Thursday, April 29, 2010

Errant Thought Roundup 4

I love, I love, I hate, I hate
I like, I wish, for goodness sake
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray
I will, I won't, and for today...

I love turning off the alarm clock and snuggling for a few more minutes.
I love accomplishing short term goals...like to-do lists.
I hate beer and ice cream together - who'd have thought?
I hate wet socks...
I like those awesome outdoor lights...I want to call them trattoria lights, but I just googled that and there's no such thing...but you know the kind I mean, right? With the large sized bulbs that are spaced about a foot apart....and you string them over a deck, or a sidewalk...or inside of an Olive Garden.
I wish I were a little more organized. I could actually use an extra of me...just one who enjoyed folding laundry more.
For goodness sake, I've got to stop sighing when I feel like sighing. Sometimes I need to keep my sighs to myself...it's an attitude issue, I'll fix it.
I hope playing footsie never gets old.
I hope I get to go on exotic vacations one day. Mexico does not count as exotic. Tahiti...Tahiti is exotic.
I pray with gratitude that I'm not God...once again (every hour...every minute, even), I would have really screwed things up. Of course, my life would be coming up roses, but what's the fun in knowing the outcome of every journey? What's the point of a journey? Letting go is half the fun, right?
I pray financial increase and promotion on very specific people. Promotions out of the Philadelphia metro area...promotions to Florida...or somewhere else very far away. (I learned this prayer from my old pastor...worked for him). I want nothing but the best for them! Truly!
I will try to come up with a birthday party theme this week...stay tuned.
I won't make the pettiskirt this week. I've decided that I set myself up for disappointment every time I say "I will" do it...so this way, if I don't do it, I will have proven myself right, and if I do end up making it...well, I lied to you, but, hey! I'll have a pettiskirt!
And for today, I'm content with imperfection. I think I've proven that by praying "increase and promotion" on people. Perfect, I'm not. Content...I am.


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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Disappearing Act


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chocolate Frosting

I probably don't need to write another word. I think the words "chocolate frosting" are enough of a post all on their own...but since I put a lot of work into making chocolate frosting (and taking pictures of it), I'll just fill you in.

Tonight, I wanted cake. Cake with chocolate frosting. I not only wanted cake, I deserved cake. I had a boxed cake mix, but I didn't have a tub of frosting. I didn't have any confectioners sugar either. In a pinch, I found a recipe for chocolate frosting made with granular sugar (yay!)

Here's the journey:
Note: It's called "1 Minute Chocolate Frosting" in the recipe, but the "1 minute" is only a reference to the boiling time. It actually takes around 12 minutes from start to finish...still a really good quick fix, though...

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions (edited for clarity):
Mix together butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa:
Bring to a boil:
(this was mesmerizing...it looked like perpetually sinking chocolate...)

Boil for ONE minute:
(this is what the full boil looks like)

Add vanilla, cool partially:
(looks like true love waiting to happen, doesn't it?)

Beat with a mixer for three minutes (or until spreadable consistency):
Initial consistency = chocolate soup

Eventual consistency = frosting!

Spread frosting onto cake!

Note: Spread quickly and evenly if you would like for your frosting to look like this:

Take your sweet time ("sweet time"...haha, get it?) if you want your frosting to look like this:

Guess who learned that lesson the hard way?

Both the ugly half and the pretty half of your cake will be equally delicious - enjoy!


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Monday, April 26, 2010

Stuff My Bosses Taught Me

I've learned something from every manager I've ever had. I've had quite a lot of jobs due to the fact that I have almost always held down two jobs at a time...I had four at once one summer. I was 20...it was not awesome. I am going to attempt to list here what I feel is the most important thing I learned from each of them in chronological order starting with my very first job as a lifeguard at the age of "almost 16." I respected some more than others (quite apparently), but it doesn't matter how much you respect someone, there is always a lesson to be learned:
  • Banging on the gate sounds like thunder...you know...for when you need a half hour break. (He also taught me how to smoke a cigarette...but I don't consider that among my greatest accomplishments)
  • Sometimes, it's better to leave with your dignity intact than to stay in a place where you're overworked and under-appreciated.
  • Don't sleep on the deck...no matter what the other guards say you can do...oh...and "real" lifeguards wear one piece suits.
  • You earn respect...it's not just bestowed upon you because you exist. Don't be a doormat, and be the best at what you do.
  • Don't be a victim...success is a choice.
  • Cocaine...bad choice.
  • Somebody's gotta do it - it might as well be you.
  • Invest wisely, and only place bets you're sure you can win. (Same guy taught me that you should buy the smallest house in a nice neighborhood - you always get a return on your investment this way...financial expert, this dude).
  • Give someone with no experience a chance...they've got to get experience somehow and they'll work hard to prove you made the right choice.
  • Some things are better kept close to the vest...especially at work. Professionalism will never go out of fashion. (I learned this the hard way...but I'm glad I learned it young).
  • Don't have an affair with your second in command. Everyone will know and you'll lose what little respect you may have had to start with. (Piece of work, that one...and yes, that's the best advice I can dig up from this particular employer)
  • Sometimes it's better to just toss the rule book out the window and make stuff happen...bureaucracy can kill the best of intentions.
  • Successful women are driven, assertive, intelligent, and quick to dole out kudos when deserved.
Here's to thirteen very different perspectives, and thirteen lessons I'm very glad that I have under my belt at the green age of 27.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Walls are for the birds...

When Sadie and I were living with my dad last year (before we were able to move up to Philadelphia with Eric), I found a stash of fantastic prints contained in an original Audubon Folio set from 1964. It has 30 prints in pristine condition. He had no idea where he got them and said we could have them if we could use them. I chose my three favorites and have been itching to get them framed for about 8 months.

Yesterday evening, I saw the folio set leaning against the wall and decided it was time to find my favorites a home. What's sad is that I'm really not all that into birds - they're beautiful, but I know nothing about them. Truly, a bird lover deserves these prints - especially in the condition they're in, but for whatever reason they ended up in my possession. Despite my lack of knowledge on birds (or the Audubon Society, or how this folio ended up at my dad's house), I think the collection looks lovely framed and hanging on the wall!

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Light Bulbs

Something happened this week that made me painfully aware of the fact that we live in 980 square feet. I proceeded to feel sorry for myself (for several days, actually) because we are a family of three living in a teeny tiny apartment. {Oh the suffering! Oh the claustrophobia! How are we going to survive like this??}

Then I remembered a story I heard on the radio one morning last year:

A man went to another country on a missions trip. While he was there, he met a native of the country and they became friends. The native excitedly invited the man to come to his home, so that he could meet the entire family. On the way there, all the man could see were rows and rows of tiny shanty houses. Shacks. Shacks built of plywood scraps with scraps of various other materials for roofs and doors...no floors.

The native got more and more excited as they got nearer to his house. The two of them walked inside...as I recall, it was about 8ft x 12ft. An entire family living in 96 square feet. The native man pointed to the light bulb in the house proudly. "Look! We have a light!" (The only one in the entire village - they loved it because they could invite people over late at night and everyone could sit around while someone read the Bible aloud).

I will never forget that story for a couple of reasons:
1. I can't imagine having the only light bulb for miles
2. I can't imagine what it must be like to experience such deep gratitude for something that so many millions of people take for granted

All of this to say that my little family lives in a 980 square foot apartment. An apartment more than ten times the size of that shanty house. An apartment with a full kitchen - including dishwasher. A washing machine, a dryer, two full bathrooms, several closets (large ones...FULL to the brim of things that we probably don't really need), air conditioning, heat...and lots and lots of light bulbs. I can see nine from where I'm sitting at this very moment.

I never met my Daddy's father, but he had a saying that I've heard my Daddy repeat to me over the years: "You'll never be happy with what you get unless you can be happy with what you've got." It's true. Would I be content with a bigger, nicer, more expensive place to live when I can't even be content in a place that most people in the world have never seen the likes of? Not likely...so I'm going to stew on that for a while. And I'm going to try to appreciate my light bulbs.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Puzzle Time

{Sitting in Sadie's Room Doing Puzzles}

Me: Great job!! You did it!
Sadie: Wanna do it again??
Me: Sure!
Sadie: No - not you, Mommy...just Daddy.

A Daddy's job is to teach his little girl how she deserves to be treated by men for the rest of her life. No pressure, guys.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Art of Being Lost

I've been keeping a secret from you. My friend Lacy, from some foreign country er...California, has a blog you really need to know about called The Art of Being Lost. Lacy is a self-professed pathological picture-taker, but I'm not sure that does her justice. Not only does she take photos pathologically, but she is also witty and creative. I know - you need proof. Don't worry - I have lots!

In addition to the fact that Lacy has given me something to aspire to in the way of birthday parties for children (please click - you won't be disappointed), she also has an amazing eye for wedding photography as seen here, here, here, and here!

As if being able to do those things really well wasn't enough, they aren't even my favorite things about her work...she also takes still life photos that are worth way more than a thousand words. Some of my favorite examples of Lacy's work are here (with titles):

Drank Too Much
(seriously - if this doesn't make you laugh, I'm not sure what will...)

The Escapees

Dunce

Pete's Not Home Right Now


...and my personal favorite:

Free Range

I just requested my copy of "Free Range" to hang up in my kitchen. EEK! I can't wait!!!

Two important things:
1. If you love Lacy's work as much as I do, you should follow her blog. No, no...I don't mean in the stalker without a face way - I mean in the "click the follow button and make it known" way. (PS - are you following mine yet? You're not? The button's over here -->)
2. If there is a particular piece you are interested in, they are available for purchase. Lacy's email is listed in her blog - just email her and let her know which piece you'd like, and she can quote you a price for it.

I'll take a photo as soon as "Free Range" makes it's debut in my kitchen...

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Monday, April 19, 2010

What is it?

I don't know, but when I was uploading pics of Sadie eating blue ice cream, it was on my camera. Looks like someone very small got a hold of mommy's camera when I wasn't looking...

I'm pretty sure it was the same very small person who chooses her ice cream based on "color" instead of on "flavor."



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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friendly's?

We had a less than pleasant experience at Friendly's tonight. The server was NEVER at our table...and I'm pretty sure the "angst-filled teenager" role wasn't helping her "serve-with-a-smile" role.

I called the manager over and told him that we'd been waiting for everything we needed all night and he goes, "I'm so sorry about that, she was really busy because she had a 6-top...blah, blah, blah..." Then he goes, "Is there anything I can do for you? Do you want some dessert." (Couldn't he see that we had plainly just engorged ourselves on dessert?) "Um. No thanks. Just wanted to let you know."

So this brings me to another point. **Attention managers of whatever: IF YOU SCREW SOMETHING UP, DON'T ASK IF YOU CAN MAKE IT RIGHT - JUST DO IT!** That manager should have said, "This one's on me." or "Here's a card for a free entree on your next visit." or something besides, "Can I do something?" What did he want...a suggestion?

I told Eric that the same thing applies for women carrying boxes (or anything awkward or heavy). If she's got something in her arms and she's struggling (even a little), don't say, "can I help you with that?" JUST DO IT! Take the stinking box out of her hands and ask her where she's headed. Don't just stand there with nothing in your hands offering to help. Most girls will say, "no, I've got it" so that they don't inconvenience you. But here's the secret, "no, I've got it" actually means, "you moron, just TAKE it."

My husband (misinterpreting my sentiment) says, "Kendra, if no-neck Lars from Sweden is walking around carrying his Atlas stone, I'm not going to say, 'Hello up there, Lars! Let me help you with that!' because there will be parts of my poor body that probably won't function properly afterwards."
(I'm pretty sure this is no-neck Lars)

"No honey - I'm not talking about 'no-neck Lars from Sweden.'"

"Ok - then "Helga, the worlds strongest woman..."
(I'm pretty sure this is Helga)

"No, no, no - I'm talking about Betty Lou from Oklahoma"
(I'm pretty sure this is Betty Lou from Oklahoma)

"Um. I'm pretty sure ol' Betty Lou can hold her own. And she can probably spit better than I can, too."

Somehow we made it all the way from crappy service at Friendly's to Betty Lou the awesome mid-west spitter.

It's been that kind of a night.

Happy Saturday!!

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Blue-Gray Sky

I wish I could have been outside all day today...it was one of those awesome days where the entire sky is blue-gray, the air is really warm, but the breeze is that fantastic, cool "it's about to rain out here" kind of breeze, and the sun sort of shines and makes everything yellowish gold. I LOVE THAT! I love it so much that on my commute home, I purposely pulled off the road to take a picture. I took a few - Sadie chose this one...she likes it the best.
I'm sure the poor guy that owns the property wondered why some stranger was taking a picture of his yard...I want a yard that looks like this.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Moosh!

Sadie invented a new game tonight. It's called "moosh." It's pronounced like "push" but I couldn't spell it "mush" because then you'd try to pronounce it like "hush" and it's not pronounced that way - so saith the toddler. It's moosh.

Anyway - it's very easy to play. It consists of reaching up and squashing my boobs while saying "moosh!" I'm not sure how she figured out she could do this, but the first time she did it, Eric found it so hysterical that she just continued doing it. I kept bursting into laughter when I would tell her to stop mooshing me. The laughter obviously meant to her that I didn't want her to stop. Let me tell ya, it *is* humanly possible to be crying with laughter and to be simultaneously and genuinely asking someone to stop whatever it is that is bringing you to hysterics. I don't like to be "mooshed" but for whatever reason, it makes me laugh like a hyena. {really? my toddler is squishing my boobs? and making up words for it? and giggling with her little toddler cackle? is it really that funny? are boobs really that fascinating?}

I'm going to remind her of this when she has kids.

MOOSH!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Measuring Tape

Today, I thought to myself, "Sometimes I want to substitute your overpriced, hand ground, extra special, not-in-the-budget coffee for Folgers or something because not only do you get on my nerves, but you're a snob to boot. A hundred bucks says you wouldn't notice." And then I realized I should up that to a thousand bucks - because seriously...he wouldn't have noticed.

And then - after pleasantly smiling while having this self-righteous fight in my head, I realized something else. I need to start making my standards for my own behavior higher and my standards for the behavior of others more reasonable. I'm going to be judged by the very same measuring tape with which I judge others. It is a scary thought. Ok - sure, I'm as close to perfect as a mortal can be...I drink 8 glasses of water a day, clean my house in my sleep, never think ill of anyone, wear an apron and heels while cooking, eat celery as a snack, pay all of my bills 29 days in advance, and call my mother every day. Oh - and I never fib.
Seriously - I really do all of that stuff call my mother every day.

Ugh. Wretched mortality. Because of my quest to be immortal, I have reckoned that this dude can have his hoity toity coffee, his pretentious attitude, and his designer coat and boots (eek - was that me judging again? Old habits die hard, huh?). I will try very hard to bite my tongue and smile pleasantly while silently humming Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" to myself instead of wishing I could put a hair in his toothbrush. Or scoot his chair out a little too far when he goes to sit down. Seriously - I'll try to stop wishing he'd give a presentation with broccoli in his teeth, or that someone would leave a mysterious dent in his car...and no note...and no evidence...except the dent.

This is harder than I thought. Please don't show me the measure that you use to judge my flaws - if it's half as horrible as the one I use, I couldn't bear to look at it.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

How to Celebrate Spring!

I know, I know...we're a little late. I wanted to wait until the weather was spring-like before actually welcoming Spring back to the world this year. Thank goodness for the Spring...it makes the dregs of Winter (not the pretty, snowy, wonderland part of Winter...just the dregs) somewhat bearable.

How to celebrate Spring:

Take your shoes off

Sit in the grass and play with your bare toes

Play hide and seek

Pick some flowers for your mommy

Start thinking about the pool

Wander aimlessly barefoot in the grass

Dance

...and spread some joy!

Happy Spring!

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Playdate with Madison! (a.k.a., the couple of hours where I take lots of photos of the backs of children's heads)

Sadie has a little friend named Madison from her old school. Once upon a time, Sadie and Madison didn't get along very well because they were both "the princess." When they realized they could harness their collective powers for good in the kingdom of preschool, they became best buddies.

This weekend we went to Madison's house for a playdate - we had a *blast*. Sadie had a blast because she got to hang out with her buddy Madison...she hadn't seen her in several weeks (think lots of running around and high pitched squealing and giant little girl smiles - times two), and I had a blast because I got to sit and chat with a real-live mommy for more than 10 minutes. First time in a month! (note to self: schedule more playdates...duh).

Here are the two "princesses" enjoying their first playdate!
Giving each other hugs...the theme of the day...

Swinging on Madison's play structure

I love this picture!

My baby girl running after some bubbles...

Both girls running after bubbles (notice the back-of-the-head theme? Futile to try to get faces in toddler photos, isn't it?)

Beautiful Madison

Playing in Madison's play room - the princess tent (far right) was a big hit...they pulled their chairs in there and shared some goldfish snacks. Priceless.

Madison and her beautiful mommy...matching smiles!

Lunch time!

Hugs! (I'm sure Sadie's face looked as happy as Madison's)

Army crawling through a field of bubbles...two cutie booties.

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