Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat!

We had so much fun tonight! Our street and the next street over are both really popular with Trick-or-Treaters of all ages. Even teens! We had a couple hundred kids come through and it was slower than usual. Yes, I said 200! People new to the neighborhood generally have to be warned ahead of time to buy enough candy and they still never believe it until they see it!

A bunch of houses really go all out. One guy was starting up a chain saw as kids came up to get candy (don't worry, they were at a very safe distance). He also had a scary video showing. A bit much, but you get the picture. Lots of ghosts, and flying bats, and spider webs, and fog machines, and cauldrons burning. One yard had REAL people lying around looking dead. I poked one with my light saber to check. :) It's a bit wild and a real blast. Wall to wall people. The kids LOVE it. Me too.

The funniest part of all this is that we really do live in a very sedate neighborhood. Lots of lawyers and ministers live here (they even get along! :).

Tonight I was expecting all this, so we entered into the spirit of it. Fun. :) BUT, I was floored at one costume...

...The young teen girl dressed as a baby and wearing DEPENDS (and I think that was it) on her lower half. I think her mother needed to have a little chat with her and the message she was sending to every salivating male she came across. And they WERE salivating. Trust me.

My favorite costume was a boy wearing a black sweatshirt with barbie dolls attached to the front of it? Can you guess what he was supposed to be?


:) Did you guess?


A babe magnet! Isn't that clever? He's 10 so it was extra funny. I think. His mom said he came up with it in his own, but I have to wonder...

Then we went back to a neighbor's with her kids and looked through our "loot." Found out our neighbor was handing out gold $ coins (real ones), so the kids were THRILLED about that. :)

I demanded all the Twix and Kit Kat bars and those sweet children handed them over in fistfuls! Can you believe it? :) I was joking, actually. I knew where our neighbor Kim had his stash of Dove Chocolate (because Holly had already sneaked some into my favor bag at our Halloween dinner :)... and was planning to "reallocate" more of them. :) But, Twix and Kit Kats will do just fine in a pinch. :)

So, our night of fun is at an end.

Tomorrow we have our "Monster Halloween Feast." Can't wait!!! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Is Today Wonderful?

Let me count the ways...

1) Grandma took the kids yesterday so hubby and I could have some time to ourselves.

2) We did our weekly grocery shopping in TEN minutes.*

3) The sky is a gorgeous blue, so beautiful that you can hardly tear your eyes away from it.

4) As mom dropped off the kids today, she told me I was looking THINNER!**

* Yes, that is no exaggeration. We RAN through the grocery ten minutes before closing and bought $108 in groceries. I won't have to go back for another week. IT WAS AMAZING!

** This from the same woman who when I was 5 months pregnant and retaining water like a camel, wanted to know what happened to me? "Honey, you used to be so slim and trim." HELLO! Pregnant!!! So, she's a tough sell on the "thin" look. Made me feel great! (In a sad, I-can't-believe-I-don't-need-therapy kind of a way).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lemon Diet Pepsi

I just opened my very first lemon diet Pepsi.

And, well, what were they thinking?

I think there was a reason this stuff disappeared from the shelves two years ago!!!! Even, just plain 'ole wonderful Pepsi would be better. MUCH better.

It's called NFL Kickoff and according to the (funny) commercial, I'm obligated to drink it so that I can get double Pepsi stuff points. After watching the commercial, I'm wondering why the Steelers aren't drinking this stuff. :)

However, it's a LIMITED EDITION flavor with a special NFL football on the can. So, I should force myself to drink it just so I can be trendy. :)

'Cuz, it's all about trendy, right?


(Don't worry, I'm not really finishing it... I've never been very trendy.).

But, I've heard some people really do like this stuff. Let's see if they do.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I can't believe it's already been 10 days since my birthday! It was a really nice day. I even got flowers! Yes, FLOWERS! I never get flowers, but a dear friend made sure I had some this year. (Thanks!!!) :) And they were absolutely completely gorgeous.

So, I've been nursing them along but today I decided that some of them had to go. Why don't roses last longer? But, to my delight, I discovered a lot of the mums still have life in them! So, I clipped stems and did some rearranging, and ya know, I think I'll get a few more days of enjoyment out of these! What a delightful surprise! :)

I'm even thinking I might find some cattails somewhere to add to it since it's pretty much down to Fall flowers in the vase. And I just peered out the back window at my neighbor's yard. He has some yellow black-eyed susans just begging to be picked and added to my flower arrangement. Hmmm... I'm feeling a clandestine operation coming on! :)

Who knew I'd get so much enjoyment out of a bunch of flowers? :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boo at the Zoo

Every year we go to the Boo at the Zoo festivities at Oglebay Park Zoo. It's such fun!

So, last night we dragged out our Halloween paraphernalia and got all gussied up.

At first, the boys weren't too thrilled with their costuming choices.

1) Use last year's costume.
2) Finally wear the cowboy or knight costume that have been nixed 2 years running.
3) Wear the Darth Vader costumes that I bought last year at Target's 90% off sale.

Yes, I bought THREE Darth Vader costumes. I mean, after all, if ONE Darth is scary, how scary would THREE of them be?

Eventually, the boys decided it would be GREAT FUN to all dress alike and we had no dearth of Darth. :)

Sarah had her costume planned for months and was a pink diva cat. I was a witch, so I said she was my cat. :)

Note that Rob had ONE job. Make sure the boys leave the house with their capes ON. Ahem.

Here's the Darth picture AFTER I discovered that little faux pax. Ahem. Ahem.

If we are going to have no dearth of Darths in the family this year, we need at least one Princess!

And here she is... under duress. :) Just look at that expression!

"Save me Han Solo! Save me! Before I expire from embarrassment or rip someone's leg off."

Yeah, I'm dangerous at Target when they mark things 90% off! I mean, it's like they are DARING me to leave it in the store!

Rob says he should have started the Darth Vader Diet a LOOOONG time ago (in a galaxy far far away....).... Although, he was prepared to test his theory that melted chocolate could be dripped through Darth's mouthpiece.

We did have a hairy moment when we realized that the well-fed dragon is eating pink diva kitten this year!

Fortunately, there are some rescue llamas on the job and they particularly enjoy saving kittens. Or, maybe they just like the color pink. Well, whatever. Whew! :)

We ended our visit only to discover that SOME of us received suspiciously DEFECTIVE bags of CANDY. Ahem. DARTH!!! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sweet Sweet Harley

My sweet sweet collie just opened his eyes and obviously SENSED the rant of my last blog entry because I could practically HEAR him saying, "Gee, Mom, I sure don't care about your weight! Just come over here and give me a smooch!"

Really, how can anyone look at that cute face and NOT smile? :)

And this is why I have collies.

We'll ignore the fact that he is laying on the forbidden couch in his favorite "couch potato collie" pose. :)


(Part of me has snapped and the rest of me is draggin'!)

You know, after 2 weeks at the gym (and I've been faithful! I even went on my birthday!), I am feeling rather like the above tortoise. Why? MY LEGS DON'T WANT TO BIKE ANYMORE! They are TIRED, OLD, 44-year-old LEGS and they say, "TAKE A BREAK ALREADY!"

And I can, after all, feel my waist again.

But, then, I catch a glimpse of myself in a MIRROR and EEEKS! This look is NOT what I had in mind at ALL! So, back to the gym I go again today.

So, instead of a draggin' tortoise, I'm going to be a BICYCLIN' FOOL! In this LOOOONG weight loss race, why couldn't I have been the HARE instead of the TORTOISE? I know the tortoise wins in the end, but it is SUCH SLOW GOING.

And the worst part is that I feel like PERHAPS my measly 6 pounds of weight loss over the last 2 weeks has been entirely out of my HANDS and FEET! See what I mean? Skinny feet. Who cares about skinny FEET??? They are back to sloshing around in my shoes. THIS IS NOT FAIR! Isn't there someone to complain to about this? I want to put in my 2 cents! Or better yet, a few POUNDS in the UK!!! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Well, it's official. We have elves. Really mischievous ones, too. It wasn't clear until today.

I was cleaning off the counter when I discovered their presence. I washed it down. I turned around. MORE crumbs. I got out a different cleaning tool. Voila! No crumbs. I went to leave, took one last look....MORE CRUMBS. I looked up. No crumbs on the ceiling (well, with 3 kids, it is a valid idea). I looked for a cat. No cat. I glared at Peachie (golden retriever) sitting at my feet. Hmmmm... Well, nothing to do but CLEAN IT AGAIN! So, I did. Honestly, I cleaned that counter FOUR TIMES!!!! I'm putting out elf traps tonight.

This also explains another rather unfortunate happening. I toss towels down the laundry chute and sometimes later a washrag (sometimes wet, because the TOWEL is there, after all). I make my way down the stairs, open the chute and WHAM! Hit right in the face with a WET WASHRAG. Where did the TOWEL go, you may ask? ELVES! I'm convinced they are using the towels as bedding in the rafters.

Rob says not to mention my elf theory to many people. What do you think? Shall they cart me off to be fitted for my straight jacket soon?

Have a great ELF-FREE day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Champie's New Costume

So, I get home from the gym and notice our collie Champie trotting around the living room with something white stuck to his tail. He's really whippin' it around too! So, I investigate. To my HORROR it is a BRA! (I sorted laundry before I left for the gym and it was still on the couch). Let me just tell you how VERY glad I was that I got home before the BOYS because MATT (age 6) would have NEVER let me FORGET the site of Champie "wearing" my bra!!!! Whew! :) I can hear him giggling over it now! (He's quite the giggler...not sure where he gets THAT!) :P And telling all in sundry about it too! Guests! Neighbors! Family! :) The entire blogosphere! :) (Oh wait! That's me!) :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Wonders of the Gym

Our pediatrician calls our local Wellness Center (the gym I go to) the Hellness Center. Gee. I wonder why. :)

After hearing that epithet, I was really NOT wanting to do the gym route. The trauma of people seeing my out of shape and flabby self on gym equipment seemed a horror not worth the reward.

But, after we got a FREE membership for a YEAR, I decided to give it a go. I mean, after all, FREE. That's pretty tough to resist.

And so I went. I was quite grumpy at first. You have to go through a looooong class on how to use all the weight and exercise equipment. Snore. Pretty much all I learned was 1) adjust all equipment to the SHORT PERSON setting, and 2) remove all weights except the lightest one. Yeah, I was feeling REALLY good about myself. Sigh.

However, all that is PAST.

Now I go to the gym EVERY day and I CAN'T WAIT! I'm finally losing weight and it is a WONDERFUL feeling!!

After the drudgery of the treadmill and bike (which I don't really even notice because I'm watching TV the whole time), I get to go in the POOL. AHHHHHHH! It is SOOOOO refreshing! They give you towels and everything! And then the sheer LUXURY of the JACUZZI! OH MY!!!! I leave that place with a SMILE ON MY FACE. They even have hair dryers and shampoo and cute guys (oh wait! That was the other day...) in the shower room! And I haven't even tried the SAUNA yet!

And the best part? I always thought going to a gym would mean surrounding myself with lots of IN SHAPE and gorgeous people who live to exercise and would sort of look down on me (literally and figuratively). Not at the Wellness Center! It's great! I feel YOUNG there since the average age must be 80. And many many people are recovering from surgery, so I don't feel slow or anything like that. I can keep up! Sometimes. :)

So, I'm adding this to my blog as a RECORD of the wonders of the on that raining or icy day when I don't want to drag my sorry self over there, I'll remember...and go over there anyway. :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

I am such a SHEEP

Okay, Day 10 at the gym. I pretty much have the routine down. Except for the pool, since I only do that once a week.

AAAAHHHHH. The pool. On a Friday afternoon. NO ONE else was there except Rob and I. It was so relaxing!

So, after a few laps and feeling completely wonderful (10 minutes in the jacuzzi will do that) and chatting with hubby, I start to exit the pool area.

Chat chat chat... (that's me...never shut up) chat chat... (blindly following hubby, like a sheep...)


THAT'S not where I meant to go!

I back up QUCKLY out of the MEN'S SHOWER ROOM!

Yes, that's right, I chatted my way into complete embarrassment. Rob thought it was HILARIOUS. The pool attendants practically fell off of their chairs.

But, being 43, not 13, I nonchalantly went to the WOMEN'S door and exited the pool area. Then I turned bright pink. :)

Unbelievably, the NEXT time I visited the pool, I almost did the SAME thing! Freudian perhaps? ;) It was only the sound of baa-ing in my ear (from a most helpful husband who reads this blog) that stopped me in my tracks and had me backing up to the women's door! :) Honestly, you can't take me anywhere! :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rice and Me: An Incompatible Combination

Rice. Me. Not a good combination. Sure, I can make Minute Rice (usually) or throw Uncle Ben's in the microwave, but making REAL rice out of a BAG has always just mystified me.

I've tried.


My long-suffering and very kind family has not made too much fun of me. They've ignored the smoke alarm going off or the somewhat...shall we call it chewy...rice. I think Matt, age 6, even thinks chewy rice is preferable. Poor child.

I've tried looking up different methods of making rice. The knuckle method looks sooooo easy. But not for me. I must have deformed knuckles.

So, in sharing my closet rice making failures with a friend, it was suggested that I invest in a rice cooker. And, what do you know, the grocery store had one and it was 70% off! Well! That seems like fate, does it not? I had the perfect excuse to buy it and give it to Rob to give back to me on my birthday this Saturday. (Which is my last birthday, btw. After this I'm starting over at 39...for several years. :)

So, now we shall see. If I still can't make rice with a real RICE COOKER, then I will hang up the towel and just have Rob make it in future. He laughs at me because he can make rice with NO problem. Fingers crossed! ;)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Blue Ribbon Day

To offset the last post (and the ranting), I'm posting this GOOD thing that happened yesterday. :) Balance is good, after all.

And hopefully no one will mind my shameless bragging today! :)

Two nights ago I slaved over a couple of loaves of whole wheat oatmeal bread. It's not really difficult, just time consuming. I enjoy it. I wanted to enter one loaf in our local fair's baked goods competition. I didn't really think I would win anything, but they auction off the baked goods and the $$ go to the fair fund, which is a good thing. It's just our way of contributing.

I dropped off the bread at the fair on Saturday morning and promptly forgot about it. We didn't even go back to see if it won anything.

That night my daughter Sarah baked a batch of cookies for the youth baked goods competition on Sunday. Two years ago she won a red ribbon, so she was really excited. We took her cookies up on Sunday morning.

As we were registering, I asked about the bread competition. I was told that the record wasn't available right then, but the box of ribbons was on the end of the table with the winner's names written on the backs. She invited me to check through the box. I giggled. I mean, right, like I won. But, I went to check anyway, and what do you know, the second ribbon I picked up was MINE and it was BLUE!!!! :) I immediately asked if mine was the ONLY entry, but was assured it was not. :) Well, I had to ask. :)

So, my family now knows that they must henceforth call my bread, "BLUE RIBBON BREAD" and not just "bread." :) I was really shocked. I even sent in my back-up loaf, not the one I meant to take because that one was a little too brown. The loaf I sent was kinda small, but I guess that was okay with the judges. :) I sent the first one to a friend who had surgery last week. I think she liked finding out she was eating bread from a BLUE RIBBON batch. :) (hee hee) I just like saying, "BLUE RIBBON." :) Can you tell? I know. It's shameless bragging, but it's my blog. :) And I've NEVER won a blue ribbon before! :)

If you want the recipe, just post in the comments. :) I'll share as long as you don't enter it in my local fair! :) (Jamie, here's your chance!!!) :)

UPDATE: Sarah's cookies didn't win a ribbon this year, but the youth category goes through age 18 and she is only 11. I was really proud of her for even trying. A really nice lady from church called her tonight to tell her that she bid on her cookies at the auction and WON! :) She made sure Sarah knew they were delicious. There are some truly kind people in this world!

Name Rant

Remember my rant on how I don't like people calling me Christine instead of Christen? How I often go by my nickname just so people can get it right? How my minister uncle-in-law MARRIED Rob and I ...using the name CHRISTINE? Oh, I could go on and on.

Well, it's been better of late. We've lived here nearly 6 years and most people that I care about get it right.

However, then came today.

I turned in a bunch of receipts at church to be reimbursed for VBS expenditures. Today I got a check back.

The man who writes the check is a former PROFESSOR. He writes my husband's check. He is my Sunday School teacher!

So, I look at the check.

And what do you know. All this time, he's thought my name is Christine because there it is on the check, as big as day.

He likes to kid me a lot. So, I'm thinking maybe I'll turn it back in and say it cannot be cashed until he writes me a check with my CORRECT name. What do you think? Will I get any brownie points for being picky? :) I know, I know. I'll just cash it like it is, but I don't have to like it.

The worst part is that I actually feel quite terrible having to correct people who have known me for a long time. And I recognize that the name Christine is a perfectly good name, it's just not mine.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Good Deed?

I picked up Sarah from Girl Scouts and we were on our way home on National Road (a VERY busy road). Suddenly, we saw a small white dog in the middle of the road! Cars were headed toward it from both directions! Well! We couldn't have THAT! Squished poodle is most unappealing.

So, we pretty much chased it off of the main road with our van and turned onto a side road. I pulled over asap and we grabbed some animal crackers for dog bribery and away we went! That silly dog just BARKED and BARKED at us and WOULD NOT COME to us AT ALL. We went up and down this residential street, hoping all the time that his owners would hear all the racket and come out to CLAIM their dog. Finally, I got in front of him and Sarah in back of him. The dog turned down a side yard that had a FENCE at the end of it!

CAUGHT, we thought.


There was a hole in the fence. He disappeared through it. As I knocked on the front door of the house, Sarah noticed a different small dog come OUT of the hole in the fence.



So, we chase both dogs back inside and look around for something to block the hole. It was obvious the owners were aware of the problem because there was a big cooler on the other side of the fence that was meant to keep the hole blocked off. The dogs outwitted their owners on that score!

I found two bricks and blocked the hole. Sarah was looking at me somewhat askance because we did not KNOW if the white dog actually LIVED THERE.

Sarah: "But Mom, what if the dog doesn't live here?"

Me: "Well, he does now!"

Sarah: "MOM!"

It was too bad we didn't have any way to leave a message for the people that live there. I sure hope that the dog we blocked into their yard IS THEIR DOG. But, all the evidence pointed to it since the white dog was REALLY eager to dash into the hole in the fence to get away from us.

So, we hope we did a good deed, but we may always wonder what the owners of that house thought when they came home to ... possibly... an extra dog!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Adventures at the Gym

Today was my introduction to water walking. I also used some FUN GYM EQUIPMENT for the first time! I learned lots of interesting things about the gym, some of which, of course, I'm going to share with you. :)

I learned that I can dust 80+ year olds in a water race! Woo HOOO!

I can yell, "RAMMING SPEED!" while holding a water noodle and scare senior citizens out of my path in the water. (I only did this once and it did get a grin from the senior).

I can beat friends in water running (even with weights!). That was a shocker! It helps when people are shorter than me (they are difficult to find). Or, maybe I just displace more water. Um...maybe winning at this isn't a good thing after all! :)

I can ride a stationary bicycle without my knees creaking. That was a relief because they sure were creaking yesterday! It was embarrassing!

I found that turning on the Food Network while biking is NOT conducive to a hunger-free ride. (Yes, that's right! Gyms have TV's attached to the exercise equipment! WHO KNEW?! And why did no one ever tell me????)

That said, know that I can figure out how to USE the TV on the exercise equipment (Hoo RAH!). :)

I can make good choices on channels to watch (Food Channel = bad, Current Financial Events = good ... takes away the appetite).

The whirlpool is a wonderful invention but it needs handles (I kept floating!) - it's been awhile - 20 years!!! I don't remember floating before. Does fat float? I'm in trouble!

I found out how to sneak in an extra few minutes in the wonderful, relaxing, I-never-wanted-to-leave whirlpool. :) You're only allowed a miserly ten minutes.

Oh, and after I purchase the fashionable yoga pants that Summer kindly recommended (thanks, Summer!), I will even FIT IN with the fashion crowd. :) Because, you know, to me that is soooo important (eyes rolling). :) But, as was pointed out (thanks again, Summer! :), I'll feel more comfortable about waving my derriere in the air on certain weight-lifting equipment with yoga pants on. Sure, if they stay UP, I will. We shall see.

Best of all, as I was leaving the pool, I happened to glance at the full-length torture devices (otherwise known as mirrors) and noted that I looked THINNER ALREADY. :) Yeah, it's wishful thinking, but it still felt good.

So, all in all, I found the gym to be a VERY FUN place to be! I don't even think I will mind going back tomorrow... too much. :)