Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Happiness Project :: Ugly Drapes

I have so many reasons to be happy today it’s hard know where to start. Ha! I’m such a liar. I know exactly where to start. I’m starting with these awful curtains. I’m so freaking’ happy these hideous drapes are out of my house!! I’m so happy my face hurts. I’m also happy that my best friend and his family are visiting. And that I got those ugly drapes out of the guest room just in time. And not only that, I managed to hang some simple drapes, make a new valance, oh yeah, and make a new bedskirt…all just in the nick of time.

I suppose my guests would have been happy if I’d managed to squeeze in a shower. Oh well…maybe next visit.

So? What’s got you smiling today?  Visit Leigh vs. Laundry and join the fun.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

He's Hot, I'm Lost...

...but some people don’t care. More specifically, WendiWinn doesn’t care. She’s gonna follow me anyway…even if she’s lost…and presumably even if I’M lost…which I am a lot of the time some of the time occasionally. I’m especially lost when I’m watching Lost. (Geeze Louise I’m glad this is the last season for that show! Watching it makes me crazy. But like the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, I just can’t get away from The Island.)

Wendi made this absolutely fab award just for me. I’m assuming because she likes my blog. Or maybe it’s because she follows my blog, but has a hard time actually following what I’m talking about half the time. Hmmmm….what does that say about me? What does that say about her? Maybe she felt obligated to make me an award…since I made her one. I dunno, and I don’t care. I like my award, so I’m taking it! Maybe I’ll share it around, maybe I wont. Either way, check out her blog sometime. She’ll make you laugh, and she might get you lost.

As for Jack…is he hot? Of course he is, he's stranded on a tropical island.  He's so hot he's...he's...sweaty. But is he “Hey baby, come on over to my lean-to and let’s get sandy” hot?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Whopper Cake (or Big Pile of Pooh)

Buddy Boy was Star of the Week this week. Yeah, wow! OK, not so wow. Every kid gets to be Star of the Week. All this really means is a lot of extra work for Mommy (aka: me). Monday he was to bring photos of his friends, family and favorite things with the class. Friday, a special friend could come to school with him to share a favorite story and a yummy, nut free, non-candy, over-processed, over-preserved, individually wrapped treat with the class.

Last Friday he brought home the empty photo album. He was actually given the option of filling it with pictures or making a poster. Of course my kid chose the poster. OF COURSE…because he’s my kid and he’s inherited the “do everything the hard creative way” gene. The poster was his idea, but it was my project. I was up until 2 AM Sunday night working on it. His poster rocks…of course.

For his story, Buddy Boy chose Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson. It’s a really cute book about a Granddad who makes a whoppin’ big cake for Grandma’s birthday. It has a recipe in the back, so I had the brilliant idea to make the cake in the classroom with the students for the treat. I was shocked when the administration gave the OK – as long as I brought unopened ingredients to work with. (You know, so I wouldn’t poison the kiddos…because I might do such a thing.)
OK, before I get too snarky, let me give you a little background.

** (optional reading - skip this part if you’re in a hurry to check off all those other blogs on your reader list.) **
  • Buddy Boy’s school is a faith-based school.
  • I was raised in a very fundamental religious environment, and attended parochial school from grade 1 through college.
  • At one point, I seriously considered entering the seminary. (OK, maybe not that seriously, but I did considered it.)
  • I no longer practice my religion.
  • The Man is a lapsed Catholic.
  • We have not tackled the subject of God with our kids…yet.
  • In general, our part of Texas is populated by very conservative, devout people. God is ever-present in our community.
  • I do not have a problem with God.
  • I have a HUGE problem with dogma.
  • I asked questions about the role of doctrine in the classroom before enrolling Buddy Boy in this school.
  • I was told one thing, experienced another, and spent the first couple of months trying desperately to convince people that while I am religionless, I am NOT a High Priestess of the Prince of Darkness.
** (resume reading here) **

So, back to today. I went to school with my boy. I brought unopened packages of all the ingredients for our cake. I brought aprons and spoons for all the kiddos. I premeasured and made certain that every child had a part to play in the making of the Whopper Cake. It was fun.  I baked the cake in the kitchen of the fellowship hall while the kiddos were learning, playing, and doing whatever pre-k'ers do at school.
Now I've got to tell ya, there are people in this world who will eat whatever comes out of my kitchen. I wouldn’t say I’ve got mad skills, but people like my cookin'. And desserts are my specialty. Need proof? Here’s proof:

Buddy Boy's NASCAR cake - and yes, the cars were sinking in a sea of dark chocolate.  What can I say?  It was 95 degrees that day.  It was still a heckuva cake.

Hello Kitty CakePops for Ladybug's last birthday - so sweet they rotted teeth on contact, but they were too too cute. (Bakerella gets the credit for sharing the idea and how-tos.  She's amazing, you should check her out!)

And then here’s the Whopper Cake…or as I refer to it, The Pile of Pooh. Dig in!
Don’t ask. I have no idea what happened to this cake. Maybe it was the Devil getting back at me for declining the High Priestess position. I dunno.  What I do know is that I’ve got the sweetest kid in the world. When I asked Buddy Boy what he thought of the cake he said, “It was GREAT!” When I asked him if his friends liked it he said, “Oh, they LOVED it!” When I asked him if it was a mess he said, “Yes Mommy, it was a WHOPPER mess! But I don’t want your feelings to be hurt. It was really good!” And then I cried a little…and ate some pooh…and you know, he was right. It was pretty good – even it if did look like pooh.

Happy Friday everybody.  I hope you had a whopper of a day (and not in a pooh way.)

It's Follow Friday - play along.
Friday Follow

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Happiness Project :: Duct Tape

The Man came in my office today. {uh oh} He came in my office to offer me some "constructive criticism". Yeah. So. Basically, he came in to tell me all the wrong things I'm doing with my business. And then, of course, he proceeded to tell me all the right things I should be doing with my business. A lively discussion ensued. He stomped out mad, mumbling that I never consider his ideas; I sat smoldering in my chair wishing I could just slap a piece of duct tape over his mouth when he starts 'helping' me. So today's Happiness post isn't so much about what made me happy today as much as it's about what would have made me happy today. Duct tape would have made me happy. Unfortunately, I only had a thin roll of that not-so-sticky blue painter's tape. I'm happy to report, it did the trick.

{And I'm happy that The Man is such a trouper.}

So what makes you happy?  Jump on the happiness band wagon, and link up at Leigh vs. Laundry.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Sublime Kindness

I needed some chocolate today. And I'm not using the word need lightly here. I'm not talking about needing it like an addict needs her junk, I'm talking about needing it like a mama who's just realized she used the last diaper 2 hours ago. We're talking serious need, people...serious need.

Well, getting the chocolate wasn't supposed to be a problem. There's a fine little chocolatier right down the street from me. Sublime Chocolate. Mmmmmmm...good stuff. I was excited to go there. They've had a shop on the other side of town for a couple of years now, but I'd read recently that they'd opened a shop on my side of town. Perfect! Sublime, even. So, Buddy Boy and I hightailed it over there...only to find a sign on the door that read "Opening Next Week". WHAT?!?!?!?! NOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!! (I swear they could hear me screaming in Lubbock - which is far from here, trust me.)

While my son & I made the sad slow walk back to the car, he mentioned to me that he saw someone inside. "Maybe they have some chocolate, Mommy." Well that's all the encouragement I needed, so we crossed the street again and knocked on the door. A workman came out. I told him my story - that I needed one small piece of chocolate. He got the owner, the owner immediately got on the phone, called his kitchen on the other side of town and we were back in business. It took 15 minutes to get to the other store. There was a sign on the door. "Close for Spring Break", and a smiling lady on the other side waving me in. The door wasn't locked. They were waiting for me. I walked out with not one but a dozen beautiful, exotic chocolates. Confections like Lavender, Peppermint Tea, Honey Caramel w/Hawaiian Red Salt and Curried Coconut.

The folks at Sublime will probably never understand what their small act of kindness meant to me, but suffice it to say it meant a lot.  Sublime ships their incredible creations all over the US. So if you need something truly special, from a truly special kind of business, please keep them in mind. I'd love to repay a little of their kindness. Oh, and if you need me to do any taste-testing for you, don't hesitate to ask.

By the way, it's Follow Friday.  Join the fun, wont you?

Friday Follow

Bea's Gift Baskets

MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Happiness Project :: Slinky-do

My kitty, Slinky survived our vacation.  This makes me very happy.  I made three separate appointments to put her down before we left - not wanting her to pass on her own while we were gone.  But she made it through in spades.  I know her time is coming soon, but it's nice to have a few more cuddles with my scrappy little cat.

What makes you happy?  Jump on the happiness band wagon, and link up at Leigh vs. Laundry.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Smiling at Strangers

This it the title of the book I shall write one day. It will be an outrageous work of fiction, with just enough realism thrown in to make you believe it’s all true. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. You will be heartbroken to reach the last page, because you’ll want it to go on forever. Really. It’s going to be that good. So don’t steal my title. If you do, karma’s gonna gitcha!

It’s Sunday. And it’s a bit of a weird Sunday for me, but then Sundays have been weird for me for quite a while now. You see, for the last 6 ½ years, Sunday has been the day I walk away from my job as Haus Frau, and for a few hours I am transformed into…Shop Girl. Haus Frau has none of the authority and all of the responsibility. Shop Girl has ALL of the authority and NONE of the responsibility. Strangers listen attentively to Shop Girl. They hang on her every word. She smiles at them. She understands their dilemma. They believe her when she says they will absolutely love the chartreuse pillow that costs $54.00. And no, that doesn’t include the down insert. And yes, three will be needed to achieve ‘the look’. And oh! They will look absolutely fabulous with the rug over there!

Shop Girl is fresh, fashionable and filled with smiling confidence – and she pulls off those sensible shoes with such aplomb. Poor Haus Frau. No one listens to her. People just roll their eyes and shrug their shoulders at Haus Frau. Haus Frau is schlumped and frustrated. She’s poorly groomed and grumpy.

Well, today I am no longer Shop Girl. Today I am simply Haus Frau. I’ve shelved the sensible shoes in order to spend more time on my family and my business. Working Sunday evenings was getting the week off to a rocky start. Hopefully things will run a little smoother now. Hopefully there will be more time for fun…and for grooming. But I sure will miss smiling at all those strangers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Oops! Moment

I’m a potty-mouth. I spent nearly 20 years in the construction industry – 10 of those years working on military contracts. I honed my foul-language skills with the best. That’s not to say I don’t have a good command of the (American) English language. I do. I have a decent vocabulary. I know my grammar. I speak properly…most of the time. But sometimes, swearing just feels better.

Giving up the swearing has been the hardest part of parenting for me. (OK, maybe not the hardest part, but it’s definitely been a struggle.) Shortly after Buddy Boy was born, The Man sat me down and gave the ‘the talk’, “You know, Honey, you’re going to have to clean up that mouth of yours.” Yeah, yeah, yeah…whatever, I’ve got years to work on that.

Well, two years ago, when Buddy Boy was three, he went through a little phase. Every time he got strapped into his car seat he’d say “Dammit!” He didn’t use the expression at any other time – only when he was getting buckled into the car. He did this several times when my folks were visiting. You can imagine my embarrassment. So I asked my Mom, “Do I say dammit every time I get in the car?” “Why yes, dear. You get the car, close the door, say dammit, hop out of the car and run back into the house.” I guess Buddy Boy just thought that’s what you say when you get into a car. That phase passed and I really started making an effort to clean up my act.

Yesterday was our first day back from vacation. It was also yoga day. First thing in the morning, the kiddos and I hit the road to the gym. Half way there, I realize that I forgot to put my yoga mat back into the car.

Me: “Crap!
Buddy Boy: “Mommy, crap’s a bad word”
Me: “You’re right, sweetie. I’m sorry.”
Buddy Boy: “That’s OK Mommy, at least you didn’t say fuck.”


**Credit where credit is due: The illustration above is a greeting card created by Peggy O’Neil (aka: GoodGosh). If you ever need a little something special to pop in the mail to someone, she’s your gal. Check her out on Etsy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Black and Blue and Geraiums All Over

This lovely photo was taken by my blogging buddy, T over at Poppy Place PDX. I'm convinced this is THE geranium that sat in the window of the room in Mutigny, France that I called home for a few fantastic days. I'd never taken much notice of geraniums until my honeymoon. The Man and I were married in Switzerland and spent three fantastic weeks touring the country. One of the first things you notice about the place -- besides those mountains and the cows with the bells -- are the geraniums. They drip from every single window in every single town. It's truly an amazing sight. T's having a give away right now and there's still time to enter -- so drop in for a visit and enter. If I win, this picture will be my prize. First because it reminds me so much of that fantastic trip to France; second because it makes me think of those cheery windows in Switzerland; and third because I've come to regard geraniums as powerful medicine.

I've actually been spending a lot of time with geraniums lately - partially in preparation for my annual ski vacation. What? Yep, that's right. I wont go skiing without my geraniums. That's because the distilled oil of these lovely plants provides just the kind of medicine one might need on a ski trip. If only I'd known last year what now - that geranium oil is great at easing the pain, swelling and discoloration of bruises. You see, last year I had a little mishap. On the very first day on the slopes. Just a little oopsy-daisy. OK, maybe it wasn't so little. Maybe it was a big YEEEOOOOWCH of a mishap.

Well, this year I'm prepared with a little bottle of geranium elixir -- and I'm hoping like hell that I wont be needing it. So how 'bout you? Do you have any great home remedies for the things that leave you black & blue all over?