Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pre-Party Panic

I'm having a New Year's Day party. There's no backing out now. I think Chad and I started our New Year's Day tradition 10 years ago?? That can't be right. But I think we started it Jan 1, 2000 which would make this year ten but our 11th celebration (someone check my math)!

Each year I seem to invite more and different people depending on where we live and who we're close with. Last year was our first New Year's Day in Sewickley and I have vague memories of inviting people (not tooo many, because I invited too many the year before and swore I wouldn't do that again) and then freaking out in my post Christmas funk, not wanting to cook one more thing, canceling, saying something about unforeseen circumstances......

So this year I decided to really have a Partaayy. I sent out an Evite to a shitload of people. What I didn't plan on was all the fucking kids associated with those adults!! We need to stop breeding. It's out of control. So now I'm panicking just a bit. My latest RSVP count is 48, 24 adults and 24 kids. Yeah, I know. What the fuck was I thinking. You should have seen Chad's face when I told him . . . yesterday. Not to mention 20 maybes, also equally divided.

AND, I've decided to try a new ham recipe! Brilliant, right? Instead of baking and glazing my tried and true ham I am going to roast a fresh ham! It is the biggest ham you have ever seen!! It's like a whole pig's leg or something. Poor piggie. They're as smart as three year olds, you know (new year's resolution!)

I calculated the roasting time based on what I could find online and it was 6 hours! Really??? The last thing I want is to overcook it. Well, maybe the last thing I want is to serve an underdone ham. The Partaayy starts at 1pm. What time do I put the ham in?? Better safe than sorry, right??

It will be fine. I'm counting on people coming and going between 1 and 4 and not staying the entire time. I bought a bunch of crafts today to keep kids (i.e. girls) busy and I have three sitters scheduled to help. I am going to keep the menu simple. Hoppin' John Stew, which I can cook the night before. Cornbread muffins. THE HAM. Spinach Dip. Pizza for kids.

The funniest thing really is seeing Sam & Henry's reaction to my panic. I made a list of all the kids broken out between boys, girls and babies. They just laughed and laughed when they saw how many adults AND kids (boys) were coming. They are now even calling in The Partaayy. Chad is just worried. The boys find it amusing. I am now somewhere in between. My goal is to enjoy myself! I think everything will fall into place after that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lucy & Grandma Ann

My Aunt Jennifer's comment about Lucy's resemblance to my Grandma Ann made me want to go find a picture and compare. Here they are. I think it's the eyes and the cheeks.

Sparkle Sponge

This may not be the most absorbent sponge I've ever used but it's the only one that actually makes me want to clean. I just love it! It sits next to my kitchen sink just begging to be picked up and used to make my kitchen sparkle!

I bought a butt load of them so I will never run out and will always have a clean one! The picture does not do it justice. It is much sparklier in person. Kind of like yours truly.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First Snow

It's fucking freezing outside. Literally. I'm grumpy because Lucy was up at 6am for the third day in a row. I know someday I'll be able to sleep in as long as I want and instead I'll be getting up at 5am like Yaya. But today it's Saturday and I'd rather be in bed.

Despite my grumpiness, I have to admit it's lovely to wake up to our first snowfall. Too sweet to see the excitment on Lucy's face. Somewhat annoying that she wants to go make snow angels before it's fully light outside. Even more annoying that she wants me to go out too and keeps opening the g*damn door to ask.

Maybe Yaya's bah humbug attitude is catching. I don't feel like wrapping. I don't feel like cooking a big Christmas dinner. I don't feel like roasting chestnuts over an open fire. I don't feel like cleaning up dog shit which will surely appear because they dont want to go out in the snow. I do feel like getting the hell out of here and going shopping and perhaps getting snowed in while I'm at Target. Hmmmmmmm . . . .

Friday, December 18, 2009


Check this out. Looks so cute and a great topic for discussion . . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cookie Exchange

And the winner is . . . . me, of course! I am the self proclaimed winner of this year's cookie exchange.

Here's the recipe for Sarah's Famous Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (3 tsp of vanilla extract can also be used)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder such as Hershey's Special Dark

note: regular cocoa could also be used but then they would no longer be Sarah's Famous Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies they would be your 'regular ol' I'm too lazy to go to the store and get dark cocoa cookies'.
2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons sea salt
48 chocolate covered caramel candies such as ROLO

Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla bean paste. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Cover and chill at least 2 hrs.

Preheat over to 375 degrees

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Work with one part at a time, leaving the remainder in the refrigerator until needed. Divide each part into 12 pieces. Press each piece of dough around ROLO and roll into a ball. Dip the tops gently in the sugar/sea salt mixture. Place sugar/salt side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 minutes in preheated oven, rotating pan halfway at 4 minutes. When you take them from the oven there may be a lump from the ROLO. If so, gently tap it down with the back of a spoon. Let cool on baking sheet for at least 4 minutes, preferably longer, so the carmel doesn't come out of the bottom! If you do notice caramel coming out of the bottom when you take them off of the cookie sheet just flip them over, pat the caramel down and let them finish cooling upide down.

NOTES: I used vanilla bean paste but I think it may have been been a waste. The paste might be better suited to a vanilla cookie where you get to appreciate the specs of vanilla bean.

Also, I don't know how many dozen it took me to figure this out but the cookies baked on a dark, non-stick Air Bake cookie sheet came out much better than the ones cooked on a light, non-stick Wilton air bake cookie sheet. The majority of the cookies cooked on the light pan had the caramel come through the bottom. It was fine once cooled but not as pretty. The majority of cookies cooked on the dark pan did not have the caramel come through the bottom. Any ideas on why???

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lucy's Self Portrait

This is the picture Lucy brought home from school yesterday . . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Layered Greek Dip Recipe

This recipe is from Better Homes & Gardens. I've had it several times and it's awesome!

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups prepared hummus
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup sliced green onions
Pita chips and/or multigrain tortilla chips

1. In medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and garlic with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and combined.

2. Spread cream cheese mixture into a deep 9-inch pie plate, or shallow serving dish. Evenly spread hummus on cream cheese layer. Top with cucumber, tomato, olives, feta cheese, and green onions. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. Serve with pita chips and/or multigrain tortilla chips. Makes about 2-1/2 cups dip (16 servings).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Route 66 Countdown: 13 days

I can't believe I'll be in Oklahoma in 11 days! I can't wait to see everyone!

Yesterday, in training, I ran/walked 9 miles. I'm pretty sure I jogged at least as much as I walked if not more which I was not even planning on doing so I was super psyched about that. I averaged less than 15 min/mile which was my goal so that was good also. Not super speedy but we all have to start somewhere.

I had lunch with my dear friend Jennifer yesterday and she reminded me that the Pittsburgh Marathon is in May so today I signed up for the half marathon! I am quite confident that I can run it! I'm so happy to have a new goal to focus on and work towards so I don't stop after all this training.

Who wants to join me in Pittsburgh on May 2, 2010???

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fire Pit

I love Fall. My favorite season.

Right now there are leaves everywhere. Men and their leaf blowers cannot keep up. I wish they would just take a break and leave the leaves where there are for awhile. I love shuffling down the sidewalk through newly fallen leaves. I love watching the leaves fall as I walk the dogs. I love that the dogs are mostly quiet as we walk and I can escape the constant chatter and banter of my house. I think my absolute favorite smell might just be a wood burning fire from some unknown location as I breathe in cool fall air.

I have been begging for a fire pit all summer and now that most of our outdoor projects are finished we finally have one! It sits upon a small stone patio that was added when our retaining wall (pictures of that later) was being put in. And that is our new fence which replaced the one that was literally falling down. If you look closely you'll see that there are two mini Adirondack chairs that match the big ones.

Our marshmallow/hot dog roasting sticks arrived yesterday from amazon so we broke in the pit last night with s'mores and hot dogs. Kids love roasting anything and I love a fire. Doesn't get much better than that. Except, of course, if YOU were here : )

Monday, November 2, 2009

Route 66 Countdown: 20 days

It's early so I'm saying this out loud now while I'm feeling motivated. I'm going to give up alcohol and crappy food for the next 20 days in preparation for the half-marathon (and Thanksgiving). I think I will feel prepared and a little lighter for the walk. It would also be nice to lose some chub chub before Thanksgiving, cookie exchanges, holiday parties, etc. etc.

I am quite sore today after my long walk yesterday. Some stretching and light exercise today should do the trick though.

No school today or tomorrow. School conferences. Have no idea what the day will bring.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Route 66 Countdown: 21 days

Today my goal was to take a fairly strenuous 2.5 hour walk. I wasn't as concerned with my distance but wanted to incorporate big hills and go for at least 2.5 hours. I did it, actually walking for 3 hours. And I didn't chicken out on any of the hills. I had new kicks I was breaking in and could tell they were much better than my old shoes. I felt pretty good when I was done. My hips and lower back were sore. I just wanted to sit and stretch.

But, just as I got home it was time to take Henry to hockey and Chad was busy working on the house and yard so I took him. After getting him on the ice I had to return the boys' football equipment for the season. Then I picked Henry up, getting home just in time to take Sam to hockey. Chad was still working hard so back to hockey I went.

Sam was practicing as goalie today which he was SUPER excited about. He wanted to get there early because goalie equipment is different than what we're used to. We have to put goalie pads on at the rink as opposed to at home with normal hockey pads. For goalie leg pads he lays the pads on the floor and then lays on top of them, belly to the floor, while I strap him in. The first time I did this we didn't realize we had to put the skates on first (they go on last with regular pads) so we had to unstrap and start over. Today, after he was all strapped in he stood up and the coach told me I had them on the wrong legs! Start over! Oh well, I think now we've made all the newbie mistakes and know what we're doing. At least as far as getting dressed.

We made it home about 4pm and I finally took off my running shoes. One blister. I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher and here I am. Wiped Out.

While I'm typing, Lucy is in the next room flitting around to her Barbie and the Diamond Castle movie. She is such a girl. Earlier, however, she was determined to put those goalie pads on herself. No one would help her but she was trying her darnedest. She would not take no for an answer. Just about the cutest thing. I love that these boys have a little sister and I love that she has two older brothers. She will be so much tougher and they will be just a little softer.

UPDATE: Obviously, I was really tired and wiped out tonight. So was Chad. After talking to him I found out he moved the equivalent of 3 tons of tile and stone today. Yep. 3 tons. Among many other things. I think that trumps my 10 miles. He consistently amazes me.

The Holiday Season is Upon Us

November 1 marks the beginning of the Holiday Season in my mind. I'm planning a Cookie Exchange party. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. All of the stores are putting their Christmas stuff out. I need to get a picture of the kids this month for our Christmas card. Every year that seems to get harder and harder. It shouldn't be that hard. They're so super cute. I'll try bribing them with Halloween candy. It's a little early for the "Don't make me call Santa" line.

Can someone come up with a way to keep coffee in a coffee cup hot for a long time? I usually drink my coffee out of a thermal mug which does the trick but this morning they were all dirty so I'm drinking out of one of my cute coffee mugs. I forgot how much more enjoyable it is to sip from a mug. It just doesn't stay hot. And I don't want some "special stay hot mug" because I like my own. What about some type of hot stone or something???

I'm walking for two and a half hours today in training for walking the half marathon (which is in 21 days!). Yikes!! I hope that gets me to 9 miles but I'm adding some killer hills today. In any case, it will be a good workout. I'm going to have to get serious during the next three weeks. You too, mom. Jessica is going to kick our butt.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daylight Savings Time is Great

Damn does this feel like an extra long day. And it's not really. Tomorrow is. Daylight savings time. It's only 6:30pm on Saturday night. Halloween night. Not in this house though. We've already trick or treated and paraded until our masks and hats fell off and we made ourselves sick on Reese's peanut butter cups and an endless supply of lollipops.

Chad pointed out that daylight savings time is great because we get an extra hour of sleep. I guess I'm a wine glass half empty kind of girl. That may be the case if you don't have fucking kids that wake up at the same time no matter what. An extra hour of sleep? Nooooooooo. 7:30am becomes 6:30am which in turn becomes an extra hour of "Can I have something from my Halloween bag?" I hate Halloween.

When they were really little I could easily throw away the bulk of the candy and noone was the wiser. Now the little fuckers have everything sorted and cataloged like it's the end of the world.

Oh well, I have at least got them programmed to give me all of the Reese's peanut butter cups and peanut M&Ms. They know what's good for them.

Sunday morning update: 6:30am wake up became 5:30am. When I whispered to Lucy that it was a great day because it was daylight savings time and we get an extra hour of sleep she replied, "Remember when I threw up but I didn't throw up on Bunny??!!"

She was right. That was a great day.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween is Great

Ok, so I really do love Halloween. I love both kids and adults dressing up. I love decorating my house inside and out. I love all the fun themed food. I love scaring the shit out of little people.

You know what I don't like. Parades. I hate parades. For ALL holidays. But if I have to endure one holiday parade it would be a Halloween one. I parked way far away from the elementary school carrying way too many cookies and a large camera. I stood for way too long to watch kindergarten through fifth grade parade their costumes. Really cute. Blah blah blah. Class parties with jacked up little people high on sugar. Great fun. Then I moved on to a preschool Halloween parade. Cuter. Shorter. The people and the parade.

Then I drove around town and saw the signs for the town parade tomorrow at 10:30am. I have done everything I can to discourage my children from marching in yet another inane parade. I shall bribe them with Halloween candy, television and toys. Whatever it takes. I will only pull out the "mommy is about to stick her head in the oven" at the very last minute.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Farewell Piggies

Yesterday, Lucy and I returned our three guinea pigs to Guinea Pig Rescue. I have been planting seeds in their little minds (Sam, Henry & Lucy's) for awhile to get them to agree to getting rid of the pigs. Pretty much any toy they desired was theirs for the asking. I was so tired of cleaning up guinea pig shit and urine soaked pine bedding. The ammonia stench after a few days was awful. And the pigs were in the laundry room so every time I walked up the stairs I felt the call of the laundry AND heard "wheeking" from the pigs who were standing up and waiting for me to make them happy. And they were easy to make happy. They wanted food and a clean cage. If it were only so easy to make every one else who needed me as happy. Unfortunately, or fortunately, everyone else won.

When I returned the guinea pigs I told Julene that she was a very special person to take care of all of these guinea pigs. She told me that she was the lucky one and that they were her therapy. Everyone has their thing. I love to care for and nurture the people and animals I love but there is a limit and I guess guinea pigs were my limit. I'm glad someone like Julene knows that caring for guinea pigs is her purpose. I'm actually not sure what my purpose is yet. At least she knows what hers is.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Progressive Dinner

Last night was the annual Progressive Dinner for a group I belong to. There were 100+ people attending. Everyone showed up at one Appetizer House for drinks and apps and then names were randomly drawn at 7pm for Dinner House assignments. Houses hosted between 8-14 people. I hosted an Entree House for 12 people. I spent all day prepping and cleaning. Thank goodness for Sherry who did the bulk of the cleaning while I got rid of my piles and got the food ready. Our house looked great! !

Aside from holidays, I've never made dinner for 12 people, much less people I don't know. It was different. Fun though. And I did end up knowing about half the people. The food turned out really well so I thought I'd share my menu. I wish I had taken pictures of everything but it was a little chaotic.

Roasted Pear and Roasted Beet Salad with Blue Cheese and red wine vinaigrette

What a pretty and interesting salad this was! I absolutely love roasted beets for their flavor and color. I roasted the beets earlier in the day. Pear slices were tossed in butter and sugar and roasted for about 20 minutes right before assembling the salad so they were still warm. I thought the pears were kind of a pain to roast but everyone seemed to really like the salad.

No Peek Chicken
Grease a big casserole dish

Mix together:
1 box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice w/seasoning packet
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cold water

Put mixture in casserole dish and top with bone-in, skin on chicken pieces
(I used all chicken breasts , 6 per casserole dish , which was tight because the breasts were enormous)

Sprinkle top of chicken with a packet of Lipton Onion soup mix and then seal tightly with foil and bake at 350 for 2.5 hours. No peeking!!

Although not part of the recipe I decided to soak the chicken in a brine for about 3 hours before assembling the casserole. I don't know how much of a difference it made since I hadn't made this dish before but the chicken was very flavorful and moist. The rice was really good too. Kind of like a wild rice risotto.

For the Brine:
Dissolve 1.5 cups sugar and 1.5 cups salt in a gallon of cold water. I used a big stock pot. Stir in 2 medium heads garlic, outer papery skins removed, cloves separated, unpeeled and crushed. Crumble in 6 bay leaves. Immerse chicken and refrigerate until fully seasoned. It smelled so good before even cooking it!!

While everyone was eating their salads I roasted asparagus, tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper, in a 400 degree oven. About 10 minutes. I finished it with fresh lemon juice before serving.

I also served warmed fresh garlic bread and fresh potato rosemary bread. And lots of wine, of course. So good!!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy as Sam would say!

My girlfriend, Kim, who was in charge of organizing the whole event and her husband were at my house because she and I were "co-hosting". Our boys all play hockey together. Another girlfriend was stag so Kim made sure she ended up at my house too since she was in charge of "randomly" choosing the names. My dining table only seats 8 so we three girls ate in the kitchen which was actually really nice because I didn't feel like I had to "entertain" anyone.

Everyone was kicked out at 9:30 so they could head to the Dessert portion of the night. It was held at this awesome barn that is perfect for parties. Cool things on the walls, couches, huge flat screen TV with the Penguins game on, a band, a little side room where people were smoking cigars. Dessert and more wine. I went for about an hour. I was pooped. Good times.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Obama Speech Update

For those who don't get it, the basic issue is that many feel Obama is using the opportunity (the school address) to promote a political agenda and is overstepping the boundaries of federal involvement in schools. The suggested material teachers were encouraged to use in conjunction with the speech was objectionable. Cultish. Fucked UUUUUUPPPPP! Yep.

I think the school district had quite an onslaught of emails regarding the airing of Obama's speech in school, probably for and against. I wish I could have seen how many and what people were saying. To be a fly. Why on earth Obama would think it was ok to give a speech to our children in school without any parental presence, participation or approval is beyond me. Way fucking beyond. He's an arrogant son of a bitch.

Anyway, our school district decided that K thru 3rd grade would not view the speech in school at all. Someone will record the speech on Tuesday and the 4th and 5th graders will have the opportunity to view the speech on Wednesday at school. If parents do not want their children to see it (having had the opportunity themselves to view it on Tuesday) they are to send a note and an alternate activity will be available.

I have friends with middle school children and these students will have the opportunity to view the speech live on Tuesday. If parents do not want their childrent to view the speech they may send in a note and an alternate activity will be provided. Neither the elementary nor middle school will use any of the lesson plans or other suggested material found on the internet.

I will record the speech and view it with my children on Tuesday evening. I don't expect it will be a big deal at all but I am glad they are watching it at home and not in the company of a bunch of liberal teachers : )

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obama Land

Ewwwww. I am so creeped out by Obama's (apparently long planned but I'm just now hearing about it) speech to our children on September 8th. I have not gotten a straight answer from the school yet about whether or not it will be shown in our classrooms but the vague responses I have received are leaning toward YES.

I will absolutely not, not, NOT be sending my children to school to listen to Obama's bullshit socialist propaganda. It is more than disturbing. Chilling. Nauseating. If I had more time I would look up more words in the online thesaurus.

And don't any of you liberals comment unless you can back up your shit. This is NOT just about telling our kids to work hard and get a good education. We don't need lesson plans from Obama for that. How 'bout after his speech we teach the kids a lesson on socialism by taking all the kid's who worked really hard to get A's and redistribute the good grades to all the kids who don't give a shit.

Hmmmmmm . . . how motivated will our children be to work hard now?

I am so ready to move to Costa fucking Rica.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Decoupage Project

This is my decoupage project that lasted all summer. Not because it was difficult but because I am either lazy and/or have ADD. These are paper mache letters, purchased at Jo Anne's, that I covered in tissue paper. I may do DRINK and BE MERRY in different sizes, some covered in tissue paper, others covered in fabric. As you can see, EAT is placed above the mantle in my dining room. The pictures are not great but you get the idea.

Henry asked why the A wasn't pretty.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Go Kendra

Ok, so given the choice, I would have named the guinea pigs Kendra, Bridget and Holly from The Girls Next Door show on E!. That was a great show!

Since that show ended I have been watching Kendra, one of the spin offs.

Tonight, I got totally caught up in watching Kendra and Hank's wedding. They truly love each other and it was just sooooooo sweet. Not to mention she is only the second person to be married at the Playboy Mansion. The first being Hef, of course. That's fucking huge!!!

I have so much more confidence in Hank and Kendra making it than I do Jill and Ed from the Bachelorette which is so so sad.

Guinea Pig Rescue

Who knew such a thing existed? And who knew I was such a sucker. Ok, well we all knew that. As if I didn't need more shit to clean up. Oh, well. The kids are super excited and they are pretty darn cute and sweet. The kids and the pigs.

These are three bonded female guinea pigs we got from a Guinea Pig Rescue (i.e. lady with a BUNCH of fucking guinea pigs in her basement) yesterday. They were classroom pigs so are used to kids which is perfect! We renamed them with each child choosing a pig of their own and respective name.

Lucy and Ruby

Ruby is the smallest of the three and the mover and shaker of the bunch. She poops a whole whole whole hell of a lot.

Henry feeding Coco (Ruby is in the background)
Coco is my favorite. She is the chubbiest and definitely needs to lose a couple ounces. The lady we got them from said she thought she was the matriarch of the three. That's probably why she's the chubbiest; I think she's eating most of the food. She is the calmest of the three and makes the cutest little "happy sounds".

Henry really, really wanted to name her LaShawna but I put my foot down.

Sam and Buttercup

It was the funniest thing this morning when the kids were feeding the piggies red bell peppers and spring mix. Sam's pig had red pepper all over it's chin and was a mess - just like Sam! A perfect match. He came up with his name all by himself. "These things just pop in head! I don't know where they come from!" he said.


Friday, July 31, 2009

The Letter L

My second 40-Day letter is the Letter L.

When I chose this letter I was intending to choose a Letter of the Day. To choose your Letter of the Day you hold the cards in the palm of your left hand, place your right hand on top of the deck, and close your eyes. As you exhale, ask the simple question, "What attitude do I need to bring into my day today to help me grow in spirit?"

I found the capital L so difficult and awkward to write I decided it really must be a 40-day letter and not just a Letter of the Day. After all, "The degree of mastering a stroke change is directly proportional to the value it will have in your life. The greater the difficulty, the greater the value."

My usual capital L is two straight lines. If I were writing a cursive L I would make a loop at the top and bottom. The reason to not make that top loop is that "you are reversing energy." I'm willing to give it a try even though I don't think it's as pretty.

"The Letter L reflects the amount of attention we give to our spiritual growth. If you are driven to explore your spiritual nature - what makes you tick beyond your personality - and how to develop that part of yourself, this is the letter to practice. Day after day as you write the Letter L, you may notice that you are more open and more receptive to spiritual seeking than in the past and that your thirst to learn spiritual truths has intensified. You may experience "waves of knowing" that take you deep inside, beyond your personality, and settle you gently into a sense of Oneness with everything that is. That is the essence of the Letter L."

One thing I found interesting this morning as I practiced the Letter L (on Day 6 of my practice) is that today is the first time it occurred to me to write "Lucy". On Day 3 of writing the Letter H I wrote "Henry" several times and enjoyed it. Although awkward, writing the Letter H is not as awkward as writing the Letter L. I usually enjoy writing a cursive "Lucy", just not yet with this different L. Time will tell.

Day 1 - Letter L

Day 6 - Letter L

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Letter H

My first 40 day letter is H. The letter H emits one of the most powerfully propelling energies in the entire alphabet.

Each Alphabet card shows the letter's Soul Quality on one side.

Vimala says if you practice the letter H daily and draw into your life as many of its aspects as you possibly can, get ready for the adventure of your life. The Letter H not only moves you forward, it invites you to learn necessary lessons from the blind alleys you encounter along the way and guides you through them with dynamic, not-for-sissies energy. If you want to put firm footing on your intended life path, this is the letter to adopt. Vimala has practiced this letter daily for more than 30 years!

The letter's Declaration of Intent is on the other side:

I love this Declaration!

I live my life path with the zeal of an evangelist and the wide-eyed innocence of a child.

I knew this was an important letter from listening to the CD but I chose it randomly from the deck (although I don't believe it was really random).

Each day, for each 40-Day letter and Letter of the Day, I write and say the Declaration, write the Soul Quality and then at least three lines, upper and lower case, of the letter. I fill the rest of the page with words than include the letter or thoughts about how to bring the particular qualities into my life that day.

Crucial points for the program: Write on unlined paper. Lines reflect "Stay in the box and play it safe" thinking. The paper is to be positioned in the landscape direction. The portrait direction is common; my dreams are not!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day Three of Handwriting

I really like my handwriting and have never had a desire to change it. I do, however, have plenty of negative behavior patterns I would love to transform and this system seems to be speaking to me right now.

The first thing the program suggests is to write a page in your journal and then listen to the CDs. Vimala starts off by talking about the slant of your writing - left, vertical or right. I was feeling all proud because I am a vertical writer which "is ideal because it gives you a 360-degree view of what's going on.... encourages you to be the impartial observer". Then she goes on to talk about printing vs cursive. No printing, she says. WTF? I'm a printer. I love to print. It's so nice and neat. She says printers have usually been "betrayed" at some point. Printing is like putting up a wall. Hmmmmm. Very interesting. That was almost enough for me to say "fuck you" to the program. Cursive is stupid.

However, I am such a sucker for finding out more about myself. This is a challenge I can accept right now.

Vimala believes "each letter is not a mere shape, but rather a living entity, fully alive with aspects that serve as powerful cheerleaders in your day-to-day spiritual growth. As you implement the tools provided in this program to change your handwriting, you will gain a refreshing awareness of who you are, why you are here, and how to create - and step into - a life you love."

I do already LOVE, love, LoVe my life but there are definitely things I would like to change personally. I want to live more authentically. I want to live from a place of spirit and not ego. I want to live in the moment. I want take full responsibility for my choices and be proud of them.

The program speaks of The Five Noble Truths of Integral Handwriting. The one that really spoke to me was that "the degree of difficulty in mastering a stroke change is directly proportional to the value it will have in your life. The greater the difficulty, the greater the value."

That "Truth" helped me choose my "40 day letter" which was an unexpected choice. I think I'll talk about that in the next post.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Transform Your Life Through Handwriting

OK, so I have been a member of the One Spirit book club for a couple of years. There are "featured selections" each month that if you don't decline will be automatically sent to you. In general, I have been very good at declining the monthly selections. The handful of times I have forgotten to decline and received a surprise book in the mail I have believed it was "meant" to come my way.

I don't remember the last time I forgot to decline but, recently, a surprise package was delivered. My first instinct was, "Oh Crap!" But then I got excited because I remembered that in the past something very appropriate has appeared at just the right moment.

The book: Transform Your Life Through Handwriting by Vimala Rodgers. It includes: 2 CDs, Guidebook, blank journal and 26 alphabet cards.

I'm not sure I can explain it succinctly but, in a nutshell, you practice one letter for 40 days plus a "letter of the day". The focus of the book is "to guide persons in adopting handwriting patterns that bring out the best in themselves, with a specific emphasis on the transformational power of the letters of the Alphabet." (Imagine spooky music)

Vimala says that writing patterns are a graphic image of how your subconscious mind interprets the world and your place in it. As you adopt new letter shapes, you are telling your mind how to think and the subconscious may not be pleased!

She goes on to say, "Your handwriting is an intimate portrait of how you see yourself - a graphic representation of collective memories programmed by your subconscious mind from birth onward, reflecting both your strong points and those that have put a screeching halt to your inborn creativity. . . As you adopt self-affirming writing patterns, you are discarding outdated thought habits and acknowledging your authentic self at the highest possible level."

So I'm game! I listened to the first CD last night. This morning I got up at 6am while my minions were still snoozing. I chose 2 letters to practice for 40 days (she said you could do that) and then I'll add a "letter of the day" each day. More to come on all of that and a short analysis of my own handwriting in the next post!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

People Magazine

Did you know that you can get a People magazine subscription MUCH cheaper if you subscribe as a business? I searched for the "cheapest subscription" and the lowest price I found was $116. However when I searched for a "professional" subscription I found it for $52 HERE!

It's not cheaper for other magazines, however. The few other mags I checked were cheaper ordered from the particular magazines' website. Interesting, no?

Speaking of People magazine, is anyone else tired of hearing about Michael Jackson and his fucked up life?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Vacation Quote of the Day

Sam says to Mama, "You're cursing a lot today."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Quote of the Week

One of Lucy's favorite things to say to me or anyone who will listen is, "Daddy doesn't know much."

The first time she said this to me was after a night of me being out and Chad putting her to bed. The next morning I asked her if she had fun with Daddy. She responded with "Yes. But Daddy doesn't know much." She was referring to our normal bedtime routine.

Then, in NC a couple of weeks ago she busted out with this same nugget of info to some random people she had been chatting up on the beach. They thought it was sooooo funny. It makes me smile because Chad is THE smartest, most capable, most ambitious, most driven (I could go on and on) person I know. Obviously, the standards in Lucy's world are a little different.

The funniest so far was when I came home a few days ago from somewhere and she waggled a piece of cheese in my face and said, "Daddy gave me circle cheese because HE DOESN'T KNOW MUCH". She knew I would have said NO to this snack because she had reached her dairy limit for the day. She was soooo pleased with herself.

Flying Pig Half Marathon

The 12th Flying Pig Marathon is Sunday, May 2, 2010 6:30 a.m. in Cincinnati, OH.

I read about the 2009 event on the 37 Days blog and was inspired. I love that blog.

I have no interest (at this point) in running a half marathon but I would love to walk one. And I am going to do it. Registration is not open yet so I haven't officially signed up but I will.

Care to join me? Jessica & Juleah could run it together?? Mom? In any case, I am making a commitment to myself.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Penguin Fairy

Lucy and I had an awesome day today. We went to Dick's in search of a Penguin's jersey her size. Success. "LET'S GO PENS!" Lucy yells everywhere she goes. Then we went to Borders where I bought yet another cupcake cookbook to help fuel my vision of being the premier cupcake designer in Sewickley. For Lucy we bought a Fairy Wing kit that you see pictured below.

Fairy Wing Kit $ 5.99
Super glue $ 3.50
Penguins Jersey $45.00
Cutest little Penguin fan EVER, flitting around in custom designed fairy wings - PRICELESS


Lucy kept asking me to do a "googly eye" project with her. I kept saying . . . "later". She came up with her own.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


I went to a 50's theme party last night with a group of women I've become friends with over the last 9 months. Our husbands all decided to stay home and watch the Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That's a very legitimate reason here in Pittsburgh. There were still mostly couples at the party but many a husband looked forlorn as they too wished they were home watching the game instead of dressed up in a gay 50's outfit their wife made them wear.

I looked pretty cute if I do say so myself. Rather than go into detail, I will hopefully get a picture to share soon.

Lucy was up early so I was a little foggy all day after my late night. Chad worked most of the day. Henry and his "Sharks" team got their sweet little butts pummelled at hockey today. It was so painful to watch. We may be the worst in the league and I think we played the best today. It is quite amazing how good these little guys are at hockey.

I took the kids to see Night at the Museum 2 this afternoon. That was equally painful to sit through. Lucy fell asleep in my lap which was sweet but not so much so after my arms and legs started to fall asleep.

I am now happily in bed watching Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. We're tied at the moment. I was never interested in hockey until moving here but it is an intense, impressive game to watch.

4 more days until summer vacation.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Kisses Pictures, Images and Photos

My sweet Sam, 8 yrs old, told me tonight that he looked up "kiss" in the dictionary at school today. He giggled as he told me that it said "to touch lips" or something like that. It was so adorable that I almost couldn't even take it.

It Has Been Too Long!

Writing Pictures, Images and PhotosOh my goodness, it has been a month since I last posted anything. Too long.

I think I stopped blogging right about the same time that I applied to several freelance writing websites. All of my applications were accepted. Since then I have written nothing. no freelance. no blogging. nothing. I think I thought that if I was writing it should be for money, or at least the hope of money.

The one freelance site I was most interested in required 10 articles within a certain time frame. I'm pretty sure I'm closing in on that deadline. That is typical behavior for me. I need to get writing.

A couple of days ago I started a food journal. Simple writing in a simple notebook with a pencil. There was something about that simple act of writing that made me realize how much I miss writing and how good it is for my soul. I honestly think I should be doing more physical writing and not just typing although I think they are both good for my soul. However, there is something especially rejuvenating about putting a pen to paper.

So, call me on it. I know I have about 3 loyal readers. Remind me that I love to write! Remind me that you love to read what I write : )