Thursday, December 30, 2010

Because frankly, I'm trendy like that...

Apparently it's the trendy thing right now to do a "Top Ten of 2010" or a "best of 2010" with a month by month recap of the favorite posts...

but that's not the trend I'm talking about!

I've been considering this one for weeks...  since before the little bloggy break I took... it might have even been a factor in choosing to take a break...  because you see - I was close to breaking the trend... the 125 trend!

Somehow (completely by accident) I ended up writing exactly 125 posts in 2008 and 2009...  and so back in November when I realized that for the first time (okay, so I'm slow...  I think I've mentioned I'm no good with numbers) I got to worrying...  it left me with only TEN posts to finish out the year...

Could I do it?  Could I restrict myself to only ten posts covering the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year...

Or should I just forget it and write to my heart's content?

Well, my family appreciated the time I spent with them (not reading and writing) so I think I made a good decision...

But now?  Today I must finish out the year - with a few faves...  based on what?  Who knows...  I haven't chosen them yet!  I'm impulsive enough to just make it up by the seat of my pants - so you may get 10 faves... or just 3... probably just 3...

yeah... let's go with fewer since the darn thing is taking FOREVER to load!!!

C'mon blogger...

Okay - so I DID narrow it down to 3...  and I based it on a few things...  # of comments (mostly because that helped me narrow it down) and whether or not it was STILL funny (or sweet, or whatever) months later...

forgive me if you've read them before - but here they are, in all their glory

The Sweetest: a story of my girl and her clutziness, and the "mother bear" in me...

The Complainingest: and the fact that "complainingest" is not a word is going to totally annoy you when you read this post...

The Quickest Laugh:  shoot, if I take the time for a synopsis it's like to be longer than the actual post!

The real question:  how to keep this up for ANOTHER year...  10 posts a month - with a few extras for those times I just can help but say something else? 

Is this a trend I can commit to?  yeah... not even going to try... I resolve to not give it another thought - because it's a whole new year and as I was so wisely told recently - who knows what it has in store for me!
okay, it's got nothing to do with the post - I just love Calvin :)

My REAL goal?  (shhh, don't tell my Quality Engineer father I said this...) to make sure that I focus more on Quality and Less on Quantity (seriously, I can't COUNT how many times I heard that growing up!).

If you don't hear from me for 5 days - well, I'm either buried under a pile of laundry with no hope for survival, shuttling my kids to and from 'round the clock dance/scouts/ball/choir/band/church/orchestra/piano activities, or I just had nothing hilarious to say.
 


and if you REALLY must hear from me more often - my twitter handle is TisforTonya... I'm FULL of trivial stuff over there :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hiatus, Shmiatus - that's what I always say... (and LOTS of photos)

I took a week off, hoping to "relax" and "enjoy" my family.

What I learned from that experience?

13 year olds are wonderful at cleaning bathrooms - they do a great job of everything... except putting away the supplies.

15 year olds will wait until the LAST minute to tell you that they need a ride to band practice - forcing you to quickly spray your hair with the water bottle next to the sink... only to realize that (thanks to the 13 year old) this is actually a bottle of glass cleaner.

My hair has never felt less greasy...

8 and 6 year old girls are just old enough to have cat fights.  Until this past week I might have wondered why on earth they are referred to as "cat fights"... no longer.  Being highly allergic to cats I think I will avoid that side of the house when they get in their moods.

My kids have a lot of friends.  Their friends have a lot of friends...  when all of these friends converge on one building there is a significant lack of space, video game controllers, snack foods, and bathrooms.

11 year olds are sneaky - sneaky enough to set your phone alarm to go off at 5:45 on Christmas morning... forcing you out of your deep slumber to first FIND said phone and then figure out how to dismiss said alarm. Gee, thanks...

When 4 of the 5 sets of ears in a household are attached to MP3 players the likelihood of someone hearing your request for a dishwasher emptier go down to 0%.

If you ask your children to post for a "reading the books from the grandparents" picture - they WILL be goofy.   It took 4 tries to get this shot.
 Yeah, look again...  the Veggie Teen has his book upside down - that IS our brand of "normal" I guess.

If you let the Teenagers make cookies, you will get some stunning sugar cookies...

And when these intrepid scouts try to make gingerbread for a house - after some frustration they may decide that a "gingerbread lean-to" is sufficient.

 If you ask a pile of teens in your car to snap a few pics of the floods as you drive them to their shin-dig you may get some interesting shots...

I have no idea whose shoes these are...
If you get a MUCH smaller Christmas tree than last year - you will STILL not have enough working lights to cover it.

 
If you tell the kids "no need to pack snow clothes, there won't be enough to play in" you WILL be proven wrong.  And your kids will not care whether or not they freeze.
W and the beginnings of his snowman...

Puppet shows are AWESOME!  Especially when you re-enact A Christmas Carol with Oscar, Bert, Ernie, and a goat...

My kids are awesome... and a little sneaky...
purchased on the sly, wrapped with love.

and some are just the right size for tricky jobs...

they have unfortunately learned that if you leave a last minute voice mail for Santa that the thing you suddenly REALLY want may end up right on the top of your gifts!

and actually VERY grateful for the things they received
Po and a handmade "octi"
H and her HUGE pillow pet


 and the grinch carved the Roast Beast...






When more than one of those iPods is in need of charging my laptop becomes their charging station... causing me to wait patiently to upload my photos for my blog...  hoping that after a week of NOTHING that my readers can wait a few more minutes (or hours... but that's not the iPods' fault!) for an update... 

Did I still enjoy Christmas?  Yep - even the parts where I sat for hours on end and removed strings, wires, and plastic protective bits from toys that cost $2 to produce, $3 to package, and $12.99 + tax to purchase.

alright, alright - my cynical side is working overtime after being on blogcation all week - I really DID enjoy Christmas... and after finishing the shopping, wrapping, cooking, preparation part of it the Spirit of the season did kick in...

My 6 year old daughter wrote a beautiful note to Santa Christmas Eve...  thanking him for loving Christ enough to bring gifts for everyone!  and telling him to eat the bear cookie first.  She's just sweet like that.
Santa's Cookies...

Can you believe I forgot to upload the picture of her note?  Complete with a picture of a snowman next to the manger?

I did however remember to upload THIS note of hers that made me smile almost as much...

it says "My mom is Funny"  NOT furry...  so don't ask...



So now we're back to our real life...  although with a new warning... because as we were snacking recently I noticed something...

look closer...

Yep, we've been living life on the edge for YEARS... time to slow down and take it easy for awhile...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Random Christmas Thoughts Floating Through My Brain...

Fruitcake has really gotten a bad rap: seriously - when was the last time you tried Fruitcake??? I was probably 4 or 5... I'm sure I hated it. I hated tomatoes as a child too. Now I'm not saying I really WANT to try it, because frankly little jellied pieces of candy bits floating around in a mysterious mash of bread like stuff doesn't appeal... but since I don't have a PERSONAL experience with using Aunt Beulah's fruitcake as a doorstop... perhaps I should just keep my big mouth shut?
image "recycled" from http://gherkinstomatoes.com/2009/12/15/15642/ - a hilarious fruitcake post actually.


yeah... right...


On a totally different thought - I was talking to my sister in law on the phone and she was looking for costume pieces for her church class to portray the Nativity scene... sheets, scarves, towels... rope belts... We had to stop and wonder - are these folks looking down from Heaven and being offended? "Really? Oh my, can you BELIEVE what these guys think we used to wear?"  Yes, and we also apparently thought that the camels were just kids with a basketball stuffed in their sweatshirt...  and we won't mention the Suzy Wets-a-Lot doll that is standing in for the Christ Child. 

See, I do know when enough is enough :)


and that's enough...  with apologies for not getting around the blogosphere much this week - my unofficial bloggy hiatus has apparently begun - My kids are all home from school this next week and I want to enjoy the time with them as much as possible.  I'll pop by with something hilarious if the mood so strikes...  but considering how my "mood" has been - the only thing likely to strike is lightning!

You think I'm kidding about my crabby mood? ManOfTheHouse would back me up on that one... if he dared.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Avoiding Law Suits - Blog Images (no actual legal advice)

One of the things I learned at these Blog Conferences I've attended is that I should always have a picture.  With EVERY post.  Now, you all know I've been hit and miss with this over the years...  and then there's the problem of using only pictures that I have the rights to...  no more trolling Google Images for a picture of a box of cereal... I have to actually take a picture of my OWN box of cereal??  To be honest - this seems silly, because I've always been a proponent of recycling... and truly, does the internet need one more picture of a box of cereal???  yeah, probably not.

But what about when I blog about something/someone I've never seen in person?

I've found a solution.  M loves to draw - She also LOVES Taylor Swift.  Don't knock it - now whenever I blog about Taylor Swift I can just have M provide me with the pictures and I no longer have to worry about finding creative commons pictures or being sued by some photographer because I've borrowed their photo from Google Images.
let's just pretend I remembered to flip it...


She's available for hire - she does any celebrity... as long as they look exactly like Taylor Swift. (so that should work out well for any Justin Bieber fans)  Perhaps her fees will cover a new box of crayons with a Silver crayon so that Taylor's (or Justin's) sparkly dress will really stand out

Friday, December 10, 2010

Messing up your Christmas - one twisted song at a time...

(sorry, would have sung it Vlog style... but I need a camera person for that - and he's at work... turn on your copy of the REAL song and sing along... hopefully it works out most of the time :)


I wonder as I wander
Out into the throng
why this year, again...
I've waited so long

All these ornery people
Like you and like I
should be home with their families
wrapping up Dad's new tie

When the kids see commercials - for this year's new doll
"I want that" "I need that" yep we've heard it all
that thing called a budget - well it's kinda small
They'll just have to be happy - with a bat and a ball

It's not like they're asking for any big thing
like an X-box or laptop... or a new diamond ring
but we have five children - and that adds up - ch'ching
what about just an orange - and a good Christmas Sing


I wonder as I wander... out into the mall
How anyone on earth - can please one and all
For poor ornery people like you and like I
Must wonder - and wander... until Christmas is Nigh...


(next up... It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Crazy)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Overheard at a Clutz-Anonymous Meeting

TheGuyInCharge: So, why don't we all get started - you know the drill, okay... let's start with the new girl.

Me:  Umm, okay - my name is Tonya and I'm a clutz

Everyone:  Hi Tonya

TGIC:  alright, welcome Tonya - but I do have to say - some of our members are concerned about the use of that word... we like to use the term "Coordination Deprived"

Me:  okay, but the brochure...

TGIC: yeah... I've been meaning to have my secretary get right on that... but the doctor says no more typing for a few more weeks.  Oh hi Alice, how's the hand by the way?

Alice: good - I can use my left hand to type if it's an emergency... but I'm afraid I may have spilled something on the keyboard earlier - you don't need the letters Z,X,A, & S do you?

TGIC:  alright then... we'll get on that brochure issue later.    Tonya, tell us, how long have you known you were a clu...  ermmm...  Coordination Deprived?

Tonya:  I'm sure my parents knew...  but I think they tried to hide it from me.  I have a strong memory of a soccer practice where I accidentally kicked the ball with both feet and landed on my rear.

Everyone:  (nods of understanding)

Tonya:  yeah, that was right after getting off of crutches...  after 5 years...

Everyone:  (fewer nods... a few shocked looks)

Tonya:  That would have been hilarious on film... maybe won me $10,000  on AFV.  I should probably film my entire life... they really get a kick out of pain on that show.

TGIC:  What was the most painful experience you've ever had?

Tonya:  That's easy... childbirth of course.  But that's not really coordination related... is it?

Everyone:  (uncomfortable looks all around)

TGIC:  so... what brought you here today?

Tonya:  I think the final straw was when I tripped UP the stairs yesterday.  (indicating her bruised toes and possibly chipped knee-cap)

TGIC:  One thing that we've found is that CD sufferers tend to group together...  do you know other people who should be here? 

Tonya:  Omigosh!  my clutzi  coordination deprivation is only rivaled by my neighbor who has nearly shut her own head in her car door.  And then there was that guy I dated who knocked himself out cold on the basement stairs...

Former Boyfriend: - oh, hey Tonya... almost didn't recognize you.  Sorry, the bandages obscure my vision.

(uncomfortable pause)

FB: and to be fair... it WAS a low hanging ceiling...

TGIC:  Okay... looks like we've accomplished a lot here today - next week our meeting will be on the first floor at the request of... well, nearly everyone... that should make it a lot easier for the crutches and wheelchairs.

(sounds of folding chairs, a few exclamations of pain...  and one long yell descending in intensity... which solidifies the reasoning for holding the meeting on the ground floor)


Monday, December 6, 2010

Never work with animals or small children... or Mr. Potato Head

I went to Vegas yesterday...

No - not for a crazy night out on the town...  something  a bit more refined.  It was actually my cousin's wedding.  A Jewish wedding actually - which was a new cultural experience for me.  It was a beautiful ceremony and I thought ahead and managed to find some non-Christmas wrapping paper to wrap up my gift.
See, I managed to find something tasteful and avoided wrapping it in paper emblazoned with Santa or Baby Jesus.  My husband had warned me to avoid the use of my favorite phrase "Oy Veh"... and I'm happy to report that I only slipped up once.

You know - with a present that beautifully wrapped it doesn't matter what's inside right?  because we all know that nobody needs another toaster/cuttingboard/chip and dip/cake plate...

The wedding was held at a golf course (nobody got hit by a ball, don't worry)but as beautiful as the surroundings were, it was ALL upstaged by the flower girl.



The bride was beautiful too...  but really - who can compete with that???

There was a guest at the next table that I never worked up the courage to go chat with.  Okay - so maybe I was just enjoying my family so much that I couldn't stand it (hey, I don't see them often!)  But any other day - this guy would have had my complete attention.

Oh, what was that - you wanted a picture of the blushing bride?


all that lace and frou-frou isn't the way I remembered her - but that look on her face?  yeah - that's totally the smart as a whip, softball pitching, pizza sneaking through windows teenager that I love. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

All I Don't Want for Christmas...

Every year I have this discussion with ManOfTheHouse - what do I want for Christmas? 

Do I ask the same of him?  not usually - the fact is he's probably already chosen it, purchased it, and has been using it for the past month...

The answer - yes, every year - is "I don't know"...  not because I'm a wishy washy fickle female (although I do play one on TV) but because I'm honest is truly that I don't know. 

I read a lot - would I love a new book - sure, I always like new books...  which one?  I don't know... you pick.  Those e-readers?  well, yeah - sure...  but I don't want him to actually BUY one because I haven't spent enough research time deciding which is the best and won't kill my eyes.  A bookshelf?  Let's just not go there...  I still have a big blank spot on my wall that had an I.O.U. for a new bookshelf on it for Christmas 2 years ago.  That doesn't count as a NEW gift... (
Yep, same 2 year old photo resurfaces...

I wear clothes (shocking, I know) but do I WANT new clothes for Christmas?  'meh... I'm not opposed to the idea - but really, I don't need them so I can't see the point in buying them just for having something to wrap.  And shoes... let's just all agree that as a general rule - Men should not pick out Women's shoes.

Crafts?  Love 'em - have far too many supplies as it is though...  don't want to store more. 

Food?  seriously?  That is only a gift if the food is #1 - delicious and #2 - replaces a meal which I otherwise would be cooking.  Sure, throw a few candies in my stocking - but since I'd anti-chocolate the poor guy doesn't even get off easy on this one.

New Phone.  Okay - let's be honest - I have a bottom of the line phone... it makes phone calls (usually) and I can be reached in an emergency.  I can't update my facebook status, tweet, or blog from my phone.  So sure... it'd be nice... but the monthly bill?  yeah, it wouldn't be THAT nice.  I don't need a smart phone - my "recently descended from Apes" phone will do just fine for now.

I have a computer...  I wouldn't say no if Bill Gates were to show up with a much better one, but if the $ is coming out of ManOfTheHouse's pocket then I don't want it.  Same with a new camera... although maybe Bill Gates wouldn't be the best choice for choosing my new camera...

Furniture - other than a bookcase - my house is pretty full of furniture - and unless I'm the only one planning to actually USE said furniture, is it really MY gift?

Television - pardon the honesty, but I'd have to kill ManOfTheHouse for that one.  HE wants a new TV...  that would be like me buying him a really awesome sewing machine/serger for Christmas.

I don't really want a new sewing machine either...  I'd feel guilty for not using it.  at least the TV would get USED - not by me maybe, but used.

Car?  mine is fine, thanks.  Gym Membership?  only if you can provide me with a friend at the gym as well... one who will make me actually GO.

Kitchen Appliances?  just a question - do you value your life?

The ads are always asking "what do you get for the person who has everything?"

the real question is really - "what do you get for the person who wants nothing?"

Here's the answer - Peace (no, not peace on earth... that'd be good too, but I'm realistic) I just want peace in my home for a few hours (realistic?  whatever... okay fine...  one hour?).  Good Will toward siblings.  A back rub would be nice maybe?  and a Nap.

See I'm not hard to shop for? 

Just don't ask tomorrow...  tomorrow I'll probably be in full Princess mode and need a Mani/Pedi and a new pair of boots.   Until then - share with me all of the wonderful things in this world I'm missing out on... 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting in the Spirit - of Contention

I'll have you know I wrote this wonderfully long post last night - and then scrapped it all this morning after realizing that nobody really wants to hear about the lady at the choir concert last night... the one who was in danger of a throat punch a'la Shelle style...

Who cares if she was uber-rude and I ended up with a picture of her kids backside instead of a picture of my darling smiling daughter.  In the end I can brush it all off and think generous thoughts.  I can think about what a great view of the concert her kid now had...  because before he was having to view it from front row ground level and now he could enjoy it from front row my face level.  See, I'm good at this generous thought thing.

Right...

So what is it with this "spirit of the season" thing anyway?  I mean... shouldn't we ALWAYS think wonderful thoughts about our fellow man?  shouldn't we ALWAYS want to lift people up instead of punch them in their throats?

I mean... I wouldn't have felt nearly as guilty about wanting to take her down back in August right?  August is a FINE time to want to maim your fellow man right?

But now I'm supposed to think wonderful thoughts about people who crowd the front row (even though they're a full foot and a half taller than the folks behind them)

Ahhh... 'tis the season for being a doormat...
you like?  it's at cocomatsnmore.com
okay, so maybe being kind is not really akin to being a doormat...  but sometimes it FEELS that way when you'd much rather punch them in the throat than smile and walk away. 

No really, so someone needs to tell me... is it possible to get into the "spirit of the season" when all of the little events (concerts/recitals/parties/etc...) are just causing more stress?  At what point do I lock my family inside and force them to drink hot apple cider and sing O Christmas Tree at the top of their lungs?

really... I know... it's not my own photo (I'm hoping they don't mind so much since I told you where to find the doormat, there are LOTS of funny ones there!) but really... the only other option I had was to share with you the backside photo I got at the concert. You're very welcome.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

...and Away They All Flew Like the Down of a Thistle... that can't be right...

I grew up in the country... so I actually know what thistle is... but I'm not sure I've ever seen the down flying anywhere...  Perhaps I was an unobservant child?  Perhaps it just wasn't windy enough?  Perhaps Clement C. Moore is a crazy loon?

Whatever the reason - the wind or the loon - it's irrelevant.  I've finally gotten to the bottom of it.  It's a spelling mistake.

We know... because the holiday season just hasn't truly begun until one thing happens.  The holidays are all about sharing... and it CLEARLY should read thusly:

"And Away They All Flu" -
Santa is taking precautions too!


and on that note - just be very glad that the flu virus is hard to spread via the internet.  but if you're worried... that Relenza antiviral nose spray can probably also be applied to your screen.*

*do NOT try this at home... really.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day The Music Died: a.k.a. we're shopping for a new guitar

Remember how sad the VeggieTeen was in his picture we took at Kiss Me Kate?

this is why.
his acoustic guitar is his best friend.  I'm not sure I'm kidding about that.

after guitar class it was left in the music room - he went to ceramics and picked up the guitar before coming home...  where a snack (4 bagels with cream cheese) was necessary before anything else happened.  Just enough time before running off to the play to strum a little tune or two... and this is what he finds.

I don't think he cried.  If he did I don't blame him really... but he was only crying sneaky tears because I never saw them.  Is it weird that I am more upset about this than he is?  and no... not just because I now have to buy a new guitar (though that DOES suck rocks).  And not just because now he plays his other guitar (electric... louder...)  more...  I hate watching my kids "be tough" through something that makes me want to wail and gnash my teeth.  15 is apparently too old to go and bury your head in your mom's shoulder and weep... 

I wish it wasn't.

The Good News?  at least he now knows what he wants for Christmas... I mean besides his very own Whack-a-Mole game.



would like to beat the child who broke this...  but won't... but mostly because nobody will ever fess up.  Especially now that I've threatened them... shoot, I take it back.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, the snarky version


sorry, sick and wrong though it may be...  it made me laugh. 

and I'm thankful for laughter.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I don't have a decorating blog

oh c'mon... you've seen 'em... maybe one of you (miss heidi) even HAS one... those blogs that talk about what crafty little souls you are - how you can grab a piece of junky looking furniture off the street before the garbage man comes - throw a little sandpaper and paint around and BOOM - shabby chic!

if I tried that... there'd be a lot more shabby than chic, that's all I can guarantee.

don't get me wrong - I like to decorate as much as the next person... maybe even more than the next person... depending on who's next  I guess.  I considered going to school to become an interior designer after all.  (somewhere between considering becoming an actress and becoming a rocket scientist) and I might even have an "eye" for these things...  or maybe not...
and some of you didn't believe I had an orange room in that poem...

I know, I know... gorgeous right?  (hey, if you think it's hideous - just keep it to yourself... if you haven't noticed I've got what we call a "fragile ego"...  you can send it to all your friends and make fun of it behind my back - as long as I never find out)

The problem?  well, with the exception of that little turkey down in the corner... the rest stays.  all - year - long.  Don't you think the Gobble sign is perfect for my kitchen?  Fine, so the gobble sign gets packed away too...

It just so happens that I love autumn and that is reflected in my orange/brown/green decor...  we painted it this way years ago and despite how nasty it looks at Easter time... and how it does NOT make a nice background for a Christmas tree...  I just love the way it looks this time of year so much that I can't seem to pick any new colors.  Or maybe I'm just old and set in my ways?  I'm just glad I didn't get stuck back when my favorite color was lavender... those were some UGLY years (hey, I was in 7th grade...  there was a lot of Ugly going around...  think legwarmers... oh wait, those are coming back???)

Kiss Me Kate



wait... hold on - if you happen to be named Kate I just want to clear something up. I mean... I'm sure you're a nice person and all... but the title of this post isn't about you and should in no way be considered an invitation.

glad we got that straight :)

Kiss Me Kate is actually the fall musical that just wrapped at my son's school. The same son that I just had to go wake up for classes. Thank goodness for assembly schedule!

Some weeks ago (don't ask how many... math and I are not chummy today) they started auditions for the fall musical. My son didn't pay much attention and apparently has no great acting ambitions because on day one (the acting auditions) he didn't go. Somehow a friend convinced him on day two (dance auditions) to go... just for "kicks and giggles"... he came home insistent that dancing was NOT his thing. Day three (singing auditions) I was a little disappointed when he came straight home from school rather than staying and living out my childhood dream of being in every play, musical and opportunity to be the center of attention. (don't act surprised... I'm a horrible glory hog and I know it)

You know when I was young and I DIDN'T get a part (okay, so sometimes I did... but let's focus on the disappointing times for now...) and all my guy friends were busy with rehearsals - I would always console myself that it was easier for guys... more roles, fewer guys = more likelihood of being cast.

maybe that's true - or maybe my kid just amazed the director with his soft shoe - because he was cast... true, as an ensemble member. Turns out he doesn't have my need for the spotlight - and he was happy.
taken from the program... but I snapped the picture OF the program, so that makes it okay... right????

Actually - I think he loved it.  He's certainly been a model teenager these past many weeks - no joke!  I think this is my reward for not selling him at age 13.

So how WAS the show?  After all my years studying theatre in college and actually working in a theatre - I'm a horrible critic - but all I'm going to say is that my son took the BEST prat fall since Dick Van Dyke.

He wasn't looking thrilled...  that's a post for another day...
Oh, and the lead?  She ROCKED the "I Hate Men" song... seriously.  High School Theatre has certainly improved since my school put on Grease...  by LEAPS and bounds!

that was an AMAZING backdrop... rented, of course :)
and thus ends the show...  Cast - Director - Orchestra...  you all rocked it guys!!!!