Friday, December 28, 2012

How to Eat an Ice Cream Cone

-by PT

"Yes!" My Favorite Christmas Present

One frustrating evening I told my kids, "You know what I really want for Christmas?  I want you kids to just be agreeable.  Just once a day I want you to tell me 'yes' when I ask you to do something.  Give me a bag of 365 'yes's' for me to use throughout the year."  And you know who did it?  Tasha.  She wrote a page up, copied them, cut them up, stuck them in baggies, and put them in my stocking. 

Individual Ornament Boxes

Every year we have the same argument as the girls set out to decorate the Christmas tree.  Even if I sit there doling out the ornaments, there is a heated discussion on whose ornament is whose and who gave what to who in what year.  It is seriously my worst Christmas nightmare.  I'm pretty sure that's why we didn't put up a tree one year.
Payton and Snoopy's butt

This year I vowed that would not happen again.  Somehow I banished the kids from the room, set out 3 boxes and divvied up the ornaments into the boxes.  I handed them each their box and it was sheer bliss.  No harsh words.  No pulling on ornaments.  No crying.   

At one point Bill was trying to get Payton to place the many Pooh bear ornaments on different branches instead of all on one.  He also wanted the ones with faces to, well, face out.  How silly is that?  Wouldn't the snowmen and Snoopy want to see the tree?  I assured Bill that I would fix things once the kids went to bed.  Then I didn't.  It was cute and made me giggle.
Well, I don't imagine that things will go that smoothly 2 years in a row.  It only made sense to pack those ornaments up in the boxes according to who should put them up.  The thing is, I don't typically do what I want to do and the tree stays up into the new year and I'm so frustrated that I don't care any more.  This year however, thanks to IKEA, things were completed.  I'm in love with their clear SAMLA boxes.  I'm also in love with pretty colorful tissue paper.  Here's what I came up with:
Happy decorating next year!  Hoo-rah!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Carols by Candlelight at Clark Park

Inspired by an Australian Christmas tradition I found via Pinterest and this Australian mom's blog site, I bring to you...

Carols by Candlelight at Clark Park
This Sunday, December 23rd @ 7pm

Come one, come all and join us in song as we gather to sing Christmas Carols at Clark Park.  Dress warm, bring blankets or chairs, and have a candle, flashlight, or the glow of your cell phone to illuminate our park with joy.  Neighbors, their friends and family are all welcome!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Happy, Happy Christmas!"

They're kind of cute.  I think I'll keep them!

Catching a Break

I went to TMobile this morning because my phone was stuck on it's home screen.  I had actually tried to reboot the thing myself to no avail (thanks for trying google, YouTube, and some Q&A dialogue in the comment zone).  The customer service guy was actually impressed that I had done as much as I did and then said we'd have to replace it.  He looked up my contract.  The warranty on my phone expires on December 26th.  He was shocked and said something like, "that almost never happens.  It is always right after the warranty is up that a phone breaks."  That kind of sounds like a cell phone breakage conspiracy, doesn't it?

Anyway, I'm awaiting my new phone, without a working old phone.  Life is quiet this day.  Probably the next day too.  He said it should be here tomorrow, but the text they sent Bill said the 29th.  YIKES!  That's a LOT of quiet in my future.

That might be nice.

Does anyone know how to "break" a 3 year old's voice for about a week?  That would REALLY make things quiet.

Oh, and thanks to google, YouTube, and more Q&A dialogue, I can confidently use the words SIM card and factory reboot.  Go ahead, laugh away.  The problem is I still am not capable of finding the pictures on that dumb card when I plug it into a Walgreens picture kiosk or the dumb computer at Costco.  My picture life sucks and I have some really lame Christmas cards to prove it.  I did get them at 40% off though.

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

I didn't realize that cream of mushroom soup was a comfort food until this past Thanksgiving.  I was making a gluten-free potato dish that called for a can of cream of mushroom soup, and of course, regular Campbell's is quite glutenous.  It was about 1pm and I realized I had not eaten yet, due to the number of dishes that I was preparing for dinner later that evening.  As soon as they were all prepped, I prepared another bowl of this yummy soup and sopped some up with one of the whole wheat rolls that didn't quite rise like it should have.

I started with this recipe , but simplified it because I don't always need it to be gluten-free or dairy-free.  All I know is that it is just plain yum!  The following will substitute for one can in a recipe.  I'd use chicken broth in place of the milk (and omit the mushrooms, of course) if I needed a can of cream of chicken soup instead.

Melt: 2 TBLS of butter in a small pan
Add:  1/4 cup of chopped mushrooms

Cook until the mushrooms are soft and season with onion salt, if desired.

Add:  1/4 cup of flour

Whisk it in and cook slightly so the soup doesn't have a floury taste.

Add:  1 cup of milk

Whisk it in slowly so you don't get lumps.  Cook and stir constantly until desired thickness.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

PT's "Ball Patch"

I saw a fun idea on Pinterest and pinned it to my "for PT" board.  I found it while searching for things to do with cardboard over at the  The thing is, sometimes PT sits up in my lap while I am on the computer.  More specifically, he sits in my lap and looks at what I am looking at while on Pinterest.

"Wait mommy, wait!"  he jumped and pointed to the computer screen.  "Go back."  He's now learned how to work the arrow keys to get to the pictures that he wants to see.  Oh, this sweet kid kept longing for that cardboard ramp for some balls to zoom down.  He was begging, but not in that annoying-no-way-in-heck-will-I-do-this-for-you way. So, I found this giant piece of cardboard at Costco, took it home, grabbed some extra cardboard and duct tape and set to work.  Then I called in my 14 year old back up because my husband refused to be a part of something he didn't understand.

It's been fun, for about a month.  I can't wait until Santa brings his next Pinterest creation and takes this big cardboard contraption with him.

Monday, December 3, 2012

"What I Just Did?"

To play Chutes and Ladders with Payton is not a game of numbers and counting.  It is a game of being good and bad, and doing stuff.  EVERY SINGLE space that Payton lands on he asks, "what I just did?" to determine if he has broken a cookie jar and has to slide down the chute, or if he has helped a woman find her purse and then gets to go to the movies.  No, I didn't have to look that up on the game board.  I know them.  I know them ALL.  Don't skate on the ice, it'll crack and you'll fall.  Bake a cake and you can eat it, climb that ladder!  Saving a cat from a tree gets you a big reward and you climb a huge ladder.  But to win the game the easy way you get first prize in the pet show.  This is so like real life, isn't it?  Anyway, between my moves and Payton's moves and the "what I just did?" and "what you did?"'s I was going crazy by space number 35.  There isn't anything on space number 35 and he just doesn't accept "nothing" as an answer.  "I DID NOTHING!  THE SPACE IS BLANK!  SEE... NUH-THING!"

I really wish we had played Blockus instead.

Monday, August 27, 2012

And I Thought I Was High Maintenance...

(...says the woman who won't drink milk from a plastic cup, and thinks that water is better with ice in a glass glass)

This morning Payton saw that I had packed a bagel with cream cheese for Tasha to take to school for lunch, so he wanted one for breakfast.  Not only did he want to eat it, but it had to be wrapped up in aluminum foil and placed in a bag in the refrigerator, just like his sister's had been.  In the process of preparing his food, I cut his bagel in half, just like I did Tasha's, only he did NOT want it cut.  He had a complete meltdown- he fell to the kitchen floor crying, "no,no,no, I no want it cut!  Noooo...." He sat there, head slumped into his hands, lamenting over the cut bagel, while I wrapped it in foil, placed it in the cloth Zabar's bag I bought the last time I was in NY, and placed it carefully in the fridge.  I cleaned up, reaching over him to place the knife in the sink, and sat down to eat my own breakfast.  A good 15-20 minutes later, he retrieved his bag and happily ate his breakfast, realizing it was exactly like Tasha's and tasted the same cut as it would have uncut.

Of course, he needed a drink to wash the bagel down.  The drink was "in the blue cup, not the wed one," with ice, and poured from "that jug" (opening the fridge and pointing), not the pitcher of water just next to the jug.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Shack: Respite to the Weary Human

There are times when I think that living in the desert of Arizona has it's drawbacks.  The obvious virtual non stop heat for 4-6 months of summer is only one factor, albeit a HUGE factor, that leads me to the dismal conclusion that I live in a wasteland.  A h.o.t. wasteland.  That is not, however, why I sat down to write this evening.  I try to not write about the heat because it is just depressing.

It's storming tonight.  A really good, solid storm.  Often times it just threatens to storm:  dark skies, muggy air, crazy wind, lots of dust, lightning and even thunder come, but no rain.  I've been through so many rainless storms that I sometimes forget the power that rain has.  There is a cleansing power to rain as it washes away the day with all of it's trials and sadness.  The confrontations, disappointments, and unexpected or expected challenges can all just zoom down the gutters and off to some unknown water plant or sewer system to be forgotten.  God bless the rain.  I mean it.

I've been sitting by this window debating if I should just go stand out in the rain and let it drench me from head to toe.  The cleansing power of rain could do me some good.

The storm also reminds me of a quote from The Shack...

“There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine.  Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance, demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules.  And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience.  One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging in out within her purview.  All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy.  There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other.  Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry.”  (pg 15)
I've never experienced this kind of "corporate" experience since we don't really have the kind of weather that shuts things down here, but I do get a little giddy at times.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When You Thought Life Couldn't Get Any Better

Your son pooped on the potty.

You took a picture of the IKEA plates that you put in the dishwasher in rainbow order.

Later, while playing Mastermind, you put the pegs in rainbow order to take another picture.

Cheetos.  The fat puffy kind.

You realize that you are grateful that a phase of life has will no longer buy diapers for your children!

You read a book in a day to find out what evil things teenage girls will do and say to each other to be popular and are grateful that you were never one of those girls.

School starts and everyone is starting something new, except you.

You think giving key word ideas to someone elses pictures might be a fun thing to do even though you have plenty of organizing of your own pictures to do.

You contemplate getting a facebook account just so you can have a pinterest account to store all the craft ideas you won't do.

You surf pinterest knowing you don't have anywhere to store the great ideas you find!

4 vehicles parked somewhere on your property:  only one runs without problems, it's not your truck, and it doesn't hold your whole family.

You finally upcycle a skirt into what you think is a pretty cute outfit and not a single person comments on it.  Not your daughters, not your husband, not even the ladies that knew you started it 6 months ago.  Maybe it wasn't so cute.

You learned the word "upcycle" on pinterest and think you're pretty cool for not only using it in a sentence, but for actually doing it with two items of clothing you were going to throw out.'ve gotten a little of your edge back (enough so that you didn't write the really depressing stuff), and put up this random list of things that actually did happen and aren't very exciting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Silly PT

You just never know what will come out of your child's mouth.  Ever.  Sometimes you can figure out why they said it though.

Payton was trying to get Tasha to come over to him and was trying to be authorative with her.  He wanted her over there, dang it, and he was going to get her there.  He even has a forceful voice that he uses- not mean or yelling or whiny, just forceful and demanding.  I wasn't sure what he said at first, but then as it registered I chuckled and told Bill.

PT furrowed his brow, pointed to the ground, and said, "Tasha Thomas, get over here right now."

"Tasha Thomas"?  Oh, silly boy.  I'm still chuckling at your antics.  Sweet Payton, sweet PT, we love you.  But alas, when we've asked nicely and you're not listening, how many times have you heard, "Payton Thomas, get over here right now"?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Shack: Limiting Yourself

Bill and I were discussing why I thought he was a good teacher in Primary.  Oh shut up, we do talk and yes, sometimes I compliment him!  It took me a while to get there, but the bottom line was that I thought of this idea from The Shack about "limiting yourself".  Here's the quote:

“Remember that choosing to stay on the ground is a choice to facilitate a relationship; to honor it.  Mackenzie, you do this yourself.  You don’t play a game or color a picture with a child to show your superiority.  Rather, you choose to limit yourself so as to facilitate and honor that relationship.  You will even lose a competition to accomplish love.  It is not about winning and losing, but about love and respect.”  (pg 106)
Bill is really good about talking to the kids at their level.  Not eye level, or "on the ground", but at the level of their understanding.  We talked about how sometimes Kyra and I will push that to the next level and how that is good, but we have to be careful not to do that too much with Tasha. 

Last week, the girls had a fight because Tasha tends to "forget the rules" of a game when she loses too many times.  I understand how frustrated she could get, and at the same time I could see where her sister doesn't just want to let her win every time, she wants to challenge herself.  With this quote in mind, the argument seems pretty lame.  That's because I want them to have a relationship based on respect, but I'm not them and they are still young.

I think to "limit yourself" is to stop thinking/looking/feeling things from your perspective, and to start doing it from another's.  Some might call it empathy, but it doesn't even really have to go that far.  Say that you don't want to give a homeless person $5 outside of a fast food restaurant because you know the money would go further and be spent better at a grocery store.  But that's your broad perspective of what a person with a home, fridge, shelf, car, etc. has to work with and plan for.  What if you limit yourself and think that you really don't have any idea where you will be headed after your next meal, when you might eat next, who will be with you, if you have a place to sleep, etc.?  You're hungry and this is where you are.  You want to fulfill a need, one that maybe you haven't fulfilled in a long time. And maybe you stopped thinking long term or next day when you lost hope in that idea for whatever reason.  With that $5, you can spend a while indoors with air conditioning as a paying customer, get a meal and an ice cold drink that you can refill an take with you.

I'm having a hard time limiting myself as to where to stop the flow of ideas on this subject.  I think the main idea I want to come away with, especially when it comes to helping and serving others, is this:  the solution to their problem lies within themselves and how they are capable of handling it.  It doesn't matter what I would do because I'm not them.  It's my choice to help or not to help, serve or not to serve. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Shack: Trust and Love

I've been discussing with different people on how I've been using this book to learn how to parent better.  We were created in the image of God, and sent to earth to live in families so we can learn to be like God, so it seems like we should try to parent as God parents us.  Of course, when I mentioned that to a friend they immediately hung their head in disparage and said something like, "oh no, I don't need THAT!"  I wasn't really able to clarify then, but maybe this post and quote will make it sound a little less impossible and a little more hopeful!

Like many people, the main character (Mack) has problems with God because He lets terrible things happen to people on earth.  He doesn't know how a loving father could let that happen.  There is a lot of discussion on pages 124-125 on why God is good, why there is pain in the world, and how He tries to use that pain and evil for good.  It's at this point that Mack kind of admits that he does not really trust God.  This is Papa's* response: (*"Papa" is the name that the author uses for God.  I'm going to use it from here on out because it helps me recognize that this is a conversation between the characters)

“You cannot produce trust just like you cannot ‘do’ humility.  It either is or is not.  Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved.  Because you do not know that I love you, you cannot trust me…For now I just want you to be with me and discover that our relationship is not about performance or you having to please me.  I’m not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way.  I am good, and I desire only what is best for you.  You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation or coercion, only through a relationship of love.  And I do love you.”      (pg 126)
So there it is, in black and guilt or condemnation or coercion.  Now, none of us will admit that we do those things because in reality what we do isn't at all as bad as any of those words sound.  But aren't I trying to coerse my child into doing something if I say, "I'll get you ---, if you do --- for me"?  If I had a relationship of love with that child I could say, "Hey, you know what, I can't really go to the store for --- right now because I'm working on ---".  An older child might recognize that they could help in some way, but a younger child might need a little more prompting like, "would you like to help me?"  I'm having a hard time coming up with a condemnation scenario, but I think it can  also mimic the idea that your love is based on performance.  After I read this, I started to say things like, "I don't want you to feel bad about that or feel like you've done something wrong, I want to have a discussion about it so we can have a relationship.  I love you no matter what you do or don't do."  I can't believe how positively my kid responded to this statement!  As far as guilt goes, nobody needs that!  I've had to take back some things I've said to my kids, I do it with a genuine apology (not something followed by a "but you..."), and I still sometimes worry that the guilt is already out there.

"...and I desire only what is good for you", is another line that I especially liked.  Seriously, if I keep my eye on that and communicate that to my kids, what else is there? I know I was able get that idea across to my oldest on several occasions, but it has been more difficult with subsequent children. Not only are there more personalities to juggle, but what is best or good for one, might not be the same for the other and we have to make compromises.  That's hard for little kids to understand, and doesn't seem fair for older kids.  What am I talking about here?  The baby that misses their nap or has to sleep in the car because you need to take another child someplace. (not so good for the baby)  The oldest child that can't leave out their projects (be it school related, a puzzle, legos, etc.) because their little siblings will or already have gotten into it and ruined it.  The fact is, as their parent, you want what is good for them, but sometimes it's difficult to find the communitative good for all your kids, all at the same time.  I guess that's when it's important to have those strong relationships of love and trust already built. (Ugh!  Where was this book 13 years ago?) I've found that when I just pause an argument and say, "you know, I'm just trying to figure out what is good for you here," we make progress by listening to each other and figuring it out together.  I've surprised myself by swallowing my pride and seeing that sometimes I need to "cave" into my daughter's request.  (I'm joking with the word "cave" there, but how many times do we stand our ground because we can't give in to what our kids want?)
So there you have it, Parenting 101, from The Shack.  Of course, this could be Friendship 101, Leadership 101, Marriage 101, Teaching or Business Relationships 101...the list goes on.  It really is a good idea to create a relationship based on love with anyone that you want to trust, isn't it?  And don't we want to trust anyone that we want or need to be in contact with on a regular basis?

Sunday, July 1, 2012


"Doen even think abou it" (It's a warning, usually aimed at Tasha)
"Lissen to me-uh!" (You better listen!)
"whaz iz dis come from?" (Where did you get this?)
"Mom, hoel you me, peez." (He wants to be held)
"oh-grit" (yogurt- he and I are both partial to Greek Gods Honey flavor)
"!"  (He's counting down, and then you better do what he asked.  This is the only time he includes 3...typically he counts 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12)

Intermissions have been better

Pause the movie.

Bill goes to the kitchen.  I go to the bathroom.

I pick up a towel.  I screetch.

"Bill!  Get in here..."

"...and bring something!"

Bill enters with a shoe and asks, "where is it?"

Smack, smack, smack.  La kookaracha is dead and flushed.

Argh, I hate summer and those little boogies.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Shack, by Wm.Paul Young

Well, is anyone up for book club via blog?  I unearthed another book that took me forever to get through because there was so much meat in it to make me think.  Just like A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Shack is not my book so I had to type out all the good quotes to have for future reference.  I have it in a word document and it takes up something like 8 pages!  Crazy, I know, but it really had some life lessons in it for me.

The Shack is about a man spending a weekend with God, physically in His presence, on earth, in a shack.  It's about relationships.  For me it wasn't just about how to have a relationship with God, but how to translate that relationship into what I would want for myself and the people I love here on earth as well.  The book doesn't give you the churchy talk that seems to be so far out of reach for a person like me, but it makes it tangible, because God is standing right there talking.

I've read some of the reviews of the book and how the theologians pick apart different aspects of what is said.  Some are arguing about the Godhead and the Trinity.  To be completely honest, I don't even really care.  I'm not a theologian, so I am taking from this book what my heart says is good and true and right.  I'm already gaining a better relationship with my daughter by putting into action one of the quotes I wrote on my mirror. (I'll post it later)  I don't have any idea what faith the author of this book is, but I'm sure that he has a better relationship and understanding of my God that I have.

The main character in The Shack was described in this way:

“He can speak intelligently about most anything, and even though you sense he has strong convictions, he has a gentle way about him that lets you keep yours.”(pg 10)
That was all it took to hook me.  Any experience that can teach a person to be like that is an experience worth sharing.  That is a description that I would someday like to be said about me.  I'd like to be sure enough of myself that I can let other people be sure about themselves without it rocking my world.  Plus, I'd like to be able to speak intelligently about things :0

Now, I just have to figure out how to use the quotes I have without giving away the whole plot and characters, while still making it all make sense... (oh geez, just go get the book and read it so I can discuss it with you!  It will be life changing, I'm telling you!)

Friday, June 1, 2012

NTS: Apply Heat

If you want a deep, brilliant color in hair: apply heat.

We bleached Kyra's hair and then put in turquoise dye. It sat in her hair for almost an hour and came out a light green. She was gracious and did not act too disappointed. In fact, I think I was more upset than she was. I did not sleep well.

Today I reread the bottle and it said to apply heat for deeper colors. OK, how do I apply heat? I made it up: add color, wrap in tin foil, fry hair with the straight iron, unwrap hair, heat hair again with straight iron, rinse.

Wha-la, deep, brilliant turquoise.

Who knew? Not I. I've never dyed hair before. I've only recently watched a zillion 12 year olds on YouTube doing it, mostly with kool-aid and chalk pastels.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I've Thought About Cutting It...

...but then I saw the pictures on the sidebar and decided he can rock the long hair look better than a shaved head.

Vocab at the D's home

I walked into the room as Bill was helping Kyra study for a vocabulary test she was having tomorrow. The room stunk, Bill had, well, passed gas. And the party had just started.

B: Unjulate
K: I don't know.
B: This was Larry's word. He said it on the golf course all the time. He would look at the course and say he didn't like the unjulation. He didn't like all the waves on the course.
B: To move in a wavelike motion, smoothly.

B: aupicious
H: It's something your parents are not.
K: Oh, kay...
H: we're not favored by fortune or rich, we're not promised success.

K: Mom, how do you pronounce this word (assuage). Our teacher asked the class and a lot of people said "a sausage".
H: ah-sawj (That's how I'd write it anyway not like the dictionary puts it down)
B: assuage
H: it sounds like "massage"... think about that word
B: to make milder or less severe
H: see, when you massage someone it makes them hurt less (eventually)

B: ascertain
K: what?
B: ass-cer-tain
H: you make it sound like it has something to do with your ass
K: (laughs) it's not even spelt like that, dad
B: it means to find out definitely
H: well, we know for sure that the smell earlier came out of your ascertain

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Good Bye, NYC

It wasn't until this weekend that I took the subway and bus maps out of my purse, making it official that my New York dream was officially over. It was a good 5 days, sweet city, I'll see you again soon. I promise.
On that note, I've updated the picture posts that I put up by adding the who's and where's that they were. I took a TON more pictures, but may just decide to scrapbook them all since I doubt that anyone really needs to see 10 pictures of Central Park, obscure on location shots from my favorite romatic comedies, or address fronts of buildings that not even I cared about, but was in the neighborhood so I figured I might as well get a shot.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

10 St Marks Place

This is the Huxtable residence, from The Cosby Show. Interestingly enough, unlike Friends and Seinfield, they actually filmed The Cosby Show in New York. (on a sound stage in Astoria, to be exact) I say, "interestingly" because this show really only took place inside their house. They didn't meet friends at any NY locations, nor did they refer to the city during many of the episodes. I will say that there is a nice little park JUST accross the street, so when Theo and Cockroach went out to shoot hoops, there really wasn't very far to go.

66 Perry Street

These are Carrie's steps from Sex in the City. Well they aren't ALL of her steps because there is a chain across the bottom of the stairs with a sign that says, "no tresspassing". I kid you not. It kind of ruins a picture if you are posing people in front of the place, which is what some other people were doing as I arrived. This happened to be one of only 2 buildings that I went to that were on other people's tourist locations. (I kind of met up with these same people and others at the Friends building).

Corner of Groove and Bedford, in the village

Yep, this is the Friends building (90 Bedford), home to all the friends at one point or another, except for Ross unless you count the time he lived with his grandma (or something like that). I took another picture of the building across the street where "ugly naked guy" would have lived. Let's just say that it would have taken an extremely long poking device to see if he was dead, but totally doable- there are a couple of trees between the buildings so I don't think anyone would have noticed the poker.

While walking from this building to the Huxtables I found several other interesting sites:
  • Chumleys (86 Bedford), a former speak easy that apparently had a secret entrance. It was gone, completely gutted with barricades around it. Looks like the police finally shut the place down.
  • The Narrowest Home in Manhattan (75 1/2 Bedford). It's seriously 9 1/2 feet wide. Home to an old poet or something. I took a picture of the plaque outside so I'd know for later.
  • A delish bakery where I bought a piece of crusty bread to take to my aunt later. I ended up eating it when I realized I wasn't going to get my pastrami sandwich and that my aunt was in a grouchy mood.
  • A Hardware Store (in the village, somewhere). They close at 8:30 on the weekdays, earlier on Friday and Saturday.

205 E Houston Street

Maybe I should have shown the inside of this place, but I didn't get the best shot once in. They hand you a ticket on your way inside and it is super duper busy. There are something like 5 deli guys taking orders and the ticket giver kind of gets annoyed when people are standing around and tries to get everyone to file in and get in a line. This shoving kind of worked to my advantage, however, as I noticed that the pastrami sandwich I had been wanting was $15.95. Well, for that price, I can see why Sally made such a scene in the place during a nice discussion in When Harry Met Sally. And, since I'm a big Harry/Sally nerd, I will point out that the lady that says, "I want what she's having" is Rob Reiner's mom and, since she's already sitting, would have already placed her order.

So what did I order? Not a thing. I made my way to the back, went to the bathroom, tried to nonchalantly take a picture of the place, and then exited, returning my ticket to the kind cashier in the booth. I decided this was done often enough since my ticket actually said, "please return your ticket upon exiting, whether used or unused". I imagine they're just keeping track of how many crazies go through the place. If I had been with Bill or something, I probably would have stayed and forked out the money. Next time, for sure.

Washington Square Park

Ah, the arch at Washington Square Park (5th Ave and 6th St).  I can now say that I've been there.  This park is used for a lot of filming.  Most recently I saw Ronald McDonald and some kids running around in front of it.  There is (or was, I didn't see it) a corner of the park with chess tables where they filmed Searching for Bobby Fischer. Harry goes running by the park on New Years Eve when he decides he loves Sally, but this is also the first NYC scene from When Harry Met Sally. Sally pulls up to the arch to let Harry out, they shake hands, and don't see each other for another 5 years.

I'd go back. It's a nice little park and easy to walk from end to end. There is a fountain in the middle that kids can run around without you losing site of them, plenty of seating, a playground, some food vendors, and several musicians and performers positioned strategically throughout the park.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

89th and Central Park West (32 W 89th St)

When I was looking up movie/tv sites in NY City, this was the only residence that I really cared about finding. I mean seriously, outside of this one picture, I could not have identified a single one of the pictures that I took without having been there and told what it was. I absolutely love, love, LOVE the winding steps to this brownstone and can picture Sally lecturing Harry that "you don't have to show every emotion you have the second you have it." This argument happens as the two of them are helping Jess and Marie set up their new place in When Harry Met Sally. Moments after Harry and Sally make up, Jess comes down the steps with his stupid wagon wheel coffee table.

(I feel so New Yorker-y, having used the term "brownstone" appropriately there.)

91st and W End Ave

Mr. Pitt lived in this doorman patroled, ivy covered fancy building.  Elaine worked for him during a season of Seinfeld. I was way across the street when I took this picture and it was the only time that a real New Yorker said anyting to me while I was snapping a shot. He told me that a squirrel lived in the ivy and that you could see him come out almost every night. Those west siders sure are friendly.

328 W 89th Street

So many emails were composed behind this door, and so many witty conversations took place in this apartment. It wasn't until the end of the movie that Meg Ryan came bouncing down these steps, off to meet NY152 for the first time, that you got a good look at the place from this angle. (It would, however, be the wrong way for her to walk if she was headed to Riverside park.) The opening credits of You've Got Mail really give this neighborhood and the front of this apartment a great deal of charm. Watch closely as it changes from animation to real life and see the jogger move from digitization to real form as he runs. So cool!
I seriously love this movie SO MUCH! I spent 2 days strolling around the upper west side, trying to soak in the atmosphere that Nora Ephron tried to portray that there are parts of Manhattan that are just neighborhoods. SO TRUE! I giggled at myself as I found the Starbucks Kathleen and Joe bought their coffee at, walked down the sidewalk that they nearly crossed paths on, stood up eating a hot dog where they set their final date before she found out who he really was and...(I can't believe I'm admitting this, I'm such a romantic comedy junkie!) located several spots that I feel inspired the movie, it's bookstore, the nut shop, etc. Oh, what a delightful 2 days!

83rd between Amsterdam and Broadway

I was delighted to show up and find that this little place, Cafe Lalo, was just as quaint as it appeared in the movie, You've Got Mail. I believe they actually did film inside this restaurant, and there is a cute little ding on the door as you walk in. Can you picture Tom Hanks shaking the railing declaring, "" after his friend told her that his date was beautiful? Probably not, I'm the only that can quote the majority of that movie. Anyway, although this might not be the best place to bring kids for lunch, there is a children's museum right across the street they may enjoy (Monday is reserved for school groups).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

112th and Broadway

This was the first place I went on this trip to New York. Not because I was that excited to go, but mainly because I'd been on two different airplanes (neither of which served any kind of food, not even salty nuts or stale pretzles) and I was hungry. I was all set to order Elaine's "big salad", but was disappointed when it wasn't on the menu. The inside wasn't at all like Monk's is on Seinfeld, but there are a bunch of Seinfeld pictures all over one wall. None of this was disappointing to me in any way, mind you, I am just stating facts. I enjoyed my eggplant sandwich, but have had better right here in Scottsdale at Delfalco's. It is the atmosphere that I always appreciate while on vacation anywhere. At one point, the Greek owner hurriedly filled my water glass as several servers (all male) leaned back to watch the NY Knicks inevitably beat the Miami Heat. It is so entertaining to watch any NY sporting event around true New Yorkers. If you have time, head east down 112th and go into the church at the end of the street. My aunt says it's gorgeous inside.
But seriously, how can you look at this sign and not be singing in your head the little "bu-duh-dum-du-dum-duh" jingle that intro's some stupid conversation that will undoubtedly ensue?

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm back...but really I'm gone

I don't know if I've been too busy to blog, or just haven't had anything good to blog about, but I've been reluctant to do it lately. It's always fun and rewarding when you know people are reading and commenting, or if you're just trying to journal something to remember. This post here is actually just a little set up post for what is to journey of movie and TV sites in NYC. And because swyping on this phone of mine is painstakingly slow compared to my semi awesome keyboarding skills, it will be pictures only and I'll fill in the details later. If anyone is out there and wants to take a guess at the site, or leave me a quote from the movie or episode, feel free. Your choices are: Seinfeld, Friends, Sex and the City, You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Serendipity, Enchanted, Big... and probably many other that share filming locations.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Someday all of our electronic devices will work at the same time.

Someday I will go to bed when I am tired and not stay up past my sleep time, making it impossible for me to go to bed until a much too late hour of the night.

Someday I will learn to use a candy thermometer and make toffee and other goodies that I now just dream of. It's depressing to be ignorant of this candy making skill. It is, however, probably for the best since we really don't need anymore sweets.

Someday I will buy a meat tenderizer. I used to have one and never used it. Now I don't know where it went. Again, there are many recipes I would like to make (mainly chicken ones where you roll tasty fillings inside), but I don't have the means to pound that chicken breast flat. Ugh again, big sigh.

Someday I may be as smart as my email account. I went to send someone an email with a letter for them to review. As I hit send, gmail popped up with "you wrote, 'I've attached' and do not have an attachment. Do you want to send it anyway?" Well of course not, thank you for telling me I'm an idiot.

Someday I will know all my account names and super secret passwords for important top secret web sites like Pei Wei and Walgreens photo center.

Someday, I hope, all our debts will be payed off and we'll know not to get back into debt.

Someday (soon!) tax season will be over. I won't be so busy, life won't be so hectic, and I won't have as much income. That won't help with the above 'someday' though, will it?

Someday I will know my alphabet well, and know that 8 times 7 is (49+7=) 56 without doing that little addition problem in my head.

Someday everyone in this house will stop coughing.

Today I will appreciate what I have, what and who I know, and who I love because I don't have it too shabby.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Found this Via a Friend's Blog

The Power of 'Yes'!

Basically, say less 'no', say more 'yes'. Stop trying to make people (kids) be who you think they should be, and let them be who they are. Stop listening to people tell you who you should be, and be who you want to be.

'No' is for emergencies and safety situations :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Q: What is the good thing about not being able to breathe through your nose because you're so congested?

A: You can't smell the puke your child has hurled multiple times during the day, even if some lands on your shirt and you don't have anything to change into.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pertussis and How to "Whoop" the Whooping Cough

First off, I need to state that I am not, by any means, a medical doctor.

Second of all, I need to state that I am not, by any means, over this dreadful cough. This will be the first post on this subject as I will hopefully learn and experience more relief as the days and weeks continue. Yes, you read right- WEEKS (!), as I am currently on week 5, at least.

Third of all, regretfully, I will not be giving you any links because I still feel really cruddy, I'm on my laptop and the articles I read are on my phone. I did write down these facts that lead to my final disclaimer:
  • the incubation period (when you are exposed to it and when you show symptoms) is typically 7-10 days, but could be anywhere from 6-20 days
  • you are contagious for the first 3 weeks, which is usually before you realize that anything is really wrong (it presents as a typcial cold or a simple cough)
  • the cough lasts for months and is called the "100 day cough" because of this

Finally, you need to understand that this post will be full of sarcasm because the more I find out about this disease, the more I realized that so much is known, unknown, diagnosed and undiagnosed.

Alrighty then, without any further ado,

How to "Whoop" the Whooping Cough:
  1. Get a vaccine, or don't; get a booster, or don't. Our family history includes the following: me- no booster, I've had the many pretty severe symptoms for 5 weeks, milder coughing for a week or 2 before that; my husband- no booster, seems to have mild symptoms; 13 year old daughter- booster last year, seems to be fine but has coughed a few times this last week (we're keeping tabs on this!); 7 year old daughter- full series of shots (the last boost in 2008), she's started showing signs this last week and is the only one that has actually "whooped"; and finally, my 2 year old son- 2 shots (the last one was 3 months ago!), he's on about week 4 that we can remember.
  2. Take antibiotics, or don't. It really depends on when you realize you have pertussis (aka: whooping cough). Antibiotics only do any good in the first 2-3 weeks and the point is to stop you from being contagious. From what I have read, it does very little to help with the actual symptoms and doesn't shorten the disease. I took them, possibly during the right time and they didn't help my symptoms AT ALL. I may or may not have spread it to my family since they may or may not have been exposed to other people with pertussis.
  3. Take probiotics, or don't. I don't know about this one because I haven't tried it yet. I have a friend that is on them at the suggestion of her naturopath. I guess you can sprinkle the capsule on food and take it that way. I doubt my son will do that, even more so since she told me her daughter won't. She also mentioned that they make a gummy form, which I will try to find tomorrow. Cod liver oil is also on the naturopath's list of remedies, but again, I know I can't get my son to take this.
  4. Don't get angry, it makes the cough worse. For me this means staying away from everyone and not reading anything, especially nothing medical or political. Seeing as I've been very sick for over a month now, you can judge for yourself how good I am at the "no angry" step. I've been better at keeping my son calm, which does help. If he gets upset and cries or yells, he often goes into a coughing fit. You get it, be happy.
  5. Be cool, but stay warm. This may be specific to our little family of symptoms, but it seems to be common amongst the 3 of us. We want to be warm but we all need fresh or cool air. I am most comfortable under a blanket with socks and the front door open. My son constantly wants to be outside and sleeps better with the window open but under covers. My daughter is in long sleeves, long pants and a light blanket with the ceiling fan on. Why all the details? Because these are atypical actions for all of us and I noticed them AFTER I read somewhere that this was one of the signs/symptoms that one might be suffering from pertussis. I'm not making this stuff up.
  6. Eat chocolate, but not the candy coated kind. Dark chocolate has theobromine in it that helps sooth a cough. I didn't really care about the cough until my son went 3 days without holding anything down. The cough would cause him to gag and upchuck everything he had eaten. Eventually he wasn't even gagging, just throwing it all up as he asked for a bowl. It was quite sad. I haphazardly found the chocolate solution while trying to find a homeopathic remedy for pertussis. Not having any dark chocolate on hand, I gave him some semi-sweet chocolate chips. He hasn't thrown up since. I bought some dark chocolate that he won't eat, so I'll be enjoying the Ghirardelli myself. (no worries there: I eat less of the dark chocolate and I had a $1 off coupon at Walgreens)
  7. Cold drinks may help. There are several stages of the disease, and several symptoms that one may experience. All 3 of us seem to be showing different symptoms (that I know about). One homeopathic site I was on suggested that cold liquids may make one feel better. On top of the chocolate, I started giving my son ice water. Being 2, he can't really tell me his symptoms, but since he had been throwing up even tepid water and juice, I figured ice water wouldn't hurt.
  8. Check into a homeopathic remedy, if you want. My friend sent me a link to anAustralian Homeopathic group. Alright, here's the homepage: You'll have to search for the pertussis stuff yourself. There were at least half a dozen remedies, depending on what stage and what symptoms you had. One seemed to help me, but it either didn't work on my son or made him worse. It's kind of hard to tell since pertussis runs in stages.
  9. Have a pertussis test done, or don't. I don't think it will really matter. It is very rare that this test will come back positive. This is the most frustrating of all things I've come across. I actually read on the CDC website that the clinical test is super sensitive so they don't miss any cases in their studies, but that the public test is super INsensitive so that the public is not alarmed by an outbreak. Wait, aren't you the Center for Disease Control? Yeah, I guess if the public finds out there is a pertussis outbreak you are proving that you aren't controlling anything and that the vaccine doesn't really prevent anything. I guess it does make sense to use a test that won't diagnose anything.
  10. Try a juice fast, or don't. I actually did this before I found out I was exposed to pertussis. I was having such a hard time breathing and I felt like I was choking and gagging on everything. Those particular symptoms did improve because there was simply nothing to gag on. I read how to do a juice fast it in a book at Hi Health which included: 2 days of nothing but (raw) fruits and veggies, 3 days of fresh juice (no tomato or orange), and 2 more days of fruits and veggies. I never would have made it without my husband and quite honestly, after day 1 1/2 I didn't want anymore juice. I think I got 8oz down on day 3, and then lived on lemon water. Possibly the most important thing this did for me was to stay away from dairy, which reduced the amount of mucus to hack up. OK, update: that was super, super important so I'm giving it it's own number.
  11. AVOID DAIRY LIKE THE PLAGUE. I realize you probably feel like you have the plague already if you have pertussis (although those who have had the plague will probably argue), but if you have dairy you will feel worse. 'Nuf said? Words like phlegm, mucus, paroxysm, etc. are just the beginning. Don't go there, no matter how good the food sounds (although no food probably sounds good), and don't let your child with pertussis have it, no matter how hard he screams. (We bagged up the yogurt and hid it, bought soy milk for cereal...)

What will I be doing next? I was sort of bullied into taking my kids to the doctor tomorrow since my son was still throwing up. I considered cancelling, but since my daughter is still possibly within the 3 week contagious window I will keep the appointment and see if we should start her on some antibiotics. If it can possibly reduce her symptoms and stop the spread of this wretched disease, then I'm going to give her some meds. Ugh. My son is past the contagious point so I'm going to try to find the probiotic gummies, and possibly the cod liver oil if I get it for myself. I'll be going with some probiotics for sure and probably getting another homeopathic remedy based on my new symptoms.

Since it was hard to find, yet has some of the best details on pertussis, I broke disclaimer 3:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unique Pallets

We've gotten in the habit of letting Payton try even the stuff we know he won't like. I had bought some coconut water and didn't like it, passed it to Bill, and Payton demanded to have some. He took a big gulp, swallowed and made the worst face ever. The best part was the look he gave us that said, "what are you doing to me?" Later on, he came back over to the counter and I asked him if he wanted more. He replied with "No me lie dat co-co-nut waler."
Earlier that day I was eating some cabbage with a dressing of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and parsley. Payton insisted on trying it, even though I knew it would be too strong for him. I gave him a little bit of cabbage and he didn't gag on it. (He usually runs to the garbage and spits it out.) He asked for more, I gave it to him. This continued until I ran out and he still wanted more. I made another bowl and didn't discriminate on the bites that I gave him. He had to have had some straight up garlic and ate it all.
Tasha's first salad dressing was balsamic vinegar. She continues to like this, but has branched out and is always asking for the salad at Costco for lunch. Aren't kids supposed to want the pizza?
When Kyra was just getting teeth she gnawed on a red onion quite contently during a lunch I had with my mom. (Yes, she was that baby that you could take to a restaurant.) She still had onion breath when her dad came home from work that evening.
I had a juice of apple, carrot, lemon, and ginger this morning... Payton said, "oh, too spicey, mommy!" I love that kid. I also think that lemon and ginger are my non-so-secret favorite ingredients to give juice a little zing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Q: Why don't I spend 15 minutes a day working on cleaning out my laundry room so I have room to store the stuff that is cluttering my house?
A: Because in the 15 very productive minutes that I spent back there one morning Payton was able to :
  • empty the laundry basket I had just taken out onto the living room floor
  • take the empty basket to my bedroom to use as a step stool
  • open my jewelry box and remove the drawer to bring to the living room
  • get a carrot from who knows where (I thought they were all in the outside fridge!)

...and who knows what else that I did not find.