Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A little of this equals a little of that

 What is that in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen?
Why it's chin up bar!

The unexpected hit of Christmas, the chin up bar, has already changed the behavior of the Andersons.  It's prominent installation right in the middle of the house has spawned all kinds of rules: 
  • Whenever you are standing around in the kitchen, do a chin-up.  
  • Whenever you grab a cookie, do a chin-up. 
  • Whenever you are going in the kitchen for anything after dinner, do a chin-up.
  • Whenever you are just walking through the house, do a chin-up.

Its only been a few day now, but so far the chin-up bar has gotten quite a bit of action.  Last night we were all sitting around on the watching TV when The Boy got up to get a cookie.  He dutifully did his chin-up for it.  I tried and tried to get him to bring me one too, but I was turned down.  My choices were to get off the couch and do a chin-up for it or not have a cookie. 

So I didn't have a cookie.

It's important to have something like the chin-up bar around when in the kitchen there's a ridiculous machine like this...
 which makes ridiculously delicious things like these...

You see, it's a delicate matter of balance between aching arms and glazed mini donuts.  Aching arms are winning.

In other news, Jack disapproves of the Christmas day mess.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

History of Santa

I really wanted to embed this, but the interweb is being grumpy.  So just hit the link and enjoy.

Short History of Santa

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The following interview never happened.  The events described did.

J:  Are you comfortable?  Need anything?

Man:  No, no.  I'm fine. (sounds of shuffling and scraping)

J: Something wrong with your chair?

Man:  It's just... (scraping, banging)... stuck here on this rug edge.  (Violent noise)  Ah, there.  Okay.  What did you want to know?

J:  I haven't asked you anything yet.

Man:  So what are we doing then now?

J:  It's an interview.  I want to know about the accident.

Man:  Accident is a bit of an exaggeration.  More like an incident.  A big incident, yeah, but not an accident.

J: Okay, then let's get started.  About how long have you known that the tires on your truck needed replacing?

Man:  Oh, you want to start there?  Well... I guess about a year now.  Yeah, a good year.

J:  That's a long time.

Man:  Yeah, well that's how it goes. I just didn't get around to it.

J:  So tell me what happened on October 22nd.

Man:  Umm.... well I was on my way to band practice...

J:  Your band The Black Valentines has a gig this Saturday right?

Man:  Yep.  A Halloween party.  Thanks for the plug.

J:  No problem.

Man:  So anyway, I was going down 480 just getting into North Olmsted when the back tire exploded.

J:  You just used the word exploded.  Did you hear it?

Man:  Oh yeah.

J:  And you obviously felt it?

Man:  Of course.  Have you ever been in a car when a tire blows out?

J:  No.

Man:  Believe me.  You know when it happens.

J:  So what did you do then?

Man:  I got to the side of the road and stopped.  I checked out the tire.  I was completely destroyed.

J:  I think we have a picture...

Man:  Yeah, as you can see, it's completely blown out.

J:  I see.  Intense images.  So then you attempted to get the spare.

Man:  The spare on my truck is locked into the frame.  You need a special key to get it out. At first I couldn't find the key. It was buried in the glove box.   It's a stupid system.  Who would want to steal your donut?

J:  I think we have a picture of your spare...
 Man:  It's a looker, isn't it?

J:  So you successfully got the spare on the truck.  And then I guess you started back out for band practice?

Man:  The gig was in a week.  Can't miss practice with the gig so close.

J:  But this story has a happy ending, right?

Man:  The truck has four brand new tires now.  I guess that's a happy ending.  Better than having another blow out anyway.

J:  Thank you for sharing your story today.

Man:  What's for dinner?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homecoming Dance 2011

Working backward through time, I'll try to update some pictures here.  A few weekends ago it was homecoming.  This year the dance was held in the new cafeteria since the gym still isn't ready.  A dance in the cafeteria isn't so bad for them though because the room is quite pretty.  And so are these kids!

The Girl looking ever so lovely.

The Girl and her #1 running buddy  just as cute as can be.

This is my favorite.  I said, "Okay, stand right there so I can get a picture."

And this is what they looked like after all the primping .

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When your Boy is in Art...

...he comes home with adorable things like this!

How about a little battery powered candle to brighten it up?

Even cuter.

We haven't gotten around to getting the Halloween decorations out yet, so this sweet pumpkin is the whole holiday show right now.

Tonight we are off to Fat Fish Blue for dinner.

And then the circus.  Which will be good too.

But I'm more excited about dinner!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back on Foot

My last report put Giant Shirtless Man on a bike hauling ass (and green grocery bag) out of here.  Since that day, he's return to being a pedestrian exclusively.  I will not rescind that I think it was a stolen bike.  There was something fishy about the whole thing.

Since the bicycle day, GSM has walked only on the opposite side of the road, still with the bag.  There is no garbage can over there.  Shuffling Old Guy still comes by the can to check things over.  Still no luck.  The woman with the puppy has stopped showing up at all.

Today GSM made the surprising move of having a red shirt slung over one shoulder.  Perhaps he senses a change in the weather?  How cold will it have to get before Giant Shirtless Man becomes Giant Red Shirt Man?

Only time will tell!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Giant Shirtless Man

He just rode by on what I assume is a stolen bike.

No shirt.

Green grocery bag.

He didn't make his stop by the can this morning.  My guess is that he has thrown us over for a better, less observed can.

Mores the pity.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Out of My Window

We are moving everything around at work in the office.  Desks are being switched up.  Decisions on what to keep and what to throw away are being made. It's all pretty chaotic right now, but it will be much better once everything is settled.

One of results of all this shuffling will be that I won't be front and center for the show that happens out our front window daily.  Here's a recap of some of my favorite moments...
  • Across the river they are constructing some huge building.  It's still just a steel skeleton but I've seen the big crane swing around I-beams and watched the building go from one wall to a 3D structure.  Today I notice it has a roof.
  • Early one morning there was a deer just tiptoeing down the street.  She headed over the police station where I lost sight of her.
  • Out on the sidewalk, right outside of my window, is one of the city's decorative trash cans.  This can is the destination for all kinds of people during the day.  Like Giant Shirtless Man.  He shows up most every morning with a green garbage bag in tow.  He unloads this bag by the handfuls into the can and then keeps heading on his merry shirtless way.   See you tomorrow!
  • About an hour later, Shuffling Old Guy in the Shades will stop by the can to root through everything.  So far, he hasn't found anything worth taking.  Better luck another day!
  • Police cruisers are often stopped beside this popular can while the officer inside does a spring cleaning job on the car.  It's mostly water bottles and McDonald's bags.  Good to see our boys in blue keeping it tidy.
  • I could write about the trash can all day but let's move on---
  • Once I watched a passenger-less skateboard go right down the center line heading for downtown.
  • A few moments later, it's owner took up chase.  I hope they were reunited.
  • How could I not mention the wedding that took place in the parking lot across the street?  The bride wore pajama pants and an over-sized shirt.  The barefoot groom wore a dirty wife-beater.  The ceremony was attended by a preteen girl who took pictures with a phone.  The marriage was performed by a grumpy officiant who asked to use our bathroom while he was waiting around for everyone to show up.  The groom cried as he said his vows.  Almost touching.  When the ceremony was over, five minutes later, the bride and the girl got in one car and the groom took off in a opposite direction in the biggest rust bucket truck you've ever seen.  I didn't note what happened to the officiant.
  • No matter the weather, scorching heat, freezing cold, driving rain, someone will be heading off to the riverside to fish.  Sometimes they just have a rod.  Sometimes that have enough gear to bring in a whale.  I've yet to see anyone come back with a fish.
  • A woman with her new puppy walks by my window every hour on the hour.  This week marks the third in a row of this devotion to housebreaking.
I'll miss my daily sideshow once I move to my new desk.  But I'll probably get more work done.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Recycler for the World

That's what The Man called me yesterday.  Recycler for the World.  It's a bit of a grandiose title.  I would rephrase it as Recycler for My Little Part of the World- which includes my home, any Girl Scout event and my workplace.

Not as catchy perhaps.  Tough to get on coffee mug.  But it's accurate.  Here's the proof:

  • We went on a big multi-troop camp out and I brought the big blue bags.  They were overflowing by the end of the weekend.  Luckily they had recycling bins out at the property so I didn't have to bring it all home.
  •  Day camp was last week.  We filled many, many bags with plastic, cans and tons of cardboard. I brought of that home to go in our recycling can.
  • I was less than a week at my current job when I brought in the blue bags and designated a place for flattened out cardboard boxes.  The guys fell right in line.  

But it's E-Cycling and Hazardous Waste Collection that really gets me excited. (Now isn't that a strange sentence to type!) We are so lucky to have a facility right here in town that accepts so many items.  They moved into the building that I will forever only think of as Clarkins.  You just drive in one door, they unload everything and you drive out another door.  So easy! 

We are rearranging the entire office layout at work and that is bringing quite a few dead electronics to the surface.  They all go in my van.

My troop had a garage sale last week.  While we're boxing up the unsold items for donation, I loaded all of the electronic devices into my van.

We have a table in our basement where the dead electronics go.  They all got loaded into the van.

This is what we took to E-Cycle yesterday...

 The Man said it looked like a Russian Space Station.
 I said it was one calculator short of become a sentient life form.

The moral of the story, especially if you live in this county, is to please be aware of what you are sending to the dump.  The chance it could be recycled in some way is extremely high.  

Okay, I'm done being preachy.

Let's end with a picture of Meg and The Girl holding hands.  
 Because they are adorable.

Another Moment of Grace

 I blame the cat.

It's not her fault.

I blame her still.

Bad cat.

 She lost her collar.  When I found it the clasp was broken.  That's why she lost it.

I bought her a new one.  Red again.  She happened through the room just as a pulled it out of the bag.  So I wanted to put it on her right away.
It was packaged on a card held tight with little plastic rings.

I got the top one off with no problem.

The used-for-everything kitchen scissors slipped trying to get off the bottom one.

So I got my thumb instead. Note the cuts on both sides of my thumb.  That takes talent my friends.

An emergency room trip resulted in medical grade super glue instead of stitches.  The future is here!

I also earned a tetanus shot.  They gave me the shot in the right arm and as you can see I mutilated my left thumb. Every little move hurts to some degree.

Bad cat.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Singing a New Song

Let's just get something straight right off the bat, I do not like the choir director at the high school.  When he talks between songs I just want to start screaming "Shut up, SHUT up, SHUT UP!"  His choices in music are usually just crap.   There are barely any challenges in the songs he has the kids perform.  I believe that is because he lacks the ability to teach anything with any kind of complexity.   And FYI, you are unlucky enough to be an atheist but still want to sing in choir, make sure you open enroll in some other school.  Every other song is about the glory of Jesus.  I kid you not.

All of that said, I am pleased that The Girl is in choir and enjoys singing.  The choir system at the high school multi-leveled.  You are either in Freshman Choir, Concert Choir (all boys), Chorale (all girls) or A Capella Choir, which is the big time.

Here's The Girl in her Chorale dress on Tuesday night for the very last time.  She was in this choir all year and this is the only time I thought to take a picture of her in the dress.

Cute on her.  A bit rough on some of the other girls.

The Chorale Choir performing their last concert of the year.  The Girl is in the back in the middle.

Then last night, she was inducted into A Capella. They still call it the Robing Concert even though those awesome robes are a thing of the past. 

I'm not joking about those robes, I loved mine!  You could wear any crappy thing under them you wanted as long as you had dress shoes on.  They were heavy and warm so I was usually in shorts under my robe.  I loved having all of our contest medals hanging on the front and how soft the satin cowl felt.

The robing ceremony was a very special thing back then.  You were called up and a graduating senior took off their robe (they were dressed up under it) and put it on you.  Then you took their place on the risers while they went down into the audience and took your seat.  It was a tear-jerker to be sure.

In August the girl will get her new black dress which is just slightly different from the one she just had to hand in.  While A Capella guys look sharp in their tuxes, the girls all look like they're just back from a funeral. Instead of getting a robe, the new members got a red carnation as they came up on stage.  Not exactly the same kind of punch.

But I am very proud of The Girl for making it into A Capella.  I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.


Thursday afternoon, The Sister left work early, we pulled the kids out of school and hit the road for Detroit to see the Artic Monkeys!

We got to town with time to spare for dinner so we went to The Detroit Brewhouse where we got a nice meal, lax service and one of their specialy beers that tasted just like Budweiser.  Pretty disappointing.

The show was at The Fillmore Theater which had that wonderful old classic theater look.  So beautiful!

Stock photo.  I didn't actually get to stand on the stage.

 The doors opened at 6:30.  We got in line right after 6 PM.  This wouldn't have been such a big deal if we were having a normal spring, but it was mighty cold and windy standing on that sidewalk waiting to get into the show.  Only The Sister and The Man were close to being dressed appropriately for standing in freezing wind.  The rest of us were just out of luck and cold.
Another stock photo.  The Artic Monkeys are not actually our close friends.
The show was amazing.  It rocked.  I'm not sure if any other words would do it justice, so I'll leave it at that.

The next morning after breakfast we hit the Detroit Institute of Art.  Such a wonderful museum with all kinds of little things to keep you actively involved with the art and not turn into a room to room wandering zombie.

Diego Rivera.  So incredibly cool.
The DIA is extremely patron friendly...unless they catch you chewing gum.  Then you are presented with this from a security guard.
Obviously, I didn't use the paper.  Museum Rebels Unite!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Act Your Part Well

My kiddos are now Thespians.

Just like mom.  I am so proud!

The induction ceremony was last night and it was a completely lovely event.  The new officers took over, there were silly superlatives, achievement awards and a retrospective video constructed to tug at your heart.

In the superlatives, The Girl won Best Hair and Best Eyes.  The Boy also won Best Hair.  It must be good genes, all thanks to The Man. 

Congratulations to The Girl, The Boy, The Girl Who Thinks She Lives Here and all of the other amazing kids in EHS Thespian Troop 948.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Awards and Fundraising

Our tiny troop of six girls doesn't do much now.  Not from lack of trying.  We schedule stuff all of the time.  But trying to wrangle six extremely active teenage girls into something simple like a meeting can be daunting.  A camp out?  Almost impossible.

We only have ourselves to blame.  Did we not raise them to be joiners, to be part of a team, to be leaders?  Yes we did.  And now they are out there being strong amazing young women.

Despite all of that, we do occasionally get them together and get things done.  Last week we had our bi-yearly awards ceremony.  Some leaders throw the badges, pins and patches at their girls the moment that activity is done.  We make them wait and make a big deal out of it.  Besides, it's more fun to get a pile of awards all at once.

This awards ceremony was extra special because it was showcasing our most active little Sweetie-Pie who just finished her Silver Award.  The Silver is the second highest award in Girl Scouting.  The amount of stuff you have to do to earn your Silver is just about equivalent with a Boy Scout Eagle Award.  (I feel very qualified to make this observation, so stick it in your ear if you disagree!)

So it goes without saying that Sweetie-Pie worked her behind off getting her project done and deserves mighty props for it.

Still only had four our of six for the ceremony.  These girls are hard to catch!


Yesterday the dance team threw a big fundraising event at Wolfey's Bistro to raise money to go to dance camp in July. This was my kind of fundraiser: An all-you-can -eat appetizer buffet plus all the soft drinks and draft beer you could guzzle in three hours. Who wouldn't want to come to something like that?

We went through many highs and lows in pulling this event off. The pre-sale tickets didn't go as well as we hoped. But the door sales were swift. Then Wolfey's charged us not only sales tax but tacked on a fairly fat gratuity. It looked like we had thrown a big eating festival for next to nothing.

A count up of the profits revealed a different story. It seemed that quite a few people who bought those pre-sale tickets didn't end up coming to the event. In end, instead of bringing a few hundred, we pocketed a cool grand.

Awesome sauce.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Go Go Go

The end of the school year means lots of events to attend.  Banquets, ceremonies, extra recital practices, fundraisers, holidays, and parties.  Plus we have a trip to Detroit thrown in the mix.  The calendar is rocking!

I'm not making any promises, but I will try to post the majority comings and goings in the days ahead. 

In the meantime, this video is like four minutes long, but it's worth every second.  You'll laugh. You'll gasp.  You'll swear to never ride a snowmobile up a mountain.

Epic Snowmobile Fail

Friday, May 13, 2011

Brand New Scouts

Our Boy Scout troop has had a membership problem for the last couple of years.   This past year we were down to eight registered boys, only six of who ever came to things and two of those were graduating soon.

Things were looking grim.

But then, through a series of visits to Cub Scout pack meeting, even more phone calls and quite a bit of pleading, we got a brand new bunch of fifth graders to join the troop.  This week we had our first Court of Awards ceremony where they all received their first Scout rank.

Now look close.  Can you tell the new guys from the old guys?

It might be tough to sort them out, but here's a hint:  There's four new guys, four old guys and two leaders in this shot.

Here, I'll point out The Boy for you among this crew...

There he is!

Not long ago The Boy was the new guy in the troop.  The troop in those days was also suffering from a membership problem because a bunch of the guys were ready to graduate.  Can you find The Boy in this picture?

No need for a big giant arrow to point him out here!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Leader Dinner

Last night was the Girl Scout Leader Dinner.  As the Service Unit Director I have had to organize five of these dinners in the past.  Some were successes.  Some were admittedly lame.  But the main purpose was always just to gather together as leaders, enjoy a meal and give out much deserved awards.  This was the first one in a long time I no part at all in organizing.  None.  Zero. Zilch.  I didn't even know what was on the menu when I showed up.  I'm lucky I went to the right place on the right day at the right time.

I am humbled to say today that last night's leader dinner was the bomb. The location was beautiful. The food was outstanding. The ceremonies were brief but touching. The awards were presented in a classy manner. There was a table laden with door prizes and I won a nice big candle in a scent that I didn't hate.  (That's actually a bit of a challenge for me.)

And there was wine. Bottles and bottles and bottles of wine.

Alcohol and Girl Scouting are two things that I have never, ever, ever seen before in combination. At least not at this kind of event. Sure, it's wine that makes the day camp planning meetings chug right along, but that's just us and we are at someones house.

Luckily I was standing with my day camp director when we discovered that beside the carafes of iced tea and water there were uncorked bottles of every type of wine you could want to sample. Without much discussion, we each had a glass of Riesling.  Within a few minute I just went back and brought the bottle to live at our table.  Save on steps that way.

It's good to hand over the responsibility to the new, upcoming guard.  One shouldn't be stuck in the same position forever.  And if this is how the newbies are going to throw dinners, then I am all for it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Flash Forward

Here's a quick recap of everything I probably would have wrote about if I wasn't asleep at the wheel.

Dance Team season ended.  It was a long, long season.
(No pictures.)

The Girl got her class ring.
(No picture.)

We got a new TV.  It's the most awesome thing ever.
(I do have pictures.  I'll post them soon.)

We went to Pittsburgh to be tourists and see Daniel Tosh in concert as a surprise to the kiddos.  They were super surprised!
(The pictures I took all involve us standing in the rain in various Pittsburgian locations. Pretty skipable.)

The Boy joined the tennis team.  He had no tennis background before he joined.  After two weeks of practice, they started having games with other teams.  He loves it.
(Some pictures, all action shots.)

We had our yearly pierogie making party.  The new dough recipe worked fabulous and we all ate and ate and ate until it would have caused a medical emergency to eat anymore.
(No pictures. They wouldn't be pretty anyway.)

The kids went to Thespian Conference for a weekend.  The Man and I lost our Childless Adult minds and ran around like mad.
(Seriously, no pictures!)

Marco hurt the same paw in two very different ways in ten days time.  I never imagined I would have to say, "Where's all this blood coming from this time?"  But I did.  The trip to the vet was emotionally damaging to both of us.  But his paw is all better now.
(The one picture I took is too pitiful to behold.)

Dance Team started up again.  We had five weeks off.  It actually makes me a bit woozy to think about.
(If there was a picture, it would be of me with my head in my hands.)

The kids turned 16 and threw themselves a huge party.  There were 25 teenagers here at the house.  I got an amazing deal on pizza, they put lights in the trees and had a fire out back. 
(I think I saw some cameras out.  Not mine though.)

One the pieces that The Man made in art class won an award in the student art show.  The piece that won is quite amazing. 
(I would take a picture of it, but it's still at school.)

The Girl got her braces off.  She looks beautiful.
(Okay, I did take some pictures.  I'll post them later.)

Today is Marco's birthday.  He's seven.
(I've posted plenty pictures of him before.  He looks the same.)

I'm home alone tonight.  The kids are at rehearsal for the musical this weekend.  The Man is bowling.  I played Plants Vs. Zombies for an hour while I though about writing all of this.

No, I'm not proud of myself at all. 

But I did write this.  Perhaps I'm back.

Anyway, I promised you some pictures.  I won't make you wait too long.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweet Surprises

The Girl Who Thinks She Lives Here just turned sweet 16.  To celebrate, her mom and my girl planned a surprise party.

My part in the plan was to come up with a reason to keep the birthday girl at my house for about an hour so the guests could arrive at her house and decorate.  I came up with a semi-lame story about a Valentine's event that I needed to bake cookies for.  Would it be possible for the birthday girl to come over to help bake and decorate cookies?

The Girl as Photo-Bomber

Being the sweetie that she is, she agreed.

Many cookies were baked and decorated.  Then it was time for the birthday girl to go home.  My girl walked her home, just to be nice of course.

And she was very, very surprised.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Air Hockey Madness

Not long ago, our-across-the-street neighbor came knocking on our door.  Now this was one of those lazy, nobody got dressed days.  A knock on the door sends everyone scrambling for cover so they are not spotted in their jammies at five in the afternoon on days like that.  But when I saw who it was, I didn't mind.  She's caught me in jammies taking out the trash before.

She's all smiles as I open the door, fighting Marco the whole time not to topple her over. 

"Would you like an air hockey table?"

The across-the-street neighbor's boys are all grown up now.  A few years back, their youngest son built a small bike ramp in the driveway and then he was out there all day, everyday, all summer going over it and over it and over it.  The thump thump of the ramp was the soundtrack of that summer.

One Christmas, long ago, Santa brought those neighbor boys an air hockey table.  Santa did good that year.  It was a big hit and saw many, many years of fierce play.  But since the boys have moved out, its just become a storage table.

"We were trying to think about who we could give it to and then we remembered you.  You always have a house full of kids over here."


"It's still works great.  It's a full sized table.  It's really heavy though."

Full sized?

"You could put it right there!"

Right there was the big open spot in my living room.  When the Christmas tree comes home, the Playstation situation goes to The Boy's room.  When the tree left, the Playstation didn't come back down this year.  Thus, we have a great big open space in the living room.  Strangely enough, air hockey table sized.

"So what do you think?"

There was a tiny cough behind me.  The door to the steps opened a crack.  "Say yesssss!", a voice hissed.

So I said yes.

It was pretty grimy, but Magic Eraser got it looking bright and shiny again.

And it's been non-stop air hockey ever since. 

My elbow hurts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dawn Breaks

The best way I've found to get my sleepy girl out of bed in the morning is to get in bed with her.  I wiggle around, steal the blankets and talk to her until she finally gets moving.  After she heads off to the bathroom, I usually steal a few extra minutes of sleep in her bed until she comes back.

This morning she trudged down the hall, flipped on the light and screamed.  I shot straight up.  She was already in the door.

"Something happened with the lights in the bathroom!" She was wide awake now.  I peeked around her and could see the glow from the lights spilling into the hall.

"What happened?  They're on, right?"

"The middle light bulb just EXPLODED!"

"So there's glass everywhere in there?"

I was asking too many questions obviously.  She was getting disgusted.  "Of course not!  It just got super bright and then went out."

I already knew what happened.  When I was cleaning out the towel cupboard a while back, I found a package of old incandescent light bulbs.  The middle socket had been empty for some time so I just threw one of those in there.

It hasn't been that long since we switched over all the light bulbs from incandescent to high efficiency CFLs.  But I guess it's been long enough the she's forgotten what it looks like when a light bulb burns out.