Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Red Cross & Target

Hi, Ya'll!

It's a crazy time around here, but I wanted to get the word out on a great opportunity going on over at Target right now. The Target corporation is offering $3 million to 10 worthy organizations as part of their Target Outreach Program - and until May 25th, we get to help decide who receives the money! You have to be a member of Facebook, so if you're not, go now and sign up! Then you can vote here for your favorite charity. (If that doesn't work, you can always friend me and click on my link on Facebook!)

I encourage you to vote for the Red Cross - cuz my mommy told me to. (And I almost always do what I'm told, don't I, Mom?) No, seriously. My mom recently received an award from the Red Cross for the most volunteer hours in a first year of service. Yup! That's my mom! So, of course, she would really like for the Red Cross to win the majority of the monies up for grabs - but who can blame her? It's a great organization and they do TONS of great things for all kinds of people who need help. My mom has gone out with the Red Cross to offer support to victims of floods. She and the Red Cross have refreshed emergency personnel during fires. The stories truly are countless, as is the reach and the need for Red Cross.

Right now, they're behind by 1% in the contest. Won't you consider voting for this worthy cause?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cooking 101 :: A Series

I glanced in the backseat and saw her eyes opened. I made a snap decision. I could still get there, get in, and get out before she lost it. I jumped on the opportunity and turned the car towards WalMart.

Unbuckling Sashi from her carseat, I mentally ran through the list of items I needed to complete my meal. All the ingredients awaited me at home with the exception of three things. I strapped Sashi into the cart and dashed into the store. Checking the items in my cart against the mental list, I grabbed what I needed and quickly headed toward home.

On a recent trip to the Bread Co, I stood motionless, staring blankly at the menu above my head. I wanted lunch. I didn't know what lunch I wanted. But I found myself standing in line at my favorite lunch spot, looking vacantly towards the words on the posterboards ahead of me, searching for that one mouth-watering delictible item that would satisfy my mealtime desires for that day. Keri, the friendly cashier, could be heard discussing a sandwich with a fellow indecisive patron beside me. "It comes on the croissant, but I had it on the country wheat, and it was delicious!" she oozed.

Hmm, I thought. Glowing reviews. 'Delicious,' eh? What are we talking about over there? I asked, "What sandwich is that, Keri?" She named the new chicken salad. I tried it minutes later on the traditional croissant. As I bit into the sandwich, I immediately knew. It might be better than my chicken salad. Sooner than I realized at that particular moment, I would indeed find out.

I brought in the bags from the store and quickly readied Sashi for her nap. I piled all the ingredients onto the counter in preparation. Pulling the chicken cooked the night before from the fridge, I smiled at how miserly I was being that day with my finances. No trip to the Bread Co. for me this day! Nope! I held my mental ground and told myself, "NO! I don't need to spend $6 on a sandwich out when I can make a sandwich just as good at home for a fraction of the cost!" Truth be told, it had cost more than the price of the sandwich to bring home the package of croissants, the celery, and the onion from WalMart. But, I reasoned, I'd be using up the aging grapes from my fridge - plus using the leftover chicken from the night before! And I could make more than one sandwich - three meals out of one! Certainly I was saving under those circumstances!

I cut into the precooked chicken. The knife caught slightly on the fleshy portion of the flank. Strange, I thought. That didn't feel right. I sliced the chicken again. With each consecutive cut, my mind grew more and more at ease. This is fine. This will be good. I mixed all the parts with abandon. After-all, this was the recipe for chicken salad that I had perfected. I took it from the Sunday paper and made it expertly mimic the salad at a regional grocer that locals love. Love love love that chicken salad. I piled it high onto my freshly cut croissant. Chips on the side. Positioned prettily on my plate - oh so proud was I for saving my money and not making that routine trip to buy lunch out.

One bite. One bite and I knew.
Bread Co's is better.

One bite. One bite and I knew.
That chicken wasn't cooked.

Three hours. Three hours later I knew.
Bread Co's is better. They cook their chicken.

My free advertisement:
Eat the new chicken salad sandwich at Bread Co. on a croissant with chips on the side.

But if you don't? If you don't, then

my public service announcement:

cuz food poisoning really sucks.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Portrait

I photographed myself today. It sounds sort of strange, actually, but I set up a little photo shoot outside on my deck of me, myself, and I. I set the timer on the camera, propped the camera on a dirty cup left sitting on the coffee table outside, speculated and triangulated the focus, and then I snapped photos of myself. All sort of the same. Small smile. Looking at the lens. Hand on head or under chin but somewhere in the shot. I made myself the subject.

I guess in the internal solitude of myself I focus on me a lot. But by day and by camera angle, most of my attention is elsewhere for most of my life. And that's OK. I love being a mom. But in the midst of being Mom, there ceases to be photos of me. Because I'm always the one taking the pictures.

As I looked at the final product of my afternoon's photo shoot, I began to think about my mom. When I was little, my mom was the prettiest woman in the world. Her gorgeous long fingernails always shined with bright colors of polish. Her skin rivaled Mary Kay Ash with her creamy and smooth complexion. She collected high heeled shoes that I loved to slip my feet into. I lived for the day I could wear those shimmery L'eggs pantyhose and make my legs look just like my mom's.

I sat today and talked with my mom for a little while. I noticed her beautiful blue eyes again. I tried to convince her to start a blog to reveal the stories of motherhood from her point of view. She just smiled her pretty smile.

I printed one of my photos to hang on the wall of my bedroom. I plan to print one of my husband, too, and surround these two with other special photos of us as a couple. And as I looked at my photo, I wondered about my own children. What do they see, when they look at Mom? Am I the most beautiful woman in the world to my children? Am I the hero to them that my mom is to me? I look at my picture, and I see deepening wrinkles. I see a light splatter of freckles. I see the changing face of a woman approaching another birthday.

I see me.

Parenting 101 :: A Series

The call came in just minutes after we returned home from our morning playdate at the park. After the initial greetings, she got straight to the point. "Danny has a bite mark on his arm."

"Oh my, " I said with concern. "I didn't see any spiders where we were sitting."

"It's not a spider bite!" She said, now with a disdainful tone. "It's a human bite!"

I laughed. Not at her youngster's plight. Nor at her. But at my own ignorance.

Suddenly the scene flashed in my mind's eye. My speech delayed two year-old son feverishly signing "Me! Me! Me!" at her son to share a turn as they stood together at the helm of the playground pirate ship. Her son unaware of the frustration building within the toddler at his side. And certainly no desire to share his newfound pirate glory. I looked away. He must have taken that moment to strike.

My misunderstanding of 'a bite' became painfully clear. I apologized profusely.

And never heard from her again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Big Reveal

Several months ago, I read an interesting post on The Nester's blog. The notion of making your own bedroom rival one you'd enjoy at a Bed & Breakfast instantly inspired me. I contemplated focusing the bedroom on us as a couple and threw out my previous idea of plastering our walls with photos of our children.

(see the lamp I scored at a recent garage sale?
It's gorgeous hand blown glass and looks lovely on our tablescape!)

I think all the hours of watching design shows, poring over websites, and polling you all have culminated in a beautiful 'master suite' (as they say on HGTV). This was the first room in our house that I have honest-to-goodness accessorized from top to bottom - and tonite, after hanging the curtains, Hubby turned to me and whispered those three coveted words:

It looks nice.

I nearly swooned when he even noted that my future plans to purchase a mahogany bamboo shade for the window would, "Draw in all the chocolate colors you have." {Spoken like a true convert (who's completely ~ OK, halfly ~ given in to his wife's incessant demands to un-college-dormroom-ize our home)}.



(half-way before --- I'd tried an old comforter set before purchasing the new one...)


The Final Picture:

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