April 30, 2010

Happy birthday, mama! (And Murray!)

Today is a very special day. It's the day when I celebrate one of the most important people in my life.

She is beautiful. She's brilliant and funny. She has a heart big enough to love the whole world.

She gives the best hugs. And she always laughs at my jokes, no matter how silly they are.

Whenever we're together, we laugh.

We laugh and laugh and laugh, until everyone else has stopped laughing and wonders what could possibly still be funny.

At that point, we're just laughing at each other laughing.

Mom, I love you. Oooh, I love you! And I hope this day is as wonderful as you are.

Looking emotional at my wedding:

*** *** ***

This is also the day I celebrate my first baby. The tiny furry man who totally stole my heart seven years ago:

Murray, Mama loves you. I'll be a better mama to my "real" kids someday because you trained me well. :)

Thank you for being my baby. And for being so tolerant:

April 29, 2010

Going with the "kindness and karma" theme...

I've been getting caught up on Grumbles and Grunts's "Kindness and Karma" posts, and it made me remember a brief anecdote from my travels last weekend.

Scene: Airport check-in counter

Harried Mother in Pink Shirt: I'd like to check this bag please.

Bored Airline Staffer: (weighing the bag) This is one pound overweight.

HMiPS: Uh, OK, what do I need to do about that?

BAS: I'll have to charge you extra for it. Or, you can remove one pound of stuff.

HMiPS: (with kids hanging off of her as she tries to remain upright) Huh? How am I supposed to know how much a pound is? And where am I supposed to put it?

BAS: (staring vacantly off into the distance) Uh, whatever. You just need to fix it.

HMiPS: (kids now starting to cry, starting to get death glares from other travelers) Is an extra pound really that big of a deal? Can't you just put it through? I can't...

BAS: (getting combative) Look, the alternative is, I could just not check the bag at all, hand it back to you and let you figure it out somewhere else. But you need to figure it out and then move along, because people are waiting.

And, scene.

The reality is, we WERE waiting. And probably HMiPS should have just moved some stuff to her purse and moved on.

But BAS could see that she was harried, that her children were losing it, and that HMiPS was about to lose it herself, and could have (at the very least) been a little nicer. I'm sure BAS has 500 of these kinds of encounters per day, but still: Would it have killed her to be a little more understanding?


(Full disclosure: My siding with HMiPS may or may not be related to the fact that BAS shortly thereafter messed up our boarding passes, delaying us to the point where we had to hustle to make our plane. So maybe she was just an idiot. :) How's that for kindness and karma?)

April 28, 2010

It's coming...

My recap of our girls' weekend, that is. The thoughts and photos are still being organized, and it'll likely be a two-parter, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, here's a shot of our customary strip of beach (and my feet). Don't hate us. :)

April 23, 2010

In just a few hours...

These aren't my pictures.

But they could be after this weekend.

My best friend, B, and I are headed to Florida for a girls' weekend as you're reading this. It's B's first time on a plane, and our first time taking a girls' vacation, period.

White sandy beaches.
Mid-80s weather.
Four-day weekend.
Sleeping in.
Tons of girl talk.
Karaoke with complete strangers.

See y'all in a few days. :)

April 22, 2010

I've gotta say it, LOST writers...

...I was disappointed with the way you FINALLY got Sun and Jin back together on LOST this week.

I mean, after all these weeks of searching and trials and looking forlorn, they just...see each other across the beach? And then share crappy, cheesy dialogue? And then are immediately arrested by the latest batch of Island Crazies?

Very disatisfying. And a disservice to two of the most likeable characters on a show filled with unlikeable characters (Jack, I'm looking at you).



Also, as I was telling Two Pretzels last night, if Claire's hair doesn't stop resembling the schmutz I yank out of my shower drain once a month, I may have to start boycotting her scenes altogether:

It makes me itchy.

Google rules

I imagine it must be exciting and inspiring to be one of the designers working on the Google logo. Love today's for Earth Day:

(I'm sure the designers there have the same annoying experiences as designers/writers at any corporation. But come on. This is, at least, different from your typical Helvetica Bold design. Ten Pennies, I wonder if they're told, "I need something that says, 'Earth.' And that really pops. Go." Heehee.)

April 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, MM!

A faTABulous happy birthday to my wonderful, new-mama, sassy-mama friend Metacognitive Musings!

A, you're such an amazing woman, and I'm so lucky to call you my friend. :) I hope your first birthday as a mama is treating you well, and I hope you get to do something JUST for you today. You deserve it!

Happy birthday, friend! Love you bunches.

April 20, 2010

Cindy Lou Who is wearing my shoes

This weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of hanging out with my almost-21-month-old niece, Cadence.

I hadn't seen her for at least two months, so I was unaccustomed to how comfortable she'd gotten with this whole walking thing.

Not going to lie, it kind of freaked me out when she not only walked over to me, but did so while wearing my shoes:

(Tell me she doesn't look like Cindy Lou Who from The Grinch that Stole Christmas!? SO cute.)

Here, she crouched down in front of me and said "Cheese!" Kids learn fast. Holy cow.

(Sorry for the blurryish pics. However, she moves. A lot. And quickly.)

A few more pictures (as well as a video) to come.

Roll out the red carpet!

A hearty "welcome!" to my friend and fellow writer (and boss!), 36x37! She has started a brand new blog, all about her project for the next year of her life: She's going to do 36 things she's never done, before her 37th birthday (hence: 36 by 37).

I'm sure she won't need any help promoting her brand new baby (she's a fabulous writer, and it's such a great concept), but I encourage you to check her out.

Welcome, Maura!

April 15, 2010

In case you were wondering, there IS an Herb of the Year

So, one of my favorite things about living in (or near) a small town is goofy small town events.

Example? Every summer, the little town nearest to us hosts the Sweet Corn Festival. If you thought this might feature the Sweet Corn Princess singing songs in the town square while the local folks eat corn and fair food...you win a prize to be named later. It.is.awesome.

This past weekend, I attended another such event, hosted by a local greenhouse (that apparently has been around since the beginning of time, which is also awesome). The name of this event?

Herb Daze.

(Note: I'm almost 100-percent positive that no one planning this event thought about the possible connection between that cutesy spelling of "days" and marijuana. Which made it even more adorable.)

While it was definitely a small town event (read: small and kind of goofy), it was actually kind of great.

The whole thing was held inside the greenhouse, so we had the benefit of being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of green, growing things. It made for a lovely atmosphere:

Their agenda actually looked really interesting: How to grow herbs, creating a serenity herb garden, aromatherapy, cooking with herbs, pampering your skin and making other fun stuff, like cocktails, ice cream and sorbet.

The event was a full day (all free), so I only stayed for the cooking and skin pampering segments (i.e., the segments during which I could get the most free samples). And, I was impressed! The culinary teacher from a local high school, set up in full chef regalia, prepared a full meal: grilled chicken with mustard dill sauce, new potatoes roasted with herbs, this cottage cheese dill bread that was OUT OF THIS WORLD amazing, rhubarb crunch and this apple salad thingie that I was not all about.

(Seriously: I almost attacked the other people there to get to the rest of the cottage cheese bread. It sounds ridiculous, but it was soo tasty.)

And in addition to the program agenda, they also had little vendors set up around the greenhouse, selling their herb-related wares. There was the usual boring stuff (Tastefully Simple and Pampered Chef), but there were a bunch of awesome local tables, staffed by folks in the area who were just selling their homemade stuff. This woman and her business partner were selling homemade tea blends and lavendar soap (she was mortified when I took this picture; how cute is she?):

The coolest thing (I thought) was the local woman who baked cookies using crushed lavendar. She had three different kinds of cookies, all with the lavendar baked in. They were FABULOUS (especially this Pecan Sandie-type cookie; SO GOOD).

And, in my favorite moment of the entire day, here was her response when I asked her where I could find these cookies regularly (meaning, I thought, a local bakery or something): "Um, I just make them? In my house? So...if you needed some...you could just...call me?"


In summary: It was a totally wonderful way to spend a spring Saturday. If you live anywhere near Mansfield, it's absolutely worth checking out.

Oh, and the 2010 Herb of the Year? Was dill. Who knew?

April 13, 2010

Things children should never sing (or talk) about

  1. Their "baby" (presuming they don't, you know, actually HAVE an actual baby; kids are starting young these days, is all I'm saying)

  2. Their "lover" (ew, ew, ew, ew, ewwwwwww)

  3. Their "shortie" (and I'd like to go on record as saying that no one, of any age, should ever call anyone this) (that goes for "lover," too) (ew)
In other words, Justin Bieber needs to think about a new career. Or at least consider choosing different songs.


Shouldn't he be on a playground right now, and/or playing Atari or whatever it is the kids are doing nowadays? {Rocking chair creaking as I rise to yell at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn}

April 12, 2010


The beautiful flowering...something {I'm bad with plant names} tree in our front yard.

I just love living someplace that lets us experience every season. I don't know if I'd appreciate spring this much if it didn't follow such bleak winter months.

April 9, 2010

Brotherly love, in my living room. (Sorry, Philly.)

So, again, I must stress that we do not pose our dogs.

And have I mentioned just how very much they love one another?

With zero prompting from us, this is how they decided to hang out during LOST this week:

I mean... Dog spooning. How can it get cuter than this??

And, lest you think that this is just a casual arm thrown over a shoulder, please look at Bubba's armpit. That's Murray's other foot poking out under him.

In other words, he has BOTH arms around his brother.

They slept like this for over an hour.

I'm not sure I could love them more if they were my actual children.

Have a great weekend!

April 8, 2010

Excuse me, sir. There's a doughnut on your head.

It's no secret: I heart me some dogs. And next to our own babies, our neighbors' dogs are, without doubt, the nearest and dearest to our hearts. Besides being Murray's and Bubba's BFFs (well, other than each other), Romeo, Othello and Remington are, frankly, just adorable.

So when Romeo got into a scuffle with another dog and came away with 15 staples in his poor, little leg, we were aghast.

And then we saw him.

And yes, his leg looked awful. But look what he had to wear to keep from bothering the wound:

Um. How CUTE is that?!

Apparently (and maybe you know this already), this innertube thingie now takes the place of the traditional (and hated) plastic cone in the way of anti-licking technology. Instead of a hard, plastic, right-in-their-line-of-sight-so-it-freaks-them-out, taking-out-your-kneecaps-and-chunks-of-drywall cone, now the dog can just gently bounce off anything that gets in his or her way, and still allow their wounds to heal.


Also, Romy had a built-in pillow whenever he wanted to take a nap. He settled down, rested his head on the doughnut and zonked out. (It may have also helped that he was on some hardcore pain meds.) We took care of him for a few days while his worried parents were dealing with some work emergencies, and he did amazingly well.

We did think the doughnut might prevent him from sleeping sprawled on his back, in his usual style.

We were wrong.

Cutie pie.

April 7, 2010

Uber-quick and easy recipe. Also, hi!

I'm working my way back to the idea of blogging regularly (work has become more manageable, so now it's just getting out of the mindset of Not! One! More! Thing!), so I figured I'd start out small with a quick recipe that I have been eating the hell out of recently.

I love black beans. I love couscous. I love spicy. Three great tastes that go great together.

I know a lot of people love couscous either cold or at room temperature. To me, this makes it seem as though I am eating dirt. So I always eat couscous hot. You, however, are welcome to eat this at whatever temperature you like (but you HAVE to eat it. Oh, all right, no you don't). And, it's pretty darn healthy, so you know. Added bonus.

(This is also great for those "Oh, crap, it's time for dinner and I have nothing in the house" nights, because I always seem to have a couple cans of beans and a box of couscous lying around.)

Shannon's Spicy Black Bean Couscous
  • 2 cans black beans (you can soak (and soak and soak) dry beans if you want, but I lose patience with this quickly)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Spices to taste (I use cayenne pepper and a teensy pinch of garlic salt)
  • 1 box whole wheat couscous

Prepare the couscous and set it aside (but don't forget that whole fluffing-it-with-a-fork thing. I learned this the hard way when one batch took on the shape of the pot it was cooked in and refused to relent).

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion, red pepper and garlic with the spices.

Add the black beans to the skillet and cook for five minutes or so, to allow all the spicy goodness to cook in.

Dump the (fluffed) couscous into a large bowl (or storage container, if you aren't eating it immediately) and stir in the black bean mixture.

Eat or store. Or both. Makes a TON (at least 6 servings).


April 6, 2010

OK then, OLD MAN.

Hear ye, hear ye.

Attention, please.

If a female co-worker is clearly over the age of 18, it is no longer acceptable to call her "young lady."

No, it doesn't matter if you are older than her.

No, it doesn't matter if you think she LOOKS like a teenager.

No, it doesn't matter if you "meant it in a nice way."

It isn't endearing. It's condescending.

So unless you want her to start calling you "Pops," and making snarky comments about Social Security and Depends, even though you are clearly in your 40s?

Shut it.

That is all.

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