinner,


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I’m HOW old???

Remember when we were kids and we thought 40 was old? And 50 was ancient? Forget about 60 and beyond. That’s just close to death’s door, right? Um, NO, not anymore!

Last week I turned f-f-fifty. Ugh, I can’t even say it. But although it SOUNDS old, it somehow doesn’t LOOK old. At least not on me or anyone I know around my age. Maybe I’m just kidding myself, but I swear 50 used to look older.

So even though I HATE the thought of being half a century old, I feel great, I look pretty darn good (according to my hubby) and I have a whole lot to be thankful for at this point in my life. What more could I want?

So take back that stinkin’ AARP card…I’m not ready for you yet!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It’s that time of the summer again when Melissa’s family and my family go on vacation (separately, of course!), then we start stressing about school beginning (although we’ve been stressing about middle school since May), then we finally get back to work. So what am I saying? I’m telling you good-bye until school starts again, dear readers!

Once school begins, Melissa and I have a “pool day” at my house. It’s heavenly! Pure relaxation. We might bring lunch in, maybe play some music, maybe talk, maybe not, but definitely not about business. Just lay on the rafts in the water with NO KIDS splashing, whining, arguing or saying “Mom, mom, mom…”


After that, we’ll be blogging again!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Funny- You're SCARING Me!!!

And the conversation continues. You know... that whole puberty thing. The words "sex" and "kissing" and "hairy armpits" have been uttered in this house this summer more times that I want to admit. What's so funny though, is the Zs still think sex is simply naked kissing. I inwardly giggle every time the subject comes up.

We did, however, have a moment of passage. Z1 now knows the truth about Santa. Okay- just TYPING that sentence made me want to cry. He's starting to show some signs of maturing- occasionally. :) And other days, it's like a big step backwards. And he, being a boy, is still fascinated with all things bodily function.

The child has not one shred of modesty. It's still a battle some days to get him to wrap himself in a towel before he walks down the hall naked after his shower. (I guess I should be thankful that he showers regularly, though, right?) 

Yet Z1 totally gets torturing Z2 about the upcoming changes. Again, in the car, he says,"Just think, Z2.... you're gonna get hair in places you never knew you had it....and STINKY PITS!" He laughs. "And then, you're gonna start liking boys!!!"

"MOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!! Make him stop!!!"Z2 yells from the backseat. "He's SCARING me!!!"

Oh to be 9 again.

Yours, wishing you a wonderful, summer Friday,


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My 50 SHADES Review…

I’m not even going to ask who has read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, I’ll ask who HASN’T read it! Virtually everyone I know has either read it or it’s on their “to-read” list.

I read the first book and started the second before I finally just gave up. I really couldn’t take it anymore. I can’t decide which is worse: the story line, the improbability of anything remotely happening like this to a girl like that, the horrible writing…oh, the list is endless!

Yes, it was hot, I’ll give it that. But even that wore off after the first dozen or so times they had sex. I mean, really? A 22 (or was she 21?) year old virgin who has explosive, multiple orgasms, practically from just looking at this man, and can have sex multiple times a day and is willing to try just about anything. Uh huh.

And the phrases that the author uses over and over again are hilarious! I’ve tried to look at somebody from underneath my eyelashes and let me tell you, it does NOT work. Go ahead, try it! And what’s with calling each other Mr. and Miss? It got really old really fast. Not cute, just annoying! And can the author please call their hair “messy” instead of the term that she uses after sex? (Can’t type it here!)

Okay, so getting back to the sex and hotness part of it. Yes, that was great. For a while. But then, not so much. As my sister puts it, if they’re happy, they have sex. If they’re mad, they have sex. If they’re bored, they have sex. Etc, etc, etc! Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it just lost it after a while.

So, about a third of the way through the second book, I was done. I guess I’ll never know how it ends. Hmmm, I think I can live with that!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Today is the 4th of July and we celebrate our independence. Every year my husband calls his British friend and laughs! But that doesn’t mean we take our freedom for granted. We know how important it is.

This year, it’s going to seem a bit strange. I don’t know about where all of you are, but here in St. Louis, with the exception of the Riverfront, all of the other fireworks displays have been called off due to heat and no rain in the area. And although we’ve never really been allowed to set off our own fireworks in the county, they are really going to crack down this year. Plus, it would just be irresponsible of us to set any off.

But my dog will be happy! And speaking of dogs, please make sure to keep your pets cool in this heat.

So whatever you do today, remember to celebrate our freedom, stay safe and stay cool!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Madness- Sticker Shock!

It's Monday. Which means a morning meeting, running Z2 to swim practice, fastest lunch in the West, and errands in the afternoon. We were aiming to go to the pool today, but that took a backseat to the fact that there was not a stitch of toilet paper in the house. Somehow, that made the trip to Wal-mart a little more paramount. 

I went in to get the basics of things that we were low on or simply out. The bill was $190. I'm NOT kidding. It shocked me so much I just pulled a few things out and said,"Please take this off." Then I had $13 in coupons. That helped, but still, GOOD. NIGHT! Gas may be falling, but everything else is doubling! For instance- Bleach is now $2 (used to be $1 a year and a half ago. Trashbags- used to be $2, now $5! (And I don't mean Hefty, I mean the Wal-mart brand!) I could go on, but you get the picture. We returned home, and I started going through everything to see what can go back. In the end, I'll get the bill down, but goodness, when did it get this expensive? I'm seriously wondering if this is an election year conspiracy- the price of gas is falling, but we are paying in other ways. Ways that seemingly get tucked in here and there. Not happy about it at all. I could get be wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm right.

However, if anyone has any other couponing strategies or shopping strategies, I'm  all ears. 

And then there's having to take Z1 and Z2 with me. I did try to make it a game, but in the end, by the time we got in the car, Z1 looked at me and said,"Just once, Mom, just once could we PLEEEEAAASE duct tape her mouth for a day? I'm just asking for a day...."

I would be lying if I said I was not tempted....

Still, all in all, it's summer, and I'll take the moments with my kiddos. The hard ones lead to better ones, and that's why I hang in. 'Cause despite all my crumudgeonyness, they still love me. And for that I'm grateful.

Yours, hoping that thunder I hear brings rain,