Tuesday, March 30, 2010

fine arts filled weekend part 2

Kara was in a production this weekend at school, so Mom and I drove out there together on Saturday afternoon to see her.  I got to drive Mom's car, which is fabulous.  We yapped the whole way up and back, it was so nice.  I was expecting to be riding alone, so I was glad Mom called me and came along.  I feel like I haven't had time with just the two of us with no distractions in years.  She made us ham salad and liverwurst sandwiches for the ride, they were skinny and good!  :) 

This show was different than the other shows Kara has been in - it was a compilation of contemporary one-act plays by David Ives called All in the Timing.  I wasn't sure if I was going to love it from the way she was describing it to me, but I can't miss seeing Kara in her element, so of course I went.

It was GREAT.  It was really, really funny -  I was laughing throughout most of the show, and it was obvious the audience loved it.  Kara was in Variations on the Death of Trotsky, Variations 1-8, and also Universal Language. 

Each play she was in was pretty much just her and another person, and the stage was different -- right on the level as the audience, so it was like they were right there in front of you.  In the Death of Trotsky, she played Trotsky's wife and spoke in a Russian accent.  It was so funny.   Then in Universal Language, she had SO MANY lines to memorize and half of the lines were in a sort of gibberish, so it must have been hard, but she totally rocked it.  Both of the guys in the scenes with her were really good too. 

She is a great actor.  Especially comedic roles, and she totally puts her little twist on things and just seems to own the stage.   I think theater in college has just fine-tuned her skills.  Being in all of these different productions, other than just musicals, has really helped her grow and learn.  I'm so proud of her!   I can't believe she is going to be a senior next semester!  That's crazy.

After the show, we walked to one of the dining halls and got a slice of white pizza and chatted for a bit.  We couldn't stay too long, Kara had to be back on stage for the last production, and we had to get going.

I got home and Alex had the girls ready to go and we snuck out to get some sushi for dinner.

What a perfect day. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

fine arts filled weekend part 1

I forgot that Alex got chosen for Junior High All County Chorus.  Or maybe I should say, Alex forgot to mention that he got chosen for Junior High All County Chorus.  I kind of wasn't expecting to attend these shows til Megan (who actually can't carry a tune, though she sings with gusto) was old enough to participate in the music programs, then Alex went and surprised us all with his singing abilities.  Kara was chosen for All County and All State every year from sixth grade through her senior year, so these past few years I have kind of missed it.

So Friday night, we popped the little girls in the car and headed to Hunter, which is actually the farthest school in the whole county.  Funny how it always works out that way.  It was a nice drive though, except for the occasional cries from Megan that we were going to fall off of the mountain and die a horrible fiery death.  Megan can be a little on the fearful/dramatic side.

(thanks Heather!)

We ran into some friends who were there to watch their daughter in the band portion of the program, and we sat with them on the bleachers.  My camera was being SO ANNOYING, so I got bad pictures, but thankfully my friend Heather was on it and got a few good shots for me. 

Alex did great, I was really impressed.  He barely giggled and the music was really good.  He came out looking happy, and feeling good about being chosen, so we stopped and got an ice cream on the way home.  Thankfully it was dark, so Megan didn't notice how perilously close to the edge we were on our way back down the mountain.  When we got out of the car to get the ice-cream, I noticed Alex forgot his black socks and had his bright white athletic socks on with his suit pants and  dress shoes.  I distinctly recall asking him if he had them before he left, and I distinctly recall him assuring me they were in his bag.  Goofball.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

what's for dinner?

It's definitely like clockwork. At some point during the day, my husband will call me and ask, "What's for dinner tonight hon?"

I guess he likes to think about it a while before he gets home. Either that or the fact that he grew up at his grandparent's dinner table spoiled him. Now THEY can cook! I know he wishes I could cook Italian like his grandma, German like his grandfather. Hey, I can't help it that my heritage is so mixed that those cooking genes don't shine in me!

DINNER.

I love to cook for my family, I just wish it wasn't such a pain to come up with something tasty to all, affordable and not out of control time consuming to create. I hate recipes that call for one elusive little ingredient that you can never find.


I am pretty lucky. Most of my kids will eat what I put before them. There are complaints occasionally, but it's not too bad. I know Alex can't stomach peas, so I don't really cook those -- why set yourself up for a dinnertime meltdown? I know Brooke doesn't like sauce on her pasta -- so I leave hers bare. Megan on the other hand, will clean her plate -- it is a rare evening when she complains or won't eat her dinner, no matter what it is. Kara hates my cooking, but she suffered through it til she moved away for college. I don't cook for her too much anymore, and I am sure she is glad of that. At least she likes my meatloaf.


So anyway, I found this easy, inexpensive, yummy (Italian) meal that everyone in the family seems to really like.  I love easy, good meals.  I did a few things differently than the original recipe, which of course involved a homemade sauce and homemade meatballs.  It was just as good with a few shortcuts to save some time, and there was enough for plenty of leftovers.


RIGATE MEATBALL BAKE

1 1 lb Box of Penne Rigate
1 26.5 oz can Hunts Traditional Spaghetti Sauce
1 12 oz package of Turkey Meatballs (Shady Brook Farms Italian Style)
8 oz low fat shredded mozzerella
3 TBL parmesan cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Cook rigate according to directions.  Cut meatballs in half,  add to sauce.  Heat sauce and meatballs for about 10 minutes.  Drain noodles when cooked.  Combine noodles with sauce and meatballs and place in casserole dish.  Spread cheese over pasta.  Bake about 20 minutes.  Serve with salad and rolls.

The end!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

off the grid

I may have to delete my previously written hysteria-filled rant about my DVR if I want to be taken at all seriously with this post I am about to write.  One might draw the conclusion, based solely on that post, that I am a little too reliant on the technological things that I have accumulated and grown accustomed to in my life...  

I can see why one might think that.  But lets just pretend I never wrote that for now.

Imagine this...

-selling all of our worldly possessions, keeping ONLY what we need.
-buying a piece of property in the woods or mountains, somewhere remote - with a fresh water source nearby.
-building a small house, only what we need, utilizing wind and solar energy - going OFF THE GRID as much as possible
-planting gardens and growing and canning fruits and veggies
-getting some chickens and a cow or goat (for milk, eggs)
-fishing, hunting -- what we need to eat
-using the internet as some type of a job/way to make money -- on your own terms

OK, I know you all think I am a crazy freak.  But I really think about how amazing it would be to be able to be off the grid -- not owe anybody anything, be in charge of exactly what you put into your mouth and really just live within your means, building and creating your own necessities -- kinda like Laura Ingalls.



I always wanted to be Laura Ingalls.




Alright, let me have it.  If any of my sisters read this, I can't wait to hear about how I could never survive, how I would hate it, blahblahblah.

I think I COULD survive.  Hmph.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Emergency Broadcasting!

This is an emergency!
Seriously.

My DVR is not doing it's thing. 

I have to SIT THROUGH the commercials!  I have to watch TV in REAL TIME!   I can't watch both shows that air at the same time!  I can't even REWIND!!  What am I, an animal??!  I mean, I know it's been less than 24 hours, but My God.  What have I done to deserve this??

Please let's all just say a little prayer that the cable guy shows up today as promised.

I do not know what will become of me if I have to suffer through another night of this madness.


Monday, March 22, 2010

really?

Well, it's official.

My airhead son has lost his brand new retainers and the flashy orange marble case they were in.  I find it somewhat interesting how he has found a way to keep track of his cell phone.

He got them less than two weeks ago.

Alex was informed that if he lost his retainers, he would have to pay to replace them.  The replacement cost is a whopping $137 for each tiny piece of plastic, for a grand total of $274.   He reluctantly gave me his first installment of $25 today, and will be handing over all future earnings til he is paid up. 

Anyone need an able-bodied, hardworking dim bulb young boy to do any yard work in the near future?

Friday, March 19, 2010

six hours


I didn't load ONE dish.  I didn't fold ONE article of clothing, or make ONE bed.  I didn't sweep ONE floor (ok I lied, I had to sweep).  I didn't wipe ONE hiney, read ONE storybook or play ONE game of Memory, Trouble or Crazy Old Eights.  I didn't have to share my soda or get someone something from somewhere.


I ran to the store to get Photoshop all by myself.  I did a return at the craft store, effortlessly.  I bought some fabric and mosied (is that a word??) around the store with leisure.  Then I came home and loaded Photoshop and messed with it and blogged and read and facebooked and ate toast and smiled at the sun and listened to the quiet. 

It was great. 

But all of a sudden, at about hour 4.5, I started missing the noise.  I started feeling a little lonely for my little blonde-headed side-kick who had a play date right after preschool.  And I started counting down the minutes til she would get home, and then my other punks too.  I started glancing at the clock wishing my Hon would surprise me and come home early and sit next to me on the couch so I could poke him with my toes til he'd squeeze my feet.

Sheesh.

I always crave alone time, and I am shocked and dismayed that I couldn't even hack six hours to myself!

WOOP!  Kids are home -- gotta go! Don't tell anyone, but I already set up Memory on the floor in the family room in case someone wants to play with me. :)

friday feature

Week three... and already I am stumped as to who I want to feature today.  I was thinking of featuring another family member.  Then  I thought about going with a famous person.  Then again I could always go with a friend.  Maybe this was a dumb idea after all.

Alex is jealous that I featured John & Ty and not him.  It's not his turn yet, so I'm not going to be guilted into doing a feature on him til I'm good and ready.  And I will be ready on April 25.  That is the plan, and I'm sticking to it.

So today I am featuring.....

nobody.  But next Friday's feature will be awesome!  I promise!

It's too nice out to try to decide what to write. 
Besides,  I just loaded photoshop and I am PLAYING and LEARNING and having so much fun with it.

Look out!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

do the math

I so value a few minutes of peace.

I love having just a little bit of quiet, time to myself.


I (almost) definitely get 2 hours and 45 minutes ALL TO MYSELF on Monday mornings. Unless of course there is a sick kid, orthodontist appointment or something else of that nature.


The other 165 hours and 15 minutes of the week goes to everything else. Alright, let me re-do that math, because when I am sleeping I (kinda) have some peace. So, I usually get about 7 hours of sleep a night, but trust me -- there are interruptions. I wake at about 1:30 am (98.9% of the time) to hear the sound of a little peanut's feet running so fast down the hall to my room. Then she shuffles her warm little self over me to climb in bed between me and her dad. Then she rubs her pokey little toes all over my legs. And makes sleepy, slurpy noises as she burrows in while snuggling her blankie and sucking her finger. Sometimes, if I am thoroughly woken up, I lay looking at the moon -- thinking and tossing and turning. Sometimes that leads me to getting up and walking the little peanut back to her own bed, which leads to a repeat of the above scenario a few hours later. But I'll still give you the 7 hours of sleep a night.


So that means I spend AT LEAST 105 hours a week DOING things for everyone else.


Boy.


That's a lot of hours.


I sure do love my crazy life. :)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

balance

When I started this blog last year, I was thinking that it would be like a journal -- except unless I make it private, it really can't BE a journal.  There are too many things that I would love to write out that just aren't for sharing...  and what's the point of a private blog anyway? Might as well just keep a journal in word, if you plan on writing solely for yourself.

So I'm finding it hard to find that balance -- open honesty, feelings, thoughts... what ifs.  What if I told a story about someone, my perception of events and theirs could differ dramatically.  Does it make my story less true?  What if I put something out there and others find it, find me, wrong or bad somehow.

I remember a time in high school, specifically, a new year - entering a new grade, feeling that the possibilities are endless for starting fresh and wiping slates clean - reinventing.  I remember walking down that depressing and dark back hall, surrounded by cold, mint green painted concrete, bouncing between noisy hapless teen-agers and thinking, "I don't care what people think of me."  I always felt sort of alone and misunderstood among the throngs of people I surrounded myself with.  I felt dumb.  I wanted to be a girl full of confidence, full of intellect, talented, coordinated, artistic.   

But that day, I decided.  I decided that I wasn't going to care what people thought of me.  Or, I at least wasn't going to let people's interpretation of me affect what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be.  If I could approach life and be respectful and considerate of others, then it was OK to be me, the way I was.

I definitely stumbled along the way.  There is much that I've been ashamed of, many that are deserving of my apologies.  I definitely succumbed to nagging thoughts of being worthless, bad, of doing things wrong and hurting others. 

This is my path though.  I'm not exactly sure where I am going, but I know I will get there eventually.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

dreary

Happy weekend to me! 

Except it's drizzley and dreary out...

But that's OK!

Because we're all kicking around doing not much of anything, and that's my favorite.

Brooke and Megan are happily fighting playing dollhouse in the other room. 

Brooke is so bossy.  

Little Alex slept over at Bridgett's and he's going to be babysitting at Indi's for a little while.

My hon just went upstairs to brush his teeth.
My teeth need brushing. 
I think I will go join him. 

Because that's just the kind of day it is.



Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Features - T-Bone

I think I am going to start doing Friday Features, where I will feature someone in my life. I'll feature family or friends, maybe even a random interesting person or two. Maybe I will throw in an interview.  If I like doing it and it's fun and not stressful, maybe I will turn it into a regular Friday thing. I kinda like having something definite to blog about, it's almost like an assignment, like a REAL JOB. hmmm... I sort of did a feature on my brother-in-law John last week -- maybe I could do one on my other brother-in-law Tyrone, or as I often refer to him-- T-Bone.

So...what can I say about T-Bone, besides the fact that he has really cute salt and pepper hair...




Tyrone was born in Ireland and came to the US with his family when he was 6-ish. I remember what a big deal it was actually, when their family moved into town, because (a) we are from a little dinky, one-light country town and nothing super cool ever happens here, and (b) this big old Irish brogue-talking family with 6 kids turns up and they were nice and interesting!

So, Ty and his family became part of the people that we all grew up with in this little corner of the world -- the brogue eventually went away for him and his siblings though it can definitely still come out with a few Dark & Stormy's under their belts.


--Ty and my sister Ali started "going out" when they were 14 and 16, respectively.


--Ty was a highly energetic, obnoxious, crazy boy, and I didn't really like him much till he and my sister actually got married. (sorry Ty - LOL)


--Ty buys a lot of herbal medicines and remedies off of TV and may be a teensy bit neurotic about his health.


--We sometimes refer to Ty as Frugal Freddie.


--Tyrone only has one kidney.


--Ty enjoys a good Guinness.


--Ty and Ali have three kids, and most of their lives is consumed by traipsing them all over creation for their sports activities (Kieran plays soccer year-round, and Bridgett and Brenna are both competitive gymnasts).


--Frugal Freddie has surprised us all by recently pulling the trigger on bucking up for some rather expensive things, such as an in ground swimming pool, a new fireplace, a fancy 5-star hotel-ish shower in the master bathroom, and now I might even have him convinced to buy a camper!


--Ty has one of the best work ethics of anyone I know, he has a lot of great, creative ideas and he is an incredibly hard worker - he never puts in less than 100%.


--Ty has been known to have a hair-trigger temper, but I really think he may have outgrown it.


--Ty is definitely someone who you can always count on for help - he just is that guy you could call if you need anything.


--Ty is a great husband and father. He takes care of his family, and truly loves my sister. I really can't imagine them ever apart.






Thursday, March 11, 2010

messing around with color and light

I took
<---- this picture of myself
last spring












...and turned it into this --->




then this


I think this one is my favorite

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fictionary

I have always been positive that I made up the word "bacne," but I just heard it on a movie!  Someone stole my word!

I also take all credit for the words mandles, moobs and murse, but when I tried to submit them to urbanditionary.com they were already there.

Someone is stealing my homemade words.

I love making up words and then using them in every day conversation.  Remember that episode of Seinfeld where they were talking about the "Bro," a bra for men?   I thought that was an awesome episode.  That's kind of like what me and my sisters do.  Strange, yes - as is my life occasionally.  Here is my dictionary of some of our homemade words. There are definitely more, trust me, and I will add them as I think of them.  Please feel free to comment with your homemade words, I won't steal them...I promise. :)

bacne - bac ne, n. Acne on one's back.  "Maybe I shouldn't wear this halter until my bacne clears up."

mandles - man duls, n. Sandles worn by a man.  "I saw Vinny on Main Street and he was sporting some serious mandles!" 

moob - moob, n. Man boob.  "Dude, you should really put those moobs away."

murse - murse, n. Man purse.  "My uncle rolls with a black leather  murse and he is proud of it."

Monday, March 8, 2010

12 steps

I've been reading blogs like a blog-a-holic. 

I'll say it outloud,  I am Jessee, and I am addicted to blogs. 

I have found that hours will pass while I am deeply immersed in blogs.  I have stolen away from the kids to get a quick blog-fix in the privacy of the bathroom.  I've avoided answering the phone so I don't lose  my place online.  I have even hidden my blog-reading from my husband.

What is wrong with me???

The problem is, there are are SO MANY great blogs out there!  Literally hundreds of thousands of blogs with ridiculous amounts of useful information!  I've been gravitating towards the crafty blogs lately, because I am a wanna-be crafty gal.  I also read blogs written by other moms, funny blogs that make me chuckle.

I have such blog envy.  So many blogs are really well written, and have fun and interesting graphics.  I wonder where they come up with the ideas that they use for posts... I want to write a really cool blog that people want to read, but all that I have to draw from is my average/not very exciting life.

Well, at the very least I know I am not alone.  Since reading all of these blogs, I am positive there are thousands of people out there just like me. :) 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

high noon

I've been trying to convince my brother-in-law John to make a blog.  The main reason is because he said my blog was boring and uninspirational and I want to prove to him that blogs are not all alike, and I want to make fun of his.  The other reason is because he is really funny -- he has a ton of funny stories to tell about every day life.  One of his motivating factors in doing things at all is because of the potential story to be told after. 

A little background info on John:
-John is almost 40 and he grew up on Long Island.
-John is brownish and comes from Argentina.  His own daughter used to think he was black, but he is actually caucasian.
-I met him at college, we were on the same floor.
-The first time I noticed him, I thought he was a huge jerk.
-I introduced him to my sister and they started dating (obviously we have never had the same taste in guys).
-After an on and off relationship for a few years, John and Jen got married.
-They had 3 kids together.
-At a very young age, John decided that he wanted to own a marina, so he made it happen.
-Jen, John and the kids packed up and moved to CT, where they bought a marina on the Long Island sound, and over time turned it into a very successful business.
-John likes to aquire things.  He has the hottest Harley I've ever seen, as well as an Indian motorcycle, boats, snowmobiles, a golf cart and four-wheelers.  He also has a Denali, a pick-up and two Saabs.  I think he wants a little bulldozer.  Mark my words, he will get it.
-John is loud, and opinionated. He can come off as harsh and a snitch obnoxious when he drinks too many martinis, but he is also incredibly loyal, funny, hardworking, smart, insightful, and I know he would try to save my life in a disaster.  I feel like John is someone that I can always count on, and I consider him to be one of my very best friends.
A lot of John's funny stories revolve around things that happen at the marina, as the result of being a business owner and such.  Recently John was pissed because he had made an appointment to interview a guy for a position at the marina and the guy showed up 45 minutes late.  So I asked him, "Well, what time did you tell him to come in?"  and he said, "I told him to come in at high noon."  I'm like, "Does anyone really know what the heck time high noon actually is??  Why didn't you just tell him to come in at noon??"  His response was, "Because I wanted to see if he knew what high noon was."

A while back when John's brother was getting married, he decided to plan a "camping" bachelor party and he coerced my innocent unsuspecting husband into attending.  I figured, how bad can an overnight hiking/camping trip with a couple of guys get?  I should have know better... unbeknownst to the attendees (and their wives), John hired this stripper exotic dancer from NYC to hike a few hundred feet up this mountain in frigid temperatures and put on a little show for his brother.  She actually showed up ($1000 later...), with a gun-toting body guard and a boombox.  He claims that the only reason he did such a thing was for the story...  my husband tried to tell me she kept her clothes on because it was so cold.  Hmph.

Monday, March 1, 2010

snow... snow... snow...




lions and lambs


When we come into this month, I always think of the old saying, "March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb."  I don't mind waiting for the snow to melt and the soggy, muddy ground to begin to dry up, because I know it leads to the little crocus' trying to peek through and start growing, the grass gradually turning from faded brown to green, and the sweet little buds starting to become noticeable on the trees.  The Lion/Lamb thing is a pretty accurate description of the way things go here, where we live.  I'm patiently waiting for the lamb...