31 May 2007

Swaparooni! Pink & Green, part 2

Now that my swap package is safely in the hands of my swap buddy, I can post what was inside - I can't tell you how much fun I had putting the package together!

The roll on the left is a silicone baking tray liner, but my swap buddy will use it as a mouse mat! I never would have thought of that myself but it will be perfect - it's got a nice texture for the mouse ball and is totally flat, so it won't stick up off the desktop like a foam pad. (Note: the cow mug in the upper left corner goes so nicely with everything, doesn't it? It's not part of the package, though...it's just my coffee.)

We have a Lego store nearby with bulk Legos (nirvana; also very dangerous). The bulk stock rotates constantly, so I was happy to find they had a nice selection of greens and pinks for the pencil holder. Here's a shot of the construction:

I filled one tin with pink & green Jelly Bellys and the other with binder clips, paper clips and a few miniature gingham envelopes I found at the craft store.

The disc is full of .mp3 songs following the theme:
Incubus “A Certain Shade of Green” (Acoustic)
Social Distortion “Pretty in Pink”
Incubus “A Certain Shade of Green”
The Shins “Pink Bullets”
Tom Jones “Green Green Grass of Home”
Blonde Redhead “Pink Love”
Vivian Green “Cursed”
Aerosmith “Pink”
Aerosmith “Pink” (Acoustic)
Celtic Bagpipes “Greensleeves”
Ben Harper “Strawberry Fields Forever”
Coldplay “Green Eyes”
Blue Rodeo “Rose-Coloured Glasses”
Avril Lavigne “Basket Case (Green Day cover)”
Bon Jovi “Bed of Roses”
Al Greene “Simply Beautiful”
Pink Floyd “Learning to Fly”
Pat Green Dixie Lullabye”
Rockapella “The Pink Panther Theme”
Tally Hall “Greener”
Pink “Get This Party Started”
Green Day “Time of Your Life”
The Stone Roses “All Across the Sands”
Green Lizard “Autumn”
Guns’n’Roses “Sweet Child o’ Mine”
Jack Greene “There Goes My Everything”
Rose Royce “I’m Going Down”
Pat Green “Carry On”

I'm already looking forward to the next Swaparooni!

29 May 2007

Mama Car

Chris gave me vanity plates for my car last Christmas but I have yet to submit because I can't decide what my plates should be. NJ allows three to seven alphanumeric characters...what do you think I should choose?

28 May 2007

'Tis the Season

...for people to send me photos of bygone days. Here's one of me and my friend, Rob, working a fashion event at the Hit Factory in 1995. The video guys who are, uh, working behind us are obviously discussing the, uh, articles.

23 May 2007


...err, OUT:
Once again, Ross stayed up wiggling and managed to yank out another tooth in the name of Not Going to Bed. Bibliofilly was here when he pulled out the last one in an effort to avoid bedtime.

Tomorrow morning we're all bound for our semi-annual dental cleanings & checkups. Think Dr. Karen will prorate for Ross having only 2/3 the usual number of teeth currently installed? Probably not...he does, as usual, have a few spares lined up:

22 May 2007

Grandmoo Comments

Mom thought my use of Chapstick to show scale was brilliant and immediately sent this photo to show her first Saguaro cactus (the twin of the one she sent to us is her second). Please note, when comparing her cactus to ours, that she used a different brand of lip stuff so the scales are clearly not equivalent...

Desert Present

A package arrived today containing something we'd forgotten in Arizona, surprise snacks for the kids, and a giant Saguaro cactus for me and Chris. Ok, so it's not quite giant at the moment, but it could be enormous one day! Mom planted a similar one in her yard and has said we'll have fun "comparing growth annually." I'm not sure how she'll possibly win - her plant will be outside, subject to all the perils of nature. Our plant will enjoy life inside, where it will be loved, admired and talked to by all on a daily basis. On second thought, her cactus is probably better off. At least we have a better success rate with raising kids than we do with coddling cactus...

Ten Things I Didn't Blog About our Trip to Arizona

1. Ross yanked out another tooth on the flight over. It popped out of his mouth with force, shooting across the plane. The lights were dimmed for the movie at the time and we weren't expecting it to happen, so we didn't see where the little thing went. We waited until everyone else had disembarked and searched around but we couldn't find the tooth.

2. NO SQUEAKY TOYS ON AIRPLANES!!! This should be a law. I am not bothered by babies or children on airplanes. Sometimes their parents drive me nuts (seriously, lady, control your child's feet - his rhythmically kicking the back of my seat is NOT just like a massage chair), but I'm ok with the kids themselves. The couple directly in front of me and Ross on the flight to Arizona had brought a six-month-old baby and a squeaky toy. When the baby cried, they would wave it at her and squeak it relentlessly. The harder she cried, the faster they waved and squeaked. Did they try to feed her? No. Did they try to show her a book? No. Did they try interacting with her (Itsy-bitsy Spider or any other baby-rhyme that would involve moving her hands around)? No. Wave and squeaky-squeaky-squeaky-SQUEAKY-squeak. I wanted to violate the clear baggie's ziplok closure and pour 2oz of hand sanitizing gel on their heads.

3. My sister graduated nursing school! Her pinning ceremony was beautiful. Her school has a tradition of reading a statement written by the nurse summarizing her or his feelings upon reaching graduation as the nurse receives his or her pin. When everyone in the class has been pinned, all the nurses in the audience - new graduates, teachers and advisers, plus any observers who are nurses, stand in a circle around the room for a candle ceremony. The light is passed from nurse to nurse, signifying the transition of knowledge across the ages and the sharing of knowledge within the diverse nursing community.

4. A friend I graduated high school with now lives in Phoenix and was able to meet up with us. We had a good time catching up, even though he brought along incriminating photos of us as teenagers in the '80s.

5. We found the most gigantic Saguaro cactus any of us had ever seen! Granted I don't get much exposure to such plants in NJ but Mom's been in Arizona over ten years now and likes to hike in cactus country. Still, I got all touristy and took a zillion pictures of it. I even made Nurse Kat stand in front of it, to show scale - she's about 5'4".

6. We went to the Casa Grande Ruins, America's oldest condo complex which is located in what's possibly the oldest planned community. It was pretty cool to see. It was not at all cool outside - the temp got up to 105°!

7. My mom's house looks great! In the last year, she renovated the entire place; new floors, fresh paint, new window treatments, all new kitchen. She did a ton of the work herself, too - it was an enormous undertaking. Worth it, though, as her house is now decorated exactly to her taste. Color me very jealous of her progress...especially the kitchen.

8. We hiked on the gorgeous Peralta Trail in the Superstition Mountains.

9. We met a desert tortoise at the Casa Grande Ruins. He's shown here, parked half under his dinner. I think his head is toward the wall. He did stick it out while we were there but not for very long. He is a very recent addition to the Ruins environment - he'd only just arrived on the day we went. I was astonished at how long the boys stood watching the tortoise do nothing. They were (mostly) still! And (mostly) quiet! Makes me think a porpoise might make a very good pet around here...

My sister got her first real live, not student-nursing related nursing job! Actually, this happened a few days after we got home but I'm late to blog about the trip so it gets to be included.

21 May 2007

Swaparooni! Pink & Green, part 1

OMSH is hosting a great Swaparooni with a green & pink theme. For those new to the fun, a "swap" is basically an exchange of things along a particular theme, with people you barely know (or know extremely well, but entirely from reading their blog). Many swaps are craft-related but for those of us who are craft-crippled, there are swaps with more open themes. OMSH organized a black & white swap before this one but I was either too shy or too busy (you decide) to try it...green & pink, though - how could I not?

I'm paired with a woman in Arizona (funny - I found out the day after we flew back) who I have only a vague idea of. I read her sister-in-law's blog pretty religiously, but her own blog is not updated very often. The bit I do know about her suggests she'll like similar things to my own tastes, so I fixed the green & pink theme in my head and set off. What fun! It was a treat to sneak off for some shopping that didn't involve groceries or buying kids' pants because all the pairs we own have holes in the knees (thank god shorts season is FINALLY here). I also made a couple of things that she will either totally love or use to form her opinion that I'm off my rocker - maybe both.

Last night, I finally got everything finished and into packable condition. Tonight, I packed the box:

I'll take it over to the post office and mail it tomorrow - wheeeee! Pictures of what's inside will be posted once I know it's arrived. I don't want to spoil the surprise in case my swap-buddy reads my blog.

Inspiring the Neighbors

"There's strawberry-rhubarb pie," says Chris as I walk in, "Mr. K. brought it over. Apparently, I inspired Mrs. K. to bake pie so she made one for us, too."

"Wow!" I sniff the fresh pie appreciatively, hoping dinner won't be too filling. "What did you do to inspire pie?"

"I have no idea. We were talking about cutting down trees."

"What did Mr. K. say when he brought it over?"

"He said he didn't know how trees got to baking either, but he wasn't about to question fresh pie." Chris also elected not to ask and the pie was unquestionably good.

20 May 2007

Sunday Stealing from Fraukow via Epiphany

1. Introduce yourself.
Hello, I'm Karen and I'm a week behind with my stolen questions.

2. It's Wednesday at noon, where are you usually?
Working, hopefully from home.

3. What kind of laundry detergent do you use?
Era, Dark Cheer, or Woolite, plus Oxyclean and Downy.

4. What brand of shampoo is in your shower right now?
Body Shop Olive Glossing Shampoo

5. Did you ever get into a bar and drink before you were 21?
I get proofed more often now than I did back then.

6. What countries have you been to?
USA, Canada, Germany, England, USSR (Russia), Hungary, Poland, Japan, Ireland, Antigua, China.

7. Do you watch MTV anymore?
No, and I never really did - I didn't get cable until I was 30 and had kids.

8. What do you think about Oprah?
I wish I had 1/342nd of her savings account.

9. What color are your bed sheets?
Blue striped, blue plaid, wheat, or sage.

10. You need a new pair of jeans: what store do you go to first?

11. Did you ever watch The O.C.?
No, but I work with a guy called O'C.

12. What kind of car do you drive?
VW Jetta 1.8 Turbo - LOVE. IT.

13. Honestly, is that car insured?
Absolutely. I live in NJ and am not (yet) entirely insane.

14. Do you like sushi?
Yes, and so does Ross.

15. Have you ever been to Tiffany & Co. or Saks 5th Ave?
Yes, I'm lucky enough to have shopped in both.
Also, I'm currently working on lighting controls for several Tiffany's satellite locations...think I'll be able to get a discount?

16. Did your parents spoil you growing up?
I didn't think so back then.

17. Do you like roller coasters?
Happily, so does Ross.

18. What magazine(s) do you buy regularly or subscribe to?

Home: Scientific American, Smithsonian, Allure, Everyday Food, Cook’s Illustrated, Travel & Leisure, New Jersey, Departures, Antiques, Games

Professional: ESTA Protocol, Archi-tech, LiveDesign, NEC Digest, Lighting & Sound America, PLSN

Kids: National Geographic Kids, Lego Magazine, USA Hockey Magazine

Extra: Bibliofilly brings her New Yorkers (and sometimes Real Simples) over when she’s done with them. I also read People at Fraukow’s whenever we visit.

19. Do you remember the WB show Popular?
Never watched it.

20. When you go out do you prefer to go to a dance club or to a bar?
I prefer to go to a good restaurant.

21. What do you think about gay marriage?
I support unions between loving couples.

22. Who do you think will be the next president?
Nice weather we're having, eh?

23. Are you registered to vote?

24. Do you own an iPod?

25. Is your bathroom filled with beauty stuff?
Not really. I own some makeup but rarely wear any. My indulgence is facial scrub, mask, and moisturizer from Sabon.

26. What do you normally smell like?
Heavenly from Victoria's Secret. I get lots of compliments on it, so I keep wearing it.

27. Do you like Carrie Underwood?
I don't know her.

28. Been to "The Vegas"?
Many times, mainly work-related. I do like to sneak off to ride the Big Shot, though.

29. How far away do you live from your parents?
2,200 miles from my mom

30. Are you happy with your job?

31. Where do you work and what do you do there?
I am a lighting control specialist for a manufacturer's representative
agency in architectural lighting.

32. What did you get in the mail today?
A wedding invitation, a Cranium Club packet, USA Hockey registration cards for the kids, June issue of Allure, and a bunch of junk.

33. How do you like your steak cooked?
Medium rare.

34. Britney Spears. Ready to have a nervous break down or just having fun?
Ask Dave Barry - his blog keeps up with her more than I do.

35. What do you usually order at Taco Bell?
Directions to Mighty Taco.

36. Have you ever sat all the way through Gone With the Wind?
Not yet.

37. Have you ever been to Mt Rushmore?
Yes, but I was very young and don’t really remember it.

38. Is it just me, or was The Marine (w/John Cena) a really horrible movie?
I haven't seen it.

39. Are surveys like the cocaine of myspace?

40. Where is your favorite place (that you have actually been to)?

Hard question! I've been to some sincerely amazing places. If I could sort out my favorite, I would probably align my life to be able to be there more often.

41. What is your favorite candle scent?
I like different scents in different places and I'm mainly hooked on PartyLite scents (blame Fraukow). In my den, I like fresh scents like lemongrass or cotton blossom or something citrus. In the bathroom, I prefer ocean mist or seaside mist or spring water. In other rooms it depends on the time of year or my mood. I have an assortment of spice-based (ginger, cinnamon, mint) or plant-based (bayberry, pine) regulars and a few one-off scents that I try because they sound interesting.

42. Do you believe places can really be haunted?

43. Do you smoke cigarettes?

44. Have you ever been to NYC or LA?

45. How many states have you been to where all you saw was the airport?
None. I’ve at least seen the inside of a shuttle and a theatre in the states I’ve flown into.

46. Do you think 50 questions is enough?
More than enough for one sitting.

47. Are you currently planning a trip?
Several: Wilson, NY (three times over the summer); Toronto, ONT; Bethlehem, PA; Dunnville, ONT. We also just got back from visiting my mom and sister in Arizona.

48. Is Ryan Seacrest gay?
If I knew who he was, I might have a guess.

49. Do you take anti-depressants? Sleeping pills?

50. What do you think about space travel?
I wonder if it will one day be as commonplace as air travel is today.

18 May 2007

Cue "We Have A Winner" Music

I won a contest! Amanda, of The Naked Ledger at ClubMom and Mandajuice, posted a 'guess my grocery total' contest earlier this week. I entered by guessing the total in comments, along with about 67 others, and my guess was closest - only six cents off! My sister is a life-long The Price Is Right fan and I'm counting on her to be impressed by my grocery totalling prowess (especially considering the items are things I don't buy and California pricing!). For the record, I'm delighted with my win!

17 May 2007

Tough Choices; No Regrets

At the end of April (when I was sincerely too busy to blog), the boys skated their hearts out before a panel of coaches in tryouts for the Bridgewater Bears, a travel hockey club. Even at the Mites level not every skater makes the cut, so the boys were very excited when they were both offered spots on the roster!

As if that wasn't enough excitement in that week, 4:00am Friday found us piled into the car, bound for Lake Placid where my hockey team was entered in a tournament for the Lake Placid Cup. Three days in Lake Placid with a pile of friends and their kids, lots of Olympic sights to see, shopping, and hockey games - as family weekends go, there's not much more we could hope for.

The plan was for my team to skate in rounds on Friday and Saturday, with only playoff games scheduled on Sunday. Since my team is extremely recreational, we didn't go in expecting to make the playoffs so, when the boys were given the chance to skate "Mites on Ice" at the Rangers vs. Sabres NHL playoff game in Madison Square Garden that Sunday, Chris and I said yes to it right away! We'd be up at 4am Friday to drive five hours, why not do the same on Sunday? The kids were to watch warm-ups from the tunnel in MSG, first period from an NHL dressing room, skate between 1st and 2nd periods, and then get audience seats for the rest of the game. They might even have a chance to meet some of the players. Each skater could have one parent attend - and, trust me, ALL of us were excited!

And then - huge surprise - my team actually won our first game in the tournament! We played well in the following games, too, and by Saturday
afternoon it was pretty clear we'd be in the playoffs on Sunday.

Everyone on my team was supporting my choice to go back to NYC to see my kids skate on NHL ice (and to see the Sabres, of course), but I was feeling awful about deserting my team - I had, after all, committed to skate the tournament with them long before the Mites on Ice NHL opportunity came up.

So, we were wandering the main street of Lake Placid, shopping, having ice cream, and discussing the world when the call came: the ice at MSG was in horrible condition and the Rangers had cancelled all non-NHL activity...including our Mites on Ice. I'm not sure how much damage twelve 40-50lb kids can do but apparently the Rangers were worried. The game tickets were still on offer but the kids wouldn't get to do any of the fun stuff before and there was no chance of meeting players. I can't describe the disappointment!

Poor Chris got saddled with calling each family (he's the team manager) to let them know that skating at the game was off and our family mood was bleak, especially mine. Without the kids actually skating, I had to re-make my choice about what to do on Sunday. An NHL playoff game is a big deal - especially if you have free tickets - and an even bigger deal when the contest is between the Sabres (our family team) and the Rangers (Ross' favorite team). But I'd made a commitment to my team to play for them...and our tournament was also on Big Deal Ice - the 1980 rink in Lake Placid is the site of the single most famous victory in hockey history, where a team of USA college kids beat the Russian professional team who'd long held Olympic gold.

Eventually, I realized my place was there, in Lake Placid, with my own team. I started to tell Chris but he already knew what I'd say. We briefly discussed his driving back with the kids to see the NHL game (I could get a ride home with a teammate), but he really wanted to stay to see me play. It was also a pretty easy call for Lars but it was AWFUL for Ross. His heart had been set on going to a live Rangers game - a chance he knows will not come often. Even without being able to skate, he really wanted to go to the game. After we made the decision (3-1, poor Ross!) to stay in Lake Placid, he was heartbroken. He sobbed on and off for hours - fresh waves of sadness seemed to grip him every time he thought about it...it broke my heart that I couldn't make him feel better.

Sunday morning dawned early anyhow - we got up before the sun to eat breakfast and get to the rink by 7am to cheer our friends playing in a different division. After their game, we toured the Olympic Ski Jump Complex before returning to the rink for my final game.

Chris and the kids cheered their hearts out for my team. We scored first (I got the assist!) and there was much celebration (we were up against a difficult team with a very good goalie) but weren't able to win the game. Still, we won silver medals for second place!

I think we all had more fun staying in Lake Placid than we would have had at the NHL game. I know my team appreciated having fans much more than any NHL player possibly could! Ross is still a little sad that he didn't get to see the Rangers play live (especially since the game went into two overtimes and the Rangers finally won!) and, in the end, none of us (including Ross) have any regrets.

Full picture set here & videos here

16 May 2007

Words Every Wife Dreads

"Honey? We need a big bucket!"

It's worse when these words are followed by a sluicing noise and then a thud, indicating that the husband who'd just yelled had also just verified that, yes, the back deck is still very slick when wet.

So, what happened? The plastic cover over the vent fan in our attic ceiling blew off the roof, allowing torrents of rain to pour directly into the attic. The rain is now being funnelled into a big laundry bucket - Chris will go up to replace the roof cover when the roof isn't wet.

For the record, our basement? Very dry. (Do dance here!)

06 May 2007

Poem In Your Pocket Day

Ross wrote his own poem for "Poem In Your Pocket Day" at school last week. Here it is, verbatim:


Stiks slaping at pucks
and banging aganst pads.
Goiles making great saves.
fans cheering flag waving
and much more I just
wish they score


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