Sunday, May 31, 2009

Overheard: How to make your brother feel smart

Mickey: "If the red light is red, and the yellow light is yellow...which one is the red one?"

Alex: "The red one!"

Mickey: "Correct!"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Inspiration. Admiration. Aspiration.

My nephews and my son.

And you can't see it, but my pride.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Someone please drop in on us

Alrighty, then. The sign is in the front yard...announcing to the world, or at least our little neighborhood so far, that our house is for sale. Our first house together, the one with the sidewalk where our boys have played and knocked each other around on for the last five years, the one with warm memories for us and for them in every room.

It's also the one that's getting smaller by the moment. And the backyard situation, or lack thereof, is getting on everyone's last nerve, possibly even our next door neighbors', since it seems like we're always fishing balls or boys out of their yards.

So Pete and I have worked like dogs for the past three days getting the place cleaned up. Oh, my. It's cleaner than it's ever been in its short life, and I'm having a bit of a confused moment here. Never, ever, ever, even in my single days, have I ever looked around my dwelling space and not had some sort of housework nagging at me. Our house is completely and utterly spotless.

And I'm in a bit of shock.

Last night I put the boys to bed, and when my thoughts are usually of what I need to pick up downstairs, laundry that's wrinkling in the dryer, dishes cluttering the sink, stray Legos on the floor, and whatevers camping out on the stairs awaiting their trip upward, I realized none of those things existed. It's just plain weird. In a good way.

What did we do with all the toys you might wonder. They've found various boxes and spaces and areas where we created space we didn't know we had. It was amazing when the picking up and weeding out began, how we actually had a little room to spare.

So I told our realtor when she came over last night that she must sell it within a week, because I'm not sure how long this freak of clean can last.

And by the way, if anyone would like to drop in unexpectedly, now's a good time. I'll even let you use the bathroom.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I. Give. Up.

I'm really not sure what I was thinking: buy two new pieces of electronics and plan to photograph major life events within two weeks. And not freak out about it.

In case you're not keeping up, I just purchased a DSLR camera. And a video camera. I'll try to make this as concise as possible since both of them currently make me want to pull my fingernails out one by one. So I'm going to get this post done and move on before that happens.

I've currently taken more than 700 photos with my DSLR. I tinkered around with the settings a little but nothing seemed to make too much an impact in the quality of the photos, so I just kept it on Auto most of the time. Then I figured out how to download them onto my computer...yay me! I accomplished these tasks, mind you, without reading the manual. Aren't you proud?

I'm not.

Of the 700 or so pics, about five (1, 2, 3, 4, 5. F I V E) turned out the way I wanted them to. Something is wrong, you could say.

Could it be that I haven't read the manual? Surely not!

But it seems that my little point-and-shoot is currently outperforming Big Bad DSLR. And I believe I have only myself to blame.

And the unread manual.

So I need time to study it. The camera, the manual. And I believe taking a class is in order as well.

Ya think?

(The basic problem is: the photos are mediocre at best in clarity. And the file size of most of them is 4 MB or more. For each photo! At that rate my computer will explode before Alex's fourth birthday in September.)

So until I've learned to trust myself with the big gun, I will continue relying on my limping-along 5 megapixel Canon.

As for the video camera, at least I've been able to shoot video and Pete magically made it appear on our TV. But successfully burning a know, the really useful thing for still a mystery. I've been studying that manual, though, so I'm thinking a lightbulb will come on there pretty soon.

I'm sure it'll all come eventually come together and I'll figure out how to make these machines willingly do my bidding.

Probably just in time for my computer to crash.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

By popular demand: Ramen-Broccoli Slaw

I admit it: I made this recipe two days in a row because it was so stinkin' easy. I had two events I signed up for and I needed something requiring little time, so I thumbed through my Cook's Country magazines and came up with this one.

This recipe was my dream come true: minimal chopping, no baking, and no bringing anything to room temperature. Ahh, potluck bliss! And people seemed to like it, so that's why I'm putting it out there for the rest of you lazy potluckers like me. Enjoy!

Ramen-Broccoli Slaw
Serves 6 to 8
Source: Cooks Illustrated, Aug/Sep 2008


1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil


1 (12-ounce) bag broccoli slaw mix
2 (3-ounce) packages beef-flavored ramen noodles, crushed, flavor packets reserved
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 cup shelled roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1. For the dressing: Whisk sugar and vinegar in medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk in oil.

2. For the salad: Combine broccoli slaw, ramen and flavor packets, scallions, sunflower seeds, and almonds in large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss until well coated. Refrigerate salad, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Toss salad again before serving.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New camera terror continues

So I got my Sony DSLR out of the case, charged the battery, inserted the battery, and turned it on.

And shot a bazillion photos on Auto.

I'm still waiting for a good time to open the manual. And then cross out all the extra languages so they don't add to my confusion.

I'm also studying Darren Rowse' Digital Photography School. There are enough tutorials out there to keep me busy until the boys graduate high school. Maybe by then I'll have figured the thing out.

I'm thinking I'm a bit behind in my camera education, however, since Ritz Camera has already asked me to REVIEW the camera I purchased from them.


It might go something like this:

"I just purchased the Sony a350. It's really fingerprints or anything. The box it came in was a lovely shade of a pumpkin! The camera has lots of shiny buttons that make noises when I push them. And the shutter has makes a very satisfying click, a lot more pleasant than my point-and-shoot. The neck strap works great. And attaching the lens to the body was a cinch.

And Auto works."

Ritz says I'd be entered to win $1000 for my submitting review.

But they may want to pay me not to.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's goin' on

A couple of weeks ago I was talking with my sister who lives only an hour away and I told her something or other the boys were doing and she says "wow, I didn't even know they were doing something or other!"

So for those of you who may be new here, or maybe just curious, or maybe you're reading this Monday morning and you're just putting off the day: here's a snapshot of the Home Team as we are right now. Stuff going on, coming up, and just the way things are settin' for the moment. Pardon the use of a numbered list...I used to write for a living and I miss them!

1. I stay home with the boys. I love it most days, and on the days when I don't love it so much, I still know I'm where I'm supposed to be. It really feels like all my years working up until now were just busy-ness while I waited for my destined role in life. That's not to say I wouldn't mind getting paid to write again. No siree, not at all.

2. The boys are in swimming lessons. Mickey and Alex are 5 and 3, respectively. They are currently in their second round of swimming lessons: twice weekly for four weeks. They absolutely love the water, so much so that the healthy fear of it I was hoping for has yet to surface. I'm starting to think I should have foregone the lessons and just bought bigger lifejackets every year.

3. We're planning to move to a new house. But not a new state, a new city, or even a new school district. Heck, I'd move down the street...if I could possibly score an extra cabinet or two and a fenced backyard. The process of getting our house listed is underway. Decluttering? Not so much.

4. Plans for summer. We're planning a visit to the metropolis of Branson, MO with Pete's family in June. I haven't been to Silver Dollar City since I was in seventh grade; they tell me it's changed a bit since then. I may see another year go by without getting to the beach...excuse me while I grab a Kleenex.

5. Pete's still working. And feeling fine. That's about all he'd like me to write about him, I think. Although I don't think he reads my blog so I believe I could write anything I wanted and he'd never find out. Think I should test that theory?

6. I win things. A few weeks ago I won a random drawing from a local radio station, then right after that a random drawing from BlogHer. With this beautiful randomness, I was able to purchase my dream DSLR camera (Sony a350) and a video camera (this thing is the same size as my point-and-shoot camera!). The DSLR box sat unopened on my table for two days. I'm still pretty terrified of it, but did manage to stop shaking enough to charge the battery. The manual is untouched so far, by the way. After seeing the amount of documentation on the DSLR, the lil' ol' video camera was a piece o' cake.

7. What I'm watching on TV. Nothing consistently. Until I can lock the boys outside in a yard for 30 minutes. I have friends who swear by DVR, but then I'd be watching TV at night instead of blogging. Horrors! I pretend I watch Idol, but really I just read updates the next day and try to chime in on the chatter like I know. It pains me to not keep up with The Office, though.

8. Pete and I just celebrated our six-year anniversary. Holy cow where did the time go?! We celebrated by attending a Fleetwood Mac concert. Pete...bless him...knows about two songs they sing, and yet he knew I'd love it. I did. I love him, too.

9. There's a fungus amung-us. I have a pretty creepy-looking breed of mushroom growing in my flower bed. I'm sure they have something to do with the 47 or so inches of rain (sic) we've had here in the last two weeks. Maybe they'll just disappear and I won't have to touch them...

10. The Okie blogger meet-up Moms' Night Out was a smashing success. I met so many bloggers I read on a regular of them has actually quit blogging but wanted to come anyway! What a dedicated soul!

Alrighty, that's about as snapshot-y as I'm gettin' right now. Unless you want to hear that I'm currently half-watching the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic in a playoffs game. And Pete's asleep along with the other two boys in my life. And I did three loads of laundry and shopped for a week's worth of groceries.

And I desperately sought a way to end this post. To no avail.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

One of those days...

I've packed in a little too much today. But I'm not complaining, believe me. After my post last week someone would surely set this blog on fire if I complain about my schedule.

Just peeking in here to say why I haven't posted...I took a little trip over the weekend and I'm just now recovering from the disregard for sleep. So I figure I'm dog-tired, why not add on a bunch of commitments to that just for good measure.

But tonight I'm looking forward to finishing off my busy day with a meet-up of 60 or so area bloggers...a bunch o' women with plenty to say, so maybe I can just sip a beer and listen all night.

Sounds like bliss, actually.