Things That Freak Me Out: Unsolved Mysteries Edition

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The show below FREAKS me out. Everything about it makes my stomach turn in knots. The man's voice gives me nightmares. The theme song sends shivers down my back. And the fact that the majority of the cases have yet to be solved provides me with a very unsettling feeling. Thank goodness that this show is no longer on the air, because when it was I would go into a panic the second I saw it (or heard it for that matter) and immediately scream for the clicker to change the channel... or I would simply run out of the room.

          

Things That I Find Interesting: Horoscope Edition

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Over the years I have become less and less of a fan of Cosmopolitan magazine, but once again I have managed to accidently prolong my subscription for another couple of years. So, even though I don't really like the magazine, there is one thing that they publish in their January issues that I always look forward to... their "Bedside Astrologer" booklet. This booklet is Cosmo's version of a quickie yearlong horoscope guide. In college my roommates and I used to keep a copy of it on our coffee table at all times, right next to the dream interpretation dictionary... because one never knows when they may need some heavenly guidance. And while you may laugh, these books often proved useful at cheering us up after a bad day. The situation typically went something like this. 

We'd come home for lunch (usually with food from the Skellar... which meant something fried, or something oozing with sauce and cheese). We would then plop on the couch and let out a sigh of relief, only to then rant about how "bad" our day had been. At this point one of us would usually jump up, and rather excitedly say "let's read our horoscopes!". Because honestly, when isn't it a mood lifter to think that your destiny might involve meeting the man (or woman) of your dreams by the end of the week, only to be whisked away by them on a romantic dinner, where you will also learn that you have just stumbled into some huge fortune (which you will obviously use to buy all those new clothes you've been coveting). However, a bad horoscope was bound to pop up every now and again. I mean a dream date is great, but losing your friend to a jealous coworker, and then getting blamed for a spoiled group project, not so much. So if this was to happen, we simply went to plan B... the dream dictionary. If horoscopes failed to brighten our mood, then surely discovering the truth behind our dreams would. Because, how can you not get excited to learn that dreaming about flowers actually means that your newest crush might just bloom into a new relationship, if tended to properly (I totally just made that up... but it sounds good right?).

So this morning when I finished glancing over my 2009 horoscope in review (as dictated by Cosmo) in my handy dandy "Bedside Astrologer", I was reminded of a conversation I had a few months ago with a friend of mine. We were standing in a bookstore, and while he was searching for a specific book, I was browsing through a very detailed and quite nice horoscope book. He found what he wanted, glanced at me and said "you don't really believe in those do you... because you know you may not be the sign you think you are?!". Uh, oh! What?!? OK so I don't really believe that my astrological sign dictates the way I will behave. Also, I certainly don't think that what my horoscope says will really happen to me. AND it does make total sense what my friend was saying, because it is true that the stars are not in exactly the same positions now as they were when the original astrological chart was designed. BUT none of that takes away from the fact that I find horoscopes, and astrology, to be extremely fascinating. I won't go into detail about my intrigue in this subject, due to fear of sounding like a fruit loop, but I will admit that when he said I might not be the sign I thought I was, a little part of me was let down. To me it's sort of cool and mysterious to think that my future could already be predisposed to something, based on the way the stars were alined when I was born. But, NO... now my friend is telling me I may have been "reading" someone else's future this whole time. So as soon as I finished reading my horoscope this morning I quickly did some research, and GASP... I am not the sign I thought I was. All my life I believed I was a Taurus... turns out I am supposed to be an Aries. Oh dear... what to do now!?!  

Things That Make Me Happy: Mele Kalikimaka Edition, Part 2

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas (or Mele Kalikimaka as they say in Hawaii!) everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful day surrounded by family and friends... and filled with oodles of love. 



Things That Make Me Happy: Mele Kalikimaka Edition

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

December 2005, A Hawaiian Christmas Eve
(Morgan and Jonah)

Things That Make Me Confused: Kumon Edition

Kumon, oh Kumon. What is Kumon you ask? For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Kumon world, let me introduce you to the "coolest" way for a kid to learn, and enhance their math and reading skills. Kumon is a learning center based on a method of teaching that was created by some Japanese man who was disheartened by the fact that his son was struggling in school. Apparently Kumon has been around for about fifty years, although I had never heard of it (or seen anything relating to it) until about five years ago, but anyways. They also have bunches of workbooks available, if for some reason your child feels like doing even more work... for fun. I'm not quite sure when the Kumon bug hit (or if it is this popular in other parts of the country), but around where I am from it is all the rage... and thus this is where I start to get confused. In general, as a concept, Kumon makes a lot of sense... and I am pretty sure it probably works too. Kids even get excited to learn, as they are rewarded for every aspect of their progress with stickers, trophies, and prizes. However, around here Kumon is not exactly used to help improve your child's skills, it is really used more as a tool to catapult you into the cool category. If your child is in Kumon you are somehow a parent God, belonging to some strange group of "cool" parents. Parents seem to be jumping on this bandwagon not because their child is having math or reading issues, but because they want their child to be better than their friend's and neighbor's children. Kumon is popular for all the WRONG reasons, and it is like a cult... I kid you not. It starts when you join, and you are immediately welcomed into the club with the above pictured Kumon box (designed to hold all of your daily Kumon work). This box will stay with you for the rest of your Kumon life... or until you reach the much coveted level G (the levels go through the alphabet starting with A, and if you get to G you are on your way to genius-hood) when you will be presented with a blue and silver box so that you can then brag to all your Kumon buddies. As a child in the program you will be forced to do daily pages of work so that you will get the basic ideas of math and reading drilled into your head. You will hate being forced to do extra work on top of your school homework, and in the end you will become resentful of your parents (while I can't prove this I am pretty sure it will happen). The thing is, you will then become so good at your math and reading that you will outsmart all the other non-Kumon kids in your class, and then what is your teacher to do when you are in the 5th grade, but you are on highschool level math. Seriously, our school systems can't be that bad that it would warrant such a big surge in Kumon goers simply because no one is learning how to read and do math. I get it, if you are struggling in these fields, which many are, then Kumon WOULD be a great way to help your child grasp these concepts. But what many need to realize is that by applying to the cultish version of Kumon you are creating a child SO good at their math and reading skills that the child then becomes oddly displaced. The child becomes too advanced to be helped by their teachers (and often times their parents as well) and is so far ahead that they probably aren't getting too much out of their schooling either. Sure, I bet it is pretty exciting to be able to say that you are 10 and doing algebraic expressions, but honestly how much of it are you actually grasping due to the fact that this skill relates to NOTHING in your daily life at home or at school. OK well now that I have gone off on this subject (and could for a lot longer it appears), I seem to have forgotten what my actual point was in blogging about Kumon, so I will simply leave you with an apology... for boring you to death with my ranting (thanks for reading though)! 

Things That Make Me Happy: Fireplace Edition

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What a great way to stay cozy and warm on a snowy, cold, grey, or dreary day. So sit back and snuggle in. While you're at it why not make s'mores, put on some good music, or watch a movie... just enjoy the peacefulness of it all, and relax.

I love fires in fireplaces.

Stories That Make Me Laugh: Hawaiian Santa Edition

Saturday, December 20, 2008

So there isn't exactly a story that goes with this post... it is really ALL about the picture, but here is a little background information to help set the stage. Three years ago I spent Christmas in Hawaii with the family I was nannying for at the time (the adorable five children I have mentioned in some of my previous posts). Christmas Eve we went to a really nice restaurant for a great dinner, and while we were there eating Santa Claus stopped by for a surprise visit. Morgan, who was about 3 at the time, was totally excited for Christmas. However, she was also very confused and worried as to how Santa would find her in Hawaii, since she wasn't at her real house. Well at dinner that night Morgan took one look at the Hawaiian Santa and FREAKED out. She proceeded to jump under the table and hide for her dear life, all while crying and screaming at the top of her lungs. Of course being the fabulous nanny that I am, I managed to capture this HYSTERICAL moment... so that I could torture her for years to come!

December 2005

Of course once Santa left the room Morgan pretended like the whole thing had never happened... and that her hiding was her being SO excited to see Santa!

Things That Make Me Happy: Schenectady Edition

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hmmm... OK, so you may not know it but Schenectady is pretty cool. Hehehehe! Yeah... maybe not so much, but one can dream. Anyways, I did spend four years of my life there, thus leaving me to have some sort of connection with the place. Typically my conversations of Schenectady go somewhat like this.

Person: "Oh, and where did (or do - depending on the time frame) you go to college Victoria?"
Me: "Um, Union College."
Person, with a look of utter confusion on their face: "Oh, where is that?"
Me: "Eeeee. Oooooh. Yeah. Schenectady, New York."
Person: "HUH? Where is that?"
Me: "Upstate New York, near Albany."
Person, pretending to have a clue (or at least feign interest): "Oh." But obviously this person is still confused, and really just focussing on the town's name "Ummm. How do you spell that? And oh wait... how do you say it again?"

It goes something like this S.C.H.E.N.E.C.T.A.D.Y! And it is pronounced like this sken-eck-ta-dee! Give it a try... it's kinda funny actually (but not so much when you must repeat it over and over again because that is where you live!). So anyways, due to the fact that this town has a CRAZY name, and I went to school there, I sort of get excited when I hear it mentioned in something dare I say... famous (well maybe not famous, but something mainstream). I actually sort of feel an odd sense of pride. Not because I love Schenectady, but more like because I lived there for four years... and lived to tell the tale (and yes... that I am proud of). In reading the list of the cool things "our" town (and by our I mean us amazingly awesome Union peeps) did I discovered that Schenectady has a weird tie to Christmas! Who knew? It turns out the GE plant's zip code is 12345... and I guess many a child (misguided I may add) send their Santa letters to this zip code. Let me tell you wonderful children of the world... Santa most definitely does NOT live in Schenectady New York!  


An example of "our" coolness!

Things That Make Me Annoyed: Word Game Edition

Monday, December 15, 2008

Being an only child I usually snatch up any chance I get to play a board game. It may sound weird, but the only reason I didn't like being an only child is that I never had someone (i.e. a sibling) to play board games with me 24/7, and they simply don't make a ton of single player board games. It's not that my parent's didn't play board games with me, because they did, but honestly no grownup wants to play Candy Land ten times in a row (trust me, I've done it... it's not pretty)... especially when they need to be making dinner. So like I said, I typically take up anyone on their offer to play a board game... EXCEPT that is if that game is a word game. I am AWFUL at word games. I much prefer puzzle or logic based games. I am a pretty smart individual (at least I think so), and I have a pretty good vocabulary (I mean it's certainly not in the genius range, but it does show that I had a very good education). The problem is, when I play word games (especially Scrabble... which I pretty much loathe) my brain seems to revert back to that of a first grader's. I suddenly forget what the simplest words mean and how to spell them, thus leaving me to look like a complete idiot. I refuse to play Scrabble with my parents, due to the fact that they always beat me by at least 75 points by making words like qat and zephyr, and managing to place these on triple word scores. I meanwhile am lucky if I make a word like pillow, or manage to place at least one of my letters on a double letter score. Thus as a requirement, I usually need at least one cocktail before I can be convinced to play Scrabble... at ALL... with ANYONE. 

Things That Make Me Happy: Christmas Book Edition

Sunday, December 14, 2008

In keeping with the Christmas theme, since it is that time of the year, I decided that I would share my favorite Christmas book. After much googling last night in an attempt to find a link or a summary or something about this book to share in this post, the only thing that I discovered, much to my sadness, is that this book seems to no longer be in print, and it is now sort of a "collectible". It's too bad they don't publish it anymore, as it's a really cute book. It's a very simple story about a lady named Maud, who lives on Beacon Hill in Boston, with her two dogs and her cat. Maud LOVES Christmas time because she gets to spend it cooking, decorating her tree, shopping at Filene's Basement, and attending fancy events at the Museum of Fine Arts. Maud also LOVES to make lists, and even though she saves everything until the last minute, she always has a great time whatever she is doing. The thing that I always loved about this book though is the illustrations. They alternate between black and white (with red accents) and bold and colorful pictures. The illustrations are a bit wonky, but in a cutesy "it's like a child drew them" sort of way. There are also tons of funny little details, and lots of characters to check out, and every time you read the book you are sure to notice something new. Every Christmas I still love to read this book, even though my copy is now old and worn... with a cover that has been lovingly taped back together (no doubt by my mother, who also kindly penned in my name on the front cover, for fear of it getting lost on the occasions that I brought it in for show and tell at school).  


A sampling of illustrations.

Things That Make Me Happy: Disney Christmas Special Edition, Part 2

Saturday, December 13, 2008

OK, so I just realized that the version of the Disney Christmas special that I found on YouTube (and that I posted for your viewing pleasure earlier) is missing a couple of very good scenes. I have these scenes on my old childhood version, and they are just too good to not share... so here they are.




And my personal favorite is the Donald Duck clip below!


Things That Make Me Happy: Disney Christmas Special Edition

I have been on a YouTube kick these past few days, and I just discovered one of my favorite Christmas videos on there. When I was little I used to have this Disney Christmas special on a VHS that my mom had recorded for me (back when this was some new and cool technology, and it was like a miracle to be able to tape your favorite things off of your TV). Every year I would watch this movie come the holidays. Over the years though the tape quality got worse and worse, and eventually it was packed up, and sent to be buried under piles of boxes in our attic. Since I haven't seen this movie in several years, I was just a little too excited to find it on YouTube. So once again I have modern technology to thank for allowing me to enjoy this classic Christmas special... and now you can enjoy it too!









Things That Make Me Happy: Old School TV Edition

Friday, December 12, 2008

So this morning I went to my favorite coffee place to grab an iced coffee, and well... all the employees were dressed up as fictional characters (yes weird, but they often randomly get dressed up in various assorted garb). Anyways... my favorite coffee server was dressed up as Brad from Hey Dude... which then led us to reminisce about all the great old school television shows that we used to watch growing up (Nickelodeon had some of the best, if I do say so myself).

  video

So of course Hey Dude led us to remember this other fine gem of a show.

video

Then, once I got home, all of the reminiscing made me think of some of my other old Nickelodeon favorites.
 






Thanks to Retro Junk... for indulging me in my little trip down memory lane!

Stories That Make Me Laugh: Frat-Feet Edition

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So I had originally had another idea in mind for today's post, as the kiddies get out at 12:15 today and I had been planning on blogging about my annoyance at the school half day, and how it really interferes with one's schedule... BUT THEN... I got inspired by something else.

In blog commenting with Molly this morning we reminisced over one very specific aspect of our college experience... that of frat-feet. I'm not too sure that a "real" word exists for this condition, but I will be sure to explain in great detail what we mean by this phrase. So at our school the social scene was primarily attending a fraternity party. When attending said fraternity party it was important to choose your shoes wisely. 

High heels were never a good choice as you tended to look a bit silly and out of place, and everyone usually stared at you with the "Oh my God I can't believe she wore those... HERE" sort of look. 

Shoes of any real monetary value (or sentimental value for that matter) were also never a good choice, as they were sure to get tromped on and wind up caked in layers of mud and beer sludge. This would then leave them with a slightly dingy, sticky, and yet shiny glean. 

Sneakers were usually fine, unless a cup of beer got spilled on your foot, which was a strong possibility. If that was to happen then you were left with a slight smush in your step when you walked, and a sopping wet sock for the rest of the night... not to mention a shoe that then reeked of beer for the next few weeks. 

So the usual choice, and by far the BEST choice, was the flip flop. Flip flops were a great choice for a party because they are simple and go with everything, not too mention they are comfortable, so you can dance the whole night long. But the best thing about them is that you can very easily clean them (or replace them), and they look pretty close to new again, and this is something that you can't really do with any other type of shoe once a fraternity party has had its way with them. 

However, there was one BIG drawback to the flip flop... frat-feet. By the end of the night one's feet were always COMPLETELY DISGUSTING! So much so that when you took your flip flops off it basically looked as though you were still wearing them... just now in a nice flesh color. And the thing is you never really knew exactly what this mixture of "stuff" was on your feet, nor did you want to even attempt a guess. You knew your feet were filthy, and covered in beer sludge, and literally black, but you never truly wanted to know just how horrifically gross they really were, because if you actually thought about what might really be on them it would probably make you want to throw up. 

So every night you would simply walk back to your dorm... choosing to ignore your frat-feet and pretend they didn't exist, and crawl into your bed. Maybe you would wash your feet, usually not, although the thought would always cross your mind, but it would always seem like such a BIG effort. Sometimes on a rare occasion though you may actually decide to take the effort to wash off your horrible frat-feet. Problem is though that lots of times it wouldn't always go so well, because let's just say beer + small tiny sink (or shower, but that is way worse) + water + slippery soap = HUGE wet dirty MESS! So like I said lots of times you would just go to bed, placing your horrible frat-feet on your "clean" sheets. When waking up the next morning... in a slightly different state of mind... you would then think to yourself "AHHHHH GROSS. I can't believe I went to bed without washing my feet!" However, you would then go out that night and do it all over again. 

So with this pattern of yucky frat-feet, and crawling into bed with them unwashed, one might think it would make you want to wash your sheets more often. Because let's face it they are really not all that clean once you've put your frat-feet on them (because even though you don't want to imagine what is really on your feet, you do know that you have now just transfered some of that onto your bed... oh yuck!). But... we were college students, and let's face it laundry was a pretty low priority on the to do list. And when laundry was done quarters were precious, and clothes came first... especially the jeans and tank top you wanted to wear to said fraternity party... so obviously sheets came last... if at all. Once again... YUCK! But totally true... and we all did it too. 

So this got me to thinking, and now I am totally wanting to go scrounge the blogosphere to see if I can find any other people's ridiculous stories about frat-feet... because surely Molly and I couldn't have gone to the only school were frat-feet were an issue.

Things That Make Me Confused: Fat Joe Edition

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lately several of my local radio stations have decided to play this song on heavy rotation, thus leaving me slightly confused.

         

I don't really mind too much the fact that this song has suddenly reemerged on the radio because, although I am totally embarrassed to admit it, I actually enjoy this song (I am pretty sure I even have it on a mix CD somewhere). However, this song is just not popular anymore, in fact I think it is about 5 or 6 years old at this point. So I am just really confused why all of a sudden this one random song is being played ALL the time. Did I miss the memo that said this song is the new "it" song all over again. I mean I am sure there are some people out there who have never heard it before and when they do they think "oh this is a fun new song!", but for me I hear it and think this:

2000

Far too many lonnnnngg nights at Chi Psi... dancing... like an idiot (as pictured above!). And oddly many of these nights ending with me walking home in my wonderful friend's (and housemate at the time) shoes, because after all night dancing she just couldn't bear to walk back to our house in her high heels. Since I would usually wear sensible shoes like flip flops, it just somehow always seemed like a "great" idea to trade shoes with her in order to get us home. Let me also just mention the fact that her shoes were only about three sizes too small for me. Yet at the time it really did seem like the best thing to do. Yes... sometimes I am a genius! 

Things That Make Me Happy: Everclear Edition

Sunday, December 7, 2008

2000

As I mentioned before, my college freshman year roommate Lindsay and I had very dissimilar tastes... especially when it came to music. She preferred the alternative rock genre while I was drawn to basically anything that could be heard on Dawson's Creek. So needless to say this difference made for some very uncomfortable moments in our room when one of us insisted upon listening to their music without headphones. However, there was always one thing that could quickly remedy this problem. What was this thing you ask? Ahhh, it was none other then our, yes I repeat OUR, Everclear CD. This particular CD, So Much for the Afterglow, was the ONLY music that we both loved, and would agree upon happily listening to together... without headphones. The only argument that would then arise after our decision to play this CD was made, was whose copy we would use. So much of our freshman year was spent listening to this CD on repeat, because many times we just couldn't be bothered to attempt to do our homework, clean the room, and talk to each other all with a pair of headphones on. Our mutual love of this CD didn't end at freshman year though... instead it came around full circle, and capped off our senior year as well, in some bizarre twist of fate when Everclear actually came to play at our school's Springfest. While I'm pretty sure the rest of the campus was a little disappointed in the fact that this was who was headlining Springfest (as Everclear wasn't exactly popular anymore at this point), but... Lindsay and I basically felt like we had just died and gone to heaven. 

For your listening pleasure... a song off of that fabulous CD!

Things That Make Me Annoyed: Rolling Backpack Edition

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I like rolling suitcases, I also really like backpacks. However, all I have to say is that the person who decided to combine these two ideas has obviously never been around children, which is odd since the target audience of the rolling backpack is children. It seems like a sensible invention... until you add the child that is. For starters, I strongly believe that a backpack should not be three times the size of the child carrying it, and the rolling backpack (no matter who the manufacturer is) is always gigantic. Secondly, I also believe that at least until you get to highschool your backpack should never be so heavy that it requires wheels to transport it from point A to point B. Thirdly, since the majority of the children using these rolling backpacks are under the age of 12, the "drivers" of these bags are sure to be self absorbed and not at all aware of the general public, and the personal space that these individuals need. And lastly, I just don't understand why the inventor of the rolling backpack didn't realize that when the backpack was being rolled that the handle would obviously become a weapon of some sort, like a sword or a bat... thus allowing the child to cause even more chaos with the already annoying backpack. So with all of that said, I warn you to always watch out for the rolling backpack trailing behind a child, because you never know when you will get whacked with it... or get your toes run over. 

Things That Make Me Feel Old: Dentist Edition

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I don't consider myself to be old. However, there are sometimes moments in my life that happen when I am forced to reference something from my childhood, thus making it seem as though this was a lifetime ago. This morning was one of those times. 

I was taking the oldest of the three kids that I take care of to the dentist's office for an orthodontist appointment, and as we near the entrance she looks at me shocked and says: "Oh, you knew this is where it was."
Me, thinking that she was amazed by my skills in directions (which I actually completely lack) and impressed that I didn't need her to tell me where the dentist was, replied: "Yup... this is the same place where I used to come to get my teeth cleaned when I was a kid."
Amazed she looked at me and replied: "Oh... this place has been around THAT long!" And then she went into denial over the fact that this is how I knew the way to her dentist. 
I looked at her and said: "What do you mean this place has been around for THAT long? You make it seem like I am ANCIENT!" 

Her response... a devilish smirk and then laughter. Gee thanks... I am NOT that old!

Things That I Find Interesting: FOUND Edition

Monday, December 1, 2008

My mom recently introduced me to the FOUND magazine website, and now I am addicted. The website in and of itself is a very simple concept, it is simply a collection of stuff (usually drawings, photographs, and notes) found by people in random places. The content of the found stuff ranges from sweet and charming to humorous and ridiculous. What truly makes this website amazing though is all of the comments that people leave behind, it is almost as if the objects take on a whole new life than that originally intended by their creators. The above picture is my absolute favorite from the site. As a wannabe graphic designer I am amazed at the pure emotion portrayed in this very simple illustration. You may not view the picture the same way I do (as there are several different ways it could be interpreted), but the truly unique thing is that no matter how you view it, this is a picture that causes a reaction... and it gives you something that you can identify with.

Stories That Make Me Laugh: Turkey Trot Edition

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In honor of Thanksgiving I thought I would share a funny memory of this little one below (Cobas). The story doesn't have too much to do with Thanksgiving other then the fact that it took place around this time last year. Cobas was 3 at the time, and we were at his town's annual Turkey Trot (along with his four other siblings). It was freezing out, and far too early in the morning for me to be braving this situation, but what can you do. We bundled up and headed over to the school where the Turkey Trot was being held. I attempted to keep these five super excited (and extremely friendly) children corralled in one general location while I assessed the situation, and got them all registered to run in the Turkey Trot. It was pure chaos everywhere, and the kids kept dashing off on me, or asking me fifty million questions. I simply had my eyes set on the hot chocolate (although I was wishing it was coffee at this point), and the breakfast snacks on the table... all the while wishing this whole event would be over soon. So we are taking it all in, attempting to keep as warm as possible, and waiting our turns. However, something is really bothering Cobas, and he keeps tugging on me. And this is why:

October 2007

Cobas, pulling on my pant leg: "Tia, Tia (his nickname for me)."
Me: "Yes Little One (my nickname for him)." Cobas just stares at me and then stares at the snack table.
Cobas, still pulling on my pant leg: "Tia!" Then he whispers something that none of us can hear, let alone understand. 
Me: "Huh? I can't hear you cutie."
Cobas: "Oh." Then he looks at me with this little innocent smile and whispers something again. Again we can't hear him. 
Me, bending down this time so I am at his level, and can hopefully at least read his lips if he decides to whisper again: "What is it Little One?"
Cobas, as he points to the snack table and smiles: "Tia?"
Me: "Oh! Would you like a snack? Are you hungry?"
Cobas, all excited that I have finally understood what he is talking about: "Yeah!" So the two of us head over to the snack table where Cobas' smile suddenly turns into a look of shear panic. Once again he tugs my pant leg, and then he pulls me down to whisper in my ear. "Tia? Where are they? Will you ask the girl if they are all gone?"
Me, totally clueless as to what he saw on the table before, that apparently is now gone, and causing him panic: "Cobas, what are you looking for?"
Cobas, just looks at me like "Duh, Tia. How could you not know what I am looking for." and then he yells: "THE SHRIMPIES!"
Me, finally discovering what it was he was looking at on the table: "Cobas... those aren't shrimp, they're doughnuts, and there are plenty. Would you like one?"
Cobas, completely let down: "OH... no." And then he walks away from the snack table with no shrimp... and no doughnuts... and all the while I am hysterically laughing.

Yup... I am pretty sure he is the only 3 year old who would mistake doughnuts for shrimp cocktail... and then be terribly sad about his lack of shrimpies!

Things That Make Me Happy: Paste Magazine Edition

Monday, November 24, 2008

A couple of years ago my dear friend Jenna introduced me to an amazing magazine. I have since become a subscriber to this magazine (Paste), and every month I am like a little kid at Christmas time waiting for its arrival. You see not only is it a great magazine filled with lots of cool stuff BUT it also comes with a mix CD. I am only slightly obsessed with mix CD's (but I will save that for another post), so I am always eager to tear open the package and see what Paste has in store for my little ears. They never fail to put together an interesting mix of music, some of it is great, some of it not so much. Either way though it is music that I would have probably never come across on my own, and so I am always happy for the new discoveries. So, if you are a big music fan, I strongly suggest that you go check out Paste... I doubt that you'll regret it.

Things That Make Me Happy: Brewery Tour Edition

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I like beer. I like my friends (but this one goes without saying). I like doing things that make me more "knowledgeable". I like that the most perfect combination of these three things is... a brewery tour! I've gone on a couple this year, and I must say it is one of the best ways to spend a day. What is better then spending some nice relaxing time with a friend, going on a random adventure, learning something new, and getting to drink beer at the end of it all. Also breweries offer up a fascinating array of people to satisfy your people watching desires. There is the cute adorable chubby little baby who can't stop smiling at you and your friend. There is the group of beer geeks who ask way too many questions (many of which go unanswered because they are out of the realm of the tour guide's "scripted" material). And then there is the group of underage kids, who make a big scene and don't understand why the tour guide won't serve them a beverage when they not only fail to present an ID, but also claim that beers like Natty Light are God's gift to human kind. So, if you are looking for some random fun... may I suggest to you a brewery tour!

Things That Make Me Annoyed: ID Picture Edition

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why is it that ID pictures happen to be some of the most horrible things out there! The whole idea of getting a new ID of some sort is enough to put me into a state of dread. First it starts with the nuisance of having to wait in line to get your picture taken, and fill out the appropriate paperwork. Then it evolves into dissatisfaction when you see your picture, because obviously there will be something wrong with it, and it's not like you really get a chance to do it over. Then there is the ultimate sigh of horror when you get your ID, and see the end product, because then you realize you are now stuck with this thing for at least a good 4-10 years. So in honor of the dreaded ID picture here is a sampling of some of my horrors from over the years, and feel free to laugh... I know I always do!




Stories That Make Me Laugh: "Car Accident" Edition

Friday, November 21, 2008

An old friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook the other day in which she reminded me of this guy that we went to highschool with. I laughed after reading her message, and then immediately thought of this story. But first let me give you a little background info on this guy that we went to highschool with. He was quite the character, and one of those kids that everyone knew. He wasn't exactly well known though because he was super nice or really talented at something... no he was well known because he had a "unique" sense of style. I say "unique" because his style revolved around one specific article of clothing, his shoes. He LOVED these shoes, the rest of our school HATED these shoes. They were a pair of old Birkenstock clogs, which really doesn't seem all that bad, except for the fact that they had holes in the top and his toes would stick out. But everyday it was always all about these shoes with him (it was actually a tad ridiculous his love affair with these shoes). I remember he had a hard time choosing his senior picture because of his shoes. He really liked the far away full body shot, but he was bummed because the true "essence" of the shoes had not been captured (and by that I mean that you could vaguely see the shoes in the picture, but since it was so far away you couldn't see his toes... and yes I am totally serious). He also used to want to be Dawson from Dawson's Creek. This isn't soooooo bad due to the fact that this was back in the day when Dawson's Creek had just begun, and was all the rage, and well who didn't want to be Dawson (or Pacey, Joey, or Jen). However, he would actually pretend he was Dawson. He had a name for his version of the show, and he would give us weekly updates on how it would play out. Odd, but true... and for some reason we all went along with this (and his many other idiosyncrasies). So needless to say this kid was quite the interesting one! However, he also wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier, which brings me to my story. Our junior year we had a first period class together. It was geometry, and he would always sit diagonally one seat behind me (that way he could attempt to cheat off of me). This didn't exactly bother me due to the fact that I was on to his scheme... oh, that and the fact that he would blatantly ask me if he could cheat off of my tests (he wasn't exactly Mr. Sly). So anyways, one day I am sitting at my desk and he comes tearing into our classroom, a little on the late side, and we have the following interaction.

He makes a bit of a scene and looks at me: "Vic, Vic, are you alright?" 
Surprised, and quite confused, I sort of just blankly stare at him and respond: "Ummm, yeah. Why?" 
He then says: "Weren't you just in a car accident?"
Me: "Ummm. No."
Him: "Are you sure?"
Me, still totally confused: "Yeah, I'm sure."
Him: "But I just drove through five corners (this insanely awful intersection near our school) and I saw your car... smashed and on fire!".
Me: "Oh, but it wasn't me. I've been here this whole time."
Him: "But it was YOUR car. Are YOU sure you're OK."
Me (and by now I am really wanting to start laughing like crazy, but I am nice, and so I am holding it in so as not to make him feel even more ridiculous then he is already being): "I am positive. I am OK, and it really wasn't MY car, but thanks for the concern."
Him: "But it looked like YOUR car. Are YOU SURE it WASN'T?"
Me: "Yup, I'm sure." And then I thought this to myself: "Ummm, yeah. OK I get it buddy. It LOOKED like my car, but it WASN'T MY CAR!" Apparently though this was a bit of a lost cause, as he just really wasn't getting it, and so we continued to go on for just a little bit longer with more of the same back and forth as above. 

So I really was not in a car accident that day. The car he saw may have looked like mine, but it wasn't, and for some reason he just could not wrap his head around this fact. So during the rest of class he just sort of looked at me like I had just survived some horrific event, and it was a miracle that I was sitting here at my desk... unharmed.

Things That Make Me Annoyed: Bad Day Edition

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Today is just not my day! I don't understand why when you are having a bad day EVERYTHING seems to go wrong. When I have a bad day it is not usually one huge awful thing that happens to me, but is instead usually a collection of tiny mishaps (one after the other) that lead to an overall feeling of frustration. On days like these all of the most random things seem to go wrong, and no matter how hard I try I just can't seem to get anything right. So with that said, I thought I would leave you with this song for your listening pleasure, because Joe Purdy's singing makes having a bad day actually... tolerable!

         

On a side note... I would have left you with the song Bad Day by Daniel Powter but that just seems like such an obvious choice. Oh... and one of the kids I used to take care of (Morgan - featured in my post about Curtis Stone) was obsessed with that song. She would sing it for us over and over at the top of her lungs. So after listening to that song pretty much on repeat for a good three months I sort of despise it!

Stories That Make Me Laugh: College Roommate Edition

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2000

I went to Union College. A small liberal arts college that can be found in the oh so wonderful town of... Schenectady, New York! While there I managed to learn many interesting things and meet many fabulous people. I also managed to have a pretty amazing time while I was at it! It was a HUGE transition for me at first, but luckily I had the pretty awesome girl pictured above (my freshman year roommate Lindsay) by my side. As freshman we were pretty clueless, and obviously new to the whole "college scene", none the less we managed to get ourselves into plenty of crazy hijinks. As roomies we had a pretty special bond. She was the hockey playing, mechanical engineering, Creed listening, Mexican blanket loving sidekick to my sometimes too girly for Lindsay to handle, Enya listening, Titanic watching, free spirited self (if that makes any sense at all!). Basically we were pretty much polar opposites. However, we got along incredibly well, and our living situation couldn't have been happier. Even though we drove each other crazy, we also had the best times together, and made some of the most amazing memories.

And to think, I never would have met Miss Lindsay had it not been for the wonderful people at Res Life (please insert sarcasm here)! You see, before we started college we had to fill out this little questionnaire about our living styles. According to Union we were placed with our freshman year roommate by a computer. The choices were made purely by chance, but dictated by the answers we had given on our questionnaires (and as I said before Lindsay and I were polar opposites, so I am not quite sure how we matched up on our living styles, but whatever!). So, I am just wondering... if Lindsay and I were put together by pure chance, why is it that my wonderful roomie and I happen to look so much like the two adorable little girls pictured below!?!   

1988

Oh right... because we are those two adorable little girls! Go figure! I wind up at this small college that half of the world has never heard of and I am "randomly" placed with one of my childhood friends... who also happens to be from the same town as me! 

Things That Make Me Happy: Curtis Stone Edition

Monday, November 17, 2008

Curtis Stone is my boyfriend. HA! OK, well obviously he is not my boyfriend, but a girl can dream. Right? For those of you who are not familiar with the dashing man pictured above, please let me be the first to introduce you to Curtis Stone. He is quite adorable, funny, talks with an Australian accent, and he cooks. He is also the host of TLC's show Take Home Chef. About two years ago TLC added this great show to their daily afternoon lineup, and at the time I was nannying for a family with 5 kids. Needless to say life taking care of 5 kids is quite chaotic, so Curtis always added a nice little perk to the dinner making hour. Around this time I had quietly, and successfully, converted all five of these adorable children into little TLC (my favorite channel) followers. It was also around this time that the second youngest (Morgan, who was about 4 at the time) had decided that she had about four boyfriends. Day after day we would have to hear about all of her many boyfriends. There was the older boy who lived down the street, the little boy from her preschool class, Harry Potter, and then last but not least (and our personal favorite) Vin Diesel. So after having to hear about one of these boyfriends practically every time she opened her mouth (and she is a talker) I had had enough. I decided I was going to poke fun of her a little, and thus that is how Curtis Stone became my boyfriend. I loudly announced while making them dinner one day, and watching Take Home Chef, that Curtis Stone would now be my new boyfriend. All five off them laughed at me, with the older three getting even more of a chuckle because they knew I had said it as a way of playing around with Morgan. So all of us (me, and the five kids) kept this running joke going on for quite some time, and one day we had the following little "moment".

I was down in their kitchen, being a fabulous multi-tasker while making them dinner. I was helping the second oldest (Maiah) with her homework, emptying the dishwasher, and doing the laundry, all while drooling over Curtis Stone on the TV. Maiah happened to glance up and notice the TV: "Hey Vic, it's your boyfriend!" I nod, and smile, and say: "I know!" I then run upstairs to quickly switch over the laundry. As I am getting to the top of the stairs I hear the oldest (Madison) call from her bedroom on the next floor up: "Victoria! Your boyfriend is on!" I reply: "I know. Thank you. Maiah and I were watching it in the kitchen." Then I remember that Madison is supposed to be cleaning her room, so I quickly get on her on how she shouldn't be watching TV and she should be cleaning her room instead. Blah, blah, blah. So I turn the corner to get to the laundry room and find the middle child (Jonah) watching TV in the room across the hall. He nods hello and says to me: "Batoria your boyfriend is on!" Once again I reply: "I know, thank you!" I go into the laundry room only to hear Morgan screaming my name throughout the house. I come out of the room thinking, oh dear what now. I see the littlest (Cobas) has decided to join Jonah in front of the TV. Cobas looks at me and smiles, then says: "Tia (his nickname for me) boyfriend!" I giggle and go to hunt down Morgan. I find her and ask her what is wrong and why is she screaming my name at the top of her lungs. She replies: "Oh... I just wanted to let you know that your boyfriend is on TV!" Oh geez! So even though Curtis Stone is not really my boyfriend he is sure more then welcome to pick me up at the grocery store and come home to cook for me... anytime he wants!

Things That Make Me Annoyed: Lunchbox Edition

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't get me wrong, I actually really do like lunchboxes. They are usually very cute, and serve an important purpose. However, when taking care of children the lunchbox takes on a whole new life of its own. You no longer think of the lunchbox as a cute accessory to a backpack that safely carries a lunch from point A to point B, but instead it becomes this annoying box that many times turns into a biohazard zone. What should be a simple task of packing or unpacking one's lunch somehow always turns into the biggest battle ever, many times ending in fights or even tears. The first half of the lunchbox disaster always starts like this:

Me: "(Insert child's name here) did you pack your lunch yet?"
Child: "No, I am going to do that right now."
Ten minutes later, Me: "OK, is your lunch ready yet?"
After standing staring into the cabinet for ten minutes and not moving, Child: "No... I don't know what to pack, there is nothing that I want." I then proceed to rattle of a list of whatever there is to eat in the house.
Child: "OK, fine. I guess I will have (insert whatever food they have chosen, begrudgingly I might add)."
Ten minutes later, Me: "OK, are you done now?"
Child: "No, I still need to find a snack."
Me: "AHHHHHHH... OK fine, well hurry up!" Ten more minutes and the lunch is finally packed, then I proceed to go on for another five minutes reminding said child to get their lunchbox into their backpack. It wouldn't be soooooo bad if I only had to do this for one child, but the above scenario must be repeated for each child in the family, which in this case is three. The second half of the lunchbox battle goes like this:

Me: "(Insert child's name here), please empty your lunchbox and put it away."
Child: "OK."
Ten minutes later, Me: "Did you put your lunchbox away?"
Child: "No, not yet."
Me: "OK, please do that now."
Child: "OK."
Ten minutes later, Me: "Did you put your lunchbox away yet?"
Child: "No, I am doing my homework now. I will put it away when I am done."
Me: "Fine, please put it away."
Ten minutes later... I have moved into another room. Said child finishes their homework and comes to join me. Once again, Me: "Did you empty your lunchbox and put it away?"
Child: "Yup!"
Me: "Great!" I then head into the kitchen to do something else where I find either one of two scenarios. One is that the lunchbox has in fact been emptied, but is still sitting on the counter, and not in the cabinet where it belongs. Two is that the lunchbox is still sitting there, completely full of their lunch. So in the end, after pestering three children to empty their lunchboxes for about an hour, I get stuck emptying the stupid things and putting them away. If I am really lucky I will be sure to find some disgusting rotting piece of ancient food that they have left behind as a present for me! Sometimes something great happens though... they buy their lunch at school!