Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Survey Says ...


(don't worry. there are no right or wrong answers. though a few are righter than others.)


I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am often unsure about proper blog etiquette. So I thought it might be fun to post a few simple polls to get some input on what I should or should not be doing.

Of course, I am totally technically inept so let's see if these polls even work ...





















Oops - edited to add:
If you would like to explain your votes, please feel free to leave a comment! I'm looking forward to hearing your input.


~~~

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why today's kids are always bored


(sure he's cute, but what does he DO?)

It's the middle of summer. So if there are kids in your house, you are probably hearing these 2 words over and over: "I'm borrrrrrred."

And it's no wonder! I mean, what do today's kids have to play with? Their toys are totally lame, unlike the exciting and wonderful toys we had back when I was a child.

Here are a few examples. The modern product descriptions, I swear, are word for word from the Toys R Us website:

WowWee FemiSapien Humanoid Robot



(she would have scared the heck out of us)

Sophisticated and independent, her advanced design and Artificial Intelligence allow her to move in distinctly fluid ways. She is intelligent and interactive, speaks her own language and responds to user gestures, touch, and sounds with her own.



Our version:

Chatty Cathy

(she looks a little frightened. maybe she just ran into a humanoid robot)

Just pull her string, and Chatty Cathy says one of 12 phrases including "I love you," "Does this dress make me look fat?" and "I want to be Barbie when I grow up. How about you?"


LeapFrog Leapster Learning Game System

(recommended ages: 4 to 10 ... when i was 4 nobody even expected me to wipe my own face)

Multiple learning levels, tailored tutorials and a wide variety of learning games that take advantage of both the multi-directional control pad and the easy to use stylus ensure that children are learning essential skills while playing the video games that they love. With Leapster, the name of the game is learning!


Our version:

Etch-A-Sketch

(see that picture? only a total genius could actually draw that on an etch-a-sketch)

Two little knobs ensure that children draw nothing but squares and ziggly little lines. With an Etch-a-Sketch the name of the game is frustration!

Step 2 Lifestyle PartyTime Kitchen

(this toy, which costs well over $100, is recommended for ages 2 to 5 ... if my parents ever spent that kind of money on a toy, the recommended ages would have been our entire lifetimes)

This upscale compact Lifestyle PartyTime kitchen provides three-sided play with numerous activities and accessories to encourage multi-child play, realistic electronic features, stainless steel look appliances, granite-look countertops, storage drawer and cabinets with authentic hardware. Coordinates with other Step2 LifeStyle products such Cooking Essentials Stool (sold separately).



Our version:

The Easy Bake Oven

(bandages and ointment sold separately)

Here is a brilliant idea for a children's toy! Plug in a 100-watt lightbulb, add reflectors, heat it up to a bazillion degrees, and be sure to include an open slot on the side so your little customers can use their tiny fingers to pry out the metal pans when their rubbery baked goods are finished.

After all, there is nothing to break up that summer boredom like a real, live ambulance and several fire trucks showing up at your very own house!!

~~~


Thursday, July 23, 2009

What not to wear



Heads Or Tails

(ditch the suit, dude. who ya trying to impress?)

It's been a busy week. You can tell I've been busy because I am just now, on Thursday, getting around to the Tuesday Heads or Tails topic. Click here to learn more about this fun weekly activity.

The theme for this week is "wear." So let's talk about my favorite TV show, What Not to Wear! My apologies to Misty Dawn, who wrote about the same show on her blog. I'll link it here so you can read hers, which I swear I did not copy, though I wouldn't put it past me.

Anyway. In case you tragically have not seen this excellent show, here is how it works:

1. Somebody's friends or family members submit their name to the show, complaining about their awful wardrobe and complete lack of style.

2. The show secretly videotapes the person, and sure enough they look awful.

3. The person is surprised by the charming hosts, embarrassed in front of all their friends, given a $5,000 Visa Card and whisked off to New York City for a makeover and a huge shopping spree, though as Misty pointed out, $5,000 would go a heck of a lot farther at my local Target, Macy's or Nordstrom Rack.

4. The person brings their entire wardrobe to NYC with them. The charming hosts ridicule each piece, one by one, and throw them in the trash.

And 5. The person endures two days of non-stop shopping, which they usually hate because, let's face it, if they loved shopping they would not be on the show in the first place. Then they are given a new haircut and new makeup and voila! Their lives are completely transformed!

So, ok. Here is how it would work for me:

1. My name would be submitted to the show by either my husband or my daughter. I work at home, so they are the only 2 people who see me. Except my granddaughter. And she likes my clothes just fine.

2. I would pack my entire wardrobe in a small paper bag. Or maybe I would just stuff it into the back pocket of my one and only pair of jeans.

3. The charming hosts would say, "Where is your wardrobe?" and I would pull out the following items:

~ one pair of brown plaid shorts that should be back in style any day now

~ one pair of ratty thermal sweat pants that keep me warm at night when *somebody* turns the air conditioning on even though it is ONLY 82 degrees outside

~ one gray t-shirt that says "Man Of Your Dreams" on the front

~ one brown linen skirt that could probably look very nice if I owned an iron

4. The hosts would feel so sorry for me, they would give me TWO $5,000 Visa cards, plus a new haircut and new makeup! And voila! My life would be transformed!

Nobody would know the difference, so I think I will use the Visa cards to rent a little villa in Tuscany for a couple of months. Anybody want to join me? Bring your faded jeans and ratty t-shirts. We'll have a good ol' time.

~~~

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sylvia Squeezes Off Fat


(my, what strong arms you have, Sylvia!)

I know you have all been eagerly awaiting the next bit of beauty advice from our no-nonsense expert from 1935, Sylvia of Hollywood. Today, I am going to reveal Sylvia's secrets for slimming down those problem areas.

You will be amazed at how easy it is!

First, spend one hour dancing every day. Here are Sylvia's directions:

"Turn on your radio to some peppy music, anything that gives you two-step or fox trot time. With arms above your head, hips swaying from side to side, your spine moving, do an old-fashioned two-step like this: hop, close, step, to the count of one, two, three, and one, two, three. The hop comes first on the right foot, then on the left. As you hop with your weight on the right foot, step out with the left and close by bringing the right foot up to the left. Then take another small step with the left foot, at the same time shifting weight to the left foot. Now hop on the left foot, step out with the right foot and close by bringing the left foot up to the right. Repeat and continue from one side to another."

See? Nothing to it. If these clear, simple directions are too confusing for you, just put on your favorite groovy tunes and bop around for an hour. Make sure the blinds are closed first.

Now we are ready to squeeze off some fat! Yes, you heard me! According to Sylvia, "any stubborn lump of flesh can be squeezed off."

("use your hand to squeeze off fat on the calves")


Sylvia claims she used this technique to reduce Jean Harlow's waistline. She's such a little name dropper.


Here's how to do it:

"First, cover your hands with massaging cream. Take up handfuls of flesh, squeeze hard, then let it slip through your fingers like mashed potatoes. After squeezing, put a turkish towel over the part you're reducing and slap good and hard. Never squeeze or slap the abdomen."

Whew. At least my abdomen is safe. My back, apparently, is not:


(if your back has stubborn lumps of fat, you can get a friend to whack you. no massaging cream needed. unless you're into that kind of thing.)

Oh, and one last tip from the Squeezing chapter:

"Don't swim if you are fat. It will only develop you more."

Ta ta! Have fun squeezing and slapping! Stay tuned for our next installment, which once again will spare me from coming up with actual original material for my blog - "Gain Fifteen Pounds Or More In A Month!"

~~~


Friday, July 17, 2009

Miracle drugs. Or not.


(count me in!)

I saw an interesting ad on TV last night. This is how it went, almost word for word:

Woman sleeping peacefully
Narrator: Are you ready for a good night's sleep? Try Ambien. You'll fall asleep fast, and wake up feeling refreshed.

Woman opens her eyes.
Narrator: Side effects may include walking, eating and driving while asleep. Fun for the whole family.

Woman gives a sleepy smile.
Narrator: Behavioral changes have been reported including decreased inhibition, increased aggression and hallucinations. If you attended college in the 60's, this could bring back many fond memories.

Woman yawns and stretches happily.
Narrator: In some cases, Ambien may cause depressed respiratory function resulting in death. But don't worry. You will be fast asleep. You won't feel a thing.

Woman smiles at the camera and gets ready for work.

I don't think she was listening.

~~~


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My favorite pile

Heads Or Tails

This week's theme on Heads or Tails is "pile." Participants are invited to make any kind of post using "pile" as the topic. You can play, too! Just click here to learn more.

Like most people, I have piles of laundry, piles of dishes, and piles of books. But here is a picture of my favorite pile:



As you can see, it is a pile of blankets and stuffed animals, inside a little Pack And Play. This is where my precious 2-year-old grandbaby sleeps when she spends the night.

Here are the rules for her pile:

1. There must be at least 3 blankets, no matter how hot it is. And here in Texas, it is usually plenty hot.

2. One blanket must be totally flat on the bottom of the Pack And Play. If there are any wrinkles, they must be smoothed out over and over and over.

3. The stuffed animals (preferably bears) go in the corners.

4. If there are pillows available, they may be acceptable. It just depends.

And 5. Once everything is in order, and after everyone has left the room, each item must be thrown from the Pack And Play, onto the floor. If you yell "Hep me! I need hep! Evewyting fall on da floor!!!" someone is sure to come back in and play with you.

~~~


Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's clouds illusions I recall


Isn't it fun to look at clouds and try to imagine different shapes? Take the picture above, for example. Look at it long enough, and you will see ...


... the tornado from The Wizard of Oz! (I seem to have that movie on my mind these days for some reason.)


Here's another one. What do you see?


Of course! It's ...


Shrek! (Do you like my drawing? I have been practicing.)



This one is really obvious, especially since I just gave you a hint ...


Shrek's eyebrows, of course.

And one last cloud, after which I suppose I should go and try to find something productive to do with my time ...



Yikes!



Hopefully this will never happen for real.



Here is what our summer sky looks like most of the time. No shapes at all, which is just fine with me!

~~~


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm not in Kansas any more


(hang on toto, here we go!)

I lived in Michigan for a long, long time and actually loved it most of the time. I often complain about how cold it was, but that's only because complaining comes so naturally to me. Plus it gives me something to blog about.

But really, Michigan is a beautiful state with friendly, hard-working people. When I moved to Texas, I had to adjust. I have never been to Kansas, but it quickly became clear that I am not there any more, as Dorothy would say.

We live in a little town that has a reputation for being a bit snooty. It was just a farming town in the middle of nowhere up until about 10 years ago. In the past 5 years, it has grown tremendously. So everything is shiny and new.

Here in my town:

Most people drive expensive foreign cars. In fact, hubby and I often snap our heads around while driving and go, "What was THAT?" If we can catch up to it, we discover that it is a Maserati or Ferrari or sometimes a Bentley.



(here is a picture of a bentley that i took the other day. my hubby was mortified but i knew you would want to see it)

People have very big houses. There are no basements, and often no usable attic space, so it is not unusual for houses to be 4,000 square feet or more. Seriously. Plus, if your house was built before 1998 it is considered "old."



(a typical texas house. not really. but close)

People water their plants with bottled water! Well, ok, that's only me. And it's really tap water but I pour it into my Kroger water bottles because I'm kind of short and my watering can is kind of heavy so that is the only way I can water the ferns hanging on my front porch.

But please, don't tell anyone. I'm trying hard to fit in.

~~~(aren't my ferns pretty? i love my front porch)

~~~




Monday, July 6, 2009

The Agony of Victory



(what's on my mind today? absolutely nothing)

I have had a few moments of victory in my new career as a greeting card writer. A very nice editor contacted me last week regarding some submissions, giving me some helpful tips and encouraging me to send more ideas. I was very excited!

Only problem is, I seem to be out of ideas now. In fact, my brain is completely empty.

I've been sitting here with my laptop for an hour, trying to write some sweet, thoughtful birthday cards. All I have written is:
"When I think of you ..."

Ack! How should that sentence end??

When I think of you, I can't stop laughing.
When I think of you, the wrinkles don't even enter my mind.
When I think of you, I feel much better about myself.

Not quite right. I think I need to not think so much. Time for a nap.

~~~


Friday, July 3, 2009

Sylvia's Diet and Exercise Tips

(yes girls, you too could be as beautiful as Sylvia)

I hope that by now, you have all had a little fun with your tape measure. If not, go back and review this helpful chart. Measure every spot on your body to within 1/8 of an inch. Then return here and let's have a little talk.

Ready?

Remember, Sylvia of Hollywood knows all the secrets to a happy and beautiful life.

Here is the first paragraph of her 1935 chapter on diet and exercise:

"Many women have the strange idea that they do enough for their husband if they keep his house tidy, bear and bring up his children, cook his favorite dishes, and see that his toes are not sticking out of his socks. They expect to be loved for these domestic virtues alone. Well, what is so remarkable about them? Don't hand yourself that talk about being so sacrificing and about how grand you are. You are only as fine as you look."

Uh oh.

~ My house was tidy once. But it's been a while.
~ My children lived to adulthood. I guess I'm ok there.
~ I made my husband a grilled cheese the other day. Does that count?
~ Fortunately, we live in a hot climate so he rarely wears socks.

Now I'm supposed to look good, too? I need your help, Sylvia! Maybe I'll start with her morning exercises:

("you must begin your reducing routine by getting up at seven. don't throw up your hands in horror. it can be done. ")




("we all want to be beautiful and we can be if we will work toward that end. so out of bed at seven!")

~~~

Remember, you can find lots of other pearls of wisdom in Advice From the Attic, a delightful book by my delightful sister! Click here for details.

~~~


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Welcome!


I am excited to have some new followers!

The whole idea of followers intimidated me at first. But it's very motivating to know that people are reading my posts. Now I love having followers and getting comments.

I tend to be very quiet in person, and sometimes I'm not sure if I'm following the correct blogging etiquette.

  • Should I follow each follower?
  • Should I respond to each comment?

I just don't know. If I don't do it right, please be patient with me. I'm new at this. Plus I'm old. It's a miracle that I even know what a blog is.

Anyway, I thought that I would introduce you all to a few of my wonderful followers. Pop by their blogs if you like! You can tell them I sent you.

1. Heather is a new follower, a young mom with 4 little ones, and one of the most amazing people I know. She home schools, takes beautiful photographs, and posts weekly menus. Her days clearly have more than 24 hours in them.

2. Amanda is also a young mom. She claims to be a professional cook, but I suspect that she is actually a comedy writer in disguise. You're not fooling anyone, young lady.

3. Bruce is another writer in disguise. If you are a baby boomer like me, you will relate to his posts. Even if you're not, you will get a chuckle or two.

4. Lesley is my evil twin. She writes about politics but tries to keep it funny. With our politicians, it's not that hard. If you think President Obama is doing a good job, give her blog a try! If not, avoid this blog at all costs. It will only make you mad. Just ask my family.

~~~


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