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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


This is a public service announcement for all of you jewelry lovers out there.  My sister makes some GORGEOUS bracelets and just opened an etsy store to sell them.  You really need to see them for yourself.  These are all one of a kind and upcycled from vintage pieces.

Here's one of my favorites:

To see the others she has up for sale, click HERE.  Better hurry before I buy her whole inventory.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

52 Weeks of Kindness - Week 8

My kindness experiment is turning into a learning experience for me

I'm a grand-gesture kind of girl.  I wish I had unlimited funds because I could have so much fun doing things for people.  Great big things that could really change their lives.  I've been lamenting the disparity between my dreams and my reality – until I learned a couple important lessons.

A woman I work with returned from a business trip with a beautiful new necklace.  I admired it – noting how well the silver and gold tones worked together.  A few weeks later, she left the necklace on  my desk.  I was excited, but immediately went to her desk to pay for it…and offended her in the process.


It taught me that I need to learn to accept gifts from others.  I am way more comfortable giving than I am receiving.  I think a lot of people are like this because we have a hard time accepting large gifts without feeling obligated or indebted somehow.  Feeling like you owe someone is an icky feeling that eliminates whatever joy you should have felt by receiving a gift of that magnitude.

Think about it, if someone offers you a new car, aren't you going to wonder what strings are attached?  Is it really free? What's wrong with it? What do I have to do?  It's hard to believe a stranger wants to give away something so valuable without getting something in return.  Am I right?

That's when I learned little gestures can have a larger overall impact because they are more easily accepted.  People go straight to "Isn't that nice?" instead of "What do you want from me?"

And so this week, instead of making a grand gesture (of which I still have plenty planned), I opted to do something small.  Something more easily digested. 

I put a big bowl of Chex Mix (with a bag of M&Ms tossed in for good measure) on my desk and watched people help themselves throughout the day.  A little thing, but it still felt good.

And not a single person asked me why.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Congress - Argh

I'm not a political person, but this needs to be said:

Dear United States Congress,

Not again.  Oh, dear God, not again.  I think I speak for most Americans at this point when I say, JUST GET IT DONE.  

No matter what programs you decide to cut, someone is going to be unhappy, you will never please everyone -- or even a majority, so just DO something already other than bicker and blame the delay on the other guy.  You know that makes you all sound like seven year olds don't you?

We Americans are a resilient bunch.  We can overcome anything, but this constant state of indecision and uncertainty you throw us into by failing to make any decision, keeps us in persistent limbo.  Go ahead and cut that program if that's what it's going to take -- we'll find another way, we always do. But until YOU make that decision, WE can't do anything.  That's kind of like seeing a semi truck barreling right toward us but being unable to steer the car away.

I almost prefer the across-the-board budget cuts right now because at least something would be getting done.  We wouldn't have to hear on the news every night how discussions failed yet again.  Besides, isn't it fair that everyone lose a little piece of the budgetary pie?  Since you all say that's not what you want, let me introduce you to a word us "regular folk" teach our children that apparently your vocabularies are lacking:  


It means you get some of the things you want and the other guy gets some of the things he wants and this incessant bickering will be over.

Now, to borrow a phrase from Nike,  JUST DO IT.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Things I'd Like to See...

It's been awhile since I had an edition of "Things I'd Like To See"...inventions I wish someone would come up with, so I thought I'd compile my notes and see what brilliant ideas lie ahead:

You know those pager things you get at restaurants while you're waiting for your table?  We had one recently that looked like a cell phone, and I thought it would be BRILLIANT if they put a little screen in those suckers.  Restaurants could sell ad space (instead of those tacky paper placemats full of insurance and bank ads) OR they could flash pictures of their nightly specials to get your appetite roaring while you wait.  This sooooo needs to be done!

Have you ever tried to put sprinkles on a cupcake or cookie?  The darn things fall all over the place, don't they?  I saw a cake recently that was entirely covered in sprinkles and I couldn't figure out how the heck they did it.  That's when I decided there needs to be a little air gun to "shoot" sprinkles at the sides with just enough force that they stick the first time.  Chefs everywhere will rejoice.

I think there ought to be a way to program bedroom or bathroom lights to dim so they don't blind you first thing in the morning.  I'd set it so it was almost dark and gradually brightens as you slowly come-to. 

Microsoft needs to program a command that will put dashes between words automatically.  Highlight and CTRL-D would work for me. Doing-it-manually-kinda-sucks.

There ought to be a volume button when you're eavesdropping on someone (c'mon, you know you do it) and you can't hear what they say...either that or subtitles need to appear across their chest so you can read....

Have you ever wanted to wear a belt with a pair of pants or skirt but you couldn't because the belt was too wide for the loops?  I would LOVE it if the belt loops snapped on to the waist band so you could change the width easily.  They could come in different colors, and embellishments (bling).  I'm not a seamstress, but in the happy Vicki-World inside my head this works.

Awhile back, my son needed a new toothbrush.  It seems to me his toothbrush fell in the toilet or something equally gross that mandated an immediate purchase.  He asked for a black toothbrush, but I couldn't find any -- and then it hit me, why don't they make rubberized "sleeves" for toothbrushes?  They could come in a variety of colors and themes (animals/cars/princess/etc), they would provide a better grip, and differentiate kids' toothbrushes from one another.  If any of you have seen the Polly Pocket dolls, I think the same rubbery material they use for the clothes would work well. This is another thing that soooo needs to happen!

On another note, I'd like to see some truly high-end toothbrushes -- ones that you're not ashamed to leave out in public view when guests come over.  Maybe some artsy ceramic handles or glass or silver and gold?  Make it to blend in with the bathroom decor...

Can someone PLEASE invent a way to put the stretch back into elastic?  You'll make a fortune in the bra industry alone...

I'd like to see canvas bags (similar to the totes eco-friendly folks use at the grocery store) that ZIP for secure toy storage.  For that matter, it'd be helpful with groceries that shift in the car on the way home, too.

I'd like to see a decent-sized salad bowl with a compartment underneath for ice or ice pack to keep the salad cold while on the table.

Speaking of salads, I sometimes take them to work, but it's a pain to do because I don't have a small container to put dressing in.  I don't want to bring the whole bottle to work or it may never come home again.  I usually put some in a ziploc baggie, but I'd like to see a small bottle with tablespoon markings.  It'd be portable AND I'd be able to better guage how much I'm using.

I remember the days of carting the kids around in a stroller...they are a necessary evil until you children are old enough to walk on their own.  Unfortunately, not all strollers are created equal, and I think it would be awesome if some strollers came with extendible handles for taller parents.

That might be enough inventing for one night.  What would you really like to see on the market?

Monday, February 18, 2013

52 Weeks - Week 7

I did double duty this week.  Hubs and I went to Chicago for the auto show. On a completely unrelated side note, I'd love to know more about putting something like that together.  I'd especially like to know the logistics - how do you get hundreds of cars inside a building and UPSTAIRS to boot?  Is there a loading traffic jam? Hmmmm.

Anyhow, I digress.  The auto show has nothing to do with my good deeds except that it took me to the city.  First thing I did was leave this necklace (in a handy dandy gift box) on the base of a column on our way back to our hotel after dinner: 

The second thing I did was leave $5 bill in the ladies restroom of a gas station we stopped off on the way home.  

Once again, I wasn't around for either to get found, but one of these days I'll plan something so I can watch to see who finds it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines!

Happy Valentines Day

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cody Quotes - Need I say more?

Rated C for Cody

I really thought I posted this already.  Apparently I just compiled them and forgot to publish. D'oh.

Me: Cody do you want egg with your pancake?
Cody: Well I dont really like affiliations with my pancakes

Cody: What would happen if you were lying by a door and if you opened the door you would die?
Me: I wouldn't open the door for a very long time.
Cody: What about if you were 100 years old?
Me: I might open the door then.  That's pretty old.
Cody: You would be at death's door.
(PAUSE for my giggles)
Cody: That's an idiom. It means you are about to die.

Me: Cody, why are you walking funny?
Cody: Because of the zesty fork?
(PAUSE as I consider what a zesty fork might be)
Me (uttering words I never thought would leave my mouth...even in this family): Cody, do you have a fork in your underwear?
Cody (looking at me like even he can't believe I said it): No.....

Cody: You know what they say...all toasters toast.
(I'd love to crawl inside his head for a day...)

Cody is jumping on the mini trampoline downstairs...I'm jumping next to him until I realize it's too much work, so I just kinda duck and bob along with him (less effort, LOL).  He says "Hey! I'm taller than you." I agree, then leave the room to go make my bed.
He follows me in and says,  "You're getting shorter."  
I agree again. 
He says, "That's because you're body is deteriorating"
Yes.  Yes, it is.

I don't know what we were talking about, but I made some remark about puppies from outer space coming down to earth.  Cody liked this idea so he wanted to know what they were looking for -- I said they were looking for bones. Then he wanted to know what planet they were from. Feeling inspired, I said "Pluto! It's a planet and a dog from Disney!"

He sighs (BIG, exasperated), "It can't be Pluto.  People can't live there.  It has methane! and ICE!"

Might need to restrict his non-fiction reading from now on.

Last summer (I've been sitting on these quotes for awhile now...) Daughterling #2 wanted to paint her room so we instructed her to tape off all the wood trim.  After just a few minutes she came out looking like this: 

Recently we were talking about ways to save money.  I said we could cancel cable.  Husband said we could cancel cell phones.  I said we could cancel the home phone, and husband said we could cancel the home.

Cody had enough at this point and said, "Oh no no no.  Then we'd have to live in an apartment and we'd have to share bedrooms and I'd have to sleep in a dresser and I'm pretty sure that's not legal."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

52 Weeks - week 6

Rated C for Cody

I did several things this week, but am only claiming one as my kindness for the week.  First, there was a Girl Scout Cookie order form at work.  I'd seen it for several days but nobody had placed an order.  I find that amazing since the folks in my office can DEVOUR sweets like you won't believe.  The form was by the printer, so I walked by it all day.  Finally, even though I really don't want cookies in my house, I ordered two boxes.  Hopefully, others will follow my lead.

I took daughterling to get her hair cut this weekend.  She put up a fight - didn't want to go - and then ended up loving it (go figure).  When they tried to upsell me on product at the end, I deferred, but daughterling got that sparkle in her eye so I relented -- and the product ended up costing more than the hair cut.

But the one I'm taking credit for:

While at Half Price Books with same daughterling, I took a DVD off of their clearance rack (selling for $1!) and slipped a $5 bill inside with a card.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mock me monday

Rated C for Cody

I don't know why, but I never had a crush on any celebrity growing up.  My walls were never lined with posters of teen heart throbs, and I never dreamed of meeting an actor or musician and being swept off my feet.  They just never interested me.  Maybe they felt too far removed from my life, or maybe my feet were just too firmly planted in reality to allow for any of those typical teenage fantasies.

I got to hear about a lot of star-studded crushes from my friends.  My best friend loved baseball and had a huge crush on George Brett who (if memory serves correctly after all these years) played for the Kansas City Royals.  

I suppose part of me must have been jealous of her blind devotion, because one year I went through the almanac (this is before the internet obviously) studying team rosters in search of someone to offer my heart to.  Bear in mind I was NOT a sports fan. At all.  I was offering my unwavering support to someone based solely on their name and team.  There were no pictures, no birth dates, no hints as to their character.   

The winner of my research?  Steve Garvey:

Clearly, true love can be found by randomly picking a name out of the almanac.

For the record, my obsession was short lived.  I never watched a single game or looked up any scores in the newspaper.  My interest in sports (and Steve) died until I started going to the Chicago Bears training camp....

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

52 Weeks - Week 5

This week's act feels like a cop out, my friends.  I had planned to do something fun on Sunday, but my daughterling (11) decided to pull some 16-year-old-sized-attitude out of her pocket and it kinda sorta pissed me off.  Any of you with children will know exactly the kind of mood I was in.  Kids can (and will!) push your buttons like professionals.

So I was feeling anything but giving the rest of the day.  I was surly and steaming and put off my act of kindness until I felt the spirit. Mondays are the last day of my giving week, so I had to do something.  I wound up financing Daughterling #1's ice cream run with a friend.

On the one hand, this breaks my cardinal rule - I didn't have to go out of my way to do it - as well as the secondary rule to keep it as anonymous as possible.  However, she DID have a supremely crappy day, and DID appreciate the cash as she's between jobs. I didn't have to go out of my way to do it, but it WILL affect me the rest of the week as I no longer have any disposable cash.  

I suppose you could count not strangling the 11 year old as a kindness, too, right?  God save me when she is 16!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Drives Me Crazy

I know I just vented about the media the other day, but there's one thing I forgot to mention.

Press Conferences.

I suppose they are a necessary evil, but what bugs me is how we know the news before anyone gets around to holding the press conference.  When's the last time you were surprised by something they said?

Exactly my point.

I swear once upon a time you went to a press conference (or tuned in on TV) to HEAR the big news.  Now it's a mere formality because all the information is leaked ahead of time.

Drives me crazy, I tell you.

Last week there was a press conference to announce "blue zone communities" in the state.  These are supposed to be cities that were chosen because of their commitment to lead more healthful lifestyles.  We knew a day or two ahead of time which cities had been chosen.  Wouldn't it have been more exciting (and effective) if no one knew who had won until the results were read?  

Ditto the Presidential speeches.  Once upon a time when the President went on TV to speak, you didn't know what he was going to say so you LISTENED.  Now, the news desks tell you everything he's expected to say so there's no need for us to listen anymore. Whether you love him or hate him, it makes his speech superfluous at best.  I'd like to hear it from the source first before everyone tries to spin the words to suit their own objectives...

What else has the media spoiled for you?