Friday, July 30, 2010

Saturday Samplings - I Do Believe in Fairies!

Welcome to Saturday Sampling, hosted by her awesomeness, Mrs4444! SS is a collection of best posts from around Blogdom this week. You are welcome and encouraged to link up anyone's post that moved you, or showcase your blog and your writing; if someone read only one of your posts this week, which one would you want them to read? If you didn't write anything special this week, link to an older post, or just sit back and read the ones here. To learn more about Saturday Sampling head on over to Half-Past Kissin' Time and all the questions of the universe will be answered!

A post that moved me today is Fragmented Fridays by Unknown Mami. She talks about Family and how some of the best ones are not made up of blood relatives. She is a wonderful writer, whom I think you will fall in love with at the word, "Family." And, if you would, please leave her some love!

A recent post of mine was about the Tooth Fairy and Rock. I had so much fun recalling the story (it's a true story). You can read it here. Hope you enjoy it!

Thank you Mrs4444 for hosting this very special meme where we can bring to the attention of your many readers, the posts we loved best! Please click here to link up with others who have some wonderful stories to tell!

Have a great Saturday!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Writer's Workshop - My Furry Friend

Do you Haiku?

I love the challenges presented by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop over at Mama's Losin' It. This is my contribution to this week's workshop. It's a little lame and a little corny, but if you let yourself get silly with me, you might just get a chuckle!

This is dedicated to our family pet, Tootsie!

Ah, my muffin noir
How I love your warm caress
Sit with me awhile

Your perfect eyes see
What your nose knows very well
Be my guide today

Dancing with nature
Wooded yards, electric fence
Not too close my sweets

What is this you say?
You think it smells like perfume?
It’s Deer pee, my love.

My dear chocolate,
Walk along the streets with me.
Leave your mark quietly

My hands search your skin
Find the special “oh yeah” spot
Kicking endlessly

Thanks for the visit! This silly ditty was brought to you by Writer's Workshop and Mama Kat over at Mama's Losin' It. Click on the logo and get some great reads in!

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Summer Babies!

Hop over to A Walk Through My Little World and join in with the month-long birthday party. Candlequeen has been honoring everyone with summer birthdays. You may get caught up with the party and want to read prior posts. Please do as this lady is hilarious!

My first pick is of Katya's 3rd birthday cake. We had only lived in St. Louis a few months and she did not have her social club together yet!

Of course, Ed, my social butterfly celebrated her 5th birthday with all of her lovely preschool posse! They dressed up, had nails and makeup done, glued flowers and netting to the hats, and just before everyone dove into the cake, a fashion show with runway models!

Hero, Rock and a friend the morning after a night of drinking Mountain Dew! I will say no more!

Thanks for stopping by. I'm still looking for MY birthday photos.....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Saturdy Samplings - Three Things

I was playing catch up with my blog reading today and I came across this incredible post by Gutsy Writer. She writes of some very important lessons she learned from her amazing mother about how to raise emotional healthy kids. She also writes about the differences in how certain families teach their children life's lessons.

As I read her post, tears streamed down my face because I realized the many simple lessons that were not put in place when my kids were younger, and I wondered how I could ever make up for these shortcomings. There are cycles that I had hoped would be broken. There are new behaviors that have resulted from stressed relationships and unresolved childhood issues. My one redeeming factor, I believe, is that God has blessed me with very intelligent, compassionate and intuitive children. I can talk to them now about so much more than I ever could before.

I didn't post anything of substance this week, so my sampling is the July 22nd post by Gutsy Writer. Please take a few minutes to read her compelling words and leave her some love when you are finished!

Thank you Mrs4444 for hosting this very special meme where we can bring to the attention of your many readers, the posts we loved best! Please click here to link up with others who have some wonderful stories to tell!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a terrific weekend!

Friday Fragments Episode #104

Just a cool shot of Her Royal Gagness....from last week's concert!

I just finished week one of a two week temp job. I am exhausted, but I love the place where I work. It has, however, crimped my blogging time as the computer has a watch dog built into it. So, I write my posts in Word, email it to myself, then post it at night if I don't fall asleep face down at the dinner table!

This week I left "To Do" lists for my lovely cheribums! Katya jumped on hers and completed the list in two days! Edwina is still working on item #1. Rock is...well, Rock will come through eventually. He's still chilling from 17 years of back-breaking school! I even gave a list to Hero, who is on his own, but still likes to hear from me! I'm sure he had a good belly laugh when he read his list!

It's bug central at the No Excuses house! They all found out that I killed a momma spider last week, and then smashed her gazillion babies. Now, the house is bombarded with all kinds of critters out to get revenge! The problem is, I can only feel them crawling on me, but can't see them! It must be the ghosts of all of the bugs I've ever smashed! What goes around....!

Hope your day is great and that all your worries run and hide when they see you coming! Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you to the wonderful Mrs4444 for hosting this great Friday forum where we can talk about anything that might not make a whole post! Just click on the logo below and you will be swiftly transported to her blog!

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Writer's Workshop - Shake, Rattle & Roll!

No, this is not my car, nor is it my typical parking job!! This car belongs to some poor schmuck whose car was in an apartment parking garage/spot/space. This picture is one of many that I found on the Internet when I recently googled earthquakes.

I grew up in Southern California where earthquakes are almost as common as movie star sightings! The first quake that I recall experiencing was the San Fernando quake in 1971. I was a senior in high school and was sitting at my cabinet sewing machine. The windows rattled, the machine rattled, and then the whole cabinet fell over on to my lap. I pushed the machine back to the wall and quickly stepped away from it. No damage in my house. There were subsequent after shocks, some of which were good sized jolts.

There were various minor quakes and aftershocks during the next 10 years or so. The next quake I recall was the Palm Springs quake in 1986. It was very minor and I felt a gentle rolling. No damage anywhere in my house.

The Northridge quake in 1994 was felt strongly as it woke us up. It started with a sharp jolt and worked its way down to a rolling action. My kids's ages were 1, 3, 7 and 9. We jumped up, got them completely dressed and everyone took a spot on our bed. There was only one minor after shock within the next hour. No structural damage was done. My husband worked for a retail store at the time and their Northridge location was severely damaged. The building itself was damaged beyond repair and had to be rebuilt. There was broken glass from shelving all over the floor, as well as anything that had been on the walls.

In either the San Fernando or Northridge quakes, a freeway ramp broke and part of it fell to the ground below. Any cars that couldn't stop before the broken part, drove off and fell to the ground, as well. In the Northridge quake, there were apartment buildings that flattened like pancakes. There was loss of life and many were not able to retrieve their belongings because the buildings were not safe to enter.

Then we moved to St. Louis, and guess what? St. Louis sits on an earthquake fault line! In the last 15 years, I have only felt one minor rolling quake. Our family still goes through the "what do I do" motions. Rock, who was at college at the time, got up, dressed and was on his way to the stairs. He realized that everyone else had slept through it and were completely unaware. He went back to bed, but kept his clothes on.

The one thing great about California is that we all learned how to prepare for the possibility of no utilities or means of communication. Our cars had water, blankets, flashlights and batteries in case we were somewhere on the road. We kept all of our family photos in one place by the front door and a 30 gallon container of water somewhere in the house. The schools required (and hopefully, still do) that all students from preschool through high school brought in a gallon ziplock bag, with enough non-perishable food to last for two days. Every classroom had a large (trash) can to store the bags until the end of the school year when they were returned to the students.

We should all be so prepared for any natural disaster, like when the house shakes from Dad's temper tanrums because we ran out of beer, or something more important, from mom's temper tantrums when we run out of chocolate!

Thanks for the visit! This dissertation on Earthquakes was brought to you by Writer's Workshop and Mama Kat over at Mama's Losin' It. Click on the logo and get some great reads in!

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Wickedness - Ellen Style

I recently found this great meme sponsored by Wednesday Wickedness. Each week, Janera posts quotes from a well-known celebrity, and then poses questions to the reader following the quotes. This week's meme posts quotes from Ellen DeGeneres, actress, comedienne, talk show host, American Idol Judge, and various other prestigious affiliates. And, by the way Ellen, love the picture! Here we go!

1. "I was coming home from kindergarten--well they told me it was kindergarten. I found out later I had been working in a factory for ten years. It's good for a kid to know how to make gloves." How old were you when you started working and what was your first job?

My first job was sweeping and cleaning combs and brushes at a beauty parlor. My boss was the same person who I played school with five years earlier where discipline was handled by pulling scotch tape off the back of my neck. I’m okay; therapy helped.

2. "My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is." Tell us about your grandparents.

On my dad’s side…I never met my natural grandfather, but I hear he was quite an “outgoing individual.” My dad’s mom married him at 15, had my dad at 16 and then my aunt at 18. She divorced my grandfather and remarried another three times before she found her true love. My dad inherited the intelligence and movie star looks from both grandparents. On my mother’s side… her father was an architect and volunteer fireman. When he died, the town’s fire department transported his casket on one of the trucks to the cemetery. My grandmother had been a school teacher and continued to tutor in the home after starting a family. My mom inherited her best qualities of intelligence and drive

3. "Procrastination isn't the problem, it's the solution. So procrastinate now, don't put it off." Do you procrastinate or are you on top of the situations?

Well, Ellen, if I had all the personal assistants that you have, I would always be on top…of something. I am considered by some (especially my hubs) to be the Queen of Procrastination. I will do anything to avoid getting things done. If I were considered responsible, someone might take me seriously and expect great things from me. This way, I don’t stress out about not meeting anyone’s expectations.

4. "Sometimes you can't see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others." What would others say about you?

I’m a mean, old nasty mom who never lets her kids have fun. I meet everyone’s low expectations of me thereby never disappointing anyone. I care deeply about my family and friends and will always have their backs. When I see myself through the eyes of my reflection in the mirror, I am reminded that I need to start walking five miles a day.

5. "The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren't any space aliens. We can't be the best that creation has to offer. I pray we're not all there is. If so, we're in big trouble" Do you believe in life on other planets?

Damn straight I do! I married one and birthed four of them, all of whom are trying their best to turn me into one of them! I refuse to allow the aliens in my life mold me into what they think I should be. After all, if my head was that far out of proportion with my body, it would be very difficult finding hoodies that fit right!

6. "I'm a godmother, that's a great thing to be, a godmother. She calls me god for short, that's cute, I taught her that." Do you have a godchild?

Thanks, Ellen. I always thought that God might be a woman… I am godmother to beautiful young ladies. I just love the outfits I get to wear when I am doing my godmother duties…oh, wait, that’s fairy godmother. Well, they both get to wear great outfits! I have tutus in almost every color!

7. "I don't understand the sizes anymore. There's a size zero, which I didn't even know that they had. It must stand for: 'Ohhh my God, you're thin.'" When was the last time that you were called too thin?

Oh, how I long to hear those words! I fear that I may never hear anyone speak to me in that tone!

8. "I have the worst memory ever so no matter who comes up to me - they're just, like, 'I can't believe you don't remember me!" I'm like, 'Oh Dad I'm sorry!'" Who was the last person that you should have recognized but didn't?

My gynecologist. I don’t get to much of him when I visit.

9. "I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words." Do you work out? Have you ever joined a gym and quit almost immediately?

Ellen, I think we may have been separated at birth. I have joined dozens of gyms, and quit within a month. I have oodles of workout tapes, some of which still have the plastic seal on the box. I even used to be an aerobics teacher (a long, long time ago). I know it is essential for all of us to be doing something, but for me, it’s one of those procrastination items of mine…..

10. 'We use 10 percent of our brains. Imagine how much we could accomplish if we used the other 60 percent." Do you feel that you utilize all your intelligence in every situation?

I get in enough trouble using just ten percent. Lord, helps us all if I ever take it to the next level, like 11%!

Thanks for hanging out with me for a few minutes. Please pop over to Wicked and say hello! Just click on the logo for Wednesday Wickedness below!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Not So Quiet Storm

I took this picture earlier today, knowing that things would get a little noisy and wet! I was not disappointed. Welcome to Sundays in My City!

Unknown Mami

I'll admit it! I'm still 10 years old! I hope I always stay this age. It's the one thing that helps me stay hopeful about life and change and appreciation for the little thunder. lightning and snow! When Mother Nature comes calling, we open up all of the miniblinds and take a seat. We love to sit together during a good storm when the house is dark and the skies light up. We all fake our best horror movie screams and then laugh until our bellies hurt! I will do the same for snowstorms. I sit and watch the snow fall like young girls watch "Twilight" or "New Moon" or "Eclipse." Actually, it's not only young girls who are mezmerized by the series... right ladies?

Last night, St. Louis played host to Lady Gag Gag! Of course, Edwina & Katya were a part of the hysteria and dressed accordingly! They fit right in with the crowd! It was sort of deja vu of my days of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." To be honest, I never saw the movie until it came on TV. I only heard about the audience participation from acquaintances.... Say hello to my baby Gags!

Have you heard of Unknown Mami? She has a delightful blog where she shares photos of her city on Sundays. She invites the rest of us to link up with her and share some of our own city's photos. Click on the logo to visit Sundays in My City!

I live in St. Louis, Missouri. Welcome to my city!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Swim Little Fishies!

My sweet, sweet Ed loves the water. "Watch me, mommy!" This child has never been afraid to try anything. To this day, she is game for new adventures!

The first few years of Ed & Katya's young lives were spent in Southern California. We knew that water safety was a given for our kids to learn. After Hero flunked his first class at the Y, I thought maybe we would be wearing floaties until the end of high school! Then, we met the Divine Miss Veronica, Master Swimmer and Teacher of Water Safety to Little Ones!

Miss Veronica held classes in her backyard pool, which was a safer and more intimate place to work with the kids. Classes were two weeks long, with a final exam on the last day. During the two weeks, moms worked one on one with their kids as they learned how to float. Floating until they could get to the side of the pool, or floating until another person could navigate them to the side were the lessons learned. On the last day of class, we were told not to dress the kids, but keep them in their street clothes. As I watched my little Katya walking near the pool, the teacher brushed by her and gave her a little push. Into the pool she plopped and immediately came up and floated on her back! Then Miss Veronica jumped in and was never further than five feet from Kat. In order to pass the class, Katya had to float for 10 minutes with no help. She cried and called my name (as my heart slowly made its way to my throat), but dagnabit!! The wee one floated for the full ten minutes!

Then, it was Edwina's turn. She had been playing dolls in the house while Katya was being tested. Ed walk out to the side of the pool and was pushed in by one of the other parents. She assumed the floating position, smiling, and promptly took a ten minute nap. I don't have a picture of her in the dress she wore to the test, which by the way was pulled up over her face, but here's a shot of practice with Miss Veronica.

Watching the girls take their tests was a very heartwrenching experience for me. But I must say, that to this day, I have been completely comfortable sitting on the side of the pool reading trashy magazines while my darlings splash and scream in the water! Below is a picture of all four while swimming on vacation. I can't believe they agreed to pose!

Oop, oop, dittum dattum wattum - choo!

Wordful Wednesday - Ten Hut!

Here is another shameless use of Katya's photos from her trip to China. These Chinese Terracotta Warriors were built and buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang, circa 210 BC. There are approximately 8,000 warriors, horses, chariots, acrobats, officials, and strongmen. Their purpose was to help Qin rule another empire in the afterlife. No two warriors are alike. The warriors were discovered by farmers while drilling for water in 1974. Excavation started almost immediately and is still ongoing. All that has been excavated so far is housed indoors for environmental purposes and part of it is open to the public as a museum.

Each Wednesday, Angie at Seven Clown Circus hosts this photo meme for us to post pictures that need little words. I felt a little background would be interesting, so I used more than a few words, sorry! To see many other great pictures (with not nearly as many words as me), please click on the logo below and prepare for some wonderful photos!

Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sundays in My City - Loopy Style

This morning was hot, humid and there were grey skies. It was the perfect day to get out and take some pictures! We have a boulevard in University City (west of St. Louis, MO) called "The Loop" where people come to stroll, shop, eat and enjoy live entertainment all along the street! On any given day (except for today) there are Poi performers, band competitions, street vendors and large crowds. Since none of these were out today, we simply strolled down the street and enjoyed the stores and restaurants that were open.

Welcome to Blueberry Hill, where all genres of music are played, but "Blues" is the main ingredient. I wonder what "Enormous Richard" sounds like? I'll have to check it out! Nelly and John Goodman have "Stars" on the "St. Louis Walk of Fame" right in front of the club!

University City is planning to bring back a working Trolley so that the public will be able to more easily travel from one end of The Loop to the other.

Our Tivoli Theatre has been around for a long time. The Theatre was initially built in 1924 and prides itself in showing the finest indy and foreign language films. Ownership changed hands a few times and the theatre which had gone through great decline, closed in 1994. Restoration was completed in 1995, which brought back the splendid look of the original architecture and other theatre amenities. In addition to it being a three-screen theatre for films, it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Oh, if the walls could speak......

Washington University in St. Louis is well known for its excellence in teaching and research. The Danforth Campus is one of two campuses of the University which was founded in 1853. The other campus is the Medical Campus, where state of the art research is performed. Google's very interesting!

Unknown Mami

Have you heard of Unknown Mami? She has a delightful blog where she shares photos of her city on Sundays. She invites the rest of us to link up with her and share some of our own city's photos. Click on the logo to visit Sundays in My City!

I live in St. Louis, MO. Welcome to my city!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Fragments, Episode #102

"Hello, pretty lady!" said the Panda to the girl! Only the double paned glass separated this very active Panda and Princess Katya! This probably was the highlight of her trip as she is crazy for Pandas!

Wow! What a quick week this was! When I'm working, I have time to read and write on blogs, but being off, is a whole different game! I walk around in slow motion watching the day move in fast-forward! Why is that? I had so many things I wanted to accomplish this week, and well, it didn't happen! I will say that I am relaxed and my stress level is in a good spot! No new white hairs this week!

I had the "responsibility" talk with Edwina this week, with hopes of planting some sort of motivation. She has had a really hard week, and my spewing of motherly love, in my honest-but-not-tactful manner, wasn't what she wanted to hear. I have seen a few changes, however, so first I will give the credit to God for giving me the words to say and the courage to say them, and second, I will give the credit to God for opening her ear canals long enough to hear most of my words. Funny how he works when you most need him!

I went on a day trip to Columbia, MO, home of the Mizzou Tigers, and Hero's Alma mater. Hero and I got a bagel and cup of coffee and talked for two hours. (The a/c stopped working at his "bachelor" pad so we hunted down some a/c we could count on!) I don't get much alone time with him anymore, so this was a very special treat for me. He's trying to get his ducks in order so he can start paying his student loans. I am no financial wiz, so I told him what works (most of the time) for me. I know God had a hand in that one, too!

Katya prepared her thank you letter to all of the wonderful people who donated towards her tuition for the China trip. She also picked out one of her photos to send. I'm loving that she will just break out (for no reason) and start talking about something funny that happened on the trip. Yesterday, she mailed them, as well as the silk scarves to the grandmas and Auntie (see Yasek Jewelry Design above - that's her Auntie!).

I've been threatening Rock with a butt chewing all week! He graduated college in May, and is still chilling!!!! "Paleeeze mom! I just finished 17 years of straight school! I'm due!" He's right... so I left him as the sounds of explosions could be heard from his computer military game. Anybody need a really handsome graphic designer?

It's been an emotional roller coaster week, but it's been a great eye-opener for me! I continue to learn life lessons from my underlings, and I hope that never stops.

Thank you to the wonderful Mrs4444 for hosting this great Friday forum where we can talk about anything that might not make a whole post! Just click on the logo below and you will be transported to her blog!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Car, The Window and the Mirror - Weekend Reflections #41

Every Friday through Sunday, Newtown Area Photo sponsors a meme where a gazillion photographers, amateur through pro, can showcase their work using a "Reflection" theme. I love to see the different points of view that people have, and the truly amazing pictures that they take.

I was out driving the other day taking pictures to use in my blog posts. I was driving around one of our local strip malls (not an indoor mall, and a mall that just follows a straight line) and a light bulb went off in my head as I passed the dance studio. I stopped my car, which stopped traffic, which made some people mad, but I couldn't resist taking this photo. From the driver's seat, I saw the reflection of the car in the studio mirrors, as well as, the reflection of the car in the studio windows. I'm sure this is not the first time a picture like this has been shared, but it was my first time! Hope you like it!

I just want to thank Newtown Area Photo for sponsoring this meme every weekend, and allowing me to participate. Please visit here and prepare to be entertained by some truly amazing artists!

(If the link takes you to a page that says there is no page for Newtown Area Photo, just click on the highlighted title and you will be wisked to the correct home page.)

Have a great weekend!

Friday Fragments - ADD Style

Not than anyone who contributes to this wonderful Friday segment has any form of an attention disorder... I speak for myself in this regard. Every wonderful day of my life is filled with fragments; there is nothing structured, even while I am at work. I am in awe of how the heck I ever get anything done! Every now and then my head will whip around and I realize, that it is just God smacking me upside it to help me get it together. After that, my thinking improves and I start with the lists!

Princess Katya returned from China on Monday night, after a six-hour layover in Los Angeles. It was only supposed to be a three hour layover, but someone....and I'm not naming names....plugged up the toilet in the plane after everyone had boarded. When the airline potty specialists couldn't rectify (no pun intended) the situation, everyone was asked to deplane, luggage and all. The next available plane took off three hours later and there were many joyous reunions at 11:30pm in St. Louis. We took balloons so that Katya would see us right away. (Like any aiport is going to be crowded at 11:30pm!) It was a late night for me, especially since I worked the next day. I told Katya to sleep for about two days or until she couldn't hold it any longer. Poor thing was still on China time and could not get to sleep until 4:00am. She's almost back to Central Time at this point. Pictures and stories to come this weekend.

Rock, who is/was/always will be my Rock Star, played a game of softball with friends this week. He slid into second base and took off the first layer of skin from his calf, the size of a banana leaf. He was so brave...he didn't even tell me until the next day. As I looked in horror, he asked me what he should do. I would have called 911, and taken a ride with some of Missouri's hottest looking guys! But, since Rock is not really interested in guys, we got him cleaned up and gave him a drum of neosporene. He had a birthday party to attend, and didn't want to gross out the guests, so he wrapped it and still received a ton of sympathy. All the girls wanted to take care of him! It looks really gnarly now that it is scabbing, but at least there are no signs of infection!

I finish up another temp job this week. It's a place where I've worked before, so the routine is not scary. It's trying to remember the names of everyone that is a challenge. By the end of the week, I can name about a dozen of the 80 people in office. The employees here are really wonderful and so understanding when I send them phone calls that have nothing to do with their area! I like working for air conditioning companies; their air is always working! This is a plus for me and my chubby little thighs during the awesome summer months in St. Louis - 95 degrees with 90% humidity.

The Holiday weekend is upon us! What fun things are you doing? There are a gazillion things going on in downtown St. Louis. But, in case I haven't mentioned it before, I'm a little uncomfortable with crowds. We will watch the fireworks from the parking lot of a church close to our house. There are three shows held during the time between 9:00pm and 9:30pm. We bring the lawn chairs, snacks and bug spray!

Happy Fourth of July! Have a great weekend!

Thanks for stopping by my Fragmented Fridays, hosted by the brilliant and awesome Mrs.4444. Click here, to get to her post for Friday Fragments.