I think I could be Ann Curry …

I could cope with being Ann Curry right now.

Truly. I would be just fine with a 10 million dollar Golden Parachute. And just for leaving a job? Not a problem. And wouldn’t feel like a failure, either.

Of course, I don’t actually have a ‘real’ job…

But I know I could tolerate writing a check for my Little White Ranch House and an inexpensive vehicle or two. My saintly Landlady (who is only a Landlady due to the difficult real estate market) would be fine with my writing that check, too. I’m sure of it. And my children would welcome my writing checks for their college educations.

Wouldn’t be too draining to deal with investing most of the money. After all, I hold a BA Degree in Business. Finance, actually. Probably, I could manage 10 million dollars well enough to be set for life. Mainly because I dream of a fairly simple life.

On a serious note, I do realize that managing a large sum of money does take skill, effort, time and intelligence. (As shown by so many who piss large sums of money away.)

Mind you, these are the ramblings of a Regular Girl. And I’m sure my perspective is colored by the ‘economics’ of my current situation. Let’s just say my financials could be better. And leave it there…

Back to Ann Curry…

Smart, beautiful, educated and classy. There are many professional women out there. Yet she stands apart for her warmth, compassion and her skill in handling difficult stories. She is genuine. And if that isn’t enough, she is a great sport. Her sense of humor and spirit of adventure resonate with viewers. As a television personality and journalist, Ann Curry has been successful beyond what Regular Girls (like me) can only dream of.

No shame in getting the boot from The Today Show.

It’s an opportunity few have had. And I’m not so sure it was her. She is certainly talented and charismatic.

Probably, she was too good in her previous role–before co-anchoring The Today Show this past year. I think maybe her audience got comfortable seeing her cover world events, zip line through forests and conduct interviews in war zones.

Much the same as those in popular sitcoms often can’t escape a character.

She will likely be better off for this turn of events. Makes her personal story more compelling.

I can’t help but be reminded of a favorite quote. One that always helps me feel better. Or remain delusional?

 When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us     ~Helen Keller

Failure makes us root for a person. And those who handle failure graciously are often respected more. Viewers will look for her. Follow her new career. Will tune in to see what comes next for Ann Curry.

I know I will.

Grocery Shopping for Teenagers (Ugh.)

Darling Daughter: Are we going grocery shopping today?

Me: Sigh…

Not my favorite activity. One I happily handed over to my teenagers last winter, when my daughter started cooking. (A huge treat for me.) And it’s better when the ‘chef’ makes the grocery list, right?

Me: How about if you and your brother make the list and go?

Son: Okay. I’ll go.

Darling Daughter: You really DON’T want to go?

Me: No.

Daughter whipped out a pen and paper. And they put their heads together, got started on the list. I turned around and saw Aunt Kate was there. Stunned.

Me:  What?

Aunt Kate didn’t say anything…

Me: Really, I don’t know how to shop for Squirrel Food. The kids eat squirrel food these days…

Aunt Kate lost it, laughing.

Me: It’s true. Look in the pantry snack bin. Nothing but nuts, berries and sh#%.

The jar (photo left) has the trail mix my daughter makes with dried fruit, walnuts–and not exactly sure what else?

But she loves it. I’ve seen her pack it in Ziplock bags to snack on, sprinkle it in her yogurt…

And really, this shift in eating habits hasn’t happened overnight. Its more a series of gradual changes. A slow progression of cutting out ‘junk’ food for two children who mostly ate well anyway.

They have been active since they were born. No surprise that they both play sports. That they work out year around. Or even that they have realized that when they ate poorly, they felt like crap. Son enters high school this fall and committed to getting stronger to prepare for high school sports. Daughter has always eaten mostly healthy foods–but has gotten more adventurous and interested in cooking and baking. (With whole wheat flour, flaxseed, oat bran and other such ingredients…)

So…they are dedicated. Both fit. Both eating to feel good. To be healthy.

Super.

But grocery shopping for Rabbit and Squirrel Food is tricky for me.

THIS WEEKS GROCERY LIST:

Strawberries Spinach & Zucchini (fresh)
Watermelon Lettuce
Apples Vine Tomatoes (fresh)
Bananas Carrots
Cantaloupe Sweet Potatoes (fresh)
Powerade Zero Brown Rice
Black Beans Strawberries
Garbanzo Beans Tofu
Great Northern Beans Greek Yogurt
hummus Chicken
Walnuts Chicken
Almonds and more Chicken
Dried Apricots & Berries Corn on the Cob (fresh)
Redskin Potatoes (fresh) Green Beans (fresh)

As I write this, I’m dipping whole wheat pita chips into hummus. Tastes good, but I can only eat small amounts of it. Probably because the hummus dip is filling?

Or because it seems like smashed up bean goo spread on thin air…

Honestly, I don’t mind the changes.

Especially when the children are doing the legwork, making lists, chopping vegetables, making fruit salads and preparing much of the food. Daughter finds the recipes, takes charge of the grocery list. And somebody shops for food with me, or they do the grocery shopping…

As long nothing goes to waste, I’ll buy whatever the kids want–within reason. Even if I have to eat it.

Though I will pass on the protein powder.

My cousin strolled into our kitchen last week, as Son mixed up his concoction. Son had the powder, skim milk, whisker out…

Cousin: Yeah. I worked out in high school, but didn’t go that far.

Me: He needs to get his protein.

Cousin:Have fun with THAT…

Anyways…I’ve been going to the farmers market since the kids were babies. They’ve always eaten fresh fruit and vegetables. And I’ve never used canned sauces or boxed foods to prepare meals. (Always kind of cooked how my mom cooked…)

So dinners haven’t changed much. Lots of chicken, fresh vegetables, salads, homemade spaghetti sauce with whole wheat noodles. With some new recipes tossed into the mix.

The biggest change is the snacking–and their breakfast and lunch choices. They snack on almonds, walnuts, dried fruits and fresh berries. (SQUIRREL FOOD)

I never thought I’d see the day Son ate piles of lettuce…

At the grocery store, I’m the ‘nice’ lady paging through magazines while her kids whip around the store loading the cart.

The one who brings the money. And remembers the toilet paper, garbage bags, laundry detergent and other essentials.

Daughter has a summer babysitting job, working 8 to 5 three days per week. Which means I’ll make dinner tonight.

But I’ll be making the recipe she left out for me.

Which all in all isn’t a bad deal.

And it isn’t like they are storing nuts in their cheeks. (Yet.)

The ‘Perfect’ Gift for Doctors, Nurses & Medical Professionals…

This is now in my dining room.

Why?

I have no idea.

What are we going to do with a vintage 1950s metal (tin?) Drug Store display rack for Johnson and Johnson Products?  

Really, I’m at a loss as to what to do with it. But neither could I pass it up. It was just too cool.

 

Its previous owner was a nurse who kept it in her office at work. Just for fun. (I liked her immediately–my kind of person…) The thing is over 4 feet tall, 3 feet wide and almost 2 feet deep. It takes up space.

Seemed a Perfect addition to my sons bedroom. What better to hold the Band Aids, Tape, Gauze, Neosporin and other such products he uses daily?

The boy is always working around something. Broken bones, stitches, poison ivy, scrapes, sprains and so much more…

Yep. That’s my boy up there in the tree fort he and his buddies built a few weeks ago. The one in the lawn chair. (top left)

So proud. Add ‘architect’ to the list of accomplishments. And with just pallets, boards, fallen (weak?) trees, sticks and twigs–placed just so…like a house of cards.

No nails, bolts or ‘safety’ features. And holding several 6 foot, 150-200 lb teenage boys. Such talent. And creativity…

It’s almost as if they are playing Jenga–but with their bodies.

Obviously, my son needs his own personal ‘First Aid Headquarters.’

Son must be nearly 20 feet off the ground up there, relaxing in his lawn chair. And I’m quite sure he was like ‘Mikey’ in the old cereal commercials. Like…they probably sent him up there to test things out, or passed him the materials to ‘build’ that part.

Fingers crossed somebody is ‘trained’ to assist.

 

 

 

 

Anyways, I’m now the ‘happy’ owner of a vintage, mid-century 1950’s  ‘First Aid Headquarters.’ Just need to figure out where to put it.

Or what to do with it. Other than load it up with first aid supplies for the boys. We could have the ‘trauma’ center over here at my house this summer…

Suggestions? Ideas?

I’d love to hear them…

My ‘new’ rustic (old?) dining table …

I’m fickle when it comes to furniture–change it like many people change their underwear. The current table is the 4th to grace our dining room in the past 6 months.

Most people don’t use their dining tables. But we aren’t most people. We ALWAYS gather around our table. Often with friends and family. For long dinners, with our laptops, for homework and often just to talk. Drives us all crazy when there is no table in the dining room.

I sold one in May and we’ve been without a table for a few weeks. But I got a ‘new’ table last weekend. Or a ‘new’ OLD table.

I spotted it months ago. LOVED it. But it was pushing $100. Which doesn’t fit into my furniture budget.

Furniture budget: $0.

Sometimes I go big and spend $2-5 on furniture. Less often, I go really, really big and spent $15-25. But only when I see an opportunity to quickly resell at a large profit. (Turns out I have talent for that.)

Back to my table…

Had my eye on it for six months. At my favorite vintage furniture store that is more like a giant indoor flea market. Watched it get marked down a couple of times.When it was clearanced on top of being marked down a few times, I grabbed it.

It has a unique planked, rustic look. Meaning it is already scratched, dented and all banged up. Because it was handmade 60+ years ago, the boards are irregular and uneven. Perfect. It fits right in at my house.

I don’t think of it as being ‘old.’ More that it has character. And no worries about damaging this old table. (Not that we ever worry about that…)

Once home, I stripped and re-finished the top. As best I could anyway, with all the grooves and bumpy wood. Then I repainted the table legs and two of my white chairs black.

Since I was short two chairs, I went next door to Chapman’s Boutique to see what she had ‘in stock’ in her garage. (or her shed, basement…) Chapman is my neighbor, who has an eye for vintage treasures, as well. Not much she doesn’t bring home.

Of course, she had a couple of chairs. And she said to go ahead and take them. So I did. Then painted them black.

Son: We have FOUR matching chairs???

Me: Not matching, exactly. But almost. And similar styles.

That’s BIG for us.

 

Nothing I like less than a SET of perfectly matched furniture. Boring. Lacking creativity and style. No fun. And completely impractical. What happens when one of the matched chairs gets broken? And they do when the large, 6’2″ teenage boys start wrestling around, or drop down (hard) into a chair.

Darling Daughter is away for the week, but she will be thrilled to return home to a table.

Except that I only recovered one of the chairs–was trying to decide whether I liked the barn red floral fabric–or a green plaid from Chapman’s Boutique. (Who needs JoAnn Fabrics with a neighbor like Chapman?)

Still need to recover three chairs. MIght be getting a little lazy in my old age? But I’m sure I’ll get to it today. Unless I go out to dinner? Or something? It is Friday night…

Sometimes I BUY things from Chapman’s Boutique. But we use ‘BUY’ loosely. It could mean I use something until I get tired of it. Or until she has use for it. Or she chooses something from my house. Or I sell some of her ‘inventory’ and we call what she gave me the ‘commission.’ Many ways it can go when I shop her Boutique…

And they all fit into my furniture budget. ($0)

I am keeping the table. For now.

Or until somebody wanders into my house and offers to buy it. (Happens more and more often.) Or I run across another table that I love. Like I said, I am fickle when it comes to furniture. Good thing I don’t fall in love with men as easily as I fall in love with furniture…

 

Changes in the works…

Something BIG has happened…

A milestone.

Before anybody gets excited, it isn’t a another ‘new’ job. And no, I’m not getting married again. Nothing quite that monumental.

But over the weekend, I reached 10,000 hits–or visits to this site. (Over 10,000 now…)

When I began, I didn’t know if THREE people would visit the site. Or at least THREE people who weren’t family…

Obviously, there are writers, bloggers, websites that have 10,000 hits per day–and get millions on a yearly, or monthly basis. I know that.

And yet, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

When I look at my stats, there visitors from all over the world. Not only do I have a ‘nice’ group of followers (27, last time I looked), there are also many who use RSS feeds, bookmarks, Facebook and other tools to keep up with my posts. And they do so regularly.

To everybody who has stopped by…my most sincere thank you. I appreciate the comments, personal emails, texts and other communications. I truly do….

Nothing is more touching than connecting with others, sharing our commonalities. I’ve made new ‘friends’ in England, Australia, Florida and both the eastern and western seaboards. Which humbles me…

Honestly, I’m not a Perfect writer. I abuse grammar rules. Write in fragments. (No shock, because I THINK in a fragmented way…) And am constantly flagged for using the ‘passive’ voice. (Grrrrr……I can’t help it sometimes!!)

But I do love to write. Love that I can make a difference. Can share some of my thoughts and experiences (AND disasters and struggles) in an honest, positive way. And hopefully others feel a little more human, less alone.

CHANGES IN THE WORKS…

LENGTH ~ I am going to try (HARD) to shorten my posts. Writing the longer ones is time-consuming. (And I fear boring?) Plus I need to focus on getting a ‘real’ job–at least a part-time ‘real’ job. (And soon!) Unless I want to make like Fred Flintstone and drive a log car, using my FEET to get it going.

THEME ~ I have playing around with it. It will probably change soon. Don’t be alarmed, or think you are in the wrong place if the site has a ‘new’ look.

WEB HOSTING ~ Fingers crossed, this isn’t noticed by readers. And that any technical difficulties in the transition are minimal. I need to acquire hosting service, start using proper tags and other technical stuff. Believe it or not, I have slowly grown doing NONE of what writers/bloggers are SUPPOSED to do to attract readers. Not shocking. I don’t often follow the rules, or go in the proper order…

A BIG THANK YOU–And all of my gratitude to those who have hung in there and supported me these past couple of years.

And please let me know if you like the changes. Or hate the changes. Comments and Feedback often helps point me in the right direction…