Friday, April 30, 2010

A few short, random videos

Take 2 on this post. I think some people experienced problems viewing the videos, so hopefully that's all resolved now!

Mark is going to edit those dance videos so that they're brighter and then I'll post them again. For now, here are some clear ones from the past couple of months. They're all short and they're a random collection of things we've been wanting to share.

YMCA Gym Class,
Figure Skating, &
Tae Kwon Do

In this one, Thing 2 does his signature flip. By the time I videoed it, he'd already done it a couple dozen times, so he was already getting pretty pooped:

Right there in red? That's our girl! This video is from her 1st session of ice skating lessons. She's now on her 2nd session. She gets to take the class with a bunch of friends, too, since it's a discounted class specifically for homeschoolers that meets during the day:

This video is so cute. It's Thing 2 and his buddy and they're sparring in Tae Kwon Do class. This is another daytime, discounted class for homeschoolers and he has a bunch of friends in this class, too. Keep in mind, I think this was their 2nd or 3rd class. Thing 2 has developed quite a bit of form since then already:

Fun With Scout

This is an example of how much fun our puppy is. We love having Scout! I am amazed how attached I am to this little creature. She's a lot of fun and so sweet. That little wagging tail is one of the greatest signs of happiness. You can see how little she is toward the end of the video when I pick her up. We are constantly laughing at her antics, like this, where she gives us "high fives":

Before puppy proofing the yard, we'd keep her on her leash. Thing 2 figured out a way to ride his scooter AND play with Scout at the same time:

This is us enjoying our newly puppy-proofed backyard. Scout especially loves being able to run free. And MAN can she run:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Sandwich Generation

Two parts bread. One part filling.

My parents are one of the breads. My husband and children are the other.

I am the filling.


Who is the sandwich generation? We are the ones old enough to have aging parents and young enough to have small children at home.

Members of the sandwich generation are often torn and stressed. We deal with all kinds of conflicted emotions and we feel stretched between loyalties. In my case, one of my loyalties is a 6-hour drive away, while my other loyalties keep me very active and busy day to day right here at home.

I've gone through this for years. Things got especially difficult as my father's Parkinson's Disease progressed rapidly right as we moved into our new house and started our business. He fell on Thanksgiving Day, advancing him firmly into stage 5 Parkinson's. Within a little over a month, he would be dead.

I remember wrestling with what to do and how to do it. How could I be both there and here at the same time? Emotionally, I needed to be in MA with him. Financially, I needed to be in PA with our new business. And I couldn't care less about money. Money doesn't mean more than people, but yet, we were completely strapped at that point. Cash poor. Even our pathetic and meager retirement savings was depleted in order to start our business. So we were poor and incredibly behind on saving for retirement (as all physicians are, truth be told).

I remember feeling like I could use a clone of myself. To be there. To be here.


I cried on the phone yesterday all the way to skating lessons. My mom told me not to cry in front of the children. Too late. All it took was my mom asking me, over the phone, how I was doing (I'd already asked her) and I broke down and sobbed, "I'm torn!" I had spent the past several days trying to figure out how to do it all -- work, school, lessons, home stuff, obligations . . . and also be with my mother.

My mom is having a heart procedure done today. It's benign enough, I know. Well, as benign as anything to do with the heart can be, I suppose. But I would like to be up there with her. I would like her to have her daughter with her. It smarts even more now that my Dad is gone and she is alone. I don't want her to be alone today.

And I also want to be here with my children as they attend their lessons and their wrap-up party celebrating their past year at the YMCA. And here with my husband as he works tomorrow. I want to be here caring for our children as he takes call this weekend. I have 5 sessions today. And I am channeling all the strength I can muster to stay present and focused and helpful. To do my job well.

We have looked at every possible combination to get up there: train, automobile, one day, two days, all of us, some of us, hotel, my mom's condo. What's the best thing to do? So, I sleep restlessly, wake up exhausted, and stand frozen in inaction.

My mom tells me not to worry. I don't want to upset her with my own worries. I feel badly for breaking down on the phone yesterday. I didn't mean to. She doesn't need to do anything but focus on the task at hand. I just wish I were there with her while she did so.

I know it's nothing and can hardly wait for the doctor's call this afternoon telling us she's fine, better even. I know she'll feel better after the procedure. I can hardly wait to see her feeling so good.

But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. I've already lost one parent. And I'm absolutely clinging to the one I have left.

I'm way too young for this. But just old enough, I guess, to be a frightened, stressed out filling between two beautiful pieces of bread.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random Thoughts: Results Night Edition

And the Idols go from 6 -----> 5.

They made a vampire Ford commercial. What is with all the vampire love these days? I haven't ever understood it. Color me old and crotchety, I guess.

The newest Shrek movie got a little promo. And by a little, I mean a lot. What IS the name of the new Shrek movie? Because I've heard "Shrek goes Fourth," "Forever After," "Shrek 4-D," "The Next Shrek" and "Shrek 4." During the Idol portion, they called it "Forever After." During a commercial (through which we fast forwarded), they called it "The Final Chapter." I don't think I've ever seen so much confusion over a movie title.

They had Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz stand on the stage for a few minutes. In my notes (yes, I take notes; did I ask for your judgment?), I wrote down their initials. I noticed it looks like this: AB & CD. How cool is that?

Siobhan, Casey, and Mike are in the bottom 3. Two of those are shocking.

It's about time. I am SO EXCITED!! Can you tell?

Sons of Sylvia played a song. They looked undead to me. Undead playing cool instruments.

Lady Antebellum sang. Is that the name of the group? Or just the woman? I'm confused. Or maybe I'm just not paying attention because HARRY CONNICK, JR. IS NEXT WEEK'S MENTOR!! HARRY CONNICK, JR. IS NEXT WEEK'S MENTOR!!

Rascal Flatts and Shakira sang a duet. That's right. They sang a song called "Gypsy" that was actually kind of cool and mellow and weird, but mostly cool. I'm mesmerized by her dancing, so I would've liked to have seen more of that, but overall, I really liked it.

But have I mentioned that it's weird? A Latina woman whose hips don't lie singing with a great-sounding country band? How do those two go together? It reminds me of a restaurant we have here in town. They serve "Mediterranean and Southwestern Cuisine." What?? Weird, but it works. I can have the gyro or the fajitas. Or both! I love weird combinations in food, so I thought it was cool.

And, interestingly enough (to me anyway), we had homemade wonton tacos for dinner tonight. Fusion, baby!

So, gods be thanked, Siobhan goes home. But she sings "Think" first, which teaches us two very important things:

1. Retire the song from Idol now. Or, as my mother says, immediately, if not sooner.
2. Don't do close-ups on some random woman's breast with a tiny Siobhan Magnus pin on it. Just don't.

American Idol turned all Phil Donahue as Ryan has a crying Siobhan (who, by the way, was blatantly eschewing the stage in favor of hugging her relatives, 25 million TV viewers be damned) go over and hug Simon. It was rather strange. But I don't care, because HARRY CONNICK, JR. IS NEXT WEEK'S MENTOR!! HARRY CONNICK, JR. IS NEXT WEEK'S MENTOR!!

Everyone said it was a girl's year. And now there is only ONE girl standing with FOUR boys.

One girl and four boys who will be singing HARRY CONNICK, JR. songs next week! YEE-HA!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Elmer Fudd Judges Idol

The Shania Twain. Toot, toot? C'mon Ellen. You can do better than that.

We have now reached the point in the competition where it really all comes down to personal preference. The Top 6 are all good, and all of them had a pretty good week, so how do you choose the best? Go with what you like. I admittedly was worried about this week since I only know like three Shania Twain songs, and I hoped beyond hope that no one would pick a certain one. Although, if Katie Stevens had still been around I'm sure we would have heard "I Feel Like a Woman." Anyway . . .

Overall it was a good week, even if the mentor had a perma-grin that says either "I smile at inappropriate times, too," or "Pharmaceuticals prevent me from frowning." Honestly, though, Shania Twain seemed to enjoy her time with the idols and they seemed to enjoy her as well.

Lee Dewyze: Lee always sounds current and (dare I use the most overused word of A.I. this year?) relevant. He had quite a few notes that weren't quite there, but I always love what he does with the songs. He's also managed to increase his confidence while maintaining the "pinch me, I'm dreaming" look in his eyes.

Michael Lynche: Michael has one of the clearest voices I've heard on A.I. in a while. I compared him to Luther Vandross before Ellen did. Stacy can vouch for me. He has a throwback voice to the R&B I like, but still sounds like he belongs in the competition in 2010.

Casey James: I still think "Jealous Guy" was his best, but this may have been a close second. I'm glad Casey, too, has realized that he hasn't done anything truly interesting in weeks. His performance reminded me that he can actually sing, and that Casey is one of the few that have a legitimate chance of making it to the finale.

Crystal Bowersox: Crystal has a big problem in that she is always so good that the judges expect a showstopper every night. I thought her performance tonight was really good, and I love to hear her falsetto. She rarely uses it so it actually has some impact when she does. Clearly it wasn't her grandest performance, but it was in her usual realm of excellence.

Aaron Kelly: First of all, if I ever wake up as a bald black guy, I'm so growing the King Tut beard. All of Aaron's performances really run together for me. He is a good singer, and this was the perfect genre for him, but I just can't get on board with Aaron as a contender in this year's competition. I'm sure there are a lot of people who would disagree and think Aaron is the greatest singer ever. They can have their opinions, but they would be wrong.

Siobhan Magnus: This was not a week that I expect was comfortable for her. Siobhan is not suited at all to country, and the song was a ridiculous choice, but she did fine with it. She seemed very uncomfortable moving around the stage and then out into the crowd and then back onto the stage again, where she was out of breath. I felt like Siobhan was trying to hang on more than make the song her own. Give her credit for making the most of it, though.

My Top 3: Casey, Michael, Lee
My Bottom 3: Aaron, Siobhan, Crystal

Thinking Top Half is a Good Run: Siobhan

They were all good . . .

. . . though I can still rank order them, so tomorrow is looking less and less perplexing.

Was it Shania Twain week or country week? I'm still unsure. Either way, we can all dance a happy dance that it's down to a one-hour show. HURRAY!

Lee - "You're Still The One"
The guy can't hit high notes, but I love his gravelly voice. He is so marketable. He made the song even more current and relevant. I love this guy. I really, really want a Lee-Crystal finale. With Lee winning it all. Ooooh, or a Lee-Casey finale. That'd be interesting. Either way, my favorite to win it is Lee.

Mike - "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing"
He is so Ruben-like. If he makes it big, maybe they won't screw up his career with a stupid song like "Sorry 2010." Oh, and Mark totally called the "Luther" thing way before Ellen did. He's awesome like that. Mike (can't call him "Big Mike" now that I've seen The Blind Side) is effortless. It was very good, not to mention "wet," which is better than dry, whatever that means. And Ryan? Asking Shania's opinion on that song, but no others? Mike just garnered all of Shania's fans' votes, too. Congratulations. Country fans are loyal.

Casey - "Don't"
I am still melting over that performance. WOW. He really has a lovely voice. It was very current and really, really good. I agree with Randy that it was the best Casey James performance ever. I love it. It was very sexy and very good. Oh, and I also think Casey wanted to kiss Shania on the lips. :P

Crystal - "Sweet Love Story"
She has an AWESOME falsetto. That song had a quirky little arrangement, didn't it. It was a little ditty. She really has a gorgeous false. And she has the uncanny ability to sound both folksy and incredibly current simultaneously. Really, Bowersox's dude, a live proposal would've helped. Duh.

Aaron - "You Got A Way"
He sits like he stands--leaning back. It was a little boring, but I'll grant that the kid can really sing. That was one of his more sincere and believable performance as far as lyrics go. I couldn't quite understand how, but it was. And then he explained that he was thinking about his mom. And I got a little choked up. That was so sweet.

At this point, we're all thinking, "Wow! What in the world will happen tomorrow?!?! They are ALL. SO. GOOD! How in the world will one of these fine contestants go home?!?" And then . . .

Siobhan - "Any Man Of Mine"
She just could NOT pull of that song. You know, Siobhan perplexes me. She does all kinds of crazy hand signals before commercial breaks and when they all walk out on stage and it makes us think she has a personality. But where is it?? It was a really boring performance throughout with a power note at the end. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I'm still shocked that the judges loved it. Not me. It was weird. Her voice isn't suited for that kind of song. And it was categorically NOT sassy enough.

For me, for them?


Going home? Siobhan. Please let it be Siobhan.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Everybody Dance Now

We attended a wedding on Saturday night for one of my closest girlfriends here--she's one of my first friends that I met here and we've known each other for years. It was lovely and I'll post more about it soon, but for now, here are some videos (that I so wish were brighter!).

Thing 1 asked me all day if there would be dancing (she LOVES to dance at weddings). I wasn't sure whether or not there would be room, because I knew it was an intimate affair.

As soon as we got there, Thing 1 noted the DJ's table and the small dance area and got really excited. I still wasn't convinced, since there were also dining tables in the small space as well.

Well, after the ceremony, the DJ invited the new bride and groom to the dance floor. Thing 1 says, "Now?"

"Not yet."

Then the DJ invited the bride to dance with her father and the groom to dance with his mother. Thing 1 asks, "Now?"

"Not yet." (And, if I recall correctly, I was holding her back at this point).

Then the DJ (they'd cleared out the tables by then, by the way) invited everyone to get on the dance floor and DANCE! Thing 1 charged and was the first one out there.

And she danced for several hours, the entire time the music played. We didn't leave until the DJ packed it up.

Thing 2 likes to play it cool, but he spent a great deal of time out there busting a move as well.

They left sweaty, tired, and smiling. They are ADORABLE. And they are AWESOME on the dance floor.

Please bear with the short videos -- they are dark, but you CAN see their funky moves.

They did some crazy flips:

They did the worm:

And then they slowed it down:

Have I mentioned that I love these kids?! They're the best.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Idol Gives . . .


us another stinking lip sync.

me a reason to ponder, "Is that Posh or a robot?"

all of us a chance to watch a family show that includes such words and phrases as Viagra, "nude-y pictures," "saline or silicone," "sex trade," and condoms. Sadly, some of those words are due to a sad and disturbing reality in some parts of the world. Others represent a sad and disturbing plastics reality in Vegas, Utah, and Hollywood.

America yet another live performance by the Black-Eyed Peas, causing me to marvel at the diverse, representative group that it is.

us a sick Alicia Keys, because she didn't sound so great.

the boot to a contestant deserving of it at this point.

the reminder that Annie Lennox is simply phenomenal and has a moving and haunting voice.

us my favorite Elton John song (and quite possibly my favorite love song) performed by Sir Elton John himself.

me pause with some very humbling stories. I have the tendency to stress about finances, but really . . . my family and I are rich. Very, very rich.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I've got a movie to watch

I'm not feeling particularly clever this evening. I mostly want to get to our Redbox movie rental.

They still have tickets available for Idol gives back? The night before? Oy-vey. If that's not indicative of how things are going this season, I don't know what is.

Alicia Keys seems nice.

Casey - "Don't Stop"
Interesting song choice. He was good, not great (vocally). He was, however, great on the guitar. He mixed it up . . . a little. The judges reamed him and he is left to consider if he should've chosen a slower song.

Lee - "The Boxer"
The Boxer! The Boxer! No one has ever done that on Idol and for that reason alone, he should get MAD, MAD praise. But compound that with the fact that he sang the whatever out of that song and they should be fawning all OVER him. That was BRILLIANT. I had chills. It was AWESOME! I love how he mixed it up, made it current, and sounded BRILLIANT on it. I pretty much love Lee and he has become my favorite to win it all.

Tim - "Better Days"
Even though I don't think it went well, because he sounded very off, I still think it was a good song for him (in theory). It was a nice arrangement (cello, anyone?), but he was just off. I like that he didn't sing the same old kind of song that everyone usually chooses on nights like this (and like so many did) and you can tell he'd sound good in a studio, but it was just a'ight for me for him. Ellen says he's like soup of the day (funny). Ryan says he's like gazpacho (not funny).

Aaron - "I Believe I Can Fly"
Ugh. Leave it to a teeny-bopper to choose this song. He was like 7 when Idol started, so maybe he doesn't realize that this song has been done about 200,000 too many times on Idol. That's not entirely his fault. Whoever leaves it on the list of approved songs should be fired. Promptly. I'll grant that he sang it well overall, but I also admit that I was restraining myself from fast forwarding. I wanted to skip ahead, because Mark and I are watching "Young Victoria" tonight!

Siobhan - "When You Believe"
It was very Broadway-ish. That isn't a slam (unless you really want to be a pop star, in which case, I can see why it isn't always well received); it's the truth. She'd be phenomenal on Broadway! She sang it well. The butterflies on her shoulder and the feathers in her hair . . . it was all very distracting (probably because I'm a little bored by her). I did sort of brighten, though, when I saw that she had a flower ring providing nectar for the butterflies. I was sort of giving it a good-okay when Ryan had to go and ask her something. UGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH. Then she started talking. She BORES me. How can anyone be so monotone and flat?!? I'm starting to wonder if she dresses all crazy to compensate for her lack of personality. Mark thinks she might have such depth and angst that it just pains her to show much emotion on the surface. Either one is viable. She is a beautiful girl, though, and continues to remind me VERY MUCH of Audrey Tatou, who is also stunningly beautiful (though loads more engaging, not that it takes much).

Big Mike - "Hero"
I got chills during the intro, but the it was a wee bit manic for me. It was good, but not memorable. He held the note out for a bit at the end, but then faded quickly, because he just doesn't have the breath for it. I've noticed a lot of idols have been doing that this season. They try to look cool as they arc away from the microphone or as they lower the mic in a dramatic circle and look at the band. But truth is? They can't handle holding out the note. So why do they even try? It looks worse, I think.

Crystal - "People Get Ready"
During her introduction, I wondered at how no one since Bo Bice has done an entire song a cappella. I would love to see someone do that again (well). She is bluesy and awesome. And wowzers, I haven't EVER seen anyone do that on Idol. She broke down and sobbed through the end of the song. It was moving and surprising. I read a tabloid (because that's what I do) this week saying that she recently tried to quit Idol. She was very upset and was in the parking lot one night after a show and said she was done, she missed her baby, it was too much. Ryan allegedly talked her into staying. I think that explains his "I'm so proud of you" comment to her. She did a fantastic job. She sounded amazing. She and Lee totally, TOTALLY rule this competition.

Best to worst for me:

(Some Order of 5 Others)

Okay, fine . . .
Big Mike

Going Home: Tim or Aaron or maybe Siobhan - how's that for commitment and decisiveness?

I'm off to watch Emily Blunt and deal with my conflicted feelings regarding her, since she broke off her engagement with Michael Buble (who I really like) and is now engaged to John Kransinski (who I also really like).

I Wonder If I Can Fly . . .

Every year one of us says, "I hope no one sings 'I Believe I Can Fly' for inspirational week." And every year someone does. That sort of sums up my usual experience with these songs. What inspires one is just run-of-the-mill for another. Thank you, idols, for continuing the trend. I thought Alicia Keys was pretty good tonight. I think they edited out more with her than they have with other mentors since the show was shortened this week. I was very glad that we are now down to 60 minutes, which means we get the following:

  • No more judges entering center stage with new Moviefone guy (or is it Alan Kalter) introducing them (both are equally freaky)
  • Less rehashing from the judges (get it right the first time 'cause we're not coming back)
  • My children in bed before 10:00
  • This blog post done before I fall asleep at the keyboard

In the spirit of "Inspirational Songs, I'll give you my impressions and what I'm inspired to do because of each performance.

Casey James: We definitely know the songs he likes, and he honestly does well with them. I don't know if it's so much a "comfort zone" thing with him as it is an interesting song type of thing. I am now inspired to be average in all that I do, and to smile while doing it.

Lee Dewyze: Lee's song choice was awesome (never performed on Idol to my knowledge) and he sounded great on it. Like Randy said, he is ready to get in the studio and record some stuff. Lee has quietly been inching closer to contention in this competition and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the final pairing. I am now inspired to play the bagpipes. OK, that was from like 2 weeks ago, but I still think it was so awesome.

Tim Urban: Tim was neither inspired nor inspirational. He was out of tune, although the song was a good fit. I'm surprised he's still around anyway, so I shouldn't be surprised that his performance was one of the more mediocre ones for me tonight. I am now inspired to hang around places I don't belong to see if they'll give me a job.

Aaron Kelly: I knew it would be him. It is always him. And I am not surprised he's been singing this since he was 5. I will give credit where credit is due. He sounded like he has been singing this song for 11 years, during which time everyone from his mother to his best friend's father to his postal carrier have told him he sounds great. Simon's comment was the most real of the bunch. The performance was just OK, and regardless of his vocal talent, it didn't stack up tonight as one of the best. The whole thing was very "Star Searchy" for me. I am now inspired to look up what sinbad is doing right now. (How long was he on that show, anyway?!)

Siobhan Magnus: First of all, in all the seasons of A.I. so far, she is without a doubt the most boring contestant that has ever been in the competition this long. When they cut away to her in the garden, talking about her session with Alicia Keys, I felt like she was telling us about how she was constipated for a long time, and how she had to agonize over the various products she could use to poop regularly. Undergoing a colonoscopy would be like going to Disneyland compared to Siobhan's interviews. And then she sings, and I'm bored. She sings really well and deserves a career somewhere on the stage. It's probably the best fit for her. I am now inspired to eat more fiber.

Michael Lynch: Dude, boring. This would have been my third choice of songs with a hero-related title that I would have thought someone would pick on Idol. I wished he'd picked the Mariah Carey song because it would have been interesting to hear him take on a female vocalist's song like that. His performance was probably right in the middle of the seven for me tonight. I am now inspired to catch crooks just like flies.

Crystal Bowersox: At first I was cringing as I imagined Crystal trying to show the judges that she's not just a guitarist that can sing, but this was incredible tonight. Tears aside, she was so connected and right on with her performance. It was obvious she found meaning in the song and it came through with no difficulties whatsoever. Even Simon was clapping when it was over, and he avoids clapping like the plague. I almost forget that she can actually sing like that sometimes. I'm looking forward to a Lee/Crystal final. I am now inspired to keep watching the show, just to see what else she can come up with (as if I'd really stop watching).

My Bottom Three: Tim, Aaron, Siobhan
So Inspired She Almost Doesn't Realize She's Leaving: Siobhan

Sunday, April 18, 2010

They wrote us a song!

Our awesome teenage friends came over a couple of months ago and serenaded us with a song they wrote just for us! They managed to include everyone in their song, including my mom and our dog! The lyrics are great--clever, funny, well-written, thoughtful, and sweet.

We love these kids -- they are SUCH great people. And, an amazing part of this, the boys taught themselves to play guitar and barely started a couple of years ago. They are WICKED good. They often bring their guitars and drums to the park and play while we all hang out and talk and play. They also play at Open Mic Night at the local coffeehouse now and then, too.

We are so lucky to have them as neighbors, co-homeschoolers, and friends. Thanks, guys!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No Great Surprises

A gothic choir dramatically sings while a grand orchestra dramatically plays while dramatic video clips of yesterday's show are shown.

Ryan says, "Great News!" I thought he was going to announce something amazing like, "Great News! All you American Idol bloggers out there are winning $100,000 just for promoting our show! Congratulations." But nope. The "great news" was that they had 34 million votes. That may be big or record setting, but I'm not sure it's "great news." Or even "news."

The contestants participate in a HORRIBLE Elvis medley lip sync, er, number. WHY?? It's a live show. We paused and tried to come up with good reasons. Best guess? This group just stinks that badly.

They show us a Ford video with disintegrating cars turning into compost and trees. Very green.

I predict that Andrew and Katie will go home.

Andrew? Check.

They show a really cool video clip of Elliott and Kara in Angola. I heart Elliot. Best. Idol. Ever.

They show us a cheesy duet with Brook White and a guy who's famous for being cute on the Internet (because it's certainly not because he can sing).

Adam Lambert performs, so there are lasers and smoke and synthesizers. It was awesome. Most exciting performance of the season. It was like some kind of cool 80s throwback. You just know that song could've been a love song for some great 80s flick.

Katie? Check.

I'm totally okay with those results. On with the show.

Keyword hits for today

So, I checked my handy statcounter and here are some of the keyword hits bringing people to my idol review from yesterday:

ryan seacrest drunk tonight
ryan seacrest drunk tonight
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Ryan seacrest drunk tonight
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DID THE IDOLS MIME TONIGHT? (This one's a little late to the party)
was ryan seacrest drunk
was seacrest drunk on idol tonight 4/13/2010
american idol ellen's horny comment
ryan seacrest drunk tonite?
ryan seacrest drunk?
ryan seacrest pestering didi? (This guy is obviously watching on TiVo)
ryan seacrest talking about Adam Lambert's tongue
what was wrong with ryan seacrest tonight, turban
was ryan seacrest drunk tonight?
aaron kelly and ed grimley (That one is just for you, Honey)

So, I add one more prediction for this summer (in addition to low ticket sales for the tour):

Rehab for Ryan.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Top 9 Perform (Again)

Elvis night on Idol. I spent the entire show wondering if Linda (who loves Elvis) was watching. Well, was she?

I wondered this partly because she really, really loves Elvis, and partly because I was bored to tears for most of the night.

Amazing Race has been AWESOME the past two weeks. Idol, on the other hand, is still a snooze fest.

I also noticed that almost all the contestants did that little pause-look at the band-raise hand slowly-and . . . wait for it-punch the air-thing to wrap up the song. I noticed that, too, because I was bored.

I'm fast forwarding results shows. I might start fast forwarding performance shows, too. Yawn.

Also, I have more to say about Ryan Seacrest tonight than I do about the performances. Why? Because I'm convinced he was totally drunk tonight.

So, before I get into specifics, here is a quick rundown of my favorite performances from best to worst:

(mix up other 6 here in any order--doesn't really matter)

Oh but wait! It does matter. Because two people are going home tomorrow night. Okay, fine.

Big Mike

Bottom 3: Andrew, Siobhan, and one of the teens
Going home: Andrew and one of the teens

Adam Lambert as mentor. Kind of weird, but kind of good. He's spot on that they all need to wake up. Too bad none of them listened to him. (Seriously, did anyone listen?)

When they showed the contestants as the show opened, I guessed "rock" based on how they looked (and on who the mentor is). I was sort of right, I guess.

But even with Adam Lambert as guest mentor, amazingly, Ryan Seacrest is who captured my attention tonight. And not in a good way.

Has anyone else seen him in that mouthwash commercial? Dork, right? Yeah, tonight, he saw his dorkiness and raised it a pint of booze. Dude. Was. Wasted.

Ryan started the show by hitting people's hands in the audience and saying, "Wazzup? Wazzup? Wazzup?" Dork Alert.

Then, he walked through the audience and rubbed some random guy's hair with both hands, causing the guy to look like one of those troll pencil toppers from the 80s (those were cool).

And then, in his usual open-mouth-insert-foot manner, he told all of America that Adam's tongue is more talented than his own. That and Ellen's "horny" song comment made every teenage contestant's mother so happy, I'm sure.

Oh, so Crystal sang.

Crystal - "Saved"
It was great. She is seasoned. She played an electric guitar. And Randy started with, "So, yo!" which generally means it's dope.

And so Ryan, of course, caresses her and then her guitar. Have I mentioned that I think he's drunk?

Andrew - "Hound Dog"
I like Andrew. I've been a fan from the beginning. But "Hound Dog?" Seriously? It makes it very hard to root for him when he picks possibly the lamest Elvis song ever. No twist on that song (not even a crooner vibe) can make it any less palatable than it already is. And, unfortunately, Andrew proved that tonight. Ugh. I mean it was okay and it was different, but it wasn't good enough. And so he got reamed. Again. I couldn't help but think of what John said in an earlier comment about Andrew thriving with praise and direction but wilting under the barrage of criticism. SPOT ON. What a pity that instead of nurturing the kid, they made him the whipping boy for the general malcontent with this season.

Ryan, on the other hand, handles his malcontent by hitting the sauce. He called Andrew "bro," "baby," and "buddy" all within about one very awkward minute. It felt like Ryan was a volunteer for the Big Brother program and Andrew was his assigned "Little Brother." Only the volunteer big brother was plastered.

Tim -"I Can't Help Falling In Love With You"
Ryan took us to the commercial break by trying to give us a teaser with, "Find out what Tim's singing when we come back." Uh, Ryan? We already know. Adam already told us.

I'm telling you, he's drunk.

Ryan's mom Connie Seacrest was in the audience and he kept awkwardly pausing so she could play emcee. That, or he blacked out for a minute. Not sure which. I'm guessing the latter, because he then threw his arm to the side and loudly introduced "Turban." At first I thought he was just being clever, but now I think his speech was starting to slur.

Ryan danced in the audience with some guy during Tim's performance, too. Really professional, that.

Tim did a decent job. It's hard for me to take him seriously for some reason. Tim did not follow Lambert's advice, which was disappointing, because I would've liked to have heard Tim sing the last part in his falsetto. Dang.

Simon says Tim is listening to his advice. What advice? Simon likes self accolades.

Ryan used the word "suck" loudly and forcefully with an octogenarian. She thinks he's drunk, too.

See? I have much more to say about Ryan than the contestants (who are not drunk).

Lee - "A Little Less Conversation"
He doesn't know how great he is and I find it totally endearing. Lee is VERY quickly flying to the top of my list of favorites. I really, really like him. I LOVED it.

Aaron - "Blue Suede Shoes"
Okay, so earlier? When I said that "Hound Dog" was quite possibly the lamest Elvis song ever? It was only because I had forgotten about "Blue Suede Shoes." Even lamer. (If Linda is by any chance reading this, I want her to know that I'm dissing the songs, not Elvis himself). I am, however, dissing Ryan, who was drunk.

Aaron's performance was karaoke and uncomfortable and awkward. It was all very high school musical. The only thing "Aaron" about it was his trademark "Aaron stance" where he's strangely bow-legged and leaning back and pretends to have swagger. Yuck.

And another thing. Kara is on my nerves tonight big time. Her necktitude and arm movements and alternating shoulder rotations and bobble heading . . . all super annoying.

Siobhan - "Suspicious Minds"
UGH. A Siobhan interview. DULLSVILLE. Please don't interview her. It makes us sleepy.

That was WEIRD. She looked like she had just stepped off the set of a 1970's sitcom or a 1980's primetime soap (a la Knot's Landing) as a 40-year-old woman. What was that?? I didn't love the beginning, but it got better. Overall, though, it was just okay. My favorite part was when she responded to the judges. That was a great answer about labels and pigeon holing. And I believe that little speech saved her.

Big Mike - "In the Ghetto"
Ryan asked, "Whazzup with Big Mike?!" and then he stumbled and fell in a pile of vomit. Okay, that second part didn't really happen, but I half expected it. Big Mike does "slow and meaningful" well. It was good.

Ryan did a little chest bump/air bump near Big Mike. Ryan is intoxicated.

After the commercial, Ryan greets us from the audience, specifically a group of tweener girls, with yet another "Whassup!" So so drunk.

Katie - "Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do?"
I liked the back story on why she chose that song. She was sassy and okay. There were parts that were very Carrie Underwood about her stage presence and I was shocked that Simon didn't point that out. I think he was distracted by Ryan's drunkenness.

Casey - "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy"
Ryan ran around the audience pointing and giggling like a crazed leprechaun (or a drunk one), giddily pointing out Casey. He's so wasted. Casey's performance was good, not great.

Ryan slurred, "Hereare thenumbers veryimportant you need."

Ryan falling down the stairs or passing out would've been consistent with his erratic behavior all evening.

We join a hungover Ryan tomorrow for results. I predict sunglasses and several cups of coffee.

At Least it Was 90 Minutes This Week

Ah, Elvis night. I can kind of see the Adam Lambert connection. I also have respect for his quest to wake up this year's contestants and don't blame him that I still feel like a need a package of Oreo's and a six-pack of Jolt to stay awake during American Idol some weeks. There are just some incredibly sleep-inducing performers this year. Maybe that's why Ryan is so manic and strange this year. He's trying to wake up America. At one point tonight I uttered the words, "He's like Rumpelstiltskin out there." Ryan is no longer cool. And lay off Dunkleman. There are days I'd gladly take Dunkleman over Ryan. Plus, half your audience has no idea who you are talking about.

Oh, did you all know "Glee" starts tonight. I'm making it my personal mission to tell everyone in America that "Glee" follows American Idol. Heaven knows Fox isn't promoting it enough.

Crystal Bowersox: The only problem with Crystal at this point is that she suffers from the Studdard Syndrome. She is so good every week that the judges have a hard time building her up each week without seeming trite. But what can she do? She's just that good. In the words of the eloquent Randy Jackson, "Dude. Dawg. Like. I'm kinda, kinda, like, diggin' the whole jumpin' off bluesy cool vibe. Know what I'm sayin'? You got a record right there." I'm hoping she doesn't end up contracting Daughtry Disorder--missing votes when her fans get too complacent.

Andrew Garcia: Andrew is so done. I like him. He's a nice guy, and I respect him for trying to create a better life for his family. He's already done quite a bit to that end. He just isn't keeping up with the pack. I actually liked what he did with the song tonight. "Hound Dog" is one of my least favorite Elvis songs so he already had a big task ahead of him, so I was a little disappointed he didn't get more praise for what he tried to do. At this point, though, I don't think there is any way he avoids going home tomorrow night, especially considering two people are leaving.

Tim Urban: First of all, Ryan needs to apologize to Sikhs everywhere for calling him "Turban." C'mon, Ryan. You're killing us here. Every year the judges drive me crazy. Are we comparing contestants to each other, or to themselves. Tonight, Tim gave a great Tim performance. In the context of the entire competition, though, it was a middling American Idol effort. His guitar playing did impress me more than in the past, and his vocals were pretty good, but I am not about to put him in the same league as most of the contestants. I'm calling him my poor man's Jon Peter Lewis, and as much as I like him, even JPL only made it half way to the finals.

Lee Dewyze: Lee is great. Kara's whole "smile more" nonsense is driving me crazy. Lee is fine. He's performing well. His personality comes through. His interpretation of the songs is right on. The guy is growing each week and is proving he is a real threat to win this whole competition. No bagpipes this week, but I'll still give him an A.

Aaron Kelly: OK. If you think your song selection is "wrong in every way," why in the hell do you go forward with it?! I don't know what Kara was smoking, but he did NOT come off as young or current. Simon's critique was right on. He was like the kid at the high school talent show. He has a lot of vocal talent but this week was a song selection nightmare. Even Clive Davis would have picked a better song for him.

Siobhan Magnus: I was so sure we would have a disruption in the space-time continuum like Doc predicted would happen if Future Marty McFly met Past Marty McFly. Fortuntately Adam and Siobhan meeting did not have that effect on the world. Unfortunately their meeting did not make her better. In her defense, the judges have been totally ridiculous with her. Big voice. Quiet voice. Screechy voice. Big boots. Roller skates. So what do you want her to do (wait, that's Katie's song!)? Siobhan's revelation that she cannot be pinned down actually explains more than any previous comments she's made. Either you like her shifting styles or you don't. I don't. I did feel like the end of her performance was much better than the beginning. But I didn't enjoy either part as much as I enjoyed her ending.

Michael Lynch: This was a great song choice for Michael. I liked Taylor Hicks's interpretation better, but Michael is a great performer. He has real and true connections with every song and he conveys that to the audience. This arrangement was a little flat for me, but his vocals were great. He should not be anywhere near the bottom three this week.

Katie Stevens: I thought it was cool that she picked a song with the sole purpose of getting in the judges' faces. It was not cool that she picked a song that was a bit boring and pointless. She's a good singer but this performance was another karaoke-ish one for me.

Casey James: Casey did not seem to take Adam's advice to shape the song a bit more, or he didn't understand what Adam was talking about. Either way, it was just a'ight for me. I can't believe I agree with Kara on this one, but Casey is a lot better than this performance shows. Simon's "wasted opportunity" comment was a bit on the extreme side but he does have a point. Casey could have picked any Elvis song and arranged it well, and he picked an obscure song and gave a mediocre performance. There is still some room for error in the Top 9 but that won't last for long.

My Bottom 3: Andrew, Aaron, Katie
Not Stepping on Aaron's Blue Suede Shoes on Their Way Out: Aaron and Andrew

Monday, April 12, 2010

Double Digits!

How is it possible

that my baby girl

is TEN?!?!

We had a LOVELY family day.
Breakfast in bed.
"Doubles" basket.
Beautiful weather.
Playing with Scout outside.
Wii and Webkinz.
"Hotel for Dogs" movie.
Thoughtful Presents.
All-you-can-eat sushi.
Calls from grandparents.
Cookie dough "cake."

I'm so excited that I came up with this clever idea:
A "doubles basket" to celebrate DOUBLE DIGITS!

See the picture above--everything is either "double" or "two" . . .
Double-Stuffed Oreos,
Double Fudge Ice Cream
Double Bubble,
2-Pack of Pens,
Double Dutch,
2-Piece PJ set,
Double Daring Book for Girls,
Double Fudge,
2-Pack of Playing Cards,
and more!

Here are Thing 1 and Thing 2 getting ready to open presents.

One would think we stage these pictures.
One would be mistaken.
We are SO grateful that these two are best friends.
Thing 2 got his sister some new Yu-Gi-Oh cards
and was bursting at the seams to see her reaction.
They are so sweet!

Grandma made this BEAUTIFUL (and SOFT!) cozy quilt.
Thing 1 loves it and has been snuggling with it
practically nonstop (including bedtime!).
The blanket is SO very her.

Two Seasons of Little House on the Prairie on DVD
from Vavó.

And a Baby Penguin Webkinz from Mommy and Daddy.

Happy Birthday, Thing 1!!
We LOVE you!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I fast forwarded . . .

. . . so this is going to be quick. Plus, I'm tired.

They promise us shocking results, to which I say, "Meh."

They do a group number, to which I say, "Ugh." (Lip Sync much?)

I watch the group number and realize that they're economizing by using this stage and these group numbers to rehearse for the tour (except for the lip syncing part).

We watch a Ford kaleidoscope commercial to which I say, "Oooooooh."

They rather pointlessly paraded the 3 remaining girl contestants to center stage so we could find out that they're all safe. To which I say, "Not shocking."

Jason Derulo performed, to which I say, "Wow, that was pretty good!"

David Archuletta predictably sang "Imagine," to which I say, "Little David Archuletta is looking quite grown up and reminds me of Ron Weasley's change in the movies."

They split the boys into 2 groups of 3, one of which was the bottom, to which I say, "Not shocking."

They announce the bottom 3, to which I say, "Not shocking."

Rhianna, dressed as Cat Woman, performs, to which I say, "Fast forward. We get it. She's a rock star. All she needs is a black guitar. Oh hey, look at that. She found one. But doesn't play it. Maybe she's not a rock star." This show is so pandering to tweeners.

Up on the high podium, a woman uses a ginding tool to make sparks on her metal costume, to which Mark says, "Hey look, they got that girl from Letterman!"

Big Mike is the lowest vote getter, to which I say, "Okay, somewhat of a shocker."

They save him, to which I say, "Not a shocker."

They announce no theme and two will be booted next week. Stacy. Out.

Short Thoughts on Elimination Night

So little to say. Must keep it brief.

Group performance, not bad.

Jason Derulo, enjoyed it a lot.

David Archuleta, seems a lot older. Sounded more polished.

Bottom 3, Michael surprised me a little bit, but not much.

Rhianna, are you sure you're a rock star?

Andrew safe, a little shocking.

Michael saved, an excellent choice.

Mystery theme for next week, I guess showtunes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tonight's episode is brought to you by the word "blossom."

Subtitle: "In Which I Give Credit Where Due"

The Top 9 perform . . . so why is it still TWO &*%#@*& HOURS long? HOLY FILLER and good grief, they can drag things on and on and on.

Right away, we see two things:

1. Ryan's true nature -- last week it was all, "Awww, poor Didi" and this week it's (shrug), "That's the way it goes!"

2. Kara's sparkly.

Let's get right to it.

Aaron Kelly - "Long and Winding Road"
It was okay. I didn't love it. Kara's little "Tempo-tempo" dance was the cherry on top of the bash-Aaron sundae that was the judges' collective criticism. Eek.

Katie Stevens - "Let It Be"
Katie will go to the prom with whoever has voted for her the most. Why is this show still 2 hours long again? Oh wait. I give her mad props for tonight's performance, though. I really think she did a good job. (See? Credit where due). And that was so not country. It was totally R&B. I said as much right before delusional Simon claimed she listened to him. Simon, no one listens to you anymore. You have become irrelevant.

Andrew Garcia - "Can't Buy Me Love"
Ugh. I really like Andrew and was so hoping he'd ride the wave from this past week's praise. It was okay, but I didn't love the arrangement. And his groupies look really nerdy. And what's with all the T-shirts in the audience? And why, when Ryan walks through the audience, do some of the men there just look creepy? Obviously, I have more to say about anything but the performance at hand, so that should be telling enough.

Big Mike (Turk) - "Eleanor Rigby"
A little note for our readers? This is my favorite Beatles song. Yep. So, I'm probably being pickier because of that, but here goes. I hated the arrangement. He "Usher"-ed the song and I did not like. I hated the arrangement. What? Did I already say that? Well, it bears repeating. It was too manic and all over the place. And in his video intro, he said he likes this song because it tells a story and I said, "YES! It does!" But he was not telling me a story. I don't know what he was doing. He sang it well, but I agree with Simon. It was over the top.

Crystal Bowersox - "Come Together"
A didgeridoo?!?! That's a first! And, even more shocking, she's sick?!?! If that's how she sounds when she's sick . . . HOLY cow. She is seriously awesome.

Tim Urban - "All My Lovin'"
I did not have high hopes for Tim, but, as I am doing this week, I can give credit where due. He did all right. He turns on that smile way too easily for me to take him seriously. And this song totally fits that "Beach Blanket Bingo" style he seems to like so much. If he could channel some kind of retro vibe, he might be all right, but ugh. And I did "ugh" right before he performed, but I can give credit for a decent job. I like the verses more than the chorus. He has Beatles hair. I liked it. And I have a prediction. They'll show a picture of Randy with Beatles hair tomorrow. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST.

Casey James (J.D.) - "Jealous Guy"
Acoustic guitar together with a cello? BE-A-U-TI-FUL. I love that he lost that goofy smile. Kudos, Casey! (See? Credit where due). That. Was. Awesome. Very classy performance. Intimate. Vulnerable. I loved it. Favorite of the night.

Siobhan Magnus - "Across the Universe"
It was more restrained than usual (good). But it made me miss Michael Johns. Now, that was a great performance of this song. Siobhan's song tonight . . . it was just BORING. She said in her clip that this song has a mood, and again I said, "YES!" And then there was no mood! The mood of the song was lost. It was too . . . classical. Not melancholy enough for me. And you would think this girl could pull of kind of dark and melancholy. But no. She sat there in lots and lots of ruffles channeling her chakras and meditation points and singing whilst putting me to sleep. She is a bizarre girl. I get so bored when she talks. The random guy (Earl) from the audience hugging her was the most exciting part of this performance. And again I say UGH.

Lee Dewyze - "Hey, Jude"
Lee loves Andrew. He had a shaky start, but it got better and then a guy in a kilt and ginormous Scottish hat came down the stairs playing the bagpipes. It was all very random and confusing. Idol meets Beatles meets international instruments . . . what?? I did, though, love (and therefore am giving credit where due) the judges' reactions to the bagpipes dude. For a split second, I thought I was watching the finale when he came out. It could've been bikini girl and it would've made little difference.

Favorite part of the night: "You didn't even get distracted when that guy got separated from his parade. We'll help you, sir."

From best to worst (for me, for them), because I am giving credit where due:


Bottom 3: Siobhan, Andrew, Aaron
Going home: Andrew

A few more random thoughts:

Anyone else find it totally patronizing when Simon pouts out his lower lip when a contestant cries? Oh yeah? Really? It's not just me? Idiot.

Bonus points to those who found the cast of Scrubs hidden in tonight's recap. Well, 2 of the characters anyway.

They point out the Bones people, but not Lacey who is sitting right next to them? Where's the love? (And the credit?)

I liked the video clips this week, except that Siobhan bored me there, too. SHE IS SO DULL!!

Rhianna, some guy, and David Archuletta? Are they trying to get me to hate this show?

Insert Clever Top 9 Title Here

How's that for clever and creative? After one of those Tuesdays, I'm sitting here pretty late trying to recap American Idol, so either you get a (hopefully) coherent review or you get a clever title. I choose the former.

First of all, I wish they'd just shorten it to 90 minutes. Nine contestants, ten minutes each. Seems like a good idea. I'm just being picky, though. Overall it was kind of fun to see their personalities a bit more as they all described each other. Most of the pieces were fairly predictable (Hey, Tim smiles a lot. Big Mike is a lot of fun), but they were well done. I'm still tired of the camera in the kiss-and-cry area. Now that we've started the show from the control room I think we can shorten this thing officially, although we could start with a shot from wardrobe or make up. We'll see what ingenious openings we have coming up.

With all of the complaining out of the way I can say it was a good show overall. We're starting to see people performing a bit more closely to their actual ability levels, which is good for some and a bit less advantageous for others. I'm still not clear on whether this really is a singing contest or if it's more like electing the Prom King and Queen, so my predictions tend to be all over the place. On Lennon/McCartney night it is fitting that we had appearances by instruments played in countries related to the United Kingdom. Time has not been kind to Paul McCartney, but it was nice to see a video greeting card tonight for the idols. Sure beats the one they got from the "Clash of the Titans" cast. Now, on to the review.

Aaron Kelly: Thank you for getting him out of the way. He is a nice, wise kid with incredible control over the Force. I had the one-trick pony thought during his performance as well. He sings ballads. He stands still. He hits nice notes sometimes. Tonight he was off a lot and it sounded like he was stretching for the higher notes. Sort of bleh for me.

Katie Stevens: It seems like she's actually competing at this point instead of riding the momentum from her early exposure on the show. While she was singing I thought this was her best performance. I don't think she listened to any of the judges either. She sounded more Pop/R&B tonight like she always has. Simon just gets used to taking credit for good performances so I can't begrudge him this opportunity, even if he is wrong.

Andrew Garcia: Ouch. I don't think he was the worst of the night, but close. His arrangement was sort of sloppy and he came off just like Simon and Randy said. He seemed a bit corny and the band did sort of ruin the performance. With the way his popularity shifts to extremes he could be in trouble tonight.

Michael Lynche: I see all the judges' points simultaneously and think they are all right. How much did Randy just make by plugging "Glee?" I actually liked this performance quite a bit, though it seemed to explode out of nowhere and then go up from there. I wonder how he would shape this song if he could do a full-length version of it. With more room to shape it the arrangement might seem a bit better. Dude can sing, though.

Crystal Bowersox: A.I. math--Crystal sick is greater than Tim healthy. Crystal sounded great. I love that she brought out the digeridoo as if it was the most normal thing in the world, like the lady that walks her iguana in the park in our town. It's just not that normal when you stop to think of it, but she has me believing it is.

Tim Urban: I agree with Simon that judging Tim against himself isn't doing him any favors. He needs to get a real world assessment of his abilities and potential. This was one of Tim's best performances. I loved the way the song started. It sort of reminded me of vintage Wheezer in spots. I'm still not a fan of Tim and find him as a person to be a bit saccharine for my liking, but give the guy credit for putting out a good performance. It should save him if the voting follows performance quality.

Casey James: Best of the night. He did such a great job and showed that he is the best guitarist in the lot. Once I realized he had the cello onstage I knew he'd won over Stacy. Keeping his arrangement so simple made it really work for me.

Siobhan Magnus: I was a little distracted wondering if Bo Peep was going to find her sheep. Plus, her performance was pretty boring. I don't think screaming high notes at the end of a song necessarily makes a performance more interesting, but this week I found myself almost missing her screeching. At least that seems more authentically her. She did a great job with her arrangement, though. And by the way, she's really weird. I cringe a little when Simon or Ryan or anyone else gives her a question requiring more than a one-word answer. Sometimes I just can't bear the answers.

Lee Dewyze: Lee is seeming more and more confident each week. I mean, who brings a bagpipe player out on stage on American Idol to perform the Beatles? That takes serious cajones, that's for sure. I did like the bagpipes though and think they worked well with his arrangement. And I loved how he very proudly admitted that it was all his idea to use them. Cajones plus some. It would have been classic if he waited for Kool and the Gang week to pull them out, though. (That's for you, Little Miss.)

Bottom 3: Aaron, Andrew, Siobhan
You say goodbye . . .: (as much as it pains me) Andrew

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tax Time

In honor of tax season, I am reposting one of my favorite posts:

(Just click on "Tax Time")

Happy Tax Season, everyone!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Winter Fun

I'm still catching up.
Never mind the snow you see in these pictures.
It's been in the 80s all week here.

Hockey Game

Our friends invited us to their company day
at the hockey game
and it was so much fun!

The Girls
Thing 1 got into all the gimmicky stuff
like giveaways and camera time

The Guys
(There are two more grown up guys there,
but not in the picture)
Thing 2 really enjoyed this!

Me and Kristie
I know. I could crop these pictures.
But that's so many extra steps. :P


Those things on the green plate? SO YUMMY.
Dill Gherkins wrapped in cream cheese and salami.
SO delicious.
And those hummus-filled cucumber cups?
Easy, fancy, and yummy!



Thing 1


Thing 2

Our group of over TWENTY people out (some not pictured)
sledding on a Monday -- LOVE homeschooling!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

We knew this was coming . . .

We learned yesterday that
Thing 1 is getting published
We are so proud of her!
She entered a poetry contest and won.
Her winning poem will be published in a book.
And there is also an awards ceremony this month.

And we just KNOW that this is the first of many times.
She is constantly (and I mean constantly) writing.
And she loves to enter every writing contest she can.

Congratulations, Thing 1!
We are so happy and so proud of you!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Girls' Weekend

In January, we reunited 3 of us--
me, Cathy, and Kellie.
Neither Cathy nor I had seen Kellie in about 18 years.

(See, Cathy and I are different in some ways--she loves Facebook
and I pretty much don't, but I can give credit where due--
Facebook reunited us with Kellie).

And we had a Girls' Weekend.
And it was FUN.

I hosted.
Cathy came from MA.
Kellie came from NJ.

Despite the fact that Cathy dealt with stomach flu
on the way here that kept her at a hotel overnight
(Cathy holds back nothing on bodily function descriptions,
as anyone who reads her FB statuses knows--
it was not a pretty tale she recounted),
we had SO MUCH FUN!

We went to the movies.
Mark made loads of food for us.
We looked at old pictures of us.
We played.
We talked.
We sang.

She is a TOTAL nutjob.
And have I mentioned that she LOVES kids?
And kids LOVE her?

She came, in part, to play Wii with the kids:

It was crazy fun.

After getting kids to bed, we played Rock Band:

Cathy ordered Kellie off the mic for not knowing some classic American songs,
so I sang for a bit.

But then we learned that Kellie can seriously rock out to Taylor Swift. Who knew.

What's a trip to see us
without visiting Chocolate World?

We "worked" in the factory, which involves a little dancing.


On the Chocolate World Ride.
See my shirt? It says "Fun Size!"
Oh, also you can see how my haircut looks in these pictures--
I keep it straight since I don't know how to do the fancy stuff
the lady did at the salon.
Plus, I like it straight.

Cathy's idea to all put on Kiss hats and pose together.
NEVER a dull moment with her. NEVER.
She's kinda like Gandolf from that one Friends episode.

Us at Ruby Tuesday's
where I learned that my entire adolescent existence
was essentially The Truman Show

This necessitated some ice cream therapy
the next night
at our old standby place -- Friendly's!

Kellie with the kids

Cathy with the kids
And see that look on Cath's face?
She's thinking, "Oh great, this crazy dog is licking my neck.
Hurry up and take the picture, Stacy,
before I beat you."

Me and Cathy

I miss her again.